Collection: Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms

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Wargaming In the World of Tamriel!

​It is the time of the Dragonborn. Battle rages across the forests, plains, and mountains of Skyrim as Imperials and Stormcloaks fight for supremacy. In ancient barrows, the restless dead rise from their sleep. Skeletons and fearsome Draugr jealously guard their treasures against bands of delving adventures. The Elder Scrolls: A Call to Arms is an adventure wargame set in the world of Tamriel. Gather your heroes and venture into Draugr haunted tombs and ruins, searching for treasure and glory. Or, fight the Civil War as the Stormcloaks and Imperials battle for the future of Skyrim.

Scroll down for miniatures, starter sets, bundles, and more!

An exciting Elder Scrolls tabletop role-playing game, titled Betrayal of the Second Era, has been announced by developer Chip Theory Games. Bethesda Softworks' fantasy franchise has become iconic over its long history, with countless gamers embarking on their own journeys through the diverse land of Tamriel. Modiphius Entertainment created an Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Adventure Game tabletop in 2021, and now Chip Theory Games is set to recreate the entirety of Bethesda's beloved world.

Kicking off with 1994's The Elder Scrolls: Arena, Bethesda's role-play series has crafted a large and intricate fantasy world with its own complex history. The magical setting of Tamriel is broken up into nine separate provinces, with each region being influenced by real-world cultures and containing a unique race of inhabitants. Most modern Elder Scrolls games focus on a single province, from the Dark Elves' bizarre land of Morrowind to the cold Norse-inspired mountains of Skyrim. While the series is now a well-established gaming juggernaut of its own, tabletop RPG inspirations for the Elder Scrolls franchise include Dungeons & Dragons, RuneQuest, and more.

While the Elder Scrolls video games take place within Tamriel's Third and Fourth Eras, the Second Era has also been explored in spin-off projects. The Elder Scrolls Online provides lore and timeline details that fill in the universe's backstory, providing context for the events of the single-player titles. The MMORPG sees Tamriel's provinces form three distinct factions and subsequently wage war for the right to rule the entire continent. Meanwhile, the powerful necromancer Mannimarco plots to merge Tamriel with the demonic realm of Coldharbour. With both projects taking place in the Second Era, the stories of The Elder Scrolls Online and Betrayal of the Second Era will apparently tie together closely.

The Elder Scrolls saga draws an abundance of inspiration from classic tabletop RPGs, so it is quite natural for Bethesda's series to now be adapted by Chip Theory Games. The Elder Scrolls Online's new High Isle setting will soon expand the world of Tamriel, and Betrayal of the Second Era will allow fantasy fanatics to explore every nook and cranny of the well-known setting. Though the tabletop title will not go up on Gamefound until October 2022, Elder Scrolls fans should keep an eye out for news throughout the year.

For adventurers that have taken an arrow to the knee, there are few better ways to relive your glory days than on the tabletop. Modiphius has had a crack at recreating the feeling of The Elder Scrolls, and Skyrim in particular, for this outing. 

The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms is a skirmish-level wargame that comes in two flavors, either solo (a blessing in these times) utilizing the rules for ‘Delve Mode’, or you can go head to head with other players in ‘Battle Mode’. Both play styles can quickly be picked up from the scenarios listed within the quest book, although there is plenty of scope to easily create your own. The difference between the two modes largely being whether you are playing against game-controlled adversaries, or against another player with adversaries still appearing to get in the way. 

As you would expect with a wargame inspired by Skyrim, it is being released with a number of miniatures depicting heroes, soldiers, and adversaries that you will recognize. The miniatures themselves are in 32mm scale and available in both hard plastic and if you prefer your minis a little more detailed, resin. They are nice sculpts with a good level of detail. Building them was somewhat challenging as some of the miniatures had as many as 12 pieces, but this allows for more dynamic poses so is worth it in our opinion. The current range of miniatures includes a starter faction box set for the Imperial Legion and Stormcloaks as well as a Delve Set offering a Dragonborn miniature and Skeletons and Draugr. Whilst this does mean that options are limited, it certainly looks like Modiphius has grand plans to release more warbands in the future. There’s also a strong case to be made for bringing your own Skyrim-flavoured gangs to the game.

The basic gameplay is straightforward, with each player-controlled miniature getting two actions from those available, including attack, block, and even pickpocketing. A number of these actions will require a test. This is done using the white skill dice on which you need to get a result equal to or lower than the target number, based on the model’s attributes. For example, swinging a melee weapon at a Draugr’s head will require you to roll against the model’s strength. Taking aim with a bow? Then you will need to roll against your agility attribute. Between these and the other attributes of endurance, intelligence and wisdom, you can carry out a variety of other things such as magic attacks, or non-offense skill tests like lockpicking or speech. Depending on the model you are using, and the action you are carrying out, you may also get to roll a number of the colored D6s. There are three green accuracy dice that offer negative modifiers to the skill dice and nine effect dice, three each of yellow, red, and black each color being more effective respectively. These dice are used to determine the effects of actions such as the damage caused by a melee attack. 

Within the core box, there is a quest booklet containing 12 scenarios, six for ‘Battle Mode’ and six for ‘Delve Mode’. These provide players with ways to set up a game as well as different objectives to complete. The 'Delve Mode' scenarios allow you to create a party to venture out and fight against adversary forces whilst completing whatever objectives the scenarios sets. Each scenario provides a slightly different aim to your games in addition to the oaths specific to each scenario and the quest cards. These oaths allow players to get additional victory points based on how they complete the scenario, such as searching all of the treasure tokens, or completing a specific action whilst hidden. At the beginning of a game, you will draw a Quest Card from the deck relevant to the mode you are playing. Each of these adds a further objective to your games and is kept across games until completed, with some starting a chain of multiple quests. It is not only the adversaries that will stand in the way of your objectives though – but there is also an event deck for both game modes that captures the unpredictable nature of adventuring in Tamriel. These event cards are drawn at the end of each turn, outlining an unforeseen event that will either help or hinder your party.

 Initially, we did wonder whether six solo scenarios would offer enough replayability, but between these scenarios, the different quest cards, and the event deck there is plenty to keep adventurers on their toes. Throw in official expansions, homebrew, and community expansions, and there will be more than enough to keep campaigns rolling.

When playing games in both modes the game relies heavily on its enemy-controlled units. This is done using a specific card for each adversary faction. This card gives you a table to roll on to determine what action that specific adversary will take, based on the result rolled and the ‘path’ that they follow. All of this is designed to give the adversaries an unpredictable nature, whilst also allowing for different types of bad guys to act as you would expect them – such as being more cautious or aggressive. Whilst this is not a complicated system to control the adversaries, it does feel a bit clunky and perhaps slows the game down leading to quite a lot of checking early on. 

For those looking for the legitimate Skyrim feel, fear not. You can, of course, make use of Dragon Shouts if you take the Dragonborn in your party, so you will be able to ‘Fus Ro Dah’ adversaries across the board to your heart's content. 

One area where this does stray away from the Elder Scrolls series is there’s not really any stat development within the game. You can level up one of your heroes mid-game by using some of the victory points you have earned; however, each hero can only level up once receiving an increase to some stat reserves, and attributes and gain new abilities. Having said that, there is a lot of freedom with the upgrades that you can take on your heroes and it’s easy to tie games together (with some options for this already included) allowing you to improve your equipment through collecting treasure during your games. We weres still surprised that there wasn’t more opportunity to develop your party than this but looking at some of the updates from Modiphius regarding the future of this game, this is definitely something that is on the horizon, but it certainly isn’t a part of this game yet. There is still plenty on offer for both modes and a lot of potential to create your own campaigns within the world of Tamriel.

The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms is a fun skirmish wargame that any fan of the Elder Scrolls series would enjoy. Some of the aspects such as the system to control adversaries do feel a bit clunky, but this is something that would probably improve with time. The dice system is straightforward making use of the custom dice included to easily handle models with different ability levels, as well as better weapons and armor. We can’t help but also feel like this is only the beginning for this game and with the planned release schedule and the addition of more character development rules it will develop into a far deeper experience.