Rules According to Ral: Chaos Wars

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Rules According to Ral: Chaos Wars is a tabletop medieval fantasy miniatures wargame that was published by Ral Partha in 1987.

Description

Rules According to Ral: Chaos Wars is a miniature fantasy battle game.[1] It comes as boxed set that includes

  • a 28-page rulebook designed by Bob Charrette, Charles Crane, and Richard Smethurst
  • a four-page miniatures painting guide
  • five 25mm miniatures[2]

The rulebook includes four sample scenarios: "The Destruction of Benden Woods", "Sack of Karalsburg", "The Doom Legion Marches to War", and "Unholy Alliance".[3] The game includes suggestions for balancing scenarios.[2]

In 2001, Ral Patha became a division of Iron Wind Metals, and its products languished.[4] In 2015 — the 40th anniversary of Ral Partha — Iron Wind Metals revived the Chaos Wars system with a series of Kickstarters.[5][6]

Gameplay

Setting

The battles are set in the Chaos Wars, which has occurred due to a rift in time-space that has allowed wizards and demons to battle space marines or medieval troops.[2]

Generation of armies

The players use a point-buy system to "buy" various types of members of their force.[2] The points for troops are classified by their training (peasant, yeomanry, and knights), race, movement type (foot or cavalry), and weapon (archer or non-archer). Individuals (champions, priests, and wizards) and creatures (dragons, giants, and monsters) are also allowed. The game also includes statisticss for beastmen, centaurs, dwarves, elves, halflings, humans, lizardmen, orcs, skeletons, trolls, and winged humanoids.[3]

Turns

Each turn is divided into six pahses: initiative and challenges, spellcasting, archery, movement, melee, and morale. Each player participates consecutively in each phase.[3]

Movement

Terrain effects are mininal. Generally, units move towards enemy units and enagage them in combat. [2]

Combat

Unlike many other wargames, when one unit is routed, the owning player does not have to check morale of adjacent units to see if they also flee.[2]

Magic

Spellcasters spend a limited number of points to "buy" spells, and can cast any number of the spells in a turn. Most spells are available to any spellcaster, but necromancers and summoners have access to specialized spells.[2]

Reception

In the February 1989 edition of Dragon (Issue #142), Ken Rolston found the rules fairly straightforward but strangely ambiguous in places. He thought the pacing of the game was "fairly brisk", and movement was "swift and none-too-subtle. Units, creatures, and characters zoom across the table, slam into one another, and sit and whack away until one opponent is eliminated or runs." Rolston didn't like the lack of a morale check for adjacent units, saying it doesn't "produce the dramatic, satisfying battle climax that is the feature of the best war-games and miniatures systems." He called the four included scenarioes "among the best features of the game." Rolston concluded that the games was "a simple, fairly clean, nicely presented set of fantasy miniatures tabletop rules. Quick and easy to learn and play, this game is most suitable for beginners who want to get their feet wet or for experienced fantasy or historical miniatures gamers who just want an occasional evening of fast-and-dirty fantasy tabletop warfare... In all, considering quality and value for the money, the Chaos Wars game is highly recommended for experienced and prospective tabletop gamers."[2]

References