So it was that the three amigos gathered to carry out the final play test of Thud & Blunder before the book hit the streets.
Phil ‘Captain’ Morgan, ‘Hairy’ Dave Robinson and my good self, brought forth our brave warbands;
I rallied my hardy Orcs, led once more by Mr Angry himself – Grabnutz the Great, and supported by a Troll called Dennis.
“They’ve brought a Cave Troll…”
Dave chose to field a band of Brigands. A new warband for him, so an experimental force. The archers were to play a significant part as we shall see…
There is no greater band of scum and villainy than this.
As it was St David’s Day, Phil put his Blood Eagle Welsh on the table (reconfigured for T&B), led by the indefatigable Lord Grufydd and accompanied by a young, red dragon (whom we immediately dubbed “Idris”).
“Oh feckity-feck-feck!” – Grabnutz
As one might imagine Dave and I eyed the dragon with some concern and, despite it not being of the fire-breathing variety, we adjusted our plans accordingly.
The scenario consisted of finding and keeping a magical sword and a magical shield, which were concealed in the small and unfortunately named town of Flammenburgh.
The villagers have fled leaving the field to the three warbands.
Each warband would enter from a corner of the table and proceed towards the middle where the sword and shield we rumoured to be hidden. We placed six tokens in the six most central buildings, two of which were marked as being the loot we desired.
Phil and I set-up at opposite ends of the town’s main street, soon to be renamed Slaughter Alley. Dave came on from my left and Phil’s right flank.
“That’s it lads, use the Dragon as cover”
“Boss, is this another dragon-hunt?”
The first couple of turns consisted of the Orcs and Welsh advancing boldly, and the Brigands sneaking into the town. A few desultory bow shots were fired but no-one succumbed.
In the third turn the Welsh found the Flaming Sword of Fire and an orc stumbled across the Shield of Courage. It was also the turn in which Lord Grufydd, regarding the Brigands as being of little consequence, plonked the Dragon in amongst the advancing Orcs.
“Come and get it ye scaly git… !”
Meanwhile the Brigands were proving to be quite dangerous as their archers had war bows. I had sent my troll (Dennis) over to my left flank to slow down, and possibly eat, some Brigands. However, as he stepped out from behind a building he was peppered with arrows, one of which went straight through his small brain and took him out of the game. One or two fruity words may have escaped my mouth at this point.
“They can’t hit a barn at that range…” Dennis the Troll’s fateful last words.
Over the next couple of turns, the Brigands assaulted Lord Grufydd’s troops and a furious melee erupted in the centre of town. The most notable point in this was when Lord Grufydd had his pony cut from under him, and for a few minutes it looked like he might follow the pony into the afterlife. The Brigands gave him a good kicking while he lay on the floor, but his armour and his Destiny rolls kept him in the fight.
It’s very hard to the Welsh from the ruffians at this point.
The orcs would have joined in, but had their hands full with Idris the Dragon, which was splitting its attacks and eating one to two orcs per turn. Dragon armour is pretty much the toughest in the game with only fully armoured knights competing with it. So, the orcs were having to mob the damned lizard to have even the slightest chance of penetrating it. I could really have used my Troll about now…
“Oi Dennis, ain’t you supposed to be regenerating or summink?” “Oi’m thinking about it…!”
Grabnutz realised that the real fight was in the centre of town so, leaving his archers behind to slow the Dragon down, or at least give it indigestion, he charged off with his two spear carriers (the reason I call these orcs ‘spear carriers’ is because they didn’t actually use them, they just carried them about).
“Hold the line lads, I’ll be back with a magic sword in a bit…”
Brigands and Welshmen were falling like nine-pins, though the Welsh were getting the upper hand when the Orcs arrived. Not that anyone noticed as they seemed unable to hit anything but the scenery.
By now Lord Grufydd was edging back towards his corner, letting his men slow the Brigands up. Idris, having swallowed both orc archers in a single turn, flew into the middle of town and promptly ate an orc spear carrier. The very same orc who was carrying the Shield of Courage.
“Just poke it with yer pointy stick Grokk!”
By now the Brigands seemed to have remembered that they had a prior appointment that they had to get to, and the battered remnants of their force was slipping away. My last remaining orc, Grabnutz, decided that the dragon needed to be taught a lesson. However, Idris regarded Grabnutz as dessert, and made short work of the mighty (meaty?) warrior.
Oh the horror!
Phil was the champion, by a considerable margin, with Dave second. My orcs, being completely wiped out, came in a poor third. Next time I’m bringing my ‘invincible’ Hedge Knight, Sir Cedric Corbusio, and his crossbowmen. We’ll see if the damned lizard can face that…
Anyway, another fun evening with lots of discussion afterwards on the merits of dragons, the general uselessness of dice, how David’s poisonous Picts might have fared, and how appropriate it was that the Welsh won on St David’s Day.