Visiting Gharak, our aim this weekend was to get a few playtests of our work in progress ruleset, under the working title 'Aegeus'. As previously mentioned, we're designing a heroic skirmish game in a world heavily inspired by a Greek Mythology. Over the past few months we've bandied quite a few ideas around and felt we'd worked up a viable and fun ruleset.
I won't go into all the detail (that's for Gharak), but the core concepts are:
-Randomly-drawn command tokens to activate units
-Alternating activation of units/heroes
-Special D6 to determine combat hits, followed by a 2D6 vs armour
-Scope to handle everything from hoplites and skirmishers to legendary heroes and a menangerie of mythological beasts, with five factions currently drafted.
-Core rules capable of both skirmish clashes between warbands and Heroic scenarios like Theseus and the Minotaur.
I've started with Minoans, but to my shame, I only managed the paint one single batch of archers, and even they aren't quite finished. Gharak had his Athenians all nicely painted, and very spiffing they looked too. Minoans are designed to be lightly armoured, fast and pull lots of tricks, but weaker in combat. Except of course the Minotaur! Athenians are more about discipline, solid combat characteristics and powerful allies like centaurs.
Game 1 - Minoans vs Athenians
The Minotaur threatens some centaurs, while Minoan archers on the left force the Athenian hoplites back.
You can see the custom dice on the table, made from blank dice. The bronze-coloured tokens are the orders assigned to each unit, with options including move, attack, move and attack, rally, defensive stance and so on. Each race will have a slightly different pool of order tokens, with Minoans having more movement options, for example.
Game 1 - Much later
The wounded Minotaur's rampage continues, he sees off the Athenian infantry on the top right. Meanwhile, a Athenian hero threatens my archers.
Game 2 - Final turn
For the second test game, we added a 'heroic challenge' action, where heroes are able to call each other out in single combat. This is the only combat which is resolved by face-to-face rolls, with a gambling element where on side can opt to bow out after the first (to great shame and VP loss) or could maintain the challenge but risk further wounds. Risky, but I found this 'mini-game' added drama to heroic combat which was fitting for the heroic era we're trying to evoke. Here, the Minoan commander takes a hammering and falls...
I'm happy to report that after four games, we feel it works really well, though we're tweaking things as we go. The command system has a nice mix of randomness and tactical depth and the combat system works nicely. Of course, we would say that, given we've designed exactly the game we both want to play. it remains to be seen if anyone else agrees with us!
Next up, more playtesting, including a very different scenario...