Chris Palmer This past Saturday I went to Rob Dean’s house for a couple games of “Song and Blades and Heroes”. Rob and I decided to hold these game days using SoBaH to give us an opportunity to use our newly painted Bones figures. Like me, he bought into the first Reaper Kickstarter, and has been busy working on painting the figures from it. He has also purchased and painted a number of Reaper’s non-Kickstarter Bones figures as well.
Rob set up a nice looking table with some sort of ancient stone heads guarding a hilltop. Perhaps some ancient burial ground I was guarding from treasure hunters?
For our first game I decided to build a warband around some of my newly painted translucents. So I decided on a force consisting of: 1 Spectre, 1 Ghost, 2 Superior Skeleton Archers, 1 Skeleton Warrior, 1 Superior Skeleton Warrior (I used the Lionman skeleton stats from the rulebook), and 1 Fire Elemental. This gave me a group of rather mediocre troops, most having a Combat score of 2, and Qualities of 3+ and 4+. My best weapons were the Spectre with its Terror attribute and the Fire Elemental with it’s 4+ Combat score, and short range shoot.
Rob chose a warband of assorted Human fighters, archers and a Magic User. He had one figure with the Leader ability in the mix, who effectively brought his warband’s Quality down to a 2+ (Lower Quality is better in SoBaH).
|Team Undead: Spectre, Ghost, a pair of Superior Skeleton Archers, a Skeleton Warrior, a Superior Skeleton Warrior, and a Fire Elemental|
It didn’t help things that I badly mishandled the warband from the get go. The Ghost proved to be useless with a Quality 4+ and a Combat of only 1. It seldom activated, and lingered about waiting to pile on to another combat, which never happened. I really didn’t know what to do with the Spectre either, with it’s Combat score of 2+. It wasn’t until halfway through the game that I realized the way I should be using it was to pin an enemy with one of my other units, and then charge it with the Spectre; thus forcing it to take a morale check (because of the Spectre’s Terror attribute) and possibly causing it to flee from combat giving the figure it was fighting a free, and lethal, hack.
|Rob advances his troops.|
The Fire Elemental I sent on a foolish flank march to get at Rob’s wizard, but the hill slowed it down to a point where it had hardly got halfway across before the rest of my force had been decimated…which is what happened. While my Spectre and Ghost flounced around being ineffective with their Quality 4+ activations, Rob was able to efficiently start taking out my skeletons with melee attacks. When I did try to get my Spectre into combat it rolled miserably and lost the fight, falling to the ground. At which point it was swarmed and dispatched by the enemy. In a matter of a few turns I was reduced to below half strength, and we called it a game.
|My Spectre’s big chance. It knocks the enemy down, but subsequently has such poor activation rolls that the enemy is able to stand up and knock it down in return before it can react.|
Next up, I had prepared an Orc and Goblin warband. I was able to paint the Goblins up quick after the Spirit figure this past week, as the Spirit didn’t take that long, and I will feature them in an article on Monday. Rob reused his warband of Humans, and who could blame him after their great success in the first game. So this time I was tasked with defended the great Orc holy stone head alter from Human interlopers.
This will be a short report, as I must say up front, I do not think I have ever had a game go bad for me so quickly.
|Team Orc: (Back row) Orc Warchief, 3 Savage Orcs, 1 Superior Orc Archer, (front row) Goblin Elite Archer, 2 Goblin Warriors, and 2 Spider Swarms (I used the centipede swarm stats from the rulebook)|
The Orcs, like my previous warband, suffered from less than average Quality of 4+. I had learned enough from Rob’s last outing with Orcs (See: Bones Battle Report ) to include a figure with the Leader attribute to effectively bring my Quality down to 3+ .
So, on my first turn, I get about half of my stuff activated including an Orc Spearman who is pointed up as a Savage Orc. He gets two successful activation rolls and races forward. After my second mixed result activation, the Spearman is about a move out front, with everyone else following up at various stages.
|The beginning of the end: the Orc Spearman goes charging forth.|
At this point, two of Rob’s fighters who have also been racing forward, reach him. With their better Quality, they roll and get 3 activations each, so they still have the ability to strike the spear-wielding Orc when they get to him. The first one knocks him down, and the second manages to inflict a Gruesome Death on the poor Spear Orc. About 5 of my figures are in range to see this and must test morale. Since most have hardly got two moves onto the table, when they fail their morale they are close enough that the rout carries them off the edge. So, four end up running off the table. This immediately reduced my strength from the 10 models I started with down to 5 remaining by the third turn. Rob, easily enough, gets one more kill on me by plugging my archer with an arrow, which drops me below 50% strength. In the ensuing morale check, everyone else, but the swarms, run away.
|The end. The spear Orc meets a Grusome Death as his clanmates look on in horror, possibly wetting themselves and crying like babies, before running off the table.|
So, it was not a good day for my warbands. Rob and I discussed afterwards that we really need to figure out a way to make lower Quality and high quantity warbands work; since in the games we have played so far, the warbands that have the superior Quality always win. I look forward to our next rematch.
To read an account of the battles from the other side of the table, visit Rob’s blog: The Sharp End of the Brush
from All Bones About It http://allbonesabout.blogspot.com/2014/01/song-of-blades-and-heroes-bones-battle.html