Boom, it happened, I finally sat down and played Dinosaur Cowboys with Lego Minifigs like I’ve been meaning too since September (jeez has it been that long?!?!). I’ve had all these Lego buildings sitting around just waiting to go. So last week I set everything up, scrounged up enough vaguely weaponized Lego pieces, wrote two full 5 man + 1 dino posses, and played (using v2.5 of the rules). Of course the town used here is different than the one I took pictures of in September, obviously because I’m not going to leave the first town setup for ~6 months haha. I have a few Lego fences and trees that also made an appearance in addition to my normal terrain.
I focused on playing, not taking notes, but I’ll recall the general story from memory as much as I can.
Location, Terrain, Objective, Deployment
First of all the location is Thermopolis, Wyoming, which is fairly close to the Old Faithful geyser (and subsequent volcano) as well as the heart of the Neotechnoist empire: Haven, inside The Wall.
So I thought I’d do a bit of a narrative reversal, where Neotechnoist colonists have expanded to the outpost, outside The Wall. And then Duster locals see this as an enroachment and raid the outpost to try to drive everyone off.
Side Note: Funny how Neotechnoists are “colonists” when Dusters would be “settlers” or “pioneers”, and I call it an “output” instead of “town” or “hamlet”. Just the language that fits each Allegiance.
Panoramic view of the town from the road and horizontally (note the various vehicles are non-functional). The jungle area with the ruined motorcycle and semi-truck I saw as a kind of rusted junkyard. Then a cool little dinocart (no in-game effect), and a view of the jail building.
So Thermopolis Outpost would be the center of the conflict, with the “Good Ol Raiders” being a posse of Dusters doing the attacking, and the “Thermopolis Outpost Residents” defending. The Dusters would try to steal food crates in the hope of shutting down the town and driving everyone out, while the Neotechnoists would try to hold onto their supplies.
To achieve this I used a custom mix of the Objectives of “Capture” and “Smash and Grab”. There would be 5 food crates (pictured right) scattered around the table, each could be picked up in the Action Phase (and would be dropped on death). Whoever had the most food crates in their possession, or the most entities within 4″ of crates, at the end of Turn 6 would be the winner. To add another element I made the jail building an objective, since it represented a place of strength for the Neotechnoists, so again whoever had more entities within 4″ at the end would get the same value as 2 food crates.
To continue with the slightly custom rules, I decided to do a “Diagonal” deployment, which mean each posse could deploy in a table half made by drawing a line from corner to corner. This deployment will actually become official in v2.6 of the rules (more on that release later) in place of the current overly complex and overly pop-culture-y “Clever Girl”. Basically this:
And to add to the Lego flavor I will be using yellow 2×2 Lego blocks to mark Moved & Acted instead of my usual tokens. If the Lego block is right side up (bumpy part up) then they Moved & Acted, if it’s flipped then they just Acted without moving. This also highlights that I REALLY need to rebuy my Litko tokens to say “Moved” instead of “Move”…bah grammar mistakes!
Similarly I “based” each Minifig with a color coded 2×2 block to help them stand up.
Posse – Good Ol Raiders – 150 IP, $1,500 ND, 4 Traits – DOWNLOAD PDF or View in Saloon
We’re back to the classic text-names-on-posse-image era. Terrific looking group! No real plan or structure to the design, just picking a bunch of neat weapons and stuff that matches the Lego. Both Posses went for a cheap Dinosaur, and the classic approach of Neotechnoists taking herbivores (Runner) and others taking carnivores (Ripper). Also a lot of the names are not the most serious thing of all time…so a perfect fit for playing an already silly themed game with silly Lego :) You can hopefully tell I tried to put in some thought to the character of each Minifig, such as the “grumpy old man” Leader in Old Anderson. Similarly the rough bandit looking Gogocha and his “Lucky” trait since he seems like he’d survive rough patches. It’s a bit hard to see but Cool Kid has sunglasses on his face, and obviously a hip hat, and the “Inspiring Shot” trait to match his big ego. One Handed Bernard is one of my favorites, since obviously he’s missing a hand (pulled him outta the Lego box like that), but has clearly been scarred by the experience and now wears a helmet everywhere and carries only a shield to desperately protect himself from further harm (and in the game is the only one in the posse who wears Armor).
Posse – Thermopolis Outpost Residents – 150 IP, $1,500 ND, 4 Traits – DOWNLOAD PDF or View in Saloon
Again no real plan, sort of just went with weapons that seemed to fit the character of each Minifig. Usual smattering of traits, and only a few noticeably lower Hitpoint members compared to the Duster posse. And the “SP” for the Leader Drapkin and his wife Antoinette I decided off the cuff to mean “Sergeant Primary”, which sounds like a very Neotechnoist outpost kinda rank. And yes, Mr. The Plague is a Hackers (1995) movie reference. Similarly Hank “Mars” is because that Lego chestpiece used to be the Mars faction back in the 90s. Similarly Frosty is from the ice faction. In true Neotechnoist fashion almost everyone is wearing a sci-fi helmet. I also made the Leader look more supporty (and have traits to match) by having a walkie-talkie and a “stick of command” (which is a Variable Pulse Rifle in the game, but I imagine it as sending out shocking waves or pulses from the stick).
So everyone deployed, with the Neotechnoists taking the “north” half of the Diagonal deployment, and the Dusters opposite that in the south. I think the Diagonal was a perfect choice for this terrain setup, because a lot of people could start right in the town in buildings, instead of having to trudge forward. I actually could see the Dusters coming into town peacefully, walking around a bit, and then BLAM just starting to shoot and sow chaos.
Here’s a bunch of pictures of how everyone setup:
Clearly some initial setup right by objectives with the intent to secure a food crate early on. Also with the Diagonal there were a lot of nearby enemies which should make the first turn intense (spoiler alert: it did! :) ).
Turn 1 – Let’s Lego Party!
The Neotechnoists managed to get the first Initiative, so Frosty moved back to the safe cover of a hill and bonus support of Hank Mars. Bernard shifted forward behind a wall, likely figuring to hop the hill next turn and attack.
On the opposite end of the table the Neotechnoist Leader Drapkin, astride his Runner mount “Eggy”, grabbed a food crate and moved far into town, behind the cover of a building. But guess who was waaaaaiting for him behind the building? Keel Greenpants and his massively oversized gun!
Back to the west side and the “duel at the hills”, the Duster dinosaur crept forward and tried to Charge 3″ into Frosty. Which meant of course that I ended up rolling a 2 for distance and failing to reach combat. Nearby behind the jail building, Cool Kid did a bit better and made his Charge (funnily enough ended up being 3″ distance as well) and started Scything ol’ Frosty. Those chainsaw thingies look hugely menacing. Also ironic because the Lego set they came from was the same ice stuff as Frosty is built from.
Meanwhile in the center of the town a duel was emerging between Gogocha for the Dusters and Antoinette for the Neotechnoists. What was really interesting is both had non-traditional weapons of a Laserbow 60 and Big Blasterbow respectively. Should be a good one! Antoinette didn’t want to be the first to leave Cover so the food crate right outside sat untouched for now. This shootout makes me REALLY want to build some roofless (or removable roof) buildings for traditional 28mm miniatures.
Turn 2 – Outpost Firefight
This turn started with the first death of the game, and that was thanks to Cool Kid slashing Frosty down. Thanks to the deployment melee was quite viable this match. Since Cool Kid uses his Action to attack and take Frosty out, he could still Move right into his next target: Hank Mars
But Mr. The Plague, after grabbing a food crate last turn, had walked down from his hilltop perch and now had a clear shot at Cool Kid. He managed to hit and force a Bravery Test from Cool Kid, which he failed (the punk!). Bernard, having heard the muffled screams from the other side of the hill, and remembering his own horrible dismemberment, climbed up and fired down into Hank Mars.
Meanwhile in the middle of the town the Neotechnoist Leader moved in. First he motivated his Antoinette with the “Get Up” trait, which restored her from 2 HP to 7 HP (that Laserbow 60 hurt). Then he fired at Gogocha to even the odds. But Keel Greenpants was still nearby, having fired and dropped back down from the building rooftop (otherwise he’d have a Shot in the Back at Drapkin). After grabbing a food crate the Duster Leader Old Anderson was slowly truddling his way to the fight, and actually was barely in range this turn to fire at the Neotechnoist Drapkin or his mount.
(Apologies for the wacky spacing and sizing on the images, I’m just lazily doing WordPress Medium size so horizontal vs vertical clearly doesn’t match)
And finally the Duster dinosaur Tangy Fangy, a Ripper, figured that One Handed Bernard had Hank Mars handled (bad pun). But Mr. The Plague would keep raining fire down from a distance, so that’s who Tangy Fangy moved to engage instead.
Turn 3 – Wait Weren’t There Objectives?
Speaking of One Handed Bernard, guess who opted to Activate first after the Dusters won Initiative? “Say Hank Mars, what’re your Hitpoints at? Hmm, ever been hit by a 3GJ Auto Shotgun at Short Distance?”
After killing Hank Mars, Bernard was very close to a food crate (somewhat stained with melted Lego Minifig).
On the other side Eggy wasn’t looking so good, nor was his passenger Drapkin (who had taken the brunt of the Duster fire). But wanting to protect Mr. The Plague, the pair rode forward and unleashed on the Duster Ripper dinosaur. First Drapkin shot, then Mr. The Plague fired his backup 1GJ Pump Shotgun, and suddenly Tangy Fangy the dinosaur had two Panic tokens and a sliver of health.
But like a well trained bloodhound, Keel Greenpants was still hot on the trail. From beneath the reins of the dinocart he took an almost-out-of-range shot at Mr. The Plague and brought down the sharpshooter.
Back in the middle, Antoinette was wounded and alone. She had backed herself into a corner of the building (thankfully without windows), which meant Gogocha and Old Anderson had to advance out of cover to try to eventually reach her. Gogocha could still reach a fence at least (and look awesome behind it).
Turn 4 & 5 – The Noose Closes
First of all the Neotechnoist Leader Drapkin continued his western run and ended up in the junkyard, hoping to have one turn without getting shot. At this point he had basically traversed the long side of the table.
Also I thought I’d mention the awesome orange semi-truck is actually from a new Lego set (whereas everything else I have is from my childhood). My wife bought a pair of 3-in-1 Creator sets recently as something fun to do, so this one is from the Sunset Speeder box. Being a fan of Euro Truck Simulator 2 a semi was obviously what I’d keep the set as (the other option being a convertible sports car and an F1 racer car).
Knowing that her turns were numbered, Antoinette decided to risk a shot at Gogocha, which meant leaving the safety of her building corner. The “Get Up!” heal from Drapkin meant she likely wouldn’t get one-shot killed at least.
The shot paid off, as Gogocha needed a Bravery Test and failed, so he’d be Fleeing.
Her husband was in an even more precarious position as One Handed Bernard, the seemingly unstoppable shield wielding, helmet wearing, disabled man fired super accurately at Drapkin.
As expected, the much shot Drapkin finally died. With his death a ripple of panic spread through the tattered remains of the posse (which at this point was Antoinette and Eggy the dinosaur). Antoinette actually failed her Bravery Test (necessary when a Leader is taken out of action), which is super important because she’s in a building. In the case of a Fleeing character NOT being able to move their full distance, they are Stunned instead. So basically she couldn’t run backwards through the wall, so she’d lose her Action instead. More or less a death sentence, and also a lucky save for Gogocha who would have died after another shot.
Turn 6 – Where Do We Stand?
With fewer entities left alive the turns were just flying by.
Keel Greenpants focused on taking out the Eggy dinosaur, who was trying to snatch up as many food crates as possible to try to win-by-objective. Unluckily for Keel, he missed his shot AND had to Reload.
Old Anderson was also confident in Old Anderson (even if he’s a bit senile and talks in the third person), so he strode into the building and shot point blank at Antoinette. To add insult to injury he actually did “Fan the Hammer”, so +2 Attacks AND Antoinette would be 2″ Pushed. Since she had backed into the corner (again) this would result in additional damage. Even with all that Old Anderson still barely managed to kill her, but a kill is a kill.
(Actually this was a slight rules error on my behalf, and perhaps something I should clarify in the rules text. You take 1 damage per 1″ Pushed, BUT that’s if you actually go that distance. If you’re backed up against a wall you don’t take the damage. Which meant Antoinette technically should have lived. She wasn’t carrying crates so the overall game outcome would have been the same though.)
In total the Neotechnoist “Thermopolis Outpost Residents” had 2 food crates (thanks Eggy!). But with the jail firmly in Duster hands, plus 2 crates on Old Anderson and 1 on One Handed Bernard (how fitting), the Duster “Good Ol Raiders” won the day! So in the words of a Duster: “Go hide inside your Wall, ya sissy Volkies! This here is our land!”
Anyway hopefully you enjoyed the report and visuals. I certainly had fun using Lego Minifigs and terrain. I think the flexibility of building and arming your Minifigs really helps for a “what you see is what you get” match to your posse. Also it’s a terrific gateway for kids to wargaming, since 28mm minis can be a bit intimidating (especially with the owner fussing over fingerprints or damage to their little pewter soldiers).
I think this match also highlighted that objectives need to DO something immediately beneficial during a standalone game, since otherwise everyone just rushes for them in the last turn and focuses on killing the enemy the rest of the time. I mention this same issue in the rules themselves, and recommend applying a Feature bonus. So I probably should have made it that you could re-roll 1 Attack die per food crate you’re carrying, or maybe re-roll Bravery Tests, or just use a normal Feature like “Ammo Container”.