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Dragon Rampant, Friday February 23, Discover Games, Fayetteville, GA

In a recent game of Dragon Rampant my friends and I demonstrated the fluidity of the rules. In 4-player game, we had Undead and Zulu warriors fighting against some lizardmen and their ratmen and giant allies.

In Dragon Rampant, you’ve got various categories of troops (elite foot, light foot, warbeasts, etc.) each with their own special abilities and rules. When building your warband you assign you miniatrues to this categories and play.

Something similiar happens in Lion Rampant, where you have 6-figure units and 12 figure units. 6-figure units are elite types and cavalry. But in Dragon Rampant, as 12-figure units of “Bellcose” foot can be represented by a smaller number of figures, like this:

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A skeletal equiceph with battered skeletal troll from the old WotC “Chainmail” game move through some woods.

We didn’t share our armies lists beforehand, so players found it hard to gauge what they were going up against. For example, those giant skeletons had the same stats as their Zulu allies (bellicose foot) but for a couple extra points they caused Fear and had Undead stats (harder to route, but easier to wound).

This old Games Workshop miniature became a Greater Warbeast in Dragon Rampant, with heavy armor and a penchant to wildly charge the enemy.

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The Saurian king rides forth…

We played two games. In the first the undead and the Zulus lost their leaders, we also had some confusion over the rules (it had been awhile since most of us played (Dragon Rampant), let alone a game with more than two players.

Our first goof was handling charges: the rules permit only one charge at a time. Combat resolution takes place immediately during the charging units turn.

Another goof was the 3″ inch ruleIf you every play Dragon Rampant, make sure all of your units remain 3″ apart, and give your units plenty of room to maneuver. In the first game lots of bottlenecks happened because we didn’t grasp this rule. Units can take damage each round if they violate this rule, even in close proximity to friendly units.

The second game when much smoother. We used a scenario from the rule book where you try to capture gems. Here the Zulus really shined. The lizardmen bashed the undead, though. I was down to a unit of skeletons and a unit of undead cavalry but the time the zulus captured the last gem, which won the game for our side.

Both games were a lot of fun–especially the second. One player moved one of his Lizardman units within 2″ of a gem, but just could not activate it again for that final push.

This might be my only complaint with Dragon Rampant. Those activation rolls can really hurt you if you’ve got a string of bad luck. In normal game, if you fail to activate a unit, your entire turn ends, even if you haven’t tried to active the remain units in your warband.

Among all the games of Dragon Rampant and Lion Rampant, this was the first time I didn’t fail my very first activation roll. I blew my activation rolls the last time I played.

Things to remember for next time:

  • Remember that 3″ inch rule.
  • Modify scenarios to handle games with more than two people.
  • Half players identify unit types (especially reduced model units) beforehand so there are no surprises.

I look forward to playing Dragon Rampant again.