Sunday 12 April 2015

Battle Report: Robin Hood's Escape


Today, my friend Steve visited and we spent the entire day gaming.  This doesn't happen very often, usually because of health issues or family needs in one or both of our households, but sometimes we do find a suitable conjunction in our calendars.

Anyway, we played a total of 3 miniatures games: 1 of Song of Blades and Heroes and 2 of 7th Voyage.  All of these will be described in due course.  I finished off the afternoon by introducing Steve to The Awful Green Things from Outer Space, in which I played the Green Things and lost very badly.  Still, I did destroy the crew's robot.

So, back to the first game...

Robin Hood's Escape

After the disaster at the tournament, the captive outlaw Robin Hood was thrown into the dungeons of a small castle to await the king's justice.  Maid Marion has learned of this and has vowed to assist him in escaping.  She has tricked her way past Sir Godfrey, the castellan, and his guards and has managed to open Robin's cell and pass him a sword.  Can the pair now escape to the safety of the outlaws' forest?

The Scenario

Robin and Marion must escape to the edge of the table behind the forest.  To do this, they will need to overcome or evade the guards at the castle and flee before a large relief force of the king's men arrives.  Some help is available though: there are some further outlaws in the forest.

Victory conditions are simple: if both Robin and Marion escape then the outlaws win a major victory; if Robin escapes alone then the outlaws have a minor victory; if Marion escapes but Robin doesn't then the sheriff has a minor victory, while if neither Robin nor Marion escape then the sheriff wins a total victory.

The outlaws take the first turn.


In the Castle

  • Outlaws: Robin Hood and Maid Marion.  Robin is armed, but doesn't have his bow as that sort of thing isn't stored anywhere near the dungeon.  He can collect a bow as he leaves the castle, though.  Marion has the 'distract' ability (in Song of Blades terms, this is just entangle) to represent the confusion caused by an apparently-loyal subject suddenly exhibiting such rebellious behaviour.
  • Sheriff: Sir Godfrey, 2 men-at-arms, 1 crossbowman.


  • Outlaws: Little John and 4 merry men.
  • Sheriff: Sheriff of Nottingham, Guy of Gisborne, Sir Walter, 2 crossbowmen, 9 men-at-arms.
The sheriff has a lot more men than the outlaws, but most of them are rabble and are therefore not very good.  His knights are better than the average merry man, though.

The Game

Straight away, Marion told the castellan that she was absolutely not helping Robin Hood to escape, but instead just making a simple visit to enquire after the prisoner's welfare.  In the background, Robin slew one of the guards.

The outlaw chieftain continued his rampage; he charged at the confused knight and ran him through.  However Hodge, the remaining man-at-arms, was a bit quicker on the uptake than his boss had been.  "You bitch!" he shouted at Marion.  "You'll pay for this!".  He stepped forward and smashed Marion to the ground.

Bruised but still defiant, Marion clung to the enraged guard and impeded him enough for Robin to turn and slay him too (gruesome kill).  This was too much for the remaining crossbowman, who half ran and half tumbled down the steps to get away from the victorious outlaw.

The sheriff's column were still marching steadily along the road (I just couldn't get them to move any faster!), though the knights and crossbowmen were running on ahead.  They could see outlaws on the edge of the forest now, even though they were't yet aware of the breakout attempt at the castle.

Thinking that they were safe now, Robin and Marion ran down the steps of the castle.  They hadn't realised that the last remaining guard had stopped nearby.  He fired his crossbow and although the bolt missed, the distraction caused Robin to fall down several steps (ouch!).

Recovering quickly, the master archer loosed an arrow of his own at the troublesome crossbowman and slew him (another gruesome kill, but there were none of the Sheriff's men in range to be bothered by this).

Did the crossbowman die in vain?  Perhaps not, for the delay had allowed the vanguard of the sheriff's column to reach the road junction.  Just as Robin and Marion ran down the path towards their friends, Sir Guy of Gisborne stepped forward from his men to challenge the outlaw!

On the fringes of the forest, Sir Walter held off the merry men by hiding behind a hedge.  The outlaws loosed a few desultory arrows at him, but the knight was untroubled by this.  However, after a few turns, Little John had had enough.  "Sod this!" he exclaimed as he strode forward and felled Sir Walter with a single blow from his staff.

Seeing all the reinforcements coming, Robin and Marion attempted to evade - but Guy was too quick and managed to catch up.  "Coward!  Face me and die!" he shouted at his rival.

A file of soldiers followed the sheriff's orders and engaged Little John in an attempt to isolate and (ultimately) surround him.

As Marion ran past on her way towards the forest, Robin and Guy fenced each other for several turns.  They were evenly matched; neither could land a telling blow on the other.  Sometimes Guy forced Robin to take a step backwards, whilst on other occasions Robin landed a blow that was only deflected by the knight's armour.

All the time, more men-at-arms were arriving, though they were not yet close enough to intervene on Guy's behalf..  Little John attempted to reach his friend, but was constantly engaged by the sheriff's spearmen.

Just short of the forest, the fleeing Maid Marion was intercepted by the Sheriff.  He had been skulking in the background until this point, urging his men forward.  However, when he saw Marion alone in the distance, he caught up and grabbed her by the arm.  "Not so fast, my lady" he said.  "You seem to be running away, but from whom?  What is your part in this affair?"

"Of course I'm escaping, you idiot!" she replied.  "They're fighting back there; I don't want to get hurt!"  The sheriff was distracted momentarily, but he recovered quickly.  "No, I think you're assisting the outlaw, Robin Hood!" he returned.  "You're going to spend a good, long spell in a dungeon.  Let's see if that changes your disrespectful tone" (muah ha ha!)

Just as Guy forced Robin backwards again, one of the merry men loosed another arrow and finally achieved success.  He hit a man at arms who was charging towards him and felled the soldier.  Not only that, it was another gruesome kill, which would mean a morale test for all the sheriff's men that were within 'L' distance.  Fortunately, Guy of Gisborne was fearless, which made him immune to such tests - the rabble soldiers weren't so important.

As if the prospect of the men-at-arms running wasn't bad enough, this single casualty took the sheriff's forces to half strength, which would cause a morale test for all the remainder - including Guy.  But hey - he was Q3+, so I wasn't too worried.  3 dice, needing 3+ on at least one of them?

Predictably, I threw the dice for Guy's morale test and got 2, 2, 2.  He panicked and fled so fast that you couldn't see him for dust.  Most of the remaining soldiers also fled, though the few that lingered were no match for the outlaw heroes (and they knew it).

The sheriff was, surprisingly, unaffected by this rout.  Perhaps he was too far away to see the full extent of the disaster, or perhaps he just expected his minions to let him down like this.  Anyway, he decided to retreat voluntarily.  "This isn't over!" he hissed to Marion.  "Enjoy your life with the outlaws while you can, for it won't be long before they are all destroyed and you can then rot in a dungeon forever!"  With these parting words, he ran off before the triumphant Robin and his men could reach him.


A major victory for the outlaws.  Not only did Robin and Marion escape, but none of the merry men were hurt!  That is to say, none were killed, though both Robin and Marion must have had scrapes, cuts and bruises from their adventures.

As the player of the sheriff's forces, my main consolation is that the evil man didn't kill any of his own men during this game.  I think that's the first time that he hasn't knifed at least one underling who failed him!

So, Song of Blades and Heroes delivers again!  There were some moments of high drama and the game never felt hopeless for either side right up to the end.  Very cinematic.

Having said that, I'm thinking of removing the rabble characteristic from the sheriff's men-at-arms.  It means that he'd have fewer of them, but they wouldn't be quite such pushovers!


  1. Wonderful post and great SoBH BatRep. I've always enjoyed these rules but you've really made them come alive with this game. And two more "7TV" related BatReps to come - cracking :-)

    1. Thanks. I've a great liking for Song of Blades and Heroes - does it show :-) ?

  2. Great looking game - figs & terrain, both excellent! Never played the rules, but heard good things about them, and this game certainly proves it.

    1. The core rules don't cost much as a download and they are very versatile and exciting, I think.

  3. Indeed, a game that was in the balance until the last.
    A poor roll either way could have seen Robin skewered by a crossbow bolt early on, or the Sheriff's relief column stalled short of the bridge while the heroes strolled off into the sunset.

    The rabble troops certainly lack staying power. The "Big battalion of chickens" certainly looks impressive until it contacts the enemy. There are 2 ways to look at this.

    1. Rabble are so brittle that their quick (and often) gruesome deaths force their team into morale jepoardy.

    2. More staying power might see the game gog down in long indecisive hack-fests.

    All things considered, I think that most regular soldiers (even green castle guards) should be better than rabble - save that "ability" for hastily mobilised militias, and torch and pitchfork wielding mobs.

    1. Even an aimed shot from a C2 crossbowman has only a small chance of killing Robin (unless he's already fallen or otherwise vulnerable), but it could have happened!

  4. Special mention to young mister Duggan whose efforts to force march the merry men onto the field were rewarded with the decisive shot.

    Rarely have I seen a single arrow knock the fight out of so many soldiers.

    1. Well, the "forced march" of reinforcements was more like a leisurely stroll - for both sides! But that was indeed the arrow of doom!

  5. That is a Lovely Little batrep! great work C6.

  6. great batrep. I love your robin hood themed adventures. The castle is coming in very useful in the games and the table looks excellent. I am looking forward to seeing the 7tv stuff as I am quite interested in the rules as ive heard that they are doing a dungeon bash set at some point.

    1. This scenario is one of the reasons that I bought the castle :-) . I hope the 7th Voyage battles won't disappoint, when I find time to write them up!

  7. Like the story and the report.
    For your "big battalion" troopers, you can use a special trait available in the Flashing Steel" rules for second hand characters like sentries, expendable troops etc....found in the the movies. They are immediatly eliminated if they lose the Combat result. So you don't have too much opposition from them but you lose time for beating them. Giving the "better" troops of the bad guy to come in.
    Keeping going

    1. Thanks, Eric. I think that "Rabble" is something like this trait already (beaten => dead, doubled => gruesome kill). It's really the (relatively easy) gruesome kills that are the problem; the frequent morale tests just make it difficult for such a force to make an organised assault.

  8. A very enjoyable batrep that could have gone either way despite the result.

    1. Thanks, Bryan. If only Guy could have held his nerve and his men could have piled in to assist. Robin would surely have fallen. And I'm sure that the Sheriff could have handled a single weak woman on his own, couldn't he?

  9. Magnificent. I really enjoyed reading this. I have the rules, but yet to get to grips with them (distracted by Waterloo 200 at the moment). Great AAR and post. Wonderful!

    1. Thanks. Song of Blades is a marvellous set of rules, but a decent scenario is always needed as well!

  10. Very enjoyable. The rules seem to have character. Great to see the new keep in action!

    1. Thanks, David. "Song of Blades and Heroes" is a very versatile rule set :-) .