Friday, November 8, 2019

Whit's Fur Ye'll No Go Past Ye

My friend Bruce and I have been trying to get together weekly to play games. He's generally free in the late mornings/early afternoons as he works shifts starting in the late afternoon. WE've mostly been playing board/card games.

I'd suggested Necromunda at one point. He's played Kill Team (with his own Genestealers!) but he said he found GW games "tedious" as you have to roll so many dice - roll to hit... then roll to see if you wound... then the target gets to roll to see if they save... then you may need to roll to see how much damage you do (in the case of a weapon that does more than one damage per successful attack against a target that has more than one wound) and then, if it's Kill Team (or Necromunda) and the target has lost all of it's wounds, roll to see if it's out of action, seriously injured or has a flesh wound... I guess I can see that...? I don't really think it's all that MCU more than D&D, which he plays a lot of, but whatevs... didn't bring it up again.

Earlier this week, when he contacted me about playing a game, I suggested Dragon Rampant - a miniature skirmish game (albeit, slightly LARGER skirmishes...) that is fast playing and rolls a set amount of dice (six or twelve d6s, depending on the status of the unit) and check for hits, compare to stamina of target unit, remove appropriate number of dudes.... all in ONE ROLL!! I guess if they do lose guys a second roll is made to see if they fail morale... He said he'd be interested to try.

I thought about what forces to use - standard medieval fantasy stuff (humans, orcs, elves, etc.)? Or maybe some of the recently reorganize Legends of the Five Rings forces (Phoenix Clan and Lion Clan)? But then last night I had a stroke of brilliance - Bruce is a Huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft and Call of Cthulhu AND Solomon Kane... So I thought I'd try a mash-up of Pikeman's Lament and Dragon Rampant (mostly just using Pikeman's Lament, with a few fantastical elements from Dragon Rampant!)

So I set to work - between last night and this morning I came up with an idea for a scenario and then sorted out some units and picked them out of storage and hauled them all upstairs along with all the terrain and set it all up and printed off some unit cards and wrote out some other unit cards... It was all ready to go for 11am when he was to show up...

And then he bailed....

I feel like this is starting to become a bit of a trend around here...

(I don't mean just Bruce... all the necromunda games that have been planned and subsequently cancelled, the game weekend, the Dominion campaign, etc...)

It's really beginning to get me down...

So what then...? Spend yet MORE time putting it all away again - for nothing!? Press gang one of the kids into playing with me!?

In the end I decided to play it out solo-style to see... well... how it would have all played out...

And so here is how it all played out...

1666, Scotland

The Infamous Witch Hunter, Ezekiel Erasmus Eisenhauer, found himself in Scotland tracking the rumour of a remote village that had taken to worshipping dark entities. He gathered around him some stout Scottish Government troopers - hardened veterans of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms - to march on the village and investigate these rumours!

They arrived just in time to witness a debased cult in the act of trying to summon some dark entity!


The Cultists are trying to summon a Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath. To do so the Cultists must successfully pass six ritual activations - at which point the Dark Young appears and joins the cultists side.

The Witch Hunters need to stop this by killing all the Cultists - or, failing that, kill the Dark Young!


Witch Hunters

Ezekiel Erasmus Eisenhauer - Commander
Gallopers - Agresssive, Elite - 6 points

Scottish Horse - Gallopers - 4 points

Scots Pike - 4 points

Scots Shot - 4 points

Scots Shot - 4 Points

Total: 22 points

(whoopsie... I'd meant them to have 24-26... should have included a second unit of Pike - or replaced one of the shot with a Forlorn Hope of dismounted cuirassiers or some such...)

Cult of the Black Goat

Forlorn Hope - 6 points

Clansmen - 3 points

Clansmen - 3 Points

Cultists - 2 points

Clubmen - 1 point

Clubmen - 1 point

Total: 16 points

(How did I screw this up too!? I'd meant these guys to be 20 points - less than the Witch Hunters - but with the potential to summon MORE... math is hard, I guess... ah well...)

Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath
Greater Warbeast (+ Cunning, + Terror - like fear, but causes -1 to all morale tests for enemy units within 12" AND all enemy are -1 to activate when trying to attack the Dark Young) - 10-ish points..?


Ezekiel Erasmus Eisenhauer and his band of protectors surmount a hill and spy the degenerate locals involved in their depraved ritual!

Along with the infamous Witch Hunter, a company of troops from the nearby garrison marched to aid in halting these evil proceedings.

The debased locals worked up into a frenzy around the ringleaders of the cult.

The inner circle of the tainted cult preform their perverse ceremony.

the battle lines are drawn...

Ezekiel Erasmus Eisenhauer and his band of protectors lead the charge down the hill - followed by all the Scots.

Whoopsie! The Forlorn Hope of Highlanders tried to shoot at the Witch Hunters... and failed... ending their turn (at least the cultists had already performed their ritual - always the first things I did - after checking for any Wild Charges or Rallying....)

Oh, it's going to be THAT sort of game, is it...?

(rolling for a Command Blunder, the Witch Hunters received -1 Honour... as I wasn't really tracking Honour - it's kind of an all-or-nothing sort of mission - it didn't really matter...)

As the Witch Hunters galloped ahead as evil and foetid mist flowed across the battlefield, from the nearby marsh, obscuring and confusing the Scots that followed. They faltered in their advance and left the Witch Hunters alone and exposed.

So very exposed...

Out of the mists, one of the units of clansmen wildly charged them from the flank.

Caught by surprise, two of the Witch Hunters men fell from their horses. The rest cut down three of the highlands and sent them scarpering back from whence they came!

The Highland Forlorn Hope then blasted a volley into the Witch Hunters, taking down another two of their number! This left only Ezekiel Erasmus Eisenhauer and his trusted lieutenant, Sulaiman Khan (a witch hunter from the East that Eisenhauer met on his journeys through the lands of the Ottomans). The pair kept their cool, but things were looking very dire for the Witch Hunters indeed.

Eisenhauer and Khan weren't going to just sit their and get shot to pieces! They charged the fleeing Highlanders, cutting down a few more.

AS they fled further, they followed on cutting down more still!

The muffled sounds of desperate battle and the cries of dying men filtered their way through the mist and the terrified Scots looked at each other and wondered what they should do.

The remaining four highlanders retreat turned into an utter route and they fled into the hills.

The barely heard triumphant cries of the Witch Hunter and his Lieutenant spurred the Scots into action and they advanced into the mist...

Some of the mist cleared around the ritual sight and the Highland Forlorn Hope caught a glimpse of the Witch Hunter and his Lieutenant and fired another volley of musketry... and arrows...?!

Sulaiman Khan fell from his horse and Eisenhauer was quite certain he was dead...

Eisenhauer was feeling distinctly alone and exposed and overwhelmed...

... so he galloped off into the hills.

The Scots continued their advance on the ritual site - only to find, as they came out of the mist, that the Witch Hunter they followed was nowhere to be found! (when I tried to rally him, he failed spectacularly and routed!). The Scots morale wavered a moment, but then they pressed on!

The sudden appearance of all the Scots made the remaining group of clansmen question their whole part in this (actually it was a command blunder the previous turn which cause them to waiver... and they just kept failing to rally...).

The Scottish Horse charged the debauched local Laird and his Forlorn Hope, but were brutally repulsed!

Then suddenly the Witch Hunter reappeared atop the hillock they'd started on!? where had they come from?! Was their whole charge and seeming demise all some sort of unfathomable ruse!?

(I'd rolled a command bonus that allowed me to bring on 4 points of reinforcements - returning units that had been lost - So I brought back the Witch Hunter. Apparently, they'd only suffered minor wounds - bumps and bruises from being unhorsed - they rallied beyond the hills and returned to the battle - though with a little less exuberance - as it was only 4 points I dropped their Elite/Veteran status... and also ditched the Aggressive upgrade - to make them seem a touch more recalcitrant - like they were returning with their collective tails between their legs!)

Having failed to stop the ritual, the cultists successfully summoned one of the children of the Black Goat of the Woods....

I tried moving some of the Highland clubmen out of the way to give the Dark Young a path with which to advance upon the Scottish government troops.... but failed a few times ending turns before the Great Beastie could move - giving the Scots a chance to maneuver and form a battle line... of sorts...

Eventually I decided I just needed to move the Dark Young AROUND the stupid (petrified?) villagers.

Fire from the unit of Scottish Shot saw off the Highland Commanded Shot.

The terrifying beast lumbered towards the Scots, just as the Witch Hunter rejoined the fray!

Yeah, it was a pretty epic scene.... Not sure how this was going to go down, but it was pretty exciting!

The beast charged... the Witch Hunters counter-charged!

The Witch Hunters lost two of their own to the one Strength Point they'd knocked off the Dark Young and were thus obliged to retire.... The Dark Young followed on!

The otherworldly horror stuck down two more of the Witch Hunters and then paused as they galloped away!

ANOTHER Command Bonus bringing reinforcements back on the table - this time for the Highlanders! I guess they weren't routing after all - they were just going to fetch more of their brethren from the pub!

Desperate, the Scots cavalry charged the unholy terror! They were utterly destroyed.

The Witch Hunters charged in again, and were likewise destroyed!

The profane creature of the abyss then crashed into a unit of Scottish Shot, killing many and scattering the few that remained.

It followed on into a second unit that was prepared to give fire.

It seemed to injure the beast...

... but their own casualties compelled them to retire into the marsh!

The Beast followed them...

Meanwhile the returned Highlanders charged the block of Scottish Pike!

The two groups utterly savaged each other...

But it was the clansmen that broke and withdrew!

The Shot in the marsh executed a fighting withdrawal, blasting the greatest with shot as fast as they could...

With the Clansmen out of the way, the Highland Forlorn Hope unloaded a volley on the Pikemen, still unsettled by the ferocity and violence of the clansmens charge. Losing a few more of their number was just too much and they dropped their pikes and fled the field of battle.

The last few Scottish shot in the marsh came to the conclusion that they savage supernatural fiend was not stoppable by mundane arms such as they had at their disposal, and the few that remained faded into the mist...

(In fact it was down to it's very last Strength Point... they just happened to fail one last morale test and left... so close!)


This turned out to be a really exciting game - LOTS of back and forth, so many times I thought it was going downhill for one side, only for them to rally and recover and take it back to their foes! I LOVE this about all of Dan Mercy (and Michael Lack)'s games!

In retrospect, I probably should have made the Ritual Activation a 6+ - regardless of how many cultists were left (or made it -1 to the roll if they were less than half) and said they could only do it if they were within 1" of the standing stone. If I were to run the scenario again, that's what I would do...

Also I could possibly have treated the Dark Young as a completely separate force that did a wild charge at the closest unit - of EITHER side - Who can truly control these otherworldly beasties  (damn those peasants in the way! as if a Dark Young would politely go around them!). Maybe it wouldn't attack the priests unit (or the Forlorn Hope) representing SOME measure of control from having bound the creature...?

I wish I had enough Seven Years War miniatures to try out Rebels and Patriots! (Hmmmmmm... If I did a little rebasing....?)

Coming Soon to Tim's Miniature Wargaming Blog:

MOAR Necromunda stuff!!!


  1. Very interesting game! Now that you have done a practice, you could always break it out for a con. (Maybe you might control the Dark Young using a random dice determining where it goes and which unit it attacks.

    The one house rule that I see very often in conventions for the Rampant/Lament rules engine is that failing an activation roll doesn't end the turn. It just means that unit can't do anything that turn.

    1. I suppose...

      For convention games I like to have about four players. I guess the Witch Hunter side could have two players - each with one unit of Horse and two units of foot (One Pike, One Shot). The Deranged Villagers and Highlanders could have two players... each with two units of Clansmen and a unit of Clubmen (villagers). The Cultists performing the ritual could be a third element - mutually controlled by the Villagers/Highlanders.

      I kind of like the idea of the summoned beastie simply testing for a Wild Charge at the nearest unit on the table - with the exception that the cultists that summoned it could test each round for "control" - but that control only extending to "not charging them!"

      Another idea for a convention game from this period that could probably be played out with The Pikeman's Lament was the game I did a few halloweens ago. It involved sheep. The story was there was a young shepherd that had taken the villages flock of sheep to pasture across the river but being a bit of a daydreamer had fallen asleep and only woken up just before dusk - and was in a panic because he'd always been told the sheep MUST be back across the river but dusk... into this are injected two foraging parties from opposing sides in the Civil War - one English, one Scottish - each with an eye on taking those sheepies all for themselves. So that's three sides - the villagers that have come to the river to fetch the sheep and shepherd from the pasture and get them safely back across the river before the foraging parties get them... but there is also a set number of turns before nightfall - at which point the VAMPIRES that live in the nearby ruins awake! (the REAL reason the sheep MUST always be returned back across the river by dusk!)

      I think I originally played it using Song of Blades and Heroes!? But it could be done with Pikeman's Lament - using slightly larger forces. For the Human parties, victory points are awarded for how many sheep and members of your own party you escape with off your designated side of the table by game end... The vampires would probably be best be GM run "hazards" that simply move towards and test for Wild Charges against the nearest living unit (vampires being reduced or single-model units, with Fear and Undead....).

      I really LIKE the "you fail, your turn ends" mechanic though. I feel like it really makes you think about what you really want to do and what is the most important thing or easiest thing and which you want to do first as there are NO guarantees that you'll get to do everything - or anything!?

    2. I think the house rule works for conventions because it means that players are likely to be able to do something each round. Especially in a multi=player game, flubbing your first activation roll and then having to wait while everyone else passes their activation rolls multiple times can be frustrating.

      Your convention game idea sounds pretty fun and chaotic. You would sucker me in with a Pikeman's Lament game (I prefer historical) and then hit me with the switcheroo. Then the real fun would start.

    3. I am crafty that way...

      Yeah, I get why that might be done for a convention. I just wonder if there is some happy medium... maybe TWO fails ends your turn.

      Maybe simply having control of only three units each, and only three other players, if you do fail and miss a turn, you don't have to wait THAT long for it to come around to you again...?

      Just thinking out loud (quietly, on the computer) here..

  2. What a splendid game! I'm a historical gamer nowadays but I would have been sucked in by this game, very"Warhound and the world's pain" type of game, lovely figures of course and I'm with you on the activation fail,I do get it that some people don't like it but I think it works if the game is played in a rapid manner as someone else is going to fail soon anyway!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain!

      I have to admit I had to google "Warhound and the World's Pain" as I'd not heard of it (I've only ever read Jerry Cornelius and Elric). Now I am intrigued thought...

  3. What a great idea for a game! Great report too.

  4. Very whacky and quite entertaining!