No Saturday Afternoon Wargame this month because I was invited to Tom's to play Song of Blades and Heroes. However, Tom had the decorators in (not a euphemism) so we ended up playing at Stately Crawley Manor anyway!
We were four: Jamie, Tom, Tom's grandson Kieran and me.
The board was 90cm square with each of the four forces entering from a different inter-dimensional gateway (they looked a lot like differently coloured d10s) at the centre of each board edge. The mission was to get a magical item from the centre of the board and get back to your gateway with it. Gateways could move though!
I played my Ronin warband – Ronin Leader, five Ronin and a Ninja.
Jamie took our Goblins – thirteen Ral Partha goblins and an Ogre. These turned out to be a poorly designed warband. They generally refused to do anything but when they did get into combat were fairly tough: most un-goblin-like behaviour.
Tom had his Sea Devils – three of them with electric spear missile weapons accompanied by a magician and a Firbolg (an amphibious creature that moved slowly but fought powerfully).
Finally, Kieran had a medieval European-looking force with a leader, three longbowmen and a few guardsmen with poleaxes.
We gave the youngest player choice of whether to go first or last and Kieran chose to put me in to bat. SOBH units can really motor if you get lucky with the activation rolls and after one move I was in contact with the first potential magical item. Unfortunately it would turn out to be a dummy.
Jamie discovered that quality 5 figures are a pain, especially if you haven’t got a Leader to motivate them. Many of his goblins would sit inactive on his baseline for most of he game. Sorry, Jamie!
Goblins aside, the skirmish moved pretty quickly. No sooner had my Ninja moved forward to sneak around some ruins that he was dead; killed by one of Tom’s Sea Devils. Tom and Kieran both moved towards the treasure markers nearest to their gateways. Tom identified one marker as a magic belt and one as a dummy whilst one of Kieran’s archers picked up a magic ring.
I was in no position to stop Tom escaping with the magic belt but I might be able to catch Kieran. Leaving one Ronin engaged in close combat with Jamie’s Ogre, I headed off to intercept the ring-bearer.
Kieran assumed I’d try to reach the archer and started to put together a screen behind which he could retire.
I lost one Ronin to archery and killed a few guardsmen but surprised Kieran by making an end-run around his screen. After all I know where the ring-bearer was going! Thanks to a few lucky activation rolls I ended up with four figures surrounding Kieran’s gateway.
Kieran threw his leader in to try and force me away from the gateway. I could have fought him one to one in an honourable duel. I didn’t. The Ronin ganged up on him and chopped him into little pieces. Literally. I scored three times Kieran’s total in combat and that constitutes a gruesome kill and requires any nearby friends of the deceased to make a morale roll. Losing you leader also requires a morale roll as does losing half of your force. With the casualties he’d already suffered Kieran managed to take three morale rolls and fail enough of them to run as far away as he could from me.
We called a halt at that point as it would have taken forever for any of us to get the remaining magic item to our respective gate. We totalled up the victory points to find that Tom was a narrow but well deserved winner.