Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Would the real King Arthur please stand up....?

Graham Chapman - perhaps the most ernest Arthur of them all.
The rules engine which drives Song of Blades and Heroes by Ganesha Games has been successfully developed for use in all manner of contexts – from giant Japanese inspired pulp monsters and teddy bears to Napoleonic or modern period skirmishes. However, In my mind, one of the simplest and most elegant transitions was the creation of Song of Arthur and Merlin (SAM)written by the master of Arthurian wargaming, Daniel Mersey, originally as a SBH supplement, but now as a stand alone game.

The game provides all the rules and contexts for you to wargame struggles and skirmishes in Arthurian Britain. Which ever Arthurian Britain you choose. SAM includes campaigns and special rules for you whether you prefer the traditional shiny, chivalric Arthur of Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and John Boorman’s Excalibur, the more traditional mythical Arthur of the Mabinogian and other Welsh sagas and poems, or the reformist modern tendency to show Arthur as a reluctant leader in a gritty post-Roman world.

Inspired by the historical (or at least pseudo-historical) Arthurs of Gildas, Sutcliff, Tranter, Cornwall and McCormack,[1] as well as a couple of recent movies which I adore and others seem to loathe),[2] I just haven't been able to pass up the prospect of building and running warbands for the historical setting – perhaps supplemented by a few concepts from the Welsh king setting and scenarios.

Earlier this year I won some credit with the 10mm miniature manufacturer Pendraken. As well as using it to set up my new painting desk after the ‘big move’, I figures I’d sneak a few packs from their late Roman range into my order. Thus germinated my new mini-project - SAM in 10mm.

I mean, I already had a Stonehenge of the right scale, so why not....?

It also means that I have had to seek out 10mm Saxons and 10mm Irish, both sourced from Magister Militum.

Here's the outline of the four 300 point warbands that I plan to do up (formatted for the SBH warband builder). They shouldn't take too long to paint, even at my painfully slow rate. Once they're all done, I'll probably look at expanding them to 500 points each.

;Equites Samaratum
Artorius Magister Equitum;100;3;4;true;Combat Master,Fearless,Heavy Armor,Mounted,Running Blow;;
Bedwyr;64;3;3;false;Heavy Armor,Mounted,Running Blow;;
Cei;64;3;3;false;Heavy Armor,Mounted,Running Blow;;
Drystan;70;3;3;false;Heavy Armor,Mounted,Sharpshooter,Shooter: Long;;

;British Milites
Flavius Constans;85;2;3;true;Group Fighter,Leader,Shieldwall;;
Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
Archer;34;3;2;false;Shooter: Long;;
Archer;34;3;2;false;Shooter: Long;;
Archer;34;3;2;false;Shooter: Long;;

;Children of Cú Chulainn
Iseult the Cat;70;2;2;true;Assassin,Forester;;
Dubhdarra the Aged;30;3;0;true;Forester,Short Move,Terror;;
Irish warrior;40;2;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
Irish warrior;40;2;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
Irish warrior;40;2;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
Irish warrior;40;2;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
Irish warrior;40;2;2;false;Forester,Savage;;

;Sea Folk
Thegn Æthelwulf;96;3;3;true;Leader,Steadfast,Tough;;
Saxon;29;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Steadfast;;
Saxon;29;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Steadfast;;
Saxon;29;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Steadfast;;
Saxon;29;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Steadfast;;
Saxon;29;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Steadfast;;
Saxon;29;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Steadfast;;
Saxon;29;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Steadfast;;

It's still a few weeks before we fly and it will be a fair bit longer before I can sit down and paint any of my new 10mm beauties, but for now I thought I'd just post a little inspiration for the project.
____________________
[1] The following come highly, highly recommended:
Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff
Druid Sacrifice by Nigel Tranter
The Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwall:
i) The Winter King
ii) Enemy of God
iii) Excalibur
The Albion Trilogy by  by Patrick McCormack: (I only just discovered that the first volume which I enjoyed greatly was part of a series which I shall have to chase up)
i) Albion: The Last Companion
ii) Albion: The White Phantom
iii) Albion: The Lame Dancer (this volume was never published but is available as a pdf HERE)
[2] The 2004 movie, King Arthur directed by Antoine Fuqua starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightly and the 2006 movie, Tristan and Isolde directed by Kevin Reynolds starring the lovely Sophia Myles and James Franco.


Boorman's Excalibur in all its shiny splendor!



The grittier, more Clive Owenish 2004 King Arthur in which every shot was like a postcard.

video






Tristan and Isolde - not strictly starring Arthur, but with the benefit of the lovely Ms Myles who even lets me forgive the fact that they locate Dunluce (best Renaissance castle ever) on the spot later to become Dublin!?


6 comments:

  1. I too have ben tempted by Dan Mersey's supplement. On the subject of rules where can I buy a copy of ireggular Wars 1.5 come the 20th?

    ReplyDelete
  2. SBH works well, so I've no doubt that SAM will be just as quick and just as fun.

    I'm also really interested in Mr Mersey's Dux Bellorum...

    I'll put up a post about Irregular Wars 1.5 next week, but it will be available through Vexillia as before. If you have not previously bough the rules, 6 pounds (UK or EU), 5 pounds (rest of the world). If you have bought the previous version it will be 1.20 (UK or EU), or 1 pound (rest of the world) to buy the new version.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just jotting down some Ideas for 500 point warbands - somewhere that wont go missing in the move.

    ;Equites Samaratum
    Artorius Magister Equitum;104;3;4;true;Heavy Armor,Leader,Mounted,Running Blow;;
    Myrddin;58;3;2;true;Bard,Heavy Armor,Mounted,Standard Bearer;;
    Bedwyr;70;3;3;false;Dashing,Heavy Armor,Mounted,Running Blow;;
    Cei;70;3;3;false;Big,Heavy Armor,Mounted,Running Blow;;
    Urien;64;3;3;false;Heavy Armor,Mounted,Running Blow;;
    Gwalchmei;64;3;3;false;Heavy Armor,Mounted,Running Blow;;
    Drystan;70;3;3;false;Heavy Armor,Mounted,Sharpshooter,Shooter: Long;;

    ;British Milites
    Flavius Constans;85;2;3;true;Group Fighter,Leader,Shieldwall;;
    Geriant mab Petroc;44;3;3;true;Fearless,Group Fighter,Shieldwall,Standard Bearer;;
    Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
    Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
    Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
    Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
    Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
    Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
    Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
    Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
    Pedyt;22;3;2;false;Shieldwall;;
    Archer;34;3;2;false;Shooter: Long;;
    Archer;34;3;2;false;Shooter: Long;;
    Archer;34;3;2;false;Shooter: Long;;
    Archer;34;3;2;false;Shooter: Long;;
    Archer;34;3;2;false;Shooter: Long;;

    I'm still not entirely sure what command figures come in the Magister Militum packs of Irish and Saxons, so they will have to wait.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps:

      ;Children of Cú Chulainn
      Dubhdarra the Aged;50;2;1;true;Forester,Leader,Short Move;;
      Iseult the Cat;62;3;2;true;Assassin,Forester,Free Disengage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;
      Irish warrior;32;3;2;false;Forester,Savage;;


      ;Sea Folk
      Æthelwulf the Exile;112;3;4;true;Big,Heavy Armor,Leader,Short Move,Steadfast,Tough;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;
      Saxon Ceorl;24;4;3;false;Shieldwall,Short Move,Steadfast;;

      Delete
  4. Hi,

    Sorry to kind of parachute in but firstly I wanted to say this this is a very stylish blog, certainly puts mine to shame! Secondly, I was one of the playtesters for Dux Bellorum and I wasn't sure if you knew that Dan's set up a new blog at www.merseybooks.blogspot.co.uk. He's still going to be updating the old one at Boardgamegeek but the new one should let him actually promote things a little bit better. If there's anything you'd like to know about Dux Bellorum then I'm sure he'll be happy to answer through the blog. I don't know how much you actually know about Dux Bellorum but I think it's actually really good game. Yes, I'm probably a bit biased but I really do think so.

    By happy coincidence, I recently purchased Irregular Wars and I'm chomping at the bit to try it out. Myself and Dan are due to meet up early in May to test it out but I think it's going to deliver the goods. My absolute passion is Tudor armies and it looks like Irregular Wars is going to capture the fighting in Ireland perfectly. Anyway, I'll wish you all the best and leave you alone now.

    Cheers :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that is a happy coincidence! Thank you for the positive feedback - I'd be keen to hear again when you've played a few games of Irregular Wars.

      I don't know much about Dux Bellorum except what I have read on Boardgamegeek (and now his new blog which I am flicking through), but what I've seen looks great!

      Delete