úterý 15. září 2015

You have my axe!

Or, Why I think you might want to support Hammer and Forge


Reason #0: For those who have no idea what SoBH is

Song of Blades and Heroes is a small scale skirmish game from Andrea Sfiligoi of Ganesha Games. With simple rules and streamlined play, the game can be learned in one play and enjoyed in many following ones. 

The cornerstone of the rules is a character, having two main stats (Quality and Combat) and a number of special rules/traits. Quality of a character represents its willpower, training, attitude and willingness to act. Every time you want the character to act, you have to roll its quality or better on one or more dice - and here comes the beautiful push-your-luck aspect of the rules: Every die that failed to meet the quality means either a possible reaction of opponent's character, or even the end of your turn. This mechanism ensures that you never know how much are you going to achieve with your warband on your turn, and puts you before the choice of playing it safe or -perhaps- achieving more.

There are many expansions and even standalone versions of SoBH, with hundreds of pregenerated characters, but you are free to create your own, using a calculator that can be downloaded from Ganesha Games (or even using a formula, rules' costs, pencil and paper if you're inclined that way).

Reason #1: Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

These are basically the advanced rules from Fightin' Funghi (reactions! weapon rules! mighty magic!), but without the fluff and few funghi related rules. On the other hand, they include other traits, more rosters and a campaign system probably different from the one in FiFu (with warband advances). 

I have backed the Fightin' Funghi, and yet I mean to have these as an add-on.

Reason 2#: The miniatures

Dwarves, dwarves and more dwarves! And undead dwarves... And extra cool barbarian dwarves! (These made me back at a level higher than just the pdf of the rules.) And some hobgoblins, too.

Oh, and if your pledge is high enough, you get ... wait for it ... even more dwarves, for free!

So, what are you waiting for?

středa 26. srpna 2015

And now for something completely different...

Or, I have a battleship and I'm not afraid to use it

I like fantasy skirmish. However, having two space fleets blasting at each other is a joy I can't resist. In the past, I have had a game or two of Full Thrust with quite unsatisfying ships taken from the Galactic Emperor, but when I was browsing an e-shop this summer, I noticed Fleet Commander 1: Ignition. I looked at the photos ("hmmm, a game with plastic spaceships, cool") and description ("Spaceship battle in 60 minutes?") - and those got me so interested I had to download and read the rules.

The plastic ships are nice - each side gets 4 frigates (class 1), 2 destroyers (class2) and 1 battleship (class 4), with the two sets having a different design. They are claimed to be pre-painted, but it is rather a bold claim to make. Either way, they are ready to use straight out of the box.

The game pits two equal forces (depending on scenario) against each other on a 5x5 grid, which puts it in the camp of abstracting the whole theme rather than simulating it. It is dice driven - each turn you pick three dice (move, shoot, shield) in any available combination, roll them and use the results or keep them for later use.

The results can be "diagonal", "orthogonal", "any direction" or "special". Direction results are used to move/attack/defend in a direction, while the specials can be used to charge the Weapon of Doom mounted on your battleship, or to react in your opponent's turn in the advanced game.

There is no randomness in combat: you just nominate the attackers (based on the dice and circumstances), total their attack stats(1 for frigate, 2 for destroyer, 4 for battleship), and nominate a single target that gets all the love, unless the opponent has a shield or special result to use. You eliminate 8 classes of the opponent, or fulfill another victory condition, you win the game. Simple as that.

Games: The first game we played was a basic game, without additional rules, and it was fun nonetheless. Rules explanation, setup and game - it all took only 50 minutes, although my brilliant tactics (along with a proton cannon and opponent's blunders) probably contributed considerably. Despite having lost, my friend insisted on another game.

Just ate electric death!

The second game was a full one, with frigates becoming nasty hit-and-run buggers instead of strategically valuable speedbump, destroyers being a long ranged threat and special results being much more than special weapon fuel. We both picked the same special weapons: Proton Cannon for me (basically a battleship killer, dealing damage equal to 2x target's class) and those annoying Drones/Fighters for him (they stick to a target ship and deal 2 damage on opponent's turn until it succumbs or shoos them away). Some lessons were apparently learned, because the asteroid fields blocked shooting lines, and opponent's battleship hid behind them.

Yes, the half-painted fleet is going to win. Again.

Enemy frigates became quite a nuisance, jumping close to my destroyers, hitting both for 25% of their hull points and jumping away again.

The battleship launched figthers at my frigate, which went down in three turns.

However, when launching the fighters the enemy battleship got too close, and I was able to get her in me sights, scorch her with my proton cannon and giving her all the goodness from one battlegroup. The opponent then tried to hide his capital ship behind a screen of lesser vessels, but these merely delayed the hungry predator of my battleship. 

After that I only mopped the remnants of opponent's scattered forces and claimed another victory, only to hear promises of revenge next time.

Sound effects not included. Add your own.

Summary: So, did we like it? Hell yes. Although the game can't deny its abstract side, it still feels like a space battle directed from a command centre (rather than from the bridge of a ship). The rules are easy to learn, but the game is far from easy to master - there are meaningfull choices every turn, and the placement of one's fleet and terrain is extremely important. I believe this game is going to see a lot of plays, and I'm sure I'll get the expansion with cruisers. 

And should it become stale one day, I can still play Full Thrust with those beautiful ships.

P.S.: As I'm not using this blog to log my boardgame plays, don't expect much posts in the next month or two - yes, it is that good ;-)

pátek 26. června 2015

[FiFu] It's a kind of Magic...

Long time no play - so when there was an opportunity, we had to use it well: As a premiere for my goblins and for a larger mayhem in general. Also, I was looking forward to see FiFu magic in action.

Gorm's Ironclads

Objective: Kill goblin shaman. (Secondary objective: Rout the goblin warband)
  • Gorm: Q3+ C3, Leader, Group Fighter, Heavily Armored, Block, Short Move @ 78pts
  • Goth'Rack: Q3+ C3, Boiling Blood, Fearless, Unruly, Stubborn, Block, Short Move @ 48pts
  • Ragnar: Q4+ C3, Hammering Blow*, Heavily Armored, Short Move, Steadfast @ 42pts
  • 3 Warriors: Q4+ C3, Heavily Armored, Block, Short Move, Steadfast @ 36pts
  • Lorm: Q4+ C3, Crossbow, Heavily Armored, Short Move, Steadfast @ 42pts
  • Skadi: Q4+ C2, Crossbow, Good Shot, Heavily Armored, Short Move, Steadfast @39pts
Notes: 8 characters, 357pts
*: scratched the AND WINS condition. 7pts should be worth spending.

Night Goblins

Objective: Let the intruders come... and destroy them! (Rout the dwarves)
  • Leader: Q3+ C2, Huge Weapon, Leader, Low Kick (personal squig) @ 70pts
  • Shaman: Q3+ C2, Stubborn, Unruly, Spellcaster: Blast, Courage, Noxious Cloud, Protection From Arrows @ 60pts
  • 3 Skinkslayers: Q4+ C2, Block, Dashing, Gang @ 29pts
  • 2 Bowmen: Q4+ C2, Poison, Short Bow @ 27pts
  • 5 Warriors: Q4+ C2 Melee Block @ 18pts
Notes: 12 characters, 361 pts - Yes, they have a 4 point advantage (I want the dwarves to drown in the green sea, after all :) but the leader is rather pathetic and the spellcaster has a rather limited quality - and is the enemy's main objective.

The Game

Joining two D&D maps gave us a nice playing area with underground mushroom garden/forest on one side and an abandoned dungeon on the other. Nice playing area... not. We declared the bigger mushrooms / groups of bigger mushrooms linear obstacles - they didn't block LoS, but gave -1 to shooting and to continue through them one had to pass the Q test. This made moving in a coherent group a little challenging.

The dwarves arrived and goblins rush to meet them.
I was both feeling confident and afraid of the dreaded crossbows, so my goblins advanced to an area with less mushrooms and more LoS blocking cover.

The plan was simple: Leader with common warriors and a single archer went to block (and perhaps charge through) a great pass on my right. The Skinkslayers went through the middle, along with the remaining archer, and the shaman was sent to the left to both distract and harass the enemy.

The plan worked - for some time. Dwarves feared goblin magic, and all goblins (except the shaman) feared dwarven crossbows. The shaman even got to cast the Noxious/Spore Cloud, but sadly, something went wrong in the incantation and a nameless dwarven warrior managed to react in time, running away from the shrinked area of effect. Had it worked, one warrior and one crossbowman would be neutralized.

Spore cloud in action - see them run, ah hahaha!
With a well cast Protection from Arrows the shaman got very confident, even willing to act as a living shield for the Skinkslayers. The elite goblin warrior gang was well known for using up every advatage given, and this was the same case. The bowman assigned to shaman's wing spotted some dwarves massing on the far right, and hurried to take an advantageous position.

Impervious shaman as a living cover
The shaman sensed an opportunity to impress these simpletons even more, and got even more cocky: He joined the bowman, hoping to envelop thegroup of dwarves in a spore cloud - but his pride proved to be his undoing.

Tactical blunder thoroughly exploited
Ragnar (the dwarf with a huge hammer) seized the initiative, and with a nameless warrior charged across the battlefield. While his comrade slipped on the mushroom and was subsequently shot, Ragnar engaged the proud shaman. The bowman, probably hoping to earn favour of their new shaman, because "selflessness" is just a strange, meaningless sound among his kin, tried to exploit the mild advantage in numbers - but he was struck down, barely conscious.

Ragnar's about to make a Mushroom Puree
[And here the reactions came into play: Anything I'd try to do would most likely have one or more failed activation dice, enabling Ragnar to attack the hapless shaman.] Just as the spellcaster was going to throw his pot in defense, the dwarf was faster, and his hammer squashed the greenskin all across the floor. And walls. And perhaps even ceiling.

After the inevitable moral check
Thus the dwarves succeeded in their mission, and the best I could hope for was a revenge. The last goblin  bowman to snipe at dwarven leader, but Gorm's shield stopped the poisoned arrow. That poor sod got another chance, but under all the stress broke his shortbow. While the Skinkslayers regrouped, the goblin chieftain sent all the warriors forward, advancing behind them. But it was too little, too late.

Among goblins, "Elite" and "Boss" means you know when to run...
In a short moment, the last bowman and two warriors were dead. Being really experienced combatants, the Skinkslayer gang decided to get lost, quite simultaneously with goblin leader. The dwarves had only a single wounded, and surely they did bathe in glory, money and beer upon their return.

Summary: OH MORK WHAT A DISASTER! And I have noone to blame for it but me myself! I got too cocky with the shaman, sending him forward without any meatshields... 

Otherwise, the game was great. We played with unrestricted reactions, and saw it was good - I had been afraid they would only strengthen the warband with better quality, but in the end I was able to use them for risky moves and the whole game was more lively. I had only few opportunities to use magic, but even now I like the sheer amount of spells. And the new special rules: Weapons, armour, all kinds of stuff... just excellent, I can't recommend it enough! And if you don't like the funghi theme and explicitly don't want to buy that book, just wait for the next Kickstarter. It should contain dwarves, hobgoblins and even a vanilla ASoBH.

úterý 21. dubna 2015

[SoBH/FiFu] Down By Law

This time, I wanted something new in our games, so Gorm's IroncLads had to participate in a man-hunt. Their task was to cooperate with other companies in order to capture or eliminate a band of outlaws that formed around an escaped pit fighter. The pit fighter and his band had their lair in an old keep, and reckoning that their current position is untenable, they decided to either break through the encirclement or die gloriously.

Gorm's Ironclads

Objective: Kill, incapacitate or demoralize half or more outlaws.
  • Gorm: Q3+ C3, Leader, Group Fighter, Heavily Armored, Block, Short Move
  • Goth'Rack: Q3+ C3, Boiling Blood, Fearless, Unruly, Stubborn, Block, Short Move
  • Ragnar: Q4+ C3, Hammering Blow, Heavily Armored, Short Move, Steadfast
  • Gimli, Robur the Scabby, The Other Warrior: Q4+ C3, Heavily Armored, Block, Short Move, Steadfast
  • Lorm: Q4+ C3, Crossbow, Heavily Armored, Short Move, Steadfast
  • Skadi: Q4+ C2, Crossbow, Good Shot, Heavily Armored, Short Move, Steadfast


Objective: Freedom or death!
  • Pit Fighter: Q3+ C4, Inspiring, Master Duellist, Terror
  • Bowman: Q4+ C2, Shooter: Long, Good Shot, Unerring Aim, Reload
  • 3 Outlaws: Q4+ C3
  • Halberdier: Q4+ C3 Heavy Weapon
Inspiring is a version of Leader, who can't issue commands but still gives Q bonus to figures in 1xL. Terror represents the renown of a veteran pit fighter, just as Master Duellist represents his combat skill. Perhaps giving him C3 and Combat Master would be a better choice, but in the end it had no effect on game.

The Game

As soon as a patrolling bowman rushed in with the bad news, the outlaws set to motion. The plan was to break through the dwarves no matter the cost.

Dwarves appear...
Most of the group headed out through the main entrance, while two men volunteered for a diversion through a ruined tower. Or perhaps they saw better chance of escape there.

Breached tower, later known as an oasis of peace and tranquility.
Ironically, all they managed in the whole game was to enter the tower and stare menacingly at the grim dwarf with big hammer blocking their way. (This was the main argument for lifting the restrictions on reactions - both those men and the dwarf were of Q4+, so none of us didn't want to risk activating them, when there was so much happening on the other side of the keep. Another point for FF!)

The other side of the keep was where the fun was being had.
Things went a bit more lively where the leaders were. Missiles crossed the air and fighters were closing in. Perhaps the ale was a tad too strong last evening, perhaps it was too early, but the dwarves didn't advance in their characteristical coordinated fashion. (Until then I thought I had been the only one with such horrible activation rolls...)

The dwarves spread out in fear that their quarry might run away.
Still in clutches of a hangover, Gorm ordered his lads to charge, and threw himself forward. Gimli and another warrior also joined the fray, determined to show the pit fighter how not impressed they were, while Robur and Goth'Rekk intended to flank the enemy (and take down the pesky archer).

Up close and personal. Also, reactions galore.
All changed when Gorm was struck down (as another victim of the dreaded 6:1 split). Robur fled and Gimli retreated. The dwarves then had the advantage of two to four, and intended to use it.

This was Ironclads' best chance for a kill...
Goth'Rekk failed to fell the bowman but he had little time for regrets as the pit fighter charged him. And knocked him down. And stylishly took out him of action.

...which they failed to realize.
The bowman headed for the ruined tower, hoping to stay out of sight of at least one crossbowman, but soon after that the remaining dwarf in contact was mobbed and brought down. This was too much for poor dwarves, and they retreated.

A good moment to reconsider plans.

Summary: This game was formed by the bad luck of my opponent - he may have even trumped my horrible activation failures from games past. He was also quite pressed by dwarves' short legs - the fear of the outlaws running away made him to spread his men in a rather risky fashion. I have to agree that some scenarios favor more mobile warbands - either I raise the quality of his dwarves, or give him cavalry (which is quite hard to do without the minis) or we'll have to make mixed warbands. We've also agreed to try the "reactions" without any limits on LoS and distance, which might eliminate staring contests such as the one around the tower.

sobota 28. února 2015

[FiFu/SoBH] Indoor Fighting

I got a bit verbose with the introduction - if  you want, you can skip right to the game.

Lothar's gaze was fixed on the tip of the shortsword. He did not regret anything. This time, he may die, but all his men were alive and the enemy suffered heavy casualties. "Hold! I have a better idea..." Who said that? With that thought, his spirit fled.
"Pity he can't see his men running away like rabbits." said Lorm, still pointing his weapon at unconscious Lothar. Gorm was fishing something in his bag. "Aye. Now go check Gimli and Ragnar."

Lothar opened his eyes again, almost instantly forgetting all those weird dreams. The first thing he saw was a bearded face with deep eyes. "So, you're awake. Good." The dwarf gave him something to drink and then fed him. None of this made any sense.
The next day, more dwarves came. "Stand up." Lothar wanted to look down on the dwarves with disdain but being so weak, all his effort went to staying upright. The dwarven nurse smiled. On his command, Lothar was tied, hands and legs. Still naked. "Gimli, pay the bill and ready the wagon."

The day was quite warm and sky was clear, yet the Small Square still had a pond of mud in front of the alehouse. Avoiding the pond was quite difficult in a busy hour like this, especially when some dwarves had the great idea to halt their wagon on the dry ground close to the pond. Some people stopped to watch, because something was certainly going to happen. First, an armoured dwarf jumped down and walked through the people to the pound. Next, some clothes and stuff were thrown into the mud. By this time, a small crowd gathered. "The audience is here, we can't let them wait!" Then, a naked man was kicked from the wagon into the mud, landing square on his face.
"This is going to cost you, dwarf..." The words almost drowned in the mud and (not only) dwarven laughter, but Gorm heard them. The commander stopped laughing and looked Lothar in the eyes. "Remember, my name is Gorm Haraldson, captain of the Blue Peak Ironclads. Do not shame me ever again." With that, he sat on the wagon and rode away.

As the crowd dispersed, one man remained, his face without a smile - as usual. Wilhelm helped his former captain to stand up and dress, playing the old game of good news - bad news. Good news were that they had lost no man but Lothar that day. Bad news? Their message had arrived late, and now, Udo was self-appointed leader of Bad Company. Clearly, Lothar had a position to reclaim and vengeance to enact. But first, there was a job to be done.

Bad Company

Objective: Find and retrieve the signet ring.
  • Udo: Q4+ C3, Block, Leader 
  • Lothar the Black: Q3+ C3, Block, Unruly, Hatred:Gorm
  • Antar: Q3+ C3, Veteran Group Fighter, Unruly  
  • Wilhelm: Q4+ C2, Fearless, Crossbow, Good Shot
  • John: Q4+ C2, Good Shot, Shooter: Long, Reload (taken from Short Bow)
  • 3 Halberdiers: Q 4+ C3, Heavy Weapon
I have made Udo the leader, although without upgrading his quality. I'm certain this will cause trouble from which Lothar will try to benefit. Lothar is not inspired by Udo at all, and he hates Gorm with a passion. The shield may be represented by Block trait in FiFu, basically giving an armour save.

Gorm's Ironclads

Objective: Find and retrieve the signet ring.
  • Gorm: Q3+ C3, Leader, Group Fighter, Heavily Armored, Block, Short Move
  • Goth'Rack: Q3+ C3, Boiling Blood, Fearless, Unruly, Stubborn, Block, Short Move
  • Ragnar: Q4+ C3, Hammering Blow, Heavily Armored, Short Move, Steadfast
  • Gimli, Robur the Scabby: Q4+ C3, Heavily Armored, Block, Short Move, Steadfast
  • Lorm: Q4+ C3, Crossbow, Heavily Armored, Short Move, Steadfast
  • Skadi: Q4+ C2, Crossbow, Good Shot, Heavily Armored, Short Move, Steadfast
Both Ragnar and Gimli recovered, and Lorm proved to be as deadly in melee as from afar, raising his C score for close combat. Armour got simplified in this iteration of FiFu rules: Either it is calculated in C score, or represented by "Heavily Armored", which is more or less Heavy Armour without penalties.

The Game

This game was a treasure hunt - both warbands were hired to retrieve a lost signet ring from a plundered castle. I incorporated new rules for shield and armour, and decided to house rule reactions to 2x long, LoS and not engaged or engaged with activated figure.

I put together two maps from Shattered Keeps an placed three treasure tokens more or less in the middle between the two warbands - forgetting that the stunties have wee legs and therefore short move. Honestly. It didn't help that I set the same Q score for troopers and character from both sides, something my friend still hadn't got used to. Due to our house-limits on reactions there were plenty of turnovers, but that belonged to SoBH and we were quite content with it.

Warbands rush in from the opposite corners
Shooters are rightfully feared in our games, and it was the same this time - especially with the reactions in place. Peeking from behind the corner, or keeping an eye on "fire lanes", shooters were worth their salt.

While shooters keep each other in check, Lothar finds the treasure
"I've found it! I got it!" Shouted Lothar, perhaps too loud. Men on the other side of the building turned to retreat, but the halls also echoed with the stomping of heavy boots. A bolt whistled past Wilhelm, who in turn shot Lorm.

Rushing forward, Lorm is incapacitated
"Any orders?" Asked Lothar with a grin, taking Udo by surprise. (Yes, three failures - turnover.) A surprise that the dwarves exploited all too well - all of a sudden, they were around the men of the Bad Company. Lothar could have led the withdrawal - but there was a status to be won back. He threw the ring to Udo (who failed to catch it, of course) and headed back to meet the Ironclads.

Be a winner, or a hero? Lothar would like to have both.
Udo managed to find the ring and ordered his men to retreat - and cover him. In an unusual fit of discipline, most of his men obeyed.

The fray was fierce - men were mown and shields shattered.
Here, the reactions came to the full bloom: They were used to put men into the way of charging enemy, to knock the defender aside and charge forth, to create local pressure points... as an example, I tried to stand up one of the knocked down halberdiers, and while I didn't want to risk a turnover with Q4+, I wanted him to succeed. Of the two dice I rolled, one failed. Robur, who was adjacent, managed to use it to smash the halberdier's head with his hammer, causing a gruesome kill (good thing I didn't name the halberdiers). The following morale check went almost great, with only one halberdier staying in place and the rest of the men grouped around Udo (who was conveniently out of the checked range).

The otherwise insignificant halberdier is going to influence the game...
They were all shaken a bit, but then Lothar saw a familiar figure - and threw himself at Gorm, thinking little of the consequences. Much to his surprise, men of the Bad Company followed him.

While men charged back, Udo knew better.
After a proper scrap, a sudden lull in fight occured. Gorm, noticing that the ring is gone and his dwarves disorganized, ordered a proper withdrawal, while the men tried to talk some sense to rabid Lothar. Both sides more or less succeeded, and both sides lived to fight another day. Also, there could be little doubt about the real leader of the Bad Company - now, Lothar has only the vengeance to fulfill. As the winner of the game, I have also given the trait "Steadfast" and name Yira to the single halberdier that didn't run.

Summary: This game was quite close in the end, considering how lopsided it looked after first few turns. We had to finish before a proper conclusion, but Udo got the ring and the fighting could have gone both ways, so I declared it a minor human victory without any further casualties. I liked how the reactions worked, they became rather a spice than a bread and butter of the game. The change of rules for shield and armour was definitely for the better - the rules are more straight, and shields/blocks are even stronger than before.

pátek 20. února 2015

Fightin' Funghi Playtest

As you may know, I'm a backer of Fightin' Funghi,or, Advanced SoBH. The new ruleset includes bunch of interesting special abilities, now called "Traits", new rules for armour and shields (still w.i.p. with at least three variants possible) and  reactions (Even in SoBH, it may always be your turn! :) How does it play? 
Read on (and brace yourself for another bunch of crappy photos)!

After his adventure in the Northern Mountains, Lothar managed to rebuild his Bad Company, and soon found a offer fitting such highly skilled professionals - deliver a secret message. A single messenger could do it, sure. But a messenger could be captured, interrogated, killed and replaced by another. Having a slight doubt about this, Lothar accepted. 

Little did he know that Gorm's Ironclads were after him, paying spies here and there just to get a trace of the man who shamed them.

Bad Company

Objective: Pass the most men through the opposite corner.
  • Lothar the Black: Q3+ C3, Leader, Light Armour, Shield
  • Antar: Q3+ C3, Veteran Group Fighter, Unruly  
  • Wilhelm: Q4+ C2, Fearless, Crossbow, Good Shot, Light Armour
  • John: Q4+ C2, Good Shot, Shooter: Long, Reload (taken from Short Bow)
  • Udo: Q4+ C3, Light Armour, Shield
  • 3 Halberdiers: Q 4+ C3, Heavy Weapon, Light Armour

Gorm's Ironclads

Objective: Get Lothar.
  • Gorm: Q3+ C3, Leader, Group Fighter, Medium Armour, Shield, Short Move
  • Goth'Rack: Q3+ C3, Boiling Blood, Fearless, Unruly, Stubborn, Shield, Short Move
  • Ragnar: Q4+ C3, Hammering Blow, Medium Armour, Short Move, Steadfast
  • Gimli, Robur the Scabby: Q4+ C3, Medium Armour, Shield, Short Move, Steadfast
  • Lorm and Skadi: Q4+ C2, Crossbow, Good Shot, Medium Armour, Short Move, Steadfast

The Game
Lothar was not surprised. Something always had to go wrong, just as this time, with those dwarves blocking his way. The last time, he had ran away from them, leaving his dead men behind - he had to. Through clenched teeth, Lothar muttered "No more running." At his command, his men began a cautious advance towards the dwarven barricades.

Shooters are being sent as a vanguard, while the dwarver take positions.

Wilhelm takes cover while a dwarven bolt whizzes past.
Seing that the enemy has crossbows, men of the Bad Company took cover wherever they could. At Lothar's nod, Antar headed into the woods - he enjoyed working alone anyway. The rest of his men dashed to Wilhelm.

Sometimes I read laments that ranged attacks are weak in SoBH - give me a pair of crossbowmen, and I'll teach such people the error of their ways. Crossbow is a trait in FF, it is really powerfull to one long distance and still menacing up to two. You have to reload it, however, and in order to do so, you must stay in place.

Strange as it may seem, noone is eager to buy the farm.

Poor Ragnar can't stay but fears to leave - because it's always my turn.
FF Reactions are new to SoBH - generally, if you fail any activation dice, your opponent may use them to attempt actions of his own. Although the reaction rules still need some adjustment (my oppinion), they shift the whole tactical paradigma and present more choices for both players.

No reload on my watch!
"Aye, I'm watching you..." said John in a low tone, as he drew his longbow. One of the dwarven crossbowmen just bent to reload his weapon, which was quite a lucky decision as he took an arrow on his shoulder plate. Wasting no time he vanished behind a rock few moments before Gorm ordered all his lads back.

Seing their enemy retreating was a welcome sight, so Lothar's men needed little incentive to rush forward. However, their advance was contained by Ragnar and Gimli, while Robur stomped to the forest to check Antar.

See those two? Surely the beginning of an epic duel.
Ragnar swung his hammer at Udo, but the swordsman managed to avoid the attack and seeing the dwarf off-balance, he returned the blow. Steel rang on steel, but aside from a notch on the helmet, Ragnar was unharmed.

Armour is yet to gain a final form in FF, but there is a variant available on Facebook group where it provides an armour save roll. If it is successfull, the result turns to a less harmful one: OOF to Knockdown, Knockdown to Recoil, Recoil to a tie. This rules add one more roll to combat, but we didn't feel it as an inconvenience. It brings more granularity without adding another combat roll modifier.

Near the edge, the blood starts to boil.
Armoured or not, there's only so much two fighters can do against trained men in more than twice their number. As his dwarves fell, Gorm could not restrain himself any more and lanched himself at the enemy. Loud roar from his left suggested that Goth'Rack finally got out of his gloomy mood into a more productive state of mind.

However, cold blooded John was not the one to be scared by a tattoed madman. The ferocius attack broke his bow and threw him back. John got ready for a hand-to-hand, only to see his foe collapse!

I like Boiling Blood. It is something like more controlled berserk, empowering you significantly - however, you'd better clean your surrounding in the rage, because you may collapse at the end of turn. My opponnent was quite unfortunate, getting a decent bonus to C but lousy combat roll.

Have at them!
Reactions can be great indeed. In one case (following picture), Robur got one failure and two actions - no doubt he was about to use them on a power blow, but Antar managed to react and strike first (although not that hard). It didn't matter in the end as both combats were tied, but the possibility was there.

A very private battle.

Finally, Lorm had had enough. He sneaked around the stunned swordsman, sprinted, drawing his shorsword, and finally thrusted it into Lothar's side. Lothar collapsed, and something had broken in his men. Two managed to sneak past the Ironclads, but rest of them ran away in random directions.

The dreaded morale check cascade about to begin.

"Hold!" Shouted Gorm, as the crossbowman raised his shorsword for a coup de grace. "I have a better idea..."

All of the Bad Company had ran away, without any casualties except Lothar. Perhaps they were able to deliver the message without him, but I doubt it - the confusion was too great. Moreover, the dwarves achieved their goal, which means a decisive dwarven victory!

Summary: The game didn't take any longer than our usual games of SoBH, and the new rules for reactions, weapons, armour and special abilities were fun. However, the reactions need to be either changed or house-ruled, because currently, there is no limit as to who can react to what, which may lead to quite gamey approach, like reacting with a figure on the other side of the table.
Anyway, I'm glad I took part in this Kickstarter project.

pátek 30. ledna 2015

SoBH: Taking the Fort pt.2

Warm-up in the Pit

In continuation of our unofficial Pit Fighter campaign, my untested Orc faced an equally fresh Undead last week.
  • Orc: WS 31, S 33, T 30, I 34, W 12
  • From the jaws of victory...
  • Undead: WS 32, S 31, T 31, I 33, W 13
I thought I had a victory in my pocket, as the higher initiative was always a great factor. Well, I was wrong. The Orc dashed to his opponent, refused to dance to his tune and charged him straight. Unfortunately, what should have been a decapitation (or a stunning blow at least) only made a dent in Undead's helmet without any further effects. In return, the Undead slashed at Orc's arm drawing blood, and added the insult to the injury by almost knocking his helmet off. 
Stunned as he was, the Orc managed to avoid a flurry of attacks and then lunged forward. The undead however blocked his attack, and already the first of his ripostae was enough to send the Orc to the ground.

Looks like I'll have to take the Undead next round - so far I'm losing 1:2 on victories and it's about time to settle the score.

Taking the Fort - SoBH

While the scenario and pieces were exactly the same as in the prevoius post (Melee Box, DnD map, more or less straight up fight), this time I decided to try SoBH with adjusted profiles: All the troops had Q4+, while both leaders were Q3+. Because turnovers are fun - when they have a chance to happen to both players.

I also used some of my special rules, Reach (counts as outnumbering if adjacent to engaged friend), Heavy weapon (if your total melee combat score is higher than opponent's one, add +1 to your total score) and Reload (takes two actions to reload). While I like them as they are, I wasn't apparently the only one who wanted more difference between weapons - and our pleas where listened to: The Fightin' Funghi ruleset is basically advanced SoBH!

Now for the game itself: I let the dwarves rush to their fortress, and then I ran my orcs from the more distant corner through tight passages. The dwaves were completely taken by surprise.

In a kunnin' move, the Orcs entered from an unusual corner.
Obludd ruled his minions with an iron hand and succeded in beating a semblance of discipline into them. The dwaves were still reeling from such an unexpected move (and scored the first turnover).

Confused and spread, the dwarves were in a difficult situation.
The orcs split into two groups, one was heading to the doors while the other was supposed to keep the dwarves at bay.

The dwarves are still quite spread...
An orc warrior apparently feigned being hit by a crossbow bolt, which stirred the pride of dwarven warriors and two of them charged forward.

The missile exchange was rather ineffective.
The second one to reach the orcs was mobbed and brought down, while another axeman still ran to the enemy.

Charging piecemeal against a group - that's a recipe for disaster.
The dwarven spearman still had some teeth, however, his best chance was a heroic (and a rather stupid) death when the axeman near him succumbed to superior numbers and Obludd's choppas.

Sending the dwarves one by one...
A lone axeman fought on, as the retreat was something unthinkable.

The dwarves didn't flee, so they were butchered.
After a short fight even the third of melee warriors got death instead of dishonor, and dwarven morale began to crumble. We ran out of time at that point, but I had only a little doubt about the possible outcome. 

Summary: I was happy about a more level playing field and my opponent was glad to play. Next time I'll prepare a different scenario, and -because I'm a backer- use the playtest rules of Fightin' Funghi.

pátek 16. ledna 2015

Skulldred - Taking the Fort

This report is long overdue, the actual game took place at the beginning of December 2014. Better late then never, though.

It was supposed to be the Vallley of the Kings evening, but in the end, neither of us was actually too eager for a soulless euro... Which was fine, as I had brought my Melee Box, DnD maps and the rules for Skulldred. I used some stats from the previous game, toned down the power of both crossbows and bows and cobbled some stats on the spot. Anyway, who among gentlemen cares about points?

The abandoned dwarven outpost was to see another battle - while the dwarves under Gorm the Hero fully understood its strategic importance in the upcoming battle, boss Obludd the Green Menace just saw no point in sharing the fun and the loot with the main host.

The boss shouts, the rest runs.
Old dwarven locks were no challenge to Gorm's company, so they were easily able to claim the fort as their own. Crossbowmen rushed to their posts, while pair of fighters prepared to ambush the orcs. Inexplicably, Obludd was behind his boys, even further than usual (but you can only get so far with three actions on three turns).

Driving the herd forward.
Both sides knew about each other. The orcs were staging at the corner, while dwarven leader got so paralysed by considering the tactical benefits of double surprise attack that he did nothing in the end. This was probably quite valid idea.

The fun starts at any moment...
All hell could have broken loose when the orcs took the corner and charged in, but one of their halberdiers decided to have a polearm duel with more skilled dwarven spearman (which he lost) and another got shot at point blank. Archers proved as ineffective as ever, but at least they deterred the lurking dwarven pair.

Fun is being had, everyone -except the two orc halberdiers- rejoices.
The fighting was fierce, but the spirits of the mountain were with Gorm, who was nearly slain by raging orcs. (In two rounds we burnt almost all our dreadskulls. Epic!) The ambushers finally tried their hand in the flanking manoeuvre and took down one archer, who was instantly avenged by his boss. Then, in the thick of the battle, something unexpected happened - two crossbowmen joined forces and killed Obludd!

Bested in hand to hand by a crossbowman? The Boss actually died of shame.
With the expression of disbelief the beast toppled over and confusion started to spread among his boys - this would be bad for a warband relying on organisation and tactical precision, but the boyz simply pressed on, while the archer for the first time shot true and killed the flanking spearman.

The green fury about to wane.
No matter their efforts, the orcs were outmatched, and after Gorm killed the swordsman, the archer let loose one last arrow and ran away.

Summary: Skulldred really delivers, but I'd like to have a more complete version. Next time we may try this scenario in SoBH with readjusted stats (all troops Q4+, leaders Q3+).