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!|
|Just one of the original wagon guards was left, but he was close enough to prevent the outlaws from leading the treasure away. Little John attempted to dislodge him, but in a show of stunning bravery, the lone guard knocked down the giant in green. He failed to finish him off, though.|
|An outlaw stepped forwards, giving Little John some much needed respite. It didn't look so rosy for the archer though: two of the Sheriff's men grabbed him whilst their boss stepped forwards to finish the outlaw scum. However, the tables were turned unexpectedly as the merry man knocked the Sheriff over, into the mud!|
|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.|
|For much of the game, the Black Knight had been wrestling with Friar Tuck. On the face of it, this should have been an easy win for the knight, but the doughty friar was giving it all he had; the knight was only saved by his heavy armour on more than one occasion. Eventually, the combatants stepped apart.|
|Where was the treasure cart in all this? It had almost left the table at the outlaws' exit point (which would have won them the game immediately), but it had outrun the outlaws who were guiding it. Now the wagon was stuck in the ford; the carter wasn't going to try to move it on his own.|
|It was a race to see who could get to the treasure first; all the players were making risky attempts at 2- or 3-dice activations in an attempt to gain an edge. One of the Merry Men was in the lead, hotly pursued by a man-at-arms and followed - slightly further off - by the Black Knight [who had left Friar Tuck to the tender mercies of a trio of spearmen]. Trailing the knight, just out of this picture, was Will Scarlet...|
|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.|
|Will Scarlet may now have had possession of the treasure, but the rest of the field was a confused melee. Most of the authorities' named characters and superior fighters were down, but they still outnumbered the remaining outlaws. Not that this mattered, since the treasure was lost...|
|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.|
|Against the odds, the pair actually managed to wound Little John. [I think this is the first time that has ever happened in one of my Robin Hood games! Most characters are knocked out after a single hit, but Little John has the tough attribute and can take multiple hits. He's never had his own blood shed before...].|
|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?!
What a great report, I loved how close it was in the end.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Michael! It did seem close, but bear in mind that even if the authorities had turned the card around, they'd have needed to run it past Robin Hood and Friar Tuck to get it to their own exit point. Not impossible, but not trivial either :-) ...Delete
Right down to the wire! Looked like a lot of fun and what a finishReplyDelete
It was a good, tense ending, wasn't it :-) ?Delete
Nice cards for your models!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Marc. There's a fuller description of my cards here (though note that I've made a few adjustments since then): http://colgar6.blogspot.com/2014/02/sobh-robin-hoods-men.htmlDelete
Wow an arrow from Will Scarlet saving the day!ReplyDelete
Will was quite the hero; he felled several men-at-arms as well as the Sheriff before rescuing the treasure cart. In comparison, Little John (who is a much more powerful character) seemed sluggish and dithering.Delete
Excellent write up to a great looking game - inspiring too, since it's made me want to give SOBH a try now :-)ReplyDelete
(I've had a copy of the rules, unused, for far too long!)
SoBH is really designed for a smaller battle than this, I think! Still, we're happy with the way it scales up - and you can use pretty much any figures you have lying around :-) .Delete
Robin must have been a bit miffed not to have more than a pssing mention!ReplyDelete
All sorts of fights going on and nearly all went badly for the Sheriff's men too.
Great action-packed scenario, no doubt enjoyed by all and a joy to read.
Thanks, Joe. I'm sure that Robin isn't quite so self-centred as all that :-) . After all, the outlaws now have lots of treasure to distribute - assuming that Will Scarlet didn't just make off with it...Delete
As Robin hood and his bands player I must say I had a blast. Though I think there will be some 'knight-mares' for the sheriffs men after that clashReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed it, I aim to please :-) ! The sheriff's men don't always lose, mind...Delete
Fine battle report.ReplyDelete
Like the cinematic style of the actions.
Thanks! I've designed the characters in this game to be fairly toned-down; they're not invincible Hollywood heroes! But it's fun when the players use them as such - and sometimes the results are against probability...Delete
Do you use the advanced version of SOBH ?Delete
With the reaction rule, the game could be like an hollywood action movie ;
Lot of surprises, and thrilling actions
No, we're just using basic SoBH (with a few attributes/skills taken from some of the supplements). It still works very well :-) ...Delete
You can add more fun in your games with AdSOBH.Delete
I advise you to test them
It's an old story, but loses none of its tension through multiple retellings.
The outlaw band earned that win; a result I've never quite pulled off in all my outlawing days.
Thanks, Steve. Once the wagon started rolling, the authorities were hard pressed to catch up with it. They did try, but too little, too late...Delete
When the tax collector get taxed.ReplyDelete
Good for the good guys to win, but it went differently than I expected when I started reading.
Thanks, Cedric. Ah, games like this rarely go as I predict - that's a large part of the fun!Delete