Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mini Mayhem - The Game!

After about a 3-year hiatus (and about a 3-year hiatus before that...), at long last, I finally organized a game of my own homebrew rules that I composed from 2006 to 2009.  Among my friends with whom I meet weekly online on my hosted Hobby Hangout (via Google Hangouts), I've built up the expectations for Mini Mayhem to be the premier mass combat, fantasy/historical wargame, both in terms of gameplay and game design.  Of course, I may be a little biased....

Armored knights clash in epic battle in a game of Miniiiii Mayheeeem!!!

My friend, Chris, helped me give the game a run.  With only one game in the last 5 to 6 years, I was a little rusty on some of the rule nuances...  While we expedited a temporary solution for a few of the murky details, a couple of gross oversights probably cost me the game.  But I get ahead of myself...

Arrayed for battle!
My Orc & Goblin army on the left versus Chris's Chaos Legions army on the right.
A literal 'King of the Hill' battle.  Each army must win the hill-fort overlooking the river.  At all costs!

A horde of Goblin Squabs in the foreground, followed by two formed blocks of Orc Spearmen, Goblin Knight Rat Riders, Goblin Archers, Goblin Squig Riders, and, finally, pulling the vanguard on the left, Goblin Wolf Riders.

Tons of Chaos Warriors.  Holy crap.  Who designed this point system?!

The armies make their initial bids for position.  The Rat Riders make a beeline for the opposing armored knights. 
By the way, whoever heard of goblins being able to afford plate armor?  Well, I ruled that these guys had to be mercenaries, and so they actually cost extra army points.  They better be worth it!

Mini Mayhem uses an activation system that combines command & control tests with a reaction system.  If a unit can overcome the fog & friction of war, a unit can respond to any action that the enemy takes.  The system is efficient, because it allows a player to lump together routine actions until the opponent decides to react to something remarkable.  Activations can fully alternate, too, if command & control is sufficiently maintained.

The Wolf Riders shoot the gap! 
They use their swift speed to bypass the ponderous, ranked formations in a bid to harass the rear.
I don't know any other mass combat game that allows this kind of flexibility.  Unfortunately, I did break a 'minimum separation' rule to pull this off.  In theory, this maneuver can be done, but it might require a wider gap.
"See ya, suckas!"
The armies eyeball each other across the objective. 
The Orcs are grossly outnumbered.  They hope to gain the hill first in order to win a charge advantage, charging down the opposite side.

The inevitable fight for the flank begins.
Surprisingly, the Squig Riders hang tough.  The Chaos Hounds have a hard time piercing their rubbery hide, while the balloonish, hopping "teeth with legs" ravenously tear through the half-dilapidated road-kill.

Oh, no!  I totally forgot that the Chaos Marauders are a loose formation.  They react and reposition to plug the gap, just like a Roman maniple!  Did I mention that Mini Mayhem works just as well for historical battles?

The Wolf Riders quickly rip apart the Marauders. 
The Marauders didn't count on both the Goblins and the Wolves making attacks.

The deciding battle is joined!
A classic clash of lances on plate armor.

The Rat Riders are Routed!  Lousy mercenaries!
The Chaos Knights surge ahead to a shocked Orc unit, who are caught flat-footed and utterly destroyed!
So the mistake I made here was that the Rat Riders were supposed to have only been Shaken, not Routed.  This oversight probably decided the game, since the Rat Riders would have at least pinned the Chaos Knights for a counter-charge, if not actually destroy them in turn.

Even with the advantage of the downhill charge, the Orcs succumb to superior numbers, and the Chaos Warriors take the hill.
With all the key Orc units defeated, the battle is done.  Next time, Chaos Warriors!


  1. Fantastic, Mike! Great to see that you've gotten a chance to play test this rule set. Do you have a link to the rules? I would like to bring out my WHFB armies that have been collecting dust since 8th edition. Thanks!

  2. Thanks, Kevin! Good to hear from you, and I'm glad to hear that the game piques your interest. Unfortunately, I never did publish the rules, since they have been a constant work-in-progress -- even though they did stabilize to their current form, more or less, in 2009.

    That said, the Hobby Hangout folks have urged me to "publish" the rules, i.e. make them available to my friends! I'm probably willing to do that, but they're not in a "turn-key" state yet. I tailor-make a profile card for each unit, which is key to having a smooth game experience, where the rules fade to the background, more or less, since the stats and abilities are there for easy reference. So to offer the game to other people, I would need to provide both the rules and the profile cards.

    I can manage fabricating profile cards for these test-play games, since I plan a few weeks ahead to determine stats and abilities for my opponent's army, devise army lists, collect photos, and layout/print profile cards. That's not something that is easy to replicate for a more public outing of the game, unfortunately.

    However, don't despair. There are several considerations that may bring Mini Mayhem to the light of day. One, the constant prodding from the Hobby Hangout has me working on the game again, with an eye towards making it available in some form. Two, the loss of Warhammer compels me to revive Mini Mayhem. And three, I'm thinking of organizing some "side alley" games at the next NOVA Open.

    So I'd say let's maybe plan on playing at NOVA, where I can teach you the game in person. That would give us plenty of time to prepare profile cards for both you and your brother. I can even test-play it beforehand, since I have a Bretonnian army!


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