lauantai 26. maaliskuuta 2016

UPDATED: Playtesting Burn & Loot by FireForge Games

Deus Vult in skirmish?

In our Nopat & Taktiikka gaming club there are few Deus Vult and we have been in communicating with FireForge -games. Previously we playtested their armylist for Mongols and when Francesco contacted me for play testing their skirmish version of Deus Vult - Burn & Loot - we were more than ready to accept the offer.


As a disclaimer(before reading on), please consider this:

  •  rules are still in beta and they can change in any moment
  •  special rules for the armies need still to be modified for this new ruleset.
So anything in this blogspot is my subjective view and subject to change.



Game 1. Mongols vs. Teutonic knights

First game was played against Sami's Teutonic force. I played the Mongols. Mongol cavalry models in this report are painted by Kalle. I used them, because I wanted to have FF-miniatures in the report and we plan to share these images for FF as well. Maybe we'll see them in the actual published ruleset.

For this game we chose the Pitched Battle -scenario with 5 supplies objectives to take and hold to win the game. We played the game with forces of about 500p, which seems to make a good game for couple of hours. To give you the understanding of the points, here are some examples:
  • Mongol "light" horseman  9 points
  • Mongol auxiliary archer (on foot) 3 p.
  • Teutonic knight 25-28p.
  • Crossbowman 5p.
Just as in DV in B&L you have 4 action points for each unit to spend. Some examples of what different actions cost:
• Advance 2 (one move)
• Charge 4
• Shoot 2 (so you can shoot twice as a single volley)
• Fight in a melee (only the activated, including charge, unit fights) 4

Table (48" X 48") setup: Scenario dictates how terrain is set.


One of the "supply" objectives
Definitely something to fight for!

Here's the deployment of out forces. For some reason Sami deployed his knights hiding behind the village and hills, maybe he was scared of our arrows...
This gave me the advantage of grapping several objectives with just one move.







Starting positions. Mongol cavalry painted by Kalle.


Round 1.


Mongols won the initiative and horse archers galloped forward (advance) and peppered the Turcopoles with arrows.


On the right flank Sami's Teutogen knights slowly but steadily despite the continuous hail of Mongol arrows - those knights just couldn't care less!
My plan was to keep evading (with parthian shots) from the knights, while peppering them with arrows and hopefully withering some of their number. I would only engage, when I'd had to, in order not to loose the objectives I held.

Different angles to the situation after first round had been completed. Mongols were controlling 3 objectives and Teutogens just one.


Round 2.

Teutogens won the initiative (as they did throughout the game) and charged my Mongol cavalry archers, whom duly let loose some shots, but failed their evade test (discipline 2!) and were skewered by the knights. Damn! Why can't my Mongols do what they've been trained to do!

The other unit of Teutogen knights moved more cautiously and took positions on the hill top. Soon they were subject to several volleys of Mongol arrows and few of them actually fell!

Mongols letting loose!


Round 3.

Once again Teutogens took the initiative and knights surged forward. This time my elite heavy cavalry - with my commander in it - didn't just fail to evade, but also to shoot at the charging knights! Unbelievable! This made my unit demoralized (equals to disordered in DV) and I lost half of my attacks. This started to spell my doom...

Other knight unit charged as well. This time my horse archers managed to get out of the way and the knights slammed into my auxiliary foot archers, whom were obviously outmatched and soon died.

As the knights pushed forward my medium cavalry charged them to the "flank" hoping to overcome better armoured knights with this cunning maneuver. My commander and his bodyguard continued to fight their desperate fight on the right flank, but their numbers were dwindling...

This was also a fight for the objective... dressed in light blue silk!

Unfortunately my medium cavalry couldn't dent the armor of the knights and the knights pushed them back and followed up, eventually decimating my nomad warriors... snif!

As expected, my heavy cavalry were also grinded to death by the knights 
- my commander went down with them. 

Conclusion

Clock told us it was time to call it a day and several rounds had been played. Game ended in a draw with both sides holding two objectives. Somehow I didn't really feel like draw - more like being crushed!

Objectives held


Second game: Early crusaders vs. Saracens - FINALIZED

Our second play testing game was with Aleksis. This time we played the "Encircled" -scenario:

Overview: While our vanguard was marching towards the enemy city, it has fallen into an ambush. Our troops must hold out as long as possible until the arrival of reinforcements.

Deployment: The Defender deploy first his entire force, than the attacker. Defender deploys anywhere on 12" corridor running in the center of the battlefield (road). This is also (we guessed) the position defender much hold in order to win.

Game Length: The game lasts six turns.

Victory Conditions: The defender wins if hold the position until the end of the sixth turn without loosing more than 70% of its original cost in points. Otherwise the attacker wins .

Our forces: we agreed on a 500p. game

Saracens 500p.

Warlord - 60p.
SAVE 3/5
Chainmail
Horse with Lamellar barding
Lance
Symbols of command (Dis. +1)

6 Turkish Ghulams 130p.
Veterans (courage 3)
Caparisons (save 3/4)

6 Turkish Ghulams 130p.
Veterans (courage 3)
Caparisons (save 3/4)

6 Khurasanian horse archers 50p

12 Muttawiah 58p.
* Trained warriors (melee infantry)

12 Daylami warriors 85p.
* Mail armour (Def 3)
* Long spears (lose javelins etc.)

12 Daylami skirmishers 45p.
* Composite bows
* Cloth hauberk  (Def. 2)

Early Crusaders (Aleksis)
Aleksis had something like this:
* 2 units of knights
* Unit of mounted sergeants
* Unit of Crossbowman
* Unit of Italian Sailors with Crossbows
* Huge horde of pilgrims

You can see army lists on FireForge's website here

Deployment

I decided to deploy my forces at the one of the table. My battle plan counted on strength in combined arms: my archers both on foot and horse back would skirmish and wither / demoralize the enemy before fight would be joined in earnest. My fierce Daylami with their long spears would blunt the inevitable lance charge and then my Ghulams would finish them of. A sound plan in theory...

As soon as I saw Aleksis deploying two units of crossbows  and all that cavalry, I knew it would be a tough fight to win this battle.

Round 1.



Deployment and first moves: I won the initiative and sent my Khurasanian horse archers
to deal with crossbowmen on my left. After a flurry of arrows just 1 or 2 of them had fallen. Oh ou...
Immediately the crossbowmen retaliated and slaughtered / panicked my horse archers in one go! Damn! Those horse archers were a key element of my battle plan, and they were no more.
I sent large part of my army towards the enemy units in my left as well. I would need to take them piece meal before the enemy cavalry on my right would charge. I also wanted to avoid being hammered from both crossbow units at the same time.

Crusader cavalry moved forward surprisingly cautiously. Blacken the sky  -volley from my Daylami skirmishers actually killed few knights and demoralized them (failed courage test).

Round 2-3

After a quick check on what all those special rules for the pilgrims meant made me realize, I must charge them before they charge me. Once again the dice gods were favorable for me and I won the initiative. An epic fight of religious fanatics from both sides erupted.

Firefight continued between Crusader crossbow units and Saracen bows. One of my elite Ghulam units was soon reduced to one brave rider and cursed the fact, that I hadn't been able to disable those crossbows faster... they were fast destroying my capability to win this game as my most expensive unit was so mauled. The other Ghulam unit retreated to take cover behind my infantry units and the rocky outcrop.

Finally one of the Crusader knight units found the courage to declare a charge, unfortunately they didn't realize the obvious trap they were being  allured to... Naturally the one remaining Ghulam horseman evaded and the knight couldn't catch this nimble Saracen. Knights found themselves facing fierce Daylami warriors with long spears bristling in their hands AND were demoralized for their failed charge...

So we witnessed a rare situation, where an infantry unit charged cavalry. Daylami warriors quickly dispatched the knights, piercing them with their long spears. Hah! Sweet victory over the knights!

In the meanwhile my archery destroyed / routed the not so heavily armored mounted sergeants and my positions were looking quite good. If my Muttawiah could dispatch the pilgrims fast enough and then retire back to road, the game would be in the bag.

Rounds 4-5 (don't remember how many rounds we actually played)

Strong position in the middle of the battlefield as the game draws towards it's end.


Another knight charge followed suite and to no ones surprise my Daylami skirmishers (with bows) were soon falling before the knights. My warlord and his Ghulam bodyguards charged to their rescue, but unfortunately they were unable to pierce armor of the knights effectively enough. A bitter struggle for survival continued...


My Daylamis charged in to save my warlord. For that they were too late, as warlords from both sides went down fighting, but once again fierce Daylamis won the fight for me.

On the left flank my Muttawiah had finally finished of the pilgrims and the battlefield was mine. But the cost had been too much and as the evening fell Muttawiah were too far from the position (road) I needed to hold with many more points that I currently had there. 

So it was a victory for the Crusaders, even if only 4 of their number were left standing...


Conclusions

  • As said, we liked the Burn & Loot, as we like Deus Vult as well; game flow is good and it certainly has a good flavor for each army and unit, I think better than Hail Caesar (compared to DV) for example.
  • I especially like to you-me-you-me -activation of units. This keeps both players actively participating throughout the game
  • Rule set was in it's BETA-version and it needed quite few fixes. I gathered feedback from all of us having participated in play testing and delivered that to FireForge Games. We were happy to find out, that our comments were well received.
  • Compared to DV one of the most obvious issues was, that a unit with just one or two models left didn't get any negative effects on their morale tests or resilience. This kept them fighting, when they should have broken already. This is also fixed based on our feedback.

Looking forward to see the final rules! And maybe we can still find time to play a Siege-scenario, which seems to be big part of this game. 

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