Carnevale, the skirmish wargame from TTCombat features some very colorful factions and characters, all with unique playstyles. We wanted to pit the overpowering might of Dracula, against the new aggressive Holy Crusaders forces for the Vatican. In this article, we take a look at the forces of Dracula's Host and those of the Holy Crusaders. We'll take a look at the miniatures you get in each box, along with giving you the details for a three-part narrative campaign we ran for Carnevale.
For those unfamiliar with Carnevale, you can check out our Carnevale Guide for an introduction to the system, the setting, and the different factions.
Dracula's Host for Carnevale is a very top-heavy box. It contains one leader and four heroes, which means it's not a legal gang out of the box, but adding it to the Strigoi Starter Set's two thralls, common and newborn Strigoi gives you exactly 150 points for your gang. Or if you want to keep it more thematic, you can also add the Romani Caravan box and use the two Romani instead of two other henchmen and even swap out the Strigoi Priest for the Seer or Tarot Reader.
The vampiric Strigoi in Carnevale don't have will points to spend on boosting actions, but they do have the Frenzied ability, which lets them use their life points like will points, and then Vamparic Attack to get life points back after a successfully damage an opponent.
The Dracula's Host box contains:
- Vlad Dracula - Vlad is the second most expensive leader in the game and with good reason. Six attack and protection, along with expert offense, parry, and first strike, he's a literal monster in combat. Vlad also has the transformation command ability, which boosts his movement and allows him to ignore terrain to get into combat very quickly.
- Three Brides of Dracula, Ceres, Cibelle, and Miriam - The Brides are all Mage(2) and have to choose from different magic disciplines. If they are within 6 inches of each other, they can share their life points to use as will points, which means they're extremely dangerous until the end if kept close to each other. Their Family Ties command ability gives them all a choice of three special rules which is extremely versatile depending on the situation and targets.
- Strigoi Priest - The Strigoi Priest has a move of five and an attack of four, with the same Frenzied and Vamparic Attack abilities as the rest, but their best use is in locking down enemy mages with their dispel ability. Be careful though, because enemy mages get to reroll dice in attacks against the priest.
Dracula's Host suffers from the same high-points cost as the rest of the Strigoi faction because of their abilities and solid stats, which means that you will almost always be outnumbered in games. This means picking your battles early, selecting your objectives, and trying not to get bogged down dealing with those beneath you is the key to their game plan.
The Holy Crusaders is also a top-heavy box, with four heroes and one henchman, which isn't a legal gang out of the box, but adding it to the five characters in the Vatican Starter Set gives you 140 ducats worth of force, leaving you ten ducats for a final henchman to make the force legal.
Vatican forces like to have overlapping buffs from their units, along with some great protection stats make them defensive in nature. The Holy Crusaders box though gives them great access to high penetration to make sure their damage really sticks.
The Holy Crusaders box contains:
- Two Prelates of the Flaming Sword - The Prelates are entirely offensive. They don't score victory points at the end of the game, they don't get the benefit of cover (their swords are on fire after all), but their weapons have -5 penetration to tear through even the strongest enemy units, and they also give nearby friendly units -2 penetration as well.
- Stigmatist - The Stigmatist is armed with pure belief and some weird blood powers. They have access to the same ability as the Strigoi and can use their life as will points, along with being a Mage(2) Blood Mage. Their successful attacks modify their target's protection stat for the rest of the round, so they can be combined with the Prelates for some deadly attacks.
- Cross-Bearing Deacon - The Cross-Bearing Deacon loves to be in the center, surrounded by their allies. Friendly units within six inches can use this character's will points. The Deacon's protection stat can't be reduced below five, to keep them in the fight, and they get a boost to their attacks when in combat with two or more enemies.
- Crucifier - The Crucifier is a very effective target eliminator. If they hit with all of their attacks, their normal -2 penetration jumps to -7, which will tear through anything. They're not very durable themselves, but surrounding them in a Vatican support bubble, including the Cross-Bearing Deacon from this pack, gives them access to some defensive buffs and more will points to really tear through some enemies.
Previously, the Vatican forces didn't have great offensive capabilities, but their recent releases with this pack and the new Scorpio Marksman give them some solid offensive punch, which works really well with their previous defensive capabilities. They excel as a pack and can suffer when trying to fight on multiple fronts, but as a combined force against a single objective, it can be hard to resist a holy charge.
TTCombat were kind enough to work with us in producing a three-part narrative campaign for Carnevale, to celebrate the unrivaled power of Dracula. The campaign features Dracula and works very well with the Strigoi including Dracula's Host and the Vatican forces bolstered by the Holy Crusader, but can be used with any Carnevale factions, with tokens to represent Dracula (but obviously having the miniature in the midst of combat looks better). We'll update this space with an official link to the narrative campaign when it goes live.
To help us produce this article we were provided with a copy of Dracula's Host and the Holy Crusaders by TTCombat.