Friday, January 19, 2018

Dragon Wagons

The game has been fought!
As the convoy winds its way forward the Huns appear to block the Eastern road. The artillery in the fort, having run out of Greek Fire (Magical weapon) opens up with rocks. All game long the Hun levy infantry  didn't care for that as shown by the number of morale rolls of 3 or 4 when hit! 
After much thought I decided that I needed two house rules.

1. Third time lucky. If the 1st unit fails its activation, it is done but a 2nd unit may try. If it fails, it is done but a 3rd unit may try. If it fails then the player's turn is over. Once one unit has been activated, the first failure ends the player turn.

2. Love your friends. The 3" rule for enemy holds but units may move as close as 1" to friends. A unit moving to contact an enemy may not ride through one units 3" zone to attack a unit farther away but it can attack the closest enemy or the middle of a line of units even if this violates the 3" rule for a unit farther away or to the side of the target.

Both rules helped ALOT! Mind you I still had a couple of player turns where no one activated. Not many though.

For the first few turns the Goth's catapult was their only unit showing. A charge by the Duke drove it back into the woods where he left it but by the time he met the King of the Goths most of his bodyguard had been crushed by comic book rocks. 
With 4 factions, I made a deck with 4 cards, one for each faction, and  pulled cards each turn to determine the sequence. That worked well.

I made the  wagons into 3 "units" of 2 stands each and allowed each to move with a unit which was touching it. The unit was assumed to be spread up and down the line so any attack   on the wagons was an attack on the escort.
The Roman cavalry has sallied forth but not in time to prevent the Duke from being wounded by the Goth King.
The game lasted longer than I expected and was full of incidents and reversals of the sort that make for good stories so that worked. The combat was also OK and the more generous activation worked well. Not sure the game would have worked for me without it.
Many turns later, the Huns have fled, beaten  by the hails of arrows from the Roman catapult, the Clibinari and the British Scouts. Four wagons have fled for safety to the fort but two were still in danger. Prince Micheal routed one band of Goths but was grieviously wounded. A hail of arrows from the remnant of the Roman Clibinari routed the wild  Rugi and slew the Goth King. Heroes of the day! The arrows from these brave horsemen routed 6 units in all plus, indirectly, the Hun King and slew the Goth King. Only the British scouts came near them.
Conclusions? This should work for a convention game. Would I use it at home afterwards? Maybe but probably not, I suspect its a better game against a live opponent. So should I go back to home rules for the convention? or stick with the plan?

I'm undecided.

I am decided on restoring the bases though and the 2 stand units will stay! (for battles, not Prince Valiant skirmishes)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Prince Valiant and The Relief of Castle Rampant (1)

Having played a first test game of Dragon Rampant, I figured it was time to try it with the Prince Valiant Elastolins.

Having recently de-based the figures the obvious course of action was to make up 6 and 12 figure units as per the rules. It didn't take long to figure out that eight 24 pt armies were going to call for something like 90 cavalry and  240 foot. I might be able to fill that roster if I get busy gluing and painting, and maybe cast up a few Prince August Vikings, but I don't really want to and that is A LOT of loose Elastolins bouncing around far from home.

Luckily I kept the bases and if this test game works it won't take much to restore them. I have trees that need washer bases anyway. The plan is to use 2 bases for each unit, 2 cavalry or scouts or 4 infantry per base with little dice to track hits. 
What the game might look like if no Huns show up.
I find it helpful to try new rules with a familiar scenario to see how the two mesh. Since I've been pondering a larger, more complex, multiplayer castle relief setting for the Huzzah game, I decided to try CS Grant's Wagon Train scenario from scenarios for wargames.

It seemed unlikely that the list of Grant units would smoothly translate into four commands each of 24 points so I wasn't really surprised when it did. I'm used to the unlikely happening!

Here are the 24 point factions:

Roman Castle Garrison:
(only the cavalry may leave the castle)
Heavy Riders: 4 pts
Heavy Riders with Bow: 5 pts
2 Light infantry, mixed bow and spear: 10 pts
1 Catapult (Heavy Missile): 5 pts

Allied Relief Force:
Comitatus: Disciplined Elite Riders: 8 pts
Heavy Riders: 4 pts
Scouts: 2 pts
2 Offensive Light Infantry: 10 pts

Hun Attackers:
Comitatus: Elite Riders with Bow: 8 pts
2 Light Horse: 8 pts
Scouts: 2 pts
Offensive Light Infantry Javelins: 6 pts

Rugii Attackers:
Comitatus: Armoured Bellicose foot: 6
2 Offensive Light Foot: 10
2 Light Archers: 8

Now to set up some Glory Points or whatever they are called, for control of wagons, dueling etc . With multiple players I intend to let people give points to other players and strike up deals in the spirit of the times.