|A selection of mutants|
I've had the rules for three or four years, and we've played them fairly often over that time, but usually simply as a sci-fi take on Song of Blades and Heroes, the marvellous fantasy skirmish game that provides the 'engine'. So, we typically just stat up some characters, keep the page with modifiers for high-tech weapons open and then play SBH.
|The field of battle|
So what have we been doing differently? Well, for starters, we've been using the profiles for each species in the book: Q3, C2 for humans (the default in SBH tends to be Q3, C3) and Q4, C3 for mutants. We then gave each side the appropriate leader and champion updates. That meant that Captain Zero, a human leader, is Q2, C2 - very easy to activate, but not especially formidable in combat, even when decked out in power armour (+2 C) and equipped with a jetpack (the Flying trait) and a sub-machine gun (+2 C).
We've also paid much more attention to the differences between weapons. It was only fairly recently that I noticed that the titular death-ray guns don't just add 2 to combat rolls, but are also Lethal (killing on a 'win' rather than a 'doubling': something that should have been obvious!). So we've been making sure that was observed. And we've also been using multiple-shot rule for most high-tech weapons - a big departure from SBH - and the slower rate of fire for primitive weapons like bows and crossbows (which need an action to be reloaded in MDRG).
All of our SBH and MDRG games involve wandering monsters, which add a bit of extra spice. Before the game, I line up six beasties in order of power, with stats assigned to each. At the end of each turn, someone rolls a d6; a six means that a wandering monster (d6 roll for which) appears at a random table edge. This adds a lot of unpredictability to the game: players have to watch their backs.
Our most recent game put a twist on this. The game centred around cargo from a downed aircraft that had broken up over an alien hive. The players' squads had to retrieve some of this while avoiding or fighting off angry, bug-like aliens that emerged from several 'spawning points'. A d6 was rolled for each of these at the end of a turn; only a 1 failed to produce aliens, with other numbers spawning various types of bug.
|Bugs and their spawning points|
That got me thinking about how MDRG and SBH combat is generally much more enjoyable and dynamic than most RPG systems. And that in turn prompted me to dig out the Tales of Blades and Heroes RPG rules from Ganesha. I'm planning a hybrid skirmish/RPG run-out with those this weekend.