Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Road Less Exploded

Note the carefully placed snipers behind the
bottle of soap bubbles and the Wii Zumba box!
I've been a long time fan of Savage Worlds.  Back last year, I ran some one-shot games and was preparing to run a campaign, but it fell through.  The Boy even GMed a short game with some friends, which was very fun.  I'd love to do some more Savage Worlds, but with the amount of other games going - it just hasn't been feasible.

Enter Savage Worlds Showdown.  Showdown is a skirmish version of Savage Worlds.  The rules are basically the same as Savage Worlds, with a bit of streamlining to take it out of the realm of RPG and into the wargaming world. You build your units with points, agree upon a scenario with your opponent, and have at it.  It's kind of like GURPS Warhammer, I guess, in that you can build just about whatever you want.  It's easy to min/max and make unfun - if that's what you like - but if the players agree upon some guidelines and look at the process of creating a scenario as game design, rather than competition, it can be loads of fun.

We started out using LEGO Star Wars figures, and as the Boy and I were playing, I came to the realization that we really didn't have to play on a game board or map.  We could use the entire frikkin living room as our battlefield.

Today, we graduated to our old WOTC Star Wars minis.  This was mainly because The Boy didn't want to go through the effort of digging through his vats of LEGOs to find the battle droid pieces.  The minis were fun.  I must say - Savage Star Wars is much more fun than the old Star Wars skirmish game.  

The Boy had a troops of clones - some regular clones, a troop commander (kind of a vanilla Rex) and some snipers.  I had some Super and non-Super Battle Droids.  Oh, and some snipers as well.  The two sides were fighting over a set of strange LEGO buildings that The Boy had crafted.  They were important to the war effort, I'm sure.

Like our old Soviet nemesis, I decided to go with sheer numbers.  The Boy went with grenades.  Frikkin grenades.  That punk commander had a thermal detonator.  It didn't take long for my poor troops to become scrap.

The boy took the Road Less Exploded, and that has made all the difference.  ;)

Savage Worlds Showdown is FREE, btw.  You can get it at the company website on the downloads page.  Don't forget to snag the excel worksheet that has all the troop building formulas built in.


- Ark


  1. I have the spreadsheet, do you use it?!

  2. @Herr Doktor - Well, you need the Showdown Rules, if you don't have them already. ->

    Appendix B covers the Troop Builder Speadsheet. If you have any questions, just ask - I might know the answer. Pinnacle's forums --> are handy as well. The game developers are there, giving 'official' answers too. :)

    - Ark

  3. ARK -

    Thanks! I do have Showdown, but I hadn' know...taken the minute or two to skim it and find that section. Ay, caray, I'm a motard...

    I think I get it now -- I'm building a cyberpunk-esque merc unit called June Jutt and The Smacktarts!

  4. @Dr - Don't worry - I think it took me a month to find the Appendices and suddenly go 'oh crap - duuh.' Appendices are usually filled with things you can ignore for a bit. Not so here. :)

    When looking at the spreadsheet, you may notices some problems. If I remember correctly, the final prices on the German units are somewhat womperjawed. I think the columns are flipped around. Also, some of the grenades have the wrong ranges, when compared with App. A. Just keep an eye out for the odd-ball mistakes when creating your units, and you should be okay.

    - Ark

  5. Okay, done with June Jutt and the Smacktarts. Is there a way to output all the info about a unit (weapons, stats, abilities, etc.) into a handy block o'text, or do I need to do my own Excel-fu to make that happen?

    'Cause if I do, that'd be fun!

  6. @Dr. - Yeah for Smacktarts! As far as auto-exceling unit cards, It would take some work and I don't know that it would work right. You could monkey with it, though, and add some columns.

    The biggest problem I can think of would be the damage for weapons. It's calculated in MAX Damage, not as a 'd' equation, so if the damage is 30, you don't know if derived from 5d6 or 3d10, unless you go and look in App. A (or just the regular Savage Worlds book.)

    But you could always go and add another column to the Weapons tab that explicitly stated the damage equation, so you could pull it off and auto-generate a unit card.

    That doesn't sound like fun too me. It's sound waay too similar to what I actually do for a living to be that fun. But your mileage may vary. :)

    I myself am using the blank unit cards but I've just completed my own personalized unit card templates in Adobe Illustrator and will be moving my guys over to that soon on pretty cardstock.

    - Ark

  7. Yeah, it's looking like the easiest thing to do it to use the Troop Builder to build the units and calculate costs, and then copy stuff to a unit card by hand.

    I found a troop builder sheet that outputs a block of text for you AND lets you build units and stuff...but I already made the ladies in the PEG sheet, and the Spock in me wants to learn Excel magic and kit it out.

  8. Oh, one other thing - remember that you may want to drastically change your units after you take them for your first spin. Savage Worlds is notorious for innocuous little rules that turn out to mean life and death in actual use. For instance, read the Morale rules on page 12 VERY CAREFULLY Those four little paragraphs will make you or break you - and may cause you to only build units with 5 figures and above. :)

    - Ark