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"Song of Blades and Heroes-Better than sliced bread!" Topic

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5,961 hits since 18 Jul 2007
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
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Who asked this joker18 Jul 2007 10:33 a.m. PST

I purchased my copy of Song of Blades and Heroes (SBH) as an e-book for $4 USD as a sort of "What the heck. It's only $4". I was pleasantly suprised at the quality and content of the rules so…I thought i'd give a little mini-review of this game.

The game is a skirmish game designed to play well with about 10 models on a side. Some of the mechanics are familiar and some are quite unique.

First, the characters. Characters are rated for combat factor, quality and special abilities. Combat factor can be any number but is usually 1-6. The higher the better. Quality is a range from 2-6 with 2 being an elite character and 6 being a peasant child. Special can grant special powers or modify the two attributes for given situations.

The game is played in alternating turns. The winner of the first initiative gets the first go. He nominates a model to move and rolls 1, 2 or 3 dice (his choice) for activation points. For each die that is equal or greater than the models quality number, he gets 1 action point. So what's the drawback? If you get 2 or more failures, the turn automatically passes to the next player. With each action point you may do one action. For instance, you can use 1 point to move to contact, another point to attack and another point to make that attack an all out attack.

Combat mechanics should be pretty familiar to most people. Each character rolls a D6 and adds his combat factor as well as situational modifiers. The higher roll wins. If it is less than double, the loser is pushed back a base depth and might be knocked down. If the result is double or more, the loser is eliminated. If the result is triple or more, the loser is killed in a grusome fashion and any character on the same side that saw it has to take a morale check.

Special abilities are used to "break the rules" so to speak. They allow characters to perform actions and feats that others could not do. There are abilities to allow you to move fast, fly, be brave or even be tough. Plenty of abilities to keep the game interesting.

At the end of the book there is a campaign system with 6 scenario sets. You can chain scenarios together. The loser of the game loses out on his models that were killed on the battlefield but the winner might get their loses back.

The author promises a suppliment containing rules for dungeon crawls and more SBH goodness.

This game is well worth the price!


Frothers Did It Anyway18 Jul 2007 1:41 p.m. PST

I agree, for $4 USD (or £2.00 GBP for us Brits) you can;t go wrong and the game is tight and well thought out. A real winner IMO.

Crankee Doodle18 Jul 2007 5:30 p.m. PST

I've been real pleased with my purchase as well. I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a fun and fast fantasy game.

Paintbeast19 Jul 2007 1:43 a.m. PST

I got the shipping notice today on the printed copy I ordered…looking forward to reading it.

Ganesha Games Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jul 2007 1:06 a.m. PST

thanks for the review!

please let us know if there is any problem with the printed copy or the shipping, as I'm using that service for the first time.

jjwhite10320 Jul 2007 5:56 a.m. PST

This sounds wonderful in terms of quick play, but it seems like abstracting every figure down to just a quality and combat factor is extreme for a skirmish game. Does this leave any room for distinctions between figures? Do spears work differently than sword & shield, for instance, and do orcs work differently than dwarves?


MightyCthulhu20 Jul 2007 6:13 a.m. PST

I just picked up the pdf version and skimmed it. It looks great! The troop list and the special power list are both extensive. The whole system seems very tight and simple. I can't wait to try it out.

blacksmith20 Jul 2007 6:24 a.m. PST

@jjwhitge103, apart from Quality and Combat you have a lot of special habilities or attributes to differentiate all your figures in the battlefield.

Who asked this joker20 Jul 2007 6:38 a.m. PST


The game gets away from who is armed with what, unless it is a magic sword or something. There is a rule in testing for heavy armor. The beauty of the game is in the activation system and troop quality. The special abilities are what separate the orc from the dwarf etc…

Ganesha Games Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Jul 2007 6:40 a.m. PST

differentiation is in terms of function and not weapon/armor type as an Ogre with a knife is probably a heavy hitter like a man with a broadsword-- or even more.

What you get besides the Quality and Combat scores is 31 "special rules" that can be mixed and matched to create a lot of differentiation.
Also, soldiers with Quality 2+ and Soldiers with Quality 4+ play differently.

The Companion book is adding some more special rules, I just didn't want to overwhelm players with too many options at first (they'd be rather playing GURPS if I did that).

When I'll do historical versions of these rules (I also play ancients so you won't have to wait for long) I'll introduce differentiation based on armor type, weapon and training -- as all models will be men (or horses, war hounds and, erm, flaming pigs)I can use the system's granularity to model weapon/armor differentiation.

Ganesha Games Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Jul 2007 7:38 a.m. PST

Hi, as you can see I have changed my username here on TMP, this will also be the name of my self-publishing venture. I'll soon ask Bill to list me as a manufacturer. Thanks!

mrbistro21 Feb 2008 11:49 a.m. PST

I have completely fallen in love with this game. The rules are tight, play is fast and fun, and there is plenty of player interaction. If I could only play one miniatures game, this would be it.

Mooseworks811 Apr 2008 6:01 p.m. PST

Yes this game is very well done. I am most pleased with both my purchases of SBH and SGD.

joshuaslater16 Apr 2008 1:50 p.m. PST

Okay, before I buy it, can you simply put your favorite models on the board, in any combination, or are there rules for warband construction?

Jayster04 Aug 2008 1:59 a.m. PST

It looks as though this has been getting some pretty good reviews, not too much of a strain on the pocket either.

If it's as good as it sounds, then I might even take the plunge on the dungeon supplement as well.

Looks like it might be a good way for my newly painted orcs and dwarves from Caesar to battle it out!

Are skeletons, elves and goblins also listed?

Jayster04 Aug 2008 2:54 a.m. PST

I've given it a quick mention here on my blog.

You can tell that by the end of the day I will have decided to get one can't you?

KaneBlaireau27 Aug 2008 10:13 a.m. PST

Anybody written a full review? Acarhj did a nice write-up, but I am wondering about warband construction, size of game flexibility, etc. Thanks!

Achtung Minen28 Aug 2008 12:05 p.m. PST

I saw this game on the shelf at my FLGS and was really surprised. Kudos to Ganesha Games for getting their product in print and in stores! I plan to pick it up the next time I'm there, since it looked so nice on first flip-through and this review seems to back it up as a quality game.


joshuaslater29 Aug 2008 8:25 a.m. PST

I've ordered it and look forward to it's imminent arrival.

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