Steamroller with Meaningful Scoring Zones
What if we played a variant of Steamroller where we didn’t have to move terrain around to make room for flags and objectives? What if this variant Steamroller didn’t have scenarios? What if the table is the scenario? No zones, no flags, no objectives. What are you fighting over? How do you score?
The table is the scenario!
Players pick lists, roll for deployment order, and then pick scoring elements. Scoring elements are terrain elements that are scored, like flags and zones in traditional Steamroller. Players fight over buildings, trenches, hills (just kidding), quicksand, bodies of water, instead of rectangles and circles.
How it works.
- Once both player’s army lists and deployment order are determined, the first player rolls a d3+2 to determine how many scoring elements are on the table. There will be between 3 to 5 scoring elements.
- The second player chooses a terrain element, and marks that terrain by placing a token on that terrain. The token is marked to indicate either a solo, unit, or warjack/warbeast/battle engine. The terrain can’t be within 12 inches from the player’s table edge.
- Next, the first player chooses an unmarked terrain element, and places a token on that terrain element. The token is marked to indicate a solo, unit, or warjack/warbeast/battle engine. The terrain can’t be within 12 inches from the player’s table edge. Players alternate until they reach the number of scoring elements determined by the first player’s roll in step one.
Scoring occurs at the end of the second player’s second turn, same as normal Steamroller.
Scoring elements with a solo token:
A player controls a scoring element marked with a solo token if they own one or more warcaster, warlock, infernal master, or solo models within or base-to-base with the scoring element, and no opponent contests it.
For a warcaster/warlock/infernal master model that is a member of a warcaster/warlock/infernal master unit to score, all models in the unit must be in formation.
Scoring elements with a unit token:
A player controls a scoring element marked with a unit token if they own one or more warcasters, warlocks, infernal masters, or unit commander within or base-to-base with it, and no opponent contests it. For a unit commander to score the element, all models in the unit must be in formation.
Scoring elements with a warjack/warbeast/battle engine token:
A player controls a scoring element marked with a warjack/warbeast/battle engine token if they own one or more warcasters, warlocks, infernal masters, warjacks, warbeasts, or battle engines within or base-to-base with it, and no opponent contests it. For a warcaster/warlock/infernal master that is a member of a unit to score, all models in the unit must be in formation.
A model may only score one point per turn. In other words, a huge based model can’t score a forest and a wall on the same turn. It only earns a single point, no matter how many terrain elements it is base to base or within.
Player 1 rolled a 3. That means 5 terrain elements will be chosen by the players. Player 2 selected the obstacle, a wall, for solos. Player 1 selected the closest trench for jacks/beasts/battle engines. Player 2 selected the other trench for unit commanders, and then Player 1 selected the forest for solos. Player 2 selected the water for jacks/beasts/battle engines.
Why? Player 1, a Trollblood player, wants to put a warbeast in the trench, and a fell caller hero in the forest. Player 2, a Crucible Guard player, wants to drop a Vindicator in the water, knowing a mechanic can hand it pathfinder.
Player 1, Trollbloods, deploys Madrak 3 with four units of Kriel Warriors, a Krielstone unit with the Northkin Elder, Pyre Troll, Brawler, Impaler, two Fell Callers, and Runebearer.
Player 2, the Crucible Guard player, deploys Locke, two Vindicators, three Toros, two Liberators, and Alyce.
Player 1 adds the Northkin Raiders to the table, and Player 2 adds in three units of alchemists, with two trancers, and turns a couple warjacks around so they face the right way.
Trollbloods run up, with Defender’s Ward on the Raiders.
Locke moves up behind her Toro, throws out her upkeeps, and the alchemists take down a couple trolls who were outside Madrak’s aura. Vindicators aim to shoot, because they only needed three inches to be a threat. After a few explosions, the trolls regroup and attack.
The trolls push in, and a raider manages to lob a shot at Alyce after killing an alchemist. He gets really lucky, and she flips out, turning into Big Alyce.
This is the scoring turn. Two shots from the Vindicator, some hits from the Liberator, and an attack from Alyce brings down the Brawler. Because it stood still, it wasn’t able to get to the water. Neither did the Toro, even after running. Whoops. Locke does force her way into the troll army though, taking out most of the remaining Raiders. Madrak’s feat wasn’t helpful, because Vindicator shots prevented most of the warriors from making tough checks.
At this point, she ended her turn, and realized her time ran out. We scored it anyway. Trolls got 1 point for the forest with the fell caller. Crucible Guard got one point for their trench, and another for their wall. They could have gotten three if they had planned their run to the water a little better.
Things to consider…
As we play this a little more, we’re going to be on the lookout for tables that end up too live or too dead. Is 3-5 scoring elements right? More or less? Will there be too much of an advantage on odd numbered scoring element games for player 2? Or is that offset by player one going first and storming the board? How do set-up options (cluster, quadrant, etc) affect table builds and the scenarios chosen by players?
Both of us agree that this is a really fun way to play. It adds to player agency and immersion. It makes the game look better, since there aren’t weird, arbitrary rectangles or circles on the board. It still makes the center worth fighting for, since terrain is mostly in the center.
Give it a try, and let us know what you think!