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Hell Dorado - First Impressions

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Hell Dorado - First Impressions

Postby Baragash » Sun May 11, 2014 11:35 am

Scope: Based on reading the rules, not played yet.

Discovery: I became aware of Hell Dorado back when GW's attitude to Daemonic Heralds was "go f^&* yourselves", as the Demon and Lost factions offer some decent proxies. They had a (much-delayed, what's new? :wink: ) Kickstarter for their expansion (new models, new rules, new scenarios) book in March 2013, so I backed that at Hellgate (aka give me the base game, expansions and 2 starter boxes) which finally arrived this week.

Premise: The setting "starts" during the various wars that played out during the European Dark Ages - I say "starts" because as the story plays out it turns out other people were in the know earlier ;) Various European (known as "Westerners" in the game) factions discover a portal to actual Hell, which turns out to be "underground", though time and distance are a little...flexible. The Westerners ultimately put aside their Earthly differences to maintain supplies and trade with New Jerusalem, their city they rapidly establish in Hell. They go to war with the Demons for plunder and resources to send topside. It also turns out that the Muslims have been there for some time and are searching for what is implied to be the Philosopher's Stone, entering through their own portal in a mountain belonging to an ancient assassin cult. In addition the Imperial Chinese Empire is present (I don't know why yet), and the Demons are divided into two factions, Demons who serve various Demon Lords and Fallen Angels, and the Lost, who are Demons have banded together for common cause due to lacking a patron, but are generally treated as slaves by all the other parties.

Game Mechanics: The turn uses Alternative Activation in (almost) the truest sense of the word - each player uses one model at a time, though the player with the least models can wait until the numbers level up. Models can do the usual things, Walk, Run, Charge, Attack, Shoot and also Focus and Concentration (which are used to activate some skills, abilities and spells).

Combat (both melee and shooting) uses a "dice pool" mechanic similar to Jake Thornton/Mantic's Dreadball and Deadzone. Models have a base amount of dice and then modifiers are applied to increase or decrease the number rolled against the opponent's DEF stat. Once resolved the weapon has a table that determines damage and any special effects that come into play. Interestingly ranged weapons do not generally have a maximum range, rather the difficulty reduces the number of dice you get, which in turn means that the amount of damage you can inflict will be limited to a few points.

Magic is a little unusual. Models classed as Infernalists can summon Lemures (this is basically the lowest level of "reincarnation" for demons and other immortal beings that "die") which they bind a spell to. During the Lemure's activation they can choose to spend the spell, which usually means it sucks to be the Lemure, and anyone else nearby.

Probably the key feature of the game is Orders, and choosing when and which ones to use. Your company has a Total CMD based on the number of models in it that have Command Points. Each turn you can use models orders which cost CMD points. Some abilities are so powerful they cost permanent CMD points, which reduces your pool for the rest of the game - so use them wisely! All Officers (your company must have exactly 1 Officer to lead it) have two default commands, one that temporarily boosts stats of a model, the other allows you once per turn to activate a second model straight after finishing with a previous one.

As with other skirmish games, models possess a range of skills, abilities and characteristics such as Martyr, Berserker, Vulnerability, Levitation etc etc.

Games are normally played at 200 points. By way of example, your Officer will normally come in at 40-50 points (though a few are as much as 70-80), whilst your cheapest troopers are as cheap as around 15 points, so you're probably looking at 6-10 models in a game (excluding Lemures, which are summoned during the game).

For people familiar with other skirmish games it feels pretty intuitive to pick up main sequence, and the trick will be learning when and where to applies CMD points to swing the game in your favour.

Some of the range:

The models are 32mm scale I believe, so your average human stands a little taller than WHF or 40k humans.

Saracens:
ImageImageImage
Immortals:
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Demons:
ImageImageImage
Westerners:
ImageImageImage
Lost:
ImageImageImage
Mercenaries:
ImageImageImage
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Re: Hell Dorado - First Impressions

Postby markb » Sun May 11, 2014 12:22 pm

Good review and some nice looking models. Pedantry corner moment, the fact there are gunpowder weapons would suggest late medieval, early Renaissance not Dark Ages.
"The guns have stopped because we are at last about to attack. Even our generals aren't mad enough to shell their own men, they think its far more sporting to let the Germans do it!"

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Re: Hell Dorado - First Impressions

Postby Baragash » Sun May 11, 2014 1:02 pm

markb wrote:Good review and some nice looking models. Pedantry corner moment, the fact there are gunpowder weapons would suggest late medieval, early Renaissance not Dark Ages.


Yeah you're right. The timeline jumps about a bit (backwards a lot) once it starts introducing factions beyond the Westerner/Demon first encounter, but the Westerners discover their portal during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648 for people like me that means nothing to ;)).
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Re: Hell Dorado - First Impressions

Postby markb » Sun May 11, 2014 1:28 pm

The Thirty Years War was one of those incredibly pointless wars we had a lot of in Europe where a lot of people died and nothing really changed, the only thing the Thirty Years War gave us was the modern idea of the nation state which came about with the Treaty of Westphalia which ended the war and gave rise to the idea of Westphalian sovereignty.
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Re: Hell Dorado - First Impressions

Postby Darklighter » Sun May 11, 2014 1:42 pm

I'm already seriously putt off by that fact people are tying it to real life events and history....
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Re: Hell Dorado - First Impressions

Postby Baragash » Sun May 11, 2014 6:41 pm

Darklighter wrote:I'm already seriously putt off by that fact people are tying it to real life events and history....


Nah, that's only to set the scene for how "everyone" (not China, but I haven't seen their fluff yet) gets to Hell in the first place. All the games take place in Hell, which is loosely based on Dante's concept.
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Re: Hell Dorado - First Impressions

Postby Darklighter » Sun May 11, 2014 6:57 pm

Ooo Now that I could get into!
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Re: Hell Dorado - First Impressions

Postby Angelwing » Mon May 12, 2014 8:49 am

lovely miniatures
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