Thursday, September 20, 2012

For Honour and the Lady!


*edit* I was contacted by Ganesha Games, the makers of SBH, to let me know the new edition is only $8, and as you can see in the comments below, if you bought a prior edition, you can upgrade.  Sweet deals!

As my Maurice campaign opponent was otherwise engaged last night, I took the opportunity to try out a game that's been floating around the club for the last couple of months, Song of Blades and Heroes.

For those who's not heard of this, it's a generic fantasy skirmish game that's been around for a few years now.  Foxlington, my opponent from last night, informs me that there's a new edition of the game just released.  Aside from the inherent qualities of the game, it has two major advantages in terms of start-up:  a) it's dirt cheap (the new .pdf is $8), and you can use any figures you happen to have lying around.  The core game comes with a fairly generous selection of lists and sample models, and there's a few free figure and warband calculators on line.  While I'd initially planned to paint models specifically for the game, reality set in, and I decided to use some of the Bretonnians I already have painted.

Lady Hawke and the boys.
First off, I'm sold on this game.  Mechanics are simple and clean, with little room for rules-lawyering or hinky misinterpretation.  There's loads of special abilities that give small, but meaningful advantages, and enough room for customization to let you play pretty much whatever you please.  Once those Reaper Bones figures from my Kickstarter buy start rolling in, I can see going hog wild on this game.

We played two games in about 2.5 hours, with time for breaks, conversation, and "so, what do I do again", although there was little of the latter.  I read through the rules once, we looked special rules up a couple times, and kept them handy the first time we worked through the campaign mechanics (did I mention you can run campaigns with experience, character development, recruitment, etc.?  You can!).

The first scenario saw us contesting objectives in forest terrain, with my Brets defending and Foxlington's old-school Beastmen attacking.

He also had a couple other figures, including a REALLY annoying ungor.
As a number of my figures are mounted, I gave them extra movement, and was able to quickly advance and take not only the objective in my zone, but the one in the centre of the table.  Models accumulate points by staying in base contact with objectives for their turn, which meant as long as I held both, I'd quickly rack up a point advantage.  The game ends when either all three objectives are taken by one player, or a warband routs (so as long as I had the point advantage, it was in my interest for the game to end - I could win even if my warband routed).  Hooray for horses!


Foxlington knew this as well as I did, so he quickly pushed the bulk of his forces towards my brave knights, and their lovely leader, Lady Hawke.  Among them was a rather intimidating Minotaur, who was frankly bad-ass.


Some early skirmishing resulted in the rather surprising survival of one of Foxlington's ungor.  He quickly became known as "the little ungor that could", on the basis of his recurring near-miraculous survival, and his surprising combat effectiveness.

That's him.  The one with the shield.

The foul beastmen counter-attacked, and the furious charge of the Minotaur actually bowled one of my brave knights over!


My other knight counter-charged, intending to eliminate the ungor (who's presence was aiding the minotaur), but the little critter survived again!


I though I was in rough shape at this point, but a few game mechanics kicked in to help out.  Most of my figures had good quality (3+ on a d6), and were getting a bonus from their proximity to Lady Hawke (who, with the Leader special ability, could give them a +1 to activate; in other words, they only fail on a 1).  This meant that I could roll three dice, and rely on getting a reasonable number of actions per figure.  Add in her spellcasting ability (she managed to transfix the minotaur, possibly with an illusion of tasty oats), and my band managed to pull off a dramatic comeback.

Take that, beefcake!

Although a ferocious charge from the beasts eliminated one of mu knights, the minotaur also fell.  Battle was joined between the remaining knight, and Salvatore, a veteran archer.


Lady Hawke turned her attention to the leader of the beastman herd, and transfixed him (rendering him vulnerable in combat; attackers gained a +2 bonus and only had to beat him to kill him).  While Salvatore desperately held off the rest of the mutants, my remaining knight charged the beastman champion, and rode him down.


At this, most of the beastmen ran.  Those that didn't flee off the table decided discretion was the better part, and followed their fleeter kind back into the dark heart of the forest.


In the post-game phase, my injured knight proved his mettle, recovering without incident, I won some gold, and while exploring the area, came across a dire omen.  Luckily, the Lady protected my brave band (i.e., Lady Hawke passed her quality test), and we remained unbowed by the predations of Fate.

For our next game, we played a scenario in which the attackers were trying to burn down a target building, in what proved to once again be a wooded table (we rolled randomly for terrain, and ended up with woods again).  Once again, I defended, and set my figures up around the longhouse of a local noble.


As attacker, Foxlington rolled to see how many of his figures were armed with torches (the max, 6!), and concentrated them to rush the building.  To be honest, I kind of thought he had this one from the get-go, as he had a significant advantage in numbers, and I didn't see how I'd be able to tie up all his arsonists without letting one slip through.  To burn the building, he only had to use one action while a torch-armed figure was b2b, so it looked like a hot time was in store.

Things got even worse when the Minotaur charged ahead, both my knights raced to attack him, and were not only defeated, but thrown to the ground, helpless before the onslaught of the other savage minions of chaos.


Things looked dire for my brave band, but never fear!  Mes braves sans peur et sans reproche had themselves another heroic turnaround.  Foxlington rolled two failed dice on the second figure he activated, ending his turn, and a couple of good activations later, my knights were well stuck in, against a growing horde of smelly beastflesh.


The battle raged back and forth, while Lady Hawk sought to bring her magic to bear, and my archers moved up.


Then the beastmen seemed to seize the upper hand.  In the whirl of combat, two ungor and the minotaur slipped free.  The minotaur moved to crush one of my archers, while an ungor raced to the longhouse, seeking to set it alight.  To make matters worse another ungor broke free, and had the temerity the threaten the life of Lady Hawke herself.


At this point, the Lady of the Lake herself intervened, although I don't remember exactly how.  As Mounted figures, my knights could freely leave combat.  One of my knights charged the ungor defiling m'lady's dress, crushing him under his horses hooves. I was then able to disengage Salvatore from the minotaur, I think either because of a morale failure (due to the gruesome death of a colleague), or because Lady Hawke then pinned the minotaur in place with her steely gaze.  In either case, Salvatore charged the ungor arsonist.


I knew I'd only bought myself a brief respite.  My knight threw themselves forward against the beastman leader, and in a desperate combat, overcame him.


With the loss of their leader, the craven beastmen again fled the field, and the glory of Bretonnia stood victorious on the field.

Don't you wish your horsey could trot like me . . . .

I like this game.  It's clean, fast, tons of fun, and has plenty of flavour.  I'm going to play it more, and Foxlington has plans to get a campaign going.  Stay tuned for details as they emerge.


  1. First of all, lovely figures. I especially love the scroll work you did on the Knight's horse. And I'm not sure if Lady Hawke fixed your enemies in place with her stare or her bosom. Either way, its an effective tactic!

    Great AAR and another system I've never played but like on the strenght of your report.

  2. Great paint jobs on those Bretonnians and the table looked great too. Love the striped movement sticks!

  3. I have these rules sitting on my desktop and the activation rules in particularly seem fun in a blood bowl kind of way. Looking forward to give them a go myself. I got the rulebook of the last edition for 5 dollars less than a week before the new edition came out, but the vendor deemed it fair that I get the new one as well.

  4. Thanks for the kind words. I do like painting the Brets, and it was fun to get them on the table. WFB scene around here tends to be dominated by kids, and not in a good "hooray for the future of the game!" kind of way.

    @Dale, movement sticks were Foxlington's, made from bamboo barbeque skewers.

    @Monty and Dale, I'd recommend giving them a try. They're quick and easy, and you can use just about anything you've got lying around. I could even see using them for historical skirmish, just skip some of the more fanciful special abilities.

  5. Thank you for the nice words and cool batrep. Just one note, the PDF is $8 and you get lifetime updates, so if you bought the older version just keep your proof of purchase and you can request the pdf from for free. Just give me some time, I am swamped with update requests :-)

  6. The rules do work great for historical skirmish as well, and there is an excellent version of the rules called Songs of Drums and Shakos. The rules are so reasonably priced that I have purchased many of the variants that add a lot of flavor to the games, and which include great scenarios.

  7. @ Ganesha - hey, that's terrific news. I'll give you a couple weeks to settle in, then start nagging ;)

    @ Mel, good to hear my instincts were right. I have heard of SDS, there's a few guys locally who've talked of playing, but I don't think anyone's tried it yet.


  8. A couple fo us have tried Song of Drums and Shakos at THMG - it's was pretty cool!

  9. Hi FMB,

    WOW finally found your blog! Really enjoy your work. Recently I want to try to paint some fantasy figures too, your blog will be a good inspiration!


  10. Glad you like it VS - I see you've shifted over to blogging as well. I'll be following that with interest; I love your work.


  11. Fantastic looking game and figures. Love the Bretonnians. Best, Dean

  12. Wonderful report and beautifully painted figures. Well done!

  13. Wonderful looking game! I specially love your knights, and the photos are amazing! Really great work...

  14. Great reports (and wonderful painting!)