The Doomed: Fighting the Crusade Machine
Posted: 13. 12. 2023.
The Doomed is a 2023 skirmish game designed by Chris McDowall and released by Osprey Games. I was commissioned to make the warbands and scenic shots to illustrate the game's rulebook (alongside digital artwork by Helge C. Balzer). On paper the game ticks many boxes for me: low model count, compact core system, miniature agnostic, murky sci-fi/fantasy setting, scenarios/campaign. It’s about time to finally give it a shot!
Since everyone around me is rather busy these days and we use every rare gaming meetup to playtest our own Nekroplanet Grob, it was fortunate The Doomed has a solo mode built-in.
First essential I would need was a starting warband. My absolute favourite of the four factions in the game is The Martyr Retinues, so that was the obvious choice. The book recommends 20 Renown to begin with; here’s my list for the first game:
- Osseus - a Sage. Thermal Lance, Sword, Shield.
- Kostur - an Errant. Electro Sword, Shield.
- Phantom - a Falcon. Pierecer, Shock Rod.
- Chapel - an Automaton. Scorcher.
This little warband was converted using almost exclusively figures and parts I had sculpted: Mechs I did for Under the Dice, Grobniks you can get from Ramshackle Games, Folk Horror bits from Meridian Miniatures... But there are a few Citadel bits in there as well.
When planning an encounter in The Doomed, one has a lot of choice. There are two main things defining a scenario: Horrors and Conflicts. A Horror is typically a powerful monster with specific set of abilities, minions, behaviour, and a way to defeat it. In a two player game, the players may want to cooperate in taking it down if they want to survive. However, adding a Conflict in the mix will give each warband opposing goals that give them a reason to fight each other. A game can feature either a Horror, a Conflict, or both!
Since it was my first game and I’d be playing solo, I opted for Horror only this time. There are dozens of them to choose from - in fact most of the rulebook is pages upon pages of Horrors and Conflicts. Just like warband factions, the Horrors are only vaguely described - so there is an abundance of freedom in creating minis to represent them and their Minions.
The first Horror I made for my personal collection is the Crusade Machine (above), with its four Dormant Flayer minions. This build was documented and made into an article for Wargames Illustrated issue 427. It was part two of a The Doomed-themed series; my articles about kitbashing a Warband and trash bashing terrain were released in WI 426 and 429, respectively.
My Crusade Machine consists mainly of plastic toy parts. The body is from a Happy Meal Megatron I brought home from a flea market run, and the skull face plate is from the same Halloween wind-up toy I used in one of my Annihilators. I envisioned the Dormant Flayers as laser-shooting drones, and made them using this exact technique: TUTORIAL. Matching greebling and colour scheme tie them all together as part of the same deadly set.
Before getting into the scenario I had a few warm-up rounds, in order to pick up the core mechanics and particular special rules of my Warband and Horror. Then I played an actual game. I probably still made a few mistakes and forgot about a rule here and there, but that’ll get better with more experience. It left me wanting to play more, so that must mean I like it! Here is a short version of what occurred in the fight:
I have ideas for further warbands and Horrors, so I’ll likely be playing this game some more next year. With so many combinations of Horrors, Conflicts, and factions there is plenty to explore. Since I intend to play more I might as well treat it as a campaign. I made sure to write down the necessary information for the campaign system (but there are some optional campaign rules I will not be using, so I ignored those).
Two of my warband members got Taken Out during the fight and needed to roll on the Casualty Table. Chapel is MIA, and will appear during the next scenario. Phantom is Injured, meaning if it gets Taken Out again in the next battle it’s gone for good.
My leader Osseus earned three points of Renown and access to Crusade Machine’s rewards: unique gear and the Awoken Flayer as a hireable unit. Since I have more hire points next game, I decided to buy a few upgrades. First, I’m swapping Osseus’ Sword for a much more had-hitting Autostave. In addition to that, Kostur will receive the Impact mod, which says he’ll deal a point of damage whenever he moves into contact with an enemy .
Have you played The Doomed?
How do you feel about the game?
What kind of minis do you use to play it?
This blog is easier to keep up thanks to the contributions from my Patreon patrons - thank you very much!
If you’re not a member, you can join here anytime: PATREON.
Wow I love the game, you’ve definitely nailed the vibe of the book. I love it for Speed and easy game with good decisions varied enermies and fast campaign level up so far
I would love to read more of such cool battle reports, and your miniatures are gorgeous!
The Awoken Flayer with deployed antennas is a nice touch.
Personally as I’m not equiped (or skilled as far as I know) to create or paint regular minis, I’m mainly using handmade paperminis and lego or wood construction game stuff for abstracted terrain and sometimes Horrors.
Thanks OddSquidam! That actually sounds quite visually interesting.