Saturday, 3 June 2017

Dragon Rampant - Crystal Heist

Some dastardly dwarves have penetrated to the heart of the Kingdom of the Morally Ambiguous Elves Of Mantic, and have stolen their sacred crystal. As they run for the borders of their territory, the Elves intercept them, looking to take the crystal back.

My copy of Dragon Rampant came yesterday, so I decided to set up and play a game today. When I played the other week I left Victor to do much of the rules work, so this would be my chance to figure the game out for myself.

I put together the following 24 point warbands.

The Dwarves: 1 x Elite Foot with Magical Armour, 2 x Offensive Heavy Foot, 1 x Heavy Missiles

The Elves: 1 x Elite Foot with Venomous Weapons (representing a magical sword), 2 x Light Foot with Mixed Weapons, 1 x Offensive Light Foot

The Dwarven leader was part of one of the heavy foot units, and was strong, giving him a combat reroll. The Elven leader was commanding, allowing an activation reroll, and was the elite foot unit.

I put together the forces and set the terrain before I rolled for the scenario. There were some impassable crags, as well as a couple of patches of ruins, one of which offered cover.

As you can see I used HOTT elements for the units, either single bases or double ones. I played on a 2' x 2' board, and halved all distances.

The Dwarves started very much hemmed into their corner by rough terrain. I made a mistake when setting up, in that the units didn't have the necessary separation from each other. In practice some of the units should have started off table, and only appeared when their way onto the table was clear.

Most of the elves also started in a corner blocked by ruins.

One of the mixed spear/archer units started in the opposite corner, ready to move to intercept any dwarves that made it past the first group.

The dwarves spread out slowly. A single, mighty, armoured dwarf carried the crystal.

The elves advanced.

Some dwarves tried to close with the lighter elven troops, but were driven back by archery. However as other elven foot emerged from the ruins, they took heavy casualties from the dwarven crossbows.

The crossbows did a grand job, sitting in some rubble for much of the game and making the area in front of them very risky for any elf to enter.

Another volley scored more hits on the advancing elven infantry, and they were finished off by a charge led by the dwarf leader.

The dwarves still hadn't advanced too far, though, and were coming under bow-fire from the elven reserve unit.

The dwarf leader led his men into the gap to plug it, so that the mighty armoured dwarf with the crystal could get past unscathed.

Meanwhile the other unit of heavy foot had finally got their act together, and charged the elves facing them, cutting them down.

The elf hero had been hemmed in by terrain for much of the game, and finally emerged into the battle to find half of his troops already dead or routed.

He launched an attack on his opposite number, swinging his magical blade.

Each six counts as a double hit ,,,

The dwarves fell back, surrounding their leader, but were cut down by archery from the other side of the gap.

The remaining dwarves survived the morale shock of losing their leader, however.

The elf hero was attacked by the remaining dwarven heavy foot. Despite being wounded he fought fiercely, and routed them as well.

Suddenly the action seemed to be turning in favour of the elves. Their archers were now exchanging fire with the dwarf crossbows, whilst the armoured dwarf was still trapped by terrain and proximity of enemy units.

Badly wounded, the elf hero attacked the crossbows. He died, but unfortunately the crossbows' morale held.

They came under more archery, and were forced to fall back.

However the dwarf champion had finally got into position. despite his important role as the one carrying the crystal, he attacked the last remaining elven unit.

The routed. The dwarves now held the field and could escape with impunity.

I found the game very smooth and simple to run, although keeping track of the proximity of units was tricky in the tight terrain at some points. Towards the end I ignored the proximity rule if the distance was measured through impassable terrain, I think the dwarves had a slight edge, with the heavy missile unit being particularly deadly, but the elven archery was not without effect either. And there were a couple of turns where the dwarves failed to fire at key moments, giving the elves the initiative. The elf commander's special ability allowed some charges to take place that would have otherwise ended their turn. Meanwhile the dwarf lord didn't really get much use out of his reroll.

I will certainly be playing another game, albeit with slightly modified forces.


  1. A great set of rules, we have certainly had some fun with them over recent weeks.

  2. With 12 points for a foot unit, I assumed that marking casualties would be a bit fiddly. How do you feel it worked?

    1. It worked fine. Units rarely reach 12 casualties before they run anyway. What I did was mark single hits with white stones, and use red stones to mark three hits. Battered units get a grey stone. Generally this means that there aren't more than five or so bits of rock behind a unit.

  3. I'll be playing these rules again this Friday, they give a fun game. When using elements, I'd ignore the unit separation rules - they seem to be aimed at armies using single based figures so that you don't confuse one unit from another - and also make it hard to deploy :)

    1. Pikeman's Lament removes proximity for friends. It makes sense for enemies, though.

  4. Glad that you are enjoying Dragon Rampant, it is the go-to game in my club for ministers these days. Makes for some fun games that don't require much thought to put together, and has brought a lot of fantasy armies out of people's closets. We don't use the proximity rule for friendlies, it's impossible to do anything otherwise


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