And so begins the grand finale of the Battle to Seattle campaign. The fight from the southern deserts north to Seattle was long and tough for all posses involved. I’ll post a wrap up entry a little bit later with some stats and overall info. For now the focus is purely on the finale game.
First of all this game differed because we set aside an entire Saturday to play it, instead of our traditional Thursday night game. This meant I could get pretty elaborate with the setup. The make the game feel truly epic I broke the finale down into three phases, or sub-stages. Although we ended up not playing the (admittedly short and not hugely needed) third stage.
So far I don’t think I’ve hugely mentioned the fluff that went along with the campaign. Besides the general goal of reaching the Space Needle (and hopefully unlocking old world secrets within), the players were introduced to Markus Graves during the last few games. First of all they saw his massive posse, called the Six Grave Gang, on the Swimmer coastal ferry. They briefly met and talked to him in the saloon at the Warm Springs Indian Reserve town. And they had a chance to attack his wagon stealing parts from the Lewis Military Base (although a powerful Shield blocked the attempt).
The story behind Markus Graves is he has a debilitating, unknown disease. The disease already wasted away his wife and five children to nothing. Markus buried them himself (thus the name “Six Grave Gang”) before setting off to the re-emerged city of Seattle. His hope was to find a cure, or way to prevent the disease from taking his own life.
What this meant in game terms was the finale focused on Markus Graves and his various gang members.
Final Player Posses
First of all every player posse was boosted to 300 IP and $3,000, and all Wounds/Injuries were healed. So everyone started on an even footing. Here are the final rosters for everyone involved:
The first stage was a free-for-all, with me controlling an NPC posse (equal to the players). This posse was named the Six Grave Gang Scout Force (PDF roster).
The table was setup to look like a somewhat flooded Seattle, with the Space Needle represented by an upturned bowl in the middle. For a while I was tempted to get a giant 4 foot tall laser cut 3D Space Needle, but decided against the expense. Instead we had a miniature Lego Space Needle which got the point across well enough :) I included the overgrown parking lot from the actual Space Needle, as well as a few rivers that now criss crossed the city.
Although the whole 6’x4′ table was setup, for the first stage we played on a 4’x4′ section centered around the Space Needle. This was to ensure that the four corners (where we would deploy) were equal distance from each other, to give players motivation to attack any direction instead of naturally matching up against their closest opponent. Anyway like I said the deployment was Corner, in a 6″ square.
The objective was Capture the Space Needle, with the player having the most entities near the bowl in the middle at the end of the game being declared the winner of this stage. Initially I had set a 7 Turn limit, but bumped this up to 8 Turns. We had the possibility for a Turn 9 if we rolled 9+ on a D12 at the end of Turn 8, since variable turn length works well for capture games.
Any player entity that was taken out of action was placed face down on the table, instead of removed. The reason for this would be revealed in Stage 2.
As expected this was a very fun game. There were lots of initial shoot outs and skirmishes from all four corners, before a slow but steady push to the middle.
After a little BBQ dinner we started in on the second stage. In this game reinforcements lead by Markus Graves showed up. All the fallen player entities were restored to full Hitpoints, which meant standing them up from being face down (as talked about in the first stage). This made for a very organic deployment since the player entities basically started where they had ended up by the last turn of stage 1. To be fair they were given a single Movement Phase to reposition themselves, which I saw as a mad scramble to confront the new reinforcements. In addition the players agreed on a temporary truce to fight off the much larger Six Grave Gang force.
Then we played out a 3vs1 coop style game, with me controlling four posses that totaled very close to the max IP and ND of the three players. We didn’t use a turn limit, and the objective was simply “kill everything”. The Six Grave Gang reinforcements showed up along the two short table edges, sandwiching the players in the middle.
As well Markus himself eventually emerged, wearing some kind of strange powered medical suit that seemed to be keeping him alive. In game terms this meant he was extremely challenging to kill, regenerating a ton of Hitpoints per turn as well as having great base stats. Another big surprise for the players was the Papo Brachiosaurus toy that I bought! What an imposing size and weight. Everyone was excited when I put the big dino down on the table. The dinosaur had a special Shield (stolen from the Robots at the Lewis Military Base) which made him a focal point for attacks.
The NPC posses involved were:
- Six Grave Gang Main – The tough posse containing Markus Graves and his two loyal bodyguards.
- Six Grave Gang Dino Herders – The melee focused gang who had the Longneck dinosaur.
- Six Grave Gang Generic 1 – General posse to fill out the ranks.
- Six Grave Gang Generic 2 – Another general posse to bring another dinosaur and good weapons.
Initially the players thought they were doomed, and I can understand why as the massive numbers of enemies were deployed. But the melee posse backing the Longneck tended to die quickly to superior firepower. The generic posses did well, but couldn’t compete overall against player posses that had been painstakingly tuned over weeks of play. Eventually the Longneck was brought down, and the focus switched to Markus. He circled the tower, trying to burn and blast anyone alive, until eventually he was the only survivor left, surrounded by many foes. He went down shooting though, and then an Auto Shotgun blast to the back finally finished him off.
In the end of the players won. Like I said I had planned a third stage, where the Leaders of each posse fought each other indoors at the top of the Space Needle. But because we didn’t have a turn limit for this stage it ended up going quite late (1am or so), so we just called it a night after the big coop ending.
Anyway I had a great time with the Battle to Seattle campaign, and all the players and guest players seemed to enjoy themselves as well. Like I said I’ll write a quick wrap up entry separate from this one with my thoughts on the campaign, state of the rules, etc. If you read and followed this series from start to finish I thank you, and hope the campaign inspired you to craft your own Dinosaur Cowboy narrative adventure.