26 January 2012

Battles of Westeros: Raid in the riverlands (skirmish)

Played another game of Battles of Westeros at a friend’s house during the weekend, we decided to try out the "skirmish rules" which we had not tried out at all to see how that plays.

There are 2 skirmish scenarios in the core game, apparently you get more skirmish scenarios in the expansions. Each skirmish scenario has a set of predetermined factors, such as the maximum command level on commanders, how many commanders you can have, how many troop cards you get, what kind of terrain is generated and which side of the board you use as well as all the details surrounding amount of command points, order cards and order tokens.

What happens is that you start off by sorting out all the commanders that have a command level above the command limit. In our scenario each player could have 2 commander that had a command total of 4 points. Beneath the commander were also a set number of troops and terrain generated. Terrain was placed according to setup rules and players take turns in placing terrain on the board - and then take turns to place units on the board much closer to a pure miniature wargame compared to the fixed scenarios. Each player also get additional troop cards so the amount of troops, and the quality of these troops, differ depending on what commanders you have and what troop cards you have drawn.

This makes the forces asymmetrical - my Lannister army was slightly smaller and my Lannister commanders slightly less tactically inclined. You pretty much have to try to make the best out of the situation with what you got. These skirmish scenarios are also all about killing opponent units, you score 1VP for each destroyed unit - there are no objectives like in the campaign book, so this is as close to a "pitched battle" as you can get. In a way this was pretty exciting since the battles in the campaign book don't include this simple "clash of armies in the open field".
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Lannister army: 14 units, Kevan Lannister and Gregor Clegane as commanders

Stark army: 16 units, Greatjon Umber and Rickard Karstark as commanders

Setup of armies, Lannister side divided on two flanks, Kevan Lannister and Gregor Clegane deployed in the middle of a cluster of units. Stark army set up on a long line with a couple of units on both flanks being outside of command range.

Lannister had momentum in turn 1 as the battle started.

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Turn 1

Gregor Clegane barked orders to his troops, Footmen and Lannisport guards moved up and occupied the buildings in the small village and the small forest on the right flank. The stark army started shifting about on the left flank under the orders of Rickard Karstark, impetuous Lannister cavalry on the left flank reacted by charging the Stark cavalry killing a few of the enemy and making them flee. This took the Lannister cavalry out of command range and would have them fending for themselves from now on.

Lannister center and left flank moved forwards, slowly, harassed by enemy archers some of the Lannister units broke and started fleeing towards the friendly table edge. On the right flank Gregor Clegane made slow progress moving towards the enemy, his towering persona and heavily armored Footman entourage eager to bash some Stark skulls in. He was still a few hexes away when the Stark forces attacked the village on the right flank and forced the Lannister troops out of the buildings and sent them fleeing with heavy casualties. The Stark forces were on fire, rolling really good from the start of the battle. About the same Stark cavalry also charged the Lannister troops hiding in the nearby forest, inflicting severe casualties upon the enemy but the Lannisters held  their ground and hoped for reinforcements.

Rickard Karstark charged the Lannister cavalry deep behind Stark lines that was still pursuing the the fleeing Starks and made sure to destroy them. The first banner had been captured, and it was embroidered with a golden lion.

Turn 2

Lannisters kept momentum, already the battle line was in disarray, enemy counterattacks had succeeded far beyond expecations. The Lannisters now had to recapture lost ground, a renewed attack was performed towards the village on the right flank. Lannister cavalry and infantry made a push with poor results, despite focusing all their units at a few weak spots only a single Stark unit was destroyed, the rest managed to fall back safely without casualties. The counterattack was once again very brutal and the village was lost for the second time to wolf banners.

Kevan Lannister tried to capture the nearby forests on the left flank to get both cover and deny enemy movement. His infantry were attacked by enemy archers and cavalry once again. They managed to hold their ground but made little progress - Stark troops outmaneuvered the Lannisters and took up positions in the woods surrounding the approaching Lannister force.

Lannister troops that clashed with the enemy made once again a poor effort of inflicting casualties upon the enemy, and pretty much the entire left flank was left in a standoff with the Lannisters standing in the least favorable position.

Turn 3

Stark gained momentum. A renewed cavalry charge on the left flank together with infantry support smashed through Lannister troops and hacked down one unit and Kevan Lannisters bodyguard leaving him standing alone in the open. Lannister troops retaliated and finally managed to push into the forests and the building on the left flank but the halfhearted fighting attitude was still allowing most of the Stark units to retreat with little or no harm.

Rickard Karstark galloped with his retinue through Lannister units and the ongoing slaughter and managed to capture Kevan Lannister, severely reducing the command abilities of the Lannister army. The left flank of the Lannister army was disintegrating. On the right flank Gregor Clegane advanced burning with fury, managing to reach a building guarded by Stark troops Gregor slayed half the unit and sent what remained running towards the Stark table edge. Other enemy units operating in the area made sure to stay clear of him. Battle for the village was still ongoing, and in the center the Stark army had deployed their archers that now started to rain down arrows on the disorganized left flank of the Lannister army.

Cut off and leaderless, the Lannister units on the left flank were badly battered and most were lost that very turn.

Turn 4

Stark kept the momentum. As Stark focused on destroying what was left of the Lannister left flank Gregor Clegane moved up and challenged Greatjon Umber - proceeding to slay one of his bodyguards and send the retinue running in the opposite direction of the raging madman. The last unit of Lannister cavalry was defeated and annihilated, encirclement was inevitable. Fighting with their last strength in defiance the Lannisters managed to destroy one more Stark unit before they were forced to withdraw.

A crushing defeat, 8 Lannister banners captured while the Stark had lost but 3. Also one of the Lannister commanders were now a Stark prisoner.

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Thoughts after the battle.
I think the skirmish rules are great fun and add something different to Battles of Westeros. I also think that you could create "real" objectives of your own for these battles fairly easy and come up with your own stories and events. For instance, this game does not include reinforcements in any form, so it would be fun to set up a village for one of the players to protect from overwhelming enemy forces while waiting for reinforcements to arrive.

You could also add extra Victory Points for not only killing enemy units but also capturing their commanders and key areas on the board. These key areas could perhaps be allocated to 2 hexes by the defending player and 2 hexes by the attacking player.

I think this game has a lot of "skirmish game" potential if you have had a few games and understand how it all works to make creating your own content easier.

2 comments:

  1. Sound like a fun game! What do you think of the minis? Are they well sculpted? What are their size? Keep Gaming!

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  2. The minis are decent but soft plastic which means the lances and halberds are bent like bananas from storage in a bag. I've seen some people paint the miniatures, but that is just a bit too much I think, they are not really "to be painted" quality.

    But the game is really good so we rarely think about the miniatures :-)

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