Greek Midgard 1: Basil and the Horn of the Minotaur

Continuing the current run of Midgard play test games, we ran a big Greek mythological battle using my rules, for which I constructed a plot line seriously inspired (i.e. ripping off) some of the most famous Greek myths (and Ray Harryhausen).

Greek hero Basileus has been set three (highly dangerous, possibly fatal) tasks by the King of Athens in return for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Fortunately, Basileus is favoured by the Gods and has a large crew of warriors in a small fleet of ships (the Argianauts).

Left: Hagne the Harpy and Typhus the Steersman locked in single combat. Reaper Bones and Foundry figures painted by Martin H.

I shan’t go into the battle in great detail, as gaming compadres Martin and Tom WD have already covered much of the action in their blogs (click on their names above to see their reports.) However, I shall chuck in a number of pics, a few individual shots of the newest models in the collection, and some game development chat.

Basileus (Basil) and the Cyclopes’ leader, Tossus. Basil is the plastic Jason and the Argonauts figure from Salute 2013; Tossus is a 3d printed Cyclops designed by Artisan Workshop and purchased from Etsy.

The scenario for this latest game was None Shall Pass, one that we’ve played several times before and always gives a tight game. However, this time the defending force would be holding two passes in a mountain valley rather than river crossings. Sailing to Crete, Basil and his Argianauts have raided the Horn of the Minotaur from the ruins of the palace of Knossos, but now they need to escape the irate attentions of King Minossos and his unsavoury followers to get back to their ships.

Start of the game: Basileus’s hoplites (a mix of figures from Martin and Tom WD’s collections) line up against the passes defended by Cyclopes.
Hoplites pressure Tossus and the Cyclopes

Heracles and the Argianauts take on the Bronze Giant. Hoplites and Heracles are by Foundry and from Martin’s collection; the Giant is actually a tourist souvenir of Achilles that I bought for 10 Euros in Crete and repainted.

Suffice to say that the Cretans and their beastly allies put up one hell of a fight, putting Heracles out of action, killing Typhus the Steersman and holding one of the passes right until the bitter end. However, with the death of King Minossos and his Cyclopes, a much-relieved Basil broke through one of the passes and made his escape.

Testing the flying rules was one my key intentions for this scenario. Flying creatures are by no means the focus of the game but I wanted Midgard to have sufficient rules to allow some flying heroes and units on the battlefield (e.g. Perseus, the harpies, the odd wyvern, dragons and so on.) I also wanted to create rules that would allow the flyers to be highly manouverable and a nuisance to the enemy, but not to dominate the battlefield.

Harpies causing trouble, mounting a swooping attack on Basileus and his bodyguard.

Paul and Tom (controlling two harpy units each) caused a lot of consternation amongst Basileus’s troops, in particular picking off archers with swooping attacks. However, the one ground attack where the harpies landed and took on a hoplite unit ended in disaster. We were all agreed that the balance felt about right for these light, harassing flyers.

Harpies on their unit base for Midgard

Some of the new toys for this game included a bunch of harpies – these ones are 3d prints from Artisan Workshop and purchased from FullyCycled on Etsy. There are only two poses but I varied them with different basing heights and angles. The paint job is 95% GW Contrast Paints: the skin is various mixes of Guilliman Flesh and thinned-down Wyldwood with a slight highlight of acrylic flesh. Wings are various layers/ mixes of Gryph-Charger Grey, Talassar Blue, Wyldwood and Black Templar before being dry-brushed with a light grey acrylic.

Artisan Workshop harpy facing off against a Warlord Games plastic hoplite for scale.
Three of the harpies from Artisan Workshop. Number 2 and 3 are the same model, varied by paint job and basing.
The troublesome harpies elect to land and attack in the rear, resulting in destruction by Basileus and his men.

Other new models were a box of Dark Alliance 1/72 plastic Cyclopes that my son had bought me for my birthday. These were great fun to paint (another quick job using mostly GW Contrasts again) and made some tough units for the Greeks to take on. There was a good natured discussion about whether the Cyclopes should have a penalty for throwing rocks given their lack of binocular vision – one to ponder for the army lists! 🙂

One of the Cyclopes, a 1/72 soft plastic figure by Dark Alliance. At around £8 for a box of 12 of these guys (3 each of 4 poses), you cannot go wrong! To give an idea of scale, the base is 40mm round.
Cyclopes hold the pass

Another of the Dark Alliance Cyclopes – this chap has a minor conversion, replacing his right hand and club with a spear.

Challenges to single combat feature heavily in Midgard and this game was no exception. Shockingly, Heracles (the most powerful hero in this battle) lost out to Minossos, showing that sometimes the dice just go against you! There was a fine narrative moment when Hagne the Harpy slew Typhus the Steersman in a challenge, but Typhus managed to down the harpy leader with a final stroke of his sword. Exciting stuff.

Heracles triumphs over the Bronze Giant…

…only to be decked by the much smaller King Minossos a few minutes later!
Hagne the Harpy and Typhus the Steersman slay each other in bitter combat.

Overall, I was very pleased with the game. The scenario gave us a very tense conclusion following the loss of Herakles, with both sides suffering heavy losses. Single combats worked a treat and the flying rules were just about right. I went away with a number of notes about things to clarify in the rules as play testing continues. Hopefully we’ll be able to play Basil and the Argianauts episode 2 in the not too distant future.

5 thoughts on “Greek Midgard 1: Basil and the Horn of the Minotaur

    1. Indeed they are! I have single human-sized metal figures in my collection that I paid £7 for, yet these monsters work out around £1 each. PS apologies for late reply, as a blogging newbie I had no idea that people were leaving comments! 🙂

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  1. You have too much fun! I may be a tad envious! Great looking figures and table and yes, I think monocular vision will lead to innacuracy when hurling missiles over distance

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    1. Thanks Mike, it was a pretty entertaining game. Hopefully we’ll get to do Part 2 soon.
      PS apologies for late reply, as a blogging newbie I had no idea that people were leaving comments! 🙂

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      1. Looks interesting… is it time for the compulsory “What base sizes do these rules use” question? 😉

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