IntroductionA little while ago, I wrote that I had started on a new gaming project: to paint 2 suitable warbands for a Halloween game of Song of Blades and Heroes (here). Well, last night I took the results of this obsession along to the Helensburgh Games Club and set it in front of 5 of the members.Here's how it went (and yes, I know that it wasn't actually played on Halloween, but Tuesday was the closest club night to the 31st and therefore it had to be played then)...
The ScenarioNormally, I would have created some interesting story and goals for a game. However, since this was to be the first time I'd ever played SoBH, I thought that I'd better keep it simple. We ended up with a straightforward pitched battle, with each warband entering the table from opposite edges and the winner being determined solely by who could drive off their enemies.
The 3 Witches had the following figures:
- 3 witches (Black Agnes, Agatha, Meg): Q3+, C2, Magic User, Flying, Leader
- 1 Ghost: Q4+, C2, Terror, Undead, Flying, Free Disengage
- 3 Hellhounds: Q4+, C3, Animal, Savage [note that I've decided since the game that I might upgrade these to C4]
- 5 Ghouls: Q4+, C2, Poison, Savage
- 6 Giant Rats: Q4+, C1, Animal, Gregarious, Stealth
The Witch Hunters force was composed of:
- John Sterne, Witch Hunter: Q3+, C3, Fearless, Hero, Lethal vs witches, Shooter(S)
- Brother Matthew, the mad monk: Q3+, C2, Fearless, Cleric
- Sir Jasper, the magistrate: Q3+, C3, Leader, Dashing
- Colonel Brandon: Q3+, C2, Mounted, Long Move, Leader, Shooter(S)
- Major Fairfax: Q3+, C3, Leader, Shooter(S)
- Sergeant Stone: Q4+, C2, Heavy Armour
- 6 Musketeers: Q4+, C2, Shooter(L)
- 4 Soldiers (swords, spears or halberds): Q4+, C2
|Note Sergeant Stone in the centre background, skulking in ambush|
Meanwhile, Sergeant Stone and the soldier double-teamed the nearest ghoul and slew it.
He was correct, but Meg and Agatha were hanging back a bit. Instead, their pack of enormous hell-hounds were in the vanguard.
What of the Colonel?
At this point, we had to pack up since our 2 hour slot in the room was over. Neither side had driven the other off, so there was much discussion about who had won. Opinions varied...
ConclusionWell, that was fun! I've not played Song of Blades and Heroes before, so here are my first reactions:
- I made some mistakes when preparing my quick-reference cards for the various characters. This was annoying, but I managed to work around it on the night. I'll have to redo several cards, though. Bother!
- It's not obvious from just reading the rules, but a step in Quality is worth a lot. The Q3+ characters were much more active than the Q4+ troopers or minions.
- The witches easily over-ran the soldiers in the village by using a single leader (Black Agnes) to give sensible group moves. However, in the forest they seemed to be overawed by the reputation of John Sterne, the witch hunter. I think they could have swarmed him and his sidekick with hell-hounds and the ghost, with 2 witches providing fire support. Instead, they hung back and were reluctant to engage until it was too late and Colonel Brandon arrived.
- The humans were all over the place. Their soldiers and musketeers were scattered in small groups and most of these never even saw an enemy (remember Major Fairfax from the order of battle. He didn't do anything useful). However, a handful of active people saved the day for them, with Colonel Brandon dispatching the ghost and Sir Jasper slaying a witch.
- On points, it looks as if the humans won. Although the witches slew more foes, their kills were typically ordinary troopers, whereas the witch hunters felled fewer, but higher value, enemies. I'm not sure which way it would have gone had we continued, though!
- This was a much bigger game than the recommended 300 points. Additionally, it had a far greater proportion of Personalities than is technically permitted. I don't think that either of these modifications hurt the game at all; I'd be very happy to play at this level again!