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Subject: Playtesting a New Scenario rss

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Eliot Hemingway
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I brought Wizard Kings down to the local shop earlier tonight. I managed to get in a quick game of a scenario in development, currently called Grim Harvest (a beta version is on the CG forums under the title Harvest Time).

Basically, a group of scattered Amazon blocks are attacked by eight Undead blocks. The GP levels are actually even, but the Undead also have the advantage of beginng the game by entering the map (map #6) however desired. The Amazons are also limited to one spellcasting block, and I believe that I will apply that same limit to the Undead as well in the future.

The special rules are threefold, the first two of which are simple. First, eliminated blocks may never be rebuilt. Second, no new blocks may be constructed. What you see is what you get.

Finally, the Undead don't use GP when building steps during the game. Instead, corpse counters are added to hexes whenever Amazon blocks are destroyed or cities are sacked (IE, first captured by the Undead). Sacked cities basically disappear from the map after dumping out an initial revenue in corpse counters. Also, if the Amazons ever control a hex with corpse counters during the build phase, the corpse counters are removed.

So the result is a quick scenario where the Undead strike hard and fast at the scattered Amazons, and then must follow up rapidly to exterminate survivors before they can be worn down in skirmishing. The game is usually decided within three or four turns, at the outside.

My opponent, new to WK though not blockgames in general, chose to play the Amazons. Though I didn't know his deployment at the time, he picked up a few cheap Guardian blocks to suppliment a Castle-based defense in the hardest to reach cities.

I grabbed a package of two Vampire-1 blocks, two Necroms, and some Zombies and Deathbows to round out the package.

I opened the game with a gamble by striking Chelva right off with my two Vampire blocks. This is a standard gambit that came up in playtesting where Chelva is in trouble if only occupied by a Charmer at the beginning. I was both right and wrong. It was only occupied by a Charmer, but my opponent could also move in that Wyvern that I never expected him to buy! The result was the first-turn obliteration of my Vampires for no real damage inflicted.

The other fronts didn't go much better. I captured some border cities as expected, but a weak thrust of Necrom and Zombie ran into the brick wall of a Castle. I couldn't take it, and lost the Zombie block - ouch. Probably the most ignominious start that I've ever seen for the Undead in this scenario.

However, since it was his first game, my opponent forgot that he could use sea travel to reinforce Chelva when he won initiative. I was able to bring four blocks to bear on his two, and took the city while eliminating his Charmer. This was the real swing point, since I got to recharge my depleted wizards from the slaughter. Having two Necroms to one Charmer let me absolutely unload on the hex, and I might have been able to take it even if he'd moved in the other block.

I then proceeded to sack most of his cities while his surviving blocks concentrated at one of his castles. The battle for that hex was tense, and I was beaten off the first time after heavy defender casualties (due to spells), but the odds were with me the second time and my fresh block of Deathbows finished the job. If they hadn't, I might not have had the troops to finish off his last castle.

But they did, and the fresh slaughter easily gave me enough power to smash his remaining castle.

The Necroms were extremely powerful. I've been considering putting a limit on them before, and this game proves the necessity. Luck was with me overall, but losing the opening gambit so badly should have lost me the game. Wizards are still extremely powerful in Wizard Kings due to the power they can dish out to take a hex within the 3-round combat limit. For a scenario like this, where success or failure tends to snowball, Wizards are even more critical.

(final note: I played with a base of 2.0 rules but 1st edition blocks - that means much weaker Undead infantry than in 2nd edition)
 
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