Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Of Armies and Hoards (OAAH) Beta test - a real winner!

We are immensely honoured to be selected as playtesters.  Our first look at version 2 of the beta rules.

Last year I looked at the available larger fantasy rule sets, see my posts in January, March & October 16. In my opinion there was nothing to beat OGAM, even if not designed for the job, with good old Hoards of The Things coming a close second.

I can see this game developing into a decent Ancients-to-VSF set of rules with little adaptation needed.  In fact, mostly just the army lists.

As you can see below, I was after about 10 units and 50-odd figures for a game lasting 2-3 hours.

This is the Dragon Rampant and Song of Sword & Shield list:
Japanese. DR SoSS    Morale
Goblin Leader (1 figure)                                 78          15       15
Goblin light foot                   3 (12 figures)       240           2       24
Goblin light foot                 3 (12 figures)       240           2       24
Goblin light missiles             4 (12 figures)       225           2       24
Spiders lesser warbeasts       4 (6 figures)         180           3       18
Mounted Goblin                   4 (6 figures)          180           3       18
Oni greater warbeasts           8 (3 figures)          171           6         18
Spiders heavy riders             4 (3 figures)          243           8         24
54 figures
Achaean                    DR                    SoSS        Morale
Spearmen light foot     3 (12 figures)   384                3    36
light foot javelin          4 (12 figures)   396                3    36
skeleton light foot       3 (12 figures)   108                0    00
archers                        4 (12 figures)   276                2    24
Satyr & amazon scouts 2 (6 figures)    27                 3      9
Chariots heavy riders   6 (3 figures)    330             11    22
upgrade Ch to Heroic Leader             30             17    17
57 figures

Now we go to OAAH.  I've taken bits from the already-extensive army lists, my source is in brackets.

(orc) Commander 123, Q3, A2, D6, 3 ~Extra Lives Tough General
Goblin (orc) warriors: 24 X 27=648 Q4, Attack (A)2, Defence (D)6 Devastating charge
Goblin archers 12 X 34=408 Q4, A2, D6 Shooter2
Goblin (wolf) riders 10 X 33=330 Q4, A1, D6 Mounted, Fast, Shoot1
Spiders (orc wolf riders) 6 X 29=174 Q4, A2, D6
Big Spiders (orc armoured boar rider) 3 X 42=126 Q3, A2, D6 Mounted, devastating charge
Oni (great troll) 4 X 49=196 Q4, A3, D6 Tough, Fearless

That matches nicely with the above. 2,002 points and 60 figures in 8 units.

Now we hit the first problem, the humans work out cheaper, so-

Chariot Commander (Elf warrior King) 124 Q3, A3, D7, Shooter3, Tough, Extra Lives2 General
Tower shield & long 2 hand spear (Pikemen) 36 X 18= 648 Q4, A1, D5
Skeleton 24 X18=432 Q4, A1, D5
Satyr scouts & Javelins (human slingers) 35 X 15 = 525 Q4, A1, D5 Shooters 0 Skirmishers
Centaurs (Elf lt cav) 6 X 25=150 Q4, A1, D5, Mounted, Long
Chariots (Elf) 3 X28 =84 Chariot Long Q4, A2, D6 Chariot, Long
2,003 and 106 figures in 10 units.

Now we move on to terrain. There's no movement rate, units move from one terrain feature to the next. More on that later, but the maximum allowed in open terrain is 16. Now that can be 16 cavalry- in 15mm using Warbases penny bases that works out about A5 or the area taken up by a CD, say 120mm square. If you use different basing or smaller scale, then adjust.  I'm already thinking of my old 6mm, using a sponge to block-print a cloth.

A table has between 15 and 48 areas.
 Using the measurement above, a 3x5 would be about 360 deep and 600 wide. I have just bought some A5 hobby foam sheets, 2 of those would give me a 450 by 600.

48, 4x12 500x1,440 - 5x9 600x1,089 or 7x7 =840sq, which fits my 850sq 3x3 table. Sorted, I'll try that first. Using the measure (cheat!) the 9” tile squares gives 4 square areas per tile. I used some trees to identify odd-shapes around the pond.  This worked well and I'll keep to it for a while.  2,000 points seems ideal as well.

First thoughts:
Area markers: I've made some lolly-stick & coffee stirrer markers but didn't finish them. I need loads. Think of a number then round up then double.

Dice and markers: our normal triangular marker did excellent service and was quite adequate. Dice, you need a max of 16 per side and another 8 of different size or colour for shooting. All shooting comes before combat, everything is simultaneous. So I'd suggest bung them all in together, count the shooting casualties first then do the combat. You soon learn (well, we did without trying) what's needed and it's QUICK and vicious.

I need more goblins-.

Beta test bullet points:
Usual Q, average chap is a 4. Combat replaced by Attack, which is added to 1 dice roll and refreshingly low adjusters to beat a Defense score. A six is always a hit, so big nasties beware of skirmishers! Some have tough giving a saving throw, others have multiple lives.

Action and reaction: same up to 3, any fails taken as a reaction, reactions can be split. 2 fails a switch over Or take the reactions. (Tony took much glee that in my first move he moved all his on reaction).

As usual, each has the usual “apps” such as Mounted, Fast, Shoot1 Shooting is used instead of the attack value in the shooting phase. However, there's no 1 action to attack and no +1 for extra activation used.
Fast allows 2 clear areas movement, so that's 6 on 3 activations. You can also “push” an extra movement, but you'll be fatigued (-1) until you can rest 'em.

Each type of terrain has a limit to the number it can hold- and if you've stacked 2 units together on 1, you can roll for both to attack at the same time. We havn't tried this, watch this space! Oh yes, you can encounter a local(s) who may or may not be happy to see you-.

When I say it's quick, this plays as fast as you read it. Considering this was our first game we got off to a slow start, I had to keep looking at the rules until my computer overheated and threw a wobbly-. We took a few pics but we were concentrating! Compare it to other more yougoIgo products I've tried-.

The Game

I'd lined both sides up as I'd listed them, and we just used 'em as was.
Initial deployment
End of my first round of activation.  Using reactions, Tony has maneuvered into good positions.

Tony's spiders slam into my centaurs, his devastating charge allows him to reroll his one failure, so he kills three to my one.  Mine retreat in disorder.

Small spiders advance down the road, large spiders retire.

Finally the spiders smash into my spear - but they can only kill a max of 2, instead they suffer another casualty and the survivor retires to the ruins to be a brooding menace-.

The small spiders crash into my skellies, suffer badly & retire.

My skirmishers engage goblins, outnumbered and outclassed- they die again.

Choose your opponent with care- my skirmishers take on the Oni (think elephant) and kill 2, sending them in full retreat & disordered.

The mounted goblin make short work of the skirmishers - and the chariots that rushed to their aid.

Finally the goblins and my spear engage, they go through my spear like a buzz saw--

Oh crap-
The spider comes out on an action, my commander charges - a draw, as the hero was the aggressor, the spider goes back (I forgot shooting-)

The rest in almost-order.  We sort of forgot to take pics, or eat pasties or imbibe ginger beer--.