Tuesday, 27 December 2011

So, what did Santa have in his sack?

Well, Christmas has come and gone. I trust everyone had an enjoyable holiday. Actually, my holidays are not yet over - I won't be going back to work until January 3rd. I may even find some time to get some modelling or painting in between now and then, if I'm lucky. We shall see.

One of the gifts I received for Christmas was a 4kg mixed bundle of second-hand models and bits from my wonderful wife, which she had bought for me from a buy-swap-sell forum. I love getting random piles of models, with no idea what you're going to find in there. Digging through, sorting things out and discovering hidden treasures is great fun. Here are some pictures of some of the things I found when sorting through the pile...
Orc and Goblin goodies, including an old Azhag on Wyvern (minus the wings), half a Man Mangler catapult, a couple of retro Doom Divers, and a lot of Goblins from the 4th edition Warhammer stater box

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Battle of Breakneck Pass

Another day, another attempted battle report

I decided it would be fun to finish the year with a large battle report, since it had been a while since I put one up. Having worked out that I could muster 6,000 points of Empire when I did the recent photo shoot, this became the game size and my Orcs and Goblins were chosen as the opposition. The infamous Peter Spiller (who destroyed me so tragically in the final round of the Masters) volunteered to take control of the greenskins, whilst Shags generously agreed to perform the duties of Head Scribe, and so we had everything we needed in place.

We decided to play Battle for the Pass, to see whether it made the game more interesting to be forced to organise things in waves and press forward that way. We also used the Wild Magic rule from Storm of Magic - 4D6 power dice with the opponent receiving the highest 2 dice for dispelling. Other than that, it was a pretty standard approach to a game of Warhammer.

I will admit that not a lot of planning went into this game. We decided we would do it only a few days before the fact, and the game was played in a slightly hurried fashion because I needed to leave the club earlier than usual. It also made taking decent photos more difficult, with the poor light, my limited skills and my hardworking camera phone not helping the situation either. I think in future we will need to make a point of better planning these things in order to have a better chance of achieving a good result. Anyway, here is what we ended up with...

The Empire Army
Arch Lector of Sigmar (Army General)
     Barding; Prayers of Sigmar; Shield; Warhorse
     The Mace of Helstrum
     Dawn Armour

Templar Grand Master
     Barding; Full Plate Armor; Warhorse
     Dawn Stone
     Crown of Command

General of the Empire on Pegasus
     Full Plate Armor
     Sword of Bloodshed
     Potion of Strength
     Enchanted Shield

Wizard Lord of the Amethyst Order
     Magic Level 4; Lore of Death; Warhorse
     Talisman of Preservation

Templar Grand Master
     Barding; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Warhorse
     Sword of Sigismund
     Holy Relic

     Barding; Full Plate Armor; Battle Standard; Warhorse
     Charmed Shield
     White Cloak

Warrior Priest
     Barding; Prayers of Sigmar; Great Weapon; Warhorse
     Armour of Destiny

Warrior Priest of Sigmar
     Prayers of Sigmar; Great Weapon
     Armour of Meteoric Iron

Master Engineer

Battle Wizard of the Amber Order
     Magic Level 2; Lore of Beasts

Grey Guardian
     Magic Level 2; Lore of Shadow

40 Spearmen
     Spear; Light Armour; Standard; Musician; Sergeant

58 Halberdiers
     Halberd; Light Armour; Standard; Musician; Sergeant

30 Free Company
     2nd Weapon; Standard; Musician; Sergeant

29 Flagellant Warbands (Core)
     Frenzy; Flail

30 Knightly Orders
     Barding; Full Plate Armor; Standard; Musician; Warhorse; Preceptor
     Standard of Discipline

10 Crossbowmen

10 Handgunners
     Empire Handgun

35 Greatswords
     Great Weapon; Full Plate Armor; Standard; Musician; Count's Champion

18 Knights of the Inner Circle
     Barding; Lance; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Standard; Musician; Warhorse; Preceptor
     The Steel Standard

13 Knights of the Inner Circle
     Barding; Lance; Full Plate Armor; Shield; Standard; Musician; Warhorse; Preceptor
     Banner of Swiftness

5 Pistoliers
     Brace of Pistols; Light Armour; Musician; Warhorse; Outrider with Repeater Pistol

5 Outriders
     Repeater Handgun; Light Armour; Musician; Warhorse

1 Great Cannon

1 Great Cannon

1 Mortar

1 Steam Tank

1 Helstorm Rocket Battery

TOTAL: 5998 points

There was not a lot of thought required when constructing this list - it was really a case of using everything I had painted. There was the odd painted Spearman or Free Company model left over, but I pretty much cleaned out my cases. Given the choice of 2 middling units of 15 White Wolves or a single horde of 30, I went for the horde. I don't get to use it in normal games, and I figured I could well be looking at units of Black Orcs that could wipe out 15 knights in a single round.

From a balance perspective, my list lacks shooting. 10 Handgunners and 10 Crossbowmen do not a 6,000pt army make. My artillery contingent is no larger than what a lot of Empire players would field in an army a third of the size, so I guess that means I'm a bit light on. The points have all really gone into Knights, which I am OK with. I like my cavalry and they have been my best investment in points in my tournament armies all year.

The Orc and Goblin Horde
Black Orc Warboss (Army General)
     Armour of Destiny
     Ironcurse Icon

Black Orc Warboss on Wyvern
     Heavy Armour
     Enchanted Shield
     Talisman of Preservation

Black Orc Warboss on Wyvern
     Heavy Armour; Shield
     Dawn Stone

Orc Great Shaman
     Magic Level 3; Big Waagh; Choppa
     Dispel Scroll

Goblin Great Shaman
     Magic Level 3; Little Waagh
     Feedback Scroll

Goblin Warboss
     Light Armour; Shield
     Wizarding Hat

Black Orc Big Boss
     Heavy Armour; Battle Standard
     Obsidian Lodestone

Goblin Big Boss on Gigantic Spider
     Great Weapon; Shield
     Gambler's Armour
     Potion of Foolhardiness

Savage Orc Shaman
     Frenzy; Magic Level 2; Big Waagh; Choppa
     Lucky Shrunken Head

33 Savage Big 'Uns
     Frenzy; Second Choppa; Warpaint; Standard; Musician; Boss

40 Orc Boyz
     Second Choppa; Light Armour; Standard; Musician; Boss

25 Orc Boyz
     Choppa; Light Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss

36 Night Goblins
     Netters; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss
     3 Fanatics

35 Night Goblins
     Netters; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss
     3 Fanatics

20 Goblin Wolf Riders
     Spear; Light Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss

5 Forest Goblin Spider Riders
     Spear; Shield; Musician

5 Forest Goblin Spider Riders
     Spear; Shield; Musician

50 Black Orcs
     Heavy Armour; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss
     Banner of Swiftness

Orc Boar Chariot

Orc Boar Chariot

Wolf Chariot
     Spear; Short Bow

Wolf Chariot
     Spear; Short Bow

Wolf Chariot
     Spear; Short Bow; Extra Wolf

14 Savage Boar Boyz
     Frenzy; Choppa; Spear; Warpaint; Shield; Standard; Musician; Boss

8 Trolls



Rock Lobber

Rock Lobber

TOTAL: 5999 points

A few notes should be made here. Firstly, Pete had included 2 Doom Divers in his army. However, when we were unpacking the stuff, we could find the little bat-winged loonies, but not their catapults. This resulted in a quick reshuffle that saw the second Giant drafted into the list. Not ideal for the balance of the army. Also note that Pete appears to have forgotten to pay for the extra magic levels on his Orc and Goblin Great Shamans. They played as level 4s during the game. A little greenskin trickery, no doubt...

For all that my Orcs and Goblins can easily accommodate 6,000 points, the list lacks a bit of balance in a similar manner to my Empire. I don't have much painted shooting (a problem exacerbated by the issue I mentioned above). I also don't have any of the tricks introduced in the 8th edition army book - Mangler Squigs, Arachnaroks, or even Pump Wagons (which were available before, but nowhere near as lethal). My focus on painting Empire all year has resulted in my Orcs being a bit out of date - a problem I will need to address soon.

The battlefield
The forces of the Empire are arrayed for battle
The Empire deployed in a solid mass across the pass. In the centre were the White Wolf Knights, led by the Arch Lector, Templar Grand Master and Wizard Lord. Immediately behind the White Wolves were the Halberdiers, led by the Warrior Priest and the Amber Battle Wizard. To the left were the Knights Snow Leopard (the larger unit of Inner Circle Knights) led by the other Grand Master and the BSB. Between those units were the Spearmen, deployed in a deep formation. Hard on the left flank were the Pistoliers, with the Outriders behind them and the Handgunners at the back.On the right of the White Wolves was the Steam Tank, followed by the Free Company. Behind them were the Greatswords led by the Grey Wizard, and the Crossbowmen were in turn behind the Greatswords. On the right flank were the Flagellants, with the remaining regiment of Knights behind them, led by the mounted Warrior Priest. The Pegasus lurked behind the Knights, with the Empire artillery positioned on the highest point of the hill, giving them a commanding view of the field.
As seen from the front

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Rules as written

 Nerd Rage in Nottingham
In other news today, a grisly discovery was made in Nottingham last night. The body of a man was found in an alley behind the headquarters of hobby manufacturer Games Workshop. The discovery was made by a group of children playing with a “Thunderhawk”, made from a milk carton, toilet rolls and cardboard. The man has been identified as a prominent games designer for Games Workshop, and it is believed he was attacked as he left work last night. Police say that the murder weapon was found at the scene, and ironically is one of the companys own products. The victim was bludgeoned to death with a “Bloodthirster” a large metal model with jagged parts, making it ideal as a weapon. A cryptic note was found on the body, believed to say, “No Look out Sir for you! The Dwellers Below”. 

It is said that Games Workshop are discussing the murder as a “special character assassination”, but when pressed for an explanation, the company employees have not been forthcoming. A spokesman for Games Workshop declined to speculate on a motive, however he did have the following comments: “The police tell us that the choice of murder weapon leads them to conclude that the attacker was a collector of Games Workshop products. It is very sad to think that a player of our games could be behind this callous act. We are of course assisting them in their investigation, and we believe that we can help narrow down the list of suspects considerably. Our recent pricing policies and trade embargoes should ensure that players outside of the EU can barely afford to play our games at all, let alone foot the bill for a plane trip over here to commit this crime.”

“This tragic incident could have been avoided if collectors everywhere had followed our advice and replaced all their obsolete metal models with the newer Finecast range. This is a superior medium that, although often blighted by casting issues and susceptibility to heat, is far too fragile to be used as a weapon. Granted, the models may cost more in Finecast than in the old metal, however you really cant put a price on public safety. I appeal to gamers everywhere to throw out all their metal models and replace them with Finecast as soon as possible, before anyone else loses their life…”
OK, so to the best of my knowledge, the news story above didnt happen. I also got a bit sidetracked by GW pricing and the ongoing saga of woe that is Finecast, but that is neither here nor there. What I actually want to talk about today is the way rules are written. Or more specifically, the way they are written for Warhammer.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

My Masters Adventure

The Masters trophies on offer

Well, I have now had time to recover from the adventure that was the Australian Masters for 2011. It was the first time I have actually flown interstate for a tournament (normally we make a big road trip of it, with an extra day or so to relax whilst up there), and the whirlwind nature of the whole thing takes its toll a little. It was good fun though, and there is something to be said for being able to make a trip like this happen without having to take any leave from work.
So how did it go? Well, I can reveal that I did not win the event. Indeed, I didnt even come close I was far closer to coming last. This is a fairly novel experience for me, however with the nature of the event and there being no weak opposition, it was always a possibility. I finished in 14th place out of 16, so I finished on the lower rungs of the anti-podium (this is probably not a thing I just made it up).I actually did win 2 games and draw another, however the margins of my losses were far more convincing than those of my wins, and the close nature of the event meant my lack of battle points left me close to the bottom of the pile.

All of the army lists involved (including mine) can be found in the WargamerAU thread here.

My army arrayed for happy snaps

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Empire Army Gallery

My Year of the Empire is drawing to a close, and I recently became aware that I hadn't posted any pictures of anything like the complete army (as it currently stands). I figured it was time to drag all the models out of hiding and put them together for a family photo.

It's possible that I will do a bit more painting before the end of the year, but I'd say these photos are largely representative of my painting efforts in the Year of the Empire. There were some elements painted last year (notably the Crossbowmen, Handgunners, a small number of the Knights and most of the Teutogen Guard). However, most of this stuff was bare metal or plastic at the start of the year. All in all, I'm happy with my steady progress.

In total there is about 6,000 points of painted stuff in these pictures. It's nowhere near everything I intend to paint (my silly Kislev plans demand much more), but it's a solid start. As always, my pictures are limited by my modest photography skills and the use of a mobile phone camera, however I stole my wife's this time in the hope of some slightly better shots. Enjoy.
My painted Empire army arrayed.