2nd Edition: Plot Points
Your cast has been hand picked, they have learned their lines, and know where and when they should be centre stage. The other cast is across the studio, looking just as ready to get going. The stage crew and cameramen are all ready to go. And… “Action!”
In 7TV your cast faces off against another in a hopefully nail-biting episode of action, drama and daring deeds. The measure of how well you’re doing is the amount of Plot Points you have to spend. Plot points are gained for cast members and for managing dramtic deeds during play. They are spent to make models perform, and perfom better, or to use exciting special effects and their star qualities. How you manage your plot points during an episode may determine who comes out on top.
Plot points in 2nd Edition are an amalgamation of the old 1st edition’s activation tokens and audience appreciation points. As part of the ethos of writing the new edition, I wanted to combine mechanics where possible so players didn’t have to keep track of as many things. Plot points can be represented in the game by just about anything small and generic – glass beads, pennies, teeth.
Plot points are carried forwards from turn to turn. If you don’t spend them all in your turn, you have a chance to spend them during your opponent’s turn. If you still haven’t spent them all, what you have left gets carried forwards to your next turn to add to what you’ll gain in that turn. And so on.
Gaining Plot Points
In order to spend you have to first receive. Players gain plot points in the following ways:
- Losing the initiative roll at the start of the episode
- A player advances the countdown by 2 cards instead of 1
- Countdown cards might win you plot points
- Models in your cast, more for Stars, less for Co-Stars, and less again for Extras
- Removing opposing Stars and Co-Stars from the game
- Using your Stars and Co-Stars to grab objective tokens and the maguffin
If you don’t win the initiative roll you get some plot points so you’re not helpless while your opponent takes his first turn. Advancing the countdown gives you less turns to play out your episode, but both sides gain plot points. Useful if you’re in a pinch, but remember the other side is also gaining out of it. Some countdown cards also may allow you to gain plot points.
Casts with lots of Extras gain lots of plot points, but the ratio gained by Stars and Co-Stars is better. Most likely your cast will have a mix of Stars, Co-Stars and Extras, but the plot point gain for each type of model has been carefully tuned so that a cast of all Stars can match up against a cast of mostly less capable but more numerous Extras.
Removing Stars and Co-Stars from play and grabbing objective tokens and the maguffin may gain you victory points at the end, which is handy to determine if you win. But in a lot of cases you’ll get an immediate gain of plot points as well. Which is handy as then you can be more effective during the actual episode.
Spending Plot Points
You can spend plot points to do all kinds of things. The trick here is to manage your limited amount carefully and make the right decisions. You can spend your plot points to:
- Activate a model or a unit of models
- Make a more effective fight or shoot attack, or statistic roll
- Use a model’s star quality or unexplained special effect
- Play a gadget card
- Attempt a better defence roll during your opponent’s turn
Models almost always require plot points to activate, otherwise it’s assumed the cameramen are away shooting someone else hogging all the screen time. Units require more plot points to activate, but in the end you get to activate more models per point, at a cost of tactical flexibility – the unit has to stick together on the table.
Some models can make quite capable attacks, Co-Stars and Stars even more so. All models can sometime benefit from more effort, so if you put plot points into a strike roll the chance of success goes up. Luckily the attacker always gets to see what the opponent has rolled in their defence first before commiting whether to spend any plot points or not on their strike rolls. If you need to make an important statistic roll (like to keep your cast together if they get axed!) you might want to bolster this with plot points as well.
Some models get Star Qualities, potent effects they can use once per turn, and some get unexplained special effects like Invulnerable or Ghost. Both of these require plot points to work, as they are significantly more powerful than the rest of the special effects. An Invulnerable model could theoretically shrug off a huge amount of incoming shots, but the cost in plot points will be high.
Gadget cards have a listed plot point cost, in some cases this will be 0 for minor gadgets, but more powerful ones will require plot points to be expended before they can be used. Gadget cards don’t count against the other actions a model can take in one turn, so they can be quite useful in the right situation.
You will probably need to keep some plot points for use in your opponent’s turn to use to add to your defence rolls. If you have run out, you’ll just have to rely on luck to a large degree to avoid losses. If you have loads remaining you might be lucky and get through their turn mostly unscathed.
Balancing Use of Plot Points
Plot points really are the single mechanic which ties the whole game together. Yes, you probably can get to use every model in your cast every single turn, but will they be able to do anything effectively? Would you be better concentrating your efforts on one side of the table, and using the spare plot points to get more accurate strike rolls and better defence rolls?
Can you ‘under spend’ compared to your opponent? Using a Star to take shots at important Extras might force your opponent to use their plot points at a faster rate than you. Or will your opponent choose to sacrifice “Unlucky” Bob the Minion to allow them to get more action in during their own next turn?
If your cast relies heavily on their unexplained or special effects or star qualities are you going to have enough plot points to activate who you need to and still be able tho use those special effects? If you decide to hang back and not take the fight to your opponent be aware that they might be collecting plot points for grabbing objectives, and gaining potential episode-winning victory points as well.
Plot points force tough choices, which is exactly what a wargame should be all about. The choice you have right now is to download the free beta test rules and who to play some games with…