Toy Soldiers for Old Gits!
Welcome to “Toy Soldiers for Old Gits” or what we call TSOG! This is a place where A handful of regular guys henceforth known as the Old Gits will ramble on about all scales of Toy Soldiers, various War Game Rules, record their AAR’s and comment on all manner of other war gaming stuff in general. Should be fun for every war gamer on the Inter Web...hmmm do people still say that? Anyway read on and enjoy!
Tuesday, 28 March 2023
Song of Drums and Kepis AAR - Foraging Mission Scenario
Saturday, 4 March 2023
Patton Heads East! Chain of Command AAR
Wednesday, 22 February 2023
Indian Mutiny AAR - Blood and Plunder Rules
Thursday, 2 February 2023
Maori Wars AAR - Blood and Plunder Rules
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
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“.