Confrontation:TAoR vs AT-43

A question that I had a while back was if AT-43 and Confrontation: The Age of Rag’Narok have the same rules. After having played a dozen games of AT-43 and a couple of games of Confrontation and having read both rules side by side I can state that both games, while superficially similar, have many differences. I’ll dedicate this article to examining those differences.

In both games you need to keep track of various point totals. Both games have their own point totals that need tracking. In At-43 you track Leadership Points, Reinforcement Points and Victory Points. Leadership is used to issue combat drills (which are absent from Confrontation) and activate units that lack NCO’s or Heroes. Reinforcement points let you bring in additional troops into the battle and help you manage your reserve (both concepts are also not in Confrontation.) Finally Victory points are used to determine the winner of the scenario. Confrontation has nothing exactly equivalent to victory points.

In Confrontation you have pools that you track. One pool is the Faith Pool that allows those faithful to the Gods in your ranks to invoke miracles. You track a Mana Pool that allows the magic users in your ranks to issue spells and then you have an Elixer Pool. This pool is tightly bound to the background story. Elixer represents soul fragments that your heroes are seeking to become more complete. When they have Elixer they can become more powerful. Usually a scenario is won by earning a certain level of Elixir. Story wise, Elixer is imbued in objective points that the Gods themselves want the Heroes to fight for. It is a very nice tie in I think.

In AT-43 there is a simple structure based around the Authority Test and the sequence of activation. Confrontation has a very rich set of systems. Yes, you read that right – there are multiple ways the game can be played and I love the idea of it! You can play it as a choice or roll a D6 to see what the result is. Fantastic. It adds a new element to changing up the game and allowing a skillful player to really shine without adding a lot of random uncertainty (that benefits the unskilled player).

AT-43 has Officers and Heroes. Confrontation has Incarnates and War Staff. Confrontation’s incarnates are directly tied to the Elixer in that they can use it which makes it different from Victory Points. The War Staff can have standards and musicians that have command and control game effects. In a way, Confrontation’s command and control is more advanced than AT-43’s which is odd given the theme of both. You would think technology would allow for better Command and Control but I guess in the Heroic world of Confrontation the will of the Gods trumps radios and heads-up displays!

AT-43 has something I sooooo wish was in Confrontation: A glossary (and pseudo index – some entries refer back to page numbers for relevant rules). Confrontation makes it so hard to find things and thus makes it a lot worse as a reference while playing the game. Both sets of rules REALLY need indexes – real ones, but AT-43 definitely had the advantage here with it’s glossary. The Confrontation rules are 80 pages long while the AT-43 rules are 127 pages long. That is a greater than 50% increase from Confrontation to AT-43. An example of something in the rules that isn’t really well defined is Close Formation. It is mentioned and some rules are given but there is not obvious specific benefit from it. I don’t know why it is there. I suppose one of the armies uses Close Formation and perhaps we’ll see a rule for it. I flipped through some of the Army excerpts they have on the web and didn’t see anything about it.

AT-43 has 4 categories of units while Confrontation has 5 categories including Titans! I’ve seen the Dirz Titan which is quite impressive but even at 25% discount (Brookhurst Hobbies) is still very expensive. I did manage to pick up a dwarf war chariot (with cannon!) at 50% off from the same source! I’ve begun assembling it last night actually.

AT-43 Categories:
• Infantry (aka Soldiers)
• Support Units (none available at this time, they are static or mobile platforms for heavy weapons.)
• Combat Striders
• Vehicles (none available at this time)

Confrontation Categories:
• Infantry
• Cavalry
• Creatures
• War Machines
• Titans

AT-43 has specialist and support weapons in infantry formations. Confrontation has specialists but they aren’t as generically defined as the ones in AT-43. Often they are unique to the formation they serve. For example the Army of the Boar’s Thermo Warriors can have with them a Thermo Priest.

AT-43 defines a beaten area called the Zone of Fire for ranged attacks (the majority of the attacks in that game). Units caught in the zone will absorb hits first before the target is hit. In Confrontation the same unit causes interference and does not absorb hits but instead makes the attack 2 levels more difficult. AT-43 has the concept of infantry units being grounded, as that works with the caught in the zone rule. Confrontation has no such rule.

Confrontation has a more logical rule for Area of Effect. A lot of people prefer it to the one in AT-43. I expect there will eventually be a FAQ that will change the AT-43 rule to the Confrontation method. Indirect, area of effect weapons in AT-43 are extremely accurate. With the Confrontation rule they become much less so. The rule may or may not change.

AT-43 has 4 unique armies with 3 factions each. Confrontation has many armies, each with a rich background. So far I’ve only seen one platoon pattern per army. I don’t know if this will change with the final edition of the Army books. I am curious to see how they will eventually turn out. The examples given on the web page show the amazing depth that Confrontation inherits from the 3 prior skirmish versions of the game.

Overall I would say that Confrontation is the more complex and deep game with a richer set of rules for game play, magic and miracles and army design. However AT-43’s theme and simpler game play means it will also appeal to many people. I think some will be surprised to see the differences between each game – having previously assumed that the two games were exactly the same with just a thin theme veneer separating them. This is definitely not the case. I like both games quite a bit. No matter what game you choose I think you will find the tactical choices they present and the interesting back story will keep you well entertained.


  1. Anonymous says:

    This analysis is really interesting. I am in charge of Rackham communication, and I would be pleased to let our fans informed about your blog… would you agree with that?
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    Have a nice day, and congratulation!

  2. Jeff,
    thanks for the clarification. I was mislead when I saw the rulebook stated “Complete Rules” – as it turns out it is not complete both on the fluff and the rules! I expect more will be revealed in each of the Army Books. Is there anything in the non-starter-set rules that makes it worth getting or should I just wait for the Army books?

  3. The Confrontation rules are 80 pages long while the AT-43 rules are 127 pages long. That is a greater than 50% increase from Confrontation to AT-43.

    Be aware that you are containing the C:AoR Starter Rulebook (which contains little fluff) to the full AT-43 Rulebook with all it’s fluff.

    The full Confrontation book clocks in at 144 pages.

  4. Thanks! I’m a big fan of both games (old Confrontation…haven’t been able to lay hands on the C:AoR yet!), and I, too, was making a similar assumption regarding the similarity of the two systems.

    Seems like they’ll be similar, but retain their respective flavors, which is awesome.

    Thanks again for the analysis!!

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