I was chatting with Daniel yesterday and we had some ideas about what we want to do with our next game. We’ll do some planning and Mech building, and in the interim play a few other board games as we prepare. At the top of that list are Betrayal at House on the Hill, Scotland Yard and the new Legendary constructible card game that Daniel recently invested in. I won’t highlight each of these. Scotland Yard deserves emphasis because it isn’t well known by younger gamers and many people appreciate it.
If you haven’t played Scotland Yard, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. Its currently published by Ravensburger out of Germany and it is one of my all time favorite games. It was Spiel des Jahres in 1983. The game is set in London. It is played with one player taking on the role of “Mr. X”, the villain who is trying to allude the police. Mr. X’s moves and location are completely invisible during most of the game. The other players cooperatively work to “corner” Mr. X so that her only possible move results in capture. Both Mr. X and the other players have a limited number of different modes of transit. They are taxi, bus, and Tube. Not all routes can be traversed by any mode of transit. At certain points during the game. Mr. X has to revel herself to help the other players form a strategy.
The most recent US version is the 2004 20th Anniversary edition. I still see it in FLGS’ and calendar stores in malls. Heck, Barnes and Noble might even have it. EU has a variety of versions if you hail from across the pond. I’m actually not sure about the UK.
Battletech Scenario Planning
One of the reasons that I like Battletech so much is that it really lends itself well to scenario play. I get real bored real fast with stats smashing up against stats. That is what video games are for. What really makes a tactical tabletop game rich, in my opinion, is being forced to think laterally and come up solutions to unique problems.
Here’s what we want out of our next scenario:
1) Fewer Mechs (probably two a person)
2) Custom Mechs (if desired) using advanced tech. We plan to use this as an opportunity to test out not only the better weapons and equipment, but especially armor. I may use some of the Mechs I’ll be posting from my Mech Design series for this game.
3) Tactical Operations rules in play
4) Free-for-all combat
5) Use of a high resolution, laser-printed archipelago map that I picked up a year or so ago.
6) A scoring system geared towards both combat and objectives. There is nothing I hate more than “snipe kill” gaming. In this style of scoring, victory points are only scored for kills and it usually ends up being whatever idiot was in the right place at the right time scores the points. In other words, its more luck than decision making that results in victory. Daniel and I had some ideas for how we might score the game so that scenario objectives count for a huge part of the final score:
-One point for every 30 damage done to enemy Mechs
-Two points for a Mech kill
-One point for each CT critical caused
And then a multiplier for any of the following special scenario goals:
-Scanning a building
-Capture something and have to carry it in a Mech’s hands
-Spend at least three rounds in a “gambit” area near the center of the map (this was common in Star Wars Miniatures and was designed to reward players who engaged and dissuade turtling.
-Special damage, like doing 30 points of damage to Mechs that were standing in Heavy Woods or water, or behind partial cover, etc.
So, if you did 90 points of damage to Mechs, killed a Mech, caused two engine hits, scanned a building and spent three rounds in the gambit area, and did 30 damage to Mechs standing in heavy woods you would score:
7 X 3= 21 victory points
The key to any scoring system that we want to use is that the real way to score high is to “engage” the scenario and seek out the alternate objectives. Any idiot can pound away at other Mechs. The value for us is in making sure that we are actually playing the scenario rather than just being “present” while the scenario is going on. To speak plainly, there is nothing more annoying than to have a scenario player sit back, turtle, and swoop in and snipe a Mech for a kill to win a scenario. There’s nothing in the rules that prevents such a move. Its just not fun for people actively engaging in the scenario. Its pretty easy to avoid that: you just create scenario rules that give more victory points for what is valued in that scenario.