It’s been a long while since a non-Windy River campaign report. But enough factors compounded that made me want to run a standalone game of Dinosaur Cowboys. First of all I just finished one of my 3’x4′ boards, of which I’ll eventually have two that join together to give me 6’x4′ of playing space, or two side-by-side games. I also bought the new Papo Dimetrodon (“Fin” in this game) and Papo Carnotaurus (could be a bunch, but I ran it as a Raptor to match the Fin cost). I finished painting up my Prospector from a while back, and hadn’t used my painted Bartender mini in a game yet. And finally I got some great looking pre-painted crates from Pegasus Hobbies (not the prettiest website, but certainly the prettiest crates!) that match my older pre-painted barrels.
So yeah, time to sit down with some beef jerky, turn on some music, and play some Dinosaur Cowboys. In this case the nearly complete v2.1 that will be released soon.
The backdrop I used for the game was the Flaming Gorge area in southern Wyoming. There was plenty of water around the area, and it is close enough to the volcano and Neotechnoist city that I could see them sending an expedition to determine if the water could be a useful supply to them. And of course there would already be old pioneer Dusters there who are quick to defend (what they see) any intrusion on their land.
Posse: Flaming Gorge Explorers PDF roster / Saloon link
The Neotechnoist gang of three, who also had the Fin dinosaur (seemed a bit friendlier than the Carnotaurus, even though Dimetrodon was technically a carnivore). Pretty simple gang since there was only $1,200 and 120 IP to work with. High Defense all around and lots of nice weapons like Auto Shotguns.
For Traits I decided to try something fun, which was to buff out Corey, who had the Scattergun. Since it’s an Explosion weapon I figured Rapid Fire and Strain Weapon would go well together, to give him a 3A-5D attack, +2 damage to initial target, and 5 damage to all nearby targets.
Like I said, pretty “by the books” Neotechnoists.
Posse: Flaming Gorge Explorers by Carlo (0/120 IP, 0/1200 ND, 0/3 Traits)
Aura (Neotechnoist Leader)
DEF 2, RTN 7, CTN 8, BTN 7, SPD 4, HP 10, Eagle Eye.
Auto Shotgun, Quilted Armor, Small IRP.
Ace Floren (Neotechnoist)
DEF 2, RTN 6, CTN 8, BTN 8, SPD 4, HP 10.
High Burst Rifle, Cloth Armor.
Corey Jervey (Neotechnoist)
DEF 2, RTN 6, CTN 8, BTN 8, SPD 4, HP 10, Rapid Fire, Strain Weapon.
Scattergun, 80kW Six-Shooter, Padded Armor, Small IRP.
Blazeback (Untrained Fin Dinosaur)
DEF 2, DIS 6, CTN 7, PANIC D6, SPD 5, HP 17.
Posse: Flaming Gorge Pioneers PDF roster / Saloon link
This would be the Duster posse that is homesteading at Flaming Gorge. Again I went for a pretty standard spread of characters. The Prospector Leader mostly went melee / close focused. I wanted to try out the “Doctor” Trait some more so I gave their priest, Father Claude, two Small IRPs. They got the Carnotaurus dinosaur (as a Raptor) who I gave Inspiring Shot since that’s a great (if situational) HP recovery mechanism.
It’s always a tough call to go with 3 or 4 initial members, especially in a non-campaign game. But I figured 4 less well equipped and trained members was a better fit for the Dusters, and three specialized members were better for the Neotechnoists.
Posse: Flaming Gorge Pioneers by Carlo (2/120 IP, 0/1200 ND, 0/3 Traits)
Prospector Wippert (Duster Leader)
DEF 2, RTN 8, CTN 6, BTN 7, SPD 3, HP 12, Berserker.
Club, 80kW Six-Shooter, Cloth Armor.
Chieko Barman (Bandit)
DEF 0, RTN 6, CTN 8, BTN 8, SPD 4, HP 10.
DEF 0, RTN 7, CTN 8, BTN 8, SPD 4, HP 10.
Father Claude (Duster)
DEF 1, RTN 7, CTN 8, BTN 8, SPD 3, HP 11, Doctor.
Double Barrel Shotgun, Small IRP, Small IRP.
Gorgon (Feral Raptor Dinosaur)
DEF 1, DIS 5, CTN 6, PANIC D6, SPD 6, HP 18, Inspiring Shot.
New Table and Crates
First of all, the new boaaaaaaaaard! Oh wait, it’s actually hard to photograph on it’s own because of the glare, haha.
The board is 4’x3′ particle board, which is heavy and stable so overhanging from the table isn’t a big deal. I was originally going to go with MDF but it’s super heavy, sometimes bows, and over-absorbs liquids. I drilled some wooden dowels onto one side so that I can securely join this board with the other half. Then I put the board down on a black non-slip mat.
As for painting there is a nice mottling effect from three colors of spray paint. I started with a base layer of dark green, then did some lighter highlights with a brighter green, and then finished the coloring off with a gentle dusting of brown to give it some dirt patches.
After that I spray painted my wooden edging a bright blue (the can said “Lagoon” which was appealing). The wooden edging is just pre-fabricated textured wood from a craft store. I glued the painted strips around the edges to protect the interior particles. Then I gave everything a solid double spray of protective clear coating. The board was ready to go!
The other newness are the pre-painted crates I got. I actually had to do a bit of touch up on them since the sharp corners tended to chip paint. After I touched up the corners I gave them a protective coat as well to prevent the problem in the future (hopefully). They’re a great size though, in scale with my existing barrels, and perfect for a wild west theme.
Deployment, Objective, Features
Now back to the game.
Since Flaming Gorge has a bunch of water, and that was a central focus to this encounter, I used my textured road pieces to represent the river. Yes, I’ll eventually get some simple blue cloth so it at least LOOKS like water :)
The river used two new Features from the upcoming v2.1: “Strong Current Water” and “Populated Water”. From the rulebook:
Strong Current Water: For every 1″ of Movement within the water, the entity is placed 2″ towards the nearest table edge.
Populated Water: Upon entering or Activating within the water, make a 2A2D, CTN 7 attack against the entity from all the vicious dinosaurs lurking under the surface.
In other words a fast flowing river full of biting dinosaurs.
The alleviate the danger of crossing the river I used the crates and barrels like a bridge. The idea was they would be Difficult Terrain to climb up, but once on them you could cross at a normal pace. But then to make the crossing just as dangerous (in hindsight…perhaps TOO dangerous) I made the barrels have the Exploding feature (another new one from v2.1). Again from the rulebook:
Exploding Container: Can be attacked with statistics of 0 Defense and 4 HP. When taken Out of Action apply a D6″ Explosion that does 5 damage, and then remove this container from the table.
To make sure everyone was forced to suffer through this horrible river and deadly bridge, I put an objective marker on each crate bridge, for a total of 3, and made the overall Objective “Capture”.
For Deployment the type “Deep Edge” was used, going from the short table edges. This meant both sides would have a forward scout ahead of the rest of their Posse. I figured this fit with the theme since the Neotechnoists would be road wary and the Dusters might be out patrolling their land.
In this case the Duster Pioneers used Winterberg as their scout. The Neotechnoist Explorers used Aura as their scout. Also Prospector Wippert and Father Claude started mounted on Gorgon the Raptor.
As usual the first turn was basically “oh no I deployed like this but the enemy deployed like this, time to react!”. So mostly people just shuffled around and generally forward.
Gorgon stopped a bit short of the water since he couldn’t quite make it across with a Hustle. That would have meant TWO attacks from the Populated River, since he’d suffer one for entering and one for Activating inside (next Turn).
Winterberg crossed the far right bridge to try to get his Laserbow into range, and also lock down an objective.
On the other side Aura almost had a shot at Winterberg, but would have had to aggressively move forward to get in range. Instead he played it safe and moved behind the cover of a tree.
In general I tried to less cover this time to force some shots in the open, for a change of pace.
And so the bloodbath begins.
The Neotechnoists won Initiative and Corey moved as far ahead as possible to barely be in range of the barrel by Winterberg. When I had moved Winterberg I actually forgot about the Exploding barrels, so he ended up awkwardly close to a dangerous barrel. Corey managed to hit the barrel which exploded glorious, doing 5 damage to Winterberg who failed his Bravery Test and was Fleeing. Normally this is just a minor setback, except Winterberg would be Fleeing backwards into a river full of hungry dinosaurs!
Meanwhile Gorgon aggressively moves across the river, but takes an unlucky Critical from the Populated River Feature for a total of 4 damage. This would be a theme for the poor dinosaur. The reason he moved up so recklessly was to get Father Claude (who was a passenger) adjacent to Winterberg. At that point Claude could use a Small IRP (plus his Doctor Trait) to heal Winterberg back to full HP.
When moving Aura I almost forgot about the OTHER river feature of Strong Current. He was trying to move to cross the river, compared to the crate bridge (after seeing the hazardous barrels explode), but then I realized the Strong Current would just push him into the barrels anyway. And even if he did get across he’s outranged by Chieko Barman. So instead Aura cut across towards Winterberg and the dinosaur to try to help there.
At this point Winterberg Fled backwards, into the river, taking 3 additional damage and getting pushed almost off the table!
Forward they surge!
Gorgon starts by crossing the second river, taking another 3 damage in the process (ouch!). The intent was to flank the Neotechnoist dinosaur as well as Corey and eventually Aura. Unfortunately Father Claude had some bad luck shooting. He tried to use Both Barrels against Corey at a 10+, but missed with everything. The Prospector Leader riding nearby used his Yeehaw! ability but Claude STILL missed. So much for the opening shot.
In return Corey moves to Short Distance, uses both his Rapid Fire AND Strain Weapon Trait, and then blasts Gorgon. He hit for a Crit plus one, which with the Strain Weapon Trait resulted in 10 damage to Gorgon! Just as deadly was the Explosion ability of his weapon, which did a further 5 damage (each!) to the passengers. Explosion weapons are the bane of heavily loaded Dinosaurs, since all the passengers get hit when the mount does. To top it all off Father Claude is now Fleeing, which means he’ll steer Gorgon BACK across the river.
Before the river dinosaurs can gobble up Gorgon, Aura decides to try to finish off the clump of enemies. He moves forward to shoot the Prospector at 9+, misses ALL his shots, AND needs to Reload. Dangit Auto Shotgun :(
Meanwhile Ace moves to Long Distance against the Barman, hits easily for 5 damage, and makes him Flee.
And finally Blazeback tries to Charge to finish off Gorgon, but fails by a measly 1″. The lucky Gorgon dinosaur survived for another turn…but just barely.
The Dusters are in a precarious position at this point. Their main push from the mounted Dinosaurs has basically crumbled. Even their long range support (Barman) is now Fleeing. And Winterberg is basically feeding himself to the river dinosaurs after having to cross it so many times.
The Neotechnoists win the first Initiative, which is brutal for the Dusters since they’ll get another shot at Gorgon before it can escape. And who better than Corey. He moves slightly around the side, this time shooting at Father Claude. He hits and kills Claude for 6 damage, and the Explosion also kills Gorgon (from the 5 damage) and leaves the Prospector Leader at 2 HP! I think the MVP for the Neotechnoists this game is: Explosion guns vs mounted dinosaurs!
Desperate to get revenge, Prospector Wippert moves next. He activates Berserker, Charges successfully at Corey, and hits him for 6 damage with his Club (well, Shovel :) ), which makes Corey Flee.
But there is plenty of support nearby, as Blazeback moves forward and bites Prospector Wippert in half. Seeing their Leader die makes BOTH the remaining Dusters Flee.
Winterberg is next, and after Fleeing backwards he shoots desperately at Blazeback, needing an 11+. A lucky 1 Attack Critical hits for a total of 7 damage. But it’s a mere shadow compared to the stomping the rest of the Duster posse received.
Game 2 Rematch!
Since the first game was so quick, and the night was so young, I decided to keep the terrain, rework the Features and Deployment, and have another game!
This time the Barrels AREN’T Exploding, and do nothing but provide Cover as normal.
The crates are fancier and use the Sturdy Container and Ammo Container Features new to v2.1:
Ammo Container: Adjacent characters can ignore a roll that necessitates a Reload.
Sturdy Container: Adjacent characters can attack with a ranged weapon with a +1 Attack bonus.
So in other words really good for ranged characters!
The water also got a change, to become a Noxious Stagnant river:
Stagnant Water: +1 Defense to any entity attacked within the water.
Noxious Water: Upon exiting the water the entity is Stunned.
So basically nice and defensive if you’re in the river, but a bit tricky to leave the river. I like combining Features like this.
For the Objective I kept the same objective markers and “Capture” Objective.
The deployment used was “Deep Corner”, from the long table edges. Because both Posses could deploy up to the middle, and because the crates and river combination were so awesome (basically +1 Defense, +1 Attack, no Reload) the middle ended up being a cluster of ranged characters eager to use the features.
I took basically no notes, aside from writing down that the game ran for 7 Turns. Here are all the pictures, then a brief recap from memory:
Basically the Dusters played it a bit safer this game, trying to use the crates to snipe and not overcommitting early on. They did try to attack the crate “stronghold” the Neotechnoists had in the middle of the river, which went okay but also had a high casualty rate for the Dusters. The Neotechnoists couldn’t really effectively commit their dinosaur or Corey, which helped the Dusters survive longer. The combination of +2 DEF AND the +1 DEF from the river made shots hard for the Dusters though. In the end the game came down to some cat and mouse (thus why it went to 7 Turns) between Barman vs Ace and Blazeback. Ace basically sat back and let the dinosaur do the work though, since she was outranged by Barman (Heavy Repeater 14″ vs Light Repeater 16″). Barman desperately tried to take down the barely wounded Fin dinosaur, but a bad pair of shots meant the dinosaur reached melee. Then a bad loss of Initiative meant the dinosaur could KEEP in melee even after Barman Fled backwards.
In the end Ace survived with full HP, and Blazeback at a mere 3 HP. If the last Initiative roll had gone better, or even if Barman had been a bit luckier in his earlier shots, he probably could have brought down the dinosaur, and then maybe outranged Ace for the win.
But that’s not how it turned out, and the Neotechnoists took the game 2 rematch as well!