Sunday, 17 March 2013

Goblin Quest

Righty-ho - another post that has been languishing in the backlog.

Last weekend I managed to entice my lad into another game of Rab's fantastic Goblin Quest. Well, it didn't take much enticing actually! So with Dave King's excellent dungeon tiles prepped and ready, a handful of gold coins nicked from Star Wars Monopoly and a veritable cornucopia of dice types the scene was set for the adventurers to brave the terrors of the Dungeon...

Like Erny and his young 'un, we soon ditched the D4 movement and went with the option of moving up to 4 squares to speed up the exploration - and the killing of Goblins! I based the dungeon loosle on the sample map Rab also posted - my lad soon got wise to this and surreptitiously wandered round the table a few times to take a sneaky peak at what might be lurking ahead!

The initial Goblin sentries were no match for Sir Harry of Harkness and his two retainers, although the poor chap who was armed with the crossbow didn't fare so well. A combination of pushing him too far ahead to count on the support of his comrades and not being able to get many shots off before being mobbed by Gobbo's saw him grievously wounded!

My lad was a bit young to take these tactical considerations, and the Spear man's ability to attack diagonally,  into consideration. He was more concerned with matters like "Get the treasure" or "kill the Goblin!", which is fine by me for a four year old!

He was a bit worried by the troll that was guarding the first of several treasure chests and teamwork soon became a necessity.

The Troll was dispatched with some lucky dice rolls - Rab, my lad seemed to be similarly blessed with high rolls on his D20 up to this point too!

As you can see, Sir Harry's arch-nemesis arrived at this point and to stop his sister pinching the treasure chests and generally causing all kinds of mayhem, she took over the dice rolling for the baddies.

First up was the Giant Spider that awaited the adventurers in the next room...

Despite advice from his Dad, the impetuous knight sent in his gravely wounded Crossbowmen first to investigate...

... and soon found himself avenging the death of the loyal (and somewhat abused!) Retainer!

I gave the spider the same stats as the troll, but added in an additional rule. If the highest number was rolled on whatever dice the spider was using for its combat roll then the it could make a web attack which froze its attacker for a turn. Models that were attacked whilst caught in a web could only use a D4 to defend themselves. Other models could free webbed models by beating them in a combat roll - again using a D4 for the trapped model.

The Spearman suffered this fate and received a nasty bite before sir Harry could rescue him by vanquishing the spider - not without some injury to himself as well...

And yet the heroes' challenge wasn't over. Guttural shouts and pounding footsteps signalled the arrival of several Orc guards, attracted by the sounds of the struggle. Enraged by the death of their "pet" they race to attack.

It was here I began to suspect that my boy didn't have a well developed sense of his own mortality! With a badly wounded Retainer and slightly limping Knight he charged the burly Orcs. Two of the foul creatures fell, but not before killing the Spearman and further wounding the Knight...

I decided to give the young adventurer a way out - not that he seemed to worried about his imminent demise or the disappearance of his earlier luck with the dice. I also made another rule up - Sorry Rab! With things looking grim, I suggested that brave sir Harry might like to bravely run away and that I would let him roll a D6 to see how far he sprinted - the Orcs would of course pursue on the same basis...

His luck held out for a couple of turns as he outpaced the Orcs but slowly they gained on him and finally brought him to bay after some dismal rolling on his part.

With a lot of ground to cover to get to the safety of the exit and not many dice left to stave off the Orcs it seemed as if the adventure would come to a grisly end. Desperate measures were needed if the Knight were to survive to fight another day so I suggested that all the gold he was lugging about might be slowing him down. Were he to drop the treasure chest he had liberated from the Troll, not only would he be able to go faster but the Orcs would no doubt stop their pursuit to grab the ditched treasure.

Happy with this option, sir Harry duly jettisoned his treasure (with only a few grumbles about only having a few coins left) and ran to the safety and fresh air of the exit.

So feedback then - Everyone enjoyed the game so top marks there! I also rather liked the way the rules, character and item cards are presented - nice one!

We ditched the random movement and went with a movement allowance of up to the highest score possible on the character's/monster's movement dice.

The baddies seemed balanced enough although lots of lucky high rolls saw the Goblins dispatched with ease and the Troll was similarly unlucky!

The Orcs were fun to use and I liked the special Vicious rule they have of adding 1 to their combat score if they roll an odd number. Multiple combats worked well and there were a few free strikes as cowardly Goblins tried to run away!

The Crossbowman didn't seem to fare too well - mainly because of the way he was sent first into many of the rooms and didn't get a chance to fire before being mobbed!

Finally I wonder if there is a way of the hero recouping dice lost from the combat track somehow? Perhaps seeding the dungeon with a few magic potions? I seem to remember something like this being mentioned a while back on Rab's fine blog?

Anyway, well done Rab -  a most enjoyable game!


  1. Looks like you all had great fun with the game.I wish,with hindsight,I had got my daughters into gaming when they were young.
    Splendid turtle thingie in the last post.I really look forward to seeing it painted.

  2. Cheers - it was great fun indeed! Is it too late for you and your daughters - I've heard some folk talking about the Splintered Light animal minis and Eureka's Frogs as a good way to get those girls who are uninterested in Orcs and the like engaged.

    Painting is in progress - hopefully not at a tortoise-like pace!

  3. Cheers, Thantsants - it looks like a marvellous time was had by all. Huzzah for Sir Harry :)

    Fixed movement is a given for the next version. I love that approach for the spider's net attack and I think one of the best rule-related things to come out of the feedback i've got is that it is possible to chuck in house rules (like your running away and dropping the treasure ideas) which add excitement without mucking up the basic system. I think that I'll also add an "ideas for adventurous minstrels" page with some suggestions like the above. Far easier and more appropriate than pages of Barker-ese trying to gives ifs, buts and whens.

    1. Yup - a good time was had by all!

      I think you're right about offering a few suggestions for adding your own rules rather than trying to codify it all - there's no way to anticipate every situation that might arise without a huge tome of a rule book. Plus you never know how the game will turn out - the running away and distracting the orcs with treasure idea came about to give the lad a way out from certain death!

  4. Great stuff. Your little rascal was faced with some tough life lessons for one so young! Throwing that gold away must have been a choker, amazed he took it all in his stride!

    1. Funnily enough the mercenary little nipper found it harder to let the gold go than ordering his Retainers to their almost certain doom!

      He did do well though - perhaps as he gets older he'll become more attached or personally invested in the characters he plays?

  5. Haha good fun, my youngest is an adorable little ginger nut too! And my older sister always took the role of baddie in all my games but she didn't know it.

    I think you must have missed the rule about gaining dice back if you beat an enemy, that helps the longevity of heroes. Two dead retainers and running away with no gold, it's like early level 1st ed DnD. By the same rules Sir Harry would be finding it hard recruiting new henchmen..

    1. Cheers Erny.
      Yep, Rab spotted that too on my LAF thread - too busy making sure the board stayed where it was and the die didn't get lost when thrown with gusto! A happy mistake in a way because the chase was great fun, with the Orcs also rolling a D6 for movement too.

      We like a bit of gritty reality in our dungeoneering. Its a hard life when starting out on the adventuring circuit! Perhaps the youngster won't be so rash next time...