This time it was my younger son who played with me. He requested that we play Asteroid, a Traveller-like game from GDW where the heroes must stop a mad computer from destroying the Earth by causing an asteroid collision. The rock in question was tunneled out as a mining control station, and the central computer went wacky after the IT guy tried to upload his brain to the mainframe.
My son asked to play the heroes, and choose from a rather motley assortment of characters to go into the station: from the beefy Muscles McGee to Alex the professional thief, to The Professor and his daughter and their dog, Sascha. Each character has some skill or talent that may be useful. Muscles' brother Lucky can fix things by whacking them, another is a psychic, and another just a very good shot with a laser. Against them are the station's robotic crew, a mix of mining, utility and defense robots. The computer's control over them is erratic, though, and during the game, several small robots went over to my son's side. The computer's units are laid face-down on the map so my son had to investigate them one by one, trying to find the computer central terminal to shut it down.
The fighting rules are pretty simple but work well, dice rolling is at a minimum and there's only one chart to consult. Many of the robots and a few of the heroes were killed before the computer was shut down. The rest escaped and Saved the World. The asteroid station itself is laid out on eight map sections, four for the upper level and four for the lower. The maps are designed in such a way that they can be connected in any sequence, so the station never looks the same twice. A rule that I missed until after the game appealed to me so I'll have to put it in for the next time - once the computer player decides where all his units go, the maps are laid out in number order, so the heroes have no idea which map section is connected to which other section. This adds a great layer of complexity to the heroes' mission.
We will have to play a few more times to really come to grips with all the potential of this game, but managed to finish in about two hours. My son was glad to have won, but was saddened every time one of his robots got smashed by the larger robots. At least Sascha the dog made it out all right.
Pictures will eventually go on the Gaming Events page.