The following game was played on Vassal using variant decks based off of the original Call to Arms cards, but adapted to feature race specific armies (Human only, Dwarf only, Goblin only...and that's it for now ) - here's a link to the first drafts of what those cards contain.
In addition to the rules set forth in the original Call to Arms rulebook we also added a few house rules:
Instead of selecting two Specialist cards of choice after deploying the reserves and building the war council, three are randomly drawn from a pool of cards specific to each race prior to deploying the reserves and building the war council.
From the three Specialists drawn, two are selected and the war council is built, but not yet revealed. Reserves are then placed and war councils revealed. The player who outscouted (player 1) then plays and acts on their first Specialist card. The player who was outscouted (player 2) plays and activates both of their Specialist cards in succession (as order can matter), followed by player 1 playing and activating the last Specialist card to be played that game. Then play resumes per the rule book.
The pool of cards for each of the three races are as follows:
Human: Arbalestiers, Arbalestiers II, Archers Stakes, Bow Upgrade, Dwarven Mercenaries, Foot Knight Long Swordsman, Forced Enrollment, Goblinoid Mercenaries, Halberdiers, Hornblowers, Illusionary Troops, Infiltration, King's Allies, Mounted Knights, Mounted Knight Long Swordsman, Prayer, Spearmen, and Vantage Point. Edit: after thinking it through, added the Goblinoid Mercenaries and Dwarven Mercenaries to this list...
Dwarf: Arbalestiers III, Archers Stakes, Bear Riders, Forced Enrollment, Illusionary Troops, Infiltration, Iron Dwarves Axe Swingers, Iron Dwarves Bagpipers, Goblinoid Mercenaries, Iron Dwarves Cattle Riders, Iron Dwarves Clan Chiefs, Iron Dwarves Clan Chiefs II, Iron Dwarves Spear Bearers, King's Allies, Mighty Bolt Thrower, Prayer, Spotter, and Vantage Point. Edit: after thinking it through, added the Goblinoid Mercenaries to this list...
Goblin: Archers Stakes, Dwarven Mercenaries, Forced Enrollment, Goblin Band, Goblin Band II, Goblin Drummers, Goblin Halberdier, Goblin Marauders, Goblin Slingers, Goblinoid Mercenaries (maybe not this one...), Hobgoblin Spear Bearers, Illusionary Troops, Infiltration, King's allies, Ogre, Prayer, and Vantage Point. Edit: after thinking it through, added the Dwarven Mercenaries to this list...
Being safely amongst fellow geeks, I have no hesitation in admitting that the resulting setup had us quite excited:
Referring back to the revised CtA decks, the Pennants drew from the Goblin decks and wound up with cards A1, A2, A7, and B7. A7 was placed on the right flank (the Blue Widow chosen for the creature placement), A2 in the center, A1 the left, with B7 being the reserves (a creature [Wood Wyvern] and hobgoblin archers the two units taken).
The Specialists that were randomly selected ended up being Goblin Band II (which, now that I reference the actual cards, is for all intents and purposes identical to the first Goblin Band card...), Goblinoid Mercenaries, and Illusionary Troops. At the time, Goblinoid Mercenaries was viewed as a bad draw, but further contemplation on the card after the game led to the conclusion that essentially this card would operate as Illusionary Troops for Goblinoid foot units (including Ogres and Goblin Bands, etc.) without having to build ones war council with a level 3 Wizard. For this particular game, all moot, as the Penant Player's penchant for fielding level 3 Wizard war councils is well known among those he plays with regularly, and when fielding two creatures even more a reinforced choice, as creatures feast on lore. Having fielded one Goblin Band from the deployment phase, the all important second Band was taken with the Goblin Band II specialist card. A third Band (a back-up band of sorts ) was considered being placed with Illusionary Troops, but Ogres are such a fun unit, they ended up being the target.
The war council build was pretty much dictated by the Deployment and Specialist phases, but didn't stray far from the Penant Player's tried and true builds: Level 1 Commander, Level 3 Wizard, Level 2 Creature Handler.
The Standard Player selected Dwarf decks B and C, placing C7 in the left flank (choosing the Blue Widow for the creature spot), A7 in the Center (going with the Hydra for the creature), and C1 on the right. C2 was the reserve card, using an Axe Wielder and an Arbalestier unit.
Cattle Riders, Spear Bearers and Clan Chiefs II were the Specialist cards drawn. The Standard Player elected to place some mounted units and add a couple more Clan Chiefs to add a modicum of agility to the normally plodding dwarven forces.
The Standard Player also went tried and true with the war council, favoring the level 3 Warrior along with 1 level on the Commander to go with the already committed two tokens on the Creature Handler spot. When the Landmarks were placed, the red banner Clan Chief was in play - a unit neither player had seen on the board yet.
The Goblins opened fire on the dwarves, hoping to limit the effectiveness of the Chieftans, but the turn would've been better spent repositioning the rightmost band to the right/center section line. None of the missiles loosed found their mark.
The dwarfs responded by rushing forward to stay the arrows. The Chieftans smashed into a unit of goblin swords..men? hitting on three of the four dice. Early luck being bad luck, the Penants did not panic, even when the battleback whiffed - nary a lore for compensation. A murmur of fear, however, when the Penants witnessed the Standards wantonly discard Berserk during the lore phase - surely that could only mean Assault or Cry Havoc! were drawn...
Pulling back the nigh decimated Goblin unit, hoping to suck in the emboldened Chieftans, the Goblins stood pat, building resources. The first gamble of the game paid off, as the Wizard slowed the 4d of the Chieftans to 2 and the hot dice cooled. The battleback found the all important first hit, springing the trap and sealing the fate of what would become the games first banner, as the Goblin Left swarmed the far venturing Chieftans. Behind the action, the appearance of the red banner Chieftans did not go unnoticed:
The Cheiftains continued their push on the Standard Right, bringing up the arbalestiers into firing position as well. However it was the Penants' turn to benefit from an uneven exchange, as the blue Cheiftains settled on the relatively harmless Skirmishers for their target only to see their 4d find one hit, while both of the dice on the battleback were true blue. Not wanting the wounded Chieftans to flee, the Goblins, perhaps prematurely, let loose a mounted charge. On the right, the rush was in vain, as the 2 figure Chieftan unit was merely pushed back towards its compatriots, remaining at 2 figures. The advance on the left/center was a little more successful, whittling the leading arbalestiers down from 4 to 1 figure, while managing to escape the couple of battlebacks without a scratch:
A few turns of lore building and repositioning were had before the first big play was made. With the Pennants at 18 lore and the Standards at 15, the Penants led off turn 11 with Forward and Mass Might. The Standards hesitated (giving more pause to the Penant Commander that a big offensive play of the Standards was on the cusp) before throwing up a Mass Shield:
Tempered by that play, the Pennants still ventured forward, though more selective in the targets. The arbalestiers on the Standard left survived, but the Cheiftan force on the right lost another banner, and the heavy Chieftians suffered their first figure loss. Somewhat hampered by the command of four, the big swing back that the Goblins were anticipating was not yet released, instead the Blue Widow was successful in webbing the Ostrich Riders, but the end result of the attacks were only one hit. The somewhat desperate (but nonetheless scary) attack from the red banner chieftans against the Goblins' Blue Widow on the other side of the field yielded a critical check, but got the 3 figure Chieftans webbed for their trouble. The rejoinder from the Pennants freed the Ostrich Riders who took to the relative safety of the marshes, while the Blue Widow continued to toy with the Chieftans, another web and another hit.
Fearing the game slipping away, the Standards made their play:
The devestating combination of a mounted charge and Level 3 Cry Havoc!, was already somewhat tempered by there only being two units ordered, but the potential for damage was still great - at the very least the game would be knotted at two banners, not far fetched to expect a third and potentially a fourth, the Wood Wyvern firmly (and most likely foolishly) in the sights of the Standard Commander. Leaving as little to chance as possible, a magic web was cast, mucking up that grandiose vision of wresting control of the game. The danger was not quelled at this point, as the tenous position of the Goblin cavalry deep in dwarf territory still had to weather 5d hitting at 50% on the full 3 figured Hyena Riders (who, if they were to fall, would then give way to 6d and certain death on the now unsupported Lizard Riders). Breath was held and so did the Hyena Riders, taking two hits and whiffing on the battleback, but winning the positional battle. The first truly monumental moment of the game had favored the Goblin Horde:
More game yet remained: The out of position Cattle Riders managed to survive 7d worth of attacks hitting at 50%, and the tables turned right back to the Standards as the Hydra stormed up the hills to assist the Cattle Riders in surrounding the stalwart Hyena Riders. A timely Backstab staved off the first attempt:
then left both Cattle Riders at one figure when the Hyena Riders battleback managed a hit, but the Hydra finished the job, leaving the game at 2-1 favoring the Penants. It would then immediately be 3-1 as the still eligible first to 1 figure Cattle Riders wasted their deathblow on the Wood Wyvern and were given the mercy of an exit from the board for their efforts.
Entering mop up mode, the Penants removed the last Cattle Rider and the Blue Widow finally made a meal of the red banner Chieftans.
Down 1-5, the Standards went on the desperate offensive, sending their Blue Widow to hunt down the Goblin Shortswords, running the Hydra up the gut of the Goblin center, and continuing to peck away at the beseiged Slingers. Not yet exhausted of Lore, the Pennants attempted to end the game with Enchanted Mass Might and a trio of green units. The Arbalestiers finally succumbed to the Wood Wyvern, but rather than the safer target of Spear Bearers, possibly for the added intrigue, the Hydra was targeted, and ended the battle with the same number of heads with which it began, but in a different configuration...and the Pennants lighter by a Lizard Rider unit.
Both sides a little punch drunk at this point, light on lore and command cards, the battle waged on with the Hydra cresting at five heads, but stiffled by hills and marshes from realizing its full fury.
With the Pennants needing only one banner to the Standards target of five, the end seemed to be just a matter of time, but once again the dice choose to show who is the ultimate arbiter of this game. A seemingly safe target, having been under fire and essentially used as a Goblin-shield the entire game, the single figure marsh-bound slingers took a 2d swing from the Spear Bearers. A bonus strike seemed to signal the end of the slingers,
but another Backstab was produced, it having been reshuffled into the draw deck a few turns ago. The slingers remained, the Spear Bearers reduced to two figures and facing a 2d battleback. Blue, Blue, sudden finish - expected victor through an unexpected result.
I feel like session reports for this game are a bit like explaining a joke - not sure I did any justice to the experience of the game, but this one was rather action packed. First time driving the "new" Call to Arms cards, and they seemed to do the trick. Interesting clashes throughout the game, and while I prefer a Creature-less scenario, it was fun having four of them ranging about. Always tension with the critical check beasties, and usually interesting problems arise in dealing with the "variable hit" creatures like the Hydra. I continue to not bother attacking dragons unless a more than fair chance of getting more than a couple of hits. If Enchanted Mass Might or Cry Havoc! don't hit the table, probably not hitting the dragon.
Anywho, in the time it took me to jot all this down, played another full game of Goblins v Humans, and started another Goblin v Dwarf battle. A couple more session reports to follow - hope is some interest in what Call to Arms can be for this game is generated.
EDIT: After typing "tenants" several hundred times, "pennants" became "penants"...think I found them all, but please excuse any penants remnants
- Last edited Wed Jul 3, 2013 12:28 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:57 am
BL still sucks Heroes play Ancients.
- Last edited Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:05 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:05 pm
Nice report Todd and I don't think you could have left out much more as it was action packed.
What I have found with just a couple of plays now with Todd's card designs is that you get a lot to play with out on the field.
Something I always felt I wanted out of the Official Scenario's was more variety of units and/or more of them on the field. These cards offer both with the CtA set in addition.
So far so good