Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Balin's Tomb


I thought I'd use Song of Blades for a refight of Balin's Tomb in 15mm. Balins tomb is simply an A4 piece of grey card surrounded by some walls and at one end a gate. I'll spare you the deeper Brokeback Mountain moments that the LoTR movies portrayed between Frodo and Samwise and I'll just focus on the action.

"you fool of a took !" Bellows Gandalf !
The game starts with the fellowship trapped in the Tomb, the heroes at the front and the halflings cowering at the back squeeking like church mice. 12 Goblins start in the tomb, with 2 d6 arriving every 4 activations, and then on the 12th activation Mr Troll arrives. If the Fellowship kill the troll the Goblins run for it scared silly. Easy ?

It begins.....

Boromir (With the large Red Plume) and Gandalf stand at the front giving all sorts of slicing and dicing to the Goblins launching through the door. They stood there for several activations beating all sorts of hell out of any Goblin that came close enough. Feeling left out Aragorn (Bottom left) advances while Gimli (Skyblue) charges in shouting "AND MY AXE". Legolas of course is looking pretty yelling "AND MY BOW" shooting arrows at.......nothing as he keeps missing.

Activation 4 sees a horde of Goblins arrive and Gandalf and Boromir can't stem them all. A few lone Goblins break the line and try to run down Gimli who knocks both down with his axe with ease. Obviously he is feeling a little peeved at Goblins killing Balin, so he gets a little worked up about it all and procedes like a kitchen whizz through the Goblins.

The Goblins, seeing that horrible little dwarf killing like its going out of fashion decide to rush Aragorn and Gimli and surround them, while a brave little Goblin (Bottom left) runs forward to get Merry ready for lunch. Things seemed to be going really easy for the Fellowship........

 Oh dear - Aragorn falls in battle knocked to the ground by vicious Goblins, Gandalf runs back to assist but it is too late. Aragorns falls to the floor bloodied and beaten, the gloating Goblins continue on to try and take down the dwarf. Legolas does his hair, and then shoots off a few more arrows somewhere pointless. The combat seems to see-saw for some time now - Goblins arrive and die rather quickly but in the hallway a big orrible troll is coming this way. Activation 12 is almost here......
 In walks the troll with another horde of Goblins, and they are feeling pretty good now they have a big lad with them. Well he (The figure) isn't that big but then again he is stooped somewhat low. Big and touchy though and he wants to stomp some humans.  Boromir, Gandalf and Gimli get ready for the onslaught, Legolas eyes everyone up intently and then whispers some Elvish gibberish.
 The troll activates and charges forward, whilst the Goblins have a great turn and surge forward in a large wave. Gimli kills 3, while Boromir begins an epic fight with the Troll. Gandalf assists Boromir while with a timid cry "For the Shire" the hobbits charge forward, Frodo leading the way (In his elegant Green cape) past the useless Legolas who is prancing around looking flash.
 Gimli however doesnt get much help, he doesnt need it - this is his meat and potato's ! Legolas continues to miss everything that moves and just as he decides to draw his sword and help, valiant Gimli takes a blow to the head and falls in battle under a mass of Goblins.
  More Goblins surge forward, the Troll knocks Boromir over and then hits Merry like a tennis ball across the tomb. Things are starting to look pretty bad for the Fellowship - 3 down and Goblins are everywhere. Boromir regains his feet and then he and the  Troll slug it out like Rocky Balboa and Dolph Lungren while the Goblins keep trying their luck.
 The final blow below ! Samwise sneaks up behind Legolas and ruffles his hair, Legolas loses the plot and starts shooting Goblins like some form of chain gun whilst Boromir cripples the Troll and Gandalf steals the kill .

At the sight of their might champion falling the Goblins run for it and the fellowship count the cost. Its turns out to be pretty good as I roll on the Personality Injury table. Aragorn is found under a pile of Goblin corpses alive but with a head injury (Next encounter he rolled the Fearless attribute due to his head shakeup). Gimli has a nasty wound that will reduce his potential for a while (- 1 Quality) , while Merry is perfectly fine as he survived the Troll treating him like a golf ball.

The rules were fun though if you get a good run of activation you can kick the enemies ass. 24 Goblins and 1 Troll fell in battle to the 3 goodies. I didn't like my solo mechanic for activating the Goblins *Roll a d6 to determine how many activation dice to roll* so I changed it half way through and it seemed to improve things a little. The troll was tough, hard to activate but tough and he lasted a long time until 3 of the Fellowship (Boromir, Gandalf and Pippin) tag teamed him.Like the movie the Fellowship make it through a little bloodied and the Goblins die like the good movie extra's they are. Legolas sat there for 80% of the game while the Hobbits knocked off a few Goblins but without the heroes of Middle earth there it would have been Hobbit pie for tea at Mrs Miggins Goblin Pie shop.

I'm half tempted to try the Bridge at Helms Deep now where (Movie) Aragorn and Gimli (Book) Aragorn and Eomer (I think) jump on the bridge and stem the tide of assaulters. But I will try this again with Warrior Heroes once I get the OOB sorted out.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Play test "Warrior Heroes" and "Song of Blades and Heroes".

A cold weekday night has led me to play test two sets of rules I quite like - Song of Blades from Ganesha games and Warrior Heroes from Two Hour Wargames. In both games I match 4 Human Warriors against 4 Orcs warriors to see how the games end out. This was done in 15mm, I did take photos but they are terrible so I have left them out.

Song of Blades:
Both Forces start a distance of around 24inches apart. The humans and orcs both move slowly at first with activation switching between both sides (No one seemed to pass more than one activation and only had one action to use). Suddenly the lead Orc, Thraka Ughead sprints forward towards the Humans (He was successful on three activation roles and sprints 24cm). Seeing the Orc isolated Harry the barbarian charges in the same manner and enters into melee while his comrades watch from a safe and cowardly distance. After a few poorly aimed blows the melee is tied and so continues to the next round. More dice rolling but Harry looks tired and seeing an opportunity Thraka launches a powerful thrust that forces harry back several yards whilst the 3 other orcs rush to join the fray. Unfortunately for Harry he is distracted (and worried) by the other orcs advance and Thraka manages to knock him down onto the ground. Seeing a good chance for a kill, Zaghal joins Thraka in an attempt to finish off Harry who is desperately fending off blows from the ground. He does indeed manage to knock Zhagal back with a kick to the groin to buy himseld a few seconds but it isnt looking good.

This spurs the other barbarians (Bob, Reginald and Clarence) in an attempt to save Harry, so they advance however just as they are about to reach the melee Harry is dispatched by Thraka and the orcs surge forward for more. The Morale of the barbarians slumps, Bob and Reg fall back but Clarence is made of sterner stuff and stands his ground which is a shame as the Orcs pass all activation roles and Clarence is cut down, he never really stood a chance. With the orc frenzy on full tilt Reg and Bob can't run fast enough and are gradually run down, knocked to the ground and slaughtered.

Results - I enjoyed the game as there are no move as such, you keep rolling activation until you fail and then it passes to the other side until they fail. (I think I did over 30 activations in 30 mins ) The first few moves were very slow but Thraka charging like a maniac caught the Barbarians off guard and the lucky hit on Harry to force him down sealed the deal. The Orcs them seemed to speed up and once Clarence was cut down the other two humans had woeful move roles and retired far too slowly while the orcs moved at lightening speed. The rules are simple and fun though lack any Solo controls that the TwoHour wargames have but I can see myself using them a lot. Thrakas charge looked like suicide but he inspired his men to victory and the game had a very cinematic feel to it.

Warrior heroes -
I match a group of 4 Orcs against 4 Barbarians same as before. The Orcs win the activation role with a 5 but dont have anyone they can move as they are all Rep 4, so the Humans actually move first. Humans win the second activation and advance to 12" off the Orcs, both sides takes a test of wills and come to a halt.  Orcs win activation on 5 again but cant move and humans advance to within 4 inches, orcs fail again and humans charge (As they were so close no charg test was needed). A melee of 4 on 4 both sides count as frenzy (Humans were classed as Borderers) so both get an extra dice. One orc (Beezul) is knocked down (OOF - not dead but out of fight) by Reginald while the orc leader Thraka forces  Clarence back with a frenzied attack. From the rules I interpreted that as Clary and Thraka were still going I had to reroll another round, which I did so and Thraka was knocked down by Clary OOF as well. As the leader and another comrade were down, Orcs take a crisis test and bolt. Thraka and beezul then become dead as they are finished by the Humans, while Reginald gets cocky and charges single handedly at the retiring orcs, who fail the charge test and bolt away even faster.

Results - I liked the solo mechanic and the reactions though this ruleset is a little more complicated than SoBH but will be great for solo games where I only control one side. It will be interesting to see how larger games go given the reactions etc that occur when figures are split from groups etc.

More test games to come with photos.

Im also looking at gaming mats\cloths for the table .