Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween Horror Skirmish Special

As Halloween fell on a Saturday and Saturday at our place is Skirmish Saturday I planned Halloween Horror Skirmish Special. I’ve been wanting to get all these English Civil War figures I’ve been painting lately on the table, so the scenario used a mash-up of Fear and Faith  and Flashing Steel. I was partly inspired to do this after I found a movie at my local library called A Field in England. I didn’t love the film (I’m not saying it sucked or anything… I just didn’t love it… I’m not a huge fan of horror…) but it did provide some inspiration – the idea of blending some History and Horror!

I originally planned for up to seven players (plus me gamemastering and running the Vampire, should he appear)… alas no one I invited (beyond my immediate family) showed up.   So I just played with my family.

It's awesome that I have a family that will play games with me... in geeky costumes... 

Yeah... we know how to party on Halloween. 

1 July 1644, North Yorkshire


Dusk approaches on the evening of 1 July 1644, English and Scottish armies gather around York. Prince Rupert has lead an army to York to aid the Marquess of Newcastle who has been besieged in York by Covanenteer and Parliamentarian armies under Lord Fairfax, The Earl of Manchester, and Earl of Leven. Tomorrow there will be a battle on Marston Moor – a meadow to the west of town… but this evening… an army must be fed!


Each of the sides had different briefing but more or less the same objectives and victory conditions (get the sheep!)

Covananeteer and Royalists

You have been tasked with procuring supplies for your army from nearby villages and farmsteads. Your party has spied a flock of sheep moving through a nearby pasture – they would make a find meal for your regiment. But be careful villagers have been forming local defence “clubs” and some defend their stock viciously. There may also be foragers from the opposing army about…

As you approach the pasture your band also takes note of a small stone watch tower. Rather than a crumbling ruin – like most you have seen – this seems in fairly good condition and has a very sturdy looking door. Clearly there must be something worthwhile inside to need a door like that!

The Shepherdess

You were out tending to your flock in the dark pasture beyond the Ravenblack Water. The pasture is safe enough during the day… but at night… Unfortunately you fell asleep and just as the sun was dipping towards the horizon. You and your dog Wilbur quickly gathered up the flock and have been herding them back to the ford under the shadow of the Ravenblack Tower.

Village Clubmen

Three armies are marching through the region ravaging the land as they pass through. A local defence league has been mobilized to defend their lands and stock from marauding soldiers looking for supplies. All has been quiet today, but that blasted shepherdess Fern hasn’t returned. She probably fell asleep in the pasture again… A group has been organized to go fetch her and bring her back before any foragers from the armies find them – or worse – he’s caught on the far side of the Ravenblack Water when the sun goes down…

The Dark Secret

The village has a dark secret. Across a small creek known as the Ravenblack Water resides an ancient evil in an old stone watchtower. For longer than anyone dares guess the evil and the villagers have maintained a live and let live policy. The villagers stay on their side of the water after dark and pay no heed to tales of travelers that disappear at night on that lonely road across the water that passes by the dark tower.


Each side gets
+1 victory point for each sheep they take off their side of the table
-1 Victory point for each of their own side that is injured
-2 victory points for each of their own side that is killed.
+2 points for each model that spends a turn and two activations inside the tower (searching for and gathering up loot!) – This was a bit of a Red Herring – I wasn’t actually expecting anyone to succeed in this just put it there to make people think there’s something “good” in the tower and consider trying to get in…

Special rules

The Shepherdess – if the shepherdess is in contact with the flock she may spend activations to move the entire flock 1 Short in the direction of her choice.

The Dog – If the dog and the Shepherdess are in contact with the flock of sheep at the beginning of their activation the dog provides the Shepherd with one free activation to move the flock (i.e. the shepherd only rolls one or two dice to activate plus the one free activation).

The Sheep – the flock always moves as a self activated group and will always try to remain in base contact with each other. The Sheep always move after the Shepherdess (regardless of the number of successes or failures – i.e. if the Shepherdess rolled a turn-over, the sheep still activate on their own). The Sheep will always attempt to activate on three dice less the number of successful moves the Shepherd made them do on his activation. Their Quality is 5+ and for each success the flock move one short in a random direction – unless there has been shooting of firearms within 1 Long of the flock then the sheep will move directly away from the nearest model that shot a firearm since the sheep’s last activation.

To steal a sheep from the flock a model must be in contact with one of the sheep in the flock spend an activation to grab one and then further activations may be spent to move with the sheep, but movement is reduced to Short. If engaged in close combat a model will release any sheep they are holding and the sheep will immediately move 1 short towards the flock – they will then activate individually during the sheep activation and will always try to move directly back to the flock.

Nighttime – once four turn-overs have been rolled night falls.

Vampire! Once Night arrives the vampire comes out to eat. He exit the door and will move towards the nearest model and kill it and eat it. if it is ever outnumbered in combat it will us an action to become immaterial or turn into a bat and escape combat.

The Tower – I never got to making up rules on how to break in… I figured if anyone actually tried I’d just make something up on the spot that was more or less impossible (give the equipment they had on hand)


Royalist Foragers – played by The Boy

Officer & Gentleman
Q 3+, C 3, Leader, Rapier

5x Pikemen
Q 4+, C 3, Pike, Sword

Q 3+, C 3, Leader, Sword, Musket

5x Musketeers
Q 4+, C 2, Sword, Musket

Scots Covanenteer Foragers – played by Amanda – who, despite her costume, isn't really that much of a Star Trek nerd… (that's not a vulcan Salute, love...) 

(Actually what's even sadder was she was trying to be "ironic" and do a Nanoo-Nanoo like Mork for Ork... but couldn't even remember how to do that... I'm not sure what that gesture ended up being, but it doesn't look polite!?)  

Q 3+, C 3, Leader, Halberd

5x Pikemen
Q 4+, C 3, Pike, Sword

Q 3+, C 3, Leader, Sword, Musket

5x Musketeers
Q 4+, C 2, Sword, Musket

The Villagers – played by The Girl

The Squire
Q 3+, C 3, Leader, Rapier, Pistol

The Forester
Q 3+, C 3, Forester, Leader, Musket

Villagers with Muskets
Q 5+, C 2, Musket

Villagers with Pikes
Q 5+, C 2, Pike

Villagers with Assorted Improvised Weapons
Q 5+, C 2, Improvised Weapon

The Shepherdess and her Flock - nominally on the side of the villagers, I generally did their movement when their card came up 

Q 4+, C 1, Shepherd

Wilbur the dog
Q 4+, C 2, Long Move

Q 5+, C 0, Sheep

The Vampire of Ravenblack Tower - played by myself

Ancient Vampire 
Q 3+, C 4, Bat Form, Clinging, Danger Sense, Very Fearful, Immaterial, Vampire, Rapier


Right into the action!

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

End of Turn One

I think the Shepherdess went first and rolled three successes and charged the flock over halfway across the table!

The villagers went next and this one of their most active turns in the whole game! Both leaders activated and issued group move orders sending the mob across the river to defend their stock.

The Royalists went last the musketeers surged forward and brought fire upon the Scots and villagers. I think for the most part all they managed to do was push a few back (making them duck and dodge and musket balls whizzed past ineffectively). I think they knocked down the village preacher who was wading across the water with his pike. The Royalist Pike marched forward, but didn’t get far.

I think the Scots went last and the musketeers charged forth and grabbed sheepies while the pikemen maneuvered to block the flock’s path and separate them from the villagers surging across the Ravenblack Water.

On turn two some of the villagers armed with Muskets fired on the Scots blocking the path of the sheep. Their fire was entirely ineffective, but the Squire took a shot with his pistol and knocked down one of the Scots Pikemen.

The Shepherdess only managed to move the sheep once, so the sheep got to attempt an activation on their own and when they succeeded the villagers shots drove them away from the ford and directly towards the Royalists!


The Vampire was the first to activate one the first turn of full night – he flew out of the top of the tower in bat form and materialized in combat with the Royalist Sergeant – who was the closest to the building.

I totally forgot to make him do a fright check… doh… Like he wouldn’t have been crapping his pants at that point!

The Officer leading the Royalist pike saw an opportunity and gave his men the sort of stirring speech that only a Noblemen selflessly devoted to God, King, and Country can and set them off after the sheep (group activation, three successes!)

The Royalists then shot at the dismounted Scots Mosser – who had been leading the musketeers – taking him out of action. This caused all the musketeers drop their sheep and flee!

A cascading series of morale tests saw the Scots Pike also flee, but when they activated later in the turn they quickly snatched up the sheep the musketeers had dropped.

The Shepherdess was not having much luck controlling the Sheep they moved on their own away from the Royalist shooting (which, conveniently, drove them directly towards the ford!)

Three Royalist pikemen made off with sheep, while two of their number fought off Villagers that had swarmed them.

The Royalist Officer charged one of the Scots pikemen that was struggling to get away with a small lamb.

The Scots Pikeman spun around and whapped the officer on the side of the head with his pike and knocked his ass out cold…

The loss of the officer caused panic among the Royalists and a cascading series of morale tests saw a bunch of them off. One was taken out by villagers as they got a Free Hack when he tried to flee!

The Sergeant broke away from combat with the vampire long enough for the musketeers to all fire on him… with zero effect… they couldn’t even knock him down!

The Vampire then leapt upon the sergeant knocking him down.

He then took him out of action and sucked on his blood for a bit. This set the rest of the Royalists to flight! I think all but one fled the table at this point.

The Shepherdess got off the table with part of her flock!

The Scots Sergeant and a pikeman finally made if off the table with two more sheep (two others had previously dragged sheep off).

Having finished off the Royalist sergeant the Vampire looks about for more prey…

He swooped in on a village pikeman (who somehow stood his ground and found off the vampire for a turn or two – again I forgot fright checks…)

The remaining Royalist pikeman dashed out from his hiding spot on the far side of the tower and, despite the downed villager that he’d been previously fighting still lying on the ground just asking to be finished off… the cool-headed pikeman remembered his orders and grabbed one of the sheep!

Fat villager with a pike holds off the Vampire while the rest of the villagers and sheep make their way to the ford.

Royalist pikeman made off with his solitary sheepie.

The villager with the pike was eventually taken down and devoured, but the rest made it to (relative) safety!

In all the Villagers actually got most of their sheep back to the village – NINE of them! – and suffered only two casualties One that had been taken out by a Royalist Pikeman and crawled away and slipped into the creek and swam across to freedom. The other was the Fat Villager with the Pike… we said he was killed by the vampire and was never seen again… So The Girl won the day (or… night…?).

The Scots made off with three sheep and suffered only one casualty – the dismounted Mosser who had been shot by a Royalist musketeer. He too managed to crawl away in the dark and was eventually rescued by his men and patched up… only to die the following afternoon at Marston Moor…

Only got one of the sheep. They’d lost three in action – the Officer who had been taken down by a Scots pikeman, a pikeman who had been stabbed as he tried to flee two villagers he was in combat with when the panic ensued following the loss of their officer, and the Musketeer Sergeant who was taken out by the vampire. We said the officer eventually regained consciousness and crawled away in the darkness, as did the Pikeman. The Sergeant, as with the Fat Villager, was never seen again. The royalists made up a story to tell the rest of their company about a whole TROOP of Scots horse they encountered at the village to explain their losses and solemnly swore to never speak of the events they witnesses that night in the dark pasture by Ravenblack Tower lest they all be labeled madmen!

All in all good fun!

Earlier in the day, while Amanda and The Girl were out at dance classes, my friend Darrin stopped by and played a game of Arkham Horror with me and The boy.

We battled against the Cult of Cthulhu and, eventually, won! The Great Old One remained in his slumber beneath the sunken city of R’lyeh.

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

I have a few more English Civil War figures I’m trying to finish up… hopefully I’ll get to that and post some pictures later this week. I’d also like to get a game in with the big battle ECW troops using either DBA Extension for 1500 – 1900AD/HOTT or One-Hour Wargames some time this week. next weekend I’m hoping to kick off my new A Song of Blades and Heroes campaign. 


  1. Replies
    1. Oh yes, everybody definitely had a lot of fun.

      I have fun just making these scenarios up. It's even better, though, when we get to sit down and play one out and it actually turns out roughly how I imagined it might go.

  2. Fantastic! My kids never got further than Monopoly!

  3. Good, clean family fun :-) ! Was one of the sheep called "Shaun", by any chance?

    1. Thanks!

      It could be...? My daughter does actually like naming all the miniatures she's playing... All the villagers had names (but I forget what they were). I'm not sure she got to naming all the sheep though....

  4. Loved your vamp game - great fun!

    1. Thanks Monty! I was worried the vampire would be a little over-powered (we had a vampire show up in frostgrave and he just destroyed everyone in his path!?)... but it was not the case. If I'd remembered the fright checks he would have added just the right amount of terror to the evening.