Saturday, 16 May 2015

Get Alan! A Dragon Rampant game

Start of the game; Dwarves top right, needing to
head to the big statue at the bottom left.
My latest run through of the rules was a three player game, with one completely new player (Matt) and one wizened old veteran of my rules (Simon). Playing on a smallish table coming it at approx 4x3ft, I set up three 18 point Warbands (24 points being the norm, but 18 points is perfectly playable); given the table size, I decided to make it mostly an infantry battle, although one unit counted as mounted for movement, etc.

The scenario involved Simon's Mountain Dwarves marching with their latest cast idol of the Cat God Alan, moving him from their workshop to the giant beacon of Alan-ness, a large cat statue. They were moving from the top right of the table to the bottom left. Alan, being such a sought after deity (or perhaps because he was cast in solid gold), was also subject to the attention of my Moon Elves and Matt's Graveyard Dwellers, coming in from the centre left and bottom right respectively.

Bresslore's Floating Eye outside his slightly
intimidating summer house.
Essentially, the Dwarves needed to escort the golden Alan across the table, and the other two forces needed to intercept, steal it, and take it back to their home base. All good so far!

The Dwarves had three units: the Dwarf Lord (Elite Foot, like Foot MAA in Lion Rampant but a single model unit), Dwarf Housecarls (more Elite Foot, but this time with 6 models), and Dwarf Thanes (Heavy Foot, equivalent to Foot Serjeants in LR). Alan was escorted by the Thanes, with the Elite units there to protect them.

The Elves had three units too: the Elf Prince (Elite Foot, as a 6 model unit, but also a Wizardling, giving limited spell casting abilities), Archers (Sharpshooter Light Missiles, just like Expert Archers in LR), and Spearmen (Light Foot, similar to Foot Yeomen, although these Elves had Hatred of Dwarves, meaning they must use the Wild Charge rule; 12 models).

Dwarven Thanes with Alan
Elf Prince and his little treehouse
Part way through the game: the Dwarves are mid-table,
the Elves are coming from the left and behind the Dwarves,
and the Undead advance from the bottom of the shot.
The Graveyard Dwellers went for quantity not quality: five units in total. Bresslore's Floating Eye (AKA a Beholder in certain fantasy settings; a single model unit, acting exactly as Fierce Foot in LR), Barrow Wights (six models counting as Lesser Warbeasts - effectively a mounted version of Fierce Foot), Spearmen (Light Foot), and two units of Scouts (Bidowers in LR terms, with six models in each).

Play got underway with the Dwarves advancing down the centre of the table, Elite Foot leading the way, with some good activation rolls. The Elves failed their first three activations (that's me!), but weren't unduly worried as they stood their ground as the Dwarves marched past. And the Undead had a mixed bag early in the game, working one unit of Scouts around the Dwarves' other flank, but failing to get their heavy hitting units into position (Fierce Foot and Lesser Warbeasts want to charge, not be charged). A few arrows from the Skeleton Scouts found their target in the Dwarven Thanes, but no serious damage was inflicted.

Then things sprang into life: the Elves started hammering arrows into the advancing Dwarves, while their spearmen moved around behind the Dwarven Thanes (with Alan), coming up to threaten them. The Undead moved ominously forward, and all three Warbands looked set to converge around three Dwarf moves away from their objective (the cat statue).

The Elf Prince's bodyguards slammed into the Dwarven Housecarls and after a protected combat, routed them with predictably heavy casualties for both units.

The Elf spearmen Wild Charged the Thanes, and after a couple of rounds of combat, the Dwarves failed a Courage test and ran.

Things kick off on the hills. The Dwarf Lord has just forced
Bresslore to retreat, and the Dwarf-Hating Elves rush in to
fight the Thanes. The red gem shows that the Thanes are already
Battered. Ouch!
The Dwarf Lord came to blows with Bresslore's Floating Eye and repelled it, although the Wights had advanced into a threading position near to the idol of Alan.

And suddenly the Alan idol stands all alone...
Elven archery smashed the Wights, leaving just two of them in the game (Undead don't become Battered, which is a huge help to them), and the Elven Prince was the first to the abandoned Alan, picking it up and heading back to his lovely little treehouse. The Skeleton Scouts fired enough arrows at the Elf spearmen to makes them rout, perhaps unsurprising given the Elves' hard fight with the Dwarven Thanes.

A brief pursuit by the Wights came to nothing, and as the Skeleton spearmen moved up to threat the Elven Archers, the Elf Prince made it back to safety and won the game.

But not for long! The Elf Prince legs it with Alan, as his Archers
shoot down the Wights.
At the end of the game, the badly wounded Dwarven Lord fell against Bresslore's onslaught, and despite not securing the idol of Alan, the Undead looked the strongest Warband… a few more turns or a bigger table, and the Elves could well have suffered the same fate as the little beard chaps.

A Good Time was had by all.

End of the game: no Dwarves are left, the Elf Prince
stands victoriously by his treehouse, and the Undead roam
across the table. 
Dragon Rampant is now available for pre-order via Amazon and similar retailers.