Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Triumph and Treachery – A Warhammer Fantasy Expansion

Triumph and Treachery – A Warhammer Fantasy Expansion

The newest Warhammer Fantasy expansion – Triumph and Treachery is an expansion which features rules for playing 3, 4 or even 5 player games of Warhammer.  The game features new and unique rules to ensure that there is a singular winner at the end of game whether they triumph on the field of battle or use treachery to bring down friend and foe alike. 

The game takes a very “Highlander-esque” approach to a multi-player battle where alliances are forged and then shattered in the blink of an eye, where intrigue and illusion can make or break a player, and where your allies and enemies may swap positions every round. 

In the end however, there can be only one…

                In order to properly explain Triumph and Treachery, it would be best to describe the new Rules provided in this expansion.

1.       Trust No One - this section provides rules for battles fought with 3 or more players.

2.       Victory Tokens – a new resource system for keeping track of who is winning the multi-player battle.

3.       Treachery Cards – these are special cards that allow you to pull off dastardly ploys or help an ally in need.

4.       Mercenaries – these are rules for adding Mercenary companies to your roster from other armies.

5.       Triumph and Treachery Scenarios – they have provided three distinct scenarios specifically designed for the Triumph and Treachery rule set.

Trust No One

                The Trust No One rule is the core rule of the Triumph and Treachery expansion.  There are several rule subsets and existing rules that have been modified to accommodate multiple players using this rule in the game.  It really boils down to a simple explanation however: when a player takes a turn, they pick an opposing player at the start of each phase to be their ‘enemy player’ for the phase.  Only units belonging to the enemy player may be attacked or targeted. 

1.       Player Turn Cards – this game comes with 5 different player turn cards that are represented by a certain weapon or item (sword, axe, shield, hammer and staff).  Each player draws a card at the beginning of the game and notes which icon they drew as that will be their icon for the duration of the game.  The cards are then shuffled back into a pile.

2.       Determine Turn Order – at the beginning of every game turn of a multi-sided battle, the player turn card deck is shuffled and the top card is turned over.  The icon that is showing will denote who’s turn it is, after that player has finished their entire turn then another card is flipped until all player turns have been performed and the deck reshuffled.

3.       Friends and Enemies – The game progresses much like any normal game of Warhammer only at the beginning of each phase, the player whose turn it is must designate who the enemy player is for that turn. 

The following rules apply to the enemy player:

·         All units belonging to the player whose turn it is are considered friendly units.

·         All units belonging to the player designated as the enemy player are considered enemy units.

·         All units belonging to neutral players are neutral units for that turn.

Neutral units may not be targeted or attacked in any way.  That means that:

·         Neutral units may not attack, dispel or carry out any other actions

·         Neutral units can not be hit by attacks that use templates or markers, attacks that scatter or attacks that randomly determine who is hit, or by spells or game effects that affect ‘any unit’ with a certain distance.

·         Neutral units do not count for combat results and cannot cause disruption or affect a combat in any way.  They can’t flee or pursue, and are fled through in the same manner as an enemy unit.

Neutral units to do not take part in the phase and thus are unaffected by what happens during that phase.

4.       Game Phases –there are several small changes to the player turn phases as they pertain to the neutral and enemy player designation.

A.      Movement Phase – Charges may only be performed against Enemy units.  Neutral units serve as impassible terrain.

B.      Magic Phase – Only the enemy player receives dispel dice, and only the enemy player may be chosen as the target for spells (other than augment spells which affect friendly units).  Spells that have Remains in Play effects or that causes effects every magic phase do not affect neutral units.

C.      Shooting Phase – Only enemy units may be targeted.  Templates or marker weapons do not affect neutral units.

D.      Close Combat Phase – If friendly units are in combat with units from only one opposing army then that army’s player must be chosen as the enemy player for the Close Combat phase.  If friendly units are in combat with units belonging to two or more opposing players, then one player must be chosen as the enemy player and a Truce is called with the neutral player.  Attacks are only exchanged between friendly and enemy units.

Truces: When a truce is called in Close Combat, all neutral units in base contact with a friendly unit must be moved 1” away.  If the unit can not move due to impassible terrain or any other reason, they remain in base to base but take no part in the close combat phase.

5.       Roll Offs – In a multiple player game, the winner of a roll off then determines the order of actions for all players that took part in the roll off.  In the event of a tie, the tied players roll off again to determine the winner.

Victory Tokens

                The Victory Token mechanic is a fast and easy way to measure the accumulation of victory points for each player.  These Victory Tokens not only serve as a representation of each players running victory point total, but also serve a currency for bribing an opponent or hiring mercenaries.

1.       Coin Designation:

A.      Brass Coin = 50 Victory Points

B.      Silver Coin = 150 Victory Points

C.      Gold Coin = 250 Victory Points

D.      Gold Ingot = 1500 Victory Points

Unless the Mercenaries rule is being used, every player starts out with 2 Brass Coins.

2.       Graining Victory Tokens – At the end of each phase, the player will receive a victory token for every 50 Victory Points they scored that phase (any excess points are lost).  Example: If player A scores 313 Victory Points in the Close Combat Phase then he would receive 1 Gold Coin and 1 Brass Coin with the remaining 13 VP’s are discarded.

The player who scored the most Victory Points in a phase will receive a single bonus Brass Coin (or each player if there is a tie).

3.       Using Victory Tokens – A player’s collection of Victory Tokens are referred to as a paychest.  The player who has the largest paychest at the end of the game is declared the winner.

A player may use their Victory Tokens in various ways, they may use them to bribe another player to perform an action or bribe a mercenary unit.  You may use them to award a player for an action they performed that benefited you.  You may also promise to pay a player then be a treacherous cur and double cross them with no payment!  Not all players are honorable on the field of battle!
Treachery Cards

                Perhaps my most favorite mechanic in this game is the addition of these Treachery Cards.  These are player cards that allow you to perform actions and countermeasures against either your opponent or another player during anyone’s turn.  These actions may aid you, hamper them, help an ally or punish an adversary.  The Treachery Cards add a certain amount of uncertainty and chaos to his already hectic multiplayer battle.

1.       Gaining Treachery Cards -  Players may gain treachery cards in the following ways:

·         Automatically at the start of each game turn.

·         By rolling successfully in any phase in which they are a neutral player.

·         By making a dirty deal to get cards from another player.

A.      Start of Turn Cards – At the start of every game turn each player gets a specific number of cards dependent upon their paychest.  If the player has the biggest paychest then they get 1 card, if the player has the smallest paychest they get 3 cards while the rest get 2 cards each.  This is a good mechanic as it helps give an edge to the players that are currently “losing” and will provide them with a better arsenal of tricks to help them gain the upper hand.

B.      Neutral Player Cards – Immediately after the player chooses the “enemy player”, all the neutral players get a chance to gain a Bonus Treachery Card.  Each player rolls a D6, in a 3 person game a roll of 5 or 6 grants a bonus card while in games of 4-5 players only a 6 yields a bonus card.

C.      Dirty Deals – Players may give cards from their hand to another player.  This is known as a Dirty Deal.  What goes on in order to broker said deals is up to each player!

D.      Hand Size – Players are limited to a hand size of five cards.  If a player has more than five cards in their hand, they must immediately discard and may not play cards until they are down to five cards.

E.       Discarded Cards – Treachery cards are reshuffled into the deck once the existing Treachery deck has been exhausted.

F.       Treachery Cards - Each Treachery Card has a Title, a Description and an Effect.  Specific issues that may arise have been addressed by the Card Commentaries section of the rulebook.

                In the Triumph and Treachery game the players have the opportunity to hire Mercenary companies to fight at their side.  Each player will receive extra points to spend on Mercenary Units for their army.  The number of points each player receives is 100 points for every 500 points they have in their army (example a 2,500 point army will have 500 points to spend on Mercenaries).

1.       Hiring Mercenaries - Using the extra points generated for Mercenary units, the player may choose to employ Mercenaries from any army book they choose (except that a player may not hire Mercenaries from the same army book as their army being used).  When a player hires Mercenaries they hire what are called Mercenary Companies.  The Mercenary Company must contain at least one character to serve as the Mercenary Captain.  All units in the Mercenary Company within 6” of the Mercenary Captain may use his Leadership value in place of their own.

2.       Unspent Mercenary Points – If a player has unspent points after hiring Mercenaries, they may convert those unspent points to Victory Tokens (provided they have enough points to exchange them in for tokens) otherwise they are lost.

3.       Loyalty – All mercenary models suffer -1 to their Leadership Value.  Should a mercenary unit flee and pass a Rally test, they must immediately roll on a table and apply the result.  On a 1-4 the Mercenary Company has all the players roll off.  The winner now controls the Mercenary Company.  Loyalty comes at a price!  On a 5-6 the Mercenary Company remains loyal to their patron (for the time being).

4.       Bribing Mercenaries – At the start of any phase, a player may attempt to bribe a mercenary unit by spending Victory Tokens.  If the bribe is successful, the mercenary unit will stand back and do nothing that phase.  Attempts to bribe may be performed after the enemy player has been designated for that phase and after all neutral players have rolled to see if they get Bonus Treachery Cards.  Fleeing units may not be bribed.  A bribe is performed by placing a certain amount of Victory Tokens by the Mercenary Unit.  The controlling player (or other neutral player also trying to bribe the Mercenaries) then has the opportunity try to “outbid” the bribe by beating the amount of Victory Tokens bid by the neutral players.  If the controlling player successfully outbids the neutral players, the unit functions as normal.  After the bidding has been performed, all Victory Tokens used to bribe are swept back into the Victory Token pile and count as spent.

Triumph and Treachery Scenarios

                 There are three scenarios provided in the Triumph and Treachery set.  Each scenario has its own unique scenario special rules that yield additional victory points to each player along with unique deployment options. 

The Triumph and Treachery Boxed Set comes with a hardback 96 page rulebook providing you with rules, lore and modeling showcases.  It comes with a large amount of cardboard embossed victory tokens denoting different amounts as well as 5 Player Cards and 36 Treachery Cards.  I will go ahead and say that while the game is awesome and has potential to be a fantastic expansion, it was not worth the price that Games Workshop charged for it. 

In the end, I will go ahead and say that this expansion is a great way to diversify your collection.  It allows players to collect that one awesome unit they have always liked but never wanted to field the entire army for.  It also allows for players to forge a whole new narrative based on the epic battles they may engage in with multiple foes.  The sheer chaotic element that the Treachery cards introduces can swing battles in a single turn back and forth, and in one fell swoop close the gap between someone who was a “runaway” winner and someone who was getting ganged up on.  The fact that you may choose different enemies every phase is incredibly fun and tactical.  You could in the movement phase charge the unit you wish to annihilate, designate another player with little or no magic defense as your enemy in the magic phase and buff your unit, then in the shooting phase and close combat phase chose the player you charged as your enemy again.  You could bribe your opponents mercenaries while making a deal with another player to wipe out another player’s big unit then in the next phase turn on the player you just made a deal with and blow up his special units.  This game has a LOT of opportunity for memorable and fun experiences where you can never really be sure where you stand with your fellow players until the last turn has passed and everyone’s paychests are being counted.

The Deployment Zone Podcast will be providing a gameplay example of Triumph and Treachery during their Chaos Christmas Episode which will be recorded on Dec. 1st  

 In the end, there can be only one…


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