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Re: The Book of Ash Williams (Public Playtesting)

Spoiler Alert!

Army Test 1
- Does it pass, Yes or No? yes
- What should be the unit's point value? Despite a mix of some good and bad luck, this game came down to the wire so I’m feeling pretty good about 150 here.
- Give a brief preview. This test is all about limiting the downside to Army of Darkness by pairing Ash up with a bunch of common squad figures, a couple of 1 life heroes, and a low defense high life figure like Catwoman. Since Shocker is the one Thief that doesn’t fit that profile here he’ll bring up the rear while Wasp, Ant-Man, & Catwoman lead the charge with the Fire Ants, and some Crooks. If Shocker needs to join the fight before Ash goes down he will, with several groups of trees on this board so I’ll try to make good use of his SA. Ash needs to be near the fight but since clear sight isn’t needed to turn opponents into demons he’ll try to stay out of view of the archers if he can. Then only emerge once a few demons are in play to attack. Buffy will serve as clean-up, hopefully facing several demons and her Chosen one foe Batman (who is the other armies clean up figure).
Map: Palace Gardens
Units: Ash @150, Buffy, Crime Alley Crooks x3, Catwoman I, Shocker, Ant-Man (Eric), Fire Ant x3, Wasp (1000) vs. Batman (Jean-Paul), Robin (Tim), Black Canary, Green Arrow (Ollie), Red Arrow, Huntress (1000)
Spoiler Alert!

Recap: Through the first 4 and a half rounds nothing too crazy happened, just a lot of moving and dice rolling. Wasp did score 2W on Huntress before Huntress killed her but otherwise the Vigilantes were slowly cleaning up the Crooks & Insects without much to note, then suddenly Catwoman takes out Black Canary with her whip. Ant-Man was inspired and socked Red Arrow for 2W too. Both Black Canary & Red Arrow were rolling pretty terrible attack dice, never chaining any attacks together. Catwoman is hitting a lot of Vanish rolls though and when Ash comes out to fight his defense dice rolls end up being ridiculous. Huntress rolled 3 skulls on 3 dice for her SA twice in a row and Ash rolled 3 shields then 4 shields to completely block both, Robin then att. Ash from HG for 2 skulls and he blocked that too. This is after he took only 1W from a 4 skull attack by Green Arrow. Ash dispatches Green Arrow and blocks another double attack from Huntress (2 skulls rolled on 3 dice both times), Robin finally draws blood. Ash then finished off Robin & Huntress ends Ash. Ant-Man takes off towards Batman as he wants nothing to do with Huntress, Huntress lets him go and takes out Catwoman then goes after last Crooks & Shocker. Crooks get wiped out but Shocker takes down Catwoman. Shocker set up on High Ground but Batman still takes him out while only taking 1W in return (from a tree falling on him). Batman then takes down Ant-Man and goes after Buffy. Buffy deals 2W to Batman before going down herself, making this a photo finish.
Army Test 2
- Does it pass, Yes or No? yes
- What should be the unit's point value? This game ended up being a blowout but that had a lot more to do with his allies than it did with Ash. Iron Patriot took 4W early and Hellboy couldn’t roll any skulls on his attack dice. Ash had fairly good showing though.
- Give a brief preview. The plan here is to boost Hellboy’s melee attack up to 8 by turning some of the Wrecking Crew into demons. To limit the fall out of the drawbacks of that plan I limited Ash’s allies to just two figures and the one I’m going to be leading the charge with (Iron Patriot, since his bonding requires him to deal W’s) might have a negative impact on the opponents team (OM chaos if they lose initiative). Wrecking Crew is going to be a little tougher to deal with for Ash so he’ll try to wait to join the fight until one has become a demon and then focus on that one.
Map: Palace Gardens
Units: Ash @150, Hellboy, Iron Patriot (800) vs. Wrecking Crew (800)
Spoiler Alert!

Recap: Iron Patriot flew out to secure ultimate high ground in the middle of the board, so the Wrecking Crew decides to stick close together while moving around some LOS blockers and keeping just out of range. The hope here is that IP gets impatient and leaves his perch. IP loses initiative in the first two rounds though so his plans for his allies gets messed up, as a result IP just stays put since he doesn’t have Hellboy there to back him up yet. Thunderball decides to rush IP and try to unseat him with his SA and scores a hit right away, knocking him off his perch. Bulldozer then charges IP and Headbutts him from HG for 3W! IP is in trouble but manages to score 1W on Thunderball and motivates Hellboy to join the fight, he shoots Bulldozer for 1W. IP wins initiative, Hellboy moves up adj. to Bulldozer, IP att. Thunderball but gets blocked. Piledriver moves up to engage Hellboy. WC chain together several attacks, Thunderball takes out IP. Hellboy is taking a beating while not doing much on attack so it’s looking pretty bad here, then IP returns from the dead to join the WC, the WC lose initiative and all OM’s are moved to Bulldozers card. Hellboy can take out all the OM’s for this round with a good att. roll but again he rolls below average and deals just 1W as a result. Bulldozer runs away to save the OM’s and takes 1W from a LEA. Hellboy is an utter failure at life. Bulldozer charges Hellboy and headbutts him down to 1 life. Ash doesn’t want to take out IP right now, so he takes a LEA (1W), takes down Bulldozer (w/OM3 on his card), then att. Piledriver too. WC wins initiative but Piledriver fails to take out Hellboy. IP engages Ash and hits him pretty hard, which motivates Piledriver into finishing Hellboy off. Ash takes down IP, Wrecker fails to take down Ash, but Piledriver rises to the challenge and takes him out.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed making armies with Ash as I was able to consider some of my underused favorites like Zauriel and Hellboy, while trying to figure out ways to also minimize the risk. I initially tried to work Ash into a Frankenstein army to boost his sword power, but quickly realized that I wouldn’t want to have most of his Creature allies resurrected and used against me. For example, Mr. Hyde has a healing power so having him join my opponents’ army while wounded could soon into a full life ally. As for my attempts to minimize risk, the first use of common squads and 1 life heroes worked out well as I was able to go 7 rounds with only having the 1 life Wasp available for resurrection, unfortunately I couldn’t roll a 9 or lower. Then the second attempt proved pretty successful as Iron Patriot joined the opponent’s team and instantly messed up their Order Marker placement. I had another idea that involved the Sinestro Corps Soldiers since I could burn all their markers while they were on my team and then they’d be returned without any markers for my opponent. Pretty much any Green Lantern would be a good ally for the same reasons.

Ash then makes an effective mid-game hero, you want him to enter the battle once your opponent is already focused on other units. I found reasons to use both this SA and normal attacks. On the double attack, I used it to attack two different figures as long as the first one attacked was a demon, but then I realized later that I didn’t make the 2nd attack after using his SA on a demon. I think I assumed the double attack only applied to normal attacks but reading the power again shows me that it does not make that restriction so I could make two SA per round if the first one was on a Demon. As such the ability to turn your opponent’s figures into demons is pretty significant as it greatly increases Ash’s attack power. If you are looking to tweak the design at all, I’d like to see it easier for Ash to turn his opponents into demons (ie. make the d20 roll hit more often) as pairing Ash up with other demon hunters is really a lot of fun, but then the bonus he gets less impactful to balance it (maybe just -1 def. without the double attack or restricting the double attack to just normal attacks?). Fun card though either way.
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