Last night I took Wuxing vs. Jaime's Undead army. The terrain features a small hill with a low wall on either side. Low walls have no effect on large units.
We're playing with the playtest backup rules, as well as needing 1.75" of card space to engage.Set Up & Strategy
Undead, left to right:
Skeleton Cavalry behind Skeleton Trolls, Skeleton Trolls, Skeleton Spearmen behind Zombie Trolls, Zombie Trolls, Skeleton Trolls, Zombie Trolls, Zombies behind two Zombies. 1998.
Given the 1/3 or 1/4 defense of the contructs, an army based on high-power trolls was an obvious choice. Jaime rued that his skeleton Cavalry was on the wrong side, facing my heavies, rather than being able to zip around his line and engaged my Salvaged. Still, a pretty solid line coming at me.
Wuxing, left to right:
Jade Dragaon behind Guardians, Guardians, Warriors, 2 Salvaged behind Spearmen + 3 command cards = 1980.
My plan here was to rely on the wall to slow down his army and quicklly pulverize him on one side. My first deployment was the 3 units in the middle, forcing Jaime to commmit to a side before I did. (With 10 units to my 7 he had to do two double deployments, so he had to put down a total of 6 units before I deployed off-center!)Closing in!
On the left, Jaime sends his Skeleton Trolls onto the flank to take on my Terracotta Guardians. This is a roughly even fight. (The Guardians actually cost 3 more points, but the Skeleton Trolls 5/7 attack profile is better than 5/6 +Reliable. Though the Guardians have 12 hit points to the Skeleton Trolls 10.) The cavalry is moving into backup position (We're using the playtest backup rules, btw.) Zombie Trolls are moving toward my Guardians. Each of us has done 1 or 2 direct controls.
On the right, my sloped-back line forms. The slowness of the zombies on the Undead right means the Zombie Trolls will have to be held back. My Spearmen are far enough back from the hill that the Skeleton Trolls won't get the High Ground bonus.
I've marked Manipulate Qi on both the left Guardians on the Spearmen to help them survive that deadly first combat turn.Boned! Part 1
Left to right:
Skeleton Trolls charge into the Guardians. I erase Manipulate Qi for +1/0; he plays a red card; I play a blue card. Am expecting to take 2 damage, but take 4 and break down.
Meanwhile, my Guardians hit back. An Ensure Victory card gives (+1) +0/+0 and changes 1 damage die to a 1. Needing 4s and 4s with 6 dice, I roll zero damage, then do one because of the card.
Spearmen put themselves on Hold in front of the Dragon
Zombie Trolls charge into Guardians. Neither of us is bothering to play cards here; the Guardians will win, but we expect it to take a l-o-n-g time. Wuxing really has no good answer for a 4 toughness, as they have nothing above power 6!
Zombie Trolls final rush my Warriors. A good roll does 3 damage and my unit breaks down. I leave them broken down, as, even though they're only 15 points apart, this is a completely hopeless fight given the Zombie Trolls' 4 toughness--despite the lucky-but-pointless hit back that does 2 damage.Boned! Part 2
Left to Right
I fix the break down, then once again, I play a red card (Force) & blue card while Jaime only plays a red card (His blue cards were all at the bottom of his deck.), but my Guardians still take a royal pounding while doing well below average back, meaning that reducing the Skeleton Trolls' attack dice by putting them into the red is an impossibility at this point.
The Jade Dragon takes minimal damage from Spearmen (a mediocre roll) and also does back less than expected, but the Spearmen are in a pretty hopeless position.
Zombie Trolls slowly grind away at their opponents. My Guardians are rolling lamely and only giving as good as they get.Slowly Grinding
Skeleton Trolls do an average hit to my Guardians, who are down to 2 hit points (after 3 turns of combat).
The Dragon has predictably taken down the Spearmen in 2 turns, and now the Cavalry declares the backup rule. Hooray for no cavalry charge!
The Zombie Troll Slow Grind slowly continues.
Skeleton Trolls final rush my Spearmen. Manipulate Qi + lame dice by both of us results in minimal damage.Boned! Part 3
Left to right
I play Feign Inferiority on my Guardians, as I need them to survive one last turn. Jaime needs to do 3 damage, somewhat less then even odds....and of course he does it. The Flank of my Dragon is wide open.
In a fun moment, with Jaime low on cards, I play Opportunities Multiply on the Dragon, which is at 5 dice at 4s + 5s (reliable), before rolling to hit. I roll 4 hits + 4 more dice--which all hit = 8 damage on the 5-hit-point unit.
More Zombie Troll Slow Grind. My Warriors are running low on hit points.
I fix a breakdown, and good command cards mean my Spearmen give slightly better than they get.
Jaime has been having to waste Command Actions holding back his Zombie Trolls. Crunch!
Skeleton Trolls hit my Dragons' flank. This isn't as bad as it looks--both units will be at 5s to hit and 3s to wound. He has one more die, but will lose it once his unit hits the red, and my Dragon is Reliable. Of course, my Dragon whiffs the first attack.
The Zombie Troll Slow Grind Continues.
My Spearmen put the other Zombie Trolls into the red, so they won't be as deadly.
Jaime continues to hold back his right flank, but the zombies are finally over the wall.Boned! Part 4
Top photo. My dragon has 6 hit points. Jaime plays Flesh Rot, and needs 5s and 3s. 5 hits, then here's his roll to wound.
My Jade Dragon disintegrates!
At least it finally puts the Skeleton
Trolls into the red.
Guardians have done 7 damage to Zombie Trolls--3 to go!--but they've taken 6 damage back.
Beyond Defeat keeps my Warriors alive
Spearmen and Skeleton Trolls knock each other down to 1 red box.
Zombie Trolls finally engage my Salvaged!The End
On my last turn, my Spearmen and the Skeleton Trolls mutually annihilate. Had my unit gotten lucky and suvived, I could've pinched something and just maybe stuck in the game. The Skeleton Trolls on the left are outside final rush range of my Guardians. But as it is there's no hope anywhere, so I concede before Jaime can reanimate a bunch of stuff back into the green.Victory to the Undead!
In the Green: 2 Zombie Trolls, 3 Zombies
In the Red: Skeleton Trolls, Zombie Trolls
Scenario Points: 919 A 7-2 (or, if you prefer, the upper half of a 4-2) victory.Conclusions
Damn, that was ugly! In some ways this is the worst sort of game--everything went exactly according to plan...and I still lost!
I felt rather victimized by the dice on that Skeletron Trolls vs. Terracotta Guardians battle. The Guardians had more-or-less even odds to win it (at least if I could spare the CAs to fix breakdowns, which I could since most of the line hadn't engaged). Had I won that fight, the victorious Dragon would've pinched to the right & rolled the entire Undead line! Had my unit lost the fight--but survived more than 4 turns, then my Dragon can flank or pinch the Skeleton Trolls. It's not enough time to roll the line, but at that point it's anybody's game, as he'll have more units, but they'll all be weak. (If the Skeleton Trolls stay in the green--which odds are they won't, the Guardians should normally last 5 or 6 turns). A quick defeat there and a victory becomes impossible.
It's pretty hard to accurate gauge balance, but I'll give a few comments anyway:
One purpose of Wuxing is to "restore balance to The Force," so to speak. Specifically, High Toughness & High Power units should do well. We certainly saw that here. 5/7, while worthless vs. 3/1 elves, is the perfect attack profile to fight the 1/3 Terracotta units. Even the normally pathetic (4) 4/6 of the Zombie Trolls was worth a point of damage each round.
Conversely, a major Weakness of Wuxing is the lack of any power 7 units. I'm actually OK with this in general, though it was certainly painful at the time. Wuxing really had no answer to Zombie Trolls.
Put these together and you get the Undead being a significantly uphill fight for Wuxing--I knew I was hosed if we just lined up a bunch of infantry, so felt compelled to try something fancy like in this game. Given that the Undead are generally considered on the weak side, I'm actually pretty happy that they do well here.
[Update: I changed the card.]
Jaime expressed concern that I got 4 extra dice out of "Opportunities Multiply," and said that we might want to remove the second part of the card (i.e. the part where you can play it before you roll and the 3 maximum goes away). While that could be done,
I want to hold off on doing so at the moment--but I could see making this change at some point if the card continues to feel too powerful
. For one thing, I sort of like that a skill 6 unit (All of which are expensive: Monks on Fire Stance, Jade Nobles, Jade Dragon) can sometimes get 4 hits. Only the Dragon has a 6 power to back that up, and the Dragon, at 532 points could use a sugar cube.
That said, this underlines why I consider putting the Orc Frenzy card up to 4 dice a grievous error. One specific, rather rare, circumstance that got me 4 extra dice was enough to make Jaime want to downgrade the card.
On, and in general spouting off on the game, the Zombie Trolls are the exact reason why I consider any new universal upgrade to Large units a non-starter. Look how well they performed! One unit had (albeit slowly) all-but-wiped out my Warriors who were only 15 points cheaper. The other had sandbagged my Guardians (who cost almost 100 points more) for the entire battle...and given almost as good as it got!
I'd been toying with bumping up the point costs of the Wuxing constructs slightly, but after this ass-whupping I'm going to hold off.
That's it for now. Well played, Jaime!