Designing a Threshold team is easy part; making one that is successful is a bit harder. In Strange Aeons there is always the random element of the dice but building a proper team and planning can have a significant impact just like any other skirmish games.
1) In Strange Aeons you have control of your skills and upgrades you receive. This allows you to customize your models to specific roles that can allow for success in a game. Planning out the skill progression can be a key component to skirmish games that are played over the course of several games or known as a campaign. Planning out the growth of your adventurers, adding new weapons and items to the group can allow you to build a successful group.
For example, you want your character Bob Smith to be the burley hero type with the browning .30 machine gun, shooting from the hip blowing the crap out of Cthulu agents. Well, let’s look at the skills you would need to make that a reality as the good ole .30 caliber guns requires two people to shoot. Clearly you are going to want the “Action Hero” skill, but that requires a Constitution of 7 or better on your character. Well, that means you need to take a “Characteristic Increase” to bump that up first. Survive your first game and snap up “Action Hero” and grab your .30 caliber and add 3 points to your team. After that you will want to grab “Lighting Reflexes” or “Heroic” to remove the “ready” restriction on the weapon or add an extra action to allow you to shoot it every other turn. Take a Dexterity increase next to allow for a better chance to hit!
Here is what Bob should look like in his career path:
“Burley” Bob Smith the .30 caliber gunner: Characteristic Increase (Con 7)>Action Hero>Lighting Reflexes or Heroic>Then take the other skill (Heroic/Lighting Reflexes)>Dexterity Characteristic Decrease (Dex 3+).
2) The second thing to consider is Duality, while not essential isn’t a bad thing. Those of us that has played wargames over the years understands the simple fact, things will die in a game. Thus, taking a backup isn’t a bad idea. A lucky dice roll can change the game for either player and taking out a key element of a team could be a game winner. Having two ensures you will have the advantage on the board longer if possible.
For example, if you want to play a ranged shooter group, it is best to have two models armed with rifles and building to the same direction in skills to improve their effectiveness with their weapons. By taking two of the same type, you double your chances to hit, kill the enemy at longer ranges and weaken them enough to win the scenario. A monster runs towards one of your riflemen and takes him out, the other one is still standing and can avenge the loss of the other model along with any remaining members, then the rifle can turn back to the work of using range to its advantage.
3) The Third is synergy among your group. This is a balance of supporting roles to give you an edge and minimizing duplications except where you need them. Each model on your team should have a role already assigned to them or they should be developing towards within a skill increase or two. Some roles (but not limited to) for example would be: two gun or two weapon fighter, brute, sniper/ranged shooter, heavy weapons specialist, machine gunner (Tommy gun user), dynamite thrower, etc…
Example: Your team has one character with a rifle and another agent with a second rifle. The last two agents have a meat cleaver and an extra .45, one improving his two fisted ability for close combat and the other to be able to shoot two pistols at once. When you deploy, the pistol and close combat specialist can either hide or try to sneak around to a better spot where they can engage lurkers or wait until Lurkers come in range and surprise them with a counter attack to protect the rifle users.
4) The fourth element is goes back to planning for the future (wow sounds like real life!), this is a focus on the future of your group after a few games. As the characters grow and agents/civilians die, you will recruit new ones back into the fold and with luck you should have a few map elements to take on some “special agents” as well. I cannot stress how critical a map piece is and using them wisely to your benefit. Taking on a special agent can fill a gap in your group that perhaps the average civilian or agent would take time to develop. They are clearly “short timers” as they stay for one so many games before they leave the group and you will have to hire another if you wish to maintain that same element in your team.
When you plan out a team thinking of where you want to end up isn’t a bad thing and helps speed up game play to get to the next scenario instead of the agony of trying to figure out what to do next. What is also great about this is it helps you figure out the miniatures you want to buy as well. Nothing sucks more than buying a bunch of miniatures and not being able to use them
5) Not it is time to put this together to build your team! In my example below I am going to take Bob and merge him with the team I mentioned later….with a twist. I won’t post their basic gear or starting skill (command for the character)
Character (6 BP) “Burley” Bob Smith: Rifle, Lighting Reflexes
Agent “Deadeye” Dirk Dastardly (3 BP): Rifle, Dex 4+
Agent “Slash” Slydo (3 BP): Meat Cleaver, Two Fisted (Hand to Hand)
Agent “Popper” Paul Garvoli (3 BP): extra .45 pistol, Two Fisted (Shooting)
So you know right off the bat after the first skill increases would be like this and so on:
Bob: Increase to CON 7>Action Hero and add .30 (3), sell rifle (1)>Heroic>Decrease Dex to 3+.
Dirk: Lighting Reflexes>Heroic>Ambush
Slydo: Tough>Heroic>+1 Wound>+1 Attack, at some point pick up a saber
Paul: Decrease Dex to 4+>Heroic>Ambush>+1 Wound
Along with this the plan is to hire a Medic for 1 MAP and 3 BP ASAP to help keep injuries from causing issues in games. The next hire may end up being an Antiquarian to translate scrolls for another 1 Map and 3 BP depending if you want to add magic to the mix or hold onto the Map pieces for special scenarios.
NOTE: On thing you may notice is the duality goes away after you add the .30 caliber to the team, but he still serves as a fire support specialist to the group, so his role is similar, just changed. If you desire, you could hire another agent on to fill that gap as well.