Learnin’ Judgement Part 3, Game Setup, Turn Structure and Mechanics

Hey all, we’re back for more of that MOBA goodness in the form of Gunmiester Games‘ latest creation Judgment! It’s still rolling on along via kickstarter with about 15 days to go. The models for the game are a scale that I’ve not delved into before at 54mm. This means that each individual model is standing on a big ol’ 50mm base and rife with painting opportunities for those of you talented with the brush. I’m looking forward to practicing my blending and spending some time on them as they all stay on the board unlike many games where your fancy minis get slain and set aside or back in the foam. We’ve gone through a great deal of the book at this point so skidaddle over to Part 1 and Part 2 to get up to speed. We’ll start with some game term definitions and move on to see how this beast comes together.

As far as game terms go, there are some terms like away, within and directly away that we need not detail in this venue. Your heros are considered engages when within the melee range of enemies and engaging when they have an enemy in their melee range. LoS is determined by drawing a line from any point on one models base to the other. If the line crosses any terrain feature or other models then LoS is blocked. If either models’ height is greater than intervening models then LoS is not blocked. LoS is required for the usual things like targeting and such. Speaking of model height heroes and shrines are 2 and most other things are 4 (Effigies, Forests, Buildings), walls are 1 by default but can be higher undefined things are 1 for every one inch of actual height. When the going gets rough as far as multiple effects on models and the like one needs to apply them in the order in which they affected the model in question.

 

card

There are six ‘Auxiliary functions’ these are abilities that certain models have to make them unique .Like Explode (x) for example where models within three inches take x damage ignoring RES and Leech(x) where a model heals x health with each attack they land.  Push (x) is next, models are pushed in a straight line ignoring penalties to movement. Damage happens before pushes in the instance that they both happen. Some models don’t start the game deployed but are summoned instead they come into play in base contact with he who summoned them. It looks like the summoned model can act at the same time as it’s summoner since we haven’t covered actions yet this getting a little abstract so we’ll move on. Throw (x) is as it sounds with some specifics on model placement after throws. Wayfinder is last and it allows the model to ignore terrain movement penalties and height 1 walls.

Conditions are next on our list of things to cover. I’m hurting for turn structure and actual mechanics at this point but we must be close! Models can remove conditions for a fate point if you recall from our last post. Conditions do not stack. There are five of them each with some specifics that can be found on page 21 of the rules. They are Curse, Fire, Knocked Down, Poison and Stun! Distances can be measured in the game at any time. I’m going to keep going with the book here, we’ll cover pre-game setup now. I took a scroll down and found that turn structure and actual game mechanics are the last thing covered. This should without a doubt be moved to the beginning before production as it gives the reader some concrete facts about the game before discussing all the bits and baubles, at least that’s my humble opinion.

field

 
So, pre-game setup. Terrain and such is placed based on the battlefield map selected, both players determine their warbands via ‘Blind Pick’ or ‘Pick and Ban’ then each player adds a single Fate point to their pools using beads or counters to track. The Blind pick warband method has each player bringing a 3 or 5 strong hero warband within no duplicates can be had. Once the warbands are revealed each player rolls a d6 for initiative and the winner chooses to deploy 1st and act 1st or pass that on to their opponent. The other option for warband selection is ‘Pick and Ban’ this is some more of that MOBA goodness for us as in most MOBAs competitive scenes players can ban heroes so their opponents can’t play them. This works in a similar way and can be done in a few different methods. Heroes can then be deployed into the deployment zones denoted by the chose battlefield map. As far as deploying you drop your entire warband at the same time, it’s not a model by model alternating deployment. Ohhhh yesss, turn structure is looming.

The game turn. Ahh, that feels good, I know I’m a nerd about the rules haha but I love em’, something about understanding a complex process completely is innately rewarding. The game turn is split between two phases the communion phase and the activation phase. Both players go through each phase then the turn is over. The Communion phase is skipped on the first turn of the game. But after that there are five steps to it. The first is to trigger start of communion events, the second is to move unbound souls and monsters, third Fate is generated as discussed previously, fourth a soul is spawned from one of the many soul pits. The spawning location rotates from pit to pit, monsters are also spawned at this point. Last but not least is step five where hero models are respawned with five less health than their maximum and they have 1 less action on the turn they spawn.

The activation phase is where the magic happens literally and figuratively in alternating fashion a la malifaux and other skirmish level games. Unless otherwise stated heroes have 3 actions and each can be spent on one of nine possibilities. We’ve got Advance, Charge/Stand your Ground, Effigy Recall (cool!!!! 2 actions to be placed next to your effigy), Soul Harvest, Magical Artefact purchasing, Healing, Bank Soul (this is the money action as it sends bound souls to your own effigy while in base to base with it) the last two are Stand Up and to Attack! This post is going to run a bit long(er than usual) as we’re going to push through to the end of the book.

dice

 

The attacks are done using Judgement dice pictured above. There are three different symbols on them used to determine the damage. IF you recall damage for attacks is listed in a spread. Glancing/solid/critical being the options. The crossed swords are  ahit, the vertical arrow is a maneuver and the J is a judgement icon. Blanks are misses. On a regular d6 6 is a judgement, 4 and 5 are hits, 3 is a maneuver, 2 and 1 are misses.

combat

Each attack action costs 1 or more actions depending on the models’ card. Maneuvers are special attacks purchased when making the attack roll and detailed in the chart above. Models may only purchase 1 per attack action. Damage is applied before the maneuver. This leads to some highly mobile combats and gameplay with models not staying in the same place for long in a MOBA-esque way indeed. When attacking you roll a pool of dice determined by a few different things first you get +1 for each point in the relevant attack type (MEL, MAG or RNG) that is greater than the defenders AGI. If the attack stat is equal or lower than defender’s AGI start with one die. Next add +2 for charging, +1 if you have allies engaged with you -1 for each enemy model engaged beyond the defender, then apply terrain mods. The mods are slightly different for ranged attacks in that you get +1 if the attacker didn’t advance before shooting (aiming bonus) -1 die for each friendly model engaged by the defender (firing into melee)  then apply terrain mods. For magic attacks you get -1 for each model engaged (firing into melee) and terrain mods.

The attacker rolls that pool after determining the number and choses the three dice they wish to use for the attack. Each ‘hit’ is used to determine the attack effectiveness. 1 hit is  a glance, 2 is a solid and 3 is a critical on the damage spread. Then each maneuver symbol on the three chosen dice can be used to Push or knock folks down. Damage is marked on the defender before maneuvers happen. Models reduced to zero die and respawn during the next communion phase with 5 less hp and 1 less action. Lost health can be healed up it’s not a permanent reduction. Active abilities can only be used once per turn and Innate abilities are always active. When an enemy that was engaging you moves away (pushes don’t count) you get to make a parting blow. Parting blows are a melee attack targeting the moving model. Models get +1 to their attack dice pool for parting blows. Note knocked down is the only maneuver you can buy in a parting blow. I really like this combat mechanic as it provides some unique choices letting the player roll a handful of d6 is never a bad thing but it allows them to choose how to be successful. Would they rather push their target away from something like their own effigy or some unbound souls or do full damage.

Terrain is really the last bit to touch on. Terrain pieces can have multiple traits like cover and rough ground. Models can get within one inch of terrain to gain cover from it, soft or hard. Soft cover gives attackers a -1 to their dice pool and hard cover a -2. Rough ground is also a trait and it takes one inch from the advance distance of a model that starts within it. Treacherous ground takes two inches off the mov distance and causes 2 damage for each advance activation taken with their base touching it. This damage ignores RES. Don’t go in the lava kids, but do push your enemies into it! Impassable is.. Well impassable and that’s a wrap.

 

bastion

 
Damn, I’m sold on this game the MOBA style is too cool and extremely innovative from what I’ve seen in the miniature and boardgame industries. I love the respawn mechanic and the effigies being the way to win with souls bopping all about during communion. Purchasing magical artefacts and warband selection add great complexity and repeatability to the game as well. They’ve got some cutouts for playtesting I might break out the models I have on 50mm bases to do a round or two of playtest. I could see this game being a big honking boardgame like kingdom death or selling in individual or team boxes with a rule book. I think I’d prefer the later as the models are stunning and the ability to get them on their own is pretty sweet. You can tell the good folks at gunmiester games have put their heart into this. It’s a slick game with ‘unique-ness’ around every corner while still sticking to its miniature gaming roots. At the time of writing this their around 25k USD and looking to reach a little over 34k in the next 15 days. I really hope to see this succeed as I think it could have a place in many gamers repertoire and maybe even pull some video game addicts out into the world to do experience my favorite pastime miniature gaming!
As always you can follow my rants @vorgames and find Judgement on twitter @playjudgement

 

I’m dabbling with podcasting so give that a listen too over on my soundcloud, taking some time to iron it out.

 

May Bastion’s heroic ballad bolster your bombastic battlefield efforts!

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