Wednesday, October 22, 2014

HOTTs x 3

Last Saturday afternoon we played 3 games of HOTTs (Hordes of the Things). HOTTS has so many things going for it - the ability to play 3 games in a single short afternoon among them.

Bruce brought the Sea King out to face my Undead again. We played 24-point armies on a 4-foot square with simple but serviceable terrain. The Sea King defended in Game one.

From left to right: Knights, Blades, Riders General behind the Blades, Behemoth, Blades, Warbands ranked two deep, Shooters; an element of Flyers deployed behind the main group, in front of the Stronghold.

 I built a pretty pip-intensive force that included Aerials and a Magician. From left to right: 3 elements of Beasts with 2 Flyers behind, Knights with the Magician General behind and 4 Hordes. Not shown is the Dragon that has to be "summoned" with a Pip roll of 6. I usually play my zombie dragon with vampire rider as the Magician General, but decided to try something different.

The armies advance. On my second turn the Dragon is summoned. . .

and advances on the right flank.

The Dragon and Flyers are sent around the woods on the right flank to threaten the Sea King's rear (yes, Baron, I wrote it).

The Undead Dragon kills the enemy Flyer, lose the Knight to the Sea King Warbands, the Beasts bend but don't break, the Hordes are all killed off but are later regenerated on their base edge. Ahhh, Hordes.

The Warbands kill two of the Beasts, but the Undead Magician is able to rally the remaining Beasts element and the Flyers to kill all of the Warbands, and though the Sea King General escaped the rampaging Dragon, the Blades went down in defense of the General, which broke the army.

Game One to the Undead.

Game Two featured the same armies, a slight shift to the terrain and the Sea King defending again.

The Sea King opened by advancing his Flyer out between our armies. I took the bait and attacked with my pair of Flyers. . . and promptly lost one. I know better than this - with a combat factor of "2," straight-up fights with Flyers are subject to the whim of the die roll.

Did I mention the Dragon appeared again on Turn Two, this time on the left Flank? Then the Sea King advanced the Knights on his right flank, exposing his Rider General's flank to aforementioned Dragon, which promptly siezed the opportunity to attack the General, force the element to turn and subsequently recoil it to it's death. As we were even in losses at that point, the army didn't break, but all actions for the Sea King army would now cost an additional PIP to execute, a huge penalty in a game where resource management is a key success factor.

The extra Pip penalty really hampered the subsequent Sea King attempts to maneuver. The Undead Knight died to the Behemoth, then the Hordes recoiled the Knights into the Dragon, killing them, the Dragon ate both Blades and the Beasts finished off the Sea King army by eating the Warbands. Game Two to the Undead.

For Game Three, Bruce decided to try his luck with a Dragon, too. We shifted the terrain with the Undead defending. Bruce loaned me a suitably "evil" Stronghold since I forgot mine, then I deployed with my Beasts in the Woods, hoping to make use of their advantage in Bad Going.

The Sea King now fielded, from left to right: Hero General, Knights, 2 Blades, 4 Warbands and Shooters. Oh, and a Dragon, not shown until Turn Two, when both our Dragons appeared!

I couldn't believe how tense this third game became. I shifted my Dragon to the opposite flank. Bruce mirrored my move with his Dragon. I sent my Flyers around the left flank to harass the Sea King rear again.

Then the Sea King Dragon attacked the Undead Dragon. . . a fight I would never pick unless desperate because combat is a straight die-roll. High roll wins, low roll loses a dragon.

Winner of the Dragon vs. Dragon contest: Undead! But note I am now missing a Beasts element, thanks to the brazen attack of the Hero General that slaughtered said Beasts, despite their Bad Going advantage! The Hero then proceeded to roll up the entire line of Undead Beasts, and shrugging off a couple of Bespelling attacks from the Magician, finished off the Undead army by turning and killing the Knights. Game Three to the Sea King.

Editor's Note: Observant readers may have lost track of the Undead Dragon. . . because I forgot to explain that shortly after winning the fight against its opposite, it fled the field after losing to the the Sea King Knights as it attempted to roll up the enemy line, Hero-fashion!

A fun and satisfying afternoon of HOTTs that has inspired me, perhaps, to sneak in some new HOTT elements around the F&IW mega-project. HOTTs is really a great game.

See ya!