Quite a few things have changed from the playtesting document to the final rules. The rules are now sharper, more easy to follow and some of the rules that really made the game flow badly has been removed. So coming into the game I had high hopes and I was not disappointed.
This ruleset now gives me the type of narrative game that I was hoping for when I first heard of the game back in 2015. It is easy to get the hang of, provides plenty of options for each warband, and the game flow is excellent. Frank and I completed a normal game in about 2 hours, which is an ideal time span for me.
My gaming table is 4x4, and I still think that the game might be better on that size than the recommended 3x3.
For the scenario I had reworked "The Stars are Wrong" scenario from the Frostgrave Sellsword PDF and renamed it Fury of the Gods. The scenario takes place in highly divine magical area, where the gods are very active. This meant that 6 pillars would be placed one inch from the table edges. One on each board edge that the warbands start and two on each of the other board edges. A seventh pillar was placed in the center of the board. If either of the players roll a 1 or 2 on their Initiative roll then a bolt of eldritch energy immediately fires between the center pillar and a randomly determined pillar. Any figure within 1" of that line is struck by a magical attack (Accuracy 4, Damage +3).
We rolled for objectives and got 6, which we then took turns to place on the board.
During playtesting Frank had played The Soldiers of the Eagle and he was therefore keen to see how they played in the final rules.
Soldiers of the Eagle
+ Blessing of Mars
+ 2 Warhounds
+ Bodyguard (Primus Pilus)
The Dacians were a late arrival in the playtest, so I wanted to try them out.
+ Miracle (Skinchanger)
One difference from the playtest was the number of points that you start of with, going from 200 to 150. This has a huge influence on the number of models each warband has and also makes you think more about which models to take. With 200 points all Heroes were easily included in the warband and you would still have enough points to add pretty much what you wanted. A good change indeed.
Northern Macedonia, early 2nd centruy
Both Roman and Dacian spies have found out that a temple ruin in Northern Macedonia might house more than just ruins. Rumours of lost treasure and possible artefacts that could help a warband in the secret war. Warbands from both the Romans and the Dacians are sent out to find out whether the rumours hold any truth.
The first round started out with me rolling a one for Initiative, but since all our models where in their deployment zones none were hit by the eldritch energy bolt.
The first round was pretty much just moving our models towards the objectives. Despite standing in the open I felt my models were more or less safe from the Roman archers - I would be proved very wrong.
Second round saw no eldrith energy, but the Primus Pilus used his Bring Him Down! command to improve the archers shooting. A Dacian Falxman, who then moved into cover was brought down by some good dice rolling, and within a few activations the Dacian Standard Bearer was also dead. The Dacian Noble moved onto the left flank in the hopes of getting out of the way of the Primus Pilus and a Praetorian, but would encounter two Warhounds, who then wounded him.
On the right flank, the other Falxman, the Ghoul and the Strigoi moved up intending on taking out the Roman shieldwall and thereby getting in behind the Roman Numerus and Sagittarius.
Third round and again no eldrith energy. Having lost more or less his center the Dacian Chieftain decided to take matters into his own hand and challenged the Primus Pilus to a Clash of Champions. The Dacian Noble was kept busy with both of the Warhounds and on the right flank things were beginning to heat up with the Ghoul darting past the Roman shieldwall in an attempt to close in on the Numerus. The last Warrior moved into what was supposed to be a safe position, but ended up being shot by the Sagittarius. The Falxman put himself into a position so that he would be able to charge in the next round, while the Strigoi used Miracle (Transfix) on the Praetorian. The two Legionaries of the shieldwall broke out though and Charged the Falxman. The Falxman fell to the Legionaries' gladius, and while the Dacian Noble took out a Warhound, a Praetorian joined the battle of the leaders. Things were not looking good for the Dacians, who desperately needed the Strigoi to make a difference.
Fourth round and no eldrith energy - what should have provided a twist was just not happening. Finally the Dacians won the initiative and with the Chieftain locked in melee the Ghoul activated and charged the Numerus. Also on the right flank the Roman remade their shieldwall and waiting for the Strigoi, who after having successfully cast Miracle (Shapechanger) charged the shieldwall. In the melee the Praetorian was hit by the Strigoi, became Broken and broke the shieldwall. The Dacian Noble killed the last Warhound, but the Ghoul was hit, became broken andmoved out of melee and the Dacian Chieftain was also wounded, but remained in the fight.
Fifth round and no eldrith energy. This proved to be the last round of the game as the Dacians crumbled under the Roman might. First the Sagittarius made good use of shooting down the Noble, not killing him, but wounding him again. The Ghoul, still Broken, was shot by the Numerous and the game was lost when the Praetorian moved in line with the Legionaries and remade the shieldwall. The Strigoi failed to cast Miracle (Skinchanger) and was hit by all members of the shieldwall and even became the recipient of a Critical Hit. The Strigoi attempted the Fate test to see whether he would stand but failed. The Chieftain was again hit, but still stood his ground.
Having lost 75% of the starting warband, it was time for both the Noble and the Chieftain to make Presence tests - and both failed, thus fleeing the table.
This was a complete annihilation of the Dacian warband, The archers proved to be the game changers with some crazy dice rolling from Frank. We decided to try out the Campaign system in the back of the book, results being that I lost my Warrior while the rest were okay. Frank lost one of his two Wardogs. We made some changes to the point system, meaning that the warband that lost also got points for killing Henchmen, and a basic bonus of 10 XP for winning, 7 XP for a draw and 5 XP for losing. The Soldiers of the Eagle will have 21 XP to spent before our next game and the Dacians 7 XP. This provides a bonus for winning without leaving the loser without any chance of getting replacements in for killed models.
This was a lot of fun! I had looked forward to trying out the final rules and they did not disappoint. The rules are more smooth and both players are involved all the time. With the campaign rules changes that we made, I can see a nice narrative campaign unfolding.
Some have reviewed the game as being filled with lots of special rules and this bogs the game down. I must admit that I wholeheartedly disagree. Each warband will have some special rules but these are simple and are part of what makes your warband special and not just like all the others. With the Auxilia, which we did not use, each Soldiers of the Eagle or Dacian warband can be very different.
So Broken Legions come highly recommended if you're looking for a campaign game set in the ancient world and filled with ancient mythology.