Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Song of Drums and Kepis AAR - Foraging Mission Scenario

Monday March 13 out come the Song of... Rules but this time using the ACW Supplement featured in 61 to 65 so time for some Song of Drums and Kepis! We picked the Foraging Mission Scenario, having read Flames Beyond Gettysburg (S L Mingus Sr) we placed our game in June 1863 as Ewells Corps pushed north to the Susquehanna River. Our force selections reflected this; the Northerners were mainly Conscripts and Militia (read lots of poor quality troops) whilst the Southerners were a few seasoned Veterans (uhoh!), would numbers or quality prevail!

Rebels 'Foraging'...

The Forces

1 x NCO with Rifle and Revolver
1 x Veteran Marksman with Rifle
10 x Conscripts with Rifles
3 x Militiamen with Rifles

1 x Officer with Revolver and Sword
5 x Veterans with rifles
4x Veterans with Muskets

The Game

From a Northern Newspaper
...the gallant but desperate decision of Master Sergeant O’Higgins to throw himself into the front line turned the tide. Knowing that his command was not going to get out of their tents before the butternut wave of Secessionists swept through the camp he threw himself forward loosing off both his rifle and revolver. Singlehandedly he drove the Southerners back over the encampments fence. it was then he was struck to the ground by a lucky blow from a Rebel. Momentarily dazed he looked up to see one of his trusty men, Private Masters leap the fence and fell the the Confederate soldier who was about the skewer O’Higgins. after this Masters raced forward in a maddened rage bayoneting the Rebel's Leader. Mortified at the loss of their Officer the Confederates fled into the woods where only a sort while earlier they had emerged whooping in excitement!

Some Pictures

The Rebels entered the tabletop, quietly formed up at the tree line and prepared to launch themselves on the slumbering Yankees whose few sentries were oblivious of the danger...

Charge Boys! Get amongst them! Roared the Rebel Lieutenant...

Quickly the Rebels overcome the sentries and they found themselves inside the Union perimeter...

The last sentry crashes to the ground....

The drowsy Union troops manage to take out one of the attackers! At this point a few Conscripts fled seeing Private Parts suffer terribly from a head wound.

Ooops forgot to take pictures covering the rallying of the Yankees, Master Sergeant O'Higgins being knocked down and the Union resurgence... DOH!

Private Masters comes face to face with the Confederate Officer...

...and fells him in a brief tussle! A resounding Yankee 'Huzzah' is heard across the battlefield!

After Game Stuff

Well we had a lot of time for coffee and biscuits after this little game in hindsight I should have set the figures up again and we should have replayed the scenario. In this game both sides exposed their Leaders officers recklessly and pushed men forwarded unsupported a recipe for disaster! Either side could have won at one point the Rebs missed the opportunity to finish off the Yankee leader as he lay prone, given a similar chance the Southerners leapt at it taking out the Confederate Leader resulting in a victory!

Next fortnight we are playing Song of Drums and Kepis again!

Saturday, 4 March 2023

Patton Heads East! Chain of Command AAR

We decided to trot out Chain of Command last Monday night! For something different we pitted Yanks against Reds in August 1945!

The scenario was played was the Take an Objective with the Yanks on the attack. Al commanded the forces of good and Dave the minions of evil, I umpired. The Americans objective was the east end of the bridge.

The force were straight from the original ruleset, the Americans had a 30 Cal and Sherman in support and the Soviets a T-34 76 and a Maxim, even though the Americans had a lot of firepower and a bit of cover it looked a tough task. The initial morale rules didn't favour the Allies with the Americans getting a moral rating of 8 and the Soviets 10!

We went through the Patrol phase which was pretty good for the Americans, the Soviets were brave placing a JOP on the 'wrong' side of the river!

The Americans watch anxiously late in the game as the Reds Tank advances for a final attack!

The Action!

The Americans started, their dice allowed them to place their 30 Cal in shell holes in the woods on their left, a Squad deployed into the shell holes on their right and a Sherman trundled onboard along the road. The Soviets rolled well, two Sections deployed in the ruins as well as their Maxim team and their tank arrived to support them immediately it looked like the Yanks were in for a hard time!

The American Captain stayed cool, his 30 Cal hosed the Maxim and two Squads advanced either side of the road leap frogging from cover to cover the Sherman advanced firing on the Maxim, the Infantry in the buildings and the the T-34 every time it poked its nose over the brow of the bridge, Soviet casualties climbed as their Maxim crew was wiped out and their other infantry were under continual fire, chances of Heroes of the Soviet Union being declared declined substantially!

late in the game the T-34 crew finally took on the Sherman both sides tanks scored hits but neither side got an advantage in the damage phase of shooting and twice the T-34 withdrew back over the bridge once almost crushing its supporting infantry!

At this point the night was late and Lieutenant Harrison threw his bazooka man forward in a heroic attempt to destroy the pesky T-34 and in a final throw of the dice Private Hanks evaded defensive fire successfully but was unable to hit the Red Beast!

We had to call proceeding before the game was resolved but with one of the Soviet JOP about to be captured and the Yanks firepower starting to tell we called it as an American victory!

The Pictures!

How the action developed, the green arrows follow American movement and the red the Soviet moves, the yellow bursts are where each side concentrated their firepower. The cover of the towns outskirts and shell holes helped the Americans in this instance...

The initial Yank deployment their 30 Cal set up to cover the advance under instruction from their Platoon 2IC.

View of action from the Soviet point of view!

Gallant Soviet infantry milling behind their tank, at one point it almost ran them over as it reversed away from the Western Imperialists!

Americans unload on the Reds, the advantage of an American Platoons Mad Minute Firepower was telling!

Private Hanks tries to single handedly destroy the Red Beast covering the bridge!

A final turn lunge by Soviet Tank Commander Ivan Neudegg failed to hit the Sherman!

Our battlefield from the Americans point of view this picture was taken at the end of the action...

Our thoughts!

Well as usual we enjoyed the CoC rules! Everyone was happy how the 'battle' developed both Dave and Al enjoying the night which is the main thing! Unfortunately at the end of the evening we as usual with CoC we had not completed the game but in this instance at least we could see where things were headed! CoC frustrates us (as usual) with infantry movement rates the Yanks infantry could just not move fast enough to cross the tabletop in a timely manner, given another hour or two they would barring a big change of events snagged a win but most of us needed to work in the morning! Is it just us plagued with Sections/Squads creeping forward at 3 inches a turn when rolling two dice or do others out there have the same issue? We are thinking of tweaking infantry movement next time!

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Indian Mutiny AAR - Blood and Plunder Rules

Before jetting off overseas Maurice set up another Blood and Plunder Game for the TOSGers! Again we were treated with an excellent looking game, well painted miniatures with some good terrain on a very nice Cigar Box game mat!

The British needed to capture both buildings and their wells or escort their 'convoy' off the opposite table edge.

The game moved along very quickly with the British firing and advancing their main thrust on their right flank. Against this unstoppable line of scarlet the natives unleashed a furious yet ineffective barrage of fire and their sword armed units shot their bolt revealing themselves from the folds in the ground too early and charging into a wall of hot British lead!

Overall view of the battle as the British begin their advance!

The centre of the British line, the convoy was closely guarded by its escort!

A figure looking remarkably like Harry Flashman takes the lead on the convoy once the natives were dispersed!

Private Smith trips!

The battlefield when the game was called, the British convoy cruising majestically between the two native 'strong points'...

The game was a British victory, their tactics were good and their dice rolling hot, against this there was a sensible native set up supported by very cold dice! Only one redcoat became a casualty, we believe Private Smith actually tripped over his own laces and a civilian with the convoy was winged on the native side there were over 40 casualties!!!! Thanks to all for a good night.

Bon Voyage Maurice!

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Maori Wars AAR - Blood and Plunder Rules

Monday Night Maurice hosted the TSOGgers, the game covered a skirmish from the Maori Wars and the rules were Blood and Plunder.

The scenario involved several groups of British Regulars and Militia roaming the woods defending a walled farmhouse that was their base of operations, also roaming those same woods were several groups of Maoris whose objective was to capture the same farmhouse and acquire the supplies within.

The play was fast and furious as the rules tend to that style of game and it wasn't long before despite drawing first blood the British were plundered (note the clever use of part of the rules name there) by the Maoris and they decided to call it a day.

Lucky random deployment had two groups of Maoris set up close to their objective and they quickly overwhelmed the Militia defenders...

Despite a volley from the British a group of Maori Warriors closed into close combat and overwhelmed yet another group of British Militia...

The Maoris quickly learned their melee advantage over British Militia was too good an advantage to miss, here more British Militia take a pounding...

The figures supplied by Maurice and Al were exceptionally well painted and along with Maurice's nice layout ensured we had a very attractive set up to use on the night! My personal thoughts on the rules are overall they are good for quick and big games, the varying activation levels through card play is a stand out nice feature, but against that the non symmetrical turn play gives a side with more units (even if smaller) a manoeuvre advantage and the one sided melee (attack only no defensive side rolls) means getting the initiative is a very big advantage (trade off is defensive fire if you have loaded weapons)... 

Cheers All!

Sunday, 15 January 2023

Fog on the King’s Barrow - AAR for Song of Blades and Heroes


We knew we were close when the first standing stone loomed out of the mist. Dawn was still two hours away and the land was covered with a shroud of dampness and silence. Our bows in hand and an arrow knocked, we crept forward cautiously – as noiselessly as only an elf can be…


The Elves of Harlond had been tracking a party of Orcs for several days and the trail has lead them to the ancient barrow of King Amlaith of Fornost. Shunned by the local inhabitants, the barrow is believed to be haunted and, when the moon is full, skeletal figures are said to roam the area protecting the slumber of their ancient lord.

The Orcs were here for a reason and Valmir Longstride and his band of Hunters were determined to foil their plans, whatever they may be. An unearthly mist made visibility difficult and muffled any noise, but the Elves’ sensitive ears could still detect the jangle of armour and the clumsy footfalls of their quarry. But other sounds could be heard from the far side of the hill. Another party was approaching the barrow from the North. Muttered curses in a harsh accent could only mean one thing… a band of Dwarves from the Blue Mountains were here as well, possibly for the same reasons. But perhaps not.

This year’s Christmas game was a bit of a departure from our usual whimsical ventures into Pulp or Victorian Science Fiction. Al took us on a trip to Middle-earth where we donned our pointy ears and put our historical preferences aside. Pete guided a band of Elven hunters, George led the stalwart Dwarves and Maurice herded an unruly band of Orcs. Al took a turn at refereeing and also rolled for the monsters.

The rules were Songs of Blades and Heroes (Basic) with selected bits from the Advanced version (Spells mostly). We are reasonably familiar with the ruleset, having played a few variants over the years (61-65, Songs of Drums and Shakoes, and a couple more) so we settled into it fairly quickly.

The terrain was set up as follows:

  • A 3’ x 3’ playing area
  • A burial mound in the centre of the table, surrounded by a henge of standing stones.
  • A ring of forest ran around the outside of the tables edge.


The objective was to recover 5 or more skulls from the tomb and it’s skeletal guards. The Orcs were seeking them in order to invoke an ancient ritual that would enable them to summon a powerful Wraith. The Elves were there to stop them, either by taking the skulls or killing the Orcs. The Dwarves were there to gather skulls to make soup. Or possibly some other reason – no one asked and they didn’t offer an explanation.


The game progressed with the Elves approaching the stone circle quickly. The Orcs made reasonable time but were slowed by the forest initially. The Dwarves however, cold and miserable after a long trek south, made very slow progress at first and then steadfastly refused to move at all. Didn’t help that their short legs meant they moved slower than everyone else.

A pair of skeletons were spotted patrolling the crown of the hill as the Elves cautiously entered the circle. Hidden out of sight, another skeleton sprang to the attack. A quick combat ensued and the skeleton was pushed back.

Thankful for the distraction, the Orcs made a dash to the stone circle too. But they were also surprised by two more skeletons. Combat was quickly resolved and one skull was separated from the undead’s body. The other was pushed back but otherwise unharmed.

Meanwhile the Dwarves plodded on steadily, if slowly, and managed to kill one skeleton.

The Elves were caught up with melee against skeletons and were unable to turn their attention to the Orcs who, by time had three skulls in their possession. The Elven spellcaster (Lorestal) couldn’t activate when she needed to and her chance for a Transfix or Fireball spell went begging.

Combat by the Orcs had mixed results, with one of their band falling to a skeleton’s sword thrust from behind. But they managed to gather enough of their prizes that they could start to make a fighting withdrawal to the tree-line. 


Elven arrows (and Dwarven grumbles) started flying though and another Orc fell dead, his brethren trampling his corpse as they fled the battlefield.

An Orcish victory!

And a lesson for the game master – start the Dwarves closer to the action or give them mounts.

Overall, the game was fun and light-hearted enough to fit the mould of the TSOG Christmas Game. No one complained too much at least, and I got a chance to give my fantasy models an outing. The action flowed well enough, and no one had too long to wait for their turn.

The Song of Blades and Heroes is an excellent skirmish game that has proven to be easily adapted to other settings and periods. Aside from the variants I mentioned earlier, I have the excellent Flashing Steel book and will (hopefully) one day put on a swashbuckling, chandelier-swinging adventure of French Musketeers against the invading Spanish or the misguided minions of Cardinal Richelieu.


Notable afterword by the leader of the Dwarf warriors:

“The dwarven leader would like it to be known that the result was only a victory of the moment. Though we laid not a glove on the orcs or those prissy elves, we did manage to get close to the entrance of the barrow with our full band. Once the elves were busy desecrating the bodies of the orcs we were able to plunder the tombs at our leisure. Not for us the gathering of a mere five skulls. We got so many after the game we had to hire peasants to carry back the booty. 

“The elves may well have crowed mightily about doing away with the odd orc. The dwarven band will live on in folk tales told forever more as the group that attended, looted, and returned“.