N18 Solution to scenarios that end in firefight

TopsyKretts

Hive Guilder
Tribe Council
Dec 29, 2017
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Me and my friends are many times finding that scenarios with objectives are only shoot outs in disguise. This can be very easily shown in one of the latest scenarios, Mercator Store Heist (from Gang Raids, White Dwarf December 2019).

Gangs start opposite of each other with 4 fighters each. In the middle is a loot objective guarded by a robot which will shoot at any fighter that is visible. First the gangs must destroy the robot, then pick up and carry the loot objective to the battlefield edges right or left from the deployment zones. Looks fun right? Well, it started as expected, some shooting back and forth (gangs shooting at each other, gangs and robot shooting at each other). Eventually, the robot dies. I smoke the middle, run up to pick up the objective. To make a quick summary, We both suffer some casualties, I bottle, the other gang picks up the loot, my last remaining fighter is Seriously Injured and I drop the game. The opponent did not have time move the loot objective a single inch. I could have remained in play, but for what purpose? Crawl 2"? Hoping my last remaining fighter would recover, then fight the opponenet gang alone?

The goal of the scenario is obviously that one gang is carrying the loot and escaping off the battlefield. This will take 3-4 turns minimum. Both sides are meeting in the middle. Games don't last this long! Even if I had continued the game, I would have to pass Cool check every turn not to flee, recovery must end in Seriously Injury or Flesh Wound (not Out of Action) and the opponent must not Coup d'Grace my downed fighter. This doesn't make sense! How does one complete such a scenario?!?

Similar story for Blood Rites. One gang is supposed to "sacrifice" the corpses of the opponent. I took some fighters down with ranged attacks early in the game. Then got butchered in return. No time to move up to enemy corpses and defile them before the game was over.

I really like these types of scenario, taking focus away from the bog standard shootout. But they are more often than not ending up in a shootout none the less, the objective is irrelevant!

How does one gang successfully get the loot objective? How to escape when both clash at the middle?
 
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spafe

Executive Officer in charge of Hats
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I've no experience with those scenarios, but when playing looters (as the attacker), I tended to have 2-3 shooters who would knock key enemy down to pinned (more if I could but pinned was enough), then the rest of my gang 'ran the guns' to get up close, either charge defenders, or if the defenders pulled back then grab the loot. I managed to get 2 of the crates away before I was bribed to leave.

In smaller games with less folk I could see this not working so well though
 

TopsyKretts

Hive Guilder
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That you can somehow manage to avoid this shoot out is a mystery to me. I'd like to see a battle report of it happening.

Here is an example of how it typically is:

One gang goes for the scenario, the other gang goes for the kill. A gang bottles out, the objective isn't moved a single inch. They should remove the objective completely to stop foolish players thinking it's a viable way to play.
 
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Galtarr

Gang Hero
Mar 1, 2017
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Fully agree with the problem. One of the scenarios has the objective crates secured if dropped within 3" of starting edge/deployment zone. Its one of the few that doesn't have this issue.

The only solution we had was to not make bottle an automatic loss. Give non bottling gang a limited time to clear the objectives. Depending on the scenario it could be the remainder of the turn the bottling gang fled .i.e. one activation each.(better for smaller 2d games)

Or an idea that I think came from the spire? (better for larger3d games) at the end of the turn one gang fled/no models on table roll d6 on a 4+ game continues next turn 5+ game continues next round 6+. Fluff being Gangs don't have all day to clear up, maybe another gang/enforcers is on way whatever. Real reason. Players don't know how much time they'll have left to do objectives so it encourages you to make a start.

The problem is finding a compromise between bottle = auto loss and grab objective and bottle = auto win. Forcing gangs to advance for scenario objectives helps balance CC vs range issues imo. E.g. Van Saar can no longer stand still and dominate at range they have to equip some people to go forward at least.

We've started down route of copying out every scenario to tweak end conditions, rewards etc... to suit our campaign. A ball ache up front but pay off is getting stuff that suits how you want to play.
 

TopsyKretts

Hive Guilder
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Yeah we tweaked some obvious ones like if one gang has to escape with objectives, they must be at least between the 2 sides, not in the enemy deployment!

It would help to have fighters became broken instead of fleeing, as they would not contribute to the carnage and hopefully run to safety.

Rolling 4+ to continue rounds don't help my Goliaths much because they need usually 3-4 rounds to achieve a goal of moving an objective some distance.
 

spafe

Executive Officer in charge of Hats
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That you can somehow manage to avoid this shoot out is a mystery to me. I'd like to see a battle report of it happening.
From memory I cannot give a full report, but I'll give it a go. Bearing in mind this is a scenario where I need to get loot back to my deployment zone, and then it can be claimed in the end phase.

First one which I refer to above, I have no photos of, but it was pitch black, and as the loot was scattered in the middle of the board, I choose an edge that gets me access to 1 very early, and good routes to 3 others (sorry, there might have been 5 and I'd written the furthest off). As the defenders started with...4 or 5 guys, I jumped his leader (guarding the closest one), promptly got 3 guys hurt (2 ooa, 1 'escpaed' by falling off the building, then being helped to recover by my troops on the ground). While the enemy leader was dispatching the 2nd of those victims, I had a fighter sneak in and nab the loot, that was 1. Then I had a champ and 2 gangers forcing 2 enemy gangers off another piece of loot at high level, think I killed one and SI the other. That one didnt make it off but was the one I could have run with and it would have been tight before the spyker caught up (who had come on as reinforcements from the other side of the board). Then the final piece I claimed was a piece guarded by just a juve in the center on ground level, I push forwards with 2 guild part chaps, a champ and... maybe a ganger. my opponant pulled his ganger back a bit as they wouldnt have been able to contest, so I nabbed it and daisy chain moved it back from center in 2 turns. With the first and the center one claimed, I took the bribe to leave.

The other reinforcements that came on for the delaque were a imposter, then next turn a webber, then... an autogunner (might have been a shotgun). I had 2 out from the trying to jump their leader, 3 (down to 2 flanking to take the high level loot), and 3(up to 4) pushing for the ground floor loot, the other...4 ish were defending my deployment zone where reinforcements kept showing up. The 3 down to 2 is because a ganger had to peel off to start shooting down to help cover deployment zone, and the 3 up to 4 is because the champ who escpaded the delaque leader recovered to T1 but then sprung up and charged after the ground loot team to provide the final daisy chain of bringing loot back.

Sorry, its not a blow by blow, but the best I can remember.

I also (when checking if I had photos) found some of a later game in 2d which was also claiming loot, I won that by claiming 4 of the 5 loot, but did lose more men (women) and failing a bottle check but winning on points (by 2 iirc). I might be able to show you that in more detail if you want, but basically involved me using 2 brutes (ambot and krhierax) to hold a bottleneck allowing me to grab the loot while they tied up/forced the other gnag a longer way round
 

Galtarr

Gang Hero
Mar 1, 2017
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Chaining activations is a good way of moving stuff quickly. Fighter A drags objective from a to Fighter B, Fighter B drags it to Fighter C, all in same round. Tbf I've only pulled it off on ZM where your fighters tend to cover more of available terrain.

And rolling 4+, 5+ 6+ gives maximum of 4 activations but yeah usually only 1-2 could start at 3+. but the idea is to force people to move objective half way before opponent bottles.

Making opponent broken/ physically run off board would probably achieve similar. Probably give a more consistent 2+ rounds. Presence of Serious injuries on table would increase that time (due to crawling) and also I would expect an increase in deadliness. As people are forced to stay on table means remaining a target.
 

Firedancer

Juve
Feb 15, 2019
10
4
3
Bristol, UK
On a similar note I've had games with objective x, which one player ignores and goes for the kill whilst the other player tries for the objective, only to be shredded as they risk gangers .i.e. Forgotten Riches. If I wanted a straight up gunfight ignoring objectives I'd play a different game, but how to encourage similar play from all the people in a campaign? We've talked about it and agreed we want a narrative experience, not WAAC, and mostly agreed the principle you don't get to tidy up the battlefield at your leisure; the game ends when the bottlers are gone and you get whatever loot/objective you are in possession of at that time. We've tabled elective bottling drops still in-play objectives as well. I'm sure more scenarios will throw more at us, but these 2 ideas have yet to see any serious use so can't assess their impact, but we have agreed we'll discuss experiences at the end of a suitable period.

As for scenario's where gang 1 have objective, gang 2 just has to stop them.....even more difficult as its not incentive you need, but a review of the scenario. Does the objective seem achievable? Are the gang composition and special rules geared up to support this? Is the reward so strong that it should be a difficult to achieve objective? Look as both attacker and defender. Of course you shouldn't need to do this.

I can't tell if, in the Mercator raid you mention, your opponent had the objective or just swept it up post game as his gang had won? Maybe discuss this with your opponent(s), see if they have similar goal (narrative game) and see if they have any concerns, see if there's anything you both would be happy with.
 
I think a simple solution would be to award points for "holding" objectives rather than moving them away. In games like 40k I've noticed that if you have to hold the objectives at the end of the game to win, the game is just a shoot-out. However, if you get points each round for holding objectives, then it becomes more about board control and a little less about just killing your opponent.

In a skirmish game this is easy enough, as you could get points for holding objectives.

In a campaign game this could also work by giving credits or XP (or both) to whoever holds the objectives (representing them looting them mid game).

The only other solution I can think of is to have so much terrain that line of sight is hard to come by, thus allowing positioning to be a much more important factor.
 

Lachi

Ganger
May 6, 2013
141
141
63
Cologne, Germany
These types of scenarios could also encourage the players to use non-leathal weapons such as photon flash flares or scare gas grenades (for example in Smash and Grab or Escort Mission).
 

KA7777

Gang Champion
Jan 19, 2018
277
339
68
Canada
I don't mind all scenarios being optional shootouts (or devolving into them). The rules of the game simulate combat, players design their gangs to succeed in combat... it would be awful for scenarios to resolve without a player having the option to turn it into a fight.

That said, the victory conditions need to be adjusted in a LOT of missions. Like the ones where not completing an objective means a player loses (even if they wipe out the opposition).
 

Firedancer

Juve
Feb 15, 2019
10
4
3
Bristol, UK
The rules of a standalone game simulate combat, the rules of the campaign simulate so much more, which is what the objectives represent. Shoot outs are cool, but if we're playing a scenario I'd like to think both my opponent and I are playing the same way and that the scenario isn't just a waste of print. If the best way to claim all the prizes in a scenario is to wipe the other gang its poorly designed and offers too many rewards for winning v straight up shootout.
 

KA7777

Gang Champion
Jan 19, 2018
277
339
68
Canada
I think you're mostly wrong, or at least using imprecise language.

The rules/scenarios don't simulate (or interact much with) the narrative of a campaign. It would be awesome if they did, but the content isn't there right now. You need an Arbitrator involved if you want that sort of synergy.

Like, if you leave it up to the dice/player choice you might play a "Downtown Dust-Up" scenario with a "Sludge Sea" territory at stake. The scenarios aren't integrated with the campaign rewards.

Also, the bloodthirstiness just *works* from a verisimilitude perspective. These are violent gangs, right? There are very few situations that couldn't be resolved by just outmuscling a rival (and iirc there a handful of missions on a timer -- like the Caravan -- where a realistic, non-pitched battle solution actually exists) .... although they're complicated by the fact that mission rewards rarely make up for your gang taking an absolute pounding. While the idea of holding out to the last man to secure an important objective is a cool narrative device, it doesn't translate to the table. You'll just show up to your next game weak and get your throat stepped on.
 

JawRippa

Gang Hero
Mar 31, 2017
1,069
1,380
133
Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Objectives should be either in secure places, or should be easy to do on the move (like picking loot tokens by walking over them). Encourage people to move!
Our last campaign finisher was 5 gangs going FFA for the Excalibur-style sword in the stone. Whoever pulls it out and leaves the battlefield wins. Sword is in the middle of the field and to pull it out you have to make 3 successful tests of Strength with simple actions. Objective sounds cool, but impractical, since it is easier to just stand and shoot at anyone stupid enough to try and complete the objective, right?

Well, that's when we spiced things up. Firstly, sword's layer was in the middle of the field which had cave entrance. Fighters crossing it got moved to the 2D mortalis tile with sword at the end of it, so fighters could do the objective without getting shot up from all sides. Vents on different sides allowed fighter with successful intelligence test to return to the battlefield at one of specified vent exits, making it impractical to camp at cave's entrance. And lastly, each successful strength test when pulling out a sword rewarded player with a tactic card, while sword itself made gang immune to bottling. That mission was a total blast, with players desperately rushing to the middle, each trying to get to the stone first.

Another way to make objective achievable is to allow one of the players to bluff which one is real. Package run from Oldmunda is a good example that puts a stress on attacker since he has to guess which fighter on the opposing team he has to prioritize (defender wins if he crosses field with real package; before the game he writes down which fighter actually has it). Also defender is immune to bottle tests while he has the real package.
 

Mcnabb

Ganger
Sep 28, 2018
191
131
53
Bournemouth
Objectives that are points based tend to become more focused for example we had forgotten riches and Mauraders.

In the mauraders it was Goliath vs Esher, Alot of early hits by the Escher had put the Goliath on the back foot (lasguns everywhere) And we were 4-0 on the points (1 champion 2 gangers) My opponent passes his first bottle check but realies that quite soon he's going to be running and at that point he stops earning points (RAW). He stimsurges his leader, who runs up and chucks a demo charge at my leader and 2 gangers. Takes out the leader for 3 points and 1 ganger but my other ganger survives. The score is no 4-4 at the end of the turn his leader gets stim overload and goes down (no points for either side) so he volentarily bottles forcing a draw. This was good use of the scenario rules to prevent a loss.

Forgotten riches/escape the pit (all of the loot casket ones) These are great opportunities for smaller weaker gangs to run in and score a win sometimes while avoiding any shots at all. (Our heavily injured venerators managed to secure a victory over the Dominant Vansaar by being really tactical in their movement. Two shots were fired in the whole of the match... both of them were smoke grenades by the Venerators who managed to secure 3 crates and bug out. Leaving the larger but slower vansaar still struggling to get to the door.)

Ambush is probably the best one for a quick defender. If you can weather the opening volley and run for the board edge, all yoiu need to do is get half your team off the board and you've won for quicker gangs this is so easy!

I will say alot of the time the objectives get forgotten, in our whole campaing we have not once defiled a opponent gangs icon, however the Intregues do make it a little more objective based. (We even had a murder cyborg fight where both gangs were activly avoiding the cyborg and trying to force the other side to bottle before we would have to face it)
 

Jacob Dryearth

Gang Hero
Sep 6, 2016
1,076
1,347
123
I feel like some newer scenarios have been striking a good balance between kill'em all and objective play.

I have had a lot of fun with scenarios in the Book of Ruin. Meat Harvest (thematically it was Genesteales bodysnatching civies), Search and Destroy, and one other I can't recall the name of where the attacker tries to take 3 objective points, Takeover maybe... All were very interesting, with objectives that encouraged fighters covering a large area of the table. This leads to several smaller fights over objectives instead of one large scrum in the middle. One that looks fun that I have yet to try: you can only score points by having one of your fighters possessed by a deamon and then have them take enemies out. It's very reminiscent of Juggernaut mode from Halo 2.

I've also found that Intrigues from the Book of Judgement allow gangs to focus on side missions as well, so even in failing the scenerio one can win some Rep or loot.

I recommend taking half of the House subplots and mixing them into the Intrigue deck in order to make a full 52 card deck. With only 26 Intrigues they tend to get repetitive over a campaign. I tweaked the subplots to work with the outlaw and law abiding stipulations. TopsyKretts, you've seen my cards adapted from your file, I recommend them.
 

Kiro The Avenger

Gang Hero
Apr 4, 2018
1,224
1,588
128
Bristol, UK
How about having games take on a fixed turn limit, irrespective of if one gang flees or not.

This would encourage more objective play, whilst always not punishing a player for bearing the enemy too quickly.

Narratively - you've come to steal loot/destroy something and are challenged by an enemy gang. Why do you suddenly become incapable of doing that just because you're not actively being shot at?
 
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