MINI WARGAMING: 28mm Fantasy Skirmish Using ARES!
Yesterday (30 January 2006) was a nice gaming get-together. Dick, Mark, Kurt and I got together to play fantasy skirmish game using the ARES rules set from MJ12 Games.
Mark has arranged a campaign in which a human empire has been trying to expand in an area full of hostile Ork and Dwarven kingdoms. all of the games are linked, which provides some continuity to add color to the games.
One of the first outings involved the great forge block of the dwarves, which had been kidnapped by the humans who were then ambushed by the dwarves trying to sneak the forge block back to the human castle / base of operations. In that action, Kurt played the dwarves and Dick and I split up the human force. The humans barely managed to hold onto the great forge block at great loss in forces including tha tragic slaying of the hero, Dax. Alas...
Yesterday, we found the humans beset by raiding forces again, this time a Ratling sorceror protected by Ork thugs and a few Ratling skirmishers. In a tough fight, the humans prevailed again, but at great cost. Luckily, the human's sole remaining ehro survived the skirmish... and just barely. He had one wound of five remaining! All of the Ratlings and Orks were butchered and cubed into feed for the local forest creatures! Poor Kurt has now lost two in a row.
The game mechanics for ARES are pretty good. It reminds me a lot of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay or Warhammer Fantasy Skirmish except... with a much less emphacised magic system. The close combat system uses opposed die rolls with different qualities of dice. Like most games, victory or loss is heavily dependent on rolling your dice well. ARES also uses playing cards for initiative, which works out very well. It's also a very quick-moving system. We have played ten and twelve-turn games ina bout a hour and a half a piece. Very smooth!
Here's a link to the makers of ARES:
A link to the Board Game Geek (BGG) link for ARES:
The next game in line for the campaign was a HOTT game in which the human castle is besieged by Ork forces on the rampage. It was alsoa tough scenario in which the humans had only 16 points versus the Ork's 24! Dick took command of the humans and Kurt faced off against him with the Orks. Mark and I watched and cheered for the sides. The map was a horrendus little river valley with the human stronghold securely located behind a river, which made it hard to assault, but also cut off a good portion of the human defenders from aiding the main portion of their forces in the center of the map.
It was a hard fought battle in which both sides lost multiple units, but it came down to a battle between the opposing generals in which the Ork warlord was slain by the leader of the humans! Hurray for my side!
Here's a BGG link to the HOTT rules:
Afterwards, Dick pulled out his copy of "Command and Colors: Ancients" and Mark and I replayed the battle of Cannae in which the Romans were crushed by Hannibal and the mighty Carthaginians. I was cast as the well, take a guess, Romans in the historically losing role and I did my part to reconfirm history.
We started out on what looked like an equal footing, but that was quickly changed when in the very first exchange, almost the entire Roman center of medium infantry was utterly crushed by some incredible die rolls by Mark using Carthaginian light infantry. It looked really bad at that point! I was ready to press the reset button at that point, but I stuck it out because the guys wanted to see what would happen. Well, I almost had turned it around and on the very last turn, the game could have gone either way although the Cathaginians pulled it out! Mazel Tov, Mark!
I really like "Command and Colors: Ancients" and will definitely play it again as it has a huge following in my neck of the woods. It plays much like a DBA or HOTT game without the ambiguity of rules that those games have due to the "Barker Fart" of a rules set they have, which while it works very well, reads like it was written using inspiration from Hong Kong electronics manufacturers!
A link to GMT's page on "Command and Colors: Ancients":
And the BGG page for "C&C:A":
Additionally, Mark has discussed wanting to play some sci-fi skirmish games using the new Alpha Forge game rules: "Star Mogul!"