Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Confrontation Initiation

Confrontation is a skirmish based wargame by Rackham. The models they made are 28mm, and highly stylized, so the extent that the artwork and miniatures are practically one for one matches in every way.

Confrontation, in the first two editions, provided the rules for the models by two means. Firstly, almost as a standard adopted by other companies in the day and age, the models were supplied with all the reference cards to make use of the models in games. This meant a stat card, and a number of extra cards that may gives rules on special items, magic, or even campaigns to play, plus card counters to represent health levels and mana gems. Additionally, the rules for Confrontation were provided as small booklets. The core rules were of course within the "Confrontation" booklet, with other booklets, often provided with the relevant miniatures, containing the the rules for magic, war machines, and more.

Confrontation 3rd edition had two boxed sets. A starter set that included a number of models and the quick play rules, and the Initiation boxed set, that contained a number of models and the soft back version of the 3rd edition rules.

Miniatures in Confrontation come on square bases, much like Warhammer, with movement measured in centimetres - this is a French game after all, but then the measurements are all in 2.5 cm increments i.e. inches.

Lets first look at a stat card for a model, as these cards have two purposes - rules and stats, and determining the order of model activation.

Looking down the left hand side of the card are a number of emblems. The first is Movement. This is the movement rate of a model if it walks. Running means a model moves at double rate.

Next down is Initiative. This is used to determine the order in which models fight, and thus who gets the advantage when allocating combat dice.

The next emblem is Attack and Strength values. So the first number is the ability of the model to strike opponents, and the second number is the strength of any hit in close combat.

The next emblem and pair of values grouped together is the Defence and Armour, which of course rate the ability of the model to block attacks and resist them if struck.

The ability of the model, if armed with a ranged attack, is the next emblem down, called Aim.

Following the Aim emblem, is the Courage emblem. The value here measures a model's ability to resist the urge to flee and cower in the face of a terrifying opponent. If this symbol has the colours reversed, then the fighter has a Fear rating instead, and so can cause models to flee.

Finally, the last value is Discipline, and rates a model's abilities to perform complex tasks.

In the Equipment list, are of course the names of armour and weapons the model wields. Some of these may have important properties, and of course lists the ranges - short, medium and long - and Strength of ranged weapons.

The Abilities, well, list the abilities of the fighters, these being certain properties that will make the fighter unique and more skilled in certain conditions.

Under that we have the Rank of the fighter. This can have certain implications to how fighters are influenced, and the symbol on the bottom right hand corner also represents the rank - though rather abstractly in no memorable manner. The number in the bottom right is the Army Point, A.P., value of the model.

The picture above gives an example of a magic user, primarily a mage. The rank symbol bottom has a small number about it. This is the power level of the mage. This is the maximum number of mana gems a model starts the game with, the maximum a mage can have when mana gems are recovered, the base value used for magic incantation rolls, and double this value, is the maximum intensity, when summed together, of all spells a mage can known in game - spells of course having different intensities. Warrior Mages differ in that they can only have their power value as the maximum intensity. Mages can have any combination of mana gems (Light, Darkness, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Neutral) so long as they are a mage in command of those elements, as noted in their abilities.

Above we have an example of a priest. These fighter call on the power of gods. Their rank emblem has three values about it. Go from the top, in an anti-clockwise manner, we have rankings in Creation, Alteration, and Destruction. The ranks in each of these will represent the maximum skill they have in each of those aspects, and thus the Miracles they call must have aspects either equal to or lower than the respective value for the priest. The summed value of these aspects give the priest's Faith. This is the base value used for rolling the Divination test when calling upon a miracle. This sum of the aspect values is also the starting Temporary Faith, which is used to power miracles. More T.F. is obtained in each round based upon the rank the priest is, and the number of followers of their god that they have in range. These points are then lost as miracles are called upon.

To finish this introduction to Confrontation let's look at starting the game, and thus the turn sequence.

Games are played using forces that have a summed A.P. that is typically equal. Based upon the A.P. level of the game, there is a maximum number of fighters that be used in each force. a 100 A.P. game has a maximum of 5 models a side.

The game consists of the following phases:

  1. Strategic.
  2. Activation.
  3. Combat.
  4. Mystical.
  5. Maintenance.
In the Strategic phase fleeing fighters are rallied. The each player must prearrange a deck of their stat cards. Characters are represented by their own respective cards. Otherwise a card of a fighter type represents up to three models. The arrangement of the cards of course is done in secret. This adds an element of the unknown to how the game will unfold. Of course it can be that one side has more fighters than the other, and more cards.

Once the cards are arranged, a Tactical roll is made. The roll uses the Discipline of the commander of the warband, with the highest D6+DIS winning the roll.

In the Activation phases the winner of the Tactical roll has the "lead". This player may:

  • Draw a card from their pile and activate the fighters it represents.
  • Draw a card from their pile and place it in "reserve" for later activation.
  • Draw a card from their pile, place it in reserve, and also activate the models represented by one or more cards held in reserve.
  • Activate the fighters for one or all the cards in reserve.
  • Draw a card, activate the fighters, and activate one or all of the fighters using the cards in reserve.
  • Pass the turn.
The winner of the Tactical roll can have at most 2 cards in reserve at any one time, while the other player has at most one card.

To pass a turn a player must have less models in play. They can only pass the turn if they have less cards in their deck.

For now we stop there. As we can see, Confrontation has a very interesting, double blind, turn sequence. The use of the reserve pile can also be used to coordinate devastating charges, while also blocking counter charges. This is quite the departure from the typical alternating turn sequence - as it has more forward planning - and of course is very different from the typical "I Go, You Go", of Warhammer. Rackham makes this approach to turn sequences a key feature of all their games, where the order in which models are activated is involved, but adds a deep, tactical aspect to the game. Bluffing is clearly important in the games.

Next time, we shall look at what happens when a model is activated.

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