|"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!
|"I'LL TAKE YOU ALL ON!"|
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.