Last week I managed to play no less than four different fantasy adventure games – 1 RPG and three boardgames
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (3rd Edition)
I had the opportunity to get involved with an ongoing campaign that Mike “The Welsh Wizzard” was running.
I was playing intrepid reporter Heiko Rainald of the Ubersreik Gazetteer, who followed the intrepid band, The Heroes of Grunwald Lodge (Steve “Hello Steve!” – a Priest of Sigmar, Ralph – A Fanatic follower of Sigmar and Mark – a Mercenary who enjoys a good time*)
The group found themselves in the town of Hugeldal, where they were investigating an outbreak of a Ghoulpox, trying to find a mysterious doctor and attempting to find out why the temple of Shallya had suddenly been closed. All these events turned out to be connected, along with the sudden arrival of a strange travelling Fayre.
More details of the game were subsequently reported below:
*The good time in question may include wine, women and song, but without the singing.
The game mechanics are typically FFG – lots of cards and custom dice – all of which look pretty daunting when you are first presented with them.
However, once you realise that the actual game mechanics work much in the same was as any other similar Fantasy Flight boardgame, such as Mansions of Madness or Imperial Assault, it becomes much easier. Your stats relate to the number of dice you roll when you make an attribute test, and each card has its rules and effects written on it. All that remains is that when you make a test, the Game Master adds a degree of difficulty – represented by dice that give negative results – to your dice pool and once the dice have been rolled, the GM interprets the results into what actually happens, depend upon the level of your success or failure. It’s a very clever system which allows some latitude between the players and GM to weave an interesting storyline around their actions.
I really enjoyed it, and look forward to the next time Heiko can catch up with the intrepid band. That is, once she has fully recovered from this rather nasty pox she appears to have contracted…
Wolves and Drakes
Monday night finally gave the opportunity for The Great Guru Luff, The Halfing Hickman, Big Rich and myself to play the next scenario in our epic Gloomhaven game. Our merry band decided that it was about time that we dealt with the Drake that had been reported in the mountains, so we fought our way through a snowy mountain pass through hordes of wolves and small drakes. Though the scenarios are at level 4, the fact that we have a level 9 Scoundrel and a level 8 Tinkerer means that the monsters are always on the receiving end of some hefty damage, whilst the party is kept healthy. The scenario ended up being fairly straight forward, as we chopped our way through the creatures with some ease, only to find ourselves at the summit of the mountain and confronted by a huge Drake, and a choice…
Gloomhaven has a good activation/action system, but to my mind is still let down by it’s graphic design in board tiles, scenery and card standee monsters. It looks, for the want of a better phrase, a bit bland. Whilst it has a huge amount of gameplay, there is no getting away from the fact the the game design choices suffer when compared to similar games from companies such as Mythic Games, Awaken Realms or Fantasy Flight.
Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt
Thursday saw just two of us available, so we dug out one of the classic Dungeons & Dragons boardgames, with myself taking the role of a Dwarf Fighter whilst Mr Hickman was a Halfling Rogue. The boardgame scenarios generally take a similar theme – the party has to explore a number of dungeon tiles until a specific one is revealed (usually between the ninth and twelfth tile). This tile may then give the location of an item that needs to be recovered, and perhaps a monster (boss) that has to be killed. Wandering monsters are generated each time a new tile is placed, plus players can have other encounters whilst in the dungeon – traps, mysterious attacks from out of the darkness or all manner of nasty surprises. Monsters drop treasure when killed, which can then aid the adventurers.
Combat uses the D&D d20 system, with players rolling a d20 with an attack modifier in order to equal or beat an opponents Armour Class.
The game has a tendency to get a bit spaced out as players explore the dungeon, and there doesn’t tend to be many monsters on the board at the same time. However, the scenarios are designed well to be a challenge with a close finish, and the level of threat the game has scales well with more players.
We won this particular scenario by the skin of our teeth.
Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth
Our last game of the week saw myself and Josh returning to this app moderated game to play scenario 3 in the Bones of Arnor campaign. I am playing Gimli whilst Josh has returned to Aragorn, although this campaign he is using the Pathfinder role, as Captain only seems suitable for parties of 4 or more characters. This allows Aragorn to be the explorer, whilst Gimli deals with any monsters that might cross our path.
The third scenario sees our heroic pair trying to help a ranger who has been wounded by foul Orc poison arrows – seeking out the antidote in surrounding caves whilst fighting off ever growing numbers of Orcs and Goblins who are searching the area.
We managed to successfully complete this scenario at the very last gasp, as Aragorn proved himself powerful in the healing arts whilst Gimli spent much of his time separating Orc heads from their bodies.
Four very different games, but four very enjoyable playing sessions.