Sunday, March 7, 2010

Song of Blades and Heroes

I've seen Song of Blades and Heroes (SBH), from Ganesha Games, on the street for a while, usually associated at a post on Tabletop Gaming News.  I've always  kind of discounted it due to the really cheap looking cover.  Heck it looks as bad as some of those original D&D cover art.  Compare for yourself.   So it was with some trepidation that I plucked down an entire $8 on a PDF version of the rules while being board out of my skull one evening on my last work trip.

What I found was a really clean, simple to execute rules set for a generic fantasy gaming.   In a nut shell, each figure on the board has two stats; Quality and Combat.  The Quality goes from 2+ to 6+.  It is the number you need to roll on a D6 to activate the model this turn.  Combat is your martial skill and is a single roll up of your offensive/defensive/armor/weapon/skill/etc.  It ranges from 1-5.  One of the unique items I like on SBH is the activation system.  When you choose to activate a model, you roll between 1-3 D6.  Your choice.  For every die that comes up on or above your Quality level, you get an action.  If you get two or more failures in a single roll, then your turn is over.  This forces the player to decide how risk averse the are...  Roll a single die for everyone and you will get to activate everyone, but be very limited to only a single action.  These actions walk, jog, run, attack, powerful attack, shoot, etc...  each take 1-3 actions.  If your only rolling that single die, then you can walk up to your opponent, but you won't be able to attack him.

On Saturday night late, after I had the green light, Eric came over and we tired a quick game.  He had a small undead hoard with a Wraith, zombies, skeleton warriors and a few archers.  I had an orc list with a warlord, 4 warriors and 4 goblin archers.  What really struck each of us during the game was the importance of the leader's ability to make your Quality better while in the Long range.  Eric's zombies had a real problem being Quality 6+ after his leader left them behind.

They have a quick and dirty mini campaign that can be completed in a night once you get the rules down as an average game is suppose to be about 45 mins long.  Ours was a bit over an hour, but we did keep looking up stuff to make sure we got it ok.

Another great feature is that you can build your army as you like since they have an online warband builder that allows you to create a custom warband.  So break out those Warmachine or Warhammer figs and get to building boys!

Finally, the seemed to have expanded past Fantasy.  They have both a modern gun centric game using the same core rule set as well as a Napoleonic skirmish game which might be interesting.

jp
Another one?

10 comments:

Zarzthor said...

I will say that for such a simple system it was very fun and really made you think on the activation order. Also how risky you wanted to be vs. the reward potential.

Adam said...

You should definitely bring it by the Shoppe one Saturday. We'll already have all our WM minis there. I'm pretty intrigued.

Paul said...

I'm not so sure how the majority of the wm figs would cross over. There's not rules/provisions for jacks or firearms that I could see. Now Hordes on the other hand would have more items there to cross over with.

Adam said...

Either or. I figured with our collections we could pick and choose figs a la Mordheim.

JP's Geek Life said...

You can pick and choose. As for guns... The shooting is done by range only. In the game a hit is a hit is a hit, so you could do your rifles as Shooting (Long), pistols shooting (Med), ect... What might be tough is combining a warcaster in the game mechanics as you need to be a Magic user and a heroic warrior type. As for 'Jacks... Anything that would make them last longer in the game would make them 'personalities' like a caster.

Troops I think would fit fine.

jp

Adam said...

Neat! I was envisioning gatehring models like Sam MacHorne & Devil Dogs, Croe's Cutthroats, Kossites and Manhunters in various thematic ways. It might be cool to just forgo the warcasters and concentrate on solos and and such.

Paul said...

I'll make up a book of the rules for you Adam. I'm just taking the pdf's that JP sent me and binding them into book form. So cranking out one for you isn't a big deal.

Adam said...

Sweet! Thanks Paul! We've got to get a WM game in against eachother sometime. I played a lot of Ashlynn but never really squared off against her.

Paul said...

Don't you want to get a game with someone who CAN play her? heh.

Zarzthor said...

You play her. Badly, but you do play her. LOL