The fight at Craggy Pass (a SBH encounter)

1 May, 2010

Tonight I had a game of Song of Blades and Heroes with John. It’s is a very elegantly designed game that I’ve wanted to play for a while, but not found any opponents. It uses the combat engine of DBA with an interesting method of ‘activating’ your figures. Each figure has two stats, quality (how easily they activate) and a combat factor. In addition the figure may have a number of special ability. It is the basic simplicity of the two factors and the ability to create many different fighters using these special abilities that makes the ruleset so elegant.

We picked two simple warbands and had a random encounter, which proved to be an ‘all-out battle’. I was the defender and we laid out two steep hills on two sides of the board and two small woods near them. This formed a pass that was relatively clear. My warband, all humans, led by Eustace, was from figures taken straight from the book: a leader (3+/3), three warriors (3+/3), a light horseman (3+/2) and two archers (3+/3 and shooters (long). The only wrinkle was that the warriors and the leader had taken ‘shieldwall’. John’s warband, also all humans and led by Sir Cumfrance, was much more varied, though still 7 fighters. There were a number of 4+/4s, some ‘cowards’, a squire that was ‘tough’ but 4+/2 and Sergeant Bob, who was 3+/4 and ‘steadfast’.

Things got off to a bad start for me when one of my archers went down to a 6-1 dice roll. Having said that Sir Cumfrance repeatedly rolled critical failures for his activation—most amusing; we wondered if John had forgotten to paint a vision slit on his helmet, or like Blackadder in the very first episode, he’d forgotten to go before putting his armour on. Anyway, he was stuck on the edge of the board for quite a while. I compounded my bad start by losing another warrior to another 6-1 dice roll. However, my fighters were able to surround the squire and bash him to death (we misread the rules on ‘tough’, for a while, not realizing that a gruesome death was in fact death, not a loss of quality. I lost the cavalryman to yet another 6-1 dice roll, and I was on the verge of a morale check. I then managed to pick on another of the warband, one of the cowards, knocking him over and then doubling him on the ground, getting a ‘gruesome death’, which caused some of Sir Cumfrance’s warband to run. However, Sergeant Bob was unfazed and fairly scary. I was lucky to succeed in knocking over Sir Cumfrance and then send  in Eustace for the coup-de-grace, another gruesome death on the leader! Suddenly Sir Cumfrance’s warband melted away with a cascade of morale checks. Sergeant Bob was the last to leave, wisely deciding there was no benefit to sticking around.

It was a fun encounter; I was sure I was going nowhere fast, as I couldn’t get good odds on the likes of Bob and my archer kept rolling 1’s for shooting (though avoiding breaking his bow or using up his ammo); it was fortunate that Sir Cumfrance was not so strong; all my kills were the result of ganging up on someone and kicking him while he was down.

Both of us are keen to play the game some more, and Keith should join in next time. I’d like to use the rules in Song of Deeds and Glory for some campaigns, but we need to play a few more games first. It’s a system that I’d be tempted to get some 28mm figures for, as it probably looks a bit better in that scale, and the outlay’s not too big. In the short term, as I’m going to be pressed for time to do much painting in the coming months, I may rebase some of my HOTT figures to make a Dwarven warband. They’re not enough to do much in HOTT yet, but are plenty for SBH. If I can get over for another game next Friday, I may take some photos.


4 Responses to “The fight at Craggy Pass (a SBH encounter)”

  1. Thank you, this batrep manages to be a batrep and a review at the same time 🙂
    I’ll link to this on the ganesha website.

  2. Nick Grant Says:

    Sounds good Mark.

    I’ve got a heap of old Revel Anglo Saxons that I have, from time to time, considered basing for skirmishing. I’ve just got G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. for Victorian Sci Fi skirmishes, these skirmish based Saxons could also work in for that – a long lost tribe of Vikings!


    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks, Nick; skirmish gaming is something I want to do more of, and SBH is a great system for it.

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