Author Topic: Vlachold vs Hawkshold: Stand & Shoot  (Read 5503 times)

Hannibal

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Vlachold vs Hawkshold: Stand & Shoot
« on: September 30, 2014, 12:12:21 PM »
A concern we've had is about Vlachold having Crossbowmen as Core units, and their associated cost.  So one of the last things we wanted to look at was what happened if you spammed them. 

With that in mind, we set up a fight vs Hawkshold on an open map.  We decided not to play an specific mission, but rather play the game and take note of how the match went if we were playing Ticking Clock, Breaking Point, and Total Warfare.  Scott took Vlachold, while I played Hawkshold.  Since I knew what Scott would be taking, I had an advantage and could design my army.  To prevent that, I took my all-purpose Hawkshold list.

Hawkshold:  1 Militia, 1 Peasant Mob, 2 Spearmen, 2 Swordsmen, 2 Greatswordsmen, 1 Knights.

Vlachold:  7 Voynik Crossbowmen, 1 Voivoide Knights


Deployment


Vlachold (L->R):  Xbow (in front of Voivoide Knights), Xbow, Xbow, Xbow, Xbow, Xbow, Xbow1 

Hawkshold (L->R):  Peasants (in front of Spearmen), Greatswords, Swordsmen, Swordsmen, Greatswords, Spearmen, Militia, Knights

Scott gave objectives to his Voivoide Knights on the left and the Crossbowmen on the right.  Other than that, he concentrated fire on my Swordsmen in the center and my Spearmen on the right.  I gave units a Close (the Knights getting an objective) for all but the Spearmen and Peasants on the left, who got Hold with objectives.

1 Some of the cards say "Swordsmen" but that's because we didn't have enough Crossbowmen proxies.  Other than the shooting, Crossbowmen have the same stats as Swordsmen.


Advance


This is two turns in and Scott's dice are red hot.  In the center, he's done 5 damage from two turns of long range shooting, almost twice what he should.  On the left, he's done 3 damage (which is what he should do).  I pass my checks, but this is not a good omen.


Devil's Choice


A turn later and the Crossbow shooting continues to be hot.  9 dice results in 4 damage on the Swordsmen in the center.  On the right, the Spearmen take the 2 damage that they statistically should, but now I'm worried.  If I charge in with my Knights, I'll end up getting pinched, but if I don't I'm afraid my Spearmen will be destroyed.


Knights Destroyed


I opt to absorb the pinch, figuring that delaying will just get me pinched anyway.  The Knights do 5 damage, but the Crossbowmen hold thanks to Fatalism.  On the Vlachold turn, the Crossbowmen pinch the Knights and the two Vlachold units do 6 damage despite me playing Mettle and Hardened.  Scott's rolling continues to be hot.

Also, my rolling sucked.  Despite having Bravery on the Knights, I actually blew the pinch check!  We opted to cheat and say they passed (because otherwise this game would be completely worthless), but lost the Bravery.

The remaining Crossboman unit targeting the Spearmen on the right manage to do 2 damage with 3 dice (more than double what they should)!  In the center, the Crossbowmen wipe out the Swordsmen unit from shooting.


Desperate Times


In the center, I DC the Swordsmen unit to fill that gap and absorb shooting from the Crossbowmen.  If I can soak up fire long enough for the Greatswords to get in, I think I'll be okay.  On the right, the Militia and Spearmen pinch the one unit of Crossbowmen, doing only 4 points of damage.  Scott had marshaled his best cards and could neutralize mine.  My best hope was to break him with the Pinch check, but that didn't happen.


Endgame


This is two turns later, where I threw in the towel.  On my turn, both Greatswords units charged.  The one of the left completely whiffed, only doing 2 pts despite 7 dice and a card.  The Greatswordsmen on the right eventually broke the Crossbowmen, but they were surrounded.  In the center, the two Crossbowmen had charged my Swordsmen and were going to overcome them with sheer numbers.  On the right, the Militia had been pinched and the battered Spearmen were destroyed as well.  So whichever way I went, left or right, I'd be facing a rear charge eventually. 

We actually played it out a turn but I forgot to take a picture.  I ended up going right, hoping my Swordsmen in the center could hold.  The Greatswordsmen promptly whiffed on their attacks.  And then the Swordsmen in the center didn't hold, and both my Greatswordsmen units got pinched.

And the Voivoide Knights had never even entered the battle . . .


Post Game Thoughts:  I almost didn't put this up, because Scott's hot rolling (and my poor rolling at clutch times) really skewed the outcome.  I mean, at long range, Crossbowmen should get 1 pt every other turn (3 dice at 2s & 3s).  Scott was getting an average of 1 pt a turn at long range and 1-2pts at short range.  Per Crossbowmen.  The only question that answer is "who wins when one guy has loaded dice?"

The other thing is that my tactics could've been better.  My deployment wasn't great and I misused the Knights.  That's my mistake, because we both had a "going through the motions" attitude for this report, because on deployment we felt this was just a "math-fest" of a game.  But in truth, when it comes to a stand and shoot, it's only a math-fest for the shooty player.  The other guy has to really think about deployment and how things are going to hit. 

For example, my Knights should've gone behind the line and been ready to plug the gap that opened when one of my units was destroyed from the shooting.  That would put my Knights in the center, with lots of targets when they broke through, and also would've allowed my Swordsmen to get into the fight rather than just stand there at get beaten.  The strength of Vlachold is that they can prevent a breakthrough in any one place at any given time.  So the key to beating them is to make them take tests everywhere, something that is relatively easy to do for a 3-Green-Box-faction.

Afterwards, we talked and examined how we statted up the costs of these guys.  We also did a quick & dirty run-through of this matchup again, where we averaged the damage the shooting would inflict but also had the Hawkshold player play better than I did.  In that circumstance, we ended up with a close-fought victory for Hawkshold.

At the moment we think its balanced, but we have concerns about whether its unfun.  Although this game was a blowout because of hot dice, swingyness can happen.  And while you can have swingy dice with two close & hose armies, when you have swingy dice from shooting the effect is that the game is over before you even get to grips with the enemy.  Which a lot of people feel is less fun.  The flip side, is that other armies (for example, Orcs & Dwarves) can build shooty lists around crossbowmen and people haven't be screaming about how terrible they are.

All of which leaves us with the decision to kick the can down the road.  We're going to table the issue for now, ask some people to playtest a few games, and then return to it before these guys go to print.  We feel there plenty of time for that.

gull2112

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Re: Vlachold vs Hawkshold: Stand & Shoot
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 06:45:31 PM »
I have played a few games lately where I was "trying something." and haven't posted them because of wonky non-standard effects, like die rolls. That being said, what your test did show was that taking a bunch of Xbows is not a sure path to defeat. I think that is an even greater surprise. 3HD is something I've always sniffed at.

Nice write up!
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