05 July 2013

By This Axe AAR

So after my review of the written rules, I thought it necessary to play a game. I put two army lists together and my son and I played a game Wednesday evening.

Our initial setups

Our army lists are below:

# FC Equipment Cost Each Unit Cost
Good Guy Spearmen 16 3 L Armor, Shield, Spear 10 160
Human Archers 6 3 Compound Bow, Shortsword 11 66
Good Guy Swordsmen 10 4 M Armor, Shield, Sword 16 160
Hero 1 4 M Armor, Sword, Shield 36 36
# FC Equipment Cost Each Unit Cost
Skeleton Swords/Axes 10 3 M Armor, Shield, Sword 12 120
Skeleton Archers 6 3 Shortbow, Shortsword 9 54
Dark Elves 8 4 M Armor, Javelin, 2 H Sword 14 112
Giant Lizard Troll 4 3 Thick Hide, Shield, 2 H Sword 17 68
Giant Rats 12 2 Shortsword 3 36
Hero 1 4 M Armor, Spear 34 34
Junior has one more maneuver unit than me, but I've got years of experience and low cunning in my favor. He put the troll thing with the Dark Elves.

Right off the bat we had a bit of an issue determining exactly how many "command cards" we should draw, and we decided on 2 per turn as long as our leader was still kickin' and that you could keep one unused card between turns.

My melee units move forward posthaste with the help of a "diamonds" card which gives two units extra movement for the turn.
Junior's rats on a flanking maneuver (idea by me). His archers  bottlenecked  his melee skeletons who spent a great deal of time trying to maneuver around the archers.

Action shot of the good guys advancing.

When our main forces (and leaders) were close, Junior thought it a good idea for his leader to challenge mine to a duel. I accepted. 

Have at thee, foul sorcerer!

The battle was met and our troops in the center collided.

I hit the elves in the flank with my spearmen but their morale held.
The rats continue their scurry.
Time jump forward a little bit. His leader failed a save in the melee and croaked but again the elf morale held. My swordsmen could NOT fail a saving throw. His elves failed lots of saves, as did my spearmen. I suggested to Junior that his archers, which weren't doing anything, charge my spearmen in the flank and forcing a morale test.

Flank charges. They hurt.
What didn't take any encouragement was a second flank charge by the archers into my swordsmen which were still kicking ass in the center.

Run away! Run away!
My archers did finish off the rats, with only one loss. Small victories.

So, my impression? It is a good game, just rough around the edges. The number of cards to be drawn is debatable. The fact that units cannot rally without leaders or cards is brutal. One "score" for troops is a somewhat questionable mechanic - the rats for instance should be poor fighters but should also have a high morale since they won't take notice of dead comrades. Other troops, say orcs, may be good at close combat but weak at shooting. Song of Blades and Heroes manages this well with loads of special rules but there is currently no analogue in BTA. The one other thing that jumped out was "save modifiers" for close combat weapons. The giant troll should have been able to put a -1 or -2 on his enemies' saving throws, but this wasn't part of the RAW.

With a bit of polish, BTA will be a very good game and I can easily make most of these adjustments myself. Good gaming, y'all!

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