For many years Charles and I had wondered if we could evolve the mechanics of our skirmish rules to a point where they could support a full-on medieval fantasy game. Each game we wrote moved us towards this goal.
IHMN laid the foundations; Daisho allowed us to experiment with points based magic and lethal swordsmanship; Blood Eagle improved the magic systems, introduced heroism and grim monsters, and here we are.
So make no mistake, Thus & Blunder is an evolution. Contributions from players across the world, dozens of shows and hundreds of games played by our friends and ourselves, have helped us refine and change the core and supporting rules.
This will be our largest book to date. There is more of everything. More magic, more monsters, more traits, more warbands, more landscapes, scenarios and complications. New sections on magical items, and creating your own unique warbands.
As we have said before, fantasy is our passion, so we want to get this right. This is why it is taking longer than our previous books. The Beta was released to our play-testers in the spring. By the end of August we hope to release the Gamma to them and to our reviewers/proofreaders. This always reveals a few more tweaks, clarifications and necessary corrections.
Then we will be gathering in the illustrations/photos, getting the layout done by Millsy of Cobalt Peak Design, and talking to our distributors about release dates.
Thud & Blunder will be a generic, high medieval fantasy, narrative skirmish game. Like our other games, it is neither tied to a specific world nor to a specific manufacturer’s figure range. It’s intended to allow you to use the figures you have to populate either the warbands in the book or create your own.
Being generic, you will be able to recreate scenes or stories from your favourite fantasy books, TV series and films. Adventures in Hyboria, Llankhmar, Middle Earth, Westeros, Mordheim, Melnibone, the Forgotten Realms, Albion, Lyonesse and even Narnia will be possible.
You will be able to create a unique warband of fantasy Adventurers, perhaps replicating a party you have played in a RPG (many of the figures used in the book’s examples are just such from our own RPG games).
The game covers all the classic fantasy settings; cities, villages, castles, ancient ruins, wilderlands and, of course, dungeons. The campaign system gives you the opportunity to create your own fantasy narrative and gives your warbands opportunities to fight for territory or to follow a quest in a simple, structured campaign system.
Even with all this we have kept to our original design principle – KISS. Running participation games of T&B at shows this year, we have been able to get most players up and running in under ten minutes. It has been a joy to see players as young as eight years old get stuck in and hammer their parents.
If you have played any of our previous games the core mechanics will be familiar, though there have been subtle improvements. For example, the armour bonus for helmets introduced in Blood Eagle have been ditched. This is because the range of armour in T&B is wider and adding 2 points of armour rating for a full helm would have made the best armour AR17, i.e. effectively invulnerable. So, a separate AR bonus for helmets is out.
The largest number of pre-calculated warbands will be in the book. Roughly twenty as I write this, but there could be more. Everything from classic Barbarians to heavily armed Noble Knights. Elves, dwarves, goblins, orcs and ogres all make a showing. Necromancers raising your dead comrades to fight once again, and colleges of wizards dominating the battlefield with fireballs. Then there is the humble City Guard coming in to clear everything up…
There is also a section on how to build a warband of your own imagination, or from your favourite books and movies.
There is still much to do… but we are three quarters of the way there. So, watch this space.