Mortan’s Men vs The Void – A Playtest Battle Report

After the last battle report I was asked by Hexeres if smaller elite forces have an advantage in games of Deathzap since you get 3 victory points per destroyed unit. So a force with fewer better units will give away less points. So today amidst a headache and flu like symptoms (but not Covid as I’ve been testing daily) I decided to see if that were true.

I’m using the Mortan’s Men force from the previous report:

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.

Putting that up against this 501 point void force:

The Bloodvault for 283 points.

A squad of Ghosts with grenades and a repeater for 218 points. I didn’t have any ghosts modelled with a repeater like my other forces so I’m using the figure with the SMG like weapon to count as that. Which technically in Deathzap just comes under ‘small arms’ as it would be a sub or light repeater.

I’ll be playing with the same scenario set up as before – 3vps for destroying a unit and for activating an objective you get 1vp per 6” away from your home board edge the objective is.

Mortan’s Men will be black and the Void red.

The first card out is the red Ace, which I think is just about the worst thing for the Void, that’s a lot of activations they won’t have killing things.

The Void advance and activate the central objective for two victory points. The Void take the early lead 2-0.

The next card is the red 5 the Ghosts activate their objective for another 2vps. 4-0.

The black Jack came out next and the Splicer and Ascended moved in and opened up on the Ghosts and did nothing. Both times the Ghosts returned fire and dealt two damage each.

Next up was the red Jack. The Bloodvault hovered over to the Splicer and obliterated him.

The Bloodvault opens its doors and sucks all of the blood out of any life nearby. This is represented with its weapon the Exsanguinator 5H8 (short range). Of the five shots two hit the Splicer, of the two hits one beat his shields so he took 8 damage. The Splicer was very dead. 7-0.

Then the Ghosts activated their objective and attempted to put more damage on the Ascended but failed miserably. 9-0.

The black 5 appeared next. A Cultist unit deployed on the far right and ran for the furthest objective.

I don’t think Mortan’s Men have any chance of winning with a straight up fight, but if they can bring down even one of the Void units they might swing the game using board control.

The black king was drawn next. Another Cultist unit deployed next and grabbed the objective on the far left.

The Ascended then aimed and fired at the Ghosts getting him +1 to hit. 6 hits were scored and 3 beat the Ghosts shields causing them to make a saving throw which they failed so a Ghost went down. The Ghosts returned fire and managed 3 more damage forcing a saving throw which the Ascended luckily passed.

The red Queen was drawn next. The Bloodvault repositioned and destroyed the Ascended. The Void extend that lead 12-0.

The Ghosts then move and fire at the Cultists nee the objective on the far left, they kill 3 and pin the unit.

The red 9 then drawn allows the Ghosts to charge the unit they just fired upon and finish them off. Void 15-0.

With the red Jack then pulled the Ghosts activate the objective they just stole and score 3 more victory points 18-0. The Bloodvault then heads for the centre hoping to catch the Cultist unit on the far right at its next opportunity.

A black 2 allows the remaining Cultists to move to the far objective and stay out of line of sight of the Bloodvault.

The red three drawn next however allows the Bloodvault again to float into position and drain the Cultists of their blood. The Void are in the lead 21-0.

A black 9 forces the only remaining Mortan’s Men unit left into play – The Butchers. They immediately headed for the biggest threat the Bloodvault. Hoping for a black card next so they can complete their charge and deal some damage to it!

Unfortunately it was a red 8, the Bloodvault turned and opened it’s dripping maw. The Bloodvault scored three hits and beat the Butcher’s shields twice scoring 16 damage, enough to eat all five. Mortan’s Men are fully removed from play and the Void win 24-0.

Checking the cards Mortan’s men had 11 activations left to the Void’s 5 so they were pretty unlucky.

I immediately played a second game, this time stacking the deck so the game had a more even spread of activations. Mortan’s Men actually won this time, although they were extremely lucky to have done so. The Splicer managed to survive a lengthy firefight with the Bloodvault and basically crippled it and the Butchers chewed up the Ghosts very early on. Needless to say Mortan’s Men won by destroying all the Void units, objectives wise the Void were still way ahead 39-9.

So where does that leave me, what have I learned about the current state of Deathzap and what do I want to change?

I think how damage is dealt needs to be addressed. In the current version damage spreads from figure to figure like Age of Sigmar. If I change it so excess damage doesn’t spread between figures like in 40k it should temper those high damage weapons. The Bloodvault will still be scary, but not capable of devouring an entire army on its own. In this way the maximum number of figures that can be killed by a weapon will be equal to its number of shots.

At the same time as all that I’m constantly desperate to simplify the rules, while still leaving room for all the things that make units feel unique, maybe there’s a better solution?

Although to answer Hexeres original query, the game is somewhat balanced now I’ve added the additional rule that if you get tabled you lose. It’s a high risk high reward strategy to bring few elite units which I think is a good aspect for the game to have.

2 thoughts on “Mortan’s Men vs The Void – A Playtest Battle Report

  1. I feel honoured to be the cause of your latest post! Those changes sound like they may do the trick. For the record, I guess the most obvious – but quite possibly, the most tedious – way of tackling the issue would be to award VPs as a ratio of the points value of units destroyed. You could either assign a VP value to units at the start (unit points/50), or at the end of the game, total the points value of all destroyed units/50.

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