While I wait for the world (or Australasia at least) to decide which version of DBA it is going to play, I’m keeping myself busy exploring other interests. Song of Blades and Heroes , by Ganesha Games, fits the bill nicely for me because the number of figures you need to play the game is very small (a large warband might have a dozen or so). I’ve had a few games with Mark’s figures and I found the game to be simple to learn the rules for, but with lots of subtlety in the actual gameplay – right up my alley.
I chose to play the game with 15mm figures, to begin with at least, so that I don’t need to make too much more terrain. Mark uses 15mm figures and they are fine. One day, when Ganesha release their swords and sandles module I may have to get hold of some 25mm plastic ancient figures, because the world has moved on a fair bit from the Airfix Romans and Britons! I bought some nice Viking and Saxon figures for a couple of dollars at a Nunawading Wargames Association bring and buy sale, and I thought I was going to use those, but then I realised that this was an opportunity for me to explore a period that I wouldn’t normally do. That was perhaps because I was looking through the Museum Miniatures site during their January Sale. My fond memories of reading the Land of the Rising Sun (is that what it was called) sourcebook for Chivalry & Sourcery (which the author, Lee Gold, reprised in the GURPS Japan book) and a brief Bushido RPG campaign, were awakened when I saw the amazing range of Samurai figures they have. The only downside is that Museum sell most of their 15mm figures in packs of eight of the same pose, which is no suitable for Song of Blades. I got some really nice scenic items from Museum but most of my figures came from a trip down to Eureka Miniatures. Eureka have the advantage of having lots of poses, and you can buy individual figures. They also have a few mage figures – very useful for SBH.
When I got around to painting the figures it rapidly transpired that I had only a vague idea of what Samurai armour should look like – there are all sorts of little details that I didn’t really have any idea about. But I bought an Osprey book (Hatamoto) that was pretty helpful. There are better Osprey books about Samurai out there, but they seem to be hard to come by – Osprey Elite 35 Early Samurai would have been perfect. I could have spent a lot more time painting the Samurai armour, but I think they are OK. It takes a bit of experimentation to get an SBH warband that works well so I painted a couple of fairly generic groups of figures – each with a few Samurai for the tougher fighters and a few others to bulk the force up.
The red team has warrior monks and a mage.
The blue team has regular ashigaru soldiers, including archers.
I’ve gone through the various SBH modules that I have to find out what else I need besides the warbands themselves. Some scenarios require a monster. I was looking for a good oni (Japanese ogres) in Mind Games in Melbourne, but they had a sale bin full of really nice Reaper Miniatures figures and I found this neat toad. It is supposed to be an Ice Toad for D&D but I went for a more generic colour scheme, with lots of drybrushing. I also have a Eureka geisha, and some Museum camp equipment to use as treasure markers for the Treasure Hunt scenario. When Ganesha come out with the Samurai supplement for SBH I may find myself getting a pack or Rebel Miniatures’ Ninjas, and I’m also on the lookout for some terrain to make my board look more ‘Japanese’.