Council Fires 2015 Rules Playtest

Huron Warriors flank the opposition.
We were at Council Fires in Cambridge Ontario yesterday and had a great day playtesting the rules and seeing our old friends again. This show was very successful in its second year with over 75 gamers in attendance. They are looking for bigger and better things next year as they move to Brantford Ontario on October 21st and 22nd, 2016. Please join us there next year.

We had two Flint and Feather games going simultaneously. I am afraid that when we run these demo games at shows and because we are so early in the playtesting stages of the rules that we do not get very fancy with the games. We are always teaching the rules to gamers who have not played them before so we keep it pretty straight forward and easy. In this case we simply lined up two groups of six warriors across the table from each other and let them close into combat. Wargamers, being wargamers of course try to do some fancy stuff with this limited set up so we can get some gamers trying to outwit their opponents, which adds fun to the playtest, so this is a good thing.

Bow fire kills one stripling and injures a war bearer.
In our first game Kurt got the drop on Jacob, he won initiative, and advanced only to get bowed downed by the two striplings at the end of the line. In the second game Hollis advanced into Jim's group until Jim's striplings fired his bows and wounded the Companion. Hollis and Kurt although continuing the struggle never did recover from these opening round losses.

The main change we wanted to try in these playtest games was to only perform one round of combat in any melee. So the rules currently call for the Attacker to get one round of combat as the attacker and then the cards are switched and the Defender becomes the attacker and a second round of combat is fought. In playtesting we have found that all this melee really bogs down the game. So our change this weekend was to only performed one round of combat.
Iroquois advance on the edge of the woods
Just as a note, this is the second change we are playing with. Since August we have changed the rule that the defender does not do any damage in melee unless they use the counterblow card. We have changed this rule and anytime a combat is fought, regardless of the card choice, the defender may cause damage on the attacker. For instance, in our games, if the Attacker had chosen Swing and the Defender had chosen Duck, the chart calls for 1/1, or one die for the attacker and one die for the defender. The players then roll to attempt to get lower than their CV. If the attacker does not succeed but the defender does then a damage is roll is made against the attacker. In the current playtest rules as written this is not the case.

So how did it work? The previous two weeks we had been performing two rounds of melee and these six figure games were taking two hours to complete. Granted we were teaching the rules to new people but we found the rules missing some fluidity in the combat section. Yesterday these same games took only one hour to playtest. So we feel we cut the playing time in half at least and believe that experienced players would be able to get through these games even quicker. Also, the games seemed to flow much better with warriors moving up and down the board rather than being locked in combat in the middle of the play area for long sequences of time. Both of these are considered successful changes in the rules. Of course we realize that more playtesting is required and we will be at it again in the next month.
Chin-go-chook and his companion Red as the Hare lead some War Bearers into the fight.

As a final note, we have sent out many copies of the rules to individuals who wanted a copy to playtest. If you have any notes or ideas we would greatly appreciate hearing back from you.


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