Monday 5 June 2017

Picnic at Hanging Rock - Redux

It gives me great pleasure to be able to post another of Mark's game reports below. This time, his attempt at the "Picnic at Hanging Rock" scenario from the Palaeo Diet: Eat or Be Eaten draft rules. The aim of the game is to drive a heard of large grazers into an ambush in order to set the tribe up for the coming winter. If you missed it, our first test run of the scenario was posted back in April

The first photo shows the overall table layout and figure placement after Turn 1. A herd of eight Aurochs (Giant Grazers) including two calves, is grazing placidly in the mouth of the valley, getting ready for their migration south. The hunting party of the Grey Wolf Clan is six strong, all spear armed except for Smoky who is carrying fire (a burning branch).

The hunters started at various points along the L table edge. Three of them are already in position to tumble the boulders down onto the herd as it passes the valley choke point. Two more are in the defile between the scarps, ready to attack at a suitable opportunity. And Smoky is working around the back of the herd to drive them into the valley using the threat of fire.

Moving the fire-carrying hunter Smoky was an important factor in the hunt. By making him veer to one side or another it was possible to "steer" the beasts down the valley and prevent them from breaking loose and heading over the low hill forming the R side of the choke point.

It all seems to be going to plan after Turn 2 as the second photo shows. Smoky has successfully triggered a stampede by the Aurochs herd, although they have split into two groups as they rush for the pass. There were various activation failures among the other hunters lying in wait, but these had no effect on the beasts.

In Turn 3 the killing began. The photo above shows the carnage. Another stampede prompted by Smoky brought one group of beasts within the zone of a boulder, which was rolled off the scarp and squashed two Aurochs including a calf. The other two members of the group escaped, one joining the other group and one becoming separated from the other survivors and headed for the table edge in the background.

The other group of beasts also stampeded and the other two boulders were duly released, rolling towards them. All three boulders rolled only S distance, so this further-away group has not been hit - yet!

Turn 4: will the rolling boulders fill the Clan's winter store? Nooooo! Aarrgghh! Both the boulders that were in line to make a killing stopped rolling. What angry God has the Clan offended? It's chaos now, as the hunters scramble to recover the initiative. Two hunters make attacks, both fail miserably and only drive the quarry further away. The other hunters have to go around the long way, they can't jump down the scarps. The surviving Aurochs mostly are breaking out over the hill (and far away) as feared.

In Turn 5 the hunters took some chances - no photo of this one though. Smoky rolled three activations, the only time in the game I rolled all three dice for a hunter, and raced wide around the herd to try and head them off. Other hunters were able to kill the other calf, which had become separated from the adults, but no other attacks succeeded.

And in Turn 6 it was all over. The last surviving Aurochs is heading off to fresh woods and pastures new following the others, who have stampeded over the table edge to safety. One of the escapees was carrying two wounds, inflicted at the last minute, so the hunters may decide to track it for a couple of days and in all likelihood take possession. But it'd be a major hassle to have to operate and defend two butchery sites ...

The Grey Wolf hunters have killed one adult and two calves from the Aurochs herd, for a total of 8 Bulk out of a possible 28 Bulk on offer. Not enough. The scenario victory conditions specify at least 2 Bulk per starting hunter so 12 Bulk was required. It seems the "Hunger Games" scenario might have to be next. The clan has all the long winter to decide how best to appease the god who stopped the boulders from delivering a sure thing.


  1. Any idea when these rules will be available ? , Tony

    1. Look for them when the Sun-Father grows weary, the herds are plump and content, and the hazelnuts ripen on the branch.

  2. There is a herd of Aurochs -or at least the back bred attempt at recreating them, Heck Cattle -in the Neanderthal valley, near Dusseldorf... also Tarpans and European bison (wisent)

    Nip along and see if they'll let you LARP with them!