Thursday, March 24, 2011

Warlord 101

It is time for another game system review by yours truly. Warlord is Reaper Miniature’s fantasy wargame. It is a skirmish level game set in a high fantasy realm that looks like it could be a D&D campaign realm with all the usual trappings. So let’s look at this game.

Both players bring forces of a predetermined point size with 1000 points being the recommended size. These forces are chosen from 18 factions that are found in two books and one online faction. Both books contain the core rules, so you will only need to buy the book containing the faction you want to play.

From these factions you construct your army. Armies are broken down into individual troops. Each troop is made up of a leader, basic troops of varying ability, and sometimes an elite model. Some troops can also consist of one model and these single model troops are usually powerful monsters or heroes.

The game is played on a 48”x48” table. It is played with a 10 sided die. Terrain can be as abundant as you wish, and the terrain rules are more abstracted, i.e. no true line of site.

Before the start of the game, players will need to create an initiative deck. An initiative deck is smaller deck of cards created by using a standard playing card deck of 52 cards. Each player chooses a suit (color is best) and a card is added to the initiative deck for every troop a player has. Certain game rules allow for more or less cards to adjust the size of the deck.

The Game Turn
Each game turn has three distinct phases: initiative, action, and end. The initiative phase is where the top card of the initiative deck is turned over. The suit that is showing indicates which player may activate a single troop. The player then conducts actions for that troop. After which the players flip over the next card on top of the initiative deck and repeat the process. It is possible that a player may activate several troops in a row before their opponent does.

The action phase is where troops do things. Every model can make two actions. There is no set order of actions, so models can charge and then fight or they can fight and then move off. This no set order of actions gives a player some tactical flexibility. The actions are grouped by movement, combat, specialty and free actions.

After all troops for both players have activated a single time then the end phase happens. The end phase is basically clean up for the turn. Certain effects will happen, the initiative deck can be altered if troops are wiped out, and the initiative deck is reshuffled

End Game
The game has two types of victory conditions which players must agree upon at the start of the game. Wipeout your opponent is one. The other is play to turn 5, calculate points of what is left on the table, and the player who has more points left wins. This isn’t to say players can’t design their own scenarios or victory conditions, but those are the two conditions provided in the book.

Overall I like this game. I think it provides both a beer & pretzels sort of feel while also allowing for some nice tactical depth. Although there are synergies in this game many of the tactics are based around timing actions correctly, which I am a bigger fan of. I really like the flexibility of turn actions, and the intermixed player activations. I think it’s a game worth trying especially if you enjoyed Mordheim.

So what are you’re thoughts on fantasy skirmish games? If you’re in Austin, TX on April 14th at 7:00 PM I’ll be running a Warlord demo at Dragon’s Lair. Stop on in, say hi, and roll some dice with me.



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