At last, it is here! This is one of our most ambitious expansions, and what an expansion it is. Just look at all this stuff!
This box includes a whole huge castle, loads of siege engines, more terrain, more miniatures, and a whole new way to expand your games which (for now) we have imaginatively called the Siege card game.
Before we delve into the details of the new rules, let’s briefly look at some of the new units that come in this set.
The Hundred Years’ War saw the rise of gunpowder devices as practical weapons. It would be many more years before they totally replaced bows and trebuchet, but their effect was beginning to be felt. Most notably we have great bombards that can smash down city walls. Early cannons were very slow to load, and early gunpowder temperamental in the extreme. It had an unhappy habit of settling into its constituent ingredients if it was transported any distance, and so was usually mixed on the spot – a dangerous business.
An arquebus was an early type of long gun. They were also slow to load, as well as short ranged and inaccurate, but they were deadly to whatever they hit. In addition, they had something of a shock effect to troops that weren’t used to them, and, of course, they became fashionable.
Sappers are engineering specialists who work both above ground and below. These are the men who dig the tunnels, or undermine the castle walls. It’s an extremely dangerous business, and not one for the faint hearted.
In addition to these new troop units and characters, we also have all the siege engines that mainly focus on destroying the castle so that the troops can get inside.
PLAYING A SIEGE GAME
A real siege takes weeks, months, or even years to complete. Inside, the besieged forces wait and watch, hoping that their runner will make it through the lines and bring back reinforcements, or that some deadly disease will rampage through the enemy camp, and they give up and go home before the castle runs out of food. Outside, the besiegers are hoping that their constant battering against the walls, sneaky tunnels, and cunning night assaults will wear down the defenders so that the final assault will force a breach and capture the castle!
To simulate these weeks of watching and waiting, punctuated by stealthy raids and underhanded tricks, we’ve added a 20-minute Siege card game to the normal game of Joan of Arc. It works like this.
Start by choosing from the siege scenarios included in this set. There are four to pick from: the historically English victories of Calais and Rouen, and the French victories of Orléans (where Joan of Arc made her name) and Castillon. The scenario you decide on tells you how to set up the board, and what units are on each side. This is like any other scenario, except that there is a castle or city wall on the board too. When everything is in place, instead of starting a normal game of Joan of Arc, you play the Siege card game first.
The Siege card game replicates the weeks of planning on both sides. During the game, units on the table will gain ground and move to new positions, get sick and be moved to the out of combat section of the battle board, or even die from the plague. New units may join the besiegers, or sneak through the lines to reinforce the defence. New siege equipment can be built, and can start to batter down the walls. All this quickly replicates the effects of weeks of preparations. After these preparations, you play out the Final Assault.
Although you have started by setting up a scenario, by the time you’ve played through the Siege card game, your situation will be different every time. You may have built a trebuchet, smashed a tower, and watched as it fell to rubble, only to be barricaded and the position reinforced. Perhaps dysentery swept through your camp, and many of the besieging army is now sick, or supplies have run out in the castle and they are hungry and desperate. Maybe, you’ve taken to firing disease-ridden cows into the castle with your catapults, as an early form of biological warfare. Whatever has happened, the gains and losses from the Siege card game will give you a unique game each time.
The Final Assault is played as a normal game of Time of Legends: Joan of Arc. Capturing or holding the many sections of the castle, along with casualties, determine whether attacker or defender can claim victory.
THE SIEGE CARD GAME
The card game comes with three decks of cards, two supply tracks, and a turn track. One card deck is for the besieged, one for the besieger, and the third for events. We’ll get to the two player decks in a moment. First, lets look at the supply tracks and events.
Having good food and water during a siege is vital for both sides because troops need to be fit and healthy to fight. To keep track of this in a simple way, we’ve included a supply track for each player. This monitors how much food and water they have left. The event cards come into play if a player’s remaining amount of supplies falls below a critical level. None of them are nice.
Events are things like low morale among your forces causing you to lose cards, epidemics of dysentery or the plague killing your troops, spoiled goods reducing supplies even further, mutinies, storms, traitors, and so on. You get the idea.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Supplies are important is the message you need to hear: keep an eye on your food.
The Siege card game plays very simply. The clever bit is in choosing the sequence in which you play the many cards. It works like this:
Each player (besieger and besieged) has their own deck of cards. These decks are similar, but contain important differences that reflect their different roles in the siege. Players start with a hand of 5 cards.
Each turn, players draw 3 new cards from their decks, look at their whole hand, and decide which 3 cards they want to play. When they have decided, they place them face down in front of them and wait till both players are ready.
These face down cards are revealed simultaneously. Total the initiative value on each player’s cards to see whose cards are resolved first. The winner of the initiative resolves all 3 of their cards in an order of their choice. Then their opponent resolves their 3 cards. That completes a turn. After 4 turns, the game moves onto the main board, and the Final Assault begins from whatever situation it is currently in.
As I said, it’s a simple game, and the heart of it is what lies in those card decks. So let’s take a little look.
Both decks have some of the same cards. One of the most important of these is the mysteriously named Poliorcetics. I’d never heard this word before, but clever people tell me that it’s the fancy way of saying siege warfare and all the things that go with it. Each Poliorcetics card you play unlocks a space in front of you to hold an additional card. Cards in these spaces are face up, and form an additional option when drawing a card from the deck. Each time you draw a card, you can either take one of these face up cards from in front of you, or whatever is on the top of your deck, sight unseen. You can have up to 3 of these extra Poliorcetics cards. After you have drawn your cards at the start of a turn, any Poliorcetics spaces that were used are refilled. It’s an important benefit, and represents skill at this noble art.
Each player’s deck also has cards for resupply so they can raise their values on the supply track. They have cards to craft experience or myth points, or gather intelligence, which gains intrigue points. All of these points may be used during the Final Assault, though the experience and myth points can also be used when reinforcement cards come up to buy more troops in advance.
The besieger’s deck includes cards to build ladders for climbing walls, battering rams to smash gates, mantlets to protect the attacking troops, sappers to dig mines, assault towers to avoid needing to climb those pesky walls, and lots more. It’s got guards and palisades to protect your camp, marshals to organise it (gaining you extra cards), and cards that improve conditions so you can avoid outbreaks of nasty diseases. It lets you infiltrate, forcing your opponent to play with face up cards next turn. You can make an attack plan, mount a night assault, or poison your opponent’s water supply. You can make a limited assault now, and fight a battle on the main board to capture a vital piece of terrain. You can send extra troops to tighten the blockade and reduce their supplies, prepare for the final assault (adding a turn to the Final Assault game), send out decoys (allows repositioning before the Final Assault), or simply summon a war council. You can even fire cows at the castle with your trebuchets. You can’t say there’s no choice.
The besieged inhabitants of the castle have slightly different cards. After all, you can hardly encircle your attackers to cut off their supplies. Instead, you have ways of reinforcing and repairing the walls and towers, destroying some of the attacker’s siege engines, or maybe build a few of your own to shoot back. You can send a messenger for help (rolling a doom dice to see if he makes it safely), set guards to stop the besieger sneaking in and causing trouble, build extra cisterns to help you hold out longer, or simply collect rocks to drop on their heads as they attack the walls. I’d like to say there is a cow-catcher in there, but I’d be making it up. It’s the only thing missing though.
THE FINAL ASSAULT
After you have plotted and schemed your way into the best possible position, the day of the Final Assault arrives. Your men are in their positions, perhaps you have smashed a breach in the walls, or built an assault tower. Whatever the situation, now is the decisive moment. The battle is at hand.
The only additional rules are to do with the pre-battle Siege card game I’ve already talked about, and for the castle itself. Huge and powerfully-built constructions like this are given a resistance from 1-5 for each section. This is an amount of damage that section can withstand before it is destroyed. During the game this can be reduced by attacks from siege weapons, though normal attacks are too feeble to cause any harm. Each attack from a siege weapon reduces the resistance until that terrain element collapses. At this point you replace the piece with one of the ruins from the box.
Final Assaults last for five turns, unless one or both of the players has been able to change this number. Who the final victor will be depends on who holds the walls, and how high the losses on both sides have been.
And that is Siege!
I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below. As always, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
If you are interested in this add-on, simply click on the blue “manage your pledge” button near the top of the page. Then increase your total by the amount of any add-ons you wish to include in your pledge. You can tell us exactly how you want to allocate these funds after the campaigns ends, when we send you our pledge manager.
The Voice in Her Head
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