Advisory Note

Please Note: This blog contains poorly painted toy soldiers that may offend those of an aesthetically sensitive disposition.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Hungry, hungry Trolls

Scenario - Four hungry trolls have descended upon the demesne of the local lord to steal cattle. The peasantry and hunters/woodsmen naturally want to stop them.

Rules - Bob Cordery's Portable Ancients rules with the following game specific features

Unit                 SP          Move         Range
Troll                4             2                Adjacent
Knight             4             3                Adjacent
Men at arms   4             2                Adjacent
Peasants        3             2                Adjacent
Hunters          3              2               3
Cattle             N/a          1                N/a

To move the cattle a unit must be adjacent and have sole possession of them.
The Knight and his men at arms arrive at Turn 5.
Exhaustion Point is at 50% of Strength Points (SP). If this point is reached the humans can only stand and fight but if it is the Trolls they will withdraw and look elsewhere for dinner.
The Trolls are effectively outnumbered (total SP = 16) once the Lord and his soldiers arrive (Total SP = 23 at turn 5) and so have to be quick to eliminate the peasants guarding the cattle and withdraw with their prize.

Opening position

The trolls approach and engage
Hunters fire from a distance as more peasants advance
Half the troll force pushes forward hoping to block the human advance
Turn 5. Poor dice rolls have stopped the trolls and reinforcements have arrived
Sir Over-privileged
It's all gone horribly wrong for the trolls
Run away!

In the end it appears that the peasants and woodsmen could have despatched the trolls without the Lord and his men - one up for the Working Class!
With hindsight the trolls were unlucky but probably should have been given a higher SP rating - well they're pretty fierce. Also the Cattle should have had a reaction test each turn - they were very docile in the face of the hungry trolls (who were clearly weakened by their hunger). Good fun all the same.
For the bovine spotters, the breed of cattle is Hornby 00 Gauge.


  1. Very interested to read this as I'm working on suggestions for Fantasy wargames with Bob's Portable Wargame rules. I also note you are using the system for a lower level eounternc, almost a skirmish, rather than a full scale battle.

    1. Arthur

      Thanks for your interest. I like small actions and the rules seem to work just as well with 1 SP = 1 person/monster (perhaps monsters are also people?). I feel that the trolls should have been tougher but then I wasn't expecting luck to be on the side of the peasants either - unpredictable results are often the more interesting (or alarming!).

    2. That the PW rules work with such small actions is yet another point in their favour, which I will certainly mention in my article. I should clarify that I will not be producing a complete, stand-alone Fantasy Portable Wargame, but an article for Miniature Wargames offering suggestions and ideas for adapting the PW rules for Fantasy games. With your permission, I will refer readers to your blog.

    3. Arthur

      Please feel free to mention the blog - it will encourage me to play more games! Perhaps Bob can be persuaded to write another book!

  2. Wow! You have developed a very interesting variant of my DPW rules.

    I know that Arthur Harman has been working on a fantasy variant of my rules, and we hope to publish them at some time In the future. Perhaps you should compare notes. I understand that Arthur has been comparing notes with Tradgardemastare, who is also interested in a fantasy variant.

    All the best,


    1. Bob

      Glad you approve as I know Fantasy is not your thing! I wanted to give the rules a try with Ancients, but as I still haven't got round to painting any (due to other distractions) this little skirmish was the result. I'll happily play test the new rules when they're available.

  3. Great report. The fact that the 'moving' objective is cattle is perfect for this scenario - I love it.

    I must pick up Bob's rules now.

    I recognise some of the Airfix knights and archers, but what make are those trolls?

  4. ...or should that be 'moooving' objective.
    See what I did there?

    1. This comment mooves me.

      Yes Airfix Robin Hood and Sheriff of Nottingham figures amongst others - some of my favourite 1/72nd chaps probably because they were the first I had of that size. The Trolls are by Red Box -
      Bob's rules are good fun and as an E Book are amazingly well priced

  5. Those airfix sets are fantastic for generic medieval types. The red box trolls look fantastic too. I love seeing people adapt a rule set for their own ends, to me thats the way it should be!. Great stiff as always Mr Tar!.

  6. Replies
    1. Cheers and thanks for the encouragement! Hope the holidays are going well for you and the Sprinkslets

    2. Yep its going very well thanks Jack, the campaign is up and running and they have come up with some great ideas, i will post about it soon. Really enjoying your blog mate keep up the good work!.

    3. Looking forward to reading it mate

  7. Seeing the Airfix figures brought a smile to my face and many memories. I'm just in the process of building my board but will definitely give this version a try.

  8. Dan
    It's amazing the variety and superb sculpting of figures on the market now but there's still a charm about certain old Airfix figures that brings me back to them every time, like the old ACW sets. Probably an age thing!

  9. A fun little encounter which highlights the possibilities.

    Another cheer for good old Airfix. Amazing how good they look when well painted.

  10. Thanks Ross. Bob's rules are simple enough to play straight away without constantly referring back and forth but clever enough to cause surprising outcomes. The Exhaustion Point rule is splendid. Each time I've tried the rules the outcome I expected has not appeared which is a bonus for the Solo wargamer.

  11. Maudlin, A good looking game. I can see that some of the slightly odd Heroscape starter Master set figures that we were talking about over on my blog would work really well for you in this fantasy set up. Although the Bravest Robin Hood Airfix figures would literally be dwarfed by Heroscape figures ... wish you well for your new fantasy Portable Wargame games / rules.

  12. Thanks! Most of the figures I own are of the 1/72nd / 20mm variety though there are some other sizes lurking in half-started projects!

  13. I am really digging the Dark Age vibe of the rules so far. Very Tolkienesque too! Looking forward to seeing where you go with these rules.


    1. Thanks John! I actually have no idea where I'm going with this, but I'm hoping to do more soon.