Battle report for the scenario I set up yesterday.
Turn 1: Both sides rush toward each other. Lorna races through the trees to skirt the skull in an effort to flank the Ral.
Turn one: closing to contact
Turn 2: As Lorna sprints around the back side of the skull, Logos spots her and charges with sword and axe in hand. Lorna parries his sword thrust, but Logos wounds her with a blow from his axe. Nyree climbs the hill, where Fjori presses to meet her. Fjori hits Nyree with a powerful blow wounding her severely, and she flees panicked back into the forest (rules note: after the game I realized this was an error on my part -- she should only have been shaken, not routed). Kjell and Ilkhan square off in the center near the skull, each landing a single blow on the other.
Turn two: the fight begins
Turn 3: Kjell attacks furiously with both blades, hitting Ilkhan twice. Ilkhan holds his ground and counterattacks, but Kjell parries the blow. Logos attacks Lorna once more with both weapons, dealing a cut with the sword and a blow from the butt of the axe haft that knocks Lorna unconscious. Fjiori charges down the hill and attacks Ilkhan from behind, leaving the Ral leader senseless and out of the fight.
Turn three: Kjell and Fjori gang up on Ilkhan
Turn 4: Logos launches himself at Fjori, but Fjori is extremely lucky and somehow manages to parry the sword and dodge the axe. Kjell attacks Logos and hits him in the back with both swords. At the same time, Fjori swings from the front and cuts Logos across the chest. The last Ral falls unconscious, pale from loss of blood.
After turn four: the victorious Valen take shelter from the storm
Kjell and Fjori bring Lorna back to consciousness and help her to her feet. The three Valen enter the opening at the back of the behemoth skull and into the relative shelter it provides, where they bandage Kjell's and Lorna's wounds.
Gradually Ilkhan and Logos regain consciousness, each crawling painfully away from the battlefield to spend the rest of the storm-wracked night lying in the mud beneath the trees.
Impressions: I really like the Ares rules. They worked as well as I hoped they would for a game with small numbers of highly individualized characters. I made up my own house rule that "kills" would be "unconscious" instead, simply because I'd like to re-use the characters for more than one fight. Other than that, I played the rules as written. The mechanics are intuitive and easy to pick up, and the whole game – even with me taking notes and photos as I went – took only one hour. Definitely a keeper. I think I may be set for rules for a while, using Song of Blades and Heroes for warband-sized skirmishes (8-12 models per side) and Ares for smaller ones like this fight.