Monday 31 October 2016

Battle Report: A Plague of Evil


It's time for my annual Halloween battle report.  In other years, we've usually played Witches vs Witch Hunters, using the excellent Song of Blades and Heroes [SoBH] as the ruleset:
This year, we played our usual SoBH game, but added a twist.  Since there were 4 players, we'd have 4 warbands; as well as the regular witches and witch hunters, we introduced the Three Musketeers [except that there were 5 of them in our game] and a Plague of Rats.

Let the match commence!

The Scenario

An unholy alliance of rats and witches has descended on the small, sleepy village of Simply Bibbling in the dead of night.  Most of the villagers have fled, but a few unfortunate souls have been captured by the forces of evil.  These prisoners are being herded from the village towards the nearby dark forest; should they enter that then their fate is sealed and they'll never be seen again.

However, all is not yet lost!  2 bands of armed men are blocking the escape route.  If they can prevent the prisoners from being carried off then the witch's evil plans will be foiled, hurrah!

Special Rules

  • Each side is made up from 2 factions.  These activate independently, but can interleave their activation attempts in any order, as they see fit.  For example, the "good" side may decide to attempt an activation from the Musketeers, then from the Puritans, then from the Puritans again, then from the Musketeers.  If one faction cannot continue [because it has rolled a double failure or because it has run out of models that it can activate] then the other faction in the alliance may continue to activate its models until it finishes.  Only then does the side's turn end.
  • The evil side [Rats & Witches] starts with 3 townsfolk prisoners.  To move one of the prisoners against his will, a captor in base contact must spend 1 action "subduing" the prisoner.  Further actions from that captor in the same turn may then be used to move both captor and prisoner together.
  • If during any turn, a prisoner isn't subdued in this fashion then the opposition [i.e. the Puritans or Musketeers] may attempt to activate the prisoner themselves using Q5+.  Presumably this would be with the intent of making the prisoner run away, since they have no combat score and cannot be involved in any melee.

Victory Conditions

Very simple; this is determined entirely by the number of prisoners that are carried off by the bad guys:
  • If the evil side can move all 3 prisoners off the far side of the board then they win a major victory.
  • If 2 prisoners are moved off the board then the evil side score a minor victory.
  • If the forces of evil take only 1 prisoner into the deep, dark woods [i.e. off the other side of the board] then they suffer a minor defeat.
  • If all the prisoners are rescued, or all the evil forces are killed/flee then the evil side have a major defeat.

The Forces

Each faction has about 250 points, according to the Song of Blades and Heroes rulebook:
  • Musketeers: D'Artagnan, Porthos, Athos, Aramis (all very competent, with varying extra skills & abilities), Leroux (a points filler, not quite as competent as the other four).
  • Puritans: John Sterne (professional witchhunter), Major Fairfax (leader), Sergeant Stone (unfit & reluctant), 3 musket-men & 3 soldiers (inexperienced country boys).
  • Witches: Meg (magic-using leader), 3 hellhounds (savage critters), 4 ghouls (gangrel misfits).
  • Rats: Plague Priest (middling leader), Rat Monster (terrifying, overpowered behemoth), 3 giant rats (vicious rodents), 5 rat swarms (chittering tide of vermin).

The Game

How did our game play out?  Read on...

The first turn was mostly predictable.  The evil forces advanced slowly from the outskirts of the town, herding their captives along with them.

There was an exception, though: the rat monster caught the scent of humans and bounded off into the distance, snarling as it went [its berserk attribute meant that it had to roll all 3 dice for activation and then use all its actions to move towards the nearest enemy.  Even though it was only Q4+, it scored 3 successes and moved 3 times in a beeline for the Musketeers].

At this point, the players on the evil side were quietly amused by this; either the monster would tear some men apart and terrify the rest, or else it would tie up large numbers of enemies as they tried to surround & outnumber the ogre to even the odds.  Either way, it would mean that the rest of our forces could just saunter past the melee and vanish into the dark forest with our prizes!

The rat ogre continued its canter towards the men with another 3 successful actions in its next turn.  Worryingly, it didn't quite reach them (it was about 0.5" short) and the Musketeers swarmed the monster before it could catch its breath.  Even with 4:1 numbers against it, the rat ogre wasn't to be taken lightly, or so I thought.  However, Leroux managed to trip the creature up; it ended flat on its back and therefore lost its berserk status.

The remainder of the evil forces tried to pick up the pace, but ended rather spread out as certain models just refused to move at a decent speed.  In particular, the witch ordered all 3 hellhounds to attack the Puritans, but only one of them sauntered forwards.  The other 2 beasts skulked at the back and wouldn't do as they were told.

The Puritans then spent the best part of 2 turns pouring shot after shot towards the one hellhound which had advanced towards them.  Although the creature was knocked over, most of the firing resulted in just a lot of noise and smoke.  Throughout this, the witch cursed and swore at her other minions, but none of them would move up to assist the endangered hound [the witches warband is becoming somewhat infamous for the number of failed activation rolls it makes, I fear].

The musketeers continued to fence with the huge rat creature.  Even outnumbered, its formidable combat rating of 6 [C5, +1 for being huge vs man-sided opponents] should still have given it quite an advantage.  However, the musketeers barely worked up a sweat; Porthos ran his sword through the monster's heart and it dropped to the ground, dead.  [What?!  How did that happen?  Porthos attacked it; he rolled a '6' and the rat ogre rolled a '1' - the only result that would kill the tough creature outright rather than wounding it]

This, of course, freed up the musketeers.  They now came pouring forwards to threaten the scattered and dismayed forces of evil.

Almost unnoticed, the seething swarm of normal-sized rats was carrying one of the prisoners away, with none of the men in any good position to stop them from escaping.

Whilst a few of the Puritans made a half-hearted attempt to catch the river of rats on the flank, the musketeers swept onwards, into the ghouls.  The men slaughtered 2 of them [Porthos strikes again!]; the other 2 ghouls fled for their lives, leaving one very relieved little boy prisoner to be rescued by the Frenchmen.

Then, the musketeers and the Puritans joined forces to attack the remnants of the witch's warband from both sides.  The giant rats made a noble (?!) effort to impede them - for one brief moment they threatened to take John Sterne down - but there were just too many Puritans and the rodents were outnumbered and overwhelmed.

Meg was forced to release her captive in order to defend herself, but to no avail.  She was cornered by a common soldier, thus allowing Porthos (him again!) to cut her down.  Seeing her fall, the 2 remaining hellhounds fled.

We called the game at this point.  Although the rat priest had been skulking about in the background all game, there was no realistic prospect that he could take on the rampant forces of men to recapture even 1 of the prisoners.  I suspect he blended into the shadows and slunk away quietly...


Well, that was another fairly disastrous outing for the witches!  We (Steve & I, representing the forces of evil) didn't even cause a single casualty to the combined forces of men.  I'm not sure that we won even one combat roll!

In my games, it's becoming quite common for the witches to be hammered; mainly due to recalcitrant underlings who just won't do what they are told.  I'm seriously considering switching allegiance to the forces of good.

Still, all was not lost.  One of the three prisoners was carried off the board on a tidal wave of rats; the men failed to stop us from this.  Consequently, we only suffered a minor defeat, despite the casualty figures.  Remember you victory conditions, kids!

Saturday 29 October 2016

Zomtober 2016, Week 5

<==  Week 4 is this way


I can hear you all thinking "Wait a minute - it's still Saturday.  Zomtober posts are traditionally made on each Sunday in the month".  True, but there's nothing in the rules (such as they are) to say that it can't be done earlier than Sunday, as long as it's each week.  Anyway, I've got a Halloween battle report to come on the 31st, so I wanted a bit of a gap between that and this post.

This will be the last of my zombie/survivor duels for 2016, so make the most of it.  After all, it's not every October that has 5 Zomtober Sundays (err, Saturdays) in it!

The Duel

Today's confrontation is between Matt and Big Momma Zombie (BMZ).  As you can see in the picture above, he is creeping up behind her, with a spade raised and ready to strike!

I usually pose my "duels" with both models facing each other.  However, when I took this pair to be varnished, I just happened to place them down on the spray turntable with her facing away from him.  I decided that I liked the way this looked; it gives quite a different angle to the story!

BMZ is from Studio Miniatures' Zombie Mob 002.  There's not really a lot of detail to paint on this model, just flesh and nightgown/slip.  I attempted to make her clothing slightly translucent, just to try out a new technique.  However, I don't think it quite worked out; the nightgown looks like a dirty white instead.  Which is OK for a zombie, but not really what I had intended.

To add a little colour to an otherwise very drab model, I painted a little tattoo on BMZ's right shoulder.  It's possibly a little too bright & solid, though?  I also added quite a bit of detail to the newspaper at her feet.  I wonder if anyone can guess which (UK) publication I used as a pattern?

Matt is one of Offensive Miniatures' street kid/young rioter models.  He's been fixed to a Basius II base, but is otherwise unconverted.  I've tried to decorate his clothing with the various stripes, slogans and logos that such a young thug might well wear in real life; this probably makes him a bit more interesting than if he was dressed in a plain-coloured top and plain trousers.

OK, here's the important bit: who wins?  Matt clearly intends an attack; presumably BMZ is blocking his path or his access to some resource.  Although maybe Matt just feels like shovel practice - you never can tell with barely-educated street kids?  He looks determined enough, but is he strong enough to inflict fatal damage in one blow (and skillful enough?  I think I might use the edge of the blade to hit the zombie, rather than the flat part)?

If Matt doesn't fell BMZ with a single strike then he might be in trouble.  If she turns and grabs for him then he'll have difficulty breaking free - just look at the size of her hands!  And I don't think she'll have any qualms about eating him either; I'm pretty sure that not all the blood on the gown is her own!

Thursday 27 October 2016

7th Voyage: Jason and Medea


We just had another day of gaming, so I've got a couple of battle reports to make.  I'm going to describe this one first, for reasons that should become obvious in due course (don't be concerned by this; it's nothing sinister or anything).  So, without further ado, let's enter the world of Greek Mythology for a game of 7th Voyage!

The Scenario

Medea, the sorceress, has retired deep into the untamed woods, intending to take the waters in the lost and forbidden bathhouse of Queen Semiramis and thus refresh both her body and her mystical powers.  Annoyingly, a palace servant has revealed her plans to the Argonauts who are visiting her father's kingdom.  A band of these adventurers plans to capture the princess in the act and drag her back to the palace in order to curry favour with the king.  [I'm taking some liberties with the classical story of Jason and Medea here; if that bothers you then just think of this as some other sorceress called "Medea"].

This will be variant of the standard "Steal" mission from the 7th Voyage rulebook.  Instead of trying to obtain a magical item, the Argonauts intend to capture the sorceress herself.  Can't be that hard, can it?  One woman, on her own, against a large band of armed warriors?

Medea heard the sounds of men crashing through the bushes near to where she was standing.  She cast her sight through the undergrowth to find that a number of her father's guests were creeping up on her, their very presence defiling the holy site of the ancient ruins.  Annoyed, she started to summon the spirits of wood and water to punish the invaders...

The Forces

Jason and the Argonauts

Jason's force was made up from the following:
  • Jason, Hero/Guest Star
  • Atalanta, Hero/Co-star.  For her Gift of the Gods, Atalanta chose the Girdle of Venus, thus upgrading her seductive form to hypnotic beauty.
  • Meleager, Hero/Co-star
  • Antigone, Also Starring Amazon.
  • 10 Argonauts, armoured veterans with a mixture of spear and sword.
  • 5 Camp Followers, psiloi with a mixture of javelins and bow
That's quite a big cast (19 models), with a great deal of martial prowess.  It'll be difficult to stand up to them in a straight-up fight!

Medea and the Woodland Spirits

The sorceress was able to call on these spirits as her defenders:
  • Medea, Hero/Guest Star
  • 5 Hesperides, stealthy, seductive wood nymphs.
  • 4 Treemen, slow but powerful mid-range monsters
  • 1 Water Elemental, an untamed force of nature!
This is a strange, mystical cast.  Half of it is highly mobile and armed with seductive powers, whilst the other half is slow but unstoppable (well, almost).

Note that of these 11 figures, only Medea herself and the 5 Hesperides would start on the table.  The treemen had their positions plotted on a map; their Infiltrate rule would keep them hidden for at least a turn or two, whilst the Water Elemental could only be brought into play via a successful Conjure Elemental spell.

The Game

Medea spent the first turn chanting, then cast a spell to summon the water elemental [success was never in much doubt: she threw 2d6 + 4 (int) + 2 (chanting) and only had to reach a score of 10.  If by chance the spell had failed on turn 1, she'd just have tried the same thing again on turn 2].  Waters rushed from the bath and surrounding bushes to form the shape of a gigantic horse just in front of the sorceress.

Jason's party decided to split up, in a rather feeble attempt to distract the dangerous-looking water creature.  The hero himself went north around the ruined columns, Atalanta went south through the trees and a reserve stayed in the middle, ready to march forward when needed.

On the other flank, Meleager and Antigone advanced their men without meeting any real opposition.  This was just a walk in the park, right?

First blood was drawn by Atalanta's group.  They advanced rapidly and started to slaughter all the wood nymphs they could find.  This despoiling of nature was quite brutal, really...

Suddenly, the forest came alive!  Near all the groups of Argonauts, the trees themselves stirred and reached for the invaders with long, supple branches.

Atalanta, sensing danger, was quick to react.  She ran away from the copse in which she had been sheltering just in time; the newly-activated tree monster could only roar in frustration as it failed to catch the nimble archer.

Others were not so lucky.  Jason was caught by one of the treemen and then battered by the water horse as well.  He may have been a great hero, but this was a fierce assault and he wouldn't last long unless the attackers were distracted or driven off.

Poor Nauplios was sandwiched between a nymph and the 3rd tree monster.  He was knocked to the ground and then torn limb from limb as he lay there, stunned.

Apologies for the poor quality of this photo.  I didn't notice at the time that the camera had focussed on the treetops, not on the models at ground level.

The final treeman strode from the forest near to Meleager and scared the cr*p out of him!  It then pummeled one of the other Argonauts into the ground, but the day was saved when Antigone charged over and slew the monster with a couple of quick blows.  "They're not so tough", she called out in encouragement to her fellow warriors.  "Just hit them in the buds."  But Meleager couldn't get over the shock; he just curled into a ball and could be heard whispering softly "the trees, the trees..."

Despite the best efforts of his immediate support, Jason was being hammered.  The water elemental had him pinned on the ground and was debating which was the best way to finish the hero off for good.

Elsewhere, Pheidippides killed another of the tree monsters, though it took him rather more effort than Antigone had suggested.  More Argonauts poured forwards from the east, even threatening to overrun Medea herself.

Medea made a run for it, whilst Argonauts rushed from all sides to assist their beleaguered leader.  Those coming round the north of the ruined bath paused briefly to dispatch the dryad and treeman that blocked their way.

Jason may have been bruised and bloody, but he wasn't finished yet.  As the melee swirled around him and his friends were tossed aside by either the water monster or the enraged treeman, the hero stood up and stabbed the elemental.  His sword must have hit a vital spot for the creature hissed in pain [that's 1 of its 3 wounds gone, then.  Took a lot of effort to achieve even a single point of damage...].

To cap this, Antigone effortlessly slew the last tree monster, albeit assisted by several other Argonauts this time.

The water horse may have been alone, but it was by no means defeated.  It rounded on Jason and smacked him down again; once again the leader of the Argonauts lay groaning in the mud.  Brave Ialmenos smote the monster in the flank and (miraculously) managed to wound it [it's now lost 2 wounds out of 3].

However, the final word went to Atalanta.  After hanging around the fringes of the fight, looking for an opportunity to shoot with her bow, she suddenly remembered the Girdle of Venus.  The water elemental was an extra [it's a stop-motion monster, which counts as an extra rather than as a hero or villain] and was therefore theoretically vulnerable to an attempt at Seduction.

Atalanta called to the water horse with her most soothing, persuasive voice.  Probably she had an apple or two to hand as well - horses like those.  Hmm, to be successful, she needs to win an opposed morale test; her base morale is 3 and the elemental's stat is 5, so this is going to be tricky!  I decided to use an event card to gain +2 to my chances [event cards can be used for this minor effect rather than for the major effect which is printed upon them], thus making the base scores 5 vs 5.

Both sides rolled a dice to add to their total; both dice came up with a '2'.  This wasn't enough; Atalanta had merely equalled the necessary score and hadn't beaten it.  I had almost given up in despair when I suddenly remembered that Atalanta had Luck and could re-roll the die.  Excellent!  The re-roll was a '5', thus the heroine's total was a 10 vs the elemental's '7'.  Atalanta succeeded in hypnotising the water horse and bringing it over to the Argonaut's side!

Even though the Argonauts seemed to be running away with the game, the nymphs weren't quite done yet.  Dryope used her seduction successfully on Pheidippides.  As the pair were out of sight and a long way from any other models, I suspect that they walked off together into the sunset and that the warrior was never seen again (though his beautiful child might have returned to the world of men in 18 years or so)...

The game was sealed for the intruders when Antigone ran after Medea.  She found the sorceress cowering behind a tree and dragged her back roughly to the victorious Argonauts.


This was pretty much a total victory for the Argonauts.  Medea's forces were all but exterminated, whilst relatively few men were killed, seduced or otherwise lost.

The Argonauts had a few scary moments, mostly when the treemen burst from cover.  Despite their initial successes, these monsters couldn't handle the sheer numbers of veterans who counter-attacked them; the fearsome effect wasn't as useful as it might have been against less battle-hardened warriors.

Medea and the Hesperides had many interesting abilities, but these were barely used as the woodland cast tried to match the Argonauts in a straight-up fight.  The "hitty" treemen and water horse were given all that cast's activations, whilst the nymphs were left to be slaughtered.

Model of the Match: has to be Antigone.  She cut her way through 2 (or was it 3?) treemen and was the one to capture the sorceress at the end.  Brava!

Most Disappointing: I'd say it was a tie between Medea (who just sat around looking pretty after her initial summoning spell - not what one would expect from a major league sorceress) and Meleager (who was scared witless when the forest started to move and is, for all I know, still cowering in fear).

Sunday 23 October 2016

Zomtober 2016, Week 4

<== For week 3, go this way


Another Sunday, another duel - it must be Zomtober!  Here are another pair of figures, one from each side of the zombie apocalypse, for your amusement, education or whatever else you gain from the brief time it takes you to skim over this article :-) !

The Duel

For today's show, we have a couple of older gentlemen (though I use that term cautiously; I'm not really certain that either of them is particularly genteel or well-mannered).  On the motorbike, we have Storm, whilst moaning at him from the side of the road is Old Man Zombie (OMZ).

It is possible, at least in my mind, that OMZ isn't really a zombie at all, but just an angry old sod.  He has made some strange wardrobe choices: the smiley tee shirt might have been a present from a favourite grandchild, but it doesn't really fit with the cold-weather hunter's cap.  Maybe OMZ is just a confused, older guy who is shouting at the biker for having thrown a beer can and cigarette butts at him?

OMZ is a Studio Miniatures plastic zombie, mounted on an Escenorama resin base and decorated with a home made tee shirt decal.

 Storm doesn't seem to have any doubts about OMZ's status: he's a target!  At this range, the biker's sub machine gun shouldn't have any difficulty at all in cutting down the zombie if it is used properly.  But (and this is one of my pet peeves with some wargames models and some Hollywood movies) if the bike is moving then aiming a gun sideways whilst retaining control of a vehicle is nigh on impossible!  One or the other will give: either the bike will crash or the shots will be essentially random.

Before anyone claims that just strafing a target with an automatic weapon will be good enough, I've done some simple maths.  If the SMG fires at 600rpm (not uncommon for such weapons) then there is 1/10th second between each successive bullet.  That doesn't sound like much, yet a vehicle travelling at a mere 36Kph (i.e. around 20 miles per hour) will move 100cm (about 3 1/4 feet) in that time.  Which gives you about a 50% chance of hitting a 50cm wide man at all, let alone achieving a crippling head or centre body shot on a zombie.

Storm is a Westwind Productions model, placed on a base of my own construction and decorated with a home made jacket decal.  There are very few 28mm biker-on-bike models around, yet I'd hesitate to recommend these kits.  They can be finished nicely and are not at all badly sculpted.  However, they are a real pain to put together and require quite a lot of cutting, filling and repositioning to achieve this result.  Not for the novice!


What happens next?  I think that Storm is attempting a drive by shooting and isn't prepared to take the chance that OMZ is really human.  As I've discussed above, I don't think his chances of hitting and killing the potential zombie are very good, but OMZ isn't going to catch the moving bike either.  However, the noises of the shooting and the motorcycle together are going to draw a lot of attention to this area.  Perhaps there are enough other zombies nearby to block the road and pull Storm off his machine?

For week 5, go here ==>

Sunday 16 October 2016

Zomtober 2016, Week 3

<==  For week 2, follow this link


This is a slightly late posting, but it's still Sunday and therefore within the Zomtober rules.  Phew!  I've been away for the weekend (it was my wife's birthday), so it's just as well that I had prepared these figures earlier last week than usual.

So, as is my custom for these posts, here's another duel between a zombie and a survivor.  What do you think happens next?

The Duel

Tonight's main attraction is a contest between Nadim and Chicken Man Zombie (CMZ).  Nadim is using an unusual anti-zombie weapon: a giant firework rocket ("The Big One").  He is wearing a handkerchief over his face, possibly to protect against sparks or to protect himself from inhaling zombie bits if his planned rocket attack is successful.  That may also explain the hoodie pulled up over his head.

CMZ has been described by the owner of Studio Miniatures (who make the figure) as "the unluckiest man in the zombie apocalypse".  I'm paraphrasing here rather than providing an exact quote, but I expect you get the idea.
After all, having a job that involves dressing up as a giant chicken is fairly unlucky in the first place.  Being bitten by a zombie and therefore infected yourself whilst at work in a job that requires you to dress up as a giant chicken is just stupendously unlucky!
[Hmm, that could be another theme for someone to pursue in Zomtober: "the unluckiest man/woman in the apocalypse".  Please feel free to use this if you wish...]

As mentioned above, CMZ is from Studio Miniatures, specifically from "Zombie Mob 002".  Like many of my recent urban figures, he's on an Escenorama base.  In this case, CMZ is trampling a sign that had been placed on the grass.  I found a picture on the internet of a suitable admonition, scaled it down, printed it and stuck it to the sign.  In case you cannot read the sign under CMZ's foot, the it reads "Please do not feed the birds".  There is also a small sheet of green paper on the ground nearby; perhaps this is an advertising flyer that has been dropped by CMZ?

Nadim is yet another of the young thugs from Offensive Miniature's "12 Street Kids" pack, in the Near Future, Rioting Mob range.  His base is also from Escenorama, though in this case it's a rather simpler pattern.  There's nothing on the ground here other than a small metal cover and a cigarette butt (visible in the earlier pictures).  Maybe that's what Nadim used to light his firework?

So, here's my reading of the situation: if Nadim hits CMZ with the rocket and if the firework catches on the zombie's costume then I've no doubt that the resulting explosion will do a lot of damage to the zombie.  But there are a lot of "ifs" here:
  • A firework is going to be hard to aim, firstly because of its inherent lack of directional stability and secondly because of the uncertainty over when exactly it will ignite.  It might have some value as an area effect weapon, fired into the middle of a mob (note that I wrote might, not should).  However, targeting an individual, even at close range, is going to rely on a lot of luck!
  • Even if the firework hits the intended target, the motor will probably still be running for at least a few seconds.  I reckon there's every chance that the rocket will just bounce off and keep going in a semi-random direction, unless of course the target has a lot of nooks and crannies in which the missile might become jammed.
  • A firework rocket contains gunpowder (or some close equivalent) as a bursting charge, but it doesn't have a metal case or anything else which might produce a lot of shrapnel.  Whilst blast damage isn't to be taken lightly by a human, a firework, even a big one, won't necessarily destroy a zombie.  If you're lucky (there's that word again) then the zombie will be sufficiently disabled to allow your escape.
No, I think that this is what happens: the rocket ignites but the backblast burns Nadim's face and blinds him.  The firework then skids off CMZ or misses him completely and the zombie attacks immediately and bites the stunned human.  Assuming, of course, that CMZ can bite anything whilst wearing that ridiculous costume rooster head...

Week 4 is here ==>

Sunday 9 October 2016

Zomtober 2016, Week 2

<==  Week 1 is this way


Another Sunday in October; here's another Zomtober post.  As ever, the rules are that I have to show at least 1 zombie or 1 survivor.  However, I've made a habit of showing one of each, posed as a duel.  This week, its "B.B." versus "Cocktail Waitress Zombie" (CWZ).

The Duel

I've talked before about the possibility of zombies retaining some form of instinctive need to finish a task, notably with my zombie ballerina.  I imagine that in a few, extreme cases, a fresh zombie may attempt to carry on with some activity in which they were engaged before they were "converted", at least for a short time.  This might be used to explain those rare cases where the living dead wield a weapon including, on rare occasions, a firearm.

Thus it is with Cocktail Waitress Zombie: she's attempting to carry a tray of drinks without spilling them.  This is complicated by the fact that her high heels have caught in a drain cover.  The proximity of the interfering human isn't helping either!

"B.B." is a young hooligan with a catapult.  Some may sneer at this as a weapon, but it has many advantages:

  • It's quiet.
  • Ammunition is free and readily available.
  • A powerful catapult using 1/2" steel ball bearings will do a lot of damage to a target.  Not as much as a powerful handgun, admittedly, but perhaps equal to a .22 rifle?
Of course, there are some disadvantages as well:
  • Effective (accurate) range is quite short.
  • Once the rubber perishes, you probably can't replace it in an apocalypse.

CWZ is a Wargames Factory "Zombie Vixen", built straight out of the box.  I've added a couple of wine glasses to her tray; these come from Black Cat Bases.
B.B. is one of Offensive Miniatures "Street Kids", from their near-future rioters section.  I made the catapult elastic from a length of plastic rod, but otherwise he is also unmodified.
Both models are mounted on resin urban bases from Escenorama.

Here are the questions in my mind about this encounter:

  • Is B.B. trying to fell the zombie, or is he just interested in plinking at the wine glasses as a form of target practice?
  • At what point will CWZ give up her balancing act, discard the tray and just go for the human?
  • When CPZ finally tries to eat B.B., will she be able to catch him by surprise, or will he be nimble and alert enough to escape her clutches?
  • Will B.B be able to kill the zombie with his catapult?  If not, will he keep trying, or will he get bored and run off?

What do you think?  What happens next?

Week 3 is this way ==>

Thursday 6 October 2016



Regular readers may remember my Witch Hunters and Witches warbands for the Song of Blades and Heroes rules.  Well, it's been on my mind for quite some time to expand my game by adding new factions.

Various ideas for forces which might fit into a loose version of mid-17th century England have come and gone.  I have recently built a 3rd, small force of French musketeers (on a secret mission abroad to find Milady, or fighting for or against the Puritans?).  Additionally, I may someday do a troop of hidden ghouls/cannibals (think Sawney Bean or "The Hills Have Eyes").  I might even build a force of Scots Covenanters, if only to have someone more fanatical than the English Puritans!

However, tonight I'm going to describe my 4th faction: the rats!

The Head Rat

So, here's the fluff: somewhere in the growing towns and cities of 1650s England, at least a few super-rats have evolved.  Either these are the discarded experiments of some careless natural philosophers, or they are the product of satanic dark magic.  However they came to be, the dark alleys and deserted barns are now infested with a huge number of variously-sized plague-carrying vermin!

The leader of the band is the creature above.  He (she?) doesn't have a name - at least, not one that I could pronounce.  However, the head rat is man-sized, intelligent, bipedal and understands people well enough to attempt to disguise its appearance so as to be able to pass amongst them without challenge.  I suspect that it has unholy powers as well...

This model is from Black Tree Design.

Little Rats

As I understand it, all swarm models of the same type in Song of Blades and Heroes must remain in base contact.  That makes this just one very large swarm of rats, rather than a number of smaller swarms.  Hopefully this will provide an unusual challenge for their enemies!

The rat swarms are from Black Cat Bases, who make (in my opinion) all of the best swarms for 28mm figures.  They really do look like a seething mass of small animals, rather than 4 or 5 separate models which just happen to be sharing the same base.

Mind you, looking at the other models in this band, the rat swarms' bases seem a bit bare.  Hmm, perhaps I ought to put a little grass on them, to add a bit of different colour and texture?

Big Rats

About the size of a large dog, these critters aren't a match for a human soldier one-on-one.  But whoever said that they would attack one at a time?  There are enough of them to surround a careless person and give him a whole load of grief.

Models are old Games Workshop plastics; I've had these for quite some time.

Biggest Rat

At the other end of the spectrum, the warband has one huge, nightmare rat monster!  Although sold as a "Giant Wererat" (it's a Reaper Bones model), the animal has huge chunks of flesh peeling away from both flanks.  Either someone has already carved it up a bit or the stress of its mutation is tearing its body apart.

I think that I prefer the latter explanation; it's clearly a diabolical abomination and if such a creature was unstable (with a lifetime measured in hours after its transformation, at most) then the world would be a safer place for people like me.  Not much safer, but every little bit helps, right?


I've collected and painted these models over quite a period of time, so the styles and colours aren't quite the same.  Rather than repainting any of them, I'm tempted to just paint up more models instead (I've still got many of the dog-sized rats).    I'll probably add some grass to the swarms, but other than that these are all completed.

So, is this a good warband?  What powers or vulnerabilities might it have?  Are there any obvious gaps in its composition?  What do you think?