Thursday, April 1

Twilight Wargame

Twilight was fun. I played three games of a scenario, it is very fast with nice story-style scenario's. You have to fight very well to keep certain things alive when you know you are going to lose the play if one of your beasts or captains dies.

This sort of precise play paired with a scenario which is not just designed to service a competition is great. The scenarios are actual story type settings and not just your average attrition style "hold a square of ground".

That part of it is refreshing in the sense that the balance of the game hinges on a couple of key units that might fail and if they do it is all over, rather than slogging it out for no reason. I think this is an accurate representation of battle because often the tide of battle would change and a force would break or find a way to exit rapidly.  It works for me in making a game quick and fun but at times felt a little random and perhaps convoluted for the actual result achieved by casting stones.

The only thing I find tricky with the game is the stone casting, perhaps it is a bit random or just unusual. I can't work it out but I found myself surrounding a bad guy with 8 figures and it was nearly impossible to bring it down, there are no "sure things" in the game i.e. even when you think you have the balance of power in a fight it will turn against you.

The game is based on turns that are based on an initiative decided when you pull either a black or white glass stone from randomly from a black bag. This determines turn sequence so a round can last a long time as you pick through about a dozen glass stones. Two orange stones represent the combat turn and are when the fights finally kick off. Players activate a single unit when their stone is pulled form the bag. Some units allow "Pack" or commander style moves so multiple units in a group can move at once.

You can also move certain units by burning stamina which elite troops have. Stamia is limited and on the toughest creatures is set about about 5. Using it is like the careful planning needed in a warmachine game with focus accept Stamina is more precious because it only restores at the rate of 1/turn.  The elites have various uses for Stamina like moving an extra 5inches, leaping over troops and various methods of affecting combat but allowing re-rolling etc.

The fun part is the casting of stones in combat. The starter game comes with a handy set of metal casting stones which are either attack or defence (a tiny symbol on the stone tells you which it is - you may need to wear glassess to see them).  The reverse of the small stone is blank.   You simply check your troop or elite units combat statistic and then choose how many of the attack and how many defence stones to cast.  The result represents your defence and attack number against your opponent who has also selected his own set appropriately and you both cast them at the same time in the combat.  A very tough elite might cast 5 or 6 against a normal trooper with only 2.    It is not always a guaranteed win though, because even if you get more attack stones against your opponent they then make a toughness dice roll which could save them from death.  There are no hit points - if you get a hit through and fail the toughness your model is dead.

Casting the stones against each other is a great way of representing your fighting stance, you could push the attack by casting just attack stones but that would leave you open to a hit when you match your stones against the enemies.  Giving a skirmish game this option is unique I think, I can't remember playing a game which allows a single model the chance to choose if it fights defensively or adds more attack stones in.

The only way to really understand the stone casting and initiative style is to play the game. It really is quick and fun. Basically a quirky light game with some fantastic models and a great style of play which plays differently every game.

In summary:
Positive: Nice scenarios, fast play, interesting quirky stone throwing and wicked looking funky lizard creatures that remind me of the 60's comic artist Vaughn Bode "Cheech Lizards". A cool lite game to play quickly. Stamina is an excellent design which allows you to burn through a violent run and attack but leaves you weak while you slowly recover 1 stamina per turn.
Negative: Stone casting can feel a little random and not always effective at making you beat the enemy even when you throw it all in, especially when tough saves are 4+ on the harder creatures.

Here's a brief run-down of the World of Twilight forces and
information on each one;


The Buzzwords
Eclectic, diverse, tactical, imperial, flexible, eccentric

The Fluff
The Fubarnii are around four feet tall, with hooves, nimble fingers
and intellgent, enquiring minds. The Fubarnii Empire is the main realm
that covers most of the continent of Anyaral. Split into clans ruled
over by an Emperor, they are primarily nocturnal and live in part-
overground, part-underground cities and towns. Their technology is
created by maniacal and eccentric engineers, with traders, herders,
artisans, farmers, and militiamen all being a common feature of life.
This lifestyle is guarded by the Emperor's Knights, who ride across
the Empire to garrisons inthe major cities; from here they join with
local militias to fight back Delgon intrusions or Devanu raiders.

The Tactics
The Fubarnii have a very diverse force with a wide range of tactics
open to them. Their shooting troops such as herders are quite good and
have excellent range, their knights are a good medium to heavy cavalry
force, and their militia form a solid core of weak but useful fighters
who under the leadership of their captains can attack even very strong

The Buzzwords
Mechanised, fanatical, disciplined, devout, horde, powerful, ordered

The Fluff
The Delgon are a small realm primarily occupied by Fubarnii, to the
north of the Empire. In these cold mountains their priests give orders
to a disciplined and religious populace, creating large numbers of
mechanised, deadly weapons such as the derak blunderbuss - copied from
the Fubarnii Empire and now used to great effect against them. Their
religion is the worship of the Enarii - or star gods - much the same
as in the Empire. However, the Delgon doctrine has a rather different
slant; the realm is ruled by huge, powerful and intelligent creatures
known as the Belog, who claim (rightly or wrongly) to be the Enarii
themselves. This leads to the comforting doctrine of being able to
call on the gods for help and ACTUALLY get an answer; if the require
total obedience for the service, so what?

The Tactics
The Delgon have a solid infantry base with short-ranged Derakeers
making the army very dangerous at close quarters. They are controlled
in large, close-packed blocks by their priests, meaning that they are
more reliant on a single solid command block than the Fubarnii (whose
captains have more flexibility). Despite their more close-packed,
static approach their infantry are very solid troops and they also
have some good "hitters", including the deadly mechanically-powered
Striders and the immense power of their Gods, the Belog.


The Buzzwords
Hunters, savage, deadly, fast, intelligent, opportunistic

The Fluff
The Devanu were once masters of Anyaral. Living in small families,
they ruled clans of Fubarnii from high towers that overlooked the
land. Much larger than a Fubarnii, they hunted animals and subjects
alike, and the Fubarnii fashioned weapons for them. Eventually the
Fubarnii rebelled under the first emperor Dimor, and the Devanu have
since been reduced to a shadow of what they once were, hunting as
savages on the outskirts of their former domain. This does not of
course mean that they are brutes or unintelligent; deadly hunters
easily capable of crushing the feeble Fubarnii, they roam around with
pack of hunting animals killing whatever they can find. And if they
find one of the their former slaves, well...

The Tactics
The Devanu rely on a few large and powerful models backed up by savage
hunting beasts such as the beaked Grishak. Fluid and swift in their
methods of killing, they possess a lot of power and speed compared to
the other forces. However, with so few models it takes very few deaths
to be worth a lot of damage. That said, an incredably impressive range
of combat abilities and bonuses mean that killing a Devanu is a
challenge few opponents are going to take lightly, let alone a pack of
them working in deadly order.

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