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Hamlet's Heroes

Introduced my friend Francesco to the pleasures of miniatures wargaming yesterday evening, using the great skirmish rules, Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes. He and a mutual buddy, Nate, played the ragged group of heroes defending a small village about to be raided by my band of aggrieved orcs (see scenario intro below).

The battlegrounds

Hamlet's Heroes (scenario)

A band of roving orc reavers recently set up camp in the forest near a small hamlet. One night in a drunken stupor the orc captain wandered into the hamlet’s livestock fields and began fornicating with various animals, a traditional way among the orc of insulting a neighbor. The settlement’s residents heard the noise and ran him off with thrown torches and rocks. The orc stumbled back to his camp, singed and with a long gash along his scalp from one of the sharper of the hurled stones. He was met by his compatriots with a howl of guffaws that continued to echo in his ears long after his men returned to their slumber. To assuage his shame, the next morning he orders his men to decimate the hamlet, not realizing some wandering adventurers arrived shortly after the villagers had driven off the orc captain.
(click photos to enlarge)

The orc captain and his lieutenant urge the reavers to decimate the village...

Snacks, or battlefield markers?

Firmly ensconced behind cover by the bridge into the village.

I have a whole warband of these bad ass amazons. I need to write a scenario that let's me get them all on the table at once.

Nate adopting Francesco's creative means of abiding by the "no-Cheeto-dust-on-the-painted-minatures" prohibition.

Heroes rushing to the river to make their stand against the charging orcs...

A goblin archer is felled by the dwarf's crossbow from the other side of the river.

This dwarf left the front lines to relieve his wee bladder in private...

At their captain's command, the goblin archers loosed many volleys of arrows at the villagers and their defenders on the other side of the river...

We had to use black wooden discs to represent the fleeing villagers as my townsfolk miniatures have yet to be painted.

The hamlet's heroes formed a defensive line at the bridge that was never breached. 

Orc leader urging his men to dispatch with the elven blowhard.

Orc mercenaries surround the High Elf Honor Guard...

...and send him to his maker.

An amazonian brawler and the wizard's apprentice survey the orcs who just killed their elven compatriot.

The orc's flee the field but will not soon forget this little hamlet...

Warband Stats

Roving Orc Reavers (411)
Orc Captain (pts. 86)
Quality: 3+ / Combat: 4 
Traits: • Leader • Block • Heavily Armored

Orc Lieutenant (pts. 58)
Quality: 3+ / Combat: 4 
Traits: • Long Reach • Piercing • Heavily Armored

Orc Bowman (pts. 27) 
Quality: 4+ / Combat: 2 
Traits: • Short Bow • Good Shot 

Orc Mercenary (pts. 33) 
Quality: 4+ / Combat: 3 
Traits: • Drilled • Melee Block

Hamlet’s Heroes (398) 
Wizard (Leader) (pts. 84)
Quality: 3+ / Combat: 1 
Traits: • Leader • Spellcaster
Spells: Aura of Terror • Lightning 

Wizard’s Apprentice (pts. 48)
Quality: 3+ / Combat: 2 
Traits: • Spellcaster 
Spells: • Fear • Flame Jet 

Heavy Warrior (pts. 47)
Quality: 4+ / Combat: 4
Traits: • Dashing • Heavily Armored • Heavy Weapon

Dwarf Crossbower (pts. 34)
Quality: 4+ / Combat: 3 
Traits: • Short Move • Crossbow • Fire into Melee 

Dwarf Warrior (pts. 48)
Quality: 3+ / Combat: 3 
Traits: • Short Move • Hammering Blow • Expert Block 

Wood Elf Archer (pts. 44)
Quality: 4+ / Combat: 3 
Traits: • Long Bow • Good Shot • Reactive 

Amazonian Brawler (pts. 41)
Quality: 4+ / Combat: 4 
Traits: • Battle Hunger • Melee Block

High Elf Honor Guard (pts. 50)
Quality: 3+ / Combat: 3 
Traits: • Dashing • Axe-and-Sword Technique

Special Rules 
  • Initiative: At the start of the game, roll initiative separately for the villagers, orcs, and adventurers. Each group activates separately.
  • Morale: The villagers won’t flee their homes and thus do not roll nor count toward Morale checks. The adventurers, however, may decide to cut their losses and flee, but only if Morale is failed on two of three dice. 
  • Villagers (x10): Q = 4+ / C = 0 /Trait: Rabble (all hits lethal, doubled = Gruesome Kill) 
  • The River: The river flows from the edge of the mat farthest from the bridge toward the bridge. Units can be forced to recoil off the bridge. The ford is considered slippery ground (must pass Q roll at end movement or as soon as one moves out of the ford, whichever comes first or fall Prone). The River is considered Deep Water, which must be swum to cross (see modified Deep Water rules below). 
  • Starting Positions: 
    • Villagers: Eight of the 10 villagers start in the fields at least 1x Long from the river and the edges of the map and 1x medium from each other. The other two villagers are on the bridge screaming a warning to the those in the field that the orcs are returning. 
    • Adventuring party: Camped along the back wall of the village. 
    • Orcs: Within 1x Long of the corner opposite the hamlet. 
Victory Conditions 
Orcs: Kill all the villagers who so gravely insulted the captain’s honor, and drive off or kill the meddling adventurers who should mind their own business. (10 points for every villager killed and 10 points for killing or driving off the adventurers.) 

Adventurers: Protect the villagers and drive off the orcs. (15 points for every orc killed or driven off the battlefield.) Adventurers fail if all but the two villagers on the bridge are killed, even if they manage to vanquish the orcs. 

Deep Water: A unit’s movement is halted at the river’s edge before entering, and then it takes two actions to swim across the river (3 actions for a model with Short movement). Units must pass two Q checks to successfully swim; if only one success is rolled, the model only makes it half way across the river. If on the next activation (not reaction) the unit rolls all failures while in water, it starts to drown, is unable to make any more Q rolls to move or fight, and will die in 1d6+1 turns. A drowning model may be rescued by another swimmer who moves adjacent to it as long as the other swimmer makes its swimming roll. A model should get rid of armor, shields and weapons when trying to swim. If the model doesn’t get rid of armor and weapons, his Q worsens by –2 for swimming rolls. In doing so, the unit loses any traits related to these (e.g., Heavily Armored), and counts as unarmed for the remainder of the game. Non-Amphibious models fight at –2 in deep water. A model cannot shoot or cast spells while in deep water.

"The prize for 'Best Wife' goes to...."
Once again, our game was memorialized by my wife Ellen's amazing photography. She may not play these games, but she captures the spirit of fun with her camera in a way I could never hope to, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Have a Coke and a smile...with Orcus!
(I really need to be careful where I set down the stray miniature when the wife is prowling around with her camera.)


  1. I am happy to see you join the ranks of the wargaming blogosphere, buddy! Wonderful in-game photos. Props to the camera-lady.


  2. Very nice and thanks to your wife for the great photos.

  3. Great photos - welcome to the world of blogging.

  4. Great Pics! I'm glad to see another gamer who doesn't go with the GW cartoonish green for orcish types!

  5. There are some very atmospheric pics there, bravo! Enjoyable read.

  6. Thanks for the kind words, everybody. And I have passed on the compliments to the wife for her photography...I enjoy her photos of our games, and I'm glad other folks are, too!


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