Players were Steve and myself. Both of us have played this together at least 6 times.
We were both familiar with the rules but it had been probably 6 months since the last time we played. The last session was a 5 hour back-and-forth marathon which helped to keep this one off the table.
In this game we both took new armies (to either of us). Steve took the unruly undead while I took the dwarves under my command. I think we were both in the Lord of the Rings mood subconsciously as we took our roles.
* Ian: 14
* Steve: 6
Initially Steve got out in front for the first half of the game getting as high as 13 to my 7 production by penetrating with his flyers. His vampires and wizards flew over top quickly retreating from the first battle as a mean to get to my weakly protected rear. This strategy allowed him to quickly get the lead on production by hopping around my backfield with his high speed units. The dwarves have no speed at all.
I had to attack quickly before his production superiority made quick work of my army. Steve's map was separated by water with 4 units of production in front and 6 to the rear. I was able to gain control of his front section cutting off his forward cities to prevent troops from porting over. After securing his forward cities, I then turned my attention on the nuisance in my backfield. Eventually my production climbed back to even and then surpassed to the score you see above at 14 to 6.
In this session the dwarves made effective use of two spells: the 3 unit hit absorption and the +1 to hit for all dwarvish units. The first spell is great for smaller size armies and the second is great for larger and proved invaluable in maintaining low losses for the dwarvish army when I was being out-produced.
This is the point where my dwarves hit the proverbial stone wall. Not having any flyers nor aquatics and only 1 of each in the available mercenaries makes it difficult to storm the opponents. By this point, the undead had too many troops on his rear continent and thus we called the lines stable with the dwarves achieved an incomplete victory over the undead. After 3 hours this seemed a little anticlimactic but still satisfying game.
It would be nice to say well that map was unfair for the undead to have, but the way I see it, it was a double edged sword, it prevented the undead from marshalling their troops forward. Still a very enjoyable session.
I still rate this game a solid 8. Lots of war-game fun at a low level of rules.
OMG! Overtext! How long have I been sleeping?! OVERTEXT! Also, I'm a DESIGNER now?! Sweet! OVERTEXXXXXXT!
HO HO HO! Give me some money!
Wow! That's a rather substantial comeback! For the basic scenario, it seems like once a couple cities get held for a couple turns, the production difference makes it very difficult to counter.
To prevent the game from going quite so long, I pick a number of turns ahead of time, usually 10 or 12. That keeps it around 2 hours. If you don't like having a known end point, you can always roll at the start of each turn after a certain point with increasing odds (e.g. Turn 10 = 1, Turn 11 = 1-2, Turn 12 = 1-3, etc.)