During the weekend I got to play a couple of Chronicles of Blood games, both very different from each other.
The first one was a big battle using roughly the example forces from the basic rules, but in a two player game. Taught my girlfriend the rules and we just bashed it. The second one was inspired by some stuff I’ve seen online, and was a solo game with the exact same armies, but instead of using regiments, every playing piece was a single figure. Amazing how this game adapts.
Onto the details.
First game: big battles on Middle-earth.
In case you wonder, the bases I use are the same I made for War of the Ring. They measure 11x6cm, and fit 8 figures in 25mm round bases. Since I made those myself and are not the GW’s ones with the slots I also placed cavalry models there. Three 40mm round based models fit on those if you snuggle them (you’ll notice they’re all in a somewhat triangular formation). In retrospective, I think the WotR cavalry bases (which are smaller and carry 2 models) would work just as well as long as both armies are based the same. I just liked the look of this basing.
I was playing the Light side while she was playing the Dark side, 50 pts, example army lists with some changes specially on the Light side. Here you can see some useful accessories for this game. Tape measure in cms, the dice used for the game, some business cards where I put the stats for each regiment, a Dystopian Wars 45 degrees turning template useful for pivots and LOS, red turn marker die and some chips to remember which regiments need to check Morale at the end of the turn.
The terrain had two hills and a woods (yeah, too lazy to put the trees on, sorry). They were all rough terrain for movement, the hills provided unobstructed LOS if you were on top and of course blocked it, and the woods gave +1 Armor cover if completely inside against Archery.
Just a good old deploy and scrum in the centre. I deployed some archers on a flank and my girlfriend bunched up in the middle. There were no heroes since I was just teaching the basics. Armies advanced almost as they deployed for the first turn. My archers started firing from the beginning.
After a few charges, it was amazing how fast the Dark side was getting wiped. The Demons (represented by Uruk-hai in this game) failed their first Morale roll and they were gone. But otherwise, every time I got to hit, I hit high enough to wipe units out, something that doesn’t happen that often.
The little cards behind the units are how my gf identified her troops. Such an easy time with those business cards.
Her right flank was pretty much wiped out by my dwarves and cavalry, the elves holding in the centre and puny humans giving the Death Knights a run for their money. At this point I noticed we were not rolling for random events, which would have been a lot of fun.
It was pretty much a one-sided battle. You can see the end of the battle below as well as the casualties for both sides. I only lost a couple of regiments. Fun game, and taught the system in probably just one turn. She never played “massed” battles before so she was getting her own units in the way most of the time. Nothing that practice can’t help.
Second game: skimish on the field.
Next battle had the same exact forces. It was a solo game, but this time I deployed one figure for each regiment, turning it into a skirmish game. The only change I did was to remove most movement limitations and giving every figure 360 degree LOS. This time I also put a river on the table which didn’t do much but basically shrank the playing surface a bit.
I deployed and the evil side got first turn since they were the ones ran by the game system. One great aspect of this game is the fact that allowing premeasuring all the time lets you take complete advantage of all the special rules, specially the Charge!, forcing good tactical decisions. One good charge in the right moment can decimate a figure, even from low Fight troops like the skeleton riders.
Right at about the second light turn, a random event comes up, and one of my Gondor warriors loses nerve and runs the hell away from the battlefield. This was to set the tone of the battle. The skeleton riders decide to use their better move to go hunt the elf archers on the hill, while orcs and goblins protected their flank from the light cavalry and dwarf.
Of course they get to wipe the elves after a few charges.
The goblins get a rush of courage and just keep winning fights against elves and dwarves, even doing damage to them. The warg rider with the uruk just cannot subdue the lonely man of Gondor.
Casualties were piling up for the light side, fifth and last turn coming up for them, and of course a 1 is rolled on the d4 for random events. Traitor!
Only the dwarf warrior and the man of Gondor remained, but the random event determined the man was, after all, won over by the dark powers. He turns into a traitor leaving the dwarf alone against pretty much the whole dark force.
The battle was stopped there. Nobody knows whether the son of Durin fled, or died fighting. An appropriately mysterious finale to a great battle.
As usual, an amazing game that just screams ideas into my brain for new rules and experiments. I’ll have to try the few scenarios presented in the new expansion now.
Chronicles of Blood is a solitaire wargame developed by Crystal Star Games. It’s a fantasy mass battles game where the basic unit is the regiment, represented by several figures on a base. It’s an amazingly clever and elegant design, which you should check yourself because it is absolutely free. You can find it in DriveThruRPG to name just one.
Anyway, I’ve been playing the game quite a bit, and decided to add a few clearer rules for my games regarding some stuff. The game is vague in some aspects, and I enjoy that, but since I love dwelling in game design I thought I’d make the hacks available to anyone interested. These are not clarifications to the rules. More like tweaks I enjoy to make it a bit more solid, and maybe even limited. Always a good thing when playing a solitaire game.
I will be updating this article, mainly with new profiles as I need them, so be sure the check back whenever I post an update on a regular post.
Remember, these are not clarifications to the rules nor official words from the publisher, just fan work.
Line of sight
LOS determines what a regiment can see. LOS extends to the sides of the regiment from the front side in a 45 degree angle. If you use any kind of template for pivoting the regiments you can use the same one to determine the LOS angle.
A regiment can only charge an enemy that was in LOS at the start of its activation. A regiment can only shoot using Archery if the target is within its LOS and it is not completely obstructed. Other regiments and terrain such as woods and hills block LOS, while shallow terrain like rivers do not.
A regiment completely on top of a hill can trace its LOS over other regiments, but not over other hills or woods. A regiment inside woods or ruins can see outside and be seen in return.
Straight & sweep
A regiment can move up to its Speed in a straight line or a sweep. This is basically a diagonal move without changing the regiment’s facing. However, a regiment can only end its sweep move with its front side completely within its original position’s LOS. Any sharper sweep and the regiment would require a change of formation or risk disruption. This simply means regiments can move diagonally, but in an angle not greater than 45 degrees.
A regiment can make a side step move during its activation. It moves up to 10cm to either side (just one, not both in the same move) maintaining the same facing. The regiment cannot pivot during a side step move.
A regiment can make a reform action during its activation. The regiment can change its facing freely staying in place, and no further movement is allowed.
Any regiment ending its move in contact with an enemy regiment is by definition charging. Regiments can only charge enemies that are in its LOS at the start of their activation. Charge contact can only be made with the front side of the charging regiment’s base, against one of the target’s sides (any side, just not a corner). Neither the rear, nor sides, nor any corner of the charger can be used to contact an enemy regiment. A regiment must stop at least 1cm away from an enemy if it cannot charge it. It is perfectly normal to pivot after moving in contact with an enemy using a corner, if the regiment has enough Speed left (“closing the door” move in other wargames rules).
A regiment completely inside terrain that provides cover, like woods or ruins, gains +1 Armor while in the terrain against Archery.
LOS and Cover
If a regiment’s move ends with its front side in contact with two or more enemies after charging then you’ve got yourself a multime combat. Remember only the sides of enemies’ bases can be charged (any side) and corner contact doesn’t count.
When there is more than one regiment fighting on one side simply roll both Fight dice, add modifiers separately and choose the higher number. If this is enough to beat the opponent’s roll then each regiment rolls its own Damage die and Wounds separately. If the side with multiple regiments loses the combat both are moved back 2cm and the lone regiment chooses which regiment to wound. If a tie, then every regiment in the combat takes one wound.
Monsters are big and scary creatures. Monster regiments use the regular basing (and movement rules) for the armies. However, some of the biggest monsters come with their own bases. These are lone monsters not limited by the drills of military movement. They can move freely without the need to pivot, retreat, or side step. They have 360 degree LOS.
Army banner bearer hero
The army banner bearer carries the army or alliance colors and represents the rally point for the whole army.
A regiment that has an army banner bearer benefits from an increase in their Morale battle stat like a regular banner (see Heroes of the Battlefield p. 1). Additionally, it allows any friendly regiment within 15cm, including itself, to reroll a failed Morale roll once per turn.
An army banner bearer increases the points value of a regiment by 4 points. A regiment can have either a regular banner or an army banner, not both, and of course not more than one. Only one regiment per army can have an army banner.
A regiment can be so big it can be seen from all over the battlefield. Some monsters and war machines are the most common examples.
A huge regiment can see and be seen over other regiments and scenery. It does not half its Speed while moving through terrain, but it also doesn’t gain the cover Armor bonus while on terrain that provides it.
Some machines or monsters can throw massive rocks at the enemy creating all sorts of chaos. Rock Lobber is a variation of the Archery special rule.
A regiment with this rule may shoot at an enemy regiment within the distance listed in brackets with the Rock Lobber special rule (eg, 40cm, 50cm, etc). The shooting regiment must have LOS to the target. If the target is in range and can be seen, roll the shooting regiment’s Fight die. If the result is 4+ the shot hits. Otherwise it’s a miss.
Roll a d6 for damage and deduct the target’s Armour stat for the target regiment and every regiment within 5cm of the target (both enemy and friendly). Roll different dice for each.
If the shot was over half of the Rock Lobber range away deduct a further -1 from the damage. The remaining total is the number of Wounds the regiments lose.
Some troops spend most of their time hiding from the enemy, using terrain to their advantage to strike at the right moment. They know the lays of the battlefield and move fast where they are needed.
Pathfinders do not half their Speed stat while moving through rough terrain.
These are a few profiles I did for my games based on the existing ones. The formula is pretty easy to work out and they have worked well in play too. Take into account I play Middle-earth games with these rules.
Stone Giant. Lone Monster – S 15cm – F d10 – D d8 – A 4 – M d6 – W 8 – P 14 – Special: Huge.
Cave Trolls. Monsters – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 3 – M d4 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Rock Lobber (30cm)
Goblin Spearmen. Goblin Infantry – S 15cm – F d4 – D d6 – A 1 – M d4 – W 5 – P 3 – Special: Spears
Uruk-hai Warrior. Uruk-hai Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 3 – M d6 – W 6 – P 8
Uruk-hai Pikemen. Uruk-hai Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 2 – M d6 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Spears
Uruk-hai Scouts. Uruk-hai Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d6 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Archery (50cm), Scout
Wild Wargs. Warg Cavalry – S 25cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d4 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Scout, Charge!
Warg Riders. Warg Cavalry – S 25cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 2 – M d4 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Charge!
High Elf Spearmen. Elf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 2 – M d8 – W 5 – P 8 – Special: Spears
High Elf Archers. Elf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d8 – W 5 – P 7 – Special: Archery (60cm)
Gondor Spearmen. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 2 – M d6 – W 5 – P 6 – Special: Spears
Gondor Warriors. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 2 – M d6 – W 5 – P 5
Gondor Archers. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 1 – M d6 – W 5 – P 5 – Special: Archery (50cm)
Gondor Scouts. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 0 – M d6 – W 5 – P 5 – Special: Skirmishers, Archery (50cm)
Gondor Knights. Human Cavalry – S 25cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 3 – M d6 – W 5 – P 9 – Special: Charge!
Vault Wardens. Dwarf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 4 – M d8 – W 6 – P 11 – Special: Spears
Stone Thrower. Dwarf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d8 – W5 – P 8 – Special: Archery (90cm)*
*Note: The dwarf stone thrower is more akin a ballista than a catapult, therefore it has Archery rather than Rock Lobber.