This playtest encounter was between the two posses described below, spanning 6 turns and 1 hour of playtime (including taking 50+ photos and logging every action by hand, so actual playtime was probably 20-30 minutes), using version 0.7 of the Dinosaur Cowboys skirmish game.
It took place in a stretch of jungle inside The Wall near Bosler, Wyoming. The Drylands Posse was looking to rest and find work at the town, while Kirk’s Expedition were focused on big game hunting the Ankylosaurus common in the surrounding vegetation. The groups stumbled across each other as the sun was setting, and a firefight ensued.
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Posse: Drylands United Cattle Company – 100 IP, $1,000
Drylands: This rough and tumble gang was meant to represent a pretty standard group of adventurers, mostly Dusters. Their leader, Quidel, was focused on close combat with his trusty Spear and higher than usual hitpoints. Khulan was his loyal companion from years back, and the two had been knocking around the desert for quite some time. This was their tenth excursion inside The Wall, and unfortunately ended in violence much like the previous ventures. He prefers an old fashioned Assault Rifle, even with it’s potential ammo problems. Trista was a recent addition to the group, a Neotechnoist they met on an earlier trip. Her and Khulan get along splendidly, and are quite protective of one another. She’s terrific at picking off distant targets with her high tech lever-action rifle. Trask is a necessary evil of the group, for he helps them get inside The Wall, and insisted on accompanying them this trip. He’s a crude, barbaric fighter using a Club and rusty pistol to get the job done.
The plan was the form a solid firebase with Trista the furthest back and Khulan near the middle. Quidel would wait to counter charge, and Trask would either also wait or would try to charge forward and slow any advancing melee enemies.
Quidel - Duster Leader
MV 3 AR 0 RMC 8 MMC 7 BRV 7 HP 13/6, Berserker
Spear & 80KW Six-Shooter, Whiskey Drop
Khulan - Duster Member
MV 3, AR 1, RMC 7, MMC 8, BRV 6, HP 9/4
Assault Rifle, Whiskey Drop
Trista - Neotechnoist Member
MV 4, AR 0, RMC 6, MMC 8, BRV 6, HP 7/3, Try Again
400KW Lever-Action Rifle, Whiskey Drop
Trask - Bandit Member
MV 5, AR 0, RMC 8, MMC 6, BRV 6, HP 9/4, Sprint
Club & 80KW Six-Shooter, Whiskey Drop
Posse: Kirk Peterson’s Hunting Expedition – 100 IP, $1,000
Hunters: This group of hunters represented a fairly standard Neotechnoist journey into the jungle. Affluent and pompous, Kirk and his fiance Mary hired a mount (Blood Claw) and a Savage guide (Four Feather) to take them on a hunting trip, similar to how the old Victorian-era British colonials would act. Kirk is a fair shot with his father’s high end pistol, and loves exposure to controlled, limited danger that he can talk about with his friends later. Mary decided to come along to support her husband-to-be, although she dislikes the heat and struggle of travel by ground. Four Feather is a silent, grim guide who knows the jungle and it’s inhabitants well. Originally from the southern deserts, he slowly migrated towards the supervolcano, scrounging work and goods along the way. He favors the effective stopping power of a plasma powered Double Barreled Shotgun. Finally there is Blood Claw, a fine Raptor steed from Kirk’s estate. He will act as their mount (both Kirk and Mary can comfortably fit on his saddle harnesses), and also as a type of bloodhound to track any wounded dinosaurs. Able to absorb almost as much damage as the rest of the team combined, he’ll be a survivable threat.
The plan was to keep Kirk and Mary mounted on Blood Claw and move that blob of damage forward. Four Feather was built to match Blood Claw’s Movement statistic (6″), so he can parallel their advance to get his shotgun into range. Once close Kirk and Mary will dismount and find some cover, while Blood Claw continues in and hopefully locks some of the big hitters into melee.
Kirk Peterson - Neotechnoist Leader
MV 4, AR 1, RMC 7, MMC 8, BRV 7, HP 11/5, Get Up!
Four Feather - Savage Member
MV 6, AR 1, RMC 8, MMC 8, BRV 6, HP 10/5, Lucky
Double Barrel Shotgun
Mary O'Toole - Neotechnoist Member
MV 4, AR 0, RMC 7, MMC 8, BRV 6, HP 9/4
Blood Claw - Raptor Dinosaur
MV 6, AR 1, RMC -, MMC 6, BRV 6, HP 16/9, Bonus HP I
The table was 4 feet long and 3 feet wide, and covered with a variety of terrain to represent the slopes and valleys of the jungle. Both Posses deployed up to 8″ in from their respective table edges, to represent wandering on unsuspecting of the trouble ahead. Then the game began…
I rolled randomly for table edges with Drylands getting the north table end (towards my kitchen) and the Hunters to the south (towards my door). I rolled again for deployment and Drylands had to set up first, followed by the Hunters.
Drylands: I had planned to form a solid line of firing, and the terrain lent itself well to this idea. I had a fairly well covered central hill with some open spots on either side to expose any advances. I decided to put Trista to my right (west), down on ground level. She would hop in and out of cover depending on the situation and range needed. Her 400KW Lever-Action Rifle topped out at 21″, and I wanted to start shooting it as soon as possible. The remaining three members I clumped together. Khulan was the farthest west, hopefully eventually ending up on the hilltop. Trask was beside him and would act as a buffer between any melee characters. Quidel hung out on the ground level, ready to counter charge if necessary (especially if Trask got stuck in and needed help).
Hunters: Looks like I get the unfortunate task of rushing pretty superior firepower. I decided heading in from the left (west) would be a solid idea, as I had a hill in between me and the Drylands Posse, and I eventually could use the central fences as cover. I kept Kirk and Mary mounted on Blood Claw so they could benefit from his 6″ move (9″ total if he Runs). Four Feather was off to their flank slightly, out of sight behind a hill. He would parallel their advance, and hopefully get a few shots on Trista once he got closer. Hopefully Blood Claw’s superior HP (16 total) would see me across the board.
Turn 1: Something Rustling Ahead… (Drylands win Initiative)
Drylands: My opening moves were pretty simple, considering pretty much everyone was out of range. First off was to Activate Quidel, then Standard Move him forward, followed by a Run (additional half Movement), so he edged forward a total of 4″.
Hunters: Wanting to get to grips with my longer ranged foe meant a lot of advancing. Four Feather started by Running dead ahead, which put him squarely behind the next hill. Hopping cover to cover seemed to work so far.
Drylands: Four Feather had moved just a tiny bit too close and put him exactly at Trista’s long range of 21″, after she moved up another 4″. She fired and lucked out with a single Critical hit (counts as 2 hits), +4 base damage of her rifle. Four Feather was in Cover which reduced the damage slightly, but he still took a solid 5 damage, leaving him at 5/10 HP. Since this was over half his starting HP in a single attack he needed to make a Bravery Test, which he passed.
Hunters: Getting shot so early wasn’t exactly in my plan. Nothing for it but foot slogging in! Blood Claw went for the full 9″ run towards the central fences, hoping to keep himself and his riders in cover.
Drylands: Khulan crept forward to barely get Blood Claw inside his 16″ range, shooting and hitting Mary for 1 damage. The turn ended with my last Activation, which was to Run Trask forward to eventually get his pistol and club in range.
Turn 2: Let’s Get Crackin’ (Drylands win Initiative)
Drylands: Woot, Initiative again. I figured the closing Raptor and his mounted Neotechnoists were a bigger threat than the shotgun wielding Four Feather, so I changed targets with Trista. She opened up on Mary, hitting for another massive 5 damage. Luckily for me, Mary failed her Bravery Test and fled off Blood Claw! After this I edged Trista back down the hill, since the enemies were well within her range now. Khulan fired next, hitting Kirk for a mere 3 damage and then moving towards the big tall (2″ tall, in fact) hill in the center of the firebase.
Hunters: Really Mary? With the running away? I guess it suits her character to flee like that. Anyways I Activated her and performed the mandatory Standard Move directly away from the nearest enemy, aka 4″ backwards from where she needed to be. Still on Blood Claw, Kirk wheeled around and headed back 2″ and used his Active Trait “Get Up!” to heal Mary for 5 HP (which he can do once per encounter, as per Active Trait rules, but in this case it’s +5 HP to an Ally in 2″, thus why he had to move back). Looks like he was helping out his fiance. He continued his move by swinging back around and heading 4″ towards the front lines, putting him squarely in the fences. Trask was close enough for a long range attack, so Kirk went for it, hitting (including a Critical!) for 4 damage. Trask passed his Bravery Test though…apparently his life of banditry made him braver than soft Mary.
Drylands: Looks like the Hunters are starting to get in range of me. Trask was armed with a slightly weaker pistol than Kirk, but the range was the same, so he started his Activation by firing back at Kirk. Unfortunately he only hit 1 time, and the 80KW Six-Shooter gives no additional bonus, so his damage ended up being negated by Cover (which provides -1 Damage). Figuring I’d have better luck with the Club, I used his “Sprint” Active Trait (to get +3″ Movement once per encounter) and covered the open ground to get right behind the fence.
Hunters: Wow Trask really overextended, perhaps a turn too soon. I wanted to capitalize on this, so I edged Four Feather a little bit more eastward and a little bit more exposed than I would have liked. But it did put Trask inside the 9″ maximum range of his Double Barreled Shotgun. The shotgun only had 2 Attacks, but thankfully one of them hit so I could get the sick +5 Damage from the gun. The total of 6 damage took Trask out of action. First blood!
Drylands: Ouch, down a member. I guess I got a bit eager with the Club. Then again I could see a shady bandit like Trask not thinking his moves through too much…so maybe I can blame it on that. Anyways Quidel moved up the slope and into the trees, not wanting to make the same mistake of exposing his position that Trask did. I tried a long range pistol shot at Kirk, but missed horribly (I spent most of my Improvement Points on his Melee Miss Chance instead of Ranged, so he only had a slim chance to hit).
Turn 3: The Advance Continues (Drylands win Initiative)
Drylands: I really can’t complain with this continued streak of Initiative winning. Anyways Trista was my girl for reaping vengeance on Four Feather for taking Trask out. She moved back up the hill and fired at Four Feather, hitting him once for 5 damage, which cleanly took him out of action. The Hunters player had decided to risk not activating “Lucky” in his turn, which is too bad since it probably would have saved Four Feather’s life (basically it makes one enemy re-roll one entire set of attacks). Now the kill count is tied up.
Hunters: Time to slog Mary forward, although her 4″ Movement is so much more painful compared to Blood Claw’s 6. Anyways she did a full Run forward into the fencing.
Drylands: I was considering opening fire with Khulan, but decided to plan ahead a bit and spend his Action Phase Running up the steep hill. It was Difficult Terrain, and would require 4″ of Movement to get up. Unfortunately he only has 3″, so a Run it was. Hopefully I can use this position to stop Blood Claw from instantly charging him, since the slope will act in my favor in that case. Firing from a higher elevation certainly doesn’t hurt either (+1 Damage).
Hunters: Kirk and his mount continued forward, reaching the last fence before the final stretch to the Drylands hill. He opened fire on the exposed Khulan, hitting him for 3 damage (thanks Critical!). I immediately regretted the shot as I should have focus fired instead, but I was just too tempted by how exposed he was.
Drylands: My last Activation was Quidel, who was finally close enough to hit at medium range. This was really helpful as the long range penalty (+1 Ranged Miss Chance) was hurting his already lackluster abilities. Anyways I rolled really well, hitting 3 of 4 attacks (even at 8+), so Kirk took another 3 damage.
Turn 4: Rip ‘Em to Shreds (Hunters win Initiative)
Hunters: Hooray, finally Initiative for once. Maybe the dice knew I was getting close to melee and favored me. Anyways Mary continued her march through the fence compound, getting into medium range with her Light Pistol. She fired at the exposed silhouette of Khulan, but missed horribly.
Drylands: Okay, time to pour fire into Blood Claw and hope he drops. My remaining three members all targetted the Raptor, who was close enough that they were at medium range. Khulan fired first, hitting for 4 damage. Trista was next, but rolled terribly and missed every shot. I used her “Try Again” Active Trait to get a single re-roll, and it was totally worth it as I hit for 6 damage! Finally Quidel shot, and unfortunately followed Trista’s example and missed with all the attacks. No fancy re-roll for him I’m afraid.
Hunters: Phew, weathered the storm. Time to charge! In hindsight I should have Dismounted Kirk before running Blood Claw forward, but after rushing across the map for 4 turns all I was seeing was red. Kill, kill, kill! Except I was 1 1/2 inches short of reaching Quidel with Blood Claw, so instead of an awesome Charge bonus I had to spend his Action Phase to Run, just to reach Quidel. Awkward. Stupid fence took a bit more than I expected to cross. Oh well, at least I’m finally in melee combat!
Turn 5: Raptor Time! (Hunters win Initiative)
Hunters: Hey look at that, Initiative again. Not that I have any thrilling strategies I need to hide. I do get to bite and claw and stomp with Blood Claw though. I hit Quidel with all my attacks, totalling 6 damage. Too bad he passed his Bravery Test, since I would have loved their leader to flee. Anyways that used up Kirk’s Action Phase as well since he was still mounted. Really feeling stupid for not Dismounting him at the fence a turn ago.
Drylands: I guess on the bright side the Raptor is in melee with my close combat character instead of a softy like Trista. To prove his mettle Quidel used his “Berserker” Active Trait (+2 Attacks) and hit Blood Claw with 4 of his 6 attacks, totalling 7 damage and taking Blood Claw down to 2 HP. Still not enough to force a Bravery Test, but that 9 HP threshold is tough to break. Anyways Khulan turned to face the Raptor from his elevated perch, and held the trigger and turned the dinosaur into a splattered mess. Seriously crazy rolls of 3 Critical hits! 7 total damage took Blood Claw out of the game, huzzah. Last up was Trista who edged forward to medium range on Mary and fired, hitting for 5 damage and taking Mary to 3 HP left. She passed her Bravery Test (this time at least, haha), and would have been dead if it wasn’t for Kirk’s earlier “Get Up!” usage.
Hunters: That was a lot of damage, but at least it was mostly on Blood Claw and not anyone else. My last Activation was having Mary fire back at Trista, hitting once for 4 damage. Trista’s their weakest character with only 7 HP to start (good old Neotechnoists), so this caused a Bravery Test. She passed it though, alas.
Turn 6: It’s All Over (Hunters win Initiative)
Hunters: Not liking my odds now that Blood Claw is down and everyone else is nearly dead. Totally kicking myself for some dumb moves and lack of focus firing. That and having to charge 4 guns, haha. Anyways Mary started my turn by shooting at Trista. I caught some luck and hit for 4 damage which took Trista out of action. Too bad Trista did a ton of damage in all the other turns.
Drylands: Khulan spun and opened up on Mary, furious that she had taken Trista down. He hit two times for 3 total damage which was enough to take Mary out. I bet he felt pretty pleased with that. Quidel was my last Activation, and he speared the hell out of Kirk. My rolling was awesome again with 2 Criticals and 1 normal hit, plus the Spear’s base damage for a whopping 8 total damage. Goodbye Kirk, hello victory!
After Action Report
Well the Drylands United Cattle Company won against Kirk Peterson’s Hunting Expedition. At least it will give Kirk a story to tell back in the safety of his villa. Quidel and Khulan were the only two who remained in the game, with 7 and 6 HP respectively. Some thoughts from the players below:
Drylands: Victory for meeeeeee. I can’t take too much credit as the Hunters really played to my strengths. Trista got to fire basically every turn, and the expensive cost of her 400KW rifle turned into a solid investment. Khulan also did well with his Assault Rifle and didn’t even need a reload. In fact no one needed to reload the whole game, which kept the rate of fire up for sure. Quidel earned his keep by holding the Raptor and Kirk. Trask was a bit of a waste, I guess I shouldn’t have gotten so eager with him. That Double Barrel Shotgun (2 attacks, 5 damage) is one tough customer, and voluntarily moving into it’s range was silly. Still, great game.
Hunters: Alas, defeat. I feel that a couple of different decisions could have really changed things for me. I actually want to revisit my Posse from the ground up, as they are themed great but really feel lacking in terms of equipment. Blood Claw the Raptor was $400 (of my $1,000), and the mandatory two human members were a further $400 ($200 each), so that meant I only had $200 to spend on guns and armor, whereas the Drylands posse had $400 (since their human member was $200 cheaper than my Raptor). It was fun to field a dinosaur though, and that’s what counts. Anyways I really liked the Double Barrel Shotgun kill, and was impressed with how much of a difference a few inches of range makes (like Mary’s pistol compared to Kirk’s). I think using my Improvement Points to boost everyone’s Armor was a good choice, since Neotechnoists are naturally better shots to begin with so they don’t need a ton of improvement there. Definitely felt their low HP values. Good game though!
Complete Turn Log
Turn 1: Drylands win Initiative
- Quidel forward Run
- Four Feather forward Run
- Trista shoots long range vs Four Feather – crit hit, 2+4-1 (cover) = 5 damage. Passes BRV
- Blood Claw forward 9″ Run
- Khulan shoots at Blood Claw, 1 damage vs Mary
- Trask forward Run
Turn 2: Drylands win Initiative again
- Trista hits Mary for 5, fails BRV. Trista finishes by moving back down hill
- Khulan hit Kirk for 3, moves towards tall hill
- Mary flees off Blood Claw
- Kirk drops back 2″, uses “Get Up!” Active Trait to put Mary back to 8 HP, then forward 4″ and shoots Trask at long range. Hit and crit for 4 damage, Trask passes BRV
- Trask shoots long range against Kirk, 1 hit which Cover negates. Moves forward to fence with Sprint
- Four Feather moves up hill and barely in long range to hit Trask. Hits for 1+5, takes Trask out of action
- Quidel moves into trees, shoots long range at Kirk but misses
Turn 3: Drylands win Initiative again
- Trista moves up hill and shoots Four Feather, hits 1+4 and takes him out of action
- Mary runs forward after Blood Claw
- Khulan climbs hill using Run
- Kirk moves behind last fence and shoots Khulan, crit for a total of 3 damage
- Quidel shoots medium range vs Kirk, 3 hits at 8+
Turn 4: Hunters win Initiative for once
- Mary moves into fence compound, shoots medium range at Khulan but misses
- Khulan shoots Blood Claw, hits for 4 at medium range
- Trista shoots Blood Claw, misses all, but uses “Try Again” Active Trait, re-rolls for 2+4 damage
- Quidel shoots Blood Claw, misses all
- Blood Claw forward Run into melee with Quidel after Charge Move fell short
Turn 5: Hunters win Initiative again
- Blood Claw hits Quidel for 2+4 damage, passes BRV
- Quidel uses “Berserker” Active Trait, hits 4 of 6 attacks for 7 damage, Blood Claw down to 2 HP
- Khulan destroys Blood Claw with 3 Criticals, 7 damage total
- Trista moves to medium range, hits Mary for 2+3, passes BRV but at 3 HP
- Mary fires back, hits 1+3, passes BRV
Turn 6: Hunters win Initiative again
- Mary shoots Trista, hits for 4 which takes Trista out of action
- Khulan returns fire, hits 2+1 to kill Mary
- Quidel uses Spear in melee on Kirk for 8 damage, takes him out of action
This game was a ton of fun to play through. I learned a few new rule exceptions…funny how often those pop up once a person actually plays the game, even if the rules seem foolproof during writing. I made a few mistakes while playing, namely:
- Forgot to factor in Movement modifier for shooting. This would have helped the Hunters survive the cross board trek.
- Forgot to use either leader’s Leadership ability (grants one single re-roll). This might have helped turn a miss or two into a hit, but little else.
- Made some tactical mistakes, mainly on the Hunters side. Failing to use Four Feather’s “Lucky” trait meant he died. Not Dismounting Kirk before charging Blood Claw in was also dumb. In fact charging Quidel at all, who had a Spear and wanted to get into close combat…I should have probably gone for Trista instead and torn her to pieces. That and a lack of focus firing, but that was on both sides.
Definitely want to give these Posses another go, since I think a few tactical changes could have really changed how it went down. Maybe I’ll level them up and try again soon.
Anyways I hope you enjoyed the report, it was a bit of a hassle to format into this blog. Taking pictures and recording an action-by-action log was interesting though and I think added to the detail and completeness of the battle report. If you like what you read and want to give the game a shot, feel free to download version 0.7 of the rules.