Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wood Nymphs Don't Surf - Warlord of Erehwon AAR

I had my first chance to play Warlords of Erehwon last weekend. Erewhon (and I need to check my spelling every time I write that) is one of of Warlord Games' newest rulesets, taking their sci-fi Antares rules and molding them into a fantasy skirmish game. 

With limited data, I'd say they were fairly successful. 

We were playtesting a scenario for this month's SJGA meeting.

The scenario saw a force of invading Olympians entering the forest from the top left road. On the opposite side of the board was a giant mushroom - the Olympian's goal. They had to move across the table and cut down the mushroom.

Meanwhile, a smaller force of Wood Nymphs (dressed up Elves) awaited the Olympians. Each terrain feature was assigned a number and, as the Wood Nymph commander, I had to choose which units occupied those terrain pieces before the game began.

In the first turn, Sam would bring on his units at his choosing, and then I could react with my hidden ambushing units. From the second turn on, we'd used Warlord's patented "draw Order Dice from a bag" mechanics.

The Olympians came on by the main road. With the infantry clogging the way, the cavalry was forced into the light woods on either side, lowing them down. A unit of Wood Nymph Archers appeared and fired at the Olympian Centaurs, but scored no wounds.

More Olympians poured onto the table, with their commanders calling out for order. Meanwhile, a Wood Nymph Champion and a unit of Guardians appeared in the woods closest to the enemy, where they had been waiting for the Olympians to exhaust their turn's actions. The attack was rebuffed, however, with the sylvan Nymphs taking the worst of it. The Champion, not realizing how tough the Cyclops was, was quickly overwhelmed and pushed back.

The Olympians continued to struggle to move through the terrain, and the appearance of enemies on their flanks meant their slow march screeched to a halt. The Wood Nymphs in range felt the full brunt of the Olympians' frustration. Their Champions slew his Wood Nymph opposite, and the Guardians continued to be whittled down by ranged fire. The Wood Nymphs did manage to slay the last of the centaurs, but could only watch from the safety of the woods as their sisters were slaughtered.

In the third and last turn (the game progressed somewhat slowly since we were busy reviewing the rules as we played), much blood was shed upon the forest floor. Sam's unit of hoplites had swung up in a shieldwall to chase the Archers out of the woods. The Olympians were taken by surprise when what they had assumed where trees turned out be be Dryads, allied to the Wood Nymphs' defense of the woods.

The tree spirits launched an assault into the hoplites, and after a couple rounds of combats, broke the enemy unit. However, the Dryads were in turn wrecked by the Cyclops's hurled rock. The same monster then chucked another rock into the Wood Nymph Archers, who had just knocked most of the Olympian Harpies out of the sky. The celebrating forest spirits were crushed under the improvised artillery. Then a few more arrows from a unit of Amazon Archers caused more casualties. The Wood Nymphs were barely able to hold on, though their Haughty Disdain meant they ignored the result of their first failed Break Test.

We called the game there. Both sides had been bloodied, and it wasn't clear who the winner might have been if we continued. The Olympians definitely had more units on the board, but they still had to move all the way to the opposite edge of the table while being harassed by the Wood Nymphs. But the Wood Nymphs only had a couple units left that could threaten the Olympians.

Sam decided he would adjust his list to reflect something more focused towards raiding enemy territory (more light troops and cavalry, most likely). John agreed that a hard time limit (6-7 turns) would both put impetus on the attackers to get a move on and not get stuck in combat and give the defenders a chance to win if they managed to delay the attackers for long enough.

It's a shame I won't be able to make it to this month's meeting to see how the game goes, but I'm sure Sam and John will post about in on the forum.

As for Erehwon, I found it to be a decent attempt at adapting the Antares rules to a fantasy warband skirmish game. The game moves along quick enough once you get a feel for the rules. It doesn't do anything to really invoke a fantasy flavor, apart from the spells, but it's fun to play.

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