Monday, 30 March 2020

The Tribe of Gong - Year Two - Spring

Catherine and I were looking for a game to play this evening, and we both fancied another go at Palaeo Diet. So I set up a two-player encounter within the campaign.

During the cold winter months there have been tensions in the Tribe of Gong. Food has been plentiful, and the hunters have had time to sit and talk at their leisure. And their talk has turned to how Ron no longer seemed to be cutting it as tribal leader, whilst the bowman, Frun, truly shone during the previous year's hunts. Frun listened to their flattery, and a challenge was made; a hunt to determine who would be the leader of the tribe!

This was the scenario The Men Who Would Be King from the rules, with just two hunters.

Frun - Bow (run by me)
Ron - Club (run by Catherine)

I forgot Frun's 'Alert' trait, and decided to skip the dogs, although with hindsight they would have made a very entertaining addition to the game (and I might try it again with them included).

As spring takes hold in the valley, the grazers return, but also the predators, lean and hungry after their hibernation. The two hunters have a challenge: before sundown (eight turns) one of them must kill the giant wolverine that has moved into the valley. Failing that, the hunter who kills the most grazers will be proclaimed chief.

Frun approached from the west, nocking an arrow as he did. There were two groups of bovines, but sniffing around between them was the wolverine.

Ron approached from the east, readying his club. He'd have to get close to the bovines to score a kill, and they'd certainly run after his first strike, but he was sure to wound them, and could then chase them down. Maybe he'd save the wolverine for Frun.

Ron crept up to the closest bovine ...

... but Frun drew first blood, wounding a bovine with a well-placed arrow. The herd stampeded, and the wolverine rushed after the wounded animal.

Ron wounded his bovine, causing the grazers to scatter to the south.

The wolverine pursued the panicked animals.

Frun saw his chance. At extreme range he shot an arrow at the predator, which turned on the nearest hunter - Ron. Ron tried fighting back, but the wolverine was too much for him, and was soon feasting on his shredded corpse.

It had been a short contest, but Frun was now victorious by default, and would take his place as chief.

That concluded the campaign element, but we set it up and played again. Catherine chose to use Ron again

Frun came in from the south this time, but quickly attracted the attentions of the wolverine, who rushed into the attack. Amazingly Frun survived.

Ron wounded a bovine, and the wolverine left Frun to investigate. The wounded bovine attacked Ron, and against the odds wounded him.

The grazer then fled, and Ron limped after it

It turned on him, and before he could evade, gored him to death.

Poor Ron.

Anoterh win for Frun, who did very little in this game (I think he killed a cow, off camera).

Onto our third game. I offered Catherine a go with Frun, but she declined. She felt sorry for Ron.

Ron got busy and quickly wounded a couple of the grazers, which stampeded.

Frun brought one down, and the wolverine moved to investigate and eat the fresh meat.

The wolverine took an unhealthy interest in Frun, who backed away. Ron tried to pursue the fleeing grazers.

Frun brought down a second grazer (one of the ones wounded by Ron), and before the end of the game took down a third. Ron failed to catch the herd.

To be fair in this two-player game, pitting a bow against a club probably wasn't the best pairing. With three or four hunters vying for the prize there's more scope for a club-armed hunter to get easy hits on other people's wounded animals, or to step in and finish off the predator. With two players Ron was left to do his own work, and Frun's bow offered him more flexibility to control the beasts and make life difficult for his rival, even if his killing power wasn't as great. To be fair, Ron was very unlucky; he missed a couple of easy attacks in one game, and getting killed by a herd grazer is quite a difficult thing to do in this game.

Anyway, it whiled away an hour or so of our social isolation, so was a win in both our books. I decided that there would be no recruitment of new hunters after this scenario, so the tribe will enter the next with just the four. I'll post the updated tribe status in the next game's post.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

The Tribe of Gong - Winter

The first snows of winter are here, and temperatures are falling in the lands of the Tribe of Gong. Beasts are moving south looking for food. It's time for one last hunt as the herds depart, in order to secure the tribe's food stocks for the winter.

I set up two mammoths (large grazers) and three bovines (herd grazers). I also had the critters rule in play. There were five hunters, but I gave them a pit at the far side of the table. Since this represents the expenditure of effort, I classed it as a sixth hunter for the purposes of target bulk. The target was 1.5 times the starting number of hunters, so nine bulk in total.

The tribe entered from the corners, flanking the bovine herd.

In the distance, off-table, you can see the final part of the setup - a giant wolverine is lurking in the area, also looking for one last kill before the winter. It would appear on one of the three unused board-edges the moment any model was first wounded.

Frun got off to a good start; as he started his ascent of a low hill, he flushed out a critter. The hill prevented him from getting at shot at it though.

The hunters moved in on the herd, using their hounds to try and control it. Frun's hound ended up chasing a wild pig. Vikk startled a bovine, which turned and attacked him, wounding him.

The wolverine appeared. It's classed as an apex predator.

Ron and Vikk got in close on one of the bovines, which, amazingly, kept responding by trying to attack the hunters. It was totally outclassed, however, and the hunters quickly finished it off for their first kill.

Of course this attracted the hounds, who had to be coaxed back into action.

Grub brought down one of the critters with his spear. On the same turn Frun put an arrow through another. The advantage of this is that it drew the hounds away from the killed bovine, and prevented them from eating any of the choice bits.

All this activity attracted the attentions of the mammoths. One seemed content to remain cautious. The other was more aggressive, and charged at the hunters, wounding Grub.

It was all too much for Ron's hound, who failed three activations, and simply howled, creating chaos amongst the beasts around it. The mammoths backed off, whilst the wolverine roared in response, causing some of the hunters to back off as well.

The hunters retreated. But Frun's hound didn't, and moved in on the massive wolverine. Rolling three actions, it attacked the giant predator, wounding it. The predator returned the attack and missed. The hound attacked again, causing another wound. The wolverine failed to wound the hound again. And the hound's final attack tore out the wolverine's throat.

The hunters had scored three bulk-worth of food at no danger to themselves, thanks to the actions of a brave little dog.

The aggressive mammoth even drove Frun's hound off its kill, preventing it from eating any nice bits before the hunters got to it.

With one bovine, two critters and the wolverine in the bag already, and no danger of the predator stealing any kills, the hunters were now in a good position. They had seven of the required nine bulk they needed.

Grub saw a chance. The other mammoth - the one that wasn't simply charging every hunter and hound in its immediate vicinity - was within fleeing distance of the pit. Grub ambled up behind the mammoth, then let out a fearsome yell.

The mammoth took flight! And ran straight into the pit.

So that was it. The hunters had twelve bulk - far more than they needed. The tribe would be well set up for the winter.

Here's the tribe with their kills.

Grub was deemed the best hunter amongst the humans (Frun's hound was really the top-dog), and recovering from his wound gained the Calm trait, which makes him better in ambushes. The wounded Vikk lost his Alert trait, and his wound made him Lame. Brell, who was Lame for this hunt, lost that temporary trait.

So this is the state of the hunters after one year:

Grub - Spear - Calm
Frun - Bow - Alert + Hound
Ron - Club - Hound
Vikk - Club - Lame
Brell - Club

HOTT 52 - Week 13 - Narnia vs The White Witch

I did a search on my blog, and despite a few pictures of the one army I couldn't find any record of me having played a game with my Narnian armies in the past eight years. So for this week's game I got them out of their box and onto the table.

The Army of the White Witch defended, and the board ended up with a couple of hills in one corner, and some residual patches of snow (bad going).

The Army of the White Witch - 1 x Magician General, 2 x Beasts, 1 x Flyer, 2 x Behemoths, 6 x Hordes

The Narnians advanced from the low hills.

Narnian - 1 x Hero General, 1 x Paladin (Aslan), 1 x Behemoth, 2 x Riders, 2 x Beasts, 1 x Warband, 2 x Hordes

The Narnians sent centaurs and unicorns on a wide flanking move in order to tie up the Witch's hordes there.

The rest of the army advanced very slowly, whilst the Witch's army moved forward into a slightly better defensive position. The Witch sent her flying beasts to intercept the Narnian riders.

The White Witch

And Aslan.

The Narnian riders deployed ...

.. but were outflanked and some were destroyed.

The flyers then descended on the Narnian hordes, destroying one of those as well. Meanwhile the White Witch's hordes moved forward to threaten the surviving Narnian rider.

The main Narnian line was in position to attack now. The Pevensie children led the way ...

... followed by Aslan and the giant. Aslan faced the White Witch.

The children and the giant drove back the mighty monsters facing them, leaving Aslan a clear attack on the Witch.

And he killed them, to give Narnia the victory.

This was a relatively quick game. A bad combat result would have seen Aslan killed and the Witch with a real advantage, although the odds were in Aslan's favour in that final fight (5 vs 4). The Witch is probably best deployed behind her own line, although her long element does need a bit of space.

Still, despite the length of the game, it was great to have these armies out again.

I am now a quarter of the way through HOTT52!

Thursday, 26 March 2020


Thursday night is wargames night!

Catherine and I were going to play HOTT, but we ended up messing around with a webcam for a chunk of the evening (a current sign of the times - it was broken, by the way), and afterwards I couldn't be bothered sorting out figures and terrain

So instead we played Azul, a boardgame we played with John and Cathy in Canberra the other week, and whch we enjoyed so much that I bought a copy (in what was probably my last non-food related face-to-face retail interaction for the foreseeable future).

Anyway, here's the BoardgameGeek entry, to save me the effort of a detailed description - Azul. It's basically a tile-laying game - literally. It's about tiling a palace wall, but without the grouting or spousal nagging. The person who gets the most complete set of tiles on their board wins.

Catherine ponders her opening move. You draw tiles from the 'factories' in the middle.

Early stages on my board. As you can see, it's quite pretty. And the rules are very simple. But the strategies could get quite involved. You have to plan ahead, but also look out for what your opponent (or opponents - it plays with up to four) are doing. It's possible to block them, or completely screw them up if you're crafty.

End of the first game, and my winning board.

We set up a second game - it plays fairly quickly. Catherine won that one.

Best of three? Certainly. Except we had a feline intervention two turns in, that scattered the tiles. We decided we couldn't be doing with setting it up again, so called the evening a draw.

Here's the feline intervention, looking suitably contrite. Not.

Anyway, Azul is good fun.
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