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Oathmark Early Release

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North Star Figures has announced that they are releasing Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age ahead of schedule. They are worried that if the U.K. government might force them into a total shut them, due to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. So rather than sit on their hands for months, they've decided to get the product out early before. Oathmark is a fantasy, massed battle, "rank-n-flank" game in the vein of Warhammer Fantasy BattlesThe Ninth Age, or Saga: Age of Magic. But I think it offers a simplicity that WHFB and T9A are lacking.

I've been watching this games development with eager anticipation for a while now. Joseph A. McCullough is the guy that created Frostgrave and he's been wiring a design blog over at Osprey Publishing where he's talked about his design goals, the very clever combat system, and the really innovative kingdom creation system

Oathmark Released Early by North Star Military Figures

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When Building a Kingdom in Oathmark, you basically get to create your own army list. The way it works is that you select a number of territories from the lists given in the book. Each territory has a different Rarity rating and will give you the potential to select certain Characters or Units. The very first territory you pick is your Capital and must be a Human City, Dwarf City, Elf City, Goblin City, or an Orc City. Your chosen Capital determines the race of your leader and will strongly influence the rest of your choices. However, when building your kingdom you have potential access to every territory type in the game.

I've decided I want to make a traditionally villainous fantasy army of mostly Goblins, but I'm going to throw in a few allies of other races for fun. 

So I will start with Region One, the capital. For this I will pick the Goblin City. Goblin City gives me access to one Goblin King or Advisor, one Goblin General or two Goblin Captains; one Goblin Champion; one Goblin Spellcaster (or first or second level); and an unlimited number of units of Goblin Soldiers, Goblin Spearmen, and Goblin Archers. So, right away, you can see that having a Goblin City will give me most of the basic building blocks of a Goblin army... 

After picking my Capital City, I have to choose two Territories for Region Two. These can be any territory belonging to the same race as my capital or any territory belonging to another faction. The limitation here is that it must be of Rarity Two or lower (and out of faction territories count as being one Rarity higher). So for the most part, Region Two territories tend to be either "in faction" choices or they will be a City of another race. I've already got access to most of the basic building blocks of a solid Goblin core thanks to my Goblin City, but I'd like some Goblin Slaves to bolster my numbers and a second Goblin Champion to help keep the lads in line. As per usual for fantasy games, Goblins are lousy troops individually and thus rely on large numbers and hearty heroes. I'll pick the Slave Camp, giving me access to Goblin Slaves and Goblin Slave Slingers... They're wretched troops, but they're dirt cheap. For that second Champion, I'll need to pick Smithies. I note that the Smithies also give me access to Orc Warriors and Orc Linebreakers. Orc Linebreakers are nasty heavy infantry... Hmm.

Next comes the three Territories of Region Three. These can be any in-faction territory of Rarity 3 (or less) or any out-of-faction Territory of Rarity 2 (or less). 
The Goblin City gave me access to one lower level Spellcaster but I think I want to bring a second, stronger Spellcaster. To access a Level 3+ Goblin Spellcaster, I need to select a Dungeon terrain. I'd also like some artillery to soften up the enemy before they come to grips with my weak battleline, so I'll take the Ruined Villages terrain and gain access to Goblin Light Catapults and Orc Heavy Catapults. But this level of rarity really opens up my options for out-of-faction choices and I want to pick something that will surprise my opponent. Goblins are the weakest troops in the game, so let's pair them with some of the toughest: Human Heavy Cavalry and Human Cavalry are unlocked by the Plains territory. Plains are Rarity 2, but they're on the Human faction list... So they're essentially Rarity 3 for me. Perfect.

Lastly, I have to make four choices for Territories in Region Four. Here I can choose any territory on any terrain list with no limits on Rarity... The trade-off being that these will be the first territories to fall to the enemy if I loose campaign games. So its generally a bad idea to pick Territories that will give me access to core units, but the lack of a Rarity cap also means I have access to the most rare territories and the most powerful units. Decisions, decisions. First things first, I want to be able to field a Giant... Why? Because Giants are cool! So I'll select the Rocky Mountains territory and get access to one Giant. So I take two... Because two giants is better than one! I've already decided I'll have some Human Heavy Cavalry, but they're expensive and it'd be nice to have a Human Champion to lead them. That means I need a either a Human City or an Iron Mine. The Human City, like the Goblin City, gives access to a lot of basic troop types and the Iron Mines give access to Human Champions, Warriors, and Linebreakers. I'll opt for both a Human City and Iron Mines. Options are good.

So, to sum up, I have a city of goblins, full of slave camps and hellish industrial furnaces, in the middle of a blasted plain full of ruined villages built atop ancient ruined dungeons. All ringed in by tall rocky mountains, where a city of human sellswords wrestle with giants to secure their iron mines. No doubt, all driven into battle by the whips of their masters. 

Groovy.

When and why did orcs go green? - Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack ...

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Confirmed for August this year:

image.png.0b1cb32c1401c72c74f2475a1fbd8a15.png

A supplement for Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age, giving players rules for creating elite units of warriors known as battlesworn and charting their progress from battle-to-battle.

In the horror and chaos of battle, the outcome can often hang on the briefest of moments. It is at these times that the actions of one unit can make the difference between victory and defeat. Wise kings know this, and realize that it is often prudent to hold their best units back until they can make the greatest difference. These elite units, called the ‘battlesworn', are more than just powerful combatants, they are symbols of the glory and honour of a kingdom. All young warriors hope to one-day join their ranks and add their oathmarks beside those legendary fighters.

This supplement for Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age, contains rules for adding elite units to your armies and charting the progress of those units from battle-to-battle. Will they grow even more powerful as they gain renown, or will they die to the last man in heroic defence, perhaps someday to rise again in time of the kingdom's greatest need? Also included is a campaign, featuring all-new scenarios, that will give your battlesworn the chance to lead their kingdom to new heights of power and prestige.

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Popped over and read his design blog a bit, looks pretty interesting! I usually enjoy the fantasy settings but have been informed away from AoS based on the gameplay.

Did you get any local interest in this game before the lockdown? I hate it when there’s a great game system but no one available to play it.

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Sadly, other than a handful of “that looks kinda neat” replies to my endless boosterism for the game, I never got any firm expressions of interest. My copy of the rulebook arrived on April 30, just as the lockdown shenanigans were going into effect... So I haven’t had the chance to actually play.

Just from reading it, it’s a fantastic alternative to The Ninth Age or Kings of War, which seem to be the two most popular inheritors to the Warhammer Fantasy Battles’ deserted throne. Personally, I’ve always felt like T9A and KoW both inherited the worst parts of later editions of WHFB: they’re very complex, contain a lot of minutia simply for the sake of containing minutia, and seem kind of schizophrenic in their attempts to recreate the lore of WHFB without actually recreating the lore of WHFB.

Oathmark is a refreshingly stripped down, lean, mean, and easy rank-and-flank mass battle game. 

The book is available on Amazon, right now, for $33 (with free delivery for Prime members!). I know that money is tight for a lot of people right now and I don’t want to presume to know anyone’s budget... But as far as most gaming hobby products go, $33 is on the “below average” end, and most of us can likely squeeze it into our “hobby budget.” If you feel like taking a chance, I’d say it’s worth grabbing.

When we can once again start going to the club, I’ll be more than happy to let others have a look at my copy of book. I’ll probably also break up my samurai figures into two small armies for some demo games if anyone is interested.

Anyone who has an existing WHFB / T9A / KoW army should be able to adapt it to Oathmark without too much difficulty. Sure, there’s no demon or undead army (yet?) but it would be child’s play to say “yeah, these zombies with spears miniatures use the rules for humans with spears.”

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Frostgrave and Oathmark were both written by  Joesph McCullogh, both published by Osprey Books, and both have licensed miniatures made by North Star Figures... But that’s all there is in terms of connection.

The rules are completely different, although both share a fair bit of McCullough’s underlying “keep it simple, stupid” philosophy.

The official Oathmark models come in packs of thirty for the plastic “rank and file” and blister packs of three pewter “heroes” for Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Goblins, and Men. They all have a nice, old school, Tolkien-esque aesthetic as opposed to GW’s more cartoony high fantasy designs. They were intentionally sculpted to be of compatible scale with the official plastic Frostgrave figures – which are sold in packs of 20, but have a much more diverse range of weapons, accessories, and body types in order to better make the rag-tag warbands for that game instead of uniform ranks of soldiers. But if you want some good “conversion” fodder, they’re fun.

It should also be noted that neither Oathmark nor Frostgrave requires you to use the official figures. You can use anything you want, with the only requirements being that your opponent can tell what they are and (in Oathmark) that they have appropriately sized bases.

(Even the required basing size has some flexibility built into the rules. Standard infantry are meant to be on 25x25 mm bases, in ranks of five. But if you want to use smaller bases [like 20x20 mm] this is allowed for in the rules provided you plop them on a movement tray that has a final width of 125 mm.)

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I played a small game solo to test out the rules.  I really like the activation system- it isn't nearly as constraining as the Dragon Rampant or Hail Caesar activation systems, while leaving some room for command and control differences.

I think this game sits very nicely in a continuum between Kings of War and 9th age.  It is more interactive than KoW (and has individual casualty removal, if that's a thing for you), but isn't nearly so fiddly or mega-unit driven as 9A.  I look forward to playing some more, especially once the rules for undead are released this fall.

 

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Well, WHFB-style Dark Elves are easily represented by using the Elf units and a fair selection of the neutral monsters.  You could also add units from the Human or Goblin lists to represent enslaved prisoners forced to fight on behalf of their masters.

I strongly suspect that the game was designed for 20 x 20 mm square bases, but redesigned late in its development to use 25 x 25 mm square bases because that what Games Workshop, Mantic, and Fireforge were using. I’ve got an STL for a five by two movement tray that holds 20 x 20 mm bases perfectly and gives them a 125 mm frontage:

EEC029ED-2A46-49E7-AF0F-0B846EDD07A2.thumb.jpeg.fdb60e2db5956706f9b49d9bb484c3a8.jpeg

 

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Oh, I also have decided that in most of my armies that I ever build for Oathmark, I will use a standard bearer of some sort in the center point of the front rank instead of a leader type model.

Oathmark bases a lot of measurements off a unit’s “Officer,” ties certain moral values to the presence or lack of an “Officer,” and a few other things. The “Officer” must always occupy the middle position of the front rank... But, frankly, I just think it looks nicer to have a guy with a flag in that spot. Plus it’s easier to identify from table top distances where the flag is than where the guy with the slightly different hat is... and if the “Officer” is removed for some reason, it’s easy to see that the unit is missing it’s flag. 

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Here's where I got them. It probably wouldn't be too hard to modify these trays to accommodate an 20 x 80 mm base. Just clip and/or file down these two internal dividers and you'll end up with a slot that's 20 x 85-ish in size... If you're handy with an STL editor, you could probably re-sculpt it before printing and make it even cleaner.


image.png.85397f3c7b3d5db429b9191e7f1c0b56.png

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4 hours ago, Damunky said:

Now to find something similar for 9th age 😄

 

Are you just looking for "normal" movement trays? I found this lot of STL files, seems like it would have most sizes you might need 🙂. Not free, but pretty inexpensive

https://txarlifactory.com/collections/movement-trays-stl/products/movement-trays-rectangular-bases

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