Author Topic: Greeks vs Orcs: Ticking Clock  (Read 16004 times)

Hannibal

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Greeks vs Orcs: Ticking Clock
« on: October 21, 2013, 04:18:43 PM »
We've felt comfortable enough with the Greeks as mercenaries that we're returning to testing out their army abilities and command cards.  Specifically, we're testing out the in-play effects of the tweaks to the army abilities.  Here's the changes we're currently testing out:

Quote
Lock Shields:  You may spend a Command Action to mark two Lock Shields boxes on your units.   During an attack, after your opponent rolls to hit, you may erase one box to change the result of one die to a 6 or erase both boxes to make your opponent reroll that set of dice.  Erasing both boxes counts as playing a Command Card.  You may not use this ability if a unit is engaged on the flank or rear.

Deep Ranks: After deployment, you may cross off 1 Green box on one of your Phalanx units to mark 1 Lock Shields box on another of your Phalanx units.  You may damage a unit once with Deep Ranks, but you may damage multiple units to mark multiple Lock Shields boxes.  Denote which the Lock Shields box was marked because of Deep Ranks.  During an attack, after your opponent rolls to wound, you may erase one box marked because of Deep Ranks to change the result of one die to a 6.  This counts as playing a Command Card.

Note:  units with the Lock Shields ability will have 2 Lock Shields boxes.

Testing this out, Scott opted for Orcs while I played Greeks.  The mission we drew was Ticking Clock with the Unexpected Encounter special situation.

Orcs:  2 Goblin Spearmen, 1 Goblin Raiders, 1 Orc Swordsmen, 2 Goblin Wolfriders, 1 Orc Crossbowmen, 2 Orc Axemen, 2 Command Cards.

Greeks:  1 Theban Hoplites, 2 Corinthian Hoplites, 1 Perioikoi, 1 Boeotian Cavalry, 2 Rhodian Slingers, 1 Sacred Band

Greek units for reference:

Theban Hoplites - Core - 254 pts
O:(7*)5*/5*  D:2/2  Rge:-  Cge: 12  Mv: 3.5"  6G/3Y/2R
Phalanx, Ponderous.

Corinthean Hoplites - Core – 295 pts
O:(7*)5*/5*  D:2/3  Rge:-  Cge: 12  Mv: 3.5"  6G/2Y/2R
Phalanx, Ponderous.

Perioikoi - Core - 274 pts
O:(7*)5*/5*  D:2/2  Rge:-  Cge: 13  Mv: 3.5"  6G/2Y/3R
Phalanx. Armies with Perioikoi must include include at least one Spartiate unit.  <--This rule will go away with the Sixth Draft.

Boeotian Cavalry – Standard - 198 pts
O:(4)5/5  D:2*/2  Rge: 3.5”  Cge: 12  Mv: 6"  3G/2Y/1R
Cavalry, Javelins.  No Lock Shields box.  D: +1/+0 when charging.

Thracian Warriors – Standard - 205 pts
O:(5)5/6  D:1*/2  Rge:-  Cge: 13  Mv: 5"  4G/2Y/2R
Impulsive (At the start of any turn Thracian Warriors are within 7" of an enemy unit's center point, its orders change to Close).  D:+1/+0 vs ranged attacks.  No Lock Shields box.

Rhodian Slingers – Elite - 77 pts
O:(3)5*/6*  D:1*/0  Rge: 7”  Cge: 11  Mv: 5"  2G/2Y/2R
Skirmisher.  No Lock Shields box.  D: +2/+0 vs ranged attacks.  O:(-0)-2/-3 if engaged.

Theban Sacred Band - Elite - 321 pts
O:(7*)5*/5*  D:3/2  Rge:-  Cge: 13  Mv: 3.5"  6G/2Y/3R
Phalanx, Ponderous.  If this unit marks a Green box for Deep Ranks, choose one Core unit with a marked Rank box.  That unit gains D:+1/+0 until it erases a Rank box. +1 Courage for the game.  (Another rules tweak that will show up in the Sixth Draft).


Deployment


Greeks (L->R):  Rhodian Slingers in front of Theban Hoplites in front of Thracian Warriors, Rhodian Slingers in front of Sacred Band, Perioikoi, Corinthian Hoplites, Corinthian Hoplites in front of Boeotian Cavalry.

Orcs (L->R):  Goblin Spear in front of (left facing) Wolf Riders, Goblin Spearmen in front of Goblin Raiders, Orc Crossbowmen, Orc Swordsmen, Orc Axemen, Orc Axemen in front of Wolf Riders.


When we were vetoing scenarios, I chose this one because I wanted to see how Greeks did when they had their CAs limited.  In retrospect it probably wasn't a good choice because it also meant I couldn't use Lock Shields as much as I wanted.  Worse, Scott's first unit was the Goblin Spearmen on the left, at which point I groaned.

See, my whole plan was to delay on the right and center while sweeping the left.  But when Scott put his Goblins there I knew his plan was to delay on the right and sweep on the left (i.e. the exact opposite of my plan).  Once we were done deploying, I saw that he had me outnumbered in terms of combat units, which meant that if I advance, my Perioikoi on the hill would eat a Two's Company.  If (when) they died, Scott would be free to lash his way down the hill and roll my line up.  With the Unexpected Encounter subplot, I wouldn't have the CAs to dance around to delay.

So I gave orders for my line to shuffle left, delaying the bad news on the right flank.  All the green dice are terrain markers--I forgot my dice and had to borrow some, leaving me with only one set to roll and serve as objectives; sorry for any confusion.   The one upside is that with the Special Situation, I could get maximum use out of Sound the Charge, meaning I could leave my phalanxes on the left on Hold.

The problem there was the mission was Ticking Clock:  each terrain objective was worth 200 pts as was having a unit in the enemy's DZ.  I was basically giving away at least 400 pts, and potentially 600 pts.  Right away, I was playing for the Draw.  Never a good sign.


Greek Two-Step


My line contracts to the left, with the Thracians on the rolling out from behind the Thebans.  The Rhodian Slingers move forward and take shots at the Goblins.  I actually put them into the Yellow and they fail their Disrupted check.

Also note something I didn't get in the first picture:  I used Deep Ranks on the Thebans to give the Perioikoi both a marked box and a +1 Cge.  I figured they'd either have to take a few turns of shooting from the Crossbowmen or eat a Two's Company.  (Neither came to be, and would have some game effects later).


Routing Units


On the Orc turn, the Goblin Spearmen on the left charge the Rhodian Slingers, who fall back and will rally.  I really wanted to let them keep going, but the Wolf Riders on the left were move capped at 5" and so technically weren't in final rush range, meaning my skirmishers had to rally.  I could have spent a CA, but I was still very short on them and would need them to DC the Corinthians (see below).

Meanwhile, the other unit of Rhodian Slingers manage to Rout the Disrupted unit of Goblin Spearmen.  Scott didn't see the value of rallying them and even let them rout through the Raiders behind them.

When the Crossbowmen moved up, the closest target they had was the Rhodian Slingers and they eventually did 2 wounds to the Slingers.  So that Deep Ranks for the Perioikoi to absorb the shooting?  Not needed at all.

On the right, I'm forced to DC my side-stepping Corinthians, because I'd expose my flank to the Wolf Riders who would be in range if they Lashed.  Man I forgot how fast those buggers moved!


Rhodians Destroyed


The Goblin Spearmen and the Orc Crossbowmen double flank charge the Rhodian Slingers, who fail their check and blow up.  Normally, this would result in the Orcs being horrible out of position, but by being so conservative to do my sideways shuffle, I couldn't take advantage of it.  Further, Scott wanted that flank to happen slowly, so having a turn where his units all have to reform was a good thing for him.

On the left, the Wolf Riders move up towards their date with the Thracians.  On the right, I've basically taken the other Wolf Riders out of the game.


Wolf Rider Whiff


On the left, the Wolf Riders slam into the Thracians.  The Wolf Riders whiff bad, only doing 3 damage on a D:1/2 unit (8 dice + impact + a command card).  The Thracians respond by putting them into the Yellow and they blow their check and are cut down.

In the center, a whole has opened in the Orc line and now the Perioikoi can pinch either the Orc Crossbowmen or the Orc Swordsmen.  I would charge the Corinthians in the center to pin down the Swordsmen, allowing me to flank them this turn.  I would also change the order of the Sacred Band to Close to put pressure on the Orc Crossbowmen.

On the right, the Orc Axemen final rush the Corinthians and the two units fail to do any real damage.  I have rolled the Boeotians out to protect the flank of the Corinthians.  They're facing a unit of Axemen and so are not long for this world, but the plan is for their sacrifice to get me the left and center.

At this point we're getting full CAs, but I'm having to expend them to keep my plan intact.  I spent 1 CA on the Boeotians, 1 on the Sacred band, and 2 on the Corinthians engaging the Orc Swordsmen.


Orc Right Hook


On the left, my Thracians flanked the Goblin Spearmen last turn and did 4 damage.  Unfortunately, they did one damage and forced me to take a check.  The Thracians failed and so I had to rally them this turn (running tally:  1 CA).

The Sacred Band went into the Crossbowmen, with the Orcs getting the upper hand.  The damage I took from the Deep Ranks had me taking the yellow check a turn earlier.

I lifted the move cap on the Perioikoi so they could flank the Orc Swordsmen (2 CAs).  The Orc Swordsmen passed their rout check thanks to Frenzy, allowing them to put the Corinthians into the Yellow before they blew up.

On the right, the Corinthians fighting Orc Axemen came out ahead, forcing a Yellow check while still in the Green.  I DC'd the Boeotians not to charge again (3 CAs) and they threw javelins to no effect at the Wolf Riders.


Playing the Scenario


Seeing how the Axemen would make quick work of the Boeotians, Scott gave the Wolf Riders a Hold (objective) to go nab the forest for the extra 200 pts.  Considering he had his Axemen in my DZ, that would be an extra 200 pts. 

Although the Axemen units were a bitter disappointment.  The ones on the right, despite charging, did only 2 damage.  The other ones, fighting the Corinthians, went into the Red and actually broke.  They were cut down by free attacks.  Scott had an I Kill You Meself, but he had only 1 box left.

On the left, the fight between the Crossbowmen and Sacred Band went better.  They also failed their rout check, but they had the hit boxes to absorb an IKYM.


Endgame


This was the end of the Orc's final turn.  On the right, the Axemen had routed the Boeotians (forgot to erase their order) and charged the Corinthians.  A good roll resulted in the Corinthians being destroyed outright, and I didn't even manage to put the Axemen into the Yellow.

In the center, my Perioikoi went up the hill to grab 200 pts.

On the left, the Sacred Band killed the Orc Crossbow, avoiding going into the red because I played a well timed Fumble.

That was 8 turns and we tallied the score. 
Orcs:  1246
Greeks:  1498
Ratio:  1.2:1 

A draw.  Basically because I ceded 200 pts by doing my contracted-line thing.  Of course, going at the Orcs is such a counter-factual situation that any number of things is possible.  I could have rolled the Orc line or I could have been tabled.

In the end, though I'm not happy with my play.  I should have been more aggressive from the outset.  I should have put the Rhodians on the hill to delay as long as possible and then have the left of my line go right at the Orcs.  I could have still side-stepped my right flank, even if it meant a couple of turns where I didn't draw cards.  As it was, I had a couple of turns where I spent all my CAs on maneuvering my units.  It may have resulted in a loss, but my plan had a draw as the best possible outcome.  My better-than-average dice and some pretty severe whiffs on his part meant that it was a "winning draw" for me (i.e. almost a 4-2 win), but my tactics were IMO not very good.


Greek Analysis:

What has me sad is that we didn't achieve our main objective:  testing out the Lock Shields.  The impressions we got from what little we could do were:

--Scott doesn't like the "1 CA, mark 2 boxes" thing.  He's not a fan at all of it and prefers the passive "reroll all hits that are 3s and 4s" thing.  I'm much less a fan of that because I don't like to break the flow of the dice roll like that.  We've decided to just play a couple of games this week, not stopping to take pictures (as that does slow us down), and see if its just the uniqueness of the ability that bugs him.

--This option is mighty powerful.  The intent of it is to be good, but there's a concern its too good.  Again, we're going to play a couple of games to see how good it is.  One thing is for sure, you do not need the option to reroll the whole set of dice.  The ability is quite good as is.


Other random thoughts we had:

--I am convinced the change on the Thebans (3 Yellow boxes) was definitely the way to go.  They have so much more value than they did before, just with that one little tweak.  Which is great, because before the Thebans were overshadowed by the Corinthians and the Athenians.

--Removing the "must have 1 Spartiate" from the Perioikoi is also a good thing.  Our rationale for removing it is that the names we have on units is just for flavor.  Not all Athenians were low skill, and the unit could in fact represent a levy Spartan unit (in fact the Spartans did equip some Helots as phalanxes).  You could have heavy Athenians (using the Corinthians stats) and so on.  The Perioikoi could represent a couple of things:  young Spartans who have not been blooded in combat and/or trained units from other city-states, that are professional warriors.

From a game play point of view, the Perioikoi gives the army a unit on the flank that can maneuver easily.  They also have Cge 13 and so make a great flank protector, but at the cost of 275 pts.  That's 70 pts more than Athenians, and both units are D:2/2 with 6 Green boxes and 2 Yellow boxes.

--The Deep Ranks ability is usually a good trade, but this was an example of where it wasn't.  The Perioikoi never got to use the ability and the Sacred Band really missed not having the 6th Green box.  I think that's good because it requires a little thought to use this ability correctly.