Time for another 4-player game at the Helensburgh games club. This week it's a large Song of Blades and Heroes game, with 2 players on each side. So..
Robin Hood and his merry men have learnt that a particularly noxious tax collector will be carting his ill-gotten gains near the forest. It's an easy place for an ambush and the outlaws have never been known to pass up an opportunity to strike at the oppressors of the poor.
Of course, it's a trap! The Sheriff of Nottingham and his forces close in from one side...
...whilst Guy of Gisborne leads more knights and men-at-arms in from the other side. Can Robin and his men escape? If they do, can they take the treasure cart with them? What do you think?
The 2 (4?) forces quickly formed a confused melee, so I won't attempt to describe all the ebb and flow of the battle. Rather, here are some little vignettes:
|The very first character to activate was one of Robin's men. He immediately shot the tax collector dead [so I don't really know why I bothered painting that model and putting it on the table, mutter, grumble...].|
|The Sheriff of Nottingham crept up behind one of the outlaws and knifed him in the back, scoring a particularly gruesome kill.|
|Guy of Gisborne ran ahead of his men, eager to engage the outlaws. Much to everyone's surprise, he ran straight onto Robin's sword and was felled instantly.|
|More knights charged in, but this time it was one of the Merry Men who scored a gruesome kill. Nottingham's forces were losing all their best fighters really quickly!|
|While the Sheriff was engaged in slaughtering some of his own men who turned and fled (after Will Scarlet inflicted a gruesome kill on a nearby man-at-arms), one of the outlaws managed to get the wagon moving.|
|The Sheriff and several crossbowmen ran after the treasure, but Will Scarlet got in the way. In yet another very quick swordfight, Nottingham was killed.|
|The Merry Man arrived first, but was unable to get the cart to move before he was set upon by his pursuers. Between the two of them, Guy's men cut down the outlaw.|
|Before the authorities could turn the wagon around, Will Scarlet came running up. He shot an arrow as he approached and it struck the man-at-arms for another gruesome kill. This was too much for the Black Knight; he turned and fled off the board.|
|What of Little John? He had drifted away from the main fight, but a couple of have-a-go men at arms tried their luck and attacked the giant outlaw.|
|Finally, with Will Scarlet encouraging him, the carter drove his wagon over the ford and into the forest, thus securing a win for the outlaws.|
The Sheriff's side lost most of their big men/named characters very early in the game and I think we all believed that the outlaws would then find it easy to escape with the loot. Nothing could be further from the truth! Interference from multiple minions (including the heroic last man of the caravan guard) prevented Robin's men from moving the wagon until fairly late on. Even then, it was pursued with vigour and could have been recovered, if a few die rolls had gone the other way.
Once again, the players all got into the spirit of the game and (I hope) enjoyed it thoroughly. There was heroism, skullduggery and a finely-balanced finale - what more do you want?!