Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Cancon 2013 – the aftermath

The madness that is the annual Cancon road trip is over, and I've now had at least 1 decent night's sleep with which to recover. At 8 games over 3 days (and alongside hundreds of other gamers playing other things), Cancon is really the biggest event on the my calendar. It's also become the biggest Warhammer tournament in Australia for the last couple of years, with some 94 players this time around. It's great to see such good numbers, with people travelling all the way from Melbourne, Brisbane and beyond.

I started off this tournament with the intention of doing what I've done every tournament for the last couple of years – taking photos and writing up each and every game in some detail. However, this time things ended up being a bit different. I found myself getting pretty tired, and I completely lost my rhythm on the second game (for reasons that I shall explain). I started to forget the camera, and when I then remembered, it felt like I'd missed the boat. The end result is that I have basically no photos of anything except my first game. Without pictures, it may be a but hard to follow these games, and at times I've kept it more brief than normal. Hopefully it will all make some sort of sense.

First up, I was not entering Cancon this year with any intention of challenging for a place. I submitted what I knew to be a severely flawed army, based entirely around my amusement at the animosity between Kurt Helborg and Marius Leitdorf. Marius in particular is a funny character with his madness requiring him to take a leadership test each turn or roll on a chart. Once I'd decided to take both of these special characters, I then went the whole hog and put in 2 more. Because, you know, why not? Ludwig Schwartzhelm is the Emperor's personal banner bearer and champion, a character who has been around forever, and is really not all that great in the game. Luthor Huss is relatively new on the scene and is actually pretty good value, but hey – I needed someone to make up the numbers.

By the time I had spent nearly 900 points on largely vulnerable characters, there wasn't a lot of room for anything else in my army. A couple of light wizards went in to try to give me some ranged firepower and the ability to fortify the characters in the hope of extending their lives a little, then I had to get some knights for them to lead (because all 4 of the special characters are mounted). It had to be at least 2 units for a couple of reasons. Firstly, stacking 4 characters in a single unit would have been silly. Secondly, with Marius and Kurt despising each other, it would have been unreasonable to expect them to share the same unit. I'm pretty sure they would have come to blows, or flatly refused to work for me. We couldn't have that, so 10 Inner Circle Knights and 10 Reiksguard swallowed most of the rest of my points. The rest of my army was there just to give me some variety in the list. I've shown the list before, but here it is again.
  • Kurt Helborg, Reiksmarshall of the Empire (Army General)
  • Marius Leitdorf
  • Ludwig Schwarzhelm (BSB)
  • Luthor Huss
  • Battle Wizard of the Light Order (Level 2)
  • Battle Wizard of the Light Order (Level 2) with Dispel Scroll
  • 10 Reiksguard Knights with Standard, Musician
  • 10 Knights of the Inner Circle with Standard, Musician
  • 40 Halberdiers with Standard, Musician
  • Detachment: 5 Archers
  • Detachment: 15 Swordsmen
  • 1 Great Cannon
  • 5 Outriders with Musician, Sharpshooter
  • 10 Crossbowmen
Total Army Cost: 2400
My army on the day. Bit of a dark pic, I'm afraid.
Anyway, as I was saying, I had relatively modest expectations for this list. With pretty weak magic, a single cannon, and none of the things you would normally expect to find in a strong Empire army, I was clearly going to be under-manned. I figured I'd be happy to win 4 games and finish in the upper middle of the tournament. Here is how those plans worked out. As is often the case, this will all be from memory, so apologies to anyone whose army (or actions) I misremember...

Oh, and in case you were looking at the half-painted stuff in the last post, I did get everything to a point where it at least looked reasonably finished. Some last-minute painting on the Friday night up in Canberra saw to that. I'll put up some pictures later.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Cancon is almost here!

Well it's now Thursday morning, which means by this time tomorrow I will probably be getting into the car and starting the drive up to Canberra. There is still a lot of packing to be done, so any remaining hobby time will be limited. The question then is, am I ready?

Unfortunately the answer is no, not quite. Despite having spent a fair bit of time on these models over the last week or so, my battery of Empire special characters remains unfinished. Just how unfinished depends upon which model you look at, as you can see below.
The 4 Empire special characters, in various states of paintedness

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Cancon preparation – it's character building

It's less than 2 weeks until the first tournament of the year kicks off. As we seem to do every year, we are all piling into the cars and taking the 8 hour drive up to Canberra for Cancon. It will be quite the pilgrimage this year, without about 20 of us making the trip, although not all of us are playing Warhammer (Cancon is a massive event with a ton of different games on offer).

Given that we're so close to the event, I've already had to submit my army list. I considered making a point of using something other than the Empire in the tournament, but there are a number of things from the book that I have not yet really tried. One of those is detachments – sure, I've fielded the odd small one, but I've never really given it a good go. I intend to change that at some point, but that will have to wait. I also intend to try a very magic-heavy army at some point, with something close to a wizard from every single college present at once. I think it would make for a pretty amusing game, and a terribly confusing magic phase. But that's not what I'm doing this time either. For Cancon I am exploring something I have thus far avoided entirely – special characters.

When tournaments started to settle into 8th edition, I was one of the people supporting the use of special characters. For a long time they had been banned as they unbalanced things too badly, but we figured it was time to give them a go, particularly with reasonably weighted soft comp scores to help rein in some of the worst offenders (we're looking at you, Teclis, Thorek, the Masque and your select friends). In our neck of the woods, special characters are now almost always permitted. And yet, I haven't gotten around to using a single one. Time to change that. For my Cancon list, I have managed to jam in 4 of them...
3 special characters, waiting to be painted. Luthor Huss is yet to make his way out of the container of Dettol in which he currently resides. He'll be the first to experience the wonders of the new ultrasonic cleaner I got for Christmas. 4 models to paint sounds like enough to keep me busy between now and next weekend. I'd love to paint up some actual Reiksguard too, but I suspect time will not allow it.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

We're now on Facebook!

The F stands for... Finally? Am I that far behind the curve?
I am reliably told that this newfangled thing called Facebook is the way of the future. Or it was, a decade ago. Regardless, it seems to be the way many people like to keep up to date. I am also told that by not having a Facebook page for the the blog, I am old-fashioned and out of touch. Actually, I wasn't told that, but I could tell that it was the gist of what was being said... So here we are! The Hoodling's Hole is now on Facebook! You can join our merry band at the link below.

The Facebook page will be used to notify readers of when new content appears on the blog, and I may use it to ramble occasionally when it's something that isn't worthy of a proper blog post.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Guest Post: Writing a Battle Report

For all that I wrote up and posted the final turn of the Hel Fenn battle report today, it is now the better part of 2 weeks since the game itself was played. During this time I had a number of people regularly querying where I was at with the report. One of these people was Owen the Puddingwrestler (from over at Terrain for Hippos). I think I must have snapped at him at some point about giving me time to get it ready, because he took it upon himself to write the following piece for me, to help explain why it is that these things take a little while to prepare. If you're a little baffled by the hippo references, head over to his blog and all will become clear. Or infinitely more confusing, depending upon your state of mind...

Writing a Battle Report

A lone hooded figure sits crouched over the dim light of a laptop screen in the dead of night; completely still save for the fearful flickering of his fingers over the keyboard. Occasionally he lets out an insane giggle. He is watched by a silent mass of small, grey hippos, all waving banners bearing messages of support. Every now and again, a woman will come over and place a supportive paw on his arm or offer him a glass of Coke. A child is pushing a Thomas the Tank Engine around his feet. Outside, fiends and wild creatures howl and batter at the windows, demanding that the manuscript is completed at once. The figure types on, doing his best to blot out the gibbering of the creatures outside.

He is Greg the Hoodling, and he is completing a battle report.

The Battle of Hel Fenn, Part 6 – The Final Turn

This post is a continuation of the 20,000pt Hel Fenn battle report. You can find the parent page containing links to each turn here.
Oh dear...

Vampire Counts, Turn 6: Another one bites the dust

Vampire Counts, Turn 6
A more detailed map can be found here.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Battle of Hel Fenn, Part 5

This post is a continuation of the 20,000pt Hel Fenn battle report. You can find the parent page containing links to each turn here.

Vampire Counts, Turn 5: Here Comes the Sun

Vampire Counts, Turn 5
A more detailed map can be found here.

The Battle of Hel Fenn, Part 4

This post is a continuation of the 20,000pt Hel Fenn battle report. You can find the parent page containing links to each turn here.

Stirland MASH: The Halberdiers tend their wounded upon the hill behind the front lines.

Vampire Counts, Turn 4: The Fall of Stirland

Vampire Counts Turn 4
A more detailed map can be found here.

The Vampire Count lines swept ever onward, encroaching on the defensive positions of the enemy and in places threatening to overrun them. Mannfred could smell the fear of the enemy cattle, and knew that panic would soon start to spread. All it would take was a little more pressure in the right places...

Monday, 7 January 2013

The Battle of Hel Fenn, Part 3

This post is a continuation of the 20,000pt Hel Fenn battle report. For the other turns, head to the parent page of the battle report here.

Along the lines in turn 3

Vampire Counts, Turn 3

Vampire Counts Turn 3
A more detailed version of the map can be found here.

The Battle of Hel Fenn, Part 2

This post is a continuation of the 20,000pt Hel Fenn battle report, part 1 of which can be found here.
Turn 2 under way
Vampire Counts, Turn 2
Vampire Counts Turn 2
A more detailed map can be found here.

Black Knights and Coach to the front, Spirit Hosts to the flank: All in a day's work for an Ironbreaker
The host of the Vampire Counts was advancing rapidly, and already bitter hand-to-hand fighting was erupting up and down the line of battle. The Ironbreakers on the left flank hunkered down behind their shields and braced as Black Knights and a Black Coach crashed into their front, whist a Spirit Host rushed at their flank and howled as their ghostly talons tore at the Dwarfs' armour and weaponry. Though 4 of the Ironbreakers succumbed to the onslaught, the unshakable courage of the comrades showed through and they held their ground.
Fell Bats charge the Dwarf Flame Cannon

Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Battle of Hel Fenn, Part 1

A 20,000 point battle report
Setting up took a while
Count Mannfred Von Carstein surveyed his lines as the last of his troops lurched into position. All was in readiness. Turning, he gazed out from the edges of the fenland and across the plain beyond, to the hills on the other side. The remnants of the cold morning mists lingered over the marshland, however he could still make out the shapes of the enemy soldiers as they prepared for battle. His foes also appeared to be ready... Or at least, they thought they were ready.

Mannfred smiled evilly to himself. His enemies thought they had him cornered, at the end of a long and brutal war. For a long time now (years, in fact), he had been making a fighting withdrawal and they thought his strength to be spent. But they had followed him all the way into Sylvania – the seat of the Vampire Counts' strength – and they had no idea what awaited them. The surface of the fens was still, betraying no hint of the restless dead waiting to obey his will. The foolish human cattle thought they had his match today, but he had more than enough forces hidden to change all of that. Once he had dealt with this alliance of Dwarfs and men, there would be little strength to repel him when his legions ventured forth once more. This battle would be the beginning of the end for the vulnerable Empire.


Count Martin von Kristallbach stood behind the lines, conferring with his captains and Kallad Stormwarden, the leader of the Dwarf force that stood side-by-side with his own Empire coalition. Kallad was visibly impatient, constantly tensing his grasp on the haft of the axe at his side. Martin understood his eagerness – finally he had the chance to face the Vampires that had destroyed his kin and hold – Karak Sadra would live on in the Great Book of Grudges and the hearts and minds of the Dwarfs, but its people were all but gone. After years of fleeing, Von Carstein had finally turned to fight – a mistake they did not intend to let him live to regret.

The Empire right flank was still a hive of activity, despite the relative calm across the rest of the line. The cavalry arrayed there were late arrivals – the Grand Theogonist Kurt III himself had arrived in the early hours of the morning at the head of a strong contingent of Knights. He had been pursuing Mannfred since besting him at the siege of Altdorf, and his arrival did much for the Empire cause. With his newly bolstered forces, Martin was confident that he finally had the strength available to put an end to the Vampire menace for good.

The thud of hooves announced the approach of a knight in heavily gilded armour, his visor raised to show a dark and grizzled face. “I am Markus Leichhardt, master of the Order of the Divine Sword,” he introduced himself with a curt bow in the saddle. “Herr Count, I place my men at your disposal. We came as soon as we heard that the abomination Gothard the Undying was in the enemy's midst. We mean to put an end to him for good.”

You and your knights are most welcome, Master Leichhardt,” Martin acknowledged him with a nod. “Reports do indeed put the Wight Lord Gothard at Von Carstein's side.” Beside him, the Dwarf Kallad growled at the mention of the accursed vampire's name. Martin turned to look at him as he continued, “there are many here with a debt to settle with the undead host. I'm sure we'll all get our chance soon enough.”

Even as he spoke, the air over the enemy lines crackled with unnatural lightning, and the deafening peals of thunder that followed all but covered the sound of the undead army as it began its advance. “In fact,” said Martin, “it seems that time is now upon us. Everyone to your posts, and may Sigmar be with us.”

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Hel Fenn - coming soon...

Hi folks!

For those of you waiting impatiently for the Hel Fenn battle report, I apologise. The New Year period has been a bit busy and this battle promises to take a long time to write up, if I want to do it justice. Sorting through about 700 images (and culling blurry and irrelevant ones - a symptom of having at least 5 people taking photos) is a bit of work, and then there's the writing and the maps... Rest assured, I will get there. The end product will probably come out on a turn-by-turn basis, as it will be too big for a single post and it might get things online a bit quicker. I hope to have something online before the end of the week. Time will tell exactly how much.

In the meantime, here are a couple of images to help tide you over...