Saturday, 7 September 2019

Robin in peril

I was ambushed by the young lad (age 8) this week asking for a game of 'Knights'. He wanted to get his new posse led by Sir John on the table and have a game. I opted to use standard Song of Blades and Heroes with simple warbands. Sir John and his retinue came in at just under 150 points, so I built an outlaw band the same strength.

Sir John's Posse
Sir John - Q3 C3; Hero, Heavy Armour, Steadfast
Swordsman - Q4 C2; Steadfast
Spearman - Q4 C2; Steadfast
Crosbowman - Q4 C2; Shooter - Long, Sharpshooter, Steadfast

Merry Foresters
Robin - Q3 C3; Hero, Good Shot, Shooter - Long, Forester
John - Q4 C2; Forester
Will - Q4 C2; Forester
Much - Q4 C2; Shooter - Medium, Forester

To get the game moving quickly, we used a 2' square board and deployed 1x Short in from our chosen table edge. Robin and Much are top right, Will and John bottom right. Sir John is out of shot in the lower left, and his men are spread out to the left - the crossbowman in the middle.

Sir John's swordsman activated first and ran straight to the the cover of the building. He had some sort of idea in his head that he didn't want Robin to be able to maintain line of sight. His crossbowman, however, moved over to line up a clear shot at Robin or Much next turn. On Robin's side, John and Will both managed to get up to the shelter of the empty cart in their first activation. I figured that this would stop them being attacked from that side. I was wrong.

Sir John moved cautiously down from his hill, still keeping his distance from the impending scrap in the middle of the table. Sir John's spearman moved up to the far side of the cart from Will and John.
At the same moment, the swordsman dashed around the far side of the building and engaged Robin is a bit of friendly swordplay.

The excitement at this point was already palpable as can be seen in the expression of the audience.

Robin took one swing at the swordsman and cut him down. Satisfying, if a bit of an anticlimax. 

Much then lolloped forward and, over the next couple of turns, he and the crossbowman exchanged a number of ineffectual shots. 

My thoughtful opponent queried whether his spearman could run up into the cart. I confessed there was no reason why he couldn't, and a moment later John found himself in a pickle. Sir John metaphorically looming down on him from the front, while the spearman literally loomed down on him from the cart on his flank. Far from being a useful as a barrier, the cart was now being used against the merry forester!

The spearman struck down at John and beat him to the ground. Although he was still alive, it didn't look promising. 

Sir John's crossbowman loosed another bolt at Much which likewise failed to kill the lad, but knocked him to the ground. Robin ran up to Much's side and returned an arrow, but it went way off the mark - one of many 6/1 splits in the game.

Much and John both dusted themselves off. In the John-off at the lower end of the table, John managed to defy the odds and forces Sir John to recoil out of the fight. For Much, it didn't go quite so well. He moved forward to get a better shot at the crosbowman, and was taken down by a crossbow bolt for his troubles.

As Robin moved down past the building to where he could line up shots at both the crossbowman and Sir John, John and Will both now took the attack to the knight. Sir John was now on the back foot, defending himself against the furious blows of both foresters.

And that, dear reader, is when Sir John demonstrated what a lifetime of martial training can achieve. He smote - most decidedly - both Will and John on the spot. Robin, seeing his comrades dropping around him, decided discretion to be more expedient than valour, and legged it off the table like a frightened bunny. This despite being a Q3 hero.

It was a lovely little game. My young opponent understood everything going on, practiced his maths without noticing and, to his great joy, won. I'm fairly confident this won't be the last meeting of Sir John and the forester Robin.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Sir John's posse

My wee lad loves to customise stuff - no idea where he gets that from... When he saw Sir Guillaume, he asked if he could customise a knight too. So now, hot off the heels of family visits to Trim Castle, the National Heritage Park, and the Rock of Dunamase, I can present his small warband led by Sir John 'of Ireland'.

 Sir John himself, armoured with a shield, and armed with a mace and sword.

The rear of Sir John showing his coat-of-arms. As you can see, the wee man also customised up a prototype for me so I knew exactly what I was supposed to be painting.

Two sergeants: one with spear and shield and the other with sword and shield.

 A crossbowman to provide a bit of long range support.

I suspect these will mostly be sitting on a shelf, but they will also see service in the new Robin Hood/outlaw game, and perhaps in the odd game of Song of Blades and Heroes as well.

 Every boy needs to be taught how to handle himself in a scrap...

Saturday, 24 August 2019

28mm Shadows over Sherwood

To defend all civilised Christians from the outlawry and heresy of the wolfsheads of Sherwood, the Sheriff of Nottingham has invited his distant cousin Sir Guillaume le Fauconnier to come and exploit the local peasantry. 

All figures are Fireforge plastics - a mixture of foot knights and foot sergeants from two sprues I picked up. For the games I am intending, the eight men shown here should more than suffice to represent the villains...

Sir Guillaume le Fauconnier - a knight

Two sergeants with spears and shields. 

Two sergeants, one with mace and shield, one armoured with a Dane axe (converted from an axe and a spear).

Two crossbowmen, one armoured with a sword.

One archer with a hand axe (the bow is borrowed from elsewhere and the quiver made of greenstuff).

Friday, 23 August 2019

Trouble on the Tundra

As the days lengthened and the snows were just beginning to recede, the hunters of the tribe set out secure the people's survival. A mere 12 bulk worth of meat would see the tribe through - at least for another moon. The hunters had discovered a small heard of mammoths grazing in the tundra. They had prepared a pit (centre right), and then split into two smaller parties. Lee took control of Herc, Bow and Snogg, along with Herc's new hound - Grrr (top left). I controlled Ferg, Tark and Frygga (off screen to lower left).

Fergg the fire-king, Frygga with her trusty spear, and Tark the bowman. Rolling for traits, Fergg ended up with big feet. He'd be fine in an icy landscape, but would have trouble moving through thickets.

Herc with his club, Grrr, Bow the bowman and Snogg the spearman. Rolling for traits, Herc turned out to be 'enthusiastic' so he would have to roll three dice every time he activated.

Unbeknownst to the tribe, a small hunting party of outfolk had also decided to exploit the mammoth herd to see their people through. There were also two large boar wandering around the hunting ground - we decided to treat them as apex predators with only two bulk.

In the opening turns, Herc's party started forward towards the centre of the hunting grounds. Despite multiple failed activation rolls, the mammoths grazed on unperturbed, while one of the boars emerged from the thicket, snuffling along curiously.

Bow ambled up to join Herc, loosing an arrow at one of the mammoths. The arrow lacked any penetrating power, but made enough of a thump to cause the mammoth to charge forward. Seeing the herd start to move, Frygga crept forward to be in a position to start hurling spears.

Then, as Herc let out a catastrophically combustible sneeze, Frygga's target span around and charged at her, giving her a prod with a tusk to leave her wounded and stunned.

The smell of fresh blood drew out all of the predators in the area. Both boars and all three outfolk cautiously advanced towards bloody Frygga.

Ambling up with all the confidence of the chap who invented fire, Fergg lay down a scrub fire which soon started spreading with the winds - towards the boars and the mammoths. The smoke and flames did the trick and spooked the mammoth that was goring away at Frygga. As one of the tribes only women, there was a real emphasis on trying to keep her alive!

Meanwhile, Herc, Bow and Snogg had been angling down the other side of the hunting ground, alternating between driving one of the mammoths away from its herd, and fleeing in terror whenever it trumpeted at them.

Trying to force the mammoth into the pre-dug pit, Bow shot off another poor shot and received a mammoth charge for his trouble. Luckily for him, this mammoth was less well practiced at goring hunters and Bow escaped without even a scratch.

Herc ran down to lend a hand and the panicked mammoth ran off to stop ... just. in. front. of. the. pit! One more weak bow shot from Bow, however, prompted the beast over the edge. The tribe had secured four bulk worth of food. Only eight more to secure a tribal win!

One of the outfolk - if our hunters could have understood their barbaric tongue they would have known his name was Flingi - came shuffling up towards the mammoth pit, only to be confronted by a snarling Grrr.

Flingi yowled something incomprehensible and Grrr backed away just as the outfolk leader - Mumma Mamu - scuttled up, her nose twitching behind her savage skull-mask.

Bow skulked towards the strange looking hominids and loosed another cautionary arrow. This time, his shot struck true, wounding the outfolk leader. 

Flingi shambled over to Grrr looking very aggressive and struck the poor hound. Grrr yelped as blood flowed freely across the tundra.   

Seeing his hound in peril, Herc limbered up (and then lumbered up) attempting - unsuccessfully - to out-hominid the outfolk hunter. Despite having Grrr snapping at his heels, Flingi was both unharmed, and unimpressed by the whole ordeal.

Grrr then switched targets, hoping to drag down Mumma Mamu and Flingi loped off to have a look at Bow. Over on the far side of the hunting ground, Tark and Frygga had been slowly making there way down towards the action. Tark lined up a shot against the third outfolk hunter - called Lugi in his strange guttural tongue - but missed the mark.

Not happy to see Flingi wandering around unharmed all over his hunting ground, Herc pursued him. He took one mighty swing of his club ...

... and the outfolk hunter crumpled into a pile of rather edible looking meat.

While Snogg ambled up to provide some close support, Bow took another potshot at Mumma Mamu, bringing her down. Another one for the pot! Well, another one for the spit anyway.

Grrr then came up to attack Lugi and was spitted in turn. Herc howled in distress to see his hound killed before him, while the other hunters just shrugged pragmatically and licked their lips.

Tark took advantage of Lugi's tussle with the hound to line up another shot. He pulled back and released, sending a well-placed arrow straight into (and through) the outfolk hunter's chest. The stranger dropped on the spot.

And, with that, the tribe had secured a win. Frygga was bloodied, but still standing, while the other hunters were completely unscathed. The mammoth was worth four bulk, the three outfolk hunters were worth two bulk each and, expedient though it is, Grrr counted as another two bulk towards the tally. Why let good meat go to waste, eh?