I’m just picking up TES Call to Arms. I have the Plastic Starter Set all assembled and I plan to paint it before my first game, Sunday, with a friend who also has never played before. We’re looking to play battle mode (PVPVE, in video game terminology). I’ve read the rules, he’s read the rules, and I’ve got just some basic game questions that fellow players like you lot may be able to answer!
First of all, can anyone recommend a good thematic, but sufficiently basic, Battle Mode game scenario? There’s so many (which is awesome!), but I don’t really know what the best to learn on is (which is unfortunate) for veteran wargamers. We’re the type of wargamer pair that loves complexity, so too simple is also not necessarily desirable.
Second of all, future expansion options. I already ordered the ESO characters kit, and was delighted to see that there not only were character cards for them, but also faction rules for the three ESO factions, etc. I know it’s a bit… well, anachronistic (as much as that word has any meaning in fantasy!) but I wouldn’t mind playing an ESO faction in TES:C2A… that said, how would one go about this? I’m not sure there are any followers or even any non-unique models for the relevant factions? If there isn’t, that’s not a dealbreaker, but myself and my opponent are both ESO players and very devoted to our (different!) factions!
Lastly, as far as the actual rules go, is there anything we should watch out for? They look fine at face value, but sometimes rules shenanigans don’t appear until on the table. I’m talking more about balance or theme-related issues than Errata/FAQ things; stuff like “don’t combine Light Armor with Evocation on a model that already has Regenerate Magicka” or whathaveyou. I suppose consider this an open-ended place to let me know about anything I should keep an eye out for in advance.
Really looking forwards to the first game; the models are fantastic, the rules seem thematic, and they look like the type of rules where the appearance of complexity fades somewhat once you actually get to rolling dice and knowing “your dudes”.
Hi, welcome aboard!
In terms of a scenario recommendation, much as you’re accustomed to wargames, I would still go with something relatively straightforward for your first games as there’s a lot of moving parts to Call to Arms and getting a handle on the Adversaries, the Events, the Quests etc. might still take a little while. I’d maybe suggest Scenario 1: Ancient Ruins or Scenario 6: Sovengarde Calls, if nothing else than because both players have relative parity in terms of deployment etc.
The ESO set was actually one of (if not the) first miniature set designed for the game but the decision was seemingly made for the initial waves (which have been extended longer than originally planned due to covid/logistics nightmares etc.) to focus primarily on TES:V content. At present, the ESO characters are the only members of their respective factions (though that will likely change at some point in the future). So there’s no Followers available as such, though there’s potential to add in hirelings from the Adventurers faction (which do have a few unnamed generic followers and likely some more relatively soon) so you could, for example, add in the Khajiit Bandit or the Breton Ranger to work with an ESO Hero. There’s also some neutral models like dogs, or summonable atronachs etc. that can add some variety. Alternatively, as the ESO Heroes have Adventurer as a secondary Faction, they could be added to an Adventurer Party (just not as the Party Champion). Mannimarco is an exception as he’s only available in the Molag Bal Faction but that party can include things like Vampires, Draugr etc. as standard (plus he spawns zombies like crazy…).
In terms of rules to watch out for; a few very basic ones that are pretty clear but occasionally trip people up at first, especially if they’ve come from other systems:
You roll ALL the dice for a skill test/attack at once and apply the modifiers from Green dice etc. to that result; there’s no ‘roll to hit then roll to wound’ situation.
You can only trigger a single bonus effect from a skill roll; so if, for example you make an attack roll and got both a Helmet symbol which gives a bonus Green Dice and an Oblivion symbol which gives Follow-Up, then you have to choose which you want to apply (these are just hypothetical examples btw, not universal rules).
I’d say it’s also a case that you need to be conscious of some of the wording in the core rules being (currently) a tad vague. Particularly around Adversaries; the AI responses are generally clear but they can’t account for every situation and some interactions require a bit of common sense applied. There is a free, updated rulebook coming in the (hopefully) not too distant future so I’d keep an eye out for that. Nothing is changing particularly, it’s more to fold in errata and tidy up some of the wording so you won’t have to ‘unlearn’ anything. I’d also recommend downloading the Quick Reference Sheet from the store page to avoid a little bit of page turning:
Balance is generally rather good; fire damage is arguably a tad too effective compared to other elements and some perks/skills are going to be inherently more useful or less situational than others but that’s not necessarily a problem. It’s probably best to keep in mind that this game is dubbed an ‘Adventure Wargame’, so there’s an element of narrative and just generally having a fun game rather than ‘who is the best’.
Sorry for the long post, hope it’s of use.
Thanks Jimmy, definitely a wonderful post.
I’ll look at Ancient Ruins or Sovengarde Calls, appreciate the recommendation! There is certainly a lot to learn; I may do a delve mode first during the week or on Saturday just to see if I can brain the rules a bit.
I’ll have to eagerly wait for the ESO releases; my buddy and I aren’t as gripped by Skyrim (maybe burnout?). He’s particularly a TES3 Morrowind fan, as well. Still happy to use the rules per your recommendations, though; looks like in small games you can kinda get sorta close with Adventurers or bodging it together with hirelings and whatnot. Or the Molag Bal faction for the Worm Cult.
Thanks for the rules tips! I had seen the first in battle reports, and have played wargames other than the specific wound/hit system, but the hardest part will be making sure we count the dice right. It will probably become second nature with time - learning where to look for dice relevant to, say, an attack or spell or armor.
The single effect I DO remember, only because while I was fiddling you can make some pretty absurd outcomes if you include all the effects an attack could have all at once. So I checked and sure enough, one per. I can see why that might be a big deal though!
Vagueness doesn’t bother us; we tend to prefer rules that are more “thematic/narrative” than excessively overwritten to catch every edge case. Chain of Command (if you’re familiar) is one of our favorite games, and its motto is “play the period, not the rules.” So you’ll probably see a lot of that from us! “Play the universe, not the rules” in this case, though, probably.
No worries, happy to be of help.
Any more ESO sets might be a while coming and I don’t believe it’s going to be a lot of generic faction Followers (Pact Guards, Dominion Soldiers etc.) but more named characters & Heroes. Unless there are. Couldn’t say or put any particular timeline on that. In general, there’s at least 4 more Chapters (waves) of Skyrim content, which, realistically, could take up the main releases for maybe the next year to two years. That isn’t to say there won’t be content from other TES games in that period (it’s been suggested that there will be).
For the dice needed for attacks/spells/armour etc. they’re usually quite explicit on the specific equipment/spell card (or the unit profile card in the case of Followers or Adversaries). Shouldn’t take long to work those out. Just have to also remember you can only have a max of 3 of any given dice colour in a single roll (including bonus die from triggers, criticals etc.)
That isn’t a problem. 4th Era Altmeri Dominion would also work, which I assume might be coming as more Skyrim adjacent? Not sure, but it’s not a problem. We can make parties wit adventurers, Dark Brotherhood, Vampires/Molag Bal, etc. just fine. My buddy is excited now about the Vampires, which is good to hear.
Yeah, it’s mostly just remembering things, I think. Like where that “I swear a dragonborn symbol gives me an extra XYZ” comes from. I think we’ll make it work, though, even we have to muddle through.
Is there a “recommended” Septim size in the long run? I was thinking 200, for a reasonable game, but I want to make sure I’m not way off target somehow.
If you check out the Skyrim: The Adventure Game content (which has just come out, also by Modiphius), there’s a 4th Era Thalmor model in there (which also has an Adversary card in the Miniature Upgrade expansion) and apparently all of those sculpts are going to be used elsewhere so there’s nigh-on certainly going to be some Thalmor (and presumably their guards) coming out for CtA at some point.
Those sort of effects should be there right in front of you when making the roll (from the cards) so shouldn’t be problematic to remember. All the trigger effects like that are written alongside the dice used for each weapon/profile so they’re easy to reference. It’s more perks and special abilities you sometimes have to track more closely so they’re not missed.
200 Septims is a decent-sized game. Average is probably 150-200 for a Party. In Delve mode you can even go a bit less; the game does scale pretty well so there’s nothing unworkable. It might get a bit unwieldy past about 400 though. You sometimes just have to ‘curate’ your adversaries a bit depending on how challenging you want your day to be and what scenario you’re going for. No point having loads of cheap Adversaries if only 1 or 2 are going to activate each round (reactions dependent). I generally try and have mixture of Minions, Elites and a Master or two just so there’s some variety.
Sorry, ot, but how did you even manqge to start a new topic? Cant figure out how to do it…
That would work, especially if they have the same Dominion symbol as the sorceress. They may not have any ESO Dominion armors on, but … well, it’s the philosophy that counts (I’m nearly as leery of playing 4th era Thalmor as I am playing SS in a historical game; I know it’s unreasonable, bear with my idiosyncracies ). Plus, “armor style” in ESO is pretty nuts at this point anyways (though a figure with the ESO glass armor would be beautiful!)
ANYWAYS, more on-topic: I looked at the cards and sorted them into an organizer and you’re right, it’s pretty smooth. The only thing that stands out to me NOW is the “Adversaries” stuff; that could take a while to understand and execute. It’s all step-by-step and fairly clear in the rulebook from what I am seeing (recognizing that there could be “bugs in the code” for edge cases, but it’s just being Skyrim-accurate ). So I’ll just take my time and walk through it carefully, I suppose. My friend is reading the rules but doesn’t have access to the starter (I am building and painting and sorting it) so can’t really make heads or tails of things without some card examples to examine, I’ll bet. Certainly the adversary behaviors are complex!
200 Septims is just fine, and I think for Adversaries I’ll stick to either Followers of Molag Bal or Draugr depending on the era we set the games in, only because I will have the models already. Is there any advice on painting Draugr, by the way? They’re more like dessicated mummies than the traditional zombies I understand, if I remember correctly…
Lastly, one question we noticed looking at the ESO cards: does Evocation+Light Armor (which gives the Regenerate Magicka keyword) stack with the Altmer racial passive (which also gives the Regenerate Magicka keyword)? Or does the Dominion sorceress just have evocation and light armor because Evocation is a passive on the Light Armor skill line in ESO? (that’s reason enough for me ).
@Mandelman You should be able to create a topic after a few reads through various parts of the forum; I think it’s part of the bot protection system to avoid new topics being spammed by new users. I had to increase my “Trust Level”.
Keywords like Regenerate X don’t stack so she’ll only benefit from one of those perks/passives; was confirmed on these forums (there’s a separate page for rules questions which might already have a few answers if you run into an issue). Occasionally the character profiles etc. might seem slightly wonky as the designers have to adhere to some pre-existing profiles from the video-games so you do get the odd skill or perk that seems redundant or counter-intuitive at face value. Sometimes it’s just future-proofing.
Her Evocation might get errata’d into something else down the line (i.e. something that actually does something) but no word on that. Safe to say, the Sorceress is an absolute beast regardless. Rather squishy at only 3 health; you’ll want to give her some decent armour and maybe a Ward spell but get her some lightning and she’ll zap enemies for days.
Thank you kindly! I’m very excited for my first game, so we’ll see how it goes!
Hopefully my buddy feels the same, but if he doesn’t there’s always delve mode!