It seems incredible, given how long I have owned the rules, but today was my first time playing Song of Blades and Heroes by Ganesha Games. I have been building Warbands to use in the game for some time (mostly due to the glacial pace of my painting) but circumstances have always been such that I’ve never been able to bring some miniatures to the table to play.
The store I work at, The Sentry Box, has organized a Facebook group to promote skirmish gaming at the store. The first game that was chosen to be played was Song of Blades and Heroes and so we spent a few weeks building and painting and today was the first official game day at the store.
We got several games in including a three person game with myself, Keith and Dan and then a four player game with Keith, Joe, Sacha and myself. The 300pt force I used for the first game really showed my inexperience with the force building rules. My Hobgoblin archers really hobbled my force and my Ogre was less than effective with his 4+ Quality. It didn’t take me a lot of time to determine how to rectify some of the problems with my force and so when we moved on to the four player game I quickly made some changes and had a more effective warband.
Everyone had painted warbands (Sacha’s bases weren’t done but the figures were painted nicely) so the games looked very good. It is nice to play a game of this scale since it makes it much easier to ensure that you have fully painted forces. Painted figs make for a better game.
The first game has Keith’s Orc playing against my Chaos Dwarves and Dan’s Goblins and Minotaurs. The aim of the scenario was to move to a pile of gems and try to get off the table with as many as possible. I failed my first set of activation rolls on two turns (not an auspicious start to the game) and so was quite far behind Keith’s Orcs who were racing to meet Dan’s Minotaurs at the gem pile. Dan ran his Minotaurs ahead and then used his Goblins to screen me. While Dan and Keith fought over the gems I took out some of Dan’s Goblins and then attacked Keith’s Orcs form the rear. I stole the only gem Keith had acquired and racked up some VPs from kills but Dan won the game with a pile of looted gems.
The second game was a ‘capture the hill’ scenario with the warband having the most figures in contact with the centre terrain on the table getting a VP and then teams getting a VP for every 35pts of defeated enemies. Joe had a fun warband made with a pile of Halfling archers, a Dwarf Mage and two Dwarf Warriors. Sacha had a very nice looking warband with GW Wood Elf figures.
Everyone made a mad dash to the centre of the table but I made it there first with my Ogre who sadly was cut down by Halfling archers. That really stung my pride :-) Joes’ warband quickly marched into the fray and then after taking out my Ogre things went sideways for him and he started failing activation rolls. One of his archers managed to fend off several attacks from one of my Chaos Dwarves but his early dice luck abandoned him.
We had a fairly large scrum in the middle of the table which quickly went sideways as first Sacha lost her Leader and then she managed to shoot down Joe’s Mage and the Keith’s (well painted) Orc Leader. Both of their forces scattered which left me in control of the middle of the table. While Sacha was racking up VPs by killing Leaders. One minute the table is filled with minis and then the next Sacha starts scything down Leaders and I am left alone.
We had to call the game on time as I had to leave but I had one more VP than Sacha and two or three more than Keith. Joe had a single VP that he got from killing my Ogre. My victory was tainted somewhat by having an illegal warband. I had assumed, incorrectly, that the online warband builder did verification of your forces but it doesn’t and so my Leader was too expensive and put me over my Personality allowance.
The core rules of the game are quite easy to learn and the second game went much quicker for me. There really aren’t a lot of rules to remember outside of the Special Abilities each model might have. The activation system can really throw a wrench in your plans and usually at the wrong time. Every game had a point where someone was at the cusp of a brilliant move that got botched by throwing double ones or not making supposedly safe dice rolls. It is definitely a lot more of an interesting game than I had thought it was going to be. The idea of two stats seems ridiculously simple but it works and provides a fun game. Even the lack of weapon differentiation really didn’t seem an issue either.
We have three more weekends of SoBH games scheduled and we are planning on running a campaign for the final three weeks. I also want to try out some of the other scenarios and even have some one on one games to see how quickly the game plays. Multi-player was a blast though and it moved quickly even with four players on the table at once.