Saturday, January 5, 2013

Look, Sarge, No Charts: Fantasy, Ancients & Medievals Cold Wars Playtest

This past Friday, at the HAWKs club meeting, I had the opportunity to playtest my "Look, Sarge, No Charts: Fantasy, Ancients, and Medievals" (LSNC:FAM) game that I plan to run at Cold Wars. It also provided the opportunity to give the rules another playtest as well. The figures are 10mm, and are mainly a mix of GW and Eureka.
  The scenario had two High Elf forces defending their homeland from an invading Evil army consisting of two Skeleton forces, and one Goblin force.   The High Elves get reinforcements in the form of an allied Wood Elf force, which enters one of the short table edges, onto the flank of the invaders.  While the game is set up to be played on a standard 6' x 10' convention table, I only had use of a 6' x 7.5' table at the the meeting.  Therefore instead of having the Wood Elves enter on turn one, I delayed their entry until turn 3, to make up for the shorter distance they would have to move.
  Click any photo to see it larger.
A force of High Elves stands ready to defend their homes.
 The victory conditions of the battle were the control of two bridges which crossed a river leading into the Elvish Kingdom. Whoever controlled both bridges at the end was the victor. If each side held one bridge, the battle would be a draw.
The Goblins surge forward.
The game began slowly with all the forces advancing towards the enemy. The Goblin Wargs and Elven Cavalry on the left quickly came into contact. While on the Elven right, the infantry advanced in hopes of occupying a nearby hill.
Overview of the battlefield. In the center foreground is one High Elf force, while in front of the far bridge is the second High Elf force.  Along the far table edge can be seen the Wood Elves, awaiting their turn to enter.
For a few turns, the battle was closely fought, but the overwhelming numbers of the enemy began wearing down the better trained Elves. The delay in the Wood Elves entry began to be felt.
On the High Elves' left wing, they traded blows with the Wargs and Goblins, and with some really bad dice rolling, first their knights retreated, then just a couple turns later their infantry gave way and fled.
Meanwhile, the Elves on the right charge forward into the Skeleton lines, as the Elf Archers cover their flank.
 On the Elves' right wing the infantry charged forth and at first seemed to be giving better than they got, but they were facing two player's worth of Skeleton units, and the overwhelming numbers began to take their toll. The Elven knight, however, performed much better on this wing, and actually began cutting a swath into the Skeleton's flank. Unfortunately, the appearance of Skeleton Cavalry, and Giants in the Elves' rear areas, forced the Elven Knights to pull back and face this new threat.
A view of the field around turn 2.

So, slowly the High Elves forces began to weaken and they set their hopes on the arrival of their Wood Elf allies as their only hope of victory.
The rout of the Elven Knights.  In a spectacular display of bad dice rolling, the Elven Knights rout after only a couple activations of combat with the Wargs.  the lower-moraled Wargs, however, stay on the field.  Meanwhile the lead elements of the Wood Elves can be seen moving in from the left.
 Unfortunately, the arrival of the Wood Elves was too late to make much difference. The left wing of the High Elves, had all fled back over the river, and their Wizard was dead. While on the right, the Elves were slowly being encircled and eliminated .
On the right, he Elves are faring just as badly.  The commander of that wing and his retinue throw themselves into the path of the onrushing Skeleton Cavalry in hopes of slowing down their advance, long enough for the Elven Knights to turn and counter this new threat.
    In the end, the forces of Evil were able to capture both the bridges, and were declared the victors.  The Elves experienced some amazingly bad dice rolling, and it was agreed by the players that the battle should have been a bit closer than it turned out to be.
The Wood Elves finally make it into combat.
   As GM, I think next time I will start the Wood Elves closer.  They just took too long to affect the battle how I envisioned, allowing the Evil side to too easily overwhelm the High Elf defenders. 
In  a last ditch effort the Elven Army Commander attacks the Skeleton left wing commander, but having already been weakened by an attack from the giants, is killed by the Skeleton leader.
In the end, all the players had fun which is what counts.  And we had the opportunity to test out some new aspects of the rules, as well as developing some more rules questions that we will need to consider.


  1. When will the rules be available?

  2. We are only in the first few months of playtesting, so I figure about a year to a year and a half until publication.