Real men may not look at explosions, but….
…they sure do cheer when things blow up on the tabletop!
This is part 3 in my ongoing series of posts about Narrative gaming. Now most of the posts will focus on 40k, but a lot of the ideas can port into any wargaming genre.
When I speak of the “wow factor” I am talking about those epic moments in a game that get everyone involved cheering and laughing! Successful narrative games emphasize the fun aspect of the game.
Here are two examples from the event I just ran last weekend: first up is the Daemon Prince that just would not die! That monster made more saves than were statistically possible and everyone involved was whooping and hollering as he survived a torrent of fire that should have pancaked him!
Next we have the apocalyptically exploded Baneblade that took out buildings, terrain and scads of other models with it! The cheering on both sides of the table was so loud that it turned heads in the gaming hall!
There are ways of creating these moments artificially through special rules, random events and even through game master involvement.
Creating house rules to help the game feel more like the stories in the novels can be a great way to make those wow moments happen. Let’s look at one of the rules I made for the BAO event.
“Dangerous Terrain checks usually remove a model if they roll a 1 on the D6 test. In this event if the model fails the dangerous terrain test it is only removed if the model fails its saving throw (Armor or Invulnerable). Feel No Pain may not be used to save a model from a failed save in this case.”
Now this was a relatively simple change that allowed jump troops to cinematically jump in and clear troops from dense terrain like woods with less chance to trip over a rock and die. It also allowed deepstriking troops to be really gutsy with their deployment; just like they would do in one of the Black Library novels.
I also for this event took a page outta my S.O. Killzone design philosophy by including Fate and Strategy cards to each player. These were very well received and added a new twist to the game.
The Fate cards allowed players to do things like once per game re-roll all failed saving throws, gain furious charge for that assault that had to be won or double their firepower for one shooting phase.
The Strategy cards allowed for all sorts of nifty in game effects like giving players Orbital strikes, veteran infantry or tank crews and strategic redeployment of one unit.
Through game master involvement I was able to add tension to the game by having randomly deployed warp portals that would transport units that moved through them to a “pocket dimension” so they could attempt to claim an alien artifact.
These are just some ideas I have used to good effect, but there are countless more things that can be done to add that “wow factor.”