Tuesday, January 7, 2014

WWX Game 3 - The one where Bill wins a game!

I was torn on which picture to use as the opening picture for this battle report. This is the report of the third game John and I played while learning Wild West Exodous. We went out to the store over the holiday and  used Huzzah Chris's wild west train terrain and ended up playing two back to back games. I recorded the third game but not the fourth. Back to the question of the opening picture, I was torn between Sky Spirit (who lived through the game) and Sitting Bull for this, siding with Sitting Bull. You should be able to determine why during the report.

We both wanted to use the western train terrain for the game, so after pulling that out we looked at the scenarios to determine which best fit what we were doing. We decided we could make it work out with Competitive Scenario #2 - King of the Hill, and proceeded to setup the board to approximate the in book diagram. There were some large buildings in the near center of the board which we used the train to reflect, then went with the larger buildings spaced out as displayed in the book. We got fairly close although it was tough matching the terrain.
WWX Rule Note / Commentary: The scenarios in the rulebook all indicate an intention for a 6' x 4' table to play on. John and I are playing at the $750-point level of game as we both prefer skirmish style games. Neither of us have vehicles and our only light support are the infantry style light support. We have kept to the 6'x4' table size so far but are finding with each game that the games are playing out within a 4'x4' space very comfortably. I suspect I might take a hand at rewriting some of the scenarios in the future with the board moving down to 4'x4' as one of the changes.
I fielded the same posse I have been bringing to learn all my games with. It's working for me, and is especially delivering to my expectation of being fairly balanced and good for learning. You can see pictures of the posse in the previous blog post.

John tried out a different list for this game (and the fourth game). This time he brought out his own copy of River, Billy, Johny Ringo, and a whole load of hired hands. His 750 Outlaw list was something along these lines:
  • Bill the Kid
  • Johny Ringo
  • River Flowing 
  • Sniper Bandit
  • Shotgun Bandit
  • 3x Close combat Bandits
  • 4x Long Range Bandits
This left him just shy of the $750-point limit and gave him tremendous activation control over my posse, but left him with only 6 influence to my 11.
WWX Rule Note / Commentary: Since this game we found out that the tool we have been using to build our posse's actually had the wrong price/hiring cost for River. The tool was using the price on the website, which does not match her higher price on the release card. River actually costs $125-points to hire instead of the $95-points. This put John over on his list, but no worries there as my lists are over as well.

We deployed split across the table, with Billy, Ringo, and River deploying on the left side of the train and John's sniper deploying on the right side of the train. The Dark Council member and a load of hired hands joined Billy on the left of the train while 4 of the hired hands deployed with the sniper on the right. In response I fielded my Dynamic Duo (River and Walks) on the left with the three braves while the rest of my posse (Cunningham, Sitting Bull, Sky Spirit) deployed on the right behind a building and out of sight.

Turn 1

Having the smaller posse gave me initiative on turn 1, which I used to open up with Cunningham, using a highly influenced (3 influence) roll to make sure he threw the smoke where I wanted it to go. Responding to my start on the right side of the board John activated two hired hands (and his Dark Council member) and moved them up the table on the same side. I responded by moving Sky Spirit up into the middle of the smoke and shooting at the sniper, making good use of his Spirit Aim ability to see out of the smoke. I wasn't able to take the sniper out but I scared him enough that John activated him and pulled him back toward his own deployment edge. Sitting Bull moved up the board to take cover within the smoke cloud and John shuffled around some more hired hands. I was surprised when John moved Billy, Ringo, and River across the board to the right side to engage Sitting Bull and Sky Spirit.

On the other side of the board I moved my braves forward, with one brave stopping to take a wild shot at one of the hired hands on the right side of the board. Range defeated me with that shot, making the attempt pointless. My Dynamic Duo moved up behind a building to position for the next turn and John moved his hired hands forward. At the end of the turn not much had died although I had put some damage on the PITA sniper John ha camped out. I was setup to start engaging turn 2 and was also close by the objectives with a plan on how to grab them at the end of the game.

Turn 2

The right side of the board exploded on Turn 2, turning John's hired hands into a bloody mess. Cunningham, Sky Spirit, and Sitting Bull all activated together as I knew I would be out activated regardless of what happened. I also wanted to take advantage of the forced activation for the Dark Council member, which limited John's return strike against me.
WWX Rule Note / Commentary: Dark Council members are effectively immortal but have a limiting rule built into their function. They must activate first, which limits the "acting model" activations to 2 non-dark-council models on the first turn opposed to 3.
Cunningham went first which dropped the smoke and pulled out the "on the lookout" shot from the sniper. The shot missed and I was able to move forward them burn some more influence to place the smoke back into an advantageous position. Continuing my simultaneous activation, Sky Spirit jumped back to the center of the smoke and unleashed a long range shot at the sniper, killing him. He then proceeded to take his ROF 3 shot and spread the damage out across two hired hands. Sitting Bull activated at the end of the sequence and moved forward, engaging two hired hands on the right side of the board. He proceeded to bite the head off one of the hired hands who (due to Wolf Blood) activated and shoot and kill one of the hired hands on the left side (near Sky Spirit). Sitting Bull then shifted slightly and bit the other hired hand with his full AP of attacks, killing her and having her unload her full activation of shots into Billy. I was very satisfied with the turn at that point.
John moved up with Billy and took some shots which were not terribly effective, and kept Johny Ringo hidden behind the train. Copying a trick/thought I had on the left side of the board, he placed River "on the lookout" to respond to Sitting Bull next turn.
WWX Rule Note / Commentary: We have since discovered that the game is far less dangerous that we have been playing. We were playing that a "Lethal Hit" could only benefit from the armor roll if that armor roll was a "Life Saving Dodge". We have discovered this is not in fact correct, even with a "Level Hit" a model still gets their armor roll, the "Lethal Hit" only negates in-built armor on the card.
On the left side of the board things side of the board John was having far more success, moving up and shooting at my braves to drop some damage on them. He dropped one brave and damaged the other two. Walk's moved around the house and killed off one of his bandits before moving back to safety. My braves took some wild shots that were mostly ineffective. The biggest moment of the left side of the board was when I realized that per our understanding of the rules for "On the Lookout" I could place any model on the lookout. As this allowed the model to use 1 AP out of sequence during the opponents turn, I could combine this with River and Walk's to some use. Both have the "Living Spirit" rule which says they cannot be seen outside of 8 inches. Each has a walk of 7 inches and a melee range (for their nastiest weapons) of 1 inch. This means River or Walks could interrupt a model shooting at them to walk forward and then attack them with a single strike before they get to shoot. Most times this is enough to kill the model the girls are attacking. This in mind, I placed River "On the Lookout".

At the end of turn 2 John pointed out to me that the game was essentially a foregone conclusion. Looking at the end of turn death toll had the appearance (and liklihood) that John would be unable to recover. Despite controlling activation turn 1 and 2, the Hired Hands just did not stand up to my Character heavy posse. 1 death on my side to 6 on his were just bad odds this early in the game.

Turn 3

Turn 3 kicked off with a nasty turn of events. I got initiative and declared a move with Sitting Bull. After moving 2 inches forward to engage Billy the Kid John interrupted my movement (leaving me 6 remaining) to move River up (with her "on the lookout") to attack Sitting Bull. He hit and I survived, allowing me to take a single return strike. I used my fangs and added 3 influence, rolling a "Lethal Hit" and John failed to "life saving Dodge". This killed River (see note above) which then gave me control for a full activation with her. I proceeded to use all of River's AP to attack Billy the Kid and killed him before she died. Sitting Bull (having removed 2 models without completing his first 8 inch move) then completed his 6 inches of movement to move into engagement range with the single Hired Hand remaining on the right side. Upon engaging the hired hand Sitting Bull proceeded to bite his head off, giving me another model to activate and take shots at Johny Ringo hiding behind the train. Sitting Bull then proceeded to use his second AP of the turn to move over and engage Ringo, taking another swipe with his claws (I was outside engagement with my fangs). Then he used his 3rd AP (after surviving Ringo's return attack) to fully attack Ringo and kill him.

John activated his Dark Council and remaining hired hand on the left of the board and tried to get some shots off on my braves. I activated Walks  and River, proceeding to walk through and kill the models they could reach, leaving a single hired hand and the council member in John's posse. At that point John was already activated so I moved Sky Spirit up behind the train and picked off the remaining hired hand with his long range "Spirit Aim" shot.

Three turns and the game was locked up, with my gaining a win through wiping John out. Even if we used the objectives, I controlled all three objectives definitively and would have won that was as well.

Final Thoughts

This was a bloody game and not much went John's way. The game is not as bloody as it appears here however, as we were playing with far deadlier "Lethal Hit" rules than intended. This was due to both John and I misinterpreting the meaning behind the "Lethal Hit" rule. I think the game would have the same result even playing that rule correctly, it just would have taken longer to get to the same conclusion.

Sitting Bull can be a really nasty model if he can get into your crew and kill models with his bite. The bite is pretty tough and he gets enough attacks to be able to bring down models. Even taking over an activation of a Hired Hands's is going to be effective to push out some additional damage. I like this ability as it's something I can work a bit of "trickery" into and try to plan for creating wow moments in the game.

I also like being able to use "On the Lookout" for melee models. It's going to be most effective for "living spirit" and similar ruled models, but may also be effective for general melee models. The trick will be hiding the "on the lookout" model so they can interrupt movement and engage the opposing model, then making sure the "initial engagement" attack is effective.

I am still concerned about the intention for the game to be bigger, as in army size bigger. I can see this competing with Warmachine/Hordes pretty easily as a squad sized game. This, combined with the ease of play at the skirmish level (6-10 models) put's it at a nice place in my opinion. It's that army scale size sneaking around the background that has me concerned. I would like to see the board size moved down to 4'x4' and the missions moved to objective wins with some mix of kill objectives. I will fairly caveat this comment saying I have not yet played a game with vehicles in it. I may find I enjoy the games when vehicles (light support and heavy support) are included, but I am skeptical.

Overall I am becoming more happy with the game the more I play. There are some small rules clarifications that are coming up but nothing I would not expect from other games. I feel this is actually clearer and more straight forward than other games, which is both a positive and a negative for me.


  1. So Bill, know what you've said in the past about your skills at rolling "dice" or lack therefore. How do you enjoy this game?
    I am really regretting switching to Zombicide Season 2 at this point.

    1. My notorious disagreement with dice holds true in WWX. I find myself drifting to specific dice that roll well and then constantly swapping them out as the rolls go really bad. I think I am incapable of rolling "average" on dice. Some of that is mitigated in WWX with the influence mechanic, but not all of it. The list I am running actually comes loaded up with 11 influence, which is a fair amount considering John has only been showing up with 4-8 influence per game. When I talk about "heavily influenced rolls" I typically mean a roll with 2 or 3 re-rolls due to influence spent.