Print and Play Gamer

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Wood Elf patrol by Okumarts Games

ASoBaH: Wood Elves vs. Goblins

Most of the players at my local gaming club are hardcore Warhammer 40K players, and I’ve really wanted to get into miniatures wargaming for a long time. Unfortunately, the minimum up-front cost to get into Warhammer is $300 or more, once you buy models, rulebooks, paints, tools, etc. Plus, I’m already heavily invested in cardstock miniatures and terrain crafting. Upon the recommendation of Uncle Atom at Tabletop Minions, I picked up the rules for Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes, a skirmish-level fantasy wargame that lets you play with whatever models you own—even cardstock ones! Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes, often called ASoBaH by its fans, is an elegant, easy-to-learn skirmish wargame from indie publisher Ganesha Games.

Song of Dice and Cardstock

Goblin Warband by Paper Forge
My goblin warband included three skirmishers, three archers, and two worg riders.

Last night, I finally got enough of the right models and terrain together to bring ASoBaH to my local gaming club and take it for a spin. I brought two small warbands—250 points each of Goblins and Wood Elves—along with a small selection of ruined buildings and set up a table to play. Although I was technically playing by myself as I worked my way through the rules for the first time, I wanted the hardcore Warhammer 40K players who make up most of the club to see something a little different. Here’s a sample of what they saw:

Reaction Rolls

Wood Elf patrol by Okumarts Games
My wood elf patrol included a captain and four archers.
I wasn’t sure how they’d react to either my cardstock minis and terrain, or to the fast-moving Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes rule set, but they really surprised me. Several complimented the all-cardstock table, and honestly, it did look pretty good. The terrain was an especial hit—more than one Warhammer veteran commented that both the large ruin and the crosspieces set would work well for Age of Sigmar, the Games Workshop’s fantasy wargame. They even gave the 2D cardstock minis positive reviews…though I doubt any of them plan to sell off their plastic armies any time soon! Several club members hung around my table for a few minutes at a time, I suppose while their opponents were moving their vast 40K armies. Most of them seemed at least intrigued by ASoBaH‘s swift and surprising style of play. Apparently, a lot of Warhammer games are pretty much decided by the second or third turn (though it can take an hour or more to play each turn out!) but my game ran several turns, and both sides were in it until the very end. I was pleasantly surprised at how the momentum swung from the goblins, to the elves, then back to the goblins, before the climactic final melee, in which the elven captain made his heroic and almost successful last stand. Though each reversal was unexpected, none of them felt random or unfair. ASoBaH seems to do a nice job of balancing the lists and keeping the game exciting until the very end.

What's on the Table?

I printed and assembled everything in the photos from downloadable PDF files. Here’s the info on the major pieces on the table:

Wood Elf Warband

Wood Elves printable miniatures by Okumarts GamesThese are five of the eighteen figures included in the Darkfast Classic Fantasy Set Two: Wood Elves, from Okumarts Games. As in most of his sets, David Okum uses layers in the PDF file to let you print warbands in several different color schemes. Bonus minis in the set include four wood elves mounted on galloping stags!

Goblin Warband

Paper Forge cardstock miniatures at PatreonMy goblin warband comes from Paper Forge, one of the cardstock mini publishers I support on Patreon. Paper Forge’s line currently offers almost 50 miniatures. Several goblin and gnoll variants are included, allowing you to assemble warbands with a wide variety of arms and armor.

Ruined Church

The amazing Ruined Church model from Dave Graffam Models blew the Warhammer players away last night. It’s one of his more complex models, so assemble a few simpler buildings before you attempt this one.

Archway Ruins

David Graffam's Archway Ruins at DriveThruRPGThe Archway Ruins are just one of several compatible sets of slotted crosspiece terrain offered by David Graffam Models. They can be arranged differently every time you set up a table. Last night, I set them up in a large cross shape, to suggest a ruined cathedral.

What's Next with ASoBaH?

I really enjoyed my first full game of Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes, even if I was mostly playing against myself. I definitely plan to bring it to the club again in two weeks (next week is our regular D&D campaign). I’ll probably also set up a table in the basement and explore the rules a bit more on my own. Once I’m a bit more familiar with the game, I’ll post a full review of the rule system. That will be a longer Friday post, probably either this week or next.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in trying out miniatures wargaming on the cheap, I strongly recommend Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes. You can get the ASoBaH rules from DriveThruRPG or Wargame Vault, and play the game using the miniatures—paper or plastic!—that you already own. I promise you, you’re gonna have a good time!

Until next time, keep printing, and keep playing!

6 thoughts on “ASoBaH: Wood Elves vs. Goblins”

  1. Great report! I loved the table set up with the ruins, and the cathedral layout was an especially nice touch. Super nice terrain and figures. I enjoy all of Andrea’s games at Ganesha. I’m on a 4 against darkness kick right now, but Asobah is always a favorite. Its quick to learn the base mechanics and has a ton of replay ability. Good stuff!!

    1. Thanks, Michael! I’ve only been aware of Ganesha for about a year, but I love everything I’ve seen from Andrea so far. I was really stoked to actually play ASoBaH, instead of just carrying the rules around in my bag for a year. I’ll be taking my terrain and two or three lists-worth of figures back to Monday game night in a couple of weeks, and I’m sure I’ll find plenty of folks willing to play against me.

  2. Sounds fun. I have SoBaH but haven’t played yet. I will definitely give it a try and if I like it it I might get ASobaH. also Inspired my to build the ruined church, been sitting in my to print “pile” but getting pushed back for easier models or other models I needed at the time.

    1. Glad to hear it, Josh! Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes was out by the time I discovered the system, so I just went with the latest version, but from what I hear, the original version is a great game, too. Based on what I’ve read, it’s not “Advanced” as in more complex, but as in a more refined, cleaner version of the rules. They could have just as easily called it a second edition, and possibly been a bit clearer about the relationship between the two versions. As for Graffam’s ruined church, it’s a great model, and one of his few with an interior. It gives your figures a lot of strategic options that you don’t normally have with an intact building. I think that’s what really impressed the Warhammer guys who saw it the other night–they were imagining their little dudes shooting from high positions with cover!

  3. Kevin Stanley

    Always liked SoBH, picked up ASoBH during a Kickstarter, slight differences between the two, but you can still play the two against each other. I think there is a free PDF that mentions the differences.
    Played quite a few times with my dad and a couple games with my brother and cousin everyone seemed to like it.

  4. My gaming group was not as welcoming to the idiosyncrasies of ASoBH, but the game has some great ideas. Thanks for using my Elves. I really like how that set came out and want to expand on my “elf lore” for the Darkfast Dungeons RPG.

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