As previously mentioned, we recently had a play-test session for the Fictioneers rules. The game played well and we had a good time. Some parts of the rules have not been developed yet such as point cost for troops so we made up a scenario that had totally identical forces facing each other in a pitched battle. The terrain for the tabletop was placed in a mirror image arrangement from the one side to the other in order to ensure there was no advantage to either force. And lastly, I simply refereed the game since I have been doing the bulk of the writing/editing, and the players facing each other had a similar level of previous gaming experience. It made for an fascinating experiment.
The morning of the game, as I was setting up the battlefield, I realized to my dismay that although I was successful at hastily constructing, hastily constructed barricades… I had totally neglected to craft pieces to define the woods boundaries. In the photos you will notice my “felt pieces of shame” that are fine for the purpose though lacking in any ascetics to be proud of. I’ll be building proper pieces to replace the felt soon for sure. Defining the woods boundaries with flat-ish pieces of anything that the models can stand on is helpful. This allows you to move the individual plant models out of the way as needed for the troops to move through, measure distances, etc. If this base pieces resembles plant roots and smaller undergrowth, all the better. Watch for a future post with that craft project.
The battlefield had a good mix of hills, woods, rough, fence, and buildings for both sides to experience interacting with. Roads, rivers, and trenches will be included in an upcoming scenario which will focus on solo or cooperative play. Each side had a camp area to defend with a valuable building and piece of heavy equipment to guard. Plus there was a objective heavy chest in the center of the board to race to and carry off for extra victory points. I didn’t want both sides to just sit in their camp area the whole game so I made the chest be extra valuable point-wise. Too valuable it turns out but that is why we playtest, right? It’ll be scaled back for the official release of the scenario.
I did a really bad job of taking photos to document the turn-by-turn actions but this is a quick summary. Both sides made and early go at this same hill just west of board center. It was fought over for the entire game with the Death Raiders prevailing to take it in the end but at a point much too late in the game to be meaningful to them.
The action on the east side of the battlefield was quick and deadly for both sides. The Death Raiders took out 3 Legionnaires in one shot with a lucky mortar hit. The Legionnaires retaliated by first shooting the Raiders’ Combat Flyer down. That Flyer Pilot was the recon troop that called in the mortar round. The pilot survived the crash and called in another round which took out the Sitan Giant brute and caused the Sitan Apes to run for cover. The Death Raiders’ early lead was very disheartening to the Legionnaires but they soon rallied. The remaining Legionnaires put an end to the Raider spotter but a huge toll was already taken. A successful flank action on the east end of the battlefield was not able to develop for either side.
The remaining Legionnaires for the above action then pushed into the center woods to make a grab for the (overly) valuable chest. The Death Raiders seeing that change in plan, emptied out their camp’s defensive force to also race to the center. The battle in the woods did not last quite a long as the battle for the hilltop but it was just as epic. Both sides fought heroically, and many died in up close melee combat.
In the end, the Legionnaires ended up with the chest in the hands of one of their large Sitan Apes who made a run for the board edge in hopes of a certain victory. Once again, the Death Raider’s mortar crew finds their mark and puts an end to that plan. It is rumored that one of the mortar crew was heard saying “Take your stinking paws off that chest, you damned dirty ape!” in the brief seconds before he fired the weapon. The mortar round on target, the Ape dead, and the chest laying on the ground: The raiders were hoping beyond hope that this brief reprieve might allow them to recapture the chest. Unfortunately for them, the battle in the woods and hilltop left them too short of troops to push past the remaining Legionnaire defenders in order to reach it. The Legionnaires were able to send two members of their team to pick up the chest and move it safely off the battlefield.
Of the 20 figures per side that started the the game, the Legionnaires ended it with six remaining and the Death Raiders with nine. The survivors all received eliteness rating improvement from Green to Regular while the dead are replaced with new fresh Green troops. So although the Legionnaires won this battle, they will be a little bit handicap for the next one. It will be interesting to see how this affects the players choices going forward: Will they protect their improved troops so they can improve even more by continuing to survive the next battle? Will they give up on winning a game sooner in order to preserve their numbers? This should be an interesting driver for a wide array of subplots to give scenarios more variation.
Overall, the scenario was super fun to play. Being a mirrored battle, I was a little skeptical before hand. I just wanted the built in balance for rules playtest reasons but now, I feel it will be a fun and valuable scenario to include with the game. It should really help new players learn the rules in a more controlled environment. It would also be super fun to run as a tournament to see how various players would handle the same situations. Any thoughts? Let us know.