So after a couple of weeks since getting my book and after getting some painted models bought online I was able to try my first games of Scrappers, the new Osprey rules for squad level games in a Sci Fi post apocalyptic future.
The rules use my favorite squad level rules, Brink of Battle as the core engine, and incorporate special additional elements for this setting. I have used Brink of Battle to play dark ages, samurai, fantasy, french and indian war, napoleonics, victorian sci fi, world war II, and moderns, so it was easy to just get into Scrappers and be able to try a Sci Fi setting with this engine for the first time.
The main distinction from period 3 ( moderns ) in Brink of Battle is that armor is more effective that what is available in XXth century games, but then also that since this happens in a future with mutations and synthetic life forms now you have these new characteristics to represent the humans that have survived the apocalypse, and all those other types each with their very specific traits. For example, humans can survive take three shocked results before being out of action, mutants and synthetics have higher wound thresholds and they also have sub types that confer additional characteristics.
Overall the fluff and setting are very nicely presented and it is a lot of fun to come up with “crews” for all these factions.
The standard scenario consists on the two opposing forces of between 5-15 models roaming through the 4’x4′ table collecting scrap tokens that can later be sold to increase the stash of your crew; or even if you are lucky find a precious artifact, like a pre apocalypse high tech weapon as a plasma gun or such. But as you search for those tokens you can encounter events that could make things difficult. You also have to deal with the other crew that has the same objective and once you’ve lost 25% of your guys you start taking tests to see if your guys decide that it is better to go do something else.
I contacted my friend Bob who is a big fan of Brink of Battle just like me ( and not just because of affinity to the acronym for the rules ), and we got together to try this new variant. Over the course of 4 hours we were able to run through 2 games and had a blast.
The two factions facing each other were a crew of Freelancers, well armed in general terms and with good training, and on the other hand crew of murderous Sons of Entropy led by a powerful mutant with less reliable troopers than the freelancers but with heavily armed veterans including a machine-gun and a submachinegun armed assassin infiltrator.
In the first game the Sons of Entropy started as sentries, the faction that is happily searching for scrap when they are attacked by another faction. The Sons of Entropy however have the special ability to re deploy some of their models after the initial set up and together with their infiltrator assassin they are certain to force an ambush kind of game.
The freelancers quickly found out this to be a problem when their squad was suddenly flanked on the left side by two son’s of entropy, one with the maghinegun and one the right flank by the ambushing assassin. Quickly the freelancers had to rethink their plans to advance through the terrain and took defensive positions around any cover they could find. With the core of the freelancers pinned down the other son’s of entropy started collecting their scrap tokens.
On the freelancers right, the most forward trooper suddenly found himself attacked by the assassin in a very precarious position, but he got lucky and was only shocked, thus giving him an extra turn of life at least for now. Reacting to seeing the infiltrator, a veteran freelancer sniper took cover among the vegetation to cover his companions, but unable yet to kill the infiltrator. The other freelancer in this flank decided to investigate the closest scrap token and an event came out determining that the area was surrounded by random snipers that would attack anyone in this sector, nasty surprise.
On the left flank trying to deal with the threat of the heavy firepower from the flanking sons of entropy, a freelancer armed with a shield and an automatic pistol rushed to pointblank range in a desperate attempt to throw the enemy off balance. The risk paid off as he managed to kill the enemy machinegun trooper !!! Now the tide was turning, and with support from the other companions in that flank the it was only a matter of time before the second flanking enemy was also dispatched.
On the right side things were not going so well, the hidden snipers, activated with a break action from the sons of entropy, took out the freelancer on scrap collecting role, but the assassin once again failed miserably to do anything but shock the forward freelancer trooper who clearly got the most out of his armor. The veteran sniper on observing his friend fall to hidden sniper fire failed his panic check and ran away.
Back to the left flank the freelancers where now able to start collecting tokens but were of course behind the sons of entropy that by now had acquired quite a stash, and were now trying to position a new gang member behind a some cover from where he could put the enemy under fire.
At this point things turned in favor of the freelancers. The veteran sniper recovered from his rout, and and took once again defensive positions against the infiltrator, and although this infiltrator survived the hidden snipers fire now activated by the freelancers break action he was shot down by other troopers that where being peeled of from the now secured left flank.
At this point the sons of entropy started taking general rout tests and eventually they broke off. Ir was a victory for the freelancers but the sons of entropy didn’t leave with empty hands since they had collected a good set of tokens.
The Second Game
In the second game the Freelancers took the role of the sentries, but this time they new better what to expect from the ambushing sons of entropy and they deployed making better use of the initial cover.
Still the ambushing ability is a pretty good one and the Sons of Entropy were able to deploy one of their marksmen in an optimal firing position and being the intruder they leveraged the first action granted by the edge and on the first move the freelancers where already a man down.
This however did not deter the freelancers who quickly and effectively dealt with the marksman now opening their right flank to move on the buildings and start looking for scrap.
On the freelancers’ left once again they were facing the assassin infiltrator and once again they planned on using a forward trooper supported by a sniper. However the maneuver was poorly executed and the infiltrator assassin was able to jump from ambush and assault the forward trooper at point blank before the supporting sniper could do anything to prevent it !! This would have been a certain kill but this assassin was not having a good day, the moment he was about to fire his submachinegun jammed, and not even the gear check re-roll that TrueHumans have resolved the jam ! As you can imagine this didn’t end up well for the infiltrator who was immediately gunned down by his original victim.
Now the son’s of entropy were in a complicated situation with two men down, but at least they were moving through the bunker unimpeded and right in the bunker, as you would expect, they got a very lucky break when while picking up a scrap token that proved to be an artifact !!! One of the most valuable items you can find in the Omega zones of scrappers.
Concentrating on taking the enemy down, the freelancers where in a better tactical position and by advancing from cover to cover with their close shock troopers, the one armed with a shield and the one armed with concussion grenades and a shotgun, while supporting them with their veteran snipers they continued to gain ground on the enemy.
And so it was that through point blank attacks from the shock troopers they were able to take down an enemy gang member armed with an assault rifle and later his supporting friend with a machinegun. At this point the sons of entropy decided that it was not worth risking any more of their numbers ( ie they failed their rout test ) and they pulled away.
Again, “victory” for the freelancers, but the sons of entropy could see themselves as the winners since upon checking their artifact they found out it was a powerful hand flamer.
The game is fantastic, just like all the previous versions of Brink of Battle, this is for me the best ever squad level game. It rewards mobility, it never get’s static, squad level tactics and leveraging the skills of your crew are critical elements to achieve victory. There is only one mission in Scrappers although I feel the variants on tat mission that are in the book will make it play very differently and there is also the option of incorporating the traditional BoB missions. Nevertheless this scrap collection mission is lots of fun and has a high replayability factor simply by switching roles or deployment sides.
It is a lot of fun and the fluff, factions and new traits really provide the feeling that you are playing a totally new game, even though you still know the same rules that you love from traditional BoB !!
I cannot recommend it enough…
The fantastic cardboard terrain is from the first space corridors Kickstarter by Battle Systems, it is out of print now, but as soon as they deliver their new Sci Fi KS to the backers they will probably have some new stuff to sell, so keep an eye on them.
Here are my factions ( with a few typos but you get the picture:
Picture gallery of the two games