Winding up 2022: Dragon Rampant at Christmas

Scratch built Elf tower on the frosty terrain mat

It’s been a busy year for Morris and Chums: stacks of gaming, running participation/ demo games at Hammerhead and both Partizans, and generally egging each other on to invest in toy soldiers that we hadn’t been planning to buy.

Hammerhead 2022: Battle of Dunnichen 685
Partizan 2022: Battle of Degsastan 603 (Best Demo Game winner)
The Other Partizan 2022: Battle of Mortimer’s Cross 1461

In the background, I’ve been busy developing Midgard Heroic Battles for publication as well, which, along with trying to stay on top of the blog, means that I’ve dropped off writing magazine articles at the moment.  Need to get back to that in 2023.

Anyway, I decided to conclude the year with a festive game of Dragon Rampant.  This was a chance to pull out the snowy terrain cloth which I’m planning to feature in next year’s Midgard games at shows.  I threw together a paper-thin excuse for a fantasy scenario (different retinues compete to find the Elf King’s 9 fabled crystals while avoiding the Elf King’s ghost and various wandering beasts). Dragon Rampant was the rules set of choice, being fast and easy for this kind of large skirmish.  

Everyone brought a 24 point retinue:

Tom – Gobstyk and his Night Goblins

Gobstyk’s Goblins (WFB 7th Edition minis) run into trouble in the woods as they are set upon by wild beasts (Dark Alliance 1/72 wargs)

James – Cufnir the Betrayer and his Trolls

Don’t mess with the Trolls (Lucid Eye Miniatures) and their War Pugs (Reaper Bones)!

Chris – Lord Vlad the Inhaler and his clanking Men at Arms

Vlad the Inhaler’s men (Perry Miniatures) head for the deserted, possibly haunted, tower

Matt – Tupin the Wide and his Dwarven Host

Tupin the Wide (Conqueror Models)

Fun as Dragon Rampant is, my experience of multiplayer games is that players can spend a while waiting for their turn, especially if failing multiple activation rolls.  To counter this, we made a couple of changes:

  1. Each player was allowed two rerolls of failed activation tests during the game – being Christmas, these took the form of chocolate coins that had to be eaten to get the reroll. 
Tom manfully accepts the hardship of rerolling for his Goblins

2. The activation sequence each turn was randomised using a draw bag, with one token per player plus an extra one for the Elf King’s beasts. Each player attempted to activate a unit in turn until they had failed to activate or activated all their units.  This meant that play switched very quickly between the players.

Makeshift activation counters (Warbases MDF) plus a draw bag from Glenbrook Games

Each player was given a colour-coded deployment point and was also able to send a unit out scouting, which would end up in a random location. Fortunately for all concerned, the scouts didn’t stray too far from the path, but these units were nearer the centre of the table and got the game moving all the faster.

Obligatory pre-battle snacks! Exploration tokens can be seen across the board for exploration
Start of the game: a green deployment marker can be seen centre left, and some white exploration tokens top left and centre.

Possible locations for exploration were marked with white MDF tokens, each numbered underneath to reveal what had been found by the unit concerned. Options included the good stuff (Elf King’s crystals and the blessings of the Norse Gods) and the bad stuff (the ghost of the Elf King and assorted wandering monsters). In true old school DM style, I had written these down on a scrap of paper which we used as a reference throughout the game.

Vlad’s Archers draw a bead on the approaching Goblins

The game proceeded with the various contenders racing towards the white tokens in search of the Elf King’s crystals and then clashing as they tried to take them off each other. Lord Vlad managed to get a unit up the deserted tower, only to be confronted with the Elf King’s spirit (moving randomly and causing automatic Courage tests) as they left.

Run, lads! The Elf King’s spirit is discovered in the woods outside his tower. Who’d have thought it?
General mayhem ensues – at this point, Lord Vlad’s men (right and bottom) have three of the Elf King’s crystals

Gobstyk’s Goblin Spider Riders (Light Riders plus Venomous) managed to cause havoc with some very accurate shooting on both Dwarves and Men.

Arachnids of the Match: Gobstyk’s Spider Riders – fast, venomous and bloody annoying

However, Tupin the Wide’s Dwarven scouts picked up blessings from both Freya and Thor (+3 to a Courage test and +4 dice in Combat respectively), meaning that no-one wanted to fight them. Reduced to a final Dwarf by Goblin archery, the unit only just survived the game.

Dwarven scouts pick up a crystal and the blessing of Thor. Don’t mess with them!
The final Dwarf archer survives under the protection of Freya and Thor!

Vlad’s men enjoy the view
Odin puts in an appearance
A vicious scrap ensues between Trolls and Knights in the snow
Big boy Trolls pursue Lord Vlad’s men out of the tower (1/72 Dark Alliance minis)

The Dwarves got the worst of the Elf King’s wandering monsters, facing both the Frost Giant and the Elf King’s ghost at the same time. They heroically defeated the Giant, but it didn’t leave much time for further exploration.

Height vs Might!
Troll, Troll, Troll
Troll warriors skulk around (Lucid Eye miniatures)
Dice tray from Handiwork Games

Eventually, with all tokens having been investigated and the death of the Frost Giant, the various factions gathered up their crystals and made their escape. The Trolls were fairly inactive during the final turn – having fluffed an activation roll and previously scoffed all their chocolate coins – but ended up with three of the nine Elf King’s crystals, thus winning the game.

Eventual victors – Cufnir’s Trolls – hold off Vlad’s Men at Arms

As ever, Dragon Rampant gave an entertaining game with very little looking up of rules and much hilarity – a great way to finish off the gaming year.

The Troll’s Elven scouts locate and carry off a crystal

Thank you for checking into the blog in 2022 and we hope to see you, either in person or online, at some of our gaming activities in the New Year.

Wishing you all the best, James Morris & Chums

3 thoughts on “Winding up 2022: Dragon Rampant at Christmas

  1. That’s a beautiful building. I’ve built a few from scratch but I can never make masonry look right. My terrain is spot on but who wants an ugly building on a beautiful table, right? I’ve been following you for a while and I really like your stuff and your gameplaying style. One never knows, one of us may have the opportunity to travel for a game. Are you in the UK? Lucky bastard, best figs for the best prices. I think I posted my last game but it would seem I did not. No worries. I just put up a few on my blog if you want to check them out.

    Liked by 1 person

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