Wednesday, 7 October 2015

First games of Open Combat fantasy skirmish rules

I bought the Open Combat rules late last years and they sort of just laid there, un-played and forgotten. Then after the summer I dusted them off, read them through, got my son David to read them too and we finally got a game in.
Thankfully my camera ran out of battery-power half-way into the game…
The set-up. Heroes start on this side and the evil intruders start on the far side
The heroes defending their crypt
Lots of evil elven intruders. They should stay up in the sun and leave us be!
Our heroes. Rudely woken from their sleep.
Here we go. To defend what is rightfully ours
Cowards. Staying in formation and having a plan.
Things are looking good. We're in battle. What could possibly go wrong now?
Oops. That mummy was pushed back by a hailstorm of arrows. 
The battery gave up at this stage, and that was a good thing. 
The game is D6 based and it is a bad thing to roll 1:s in attacks. If you only roll 1:s the turn goes to the opposition. When you take a chance with a lousy one-dice-attack you have a one-in-six chance of loosing your turn. A two-dice-attack lowers the risk to one-in-36. 
It is not a good idea to loose your turn before most of your men has activated.
I rolled double ones two turns in a row... early...
I'm glad the camera didn't capture my crushing defeat.
(Okay, my son David played an excellent game also. But those double ones... they sealed my fate)

A couple of days later we got a four-ways game in at the club. Me, David, log time gaming buddy Thomas and Gunnar (of the Cult of Ra in our Pulp Alley Campaign at the club). Our intention was to test the rules as only David and I had played them at all earlier.
We all had one border edge to enter from and then the mayhem began. The objective was to be last man standing.
The set up. My courageous undead heroes enter from the left board edge. Evil Elves (David) from the near. Equally evil hill giant and his orc and goblin minions (Thomas) from the right edge. Rat men (Gunnar) from the far edge.
The elves and undead face off imediately.
While the hill giant and rat men harass each other.
Just one door-way between elves and undead. Lots of blows with little results. But my Wights use their intimidate ability to weaken the elves.
The elven-undead fracas goes on while some rat men advances towards the battle. The rat men gets attacked by the hill giant that proves to be a formidable opponent. His attacks forces the rat man leader out in the open where he gets pelted by elven arrows. Hehehehe
Just one narrow doorway...
Two orcs enter the fight from behind the elves. Bad news for them.
And most of the rat men joins the fracas. There is also that hill giant coming this way.
The elves gets wiped out (or rather they loose more than half their strength and the remainder flees the battle). Undead versus rat men now. My wights weakens the rat men so much that my soldiers make short work of them.  The remainder flees also.
Just the giant and his gang left to take care of. The giant himself takes the brunt of undead attacks and weakened by wight mind-tricks he succumbs and the final intruders flee.
It is once more quiet in the catacombs. The undead rests and this time there are more of them...
From these first games we felt that there is a bit of balancing issues in the game.
Archers (or rather missile troops) seem very powerful. Maybe because weren’t very strict with when a shot was possible or not. If we were stricter and disallowed shots for example crossing own miniatures bases then that could possibly be avoided.
The ability Intimidate, used by my wights, was extremely powerful. It could be less effective it was used as a missile weapon attack, that is, it could not be used into close combat and stricter rules on what could be targeted.
There is also quite a lot of book-keeping that might take something away from the game and some other issues.
Too soon to say if this is a game that we will play regularly or if Song of Blades and Heroes or Frostgrave will take its place. Otherworld Fantasy Skirmish is also there, at the horizon.
I guess we’ll need a couple of more games and we’re also looking forward to the new expanded rules-book coming soon.

We used the excellent cardstock terrain and gaming mat from the Battle Systems Fantasy Dungeon Terrain kickstarter. Great as we could set it up in a couple of minutes, it easily covers a board and looks good also. It will be possible to buy it directly from Battle Systems in about a months time if you’re interested.

By the way, Battle Systems runs an Urban Apocalypse terrain kickstarter now. It looks very useful for your Mars Attacks/zombie/modern urban combat games. Well worth a look and it closes on October 19.


  1. I agree about the rules, we need to run a few more games, probably after the finished rules come out to see if it will hold up in the long run, but it gave a good, fun game. And I am still a bit sorry for stabbing Gunnar in the back. But just a bit.

    1. Well, I'm very satisfied with crushing you all!

  2. Seems to be the way of the world...sons always beating fathers! Great terrain!

    I backed the Open Combat Kickstarter (there's a surprise!) but am waiting till I get the book in print before giving the rules a try. As you say...there are plenty of other fantasy skirmish option at the moment so the bar is set high! That said I'm a big fan of rules that allow you to make up any kind of warband you like!

    1. Both Thomas and I backed it also and are awaiting the revised rules. As you say, what really drives me to these ruleas are the way you can field anything you've got painted.

  3. I know your pointing out thinks that didn't seem to work right Joakim & that's always very important but it still came across as a fun kind of game, but would you be so kind as to tell me are there scenarios or missions of some kind ?

  4. It was an enjoyable game all right and we will play more games in the future.
    There are three different scenarios in the version 1 rules book. A standard bash-your-enemy, one where you grab treasure and the final one where you try to capture live 'treasure', be it livestock, villagers or whatnot. No campaign.
    The v.2 rules-book will hit us soon and I think there will be more scenarios and maybe a campaign. Check for more info here: