Being the report of a battle between and betwixt Charles and my good self.
- The Setting
The pleasant little town of Bramlinghame.
- The time
About eleven of the clock on a Wednesday, market day.
- The Scenario
A simple seize the objectives game. Five counters each marked on the bottom with a loot value: 0, 0, 5, 10 & 15 points.
These were mixed up and placed across the middle of the town, equidistant from the two warbands
- The Purpose
The purpose of the game was to playtest an encounter between a magic-heavy warband and one with very little magic.
To this end, Charles brought out his Necromancer, the Great Zombini and I deployed my brave City Watch.
“Zombini is coming!”
For a moment, everything stopped in the marketplace as the news sank in. Zombini the mad! Zombini the necromancer! Then chaos, as every living soul deserted the streets and barricaded themselves into the houses, shops and inns.
Well, not every living soul. Gertcha, the witch’s cat, was unperturbed and remained to complete his morning ablutions.
Down at the Watchhouse, a breathless urchin relayed the news and Captain Quentin Querolous assembled his men. Pugh snr, Pugh jnr, Sgt McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, and Grubb all stood in a neat line across the yard.
Dibble and Grubb had brought Gnipper and Gnasher, their mastiffs, from the Watch Kennels.
The venerable Father Ted soon joined them, shaking not from fear, but delirium tremens. The Watch had a limited budget and often had to take what they could get in terms of magical support.
Despite his condition, Father Ted had divined that the wicked Zombini was after three small chests of magical powders. Three small chests in a market full of such merchandise. Perhaps the noble Watch would have time to deny Zombini his prize.
On the edge of town Zombini stood waiting for the streets to clear. Beside him were his adept Kid Davver and novice Cemetery Sid. He threw a hand full of small bones onto the ground and a few moments later three loyal skeletons clawed their way up through the earth. Abel and Bravo were armed with swords and boards, but Chopper had a fearsome, if rusty, great axe.
The game began with Zombini and his cadaverous company approaching from the north-west, down Back Lane, avoiding the High Street and market square.
Capt. Querolous split his men into three groups and approached from the south with all due speed. Dibble and Grubb, with Gnipper and Gnasher, came up Back Lane on the left. Sgt McGrew took the Pughs up the right along Penny Lane, and the Captain, accompanied by Father Ted and Cuthbert, marched brazenly along the High Street to reassure the populace.
It became apparent that Zombini was playing a cautious game, so Dibble and Grubb unleashed the hounds, who dashed forwards to discomfort Zombini and Kid Davver. Charles did seem a little surprised at the incredible speed of the Mastiffs who, at a full run, can cover 18″.
Zombini sent Abel, Bravo and Chopper forwards to engage Dibble and Grubb, while peppering them with fire bolts, spectral darts and fireballs. It must be said that Charles die-rolling during this period was abysmal and required several dice to be expelled from his service (and across the kitchen). The last die he chose, wisely decided to play ball.
On the High Street, all was quiet, and Querolous lumbered forwards at his full speed of 6″, his men easily keeping pace with him. While in Penny Lane the Pughs sprinted forwards and seized a small chest, only to find that it only contained fine pipeweed, not magical powders. Sergeant McGrew was summoned to join his Captain on the High Street leaving the Pughs to their own devices…
Over the next few turns Dibble and Grubb managed to find two chests (only one with magical powders in) but then succumbed to magical and skeletal attacks, Grubb having spent at least two turns on fire. Gnipper and Gnasher kept the Necromancers back, but failed to drag them down as ordered.
By the time The Captain and his trusty sergeant reached the scene, having plodded through the marketplace, all that was left to greet them were Abel, Bravo and Chopper. By this time, Dibble had been turned into ‘ZomDibble’ by Zombini and was heading north carrying a chest, which Zombini had acquired by using Teleport to snatch it from my fallen guardsmen. Zombini had also successfully cast Beastmaster and turned Gnasher into his own loyal doggo. The Captain had sent the much quicker Cuthbert up the High Street to outflank the necromancers.
While this was all going on I had completely forgotten about the Pughs. A tall building actually shielded them from my view and all the events on my left flank had distracted me. I can only assume that they had been sampling the pipeweed in the chest they had found (and ignored the second chest only yards from their position).
In the next couple of turns the Captain showed his mettle, despatched the remaining skeletons and weathered a veritable storm of magical firepower. Father Ted was felled by a magically-targeted fireball from Kid Davver, without ever really using any of his own powers in anger. The Pughs got their act together and seized the third chest, but then got caught by Zombini who teleported in to relieve them of their loot. Pugh Jr was felled, and only the intervention of the noble Captain, kept Pugh Sr heading for the Watchhouse. ZomDibble managed to get a chest off the northern edge of the board and back to Zombini’s secret lair.
The Sergeant and Gnipper made a nuisance of themselves, and kept Kid Davver and Cemetery Sid busy on Back Lane. The Sergeant did make a last minute attempt to get back to support his Captain, but to no avail.
The game ended with me winning the initiative and running Pugh Sr off the table carrying two small chests. This was due, in no small part, to Querolous and Zombini fighting each other to the death. Successful post-game survival checks ensured that both of them will live to fight again.
Despite Charles’ warband having total magic superiority, and casting more spells than a witches’ convention, the game was still fairly well balanced.
Charles lost none of his junior spell-casters during the game and did send one of my watchmen off the board, as a zombie, carrying his loot, but I managed to pin him down enough to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat on the very last turn.
The mastiffs, in particular, proved their worth. Their speed and tenacity allowed my men to close on the objectives and keep the spell-casters at longer ranges. You will be seeing them again (I have three of them).
At one point I had two men knocked down, two others on fire, and it looked like Charles was going to romp home. But courage (i.e. great pluck rolls), and perseverance won out in the end.
Teleport is a very nasty spell…
All the buildings were Dave Graffam paper ones. I just love the textures and details he puts into them.
The board was the one you would have seen at shows being used for the IHMN Gothic participation game.
My City Watch was recruited from the Reaper Bones collection, and yes, I am going to replace the bendy plastic spears with metal ones. Captain Querolous is an Essex miniatures Knight from the 1980s. I painted them all myself, I shall blame no other.
Charles figures are all certified antiques from his vast collection. Kudos to anyone who can name them and their manufacturer’s.
More play test reports will be featured here in the coming weeks, as we smooth out the wrinkles, and weed out the game breakers. Please feel free to ask questions about the game.