First and foremost, I would like to thank Mike Thorpe for allowing me the honor of play testing these wonderful characters. I'm not sure how much information I am allowed to disclose, so I'll try to keep special rules quiet for now, until the appropriate points in the battle report. Anyways, as Salute is tomorrow, I'll just get right into it!
(Below are some pictures of my Tak Sirahn and his brood of Yartain)
My first game was just a standard game against the Devanu Starter force with the addition of a Grishak Kopa (350 points). My Dhogu force included Tak Sirahn, a Yartain, a Dhogu Warlord, Dhogu Captain with five spearmen and finally, two Skerrats (350 points).
Most of my gaming group like to play on tables that are between 35%-50% terrain. We used mostly ancient ruins and some snow covered trees. We opted to just have at it, rather than use a scenario, since we were play testing new models and wanted to just get a feel for what they could do. As always, the Devanu hit hard and fast. My Dhogu warlord was easily overwhelmed and defeated. Without the backup of my usual Dhogu Riders on yirnaks, it was all too easy for the Devanu to bring my valiant warlord down. Unbeknownst to the Devanu player, however, I baited him pretty well. While he was so focused on my warlord, it allowed my remaining force to slowly creep in and even the odds with Tak Sirahn and his Yartain and a full compliment of spearmen, their captain and two skerrats. Say what you will about the fickle skerrats, but they really seem to work well for me. If nothing else, they're good for getting into battle quickly and harass my opponent. Most players would rather go for the kill than to let an enemy go, so I get my skerrats into contact to tie up my opponent, until I can get something stronger to face them. I usually stack my skerrats by two's and they can just dodge all day. This is exactly what I did during this battle and it worked perfectly. While my skerrats were busy holding up the Devanu's Alpha Outcast, I was able to bring in my Yartain and after three rounds of back and forth blows, my Yartain finally got the upper hand. Unfortunately, the Grishak Kopa was successful in slaying Tak Sirahn. We played through another two full founds before the game was decidedly in favor of my Dhogu. Now, I realize that I mostly talked about my skerrats, but I wanted to be honest and that's just how that game went.
My second play test game was very different. We played on the exact table as mentioned above, since it was only minutes after Game One had ended. I was playing against an inexperienced player, who was using Delgon for the second time. I asked beforehand, if it was okay that I use new models with new rules that hadn't been played by anyone else and he actually seemed excited about it. Not having played Delgon before, I wasn't able to offer much advice. I've read the book from cover to cover multiple times, (because the fluff is just awesome and I can't seem to get enough of it!) but there is very little said about what the Delgon strengths are. Once again, he had only the Delgon Starter available to him, along with two other models which came to 350 points. I generally rely heavily on my Dhogu Warlord, so I actually dropped him from my list, to force me to play the new models. I added, instead, a Dhogu Trapper with two more skerrats and a single Dhogu Bowman.
With my new force in place, I wanted to really get a handle on the new characters. Tak Sirahn has a special ability that allows him to place two snowdrifts (Snowdrifts are 3 inch by 4 inch piles of snow, which are difficult terrain and will also block line of sight. Mike, correct me if I'm wrong; I believe they are mostly to give the battlefield a slight Dhogu personality, as if you were playing in The Setir Moutains or at least near them) within his command range, which is 12 inches. As this was new to me, I didn't set them properly, now realizing that this could potentially block line of sight, or bottleneck an enemy force into coming through the snowdrifts to come after Tak Sirahn, or even for scenario/narrative play styles. Again, we had no scenario in mind and just went at it to the last man.
Both of us were a little timid starting out, using armies or characters we were unfamiliar with. The Delgon quickly formed up a line with their shield wall and came at me with a slow advance. I tossed Tak Sirahn and his Yartain against the shield wall and pressed them hard. Unfortunaltely, my spearmen had to go up against that dirty KalGush, which was hidden on the second floor of an ancient set of ruins and down below, a KalMalog Veteran was running my spearmen down, one by one. I think he also had Engineer Beru, but I can't remember now. As more and more of my group is getting into Twilight, I should start recording some of the battles down, if at least the most exciting games, so I can post them.
Anyways, back on the battlefield, it looked like my Dhogu were all but lost, but my Yartain just didn't want to give up. Tak Sirahn was once again, one of my first casualties. I realize now, that I should keep him more protected, rather than throwing him into the fight. His stats are high enough that he can take as much as he can give, but he really is more of a caster than a fighter and should be treated as such. Since there are really no wounds in Twilight, even the biggest model can fall to a simple skerrat! This, however, was not the case for this game, as the Yartain are easily the toughest the Dhogu currently has to offer. My Yartain cleaned up that shield wall and then proceeded to just stomp all over the remaining Delgon force with skerrats and an archer harassing all along the way. Game Two victory went to my Dhogu.
First off, I just have to say how much I love this game! Second of all, oh, how I hate the Casanii! They are, by far, my most difficult opponent every time. Granted, no one in our group plays Empire (yet!) or Nobles (yet!) or anything else (yet!). Right now, we have two Devanu players, a Delgon player, a Casanii cheater and myself as the Dhogu. The player who plays the Casanii is a veteran gamer for just about any miniature game out there. He's our designated "Rules Guy" because he is one of those people who can read a rule book two or three times and somehow is able to remember (literally) everything and have a solid understanding of how new games are played after reading the rules once or twice through. He's gone to multiple competition/tournaments for various games and has done well. I say all of this to simply state, that not only are the Casanii a VERY strong and well designed force, but the player who controls them is also a VERY good player. The Casanii player and I have quite large forces for our armies and we prefer to play around 500-1000 points for Twilight, so we can use all the models we like to use. I can't express enough, how fluid this game is, regardless of army point costs or time, this game is just great and works on so many levels. I LOVE THIS GAME!! I think we started around 650 for our first match. I don't recall everything that was used for the Casanii, but my I had Tak Sirahn with TWO Yartain this time, my Warlord with two yirnak riders, a Dhogu Captain with five spearmen, a Dhogu Trapper with four skerrats and two Dhogu Bowmen. This game took us about an hour and a half or so, but we stop a lot to talk with other people in our gaming hall and grab snacks etc.
For those of you who've not played against the Casanii, they move fast like the Devanu, but are a bit more focused on ranged. If I'm not mistaken, I think most of the Casanii have some type of ranged. There are some that do not, but it sure feels like there's a decent bit of shooting going on. For a Dhogu player, (such as myself) ranged forces pose a serious threat. Dhogu move relatively slow, except for my skerrats, so I can be whittled down pretty good and very quickly, if I'm not careful. It was during this game, I began to see the usefulness of those snowdrifts. If you take your time in deploying your force, those snowdrifts can really come in handy. Being that we were pretty experienced with the game, we went for a scenario where, if the leader of the force dies, the game is over. I chose Tak Sirahn once again as my leader, hoping it would make me play him more strategically, since he'd died twice that day already to Devanu and Delgon armies. The Casanii, of course, chose Seh'ban Onsegar Rider as his leader...man, do I hate that thing! To be fair, the Casanii really don't have a weakness. They're fast, hit hard, they have nice saves and they can all mostly shoot! Since my Dhogu are quite slow, I tend to send my Dhogu Warlord with some yirnak riders right into the right or left flank (depending on the battlefield, scenario or just my mood of the day) and try to roll up the enemy and force them to one side of the table. By the time this happens, the rest of my Dhogu spearmen are just about where I want them and can hit the enemy straight on. I attempted to do EXACTLY this. Though my Yartain is quite strong and powerful, they move at the very sad pace of only 6 inches. This can have both advantages and disadvantages. As the bulk of my Dhogu move at the same 6 inch pace, it made the Casanii player a little hesitant to charge into my lines, since I had Tak Sirahn right in the middle and a Yartain on either of my flanks. He knew there would be hell to pay, if he tried to hit me from either side. The only "safe" way to play it, was to try to hit me hard in the middle, which is what he did. With my Dhogu Warlord and his compatriots facing off a Dompaku with riders and a Hadera Rider, my usual "fail safe plan" was an utter failure to me and I learned very quickly, that it was FAR from safe! The Casanii had 2 Erillai riders holding up one of my Yartain and a whole mess of ten Casanii Warriors hitting my spearmen, Tak Sirahn was easily singled out by the happy lion-bird and though my army was doing well, Tak Sirahn alone couldn't fight off in single combat against the Seh'ban Onsegar Rider (stupid bird-lion!) thus ending the game as my leader had succumbed to his wounds and defeat became my lady for the rest of the night.
I played two more games that day, giving my play testing a total of five games so far. I fought one more time against the Devanu, which I nearly won, but Tak Sirahn was killed and cost me the game. The final game was against the Casanii, and that game was SO close, it was literally down to the very last two models, but Tak Sirahn was just no match for the Seh'ban Onsegar Rider. As this has kept me busy writing for the last two hours, I feel, my life needs me elsewhere, so I'l wrap this up quickly. I didn't have to make Tak Sirahn my leader, and I may have had a better change, had I made my Dhogu Warlord my leader, since he is better in combat, but I really wanted to push Tak Sirahn to the limit so I could give a full and fair play testing. I apologize for not going into much detail as to stats or abilities, but I didn't want to overstep. I figured, with Salute 2017 being tomorrow, to just post what I felt comfortable with, and can post a more vivid battle report in the near future. With that, I wish those of you going to Salute 2017 a very happy and prosperous event! I'd like to thank Mike Thorpe once again for all your kindness and generosity and I wish you and your family, all the very best of luck and richest of fortunes tomorrow at Salute 2017 and all the days to come.
Tak Sirahn disguises himself like the mighty Yartain in order to make them believe he is one of them and to lead them into battle. This is obviously not canon, however, I personally enjoy this interpretation.
My amazing skerrats, taking down the feeble Devanu!
My Yartain killing off devanu one by one.
No more Devanu to kill = a sad Yartain.