Saturday, April 30, 2011

Song of Blades and Heroes with the Firstborn

This picture says it all and the to be honest, this wasn't a posed shot, what you see here is genuine, unbridled eight year old enthusiasm for what is about to commence. I gave my daughter her first true geek gift, a set of rules for Song of Blades and Heroes. You read through the first few pages like a trooper and on errands in the the car I would quiz her about, "What's the quality mean?", "How many actions do you get if you pass two dice?" and the like. We started small, just one hundred points per side, but we followed all of the rules from set up to finish. For one, I get some miniatures gaming in, but for two, obviously I get to spend some quality time with my girl as well.

Song of Blades (SBH) is a great skirmish fantasy game, not just great really, but really really great. It's simple enough to start out with, the rules are solid and unencumbered, and you can get right down to the actual gaming itself with little effort. It's minis-generic so you can use whatever you have on hand and have a ball with it. I've done quite a bit with it on here in the past, here's the related posts for it.

My daughter's "force" consisted three figures, all female not surprisingly! I'm proud to say that she personally painted two out of three of them too (I painted the one in the middle). I'm trying to teach her right so right off the bat I let her know about 'what you see is what you get' as far as models, and never play with unpainted figs!

She was enamored with my old Citadel "Viking chick" and took her on as the leader. She did her rosters all of herself and said because this figure had a winged helmet that she got to be a barbarian instead of "just a human".

For my crew I just took three identical and basic human 'marauders', just stand-in troopers from my Viking Warband. These guys are just your average human with hand weapons and minimal protection with zero skills or special abilities. They're still not to be counted out however!

Our table setup was roughly three foot by three foot with a scattering of terrain pieces. We whipped up a quick little backstory for the battle. Basically wars in the area had the men of the village off fighting while the women took care of things at home. The Elf was visiting her friends when bandits emerged from the woods intent on stealing livestock and whatever else. Thinking the place was undefended the bandits moved in, little did they know that there were 'warrior women' left behind!

Moving and measuring between two buildings...

Getting ready for the big fight

The first few turns as you could see consisted of just movement and maneuvering. As you can see here, one bandit in the top left has managed to close with a target while another bandit at top right is about to do so. The third bandit hides behind some vegetation at the bottom of the screen. The girls' movement and placement was actually much better than my own as they held a good defensive line across the middle of the table.

"Wait a minute, these girls be armed!"

The first fight was over quickly as my daughter's reliance on choosing to power attacks every turn paid off (and made me think I should do them more often). While the two were fighting, the third strolled in and the overwhelming numbered proved in the girls' favor. These two would then move on to attack the bandit previously hiding behind the giant mushrooms, they made even shorter work of him than they did their first target!

The final fight of the game was about to occur. I should state at this time that I wasn't pulling any punches during the game and I was helping my opponent with obvious and helpful advice as often as I could or when I saw fit. After seeing my first two groups get thoroughly dusted however, I was kind of hoping to win this last combat.

As you can see from the first roll of combat, it was going to hard for me to even pull out a moral victory. This was actually a hard fought battle, with neither side gaining the upper hand, and oddly enough we kept bouncing back from melee instead of one side falling down.

Once the 'difference maker' barbarian female showed though I knew it was over. I took the tactical withdrawal approach, actually weathered a few free hits, and then began to flee off the closest table edge.

Girl power!

Well I'll say the game was an utter defeat for me, and as I said before I certainly didn't throw any rolls, rules, or the game itself, she beat me fair and square. Well, technically the Elf warrior she had in there put her a tad over the one hundred point agreed limit, but I'll let that slide.

How was it? It was great of course! I've played tons of boardgames with my girl before, and even some made-up-on-the-spot miniatures (basically rolling for highest d6 using Mage Knight figs) but this was the first "official" tabletop game, played while sticking to actual rules, with figures painted by both parties. Typing all of this it kind of makes me glad I've got a place to record this stuff in the first place. Until round two...enjoy!


  1. Sweet game and one of the cutest opponents I've seen across the table in a long time.

    Where did you get the cool measuring tool?


  2. Thanks Eli, she was certainly better looking than the usual suspects I sit across the table from! I'd like to pull out a win next game though, ahem.

    The movement rulers were great, they were double-sided with all the cheat-sheet rules and modifiers for the game printed right on them as well. Frankly, these are Andy's but I'm assuming he got them from the files section on the SBH Yahoo Group, there's tons of stuff in there. Maybe he'll chime in or I'll ask him.

  3. never play with unpainted figs!

    This should be a law-perhaps a Constitutional Amendment.

    Good for you for impressing it on them young!

  4. Awesome! I can't wait to play this with my kids! I like the Old Glory Viking, I've got one of those too!

  5. @GSV: I'm telling you, if more people laid down the law like this in the beginning, there wouldn't even be an unpainted army issue today!

    @Atom Kid: Thanks! SBH is definitely kid friendly and offers a *lot* of options for what models to field, and them being in very small numbers too means the kids can actually paint up a "whole army" without it taking them until high school to finish (or cost them their college tuition). As for the Old Glory Vikings, yup, excellent models!

  6. Thanks for the great write up and cute pics. I must say shes an impressive painter for her age! Reminds me of when I play with my niece (14) and nephew (9) during the Xmas break.
    Seeing this makes me a little proud of publishing the rules :-)

    Yes the measurement tool can be found in the yahoo group, you may also consider the hard plastic one produced by Litko
    Andrea "Ganesha Games"

  7. That is awesome Gyro. I am actually teaching my 11 year old daughter Warmachine/Hordes and she is loving it. It is nice to game and spend quality time with your children.

    I can't believe how awesome her figs look for an 8 year old, she is going to be an amazing painter one day!

  8. Super awesome! Huzzah for the new conquering General!

  9. Your young'un looks like a real painting talent... the pictures aren't that clear, but her figures look pretty good. I'm sure she'll beat you on the painting table as well :-))

  10. @Andrea: Hey, thanks for stopping by first and foremost! And thanks for some awesome rules too!I didn't know Litko had a template, I'll have to check it out.

    @Meatball: Yeah, she's got her own things she does but I'm trying to get a healthy amount of gaming in there too. You'll have to post some WM/Hordes batreps you guys are doing!

    @Flounder: We may need to keep an eye on her, she's going to start rocking all over us!

    @Witter: Some of the best figure painters out there are women so I don't doubt you on that! As for beating me on the tabletop...well everybody does that!

    Here's a link for everyone with closeups of the last fig she painted:

  11. Great time with the daughter ! I am looking forward to sharing my love of minis with my kid when she gets older !

    Unpainted figs is an epic fail ... glad you are advising the daughter of such !

  12. Thanks Joe and Dale! If I can only get her to actually move around the table a bit instead of trying to reach her entire body over the length of all the terrain!