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.


  1. Cute figures. I tried 5 leagues but I didn't like rolling so many tables before and after each game. Have fun!

    1. Thank you. Yes, definitely cute figures. Two Dragons and Demonworld are two of my favourite figure ranges. I can understand not liking all the dice rolling for the campaign. The battle rules worked well though. We'll see how I go with the campaign, but so far I feel like it will work for me, and I can adapt or make narrative decisions that ignore the need to roll as needed. 5 Leagues is a toolkit after all, and I can be the hero of my own story!