Star Wars Armada, the one about VT Decimators…

Matt made the trek over for our usual Armada night at Gamez and More in Byron. He’d been missing for awhile cause well, life, so was a great treat to match up fleets and get a game in.

I decided to pull out a somewhat old list idea and mix in some wave 5 goodness to see what I could do with it. I had this triple Gladiator list that I mixed with lots of rogue squadrons in the past that was mighty fun to play but a slight challenge since Gladiators can be focused fired down pretty easily if you can pin them down.

So in this list, I kept Ozzel as my admiral, stayed with two decked out Gladiators, Demolisher and Incidious each with APTs, Engine Techs, Ord experts, then added in a Raider with Sensor teams so it could go after transports and the Kallus for AA, next a Gozanti with Bomber command which I later realized was crazy stupid. For Squadrons, Major Rhymer and 5 VTs.

Matt showed up with Motti on an ISD and two VSDs, with 4 TIE interceptors for squadrons. They were reasonably kitted out, Ord experts on the VSDs, XI7s in some cases, not quite Christmas trees but plenty. Matt had the point bid and decided to go with Player 1 and thus picked my Contested Outpost.

Starting out, quite the pickle, my 392 pt bid not being enough AND outgunned.

I decided to put Demolisher on the left flank to swing around, with my squadrons and paltry Raider and Gozanti in the middle to grab victory tokens for perhaps a few turns. Pretty obvious the Imperial March wasn’t playing for me in this game.

At the end of turn 2 I threw Rhymer forward into range of the left most (picture left) VSD and then dropped the VTs next to him to fire on the ship. The 3 blue die, not being bomber rated did amazingly well and nearly burned all of the VSDs shields away. This is where i realized my Bomber Command error, after all, it can’t help VTs.

Through turn 3, Matt threw his fighters in to break up my VT party. Matt’s fighters when right after Rhymer and he was destroyed quickly. I moved Demo and Incidious in at short range of Matt’s VSD.  It’s missing from this picture. Yeah, that’s how it went. Even tho Matt as player 1 was able to activate first, and shoot at Demo at short range with 3 reds, 4 blacks with a concentrate fire landing damage, it wasn’t enough. On my activation, between Demo and one lone VT that wasn’t engaged, the necessary 10 hits fell and that was it for one VSD.

The squadron battle was brief. With 3 black die per VT, they pretty much dealt with the TIE interceptors and their 3 hull over the course of 2 turns to then get back to going after ships.

Next up, the ISD would get all my attention.

The bait… I mean Raider and Gozanti were needing to get out of there, but they were just going speed 1 and I was using them to throw squadron orders so that the VTs would shoot earlier in the round.

The VTs once again were doing great at stripping shields in order to setup the shots for the Gladiators. Matt was having to face the decision of burning engineering tokens against 2-3 hits per attack or brace or redirect or save to just take the damage. With 5 VTs buzzing around, that’s some pressure as those tokens go fast. I did my best to put the VTs in the same arcs as likely fire at ships so that would minimize them taking AA.

Matt would blow the Gozanti out of the water with the ISD. Basically a choice of shoot the Raider, the Gozani, or the VTs. He didn’t have Gunnery teams on his ISD.

The VTs would finish off the ISD on turn 5, scoring the last 7 hits needed. My two Gladiators were slightly out of position to get some good shots. Demo had the better approach and was able to get off a long range shot on the remaining VSD and then a turn 6, long range and then short range broad side. Mixed with the 4 remaining VTs, the last VSD was down to just 2 hull left at the end of the game.

We each had 3 victory tokens, so it ended up about 360 – 140 as a final score.

When the game started I really didn’t think I had much of a chance. The Gladiators historically haven’t done well against large ships, especially with Motti on board to amp up their hull ratings.

The VTs over performed for how I expected them to go. The anti squadron of 3 black die was delivering generally ~2 hits a turn and against the TIE intercepts that was enough to dispatch them quickly. The 3 blue against ships without a bomber rating I just did not thing would deliver at all and yet it did. Coupled with rogue, they seemed better than Firesprays which I wouldn’t have believed to be the case while just chucking two blue, are bomber rated. None the less, against this kind of fleet with a modest fighter escort, it did well and the VTs were the work horse.

How might this kind of list work against a Rebel fighter aces build is a good question, perhaps to be answered on another day.

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Runewars : AAR 150pts with Heros on the line

While Tuesday night is usually X-Wing / Star Wars Destiny / Imperial Assault night, I’ve been bringing Runewars for those that want to try it out. As such I’ve managed to get in several games over the past few weeks with various people as we’ve been getting to know the rules.

This Tuesday, Chris and I played with 150pts a piece pulling from my 2 core boxes, I was Daqan and he choose Waiqar. The system of pulling the deployment, objectives and then terrain for the table just works well. Between the two of us we pulled the Standoff, Demoralize Their Foces and then 3 pieces of terrain, Forest, Wall and Rocky Outcrop to round things out.

In order to establish all this, 3 deployment cards are drawn, 3 objective cards are drawn, the first player, established by point bid, decides which of the two types they want to determine and picks from the 3 choices. The other player then picks from the remaining category. The terrain is a function of what the deployment card specifies, so those cards are drawn at random and the terrain placed.

For forces we each decided to integrate a ‘hero’ of sorts into the rank and file. In my case I did a 3×3 block of spearman and dropped in a golem. Chris threw in Ardus to the reanimates, again a 3×3 block.

We deployed, and the game was afoot. A 2×2 block of Cav, Kari, a single golem, and then the massive spearmen unit with the golem to hopefully really deal some damage.

Chris across from me had his Carrion Lancers as two individual units, the 2×2 block of archers and then the reanimates.

I was hoping my Cav would take out the Carrion Lancer quickly, then get into the flank of the reanimates, with Kari and the Golem holding them for a moment or two, while on my other flank the spearman would be able to take out the weaker unit and then get into the flank.

Early on I decided to hold back on my left flank and go aggressive with my right. Kari could hold and throw down arrows, taking out some reanimates. At this point we were a little unclear about how damage was distributed with a hero attached to a unit. Does the attacker decide how to spend damage and how do accuracies fit in? As before hits are hits to the unit unless you have an accuracy in which case you can spend against the hero in the front rank, but you’re not required to do so.

The initial engagement between the spearmen and the Carrion Lancer went well, he was defeated in one attack. My Golem suffered a similar fate, taking a crazy amount of damage. On the downside my spearmen had taken a blight and a panic. My Cav as it turned out, didn’t get their charge in and thus didn’t get anything accomplished save for losing one figure.

With the next turn, my Cav suffer another loss, but manage to drop 2 wounds on the Carrion Lancer. They were needing to win this battle much faster than that and as a result my center was crumbling.

Added to the bumble, Chris’ reanimates surged forward and contacted Kari, inflicting 3 wounds. Next the archers getting a flank shot in because my spearmen missed the mark to hit the reanimates in the flank suffered not only a loss in men but also a panic result where  I lost my golem! What awful timing for that kind of morale result!

I decided that given the now weaken state of the spearmen, I’d go after the archers and …. missed. Kari fell this turn and the Cav wasn’t getting much accomplished either.

Last picture, the Cav would defeat the Carrion Lancer and change into the reanimates, valiant but stupid. They would barely survive the day.

The spearmen would likewise hit the archers and inflict a lot of damage taking it down to one tray.

The victory went to Chris. The loss of the golem on my main unit was positively deadly. Given a powerful unit like that, you really have to go for combined arms if you have several weaker units. Kari, I shouldn’t have put on the front lines and she should have done her best to evade.

All in all another great glimpse into what is coming when we’re all able to field 200 pts a side for organized play. Thinking about it, that’ll prompt some choices, field more Cav? Field more spearmen? Field more golems… depending on the point cost of the other ‘hero’ additions that we know are coming, that’ll factor in as well. For the Waiqar, one is a necromancer who can add in to reanimate units. Get your gold pieces out! Given at 200 pts, you can have but 2 heros max, this creates some very interesting choices.

Another piece is all of this is the idea of ‘epic’ play where say 400 pts on a side with a vastly larger surface.  I can totally see it. There is nothing saying that the deployment cards have to be mapped to a 3×6 surface, nor that there couldn’t be another set of deployment cards for that kind ‘epic’ play.

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Runewars : Launch Day AAR at FFGC

April 13th was officially launch day for Runewars. I sprung for a second copy from my local game store (Gamez and More in Bryon) which in theory would get me closer to being able to field a full 200 pt army. So close but not quite… more on that in a bit.

Up at the Fantasy Flight Games Center in Roseville Minnesota, I helped out running the Launch day event. We ran it in the back room and took up about two rows of tables. By my count in players we had 12-14 with a decent stream of people walking over and checking it out. Not bad for both a week night and a holiday weekend to boot.

The launch day kit was made up of the hero alt art cards and a card specifically for the skirmish mission that is included in the rules reference but not as a card in the game box. Huge thanks for Dave at FFGC for making it possible!

We did an evening of casual play, while the kit encourages 3 rounds and the winner of each round walking away with a card, we decided, naw, let’s enjoy the new shiny in the game and just try to come up to speed on the rules and our forces. Besides 3 games on a weeknight would have been a late evening.

A few of us sprung for the new mats. They are nice! I picked up two and while I don’t mind playing on a star field as much as the next player, having some solid tera-firma to game on for this fantasy setting is pretty cool. Mats are pretty much same as X-Wing/Armada mats just green with pretty nice pattern that isn’t too busy.

Additionally kudos to the FFGC staff, Dave and company for bringing over a few mats for people to use too.

For the first game of the evening, I played with my Daqan and we did the skirmish mission with full on terrain and some upgrade cards. With the full 100 on 100 match, we did the Bounty objective. I put my token on the Rune Golem and the guy I was playing put it on Ardus.

Quick summary on this one, my Cav fell to Ardus’ axes. The carrion lancer was taken out by the golem. Kari and the spearman took out the reanimates so I ended up the victor on this one tho neither of us picked up the bounty.

For round two, we did a 175 pt game on the full 6×3. Whole experience, time to dive into the pool with no more water wings and go for it all.

I field Kari with no upgrades. A 2×2 of Cav with Rank Discipline and Master Crafted Weapons. Two golems, naked with rune goodness. Last two 2×2 trays of spearman, one had master crafted weapons, and like metered march and the other something different.

I faced a 3×2 of reanimates, a 2×1 of reanimates, Ardus, 2 carrion lancers and a full 2×2 of reanimate archers.

Using the system to generate the deployment areas and the mission, we did the Careful approach where you’re basically setting up in the corners, and then the Confluence of Magic mission.

Confluence of magic is where you each put out 3 victory tokens. If a unit scoops up a token and then does it’s ability as a secondary or primary order, that’s the only time you can  recast the runes. If you have just one token, you get to just recast one rune.

It was a crazy fun mission as the initial casting of the runes yield 1 blue, no red and like 2 green magic. Not so great for my golems.

Last for the terrain, using the luck of the cards we ended up with pieces of deadly terrain and the raised terrace in the middle of the table.

We both deployed to go and pick up the tokens as best we could. I figured my cav would pick up two and then my spearmen one while sending in Kari and my spearman to maybe get the terrain in the middle before the reanimate archers could. I also sent my golems to cover my right flank.

So about at this point having more real-estate is awesome, but you suddenly realize with a new game like this, you’ve got some learn’n to do cause driving using the movement tools to judge distance is an adjustment. Kinda forget about my early days of Armada and X-Wing where I’d be off a bit here and there and oops, suffer problems. Well my cav who were going to pick up two tokens, suddenly were just settling for one.

On the opposite side of the table the reanimates had no problem picking up their tokens, OTOH, pausing to use the ability to recast runes wasn’t also figuring big into our plans at the moment, who wants to stop for a turn?

About mid-game at this point. I was lucky in that my cav managed to catch Ardus and throw a couple wounds on him, and then get munched. I also was able to charge into the carrion crawlers with one set of spearmen. In the middle, while I’d gotten to the terrain before the archers did, it was kind of a stupid place to have spearmen since they have no distance attack. They couldn’t charge out to engage the archers since there wasn’t enough room for them to exit the terrain so they had to go out the side door which then put them against some reanimates.

Blood makes the grass grow, kill! kill! kill! (Or so we say at the Ren Fest)

Last pic. So Kari I’d sent back to pick up the victory token, and really all that did was take her out of the fight. She totally missed the token because obviously I can’t drive. I definitely need some practice with those maneuvering tools! Moving and doing so effectively seems to be really important in this game especially if you can get on the flanks for that extra attack die.

My cav finished Ardus but at a huge cost. Likewise my spearman knocked the Carrion Lancer down and cause him to flee due to moral. In the center the archers held the high ground and my other unit of spearman were getting the bad end of it. Likewise my golems were down to one and save for one turn where he did 8 hits, he didn’t really do much.

Through the victory tokens I was able to adjust the magic to 1 green and 2 blue which sure helped the golems for that one turn of great damage output.

At the end a loss for me but a very very fun mission with a great setup.

Afterwards there was table talk about regular Runewars gaming at FFGC, sounds like Wednesdays or Thursdays is what we’re thinking. We’ll get it figured out over Facebook. If you’re not in Land of the North, join up! Don’t like Facebook? Yeah yeah I know.

FFGC is also going to host their first store tournament for Runewars. Details yet to be worked out, but it’ll be Saturday May 27th. Mark your calendars, sharpen that sword, check your runes, you’ll want to be there!

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Runewars: Amping up an army

So within the core box for Runewars there are upgrade cards to add to the capabilities of your various forces. Akin to Star Wars Armada, Star Wars X-Wing, heck even Flames of War is going this way it seems, having a point costed upgrade that adds something to a base unit represented by some card.

So let’s have a look:

With Rank Discipline, adding a additional rank of trays gives you the ability to reroll all of your attack dice. Without spending the 4 points on this card, if you have 2 ranks, you lose one figure off that back rank (your first loss), then you lose that ability. 4 points, you’ll always have it. I’d call this pretty important.

Trumpets and Metered March both add in movement abilities. In the case of Trumpets, you’re basically helping your activation order. Since longer march orders activate later, that upgrade will allow you to sooner in the turn, least when you’re turning, in the case of some units they can turn AND charge so Trumps isn’t a bad choice. Metered march, stop where you want. Exactly. Without it, you’ll marching the full distance of your order.

With this group we’re getting into combat effects.

Bull Pennon hands out a panic token as part of your charge. This is a nice value for amping up the effects for the attack that will occur with your charge.

Terrifying Heraldry hands out a panic token for anyone engaged, which seems like a nice way to protect your flanks too. It also seems like a slow burn type of effect. Since it’s part of the end phase, you’re really building up for the attack for the next round. If you have a fast attack without modifiers, this upgrade could make for a good combo.

Reaping Blade, a 4 point cost to guard against whiffs while handing out an unblock able would? Shut up and take my points. Let me whiff more please!

Heart seeker, is an obvious one only for archers. it’s 10 points, so that’s 5% of the cost of a 200 pt tournament list, this is a fantasy game, so ok set aside reality put on those blindfolds cause it’s a mega-ninja William Tell super power upgrade.

The last 3 in the core set, offer more basic combat related abilities.

Master-crafted Weapons, roll a couple of surges add a hit, for 4 points, seems like an auto include.

Shield Wall for 5 points is pretty situational. It’s great that you can up your defense, but only when you’re bigger when facing an attacker. I think for a line troop that is large, so a 3×3 tray of spearman, then this one will work.

War Crier is a good way to transfer bane tokens from your unit to an enemy. A real, I’m rubber, you’re glue, what hits me bounces off and sticks to you. It’s 5 points and for reflecting say blight bane tokens, this could be handy, however to use it, you’re spending your modifier and if you’re engaged in melee, for a number of units, that is giving up perhaps an extra hit, panic, or other modifier you might want to use.

In all it’s a core set, I was hoping for a bit more flavor here, maybe even a title or two, like Kings Lifeguard or something but instead it’s pretty basic, straight forward, melee and movement focused. I also wondered if there might be some upgrades that were say a magic item, maybe only a hero could equip, in these fantasy universes that’s the kind of thing a hero has and uses on the battlefield. Not so much it would seem, least not yet.

Likewise with obvious spell casters coming in the next couple of months, that’ll introduce magic onto the battlefield.

Stay tuned!

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Runewars: Base Armies

With Runewars’ core box, you’ve all of two factions to start. The elves are on the way, so that’ll be a few months before we see them at least.

No matter the faction, each unit has a unique point cost based on formation. How many trays wide by how many trays deep sets the price. (Prices are on the opposite sides of the card so thus, not shown)

There are the Daqan, basically the ‘good’ guys, with 4 different units.


On the most basic level the Spearman the 1 shield, 1 wound basic infantry. The double surge ability giving them an inspiration boon token is a pleasant ability to help protect them from panic and other bane tokens.

Oathsworn Cavalry is the next step up 2 shields but only 1 wound. In my play testing, they can romp, but they’re brittle in a stand up fight. Hit and then get out of there if what they hit is still standing. Like spearman, a double surge for an inspiration token is ‘nice’ but the impact 1 to hand out a panic token as part of contacting with a charge gives the unit a bit more power. I do kind of which that as part of the impact of the charge there might have been an extra attack die involved, but none the less, FFG went with panic instead.

Rune Golems with 4 shield and 2 wound immediately suggest a lumbering, powerful beast, that if you get through it’s armor will go down. With the variability of magic, the Brutal keyword can really make these things effective in melee especially when combined with 2 red die. Best case, you might score 4 hits, add in Brutal for a 2x or great multiplier and that’s some serious damage. If they magic isn’t there tho, they won’t do well against Ardus or Carrion Lancers.

Kari is the one hero in the core box. What seems to be reserved to heros she gets to roll the 12 sided white die in both melee and ranged combat. Unfortunately she’s also the only ranged unit the Daqan have at the moment. Further her surge ability to hand out damage during melee to nearby enemy is fantastic. For targeting say reanimates or reanimate archers, nearby that can really help turn the tide. Add in 3 shield and 4 wounds, she can stand and hold her place in your battle line.

Next up we have the Waiqar, and their ‘bad to the bone’ units…

The Reanimates are the basic foot soldier. With 1 shield, 1 wound, pretty much grunts but regenerating grunts as depending on how the magic falls that round, they could get back some number to refill their ranks. A really nice variable but undependable way to keep the unit viable.

The Reanimate Archers are the only unit in the Waiqar that have ranged attacks. They are likewise 1/1 in melee and will have a hard time standing in a fight. They also have the great ability to hand out blight tokens with a double surge result using their arrows. Blight gets ride of an attack die when used so it’s a nice ability. The Archers also pair well with the Carrion Lancers.

The Lancers are sort of a Cav like unit for the Waiqar, with 3 shield, 3 wounds, they’ll stick around. Best of all during Melee if the unit you are attacking has a blight token, and the lancers get surges, they’ll do an unblockable wound. Great way to burn down something with lots of shields. The Lancers also have a great secondary ability and that is they can hand out blight tokens to any enemy unit at range.

Last is Ardus, the hero of the Waiqar, rolling a double white in melee unlike any other current units on the table. His attack ability pulls in the surge abilities of nearby allies. As an example, if he’s distance 1-3 to a Carrion Lancer and he’s attacking he gets to take advantage of doing an unblockable wound if the unit he is attacking has a blight token.

All in all that’s what we have to work with for a few weeks/months before the expansion boxes are to show up. For me the next interesting brain exercise is how to get to 200 pts and with what. Having two core sets now, that doesn’t get you there since you can’t field a unique hero twice. Upgrades certainly will take up some amount of the points, but I’m not sure with the current set of upgrade cards, even spending 30-40 some points in upgrades seems to be somewhat hard.

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