A Deathzap Boxing Day Battle Report

I played a little 500 point game today on the same battlefield as my last post. In this instance it was Mortan’s Men facing off against the League of Zandor. This will be a rules rather than story battle report. I’ll try to explain in some detail what is going on.

Mortan’s Men had:

A Splicer as their Force Leader for 111 points.

An Ascended for 95 points.

A five man Butcher Squad for 175 points.

A five man Cultist squad for 50 points.

And finally a 6 man Cultists squad with a Repeater for 64 points.

All totalling 495 points.

The League of Zandor had:

An Overlord as the Force Leader for 98 points.

Three four man invader squads. One with only small arms for 68 points, one with a Destroyer for 94 points and one with a Destroyer and Grenades for 100 points.

Finally they had a three man Conqueror squad with two Repeaters and Grenades for 135 points.

All totalling 495 points as well.

I’ve no idea if either of these forces would be effective, I just tried to build them as close to 500 points as I could get.

Objectives were placed, there’s always one in the centre and then each player place two objectives anywhere in play provided they’re not within 6” of another objective. Objective placement is a little game in and of itself as objectives are worth more points to you the further away they are from your home board edge.

The game is a simple up and at ‘em kind of affair. Each side gets 3 victory points for killing an enemy unit, and 1 victory point per 6” away from their home edge an objective is when it is activated (that’s rounded up too, so 13” away will get you 3vps).

Since I was playing with only 500 points rather than using a full deck of cards I took the Clubs and Hearts and a single joker and shuffled them together.

Mortan’s Men took the Clubs, League the Hearts. To quickly explain an Ace lets you activate 3 units, a face card 2 and a number card 1 unit.

The joker removes all the activation counters for all units and a random event will happen.

Weapon profiles are shown as a number, then a letter and then a number for example: 1L1. The first number is the number of shots, the letter indicates the power of the weapon (Light, Medium and Heavy) and the last number is the amount of damage per successful hit.

The first two cards out were the black queen and black jack, so Mortan’s Men tentatively advanced. It’s hard to know whether you want to be out of the gate first in this game. I’m a big fan of this mechanic as in my test games I’ve found myself wanting to include scouting units. The sort of unit that can move up and hold something without it hurting you too much if later on it’s a little out of position once the enemy appears.

The 6 of Hearts came out next, and the League brought on their Conqueror squad hoping to kill the Ascended on the other side of the old fort.

With two Repeaters (7M1) and Grenades (5M1 short range). The Conquerors roll 19 dice to hit needing 4+s as they are Elites shooting at an Elite.

They score 9 hits, and two are 6s. Which for League of Zandor units making ranged attacks allows them to roll two more dice to hit, but neither were successful.

The 9 hits are rolled again this time comparing the power of the weapons’ which are all medium to the strength of the target’s shields which in this case are heavy so 5+s are needed.

The shields are beaten 5 times, multiplied by the weapons damage (all 1) gives us 5 and then divided by the target’s Toughness of 5 leaves us with 1 cover save to make. 4+ for hard cover.

The Ascended rolls a 2 and is killed. League of Zandor immediately go ahead 3-0.

Had the Ascended survived he would have been able to return fire under my current iteration of the rules.

The next card out is the black 9. With all other units in play and activated Mortan’s Men have to bring in the Butchers. They advance into the fort adding an extra D6” to their movement. Unfortunately for them this means that the Conqueror unit is allowed to react and snap fires at them (shoot as normal but with a -1 to hit). They roll their full 19 dice again, score 9 hits but only beat the shields 4 times. The Butchers with their toughness of 3 roll a save and pass, the single point of damage left remains on them. Fortunately no figures are killed.

With all of one side’s units having activated the turn ends and all the activation tokens are removed. If a black card comes up next the Butchers will be able to charge and potentially kill the Conquerors. If a red card appears they may be subjected to more fire, the Conqueror’s could get more support or simply back out of charge range.

The next card is the black 3. The Butchers go for the charge.

At 3 melee attacks each they roll 15 dice needing 4+s to hit (Regulars Charging vs Elite). They score 9 hits (seems to be a theme around here). At damage 2 each the Butchers score a total of 18 damage as you don’t bother with shields in melee. The Conquerors have a toughness of 3 and so would have to make 6 saves, but in melee you don’t really get cover, so they are all killed.

Had any of the Conqueror’s survived they would have had the opportunity to snap fire at the Butchers or fought back.

The game is now a 3-3 tie.

The next card out is the red 3.

The League deploy the unit of Invaders with the Destroyer and Grenades. They hit the Butchers hard, scoring 5 hits, but most importantly one of those is the Destroyer. The Destroyer then also damages dealing a total of 10 damage (including the 1 from before). The Butcher with their toughness of 3 lose 3 figures, and 1 damage remains on the unit. Fortunately for Mortan’s Men the Butchers pass their morale and so aren’t totally lost.

The red 5 is drawn next. A unit of Invaders decides to congregate around the objective on the far left.

The black Ace comes up next. If the next card is black the Butchers will also get to move on the Invaders that just gunned down three of them! For now though the three remaining Mortan’s Men units need to make the most of their actions since this is their only Ace!

First the larger Cultist unit attempts to move up and put fire on the newly deployed Invader unit, but fails to cause any damage. The Invaders return fire and kill 2, the Cultist unit passes its morale check.

The smaller Cultist unit moves into the fort to claim the objective. Then the Splicer jumps into the fort too. He fires at the Invaders directly ahead with his Gene Ripper (3H3). He scores three hits, beats the shields twice for a total of 6 damage. The Invaders have a toughness of 2 and so have to make three saves. They pass all and so no casualties are scored. The Invaders return fire and put 2 damage on the Splicer.

All of Mortan’s units have activated and so the turn ends and all units lose their activation counters.

The black 5 is drawn next. The Butchers push into the invaders and kill 3, the lone Invader passes his morale check and opts to snap fire his Destroyer back at the Butchers. He misses and since his unit lost 3 in the combat and the Butchers 0, he is forced to fall back 2D6”. The lone Invader moves off of the battlefield and is considered destroyed.

Mortan’s Men take the lead 6-3.

The black 7 comes up next and the Cultist unit in the fort activate the objective scoring 2 points. Mortan’s Men add to their lead 8-3.

The red Queen appears. The Invaders unit on the left activate their objective scoring two points. They then open fire on the Cultist unit near by, they score three hits including the Destroyer. All then also beat the shields for a total of 8 damage (including the 1 remaining from before). The Cultists are forced to make 4 hard cover saves of 4+, they fail three leaving only the Cultist with the Repeater standing. He fails his morale check and is pinned, and so cannot return fire. Mortan’s lead is shrinking 8-5.

The League Overlord then deploys, moves up and fires at the Butchers with his Zy Blade (6M2 short range). He scores five hits, three beat the shields and the six damage dealt is enough to finish off the Butchers.

The game is now tied at 8-8 although Mortan’s Men are starting to look shaky.

The black 4 appears next. The Splicer shoots at the Overlord. Rolls 1 hit and beats the Overlord’s shields causing 3 damage. The Overlord returns fire, hits three times but fails to beat the Splicers shields even once.

Then the red 4 is drawn, and the last Invader unit finally deploys and moves up the side of the fort, hoping to hit hard in the next turn.

The red 10 is drawn. The Overlord rushes and kills the Splicer. Rolling 6 attack dice he scored 1,1,1,3,3+5. Which is pretty poor, but luckily it was enough since charging gives him a +1 bonus to his rolls. So those threes become fours and he deals 6 damage.

The League go ahead 11-8.

The red 8 comes out next. The Invaders unit to the side of the fort move up and open fire on the Cultists inside. They roll four dice needing 3+s (Regulars shooting at basic troops). They score five hits, since a six was rolled allowing for another hit roll. They then beat the shields of the Cultist unit five times for a total of 5 damage. I let the Cultists have soft cover but they failed both saves anyway and lost two figures. They then went onto fail their morale check and so became pinned.

The black 10 came up next and the Cultist unit in the fort attempted to rally but failed. Then the black 2, the lone Cultist on the left tried to rally but also failed. The turn ended.

The black 8 appeared next and the Cultists in the fort tried to rally again but failed.

Then the red King emerged. The Invaders on the edge of the fort shot in at the pinned Cultists but failed to do anything.

The Invaders on the left then charged the lone Cultist and finished him off. The League of Zandor extend their lead 14-8.

Then the Joker is drawn. Mortan’s Men have the special rule Mortan’s Hordes which allows them to bring a previously destroyed unit back into play when a Joker is drawn. So the Butchers return! Placement of the Butchers here is key, they need to be able to do maximum damage before the game ends, and I don’t think there are too many black cards left, so I moved them on into an aggressive position.

The other added fun of a Joker is you roll for a random event. I rolled a 2 in this instance which means a Vesh Assassin has a target on the battlefield. You randomly select a unit, I numbered each and rolled for it, and that unit takes a casualty. Unfortunately for the League their Overlord was the target.

I’m not sure if this helped or hindered Mortan’s Men. They need more than 6 points to take the lead, but there’s only two League units left. So they’ll have to claim an objective to take the win.

The red 2 is pulled next. The Invader unit on the edge of the fort tries to finish off the pinned Cultists and succeeds. You only need to cause a single casualty on an already pinned unit to destroy them. I assume that once a unit realises it’s hiding place is unsafe they just head for the hills. 17-8.

The black King is pulled! The Butchers are only just within range to charge the Invaders! They do and wipe them out!

With only one Mortan unit left that ends the turn and allows the Butchers to immediately activate again. This time they opt to sneak which is a standard move that the enemy do not get to react to, which brings them into charge range. 17-11.

The red 7 is drawn and the League Invaders reposition, unfortunately unable to find a position further than 8” away!

They open fire and score three hits one being their Destroyer. The dice are rolled again, but this time only the Destroyer manages to beat the Butcher’s shields. A single Butcher is killed instantly and two damage remains on the unit.

The red Jack is drawn. So the same unit will get to fire twice more! It’s not a good idea to attempt to cross open ground in front of automatic weapons fire!

Another Butcher falls after the first round.

Two more on the second. The last Butcher passes his morale.

Then the red Ace is pulled. Checking the two remaining cards that final black was so close!

The last Butcher goes down. The games ends in a League of Zandor victory 20-11.

After playing this game there were a few things I noticed needed immediately changing but all things considered I really enjoyed it. One of the things I do love is that because of the turn structure as a force shrinks it gets more activations per unit. This occasionally leads to a blood bath at the end as we saw in this battle, but what you don’t notice it doing is subtly buffing the units on the losing side so games by their nature are often very close and will swing right up until the last activation. Had that black 6 popped up and the Butchers got the charge, the game may have had a different outcome. I mean I assume you lose, or at least it’s a draw if you’re ahead on Victory points, but all of your guys are dead? That’s something I need to make an official ruling on.

2 thoughts on “A Deathzap Boxing Day Battle Report

  1. I love the use of cards, especially when there are few enough of them to keep a mental track of what’s left. It sounds quite a tense game, and of course, a typical Deathzap bloodbath! One rules observation – if you get 3 VPs per unit destroyed, doesn’t that favour the side with fewer, more powerful, units? And one game question – what was the toughest decision you had to make during the game?

  2. In bigger games I’ve made sure to have an upper and lower limit for numbers of units. I want to try out a tank platoon as a force though, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes. I’ve considered rather than having it be a straight 3 for killing a unit is it being D3 and you roll for that once at the start of the game, so it can really mix things up. Plus that would stop people always going for the less but more powerful units build. I imagine in a 1vp game objectives would be much more desirable. It’s a thing I’m keen to play test. As far as difficult decisions go the ones that stick out most were after the Butchers killed the Conqueror squad what the League of Zandor should do next. I didn’t know if the Invaders would have the fire power to counter them (turns out they kind of did). The other one is the placement of the Butchers after they returned to the battlefield. I think I made the wrong choice there. Had I put them on the left they would have wiped out the invaders with the destroyer, and then should have made it easily to the invaders that only had small arms as they lacked the firepower to kill that many Butchers. But then all this is with hindsight knowing the order of the cards and after the Vesh assassin killed the Overlord. What I do love about Deathzap is it constantly gives me difficult choices.

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