Force of Virtue | Fortified Niche playtest!

Force of Virtue: Defeat of the league of Cambrai, buth with D6 dice of colors evocative of the game

Get in, loser, we’re going to Italy. The Borgias are on the rise and there’s money to be made while commanding small bands of mercenaries. So if you have the virtues necessary to lead men on the field of battle, take up Force of Virtue, a Renaissance skirmish miniature wargame.

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Force of Virtue: a TTS screenshot of a small battle.
From 14th century onwards, Italy was very popular with a certain kind of gig-worker: the mercenary. In Force of Virtue, you will be commanding some of their smaller bands out on scouting actions, skullduggery, and theft of farm animals. It’s decidedly a skirmish wargame, so a cannon isn’t a unit, but an objective.
Force of Virtue: a TTS screenshot of the cards making up an army.
Force of Virtue has a very interesting approach to army building: you assemble a deck of cards mixing National original (French, mercenary, etc.) and captain’s Character (nobility, Rennaisance man, etc.). The deck size determines the size of battle – and there are no real other limitations outside of how many troops you can take. Other than that, go wild. Turning up with three super-boosted combatants is viable.
TTS screenshot: a closeup of a two fighting forces of mercenaries.
And here you run into another unique feature of the game: virtues. Your troops do not just activate and act on the field. No, they are fueled by virtue cards either attached to them (for officers and veterans) or to the people commanding them (for everyone else). More than that, specific virtues have specific crit successes and crit-failures depending on what action they’re used for.
Force of Virtue: a zoomed-out screenshot of the battle
Virtues fuel all the actions in the game. When you activate a captain, you choose an action and spend the desired amount of virtue dice. Rolling more increases the odds of getting crit successes and decreases the odds of having to with the fails. The successes can something like moving after shooting or regaining burnt (spent) virtue. The failures might have you burn virtue (always the least interesting result) or move closer to the enemy. That’s because your adherence to the virtue of Speed might actually lead you to act too hasty, oh no!
Force of Virtue: TTS screenshot of army cards with their virtue dice stacked upon them.
Virtue is also important since it acts as your force’s HP. Outside of dying in combat, your troops may find themselves not within range of a captain with any virtue left and thus immediately leg it off the battlefield. It works like Force of Virtue’s morale system as well as the combat engine, see? Grasping how the virtue system works is key to both building your armies and your success on the battlefield.
Force of Virtue:  a tree is in the way of seeing the battle scene.
When we did our playtest, the virtue system was not only a very cool feature, but also the system’s biggest drawback. If you build your army out of three super combatants that only rely on their own virtue, you won’t have to care about losing troops to burnt virtue. There was also the issue of combat resolution involving a whole heap of dice rolls. On the other hand, the game is undergoing constant updates as its gearing up for the Kickstarter release, so some of my complaints may be already out of date!
Force of Virtue: a screenshot of the battle on TTS
All in all, Force of Virtue is a unique take on a historical period that doesn’t get enough attention. It certainly has a novel approach with the virtues and the developers seem more than willing to listen to criticism. Finally, a good way to use your old Empire State Troops models!

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