Monday, 27 February 2017

playing (with) the system!

Hi all, I've been thinking (which is normally when the trouble and the screaming begins!). I love a good wargame, its fair to say i'm a little obsessed with the blimin things. Recently i have drifted away from the smaller scale games such as Lion rampant and such and back towards a larger scale of mass indiscriminate death in the form of Kings of war. Now I am a fan of both scales and will switch to fit the narrative i'm attempting to resolve on the table. Its been a while since i played a game in the larger scale (in terms of number of troops on the table), and i found something about the experience a little lacking. The troops in the game activated during their turn and did exactly what i wanted them to do (within the rules of course!). There was no uncertainty, the troops may as well have been robots!, where was the miss-communication?, where was the confusion in the din of battle?, where was the FOG OF WAR?!!. After playing games that forced the player to think about what he activated and how because even trying to get your troops to do as they were told was racked with risk and doubt this felt a little odd. During a game of Lion Rampant a failed activation test results in the turn ending and the opposing force attempting to activate their own troops .The rather good 'A Song of Blades and Hero's' by Ganesha games has a system that not only asks the player to make decisions as to which troopers to activate in which order but also adds an element of risk by asking how many actions you wish them to perform, failing to succeed when testing EACH action can risk your opponents taking free actions of his own or even play passing to the other side!. These mechanics are handled in a simple manor and flow very well and do a good job of simulating how troops may not follow or understand orders when angry people are attempting to chop off their excess limbs!!. Games such as Kings of War and Warhammer fail in this imo by not having any kind of mechanic to simulate troops attitudes in so far as refusing to do as they are actually told when under such stress. I think a lot of this has to do with the turn systems in these games. Both follow the igougo method of activation (one players force perform all actions then play passes to the opposing player who does likewise). Now im not trashing this method, it works well to give a nice game and has done for a long time, however i want a bit more.....uncertainty, i want troops to be caught in the open by a surprise attack. I want troops to be proactive and get the drop on the enemy, i want troops to downright ignore me under pressure!. I suppose i want troops to be, well, human (or other species).
Would you just blindly charge?

Now i am also of the opinion that you shouldn't criticize without offering a solution (or at least an alternative), so without further ado I give you....SPRINKS' UNFINISHED AND IN SOME PART LOOTED FROM OTHER SYSTEMS ALTERNATE IDEAS ON ACTIVATING TROOPS TO CREATE A SENSE OF 'FOG OF WAR'! (breath!).

 This idea is aimed at games with the igougo turn sequence. Now most of these games (certainly all the ones i have played) break each game turn into steps or phases (for example movement followed by shooting followed by combat etc). All the steps are completed by player x and then play passes to player y who begins a new turn of the same phases. It would look something like this:

TURN 1    Player x performs all moves, 
                  Player x shoots with all his troops that can do so,
                  Player x resolves any combats involving his troops.

                 Player y performs all moves,
                 Player y shoots with all his troops that can do so,
                 Player y resolves any combats involving his troops.

 And during one players turn his opponents army just stand there and take it!. The split turn changes the order of the phases by allowing player y to perform the step/phase of the turn directly after player x does. This would better show the fact that both forces are moving and acting at the same time. So in a split turn the order above would look like this:

TURN 1   Player x performs all moves.
                                                             Player y performs all moves,
                Player x shoots with all his troops that can do so,
                                                             Player y shoots with all troops that can do so,
                Player x and player y resolve combats working from one side of the table to another.

This is not perfect as all of one players troops still perform first but it does mean that the opposing player can react right away and exploit gaps and tactical situations in a more realistic way.

    This method involves doing away with the turn sequence above almost entirly, insted you dictate when a player may act with his troops by drawing cards. To do this take a deck of playing cards. Give each player one colour or suit from the deck and set aside 1 card per unit in his force (for example player x has a force containing 8 units so 8 'spades' are set aside). Once a set of cards have been put aside for each force in play shuffle them together and place this new deck face down, this is your deck of activation cards. Once the sides have set up begin the game by turning over the top card, the player who's card is drawn may move and/or fire/fight with one of his units. Once he has done this place a marker (such as a counter or small coin) next to the activated unit. Then flip the next card and activate an un-activated unit from the relevant force. Continue in this way until all the cards have been flipped and all the units in play have activated. Then remove one card for each unit no longer in play, shuffle the deck and begin the process again until one player wins the game!. Easy!. This method is great to use as it adds the sense of unpredictability to the battle and makes every activation count, no longer can you simply move up troops at will, you need to bear in mind that the next card could allow the enemy to spoil your plans!
'Be there in a jiffy lads, just wait for him to draw the next club!'


           An activation test is a method that could be used to model the fact that some troops may not act the way you wish them to when things get tough!. To do them you need to apply the following:
Establish Which player is going first. He then picks a unit and performs an activation test. If he passes the test the unit may move and/or fire/fight. Then he picks his next unit and takes an activation test for them....and so on. He continues as long as he keeps passing tests, if he fails play passes to his opponent who follows the same system. What makes up an activation test will depend on which set of rules you are using. If you are playing Warhammer why not roll 2d6 and test the units Leadership, if you roll lower than or equal to its L score the unit passes, if it is higher the unit fails for some reason (order not received, troops looting, troops tending to their wounded, whatever). If Kings of War is your poison why not roll 2d6 against the units Ne stat ( the rout limit not the wavering one), adding any damage the unit has sustained to the roll. If the final total is lower than or equal to the Ne stat the unit activates. If it is higher it fails. This does mean that most units will pass until they receive enough damage to be able to roll above their Ne, but this does give the impression of troops being well drilled and aware of their orders as the battle is joined but becoming less eager as they receive wounds as the battle rages around them!. You could use certain abilities to modify the result, if they have a bonus to charging maybe +x to charge actions, if they are skirmishers perhaps a + something when attempting to move). This system is very tense and makes every activation test important as at any moment your opponents force may get the drop on you before you can move to support your own men!. 
If i roll less than a 9 you pikemen are f'in dead!.

The above ideas are just that and will need some adapting and common sense to make them work smoothly with some systems (remember to apply Warhammer psychology tests before taking any kind of activation tests for example), but your a gamer so house ruling and thinking on the fly will be nothing new right!. If any of the above sound interesting why not give them a go?. If you have any other ideas or suggestions feel free to leave a comment below, im always interested in hearing new ideas for game mechanics.

Anyway, until next time.........  

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Of orcs, soap and the hardships of war (AAR)

  Colour sargeant  Merric cursed under his breath, this blasted wasteland would be his grave. The dust got into everything, he had not had the chance to wash for days, the heat was inescapable and suffocating, he had developed a rattling cough that shook his chest. The ornate suit of plate he had been given by his father for the expedition was tarnished and the the rich red plumage tattered after weeks of abuse in this hell hole. This was meant to be simple, a quick exercise in clearing the area of a few wild orc tribes ready for the mining guilds men to move in, the Guild alliance had only funded the trip for three weeks, he and the men were packing up ready to leave when he received the message that more of the filthy creatures were moving in, now they were working for nothing!. It had been easy at the start, they caught the savages unprepared, the organised and drilled men under his command quickly drove them out and burned their huts. The scout patrols reported the survivors scattering and even ran a few down, more for sport than anything else. He was in line for a promotion and a good pension but now.......but now.......And the men, they could feel it too. This was not the way it was meant to be, it was a break from the border patrols and caravan escorts, a chance to blood themselves against a helpless enemy and make some easy coin. He glanced over his shoulder at the men, grumbling, trying to get the dust from their guns and sharpening their blades, some drank together but he knew their was no harm in it, he had a dram or two before they moved out just to settle his own resolve. 'Shall I form up the men Sarge?'. The question shook Merric from his thoughts. He turned to face Corporal Jann, seeing for the first time how tired he looked, dark rings under his young eyes. 'Ah Corporal, yes get them formed the scum will be here soon enough'. The young Corporal saluted smartly and turned on his heals. Before he moved off his head dropped, he turned back to face Merric. 'Sarge, can I ask you something?'. 'Yes lad' replied Merric, a hint of reservation in his voice.'Some of the men sir.......some of them have heard tales from the scouts sir, they say....they say..' 'They say we are outnumbered' Interrupted Merric, it was not a question. 'Yes sarge' replied Jann, surprised. 'Walk with me Corporal' said Merric putting a fatherly hand on his young charges shoulder, 'it wont do to talk in front of the men'

   He led them to a pile of dusty rocks some way from the troops, some glanced at them as they went, he saw a hint of fear in more than one pair of eyes. He leaned against a rock and gestured to Jann to sit. 'Look lad, the truth is that we are facing a large force, and advanced force of about one hundred and a larger force following up.' He said it with the detachment of a superior officer but Jann saw the worry on his normally calm face. 'But sarge, we got them, we drove them off last time, where are they coming from, this makes no sense!' Blurted the young officer, his voice filled with panic. 'We dont know lad, at a guess the survivors went for aid and now they are back. I've delt with these savages before, they never know when to give up'. Jann had shrunk into himself, he was scarred, Merric had seen it so meany times before, a fresh officer, brave as a lion when the odds were with him, Meek as a lamb when outnumbered. 'Are you afraid lad?' Merric asked, the bluntness of the question seamed to shake Jann. 'I am an officer in the forces of the Guild Alliance, fear is unknown...sir!' Answered Jann, repeating the words they all had drilled into them in training, his voice betraying his true feelings. Merric tried not to smile, the lad was stubborn at least, that would be some help. 'I'm afraid' Said Merric flatly 'and you should be'. 'Sir?'. 'If you are not scarred of a huge horde of savages headed fore you baying for blood' continued Merric 'you are either a liar or a fool and both make you a liability, I dont need a fool by my side I need an officer, an officer understands odds and understands danger and acts accordingly. I need you to fear and act anyway. I need you to help command these men against almost certain death with a resolve born of the desire to survive. Do you understand Corporal?'.'I think so sarge' replied Jann, his voice unsteady. 'Good lad' Said Merric, his fatherly tone almost drawing a smile from the young man. 'Give them hope lad, make them believe they will survive, that is the only chance we have of seeing home again'. 'Do you think we will see home again?.....sir' asked Jann hopefully. Merric gazed into the distance. 'Sir...will we make it sir?'. After a long pause Merric looked at Jann.'Not a chance in hell corporal, now say a prayer and form up the men, they need some hope drilled into them!'.        

O.k. this is becoming a habit!. Another game, another report. This time i decided to use Kings of War as my rule set of choice as i have been enjoying Lion Rampant for smaller scale battles but the narrative seemed to call for some larger scale bloodletting!. I would go into details about the rules and all the cool features but you can down load it for free here so i urge you to check them out for yourself. One thing i will say is that the rules give sizes of units of troops (troops of 10 minis, regiments of 20 minis and hordes of 40 minis, cavalry units are roughly half the number of minis). These numbers give a real 'big battle' feeling and look great on the i have kinda halved them to make setting up quicker! (abuse in the comments bellow). So i have troops of 5, regs of 10 and hordes of 20. I promise i will do a massive game soon with loads of full sized units, honest I will!. The other big thing to note is you do not remove minis as your units take damage. Instead damage is tracked with markers or dice beside the unit (hence dice in the photos). This speeds up play a great deal and leads to the game feeling rather stream lined. I like it!. It also means that if you dont have enough minis to fill out the total number required to form the unit size you can just put what you have on a movement tray of the correct size and hey presto! it'll do (and you are a gamer after me own heart,'what do you mean not enough?, make it enough!').
So, onto the battle itself. No scenario as such but the narrative tells of a force out numbered and facing certain death battling against the odds to survive which is good enough for me!. So a set battle of 5 turns representing the advanced orc force attacking. I love a scenario but sometimes less is more.

The usual 'arty' style photo!, Nothing to do with the quality of the camera!.

The force is based on the Kingdoms of Men army list.

CORPORAL JANN -- Also a hero
2x PIKE HORDES, 2x ARQUBUSIERS REGIMENT, 1x CANNON, 1x MOUNTED SCOUTS (with pistols), 1x MILITIA REGIMENT (the smiths, cooks, medics and other camp orderlies that Merric could press gang!), these have been upgraded to fire just like pistol armed scouts to show the mix of poorly maintained weapons they have grabbed on the way into battle!.

(minis are a mix of Mini art, A call to arms, Hat and Revell,)

This force is whats left to fight the oncoming horde of orcs....speaking of which:

Raarggghhh!, Geerrrrr!!!, Comeereyamurderinbastardsss!!!!!!
(Poor photo, i'm sorry!). Taken from the orc army list:
 1x WARCHEIF (called a Krudger in the KoW rules), upgraded to ride a Gore. 1x SHAMAN (Called a Godspeaker in the list) upgraded to have the Bane chant spell, 2x AX HORDE, 1x GORE RIDER REGIMENT, 1x SKULK TROOP (the ones with the bows and 'THEY HAVE A CAVE TROLL!!! (cant resist, sorry!), he represents a Troop of trolls in the list but i thought he looks so imposing next to 20mm troops just him would do fine!.
All the orc minis are by Dark alliance and Barry the troll is by Games Workshop.

As normal i am using my coloured bases, Guild troops are on green with white trim and the Orcs are black with green trim.

The god forsaken roasted dust bowl....or 'home' if you happen to be an Orc!
The Orcs set up a strong center of Ax hordes with the Warcheif, Barry and Gore Riders in support. The Skulks screen the important stuff!. (bottom of shot).
The Guild forces set up in a defensive formation, a center built around the Cannon and Pike, Gunners advanced to get good fields of fire. The Scouts and Militia are out on the wings to create a mobile cross fire. (top of shot).

As with the last game i have tried to leave out the mechanics (i love game mechanics but they do ruin a good story!) and just go with the flow of the story as it happens.

The orcs waste little time and barrel towards the defensive line, no regard given to the fierce guns of the Guildsmen!.
At which point Merric and Jann gave the order to...wait for it....FIRE!!!!!!
The Scouts galloped around the right and drew a bead on the Orc Warcheif!
*COUGH*COUGH* Bloody gunpowder!!!
The Militia swung around the rock pile on the left and opened up on the orc flank.
The result of the volley was indecisive and when the (considerable) smoke cleared the Orcs kept on coming!. The defenders braced for the charge!.
As the Orcs close the Gores charge the Gunners, wiping them out!.
On the wings the now rather miffed Warcheif slammed into the Scouts!.
Who decided to find a better way to make a living and hoofed it into the sunset!. A similar story on the other flank as the Militia regretted taking up arms and quickly re-thought key life decisions as the orc ax charged them and cut them all down!
'Whos bloody idea was this?'
 Sgt Merric, seeing his force falling left and right ordered a second volley while the pike stepped up to engage the Gores, sending them packing!.
Again the guns did minimal damage!. While the main force of Orcs held the men in the center the Horde of Ax that wiped out the Militia rounded the flank ready to charge!
Sneaky, sneaky, slaughter monkey!
The Warcheif had also worked round the flank and set himself to charge back into the mele!
'Soo meany targets, so little time'
The pike gained ground in the center and began to push the orcs back, then the Ax Horde charged from behind!
The Pikes quickly fell to the slaughter, their organization falling apart with the attack from behind!. Merric looked around him, the situation looked grim!
'Oh bugger!'
However Jann had 'bigger' issues to deal with!

Both men glanced towards each other, lifted their blades and sounded the charge!.......And were quickly repelled!. Then the Orcs counter charged!.

'Sir, you know that hope you were going on about....'
Jann fell under the press of Orcs, Merric was made of sterner stuff and though wounded managed to extract himself from the block attacking him. He looked around only to see The Troll turn over the Cannon
From crew to goo in 3 seconds flat
The remaining Pike charged the Troll but were pushed back by the monster.
'Hey Dave, is your shaft flaccid?'
'Yeah mate, its just the way i'm put together!'.
 Needing respite Merric dropped back and wiped the sweat from his brow, He looked around to see how the battle was going. All that remained of his force was a wavering block of Pike and....and...where was everyone else?, The guns, the horse. Where was Jann?. He gulped.

The noose tightens!.
Merric knew the day was lost. He swore under his breath and shouted over to the Pikemen. 'SELL YOUR LIVES DEARLY MEN, THE GUILD MAY NOT KNOW YOUR NAMES BUT HISTORY SHALL SHOUT THEM!, KILL ALL YOU CAN, WE FALL THIS DAY!, SO FALL HARD!!!!!. And with that he held his sword aloft one last time a yelled 'FOR ALL YOU HAVE MEN...CHARGE!!!!'.

I had to call time at that point but it seemed like a dramatic time to do so. Did any survivors live to tell the tale of the slaughter in the Dead lands?, I guess we will never know!. Before i sign off I want to say a huge HELLO (see I said it would be a big one!) to Mr Airbornegrove26, who not only is the latest person to put his (rather cool) picture in the gallery of followers of the WRONGHAMMER way (tba to be honest!), but also a man that is responsible for some of the best battle reports you will see (and the coolest chaos dragon ever) over on his blog Give 'em Lead, which i highly recommend you check out!.

Anyway, till next time.....


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Of orcs, soap and the hardships of war (prologue)

Colour Sargeant Merric stood to attention outside the commanders vast H.Q. tent. The dry heat causing him to perspire, but not nearly as much as the news he had just had passed to him. The thought of facing commander Bragg during lunch was bad enough but telling him this was too much. 'ENTER!' came the bellowing voice, deep and thick from within the shady confines of the tent. 'AND MAKE IT BALLY GOOD, A MANS TRYING TO ENJOY HIS...HIS...STEWARD, WHAT IS THIS CALLED AGAIN?......WHAT!....WHAT! DON'T MUMBLE MAN I ASKED YOU A PERFECTLY FAIR QUESTION....WHAT....LUNCH, I JOLLY WELL KNOW ITS LUNCH YOU STUPID......OH, OH I SEE, HAUNCH, HAUNCH OF VENISON...WELL WHY DID'NT YOU SAY SO, PERFECTLY PLAIN....AH COLO..sorry, Colour Sargeant come in, come in what news from the patrols?'. Merric Stood neatly to attention and saluted his superiors. Old General Palboul dozed quietly sitting up on the daybed in the corner. Major Ichinar looked down his thin beak like nose at Merric for what felt like an hour, regarding him with the sort of expression one would reserve for a fresh stain on a new carpet before turning back to his food. Seated to his left was the vast frame of Commander Bragg, reclined while still sitting up at the richly dressed and fully laden lunch table on account of  his gigantic stomach pushing him away from the table. His mouth was completely hidden by his thick moustache which made him look not unlike a walrus reclined on a rock. 'At ease man at ease, no need for all that in here' Bragg shoveled another fork full into his mouth and continued 'you have news i hear, crushed the last pockets of the savages i hope, jolly good, jolly good, well if that's all a chap has two dessert courses to tackle so if you would be so good', Bragg waved his full again fork towards the door. 'Not quite Sir' answered Merric. 'Oh?' exclaimed Bragg placing his fork on his plate and sitting back further, hands on his ample gut. 'The scouts have reported movement on the frontier sir, some six hundred or so behind an advanced group at least one hundred strong headed towards us sir' explained Merric trying to stay calm. 'Oh come now Colour Sargeant you know as well as i these scouts like to exaggerate, gives them a sense of grander you know, i'm sure its just another probe trying to draw us out. Let the patrol deal with them'. 'I regret to inform you they already ambushed the patrol and killed two scout groups. The reports suggest they are only a day away'. 'Oh no Colour Sargeant' retorted Bragg 'that will never do, we killed two hundred in the first attack and scattered the rest. Where would Six hundred orcs suddenly come from?'. 'We cant  say sir but the report states four tribes banners have been sighted sir'. 'What piffle!' snorted Major Ichinar suddenly 'do you expect us to believe that there are more of the filthy creatures?, I signed the paperwork in full, we swept the area and found nothing. We are alone out here Colour Sargaent, i would bet my life on it!'. 'I'll say we are alone, there is not a single living thing in this blasted dust bowl' agreed Bragg 'why we ran clean out of fresh provisions last week, we have gone without a fish course for the last three days!, I had to tackle my soup with a dessert spoon just yesterday!, i suppose that's the hardships we must expect on active duty'. 'Quite so Monty' snorted Ichinar, 'they had the nerve to try to serve blue cheese on those horrid dry biscuits they give the common foot-sloggers!'. 'Sir if I may interject' attempted Merric 'we have a large army of angry vengeful savages baying for our blood that will be on the camp by dawn!, we need to prepare fortifications and set watches, we are greatly outnumbered sir and currently unprepared.....sir'. 'pish- posh Colour Sargeant' laughed Bragg dismissively, 'out numbered indeed, you forget we are the superior force, your average orc has yet to discover soap let alone sound military theory!, we have a greater knowledge, manors, strategy and don't forget BALLY GUN POWDER COLOUR SARGEANT!. Send out the troops to meet these animals in the field and give them a taste of the Guild Alliances' steel. Send them running back to wherever filthy holes they came from'.' The Guild want this land cleared and clear it we shall!'.  Bragg stuffed another fork full into his face. 'Sir if I may suggest' started Merric. 'COLOUR SARGENT!' bellowed Ichinar 'YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN A DIRECT ORDER. ORGANIZE THE TROOPS AND MEET THESE SCUM!'. Merric sighed, 'SIR YES SIR' he shouted, more then a hint of resignation in his voice. He turned and sloped out of the tent.

  Silence filled the command tent as the officers let the details of the report sink in. Bragg poked at his food, a worried look on his face. He looked over to Major Ichinar. 'Ichiny, you think th..' he broke off, seemingly unsure how to continue the question. 'do you think' he continued.........'do you think this bally meats gone cold?, STEWARD!....STEWARD! WHERES THE BLOODY PUDDING!!??!!'.          

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Solo questing, heroically

Hi all, last time out i shared my home brew rules for
Image result for heroquest logo
(if you want a logo make it a massive logo! wife says im over compensating!).
well I've been at it again!. The one thing with the game is the fact that someone has to run things as the 'evil wizard player' (or D.M. for the kids of the TSR generation). Playing with the kids has been fun as they have to work together to complete the quests and have learned the hard way that they are stronger as a team then working on their own (see detractors, gaming teaches life lessons....sometimes). What this does mean is that i never get to pick up my metaphorical battle axe (and adjust my metaphorical metal cod piece) and channel my inner hero!. Well all that has changed!.

At this point i think i need to point out that i quite enjoy messing with game systems and home brewing rule sets and when i set myself a challenge i find myself over thinking it far too much!. With that in mind i give you..........SPRINKS' HOME BREW SOLO HEROQUEST SYSTEM!!!!!!.

 To make this work you need to do a small amount of prep work. Take 2 different coloured sheets of card (A4 will do the trick). What you need to do is make counters to represent the monsters in the game (and any others you want to include) in one colour and the 'features' of the game (such as furniture, traps, secret doors etc) in the other. Mark the sheets in 2cmx2cm squares and write the name of one monster or feature on a relevant square. Write one counter for each of the individual miniatures you wish to use (e.g. if you want 6 orcs write 6 'orc' counters). When you have finished cut them out, they should look like a better version of these:
Monster counters
The counters will have writing on one side and be blank on the other. These will be used in the game to indicate the position of monsters and features on the game board without giving away what is actually in the room.
Next you need to note down the special rules and stats for the monsters you are using. If you are using the monsters in the box just keep the monster cards handy, if like me you like to add more i find it best to write them out together (i used the same colour card as the monster counters to create a 'monster matrix' for ease during play. The features need to be listed along with any special rules you wish to give them on their own 'matrix'. These are the rules i have been using but its your game so its up to you!:

-Fire place: roll 1 dice. On a roll of 4+ you may use the fire place as a secret door.
-Treasure Chest: The first character that stands next to it receives a treasure card. Once this happens remove the chest from play. I tend to use 6 chest counters as they are removed from play after use.
-Book Case: The first character To stand next to it rolls 1 dice, on a 1-3 they get a treasure card, on a 4-6 they get 1 random spell card.
-tomb: The first player that stands next to it rolls 1 dice. On a roll of 1-2 a Skeleton appears as a wondering monster, on a 3+ the player gets a treasure card.
-Secret door: Place on the closest square on a wall. Counts as a secret door as detailed in the rule book.
-Trap: Effects the character that opened the door to the room. Roll 1 dice, on an odd roll it counts as a pit trap, on an even its a falling rock trap as detailed in the rules.
-Stairs: Means of escape, the characters cannot leave the board unless they find these!.
-Weapon rack: The first player that stands next to it gets an equipment card.
-Wardrobe: The players may use this to escape to Narnia.......................Just kidding the first character    that stands next to it rolls 1 dice. On a 4+ they get a treasure card.
-Wizards bench type thing: The first player to stand next to it rolls 1 dice. On a 1-2 they receive 1 body point  of damage, any other result allows them to get 1 spell card. 
-Rack: Nothing, its an empty rack....I'm not E L James!.

Mine look like this:

The search is over.......
 In the solo rules there is no need to search for anything, the features include traps, secret doors and many ways to receive treasure cards. How many of each you include is up to you.

 The point of a game called Heroquest is to take hero's questing. To do this you need quests!. Take another sheet of card (any colour) and measure out 10 4cm x 5cm cards. These will be your Quest cards. Choose 10 different quests and write one on each card ( e.g. kill the gargoyle, find the weapon rack, open 3 chests, find the stairs etc). The quests work as plot points giving narrative reasons for the quest, maybe they are after a magic item, treasure hunting, on a mission to wipe out an enemy that is set to destroy the local area!  Cut these out. You will have a pile a bit like this:
                                           So much to do, so few body points!.
 To set up the board all you need to do is place the the plastic door bases where you like and use them to show where the doorways are going to be. No need to put the frames in yet. If you want to you can add the blocked passage sections to change the shape and layout. It will look something like this:
Then you can put the monster and feature counters face down in any rooms you like to make a game that suits you. Try not to put more than 2 features per room as some are far larger than the counters!. You will have something not unlike this:

And you will have no idea whats in each room (unless you cheated....and you are only cheating yourself!).
The next thing to do is choose your party of adventurers. You can use some or all of the ones from the box or you can create your own (my own method can be found here). Then pick one quest card at random for each 2 members of the adventuring party. You can pick any empty room or stretch of passageway to set up the party in (best to pick a room with a door!). 

Playing the game
 The game follows all the rules as stated in the rule book with the evil wizards turn being taken over by the game itself. When a character can see a new rooms door place a closed door in the door frame. When the player opens the door it is assumed they can see the whole room so all the monster and feature counters in the room are turned over to reveal whats lurking within. Replace the counters with the relevant models. The counters are discarded when revealed. The players turn then continues. For example:
A party of dwarves find a door, a closed door is placed in the frame.
Gunner 'big gunn' Gunnerson is sent forward to investigate.
He opens the door, an open door frame is placed and the counters turned over. He can see another door in the room so a closed door is placed it the base.
The monster minis are placed and so are the features. Gunner messes himself. (maybe).

 It can be assumed that during what would have been the evil wizard players turn all monsters will move up to their full distance to attack the closest character. If you are using  monsters with missile attacks they will only move far enough to target the closest character. If in doubt assume the monsters will move and attack in the most obvious way they can.

Ending the game
 The game ends when the characters complete the missions given on the quest cards at the start of the game and have discovered and moved onto the stairs. If you feel they have done this too quickly feel free to draw an extra quest card. If all the characters die before the quests are completed the mission has failed and you will be left with an empty feeling inside (but dont be too hard on yourself!). 

So thats all there is too it!. You can even let two players play rival parties that set up in their own areas but are trying to complete the same quests, best to draw more than 2 quests to make sure one party cant stumble on the objectives too quickly. Of course they still have to find the stairs and there's nothing stopping the opposing party from trying to stop them!.

I hope thats a help for some of you and gets you dusting off your chain mail under shorts for a bit of heroic questing!. Before i go i would like to offer a massive Wronghammer welcome to the esteemed Mr Phil o'tep, a fantastic miniature painter whos blog can be found here (check it out its great!), Mr Carlos Faro and the enigmatic Matthew (just Matthew) who have decided to do the inadvisable and follow this rubbish!. Thank you and welcome to all of you!. As always I'm not sure if Matthew and Carlos have blogs but if you do feel free to let us all know in the comments section, we would love to check them out!.

Anyway, till next time...... 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Questing, heroically

As i have stated in a previous post i do love a bit of

Image result for heroquest logo

Not only was it responsible for a lifetime of pushing plastic solders around boards/tables/gardens/floors etc it was and still is an absolute blast to play almost 30 years after it was released!. Proof of this is the fact that not only did it provide my gateway into gaming it has also had the same effect on my sons (aged 8 and 5) who have almost recovered the spirit blade and are on a crash course with a risen nasty from my youth!. They actually badger me for the next game!. Its even got to the point where they ask to help when im sorting minis and getting ready to play a game! (' daddy are you playing an army game?, CAN I PLAY!!!??'). This if nothing else is proof im a responsible parent!. Since i have been revisiting this wonderful bit of gaming history (yep, its 'retro', which shows my age like nothing else!), and since i have been playing it with two cherubs who have a collective great imagination for a 'tactical advantage' (e.g. 'daddy can i be the barbarian?'. 'In that case can i be the Gargoyle?!!') i have been required to think about the rules and have come up with a few thoughts to add to the game.

  Yep the boys are taken with the idea of shooting orcs in the bottom (their words). I solve this issue by allowing missile attacks in the game but have also introduced some baddies with them too!. To make this work i have come up with the following:

 Any player may have missile attacks if the evil wizard player allows it and a missile weapon is depicted on the mini used to represent the character. I dont worry about range as most of the rooms are too small to make this much of an issue however and i also allow a 360 degree field of fire following the idea that minis can be turned to face combat opponents in hand to hand so why not when shooting!. I do however insist on line of sight, if the way is blocked by a player/monster/feature/wall the shots not on!. I give all missile attacks 2 attack dice (sometimes i go easy with smaller monsters such as goblins and only give them 1). Also i only allow one shooting attack OR hand to hand attack per move.

   I also have come up with a simple method to allow the boys to go through my collection of minis to pick their character. They enjoy rummaging through daddy's 'army men' and i'm not going to stop them!. This has led to all kinds of combos (dwarf snipers, ogres, barbarian brothers and their pet dogs, even a mission to defeat an orc warlord taken up by 2 Gargoyles!.... the poor guy never stood a chance!). I let them pick their characters rpg(ish) style by using this method:

1: Each character starts with 5 attack dice which they allocate to attack and defense on their character sheet. e.g. ATTACK 2  DEFENSE 3 etc. This stands for the rest of the characters adventuring.

2: Body points are 1d3+4. This gives a workable scale that gives enough challenge while not being too harsh.

3: Skills and Equipment
   I let them swap 1 attack dice for an item from the list bellow:
- Attack diagonally.
-Parry/Dodge: an enemy rolls 1 less attack dice in combat.
-Missile Attack (see above)
-Shield: Enemy missile attacks roll 1 less attack dice (or must re-roll if they already only roll 1 dice).
-Tool kit: You may attempt to disarm any trap in the same room by rolling one combat dice and getting a shield.
-Fast: Re-roll 1 dice for movement each turn.
-One of the 3 card spell decks.

Just a few thoughts that we have had lots of fun with, and tinkering with the rules to make them fit the type of game we are after is the Wronghammer way!.

Before i sign off i would like to give a huge welcome to Mr Generalissimo Forde and Mr Peter Bonami, two individuals of undeniable taste (and questionable judgement!) that are now a big part of the most exclusive group in modern wargaming......followers of this blog!. Thank you gents it is very encouraging to know you are enjoying my streemofconcusnessmentalsplurgelikerambelings!. Im not great at this new fangled tech so if you have a blog or twitter thingy or other socially networked doodah please feel free to say hello and put a link in the comments section.

Anyhoo, till next time.....

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The follow thru of creation (AAR)

As viscount Oritz berried his axe blade into the last of the foul animated dead he breathed a sigh of relief. They had come from nowhere, the scouts reported nothing, the forest was still as he led the patrol through the rout they had been tracing for the last week since the reports of ransacked villages and walking corpses had gotten back to the city. They all scoffed when they heard, how could the dead walk let alone fight?. As the weeks went on the men grew more and more restless, wondering why they were bothering to patrol at all so close to the harvest that was so vital to their families?. He had begun to wonder himself. But this dawnlight had been different, the mist refused to clear, if anything it got worse as the day progressed. And the smell, like rotten flesh in the baking summer sun, like a thousand battlefields after the slaughter was done. It was faint at first but grew stronger as the morn progressed. Some of the men were gagging and wretching before it happened. Not his honerguard, they were made of the blade-steel of the defenders of true Tradjev but the leve, they had no stomach for it.
 It happened in an instant, they were talking and laughing as they rode, poking fun at the green faced footmen trying to keep down their breakfast when the horses became unsettled, one tried to buck his rider. Oritz struggled to control Sabre, his great black wolf he had ridden since he was in his first years. Then the trees erupted!. They were on them in a moment, Rusted blades and rotten clubs biting flesh as the silent dead attacked. Oritz summoned all his resolve to rally his men and lead a counter attack. Too late to save the foot troopers closest to the trees he roared a cry to the glory of Tradjev and charged. They swept the enemy aside with ease, soon they were among the last of them, Sabre crushing a skull like chalk between his powerful jaw as Oritz and the honerguard hacked and slashed around him.
  Oritz looked at the bodies of the enemies. He could only count thirty at the most. So few, how could this pathetic 'host' be a threat to the power of Tradjev?. Then he herd the cry of the men by his side. 'The mist, the mist has gone!'. The men began to cheer their victory. Then it came. A horn on the morning breeze, then another, a longer blast, panicked . More and more came. 'DAMN THEM!' Oritz shouted 'HOW COULD WE BE SO FOOLISH. WE'VE BEEN TRICKED, THE CIRCLE, THIS WAS A BLOODY DECOY, THEY ARE ATTACKING THE CIRCLE. TO HORSE, RIDE, RIDE FOR YOUR LIVES....RIDE FOR TRADJEV!'....

Another game report it is then! (well it is a gaming blog so...). Lion Rampant again which is a set i am really enjoying at the moment. This time i thought i would play out a scenario from the book. I am playing the 'Defending the indefensible' scenario, one side must split it forces with one half defending a static area or object in the middle of the battlefield and the other half entering the battlefield on a chosen table edge. The attacker sets up his whole force opposite the defenders table edge and must get into contact with the defended area in order to hold/smash/grab etc the objective from under the defenders nose!. I decided to tweak the rules slightly as i felt just contacting the objective would not be enough, whichever attacking unit did so would have to hold it until the end of the turn.
 For this game the forces of the old and venerable nation of Tradjev, jewel of the east, empire of the ages etc defend a stone circle from an attacking horde of undead. The stone circle being a point where the eldritch power that fuels the mist that animates and leads the undead requires to make itself even stronger!. If the stones fall into enemy hands the fate of Tradjev will be sealed!.

 Tradjev. The defenders of the stone circle

Clockwise from back left: FOOT YEOMEN (3 pts), ARCHERS (4 pts), FOOT YEOMEN (command) (3 pts). This is the force defending the stone circle. Its important to note that i gave commanders to both the defenders forces as i figured they were both doing different jobs so would both have their own leaders. 

Viscount Oritz' patrol
Rear: ARCHERS (4pts), Front from the left: BIDOWERS (2 pts), MOUNTED MEN AT ARMS (command) (6 pts), MOUNTED SARJEANTS (4pts).
Combined cost 26 points.
All the foot troops and the mounted sarjeants are hat minis and the men at arms are Zvesda ( Sabre the wolf is by dark alliance).

The foul, nasty, maggot riddled, smelly and FORCES OF THE UNDEAD:
 Rear: 2x MOUNTED SARJEANTS (8pts), Front from the left: 2x FIERCE FOOT (one is the command unit) (8 pts), ARCHERS (4 pts), UNDEAD OGRES! (classed as foot men at arms) (6 pts).
The whole force cost 26 points. The undead miniatures were all produced by light alliance except the ogres which are Mantic zombies.

 The battlefield at the start of hostilities:
The stone circle in the center defended by the, defenders, the relief force on the right of the picture and the attacking undead coming from the tree line on the left.

At this point i should point out that  i use a colour coded basing system. The forces of Tradjev are on green bases with yellow trim and the undead have black bases with white trim. And mist (cough*cotton wool*cough!).
I have not written this as a blow by blow turn by turn account but am trying to let the 'story' of the game flow (who said 'pretentious twat') so its not split into turns or anything (and may be shorter than the last AAR if you are very lucky!).

The defenders of the stones:

The foot yeomen take the center while the archers are ready to support from the wing
Oritz' patrol:
Horse (and one wolf) on the flanks with missiles in the middle.

The undead right:
Fierce foot and archers in the front and mounted Sarjeants behind.

and the left:
Ogres and Fierce foot with the second unit of Mounted Sarjeants on the flank.

 From the trees the tide of undead attacked, sweeping towards the outnumbered defenders.
The (former)horse sweep wide to allow the (decaying)foot to head towards the stone circle.
 The shout goes out to form up, even in the face of such a horrifying enemy the brave men of Tradjev form up into a wall of spear tips, ready to sell their lives dearly. The famous schiltron of Tradjev will not break today!.

 The first wave of undead smash into the Tradjev ranks:
                                                     Fierce foot charge the right.
(ex)horse hit the left!.
On both sides the defenders formations are broken and they are pushed away from the stones, nothing can stop the undead!. 

 From the rear the renforcements charge!

                       The Men at arms smash into the (no longer)horse destroying them!
The mounted sarjaents sweep around the left pushing back their opposite numbers!

Despite the patrols charge the unguarded center allows the ogres to shamble up to the rocks!. They need to hold it until the end of the turn. The fierce foot move to block the Mounted men at arms. Can the Yeomen make one last ditch charge to save the stones and the nation itself?........Before i answer that i need to ask you if you have ever played Lion Rampant?, or are you familiar with the activation system used to allow the regiments to perform actions? (you need to roll 2d6 and equal or beat a stated target number for the troop type you wish to activate in order to perform that action).Its a good system which adds an element of randomness to each turn. Guess what happened next?. Yep, the Yeomen failed the activation and blew the only chance they had to save the day!. The circle belonged to the undead in a really rubbish anti climax!. 

Well that was a bit naff in the end!. I wrote a bloody narrative, actually a 2 PART BLOODY NARRATIVE  JUST FOR THE BLOODY YEOMEN TO FLUFF THE ENDING!!. THEY WERE ALL SET TO SAVE THE DAY IN A BIG CINEMATIC MOMENT THAT WOULD HAVE MADE THEM TRUE HEROS! (or probably pate against those Ogres!)  BUT NOOOOOO!!!! THEY HAD TO BLOODY.....o.k., calm down Sprinks..its just the luck of the dice....whoo...right....yeah.........till next time.

Actually before i do sign off id like to say a big hello and welcome to chris, the first ever follower of Wronghammer!. I dont know much about Chris but i do know he has an fantastic taste in blogs!. And as the first follower of these pages i officially owe him a beer!.

Right, now then. Till next time.......