I ran a day of demo games with a group of tabletop gaming fans showcasing their favorite "alternative" games in a store devoted to the top couple of miniature companies. I set up a basic scenario which could accomodate 2-5 players.
the "starboard" side of the table I had a rocky cove set up, flanked by
some crumbling ruins and centered around a lighthouse; on the "port"
side was deployed a damaged Elven flagship with only a single squadron
of destroyers running escort duty. The objective for the Elven player
was simple--get the flagship with the First Sea Lord to any place
between the ruined pillars behind the lighthouse where Elven shore
batteries could drive off any attackers. Other players would either
play allied squadrons of Elven ships helping to ward off attackers or
Dwarven, SM, or BG squadrons attempting to sink or capture the Elven
I had two very interested players, and
although one was interested in playing the Bone Griffons, the other
really preferred to play Dwarves, particularly the "magic" Dwarves in
the cast iron ships. They also wanted to play against each other. So, I
quickly modified the scenario, removed most of the other squadrons, and
the SM player had the objective of moving the "heavy cruiser" (yes,
it's a SM battleship but I had a card printed out with stats for a heavy
cruiser) to the safe haven behind the lighthouse while the BG ships
attempted to sink or capture it.
restricted the space on the table, and the Shroud Mages started 12" in
from one corner while the Bone Griffons started 12" in from the other
corner on the same table edge. The fleet of Iron Dwarves among the STAR
cards deck marked off the 12" out of bounds, so the players were
effectively playing on a 3x3 foot area. All the better to get them to
the meat of the action, and by the end of turn 1 we had the heavy
cruiser firing at submerged undead whales (to no effect), and a squadron
of SM frigates closing on the squadron of BG cruisers.
center of the board represented shallows, and I explained that only
small surface models could move across that area, between the volcano
and rocky island. The BG player, on turn 2, surfaced his orca, deciding
not to circle around to intercept the heavy cruiser (especially after
the heavy cruiser changed course to follow the frigates and take chances
with the oared galleys), and moved across the shallows to head directly
toward their objective.