Sunday, February 13, 2011

Giving STEEL AND GLORY a Try

After watching a series of videos by NEUICON on youtube (video 1, video 2, video 3), I've decided to give Avalon Games' Steel and Glory a try.

 

The basic rules are fairly short (about 14 pages in a very reasonable font) and seem intuitive, with no unnecessarily "fiddly" elements as far as I can tell after a first reading. Characters have basic attributes of attack and defense, health and a few other numbers like speed, which determines initiative, and "adrenal," which determines the number and power of special abilities the character can use in the game. Special abilities can be attack and defense options, or other things like fast movement or leadership abilities, and each has a cost in adrenal points. Most characters are divided into factions (Barony, Undead, Barbarians, Elves, Orcs, Dwarves) though there are special "solo" monsters as well that can be bought by any faction.

 

The scenarios range from one-on-one fights to skirmishes with 40 points or 75 points worth of characters on a side. Since most characters are worth about 10-15 points, these would typically break down roughly to one-on-one, four-on-four and seven-on-seven skirmishes. The playing areas range from 6" x 12" to 12" x 18".

All of the above are very positive features of the game for me, as I like relative simplicity of mechanics coupled with individuality of characters, and I like games designed specifically with small numbers of figures and a small playing area in mind.

My only negative impressions are extremely minor nit-picks. First, the character cards have a small font that other forty-plus-year-olds like me may have trouble reading. I remedied this by copy-pasting details of characters I wanted to use into a Word document and made my own half-sheet-sized cards with a larger font – problem solved. Also, there is a consistent typographical error throughout the document (the word "than" appears as "then"), which is mildly distracting.  But, as I say, this is an extremely minor nit-pick, and does not at all impact the content.

Additionally on the plus side, the basic rules are available for FREE at RPGNow and some other places. They come with four character cards (two fantasy and two superhero characters) so you can give the game a try.  To get pdfs of other character cards, you need to buy one or more expansion sets (each no more than $5.99, some as low as $2.99) or make your own using the Advanced Rules (which also sell for $5.99) – the prices seem very reasonable IMO. Each of the expansion sets comes with the printable counters and terrain tiles for use with that set, or you can just as easily play with miniatures, as I plan to do.

I haven't yet had a chance to play with these yet, but after a first read I think they look very, very promising. I can't wait to get in a test game in the near future.

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