Thursday, March 29, 2012

Table Fable 1 - The Pig Thief

Fable # 1- You can’t mix Historical and Fantasy Stuff
This is the start of a series we are going to do called Table Fables. Now a Fable is defined as:

A short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters; a story not founded on fact, a story about supernatural or extraordinary persons or incidents as in a legend, and finally an untruth or falsehood.

We plan on mixing all those definitions together and stretching the point a bit mind you…

Anyway, ‘You can’t mix historical and fantasy stuff” is a fable. A myth, if you will, spread through the miniature hobby and driven, in part, by some marketing efforts. Now marketing is good, we do it ourselves, but not mixing stuff up, whether it is historical figures and fantasy figures or other things, is leaving open the potential to miss out on some fun. By the way, grumpy people tend to say these things too. Beware. We heard a few say just this at a recent convention.

We are now carrying Otherworld Miniatures, a stunning range of fantasy models we are pleased to be involved with. When they came in, Jeff and I were agog at how nice they were. Naturally, I wanted to compare them to my favorite historical sculptors, Michael and Alan Perry, so we compared them. Nice match that. Then we wanted to paint some immediately. I painted an Otherworld Hill Giant. Jeff came over and saw it, that lead to talk of a game and so, below, you can see a brief synopsis of a little fantasy game we played that took all of 45 minutes because we had the stuff at hand. It was good fun. We will bother you a bit more with the moral of our Table Fable after the battle report.
The Game Particulars
Our cast of characters includes Farmer Giles, His favorite Pig Hamm, Giles’s brother Reginald and of course, a Hill Giant. More characters show up as the game progresses like some brave heroes. Now I took on the role of the giant, bad breath and stinky feet fitting my personality traits a bit better, and Jeff, much taller and more distinguished than I, ran the opposing collection of farmers and heroes.
We had a handful of Perry figures on hand, the Otherworld giant and some terrain form Architects of War naturally. We played on two of our scenery panels butted together to make a 4 x 5 playing surface. We agreed that a simple scenario with the Giant trying to raid the farm for pigs would work well. The Giants objective would be to herd the pigs off the table. The human forces had to stop him, but would get extra points (whatever that means) if they killed him.
Our back Story:
Farmer Giles shares his small farm with his brother Reginald. It’s not far from the Castle, and is a peaceful but “hard work” life to stay ahead of the crushing taxes of the local baron. Very similar to starting a miniatures company… One pleasant morning, a very hungry Hill Giant wonders onto the property and wakes the sleeping brothers just before the cock crows. The Giant has been drawn down from the hills by the scent from the pig sty and is looking for an easy breakfast. Giles and Reginald, not particularly brave run out of their simple peasant abode none the less with whatever they can find to defend Giles’s beloved pig Hamm. This is the beginning of the first turn, and it doesn’t go that well for the brothers, especially Giles.
Good Morning! The Giant appears between the pig sty and the house, waking the two brothers with his stomping about.
Giles attacked the Giant with his pitchfork after successfully checking his morale against a terrifying creature, but misses. The giant promptly stomps him. Giles is quite kaput. Reginald, already terrified, runs off immediately as the giant starts herding pigs.
Stomped, Giles lays on the ground while the Giant, now herding pigs, watches in mild disdain as Reginald hoofs it.
Jeff was a bit distressed at the end of turn one. His forces had been thinned out quite quickly…
A band from the castle was wandering by on the first turn and came to the brothers’ assistance, even if a bit late for poor Giles. This was a small group lead by Brave Sir Robin, his sergeant at arms, Farqanr, and Justus the blacksmith. They were returning to the castle with Dave the Farmer in tow. Apparently one of the chickens Dave had sold to the cooks at the castle had made the Baron ill. Dave was wanted for questioning, and Justus the blacksmith came along to collect some horse shoeing money that Dave had forgotten to pay him. Dave was actually not very popular and known for these sort of nefarious little practices.  When this crowd (deployed about 12 inches down the road from the farm in the initial set up) got to go on their turn, the Brave Sir Jeff (err, I mean Robin) ordered his men to charge. They passed the necessary morale test, and ran straight in. Dave was prodded along in front. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph their brave charge, but above you can see the aftermath. No one in Sir Robin’s band managed to score a hit on the giant. The Giant promptly swept his club through the tightly packed party, first smashing the head of Dave, then through Sir Robin’s armor, and finally catching Sergeant Farqnar in the leg.  So turn one ends with quite a bit of action, and most of Jeff’s men laying about dead, injured, or in the case of Reginald and the Blacksmith, running away!  Hurray for me the Giant! Looks like this scenario is balanced in my favor…err, I mean look at my brilliant command of tactics!
The Giant, chasing pigs, is not pleased to see more Knights ride up…
At the start of the second turn, the Giant becomes occupied with chasing the fleeing pigs. The Blacksmith, the sole survivor of the first turn human attack, cowers behind his shield, hoping for the best. In the bottom half of the turn (and still not with any pigs firmly in his grasp), the Giant is unhappy to see the arrival of three more knights, all mounted this time, from the castle. They were coming out to meet their mate the Brave Sir Robin. No combat at all this turn, unless you count failed pig snatching rolls on the part of the Giant.
The Giant, trying to catch pigs and fulfill his objective, is caught in the field by the mounted knights.
On the third turn, the Giant ran into the nearby field chasing pigs – particularly the one named Hamm. The Knights follow, and start to circle the Giant, not quite braced enough with all those dead men laying around to close ( Casualty figures in our game meant anyone on the same side as the bodies took a minus one on their morale checks when within 12 inches and line of sight of them). Lots of moving this turn, but no combat, and worse for me, no caught pigs!
The Knights keep closing the circle, dismaying the Giant. It’s possible they have done this sort of thing before…
At the start of the Fourth turn, I didn’t know what to do with the Giant. If I charged one of the Knights, I was leaving my back open to a counter charge from one of the other knights. He wouldn’t have to take a morale check against my Terror causing size if he struck from behind. I decided to just hold, not chasing any pigs, and let them come to me. Hey, it worked out fine on the first turn!
 Two of the knights failed their morale checks to charge me, but the one in the back of me got in. I wasn’t allowed to turn and face him, so the Giant took a prick form his lance. It was hardly a fatal blow and the Giant passed his morale test. In the second part of the turn, the same thing happened again, but this time the Giant failed his morale test and ran off the table. Game over. Jeff was very proud of his cunning strategy, the pig named Hamm escaped, and my giant at least lived to fight another day.

So, we played a game in 45 minutes and had a great time. It felt sort of, I don’t know, realistic? If that can be said of a game with a giant! The best part for both of us was that the whole thing didn’t take a huge amount of effort. We used only ONE fantasy model and used other figures and terrain we had on hand. While the rules were just a simplified version of our upcoming fantasy game- Fanticide, there are many other options out there already to use as well.
This wasn’t a big epic confrontation and wasn’t meant to be. It was just good fun. We would like to encourage some of you out there to mix stuff up and try something small, quick, and fun. These games are good for an after dinner game followed by a few pints of beer and thrilling tales of what armies we are going to build, what models we wanted to paint next, etc.
The Moral
Since Fables always end (or should) in some moral point, here is ours for this particular Table Fable: You CAN mix historical and fantasy models. You DO NOT have to have a hundred figures painted for a great game. You CAN play out any story you want with nearly any rule set if your opponent is pleasant fellow (like Jeff) with the same interests as you.
So, if you have historical figures but sort of feel a need to get that fantasy figure you had your eye on (be it a Giant or a Fishman) you can buy it and mix it up. If you have a fantasy collection but haven’t thought about using historical models to mix in with them- well for goodness sake give it a go! With games like the one we just described, you probably need to invest less than $20 no matter what side of the fence you have been playing on.
Products used in this game included:
Some old Perry Medieval from the Foundry Range (look here for figures like them : )
Pack from the The Perry Miniature Agincourt to Orleans Range:
Dark Age House, Pig Sty (with pigs), Trees, and Plowed Field) from Architects of War:

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