The Shattered Crown is a fantasy wargame influenced by history. The intention in the writing of the game mechanics was to create a game in which historial tactics and strategies could be used, and fearsome looking armies ranked up, without any of the restrictions of history. The Shattered Crown is not a game in which the players recreate real battles, nor is it a game in which 90% of the units will be made up of identical rank and file units. There is no “correct” uniform for the miniatures – players may paint whichever miniatures they like in whatever scheme they like. There is also a little more cinematic or legendary flair and heroism in The Shattered Crown. Oh, and magic. Of course there’s magic…
A typical army in The Shattered Crown might consist of a Leader, a Hero, a Mage, 1-3 standard infantry units, an elite infantry unit and perhaps a cavalry or special cavalry unit (special cavalry units are, for example, the Khra stag riders and Hellesburne Warbears).
A standard infantry unit will consist of 12 miniatures. Elite Units will be made up of 6 miniatures, as will cavalry and some special cavalry (whilst larger special cavalry, like the bears, will be 3 miniatures). Leaders, Hero’s and Mages will each be represented by single miniatures.
A Turn Sequence Like No Other
One of the biggest problems with recreating large battles on the tabletop is that the need for a turn sequence almost always leaves one player with either a pretty good idea or the absolute certainty of what their opponent is about to do – or at least which unit they are to act with. This all but eliminates any element of surprise from games, a tactical element of many true battles. It also makes certain manoeuvres, such as flanking an enemy unit, very difficult to achieve.
The aim of The Shattered Crown’s turn sequence is to completely remove the idea of knowing what your opponent is going to do next UNLESS you can surmise it yourself. More than any other tabletop wargame we know of, The Shattered Crown makes you the general – it is not just your tactics which are put to the test, but your ability to anticipate the enemies!
Each unit in your army is represented by a card ( a standard playing card is perfectly usable) which the player keeps unseen from their opponent (on the table units can be identified either by a flag with the card number on it, or a simple marker or token). Both players place face down the card representing the unit they wish to act with next. The players then attempt to guess which unit their opponent has selected and roll a dice. They then turn over their cards. If a player correctly guesses what unit their opponent selected, he adds 3 to his dice roll. The higher scorer then acts with whichever unit he selected and the card is discarded.
This means that it is entirely possible for one army to fully mobilise whilst the other is left standing gawping, representing exactly how the tides of war can change on the battlefield through communication and the relaying or orders, the grasping of opportunity, or the simple morale and motivation of the troops in the army!
This system has been thoroughly play tested and so far has been incredibly popular with all. Not only does it allow for some serious tactical manoeuvring, outmanoeuvring, bluffing and double bluffing, but also gives rise to many of the unexpected and exciting moments we all remember in our favourite games. It also gives rise to the occasional bout of cursing.
Know your Army – Strengths and Weaknesses
Every unit in the Shattered Crown attacks other units with a certain number of dice (see more on the combat mechanic below) as an example, most standard infantry units have 3, but every unit also has a certain circumstance or set of circumstances under which this number is DOUBLED. For example, Sword units get DD (double dice) against Spear units, whilst the Spears themselves get Double Dice against Cavalry.
It is therefore very important to manoeuvre your units so that their effectiveness is maximised and their weaknesses minimised. Movement itself has been kept as simple as can be – the advantage can be achieved by the cunning and well timed use of your Leader, who is able to give one Unit per turn a specific and special manoeuvre. These can really upset the apple cart – but they are far from guaranteed!
Never tell me the Odds
Struggle to roll 6’s? Don’t worry about it, if you desperately need to hit the high numbers to get your super-secret manoeuvre to pan out, or to get your Mage to really let fly with the fireballs, there IS something you can do. Every time your loyal army cause a casualty to the enemy, their morale increases – making those difficult and daring manoeuvres more likely to be achieved, and feeding your Mages magical energies! For every successful hit against your enemy (i.e. every time an enemy unit loses Will) you receive one Morale Pip (MP) which you can then add onto your die score when giving Manoeuvre orders or attempting to cast spells
A Fistful of D6’s
All dice rolls in the game are resolved on a number of D6. This can vary from a single die roll to determine, for example, a unit which has taken casualties testing their Will to continue or a Mage attempting to cast a spell, to maybe a dozen dice used to represent a very strong attack. But don’t worry, unlike some systems we won’t have you spending half your game time counting out 25 dice to roll for each attack, and then the other half counting how many of them were 6’s. About a dozen – or as we like to think of it- a fistful, is about the most dice you’ll ever need. In most cases between 3 and 8 dice are used to resolve combat.
Keep It Simple, Stupid (Combat Resolution)
Both close combat and ranged combat work in exactly the same way (with the exception that in close combat against a unit which has not yet acted, they may Strike Back, acting in response immediately and discarding their card). The attacking Unit rolls the number of dice specified (their AD) along with any gained form modifiers (the Unit may have Double Dice if they are facing their favoured opponent, or may receive an extra dice for charging or having a hero attached – or all three!) and must achieve a score equal to or higher than their Attack Skill (AS). This done, the enemy may roll to defend some or all of these hits (all if the battle is head on, less if they are being attacked in the flank or rear) against their Defence Skill. Any hits they are unable to negate in this manner remove 1 point from their overall Will (W). Once this reaches 5 and for every additional loss of Will after, the Unit must take a test against their remaining Will, rolling a single Die. It the number on the die and their remaining Will is 7 or below, they remain steadfast and resolute…if not, they flee!
Heros, Leaders, Beasties and Magic
As discussed briefly above, Leaders and Mages can change the course of battles by giving order or casting spells. Orders often give a specific Unit an attack or movement boost, or allow them to move in a tactically challenging way (for example, to wheel to the flank of an enemy in a single manoeuvre). Spells vary in their effects. Each corresponds to one of the four spell books: Earth, Fire, Water and Air. Some cause destruction, some protect, some move units and others still stop units from moving! Used wisely, orders and spells can really put a spanner in your opponents works!
Hero’s attach themselves to your other units an impart general and specific bonuses when they do so.
The Special Cavalry units in the game largely function like other infantry and cavalry units but are always very powerful. Most have unique rules, for example, the Hellesburne Fiarcesonne (war bears) receive their double dice bonus when enraged by being shot at or wounded!