Ulfgar Utility

Let’s talk about Ulfgar Ironfist.

This little figure packs a mean punch.  Ulfgar-statsUlfgar has pretty good stats and is the first Creature with three Equipment slots in the game, which gives him a lot more options when gearing up.

However, before picking out gear, we should take a look at Ulfgar’s unique ability:

Whenever Ulfgar attacks a target at Range 1, he may convert 1 of his Hit results into 1 Critical Hit result.

That’s very nice, especially when you realize it’s on ranged or melee attacks.What many may not realize is the variety of builds Ulfgar has available. You can build on his ability by stacking his melee power, or mix and match them for many options, or surprise targets with several ranged options.

Unbridled Ulfgar.

Power Attack, Focused, Frost Brand, Guenhwyvar, and Sacred Plate Mail.
At range 1, he can roll 6 dice with melee attacks, converting 2 Hits into Crits, can make an extra attack with Guenhwyvar, also converting 1 Hit to a Crit at range 1, and converts 1 Crit to a Hit when defending against Primary Weapons.  Focused lets him change his facing, once, if someone moves through him.

Utility Uflgar.

Holy Warhammer, Power Attack, Taulmaril, Dwarven Precision, and Elixir of Healing.
Is the enemy close and low?  Hammertime!  Use Target + Holy Warhammer + Power Attack and Ulfgar has a bonus attack die and 2 Hit to Crit conversions.
Is the enemy at range? Use Concentrate + Taulmaril + Dwarven Precision for heavy critical damage. Taulmaril converts 1 Hit to a Crit, being at Range 1 would convert another, and the Concentrate token plus Dwarven Precision converts all your concentrates to critical hits.
Took some damage? Take a swig from your Elixir of Healing.

Unconventional Ulfgar.

Point Blank Shot, Dwarven Precision, Flying Greatsword, Hammer of Thunderbolts, and Taulmaril, and Ring of the Ram.
At range 1, the ranged attacks get a bonus attack die, convert a Hit to Critical Hit (2 if using Taulmaril), and can be used in combination with Concentrate and Dwarven Precision. The Hammer of Thunderbolts gets a follow-up attack against the same Creature and everyone in range 1 from that Creature (and more Hit to Crit conversions if those new targets are in range 1 from Ulfgar).
While making those ranged attacks, the Flying Greatsword can do some damage, still converting a Hit to a Crit at Range 1.

Oops, I should have realized you cannot equip a two-handed weapon AND a one-handed weapon at the same time (that’s really unconventional), so let’s replace the Hammer with the Ring of the Ram, which will let him ground creatures to make them easier for his allies to hit.

Still Upright Ulfgar.

Power Attack, Twinkle and Icingdeath, Sacred Plate Mail, Stone Bracers, and a Giant Toad make Ulfgar fast and hard to put down. Twinkle and Icingdeath let him penetrate armor, plus add a defense die, Stone Bracers gives his bonus defense against area attacks, and Sacred Plate Mail converts a Crit to a Hit. Finally, the Giant Toad lets him quickly get to his targets!

There are a lot more options and with Wave 7’s Earth Cult Warrior, Wave 8’s Air Cult Warrior, Wave 9’s Fire Cult Warrior, Wave 10’s Goblin Fighter Troop, and more humanoid Creature’s heading our way, the options will only keep growing.

Have you tried Ulfgar out yet?

Duration Tokens

dragonflyDragonfly finished casting his Control Weather spell and a small look of satisfaction slid across his face as the attackers, a pair of small Black Shadow Dragon siblings, were forced to the ground. His own allies, a Harpy Archer and Angelic Paladin (he shook his head, still unsure that anyone would believe the story of how he became allied with such creatures*) were safely behind him and the force of the storm.

“Ready yourselves,” he called to his allies, “they won’t be able to take off again until they leave the storm or it ends.”

The angel nodded sagely and the harpy screeched in what Dragonfly could only assume was agreement.

The larger of the two black shadow dragons hissed at the storm, flapping in a vain attempt to lift off once again.

Its smaller sister prepared to turn and walk out of the storm’s reach, using a wing to keep the wind and rain out of her eyes. “Stop that, idiot! We need to move before that druid uses Call Lightning.”

“Why?” asked the brother.

“Because the lightning will be stronger under this weather spell.”

“Oh,” said her brother, “how long does it last?”

“I don’t know!” she yelled, “Ask the druid!”

He did. The druid looked surprised, but not as surprised as his two allies as he started to answer the dragon. “It gets two duration tokens!” he called out.

The bigger black shadow dragon turned back to his sister, “Three turns!”

His sister shook her head, “It’s only two turns, doofus. The rest of this turn, and all of next turn.”

“But he just cast the spell!” called her brother.

The smaller black shadow dragon sighed, her brother was always embarrassing her, “It works just like Shadow Breath!”

“No, that gets three tokens!” he yelled back.

She face-winged and called to the druid, “Maybe you can explain it? He won’t listen to me.”

The druid took a step forward but was interrupted by the angel’s shout of protest, “You’re kidding?! You’re going to explain yourself to him?”

The druid stepped forward and began drawing a few large rectangles in the dirt in front of him, “Of course. I’m neutral!”

The harpy shook her head, and may have face-palmed if not for her claws.

“Listen carefully,” the druid called out, “When you use your Shadow Breath, you place 3 Duration Tokens on it, correct?” He drew three hourglass figures on one of the rectangles and glanced up.

The large dragon nodded; of course he knew that, it took three turns before it was ready again, everyone knew that!

“Well,” continued Dragonfly, “When I cast Control Weather, I place 2 Duration Tokens on it,” he drew two hourglasses on the next rectangle, “See?”

He looked up again as the dragon answered, “Yes …”

“They work the same,” his sister said impatiently, “like I’ve told you before.”

Her brother shook his head, “No, I put my tokens down ‘Afterwards.'”

She sighed, and looked around, hoping no other dragons could see them.

“Your sister is right,” called out the druid, “In both cases, we place our Duration Tokens down as we use the Upgrade.”

“But …” the larger dragon started, “your spell has a Continuous Effect!”

“All that means is that my Upgrade keeps doing something while the Duration Tokens are on it. The spell keeps working. Your Breath Weapon is only different in that it does not keep doing something. In both cases, we remove one Duration Token at the end of the turn, from each Upgrade card that has Duration Tokens.”

The angel had to admit he was impressed by how patient the druid was. He prepared to charge the dragon.

The dragon slowly nodded at the druid, “Ok, ok. But not on your first turn.”

“So close…” said his sister.

The druid looked thoughtful for a moment, “Why do you think that would be true?” he asked.

“You had to disable it,” the dragon declared.

“… and yet so far,” his sister muttered, she considered using her Shadow Breath on both of them, but she was sure the Druid was out of range.

“I think I see the confusion,” said the druid, “Disabling the Upgrade is irrelevant. It just means I would have to spend an extra action to prepare to use the spell again, which would be silly in this case, since the Upgrade goes away when the Continuous Effect ends! Which is what happens when the last Duration Token is removed. During the End Phase, you remove 1 Duration Token from each Upgrade Card.”

The dragon seemed to think it over, “So, you will remove one Duration Token from it at the end of this turn, then the last one from it at the end of next turn, and then the spell ends AND the Upgrade goes away.”

His sister gasped, “You’ve got it! And it doesn’t matter when you put the Duration Tokens on the Upgrade Card, you always remove one from each Upgrade Card during the End Phase!”

The Druid smiled. He’d always quite enjoyed teaching, “Well done. Keep in mind that I could have, if I wanted, used my Staff of the Woodlands to add an extra Duration Token to the card.”

His sister rolled her eyes, “Don’t confuse him more!”

“No, I get it!” the larger Dragon exclaimed, “You would have Disabled the Staff and gotten to put 3 Duration Tokens on the Control Weather Upgrade card instead of 2! It just would have lasted 1 extra turn! If I used my breath on you right now, and you used the staff, we would both put three Duration Tokens down and both remove one at the end of this turn!”

“Why didn’t you?” asked the sister.

The angel turned to the druid, “That’s a good question. You won’t get to recast it since it goes away when the Effect ends.”

The druid looked a little embarrassed, “I forgot I could, actually.”

The harpy snorted.

“It’s been a long day …” Dragonfly grumbled.

The harpy nodded in agreement. It had been a long day**.

The two dragons put their heads together and whispered to each other, the brother slowly nodding at the sister.

The brother turned suddenly back towards the druid, drawing in a deep breath. The druid braced for the necrotic energy of a Shadow Breath.

“We concede.” the larger shadow dragon said.

“You … concede?” stammered the druid.

“You have no idea how long I’ve been trying to explain this. THANK you” his sister responded, “Let’s go, Reggie.”

Both dragons turned and quickly moved across the battle area.

“What just happened?” asked the Angel, “Where are you going?”

The brother leaped into the air and shouted back, “We saw some bird people!”

His sister followed, but hesitated to call back to them, “He means the Aarakocra. I’m going to try to explain how Area Effects work with Troops!”

The strange allies watched the Black Shadow Dragon siblings fly off, quickly losing them against the night sky.

“Well,” said Dragonfly, “that was … odd. Shall we build a campfire?”

The angel sighed and hung his Holy Warhammer from his belt, “Druid,” he began, “How did you know the second one was female?”

Dragonfly turned to look at the angel, “I’m a druid.”


* a story for another time.
** another story for another time.

Let’s All Do the Bump

(How can you go wrong with a shameless MC Hammer reference to start a post?)

In Dungeons and Dragons: Attack Wing, bumping is different than in either the Star Wars: X-Wing or Star Trek: Attack Wing games.

In DNDAW, bumps do not cause you to lose actions (bolded because it is really important to remember) and, if the Creature that is currently moving is a flying Creature and the Creature they overlap (bump into) is a ground Creature, the flying Creature can choose to continue flying forward over the ground Creature.

This is explained on page 27 of the Starter Set Rulebook but, based on questions I saw over the weekend, some people are still a little confused about how it works.

So here goes:

If your movement ends with your base overlapping the base of another Creature, what happens depends on what kind of Creature you are and what kind of Creature you overlap.

  • If you are a ground Creature, you move your Creature back along the maneuver template until your base no longer overlaps any other Creature’s base.
  • If you are a flying Creature and your base overlaps with another flying Creature’s base (that has not landed) you move your Creature back along the maneuver template until your base no longer overlaps any other Creature’s base.
  • If you are a flying Creature and your base overlaps with a ground Creature’s base (or the base of a flying Creature that has landed) you have two choices.
    • You may choose to move your Creature back along the maneuver template until your base no longer overlaps any other Creatures.
    • You may also choose to continue, in a straight path, until you clear the ground (or landed flying) Creature’s base. If this causes you to overlap your base with a flying Creature’s base, you will have to move your Creature back along the maneuver template until your base no longer overlaps any other Creatures, but if this causes your base to overlap another ground Creature’s base, you will continue forward. You will continue forward until:
      • you find a spot your Creature fits in (with no base overlapping)
      • you bump into a flying Creature (which would require you to move all the way back until you fit)
      • you reach the edge of the game area, which would be considered Fleeing the Battlefield (see page 26 of the rulebook).

I have seen a dragon fly over an entire Troop and the frost giant behind them, moving across almost half the play area.

Once you’ve chosen to have your flying Creature fly over the ground (or grounded) Creature, you have committed to that movement. It is easy to eliminate your own Creature if you are not careful.

If your flying Creature was executing a wingover/roundable/u-turn maneuver when they bump a ground Creature, they still get to complete it (to turn around) regardless of if they stop in front of the ground Creature or fly over it.

Just to be clear, when you’re using a straight maneuver to fly over a ground creature you overlapped, you move just far enough to clear the overlapped creature. You would not grab the Straight 6 and go zooming off!

You can use this to sneakily move your Flying Creatures across the map by having them fly over your own landed/grounded Creatures!

Troops have special rules for if the point man fits  but other soldiers do not fit. See the “Pressed Soldiers section on page 31 in the rulebook for more on this. The very short version is that it is bad to have pressed soldiers in a Troop.

Overrun Checks will be the subject of a future post and should not be mistaken for bumping. See page 26 of the rulebook for the Overrun Check rules.

TL:DR version: Flying Creatures can fly over/past ground or landed Creatures, continuing forward using a Straight template until they either A) no longer overlap another creature’s base, B) bump into a Flying Creature, or C) are eliminated from leaving the play area.

See you in the skies!

Adding Up Your Dice

Don’t forget to check for all your dice bonuses and penalties. Your opponent might not be nice enough to remind you that you forgot to roll a die you were eligible to roll.

For example, let’s say you are using Balagos, you’ve taken a few damage, and you’re attacking an undamaged enemy creature.

Did you charge? +1 attack die.

Did you opponent pivot? +1 attack die.

Balagos has taken more damage than his target? +1 attack die.

So, if you charged, and your opponent pivoted, and Balagos has taken more damage, he gets to roll 8 attack dice!

Did you cast Haste this turn? -1 attack die.

If Balagos used Haste instead of Charge, he gets to choose if he wants to make a single 5 die attack, or two 4 dice attacks.

If his opponent has pivoted, add +1 attack die to each of those attacks. If he’s taken more damage than his target, add another +1 attack die. Now Balagos can decide to make a single 7 die attack or two 5 dice attacks.

Note, however, if you damage the opponent on the first attack so that Balagos no longer has more damage cards, you would not get the +1 attack die on the second roll.

How about equipping Haste and Close Quarters? This means that Balagos bites for 4 dice, then get two Claw attacks at 3 dice (base of 5 -2 attack dice), then another Bite for 4 dice followed by two more Claw attacks at 3 dice.

Again, all of those attacks would be increased if your opponent had pivoted or if Balagos had taken more damage than his target.

But wait, there’s more!

If Balagos teams up with someone with Leadership, he could cast Haste on himself, and then use Charge as a free action when Leadership is used on him, giving him yet another +1 attack die on those six attacks.

Spread the Love

While Close Quarters requires you to make the additional attacks against the same creature, Haste does not! This means you can Bite-Claw-Claw one creature, and assuming you’re in range, Bite-Claw-Claw a second creature.

Balagos tells me this is his favorite combination of upgrades, as it makes it easier to eat troops!

Landing and Pivoting

Now that the game has finally landed in stores, let’s talk about landing in the game!

“I’m a dragon! The sky is my domain! Why would I ever land?”

That’s a valid point, oh great and wise dragon, but there are a few cases where you might want to land.

You’re out of room to maneuver.

The most obvious use of landing is when, after you’ve moved, you realize you are getting closer to the edge than you like. You can elect to land, which means you’ll be able to pivot on the following turn, and you’ll be able to avoid an embarrassing death.

Pivoting is fairly powerful, especially if the creature pivoting is a higher level, as it lets you choose your facing after lower level creatures have moved.

However, it also prevents you from taking an action that turn and makes you easier to hit, so if your opponent(s) are paying attention, they can position themselves to they’ll be able to take advantage of the bonus attack die they get against you.

For example, if I know your only real choice is to pivot on this turn, I might decide it’s the right time to use my Haste upgrade, because Haste’s -1 attack die will be cancelled out by the +1 I gain because you pivoted, allowing me two attacks at full value.

Alternatively, if I have a Frost Giant out, I could use the Poison Blade or Frost Battle Axe to gain a +1 attack die in addition to the +1 attack die I will get for attacking a creature that just pivoted, for a total roll of 6 attack dice.

So while pivoting might be a great move, as it allows you to choose your facing, it can hurt if your opponent can maneuver two or three creatures into attack range.

You want to force your opponent to make a choice.

Your opponent has positioned Balagos so that both of your dragons are going to be in range of his Fire Breath, letting him roll a five die attack, that penetrates armor, against each of your dragons (six if you’ve wounded Balagos!).

If you land one of your dragons, you will force your opponent to have to choose which of your dragons to hit, as most area affect upgrades are either ground or air, but not both. By landing, you immediately cause Balagos to lose five (or six) attack dice (he can only attack one of you, not both), and you force the opponent to have to decide which of your dragons to attack.

You’ll want to try to make sure the dragon you’re landing will still get an attack. If Balagos is flying and your dragon has landed, you won’t be able to attack Balagos with a melee attack.

You want to dodge an attack.

If your opponents attackers do not have any ready ranged attacks, landing may prevent them from attacking you at all! They may have forgotten to swoop and might not be able to reach you if you land.

Ok, you’ve landed, what now?

Don’t forget to switch to the ground maneuver dial!


See you in the skies!


Hello folks!

The game will be out …

While we’re waiting, I thought I’d talk to you about some of the mistakes you’re likely to make the first few times you play. This is part one of a series; if people seem to enjoy the article, I’ll write some more (about landing, pivoting, spending concentrate and target to cast spells, and more).

You’re going to forget to swoop.

This probably won’t matter much with the starter set, but once you play with ground troops, it will be much more important.

Let’s look at the rules for swooping.

When can you swoop? The choice to swoop, stop swooping, land, and take off all happen during the Change Altitude step of the Activation Phase (page 12-13 of the rulebook). Basically, after a flying creature moves, they may decide to land, swoop, or if on the ground, to take off. You place the appropriate token down next to the creature.

Added: If you do not choose to change your altitude at the end of your movement, you remain at the same altitude. If you were grounded, swooping, or flying, you remain grounded. swooping, or flying.

When should you swoop?

If you have a flying creature and you want to make a melee attack against a non-flying creature, be that a bite, tail swipe, touch attack (hello Lord Max!), you need to be swooping or on the ground to do so.

So if Balagos wants to chew on a ballista, he will have to land or be swooping in order to reach him.

Why not always swoop?

Swooping not only puts you in melee range so you can attack ground units, it lets them, if they have a melee attack, attack you! In many cases, there may not be a significant difference in their attacks, but in some cases, they may have Upgrades that will make their melee attacks more effective.

For example, Jarl Horn has a 4 die ranged and melee attack, but if he is also equipping the Frost Axe, his melee attacks will get +1 die, so you may not want to swoop or land.

If all your enemies have a ranged attack or are also flying, it may make sense to declare you are swooping early, as it means you won’t forget to swoop when you need to later.

That’s all for this post.

See you in the skies!

(Edit: added additional information about altitude changes)