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Thread: Specter Ops for Beginners...

  1. #1
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    Default Specter Ops for Beginners...

    People..!
    'Tis good to be back I must say. For those of you who don't recognize my name, icon or catch phrase, I'm the Black Bishop and I wrote quite a bit about another Plaid Hat game, the City of Remnants, oh, a while ago it seems...
    In truth, I never meant to stop writing about the City but well, stuff happens eh.
    Fast forward to the Specter Ops!
    The newest game (to be unleashed) arrived at our doorstep today. The Rook (my son) did his little dance and we proceeded to open that puppy immediately.
    We found another great product inside, the miniatures are bigger than I expected (of course I'm used to the City minis and everything looks big next to them), the artwork is excellent (as always) and the board is extra large, extra sweet.
    If I had to find a complaint (or two), I would point out that the designations on the map squares (the "H9") could be a bit brighter. They try to stand out by being somewhat reflective (which does look cool when you zoom in) but with a dark board, if the lighting in your play space isn't very bright or if you're looking at the board from an angle or a distance, well bold and scarlet colored (go Buckeyes) might've worked better.
    Also, our map board had a bit of peel away damage near the junction of it's edges, "L22" to be exact. I think this is a normal "wear" on this style of "folding" map. For one of the Rook's school projects a bit ago, we made a folding map that had the same issue. When you try to adhere an illustration to a thick cardboard, sometimes the edges will peel.
    So if you notice that your map board has the same issue, in the exact same place, mabes we can get Colbs and team to modify their packaging or something. No matter, the issue is minor and we'll take good care of our board, praps regluing a smidge at some point.

    All right Bishop more game stuff less anal retention time..!
    The Rook and I jump into our first game. A two player and it's important to note that I have neither read the rulebook nor watched the awesome video of Rodney and co's Watch It Played. I thought since the Rook had his twelfth birthday last month, that he could do the research this time, and teach his old man (just possibly).
    I remember initially liking the theme to this game when the Rook described it to me. A big bad parent company that needs Agents to infiltrate and accomplish something, while sneaking out at the end.
    So for the duration, I might refer to the Agents as "the Good Guys" and the Hunters as "the Bad Guys" (you know, just for funzies).
    Anyway, I'm intrigued by the Good Guys and the Rook says here, pick one of these four cards but don't show me which one you take and don't show me the others. Apparently this game is full of secrecy...

    I pick the Blue Jay chic (mostly because of her special ability which I think will give me a significant advantage in a two player game), placing the other cards in the box face down.
    Then I sort through the available equipment cards including the two special promo cards we got from the Hat, picking three and placing them face down near my face down card of the BJ (whoops, guess I'll pick another nickname for the poor girl...)
    The Rook studies his options as the Bad Guys and picks two Hunters, the Prophet and the Beast, no equipment cards for him.
    Then I'm handed the pad of paper with the map reprints on it. And how cool is this? I mean, I grew up on games like Clue where you constantly hid your notes from others.
    So I tear of the top sheet noting that there must be about fifty pages here, healthy! However! The top of the sheet has a new style adhesive!
    What what I exclaim in surprise. Mabes I've been out of the loop for a while but when did they remake the way a pad of paper is constructed..?
    I'm used to the old style where you pull upward and the page rips away (usually) cleanly. This page has a sticky stuff across the back top half inch or so.
    Which, if I'm looking on the bright side, makes it easier to stick to a clipboard or other surface but then, the dark side, aren't I supposed to be hiding this sheet and how is it being sticky at the top helping me?
    A minor issue again but just one that I noticed. As we played, I found that the stickiness did not affect the game play or the way I treated my secret page. Just an observation I suppose.

    Having settled all the parts and pieces where they needed to be, my Birdgirl was off to the races.
    I was firstly surprised by how fast the game flows. Compared to the City, this puppy gets up and floats without much effort. I move my "invisible" figure four spaces including diagonally, note the location on my sheet and bam, my turn is over. No real decisions here and I'm wondering if there won't be enough in this game to allow me to type about it for a month (or three).
    The Rook moves his figures, the Beast exiting his vehicle and the Prophet taking it for a brief spin in my general direction. Not knowing where exactly my figure is forces the Rook to spread his people out.
    I ask about why the Beast only moved one space from his vehicle to learn that entering or exiting the vehicle takes up an entire turn's worth of movement. Apparently there is some super tight seat belts in that thing or praps the Beast has to change his techno hip hop poundin' music back to classical before the Prophet locks him out again.
    After my second move, I find myself located at Q9. The Rook is trying to advance slowly, letting his Beast sniff for my location while his Prophet remains mobile in his vehicle.
    And while that seems like a solid tactic, my map shows me that I can remain pretty hidden, either running west to objective one or south to four. Since I think the Rook suspects me of wanting to preserve my impeccable sense of chronological order, I bolt east (yeah, just try to guess what I'm trying to make you think I'm doing, hah..!)
    I take advantage of the depth of the map at this point, moving my Birdgirl to U10. These little pockets of buildings are great for loosing Hunters in.
    A few moves later and I'm a fringing my way clockwise around his pursuers. His Beast gets close enough to smell me though and I have to suspect that he's watching as I mark my map.
    Important note! If you pay "some" attention, you can sorta see what part of the piece of paper your opponent is looking at. As in, are they looking at the left side of the paper too long, or the bottom?
    So as we progressed, I found myself looking at all sections of the map no matter where I happen to be and at several points, I turned my paper upside down, merely to imply that I was marking the right side when really I was, oh, why am I telling you..!
    Eventually I use one of my equipment cards (in secret) and move my Birdgirl six spaces towards the number three objective. This gives me quite a lead and I've captured my first objective (I skipped objective four because the Hunters were just too close.)
    I should also note that with the Hunter "Prophet" on the board, I have to declare if I'm to capture an objective in my next turn. I declared and since my boost of speed, it doesn't matter that the Rook knows where I must be, his people can't really catch me in time.
    It becomes something of a race at this point as I am flirting my way to objective two in the south west, the Hunters hot on my tail.
    At one point, his Prophet exits the vehicle and ends his move on my space forcing me to declare my position. He then explains combat which, to my surprise, is merely the declaration that I must cross off one health box at the top of my sheet.
    Meaning I am at three life of four. With the Beast close behind and the Prophet on top of me.
    I quickly claim my next objective and step on the gas using a second boosting equipment card to move the six spaces.
    I must also say that given the ability to move in diagonals, I can travel pretty far in one turn (with six movement).
    The Rook takes his next turn and grows rather frustrated as he went from knowing my exact location and wounding me, to now being unable to see me or even smell me (meaning I am further than four spaces from his wolfman now).
    I can see his initial reaction is hey daddy, you must be cheating or doing something wrong. I had you!
    Until he sees that two of my equipment cards are now laying sideways, still face down, but sideways to show they're "spent".
    With my lead, I'm able to run along the western edge of the map (much like I skirted the eastern edge on the way down) and bam, third objective achieved, no more damage, Hunters far behind and frustrated.
    In the end, it takes me twenty moves to reach the N1 square I started in and the Bishop beats the Rook at their first ever Specter Ops game.

    When the music and fat lady stop singing, the Rook wonders how it all happened and I show him my map pointing out where I was and how close he was at certain times, smiles included.
    We debate the logic of being able to "see" an endless distance in one of the four cardinal directions but not being able to see someone who is three spaces away, simply because they happen to be in a diagonal.
    A good example of this, is when my Birdgirl was on space I12 (sorry, that looks weird, it's "eye twelve") and the Beast was on H14, I was still "invisible."
    If you played lots of Heroscape back in the day, you're probs used to hey, I can see 'em if there's no obstruction! Apparently in the Ops, things are a bit different but it's still too new to think of this as a flaw you know.
    Last edited by B376Bishop; 04-16-2015 at 11:37 PM.

  2. #2
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    My semi final thoughts are that this game relies on some real honesty. If you play with opponents that aren't completely honest, well...
    I think when we play next (which should be later tonight and constantly over the next few weeks), whoever marks up the paper map should also mark the Hunter's movements, mabes with different colored pens to show the different figures.
    In this way, you could sorta agree as to "why" you couldn't see your opponent, or why you didn't get a "last seen" location marker at some point.
    It is frustrating, as the Rook said, because as a Hunter, you might play the entire game with very little visuals on your target and our first playthrough resulted in no die rolling for any combat. We rolled four dice to place our objectives in the beginning and the only confrontation we had was when the Prophet got lucky and stood on the space I was in (requiring no dice roll to hit).
    But again, this was a two player battle, and our first attempt so maybe the combat will be more exciting in the future.
    I had the thought at the end also, that this was almost like playing the old Battleship game (you sunk my..!) But where you didn't get to see the other person's map at the end, to see how close or how far off you were, know what I mean.
    In total, our first game took less than an hour from start to finish. Something I found refreshing as there's always time for a rematch right.

    So I see a little bit of "interesting" here and there and a whole lot of potential. I think I'll make some photocopies of the map sheets because I see a time when we might run out.
    Also I can't wait to try a three, four and five player match as those should mix things up significantly.
    I want to say thanks to any and everyone who took time to read my thoughts, seriously, thanks!
    I also want to say that I hope to be a more "current" presence here, hopefully I can read your responses and thoughts and get some great conversations going so, feedback requested!
    I ought to sling out a new catch phrase too eh, specifically for the Specters but I'm not sure if I should side with the Agents (Fight the Raxxon) or the Bad Guys (Find those Agents, you know, like the second X-Men movie, "Find them, find them all!")
    Thoughts welcome people!

  3. #3
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    For our second playthrough, we managed to talk the Rook's mother into playing so we had our first three player game.
    I was hoping that something would be "different" but unfortunately, the rules are the same for two or three. Meaning, one person controls one Good Guy (Agent) and the other two people each control one Bad Guy (Hunter).
    The Rook wanted to be a Good Guy this time so he picked his card in secret. I picked the Bad Guy Puppet and my wife picked the Prophet.
    The Rook took his sheet of map and I took one as well, intending on following the Bad Guy paths, that way, at the end, I can hold both sheets up to a window (or a light table, remember those) and really see how we all moved right.
    I used two different colored pens, one red and the wife's purple and it worked out pretty well, I noted both our ending positions simply using the margin at the far right for the extra set of coordinates.

    Play went about the same as our first game. The Hunters wandered around, never really spying the Agent in the first five turns or so.
    As the Hunter this time, I thought I'd take the car to the first major intersection and just wait and watch. Only, after sitting there for a bit, nothing happened. It was slightly frustrating to learn that the Rook was already claiming the first objective while I was sitting in my car waiting for him to cross my path.
    My wife, for her part, exited the vehicle and wandered on foot, never really knowing where to search next.
    Twenty turns later and the Rook has escaped with three objectives, winning the game.
    We caught a glimpse here or there but never caught up to him, never actually saw his figure on the board, never rolled a single dice. No combat.
    And after two games, and roughly two hours of playtime, no combat..? Really?

    So I looked at the Rook's route and noticed he went west first, wiggled south and east for a bit to grab the fourth objective second, then went southwest for the third objective before returning northward to escape at A3.
    He revealed his equipment cards and showed us where he used them, a Stealth Field to cross the road in the beginning (where I would've waited forever), a Smoke Grenade to cross the major north south road mid game and his Adrenal Surge when he needed it late game.

    I found my character, the Puppet, a bit confusing. His powers involve him using the vehicle even when he's not in it. He can cause the vehicle to move on it's own, or cause it to "ping" (aka Marco Polo) when he's not inside it.
    Which would be cool, if he'd been able to do either while still taking his movement. But the rules say he must not move if he uses either of his abilities.
    So I often found myself wanting to leave my vehicle and drive it on autopilot but when I tried, I found that the Agent was able to get just as far ahead, or hidden, as if I hadn't.
    Because I can move my figure in the direction where I think he is, or I can move my vehicle, but both of these are guesses. If I move one toward him, he can move towards the other.
    If I waste a turn to ping, the Rook changes direction or doubles back.

    With my wife's Prophet, his Post Cognition gives him a whereabouts of the Agent two turns ago. Meaning if your opponent is playing smart, this ability is almost next to useless.
    Two turns ago? Really, with his movement, he could be eight to twelve spaces in a different direction (if he has Adrenal boosts).
    The Prophet's other ability, Pre Cognition, only announces when an Agent is "about" to claim an objective. If you're nowhere near or even, as happened in our game, standing right next to the objective and waiting for the Agent to appear, a Birdgirl can claim the objective, move four to six spaces away and never be seen at all.

    So after my second game, I can only think I misplayed my troops eh. I mean is this game really that simple?
    Two to three people sit around a board writing on map sheets and moving through the streets... Only to have one person say they "won" an hour later with no real knowledge of why, or what could have been done to prevent the victory.
    Looking at our sheets, we completed both games in exactly twenty turns. Meaning, should we have wanted to have "been patient", the Agent character could technically "hide out" for up to about nineteen more turns. There's a rule about the vehicle pinging that says if your Agent moved two squares or less during their previous turn, the ping goes unanswered.
    Hinting that had the Rook stayed put up north in the beginning, I would've waited about fifteen turns without seeing anything, and eventually given up to wait at another intersection.

    So hopefully, my love for the flavor of this game will keep me playing while I figure out the complexities, then I can share them with other newbies out here.
    If not, well, I hesitate to say this game is a dead duck on arrival.
    I just keep thinkin' I'm missin' something...
    Praps it's time I studied up, reading the rulebook, watching some videos, reading some other posters thoughts.
    There's nothing worse than not knowing what you could've done differently.
    Looking at the Agent from a distance, three equipment cards for three objectives means you pretty much have the advantage, every game. No..?

  4. #4
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    The Rook came home from school today and plopped himself on the couch. I asked him the usual you know, have a good day, homework, nothin' bad happened and he grunted the usual.
    Then I asked if he wanted to play the Specter Ops again and he kinda shrugged and said meh. As the day grew later, I continually poked him with "so, you bored yet? Want to try the Ops again, yet..?"
    And eventually, he conceded. I challenged him with trying to catch me this time. I showed him how I used to be a crossing guard for school kids, how the police will cordon off an area when they're lookin' for a bad guy and other tactics I thought would be helpful.
    Really, if you had four police officers and could post them at every intersection with a square or rectangle shape "surrounded", there should be "no" real way a bad guy can cross a road without being spotted right.
    So I pick a different Good Guy this time, I try the Spider. The Rook picks his Beast and he says he'll try the Gun.
    I'm off and runnin', skirtin' down the eastern side like usual.
    The Rook takes up his position at N8, watching both streets. Except I already left that area.
    With two of my three equipment cards being the Adrenal Boosts, I can cover "lots" of ground while my Hunters are still scratchin' their heads.
    At one point, the Beast actually gets lucky and spots me down a dark alley. I'm five spaces away so he needs to roll and oh my gosh, an actual combat. Here we go people, let the bullets and blood or claws and fur or whatever the Beast uses to "throw" at people...
    And bam, the Rook rolls a five, just barely hitting me and I cross off a wound box on my sheet.
    But unfortunately, that was the end of this game's excitement. I do some occasional waiting to allow the Hunters to grow frustrated and give up in a particular area then move on.
    At one point, I'm two spaces away, the Beast can smell me but I'm patient and eventually, I slip away (again).

    It almost seems like it's a game of patience. How calm and still can you relatively be, while how long will your opponent sit in one spot "looking".
    So I uploaded a picture of our completed map sheet, complete with markers showing both my route and the spaces my Hunters occupied. I started by drawing the Hunters in green marker but when that marker died, I had to switch to brown (d'oh!)
    I finished this game in nineteen turns, about a half hour real time and the sad look on the Rook's face seems to sum it all up.

    This game feels oh so broken. I honestly can't believe it was released like this, I have the highest faith in Plaid Hat you know.
    I believe it was playtested but I'd like to know how many of those playtesters, especially the people that played the Hunters, well I'd like to know if they would say they had actual fun playing huh.
    Or if anybody else can tell me what the crap we're doin' so wrong you know.
    Mabes I am just used to complex games with many aspects and this is more of a laid back, "for kids", well no, that doesn't make sense.
    I'm sorry people, I'm usually in an upbeat positive mood when typin' but this game, well, it's saddening.


    Map.jpg

  5. #5
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    Hmmm, I'm greatly surprised at this. None of my games have even been remotely similar - they have been tense up to the last second. In all of them the hunters were very close on the trail of the agent at all times (I've done 2, 3 and 4 player) I'm really bemused at how little information you seem to have! The prophet's ability is amazing, and combined with the beast it is near impossible to hide. In many of our games the agent was wounded several times - and the game ended by, or near to, the exit with the hunters dealing the last point of damage needed at the last moment to get a kill. Seriously, whether agents play slow and sneaky, or gun it with equipment (adrenal surge etc) they can be tracked. We know, we have done it! Use the car! It's motion sensor is cruciall! It's speed is crucial! Use the gun to shut down whole roads so that IF they run like mad - they get shot. A puppet/prophet combo should leave the agent nowhere to hide. Get the agent to waste equipment early - so he cannot extricate himself later. Always watch for equipment use - if they turn it sideways it is ALWAYS either a stealth field or adrenal surge, so if you are guarding a road and there is no last seen token - the odds are good that they stealthed past. If the car is at the crossroads you then use the motion sensor to make certain.
    Honestly, the tactics are so varied and layered that this game has a good deal of depth and deduction. In one 4 player game that we played with a group of hard core gamers the hunters (of which I was one) used all their abilities, logic, the motion sensor and smart positioning to pin point EXACTLY where the agent was - several times. The agent used many pieces of equipment - the hunters got stunned, smoked grenaded and webbed - yet they still trapped and killed the agent.
    Keep persevering - this game has legs! Hopefully you will find the same enjoyment in it that we do!
    (Ps - my wife likes this game a lot, and she isn't a hard core gamer. She likes playing as that irritating agent Cobra, or as the Prophet
    Last edited by Prelate; 04-21-2015 at 05:54 AM.

  6. #6
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    Hey excellent input Prelate, thanks whole bunches..!
    The Rook and I discussed and studied your thoughts for a bit, then decided to try to play again tonight.
    But first, some "additionals" perhappers!
    I think Prelate reminded me of my earlier thought, about how four police would monitor four streets and essentially "lock down" a fugitive to a single city block. With the map of the Ops, almost all the "sectors" have two edges that border the edge of the map.
    Meaning, with two Hunters, I "should" be able to oversee the necessary two streets if my attention is focused on a single sector.
    But I'm getting ahead of myself and should probs just pump the ole emergency brakes a time or two...

    Okay, in my never ending quest to over analyze everything, I'm going to break down the map and mabes add some vocabulary. Learning time people, ready?
    I took a sharpie marker and drew outlines around the seven sectors. These are basically the large "chunks" of city and there are seven of them. On my illustration, I'll number these sectors, one through seven.
    I also wanted to label the roads but since I don't do anything without some splash of creativity, I decided not to name my roads with numbers (or even letters).
    Instead, being the big Ohio State Football fan that I am, I went with current player names for the roads in the city.
    So here's what I've got, "the formula" if you will...

    Map with Names.jpg

    Now I'll play as the Hunters in our game tonight, really trying my best with all I know and all I've learned, to get some glimpses of the Rook's Agent.
    I think I'm going to try the Gun for his set up the scope and shoot if anyone crosses my path, and the Puppet for his ability to move the car.
    I'm also going to try to stay on the main roads, the main intersections, especially the northernmost two (Ezey at Braxton and Tyvis-Braxton).
    Looking at the map, if the Rook starts at the N1 and I at the K17, on his first turn, unless he uses an equipment, he can't cross Ezekiel Parkway before I get to my spot (I think my first priority spot is one Hunter at N7 with the other at O12 {it's a capital "oh"}) nor can he cross Tyvis' Alley.
    So if I have to, I'll wait in my car and ping him every turn until he tries to cross or uses an equipment.

    Wish me luck friends, thanks again to Prelate and Hunt some Agents people!

  7. #7
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    Hope it goes well!
    One more thing - keep the puppet on foot and the vehicle close. You can move the vehicle along a road that the puppet is covering and activate the motion sensor to narrow down sections of the block the agent is hiding in. Remember - if you force the agent to go slow you can run him out of time. The gun will help with this - forcing detours around her snipe. Oh, and if you have The Gun and the agent is out of equipment and down to 1 life - there is a spot you can camp on and let her snipe, while the other hunter blocks the only other pathway. The agent cannot pass and therefore will lose on time or get shot crossing line of sight. Have fun finding it!

  8. #8
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    The objectives are rolled and the first is at D19, the second G29, third U25 and finally T18. It looks like one of the Rook's equipment cards is already turned and there's a friendly reminder about positioning one's equipment cards at precise locations and angles.
    The Rook goes first, get your pencils ready people..!
    He's chosen the Orangutan probs because he looks really cool (a plus to the art team huh) and the sheer unpronounceability of his name makes him an awesome choice right. His first move is southeast into sector three to Q5, no last seen, no equipment cards turned.
    I'm going to try to get to my priority spots and I'll take the car north to O12 and exit the vehicle with the Gun, putting my number one homie on O13 with a good view north along Braxton Ave and his eye east along Tyvis Powell's Alley.
    My number two homie, the Puppet, is going to move the vehicle it's remaining move allowance of five spaces, parking at N8 to cover Ezekiel Parkway to the west where he'll remain in the vehicle for now, mabes playing with the stereo and such.
    In this way, I have almost set up a roadblock. I assume the Rook is in either sector one or three, and that if I simply stay where I am, he'll have to "present himself" or spend an equipment card to slip by. Interesting...

    The Rook then moves his Agent to U7, deeper into sector three.
    I notice nothing's changed and do something odd. I wait. And it feels well, weird...
    When I first thought of the Hunters, when I think of the verb "hunt", I want to run and chase something, I want to smell it down and rub my face in it bringing back memories of childhood and Winnie the Pooh. I don't really think of waiting nor laying a "trap" and "trapping".
    But it's a new concept and hey, I'll try anything once eh.
    I do vox the Puppet and request a vehicle ping to which I get the response that he is in the northeast direction (wagon at N8, Agent U7), confirming he hasn't slipped by my roadblock yet.

    The Rook's third turn has him moving to W11, the edge of the sector, peeking around the corner at my Gun, wondering just how long I'll wait there.
    By now, I've noticed that my Gun Hunter has a special power, his Sniper Shot. So while he's hanging out on the street corner, he's also going to scope out the sidewalk to the east, just in case you know, somethin' should "pop out".
    And I kinda like this imagining, as if I were playin' Battleship and I just declared that during the next turn, I'm layin' waste to spaces P13 through W13 with fiery napalm plasma hah! Let's see 'im get through that.
    My Hunter Puppet is still at his location, staying ever vigilant in the wagon with his country western music. Man that slender dude is weird...

    Turn four and the Rook is growing frustrated. I'm not abandoning my tactic and he doesn't seem to want to spend a card. He thinks about changing direction and mabes it's too late. The heat is on, he's stuck, where can he run to..?
    After much concentration involving scribbling on his map sheet and saying "okay daddy, I didn't mean to move here so I'm just gonna draw a wiggly line through that path and, oh, wait, er..." The Rook moves to T9 (hey you want to walk in front of the Gun, I mean the guy's standing right the crap there..!)
    For my turn, I notice the awkwardness of the squirm and know I might have something here (thanks to Prelate's inspiration). I chose to hold my position, the Gun scoping things from O13 east and the Puppet listening to his Kenny Wayne Shepard tunes in the ride at N8.

    Turn five and the Rook declares he's been spotted! His last seen token is placed on U13 and he reveals he's playing as the Orangutan. And what's even cooler is that my Gun autosniped him for crossing my lava path, one damage everybody!
    But I spoze this is what the Rook thought the big man could take eh, I mean, six hit points is better than four for a reason no..?
    One box down, five to go! I also noticed that one of his equipment cards is turned so I did something! Just by waiting and, doing nothing really, I...
    The Rook is now at V15 after running for his life across the Tyvis Powell (yeah don't try this also, I sorta imagine the big guy doing a little hobble through normal Raxxon traffic on a workday instead of you know, an all out run even with his Adrenal Boost...)
    As for me, I now know where my prey is and the Puppet has exclusion issues. He yahs the wagon into reverse then hauls it south to O12 holding the position the Gun is now free to move from. With my mister smoking barrel, I'll trek it on foot down to O17 because I see a nice horizontal alley through sector five and I know he needs to get to the fourth objective at T18. I declare once again, that I'll set up my scope and autoaim down the seventeen corridor (P17 through W17).
    The Rook then brings up an interesting question as he watches me plot and preplot, then replot. He says do you think the Puppet could use his Control Relay to drive the wagon down to the Gun's location, open a door for him or just let him jump on the hood, then transport him to his chosen destination ala Night Rider..? To which I reply that I'll post it on my forum and see what they say right.

    Turn six and the Rook is placing the last seen token on V17, quietly explaining that he was shot again. Meaning my Gun Hunter shot something again and this is worthy of a pause with much dancing and pointing, probs some laughing huh.
    Another damage box is filled in and the Orangutan is at two of six blammers!
    Stopping his movement at U18 adjacent to the fourth objective at T18 and I can hear smell and taste the juicy pig roast the big man's gonna be soon (oh, sorry, too violent?)
    I use my Gun to shift ever southward as if he was one parenthesis and the Puppet the other, always trying to keep my target in between. I think in previous games, I tried to sorta "leapfrog" with my team and you just don't have time for that or you seem to get beat, outran. Now I'm trying the "stay calm, wait for them to come to you" strategy.
    I'll place him at O19 because that's another good angle for him to work, the alley to the east all the way to the edge of the map and north as far as his scoped vision can see. In this way, I'm starting to see the math behind it, I'm drawing lines on the map and seeing what I can effectively "watch" without doing anything else (almost a tower defense game in itself).
    It's becoming a nonrequired statement, about his sniper shot at this point, I'm "always" using it and simply describing which way I'm "looking", bringing up an interesting point.
    If my Gun boy is busy staring through the lens of his scope, should he be able to see down the street at a ninety degree angle should, mabes, some shadow figure dart across the road all quicklike..?
    With the Puppet, still in the wagon, I'll let him float south and become the bottom of my parenthesis all the way to K21 on the corner of Cardale and Joey Big Bear Route. If the Rook thinks he'll limp his way from sector five to seven, I'll be there and ready.
    He's got a pretty narrow path to "freedom", can you see it?

    Turn seven and the Rook is feeling a bit nervous. He wasn't expecting things to be this difficult for some reason.
    He does flip his first claimed objective at T18 and while it might be a good sign of progress, it also broadcasts loud and clear, his whereabouts.
    Seeing that I have the angle from the fourth objective to the third pretty well walled off, the Rook takes his biggie up to Q15. If I play the waiting game where I currently am, he might just be able to cross up into sector two and this brings our next lesson, Sector Five!
    Sector five is unique because it is the only sector that you can't guard with just two streets watched. In fact, if we study the map a little more, we can see that one Hunter would do the job to watch all of sector seven, your spot is K22. One Hunter for sector six in the same fashion right.
    So the breakdown is that sectors one three six and seven have one key spot, sectors two and four need two bodies at key spots and sector five is special because it would require at least three to keep the bad guy "contained". If there's a weakness to my Prelate tactic, it's in sector five.

    I'm going to stay a little more mobile for my opponent's duration in sector five, mabes I'll get lucky. I move my Gun from O19 to N15 and oh my, the Rook has "appeared" at Q15 and I have a chance to shoot!
    I actually get to roll a dice this time too, holey buckeyes! The Rook counts the spaces between the Gun and his Agent (from N15 to Q15), three and I need to roll higher than a three on a dice. But wait, since I'm "the Gun" and all, I get to roll two dice and pick the highest one.
    But wait wait, I roll a five and a one and the Rook stands immediately and calls for a rules clarification, one hand in the air.
    We pause his punishment and consult our computer with forums! In the recently released FAQ, we see that the Gun is supposed to add his die totals together, meaning only a roll of two dice as "ones" would be an automiss. The Rook claims "the Gun" might've had a misfire, given all the action it's seen tonight and I humph.
    Then there's talk that his homemade bullets might've had a blank and I demand he acknowledge that Orangutan's at three life of six, halfway dead baby!
    Unfortunately, I haven't moved the Puppet yet and I'm torn, do I full assault him and try to get him at four of six life or do I maintain my position and play Tressel ball..?
    I contemplate driving to his location and exiting, so I can land on him and do an "automatic hit" then realize that my car cannot drive down an alley, I couldn't park at Q18 and jump out at R17, my pimpmobile has to stay on "the road" (with a map full of dark spaces, it's sometimes tough to know where the road starts and stops huh...)

  9. #9
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    So even though the vehicle "can" get there with it's movement allowance, it's too fat for a garbage filled backway and the Puppet is still at K21, doing his thing with Miranda Lambert, praps I should wear the vest close to my torso.
    I decide eventually, to leave him there, he's not thumping his bass like the Beast would after all...

    Turn eight has the Rook runnin' for T19 so he's removed his figure from the board and replaced it with a last seen token. He's starting to suspect that he's been figured out and if he's gonna get caught, he might as well get caught going for the next closest objective, the third, down at U25.
    I see him disappear and know he didn't go north or, if he did, 'twould be a "long" way around to the first objective given I can see all of Braxt Ave from N15 with the Gun. With the Puppet holding down the Joey Double Bee, he can only squeak through sector five back to three.
    These seem to be the key spots if you're a Hunter, bring a lawn chair and cooler, might be a long night huh. N15 to look north and west, K21 to look north east and south.
    Since I didn't move anybody, the Puppet presses mute on his junk and the ping is made, marco, polo...
    The Rook says he's to the northeast of the vehicle (K21 to his T19).

    Turn nine has the Rook grimacing as he "silently" turns an equipment card, trying not to do it while I'm "noticing". That's two of his three and I have to think he slipped me headed south, going north is just too far and well, he's stubborn, probs like his father...
    He turned invisible or something thanks to his Stealth Field and ran across the Joey Route to T23.
    After seeing his second equipment card turned, I have to believe he's off and running again. So for my upper part of the parenthesis, I'll move the Gun from his lawn chair at N15 four spaces south to M19 and while this isn't a very ideal spot, it'll still let me reach the Joey on my next turn (and I can see for a ways to the south, just in case).
    If I'm guessing where he is correctly, I think he needs to spend at least one more turn in sector seven to reach the objective down at U25 giving me just enough time to adjust the Puppet's position.
    Except, my Puppet is already at the K21 meaning, he's holding down all of sector seven on his own. Well he's not really "alone" as he has the wagon and his library of Shania Twains.
    I think I'll leave him there another turn (he's been there for three already), no need to ping even because I'm pretty sure I know the score now eh.

    Round ten has the Rook breathing heavily and leavin' bloody footprints as he makes his way to U26. Good thing you can't snag objectives on the fly huh.
    I'll take my Gun and cross Cardale's to J23 where I can help keep an eye on things in case the Puppet needs to race off quickly (you know, just in case I'm wrong about where I think he is). I'll Sniper Shot to the south this time and the Rook asks another intriguing question.
    If the Gun is doing his sniper thing along one road space, is the other road space (that runs alongside what he's snipin') considered in my vision as well?
    With nothing else new (no equipment uses, no last seen token), I'll leave the Puppet in his location for another turn.

    Turn eleven has the Rook claiming his second objective at U25 then running southwest through sector seven to R29.
    Again, with nothing "new" from my end, I'm convinced I could just stay where I am and wait again.
    Except, should he try to make a bolt for sector six, if he did it by crossing the Cardale at J or K 32, should my Gun not be sightin', well there's a small chance that because of the distance, I might miss the combat roll.
    Which is something of another method for the Agents praps. If your opponents are far enough away, you "can" take a chance that they miss you on their die roll. Since the very bottom row of the map is eleven spaces away from my campsite at K21, should I just stay there, I'd need something of a miracle to hit with a single dice.
    But if I am aware of this tactic and I stick someone in my vehicle at the K21, during my turn, I can drive ten spaces south and "jump out" to attack someone. I'm starting to see small checks and balances now right.
    I'll take my Gun down to J26 and light up his scope southwards.
    My Puppet will stay right where he's been for what feels like forever, K21.

    Turn twelve comes and the Rook's startin' to look more flustered. I can tell that he's welcoming the challenge but it's also starting to feel like too much at this particular point, poor little guy...
    He marks his map showing the Orangutan moving north to R25 with one equipment card left untapped.
    And really, he's stuck. With my Puppet at the K21, he can't get by me, again. And it's a strange feeling to have the upper hand as a Hunter...
    I'm staying where I was, the Gun at J26, the Puppet pinging you know, because nothing's worse than thinkin' you're in the right spot only to learn you're not. Since I have a free ping, I'll use it and the Rook confirms he's still southeast of me.

    Round thirteen and the Rook's not oozing confidence. He moves to P21, the headlights of the wagon illuminating the big guy for all to see, figure present and looking all vulnerable.
    With the Gun, I'm sensing his position south is not so crucial anymore so I'll try to bring him northward and hum, I can only get from J26 to L22. I'm wondering if the Gun can "see" the Orangutan all lit up by headlights.
    I am one space "south" of his row, meaning I wouldn't "normally" be able to see him but because we're both on the Joey Big Bear, does that make him visible..?
    We agree that he "should" be able to see and forego the usual rules look up in favor of checking later.
    It looks like the big guy is four spaces away from my Gun (including diagonal) so I'll take my two dice and blammo, a six and a three. Fourth wound inflicted!
    Finally something for the Puppet to do! He unfastens his buckles, adjusts the stereo a final second, then leaps to the street firing his pistol. With only one die as the Puppet, I'm at L21 and I need a four or higher.
    And the Bishop gets the four, the crowd cheers, Orangutan (I never knew that was how you said it, like the monkey) down to one life remaining. Nothin' like an afternoon firefight on the J.B.B.R!

    The beginning of round fourteen and I'm feeling some confidence. This deep into the map, well it's a long way home right.
    The Rook places a last seen marker then plops his figure on M20 (I'm not sure if he needs the last seen marker so I remove it). He then reveals his last equipment card, the Power Fists..!
    I'm all nervous for a second until he explains that all it does is "stun" my Hunters. Meaning I can only move two spaces with each of my Hunters on my next turn and can't attack with either.
    So he punched the ground sending a shock wave to stun anyone within two spaces of his big boy (diagonals and through buildings, it's a "power" fist after all) and, he says it has a second "charge" meaning he can use it again should he choose.
    Okay, interesting I say as I move both my stunned Hunters back into the wagon at K21 to soothe their wounds with the sounds of a fiddle.

    Fifteen and I can almost hear Bruce Buffer screamin' it's time (please don't sue me)...
    I'm wondering if he can stun me in my vehicle but the good news is that he's not getting far with both my homies in the wagon tunes-aready. His range is two spaces which is pretty snug and I think I can make it north to the newly repaved Joe Thomas Boulevard either way, he's not goin' far.
    He snatches his figure from the map and plops a last seen on J19.
    I ask if he's "good" and it's an affirmative so I study and...
    Jay Nineteen..? Really, from M20 where he ground pounded, only four movement because all his equips are spent ish and he's left himself a horrible blood trail.
    The wagon's trunk is popped and the Gun calmly exits. The sounds of Kenny Rogers amplifies inside as the door slams.
    The Gun slowly walks to the trunk, retrieves his special chrome plated mini-disc-launching revolver (it fires a round the size and shape of a dime). All traffic on the Cardale stops in awe of the Gun as he follows the red footprints into the sidestreet at I 19 (it's a capital "eye", sorry for the font people)(also sorry to Prelate, my Gun is a dude instead of a chic; he's a weird lookin' dude I'll give you that...)
    Where in front of the local sector four laundromat, he shoots a single round into the back of the dying Orangutan. A group of children watch in horror, possibly becoming the next ARK Agents.


    And wow, I can't say how different this game felt from our previous handful of attempts. I think I see the game as it truly is now, as opposed to what my expectations had hoped it would be.
    In all honesty, I thought after hearing about it (from the Rook so yeah, next time I'll do my own research but hey, it's still my fault for judging...)
    I thought it was a fancy hybrid of Shadowrun meets Heroscape with awesome minis. Some dice, cool equipment, a freaking vehicle come on?
    Now I think it feels more like that game we played when we were kids and they split us into two groups, one group of kids on this side of the field, one on the other and you all linked hands and said Red Rover Red Rover let "someone" come over...
    And you'd run as fast and as hard as you could, right at the weakest link in the chain and right before crashing through, you cut in front of someone and surprise, you went through a different hole. And the next time you'd do the same trick but instead go right if you went left. Eventually, you can almost walk through the toughest links in the chain, just by goin' with your original target.
    Trickery through misdirection and I like it I do. It's Battleship with tower defense aspects, some die rolls to resolve conflicts and it's fast. Or, smooth is probs a better adject right.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    I think as the Hunters, it's pretty easy to "do the usual" and build up a routine that you think works. On the other end of that, it forces the Agent to be the one who must be creative, study weaknesses and exploit misdirection.
    I'm curious about the length of time also, our games have all been within twenty or so turns. Has anybody had a really long game and how did it happen or, who won?
    I wonder why they settled on forty turns, that seems like enough time to grab all four objectives, play some City of Remnants, make and eat a sandwich, watch the Buckeyes Spring Game and still make it home to kiss the little ARK Agents good night.
    Thanks for reading, comments encouraged, and Hunt some Agents people!
    Last edited by B376Bishop; 04-22-2015 at 11:45 PM.

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