First try with MDRG

Last sunday my buddy and I decided to try Mutants and Death Ray Guns from Ganesha Games. We did as suggested by the rulebook, and played a short campaign of three scenarios with five member war bands.
I chose a pure human of only four members whereas my opponent rolled for a pure mutant war band.

Soon we discover the power of having a Leader with Quality 2+, when I wiped out three mutants in one go. We felt Q2+ Leaders a bit unbalancing as all the Q3+ humans withing a long distance of their leader had also a Q2+, and thus I ended always rolling three dice for the activation of each element of my war band, as it was very difficult to score even a single one with a three dice roll. This fact also spoiled to some extent the activation mechanism of the rules, as there weren't many surprises in the activations.

The first scenario was Radioactive Wasteland, and it finished once we reached into combat range.

The shell holes are the radioactive areas

Kill the mutant scum!

Having Q2+ made me faster and more manoeuvrable than my opponent, and thus I managed to put my four humans in front of only three mutants that I quickly dispatched. After that, my opponent run away and the game ended.

Sayonara mutant!

The second scenario was Smoke on the Water. With the lesson learnt, my opponent substituted his three dead with humans instead of mutants, naming one of them as their leader.

Now having both sides Leaders with Q2+ we moved swiftly. First I advanced my leader with flamethrower and incinerated two enemies, but after that, they threw one fragmentation and then one photon grenade, and killed three of my men, with the last one running away.

Fwooosh, Bam, Blam, Gaaaah! -Game Over man-

The third and last scenario was Military Installation. To replace my dead I picked up two humans, and then a mutant and a mutated bug for the sake of variety. My leader had a needler and a death ray gun, but the rest of the band had nothing. On the contrary, my opponent had now his initial weaponry plus what he looted from me in the last encounter, a plasma grenade, a flame thrower and a force field. A flame thrower that burned my bug and a plasma grenade that ate my leader and another human as soon as they get closer.

No leader and no weapons. Now what? Run!

The games were extraordinary fast, just a very few turns and everybody was dead or running away; which a very good thing if you want to play a whole campaign in an evening. The downside is perhaps its simplicity, that sometimes lose important details or unbalance the game.

A very important thing for this type of rule sets and that we missed here, was a points system to allow you to design your monsters and mutants, and give them appropriate equipment for their skills. This is something you can find in SBH but not in MDRG, and it is something badly needed to spice up your games.

In the end, we were not totally convinced by this rule set, and the next time we will probably play SBH instead.


  1. Creo que tu penúltimo párrafo resume perfectamente el principal problema de MDRG. Confío en que Flying Lead, junto con Fear & Faith solventen el problema de que Ganesha no tenga un reglamento de disparos que esté a la altura de su hemano SBH.

    En fin, una escenaografía sencilla pero muy convicente, y unas miniaturas muy muy chulas, ¿El tipo que sale en primer plano en "Kill the mutants Scum", ¿De dónde ha salido?

  2. So...where'd you get that VERY cool mutated bug miniature?

    Thanks for the writeup. Looks like it was fun, if not everything you wanted it to be.

  3. Interesting write-up. We played MDRG as a three game campaign just before Christmas. My opponent was unhappy that he could not kill my Robot group with his Humans because my C was too high. The games felt very one-sided and his low Q did not seem to help him at all. We shall try a few more games and see if we can work around that. The other problem that we had was the simplicity of the game. We liked the random groups, but the system lacked 'meat'. For a small skirmish game I would like to see a little more detail in the combat system, I think, even if it only came down to hit locations and wounds rather than just push backs, knock downs and death.

  4. @Slorm, las figuras son de Copplestone. EM4 tiene también parecidas y muy guapas y esculpidas por Copplestone.
    @CC, the mutated bug figure came from a King Kong set called creatures from the skull island, bought in Toys'r us.
    @Rugarigh, I know how you feel as it is exactly what it happended to us. The activation system is original and interesting but the game lacks meat as you said. In any case, if you ever play MDRG again, do it with mixed warbands.

  5. I believe you must have some kind of comparison to other skirmish-scale firefight rulesets.

    I was interested in this game for some time, but now after reading your writeup I feel glad I didn't invest my money yet.

    Could you compare the game to other titles you know? For now I prefer Two Hour Wargames rules whenever firefights are to be played. And for Sci-Fi I think I'd still go with 5150 + rules added in Infestation (maybe some updates from CR3?) - I get reactions, unpredictability and some 'meat' like hit locations, cover and penetration.

    What would be your choices for playing SciFi small skirmishes, more like a squad per side than platoon per side?


  6. @Mahon, for a firefight I prefer 5150 or CR 3.0 to MDRG, but they're different games with different purposes and shouldn't be compared.
    IMO, MDRG is focused on fast & simple skirmish to allow you to play a full campaign in an evening, and have some fun without further pretensions. If you look for more than that, then you should play other system instead, like for example 5150.
    I think that what you really want to play is a THW post apocaliptic ruleset.

    BTW, it wasn't my intention at all to give a negative feedback of MDRG. It's just my opinion and I'm totally sure there are a lot of people out there who think MDRG is great, which is fine. Actually, I'd probably give it another try someday.