Another week gone by and another weekly club game at the .... club. This week we have been mainly playing 9th Age, the fan written reiteration of 8th Ed. WHFB.
Myself and Andy L had had this game organised to play sometime ago, but before our game, the 9th Age team had revised the rules as written and amended the 'Empire' army list to suit. To avoid any issues (ie having to re-do our army lists) we plumped to play the 1.1.0 release of the rules we had based our lists on.
Playing a 2,500 pt a piece game, each of us playing Empire, the game was set for an Empire vs Empire Civil War pitched battle.
Both of us were unfamiliar with the rules though fairly competent with the previous 8th Ed rule set on which they are based, but we went for pretty different line ups with Andy going for a character/magic heavy line up with a small number of point heavy hard hitting units. I, on the other hand went for quantity not quantity with a large number of cheap cannon-fodder units and only a couple tough but smaller units along with a smaller number of characters with minimal magic giving more figures on the table. (The first different thing noticed was that the troop/troop types are generally slightly cheaper than their predecessors).
Andy was deployed first and had the initiative to start and advanced his Templar Cavalry on his flank with his centre & right stationary to hold. His Cannons commenced their sniping and one round one took out my Volley gun and damaged the Steam Tank.
I preceded to have a general advance and threw out my left flank to circle round his open left and refused my right to draw out his Knights expecting the clash with my Electoral Cavalry to be one way but once lost would draw his Knights off position or even pursue off-table next round.
Round two went much the same with my centre advancing and Andy's centre holding but the flank went differently than expected. Andy failed on his charge roll to get his Knights into my Electoral cavalry and I promptly broke with my plan and decided to get any advantage I could and my slightly out number Cavalry charged his and in an unfortunate state of events (for Andy) I completely ace'd the combat and his Witch Hunter led knights broke and were destroyed in pursuit allowing me to flank charge his other unit of knights with his general in tow.
My firing all concentrated on his hefty unit of Spear in the centre while Andy split his fire on the steam Tank (reducing it to lass than half strength before it got out of the line of fire), and my unit of Imperial Guard Greatswords.
My flank attack continued it's plod round the out side and slowly closed in and only managing to make contact at the closing turns of the game with the Flagellant band managing to make it and charged his Crossbow and easily breaking this unit and pursuing it to destruction and into the rear of his Spear thanks to the additional move this allowed.
Meanwhile, engaged to their front by the Steam Tank which had cleared to alley of fire from the cannons luckily intact but much depleted in strength, the tank proved pretty nigh-on indestructible in combat against lowly infantry and this unit, already down to half strength by the close looked to be doomed.
The two units of Imperial Guard clashed right at the end and with Andy's skillful playing of the magic had managed to buff up his Greatswords and his Spear making them pretty resilient and with re-rolls on wounds the combat here went very much his way by a factor of roughly 2 to 1 but the Bodyguard rule saved my Guard from an ignominious fate.
The magic in general was low key with Andy generally getting a slight advantage due to more spell casters, but the effect here tended to be quite local, though in the Guard vs Guard fight proved to be the decisive factor.
With five rounds played and running out of time Andy conceded defeat though the game was far from over (especially given the fickleness of Warhammer-esque games) but things didn't look great though (not counted up, but I suspect the points difference on the table probably wasn't too disparate).
The run through of the rules was enjoyable and fairly painless with only some of the tweeks that had been made having to be checked. It was pointed out that my enjoyment of the rules was probably down to an un-characteristic win for my Empire (which I probably agree with).
A couple of points didn't sit right with either of us, but mainly the ability of the Cannons to be heavy duty snipers (the offsetting previous misfire/blow-up rules having been much toned down) and this ability on initiative could be quite disproportionate to their point cost. That said I believe things have been changed in response to this in the new iteration of the rules.
In conclusion, I can see where the nomenclature of a Tournament Rule Set comes from and I think they do this pretty well but they still play quite nicely. The trial with Empire vs Empire does limit this review with some of the other heavy army list requiring trial to see if more balanced but I did enjoy the experience if only because the 8th Ed WHFB rules were pretty OK but just broken by the Army Lists released to sell more and more figures. Shame really but 9th Age seems to do a reasonable stand in from what has been seen here.
To be played again in the New Year definitely.