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Author Topic: Warmaster vs Mayhem  (Read 2908 times)

Offline Samsonov

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2017, 10:05:06 AM »
Big fan of Warmaster but I usually use the ancients rules and make my army lists using the ancient master rules (found here: http://brumbaer.de/old.html) rather than the GW army lists.

Never played Mayhem but have the rules. They look good though really quite different in a way which makes them difficult to compare. I think both sets of rules are trying to do different things, Warmaster is mass scale whereas Mayhem is a bit more micromanagement.

Offline fred

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2017, 12:51:54 PM »
There are weird things in combat, but I found it easy to charge in as you line up, not square up, with the other unit. Part of the oddity has to do with the three stands of the unit and how and where you must place them, this could be the fiddly part fred mentioned. The best/worse part of combat is almost always one unit dies and the other is beaten up.


I was also thinking about how if you have a brigade in of units, with each unit in columns - if you charge from 18-19cm away, your brigade stays in columns. Which helps them maintain contact with the enemy, and move their support forward. And combat results are divided by the number of units you have in contact

If you charge from closer the first unit must spread out - this means that the next unit must go in as support. The 3rd or 4th are off doing their own thing.

This seems a huge change in actions, depending on precisely where you start a charge from.

There are a good few other situations that really are a bit odd. Generally WMF probably plays better when you don't get into the rules in too much detail, and just play them at a high level. The more you get into the rules the more oddities and ambiguities start to crop up.

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2017, 10:45:30 PM »
We played a game of Mayhem tonight, in 28mm, but with the recommended 60mm squares rather than big 100mm squares loaded with skirmish-based figures as previously. The units were formed from HotT elements - doubled-up warbands and shooters, tripled blades and single elements of cavalry, behemoths and artillery.

On one side, we had nine units (including a "wyvern" - actually a beholder - and a dragon), and 16 on the other (lots of orcs). For speed (with dinner threatening to usurp the battlefieldwithin a couple of hours of the start) and to re-familiarise ourselves with the rules, we included only a single piece of scenery: a hill. Actually, that worked well enough - the first clash of the battle was on the ridge of the hill, and it formed the basis of a flanking manoeuvre that provided a significant subplot during the game. We had one hero/general each and two standards.

Some thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Speed of play. I was pleased with how fast the game was. We played to victory within two hours (through the death of a general), despite lots of looking up of rules on the laptop. It's a fast-playing set of rules, and the overdrive mechanism really speeds things up, because you're constantly tempted to rattle through your command points very quickly.

2. Erosion of command/control. This is a great feature of the game. We set command points at D10. As we each had a general and two standards, we were rolling 3D10 each at the start and choosing the highest. But loss of standards quickly eroded that (for me, at least), so that I went from 8 or more command points each round to sometimes just one or two.

3. Less swingy than it seems. In a related point, the game is much less swingy than the use of polyhedral dice would suggest. Because you use so many dice at a time (we were rolling 5D8 and the like quite often), the law of averages propels most outcomes towards the predictable. But not all! The hilltop encounter that began our battle resulted in wolfriders (up on the hill, so rolling an extra die for terrain advantage) being destroyed by lizard-riding heavy cavalry - but destroying the in the process.

4. Quite a 'remote' game - more so than HotT. That mutual destruction works well in a certain 'remote' style of game - you could imagine that the lizardmen were victorious, but took so many casualties clearing the hilltop that they were no longer militarily useful and had to retire. But you don't see it. Somehow, I think this is indicative of the game's 10mm origins. Much as we enjoyed it in 28mm, I suspect it's better in 10mm. HotT, in contrast, works really well in 28mm - perhaps because the unit archetypes are more colourful. HotT has more flavour, I think, though Mayhem has lots of as-yet-unexplored ways to add flavour.

7. The big monsters work very well. The wyvern and dragon profiles are nicely worked out and feel right: tough yet not indestructible.

8. 'Time to table' is the big stumbling block. It probably took me as long to put armies together using Battlescribe as it did to play the game. A long list of costed sample units would be very useful.

9. We didn't use any weapons rules (apart from missiles); we did use heavy armour, which made a clear difference. A major revision of the weapons profiles would be truly handy.

10. The horde/great horde rules are terrific. We fielded a great horde (which housed my son's general). The attrition rule adds a lot of character and challenge.

Offline fred

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2017, 10:51:46 AM »
Good write up of Mayhem

I'd forgotten about "Erosion of command/control" this is a really good mechanism. As you loose key units your ability to generate command points becomes more erratic.

In Warmaster as you loose units your command tends to become better and more flexible as you will have the same number of commanders but fewer units to order.

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2017, 01:23:56 PM »
Yes, it's very clever. The penalty for being out of command (an extra point) isn't too bad when you're regularly getting 8+ points to play with. But once you have a real risk of getting 1-4, it becomes prohibitive. Although I won our last game (just!), my clever flanking manoeuvre was paralysed by the loss of standards - nicely reflecting a breakdown in the command structure.

Just about to play again - it's unseasonably gaming-friendly weather up here!

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2017, 05:38:52 PM »
Well, we played the second game. We had used the same sides, both picked from the Battlescribe Mayhem Battlechest app. I can't get it to download or run properly on my laptop, but it allows me to AirDrop text files to it from my phone. We did make some tweaks this time, though - upping cavalry movement from d8 to d10 for the heavies and d12 for light wolfriders. That worked well - and so did my cavalry flanking manoeuvres!

I think the Battlechest profiles are based on Warmaster; they're certainly very GWish. They're perhaps a bit "vanilla": just about all infantry moves D6 and cavalry D8. By having heavy infantry on D6 and light on D8, and adjusting the cavalry as above, we got a more colourful - and even faster - game.

More thoughts:

1. The huge amount of decision-making is great. My son prefers Mayhem to any other mass-battle game he's tried; a big part of that is the amount of dice-rolling options and the tactical freedom that comes from the overdrive mechanic.

2. Overdrive is a brilliant concept. It adds a huge amount of risk/reward-based decision-making. We had several turns during this afternoon's game where an entire allocation of command points was spent on a single unit. Sometimes, this paid off; sometimes, it proved a trap.

3. Because of overdrive, manoeuvre is particularly interesting. You can move a unit, move another, then come back to the first one and overdrive it. So you can perform some fairly intricate battlefield manoeuvres - but at a considerable cost. There's a really nice balance there.

4. Lots of units is fine. The advance rule is quite important: you can move blocks of up to three units at time, so long as you take default rather than danger. This time, we played with a general, a sub-commander and two banners, and D10 command, so we typically had 8+ command points to spend each round. So we'd have been able to conduct a slow-but-steady advance of 24 units quite comfortably - until the overdrive itch took over!

5. The zooming-out/zooming-in aspects work well. This, essentially, is just the use of command points. But we found that several rounds focused very sharply on particular areas of the battlefield, to the neglect of others. But these didn't damage the game - they felt like actions that were taking place very quickly. Also, command points and "zooming in" naturally encourage some units to be left in reserve - but overdrive allows you to bring them up rapidly very quickly. That gives a nice ebb and flow to the game - one side is turning the tide, when the other devotes a whole round of commands to successive advances from the rear.

6. The 'remote'/zoomed-out aspect of the game doesn't sit well with the RPG-ish weapon rules. I think the game is just too "macro" to be concerned about whether a particular warband of orcs is carrying axes or swords. And I think most of the weapon rules complicate things a bit too much; in other words, they're easy to forget about in the course of a game - "Oh wait! These are a soft counter, so I should have rolled different dice!". We did use lances this time, though, and they worked well.

7. The "great weapons" rule looks overpowered. Our two hardest-hitting infantry units (great orcs and lizardmen) were rolling D8s in combat. If we'd armed them with great weapons, they'd have been rolling D4s for an extra command point. That would give them a 50% chance of taking out a dragon if charging, all else being equal. My solution would be to use the "sword" rule for poleaxes, falcatas, greatswords, danish axes and the like (so a soft counter vs infantry), and allow halberdiers to pay for both the "sword" and the "spear" rules and choose which one they use each turn.

8. "Blunt weapon" only makes sense for trolls, ogres and the like. Having a cudgel-armed troop of goblins ignore the armour of some 15th-century-style men-at-arms is ludicrous! For ogres and trolls, though, it's fine - plate armour won't help you much against a twelve-foot behemoth wielding a tree!

9. The "spear" rule - for pikes or massed halberds or other properly long polearms - looks fine. It allows you to create some nicely effective anti-cavalry units. But it wouldn't make much sense for (say) viking bondi or whatever.

10. Again, the horde and great horde rules are tremendous! Here, I'd note that using HotT elements to build great hordes works really well. It also allows you to deploy the same troops as "regulars" in one game and hordelings in another. This is great for orcs and beastmen and lizardmen and the like. It's also good that you can design hordes to be really quite formidable if it suits the models. So you could opt to field a huge lot of ogres as a great horde, losing the behemoth tag but paying for push back (although the rules contradict themselves here) and perhaps fear, plus a low CQ die.

11. Warmaster and HotT basing has significant advantages for Mayhem. For one thing, you can indicate heroic units by having an appropriate stand to combine with regular rank and file. For another, you can swap in and out stands with banners as you pay for them in the army. Equally, if you have more banner-sporting stands than you're willing to pay for but still need the stands, you can combine them in single units so that they don't cause confusion.

12. The clear-cut direction-changing rules are marvellously unfussy. Want to change direction? Pay for an action. It really simplifies manoeuvre without making it "free".

13. Longbows are underpowered; blowguns are hugely overpowered.

14. My main criticism of the game - so far - is that it doesn't quite have the rock/paper/scissor charm of HotT. A warband in HotT is very, very different to a blades element, not only through combat effects but also in terms of interaction with terrain. The compensation is that instead of HotT's 20-odd distinct unit types, you get the possibility of infinite nuances. Perhaps further games will clarify the distinctions between profiles.

Offline fred

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2017, 09:24:04 PM »
I think the Battlechest profiles are based on Warmaster; they're certainly very GWish. They're perhaps a bit "vanilla": just about all infantry moves D6 and cavalry D8. By having heavy infantry on D6 and light on D8, and adjusting the cavalry as above, we got a more colourful - and even faster - game.

I'm not familiar with the Battlechest profiles - but I do recall that building profiles took some time (for the first game).
If they are based off WM they will be a bit limited, as troops only have two movement speeds. And about 3 attack values.

It would be good to spread stuff out a bit.

Although it seems you don't really like the Weapon rules - it also seems that they can be adapted very easily to work as you feel they should. Which is good news.


 

14. My main criticism of the game - so far - is that it doesn't quite have the rock/paper/scissor charm of HotT. A warband in HotT is very, very different to a blades element, not only through combat effects but also in terms of interaction with terrain. The compensation is that instead of HotT's 20-odd distinct unit types, you get the possibility of infinite nuances. Perhaps further games will clarify the distinctions between profiles.

We've found this in our home-brew Fantasy rules - you have so many variables to build a unit, they kind of become rather similar. Even though they should be very different. Perhaps by having a limited set of units you can define better opposites?

I'm glad your liking Mayhem - I think I will have to make sure I have the latest version and have a proper read through again, as its ages since I played, and there has been a major update since then.

Offline Bloodaxe

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2017, 10:19:41 PM »
Never heard of Mayhem- I'll have to check it out. Pendraken has a small scale fantasy rulebook- WARBANDS too.

https://pendraken.co.uk/fantasy-warband/

Offline warchariot

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2017, 06:23:01 PM »
Well we played our first proper game of Mayhem on Saturday and loved it.

At Hobgoblin: You asked about Warmaster verses Mayhem, well we'll never play Warmaster again after playing Mayhem. We found that the variety in units in Mayhem along with no set turn sequence makes it a much better game. You're right, there are some issues, but we found it easy to come up with house rules to handle these. For example, we want to add a thrown weapon like javelins, so we'll make these D6/D20 or maybe D8/D20 after messing with them a game or two.

We were worried that the few command points you have each turn and only two hits on most units would make the game not much fun. The command points work well, we had 24 undead units on one side with a D10 leadership and never had a problem. We used the Standing Orders rule which help keep these guys moving. As far as two hits on a unit, it worked much better than I thought it might.

I would recommend to anyone to try Mayhem, not just read it, but try it. It works a lot different in practice than it sounds like just from a quick read through. :o
Larry

Offline Samsonov

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2017, 09:09:33 PM »
Thanks for all the write ups! It has convinced me to give this another go.

What do you think the maximum number of points this system could support would be? My main concern is that no matter how many points you play you cannot get more than 12 activations per turn, and you can only group units together for one activation for movement and not combat. Perhaps a more apt questions would be what is the maximum number of stands you could realistically play with on one side?

Offline warchariot

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2017, 09:08:58 PM »
Thanks for all the write ups! It has convinced me to give this another go.

What do you think the maximum number of points this system could support would be? My main concern is that no matter how many points you play you cannot get more than 12 activations per turn, and you can only group units together for one activation for movement and not combat. Perhaps a more apt questions would be what is the maximum number of stands you could realistically play with on one side?

We had 24 units on the one side with a D10. It really isn't an IGO/UGO full turn game. Once you play it you will see it feels more like phases of a turn rather than a full turn. Having said that, we discussed having two armies on a side for big battles, that way you could have two commands with their own rolls.

Offline Samsonov

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2017, 07:29:36 PM »
If it can handle 24 units then that is great, I doubt I could field that number of units as things stand. Mayhem sounds like it handles command and control well but I would be interested to see it played with two generals, such as each with a D8 commanding say 10 units each. That would mix and match Mayhem and Warmaster quite well. Sometimes in warmaster you roll well for command for half the army then fail command tests so the other half of your army does nothing. In Mayhem with two generals you might roll a one and a six for each general in a specific turn, and one side of your battle line surges forward whilst the other does nothing.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2017, 07:31:13 PM by Samsonov »

Offline warchariot

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2017, 10:12:06 PM »
In Mayhem you receive a command dice for each hero, standard and elite unit in your army. We had five dice each, of which you keep the highest one. No need to worry about rolling one die for an army. Now it is possible and does happen, that you may roll all low numbers, but it isn't such a big deal. I would sit down and play a game before you decided if it needs modification. We felt into the trap of anticipating all the things that should be fixed, and then when the played it worked just fine as is.

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2017, 11:12:08 PM »
In Mayhem you receive a command dice for each hero, standard and elite unit in your army. We had five dice each, of which you keep the highest one. No need to worry about rolling one die for an army. Now it is possible and does happen, that you may roll all low numbers, but it isn't such a big deal. I would sit down and play a game before you decided if it needs modification. We felt into the trap of anticipating all the things that should be fixed, and then when the played it worked just fine as is.

I agree with that entirely. The rolling of multiple dice with the highest selected is a major factor in making Mayhem much less "swingy" than it first appears. If you had an ill-disciplined army with D8 command, you'd probably still have numerous heroes, standards and elites - things that are more likely to be plentiful in a "horde" army, in fact (you get one free elite unit for every three identical units you have).

We had 17 on one side in our last game, but I think the game could easily support 30 or so. The 12 activations is a bit of a red herring, because you're very unlikely to be spending them on 12 units in a given turn - and much more likely to be spending them on one or two. And, as warchariot notes, you can use standing orders and group advances to get movement on a wider scale.

In practice, the game is more like alternating activations than IGOUGO, because you end up overdriving units so often.

On two hits a unit: it's worth adding that the ability to resolve disorder through CPs means that units can end up taking a lot of hits in the course of a game.

Although it seems you don't really like the Weapon rules - it also seems that they can be adapted very easily to work as you feel they should. Which is good news.

Yes - they certainly give you a good toolkit to work with. In most instances, it's just a case of "reskinning" the profiles. I'd up the damage done by longbows (and forget about blowpipes as a ranged weapon at this scale!), but otherwise they're fine - apart from great weapons.

I actually have a second objection to the "great weapon" rule. Not only is it overpowered, but paying an extra command point to use it doesn't make any sense. If you send in a mob of howling orcs to attack, the fact that they have two-handed axes rather than swords and shields shouldn't make it harder to do: they'd be carrying less weight and would surely be more aggressive (being armed offensively) rather than less..

More generally, I think the game plays at a more birds' eye level than one in which there's a real concern about whether a unit of dwarves has swords and shields or axes and shields. In the same way, the shield rule could easily be rolled into the "heavy armour" rule: 15th-century men-at-arms didn't use shields (by and large) because full plate had rendered them largely redundant - hence more offensive weaponry (e.g. poleaxes).

We've found this in our home-brew Fantasy rules - you have so many variables to build a unit, they kind of become rather similar. Even though they should be very different. Perhaps by having a limited set of units you can define better opposites?

I think that's certainly part of it. A warband (fast, fragile shock troops) and a unit of blades (elite heavy infantry) play very differently in HotT; it's less easy to see how you differentiate them in Mayhem. That said, we did find that heavy armour made a difference. But there isn't the HotT warband's band's ability to fight unhindered in bad terrain, for example.

Offline Samsonov

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Re: Warmaster vs Mayhem
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2017, 12:00:54 AM »
In Mayhem you receive a command dice for each hero, standard and elite unit in your army. We had five dice each, of which you keep the highest one. No need to worry about rolling one die for an army. Now it is possible and does happen, that you may roll all low numbers, but it isn't such a big deal. I would sit down and play a game before you decided if it needs modification. We felt into the trap of anticipating all the things that should be fixed, and then when the played it worked just fine as is.
The game looks great as things stand and I am currently working on one army. My questioning mainly relates to whom I shall take as their opponents, small lead pile which will definitely work well with the rules or large lead pile whose main appeal is the possibility of using them in large games, hence my pondering of how well the rules scale.

 

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