Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sentinel Tactics: Actual Play 1

So having punched out tokens, painted and repainted miniatures, and constructed some 3-D terrain, I finally had a chance to make it up to Emerald Tavern and play Sentinel Tactics.

Omni-Tron sends out drones to menace Ra while Absolute Zero
puts up an ice wall to block the robot mastermind's line of sight.
 My friends and I started with a couple of simple skirmishes: Omni-tron (with drone deployment) versus Absolute Zero, Legacy, and Ra, played to 3 incapacitations. This was not a balanced skirmish, since Omnitron could just spam drones faster than the heroes could stop him, and once Omitron's player realized she could just gang up on Ra, things went to pot pretty quickly. There was something of a rally on the heroes' side when Ra used his Living Pyre power (which creates hazards spaces adjacent to Ra, which meant that the melee drones tended to get scorched before they could attack) and AZ and Legacy focused fire on Omnitron, but it was too little too late. It didn't help that Ra's player rolled very poorly on his defense dice.

Omnitron's player contemplates deploying yet another drone.
Another player joined after the first game, and we played two proper 3 on 3 skirmishes: me with Legacy, AZ, and Proletariat against the Operative, Omnitron, and Ra. For the second skirmish, I switched out Legacy and AZ for Beacon and Unity. In both cases, I just got stomped. There has to be a way to use Proletariat such that he can concentrate to attack without getting curb-stomped by AoE attacks, but I couldn't figure it out. Ra would Inferno the clones or Omnitron would use Ocular Beams or the Operative used her Kusarigami/Hidden Blade combo to pull Proletariat adjacent and stab him a bunch.

Emerald Tavern is a game store and a pub, so I
can drink mead while my villains take over a
For the last game, we played a scenario from Uprising: the Operative and the Organization's underbosses try to take over the city while being defended by Beacon, Ra, and Unity. This was something of a steamroller for the villain side (played by me): I brought most of the underbosses up to improve their lines of sight, spawned thugs with just about every action, and used the Operative to punish any hero who got close. The heroes, in contrast, never quite managed to get Ra in a position to blow stuff off and spent too much time trying to set up an Arcing Strike attack with Unity. My feeling is that Unity should get Champion Bot out to buff Beacon and Ra while Beacon uses Bolstering Attack to get another use of Ra's Inferno to take out clusters of thugs and Underbosses. The heroes never really focused fire on the Underbosses, and a late game Drawn to the Flame wasn't enough.

Ra puts a Blazing Tornado underneath the
Contract to encourage her to go someplace
Overall, it was a fun game and set of plays. There's enough complexity to the game to make it engaging, but it's very quick and straightforward enough to learn (compared to some of the stuff we've tried like Game of Thrones or Mage Knight...) As beginners, we played 4 games in about 5 hours, so it's not quite as quick to play as the rules suggest but it's perfectly reasonable to play a couple of different scenarios in an afternoon or evening.

Aside: The 3D terrain was really helpful, and simplified explaining line of sight and figuring it out in play. Having all the raised terrain being physically raised was great. I'm hoping if there's ever an Enhanced Edition for Sentinels Tactics that GtG will include some pre-cut cardboard terrain.

The Underbosses and thugs are various miniatures I already had, but they look nicer than having tokens. We sticky-tacked the underboss minis to their tokens for quick identification.

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