Sunday, March 8, 2020

Chrome•Hammer: //Virus Upload

This weekend I had a chance to playtest some cyberpunk minis beta rules.  Welcome to:

In the first mission, FOZ Pictures Corporation fought Meyerdyne Corporation over a resource extraction site.  Despite Meyerdyne's ED-2099 droid turning more than once on its own units, the pharmaceutical corporation came out on top, dropping FOZ's stock.

Meyerdyne captures the resource extractors.
Now it's time for some payback!

FOZ uses back-channels to hire a crew of 'Punks to sneak into a Meyerdyne installation and upload a virus, so that's what they do.  Here's the Meyerdyne compound.  Sorry for the terrain.  I'm still building up a collection.

In the future, all terrain is Taco Bell.
The yellow triangles are spawn points.  There's a basic guard at each.  The Corporation spent its extra kilobitcoins on a camera, an automated turret, a security drone, and a cyber-watchdog.  The turret and the camera start on the board, but the drone and the dog are waiting in the wings as reinforcements.

And these are our 'Punks for this evening's entertainment:

The bright colors don't seem very stealthy, but they make
for great camouflage in the neon-soaked future.
From left to right, Amaranth has a cloaking device, Verdun has a cyberdeck for hacking, Agent M has a cloaking device, Flavio has a laser-sword, and Bloo has, you guessed it, a cloaking device.  All of the 'Punks start hidden.

The mission goal is simple.  Get to the Objective and hack the virus into it.

It looks like a bomb, I know.
But there are a few distractions as well.  There are a couple Data Terminals with juicy pay-data waiting to be stolen...

The red light means they need a courtesy clerk at this one.
... and Loot Crates with high-tech gear, also waiting to be stolen.

But it's usually just junk left over from conventions.
If you're familiar with Squad-Hammer, the rules work basically like that.  The 'Punks go first, because they're the ones infiltrating the base.  Since they're currently hidden and need to get all the way to the other side of the table, they run for it, of course.  Only four of them are able to activate, though.  They swing wide to avoid the camera at the corner of that raised platform with the green stripe.

Right about here was the last time I thought this would be easy.
You can see that blue "1" beside Verdun.  That's because he ran too fast and too loudly.  He's gained a point of "Pulse", which puts him 1/6 of the way toward being Exposed.  The guards have moved toward the group, but they move slowly because they don't know that there's anything to be concerned about.  Yet.

At the end of the second round, Agent M has opened a Loot Crate and found a dose of Joltt™, a sort of automatic healing injector.  Cracking the crate gives him 3 Pulse (-1 for his cloaking device), and two of the guards passing by failed to spot him, but got close enough that Agent M took 2 more Pulse. Verdun ran straight for the objective in the back of the picture.  He's still hidden, but once again he ran too loudly and gave himself another Pulse.

I think they fill these crates with 'Punk-nip, to lure them in.
After the third round, Bloo, in the bottom right, failed to hack a Data Terminal, locking it (and removing it from the table).  This gave him 3 Pulse, but his cloaking device soaked one of them. Flavio ran for the door of the building and gave himself 1 Pulse.  And Verdun failed to hack the objective, taking 3 Pulse.  Yikes.  The guards still don't know there's anybody here, though.

Verdun's our hacker.  This should have been a cyber-cake-walk.
This job is taking too long!  A drone spawns, scanning for trouble.

[Hover-noises and beeping]
Round 4!  Verdun tries to hack the objective again, and fails again, despite the +2 bonus from his cyberdeck!  With 7 Pulse, he's Exposed!  All of the guards know where he is now, and come gunning for him!  These three shoot at him and manage to hit him for four damage (out of seven).  They're close enough that he does get to shoot back, though.

Too many nights playing Call of Duty XLII.
Not enough nights practicing hacking.
When the alarms go off, a cyber-dog is dispatched as well to help track down any intruders.

Meanwhile, Amaranth has been sidling up to this other Data Terminal, and managed to hack it on the first try, but a guard and the drone are on her scent, and she's in danger of becoming Exposed.

I guess Amaranth is the better hacker.
On the fifth turn, Verdun tries the hack one more time, and fails AGAIN before finally trying to duck back into this alley to escape.  But he's not fast enough, and this guard drops him!

Shouldn't have run.  Just got shot in the back.
Amaranth tries to run as well, but she's isn't quite around the corner before she's filled full of lead!

Better hacker.  Not better dodger.
On round six, the dog that Bloo has been struggling with finally takes him down.  Normally, he would have run, but the dog has a special ability to lock its jaws on you and keep you in the fight.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, is where Bloo is now.
I'm considering failing the mission and just running for the exit at this point, but these 'Punks are n00bz, and the only thing they'll lose if they're killed is their names, and the awesome Mazamun-A™ laser-sword that Flavio found in a loot crate on the roof of the building earlier.

No, it's OK. We can do this!
So, Flavio and Agent M go for it!  Agent M actually had a lot of Pulse earlier, but took a few  turns to hide before sneaking across the compound.  Unfortunately, that stupid dog scented him, and with a lucky roll inflicted 7 Pulse!  That would have been enough to Expose Agent M right in front of the turret, but luckily his cloaking device kept him just barely hidden.  Flavio, on the other hand, fails to hack the objective and is Exposed!  This again! :(

But Agent M is a bad-ass!  He swoops in and hacks the objective, successfully uploading the virus!  Mission accomplished!  Time to get out!

Flavio, why do you have snausages in your pocket?
Round 10 is a terrifying battle in the alley behind the building.  Flavio had run initially, but comes back to slash the cyber-dog off of Agent M, giving him time to use the Joltt™ that he found to revive Verdun!  This might turn out OK!

Right here is where some people quit.  Not allowed to hurt dogs in media.
Buuuut, it doesn't.  The drone and the other guard have cut off their escape!  Flavio is down and everyone else is seriously injured.  Verdun is hidden at least, but that won't last long, and he still can't move through enemy figures.

Sad music starts playing.  Things start going slo-mo.
On round 13, Agent M and Flavio make meaningful eye contact and with bloody screams charge at the enemies!  They do some damage, but they're too hurt, and they get gunned down on the dirty concrete of the Meyerdyne facility's back lot.

Dramatic, artistic ending.  Damned indie films.  What kind of ending was  that?
Points-wise, the 'Punks score 15, but the Corporation scores 35.  Meyerdyne doesn't lose any stock, but FOZ doesn't really lose anything either since they hadn't really invested anything into these 'Punks yet.

Since the Corporate player didn't lose, the next mission is randomly rolled.

This seemed pretty rough for the 'Punks, but if they had made one of those first couple of hacks on the objective, it probably would have been a different story.  I liked how things played out.  It never felt unfair and I felt like I had some options while I played, although it can be hard to tell how much fun the Corporation player was having, since I was playing both sides.

Perhaps I'll share more if I play again.

Ĝis la revido!"

Jason "Ludanto" Smith C;E


  1. Nooooo, not Flavio!

    Great write-up.

    1. I guess he should have kept running... ;)

  2. You really shouldn't apologise for your terrain, I think it looks pretty good as it is. Just some washes and drybrushing and they're good to go.
    Good report! You even made me buy yet another ruleset 😁.

    1. Ha! Maybe I can get you to buy this one when I'm done. :)

    2. Shipping to Australia from the US is going to be a bit steep I'm afraid.
      Which is why usually tend to buy the pdf.
      But thank you for the offer

  3. Fantastic stuff as always, Jason! I simply love your terrain.

    1. Thanks! I'm working on a nightclub interior for my next "The Department" mission, but it's slow going. Maybe I'll get it done this weekend!

  4. Superb looking game.
    Just played Star Wars with Squad Hammer Core - it is a great game, so bought the full pdf. Really works well for solo stuff in lockdown :)

    1. Thanks! I hope to have the rules complete in a week or two. :)

  5. Awesome post great terrain i'm just getting started!

    1. Thanks! Hang in there. I've been slowly building up all this stuff over a period of several years. :)