10 January 2016

Some die are cast

EDIT - I've changed the title to the die are cast because I realised that in 49BC this was the day that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with the immortal gamer's line "alea iacta est"

First game of the year, and first game of Dragon Rampant. It's great!

Younger son (EM, aged 5 1/2) has been pestering for a 'knight game' for most of the week, usually just as I'm heading off to work or he's being put to bed... Today I put that right!

I had to cheat a little with my usual gaming rule to only play using painted miniatures, but they were ghosts/undead so it didn't feel as bad. Don't judge me!

We played a straight battle, despite my very very strong preference for narrative or scenario gaming, while we got the hang of the rules. I took a chaotic warband and my two boys generalled the undead I've been painting recently.


The breathing-impaired horde

  • Necromancer [Heavy foot, Spellcaster, Leader] @8pts
  • Skeleton ogres [Heavy foot, Undead (no feelings), Fear] @6pts
  • Bony spearmen [Light foot, Undead (no feelings)] @3pts
  • Bony spearmen [Light foot, Undead (no feelings)] @3pts
  • Wraiths [Scouts, Undead (no feelings), Fear] @4pts

The warband of really rather Bad Sorts
  • Evil swan knight [Elite cavalry, Leader] @6pts
  • Xhrsugheivty, the demon with the unpronounceable name [Lesser Warbeast, Flying] @6pts
  • Fallen knights [Elite foot, Wizardling] @8pts
  • Beastly horde [Bellicose foot] @4pts
We (ok, I) got a few things wrong as we went, particularly with combat resolution and Retreating, to begin with. This included the Battered rules. I'd like to claim that this is what left me at a disadvantage, but those pesky aleae as cast by the boys were also to blame. Here follows a photo reel from the game with a few comments. Enjoy!

 Early activations see both sides advance, except for my left flank.

Skeletons advance toward the demon who has already been slightly scorched by the fireball from the Necromancer

Who will get within charge range first, as the ogres attempt to outflank?

Meanwhile on the right flank demon versus bones proves inconclusive

Driven back briefly, the fallen knights bolster the gap left by the shaken demon

Bellicose beasts spy their foe...

...leading to the inevitable Charge!

Which returns the bones to dust

The right flank proves just as bloody, but the fallen knights hold firm

Soon, both forces are much depleted but hold their nerve to fight on

The undead generals look on with trepidation

A crucial charge in progress

But the power of the Necromancer wins the day, sending the Swan knight fleeing, Battered, with one Strength Point left...

I needed an 8 to Rally... and rolled a 7. Game over.

So, first battle thoughts? Overwhelmingly positive. Both older son (CJ) and I soon had the key points and values in our heads, and he got the knack of using magic to boost units very quickly. It plays slickly while retaining the need to cope with failed activation rolls (the unpainted wraiths were the worst for this) as well as sufficient flavour from judicious use of special rules. I highly recommend them so far, and at around a tenner (less if you get them from "Books, etc") you can't go wrong.

For the Oldhammerers reading this who aren't so sure, let me quote the introduction:
...this book is dedicated to Richard Halliwell, Rick Priestley, and Bryan Ansell, whose fault it all is.
'Nuff said.


  1. Great game!
    I already have my copy and couldn´t wait to try it!

    1. It really hits the spot for me between complexity of possible tactics and speed of play.

  2. That's a cracking read!

    I received my copy last week, flicked through it a couple of times but have been a bit muh about it.

    I will try to give it a run out this month as it looks like your lot loved it.

    1. It is conspicuously lacking in 'fluff' so I can see how it could feel a little bare-boned, but I like the absolute freedom that allows for imaginative gamers. It plays well.

  3. Fantastic write up. Glad the kids enjoyed it. Can't wait until mine are old enough to play.

    1. It's worth waiting for, gaming with your own kids is great.

  4. I'm itching to have a game, we'll have to get ourselves organised soon.

  5. Great stuff! I get regular thrashings from my boy, too...funny how much he enjoys beating the old man! Our first game of DR planned for this weekend!

    1. There is no sweeter triumph than that of the son over the father, although at this rate they'll have gamer-diabetes from all their victories!