I released the fourth closed playtest for 15XX a couple weeks ago. In that time, my focus has been on getting the word out about the rules and getting them into the hands of my (up until now) scattered group of closed playtesters.
This weekend, I had a chance to playtest 15XX at the friendly local game store for the first time since Covid began (at Game Nite in the St. Louis, MO metro). Good to be getting back to some semblance of normal!
Time had come to get in an actual playtest of the latest version of the rules. I met up with two local gamers that I’ve met through another mutual hobby and ran them through the default scenario.
Starting the Game
Here we have the guys working through their parties. After some deliberation, both ended up going with one of the three premade parties I’d written up (and knew I could field miniatures for!).
Red player chose the party of villagers pressed together to, as their motivation, Defend Hearth and Home:
- Rabble (Armed Mob)
- Looters (Thieves and Brigands)
- Beasts (Livestock and Drover)
- Dogs (Hunting Hounds)
Conversely, Blue player choose the smaller force of rampaging soldiers:
- Impact Horse (Gendarme Lances)
- Impact Horse (Reiter Wheellock Pistols)
- Foot (Pikes or Polearms)
- Shot (Arquebuses or Calivers)
The Fog of War
Here we see the initial Fog of War phase being played out. I’m really liking how this enables the game to get right into the action while allowing for some strategy – and trickery! – at the beginning of the game.
The setup of the game includes random rolls for terrain density, deployment, and player order for the Fog of War. We ended up with medium terrain, corner deployment, and the Red player deploying first.
I placed terrain (a bit haphazardly) as the players worked out their notes on party rosters. Using the 6×6 grid 15XX is played on, we ended up with the following:
We rolled for corner deployments, and the Red player choose to put his opponent back behind the bend in the river. Would the bottleneck be enough to save him from the militarily superior soldiers?
The Encounter Begins
In an opening gambit, Red sends his dogs hard around the Blue player’s flank. Two of the three bases of hounds would eventually be cut down, but they’d take a base of pikemen with them, while tying up the arquebusiers, as well.
At the same time, one of Red’s looters spotted plunder for the taking in the walled, wooded garden.
Red kept his rabble back out of sight of the reiters and arquebusiers, but this left the central chokepoint between the river and ruins open for Blue, with nothing to contest their advance save for a stubborn heard of cattle (masquerading as deer, of course).
Turn three proved to be decisive, as the two cavalry groups both used their Fast special rule to advance on Blue’s rabble… to devastating effect. As the most heavy-hitting offensive Group in the rules, both the Impact Horse bases successfully attacked… and both Rabble failed their defense rolls.
The end was in sight for Red, who was down to three Groups. Two others were at risk. While Red was about to take two loot tokens off the board, it was unlikely he could secure five before Blue took out the rest of his party.
It was about that time that Blue’s toddler decided he, too, had had enough of this game, and we all decided to wrap up and have a post-mortem about the game and the rules.
All in all, I’m pleased at how the core gameplay is working. I think the terrain rules have been 90% solved, and – most helpfully – this playtest also revealed a couple more areas that need to be addressed.
I’m looking forward to running more playtests soon.
If you’re in the St. Louis, MO area and want to check them out, please reach out and fill out the playtest form!
If you’re on Instagram, I’m also starting to post there, too! Follow me as @sevenlabors!