My London Station board was the chosen location and for our first game I set up the board in the same way as our 3-man game. Instead of rolling for scenario we chose Fracas as our first game.
The Bedlam Brotherhood consisted of Parson, Tank, Hat Man, Ninja Bob and 3 brothers. The Holy Order was The Deacon and 4 brothers. I wondered why Chris had been unable to field only 5 figures, but I soon found out that he had given them full armor or half armor and armed two of them with hunting rifles and bullseye lanterns. The Deacon was armed with the Pneumatic Stake (more on that later).
We introduced two new house rules. First, each faction starts with an additional 30 shillings which can only be used on upgrades. Each Hero can either choose a skill or roll on the Attribute chart and the remaining shillings have to be spent on Subordinates. I gave Parson Sprint and Tank Pugilist, which in my mind made them way better. I then rolled an attribute increase for Hat Man and got Bravado (as usual I might add).
The second rule was that Influence can be spent to reroll a roll. One point for one reroll.
The game was pretty unspectacular as Chris continued to roll crazy good. A fun episode was on my first activation of Hat Man I rolled to see who would control him and I rolled a 10. Chris promtly took control of Hat Man who proceed to aim and then shoot at Tank, putting him Down. Despite playing at night, I found myself unable to move closer without being lit up by the bullseye lanterns. Their 24" light and a hunting rifle is a dangerous combination, moreover they also inflict a -2 penalty on any shooting attacks made in return.
My own bad luck continued and in a Maintenance phase I rolled 8 twice which meant that both Parson and Hat Man went from Down to Removed from Play. So when Chris had already shot down one of my brothers and Ninja Bob also getting the worst end of the stick, I found myself at Breaking Point, after taking the Bravado test I was left with Tank and an engaged brother. I then conceeded the game.
After the game we discussed the price of Parson compared to what you get. His stat line is worse than any other leader in any other faction and he cost 30 shillings! We decided to house rule that he would cost 20 shillings, and that his Cbt score would go up to a 5.
Since the first game only took about an hour to play we decided to play again. I had made a note of not giving Hat Man any missile weapons, so his heavy pistol was handed over to Tank.
For our second game we rolled for the scenario and got Entrapment. We rolled again to see who would take the role of defender and attacker. As I feared Chris won and chose to be the attacker. Chris is a cautious player who will gladly sit back round after round waiting for the opponent to get forward and then shot at them. We normally joke that he does not get out of his deployment zone unless he really has to, so this game would be right up his alley. Since he won the roll he also had the choice of were I would start, and he gave me no break whatsoever when he chose the worst position for me. We had changed the positions of the buildings to give a different layout of the board. In my deployment zone I only had two ways to go, both easily defendible for the Holy Order. This would be extremely difficult.
With the Bedlam Brotherhood down to six members I knew that I could only affort to loose one person before it would be impossible for me to win. I would have to play patiently and only take calculated risks when there was no other option - not the way I normally play. I won the roll for daylight/nighttime and chose nighttime since I knew that in order to win I really had to make good use of the Hide rules.
Chris had deployed one of his brothers (armed with a hunting rifle and bullseye lantern) ontop of a building. From there he would be able to see 24" and control a large section of the playing surface.
When the game began I found myself in a difficult position. Chris played the waiting game getting into good positions being cover, Hiding and going on Watch & Shoot. So whenever I could moved forward slowly and hid. Sometimes I had to make a run for cover and I knew I would have to take the chance of getting shot at. Luckily Chris continiously rolled Discombobulated, so slowly I was getting somewhere.
The Sprint skill that I had given Parson was responsible for turning the tide in my favour. In the previous rounds he had crawled forward at a snails pace, but I had gotten him into a position where he could charge one of the Holy Order brothers that had being covering the one side of the board with his shotgun. So a 12" charge was made by Parson. I got lucky with one of my brothers who managed to gun down a shotgun wielding Holy Order brother with his light pistol. In the Combat phase Parson made minced meat of the brother and despite me rolling another Removed from Play on the one brother that he had managed to put Down in the Maintenance Phase I found myself in a good position.
So at the beginning of a new round I still had 5 figures left and Chris had 4, one of which I was begining to make useless since I had almost paved a way to the board edge at the end of the board he did not cover. Another Holy Order brother was killed when Tank and Parson took him down in melee. Chris had moved his Deacon into a postion within one of the buildings so that I would have to take the confrontation in order to get away. Still I thought that a combination of Tank, Parson and Ninja Bob in melee would be able to deal with the Deacon. This is when the Pneumatic Stake ruined the game, a 6 shilling weapon.
The Deacon was in full armor, had a shield and was equipped with the Pneumatic Stake. This meant that he had a Fortitude of 7! and when he hit with his Pneumatic Stake it would be a Strength 7!
In three rounds I ended up losing Parson and Ninja Bob. Whenever I won Combat I had to roll 10 in order to do any wounds to the Deacon, and whenever he hit he had to roll just a 3. When we rolled the same in our Combat roll, despite Parson having the same Cbt, the Deacon would win because of his shield. So when Tank went Down I again conceeded the game, as I felt it would not make any difference if we continued to play.
The Entrapment game had been one of the best Empire of the Dead games I have played, there was tension and a lot of tactical play. Yet in the end the overpowered, underpriced Pneumatic Stake ruined it all. Chris admitted that the weapon was broken and it would have to be house ruled. We decided that it would be a one shot weapon similar to the Net Gun and Volley Gun. It would have it's primary use against vampires, which is what I believe the original intension was.
The Bedlam Brotherhood
Finally the two games changed my view on the Bedlam Brotherhood. They are one of my favorite factions and I love the figures, they are however very underpowered. Their "Driven to the Brink" is good and fits with the theme, but their Heroes must be the worst in the game. The reduction in price that we put on Parson helps, but he is still weak compared to other faction leaders in the game. Tank has a stat line that is almost identical to a regular brother yet he cost 5 shillings more. Ninja Bob seems fair priced and his Hit or Miss rule can make a difference, but you still need an 8,9 or 10 for it to give you a benefit - 6-10 would seem to be more fair. Hat Man - my favorite model in the faction - but boy does he come with a risk, having a model that can suddenly turn on your own is crazy, so it really fits with the theme. Eat my Bear, which I did not have in the faction for these two games is overpriced, he costs 15, but the only thing the 5 extra shillings gives you compared to the price of a regular brother is the "Driven to the Brink" rule and the special rule with him tossing his foul smelling teddy bear.
When the final Requiem rules are released I really hope that some of this has been looked at. Stats and prices need to be looked at, and they need to have something a bit more special about them than the "Driven to the Brink" special rule.
Here are some pictures from our two games. The Entrapment game was so exiting that I forgot to take pictures for some rounds.