Sunday, February 17, 2019

Tribal Clash - Orcs vs Celtic Humans

Orcs and Human chieftains slug it out on the tabletop in a raid on a troll village using Tribal skirmish rules
 A month since I've updated this blog? Okay, sorry about that! Stuff HAS been going on. It is just that reporting on gaming stuff has been shouldered aside by schoolwork. Never fear, a game in Keith's basement is likely to prompt an update to Lead Legionaries! This time, Keith wanted to get out the Tribal rules again, and do an Orc vs. Celtic Humans clash. The scenario had both sides getting word that the trolls in a nearby troll village had left their village, leaving it open for some exploratory looting.
One of my Orc warbands (old Ral Partha 25mm Orcs) spring towards a troll hunt in the search for loot
We had six players, with Allen, Mike S, and Brian being the Der Dadagh (not sure if I spelled it right) human tribes. Across the table from them were myself, Mike W, and Joel as the Orc raiders. Our goal was to loot the five troll huts and maybe even abscond with some pigs in the village pen. As it turned out, I was the closest to the pen and decided to ignore it in favor of hurrying forward to beat the humans to the huts.
The Der Dadagh beat my second Orc warband to the troll hut, while my hero (bottom right) gives them the stink eye
Tribal is a very simple skirmish system, with combat being decided by rounds of card play. There are modifiers, of course, with troops armed with long weapons getting bonuses when playing spade cards and clubs helping those with short weapons (like clubs, swords, axes, etc.). Keith threw in some of the skills, too, as this was our third or fourth time playing the game. So, some units had Agile, which allowed them to begin combats with the initiative, others had fearsome, which caused more wounds, and so on. I really felt the extra facets added a lot to the game.
A nasty surprise awaited the humans -- a magical Troll familiar -- who tore into them and drove the humans off
One unit of my Orc troops sprinted towards the Troll village and entered the nearest Troll hut. We found a stockpile of treasure (3 honor points). My Orc unit on the left was beaten to the Troll hut by Allen's Der Dadagh, who were surprised by a magical troll familiar. This fearsome rat-like creature drove off the unit of human warriors, but not before being wounded by them. On the next turn, my chieftain entered the hut and finished off the familiar, scooping up the magical item (1 honor). My Orc unit lined the slopes of the hill in case the humans came back to interfere.  Sure enough, the crazy Celt hero charged uphill into the face of my warriors, and was driven off with two wounds (heroes take five, warriors take only one each).
This was my hand when Allen charged me...thought I was doomed, but Allen's cards were even lower!
On the next turn, the my brave orcs charged down and dispatched the survivors who had been chased off by the troll familiar. Surprisingly, the Celtic hero chargecd into them as well, and was similarly dispatched. When you win a combat in Tribal, you get an honor point. When your victory destroys an enemy unit (or slays a hero), you take one of your opponent's honor instead of it coming from the central pool.

Meanwhile, Joel's Orcs were taking on all comers and dispatching them on our left

Meanwhile, in the wide open plains on our left, Joel was busy taking on all comers and driving them away. In three consecutive fights, one of his units drove off an enemy unit, killing four of its five figures in the unit. Joel and Mike W continued to get the upper hand on the center and right. It was a mournful day for the Der Dadagh. Although they won a few fights, the majority of them went poorly for them. Allen did manage to slay one troll found lingering in a hut, and Brian did win a couple battles against Joel later in the game. Nevertheless, the Orcs won a crushing victory in Honor Points earned.
Mike W's Orcs face down his human opponent, Mike S, across the table, eventually eliminating most of his men
I like Tribal's card system for deciding combats. There is enough decision making going on in when to play your cards in your hand, and how to take advantage of your unit or hero's abilities, that it gives melee resolution more flavor than simple dice rolling. I think the next thing I'd like to try is a free-for-all type game with each player actually designing their own warband, instead of the GM assigning them one. We could then begin to see how the balance in honor and skills plays out.

Either way, it was a fun evening, getting out the Tribal rules again and playing them. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to do more soon!