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+).

úterý 13. ledna 2015

How to begin a new year of gaming?

By spilling some blood on the sand, of course! I wanted both to revisit Mordheim: Pit Fighter and to try something new - free gladiator rules Familia Gladiatoria, that may use cards for pre-plotted actions. I did not bother to take pictures this time, because the lighting was poor (and moreover, they would look exactly the same as any prevoius pictures of my Chaos-Marauders-made-into-Pit-Figthers standing in the hexes of the arena). Edit: But I did bother to use our camera at home, so this blog gets its first decent pictures. 

Pit Fighter

I like Pit Fighter. Maybe because of the variety in figting styles and armour outfits, maybe because of the bluffing and guessing game, and maybe because you actually have to make some decisions in the game, and they matter. 
How-ever... They are almost everything that matters - Weapon Skill (WS) opposed rolls are made with d20, so without a significant bonus to it (e.g. 10 pts) the contest is a matter of luck. Therefore, the most reasonable way to spend the 10 bonus points in character creation is to Initiative, because you want to hit first, Strength (moar damage!) or Wounds, to last a little longer. But even then its one wrong guess of yours, and your fighter is quite likely either crippled or dead. Or not, because of rolling a single die for damage (d6, d10, d12 or d20), plus sometimes another die (d10 or d20) for a mighty blow, may result in anything between a scratch and evisceration with the same probability. I decided to alter that a little: 
  • By rolling 3d6 in Strength and WS contests instead of d20 to make the difference between stats more significant (also redefining criticals as rolls of 3,4,17,18).
  • By replacing the damage dice for d6, 2d6-2, 2d6 and 3d6 resp. and bonus dice for d6 and 2d6 to make the damage a little more consistent.
I also had to alter the modifiers to the stats, of course. And I made and printed the hit location and adrenaline rush cards, which were supposed made the game even more smooth. Did that work?

The first match was my Chaos vs Empire. I had spread the points across all the stats: (WS 33 S 31 T 32 I 32 W 12) and it appeared that Chaos had better Initiative than Empire. Which was good, because the fighters advanced (with the usual unsuccessfull attempts to outmaneuvre each other), the flail rang at Empire's helmet, stunning him a little. Empire decided for an unorthodox tactics and tried to bull-rush Chaos, but got bumped away and then lost the match (and a leg too).

In the second bout, another Empire-styled gladiator (WS 32 S 33 T 30 I 33 W 12) faced an Orc (WS 32 S 32 T 30 I 34 W 12). This time both gladiators ran at each other, but in the last moment, the Orc sidestepped and drew first blood by a good blow to Empire's head. Empire was a little disoriented (and scarred), but managed to jump back and avoid a terrible hack that would have split him in two. Then he sneaked past the Orc and quickly turned, his blow landing even before his opponent could strike - but it was too gentle. In exchange, Orc's axe severed Empire's finger and bit deeply into his arm....

Summary: So, did the house rules work? Yes. And no. Both bouts were brief and bloody, and in general the fighters managed to survive incredible two hits instead of one, but outguessing your opponent is still the best way to go. I'm leaving the house rules as they are and play some more (for more data and for the fun of it), which I look forward to.

Familia Gladiatoria

FG is a free set of rules, and as such it comes with its drawbacks. Like, no support and rules with important things missing or unclear. Even then, there is a shortage of good man-to-man rules in the world, so why not try these? The main points of attraction were simultaneous action selection and possibility to create your own gladiator, along with a simple campaign rules. I read the rules, printed the cards, statted up my four trusted pit fighters and decided what cards each style got (as you can hardly thrust or parry with a flail and so on). There was time enough for one match only, so we each picked one gladiator (Chaos vs Orc), threw them into the pit and let the games begin.

In FG, each gladiator has three stats: Strength, Agility and Status. The former two serve as life points and the basis for action evaluation: Each action card played requires you to add higher of 2 d6 rolls to the stat used and to the bonus (or malus) for an action our opponent selected.

For example, if I choose "Feint" action and my opponent "Defend", I roll 2d6, add higher roll to my Agility and add 2 as a bonus for the opponent choosing defence. My opponent does similar math, and if I get higher sum than him, my feint worked and I may turn his gladiator one hexside.

The rules were less than clear on the point whether you choose 3 action cards and then select one of them in each phase or use them in a fixed, pre-planned sequence. Most of the match we played the first way, but it didn't feel very rewarding so we switched to sequence planning - and there was much joy and laughter, at least till the point when Orc collapsed, failed his mercy roll and Chaos had to slit his throat.

Summary: Interesting little game, although you have to fill in the gaps in rules. I plan to play it again, but in a smaller arena (to make pushing actually usefull) and with one more action: Side-step that allows to move sideways and adds a little more to the tactics.