Tag Archives: fantasy

And Then the Golem Threw Another Stone…

Always interested in a new gaming system and being pen and paper roleplayers, Brian and I have been playing a little bit of Songs of Blades and Heroes recently. Like many of our gaming experiences, this one has been long delayed in coming but it was well worth the wait.

Our first game was a wonderful and thoroughly-illegally built three-way match involving two groups of Orcs and my Reaper Mouselings, his Dwarves and my Mouselings have had it out. The game is interesting and fun and very fast (we played three games on an hour and a half ferry ride) but has a few weak points.

Our current warbands are both tricked out minimum figures, maximum damage warbands. Neither has more than 7 figures, each worth at least two dozen points apiece. Hordes of zombies these are not. My mouselings have half their 300 point standard warband allotment between my mounted-on-an-owl, magic-using leprechaun leader, Shamus O’Reilly, and his familiar, Mossy, a captive stone golem with shooter(medium) and combat 5. Brian’s dwarves are just as nasty, with the two flanking dogs and a leader with Quality 2 and Combat 5.

A note about the game: In order to get units moving and fighting, you need to score successes by rolling at or above the quality on a d6. Combat is a simple oppposed d6 + Combat Value + modifiers. Lower Quality scores are better, higher Combat scores are better.

The game itself plays well, with some bad break points. Specifically, magic-users are useless as ranged combat figures, but deadly when they transfix. Combined with Mossy’s powerful combat and throwing ability, this gave my team a one-two killing “punch” that was hard to beat. Add in the dwarves (and mouselings) short-move and you can see where it will go wrong quickly. Where the dwarves beat me was when they were able to get their dogs around into my magic user (only combat 2) and made him move did things go badly.

And then there was the rout. Or maybe I should say “The Rout.” Brian apparently cannot roll combat rolls. I cannot roll quality checks to get people moving. These two phenomenmom manifested in one game where I never made it more than one or two short moves away from the table edge (basically less than 4″). When Brian got my leader to book it off the table, this triggered a morale roll every other warband member. Which I failed. And so my entire warband ran off the table. In a single turn.

In sum, We do enjoy playing the game, but I am not certain if its simplicities truly make me happy. We need to try some different warbands, including zombies, skeletons and cheap soldiers and see how that works.

And where are the pictures? I haven’t taken any and Brian didn’t either, so no pictures for all of you. Besides, we were playing with basically no scenery on a cafeteria table for most of our games, so they wouldn’t have been great photos anyway…

Terrain: 15mm Cardboard Fantasy Buildings

I put the first of these buildings – the Short Tower – up on the site sometime around 2000, and for ten years they’ve been consistently popular. I think I’ve gotten more feedback on these (and some of the other cardboard/paper stuff I have available) than on anything the website’s ever hosted.
Continue reading Terrain: 15mm Cardboard Fantasy Buildings

Photos from a Fantasy Rules! Battle

More old photos resurrected – this time a few from a Fantasy Rules! 2nd Edition game we played years ago. Human medieval knights & footmen vs orcs and goblins with necromancer help. I’m pretty sure this was the first outing of Tony’s undead; years later he’s finally got enough to field an all-undead army without help from my figure collection.
Continue reading Photos from a Fantasy Rules! Battle

Fantasy Gallery #1

15mm fantasy figures, based for Hordes of The Things (HOTT) or Fantasy Rules! (FR!). Many of the figures are long-out-of-production Ral Partha 15mm (from when they held the AD&D license, before WotC bought AD&D from TSR and started producing plastic crap); the rest are a mix of Reaper & Ral Partha 25mm monsters and Chariot 15mm (now produced by Magister Militum/Navigator.
Continue reading Fantasy Gallery #1

Tony’s Undead FR! battle report

This is a battle report from the old Warbard – Corey

Tony wrote this battle report after our most recent FR! game, the first in which his Undead appeared.

“When an invading force crosses a river in its onward march, do not advance to meet it in midstream. It is best to let half the army get across and then deliver your attack” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

On Wednesday night, Brian, Mike, Darren and myself played out a 750 point FR! battle. Mike and I allied against Brian and Darren.

It was cool to finally get a game with some undead on the table. I had some lucky rolls, but overall I was pleased with how they played. They are pretty tough to kill (being undead and all), and demoralization is a waste of time. I did manage to summon one unit back, although it was rather difficult. I always find that few spells go through in FR! Part of it is that the army pool is always so much bigger than the second level magic users pool, so it is easier to dispell than cast.

It is tough to say where the battle was won or lost. I think that the western side where Mike was was decided by his massed archers. That gave him the ability to sit on the south shore of the river and fire arrows at the dwarves. That destroyed one unit, and broke up the line enough that his troops could get across the river. Also, Brian had a series of abysmal rally rolls…

On the eastern side, the early loss of the battlewagon was disheartening for the dwarves. They never really recovered from that. The skeletons were able to prevent the human villagers from attacking the flank, and managed to roll really well in combat. By the time the wolves were in striking distance, that part of the battle was already over, with only one dwarven unit left standing.

Tony

Three-player FR! – Capture the Flag!

This is a battle report from the old Warbard – Corey

This is a battle report from this summer – I wrote it up for the Chipco List, but just found it again and realized I’d never HTML’d it. Here it is, then. Enjoy!

Had an interesting 3-way FR! fight last night – three 750pt low magic armies, racing to grab an ‘alien artefact’ that was in the center of the table in a stone circle.

The ‘Capture the Flag’ format works really well for more-than-two-player matchups. It was close and tense right until the end!

The armies this time were Dwarven, Medieval human, and Orc/goblin. First turn, the humans Flew a HW w/ Hero into the stone circle, grabbing the artefact. The rest of the forces raced toward the center, with Orc forces moving to block the human’s retreat.

The Orc wolves and wolfriders hit the flanks of teh human force, while the orc infantry and the dwarves faced off up on the central hill and the human HW w/ the artefact ran as hard as they could – the humans couldn’t manage another Flight spell.

The dwarven infantry blew away the orcs & goblins, swiftly reducing them to utter rout, but the humans deployed a few units in a screen to stop the dwarves, sacrificing them to get the HW w/ artefact marched off the table. Damned close – the humans left the table at One on the Morale Clock…

The Dwarves were left in possession of the field, but the humans had the powerful mystic artefact!

If you want to do multi-sided FR!, I really recommend trying the Capture the Thing idea – makes for a really good game.

The advantage of a “Capture the Flag” game is that it doesn’t make any sense to hang back – you either want to grab the ‘flag’ first, or go beat on the guy who grabbed the flag and grab it from him.

The other thing to do (ahem…) is have a beer with your game… puts you in that “charge…charge…charge!!” medieval frame of mind! If you’re running an actual Medieval army – knights and all – have two beers. (but not if you’re driving home right afterward, of course…)

Gladius & Axe: Roman Early Imperial Legions Vs. Dwarven Axedwarves

This is a battle report from the old Warbard – Corey

Neil and I had a very interesting FR! battle on Sunday – 1000pts of Dwarves vs. 1000pts of Romans. These are the two ultimate Handweapon armies – fairly small battlelines of really, really good troops. My Dwarves had a Light-Artillery equipped Battlewagon, a flying Small Monster, 1 Elite HW, 8 regular HW and 3 crossbow units. The crossbows had stakes, and the regular HW all had Bombs. Two Traps filled out the list.

Neil’s Romans were an entirely ‘straight’ historical early Imperial army – a line of Elite HW Legions with throwing weapons, backed by bow-armed Skirmishers, with some throwing-weapon equipped Mobs and Light & Heavy Cav as support, and one light artillery piece.

What was really unique was that the Romans had no magic user at all, while the Dwarves had a Level 2 War Cleric. As it turned out, this mattered less than you might think. The Romans stubbornly refused to believe that magic was really happening, it seems – using just their Army Pool, and some luck, they stopped the bulk of my spells in their tracks!

The battlefield was quite crowded – a very large hill and a pair of smaller hills dominated the center of the field, with a river and small forested area off on one flank.

Roman setup had the Legions, skirmishers and light arty. together in line, at the back of the large hill. The mobs deployed along the bottom of the large hill, and the cavalry deployed farther out along the flanks, the bulk of it on the right flank.

Dwarven setup was my standard Dwarven setup – a line of 6 HW, with refused flanks of crossbows & HW and a pair of HW behind the main line as reserves. The battlewagon was on the right flank with two of the CB units, facing down the Roman cavalry. I`ve found that this double-refused flank with reserves setup works very well with Dwarves, and helps protect this slow-moving army`s flanks very well.

Both armies advanced slowly toward each other, the Dwarven light arty getting a couple of shots in, but the Roman artillery being masked by the bulk of the hill they were behind.

The Dwarven wargod`s Avatar, summoned by the War Cleric, howled forward and engaged the Legion`s righthand units, being banished shortly but throwing that flank into terrible disorder. Down on the flat, the Dwarven CB deployed their stakes and faced down the Roman cavalry, with both Traps holding units stationary for turn after turn, securing the flank. The battlewagon had charged forward to attack the cavalry, being eventually surrounded and destroyed but fighting grimly for many turns and leaving the cavalry in disarray.

The first clash of the infantry battlelines was thunderous – Dwarven Bombs versus Roman pilum and shortbow, with the bombs destroying the center of the Legion`s line, including the light artillery piece. Although the Dwarves were fighting uphill the whole time, they generally prevailed, gradually grinding the Legion down, although not without cost.

One notable (although temporary) setback for the Dwarves came when a valiant Roman mob beat a Dwarven HW unit twice, throwing it back off the hill in disorder, although not destroying it.

On the left flank, the Dwarven flying small monster (a small Silver Drake) had flown forward and destroyed the only Roman Light Cavalry unit on that flank, while HW & CB units slowly flattened the Roman mobs.

The Dwarven general challenged a Roman Hero to a duel, but the craven Roman, muttering something about `…being an officer, not a duelist, dammit…` went and hid in the rear ranks. The Roman general had more guts – and, as it turned out, more skill, slaying the Dwarf general in epic single combat. The Dwarven axers where not much dismayed, however, and continued to battle it out with the Legions, although both armies where now very much in disorder. (Both armies had been chasing each other down the moral clock, with the Dwarves hitting 4 first, then stopping at 3 while the Romans continued to fall…)

The turning point came when the Dwarven Silver Drake shook off it`s fatigue and soared over the Roman lines, terrifying and then destroying first a unit of skirmishers and then a Legion HW unit, while at the same time the Dwarf War Cleric convinced the wargod to return, slaying one of the trapped Roman Heavy Cav units. Dwarven axers continued to fight grimly, and some sembelence of order was imposed on sections of the Dwarven line.

All of this was too much for even valiant Legionnaires to take, and the Romans fell back, ceding the field to the Dwarven forces!

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Thoughts on ‘Magicless’ FR! Games: I’m not going to claim that magic had no effects at all on this fight – the Dwarven wargod’s Avatar was instrumental twice, although he didn’t stick around a long time. Part of this has to do with the peculiar nature of the War Cleric’s spells – the bulk of them are far more subtle and tactical, so that while they can change the outcome of the game, they’re not going to do it single-handedly. Even if you had a more distructive spellcaster – the Fire Shaman comes to mind – the deciding factor of the battle is always the actual clash of units, and usually the clash of battlelines.

It also shows off, I think, the integrity of the FR! ruleset – the tactical, combat part of the rules are sound enough, and the magic is not generally overpowering, so that a pure tactical combat army – which is what Neil’s Romans were – can still give a magic-enhanced army a stiff fight. This game, as I said in the report, was neck-to-neck almost right to the end. A really great game!

Grashnek da Uruk on Unbolg’s big raid into ‘uman territ’ry

This is an old battle report from the original Warbard – Corey

We had a Medieval Human vs Orc FR! fight Tuesday (April 27, 1999), and I’ve finally written a battle report. This one’ s from the Orc point of view (after all, victors write history, right?) and I had a lot of fun writing it!

The fight was a 750pt Orc army vs a 750pt Medieval army.

Grashnek da Uruk on Unbolg’ s big raid into ‘ uman territ’ ry

So, da big boss Unbolg, he decide dat de Dwarfs, dey’ re entire too tough. Lousy eatin’ and dem buggers is bloody good fighters, too. Dey maul de Tribe when we last went into Dwarf territ’ ry, so Unbolg look for easy pickins.

He say he found good target for da raids in territory of ‘ uman lady, da Duchess of Sout’ fold. Humans is better eatin’ an’ da horse is better eatin’ still, sez Unbolg. Da snagas go “Whoo-hoo!” – it don’ t take much to get dem snaga excited. Me, I tink damn kniggets on big damn ‘ orse is pretty mean, but Unbolg got ‘ dat look’ , mean and set in ‘ is ways. It’ s why ‘ e’ s still da Boss.

So we wanders into ‘ uman territ’ ry, a big mob of da snaga, a bunch of us uruk, lots o’ dem mad frotin’ -at-da-mout’ wargs, some wit’ snaga ridin’ dem, and a couple a dem big, big trolls. Boy, do dose troll buggers stink! Unbolg was da Boss, o’ course, and I’ m like da other kinda boss, cause I’ m meaner dan most, and I gets to carry da big big Banner, wit’ flames all over it. We had dat mad bugger Graz and ‘ is drum, and dat ‘ orrible little snaga fire shaman, cause for a snaga ‘ e’ s mean, and ‘ e’ s got a way wit da fire. A bunch of dem archer-uruk came, too.

We come up over a bunch a hills, an dere’ s dis little village of da ‘ umans, wit lots a dere peasant types running’ away when dey sees da big Banner overhead! We kinda start chargin’ toward da village, wit’ da wargs and da snaga-riders on da sides and dose stoopid archers ahead. Calls demselves Uruk, dey do! Da cheek of it!

Den dere’ s big, big walls of flame and all ‘ orribleness in front of us! Da snaga charge at it, but dere afraid, no surprise dere. Dere was a damned ‘ uman mage or sommat in da area! So we kinda move to da left, up onto da hill, wit’ da snaga in front and us uruk behind, and da archer types even farther ahead.

Da archer-types, dey say ders great big bloody ‘ orses on da plain, all covered in cloth and wit’ guys in armour on da backs of ‘ em! Da bloody ‘ uman knights ‘ ad showed up, and dey were gonna fight! Dere was ‘ uman footmen wit’ da big swords down dere as well, but da mad warg poured all over dem and dey wasn’ t doing so good.

Graz da Mad an’ ‘ is drum lead a couple mobs o’ snaga into da town, and da snaga on wargs are goin’ round da far side, and da little shaman, ‘ e sez for sure ders a damn ‘ uman mage in da area, cause ‘ e can feel da spells. Dere’ s more flames and ‘ orribleness in front of us, but da Boss Unbolg he sez to charge da flames, dat dere fake like! So we do, an’ ya know, dey were fake?! Damn ‘ uman mage, ‘ e could only do illusions like!

Da archers were shootin’ at da knights on da plain, and dey actually brought a bunch o’ dem down, filled full o’ arrows! Damn good, I’ ll say, even if dey ain’ t uruk! Da shaman, ‘ e was keepin’ da ‘ umans confused wit’ big damn walls o’ flame and by makin’ ‘ em all real hot, so dey couldn’ t move like. Dat shaman was pretty hot, ya know?

Da snaga ridin’ warg were away on da side, but we could see dem messing wit’ some knights, running around dem an’ shootin’ , and dem knights couldn’ t catch dose fast wolves, so dat was looking pretty good.

Da ‘ umans were gettin’ a bit discouraged, I tink, and mebbe slowin’ down a bit, but dey was still tough basterds, and da batch dat came ‘ round da forest ahead of us, dey were even tougher looking, and dat Duchess, she was wit’ dose knights, so dey’ d fight real good! Da shaman cast lots o’ walls a flame, and cut da mean-looking knights off, but da other knights ran over da last o’ dose mad wargs, and nearly all da archer-types was run down as well, but da ‘ uman’ s were loosing, and dey knew it too.

Da end came wit’ out me even ‘ aving to fight, and I calls dat pretty good! Dose wolf-snagas swarmed all ov’ r some knights dat were fightin’ wit some snaga mobs, and da surrounded knights went down, and da rest kinda ran away, but dey left lots an’ lots o’ ‘ orses an’ ‘ umans on da field, so we had a good feed and got to plunder dat village, and it was pretty damn good, ya know? Dat village burned real nice, too.

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Postscript: I’m in the middle of reading “The Art of War in the Middle Ages” by Charles Oman (my light recreational reading of the moment) and ran across this passage:

“…each commander took his own route and made what speed he could, the French army arrived upon the field in dozens of small scattered bodies. These were attacked in detail, and in many cases routed by the Mamelukes. No general battle was fought, but a number of detached and incoherent cavalry combats had all the results of a great defeat. A skirmish…would overthrow the chivalry of the West, even when in went forth in great strength and was inspired…” (pg 59)

Now, substitute “Duchess of Westfold” for ‘French’ and ‘West’, and “Orcs” for ‘Mamelukes’, and we have a perfect snyopsis of Tuesday’s FR! fight between Tony’s medieval humans and my orcs and goblins!

“Art of War in the Middle Ages” is a great book – I highly recommend reading it.