Saturday, 30 June 2012

Munera Sine Missione - Sample Game

Over the last week or so I have been doing the rewrite of my 'Munera Sine Missione' gladiator rules, incorporating changes from the Southern Battle Gamers, as well as odd ideas of my own. It's mostly there (just needs another read-through to remove errors really), so I thought I'd play through and post a game using it so people can get an idea how the game actually works.

'Munera Sine Missione' uses hexes. If you don't like hexes, you won't like this game. Stop reading now. Gladiators take alternate moves, rolling a D6 to determing how many Action Points (AP) they get. AP can be spent to move and attack, in any order the gladiator wishes.

For this sample game I used a Myrmillo (who we'll call Mercurio) and a Retiarius (who we'll call Remus)

We'll start with Remus. He's armed with a net and a trident. Both weapons are best used at a range of two hexes. Remus wears light armour, which gives him +1 to his AP. Light armour gives him an armour save of 1.

Here's Remus. He's from Black Tree Designs.

Mercurio is more heavily armoured. He has light armour, a large shield and an enclosed helmet. The light armour gives him +1AP, but the large shield gives him -1AP, so he has a net +0AP. The light armour has a save of 1, the helmet a save of 1 and the large shield a save of 2, so Mercurio has a basic armour save of 4 (although if attacked from some directions the shield may have little or no effect). He carries a sword.

Here's Mercurio. He's from Foundry. There's a lot of other gladiators behind him.

Both gladiators start with a Strength of 4. To that they each add the score of a D6 - Mercurio rolls a 2 (Strength of 6) and Remus rolls a 4 (Strength of 8).

Both gladiators roll a dice to see who goes first, and Mercurio wins.

The fight is on!

Turn 1

Mercurio rolls a D6 for AP and gets a 1. He advances 1 hex.

Remus rolls a 1, so gets 2AP. He advances two hexes.

Turn 2

Mercurio rolls 5AP, but only uses a couple to advance two hexes forward. It doesn't pay to close too quickly, as if your opponent rolls well they can move in and attack before you get a chance.

Remus rolls 2AP (a roll of 1, plus the bonus), and cautiously advances one hex. With his weapons having a longer reach he's better keeping his distance.

This is the position at the end of Turn 2

Turn 3

Mercurio rolls 2AP. He can't close and attack, but an advance will put him in reach of Remus's weapons. He stays where he is. He can't move back because, with his enclosed helmet, such a move costs him 3AP.

Remus rolls a total of 5AP. He advances two hexes (costs 2AP), which now puts him within attack range. He sweeps with his net (another 2AP) needing a 5 or 6 on a D6 to entangle Mercurio. He rolls a 3, and misses. Mercurio jumps back one hex, and Remus takes a point of fatigue for missing with an attack. With his final AP Remus moves forward one hex, staying within range of his weapons.

Turn 4

Mercurio rolls 1AP and moves one hex forward. He is now adjacent to Remus. Although he can't attack Remus, Remus is now at a disadvantage with his weapons unless he steps back.

Remus rolls 4AP. He steps back (which costs 2AP) and attacks with his net (2AP). A roll of 6 is a hit! Mercurio is entangled.

The position at the end of Turn 4.

Turn 5

Being entangled makes Mercurio easier to hit, and gives him a whopping -3 on his AP roll.

Mercurio rolls a 6, getting a total of 3AP. He uses the first to attempt to cut free of the net, needing a 5 or 6 on a D6. he rolls a 5, which means he escapes the net, but that Remus recovers it (a 6 would have meant that the net was shredded and lost). He then advances one hex so he is adjacent to Remus, and attacks him with his sword for his final AP.

A weapon attack is done with an opposed die roll, the attacker getting bonuses and penalties to his roll. Any difference in the attacker's favour is the number of wounds inflicted, unless the defender rolls equal to or under their armour save. If the roll is a draw or the defender wins then the defender jumps back one hex, and the attacker takes a point of fatigue. If both gladiators roll the same number (before modifiers), then a special event occurs instead. The nature of the event is determined by the number rolled.

In this case, the first attack of the game, both gladiators roll a 4. This means that Remus is knocked to the ground.

Remus rolls a 2 for his AP. He gets a +1 for his light armour, but takes a penalty of -2 for being on the ground, so he has a total of 1AP. He automatically stands up (a free move, regardless of how many AP you roll), but can't attack with either his net or trident because both cost 2AP to use. He therefore uses his last AP to make an improvised attack. This costs 1AP, but has a big penalty - it represents attacking with a kick, head-butt or weapon shaft.

He rolls a 5, modified to a 3 for the penalty. Mercurio rolls a 4. Remus misses, and Mercurio jumps back. Which puts him where Remus wants him. Remus takes a point of fatigue, though.

Turn 6

Mercurio rolls 6AP. He sidesteps forward for 3AP, then moves forward one hex and turns one hexside. He can now attack Remus's side hexside with his last AP, which gives him a bonus on his roll.

Both gladiators roll a 5! Another special event, in this case a lost shield. Remus doesn't have a shield, so it becomes a lost helmet instead. But he doesn't have a helmet either, so it becomes 1D6 wounds, with no save roll allowed. Mercurio rolls a 1, and draws first blood.

Remus rolls 2AP, and jumps back one hex.

Here's Mercurio attacking Remus

Turn 7

Mercurio rolls 4AP. He sidesteps, which allows him to attack Remus from the side again. He rolls a 2, giving him an attack total of 4. Remus rolls a 3. So Mercurio hits for 1 wound. Remus needs a 1 on a D6 to save, rolls a 3 and takes the hit.

Wounds are taken from the gladiator's strength, so Remus now has a strength of 6. At half strength a gladiator is seriously wounded, and get an AP penalty. If fatigue exceeds current strength a gladiator gets penalties for being tired. If strength reaches zero a gladiator loses and must appeal to the crowd.

Remus rolls 2AP again (unlucky). he turns to face Mercurio, and does another improvised attack. He rolls 4, reduced to 2 against Mercurio's 5, so the attack misses. He takes another point of fatigue, and Mercurio jumps back.

Turn 8

Mercurio rolls 1AP, so just advances so the he is adjacent to Remus again.

Remus rolls 7AP! He sidesteps twice and turns, putting him on Mercurio's right side at two hexes range. He then attacks with his trident, rolling a 5 to Mercurio's 6. However he gets a +2 bonus for the side attack, so it's 7 vs 5 - Remus inflicts 1 hit on Mercurio. Mercurio rolls his save; his shield only counts for 1 at this angle. He rolls a 5, and fails, so he takes 1 wound.

Remus doesn't expend his last AP. Expending 7AP or more in a turn causes a point of fatigue.

Both gladiators are now bleeding. Here's the position at the end of Turn 8.

Turn 9

Mercurio rolls 3AP. He turns, advances one hex and attacks. He rolls a 3 against Remus's 4, which is a fail. Remus jumps back and Mercurio takes a point of fatigue.

Remus rolls 7AP. He sweeps with his net for 2AP, and misses, gaining a point of fatigue. He then advances for 1AP, and attacks with his trident. This now costs 3AP because it is his second attack this turn.

Both gladiators roll a 2 - another special event. In this case the defender is knocked to the ground but wit the added penalty that if the attacker ends his turn adjacent to the gladiator he surrenders and appeals to the crowd.

Remus has 1AP left. He takes a point of fatigue (he's now on 6, equal to his current strength), and advances so that he is adjacent to Mercurio. Mercurio must surrender - the fight is over!

Mercurio appeals to the crowd. This is done by rolling 2D6, the score of which is modified for various factors such as wounds, fatigue, whether the crowd like the particular type of gladiator and how much mercy they've already dished out that day. Low rolls are bad.

Mercurio rolls a double six - the crowd love him.

So Remus wins, but Mercurio lives to fight another day. Neither gladiator was badly wounded, although Remus was starting to tire.

I hope you found this walk-through of the game interesting. I will be posting version 2.0 of 'Munera Sine Missione' to the Free Stuff page of this blog once it's finalised.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Almost Historical HOTT

Yes, once again it's time for this week's report of the doings of the Gong Garage Gamers.

We spent some time discussing what we're doing at Gong Con 2012 at the end of the month; we'll probably be running some games on the first day (including HOTT) and then, if we have the numbers, a small competition on the Sunday.

Then we got stuck into a 48AP HOTT game, using armies that were pretty much 'historical'. On one side were various Dark Ages troops commanded by Geoff and Caesar - a mix of Vikings, saxons and Normans, I think. Meanwhile Peter and I took some Late Romans ; Blades, Knights and Riders, supported by some Artillery and Warband.

Geoff and Caesar begin their advance. Geoff shows that bow-ties are, indeed, cool. John acts as an independent military observer.

The Roman left, under my command. The Dark Age Alliance we firmly entrenched on a hill, and I was wary about going straight in against them. You can see my Riders working their way around the flank though.

The Roman right - an aggressive advance from both sides led to some fierce fighting, which saw the Dark Age Alliance lose plenty of troops, but the Romans lose their CinC and therefore the game.

The hero of the game (from my point of view) - a Roman Artillery element that took out a Rider who'd failed to leave recoil room behind it, and then a Shooter that rolled badly (5 vs 1). It accounted for a third of the casualties the Romans inflicted on the Alliance.

I had to leave early to collect my son from a drama night at school, but the rest set up another 48AP with the same armies; here's Caesar planning his latest cunning strategy. I'm sure someone will let me know how the game panned out in the comments ...

UPDATE: Caesar has sent me an account of the second game:

The second battle was close – too close. I had some early fortune picking off some of Peter’s blades in broken ground with my shooters but that ended as his line closed in and the shooters ceased to be effective. Meanwhile Geoff, my allied general, was locked in a rugby scrum on his flank with opposing warband that pushed and shoved for most of the evening. Things got nasty as my rider C-in-C general was overrun trying to hold the flank against a sweeping manoeuvre by Peter’s riders. Luckily for us, we had lost marginally less points than Peter by that stage and I rolled well for PIPs on my next turn, keeping my side from demoralisation. Things still didn’t look good as a scattered handful of spears were all that held my flank as Peter’s riders continued to bear down and paying double PIPs made me very slow to respond. Amazingly they held out just long enough for Geoff to inflict sufficient casualties on Peter’s force to drop him below the halfway mark and a narrow victory was won by the good guys. I think we all enjoyed the semi-historical HOTT, a good honest battle which wasn't dominated by exotic troop types.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Daemonhunters In Epic 40K HOTT

Air Support
Crucial In Any Subtle Investigation
These lists for HOTT Epic 40K are by Phil Saunders, and first appeared on the original Stronghold. I have posted them as he sent them to me.

I'm not entirely sure about running the gu
n servitors as Shooters, though, as Epic 40K HOTT doesn't really handle Shooters as a concept. Although not as armoured as Marines, they may be better classed as Blades and depicted with one more figure on the base than Space Marines. Praetorian Servitors could be run like Dreadnoughts (Blades, but only one or two figures) and may even work as Knights if large enough. The elite, specially equipped nature of the Ordo Xenos may run well as a Hero and as such would make an interesting addition to a conventional Space Marine army, depicted as five or six marines from different chapters on a single base.

Radical Inquisitors

1 x Magician General @ 4 AP (Inquisitor with retinue)
1 x Magician @ 4 AP (Daemonhost)
1 x Warband @ 2 AP (Arco-flagellents)
2 x Shooters @ 2 AP (Gun servitors)
2 x Knight @ 2 AP (Inquisitorial Land Raiders)
3 x Blades @ 2 AP (Space Marines)
6 x Hordes @ 1 AP (Imperial Guard)

This list represents an inquisitor who believes that to fight the forces of chaos by using their powers against them. Daemonhosts are chaos daemons forcibly bound to a human host by the inquisitor. Arco-flagellents are surgically altered criminals who fight using close combat weapons and cocktails of drugs to boost fighting abilities. Once they start they can only be stopped by a codeword from the inquisitor.

Puritan Inquisitor

1 x Cleric General @ 3 AP (Inquisitor with retinue)
2 x Clerics @ 3 AP (Grey Knights)
1 x Warband @ 2 AP (Arco-flagellents or religious zealots)
2 x Spears @ 2 AP (Imperial Guard Stormtroopers)
1 x Sneaker @ 1 AP (Death Cult Assassins or Officio Assassinorium)
2 x Knights @ 2 AP (Inquisitorial Land Raiders)
2 x Blades @ 2 AP (Deathwatch Space Marines)

This list represents the inquisitor who fights Chaos in all its form; even those within the ranks of the Inquisition. Imperial Guard stormtroopers are better trained guard units. Deathwatch Space Marines are from the Ordo Xenos and frequently fight alongside inquisitors against alien foes.


Hero General @ 4 AP (Experienced inquisitor with retinue), Cleric @ 3 AP (Psychic 'blanks' individuals who can block psychic energy within a specific area), Airboat @ 3 AP (Thunderhawk Gunship or Cutter).


White Dwarf magazine, Inquisitor Rule Book, The Eisenhorn Trilogy by Dan Abnett. (Xenos, Heriticus and Malleus feature an inquisitor as the main character. Well worth reading for inspiration.)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

HOTT On Facebook

Just a quickie - did you know that there is a 'Hordes of the Things' fan page on Facebook?


I try to post links to anything of relevance to HOTT on it, especially blog posts.

So if you use Facebook, why not pop over and Like it?

Saturday, 23 June 2012


Although I've been playing HOTT regularly for more than 15 years now, until the other day I don't think I've ever played a game using 36AP. Rather than a 'big battle' it's really a 'normal' sized game, but with more elements.

The book doesn't have any special rules for how it should be set up and played; you only get one general, because you only have one full, 24AP multiple, and there's no additional PIPs. So strictly your PIPs have to stretch further, encouraging more reliance on group moves.

I know that one of the games played on Thursday used a slightly wider board - 3000p wide rather than 2400p. I played my game on a normal 2400p square board, and it didn't seem too cramped. In some ways it encouraged the use of a second line of troops - that great bugbear of many wargamers; a reserve. A large Hordes based army may find things tight, though, especially if they have a Stronghold too.

One thing we did do was allow a the general's element (or group) a free movement PIP, as with the CinC in a big battle.  This certainly helped me, with a Magician general, especially as my early PIP rolls were abysmal.

So, have you played 36AP HOTT? What changes or additions did you put in place?

Friday, 22 June 2012

Gong Gamers - DBM And HOTT

Despite a major local traffic incident six of us eventually managed to get ourselves to the University for another Thursday evening of gaming.

Geoff and Peter played DBM, with what looked like Medieval Italian armies:

The rest of us played 36AP HOTT. When I arrived there was already a game in progress, but I didn't get any pictures. The second set of games saw Caesar's Myceneans against John's Arabs (both with the obligatory fantasy additions):

Meanwhile I used the Weird Reich against Dave, who was using more of Caesar's Myceneans, again with various fantasy additions.

Some heroic Harpy Lurkers held up my right flank for most of the game.

Meanwhile Behemoths ruled the centre, although the Myceneans fell foul of Adolf's dark sorcery as well. The Weird Reich lost their Warband strike-force early on, but killed the Mycenean CinC. From then on it was just a matter of totting up kills until those of the Myceneans exceeded those of the Reich. Which, eventually, they did.

36AP made for some interesting games; none of us had tried it before. I might post some thoughts on it in a later post.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Army Showcase - Mantic Elves

I used my first, and at that stage only, 25mm HOTT army, the Sororitas Puella Armatura Mobilis, at MOAB 2009. Where I come from it's considered good form to always bring a new army to each tournament, so I thought I ought to come up with another 25mm army for MOAB 2010. I opted for some of the lovely Mantic Elves and had the army box for my birthday that year, reasoning that I could make enough elements to cover over 24AP and allow myself some choice in army composition.

The problem was that they are such lovely figures that I didn't know where to start with painting them. I wanted to do them justice and was afraid to put brush to plastic.

So they sat on their sprues, unpainted, and when MOAB 2010 came around I had to resort to the Sisters again. I won (picking up another Mantic army box - Dwarves, this time).

In early 2011 I bit the bullet, and assembled my Elves, working out what elements I was going to make and doing the necessary conversions.

Assembled they looked even better than they had done on the sprues, and once again I was paralysed into inactivity.

By August 2011 I hadn't done any more than undercoat them, and there was only about four weeks left until the tournament. So I finally overcame my reluctance, and got on with them. Rather than try and paint the whole 40 or so AP of troops I had available, I worked out what list I wanted to use, and just did those.

The army is:

1 x Spear General
3 x Spears
1 x Hero
1 x Magician
2 x Shooters
2 x Warband

Still unpainted I have an element each of Artillery and Beasts, another Hero, another Magician, some Lurkers, more Shooters and even five of the metal cavalry figures.

Here's the army. First, the Spear General:

And here he is with the rest of the Spears. There are no conversions here; all of the poses were set up using the options offered on the sprues:

It took some work to pose them so that the narrow HOTT elements didn't cause too much 'interference' between the spears. I also opted not to use the 20mm square bases Mantic provide for the figures, as this allowed me to fit four figures on a 60mm frontage rather than three:

The armour was painted in a turquoise colour, with a darker green/blue wash. I then picked out random decoration in metallic colours.

The Shooters. For the archers Mantic mostly use the same body poses as for the spear-armed Elves, which explains why so many of them are just carrying their bows rather than using them:

The Warband. These were made from some of the ten scout figures Mantic provide in the army box. I took spare arms and shields from the archers and spears as well:

The Magician. The standard-bearer helps fill up the base, and also gives me the option to make her the general as well:

This is the one non-Mantic figure I have in the army. In fact I have no idea where she comes from; it was an unpainted metal miniature I picked up on a bring-and-buy, but her build fits perfectly with the slender plastic figures:

The Hero. I love the double-bladed weapon he is armed with, and his bald-headed companion looks quite sinister, adding to the idea that these aren't necessarily your normal friendly Elves: 

The stronghold comes from that source of all good strongholds - the aquarium shop. Yes, it's a fish-tank ornament. It was wide, but lacked depth, so I added a base, which also allowed me to include a lake for the waterfall to empty into (I also extended the river a little way out at the back as well, for appearances sake, although you can't really see it). I did very little actual painting on the model itself, opting instead to match the base and bits I'd added to the colour scheme the Chinese factory had given it.

They are not a fast army, but the Hero and Warband provide a decent striking-force, whilst the Spears and Magician provide a solid centre. The Shooters cover the flanks and, with the Magician, protect the army from enemy aerials.

Finally, a few arty shots from my phone:

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Still In The Arena

Don't worry - I'm still here.

I had a busy weekend both working, visiting and ferrying people from A to B, so didn't get a lot of time for gaming, but I have been spending some time trying out the Southern Battle Gamer changes to 'Munera Sine Missione'. One of the nice features of the game is that I can set up and play a bout in five to ten minutes, so I can fit games into odd spare moments when I'm at home.

The upshot is that I'm working on a Version 2.0 of the rules, which will include bits freely nicked from, or adapted from, the additions made by the SBG. Once they are all written up and tested to a level I'm happy with I'll post them on my 'Free Stuff' page.

In the meantime, here's a Foundry Thracian fighting a Castaway Miniatures Samnite:

I promise there'll be some more HOTT postings along, starting tomorrow (indeed I know there will be, because I scheduled it a couple of weeks ago - does anyone else use scheduled posts?)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Gladiators From Three Cities

As promised yesterday, Victor from the Southern Battlegamers came down to the Gong yesterday evening, to show me what his group had been doing to 'Munera Sine Missione'. We were also joined by John from Canberra (via Sydney, it's true). So, gamers from three cities took part in the evening.

Victor had a gorgeous arena with him.

We played several one to one games. The SBG have made some quite radical changes to the way armour weight is determined and how Action Points are determined, and we tried out different gladiators to see how they affected the game. I was apprehensive at first, but it looks like most of the changes work and are relatively true to my vision for the game.

I will read through the changes and decide which ones I will be putting into the 'official' version of the game.

Victor had brought an alternative arena, consisting of an atrium in which two gladiators took part in a private fight for the entertainment of the rich and powerful. It used squares rather than hexes, and had obstacles in the form of pillars, pots and a shallow pool containing an unpredictable crocodile. We played a couple of games, and tweaked a few of the rules as we did to give the players more choices and decisions to make.

Finally we switched to a Napoleonic naval game. Victor was happy to watch (because it was almost time to leave), whilst John taught me how to play the Langton fast-play Napoleonic naval rules. We played a simple frigate action, which showed off how the mechanisms worked, but was a little sterile for just two ships. It's easy to see how they might work well for larger action with players handling big fleets, though.

Here we see my Dutch frigate tacking whilst the British ship fires on it from long range.

The two ships eventually settled into a straight gunnery duel. In this picture the British ship is on fire, but they rallied, extinguished it and then battered the Dutch into submission.

A good evening all round.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

An Evening In The Arena

Having thrown a sickie last week I managed to get my gladiators down to the Gong Garage Gamers tonight. We didn't run any formal campaign structure for the bouts, and just played a series of simultaneous one-to-one duels; mostly because it's been so long since any of us played the game we couldn't remember how to.

We used my Munera Sine Missione rules (get them HERE), but tried out a few changes:

(i) No gladiator could get more than 6AP in a turn. A gladiator that rolled an unmodified 4 or more always got at least 1AP, regardless of penalties.

(ii) We used the fatigue rules suggested by the Southern Battlegamers - a gladiator takes a fatigue point when they attack and miss. In addition fatigue (as in the number of fatigue points you have exceeding your current strength) just caused -1AP for the rest of the game. It's simper to keep track of that way.

(iii) Armour save rolls were simplified - you now just roll equal to or less than the number of armour points you have, rather than adding the points to a roll and trying to beat 6. In other words, you now roll low to save, not high.

Anyway, we managed eleven bouts during the course of the evening, with an interesting selection of gladiators. Here are the pictures.

My cork tile arena wins no prizes for looks, but has been in use for ten years now. We ran four fights at a time (three after Geoff left).

An early bout, showing off some of my female gladiators. Indeed, owing to my purchasing figures from numerous manufacturers over the years I seem to have as many female gladiators as I do male ones. I don't worry about mixing them in games - it didn't happen in reality.

A heavy gladiator gets driven back by a pointy stick.

A gladiator is netted.

Various gladiators wait in the wings - there are gladiators from Gladiator, Foundry, Black Tree Designs, Castaway Miniatures and West Wind. Also conversions of old fantasy figures and Copplestone cavemen and cavegirls.

I still have more Foundry ones to paint, as well as some Shadowforge figures.

A Thracian backs a Gaul up against the wall.

The longest fight of the night - a heavy gladiator dubbed 'Mongo' faced a barbarian woman with no armour but a big shield in a classic fight of protection over mobility.

Mongo started badly, but once he got into his stride he seriously wounded his barbarian opponent. Sadly he then took a lucky blow to the side, and dropped his sword, and things went downhill from there. When he finally fell the crowd decided that they'd never liked him anyway, and he was dispatched.

Another gladiator gets netted.

Dropped shields were a regular feature of the night.

The crowd were hard to please; a lot of defeated gladiators were dispatched, despite taking part in entertaining (i.e. bloody) fights. And yet they spared one lady gladiator who pretty much stood in the middle of the arena and allowed her opponent to trip her up.

I'm probably getting another go at this game tomorrow, as one of the Sydneysiders is visiting me to go through some of the changes and additions they've made to the game.

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