Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Playing HoTT... in Inkscape

Over the last two evenings, I tried my first game of Hordes of the Things (HoTT). Since I had no suitable minis, no time to build some with paper, and no terrain either, the game would have to be run on the computer. Unfortunately, as far as I know RPTools does not allow free rotations, so I decided to try Inkscape. The first step was to create a 60x60cm "page" and create a few markers for the elements. The elements containing the generals are marked with stars. Using layers, I kept the base terrain, features and elements separate.
To sum it up: Overall I liked HoTT, but I feel that I still have to fully understand the rules, especially the ones about tactical movement. Inkscape worked well as a "virtual board" and battle report tool at the same time. The detailed battle report follows.
To keep things simple, I just drew some terrain features, trying to follow the rules, and assigned board edges for the armies. I kept the generic names on the elements, although as I chose the composition of the armies I was thinking about a confrontation between orcs (red) and elves (blue), so we have:

Orcs: 3x Giant Trolls (behemoths), 1x General with Wolf Riders (riders), 2x Orc Squads (warbands), 4x Orc Conscripts (hordes).

Elves: 2x Ballistae (artillery), 1x Elf Swordmaster (hero), 2x Elf Riding Knights (knights), General with Riding Knights (knights), 2x Elf Archers (shooters), 2x Elf Halberdiers (spears).

Setup: The orcs rolled low, becoming the defenders. After element deployment, the board looked like this:
 
Turn 1: The orcs rolled five PIPs for their action, advancing their behemoths and hordes to block the river. The elves rolled four PIPs and advanced their large group of artillery and shooters, as well as their knights and hero towards the flanks.
Turn 2: The orc army diced for six PIPs, moving the behemots towards the river, as well as the hordes. The elves rolled three PIPs, maneuvering the hero and knights. One of the behemoth elements was in range and in sight of the artillery, which attacked and caused them to flee.
Turn 3: The orcs rolled only one PIP, using it to move their warbands to the river. The elves also got one PIP, and finished moving the knights across the river. Once more, the artillery fired, this time against the warbands, causing them to recoil.
Turn 4: The orcs dice for five PIPs, moving their troops forward. The hordes engage the knights and are defeated. The elves get three PIPs; two are used to move the hero into contact with the hordes. This time, the artillery does not work at keeping the enemies away. The hero manages to push back the hordes, but the knights, which had previously pursued, now had to recoil.
Turn 5: Once more, the orcs roll a single PIP and use it to advance one of the behemoths. The elves also get one PIP and charge with their knights, defeating another horde element. The artillery shoots the incoming behemoth, for no effect.
Turn 6: The orcs get six PIPs and use them to advance the middle, with one behemoth blocking the artillery. Two new hordes arrive, replacing the defeated ones, and the last behemoth element starts moving towards the knights. The elves get four PIPs and use them to move the knights to face the behemoth (move costs extra due to distance to the general). One of the artillery elements, with support from the other and from shooters, attacks the closest behemoths causing them to flee into the river -- causing them to be destroyed.
Turn 7: The orcs use the four PIPs they got to move the behemoth towards the knights, move the hordes to protect the behemoth from being flanked, and advance with their warbands. The elves get three PIPs, use two to engage the behemoth with one element of knights, only to be destroyed by them. The artillery, with two elements of support, pushes back the warband.
Turn 8: The orcs get two PIPs. One is used to make the behemoth contact the flank of the remaining knights, and the other is used to advance the warbands. Behemoth and knights fight with no effect. The elves get five PIPs but use only two to advance their hero. The knights make the behemoth recoil and the artillery destroys one warband element.
At this point, having already played for about five hours over two evenings, I decided to end this game. It took so long because I was constantly checking the rule book and the quick reference sheet for stats, tactical movement rules, diagrams and so on. I get the feeling that experienced players might have run these eight turns in minutes.

Also, it became clear that the combination of armies and terrain that I created were leading to a stalemate, with the elves maneuvering their ranged elements to prevent the orcs from crossing the river, but unable to advance towards the stronghold. If I had included bridges on the sides of the river, for instance, I guess the game would have been very different.

2 comments:

Noel said...

Hi Great write up. Wanted to share with you this software that dose this. http://www.battlechronicler.com/

Noel

Ricardo said...

Thanks, I'm going to give it a try... from the examples, it seems really good.