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.