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Finally I was able to play a test game of Age of Tyrants with my friend Domink.
He decided to take command of the Junker company, I took command over Viridians.
Before we start just a quick explanation of the counters we used:
blue gem - activation marker
red gem - vulnerable marker
black crater - suppression point
black smoke - wrecked vehicle
And now to the battle:
Alpha platoon loads up and doubles to the trees
Bravo platoon also loads up and slowly moves forward. The snipers are left behind and try to snipe an enemy leader that went too far ahead but my own Dire Wolf blocks the line of sight.
Junkers start off and are able to place a suppression point on my Dire Wolf. Alpha platoon unloads, takes position in the nearby defensive terrain and returns fire. First blood is Junker blood, one Principes stand is eliminated.
Exo-suits target the Alpha team stand (the sniper stand has cover and can not be targeted despite being closer ) and place two suppression tokens on it
No risk means no reward, and not getting any reward is definitely not something that I can accept! Big Foot doubles up and uses the road to quickly get on the other side of the map. Two Bravo teams jump out, take cover in the nearby ruins and fire at the Junker armor. Junker commander takes two suppression point and a Draco gets one. A quite good outcome!
The problem is, bravo platoon is quite alone deep behind enemy lines!
Junkers retaliate and are able to place a suppression token on my Big Foot
I finally realize that my main commander is a transport unit ... marines load up and my Captain set a quick course up north.
Legionary Mantiple III targets one of my Bravo teams and fire. Despite a high advantage Bravo survives. Casualties are high and two suppression tokens are placed on the unit.
Junker commander falls back and finished the damaged Bravo team.
Exo-suits finish up the Alpha team that they damaged last turn.
Sniper falls back and thanks to the Dire Wolf support damage the Principes leader placing one suppression point. The second Alpha team moves into the forest to block any potential Exo-suit shenanigans.
Captain Wolf moves up and wrecks the Draco leader (with some Bravo team help).
Exo-suits move up and fire at the Blade tank with no effect.
Bravo platoon sniper takes down an enemy Principes leader.
Dracos lost their leader but the Junker captain is close by, ready to lead his artillery.
A fast fall back and concentrated fire eliminate one marine stand.
My Broadswords move along the road, target a single Exo-suit unit and are only able to plase a single suppression point on it!
New Round starts, we notice that in fact only two tanks should be able to fire at the Exo-suits. I use the tank commander to move the Alpha team closer and finish off the damaged suit.
Dracos again concentrate fire and put two suppression points on my last Bravo team and one on my Marines.
Captain Wolf leads a furious charge out of the ruins, takes out one Draco and damages another.
Three Junker Maniple III units targets one of my tanks and place a suppression marker on it.
The last one tries to finish my Bravo team but fails to do so.
Snipers move out a bit and harass the Exo-suits, unfortunately with zero effect.
The damaged tank moves to keep some distance from the enemy, a god fire role allows it to put two suppression tokens on a Principes.
Dire Wolf takes some R&R to remove the suppression point and move back to pick up the sniper unit.
Exo-suits run into the woods and slaughter my Alpha team.
My Blade tank moves up and fires at the enemy commander giving him an additional suppression point.
The dawn of battle, I anticipated that this will be the last round but I did not think things would go the way it went ...
I start off with an aggressive charge which eliminates the enemy commander and one Principes unit.
Exo-suits charge from the woods, a couple of insane good rolls for Dominik, a few terrible for me and Bam! Two of my Broadswords get wrecked! One good move and from my winning position I fell behind!
It's 7 to 8 casualties, I need to muster any casualties that I can. I activate my Captain along with the two last tanks I got left...
...the Blade and Broadsword easily eliminate Dominiks Draco but my Dierewolf fails to roll any damage.
Junkers third platoon focuses down on my marines hiding behind the Big Foot wreck and take them down in a single shot. The battle is lost.
A few pictures of the battlefield. Junkers win 9 to 8. Very good game, tied to the very end.
So to sum up.
I really like it! The rules are simple but allow a lot of maneuvering and thinking how to use your units. They are easy to explain and fast to understand.
The attacks are handled by a single dice comparison test with a minimal number of external modifiers.
I was a bit concerned with the suppression and active/vulnerable tokens (if it would not be too much book keeping) but the system works fluently.
The provided test unit compositions have a good balance, I never felt that one of them is over powered and can win the game on it's own.
The command point system works really nice, I can activate my platoon elements easily but if they are too far away I can get help from other platoons that are nearby.
There were a few items that I did not quite catch at first but soon accepted them as part of game balance (keep in mind that we might have simply got them wrong!) :
The cover system is a bit strange, the front edge of a unit determines what kind of terrain/covet the unit has (usually it's determined by how much of the unit actually is in cover). Although strange at first this way of determination worked for us once we got the hang of it
The attack algorithm is strange at first but can be used to make the game more 'active' rather then a static shoot up. If you want to hide a damaged unit, simply move it behind a different unit. The enemy can not 'snipe' it and ignore the front unit. If you want to attack a specific unit you may have to leave your comfortable defence line and actually move to a position that will allow the attack that you want.
Dominik also pointed out an 'item' in the rules. For the last unit that you have left (if you are going last) you can easily use a order that gives the unit a vulnerability token because it is basically free from any penalties (all vulnerable and activation tokens are removed from play at the end of a turn). Personally I do not see this as an issue, it's just a logical outcome of the orders algorithm, something that you can use if you notice it. Definitely not a thing that can cause issues with the game balance.