Wednesday 26 August 2015

Galleys & Galleons - another brief review

Over at the antipodean One Sided Minature Wargaming Discourse page, I have just read another short review of Galleys & Galleons:

"What I liked was that it was simple with meaningful moves and decisions. It also has lots of promise for multi-players, different ship types, fleets and monsters."

The full review can be found HERE.

Following up on that, the blog also a short AAR of an Anglo-French engagement in the Napoleonic period where they have used Ganesha's online fleet builder to approximate later vessels.

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Dux Bellorum - A successful defence of Rheged

I had an enjoyably quiet night of gaming over the weekend, getting Dan Mersey's Dux Bellorum back out on the table for another run. It really is a smashingly well thought out little game that does a great job at recreating the bloody struggles of the Early Medieval period.

Although other forces are being slowly (oh so slowly) assembled by other gents in our gaming circle, at the moment, my Romano-British of Rheged and Ulaid Irish are the only armies, so they met once more. To date, the Irish have been undefeated. Their wild charges led by noble warriors proving unstoppable for the British riders and shieldwalls.

We allocated armies randomly and I ended up with the crazy, hound-loving, saffron-wearing, rough nuts. JB, the British player was the repeller (defender) and placed a village right in the centre of the table. Even though my warriors fair better in terrain than any of the Britons, I seemed to have ignored the fact and split my forces into two separate forces. My warlord's companions accompanied by two other noble warrior warbands were on the left and more noble warriors, riders with wardogs on the right with a unit of skirmishers in the center. JB faced my warlord with his shieldwalls, riders and a unit of archers, while he sent his companions and noble riders after my right flank.

In the photo above you can see my skirmishers occupying the village while his cavalry thunder towards my riders.

The British nobility crunch into the Irish right. I threw as many Leadership Points (LP) at my right as I could, trying to buff up the units there to hold off the Brtish warlord while I crushed his other flank.

On my left, an irrationally place unit of British riders taunted my noble warriors off a hill resulting in a cheering horde of Irishmen and a mound of horse flesh.

However, back on my right, an unbelievable roll by JB's companions (outflanked now by my skirmishers) shattered my Irish riders. While my warriors defeated the single unit of noble riders who attacked them, my poor hounds were also defeated.

On my left, the combat hotted up as the shieldwalls engaged my warriors, using LPs to soak up hits and repelling my assaults time after time. 

Each time my warriors on the far left fell back, they were peppered with arrows from the British bowmen. Soon all my noble warriors had fled on this flank with the exception of the warlord's companions.

Turmoil on the right! Shrugging off my skirmishers, the British cavalry round up the last of my noble warriors.

... and proving that the Romano-British should not be discounted, nor should the Irish be over-feared, the shieldwall of Rheged march into town to start the clean up.

I'm delighted that I was able to show how the Irish could be defeated, its just a shame I was commanding them at the time.

To finish up the evening we had a 'quick' game of Galleys & Galleons using ancient fleets for a Rome vs Carthage splash about death match. I assisted my wife to lead the poo brown Romans to victory against their almost-as-unpainted grey Carthaginians. Using double sized fleets (400 points), the game works rather well for ancients if I do say so myself.

Monday 24 August 2015

Galleys & Galleons Review

I had a lovely note left for me on this blog over the weekend from Peter Hunt of the Hong Kong Society of Wargamers stating "I'm well impressed with your Galleys and Galleons Rules. They are the answer to something that I have been looking for a long time."

How nice! Certainly a sentiment that I appreciate. Even better, Peter went on to note that he has written up a review on the Society website. Here is just a taster:

"The rules run to 78 pages and are well written, in a “tongue in cheek” manner that is clearly aiming at a fun game rather than a deep historical simulation, of which the presence of Kraken to drag you down into the deep, Leviathans to pursue o’er the Seven Seas, Rocs to descend on you from the skies, and an Edge of the World to fall off, leaves you in no doubt. Don’t be put off if that is not your cup of tea though; there is a good set of rules here that will serve well for historical games. Almost all the aspects of the Ganesha Games’ system are here, including using short, medium and long measurement sticks to govern movement and shooting ranges, and using multiple actions to make your shooting and fighting more effective, (for example a “full broadside” in Galleys and Galleons is the equivalent of an “aimed shot” in Drums and Shakos.) Movement is a bit different because it is tied to the wind as you would expect in an age of sail naval game and this is nicely handled by cross referencing the vessel’s rig to wind aspect which will give you a speed in terms of the short, medium or long measurement that the ship will move regardless of whether it is ordered to do so or if there is a turnover."

Moreover, Peter - seemingly an inveterate tinkerer of rules and a fan of Wargames Research Group's DBX systems - produced a great little document reconciling G&G with the DBX system and producing an alternative, simplified weather gauge. Check it out HERE.

One of the nicest additions to Peter's document is the profiling of a dozen or more historical admirals inline with the Flagship rule in the game. Another taster:

"Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp (1630-1653) Born with salt in his veins and enslaved twice by pirates before he was 24, Tromp finally took down Spanish naval power and held the growing naval might of Britain in check for a generation. He introduced the line of battle and was a consummate seaman who knew the Channel like the back of his hand. Tromp, like Nelson, fell to a sharpshooter. His flag captain concealed his death from the fleet to prevent a morale collapse. Dashing and also counts as a pilot. If he suffers a “Captain Hit” result throw a dice: on a 4,5 or 6 the flag captain conceals the death, continue the battle with the Flagship now counting as a Middling Seaman; on a 1,2, or 3 the bad news leaks out, all ships take a -1 on their shooting and offensive boarding action rolls."

And the summary of his thoughts on the rules?

"It turned out to be money well spent… and a substantial financial outlay. Money well spent because the rules are very good, and a substantial financial outlay, because with my enthusiasm for the period rekindled, orders immediately went off to Navwar and Langton for a lot more new ships, Brigade Models for buildings and fortifications, and Minibits for dice holders. In the meantime a week’s work finally got a Dutch fleet to sea."

Monday 10 August 2015

The 2nd Cú Chulainn Cup - Ireland's Own SBH Competition

This weekend the 2nd annual Irish Song of Blades and Heroes competition day - The Cú Chulainn Cup - was held in Whitehead, Co. Antrim. Like last year, the host venue was Wee Gamers, a great bunch of guys and girls who meet regularly (several times a week) to play a huge array of tabletop war games, board games and RPGs.

This year we had 10 competitors with a really interesting mix of warbands. There were a few limitations placed on warband creation but, as you'll see yourself, that didn't stop our lads from having all manner of models on the table. I'm also really proud to say that no-one went for a real power-gaming, min-max approach to the warbands. They all had a theme and stuck to them.
  • Players must use the same painted 25-28mm scale warbands in each round.
  • Warbands may be no larger than 300 points and must be legal – i.e. no more than 33.3% of the points value of the warband may be spent on models with special rules which define them as ‘personalities’. 
  • Profiles for warband members may be taken the rosters within the Song of Blades and Heroes core rule book or any or its official supplements, or may be customised using the online warband builder software found on the Ganesha Games website.
  • Special rules from any of the following Ganesha Games rules are permitted: Song of Blades and Heroes, Song of Wind and Water, Song of Gold and Darkness, Song of Deeds and Glory, Song of Arthur and Merlin, Song of Splintered Lands
  • Note that only the following forms of the Lethal special rule will be permitted: Lethal against Animals, Lethal against Artificial, Lethal against Magic Users (all varieties), Lethal against Undead or Lethal against a specified race (other than humans). Characters with the Assassin special rule may only be used if their combat factor is 3 or less.


War Leader (78 pts) Q3 C4
Berserk, Tough

4x Berserkers (48 pts) Q4 C5
Berserk Fearless

Scout (30 pts) Q3 C2
Forester, Shooter: Short


Sir Hugh Grippipe Finn, Lord High Captain General of His Most Imperial Majesty’s Grand Army of Lillyput (78 pts) Q3 C1
Heavy Armor, Leader, Long Move, Mounted

2x Lillyputian Mounted Knights (41pts) Q4 C1
Heavy Armor, Long Move, Mounted, Swarm

3x Lillyputian Foot Knights (17pts) Q4 C1
Heavy Armor, Swarm

5x Lillyputian Long Bowmen (11 pts) Q4 C1 
Rabble, Shooter: Medium, Swarm 

6x Lillyputian Billmen (5 pts) Q4 C1 
Rabble, Swarm 


Yephima, Cloud Giant (70 pts) Q3 C3
Huge, Leader

Snow White (34 pts) Q3 C1

Isabeau Laroche, Paladin (34 pts) Q3 C3

Trista, the White Wolf (30 pts) Q3 C3

Freja Fangbreaker (46 pts) Q3 C4
Fearless, Short Move, Steadfast

Hellakin Goregutter, Halfling Rogue (26 pts) Q3 C2
Free Disengage, Short Move, Stealth

Eliza, Succubus (56 pts) Q3 C3
Flying, Savage



Hradi Solmundrson (95 pts) Q2 C4
Heavy Armour, Leader

3x Viking Huscarls (27pts) Q4 C3

Heavy Armour

7x Viking Warriors (15 pts) Q5 C3

Wolf (17 pts) Q5 C4


Cu Chullain (64 pts) Q3 C3
Combat Master, Dashing, Shooter: Medium

Laeg (32 pts) Q4 C4
Shooter: Medium, Short Move

Ferdiad, Battle Brother (38 pts) Q3 C3

Fergal (33 pts) Q2 C1

3x Wolf Hound (23 pts) Q4 C3
Animal, Forester

Faoladh, Werewolf (62 pts) Q3 C3
Big, Forester, Long Move


Dracona Spire, Wizard (84 pts) Q3 C2
Entangle, Magic-User, Shooter: Short

Sir Fantor Black, the Black Sheep (50 pts) Q3 C3
Heavy Armor, Lethal vs Magic Users, Shooter: Medium

Johan Oxstead, Barbarian (40 pts) Q3 C3
Berserk, Fearless, Greedy

Aneo Satin Didiss Ramerez, Squire (34 pts) Q3 C2
Good Shot, Shooter: Medium

Leonis, Catman Archer (52 pts) Q3 C2
Dashing, Good Shot, Poison, Shooter: Long

Bageress, Catman Scout (38 pts) Q3 C2
Dashing, Forester, Poison


Centurion (72 pts) Q3 C3
Group Fighter, Fearless, Leader

6x Legionaries (38 pts) Q4 C4
Heavy Armour, Shooter: Short


RAT PACK – Chris
Assassin (96 pts) Q3 C2
Assassin, Free Disengage, Leader, Shooter: Short, Stealth

4x Warriors (32 pts) Q4 C3

4x Scouts (24 pts) Q4 C2
Gregarious, Stealth


La Morty Fille (60 pts) Q4 C2
Leader, Necromancer

Dead Guy Claude (13 pts) Q5 C2

Dead Guy Clete (13 pts) Q5 C2

Dead Guy Vic (13 pts) Q5 C2

Dead Guy Jones (13 pts) Q5 C2

Ex Baron Silverfish (33 pts) Q4 C3
Good Shot, Shooter: Medium

Slippery Derk (38 pts) Q4 C3
Free Disengage, Good Shot, Shooter: Medium

Old Man Long Barrel (42 pts) Q4 C3
Good Shot, Shooter: Long, Unerring Aim

Annoying Monkey (15 pts) Q5 C1
Acrobat, Animal, Long Move

Scary Norman (45 pts) Q4 C4
Free Disengage, Opportunistic, Savage

Big Alfonse (13 pts) Q5 C3


Mystico the Mouse, Sage of Wyldewood (95 pts) Q2 C2
Abbot, Magic-user, Slow

Håkon the Hedgehog (60 pts) Q4 C3
Heavy Armour
Pyrrho to Polecat (38 pts) Q3 C2
Acrobat, Dashing, Free Disengage

Jack Rarebit (40 pts) Q3 C2
Long Move

Bors the Beaver (32 Pts) Q4 C3
Amphibious, Tailslap

Mortimer Mole (22 pts) Q3 C2
Burrowing, Short Move

Knut the Squirrel (46 pts) Q3 C2
Clinging, Good Shot, Shooter: Long


The day consisted of five rounds against randomly* generated opponents, fought on a randomly* selected table (out of seven in total) with pre-set terrain and scenario. When I say 'random', I actually mean that I carefully created a table to ensure that no two players met twice, and no player fought a second game on the same table. The randomness came in that the slots in the table were ascribed to a player based on the order in which they turned up to the hall.

The first round went for one hour plus the rest of the current turn, while the other rounds were limited to 45 minutes (plus the current turn). We had a longer first round to facilitate the 'settling  in' period as most of the group only play SBH sporadically, and a couple were first timers.

TABLE 1 The Titanbane Quest 

Three counters are placed on the table marking possible locations of a magical weapon known as Titanbane. When a model comes into contact with a counter they may spend 1 action to search the area. Flip the counter over and compare the number with the possible ‘finds’ below.

I. The model has found Titanbane, a magical weapon of great craftsmanship. A model must spend 2 actions to pick up Titanbane. Any model holding Titanbane may give it to an adjacent model by spending 1 action. If a model carrying Titanbane is killed, another figure may pick it up from the dead model’s body by spending 2 actions.

The wielder of Titanbane is granted the Combat Master, Giant Slayer, Group Fighter and Fearless special rules.

II. Face your Fear! A manifestation of Fear (Q3, C3, Artificial, Frain, Dogged) appears in the location of the marker, i.e. engaged in combat with the model. It will be activated by the opposing player at the start of their next and subsequent turns – always roll three activation dice; it won’t cause a turnover even if you fail them all. Fear may only attack or be attacked by the model who discovered it. If the model who discovered Fear is killed, Fear will disappear. Fear and any death it causes are ignored for the purposes of calculating victory points.

III. Nothing but footprints in the dust, fingerprints in time… Lost in thought, the model may make no further actions this turn.

Victory conditions: 1 victory point per 25 points of defeated opponents (killed or routed off the table), plus 5 victory points for holding Titanbane at the end of the game.

TABLE 2 A Place of Power

The rival warbands have found a stone circle ripe with mystical energies and will now fight to possess it.

Magic-using models (including all magic users, magic using subtypes and clerics) standing within the perimeter of stones gain +1 on all their Quality rolls, including Morale rolls, and cannot run out of magic power until the end of the game so long as they continue to stand within the stone circle.

Victory conditions: 1 victory point per 25 points of defeated opponents, plus 3 victory points for every magic-using model standing on the Place of Power terrain at the end of the game.

TABLE 3 Beeranburger Brawlers 

The rival warbands engage in an all-out battle for control of the backstreets of suburban Beeranburger. Here they will each attempt to eliminate their rival’s leader in their quest for ascendancy.

Victory conditions: 1 victory point per 25 points of defeated opponents, plus 5 victory points for killing (or routing) the personality in the opposing warband with the highest points value.

TABLE 4 Darkaznite Caverns

Searching for lost treasure, the rival warbands have stumbled into each other in the Darkaznite Caverns. Here they engage in an all-out battle to the death (or for 45 minutes, whichever happens first). 

The Darkaznite Caverns are really rather poorly lit. All personality models will start the game carrying torches. While they carry a torch they may act and move normally. However, all enemy shooting that targets a model holding a torch receives a +1C modifier. A character may not pass their torch to another model, but they may drop a torch at the start of any turn for free – it then splutters out.

Leader personalities who drop their torch have the range of their Leadership Q bonus reduced to 1x Medium distance.

Any model that is not carrying a torch receives the Slow special rule as they move cautiously, trying to find their feet in the dark.

All shooting – except at a model carrying a torch, is limited to 1x Medium range. 

We allowed the players to choose between a cavern table or a dungeon table.

Victory conditions: 1 victory point per 20 points of defeated opponents.

TABLE 5 Ballybogside

The rival warbands encounter each other in the ‘lakeside holiday retreat’ of Ballybogside. Here they engage in an all-out battle to the death (or for 45 minutes, whichever happens first).

Any model who falls while adjacent to the edge of a walkway or platform will fall into the swamp, as will any model forced to recoil off a walkway or platform.

While in the swamp, models become Slow and have a Short Move unless they are amphibious or swamp walkers, in which case they may move normally.

It costs two actions to climb out of the swamp back onto a walkway/platform except where there is a ramp.

Victory conditions: 1 victory point per 20 points of defeated opponents.

TABLE 6 Watcher in the Woods

While out hunting for truffles, the rival warbands have stumbles upon a clearing in the woods with a nice wee pond.

The first time any model falls (not a kill), whether in melee or because of shooting, both warbands watch in horror as the Watcher launches itself from the water, grabs the fallen model and drags it back helpless to its murky lair.

The model is lost (the opposing player will get no victory points for its demise kill) and all remaining characters must take an immediate morale test.

Victory conditions: 1 victory point per 20 points of defeated opponents.

TABLE 7 Looting the Ruins

Hoping to find something worth lifting, the warbands have stumbled upon the ruins of an old mining village. Have a look around and see what you can find.

Three markers, worth 1, 2 and 3 victory points each are located on the table. The problem is, the warbands don’t know which is worth what.

Any model may pick up a piece of loot by standing next to it and spending an action. Take the loot marker off the table but do not turn it over. Any model who picks up a piece of loot and then flips the marker over to reveal its value will lose the marker and see their model suffer a gruesome death.

The model may then remain on the table to carry on fighting, or leave the table via their own table edge.

Victory conditions: 1 victory point per 25 points of defeated opponents, plus the marked value (1, 2 or 3) for each piece of loot held by a member of the warband or carried off the table. -1 victory point for each member of the warband who voluntarily left the table.


We had three prize winners - each got credit with Ganesha Games. Gary, one of the day's rookies, was the day's grand champion having won every game he played. Andy C was awarded, by popular acclaim, the "most enjoyable opponent" award, while Andy T won the peoples' choice award for "best themed warband".

Sunday 2 August 2015

Italian Galleys & Galleons AAR at Valle dei gufi

There is a great little Galleys & Galleons battle report over on  the Valle dei gufi blog. They played the treasure islands scenario between Swedish and French fleets and quicky discovered the hazzards of sailing large vessels into shallow waters! I freely admit that I needed to use Google's inbuilt translator to find out what was going on, but it makes a great read. I encourage you to check it out HERE.