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"Top Reasons to Skirmish with Song of Blades and Heroes" Topic

De Bellis Velitum

19 Posts

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian03 Sep 2016 5:47 p.m. PST

Song of Blades and Heroes was recently voted as Top Ancients Skirmish Ruleset.

Why do you think Song of Blades and Heroes excels as a skirmish-level game, compared to the alternatives?

platypus01au03 Sep 2016 6:51 p.m. PST

This isn't a criticism or anything, but where and when was this vote?

Not that I disagree though…


Personal logo Dentatus Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian03 Sep 2016 6:55 p.m. PST

I can't speak for alternatives like Frostgrave or Dragon Rampant, but our group enjoys Advanced SOBH for several reasons:

1. Not proprietary. Allows for any manufacturer's figs
2. Simple mechanics that don't require charts and chits.
3. Activation mechanism allows for reactions and turnover.

It's a fast, robust game that is simple without being simplistic. It allows us to concentrate on the game rather than the rules. That's the bottom line for us.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian03 Sep 2016 8:10 p.m. PST

…where and when was this vote?

TMP link

platypus01au04 Sep 2016 2:41 a.m. PST

I must have the polls turned off. I've not seen one for months!

advocate04 Sep 2016 5:15 a.m. PST

Dentatus, all you points apply to Dragon Rampant as well. It is, of course, a different scale, with rather more figures on the table. DR hasn't been out for nearly as long as SOBH, so it will be interesting to see how it gets on over time.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2016 8:02 a.m. PST

Interesting three dice mechanism.

Timotheous04 Sep 2016 8:18 a.m. PST

Love the open-ended structure of the rules to accommodate just about any troop type, simple measurement system (go long!) and the three dice activation system makes the game exciting.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2016 9:37 a.m. PST

Our group has used this rule set for fantasy skirmishes, wild west gun fights, Gunga din skirmish, but never for ancients. I think that after Phil Barker's skirmish rules are published they will become the top one. Keep your eyes open for DBV.

AB H are indeed very good rules, as I mentioned we use them quite a bit.

brass104 Sep 2016 10:35 a.m. PST

I think that after Phil Barker's skirmish rules are published they will become the top one. Keep your eyes open for DBV.

Given that DBV has been around since 1991 and the most recent playtest version is dated 2003 I'm not going to hold my breath until this happens. I made that mistake with Horse Foot and Guns.


Timotheous04 Sep 2016 11:34 a.m. PST

I have also played DBV, even made a QRS for it (don't have it anymore, so don't ask). It played OK, and seemed to be a logical extension of the DBA concepts to a skirmish setting. However, the results of hand to hand were too complex to keep in one's head. With SoBH, it is so easy to remember that I couldn't imagine going back to DBV.

Lest I sound like a critic of all things Phil Barker, I still think DBA is a masterpiece, being "the simplest rules that still convey the feel and generalship requirements of ancient and medieval battle", and 3.0 is the best version yet.

Sloth196304 Sep 2016 12:45 p.m. PST

SoBH is still my 2nd favorite skirmish game. War Engine is still tops.

boy wundyr x04 Sep 2016 4:42 p.m. PST

I find it simple in execution, but with lots of nuances and flexibility. And it fits into a line of games that cover all sorts of other genres, and you don't need to start from scratch to learn each game – you got your Q, you got your C, you got your traits/special rules, and then a few genre-specific things and you're good to go.

Greenfield Games04 Sep 2016 7:14 p.m. PST

It's a game that I thought I wasn't going to like because it seemed too simple. But it turns out that its simplicity is a feature and not a bug and it doesn't keep it from having interesting decisions that need to be made on a regular basis.

As an aside – I did a video explaining how to play Advanced Song of Blades today… YouTube link

EvilBen05 Sep 2016 8:28 a.m. PST

What boy wundyr x and Greenfield Games said. I particularly like the way leaders work.

Weasel05 Sep 2016 8:55 a.m. PST

It's simple, easy to explain and it has 10 trillion variants available.

Personal logo Dentatus Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian05 Sep 2016 6:32 p.m. PST

Taught someone to play it this afternoon in fact. He picked it up in less than ten minutes. Played two games, he won both.

Timotheous05 Sep 2016 7:02 p.m. PST

Like boywunder x said, it allows you to play other genres easily without having to learn completely new rules. I actually like song of drums and Shakos and song of drums and tomahawks better than the base game. Would like to play more Flashing Steel in the new year.

And dentatus, if you created a new fan of the rules, didn't you still win?

Weasel06 Sep 2016 10:28 a.m. PST

Dentatus – good work :-)

I should add, I don't play the system myself but I think it's clever and it's easy to see why it became so popular.

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