Some might say I am a bit of a masochist, as I keep inviting Ulolkish to play his Dwarves against my Undead, but we still had some house rules playtesting to do, and it feels appropriate to keep testing with the same two armies.
This time we tested this:
When a melee has been fought (both sides having attacked), the unit inflicting the most casualties is the winner of that combat.
When two Formed Units (or a Formed Unit and a Tenacious Loose Unit) are fighting, instead of being locked in place until one is destroyed, use the following:
The winner decides if if he wants to Push Back the loser. I he does not decide to do so, the units remain in place. If the winner decides to Push Back, the loser is moved 4 inches directly backwards, and the winner is moved forward and placed in contact with the winner.
When the top card of the Power Deck is flipped to attempt Raising a skeleton, if the card flipped is not of a value sufficient to raise the type of skeleton the Necromancer wishes, the Necromancer may play additional cards from his Power Hand, as if powering a Miracle.
The combined Power Value MUST equal or surpass the points cost of the target unit – for instance, you must have a combined value of at least 12 to raise an Undead Knight, although an unmodified flipped ‘10’ is enough for raising any kind of Undead model. (This part we introduced in our last game, and we have decided to keep it.)
Raise DeadAs we do not feel the Necromancer's innate ability, even with the above augmentation, to raise 1 Skeleton whenever one or more enemies are slain is providing a proper necromantic feel, we now introduce a new Necromancer Miracle:
Target: Friendly eligible Undead Unit (see Effect)
Effect: Raise 1 Guardian of Midnight, OR 1 Undead Knight, OR up to2 Skeleton Warriors, OR up to 3 Skeleton Archers, OR up to 4 Skeletons (Horde) and add them to a unit of the appropriate type which has suffered casualties (it may not exceed its original size).
The Necromancer may choose this Miracle to be part of his Miracle Hand, but by doing so he forfeits his right to discard one of the Miracle Cards he then draws to complete his hand. If it is not chosen in advance, it is shuffled with the rest of the Miracle Cards, and may be drawn at random like the rest of the Miracles.
The first turn saw steady advance by both armies. My Chariot and Guardians of Midnight were kept behind the flanks for now.
Turn 2, the battle lines closed in. My Skeleton Warriors took position on the hill on the left, while the Dwarven Miners passed my line.
On Turn 3, battle was joined, and the Miners surfaced in contact with my Baggage Train. My Chariot sped towards the enemy Camp.
On my extreme right my Skeleton Horde was getting hammered, and Argonor was Raising Dead like a madman to keep the unit on the battlefield.
The Miners sacked my Baggage, and my Chariot moved into contact with the enemy Camp.
All over the front, my Skeletons were crumbling in droves, and my Necromancer had all but depleted his Divine Goodwill (Sacrifice Cards).
Only 4 points lost out of the 52 on the table, but almost all my units were closed to being wiped out by now.
At least, I had inflicted some casualties, and even had raised some Skeletons from the slain foes...
We did not complete Turn 5 - just for show I sacked the Dwarven Camp, but there was not much doubt that my army would break, this turn or the next, and that I could hardly hope to do any significant damage to the enemy Main Force with my decimated units. Thus, we noted this down as another Dwarven victory, and sat down to evaluate the House Rules tested.
We felt that the pushback rule needs a Morale Test for a unit to avoid pushing on when winning a combat. The test should be taken at ML -2 or -3 to make it possible even for Unbreakable units to get 'drawn out' and exposed to flank attacks and the likes. This will be tested the next time we play.
The Raise Dead Miracle worked very well. It did not upset balance, because there is a trade-off to be paid in Sacrifice Cards, and thus in effectiveness when it comes to using other Miracles and dispelling enemy Miracles.
We kind of felt that not being able to discard a Miracle to see if the Necromancer can get a more interesting one is too restrictive, and I gave it a lot of thought how to change it, without making the Necromancer too powerful.
What we agreed to try is a 5 points Rod of Resurrection working the same way as the Raise Dead Miracle, still being powered by Sacrifice Cards, but usable as many times during the Necromancer's Activation as he can pay the 10 Sacrifice pips.
With this, the Necromancer will draw Miracle Cards as normal before the game, and being able to discard one he does not want. I may even get my cold prying hands on one of the destructive Miracles some time...