12 June 2012

A song of father and son

With No.2 Son (asleep in the car) and Darling Wife (asleep in bed) occupied, No.1 Son and I settled down to play a game. He is coming up four and a half, so I sensed the time was right - and it was! He's shown an interest in my knights before (something I've encouraged with suitable books and days out) and in previous posts I've shared some of our adventures. Today (well, last Saturday) I thought we'd step up a gear and try Song of Blades and Heroes on one of the two gaming boards he'd help make a while back.

First up, we had a 'tournament' between two knights each with a couple of ladies/princesses watching and cheering their champions on. He picked up the rules (activation dice, successes and failures, combat rolls, movement) almost instantly, and he proceeded to absolutely kick my behind with some monstrous dice rolls. In this game I didn't include combat values and just left it as a straight dice-off. I also gave him a different colour dice to use for combat to try and separate out the two steps of the turn (activation/combat).

Battle is joined...

Yup, his dice is the red one...

I'm going to activate this one, Daddy! (You can also see the balsa-ish strips of square section that I cut to length for measuring short/medium/long distances)

So, outnumbered 2:1 and outrolled, my second knight went down under the swords of his opponents
After that he really wanted to play again, so we went for a story-fuelled battle, including combat values and figures with different Quality.

After the delights of the tournament, the princesses needed to be guarded safely back home. All four knights and one squire volunteered. As they made their way happily along a sudden feeling of dread swept over them. A stench of decay filled their nostrils and dusty creaking sounds could be heard. The party decided to take refuge in the tower on the hilltop where the princesses could be safe while the knights dealt with whatever evil lurked behind the hills.

The vile necromancer, Jared, has summoned his minions to capture the princesses. Who knows for what nefarious ends?

Jared takes up a brave position at the rear

Two knights take the lead, heading to engage the enemy

They're behind us!

Not to fear, the red dice of chivalric doom is here!

That's two successes again, Daddy.

Oh sir knight, you're so brave!

Quick, princess, run for the tower

Jared's minions prove unable to get in the way (Three failures. Again!)

The princesses safely in the tower are able to watch as the knights deal comfortably with the threat.
With the last of the skeletons returned to dust, and the knights with their scratches and bruises gently bathed, an impromptu feast was held. The only thing that clouded their celebration was the knowledge that the necromancer had evaded their grasp. Would they see him again? 


The little man enjoyed himself enormously ("I killed all of yours, Daddy, didn't I?"), as did I: our first game using published rules. So proud! To set up the game I just gave him the knights I had to hand and grabbed a bunch of skeletons. I was a little concerned it was uneven (I didn't bother checking points values) and offered him another one from the "in progress" pile but was flatly refused. "It isn't painted, Daddy; I can't use it, that's against the rules!" Good lad.

We spent a bit of time on Sunday painting up some resin - river sections and a couple of small thatched farm buildings which he got enthusiastically involved in. "They'll make our next game even more fun!" I'm just waiting for the repair job I've done on the river sections to dry and then we'll flock them at some point this week.

I hope you've equally enjoyable geeking over the last week or so,

ps - I forgot to say: Miniature Heroes are fabulous to deal with. I wanted a few shields and emailed them when the postage came out at £3.10 on their automatic cart. They popped them in an envelope for pennies over the cost of a first class stamp. Hurrah for excellent customer service. http://miniature-heroes.co.uk/


  1. Fantastic. My son is also 4, and I encourage him to 'play' with some of my less valuable miniatures, and we often talk of when he can play a game with me. Maybe it is time to try.
    Your son seems to have grasped it very well. How long did the game last?

  2. Thanks Adam. He's a fairly gentle child with books and toys and the like, so I let him use my normal figures. The 'tournament' lasted about ten minutes, and the adventure about forty minutes. At one point in the middle he said I'd given him too many knights and it was taking too long, but once he got stuck into causing 'gruesome kills' (although I left out that subtlety and just removed or knocked down figures as appropriate) he was more than happy again. Bloodthirsty tyke!

  3. Great battle report Rab! I'm hoping for similar experiences with my boy in the future. MiniPee is a mere year and a half though, so I'll have to play it cool for a while. =)

  4. Thanks - you've already got painted figures and terrain, though, phreedh. If you were like me that would leave you just enough time to get something organised! It's worth looking forward to, gaming with the little 'un.

  5. Im gald you didnt bring that red dice to our bloodbowl game!

    Truely heart warming. I loved reading this. My lad is 4 and he loves Jr Monopoly etc. but I no longer have any wargames unfortunately.

    And I'd never inflict the frustration bloodbowl brings on him at such a tender age...

    1. Glad you liked it. Song of Blades and Heroes is under a tenner and can be played with a mere half dozen figures per side. It would be cheaper than getting another BB team for you to have two opposing warbands. Go on; you know you want to!