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Subject: Session Report: First Try of the Game rss

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Brian Vogle
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The guys from Your Move Games were at bggcon selling them, so after a demo of the game, myself and two others purchased three starter decks (humans, dwarves, and undead). They threw in a bag of 9 dice and a dry erase marker, which was pretty cool.

We tried a three player (undead with 3000 points, humans/dwarves with 1500 each). The bggcon tables were covered with table clothes, so we put two of the starter boxes underneath, creating hill terrain.

The Cards
I really like the cards. Once on the table, they really felt like playing a minis game. The only downside was in most minis games, i was used to getting down at eye level to determine LOS. This was difficult with the cards, which came out with the folds of the table cloth (some of the LOS that were close we had to just guess on). Not a problem with the game at all, just our experience with it.

I found writing on the cards with the dry erase marker to be very natural, if a bit messy at times. I'll probably drop the dry erase marker in favor of grease pencils.

We would write a number/initial on the opposing units when we gave objectives to our units, and it was very easy to keep track of. We did not do a good job of redoing orders once a unit was removed from play, so we were left with redoing orders later in the game when we noticed that the target unit had been removed. Our problem, not the games.

The cards are slick, so they constantly slid down the hills we had created... if i were to use terrain again, i'd go for terrain cutouts instead of 3D hills.

The Rules
We had some problems with the rules. My dwarves deck, since it was an expansion, came with v2.1 of the rules. The men and undead decks, which were part of the original release, came with v1.0 of the rules, and there were differences. We read through the 40+ page mini-rulebook, and most of it was clear, but we had some real issues with some areas, including with the Movement chart (we couldn't find a good description of adding or subtracting MCs, so we were at a bit of a loss when trying to figure out sideway moves, reforms, etc. which result in a -1MC. After a bit of soulsearching and examining the examples, we realized that an you adjust MC by moving up and down the chart. For example, -1MC moves you down the MC chart one row.

Another problem/minor annoyance is that the Your Move Games website contains a pdf of the rules, but it's v2.0, so my friends still can't get the latest and greatest version of the rules. Emailing them results in a bounce back from Comcast stating their anti-spam rules are blocking the email, regardless of where/what email i send.

Game Play
I really like the combat system. Each unit has a set of offensive and defensive stats. The offensive stats are broken down into Attack Dice (number of dice you roll), Offensive Skill, and Power. The defensive stats are Defensive Skill and Toughness. To resolve combat, the attacker rolls a number of dice equal to his Attack Dice value. Each die result is compared to the difference between the Offensive Skill and the defender's Defensive Skill. Successes here only enable an opportunity for damage. Dice that were a hit are rerolled and compared to the difference between the attackers Power and the defender's Toughness. Any dice that are below this number generate one point of damage each.

For example, if my dwarves (with an Attack Dice value of 5, Offensive Skill of 5 and Power of 5) attack an undead unit (with Defensive Skill of 1 and a Toughness of 2), then my dwarves would get to roll 5 dice, trying to roll less than or equal to 4 (Offensive Skill minus Defensive Skill). The dice that were a success are then rerolled and i'd need to roll less than or equal to a 3 (Power minus Toughness). Each die that is a success inflicts one point of damage.

We had some great fights, and unlike a lot of minis games i've played, the differences in the unit types really came out. Archers felt like archers, due in part to the fear that they'd enter into hand-to-hand combat and receive big minuses. Cavalary are fast and pretty nasty if they're charging, so we tried to keep units that had bonuses to charging units (spearmen, etc) in front of them.

I really screwed up by deploying my crossbowmen behind my advancing units, before i realized that crossbows can't take advantage of indirect fire. Because of this, my crossbowmen were useless most of the fight.

I also really liked the command cards you can draw and play during combat. They added a nice bit of variety.

Game Length
The game plays pretty quickly. We had a 3000 vs. 3000 point battle, which we played in a couple of hours (maybe pushing 3 hours), even though we didn't finish off killing everyone on the table. The turns go pretty quick, and there isn't much downtime thanks to the defender getting to attack back when attacked on hand-to-hand combat.

Overall
Overall, i really enjoy this game, and we had a lot of fun playing. So much in fact that we all then bought the expansion pack for our faction. On the flip side, there was a father/son at the table next to us trying to learn it (they'd checked it out from the library), and it didn't seem they were having much fun with it. It was probably due to a few poorly worded rules (as they kept asking us questions).
 
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Chad Ellis
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Hi,

That was me selling at BGGcon. I'm glad you had fun and thanks for buying our game!

A couple of quick comments. First off, you may not have needed all the line of sight checks. Most ranged units in Battleground are considered to use indirect fire and can shoot over friendly units and even most terrain. When you do need to work out line of sight, a tape measure (or taught piece of string) works well for providing a straight line.

My apologies on the rules. We lost our graphic designer and when we got a new one we had her concentrate on laying out the next set so we're behind on updating the downloadable rules.

If a target unit leaves the game you don't need to change the orders -- at least you don't spend a command action to do so. A unit whose objective is achieved (dead enemy unit or location reached) automatically reverts to its underlying order. Thus, if an archer unit is on R1 and the unit designated #1 dies, the archer unit reverts to R and will just go after whichever enemy unit is closest.

We're coming out with a terrain product soon and it will be 2-D, so no sliding. I like the idea of using card boxes plus tablecloths as hills, though!

Best,
Chad
 
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Brian Vogle
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Howdy!

Thanks for the reply, especially the clarification on the changing of orders when a unit is removed. That'll help out quite a bit.

I really like the game and look forward to the next expansions, especially the terrain one (to put my dwarves uphill run bonus to good use).

--Brian
 
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