Last Saturday my friend Chris and I sat down for what turned out to be three games of Empire of the Dead. It had been a long time since we had played Empire of the Dead so we were a bit rusty on the rules, but since the rules are very simple we got back into the flow of the game after a few rounds.
I picked up my Supernatural Branch faction and Chris found his Sons of the Empire Gentleman's Club faction. The last time we played my bobbies were dealt several severe blows.
The first game was Lost Artifact. In this game we decided that we would not activate our entire faction befor the others turn, but rather one mini at a time. Chris had set up the table with a long and very narrow alley going right through the board and 2 of the 5 markers were placed either in the alley or just next to it.
Within 3 rounds we had gotten to the markers, but it turned out that none of them was indeed the lost artifact. We found our factions combating each other, near the water and in the alley. It was all ranged combat and the upper hand of the battle changed several times. In the end Chris once again managed to remove my Detective Inspector, I think for the fourth game in a row. Despite it being a draw Chris had managed to remove four out of six of my faction members, and I only removed two of his.
When we calculated our shillings Chris had earned a good amount more than me. I was however very lucky with my campaign rolling, with all of my members being made of Stern Stuff and suffering only an eye injury. Chris's Sons got minor injuries as well, but none were permanently retired from the faction.
The second game was Entrapment, here we went with the normal EotD activation system of an entire faction activating before the other. I was the attacker(setting the ambush) and Chris the defender (walking into it). The board was changed slightly, the long narrow alley removed. When we had deployed I had a good feeling about my Supernatural Branch's chance, the layout of the board would almost definately work in my favour and with the Sons of the Empire forces to move forward I would be able to pick and choose when to fight and when to stay back.
The Sons moved forward on two flanks and I placed my Supernatural Branch, so that they could pounce whenever the time was right. On one flank I had my Detective Inspector and two Constables, and on the other my Detective Sergeant and another two Constables, one of them armed with a hunting rifle.
The group of Sons that moved towards my DI sought cover behind the huge crates near the waterfront, but I was still able to pick and choose my battles. My DI managed to remove the Sons' VP, despite him being in an exo-skeleton suit, in melee combat. The upgrades that I had rolled in the previous games really helping me here. On the second front, my three members were able to keep the Sons from really getting anywhere. The game ended with Chris conseeding the game when he only had his President left. I had only lost a single constable, it was a crushing defeat for the Sons and a first victory for my Supernatural Branch at the fifth time of trying.
Calculating our shillings I got 48 and Chris around half. He was also unlucky with his campaign rolling with both his VP and a faction member being Caught by the Enemy. Chris then decided to take his three factions members who had injuries to a Harley Street Specialist and rolled full recovery for all three. We decided that we could squezze in a third game and that would be the Prisoner scenario, with the Sons trying to get their two faction members back.
I decided that I wanted to try something else, so I sold the heavy pistol that my Constable with the hunting rifle had, so that I had 51 shillings. This would enable me to hire Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson! Chris was not amused by the idea of facing a full force Supernatural Branch and the Baker Street duo with only a President and 4 regular members.
We switched back to activating one mini at a time, both of us agreeing that it makes the game more interesting as the normal EotD activation system allows you to make consentrated fire against a single target without the other player being able to do much to prevent it.
Since the scenario requires the prisoner, and in our case prisoners, to be in the center of the table, we agree to put one of the largest buildings roughly in the middle. This would enable movement inside the building and we would also be able to have a workaround one of the least thought-out rules - where you cannot enter through a door if there is a enemy on the other side. We really think the rule is stupid and makes no sense.
With me having lots more minis to activate, we also decided to introduce something from the Bushido game that I have been looking at, pass markers. Basically the player with the least model get a number of pass markers to make up the numbers. Each time it is his turn to activate a model, he can choose to activate a model or use a pass marker instead. I think it is a great rule that is easily applied to other games.
Deployment ended with Chris' Sons taking up positions outside the building, his tactics clearly to use the long range of his hunting rifles and shooting my models before they had a chance to get out of the building and taking the fight to him. I had my DI, DS, Holmes, Watson and my Constable with the hunting rifle inside the building, along with the prisoners and two Constables acting as prisonguards.
The fact that I had four models with more than one Wound turned out to pretty significant. I also happened to be able to roll hits every time I fired, no matter how high my target number was. Holmes and Watson took care of three regular Sons, while my DI managed to take the President out of the game. It was another good victory for my Supernatural Branch.
I completely forgot to take pictures for the last game, so I only got two shots of the final stages.
Three games in about six hours and we when managed to stop and pause our game when our pizza arrived. We had great fun and we can really start to see the effects of playing the campaign rules. My DI is getting so bad-ass, despite his career initially being disrupted several times by Chris removing him from play four games in a row. I quite like having Holmes and Watson in the faction, and I think I will be getting more models of the same type for some of the other factions in the future. But I still have to try out my new Brotherhood models, which I finished painting recently - images of those will be coming also.