Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Thursday, 12 August 2021

Five Leagues Campaign Fight 002 - Encounter By the Stream

For the next Five Leagues from the Borderlands trial game, following on from the initial fight, my plucky band of heroes and heroines set out once again to do battle with the forces of Evil lurking near Bree. Hearing a rumour of a band of evil cultists hidden in some wooded downs to the south, the band set out...and whilst they were scouting on a track by a stream in one of the wooded valleys, they encountered a small group of cultists coming down the same track in the opposite direction...

The Forces:

The Band: 5 x Heroes & Heroines (2 x Sword & Shield fighters 1 x archer, 1 x 2-handed fighter, 1 x dual weapon fighter), 2 x Followers (inc. 1 x archer).  One of the followers from the first game is still too wounded for action, another of the followers has found his inner hero and takes his place in the ranks of the champions).
Gillion (a Dunedan fighter, uses a sword and a mace)
Annungilgweld "Nuna" (a Dunedan fighter, uses a bow and a sword)
Clahanar (a Dunedan fighter, uses a two-handed axe)
Herudoina "Ruda" (a Northwoman, uses sword and shield)
Léothain (a former Northman soldier, now a hero, uses sword and shield, wears full armour)
Serronsel (a wily rogue Northwoman, but attached to Ruda)
Sommeryth (a hopeful young Northwoman, archer)
The Cultists: 3 x Cultists, led by 1 x Professional Killer (archer)

The Action:

The band are scouting through the woods when they spot, and are spotted by, the cultists.

Another view, showing the order of march of the band: Nuna and Sommeryth lead, with Ruda and Serronsel protecting the rear.  The boys are in the centre (Gillion, Clahanar, Léothain).

Nuna and Sommeryth start loosing arrows at the cultists.

The lead cultist charges forward; the archers on both sides exchange fire.

Note Nuna (right) has now had her line of fire blocked (right)

After an exchange of blows, the leading cultist is felled by Clahanar.

Nuna has crossed to the other side of the track to resume firing; note the cultists coming through the woods over the hill (centre-right) have avoided the missile fire to get close.

The melee is joined again on the slight hill, as two more cultists come up to do battle with Clahanar.

The cultists' leader is felled by an arrow shot by Sommeryth.

The initial exchanges are indecisive, allowing the rest of the band (Ruda, Serronsel and Léothain) to come up

All of a sudden, one of the Cultists, in a burst of furious energy, downs Serronsel and Léothain in quick succession!

Nuna and Sommeryth work along the flank to try and get a shot in if there is a break in the melee.  Gillion follows up the path, having aborted his move around the left now that all the action is on the other flank.

Ruda leads the way with some strong blows forcing the surviving cultists back.

Roused to anger by the hurt done to their comrades, Ruda and Clahanar fell the last two cultists.

After the outbreak of noise and slaughter, peace returns to the picturesque valley...

Game Notes: Not too much to say about this one, as all the mechanics seemed to work fine and are entirely intuitive. Some of the 'chrome' in the advanced rules looks fussy but because the basic mechanics are so intuitive, then it doesn't feel like the chrome adds much complexity. The heavier armour of the band was the difference maker in the fighting against the cultists in the trees, whilst the superior number of archers (i.e. 2 to 1) worked in the band's favour there, too.  There was a decent amount of luck chucked in there, mind: Sommeryth was hit twice by the Cult leader's fine shooting, but each shot only grazed her!  It could have been so different...

If I were starting again from scratch, I might prefer to do this in 15mm, or even 6mm: the movement and shooting distances work fine game-wise, but visually they would work better for me if there were more real estate implied.  But, I already have a decent number of nice 28mm figures, even if my painting hardly does them justice, so I can't see me doing it necessarily.  But, just a thought.

The figures are a mixture of (I think) Perry Miniatures, Bad Squiddo, North Star/Frostrgave and Gripping Beast.


  1. That's a nice little game and the sort I'm sure we used to play as kids way back in the mid-70's:)

    1. Thanks Steve! Although as I was born in the mid-70s, I am on a different timescale...

      Yes, it had the look and feel of an RPG random wilderness encounter which I suppose was the exact design goal, pretty much, except the mechanics are wargame complexity rather than RPG complexity - which seems fair enough for a game aimed at a solo player controlling c.5-10 friendlies and the same sort of numbers of enemies.