I've tried out two games now.
First fight was barely worth mentioning. The orcs were so devestating as to make the empire seem embaressing.
The orcs went with a straight out: put units into the Battlefield, while the humans tried a blend. The exact details escape me but the orcs were generally drawing only 1 card (no cards in the Quest zone) and got about 4 resources per turn (1 card in the Quest zone). Their two frontline units were able to casually inflict 4 damage per round (Goblins with 1 support card to give them 2 power and some squids who came in damaged to give them a 2 power).
The human player could not really mount a suitable offensive. Their power is very low compared to the orcs. Their battlefield units only had 1 power each.
So the game ended extremely quickly as the orcs pretty must were able to inflict 4 damage per round whereas the humans could only inflict 2.
Obviously a lot more was going on, but the human player could not get enough units out to defend properly.
Shuffle the damn deck. This was our first game. Clearly the decks were shuffled super well.
Heavily consider taking the mulligan. Right now, if I didn't have at least 3 units in my hand, I would risk drawing a new hand. You need them to get the ball rolling.
Orcs really are offensive and humans generally start defensive.
With a much clearer grasp of the game and a better shuffle (and a mulligan taken by the humans) the game was much more interesting.
The humans were able to develop their Kingdom quickly which got them some precious resources. The Orcs on the other hand spread out their development a little towards Quest and Battlefield. A few initial skirmishes left the Empire's Kingdom somewhat damaged.
Hoping to stifle their resources, a surprise trick allow the Empire to move the orc's two quest units two their Kingdom. While this does mean more resources for the orcs, it also means less cards. Additionally, the orcs had a unit the could take a Kingdom action to kill itself and kill another Empire unit, so this option would be eiliminated.
Now the game was a lot of back and forth, with the Empire fielidng the Greatswords to good effect and the orcs putting a marginal offense. The Orc's Quest zone took a beating but the orc managed to get a development down the round before the Empire inflicted their 8th damage token. Thus the Kingdom would hold. As an interesting point of interest, because a) there seems to be very little to no healing of zones and b) because a burning zone doesn't seem to hinder the opposing player, there wasn't much of a need to inflict that 9th point of damage right away. It could wait for the final crushing blow later).
The Empire's kingdom was looking very weak but the Sigmar's Priest arrived. They have a very potent (but a bit confusing) rule that allows them to turn the first assigned damage back upon an enemy. This gets a little confusing when the orcs brought out a unit that automatically inflicts two wounds that the defending player gets to assign. Therefore the Empire player assigned 1 damage to his Greatswords and 1 damage to the priest...which then got redirected to the orc player. Dunno if that was done right but that's how it all reads.
Then the Empire player managed to pull a very powerful effect out of their butt. It destroyed all units and support on both sides but only if they don't have any developments there. The Empire player naturally had 1 development in each area. The orc player had only previously developed his Kingdom area. This means the orc player lost 2 units in his Quest area and 2 units in his Battlefield.
It went very downhill for the orc player from there, but the battle wasn't entirely over. The orcs managed to bring out a beast of a unit that has 5 power but only 2 health. The humans, before this, however, managed to bring out their hero unit, a griffon count. While he only does 1 damage he has counterstrike of 2. This showed to be a very potent ability as the orc couldn't effectively attack the zone where the count was present (or they would die before the fight).
In the end, the empire won the game as they just couldn't put together enough of an offense.
After game thoughts:
empire damage is kinda pathetic. They really have to mass troops and slowly plink down the defenses of their opponent. Their offensive strength does not come from their units but rather their buildings (although there is some confusion about this too). Support units in the battlefield say that they add their power to damage but I can't find this reflected in the damage section. We assumed that it was added to any offense but not to defense (since you can't declare buildings as defenders). Anyway, if we played it correctly, the Empire gets several builds that add power to their units IF you have developments in that zone. So the humans NEED time to build their empire up to a point where they can be effective.
The Orc have a LOT of easy and cheap ways to increase their power. It seemed like 70% of the things they did (either through action cards, tactics or text effects was to increase their power).
The humans really need to force on kiling the orc troops in some fashion. This might be trickery than one thinks, because the orcs can choose not to defend. In fact, I could easily see a game where the orc just attacks every round and puts little or nothing into defense. It's very conceivable, with a good hand of intital cards, that the orc could ignore the petty attacks of the humans (again who have a bit of a difficulty mounting damage unit they start to build) and sacrifice one of their zones to destroy two zones of the humans. The humans need to counter that, and quickly.
Quests: In neither game did a quest come up. I thought that they would be way more important but if you don't get a quest in your initial hand, then it's likely to get ignored. See as the game progresses, the Battlefield units often need to be replaced more than the units in the Kingdom or Quest zone. And you can't assign a unit already IN the quest zone onto a quest. You have to play it from your hand. I think I disagree with that rule but that's how it reads.
Anyway, the first game was enough to make me wanna question my purchase (it was way too one sided) but the second game was clearly a much better representation of what this game has to offer. I do believe that each race will have a very different playstyle.
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Nice! Thanks for the report, I've been waiting for someone to post one! Sounds like the humans could really use some Dwarfs to stall for time.
He bested the heroes, killed the defenders, overtook the world. Then he killed the narrator and he was the villain no more.
One thing that really threw me off was how the zones work. What I mean is once you lay down a card, unless you're the Empire, it's stuck there for the rest of the game. It's a very important concept to get used to. It's a strength for the Empire that's a bit subtle.
The Empire can move enemy units from one location to another (that's a very powerful ability).
They can move some of their units around too. I found this to be okay but not gamebreaking.
Their expensive hero, at first, seemed worthless, as he only provided 1 power. However, upon further inspection, his ability allows him to move at the end of every phase. So he can start in the Kingdom (earning you more resources), then move to the Quest zone (to get you another card) and then end up in the Battlefield to fight and can then fly off to the Kingdom at the end of the fight (provided he survives and that you want to) so he can do that same sequence.
Adding in dwarves might be a neat solution to the Empire trying to stem the tide. But when you need them is right at the beginning so the only viable dwarven unit then is the Hammerers who have 2 Defense and 1 Toughness. That would help keep the enemy at bay. If you can, however, manage to get your Reikland guards out early on, they have Counterstrike 2. That is a very potent ability that would keep the orcs from attacking whichever zone you put it in (at least right off the bat).
In the first game I had, the Empire just didn't get enough units in their hand so they couldn't even set up defenses for all three sides. This allowed the orcs to have such a swift and decisive victory.
For your reference support cards can not add their power to an attack OR a defence.
They do however allow you to either draw extra cards if played to your Quest zone, or generate extra resource if played to your kingdom zone; and all this is in addition to their own special benefits.
This is referenced in the rulebook page 12 where it is specifically detailed that only UNIT CARDS can attack or defend, support cards are unable to.
Great report though and keep them coming!
'Light up the dark'
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