Whether you’re a complete novice or a hardened veteran come to mock the weak, I hope that this now ongoing series on Mortal Gods has a bit of something for everyone. I intend to cover a bit of everything from starting out of the box, to tactics, terrain, historical tales and all manner of randomness in-between. I’ve got to start somewhere, and there’s nowhere better than the Core Box set.
In the later half of the summer, I picked up the then newly released PDF of the Mortals Gods rules from Footsore Miniatures and Games. After a read through I cobbled together my thoughts and fired up an article here. Definitely bitten by the bug, I ordered up the starter box and roped in some friends to give the system a proper go. To keep up the momentum, as well as potentially help others starting out, these articles hope to cover my progression from the basics to leader of a mighty Lochos…
What’s in the box!?
For anyone who hasn’t managed to grab a look yet, essentially all you need to get started. Whilst each individual who gets a bit serious about the game will want to have all their own things, there’s easily enough here for two players to get stuck in.
In total, with all of the cards, dice, and gubbins, there’s enough on the frames to make 38 miniatures. There’s a good mix of Victrix’s hoplites, peltasts, and slingers. What do you want to make with these then will no doubt be a pretty important question. I don’t know if I’ve missed it in the core box but the PDF version comes with a suggested ‘starter’ lochos to begin with. Handily enough, two of these forces can be made from the contents here.
Lochagos – Your leader, and head honcho.
Promachos – An additional, less experienced hero.
Hoplites (x6) – The core of your lochos, well equipped fighting men.
Peripoloi (x3) – Light hoplites, faster moving but less resilient.
Peltasts (x3) – The fast moving skirmishers of your force
Slingers (x3) – Deadly stone launchers…
All coming in at just under 300 points which is more than ample for your first games. This also has the benefit of providing a pretty strong base for future lochos selections or as mercenaries for any Athenians I may want.
Gathering your Lochos
For anyone with a passing interest in or knowledge of the period before starting, the frames should be pretty self-explanatory. I have to confess that my classical Greek knowledge is limited to the mythology and a bit on the birth of democracy and philosophy. I was outvoted in my classics class at school so we went with the Roman curriculum… Anyhoo, I decided the slingers should be easy enough to start with and bodged together what I thought was a nice mix of components.
The Victrix plastics were easy to snip off, clean up, and assemble. Eagle eyed readers may spot a bit of excess glue here and there that hadn’t quite dried. I defaulted to my trusty tube of Humbrol plastic cement. The bottles with the precision applicators are far better for this kind of thing. My painting is good enough for the table but it won’t win any awards. With that in mind, I’m happy with the odd blemish here and there.
Next up were the peltasts. Again, easy enough to clean and assemble although the plastic on this frame was a touch lighter than the others and the detail was a little ‘softer’. Overall, not a problem for me but I presume there will be some who may source alternatives. I think the proof will ultimately be in the painting. On the table, I doubt there will be any noticeable difference.
The Hoplite Core
I made a bit of a mistake with the hoplites. The overall end effect is fine as you can see in the picture above. I didn’t see any instructions to started to clip and sort as I thought best. It was only after perusing the Victrix site I noticed they have a component list picture which would have been good in hindsight. Although I was trying to keep the Athenians separate, I had bundled everything together to show some friends the quality of the miniatures and to allow them to test print some terrain. That’s a story for another article though.
Years of wargaming have meant some lessons have been learned over the years. Some I actually pay heed to, others like planning everything properly before assembling figures isn’t always one of them. I did, however, ensure I kept the shields and spears separate where it’s possible to do so. Nothing worse than getting carried away with all the cool and realising after you’ve primed you can’t reach large areas of the figures. On the subject, I’ve seen a few people raise another issue with shields and peltasts. Apparently the studs on the shields should face inwards. Whilst it won’t stop your enjoyment, it may bug you over time knowing…
Cards, Dice, and Tokens
Getting my hands on the dice I was very pleased with the quality. Being honest, I’m not over keen on the need for bespoke dice in games but these d6 are very simple to use. The overall system as I’ve mentioned being incredibly intuitive and speeding up game-play considerably over comparing numbers on a chart.
The tokens are pretty standard but have a nice look and feel to them. I’ve grown accustomed to more tactile components in games and although pulling chits isn’t exactly novel, it does tie in with the themes of fortune and omens.
The cards are well printed on good quality stock. One or two of mine had slight dings on the edges which for something like a collectable card game, e.g. Magic the Gathering, would have been irksome. For Mortal Gods though it was an easily overlooked shipping or packing ding. To protect the cards from any future damage during play and handling I decided to get them sleeved.
Being a MtG player, I had an abundance of sleeves which I thought would be suitable. Unfortunately, the cards are cut slightly larger than ‘standard’ gaming card size. This meant that if I used my standard sleeves, the cards would warp and bend. How to remedy this? Well after a bit of discussion over on the Mortal Gods Facebook group, the answer was found in penny sleeves.
Those UltraPro 2 5/8″ x 3 5/8″ were just the ticket. The cards fitted in easily and a couple of packs were enough to sleeve all of the core box as well as my Athenian cards. I even found a card box which was the perfect size for all of them. That feeling though when I realised I was about to pick up more cards imminently.
Time to Play!
With cards sleeved, tokens in bag, and figures assembled I am ready to rock and roll (dice). I’ve got a bunch of intro games lined up with some friends this week so I’m hopeful that they’ll get the bug too. It’s been a while since a period or setting has captivated me quite like this. The good news of the classical period is that there are plenty of sources to draw on. If you haven’t seen it, check out Jez’s article of pinned resources here. On the suggestion of some from the Facebook group, I picked up a second-hand copy of Holland’s Persian Fire which I’m heartily enjoying. With the upcoming mythical expansion, I was also very chuffed to find an illustrated translation of the Odyssey for 50p!
As always, I’d love to hear your comments below or join us over on our Facebook page for some discussion there.