Tag Archives: Bone Griffons

Elves Like Early Baths

So it was last weekend that Admiral Servitob set sail once more aboard his freshly recovered flagship.  This time he had spared no expense and had got his grog swilling crew sober enough to paint the ship without falling overboard or getting sea water in the varnish.  Soon enough he was to be joined in formation by the curry flavoured ZombiePirateXXX and a new dwarven ally, Captain Baerlerx Leowtodex.  The dwarf captain had brought his new flashy steeled battleship with his family fortune made in the comedy trade.  As everyone knows, dwarves make awful sailors so he was forced to spend several weeks trawling the local rivers with big nets until he had captured enough canoes, dingies, snorkellers and people falling off bridges to form a makeshift crew of the best sailors the dwarven race could muster.

Soon enough the joint forces were set upon by a bloodthirsty fleet, eager to test their mettle and prove their worth against the unsinkable yet relatively modest Admiral Servitob.  The enemy was comprised of Captain Gribblin, Lord High Lifeguard of The Elves, keeper of the sacred patent pink whistle and holder of the holy bouyancy device.  With them was the impeccably dressed human Sea Lord Banker, renowned for insisting upon only wearing his finest garments into battle, only to get them dirty with the blood of the slaughtered and therefore gain infinite grief from his laundry maid.  Following up from the rear was a new sight, the eager young Commander Threefeetly of the Dragon Lord Empire, sailing a brand new battleship.  A ship so new the crew were still busy peeling the stickers off the porthole windows as they sailed into combat.

Battle was joined, and with great yet somewhat predictable skill the Elf ship trailblazed into battle like a bunch of women at the january sales.  There were no bargain handbags or pointy stilletos to be found here though, only the deadly guns of the dwarves, shroud mages and bone griffons.  Soon enough the Elf battleship was blasted to a collection of loosely connected splinters, and had to escape to take a breather.  Unfortunately there were no nearby starbucks or cafes to buy a nice drink and a cake, so the elves were forced to sulk back in the direction they came.

The incredibly slow but jubilant dwarf captain, having made short work of the elves with extra helpings of gunpowder for everyone made slowly for the Dragon Lord battleship.  He was overtaken by a friendly bunch of sea snails who offered him a lift, but he politely declined on account that he was actually convinced that his smoke belching noisy hunk of iron must have a second gear.  Alas it didn’t so he crawled along.  No such trouble for the Dragon Lords though, who having read all the instruction manuals and filled in all their warranty cards were positively flying into battle.  Soon enough the Dwarves were within range and Captain Threefeetly ordered his strangely androgenous crew to open fire.  The shots pierced the mighty hull of the dwarven battleship, setting fire to the beard laquer store on board.  There was a tremendous explosion as fourteen tonnes of hair products combusted simultaneously, wrecking the ship.  Luckily the ship quickly sank, which prevented the fire burning anything really important.  Unluckily, the really important stuff was now at the bottom of the sea.

The swirling maelstrom of battle continued, with ZombiePirateXXX leading his crew in many brave boarding actions.  Eventually though, the major participants were exhausted and damaged beyond repair.  The Bone Griffon ship was virtually crewless, the Dragon Lords had all abandoned ship, the Humans were wishing they had brought more lifeboats, and the Elves were lamenting the fact that they were never going to get home in time for their favourite soap opera.  Except Servitob.  He had been sailing around, taking the occasional shot at the enemy to make it look like he was doing something useful.  In fact his Shroud Mage battleship was still fully functional.  Eventually, after several hours of manouvering he positioned his battleship to the stern of the remaining Humans.  Shroud Mage cannons roared and the new paint was stripped off them by the amazing heat of shot, striking a fatal blow to Sea Lord Banker’s ailing battleship.  The human ship exploded in a holy conflagration, spreading debris, cutlery and teapots all around.  The Elves could not believe their luck as the humans’ best tableware and fancy linen fell from the sky.  They quickly started stuffing it in their handbags, mumbling ‘Finders keepers, losers weepers’ and similar mantras until their ship was so overloaded, it too sunk.

And thus Admiral Servitob was able to sail into the glorious horizon of victory.

Arrrgh! – There’s Flotsam In My Beard!

The brave, brave Shroud Mages led by the valiant yet remarkably seasick Admiral Servitob set sail to do battle in the Uncharted Seas.  His crew, mainly large hatted veterans of countless battles had never tasted defeat.  They had often tasted fried chicken from kentucky, and curious beverages brewed by the man known only as Pepper PhD.  These delicacies were often served to the crew on the day of battle, far from the prying eyes and jealous tongues of their wives and families.

So it was that that the darkened dwarf fleet set sail, to steam into battle, for battle’s sake alone with the infinitely numerous humans and surprisingly gay elves.  The undead zombies were here to fight as well, and cleverly allied themselves with the dwarfs, for they had seen their victories past and wanted one for themselves.

In the first moments of battle the mighty elven mage aboard his majestic yet slightly camp battleship invoked the elements and caused a strong wind to blow straight into the face of his human allies.  This bothered not the steam powered naughty dwarfs, except that it blew the foetid stench of the undead fleet across their ships.  Many noses were held, and much grumbling was made among Servitob’s crew.

The steeled ships of the dwarven fleet sailed unharried into the jaws of the immobile human forces, and fired volley after volley of deadly shot into the creaky wooden hulls of the human vessels.  Eventually a lucky hit was scored and a lead human cruiser exploded in a great ball of flame, damaging all within reach.  The humans, bored of being used for target practice, could not retaliate as their wimpy cannonballs bounced off the mighty armour-clad Shroud Mage ships.  Eventually the humans escaped their windy confinement and sailed a great number of vessels jealously into Admiral Servitob’s impervious battleship.  They had seen the strength and dominance of this vessel and wanted it for themselves.  Servitob’s crew put up a tenacious defense, but Servitob and the last of his tars were thrown overboard by the hordes of inept humans.  Luckily due to a difference in scale and imagination the lanky humans were unable to operate their new prize, so in true human fashion immediately set about turning it into a floating real estate development complete with bars, shops and a nice hotel where they put mints on the pillows.

The backstabbing, yet curious elves fared little better.  The first volley from the broadsides of the undead battleship at great range caused an immense commotion on board their flagship.  The elves were enjoying a nice round of naked cocktails in the hot tub on the bridge when a stray projectile landed in the tub, causing a small amout of soapy spillage which leaked through the floor and caused a short circuit in the vessels self destruct mechanism.  What had started as a small, private tub session soon involed the entire crew happily bathing together.  Someone soon recovered the ship’s entire store of sparkling wine, straws and bubblebath and there was much rejoicing, although little further actual battling from the pointy eared fellows.

The remaining humans eventually got hungry, and sailed their last remaining battleship to the nearest carvery restaurant for a feast.  Promptly they ordered the vegetarian option from all the fine meats on display.

And so it was the combined might of the smelly undead and big hatted stunties sailed together into victory, and there was much rejoicing.  Servitob, unfortunately had to swim home.

Bone Griffons – Dead Whaling – Yarr This Blows!

Howdy.  So we’ve been playing some Uncharted Seas and I have had the pleasure of squaring off against the Bone Griffons.  Now I didn’t really mind the experience too much, but I don’t think the BGs are sustainable in their current form.  They really have the potential to wreck an otherwise very good game.  Why?  Not because they are overpowered, not because I like to /cry but because playing against them can be so boring.  It seems there is one tactic alone with these zombies.  Equip trebuchets, drop anchor and bomb your opponent.  Yawn.

As Paul McCartney sang in ‘The Frog Chorus’ – Bomb, bomb, bomb.  If you are feeling particularily feisty, maybe attempt a boarding action with your ridiculous numbers of crew.  So why is this boring I hear you cry?  Lobbing office blocks around sounds awesome, until you try playing against it.  Facing Bone Griffons you have but one option.  Frontal assault.  No cunning flanking manouvering.  No sneaky formations.  Just head on into the enemy.  Any other tactic is doomed.  Now if BG players actually equipped broadsides things would get a bit more exciting, but I can’t see that happening, especially in tournament play.  The anchor and shoot trebuchet tactic is far too easy.  We’ll keep fighting them though.  Sink or swim.  One thing is certain, we’ll never give in!

Uncharted Seas – The Bone Griffons Review

Following on from the first post regarding the Imperial Navy I thought I’d branch out and continue onwards with a brief review and discussion of the first fleet that I actually bought. I’ve enjoyed no more success with these guys than my Imperial Fleet (lost both games played with this fleet so far) but I can at least give you a run down of things.

First of all, no other fleet has brought about as much controversy as the Bone Griffons have. They were one of two new fleets released a while after the original batch (the other being Shroud Mages but I’ll leave Servitob the opportunity to wax lyrical about the evil stunties). However, they are also the only fleet that has the option to customise the weapons load out of their Cruisers and Battleship. This along is not the cause of the furor over their ships, it is the weapons themselves that are the cause of much disharmony among a very passionate community.

The Bone Griffons are Undead, a people long thought consigned to the history books after they were cursed by a virulent plague and their society sunk beneath the waves. Many generations later they return to wreak havoc upon the world, due to their time playing Atlantis their ships are a little “behind the times” technologically. Their Frigates comprise Undead Whales, possibly one of the coolest things going in the game as far as I am concerned, you may have guns but I’m going to slam several tonnes of pestilent Orca down your throat. They don’t have any guns on them which you’d expect but can cause damage via ramming and their nasty Krill breath! The Cruisers and Battleship both come with choices, they can be armed with a typical array of broadsides or the far more rage-inducing Trebuchets. Each cruiser in a squadron can have one of either, so you end up with a squadron normally composed of all Broadsides or all Trebuchets. The Battleship has three “hard-points” that you can equip with either a Broadside or Trebuchet, however, taking less than a full load out of either kind of gimps your ship horribly so normally you’ll just go all one way or the other.

In Uncharted Seas, as I have already mentioned, gun ranges are measured in 8″ bands up to range band 4. With all fleets firepower increases the closer you get to the target, after all, cannon balls lose power the further they go. Now, the Trebuchets on the other hand are designed purely around chucking lumps of masonry huge distances, this means that the fleet has immense long range firepower, you effectively have the same power at range band 4 as most fleets get when at range band 1. Due to the fact that the Battleship has oars it can anchor and then swivel on the spot to keep their 45 degree fire arc focussed on the enemy. No other fleet can do this once anchored. Also, Trebuchets do not require line of sight to fire, although they will scatter if you fire indirectly like this, again, no other fleet can do this. You can’t fire cannon through an island but you can, apparently, chuck stuff over it. This ability to load out on long range firepower has led to claims of the fleet being overpowered as you can plink away at the approaching enemy, reducing their effectiveness before they get close in when you lose all your advantage of range. It has also been noted that a player that sits back and just launches projectiles the size of Churches at you is boring to play against. I could point to many armies in other games that use just the same kind of tactics and are just as derisively talked about though. If you get up close and personal with a Trebuchet fleet they have no firepower at all with which to fight back so they are not without their weaknesses. Many players consider the Bone Griffons unbeatable, as I have already stated I have lost both my games, the first was down to poor planning on my part and the second was a lot of luck to my opponent. Yet I don’t consider them to be unbeatable neither do some of the other players. But putting this issue aside, let’s look at the fleet itself and how it’s made up.

As with all starter fleets you get 2 squadrons of 3 Frigates, 1 squadron of 3 Cruisers and 1 Battleship. You get enough parts to arm your Cruisers and Battleship with Trebs or Sails for Cruisers or Broadside decks for the Battleship. More than any other fleet this one has a plethora of special rules to go with it. All the ships have their own rules regarding some aspects of their operation. Due to their configurability they will play differently depending on your weapons load out.

Orcus (Frigates) ignore command radius rules, have no ranged weapons but can submerge and travel underwater. They pass under all obstacles like this but are also then harder to hit and slower than any other Frigate in the game. Even when on the surface they only move 9″ and are still among the slowest of all Frigates. You want to keep them close to your other ships to support them with rams, you can link their ramming in the same way that you can link fire from a squadron when firing. They also have a red ram rating meaning that any damage becomes a critical hit. However, due to the fact they are ramming it is more than likely they will be taking damage themselves so don’t expect them to last all that long. The Cruisers are affected by the wind, however, if you use Trebuchets or use Oars instead you can move 7″ rather than the usual 9″. The Battleship always moves 6″ but ignores wind, this gives your fleet an incredible manoeuverability. Not as fast as Elves nor as tough as the Dwarves they aren’t a push over either.

Bone Griffons also have the highest Crew ratings of any ships in the game, this lends them towards a policy of ramming and boarding other vessels, now, if you’re armed with Trebuchets this seems counter intuitive but it helps to think of softening the target up at range before closing in and trying to board them while weathering some of their return fire. Due to the customisation of the fleet it is possible to change your strategy and tactics quite extensively though.

In support the card deck lacks any of the big spells that some other fleets get, this may be down to compensating for the extreme range that you can get out of the Bone Griffons stadium lobbing gun decks, but you do get a lot of support spells. You won’t get any magic attack spells and there are very few counter cards, but normally you will find a card that makes something you do better in some way. You can improve your shooting (setting that flung masonry on fire), or power up your boarding actions. There are also a couple of cards to replenish lost crew and repair your ships. Your cards benefit you more than hurt your opponent which again makes them stand out as a bit different to the other fleets.

I have yet to try out a pure broadsides fleets and I haven’t tried Trebuchets on the Cruisers, all I know is that at least one of my opponents doesn’t like Trebuchets as it makes the game “boring”. Personally I think it adds an interesting dynamic to the game that makes everyone have to think a bit harder but understand that in certain scenarios they can be a little over the top.