Saturday, November 13, 2010

From A Howl To A Whisper

Hey everyone and welcome to a conclusive edition of the Dispatch!

In this issue, we are going to wrap up our Song of Blades and Heroes campaign. The Vahgr have decided that the D'Wagurr have defiled their forest for long enough! Will they succeed in closing the D'Wagurr entrance to the Dark Thorn or will the subterranean menace go unchecked? After that, we'll take a quick look at a system that I plan on using for future campaigns to add a little depth to the whole experiece. Intrigued? Then read on!

Cacophony To Silence
A Song of Blades and Heroes Battle Report

After the last fierce battle, the Vahgr were finally able to track down the entrance that the D'Wagurr were using to enter the Dark Thorn. Determined to end the threat to their home, they summon one of the guardians of the Thorn and march forward to seal the D'Wagurr below. Meanwhile, the D'Wagurr have driven more creatures from below to help them secure their gateway to the surface world.

The game opened with the Vaghr arrayed along the left side of the board while the D'Wagurr were clustered around their tunnel opening.

The D'Wagurr won first activation and launched themselves toward the Vaghrr. With the two overseers in the warband, most of them began the game with a quality of 2+ for activation along with the ability to use group activations to really get their little hoard moving. All of the models were able to activate in the turn with one of the minion groups launching itself virtually to the other side of the table.

The Vaghrr responded by moving forward most of their troops though the Guardian, one of the Wardens, and the Hunter kept their positions for the first turn.

The forward group of D'Wagurr minions were able to knock down the guardian that they were clustered around but fell short of getting in the killing blow.

Meanwhile, the brute charged forward and was able to beat down one of the Vaghr warriors with little difficulty.

The victory was short-lived though as the bladeweaver was able to move up and dispatch the brute with relative ease while the rest of the warband looked on.

The D'Wagurr responded by smashing one of the Dark Thorn wardens and attempting to attack another of the Vaghrr warriors, though they proved to be slightly less effective this time.

The Vaghr are able to make the most of the situation though as they eliminated one of the minions and more importantly they managed to surround one of the two overseers.

While the D'Wagurr were able to make the most of the situation by taking down on of the remaining warriors with their Deep Star spider swarm, the situation with the overseer proved to be too much.

In fact once one of the overseers was killed, it was basically over for the D'Wagurr. The death of the first overseer resulted resulted in a morale check that lead to the death of the second overseer. Finally, this was followed up by a final morale roll as over half of the warband had died or fled. With only a spider swarm and a lone minion left on the table, it was effectively game over for the D'Wagurr.

The Dark Thorn guardian and two wardens were able to move forward and seal the tunnels, ending the D'Wagurr threat to the Dark Thorn... at least for now.

The Symphony Of Howls
Wrapping Up The Dark Thorn Campaign

So this battle report wraps up my Song of Blades and Heroes mini campaign. Overall, I really like the game system. It moves quite quickly (at least when you actually have the stats balanced as I learned early on...) and it is very easy to learn. There is also a simple campaign system that is included in the basic rules that I didn't use but I can see how to apply them in the future with a few tweaks that would make things more interesting in my opinion.

In the basic system, both sides start out with a certain size warband. You play through one of the scenarios and once you are done the winner can try to recover any minis that were killed in the fight (in the hopes of gaining experience) and both sides can replace any lost models (to represent word of your exploits attracting new warriors). This is all well and good but I prefer more of an attrition campaign like the one that I had started with Matt for Warmachine/Hordes.

For those of you that don't remember how that had been laid out, you start with a total force that you can draw on throughout the entire campaign. For each mission, you can choose up to a set number of points from the total force that you have available. The important thing is that you can choose up to the point limit which gives you some leeway in force composition. Maybe you don't feel like risking too many troops for this battle so you go way under the limit. Maybe you feel this mission is crucial and max it out. The choice is yours! This decision can win or loss you the battle before the dice are even rolled but there are more long term implications as well.

After the scenario is over the winner can try to recover any casualties and then both sides can recruit new troops. Just how many troops depends on how many points you committed to the battle in the first place and also whether you won or lost. The winner can recruit up to the full value of points they used while the loser can only recruit up to half the value of the points they used. As tales of your victories spread across the land, warriors flock to your banner seeking their own share of the fortunes of war. Or if you were not quite so fortunate then you are forced to recruit whoever you can get your hands on, whether they like it or not!

It is good to have some kind of a flow for the campaign in mind. For example, in the Dark Thorn campaign I wanted to recount the first encounters between the Vaghr and the D'Wagurr. I started out with a small scenario to represent two patrols happening upon one another, which built into a larger battle as the two forces took up arms against one another. This then lead up to the final battle with the Vaghr seeking to drive the D'Wagurr back and seal their tunnel into the Dark Thorn. This is a very basic concept but definitely adds to the whole experience. Without this story, it would just be little battle, medium battle, big battle. Now doesn't that sound exciting? *yawn,,,* By putting even some basic story elements onto this rudimentary framework, the whole campaign takes on a new depth and becomes that much more interesting.

All of this can also act as inspiration for the hobby aspect of the game as well as you might want to built new terrain pieces or paint up special models to fit into the campaign. In the case of this campaign, I didn't have any large forest terrain pieces so it gave me some motivation to make some, not to mention building the tunnel entrance itself for the final battle. Of course none of that was necessary. I could have just throw some felt down for trees and plopped a spare base on the board for the tunnel entrance but that just doesn't feel right to me. If I'm going to do something like this, I'd rather take the time to go all the way with it as I think it makes the whole experience that much better.

The Parting Shot...

And that wraps up another issue of the Dispatch. Hopefully you've enjoyed our look at Song of Blades and Heroes and if you feel like checking it out yourself, you can find it on the Ganesha Games homepage. They also have several other genres based on the same core system used in Song of Blade and Heroes so be sure to take a look around at what they have to offer.

As always, thanks for checking out the blog and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to either leave them right here on the blog or you can email me at Until next time...

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