When worlds collide, new rulesets emerge! Such is the tale of medieval
Lion Rampant getting adapted into fantasy Dragon Rampant which in turn evolved into Xenos Rampant, a skirmish miniature game of sci-fantastic battles for nearly any miniature that you have!
Listen to the Fortified Niche episode.
The rules of Xenos Rampant are fairly simple: you roll to activate your units against a target number being based on the action you want to do. Succeed and you can act, later on rolling to activate another unit. Fail, and your turn ends – the enemy can now attempt their own activations.
I think a lot of crying about Lion Rampant came from the fact that failing an activation on your first unit meant that you didn’t get to anything at all during your turn. However, Xenos Rampant units quite often have at least a single thing – movement, firing, or melee attack – they can do for free and without rolling. So Bloodbowl rule stands here: first do any actions not contingent on dice going your way.
I’m gonna skip talking about the other mechanics because they’re fine enough (though some concepts are named in confusing ways). Naw, the real meat of Xenos Rampant is building your own insane army based on the tools that you have.
The game provides you with basic unit profiles – Elite Infantry, Heavy Infantry, Support Team, Fighting Vehicles, etc. – which provide the baseline unit stats and abilities. Then you start adding upgrades and Xenos rules (exciting upgrades) which can take your army places.
This is what allows the ruleset to gracefully allow you to pit a giant demon vs. a T-80 without delving into annoying bespoke subsystems or grinding the action to a halt.
However, even a game that allows you to teleport the enemy tank closer to your demon has some issues. Some xenos powers seem more economically efficient than others – even if you may claim that it’s not an issue if you’re playing a match or campaign with agreed upon themes and armies, that’s still an issue. The bigger problem for me is the absolutely strange grog insistence on random rolling your warlord traits. It was terrible in Warhammer, it’s even more terrible here as a) the game is otherwise strongly supportive of constructing an army of your guys b) at least 1/3 of the traits are explicitly negative c) this is the only thing that campaigns really track and they suck even worse in that regard.
All in all, Xenos Rampant is a fun, solid ruleset with a surprising amount of inspiring writing when it comes to their many example army lists. Someone just needs to take the warlord trait system behind the magical shed.
Good write up. Do we need another squad Sci fi game? Especially one based on a flawed medieval game?
I’m now focusing on skirmish Sci fi. Loving Enderain, fresh feel, card activation. Really cool npc dice system.
Same with five parsecs for campaign play. Just far cooler and intelligent system.