OPR's Age of Fantasy Skirmish: Relic Hunt!

Some Youtube channels I subscribe to have been going pretty heavy on the One Page Rules (OPR) games lately, with a focus on the skirmish games (Grimdark Future Firefight and Age of Fantasy Skirmish). They looked pretty interesting and more importantly simple, and so I decided to give the OPR rules a shot.

I knocked out 2 warbands for Age of Fantasy Skirmish via the OPR army builder site. It's really good, although I don't know why the units in the site differ from the PDF army lists... I'll have to ask on Discord. (And yes, unit stats are in flux as they are currently being revamped). 200pts, Beast Clan (GW Warcry Beast Lords or something) vs Ossified Undead (GW Ossiarch Bonereapers, I guess). I used my Cryx and Circle Orboros Tharn minis for them.

The scenario was Relic Hunt. After setting up the table, the players set up 3 objective markers. After 4 rounds have been played the game ends, and the player that controls most markers wins. This differs from the normal game as the unit that seizes the markers carries it away with them and the marker can be dropped if that unit is stunned or eliminated, making it fair game for anyone to snatch up again. And with only 4 turns, the pressure is on from Turn 1.

I had to play this game 3 times, looking for a balance in the army lists, and not the rules as the army lists are currently in a state of flux. My Undead leader used to cost 55 points in my first game 2 days ago. Now she costs 60 for the same stats and skills!

My first game had 6 Beast Clan units vs 5 Undead. It was a draw and as usual for a first game, I got some rules wrong. You’d think I could get it right after watching lots of Youtube videos and the game system itself is pretty simple but nooo…

The second game, I tweaked the army lists again, giving the Undead 6 units to the Beast Clans’ 6 units. The Undead won handily, helped by some very good dice rolls for the Undead and abysmal rolls for the Beast Clans. They literally couldn’t hit the side of a barn! Rolling 4 dice and hit on a 4+… zero! I was also adjusting for deployment distances as I was playing on a 3x3 table instead of the recommended 4x4. My original deployment had some units reaching the objectives on Turn 1. Not desirable.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the Undead tabled the Beast Clan, wiping every single unit off the table for a complete and total victory! 

The third and final game, I maxed out the 2 sides at 200 points. I managed to squeeze in 6 units for the Undead and 7 units for the Beast Clans with hardly any upgrades. That seemed to work as the Undead disparity in units was compensated for by the Leader having spells to cast to the Beast Clans none. Of course, the trick is... with just 1 d6, can the Leader get off her one allowed spell during her activation? (I managed a 40% success rate, most of which came in my 2nd game).

The final game was more even overall, and I like how some lowly, no-multiple HP units can still have a last chance at survival even after being hit. Of course, if you’re Stunned, there’s a good chance you’re gonna die anyway because it’s auto elimination if you’re charged while Stunned. The charging unit doesn’t even have to roll any dice.

The other thing I like about the game is at 200-250 points with around 7 units a side is it’s fast. On your (alternating) activation, either do nothing, move and shoot, double move or charge into melee. Combat resolution is simple. Roll to hit, roll to save... and roll to see if the unit is then Stunned or Eliminated, with the latter being more probable the more wounds it has on it.

Melee is also fun as the defending unit gets to attack back if it survives… or not. Reason being that once a unit engages in combat, it’s fatigued and thus only able to score a hit again on a roll of 6, no matter what its actual combat ability is. So some units get Furious (or some similar skill) that actually gives them an extra attack die if they charge into combat… which they don’t receive if they decide to retaliate after being attacked. So you do have to weigh the pros and cons. Sometimes the attacking unit is on its last legs and retaliating could destroy it, leaving your unit free to move during its activation, and potentially engage in combat again, although chances of hitting then are only 1 in 6. (Note the markers in the photo below as I had to keep track of who activated, and which units had already engaged in combat and which hadn't).

As advertised, the core rules are only 1 page, with an extra page explaining some common skills and abilities all units have access to. The full rules unlocks more rules such as extra missions, side missions and all the bling you could ever want to add on: environmental effects, random effects, Command Points, Battlefield conditions, Fog of War… I think I’ll keep it simple as that’s the charm of the rules since the decisions are made on the battlefield and that’s the meat of the game. If I want some sizzle… maybe I’ll add on Command Points although that’s difficult to do in a solo game.

Oh did I mention the game also comes with solo rules? With the units being categorised as Hybrid, Melee or Shooter units and a decision tree for each type? So far I’ve played my games 2-handed as the rules are pretty simple… but if I want a challenge, I might try the AI rules, then assign each unit a number, and draw a card to see which unit activates. At least that’ll give me some surprises, although I can see how that might not be the optimal way for the AI to act. We shall see…

TL; DR: I like the game and I’m glad I got it to the table. Even though it’s called Skirmish, it’s really small squad based, much like Shoot People In Space that I play tested some months back. Although some factions apparently don’t have squads and are all solos. I wouldn’t know as I don’t have minis for most of the factions and will be 3D printing OPR’s own Saurian and Beastmen factions to play some 250pt games with my gaming group.

Age of Fantasy Skirmish is a nice addition to my catalogue of solo-able skirmish games. I may not go Into Grimdark Future Firefight (WH40K Lite) as I have other SF rulesets that I enjoy, and GFF is very very similar to Age of Fantasy as it is, with some SF flavour thrown into the mix. Again, we shall see as I’ve learned to never say never 😁

(Note: pardon the unpainted terrain. I'd just finished printing it.)