Just a short report on our Duel of Ages game last night. Three platters, eight characters per side.
Team White: Me, with a bunch of fairly boring scrubs like Annie Oakley, Robin Hood, Pat Garrett, The Scarlet Fox and Sven Netmender, as well as the slightly more interesting Brad the Slacker and Sir Bodkin the Prudent. I also had the potentially game changing Baron Von Krule, and his henchwoman Tanika the Young Heroine.
Team Black: Roger and Ron, with more interesting characters like Erik Merit, Flicker, Gregory the Healer, John McGiddey, Kassina the Dragon Queen, Mildred Stonegutter, Philip Redlegs, and the annoying Three-U, the energy being.
The game started off well for team black. With some lucky combat rolls, Three-U managed to hit Brad the Slacker for 3 points of damage, then make him hit himself for the kill. After that Three-U went over towards the Colonial labyrinth and spent the rest of the game screwing with my characters over there.
Meanwhile I had noticed a nice rifle in my cache, and sent Annie Oakley over to get it. It took her a while to get in and out, and once she did there were no characters near her that she could profitably shoot at (more on this later). Team Black sent Flicker up the side of a cliff to set up a Sentinel near some dome keys. This payed off later in the game when it killed Baron Von Krule.
I was doing fairly well at labyrinth challenges, and was ahead in most of them, including the Mercenary camp. However, Three-U kept my characters from getting over there and dropping off a weapon. Team Black, meanwhile, was more successful at combat, and managed to put hits on quite a few of my characters, making them vulnerable.
At the end, Kassina morphed into a dragon and chomped Annie Oakley in one hit; she missed with her one rifle shot. Had I noticed that Kassina could do four points in melee, I probably would have moved out of range. Robin Hood managed to kill Mildred Stonegutter with a shot from a Varmint Rifle and then a good melee roll, but that was my only kill for the game.
With their lead in characters and some last minute labyrinth victories, Black managed to make it a tie by game's end. They used their superiority of numbers and equipment (much of it taken from me) to grind out a win.
I found this session fairly frustrating, and was ready for it to end long before it did. The main problem was that Black had a number of squirly characters; fully half could not be attacked without serious repurcussions to my side (Erik Merit, Gregory the Healer, John McGiddey, and Three-U). It seemed like those were the characters that were usually in range (part of Black's strategy, no doubt). Poor banish and dismissal rolls put me within range of Three U more times than I would have expected, and he ended up costing me a lot of turns and lost equipment. On a small board, Three U is pretty powerful, and it was aanoying to spend so many turns running from him and/or being banished.
All in all, it wasn't the most fun I've ever had playing Duel of Ages. Hopefully the character mix will be better next time.
Some are born to move the world To live their fantasies But most of us just dream about The things we'd like to be Sadder still to watch it die Than never to have known it For you, the blind who once could see The bell tolls for thee...
I don't like playing with a purely random character mix either. Some people would say that knowing how to use your character mix is part of the challenge of the game, but I'd rather see the teams be more "balanced" at the beginning of the game. Therefore, I'd suggest that you use some other method of forming teams:
1) Draw X number of characters and choose Y. (This at least gives you some control over the mix of skills on your team. I find that I can usually form a pretty decent team this way).
2) Draft characters - deal out the total number of characters, and take turns choosing.
3) I divide / you choose. Deal out the total number of characters in the game to one team who divides them into two groups. The other team chooses which group to play. (for more experienced players).