Friday, 8 June 2018

"The Battlefield"

Things have been rather hectic work-wise, and I also wanted to combine the necessary preparations with the AAR for this, the third of the linked introductory scenarios for Test Of Honour, instead of presenting it over two posts as I've done previously.

Introduction from the Battle Guide 
"Fuelled by your previous fight, tensions between your two clans has worsened resulting in a larger battle.
Reports arrive of many dead on both sides, and worse still, both heroes have family members still missing.
You hurry to the scene of the battle to search for your loved ones only to discover more of the hated enemy picking over the bodies...."

Reach the wounded soldiers before the enemy and search for your family member.

Five objective markers (I'm using casualty markers) are placed at least 6" away from each other and at least 12" from the edge of the playing area to represent just some of the dead and wounded lying on the battlefield.
A warrior in contact with a marker can make a "Search" action by taking a Test Of Wits, if successful they have found a member of their clan. As soon as one side has identified three clan members they have found the missing family member and must take one more Test Of Wits - if passed the man is saved and will eventually recover.
For the losing side, there is still no sign of their missing relative.

Once again, I've had a bit of prep work to do before I could play the game - the recruitment limit has increased to 18 points so I needed a few more minis painting and basing, and I wanted to substitute casualty markers for the supplied 'objective tokens', so they needed assembling and painting as well.
The map shows two of the supplied two dimensional buildings 'flipped' to their destroyed side, and as tempted as I was to scratchbuild a couple of burned out buildings, I just went with a pair of the recently constructed Minka.
Followers of the series so far will be pleased to know that the ashigaru spearman "Tamaki Jiro", who performed so heroically in the last encounter, has been promoted to 'sergeant' (not technically correct -  an  'ashigaru ko gashira' is the rank given to the leader of an ashigaru weapon squad) and is now resplendant as a new mini complete with the short spear which is his 'badge of rank'!
Meanwhile, the Taisho in charge of the Takeda buntai has displayed his displeasure with Murayama Tanjiro, who has been defeated in the previous two encounters, by sending along a wise samurai, Yoshihara Suzu, to "assist" Tanjiro.
Suitable opposing buntai were selected to an 18 point total, and deployed 6" from the board edge as follows..
Takeda, left to right, bowman, 3 spearmen, Wise Samurai, Samurai Hero, bowman, 2 spearmen.
Mori left to right,Experienced Spearmen, sergeant, 3 bowmen, 3 spearmen
Turn one and the opening of the engagement saw the Takeda bowman on the left flank stepping forward and firing a well aimed shot at one of the Mori spearmen,
causing a light wound. which he looked none too pleased about.
The Mori tactic on the right flank was a slow advance, using their superior firepower to try and pin their opponents (every successful shot forces the target to use up their action trying to 'avoid' being hit)
Tanjiro used a skill he'd drawn from the fate deck to 'double move' one of the ashigaru spearmen,
resulting in him being the first to reach one of the casualties,
but Yoshihita was next, and he still had two actions available this turn!
Not to be out-done, Tanjiro was next to reach one of the fallen warriors......
... but the first 'rescue' is made by Yoshihito for the Mori clan just before the end of the first turn!
In turn two, the Mori bowmen continue their harrassing fire, preventing the Takeda from checking the casualties,
but Tanjiro makes it one apiece,
and Suzu braves the arrows to try and identify the other fallen warrior on this side of the fence.
A Mori spearman tries to intervene,
but before he can get there, Suzu identifies one of his clan members and it's 2-1 to the Takeda clan.
Over on the other flank, Jiro and the squad of experienced spearmen are trying to get to the casualty near the Torii gate.
Yoshihito leapt effortlessly over the fence to reach the wounded bushi in the road.
The enemy bowman to his right took a shot at Yoshihita as he stood in the road but missed, allowing him chance to identify another of his clan members.
It's now two all and the race is on to identify the third and final fallen warrior!
The ashigaru on the Mori right flank did their best to try and engage the enemy and keep them on this side of the field,
while Jiro and the group of spearmen faced the Takeda foot soldiers and attempted to identify the final missing clan member.
At this point, Yoshihito spotted his foe on the other side of the fence,
and decided to buy time for Jiro and his men by rushing over to attack him.
This was the start of a long and bloody duel as the arch enemies traded blows!
 Everything was still in the balance at the start of turn three.
The Mori clan were first to activate and Jiro sent in a 'blocking charge', contacting the nearest spearman, and putting themselves between the enemy and the casualty.
The attack could have gone better - even though the spearman stumbled and fell to the ground as he tried to avoid the yari thrusts, the group failed to finish him off, and only managed to inflict a 'light wound'.
The duel between the two samurai heroes raged on, with Yoshihita taking another cut,
and yet another (remember that for each "light wound" blood drop, the opponent gains an extra dice for their attacks).
Jiro moves around through the Torii and gets ready to try and identify the fallen bushi,
as the two heroes are still at it, refusing to back down and using every tactic they can muster!
Meanwhile, the Mori bowmen were still managing to 'pin' the Takeda troops by forcing them to evade their arrows and the spearmen pressed the advantage....
...unable to block the attack, the Takeda spearman is cut down, forcing his ashigaru companion and Suzu to take a "Test of Nerve" which both failed misereably, retiring a full move distance from the jubilant Mori spearmen.
The situation at the start of turn four, and the situation looks bad for the Takeda clan!
The Mori clan are first to draw an activation, and it's a "Commoner" token - sergeant Jiro inspects the casualty and successfully identifies the last clan member, and claims victory for the Mori!
A Test of Wits by Yoshihito further identifies the injured warrior as the missing family member, whose wounds will heal when (if) they can escort him back to safety.

This was yet another thoroughly enjoyable game to play, with the action coming thick and fast throughout.
Murayama Tanjiro has failed his Taisho yet again, but Yoshihara Suzu retiring from the enemy ashigaru puts him in no position to criticize the leader of the buntai, and the Takeda will be looking for revenge in the next scenario!

I hope you've enjoyed the write up despite some of the photo's being a bit dodgy - my fault as I found myself 'snatching' shots as quickly as possible so that I could continue the gameplay!
As ever your comments and queries are more than welcome, and I hope you come back for the next installment when Tanjiro will attempt to prevent Yoshihito getting home with his injured relative.


  1. Hi Greg it was good to see that spearman getting rewarded for all his bravery :) the campaign is kicking along at a nice pace even with the work of getting stuff ready, one of the down sides to solo gaming in that you have to do everything yourself :(

    Really enjoying this tale but I don't think either of the Samurai's has covered themselves in glory yet :)

    1. Thanks Frank, I was determined that he should get recognition for his performance in the previous action, and I have to say he did rather well this time as well :-)
      I'd also agree with your comment about the samurai "heroes", but dunno whether to put that down the them being new to their roles or me new to the rules ;-)

      Yep, following the solitaire route at least doubles the amount of work we put into our hobby, but it's a labour of love (most of the time)!

  2. Another great looking setup Greg, the battles you've shown so far seem very balanced with no overpowered models, very enjoyable read and look forward to the next instalment

    1. Thanks Dave, I still can't get over how immersive the system is! So many of the "main stream" games fail to live up to their hype, and as I've said previously, I was prepared to be disappointed but intrigued enough to give it a try - and I'm so glad I did :-)

  3. Another very entertaining batrep, Greg. Once again, I'm being a neutral observer with no affiliation to either side, and I have to agree with Dave that the scenarios and forces do seem to be well balanced.

    Believe me, I know how hard it is putting these batreps together when you're a solo gamer. For what it's worth, you're doing a great job!

    1. Many thanks Bryan, I made a conscious decision to "ween off" the clinical, rules heavy, phase by phase report style gradually rather than making a sudden switch to focusing on the narrative and your comment gives me an indication that it's working :-)

      I'm determined to work my way through all six of the introductory scenarios in the "Battle Guide" while build up my collection of minis and terrain, and then take my foot off the ToH gas for a while, so thanks for your support :-)

  4. Good stuff, Greg, and this series is fast becoming a definitive guide to early guide into both the genre and rule-set. Please do keep it up, and worry not about the pic quality; your prose and rule explanations are excellent enough to carry the story onwards :-)

    1. Thanks Simon, you're very kind :-)
      A lot of the problem is down to rushing - snatching time to model, paint and play as we're moving into the "silly season" and having to travel up and down the country to play at festivals as well as the regular club circuit. This game was played over two sessions, both of which were between 2 and 4am!
      Once I've got the core troops and a reasonable selection of terrain finished I'll be able to take more time over the games and write ups :-)

  5. Excellent report dude. Looks fab as always!

    1. Cheers Simon, I've come home to find a card through the letterbox saying that the postie called today with a parcel - I've got an inkling that it's some stuff that will help improve the "look", so let me know what you think after the next AAR ;-)

  6. I agree with the other guys, the Balance seems really nice in the game. The batreps are easy to follow but nail biting in their intensity.

    1. Cheers Andy, I'm glad you're enjoying them - I certainly enjoy reading your Bushido posts and hope one day you'll return to them??

    2. Hopefully mate, if I can grab some Bushido time. I am painting a new mini at the mo so....

    3. That's great news ~ especially as I know you're really busy with other projects :-)

  7. I'll be honest, I just scrolled through the pictures at first because I didn't want to read about the game and then start searching Ebay for deals - but then went back and read the report anyway LOL! I can't buy into another game Greg, stop posting these!!!

    1. Oops! Sorry Ivor, there's only three more to come in quick succession as I play through the intro scenarios - just hang in there buddy, not long to go now ;-)

      Oh, and what's this word "can't" ??
      I thought it had been deleted from the wargamers dictionary :-)

  8. Another great adventure for the Clans, Tamaki Jiro is looking rather resplendent and the casualty markers make a big difference to the look of the game.
    The scenario works well especially as a follow on the previous game, I'm quite impressed with that because I tend to think a lot of the published scenarios in rules are naff and there because they think wargamers have no imagination but I like these so far.
    After your last game I downloaded the rules but not had time to open them up.
    Shame about work getting in the way but 2 to 4 am seems like a good time to be playing games, I bet your lass is well pleased! Has she called for the men in white coats. ;)
    Keep going with this - it's working really well.

    1. Many thanks John - Jiro certainly carried himself well in his new uniform, and performed admirably in his first action as a ko gashira, and I'm glad you like the markers 'cos there's some more in the next game ;-)
      Totally agree about the "scenario fodder" that usually gets packaged with rules, but the Battle Guide is turning out to be yet another pleasant surprise I've found with the game (naturally I'll reserve final judgement until the end)
      SWMBO keeps threatening to go into the man cave to see what I'm up to - I put a 'CAUTION Zombie Outbreak' sign on the door and it seems to be keeping her out for the time being. She also knows I keep my iaito (practice sword) in there, so she knows better than to try sneaking in ;-)