Battleground Fantasy Warfare: Dwarves of Runegard
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The Dwarves of Runegard combine stalwart infantry with the mystic power of runes kept sacred for generations. Control the battlefield with might and magic while ballistae devastate your enemies from afar.
Battleground Fantasy Warfare is a point-based tabletop tactical wargame in which units are represented by cards. This deck contains all the cards two players need to play.
(This is a review of two of the armies for Battlegrounds. I’ve already reviewed the game elsewhere – this is just a discussion of those armies.)
The units included in this army are Bowmen, Crossbowmen, Hammermen, Militia, Axemen, Battleaxemen, Ballista, Shortbeards, Longbeards, Spearmen, Miners, and Antonian Horsemen (the only unit that is not Dwarven in race).
The stats for the units are about what you would expect from a traditional Dwarf army. The entire army is slow as molasses, with only the Horsemen able to move farther than 2.5 inches. On the flipside, they can take a good amount of damage – eight of the unit types can take twelve damage before running. Their courage is fairly high for the most part, hovering around 12; but their armor is amazing, making them some of the best units to get into close combat.
My personal favorite of the bunch is the stalwart Longbeards. These slightly expensive warriors (394 points) pass all fear checks and have some of the best toughness of the game. They are easily the center of the line, but in reality there are going to be very few weak points in the Dwarf line. The Shortbeards are the cheapest unit, but they can hold their own fairly well, although they do pale compared to the regular army. With little cavalry, the Dwarven army isn’t going to be one that outflanks the opponent. Instead, they must use archers (or the wonderful Ballista) to back up their line and simply crunch the opponent.
At first, I was a bit wary of using the Dwarves, as I felt that the strategy would be limited – simply run up and engage the enemy. But two things changed my mind.
Without a doubt, the Umenzi are the most varied army thus far in the game (even more than the Undead), making them very fascinating to play. The units included in this army are the Spearmen, the Javelineers, the Warriors, High Priests, Chosen, Beserkers, Initiates, Worthy, Possessed, the Atlatlmen, the Shaman, and the Giant War Elephant.
Let’s get the Elephant out of the way first, since it’s all people are going to notice. I don’t think I’ll ever field a Umenzi army without it, if only for the sheer grandiose “coolness” of it. It’s the first “Colossal” unit in the game, which means that it is composed of two cards, is easier to hit (anyone on the table can most likely see it), and tougher to wound. It’s also “Terrifying”, which is similar to “Fearsome” from the original game, except that Fearsome units are afraid of it, and normal units make a fear check against it at “-1”. One pays dearly to get this sucker on the table (523 points!), and it’s difficult to maneuver – but who cares! It’s an elephant, although it closely resembles the giant elephantish monsters from Return of the King. It can make two attacks – a close combat attack, as well as a ranged attack from the archers on its back. If you see one of these in your opponent’s army, it’s time to weep. My new favorite unit in the game, it has sixteen hit points!
The other units are interesting, as many of them have low morale checks. However, if they are within the leadership range of some of the other units (such as Shamans, Worthy, Chosen , and High Priests), their morale goes up to a much stronger level. This encourages the Umenzi player to keep their leaders in key positions, even if they are weaker – only to encourage the other units. Berserkers don’t need to be near leaders, as they pass all morale checks. Sadly, this is balanced by the fact that they always have the Close standing order. Possessed are some of the cheapest units in the game (77 points), but are easily destroyed and get few bonuses. Javelineers are neat in that they have a small short-range attack but can also make this attack freely when making a final charge into close combat.
Shamans and High Priests are where it’s all at, however. They can be given a special “Follow” order, which allows them to move towards the nearest friendly unit – out of danger. This is nice, since they are pathetically weak and easily destroyed. More importantly, however, is the fact that they can cast one spell per turn if they were not engaged this turn. The four spells are:
The army also has the ability of “Faith Armor”. Like the dwarves, the Umenzi may check a box they have on each unit card to cancel the next point of damage, erasing that mark instead. The Possessed and Elephant don’t have this ability, but it really comes in handy for the other units – especially the vulnerable High Priest. The deck for the Umenzi is as varied as the army, with some “Devotion” cards in it, allowing them to play havoc with the opposing army. Examples:
While I’ve talked at quite lengths about the Umenzi, and I LOVE the elephant, they are a difficult army to utilize. An opponent can easily cripple them by killing off the High Priests and other leaders, then picking apart the remainder. The theme of them is a refreshing addition to this fantasy game – that of mystic tribal forces from Africa.
Dwarves are easy to use but have more options than initially appear. They are slow, but tough and strong. Umenzi are not for beginners, but offer some really interesting combinations, and have a very unique feel.
I think I like Dwarves a little better, although I’m still sticking with my Undead army; unless I can use that Elephant. Then I’m always happy.
“Real men play board games”