Thursday, 21 May 2020

SoBH Covid-19

plastic knights

I had all kinds of hobby plans for spring and summer before Corona forced my family and me into isolation for two months.

I wanted to paint some trolls, orcs and dinosaurs for Dragon Rampant or late Romans and Goths. I was still undecided about that. I thought about playing a pirate campaign with Krüger, taking place on the Ivory Coast. And I wanted to play a couple of skirmish games with Alex, a friend from Wesel.

Then the lockdown came.

Apart from homeschooling my three kids, I used the time to continue cleaning up my mother's flat and did some gardening. After a couple of weeks I was already quite exhausted.

Then I found some plastic knights in an old box full of toys and decided to give Song of Blades and Heroes another try.

The first time I played the game many years ago, I didn't understand what it was all about. I was too much into competitive gaming and didn't see the possibilities Song of Blades and Heroes has.

The last two months I have played the game several times with my two sons. I enjoy that it's a real skirmish game which can be played with ten miniatures on each side or less.

The combat system is elegant and has mechanisms 
used by games like DBA or HotT. No bookkeeping is required and few markers.

There is a long list of special rules allowing the players to give each miniature its own character, thus adding a role playing element to the game.

I'm not sure if Songs of Blades and Heroes allows for competitive gaming, but it makes it easy to write your own scenarios and play games with a focus on the narration. This can be lots of fun.

Another aspect I like about the game is that it's generic. It's easy to create stats for your own monsters and characters and there are many supplements in different settings, using the core rules.

Song of Blades and Heroes is available through Ganesha Games as a PDF download or print on demand platforms like LULU. The customer service is great, by the way. I had a problem downloading the rules and Andrea Sfiligoi responded quickly.

So, thank you, Andrea Sfiligoi, for having written this accessible game which has provided my family and me with some home entertainment at the beginning of the corona crisis.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Playing Dragon Rampant with the Kids

In Berlin children get a week off from school in February, to go skiing, I suppose.

I had to take my children to Dortmund during their winter vacation, because my mother passed away some months ago and we have to find out what to do with all of her things now. That's a gloomy activity for children, of course.


We wanted to have some fun nevertheless, so I went to Krüger's house with Joaquín and Hendrik to play Dragon Rampant. (My daughter preferred to stay at home and practice K-Pop choreographies.)

We played elves vs. orcs, using our scenario D3+2 objectives.



the elven players

Joaquín and Hendrik played the elves:

Light Foot (Leader + Spellcaster) / Elite Riders / Heavy Riders / Heavy Missiles / Light Missiles / Scouts

Krüger and I played the orcs:

Bellicose Foot (Leader), Heavy Riders (Chariot), Greater Warbeast, Lesser Warbeasts, 2 Scouts


We used toy frogs as objectives. On the elven side one frog was placed in a forest and one on top of a large hill.

Two frogs were placed in forests on the orc side and the fifth frog was put in the centre of the table.

On our left flank Krüger moved a large ogre (greater warbeast) forward to take the objective hidden in the forest in front of it. This scared Joaquín so much that he moved his heavy riders all the way from his right flank to his left flank. He even made the horses ride backwards.

There the elven elite riders, a splendid looking unit, had been lurked into the woods by a unit of orc scouts. The elves lost the fight and were routed by six wolves (lesser warbeasts) waiting for them outside the forest.

The same thing happened to Joaquín's heavy riders, when they arrived at the forest.

Hendrik loves to play wizards in Dragon Rampant and his favourite spell is Power Bolt!

With some assistance of a bolt thrower, scouts and light missiles Hendrik used his power bolt magic to destroy the ogre and our general (a unit of bellicose foot).

We are always surprised how lucky Hendrik is rolling to see if spells work.

After we lost our general I was able to destroy the elven light missiles with a chariot and then place it next to the objective in the centre of the gaming table.


When the game ended, both armies held the two objectives on their side and in addition to that the orcs held the objective in the centre.

the last turn

This map shows how the gaming table looked like at the end of the last turn.

It was a close, balanced game, but a victory for the orcs.

The game was so much fun that we are planning a little Dragon Rampant campaign during the summer. Orcs vs. elves fighting for magical ingredients in an enchanted forest or something like that …

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Sven's mysterious Campaign Book

Krüger and I came up with most of the background for the armies we play in our Waltrop campaign, sitting in an Italian restaurant in Berlin Friedrichshain, drinking white wine or black coffee and talking for hours. It was great fun. (Although at the time I thought: why does he always want to play Orcs? Why can't I convince him to play Greeks?)

My cousin Sven plays the Aquarians in our campaign. He has a book where he writes down his ideas about them, but he never talks about it.

As a birthday present, last year in May, I asked him to reveal some information about the Aquarians.

He sent me a picture that shows two pages of his mysterious book.


beyond the pillars of Heracles

On the left page it says:

Die Sage des Deukalion 
  • Deukalion war der Sohn des Prometheus (Titan) und der Pronoia ("Fürsorge")
  • im Bronzenen Zeitalter war Zeus derart erbost über die Schlechtheit der Menschen, dass er sie mit der großen Flut austilgen will
  • Prometheus befiehlt ihm und seiner Frau Pyrrha, ein Schiff zu bauen und sich damit zu retten
  • sie landen auf dem Berg Parnassos, später auf dem Berg Othrys, schließlich auf dem Berg Aquarius
  • an all diesen Orten bringen sie die Menschen zurück in die Welt, durch das Werfen von Steinen über die Schulter
  • als Aquarius geht er nach seinem Tod in den Götterhimmel ein
  • die ersten Menschen von Aquarius - Deukalions Volk, stammen direkt von ihm ab
On the right page there are several stars. Depicting large and small islands maybe?

Sven also sent me a text about his book:

"Behold the Codex Pontificis.
The Book of Books.
With all its myths and miracles.
Containing not only the Odyssey of the Aquarians and the founding of our Polis.
But telling where we the sons of Hellas came from and where we will go to.
Written by my priest predecessors.
And given to the people of Spiriopolis to treasure forever."
by Pontifex the Priest
Thank you, Sven.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Joaquín's Killa Kan

seize ground

During our Christmas break, which was otherwise quite stressful, we played Warhammer 40K with Hendrik and Joaquín at Krüger’s house. It was their second tabletop game. They played Space Marines. Krüger and I played Orks.

The scenario was Seize Ground which means we played for objectives. Three, I think. Hendrik and Joaquín were not very lucky and some of their troops arrived late in the game: a terminator squad and a tactical squad in a drop pod. This was an advantage for the Orks. Nevertheless the game was undecided until the end. Then the Orks won.

What I like about playing in this group is that the focus is more on playing the game and not so much on winning or loosing. That's very relaxing. Also there is some basic trust that nobody is cheating. Unfortunately when I play with adults that's not always the case.



Fimo Killa Kan

Last weekend Joaquín made a figure out of Fimo. He says it's an Ork in a robot. A Killa Kan, I imagine.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Wipeout / Dragon Rampant Battle Report


About once a year my cousin comes to Berlin to play a turn in our Waltrop campaign. On the 26th of May, last year, around noon, one day after my 49th birthday, he moved his Greek army into hexagon 70 on our campaign map to expand the territory of the Aquarians. My cousin divided his Dragon Rampant army into two groups.

group 1: Greater Warbeast (Leader) / 2 Light Foot

group 2: Greater Warbeast / Bellicose Foot / Scouts

Krüger and I played an alliance of wild tribes. Krüger played orcs.

Bellicose Foot (Leader) / Heavy Riders (Chariots) / Scouts

I played Tupí Indians.

Bellicose Foot / Light Missiles / 2 Scouts

Each turn the order of activation was supposed to be: Aquarians (group 1), Orcs, Aquarians (group 2), Tupí, but at some point we got confused, probably because we had consumed too much Tsipouro the night before.

(Next time we play a 2 vs 1 Dragon Rampant game we want to do it differently and try these rules: The player who controls an army by himself does not have to devide his army into groups. He can activate all units, but each unit only once during a game turn. To avoid confusion markers should be used.)

The battlefield was a sandy beach with some palm trees, bushes and rocks.

In the first turn the Greek scouts moved into a piece of rough terrain on their left flank. From there they threw stones at the Tupí indians, destroying all of my units apart from the light missiles. These were destroyed by the mighty minotaur lord instead who was the Greek general.

Krüger, who played the Orcs on our left flank, was a bit more lucky at first. There was a moment when his Orc warband (Bellicose Foot) destroyed a group of harpies (Bellicose Foot) in a piece of palm tree forest. This coincided with our confusion about the turn sequence and my cousin complained utterly.

But shortly afterwards Krüger lost his general (the Orc warband) and his chariot. The remaining orc scouts couldn’t possibly win the game.

So now the Aquarians occupy hexagon 70 on the campaign map.



campaign map

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

My new upcycled Waltrop Box

a wooden box

Happy new year!

Going through my children's old toys I found a wooden box which they don’t need any more.

I repainted it, using paints with fancy names like "Lucy in the Sky" and "Cape Town Blue", and glued a map of Waltrop on it.


my new upcycled Waltrop box


I use the box to store some things we need for our Dragon Rampant games: three dice made out of bones to roll for leader traits, a tactical assault & coherency template which was produced by Gale Force 9 in 2008 and a 3" blast template, an object we need when we play with my cousin, because he likes to be very precise with unit coherency.


3 roman bone dice and 2 templates

Unfortunately after painting and varnishing the box the lid bent. I have been trying to straighten it for some time now but it only got worse.

Also, I’m very eager to make a wooden box like this from scratch one day …