Just a few days before Christmas I met with Virago and Cpt.Shandy to have a very special seasonal game of Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes.
Three weeks beforehand I had been struck (in the middle of the night) with the idea of doing a special christmas game. I remembered seeing a few of these on the interwebs. Most vividly so the excellent things Harry posted on Warseer about their annual club christmas games.
The general idea was to use thing I already had lying around (the medieval/fantasy scenery) and ‘winterize’ them temporarily. So I was really enthusiastic about the whole thing, the day after I informed my partners in crime and they were on board. I posed the rethoric and usually doom-auguring question ‘How hard can it be?’ and went at it.
I thought up up a general outline and scenario for the project and got out some figures I’ve had lying around for quite a while and for which I needed an excuse to paint them anyway. So I finally got to paint the Everqueen in an ice queen kind of theme. I also added some fur lining to two Maiden Guard figures and painted them as her christmassy bodyguard.
For the antagonist I got out the old Ogre shaman (a classic) and put a slightly nasty looking Christmas hat on his head. He’d be a green-skinned troll who wants to steal Christmas (as they do).
In the background you can already see some testers I did for temporary snowy roofs and snow gathering on window sills on the buildings. The trees I’d had lying around for ages already, the snow I got from a local craft store.
Over the next weeks I worked on the scenery, refining the approach and add little bits here and there when I found the time.
In the mean time virago had also been busy painting some more stout defenders of goodness and the spirit of goodness:
Then the big night approached. I hauled everything to virago’s and we set up the table.
‘tis the night before Christmas, and all the good people of the village are sleeping in their beds. Presents and goodies have already been piled up to be enjoyed in the morning.
Suddenly there are sounds from the nearby woods. Many light steps, the occasional heavy ones too, low snickering and hushed curses. A familiar group of Dark Elves, led by a huge troll.
The green monster, hence he’s known as The Greentch, detests Christmas, and all summer he’s been working on a plan for how to ruin it for everybody in the village.
His cunning plan is to take away all the stuff. Mainly presents, but also bakery. And pasties. And the pudding. He knew that the Dark Elves of Naggaroth don’t care for christmas either, but they like taking stuff from other people. So he invited the twin sisters Nikala and Barei and their warband of Dark Elven raiders to help him put his nasty plan into practice.
Nikala had caught a cold and had to stay home (she’d refused to wear pants despite the temperatures, because she claimed that they’d make her look ‘like a total dork’).
So the Evil Warband (played by Cpt.Shandy and me) looks as follows:
The Greentch (Troll) – Quality: 4+, Combat: 4, Traits: Big, Headbutt, Leader, Regeneration
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
The Dark Elves (and Troll) are to sneak into the houses and search them for goodies to nick. Models inside a house may search for presents using 1 action. On a roll of 5 or 6 they found a large present. Once the warband collected three large presents they are to retreat back into the woods.
This game is loosely based on a Dux Britanniarum Raid scenario.
The Good Warband (played by virago and his daughters) have to stop them from doing so.
The Ice Queen – Quality: 3+, Combat: 2, Traits: Agile, Forester, Spell-Caster (Alter Terrain, Blast, Protection from Arrows, Slowdown)
2x Christmas Guard – Quality: 3+, Combat: 3, Traits: Agile, Long Reach, Heavily Armoured
2x Elven Bowman – Quality: 3+, Combat: 2, Traits: Agile, Forester, Good Shot, Longbow
Kamikaze Gnome – Quality 3+, Combat: 2, Traits: Ball and Chain, Berserk, Short Move, Fearless
Gnome with Great Hammer – Quality: 3+, Combat: 2, Traits: Huge Weapon, Short Move, Fearless
2x Gnomes with Club and Axe respectively – Quality: 3+, Combat: 2, Traits: Short Move, Fearless
Just to clarify a few things: All parties involved are creatures of magic. They will pass through doors and some windows without trouble, they are unhindered by the deep snow and leave no footprints. They can see perfectly well, despite the fact that it’s night.
Our evil warband has a few extra turns to get a head start into the town before the defenders arrive. Cpt.Shandy takes his group ( 2 Crossbow Elves, Barei the Witch Elf, the Harpy and a Corsair Raider) down the main road. My group (the Greentch, the Assassin, and two Corsair Raiders) go to the left of the Inn. The greedy Troll runs into the first house to loot, while the Corsairs and the Assassin move on.
Cpt.Shandy has his Corsair enter the shed to his right, and the Harpy crashes through a window into the upper floor of the Inn. His Crossbow elves cover the road, and Barei storms forward (as Witch Elves do).
The Harpy quickly finds a lovely new sweater and claims it for her present. In the mean time the Goodies enter from the other table edge.
Right from the start Barei, advancing down the road, gets peppered by the Elven archers.
Thus covered by long range fire support the Ice Queen, one of her bodyguards and two gnomes advance toward the shed, one of the gnomes gleefully whirling (or being whirled by) his huge metal ball down the road.
My two Corsairs advance toward the next building; one of them entering to grab the best present, while the other one stands guard, desecrating a snow in the front yard. Soon the first Corsair finds a lovely pink teapot and takes it with him.
Cpt.Shandy’s Corsair searches the Shed for a few turns, but surprisingly fails to find any amazing presents in there.
In the mean time disaster strikes, and Barei ist struck down by another barrage of Elven arrows!
The Ice Queen and bodyguard gracefully step aside to make space for the berserk kamikaze gnome (BKG).
He speeds up and whirls toward the first target in sight. The Repeating Crossbow fire doesn’t help any, the Gnome cheers, the ball hits the elf and smashes him straight through the barn door. He’s out of the game as well.
On my side of things combat seems inevitable as well, so the Greentch, who had found himself a nice present as well in the first building, catches up to his comrades to support them in combat.
The troll proves to be a monster in combat, and Gnomes and Elf are quickly being taken care of. However, the elven bowmen strike once more and take the out Greentch. With their leader slain, my Elves get slightly worried and fall back to regroup. So the nice loot the Troll had carried as well as the teapot the Corsair witht he flag had grabbed are left behind on the ground.
After facing Elven Guard as well as the gnome with the huge metal ball and chain the Assassin decides to leave his position to grab the loot the Troll had dropped.
They catch up to the Assassin just as he links up with his Corsair pals and make him drop his loot. Once more, I got nothing. And I have to deal with this horrible kamikaze gnome.
At Cpt.Shandy’s flank, with only the Harpy, a reluctant crossbow elf and the ever unlucky Corsair in the shed left, the Ice Queen and a resolute Gnome lady team up to take care of things.
As they run after the Harpy (who had started to take off with the sweater), the crossbow elf takes a sneaky shot at the Ice Queen…
In return the fleeing Harpy is blown to tiny little icy shards by magic.
This does it for the Corsair in the shed (who still hadn’t found anything of value!): He takes a leap from the first floor and at least tries to grab the sweater the Harpy had dropped.
Seeing as to what happened to his Harpy pal, the Corsair decides that facing the sorceress in combat gives him better chances of survival than trying to run away.
At my end of things the action had become a bit bogged down in a combat between the Assassin, a Corsair, the Elven Christmas guardian, and the Gnome with the ball and chain. The little critter’s enthusiasm for battering Dark Elves with his weapon had gone, but he’s still a nuisance.
The Corsair with the flag is more concerned with picking up his teapot again than to support his buddies in combat. He swiftly gets knocked over by the advancing elven archers.
In front of the shed the Corsair’s combat with the Ice Queen and Gnome lady goes OK on the whole.
…but he too will have problems grabbing his present and get off the table.
The Dark Elves decide it’s time to pack up and leave. There’s always a next year. Or maybe the Easter Bunny’s easily scared…?
The Goodies win, Christmas is saved!
The remaining members of the warband gather under the tree and have a sing-song.
Wrapping things up…
What a nice game. Everybody involved had a good time and I think that our first Christmas game worked nicely.
The table worked out better than I had anticipated, and the additional bits of christmas decoration added by virago’s daughters rounded the whole things off. Of course a ton more little details and scenic items could be added, but with the limited time I had at hand I did what was possible. I think the main bits are done.It’s by no means perfect, but I’m very happy to report: it worked.
Even while the game was running we already worked out ideas for next year’s Christmas game. It’s just a great occasion to have a wacky and out-of-the-ordinary multi-player game. Just make sure to plan ahead, so you have enough time to prepare! 😉
As a rules set Song of Blades and Heroes is just perfect for this, because you can tailor-make stats and traits for everything. The rules are simple enough, but give a good game. The reaction system keeps people on their toes. I love it.
So yeah, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the battle report. If you have any questions or comments …well, the comment section’s right below.
I guess at this point there’s nothing more left to say than:
Merry Christmas and a happy new Year, everybody!
For more photos of my paintwork/modelling visit the Battle Brush Studios website, Facebook Page and/or follow me on Twitter @SigurSquirrel.