Yesterday evening my friend Chris and I had a chance to playtest the house rules that I had propossed to Empire of the Dead.
We settled on the usual 150 shilling for starting our factions. I chose the Supernatural Branch, my favorite and I was interested in seeing whether they would feel different with the new rules. Chris decided to try out the Zendarian Officers Society. We decided to play the Fracas scenario.
In my previous blog post I had mentioned that we had played with some of the rules before, so the alternating activation and free targeting were nothing new for us. In the first round some of the new rules came into play as we took shots at each other. Despite hitting, we were unable to damage each other as the Fort opposed roll helped one of my Firearms Constables survive. Despite the average Fort being around 3 and a Hunting Rifle having a Strength of 6, it still gave me the feeling that I had an extra chance with the Fort roll.
As the game progressed I felt the game mechanics worked rather nicely. Of course the dice can be against you and if your opponent constantly rolls 9s and 10s with his Fort roll then this active roll will seem rather powerful. Chris had difficulty in getting away from the fact that the Opposed Roll Table gave him a better chance of hitting, and was not convinced by the opposed Fort roll. When I told him to forget that the Opposed Roll Table had ever existed he seemed unable to do so.
The only time I think the rules did not work was when Chris' Zendarian leader charged one of my PCs with his two swords - giving him three attacks. He got more than the TN 10 and therefore rolled three dice opposed to my one Fort dice. I rolled a 10 and therefore got 13 more than the three attack dice and according to the new rules my PC had resisted the attack. Chris felt that it was crazy that one die could resist three dice. I argued that I had rolled the best possible result, and that his own dice had let him down. We discussed it and came up with a few changes to this specific problem. I felt that a -1 for each difference in attack dice and the Fort die would be an easy way to fix this. Chris felt that for the resist roll we should use Cbt. I'm not sure what we actually ended up with.
We managed to play two games, Chris won the first and I won the second. In the second game nothing new came up.
I honestly felt that the game mechanics worked well. We also had a lot more melee combat and the game felt more varied. In previous games it has mostly felt like that whoever brought the biggest guns would win. The Fort roll gave a sense of each model having a better chance of survival and as a player I felt that I did not just sit back watching as my models were shot at.
Chris seemed less convinced, but I believe that this has something to do with him having problems accepting that something becomes more difficult than it originally was, even if it gives a better game.
We both agreed to try again in the near future, and Chris will see if he can come up with a different approach to the melee rules.