Thursday, 23 July 2015

Slowly but surely

I posted recently about my efforts to get another regiment of Empire Halberdiers ready for the table. At the time I had finished 34, but as seems to have become my default plan, the final goal is for the total regiment to be 60 strong. Wanting the whole thing to be done with so I could move on, I decided to try to tackle the final 26 models in a single wave. I figured I could just grind through and it might be marginally faster than doing them in smaller groups (although less visually rewarding). Here is where they are at now:
26 partially painted Empire Halberdiers on the workbench.
In the end I sort of compromised on the "mass painting" plan. It might be slightly difficult to tell, but they're not actually all at the same point. The front 13 of them have had a final highlight on their red, and have had a basecoat on the handles of their halberds. That still needs to be done to the back 13. From there, they can all have highlights on the skin and wood, and then have their bases finished off. I might get through it tonight. Probably not...

I started painting this unit partly because I didn't know what to do in the face of all the Age of Sigmar turmoil. I think my focus might improve once these guys are done, and I'll move onto something of more practical use in a normal game than my third huge unit of Halberdiers will be. The important thing is that I haven't let what's going on completely kill my painting momentum.

On a different note, there continue to be a lot of discussions around changes to the 8th edition rules. Most of what I have suggested seemed to be fairly well received around here, so I might make a few tweaks and put them somewhere other than just a regular post on the blog. Maybe a dedicated page where they can be maintained. Then we can get on with the serious business of play-testing them to see if they work as expected and whether they actually make any difference to the fun of the game.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

To tweak or not to tweak

As soon as it started to become clear that Age of Sigmar was going to be a completely different game from previous editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, people started talking about sticking with 8th edition. In the same breath, they also talked about making changes to the 8th edition rules. People have always had things they wanted to change about the 8th edition rules, but the presence of an "official" ruleset and a largely unified tournament community that used that ruleset was enough to repel any serious attempts to implement these changes. The "death" of 8th edition as an officially supported game seems to have removed these barriers, and now talk is rife of making Warhammer 9th edition, or 8.5, or whatever you care to call it.

Over time I have thought of numerous things that I would change about 8th edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle. The important thing to remember here is that the game still works very well in its "official" form. I would question the wisdom of making use of the later End Times developments in every game you played, but they do add an extra point of interest if you want to recreate some of the situations from the "period" and shake things up a bit. At its core, 8th edition remains to my mind the best that Games Workshop produced, and as such any tweaking should be kept to a relative minimum.

Anyway, just in case people are interested in what I would change about 8th edition (I have been asked a few times), that is what this post is about. I have targeted the things that I think would make the biggest difference, and serve to address some of the things that I perceive as the largest issues with 8th edition "out of the box". 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Business as usual?

Age of Sigmar has been released, and being the new hotness in town, everyone seems to have moved on from Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Whether this will still be the case in the months ahead remains to be seen, but for now my prospects of getting more than the odd game in seem pretty thin. So what am I doing? I am painting 8th edition regiments of Empire models, of course! Can't let common sense and a bleak outlook get in the way of my backwards progress.

This will eventually be a regiment of 60 including the unit filler, as that seems to be my go-to size for proper blocks of Empire troops. At the moment it is a fully painted unit of 34. I'll push on with the rest shortly.
My "Ostland" contingent continues to grow. These guys match existing regiments of Greatswords and Handgunners. I have a regiment of Swordsmen earmarked for this colour scheme too, so I guess they'll reach of the size of a decent army in their own right at some point.
This unit filler was deliberately made shorter to allow it to actually face forwards in the unit if I wanted to. Of course in order to fit it on the base, the horse is right at the front. Waving his hoof well over the edge. Pretty much into the middle of whatever is standing directly in front. Poor planning. I'll have to model something up specifically to go in front of the filler if I don't want it to be sitting in the front rank.
This is now my third wagon. I figure I will soon have enough for a convincing baggage train, and then we can fight out some ambush scenarios to fight over the loot.
It's a boring supply wagon. But that might be beer there at the back...

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

So... Where to from here?

Apologies, this is likely to become a bit of a ramble. It's a confusing time and I am somewhat confused. Read on if you dare.

Unless you live under a rock, you will have seen the leaked information about Age of Sigmar that has been doing the rounds on the internet. People are reacting in many different ways - some are excited, and some are disgusted.

For my part, I am just disappointed. It would appear that Games Workshop has finally acted upon its long-term stance that they are not a games company - they are a miniatures company. Their focus is selling models, and the rules are just there to give people something to do with their models, and to hopefully give them an incentive to buy more. Age of Sigmar feels like the embodiment of this, by doing away with all the overhead associated with producing army books, and using a simple rule system. It may be that GW see this as the way of the future. Who knows, it may even work.

For me, my primary concern was whether Age of Sigmar would offer a system with which to use my existing collection. Games Workshop have clearly stated that players will be able to use their existing models, and that the basing doesn't even matter. But looking at the pictures of the upcoming releases, my conclusion is that it won't work for me. The new models really don't look like they belong in the same universe as my older ones. This is probably intentional, but I have no interest in leaving behind my existing collection and moving to a new one (which is undoubtedly GW's ultimate ambition). The rules have not been officially released yet, but I have seen enough for it to be clear that this is not the way forward for me.

I will not be playing Age of Sigmar.

I have no real trouble saying this, but it does have ramifications. For the first time in almost 25 years, I will not be playing a version of Warhammer this is supported by Games Workshop. It leaves me in uncharted territory. I have spent a while now considering what I will do, and I figure that for me there are a few options.

  1. Continue playing Warhammer 8th edition (with or without End Times elements)
  2. Make changes to 8th edition and play that
  3. Play Kings of War

8th Edition
I have stated before that I feel 8th edition has been the best version of Warhammer I have played. It was a dramatic shift from the previous 4 editions, but I felt it was an improvement and in particular it worked better for one of the things that I most enjoy - playing large games. The game got an almost complete suite of new army books during 8th edition, as well as numerous expansions like Storm of Magic. Apart from Bretonnians, Beastmen and Skaven, the game came dangerously close to presenting a self-contained product.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Nagash vs Karl Franz Ascendant

James Brett and I decided to play a 6,000pt game on the weekend, pitting Nagash against Karl Franz Ascendant and Balthasar Gelt, Incarnate of Metal in a game where hopefully their power wouldn't completely dominate the game. 

This is not really a battle report, but I was taking some pictures with my phone as we went along, so I thought I would give an account of how things panned out. I apologise for the quality of some of the photos. Nagash wasn't painted anyway, so I didn't bother to bring my good camera along - and now I regret that decision. Obviously I need more practice with this phone camera if it is going to serve as my backup.

Empire Army
I knew Nagash would be in the enemy army, but that was about it. I decided fielding really large units of knights would probably mess up the game balance, so I focused on big infantry blocks instead. I figured a unit of 60 Halberdiers with 2 horde detachments of 30 would be good for a laugh (and potentially scary), so that was the most exciting thing in my list. Apart from Karl Franz Ascendant, I guess. He's OK too...

  • Karl Franz Ascendant
  • Balthasar Gelt, Incarnate of Metal
  • Arch Lector on War Altar with Armour of Fortune, Great Weapon, Shield
  • Ludwig Schwartzhelm
  • Warrior Priest with Great Weapon, Heavy Armour
  • Engineer
  • Captain with Full Plate Armour, Shield, Sword of Striking
  • Captain with Full Plate Armour, Shield, Sword of Might
  • Battle Wizard (Level 2, Lore of Light) with Dispel Scroll
  • 60 Halberdiers with Full Command
    • 30 Halberdier detachment
    • 30 Halberdier detachment
  • 16 Inner Circle Knights with Full Command
  • 16 Knights with Great Weapons, Full Command
  • 60 Greatswords with Full Command
  • 60 Flagellants with Prophet of Doom
  • 15 Reiksguard Knights with Full Command
  • 4 Demigryph Knights with Full Command
  • Great Cannon

The Cannon was basically an afterthought. I decided it would be worth having, just to give Nagash something to think about. Other than that, I had no shooting. There's not much point trying to shoot the Undead to death.

Undead Legion Army
James knew I would be taking both KFA and the fancy version of Balthasar Gelt, so decided to give Nagash a bit of backup in the form of a blender Vampire Lord. He also threw in the End Times Krell, figuring he was likely to tag along wherever Nagash went. The other main unit of note was the 15 Vargheists, weighing in at about 700 points.

  • Nagash
  • Vampire Lord (Level 1, Lore of Vampires) on Hellsteed with Ogre Blade, Talisman of Preservation, The Other Trickster's Shard, Quickblood, Red Fury, Heavy Armour, Shield
  • Tomb King with Armour of Destiny, Great Weapon
  • Krell, Mortarch of Despair
  • Vampire BSB (Level 1, Lore of Vampires) with Dragonhelm, Dispel Scroll, Heavy Armour, Great Weapon
  • 40 Crypt Ghouls with Ghast
  • 40 Crypt Ghouls with Ghast
  • 40 VC Skeleton Warriors with Light Armour, Shields, Full Command, Banner of Swiftness
  • 16 TK Skeleton Archers with Full Command
  • 16 TK Skeleton Archers with Full Command
  • 30 Zombies with Standard, Musician
  • 5 Dire Wolves with Doom Wolf
  • 5 Dire Wolves with Doom Wolf
  • 15 Vargheists with Vargoyle
  • 2 Fell Bats
  • 2 Fell Bats
  • Corpse Cart with Balefire
  • 6 Black Knights with Full Command, Lichebone Standard
  • 5 Hexwraiths with Hellwraith
  • Hierotitan
  • Casket of Souls
  • Necrosphinx
  • Terrorgheist
  • Terrorgheist
  • Varghulf

The list is notable for all the things I didn't bother with - magic standards, small disposable units with which to help control the game... Such subtlety was lost on me when I started thinking of units of 60 models.

The Game
Deployment, after James makes his vanguard moves. we didn't bother with alternating deployment. We were both a bit worried that James would run out of room on his side if he couldn't reshuffle things as he went along. I would not recommend a regular 6x4 table for games larger than this one.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Moonstruck Aftermath - Part 6

This is the final part of my account of the recent tournament, Moonstruck. You can find the previous part here.

Game 6 - Battleline
Johannes Scherpenhuizen, Wood Elves

  • Spellweaver (Level 4, Lore of Life) on Elven Steed with Earthing Rod, Talisman of Preservation 
  • Naestra and Arahan on Ceithin-Har (Dragon)
  • Glade Captain on Elven Steed with Battle Standard, Charmed Shield, Hail of Doom Arrow, Opal Amulet, Asrai Spear
  • Spellsinger (Level 2, Lore of metal) on Elven Steed with Dispel Scroll
  • 10 Glade Guard with Full command, Trueflight Arrows
  • 10 Glade Guard with Full command, Trueflight Arrows
  • 18 Glade Guard with Full command, Trueflight Arrows
  • 8 Wild Riders with Shields, Standard, Champion, Gleaming Pennant
  • 7 Sisters of the Thorn with Standard Bearer, Standard of Discipline
  • 5 Wardancers
  • 5 Wardancers
  • 5 Wardancers
  • Great Eagle
  • Great Eagle

Comp Score: 2

After winning my previous game, I found myself back up on Table 2. Presumably this meant I was still top of the pile of people who had actually lost a game. It turned out Hannes had not lost one at all yet, so I guess that made sense. Adam Camilleri was playing Charles Black on Table 1 beside us (yes, Mr Calamari really had made himself at home there - hadn't moved since Game 2), and after comparing notes we came to the conclusion that Hannes might be able to win the event if he utterly smashed me in terms of the win and table quarters, but only if Chuck beat Adam. I couldn't reach 1st place, but if I beat Hannes and Adam won, I'd probably get 2nd... Anyway, it seemed there was everything to play for.
Ah, leafy tree dragon. We meet again! He had been running around with no wings attached, but Hannes kindly repaired him in preparation for having his photo taken.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Moonstruck Aftermath - Part 5

This is part 5 of my account of the recent tournament, Moonstruck. You can find the previous part here.

Game 5 - Battleline
Matt Sellick, Ogre Kingdoms

  • Slaughtermaster - lvl 4 Great maw. Sword of anti heros, d/scroll & tali of pres
  • Slaughtermaster Gen- lvl 4 heavens. Great wep, Hell heart, Armour of destiny
  • Hunter on Stonehorn - Sword of striking, dragonhelm, giantbreaker, harpoon launcher, ironfist,
  • Bruiser BSB: Death cheater, Rune Maw, heavy armour,great wep.
  • 11 ogres. F/C iron fists
  • 8 ogres. F/C iron fists
  • 1 sabretusk
  • 1 sabretusk
  • 4 maneaters: standard, Dragonhide banner (scout/swiftstride)
  • Ironblaster

Comp Score: 4

Ogres again! What was it with Ogres? After losing my previous game, I kind of assumed that I would be pushed properly off the top tables and fade safely into anonymity in the middle of the room. Turns out that wasn't quite right. There were a lot of people who had won 3 games at this point, but I seemed to be on top of them, presumably thanks to losing no points due to comp and taking the odd table quarter. So I plummeted all the way from Table 1, back down to Table 4.

Matt's army was a bit different from the previous two Ogre armies. There was not an Irongut in sight, and there was an actual Hunter on a Stonehorn! Truly ruly! I mean, I know you can put a Hunter on a Stonehorn, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone actually do it. This match-up looked pretty good for me, really. Apart from the Stonehorn, the army lacked a real number of high-strength attacks. And the magic lores were not those that were likely to lash out and kill my stuff. I wasn't sure I could crack the gutstar (bullstar? Ogrestar? How about Ogstar?), but in this win-loss-draw system, I probably wouldn't need to.
Back on Table 4 again.