Monday, 25 March 2019

My first two games of Dragon Rampant (last year)

This is a belated report of my first two games of Dragon Rampant fought in March and April of last year. While planning my own Dragon Rampant armies, I showed the rules to my friend Ian who includes Games Workshop’s Warhammer Age of Sigmar amongst his many game interests. He already had a lot of Warhammer armies and was keen to design some DR Warbands to try out the rules.

As those who know will know, Dragon Rampant is essentially the same as the Medieval Lion Rampant set, but with the added magical dimension. I have no great experience of Fantasy so I can’t compare these rules with others, but they have all the advantages of Dan Mersey’s elegant rule mechanics coupled with immense army design flexibility. At this point I had not yet played Lion Rampant (or The Pikeman's Lament) though I had played the Colonial variant, The Men Who Would Be Kings.

First Game (March 2018)

The armies we played with are known in GW terms as Sylvaneth and Brayherds. For those not familiar with the GW fantasy world, the Sylvaneth are treemen on the side of Order, while the Brayherds are satyrs on the side of Chaos.

The Sylvaneth comprised a Witch (Summoner), a Tree Lord (Greater War Beast) and two units of Dryads. The Brayherds had a Shaman (Spellcaster), Bestigors (Heavy Foot), Gors (Light Foot), and Ungors (Scouts). Forgive me if I get any of this wrong.

We went for a straightforward 'set-'em-up and kill' game but the terrain determined that there were decisions to be made.

My warband: Gors, Bestigors and Ungors with a Shaman Leader behind.
My Bestigors and Gors move up. The Gors have seized the hill. They are facing Dryads and a Tree Lord, the tall character in the back left of the photo.
My Gors move off the hill in the hope of achieving a quick victory on the right flank. Another unit of Dryads can be seen in the fenced enclosure at the top left.
The first Dryad unit is eliminated but my Gors are weakened in the process.
The second unit of Dryads is summoned to replace the first.

My Ungors inflict missile losses on the Tree Lord assisted by some thunderbolts from my Shaman.The Tree Lord is vanquished. Things are beginning to look very good.
My Gors were taken out, but thunderbolts from my Shaman despatch the second Dryad unit. It's time to go after the Witch who is cowering in the wood but not for long. Total victory is mine.
Throwing thunderbolts about is not the most imaginative use of spellcasting, but it's like having artillery and an easy option for those steeped in historical gaming.

As expected, the rules played well and were great fun. Having not then yet played Lion Rampant this game was also something an introduction to that rule set. One thing I learnt was it's beneficial to have a mixture of different troop types including humble missile troops. This gives you more options and allows you to strike at the enemy when you might not otherwise be able to do so.

I’m essentially an historical player, but I belong to a club which has been attracting more and more fantasy players, so I thought it was handy to have a game sharing Rampant mechanisms that fantasy players might be interested to play. Since then, the whole idea of DR armies has grown on me so much that I'm finding it hard to resist the temptation to plan more and more of them.

Second Game (April 2018)

Unfortunately, my second game was followed by last year's break in wargaming and I didn't make any notes. It's now difficult to remember much about it, but I did take some photos...
The armies were again supplied by Ian. I chose the army of Beastmen (Brayherds and Minotaurs) because I like animals while Ian commanded Blood Seekers - fantasy Vikings. This time it was Ian's turn to win. Herewith a few random photos...

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