We had our first test game on Sunday and these are a few thoughts and impressions I got from it.
We have both used an army list of the Valley Confederation, from the Core Book (p. 47), 750 points
We chose those for our first game, because the models barely have any special rules of their own, so we could concentrate more on trying out the core mechanics of the game.
My impression from this test:
The core mechanics of the game were actually so far clear to me at the end of the game. The calculation of the combat situation in a melee with multiple squads is at first sight a bit complex, but actually conclusive. This part reminds me of Warhammer Fantasy and has an "okay" complexity.
The sequence of an attack is also clear, it takes some getting used to the individual attack roll of the opponent (and to keep bonuses like the combat situation in mind) but I think that with practice and tools like profile cards of the squads, this can be done more quickly by hand. But I don't have the feeling that the game system is suitable for bigger games.
We were a bit baffled about how good shields are, especially for their 4 points. A squad with shields has practically no reason to choose non-defensive Combat Enhancements in close combat, as a +2 flat is just very good. We find it a bit odd that a squad attacking a unit is defensive because a charge tends to give +1 to infantry while the deflection bonus of the shield gives +2.
In our test this resulted in a very cheap class 1 unit looking totally exaggerated, because
1. superior in numbers (+1)
2. shields (+2)
and normally also
3. coordinated defence (+1)
and thus simply dominates other units (1st Age Maximized Combat Enhancements of 4).
We're not quite sure if the intention is that the defensive bonuses should have such a drastic effect on a unit's effectiveness. The potential +4 from the combat situation just churns in a lot of butter, which also lets weak units deal massively, which we don't think is justified.
A 8 point model (Citizen Militia of the Valley Confederation, S50 Core Book) with shield, 4 points beats with "Martial 3 + CSM 4 + W6" which results in 7+, which hits many models automatically and is hardly to save (armor throw to remind: "Toughness + armor + W6"), which we find difficult, especially with the mass of models.
But I still find the scenario rules very exciting. The way the terrain is set up, time of day and weather, the individual dice roll for primary mission objectives and the common secondary mission objective that only appears in the current game and the way the armies are set up make the game exciting and varied in my opinion. I also find the way initiative is handled quite exciting.
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