Carnage of the Giants

17 Mar

dont mess

In anticipation of the forthcoming Jack The Giant Slayer film, we play-tested a Giants vs Men game this afternoon.

On one side, Byron had nine giants and on the other I had around 50 men- mostly Black Tree Design Saxons with swords, axes, spears and bows- and half a dozen plastic mounted knights from the Weapons and Warriors game.

Each Giants was given a name by Byron- for example Hammer, Smasher, Kill, Thumper, Attack…!

We set up on a 5 foot by 3 foot oval dining table with plenty of trees, a couple of hills and a castle tower for the giants to capture.


The game revolved around a simple card based system. Each player had a deck of 18 cards for their army which had instructions such as “All men may move” “Archers may shoot” “Four Giants may move” “Two Giants may throw”.

Taking alternate turns, the players draw a card from their own deck and either carry out the instructions and return to the bottom of the deck, or save that card for a future turn and do nothing on this turn.

Each Man had one ‘hit’- 4+ for unarmoured archers, 5+ form mailed foot troops and the mounted knights had two hits- one at 4+ and one at 5+.

What this means is that in order to kill a Man in combat or by shooting you need to scored equal to or above this score and in the case of a mounted knight you would need to make two hits. Giants each had 6 hits: 6+, 6+, 5+, 5+, 4+, 4+

big guyclose

We also assigned the Giants hits to areas of the body and imposed penalties eg 5+ were ‘leg hits’ and reduced movements, 4+ were arm hits and reduced ability to throw or number of attacks.

Combat was simple. If a unit / figure moved into contact with an enemy it would roll a number of dice to see if it scored any hits.

Men rolled 1d6 (swords or axes) or 1d8 (spears) and mounted Knights rolled 2d8.

Healthy Giants rolled 4d8 each which could be reduced as they suffered hits.

Ranged attacks were similar- archers rolling 1d6 each whilst Giants rolled 1d6- needing 4, 5 or 6 to throw successfully and then rolling 4d8 to work out the damage caused by blazing trees, farm carts or church bells! Any Giant rolling an initial 1 was deemed to have fallen over and took 2d8 damage.

The game worked quite well but play tended to get bogged down recording the penalties incurred by wounded Giants and the Men side appeared to have too many good cards allowing all units to move and shoot.

The Giants also got bogged down moving in single file between clumps of trees  and they proved vulnerable to archery.

Towars the end of the game, we abandoned the movement, throwing and attacks limitations on the wounded Giants and just went in for general hack and slay. The Men eventually triumphed, at high cost, and Byron took it well.

I will re-write the rules but use a similar mechanism for a re-match in the near future.

The defiant loser…




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