Sunday, 26 October 2014

Another game of War of the Ring

It's been a few weeks, but I finally managed to get another game of WotR. This is my third attempt, I have read through the rules a couple of times and gaming buddy Matt has played a few extra games. Between us, we just about know the basic mechanics now. The rules are pretty simple and well laid out, so it's a good mass battle system to play if you like to spend your time moving units and rolling dice rather than poring through a rules book. It could easily be adapted to historical games if you skip the magic and tone down the heroic abilities. These are the two areas I am now trying to get my head round.

Heroes are split into two types - the generic unit leaders like captains of Gondor, and the individuals such as Boromir, Lurtz, Gandalf et al. They give a unit of troops a bonus in combat and a little courage boost, ensuring they stick around in combat for longer. All heroes have might points which they can use to modify dice rolls at a crucial point. The lesser heroes typically have just one or two might points to spend in this way. Greater (or so called epic) heroes have variable numbers of might points to spend, for example Saruman has three, while Boromir has six. Epic heroes also have more special rules available to them, more actions they can perform and greater boosts they can make, often to multiple units rather than just the one they accompany. Getting the best out of them is probably one of the key parts of playing the game, but I am still at an early learning stage for this aspect of the game.

Magic is simpler, though this player seems to be taking an age to decide which spell to cast! Wizards have a mastery level, 1 to 3, which determines how many spells they can attempt to cast in a turn (at the end of the movement phase). They have access to all spells in their lore, and some know spells from two lores. The spell is cast automatically, a single dice is rolled to determine the effect, with a roll of 1 being no effect, 2-5 average, 6 better. Once the spell is resolved, the caster can then try another if his mastery level allows it. To do this he must maintain his focus by rolling greater or equal than the focus level of the spell previously cast. The spells are subtle rather than spectacular, giving courage boosts or penalties, small bonuses in combat, shooting or such like. I played as Saruman and had a couple of turns casting three spells, but killed only a handful of Gondorians, though I did manage to shatter the shields of one unit, which would have been handy if I could have followed it up with a charge into them. As with the heroes special abilities, I suspect that getting the best out of the magic is to properly synergise with the troops on the field. More practise required I think.

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