Gameday First Play – Warband: Against the Darkness

Posted on by Jesta

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

~  Sun Tzu

Since the dawn of their civilizations, the great races of the Five Realms of Kholdrum, Shenaru, Ela’Vethera, Lorendale, and Zhoni have been engaged in complex relations with each other – allying and arguing, merging and dividing, loving and hating – as they each schemed and plotted to gain the upper hand over the others.

Then the Darkness came. An army of unspeakable horrors of an ancient and forgotten race of infernal creatures awoke deep within the earth and marched across the lands. The Darkness ravished the Five Realms with death and destruction and nearly brought the continent to its knees. Faced with a desperate fight for their very survival, the great races put aside their differences and united into a warband of such magnitude and strength as had never been seen before. The world trembled.

Though their great loss of life on the battlefield was nearly insurmountable, the warband’s sheer size overpowered the armies of Darkness and largely drove them back beneath the earth. Sorcerers and shamans and magi of the great races invoked binding blood magic to start sealing the enemy away for an eternity. In the final days of battle to determine the fate of the lands, the hordes of Darkness and the great warband clash on four remaining battle fronts that are each located near a border landmark that separate the kingdoms of the Five Realms.

The last four campaigns wage on. The end is near. May the Maker protect us all….

Each player controls a race in this Warband in order to defeat the hordes of Darkness. Each player has a board with their race ability that they add to their player board that shows the available actions.

I picked the Elves because… I like Elves 🙂 Also, a lot of the Races were big and fighty like Werewolves and I think Fire Elementals? So I picked the nimble one 🙂

So on your turn, you get (I think) 3 action points to take any of the above actions listed on the bottom of the player board as many times as you like.

BUT, before you take a turn, you move the leftmost cube from any row and add it to your supply. This not only improves that particular action but makes an often needed cube available.

So, from top to bottom. Tax! Gain that much Cash…. At Novice you get 2, but up at the Elite level you get 8 so keep levelling it up if you need money.

Train uses some of these cubes and also uses the right-hand side of the large board in the middle of the table. This has you influencing the Infantry, Cavalry and Archery divisions in order to control each one. The higher the rank in Train, the more cubes you can add per action and the cubes on the board this way counts as the strength in Combat.

The number of cubes showing on your Train track is how many you can add/move. It’s free to add into the bottom level but you pay to move up the different ranks. Whoever has the most in each region adds a meeple of their colour to show they’re the Captain.

Scouting uses the other half of the big board. You pay the cost on the player board to place a cube in a Region. The higher the level, the more cubes you can place but each cube per action costs more each time.

This scores for whoever has the most cubes in each region at the end of the game, but is also used during Fights. As part of the Fight action, you have to pay Captains and the higher your level in Fight is the less you have to pay.

When you fight you draw choose one of 3 revealed Enemy cards, then you check to see if the strength of the Warband (based on the number of cubes in the areas you train in) to see if the Enemy is defeated.

Then the attacking player pays the Captains wages, minus any discount from their level, so this is where is “pays” to be a Captain, literally. PUN!

Then you defeat the Enemy and take its card for points and claim an end game scoring card for even more points.

Then units that die are removed from play, put you can pay money to keep them alive.

After a certain number of rounds there is a bit of end game scoring, most points wins.

Positives

Plenty of classes to pick from each with their own ability. The Elves gave a bonus to Scouting so I did that a lot. Next time I’ll have to do something different.

Nice collection of mechanisms that has you managing money and resources quite well yet doesn’t feel like a cube pushing Euro.

I don’t usually care but there is plenty of player interaction as you fight over different stuff and have to pay their Captain should you need them in battle.

It’s actually quite thematic in a way…

Negatives

Fights are overly complex, especially compared to the rest of the game which is very straight forward.

Summary

A nice game with a decent theme, even if it took me a while to understand combat… and I still don’t 🙂

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