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Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes Battle Report

Buckle up for my first Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes battle report!

In my last article I told you about the rules, the book itself and so on. Now it’s time to see what the rules actually play like.

Preparations

A few nights before the game I sat down and threw together two warbands based on some Warhammer miniatures I like and some rules I wanted to try out. I used the Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes Warband Generator for this. In preparation for this game I also finally finished painting some medieval buildings.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes
As a treat to myself I also ordered one of them new-fangled gaming mats all the kids are so giddy about and quickly made up a measuring stick for ASoBH:

 

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

 

The Warbands

 

Dark Elves Raiding Party

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

The twin sisters Nikala and Barei, ever eager to improve their social standing and in search for pretty magic items to loot, raid the outskirts of Lechenheim. With them they brought their pet Harpy, a hirling Assassin and a handful of raiders.

Nikala (Sorceress) – Quality: 3+, Combat: 2, Traits: Agile, Spellcaster (Blast, Fireball, Protection from Arrows, Sleep)

Barei (Witch Elf) – Quality: 4+, Combat: 3, Traits: Agile, Berserk, Double-Strike, Parry

Assassin – Quality 4+, Combat: 3, Traits: Agile, Acrobat, Backstab, Free Disengage, Stealth

Harpy – Quality: 4+, Combat: 3, Traits: Flying

2x Crossbow Elves – Quality: 4+, Combat: 3, Traits: Agile, Repeating Crossbow

3x Dark Elves Raiders – Quality: 4+, Combat:3, Traits: Block

 

I gave all the Dark Elves the Agile trait which allows for much easier movement and to set them apart from their opponents

Little did they know who was paying a visit to the area just that day….

 

Human Defenders

Just on this day Count Daunenfein paid a visit to oversee preparations for this year’s Bierfest just down the road of the attack. Him, his body guard, a local gunsmith who was eager to demonstrate his latest Wünderwaffe and three city guardsmen rushed to the defence.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

 

Count Daunenfein – Quality: 3+, Combat: 4, Traits: Block, Heavily Armoured, Leader, Long Move, Mounted

Smirre, Head of the Count’s Guard – Quality: 4+, Combat: 3, Traits: Heavily Armoured, Heavy Weapon, Long Move, Mounted

Local Gunsmith – Quality 3+, Combat: 3, Traits: Arquebus, Good Shot

2x Count’s Guard Greatswords – Quality: 4+, Combat: 3, Traits: Heavily Armoured, Huge Weapon

3x City Guard – Quality: 4+, Combat: 3, Traits: Drilled, Long Reach

 

Both warbands are worth 400 points. It’s pretty amazing how easy it is to model all kinds of attributes and equipment. The Block trait represents shields (or seadrake cloaks in the case of the Dark Elves Raiders) and Long Reach represents spears. By using the Heavy Weapon and Huge Weapon traits I differentiated between Smirre’s huge hammer and the greatswords of the rest of the guard.

Count Daunenfein’s Leader trait is really handy as it helps friendly troops around him to activate easier. The trade-off is that if a leader falls all friendly units have to roll for morale.

 

The Setup

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

According to the rules you roll for attacker and defender. The defender sets up the table and the attacker decides on the edge his troops are set up on. We decided to set up the table together (and we even had help from my opponent’s young’uns) and then just roll for the side the attacker (Dark Elves) set up on.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

While setting up the table we were surprised how nice a medieval Fantasy table we get out of the stuff that accumulated. The gaming mat proved to be a good addition, as long as you put enough terrain on it. With too little other terrain, they often tend to look dire.

 

The Game

We set up our miniatures, rolled for who goes first and off we went. The humans, played by my opponent Virago, got the first turn and got themselves in position. Count Daunenfein and Smirre, being on horse and thus the most mobile characters advanced across the city square towards my flanking crossbow elf and Assassin. The rest of my models were huddled together to avoid the Gunsmith and his long rifle.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

 

Right Flank Skirmishing

My single crossbow elf, sitting behind a wall in the corn field, was the prime target of the Count’s and Smirre’s attack. The assassin, lurking around corners, ever ready to pounce, but never really willing to do so. He was large ignored.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

Actually very early on I made a funny mistake with that Assassin: I rolled up two actions for him, just enough to charge the Smirre. Only to realize that to actualy make an attack I’d need another action! Luckily for me, my opponent’s activation roll for Smirre had a failure which I could use as a reaction to get the Assassin in relative safety. This experience was enough for thim to spend the rest of the game mostly hiding and watching from afar. All while the human characters first clobbered the crossbow elf (after a chase through the corn field) and then took off to join the main battle.

 

Thorough Probing

The first two turns or so were mostly positioning using the free moves models get if they are far away from enemy models.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

When my opponent realized that my main force advanced to a house and then got a bit defensive not to get hit by the long rifle they took the opportunity to leave the positions behind the hedges. They advanced towards the house as well and a bit of a hide and seek situation emerged for a few turns, with nobody wanting to make the charge around the corner.

As the Harpy tried to move around to pose a threat to the flank and help break up the static situation of the Dark Elves she got taken down by two shots from the gunsmith

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

I had gotten my Dark Elves into a sticky situation, all bunched up behind that house there. Quietly, the human foot soldiers started to creep up around a corner…

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

One spearman and the gunsmith cover one flank while the foot soldiers sneak up around the corner.

The Dark Elves relocated the raiders to meet the human soldiers, which made them recoil. I managed to have Nikala the sorceress hop around the corner and throw a fireball at the humans and due to a lucky roll killed two of them. Now each side had taken 2 casualties.

 

The Part in which all the Things happen

Now the skirmish took up pace as Smirre charged across the town square to hit the now explosed Nikala.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

Oops

In the mean time the cunning Count had hurried his steed around the town Inn to hit the Dark Elves in the back.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

As he charged he bellowed the command to launch an attack around the corner NOW, and Barei the Witch Elf and her crossbow pal saw themselves victims of a pincer attack.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

Barai immediately did what Witch Elves do: charge at the enemy with an impressive hairdo, shriek and number of attacks – and bounce off their armour. The Raider with the flag came to help out in fighting the Greatsword and it didn’t look all too horrible.

At Nikala’s end of things though…

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

After a whack on the head by Smirre Nikala had gone down, but a Raider leapt over the hedge to help her out. This gave her time to get up again, but then more people started piling in. First a spearman, and on top of that Count Daunenfein, irritated by Barai’s yelling and slashing, joined in. You may wonder why it’s so easy to leave close combat. Usually it isn’t, but mounted characters may leave close combat with characters on foot via a regular move.

Nikala and her Raider pal got mauled badly and I had to roll morale checks for the remaining models in my warband. The useless Assassin was the first to take off at supersonic speed. Despite the rest standing more or less firm we called it a night.

 

Conclusion and Thoughts

A win for the human defenders! Okay, that one’s on me. I really could have played it better. Most of all I should have made more use of Nikala’s magic powers and be more aggressive. Maybe the warbands weren’t that perfectly balanced either. But mostly I simply got outplayed. That’s okay. The table was stunning. It made this game so much more enjoyable. There can never be enough care and work put into terrain, especially in skirmish gaming.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

The Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes rules work really well. The game wasn’t quite as fast as I had imagined, but it was fluent, made sense, it felt tactical and had the right amount of friction. It’s easy to learn, rules don’t get in the way of the game (magic took a bit of looking up, but I got it now), and it’s good fun.

Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

This game rekindled my interest in fantasy gaming.

Sigur Squirl

Sigur is the painter behind “Battlebrush Studios” and a familiar face in many wargaming circles online. Plays a metric ton of skirmish wargames and shares his experiences here on the blog.

7 Comments

  1. Very nice read, and a beautiful table!

    We play without the reaction rules, as it makes the game a LOT faster – This is how the regular SoBH plays, and we kinda enjoy that format more. Reactions do add a lot of depth and interaction though.

    The Dark Elves could probable have done with a leader or a few characters with better quality. (In general, I tend to put elves at Q 3+ since I imagine them as disciplined and agile, and likely to keep a cool head and act according to plan.)
    But both warbands look cool regardless. I’m gonna go and dig out some of my Empire guys for a warband as well, I think.

    • Thanks very much for the commend, Affun!

      Yeah, I guess that’s a matter of personal preference. I can see how not using the reaction rules speeds the game up considerably. I would have to give it a go again without the reaction system, but I just really like it so much!

      I really just threw together some models I liked. The DElves probably should have gotten better stats and in return be fewer dudes maybe. Especially for test games I prefer models to be pretty much in line so we can focus on the rules themselves. That being said, I really like the Agile rule on Elves.

      The Empire vs. DElves really work nicely. I use them for all kinds of Fantasy gaming. I also got a bunch of Undead and Chaos dudes, and of course “Norse” (well, Anglo Saxons), but I got the most freedom of choice with the DElves and Empire dudes, and I just get a kick out of these Druchii being on the table.

    • Thanks for the comment, Joe. The mat I got from Deep Cut Studio. Not cheap, but it does look nice if you put enough stuff on top. 🙂 I like the ‘cloth’ variants best because you can put hills and such underneath to create actual landscapes.

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