Attack of the Movie Heroes

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I’ve actually gotten some painting finished. Tomorrow I’ll put on some final touches but these are tabletop ready!

They will be used in a variant for Attack of the Mutants, only this time the threat is on the inside! Movie heroes are appearing in the Science Building after Percy downloaded 80′s and 90′s film to the wrong hard drive! Will the Professor’s and TAs or MSTU save the day by teleporting these lost heroes to another plane of existance where they can do some good or will the Science Building be destroyed for good this time?

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Finished figures. Alas the photo is underlit. I’ll take a better lit version later.

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Dr. Manbender Comes a Knocking

Mutant Cover Photo

Ah yes, another game of Attack of the Mutants. This time we had High Roller Ken*, Chemical Dave** and Lord Al*** as the humans. I, Whitey, was once again entrusted to the bad evil Doctor. There were some interesting moments in this game but it still needs a hint of tweeking. One of the tactics tried was an aggressive push by the Humans to get the robots into the fight early. This produced the most serious robot losses I’ve ever seen. By the end of the game the human’s had one Grip-Bot, shown in the picture above.

What should have made the human tactic work was the so-called wall of lead a lone Gun-Bot can throw. Frankly, the way it is in the game right now its more like a wall of snowballs with rocks in them. Yes, sort of daunting but no real match for the natural tenacity of the Mutant. So I am doing two things to the next version of the rules. 1st, the number of dice thrown will double. Get lucky and you can wipe out even bigger hordes! The other thing is I am now going to make it possible for the Gun-Bots to “go dry” as they say. After a wall of lead, roll a D6. 1-3 = low ammo. After the first round of the fight is over the robot must retreat and be resupplied (does it need a human or grip bot to resupply… that is an interesting question.) It is a bit of a gamble, which suits me fine. There is no such thing as certainty in life! It makes the Gun-Bots more independent but also retains their vulnerability such that independent operation requires a risk vs. gain evaluation.

Dr. Mincy still doesn’t have a special ability. I’m working on that one. The professors are locked in labs until turn 4 as per the original game (well in the original they were in the Tech Center, now they can be in 1 of 3 labs outside of the tech center. I’m considering that if they want, they can stay in their labs an additional turn. For each TA, Grip-Bot and Scientist in the lab on turn 5 the Humans get a D6 to roll. A roll of 6 on one or more of those dice produces an advancement. The Ad Astra Lab produces a faster startup of the time machine (one turn can make a world of difference.) The quantum lab produces the quantum gun – a strange contraption that allows one upgraded Gun-bot to act as support (+1) even from a different room or while in reserve!

“My god, it only took 30 years to weaponize Special Relativity… now we’ve done it with quantum mechanics!”

Finally a breakthrough in the Robotics lab will allow one Grip-Bot to be improved to CV 6. I assume that means the TA’s raided Archaeology and welded a Lombard shield and lance to the poor machine!

Tonight’s game went pretty smoothly. It was close. Dr. Manbender and 3 Leader Mutants crashed through the door on turn 10. One of the mutants took a hit and went down, but then Dr. Manbender got into the action himself. Because he was the attacker all of the ties went to his side instead of the human side. I wonder if it would have been better for the humans to have counter-attacked before he was in the room. The only problem with that plan was the mutant’s had a formidable pincer attack going with another set of mutants waiting at the only other un-barricaded door. So, I don’t blame them for not wanting to take a chance. It was an opportunity to produce a hit and run attack which is what the retreat rules are for. I understand their reluctance at that gamble.

I think the loses of the robots early on and the weak performance of the Gun-Bots led directly to the human loss. The strategy wasn’t bad, not knowing the odds. However I’ve played the game 7 times now and the Gun-Bots need the above adjustment.

In the next day or two I will post the rules here.

As for the quote above – I should point out that it is actually not correct. QM/QP has been weaponized for decades – the advances in transistors, chemistry and lasers all rely upon quantum mechanical understanding and the neutron modulators in nuclear weapons rely upon the understanding of the duality  of photons as waves and particles. But it sounds cool and would and should be a line from a B-Movie!

*,**,*** and yes, I know, I game with people who have funny nicknames.

Black Cat Bases

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Got to run the game with others today. Learned a lot. This picture shows some of the BCB figured I used. Worked well! People liked the game and filled a whiteboard with suggestions.

Playable Attack of the Mutants game done!

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I could not be happier. The game is ready to play. All required components are done. The only thing left to do are the cards. I got through 5 turns of my first solo play test. I was reminded of some problems from the original game. It’s hard to remember which stacks moved. I may solve that with markers that let the mutants plot their moves before executing them.

Overall I love the look of the printed aluminum. The boards are printed at photographic resolution and are very glossy. The original graphic I created contains photos of actual floor tiles so this works out great.

The game is totally green. The inks and paints are all water soluble. The aluminum can be recycled. The paper used for the transfer was recycled. The figures are made of non-toxic metals. The only non-green aspect are the bases on the figures which are plastic.

You may notice the door smashed counters are an homage to the original game.

The combat system works neatly. It’s a little more complex than standard Risk(tm) but on par with the later Risk based games.

More to come!!!

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Final 28mm map done for AOTM

master map Final LEFT

Well I got my map done. It is very similar to the map that came with the original game. I am pretty happy with it. My original intent was to print it out on my printer, stick it to some MDF and then build the wall using foam core. Problems with warping (both with the MDF and the foam core) led me to consider alternatives. Finally I decided to just have the map printed to aluminum sheet. Yes – printed on metal. A local printer does incredible work and one of their specialties is printing to just about any surface. How – I don’t know! But I saw their work and its incredible. I now am having them do this to two 12″ x 24″ sheets of aluminum. It is a better option for me in that it won’t warp, it is unique, it lays flat and will look great!

*** Update! *** Here is the map, again, this time in much nicer PNG format, divided into two sections 12″ x 24″ each.

 
 

Something that can be done with miniatures that wasn’t easy to do with the paper counters in the original is that I can control the number of mutants per room simply by area. This will limit the massive super stack of mutants that used to make it easy for the mutant player to win.

They also do 12″x12″ aluminum tiles. I may consider that for my next game. Once can make them geomorphic or semi-geomorphic. I like the geomorphism of Carcassonne. Now, doing that game in aluminum titles would require a Donald Trump like budget, but doing something that required only a dozen tiles would be doable.

Mainly the durability is what I like. It is possible to get it done just on vinyl and that would have saved me a ton of money but I felt the advantages of being printed on metal plus the uniqueness were good advantages.

Room List for Attack of the Mutants

Middle State Technical University Science Building

There are only a few changes in the physical layout while many in the room names from the original game. Gone are some of the wackier things that were on the map like the room with pentagram and candles. Gone also are the ROTC barracks and armory.

Classrooms:
Room 102
Room 104 (101 and 103 were turned into labs)
Room 201
Room 202
Room 203
Room 204
Room 205
Room 301
Room 302
Room 303
Room 304

Offices:
Professor Applegate
Dean’s Office
Professor Richardson
Professor Mincy

Labs:
Ad Astra Lab
High Performance Computing Center
Robotics Lab
Quantum Engineering Lab

Misc.:
Storage Room
Science Exhibit Hall
Lavatory

Of course the center of the building is still the Tech Room – the ultimate objective of the mutants and the place where Ad Astra will allow the humans and their brave little robots to escape.

The card system will be keyed off of characters and locations. So a card may specify “Any robot in the Robotics Lab fights at +1 CV.”Another may state that if the villian, Julian Manbender is in the High Performance Computing Center the game’s end is delayed until he either retreats or is defeated and removed from play. There is a lot of room for creativity here. I have about 1/3rd of the cards figured out. The rest will come as I do play tests of the game.

Currently the only thing left to do is build the building. I have the design done so it’s just a matter of decorating the walls correctly and building the foam core forms. Once it is final it should look great!

Breaking the System

Researcher, TA and Robot surrounded

Researcher, TA and Robot surrounded“Bugs Mr. Rico. Millions of ‘em and I’m burning them down!”

One solid part of play testing is not playing the rules as intended but as they might be played in an attempt to break them. With Attack of the Mutants one theory I was playing out was the possibility of massive hordes of both mutants and ‘normies’.

Indeed it was possible without much effort to get really large groups together and simply cause havoc to the system. On the one hand I want to preserve immersion in the theme without having some unexplained rule come into effect. On the other hand there has to be game balance. Any balancing rule must be well grounded in the theme. In this case the solution to the massive horde rule turned out to be easy to figure out. I didn’t as much mind a room with a huge horde as I did a massive horde storming from room to room with ease. So the rule is quite simply, you can stack as many figures as will fit standing in a room but only 6 can pass through a door in either direction per turn. It is a simple answer. I seem to recall there was an issue in the original game about massive hordes. This solution is simple, adds to the theme and is a reasonable limitation.

Another issue has been determining if there are unbeatable combinations in the game. This would be something like certain figures together, aiding one another such that they always had unbeatable scores. So far I haven’t seen that. But I am a ways from just letting a few play tests confirm it. I am well aware that if I miss such a combination and players find it they will use it in expectation that something worse is coming and this formation is the smart way. Weeding these situations out is important for enjoyment of the game and to keep the tension alive until the final turn when the gate opens to let the players escape or the mutants to invade another planet!

Attack of the Mutants Combat Rules

These are preliminary so may be tweeked by the time Nashcon rolls around.

AotM Combat System

Combat happens when one force enters an area containing an enemy force. Combat is fought until one side is destroyed or forced to retreat. The mutants have a different style than the “normies.” The mutants are much simpler in how they play out.

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AotM Game checks off another milestone

Robots and Scientists

My Attack of the Mutants revival is coming along nicely. Check out these photos. The miniatures for the good guys are now done.

Robots and Scientists

Dr. Richardson and Dr. Applewhite with the Mk-1 Manipulator bots

All of these figures are by Black Cat Bases. I was looking for generic academic scientists and they had them! I was also looking for robots that were evocative of the source material. In this case the original ad for the game seen in the next photo.

Dr. Applewhite does a few calculations while a robot defends one hall and terrified students run down the other.Here we see the “mutants” easily fit into the zombie category. The box art of the original game show much crazier creatures but I think this art work more closely captures the right feeling. The Black Cat Bases robots are about 50% larger in comparison to the robot shown here but clearly have the lab bench prototype look I wanted.
Robots and Scientist

Dr. Mincy and the Mk-1 Gunhead bots

There is an actual Dr. Mincy and she looks a lot like her character shown here. In the game Dr. Mincy is the one conducting the astral travel experiments. All these figures are from Black Cat Bases.

Dr. Manbender and the Robots from the Future

Dr. Manbender and the Robots from the Future

The Evil Scientist is from Reaper Miniatures and the Securitron robots are from Black Cat Bases. These are excellent figures. The arms for the robots are tough to get off the sprue and attach but are well worth it as the look is great. These robots have a chance of making an appearance in game play as either good robots from the future or bad robots from the future!

The Teacher's Assistants

The Teacher's Assistants

These student figures are from Reaper and are awesome. The details and stereotypes fit in perfect with the game concept. There is the Nerd, The Jock and the Hot Girl. In this case it is Penny Applewhite, daughter of Dr. Applewhite and her two love interests – Percy Fitzwater the genius (brains) and Leon “Buck” Bukaw the football hero (brawn). Gone from the game is the really odious portrayal of ROTC. I have too much respect for that institution to treat it as poorly as the original author did.

Hopefully I’ll raise the funds to get the “mutants” finished in time for Nashcon. The game rules are progressing. I’m trying to keep them fun and fast with enough tactics to keep it interesting.

Science Faculty and robots started

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Here we can see the start of the Science Faculty and the robots from the future. Dr Applewhite is on the left (ha! I made a funny!) and the only male.

I’m not sure what to put on the computer screen of the robots. In Fallout similar robots have cartoon faces.

Why is one of them lime green you ask? I plan on inking that one dark green and making it different. Or at least leaving me the chance to do so.

Later I’ll work on the other robots! I’m still really excited about their arrival!