Showing posts with label fantasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fantasy. Show all posts

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Mini Dragon Rampant

You know me; I like any miniatures game I can pretty much fit on a coffee table. So it was inevitable that, at some stage, I'd try to scale down Dragon Rampant. I've played it with HOTT elements a few times, so I kind of knew where I was going, but I wanted to see how small I could get a 'conventional' game down to. I have my reasons.

This was the playing area; 40cm x 80cm (an 8 x 12 50mm gridded cloth I made a couple of years ago to be exact). I randomised some terrain and positions.

And the forces? They were 24pts each, made up from the 18mm 3D prints; the Spectral Host and the soldiers of the Temples of Syrinx. But whilst each unit had either 12 or 6 strength points, as normal, I only used six or three figures to represent it, thus giving them a much smaller footprint and making the most of the smaller playing area. I also switched all distances to cm.

I ended up with the Bloodbath scenario, and decided to make it interesting by requiring both sides to have two quests, and also requiring all units to enter from their edge rather than being deployed on-table from the start. Here's the Spectral Host entering.

And the Temples of Syrinx.

The approach. The big monsters (gronks) and undead cavalry were both Heavy Riders, but the undead had the fear trait as well.

The Spectral Host grabbed the hills. Their foot were classed as Light for this game, so the uphill advantage would be useful.

The cavalry engaged, and the gronks fell back in fear.

The Syrinx archers gave the Spectral cavalry a tough time, and they were then charged by swordsmen and failed to countercharge.

Elsewhere the Syrinx Knight Commander was trying to pin down some slippery banshees.

Undead warband engaged the archers, driving them back from their defensive wall.

But the Syrinx forces were holding, and the Spectral Host was running out of steam, as its fragile units took more casualties. The warband failed to charge two turns in a row, and were wiped out by archery.

The spectral cavalry also fell, and it was left to the Wraith Lord himself to get stuck in. He was on a bit of a loser from the start, but did a reasonable job, wiping out the gronks and killing some swordsmen before falling to archery.

The foot on he hill ran soon afterwards, leaving the Spectral Host with a unit of foot and the banshees. Outnumbered and outgunned, I called the game at that point. The warriors of the Temples of Syrinx had achieved both of their quests and won the battle as well, to pick up a decisive victory.

This was a useful exercise as not only was it my third Six by Six Challenge game this month, but it also tested out the setup for and playability of Dragon Rampant at this size ready for a possible public outing at a boardgames event this weekend. I wanted a miniatures game I could fit into the area of a boardgame, and which was also as portable (since I may have to carry it around town). The light plastic figures are ideal, and a small cloth and a few preselected terrain pieces would be no effort to carry either. The only difficulty I found was tracking the actual losses, since each figure is two strength pints; there's an extra level of mental arithmetic required which I admit was an effort this late in the evening. On the day I may keep the units at full strength in terms of figures, and use stones to mark all hits, making the morale calculations easier. The aim is for people to possible rock up and have a play themselves, so anything which makes the game easier will be good.

6x6 - Game 3.5

Friday, 27 January 2017

Legend of the Shachihoko

Off the coast of ancient Japan, raiders move in from the sea.

A fortified fishing village remains unaware ...

... until sails are sighted on the horizon.

The first raiders rush ashore, but the villagers see them off with spear and bow.

But more raiders attack. The village put up a desperate defence. Many raiders fall. More villager fall.

The village burns.

But the island shakes. The sea boils ...

... and a mighty Shachihoko appears to avenge the fishermen.

It lunges forward, crushing one of the ships beneath its massive body.

It's fearsome jaws destroy a second.

The third ship attempts to escape, but soon the monster is on them as well. They fight back, and wound it with arrows, but its jaws snap left and right and soon the crew of that ship are devoured.

The village is avenged, and the Sachihoko returns beneath the waves.

This is the 'Release the Kraken' scenario from the main Galleys and Galleons rules, and was a chance to try out the rules for both Bastions and Creatures. The attackers must destroy a fort in the centre of the table, which will trigger the appearance of a creature. They must then get as many ships off the board as they can. In this game they got the fort, but none of them escaped.

In fact my Bastion was a little non-standard, in that it had no ranged weapons beyond small-arms. But then neither did the attackers. I allowed ships to grapple the island, and launch boarding actions against the village, and that seemed to work OK, representing landing parties in an effective, playable but abstract way.

Village- Q4 C2 - Bastion, Unarmed, Veteran NCOs, Marksmen - 27pts
(The Veteran NCOs and Marksmen represent them defending their village from the walls. Marksmen was horribly effective, and I may give the Reinforced Hull if I did this again, so they have defence against small arms)

Raiders - Q3 C3 - Square Rig, Sweeps, Unarmed, Shallow Draft, Intimidating - 36pts
(Shallow Draft was a given, seeing as the ships had to run right up to the land. And, yes, they are Viking ships. I was going to add an extra bit to the story about them being lost Vikings, but they can just as easily be local pirates/raiders))

The Shachihoko - Q4 C4 - Creature, Submersible, Intimidating, Reinforced Hull, Ramming - 83pts
(The Shachihoko is a real creature from Japanese folklore, although I'm not sure they are as monstrous as the one in this scenario. It is a creature with the body of a carp and the head of a tiger, and figures of them are often used as decorations on the eaves of buildings as they are said to have magical powers to control water and defend against fire. If you made this a magical creature, it would probably be a hydromancer.)

And the most important feature of this game? It is the first I've played where all of the figures were 3D printed.

Here is a link to the Shachihoko

Here is a link to the set containing the ships - I rescaled them; the original is about 40mm long; I went for 25mm.

The village/fort can be found in this set.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Wildlings vs The Dukedom of Ceidonia

I fancied a game of HOTT today, and squeezed on in before we headed off to see 'Rogue One' (which was an order of magnitude better than that hideous mess the franchise cranked out this time last year). I had the Ceidonians out on the table, since they currently don't have a box to live in, so decided to use them. When I put together Prester John's army the other week I repainted some of the dodgy old knights I didn't use for the army in the Ceidonian livery, allowing me to drop the Ceidonian steam-tank if I want to run them as a more conventional medieval army. For this game the army consisted of: 4 x Knights (including the general), 4 x Spears, 2 x Shooters and 2 x Blades. A classic two-point terror.

I fancied a game with a bit of a Game of Thrones vibe, so got out the Wildlings. They defended, but I couldn't be doing with ferreting out the snow terrain, and the defended some green fields instead. The Wildlings were: 2 x Riders (including the General) 1 x Beast, 2 x Shooters, 1 x Behemoth, 5 x Warband.

With hindsight this was going to be an awkward game. The Wildlings are very strong in bad going, and without it they are vulnerable to the massed Knights of the Ceidonians. The Ceidonians are weak in bad going. So whichever army defended would be looking to set up a terrain which would seriously inconvenience the other army. I used my DBA 3 style random terrain system, the Wildlings went for four pieces of bad going and a hill and got to place them all, creating a very closed battlefield.

Here's the Wildling deployment. The Ceidonians opted to try and attack out of the worse of the bad going into the one large open area. Their deployment roll saw them doing the opposite.

The plus side of being the attacker is that you get to set up after the defender. The Wildlings had gone for a wide, cover all approaches, deployment, so the Ceidonians went for a concentrated punch against their left, with a line of Spears backed up by a line of Knights. The former was designed to hold the Wildling Behemoth in place, whilst the Knights were there to exploit breakthroughs or provide a dangerous retaliation if the Warband destroyed any Spear elements. The two Shooters were assigned to cover the one exposed flank.

The Ceidonian juggernaut advanced.

The Wildlings redeployed in response, shifting some Warband over to the endangered flank, moving the Riders up in support and pushing forward with their Shooters against the Wildling left.

The Shooters engaged ...

... and the Ceidonians came off worse.

The Wildlings launched their attack.

But the attack was driven off.

The main Ceidonian force was almost at the main Wildling line. The Duke of Ceidonia and some Spears detached from it to help bolster the flank.

Fierce fighting in the bad going ...

... saw some Ceidonian Blades destroyed.

The Wildlings reorganised.

On their right they lost some Shooters to the Ceidonian crossbowmen. That was the last activity of note on that part of the field.

The Ceidonian flank-guard was holding its own as well.

And their main force now crashed into the Wildlings ...

... with mixed results. One of their Spears was destroyed by a Warband, but the Skin-changer Beasts were overwhelmed in return and the giant was driven back.

The Wildlings counter-attacked.

Wildling Warband fell, but so did more Ceidonian Spears.

The fighting became more desperate. The Wildlings were now well ahead on points, needing only to destroy two more Ceidonian elements to win, whilst only having lost three themselves.

The Wildling giant smashed his way through some Knights ...

... and turned on the Duke of Ceidonia himself. This was the crunch - literally - for the Ceidonians. They were only one element shy of defeat, and anything other than a draw or a doubling of the giant would see them lose it - either by destruction of the general, or by the giant recoiling over the Knight behind it.

All over for the Ceidonians.

The final position.

There were no key lucky moments in this game. Both armies got reasonable rolls in combat, and the Ceidonians could have pulled off a win had the dice swung slightly more in their favour. They set up a few likely kills, and any of them would have opened up the game for them. To some extent the Wildlings were mostly on the back-foot, having to redeploy in the face of the concentrated Ceidonian attack. So, all in all, the game turned out better than I thought it would.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Last Stand - First Time

Last night we gave Last Stand a playtest. Last Stand is a set of fantasy mass-battle rules which are being developed by one of our club members. They are designed to give an element-based DBM-sized battle, and whilst they owe their roots to the DBA/M system, they are different in many, many ways.

One person had played them before, whilst the other three of us hadn't even read them. Dave adjudicated, mostly from memory.

The game was a massive nostalgia-fest. Dave had set up a Middle Earth battle, and the figures were a wonderful mix of 25mm wonders from days gone by. Some of them were reckoned to be more than forty years old.

Pig-faced orcs!

And look at these minimalist ents.

Anyway, have fun looking through the pictures if you are into vintage miniatures.

As for the game, both sides spent the early stages wondering just what we were supposed to be doing. Last Stand is very detailed. It is, on the surface at least, quite complicated. It uses a whole range of mechanisms - different coloured dice drawn from a bag, a combat chart which looks like snakes and ladders designed by a sadist, a PIP system for movement, combat and rallying, multiple hits on elements and random events. There's no denying that this is a comprehensive game, but it's not an easy one to learn and, on a first play, ot an obvious one to get your head around just what you are supposed to do.

So here we were, set up and ready to go.

Unsure of how to initiate anything more complicated, Geoff and I (playing the Forces of Evil) just attacked. In the centre this went badly, with our Orc hordes hitting disciplined High Elf soldiers, and being repulsed along the line. It went pretty much as it would have done in HOTT.

We couldn't win there, even with dog-faced kobolds in our army.

It all looked spectacular.

Slowly we started to get an idea of how you managed attacks and supports, and from time to time all players were putting together moves which actually resembled the plan behind them.

After the first hour I stopped taking pictures, because it was hard enough trying to work out what we were doing, without trying to document it as well. The gist of the game was this. We attacked with our Forces of Evil in the centre, and it didn't go well. So the survivors just hung on grimly, and we attacked on the flanks instead. On our left, Saruman's Hillmen charged the Lakemen and in a spectacular round of combats and pursuits drove them back almost to their baseline before being halted by some dwarves. The Uruk Hai followed up to attempt to finish the job.

On the other flank, more orcs attack some wood elves and their Ent allies. We had some big monsters on that flank, and they smashed through the enemy line, with the breakthrough being supported by their Black Rider commander. The wood elves broke.

The Forces of God weren't idle. Both of our attacks had left our flank forces broken up, and they were quick to swing in reserves to exploit this. A disciplined line of Elven spears wheeled into the flank of the Uruk Hai, led by Gandalf himself. I managed to pull the half-orcs into a proper line in response, but it wasn't looking good.

So I threw Saruman into combat.

He defeated the spear-line opposing him, and broke through it. He attacked Gandalf.

He killed Gandalf.

A series of cascading morale tests on that flank saw the entire Good command rout and flee off the table.

This broke the army.

Evil triumphed.

It's very hard to judge a game on the first play. Last Stand is a fantastic labour of love, and when it's released into the wild for testing you'll see that it has one of the most outstanding sets of fantasy army lists I've ever seen, drawing from sources that I was not even aware of. But all of us felt that it could probaby do with streamlining in a few places. Difficult to see where, though, without radically changing some of the interlinked mechanisms.

One to keep your eye on.

And would we play it again? Dave admitted that what we played was a pretty large game, and was quite ambitious for novice players. I'd possibly be interested in a smaller battle with fewer troop-types, so that we could get a better feel for the interactions.

I want to play a big-battle HOTT game with those figures though.

I was so busy that I didn't get any pictures of the Team Yankee game, or even Gary and Peter's amazing Might and Reason battle. Peter took a couple though:

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