Sunday, January 23, 2011

ARES Battle Report – Anger of the Heavens


Battle report for the scenario I set up yesterday.

Turn 1:  Both sides rush toward each other. Lorna races through the trees to skirt the skull in an effort to flank the Ral.

Turn one: closing to contact

Turn 2: As Lorna sprints around the back side of the skull, Logos spots her and charges with sword and axe in hand. Lorna parries his sword thrust, but Logos wounds her with a blow from his axe. Nyree climbs the hill, where Fjori presses to meet her. Fjori hits Nyree with a powerful blow wounding her severely, and she flees panicked back into the forest (rules note: after the game I realized this was an error on my part -- she should only have been shaken, not routed).  Kjell and Ilkhan square off in the center near the skull, each landing a single blow on the other.

Turn two: the fight begins

Turn 3:  Kjell attacks furiously with both blades, hitting Ilkhan twice. Ilkhan holds his ground and counterattacks, but Kjell parries the blow. Logos attacks Lorna once more with both weapons, dealing a cut with the sword and a blow from the butt of the axe haft that knocks Lorna unconscious. Fjiori charges down the hill and attacks Ilkhan from behind, leaving the Ral leader senseless and out of the fight.

Turn three: Kjell and Fjori gang up on Ilkhan

Turn 4: Logos launches himself at Fjori, but Fjori is extremely lucky and somehow manages to parry the sword and dodge the axe. Kjell attacks Logos and hits him in the back with both swords. At the same time, Fjori swings from the front and cuts Logos across the chest. The last Ral falls unconscious, pale from loss of blood.

After turn four: the victorious Valen take shelter from the storm


Kjell and Fjori bring Lorna back to consciousness and help her to her feet. The three Valen enter the opening at the back of the behemoth skull and into the relative shelter it provides, where they bandage Kjell's and Lorna's wounds.

Gradually Ilkhan and Logos regain consciousness, each crawling painfully away from the battlefield to spend the rest of the storm-wracked night lying in the mud beneath the trees.

Impressions: I really like the Ares rules. They worked as well as I hoped they would for a game with small numbers of highly individualized characters. I made up my own house rule that "kills" would be "unconscious" instead, simply because I'd like to re-use the characters for more than one fight. Other than that, I played the rules as written. The mechanics are intuitive and easy to pick up, and the whole game – even with me taking notes and photos as I went – took only one hour. Definitely a keeper. I think I may be set for rules for a while, using Song of Blades and Heroes for warband-sized skirmishes (8-12 models per side) and Ares for smaller ones like this fight.

3 comments:

  1. Hi!

    Thanks for the battle report! Its quite fast playing too which is a plus! How does it compare complexity wise with Song Of Blades as I am after a ruleset that allows me to play small scale skirmishes...

    All the best!

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  2. Hello!

    The Ares rules are a bit more complex than Song of Blades and Heroes, but not tremendously so. They are certainly longer (nearly 130 pages). However:
    1. everything from page 75 to the end consists only of army lists
    2. there's a chapter on War Machines (obviously unnecessary, for my small-scale purposes), the font is reasonably large
    3. about one quarter of every other column is taken up with a picture
    4. the real substance of the game (Initiative and Actions; Movement; Combat; Morale) runs about 15 pages

    The rules are an easy read, and most of the mechanics would be fairly intuitive to players with some experience with gaming in general -- they were for me at any rate. As a rule, if I can walk away from a first reading of a set of rules feeling like: "Okay, I could take a reasonable stab at playing the game right now without a second reading," I tend to be drawn toward them. I felt this way after my first reading of SBH, and I felt this way after my first reading of Ares. Still, Ares is not as simple as SBH. If I were introducing a newcomer to the hobby, SBH would definitely be my first choice. I should also point out that I've not used the magic rules yet, and have only glanced at them. They of course will add another layer of complexity, but again at my first glance, they did not appear unduly difficult.

    Thanks for reading!

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  3. Hi!

    Your battle report has inspired me to actually play a game of my own! Huzzah!

    Its not Ares but Song Of Blades but featured a couple of models a side. Alas I didn't get chance to take any pictures...

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