Thursday, 10 September 2015

A clearing full of barbarians!



It was a welcome return to Songs of Blades and Heroes in the Battleshed this week. 

It's been a few months since I last played my favourite fantasy skirmish system, with the veritable smorgasbord of alternative skirmish systems I'd just had to try in the intervening time. My regular gaming buddy and I, Sam Pate of Wee Blokes, set up a quick 400 point game using the new Advanced rules (ASOBH) from the Fightin' Fungi release.  

As neither of us have a painted our Fungi Fighters yet, it was an excuse for me to deploy my favourite warband instead - Dwarfs led by the old campaign leader, Valgen Maest.


Sam Pate when arranging the game left a rather cryptic message, 'After looking around my figure options I've decided to go topless tonight. Hope the weathers good.' So I was understandably a tad nervous when I heard him trudging up to the Battleshed.

Thankfully he was suitably T-shirted - and not the disconcerting dwarf-print one he sometimes mischievously wears- and proceeded to unload his warband of mostly bare-chested barbarian warriors. That I could deal with. Hopefully the Dwarfs could too.

We quickly chose the Trapped under a Mushroom scenario from the Fightin Fungi rulebook. Now obviously, we were not fighting with fungi, and we agreed that even dwarfs were unlikely to be trapped under one, so we substituted to Trapped under a fallen tree. Clever, huh?


Most of the barbarians decide to spar amongst themselves whilst a couple stare at a tree making strange sounds...
We rolled to see which warband would have one of their characters (also chosen randomly) trapped under a fallen tree in a forest clearing. This was the bare-chested (and worryingly oiled) ones. The other members of the warband would deploy 1xLong from the fallen characters. It would take 5 actions to free them, with a maximum of two character able to help.

Meanwhile, the Dwarfs could deploy next to any of the six small copses placed evenly around all sides of the battlefield, 1xShort from the edge. Their job was to ambush the barbarians before they could release their ensnared comrade.

With the Barbarians starting the game with two characters already poised to help their buddy, it quickly became obvious that with two good activations the fallen warrior would be freed almost immediately - which they did. 

Technically Sam did have to run the risk of game turn-over's by rolling three dice for each helper as well as risking Dwarf Reactions for any failed rolls, but given the Dwarfs are all on Short Move they were unlikely to be any threat for a while.

I smell Dwarf!

With the barbarian freed their leader called a group meeting and after a succession of grunts and laboured gestures they decided not to causally walk off and win the battle, but defend the clearing instead - as they smelled Dwarf thereabouts.

After a while, the Dwarfs arrived at the edge of the woods. For some reason, the Dwarf Runemaster, Baaz, decided to break off from the safety of the warband and, joined by the Short Bow wielding Cerri Crackshot, slink off and do the 'flanking' thing. 

The Dwarf leader Valgen Maest should have insisted the Spellcaster stay shielded by his warriors, but frankly, he was more than a little uncomfortable by having a magic user so close. He didn't know why he'd been talked into bringing one along in the first place. He cost a fortune!

The Dwarf warriors approach the woods, led by Valgen Maest
The barbarians shuffled about the edges of the woods, whilst the four Dwarf warriors advanced in close formation. When the Dwarfs were in range, the barbarian archers appeared out of the brambles and started shootings, luckily missing. It then became a game of two groups, the majority of the barbarians defending from the probing of the dwarf warriors as they tried to breakthrough into the clearing.

Runemaster Baaz arrogantly stood alone deciding which of the three spells he actually knew to use. Apparently he'd rather exaggerated his abilities when prospecting for employment.

Luckily, the experienced Cerri Crakshot saw the danger as two ridiculously muscled barbarians waving oversized weapons burst from the woods and headed straight for the oblivious Spellcaster. Cerri quickly tried to come to his aid, but only to level the odds in the impending brawl.


"Just hold on there a sec' barbarian chaps, I've haven't finished my spell..."
From then on a very enjoyable and eventful skirmish battle ensued, with the Reaction system proving to be a welcome enhancement in the advanced rules. It really provided the sense of a more realistic melee, with chance and luck playing its part in the confusion of battle. 

Many individual fights broke out between the fighters, characterised by the combatants being knocked back, falling, being saved by their shields (Block), the barbarian Frank Rodmist getting himself all worked up with Boiling Blood and some of the Dwarfs desperately attempting to rally after failed morale checks. Runemaster Baaz was even rudely interrupted whist incanting his 'Trip' spell by a barbarian taking the opportunity presented by Reaction roll.


Fierce fightin' in the woods


The defending barbarians won by 3 kills to 2 by time up. We both thoroughly enjoyed returning to the Songs of Blades world. I'm keenly waiting for the Hammer and Forge release now - I have been waiting for Dwarf specific traits for literally years, and then the true power of the Dwarfs will be unleashed!

Valgen's Lads

Valgen Maest (P) 100 points, Q2+, C4, Short Move, Block, Heavy Weapon, Leader
Runemaster Baaz (P) 94 points, Q3+, C1, Short Move, Spellcaster - Trap, Lightening, Counter, Fear
Cerri Crakshot 40 points, Q3+, C3, Short Move, Short Bow, Unerring Aim
Nokki Longarm 38 points, Q3+,C3, Short Move, Long Reach
Halgar Snowbeard 42 points, Q3+,C4, Short Move, Block
Manon Hardfoot 42 points, Q3+,C4, Short Move, Block
Halgar Bloodmane 42 points, Q3+,C4, Short Move, Block

The Barbarians

Ardaric Blackmaul (P) 76 points, Q3+,C3, Leader, Fearless, Evade & Counter
Frank Rodmist , 66 points, Q3+,C3, Fearless, Melee Block, Boiling Blood
Axe Warrior (x3), 46 points Q3+,C3, Fearless, Melee Block, Shield Breaker
Sword Warrior, 36 points,  Q3+,C3, Fearless
Archer (x2), 46 points, Q3+,C3, Fearless, Short Bow