Friday, January 13, 2012

Templecon 2012 Scenario Table: Updated Rules!

The Templecon 2012 Scenario Table has been finished for a few weeks now.  It has been living at The Whiz Store back in MA (my "local" game store) so that the usual crowd there could playtest the scenario and offer feedback while I'm in another state.  When I initially dropped off the table, I observed some games and made some tweaks to the rules, but after a few weeks of testing, I have released version 1.2 of the rules.  Here are the major changes and the justifications for them, as well as some observations that I've made regarding the scenario itself.

The updated rules can be found below:

Some key changes since the original version:
- Huge-based models can move over the fence sections so they aren't stuck in the deployment zones.  In the original design for the scenario, battle engines were not considered.  The grave headstones still block placement, however, so it means that any battle engine is basically stuck moving along the path.  Since this is a scenario table and not designed for competitive play, it fits with the scenario and that's okay.  Consequently, it looks like the only battle engines that are feasible for play are the Storm Strider and the Arcantric Force Generator, although the Gun Carriage could still do something with its cannons.
Yeah, I guess it would be hard to move a
battle engine around in a cemetery...

 - Victory is checked at the end of each round, starting with the end of the third round, any "minimum" limits for victory points were removed, and a player needs at least 5 victory points more than his opponent to win.  This was done for two reasons.  The first was that really infantry-heavy lists could secure a victory really quickly, before models even engaged each other.  While the number of graves are balanced across each table quarter, there were enough to secure a victory by the end of the second round.  By increasing the check to the third round, this means that players have a greater chance of facing off and actually rolling dice before the game ends.

- Crypts can only be secured by Heavy Warjacks/Warbeasts (they still need at least one 'open fist') and are worth 5 victory points each.  While each force will have at least one heavy warjack/warbeast, this does mean that they are likely going to have a specific role of securing these key locations instead of having a chump infantry model grabbing a chunk of victory points.  While the scenario clearly still favors infantry-heavy lists (intentionally), this should help give some other lists a way to compete or at the very least buy some time to secure a caster-kill.

Some thoughts:
I seriously underestimated how much the terrain on the table would slow down movement.  In most Warmachine/Hordes games, players are engaging each other by the end of the second round, and I seriously underestimated how much the terrain on the table would affect that.  While there's not much rough terrain, players still cant end models on top of the headstones and the walls surrounding the deployment zones do a good job of funneling forces and slowing things down.  I like this, but I needed to slow down the scoring check to round 3 so that players can at least start fighting each other.

Similarly, I underestimated how easy it would be to spread out models and secure a ton of graves really quickly.  My friend playing a Testament of Menoth list clearly showed to me how bad it can truly get with at least 30 infantry models on the board and there was no contest.  I'm hoping that allowing only heavies the ability to secure crypts might mitigate this somewhat, as Menoth players will have to choose if they want their Reckoner to kill something or capture that Crypt.  I might even make Crypts worth more than 5 victory points if I think that infantry have too much of an advantage.  As it is, the scenario is really intended for players to take combined-arms forces anyway.  Kaya wouldn't only bring 5 Warpwolves to secure graves in a cemetery if this were in the fluff.  No, she would want to bring along some Wolves and Reeves for this mission, and I want to reflect that in the rules and mechanics for the scenario.

This is clearly still a work-in-progress, although the time until Templecon is short, so I hope that I can make one more tweak before the rules are finalized for the convention.  Unfortunately, I need people to playtest the scenario and post feedback in order to make any necessary changes.  I'm committed to making this a lot of fun, but I need help since I'm literally over 100 miles away so I can't test it myself.

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