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Author Topic: Xenos Rampant is coming!  (Read 13146 times)

Offline Daeothar

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #75 on: November 28, 2022, 09:27:34 AM »
My copy arrived this weekend, and it's a great read.

So much potential, and the scenarios look like fun. Also, the sheer amount of example forces is really useful to determine where one's own force should sit, skill and points-wise.

Great book, and I can't wait to play some test games!  8)
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Offline Storm Wolf

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #76 on: November 28, 2022, 04:57:45 PM »
My copy arrived this weekend, and it's a great read.

So much potential, and the scenarios look like fun. Also, the sheer amount of example forces is really useful to determine where one's own force should sit, skill and points-wise.

Great book, and I can't wait to play some test games!  8)

Agreed :D

I need to stat some stuff up and give it a go  lol
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Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #77 on: December 04, 2022, 12:21:22 AM »
I got hold of the book the other day and had a skim through then and a more detailed read-through today with a view to playing tomorrow. Looks like a great iteration of the Rampant rules, and I think the tweaks made since the blog version are real improvements.

A few years ago (2019, maybe?), some friends and I played a big four-player game of the blog version, and I made the fatal mistake of statting up one side as a pure Dragon Rampant army (so no free actions): cue that player failing three starting activations in a row! (I should add that that's the only occasion when I've been irked by the Rampant turnover system, which I really like in general.) But the published rules cover all the troop types necessary, so the old "mix in some Dragon Rampant units" principle no longer applies (and everyone apart from Militia Rabble gets free activations).

The shift from sixes and twelves to fives, tens and fifteens looks really good (especially as the DR-style strength points mean that you aren't in any way confined to those numbers on the tabletop). I like the way that the primitive units can become quite a fearsome melee prospect if you bulk up their manpower - or simply use strength points to make them more formidable.

That flexibility is really nice touch. Initially, I was disappointed that there was no option to remove missile weapons from Berserk Infantry to create a purely close-combat unit like Bellicose Foot in Dragon Rampant. But then I realised that you could add Mob and Savages to a Primitive Infantry unit to get an even more ferocious melee unit (Attack Value of 3+ rather than Berserk Infantry's 4+ - so just as hard-hitting as Bellicose Foot). And while Mob increases strength points to 15, you can still use whatever figure count you prefer, from 1 up.

Overall, the game has even more room for customising units than its brethren do. Most troop types have a much bigger range of options than in Lion/Dragon, and there are still the special rules to layer over the top. So there's a great "toolbox" feel to the book.

And the unlimited range for most weapons (with reduced effectiveness) is great. Some units can shoot right across the table without any reduction in effectiveness, so it's a far cry from the 40K trope of troops being unable to shoot the length of a tank! But standard infantry units will still pose a threat to the lightly armoured from the other side of the table, so cover will be at a premium.

The Firefight reaction rules looks as if it will give the game a rather different flavour from the other Rampant rules, and it should introduce a new tactical element (risk ending your turn to shoot first with a disposable unit for the reward of one-way fire with your best shooters thereafter; units being shot at can only fire back at the first unit to target them in a turn).

Tomorrow, we're aiming for a four-player game with a rag-tag bunch of primitives, mercenaries and one great big walker against two detachments of space marines. I shall report back ...

Online Pattus Magnus

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #78 on: December 04, 2022, 12:45:29 AM »
That sounds very promising. My copy has arrived, but is in limbo under the Christmas tree for 3 weeks because it’s a present. I’ll have lots to think about and anticipate, though!

Online Silent Invader

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #79 on: December 04, 2022, 05:57:10 AM »
My copy has arrived, but is in limbo under the Christmas tree for 3 weeks because it’s a present.

Mine is similarly embargoed so I’m absorbing as much as possible from threads like this and busily painting minis. :D
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Minis (foot & mounted) finished in 2023 = 0
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Offline fred

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #80 on: December 04, 2022, 08:29:05 AM »
Good write-up Hobgoblin - feels that from this and the various game reports most of the pre-release concerns have proved to be nothing more than rumour. Which is good news.

I’m hoping Santa brings me a copy too!

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #81 on: December 05, 2022, 11:27:00 AM »
Well, we played our first game and very much enjoyed it!

Our regular opponents couldn't make it, so we played a two-player game rather than a four-player one: two Elite Infantry units with Heavy Weapons and a Walker Fighting Vehicle against two units of Heavy Infantry with Heavy Weapons and Assault Doctrine, two units of Primitive Infantry with Mob, a unit of Berserk Infantry and a Slow unit of Support Infantry.

I realise now that the second side was two points short at just 22; they could have had an extra unit of bog-standard Heavy or Berserk Infantry. I'd originally intended to give the Primitives the Infiltrator rule in the four-player game and had forgotten about it when I rejigged the sides for two.

The result was a total victory for the Elites and Walker, who wiped out all of the enemy units. But it was still a close-run thing. Both units of Elite Infantry had taken a casualty or two, and the Walker was down to half strength. I think we forgot the Firefight rule a couple of times, to the detriment of the Heavy Infantry. Also, a brainfart at one point had me thinking that there was no point having the Heavy Infantry shoot at extreme range (they need sixes to hit, and I was forgetting that the modifier applies to Armour, not Shoot Value). So the game would have been closer, I think, had we been more familiar with the rules (and if I'd had the missing points!). 

One thing that became clear very quickly is that Elite Infantry (space marines, etc.) are much more formidable relative to other troop types than their counterparts in the other Rampant games. This is plainly by design: Elite Infantry in Xenos Rampant cost three times as much as Heavy Infantry, rather than one and a half times as in Dragon Rampant.

There are a couple of factors in this. First, Elite Infantry shoot much better than regulars: 50% hits under normal conditions rather than 17% (and remember, they can fire back when shot at!). At extreme range, Elite Infantry will typically cause a casualty whereas Heavy, Light and Recon Infantry won't.

Second, the reduction in the dice pool from 12 to 10 means that Elite Infantry are much less vulnerable to hard hitters in melee combat than Elite Foot in Dragon Rampant. You can soup up a unit of Primitive or Berserk Infantry to 3+ in melee by boosting their numbers. In Dragon Rampant, that typically means two kills when charging Elite Foot with Armour 4. In Xenos Rampant, it'll typically just be one kill (six or seven hits rather than the eight you'd expect on 12 dice). So a big mob of charging savages has to get quite lucky to be able to cause more than one casualty - and, unless they're upgraded with mono-molecular blades, they stand no chance of reducing an Elite Infantry unit to half strength (something far from unheard of when a Bellicose Foot unit charges an Elite Foot unit in Dragon Rampant - you just need 12 dice with no 1s or 2s).

All this will delight space-marine players! Our regular opponents were going to bring three upgradedsquads each of Elite Infantry, so we'll have to think carefully about how to combat those for next time. Support Infantry are the obvious rock to Elite Infantry's scissors, as they match them for firepower with longer range and can be easily upgraded to be more damaging still. But they are the proverbial eggshells armed with hammers.

What's clear, I think, is that regular troops can't really compete with Elite Infantry without upgrades. If you were facing four squads of plain-vanilla Elite Infantry with twelve squads of plain-vanilla Heavy Infantry, you'd almost certainly lose - at least in the straight-fight scenarios - because most shooting attacks won't cause any damage (they will cause Courage Tests, though, which mitigates things slightly).

That's almost certainly a feature, not a bug, of course. But it's worth noting that standard non-Elite units can't stand up to their Elite foes as they can in the other Rampant games - and, again, the points values reflect that (you can get six vanilla Light Infantry units for a single squad of Elite Infantry against a 2:1 ratio in LR and DR). Once you start tooling up Heavy and Light Infantry with Armour Piercing and Heavy Weapons, they become much more of a threat. Indeed, Light Infantry with those upgrades (and perhaps Increased Squad Size) look quite a good deal. And I should note, too, that the sample army lists have hardly any un-upgraded units in them; clearly, you're meant to splash out on specialist gear!

The one area in our game where the limits of the engine perhaps showed themselves were when the Support Infantry unit (a field gun) was reduced to half strength. With all of its crew, the weapon had been fairly successful at damaging the walker (Fighting Vehicle). At half strength, it no longer could (a maximum of five hits against Armour 6). It could cause Courage Tests, but the maximum effect would be a Suppressed result rather than a Rout.

That felt a little off; the weapon that had crippled the vehicle was still able to shoot it but unable to harm it at all. It would have been more cinematic and exciting for it still to have had an outside chance of dealing a killer blow to the walker. Had I given the Support Infantry unit Armour Piercing, it would still have been in the game, so I suppose that's the solution. But I noted that in the earlier 6/12 version of the game, the gun would still have been viable, though much less likely to cause damage - and that outside chance of all six dice coming up with 4, 5 or 6 would have been the sort of prospect that makes games gripping towards the end.

My other slight quibble might be with the suggested game duration (after 6 turns, you roll to see if you get more). I'm not sure that works as well here as it does in (say) Kings of War, where activations are guaranteed. Despite the free moves, turns can end very quickly in XR; I recall thinking that we were about 10 turns in by the time the game reached its natural climax. If we'd ended after seven, I think the experience would have been less enjoyable. Anyway, we'll try out the timing rules properly next time and see how it goes.

All in all, I'm looking forward to another game this week - and testing out some of the other troop types (as well as remembering the Firefight rule at all time). I'm also keen to try out some of the other scenarios (we played the first one: a straight-up fight).

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #82 on: December 05, 2022, 11:27:53 AM »
(As an aside, it occurs to me that this thread is in the wrong forum - Xenos Rampant is a large skirmish game!)

Online Silent Invader

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #83 on: December 05, 2022, 11:47:29 AM »
Great feedback HG, thank you

Offline Daeothar

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #84 on: December 05, 2022, 12:10:00 PM »
Thanks for the info; very useful to know before playing a first game.  8)

As it is, I'm largely unfamiliar with the Rampant series, so this'll be a completely new experience for me. Still; it sounds like a very good set of rules...

Offline nozza_uk

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #85 on: December 05, 2022, 04:21:30 PM »
Hopefully I'm asking this on the right thread now!  ;)

I got my copy at the weekend. Had a quick browse, but I'm struggling to see how you would incorporate 'Force Powers' for a Star Wars themed game. Is there place where we can share our army lists (please don't say Facebook)?

Online Pattus Magnus

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #86 on: December 05, 2022, 05:16:50 PM »
I haven’t read my copy yet (is a gift under the Christmas tree), but the general tendency in Dragon Rampant (and I expect Xenos follows this) is to look at powers/capabilities in terms of overall effect, rather than specific special rules. If that is true, then incorporating Force power (or psionics or magic) is just a matter of figuring out what the power does (Sith choking out folks without touching them could be a better hand to hand score, or Force-assisted leaps become movement bonuses), and translate that into existing profile upgrades…. With the use of single-model units, Darth Vader gets statted up as a single- model elite infantry unit with some additional upgrades. From what I have read about elite units in Xenos, that should about cover it!
« Last Edit: December 05, 2022, 07:21:53 PM by Pattus Magnus »

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #87 on: December 05, 2022, 06:01:02 PM »
For Darth Vader, how about Elite Infantry (6) + Unarmed (-1) + Mono-Molecular Blades (+2) + Alpha-Class Psychic (+4, Visions of Terror, Paralysis, Psychic Shield) + High-Powered Blades (+1)? That gives you a maxed-out 12-point single-model unit. You could swap High-Powered Blades for Brutal Leader (or reduce him to a Beta-Class Psychic and ditch Psychic Shield).

Offline Hobgoblin

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #88 on: December 05, 2022, 11:33:34 PM »
Another couple of reflections on that first game: first, it has quite a different feel to the other Rampant games because units are so vulnerable out in the open. The average shooting attack from an Elite Infantry or Support Infantry unit will destroy a normal-sized Primitive Infantry unit, so cover is at a premium. I thought that was a great feature - it was genre-appropriate and created real tension throughout.

Second, that feeling of vulnerability makes mobility very important. I can see the cavalry upgrade (Mobile) being highly attractive. The 8" of our unarmoured primitives seemed a little inadequate with all those Elite Infantry about! The Go To Ground trait is useful here, of course - but if you're trying to get to real cover, it can be a waste of a move action. Decisions, decisions ...

One thing we didn't try out were the Xenomorph profiles. It'll be interesting to see how those work out; they're essentially Greater and Lesser Warbeasts from Dragon Rampant, but the 5/10 dice pools mean that they won't hit as hard. As with some of the infantry units, it may be that upgrades are essential to give them a real close-combat kick.

It's true that the downgrades to close-combat ability are balanced by the smaller unit sizes. But you still need to knock three Strength Points off a five-strong unit to get it down to five dice, so the maths doesn't favour the close-combat specialists. Mind you, if you take High-Powered Blades and Swarm for Lesser Xenomorphs, the maths tips the other way, and you could take even an Elite unit down to half-strength in one attack (with the blessings of the dice gods!).

Offline Daeothar

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Re: Xenos Rampant is coming!
« Reply #89 on: December 06, 2022, 05:04:18 PM »
That's good to hear, as I'm dying to take my CC-only alien bug swarm to the table.

I've had visions of a virtual carpet of chitin surging, bounding and leaping across the table. Dying in droves, but eventually getting to grips with their squishy opponents.

And eating all of them...  :D

 

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