While visiting my brother, he rounded up all his old painted minis and let me borrow the box of them to share on the blog.
From left to right: 20-922 Battletech Kurita – Special Forces D.S.A., 20-941b Battletech Liao Ground Trooper , 20-002 Dangerous Henchman
Ral Partha, 1985.
The middle one reminded me a bit of a Star Wars Rebel because of the colors, but after having found the Battletech Liao Ground Trooper last time around, I was pretty sure this must be another one. So it would seem my brother might have had a blister of them. I’ll leave it to IRO to supply the jokes regarding his droopy gun.
Some interesting SciFi/Modern characters here for me. First off, it was interesting to see a number of Battletech minis had been purchased. I had tried to get into the Mech game at one point, but we found it to be too tedious and my brother dislikes wargames even more than I do. Neither of us ever planned on using the ground troops from the game. I just wanted to fight big robots. So it was a little surprising to discover that he had some Battletech ground troop minis. Though, back then we lived in a remote location and hobby pickings were slim. Even so, these are some pretty nice troop, guard, military looking minis.
Character wise, the guy in the middle probably served some generic roles. The guy on the far right, was used as a civilian, thug, what have you. The guy on the left, I remember quite clearly as an antagonist in our SciFi campaign.
Tangent – When Game Systems Fail
As I mentioned above, the mini on the far left was used as an antagonist in one of our games. My brother had pitted me against a bounty hunter along the lines of Boba Fett, and setup a climactic fight scene on top of a building. I think my character was at a disadvantage. Perhaps weaponless, though he was highly skilled in martial arts.
So there we were squared off, one on one, my character’s moment to shine and show what he’s made of! And like so many RPGs, it went something like this:
Me: “Ok, since we’re on top of a roof and he has armor (and possibly other weapons) and I don’t, I’m going to try take him out quick. I’ll make a judo throw and try to get him off the roof.”
*rolls attack dice* “Miss..”
Brother: “You’re in luck, he attacks and misses you.”
Me: “Knocking him off the roof is a still good plan. I’m going to try and charge him and knock him off, since he’s close to the ledge.”
*rolls attack dice* *sigh* Miss again…..”
And that went back and forth a few times, making a rather unclimactic fight scene. Though memorable in the amount of misses. I did eventually manage to beat the bad guy, but that could have been a real disaster had I failed. Though, there are always new characters to be made.
It’s interesting to me that game systems, especially RPGs, often try to emulate cinematic storytelling. The mechanic of leaving the character’s success up to the whims of the dice, can be a pretty disheartening one though. Anyone who has tried to play a Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Magic-User, with 1-4 hit points, (and only 1 Spell per day!) can tell you all about the whims of dice.
As game systems evolved, some of them tried to take this into account and make it easier to mitigate bad luck. Sometimes by going the opposite route of eliminating dice or making overly powerful characters. I’m not sure how things have changed in the current D&D rules, but I know that the Magic-User got beefed up over the years.
I’m generally okay with characters dying in our games. Maybe because I grew up on D&D 1e, where it happened a lot. Or maybe it’s just the sort of challenging games I like to play (hurray for Blood Bowl!). I’m not fond of overly long combat sessions, where most of the time is spent checking missed dice rolls. I also like the idea as a player or more as a Gamemaster to setup something climactic where someone can shine. That can be difficult though, if it’s based on luck of dice and might feel like cheating if it isn’t.
Thoughts? Have you ever felt that a game system failed to tell the narrative you wanted to? Or dealt with a particularly bad (or good) game system?