The Gong Garage Gamers had a couple of games of Something Rampant on the go on Thursday. Firstly Victor and I played Dragon Rampant (the fantasy one). Rather than individual figures we used two 15mm HOTT elements per unit and a scale of 40mm (a base width) to 3" in the rules.
Army selection was pretty quick and simple, but we didn't go for any magic or unusual choices; just the basics. For my Elves I took a couple of units of heavy spearmen, some heavy archers, heavy cavalry and a heroic champion. Victor's Orcs had four lots of bellicose foot, some archers and some wolf-riding heavy cavalry.
Being a cavalry-charge sort of person, I went straight at it on the one flank. It's always a good way to try out the melee system.
My cavalry drove back his wolf-riders, but then fell to a coumter-attack by some blood-thirsty Orc hordes.
The Elf Hero entered the fray. In fact, once the Orcs got close enough he didn't have much choice, as he was wildly impetuous and had to charge things.
The Orc cavalry ran away.
Meanwhile everything else was getting to grips with each other. My archers kept failing to shoot as an Orc horde rushed towards them, and my spearmen would fight a round of combat and then fall back to tend to their wounds.
Both sides thinned out pretty quickly. This is a brutal game. At the top of the picture the Elf Hero had dealt with one unit of savage Orc infantry and was closing in on a second.
In he went. The small stones behind each unit show casualties; white for one hit, red for three hits. The Hero could take six hits, so was getting a bit close to dying at this stage.
As morale tests took their toll, the main field of battle was reduced to the Orc missile-batteries and some Elven spears. The Hero was down to his last hit, and still the Orcs facing him wouldn't break and run.
The Hero went down fighting. The Orcs passed another morale test against the odds.
The Elves advanced steadily towards the Orc missile-machines. And then the game ended.
We didn't use any special victory conditions in this game - the Quests - so victory was assessed purely on casualties inflicted. Because of Victor's Orcs failing to break, despite several chances to do so, he picked up a narrow win.
Meanwhile Caesar and Daniel were trying out Lion Rampant, with their 28mm Saga warbands. It looked spectacular, and was equally bloody.
All of us enjoyed the Rampant games. They have the feel of a skirmish rather than a battle, which is what they are designed for. The mechanisms didn't seem to difficult to use; we did have to keep looking up activation and to-hit numbers, but could see that after a couple of games they would be easily memorised (I still know people who forget and have to look up the HOTT combat factors, despite years of play, so it's not an issue). The activation system is frustrating, but gives an interesting to and fro. Somehow failing an activation, and handing initiative to your opponent, seems less deadly in this game than it does in, say, Blitzkrieg Commander, where it can often be fatal. We all had a turn where our side did nothing, after failing the first activation, but it didn't cost us the game.
I liked Dragon Rampant enough that I will certainly consider getting a copy.
Finally Gary and Ralph gave the new Travel Battle a go. Gary had bought a copy but wasn't sure about it, so left the sprues intact and set up the game using a gridded cloth, and his own terrain and figures.
His conclusion was that the rules were OK (although for such a simple set there were number of gaps), but that for the cost (over $100 in Australia) it wasn't worth the effort. His plan is to take a copy of the rules but sell on his set. So there will be a second-hand, unpunched Travel Battle game up for grabs here soon.