Judgement - Battle Report 1:

One of the things that I have really enjoyed about Judgement is how easy it is to teach to new players. Case in point, this particle battle report is against my younger brother, and while it is only his third or fourth game, he is already starting to make nuanced play choices and thinking about the long game because the basics are becoming second nature.

I am trying this style of battle report for, I believe, the first time in the history of the game. I almost certainly missed at least one activation picture (you have to take so many more than in a game of Warmachine!), but I think I got enough to get the gist across. I will try and make things as clear as possible when I am explaining what happened, so that those of you who might be reading this who have not played the game and are curious about how it works mechanically can easily follow along.

For those interested in those sorts of things, this game was played in approximately forty minutes, including numerous interruptions by my young son and extended family who were swirling around us.

A couple of quick notes. If you have not read my Overview of the game, do so before reading this or it will not make as much sense. You may also want to see my Explanation of Classes and List Building and a brief article on How the Scenario Works.

If you want to see what any of the heroes or monsters do, their names at the beginning are linked to their page, which has their cards.

Also, the prices on their page are in Australian Currency, so do not panic, the models are not quite that expensive!

My brother picked a fairly interesting Warband:

Piper is a bit of an all rounder. He has a high AGI stat of 5, so he’s fairly difficult to hit and do damage to. He’s reasonably good at Soul Gazing, and has some pretty vicious melee potential if another friendly hero is engaging his target, as he gets +1 to his damage when that happens. He also can ignore 1 attack a turn and place himself within 2 inches of his starting point at the beginning of his turn.

Thrommel is a Defender and has an impressive RES of two, meaning that he ignores the first two damage of every hit he takes. His hammer does insane amounts of damage, but with the trade off that he can only swing it once per turn maximum.

Barnascus is what is known as a hybrid, with a pretty durable frame thanks to RES 1, and he has reasonable melee damage output as well as a flamethrower ranged weapon. Also he’s riding a flipping tank!

I had selected a spicy trio of my own!

Styx is one of the most complicated heroes in the game, able to move both friendly and enemy models around with ease and across pretty large distances. He has mediocre damage output and very low health, but he more than makes up for it with his incredible suite of movement abilities.

Doenrakker is the model that got my attention in this game, and he is probably my favorite defender. One of his abilities, Stone Form prevents him from being pushed or knocked down, increases his RES to 3, but makes his AGI 1.

Kogan has a few really neat tricks. This aggressor has a theoretically unlimited damage output - if you can keep rolling hits or Js on your dice. When you successfully hit someone with an attack with his melee weapon and roll two combat symbols as part of the attack, you can roll a dice repeatedly, doing an extra damage for each hit or J you roll and stopping when you roll a symbol or blank. His short range blunderbuss has a good kick and also knocks people down.

We played Scenario 3 of the Cobblestone Map. This includes one Soul Pit, one Shrine (Boilmaster Cauldron), one Ashtooth, and one Gloom (proxied by a Pikachu Amiibo since my Gloom isn’t here yet!)

My brother won the roll for first, and we deployed thusly. I took the picture before he remembered that Gloom has Invisibility (cannot be shot at from more than 3 inches away) and swapped Thrommel and Piper’s positions in his deployment.

Turn 1:

We both started the game by receiving one fate.

Piper activated first, placed himself two inches forward, and then spent two of his actions walking up next to the Shrine. He used Duplicate Self, which allows him to ignore the next enemy attack that targets him.

In response, I activated Styx, who walked forward 5 inches, and then used Ethereal Passage, which allowed him to place Kogan base to base with him. This was an important move since it would allow Kogan to get two attacks into Gloom instead of just one. Styx’s final action was to walk towards the Shrine and contest it so that my brother would not get d3 free fate at the beginning of the next turn.

Barnascus move up twice with his first two actions, and then took a shot at Kogan for his third and final action. With Barnascus’ RNG ability of 6 against Kogan’s AGI of three, my brother only got to roll three dice for the attack. He was hoping for two symbols on his dice pool to light the Minotaur on fire with Barnascus’ combat maneuver Hot Fire, but the dice did not cooperate and only a few damage were done.

Kogan charged Gloom next, and despite rolling 5 dice on his charge attack and 3 more on the follow up AND spending a fate to re-roll the charge dice, the monster was left on four health. Using the combat maneuver available to all heroes, Kogan pushed Gloom away from him so that he would not be attacked for ending his activation inside the melee range of a neutral monster. The plan here had been to kill Gloom, get a Fate and level up Kogan for doing so, and using the opportunity to buy an Armor Shredder for Kogan which would allow him to ignore 1 RES when he attacked in melee.

Unfortunately for me, pushing Gloom away had landed him right in Thrommel’s charge range, and the mighty Dwarf finished off the neutral monster handily. At level 2, Thrommel cannot be pushed, which is a rather large deal in a game that is so dependent on little movement generations off attacks.

Doenrakker finished things off by moving twice so that he was within 2 inches of both of his friendly heroes and using Stone Form to make himself extremely resilient to damage. The placement here was important because once per turn, Doenrakker can take a hit from a friendly hero and have all damage and effects apply to him instead. Since all he wants to do most turns is move up and Stone Form, it does not matter if he has negative status effects from other attacks as much.

Turn 2:

At the beginning of the turn, both of us got one Fate for free (you get one at the beginning of the first and second turns for free), and then Ashtooth moved a d3 towards the nearest hero, which happened to be Piper. With a high roll of six, the monster ambled three inches closer to the Elf and smacked him. Fortunately, Duplicate Self made the attack non-existent, so the Rogue took no damage.

The Soul spawned in the Soul Pit next to Ashtooth, and we were off!

Thrommel kicked things off by charging Kogan. If not for Doenrakker’s timely Redirection, Kogan would have taken seven damage and been stunned. Instead, thanks to his RES of 3, Doenrakker only took four and was stunned instead. Since swinging his hammer takes two actions, and charging takes a third, Thrommel’s turn was over.

Doenrakker decided to wade into the action next, and even though the Forest (or any rough terrain for that matter) slowed his movement by 1 inch per move action, he was able to shake the Stun with a Fate, walk twice, and then Stone Form while engaging all three enemy heroes. This was extremely important, since models like Barnascus cannot make ranged attacks while engaged, and furthermore models get an additional attack dice for every friendly model engaging their target, so Doenrakker was making Kogan much more likely to damage Thrommel.

Piper placed himself forward, and attempted to Soul Gaze the roaming Soul. With his Soul Gazing ability of 4, he would normally need an 8 on two dice to hit the total of 12 needed for a successful Soul Gaze. Because the Ashtooth was within 2 inches of the Soul, however, Piper got -1 to his roll and needed a 9. Despite using a Fate to re-roll, the Soul Gaze was unsuccessful. As Soul Gazing costs two actions, the third was used on Duplicate Self, which was immediately taken away when Ashtooth attacked him.

There are three times when a neutral monster will attack a hero - when it or a hero is involuntarily moved so that the monster has the hero in its melee range, when it moves into melee with a hero at the beginning of the turn, or when a hero ends their activation in the monsters melee range.

At this point, Barnascus moved away from Doenrakker, triggering a Free Strike that did very little damage, and shot the big Minotaur twice to try and light him on fire. Both Doenrakker and Kogan Regenerate 2 health at the beginning of the turn, and fire prevents models from healing. Sadly, both attempts were unsuccessful, and with RES 3 Doenrakker did not take any damage at all.

Styx finished off the turn by hitting Piper three times, but poor dice and Pipers high AGI of 5 vs. Styx’s MEL of 6 meant that no damage was done.

Turn 3:

Neither player received Fate this turn, as both players were contesting the Shrine and neither had any Souls bound to their heroes.

The Soul and Ashtooth both moved microscopically towards Piper, and Ashtooth did a small amount of damage and Poisoned the Rogue. Poison reduces all offensive and defensive stats by 1, and like all status effects can be shaken with a Fate or is removed at the end of a heroes activation.

The Gloom respawned, as it had been two turns since it died, and promptly attacked Thrommel for significant damage.

PIper kicked things off, placing himself completely within 2 inches and out of melee range of anyone. He successfully Soul Gazed needing a hard 10 on two dice, and then put up Duplicate Self to protect himself from attack.

Normally, I never try to kill Thrommel. With RES 2 and a LOT of health, he is extremely hard to take down. This time, though, he had already taken a good chunk of damage from Gloom and I felt like I had a shot. Kogan attacked him, rolling a critical hit with two J’s (which count as both hits and maneuvers), which allowed me to start rolling dice for more damage until I rolled a blank. EIGHT successful hits later, the dwarf was at five health, and another pair of critical hits later was enough to take him down and bring the Soul Count even at 1-1.

I missed a few photos here (sorry!), but Barnascus shot at Doenrakker three times to try and light him on fire. He failed, once again, in a string of extraordinarily bad dice rolls.

Doenrakker charged Ashtooth, and used three Combat Maneuver Symbols to push the Monsted into Piper, which allowed the monster to hit Piper and remove Duplicate Self. Styx moved over and hit Piper twice for good measure, and that was the turn.

Turn 4:

Both of us generated one Fate, since we had a Soul each, and I generated an additional d3 since I controlled the Shrine, netting me two more.

The Monsters both moved and attacked, doing significant damage to both Piper and Kogan. A Soul spawned in the Pit now that the first was gone, and Thrommel respawned base to base with his Effigy.

Piper was not quite base to base with Ashtooth, and so when he placed himself at the start of his turn, he was out of melee with the Monster. He used two actions to scoot all the way to the back edge of my side of the table and put up Duplicate Self to (hopefully) stay alive.

To redeem himself from the first turn, Kogan solidly murdered Gloom. I had totally forgotten about buying items at this point, since I was bouncing a two year old on my lap trying to get him to let go of my dice (you will notice I was using the other set for these attacks). At Level 3 now, Kogan has a max of 23 Hitpoints and can shoot multiple targets as well as shoot heroes charging him and (potentially) knock them down.

Barnascus finally lit Doenrakker here, and actually did a few damage too!

Doenrakker continued his job as the Ashtooth control by charging the Monster and shoving him far away from my lines, and then once again putting up Stone Form to keep himself safe. He took 3 True Damage (which ignores RES) at the end of his turn and the fire went out. One of the tricky things about Fire is that you want to apply it to a hero who has already gone so that they do not get to Regenerate next turn. Most Status effects expire at the end of their hosts’ activation.

Thrommel, who only had two actions since he had just respawned this turn, walked twice to contest the Shrine and prevent me from scoring more Fate off of it. Since he was Level 2 and therefore impossible to push, I had no way to get him off of the Shrine without killing him now.

Styx walked up to the Soul and, thanks to a relatively high Soul Gaze of 5 and the +1 bonus from Doenrakker, was able to get the Soul, level up, and bring the Score to 2-1.

Turn 5:

I generated two fate to his one, and Ashtooth moved over one inch, getting no one. A new Soul spawned, and the marker reminding us that Gloom was coming came down.

Thrommel went first, charging Styx and pushing him almost base to base with Ashtooth. Between the two of them, Styx was left on 3 health.

Now level 2, Styx gains an ability that lets him push enemy models 3 inches with one Combat Maneuver Symbol. He attacked Ashtooth, pushing him away from himself and out of melee from Doenrakker, and then Soul Gazed again to harvest a second Soul and bringing me to the brink of Victory at 3 - 1.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten about Piper, who now teleported up and then charged Styx, handily killing him in two attacks and bringing the Soul count crashing down against me at 1 - 2.

Doenrakker charged in on Piper, but needing some serious dice to go his way did not pan out, and the Minotaur left the Rogue on just 4 Hit Points. In hindsight, I really should have put them base to base in order to prevent the 2 inch place getting Piper out of melee with Doenrakker, but…oops.

Barnascus wandered over and threw a shot at Doenrakker, but it did functionally nothing. I was still hopeful though, since due to the way alternating activations work, I was going to go first next turn and get a chance to kill Piper before he did anything funky.

Turn 6:

Ashtooth moved closer to the fun, but was too far away to do anything. Gloom respawned, and a new Soul popped up as well. Styx respawned base to base with my Effigy, but not quite in melee with Piper.

Kogan went first, and even with the bonus charge dice and a re-roll and a second attack and a re-roll, left Piper alive. Again, not sure why I did not go base to base here, whoops…

Piper scooted back 2 inches, then used two actions to teleport base to base with his Effigy (something all heroes can do). Because he was not in melee with anyone at that point, he took no free strikes. He then used his last action to store all of his Souls in the Effigy, keeping them safe from me ever removing them.

Styx, only having two actions due to respawning, needed to get away from Thrommel. He moved up 5 inches with one action, and then with the other and a Fate used Astral Split to swap spots with Ashtooth.

I forgot a picture or two again (there are a lot to take in this game!), but Thrommel charged and did seven damage to Gloom. He used a Fate to do another 1d3, killing the beast and making Thrommel level 3. At level 3, Thrommel gets an amazing ability called Dwarf Toss which lets him be placed completely within six inches for an action and a Fate and knock every enemy model within 2 inches of him down. Using the Fate he got from Gloom, he also bought himself the Vorpal Sword, which raises his MEL by 1.

Doenrakker successfully harvested the newly spawned Soul, bringing the Soul Count even again at 2 - 2, and Barnascus moved up and did some serious damage to Styx, lighting him on fire in the process.

Turn 7:

I forgot a bunch of pictures again, sorry!

A new Soul spawned, Ashtooth moved closed to the fighting, and Gloom made ready to appear.

Piper went first and bought the Armor Shredder in order to make taking Doenrakker down easier. He then moved towards Styx and healed for 5 using a Fate (another ability that everyone can do once per turn).

Doenrakker went next and walked up to Barnascus to engaged him, putting Stone Form up to make himself really hard to kill.

Styx then used Astral Split to swap spots with Piper. He also spent a Fate to put the Fire out, and used an action and a Fate to heal for 5 from the brink of death.

Barnascus took a free strike (that happened a lot this game) and shot Styx to death, putting the score perilously close to game over at 2 -3! Remember, each Soul lowers the enemy Effigies max health by 4, and they only have 16 health.

Kogan charged Piper, but he failed pretty spectacularly to do anything once again, leaving Piper on death’s door after both attacks.

Thrommel finished the turn by moving over to where he knew Styx would be coming soon, and that was that. A tense 2 - 3 score going into turn 8.

Turn 8:

Ashtooth moved base to base with Thrommel and did 4 damage to him with a Crit. Gloom respawned, and the Soul stayed base to base with Kogan. We generated 2 and 3 fate from Souls, and I got another from the Shrine.

Kogan finally finished off Piper with two attacks and made the Soul count 3 - 3. He walked over to engage Thrommel so that Thrommel would have - 2 to hit Styx.

Remember that Dwarf Toss I mentioned? Yeah that happened. For 1 action and a Fate, Thrommel jumped away from the two models engaging him, and knocked Styx down. He landed a Critical hit for 7 damage and used his Fate ability Hammer Time to do another d3, for three more. This left Styx on 1 health.

I thought really hard about what to do here. Styx was knocked down and stunned, but I could stand him up and heal him for five, making Barnascus killing him very unlikely. Or, alternatively, I could try for a rerollable nine to Soul Gaze the roaming Soul with Doenrakker and instantly win the game.

I went for the win, and sadly whiffed both times. With his last action, Doenrakker moved to engage Barnascus.

Barnascus took ANOTHER Free Strike, moving around Doenrakker and getting Styx in range.

One nicely rolled Critical Hit and the game was over, well played!

Conclusion:

A very tense, very tight back and forth game for sure! I really enjoy how dynamic the Soul system makes these games. Things can spin on a dime, and you have to be very careful with your placement when there are so few models. I definitely could have done a better job pinning Piper down, and maybe those two Souls would never have been banked.

One of the things that I absolutely love about Judgement is that no matter what, win or lose, I am always excited after the game because something cool always seems to happen.

Hopefully you found this report enjoyable! It almost broke Squarespace to put this many pictures into a single blog post, so I am unsure how often I will be doing them. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask! Judgement is a fantastic game that is definitely going places in 2019, I hope you will come along for the ride.