I’ve been looking forward to the release of the Dragon Rampant rules by Daniel Mersey for some time now. Based very much on the Lion Rampant rules (they share the same base mechanics) these Fantasy rules are set up for small Warband conflict. I don’t intent to write a full review of the rules here, but havinge read them through and tried my first game with them (more on that later), I would make the following observations:
- The rules allow for a very scalable game, so depending on table size and time available they work equally well with 4 units per side up to 30+.
- You have to roll to activate units, and failed activation ends your turn. Initially I wasn't a fan, but it keeps the tension and uncertainty in the game, and I like that.
- The game mechanics at their heart are quite simple and straightforward.
- They are well written and easy to understand.
- They achieve what they set out to do.
- They provide an accessible set of fantasy rules that can easily played on a club night.
- The magic element adds flavour, but is not too overpowering.
There is nothing like an actual game to help get to grip with a set of rules, so last night I set up some simple terrain on the dining room table for a quick 3 units per side sole game (as an aside here, as a sole game it works really well).
The scenario background being Warbands from neighbouring Orcs tribes scrapping over the ownership of a recently ‘liberated’ human watch tower. Rotgut ‘The Unlucky’ (at the this end of the table above) entered the field of battle with an elite unit of Orc Infantry armed with cross-bows (8 pts), Orc heavy wolfriders (bow armed) (5 pts), and a unit of Orc bow men (4 pts) – 17 points in total. Opposing him was Baligor ‘The Ugly’. His force comprised a bellisose foot unit of Black Orcs with an armour upgrade (6 pts), a unit of Orc heavy foot (4pts) with an attached lesser wizard (2pts) and finally a fearful unit of Goblin Archers (2pts) – 14 points total.
Baligors Heavy Infantry ahead of both the Goblins and Black Orcs moved to engagement range and the wizard fired off a fire-ball to no effect.
The return cross-bow fire inflicted the first casualties of the game and the unit promptly failed its Courage check.
It then failed to Rally, so took another casualty and shortly afterwards routed from the field when the Wolfriders charged them.
The riders then moved down that flank with a view to coming round behind the Black Orcs.
and threw the Blacks into combat with Rotguts elite infantry.
This ended very badly for them and Baligor was reduced to just having his fearful Goblin unit.
Amazingly, some great archery from them disorganised the remnants of Rotgut’s elites, and whilst they rallied themselves, 2 salvoes of bow for routed the Wolfriders who were now in charge range.
The Goblin’s then finished off the elite infantry by the tower, and the scene was set for the two archer units to slug it out. A one-sided exchange saw the Goblins fail their courage check, and then never successfully rally...
Overall an entertaining little game, and I’m looking forward to this Thursday for a larger game at the Harrogate Wargames club with John Savage and the gang there.
As you may have spotted there is a bit of a mix of figures in use here:
- Early Games Workshop (GW) metal,
- Late GW metal,
- GW plastic,
- Foundry, and
- Irregular Miniatures.