Berserk – You may spend one command action to mark a unit with berserk. The unit gets (+1)+0/+1 and –1/+0. This lasts until the unit routs or does not do a single point of damage during a round of combat.
Interesting. If we compare it to the Runegard ability it trades off a gain of +1 power vs. a loss of one defensive skill and the ability vanishing if you fail to do damage. This isn't an ability that you'll use across the board; instead, you're going to identify the fights that you're favored to win and apply it there to speed up your rate of victory. It seems reasonable; certainly worth playtesting.
One change I'd suggest is making the bonus and penalty apply only while engaged. From a practical point of view, I like this because otherwise it's really bad to apply early
against any army with missile fire.
From a flavor perspective it seems very odd that this provides no courage bonus.
Persistent – Units that are persistent never rout, but if they fail a courage check, they lose one defensive skill. If there is no defensive skill to subtract, they take one point of damage.
Do they lose defensive skill if they fail a fear
Vengeful - If a unit with vengeful is in the red, it does not suffer the penalty of -2 attack dice and -2 courage but instead it gets C+1. This does not apply to being in the yellow. Note: They still have to take a rout check though.
Why only in the red and not in the yellow? I think a simpler and easier to remember approach would be to say that Vengeful units get no offensive penalty for being in the yellow or in the red and their courage penalty is reversed, e.g. +1 in the yellow and +2 in the red.
It might help if you described what you see this ability representing? Soldiers furious that some of their comrades have fallen?
Barbarians: Offense: (5) 5/5 Defense: 1/1 Range:- Courage: 13 MC: 3.5” Health: 3-4-3
The standard, cheap core unit. Equipment: Leather armor, hand axe and mace."YEARRRGHHH!!"
Bandits: Offense: (5) 4/5 Defense: 1/2 Range:- Courage: 11 MC: 3.5” Health: 3-4-3
When getting shot at, defence gets a +0/+1. MC becomes 5" when final rushing. Equipment: Dark Leather armor, spiked clubs. These dodgy bandits are experienced in the art of dodging arrows.
Axe Throwers: Offense: (5) 4/5 Defence:1/1 Range: 7" Courage: 11 MC: 3.5” Health: 3-4-2
Equipment: Leather armor and throwing axes. (+0) +1/+0 when engaged. Getting executed is bad enough, but when you get executed from afar...
Maulmen: Offense: (5) 5/7 Defense:1/2 Range:- Courage: 12 MC: 3.5” Health: 4-4-3
(+1)+0/+0 when fighting cavalry. No Charge bonuses. Equipment: Leather Armor and maul. These mauls can really maul people- why are they called mauls for then?
All reasonable enough. I'm not sure why the Maulmen get +1 attacks vs. Cavalry, though.
Battleaxemen: Offense: (6) 5/6 Defense: 1/2 Range:- Courage: 12 MC: 3.5” Health: 4-4-3
Equipment: Leather armor and battleaxe. Woodcutters with a bunch of big axes.
Normally two-handed weapons give +1 to power but don't give extra attacks. Why do these guys have 6 attacks?
Fishermen: Offense: (5) 4/4 Defense: 1/1 Range: 3.5” Courage: 11 MC:3.5” Health: 3-3-3
Persistent. No charge bonuses. Equipment: Leather armor, fishing rods improvised as whips. Even the fishermen are forced to take part in wars.
I have a really hard time getting behind fishing rods as makeshift whips. Is this something you made up, or is there some historical example? (If the former, I suspect that a lot of people will have the same "come on!" reaction I did.)
My big concern about the army at this point is that your units are incredibly squishy. If you compare them with the Umenzi, the typical Umenzi unit has slightly better defense, an army ability that prevents damage, shamans and high priests that heal damage and hex the enemy and the possibility of using Atlatlmen as efficient back-up units.
Whippers: Offense: (5) 5/5 Defense: 2/1 Range: 5” Courage: 13 MC:3.5” Health: 4-4-3
Vengeful. No charge bonuses. (+0) +1/+0 when fighting cavalry. All units within a 5” range of the whippers get (+0) +0/+1 but must take a courage check. However, they get +2 courage for this courage check temporarily. “Move it! Stay in formation!”
It's very unclear what you mean by this ability. Are units taking a rout check or fear check? Do they have to be in the whipper's front arc? Why do those that pass get +1 power? As written this would seem to mean that an unit that was engaged with another Barbarian unit when the Whippers approached would have to take a check (at +2) but would get +1 power even though they weren't fighting the whippers.
Flailers: Offense: (6) 6/6 Defense: 1/2 Range:- Courage: 13 MC: 3.5” Health: 4-4-4
Vengeful. Fearsome. No other unit may engage a unit engaged with flailers. Equipment: Flail, chainmail armor. No unit dares to interfere with these fearsome fighters.
Interesting. This is a pretty hard-hitting unit, but it's non-trivial to say that its friends can't pinch. What happens when it engages a unit that is already engaged, e.g. the lines meet, the Flailers win their fight and then turn to pinch?
Executors: Offense: (5) 4/8 Defense: 1/1 Range:- Courage: 12 MC:2.5” Health: 4-3-3
Persistent. No charge bonuses. Permanently on close and no command cards can be played while the executors are engaged. Berserk cannot be used on it. Equipment: Executor’s axe and leather armor. Deadly. I mean they are supposed to kill people, aren’t they?
4/8 is an interesting offensive profile. These guys will suck wind against Ravenwood but be amazing against big, 1/4 monsters.
Zealots: Offense: (7) 4/6 Defense: 2/2 Range:- Courage: - MC: 3.5" Health: 3-4-3
Never routs. Fearsome on the charge. Permanently on close. When assigning standing orders, an objective unit must be given. The zealots gets a (-1) -0/-0 and -1/-0 when engaged with a unit other than the objective unit. Equipment: Spiked flails, spiked maces, battleaxes, spiked clubs, etc.
I think it's simpler just to call them Fearsome, since the only difference between Fearsome and "Fearsome on the charge" is if they get engaged on a flank or if an Undead player hits you with Wave of Terror.
Gnasher Cavalry: Offense: (6) 5/6 Defense: 1/2 Range:- Courage: 13 MC: 5" Health: 3-3-3
Persistent. Cavalry. Fearsome. +1 Impact hit while charging. MC 6" while final rushing. When you apply berserk on Gnasher Cavalry, change their standing order to close. The standing order cannot be changed until berserk is removed. Equipment: Battleaxes, maces, warhammers, basically anything they can get their hands on. Gnashers are huge creatures with incredibly strong jaws. They are infamous for their uncontrollable temper.
I worry about these guys being a bit too top-heavy. Assuming they get the normal cavalry charge bonuses, they'll be a (6)5/8 with two impact hits, which is pretty beefy, but even with the D+1/+0 vs. ranged fire and on the charge they're just D 2/2 which makes them quite vulnerable. That can lead to very swingy results, where in some games they charge in to great effect and in others they just die or rout to arrows before they get in. This is always an issue with cavalry and maybe it isn't worse here than with others; at least they have 9 hits (3 green) and 13 courage.
Berserkers: Offense: (7) 5/7 Defense: 1/1 Range:- Courage: 14 MC: 3.5” Health: 4-4-3
Persistent. Fearsome. Berserk’s effects are (+1) +1/+1 and –1/-1. Equipment: Battleaxe, spiked mace and leather armor. Barabarians are brutal, zealots are vicious, executors are deadly, but berserkers are all three.
Heh. Talk about all or nothing! These guys with 'berserk' become an (8)6/8 -- impressive even to High Elves -- but a 0/0 on defense, meaning that even a Peasant Mob is going to do a fair amount of damage to them (before evaporating, of course).
Chieftains: Offense: (6) 6/6 Defense:2/3 Range:- Courage: 14 MC 3.5” Health: 5-4-5
Vengeful. Fearsome. Equipment: Chainmail armor, two mauls and battleaxes. Only elite berserkers or bull riders may become chieftains.
Very strong; similar to the Chosen. Looks good.
OK, so at this point I'd repeat the concern that I raised after the core units. This is a VERY squishy army. I think it's going to fare very poorly against missile fire, but more generally I think that the only way it's going to avoid getting pinched to death is for it to fight in deep ranks and it isn't designed to make that work. (Deep ranks are usually bad unless, like the Umenzi you have units designed to make it work or like the upcoming Romans your whole system is designed to make it work.)
Rage x2: Play before combat begins. A unit with berserk gets (+0) +1/+0 and negates the first hit in combat. Otherwise, it only gets (+0) +1/+0.
By "negates the first hit" do you mean that when the enemy attacks it the first enemy hit (not damage) is treated as a miss?
Shelter x3: Play when a ranged unit is firing at a unit. The unit gets +1/+1.
I have a strong preference for limiting any one card to two copies. I also really don't like a card that will be blank a lot of the time. I think giving your army some protection against missiles is a good idea but it shouldn't be dead once the lines engage or against an army without missile units. How about giving +2/+0 vs. missile attacks and +1/+0 otherwise?
Aggressiveness x1: Play after a round of combat. Start another round of combat (not a whole combat phase, just one round of combat for an engaged unit).
Very cool. I'd be worried about it being used in cheesey ways, e.g. "Hrm, my unit is taking a rout check and will probably fail so let's have another round of combat." How about making it played during Movement & Command card?
A few other issues. From a flavor standpoint, how do you explain the enemy unit(s) getting in more attacks as well? We'd also have to word it carefully to make sure that a dead unit doesn't get to attack.
Brutality x2: Play before you roll your dice in combat. If you do 3 or more damage to the enemy, destroy the enemy unit. P.S. Don't use this on a "berserked" berserker charging into a peasant mob.
I really love how you're pushing the design envelope on these cards. This would be the only 'destroy' effect in the game and killing a unit outright is obviously a huge payoff, but needing to do 3 damage is very steep. I'd worry that this card will be virtually dead against armies like the High Elves or even the Orcs or Dwarves. It also seems like a bit too much of a combo with Gnashers.
Throwing weapons x1: Play on a unit that is not engaged and before initiating combat. The unit gets a range of +5” for the duration of your turn. If an enemy unit engages that unit the next round, the unit’s offense is (–1)-1/-1.
Really interesting, flavor-wise, but all too often this will be dead. If you draw it early AND you move into position where you can attack at range 5" and not get engaged, then it's cool. Once your lines are engaged, however, you're almost always just fighting.
Intimidate x1: Play before or after combat, in the pre-combat courage phase or post-combat courage phase. Play on an enemy engaged with one of your units. If the enemy unit has lesser health than your unit, it takes a courage check. If not, its courage gets –1.
I would appreciate it if one of the developers/admins could use the “magic formula” for determining point cost to determine the points so I can alter them according to it.
It's on my to-do list!