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New Dude Needs Help

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Okay, so I've just gotten the Beastgrave starter set, put it together, and played a game with my father.  The goal I had in mind when I bought it was a quick, hour-long skirmish or skirmish-like wargame that we could both enjoy.  We had some fun, it was a full game wit the starter decks, I was Despoilers and he was Wild Hunt, and he won, but it definitely was a shaky start.  While he'd play it again, he has some serious problems with the game that, if they are too prevalent, will mean he won't play again, and I'm in much the same boat.

The big one, in his opinion, is the inability to plan out and be tactical due to cards.  For instance, I had a hand that was mostly upgrades turn one and couldn't do jack with them because I wasn't getting any victory points.  For him, he got upgrade cards for the Wild Hunt's Trumpeter and Swordsman, but only after I had put them out of action.  Getting rid of these cards is, as far as we can tell, clunky as heck, and it's very much up to luck of the draw.  I had objectives I struggled to score, he had objectives he struggled to score, and it didn't really get better.

Secondly, and this is more my opinion, the critical mechanism... doesn't really seem good.  The odds are fine for determining start player and all, but when it comes to rolling, it just seemed to be baloney.  My father rolled an attack with 3 dice, and had 2 successes, 1 from Hammers, 1 from being Supported.  I rolled a single die for defense, and it comes up Critical.  I know that it can be a clutch save, but it feels overly random and the number of crits we rolled at key moments actually made the dice feel weighted.  Criticals superseding everything just doesn't feel right to us.

Side detail:  We were charging pretty much every activation, and I made a major boo-boo by sending in the Despoiler's Axe-goat to get killed (he slayed one instantly, but got a javelin through him in return).  We went through so many guys so fast, it actually shocked my father and he was wary about how fragile each fighter was, which doesn't help his opinion of the game.

So, I'm looking to you, the forum for help.  I know I missed out on a few rules, like pushing back and getting glory for kills (it didn't matter too much), but what I really want is advice or help on dealing with our problems.  Some can't be dealt with.  Some probably can.  If there are better starting deck constructions that make for better games, or if there's tricks or tips that should absolutely be known before we try the game again, I'd love to know them.  This is actually pretty serious, as although I love the minis, it won't matter if I think the game isn't anywhere near as good and I won't end up buying more and playing more.

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You can customize your decks once you have more cards, but when it comes to the criticals, you're stuck. Dice are dice. If you're looking for a hex-based skirmish game without dice, you might want to check out Super Fantasy Brawl. It also uses cards, but there are no dead cards (and no dice).

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Just to confirm, you know that you can't charge more than once per round with a model? Once a model has charged, it can't move or attack again the rest of the round. Also, each time a model attacks, if it rolls any successes, it can push its opponent back one hex, even if the opponent successfully defends. Basically, models shouldn't be dying every time dice are rolled; it'll take upgrades before most models can one-shot an opponent.


Balancing your deck with upgrades and gambits is pretty essential (I haven't looked through the starter Beastgrave decks yet, so I'm not sure how they were composed, but the starter decks in Nightvault at least had a decent balance and were playable, if subpar, out of the box). If you get a spectacularly bad draw to start (all upgrades, for example), you can mulligan (discard the whole hand and draw again from the remaining cards). Keeping the decks at or close to the recommended 20 upgrade/gambit cards and 12 glory cards helps keep the chances of drawing an entirely useless hand low on turn 1.


I struggled with the game at first, too - I started with Nightvault and thought the magic rules were just bad and the dice rules were finicky at best. Then I played a few more games, and learned that tournaments play best out of three games for each pairing, and became more comfortable with how the game works. It's a lot of moving parts for a GW game (deckbuilding + area control + objectives + killing the enemy), but it's a lot of fun and plays fast once you get used to the different dynamics.


Hope you like it after a few more tries!

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Update from the Front Lines:  I have (more or less) fixed the cards issue by deckbuilding each of the Beastgrave Starter Factions.  We have played 2 games since, and we played the same factions as last time.  I won the first, and my father won the second, each for very blatant reasons:  Dice Luck.

My father has terrible luck with the dice.  In the first game, he had terrible luck.  He lost by a mile.  In the 2nd game, it turned around, and he built an unstoppable Super-centaur with the upgrades i had put into his deck.  To give you an idea of his luck, he took the attack dice and called out a side for 14 rolls, either hammers or swords, and only succeeded 4 times, counting criticals.

(By the way, the criticals aren't so annoying now).

He is still evidently willing to play the game again, because he wants to try my side, the Despoilers, because the difference between me whooping his butt and him whooping my butt was astronomical, which makes me think I flubbed balancing the Despoilers or don't know how to play them.

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On 11/24/2019 at 2:14 AM, Vakarian said:

Also, each time a model attacks, if it rolls any successes, it can push its opponent back one hex, even if the opponent successfully defends. Basically, models shouldn't be dying every time dice are rolled; it'll take upgrades before most models can one-shot an opponent.


This is not true. You can only push if you roll as many successes in the attack as there are successes in the defense. Then the attack is considered to have failed but you can push back the opponent.

I play this game since shadespire, the first season. I too had the feeling that the warbands were not balanced, but after a while I learned that you need to play following a tactical plan. And that plan should fit with the nature of the fighters and should be supported by the proper cards. Otherwise, the game indeed feels like "you are doing stuff but I doesn't lead to anything'. So, you move, you attack, sometimes you score, sometimes you don't. In the end you count your points and then there is a winner. If you have a tactical plan and you can execute it, then it really feels like winning!! Or like somebody said: "I love it when a plan comes together".

As far as the dice are concerned: know that you should play 3 games. When you execute your plan better then your opponent, you'll win 90% of the time.There can be a loose in those 3 games because you're opponent gets lucky on a crucial moment in the game, but normally it won't happen 3 times. Also, remember that in tournaments: you need different plans against different warbands... So your warband also needs to be versatile...

Keep playing and keep finetuning your deck, you'll love when your plan comes together. :)


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