Thursday, 14 March 2013

Flood by Stephen Baxter = game ideas!

I've just finished Flood by Stephen Baxter and what an excellent read it was!  The premise is thus: in 2016 sea levels start rising.  It isn't due to global warming melting the icecaps but to something else entirely (though I won't spoil it for those who haven't read the book.  As the increase in sea level accelerates, it doesn't look like a happy ending is in sight... will the human race end, not with a bang or a whimper but just a faint gurgle?

It's given me several ideas for games, which I present below for your entertainment.  You'll need to adjust the scenarios and special rules to take account of whatever game system you're using.  Forces will need to be balanced depending upon whether the attackers are high or low tech, scenario objectives etc.

Raft fight

Easy scenery for this game.  A blue cloth to represent the sea, rafts and connecting pontoons made from balsa scraps, wooden skewers, coffee stirrers, lollypop sticks and whatever else you can find - see map below for an example layout.  The walkways/pontoons should be of varying length and not necessarily attached to the rafts (see the notes on drifting below).  On some of the rafts will be shacks (grey rectangles on the map), either purchased ones (GZG shanty town springs to mind) or home-made from wood/plasticard/cardboard scraps.  I'd also add a few crates, barrels, storage containers and other scatter scenery to provide plenty of cover across all the rafts.  The raft might have a power supply, either a generator (some sort of engine from a 1/35 tank or 25mm armoured vehicle?  Ramshackle games have a great selection) or solar cells (several companies produce 15mm solar panel sets or you could whip up a set from a bit of plasticard for the frame and some clear plastic from a blister pack or box of chocolates, painted blue-black on the reverse to give that glossy PV-cell look).  Perhaps a wind turbine, and some rafts might even have sails.

Figures would probably be a mixture of low-tech troops such as Peter Pig militia, GZG armed civilians, Rebel Minis zombie hunters, gang members and the like.  There might be a number of unarmed civilians too (GZG colonists have a good mix, Rebel Minis, also Peter Pig civilians from AK47 and Vietnam ranges).  Attackers could be either similarly low-tech, arriving on powered rafts / landing craft (plenty of 15mm landing craft on e-bay, Peter Pig and The Scene produce some nice boats too) or a higher tech bunch of survivors after a specific person or item (either boat-borne or in GEV / Grav vehicles).

I can think of  a number of scenarios you could run on the rafts...

1) Seize item

Raiders attack the raft to try and seize or destroy a particular valuable item, perhaps a crate of valuable supplies, a vital spare part from the generator/solar cells, a box of food supplements...

Special Rule: If the valuable item is to be seized, it can be carried by a raider at ½ normal movement rate and they are unable to fire a weapon whilst carrying it.  No-one is allowed to destroy the item or sink it! (It is assumed that it floats)

Victory criteria: Attacker must carry the item back to their boat and escape with at least ¼ of their starting force.

2) Seize people

Raiders attack to seize prisoners, whether for use as hostages/bargaining tools, slave labour, to expand their gene pool or just as a food source (these are hard times indeed...)
If the attackers are high-tech, maybe they're after a specific individual who has important scientific knowledge.

Special Rule: Use unarmed civilians for the victims, scatter them across the rafts. Civilians may either cower unmoving or move randomly around the rafts (use a scatter die and move ½ normal movement but following the edge of rafts/walkways rather than walking straight into the water!).  Attackers need to move into base to base contact to seize a civilian and can move at ½ rate back to their boat with the prisoner.  Each attacker can only seize 1 civilian at a time.  When firing at a civilian and captor, roll 1D6: evens = captor hit, odds = civilian hit.  Defender cannot deliberately kill/drown civilians to prevent the raider winning!

Victory criteria: Attacker must herd the people back to their boat and escape with at least ¼ of their starting force and over 50% of the unarmed civilians captured.  If more than half the civilians are killed the defender loses.

3) Seize part of rafts

Raiders attack to try and gain control of part of the raft network.  The objective raft has some important use (power generation, food stocks, maybe just to provide additional living space or raw materials).  The raiders need to reach the objective raft and cut the connecting walkways, allowing their captured section to drift free.

Special rules: see drifting and destroying rafts/walkways below...

Victory criteria: Attacker must capture the target raft, separate it from the main raft and escape with at least ¼ of their starting force.

4) Kill them all!

Raiders attack with the intention of wiping out all the raft-dwellers!  Perhaps it's to take control of their rafts, maybe it's to appease some war-hungry god or maybe they're just really hungry...

Victory criteria: Whoever has the last surviving figure wins!

Special raft rules:

Drift (optional): The various rafts may drift around as the game progresses.  At the start of every turn, roll a scatter die or D12 clockface for each raft and move it ½ inch in the direction indicated.  Instead of moving/firing, a unit of troops can push against a walkway/pontoon that crosses their raft or pull on ropes connecting to another raft/boat.  The smaller of the 2 rafts will move towards/away from the larger at a rate of 1" per figure pushing/pulling per turn.

Sails: Smaller rafts or boats might be equipped with sails.  Determine wind direction at the start of the game using scatter die/D12 clockface.  Each turn (roll again every turn for each separate vessel) sailing vessels roll 1D4 per turn (light breeze), 1D6 (moderate wind), 1D8 (strong wind), 1D10 (gale, capsize on a roll of 1) in the direction of the wind or can tack against the wind ¼ of the die score rolled.  If the main raft network is equipped with sails, it is assumed that the entire thing is moving.  For ease of play it remains in the centre of the board but any smaller rafts separated from it without sails will move in the opposite direction to the wind at the appropriate number of inches.  Swimmers etc. may also get left behind - a strong incentive not to fall in the water!

Heavy weapons: very powerful weapons may damage the rafts or the connecting walkways/pontoons.  Infantry support weapons such as medium or heavy machine guns would probably be powerful enough to cut through the connecting walkways.  Blast weapons such as RPGs, LAWs and grenades may even cause the rafts themselves to break up.  Players need to agree how tough/damage resistant walkways and rafts are before the game starts.  If a raft is destroyed, it could be replaced by a scatter of wood fragments and crates/barrels that will bob around in the water to provide limited cover.

Swimming: Figures may end up in the water during the game, either through the destruction of their raft or by voluntarily swimming between rafts.  Anyone falling in the water will lose any weapons larger than assault rifles/SMGs, so all SAWs, LSWs, LAWs, RPGs etc. will be lost.  Figures can swim at a rate equal to 1/3 of their normal move (probably about 1½ - 2") and should suffer some sort of penalty for shooting (-1 to hit modifier or -1D firepower).  Anyone shooting at swimming figures receives no penalty but swimming figures should be able to claim complete cover if desired from any floating debris or rafts they can reach (it is assumed that they duck down with only part of their head above the water).  Climbing out of the water takes ½ a move.

Sea monsters: Sharks, giant octopi and other ferocious sea beasts might be attracted by all the noise and the blood in the water!  Roll a D6 every turn, on a roll of 6 there is a creature in the area which will make 2 close assault attacks on someone in the water (determine the victim at random) or if there is no-one in the water, 1 attack on someone standing on a walkway/pontoon or at the edge of a raft.  Once there is a dead body in the water, the chance of a creature being in the area increases to a roll of 5 (1 creature) or 6 (2 creatures).

Civilians: Civilians may be present to get in the way of the fighting - move them randomly around the rafts as per the "seize person" scenario above.  Additional victory points could be allocated for civilians saved/killed during the game.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Paul! Several excellent ideas for games. Thanks very much!