Aagraxx jumped as the grand wooden doors of his dark fortress burst open, almost dropping the odd green gloop he was shepherding into the glass bowl on his dusty alter onto the massive spell book he was busy working from. 'Susan you dolt!' he sneered at the burly guard that had just burst in shattering his peace. 'You almost made me create half a mutated bacterium crossed with the emotion of pure refined self pity, do you know what would have happened?, do you?'. Susan avoided his masters gaze and shook his head, his long beard moving back and forth. 'Nor do i, thats the problem, i need to concentrate, how can i be expected to advance the cause of truest evil and darkness with you bursting in on me, last week you dropped your sword and i almost opened a portal to the seventh realm of ultimate procrastination, no one needs that many boxed sets!. I should turn you into a bloody woodlouse you moron!'. Susan winced at his masters tirade, he was used to this treatment but deep down he doubted his dark lord understood just how it had chipped away at his self esteem over the years. Aagraxx threw his arms out impatiently 'well, what is it?' he asked with more than a hint of venom in his voice. 'Mmmmm mmmmmmmm mmmm mmmhh' answered Susan. 'What the bloody hell Susan, a monkey ingested an answerphone?, have you been inhaling my potion collection again?'. 'MMMMMHHHMMM!' replied Susan, used to not being understood,'mmmmmmm mmmmm MMMMHHH!!!' he said again but with greater care, miming the message the best he could (which for a bloke of his size looked like an adaptation of Gorillas in the mist on ice). 'Give me strength Suzan' retorted Aagaraxx 'its not easy having to decipher your drivel, just because of my strict policy of cutting all henchmen, guards and hired goons tongues out on their induction does not mean you dont have to communicate clearly, will you please either mime or write it down!'. 'Mmmmhhh' grumbled Susan under his breath. 'Dont whine, you were the one that signed your contract without reading the small print, i mean, why would you do that?, thats on you matey boy. It was clearly in there for all to see, first day, manual lifting, health and safety, a new name of my choosing to undermine your self worth as a man and your tongue is removed. What did you expect, im an evil wizard in a whimsical fantasy tale about to be played out by a 38 tear old teenager using plastic toys, well with a name like mine what other career paths were open?, very limiting having a name with two x's in it in this type of tale. You cant choose these things, my brother was called Pharrus, which i admit is quite regal in its own way, little surprise he got the evenstone after father popped off, i had no choice but to follow into dark magic, i mean its expected isnt it.....i could hardly be Aagaraxx the dentist or Aagaraxx and son, chartered accountants could i?. Nope its a life of evil and wrongdoing for the likes of me.... i bet im due my come-upance soon'. 'Mmmhhmm' interupted Susan, which seemed to shake Aagaraxx out of his moment of reflection 'What...im revealing plot while needlessly filling in character details again, sorry Susan, what did you have to tell me?'. Susan took great care to mime his message, he did mammoth via elephant by miming the trunk and ears, eating was easy (classic knife and fork action) and evenstone was a little tricky but he was a pro so by miming shine or sparkle with his fingers and pointing to Aagaraxxs gem collection it just about came across, it was the performance of a lifetime by the big man. 'Nope, sorry not a word, you really must try to be clear Suzan'. Susan did a wonderful job of composing himself, he counted to ten under his breath then repeated MMMMMMMM MMMHHHHMMMM MMM HHHHMMMMHHH!!!!!!!!. Aagaraxx jumped up, 'why the bloody hell dident you say so, The kings Mammoth ate drugged cabbages and ingested the evenstone only to rampage out of the palace and into the wilderness!, you know what this means..... rally the troops. And tell them to bring shovels........and to wear gloves. WE HAVE A MAMMOTH TO HUNT!'.
I decided to play this one using my latest buy:
Heck yeah, i'm only about a year behind the rest of the gaming world!
Looking forward to this one as its the fantasy version of one of my fave rule sets (Lion Rampant) so i have high hopes for this!. As its the fantasy version i decided to go all out high fantasy which hopefully comes across in the prose and the narrative, im winging it so we shall see!.
I played the game early in the morning with the kids while the fab Mrs Sprinks was enjoying a lay in so its another Wronghammer first, the kids are finally getting let loose on the blogsphere (is it ready?!). Now i know what you are all thinking, 'but Sprinks, rolling dice on a wooden table is a bit noisy mate, hows the wife going to sleep through that you tool?!. Well that had required a moments thinking. I give to you the 'Sprinks patented rollsilentrolldeepdicerollingquietlytoavoiddomesticunpleasentness system':
Its a take away container with kitchen towel in the bottom, you can have that, call it my treat!.
Anyway, enough pointless twattery, on with the battle!
MALLAGORS EVENSTONE EXTRACTION CREW
Clockwise from back left: The castle militia (Heavy foot), 2x press ganged yoemen missiles (light missiles), Unreasonably eager knight protectors of the crown (elite foot), Mallagor the wise (light foot, wizard), Outland rangers (scouts). Minis are a mix of Red box, airfix,a call to arms and miniart.
Aagaraxx's silent warriors of totally total evil incarnate (upon the earth) t.m.:
From left: The wheely evil equine synchronized display team (heavy riders), The blackest company of evil warriors (light foot, offensive), Aagaraxx the oooohhhh nasty (light foot, Wizardling, summoner. spells: 'Befuddle thee!', 'Bog thee!', 'Power bolt!'), The dark arrows of sharp pointy death (light missiles). Minis are mostly Revell, Aagaraxx is by Ceaser.
As usual i have used my coloured basing system, Mallagors force is on red bases with white trim and Aagaraxxs' lot are on black with red trim.
.......and not to forget....
Peewee the mammoth, counts as a greater warbeast, pictured arguing with a rock!, i think the mini is by Schleich but its been hanging round a while and i forget this stuff (whadda you mean google?).
Whats so special about Peewee?
The game revolves around Peewees guts, or more importantly whats inside them!. Peewee has eaten a ton of drugged makeyouallkillyangrymental cabbages and the Evenstone, a large gem that is the sign of rulership for the area in which the battle takes place. The only way a side can win the battle is by getting the Evenstone, either from what comes out of Peewee or from his guts themselves!. The rules i used to represent this are as follows:
Berserk: Pee wee is in a right old state thanks to the Cabbages, at the start of his turn he will attempt to perform a CHARGE action against the closest unit he can see. He will try this even if he will not be able to move far enough to reach them, in which case he will move his max distance towards them. If he fails to do this or he cant see anyone he will move in a random direction but will move his full distance and will Charge any troops this move brings him into contact with. He will not leave the playing area so any move that would force him to do so will place him on the edge but never over it.
The Evenstone:The cabbages also have a rather unpleasent side effect, old Peewee is suffering from a severe case of the trotts!. At the beginning of his turn roll 1 dice, on a roll of 4+ Peewee will drop his guts directly behind him, leaving a marker to show where he has 'been'. Any troops that perform a move action that brings them into contact with one of these markers may 'explore' the pile to try to find the Evenstone. To do this they roll one dice, on the roll of 5+ the stone is in the poo and they are now considered to have it.
Only the side that has the Evenstone can win the game. Any unit that finds the stone as described above will have it and it will move with them. If they loose a combat the stone will pass to the unit that beat them. If the unit with the stone is wiped out or routed the stone will be dropped where the unit was, in the case of this being the result of combat the unit that caused this will now have the stone, in the event of this being caused by shooting the stone will be left where the unit was and may be picked up by any unit that moves into contact with it.
If Peewee does not 'drop' the stone it is still in his stomach, in which case he must be killed before the end of the game and the side with a unit within 4 inches of Peewees body wins if there are no enemy also within this distance at the end of the final turn.
The game lasts 6 turns.
right lets get into it, the action begins with both sides finding Peewee in a clearing on the outlands, Both move quickly to get the Evenstone!.
A beautiful sunny day in the outlands, Peewee is simmering in the center of the table, Mallagor leads his troops through the rocks onto the left of the picture, Aagaraxx's troops enter through the trees on the right.
Aagarax's set up, Biped horses on the far left, then the dark master of naughtyness himself, protected by the foot and the archers on the right.
Mallagors troops enjoy the sun!, they have missiles on both flanks with the combat troops in the center along with Mallagor himself.
The rangers took up position on the extreme flank by the watch tower.
The game begins with Peewee moving towards Aagaraxxs force with more than a little malice in his eyes!, 'Right men' shouted Mallagor, 'lets get this stone!, yoemen, prepare to fire!'. The Yoemen on the left flank took one look at the mammoth. 'Just a thought', piped up their leader, 'wont firing at it,well, make him angry and, you know, get his attention?'. 'Yes of course' replied the wizard. 'Thats what we thought....oh damn these old weapons just dont want to load do they fellas?, just cant get them to work.....' The yoemen refused to fire, which in Dragon rampant causes play to switch to the other side, where....
'right then, lets bring this beast down' Shouted Aagaraxx, 'Archers, fire!'. 'mmmmhhhmmmmm mmmhhmmm mmmmhhh!' came the reply. 'Dont bloody give me excuses its coming this way already, WE HAVE ITS ATTENTION NOW BLOODY WELL FIRE OR I WILL TURN YOU ALL INTO AN INTERESTING WATER FEATURE!!!!!'. On hearing this they opened fire on Peewee to little effect. The horse also charged forward ready to engage next turn and the foot moved up. Aagarax pointed his staff at the Mammoth and let loose a blast of dark magic that failed to stop the beasts advance.
Aagarax's troops prepare to attack, Peewee is'nt half big even for a mammoth!
The evil one himself, he kept his hood up to 'get into character!'
Peewee took one look at the advancing figures before him and put his head down. Before they could take action he charged headlong into the horse trampling 2 of them, thinking better of it they wheeled their mounts and pranced away!.
Bang, trumpet, trample,crash!
Gurding their loins and ...er....swashing their buckles the elite foot shout a fierce 'TALLY HO CHAPS ITS ONLY A RAMPAGING MAMMOTH!' and move forward to attack, Mallagor turned towards the other Yoemen on the right flank and gave the order to give supporting fire. 'Yeah mate, its these new bow strings, murder to load they are, be ready in a jiffy dont mind us'. With that Aagarax simply smiled. He produced a pouch of dragons teeth from within his robe and threw them one at a time into the mammoths path. Suddenly the ground began to shake and one by one where the teeth had landed a skeleton pulled itself from the earth. The newly raised undead warriors stood to attention and formed ranks before the beast. 'HARRYHOUSEN BITCH' screamed Aagarax smugly!.
Operation undead sheild in action!.
Aagarax then ordered his newly raised warriors to charge!.......they stood before the mammoth......'CHARGE!' still they stood, he swore one of them shrugged. 'I SAID BLOODY WELL CHARGE!'. Again the skeletons did nothing. 'Thats the last time i buy dragons teeth from bloody ebay, you just cant trust what your getting, and the postage was murder....'
Peewee gave the skeletons a puzzled glance and promptly deficated, telling Aagarax exactly what he thought of his abilities!. He then turned and lumbered towards the advancing Elite foot.
Mallagor pleaded with his men 'look its coming this way you may as well face him'. The officer of the Militia stepped in to save his blushes 'LISTEN UP YOU 'ORRIBLE MAGGOTS, IF YOU DONT ADVANCE ON MY WORD I WILL SEE TO IT THAT YOU ARE CLAPPED IN BLOODY IRONS NOW GET THOSE LEGS MOVIN!'. That seemed to do the trich as the whole force moved up to support the reckless advance of the elite foot.
At the other end of the field Aagarax rallied his horse but was still having trouble with his skeletons who still refused to do anything no matter which arcane language he commanded them in!.
To show his disgust at this pathetic act Peewee dropped another pile and continued towards the Knights charging towards him.
The knights sounded the charge and piled in, actually managing to damage the beast and not die themselves!. That was enough to encourage both units of yoemen to unleash their shots onto the beast wounding him further!. Aagaraxs archers also fired at Peewee failing to do any damage while the dark lord himself was feverishly thumbing through his manual trying to get the skeletons to do anything at all!.
Peewee became a crap machine dropping another pile of his finest before charging the Knights who although taking two losses held. They got ready to counter charge when Mallagor mounted a rock and fired a bolt of lightning right between the mammoths eyes, distracting him. 'no you fools' he shouted to the Knights, 'go round him, its the stone we want he may have....ahem...dropped it!'. Bravely the knights skirted the blinded beast and with rather too much eagerness went piling into the closest dung heap!.
'Whats that shining in the shit sir lawrence?'
'Why i'll wager its the evenstone sir Hugh, look it is!....be a good chap and grab it will you this armours' just come back from the cleaners!'.
With that Aagarax took decisive action, first he aged 5 years and changed sex
Oooh theres evil! (my son decided he'd rather play outside but my daughter was up and hovering and quickly took his place (thats my girl!).
He (she) then ordered the horse to 'GET THAT STONE!' they quickly pranced into a line and gave their chilling battle cry 'MMMMMHHHMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!'.
Totally oblivious to whaat was going on behind him Peewee stomped into the Militia.
With predictable results!
The two survivors headed to the hills!, meanwhile the Knights went against everything they knew ant tried to out run the advancing horse but to no avail, the horse deftly jumped the pile of mammoth poo between them and charged!.
cue one crap picture!
In the ensuing mele both sides took losses but it was the horse that took the worst of it, bolting back towards their lines!. And withthat the Evenstone was safe in the (filthy) hands of the knights soon to be returned to its righful place in the palace once more!.
The scene at the end of the game.
So after all that Peewee finally calmed down and sloped off back to his pen much to King Pharrus's annoyance, it was later reported he was delicious!. Malagor never again attempted to lace foods with beserkerrampage potion number 1, although he is making headway into the study of mammoth poo by royal decree.....with a spade!. Aagarax was last seen blasting skeletons with dark bolts of arcane power. While swearing. Loudly!.
Well all's well that ends well!. As a first go i would say the fantasy elements in Dragon rampant do add the sort of flavour that lends itself to old school fantasy gaming (not taking itself too serious and quirky and characterful rather than 'gamey' and offering a sort of 'power up' for meta gaming). It is very good for a quick fun game. And the kids all said they want to play it again which is high praise indeed!. One complaint i have read in various places is that often you can fail a string of activations in a row and never get to act in a decisive way. That happened quite a bit in this game but worked well from a narrative point of view, the yoemen not willing to fire on Peewee early on was great and gave them some character and the skeletons being summoned only to refuse to move turn after turn had all the players laughing and making jokes about warranties and faulty goods! (sigh we raise 'em cynical these days!). And most important, we all had a bloody good laugh and dident wake Mrs Sprinks!.
Before i sign of its time to welcome another mentalist to the followers list (come on, sanity cant be that hard to come by!). Welcome Mr Sean Squires, a man with little quality control when it comes to who to follow but the writer of a great blog (which you can find here). Hes a man after my own heart with his use of 20mm plastic goodness and rally round the king game reports (a game i own but have yet to try, very interesting system though). Welcome to the silliness sir!.
I also notice that Mr Squires takes the tally of followers to 10! (not that i'm counting, i'm far too cool for that (yeah right!). To mark the occasion heres a picture my daughter drew:
Yay...its a bear!
Anyhoo, till next time.....