4/01/2021

Testing Chainmail Bikini

I was in the original Chainmail Bikini testing group in Yahoo many years ago and when Howard Whitehouse asked for volunteers for testing it before its release I couldn't resist it and hastily joined in. 

So what is Chainmail Bikini? Well, nobody better than the author could explain it: "Bikini Chainmail is a game of mighty-thew’d heroes, light-fingered thieves, stiletto-wielding princesses, and outcast nobles whose inheritance has been stolen by wicked kings, or uncles, or someone villainous. Chainmail Bikini is a very light-hearted view of the Sword and Sorcery genre, more likely to involve punching a camel than brooding on the fates of great empires, more like Fritz Leiber’s books or the movie version of Conan than Howard’s original. It’s heroic fantasy treated with affection and not too seriously―perhaps something of a spoof, but with an appreciation rather than condemnation for a world in which muscles are huge and underwear is shiny. It’s designed to be played as an ongoing story, but in episodes, like a short story in Weird Tales from 1936. It can be played solo, or with a whole group of like minded gamers. It can be run as a two sided miniatures game, or as a Game Master versus players role playing event.

The rules themselves are fairly simple, although not always conventional. There is a card sequence, and lots of dice for unpredictability. Hand to Hand combat has a distinct ‘rock, paper, scissors’ aspect to it. We are playing for fun rather than competition, as seems appropriate to the genre."


So I set a quick and short skirmish to test the game, and I went directly to the section of generating characters to create my hero and some villains to fight.

Characters have six attributes plus some boons and banes and equipment. They also have fame and fortune which help them to acquire followers and better equipment.

I decided to recreate Red Sonja, and for that I gave her higher Feats and the skills Swordman (woman in this case) and Tasty (monsters always attack her first, understandably). I equipped her as the miniature I have, with scimitar, buckler and bikini chainmail! A splendid model from Reaper, sculpted by Dennis Mize,


Name

Fame/ Fortune

Muscles

Missiles

Nerve

Feats

Wits

Wounds

Armor

Equipment

Red Sonja

10

4

4

4

6

4

4

AR 3 Buckler

Scimitar

Boons & Banes

Swordman, Tasty (chosen)


Her enemies would be a captain of the city guard, a Companion that works similarly to a second category hero, plus three followers with only one Attribute, combat value 3, and armor rating 2.

Captain's profile:

Name

Fame/ Fortune

Muscles

Missiles

Nerve

Feats

Wits

Wounds

Armor

Equipment

Aristides

5

4

1

4

3

2

3

AR 3, Helmet,
Shield

Sword

Boons & Banes

Mad Man, Mean Drunk (randomly rolled)


The encounter starts with Sonja coming out from the tavern and running into a city guard patrol led by a rather drunkard captain. The captain gazed her lecherously and then ordered to arrest her for... interrogation. The guards immediately sprung on her.


Chainmail Bikini comes with its own set of cards, but it can be played with any standard deck of cards. I'm using an old set of home made cards for melee, and poker deck for activation and turns. The first card allowed to activate the whole city patrol, and I decided to charge with only two guards to see how combat developed.

Green cards are for the guards and red cards for Sonja. The guards drew the card Cut at random whereas Sonja chose Counter Blow. The guards had one die for the extra man supporting and two dice for Cut versus Counter Blow. They rolled and failed them all as they had to score three or lower. 
Sonja had two dice for being hero, one die for being swordwoman, one die for using a buckler, one die for Counter Blow vs Cut attack and one last more die for having Feats 6. She scored two sixes but to no consequence as she got more successes.
The guards were attacking and couldn't stop any of Sonja's counterblows and they died. She cut both down with one might swing of her scimitar!

Next activation card was for the guards again and the captain charged Sonja supported by the remaining guard.

The captain drew Taunt (old Jest) and scored one uncanceled 1, thus making a very potent insult. That, combined with the three 6 (failures) Sonja scored, made her so infuriated that she immediately attacked the captain with the ‘Huh’ card, out of sequence and totally mad. She received two shame points to her reputation

Aristides drew Leap Aside so there wasn't any combat for the frustrated Sonja to wash her honor.

Next activation card was a red face, so Sonja could finally act first and she attacked the captain with murderous intentions.

Sonja attempted a swing with her scimitar whereas Aristides drew at random Counter Blow! He scored two successes and a 1, but Sonja got five successes and two 1s, canceling Aristides 1 and inflicting two extra hits on him. Aristides chainmail deflected one hit but he still received six more hits, and he only had four wounds, so he had a gory death. He was horribly hacked, mutilated and slaughtered even before he hit the dirt! Sonja washed part of her shame with that. She also received two wounds in exchange.

The remaining guard had to test his Nerves after witnessing the gory death of his captain, but he failed and panicked, running away.
The townsfolk never activated and could only witness and enjoy a fabulous sword fighting as well as the killing of some authorities which was something always welcomed in those times.

The game went smooth and it was very exciting. I wanted to start a campaign right away and immediately wondered about having some swordfighting with John Carter of Mars defending his princess from Green Men and White Apes or replaying Red Nails with Conan and Sonja!

12 comments:

  1. Haha, Chainmail Bikini - very cool name and rules!

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  2. Great Report! It is a fun set of rules

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  3. It is, thank you very much! :)

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  4. Looks like a lot of fun and lovely figures and terrain too!

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    1. Great fun and I hope go put another game soon. Thank you very much for your nice comment!

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  5. Sounds an interesting system. sets the right heroic tone and the card use sounds unusual but fun. However I'm mainly distracted by seeing my favourite old citadel card building in the background :-)

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  6. Hehehe. They are from Blood Bath at Orc's drift, second edition :)

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  7. Nice models and cool oldschool scenery, I love it!

    Another interesting skirmish wargame to watch.

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    1. Thanks Endakil. The ruleset is good fun above everything else, and very pleasant to read as it always happens with the autor's witty writing. I recommend it

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