Tuesday 7 November 2023

Lone Wolf : Flight from the Dark

Well, I had a day off today and decided to do someting "gamey" with it. I don't usually get many days off just for myself - they are usually used either to do something planned or to go away on holiday. We have just come back from a weekend away to the city of Oxford (did lots of touristy stuff like visiting Oxford Castle, the Botanical Gardens and the Ashmolean Museum, as well as eating and drinking lots of lovely food) and I decided to book an extra day off for the hell of it.

After completing a few chores and doing the weekly grocery shop during the morning and just after lunch, I decided to pull out the Lone Wolf book and character sheet for the Kai Lord I had rolled up a few weeks back. As mentioned in a previous post, I have not played one of these book adventures in a very long time and I was quite excited to get involved in some solo gaming (albeit without miniatures).

The adventure began well, as I slowly headed eastwards (don't know why, I just decided to go that way) and found a number of artifacts that I thought might come in handy as the saga progressed. I avoided a few combats, skirted a few skirmishes and generally decided to only get involved if it sounded like it might be a plot advancing combat. I wound up saving the Crown Prince from an evil Gourgaz (a tough fight that I eventually won) and agreed to carry a message to his father, the King.

I defeated a Gourgaz - image taken from internet withjout permission

I was just beginning to really enjoy the tale unfolding as I thought I was getting somewhere but the last few sections I passed through railroaded me (i.e. I had no say in the last couple of sections) to an unavoidable death. This left me quite cheesed-off as I would have liked to have rolled my dice to at least attempt to save myself (I most likely would have lost the combat anyway as I had been so badly wounded against the Gourgaz).

Ho hum - I guess I will roll up another charcter and start again - this time I will head in a different direction and maybe partake in a few of the lesser combats along the way to get more of a feel for the game and story.

I was left a little disappointed by my ending as I felt that I had no control over the combat. I think the adventure is probably written this way in order to end the story at certain points and force more action from the player. I would like to see the grid used to show the best paths to use and how they all interconnect with each other, but at the moment I don't want to spoil the storyline until I complete it for myself.

Monday 30 October 2023

MESBG : Orcs vs Gondor

This weekend saw a little more Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game action in the form of another Battle Companies confrontation between my youngest son's Gondorian company and my orc company.

My son set up the table and we decided on a fight to the death scenario rather than select one from the rulebook. In the end though, a narrative grew out of it and it became more of an ambush set by Gondor upon an orc patrol.

The starting positions saw my son hide all of his troops from sight of the orcs. So, I decided that I should approach the village as if I did not know they were there.

My orc archers on the right spotted the Gondorian archer over the back behind a tree and shouted across to the Black Numenorian leading the party to warn him of their presence. A general advance began on the village with a small squad of three orcs peeling off to hunt down the lone Gondorian archer.

The three orcs harrassed the archer, but one of the double-handed axe wielders fell to a Gondorian shaft. First blood to Gondor. The rest of the orc company ran forward and the Gondor patrol sprung their trap. It was a bitter fight but the orcs had the better of the Gondorians in the end. The Black Numenorian with his F4 made the day (this is the first game ever that the Fight stat came into its own - the extra point of F for the orc commander proved pivotal in a couple of important melees).

The Gondorian forces were whittled down, surrounded and butchered over the course of just a few rounds, but they kept making their Courage rolls until there were just two soldiers left. They high-tailed it out as soon as their combats were over.

This was a solid victory for the orcs; orcs lost one two-handed axe wielder (out of a starting 10) for the price of two archers, two swordsmen and two spearman (out of a starting 8).

We used the new dice tower to make the dice throwing fairer and this time it actually worked in my favour. The usual plethora of sixes every other roll by my son was nullified and the dice gods actually favoured the orcs this time.

It was a fun game and over in the space of around half-an-hour. A nice afternoon's treat just before lunch.

Saturday 30 September 2023

Lone Wolf : Starting Character Sheet

Now that work is out of the way for the week, I have a weekend wherein I have a few hours spare to indulge a little in my hobbies. I have been for a 5km run (not a particularly good run, but a run none-the-less), and read a number of comics (2000AD and Red Sonja) in order to whet my appetite for a deep dive into the Lone Wolf books I was given for my birthday.

In order to get started, I read the preamble in Book 1 : Flight from the Dark, and how to create a character. This prompted me to look online for an editable character sheet. I typed Lone Wolf Character Sheet PDF in the search engine and found a basic one here that suited my purposes.

Once downloaded, I began to fill out the character sheet according to the rules. Anywhere it asked for a random number/choice, rather than roll a pencil on the randomiser in the back of the book (handy if you have no dice about your person), I rolled a d10 instead as per the rules. These rolls were all genuine for the sake of randomness and thus allowed me to create a unique starting character profile.

Page one of the character sheet...

Page two of the character sheet...

To get me in the groove, I also looked up a few pictures of Lone Wolf miniatures. I will try to paint up and use one of my existing figures as a point of reference for when playing the combats in future but, in the meantime, this is going to be my go-to image until I can get a figure sorted...

Image used without permission

I know he doesn't have the axe and backpack my character has, but it is an iconic image of the Lone Wolf character.

Next post, I will let you know how I got on navigating the world of Magnamund.

Monday 25 September 2023

My birthday haul

Apologies for the lack of attention this blog has been receiving recently. I have not had my gaming mojo on, and as a result all I have been able to do is think about gaming rather than do anything practical. I am not sure if that will change any time soon as real life is just so busy at the moment.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, my birthday came around again with alarming speed, and I was lucky and very grateful to receive a few gaming related items that my loved ones hoped would spur me back into action with my hobby...

Over the last couple of months, as I rarely get to do any face-to-face tabletop gaming, I have picked up the rulebooks for Rangers of Shadowdeep and Five Leagues from the Borderlands in an attempt to try to get some solo gaming in. However, as they both require a little preparation and buy-in prior to gaming (figures, scenery etc.), I thought I needed something else to whet my appetite prior to getting around to a start up level of peripherals for either game. I was thinking out loud about this and my partner asked if there was anything that would do this for me. Without much thought, I mentioned the Lone Wolf books as a simple and low buy-in option, as I had "played" them before many moons ago.

In true perfect-partner style she arranged to get me not only the first five books in the series, but also a painting station kit and cutting mat (my current mat is in a truly woeful shape and definitely needs replacing) as she knows I really want to get painting again and took on board that we don't really have the space for me to do so without causing all sorts of mess.

So, all-in-all a lovely little birthday haul to get my creative juices flowing again; thank you to my family for supporting me in my hobby-related endeavours.

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Dice Tower

Due to a lack of time and, indeed, inclination, my hobby time has shrunk over the last six months. Although I am more than happy to have been in solid work now for nearly two years, it is taking its toll  on both my health and the time I used to have available for hobby related stuff.

My health has been a little up and down recently, with several long-term running related injuries compounding each other and resulting in an MRI scan being required on my right knee. A lot of rest and lower intensity training since November 2021 has led to most of the injuries healing but I am still under the physio to sort the last bits and bobs out (and these will take a long time apparently as I am not getting any younger). Add to this a great deal of work stress, and stress from other illnesses (which I won't go into at the moment), what time I could have available to game with is usually spent procrastinating.

That said, I have been doing a little bit of hobby related stuff over the last six months, in that I have bought a few items to add to my growing pile of projects. Most of my purchases/Christmas gifts were rule/sourcebooks of one sort or another, along with a few figures and paints. I bought my youngest son, who has an uncanny ability to score a six almost every time he rolls a die, a Dice Tower for Christmas, in the hope that his relentless sea of sixes would be somehow curtailed.

It is a lovely, if expensive, piece of kit that makes absolutely no difference to my dice rolling ability, which is and always has been really poor. But, my son's incessant runs of rolling sixes has been slightly curtailed in that he only rolls a six every second or third dice roll now instead of every other one! I call that a success :-)

Over the last weekend we had a really good chat about what we wanted to do gaming-wise this year. We both agreed that lots of figures had to be painted and scenery built so that we can play slightly larger games than the skirmish sized ones we currently play. So, we agreed that we need a proper gaming mat, plenty more trees and bushes etc., and to paint enough figures to make a couple of armies to play a larger scale game like Dragon Rampant or something similar. We think a campaign would be a good way to go too.

We got to chatting about re-purposing my large collection of Lord of the Rings figures to fit into my own gaming universe. There would be a few major factions, and a couple of minor ones who can ally with the larger armies when/if necessary.

Humans 1 (major faction)

Heavy Infantry/Cavalry (Gondor), Light/medium Infantry/Cavalry (Rohan), constant allies (Wolfen)

Humans 2 (major faction)

Heavy Infantry/Cavalry (Easterlings), Light Infantry/Cavalry (Haradrim), summoned allies (Ushabti)

Orcs (major faction)

Heavy Infantry (Uruk Hai), Light Infantry (Mordor Orcs), Heavy Cavalry (Warg Riders), Light Cavalry (Fell Wolfriders), constant allies (Moria goblins and trolls)

Humans 3 (minor faction)

My son wants to build a "Celtic" army that includes his Welsh and Irish (as well as a few Saxon figures)

Dwarves (minor faction)

Hobbits (minor faction)

Fomorians (minor faction)

As to how this pans out over the coming months, who knows? If my lethargy doesn't kick in too much, then hopefully we can get some of this achieved and get to play some larger scaled battles by the end of the year.