Winter Sunlight

"Hulk rules"

My sister innocently sent me an email asking, "Do you remember the Hulk rules for Ambush? Because I don't think we wrote them down."

I do indeed, and after I stopped laughing, I typed them up for her, and then decided to tell the whole story on Livejournal. Basically it's the story of how my sister and I hacked a WWII board game into first a Stargate game and then an Avengers game.

For people -- mostly guys -- of a certain (my dad's) age, military board games were a big deal. I think this has probably given way to computer games now, but in the '70s and '80s these things were pretty huge, and my dad was really into them. The games come with a map, combat rules, lots of different counters representing soldiers, equipment, weapons, etc, and you design different strategies and put them through combat and see how much of your army survives. Most of the ones he liked to play were WWII-related, though he also had some Napoleonic Wars and medieval ones.

When my sister and I were little, we used to enjoy watching him play the games and "helping" by rolling dice and so forth. Our favorite of the games by far -- which meant that we ended up spending hours and hours and HOURS playing it with him -- was a WWII game called Ambush!, because of the roleplaying-game aspect, although neither of us had encountered RPGs yet. You create characters, name them, roll up different skills for them, and then use a game book of predetermined enemy movements to put your characters through a series of missions, competing against spontaneously generated enemy combatants who move/attack according to the game book. Your characters gain experience points during the mission, so you can put them through the entire war if you want to, or at least as much of it as is provided in the expansion modules.

After we all grew up and moved away from home, my sister ended up inheriting the Ambush! game and all its associated extra stuff. Several years ago, when both of us were at the height of our Stargate fixation, I visited her for several weeks and the thought occurred to us that the four-man Stargate squads would fit perfectly with the Ambush! game's four-man squads (you play 8 characters in two 4-man groups), plus the game has pre-existing rules for a ton of different weapons -- all of them WWII-era, but there was no reason we could think of why we couldn't AU the Stargate characters into WWII.

So we did.

And it was basically the most awesome thing ever, although it was slightly traumatic when characters (Rodney, usually) got killed. Having realized how well it worked, we ended up playing our own personal variant of Ambush! whenever we got together subsequently, except using characters from whatever we were into at the time (White Collar characters: not particularly effective in a WWII combat setting, fyi).

Two years ago the Avengers movie came out and therefore the Ambush! squad du jour was all Avengers, and this turned out to be hilarious, because of the characters' special abilities. Some of it was pretty straightforward, like modifying the sniper rules to let Clint use arrows (I think we gave him a weapon with pistol damage but rifle range, or something like that). And we didn't let Tony have his armor, because he would've been too overpowered for the scenario. The Hulk, though ...

One of the things that the Ambush! rules allow for is characters to panic. You have to save against this when combat begins (which is whenever active enemy combatants show up). And characters who aren't designated leaders tend to panic automatically when combat begins and they're in a square by themselves. (We'd had Steve and Tony as our respective squad leaders, so they were panic-proof and can panic-proof other characters as long as they're nearby.)

What we decided is that when Bruce gets shot or panicked, he turns into the Hulk, drops everything in his inventory, and goes on a random walk across the board, determined by dice rolls, attacking everything/everyone in his path, until he's out of panic ... which is basically never since no one can be in a square with him. (Everyone unpanics according to the rules when you kill or capture all the available enemies, so once this happens, that's kind of his only hope for getting back to Bruce shape, although he's going to end up naked and weaponless in the woods somewhere. That's pretty much canon, though ...)

I seem to recall that the last time we did this, he killed half the Avengers before we gave up on random dice rolls and sent him in a non-random direction to get him away from everybody else.

This year we get to include Bucky and Sam as well! I can't WAIT.


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I don't think we realized that it was going to end up being anything more than a "hey, we're bored and have a bottle of wine" experiment one night, but it worked out REALLY WELL. :D
Holy cow, that is ridiculously awesome. It sound like so much fun. XD
That sounds absolutely fantastic! Man, I wish I could play a game like this :D
It's fun! I guess the two of us have a long history of hacking game rules to make them do whatever we want them to do. :D
I love that it worked well for SGA except for people actually dying. (Poor Rodney!) I'm not entirely surprised that WC characters didn't do awfully well, though that would surely have comic possibilities, no?

But Hulk—that takes the cake. Add Bucky and Sam, and you'll have to tell us what happens! (By the end of Avengers, Hulk seems to have managed to get it through his head not to kill the other Avengers, although I know that earlier on Natasha has a big problem with him.)
In a way it's a direct continuation of something we used to do when we'd be prompted to provide names in video games as teenagers/young adults -- giving them the names of various TV characters and then playing "in character" as it were. :D (I remember that James Kirk always seemed to do really well ...)
LOL! Sounds like a LOT of fun!!! Though poor Rodney *hugs him* :)

And the WC characters, I could imagine that wouldn't work well, though cue hilarious possibilties maybe?! :D
Yeah, in actual fact even the temperamentally unsuited characters should have been competent since they still had reasonable weapon skills etc (like rolling them up as RPG characters, basically) but we tended to play more or less in character, with hilarious results, sometimes.
Ahaha, that sounds hilarious! Poor Rodney, though. *pets him*