Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Open Combat on the table

My search for THE skirmish level set of rules has taken me to a lot of corners of our hobby. The latest find was the new Open Combat from Second Thunder. I am not really sure what drew me to this set of rules besides the fact that I am searching for something that can offeset the stalemate situations that I have experienced so often with Songs of Blade and Heroes. 

And while I love the engine in SoBH a lot of the games ended in a group in the middle with the winner often being the one that could pile the most miniatures into the fray.  This is not entirely the rules fault as many of the situations might have been avoided or dimmed down had the scenarios helped out. Alas... I am still looking for a set of rules that in it self doesn't get bogged down in the meele part and I decided to test out Open Combat. It only about 2 months old at the time of this posting so there aren't that much information to be found around the net yet as to how the game actually plays. Carl, the author posted up a 7 minute video today that explains how it works. Something I didn't have at the time of purchase.

See the video here :

The rules are very nicely presented with excellent pictures, easy readable rules and the system is quite simple to learn. I won't go into details about how the rules work here, but rather describe what happened during our test game this saturday.

I had prepared my warband from home, but my friend borrowed the rule book and statted up his warband just before the game started. Neither of us looked towards balance and even while some of his stats were way above my own, the system evened it out so that it was still playable. Good thing!!

We had two major fights and where as most AAR shots from SoBH games would show the same picture turn after turn, we had a lot of movement here. It was obvious that Tiny and Reiner were a force to be reckoned with in the center as they kept pushing me back. Some of it came from Reiners two handed weapon and his furious attack that pushed all three enemies away from him at times. 

On the right flank my leader Krass pushed Reiners Goreboys back with the help of a construct. And where the underdogs succeeded in defeating Reiner in the center, his Goreboys weren't as lucky. 

It was a very enjoyable game and we would have tried to more games on sunday had the convention not closed down on us. 

The rules for both ranged and meelee are so close that with just a few combat situations you will have them in your head and can concentrate on the gaming. 

The only real downside to the game is that you have to keep track of wounds to both body and mind in order to see if your warband reaches it breakpoint. Some paper tally would probably come in handy here. 

Currently there are no expansions etc, but both fantasy stuff, solo play and other things is on the drawing board. 

This has definately not been the last time I have played these rules, they are well worth the £10. 

The Gimp deployed in front of my left flank Undead Construct

The Gimp qucikly dispatched while things are getting up close and personal in the middle and on the right flank.

My leader Krass Omenthrall engages two Gore Boys with another Undead construct in support. Reiner Bloodgore is advancing on his own in the center.

My last Undead construct begins to engage the troll "Tiny" while my Priest Deckard stays in the back watching Reiners advance.

Combat in progress. Reiner has no problem fighting both Deckard and the Undead Construct. Tiny interferes from time to time and forces back the enemy where Reiner wanted them close.

Three Goreboys attacking Krass and the undead construct. Where Reiner pushes his foes back in the center, Krass does the same here. Even being attacked from the front and back doesn't stop him.

One Goreboy down, two more to go. 

Even with Tinys help Reiner ends up getting caught between Deckard and a construct. The attacks from both sides pushes him back and fore into the deadly blades. As he falls mortally wounded to the ground the rest of his warband losses their fighting heart and flees the battlefield.