Thursday, 14 November 2019

Cross-Town Arms Traffick - A Game of Hardwired

Things had gone moderately well this night. On the plus side, the team had stolen a disk of vital data from a heavily-guarded corporate lab. On the minus side, they'd driven into a bollard on the way out. Their ute was bust, and the crew now faced the city on foot.

"Yeah, mate, it's not going to be cheap to fix this."

If they were going to escape, they'd need a ride. And right now, the only working vehicle was the large yellow lorry on the far side of the town, whose hazard stripes and interesting odour suggested that it was some kind of dustcart. Time to get moving.

In the first turn, the heroes advanced into the town. Everything seemed quiet but, as they entered, a band of armed scientists burst onto the scene, furious about the loss of their data.

"We're not just mad scientists, we're bloody furious scientists."

In the next round, the team noticed the vengeful scientists approaching, and hurried through the streets, using the massive air purifier in the centre and the nearby walkways for cover. Three more scientists arrived, intent on investigating the effects of gunfire on the team, and three genestealer cultists showed up at the rear of the board, sensing that something was going on which might involve snarling and hitting.

Suddenly, mayhem broke out! Seeing the three angry scholars readying their weapons, Gary Grey-Hair lobbed a grenade at them. The explosion killed two of the mad scientists, and Gary quickly used his Ronin skills to pick off the third with his rifle. But the crew's triumph was short-lived. Four long-coated agents stepped over the bodies of the slain, hefting powerful machine guns. The Syndicate had arrived!

Turn four was upon us. The team rushed forward and Gary Grey-Hair went berserk. Together with Yves Yellow-Hair, he stormed into the local market, past a recruiting booth where the Church of Xenology had set up shop. Throwing his second, and final, grenade, he took out three more thugs. Not content with this rampage, Gary shot a fourth.

"Solve this for X, science-bitches!"

The survivors hit the deck and returned fire. In moments, both Gary and Yves were hit, the bullets slamming through their armour. Rose Red-Hair dashed forward to assist, but was caught in the crossfire and wounded too. Now each of Rose, Gary and Yves only had two dice to roll each turn instead of three, making them significantly weaker. At least their ride was in sight - but Billie Blue-Hair lagged dangerously behind.

Turn five began with the squad making a final desperate sprint for the lorry. Yves, Rose and Gary reached the truck and dived into the armoured cab, safe from harm. But Billie was out of range. She'd never make it in time. Desperately, she threw herself over the bar of the local hostelry and took cover as the shells rained down.

And rain down they did. The Syndicate's finest (or worst) did their utmost to kill Billie, firing off twelve shots. Several got through the cover, and one or two penetrated Billie's armour but, thanks to her Ronin abilities, she was able to avoid taking any damage. Phew!


Enemies were closing in from all sides now: serious troopers against whom the crew wouldn't have a chance. Billie leaped out of cover and dashed to the lorry. Scrambling on board, the team zoomed off (gradually) in their new ride. What they lacked in glamour they made up for in non-deadness!

They had escaped. The team stopped their vehicle to pose for a celebratory picture.

Ready to take out the trash.


So, that was my first game of Hardwired. I really played it to get the hang of the system and, frankly, I think it's pretty good. For a six-turn game using fairly basic rules, it flowed smoothly and had plenty of excitement.

The system is geared to making each turn harder than the last, and it does it well. To begin with, I thought it would be a doddle, but the arrival of the tougher minions in Turn Three, who not only can do two actions per turn but do them better than the previous wave, is a real notching-up of difficulty. Similarly, the wounds system is very effective in representing damage: if you take one wound, you lose your d10. Two wounds and you lost your d8. Your troops degrade in quality pretty quickly.

There were several points where I wondered how all the rules meshed together. I couldn't work out what the different sorts of grenade did, so I just treated it as a standard attack. Overall, though, I think it flows very smoothly and feel surprisingly convincing, despite the lack of complex rules (or maybe because of it).

I don't know how much replayability you'd get from Hardwired, especially given that the increasing waves of villains will make the opposition feel a bit samey no matter how you mix the game up. However, it is fun and provides for some quick, exciting play. It would be interesting to see how some of the more exotic elements, such as psychics and drones, affect the basic game.

Overall, it's a decent product. The rulebook is slightly rough and ready, and the rules are perhaps a little on the basic side, but that's to be expected. I think it was well worth the money I spent and I'd recommend it to anyone else looking for a fast solo game.


SpacecowSmith said...

Cracking battle report and the terrain looks awesome too!

I do like the look of Hardwired and will be interested to see how it plays out with repeated use. It's great to see some old Warzone Imperials getting some use too.

It did give a rather cinematic sort of game from the looks of things.

Toby said...

Thanks - both were fun to make. I'm not sure how repeated play would work. I think it could get samey quite quickly, but you could always introduce new elements without much difficulty. The basic rules are decent, and the gradual increase of the enemy and the weakening of the party is very good. It was definitely an exciting game!

The Biess said...

I hadn't heard of this game, actually. Looks cool.

Of course, that might be because your report was so well done. Nice job.

Toby said...

It is cool, especially given that it's pretty much one person's work. Definitely worth a look - the three dice system is really good. Glad you enjoyed the battle report!

Wouter said...

Excellent report, very entertaining and you made it visually stunning as well.

airbornegrove26 said...

Well that was a fun little read. Looks like we have some similar conclusions about HardWired...I'm not going to count it out yet as they have been fun games so far. The lorry, and the scientists were comical...I'm gonna have to look back at some previous posts I think. ;)

daveb said...

I really dig the church of xenology. Brilliant.

Toby said...

Thanks everyone. I suspect the more enjoyable the game, the more interesting the battle report will be!

@airbornegrove76: Thanks, I hope you enjoy the rest of my ramblings! I ought to give Hardwired another try. The basic mechanics are very good. I might take a look at the supplement to see how it can be expanded. I've been working on some more troopers for it, which will probably be my next post.

@daveb - cheers! The entirely reputable Church of Xenology gives your comment four thumbs up!

Maj. Guiscard said...

Just came over to check it out from your mention on Grove's blog.
Great battle report and "Solve this for X..." was the quote of the day, lol.

I share your opinion that the game lacks replayablity, but I bought the supplement and the 6 new scenarios look promising. I've started a campaign to run through them.