The Singularity War – Episode 1: Hell and High Water

Since the events of December 23rd 1944, Tarmagant Island has garnered a sinister reputation and it, and the waters surrounding it, are avoided by those living nearby.

However, it is carefully monitored for signs of preternatural activity, and when lights and strangely garbed forms were spotted on the island, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence were immediately notified. Given the importance this locale in his own history, it was inevitable that Hellboy himself would be sent to investigate.

However, his arrival is not only expected, but has been planned for…

I appreciate that is has been a fair old while since I’ve posted anything on the Buffet, but real life threw me a series of curve balls and I’ve been attempting to restore a little bit of normality. As such, I haven’t really had any spare time in which to do anything hobby-related and, to be frank, haven’t really had any motivation either.

But having now secured some temporary employment, my thoughts have returned to my beloved gaming and I’ve finally got around to playing the first episode of The §ingularity War.

Now, I decided to play the first episode using the Clobberin’ Time rules developed by Alan aka Kaptain Kobold, which are available to download from his blog here, which are specifically designed for small-scale superhero skirmish gaming and are relatively straight-forward. These were chosen, as I’ve not yet had a crack at using them and wanted to see how they played out.

So, on with the AAR. I decided to utilise my Heroscape hexes once more, to provide the terrain upon which this conflict would take place. As Tarmagant Island is off the coast of Scotland and has ruined buildings upon it, I think it does do a good job of representing it on the table, like so;

So, the forces of good are represented by Hellboy and two B.P.R.D. agents, Agent Collins at the back and Agent Brown at the front. Under the Clobberin’ Time rules, Hellboy is a Level 3 Hero, whereas the agents are Level 2 Sidekicks. This means that each character gets their level in d6’s to roll for both attack and defence, with a 4+ being considered a success.

In addition, Hellboy has a Medium (6″) Ranged attack, which I decided was ‘weak’, meaning he only got a success if he rolled 5+, as Hellboy is renowned for being a rubbish shot, and both Strength and Resilient. For the agents, I gave them standard Medium Ranged attacks for their pistols and Accuracy, meaning they get a single die re-roll on any ranged attacks per turn.

And these are the forces of easily swayed and/or bought evil – Powerfist, Flashpoint and Count Zero.

These are all characters from my own superhero universe and are currently working on behalf of Kronus, as there is something on Tarmagant Island he needs.

They are all three Level 3 Villains, with Powerfist having the abilities Martial Arts and Strength, Flashpoint having Power Blast Medium and Teleport, and Count Zero having Block, Flight and Hinder.

As you can see from the first picture, each group started at opposite ends of the “island” and the intervening terrain prevented them from seeing each other for a while.

Initiative is determined by dealing each model in play a card from a standard deck of cards, with the characters acting when their assigned card comes up – from Aces down to twos. When activated, each character can move and perform an action. So, a character can move, then shoot or shoot then move. However, it appears that if there are no additional actions you can perform, all the model can do that turn is move. All models have a standard move of 6″, which for the purposes of this game, I’m assuming is the equivalent of 3 hexes, as the hexes are 1 3/4 inches across.

The first two turns saw both groups just moving forward, as the terrain prevented them from seeing each other, so they couldn’t actually do anything else. The actual cards dealt didn’t actually mean anything at this point, as they were just creeping forward, so whether one character or another went first was irrelevant.

At the end of Turn 2, the villains had moved close to the central ruins from one side…

…whilst the heroes had moved to the exterior wall of the ruins from the other side.

At the beginning of Turn 3, Count Zero, being a somewhat hot-headed Russian, (which is strange given his control of ice and snow) got fed up with all this creeping about and launched himself into the air using his Flight ability,so he could get an idea of where their opponents were.Flying up and over the ruined building, he spotted both Agent Brown and Hellboy of the ground below him and decided to freeze Agent Brown is his tracks (Hinder 6″ range). Whilst the Count rolled a single success, Agent Brown managed two successes and dodged the icy blast.

Hellboy moved forward and lined up a shot at Count Zero, hoping that on this occasion his aim would be true and although rolling Weak dice (5+ for a success), managed to get a single success. Count Zero attempted to Block this with an ice shield and failed, taking a wound.

Agent Brown also moved forward and fired his pistol at the Count, and only managed to get a hit from the re-roll allowed by his Accuracy. However, the Count was more successful this time, managing to get an ice shield in the way to prevent further damage.

Flashpoint, who’d been skulking behind the wall, moved into the central part of the ruins and aimed his flame pistol at Agent Brown, unleashing a 4 dice Power Blast at him. He managed to get two successes and therefore two potential hits – Agent Brown managed to block one of them and took a point of damage, reducing him to only one point (the number of Health points equals the character’s level).

Powerfist moved next, but as he was further away, he can hear the sounds of battle on the other side of the wall, but can’t see anyone yet and therefore cannot do anything.

Agent Collins moved around the other wall and can now see Flashpoint, who has just torched his friend, so he shoots at Flashpoint, scoring 2 successes, once of which is blocked, so Flashpoint takes a point of damage.

At the end of Turn 3, Agent Brown, Count Zero and Flashpoint have sustained wounds.

Turn 4 saw Agent Collins up first, who shot at Flashpoint again, causing another wound, then diving into cover behind the wall.

Powerfist finally moved into battle, charging into hand-to-hand combat with Hellboy and scoring a massive 4 successes due to his Martial Arts and Strength. And even though Hellboy is Resilient, he only managed to block two of these, taking two wounds and reducing him to single point of health!

Being slightly annoyed with this turns of events, Hellboy gives Powerfist the smackdown with the ‘Right Hand of Doom’ scoring 3 successes. However, Powerfist’s Martial Arts training allows him to dodge the majority of these, but Hellboy clips him for one.

Count Zero descends to the ground and, as per their plan, attempts to freeze Hellboy in his tracks. However, Hellboy nimbly jumps out of the way, and the wall behind him is covered in rime.

Agent Collins runs down behind the wall and, once in the open, opens fire on Count Zero, whose hastily summoned ice shield manages to block his shot.

Flashpoint, being somewhat of a sadistic bastard, fires his flame gun once more at Agent Brown, and manages to incinerate him. His smoking corpse drops to the ground.

Turn 5 saw both Count Zero and Powerfist attempting to freeze Hellboy in place and then pummel him into submission. However, the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator managed to avoid both villains. However, Flashpoint moved forward and unleashed a Power Blast from his flame gun, scoring a single hit on Hellboy, which unfortunately he failed to block. As this was his last point, Hellboy dropped to the ground unconscious.

Realising that he was now alone against three super-powered individuals, one of which had effectively taken down both his fellow agents, Agent Collins decided to take a shot at Flashpoint – and took him down! Collins then retreated, desperately trying to radio for back-up.

Turn 6 saw Agent Collins win the initiative, and he turned and fired at Count Zero, scoring two successes. Unfortunately, both were blocked by the Count.

Powerfist then leaped forward and punched out Agent Collins (4 successes, only one block, 3 hits taken and only 2 wounds).

Count Zero approached the unconscious form of Hellboy and was soon joined by Powerfist, his gauntlets humming with power.

“Our employer will be pleased, comrade.” said the Count, “We have secured the ‘Right Hand of Doom’ as tasked, with only the loss of one of our number.”

Powerfist reached down, lifted and hefted the recumbent form of Hellboy across his back. “Best get back to the portal, then.” he grunted, then paused sniffing.

“Can you smell dry-roasted peanuts?”

Next – Episode 2…

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12 thoughts on “The Singularity War – Episode 1: Hell and High Water

  1. Great write-up, Jez, and a nice looking game to boot 🙂 Things don’t look good for Hellboy I’ll admit, but where there’s life there’s possibly a way. Looking forward to the second instalment, and an interesting set of rules too.

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    • Thanks Simon. I have to admit I didn’t use ALL of the rules – I only remembered about Knockback halfway through, so decided not to use it for the remainder of the game. They are quite an easy set to use. The game only took just over an hour, including me writing up the notes and taking the photos, so they’re pretty quick and as long as you’ve got the list of abilities to hand, quite easy to check the effects of each ‘power’.

      And things don’t look good for our demonic friend, but we’ll have to ser how the rest plays out, as the next episode will feature a different reality and different combatants.

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  2. Great write up Jez, plenty of twists and turns as any superhero story should have.
    Great to hear you’ve found some work, hope all goes well

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    • Thanks Dave. The first two turns were not exactly riveting, as each team moved closer, then Count Zero got bored and everything kicked off. Even with slightly unbalanced sides, it was quite close, with both sides having both great and shocking rolls. I’ll probably continue with this set of rules for at least the next game, just to give them a fair outing.

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    • Surprised me too, Andy, as I was sure that Hellboy and the agents would triumph. Even though Count Zero proved to be a bit crap, the villains prevailed…this time. However, Kronus still needs more components for his machine, so this multiversal scavenger hunt will continue.

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  3. Nice write up Jez, one, nil to the Jezzie’verse!

    I had hoped Hellboy would have performed better though. the agents did make me think of the line from “Mystery Men”….”Gun’s, that’s your superpower? Gun’s”.

    Cheers Roger.

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    • Thanks Roger. There was supposed to be a third agent in Hellboy’s team, but I couldn’t find her, so they were one agent light. I’m not sure it would have made much difference, as Hellboy was rolling crap.

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  4. Awww, no! Hellboy down? Well, as this is a campaign, there’s much that can happen. Eagerly looking forward to issue #2! Will you continue to use Clobberin’ Time, or will you change the system?

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    • Hellboy was a little unfortunate in his rolls, hence his defeat. But as he’s been captured, rather than killed, I’m sure he’ll turn up again.

      Probably will use ‘Clobberin’ Time’ a couple more times, just to make sure I’m using it correctly, then change to something else.

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    • All wars have casaulties, Michael, and Hellboy and his compatriots are just the first of many. As I’ve trying to ensure balanced games, whilst I may have a preferred outcome, I never quite know what the end result will be. Unlike the comic books, this may end badly for the heroes, with Kronus succeeding with his dastardly plan, unless someone equally as cunning interferes…

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