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2014-01-07

[RSBMats] AAR: A New Challenger Appears!

Red Streets, Blue Mats
has a very apropos
cover.
It's been quite a while since I wrote up an AAR for a game for the blog. Hey, have I ever written up an AAR for the blog of any games? I don't think so -- as usually it's posted video of folks actually playing the game in question, but today I have the world to myself and a brand new game from Two-Hour Wargames called Red Streets, Blue Mats.

From the website:
Modern Mixed Martial Arts or MMA offers no way to escape the shame of defeat. It ends with you literally tapping the mat; conceding the match. 
In Red Streets, Blue Mats you start as a MMA fighter far from the Fame and Fortune of pay-per-view. Maybe you’ve had some formal training or maybe you learned to fight in back alleys or streets, it doesn’t matter. You all share the same dream, to make it to the Big Time, fighting in opulent octagons in the fanciest hotels and convention centers. But you’ve got a long way to go before that happens as you have to pay your dues.
In Red Streets, Blue Mats you will find:
    • Rules for 20 different fighting styles from Aikido to Wrestling and everything in between.
    • A full color octagon for your fighters to fight on.
    • 24 pre-generated Non-Player Martial Artists, reflecting a variety of styles and skill.
    • A complete campaign, with little book keeping that allows you to fight your way from the Fringes of the MMA world to the Prime Locales of the Big Time.
    • Red Streets, Blue Mats can be played with miniature figures, paper counters or even coins. We’ve provided you with a dozen full-color paper counters to help you get into the game. 
    • Red Streets Blue Mats is the perfect game within a game for use with our sci-fi RPG5150 New Beginnings.
    That's right, this is the straight-ahead MMA fighting game that THW has been promising for a while, and it's finally out. The bullet points above cover the handy bits. We'll be using the Octagon included as well as some of the graphic tokens to build something to look at for the blog. What good would it do you not to see cool stuff like that?

    First up is character generation, because like all good gamers, while we could start with someone else's pre-generated dude, chargen is the first introduction to the game and is strongly indicative of how much thought the authors have put into editing. If things are smooth, clean, and clear, you know the thing's seen some play-testing and the designer's banged on it until it's just so. Let's be honest here ... I've played a lot of THW's game systems. All Things Zombie is one of my favourite games, bar none, of all time. But, Hell love 'im, +Ed TheTHWguy , is of the truly old-school of game design, both in layout and in editing. That is to say, it's a bit catch-as-catch-can and the structure of the books are mired pretty heavily in mid-90's DTP.

    I'm going to find some editing glitches, is what I'm telling you right now.

    So, chargen, everybody!

    Ostensibly, chargen starts on p5 with Getting Started. Here's a hint: don't. Getting Started introduces a pile of terms and information and you might think that pages 5 - 9 actually walk you step by step through creating a character. You could definitely be forgiven for that because that would make sense, but no. Read attentively, stopping for the convenient Stop! blocks that teach you mechanics and ideas, until you reach page 9, where you will find the actual block starting with Building Your Martial Artist. This is where you really want to start, going through the checklist, one bit at a time, until you get to the end and determine your MA's Rating ... but don't stop there, flip back to page 8 to get the actual last step which is to fill out your Location Damage.

    I know, I know, you see that it makes some kind of reference to checking out the boxes on the roster sheet to know what happens when your fighter's location hits 0. There's nothing like that on the sheet. On page 20, we find out that what happens, in every case, is that your character falls to the ground and becomes unconscious. For every location.

    So, yeah.

    For the sake of sanity and because I like doing cool stuff like that, I've created my own Red Streets, Blue Mats Roster Sheet and made it globally accessible on Google Docs, because everyone and everything has Google.



    So let's bust this thing wide open and start putting together A'yero the Snake.
    • Got the Roster up, let's fill it in.
    • Star or Grunt? A'yero is a Star. He eats Grunts for breakfast and defecates their little tinkly metal bits just before lunch.
    • Fighting Style? Krav maga. I've always wanted to learn the Israeli military commando-built combat methodology, and damnit, here's my chance!
    • Region? North America. The best region! Also, because I hate to drive a long way to get into a fighting ring to get my ass kicked.
    • Gender? Male. Let me check -- yes, male.
    • Determine Size/Weight Class? No modifiers for being from NA on p12 under Region Modifiers (though it'd been really nice if the book had properly cross-referenced where to look), so d6 and ... 2! A Welterwight! I'm cool with that; this is a little guy, fast and ridiculously agile, clearly.
    • Determine Signatures? This is where a lot of the cool stuff kicks in. There are a whole pile of Signature actions that various fighting styles can take and take automagically, and for Stars, you roll an additional Signature and pick another. So what do I have? We flip over to p40 to find krav maga and it's core Signature list:
      • Choke Hold Attack. I can strangle the crap out of some poor bastard, doing huge head damage, or just Lock Up the bastard, skipping a roll to see if my attack hits next round and just move on to strangling.
      • Hard as Nails. Ignores getting Knocked Down the first time. Takes the damage, but just won't fall. Very nice for a light guy.
      • Vicious. This is what I'm talking about! If I won on the Maneuver Table check, I get a +2d6 on the Attack Table. Short version, I'm comin' to get your sorry ass.
      • I get to pick one Signature so I look down and play slightly against trope with Wary.My opponent always gets a -1 on the Maneuver Table because I'm such a paranoid bastard. Good thinking for a little guy.
      • And now the random one. Back on p9, it mentions that the strange range of numbers next to each style is a 2d6 check to see if you roll on the generic MMA Signature table or the specialized style. Krav maga has 2 - 6, so about a 50% chance of going to the generic table. I roll 3+4 for a 7; I roll for the krav maga Signature table (purist!) and end up with ... a 2 followed by a 4. Slow. -1d6 when rolling on my own Maneuver Table. I'm going to chalk this up to being a little guy and damn paranoid; he hesitates to commit.
    • Total Attributes? I'm a Star, so I start with 14 AP, to spread over Savvy (fighting skill), Strength, and Speed, with the caveat that none of them can be more than 2 points higher than the next highest Attribute. Suits me fine. I end up with Savvy 5, Strength 3, Speed 6. Dude is little and fast. Like, Rey Mysterio Junior fast, and ring-savvy like a mofo. Not really much of a heavy hitter, though, so it's a good thing he can bust out with a hardcore choke thanks to his krav maga training.
    • Determine the Rating? Now here's a pickle. Back on page 7, you're directed to take the total Signature Points from your Signatures, multiply them by 3, add your total AP, then divide by ten and round to the nearest integer. This is probably the first time you've noticed there are SP, unless you popped a question mark when you saw each style has an SP value and that each Signature move had an SP next to it. You'll probably have to double back to the Signature table, figure your costs (Slow is actually a disadvantage so lowers my overall SP; 15 for krav maga, +6 for Wary, -3 for Slow.)
    • And then ... before we forget, fill out the Location damage. Which is just equal to Strength in all three spots. Oof, the Snake is going to have to dodge a lot of incoming. Otherwise, it's his ass.
    What do we end up with? A'yero the Snake's full Red Streets, Blue Mats roster sheet:


    Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx), looks almost hum...
    Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx),
    looks almost human
    despite the colorful face.
    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Next exciting episode, we hit the mean streets looking for some mean action to maul! Will A'yero get his ass kicked like a little monkey-boy, or will he come out on top, in a dominating position like a mandrill?

    Yeah, this doesn't bode well.
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