Monday, 18 July 2011

Epiphany Play Test Review

This is a review of the Epiphany game rules we used to play the Battle for South Boring with notes and amendments from our discussion on how the game went.

Guideline 1: Amended to movement and range now to be two inches per hex/movement point equivalent. Needs further play testing.

For the game we used two inches per hex for movement, and doubled the range of the weapons to four inches per hex. This played a lot better than using one inch per hex for both weapons and movement, which is what we had done in earlier games, but it had the effect of putting everything into short range.

Guideline 2: No changes were deemed necessary as the game played well with this house rule. So movement is now just measuring the distance and having a free facing change at the end for all units.

The modified movement rules really sped up play a lot with minimal loss of tactical flavour.

Guideline 3: Amended to we will colour code the weapons on the record sheets, use one matching die for each colour, plus one die for the base roll that all the weapons will share for their targeting solution. So still one roll, but many dice, so needs to be play tested.

We started the game by rolling 4D6 and discarding the two lowest results to calculate whether or not all the weapons for a unit has hit or missed, but it became apparent we didn't need to stack the rolls for the players. However, on reflection we didn't on balance like the all miss, or hit effect this produced.

Guideline 4: Roll 4D6 and discard highest and lowest results for all the missile weapons fired to get an average of number of missiles hit e.g: you fire five LRM launchers of say three fives, and two 10s, you would then roll on the 35 missile to hit table, rather than for each launcher in turn.

We kind of fumbled this, so it needs to be properly play tested, which we will do next time.

Guideline 5: Ammo explosions are calculated as the value of one round of the ammo cooking off when they explode. However, after applying the internal damage, roll again on 2D6 (the usual roll of plus eight) to see if more critical damage is done to the mech (if the ammo bay is hit again, this too will explode one round and so on).

Not tested as no mech suffered a critical hit to the ammo, so again this guideline needs to be properly play tested, which will hopefully happen next time.

Guideline 6: No change to Ferro-fibrous armour, endo-steel count and empty slots count as valid locations for an internal hit and need not be re-rolled.

Happened a few times, didn't seem to affect the game balance either.

Guideline 7: No change to head hits do not automatically kill the pilot, instead the auto-pilot is assumed to eject the pilot, unless of course there is no ejection system or auto-eject is turned off for some reason. Pilots only die from wounds received.

People like this, even though the only pilots that ejected were the enemy, when Dan was hit in the head he appreciated the fact that had it all gone terribly wrong his pilot character would have survived.

Guideline 8: Initiative to be governed by using cards, which will randomise what moves when during a turn.

While there were some problems with some of the special cards, and how to use them without unbalancing some aspects of the game, but in principle this was the outstanding success of the Epiphany game guideline changes, as it really was a game changer.

For instance I lost count of how many turns we played after we got to turn seven in the first 90 minutes of playing. What was really good was that it eliminated up the tactical dithering that plagues most games of BattleTech, as you really didn't know when the turn would end as the it was based on the draw of the cards. I will explain the cards more in a separate post.

Guideline 9: No changes needed to the idea that we just use the Introductory Rules as the jump off point with the minimum amount of extra rules from other books as necessary.

If you can't remember a rule, or it can't be added to a record sheet, or quick reference sheet, then for all practical purposes it doesn't happen in the game, as it slows down the game to be constantly referring to rule books during a game.


  1. I'm happy to knock together Quick Reference Charts with the house rules on them - I have a few bits and pieces already knocked together and especially some of the tables so can easily drop them into other places

  2. Yep go for it is what i say. Don't forget to let me know your free weekends so we can organise the next game?