Monday, June 8, 2015

Reavers of the Weird Microgame

North Texas RPG Con was naturally a ton of fun, productive even. I won't rub it in. Much.

The ancient and obscure boardgame I brought for our beer and pretzels evening, King of the Mountain, though interesting looking was chocked full of way too many quirky exception rules and I quickly vetoed my own idea after a read through. The half-giant Robert Parker had the bright idea of adapting my old By This Axe campaign idea, the Reavers of the Weird for a quick evening game and I shaved it down on the fly into what is now a microgame.

Jason Sholtis, Trey Causey, Andrea, Mike Davison set down to a crazed anarchic evening of stealing, conniving, villager humiliating and murdering. In other words it was great.

So here's a game for you.

Background and Set-Up
Countless centuries of gavelkind succession laws have cranked up the fractionalizing, autarkic, hair-splitting pettiness—so typical of life in places with a foot in the Weird--to a feverish pitch in the Translittoral Canton of Hoimatbuch. That chilly, windy easternmost bastion of the Overkingdom is further plagued by a strangely-virile nobility creating a maddening over-proliferation of hyphen-crazy micro-fiefdoms as each holding is divided equally among the male children of each line.

You are the holder of one of these tiny sub-divided micro-states, your neighbor is a similar such asshole. You both want to kill and take each other's stuff, but are limited to the rules of low-intensity warfare that the Overking imposes.

Each player as part of his squalid little holding receives a livestock corral, a village filled with tax-paying chumps, a blood-apricot orchard, a swollen (yet strangely beautiful) prize pig and a charming (almost), rustically-decorated, black-timbered manor house. Ridding your opponent of his or her assets being the object of the campaign.

Each player receives eight footmen, four archers and three mounted. The actual figures can be (and should be if you want to bring the full gonzo) just about anything. In fact the game is abstracted enough that just about any playing pieces can be used with each manor locale either having a terrain representation or even just a notecard.

The Campaign Turn
Each turn (roughly a fortnight) the player can elect to mount 0-1 offensive actions (see below) and as many defensive actions as he cares. All actions are considered to occur simultaneously. The campaign ends after six turns and victory points are computed.

The players have five minutes at the beginning of each turn to wheel and deal among themselves. Reserves can be combined for joint defense. Attacks are never jointly conducted but players can gang up to conduct multiple individual attacks in a turn.

Players write down their offensive and defensive actions for the turn and reveal them at the beginning of the turn--or pass them to the umpire if you have one. Raids are resolved clockwise from the lowest initiative rolling player each round.
The dreaded Cantonal Lummox. Special rule coming soon.

Offensive Actions
Each turn can assign a leader or general and accompanying units to conduct a raid (each force must have a leader). He picks one of the options from below.
Steal Livestock
Humiliate Villagers
Burn Blood-Apricot Orchards

Defensive Actions
Each turn the player also assigns his non-raiding units (again each must have two or more to various locales.
Assign Guards to Livestock
Assign Guards to Village
Assign Guards to Orchard
Assign Reserve (assign figures to serve as a reserve for pursuits and defense)
Buy Reinforcements (usable on the fourth term to buy five new Footmen, see Victory Point penalty)

Combat occurs when a raid is caught (see Raid Resolution). All raids end with either the death of one side or the retreat of the attacker. The attacker may retreat at the beginning of each round but is forced to suffer a free attack from any archers or mounted left among the defenders.

Combat goes in rounds and is simultaneous. Archers get a free attack in the turn before melee starts. Each round the players roll to hit and pass the dice with hits to their opponent for saves. The defender chooses which figures to allot saves to.

To Hit on a d6
Archers 5,6
Footmen 5,6
Mounted 4,5,6

To Save
Archers 6
Footmen 5,6
Mounted 4,5,6

Raid Resolution
Raider rolls d6 when on a raid to see what resistance she faces.

-1 Raiding Force has 1-4 figures
-1 Raiding Force all mounted
0- Get Away Scot Free (Roll on Plunder)
1 Escape with No Plunder (No Effect)
2-3 Fight Locale Guard Only (Victorious Raider Rolls for Plunder)
4 Fight Locale Guard and 30% of Reserve (Victorious Raider Rolls for Plunder)
5 Fight Locale Guard and 60% of Reserve (Victorious Raider Rolls for Plunder)
6+ Fight Locale Guard and 100% of Reserve
Victorious raider roll a d6 on the follow charts.
-1 Raiding Force has 2-4 figures
+1 Raiding Force has 11 and over figures

Livestock Raid
1- Nothing stolen
2-3 1d6 animals stolen
4 2d6 animals stolen
5 3d6 animals stolen
6+ 3d6 animals stolen plus Prize Pig or Fine Horse

Village Humiliation
1- Local folk laugh and ask “is that all you got?”
2 Village idiot forced to wear Eld helmet
3 Blacksmith tarred and feathered
4 Village headman (notable) cuckolded
5 Local temple Sun Lord priest (notable) beard shaved
6+ Relative of Boyar (notable) speckled with dung

Orchard Burning
1-3 Fire doesn't catch
4-5 Orchard burned
6+ Fire spreads to other orchard. Two orchards burned.

Add up after six turns. The highest score wins.
+1 VP for each pig in possession
+5 VP for each Prize Pig
-2 VP for each village commoner of yours humiliated
-3 VP for each village notable of yours humiliated
-5 VP for taking reinforcements
-5 VP for each orchard burned

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