Hola friends and fam! Now that we’ve ran through the main rules and gameplay of The Drowned Earth Beta 1.0 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) let’s dive into crew creation today and look at the stats for the two playtest crews I’ll be using. Up on the site they’ve got some cut outs if you want to be official but any proxy models will do for now, 30mm and 40mm base sizes. The game will eventually have both a skirmish mode and a campaign mode, the Skirmish bit is being fleshed out and perfected first so that’s what we’ll be focusing on for the playtest.
In the skirmish mode forces are selected before play this allows you to see the scenario being used and to know which faction your opponent is bringing. To keep things balanced and such TDE uses a point value system. Games are normally played at 150 points on 3×3 board or 200 points on a 4×4. It’s recommended to start with just 100 or even a Leader and two characters for learning games.
When constructing a crew there are three model types Characters who are unique and represent the big personalities in the narrative the heroes and the villains. Then there are Troops who are your rank and file folk who haven’t quite distinguished themselves in their respective factions. Then we’ve got Beasts who have questionable loyalty but their fierceness keeps other factions training them for certain roles. As far as restrictions when building a crew all models must be part of the same faction. Unique characters can only be included once in each list. Some will have mounts so you could choose to field the mounted version or the on foot, not both. Percentages are used (Warhammer Fantasy Battle-esque) to determine how much of each type can be included in the crew.
Each crew must have one and only one Leader model. After that 50% of the crew must be Characters. No more than 25% may be Beasts. When hiring Troop type models you’ve got to already have one model in the crew with the skill Order(X) where X is the Troop type you’re trying to hire. For every two troops taken of type X you may take one Heavy Troop. The last restriction on the list is only taking one model with the Order(X) skill for each three Troops of X type. I believe this is saying each model with Order(X) in your crew allows you to hire 1-3 Troops of type X. If you take all three then one can be a heavy. To add more troops you’d have to have another model with Order(X) in the crew. There’s a little caveat on not taking mirror lists, playing the same factions against each other and such. It’s even recommended for players to bring back up lists for tournaments to keep that proper narrative feel.
The book has five scenarios included I’m going with scenario three for learning so let’s detail that beast. Scenario 3 is called Attack and Defend basically you and your opponent have discovered some kind of ancient device with control panels all around it and you’ve no idea what it is. The important part is just controlling it and claiming it so you can begin to suss out what it does or who made it. During the game setup each player takes three objective markers and starting with the player who won initiative places them within their objective deployment zone. At least 8 inches from each other and no more than 4 inches from the centerline. Then the player with initiative deploys their entire crew first in their respective deployment zone.
So how does one win? Like many or most miniature games victory points are used to determine who comes out on top at the end of the game. Scoring is done at the end fo the initiative phase on turns 2, 4 and 6. Each player can score 1vp for each objective they control and 3vp for each enemy objective they control. Models may take control of objectives by moving base to base with them and spending an AP to declare an Interact Action. (no test needed) The Objective is now under that players control. The cool thing here is that you can run around flipping objectives you don’t need to stand on them to control them. I can see some interesting gameplay evolving indeed. The game ends at the end of turn 6 or when one crew is completely eliminated.
For the playtest I’ll be playing 100 points, lets detail the crews now. The first is the Artefactors, treasure hunters with a hidden agenda of the New enlightenment they often risk it all for personal gain and/or their hidden ideology folks aren’t sure which. The group will be Nix (25), Sage (23), Slethssk (18), Corian (18) and 2 x Dig Security Troops (14) for a total of 98 points. Not much thought put into since I haven’t played just reached the point limit and minded the restrictions.
The Firm are well.. a bit criminal, think theft, robbery, illicit substances and the like. They are noticeably Darwinian and that survival of the fittest brutality is evident in their work. Nobody knows how large The Firm is or their exact footprint but their presence is felt when things get seedy. We’ve got Kaneda (23), Hosk (22), Lissz (18), Papa Venk (19) and 2x FootSoilders (14) comes in at 96 points. Pretty similar to the Artefactors list, bringing the leader, three more characters and two basic troops.
Since I’m playing only 100 points we’ll duel it out on a 3×3 board, we’re all setup and ready to go. Let the play proceed. I’ll snap some pics of the game and include a battle report for next time. Cheers ladies and gents. Head on over to twitter and do that follow thing @vorgames and @TheDrownedEarth for all things gaming and progress updates and sculpt teasers.