I had picked up these rules for a knock-down price at Warfare in Reading in November, then was given 2 boxed sets of Judges and Apes for Christmas, so without really meaning to I had embarked on yet another new period. It’s a miracle that the figures have been painted before the next Reading, but as you only need 4 or 5 figures a side for the basic game of 500 points, the scale suits me down to the ground. The scenario from the book was Street Rumble with only one victory condition – wipe out the opposing gang or make them run away – perfect for learning the rules. I played on a 4′ x 4′ board but after the game I found that a lot of it wasn’t used, so 3′ x 3′ might be more suitable given move distances and weapon ranges.
The recommended starting force for a campaign is 500 credits (points), which only gives you 3 Judges – however, they are all termed Heroes in the game. As Heroes they all cost more, but they get 2 Talents each – at level 1 (which they are) these talents usually boil down either making their basic attributes slightly better, giving them re-rolls in shooting or melee or giving them special attacks. They also get to increase two of their basic attributes by +1. Though I really wanted a Psi Judge, I held off as it would add complication to the game and took a Riot Judge instead – just as well the way things turned out. The Ape Gang had 3 Heroes – a Gorilla with a double-barrelled Stump gun (think shotgun) in a fetching little red number, a Gorilla with a Spit gun (SMG) and an Orangutan Sniper with a Long rifle – they too got heroes’ attributes. The apes were joined by two cheap and cheerful minions to make up the numbers, a gorilla and a chimp, both armed with clubs.
The Apes won the roll for the initiative which meant they would be going first each turn. Each figure in a force gets 2 actions per turn – any mix of move, fire, melee & special. Special actions allow figures to hide, prepare a complex weapon for firing, go on overwatch (react to an enemy model if they move within 10″) or use a talent. Judges can also use a special action to arrest Perps (and are obliged to if the Perp hasn’t attacked anyone yet)
With no targets in range, the Apes used both their special actions to “hide”, burning both their actions but meaning that if they were over 50% in cover no-one could draw line-of-sight to them.
In response, the Judges took 2 move actions and advanced a full 10″. This brought them into range of the Orangutan sniper, who loosed off 2 shots at long range. Shooting is straightforward – the attacker rolls a number of D10 for rate of fire (1 in this case), then adds his shoot value while the defender rolls 1D10 and adds his agility. Any of the attacker’s scores which beat the defender’s score is a hit. The first shot missed, but as the Ape had the “accurate” talent, he could re-roll. With the re-roll hitting, the defender can then make an armour save (if he’s wearing any) – this is a straight roll of a D10 adding the positive value of the armour worn then subtracting any armour-piercing attributes the attacker’s weapon has and any talents which grant AP – if the result is greater than 10 then the armour has stopped the bullet. The Judge’s armour is +5 (pretty good), the Long Rifle’s AP is -1 and the sniper’s Crack Shot talent gave a further -1 so the Judge needed 8 or more, which he failed to do and took a wound – luckily heroes have at least 2 wounds. The sniper’s second shot went wide, even with a re-roll. Everyone else on the Ape side continued to hide.
The wounded Judge’s reaction was predictable. Judges are armed with a Lawgiver handgun amongst other things, which is a beast of a weapon to be on the receiving end off with a ROF of 3 for standard rounds and a damage of 2 wounds for every hit – ouch. The sniper would be no easy shot though, as the Orangutan had an agility of +3 and heavy cover would give him another +3. He rolled a 4 on a D10, but the Judge calmly rolled 2 ’10’ results, which with his shoot of +1 gave him 2 hits – not only that, a 10 is a critical hit which causes double damage. The sniper still had a chance though as heavy cover gave him a +3 armour save – he made 1 save but fluffed the second, so took 4 damage and was killed as he only had 2 hit points. The extra damage has to be noted down though because in a campaign game it becomes important as to whether the hero survives the battle or not. The wounded Judge moved with his second action, with the other 2 Judges moving twice.
This double move brought them within range of the Gorilla leader with his Spit Gun – with a ROF of 3 and an AP of -2, this is another nasty weapon loosing off 6 shots in a turn if both actions are used to shoot. However, 6 shots caused only one wound on the Street Judge armed with 2 Lawgivers.
Encouraged by this, the Gorilla in a dress tried to finish the wounded judge off with his Stump Gun – he scored 2 hits but both were saved, though the wounded Judge was knocked over backwards by the blast.
This unfortunately took him out of range of a second volley. Not waiting for retribution to strike, the Gorilla ran for cover behind a building as his second action.
Seizing their chance, first the Gorilla minion then the Chimp minion charged in. The gorilla took on the Riot Judge but rolled miserably and missed.
The chimp wisely went for the prone Judge (the Judge lost -4 from his melee and armour roll for being on the ground) with an attack roll of a 10 for a critical hit sealing the Judge’s fate and putting him out of action. However, now it was the Judge’s turn and the Ape minions were horribly exposed. The Street Judge successfully arrested the chimp as his first action, then emptied 3 rounds from his Lawgiver towards the Gorilla leader – another roll of a critical 10 saw the Lawgiver do double damage after a failed armour check and put the Gorilla Leader out of action. The Riot Judge used his “Shieldbash” skill to automatically wound the Gorilla minion in melee, then as a second action administered the coup-de-grace with his baton.
The sole remaining standing member of the Ape Gang failed his Will check to fight on, fading into the background (as much as a gorilla in a dress can fade into the background). The game was great fun (even solo) and very cinematic, but the rule book is all over the place. Thankfully the rules aren’t that complex so consulting the rules should become less vital with a few games under your belt. I didn’t get to try out the Psi rules or the vehicle rules, but with the East Meg Invasion force on the painting table, I should be able to give those a go soon. There’s also a campaign system to develop a gang over a few battles which I wouldn’t mind giving a try.