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Rat13

Song of Blades and Heroes?

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I'm not a war gamer even though my GW collection seems to keep growing. My local shop doesn't do any wargaming, it's basically a Magic the Gathering shop. In all honesty I was surprised they were hosting D&D Adventure League when I started playing there.

 

Lately though after AL a bunch of us have been sticking around till close playing other games. Munchkin and Star Realms are pretty popular but we do get into other things from time to time. Those two just tend to be our go to games at the moment.

 

Since I started painting I've been watching a lot of videos on the hobby and one of the channels I've been watching is Tabletop Minions. If you've ever been there you know they talk a lot about war gaming and skirmish games. 

 

Well today that lead me to a skirmish game called Song of Blades and Heroes. It looked like a lot of fun with a very small learning curve. Basically it looks like something I'll be able to convince my group to try.

 

Recently I became a DM for our group so I already have enough miniatures to create multiple "groups/troops/bands"(not sure what the proper term is for this game). So really all they have to do is give it a try, there is zero buy in for them.

 

Does anyone here play this game? Is it as easy to learn as I've been lead to believe? I picked up the gist of it pretty quickly but will players be able to pick this up on the fly? As skimish games go how does this one rate?

 

I've already ordered the books, both the revised and the advanced editions so I'm in either way but I'm interested in seeing if anyone else plays this.

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I haven't played it very many times, but it's quick to learn and easy to play.  I taught it to several people, including some kids aged 7-12 without any problems.  Sure, it doesn't have some of the complexities as other games, but it's got enough that keep it fun. 

For the most part, it will probably be my default fantasy game rules from now on.  A large part of that is how simple it is to play/learn, how few minis it really needs to be fun, and how inexpensive the books are - all qualities I will be using to sucker recruit new mini games players in my small town. 

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While I haven't played, I want to.  The initiative function, where the acting player might lose the initiative to the other player, is really neat.  It appears that the game works best if you have similar power-level troops on both sides - one side filled with figures that activate on a 6 will likely lose to a force composed of higher quality models that activate on 4-5-6.

 

The fact that the base game is cheap is a plus. I can use paper miniatures if I want is a plus.  The fact that there aren't a ton of rules is a plus.

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I've just accrued so many miniatures that I don't have a use for and I'd like to do something with them. This looked like the perfect solution.

 

It'll also give my group another game we can throw into the rotation while we talk and unwind after AL.

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19 minutes ago, Rat13 said:

I've just accrued so many miniatures that I don't have a use for and I'd like to do something with them. This looked like the perfect solution.

 That was part of my motivation as well. 

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I've only played it once so far, teaching it to one of the guys at the local wargaming club, but it was a lot of fun and not hard to pick up for either of us. My only suggestion would be to watch how many different traits you're using in an introductory game, and not pick anything that looks too complicated (requiring more than a couple of sentences is a good indicator).

I'm a fan of the rules in any case, and I have plans to rope some of my friends into the game who have just gotten into wargames this year. Then it'll be on to other games by Andrea; Mutants and Death Ray Guns, Rogue Stars, and hopefully Harder Than Steel by the end of the year (fingers crossed).

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I've been thinking about the traits more than was probably necessary. I'm thinking about building the first two groups without any traits so there is less to keep track of and teach. Even without any traits though I think that first game will be enough to get everyone hooked.

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I tried this game a few times with some primarily board gamer friends of mine and the results were underwhelming.  It's been a year or two since we played, but IIRC nobody in my group liked the initiative rule. It disengaged people from the game in a "I've failed to meaningfully activate my forces for 3 turns in a row now...you win, I concede" sort of way.  This, combined with how few dice are rolled when something does get to act, leads to a lot of whiff--tastic turns where nothing happens and you just feel like you're pointlessly rolling dice.   

 

This game would have been a great beer-n- pretzels, 30-minute war game if it had been, y'know, fun.  It actually worked as a mild turn-off to miniature war games in our case.  

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5 hours ago, Rat13 said:

I've been thinking about the traits more than was probably necessary. I'm thinking about building the first two groups without any traits so there is less to keep track of and teach. Even without any traits though I think that first game will be enough to get everyone hooked.

 

I don't think you need to abandon traits altogether. Things like block, heavily armoured, good shot, and the various weapon traits are all easy enough to grasp. Just watch how many different ones are being used for each warband.

VitM I'm curious, were you playing standard SoBaH or the Advanced version? I think the reaction rules in Advanced Song of Blades are a great addition which helps keep both players involved.

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1 hour ago, Dai-Mongar said:

 

I don't think you need to abandon traits altogether. Things like block, heavily armoured, good shot, and the various weapon traits are all easy enough to grasp. Just watch how many different ones are being used for each warband.

VitM I'm curious, were you playing standard SoBaH or the Advanced version? I think the reaction rules in Advanced Song of Blades are a great addition which helps keep both players involved.

 

We were playing standard SoBaH.

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I don't have Advanced SOBH but I have a bunch of the other books. The basic game is simple enough and fun. We've only played a handful of times and it just never caught our attention like some other games. The activation rules ruined in for my younger son because he was the guy who couldn't make a decent roll all game several times. The sheer number of traits is a bit overwhelming at first. It seems like a decent system once you get some lists made up that suit your collection and I love the adaptability but we just decided we like Frostgrave more for the time being.

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30 minutes ago, Zink said:

...once you get some lists made up that suit your collection...


I think this is a key thing.   Playing scenarios instead of just a fight helps a lot, too. 

When I played it with the kids the first time, I had hastily scribbled lists for each of them, and ran a free for all scenario.   When we tried Galleys & Galleons two weeks later (similar system for ships, also by Andrea), I had taken the time to make nice little cards for each of their ships, and had a scenario game in place to play.  

As a result, the kids all said they liked Galleys & Galleons better.  The very smart (broccoli) autistic son of my friend pointed out that I should have done the cards and scenario for SoBH, too, because they were almost the same game.  In the end, they liked both games, once I did cards up for their forces. We were using both games as part of a 5e D&D campaign where the PCs were all pirate ship captains. 

Edited by kristof65
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I had bashed out a quick scenario for the game I played, but my opponent made the comment that stat cards for all of the characters would have been handy and I'd have to agree. I've since played around at making cards with Magic Set Editor.

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I'm actually going to surprise my group with this game. So I'll be assembling forces and creating stat cards before the game. That way all they have to do is just give it a try.

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@Rat13  One thing I did (and I'm sorry I missed the thread!) is I made a note card of the traits that the army used for quick reference.  It sped up the game immensely when I taught my kids. 

 

It's a quick game and it allows for a lot of fun, I am planning a "battle at the farm" type scenario soon.

 

 

 

 

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