27 May 2014

John the Troll-slayer

Towards the end of the second day of solid rain in my little part of damp old Blighty, the natives (aged 4 and 6) were getting more than a little restless. Even Lego had lost its appeal! Something Had To Be Done...

As luck would have it, the little village on the edge of the ash-grey plains of Fron'Troom had been overrun by goblins, a troll, and several nameless beasts from the dark recesses of the forest of So-Faa. Time for knights to be knightly and see off those monsters to allow the innocent villagers to return to their life of feudal servitude and drudgery in peace.

With no thoughts for points, balance, or anything more than a cursory scenario (kill or drive off the monsters) and the need for a quick start, I grabbed a handful of gribblies to face off against the combined might of my sons' First Painted Figures. I thought I might need to take it a little easy on them as their first couple of moves were a bit like primary school football - everyone charge in the same direction - it turned out that my abysmal activation rolls (we used the excellent Song of Blades and Heroes rules), their natural understanding of enfilading fire and more sixes than I've ever seen on unloaded dice meant I was soon fighting for survival. A survival that was nasty, brutish and short. There was much rejoicing on the side of the multi-coloured forces of order when a fallen knight leapt to his feet and tripped the troll in time for his comrade in arms (the eponymous John) to stride in and despatch the beast with nonchalant ease. Bah humbug! After that it was just a matter of a couple of turns before all my outnumbered minions were similarly slain; the one surviving goblin fleeing ignominiously back into the dark places as far afield as Cell'Ar.

"You shoot him from that side and I'll get him from this side!"

"Good idea! I'm going to channel the power of my newly made pirate hat to help us win!"

Only fully painted figures allowed on MY gaming carpet board

Dammit! Yet ANOTHER six rolled for shooting by the pirate general

My solitary near-victory of the game

The forces of naughtiness get whittled down to size

"Did you see that?! I totally just slayed a troll! Awesome!"
"Woah! Dude! That was righteous! btw, it's slew..."

Confused by the amazing village-camouflage-patterned archers, the goblins didn't see what hit them.

Run away!

"Now go away or we shall taunt you a second time!"

The game was great fun for me and the boys. I'd forgotten what a good little ruleset Song of Blades and Heroes is; I have all of the expansions as well and the boys really took to it. I'm glad I'd kept the measuring sticks I'd made for the last time I played which was ages ago as it sped things up nicely and made the intuitive system actually intuitive. I'll have to find the character card template again and run some off using photos of their figures to gently introduce the various abilities available for a more challenging game.

In Oldhammer news, I've ordered a sample set of the BOYL dice I designed at both 16mm and 22mm size. As previously mentioned, the lovely people at dice.co.uk are lovely. Very helpful for a neophyte dice-designer such as myself.

And with that, g'night, fellow geeks,


  1. There's nothing quite like introducing your younglings to wargaming. A mixture of pride, déjà vu (that was me all those years ago!), and seeing what sort of general they truly are i.e. ruthless, scaredy cats or calculating.

    A great experience to have as a parent.

    1. In their case, a curious mixture of underhand, recklessness and absolutely without mercy. I'm very proud!

  2. So-Faa so good.

    Are the forces of evil going to come back for a second go at the village?

    1. Oh yes, a fresh tide of extremely poorly behaved and unwashed beasts is poised to sweep down on the hapless villagers :)

  3. Nice report. The bit I enjoyed most was you being out diced (maybe you have passed on you spawny dice ability! You are DOOMED!).

    I seriously have to get Euan playing some games, so we can meet up in the summer under the guise of childcare!

    1. Now I understand why Malc gets quite so peevish about my luck in BB games; it's most galling!

      And yes, get the little man playing asap.