Following on from the first part of the article looking at the rules and miniatures, we ran a demo game to give you a bit more of an idea how Tor Gaming’s Relics plays out. Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger version of each picture.
We used two of the Starter in a Can sets – Britanans versus Orcnar. Both come out at around 150 points. One thing to note is that (unless we somehow missed it entirely) the rulebook has no advice on setting up a game, so we decided to set up on a 4′ square board with a 12″ deployment on each side. Each of us had three units and we went for alternating deployment, so it wasn’t long before we were set to play.
Turns 1 & 2
You roll for initiative at the start of each turn, with the player who scores higher choosing whether to go first or second. If one side has less units then they get a bonus to the roll. Turn 1 saw both sides walking up the field towards each other.
Turn 2 (Britanan initiative) started with the Dragoons making a half move towards the Rifan on the left hand side, which meant they could also take a shot at it. Britanan shooting tends to be a little haphazard, and many figures have the Unreliable rule meaning that before rolling to hit you need to roll 2+/3+ or else the shot is wasted. The Dragoons made their roll.
I declared a combined shot and measured range (no pre-measuring is allowed), and they were just within 10″. A combined attack allows up to three models to strike/shoot together, adding one dice to the attack roll for each extra model involved. As two Dragoons were firing, that would give me three dice but I had to discard one due to the Rifan’s defence of 1. I roll two dice and got a double 2 – one hit. The Rifan gets to make a Hardened save of 4+, but failed – one point of damage done!
The rest of the turn saw the Rifan move closer to the Dragoons, whilst the Unman and Docga came forwards through the village. The Troopers moved forward in line, but were out of range to fire. Meanwhile, the Grenadiers came skulking up behind a building.
Britanan initiative. Normally you have to move (or choose not to) before making an attack, but the Dragoons have the ability to make a ranged attack and then make a half move. They tried another combined shot at the Rifan, but one failed its unreliable roll so couldn’t fire this turn. With the Rifan having a defence of 1 the other Dragoon should only roll one dice, but as you never roll less than two to make an attack in these cases you ignore doubles of 1 or 2. The Dragoon rolled double 2, so it counted as a miss.
Next to move were the Docga which declared a charge against the Troopers. When charging you add D3 to your move to see how far you can move. They rolled a 3, giving them a total distance of 11″ which easily contacted the Troopers. Docga have combat 4, so roll 4 dice each in melee – no need to combine attacks here (its worth pointing out that we forgot that charging models roll an extra dice each). They also get to reroll a single dice on each combat roll, so three Troopers were quickly shredded.
In return, the Grenadiers counter charged the Docga. They have a special rule where they try to throw Grenades as they charge in – roll a D6 each, and on 2+ they get an extra dice whilst on a 1 they immediately make a 2D6 damage roll against themselves. Naturally, one of them dropped a grenade on his foot, rolling a double to do himself a point of damage. Luckily they have two wounds. Some good melee attack rolls saw them quickly finish off one of the Docga.
Orcnar initiative. Going first, the Rifan charged the Dragoons on the left. Rolling 5 dice, he got 6/6/6/5/1. He has a special ability which allows him to increase the value of one die by one. This turned the 5 into a 6; two doubles meant two wounds and two shredded Dragoons.
Reckoning the Grenadiers could probably take a charge, the six remaining Troopers activated next and move in around the Docga for two combined attacks of three Troopers. This meant that each attack rolled four dice, but despite two hits the Docga made two Hardened 5+ saves – no damage.
The Unman strangely ignored the Grenadiers, deciding to charge in and help finish off the Troopers and took out another two. In return, the Grenadiers walked in (minimum distance to declare a charge is 2″) and killed them. The Docga took revenge by eating another two Troopers.
Britanan initiative. The Grenadiers move into contact with the Docga and manage three hits, but it makes three Hardened 5+ saves. It eats another Trooper. The remaining Trooper hits, but the Docga makes yet another Hardened save. The Rifan moves in the direction of the remaining Britanans.
Britanan initiative. The Grenadiers do two more hits, and the Docga finally dies. Sadly, the Rifan is now in charge range and races in to turn a Grenadier into scrap fabric.
With the remaining three units (Rifan, two Grenadiers and a single Trooper) engaged in a single combat it comes down to dice rolls. Rolling 5 dice with the ability to change one of them gives the Rifan a huge advantage and within a couple of turns it turns the remaining puppets into paste. Orcnar win!
Post game thoughts
For a starter set battle, this felt remarkably balanced. The Britanans have a fair bit of shooting, so the first couple of Orcnar turns will see them racing into a hail of gunfire. Initiative can definitely be important, as I’d hoped to have another turn of kiting the Rifan with the Dragoons. Sadly, they were just inside charge range and didn’t stand a chance against it in melee. In hindsight, I should have probably tried to withdraw the Grenadiers from the final melee with the Rifan. It would have then eaten the last Trooper and next turn if I’d got initiative the Grenadiers would have been able to charge back in, giving them a better chance.
Re-reading the rules, I did notice a couple of mistakes we made. As mentioned, we forgot that you roll an extra dice when you charge (a pretty major oversight). We also played the Britanan’s Unreliable rule incorrectly – if you’re making a combined attack then you make a single Unreliable roll for the whole thing, and if you fail then the whole attack is wasted.
Having now played a couple of games with the free starter rules, I’m eager to move onto the full rules which add in magic, command distance and morale. I’ve already got another Britanan starter ready to be assembled/painted so just need to pick up a couple of Commander figures. Time for some online shopping (until one of the London stores starts stocking Relics).