Saturday, November 23, 2013

Song of Bones and Heroes

I had an opportunity today to have Chris Palmer over for some gaming. We have both been painting Reaper Bones since the first Kickstarter was delivered. In the interest of providing some inspiration, we decided we would have a go at Song of Blades and Heroes. As games go, it has several advantages. It's intended for small groups of figures, amenable to including all manner of figures, and fairly simple in mechanics.

This was only the second time I've actually played these rules. Norman and I did a test run of these over a year ago.

In anticipation of the game, I finished the bases of the paper model building groups I was working on the other week. As expected, warping of the inn base is an issue. I'm going to need to google around and see if anyone has posted solutions for keeping large pieces of foam core board flat...

Working on the scenery and some social requirements left me short on time to review the rules. That meant that the first game was a little slow as we worked through rules lookups. The second game was better, and I'm sure I'd have the key provisions memorized by the third or fourth game.

As an aid to learning, we kept the scenarios down to simple encounter battles. The first game involved a band of 4 very expensive elves against a band of nine ordinary orcs supported by a hill troll.

I thought things were off to a good start when Chris send an elf sneaker around to attempt to eliminate my troll. Any plan can look good with die rolls like the 1 vs. 6 shown above.

However, I read a recent review of the game which pointed out some issues when one side has an all-elite band because of the activation die roll mechanic. Chris's elves all had a quality of 2, which meant they seldom failed at activation, where my standard orcs frequently failed, passing the initiative back to Chris. This is where some additional experience with the rules would have helped; adding a figure with the "leader" special ability would have helped my orcs considerably.

In any case, Chris's elven hero was invincible, and gradually hacked his way through most of my orcs. After being reduced below half strength, a morale roll caused my wounded troll and one other orc to flee, so the other two decided to call it a day.

We reset the board and tried again with two different warbands. Mine was non-compliant (too many points in special figures), but we decided to go with it anyway. I had six mixed humans supported by an iron golem, and Chris had a medusa supported by a half dozen skeletons. I only got one picture from the second game, being distracted by the need to finish quickly.

I almost thought it was going to finish too quickly, as Chris's first volley took out two of my figures. However, his skeletons were more fragile in melee than he expected. So, despite dropping my wizard with another arrow, my fighters and golem made short work of his skeletons. Bereft of her minions, the medusa apparently remembered an appointment elsewhere.

These were fun little games, and I look forward to an opportunity to read the rules more closely, and try another session soon.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting today, Rob. I had a great time. The rules were certainly fun and interesting, and I look forward to experimenting with other warband configurations. The games certainly inspired me to renew my effort on my Bones figures.
    I'll be posting my report from the other side of the table soon..