Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Mountain Pass - Red Book of the Elf King AAR

Red Book of the Elf King is a new game produced by Lucid Eye Publications and written by Rick Priestly, to accompany Lucid Eye's line of miniatures. 

The game is set during the Fae Revanche - the great civil war between various Circles of the elves, after the Elf King left his throne for the Outworlds. 

Players chose a Thane and a number of Companions (units of three Elves each), along with their Glamours (powerful spells that only the Thane can cast) and then attempt to assert their supremacy and claim the vacant throne!

This was our first game, using the special introductory scenario in the rulebook. Two Thanes and their Companions find themselves at an impasse - while traveling through a mountain pass, both sides block the way, and neither Thane will back down and allow the other to continue on.

We used Vachel Goldenhand and Saylian Trollblood for this game, with Sam taking Vachel and the set of Glamours with lower casting value, while I played with Saylian and the Glamour set with higher casting values.

The objective was simple - either kill the opposing Thane or cause the most wounds before the end of four turns.

The Thanes and their Companions deployed on opposite sides of the pass, taking cover in the shade of old ruins.

Both sides spent the first turn advancing, out of range for either charges or Rhud magic (shooting attacks, which all elves can cast).

The second turn saw all the action. Combats between Companions sprang up across the ruins, with Vachel's warriors of the Throne of Towers easily thrashing Saylians supporter from the Sarlant March. It didn't help that Vachel's Companions were immune to Courage tests from Shooting attacks, which Saylian's Companions favored.

In the midst of battle, Vachel was able to charge Saylian, and caused three wounds - leaving Saylian with only a single wound left! Saylian's attacks were unable to pierce his opponent's defense.

A unit of Saylian's Companions, seeing their Thane in mortal peril, managed to charge and force Vachel to retreat. However, this left Saylian open to a charge from one of Vachel's Companion units. While Saylian's blades did their work - leaving only a single, wounded Companion left - one elf's spear managed to find its mark, striking Saylian down.

The Lord of the Sarlent March's beaten and bloodied body was pulled from the field by his Companions, while Vachel led his victorious warband through the mountain pass.

This was a fun, if quick, intro scenario. I'm looking forward to playing more and larger games, where both sides have a Thane, six units of Companions, and seven Glamour spells to cast. The rules are fairly simple, with a unique activation mechanics (both sides roll a d6 to determine how many activation tokens are placed in a bag, along with an amount equal to a neutral d6).

The Glamours are interesting, and can be fairly powerful, if they go off right. For example, I used Red Death during the game, which causes a chain reaction of Defense rolls with a penalty. Any model that fails a Defense roll has takes a wound, and the spell jumps to the next elf in the unit. If a unit all fails their Defense roll, the spell then jumps to the next closest unit. With enough poor rolls, an entire warband can be affected.

Of course, Sam managed to save on the first warrior, and my spell sputtered out.

I'm looking forward to playing more games of RBotEK, and to seeing what releases lie in the future. Lucid Eye has already released Trolls and Humans (with only the Trolls having rules in the game thanks to a scenario in the back), and there are rumors of Goblins and Dwarves.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Painting Update - Gangs of Rome, Konflikt 47

We're back again with a look at what I've finished painting recently.

Gangs of Rome is a new skirmish game that's both easy to pick up and fun to play. There are a couple aspects that are a little gimmicky - your gang members are randomly generated and you get a card in each fighter pack you buy, along with four randomly distributed equipment coins and their associated cards - that gave me pause before picking the game up.

But the game has been enjoyable to play, the fighter cards aren't overpowered by themselves, and there's a decent balance between a fighter having better overall states (which increases their point cost) and having less points to spend on equipment to use in the game.

There are also some non-random miniatures used in the game. The two on the left are Agente and Gladiator, which are equipment that become models at the start of the game. The center model is a dominus, who acts as a representation of the player and objective in certain scenarios. And the two models on the right are Barca and Tisiphone, named characters with non-random skills and attributes that players can include in their gangs.

I can also put a check mark next to my Konflikt 47 Germans, since I've got enough to field a 1250 list with some options. There's 20 zombies, a sniper team, a mortar team, and a kubelwagen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Beach of a Walk - Big Battle DBA Battle Report

This past weekend, Sam put on a game of BBDBA for the South Jersey Gamers Association. 

The battle was an invasion from the sea by an alliance of Spartans, Thebans and Asiatics. The defenders were Athenians, Thessalians, and Phokians. The invading force needed to capture the acropolis.

The Spartan force took up the center of the invader's battle line, with the Thebans to their left and the Asiatics on the right.

The defenders had the Phokians place their artillery and hoplites in the acropolis. The other Phokian units (mostly psiloi) and the Athenians deployed to the right  of the city, while the Thessalians defended the area to the left, over the river.

For the first few bounds of the game, the two sides marched across the verdent fields, vineyards, and groves to try and get into position.

Both sides were mostly made up of heavy infantry, so progress was slow. But eventually the various armies managed to move into line. The Phokians and Asiatics lined up their psiloi on one flank, while the Thessalians and Thebans moved their heavy infantry into the good going on the the other.

As the commander of the Athenians, I managed to get my hoplites into the open ground in front of the acropolis, forcing the Spartans to fight partially in rough ground.

The Athenians and Phokians managed to get their Light Horse through a gap in the enemies' line, which forced them to divert units away from the main fight to try and keep the horsemen hemmed in.

The Spartans and Athenians were the first to get to grips with each other. I noticed that, with units like Spears, you really need to make sure you've got a solid line. Combat factors bonuses from Flank Support, and being outflanked, can potentially spell disaster. For example, a lone unit of Spears facing off against three units of Spears will have a combat factor of 2, against the attacking units combat factor of 6!

Near the beach, my unit of light horse managed to defeat a Spartan psiloi unit, leaving a small group of Spartan hoplites dangerously exposed.

The Spartans finally began to move out of column and into a wider line of battle, but the Athenians managed to hold them back.

The Theban general, preferring to lead from the front, suddenly found himself alone and in close combat with the Thessalian hoplites, but he managed to survive. The Thessalian horsemen, however, realized that the river was easily forded and moved across, easily passing through the gap in the invaders' line.

The Phokian and Athenian light horse managed to rout the Spartan hoplites as their Asiatic allies looked on with relative nonchalance. While the Asiatic and Spartan rears were safe, the Thebans were wide open, unable to stop the combined cavalry of the defenders.

Both the Spartans and Athenians lost more units in the ongoing scrum, but the Spartans were the first to break and flee the field of battle.

As the Thebans desperately held across the river, the Asiatics and Phokian psiloi began to engage, with little effect.

The Thebans were the next army to break, unable to push through the Thessalian heavy infantry at their front or stop the defenders' cavalry in their rear.

With two of their allies gone, the Asiatics retreated as well, relatively intact for their troubles.

The Athenians, Thessalians and Phokians celebrated their victory with much wine and rejoicing!

Sam put on a fantastic game, providing the terrain and armies. We actually were the first people to play on this terrain since it had been commissioned by Sam almost half a decade ago.

DBA continues to be a fun set of rules for relatively simple Ancients combat (as long as you've gotten past the somewhat difficult language. I'm also wondering if we could replay this game using the Triumph! ruleset. Playing a big Dark Ages game would also be fantastic.