We last saw Tintin in Studio Tomahawk’s Congo game. He has returned in an outing for the steampunk rules ‘In Her Majesty’s Name’. To set the scene here follows a brief introduction to the ruleset.
‘In Her Majesy’s Name’ was one of the first of the blue book Osprey rules. It has since spawned 2 expansions from Osprey and a 3rd ‘Gothic’ as an independent publication. The rules grew out of a 40K variant ‘In the Emperor’s Name‘. Luckily there are far fewer statistics than in 40K although it does depend on special rules, ‘traits’ and spells which tweak play and can be a pain if you forget them. Stats are included in the books for different characters and basic vehicles including walkers and flyers. There are also full points for building characters from scratch. These should be good enough but are not going to be finely balanced as different abilities or weapons will have more benefit than others. You would probably want a pistol rather than a knife but how about in a pea-souper fog?
The key statistic to mess with in IHMN is pluck. It is used for spells, saves from shooting and hand to hand. Combat is D10 based and in all cases revolves around rolling 2 D10s. One to hit and the other to save using pluck. The weapon used can affect the hit roll and the pluck score needed to save. The top of the range pluck is 2+, so without some factor reducing that pluck the character will survive anything 9 times out of 10. Such a character is in the superhero league and a pluck of 5+ or worse is much more reasonable. Combat is best handled by rolling both dice at once and checking the pluck save first, this is much quicker than running the modifiers on the hit dice, beating the defense or armour rating then realising the pluck is passed. A natural 10 on a pluck roll will always pass. Figures are activated one at a time passing between players for movement, then shooting and finally combat. This does require some record keeping of who has done what. Official and fan made markers are available, here brass and white metal cogs have been used.
Onto the game and we are back in the Congo using 2 leagues from the official IHMN blog. Some minor points changes have been made to the leagues there, notably ‘Tintin et ses amis’ are without their electronic gear. The goal is to capture Cheetah and carry him off the friendly board edge. Cheetah is an especially intelligent ape and Tintin has arrived to take him off to safety at Marlinspike Hall. Tarzan believes that Cheetah’s place is in the jungle and intends that he remain there. The Force Publique are also interested with the aim of using Cheetah for a breeding program of a new sub-human slave race to get around recent legal restrictions in human bondage. Cheetah is ambivalent at present, even the breeding program has a certain base attraction. Tarzan and Tintin are both keen to sort this all out before the Force Publique get involved. Here Cheetah is in the centre of a free state trading post when the action kicks off. Cheetah will move 6″ in a random direction each turn until another model ends their turn adjacent. It is not permitted to shoot at Cheetah. Tarzan and his apes can move through the forest (level 2 terrain) without penalty.
Tintin et Compagnie
On turn 1 everyone runs up and Cheetah heads towards the Tintin lines. One giant ape falls to naval rifle fire.
Tarzan gets the drop on turn 2 and snatches up Cheetah. Tintin charges in to effect a rescue. The ape king blocks any of Tintin’s friends from charging in to help; receiving some ineffective pistol fire in return.
Both Tintin and Tarzan have pluck 2+ so will be pressed to beat each other in combat; plus as pluck is used to break free from hand to hand the player going first is likely to be away.
Tarzan gets the drop and runs to the woods with Cheetah. Tarzan gets a movement bonus in woods but Tintin does not so Tintin can’t catch him. He can only shoot off his pistol which predictably has no effect. Animal lovers need not worry; the ape on its side behind the hut is knocked down but not killed. The sailors at far left are out of rifle range so are no help either.
By the next turn Tarzan and Jane are away, Cheetah looks pleased. This scenario as run was flawed as success depended on the action of a single character. The first player to get their 2+ pluck model into contact with Cheetah was likely to get away and win. Tintin could have done better by having the naval rifles always within range of Tarzan and maybe getting a volley off to bring him down but it was always a maybe. If Tintin had got to Cheetah first the boot would have been on the other foot. When designing a league it is probably best to have no character better than pluck 3+. Still these leagues can work if the goal does not depend on the actions of a single character.
We return to the same jungle station (sets are expensive). Tintin has chased after Tarzan into the jungle but unable to catch up returns to the trading station. Tarzan, however, has doubled back and lies in wait. Tintin must get his team past Tarzan to the river (off board for budget constraints). Tarazan waits for Tintin to burst into the open. Tintin begins with a cautious advance to the edge of the woods.
Tarzan keeps his troops hidden. To give the defender a better chance Tarzan is allowed to pass instead of acting while he has equal or more models who have not yet acted. Without this an attacker would roll forward with low cost models forcing the defender to reveal models or do nothing with them. The attacker would then have a free hand with nay remaining figures.
Eventually the witch doctor and ape king spring forward. The witch doctor is relying on a spell that prevents the opposition from seeing him and shooting at him.
The first combats. The ape king is down as is Thomson and a sailor.
Jane tries to use her medical knowledge to save the ape king but is out luck. Thompson is out as well as professor Calculus. Tarzan is knocked down but worry not he will recover.
More scuffles as the first sailor gets away (Tarzan is behind the idol in this shot).
A single sailor ties up Jane and the witch doctor. Calculus recovers and runs for home.
More scuffles sees 2 of the sailors unlikely to escape but 6 of Team Tintin are away. A shame about Thompson and Thomson but they will probably be back for another adventure.
Using the scenario points in the main rule book this is an overwhelming Tintin win. Mathematically Tintin had more figures so without overwhelming firepower from a defender would get models off board simply by matching up melee fights and running past with the figures left over. If Tarzan had been running past the Tintin firewall it would have been a different story.