Thursday, 10 December 2015

Painting Heavy Pike Ogres

Well in my last post My Republican Guard Ogres were assembled. Now they are painted! Hooray for progress! 
3 very heavily armoured Ogres, ready to go poke something with their long, pointy sticks.
As is always the case for things that I've sculpted myself, these guys didn't take long to paint. There is a certain lack of detail that helps speed things up. If they all had hourglasses and fish and dead cats hanging from their belts, it would take a lot longer (even if they might look fancier at the end). Simple is good. Simple is fast.
This guy was the first I constructed, and probably still my favourite.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Making Heavy Pike Ogres

In my previous post I showed 21 completed Ricco's Republican Guard models and stated my intentions to fill the unit out to a horde of 40 including 3 Ogre fillers. I've been quiet for a while on the blog, but I've actually been working on these silly Ogre pikemen every chance I could find. Progress has been slow.

My main problem is that I seem to be getting a bit pickier as I go with these Ogres. I already had moulds for the arms, legs and torso of an Ogre in heavy armour. The detailing didn't really match the Republican Guard, but I don't think that would have bothered me in the past. Apparently it bothered me this time though, because I set about modifying various components to get them to tie in better with their little friends. Here are some photos showing my efforts.
Making new heads and feathers.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Painting Pikemen

I stated in my last post that I was intending to work on my regiment of Ricco's Republican Guard, and I actually seem to be following through on it. This is relatively novel, as my last few months have been full of stalled efforts to pick a project and try to build up some momentum with it. I think this time I will actually be able to push through to my goal.

I've finished painting the first wave of 21. That leaves 7 more models and 3 Ogre fillers (which don't exist yet) to push the unit up to KoW horde size (ie 40 models). That's my current goal, despite the fact that I will have a number of models left over at the end. Given that they need work to sort out their incorrect and/or missing pike situation and 40 is a reasonable footprint in Warhammer too, it might be a while before I get onto doing anything with the remaining models. Let's not be picky. At least I'm making progress!
21 Ricco's Republican Guard, or if you speak KoW, 21 Heavy Pike. I thought these guys would be really fast to paint because they're pretty much fully encased in plate armour. But there is still enough feather, leather and cloth to slow me down more than I would have liked.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


"As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling..."
Right now I feel like I have been taking slightly too much of my advice from Kang. Sure, it sounds like a good motivational speech (in places), but I'm not sure it really points towards progress...

Anyway, I have been making some limited progress in certain directions. I just don't feel like I have much to show for it right now. I think I am still in the twirling stages. I continue to hope that at some point I will settle on something and have a little more focus in my efforts.
Somewhere under there is a work space. Truly.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

My first KoW tournament - Smorgancon

After trying out my first larger game of Kings of War, the following day I went along to my first tournament - a small event called Smorgancon. I think it was the first time any of us were involved in a Kings of War tournament, so it was always going to be something of a learning experience for us all. 

I was actually a pretty late entry (a spot opened up when someone pulled out), and my list was not exactly a finely honed precision instrument. I had been toying with lists that might resist flyer-heavy armies, as a theme seems to have been developing in our games that big flyers are very powerful and can be difficult to counter. Rather than taking this as an invitation to go mad with power and field several monsters, I wanted to try making a list that might counter them and help buck the trend. The list below was what I came up with. 
  • Ax Horde
  • Ax Horde
  • Ax Horde
  • Ax Horde
  • Troll Horde
  • War Drum
  • War Drum
  • Gore Rider Regiment
  • Godspeaker with Bane Chant, Inspiring Talisman
  • Godspeaker with Bane Chant
  • Krudger on Winged Slasher with Medallion of Life
  • Troll Bruiser
The theory was that this army could anchor its flank on a table edge, put out a solid 4 feet of orc hordes with no room for anything much to get in between, and then have enough other stuff to both shield the far flank and lurk behind the main line to charge any cheeky flyers that hoped to get into my rear. So theoretically both my flanks and rear would be protected, which would largely negate the impact of the flying monsters. Of course, I didn't play any practice games with the list I came up with. So it was all theory going into the event.

The theory was then undermined somewhat by my own incompetence and lack of preparation. When I arrived (late) at the tournament, I discovered I had failed to pack something - an entire horde of Orcs. I only had 3 in my box. So some emergency changes were made; a Giant made a sudden appearance in my list, and I wound up going into my games 15 points short. Oh well.
Behold my "Giant". Alas, he was all I happened to have on hand! Well at least the base size was correct...

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Kings of War up-sized

The weekend saw my first game of Kings of War using anything other than 2000 point armies. Pete and I decided to increase the size a bit and see how it played. We went for 6000 points, based on what we thought we could do with the Undead we had on hand. I matched it with Kingdoms of Men, keeping the list fairly light on for magic items in an effort to keep things simple and to get more models on the table. In the end it turned out that 6000 was pretty close to the limit of what the Undead could muster, and so the list wound up a bit more character-heavy and loaded with magic items than my list. This may have contributed to how the game went - who knows?

Kingdoms of Men
  • Horde of Knights (Maccwar’s Potion of the Caterpillar)
  • Horde of Knights (Brew of Strength)
  • Horde of Knights
  • Horde of Knights
  • Horde of Pole-Arms Block
  • Horde of Pole-Arms Block
  • Horde of Pole-Arms Block
  • Horde of Shield Wall
  • Horde of Pike Block
  • Horde of Foot Guard (2 handed weapons)
  • Horde of Foot Guard (2 handed weapons)
  • Horde of Arquebusiers (Brew of Keen-eyeness)
  • Horde of Arquebusiers (Jar of the Four Winds)
  • Regiment of Pole-Arms Block
  • Regiment of Pole-Arms Block
  • Regiment of Pole-Arms Block
  • Troop of Mounted Scouts (Pistols)
  • Troop of Mounted Scouts (Pistols)
  • Troop of Mounted Scouts (Carbines)
  • Troop of Crossbowmen
  • Troop of Crossbowmen
  • Cannon
  • Cannon
  • Cannon
  • Siege Artillery
  • Siege Artillery
  • Siege Artillery
  • Beast of War (Light Ballista)
  • General on Winged Beast (Medallion of Life)
  • General on Winged Beast (Ensorcelled Armour)
  • Hero on Pegasus (Diadem of Dragon-kind)
  • Army Standard Bearer on Horse
  • Wizard on Horse (Bane Chant)
  • Wizard on Horse (Bane Chant)
  • Wizard (Heal, Bane Chant)
  • Wizard (Heal, Bane Chant)
  • General on Horse
  • General on Horse
  • Army Standard Bearer
  • Vampire on Dragon (Ensorcelled Armour)
  • Vampire Lord (Wings of Honeymaize)
  • Vampire Lord (Blade of Slashing)
  • Vampire on Pegasus (The Fog)
  • Liche King (Bane Chant, Lightning Bolt, Amulet of the Fire-heart)
  • Liche King (Bane Chant, Lightning Bolt, Mreb's Grimoire)
  • Necromancer (Bane Chant)
  • Necromancer (Bane Chant)
  • Revenant King
  • Revenant King
  • King on Winged Wyrm (Medallion of Life)
  • Lykanis
  • Legion of Zombies (Undead Rats/Dogs, Brew of Sharpness)
  • Legion of Zombies (Undead Rats/Dogs, Crystal Pendant of Retribution)
  • Horde of Revenants (Undead Rats/Dogs, Brew of Strength)
  • Horde of Revenants (Undead Rats/Dogs, Blessing of the Gods)
  • Horde of Skeletons (Undead Rats/Dogs)
  • Horde of Skeletons (Undead Rats/Dogs)
  • Horde of Werewolves (Dwarvern Ale)
  • Horde of Ghouls
  • Horde of Ghouls
  • Regiment of Revenant Cavalry (Potion of the Caterpillar)
  • Regiment of Revenant Cavalry
  • Regiment of Revenant Cavalry
  • Regiment of Skeletons (Undead Rats/Dogs)
  • Regiment of Wraiths
  • Regiment of Wraiths
  • Regiment of Wraiths
  • Regiment of Ghouls
  • Troop of Soul Reaver Cavalry (Chant of Hate)
  • Troop of Ghouls
  • Troop of Ghouls
I'm not going to bother with a proper battle report here. I'll just include some photos and describe what happened in the captions.
A view down the table. We went for a simple 12x4 playing surface as the consensus was that playing on a deeper table wouldn't achieve much for this first try. Might mix thing sup a bit next time.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Over 900,000

At some point today the hit counter on the blog ticked over the 900,000 mark. It seems there is a steady trickle of traffic through here even when I'm struggling a bit for motivation and not posting much. Rest assured that this won't last forever, though. Over the weekend I plan to try my first larger game of Kings of War (6000 points) to see how the game handles at a slightly larger scale. I expect it will go very smoothly. And then on Sunday I'll be going to a small KoW tournament that's being run nearby. Just a chance to get a few more games in against some different people. I'll take photos on both days, so stay tuned.

Thanks to everyone who's been dropping by!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Motivation is for chumps

We're nearly halfway through October now, and this means we're also nearly halfway through the latest iteration of Duelling Paintbrushes. So what have I done? Almost nothing.

Why? I have no motivation.

Hobby motivation is a strange and fickle beast. It can't always be predicted, and it can't necessarily be manufactured out of nothing.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Axemaster 2015 Aftermath - Part 4

This is the 4th and final part of my tournament report. You can find part 3 here.

Game 5
Stuart Murray, Warriors of Chaos

  • Chaos Lord of Khorne on Manticore
  • Throgg the Troll King
  • Festus
  • Exalted Hero of Nurgle on Daemon Steed with Battle Standard
  • Mounted Sorcerer (Level 2, Lore of Metal)
  • Sorcerer (Level 2, Lore of Slaanesh)
  • 15 Chaos Warriors of Nurgle with Shields
  • 15 Marauders of Slaanesh
  • 5 Marauder Horsemen of Tzeentch
  • Chimera

Comp Score: 3

My Mission: Control table quarters

It was game 5 and I would be playing someone else I had never played before. Stuart's army looked like something that had escaped a previous edition of Warhammer - a Chaos army laden with characters and with almost no models. Looking at it, my main hope was to knock off the units and hopefully minimize the damage the Chaos Lord could do (as he and his beast promised too much punch at high speed for me to handle).

Axemaster 2015 Aftermath - Part 3

This is part 3 of my tournament report. You can find part 2 here.

Game 4
Mal Patel, Lizardmen

  • Slann Mage Priest (Level 4, Lore of Metal)
  • Saurus Old Blood
  • Saurus Old Blood
  • Saurus Scar Veteran with Battle Standard
  • Skink Priest (Level 1, Lore of Heavens)
  • 22 Saurus
  • 22 Saurus
  • 20 Skink Cohort
  • 20 Skink Cohort
  • 20 Skink Cohort
  • 3 Razordons
  • Bastiladon

Comp Score: 6
Mal's Lizardman army
My Mission: Capture the flag

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Axemaster 2015 Aftermath - Part 2

This is part 2 of my tournament report. You can find part 1 here.

Game 2
Julian Jaksch, Goblins

  • Skarsnik and Gobbla
  • Night Goblin Great Shaman (Level 4, Little Waagh)
  • Night Goblin Shaman (Level 2, Little Waagh)
  • Night Goblin Big Boss with Battle Standard
  • Night Goblin Big Boss
  • 40 Night Goblins with Spears, Netters
  • 35 Night Goblins with Spears, Netters
  • 22 Night Goblins with Short Bows
  • 20 Night Goblins with Short Bows
  • Squig Herd with 21 Squigs, 7 Handlers
  • Goblin Wolf Chariot
  • Goblin Wolf Chariot
  • Goblin Spear Chukka
  • Goblin Spear Chukka
  • Troll
  • Pump Wagon with Spiky Roller, Exploding Spores
  • Pump Wagon with Spiky Roller
  • Doom Diver
  • Rock Lobber with Bully
  • Arachnarok

Comp Score: 6
Julian's very nicely painted Goblin army. The Colossal Squig was being used as an Arachnarok.
My Mission: Kill the general
Julian's Mission: Capture the flag

After an ignominious start, I joined Julian's all-goblin army down on the lower tables. I figured this was probably where my army belonged, so I wasn't too bothered being thrashed first up. Julian and I had never actually played before, despite attending many of the same events over the years. This promised to be fun.
The Squignarok.
All those Fanatics are hiding somewhere in the list. Stupid closed lists. Julian's list actually had all the details on it, but I tried to ignore the things I wasn't meant to see.
The army's centre, with the Great Shaman in Skarsnik's unit and the BSB and Shaman in the unit to the left.
Yep, that's my whole army deployed right there. Everyone else was late.
Deployment started with Skarsnik delaying my troops with Squigs or donuts or something, resulting in each unit starting in reserve on the roll of a 6. Because I have great natural skill and a mastery of dice, this resulted in most of my army starting off the field. All 3 units of Orcs and my secondary Wyvern started in reserve, which meant my Great Shaman found himself deploying without a unit, trying to hide behind a building. 
What the hell, guys? Come on, we need you!
Oh well, at least I would get the +2 bonus to get the first turn (because of a better comp score and finishing deploying first - by about a week in this case). No wait, I lost the roll-off anyway. Julian took the first turn.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Axemaster 2015 Aftermath - Part 1

It is a strange phenomenon that as time has gone on and I have been less invested in actually winning my games, I have found that I remember fewer details of them. Back when I was younger and I played far more competitively, I could remember the entire game clearly. Nowadays it is all a bit of a vague blur. This report promises to be my least precise ever, as A: I really didn't care at all how I went; and B: we were playing with closed lists. As a result of the second part in particular, the army lists I provide here will be incomplete and probably slightly wrong. Keeps it interesting, right?

I basically chose my army by deciding I had painted 2 Arachnaroks and never used them, so set about rectifying that. I also jammed a couple of Wyverns in because they are flappy and stuff. The rest was boring vanilla Orcs because nobody likes or uses them (poor guys) and because I needed some fortitude for reasons that will become apparent from reading the player pack stuff below...

  • Orc Warboss on Wyvern with Great Weapon; Shield, Armour of Fortune
  • Orc Warboss on Wyvern with Great Weapon; Shield, Gambler's Armour
  • Orc Great Shaman (Level 4, Big Waagh) with Dispel Scroll
  • Black Orc Big Boss BSB on Boar with Heavy Armour and Dragonhelm
  • Arachnarok
  • Arachnarok
  • 40 Orc Boyz with Shields, Full Command
  • 25 Orc Boyz with Shields, Full Command
  • 25 Orc Boyz with Shields, Full Command
  • 6 Goblin Wolf Riders with Spears, Shields, Standard and Musician

The rough family shot I included in my previous post.
The tournament used the SCGT pack, which meant comp scores had no effect on the overall standings. Instead they were used to affect the roll-offs at the start of the game to determine each of the following:

  • Deployment method (standard, Battle for the Pass, or diagonal)
  • Table side/corner
  • Setting up first
  • First turn

Basically the higher comp score got a +1 modifier to each of those roll-offs, and if it was twice the score or more, it got a +2. Seems unlikely, right? Well as it turns out, I had the highest comp score in the event by a mile. I got a few +2 modifiers (and frequently lost the roll-offs anyway).

Results were determined by 5 different factors, with up to 20 points available between the 2 players:

  • Win by 200+ VPs: 4 points (2 points each if result is a draw within 200 VPs)
  • Achieve your secret mission: 4 points
  • Deny your opponent's mission: 4 points
  • Break your opponent's army (fortitude as per Blood and Glory): 4 points
  • Prevent your own army from being broken: 4 points

So it was theoretically possible (however unlikely) that you could win the game and walk away with only 4 points. It's an interesting shake-up of the normal approach.

In terms of secret missions, you had to use each one once. The player with the lower comp score (ie every one of my opponents) had to reveal their mission before the game. The missions were:

  • Kill the enemy general
  • Kill more Special and Rare choices than you lose
  • Control the most buildings at the end of the game
  • Control the most hills at the end of the game
  • Control the most table quarters at the end of the game
  • Capture the most standards

Controlling things basically required non-fast cavalry units with fortitude. Hence the Orc blocks. Anyway, that's enough detail. If you want to go and read the player pack for yourself, you can always Google it. On with the show.

Game 1
Viv Gleeson, Undead Legion

  • Mounted Vampire Lord (Level 4, Lore of Vampires)
  • Mounted Vampire (Level 1, Lore of Shadow)
  • Mounted Vampire (Level 1, Lore of Shadow)
  • 40 Skeleton Warriors
  • 16 Skeleton Archers with Standard and Musician
  • 16 Skeleton Archers with Standard and Musician
  • 9 Black Knights with Full Command
  • 8 Black Knights with Full Command
  • 6 Vargheists
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • Screaming Skull Catapult
  • Screaming Skull Catapult

Comp Score: 4

My Mission: Capture the buildings
Viv's Mission: Kill my general

Monday, 7 September 2015

Orc War Drum and Axemaster

I haven't really been able to focus upon any particular hobby thing recently. I've been largely crippled at home, recovering from knee surgery a couple of weeks ago. This gave me some time to paint, but even when I was trying to queue up models to work on, they ended up coming from 3 different armies. And then I hardly got to any of the things in the queue anyway. I guess I was just being optimistic.

My main achievement during my convalescence was padding out my horde of Handgunners with the unit filler, but since then I have also managed to plug a gap in my Orc army for Kings of War. One of the units that has no direct Warhammer equivalent is the War Drum. I decided it was useful, so I slapped together a couple of them and painted them up.
A couple of Orc War Drums, ready for action.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Hobby Update

I've been a bit quiet recently, but I've been working away on the hobby side of things. This will be a bit of a general update on what's been happening.

Working out how some of my armies need to adapt for Kings of War has been an interesting process. Some of my armies are really not where I would want them to be - for instance my Dwarfs, who simply don't have the right unit sizes in the right places, and currently have no models to use for Brock Riders or Earth Elementals. Clearly they need some work, but I've already earmarked them for attention during Duelling Paintbrushes, so I guess steps are already being taken there. 

My Orcs, Elves and Empire are in better shape, thanks mainly to the size of the armies. They cover most potential short-comings through sheer weight of numbers. There are still things that need to be addressed, however. The main problem for my Empire is the Horde unit size for missile troops. I didn't have a single coherent regiment of 40 Crossbowmen, Handgunners or Archers. This is not really surprising, given it's a completely impractical unit in Warhammer. Too many of the models in such a unit wouldn't get to shoot. Anyway, it's an option I now want. So I set about increasing one of my Handgunner units to a 10x4 formation.
40 Handgunners, complete with a 15-man unit filler.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Battle of Blood Valley - Part 3

This is the third and final part of our battle report. You can find the previous part here.

Empire Turn 4
Empire Turn 4
The toll was mounting on both sides as the battle continued. Despite their pursuers having lost interest, the morale of the few remaining Halberdiers was too badly shattered for them to regroup and they fled the field entirely. The Handgunners fired a volley through the windows of the house, but the Ogres hiding inside were difficult to pick out and they took little real damage. The Cannon crew noticed the commotion and turned their machine to fire across the field. The shot blasted through the upper floor, killing the already-wounded Ogre who had been making his way upstairs.
"Kill me first, Mr Daemon Prince!" "No, I demand my doom first!" "Wait your turn!"

Monday, 17 August 2015

The Battle of Blood Valley - Part 2

This is a continuation of the Battle of Blood Valley battle report. You can find the first part here.

Empire Turn 2
Empire Turn 2
The Empire general and army standard had fallen. They and the Knights escorting them had fallen prey to Reichardt's own hubris and needless aggression. Their skulls would be added to Khorne's collection, but the battle was not yet over.

Lost in the mindless stampede as they ran down the fleeing Empire commander, the Chaos Knights were oblivious to the charge of the Greatswords into their exposed flank until it was too late. The Skullcrushers were also unexpectedly flanked when the Chaos Hounds blocking the path of the Outriders decided to turn tail and flee when they charged. As the Hounds made their escape through their own lines (and ultimately from the field entirely) the Outriders altered their course and charged the monstrous Skullcrushers instead. What they thought about this sudden change of opponents is probably best not recorded.
The Chaos Knights ans Skullcrushers find themselves flanked mid-celebration. How unsporting. The Outriders were meant to be getting out of the way for the Steam Tank to charge the Skullcrushers, but compulsory movement occurring later meant the Outriders had already maximised and left no room.

Friday, 14 August 2015

The Battle of Blood Valley - Part 1

A 3,250 point Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th edition battle report with Aaron Graham.

It has been a while since I posted a proper battle report, so I thought I would put out the call and see who was interested in these disturbing and Age of Sigmar-laden times. Aaron put up his hand, and we set about planning a game. Things were largely dictated by what he had available (hence the slightly strange points limit). I tried to make an army that might face off fairly evenly against the sorts of units he would be fielding, and away we went.

Unfortunately the lighting at the club is really not great, so some of these photos are pretty dark despite my efforts to adjust the camera. In the end (as the afternoon got even darker) I wound up resorting to the flash. Sorry about my shoddy photography skills. Anyway, on with the game!

Smoke smeared the horizon as Grand Master Reichardt called his column to a halt at the top of a gently rolling hill. They stood on the lip of a green valley. The farmhouses occupying the area had all been abandoned for a while. The Chaos warband that was rampaging in this direction was hardly the first threat to the area in recent memory. In truth, the whole region was a war zone. A tide of warriors had been arriving from the north, and there was a limit to how many armies Elector Count Valmir von Raukov could dispatch to combat the problem. 

Reichardt's task force was one such force. He had been dispatched with the specific purpose of intercepting and destroying this latest warband before its southerly course took it beyond the Elector's reach and deeper into the Empire. This was not the first such sortie that the Grand Master and his men had been on. Every fighting man in Ostland was a veteran by now; there was no room for idle men.

A forced march had brought them to this valley, which Reichardt had identified as the best place to halt the northerners. They were arriving toward the later part of the afternoon however, and the sun would soon be setting. It would have been time to make camp, however the sounds from the other side of the valley suggested that there would be no time for that. The battle would take place now.

Already the lead elements of the Chaos force were emerging from the trees on the far side of the field. As the sun began to set behind them and the smoky sky overhead began to turn red, the gathering Northmen took up a chant as they formed ranks across the valley from the hastily deploying Empire forces. The chant was simple, but it simultaneously struck fear into the hearts of their enemies and praised their malevolent master.

"Blood! Blood! Blood! BLOOD!"

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Another duel on the horizon

My hobby life seems to revolve around a series of annual events. The trip to Canberra for Cancon and the large game around the end of the year come to mind. Amongst these regular traditions is the challenge that is known as Duelling Paintbrushes. This has been going on in various forms since 2011 (the year I started this blog). Anyway, it's back again. Or rather, it will be in October.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Ostland Halberdier Regiment Done

It took me a while (getting sick never helps), but eventually I got my latest regiment of Halberdiers finished. These guys are the third regiment in my "Ostland" contingent (I always feel obliged to use the quotes because I know that the colours are not quite right - they should be mainly black and white rather than black and red). 

The unit continues my trend of building my army around core blocks of 60 infantry. This habit may need to be revised a bit if I find myself playing more Kings of War, as the only unit in the Kingdoms of Men list that can be fielded as a Legion (60 men) is Militia. At some point I will probably take another swing at growing the units to closer to 80 in order to allow each of them to be split into 2 Hordes (units of 40).
60 Halberdiers, ready for some Warhammer or KoW action.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Kings of War

Over the last month or so I have found time to play 3 games of Kings of War. So obviously I am now an expert. Well OK, maybe not. But I've been able to read the rules and put what I read into action a few times in order to get a feel for what is going on. I used a different army each game (Elves, Orcs and Kingdoms of Men), with the first 2 games being against Kingdoms of Men whilst the third one was against an Orc and Goblin alliance (those are separate lists). I know some people have been waiting to hear my thoughts about the game, so I guess it's time to start talking about it.

Given the Warhammer-centric nature of this blog, I will approach the game from the perspective of a Warhammer player rather than someone who is new to both games.

It's like Warhammer
In some ways, this statement is true. A game of KoW looks a lot like a game of Warhammer when the models and terrain are all on the table. Regiments are formed up into ranked up rectangles, with the separate monsters, characters and war machines there in support. For all that KoW is set in a different background (the world of Mantica) with its own races and characters, the classic races of Orcs, Dwarfs, Elves, Undead and Humans are all there. The parallels are strong, and can probably be partly attributed to what was presumably Mantic's original goal of offering a more affordable option to players wanting to make a Warhammer army. The crossover in terms of the models goes both ways, of course. You can quite easily make an entire KoW army out of Warhammer models, although there are occasional things with no direct equivalents.
From my 3rd game, using Kingdoms of Men against Orcs and Goblins. Yep, it looks a lot like Warhammer.
Units move at a similar pace to what they do in Warhammer, although most things seem to go 1" faster. Charging is more like pre-8th edition however, with units travelling at double their base movement rather than adding a dice roll to determine their distance.

With all these similarities, this game is a lot more like Warhammer than Age of Sigmar is.

It's not Warhammer
For all that the game may look familiar at a glance, KoW is actually very different from Warhammer. The differences are everywhere, but I'll focus on the main ones.

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.