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Space Vermin From Beyond!» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Campaign Game Replay rss

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Colby Duerk
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My copy of Space Vermin arrived a few days ago. Having play tested the game numerous times in various stages during the development, it was time to play the Campaign Scenario with the final version of the game and the real game components.

Scenario 1: The Family Jewels

During playtesting most players chose to hang tough in the city as long as possible to protect the Jewels and take advantage of the buildings for defense. Generally, I choose to only stay for a few turns to get the almost guaranteed first Crown Jewel out and then move to the NW road area, bringing in reinforcements in to punch a hole during the middle game to allow the other Recovery Vehicles to snatch some Jewels. Unfortunately, right from the start of the battle I was in trouble due to the location of the 2 initial Tunnel Exits and poor troop placement, forcing me to abandon the center and move to the SE corner. The Sister Queen was in nest #1 (SW corner) and High Queen in nest #2 (NE corner)

For the first half of the game almost everything went against me. Every move I made the next Event would punish me. All my dice were bad, both in combat, particularly the PANTS gun (rolling 1’s over and over) and missed reinforcement rolls. The topper was finally getting reinforcement roll, grabbing the second Spec Ops, calling for a Jump Pack move, and having him land in the NAT Infestation area, eliminating him immediately. There are 6 chances out of 216 of this happening (2.77%, exactly the same probability as Snake Eyes)! I lost 5 Marines by around turn 7 and one of the Jewels was taken to the High Queen giving her 5 spawns per turn. At that point things looked pretty hopeless.

However, In the long run, having the High Queen take most or all of the spawns each turn meant the SW part of the map had very few Vermites. The first breakthrough came in one turn taking down 6 Vermites 5 of which went to Nest 2 in the NE corner which would not come back in time to be a threat. I captured a second Jewel and started an end run around the south using the extra Recovery Vehicles to block the few opponents from getting to the combat units, something I had never tried before. It was a bit risky but it worked by always keeping them in the lead in Bamboo or Swamp, allowing the slower Marines to follow behind and pick some Vermites off.

Still the real work was in the last four turns. As always, some Vermites end up milling north and south of the exit area and road. It was nip and tuck all the way to the last turn. I had two RV’s with Jewels but one RV was disrupted and only speed 3. Around turn 10, I got desperate and started Recon’s helping me direct Vermite traffic. On the last turn, I managed to get both remaining Jewels off the map, with almost every other unit in trouble, salvaging the game. It was a bitch and could have been a blow out for the bugs with some bad attack roll. The last two chits were Molts which helped weaken them just in time.

Scoring: Based on the non-Campaign Scenario 1 rules this would have been a Minor Victory. Major Victory for 3 jewels exited, reduced to a Minor Victory since there were more than 6 Marines KO’d. If I had not exited the final 2 jewels on the last turn it would have been a huge LOSS! Since it was a Campaign the score was 30 points for 3 jewels exited, minus 7 Marines KO’d. Points Scored 23. Without those final 2 jewels my score would have been THREE! Yikes!

Scenario 2: The Great Migration

This scenario is a bit deceptive. At first glance there appears to have a great deal of time to get your forces setup. Sometimes that does happen but most of the time it does not. Winning this scenario is dependent on three key factors. First is the entry hexes of the three Queens. are they spread out (area 1,3,5) or clumped (e.g. area 4,5,6); second, will your HQ Reinforcement rolls be successful in the first few turns; lastly, determining the order which reinforcement Marines are selected.

This game began with the High Queen carrying a Crown Jewel making her particularly deadly. She got the Jewel because of the four (above ground) jewels in Scenario 1 only three were successfully exited. If I had failed to get those last two off, both the Sister and Child Queen’s would also be carrying one.

Luckily, this battle went quite well early on, except for the High Queen starting in Entry #6, who with enhanced speed rapidly approached east edge attempting to escape. I had almost resigned myself to having to let her escape, but I was able to pick off a handful of the first wave, get some reinforcements, got the ANT Gun in place early and on average pretty good die rolls

Things started to heat up, as they always do in this scenario, mostly due to having drawn all of the Direction 3 (SE) chits in the first half of the game. This had both the Sister & Child Queen’s and their minions running down the middle. When this happens multiple stacks of Vermites become bogged down at the Bridge and the road to the Wormhole. These large stacks are all sitting on Scent Trails, so regardless of how many you KO or the Event Chits “direction of travel” they stay on the Scent Trail and continue to move forward into your Marines if a space opens up. Two Marine Squads went down and the bugs advanced towards the Wormhole. This is where things can collapse fast. Luckily, I was saved but pulling the one Event Chit that would help. The Bogs Flood - Magnetic Storm came up confusing all the Vermites making them run in random directions, ignoring the Scent Trails. My dice were hot and more than half of them, including the most troublesome Queen stack, moved backwards or north – off the Scent Trails. This bought me several turns because it would take them some time to find the Scent Trails again.

I regrouped in the center and managed to hold off the High Queen + Mite + Crystal on the second to last column from the east edge with a single Heavy Weapon in Bamboo and a Spec Ops using the ANT Gun to weaken the Escort. It took me about 4 turns, but down she went saving me a possible loss of 4 or 5 VP. With three turns left, I had only lost two Marines and only two Vermites (not counting the Drones) were on the alive. Knocking out those last two would end the game two turns early. There were three Event Chits left --- 2 Vermite Molts and 1 Vermite Frenzy. I pulled the Frenzy and both remaining units activated getting in two boosted attacks killing 2 more Marines. I took the last two Vermites down to end the game. I needed a decisive victory for the campaign to be a success and got it.

Scoring: Based on the non-Campaign Scenario 2 rules this was a Decisive Victory. 22 Vermites KO’d = 44 points, minus 4 Marines lost. Final Score 40 points.

Campaign Scoring: Scenario 1 = 23 points + Scenario 2 = 40 points. Final Score 63 points = Major Victory. Again without those 2 last minute Jewels the final score would be 43 points = DRAW.

Great fun and a great game. Gotta love those bugs.
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Fred W. Manzo
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Thanks Colby for a great AAR. We all worked very hard on this game and I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was a group effort and I think it shows.

By the way, how did that M.A.D. Scientist Otto von Schrodinger, and his secret weapons, make out? I hope the Vermites didn't get him.

Thanks Again,

- Fred
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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Great report, Colby!! Thanks for posting it.
This game was so much fun to work on and it's great to have it as the second entry in the "Invader from Dimension X!" series.

But no - we do not have to "love those bugs".

Hermann

P.S. - It looks like Colby will be designing the next game in the series, which will feature a brand new type of colossal stone monster alien race. We're all very excited to see how different this third race of aliens will be to fight. I think the "Old Reprobates" will have their Galactic hands full with these new Killer Pillars.
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Fred W. Manzo
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I kind of like Herm's suggestion that we call the series "Semper Sci Fi."

It aims to produce fun, fast, light wargames set in a Space Opera universe inspired by various 1950's SF grade "B" movies. Puns are welcomed.

If anyone is interested in trying their hand at designing a game in the series they should contact us. We can probably get some of the 1st Long Island Volunteers to playtest it for you.

The first game in the series is "Invaders from Dimension X!" Its BGG rating is 8.1. The second game is "Space Vermin from Beyond!"

Enjoy.

- Fred



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