Saturday, 16 January 2016

Dragon Rampant First Few Games

I managed to get a couple of gaming sessions in the last few days. I was keen to try out Dragon Rampant with the newly painted chaos warriors. Having played Lion Rampant in the past, the rules were a breeze - the two games are practically identical. There's a few more troop categories and upgrades in the fantasy rulebook - to represent beasts, magic, undead and such like - but the base mechanics are unchanged.

My first game was a home match, the diminutive dining room table just about big enough for a standard 24 point game. The chaos warriors faced off against Bretonnians, with both armies containing just four units each. We warmed up with a straight up pitched battle type affair, then rolled up a scenario for a second game. Just like Lion Rampant the games run easily, there's virtually no rules checking involved, just the occasional glance at the profiles - I still think the last page of the book should contain a summary of all the profiles rather than the frankly useless blank profile chart. The Bretonnians brought along a spellcaster but it seemed to have little effect. All in all, a decent enough debut for the ruleset.

The next session was round at the more spacious gaming dungeon, the chaos warriors facing an all mounted Empire force. As we had more space with the standard 6 x 4 table, we upped to 32 points each - each force now contained five units, which gives a better game I feel. Two more scenarios offered a little more flavour and again we whipped through with little need to reference the rulebook.

Two sessions, four games, the rules are easy to pick up and genuinely fast play (every rule set claims to be fast play these days, with varying degrees of veracity). I can understand why the system is popular with the more casual gamer and at wargaming shows - they are ideal for this kind of audience. For myself, I wonder about the longevity of the system. With about a dozen profiles designed to cover the multiplicity of troop types in fantasy gaming, there's lots of duplication involved. A Blood Beast Daemon of Khorne has the same profile as a griffon. A unit of ogres has the same profile as a unit of marauders. Chaos knights are the same as Empire cavalry. For a rich and varied background like the Warhammer Olde Worlde, I am unsure they are suitable. For low fantasy gaming, like Lord of the Rings, they are probably better suited. This is not so much a criticism as an observation - the rules are simple to learn, quick to play, highly abstracted - beer and pretzels style gaming.

7 comments:

Gordon Richards said...

Great stuff! Like you I've played several games of Lion Rampant but shall be playing my first game of Dragon Rampant tomorrow. Love the rules...their simplicity and flexibility!

John Lambshead said...

Good review. Have yet to play Dragon Rampant.

Minijunkie said...

Did you try Age of Sigmar? Those rules are pretty heavily criticized for being too simple, I'm curious how these compare...also, could a person use round-based models? I'm definitely intrigued by this rule set and considering picking up the epub.

Old Fogey said...

AOS is similar on the surface, but different in many ways. There are no activation rolls, everything moves, so it's far more certain. And while the main rules have been slimmed down, each unit has a boat load of special rules - it's simple but onerous at the same time. It was not for me. Saga is probably my preferred ruleset for this style of game. Simple to learn rules but with lots of tactical thinking involved. That would be my recommendation for skirmish gaming, there is a fantasy mod that I have tried a couple of times on the blog.

Minijunkie said...

Cool. I picked up the DR rules for Kindle and it's an easy and enjoyable read. I like the sound of it so far. I'm still unclear if I could use AoS units in it (round bases, not ranked up etc)...

You seem kinda underwhelmed from your posts though? I googled Saga - dioes IT support larger monsters, spells etc?

David Stafford said...

Food for thought there. I'm intrigued by Dragon Rampant because of the ease of the rules. The lack of more customisation for creating profiles does concern me a little, but I think I'll still give the game a whirl.

Old Fogey said...

There are no basing restrictions in Dragon Rampant - square, round, hex, whatever you fancy. Saga is a little different in that it can make a difference in game - it's designed with 25mm rounds in mind I believe, though we regularly play with squares and oblongs.

Both systems allow some customisation. I really need a new post to cover this in more detail....watch this space.....

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