Monday, August 22, 2011

Spectrum Cosmos - The Basics Illustrated

Let's put it all together. Remember the Guy?

Unit Name: Guy
Keywords: Human, Living, Generic
Speed: 6
Resolve: 3
Armour: 0
Wounds: 2
Gun – Attack: Range 12, Skill 3. Damage 1.
Evade – Default: Skill 3.
Moon (Psychology)
Scare – Skill 2. Fear 1.
Rally – Skill 3. Gain one Edge.
Mercury (Maneuver)
Hustle – Simple: Skill 3. Move 6”.
Flee – Skill 3. Retreat 6”.
Venus (Special)
Wild [+CC]
Dodge – Skill 5.
Mars (Savagery)
Fist – Attack: Range M, Skill 2. Damage 0.
Return Fire – Attack: Range 12, Skill 2. Damage 1.

Imagine two Guys facing each other down across an empty field. Each of their controlling players (Hadrian and Ruby) has a hand full of cards. For the sake of this example, let's say their hand size is 3. It is Hadrian's first turn. Hadrian activates his Guy, moves him up to his Speed (6) in inches, then has a choice. He can immediately resolve an action with no bonus, or secretly play a Command Card to be resolved at the end of the turn. Hadrian's hand is a Venus 1, a Mercury 2, and a Mars 1.

Be warned. This one is also way too long.

Looking at his list of actions, Hadrian realized that the only action that could affect Ruby's Guy is Scare, as it has no maximum range. Immediately resolving Scare without a card couldn't possibly work, since its Skill is 2 and Guy has a reaction with Default and Skill 3. In fact, if Ruby has a Moon card, trying to Scare her guy could end up strengthening him! Hadrian could play his Venus card as a Moon, thereby Scaring at modified Skill 3, but he still doesn't like those odds, and would rather keep the Venus card for defence anyway. He could play either of his other two cards in an attempt to trick Ruby into overcommitting to a defence. (Both of them would be invalid and automatically fail; Hustle is a Simple action that cannot target units, and Fist has a maximum range of 1”.) Hadrian's still scared of possibly giving Ruby's Guy an Edge, so he elects to immediately resolve a Mercury action instead. Even without a card, the Guy's Skill 3 is easily enough to perform this Simple action (after modifiers, it needs to be at least 1). Hadrian advances his Guy 6”, and the Guy's activation ends. Hadrian has no other units to activate and no secret actions to resolve, so his turn ends.

On Ruby's turn, she activates her Guy, moves him up 6” and plays a Command Card face down, announcing Hadrian's Guy as the target. Hadrian must declare a reaction. He must either play a card from his hand or choose a Default reaction to respond with. Figuring he's now within 12”, Hadrian plays his Venus 1 face down, almost guaranteeing that he'll avoid whatever Ruby is trying.

With her Guy's activation complete and no other units left to activate, Ruby's Resolution Phase begins. First, she flips up her Command Card and makes any choices it would require. It is a mighty Venus 3! As Venus is wild for Guys, Ruby chooses its suit now. She thinks she's within 12”, so she picks the Sun action Gun.

Next, Hadrian reveals his card and makes any necessary choices. His Venus 1 has no decisions to make, so both players check their actions for range. Dodge has no maximum range, so Hadrian can ignore this step. Ruby gets out her measuring tape and checks if Hadrian's Guy is within 12” of hers. It is in range, so the players compare their respective Skill values. Ruby gets 3 (base for Gun) plus 3 (for the Venus 3 she played), so a total of 6. Hadrian also gets 6, but acting players win ties. Gun's 1 damage is sufficient to wound a Guy, so Ruby doesn't bother discarding a card to amp up the damage. Hadrian's Guy takes a wound.

Hadrian's second turn begins. He refills his hand, drawing a Mars 3. Hadrian advances his Guy 6”. He'd like to keep out of melee range this turn, planning to respond to Ruby's next action with Return Fire. As a ranged attack, Return Fire would fail automatically if its target was within 1” of the firing unit.

Hadrian has no cards that support any ranged actions. Feeling desperate, he uses Gun unassisted in a risky attempt to close the wound-gap with Ruby. With a base Skill of 3, Gun overcomes Evade, so Ruby needs to use a Command Card if she wants her Guy to avoid taking a wound this round. If she had a Mars card of value 2 or better, she could use Return Fire and win the fight on Hadrian's turn. She doesn't but she does have a Moon 1, which she plays. Since Hadrian didn't use a Command Card, the action is resolved immediately instead of waiting for the Resolution Phase at the end of the turn. In a battle this small, this distinction is meaningless, but I strive to be thorough. Both units are in range of one another, so Skill values are compared. Hadrian's 3 loses to Ruby's 4 (3 from Rally +1 from the Command Card). Not only does Hadrian's shot have no effect, but Ruby's Guy gains an Edge. If Ruby's Guy had any Setback tokens, one would be removed instead of gaining an Edge, as tokens of different types cancel each other out.

It is now Ruby's turn. She refills her hand. She doesn't move her Guy and plays a Command Card. Hadrian plays his Mars 3 face down, hoping to injure Ruby's Guy with a Return Fire. The players proceed to the Resolution Phase, and both cards are revealed. Ruby played another Moon 1. Her Scare has a modified Skill of 4 (base 2, +1 from the card, +1 from the Edge token). Hadrian's Return Fire has a modified Skill of 5 (base 2, +3 from the card). Hadrian wins an exchange for once! Ruby's Guy is shot, suffering a Wound.

Hadrian's turn begins. He draws another Mars card - a 2. He could use it to try and get rid of Ruby's Edge, but he'd rather take a shot at victory. He uses his movement to get within 1” of Ruby's Guy. The two Guys are now engaged in melee. He plays his Mars 2. Ruby responds with a Sun 3. Even though Evade is Default, she can still use it like a regular reaction. In the Resolution Phase, both cards are revealed. Hadrian's Skill 4 Fist misses Ruby's Evade 7 (base+card+Edge) by a mile. Hadrian curses and really hopes Ruby doesn't have a Mars card of her own.

Ruby's turn. She fills her hand back up to three cards. Now locked in combat with Hadrian's Guy, Ruby's options are limited. She can't use normal movement to leave melee range. Without a Mars card (or a Venus card to use as one), she attempts another Scare with a Moon 1. Since Scare isn't a ranged attack, it won't fail automatically due to being in melee with the target.

Hadrian's choices of reaction are a Default Evade (almost guaranteed to fail, given Ruby's Edge), to play his Mars 1 (actually guaranteed to fail, as Return Fire is a ranged attack, and the target is in melee), or to play his Mercury 2. Not much of a decision. Hadrian's Flee has a modified Skill of 5. Ruby's Scare gets a 4. Hadrian wins, and his Guy gets to retreat. Retreat movement is allowed to leave melee combat, so Hadrian backs off 6”, and Ruby's turn ends.

Hadrian is in a strong position. No longer in melee, he can use Gun to finish off Ruby's Guy, though it would be tough without a good Command Card, given Ruby's Edge. If he gets a good Mars card, he could rush back into melee for the killing blow instead. He draws Sun 1 and Mars 3, so he charges. Once back in melee with Ruby, he plays his Mars 3. Ruby responds with her best remaining card – a Mercury 1. Hadrian's Skill 5 Fist beats Ruby's Skill 5 Flee. A 0 Damage strike would only give Ruby a Setback (actually, just remove her Edge), so Hadrian discards a card to increase his Damage by 1. Now exceeding the Guy's armour, the Fist deals a wound. Since Guys fall down after their second wound, Ruby's guy is a casualty, and Ruby is defeated.

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