Saturday, 11 March 2017

Dragon Rampant: Elves vs Chaos

Yesterday we played a fairly large Dragon Rampant game. The setup of the forces was discussed before, and if we would use the point values, it came down to something between 65 and 70 points for each side.

We used our hexified version of the game (as discussed here), but we adapted some more things: units could be in adjacent hexes (one unit = one hex, so no confusion possible), and we used dials to track strength points. We didn't use the idea of group orders, as discussed in this blogpost.

Moreover, since I found the original troop rosters too unwieldy, I quickly made some troop cards for easy reference during the game (and as could be expected, there were some wrong statistics on them due to copy-paste mistakes). The biggest change in statistics lines was to simply list modifiers for activation rolls, relative to a baseline of 6+. So all troops activate on a 6+ for all actions, but some have a +1 (activate on 5+) or a -1 (activate on 7+). I think this provides a better perception on the advantages and disadvantages of each troop type.

I also made some cards to draw a random leader characteristic, and to draw some random spells for each wizard. I think that assigning 3 random spells to each wizard provides more fun and thinking, rather than allowing each wizard to use all possible spells - which would quickly degenerate in throwing fireballs back and forth.

Chaos Army cards
Elven army cards
Random Leader trait
Random spells
 Some observations from our game:
  • When using large numbers of units, the activation system starts to break down. So group activation would be a nice thing to have.
  • The differences in activation rolls barely influence player's decisions. So either we should change all activation rolls to 6+, or provide +2 or -2 modifiers to change this characteristic into something that actually does influence the decisions made by players.  Personally, I am not a big fan of varying troop characteristics simply to add flabour - they should also have meaning and influence decisions in gameplay.
  • The combat resolution system is a bit tedious. Rolling 12 dice for each combat, counting hits, then dividing by Armour value ... both players said it takes the "punch" out of rolling the dice. You should be able to see at a glance how much damage you did. The Armour mechanic makes this difficult.
  • Battered units with a -5, -6 modifier have it difficult to recover, but they still are not routing. They keep "hanging around" untill at last they Courage rollf alls below 0.  When units are written off - for all practical considerations - they should get removed more quickly.
Anyway, the pictures of  the game. Bart was playing the Elves, Koen was playing Chaos, and I was taking pictures.

Bart and Koen pondering their strategy
Initial moves.
Reinforcements waiting on the sidelines.
Elven army rushing towards the statues. Marauder Giant (nicknamed Freddy) leading from the front.
Chaos army deploying
Elven spearmen taking the first statue.
Freddy occupying another statue.
More Elven spearmen
A Tree horror and some Minotaurs running over the hills.
Gygax the Dragon fighting the Chaotic Evil forces.
The battle in full swing.
Another view.
And yet another view. Since my wargaming room is not that big a room, it is difficult to get good wide perspective shots.
A look from the Chaos battle lines.
Giant Spider with Venomous attacks.
And yet another overview.
And another random picture.


  1. " I think that assigning 3 random spells to each wizard provides more fun and thinking"

    Doesn't that just make every spellcaster a Wizardling, since they are limited to 3 pre-selected spells, but only cost 2pts instead of 4?

    I love the mountai backdrop you have for your table.

    1. In essenc yes, that makes spellcasters similar to wizardlings. But this was also an experiment, and I don't care that much about point values etc. We might increase the number of random spells to 4 or 5 in future games.

      The mountain backdrops are old backdrops from model railroading. I think they were Faller, but don;t know whether these still are being produced.