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Author Topic: Crossbows, full armour, cards and multiple players in Donnybrook  (Read 379 times)

Offline Hobgoblin

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I picked up the Donnybrook rules the other day - something I'd been meaning to do for ages. I hadn't realised that they were available in PDF. They chime with the pike/halberd/musket figures I've been painting up for En Garde, and I really like the look of the rules - scratching an itch for a game with troop numbers between those of Song of Blades and Dragon Rampant, and with a bit more of an 'RPG lite' feel than Saga.

We'll get a game in over the weekend, but we'll be using fantasy figures to make up the numbers. That means hauberks, full plate and crossbows.

Mail coats and full plate armour seem easy enough to figure out: a save of 6 for the former and 4, 5 or 6 (but not against gunpowder weapons) for the latter.

For crossbows, I'm assuming that the carbine rules without the removal of armour saves should do the trick (so requiring the Reload card but with a better effective range than the generic bow in the rules). Has anyone come up with anything better? If so, do tell!

As our opening game will only require four or five units a side, I'm thinking that cards from one suite could be used for each player - so the six of clubs represents the orc recruits (d6) and the eight of clubs the drilled orc swordsmen (d8), with aces for heroes, the joker for turn-ends and the jack of diamonds for reloads (or something similar). If there are two lots of orc recruits, they could be the five and six of clubs, and so on. Is that what most people do?

The game looks peculiarly well suited to multiple player. Is this the case?

Also, I'm assuming most players treat halberds as half-pikes rather than great weapons; they feature in both lists, I think.

Thanks in advance for any pointers!

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Crossbows, full armour, cards and multiple players in Donnybrook
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2022, 10:18:23 PM »
Well, we had a four-points-a-side run-through this afternoon. I was rather taken with how fast the game plays; it must be one of the quickest skirmish games out there. My son and I squeezed in a game in the hour before our D&D session, and we both found the high lethality refreshing.

We didn't end up using crossbows or full plate in the end, instead counting a unit with a few muskets as entirely made up of musketeers. I'd still be interested to hear about what others do for crossbows if they use them as we'll probably be using those until we assemble enough firearms-armed troops.

For when we do use full plate, it strikes me that the 4, 5, 6 save wouldn't be overpowering. Cursory research suggests that cuirassiers had abandoned the really heavy army by the period that the rules cover, so something like a 16th-century full armour would be a deal more protective against swords and halberds.

The speed of play made me think that this would be a great multi-player game - not least because the card-based activation system tells you which unit is acting, rather than giving the player the choice of who to activate. We've occasionally had games of Fistful of Lead in which players have forgotten to declare their cards at the appropriate time or dithered over what to do. For keeping a big multiplayer game running (especially one with kids), I think Donnybrook might be the best solution.

Offline SteveBurt

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Re: Crossbows, full armour, cards and multiple players in Donnybrook
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2022, 01:18:29 PM »
Itís a good game. I made card decks using a card construction program (multi deck) as well as putting the events on cards. I changed saves against shooting to d8 and gave a 7+ save for figures in the open as we found missile weapons a bit too dominant. Really like the way characters work in the rules. Strong but not overpowering and a lot of fun

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Crossbows, full armour, cards and multiple players in Donnybrook
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2022, 01:50:02 PM »
Interesting stuff! The drilled musketeers that we were playing certainly proved potent; they formed up in close order and annihilated some archers in a single turn.

The archers (recruits in two units of six) were much less effective, which felt as it should be, though I've seen complaints that archers can be overpowered. As we were playing with fantasy figures, we certainly had many more armoured types on the table than would normally be the case, so the bows were probably curbed that way.

I did think that the annihilation of the archer unit (five out of six killed in a single round, with one fleeing) felt about right (given that eight better-trained musketmen had just unloaded at close range).

The reload card's a great mechanic - really adds a sense of uncertainty as enemies close in!


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