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Let's Talk Warrior Knights
First, a reminder on that FFG game. The FFG was developed by a committee and it shows. There are multiple subsystems, and nothing really fits together intuitively nor do they make sense. The number of cards played to trigger the mercenary recruitment phase isn't the same number that trigger the assembly. Movement is slow as molasses as nobles only move once before becoming exhausted. Combat in FFG is card based, and smart players usually just sit on the victory condition to win. lame. The game is said to end just when it gets interesting, and that's true to a degree as the nobles aren't really in conflict with one another til later in the game. There are 100 billion chits and tokens to track all types of points (influence, votes, church favor, gold, etc). All in all, in the experience of FFG's Warrior Knights one feels like they're playing against the system more than the other players and it can plod along.
In stark contrast Derek Carver's Warrior Knights is like a swift, gauntleted punch in the mouth. The rulebook is an easy 8 pages and about a fifth of that is examples, fate card explanations, and starter tips. The back page has a very simple 'summary of play guide'. And how does it play? Easily. There's a wage/movement phase, a second wage/movement phase, then an assembly phase. Rinse, repeat. Cranking through turns is brisk and there isn't that disjointed flow of phases as in FFG. Combat is based on a die roll and looking up a chart with results based on army strength ratios. Also, with there being an assembly phase essentially every third turn, there is lots of player interaction regardless on whether your armies are physically fighting or not. However, since all nobles can move during every movement phase, you can really get where you need to go. And more, there are only four overseas towns, so the competition is tighter. I've never played a game where it felt like it ended right when it got interesting. In fact, the first phase of the game is an assembly phase, so grudges begin bubbling before nobles even start moving. In this version you have plenty of mental space to play the players, the game itself gets outta the way...sort of.
[Last night at Sgt. Dave's. Too cold to play in The Pit (my garage)]
This next bit is likely what'll really separate the camps on which version is preferred. Carver's Warrior Knights is a classic game in the GW sense. There are some crazy ass Fate events...and I love it. True, a player can get straight up screwed by the flip of an event card (a player draws an event card as the first action of their move phase). Here's an example of how Fate looked down last night on the three of us: red, black, and green.
* Green hired an assassin and marked a noble to be killed in a later turn (Sir Dudley, the black noble of swords. this is hidden info...written down on paper!). Green helped Dudley earn an office or two in the assembly phase, the black baron gussied up that noble with a lot of mercenaries, then bam! assassinated on green's next movement turn.
* Sir Dudley's heir was later found to be the end of the family line and near the end of the game had an emotional crisis and thus retreated back to his castle (pulling him off and ending a siege attempt) where he wallowed in depression, but determined to finish his memoir.
* Green found the royal pretender tooling around at the base of a mountain. The green noble tied him up and kicked him around the countryside keeping him away from the armies of the dastardly black and red barons. The royal pretender earned green three extra votes each assembly phase.
* The unsavory red baron's armies were nearly depleted in the south as an epidemic swept through killing 1/6th of the kingdom's population. For the red baron, it was more like 3/4ths, but hey, that's what he gets for hiring all those filthy, flea-infested foreigners in blocks of 300...
Anyway, yes those results came from a handful of Fate draws, and pedestrian groups may opt to remove some of the heavy handed cards. You need to know your group, but I like them in. These are hard times and a baron needs to plan accordingly. Each game of GW Warrior Knights stands out in the way a game of Talisman does. I'm not saying this game is totally random like Talisman, but there's a definite story that unfolds. In contrast, I find the narrative in FFGs WK to be fairly tame.
Since Carver's WK endgame isn't based on the variability of the influence pool, it's easier to control game length. Most cities after three hours, most cities after a certain number of turns, etc.
Why this game isn't more highly regarded, I have no idea. I wonder if it simply flew under the radar when released. At any rate, if you dig Dune, TI3 or the like I'd say you'd enjoy GW's WK quite a bit. It can be found easy enough on Ebay.
Get stuck in.
NOTE: Here's a link to a shorter play variant from Derek Carver. boardgamegeek.com/filepage/15345/warrior...hortened-version-doc
I like the FFG WK (the only version I've tried), but you're right, the card combat with the "Victory" consequence sucks, as this is what'll happen most of the time.
I really like the endgame introduced in the expansion though. Play the regular game, the player with the most influence becomes King and gets some cool stuff (king's armies), then the game goes on for a while more. Also the introduction of militias, garrisons, and tech upgrades (yet another pile of chits you can accumulate) like barding for cavalry or catapults or what have you. The expansion is essential stuff.
Edit: A note about the FFG ed. development: Bruno Faidutti was asked to redevelop it, he asked an old friend with whom he'd played the original countless times in the 80s to help him, they sent their stuff to FFG. FFG asked Corey to go over that and they kept some, modified some, ditched some of Bruno's stuff, without asking for any more input from him. Bruno saw the new rules at the same time he got his hands on the new box. He wrote a piece on that experience and how he thought it could have been better handled. He was also disappointed that they didn't keep the funny baron names that made sense according to colour.
I've only gotten to play once so far, but I will have much more free time after the holidays to play with my usual gaming group.
My suggestion would be to get some colored wooden blocks (these can be had online from multiple sources...I'll suggest columbia games) and print out stickers to put on. If you're more creative, I'd get a cheap wood burner and etch in the symbols on the wood. I think it'd give the game a great look.
I don't think the FFG pieces will fit well as the plastic noble pieces are designated by the shape of their stand (the star noble has a star shaped base) where as GW has crests on their shields (another more flavorful touch in GW's favor) to flag the nobles. Also, all of the grey plastic towns in the FFG version are pointless, and here they'd cover the unique drawing of each city on the GW board.
I'd say you're good without it. The only thing I might suggest importing from the FFG version is the secret mission cards in the expansion. Again though, with the wild ride of the GW game you may not need these. If you're interested in them, they've been posted here at the Fort in the past. I'd print those out on cards instead of shelling out for the expansion. Again, I'm not doing this, but it's the one thing I sorta liked about the FFG take.
EDIT: Here's the link to the missions. They give barons extra influence points at the end of the FFG game. I haven't thought much about how I'd incorporate these in GW, but if conquering cities isn't likely, having a plan b to shoot for may help keep players interested. fortressat.com/forum/34-pimp-my-game/694...nights-crown-a-glory
And on two of the times I played, the phase order on the last turn meant that I had a bunch of guys in position to act but just couldn't. It's been years but I have the distinct recollection of thinking that movement on the board just didn't flow. In the old version you could cruise. It wasn't as complex and it had the dreaded six-siders in it, but you felt like you were going after what you wanted.
I don't think FFG's is a bad game, but it's not a great game. Given the time to play I much prefer Warriors of God which frankly evokes a similar feel to me and just has a much better phase order, one that really opens up options.
The GW version sounds cool, and hopefully I'll get to try that at some point in the future.
I'd seriously consider selling it, just to get it off my shelf. It's not bad, IMO, by any stretch. But it's not great.
The good news in this is that they had a huge success. It is WAY TOO OVER-COMPLEX. I wish I still had my GW version.
Jackwraith wrote: I agree. I think the FFG version was rescued by the stuff introduced in the expansion, which adds a lot more depth without a ton of added complexity. I only played the GW version a couple times, but my experience with it was very different than my experience with 2nd Ed. Talisman. The latter made a story. WK often just made a "WTF?" moment. Talisman is supposed to be random, both good and bad, because it's an adventure game. WK, being a strategy game, feels far more jarring when, as Jeff pointed out, you lose 3/4 of your population at the turn of a card. I like the jarring moments of Dungeonquest (to name yet another GW "original" and FFG remake) because you're prepared for them. That's why you're playing the game. I don't think that approach serves WK as well, which is why I prefer FFG's version at the moment.
I feel ya, bit anytime you drop a boardgame on the table with a GW logo on it you have to know what you're getting into. If it helps, you can think of GW Warrior Knights as 'an adventure game of warring barons' or some such to help you relax and enjoy the ride.
I find plenty of strategy as is though. You can mitigate a lot of the damage from event cards by not buying large chunks of mercenaries, but more varied, smaller nationalities. This'll help against plagues, epidemics, certain nations being sent off to crusades, etc. (This is also true in the FFG version) There too though, if there's any specific Fate event that bums you out, just toss it. The game will still remain more flavorful and the overall system smoother than the FFG version.
I won't trade it though. With the expansion, there's still a good game in the box. I've never played the GW verision, but I generally liked their stuff (I still have the original Dungeonquest with Heroes minis expansion) so I'm intrigued by Jeff's post.
I'm tempted to pick it up just to check out the differences.
My only knock against FFG WK that isn't as present in GW WK is that the former is more gamey. There are lots of little things players can do that aren't really very fun and thematic but do trigger some condition or phase.
Eventually I traded for new copies of the base game and expansion. They still sit on my shelf unplayed/unopened. I haven't had the chance to dig in and digest the rules for an upcoming game night. Hopefully, after the holidays I can plan a session where we invest a day to play it.
Can anyone tell me what the best number of players is for the FFG version?
Dune and TI I prefer with 5 or 6 and I had kept WK around for 3 or 4 player engagements but have found that I think I like Runewars more for that particular game night.
I enjoy old GW games a ton, so this actually sounds like it has a better chance with the group... but not sure if its different enough from the FFG game to replace the other go to choices.