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Rats Overrun

Posted November 23rd, 2020 at 10:46 AM by Sylvano the Wasabus
I had been putting off this game for a while. I'm not sure why.

It's my solo game, we call it a big game, since it involves many factions and plays for months.

The rat men were an upstart faction, discovered by the Templars as they explored the area around their base. Our rules spawn random factions with random amounts of points at bases found through exploring. The Templars only had a small force and encountered a mass of rats and withdrew.

I like all the factions involved in this game. I've always been a Templar fan. York is one of the first custom factions I made and I have recently been adding to it. And who doesn't like rat men? They are always a problem to deal with but there's something charismatic about them.

York was also a randomly spawned base, but it had been overrun by rats and captured. The Templars were allied with York, so the guys in white came to the rescue. Combined- the remnant forces of York, 100 points, and the Templars, 220, they made a formidable army for early in the game.

The rats have 260 points, so was that almost even or slightly disadvantaged?

The bigger force always selects their army first. York sent all new untried figures; the Warwick Pikemen and a sketchy crossbow mercenary hero.

Templars chose the Brothers, who are solid troops equipped with heavy pike, one monk, and the Dawn Breakers. They're untried as well. They have 3A and Double Attack, so I had big hopes for them even if they only have 3D.

I've long been fascinated by breaker troops. They were a highly specialized unit sent out to break the lines of heavy enemy formations. It was dangerous and deadly work. They used tricks and wild strategies and generally didnít survive for very long.

The rat units were easy to choose. They have a standard strategy. The Bergen Slaves are throwaway units. They have 4M, 1A and 1D but they can combine attacks with other rats for 2 or 3A. At 25 points for a squad of three they are ridiculously cheap. The Storm Vermin are heavy rats, 3A, 3D. And the rats all have a special which allows them to put two figures in one hex. When they engage you canít escape and they come at you with twice as many attacks.

The humans won initiative and took the field. I was confident. I made a line with the Brothers in the center and the Breakers on one side and the Warwick Pike on the other. The mercenary hero stood behind, his crossbow loaded and ready.

They watched the rats come. In retrospect I probably should have taken archers and started killing the vermin as soon as they were in range. One extra turn of killing would have helped. The rats finished approaching, their move turn leaving them two hexes away from the human line.

We attacked. I uncurled the edges of the line so that every man had rats in front of them and we reaped. Eight little vermin bodies were ground underfoot. The Dawn Breakers killed five. The crossbow mercenary fired at one of the Storm Vermin and missed. Never trust a mercenary.

Then it was the rats' turn. They swarmed the line and attack again and again. A few humans fell.
And that's the way it went. The humans killed a pile of rats, and the rats slaughtered a few men, every single turn. But there were more rats, even though the humans had more points, and the numbers told. Soon just a handful of men struggled against a much larger rat force. And then the humans were overrun.

I was a little stunned. I'd hoped for the Templars and York to win. York is now out of the game. The Templars are weak- they only have two bases generating points, while the rats have three. The closest faction are Drow, and somehow I don't think they'll side with the Templars.

Perhaps I should have used mages, but magic is expensive and is still early days in the game and the points are low. Maybe I should have taken archers. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Outside today we are having our first snow. It's beautiful, but it does make you feel trapped and a little hopeless, especially in this pandemic. A friend's brother died of COVID last night. He went from walking around fine to hospital to dead in three days. It was shocking. Forgive me for comparing his death to my game, but Iím sure thatís how it must have felt for the forces facing the rats. Fine, then hopeful, then scary, and then desperate. And finally, cold.
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