I’ve received an advanced PDF copy of the 5150: New Beginnings rule book scheduled for release at the end of the month from Two Hour Wargames. What better way to play test and review new rules than with a couple of new miniatures – Guihan and April.
With this new edition of 5150: New Beginnings, we see a final shift from a Table-Top Immersive Wargame to a Table-Top RPG (Role Playing Game) in the use of Battle Boards. But if you like miniatures and terrain, there’s no need to despair, just make your battle board a bit larger to hold terrain as backdrops – perfect example of this is the UDT, Ultimate Dungeon Terrain, from Professor Dungeon Craft often called the D&D pizza. I like using mats from Infinity. Anyway, you no longer need a ton of terrain, but you also don’t have to limit yourself to a flat board. All of these options work.
Why is there no longer a need for a large table-top? Well, like most RPGs movement occurs in the story (theater of the mind so to speak) and the battle board is only needed when called for by a Confrontation or Combat situation. There’s no need for measurement, no need for determining when a figure is in sight of another figure and no need to spend a large amount of time maneuvering a figure into position. In other words, this edition focuses more on the action of the story than the shape and layout of the table.
From a purely wargaming perspective, this is terrible – because in a wargame, the terrain or table layout is an important part of the story, often a puzzle to be solved.
However, from a role-playing perspective, this is great – because you don’t have to limit your game setting to what is on the table. In other words, I can start my encounter with some action in a bar, have some action occur in a subway car or spaceship while in transit, and conclude the action in a seedy warehouse.
So if all you are is a strict table top wargamer, you might not like the battle board concept – if you like your games to have multiple scenes in one game without taking time to set up an entire table for each scene, you’ll love the battle board. I like them both and I think the battle board concept shines best in a game like 5150: New Beginnings.
Like most RPGs and all of the 5150 rule books before, one of the first things you do is to Define Characters.
Hint, Hint! Red Alert! Danger, Will Robinson! – Now that I have your attention, be sure to read the Defining Characters section. Why? Because the rules for Star Power have changed. If you are a player who has to frequently rely on Star Power for the survival of a character, well you’re going to have to think twice before kicking in the door and charging a Grath when your guns are empty.
Have you ever looked at the artwork of a Grath and seen that malicious grin? Well, it just got wider. Speaking of artwork, the art in this edition is new and all in color.
Both of these characters are Stars – Guihan is the main Star and April is a Grunt Co-Star.
You can build characters from 38 races, which includes robots, Cyndees and GAX. Though, the six major races are the most fleshed out. There are five broad classes and 36 professions, 37 if you count Jack of All Trades. In addition, there are 24 attributes available to choose from for your character.
Guihan and April really don’t have professions, per se. They’re not gangers, though they often hang out with them. They’re mostly errand girls. Guihan dreams or being a transporter and April likes the idea of becoming a merc – hired muscle. So, the best profession choice is to make them Jacks of All Trades. That way, they can run errands for a variety of people and hold down a temporary Joe job when times are tough. Jimmy John, the dealer, often uses the pair as mules to deliver goods across the city. The benefit in using these two is that they run their errands while armed to the teeth.
Like many young women her age, Guihan changes her hair color almost as often as her mood changes. Currently, she sports a tall bright yellow mohawk with neon green tips.
- She is a Star.
- She is a Basic Humanoid or just “Basic”.
- She is a Female and therefore superior in everyway in her way of thinking.
- She calls herself a transporter, but basically she’s an errand girl who mostly delivers packages.
- She has the Smooth and Resilient attributes.
- Her Reputation is 5.
- Her People Skill is 5 and her Savvy Skill is 4.
- An item she usually carries, other than weapons is heavy duty carrying case for the packages she delivers.
- She wears no armor. Her weapon of choice is a Big A$$ Pistol and also carries extra ammo in belt pouches and two Flash-Bang Grenades.
- Normally, she is not enhanced, but if tired, she will occasionally use Stims. The only Psi she has is the normal woman’s intuition.
This chica is a bit loco. She enjoys shooting things, perhaps a little too much.
A lot of young women like Guihan and April wear bits of Pink. This is to create a sense of confusion. It’s hard to think of pink as a girly color while she is stomping the crap out of you with her combat boots.
Some gangers refer to these girls as “Pink Pixies.”
- She is a Co-Star
- She is a Basic Humanoid
- She is a Female
- She calls herself a “Merc”, but she’s mainly a punk with guns.
- She has the Free Spirit and Crack Shot Attributes
- Her Reputation is 4
- She has a People Skill of 3 and a Savvy Skill of 4
- She doesn’t carry any items other than weapons
- She wears no armor. She has two Auto-Pistols which fire caseless ammunition. On her belt, she has pouches of spare ammo cassettes and two Flash-Bang Grenades.
- Enhanced? She likes to use Stims.
Guihan and April seldom work alone, but it has happened. Sometimes when only one has a job, the other will tag along just for fun. Just make sure you don’t call them “mules” to their faces.
According to the song, “Girls bring the boys out.” But it doesn’t look like these boys want to play nice.
You can recruit a band of Grunts up to the number of your Star’s Rep. But for my review, I think I’ll just run these two – a Star and a Grunt Co-Star. In my next post will start the first encounter.