Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Revisiting Chronicles of Blood

After playing Dungeons and being satisfied with it, I decided to take a second look at Chronicles of Blood, also from Shane Garvey. Previously, I had dismissed that game due to its use of IGO-UGO turn structure which I thought too simple and flawed. Nowadays, I find it good for solo gaming, especially in large-scale battles, because in this context two of its main flaws are reduced or removed:

a) One of the main problems with IGO-UGO is that one player has to wait while the other moves their forces. When playing solo, this problem is not present, for obvious reasons.

b) The other problem is that one force is able to move and attack without reaction. In my opinion, this does not feel as bad in large-scale battles where things are subject to a good amount of abstraction already. If I can live with units described by rectangular stands, pivoting perfectly around one corner of said rectangles, on a ground scale of hundreds of meters per inch of table space and turns representing several minutes of game time, I think I can narrate IGO-UGO activation.

At the same time, the simplicity of the IGO-UGO turn structure is inviting to solo play as it is easy to add systems like random events and unit activation checks on top of it. So for these reasons I decided to try Chronicles of Blood once more. Since the game recommends a 120cm x 120cm table I am playing at 25% scale, so each regiment is represented by a 1"x0.5" stand. For now I have very simple unit counters, although I have made a couple of nicer prototypes, pictured here with a 28mm figure for comparison.

For this battle I used the sample 50-point armies from the core book, playing the Golden Alliance. I used the standard deployment procedure for the enemy, rolling for sector of deployment and then arranging the nearby forces in a way that made sense. I had all my melee regiments on the right and elven rangers on the left, supported by knights. The enemy had a line of melee warriors supported by skeleton horsemen matching my left side, and a few other units on the right.

Both armies maneuvered on the first round, still far away from each other. On the second round, the enemy's melee forces had to split around the lake. A group of goblin skirmishers ambushed one of my elven ranger regiments [random event]. My elves fired at the enemy riders but missed. At the end of the turn, the ambushed regiment of elves fled from the battle [morale failure].

On my third turn, my men-at-arms charged the goblin warriors causing a single wound. My rangers missed again. On turn 4, the skeleton horsemen charged my knights and elves, while the battle demons charged the dwarven stoneguard. My regiment of men-at-arms that had attacked the goblins revelead themselves as traitors [random event] -- or was it some dark spell from the enemy? In any case, they would be destroyed by the soldiers of the sun later in the turn.

On the fifth and last turn, the skeleton horsemen killed my second regiment of elven rangers. Goblin warriors destroyed another regiment of men-at-arms and were defeated by the soldiers of the sun. As the last move in the game, the dwarven stoneguard destroyed the battle demons regiment.

Final result: I lost two regiments of elven rangers and one of men-at-arms for 17 points. The enemy lost one regiment of battle demons, one of goblin warriors and the traitor men-at-arms for 15 points. A close victory for the Unholy Blight!


I had fun playing this battle with Chronicles of Blood. The solo system, although simple, seems quite effective.

I tended to move units together but they proved to function well individually, as the rules do not grant any modifiers for this. I suppose that this is right given that, according to the rules, each one is a regiment but it did not dawn on me until I was writing this report.


Danjou's Hand said...

I really like the look of your multi-fig bases. They seem to be thicker than just paper - is this the thick double-sided tape?


Shaun Travers said...

I got these rules when they first came out and put them to the side. I got them out again late last year and they seem better than I remember. I really need to try them out and your post has got me closer to doing so!

Ricardo said...

Thanks for the comments!

@John: I think they look thicker because of size. The knights are about 1cm tall. They were printed in 180gsm cardstock and glued with regular glue.