A Closer look at This is Not a Test.
All right Game Fans, we’re on another excursion into Post Apocalyptia today and we’re going to take a longer look at This is Not a Test (TNT) by Worlds End Publishing. If you haven’t checked out our first looks, hop back to the main blog page and check last week’s offerings. This is Not a Test is skirmish wargame set in the ruins of a world destroyed by nuclear destruction. Players take control of a warband of survivors who are fighting for control of their environment and trying to scavenge a living from the ruins of the old world. Today we’re going to look a little more closely at some basic rules and the breakdown of a character.
Each character is represented on the tabletop with a model that serves as their direct avatar to interact with the game environment and other characters. They also have a collection of statistics and traits that determine their capabilities in the game. Knowing your character’s statistics (and those of your opponents) can make the game faster and easier on you. So let’s take a look at those statistics and what they represent for your characters.
- Name: Every character has one
- Type: A Character’s type determines what type of survivor they are. Some types (such as mutant) open up special abilities that other characters may not have.
- Defense: This is the numeric value that represents the difficulty to hurt a target. (More on that in a minute)
- Wounds: This is the number of times a character can be wounded before being removed from the game.
- Move: This is the number of inches a character can move when given a move action. Different terrain and movement types can affect the actual distance a character can move, but we’ll cover that in a minute.
- Melee: This is your character’s basic melee combat statistic and represents your character’s ability to hit another character.
- Ranged: This is your character’s basic ranged combat statistic and their ability to hit a target with a ranged weapon
- Strength: This is your character’s raw physical strength and factors into two key areas. First it affects the ability you have to bash down a door or pick up a heavy thing. Second, it’s the basis for your wounding attempts in hand to hand combat (I’ll cover this in a second too).
- Mettle: This is basically your character’s resilience and affects rolls to resist radiation, poison, the effects of getting hit in combat but not injured and a host of other potential perils.
- Special Rules: In case your character has any non-equipment based abilities or rules, they’ll be listed here (check the rulebook for details for what your special rule does).
- Equipment: The gear your character is carrying. Like special rules, these are a list and you’ll need to check the appropriate sections of the book to find out how your gizmos work.
(Note that this is from the demo rules for TNT and the full rules set has two other components to a character entry)
- Accessible skillsets: This identifies the special skills that a character can purchase as they level up.
- Barter Cost: The cost of adding any given character to a warband. This gives you a rough approximation of how much a basic character of that type is going to cost (gear and stuff is extra).
Once you get down the basics of how a character’s stats work, you can get a better idea of how they should work on a tabletop. For example, a character with a high ranged stat is probably someone you should equip with the finest ranged weapon you can find. A character with a low mettle should probably avoid danger and perils.
Some Basic rules to get you started
First, this game uses D10s as its basic dice (You may need a D6 here and there, but D10s are going to be your go to dice). Dice rolls will fall into one of two primary types of rolls you’ll make. The Opposed test (this one comes up a lot in melee combat) is simple. You roll a D10 and add your character’s relevant stat. Your opponent does so for their guy (or an unaligned radiation monster) and you compare the results. If your result was higher, the outcome you wanted occurs. (You hit the guy if you were swinging in melee combat or your character manages to not get hurt if he was hit). If your opponent came up with the higher result, then you’ve been hit or wounded (depending on the specific roll).
The other type of die roll you’ll be using your D10 for are Stat tests. A stat test has a fixed target number for you to roll above in order to succeed. Ranged combat tests, morale tests, and most of the not dying to various environmental conditions are all Stat Tests. Unless otherwise noted, a Stat Test is a Target Number (TN) 10 check.
Note 1: A roll of a 10 is considered a critical and automatically succeeds. If both players roll 10s, roll off to see who the winner is.
Note 2: A roll of a 1 is considered a fumble and automatically fails. On opposed tests, these can trigger other situational problems (or as we call it around the office, hilarity ensues).
The Turn Sequence (and we’re going to cover this very briefly, next week we’ll cover the full turn sequence and the use of action points) is a fairly simple process with three phases. Phase 1 is the Initiative Phase, and is pretty easy going. You and your opponent each roll a D10 and whoever rolls highest gets to choose which model they want to activate first.
The Activation Phase is the heart of the game and where most of the action is going to take place. Starting with the player that won the Initiative Phase, each player picks a character to activate. Activating a character is easy to do. Roll a Mettle Test for that character (TN10). If you succeed, that character has 2 AP to use for this Activation Phase. If you failed, they have one AP to spend. Once you’ve spent all of that character’s AP, play passes to your opponent, who will then do the same thing. You’ll pass back and forth until every model has been activated by their controlling player.
After the Activation Phase has been completed, move to the Cleanup Phase to resolve any lingering status effects or changes to the board (like a fire spreading or a radiation leak). Once you’ve completed the last phase, the Turn sequence starts over. It’s a fairly friendly turn sequence for a new player to get used to, but take your time getting into it the first few games.
And that’s our first closer look at TNT. As always, you can download the demo rules for TNT at www.worldsendpublishing.com . While you’re there, be sure to check out the bad ass models for TNT and all of the neat shiny things they’ve got in their shop.
Next week we'll take a closer look at the Turn Sequence itself and we may dig into the six factions you can choose to play with.
Game on, Game Fans