Wednesday 14 December 2022

Turn 4: The Thrappled Lemmings Seek Out a Reward (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

Starting Location: Wilderness (Hex 0709)

Local Events

Fulrad, the oldest member of the party grumbled all day.

"I'm getting too old for this shit," he announced to everyone at regular intervals.

Hard Times

The party needed feeding well after the recent fights (3 Marks). Sir Thiebault passed round the rations and they ate a hearty meal. It had been a while since they had eaten this well or food this solid. Most of their meals seemed to be liquid.

Campaign Activities

Sir Thiebault went out hunting again and brought back a couple of deer (3 Rations).

Lysanthir set out to do his own foraging for mystical supplies, but returned with nothing.


Having eaten their fill, the Thrappled Lemmings set out to return the mayor's hat to Haitabu. The journey is uneventful and they quickly reach the town. The mayor is absolutely delighted and is soon strutting around town in the tallest, shiniest hat the Lemmings have ever seen. The mayor is so delighted, in fact, that he pays the Lemmings 7 Marks for their troubles!

News Travels

While talking about their exploits in a tavern tent, the Wido hears a rumour that a new delve has been found near Elsfjord Kloster. It lies in a ruin near the Kloster and there are many rumours about its denizens, but none are reliable.

With the creation of all these new locations within the same hex, I think I am going to have to start mapping individual hexes to ensure there is room. Also, so many dungeons, so little time.

Turn 3 (Part 2 of 2): The Thrappled Lemmings and the Mayor's Hat Delve (Five Leagues from the Borderlands

   Starting Location: Mayor's Hat Delve (Hex 0709) 

This delve uses the map Ruins of the Sorcerer's Keep from Heroic Maps on WargameVault. I rescaled it to 66% of its full size when printing it so that it suited my 15mm figures and that gives a playing area roughly 2'x2'. After playing the game, I think I should have printed out some doors to make the entrances clearer, but also added some secret doors where there are none marked so that the party had a choice of routes. As it stands, there was really just a single path through the dungeon with a couple of side tours into rooms. It worked fine, but was also a bit slow as I spent the first half of the game just moving everyone around until they finally met up.


After meeting resistance on the way, the Thrappled Lemmings finally reached the ruined keep. The hat must be in there, so they knew they had to go in. The only way in was through the front gate, unless they fancied swimming or climbing the walls. They did not fancy either of those options, so they pushed aside the rotting timbers of the main gate and entered the first part of the keep. Lysanthir's skin prickled. He could feel the magic that had seeped into the very stones of the structure.

Fulrad was the party's scout, so he was volunteered to enter the keep first and check it out. He pushed gingerly past the others and into the keep's interior. It was dark inside in spite of the age and ruinous state of the keep. Something was keeping the structure together despite the best efforts and weather and age. Checking the entrance as he went, he suddenly spotted an anomaly. Checking further, he realised that there was a secret entrance here leading to a passage. It looked unused in a long time, so he relayed the information to the rest of the party and they prepared to move into the keep first.

This exploration result adds another unexplored area to this hex.

The group made their way into the keep along a long passage that was once probably a killzone for invaders. It was quiet ... too quiet.

Meanwhile, skeleton patrols were all over the other side of the keep. The skeleton captain and its squad reached their objective (2) and turned around to patrol on to their next objective (1).

The blue markers are Soldier IDs from Warfighter. They ones in the rooms on their own are exploration markers. The ones with the groups of skeletons (3 groups of 3 skeletons) are reminders of where they are going. The skeletons will patrol from one exploration marker to another random one until they are alerted to the presence of the party. If I had thought it through, I could have used a different colour of Soldier ID for this. The star counter represents the hat.

As the party waded into brackish water to explore further into the keep, another skeleton patrol reached its objective (4) and prepared to continue its patrol to its next checkpoint (3).

As the Lemmings waded out of the brackish water, the third patrol reached its objective (6) and turned towards its next one (4).

The party moved forward to a junction. Drogo and Sir Thiebault took up station next to a door, supported by Fulrad. The others headed along a corridor to what turned out to be a big room with mystical markings on the floor and a table with mildewed and rotting papers at one end. Onesipe was first in and found a Delver's Kit lying on the floor near the body of a previous delver. He grabbed it. The others took up station behind the warriors and waited for Onesipe to catch up. There was nowhere else to go, so they would have to go through this door. Meanwhile, one skeleton party had reached its objective (3) and got ready to turn around to head for its next marker (5).

One exploration marker down, two to go to achieve the objective, although the party will need to get to the hat and retrieve it or destroy all the skeletons to hold the field and recover it.

Drogo stepped through the door to the room and came face to face with a skeleton. His attack drove the skeleton back, but he was too surprised by the encounter to press his advantage. Sir Thiebault tried his hand next and crushed one of the skeletons with a single blow. Wido and Fuldar moved to the door to provide support. They could not push past Sir Thiebault and Drogo without causing too much chaos.

Drogo stepped in to face another skeleton but could not do more than push it back again. Sir Thiebault and showed him how it was done. Two skeletons down and he had done it so quickly, he had time to grab the armour it was wearing.

Sir Thiebault explores the exploration marker and acquires magical armour (Traitor's Harness) from the Exploration Marker. Two markers down.

The skeleton captain stepped in to attack Sir Thiebault. The captain was a tougher opponent and smashed Sir Thiebault to the ground. Fulrad stepped into the room and smashed the captain up with his arrows. Three skeletons down.

The Thrappled Lemmings formed up to take on whatever other horrors this keep might throw at them and to protect Sir Thiebault. It was as well they did, for more skeletons marched through the door at this point.

Wido moved to one side to give Onesipe a shot. He hit the skeleton and wounded it. Onesipe fired a second shot as fast as he could and took out the skeleton while the others marched inexorably towards the party. Drogo charged the rearmost skeleton and once more failed to hurt one of the undead monstrosities. Wido joined him and wounded the foremost skeleton but was driven back by it. Fuldar shot and missed once more.

Fuldar shoots at the wounded skeleton but realises he is out of ammunition. The skeletons turn on Drogo who is knocked back, stunned by a blow to the head. Onesipe then does him a favour by destroying another skeleton. In all this, Lysanthir has been cheering from the sidelines, unable to push past Onesipe.

The remaining skeleton attacks Drogo and clubs him to the ground. Onesipe shoots and wounds it. Fulrad charges up to support Wido who crushes the skeleton. Meanwhile, the last skeleton patrol has reached its objective (4) and turns around to march back down the corridor again.

As the skeletons march closer, Wido opens the door to the next room and sees the floor covered in sticky goo that will be difficult to move through. He chooses not to.

Three exploration markers cleared. Delve objective achieved. Now for the hat.

Onesipe shot as the skeletons got to pointblank range wounding the leading one. Wido charged in and finished it off. Lysanthir entered the fray and wounded the next one.

Both Lysanthir and Wido attacked the wounded skeleton but all they could do was drive it back in a flurry of blows that saw each of them giving ground in turn. The skeleton attacked Wido and he turned the tables, finally destroying it. The next skeleton attacked Wido and pushed him back. Fulrad stepped into the gap left by Wido. Slowly but surely, he whittled it down. Suddenly peace broke out as the Lemmings had once more held the field. They retrieved the hat and found out that there were stairs down into the vaults under the keep. They could check those out another time. First, they settled down to lick their wounds and camp for the night before returning to claim their reward for a fulfilled contract.

Post-Battle Resolution

1 Adventure point gained for defeating a captain.

Sir Thiebault was lucky and had just been knocked out. The party administered Silvertree Leaf to Drogo and it turned out that he too was only winded. I had to use a point of luck to keep Sir Thiebault alive here or he would have been dead, dead, dead. Drogo's first roll would have seen him out of the game for several turns so I used the last of my Silvertree Leaf and got lucky on the roll.


Lysanthir goes up a level and gains a Casting increase.

Wido goes up a level and gains a Combat increase.


The party finds light armour and a helmet.

News Travels:

Being in the wilderness and off the beaten path, there is no news to speak of, unless you count Wido learning to belch a popular tavern song.

Final Thoughts

I keep forgetting that some of my characters have luck points and that I can use story points along the way. Had I remembered, I could have saved my warriors from the humiliation of being knocked out. That said, the way Drogo was rolling, he deserved it!

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Turn 3 (part 1 of 2): The Thrappled Lemmings Are Ambushed (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

  Starting Location: Wilderness (Hex 2000) 

Local Events

The Thrappled Lemmings spend the first of many nights under the stars as they travel towards the area that had attracted their attention on their way out. Wido might be a wily rogue but his roguishness could not stop his armour rusting and deteriorating on the journey. His armour is now damaged.

Hard Times

With no money for supplies, the party must live off the land, relying on their scouts to bag game to eat.

Campaign Activities

Sir Thiebault takes the opportunity of travelling the country to hunt. He bags game to the value of 3 Rations.


As the party passes by Haitabu on the way to the unexplored area, the town council approaches them with an offer. If they will retrieve the mayoral hat from a nearby location, the town will pay d6+1 Marks.

"In cold hard cash?" asks Lysanthir. Upon receiving an affirmative reply, he instantly responds, "We'll do it! Come, Thrappled Lemmings, let us away. We have a task to complete."

Contract: Retrieve item from unexplored location in Hex 0709


The party abandons their intention of exploring the other area and immediately heads for the site where the mayoral hat was lost, a ruined keep to the south-west (Hex 0709). The Thrappled Lemmings understand the importance of a good hat, and will not see the mayor do without. They gather their things, not that doing that takes them long, and march off.

They had been travelling for a couple of days when suddenly shouts arose from either side of them. A band of petty robbers assailed the Thrappled Lemmings.

"There's someone lurking up ahead," announced Fuldar, the group's designated scout.

"Quick," ordered Sir Thiebault, "Off the road and into those bushes there. Take cover."

"Look, there they are," yelled Wido.

The robbers had been attempting to sneak up on the Thrappled Lemmings, but one of their number proved to be particularly clumsy, and addicted to wearing shiny things. He was quite easy to spot. Now that the Thrappled Lemmings could see them, the robbers consisted of a rather ragged looking group of humans and orcs. One of their number was slightly better armed and looked slightly better nourished, but that did not say much!

Sir Thiebault and Drogo quickly knocked back the party's supply of Ironshield Root and it was time for the Thrappled Lemmings to go on the offensive. They did this by letting the bandits advance on their position. They knew that the bandits would have to close to be able to use their missile weapons, and they hoped to take advantage of this with their own bows. Unfortunately, Onesipe's shot went wild and Fuldar nearly broke his bow string. The others remained in cover and awaited the right moment to charge.

The enemy slingers closed the range again. Once chanced a long range shot but missed. The other moved quickly into the cover of some rocks near a pond. The rest of the enemy advanced.

Onesipe and Fulrad missed again. Lysanthir cast Fog on the spot where the enemy slinger was lurking by the pond. The others continued to hold their position.

Again, a sling stone whirled past Onesipe, while the other slinger advanced from his position of cover, unable to see while the Fog spell was in effect. The rest of the enemy advanced too.

Onesipe missed again, but Fulrad did not. An arrow pierced the enemy and killed him. Drogo charged an enemy slinger and cleaved him in two with one mighty blow. Sir Thiebault charged the enemy sergeant. The sergeant quickly turned the tables and Sir Thiebault found himself desperately blocking with his shield and only able to push the seargeant back in the end. Wido dived into the fray and skewered his opponent easily.

"That's how you do it, yer lordship," he quipped.

Lysanthir charged and cut open his opponent. Four of the enemy were now down. This was enough to make the remaining enemy slinger flee for his life.

Sir Theibault seemed to be evenly matched with the sergeant, after the initial flurry of blows and the two pushed each other back and forth without scoring a hit. Lysanthir was also held to a draw by the robber he charged.

The robber retaliated and knocked Lysanthir to the ground. One of the robbers attacked Onesipe who pushed it back. The robber sergeant leapt back into the fray and pushed Sir Thiebault back, but again no wounds were scored.

Onesipe tried to shoot a robber but realised he was out of ammunition. Fuldar shot the robber who had downed Lysanthir and killed him. Drogo charged the sergeant from behind and slew him in a couple of swift blows. This was too much for the final robber who fled screaming. The Thrappled Lemmings held the field.

Post-Battle Resolution

Lysanthir was just winded and will continue with the search for the mayor's hat (Used Lucky Break to ignore the really bad rolls on the injuries table).


Sir Thiebault goes up a level and gains the Traveling skill.

Drogo goes up a level and gains 1 Will.

Fulrad gains the Scouting skill.


The party loot the corpses and recover a suit of Fine Light Armour. This is given to Wido, whose armour is in bad repair. Fulrad gets Wido's armour on the grounds that he should not need it as much, being an archer.

Moving On

With the enemy dead, the Thrappled Lemmings continue on to where the mayor said his hat was taken. Exploring the location reveals a Delve at this location. Something has set up home under the ruins of this keep and now the Thrappled Lemmings need to give it a lesson in not stealing important hats.

Sunday 11 December 2022

Turn 2: The Thrappled Lemmings Find Nothing (Five Leagues from the Borderland)

 Starting Location: Utstein Marknad (Hex 0303) 

Local Events

The local caravan has attracted all kinds of people. Turns out that some of them have sticky fingers and the Thrappled Lemmings suddenly find their entire warchest has disappeared to pickpockets.

Hard Times

With no money in the purse, they are once more forced to help the town guard in order to pay off their bar tab.

Campaign Activities

While the others are patrolling with the town guard, Sir Thiebault goes off foraging for herbs and returns with two doses of Ironshield Root after a particularly successful expedition.


Lysanthir continues his search for the location of the the hidden temple he had heard about. He questions the merchants from the caravan that arrived in town as they were returning from fending off the orcish raiders. Unfortunately, the travelling entertainer whose leads seemed most promising turned out to be full of hot air. I spent 4 adventure points spent to achieve the milestone of locating this delve and rolled a 5, so it has not yet been located.


With the party's bar tab being so high, they decide to leave Utstein for a while and travel to a map location (Unexplored Location hex 2000) that they have been told offers opportunities for enrichment if they first explore it.

As they travel, they spot an interesting feature in the distance. Lysanthir makes a note of it on his map. The Thrappled Lemmings decide to focus on their original objective and head to the new one later.

When they reached there, Onesipe quickly found tracks of what looked like a monster, but further scouting did not find a monster lair. The party berated him for not being better at finding treasure and made camp. Perhaps there were better chances for loot at the other place they had passed on the way here.

News Travels

Nothing of note is happening

Saturday 10 December 2022

Turn 1: The Thrappled Lemmings at Utstein Marknad (Five Leagues from the Borderland)

Starting Location: Utstein Marknad (Hex 0303) 

Local Events

 The Thrappled Lemmings are in town, but their funds are going to run out pretty quickly, given the way that they drink. Nevertheless, going to the pub was the right choice. As they bought some rather poor quality ale for too much money, the group talked to the locals and the visitors. There were tales of danger and delves to be done, but some elements of one of the stories struck a chord with Lysanthir. Could this be their first clue about the Temple they sought? One of the locals spoke of a tale of an elemental cult that had a temple near a village in Utavoll when an ancient and long lost kingdom ruled this area. Traces of the kingdom's remains can still be seen, but little else is known about it.

So, talking to the locals nets the Lemmings 1 Adventure Point. They are going to need to head out and do daring deeds to make a few Marks to pay for their bar tab though.

Campaign Activities

Given the success of talking in the pub, half the party stays there and carries on drinking (Meet the Locals). Buying round after round buys lots of friends and Lysanthir is able to tease out more of the story about the Temple ruins and the lost kingdom.

Sir Thiebault, Drogo and Fuldar spend their time helping the town guard to pay for the party's bar tab which extended beyond the party's ability to pay.


Further discussions in the pub yield no further information so the party decide that they need to head out, especially upon discovering that they still have a bar tab outstanding.


Given the threat that the orcs pose to the human settlements, the party decide to take the fight to the orcs and Battle the Enemy Threat. The locals told Lysanthir and his mercenaries that orcs have been active the area and have pillaged local farms. No doubt they will be too busy Counting their Loot (+1 Mark if hold the field) right now and should be easy to sneak up on. The locals fear that the orcs are Gathering Information with a view to mounting an invasion and wiping out Utstein.

"Never fear," says Sir Thiebault, "We shall deal with them. Come, my comrades, we ride now!"

The Thrappled Lemmings quickly found the site of the latest raid. A pair of archers, a spearorc and an orc captain were present, but there were signs that there were still more orcs present in the area. The party needed to drive off the orcs and check for survivors before a larger force could make its presence felt. They could then rally the locals and bring back a larger force of their own to drive off these felons.

Knowing the orcs' hatred for elves, Sir Thiebault decided to use Lysanthir as bait to draw off the orcs while he and Drogo searched for survivors. He did not tell Lysanthir this though.

"Lysanthir, Osenipe, Fulrad and Wido, stay together and take the right flank. Advance towards the house and look for survivors and loot there. Drogo and I will take the left flank and swing round to that copse over there. It looks a likely place for survivors and provides a good chance to scout the rest of the area from cover."

Lysanthir looked doubtful about the two best warriors going off together, but agreed anyway. Sir Thiebault was the tactical expert here and should know what he was doing. He stepped into the open and cast a Wall of Fire across a gap between the farmhouse and the scrub ground. That would slow the enemy but not stop them. Still, he needed to give the party all the time he could so they could successfully scout the area without being hammered by the orcs, especially as it appeared orcish reinforcements were on their way.

The orcs saw Lysanthir and immediately charged towards him.

As not quite planned, the party then split up. Sir Thiebault raced to the left flank, as he had stated he would. Drogo raced for the other left flank. Onesipe and Fulrad stayed in the cover of their copse and fired at one of the orc archers but neither hit their target, and Wido stayed with Lysanthir to protect him.

Drogo raced for the shelter of a small copse of trees, while Sir Thiebault moved into the rough ground near the farm. Onesipe let fly another crossbow bolt, but missed while Fulrad made his shot count, taking out the orcish archer with an arrow to the eye.

The other orcish archer moved into position to shoot at Lysanthir. The spearorc and his captain moved at full speed towards Lysanthir. By this time, Sir Thiebault could see the orcish reinforcements.

"Orcs!" He yelled, "Three of them!"

Lysanthir bravely turned his tail and fled in the opposite direction of the orcs advancing on him, taking cover behind the hill the party had started on. Wido bravely followed him to protect him.

The remaining orcish archer moved to a position where he could see Lysanthir once more. All the other orcs charged towards the poor Mystic too.

Onesipe fired a bolt that took the enemy captain through the shoulder but left him still upright. Fulrad moved to a position where he had a better shot at the enemy captain but then realised he was out of ammunition. He cursed.

Drogo moved to the farmhouse but found no survivors there. Sir Thiebault turned to attach the archer behind him but was pushed back and the two paused in the battle, breathing hate at each other. In an unaccustomed display of bravery, Wido turned and confronted the orcish captain. A single thrust of his spear was enough to take the captain down.

Lysanthir moved into the cover of a nearby copse and cast a barrier spell between Wido and the advancing orcs. They would still keep coming but it would take them longer!

The death of their captain was enough to send one of the orcs fleeing, but the rest just wanted revenge! The orcish archer was clearly rattled by this, because Sir Thiebault was able to cleave its chest open with a single slash of his sword. The spearorcs closed in on Lysanthir, who had little room for manoeuvre now.

Wido closed in on one of the orcs and pushed it back, but was not able to hurt it. Onesipe moved to a position where he could shoot. Fulrad, being out of ammunition, attacked the orc nearest him with his sword but the orc's furious defence could not be overcome. Seeing the orc's back briefly unprotected, Lysanthir drove his sword into it, and one more orcish raider spilled its guts in the dust. Meanwhile, Drogo moved towards the other key point the party needed to scout.

The deaths of its comrades were enough to cause another orc to flee, but one yet remained. Wido and Fulrad formed up on Lysanthir while Sir Thiebault advanced quickly towards them to give support. Drogo was now sprinting towards the final area to be scouted.

The orc closed on Lysanthir, who immediately turned the tables and cut it down. The party now held the field and Drogo was able to quickly confirm that the final location contained no survivors.

Post-Battle Resolution

Adventure points gained: 6

Adventure milestone: Having defeated the orcs, I roll to see if their threat is reduced. I spend 4 Adventure Points on this. The roll is a 2 and the orcish threat is reduced by one.

Advancement: As a result of this battle, Onesipe now has enough experience to advance a level. He chooses the skill Pathwise as his advancement for this level. Wido's actions see him promoted to Hero status.

Loot: Searching the bodies turns up 1 Mark, a Fine Helmet and a Potion of Serpent Water. Lysanthir immediately takes the potion, claiming that only he knows how to use it. Sir Thiebault demands the fancy helmet and gives his old one to Drogo.

The party return to Utstein Marknad, where they report the results of their actions and their bar tab is written off for their efforts. A caravan is just arriving at the market as they return (2 additional rolls on rare goods next turn when trading).

Tuesday 6 December 2022

The Thrappled Lemmings Head To Market (Five Leagues from the Borderland)

 Ok, time to try to get to grips with the campaign rules. As I understand it, I first need to roll for them to get anywhere. It was not completely clear from the rules whether I can start at Utstein or not, so I am going to roll and treat this as Turn 0. It is totally in character that they would fail to get where they aimed for and this roll covers their travel to the new land.

 "I say we go this way," announced Sir Thiebault, "As an experienced adventurer, I have a nose for these things."

Sir Thiebault pointed directly inland from where they stood.

"With the greatest of respect, Sir Thiebault, I believe that we should head that way" declared Fulrad.

He pointed towards a thin trail of smoke on the horizon to their south. A narrow track led in that direction. As the group turned to look, they saw a lone traveller approaching.

"Let us ask this traveller," Lysanthir suggested.

The others looked doubtful. They were all too familiar with the carnage that attended random encounters in the wilderness. However, they were too late and Lysanthir was already marching off to meet the person approaching them.

As they got closer, details of the person's rather eccentric dress became clearer. They appeared to be clothed in a rainbow of offcuts from twenty different bolts of cloth. The fey nature of their features gave Lysanthir no pause at all.

"Greetings, traveller. We seek the nearest settlement. Our navigator dropped us off in the wrong place!"

"So I see. Worry not. Your journey will take you to the south, before it takes you further. Perhaps you would like to know more. I am Autolycus the Seer and I shall foretell the lie of the land for you if you will only gift me with a trinket or two that might entertain me."

Not hesitating, Lysanthir handed over a small quantity of silver from Onesipe's purse.

"Yes," muttered Autolycus the Seer, "I see that your presence in this land has already started great wheels in motion. You will find riches beyond your dreams and danger beyond measure, but I foretell that the danger will not be greater than the riches. This is my prophecy and I confirm it is true."

Autolycus walked off as Lysanthir stood there with his mouth open at the thought of all that wealth. His eyes were lit up like gold coins and the danger element had not registered with him at all. As the other's caught up they asked him what had happened.

"Gold," he said, "Gold. The Seer said we would find treasure beyond measure. Follow me now."

He set off down the track in the direction that Fulrad had suggested and the others followed because they had little choice unless they were all going to split up and go their separate directions. Before the day was out, they reached the small hamlet of Utstein Marknad. Currently it was not so small though. Asking around, they were informed that once a month, Utstein hosted the biggest market in the area. Possibly the only market in the area, but still the biggest.

The Thrappled Lemmings headed straight for the pub. After all, that was where you could find out what was going on in the area, and they would find out information that could guide them to this treasure.

So, that was the Confusing Trickster encounter. It has the effect of averaging Threat Levels. In this case, the only result is that the Orc Threat Level drops by 1 point to 5. At least they have made it to a settlement so the group can dig in and try to decide what to do next.

Monday 5 December 2022

The Thrappled Lemmings land in Utavoll (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

This is the same scenario with the same terrain as in my previous report. However, this time there are more orcs and I am using my campaign warband, whom you can find described in this post on the Thrappled Lemmings. It is still a training scenario, so the warband cannot gain experience or wealth from it but it gives me a chance to try them out.

 The Thrappled Lemmings had arrived in Utavoll. Not where they had intended, but somewhere on the coast. As they marched towards where Fulrad the Guide swore the nearest settlement should be, they encountered an orc patrol. The orcs were a group of seven that were clearly up to no good. You could tell by the way they were lurking in the woods. So, the Thrappled Lemmings chose to do the same and ducked into the cover of the nearest woods. The orcs advanced towards them.

 One of their archers shot at Sir Thiebault, who had carelessly let himself get ahead of the rest of his warband. Fortunately, his expensive armour caused the arrow to ping off. An orc charged Fulrad who pushed it back.Wido and Fulrad pushed the next orc back as it charged the pair of them. The remaining orcs charged forward to form a ragged line of spears facing the adventurers. Fulrad took the opportunity to put an arrow through the offending orc's ears, cleaning out all its earwax in the process. The orc that had attacked him fell dead. Onesipe shot at another orc but missed. Sir Thiebault let out a might roar and charged one of the orc archers, who pushed him back, leaving him wounded and stunned. Drogo charged the same orc archer and cleaved it in two with his axe.

"That's how you do it, Sir Thiebault!" he sneered.

Wido charged one of the spear orcs. His own spear took it through the arm, leaving it stunned and wounded. Unfortunately, he was unable to take advantage of this as the other orcs sought to protect their spearmate.

Lysanthir moved to Sir Thiebault.

"Poor baby, poor baby, poor baby," he began to chant.

As he chanted, the air around him shimmered and Sir Thiebault's wound closed.

Seeing his companions cut down, the largest of the orcs fled the battlefield.

 Onesipe and Fulrad let loose another volley of arrows. Onesipe hit a spearorc, leaving it stunned and wounded. Fulrad bravely skewered a tree. Sir Thiebault charged one of the orc archers, using his willpower to overcome his natural desire to let others begin the carnage. The orc was cut down, its head rolling in one direction and its body in another. Not to be outdone, Drogo charged into the fray, and promptly retreated as the orc turned the tables and knocked him silly with a violent blow. Fortunately, Drogo's armour protected him from worse harm than seeing stars. Lysanthir, like Sir Thiebault, had a healthy regard for letting others lead from the front, but he overcame this with pure will power to charge into the fray himself. Then he retreated quickly as neither he nor the orc could gain the advantage in the melee. Instead of following up Lysanthir, the orc turned on Wido, who skewered it after a quick exchange of blows that saw each gaining the advantage in turn. The orc that Onesipe had wounded decided that now was the time to get its revenge. A quick flurry of blows led to Onesipe pulling back wounded. The final orc attacked Drogo with renewed fury. He was unable to withstand its blows and was pushed back by the orc, bleeding from a nasty wound. Wido saw his chance and pushed in to wound the orc in its side, but was driven back in turn by the orc's battle fury. Despite the loss of their comrades, the remaining two orcs chose to fight on.

Seeing his chance while the orc was focused on Wido and Drogo, Sir Thiebault charged and bravely cut the spearorc down from behind. Lysanthir liked this idea, but the orc pushed him back immediately. The orc decided that Fulrad was a softer target, so it attacked him and got a knife in its belly for its pains. It expired messily.

The orc force was vanquished.

"Hah," exclaimed Sir Thiebault, "My saga gains another heroic episode. I thank you, my sidekicks, for bearing witness to my great actions."

"Yes, yes," muttered Lysanthir, "and more importantly, maybe we can now get on with finding this Evil Temple and looting it, if you are quite done wading in orc guts."

Well, they won. It was less one-sided than the previous game as the orcs scored some wounds on my team. However, as noted at the start, this is still a training scenario and the only thing that can be gained is a Story Point. Story Points are used to help the narrative, be it by allowing me to shape the story being told (e.g. encountering a specific enemy in battle) or by providing a bit of luck when a favourite character is hit or ensorcelled through permitting a reroll of the dice. That means the warband will start the campaign with 4 Story Points. Now all they need to do is roll successfully to find their jumping off point for the whole campaign and get there in one piece.

And, of course, now I need to read the campaign rules in detail. Once I have done that, I shall be back to see what misadventures the Thrappled Lemmings get into. I don't suppose this campaign will be played at a rapid rate of knots, but an intermittent campaign is better than none. That reminds me that i need to get back to poor Broneslav. He has been waiting months for me to create the map of the area he is about to enter.

The Thrappled Lemmings Limp On (Five Leagues from the Borderlands

  The Thrappled Lemmings have been a staple of my gaming since I GMed a Palladium FRP campaign back in the mists of the Stone Age. It was a campaign typical of a bunch of slackers looking for some structured socialising and storytelling: long on fun, short on common sense. Since then, I have used the name for a bunch of warbands. My Rangers of Shadow Deep warband has that name. Now the group gets a new incarnation for my Five Leages from the Borderlands campaign. The key thing is that each of these groups embodies the values and spirit of all that have proudly borne this name before.

This post sets out the team at the start. They will get their own page on this blog where their progress will be tracked

Region: Utavoll

Location: Somewhere near Utstein Marknad

Gold Marks: 3

Story Points: 3

Lysanthir Dawncloud (Avatar)

Origin: Fey Mystic (Level 1)

XP: 1

  • Ag: 1
  • Spd: 4/3
  • Cbt: +0
  • Tough: 3
  • Will: 1
  • Cast: +1

Proficiencies: Foresight, Aura of Winter, Cursed

Spells: Barrier, Fog, Heal, Mobility, Shield

Skills: +1 [WITS], Wits, Scholar

Equipment: Congealed Strands (2), Bastard sword (+0/+1), Staff (-1/0, Parry), Ring of Protection (Light armour 1)

Lysanthir is the leader of the The Trappled Lemmings. He is an Elven wizard and a great one for ideas. Unfortunately, he is not so much of a doer, and it is up to the rest of the Thrappled Lemmings to finish what he starts. The shenanigans started this time because he found an old map in the archives while researching a spell for perfect poached eggs every time. The map points to a dungeon full of treasure in the newly discovered land of Utavoll. All they have to do is get there and find it.

Sir Thiebault de Faicterau

Origin: Human Noble (Level 1)

XP: 0

  • Ag: 1
  • Spd: 6/3
  • Cbt: +0
  • Tough: 3
  • Luck: 2
  • Will: 2

Proficiencies: Driven

Skills: +1 [SPEECH], Leadership, Wilderness

Equipment: Bastard sword (+0/+1), Chain armour (Partial armour 2), Shield (+1 vs Ranged, Parry), Helm

The third son of a third son, Sir Thiebault has been living on his wits since he was born. He hopes that his involvement with the Thrappled Lemmings means that he can live off Lysanthir's wits. Thiebault is the doer of the group. He makes Lysanthir's ideas happen, although he does admit in his quiet moments that he is unsure about this new plan or the veracity of Lysanthir's map.

Drogo Durjardins

Origin: Human Frontiersman (Level 1)

XP: 1

  • Ag: 1
  • Spd: 6/3
  • Cbt: +0
  • Tough: 3

Proficiencies: Driven

Skills: +1 [SPEECH], Speech, Expertise

Equipment: Two-handed axe (+0/+1), Chain armour (Partial armour 2)

Drogo was born on the margins of Thiebault's estate, son of a poor woodcutter's daughter. One day, Thiebault and Lysanthir rode through town and Drogo grabbed his axe and joined the Thrappled Lemmings. He has regretted it ever since.

Onésipe De Quincey

Origin: Human Townsman (Level 1)

XP: 2

  • Ag: 1
  • Spd: 4/3
  • Cbt: +0
  • Tough: 4

Proficiencies: Driven

Skills: +1 [SPEECH]

Equipment: Crossbow (24", +1/+0, Bulky, Limited ammunition), Light weapon (-1/+0) Light armour (1)

Onésipe was always looking for the main chance, and then Thiebault rode through town looking like a million gold pieces (It had been a lucky week, and few were like that ever again). Onésipe joined up immediately and is now heartily sick of the gruel they regularly eat.


Origin: Human Hired Guide (Follower)

XP: 0

  • Ag: 1
  • Spd: 4/3
  • Cbt: +0
  • Tough: 3

Proficiencies: Driven

Skills: +1 [SPEECH]

Equipment: Self bow (18", +0/+0, Bulky, Limited ammunition), Standard weapon (+0/+0)

Fulrad needed a job and the Thrappled Lemmings hired him. As long as they continue to pay him, he will stay with them.


Origin: Human Wily Rogue (Follower)

: 0

  • Ag: 1
  • Spd: 4/3
  • Cbt: +0
  • Tough: 3

Proficiencies: Driven

Skills: +1 [SPEECH]

Equipment: Spear (+0/+0), Light armour (1)

Wido needed to leave his job with the city guard in a hurry. 'Luckily' the Thrappled Lemmings were recruiting.

Equipment Stash

1 Light Weapon


Silvertree leaf (2)

Sunday 4 December 2022

Training Wheels (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

 I've painted enough figures and I've read the rules. Time to take Five Leagues from the Borderlands for a ride. This is the starter scenario in the rules. Four orcs attempt to drive off four humans. I'm going to be the humans this time around. It makes no difference as the two forces are completely interchangeable for purposes of this scenario.

The Protagonists (left to right: Blixt, Perrin, Stafford, Sunderin)

The orcs are Demonworld 15mm from Ral Partha. The humans are Norman soldiers from the Two Dragons range sold by Caliver Books. The board is a printout from WargameVault which I have put in a cheap frame from Clas Ohlson. The rest of the 2D terrain also came from WargameVault (Just Paper Battles and Tiny Worlds) and I still need to edge it, but I want to play now(!). I'm making up a bunch of 2D terrain for ease of storage while I am separated from my regular terrain, although looking at the woods on the table, I really want some trees to put on those templates. I may have to head down to the model railway shop at my next opportunity.

The Hostiles (left to right: Grokk, Gryn, Grig, Grubb)

The Game

The battlefield

The orcs are lurking in ambush in the woodline, but Blixt the Scout has spotted where they are likely to be. He runs to the nearest copse and takes up position on the edge to cover his own side's advance. An arrow thunks into the tree near him as Grokk the Archer fires.Grub, Grig and Gryn advance quickly towards Blixt, attempting to get into the cover of the same copse. Perrin the Spearman races to support Blixt, as does Stafford the Swordsman. Sundelin the Bludgeon races for a different copse, intending to outflank Grokk before he can do any more damage.

The forces close with each other while the archers shoot

Blixt shoots at Gryn and hits him. The arrow pierces his armour, but Gryn is tough. although wounded and discombobulated by this, he remains on his feet. Perrin moves in to attack Grub. Grub is caught out by the speed with which Perrin moves and is run through by Perrin's spear before he can do anything. Stafford seeks to emulate or outdo Perrin's feat and moves in to attack Grig. Stafford narrowly beats past Grig's defences, showing nothing of the skill that Perrin displayed and the blow is stopped by Grig's armour. Grig is driven backwards and Perrin follows up. Perrin's next blow only just gets past Grig's defences, but it is enough. Though inelegant, Grig is laid low by it just the same. Grokk is distraught at Grig's death and fires at Stafford but misses. Gryn, despite being wounded advances on Stafford too. Unfortunately for Gryn, Stafford quickly turns the tables but Gryn regains the initiative only for Stafford to regain it. The two step back to grab a breather. Meanwhile, Sunderin races towards Grokk but cannot quite reach him.

First and second blood to the humans

Blixt fires quickly at Gryn but misses. Stafford closes on Gryn and disposes of him in a trice. Snicker snack, the orc leader falls in two parts to the ground. Grokk attempts to shoot Sunderin but misses. His hands are trembling too much to aim properly. Sunderin charges into melee but Grokk's desperate defence holds him off and the two stand a short distance apart looking at each other.. Perrin races across towards Grokk but does not reach him yet.

Third blood to the humans too!

Sunderin closes once more with Grokk who defends desperately, but in the end is wounded by Sunderin. Perrin races in to join the melee. Grokk is still stunned from his exchange with Sunderin and is easy meat for Perrin, who immediately skewers him. The soldiers have completed their patrol successfully.

The humans hold the field


Well, that went well for the humans. I am fairly sure I got most of the rules right, so that is a bonus, but I had better read them again just to be sure.

The main issue I had was caused by forgetting that a Stunned result is removed at the end of the phase in which it happened so I spent ages looking for what to do when a hostile was stunned and it was their turn. The answer was that he was not stunned, because he got stunned in the previous phase of the turn. That's what happens when you overthink things and bring baggage from other games to the table.

There were also issues with remembering to account for the status of figures, but that will come with practice. It may also help to make some stunned and wounded markers for the game.

The game itself took about 30-45 minutes to play. This included a lot of looking up of rules to check I was playing it right. That is pretty good for my purposes. I could get several campaign turns played in an evening if I so chose, or I can just have a quickie (as it were!) and play a single game when the opportunity presents. Works for me.

Now I just need to read the rules again and roll up a warband of my own. Then I shall play this scenario over again to let the rules embed properly before cracking on with a campaign.

Wednesday 30 November 2022

Welcome to Utavoll (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

 I picked up Five Leagues from the Borderlands earlier this year and am looking forward to trying it. I am busily painting 15mm baddies for the game. It will be a wee while before I am ready to play, but I got excited and started on the map which is at a stage where it is now fit to be shared, if not fully done.

Welcome to Utavoll

Utavoll is terra incognita. It is a land to the east of the known world where people are settling. The coastal regions are are relatively well settled now, but dark things are stirring and brave murder hobos are needed to tame this new land for elf and dwarf and human alike. Enter our heroes. Their names are unknown at the moment. All we know is that they are sailing from Nurthvaygr even as I type. We know that they will seek to make land at one of the coastal settlements, so let us look at the area they will arrive in.

The coastal settlements of Utstein and Elsfjord are natural landing spots. The swamps to the west of Haitabu are not a great place to land and anywhere else on the coast is too unpopulated to be useful. Haitabu is a seasonally occupied nomadic camp. It has a small permanent population but local nomads congregate there in larger numbers at regular intervals. Fikaby is a small farming community of the most anti-social settlers, pushing into the wilderness to break new ground and avoid what passes for the authorities in Utavoll.

Utavoll (1 hex = 50 miles)

Orkheim in the north-east is a known camp or staging area for the hostile orc forces in this area. The orcs are a major threat to the people settling the area, although some have suggested that the reverse is really the case.

The Hooded Men are a gang of outlaws whose goal is to enrich themselves at the cost of the peaceful settlers and who need a better name but my imagination is lacking right now. Their numbers are unknown but we know that they have a camp in the Myrkved Woods.

The Synod of Reason in the south-east is a cult of necromancers who seek immortality as liches. Their rituals raise the dead and send them against the living. By consuming the life force of the living, these foul sorcerers bolster their own life force. When they have enough, they can perform an unspeakable ritual to convert their living bodies to undead ones with all their powers intact.

White Peak Delve is a known dungeon in the central mountains and there is a known area of interest in the far north-east that has not yet been explored.

This, then, is the map at the start of the campaign. I created the map in Campaign Cartographer 3+ using the Mike Schley hex style. I like how it looks and can easily update it as new areas of interest appear. It still needs some fettling for me to be fully happy with it, but it is perfectly usable as is. There is plenty of unexplored wilderness and I have a field to the left of the map where I can type up hex locations and their contents as they are added to the game.

We'll see how it goes, but I have a certain desire to play this as a hex crawl as my warband explores the area and maps it. Not sure how that will work out, but it could be fun to try.

I already know which baddies I shall be using, based on what I already have available to me, so it is just a case of cracking on with the painting. I'm going to be playing in 15mm and the figures are a mix of historical Vikings and Normans from Two Dragons Productions (now sold by Caliver Books) and Demonworld from Ral Partha. I have plans to add figures from Alternative Armies because they have a decent range of the monsters that will occasionally turn up.

So, that's the game set-up. I had better get back to the painting table so that I can play sooner rather than later.

Tuesday 15 November 2022

'Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game' from Dan Verssen Games: Some further thoughts

 I've played a couple of dozen games of Warfighter now, both on VASSAL and physically. So, it's time to follow up my previous reports with a few more thoughts. These are based on the content of the VASSAL module which you can buy direct from DVG and on the core module with a few expansions that I bought.

The VASSAL module

The VASSAL module includes the core game and expansions 1-47. That is a lot of content, but not everything released for the game at the time of writing. I am fairly sure that the additional expansions will be released as mods for the VASSAL module, but I have no idea when that will be.

Even though it states expansions 1-47, it does not include 47 expansions, because the Warfighter expansions in that series include the Warfighter: Shadow War and Warfighter PMC core games plus expansions for them. It's still a good lot of content though and offers plenty of options for your games.

One issue I found with the VASSAL module was that one of the Eastern European missions had the wrong card image, so I could not play it on VASSAL, because you need to be able to reference those images. I wrote to DVG about whether that mod would be updated but have not heard back. There might be other issues with the cards in the mods but I have not found those yet.

The VASSAL module is good and lets you get started playing with a wide variety of forces for player squads and adversaries. It is consistent in form, so you do not need to worry about differences in cards (more on this in the physical game below) and it includes the rules as part of the VASSAL module as well as two scenario books that set out missions with specific forces and objectives. I have not tried the scenario books, so cannot commment on them.

Using the VASSAL module is simple, so the game is easy to play with no need to spend time digging out the cards and setting up a playing area. As the whole set-up is consistent, whether or not it conforms to the most recent errata or not, there are no issues with sorting out the cards as I discuss for the physical game. My only issue with it is that I could do with a larger monitor than my current 27" one, so I do not have to scroll or zoom to get to different parts of the game board

When I bought the Modern VASSAL module, I also got the WW2 module. I am glad I started with the VASSAL modules. They gave me a good feel for the game at a decent price and showed me that I preferred the Modern version.

Warfighter 4th Edition

The core Modern game comes with US soldiers and equipment, Middle Eastern insurgent and military adversaries, and Jungle Cartel adversaries, plus the appropriate locations, counters, rules, board, one scenario book. This is all entirely playable out of the box.

The 4th edition also includes all the latest card updates. These have happened along the way as the game has developed and expanded to the point where there is an upgrade pack containing 360 cards for those with earlier versions of the game. If you are only going to play the 4th edition core game, you don't need the upgrade pack.

The upgrade pack also includes cards for the first nine expansions, which were released before the changes to the game. You simply swap out cards with the same name for those cards in the upgrade pack. It is fairly simple to do this, although it gets confusing because the card numbers are often not the same and there are a lot of questions about just this on the BGG forum, so it is not just me getting confused. Some of these expansions have been upgraded to the new cards, but others have not. When I bought my copies, I found I had a mix of the two. This will depend upon stock at the place you buy the game and when they got it in.

I'm glad I got the upgrade pack because of this, but it is also useful because having duplicate or triplicate cards for the equipment makes it easier to remember who is carrying what.

The issue comes when some of the cards ostensibly depicting the same equipment have been upgraded further. My 4th edition core game came with a MOLLE card that lets my troops carry more stuff, but the cost was more than in the other set this card came in, and I was not sure which was correct. Referencing the VASSAL module, I was given one stat set, but when I checked on the BGG forum, I realised the VASSAL version was out of date. Not a problem when it is consistent within the set, but confusing when putting together various expansions.

Another issue I have found was that the core game is meant to come with two of the MOLLE card but I only received one. I need to contact DVG customer service about this. In the meantime, I have printed out the version of the MOLLE that I am using and have pasted it onto the older version of the card so that my set is consistent.

My final issue to mention here is with the Australian set I bought. You get two copies of the AUG F88 rifle, but each of my two copies had different long range stats on them. I found out which was correct on the BGG group very quickly and also learned that the suppressed version, for which you only get one card, also had the wrong stats. It's a bit frustrating that these errors are present when you pay good money for these things, but I have pasted the correct stats onto the card, so it is not a total loss. I'll be copying and pasting the most up-to-date versions of the stats onto any other cards with similar errors. It's not elegant but it does the job. One other thing I have done is to copy and paste the most commonly used weapons (in my case grenades) onto spare weapons cards, so that I have enough to go around. This is a good way to use the cards that have been removed from the set for being outdated.

The Verdict

It really is a fun game and a lot more interesting than I initially thought when I first read about it. Each game plays out like scenes from a movie and the sorts of tactics that I feel ought to work in real life do work in the game, as long as the dice do not mess things up for you. Playing a series of games with the same soldiers can result in you getting attached to them, and it gets to feel like a role-playing game at times.

Overall, the physical game wins out despite the slight irritations. I spend all day at work using a computer screen and don't particularly want to stare at one in my downtime too. Shuffling and moving the physical components is also a large part of my preferred gaming experience, and is far superior to clicking and dragging. That said, getting the computer to do the shuffling for you certainly does save on picking up the cards from the floor when I drop them. That happens all too often these days!

The actual physical components feel sturdy and good quality. The downside of the physical game is the footprint on the table. You'll likely use a large part of the typical dining table to get set up, although people do suggest ways of reducing the game's footprints, such as card holders that keep your cards upright.

There are a lot of expansions for the game. You get a large number of them in the VASSAL module and it would cost a fair bit of money to match that in the physical version. That said, you don't need all of them to play. There is a good game to be played right out of the box. I don't see me buying every expansion, simply because not all are of interest, but I could certainly be tempted by a few more, and adversaries packs that control the opposing force are more likely to tempt me than more nations ... well, unless they add the Norwegian army ...

With all this in mind, I very much hope that they get around to the Near Future/Cyberpunk version soon. I would love to use this system to build and run a cyberpunk gang, hacking my way past security and running extremely hostile corporate takeovers.

Thursday 10 November 2022

A Walk in the Light Green 10: Take 'Em Out (Warfighter campaign)

 This Warfighter campaign uses the Warfighter Modern Australian pack as the player side and African Warlords packs 1 and 2 for the adversaries and missions. This is the tenth and final game in the campaign. Click here to read the previous game.

So, I started trying to write this in the style of Jerry Ahern's Survivalist novels because I thought it would be fun and it felt nostalgic as I had read a few of them in the eighties. I gave up. This post would have been ten times the length it currently is. Enjoy the first part, just the same, and please forgive me for not describing the weapons, bullet weights and muzzle velocities in more detail! I promise to attempt more brand-aware game reports another time.

"Gray, we got them on the ropes. Here's the target package for the last of the poachers in this area. Time to take 'em out. You've done a great job so far and I'm giving you all the resources available. Pull this off and you can get some R&R. Take Ross with you and show him the ropes. He'll be taking over from you while you're opening tinnies on the beach back home."

Gray looked through the package briefly, saluted and left. Time to gather his team and brief them. Ross was a fire-eater with a good track record in other theatres but relatively new in Bwendi. Chances were he would be a good replacement for Gray though. The rest of the team knew Gray from previous missions and they had worked together well throughout the current campaign. Gray laid out the mission for them.

It was going to be a long trek in the heat, so they would not be able to pack much in, but they could expect a parachute drop of supplies half way to the poacher's camp. That should help them restock and make the final push. It also meant they did not need to conserve ammo in the first half of the mission. With the team briefed, they moved out.

Cradling the weight of his SIG MCX lightly in his arms, Gray ordered Reid to take point. The experienced soldier had good eyes and was packing enough grenades to start a fireworks show.

"Hippos," muttered Reid, "Why did it have to be hippos?"

The river ahead was devoid of cover, and surrounded by open fields. A civilian caravan was passing nearby. Not a lot the team could do other than hope they did not alert the poachers further down the route. Worse yet, hippos were enjoying the cool water of the river. Reid directed the team around the hippos to a safer crossing point. Safer merely meant that the team had the drop on the poachers lounging near it. A group of guards were chilling with their feet in the water. A nervous kid looking uncomfortable with the 4kg weight of his AK was near them. More worrying were the gunman and his crew who looked experienced and watchful.

Reid pressed forward on his belly through what little cover there was. As soon as he was close enough, he threw an F1 grenade at the gunman. 30g of RDX detonated, sending metal shards flying at lethal speeds through the gunman and one of his crew. The other fled as fast as he could.

Evans, following Reid in, lobbed another F1 at the gunmen chilling by the water. One of them disappeared into the water in a spray of blood and flesh. He would be food for the hippos soon enough. The other froze just long enough for several 5.56x45mm NATO rounds to rip through him as the whole team opened up.

The kid rabbited, dropping his AK behind him in his haste to get away.

The team secured the area quickly and began to cross the river. As they did so, two more poachers emerged from the brush. Ross detonated the Claymore he had deployed as soon as he was over the river. Around 700 steel ball bearings shredded the brush and two of the poachers at around 1200 metres per second. The hippos were going to have to drink these guys. The other was wounded and ducked into cover. Gray gave the order to smoke him out.

A blast of 5.56mm rounds soon put paid to the guy, but a jumpy looking guy leapt out of ambush at the same time, only to fall to another hail of hot lead, just as Gray had got the team ready to move out. Ahead lay some of the traditional Bwendi domed huts. The team moved in and suddenly found that the area was hot. Gray cursed.

"Damned caravan must have warned them."

Then there was a sudden explosion. A local meeting erupted into chaos as someone had clearly goofed in priming their bombs. People ran in every direction as the team moved in. Unfortunately, the poachers stationed here looked looked like a main force with leadership and they were dug in. Gray called in the drone. The officer and his crew disappeared in a pink mist as the bombs scored a direct hit. The chopper's minigun put paid to another squad of hostiles as hundreds of rounds of 7.62mm bullets tore through them in a classic case of peace through superior firepower.

Under cover of the noise of the explosions and the dust from them, the team moved in, throwing grenades and firing long bursts until the only noise left in this village was a the ringing in their ears.

"Right, let's move on before those locals warn anyone else," Gray commanded and got his team ready to move on.

Unfortunately, the grassy fields beyond the huts were heaving with heavily armed poachers. Reid took point again, throwing a grenade at a group of riflemen idling on the edge of the corn, causing them to get their heads down. He followed up with a grenade at a group of inexperienced riflemen who were bunched closely enough together to make them too tempting a target. Evans followed closely behind him and dropped a grenade on a machinegun team that slowed them down enough for Gray to move in, fire a burst of 5.56mm that shut them down for good, and then called in the drone once more to drop a heavy load of high explosive on a more experienced looking group of riflemen. Pearce, Rogers and Ross followed closely behind as Gray took out a hostile with an RPG who had just popped up, and their combined fire cleared the way across the field.

The men were sweating and their mouths dry, but they needed to keep moving to hit their target. Time was running out but they were functioning well as a team despite the heat, and they were nearly at the supply drop. Good job too, because they had used up all their F1 grenades and were going to need a case or two of 5.56mm ammo to keep them going.

The rocky lake that was the RV for the supply drop lay ahead of them. The midday sun burned down. Unfortunately, there was little time to stare into the water and contemplate their place in the universe, because the poachers were dug in around the lake. Two machine-gun teams, a sniper and a bunch of riflemen were waiting. Fortunately, the team had remained unseen so far. Gray gave the order.

"Rapid fire! Take the bastards out!"

A hail of copper-jacketed lead streaked towards the hostiles, as the drone dropped high explosive on the machine-gun cart and those with grenades left ensured that the poachers were fed as much RDX as they could stomach. In short order, the drop zone was secured and Gray called it in. The team resupplied, filled their canteens from the lake and prepared to head out on the second leg of their mission.

The hot plains beyond the lake were a massive contrast to the cool waters of the lake. The soldiers cursed the heat and licked dry lips. Their only consolation was that the hostiles were obviously no fans of the heat either. Those few hostiles who were out in the heat were not paying attention and it was a simple matter to rain lead on them until the heat ceased to bother them.

The river ahead looked like a place of refuge, but it was not to be. The hostiles were here in force. Worse yet, it looked like a prepared position. Reid, on point, spotted and IED and led the team around it, but things could have been bad there. Once more the heavy weapons were out. Reid pointed out to the rest of the team an RPG gunner and a dozen riflemen all looking menacing. Ross let rip a burst of high velocity lead and the RPG gunner dropped where he stood. Pearce lobbed an F1 at a group of gunmen, killing one and suppressing the rest. He followed up with a burst that killed another hostile. Rogers dropped a long rifleman with a well aimed burst and several of the other riflemen fled into the bush. The sight of their fellow being felled was too much for them. The remaining poachers were quickly disposed of with a combination of grenades and rifle fire.

Gray and his team paused to regroup and prepared to move on. They crossed the river carefully, dodging around a more professional-looking than usual group of poachers. Suddenly an ambusher ducked up. Ross sent several hundred ball bearings his way as he triggered the Claymore that he had set up as they secured their perimeter. The ambusher disappeared in a spray of blood. As they moved out of their crossing point, more riflemen could be seen. Evans and Reid threw F1s at them and the fragmenting casings shredded several of the poachers. The whole team then opened up with their rifles and filled the air with lead. This proved unhealthy for the remaining poachers. However, the team could see a hostile patrol approaching. Their objective was in sight though. Not long until they got their, although the obvious heavy machinegun emplacement was ominous.

Once across the river, the team had to make their way through a large village. Reid immediately spotted three RPG teams as well as sundry other riflemen. The enemy patrol had reached here too, so it was clearly time to dig out the big guns. Ross radioed battalion and got access to a mortar stonk that vapourised several of the riflemen and made the remaining one keep his head down. Gray brought the drone in and one of the RPG teams disappeared amid the dust and fire of a missile strike. A sniper from battalion dropped another rifleman. With two careful bursts, Gray neutralised two RPG teams and ordered his men into the village. The overwhelming firepower of the Aussie team quickly neutralised the rest of the hostiles, although they were now running low on grenades. Unfortunately, they were now in range of the heavy machinegun. A burst of heavy fire tagged Reid, who was on point. He was still mobile, but was slowed down now.

It was obvious that the team was now approaching the poachers' main camp and that the poachers were desperate. There were no fewer than three machinegun nests, an RPG gunner and one group of dug-in riflemen in the grassy plains before the objective. Ross called for mortar fire again, killing one machinegunner and wounding his assistant. The sniper took out another gunner, and the drone destroyed the machinegun nest on the objective. With most of the hostiles suppressed, the troops moved in and sprayed 5.56mm rounds on the enemy. Soon, none were standing and the team were preparing to move on the objective.

By now, the heat was really telling and the team were flagging. Only Gray and Ross seemed to be fully acclimated. The poacher camp ahead was heaving with hostiles. Gray cursed as he saw the guard hippos too.

"What is it with these damned hippos everywhere?" he muttered as he directed his team around them.

Ross called up the mortar one more time. The poachers' officer and his crew disappeared in a pink mist. The sniper's rifle cracked and a gunman fell. Gray called down another mortar strike and took out half of the machinegun crew. Reid moved into the objective first. His grenade made a bunch of gunmen keep their heads down and he took out two dug-in riflemen at close range with his rifle. They never even saw him coming. Evans closed in next and neutralised two groups of hostiles with his F1 grenades. Ross followed up next and quickly took out the last of the machinegun crew with a single shot to the head. The rest of the squad followed in short order and blasted everything that was moving until it stopped. As the dust cleared, they realised they had taken the poachers' camp.

Gray radioed in and called for extraction. The poachers would not bother this area of Bwendi again, although he doubted that was the end of the problem. Many of them would move quickly enough elsewhere, but that was a problem for the the top brass. He was heading home for a few tinnies by the beach with a satisfying sense of having done his job well.

Reid got wounded again, but Gray got him out of there, so he will just have more scars to impress his beloved with. Luckily, Ross drew the Shake It Off card straight after, so he could heal the wound and return Reid to fighting fitness there and then.

  • + 11 VPs = 64 VPs. That's a solid strategic victory. Gray has won the campaign and driven the poachers out of the mission area.
With the campaign won, time for some reflection. I think I am down with the rules now and made few, if any, mistakes. The most difficult part is keeping track of where I am up to in the turn and making sure I work through it methodically. With the team I had, and recruiting an extra player soldier, this final mission felt unchallenging, although I am certain it would have got challenging if I had stopped thinking hard about where to attack and ensuring that the enemy were suppressed at all times. The fact that Reid got wounded is proof of that. I forgot I had moved into range of the heavy machinegun and Reid paid the price.

I have thoroughly enjoyed these forays into Warfighter. The game requires focus, some decent decision making and a bit of luck, which is really a good combination. Your decisions are meaningful and a moment's carelessness can cost you. The only negative point is the need to sort through the supplements to make sure you have the right versions of the cards. I noticed a couple of cards in the action deck that were wrong, but the numbers suggested they were from the update kit I bought, so I need to go back through all the spare cards and see if I have included in my action deck cards that should have been removed. That's fine though. I'm still convinced that my main hobby is organising my games and their storage rather than playing them.

So, with campaign over, I'm not sure whether to start another campaign or to play something else next. We'll see.