Thursday, 25 February 2010

Oh Well - an SoBH Battle Report

This week saw me round at MacSver's hobby shed for a Songs Of Blades and Heroes battle. This is a notoriously difficult venue to come to as he seems to have constructed his table over a dice rolling ley line which only he is attuned to. He tells me his brother-in-law holds similar suspicions. Advance apologies to my opponent if I get some of the exact details wrong as I'm working from memory.

Firstly the lines-ups. All stats are from  the core rulebook.
  • Mac's Free Company (296 pts):
    Human Leader, Barbarian Warrior x2, Human Archer, Human Warmage, Human City Militia, Light Cavalry Archer.
  • Arabian Knights ( 303 pts):
    Human Leader, Medium Cavalry x2, Human warrior x2, Human Archer, Human City Militia
Setup: We set out a standard 2'x2' playing area with a partially enclosed well in the centre. The objective of the battle was to pick up a mystic shield from the well (costing 1 action) and exit off the table on their starting side. As both sides had cavalry we ruled that mounted figures couldn't retrieve the shield.

 Both sides went with leaders in the centre to maximise their Quality Roll bonus and some forces set up touching bases for group moves. I set up my cavalry on either side as I still don't know how best to use them, so vague flanking manoeuvres were setup.

Turn 1: Macsver won initiative and rushed his leader straight in towards the well with a double move. He was closely followed by his barbarians which moved independently. The mounted archer moved up and across field to cover the well  and the other forces moved up table except for the archer who failed two dice and ended the turn. My Leader rolled one pass from two and issued a group move to the assembled troups on his left, who promptly rolled 3 fails to end my turn without a single move. Poop!

Turn 2: AK won initiative and moved his forces up together. The right hand cavalry took advantage of its long move and rushed into the ruins to head off and attack the MFC leader, only to knocked back in combat. In a temporary waiver of the ley line power Macsver rolled a double fail first roll to end the turn.

Turn 3: AK won initiative again. The knight moved in to attack the leader again, only to be knocked down this time. The AK Leader issued a group move to the warriors & archer and moved into the ruins. The AK turn finished with the AK militiaman rushing up to the well and lifting the prised shield. Macsver then brought his mounted archer up and shot at the militiaman, only to knock him back. The barbarians then rushed into attack the AK leader, looking to cause a moral caused route only for one to be knocked down and the other to draw. The warmage and militia moved up to the ruins but 2 fails were rolled again before the archer could get a move in (again).

Turn 4: MacSver won initiative. The Mounted archer took another shot at Shield holding militia but only resulted in another knockback. The warmage the unleashed a level 3 transfix spell on the opposing leader only for him to roll 3 quality passes to fend off the effects.  Battles with the barbarians (once one had stood back up) only resulted in a knockback and the leader stood his ground. The MFC militiaman flanked round the ruins to hopefully intercept any retreat and finally the archer double moved up the field of battle and killed the remaining cavalry with a single shot! At the start of his turn, the shield carrying militiaman decided to run back to home with his prize. He rolled a double move which took him off the board to victory, thanks to the 2 knockbacks from the opposing mounted archer in previous turns giving him the crucial distance.

As usual good fun was had. The initiative system in SoBH always seems to create an enjoyable ebb and flow to a game. In hindsight the board was perhaps too small and simple for a "retrieve and escape" type scenario. There should have at least been the chance of some sort of pursuit. Next time maybe adding some impassable and rough terrain in front of and behind the ruins will slow down the movement, as this action was a bit smash and grab. I think the key segment of the battle (not that I appreciated it at the time) was the resilience (ie lucky combat rolling) of my Leader. He fought off a level 3 transfix spell and 2  rounds of double barbarian attacks to defend that flank. Had he gone down there was every likelihood that my militia would have dropped the shield in a fleeing action (as in the Standard Bearer rule) leaving Mac's Free Company to waltz in and take the prize. Action of the battle was easily MacSver's Archer, who hadn't moved all battle, sprinting up the table and taking down my remaining knight with a single, normal shot. We'll have to see what the next battle brings...

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