Friday, 14 May 2021

Blood, Sweat & Cheers Rehearsal

Our club is providing some demo/participation games at the Illawarra Plastic Modellers' Associaltion open day on Saturday, and I'm going to be running some 'Blood, Sweat & Cheers'. That's why I made that arean over the past couple of weeks and played some solo games. However yesterday I took the game to the club so I could get in some face to face games with Geoff, just to cement the rules into my brain.

The arena looked great in play, and worked OK too; it didn't hinder handling the figures and the grid seemed clear and easy to use..

We played three games. In the first Geoff took Lucius the thraex, whilst I used Victor the crupellarius. 

Victor drove Lucius hard ...

... but the thraex slowly wore down his opponent to pick up the win.

In the second game I had Cygnus the hoplomachus, whilst Geoff used Hermes the murmillo. This was the only picture I took, but basically Cygnus managed to wound Hermes early on with a spear-throw, and the murmillo never really recovered after that. After Hermes was knocked down he was never able to get back into the fight, and Hermes picked up the win.

Our final game saw Negrimus (run as a cestus) take on Margareites the secutor.

This was a fast-moving fight, with both gladiators being highly mobile - Negrimus through his high speed and Margareites through his special abilities.

The fight went all over the arena.

However Negrimus was slowly worn down, and the wounds reduced his speed making him more vulnerable. Margareites eventually managed a finishing blow for the win.

So everything should now be set for some fun gladiator gaming on Saturday. Other members of the group will be running Lasalle on Saturday, and I may be running some Galleys & Galleons later in the day too.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Arena - Part 3

 My finished arena for 'Blood, Sweat and Cheers'. I added gates to the gateways (again, printed from Junior General), and marked the corners of the grid areas with small rocks.

One lesson I have learned is that if I'm making structures with lolly-sticks, I should seal the sticks before sticking them in place. Running water-based PVA (and, I'm assuming, paint) over them causes them to swell slightly, which distorted the palisade. Maybe the lesson isn't to rely so much on water-based glues and paints ...


It was my birthday recently, so Catherine and I went away for a couple of days. As ever I took a pile of games with me, but in fact we ended up only playing one of them. This was our first go at the 'Marrying Mr Darcy' expansion, 'Emma'.

'Emma' uses the character cards from the original game, as well as the base rules, but has its own set of heroines, suitors and event cards geared, obviously, to the book of the same name. As befits  the different storyline and angle of the book, there are some new types of event cards in the game - matchmaker cards allow players to control the eligibility of suitors, blunders disadvantage heroines, revelations may offset blunders (or provide other advantages) and you can improve yourself, or others, by means of a good gossip. There's more scope for helping and hindering other players than in Marrying Mr Darcy. It's designed for up to six players (the original game is for eight)

The two-player version doesn't use the full event deck and, obviously, limited inter-player interactions as well. We played a couple of games late in the evening, which is why Catherine is in her cosy pyjamas.

In the first game I had the sensible Anne Taylor, who can avoid blunders, whilst Catherine had the dim but well-meaning Harriet Smith. I managed to build up enough character to have a pick of suitors, whilst Catherine never really got to grips with Harriet. I married well, and Harriet ended up as an old maid, to give me a win.

In the second game Catherine had meddlesome snob Augusta Hawkins, who can 'improve' other characters by swapping her character cards for theirs. I had the poor Miss Bates, who can pick up discarded character cards as charity, and also gets a bonus for ending the game as an old maid, making it a viable strategy. Anyway, Miss Bates just blundered into one social faux pas after another, and was never going to marry at all, let alone well. Augusta played a sensible game, and made a good match, to give Catherine a win.

I'm looking forward to trying the game with more players so we can see how the interaction elements work. 

Emma Woodhouse and Jane Fairfax - the two heroines we didn't get to use.

Friday, 7 May 2021

Thursday HOTT

It's been a few weeks since I played HOTT, so a couple of games with Geoff at the club was a very welcome treat last night.

Geoff used his generic medieval armies. In the first game I defended with my Fishmen (although I've just noticed that Geoff deployed a stronghold as well - those DBA habits die hard).

This was his cleric - an impressive clergyman on a cart. Can you guess how Geoff made the banner?

Anyway, the battle started with an ambush by some brigands as the left flank of the Fishmen passed through some mud-flats.

Then the armies plodded towards each other. The Fishman artillery disrupted the advance of the knights opposite them. 

The giant troll was working its was around to the right flank when the armies met.

He was therefore in a position to plug a gap caused by Geoff's general boldly riding down my artillery. Geoff wisely had his general retire.

To be honest by this stage I was in a rather sticky situation, as Geoff's knights had ridden down a lot of my army, and I was close to the break-point. But I managed to stage a fight back, and got a few of Geoff's elements in return.

It wasn't enough though. Geoff picked up a final kill for a well-deserved win.

We set up a second game, and this time I switched to Asag and the Stone Allies. Geoff kept the same army, but swapped out his cleric and lurker for a hero. So we both had a hero in play.

Somehow Geoff's riders ended up fighting my entire mass of hordes. They died rather quickly.

As Geoff's knights approached, the hordes charged them.

This broke both sides up. The rest of the troops got stuck into each other as well. Losses were about equal on both sides.

Geoff went for the bold move, and attacked Asag with his own hero. The winner would take the game. The winner was Asag.

We were happy with our two games, as it meant I could leave early and squeeze in the 'Line of Duty' finale before bedtime. And one win each was a nice result too.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Arena - Part 2

I've done some more work on my simple arena for Blood, Sweat & Cheers. The palisade is complete (if somewhat wonky), and I have constructed some gates from a Junior General paper castle model, reinforced with cork tile.

The final stages are to add some actual gates to the gateways (more paper and card) and mark out the actual grid in the arena.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Gladiator Campaign - Part 3

The Prestige totals were now such that in this, the fourth round of the campaign, Primus could win. To do this, though he had to win both of his bouts.

Primus was asked to provide a light gladiator, so sensibly selected the experienced veles Publius. Secundus was asked for a heavy, and selected Victor, hoping to get him some experience and a skill. Finally Tertius was asked for his most experienced gladiator, and chose the light gladiator, Albia.

This gave the following matchups: Publius vs Hipployta, Victor vs Ombos and Albia vs Artemisia. Primus had both of his big guns out, intent on a win. Obviously if they were taken down that would mean extra Prestige for Terius and Secundus.

Round 4 - Bout 1 - Publius (Veles) vs Hippolyta (Murmillo)

Publius had come unstuck in his previous bout for getting in too close and personal with a murmillo, so opted for a a safer approach in this bout. And it worked. The Glory cards trickled in steadily, and he was able to keep out of Hippolyta's reach and throw his javelins. The first nearly ended the bout, but Hippolyta evaded disaster with a Fortuna's Favour card.

However the next javelin saw her knocked to the sand, and a third throw finished her. The crowd were merciful, though. 

This gave Primus 2 Prestige. Hippolyta earned 1 Prestige for Tertius. Primus was nearing victory.

Round 4 - Bout 2 - Victor (Crupellarius) vs Ombos (Thraex)

Could Ombos cut his way through Victor's defences in order to win the campaign for his lanista? Only the cards and fates knew.

Both gladiators got stuck in, using the basic Glory attacks - Victor trying to knock his opponent to the floor and Ombos trying to wear him down with laceration attacks. It was a long fight and both gladiators ended up wounded.

However eventually Victor's luck ran out. A poor had of cards saw him forced to rely on his speed in defence, and that's not good for a crupellarius. Ombos exploited it and Victor was defeated. Despite the epic fight the crowd were disappointed and didn't grant any mercy.

I suspect that it was because they'd be cheated of another round of the campaign; Ombos's win meant that Primus now had the 15 Prestige needed to win the campaign.

However there was still one bout to play out.

Round 4 - Bout 3 - Albia ('Cestus') vs Artemisia (Thraex)

This looked like it would be an interesting fight of maneuver from two relatively light gladiators.

In fact it ended quite quickly - Artemisia managed to trip Albia, and then a crowd-pleasing slash of her sica wounded her opponent, who asked for mercy.

The crowd granted it.

Albia scored 1 Prestige for Tertius, whilst Artemisia picked up 2 Prestige for Secundus.

The Winners - The School Of Primus

The final positions:

Primus - 15 Prestige - Wins: 7, Losses (Missio): 1, Losses (No Missio): 0

Publius (Veles) - 3 Bouts, +1 Attack
Ombos (Thraex) - 4 Bouts, +1 Attack
Alumnus (Hoplomachus) - No Bouts
Syphax (Crupellarius) - 1 Bout

Secundus - 10 Prestige - Wins: 5, Losses (Missio): 0, Losses (No Missio): 3

Artemisia (Thraex) - 2 Bouts
Murranus (Murmillo) - 2 Bouts, +1 Speed
Toxaris (Sagittarius) - No Bouts

Tertius - 6 Prestige - Wins: 0, Losses (Missio): 6, Losses (No Missio): 2

Albia ('Cestus') - 2 Bout
Hipployta (Murmillo) - 2 Bout
Bregans (Barbarian) - 1 Bout
Danaos (Hoplomachus) - No Bouts

As you can se, Primus only lost one bout, whereas Tertius didn't win any. Secundus did OK on wins, but didn't have the crowd's support when it came to losses, which cost him Prestige for surviving a bout as well as the chance of experienced gladiators.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Gladiator Campaign - Part 2

 You can read Part One of the campaign HERE.

Round Two of the campaign saw Primus having to pick their most experienced gladiator, so the crowds got to see Ombos again. Secundus was asked to provide a heavy gladiator, so the novice Murranus was sent out to fight. Finally Tertius got a free pick so I randomly selected Hippolyta.

The pairings saw Murranus against Publius (who had killed his predecessor), Hippolyta against Artemisia and finally, in a rematch of their Round One fight, Ombos against Varica.

Round 2 - Bout 1 - Ombos (Thraex) vs Varica (Barbarian)

This was a quick fight. Ombos quickly wore down Varica with a few Glory attacks, and then a lucky hit saw them flat on the sand.

Ombos moved in quickly and delivered a telling blow. The crowd were very much behind the thraex at this stage, and did not grant mercy to Varica.

Ombos picked up 2 Prestige for Primus, whilst Tertius would be looking for another gladiator. This was Ombos' second bout, so he became skilled and opted for +1 Attack.

Round 2 - Bout 2 - Publius (Veles) vs Murranus (Murmillo)

Publius had defeated Murranus' predecessor in the previous round, so the murmillo was out to avenge his team-mate. Publius tried the same strategy as before; a few quick crowd-pleasing javelin throws and then into a close fight with their cheers behind him. It didn't work as Murranus responded with a kick and shield-charge which saw Publius out for the count. However the crowd were merciful, so Publius earned 1 Prestige for Primus and Murranus picked up 2 Prestige for Secundus. This was Publius's second bout so, despite losing, he acquired a skill and, like Ombos, went for +1 Attack.

Round 2 - Bout 3 - Hippolyta (Murmillo) vs Artemisia (Thraex)

This was a brutal slide and dice fight, with both gladiators ended up wounded.

But it was the nimble thraex Artemisia who emerged victorious, to give Secundus 2 Prestige. Hippolyta survived to give Tertius 1 Prestige.

So at the end of Round two, Primus had 7 Prestige (three wins and only one missio defeat), Secundus had 6 Prestige (three wins) and Tertius had 3 Prestige (three participation trophies).

On to Round Three. Tertius replaced the deceased Varica with another barbarian, Bregans. And the editor decided that he wanted to see him fight, as Tertius' least-experienced gladiator. Primus had to offer a heavy, so was restricted to Syphax, whilst Secundus had to put forward his only light, the sagittarius Teucris.

These were the pairings: Syphax was matched with the dimacherus Herminia, whilst Bregans faced the murmillo Murranus. And Teucris was up against the popular Ombos. This bout would be the first where the winner could gain 3 Prestige, for not only winning but for also beating a skilled gladiator with a non-skilled one.

Round 3 - Bout 1 - Syphax (Crupellarius) vs Herminia (Dimacherus)

The thing with the dimacherus is that they are all about attack. Their speed is fairly average and their defence fairly light, so they need to keep up a series of strikes in order to avoid being hit. Herminia got far too few strike cards early on and couldn't easily compete with the well-armoured and implacable Syphax.

At one point she did manage to trip him, which is always bad for the slow gladiators, but he used his shield to knock her feet out from under her as well, and bought time to stand up.

Anyway, eventually he knocked her down and she didn't get up. The crowd had wanted to see some skillful swordplay from the dimacherus, and hadn't got it, so they weren't merciful. This left Tertius looking for another new gladiator. Meanwhile Syphax picked up 2 Prestige for Primus.

Round 3 - Bout 2 - Ombos (Thraex) vs Teucris (Sagittarius)

Like the dimacherus, the thraex is very much about attack. The sagittarius is very much about evading their opponent with their lightning sped, and hoping for the Glory cards needed for shots.

Ombos got all of the Glory cards. He quickly hit Teucris for a couple of light wound, slowing him.

Teucris did manage to open up a gap, and even got in a couple of shots with his bow, but to no avail.

Ombos closed up and Teucris was defeated. The crowd were still out for blood, and weren't merciful towards the archer.

Ombos earned Primus another 2 Prestige, as well as scoring his third win.

Round 3 - Bout 3 - Bregans (Barbarian) vs Murranus (Murmillo)

There would be no subtlety in this fight; it would be a simple hack, bash and defend. Murranus got lucky early on, wounding Bregans and slowing him down, thus robbing him of his only real advantage over the heavy murmillo.

The fight ranged back and forth, bit Murranus kept his nerve and took down the barbarian. However the crowd had been entertained, and were inclined to mercy. Bregans earned 1 Prestige for Tertius, whilst Murranus earned 2 prestige for Secundus, as well as a skill for himself. He increased his Speed to 3.

Secundus picked up another sagittarius, Toxaris, whilst Tertius decided to try a hoplomachus and recruited the Greek, Danaos.

So at the end of Round Three, this is the status of the three schools

Primus - 11 Prestige

Publius (Veles) - 2 Bouts, +1 Attack
Ombos (Thraex) - 3 Bouts, +1 Attack
Alumnus (Hoplomachus) - No Bouts
Syphax (Crupellarius) - 1 Bout

Secundus - 8 Prestige

Artemisia (Thraex) - 1 Bout
Victor (Crupellarius) - 1 Bout
Murranus (Murmillo) - 2 Bouts, +1 Speed
Toxaris (Sagittarius) - No Bouts

Tertius - 4 Prestige

Albia ('Veles') - 1 Bout
Hipployta (Murmillo) - 1 Bout
Bregans (Barbarian) - 1 Bout
Danaos (Hoplomachus) - No Bouts

Tertius' school is where gladiators and prestige go to die, but Primus is now in a position to win the campaign in the next round, if his gladiators win both of their fights. 
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