Monday, 24 August 2015

Otherworld Fantasy Skirmish - the Game I've been looking for

So. First epic fail. Still not managing to do the regular posts I was going to. I'll have another go at committing myself. However, this post is about a new game.

Otherworld Fantasy Skirmish by Otherworld miniatures is a skirmish level battle system based on the Level 7 combat system.

This is something I've been looking for for a number of years. The system allows you to build warbands from pretty much any fantasy model you have and allows you to include monsters such as ogres, manticores, giants and owlbears. You can even build a warband led by a dragon!! The rulebook contains all the normal sections you'd expect with less emphasis on magic. Each round is a roll off to see who gets to activate first. You then get a number of activation tokens equal to half the number of figures on the board. So not all of your figures are going to activate in a round. Combat consists of reaching a to hit value and then a damage value, armour giving a saving throw. Most models will have a single wound with your more important champions and large monsters 2 or 3. Once a model is reduced to zero wounds he becomes incapacitated and if not healed by the end of the round then its removed as a casualty. To add a further complication there is an Adventure deck that the defending player creates but only the attacking player draws from. This deck will contain treasures or traps or wandering monsters that may be in the area. These are drawn when a model interacts with Adventure tokens scattered around the play area.

There are victory conditions based on the scenario to determines who won.
I've played through a basic game to get a feel for it which didn't include a lot of the abilities and am pleased both with how it plays and the balance that seems to have been built into the game.

Here is the game as I played it through.

The scenario:
The village, Bandville, has hired a band of heroes to put a stop to a band of fanatics who have been terrorising them for months. Rumours abound that the head of the cult has been making sacrifices to the dark gods and gone mad with infernal powers.

The heroes, led by the mercenary captain Rikyn Greed have tracked the cult to natural caverns in the hills surrounding the village and have just entered to confront the cultists.

The heroes found the leader of the cult exhorting to the dark gods in some sort of infernal ritual and were determined to put an end this evil.

The heroes were to have the first turn but still rolled for initiative to determine who would receive fate tokens. These are used to allow a side to make re-rolls or buy extra activations.

The captain also has the Leader (1) ability, allowing another activation token to be placed. This allowed five of the heroic band to move forward. Each model has two actions. The majority moved forward but the elf - Solan Brighteyes, moved and then fired his bow downing one of the fanatics.

The cult, led by the high-priest Ludo, then moved. Several of the cultists charged forward, stabbing with their daggers but ineffectually. Ludo, himself begins chanting but the dark powers don't answer.

At the end of the round, any models that are reduced to zero wounds are removed as casualties and a new round starts. The heroes, again win this, gaining a fate token. The elf bowman takes down another fanatic worshipper and Rilkyn dispatches a third. More actiavations allow for other member of the heroic party to move forward. The bandit, Julian Fairweather sneaks forward looking for opportunities.
Next, the cultists activate. Ludo, again exhorts the dark powers and this time he is answered. Two terrifying skeletons claw their way from the earth. Goblins armed with bows take up positions on the right shooting back at the adventurers.
Ludo has the Magic (1) ability with the Raise dead spell. Each point in magic allows you learn a spell and gives you a magic dice pool with which to cast a spell. When casting a spell you select a number of dice from the pool and add your intelligence to the result, needing to reach or exceed the target number.

At the end of the round another two cultists have been dispatched and the heroes look like they are to have an easy victory. However with the new round the cultists win the initiative and press forward their attack. The cultists activate a couple of the goblins, one of them striking true, wounding Rikyn. Rilkyn has two wounds so continues to fight on. There are no penalties to a wounded model. Ludo has the Leader (2) ability and this is used to activate the two, newly risen skeletons who charge the mercenary captain. The combined assault defeats the captain's defences and he falls to the stabbing undead. With the loss of the captain the adventurers no longer have access to extra activation tokens. However as their current number is still seven they still receive four. An innefectual round, though, see's them making little progress.

Winds of fate switch again, seeing the heroes take the initiative on the next round. Cultists have engaged the sneaky bandit. Solan moves and strikes from the rear dispatching another of the cultists, helping the beleaguered bandit. One of the fighters bravely engages the skeletons but to no avail and the dwarf continues to trade blows with one of the remaining fanatics.
The cultists strike down the bandit and Ludo charges and takes down the elf with a single blow from his infernal mace. Each weapon has its own profile. The mace has the brutal characteristic, allowing you to roll two dice for any damage rolls and choosing the higher.

The following round sees the heroes win the initiative again. Brock the dwarf finally smashes a skeleton with his heavy axe but one of the remaining cultists manages to stab one of the adventurers' archers in return.

At the end of this round both the attacking and defending warbands have both reached their break point - losing at least half of their models. Both need to make a Shaken roll against the highest morale remaining with the roll having a -1 modifier. Failure sees d3 models flees the table. The rolls see the cultists waver whilst the adventurers stay strong. Both remaining goblins and one of the fanatics break and flee through the right-hand tunnel.
The remaining two cultists and skeletons continue to fight on.

The tide had turned once again, in favour of the adventurers and with a combination of the final archer and the dwarf, defeated the high priest and his remaining undead skeleton, destroying the darkness enshrouding the village.

So, my thoughts.

Warband creation can take a while. This is because of the amount of customization options that are open to you. Playing the game is fast and brutal. I played without the adventure cards as I'd not received them yet, and with minions promoted to leaders rather than legends and companions. I also played at the lowest recoommended points level of approximately 100gp. The game is really designed best with scenarios, which is what I was looking for. This, together with the ability to create any type of scenario hits all the buttons for me as it scratches the roleplaying itch that originally got me into this hobby.