Yesterday, at the Company of Dice club day, we had a pretty cool play test of some multi-player Judgement rules I have been toying with. This involves 4 players going hammer and tongs on the larger map, each with their own effigies and Warband of 3 heroes. I was joined by Tort, Theo and Jeff on the day, and this blog post describes the ruleset, and some of the highlights of the battle. It was great fun.
The players go through a draft phase to select their Warbands. We included all 28 heroes in this draft, which gave a good number to enable us to have several rounds of picking and banning. I will talk through the sequence now, and reveal which heroes were picked and banned. Before we got started we each rolled off to determine the order we would play, from player 1 to 4. We found it best, at this stage, to give each player a token with their number written on it to help keep track of their activation order from this point forward.
In this image you can see all 28 heroes lined up ready for the draft phase. Every one of us took a deep breath at this stage and mentioned how we could not wait for the wave 2 models to ship. It is going to look truly epic. :)
This is the order of the draft that we went with for this game.
- Each player bans 1 hero each (24 heroes remaining)
- Each player selects 1 hero each (20 heroes remaining)
- Each player bans 1 hero each (16 heroes remaining)
- Each player selects 2 heroes each, 1st in activation order, and the 2nd round reversed, so player 4 gets 2 choices in a row (8 heroes remaining)
And this is how it went on the day.
The 1st 4 heroes banned were Kogan, Svetlana, Istariel and Skye. The only one that I found surprising out of this set was Skye. For the record I banned Svetlana.
The first 4 heroes picked. The discussion around the table at that point was we felt Soulgazers would be quite powerful, and since Svetlana was already banned we thought the best strategy was to grab a Soulgazer while we could. Jeff was the only one to ignore that strategy and set his stall out early by picking up the powerful Zhonyja. The picks were Jeff (Zhonyja), Theo (Saiyin), Tort (Xyvera), leaving me to pick Kruul.
The 2nd round of bans saw several more powerful heroes cast aside. Piper, Styx, Thorgar and Bastian are removed from the hero pool, which leads us onto the next round of double selections that finishes off the Warbands.
Following the final round of picks, the Warbands were:
- Andrew: Skoll, Kruul, Rakkir
- Jeff: Zaffen, Kvarto, Zhonyja
- Theo: Saiyin, Brok, Nephenee
- Tort: Doenrakkar, Xyvera, Barnascus
All of us seemed happy with our Warbands and the stage was set for an epic battle. Before I describe elements of the battle, I will go through some of the rules of the day.
- Each player was an enemy to the others
- We had our own Effigy with 16 health
- When a hero dies, the harvest Soul was marked with the player who owned the Soul and that player's Effigy would lose 4 health, just like a standard game
- When an unharvested Soul is harvest, the active player got to choose the enemy player whose Effigy loses 4 health
We played on an altered map, with a Shrine of Arden in the middle, modified to grant d3 fate instead of 1, with each player's Effigy 10" from the shrine placed at the 4 points of a star. We then placed 2 standard shrines equidistant from the Effigies adjacent to it, and did similar with 2 Ashtooth monsters. The photo above shows the battle field just after deployment.
I won't go into too much detail here, however suffice to say the battle was a lot of fun. We were kind of cagey early, worried about extending one of our heroes who then has to survive 3 other activations before another of our heroes can activate to assist. The format was definitely a different spin on things and requires its own tactics to do well. The placement of shrines is crucial to force heroes to venture forth and in our game it worked very well. From a personal point of view, I had a strong Warband consisting of 3 orcs with fantastic synergies between them, and as usual in my games, Rakkir went ham in this battle dishing out damage like no tomorrow. I was also able to secure the 1st Soul through Kruul's Soul harvest.
The battle really started to heat up rapidly and in quick succession I managed to kill Jeff's Zaffen, Theo managed to kill Jeff's Zhonyja and combined with Tort allocating 4 damage against Jeff's Effigy when he harvest a Soul, he was the 1st player to be knocked out of the game.
Very soon afterwards, Theo was knocked out, which left just Tort and I to fight it out.
At this point in time I was in a very strong position. I had Rakkir and Kruul level 3 and Skoll level 2, and was holding 5 Souls, giving me a solid stream of Fate. Rakkir was equipped with the Vorpal Blade and the Boots of Agility, coupled with him casting Invisibility each turn, the mighty orc was nigh un-killable. I also had enough Fate for Kruul to keep Frenzy constantly up, so the damage output of my Warband was huge. At one stage Kruul was +3 damage on his Bewitched Attack, holding 2 Souls and Frenzy!
Despite the strength of my position, Tort was able to use Xyvera's Soul Link, Doenrakkar and Barnascus, to keep me at bay long enough while Xyvera was able to harvest the Souls required to blow up my Effigy. I did manage to drop Doenrakkar, however it took almost 40 damage, with him sitting on RES 3 to do so. :) These are just some of the awesome, epic things, that can happen in a multi-player game.
At the end of the battle we discussed out thoughts and some options we can try in the future, and this is definitely something we will do again, hopefully next time on stream. Once we have the rule set in a good place, we will publish the rules as an official alternative to the Judgement we all know and love.
Thanks for reading my post, and if you have any comments/suggestions, on the format, please add them below.