Thursday, October 21, 2010

Killzone: Landscape

Life has its boot firmly pressed against my neck these weeks, but I wanted to drop a quick word with regard to a comment I noted recently with regard to Killzone (it's just about all I am able to manage these days) and specifically the pace of the game. In it, the author suggested that the game played entirely too quickly and that his group needed to explore other avenues to make the game stretch out a bit. 

First, fair play.  I'm tremendously pleased that people are out there in the real world giving all of this a proper go.

The initial point is one of pure aesthetics. I've enjoyed a number of games in the last month or so (as pictured here in this historical re-enactment of Matt's still undefeated Necrons giving me some serious business. Wraiths are brutal in Killzone for reasons discussed two paragraphs below), and one hour seems to be the upper-limit with the average game clocking in more handily at about 45 minutes. Perhaps this is neither here nor there, but I enjoy this pace. Monday night, for example, I was delighted to meet up with some classy folk, and we managed two games in under three hours -including ample time for list-making, chatter, and general congenialities. With the aforementioned life at my gullet, I didn't have a moment more to spare.

But still, the subsequent point got me thinking a bit. I encourage any/all of you to amend these rules as you see fit. They are houserules, first and foremost, and should be treated with the same casual, respectful, and refined disregard for authoritative documents that inspired KZ in the first place. Having said that, I suspect there may have been another factor at play with the commentator's frustration: Terrain. 

In my first few encounters with the ruleset, we did not set the table properly for the Killzone dynamic.  As such, the first two games revolved around a shooting gallery in the middle of the table -OK Corral style, which was not particularly compelling. The Killzone Missions all suggest a ratio of about 50% terrain. I would offer that one might take this even further. Perhaps just as importantly, I highly recommend that you be sure to obstruct the center of the table in some modest capacity. The picture here is an example of what we came up with in a mere 4x4 space. The center piece helps limit the "high noon" shootouts, while the rest of the terrain lends itself to quite dynamic, chess match, maneuvering in those opening turns before the knives are drawn and the guns begin to bark.   

I wish there was time for more, but this will suffice for now. Happy hunting. See you Friday.


Big Jim said...

Man oh man, I have got to build and try out a Necron Team!

I concur terrain in Killzone makes or breaks the game; just like normal 40k.

I would honestly suggest 70% terrain coverage of the tabletop, and always place some sort of terrain to obstruct the center of the table.

Another suggestion I have is for City type tables. Make sure to obstruct your streets and alleyways with debris. Piles of rubble, barricades or destroyed vehicles all work well for this.

The goal is to severely limit clear lanes of fire. Make your teams work for their shots.


Ad Astra said...

How have I not seen this awesome blog before? Loving the killzone stuff, very interesting...

Brian said...

@ Jim. Quite right. I'm tempted to up the suggestion on the Scenario and/or Mission Briefings.

@ Fritz. I am flattered. Thank you kindly. I've enjoyed your own blog(s) tremendously and your kindness is very much appreciated. Cheers. I hope you will continue to enjoy and encourage you to raid the archives.

Big Jim said...

B, We are going to up it in the Killzone version 2 update. With a picture of a table, maybe then everyone will really get the point.


Matthias said...

Great couple of games the other night. That Flamers/Horrors list that Scott ran was looking brutal there for a moment - something like 5 dead Orks in one turn? The mission got him in the end though. Too focused on carnage!

Started working on my Red Scorpions today.

Having night terrors about Wraiths yet? If they only had 2 wounds...

Big Jim said...

"Having night terrors about Wraiths yet? If they only had 2 wounds... "

That is too funny Matthias!

It's a shame that it took Killzone to make Wraiths the terror that they should be on the tabletop.

You could always designate the Wraith as your team leader to give him that extra wound! I'm just sayin!


Loquacious said...

I'm seriously math deficient. Could you kindly explain how to know if I've got 70% coverage?

Big Jim said...

What I do is measure out a 15 inch deep line along one of the table edges. I then fill most if not all, the rest of table with terrain.

Once I have enough terrain, I spread out the terrain across the whole tabletop.(the terrain is evenly divided between LOS blocking, area and difficult terrain)

Loquacious said...


That's a brilliant idea. Thanks very much!

Brian said...

@ Matt. Great fun, and I'm already looking forward to the next round. Also, I think Big Jim might be on to something with regard to those 2 wounds...

@ Loquacious. Jim's got it pretty well covered, but I'm crap at math as well, so I would add the following approach: I place scenery on the table until I feel modestly uncomfortable. Then I put a bit more. It's not math, but it usually works just fine.


Artemi said...

The way we do it for regular games should work here. Take the table, then divide it into 4 quarters (like you would for normal 40k).

If you fill one quarter with terrain, it's 25%. Fill two, it's 50%. Fill three, it's 75%. So, for 70%, just fill two corners fully, and most of the third.

Done and done.