20 August 2010

Incursion, part 2 ”SNAFU” – the boxed game.

SNAFU is an acronym meaning situation normal: all fucked up and has its origins in the US army from the days of WW2. It also happens to be the battle card that a player may choose to play when the opponent tries to mess with one of your models by using a card of his own – or if you want to remove a card already in play.
And if you really get down to it, that is “Incursion” in a nutshell. 

The surreal setting of armored US infantry charging thru the claustrophobic tunnels of Gibraltar, battling their way thru endless hordes of Zombies, messed up German characters and werewolves to stop the German mad scientist Hugo von X from finishing and unleashing his “doomsday device” upon the world – well let’s just say it isn’t “Settlers” or “Princes of Florence”. You don’t build stuff; you blow shit up. And you do it with a grin.

Incursion is a board game that was released in 2010, or rather it combines elements from miniature games with a boardgame. You have a board, you have unit cards, unit stands or models depending on your personal preference, battle cards, a bag of game components and some dice.

Everything in the box is good quality, and considering it is Grindhouse Games first game release it radiates professionalism and confidence. The story of the game, or what makes the backdrop for the campaign isn’t Oscar material – but if I would compare this to the world of cinema I would say “You don’t go to a Sylvester Stallone movie for the story, you want to see him shoot and maim bad guys, rip their throats out and mumble something incoherent while staring you down”.

And that is what Incursion does, it’s a great fast paced and action filled game. The story is an excuse for you throwing the two forces at each other’s throats and it is the game experience and the tactical choices themselves that drive this game forward and makes you want to play more.

There are currently 3 “factions” if you want to call them that. In the box you get the US APE armored infantry, big guys that kick ass with massive firepower and are tough as nails but are quite slow moving. The APEs are specialists, they have regular Grunts, the common soldier, they have a “Sarge” character, Flamethrower and Heavy Machine gunners as well as their charismatic leader “Slugger Murphy”, a cigar smoking guy armed with a nailed baseball bat called Thumper and a .50cal revolver called Bambi  - which by the looks of it belongs in the dresser of Dirty Harry. He likes to smash zombie heads.

They are opposed by the Germans (also included in the box), led by the 3 Von X children, Gretel, Ilsa and Hans von X, each have their own style and perks.  Hugo von X had experimented on his own kids so Hans is the most messed up of the 3, with bionic limbs and a harpoon gun instead of an arm he likes to hunt harpoon people and beat them to death – think of him as “Leatherface” crossed with “Big Daddy” from Bioshock. Then we have the von X sisters. Ilsa was also messed up, her face in particular so she always wears a gas mask, she is considered to be the most useful German character since she provides more battlecards for you. Gretel the last of the Von X Siblings aint right in the head, with a German officer hat, blonde pigtails and dressed like in her underwear, a corset and waving a riding whip in one hand and a MP40 in the other she has a great hand with Zombies. I guess blondes have more fun after all. 

To their aid these whackos have endless hordes of zombies, some with bombs attached to them and the Blitzhund ( a pumped up Werewolf on steroids ).
Both sides will be expanded in the future, the Germans with the floating Robo-brain “Drohne” (if you’ve played Fallout 1 or 2 then imagine the Robo-brain, but hovering above ground by the help of a jet engine).
There is a 3rd faction, they have Beta rules up for download and open beta testing for the public. They are the MI13 commandos. Models have been released this year and these guys are more nimble but fragile commando troopers. But I’ll focus on what you get in the box.

So you have these two sides, and you have the campaign which stretches over 7 missions. Each mission has itsown “RP level” meaning requisition points which is the term of pricing units in this game. Each unit has its own RP value, and for each mission there is a cap on how much you have to spend. Thus you build your own team which will vary from mission to mission, and really no game is identical in this respect as you will always try to tweak you force composition when replaying a mission to try out new tactics.
The missions range from scouting the compound, rescuing models behind enemy lines, messing up the power supply and of course the all out attack in the last mission on the doomsday device itself.
The game uses 1 board, which has two sides, mission 1-4 use side A and mission 5-7 use side B. That might seem like a static and dreadfully boring thing, but as each mission has different layout of doors, entry points, objectives, variation in RP level and other timer effects you will get a lot of variation. In addition to the units and missions, some units have special abilities, I mentioned Ilsa von X previously and this is where she makes a difference. 

Each mission has an RP level as well as a maximum number of battle cards each player can hold on to and play during each turn. The hand is replenished up to a certain limit of cards, characters like Ilsa add to your hand as long as she’s alive, the US Sarge soldier has an ability which allow you to share action points with other members of your team etc. All models have action points, depending on what model they vary from 3 to 6. Each action point is used for movement, turning around, firing guns, fighting in close combat and opening doors and such. 

You also have Command points, like battle cards they are limited after how big a battle you play so that the game scales appropriately. These command points fill 3 purposes.They are used for turn bidding, as additional Action Points that can be distributed among your troops and they can be used to cancel the effect of a battle card played or already in play if you match the “kill number” of the card with the same amount of command points.

For instance we have a battlecard called “Jammed Radio – Command points may not be used on this model”. That card will disturb the tactical possibilities of your opponents model if you place it on something valuable that would need a boost that turn. The opponent may then “kill” this card by spending spare/ saved up command points to match that value. Command points like battle cards are replenished each turn.
Actual battle is done by rolling dice, each weapon profile is matched by a number of dice. Heavy machine guns fire 3D6 x2 (meaning you roll 3D6 twice for 1 action point). SMG’s roll 2 dice, and hand to hand combat usually roll 1 die per attack.

There are no saves, in this game. Neither are there any rolls to hit. You simply attack a target and try to roll against its “Fortitude” (that would be toughness if you like me develop a nasty lisp trying to pronounce that word). APEs have a fortitude of 6, which means that all enemy attacks have to roll a D6 result of a 6 to wound them. We also have grenades and flamethrowers which are area attacks and either deal splash damage or like the flamethrower set the board squares on fire.

Battlecards may enhance or cripple model abilities, there are cards that boost one side only and there are cards that mess with the board itself (flooded tunnels, or lights going out).
The game comes with everything you need to play, if you don’t like or hate painting miniatures you can simply use the unit stands supplied with the box. If you want to spice things up you can opt for the Grindhouse Games metal miniatures – they are crisp sculpts.
Game also comes with a load of cards and counters, a rulebook, the double sided board and a reference sheet. You may if you wish also buy the board separately at the Grindhouse Games store.
All in all this is a great 2 player game, and I would recommend it!

You may buy this game either over at Grindhouse Games – link to their store is listed among the other links. Or if you live in Europe you may try West Wind productions (UK) or if you live in Sweden check out Kulturkommissariatet.

Stay tuned for part 3 where I describe the models, their uses and how they work in both Incursion as well as in Secrets of the Third Reich!

The board and the rulebook


  1. Hello!

    I felt I should leave a comment to say how much I've enjoyed reading your blog - well written and interesting - especially the stuff on Incursion. Hence this comment on what is quite an old post now :)

    In fact, you've inspired me to purchase the game and write a quick blog entry on it myself. Thanks for the inspiration!



  2. Thanks for the comment Jackwride, no problem commenting on old posts - I check my comments each day and try to respond to all :-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...