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Sunday, 27 May 2012

New Project: Judge Dredd

Sunday, May 27, 2012

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I am the law!

I mentioned earlier that a post by that sneaky Hendy Badger got me interested in the Judge Dredd Miniature Game by Mongoose Publishing again. The game is the spiritual successor of Gangs of Mega-City One but is in itself an entirely different game. It was released last year as a free PDF by Mongoose and they have since then expanded their miniature range so there's now a fair amount of Judge Dredd miniatures available. The rulebook is also being continually updated as new miniatures appear and rule tweaks are added.

I downloaded it back in 2011 but only skimmed through it, kind of dismissing it as a Necromunda copy. But when I came across that article about it at Tales of a Tabletop Skirmisher I decided to give it another look as it sounded like a lot of fun. Now, me and my group of gamer friends played loads ands loads of Necromunda back in the day. Of all the GW games that is the one we played the most (perhaps rivalled by Epic). In a skirmish environment the somewhat clunky 40k rules work a lot better (as that is how it was meant to be played of course!) and even though it could be a bit fiddly at times we had lots of fun with it. The campaign aspect especially was often the major motivator, both from a gameplay standpoint (more xp!) and from a campaign standpoint (cool stories!). We grew attached to our gangs and our gangers and generally had a good time. Things started to get out of hand as the gangs became too powerful, since the game wasn't really able to handle that level, so now and then we simply started over from scratch.

Necromunda having a special place in our hearts we have often talked about reviving it in some way, simply running it vanilla or using some different rules system (like AE Bounty). Having played some more modern miniature games like Infinity going back to the old 40k rules has been the largest hurdle for me. They just feel so slow and... uninspired in comparison. However, neither would I like to play Necromunda with Infinity rules, it simply wouldn't feel right as Necromunda needs to be more "pulpy" in the rules department. 

So what does this have to do with Judge Dredd? Well, leafing through the book it felt like a great middle ground between the two; more modern and quick playing than Necromunda, but not as lethal and punishing as Infinity. My initial thoughts of using the system to play Necromunda slowly made a 180° turn as I kept reading. You see, Mega-City One is really the original Hive and whatever you can find in Necromunda you can find something ten times weirder, ten times more deadly or ten times as funny in Mega-City One! So instead of thinking about how to adapt it to Necromunda I started thinking how the different Necromunda gangs we have lying around would fit into Judge Dredd. Most of the regular gangs would simply become street gangs, whereas scavvies and ratskins would become Cursed Earth denizens (or a Zombie Horde!) etc. Back during my early teens I used to read Judge Dredd in 2000AD so it all felt familiar in a nostalgic kind of way.

The Angel Gang.

Using the minis we have at hand is certainly attractive as we can get away with not painting all that much, but both me and Anders felt like it wouldn't feel right not adding some iconic Mega-City One inhabitants to our rooster of available minis. Some Judges, fatties as well as perhaps some apes and sky surfers are on the shopping list. I also have my Kolony Ferals that would make excellent Cursed Earth mutants or similar.

The rules are fairly straightforward (roll a D10 with stat modifiers vs a threshold of six or your opponents roll) but has a number of small details that takes it to the next level. My favourite rule is probably that Judge's must use an action to try and arrest a perp before opening fire, making an opposed Will roll the perp will simply be removed (ie arrested) from the board if the Judge wins! Awesome! Or the Vid-reporter (see right) you can take as a mercenary for your gang and if he can get enough action on film you'll get a lot more money after the game from interviews and royalties. Haha!

There are a number of nifty scenarios and they all seem fun. Of course, I'm already thinking of how to adapt the old Necromunda scenarios to this new setting, should be pretty straightforward. When creating your gang you're given much more freedom than in Necromunda (or the strict AE Bounty system) which I think will make it easier for us to really get going. The only area the game falls a little flat is when it comes to playing a campaign. The rules for receiving XP and resolving injuries are fine, it's just that the rest of the campaign structure is fairly minimalistic and abstract; there are no territories and the scenarios have no impact on how much money you receive. It's a simple 20% of the value of the larger gang if you won or 10% if you lost.

Basically it's just a simple framework and you would have to flesh it out yourself if you want the feel of a more living campaign. My thoughts was to either adapts some rules from Necromunda, or the predecessor Gangs of Mega-City One. Although, this is something for the future as a simple, no-frills campaign system might be just what we need to get going (and keep going).

I've been talking to a few of my gaming friends and I think we could get a small campaign with maybe four or five players in it. Me and Anders have offered to lend models to anyone who want to join in to remove that obstacle and with games being quick I think we could have some game nights dedicated to Judge Dredd where we could possibly all meet up and play a couple of games each. I hope so anyway.

To go with this project I started looking at different kinds of urban terrain and what we might be missing in our collections. I know some people disagree but I think the Necromunda terrain is pretty great and overall it would work well for Judge Dredd as well. We have three sets in total so there's that. We've never really had a good table to play on though as having a nice grassy green table doesn't feel right and just a black cloth is a bit boring, so I started looking around for alternatives. I had seen Mr. Harolds excellent looking Shadowrun table over at Clear Horizon (here and here) and was impressed by how much difference the street layout made! 

So I started investigating Worldworks Games a bit more. I've been there many times before but never actually bought anything. At fist I thought I'd use the same as Mr. Harold, ie the Mayhem Streets of Legedn set, but then I came across Streets of Titan and I wasn't so sure anymore. It seemed like Titan might go a lot better together with the Necromunda terrain and perhaps more fitting to Infinity as well. Problem is the pictures on their site doesn't give a good view of what the Titan set really looks like but after some googling I came across the Incunabulog where the author is using cardboard to make raised sidewalks etc.

The holes will be filled in of course, I just haven't had the time to cut those parts out yet.

It looked really good so I decided to get Streets of Titan and pretty much do the same thing. Having a friend with access to an industrial printer made my choice easier as I could get away with it for cheap. He even supplied me with enough foamboard to do the entire 120x120cm board! I've printed out what I need to to make it although, I'm not sure what to do about the layout. Right now I've created the one you can see above and thought I'd simply build it the same every time, my reasoning being that trying to construct an actual modular board was too tricky. But then again, it would be a lot of fun to be able to change it up according to the scenario. I'd be more than happy for any advice on how to make a modular board layout that really works well. At the moment I'm wondering if I have put too many streets and not enough "sidewalk" in there. But then again, streets are cool and there's nothing saying you cant plonk down some scatter terrain on them. Besides the good old Necromunda terrain I'm thinking about getting one of the Downtown sets as well to make more traditional housing blocks. 

Oh, and it bears mentioning that I'm planning to assemble them with four sections to one foamboard 30x30cm squar, not the way Worldworks originally intended it. I feel this would make for easier storage and  alot quicker construction. Of course, it makes creating a good modular layout more tricky. Hmm.

Anyway, that's a little bit about Judge Dredd and this new terrain project! I'll update it as I go along and I'll write more about Judge Dredd as well. So far we've only tried the first intro scenario but a full on gang fight is in the cards in the near future! If you like skirmish games and perhaps wouldn't mind something a bit more layed back than Infinity or Tomorrow's War have a look at Judge Dredd. You really don't have anything to loose as it's free!

Until next time, citizen!

15 kommentarer :

  1. Very nice! I also have those rules (free! why not!) and have thought about doing some Judge Dredd games. I even picked up some 15mm judge dredd figures from 15mm.co.uk (http://www.15mm.co.uk/Law_Officers.htm)

    I couldn't decide between the Streets Of Legend and the Streets of Titan. The Streets of Titan looked really cool. I ended up going with the Streets of Legend just based off the Shadowrun Stories, but I think i'm going to get the other ones too, for my far-future games! (Like AE Bounty)

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  2. Mr. Harold, hello! I hadn't seen those 15mm "law officers" before. Good catch! I would probably have gone 15mm as well if it wasn't for the fact that we have so much Necromunda etc lying abou, waiting to get used. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of your Shadowrun game.

    I think Streets of Legend would actually fit better with the kind of pseudo-retro look of Judge Dredd, but Titan was better for Necromunda or Infinity, so I made a chose the latter. Migh very well get the other as well later on.

    By the way, have you tried The Department? Seems interesting.

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  3. The Department is a lot of fun... we're gonna use the reaction tables with Rezolution (my buddy and I prefer co-op games).

    Those streets of Titan do look pretty cool. One of these day's i'll pick them up too!

    Do you like infinity?

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  4. Nice! I really need to check it out. :)

    Love Infinity! It really opened my eyes in many ways with its reaction mechanic and emphasis on gameplay and tactics rather than list simply deployment and list building. "It's not your list it's you", is a common saying at the Infinity forums.

    The rules are free so give it a look!

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  5. --
    The rules are free so give it a look!
    --

    I did not know that! I'm off to download some rules!

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  6. Might be worth mentioning that the rulebook has suffered a little in translation and could be easier to read through. I recommend use of the Infinity army program and the Infinity Wiki, they'll make it a lot easier to understand the rules.

    You might try out the unofficual re-edit as well.

    Just give a shout if you have any questions. :)

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  7. It was nothing to do with me! Honest!

    Looking forward to seeing how you get on with it.

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  8. Great stuff! Got a few Mongoose Judges which I've painted and the free download, but haven't considered taking it forward yet. Looking forward to seeing how you get on - been a Dredd fan since his inception back in February 1977 ;)

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  9. @Hendybadger - Ooh... nothing at all, eh? Hehe! It's a good thing we won't have to spend much money on it. :)

    @Monty - Give it a go! It plays quickly and it captures the Dredd feel well I think. I didn't start reading Dredd that early (mainly because I wasn't born until a year later) but discovered him during the mid-late eighties. The Cursed Earth Saga and Judge Death is what really brought me onboard entirely! Re-reading it all now through the Complete Case Files compilations and it's still great stuff.

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  10. Its a great cheap game to get into.
    Hope to get some more games in soon.

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  11. Indeed. Definitely a big reason why we took a shine to it. I think next up for us is trying out a proper game using a street gang each. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks or so.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your ape adventures as well! :)

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  12. Im now running 4 gangs. Apes, Judges, Zombies and a Super Hero (or 3)

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  13. Nice! My plan is to use old models I already own and mix it up with choice Mega-City themed stuff to bring the theme across. Judges are a given and the apes look great as well! I've been thinking of making a super hero/vigilante using some Infinity model, perhaps Senor Massacre. :)

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  14. Make sure you post up what you build

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  15. Oh, I definitely will. :)

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