A new system is just what I need to distract me from all the other systems I already play. If I split my weekly gaming across all the different systems, say one system a week then I still don’t have enough time to play them all… wait a minute…

Arcworlde is a characterful fantasy skirmish game by Warploque Miniatures that scales up depending on what size game you want to play.The basic rulebook is a free download.

It was the miniatures for this game that dragged me in initially though, as is usually the case. Loaded with character the bare metal models don’t do them justice. As it turns out I bought into the game back in 2013 indirectly backing the first Arcworlde Kickstarter through a friend (for the purposes of postage costs it generally pays to group up). of course back then I was limiting the games I played, and heavily into Bloodbowl and ear-marked the models as security for a Halfling Bloodbowl pitch, or at worst for a rainy day and “for the love of painting”. When the Kickstarter arrived many months later I dutifully stored them away.

Fast forward 3 years when I started putting together the Truffo Grills for the Redneck Rumble and was looking for the chef. One thing led to another and I found myself reading the rulebook and liking what I read. I lined up a test game with my mate Chris and we both liked the game enough to order the rulebook (and more models naturally).

Thereafter followed a flurry of emails as we worked out a custom scenario to really put the game through it’s paces. Yeah, a custom scenario for game #2.. I like it that much. Basic premise was while a Fire Dragon is away from it’s nest, the players rush in to grab eggs to sell on the black market/make one heck of a breakfast.

While we would be proxying most models I wanted to make sure I kept as close as possible to (what I know of) Arcworlde Lore. This presented a problem in the form that Arcworlde Fire Dragons don’t fly. We explained this away with terrain and the fact that maybe they are just really good at hiding.

The scenario is as simple as;

  • Each player has 250 gold to spend
  • 4′ x 4′ board (play area)
  • Place a 6″ round nest with 5 egg objectives (henceforth Eggjectives) in the middle of the board
  • Warbands deploy up to 6″ onto the board.
  • Each Eggjective carried into your own deployment zone earns 1 VP
  • Models carrying Eggs can only move and block.
  • At the start of each turn (including the first) roll a D1. If the die equals or is less than the turn number then the Dragon returns! Place the Dragon by scattering it 2D6″ in a random direction from the egg nearest any board edge.
  • If you don’t have a 3rd person to control the dragon (an excellent role for on-lookers/interested parties),  then use the Gentleman’s Code of Conduct (hereafter the “GCOC”) to determine the most logical course of action for the Dragon. Or randomise it’s attacks. Or do both.
  • The game lasts 6 turns and cooperation between factions is optional.

Of course, no plan survives contact, so we had to slightly modify things on the fly but that’s what the GCOC is for.

Here’s my plucky band of halflings. A brave & noble captain, a chef, three swordsmen, three spearmen,  three odd looking hounds and a single archer. My opponent Chris had brought along some Albionnican’s… archers, spears, a captain, a knight and an ogre.

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Arright lads, it’s Dragon Egg fer brekkie

The canny Captain sends forth the hounds to slow down the Albionicans advance, while the Chef cooks up a stew to make the halfling warband move faster. Seriously, that’s how Halfling “magic” works!

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Unleash the hounds!

The downside of which is the Chef was still cleaning up his station and fell behind. Naturally the dragon turned up early, scattering from the nest to between the halflings and the Chef! It looked like it was going to be a brief session for the cook.

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As were were proxying the square base represents the close fit for the actual base on the actual model… except it’s round… and the eggs were dice… and the nest was elevated rather than ground level… we were improvising big time.

However, as fate would have it the dragons first action (as per the monstrous creature table) was to ignore the chef, and return to it’s lair… namely the nest where everyone else was! Having found himself now blocked from access to the nest, the Halfling Captain initiated an Epic Duel!

It was then I realised the error of my challenge… I had an extremely low chance of hurting the Dragon, and certainly no chance of killing it. On the plus side it will have counted as activated this turn, on the down side, I had to go five rounds with the beast! Again, the fickle hand of fate or bemused gods intervened and the Dragon spent no less than three of it’s action doing nothing but sitting on the nest, ignoring the halfling flailing at it’s heavily armoured hide. Then it bellowed and we had to make the first call under the GCOC.

The rules as we have them (just the free downlaods – rulebook ordered and inbound) say the bellow extends the range of it’s Terror… which really has no effect. So we switched that up to be a Break Morale effect, which seemed extremely appropriate when trying to steal eggs off an occupied dragon nest!

The end result after a couple of rounds of this was most models broke and ran! leaving the Halfling Captain on his own… or at least that’s how it looks, there’s actually a couple of Albionnican’s behind the rock spire.

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 “Oi! Lizard!! Get orf me breakfast!!”

The fight continues! The warbands at this point buddy up. Neither was really able to hurt the dragon or even land a critical to break its armour, so we were chipping away one wound at a time.

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Will this thing ever die?!

Turn 4 and with the Dragon still defending it’s nest and bellowing at the raiders a lot of the halflings (and Albionnican’s) break and run. There’s only so much bellowing one can take.

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“Leggit for that ruin lads!”

The plucky Captain however holds out for his breakfast making courage test after courage test, while two of his companions are reduced to bloody smears (the tokens) by the Dragon’s tail swipe.

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Watch out for the… never mind.

In the end the Captains tenacity paid off (he never broke all game!) and both warbands working together managed to kill off the Dragon at the start of the 6th and final turn. This gave the captain the chance to nab a single eggjective, but the Albionnican’s made off with three. Neither side was going to make a deployment zone, so we called the game a morale victory for the Albionnican’s.

Post-game we think perhaps the VPs should be different allowing for these odd cases where the Dragon rocks up early and sits on the nest. Perhaps 1 VP to the side in possession of the most eggjectives, and plus one per eggjective in the deployment zone. While you could make the eggs stealable from under the dragon I think it’s more realistic to have to deal with the beast. Though we did get really, really lucky with the dragon doing a whole lot of not attacking. Had the dragon been more aggressive I’m not sure we would have survived at all. Then again, that kind of balanced out the early arrival of the beast.

How we thought the scenario would go was more like get in, grab an egg, and be moving out when the dragon arrives. Therein would ensure comedic chases around the board, with the Dragon aggressively pulverising egg thieves. However, as I often say, the dice know things… and in this case the Dragon knew it’s superiority to the fleas in the nest, and pretty much ignored them and tried to scare them off till they started biting hard.

We’ve asked the Official Arcworlde Facebook group some questions about the rules and it seems our calls under the GCOC were bang on the money which is always re-assuring, and just solidifies my thoughts that this really is a solid and fun game to play.

I’m looking forward to playing this scenario again, with no proxies and painted models. In the mean time if you play Arcworlde why not give this scenario a crack, and leave your comments below. If you haven’t seen Arcworlde then I highly recommend checking out the game at the offical website, grabbing the rules, and giving it a crack!

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