Alexander Van Wingerden-Cross
Hey, thanks for the review.
Can you tell us ow many missions there are in the book, and how different they are?
Do they mostly boil down to shoot your opponent until nobody's left, or are there other narratives?
There are a load of different scenarios, including straightforward normal battle scenarios, "narrative scenarios" that have more of a plotline and comes with their own special rules and unique scenery layouts, and then there is the Terminator Genisys movie campaign scenarios which are a series of narrative scenarios that you can play in succession to recreate the plot of the movie.
From memory, I think there are 6 "normal" battlefield scenarios. You can either choose to play one, or roll dice to choose randomly:
1) Wipe out the other player (or rather, have the fewest losses at the end of the game). The simplest, most obvious one.
2) Capture or terminate a particular target/VIP (usually the unit with the highest points value, so usually a commander or some kind of special terminator). Capturing is worth more points
3) Capture and hold the most objectives at the end of the game. Both players take turns putting objective markers on the board, you roll dice to see how many you place. (My girlfriend and I ignored this and placed objectives based on the layout of the scenery... the rules are flexible!)
4) Destroy objectives with demolition charges. One side attacks, other side defends. All attackers have demolition charges, a troop plants one by ending the turn with his/her base touching the objective, next turn he/she runs away and it detonates. (If killed while still touching the objective then didn't have enough time to arm the explosive.)
5) Escape from a particular side of the game board, other side tries to wipe them out.
6) Both sides try to pick up an object and escape with it. For example an endoskeleton skull with a brain chip that contains important info. If the person carrying it is killed the object scatters in a random direction.
When it comes to the "normal" battlefield scenarios there are a number of different ways of setting up the troops at the start of the game. There are some interesting ones like "rapid insertion" where half of the troops are dropped into the middle of the battle somewhere, with a chance of being hurt or stunned in the process, or "fog of war" where you only set up half the troops at the start of the game and then in subsequent turns the remaining troops appear at board edges randomly determined by dice rolls, so you have a confused situation where Terminators and Resistance unexpectedly encounter each other.
You can either decide with your opponent what type of game you want to play, or you can roll dice to determine what game type, what type of initial deployment, or both. You can also have it where the two sides have different types of deployment, or different objectives to each other, or where there are multiple different ways to win the game. For example, one side is trying to escape and starts at one edge of the board, other side is trying to kill their commander and starts with "fog of war" deployment so half their troops come from random directions.
For each scenario the the game can end after a certain number of turns as a result of a dice roll, with the likelihood increasing with each subsequent turn. So in a game where you need to be holding an objective at the end of the game, there is tension as you don't know whether the game will end turn 5 or turn 8!
By varying the game type and the deployment type you can get very different games, and that's without even touching on the special narrative scenarios.
These are very cool, these are like unique mini boardgames in their own right!
1) Infiltrator - This recreates the bit in the first Terminator film where Kyle recalls a Terminator going on a rampage in a Resistance base. It uses the other side of the game board, which is the rooms and corridors of an underground rebel base, including stuff like a command centre, armoury, medical centre and power plant. The Terminator player sends between 1 and 3 Cyborg Infiltrators (depending on the number of Resistance troops). There is a choice of several different objectives for the Infiltrators, which you can randomly choose with a dice roll:
1) Terminate a VIP
2) Capture an important object
3) plant a beacon for Skynet to launch a bunker-buster nuclear strike
4) Get into the command centre to gain access to the Resistance's plans
5) Destroy a particular room (such as the armoury or the power plant)
6) Terminate everyone!
The Resistance player's troops can't attack an Infiltrator until they have revealed it as not being human. Until an Infiltrator attacks someone, the only way to reveal them is for troops to get into close-combat range and do a no-damage "challenge" attack to reveal it. You can can give dogs to a few troops, and that makes them able to detect Terminators from longer distances. However, revealing them is made tricky due to fact that when it is the Terminator player's turn he can roll a dice and if he gets a certain score then can move one of the Resistance troops! (I guess the idea is that the Infiltrator has successfully fooled people and passed on a false order.)
Once a Terminator is revealed the Resistance players can start shooting at it, but their plasma rifles will only have a rate-of-fire of 1 shot per turn instead of 2, because the Resistance are trying to shoot the Terminator without accidentally shooting each other or the human civilians that you are meant to imagine are huddling in all the corridors. Of course the Terminator doesn't have this restriction!
Resistance soldiers can "use" certain rooms, so troops can go into the armoury and swap plasma rifles for grenade launchers, and special characters that can have multiple wounds (rather than dying instantly) can go into the medical room to heal. Also if there's shooting in the power plant or armoury then stray shots have a chance of blowing up the room and injuring everyone inside it. There's a lot of thought putting into this scenario, so far I've only done normal battles but I'm really looking forward to playing this scenario myself.
2) Free the slaves - I haven't read this scenario as closely so I'm not sure of all the details of how it works, but basically a bunch of people are in chains and held prisoner by a group of Terminators. (In the movies the machines shoot rebels with guns on sight, but they sometimes capture unarmed civilians and send them to camps.) The Resistance player sends in a team of soldiers and if he is able to touch a prisoner then he can break his chains and give him a spare gun. Freed prisoners try to escape from the game board, but are now also able to shoot at the machines... which means the machines are now also allowed to shoot at them! I think I remember reading that machines can capture a prisoner and put him back into chains again, I'm not sure what the pros and cons of each are.
3) Total Termination - this is where Skynet has located a Resistance base and is sending a large force to enter and destroy it. The Resistance soldiers are defending the entrance, and they will fight to the death to give those inside enough time to escape. The machines get reinforcement waves, so while the Resistance force is gradually whittled down to nothing, any Terminators that are destroyed are simply replaced in the next wave.
Also, there are the Special Infiltration rules! This is where a couple of the Resistance soldiers are actually Cyborg Infiltrators, known only to the machine player. Before the game the machine player identifies two Resistance soldiers secretly on a couple of pieces of paper (a suggested method is to paint numbers on the bottom of each soldier, and write down those numbers). The Resistance player will be unknowingly controlling these Infiltrators and attacking Terminators with them. Then at any point in the game the machine player can reveal that soldier as Terminator and it goes on the rampage.
If the Resistance are wiped out, the machine player wins. The Resistance player wins if the machines hit a certain number of reinforcement waves. (The people inside the base manage to escape, or the battle has become too costly for Skynet, or whatever.)
Terminator Genisys movie campaign scenarios
These scenarios are based on the plot of the movie. They can either be done individually or as part of a campaign where which side wins or loses has effects on the subsequent games. Plot-crucial characters like Kyle Reece have special rules for handling being killed; instead of the usual one or two wounds that they would normally have, they have 10 wounds that carry throughout the entire campaign, and whenever one of them should be "killed" you roll the Fate Die to see whether they lose 1 or 2 wounds. This means they might be able to survive 9 deadly situations, or unlucky dice rolls could killl them off after just 5.
Cheyenne Mountain - this is the attack to destroy Skynet's central core at NORAD. It's mentioned in the movie but happens off-screen. If the Resistance succeed then in the following mission the machines may may shut down after a certain number of moves.
LAX - this recreates the first 10 minutes of the movie where we see John Connor and Kyle Reece attack the work camp at LAX airport... which is actually a front for Skynet's secret facility that contains the Time Displacement Device. What's cool about this scenario is that the back of the rule book includes a page of unique terrain/scenery pictures for this mission that you can photocopy, such as laser fences, automated plasma turrets, a work camp truck, the hanger doors. (There's nothing to stop you using them in other scenarios, of course.) If the Resistance won the previous Cheyenne Mountain mission then after a certain number of turns a dice is rolled to see whether Skynet's core has been destroyed, shutting down all the machines. The dice is re-rolled each subsequent turn until the shutdown happens. But if the machine player won the previous game, then the Resistance player has to get Kyle and John into the hangar. Also once Kyle Reece and John Connor get too close to the hangar doors, a Spider Tank is dropped in front of them, so if there's no Skynet shutdown then they are in big trouble! If John Connor or Kyle Reece are completely killed during this mission then the campaign is over and the machine player is the winner.
1984 - the next missions aren't in the rule book, instead it says that it will be released on the Riverhorse website and will also be included future expansions. Apparently they have to wait until Terminator Genisys' cinema run is over.
It's worth noting that the army stats for the Resistance do already include stats for 1984 characters like Sarah Connor, Pops (Arnold's "Guardian" Terminator), and ordinary cops and SWAT team members. (And of course the machine army list includes the T-1000.) So you already have the freedom to do scenarios set in the past or modern times. The rules also point out that thanks to time travel it's entirely possible to have any of those characters ending up in the future war, and also you can use the stats for cops/SWAT team members for factions of post-apocalyptic human survivors that aren't as well as equipped as the actual Resistance.
The rules also include full stats and rules for vehicles; the Resistance can have cars, pickup trucks, big trucks, APCs, humvees, tanks, apache helicopters, blackhawk helicopters and jet fighters. The machines get spider tanks, aerial hunter killer gunships and tracked hunter killer tanks. They haven't released any models for any vehicles yet, but the game's creators encourage players to go ahead and use toys or models from other games so that you can already play larger games that include vehicles rather than waiting for the official release. Adding a bunch of cars, tanks and aircraft to the battlefield drastically shakes up any of the scenarios mentioned above.