Monday, August 21, 2017

Widower's Wood, Chapter One

OMGOMGOMG!!!  Finally, about a month after my Widower's Wood Kickstarter arrived at my door, we finally got to play the first chapter of the game!!!  As veteran Warmachine/ Hordes players, we were ready to lay some hurt down on the Gatormen rampaging around Widower's Wood.  Unfortunately, being unused to the differences between the tabletop miniatures battles game and the new board game systems, we made some pretty big mistakes, mostly with how much damage we were taking (we took a whole lot more than we had too, as you will see, haha). But even so it WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!  Everything about the game is well thought out, from the background story, to the characters you can play, chapter missions... all of it!  So!  Let's take a look at this amazing game and our experience playing through the first chapter.

Pretty game, no?

The Game:
     Widowers Wood, by Privateer Press, follows the adventures of Olo, Agata, Skarg, and Vaskis (plus kickstarter extras Victor Pendrake, Lanyssa Ryssyl, and wolf team Crede & Jagger) as they seek to prevent the mad ritual of a crazy, water fearing Gatorman witch doctor as he tries to unleash unspeakable evil upon the swamps.  The Widower's Wood is a small stretch of marshy wilderness outside the walls of Corvis, which harbors all manner of creature, from simple bog trogs to wild Tatzelworms, not to mention Gatormen, Croaks, and tribes of Farrow.

     There are four main characters and three kickstarter characters in Widowers Wood.  You can interchange them as you please, but just to get the feel for the game we have decided to begin by using the main four.  Let's take a look at them.

Olo -
Olo is the main man of Widower's Wood. A Croak Hunter, he and his family (his wife Burita and his five newly hatched polliwogs) have recently moved to the Widower's Wood to evade the current unrest in the wild areas of Cygnar.  When his family is attacked by a Gatorman witch doctor named Rasheldonak who has been a friend until now, Olo must embark on a quest to stop the witch doctor's evil plans and make the wood safe again for his family.

Agata -
Agata is a Farrow Slaughterhauser, belonging to a tribe that lives in the Widower's Wood.  The Bone Grinder of the tribe often trades with Olo for things the Croak Hunter has gathered in the swamps.   But one day, the Gatorman Witch Doctor Rasheldonak pays a visit to the tribe, and slaughters the tribe, harvesting their body parts for a great ritual he is planning.  Fate or luck was with Agata when the doctor was unable to remove her face mask, forcing him to leave before harvesting her organs, and leaving her alive.  Now, Agata has teamed up with Olo, ready to take revenge for her fallen tribe.

Skarg -
A consummate warrior, Skarg the Voracious is a Tharn hunter.  His only goal is to find prey worthy of offering to the Devourer Worm, and proving his might in the process.  Intrigued by the sheer volume of destruction that Rasheldonak has brought to the Widower's Wood, Skarg agrees to come with Olo and Agata and assist them as a tracker, for the honor of hunting down the rogue witch doctor and whatever he may summon from the swamps as a gift to the Devourer.

Vaskis -
The Blackclads are a enigmatic group that watches over the vast wild areas of Western Immoren.  Vaskis, the Knotkeeper, has been charged with overseeing the Widower's Wood.  As Rasheldonak persues his mad scheme, the wood more and more is placed in danger of destruction.  Though the Druids of the Circle Oroboros prefer to work alone, Vaskis has decided to join the small group of heroes that are trying to stop the crazed Gatorman and guide them in their mission.

Chapter One:  It Takes A Village
  The four heroes decided to pay a visit to Rasheldonak's former village in an attempt to find where the Witch Doctor has gone.  Long ago, the Gatorman village cast the Witch Doctor out due to his mental instability and the strange aversion to water that plagues him.  However, it's the best chance they have of tracking him down.  As they enter the village, they are ambushed by bog trogs, herded by two Gatorman brutes.  Knowing that Trogs are often the unwilling pawns of the Gators, the heroes must try to kill off the Gator, and hope that the grateful Trogs will be able to give them information.

Chapter one set up and ready to go
And the game begins!  First, set up the board.  The game starts with the heroes together near the middle of the board, while the bog trogs and a Mist Speaker surround them.  Waiting in the reserves are several more spear carrying Bog Trogs, a few Mist Speakers, and some Gobber Pirates.  For every Mist Speaker killed, an XP is added to the clock tile on the edge of the game board.  When there are four XP on the clock, the Gatormen are deployed and the finale begins.  To win, the heroes must kill the Gatormen before time runs out.  In this scenario, there are seven rounds to fill the clock, engage the finale, and kill the Gatormen.

Game turns - 
Each round begins by turning over a card from the Event Deck.  The Event cards are special conditions for what the environment is each round as our heroes battle through the swamp.  For example, the Ominous Silence card has no special effects, while the Ripples in the Water card spawns a deadly enemy near the hero who rolls worst.  Then, each player takes their turn.
Round 1, GO!

Player turn - 
There are three parts to a player turn.  First, at the start of EVERY player's turn, they spawn a villain by a dice roll that determines type of villain and spawn site.   EVERY TIME!!!  That means in a four player game, villains spawn FOUR TIMES A ROUND!!! At the beginning, it's not that bad, but believe me, it gets out of control very quickly!!!  And if you run out of monsters to spawn, then the monsters get an extra activation... ugh!
Villains waiting in the wings

After the spawn, it's the hero's turn.  To start, movement!  It's a little different from a standard Hordes game... for instance, there is no "run" movement.  You can walk one space, or charge two, but only if there is a target you can reach.  After movement, there is the action phase.  This ranges from attempting a stat challenge, making an attack, using feat cards to make some superhuman, epic move... you know, the good stuff!  Then, you draw an extra feat card if you have less than three in your hand, and end with .... VILLAIN ACTIVATION!!!  Dum dum DUM!!  Because they haven't have enough chances to ruin our plans!
Event deck, character sheets, Villain actions, and the villan reserve
Our heroes moved onto the field of battle, hopes high!  Everything seemed to be going so well.  All four of the heroes spread out in their own directions, which was a BIG mistake!  Suddenly, with all of the villain activations and spawns, our two support characters, Olo and Vaskis, were cut off from the tanks of Skarg and Agata, and began taking some pretty heavy damage!  (Okay, so we got the rules for damage in Widower's Wood and Hordes kind of mixed up and took quite a bit more damage than we should have),  The big lesson here, never leave the support characters by themselves in a sea of bog trogs... especially when there are mist speakers around.  Those guys are vicious!
Vaskis, are you napping?  GET UP!!!
We were having so much fun (except for Vaskis... he actually got incapacitated since he was left on his own), that we kind of underestimated how many turns we had before we straight up lost the game... all of a sudden, we were half way through the event deck, and hadn't started the finale yet!  We had to get a move on!  But finally, the fourth Mist Speaker fell, and the clock was full!
Fill up that clock!

Agata used her restorative potion on Vaskis to get him back into the fight, and we made a bit more of an effort to get rid of the mist speakers.  Luckily, one of the Gatormen spawned right next to Agata, who managed to take care of it using a combination of her Great Strength powers and feat cards!  However, the other Gatorman was a bit more of a problem.  It gave Skarg a bit of a beating, and we wasted a few more precious rounds trying to seal the deal...
Agata chops up some Gator for lunch.
Finally, it came down to the final turn.  We either had to kill that Gatorman, or even with all of our hard work (and massive pile of XP we had earned killing off Bog Trogs and Mist Speakers) we were going to lose.  Imagine!  Losing the very first chapter of the campaign!  That was definitely not the way we wanted to start our adventure through Widower's Wood... That was it!  We were going to make it work, even if it took a crazy play!  The Commissar has SPOKEN!!!  Olo and Vaskis did what they could, but as starting level characters, they didn't have the ability to really hurt the Gatorman.  Next, Skarg took his turn.  Skarg is a brutal fighting machine, and we were totally expecting him to make sausage out of this Gator, but we didn't count on one thing... tough.  The bane of heroes everywhere... Skarg was successful in his attack, but the Gator was tough enough to shrug it off, and proceeded to slash and bite Skarg to pieces in his retaliation during the villian action... poor Skarg.  He managed to hold on with a single wound left...
Skarg becomes a Gatorman chew toy.
So it all came down to the last activation of the game.  If Agata could pull it off, we would win.  If she couldn't, then we would lose.  Using her Great Power, she charged over the rough terrain that blocked her from the Gatorman.  A roll of the dice, and she managed to hit!  Okay, here is where Skarg's attacks went wrong.  We needed a roll of 6 or higher to wound the Gatorman, but there was a pretty big chance that he would make his tough roll and shrug off the damage, and we would lose.  Now, in Widower's wood, if the damage roll was more than four greater the enemy's armor value, then you would do super damage, which is two damage points.  Tough can only soak one damage point, so if Agata rolled a 10 or greater on two D6, we would win.  Dice down..... rolling around.... came up .... 11!!!!!!!  That's it, Ladies and Gentlemen, at the very last second, in the very last attack possible, our valiant heroes managed to defeat the second Gatorman, and win the day!
Piggy Power!  Agata saves the day!
Conclusion - 
     This is a great game!  We learned a lot, and the next chapter should go a little bit more smoothly.  Big lessons this time... don't leave support characters by themselves, and don't forget how many rounds you have to wrap up the victory.   We spent a while after the game was done looking at the abilities that we could buy with the huge pile of XP we accumulated, so we'll have a little more control over our next adventure into the Widower's Wood.
Look at all that XP!
 Great game, Privateer Press!  Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. It's a fun game! It combines bits from old classics like Descent with a bit of the horde-control feel you get in Zombicide, and layers the more nuanced combat mechanics of Warmachine on those bones.