Showing posts with label battlesworn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label battlesworn. Show all posts

Friday, 9 March 2018

The Return of Dr Fu Manchu

So in the past few weeks I have, with the aid of others, come to two conclusions regarding my Fu Manchu's Halls Of Horror scenario for Battlesworn.

The first is that it's tremendous fun.

The second is that it's hideously unbalanced and I doubt SAVE can ever win it.

The first conclusion seems to trump the second for most people. Gary certainly enjoyed himself last night, despite failing to stop the Devil Doctor.

Here's the start.

Initial skirmishes in the hallway of the house saw at least one fighter bogged down for several turns trying to kill a skeleton.

The mummy appeared. Gary did a fairly good job of moving low-grade figures to block reactions from Fu Manchu's minions as he moved the better characters into the house.

The agents of SAVE finally worked their way upstairs, but time was running out. We had a few turns mid-game with tied bids, and they very much favour Fu Manchu who can afford to sit tight and let the clock run. Note to self: Maybe I can change the scenario so that a turn with a tied bid doesn't count against the ticking clock. I'll have to think about that.

As ever, the mighty Baron ended up cursed, and faced the prospect of fighting his way down a landing guarded by a skeleton and Jack The Ripper.

To his credit, he had a good go at it. But his combat rolling was abysmal, even taking the curse into account, and he was quickly killed.

By the time the Baron fell, Fu Manchu was ready top begin his ritual. Gary made a bold effort to get stuff upstairs to stop him, but it wasn't going to happen, and SAVE lost again.

But did I say that we both had fun? Well, we both had fun.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Battlesworn at Bundanoon

Catherine and I went away camping this weekend, because, as regular readers will know, this time of year is our wedding anniversary and that's how we celebrate it. As always I took some games with me and, as always, I failed to play most of them. However we did fit in a Sunday afternoon game of  Battlesworn in a shady picnic shelter (because it was too hot otherwise). I only took two pictures.

We played the King of the Hill scenario, with the winner being whoever had a figure on the stone plinth at the end of the fight. I used goblins and won the initial race to the objective, but Catherine got one of her dwarves up and a lengthy fight ensued. Other figures got sucked in to support, but I managed to position mine so that access to the plinth was trickier. The game developed into my troll and a goblin with a poisoned spear holding off superior numbers of angry dwarves, whilst the goblin on the plinth stood there near to death but protected from direct attack.

The game ended after ten turns with a goblin win. It was too hot for a rematch.

Aside from eating, walking and sleeping, the only other highlight of the weekend worth noting was that I picked up a second-hand copy of The Earthsea Trilogy for $4. I've read it a couple of times (and the first book more than a couple), but never owned a copy before. I knocked off 'A Wizard of Earthsea' on Sunday evening before tea.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Return To The Halls Of Horror

A couple of years ago I posted a Battlesworn scenario in which a group of SAVE envoys had to stop Fu Manchu enacting a dark ritual. It made use of not only of my collection of 1980s Citadel Call of Cthulhu figures, but of the wonderful floorplans GW put out at the time for horror RPGs.

Anyway, last night I played the scenario with Caesar. He took SAVE, whilst I got to be the evil Doctor.

SAVE have to get across the hallway, up the stairs, along the balcony and into Fu Manchu's chamber as quickly as possible. Fu Manchu has an endless army of skeleton minions dedicated to stopping them.

And not just skeletons; Jack the Ripper joined in the fun as well. There was plenty of fighting in the hallway.

Jack the Ripper was slain, but some of SAVE's figures were now wounded as well.

Fu Manchu's forces appear randomly, and most of them seemed to be coming from the archways on either side of the hall. This left the landings relatively free, so those agents of SAVE who got up the stairs found their way relatively unimpeded.

If you look closely, a mummy has joined the fight in the hall.

Time was running out; Fu Manchu enacted the first part of his ritual. Three successes would see him win.

The agents hit a bottleneck; a doorway. Beyond it was Fu Manchu's daughter, who could be used by him to cast spells without a line of sight. Through her he magically paralysed the mighty warrior Ranjit Singh in the doorway, delaying SAVE for a turn.

A SAVE gunman downed the mummy, but was seriously injured himself.

The Baron broke through into the corridor and engaged Fu Manchu's daughter. In normal circumstances this would have been a one-sided fight, since she is a simple, puny familiar, whereas the Baron is a might Brute, but he had been cursed earlier making  him far less effective in combat. She even wounded him.

The Baron got her in the end.

But her sacrifice hadn't been in vain. She bought enough time for Fu Manchu to complete the ritual. Even if SAVE had made the chamber in time, their way was blocked by his bodyguard, Hassan The Silent.

The final positions.

This was the first time I had played the scenario with a live opponent. It was a lot of fun, but we found that the bottlenecks are rather critical. The programmed Fu Manchu I was used to playing against didn't really exploit them, whereas I did, making Caesar's job pretty difficult. I need to rethink that part of the scenario when I play it again. But regardless of the outcome the game was great fun to play.

Geoff and Gary played HOTT, using large numbers of 15mm figures on 60mm frontages. It looked spectacular, especially at 48AP.

Gary's army was made up primarily of Demonworld beastmen, and looked awesome.

Bryan and Ralph played Team Yankee.

Geoff has been decluttering, and was giving away figures, so I now have a pile of 15mm medievals to sift through this weekend with a view to assembling a couple of DBA armies I've been keen to try. Thanks Geoff!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Dwarves vs Uruk Hai

I played a couple more games of Battlesworn this morning, using the solo system from Knights and Knaves to run one of the forces. Both games featured Dwarves and Uruk Hai; I took the Dwarves in the first game and the Uruk Hai in the second.

In the first game there were a few turns where both sides used reaction moves to get their warband into positions where they could charge or intercept enemy movement. And then the fighting started ...

Neither side had any missile troops so the fighting was always going to be up close and personal. The Dwarves did have a Warmage, though, with a summon spell; you can see the resulting armoured bear (a Tank) towards the top of the picture. It proved very useful, since its proximity to two of the Uruk Hai meant that they couldn't charge into the combats happening elsewhere on the board. In Battlesworn you must charge the nearest enemy figure; this forced them to either charge the bear or move somewhere else, and activations weren't always forthcoming.

The fighting was brutal and bloody. The Uruk Hai force was strong on hard-hitting Brutes, whilst the Dwarves fielded resistant Tanks.

The game went to the time limit with neither side having won, and both sides bloodied.

In the second game I took the Uruk Hai. There were very few actions or reactions for the first couple of turns. Eventually a Dwarven musketeer moved to a point where I could charge him.

Once again, this initial combat sucked in figures from boths sides.

The fighting spread across the board, as figures trying to move towards the main part of the fight were intercepted by enemy figures trying to stop them. The preponderance of  red markers shows how deadly the fighting was.

The Uruk Hai had a Berserker, who was brought into the fray to finish off wounded Dwarves. This he did very efficiently, until a combat left him exposed and he was picked off by a musketeer.

Once again the game timed out with no clear winner and lots of rather dead losers.

The warbands in the first game were:

Uruk Hai - 4 x Fighters, 1 x Leader/Brute 4 x Brutes, 1 x Berserker/Brute

Dwarves - 1 x Brute/Tank, 4 x Fighters, 4 x Tanks, 1 x Warmage/Tank. In the second game I dropped the Warmage/Tank and added 2 x Shooters.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Brushing Up On Battlesworn

I'm playing Battlesworn on Thursday, so I thought I'd better brush up on the rules before then, since it's an odd game that takes a couple of goes to get your head around.

I set up a simple terrain, with lots of rock outcrops that blocked movement and line of sight. I was worried that they would restrict the game too much, but they actually worked well and made for some interesting tactical choices. I'm aware that most of the are unpainted. They came from the same $5 bag of goodies I got the Derpy Dinosaurs from, and I haven't quite decided what I want to do with them yet.

The first game was an all 3D-print action, with Dwarves fighting the Night Parade of the Yokai. The Yokai moved their stronger characters forward first, and the Dwarves countered them.

In this picture you can see that the giant Oni has already gone. The Tengu was next.

The fight in the centre sucked in more and more figures, but the Japanese demons got the wort of it.

The came back strongly at the end, as many of the Dwarves were quite badly wounded, and were attacked and quickly dispatched by a second wave of demons. But when the turn limit was reached the Yokai had taken more casualties and were close to their warband breakig altogether.

In the second game the Yokai faced the Agents of SAVE. Josephine Carfax (in the far distance there) started things off well for SAVE by seriously wounding the Tengu as it flew across the board. She's a crack-shot with the pistol is Miss Carfax.

She did less well when faced with the giant Oni.

The Baron moved to save her when it charged, and became locked in a fight with the monster that was to last all game.

This was mostly because  the Baron was cursed by the Yokai's witch, so he couldn't hit anything, whilst the Oni was frustrated by the Baron's wounds being healed by Lakshmi Montague, a new addition from the warband, and another character from the days when we played the Chill RPG. In the RPG she was a psychic; in this game I ran her as a Healer. The shotgun-wielding Ranjit Singh, who has featured in other reports, is her bodyguard.

Anyway, this action ended in a draw, with both sides losing roughly the same number of figures. Miss Carfax fell to a Kappa.

In the final game the Dwarves fought some Elves. I ran the Dwarves, with the Elves being run by the solo system. They were quite a deadly warband to face; with six Shooters they quickly got into a good position and proceeded to dominate the battleground with archery. By bidding low for initiative they could avoid being charged by not moving anything, and always winning initiative themselves. A tough opponent, although in a senario-based game such tactics might not work so well.

Anyway, this game ended in a draw, but the Elves probably had the best of it.

As I said, I used the solo system, which you can find in Knights and Knaves, although I used common sense rather than the action priorities for a lot of the decisions. In the first game I played the Yokai, in teh second SAVE and in the third the Dwarves, so I didn't beat it in any of them.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Gunfight at Experiment Ranch

One of the things I've fancied trying with Battlesworn is a western gunfight. It's one of the suggested options in the rules, and now I kind of understand how to play the game I thought I'd finally give it a whirl.

I do own a small western town, made up of paper buildings I inherited from another gamer many years ago (when I lived in the UK in fact). However for a first game I decided to go for a more 'conventional' setting, so just laid out a terrain with rocks, brush, fences and two small buildings from my Mexican collection.

I don't have any Wild West figures, but Junior General's paper-figure collection helped out there.

Here's the one gang. There's seven of them. They look fairly heroic.

This lot look more of a band of desperados.

Both groups were made up of 12 slots. They were:

Good Guys

4 x Shooters
1 x Sniper/Marksman
1 x Shooter/Bard
1 x Shooter/Tank


1 x Leader/Sniper
1 x Shooter/Dynamiter
4 x Shooters
4 x Shooter/Rabble

Whoah! Hold on there, pardner! There are a few bits in there that stick out more'n a rattlesnake in a sausage roll!

Well, yes. I fiddled with the rules a bit in this game. Firstly, I used Victor's idea for the core of a Shooter-based force in a Shooter-based game; instead of having Fighters, which really have no place in such a setting, I used Shooter/Rabble. You get four of them. They shoot like Shooters. They die like Rabble. However I added an option. For one slot you can upgrade two of them to ordinary Shooters. And for another slot you can upgrade the other two. That's why the Good Guys don't seem to have enough points; their four Shooter/Rabble have been upgraded to Shooters.

I ignored the limits on how many multi-class characters you could have. Just because.

Marksman? Well, yes. We have been discussing the idea of a Shooter-based Brute ability, where they hit on a 4+ rather than a 5+. This seemed to be a chance to try it out.

The Bard I rationalised as a fast-talking character, encouraging to his own side and infuriating to the opponents. Rather than charge upon being taunted, though, an opponent had to shoot at the Bard. I wasn't really sure how that would work out.

Finally, Dynamiter. Well, the game needs more classes, that's for sure. A lot of the existing classes don't sit that well in the Wild West setting. A Dynamiter is basically a Warmage who only gets the Fireball spell. However when they use it, it ignores all cover, and the Rogue's dodge ability. But it can only be used as an action, and it costs two activations.

On with the game. I played a straight, head-to-head solo game as per Knights and Knaves, just to try things out. I played the Good Guys (of course).

The Good Guys rushed to occupy the hill, with their Sniper/Marksman getting into a nice position behind a rock and with the Bard close by to encourage him. The Shooter/Tank moved to a forward position in order to draw fire.

The Desperados moved up to the fence-line, to get maximum cover.

The shooting started. The Desperado's leader was still on their start-line, out in the open. The Good Guy's Sniper had a line of fire ...

... and down he went, stone dead.

There was lots more shooting, and little more moving into position.

The Dynamiter fell, having not had any chance to show off his skills.

More shooting, turn after turn. Very little movement, turn after turn.

The Desperados were mostly stuck engaging the tough Shooter/Tank who was firmly ensconced behind a rock forward of the other Good Guys. Using some unopposed actions they charged him to engage him in fisticuffs.

It didn't end well.

On the last turn another Desperado was shot down by the Sniper on the hill.

And that was the end of the game. The desperados lost four figures (one a Shooter/Rabble, a Shooter, their Dynamiter and their Leader). The Good Guys escaped without even taking a scratch.

Neither side had moved much from their original positions.

And that last line summed it up. With most of the game based on shooting there was little incentive to move. Figures were either better off firing, or it was too dangerous to move around and draw fire. Maybe further play will show that there are tactics peculiar to forces like this. And maybe scenarios, where figures are obliged to move to objectives, would make for a less static game. As it was the game worked, but it lacked interest. With no figures on the table really geared for close combat, there was little point in setting up charges. The charge at the end was merely to try and pin an enemy character so another could be targeted, and maybe that's a strategy to consider in future games.

I think that if I wanted to pursue this idea much further I'd be looking at adding a few Wild West specific classes to the game. Having pretty well everyone as a Shooter needs something else to spice it up a little.

Oh, and it was fairly obvious that the Marksman ability is very powerful, especially combined with Sniper. I may have to look at an alternative way of doing it. One possibility is to allow the character to reroll up to two of their dice when shooting; that could be useful without being too deadly.

Still, it was an experiment I'm glad I tried, and I was more than happy with the look of the game.
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