It’s Jay, part of the two person team, along with my partner Amy, who have created the Enderain tabletop wargame system.
We are deep into balance playtesting now! The Enderain rules are pretty much complete and it’s really now all about ensuring that:
- We start to build clarity into the rule explanations and clear up questions from in-game situations.
- Balancing the stats and rules to ensure that we get rid of as much over-powering, under-powering, and dealing with any crazy power combo problems.
I wanted to get a playtest game report written, so people can start to get some idea of how the game works.
It’s to early to reveal some of the key mechanisms, how the NPC AI management system works, or how the card deck works. Some things need a big reveal closer to launch 😉
But, hopefully you’ll get some idea of how the game works, and what you can achieve using the system Enderain is built on.
We are so happy with the system, that Amy is already starting to give some thought on porting the system from the far reaches of space to the wastelands and cities of a fantasy world game setting.
This game is part of the playtesting we are now doing for a 10 part narrative campaign we are working on. It will form the basis of a supplement book, to be released a few months after the main rulesbook (we are aiming for Q2 2023).
Set-up & Background
This scenario for 1-4 players, was created as part of the 10 part narrative-driven campaign we are currently working on.
It was a competitive game (games can also be fully co-op V’s the NPC’s). One or more teams (each team consists of eight characters, plus up to 1 robot and up to 1 mercenary specialist) have heard about a base hidden outside a city that contains an embarrassment of riches. The races on to loot it, even if that means fighting opposing teams who are also there, despite the shared hatred of the overlords.
It’s a “Vigilant” base. I won’t go into lore of Enderain here, that’s for later, but the Vigilant have taken over control of the planet of Enderain. Player teams are not only scavenging to survive and flourish, also to attack the Vigilant and build up information that will help to start the general rebellion against them.
There were two of us, so two teams entering at one edge of a 4 x 3 foot square playing area. The Vigilant base was at the other end, reachable through jungle paths.
The objective of the game is to move through the jungle, fight the guards, open as many of the supplied crates as possible to see if anything valuable is in them, and then get the valuable gear back off the original entry edge.
The Race Begins
A game of Enderain is played in initiative order. Each player chooses to activate an individual character, or a group of characters who are within the zone of control of a character who has a high enough leadership rating (LR). However, initiative is tactical and managed through the card deck that runs the game.
Both teams split into two groups, mirroring tactics. A fast moving team containing the captain, a Scout, and a couple of lightly armed characters. The other was a support team with the heavier weapons, hacker, and for one of the teams a support bot as well.
So the race was on. Sending the fast moving team forward under single activations, both teams had identical ideas to get into the base as quickly as possible, and then allow the hackers and heavier fire support weapons (rocket launchers and grenade launchers) to back them up as they arrived.
During setup we rolled to see what NPCs spawned. Unfortunately, there were several, including “kill team” Vigilant troopers (tough to defeat).
My team skirted around the edge of the base using the hill as cover, but Amy decided to go straight in, and unfortunately fire from the NPCs started to bog her team down, although she managed to get one team member into a building to start searching for crates while the others fought the troopers.
A Whole Load Of Nothing & Disaster Strikes
I was actually feeling pretty smug that I had taken a slightly longer route to get around the flank of the base and the troopers are defending it.
There were plenty of crates laying around, and as I wasn’t under fire, or even in line of sight to trigger NPC attention, I got the task of opening the crates to see what was in there.
Unfortunately, my team appeared to have lost the ability to do basic things. It took several actions of poor rolling to open all the crates. Worse than that, when I did the “What have we found?” rolls, three of the four that were opened turned out to be useless junk.
My captain slipped into one of the buildings and opened another crate. He found something valuable, and so encumbered with two valuable physical items, I decided to start a retreat back up the table to the exit edge. I at least had something to sell, and I wanted to get off table before more NPCs were spawned who could cause losses among my team.
Amy on the other hand was in real trouble. More NPCs spawned, mostly along the table edge she was closest to, including a large mech, and two troopers also appeared in the middle of the table blocking the direct escape path. All immediately started moving towards her characters as they were closest and in line of sight.
Drawing fire and attention, several of her team members went down over a couple of turns. Every time they recovered, fire would knock them down again, causing wounds, and wearing them out.
Eventually, heavy fire had put her “rocket chick” (as she likes to call her rocket launcher character, a figure with the role of “Grenadier”), out. Out means they are in effect overcome with wounds or worse, and must be diced for at the end of the game. For now, they just lay on the battlefield, no longer part of the game.
Then, her GSW (general support weapon, a long and heavy bolt-launching gun) girl was put out as well. She now had a situation where both her heavy support weapon team members were out, meaning she didn’t have the firepower to hit the heavier NPCs and put those out of the game. It was now a game of cat and mouse for the remaining five members of her team.
Her recruit, for some unknown reason called Dave, armed only with a cheap and ineffective pistol, was left pretty much on his own, as she decided that her monkey (a soldier) really needed to be saved, and so he headed off into the jungle.
Dave was under fire from three angles, and eventually he was put out as well. As he was merely a new recruit, with no specialist role (and therefore no recruitment costs), she wasn’t particularly devastated at his loss.
Please Make Your Way Quietly To The Exits…..
Although my team was in less trouble, my captain Jim Kirk was struggling with the loot and some way behind the rest. A mech had spawned on the exit edge and was looking to cause issues for my team as well.
I used my hacker to try and hack into the mech and crash it. A lucky roll meant the mech was toast. That opened up an exit path for me.
By this point, Amy’s team (what was left of it, down to four characters of which two were badly wounded) had grouped itself on a small hill trying to hide behind bushes to avoid line of sight to the pursuing NPCs. This was becoming a growing problem for both of us as there were now 10 different NPCs hunting our teams across the table.
Ever the sportsman, I used one of my team as a spotter over the comms network to call in and guide indirect fire from my rocket launcher. This caused more wounds on her team members and sent them running.
Not quite content with the damage, I then used an activation to get my hacker to take her team comms down, meaning her team leaders couldn’t encourage any of her team members who required nerve tests. As it turned out, only one was needed, and the team member past it.
To add insult to injury, I then used Hargreaves, my Gunner, equipped with a “speedbolt” gun (a machine gun with a high rate of fire, firing small laser bolts at 1-2 targets. Not much hitting power, but can cause a lot of wounds), to knock out her support bot.
There are two types of bot that teams can buy, combat bots and support bots. The team can only have one bot. The combat bot is a super soldier, and the support bot is a cross between a medic and a hacker.
Once out, the bot is lost unless rescued before the game ends. So I ran my Gunner over to it, and as an action picked it up, and then slowly (as he was then encumbered) dragged it off the table for my team to reprogram and use!
The endgame was near, and I succeeded in getting all eight my team off table, along with two pieces of valuable physical loot.
Amy’s team was pretty much annihilated. Five team members out of the game, laying in the jungle, the support bot stolen, and three badly wounded characters left on table.
As it was a two player game, one team completely exiting ends the game. A mercy for her team as it was unlikely the three badly wounded characters would have made it out in one piece.
Calculating The Results
Once the game ended, all characters who were “out”, were rolled for to see if they made it back. Incredibly, rom the five team members out in Amy’s team, four made it back.
Of the four who made it back, three survived their wounds and could rejoin the team for the next game. Incredibly, this included Dave the recruit.
As I had no team members left on the battlefield, I had no recovery rolls to make during this process.
Then we rolled to determine how valuable the loot we had found was going to be in the back street markets where we were attempting to sell it.The base value is always 25, and my dice rolls added +9, meaning that what I had to sell was much sought after.
Amy wasn’t quite so lucky, obviously not having such good backstreet market contacts as me. Her loot was worth -5 at that point, meaning the single token she escaped with was worth 20 and not 25. All round, a pretty disastrous mission for her!
We then added experience points gained during the game to each of our team members tracking stat sheets. Overall, both of our teams had several team members who had reached the required number of EXP points needed to level up.
In Enderain, experience points can be spent levelling up role abilities (so a character with the role of soldier can be level one, two, or three, enhancing relevant skills as they gain each level), levelling up powers (physical, mental, or force powers), or increasing 1-2 stat line values on the relevant characters stat line.
So there you go, a brief description of what turned out to be an epic and hilarious game of Enderain.
It took around 90 minutes to play the game, plus about 15 doing the end of game process afterwards. This was spot-on for the time we aim experienced players to complete a two player game within. 3-4 players will require around two hours to complete the same scenario.
Enderain is still on track to launch at the end of October 2022.
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