Tyne and Wear
This is a report of a recent game of Mythic Battles that I played against a regular gaming buddy: Ben. We played a couple of games in the one session, and the second one is described on my blog.
I’m going to assume that you know the rules already. If you don’t, there are quite a few excellent descriptions of how the rules work online.
For a brief overview see Paul Grogan’s video: https://boardgamegeek.com/video/115558/mythic-battles-panthe...
For a full explanation and game walk through see this 4 part series: https://boardgamegeek.com/video/115551/mythic-battles-panthe...
Before we jump into the report itself, I just need to mention that I’m part of the Mythic Battles team so I’m not entirely impartial. My job isn’t to do any game design (though that is my normal day job) – instead I’m working on the Kickstarter as the Voice of Olympus. So if you join(ed) us on the Kickstarter (starts 3pm EST, 1st Nov 2016) then you’ll have seen a lot of my writing ☺
One advantage of working with the team is that I’ve been able to snaffle a set of the very rare T1 test shots of the core box miniatures. The miniatures you see here are, therefore, as they will be in the final game (unless we can make them better, which we think we can). They come pre-assembled like this, and made in 2 different types of plastic so the spears come and stay nice and straight ☺
The map I used is the right art, but lacks some of the additional game info (type of area, unit limit). The ruins are early test shots of the real sculpts. The coins represent trees (which I couldn’t find models for). The cards and dice are right. The unit stats are on dials instead of dashboards so the info is correct, while the format is different from the final version.
So now you know.
The game began with the usual draft; Ben chose Athena and I took a force led by Hades. During the draft I guessed that Ben would try to focus on the Omphalos, so I deliberately chose a lot of heavy hitters to go for the kill if an opportunity arose: Achilles, Heracles, and the Minotaur. The Hell Warriors filled the gap, and were chosen mainly as they fitted nicely with Hades.
I’ll tell this story in pictures, with comments following them because, for once, I remembered to take some snaps. Apologies for the graininess (it’s dark in the frozen North).
This is after a couple of turns each, with the initial tactics on show. I’ve deployed slightly to the left of centre, and Ben has deployed mostly to his own left flank. The Hydra looks set to try and claim the centre, which is something I can’t allow. Unfortunately, disagreeing with the Hydra is tricky. Hades has moved up to claim an Omphalos (the red gems you can see dotted about). Basically I wanted to lay claim to the centre and left areas of the Omphaloi in order to reduce the number available to Athena to less than a winning amount. Not there yet, but that’s the plan.
Ben’s moved up the Hydra to command the centre and attack Hades. I’ve responded with Achilles. He doesn’t have Guard, but Hades can take a bit of damage without fretting. Soul Culling is a great power ☺
If you want to remove the Hydra, you’ve got to go really fierce over a short space of time. They regenerate, and that makes nibbling away at it a bit of a waste of time. To this end I’ve piled in with Achilles, and followed him up with a charging Minotaur. The Hydra fights back, but it’s outclassed and on its own.
This is taken just after the Hydra died, and shows that Ben’s been sneaking up on my right as I dealt with the many-headed beast. I’ve also brought on Heracles and the Hell Warriors. They look like they’re close to the front, but the layout of the irregularly shaped areas makes my right flank much slower going than my left. All part of the interest of these maps.
Athena moves along a safe corridor of friendly troops and into the Omphalos-rich part of the board on my right. I can’t allow that to go uncontested as her Strategist power can help her scoop up quite a lot of them at once – potentially a game-winning amount. So to take her mind of winning I charge the Minotaur again. He’s on his own and will doubtless take some punishment, but he’s there to buy me a little bit of time and to distract Athena. You’ll note that the lone remaining Spartan is doing his job. His fellows died guarding Athena. Odysseus observes from a safe distance.
With the Spartans recalled to full strength, Odysseus in place, and Athena joining in the battering, the Minotaur is finally killed by this dice roll. It’s actually a really unlucky roll, but thanks to the rules allowing manipulation of the dice it’s just good enough to take the single def 6 wound he had remaining.
Athena’s absorbed one Omphalos, but so has Hades. No advantage there. But while she’s been dealing with my Minotaur, the rest of his companions have been closing in. Now they pounce, with Heracles, Achilles, and even Hades now in range. Athena is well protected, but she cannot move away because of Heracles’ Block skill. The question is whether she can kill him and escape before she runs out of followers to stick in his way…
This is a general shot of the board at the same time as the previous pic. As you can see, I’ve abandoned my early thoughts of collecting Omphalos since I saw an opportunity for a kill. It’s proving a little more troublesome than I’d expected as Athena’s men have come to her rescue in droves, but I’m committed now. Note that everything is on the right hand side of the map – a really odd arrangement.
More of the mass battle. The Spartans are reduced to a single model, and the Hoplites rush to fill their place. Good use of Troops by Ben.
In an effort to break the deadlock, Heracles steps out of the combat and throws a tree at the fight, scattering the Hoplites into a different area, and killing the remaining Spartan. Athena is thrown into the area containing Hades who attacks her too. I really like throwing the scenery about
With her back to the wall, surrounded by enemies, Athena steps back from Hades to claim an Omphalos. Unfortunately it isn’t enough, and Achilles rushes in to deliver the final blow. Athena is killed, and the battlefield belongs to Hades.
I hope Ben will add some comments from his perspective below. For me this was an interesting battle because it showed the need to think on the hoof, to evolve plans as the battle unfolds, and to take chances when they arise. Ben’s use of Odysseus and his Troops was excellent, and they kept Athena alive for many turns. In the end though, he got stuck on the defensive, and in any game that spells eventual defeat. Hades was never in any real danger, and my plan of closing down the number of Omphalos available to Athena worked to an extent. That, plus ensuring that she had an immediate threat to deal with all the time, left her no real gaps to go collecting in.
All told, Athena is the hardest of the gods to use well. I think she needs to control the game more, which is tricky, but possible with a clever use of her many Art of War cards. At least, I understand the theory. I struggle to put it into practice too ☺
The second game of this evening’s entertainment went the other way, with me taking Hades again to much less effect.
Voice of Olympus
Tyne & Wear
I was indeed on the wrong end of that battering. I had played two games previously and on each I was facing Athena and in one she had died and in the other came very close (this one was 2v2). She is meant to be trickier to use than the other gods so I decided to take her in this game to try her out for myself and to see whether her strategist ability could allow for collecting omphaloi quickly. To that end I decided to bolster that by taking both Odysseus and Leonidas, and a troop of Spartans and Hoplites. Wanting a bigger threat to back them up, I also took the Hydra.
Being still somewhat inexperienced, I made the rather large error early on of forgetting that units can run. That meant that I used all three of the Spartans' activation cards to reach an omphalos, when I could have picked it up and brought it back to Athena. It also meant I began moving the other units more slowly than I should have early on. It was never my intention to try and kill Hades, and I was happy to use the Hydra as a distraction. On reflection, though, it was the wrong choice of monster, and I think Cerberus would have been the better option.
I also didn't need both Odysseus and Leonidas, and of the two Odysseus was sufficient on his own to do what I needed to do. I found after drafting my force that everything I'd taken other than Athena had a move of one, which also didn't help. Leonidas would have been better replaced by a 2 move unit like Atalanta, and the Spartans by the Hell Hounds or Centaurs.
Whether it would have made any difference to the outcome is unlikely, as Athena proved as tricky to use as advertised.
- Last edited Wed Nov 2, 2016 11:27 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Wed Nov 2, 2016 11:26 am
... Athena is thrown into the area containing Hades who attacks her too. I really like throwing the scenery about.
So, Athena is scenery now? Don't let her hear that!
Tyne and Wear