Play Report: Neutron York 3000 for Post-Apocalyptic Gaming
This week the club got together to playtest Neutron York 3000 as a potential ruleset for our post-apocalyptic campaign.
NY3K is a fast paced warband-size skirmish game set in a pulpy post-apocalyptic future. It has it's own fluff, factions and even a small miniatures line, but also has a unit creation mechanic that allows you to use any miniatures you wish. You can find out more about the game, rules and figures here.
A total of six games were played among the six of us. We met at my house, so I prepared three different battlefields.
The first was an industrial corridor that's become a border between two gang territories. This was a great chance to use the urban terrain table that I made last month.
The second setup allowed gangs to battle for an oasis.
The third battlefield was a showdown in a border town.
Look for upcoming articles on the distillery building as see in the border town, as well as the car stacks from the urban layout.
I had prepared four gangs for players to use.
Dead Skulls biker gang
Unfortunately I wasn't able to get pics of the other gangs, or much in-game action, as my camera was running out of juice.
Tom brought a robot army made of Legions of Steel figures, and Jon brought a Japanese cyber-samurai robot army from various manufacturers (as usual, painted to top standard) and a group of elite soldiers made from Warzone Bauhaus troops.
Here's a couple other pics of the battles.
As for the rules themselves, we were torn.
We liked the fast play and easy to understand nature of the basic game mechanics. There also is a very nicely designed advancement chart for each character, so it's ideal for campaign play. The differences between factions are subtle, but effective.
The ruleset also has plenty of scenarios and deployment methods, so it's unlikely that a campaign would get stale. Though we would be using our own setting, the NY3K setting is entertaining and written in a good tongue-in-cheek style with flavorful art throughout the book.
Some mechanics continually frustrated us. When folks began reserving actions (a necessity for survival), we found that we had to spend a lot of effort tracking reserved actions, as well as how many bonuses each figure had left. Also, we found that it was pretty common for certain weapons to hit automatically. Combine that with some weaker figures that had no defense roll, and we found that the game had more auto kills than we would have liked.
Oddly, the games felt almost too short. It's the author's intention for several games to be played in a row, but this game was considerably shorter even than Song of Blades and Heroes.
Lastly, there were a few other ambiguous areas of the rules where we would have to house rule for.
In the end the club wasn't sure they wanted to invest the time in house-ruling and tweaking the rules. We may still end up using them, but next week we'll be trying out another ruleset that we've played before: In The Emperor's Name.
I would still give NY3K a cautious nod as a ruleset that wasn't to our taste, but is still worth looking at when considering post-apocalyptic gaming. It will probably require a bit of houseruling, but at $7 it's not an expensive experiment.
-- Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member