Gameday First Play – Tannhäuser
Experimental Technology vs The Occult.
Miniatures combat done right.
In 1949, this incessant war has been raging for 35 years and finally a secret archaeological dig has delivered to the Obscura Korps a long sought ancient relic. This artifact is thought to guard an ancient parcel of knowledge. The exact emplacement of one of the four dark cardinal corners of reality is on the verge of being revealed.
A portal leading to hell, this un-sanctified zone is found buried within the secular crypt of a fortress situated in the heart of central Europe. The Reich’s 13th Occult Division is there now. They are about to call upon the Cohorts of Chaos to help them force the world into eternal servitude.
Parachuted behind enemy lines, a fistful of men and women are all the Union has left to thwart this peculiar menace. The Unions finest trained commandos armed with technology still in its experimental stages, the glory bound 42nd Alter-Marine Special Forces must now face the most terrible danger to face humanity in recorded history.
This is a game I’ve been looking at and been half interested in since its release in 2006 but as ‘vs’ games aren’t a good fit for my group it was never one I picked up. But now, I finally had the chance to play it.
After a random draw I was Ze Germans. We played 2 v 2 in a game where we each had 5 characters and were trying to be the first to complete 4 Objectives.
Set-up can be quite lengthy. Of the 5 characters, each has 3 load-out options with overlapping equipment. You need to give them all a read, understand them and then decide. Each piece of equipment has a token you place on the character player board.
The character on the left is an Occult Master with some great abilities which include restricting opposition movement and even controlling an opposing character for a turn.
The lady on the right wasn’t quite as impressive but she was very powerful in combat as each critical hit not only counted as two hits, but reduced the number of dice the opponent rolls for blocking. But more on combat later.
Once the characters are set-up the board needs some attention. Teams take turns first choosing 2 of the 4 entry points on the board then placing 3 objective markers each in designated spaces.
Then you’re good to go.
The game works with each side taking turns activating one character. You can move up your Movement stat and take an action at any time in your movement then carry on moving again. (Usually this means moving, throwing a Grenade and running away :))
Movement is very good as the board is very clever. It not only make Movement simple but also clears up any issues with Line of Site.
The guy here is in a red/yellow circle. This means his line of site goes as far as any connecting red and/or yellow circle. Easy. No arguments, Tape Measures or Lasers. Just simple colouring. Each circle you can move in to is about 1cm apart form your current space. But there are some that are 1.5cm apart that you’re not allowed to move into directly and its sometimes hard to spot these… This is the only downside to a very nice board.
So actions. Non-Combat actions include search crates for equipment, dropping/picking up/giving etc, the usual stuff. But combat is the good bit, the reason to play the game.
To attack, you roll X dice depending on the weapon and you need to roll equal to or above 10 minus your skill level. (Generally 3 or 4). Each success is a hit.
Then, the defender rolls 4 dice and will need to roll equal to or greater than 10 minus the Stamina value to block each one.
Damage is taken via a dial which dials down as wounds are taken which generally reduces a characters stats.
I like minis on a board a lot more than minis on a table. It turns out I haven’t really played too many of either and those I have I haven’t really liked for one reason or another.
For me, Minis games should be simple to play yet have some complexity to make it interesting. I think Zombicide does this well and gives me the feeling of being overwhelmed while using a simple system to overcome difficult and tactical decisions.
This game does everything really well in a more serious package. It fits together nicely, looks good and plays very well.