N18 Veteran advice wanted - Sabotage narrative mission

Stompzilla

Ganger
Jan 11, 2013
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Hi guys. I'm currently arbitrating my group's first campaign and am looking for some advice from any kind hearted vets out there who are willing to share the benefits of their experiences with the sabotage scenario.

We're just coming to the end of phase 1, which is something of a noob phase. Small gangs, no territory exchanged and a limited selection of scenarios to help everyone get to grips with the game without being overwhelmed. As part of the narrative i'm building, I want the gangs, under contract, to travel to a nearby section of the Hive and destroy a vital piece of equipment which will help to drive the narrative and kick off phase 2 which will be a normal dominion campaign with some restrictions on alliances etc.

The defending gang will be put together specifically for the purposes of this mission and will merely be a heel, rather than one of the campaign gangs and will be played by either a 3rd party, or the guys will take it in turns to be the defender using the prop gang and then the attacker, using their campaign gang.

Are there any pit falls to watch out for, any house rules to improve the scenario or any alternative scenarios I could use instead to better represent what I'm going for?

Should the defender be a lower gang rating than the attackers and by how much do you think?

Many thanks in advance!
 

Kiro The Avenger

Gang Hero
Apr 4, 2018
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First point is that it's important to limit LoS to the objective. The game can be decided turn 1-2 if the attacker can immediately start blazing away with a heavy weapon, for example.

Secondly, and perhaps more important yet much more complex, I hate sentry rules.
If you have a gang like Escher or Delaque actually playing sneaky, the defender basically can't participate.
They just have to stand back as their fighters bumble around like idiots, getting picked off one by one by the attacker without counter.
All they can do is hope to draw the right fighter and get control, when in reality the attacker gets as much control over the sentries(!).
I've seen multiple players outright quit the game over the frustration of just having to stand there as they get killed.
Using a prop gang will mitigate that situation somewhat, as at least it's not your favourite fighters being injured and killed. But the fact remains that they're not really playing the game until the alarm is raised.

A solution isn't readily apparent, and in fact I don't think there is one. My group has essentially banned all scenarios using the sentry rules and I at least haven't really missed them.
But, if you want to play Sabotage, I've postulated that you could replace Sneak Attacks by simply giving the attacker an ambush turn, then immediately raising the alarm after the first turn.

Or, there was a really cool sabotage mission in, iirc, the Book of Peril, that saw an attacking gang trying to place and detonate bombs at key locations.
Same concept, but I think more interestingly executed.
 

TopsyKretts

Hive Lord
Honored Tribesman
Dec 29, 2017
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A lot of these first old scenarios are really broken. Infiltrate can break this (and many others). Also the ever existing problem of just shooting the enemy and winning regardless (completely ignoring any intended scenario objectives).

We have discussed sentries, voluntarily bottle/fleeing the battlefield and other stuff like infiltrate for years now, there are few or no good solutions unfortunately. Some simply skip sentry scenarios, ban infiltrate etc.

GW is certainly not coming up with any solutions, adding more fuel to the fire by an ever increasing amount of new scenarios.

I know one solution that helped me: never roll on the scenario tables! I've seen brand new players rolling for their first game and just overwhelmed with poorly mechanics and imbalance.
 
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Stompzilla

Ganger
Jan 11, 2013
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Thanks guys. That's really helpful.

I'll have a browse of the BoJ and failing that, I'll defo be looking into the 1st turn ambush idea.

I was pondering a 6" radius forcefield (You have to be inside the field to attack the objective) around the objective and giving it a guardian Ambot.
 
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Stompzilla

Ganger
Jan 11, 2013
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It was in the Book of Peril and looks perfect.

Thanks again chaps. I knew the collective wisdom of Yak wouldn't let me down. 😁👍
 

Scabs

Gang Champion
Feb 4, 2014
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San Diego. CA, USA
Yeah, that's great advice if your group is all win-at-all-cost players and with a ton of house rules. You know, the "Have a pair" group. If not, you can have fun Sentry games. The Hive War starter rulebook includes a brilliant rule that says when the alarm is raised, the current turn ends, and the Sentry rules are no longer in play. The next round begins like a normal game.

The BoP Manufactorum Raid is fun (especially with Badzones rules), and doesn't even use Sentries.

We have never used an Arbitrator (NPC) gang. For a few reasons. One, our Arbitrators (most often me) are players in the campaign. Giving them (mainly, me) a "free" gang to beat up on other gangs with no downside, is fraught. Plus, the Arbitrators (again, generally me) want to use their own gang and earn their own rewards. Maybe if our Arbitrators were more imaginative and enlightened, it could/should be done.

Kiro and TK probably hate kittens, too.
 

Kiro The Avenger

Gang Hero
Apr 4, 2018
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I love kittens, my cat even insisted she birth hers on my lap, because she didn't trust the box :D

In fact, my emphasis on fun is precisely why I don't like sentries.
Because the defender isn't having fun, they're not playing the game. They're sitting there, randomising what their fighters do, and watching them get taken down one by one. It's an absolutely miserable time for them.
 

Scabs

Gang Champion
Feb 4, 2014
496
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San Diego. CA, USA
I've had and seen some Sentry gangs with both players quite engaged. The Sentry player rolling dice, involuntarily moving figs, voluntarily cursing and gnashing teeth. It ain't all unicorns and rainbows in the Underhive, you know.

And, for the record, ain't no cat giving birth(s) in my lap. What happens in my lap, stays in my lap.
 
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Kiro The Avenger

Gang Hero
Apr 4, 2018
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I've seen multiple players literally pack up their gang and leave because they got so frustrated with not being able to control their gang, meanwhile they were being hunted down one by one.

It might not be sunshine and rainbows in the underhive, but this is a game and it's supposed to be fun for all involved.
 

Scabs

Gang Champion
Feb 4, 2014
496
597
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San Diego. CA, USA
But, the stories! In our group, a Delaque Leader gets Stray Shot by one of his own gang. Goes OOA. His Orlock opponent foolishly (OK, randomly) captures the Leader. Resulting in the most unfortunate of occurrences, a Delaque Rescue mission. Many Orlocks were lost that day. Everyone still thinks the sneaky Delaques planned it all along.

Admittedly, Sentry games are the one time when it is better to give than to receive.
 
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NoOneII.

Gang Hero
Honored Tribesman
Oct 6, 2021
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I've not yet seen the execution of Sentry games in Munda. But I think the trope can be very fun and interesting in a game.

As long as it doesn't end up with one player being the Stealth Mercenary with Throwing knives and the other being Deidranna's Goons. :D
 

cronevald

Gang Hero
Jun 5, 2016
1,037
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I've been wondering if one fix for sentries could be to have all of them move around between the attacker's activations. It wouldn't change the lack of player control but it seems like it would give a greater chance of detecting the attackers. I think it would also help emphasize the attacker's cautious approach. I have some great stories from oldmunda Raids and Rescues and it's a shame that the newmunda rules for this are so disappointing.