John and I played our first game of Dragon Rampant last night and I have to say it was great fun. Beforehand we both mapped units from our respective armies, Wood Elves for me and Lizardmen for John, to unit types, options and fantastical options in Dragon Rampant. We used 30 army point forces, which gave use 5-6 units each. We could have gone for cheaper troops and fielded more units, but they didn’t really fit the styles of our armies.
We played the first ‘encounter’ style scenario, which meant we would fight until there were four or fewer units remaining and then we’d dice to see if the game ended every turn from there. The winner is determined by gaining Glory; in this scenario whoever destroyed more army points received 5 Glory and then Quests (optional, player selected tasks) were worked out.
Dicing to activate a unit is an interesting mechanic and led to lots of mayhem on mu side. John’s leader had a (randomly assigned) ability to allow him to re-roll a single failed activation attempt (for move, attack or shoot), while I had a single free move activation (no need to dice). This worked well for John as despite the odd failure he was able to get most of what he wanted to get done most turns.
My shooting, from Glade Guards (Light Missile) and Way Watchers (Reduced Light Missile Unit, 6 models, with Sharpshooter), proved very effective, too effective – we forgot the -1 when shooting over 12″ rule! This certainly had an impact on the game, but it was nice fielding a balanced force with melee and ranged oriented units.
Wild Charge is an interesting and challenging rule. Units with this special rule must test to charge if they can contact an enemy. We made a mistake with this rule too, we thought the test was on a 7+ (same as a Counter Charge), but it’s on the unit’s Attack stat, which is generally lower than that! I had a lot of failed Wild Charge tests this game… That said my Wild Riders (Elite Riders) carved a hole through the centre of John’s force and definitely caused a lot of damage! Wild Riders with Wild Charge is very characterful.
My Treeman (Greater Warbeast with Flame Attack) and Dryads (Lesser Warbeasts with Cunning, though I’d probably run them as Bellicose Foot in future) hit John next. It was a battle that swung back and forward, with both sides taking a lot of damage. John’s wizard had a lot of impact on the game – strategically healing units to bring them back to half strength and blasting my units with his ranged spells. This Chameleon Skinks (Scouts with Venomous) were also great. Their ability to Skirmish and Evade were both used to good effect. Venomous (3 points) looks expensive on a 2 point unit, but it gave them the character you’d expect.
In the end I managed to kill one more army point than John did and I scored a 2 Glory Quest (have two of his units battered at the same time). John succeeded a 1 Glory Quest and we both failed a Quest. I ended up with a 6:0 win, but that does not represent how close the game was. 6:4 would seem a fairer assessment! The game took 2 hours to play which wasn’t bad given neither of us had played before. We’ll up the game size to 36 army points for next time to get another unit or so onto the table.
I’ll be playing a lot more of this game in the future. It’s excellent.
Until next time,