What do you get when you cross the claustrophobic setting and hardened-armor firepower of a game like Space Hulk with slavering hordes of zombies controlled by the evil will of a Nazi mastermind?
That’s easy. You get the latest game to hit the Big Table — “Incursion”, published by Grindhouse Games.
As I’ve mentioned before, my gaming addiction is not entirely limited to ‘normal’ wargames. Strange settings, bizarre themes and oddball systems are well-represented in my game closet. When a game pits the good guys against two of alt-wargaming’s most despicable villains — crazed Nazi scientists and merciless zombies — how am I supposed to ignore that?
So here it is.
Incursion is set in the grim – yet oddly campy – game ‘universe’ first established by Grindhouse in their miniatures rules “Secrets of the Third Reich 1949″. The game’s slice of the story is fairly straightforward: heavily armored, firepower-laden American troopers are trying to crack into the well-defended lair of evil genius Hugo von X, the maniacal Nazi scientiest responsible for creating a host of wonder-weapons and abonimations. There’s power armor (Armored Personal Exoskeletons in this case), machineguns, flamethrowers, grenades, BFGs, Sturmzombies, evil twins, malevolent mutants, attack-trained werewolves and even a Doomsday Device that needs disabling.
Dudes. That kicks ass. What’s not to like?
For a retail price tag around $50, the box comes packed with a nice array of goodies. There’s a two-sided, mounted game board; four sheets of markers and figure stand-ups printed on impressively heavy stock; a large stack of cards; a pile of plastic figure-stands; three d6; a molded box insert to hold the bits; a rule/scenario booklet and players’ aid card.
The physical production is very good quality. The only quibble I have worth noting is that the die-cutting of the markers and standups was a bit variable. Obviously, the sheets were struck from the ‘front’ facing of the game pieces. In some cases, the die didn’t strike quite deeply enough, leaving an incomplete cut through the printed surface on the back facing of the sheet. The issue was resolved easily enough by tracing the cuts with a sharp X-acto blade — it was just a little more of a hobby project than I’d expected.
Incursion’s rules are pretty simple, especially for a ‘skirmish’ level wargame. The turn sequence is old-school, IGO-UGO with bidding each turn to get the initiative. Your guys/gals/things then expend Action Points to peform actions from a pretty limited menu of options – move, shoot, face, ‘use’ something (switch, door, whatever), stab/poke/whack.
Weapons roll a number of d6 (‘Damage Dice’) equal to their rate of fire. If the roll equals or exceed the target’s “Fortitude”, a Damage Point is scored. A ‘model’ that collects DP equal to its damage rating is elminated. Sturmzombies, for example, have a Fortitude of 4 and are eliminated by a single DP. American ‘Grunt APEs” — the game’s star-spangled red-shirts — have Fortitude 6 and take 2 DP to eliminate.
Sturmzombies can only attack hand-to-hand. Most HTH attacks in the game roll just a single Damage Die. Zombies benefit from a sort of ‘gang up’ rule that adds a Damage Die to the attack for each subsequent Zombie attacking the same target in a given turn (i.e. first attacking Sturmzombie rolls 1 DD, second attacking Sturmzombie rolls 2 DD, etc.). Given the confined nature of the game map, it’s a trick to engage with multiple Zombies at once — but it’s enough of an advantage that it certainly seems worth working toward.
There are a few special bits here and there, and the battle cards add some interesting twists and turns to gameplay. I’ll get into some more details about shootin’ and stompin’ with a little battle report when I get a chance.
So far, I think Incursion is a fun, thematic and fairly simple head-knocker of a hybrid board/tabletop wargame. More to come…