Friday, May 21, 2010

Flotsam and Jetsam: Pig Wars Batrep

The coast is not so lovely this time of year...

Last Friday saw another "big ole" game of Pig Wars. This time, I am proud to say, I showed up with two complete warbands totaling 39 models altogether. I really had to shoehorn one of those warbands in points-wise to make it fit, so most of the figs were militia quality. We had five total players, two represented Northern Vikings (the Dubh Linn'ers), two represented rival Southern Vikings (the Wexfordians), and the last group represented the shipwrecked survivors from the Church and the band Irishmen sent out to rescue said survivors.

Tom's Wexford Vikings arrive and head straight to the Irish rescuers

Bob's Wexford Vikings spy the makeshift shore camp and set phasers to pillage

On the opposite side of the table were mine and Ken's two warbands, the Northern Vikings. We came in together along the shoreline and split up after that. There wasn't really a plan, just go whack the other guys in the head and take their stuff, pretty standard.

As you can see from these pics, the table really makes the game. I love the touch of all the broken up timbers washed upon the shoreline. Having all painted armies kind of goes without saying too, but it's a standing 'rule' (for lack of a better word) around these parts anyway. Also, as is my usual M.O., I get the luxury of posting cheap camera phone pics quickly and being completely fuzzy on any semblance of historical context or scenario details.

My Dubh Linn Vikings scavenge coastal wreckage looking for loot

The shipwrecked survivors erect a makeshift fortification

As the Vikings approach, the Monks close ranks

First contact with the survivors was made by my warband. Up top, by the makeshift rampart you can see the devastating charge of my Beserker, felling two defenders before they were able to react. This of course exhausted him, and he collapsed from fatigue the next turn.

Meanwhile, Bob's warband was closing in fast on the other side of the encampment. Had we been allies, it would have been a nice pincer strategy. As it was, he was just one more headache to worry about. There was no love lost between the rival bands, and while I had men engaged with the shipwrecked, he charged in as well, attacking both the embattled groups. It really all came down to morale checks (and subsequent rallying) as well as that all-important initiative draw. Had a couple of these gone differently in the last turn or two, my warband's dismal performance may have been able to be redeemed by the end of the game.

Our homemade saga cards add that extra little bit of flair to the game, and this time I made sure my warband had plenty of build points to pick up three of these. Every warband also got a bonus saga card in the beginning, so I was starting out with a whopping four cards. Looking at these cards you can get a good feel for the enhancements they bring to the table.

Swift of Foot: Allows one model to move as if they're encumberance rating was one level 'lighter'. Basically a mailed/shielded model could move as if they were mail only, etc. I gave this card to my single Berserker model who was mail only. So he was now moving as if he was unarmored, which was great, a whopping 12" per turn for the big guy.

Great Coat: This is basically an heirloom level mail hauberk. I immediately gave it to my warband's leader. Since the figure has a pronounced, ahem, codpiece, which I painted a bright, vivid gold, he didn't have an heirloom hauberk, but a vintage codpiece.

War Leader: You get to give your high hold card to anyone needing it within LOS, pretty good stuff. I never actually used this during the game, but had to give it to my leader model as well, if for no other reason than he was, duh, the warband leader after all.

Heimdall's Horn: This one affects the standard bearer of the warband, of which is a compulsory troop selection anyway. It always you an automatic rally of a routing unit, which given the nature of all our troops running away all game long, is very handy. Unfortunately, my standard bearer bit the dust pretty early in the game (my own mistake) and I never got to use this card. Ironically, I think I failed a morale test and routed because my standard died!

Overall I'm not going to say anything I haven't already; the game was fun, the terrain was beautiful, the scenario was inventive, and the company enjoyable. All in all, a Friday night well spent. There were legitimate digital cameras in attendance (with mini-tripods), so I suspect a proper batrep may show up on Repple Depple at one point.


  1. Really nice bat-rap. I could understand what was going on, the scenery was quality, and the homemade cards were a nice detail. Sounds like y'all had a great night =)

  2. Nice write up Mik

    I do indeed have lots of pretty pictures, but things have been super crazy for me lately and I haven't gotten them up. Hoping to spend some down time while at this conference in San Diego next week to get those posted.

    The Horn saga card could definitely have made a difference for you. The standard bearers in Pig Wars are pretty important guys, especially with the tweaks I did to the morale table to make morale tests tougher. I try to keep my standard bearer out of fights and keep a guy with him as a guard. Better to have him to rally the troops. Of course, the pesky enemy may have something to say about that...

    Your Vikings may not have won, but at least there are some of them left to come raiding again tomorrow. My Irish were wiped out (well, the warband leader survived) holding open the corridor for the Bishop to escape.

  3. Thanks Shelexie, it's always a good time when these guys get together, I always say it, but the models look great, the table is top-notch, and the scenarios are always spot-on.

    Yeah, Brian, rookie move, I left my standard bearer unguarded, and right in the middle of the fray. Can't wait to see those pics, but all in due time, I understand.

    25mmW, just wait 'til we get clear pics of the table yo!

  4. I love games like this. I wish more people understood that historical miniatures games aren't always about refighting the battles of history. It amazes me how much stigma there is on historical miniatures gaming.

  5. It's a general gamer phenomena, Eli. I'm sure you can find plenty of 40K gamers that would harumph if I showed up with my Spectral Wombats space marine chapter just because it's not found in anything GW published.

    That said, there are definitely historical periods were the phenomenon is much more pronounced. Napoleonics are especially pronounced because there were lots more set piece battles and less continuous low-level skirmishing and people were literate enough to write about every decent size battle in detail. In the end it all comes down to your gaming group. The guys here are creative and willing to go along with just about anything that sounds fun, so that makes coming up with great games a piece of cake.

    The Viking era (and others of its ilk) are great gaming fodder because virtually nbothing is recorded, what is recorded is mixed up with myth and the propoganda of the storytellers (usually the descendents of one side or the other trying to make their ancestors look good). Can anyone really look you in the eye and tell you beyond a doubt that the scenario we played didn't happen :).

    @25mmW - I was really happy with the table, especially since we just cobbled it together on the spot with terrain from my collection and Bob's.