Wednesday, 24 February 2021

9th Edition Maelstrom of War Review: Part 2- Stratagems and Missions

This part of the Maelstrom of War review will take a look at the stratagems and missions available in the new rules. 



Stratagems
The new rules have introduced four new stratagems to use in your maelstrom games. 

Fixed Determination (1CP)- Use at the start of the battle round, before generating Tactical Objectives. Select one of the Tactical Objectives that you generated in the previous battle round but did not score. That Tactical Objective is treated as having been generated for you this battle round and counts towards the limit of how many Tactical Objectives you generate in this battle round. 

A useful stratagem for ensuring that you can score big points in your turn. This reduces the chance of getting a random objective that you may not be able to achieve, and replace it with one that you are likely to score. For example, if you roll Tear Down Their Heroes or Cut off the Head in one turn and are not quite able to achieve it in one turn, but almost guaranteed to get it the following turn, such as removing the last model from a powerful unit or taking the last wound from a warlord or character. 

Probably not going to use it every game, but could certainly be useful to score points every once in a while. 

New Intel (1CP)- Use this stratagem at the end of the battle round. Select one of the Tactical Objective categories that you selected at the start of the battle. You can replace it with one of the objective categories that you did not choose. You can only use this stratagem once per battle. 

To be honest, I don't see this one being used all that much. You should be aware of your and your opponent's armies' capabilities and select the correct categories at the start of the game and shouldn't need to waste CP changing them as the battle proceeds. Could be useful if the game is not going to plan, but hopefully shouldn't be able to use it that often. 

Quick Thinking (1CP)- Use at the start of the battle round, when you have rolled to generate a Tactical Objective. Add 1 to the roll or subtract 1 from the roll. You cannot use this stratagem to change the roll of a Tactical Objective already generated this battle round. You can only use this stratagem once per battle round. 

Quite a useful one to keep in mind. Good to mitigate the randomness of the tables somewhat, allowing you to choose the most optimal objective from your choices each round. I think the wording means that you cannot retroactively choose to amend an objective, but must use the stratagem once it has been rolled. 

Standing Orders (1CP)- Use at the start of the battle round when you have rolled to generate a Tactical Objective. Change the roll to a 1. You cannot use this if you have already rolled a 1 on that category and can only be used once per battle round. 

The first tactical objective on each table is worth 8 points, making this a useful stratagem for trying to score big points in your turn. These objectives are generally a bit harder to achieve, so it is useful to ensure that you have good odds of getting the objective before using the stratagem. 

Missions
The maelstrom missions have the standard set up of choosing deployment zone, tactical reserves, etc. that most missions do. 

However, once change is that you can select to go first or second if you win the roll off. This is a big deal, as going second seems to have inherent advantages (as discussed in the first part of the review). 

In a standard game, each mission uses six objectives, placed alternatingly. These are placed out of your deployment zone, but in your table half, outwith 3" of the battlefield edge and at least 12" from another objective. This means players will need to go out after objectives, as there will be no objectives in their deployment zone and out of range to hold them for a unit in the deployment zone. 

The missions generally play the same way, with an extra special rule to differentiate them. Players pick three tactical objective categories they can attempt to score from each turn. Let's take a look at the mission special rules. 

1. Territorial Control- From the second battle round onwards, at the start of each battle round, if one player controls more objective markers than their opponent, that player generates a fourth Tactical Objective that round. 

This mission places an emphasis on controlling objectives, giving the player who controls the most an extra objective to achieve. This gives the player with the most board control the chance to score more points in a turn, meaning you have to balance controlling the board with going after your tactical objectives. I like this mission, as it forces you to balance your game style and think on the move. It also means the objectives are important and cannot be ignored by players to go after the "kill" objectives. 

2. Ambitious Surge- At the start of each battle round, after Tactical Objectives have been generated, starting with the player who had the first turn, each player selects one of the objectives generated by their opponent. If their opponent scored that Tactical Objective this battle round, it is worth twice as many points. 

A good mission for forcing your opponent to try and achieve difficult objectives, but at the risk they can score big. Could be a bit biased if you roll three pretty easy objectives and your opponent rolls some tough ones, but that's the way the dice go. 

3. Complex Front- At the start of the battle, each player secretly selects one of their Tactical Objective categories. Each time they score a Tactical Objective from that category, they score an additional 5VP. The first time they do, they must reveal the selection to their opponent. 

A strong mission that allows you to choose objectives that play to your army's strengths, effectively allowing you to score double points on most objectives in a single category. Obviously, picking the correct category is going to be vital, as you want to maximise your chances for success. 

4. Subterfuge and Interference- At the start of each battle round, after Tactical Objectives have been generated, each player selects one of their opponent's objectives. Their opponent cannot score that objective this battle round. 

A mission that makes it tougher to score points each turn, as your opponent is likely to select your easiest objective to discard. This should create quite a tactical game, as you try to force your opponent to tackle the most difficult challenges in the game. 

5. Chaotic Engagement- Players can use the Fixed Determination stratagem for 0CP. 

This mission gives you a lot more agency for scoring points each turn, as you are allowed to essentially keep one objective you haven't scored from a previous turn if you want. This gives you more ability to plan your next turn, as you will know at least one objective you need to achieve.

6. Never Surrender- From the second battle round onwards, at the start of each battle round, the player with the fewest victory points generates an extra tactical objective this turn. 

I like this one, as it means players can potentially stay in the game throughout, as they get a chance each round to score more points if they are behind. This mission should hopefully stop one player from running away with the game, and make it a more interesting challenge for the player that is ahead. 

Overall
I like the new stratagems and missions. The missions are all pretty similar, with only a special rule differentiating them that should help to spice up play. That is useful, as I think all the tables will prove to be quite complex until players are able to get used to them. 

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