Just like Friday, my friend and I cleared Saturday morning to run over to the Mythic Games booth and try out the other scenario. This scenario is supposed to show the games non-fantasy options and be less narrative and focused more on strategy.
In this scenario, the English have secured a cargo of goods and gold and are transporting it back to the safety of their village. The French have caught them in the open and are looking to destroy the English or prevent them from getting any of the cargo back to the village. Just like in the Werewolf scenario, this game will last six rounds.
A couple of new units were introduced in this scenario as well as some tactical game options. My English group was comprised of archers and mounted archers with a Man-at-Arms group waiting for me at the village. I could also raise archer stakes to help block movement and give me a little defense bonus if thing get into melee. The French was mainly comprised of a bunch of knights on horseback and some Man-at-arms units.
This scenario did not play out as great as the Werewolf scenario as I decided to quickly make a bunch of archer stakes around my forces to block off the incoming knights. I focused mainly on the border to my North as I thought the knights to my West would take too long to get to me. I also was able to pick up a Priest figure that was in the open near the town and move one of my cargo wagons closer to home. I don’t automatically win if I get to town as I have to hold it there until the end of the sixth round but I figured I might as well get going.
After my turn I was thinking I had this game in the bag. My opponent was wondering the same thing and thought this was maybe a little weighted too much in favor of the English. He plugged along anyway and started with his knights on my left.
Neither of us really had a good feel for how the pacing of the game works or the power of certain units but my friend started pushing through with his knights and crossed over to me quickly. I failed to completely surround my rear flank with archer stakes and those knights made me pay dearly for that error.
The knights came about the bottom side of my rear and completely wiped out my archers in that space, then freely moved in and repeated that process until they were out of action cubes. Unfortunately, this round gave us a ton of action cubes and those French tore through my entire caravan, killing absolutely every unit I had on the board (or knocking them out to reinforce later) except my lone Man-at-Arms and newly acquired Priest.
We were both shocked at the effectiveness of those knights. I would say that maybe it was dice luck but my units don’t have much defense and the French knights rolled a ton of attack dice. The end result was basically game over in one turn. We had came all this way so we decided to play it out and the French quickly took my remaining units in the next turn. Realistically, that is probably how this battle should go if a group of knights are able to break through an archer line but it was pretty crazy to see it happen so easily in a game. I did make a pretty huge error and would not repeat that mistake but we weren’t able to redo the game in this setting to see if that was the main issue with making this scenario so swingy.
We did stick around to ask the demo giver if that was a pretty typical game or if he’d seen anyone lose that fast. He gave us probably an even more disturbing answer in that “no” it was not the fastest game he’s seen and in fact, the English side tends to win quickly. He went on to say that he’s seen games end on the first turn without the French even getting a chance to play as the English archers go first and if the action cubes are decent for the round and you get some good rolls, you can remove most of the knight units and the French won’t have anything to attack you with.
I’m really glad to have seen this potential “ugly” side of the game as I was really excited about it but now I feel like I have a fuller picture of the game’s potential. Even though that particular scenario feels unbalanced or least extremely unforgiving, I think it shows that the game will be dependent on the strength of the scenarios. It also looks like you can set up your own non-narrative clashes pretty easily and totally remove the unbalanced set up but making mirror matches or maybe even a “grab any 8 units” Age of Sigmar style game set up. Archers vs Knights have a very rock, paper, scissor feel in that they kill each other in different ways so in a symmetrical game set up (for the win condition), the need for combined arms sounds necessary and may prevent a situation where taking all of one unit outclasses other build options. Or worse-case scenario, the narrative scenarios are just better and you only consider the game in that regard. Either way, I’m still very much excited for the game and can’t wait for it to hit Kickstarter to see all the other game options the system has available.
Saturday was pretty open for me so I was able to check our more of the dealer hall and the next place I stopped was at Fantasy Flight’s booth to see their new Star Wars: Legion game. Legion is a new 32mm tabletop miniatures game and looked fantastic.
As usual, FFG had some amazing board set ups and it made the game look fantastic. The game is a squad based miniatures game that is scenario dependent and flexible in game size. The game takes place in roughly the same Star Wars timeline as their X-wing and Armada games but with a bit more emphasis on the original trilogy for the first core set.
A lot of the typical troops are in the core set with Storm Troopers and Rebel Troopers. You also have an AT-RT for the Rebels and Speeder Bikes for the Empire. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker heroes round out the set.
The heroes act as your commander and set up an interesting gameplay element. Like Armada, games take place over six rounds. Each round players will play a command card to determine initiative. These command cards come in two types, a generic command card that is available to everyone when building your deck and your commander specific command cards which are unique and offer interesting extra options when played. The command card designates not only initiative but how many units you can specifically activate during the round, usually with faster initiative cards giving you less unit activations.
After specifying your specific unit activations based on the command card played, you take the rest of your activation tokens (specific to each unit you have in play) and they go into a bag to be randomly drawn during the game, simulating a fog of war effect. Games seem to play in about the same time scale as Armada and other large force minis games but it looks great and I can’t wait to see where the game goes.
Wandering around some more, I sat down and played a shortened version of Z-Man’s new Valletta. It’s an interesting territory control game/deck builder. As much as I liked Dominion, I’m really glad designers are looking at the deck building system and applying it to a not-strictly deck builder archetype. Clank! is a great example of that and Valletta seems to straddle the line very well. It is definitely more deck-buildery than Clank! but it was a fun game. I lost horribly.
This curious set piece mountain-climbing game, Mountaineers caught my eye. It was an interesting 3D board that rotates during the round and seemed a bit involved with picking your the routes of your team and potentially sabotaging others. The art is a little off to me and needs a bit more polish but the game itself seemed interesting.
If you could stand the half-naked dude demo giver, the Arena Rex booth had a great setup of their gladiatorial combat game.
Leder Games had their Vast miniatures up for display and fully painted. They look great and it’ll be nice to have them on the board when they arrive (sounds like that won’t happen until early 2018 though). I also sat down to talk with the designer as they had their sister version of the Vast game that takes place in a huge mansion. It sounded like the new roles in that game will be available to swap in and out of the Crystal Cavern game so that can be an interesting option.
Pretzel Games had an oversized copy of their new Flick ’em Up: Dead of Winter. I ended up pre-ordering this before the convention so I didn’t really stay very long. I saw that they were also selling an oversized copy of Flick ’em Up. I’m not sure what I’d do with an oversized copy of the game except run events at a Conventions. I do like oversized versions of games and want to build my own but something about this game just doesn’t do it. I think I may be a little concerned because I like the expansions as well and those aren’t available. It’s a Catch 22 since they likely won’t make the large-sized expansions unless the large base game sells but I wouldn’t want to buy in unless the expansions were guaranteed as well.
After walking the dealer hall, it was time for my last event of the day. This year I decided to take a painting seminar. Since I’ve been painting up my black and white Walking Dead game, I wanted to try out a technique that I’ll need to use for these miniatures: painting non-metallic metals. This is basically a technique of using non-metallic paint to simulate metallic reflections. The technique is pretty hard but I was hoping this class would get me started.
In looking for some images to show as an example, I stumbled this great blog post from Razza Mini Painting, showing off the technique:
Pretty incredible technique when done well. Unfortunately, I have a long way to go.
I was hoping the teacher would start on something simple like a weapon or just stay with the helmet but he wanted to touch on the different aspects of the mini like the scale skirt vs the helmet vs the breast plate. In the end we had to rush because he overreached on his time allowance. I was able to learn a bit (mainly that the technique is damned tough to pull off) so it wasn’t a total waste. Ironically, I learned more sitting down and talking to one of the Privateer Press painters in the exhibition hall- they have a booth set up just outside their exhibit area dedicated to a staff painter that will be painting a model while fielding questions to whoever is sitting nearby. I likely learned better in that environment because the class I took was a bit more advanced for my actual skillset and there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to ask basic questions.
We ended up skipping the BGG Board Game room Saturday night and just hung out until we crashed. I had a little bit of work to do to prepare for my morning tournament event so it was a pretty chill evening.