Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pandora's Cargo

More from my w/e at Mark's.  On Friday night after a couple of beers we played the introductory game of Pandora's Cargo (Mantic, I think).  TBH I wasn't keen.  I just seemed to be clunky and a pale version of Legions of Steel or Space Hulk (1st ed).

The background of Pandora's Cargo is that mutant rats emerge from the bowels of a cargo ship and the corporate troopers have to clean them out.  So, the next morning Mark dug out his Dwarven Forge sci-fi corridors and we set up the ship to give it another go...

Spaceship Pandora

The top separate section is the lower cargo hold, accessed via a lift or ladders.  this is where the rats emerge.  The lower section is the upper deck crew cryo chambers

 The Bridge
 Central hold with access to the lower cargo hold, the lift is down here
 Lower cargo hold
 Upper cryo chambers
 Engine control room with access to the engines (hatch)
 Mutant rat-men emerge (the marker is the objective marker for the crew).  The crew have to capture the hold.  The rats have to survive
 Rats swarm up the access ladders only to be blocked by energy barrier doors
 Crew scramble from cryo-pods
 Rats 'Dark' the cargo hold.  Any rats that are killed in the light are dead, in the dark they respawn.
 Rats blow down an energy door, making the zone radioactive in the process
 Rats breach a duct and scurry towards the engine room.  My plan is to kill the power in the engine room, making the whole ship 'dark', denying the crew chem-flares (from dispensers), and opening all energy doors.

The marker is a  flare, meaning that section of the corridor is lit.
Frozen bodies move slowly from cryosleep
 Rats make another hole in a duct near engineering (the chance and location of holes were randomly rolled at the beginning of the turn).  This enables them to rush the skeleton crew there
 Blammo! Rats dead (see that flare)
 Phew, engineering is secure
 Not so for Control, rats advance
 More rats spawn
 CRUNCH!, the rat leader assaults a corporate soldier
 More rats pour into engineering
 Squeak!  Rats in engineering draw first blood
 And more...
 While at the other end, the control room is threatened
 Errr, I forgot something...
 We come in Peace, let us in!
 Mmmmmm, strategery
 Mmmm, crunchy crunchy
 The door is down, in we go!
 Where should I go?, Here?
 No, Here?
 No, Here, ah that's better
The rats capture Engineering
 And access to the cryo chambers
 Yum Yum!

  Rats enter the control room corridor
 And quickly finish off the command crew
 Leaving just one crewman left
 He legs it for Engineering, hoping to get the power up again
 Pity the Boss-Rat is still near Engineering
 Splat! The Boss-Rat easily defeats the crewman
The Rats now have the run of the ship.  If only they knew how it worked and how to turn the power on... ...after all that effort its a pity they are doomed to either freeze or asphyxiate

This may appear one-sided, it was not: the Corporation nearly flipped the result several times.  In addition, this was very unlike the training mission, it was tense with a clear need for tactical decision making.  The nature of the order-driven events does make this game stand out from the more typical battle-oriented sci-fi dungeon crawls.  If I were going to recommend these rules again I think I'd only suggest playing 'bigger' games.  Of course, it doesn't hurt to be able to set up an entire space-ship to play on, thanks Mark!

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