Saturday, January 24, 2009

Song of Blades and Heroes

For a while now I've been listening to a podcast by Neil Shuck called Meeples and Miniatures in which he discusses, among other things wargames and boardgames. I had epsiode 22 on as background noise while I was painting my BB Orcs when a reveiw of a miniatures game called Song of Blades and Heroes caught my attention. More specifically it was a few of the key features that interested me:
- No book keeping.
- All measurements/ranges are a fixed short, medium or long.
- You only needed 5-10 minis per player.
- Solo playability.
- Campaign system.
- You can create your own creatures/races.

Although the one mechanic that really sold me was the activation system. Basically everything in the game has an action cost: walk is 1 action, sprint is 2 actions, attack in hand to hand is 1 action and so on. When it is your turn you pick a miniature and decide to roll between 1-3 activation dice, the number of successful rolls determines the number of actions (between 0 and 3) that miniature may take this turn. Once that miniature has finished it's actions you may pick another miniature and roll it's activation dice. Cool you say well why don't you just roll 3 activation dice every turn? Well the interesting part is that if a miniature ever rolls 2 or more unsuccessful rolls then you get to make complete the successful actions but then your turn ends and your opponent now has their turn.

I love this concept, in fact it's a core mechanic to a lot of the other games I enjoy such as the turnover rule in BloodBowl and the command rolls in Warmaster. It's a mechanic that takes a simple game and adds an incredible amount of depth and strategy.

The rules for creating warbands are simple enough and you are allowed to use models from any race. They've got all the races you'd expect in a fantasy game covered, there's something like 180+ creatures in the core book and more in the expansions. Also there is quite an active yahoo group that has the rules for creating your own creatures if you're not happy with what's already in the books.

The price is also good at $5US ($7.68AU) for the core book and $8US ($12.28AU) for the expansion books. I picked up the core book and the first expansion Song of Gold and Darkness which adds a heap of rules for dungeon crawls.

So thankyou to Neil Shuck for once again introducing me to a great game. Now I'm off to dig up all my old D&D minis, and my Mordheim warbands, and my WFB minis...

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