|The old dwarf army returns|
So old it's black and white!
In the first game I was teaching a complete newcomer the rules. As ever with Lion Rampant, they were very quickly picked up and the game rattled along at a fine pace. I gave each commander a single reroll per turn for a failed activation, to remove some of the randomness that can be frustrating and unbalancing. The game played well, swinging one way and then the other, until my opponent lost his general in a combat (he rolled the dreaded double 1). From this point it was much more one sided, as the Rohan forces under my command found it much easier to repel the leaderless orcs.
Using Lion Rampant to play with fantasy troops allows gamers to play with the minimum of fuss. It's quick and easy to map the troop types from the rulebook on to your fantasy forces, the game moves at a fast pace and there's little need to refer to the book. On the downside, the limited troop types can lead to forces feeling a bit samey, which is not necessarily a bad thing, it just seems to lack a certain something. It does not (by design) have the same level of detail that WHFB had, so when my dwarf slayers ran from the board after suffering a couple of spear wounds, it felt wrong. Similarly, when bestigors clashed with ironbreakers, and both sides were using the same profile, it felt a little flat. There are extra layers in the WHFB rules that are missing from Lion Rampant, which is not a good or a bad thing, it's just a thing that needs to be borne in mind.
preview material on the author's blog, it sounds like Lion Rampant with extra rules for flyers, monsters, undead and a very basic magic system. From what I can gather it allows more troop upgrades (and downgrades), so I will certainly be giving it a whirl at some point. I don't expect it to provide rules and troop differentiation to the same degree that WHFB did - the game is not designed to be that way. I may well have a tinker at some point to produce something a little more akin to the old game, HammerRampant or some such. I have also discovered a fantasy mod for the Saga game, but that's a story that requires more investigation on my part. Fantasy gaming is alive and well, just different to days of old.