Strange Aeons - review

I was asked to do a review on Strange Aeons, so here goes:

Strange Aeons is a wargame that pits 1920's agents against eldritch horrors. Whilst not actually set in the Call of Cthulhu universe, it does draw heavily on that background, with some of the same monsters included, and some included with different names.

 The Agents are known as "Threshold" with the horrors known as "Lurkers". The background for the rules has a strong US flavor to the game but it can be set anywhere. For my games I have used the UK as my background.

The playing area for the game is small, 2 feet x 3 feet is suggested, and scenery is only limited to your imagination.

 Each player takes control of 1 - 10 figures each and 25/28mm is the scale of choice for the game, but I have seen 15mm and even 10mm games on LAF. I prefer 25/28mm due to the sheer number of figures on the market: Pulp Miniatures, RAFM, Artizan Designs, EM4 and Uncle Mike's Worldwide to name but a few.

 Dice for the game are d6, with the occassional need for a d3; but that is just a d6 halved.

 All measurements in the game are done in inches, but if you are one of those that can't or wont use inches, then converting is easy.

Each agent/horror has a set of stats that reflect movement, the ability to attack and how sane they are. There are six stats in all.

 Skills are included in the rules - agents/humans (cultists) get to choose which skills they have, with most monsters having skills listed already, and in some cases monsters can be given extra skills.

Once the Threshold Player has created his team (up to a maximum of 15 points... this number can go higher, but only through winning games) a scenario is chosen and the Lurker player puts together his force.
 Each game for the Threshold player uses the same agents, where as the Lurker can change his forces each game. This is because the Agents are the main focus of the game.

 With the scenario chosen figures picked and scenery placed the game can now begin. 

 The initiative for the game is determined by the scenrio, and players take it in turn to choose a figure and give it up to two orders. Command figures can activate two other figures from the same side  at the same time if within command range.  This sequence continues until all figures have been moved.

              melee - both sides roll a number of dice indicated by the stats of the combatants. Dice cancel out each other, and the one with the most hits not cancelled out wins.
             Shooting - attacker rolls dice vs target's dex stat.

 Most cultists will be taken out with one hit (which is why there are a lot more of them in the game) whereas agents and monsters take a few more hits before they are removed from play.

 At first read the system for building your team of figures and combat can seem a little confusing, but going through it a few time and reading posts of LAF soon clarify any confusion.

 For example - when building your team (either Threshold or Lurker) you have Build Points and Base Points - both are abbreviated to 'BP'.  This seems to throw most players at least once.

 There is a Quick Reference sheet at the back of the rules, but it doesn't contain every thing you might like to know, so making one helps a lot. But there again, many rules suffer from this.

 This game is a lot of fun and doesn't break the bank when you start buying figures.

 The game doesn't have solo rules, but I created my own solo system that has even drawn  positive comments from the game's designer.

Strange Aeons quickly became one of my favorite games and I have had a lot of fun coming up with the background story for my campaign as well as making some scenery.

 Apart from the initial confusion with the rules (and a lot of people seem to suffer this one) the only other bad point I have is that where is no system for creating your own monsters and giving them a BP rating. I have created my own lurker monsters, but have no idea of the BP I should give them.

 Strange Aeons is quickly gathering a bit of a cult following in the wargaming world especially amongst Call of Cthulhu fans.

1 comment:

cmnash said...

Thanks for the review Shelldrake - sorry it took me so long to get to it! Comprehensive and informative - a good review

You've whetted my appetite now though, curse you for adding to my list of wants!!