Although I have access to a large and growing set of post-apocalyptic terrain (a town and other scenic stuff) which fits in perfectly with the Dredd universe, we decided to go with my older urban terrain, which isnt as nice to look at. We felt that for our first gaming session with Judges that the atmosphere had to be urban nonetheless. Plenty of time to venture into the Cursed Earth at a later date.
The large buildings were put together for Heroclix games about eight years ago. They are functional at best and ugly at worst. I am currently collecting elements for my futuristic city terrain project, but that wont be ready for quite a while. So the terrain shown has to fill the gap in the interim.
At least they arent gothic ruins I suppose…
Record of some of the action from a selection of the games that day follows.
The first game that we played was the introductory scenario from the rules, The Barko Brothers. The Barko brothers consist of a trio of mooks plus their more formidable big brother Rex Barko. The tipped off Judge Mix headed to apprehend the four perps in the shadow of Chester Burnett block.
The rules for combat proved to be simple, satisfying and fast. The application of modifiers to attacks was tidier than in many other systems and proved to be straightforward and fun, as we had suspected and very much hoped. The first game ended with three of the perps being either shot or arrested only for Judge Mix to catch a close range double-barreled stump gun in the chest while attempting to apprehend Rex Barko (above).
The second play of the Barko scenario also ended in a code 99-red, with the over confident Judge (Re?)Mix apprehending two of the lesser brothers only to be blow off his feet by another stump gun blast.
Suitably familiar with the basics of the rules after those two quick games we each then picked a proper force to game with for the rest of the day.
Street Judge Plodd and Psi Judge Geller respond to reports of gang violence in sector 11. Those two judges made up my entire team for the first couple of games.
JDMG allows for a lot of flexibility when choosing forces. MT tried an elite trio of gang characters to start with…
…but they proved no match for the Justice Department, with only one survivor on the gang side after the game.
Undaunted, MT recruited a Cursed Earth Desperado and some cheap mooks to make up the numbers when he faced PBs gang. PB chose a force including a couple of characters and small number of expendable punks. MT was taken to the cleaners again that time.
Later on we decided to try something silly but hopefully fun with the terrain. We set up a stream of traffic with buildings in either side. The premise was that the traffic was supposed to be in constant movement which would hinder character movement and weapons fire across it.
Another shot of Mega City One traffic congestion.
Judge Plodd and new associate Riot Judge Barabus approach the busy street with perps in sight.
PBs gangers ignore the chance to give themselves up and open fire. Plodd shows his dissatisfaction with a pair of Ricochet rounds, taking out the heavy Spit Gunner. Barabus uses the confusion to enter the Big Bang Burger Bar under cover of his Riot Foam and a Stumm gas grenade.
Justice is served as the last ganger is dropped by Plodds Standard Execution bursts. Comms from Judge Geller confirm that she has theings wrapped up at her (table) end too. Hooray for Justice Department totalitarian efficiency!
We had good fun with JDMG last Saturday. Its simple and very fast to play, both very desirable factors. It also favours ranged combat over close assault, which feels right to me for the setting. The weapons are quite lethal and it has captured the background and atmosphere particularly well: the games feel just like the comics. I wouldnt be exaggerating to say that I enjoyed the core rules more than any other system that I have played that I can remember right now. Pending another few games to confirm this data they could well be a keeper.
There are negatives too of course. While conceptually the JDMG campaign rules have a lot in common with the likes of Necromunda or Gorkamorka they are executed in a much more streamlined way: thats great. They also take a more fluid approach which on the whole I far prefer. Unfortunately this is let down by some of the elements though: I think that the campaign system requires more testing by Mongoose. It seems a bit unfinished currently for a few reasons which I wont elaborate on here.
We came to the conclusion that the next time that we play JDMG that we will simply play one off games. There is plenty of scope for fun scenarios and varied, entertaining and unique forces with what is available currently. Mongoose have been regularly updating the force lists and should have zombies, robots, Citi-Def (Sunday Soldiers) and a few more ready as time progresses too. We also enjoyed the core rules a lot: they delivereda lot of what my group likes about miniature games.
The plan for the next JDMG session is that each of the three of us will prepare a scenario and the appropriate force lists to play the game. As well as cutting out any (unlikely) elements of silly min/maxing in force choices it will hopefully provide us with some heavily themed Judge Dredd gaming sessions. I am looking forward to them.