Circle of Blood – Initial Thoughts

Disclaimer: This initial review is based solely on the Quickstart Rules and Video Playthrough of the game.  So it’s not a complete game as yet, once a full book is available I will do a more In-depth review.

So there I was one evening resisting the urge to go to bed and checking out a few items on Facebook, games being released, new miniatures and other less than exciting social things as well.  Then up pops Robert Nolan who ask’s if anyone is interested in reviewing a game called Circle of Blood.  It’s not a game I knew, had seen or perhaps at the time was even interested in, but at TTGUK were always looking for new stuff to review so in my typical manner I said sure.  If anything someone else would probably pick up the game and do the review.  But after a chat with Robert, where he explained the game, shared some artwork and other bits I started realising that it was a game I really liked, the minis looked great and it was my sort of fringe game.  So the chances of me handing this on to anyone else was zero (Sorry guys :P)

Robert said he would ask Last Bullet Games to send me some of the minis so that I could have a look and give it a go.  It’s always nicer to play the game when you’re not using proxies.  Though I have done that I really prefer not to.  When the miniatures arrived I was overwhelmed, normal when you get told you’ll get a few pieces it’s just that 1-4 minis and maybe some token concept.  In the case of Last Bullet Studio, they sent me all the base minis (2 Warbands, 9 Gnolls), some of the Resin tokens.

The Miniatures

So the mini’s are very well made the Warband metals are very smooth and well detailed, my only prostration is there are a lot of bits and a fair few of them can’t be pinned so it is something that’s going to take the less experienced gamer a little bit of time to do.  It’s not a huge thing in the grand scheme of things but be prepared.  They didn’t take much clean-up at all, very little in the way of mould lines.

The Gnolls come in Resin and the ones supplied came attached to big chunks of resin, not an issue as they can be sawn or snipped from these pretty easily.  Mind the weak points at the ankle and knee joints.  I managed to break the leg off of one and crack the joints on two others.  It’s an easy fix with some super glue, but if you know there could be an issue you can be a bit more prepared.

I printed myself some cobble bases to go with the games theme and then based everything up for gameplay.

Theme

The game has a mixed feel to it, you are going to need buildings as cover and to be able to move around as well.  The fact that jumping is covered in the rules leads to midnight chases across rooftops.  The look and style are very Italian so buildings from TT Combats Carnivale range may well suit, mixed in with other Renaissance style elements.

Its look also harkens back to my love of Confrontation and how some of the images for Cadwallon looked.  So plenty of material to use for terrain ideas.

The Game

Circle of Blood has a lot going on, the game itself can be played in Solo/VS/Co-op.  All from one rule set and all from the off.  The information says there will be 25 classes, more than 100 skills, talents, spells plus loads of other stuff.  So there should be enough going on for the average gamer.

The quick start rules give you a few scenarios to try out which involve the main models in the game.  I would suspect that when the full rules come out we will see a lot more as well after all you’re going from 30 pages to 140+ pages.  They also don’t cover all the flaws, merits and all the combat information.

Combat works like many games  You need to get equal or get lower than your Close Combat skill on a D20 to hit modified by the defence of the target.  Now unlike most games when you get a penalty it doesn’t come off the top value but gives you a bracket to get between.

Example:  So Lonwine has a CC value of 9.  She is trying to kill a Gnoll who has a defence of 3 so in most games that would mean she would now need a 6 or less, but in CofB it becomes a 4-9 roll.  The penalty being off the lower end.

Any dice that roll the exact number required is a critical and does double damage before bonuses.  With a number of additional ways to add bonuses to your damage, it can get a little confusing and perhaps the App that has been developed will help players deal with this sort of thing.

Shooting works the same as well, with penalties for Long Range, Alert Enemy (Within your Line of Sight), and In Cover or in Combat (You better be good as this penalty is huge).

No rules are given for ganging up on models, but I would suspect to see them later on as a few of the models have very low CC (2 for both Leon and Nikita) that without something they will have to stay back.

Magic is mentioned in the QS but with only 1 spell usable it’s hard to say what sort of impact it will have.  As ranged spells don’t suffer from the same penalties as shooting they could well be very effective (Though that could change in the full rules.)

From reading the QS rules and comments on the Kickstarter the campaign system looks like it’s going to have a lot to it.  Ways to create your own models, expansion of the skills your team members have plus lots more interesting ideas.  You will also get access to a lot of missions over 40 at the last look with them promising more as they convert them from the 1st edition (Spanish Only).

The game is currently doing well on Kickstarter with the base pledge getting you over 20 models plus lots of additions to the rulebook an App and lots of other bits as well.

If you’re looking for something a little different then Circle of Blood is the game for you.  Check it out on Kickstarter and yes before anyone asks’s I did back it 🙂

 

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