Friday 29 January 2016

Action North of the Green River

The thud of heavy heavy hoof beats shook the ground. In the camp confusion reigned as sleepy green skins packed their belongings in haste or grabbed their weapons and set out to punish the interlopers...

Last time I wrote that I had ended the campaign season. Unavoidably off the trail for a while, when I came back, guess I had forgotten.

Turn 8 saw things winding down. Most of the goblin bands had retired to the wilds, and those on the border would do soon with winter closing in.

However I did manage an expedition into Gobbo Country. One company each of knights and cavalry, supported by one lance of feudal troops made their way northward and eventually struck a goblin camp.

The camp was occupied by four bands of greenskins, two Rep 3 and two Rep 4 groups. Unfortunately the Gobla Khan was nowhere to be found so at best I would be putting this camp out of action for a few seasons.

A Word About Scaling
As stated before one of my design goals is to allow this campaign to be played with very few figures. To that end it is my intention that the player(s) force can always be scaled down to 6 figures.

My troops in this force were as follows:
1 Company of Knights: 
6x Rep 5 Knights

1 Company of Cavalry:
 6x Rep 4 Cavalry 

1 Lance: 
1x Rep 5 Knight
1x Rep 4 Cavalry
2x Rep 4 Billmen
2x Rep 4 Crossbowmen

Scaled down this gave me:
2x Rep 5 Knights
2x Rep 4 Cavalry
2x Rep 4 Crossbowmen

Facing my troops I could expect there to be about 8 reflecting my 3 companies to their 4 bands. I could also expect about half of these to be Rep 3 Goblins and the other half Rep 4 Orcs.

However given the vagaries of PEF's and resolution rolls combined with the tables written for this game there could be as few as 0 and as many as 16 greenskins. Also these could range from Rep 3 to Rep 5 depending on the dice.

I decided to split my force. The knights and crossbowmen would hit the camp in the usual manner, entering in sections 7, 8, or 9.

The cavalry were detached to hit the camp from another direction. Which direction and when, if indeed at all, were chance elements.

Approaching the clearing in the center of the table, two PEF's were immediately revealed in thick woods to my left. One was spurious. The other turned out to be one orc and three goblins, archers all, busily engaged in covering the withdrawal of camp equipage and loot.

They loosed a volley that clattered of my armour but send my crossbowmen fleeing from the field!

That ended turn three.

Turn four started with the arrival of my cavalry on the other side of the table.

This in turn triggered the resolution of the third PEF.

Three spear goblins backed by an orc archer and led by an orc warrior. 

My lads put spurs and charged! 
The orc archer managed to fire but missed his mark.

In the ensuing clash one goblin was skewered, 

...and one horseman killed by a lowly gobbo. 
Their blood up, both sides held their ground.

Now my knights charged into the throng,

riding down orc and goblin.

The remaining greenskins fled.

Only to be cut down.

At this point enough greenskins had been killed to neutralize the bands but I wanted to remove the entire camp from play and so needed to capture the pack animals with the first group of archers in the thick wood.

For their part they wanted to flee but being greenskins had trouble organizing themselves. Probably fell into squabbling over division of spoils or who was boss.

In any event my lads were on them before they could flee.

The clash was swift and terrible.

None escaped.

And so a successful end to this season's campaign.

I lost two settlements burned out, and one party of trekkers massacred, but this is offset by four new settlements being established, the defeat of several raiding parties, and the destruction of this camp.

As a player I could end the game here, or play a series of seasons, either any number I choose to or as many as it takes until the frontier is settled or the gobbos succeed in pushing settlement back to the walls of the city.

The design is coming along nicely, with new tables designed, more work on balancing the game,  and new procedures ironed out.

That's it for now....except for one more few of the display case as more figures have been relocated and properly displayed.

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by!

Monday 25 January 2016

How to Play THW Games

Whether you're just curious, new to THW, or an experienced player, take a look at this free "How To" PDF. 

It makes playing THW easier to get into and can be used as a tabletop reference during your games. 

Works with all THW skirmish games.

How to Play THW

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Rally Round the King - Hyboria Army Lists - Best in Life

Conan! What is best in life? 
Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women. 

Army Lists for Hyboria and even Warrior Heroes Warbands with a little tweaking.

Hyborian Army Lists

Wednesday 13 January 2016

A Busy Day Beyond the Green River

Two more runs-in with Gobbos today.

After yesterday's action one band of greenskins broke free of a pursuing lance and raided a homestead. Bad news all around, it effectively canceled out my victories of the day.

Today a band of settlers crossed the Green River just as two goblin warbands were making their way south to the same location.

There was nothing for it but to try an interception, and intercept them I did.

One force of a lance and my woodsmen made contact with the west most band.

I am experimenting with reducing any player force down to six figures in a bid to make the game more accessible for folks just starting out in the hobby. In this instance it means my force of 6 Rep 5 woodsmen, 1 Rep 5 knight, 1 Rep 4 sergeant, 2 Rep 4 billmen, and 2 Rep 4 crossbowmen, were reduced to 3 Rep 5 woodsmen, 2 Rep 4 billmen, and 1 Rep 4 crossbowmen.

My six stalwarts entered a heavily wooded area, woodsmen to in the van, others in a loose second rank.

For once no PEF was immediately visible so the lads fanned out to take covered positions at the edge of the thick woods. 

The way Swordplay works, the possible enemy forces (PEF) will always move towards you eventually so unless you are raiding, if you find a defensible position in there is really no reason to move from it. They WILL come to you.

And soon enough they did.
A Rep 5 great orc, Rep 5 rider, and Rep 4 orc appeared out of the shadows.

Naturally they charged as melee troops will.

The woodsmen loosed a flight of arrows. Two missed and the one that hit did no damage!

In the ensuing melee all three woodsmen were cut down and my remaining troops fled!

A black day indeed as my only company of woodsmen was destroyed and the lance put to flight.

Further west...
A force of six Rep 5 knights and six Rep 4 mounted men-at-arms rand down the second raiding party.
Scaling this force down left me with three knights and three men-at-arms.

This time I decided to lead with the Rep 4 troops and keep my Rep 5 knights in reserve.

The first PEF did indeed appear in line of sight and turned out to be nothing.

The second PEF was resolved... a single, spear armed, goblin.

Naturally my lads charged!

And made rather short work of a rather short greenskin.

The third PEF resolved as nothing at all  and so ended the second game in a much needed, if rather lopsided, victory.

Technically this ended turn 7 of this season. 

However, as one does, I have been tweaking the force levels in the game to achieve a balance between difficulty of the challenge presented to the players and simplicity of play. With that in mind I am calling this season to a halt and embarking on a new season tomorrow. 

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Cavalry on the Border

In the Kingdom's phase of the same turn that saw the Knights fend off an attack, one of my cavalry units made contact with the goblin raiders they had been tracking last turn.

Eight Rep 4, mounted men-at-arms, armed with lances, entered a clearing only to find two Possible Enemy Forces not one foot away.

The two forces resolved into some 15 greenskins including a massive orc leader and a troll.

A seemingly formidable foe.

They charged.

We counter-charged.

There was a dreadful din as the two forces met.

"There's something wrong with our bloody Gobbos today!"
Although outnumbered my lads won all of their combats save one, that against the troll.

The disparity in losses was apparently too much for the Gobbos and they fled.

Only to be mercilessly ridden down.

One of the lads held back to pick up the banner of our fallen comrade.

A quick regrouping and it was off to seek out the final Possible Enemy Force, that had been making a racket in a thick cluster of woods.

Twas nae a Gobbo.

And so the end of another successful fight.

Mind you the Gobbos can't roll well to (literally) save their lives today.

Two games in the space of a few hours with breaks to take photos and edit them. Swordplay 2015 is certainly fast playing. Makes it ideal to resolve actions in a campaign game.

On the downside in the following goblin strategic turn, my lads lost track of one band who went on to burn out a settlement. My two victories just make up the morale loss for the attack.

Monday 11 January 2016

A Frontier Skirmish

The season was off to a slow start. Only a few raiding parties made for the Green River, just as only a few parties of settlers set out for the frontier.
The goblins that had crossed the river were being held at bay by pursuing detachments of troops. It was a shame that they could not be run down, but at least they weren't roaming the countryside at will.

When a goblin camp moved closer to the fort, the garrison commander attempted a raid of his own. An elite battle composed of knights and woodsmen set out across the bridge and into goblin country.

The trail of the village was easy enough to find. As expected it fell back before the raiders. Trying to catch goblins unaware in their homeland was near impossible.

While there was no sight of the village the same can not be said of the goblins. Signs pointed to a warband ahead and the commander deployed accordingly...

The expeditionary force consists of a detachment of 8 Rep 5 knights and 8 Rep 5 woodsmen, the latter although unarmoured are equipped with bows and hand weapons.

Given that any troops engaged today would need to refit, I elected to only use half of each detachment.

Despite the look of the table, this engagement took place entirely in woods. This limited LOS to 12" at best. Consider the entire table to be tree covered with the exception of the two oval bits of ground without trees on the Kingdom's base line. These are clearings.

The oval area in the center of the table, covered with trees is a patch of particularly heavy wood. 

The enemy PEF's were deployed and the humans advanced, woodsmen strung out in a skirmish line with the knights behind ready to charge through the intervals.

With a great rukus of snapping trees and blood curdling yells, a bunch of green skins burst out of the dense wood. Two trolls, three goblins, and three orcs all told.

The archers let fly and those not brought down by the volley were charged.

Only the trolls and a particularly brave or fool hearty orc met the charge.

 All three were soon trampled under hoof.

A second group appeared from the thickets. 

 They were beyond the reach of the woodsmen so the knights put spur to their mounts and charged.

Again the foe were ridden down.

And that sufficiently took the fight out of the green skins and ended the proceedings.

An easy victory perhaps but then the troll were decidedly having an off day. Each was a match for a knight and each rolled appalling scores in combat.

Back on the campaign map, the goblins are being pursued in the west, are absent from the center, and are massing in the east.

This skirmish will give me a slight bump in morale should prove largely inconsequential in the long run.