On the blog we have a turn-by-turn account of a solo game of Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter, using the solo rules from the upcoming Dark Judges expansion. The Dark Judges can be used to replace one of the existing factions in a normal game of Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter, or they can be be played against in the new solo game mode.
The Dark Judges have been spotted near City Blocks Dan Tanna and Enid Blyton – now it’s up to the Judges to bring them to justice in Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter: The Dark Judges.
When playing the Solo Mode, your objective is to get to six points and avoid being wiped out by the Dark Judges, or to kill all of the Dark Judges - a tough ask as they are powerful opponents! Each Fragment of Reality you collect is worth one point, and each time you kill a Dark Judge you double your Fragments of Reality. You can read more in this PDF of the rulebook, but for now lets get into the action!
I set the game up as instructed in the rulebook. The fragments I’ll be after are fairly evenly distributed around the board. The Dark Judges were fairly spread out, but Judge Death and Judge Mortis had teamed up at the bottom of the board – a formidable duo to take on. Fortunately, my Judges have grouped up nicely around Judge Fear – if I play my cards right, maybe he may be the first to fall!
Looking at my starting hand of 7 cards, I didn’t have enough to blow Judge Fear away, and with no Fragments collected yet it would be better to wait so that I could make the most of the 2x multiplier a fallen Dark Judge gives me. Plus, with one armour that recharges at the end of my turn, attempting to whittle him down would likely cost me most of the cards in my hand. Instead, Chief Judge Hershey took command, using the Rally ability to great effect – 2 cards got her into cover, and moved Dredd and Giant into position to grab nearby Fragments of Reality. As a third card, Mean Machine lumbered forward towards Judge Fear, ready to grab the Fragment there too.
The Dark Judges
On the Dark Judges turn they will draw two cards with actions for each of the Dark Judges. The first card had Judge Fire make a Shotgun Attack, Judge Fear a Melee Attack, and Judge Death and Mortis would both take a Move Action. With no one in range for the first two Actions, Judge Death and Mortis made their way towards my closest character – Judge Giant!
The second card drawn from the Dark Judges solo deck saw Judge Fear walk into Mean Machine’s space and Snipe him point blank. Mean Machine, being one tough cookie, took the shot rather than defending himself. Hopefully that’ll pay off in future turns, although he isn’t in the best position – a space of cover means that neither Judge Giant or Chief Judge Hershey have Line of Sight to him, and Judge Fear’s Paralyzing Aura means it would take Mean Machine two cards to get away.
The other actions on the card would have seen Judge Mortis and Judge Death perform Melee attacks, but luckily none of my gang were in range.
I wanted to get some Fragments under my belt, as killing the Dark Judges would double the number of Fragments I had collected (with a calculator readily available, I realized the doubling nothing leaves you with nothing).
I had the cards in my hand to pick up the Fragments by Judge Giant and Judge Dredd, but opted just to go for the one in Judge Giant’s space, meaning I’d still have 7 cards in my hand for my next turn, or for an interrupt of the Dark Judges…
The Dark Judges
The first card drawn from the Solo Deck saw Judge Fire attempt to Melee attacks, but with no one in range he just punched the air. Judge Fear would have moved were he not already in the same space as Mean Machine, and the final action saw Judge Mortis advance. Two Dark Judges in the same space made a very juicy target for the Judges Explosive Ammo…
Their second card saw Judge Fire make his first meaningful contribution to the game, Sniping Mean Machine. A glutton for punishment (and also, seeing that no more damage would be coming that turn) he took another point of damage, leaving him at 2 health. Hopefully using him as a punching bag will pay off in the end…
The next turn saw me grab another Fragment of Reality as their only action for the turn, trying to stay at my full compliment of 7 cards to respond to the Dark Judges actions. Clearly they have no problems with leaving Mean Machine to face the brunt of their attacks alone.
The Dark Judges
Their first card was more bad news for Mean Machine – another point blank Snipe to the face. He only had one health left at this point, so would need to act fast. Noone was in the same space as Judge Mortis and Judge Death, which is a relief as the would have taken a Melee attack and a Smash Attack.
Before the Dark Judges drew the second card, I played an interrupt card followed by three of Mean Machine’s symbols to pick up my third Fragment of Reality. Now all I needed to do was kill one of the Dark Judges to claim victory, and Mean Machine was hoping to end things then and there with two consecutive Smash Attacks.
When the Dark Judges are attacked, you draw the top card from their deck and see whether they have the right symbol to defend in the top right corner. Mean Machine’s first Smash Attack came in…but Judge Fear had no answer. His Armour was smashed and he took one point of damage. Only two health left, and Mean Machine had another Smash Attack ready.
Unfortunately, Judge Fear wasn’t going to let himself get smacked twice in one turn. A timely block meant I had spent 6 cards trying to win the game, leaving myself with only 1 card in my hand and a badly-beaten Mean Machine awaiting his fate.
After a partially successful interruption, the Dark Judges had their second activation. Judge Fire moved and took a Snipe action – it was lucky that he moved first otherwise this would have been the finishing blow for Mean Machine. There was no attack from Judge Fear, but Judge Mortis and Judge Death continued to advance towards Judge Giant. Looks like Mean Machine wouldn’t be getting all the attention.
Having pushed for the win during my interrupt, I only had one card left for the Judges turn. I figured my best bet would be to save that card and hope that, when combined with the others I’d draw at the end of my turn, would get me through what was undoubtedly going to be a rough Dark Judge phase...
The Dark Judges
Time was up for Mean Machine – a Snipe from Judge Fear dealt the final blow. I could have saved him, but with another card yet to be drawn for the Judges I figured it was only a matter of time anyway (plus, I mean, he is Mean Machine, if I was going to lose anyone…)
Judge Giant also found himself in trouble – Judge Mortis moved onto his space and smacked him for a point of damage. He was down to two health.
Before the Dark Judges took drew their second card I used an interrupt card. I wanted to get Judge Giant out of there!
I only moved him a single space, but I was hoping that it would mean I didn’t start the next turn in the same space as Judge Mortis (Mortis has the special rule Cloud of Decay, which deals damage to characters in the same space unless they can use a Precog or Deflect ability).
Unfortunately, when the second card was drawn it seemed my actions had been for nothing, as Judge Mortis would be hot on Judge Giant’s tail. Judge Dredd also found himself targeted by a Snipe from Judge Fear – without Mean Machine holding him up, Judge Fear suddenly seemed much more of a problem…
Straight away Judge Giant took another point of damage due to Judge Mortis’ Cloud of Decay, taking him down to one health. I needed more options, enough firepower to bring down one of the Dark Judges and secure the victory. I took the risk and ended without taking any further action, bringing my hand up to 5. I was really paying for spending so much with Mean Machine in Turn 3!
First card from the solo deck drawn, and to kick things off Judge Fire tried to Explode Judge Anderson. At this point I felt that I was sacrificing too many Judges to try to get the perfect hand, so I blocked the damage with the Deflect ability. Four cards left in my hand…
Judge Fear advanced, which moved him onto the space of cover that had been blocking Line of Sight for me. Perhaps this would open an opportunity for me.
I’d defended Judge Anderson, no such luck for Judge Giant. His final point of health was lost and another Death Sentence was given by the Dark Judges.
The second card drawn from the Solo Deck saw Judge Fire move into the same space as Judge Anderson, and Judge Mortis joining Chief Judge Hershey – that Cloud of Decay was going to cause even more problems…
2 Judges down, 2 in the same space as a Dark Judge. Things were looking bleak. Chief Judge Hershey couldn’t hold her breath to avoid the damage from Judge Mortis’ Cloud of Decay and went down to 2 health. I was gathering a good collection of cards – I almost felt like I could take down Judge Fear, but not quite, and with his Armour regenerating at the end of my turn I knew I had to blow him away in one go.
I played one card to get Chief Judge Hershey out of Mortis’ grasp, then prayed I would draw what I needed.
Chief Judge Hershey had a new friend this turn – Judge Fear joined her in Space 28, but luckily no more damage this time. Of course, due to his Paralyzing Aura it would now be even harder for me to get away…
The second card from the Solo Deck saw Judge Fear unleash a Shotgun Attack on Chief Judge Hershey – limited to two range but dealing two damage. Fortunately I had the card I needed to block it, otherwise things would be looking really bad…
I was in a position where I had an interrupt card and a few options for attacking, still not enough though. Losing Mean Machine and Judge Giant was really starting to hurt me now, as they are my two heavy hitters.
I decided I had to suck it up and pay the 2 movement to get Chief Judge Hershey away from Judge Fear, moving closer to Judge Dredd in the hope that I’d draw the cards I needed to finish Judge Fear off.
It was lucky I did move, as another Shotgun Attack came in from Judge Fear, and I only had a Cover defense that I could use. Safe for now, but they were all closing in.
The second card saw an explosion from Judge Fire bring Anderson down to 1 health. Judge Fear and Judge Death moved into Chief Judge Hershey’s space, with Judge Death taking the opportunity to whack her for another point of damage.
Its crazy to think that I almost won the game without losing a single Judge on Turn 3. Now, with 2 dead, and 2 down to 1 health, things seemed to be going from bad to worse. I still didn’t have what I needed to finish off Judge Fear, so again all I could do was run, hoping to get something that would defeat him.
The first card drawn was fine by me – they continued to close in, but at least I wasn’t suffering any more damage this turn.
The second card – less ideal. Judge Fear and Judge Death both moved into Chief Judge Hershey’s space, with Judge Death trying to deliver the final blow. Luckily I could block it, and Hershey lived to fight another day!
Only a single card played – moving Judge Anderson out into the corridor of fire. Everyone had line of sight to Judge Fear now, but I fear I’d only get one shot at finishing him off and winning the game.
Judge Fire started the turn by launching a flurry of attacks at the space where Judge Anderson had been a moment before – a lucky escape, as there was no way I could defend against that. Things looked downright terrible for Chief Judge Hershey though, as Judge Mortis joined Judge Death and Judge Fear in her space. Luckily I could block the Melee attack he tried.
Before the next card was drawn from the Solo Deck, I interrupted. Of the five cards remaining in my hand, 4 could be used to attack Judge Fear, and I needed to do 3 damage to him to win.
The first shot came from Judge Dredd, using restraint and not using the Hi-Ex ammo that would kill Chief Judge Hershey. The card drawn from the Solo deck showed the Cover defense, no good in the space they were in, so his armour was broken.
Dredd shot again, this time no defense at all. If Judge Fear took one more damage then the Dark Judges would be defeated.
A third shot, this time from Chief Judge Hershey herself, finished him off.
Having already collected three Fragments of Reality, the 2x multiplier I got from killing Judge Fear took me to the total required to win. The Judges had made it, but only just.
I hope you enjoyed this Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter solo game report. Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter: The Dark Judges is coming in May 2020 - preorder your copy today!