Call to Arms

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.

a-battle-map.jpg

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.

French Guard English Guard

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.

Pennants Choice

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.

Feudal Levies

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.

Feudal Levy Tokens

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.

The Specialists

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.

Goblinoid Mercenaries Bow Upgrade

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…

King's Allies

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… ;-)

 

Infiltration Vantage Point

A Rogue’s sneaky choices…

This post is also available in: French, German

32 Responses to “Call to Arms”

  1. Jame A. says:

    Looks pretty sweet. I’m really looking forward to this!

  2. Wee Sodjer says:

    This gets better and better

  3. mjkoopman says:

    So awesome! Those specialist cards look really cool.

    When are we going to get details on those new terrain hexes? Looks like swamps and …ridges, maybe? Are they going to be in Call to Arms too?

  4. eric says:

    Yes, these are Cliffs / ridges. They are in CtoA too ;-) .

  5. David Fristrom says:

    Will Call to Arms work with Epic Battlelore to create large battles?

  6. Andrew Gross says:

    Yeah, I really want to know if CtoA will allow Epic games as well. I’m pretty much exclusively interested in Epic size battles at this point. :-)

  7. mjkoopman says:

    Will CtA contain Deployment cards with the new unit types in the goblin/dwarf/100-years-war sets? What about future unit types? Will future unit expansions contain more deployment cards, maybe?

  8. shadowTerp says:

    A few points:

    1) I had the same questions about future units and deployment cards, but I’m sure Eric and Company has already thought of something. Or perhaps, the Feudal Levy tokens are for that exact purpose.

    2) It’ll be interesting to see the timing of this… Do you deploy units and pick specialist cards before, during or after the players pick their War Councils? All of the sudden, the War Council Selection (with the addition of Specialist Cards) just got more interesting.

    3) Speaking of War Councils, I noticed that Creatures are on the Deployment Cards. Does this mean that creatures will no longer cost a War Council Level?

    4) I noticed that certain cards have a (B) at the top right, while others have a (C). I’m assuming this is done to ensure that no one is missing figures or units with a deployment card.

    5) It’s a really nice touch to have the number of Green units determine initiative (similar to have greater number of goblins determine creature ties). I love it.

  9. Andy_B says:

    Can be interesting though setuptime is already pretty big….I prefer playing the game instead of preparing…but you never know. I hope more official adventures still will be released for those who are not interested…

  10. eric says:

    1) Future units will come with their own Specialist cards. In some instances, how a unit gets deployed is actually a crucial part of the unit’s features/capabilities.

    This is one of the reasons why we shuffled the release schedule around to ship Call to Arms earlier than initially planned.

    We will also release additional Deployment sets (including Nations-specific ones) in the future.

    2) The deployment sequence is roughly as follows:
    - Select an Order of Battle (ie ready your deployment deck and draw your deployment cards)
    - Deploy your Guards (assign a Deployment card to each of your section and deploy these troops)
    - Scout ahead (determine who gains the initiative)
    - Call your Reserve (deploy 2 units from your Reserve on your baseline, and fill in Levies if need be)
    - Call your War Council (as per the usual Lore rules)
    - Call your Specialists (select and play your 2 Specialist cards)

    3) Nope, Creatures still cost you a level. If you deploy one, you must still pay for it during your War Council selection.

    4) Yes, Deployment cards are grouped in sets of 7 cards. Each set is marked by a letter, and each card within a set by a #. This is used in Impromptu mode, as well as for building decks in Organized mode. It also opens the door to future uses.

  11. eric says:

    A few more answers:

    1) We will continue to offer pre-set adventures, of course.

    2) Call to Arms is fully compatible with the upcoming Epic rules.

    3) In some ways, especially when using the Impromptu mode, this system is even faster (or at least, and perharps more importantly, feels faster) than setting-up a pre-set adventures.

  12. blindspot says:

    Sick, sick, sick! I love it.

    A couple of things I noticed:

    More figure per unit? Looks like foot unit will be able to have more than four and mounted more than three, correct?

    New terrain type? The first image in the post has something that isn’t forest or hills? It’s darker than forest. What is that, swampland?

  13. MikeW22 says:

    Seems to be 2 new terrain types :)

    Ridges to the north and swamp / marsh to the south.

    Longbows eh? sweet !

  14. Bellman says:

    Not a complaint, but a comment:

    It looks as though you cannot deploy on the ‘bridging’ hexes between sections any more, is that right? In all of the deployment cards shown, the sections of the battlefield are clearly delineated, with no overlap.

    Not sure how that will affect play, but it will make early maneuvering more important…

  15. Affro says:

    I’m very impressed with the novelty and freshness of the ideas here: a deployment mechanic that is, in-fact, integrated in the game and not a cumbersome and blatant add-on… rare, indeed! You mantained your promises and I can only watch in awe and congratulate you: “Bravo!”

  16. JJR says:

    This really deserves and big hand. I don’t know how they keep coming up with such great ideas. I can’t wait to get this and I love the idea of future deployment sets. I am glad I bought a BIG storage case for all this stuff.

  17. eric says:

    The fact that you cannot (by default, at least) deploy on “bridging” or shared hexes between sections is actually a feature. It helps make some cards (Infiltration for instance) even more interesting ;-)

  18. Kes_167 says:

    I have one question that I haven’t seen an answer for: will Call to Arms include any new figures/units, or will it just be the new rules, terrain, cards and tokens?

  19. Bigblue says:

    This looks great. How can a company keep putting out product that exceeds the expectations of the eager public. What is the race riding the flightless birds on the picture of the box cover?

  20. eric says:

    Call to Arms will not include any figures or units. These will come in the Specialist packs.

  21. blkdymnd says:

    I am very impressed by the latest blog. When you did the expansion roundup I was unsure whether I’d be interested in Call to Arms or not, as to me it just didn’t sound exciting right off. But now that I’ve seen the main points of it, it’s going to be a blast. You all continue to impress and you couldn’t put expansions out fast enough for me :)

    Can we get numbers as far as how many cards are in the Deployment Deck and the Specialist Deck? Just curious.

    Thanks again!

  22. JeromeK says:

    Wow Wow Wow!!! Well my pulse has increased.

  23. JJR says:

    “Vantage Point” specialist card says “you may deploy up to two of your reserve units onto any hex adjacent to a friendly unit”, does this refere to the two units you pick in reserve or an additional 2 units to the 2 units you picked in reserve? The reason I ask is because your two reserve units are deployed before you take your specialist card. Would you just move them again or are you deploying 2 more from your reserve card?

  24. eric says:

    Vantage point lets you move Reserve units already deployed on your baseline, not an additional 2 units. So you would just move them again, next to some other friendly troops. When combined with Infiltration, it can really move your Reserves forward quite some ways!

  25. JJR says:

    Thanks Eric. Interesting combo to use the Infiltration and Vantage Point cards. That would certainly put you into a great desired starting position.

  26. Niels says:

    Note that the wording on King’s Allies is ambiguous. If you have a level 3 warrior, it might mean that you can add two figures to one unit, or one figure to each of two units.

  27. eric says:

    It’s not ambiguous. You can actually do either, as detailed in the rulebook. ;-)

  28. Niels says:

    Aha! It is intentionally ambiguous!

  29. Blackpaladin says:

    I’m really looking forward to this meta-mechanic. It is a mechanic of the sort that I’ve desired in your traditional predecessors. I think this will provide a more genuine feeling of waging a war campaign!

  30. Jimmy says:

    And then….?????

  31. Boromir_and_kermit says:

    I think I speak for many when I say I’m really hanging for another blog to be posted!! :) Please!!

  32. eric says:

    All come to those who wait (eventually)… I hope we can make another entry late this week, but no promise yet.

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