Friday, April 29, 2016

Nerd Fest: the Convention

Despite the many forces working against me for the last three weeks, I managed to pull off my contribution to Nerd Fest 2016. I ran one game. I only had two participants, but there were a number of onlookers that stopped by. Part of the problem was that there were few in attendance this year. They booked it too late in the semester and got a weekend with other, more "official" events going on.

I arrived on time, but it took me a while to set up. I had a few more unit cards that I had to print off in addition to unpacking the armies. The game didn't get going until about 2:00.

I set up the game in one of our biology labs. We have nice big tables, in fact, they are probably a little too big. I wrote on the chalkboard the rules, which was often ignored by both me and the players.

To be read from right to left
Several students who stopped by took a look and said, "it looks too complicated." But a student named Chad, and a friend of his (I can't remember his name) decided to give it a go. Chad's friend had played Warhammer 40K, so his was both interested and familiar miniatures games. This helped him a lot during the game.

The Battle
Once again, it was Medieval Humans and Dwarves vs. Human Barbarians and Orcs. I did use my road of human flesh, which a colleague who popped in said that it was fitting as it lead to the armies of evil. As I said in a previous post, I used Dragon Rampant! with some modifications for big battle, formed units.

Opening moves: 
Both sides slowly slogged along. Units routinely failed their activation rolls. We deviated from the rules that when a unit fails activation, the other sides goes. A lot of deviations from the rules were made throughout the game. The medievals were particularly bad at passing activation rolls.

The barbarian giant sprints out to meet the slow-moving medievals.

Dwarves attempt to maneuver around the farm. Orc chariot off to attack.

View from the Orc's side.

Orcs progressing nicely.
The giant leads the barbarian attack.
Medievals slowly moving along.
Knights seem determined to move through the forest.
Armies clash:
On the one side, the barbarians with their mighty giant smack into the medieval spearmen that had advanced past the knights. I added a bonus for flank attacks which was a little too powerful.

The knights were still trying to negotiate the forest while their foot brethren took a beating.

Meanwhile, the Orc chariot, way out ahead of the rest of the Orc units, plows into one of the Dwarf units that had finally maneuvered around the farm.
Orc suicide chariot doing a lot of damage before
second Dwarf warrior unit could arrive.
The thick of battle:
The knights finally get their act together. One unit finally gets into the battle and attacks the giant. At the same time, the medieval archers moved up and ran off one of the units of barbarian skirmishers. Chad was overly concerned about these skirmishers even when his friend showed him their stats. His undue attention to them, kept his archers from supporting his spearmen.

Both sides bring in support to the ensuing melee.
Over by the road of flesh, a second clash between the medievals and barbarians occurred. With it was the first use of magic. Each side had two magic-users. Each magic-user was allowed two spells that they picked randomly.

Second melee between knights and barbarians.

Chad's wizard cast a Sudden Retreat spell that caused the barbarian warriors to turn around and run. Chad had hoped that his knights could pursue and hit them from behind, but on his next turn to move, his knights failed to activate. The barbarians managed to shake off the spell and turn around to face the knights. Then, it was the babarians' turn at magic. Just as the knights caught up the the barbarians, their shaman cast the dreaded Weapons to Noodles spell that turned the knights' weapons ineffective for two turns!
Slingers in action
Barbarian skirmishers ran down the road o' flesh and started pelting the knights in support of the warriors. A unit of Dwarf crossbows were down the road but were still out of range of the skirmishers.

The Dwarves managed to destroy the Orc chariot, and after some fancy maneuvering, the other Dwarf warrior unit hooked up. But two Orc warbands were now approaching. Another Orc warband and a unit of archers were close behind.

Dwarves starting to get their act together. The high command
seems very content to stay as far away from the action as possible
Things are about to get down and dirty between the Orcs and Dwarves.
The end:
At the one end of the table, the giant went down, but he took the spearmen more-or-less with him. The barbarian shaman threw a healing spell on the warrior unit and it was back up to almost full strength. The battle in the middle of the table was going in favor of the barbarians. Maybe Chad had good reason to fear the skirmishers. The second unit of knights were starting to get hurt despite having Prince Valiant in their midst. The Dwarves couldn't seem to get their crossbows up to aid the knights. Things could have gone either way at the other end of the table between the Dwarves and the Orcs, but one Dwarf unit was hurt due to the chariot battle, and there were two more units of Orcs that were moving toward the scene. Chad called it quits on the count that Nerd Fest had officially finished a half hour ago.

Post-Game Analysis
About half way through the game, I realized that we weren't testing for courage. I brought it up, but the two opponents seemed content to ignore it. I didn't feel like making a fuss over it. I think things would have gone differently for both sides if courage tests had been used. Also, I need to re-read the rules with regards to units of one, i.e., heroes. They seemed awfully tough. I am not sure if we were using them right. So often the case: you can read the rules a million times, but you don't know how they really work until you play them.

Unfortunately, Chad didn't really know what he was doing (he admitted that). His friend, on the other hand, figured out the stats on the cards and knew how to use them to his advantage. Both players said they had fun. That was the main thing. They even thought it would be cool to start a wargaming club. I won't hold my breath, but who knows? I am think of running two games next year. One will be another fantasy battle, and the other will be a bug hunt using my 15mm sci-fi troopers and xenos.

Now, I can get back to my moderns.