Sunday, January 10, 2010

Temple of Doom

A little while ago I sat down with some friends to play some Chaos in the Old World. If you've ever played a game by Fantasy Flight then you know what a good job they do with their board games and with the warhammer license. One of the things that I think they do really well in all of their games is provide multiple paths to victory.

Without going into too much detail (we'll save detail for a later post) this means that each player can choose how they want to succeed at the game. This choice is influenced by which of the four chaos gods they are playing. Some gods are better suited than others for certain goals.

Many simple children's games like Candyland or Chutes and Ladders follow a race motif. Each player is simply trying to get to the finish line before the other players. Previous turns have no real effect on subsequent turns. Even some adult games, like cribbage, follow this pattern. Strategy is either non-existent, as in Candyland, or is only important in the timeframe of a single turn or "trick," as in cribbage.

More compilcated games, such as Monopoly and Risk, and two of the standard 40K missions, Seize Ground and Capture and Control, can be thought of in terms of tug-of-war. There is a finite resource on the board and each player is attempting to have control of more of that resources than their opponent at the end of the game. The overarching strategies in these games is also usually fairly simple. Get the most and hold on to it until the end.

By providing multiple paths to victory players are allowed a greater degree of choice in determining how they will go about winning. It doesn't really get us away from the race/tug-of-war model, but if we provide a couple of racetracks and a few ropes to pull on all then maybe things will get more interesting.

Deep within the Leonid sector lies a forgotten moon. Hundreds of years ago a great warp storm engulfed the moon, trapping it in space and time, removing it from orbit around it's planet. As the warp storm raged demons poured across the land, overrunning the primitive civilization that called the moon home. Now all that remains is rocks and swirling dust.

The demons are long since gone but something on the moon still exerts a strange influence. Many times ships have emerged from the warp orbiting the moon, light years from their intended destination. Scans of the moon surface reveal little except a region at the south pole that emits a faint energy signature.

Vessels that linger rarely find themselves alone for long. Within a few hours the planet will have drawn in someone else. The newcomers are often alien and always hostile, as if the moon was drawing them in for the express purpose of witnessing combat.

Setup: A strange tableau awaits visitors to the moon's south pole. Scattered amongst the ruins of an ancient battlefield stand five stone pillars.
Arrange the board and terrain in a method agreeable to both players. The winner of a roll-off places an objective somewhere on the table. Players then take turns until 5 objectives have been placed. Objectives may not be placed within 12" of each other or the table edge.

Deployment: Dawn of War

Victory Conditions

Give Me the Idol: Set into each pillar is an idol carved from bone and inlaid with inscriptions. The writings are difficult to decipher but seem to hint that the bearer of the idols will hold sway over great power.
At the beginning of each player's turn, if that player has a model with WS (i.e. anything but a non-walker vehicle) in base to base contact with an unmarked objective then place a token next to that objective showing which player has marked it. When the last objective is marked the game is over and whoever has marked the most objectives wins.

Give You the Whip: In truth the pillars and idols are the remains of a last ditch effort by the moon's previous inhabitants to bind the daemonic power that was destroying their world. They failed to save their world and instead created a nexus of chaotic energy below the south pole that is easily awakened by the combat raging above.
Every time a model is killed in close combat set it to the side and keep track of which player killed it. At the end of every close combat phase, if more than 30 models have been killed in this way the game is over and the player that killed the most models wins. Ties are broken by whoever has marked the most objectives as above.

Who Dares: Given enough time any battle is going to attract the attention of the chaos powers still lingering on the moon. The only hope of survival is for the combatants to be in a position to direct that power against their enemies long enough to make good their escape.
At the beginning of turn 6, whichever player's turn it is rolls a die. On a 4+ the game will end once both players have finished their sixth turn. Otherwise the game will be over at the end of turn 7. Regardless of which turn the game ends on the night fighting rule is in effect on the last turn of the game.

When the last turn is over the winner is whichever player controls more objectives as determined by the capture and control standard mission type (rulebook pg.91).

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