Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Strandhogg Fantasy Playtest Cont'd

After a quick dinner, I started the game.

Instead of drawing cards for initiative, I decided to rolle a die and have each side alternate activating a warband.

The dwarves went first and moved the warband on their left towards the hill and started shooting at the goblins opposite them. I did not realise then but I had already made a mistake with the rules - shooting comes *before* movement. This meant that for the first few turns the archers were more of a threat than they should have been. Fortunately they didn't cause too many casualties to unbalance the game from this point on.

The use of the template to resolve shooting was fun, quick and easy. More than once a figure was hit twice by shots not even aimed at it!

The goblins responded by sending their right flank forward, while their left crept around the woods to engage the dwarven right flank. The centre, led by their noble, took cover by the rocky outcrops and sniped at the dwarven left.

I realised I could keep track of which warband needed to test for morale at the start of their activation by leaving casualties on the table - just count the number of figures lying down, roll for morale, then remove them.

Combat was quick and deadly, and the dwarven left quickly lost its archers and the warriors fell back.

I gave the goblins an Aglity of 6 vs the Dwarve's 5, which combined with the goblins' larger unit size and hence larger command radius meant that they were more manoeuvreable. The Dwarven noble and the central warband simply could not get to the fighting quick enough.

While this was happening, the goblin left flank formed into an attack wedge and threatened the dwarven right, while its archers despatched their counterparts.

The dwarven centre tried to dislodge the goblins from the hill but came under attack from both sides and were soon decimated. Even the return of the left flank warband could not salvage the situation.

At this point I decided to call the game - the dwarves have lost more than half their numbers while the goblins have lost less than 25% of theirs.
The goblins had the advantage of speed and numbers, and while their Courage was lower than that of the Dwarves and they could not initiate melee as often as the Dwarves did, this did not affect their ability to cause casaulties as combat was 'simultaneous' - i.e. a figure that initiates melee can be killed as a result. The use of a d10 for combat also made things more unpredictable.
In hindsight I guess I could have expected the dwarves to do badly - they were after all poorly armoured and largely shieldless. In the next game I may have the goblins come across Dwarven Warrior warband with shields and thus ability to form shieldwalls.
Terrain was also a bit sparse. Perhaps a few buildings smack in the middle of the table to break it into a few lanes will make a more interesting game.
This was a straighforward fight - I expect with the addition of missions, animals to capture, banners and musicians things will become more varied.

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