Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Beaver Wars in Ohio playtest, Turn 10

The Beaver Wars playtesters gathered for one final time at the party room of a local pizzeria
Our final turn of the Beaver Wars campaign began with two tribes, the Shawnee and Neutrals, within one point of each other. There was an outside chance the Mohawk, at 3 points back, could make up enough points and win. It would take the perfect combination of battle results, though. However, I was surprised by the card play, as none of the top three tribes chose a high War card, which could enable them to control which opponent they were matched against. Cleverly, the Neutrals played the highest ranking Hunt card which automatically meant they would likely pass up the tribe in front of them in the standings for Beaver Pelts obtained.
Shawnee hunters meet an attacking Miami warparty at the ford of a river
This was the first turn where any of the tribes played Reward cards that affected the turn order. The Shawnee played a “Prophecy of Dreams” card which allowed them to switch out their card. The Seneca played a “Deceit in Council” card which allowed them to switch positions with a tribe immediately in front of or behind them in the attack order. When it was all said and done, the cards played and choices by the highest ranking War cards resulted in the following battles:
  • The Honniasont (in last place) attacked the Neutrals (who were in 2nd).
  • The 6th place Miami attacked the 1st-place Shawnee.
  • The 8th place Susquehannock attacked the 3rd place Mohawk.
  • The 4th-place Seneca attacked the 5th place Kickapoo. The Kickapoo player was feeling ill the morning of our meeting, so my 7th place Erie tribe stood in for them.
The Mohawk player (in red) advances his braves to attack the Susquehannock invaders
What had happened was that the lower-ranking tribes had all individually attacked the front-runners, meaning that none of the top four were going head-to-head. As GM, I was kind of hoping they’d be matched up against each other — especially since I knew that the Neutrals would make up a point and enter the battle phase of the turn tied with the Shawnee. It also meant the leaders were facing slightly weaker opponents, as tribes with more Scenario Victory Points (SVPs) can buy more upgrades to their figures — allowing them, in essence, to field more points worth of troops.
Facing a counterattack by Neutral tribe warriors, Honniasont youths scurry to answer the summons of their warchief
What’s more, the battles were a clean sweep by the higher ranking tribes. All four of our top finishers ended up winning a Major Victory in their final battle. Speaking from the Erie’s point of view, it was not because my opponent had an edge in upgrades, though. In fact, I felt my Erie were in total control of the battle and well on their way to defeating the Seneca. My opponent became desperate and charged two braves to attack my entire war band, one of them contacting my chief. In an astounding series of die rolls (not the first time it had happened in the campaign to me), I managed to lose four straight melees even though I held a significant edge in each. My chief was killed, crippling my force and giving the Seneca the momentum and ultimate victory.
Seneca horse thieves attempt to rustle some stock belonging to the Erie tribe
The Honniasont gave the 2nd-place Neutrals a run for their money, too. One more lost brave would have forced the Neutrals check morale — quite likely scattering their force, fatally. However, they killed a Honniasont youth to force their opponent to check morale first. This resulted in too many Honniasont fleeing, and the Neutrals prevailed.
The Seneca player attempts a desperation attack on the Erie defenders who are gunning them down from a cornfield
I counted up the points and it ended up being an exact tie! The Shawnee and Neutrals ended up with the exact same total in Prestige Points (which essentially tracks the number of Major or Minor Victories, and Minor Defeats). The Shawnee had the edge in Beaver Pelts, while the Neutrals had the lead in SVPs. Out of a maximum 30 possible points, both tribes score 25.5! AS GM, I offered each the chance to battle it out in a final rubber match, but they declined. They declared they would share control of the Ohio Valley and its rich hunting lands.
More Seneca race to attack the Erie defenders as they shoot out at them from the edge of the cropfield
The players said they enjoyed the campaign quite a bit, and were completely happy with the format and logistics. I have decided to tweak the way Beaver Pelts were awarded in the final rules, so that the campaign will play out similarly whether there were a large number of players or just a handful. Most of the suggestions my players made over the course of the campaign were on how to make scenarios more balanced. This led to me continually tweak individual scenario setups and victory points. By the end, we had played 10 turns with 8-9 players, meaning The Beaver Wars in Ohio generated 40 battles. We met about once a month, and it took us about a year to playtest those 10 turns. You can see the final standings and individual statistics at the end of this post.
The players gather around the final battle of the campaign, as the Neutrals player, left, desperately tries to retake his village from a Honniasont raid
With this playtest, the rules are essentially complete. I will now begin assembling them and rewriting them into a rulebook. It is my hope that they will be available by the beginning of the 2017 — if not before. I hope everyone enjoyed reading about the fun we had during our playtest. I will post here when the rules are available. Thank you for reading!
The Honniasont answer the call of their chieftain and battle the Neutrals mightily, finally falling to the superior foe
Victory Points
Tied 1st
25.5 points
Tied 1st
25.5 points
20.5 points
16.5 points
14 points
12 points
11 points
7 points
3 points

PRESTIGE POINTS (Battlefield Victories)
Prestige Points (PPs)
Neutrals (Keith Finn)
25 (8 MajV, 1 MinD)
Shawnee (Joe Merz)
25 (6 MajV, 3 MinV, 1 MinD)
Mohawk (Dave Welch)
18 (5 MajV, 1 MinV, 1 MinD)
Seneca (Mike Stelzer)
18 (4 MajV, 3 MinV)
Miami (Jenny Torbett)
11 (2 MajV, 2 MinV, 1 MinD)
Kickapoo (Andy Swingle)
10 (3 MajV, 1 MinD)
Erie (Mike Demana)
8 (2 MajV, 2 MinD)
Susquehannock (Steve Phallen)
5 (1 MajV, 2 MinD)
Honniasont (Bruce Adamczak)
3 (1 MinV, 1 MinD)

Beaver Pelts
Shawnee (Joe Merz)
Neutrals (Keith Finn)
Mohawk (Dave Welch)
Kickapoo (Andy Swingle)
Erie (Mike Demana)
Seneca (Mike Stelzer)
Susquehannock (Steve Phallen)
Miami (Jenny Torbett)
Honniasont (Bruce Adamczak)

Scenario Victory Points (SVPs)
Neutrals (Keith Finn)
Shawnee (Joe Merz)
Mohawk (Dave Welch)
Seneca (Mike Stelzer)
Miami (Jenny Torbett)
Kickapoo (Andy Swingle)
Erie (Mike Demana)
Susquehannock (Steve Phallen)
Honniasont (Bruce Adamczak)

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