Turf Grab – A Judge Dredd Battle Report

A street gang of punks and juves known as the Dusty Rainmakers have been terrorising the citizens living on City Bottom of Sector 27 for several weeks – this was not something the Justice Department could tolerate, and a patrol of Judges was sent in to neutralise the problem.

Must be time for a battle report!

 

Turf Grab

This is a battle report featuring a typical first game in an ongoing campaign, using forces built according to the standard rules in the Core Rulebook, to a maximum value of 500 Credits. The Turf Grab itself is a simple scenario, with forces either trying to capture as much territory on the table as possible or, failing that, wiping the opposing force out completely!

 

The Justice Department

The Justice Department player (a nice chap called James) has gone for a nicely balanced force. The Street Judges may be the ‘standard’ Judge, but they pack a real wallop with their standard issue armour and Lawgiver sidearms. The Riot Judge is a solid close combat model, but players should not forget they also come with the same Lawgiver as Street Judges!

Judge Smith

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Judge Smith 5” +1 +2 +2 2D +1 +5 2

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Aim, Leg Shot

Equipment: Boot Knife, Day Stick, Lawgiver, Standard Issue Armour, Stumm Gas Grenades

 

Judge Wessen

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Judge Wessen 5” +1 +1 +1 2D +1 +5 3

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Judicial Prodigy, Skilled and Deadly

Equipment: Boot Knife, Day Stick, Lawgiver, Standard Issue Armour, Stumm Gas Grenades

 

Riot Judge Grant

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Riot Judge Grant 5” +1 +1 +2 2D +2 +7 2

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Headbreaking, Shield Bash

Equipment: Boot Knife, Day Stick, Lawgiver, Riot Armour, Riot Shield, Stumm Gas Grenades

 

The Dusty Rainmakers

The street gang player (Alan, a long-time playtester for Mongoose) has chosen an interesting combination of models, and it seems his plan is clear. There is a great variety of tactics possible for street gangs but Alan has opted to go with two hard punk heroes leading a number of lesser juves, no doubt thinking to swamp the Judges with juves while his leader, Dead Eye Bron, picks them off at long range as a sniper. Meanwhile, his lieutenant, Indian Jo, will be using a combination of pyrokinetic psychic powers and a spit pistol, a weapon known in the game for being a Judge Killer.

Dead Eye Bron

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Dead Eye Bron 5” +1 +1 +0 2D +0 +6 2

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Accurate, Crackshot

Equipment: Long Rifle, Sports Armour

 

Indian Jo

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Psi Armour Hits
Indian Jo 5” +1 +0 +0 2D +1 4 +4 2

Type: Level 1 Infantry Hero

Talents: Incinerating Finger, Resist Flames

Equipment: Concussion Grenades, Pad Armour, Spit Pistol

 

Juves

Move Agility Shoot Melee Melee Dice Will Armour Hits
Juve 5” +1 -1 -1 2D +0 +3 1

Type: Infantry Minion

Equipment: Leathers, Handgun and either a Knife or Club

 

As any good player should, Alan has named his seven Juves; Jim Gint, Phil ‘the Hacker’ Jones, Geoff ‘Cookie’ Smith, Fred White, Andy ‘Loud’ McCarthy, Lady Death, and Simeon Down.

The Juves are all classed as Minions, which means they do not get any Talents and do not accrue experience during a campaign. Then again, they are cheap and easily replaced!

 

Turn One

With the forces prepared, it was time for the battle! In Judge Dredd, turns are divided into Phases, with each player taking a Phase and performing actions with all of his models before his opponent does the same. Most models have two actions in each Phase, choosing between Shoot, Move, Melee, and Special each time.

Judges: James got the initiative for his Judges, and so they took the first Phase of the first turn! The Dusty Rainmakers were clearly expecting a judicial response and, wary of the number of opponents they faced, the Judges advanced cautiously, with only Judge Wessen left in the open as he moved below the walkway.

Street Gang: The gang moved to meet the Judges, ever conscious their handguns were somewhat out-ranged by the Judges’ Lawgivers. All except Dead Eye Bron, of course, who obviously prefers to ‘supervise’ from the rear! On top of a factory, Bron lined up the advancing Judge Wessen. He opened fire but, despite trying twice and having the Accurate talent (which allows Alan to re-roll misses with Bron), he missed!

 

Turn Two

Judges: As keepers of the Law, Judges cannot just go around shooting anyone they wish – instead, they have to try to arrest Lawbreakers before opening fire. With this in mind, Judge Grant ran round the corner of a Munce Burger Bar to order Indian Joe to lay down her weapons and get on the ground, and got two fingers in return (as a Hero, Indian Joe can ignore Arrest checks, but a Judge must still attempt them – it is the Law, after all).

Meanwhile, in the centre of the battlefield, Judge Smith ordered the juve Fred White to surrender. Obviously terrified at having met a Judge for the first time, Fred threw up his arms and is removed from the table, no longer in the fight. First casualty to the Judges, and they did not even need to fire a shot!

On the Judges’ right flank, Wessen considered his position in the open and ducked back under the walkway to take cover behind an abandoned truck.

Street Gang: Reassessing her situation, Indian Jo retreated from the Riot Judge to re-deploy nearer the centre of the battle, while Jim Gint tried to shoot Judge Smith with his handgun. His inexperience showed, and Judge Smith nimbly took cover from the fire.

Judge Wessen hunkered down behind the vehicle as both Down and the Hacker opened fire on his position. Down missed wildly but Hacker managed to get a rare critical hit – in Judge Dredd, critical hits cause double damage which will kill most starting Judges outright. Fortunately, Wessen was behind the abandoned truck (cover grants a bonus to Armour rolls) and the shot ricocheted down the street!

Dead Eye Bron Relocates

Dead Eye Bron found he had no targets, as the Judges had become wise to his sniping position, and was forced to relocate behind a barricade across a nearby road, in the hope he would have a better angle later on.

 

Turn Three

Judges: Riot Judge Grant advanced to cut off Indian Jo’s retreat, while Judge Smith opened up on the Hacker (he had already opened fire on Judge Wessen, and so an Arrest check was not required – though James still had the option of trying if he wished) with a full salvo of Standard Execution rounds. A common juve is no match for these rounds and so the Hacker would be leaving in a Meat Wagon.

Judge Wessen also used Standard Execution rounds, this time on Down, and he removed the juve with a practised shot.

Street Gang: Getting a little distressed that three of their number have now fallen to the Judges (one way or another), the juves scramble for cover and do not get any shots off at the Judges, though two try to flank Judge Wessen. Meanwhile Dead Eye Bron, heedless of the losses his Minions have taken, waits for the perfect shot…

 

Turn Four

Judges: Both time and space were running out for Indian Jo, as Judges Grant and Smith closed in on her from two different directions.

On the other side of the battlefield, noting the moves the juves are making to deprive him of cover, Judge Wessen retreated further under the walkway. In doing so, he caught sight of the Cookie, who had gone on Alert Status the turn before (this allows a model to react to anything that happens close to him in the enemy’s Phase – unfortunately, the Cookie got arrested before he could perform his action!) and promptly arrested him.

Street Gang: It seemed as though only a spirited counterattack could save the Dusty Rainmakers, so they rallied their (now flagging) morale and took action!

Riot Judge Grant Goes Down!

Jim Gint switched his target to Riot Judge Grant and fired – and, despite all expectations, the tiny round found a chink in the riot armour and scored a hit! Seeing the Riot Judge wounded, Indian Jo seized her chance and moved in for the kill. Summoning the power of her mind, she pointed at Grant and a stream of flame erupted from her finger to immolate the Judge (Incinerating Finger is a short-ranged and low-powered Psi Talent, but as it automatically removes one Hit on an enemy model, it is good for finishing off wounded Heroes – Alan used it perfectly here).

Lady Death Flanks Judge Wessen

Meanwhile, Lady Death had succeeded in flanking Judge Wessen and, deprived of cover again, he lost a Hit to her handgun. A second shot from Andy McCarthy, however, bounced off his armour.

 

Turn Five

Judges: The battle has turned quickly, with one Judge as a casualty and another already wounded. In response, Judge Smith opened up on Indian Jo and scored a critical hit, taking the punk out for good.

Judge Wessen nursed his wound and returned fire upon Lady Death, but his Standard Execution rounds just gouged the walkway support she had taken cover behind. He then switched to Heatseeker rounds (the Lawgiver has a choice of seven ammunition types, from Armour Piercing to Rubber Ricochet, which makes it really fun to play with – the Heatseeker round is less powerful than Standard Execution but it ignores cover). The round whistled through the air, found its target and homed in on Lady Death, ending her otherwise promising criminal career.

Street Gang: With another juve down and lieutenant Indian Jo gone, the Dusty Rainmakers are on shaky ground – one more casualty and they will all be making Will to Fight checks to see if they stay in the fight. One juve gets a shot off at Judge Wessen but misses…

 

Turn Six

Judges: Their confidence restored, the Judges advance. Judge Smith flushed out Gint, who retreated (he was on Alert Status from the last turn, and opted to perform a Move action to get away from the advancing Judge, possibly hoping to draw her out into the line of fire of Bron).

Enjoying the effectiveness of Heatseeker rounds, Judge Wessen opened fire on McCarthy, and the Lawgiver worked as advertised once again, downing the juve.

Street Gang: All that was left of the Dusty Rainmakers was the leader, Dead Eye Bron, and his remaining juve Minion, Jim Gint. As their force had been reduced so severely, both were forced to take Will to Fight checks, and both failed!

The (few remaining) Dusty Rainmakers spat curses at the Judges and ran, determined to return one day and get the revenge on the Law. As for the Judges, one of their number was down but, overall, it had been a successful operation.

 

After Action

As this was a campaign game, we had to see what had happened to the fallen. Would they have been simply scratched in battle, or were they dead? And would the arrested juves be able to escape from their iso-cubes?

In Judge Dredd, Heroes removed as casualties roll on a table to see what their injuries are, modified by the effectiveness of the weapon that got them.

Riot Judge Grant, immolated by Indian Joe, received only light burns as it turned out, and would be back on the street patrolling with Smith and Wessen soon enough.

For her part, Indian Jo received a full burst of Standard Execution rounds into the chest which killed her,  a loss the Dusty Rainmakers will struggle to recover from.

But what of the juves? Well, Minions do not get injured as such in Judge Dredd. After all, they are only Minions, and there are loads of juves just waiting to sign up with the Rainmakers, despite their very public loss against the Judges. Instead, a simple die roll is made for each Minion who was removed as a casualty. On a 7 or more, they are returned to the force with no ill effects, but on a 6 or less, they are lost permanently.

After rolling, Alan finds that the Hacker and Down lost their lives to the Judges, but McCarthy and Lady Death both return to his force, ready to fight again.

That just leaves Fred White and the Cookie, who were both arrested. Rolling on the last chart for these two, we find that Fred White is locked securely away for the rest of his life, while the Cookie actually made an escape attempt! He will miss the next battle but will later return with just a few scratches – a lucky juve!

 

Summary

This was pretty typical of a battle in Judge Dredd – varied forces, very fast action, and no one really knowing who was going to win until the very last turn! James and Alan both know the rules fairly well, and managed to complete this game (including interruptions from me as I took notes for this report) in just over 20 minutes. The game really is that fast, allowing you to get several blood-filled matches in a campaign completed in a single evening.

Both the Judges and the Dusty Rainmakers have retreated and are counting the cost of the battle. Both have received Credits with which they can recruit new members to their force or upgrade the equipment of existing members. All Heroes gain XP after every battle, and Judges Smith and Wessen have both earned enough to get to Level 2, meaning they get another Hit, a characteristic of their choice will increase, and both get a new Talent too!

Then they will be ready for the next battle…

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