Our newest TMP staff member, Editor Julia, has been quite fired up to learn everything she can about miniature wargaming. The challenge, in her case, is that she really has no practical gaming experience – not boardgames, not Risk!, not even Chutes and Ladders. All she's played is poker and some digital games.
Several TMP advertisers have been kind enough to volunteer digital versions of their rules for Julia's use. The one she read first was Rebel Minis' Mighty Armies. Her reaction:
It is not what I'm used to playing, but I want to learn it. I find it hard to understand how to play the game, especially magic and movement. No matter how many times I read it, I still find it hard to understand. Maybe you can teach me to play it?
Teach Julia? I'm here in the U.S., she's in the Philippines, and while I plan to ship her some minis, she doesn't have them yet. And I can't afford to fly there...
Yet we work everyday over a videochat link... so we decided to give that a try, for gaming demo purposes.
So it came to pass that on a slow Hobby News day, I threw some terrain down on a dining room table and propped up my laptop to take pictures. Julia came back from a break at 1PM (1AM, her time), and said she had two hours available. I told her we probably wouldn't finish an entire game, but we could get a few turns in...
We used 1st edition rules, as I haven't learned the differences yet with 2nd edition.
The terrain consisted of four gameboards I randomly grabbed - two plain boards, a river-source board, and a forest board (whoops - just ignore the dark green flocking, that's where trees would normally go, but we counted it as plain terrain).
To save time, I pre-selected the armies and deployed them. Both armies were small (only nine bases each).
The Dwarves were constricted due to the river, so were formed in two groups: a battle line of warriors, and a column of rangers led by the Dwarf King. The rangers were placed ahead of the battle line, taking advantage of their special rules.
The Orc force formed a long line on the far side of the table. They wouldn't all fit into one group (maximum of six bases per group), so I put all the actual Orcs in one battle line, and the Goblins in another group on the far right flank (since they move faster).
I decided Julia would command the Dwarves, as I thought that would be easier for a newbie - they had fewer troop types in their army, and being hemmed in by the river, probably wouldn't need to do any complicated maneuvering.
Turn One - Dwarves
Julia may not know games, but she does know dice! She doesn't own any dice, so I picked out a set of metal dice for myself, and some official Mighty Armies dice to roll for her. Oh, no! She accused me of cheating, and said we had to use similar dice! (So she chose the silver die, and I had the gold die.)
So I rolled the dice to see who won initiative. Oh, no! Apparently, I'm cheating again! Julia lectured me on how to roll dice properly, not just palming them and flipping them over. OK...
Julia's Dwarves won the initiative, then rolled a six for movement points. She spent two points to move her crossbowmen (right and left flank) forward, and another point to advance two of her Dwarf Warriors forward.
Turn One - Orcs
I rolled a three for movement, but it was enough to advance all of my troops (one large and one regular group) forward.
Turn Two - Orcs
Rolling for initiative, the Orcs won – which meant they would get two moves in a row!
I only rolled a three for movement (again). I used two points to move the main battleline forward, and the third point to move the Goblin Wolf Riders up the flank.
In the shooting phase, my Orc Archers were now in range of the Dwarf Crossbows! Unfortunately, Orcs have poor shooting ability and Dwarves have armor... I needed to roll a six to hit. I failed...
Turn Two - Dwarves
Julia rolled up four movement points. She spent two points to advance the lagging Dwarf Warriors, forming a continuous battleline again.
She then advanced the column of Dwarves on her right flank...
...which made contact with the end of the Orc battleline, so the lead Dwarf Ranger unit had to turn to face the Orc flank (and we figured the other Dwarves in the column also had to turn).
Now it was time to resolve the close combat. The Dwarves were 4 to attack, +1 for a supporting unit (only one counted), +1 for charging. The Orcs were only archers (2 to defend), +1 for a supporting unit, -1 for being flanked. Julia rolled a six; I rolled a two. That meant the Dwarves were 4 + 1 + 1 + 6 = 12 versus the Orcs at 2 + 1 - 1 + 2 = 4. Since the Dwarves had double the score, it was a massacre, and Julia rolled again to see how many Orc units were eliminated. She rolled a six!
That eliminated the entire Orc battleline, and killed enough units to immediately win the game.
It was a great game! When I was just looking at the pictures of those who were playing, I was thinking 'it's a boring game'. When I played the game, it was fun. In every move there is some excitement, and also during the moves of the opponent. (Of my opponent, Editor in Chief Bill , whom I defeated!) I am still learning the rules. It's a fun game to play, especially if you are winning. See you, Bill, on our next match!
– Editor Julia