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Subject: Alternative Starting Scenario - Island of the Orcs rss

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Chris Rice
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I've played a few games now with the solo introductory scenario included with the base game “Island of the Dead”. However, I don't think it's entirely suitable for initial learning of the game for two reasons. First, the use of Wizards – I feel players would be better off getting used to the basic units first before adding the complexity of Magic Spells. Second, the use of the Elvish army - the Elves have 3 out of 5 starting units as fliers. Fliers ignore terrain and hexside limits which are key elements of the game and really should be learned first before exceptions like Fliers are introduced.

With that in mind, I propose an alternative starting scenario - “Island of the Orcs”.

The Story: Many years ago the Orcish tribes captured the prosperous Island of Thilenius and enslaved its people. Living off the produce of its rich cities the orcs have grown fat and complacent believing no one can challenge them. But across the sea a fleet of pirate ships gather and Amazon war banners are unfurled. This is a chance for the Amazons to snatch a rich prize for themselves.

Requirements: This scenario uses Map 13 “Island of Thilenius” and the base Amazon and Orc armies from the 2nd edition box set only.

Set-up: Remove both Wizards and the Amazon castle. These are not used. The remaining blocks form the available units for this game. All Amazon units start at full strength and all Orc units start at 2 for Goblins, all others are strength 1 only. All the Orc units are in cities at the start. Take all of the Orc blocks (7 in total, including the castle, but excluding the Wizard) and place them face down on the map. Shift them around so you do not know which is which. Place the blocks, still face down, as follows: I block on each 1 gold city (Atami, Kreba and Anzar) and 2 blocks each on Baven and Bethi. Leave the blocks face down.

The 6 Amazon blocks are all at full strength as stated. They should be divided into 2 groups in whatever configuration is desired.. Pirate ships will land the Amazons at any 2 of the following points, subject to stacking limits: Cape Lost, Talon Point, Cape Tears, Desola Point and Cape Agaris. This constitutes turn zero. As soon as the Amazons have landed alarms are rung and the Orcs wake rudely from their revels. Can the Amazons strike hard before the Orcs can gather their strength? Due to surprise the Amazons have initiative and move first on turn 1. On subsequent turns, roll initiative for both sides as normal.

Play: As soon as an Orc block, or blocks, is attacked turn it over to see what it is (remember all Orc blocks are at strength of 1 step except Goblins which are at 2). Then conduct battle as normal. When it is the Orcs turn to move, turn all remaining Orc blocks over (you will need to know what they are to decide whether to move them or build them up etc). Fog of War only goes so far in a solo game!

Amazon blocks lost during play cannot be replaced as the pirate ships have taken their gold and departed back to their havens. They can however use gold from captured cities to strengthen units weakened by battle. The Orcs can rebuild lost units, including the Castle, in any cities not held by the Amazons. All other rules as per version 2.0 rules included with the game.

Winning the game. The game lasts for 10 turns. To achieve a partial victory, the Amazons must occupy 4 of the 5 cities at the end of turn 10. If they can occupy all 5 cities they win a Total victory. The Orcs win otherwise.

If you feel that the Amazons are too strong it is an easy matter to take a step or two away to get a better balance. You might also like to see what could happen if the Orcs get to move first in turn 1. Once you've played a few times, instead of playing the whole scenario,you can set up specific battles such as: what sort of force would I need to attack a city with Troll 2, Castle 2, Orc 3 at Bethi. How would it be different at Baven, and so on.

Notes.

Terrain. The Island of Thilenius is a nice compact land area to learn the game on with some interesting terrain features to explore.The Amazons C1 units are Forest folk, the other units C2, A2 are Mountain folk. With the exception of the Troll, all the Orc units are Mountain folk. The centrally placed Amara mountains may therefore play a key role in the struggle, especially as they border the 3 point city of Bethi. Forests may also be important, both Atami and Kreba are bordered by forest hexsides. The 2 point city of Baven is quite isolated - by land it can only be approached via the Anzari desert or across a bridge which severely limits the attacking options. However, an initial Amazon raid could be launched from Desola point which is clear terrain...

Repeat play. I would suggest you play this solo a few times, experimenting with different groupings and landing locations for the Amazons to see what gives best results. For the Orcs, are they best to sit tight or should they abandon some cities to concentrate in two key locations (assuming they get the chance to do so) which would give them the victory? Each game will only take around 30 minutes, so several can be played at a session to try out different strategies.

Going Further. Once the scenario has been played a few times and the player is clear on movement, hexside limits, terrain combat bonuses and stacking limits etc., the game can be spiced up a bit. Try out different armies. The Undead can be used in attack or defence - they have no Mountain or Forest folk but their Skeletons are desert units. This changes the situation around Baven and Kreba both of which are bordered by desert. Feudals and Dwarves are tricky in this scenario as it is based on the taking of cities. Both of these factions have units which get a city bonus in combat which makes them much tougher, so it might be better to use them against each other. You could try Dwarves in defence and Feudals in attack for instance. The Barbarians have a mixture of Forest and Mountain folk but they also have an aquatic unit - the Viking. Since all 5 cities are on the coast they could provide interesting options which are worth exploring. Finally, the Elves – as their Fliers ignore terrain and hexsides limits they can go where they want, but remember stacking limits still apply.

Further still. Now its time to add Magic! For the next play go back to the Amazon v Orc game and add both Wizards. The Amazon Charmer should be at full strength 4 and the Orc Shakla should be at 1 or perhaps 2. See how this changes the game. Try out all the spells. Then do the same for the other armies.

Even Further. Then its time to try out the other maps in the base set.

Too far. Then its time to buy all the expansion maps, all the armies, make your own armies and special blocks, read all the blogs, wikis, pore over previous versions of the rules, write your own rules...and finish up as a total gibbering wreck!

Finally: Play Aids. I would suggest downloading and printing out the battle mat available in the files section of the Wizard Kings page. I find this essential for keeping track of battles as they progress. You can lay your blocks out on it to clearly see what block goes when etc.. There is also a single page play aid which includes Terrain effects, Hexside limits and so on which is quite useful. I use a ten sided dice to keep track of turns but if someone knows of a good turn track please let me know.


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Brett Christensen
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thumbsup Sounds like a nice alternative scenario.
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Charles Lucas
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Now this is a good starter scenario!!! You should probably consider submitting it to Colombia; I know I would if I were you.

The gibbering wreck option is very tempting but I tend to enable that scenario into my RPG addiction as at least there I have twice weekly groups that share my semi obsessive fondness for fantasy combat creation.

Cheers!
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I'm having a Renaissance lately of block games and I agree - the Island of the Dead should have been named Island of the Dud - what an aweful scenario.

I am going to try this one out and see if it sparks the fire for this interesting game.
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Chris Rice
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Ok Mark, let me know how you get on.

But please bear in mind that the scenario was intended as a solo teaching method for a new player to the game.

If you already have experience of Wizard Kings I doubt you will get much out of it.
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No, it would be a teaching game for me.
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Shayne Richards
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markgravitygood wrote:
I'm having a Renaissance lately of block games and I agree - the Island of the Dead should have been named Island of the Dud - what an aweful scenario.

I am going to try this one out and see if it sparks the fire for this interesting game.


I thought this too at first but recently got wk back out and played the scenario to reacquaint myself and realise I had played it wrong before and lo and behold it was excellent, I immediately played it again and again it was excellent...
 
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Shayne Richards
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Wimplesaur wrote:
Ok Mark, let me know how you get on.

But please bear in mind that the scenario was intended as a solo teaching method for a new player to the game.

If you already have experience of Wizard Kings I doubt you will get much out of it.


Sounds great Chris, I don't think it should be limited to what you say it's intention is...sounds like an interesting solo scenario and I will be keen to get it out and playing in the next day or so. Thanks for posting.
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Chris Rice
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Must have another go myself, as it's a while since I've tried it!
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Shayne Richards
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Well at risk of sounding gay, you've got me excited!
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Chris Rice
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Ok, I've had another couple of plays after a long break and A few things stand out.

1. The random placement of the orcs is fun but can have a strong effect on the outcome. For example. The city of Bethi is key for the Orcs as it yields 3 points per build phase. If the two blocks in Bethi at the start are the expensive ones, Ogres and Orcs, there may be insufficient time to build up their strength to survive an attack. On the other hand, if Bethi contains a Goblin and a Castle, they can be quickly built up and may be difficult to dislodge.

2. Gamey Tactics. If the Amazons discover the Orc castle block at one of the minor cities it is wise to ignore it. It can't be moved and if isn't destroyed it can't be rebuilt at Bethi, which is where the Amazons really don't want it if they are to gain a total victory.

3. It seems relatively straightforward for the Amazons to gain a victory but much harder to gain a total victory as Bethi will likely be able to hold out. Can the Orcs snatch a victory. I have not managed it yet but will have another go.
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Joshua O'Connor
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Wimplesaur wrote:
Ok, I've had another couple of plays after a long break and A few things stand out.

1. The random placement of the orcs is fun but can have a strong effect on the outcome. For example. The city of Bethi is key for the Orcs as it yields 3 points per build phase. If the two blocks in Bethi at the start are the expensive ones, Ogres and Orcs, there may be insufficient time to build up their strength to survive an attack. On the other hand, if Bethi contains a Goblin and a Castle, they can be quickly built up and may be difficult to dislodge.

2. Gamey Tactics. If the Amazons discover the Orc castle block at one of the minor cities it is wise to ignore it. It can't be moved and if isn't destroyed it can't be rebuilt at Bethi, which is where the Amazons really don't want it if they are to gain a total victory.

3. It seems relatively straightforward for the Amazons to gain a victory but much harder to gain a total victory as Bethi will likely be able to hold out. Can the Orcs snatch a victory. I have not managed it yet but will have another go.


What are the suggested changes to the game?
 
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Chris Rice
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https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/858588/raise-your-armyr...
 
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