Thursday, December 31, 2015

First Game of Dragon Rampant

Last night my friend Lou came over and we took Dragon Rampant out for a spin.  For those that don't know, Dragon Rampant is the Fantasy version of Lion Rampant that came out in 2014. LR is a set of medieval wargame rules, written by Daniel Mersey and published by Osprey. So now we have DR which is pretty much the same game, but with Fantasy elements thrown in, and it works!

We've played one or two games of Lion Rampant so had a vague idea how to play. Since this was a learning game, we didn't put a lot of effort into planning. I have lots of LOTR figures, so that's what we were going to use. Orcs vs Dwarves.

In Dragon Rampant, you pick a point value for your game and buy your units. The suggested game size is 24 points. Units are 6 or 12 strength points(number of figures). Though you can choose to take a reduced figure unit, but then each figure is stronger. You can also take "single or reduced model units". Basically your mighty heroes or monsters can be a single model or a few models. A good example would be a unit of trolls, 3 models each at 4 strength points. Or Conan all by himself at 12 strenght points.

You then decide the type of unit, like Heavy Foot or Elite Riders. For example Heavy Foot are 4 points a unit(12 figures). Each unit type might have upgrades or special rules. Light Riders for example get evade and skirmish, Elite Riders get Wild Charge.

After you build your Warband (4 to 10 units) you nominate a figure for Army commander, he comes for free. He just becomes part of a unit, Unless you bought him as a single warrior. Where he is on the table matters as he helps units pass morale rolls. Each unit has a leader, that is what the unit forms around and must maintain cohesion too.

Here are the Warbands we constructed for our first game.

The Orcs:
1 Heavy Riders w/Leader (Melee Warg Riders), 6 figs
1 Light Riders (Missile Warg Riders), 6 figs
1 Greater Warbeasts (Wargs), 6 figs
1 Heavy Foot w/upgrade (2 handed Choppers), 12 figs
2 Light Foot (Orcs), 12 figs each

The Dwarves:
1 Elite Foot w/leader (Dwarf Huscarls), 6 figs(2 points each)
1 Heavy Foot w/upgrade (2 handed axes), 12 figs
2 Heavy Foot (Dwarf Spears), 12 figs each
1 Light Missile (Dwarf Rangers with bows), 12 figs

Here's the setup:

 The battle lines, Orcs on the right or top and Dwarves on the left or bottom.

View from the Dwarf side. Bows on the left, heavy foot in the center, and Huscarls just off camera on the right. This later would come back to bite me in the ass.

View from the cheap Orc side. Warg riders all bunched up on the right. Wargs in the center backed up by the heavy foot and then Light foot on the left.

 We spend a turn or 3 moving up. In DR and LR you give orders to each unit, Move, Shoot or Attack. Then you roll to see if a unit carries out that order. Some units will respond better to certain orders. For example, a Missile armed unit will be less likely to activate to an Attack order, than if given a shoot order. The unit profiles list the activation needed on 2d6 for each order type.

The Orcs and Wargs move forward quickly. I blew my activation rolls early on. You roll for each unit, and once you fail an activation, your turn ends and your opponent goes.

Orc Light foot take the high ground since I couldn't get there in time. Light Foot moves faster AND I blew my activation rolls.

Wargs are swinging around the ruins on my(dwarf) left.

My Elite foot or Huscarls move through the woods, just because they can. Honestly I don't know what I was thinking when I deployed them and moved them there.

I inch up slowly to keep my lines intact. Actually in DR there are no flanks so other than keeping units close to support, there is no need to watch flanks. Also I have neatly arranged lines, that's just me. In DR you don't need to keep lines, just unit cohesion to your unit leader.

First Blood! My Elite Foot Huscarls charge out of the woods and maul the Light Foot Orcs. I lose one but kill 5.

After any casualties you test morale. I passed and the Orcs failed horribly so fled the field. He rolled like a 2, minus casualties and his roll was -1. If he just failed, but didn't go below zero, he would have retreated and possibly rallied the next turn.

On the orcs turn the next unit of Light Foot charged over and also got mauled. They took 4 casualties and I lost another.

Again morale tests, The Orc player failed badly and fled the field. I've destroyed 2 units, but lost 2 of 6 Huscarls. Also I failed but did not go below zero, so I retreated into the woods. If you fail a morale test you become battered. I rallied the next turn but poor activation rolling kept me out of the fight for pretty much the rest of the game.

The Wargs finally get into the action and destroy my Heavy Foot. I lost 3 and he lost 1.

My morale test was so bad I fled the field. The Orcs needed this win to stay in the fight.

 The Light Riders are moving up to get a shot off.

 They do a shoot order and I think I took one casualty.

My Heavy Foot next to the Wargs charge and are driven off with 2 dead, but did manage to bring down 1 of the huge beasts. Here we both passed morale, but I took more casualties, so had to fall back 3 inches.

The Heavy Riders charge my Light Missle(bow).   I lose two, and I think I killed one rider. We both passed so I retreat 3 inches.

Now my Heavy Foot with 2 handed axes comes over and finishes off the Greater Warbeasts(Wargs). I lost one dwarf, but the Wargs fled the field. At this point he had lost half his army point total, we didn't know it. That triggers morale tests in all remaining troops. We kept fighting since we didn't realize it.

 The Heavy Riders charge my Light Missile and route them off the field. Thankfully I my Heavy Foot are right there to avenge there Dwarven turn.

Meanwhile off camera, the Orc 2 handed choppers finally get into it, and charge my 2 handed ax Dwarves. I lose 3 and he loses 2. I retreat 3 inches.

My Heavy foot slam into his Heavy riders and drive them off with the loss of another killed rider.

At this point, we realized the Orc player only had half this army left. So he did morale tests for all remaining units. One of his units fled the field, so we called it there.

On a side note: I kept track of the number of activation's per turn. Dwarf player(me) averaged 2.11 activations per turn. The Orc player (Lou) averaged 2.22 per turn. Not sure if our dice were cold. or what. I did manage to get ZERO activations 3 times.

I really like about 90% of the rules. Just a few things I'd house rule, but I think I'll wait till we get a few more plays under our belts. I think the leader should have better activations or have a bonus to activation for troops near him. I don't think all troops should fight regardless of how many contacted. In the picture above the Orc riders are coming up a path in the rocks. That should funnel his attacks and I should be able to block the pass. In DR both sides fight full. Maybe there is a way in the rules to handle that, giving the defensive player cover or an obstacle. Also no higher ground advantage, unless really steep then it becomes rough ground.

Again, a few details I'd like to address, but will hold off till we get a few more games in. Also we need to explore the Unit types and Upgrades and Fantastic Abilities to get a full taste of what troops can be created within the rules.

Last post of 2015, Xin