Chuckadice: Wargames TaKtiX

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Peter Pig's "Bloody Barons" game

Last night I played a game of Peter Pig's Bloody Baron's against Mat. We did have a slight problem in that neither of us knew the rules properly and, due to this, several mistakes were made. We still enjoyed it though, so we shall attempt to play it properly next time.

The troops in the game are split into 3 classes, Household (the best), Retinue and Levy. You also choose captains, bodyguards, cavalry, foot, bowmen, crossbows, handgunners, unarmoured foot, cannons etc. The list is expansive enough to allow a wide variety of armies. You do have to take some units, such as 2 levy units and 2 retinue units, while others are restricted such as no more than 5 bodyguards and no more than 2 household units. The army also has 3 generals, who rate from 0 (a man of iron) to 3 (not much use for anything). Considering this it was quite surprising to see the similarities in our armies last night. We both had 2 retinue cavalry units, 1 household foot and 2 levy foot units. All our foot units had the same composition, the only difference was I had a large and a small cavalry unit, plus a light gun, while Mat had 2 large cavalry units.

After choosing forces you set up the scenery and then allocate "purses" to such things as subterfuge, supplies, weather and various others. You then roll against your opponent with the victor either gaining bonuses, such as extra arrows, or messing with the opponents force, such as moving units once they are deployed. This part takes a fair amount of time but really makes the game. It's very annoying when the unit placed to defend the hill on the flank is suddenly repositioned directly in front of your cavalry in the center.

After all the sneakiness is done the battle itself starts. Generals roll to activate units, with the score needed dependant upon the quality of both the general and the unit, plus the distance between them. Activated units get action points and you then do what you can with them. There is also a nice "opportunity fire" section that allows the non-moving players units to fire on enemy units that are within short range of them during the other players turn. Shooting is simple to work out, while combat takes a bit more work but seems to work out well. Unless you consistently roll low like I did at the start and Mat did at the end. Morale is caused by losses and can result in units holding position, retiring or routing.

All in all I liked the game we had and will (hopefully) be playing it again soon. I would recommend it to anybody who is looking for a fun evening's game that isn't too serious and I'd give it an 8 out of 10.