Battle report

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Jcrozier
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Re: Battle report

Unread postby Jcrozier » Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:51 pm

Yes, that's the way the SOBH bugbears work: Long Move and Slow. I like it in SOBH, as it gives their movement a different feel from that of their lesser kin. I always assumed that Andrea had given the bugbears Slow to reflect their sneaky, skittery nature (which I recall very faintly from D&D); in any case, it works well to simulate a sort of "lurking then dashing" approach. But Long Move doesn't help with reactions ...

Andrea, I see what you mean about phasing out Slow. One great use of it, though, is to distinguish ponderous, outsized infantry from cavalry. I've been considering adding Slow to my ogres, because the rather portly models don't look as if they should be capable of keeping up with my wolf riders (though I suppose the ogres might be wearing seven-league boots ...).



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Andrea Sfiligoi
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Re: Battle report

Unread postby Andrea Sfiligoi » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:15 pm

Yes that's what I meant - I normally use it for very large trolls, hill giants etc. The typically Q4 C4 Slow Big creature of which there are many variants. I have avoided doing them in FiFu - even the fungi ogres (matanagars) have some speed to them.




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Jcrozier
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Re: Battle report

Unread postby Jcrozier » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:55 pm

We played a quick battle last night - orcs against chaotics, who included a manticore and a gargoyle in their ranks. We played the "quest for the magic item" scenario, which worked well. The gargoyle got hold of the magic javelins, but the orcs were able to rout or destroy the rest of the chaotic forces, by dint of killing an exposed leader and lodging their own Tough war chief deep into the fray, where he acted as a rallying point for his troops.

These were the main observations:

1. Unrestricted reactions lead to a fast and furious game that avoids "straggling". The initiative switched a lot, as most troops were Q4 and at least half of each warband spent most of the game out of leadership range. That led to a lot of "gambling" with two or three dice, and a lot of reactions in consequence. Because we weren't stopping to measure or check line of sight, the whole of each warband was involved far more than usual, as the one-reaction-per-model limit led to a wide spread of reactions in any given turn. This largely eliminated pockets of "stragglers" and led to a much greater feel of simultaneous movement.

2. Scenario objectives and reactions interact in interesting ways. My orcs got to the first two potential magic-item sites first. As soon as the second turned out to be empty, my son was able to use a reaction to send his gargoyle flapping towards the hilltop where the item was now certain to be. In conventional SOBH, I'd have had the chance to get my orcs moving in that direction first (and would have gambled with three rolls for the closest to try to get there first. In FF, the opponent had no need to wait for a turnover, and so the gargoyle could take full advantage of his Flying ability. I rather liked that.

3. Tough leaders give a completely different leadership dynamic. In the past, my orcs tend to have been led by a standard leader, with additional Personality points going on a hero or troll. With the different personality allocation in FF, you can splash out on fancier personalities more easily. The war chief from the SOBH roster is Q3, C4, Leader, Tough, and operates in a very different way from a conventional leader. Rather than keeping him safe, it's best to "anchor" him in the heart of a melee, where his leadership ability will allow his troops to operate more effectively, both through the quality bonus and through group moves. You can be safe in the knowledge that he'll survive quite a bit of combat. Obviously, this isn't a FF rule, but with a 400-point warband, with up to 200 points to spend on personalities, it's easier to fit in both a Tough leader and a hero or wizard to provide different tactical options.

We singularly failed to test out more of the magic, as better-than-expected weather led to most of the afternoon being spent outside and a very hastily arranged game in the evening.



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Andrea Sfiligoi
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Re: Battle report

Unread postby Andrea Sfiligoi » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:59 pm

Good to hear. It seems that reactions work in a different way for different people. One of my local testers suggested to rename them "interrupts" because the word reaction makes you think that someone is reacting to someone else, hence people ask about LoS and 1L or 2L limitations.




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Jcrozier
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Re: Battle report

Unread postby Jcrozier » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:47 pm

There's something in that - not least because even if you "react" to an enemy archer just a few metres (in game terms!) away, you're acting before they've actually acted. The problem is that "interrupts" or "interruptions" doesn't sound as good as "reactions", which broadly conveys the concept very well. What else could you call them? "Responses" or "counteractions" might work, but they still have a similar problem to "reactions". The best thing might just be to say in the rules that these represent shifts of initiative or opportunities across the battlefield, not just momentary lapses by one side (though they sometimes do represent that).

What I like about SOBH more than anything is its ability to recreate the feel of a fictional battle (my son says that games are "like little movies"; my four-year-old daughter evidently agrees, as she likes to watch the games and occasionally stage unscripted invasions - there was a lizardman incursion onto the battlefield midway through yesterday ... ). I think the reactions add to the sense of "simulation" because they create a greater sense of simultaneous action. Even though there's no direct connection between the elf bowmaster only managing two shots out of a possible three and the orcish wolfrider loping forward in the distance, the overall result is of things happening all at once, rather than parts of the battlefield being frozen because the focus is elsewhere. And of course, later in that same encounter, the bowmaster might let the arrow slip from his bow to give the wolfrider the opportunity to pounce ...




Longshanx
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Re: Battle report

Unread postby Longshanx » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:38 am

Oh yes, a tough leader can afford the luxury of leading from the front - I'll have to try it once, too.

Reactions
In case of no restrictions on length or LoS, I'd just call them "opportunity activations" or something like that. I'm only afraid that when picking a lower Q warband vs higher Q one, the player will get punished twice - he won't pull off as many actions as he wants AND the enemy will get even more actions.

On the other hand, I agree that lifting the restrictions would lead to action all over the battlefield, not just the focus point. Unless you spend all reactions on the figures in the hot spot, of course.

Either way, with open mind I'm looking forward to the next iteration of the rules.




Topic author
Jcrozier
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Re: Battle report

Unread postby Jcrozier » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:19 pm

"Opportunity activations" sounds good to me - or maybe "opportunistic activations" or just "opportunities".

I'm going to try out the high Q/lower Q think at the next opportunity, with a 400-point warband consisting of four elite elven archers and one bowmaster (all from the SOBH rosters) against beastmen and chaos warriors.

I think one thing that might balance things somewhat is that the elves won't have enough people to react to all the opportunities they get (given the one per turn limit). On the other hand, they'll probably only concede a couple of chances for reactions themselves in each turn.

The other balancing factor tends to be that lower-quality troops have a leader (or maybe more than one, if they're really cheap). Reactions allow more of those troops to keep up with the leader. As an aside, one tactic that works quite well with low-quality troops is to divide them into to two blocks with the leader moving between them (so that one group is always in front of him). So, each time he gets two successes, the leader moves next to one group and then group-activates it so that it moves forward, screening him off from enemy archers as he does so. The next time, he moves back and activates the other group. It's a slow-and-patient approach, but it works well - especially with bow-armed troops who can take shots when they're not being moved forwards as a group.

Like you, I'm very much looking forward to the updated rules.




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