Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Darkness on the Fens - Red Book of the Elf King AAR

Recently, Sam and I met to play another game of Red Book of the Elf King. 

While my miniatures are fully painted (and will be shown in an eventual Painting Update), Sam's Circle is still in the process of being painted by a local painter. So we decided to play another small game of Red Book, with a Thane and three units of Companions on each side. This time, however, we'd play for a regular length game, with seven randomly drawn Glamour card for our Thanes to use. 

The table had the same approximation of terrain as last time, setting the game in a rocky, ruined section of the Isles of Eas. The scenario used was The Red March, which has a fairly simple victory condition - kill the opposing Thane before the end of the game (seven turns). If neither Thane is killed, then whoever caused the most wounds is the winner.

Sam decided to use Orelea of Ry Fert as his Thane, while I chose Alloysian of Vasterlant. Both Thanes are middling in their abilities, neither favoring close combat or magical attacks.

Both sides began off the table at the start of the first turn. As our units entered the table, our battleplans quickly began obvious - Sam had chosen to spread his forces across the tables, while I had focused my Circle on the left side.

Alloysian used his magic to cast Endless Fen, creating a 12" bog of difficult terrain that Orelea and one of her Companion units would have to traverse. In return, the Queen of the Long Isles cast Shroud of Night, creating a 6" sphere of darkness that blocked line of sight, directly in the path of my advancing circle. I would need to go around it to prevent Sam's force from getting a bunch of free charges.

Both sides spent the second turn skirmishing at range with Rhud magic and maneuvering through the rocky terrain, to little result.

Alloysian, however, hit Orelea with the Spear of Fate spell, causing a single wound (had all three gone through, it would've ended the game!). Sam's Glamour for the turn was Spirit Cry, which increased the Circle's Courage values by one for the rest of the game. This was an amazing Glamour that, if I ever had the chance to assemble my own spells for a game, I would definitely never go without.

With both sides rolling a total of ten actions in the bag, we knew turn three was going to be bloody.

Elves charged back and forth in the ruins to the sound of battle cries and Rhud magic. When the dust cleared, both sides had been wounded, with Sam holding the center of the table and my units surrounding him.

During this turn, Orelea cast Entropic Gaze, causing wounds to all of my units in her line of sight. Hoping to even the odds, Alloysian used Troll Cleave to try and fell a unit of Companions. But not only did he fail to reduce the unit, the Thane actually came away from the combat with a wound of his own. One more, and Oreleas' Circle could claim victory.

The fourth turn was rather short. I thought putting Alloysian out in danger might entice Sam to engage his Thane in combat...

The plan worked, although too well. Even with Alloysian's Pale Realstones, which could force redraws of the action counters, Orelea was able to active twice in a row thanks to some present penalty counters on her Companions. Alloysian's Fen Blade failed to strike the opposing Thane down, but Orelea had no such difficulties - her sword, Virtue, found its mark, and down went Alloysian.

With our second game, Sam and I are starting to get a handle on the rules. While simple, there are some tactical elements, especially with how quickly units can move or charge (10" on a 4'x4' table), which keep the battle fluid. And the Glamours add a lot to the game.

With two of the six Thanes played, I'm hoping to get the others to the table, and to start playing with full sized Circles.

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