Multiplayer Online Battle Arena or MOBA for those in the know like DOTA and League of Legends or Heroes of the Storm. They’ve been around the PC gaming world for some time and folks get hardcore addicted to their style of gameplay and constant battling. I’ve played a good bit of League of Legends in my day I’m actually surprised that this is the first miniature’s game to attempt to emulate MOBA gameplay. I think it’s a pretty damn cool idea, the scale of the game is 54mm which is unique for mini games indeed. The company Gunmeister Games clearly though so too coming to a table near you via kickstarter from down under. They’ve got a little over two weeks left on their project and are climbing rapidly towards their goal. Let’s give this beast the Voracious Gamer treatment and see what kind of rules and mechanics await us.
The game is two player skirmish style battle where players select from the available Heroes to build a warband. Heroes are the focus in Judgment as they are in MOBAs each brings unique skills and abilities that one can combine to create the perfect warband. These heroes like I side are 54mm models! That’s some big figures indeed and a lot of surface area for painting detail. Each model is mounted on 50mm bases other game pieces like Effigies and Shrines are on 50mm as well and Soul models are on 25mm bases. The Heroes use tokens for abilities and spells throughout the game which are also on 25mm bases. There is no specific facing in the game. Each hero has attributes with scores from 0 to 10 I picked out my favorite among the available heroes a Dwarf named Thrommel Ironbeard to use as an example. I’ve had a penchant for dwarves since playing a massive army of them back in Warhammer Fantasy Battles 6th edition.
The first attribute on the card is Movement (MOV) or how far the model can move when making an advance. Agility (AGI) is next and represents the models ability to avoid attacks. Resilience (RES) is the models durability and damage reduction prowess. Melee (MEL) is how skilled the Hero is in close combat. Thrommel being a dwarf doesn’t need or care for fancy spells and magic so he’s got no stat for MAG, he doesn’t busy himself with a ranged weapon wither so he’s got a ‘-‘ for RNG. The Soul harvest circle on the bottom left of the portrait is the ability score in ‘soul harvesting’ for the model, we’ll get to that in due time. The circle on the bottom right of the portrait is the models class. As you can see below Thrommel’s name he’s a Defender. Not sure what the other classes are yet, but if you know MOBAs you know there are certain roles Heroes fill on the table.
The next stat is the attacks available to the model. Senior Ironbeard has a Warhammer as should any dwarf. The type represents the ability used for the attack in this case Melee. The cost of 2A means a warhammer attack costs two actions. The range is two inches and the remaining three columns are a damage spread potential sort of like Malifaux his attack will deal 4, 5 or 7 damage depending on other game mechanics. The last bit on this card is the health track down below. The Heroes in the game level up in game and that’s represented by the L2 and L3 circles on the track. At level 1 he’s got 18 health and dies when the skull is filled in. If he’s level 2 then he dies when the last L2 is filled in and so on for L3. At max level this dude is rocking 22 health. Each hero has two stat cards the back of this card contains rules taken from the core book for easy reference while playing. Time to move on to Thrommel’s second card below.
Innate abilities are always in effect for the Hero, Thrommel true to his defender nature has Bodyguard a once per turn action granting some resilience to his allies nearby. Mitigating damage like a true tank. There are other abilities called combat maneuvers, Thrommel has none but they trigger off certain symbols rolled when making attacks. The active abilities are powerful actions that can be made outside of attacking with their weapons, each can only be performed once per activation. (Kind of like a cooldown in MOBAs!) This dude has Concussive Blow(1S) I can’t say for certain yet but maybe it costs 1 soul to perform. With the ability he can stun enemies! Then he’s got a perfectly named ability HAMMER TIME! This active ability has a Fate cost of 1. Abilities that cost Fate are the uber abilities for the character. Thrommel’s allows him to do extra damage with his attack ignoring resilience and knocking his foe to the ground. Now to correlate to the increase in health when leveling up in game the back of this card has his level 2 and level 3 abilities!
At level two he becomes immovable, immune to enemy pushes and knock downs. At level 3 he gains another Fate fueled ability Dwarf Toss. He jumps or maybe whirlwinds his hammer and flys behind it 6″ and knocks down anything within 2″ of his new location. You may be wondering at this point how heroes are to gain levels. There are two ways, first they gain a level for killing an enemy Hero or Monster. Second they gain a level for harvesting a Soul. The effects of the next level take place immediately levels are kept upon death. In fact your Heroes will die a lot in Judgement. The MOBA aspect of the game means they respawn at their Effigy the next turn! That’s right no permanent death. These sexy models will stay on the table throughout the course of the game. That’s some innovative miniature game mechanics right there, too cool.
Judgement includes five races Dwarf and four non-dwarf of which there are Humans, Elves, Orcs and Minotaurs (be wary of minotaurs!). The four possible classes are Defender like Thrommel, Aggressor, Supporters and Soulgazers. These don’t have any warband restrictions they just serve as a way to define the base stats of the Hero. In game purchases can change the way the Hero plays on the table as well. The classes are pretty self-explanatory sans the Soulgazers. They have abilities tied to Soul Harvesting and all of them have the innate ability Soul Command allowing them to harvest from four inches away rather than two.
The non-Hero models I mentioned earlier are used for various game mechanics. Let’s cover Effigies to wrap up this post. In addition to the five hero models in your warband you get a sixth model called the Effigy. You win the game by destroying your opponents effigy (ohh the MOBA goodness doesn’t end!). The Effigy is immune in game effects, soul harvesting and abilities with a Fate cost as well as effects and such. It cannot be moved and has some base stats of AGI 3 and RES 1 with a height of 4. The gametype and map chosen for the game determine the base health. Reduce an effigy’s health by 4 each time a soul becomes bound to an enemy hero. And increase it by 4 each time a previously bound soul becomes unbound. So the base health fluctuates throughout the game. The effigy can be attacked like with Thrommel’s hammer. At the start of each turn effigies regen all the damage caused by hero attacks from the last turn but the base health modifications from souls remain. Basically if you decide to invest in attacking the effigy directly you best destroy it before the end of the turn or your actions will be wasted. Once destroyed the game ends and the destroying player wins.
We’ll stop there for today, next time we’ll start with Monsters and hopefully get through the turn structure of this beautiful game. I’m falling for the MOBA aspects of this miniatures game it’s combining many things I enjoy into one package. Follow @PlayJudgement for more news and pics of the upcoming models and check out their kickstarter. Then follow @vorgames for industry news and musings about my projects for our lovely hobby.
I’ll leave you with Gunmiester Games’ Mission Statement.