Time of Legends Joan of Arc is a legendary scale miniatures game from Mythic Games. Originally a successful Kickstarter, Mythic Games are bringing a retail version later on and also an updated Kickstarter, Joan of Arc 1.5 will come to Kickstarter in Fall this year.
Joan of Arc is a historical miniatures game that blends mass combat with heroic characters. It's taken from a medieval standpoint, and the myths and monsters that people believed in during that time are real. The Legendary Scale allows battles between and these creatures of myths and legends.
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There are 2 ways to play Joan of Arc, either by playing out set scenarios or in Battle Mode where players are free to create their own forces. We decided that rather than straight review for Joan of Arc, we'd report back on the scenarios we played through, detailing our thoughts as we talk about the scenario.
The Kickstarter came with a huge amount of content and so you know what we're playing with, we're listing the content that we have here. The sheer amount of content from the Kickstarter is what makes a straight transition to retail an interesting task for Mythic Games.
The content we have is:
- Joan of Arc Core Box
- Reliquary Box
- Super Exclusives
- Legendary Dragon
- Neoprene Playmat
- Plunder Box
A note on the scenarios we play, these are simply recounts of our play, a result of our choices and dice rolls, you may experience entirely different results in your games. My opponent for all games is Kit, the owner of ABZ Games in Aberdeen, which is also the location for all our games.
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PreparationAll we did to prepare for our initial games was to put the wings on the Legendary Dragon, which is an insanely incredible miniature and get out all the rulebooks, which we then read through once. Everything else was left in the boxes and packets they came in so that we could judge the setup time for the first game.
Introductory Scenario - Du Guesclin at the Siege of RennesIt is October 1356 at the Siege of Rennes, a small English force of archers and foot soldiers is besieging the City of Rennes. Bertrand du Guesclin comes to the cities' aid with a force of mounted knights. Kit took on the role of the English and I took on the role of the French.
Straight away, while setting up the introductory scenario, it didn't feel like 'my' force of French. Not like with a regular wargame where you put together an army and try to beat your opponent. It felt like we were putting together a story, and while I was playing the French, the scenario felt more important than my force.
To set up Joan of Arc, we followed the setup guidelines in the Rulebook, alongside the scenario set-up from the Scenario's Book. We were popping out tokens and tiles, opening the packs of cards and digging out miniatures while we set up. The tile set up for the map is relatively simple. The map in the scenario book lists the code for each tile and it's just a matter of finding the numbered tile from the pile. Each tile is double-sided A or B and our small introductory board was set up quickly.
The first game has set decks for the round and war council, so we found those and shuffled them. Usually, players use the card Battle Dashboard, but we have the neoprene mat, which gives you a great surface for setting up the tiles and a fixed space for the Battle Dashboard.
We had a few questions while setting up the first game, but the rulebook is very well laid out. The first few pages act almost like a glossary of components and most queries that come up can be answered by simply finding the component and the related rules in the book. In the setup pages of the rulebook, parts of the board are lettered against images, which makes finding the relevant rules very quick on those pages.
Next, we set up our forces. We had to dig around for a couple of miniatures, who are in the Reliquary Box, but using the contents reference pages of each booklet made tracking down each miniature quicker.
The game's turns flow very well and each phase feels like a natural progression to the next. During the opening phase, players get order tokens of 4 types. These are used to activate units during the player turns. These are placed on the player boards and are then used during the turn by placing them on the map tiles to activate the units there. Map tiles can only be activated once unless a reactivation token is used. But units can be activated several times if moved to different map tiles. This requires some planning and set up, but movement and attack chains can be set up.
The English forces spent their first turn preparing for the French cavalry charge by having their archers set up stakes and recruiting a local citizen to help out. The French built momentum by moving across the map in 2 groups.
The second turn saw the English letting loose with volleys of arrows, but they had no effect on the charging French. Who moved into position to attack the next turn. From the end of the second turn onwards, a roll is made for the civilians trapped in the sieged city. The Farmer and the Merchant girl fell to starvation on the second turn, leaving only 2 civilians left. If they both starved, the French mission would fail.
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The third turn saw the English again fail to damage the French charge with bow fire and the French rode over most of the English archers. The stakes the English had laid stopped their follow up and the English took out a unit of French Knights with a retaliation attack. The Blacksmith fell to starvation at the end of the third turn, leaving only the priest left. With only a couple of English units between the city and its relief, the French needed one final push.
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In the fourth turn, Du Guesclin broke away from the French charge, leaving the rest of the cavalry to keep the remaining English at bay. He ran past the English and entered the city, breaking the siege and taking victory for the French.
The Siege of Rennes is very much in favor of the French in terms of combat, the English can't withstand the charge of the French cavalry. But their aim isn't to beat them in combat, but simply to delay their advance. The straight-forward scenario makes it very easy to get into the game system and learn the rounds.
Saint Michael and the DragonAfter playing the introductory scenario, the next logical scenario to play was the Dragon, it had nothing to do with the fact that both of us were excited to play with such an impressive miniature. We also thought it prudent to play both a historical and mythic game to experience both sides of the game. The only real difference is the legend deck you use, Mythic or Historical and the fact that you have either fictional or historic troops on the battlefield, but you do get a very different feel having a huge dragon on the board.
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The setup for this scenario was again straight-forward as there are relatively few troops used on either side. The Dragon makes up the entire Unholy army and the Holy army consists of only a few units.
The scenario also included a couple of sky hexes, which add an extra dynamic to the battle as units in the sky hexes are considered adjacent to all ground hexes for ranged attacks. These sky hexes are usually drawn at random from the selection of them, but we opted to use 2 blank sky hexes as some give advantage to the Holy army, and the Storm hex gives an advantage to the Unholy army, and we wanted to run the battle on an even footing.
For setup the Dragon opted to begin the battle in one of the sky hexes, so Archangel Saint Michael and his 2 angels started in the other sky hex. The Holy army also gets a Priest and Bombard, who set up in a fortified church, which the Dragon has to burn down. 2 Crossbowmen and 4 Peasants are on the roster as well. The Crossbowmen and Peasants were set up in groups of 2 units, as the Dragon has an area-of-affect ability that can damage every unit in a hex. They were placed around the church to stop the Dragon from getting a foothold adjacent to the church in the first few turns.
The scenario is a very interesting tactical challenge for both the Holy and Unholy players. The Dragon has to destroy the church and kill Michael and the Holy army has to do 20 points of damage to the Dragon to win. The Dragon can only activate a couple of times a turn, with its first activation and then by trading activation tokens for reactivation tokens. Its melee attack is very powerful but leaves it open to attack from the entire Holy army if on the ground. The Dragon also has a fixed defense of 2 shields, which means the Holy player has to group attacks together in order to damage it.
The first turn saw the Dragon set fire to the church, and the Holy army, rather than put the fire out, went all-in with attacks from the Angels and Bombard. The Dragon has a lot of wounds, and with only 5 rounds, 4 wounds a turn has to be achieved for victory. At the end of the turn, the church took a point of fire damage and the Priest was killed.
Turn 2 saw the Dragon and Michael tear into each other in frantic ariel combat. St Michael's retaliation ability is incredible against the Dragon, who's very hard to damage usually, but can't defend against the retaliation roll. Some very good attack rolls, with a lucky draw of an interrupt activation, saw the Dragon takes some early damage. Sporadic fire from the ground forces proved ineffective and the church took another point of damage and the bombard was destroyed.
The third turn saw more of the same, with the Dragon setting fire to a ground hex, possibly in preparation for a ground landing now that the threat has been reduced. An angel was sent to the infirmary and the Holy forces continued to strip away at the Dragon's wounds. The church took its last point of damage and was destroyed.
The 4th turn saw the angel in the infirmary die, and the second angel was also injured, leaving Saint Michael alone battling the Dragon. Having saved up his experience points though, Saint Michael leveled up, gaining a huge ability in being able to convert experience points to interrupt tokens. It was a risk to do so, as Michael wouldn't be able to pay the upkeep for his second level next turn, but he trusted his faith and took the gamble. Michael took a couple of wounds from the Dragon, now alone in his battle, but was able to defeat the dragon over several attacks this turn.
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The battle was close, another hit from the Dragon would have ended the Holy army, which meant that if the Holy army had focused on defending the church it may not have been able to do enough damage in time. If the Dragon had landed, it may have been an entirely different story for the Holy troops.
Both games we played were very punchy and full of action. Neither scenario showed the interaction and roleplaying elements that Joan of Arc has, but we will look at that side of the game in future articles. We both picked up the rules very quickly after which we were able to focus on the scenario and learning our troops.
Time of Legends Joan of Arc has a fantastic flow to it. Once you know how the round works it all feels very natural to go from one stage to another. This allows you to really get behind the story of the scenario and really focus on building an interesting tale of battle.
We are also very impressed with the huge amount of detail in the miniatures, not just in the huge pieces, but the smaller units are still full of character despite their tiny size.
We're really looking forward to playing some of the larger and more detailed scenarios and we hope you will join us on our journey.
Did you back Time of Legends Joan of Arc? Are you waiting for retail? Which mode are you most interested in, Battle or Scenario? Let us know in the comments below.
The range of Time of Legends Joan of Arc products used in this article were provided by Mythic Games.