Saturday, 29 April 2017

Mentally Terrorformish: Rats over Lowbridge (prologue)

So, rather than move on to the next nation i thought i would play out a game in the nation of Verland i detailed last time out. I took one of the scenarios i suggested  and decided to expand upon it. Enjoy.

.....the action takes place in the eastern side of dark wood next to the village of Lowbridge (so named because within its boundries is a low bridge, as opposed to the neighbouring settlements of Highbridge and Broken bridge. Simple folk and all that). but first we are transported to the village square where the militia have been gathered......

'Right men' said captin Turner, leader of the Lowbridge irregulars (and cooper to royalty), veterans of the battle of slops mound, who almost got out of the inn on time to march upon the rebels of Stonewatch, who managed to not all crap themselves before the charge of the bondsmen of brechdorne at the battle of  Northpass (old tom was looking the other way and billy the stumps was deaf and half blind anyway). 'We have been assembled at the will of the Lord of Lowbridge, the representative of the royal counsel no less and he will be along any moment so for the Smiths sake stand to attention, let me do the talking and please, please do not be yourselves!'. At that the sound of hooves on cobbles filled the square as a slew of horsemen entered. The three at the head of the column were dressed in fine if slightly old plate riding fine warhorses, the rest were in tattered mail and leather, they were rugged and dirty and many has scars on their faces and exposed arms. the leader was a bearded man with an  eye patch over his left eye, chewing an unlit cigar. The riders stopped in front of the gathered militia. The lord of Lowbridge was a large man with long grey hair and a close cropped grey beard, he studied the assembled men before him. 'Captin, is this all of you?' he said. Captin Turner stepped forward nervously 'yes me lord these are the famous Lowbridge irregulars at your service sire'. At the word famous the leader of the ragged horse snorted in derision. 'Yes i can see that captin' the lord retorted 'what i mean is, where are the rest?', 'Well me lord we lost quite a few at the scrap over on the hill last new moon quelling that riot at the old inn' answered Captin Turner. 'Ahh yes' replied the Lord of Lowbridge 'i recall that one, those sewing circles can get fiesty after a few turnip wines'. 'Yes me lord and there was the training exercise last week we lost three there too'. 'Why what happened?' Asked the lord. 'It were  Nate the brewer sire, he liked to try his produce a bit too much you see, he turned up drunk as anythin. next thing Quentin the cheesemaker said somethin derogatory about radishes and Nate flew off the deep end, never could keep his temper that one!. He chopped off Quentins head and stabbed Glup the masseuse in the guts. We had to shoot him in the end!'. 'Right well you lot will have to do' announced the Lord. 'Allow me to introduce you to my son and heir Ralph' he said turning to present the young horsemen to his right. Ralph looked at the ground and mumbled a greeting 'elloanthatimralphnthat'. 'And my second son Delphus, hes almost been accepted to train for the royal guard havent you boy' said the lord turning to his right hand. Delphur also stared at the ground 'yesdadihavedadelloevryone,'. 'And this is Corpral Callur of the royal border guard horse who has been sent by the kings counsel themselves no less to help us in this important task' he said with more than a hint of pride in his voice. The rough man with the eye patch guided his horse forward a few paces, removed his cigar and spat a massive pool of flob and half chewed tobacco at Captin Turners feet. 'Right listen up' Callur said, his massive booming voice filling the square and challenging all other voices in the world to just try to interrupt him. 'We have been sent to chase down a threat that has settled with the outlaws in the dark wood. A so called wizard has set up with a fierce band that have been terrorizing the local area. We are calling on you to join us in a daring daylight attack on the outlaws hide out to eliminate this threat. We have identified the outlaws position and plan to attack at noon to ensure we are seen and get some proper resistance, for us its all in a days work but for you this may be a suicide mission, however as the local militia it is your duty to do this and as such you will join the attack under the lords command. And be warned, while on this exercise if any of you SCUM step out of line i have orders to skin you alive and play chopsticks on your rib cage with whatever manhood your daddy gave you....IS THAT UNDERSTOOD!'. The irregulars to a man suddenly looked at their boots and mumbled. The Lord of Lowbridge took over 'right, if all thats clear we will take up position. On we go, Captin lead your men on theres a good chap'. Captin turner swallowed hard,'right you heard his lordship, by the left....'

All thats left this time out is to offer a massive wronghammer welcome to the latest basketcase... er follower of these humble pages. Step forward Mr Symphonic Poet who it has to be said writes a fantastic blog by the name of the Tartarus rim which is frankly wonderful, i dont want to say too much about it so you get the full eclectic whammy without me spoiling it for you, check it out its great. Welcome sir!.

Anyway, i think i may get this game played tonight (if i can prep and base enough militia minis in time!) so i may turn this one around quite quickly (which will be a change!). Till next time.....

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Left on the shelf

If  your anything like me as a gamer you own more than one rulebook and have played a few of them. Trying out a new rule set can be a lot of fun and discovering the ins and outs, the innovations that make you wonder why you never thought of them, not to mention the rules that leave you arguing with a book due to lack of clarity and plain old common sense is part of the voyage of discovery of gaming new rules. If like me you like to 'home brew' and mash up rulesets to give you the right 'feel' often reading rule books can inspire you to fill gaps in other rules and solve problems that stoop the experience being everything you feel it needs to be.
......Also it means you have a shelf full of books you have to convince the other half you really do need and have to add to as a matter of priority!. I have 2 rule sets (well 3 really) that i gravitate towards when gaming and they have featured more than once on this blog. If i want to fight out a skirmish i tend go for Lion/Dragon rampant. If its a bigger battle its Mantics Kings of war (which i know i always say can be downloaded free here). I just like the way they play, they feel right to me so i stick with them. But what of the other rule systems i have gathering dust?, why have them, why keep hold of them at all?.
If i'm honest i will probably never play these other games if i have not done so yet. But owning a rule book is not just about playing the rules, its more than that.
  As items i love a nice rule book. I love the backgrounds (the fluff) that are often written into the system. Dont get me wrong i will never buy an army book, i feel they are a bit of rip off if im honest, just my opinion but there you go. but even if i dont like the background for whatever reason i like the fact that one is included and will try to get under the skin of it, i appreciate the act of creating a fantasy setting and the achievement of putting together a whole world in which factions cohabit and argue and....well....stab each other with sharp things!. As someone currently trying to do that exact thing in the mentally terraforming series of posts i am putting together i can appreciate the thought that has gone into the evolution of a setting. I also love interesting systems and mechanics, i love the feeling of a writer thinking in new ways to streamline the gaming experience. I love the presentation and 'feel' of a rule book. They have a charm of their own, from the old school print and paste black and white typed books of the early rule sets to the highly polished full colour stuffed to the gills new fangled sets they each have a charm of their own and give you an appreciation for the blood sweat and tears that went into building the tome you are reading.
  But the fact remains i will only play roughly 20% of the rulesets i buy, i may nick mechanics from the ones i dont from time to time but if im honest i will not actually use them to play a game. And i bet its the same for some of you guys out there!.  Its a shame so i thought i would use this post to ask a question. Which rule books do you own that you love but will never actually use to play a game?. I'll go first:

FANTASY WARLORD
By Gary Chalk and Ian Bailey
This game was from the early 90s and created as an answer to the direction Warhammer was about to go in. Its a very detailed ruleset with rpg elements for character creation and a very interesting order based activation system that almost looks too detailed!. It also has a fantastic background included that was really going somewhere. It is also full of Gary Chalks art work which is worth owning the book for on its own!. Artwork just like this:
By Gary Chalk, legend.

CHRONOPIA
A camp as hell high fantasy system from 1997 by Target games with interesting mechanics letting unit members act as individuals as well as cool fumble and critical rules. In terms of look it has high fantasy well and truly nailed. If you think games workshop did shoulder pads get a load of these puppies!




TACTICA MEDIEVAL


This one always gets my interest, its a medieval mass battle game, very old school in feel but seems very smooth as a system. Add to that detailed siege rules and very cool campaign rules that encourage diplomacy and a large amount of back stabbing. I keep telling myself i will get round to this one some day....... 

RALLY ROUND THE KING
A mass battle game that uses as many or as little minis as you want and that has an inbuilt solo play system that looks pretty tight. It has been said that it is hard to play using the rules as written but that kind of adds something to it for me, call me a masochist but the idea that it will take dedication and not a little home brewing to make it 'go' actually makes me want to try it! (one day!).

and........

Yeah.....i know!
Now dont get me wrong i have a special place in my heart for games workshops behemoth of a fantasy game. I love the early editions that allowed and encouraged you to not only get involved with building the game in your own way ('here's a point system now buy some minis a get on with it!'), i even have a soft spot for 4th and 5th edition even though the game was becoming the wallet draining black hole of army books and 'meta' gaming (uurghh!), breading a generation of list building champions that could beat anyone with just a few loopholes and a calculator ( but oddly not a girlfriend!). It was a brilliant, massive, living, breathing entity that sucked you in and made you part of the world it was building!. So why dont i play it?. Well, its not as much fun as it thinks it is....its clunky, its bloated, its obese and it contradicts itself. There are more fun games out there, not many better settings, its worth buying the rulesets to explore that but on the table it no longer stands up in my opinion.

So its over to you, what rules do you own but will never actually play?.....












Thursday, 20 April 2017

Mentally Terraforming- The last of the western kingdoms

So back in again to look at this crazy little land. I mentioned last post that i would 'zoom in' on parts of the world and cover them in detail. I decided to begin with one of the central nations in terms of the evolution of the world. I do need to mention all the nations have differing relationships and some of the content of this post wont make a lot of sense until that nation is covered in similar detail so bear with it and loose ends should tie themselves up in the end.

First i thought it best to show the world i am expanding on:

picture by my inner 6 year old!.

Today i am going to look at a nation in the middle of the western side:

 The westlands, the last true kingdom and the lands under the alliance of guilds.

VERLAND, the last kingdom.
 In times past the west was ruled by a collection of kingdoms, greatest of which was the kingdom of Verland. Known all around for its riches and massive army it was a powerhouse among powerhouses. Verland always stood out for its ability to rise above the petty grudges of its neighbours and expand its borders into lands that would prove to be of strategic importance. The kings held the isles of the inner sea for years while the other kingdoms argued over their own boundries, creating trade routes to the east and protection against raiders. Verland is the last monarchy in the west, the rest being engulfed  by the guilds years ago and they stand proud of this fact and are strongly opposed to the Guilds desire to expand further. Despite its past Verland is a major power in decline. The finances of the kingdom have dwindled greatly due to being overtaken in trade by several nations and being unable to keep up with the advances of the guilds in many areas. Added to this is the fact that the crown is in debt to the Guild of moneylenders with little hope to pay make its current world position one of an archaic land that is being made redundant despite its past glories.
The long line of kings of Verland go back hundreds of years before the time of strife. It was the king of Verland that united the west during this time, leading to the fight for freedom against the united forces of the shadow (more about the time of strife in other posts, it is fair to say without the united armies of the west the land itself would have fallen!). Since that time each king has taken the name of the king that led the fight against the forces of darkness so the current ruler is king Thaddius the 127th, his father being king Thaddius the 126th before him. It also seems to be a tradition for kings of Verland to be poisoned by one of their advisers! as it was for the last king, leaving his son, Thaddius the 127th to lead the nation at the age of 7!. Until he reaches his 14th year he is to be served by a counsel of advisers with the power to veto the kings commands if they think it is for the good of the nation. Among the advisers are the Kings mother, a strong woman that wishes to reinstate Verland as the main power in the world through any means. Also the Captin of the northen forces, the Earl of Whiteguard wishes to lead a large campaign against the lairds of Lamavic, a nation that has been an enemy of Verland since its first days. Also involved is the earl of Stonewatch, a man that has great debts to the Guilds and who repays such debts by using his position to further the Guilds plan to take over the west. The royal family rule from the capital city of Silvermarc, an old city known as the jewel of the west. Its great riches in contrast to the dower and functional buildings that make up the rest of the cities and towns.
Life is tough for the people of Verland if they are not part of the top 6% of the population. They are a poor nation these days although the monarchy continue to live in the way they did all those years ago. The economic downturn is shouldered by the lower ranks. The cities provide chances to trade and grow for the smart and talented (and the crooked), but those that live in more rural areas live as farmers, smiths or starve. Many have turned to the life of the outlaw and the forests and wlderness' of Verland harbor many bands of such men.
Religion in Verland is a prickly subject. As a nation the crown and its people worship the Smith and see in his festivals of the forging. However the church is a pawn to the crown since the Templar uprising in the north after the king (Thaddius 86th) removed their leaders from his counsel due to the church arguing with his claim to rule the church as well as the state. The uprising led to the exodus of the Templar orders and the establishing of the state of Immere, which also meant the loss of the only port the nation had in the inner sea (which was absorbed by the new state), destroying any chance of trade with the east. Since that time those wishing to worship the Smith truly in the way of the Templar are frowned upon and often shunned as traitors. This has led to under ground groups wishing to restore the power of the church.

The Verland army is still vast as it always has been and the nation boasts a strong navy. However in terms of military advances it has been left behind. Although it has access to black powder and uses the pike like the more advanced nations it does so by buying the knowledge from the other nations and is still training its troops into its effective use. Black powder weapons tend to be coupled with the crossbows of the past, they do not yet have the ability to produce such advanced weapons in the numbers other nations can. The pike is used by much of its trained foot but also important is the pole arm, used to argument the longer pike and give tactical flexibility. The rough mix of half pike armed units and half pole units make up the core of the verland strength. The royal guard are the cream of the verland army. Chosen from the sons of great officers and lords they are well armed and wear full plate and have the best training of any force in Verland. They can fight on foot but will ride when they can. Although small in number the Royal Guard are often the difference between victory and defeat. Sanctioned Militia groups are used, made up of citizens from a particular location. They are armed by the crown and loyal to them and are tasked as being the first line of defense against raiders and outlaws. During times of war they march proudly along with the other troops, large rag tag groups under their own banners. The riders of the Border Guard live for weeks away from civilized areas, protecting the realm from attack as best they can. These rugged men make reliable light cavalry and will often ride ahead of the main force scouting and raiding the enemy. Verland engineers are no match for the guilds but have still managed to produce effective cannon. This gives them a reply to the artillery employed on the modern battlefield. Leading these armies are great men of office and power, men chosen from great military backgrounds. It is inbuilt in the minds of verland citizens that these high families are to be respected. Not just superiors but truly their betters.


Sooo, thats the first nation to be looked into, dont worry, only 17 or so to go!. Ithought i would throw in some notes on how to use them as a 'gamable' force, cos thats the point of doing this after all!.

In terms of the look of the force i see them as a mid to late medieval English/French style force. Basic foot troops will wear the colours of their regional lord and will be quite uniform in look. Royal guard are all full plate and wear the colours of the crown. Militia groups wear whatever armor that is available to them and will be quite rag tag in style, they will wear their own colours of their area and a banner bearing their groups victories. Border guard are armed with easy to maintain equipment such as short bows and leather armor.
On the table most of their troops will be basic with the militia being poor. The Royal guard are the top end of human troops and this needs to be reflected. They are not overwhelming in terms of missile troops but use black powder weapons and crossbows in equal number. The foot are well drilled using pikes and pole arms. Border guard are rugged and brave but poorly armored. Officers are high quality but with little regard for the common solder.
Their is plenty of scope to game scenarios involving outlaws and rebel Templar groups (both would be common militia quality at best, outlaws could have scouts and good missile troops), as well as using the nations decline in fortunes to fuel games against other nations, a secure nation has no need to invade others!.

Well thats the first one done, i hope it was in some way entertaining or even useful!. This project is by no means a complete thing but more of a frame to offer a starting point, feel free to add to or take from it as much as you like. Any ideas or feed back would also be appreciated as i am winging it to a large extent!.

Anyhow, till next time.....

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mentally Terraforming - In the beginning

O.k. just ignore my previous post!. Well not all of it, the welcome still stands and the song is frankly a highlight and the bit where i said i would put these homebrew gaming background posts under a set title so you could skip 'em if you like, dont ignore those bits but the moaning....forgive me my moment of whinging, it was a touch rubbish!.

Right all that done and out of the way i will begin properly. Welcome to a new section type thing for the blog and for me. You know in my last post (which if you have'nt ignored it yet you can do so here) i mentioned that i wanted to share the building of my own gaming setting to.... well im not actually sure why. Maybe it will help others to come up with their own by learning from my mistakes or perhaps give you bits to use or even you can use it to game or rpg in if you are challanged in that way. Feel free to do any of the above. I guess i want to share the ideas i have come up with to give flavour to some of my games that i share on here above just the silly stuff i do (which i will undoubtedly still do) and get it 'on paper' (i understand that a screen is not paper before you all start!) and out of my head!. After all its my blog so i guess a little self indulgence is allowed!. Also i am asking for any feed back you wish to give, feel free to chuck in ideas if you want to, go on , its fun!. So if you see the title 'Mentally Terraforming' it will be one of these types of posts.

Today i am just giving a VERY brief overview of the area in which all of this will happen by detailing the land itself, i will go into detail by breaking it into areas and covering the nations and features of these as i do so. I will also point out that i set nothing in stone and am bound to miss stuff as i go, this is not in any way a 'polished' product but more a trip into my odd little world!.

The world of........
First off i have not come up with a set name for the place. I feel that the nations are more likley to be inward and judging the others as separate entities rather than part of a land mass being a fantasy world based on medieval(ish).....er stuff so each will maybe have a differing idea of the size of the world and a different label for it. Thus i have not given a set name as i am writing from a 'neutral' viewpoint. Maybe one will 'stick' as it develops?.

Look, i done a colouring!.
Alright i admit it, i could have used a fancy tech based bobbins to do a digital version but when it comes to tech im a bumpkin of the highest order and am more comfy with sharpies and the kids crayons!. So thats all i have to go on!. maybe if you back up a few paces and squint a bit it will look passable!. It does show a basic layout and shows the major features in terms of the larger rivers and mountain ranges and the central sea that will be important as we go further in!. As i said before i will show more detail in each area in later posts.
Important things to cover at this stage are:
The land is human centered (im a Martin fan, sorry!), i think human based fantasy worlds give so much to identify with and force you to recognize all actions as not 'good vs evil' but in terms of our own morals. I still features some fantasy creatures but humans dominate and if other races have existed they have been replaced  by man (or maybe got pee'd off and just went somewhere else!). 

Size and shape: the land mass coves an area of 2.9 million square miles (which makes it the size of Australia according to google). The human population is roughly 66 million people (which is about the same as France if google is to be trusted). In terms of economic influence the strongest area in terms of wealth and influence is the mid west, which is  sort of a late medieval deal with signs of  early industrialization ruled by guilds. Followed by the south east region, which are sort of  medieval Japan with a mystic bent. The other areas work backwards from there, ranging from medieval to dark age to tribal iron age ( to orcs which are another story!). Economic influence is key to power in this world as in our own and the rout to evil is often the desire for it!.

Magic and faith: Magic is not widespread and not accepted unless sanctioned in more 'developed' nations. It has a greater importance in less civilized cultures and is normally revered. It is not a controlled force bent to the will of the user but the latent power of creation focused through some individuals that work as 'lightning rods' for it, they have far less control over this than in other fantasy settings and cannot 'choose' to use it, its inbuilt and the only choice they have is weather they can learn to control it. It also tends to have an effect on the users mental state meaning most magic 'users' are unhinged and tightly wound, often bordering on insane!.
In terms of religion the more civilized areas only use it for ceremonial reasons, having moved away from the beliefs of the past. Faith tends to be more of a feature in wilder communities where it is seen as the most important part of life. There are exceptions to these situations, one nation has walled itself off due to the right to religious freedom. But the more the nation has come to rely on its influence and economic power it tends to focus less on its beliefs of the past.  

So thats a few bits and pieces to get the ball rolling. Hope it is in somewhere close to interesting!. Next time i will look closer at one area to start fleshing things out.

Anyway, till next time.....

Saturday, 15 April 2017

background vs tone, or how to really get on your own tits!

Hi all, this post may contain bits of seriousness, i make no apologies but feel advanced warning is required!. So why the seriousness i hear you ask?, after all, this blog has ticked along without so much of a sniff of it so far. Well, one of the things that dragged me back into the funding of the toy solder industry through the medium of collecting so many of the little blighters that my wife has been known to be driven to the use of the language of the gutter due to another box of plastic turning up was the designing of my own rules and setting. This is one of the most satisfying aspects of the hobby in my book and are both things i often spend too much time dreaming up!. One of the reasons for starting this very haven of random silliness you are reading now was to share and expand on these things. However....The setting i have come up with is one populated by human kingdoms and highlights themes such as greed, power, addiction, morality, economics and the resulting carnage that these things cause in mankinds selfish hands. This has led me to collect forces to represent the multitude of kingdoms and nations that populate this world, to date thats 18 armies, each representing over 3000 points of troops (some more like 5000) in oldschool warhammer terms to give some kind of point of reference as to what i'm  talking about,
one medium sized force, just to give some idea.
I do not include the above picture to try to show off  (look guys, im ssuuucchhh like, a collector!!!) but to demonstrate the investment of thought and time that i have put into the background i have been working on. So, whats the problem, why am i so frustrated?. Well i'll tell you. The way i write and put together prologues and so forth is very stream of thought, i generally write them in one draft and let the tone find itself, and as i'm sure you know, the theme i enjoy most is to write silly (hopefully kinda fun) stories (and the odd poem) to create a narrative to game. this is the way i naturally write (and i love a narrative to bring a game to life), if i sit down to write anything gaming related my serious side tends to go for a lie down!. This has resulted in the more seriously themed background i have worked at not being represented in any way in the now 18 posts i have so far put together and has been far from my mind when writing content for Wronghammer. Now part of me thinks 'sod it, its fun, find your voice and muck about...you keep going on about gaming being fun so why the stress you numpty!', while another part of me thinks 'when are you going to show that you can come up with more than just stupid stories, no matter how much fun you have writing them at the time?.....you numpty!'. So although i'm hurtling into the realms of the self centered rant and i understand there are far bigger problems to have, i have discovered the style i naturally write in and some of the subjects i created this blog to cover just dont go together!. 
Hence i'm getting on my own tits!.
So, as i have always told my kids not to moan about a problem without  offering a solution i want to try the following if its o.k. with you guys: I will attempt to blog about the background i have come up with and put these in their own dedicated posts, they will kinda be 'info dumps' and will probably also be a touch 'dry' in style as i do feel i cant do much justice to this subject. I will title them in such a way as to be easily skipped if they are not your kind of thing!. So if  you prefer my silly side fear not, i will by no means neglect it, it will still be the main focus of these pages of random prattle!.

Right, thats quite enough seriousness for one post, time to end on a song! 

Oh oh before i go i must say a massive hello and welcome to Mr Herr Zinnling, who has done a very silly thing and.....oh hang on this post includes a serious side so it must be a serious welcome. Welcome Mr Zinnling thank you for taking the time to follow my grey and dour and really very serious blog. For those of you that are not aware Mr Zinnling writes a very good blog of his own that you can see here (and i suggest you do!).

Anyway 'till next time.....

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Peewees progress (AAR)

 Finally, i managed to get the game played!. Only two weeks after writing the prologue (which you can find here) and i manage to get some minis on the table. Life gone and got a touch busy but worry not, i will always need to vent my inner stupid so this blog will keep on rolling along (mainly for the sake of Mrs Sprinks sanity but i digress....). Anyhooo, without further faff and prattle, lets be getting on shall we?.

 Aagraxx jumped as the grand wooden doors of his dark fortress burst open, almost dropping the odd green gloop he was shepherding into the glass bowl on his dusty alter onto the massive spell book he was busy working from. 'Susan you dolt!' he sneered at the burly guard that had just burst in shattering his peace. 'You almost made me create half a mutated bacterium crossed with the emotion of  pure refined self pity, do you know what would have happened?, do you?'. Susan avoided his masters gaze and shook his head, his long beard moving back and forth. 'Nor do i, thats the problem, i need to concentrate, how can i be expected to advance the cause of truest evil and darkness with you bursting in on me, last week you dropped your sword and i almost opened a portal to the seventh realm of ultimate procrastination, no one needs that many boxed sets!. I should turn you into a bloody woodlouse you moron!'. Susan winced at his masters tirade, he was used to this treatment but deep down he doubted his dark lord understood just how it had chipped away at his self esteem over the years. Aagraxx threw his arms out impatiently 'well, what is it?' he asked with more than a hint of venom in his voice. 'Mmmmm mmmmmmmm mmmm mmmhh' answered Susan. 'What the bloody hell Susan, a monkey ingested an answerphone?, have you been inhaling my potion collection again?'. 'MMMMMHHHMMM!' replied Susan, used to not being understood,'mmmmmmm mmmmm MMMMHHH!!!' he said again but with greater care, miming the message the best he could (which for a bloke of his size looked like an adaptation of Gorillas in the mist on ice). 'Give me strength Suzan' retorted Aagaraxx 'its not easy having to decipher your drivel, just because of my strict policy of cutting all henchmen, guards and hired goons tongues out on their induction does not mean you dont have to communicate clearly, will you please either mime or write it down!'. 'Mmmmhhh' grumbled Susan under his breath. 'Dont whine, you were the one that signed your contract without reading the small print, i mean, why would you do that?, thats on you matey boy. It was clearly in there for all to see, first day, manual lifting, health and safety, a new name of my choosing to undermine your self worth as a man and your tongue is removed. What did you expect, im an evil wizard in a whimsical fantasy tale about to be played out by a 38 tear old teenager using plastic toys, well with a name like mine what other career paths were open?, very limiting having a name with two x's in it in this type of tale. You cant choose these things, my brother was called Pharrus, which i admit is quite regal in its own way, little surprise he got the evenstone after father popped off, i had no choice but to follow into dark magic, i mean its expected isnt it.....i could hardly be Aagaraxx the dentist or Aagaraxx and son, chartered accountants could i?. Nope its a life of evil and wrongdoing for the likes of me.... i bet im due my come-upance soon'. 'Mmmhhmm' interupted Susan, which seemed to shake Aagaraxx out of his moment of reflection 'What...im revealing plot while needlessly filling in character details again, sorry Susan, what did you have to tell me?'. Susan took great care to mime his message, he did mammoth via elephant by miming the trunk and ears, eating was easy (classic knife and fork action) and evenstone was a little tricky but he was a pro so by miming shine or sparkle with his fingers and pointing to Aagaraxxs gem collection it just about came across, it was the performance of a lifetime by the big man. 'Nope, sorry not a word, you really must try to be clear Suzan'. Susan did a wonderful job of composing himself, he counted to ten under his breath then repeated MMMMMMMM MMMHHHHMMMM MMM HHHHMMMMHHH!!!!!!!!. Aagaraxx jumped up, 'why the bloody hell dident you say so, The kings Mammoth  ate drugged cabbages and ingested the evenstone only to rampage out of the palace and into the wilderness!, you know what this means..... rally the troops. And tell them to bring shovels........and to wear gloves. WE HAVE A MAMMOTH TO HUNT!'.

I decided to play this one using my latest buy:
Heck yeah, i'm only about a year behind the rest of the gaming world!

Looking forward to this one as its the fantasy version of one of my fave rule sets (Lion Rampant) so i have high hopes for this!. As its the fantasy version i decided to go all out high fantasy which hopefully comes across in the prose and the narrative, im winging it so we shall see!.
I played the game early in the morning with the kids while the fab Mrs Sprinks was enjoying a lay in so its another Wronghammer first, the kids are finally getting let loose on the blogsphere (is it ready?!). Now i know what you are all thinking, 'but Sprinks, rolling dice on a wooden table is a bit noisy mate, hows the wife going to sleep through that you tool?!. Well that had required a moments thinking. I give to you the 'Sprinks patented rollsilentrolldeepdicerollingquietlytoavoiddomesticunpleasentness system':
Its a take away container with kitchen towel in the bottom, you can have that, call it my treat!.
Anyway, enough pointless twattery, on with the battle!

The forces:
MALLAGORS EVENSTONE EXTRACTION CREW
Clockwise from back left: The castle militia  (Heavy foot), 2x press ganged yoemen missiles (light missiles), Unreasonably eager knight protectors of the crown (elite foot), Mallagor the wise (light foot, wizard), Outland rangers (scouts). Minis are a mix of Red box, airfix,a call to arms and miniart.

Aagaraxx's silent warriors of totally total evil incarnate (upon the earth) t.m.:

From left: The wheely evil equine synchronized display team (heavy riders), The blackest company of evil warriors (light foot, offensive), Aagaraxx the oooohhhh nasty (light foot, Wizardling, summoner. spells: 'Befuddle thee!', 'Bog thee!', 'Power bolt!'), The dark arrows of sharp pointy death (light missiles). Minis are mostly Revell, Aagaraxx is by Ceaser.

As usual i have used my coloured basing system, Mallagors force is on red bases with white trim and Aagaraxxs' lot are on black with red trim.

.......and not to forget....

 Peewee the mammoth, counts as a greater warbeast, pictured arguing with a rock!, i think the mini is by Schleich but its been hanging round a while and i forget this stuff (whadda you mean google?).

Whats so special about Peewee?
 The game revolves around Peewees guts, or more importantly whats inside them!. Peewee has eaten a ton of drugged makeyouallkillyangrymental cabbages and the Evenstone, a large gem that is the sign of rulership for the area in which the battle takes place. The only way a side can win the battle is by getting the Evenstone, either from what comes out of Peewee or from his guts themselves!. The rules i used to represent this are as follows:

Berserk: Pee wee is in a right old state thanks to the Cabbages, at the start of his turn he will attempt to perform a CHARGE action against the closest unit he can see. He will try this even if he will not be able to move far enough to reach them, in which case he will move his max distance towards them. If he fails to do this or he cant see anyone he will move in a random direction but will move his full distance and will Charge any troops this move brings him into contact with. He will not leave the playing area so any move that would force him to do so will place him on the edge but never over it.

The Evenstone:The cabbages also have a rather unpleasent side effect, old Peewee is suffering from a severe case of the trotts!.  At the beginning of his turn roll 1 dice, on a roll of 4+ Peewee will drop his guts directly behind him, leaving a marker to show where he has 'been'. Any troops that perform a move action that brings them into contact with one of these markers may 'explore' the pile to try to find the Evenstone. To do this they roll one dice, on the roll of 5+ the stone is in the poo and they are now considered to have it.

Winning
 Only the side that has the Evenstone can win the game. Any unit that finds the stone as described above will have it and it will move with them. If they loose a combat the stone will pass to the unit that beat them. If the unit with the stone is wiped out or routed the stone will be dropped where the unit was, in the case of this being the result of combat the unit that caused this will now have the stone, in the event of this being caused by shooting the stone will be left where the unit was and may be picked up by any unit that moves into contact with it.
If Peewee does not 'drop' the stone it is still in his stomach, in which case he must be killed before the end of the game and the side with a unit within 4 inches of Peewees body wins if there are no enemy also within this distance at the end of the final turn.

The game lasts 6 turns.

right lets get into it, the action begins with both sides finding Peewee in a clearing on the outlands, Both move quickly to get the Evenstone!.
A beautiful sunny day in the outlands, Peewee is simmering in the center of the table, Mallagor leads his troops through the rocks onto the left of the picture, Aagaraxx's troops enter through the trees on the right.
 Aagarax's set up, Biped horses on the far left, then the dark master of naughtyness himself, protected by the foot and the archers on the right.

Mallagors troops enjoy the sun!, they have missiles on both flanks with the combat troops in the center along with Mallagor himself.

The rangers took up position on the extreme flank by the watch tower.

The game begins with Peewee moving towards Aagaraxxs force with more than a little malice in his eyes!, 'Right men' shouted Mallagor, 'lets get this stone!, yoemen, prepare to fire!'. The Yoemen on the left flank took one look at the mammoth. 'Just a thought', piped up their leader, 'wont firing at it,well, make him angry and, you know, get his attention?'. 'Yes of course' replied the wizard. 'Thats what we thought....oh damn these old weapons just dont want to load do they fellas?, just cant get them to work.....' The yoemen refused to fire, which in Dragon rampant causes play to switch to the other side, where....
'right then, lets bring this beast down' Shouted Aagaraxx, 'Archers, fire!'. 'mmmmhhhmmmmm mmmhhmmm mmmmhhh!' came the reply. 'Dont bloody give me excuses its coming this way already, WE HAVE ITS ATTENTION NOW BLOODY WELL FIRE OR I WILL TURN YOU ALL INTO AN INTERESTING WATER FEATURE!!!!!'. On hearing this they opened fire on Peewee to little effect. The horse also charged forward ready to engage next turn and the foot moved up. Aagarax pointed his staff at the Mammoth and let loose a blast of dark magic that failed to stop the beasts advance.
Aagarax's troops prepare to attack, Peewee is'nt half big even for a mammoth!

The evil one himself, he kept his hood up to 'get into character!'
Peewee took one look at the advancing figures before him and put his head down. Before they could take action he charged headlong into the horse trampling 2 of them, thinking better of it they wheeled their mounts and pranced away!.
Bang, trumpet, trample,crash!
Gurding their loins and ...er....swashing their buckles the elite foot shout a fierce 'TALLY HO CHAPS ITS ONLY A RAMPAGING MAMMOTH!' and move forward to attack, Mallagor turned towards the other Yoemen on the right flank and gave the order to give supporting fire. 'Yeah mate, its these new bow strings, murder to load they are, be ready in a jiffy dont mind us'. With that Aagarax simply smiled. He produced a pouch of dragons teeth from within his robe and threw them one at a time into the mammoths path. Suddenly the ground began to shake and one by one where the teeth had landed a skeleton pulled itself from the earth. The newly raised undead warriors stood to attention and formed ranks before the beast. 'HARRYHOUSEN BITCH' screamed Aagarax smugly!.
Operation undead sheild in action!.
Aagarax then ordered his newly raised warriors to charge!.......they stood before the mammoth......'CHARGE!' still they stood, he swore one of them shrugged. 'I SAID BLOODY WELL CHARGE!'. Again the skeletons did nothing. 'Thats the last time i buy dragons teeth from bloody ebay, you just cant trust what your getting, and the postage was murder....'

Peewee gave the skeletons a puzzled glance and promptly deficated, telling Aagarax exactly what he thought of his abilities!. He then turned and lumbered towards the advancing Elite foot.
Mallagor pleaded with his men 'look its coming this way you may as well face him'. The officer of the Militia stepped in to save his blushes 'LISTEN UP YOU 'ORRIBLE MAGGOTS, IF YOU DONT ADVANCE ON MY WORD I WILL SEE TO IT THAT YOU ARE CLAPPED IN BLOODY IRONS NOW GET THOSE LEGS MOVIN!'. That seemed to do the trich as the whole force moved up to support the reckless advance of the elite foot.
At the other end of the field Aagarax rallied his horse but was still having trouble with his skeletons who still refused to do anything no matter which arcane language he commanded them in!.
To show his disgust at this pathetic act Peewee dropped another pile and continued towards the Knights charging towards him. 
The knights sounded the charge and piled in, actually managing to damage the beast and not die themselves!. That was enough to encourage both units of yoemen to unleash their shots onto the beast wounding him further!. Aagaraxs archers also fired at Peewee failing to do any damage while the dark lord himself was feverishly thumbing through his manual trying to get the skeletons to do anything at all!.

Peewee became a crap machine dropping another pile of his finest before charging the Knights who although taking two losses held. They got ready to counter charge when Mallagor mounted a rock and fired a bolt of lightning right between the mammoths eyes, distracting him. 'no you fools' he shouted to the Knights, 'go round him, its the stone we want he may have....ahem...dropped it!'. Bravely the knights skirted the blinded beast and with rather too much eagerness went piling into the closest dung heap!.
'Whats that shining in the shit sir lawrence?'

'Why i'll wager its the evenstone sir Hugh, look it is!....be a good chap and grab it will you this armours' just come back from the cleaners!'.

With that Aagarax took decisive action, first he aged 5 years and changed sex
Oooh theres evil! (my son decided he'd rather play outside but my daughter was up and hovering and quickly took his place (thats my girl!).


He (she) then ordered the horse to 'GET THAT STONE!' they quickly pranced into a line and gave their chilling battle cry 'MMMMMHHHMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!'.

Totally oblivious to whaat was going on behind him Peewee stomped into the Militia.
With predictable results!

The two survivors headed to the hills!, meanwhile the Knights went against everything they knew ant tried to out run the advancing horse but to no avail, the horse deftly jumped the pile of mammoth poo between them and charged!.
cue one crap picture!
In the ensuing mele both sides took losses but it was the horse that took the worst of it, bolting back towards their lines!. And withthat the Evenstone was safe in the (filthy) hands of the knights soon to be returned to its righful place in the palace once more!.

The scene at the end of the game.

So after all that Peewee finally calmed down and sloped off back to his pen much to King Pharrus's annoyance, it was later reported he was delicious!. Malagor never again attempted to lace foods with beserkerrampage potion number 1, although he is making headway into the study of mammoth poo by royal decree.....with a spade!. Aagarax was last seen blasting skeletons with dark bolts of arcane power. While swearing. Loudly!.

Well all's well that ends well!. As a first go i would say the fantasy elements in Dragon rampant do add the sort of flavour that lends itself to old school fantasy gaming (not taking itself too serious and quirky and characterful rather than 'gamey' and offering a sort of 'power up' for meta gaming). It is very good for a quick fun game. And the kids all said they want to play it again which is high praise indeed!. One complaint i have read in various places is that often you can fail a string of activations in a row and never get to act in a decisive way. That happened quite a bit in this game but worked well from a narrative point of view, the yoemen not willing to fire on Peewee early on was great and gave them some character and the skeletons being summoned only to refuse to move turn after turn had all the players laughing and making jokes about warranties and faulty goods! (sigh we raise 'em cynical these days!). And most important, we all had a bloody good laugh and dident wake Mrs Sprinks!.

Before i sign of its time to welcome another mentalist to the followers list (come on, sanity cant be that hard to come by!). Welcome Mr Sean Squires, a man with little quality control when it comes to who to follow but the writer of a great blog (which you can find here). Hes a man after my own heart with his use of 20mm plastic goodness and rally round the king game reports (a game i own but have yet to try, very interesting system though). Welcome to the silliness sir!.

I also notice that Mr Squires takes the tally of followers to 10! (not that i'm counting, i'm far too cool for that (yeah right!). To mark the occasion heres a picture my daughter drew:
Yay...its a bear!


Anyhoo, till next time.....