Monday 19 March 2012

A loss of momentum

It's hard to believe, but it's been over a week since I last updated the blog. It's funny how just having a few things going on in the real world can interfere with your irregular commitments. March has been a busy month, with every weekend packed with events and my job going through a transitional period. It's left me tired, and even when I have had the time to write something up here, it was hard to summon the motivation.

Part of my problem is the fact that I resolved to basically make March a month of relaxation in terms of painting. I pushed a bit too hard in January and February, and it left me a bit burnt out. I might have been able to force myself to continue at a similar pace, but it was going to be a really hard slog, and there was no guarantee that my motivation would return. I figured the best thing to do was ease up and hope it rejuvenated me a bit. It has also given me the chance to play a bit more of Skyrim (no, I have not finished the main storyline yet), which I pointedly ignored in favour of pressing on with my painting. Being disciplined is well and good (and slightly novel for me), but I think there are limits - especially when it's a hobby you're talking about.

Despite easing off, I have not stopped painting entirely. If nothing else, having a weekly painting night with friends ensures that I get at least a few hours a week set aside specifically for my models. If I only ever paint then my progress is slow, but it's still better than nothing. I have recently finished 11 more Handgunners for my Empire. I only had 10 done, which is slightly silly in an army that's now reached about 7,000 points. 11 is a bizarre number to add, but it happened to be how many I had undercoated and based. Rather than make the task harder by rounding the number out, I took the easy path and just painted the 11.
11 painted Handgunners go onto the "done" pile
For all that I prefer the style of these older Handgunners to the new ones, the single-pose models from the 6th edition starter box are uninspiring to paint. The sculpts feel lazy, and there are places where details merge together, making painting them quite difficult. These guys will hardly be the centrepiece models in my army, but it's still annoying when even trying to paint them simply becomes harder because the quality is just not there in the model.

Anyway, they're done now, and so I have a slightly more respectable number of painted Handgunners. My Crossbowmen recently scored an upgrade to 18, so I am heading in the right direction in terms of missile troops, but there is still a way to go before my painted army feels balanced. I will probably paint a command group for these guys, given a unit of 20+ always looks better with a flag. But I am not rushing to do it - I am not yet ready to try to pressure myself on the painting front. Soon I will need to tackle something larger again, but for now my odds and ends will do just fine.
21 painted Handgunners - currently my full tally

Thursday 8 March 2012

Lores of Magic: Lore of the Great Maw

The Lore of the Great Maw can be found in the 8th edition Ogre Kingdoms army book
The Lore of the Great Maw (or Gut Magic as it was previously called) first appeared in the 6th edition Ogre Kingdoms army book, when Ogres became an army in their own right. Like much of the book, the Lore was fatally flawed. The spells didn't follow the normal conventions of spellcasting, with everything being cast on a 3+ (and becoming harder if the spell had already been cast that turn), but requiring a 7+ to dispel anything in play from a previous turn. However, therein lay the problem - the most important spells (the ones that increased the effectiveness of your units) were Remains in Play, and could be dispelled in your opponent's turn. You could make your unit Stubborn, but by the time your opponent charged them, the spell would be gone. This, coupled with many spells damaging your wizard, miserable spell range and the inability to field a Slaughtermaster in a normal game to compensate, made Gut Magic a very frustrating proposition.
The 6th edition Ogre book was a disappointment, including Gut Magic
However, it is a new day, and the Ogres have a new book. It's no secret (or surprise) that the book is a vast improvement on the old one. Ogre mages can now access Lores of Magic other than their own, so how does the new Lore of the Great Maw stack up? Let's take a look.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Lores of Magic: Da Little Waaagh!

We have already looked at the spells of Da Big Waaagh! so it is now time to consider the other option open to Orc and Goblin players - Da Little Waaagh! Just as Da Big Waaagh! is restricted to Orc Shamans only, this Lore is restricted to Goblin and Night Goblin Shamans. So for people fielding all-Orc or all-Goblin lists the decision is already made for them, but for everyone else the choice is there to be made.
Goblin Shamans are sneaky, and their Lore matches their mentality

What does is do?
The Lore Attribute for Da Little Waaagh! is Sneaky Stealin'. Every time a Little Waaagh! spell gets through the enemy defences (whether they failed to dispel it, could not, or chose not to), you roll a D6. On a 5 or 6 you steal a dice from the opponent's dispel pool and add it to your power pool.

Sneaky Stealin' is interesting, because it encourages the player to cast a wave of smaller spells, rather than gathering all the dice together for a single big attempt. A number of successful castings will make it very hard for your opponent to stop them all, and each time one gets through, the situation can become worse and worse for him as you pilfer bonus dice whilst draining his defences. It may mean Goblin players will throw dice at seemingly unimportant spells, simply on the off chance that the opponent lets them through and runs the risk of losing dispel dice being held for the more important stuff.

The Goblin Signature Spell is Sneaky Stabbin' (not to be mistaken for Sneaky Stealin' as described above - Goblins are very sneaky). The spell is cheap (6+) with no option to boost it, which is unfortunate given its limited range of 12". It grants the target friendly unit the Armour Piercing rule in close combat. Perhaps more significantly however, it also grants them rerolls to hit and wound when they are in an enemy's flank or rear. Whilst that is obviously situational, on a decent combat unit it could be devastating.

As a Signature Spell, Sneaky Stabbin' is rather good. It's dirt cheap to cast (a lesser wizard with nothing better to do could throw a single dice at it), and Armour Piercing is a useful upgrade for a number of the better Orc and Goblin combat units who often fight at Strength 5. That is decent for wounding most targets, however opponents with good armour may still get solid saves against it. The extra hit on armour would be very welcome against units such as Empire and Chaos Knights, with their 1+ saves.

When there is the threat of getting a powerful unit into the enemy's flank, this spell could suddenly become a main focus of the enemy's dispel dice. The potential to have multiple copies of the spell could be very telling in that situation.

Monday 5 March 2012

Lores of Magic: Da Big Waaagh!

OK, so it's been a while since I reviewed a Lore of Magic. Time to get back on the wagon...

The Orcs and Goblins army book was one of the first to be re-released after the introduction of 8th edition. The greenskins are a popular army, and one of the most important from a GW marketing perspective. As such, they get a lot of love and attention when it comes to things like updating the army list. This helped them jump the queue in terms of some other armies that really needed an update, however hopefully the current book will be around for a while now that it’s here.

Greenskin magic is divided into two Lores – Da Big and Little Waaagh! Da Big Waaagh! is used exclusively by Orc and Savage Orc Shamans, whilst Da Little Waaagh! is restricted to Goblin and Night Goblin Shamans. Today we are going to look at the Lore for the Orcs.
Orcs, orcs, orcs, orcs, orcs...

Thursday 1 March 2012

No half measures

When you are a crazy person, you should think like a crazy person. Act like a crazy person. Plan like a crazy person. I don't know that I am actually crazy, but I do get some incredulous looks when I tell people what I'm working on, and what my goals are. This is fine, but I feel like people have expectations of me now. I have to continue to make outrageous plans, or they will be disappointed in me. Wouldn't want to be boring...

Anyway, I managed to finish my February painting goals, which is exciting. Of course, I cheated and had to use the first day of March to get the job done, but I figure the effort was there and the results were not far behind. Better late than never. So behold, my final 10 Knights Snow Leopard.
My last Knights Snow Leopard, finally painted
The completion of these 10 guys means that my painted unit is now up to 40 models, matching my Knights of the White Wolf. Behold:
The entire legion of my Knights Snow Leopard