At the behest of halo 3000, I playtested his game. I decided to do it in LDD for two reasons. I didn't have enough little bricks and I wanted to see how a simpler battle report would play out in LDD. Once I got the hang of it, it wasn't too awful...the LDD, I mean. The game is decent so far. This Battle Report/Playtest used these alpha stage rules: http://www.brikwars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=11832
. Read on if you're interested.Scenario
This is a normal escalation style battle. It will help early playtesting of the Alpha Stage ruleset for Colony Wars.
Round OneBlue Turn 1
Two opposing armies, Blue and Yellow, face off on a 4’ x 2’ rectangular battlefield. Each player’s headquarters is composed of one each Command Center, Factory, Barracks, and Power Station, as well as several walls within which to enclose these buildings. Each player positions their headquarters in opposite long corners, each occupying a space no larger than 10” x 10”. A Unique Resource Station, designated by its orange crystal, is situated exactly between them. Four Normal Resource Stations are situated evenly about the battlefield, two to the north along the length not covered by Blue’s base and two to the south along the length not covered by Yellow’s base. Eight additional pieces of terrain (two rock formations, two grassy hills, and four industrial buildings) are further scattered evenly about the rest of the field.
Blue wins Initiative.
Gains 10RP. Factory builds Squad of 5 Tanks. Barracks builds Squad of 5 Manned APCs. Blue has 0RP. Tank squad boosts 9” toward large rock formation. APCs boost 12” toward nearest Normal Resource Station NE.Yellow Turn 1
Gains 10RP. Barracks builds Squad of 5 Manned APCs and begins APC Speed Upgrade. Yellow has 0 RP. APCs boost 12” past bomb shelter toward Normal Resource Station NW. Yellow completes APC Speed Upgrade.Round TwoBlue Turn 2
Gains 10 RP. Factory begins an upgrade to an Extra Production Slot. Blue has 0RP. Tanks boost past factory. APCs boost past NE Station, leaving one, and proceed to Unique Station. All APC Infantry disembark. EPS Upgrade moves forward 1 turn and has 1 turn remaining before completion.Yellow Turn 2
Gains 10 RP. Barracks builds a Squad of 5 Manned APCs. Yellow has 5RP. One APC squad pulls easily into Station NW and unloads. Another superboosts into Station SW and unloads.Round ThreeBlue Turn 3
Gains 25RP. Factory builds a Squad of 5 Tanks. Barracks builds a squad of 10 Unmanned APCs and begins Specialized Breaching Training Upgrade for its Infantry. Blue has 5RP. New APCs rush out toward Station NE. New Tanks rush out toward rock formation. Tanks and APCs move up toward Station SW and open fire on Unmanned Yellow APCs. Yellow APCs and Blue Tanks act together, followed by Blue APCs. Tanks take out 3 APCs at the same time as the APCs take out 2 Tanks. The Blue APCs finish off the Yellow Squadron. Breaching Training moves forward one turn with one turn left until completion. EPS Upgrade completes.Yellow Turn 3
Gains 20RP. Factory builds a Squad of 3 Artillery and begins Better Stabilizers Upgrade. Barracks builds a Squad of 10 Unmanned APCs. Yellow has 0RP. The new APCs roll around to the front of the Yellow Factory and open fire on the Tanks, the northern APCs head south to open up on the Blue APCs, and the Artillery rains shells on the APCs. The Yellow APCs all go first, everything else goes second. The Squad of 10 obliterates the Tanks but the northern squad does absolutely nothing. The Artillery destroys 2 Blue APCs. Stabilizers move forward one turn, with one turn remaining until completion.End of Round ThreeRound FourBlue Turn 4
Gains 25RP. Factory builds 2 Squads of 5 Tanks and begins Tank Reactive Armor Upgrade. Barracks builds a Squad of 5 Manned APCs. Blue has 0RP. The new Tanks move along the wall up next to the grassy hill while the new APCs move south, pulling into the Station SE and unloading one Infantry squad. The old Blue Tanks moves up but falls short on range. The squadron of 10 Blue APCs angles toward the Central Station to draw a bead on the northern Yellow APCs while the squadron of 3 drives around the research station to open up on the Yellow 10. Yellow 10 goes first, followed by everyone else simultaneously. Yellow 10 annihilates Blue 3. Blue 10 destroys 3 Yellow APCs while Yellow 5 destroys 1 in return. Reactive Armor moves forward a turn, with one turn remaining until completion. Breaching Training completes.Yellow Turn 4
Gains 20RP. Factory builds a Squad of 5 Tanks. Barracks builds a Squadron of 10 Unmanned APCs and begins the Extra Production Slot Upgrade. Yellow has 0RP. The two Yellow 10 APC squadrons and the Yellow 5 Tanks roar forward toward the Blue 5 Tanks and lay down a withering hail of gunfire. Meanwhile, the stationary Artillery and the Yellow 2 APCs open up on the Blue 9 APCs. Yellow 10 in the back goes first, followed by the other Yellow 10, Yellow 5 Tanks, Blue 5 Tanks, and Blue 9 APCs second, followed by Yellow 2 and Artillery last. First Yellow 10 destroys 2 Blue Tanks. Yellow 5 takes another. Front Yellow 10 takes yet another. The Blue Tanks take an APC in return and Blue 9 takes Yellow 2 out before they have a chance to fire. Artillery finally destroys 3 Blue APCs. EPS Upgrade moves forward one turn, with one turn left until completion. Stabilizers complete.End of Round FourRound FiveBlue Turn 5
Gains 30RP. Factory builds 2 Squads of 5 Tanks. Barracks builds a Squad of 5 Manned APCs and begins APC Reactive Armor Upgrade. Blue has 5RP. The two Manned APC squads and the new Tank squad roar forward. The Blue 10 Tanks cruise up to the rock formation and add their fire to the Blue 3s against the Yellow 9 forward APCs. The Blue 6 APCs move up and attack the Yellow 5 Tanks. All the APCs attack first, followed by all the Tanks. Yellow 9 wipes out the last of Blue 3 while Blue 6 takes out a Yellow Tank. The Tanks return the favor. Blue 10 demolishes 7 Yellow APCs. Tank Reactive Armor Completes and APC Reactive Armor moves forward one turn, with one turn remaining until completion.Yellow Turn 5
Gains 20RP. Factory builds an Artillery Squad and begins Extra Production Slot Upgrade. Yellow has 0RP. Yellow 10 APCs round the research station to face down Blue 5 APCs while Yellow 4 Tanks move up to confront Blue 10 Tanks. Yellow 2 APCs and the two Artillery squads remain stationary as they attack Blue 5 southern manned APCs. Yellow 10 attacks before Blue 5, the back Artillery fires at the same time as the Blue APCs and is followed by the Yellow 2 and other Artillery, and the two tank squadrons attack each other simultaneously. The Yellow Tanks score 2 casualties but the Blue Tanks return with 3. Blue 5 wipes out Yellow 2 at the same time it is destroyed by the Artillery. Yellow 10 cuts Blue 5 down by 2 and are unscarred in the exchange. Barracks EPS completes and Factory EPS moves forward by one, with one more turn remaining until completion.End of Round FiveRound SixBlue Turn 6
Gains 30RP. Factory builds 2 Squads of 5 Tanks and begins Tank Speed Upgrade. Barracks builds a Manned APC Squad. Blue has 15RP. All the fresh Blue Tanks boost forward, followed by the manned APC squads. Blue 3 APCs fire on the lone Yellow Tank while Blue 8 Tanks take on Yellow 10 APCs. APCs first, Tanks second. Yellow Tank ends up destroying a Blue APC and remains unharmed. Yellow 10 destroys 2 Tanks and Blue returns the favor evenly. APC Reactive Armor completes and Tank Speed moves forward one, with one turn remaining until completion.Yellow Turn 6
Gains 20 RP. Barracks builds 2 Squads of Manned APCs and begins Breaching Training Upgrade. Yellow has 0RP. The new APCs make a dash for Central Station. Yellows 8 and 1 take aim at the manned Blue APC squadron. The two Artillery squads both drop shots on the front Blue 10 Tanks. Blue Manned 5 goes before its attackers and Blue 10 is out of range to return fire. Blue 5 takes 1 Yellow APC before taking 4 casualties from the APCs in return. Solo Tank misses. Blue 10 takes a whopping 6 kills but their reactive armor saves 3 of them from certain doom. Factory EPS completes and Breaching Training moves up one, with one more turn remaining until completion.End of Round SixRound Seven, Final RoundBlue Turn 7
Gains 30RP. Factory builds 2 Squads of 5 Tanks. Barracks builds a Squad of 5 Manned APCs and begins Extra Production Slot Upgrade. Blue has 20 RP. Two forward Blue Tank squads move up and open fire on the Yellow 10 Manned APCs, along with Blue 2. Trying complex Initiative: Front row Yellows, Blue 2, back row Blue 7, front row Blue 6, followed by back row Yellows, front row Blue 7, and back row Blue 6. Front row Yellows attack back row Blue 6 and do nothing, Blue 2 attacks front row Yellows and kill 1, back row Blue 7 attacks front row Yellows and kill 4, front row Blue 6 attacks front Yellows but all casualties will be accounted for so the roll is skipped. Back row Yellows attack back row Blue 6 and kills one (but reactive armor saves it), front row Blue 7 attacks back Yellows and kills one, and back row Blue 6 attacks back Yellows and kills 1. Nightmare. Tank Speed completes and Barracks EPS moves up 1, with one remaining turn to completion.Yellow Turn 7
Gains 20RP. Factory builds 2 Squads of 5 Tanks. Barracks builds 2 Squads of 5 Manned APCs. Yellow has 0RP. Yellow 10 Tanks move up to Station SW and attack Blue 7 Tanks, along with Solo Tank. Yellow 10 APCs boost toward Central Station. Both Artillery attack Blue Manned APCs. Yellow 7 attacks Blue 6, along with Yellow 3. Yellow 10 Tanks and Blue 7 Tanks attack simultaneously, with Solo Tank going last for the cleanup. Blue 7 saves 1 and drops by 4 while Yellow 10 is cut in half. Artillery wipes Blue 5 Manned off the map. Blue 6 gets the jump on Yellow 7, killing 2. Yellow 7, meanwhile, does nothing. Yellow 3 kills 2 from Blue 6, however. Yellow Infantry wittles Blue down to 1 squad before dying off. Breaching Training completes.End of Round SevenFinal Analysis
As it stands, Colony Wars plays like a gentle tug of war, though players must be brutal and ruthlessly efficient in order to create this flow. The addition of upgrades and the choices involved in spending RP are key to the enjoyment of this game. They add an element of strategy that persists over multiple turns and adds a sense of depth to an otherwise very simple game of chance. The progression of these abilities is even, measured, and well-balanced. Even when players choose to focus on differing tactics and growth possibilities, they don’t seem to be, at any point, suddenly overwhelmed and overpowered by their opponent’s choices. As they proceed further down their chosen tactical paths, the differences become more marked and, if a player seizes the right opportunities and is backed by luck, the gap widens and the scales begin to tip. Over enough time, one player will pull ahead and block pursuit, thus winning the tug of war and the game. And therein lies one of the first major issues with the format. Length. At first, upgrades spanning multiple turns aren’t any different from upgrades that would simply cost more. There is a sense of building and gathering that happens in the first few turns. The strategic choices one is called on to make distract from the fact that not much is happening on the field. So it all works well together, at first. But in later turns, multiple turn upgrades can be confusing to keep track of as well as slow the game considerably. Entire turns pass playing a simple back and forth while waiting on game changers. Furthermore, the game tends to fall into a certain predictability after a few turns. For example, in this game, it’s easy to see that Yellow will likely continue using its breaching troops to knock Blue from Resources, ranging further abroad as the game goes on and if he meets with general success. He will likely continue building Artillery blocks to obliterate any manned Blue APCs that try to return the favor. Blue, on the other hand, has focused more on persistence and will likely hope that enough scraps remain from the shellings to eventually form an unstoppable swarm. Luck in damage rolls will determine the winner. Already, by Turn Seven, we can see patterns emerging and have seen patterns in building and upkeep. More Upgrades and Abilities in further iterations of the ruleset will certainly offset these problems somewhat but it can’t be known at this stage to what degree.
Several other questions arose during this playtest which will need to be addressed in further advancements of the ruleset. Do allies block LOS? Do enemies? Movement? Will there be a way to handle collisions? Should Infantry be allowed to disembark after the unit’s APC has boosted for extra movement? Units in a squad can become difficult to keep track of in later turns. Say, if an APC squad drops an APC off at one Resource point and moves to a second, as happened early in this report. Later, keeping track of the stray might cause problems with so many units on the board. Also, notice in Blue Turn 7 what a nightmare reactions became. Should coherency rules then be included? If so, should squads be absolute or should they be based on relative areas where squads can form and reform at will? Should multiple turn requirements for Upgrades be replaced with higher costs instead? Or should more 1 turn Upgrades simply be included? Should players decide on an equal number of wall pieces in addition to their starting buildings when building their bases? Should it always be a rule that the game is over when the command center is captured or should that merely be a special objective? And if it is a special objective, what other purposes might the center then serve? Should power plants have upgrades? Is four foot by two foot the optimal size for this game? Should it be bigger (allowing for more building and gathering) or smaller (forcing the action to start sooner)? Should there be rules for building more buildings? Should there be rules for alternate Pre-Game Setup packages?
Ultimately, Colony Wars in its rough stages is a fun game with a lot of potential. It has a clever feeling to it combined with a simplicity of play that is enjoyable. However, as it stands, it has no staying power and no real replayability. Even one game can become highly rote if luck stands to solid probabilities. This is a game that seems like it will thrive on player options but there is also the sense that it must not become too laden with them so that those choices are still difficult for the player and thus provide challenge.