Call to Arms’ rules are used for playing adventures in which only a battle map’s terrain has been predefined, but not the units’ mix or position on the battlefield.
They are also used whenever players wish to play an existing adventure using customized armies of their own (partial) choosing, rather than the units’ mix and deployment dictated by a given adventure’s battle map.
Determined to stall your opponent’s progress, you choose some high grounds to confront him…
Depending on the type of gaming experience looked for, and time available to set-up and play an adventure, Call to Arms’ players will agree to use one of two drafting modes to deploy their armies on the battlefield:
- The Impromptu mode, recommended for friendly, impromptu game sessions, with a short time set-up;
- The Organized mode, perfect for veteran gamers wishing for a bit more control and customization.
The Order of Battle
The deployment mechanics introduced in Call to Arms mimic the medieval deployments of yore.
In late medieval warfare, armies were often drawn up into three military formations, commonly called Battles or Guards: The vanguard, middle guard and rearguard respectively led, followed and closed the column of troops on the march.
A French and English Guard, awaiting deployment
Upon reaching the enemy, the Battles would deploy abreast, with the vanguard moving to the right wing of the battlefield, the middle to the center, and the rear to the left.
In Call to Arms, Deployment cards drawn from a deck of your own composition specify the type and position of the units you may field in each Wing of your army.
Four English Guards, ready for deployment. Which Wing will you deploy them on, and which will you keep in Reserve?
While quick, the choice will not necessarily be as obvious as it seems, as it may be influenced by:
- The lay of the land: Units that are marked for deployment on Impassable terrain must instead be redeployed on your baseline or first row of hexes on your side of the battlefield.
- Your Reserve: Unlike the three Deployment cards selected for your Guards, the card you choose to hold in Reserve cannot be fully deployed. Instead, you must select two, and only two, of its units for deployment on your baseline.
- A desire to seize the initiative: The player with the most Green units deployed (outside of his Reserve) out-scouts his opponent and starts the game.
In Organized mode, these decisions are further complicated by the fact that you draw your Deployment cards from a deck of your own choosing rather than a pre-established set. One of the consequences is that you are no longer guaranteed to find the troops you’d like to raise from the common Army pool, when the time comes to deploy them.
As a result, you may end up having to call on some Feudal Levies instead. These are represented by Feudal Levy tokens of the same color as the units you can no longer deploy. During the troops deployment, these tokens are exchanged for other units of equal or lower color rank.
Another important aspect of the Organized mode is the additional units customization it offers.
This customization is introduced through the use of Specialist cards. These cards give you a chance to be certain to field a (limited) number of new units from your collection.
Goblins rule! Or do they?
Some Specialist cards also modify other aspects of the deployment process, encouraging you to develop interesting Specialist card combos that best suit your own particular style of play, War Council selection, etc…
A Warrior’s friends…
The hitch, for there has to be one, is that you may only select 2 Specialist cards for any given game! Needless to say, this is usually a lot less than you’d like to pick… 😉
A Rogue’s sneaky choices…