Monday, May 18, 2015

Magic Realm Combat 4 -- Deploying Natives

This is the first part of a larger tutorial:

Today, we are going to go through the mechanics of deploying natives and how it differs from luring with natives. Besides horses and spell casting, deploying natives probably trips more people up than anything else in Magic Realm. Deploying natives isn't hard, but there are a few strange bits in the rules, so we'll go slowly and try to make everything clear.

The Maiden and the Dragon

Before we do that, let's ponder a match up between the Woods Girl and the Tremendous Flying Dragon. The Tremendous Flying Dragon is a powerful beast, strong enough to kill even the stoutest of warriors in the realm, while still being quick enough to evade their blows. Even though the Woods Girl can undercut the dragon and can do enough damage to kill it, this battle is generally a bad idea for her. Unless she is hidden, she should run. Why?

Both giants and dragons get extra attacks. The giants have their massive clubs, and the dragons have their heads. This means that, even though it cannot undercut the Woods Girl, the Tremendous Dragon will have two chances to intercept her maneuver, doing either medium or tremendous damage -- enough to kill our heroine either way.

Of course, the Woods Girl brings her formidable bow to the battle, and when it is alerted, she attacks with the incredible time of 1. This means she will undercut the dragon and harm it before it even reaches her, right? Except now, she is subject to a roll on the Missile Table. An alerted bow normally does L** damage. Because the dragon is armored, one star will come off that damage, so we are doing L*. We need to do H* harm to kill the creature, so we will need a two-level damage increase -- meaning we have to roll a 1. Thankfully, because of the Woods Girl's skill at archery, she rolls a single die on the Missile Table, so her chance of increasing her harm to the needed level is 1/6 (versus 1/36).

Those are terrible odds -- our adventuress has a 1/6 chance of killing the dragon and a 5/9 chance of being killed every round.

A Hail of Arrows

To give the Woods Girls more of a chance, we are going to have her bring her allies, the Woodfolk, to the battle. The Woodfolk is a group of three archers, two are similar in power to the Woods Girl, doing L** damage on a hit. However, the leader has a medium bow and so his damage is M**.

This changes things considerably. Instead of one chance of killing the dragon, we now have 4 shots at him. Like the Woods Girl, the native archers roll only a single die on the Missile Table, which means a roll of a 1 (or a 1 or 2 in the leader's case) kills the dragon. Better odds than before, for certain, but to get those odds, we are going to have to learn how to deploy these natives to the battle.

Luring vs. Deploying

In our last combat tutorial post, we used a hireling to lure a troll, allowing the Black Knight to score some fairly easy kills. Deploying is very similar to luring in that it allows us to use our hirelings to attack (and be attacked by) monsters. However, the two actions are different in some pretty important ways.


  • In a given combat round, a hireling can lure a single monster
  • Conversely, a monster can only be lured by a single hireling, so you cannot make two hirelings attack the same enemy by luring
  • A lured monster is placed on the hireling's combat sheet
  • The lured monster will attack the hireling whose sheet it is on
  • A hireling on his own combat sheet does not reposition, or change tactics -- you choose what box he is in and which side he fights on, and those don't change
  • A hireling who lures a monster instantly becomes unhidden -- there is no way for a hidden hireling to attack an enemy without reprisal
  • In a given combat round, a hireling can be deployed to a single monster
  • However, any number of hirelings can be deployed to the same monster -- any number of hirelings can attack the same monster by deploying
  • Deployed natives are placed on the monster's combat sheet
  • The monster will attack one of the hirelings deployed to his sheet -- this will be the last hireling deployed to its sheet
  • A hireling on an enemy's sheet repositions and rolls to change tactics -- you cannot guarantee which maneuver is used, or which side his chit will be played on
  • A hireling who is deployed to a monster instantly becomes unhidden -- there is no way for a hidden hireling to attack an enemy without reprisal
Generally, what these rules mean is that if you can manage with a one-on-one battle between each hireling and a single enemy, you should lure, because you can then control the hireling's maneuver and whether they play light or dark side up. If you need multiple hirelings attacking a single creature, you need to deploy, but you lose the ability to control their maneuver and chit side -- once you deploy your hireling, they behave randomly (just like a monster) that combat round.

The Battle

So, let's run this battle and see what happens.

The Start of the Battle
I am not going to lure, so the monster will be "randomly" assigned to me. I will then deploy my native hirelings to the Tremendous Flying Dragon's sheet one at a time in the order (WHQ, W2, W1). Let's do this and see how our combat screen looks after.

Dragon's Sheet After Deployment
A couple things happened here. First thing is, the Dragon was taken off the Wood Girl's sheet and put on its own sheet. It is no longer going to attack the Woods Girl this round, instead it will attack the last hireling deployed to its sheet. As I deployed the Woodfolk, they went on the Dragon's sheet and you can see the order by looking at the blue section of the image. As I deployed them, they appeared from left to right -- WHQ, W2 and finally W1. Because W1 was the last hireling placed on the Dragon's sheet, he becomes the Dragon's target this round.

Notice we placed each archer dark-side up. This is because archer natives don't attack at all light-side up, and we need as many attacks as possible for this tactic to work. Now, we can't actually control if they stay dark-side up or not, but we know that the roll to change tactics is a 6 -- which comes up about 30% of the time in Magic Realm. Placing our archers dark-side up to begin the round gives them a 70% chance to stay that way through the end of the round.

Next thing we will do is alert the Woods Girl's bow with a FIGHT L4. Since she has no enemies on her sheet, any FIGHT chit will do. We then assign the Woods Girl's target and move onto the Position phase.

Round 1 -- Position Phase
It does not really matter where we position our forces this combat. Each archer will either undercut the Dragon, or not attack at all. Our attacks are all longer and faster than the Dragon's and so we will get the first shots. We have set this combat up so that all of our attacks get a chance to kill the Dragon. However, if none of our attacks kill the Dragon, it has a 2/3 chance of smoking poor, brave W1. All in all, we end up with a 43% chance of killing the dragon this round, a 38% chance of losing a hireling, and a 19% chance of no one dying.

Not awesome odds... but better than before.

Round 1 -- Result
So what happened? Well, first let's look at the repositioning rolls. Notice that the hirelings on the right-hand side share a single reposition roll, while the target hireling on the bottom gets his own roll. Mainly, this tells you to spread out your hirelings in the attack circles to maximize your chance to hit.

In this case, it didn't matter because as you can see, both natives on the right rolled a 6 on their change tactics roll, so they flipped and didn't attack at all. W1 rolled a 3 to change tactics, so he stayed dark-side up, undercutting the dragon. His missile roll was a 1, which increased his harm to H*, killing the beast!

We lucked out and won this fight without losing a single archer. Of course, there was no guarantee things would go so smoothly. The odds were barely in our favor Round 1, and if W1 died, the chances would shift in favor of the Dragon and pretty quickly spiral out of control.

I think I will end this one here. There is a little more to cover about deploying, but this has been stuck as a draft for a couple of weeks, so I want to get it out there. Keep checking back for more Magic Realm combat posts. In the near future, we will cover magic... and the even more mysterious horses!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Woods Girl Weeks 3 & 4

This post is the first in a set of posts: Part 1Part 2
And if you liked this, here is a previous let's play with the Amazon!

Last post I ran through 14 days with the Woods Girl. I ended up doing quite a bit of running around, but hadn't gained much in the way of victory points. Now, it is day 15 and I find myself in the middle of a very dangerous Cliff tile, having controlled a troupe of bats.

Day 15

I had to look up the rules for flying a controlled creature and it turns out, you need the creature to be following you for the day to record FLY phases. I intend to fly a bat out of here and see if I can find a safer, more lucrative hunting ground. I am also thinking of getting closer to the Chapel to get my Ashes curse removed and to sell the Sacred Statue. It won't get me into positive VP territory, but I will edge a little closer.

So, I am going to FLY to Nut Woods, because that ensures I will end up in a clearing that will get me to the Chapel, get the bat out of the way, and maybe I will find the Small Campfire there too and have a shot at getting my allies on the board.

Whatever happens, I will head to the Caves to see what lies there, and then to the Chapel to conduct the sale of the Sacred Statue and get my Ashes curse lifted. (The other two controlled bats will end up in Evil Valley just to get them out of the way if I ever return to the Cliff.)

Day 16-17

So, flying to the Nut Woods didn't really pay off. I found the Large Campfire, but that doesn't help me much. I am going to try to get to the Caves and so I record three MOVEs and a HIDE to end up in the Oak Woods. I will then record a MOVE and HIDE to check out the Caves.

Day 18

Not sure if my luck can get any worse as far as finding treasure sites. I indeed found the Lost City and two treasure sites. Unfortunately, the one closest to me is the Vault, which I cannot possibly open. At this point, I think I need to try for the Shrine, leaving enough time before the 28th to return to the Chapel.

I  head to Caves 3, and search for the passage. Any shot I have to win depends on my finding that passage quickly.

Day 19

Luckily, I manage to find the passage in a single day, so my path to the Shrine open. Unluckily, I also spawn two groups of goblins to the tile, blocking both the Shrine and my way out of here! With that monster roll, I have almost certainly lost the game.

Day 20

Darn Goblins
Alright, we are in a pretty bad spot, but let's see if we can make something of it before our time runs out. I am going to head northeast into the Bad Valley, see if I can kill the ghosts and then maybe take on the Heavy Dragons and Trolls to pad my score.

I boldly record two MOVES and stride into the Bad Valley. The ghosts are always prowling, so they pounce.

Round 1 Setup
The ghosts have a move speed of 4 which means even unhidden, I can ready my bow with a FIGHT L3*. I am covering my move to protect me from the ghost's attack. Although because it always comes with a random roll, covering your move with a missile weapon is a more dicey proposition -- even undercutting I only kill the ghost 2/3 of the time.

The reposition roll is a 4, so no one moves, and neither box changes tactics. Now, it just depends on my missile roll... which is a 3 for no change. The ghost takes L** harm and dies.

Round 1 Result
Sweet! Now, I play the identical move on the sole surviving ghost.

Round 2 Start
Everything goes our way in Round 2 and with a missile roll of 1, we kill the ghost.

Round 2 Result
The ghosts are dead and we gain 6 Notoriety.

Day 21-22

We quietly make our way to the Heavy Dragons, hoping our luck in battle will hold. On day 22, the Dragons prowl and come to me.

Round 1 Start
I will take a shot from hiding, hoping to get a kill -- but I have only a 1/3 chance to kill a heavy, armored target, so this is much more dangerous than the ghosts. I roll a 5 for the missile roll and the attack bounces impotently off the Dragon's scales. Worse, the Dragon flipped and with his new move speed of 3, I can no longer alert my bow, so I flee into the woods.

Day 23

I repeat my sneak attack with a similar result. This time the Dragon does not flip and so I will stay for a second round of combat.

Round 2 Start
We are a little luckier here, and our missile roll is a 1, killing the Dragon. Unfortunately, his buddy flips which will make my life a little harder.

Round 2 Result
On round 3, we are hoping to avoid the Dragon and miss, thus alerting our bow for round 4. There is a  5/18 chance that I die (or take a serious wound) here. A 1/18 chance to actually kill the Dragon with an errant shot, and a 2/3 chance that my bow is alerted and we move on to the next round.

Ouch... I get hit by the Dragon on its L4 side and take 3 wounds, and my bow is unalerted still. Fortunately, with my tactics as they are, I have quite a few MOVE chits to burn before my situation gets bad.

Round 4 is slightly better and both the Dragon and I miss each other. The Dragon also flips to his H4 side, so we are hopefully ready for a productive round 5.

Round 5 Start
We are once again hoping for a nice missile roll here... and we get it! A 1 increases our damage to H**, killing the Dragon.

Round 5 Result
Day 24-25

I am up to 18 Fame and 24 Notoriety from my dragon-slaying exploits. Still, I am short a tiny bit on Fame, and the darn Ashes curse means Gold is a big -10. Not much time left, but I see that the Trolls have left the Ruins, so I am going to make a run (literally, I am not HIDING at all) at the Hoard and see if I can find anything.

Day 26

I do reach Ruins 6 which contains the Hoard. I record 2 SEARCH phases and hope for the best. On the second SEARCH, I find the Hoard. That gives me two days to loot.

Day 27

I find the Eye of the Moon and the Amulet. The Eye is a medium weight treasure, which means it is really too heavy to carry and fight/run at the same time, but I with a single day remaining, am going to take it for the Notoriety and hope nothing attacks.

Day 28

I find... the Flowers of Rest and end the game with a whimper... falling into a blissful slumber. My final score is -12, mostly because of my Gold shortfall.


In retrospect, I probably should have played more aggressively at the beginning of the game, instead of rushing for points at the end.

Also, I am rethinking my previous stand on the ambush rules. If you are playing with standard combat, then bow have one disadvantage that melee combatants do not -- uncertainty. Any given combat round, you can hit your opponent and still suffer from a poor missile roll, and usually that will mean wounds or death. This is something the melee fighters needn't worry about. Using the ambush rule brings the Woods Girl and the Elf into that "Tier 1" fighter category, which I think is a good thing.