Friday, 2 January 2015

D&D Attack Wing: Dragons of the Spanish Main

Afternoon the 29th of December we started a game that had to wait until morning the 31st for its conclusion.

I broke out the 3x3 table I painted up for Pirates of the Spanish Main some years ago, and also dug out the box with the game components.

So, instead of using ships to collect gold, we played D&D-AW with a few homebrewed rules:

  • The first dragon to hoard 10 points of treasure on its home island is the winner.
  • Dragons can pick up and/or release treasure as an action when on the ground.
  • Dragons may release treasure as an action when swooping over an island, needing 1 hit on a roll with 2 dice for the treasure to land safely (otherwise it lands in the water and is lost).
  • Dragons may release treasure as an action when flying over an island, needing 1 hit on a roll of 1 die for the treasure to land safely (see above).
  • Dragons may steal treasure from other dragons' islands.
And, one more rule we agreed on near the end of the game:
  • Dragons may try to pick up treasure as an action when swooping over an island, needing 1 hit on a roll of 1 die to succeed.

Dragons grabbing gold
And carrying it home

Eshaedra decided to go picking Galadaeros' basket

Which resulted in the two dragons being locked in combat for a couple of turns
(both failed to choose maneuvrers sufficient for moving clear of the other).

Of course, Eshaedra (my dragon) was the only one to take damage.

In the meantime, Balagos kept harvesting gold.

And finally the two others broke free

And Ashaedra steals some gold from Galadaeros.
Note that the rules state that if any part of a model's base extends over the edge of the board,
anytime during a movement, it must be removed from play;
we ruled that as long as a dragon ends in a position where it can stand firmly without support, it's good to go.

Galadaeros decided to return the favour.

This was a breath attack, using +1 die for being at range 4 (special Ashaedra skill).
I roll teribly.
1 hit was easily deflected by Galadaeros' armour.

Ashaedra, realizing that Balagos had amassed quite a hoard by now,
decided to drop her payload and go for Balagos' island.

I misjudged the distance for this move...

...forcing me to make a RED maneuver, meaning that I wouldn't be able to pick any gold from the island
(even if I landed, I wouldn't be able to execute a green maneuver to get rid of the Exhaustion-counter).

Bites were exchanged.

Tail lash

Trying to get in position for a second attempt

Here's another one of my fantastic attack rolls. There's FOUR hit results on each die...

Got mauled again. One more point of damage, and it's goodbye, Ashaedra...

Which happened right next turn. Only 2 dragons left in the archipelago.
Lea is calculating the correct approach to her island.

And Galadaeros lands the final gold to claim victory!
The game is much more interesting with the full rules. Not because of the extra abilities (although the breath attacks are a nice feature), but because the armour actually deflects a lot of damage, giving the dragons more freedom to act.

Also, the 3 height levels (fly, swoop, ground) add a lot to the game (and were fully exploited for this set-up).

The learning curve from the quick-start rules to the full rules is pretty steep; there's a lot of extra stuff to remember, and I decided to introduce one upgrade card at a time (this time going for the breath attacks).

The game is also more fun with a scenario/some objectives added  just duking it out for 'last man standing' isn't really very rewarding; the rule book contains some 'adventures', but I think that coming up with interesting scenarios is going to be the main corner-stone for this to become a game that we play regularly (my girls like to play it, no doubt, but if they are to maintain interest in it, I think I'll have to keep thinking up new plots).

Does the game work?

Yes, certainly! I think the nature of it being a fame set in the D&D universe made the designers add a tiny bit too high level of complexity in order to catch the feel of the original; we tried to set up for a standard 3-player game, and there was no way we would have been able to juggle all those upgrades.

That being said, I think most seasoned role-players will have a blast playing the game, because of the high level of customizability.

Did I get value for money?

Absolutely! We have many hours of gaming time yet to be had from just the contents of the basic set alone, and then there's a whole world of expansions to be explored, too.

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