Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Tweaking Lion Rampant Again

Over the weekend I played a little game of Lion Rampant with my son (his Father's Day gift to me, along with a cooked breakfast and an amusing card!). I set up a game in Middle Earth, pitching Rohan against invading orcs. My good forces are not huge, I have just 24 infantry and 8 cavalry available. Lion Rampant units are generally 12 infantry and 6 cavalry, so it could have been a very short game with just 3 units. I suppose I could have played half strength units, but instead I decided to tweak the unit sizes to two thirds. Now I had 2 units of four cavalry and 3 units of eight infantry, perfect for a small battle.

I also tweaked the mechanics a little, reducing the dice rolled from the usual 12 per unit to just 8 per unit (two thirds of course). This would mean less hits per combat, but with smaller units I was hoping it would even out. There were no units with an armour value of 4 so I figured it should all work out.

The game rattled along at a fine pace - the orcs stormed into the village and burnt down two of the three objectives, but then were unable to push back a shiltron defending the final prize. Arrow casualties and cavalry charges whittled away the orc numbers and a final desperate challenge by the Rohirrim saw the orc commander face down in the dirt. I didn't take any photos so a stock art picture will have to suffice.

The tweaks worked a treat. The combats and courage tests seemed to play out as they would in a typical full size game. The game mechanics were picked up quickly and we were able to concentrate on the action, not the rules. We did notice that the profiles in the standard game are possibly not well suited to a fantasy environment. With the exception of fierce foot, infantry are better in defence, which is not really what orcs are about. My son reckoned that it's far more random than other games he has played, which is a fair comment. We also noted the lack of differentiation between the two factions, something that Saga battleboards do better. The abstraction of Lion Rampant, while it certainly makes gameplay very fast and simple, comes with the price of all factions resembling each other. If we were to play again, I would make further tweaks to the profiles, to allow more aggresive infantry for the orcs. A really interesting experiment would be to pitch a modified Lion Rampant against home-brewed Saga battleboards, the battle of the tweaks!


captain arjun said...

The fantasy version of Lion Rampant is due to be released in December. :)

Robert Singers said...

Hi my thoughts on Orcs and vanilla Lion Rampant is
Urak hai – Foot Men-at-Arms
(Soldier) Orcs – Foot Serjeants
Goblins - Foot Yeoman
Warg Riders - Mounted Yeoman
Moria Goblins - Serfs
Moria Goblin Archers - Bidowers

However I would want to tweak the courage to make them more cowardly.

nobby said...

I've played with half size units and am now moving towards two thirds as I paint more figures. I hadn't thought of reducing the dice so thanks for that. I'd be very interested to hear about the Saga battle boards experiment.

Old Fogey said...

Thanks for all the comments.

The main problem is that Lion Rampant makes infantry better in defence than attack. It's better to stand and receive the charge than to rush in. You can buy the expert upgrade to alleviate it somewhat, but it still does not really allow you to play an aggresive infantry force. In fact, I have noticed this in our "historical" games, that players prefer to hold back with infantry (other than men at arms). I really like the game for many reasons, but this is one of the problems it has, in my mind at least. It's the price we pay for the simplicity of the game.

Ubique Matt said...

Nice alternative options, I've never thought about using two third size units. Is it ok for me to post a link to this on the Dux Rampant forum?

Old Fogey said...

Of course, yes, talk is good. I might register myself, throw in a few ideas. :)

Ubique Matt said...

Thanks. Please do, the more the merrier! The author Dan quite often drops by to answer questions and provide variations and updates on other forthcoming rules he is working on.


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