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.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Moonstruck Aftermath - Part 4

This is part 4 of my account of the recent tournament, Moonstruck. You can find the previous part here.

Game 4 - Meeting Engagement deployment
Adam Camilleri/Admiral Calamari, Ogre Kingdoms

  • Skragg the Slaughterer
  • Bruiser, BSB, Rune Maw, Great Weapon
  • Firebelly, Level 2, Additional Hand Weapon, Ruby Ring of Ruin, Dispel Scroll
  • 9 Ironguts, Full Command, Look out Gnoblar, Banner of Swiftness
  • 3 Ogres, Additional Hand Weapon, Bellower/Standard
  • 10 Gnoblars, Standard
  • 10 Gnoblars, Standard
  • 10 Gnoblars, Standard
  • 8 Maneaters, 4 Additional Hand Weapon, Banner/Musician, Gleaming Pennant, Scout/Poison
  • 4 Leadbelchers
  • Gorger
  • Gorger
  • Gorger
  • Sabretusk
  • Sabretusk
  • Sabretusk
  • Ironblaster

Comp Score: 4

Well after winning too many games on day 1, I guess it was inevitable that I would eventually find my way onto Table 1, where Adam had been making himself at home for the last couple of rounds. He had even dealt with the unstoppable silliness of Tim's army using my 4 Wyverns. 

Looking at Skragg's rules, I decided that the only way to kill him would be to do it before he got into combat with my infantry. Once he started wading through single wound models, he'd quickly become too tough to handle. So my basic plan was to murder him with Durthu. I also noted all the Gnoblar units with standards - clearly Adam had paid attention to the player pack when he'd made his list. 

If I am honest, I made a few mistakes in this game. Again we were using the Meeting Engagement deployment rules. Adam won the roll to choose sides, and had to deploy his whole army before me (except the Maneaters and Gorgers. So half his army, I guess). I then deployed knowing that he would probably have the first turn, and I kind of got ahead of myself. Without having to worry about elements starting in reserve, Adam had deployed the bulk of his forces fairly centrally on the front of his deployment zone. I spent too much of my attention trying to ensure my main elements were within Alarielle's circle of influence, and failed to remember that his gutstar had the Banner of swiftness. I put my key unit far too close to the gutstar, basically. He only needed something like a 7 on the dice to charge me in the first turn. I had put Durthu a bit further back, for some reason convinced that he was in greater danger. My other mistake was what I did with my Dragon Princes, Dryads and Unicorn Mage. I put them all a fair distance from my main forces, intending to guarantee that I could seize the two table quarters to my right, and sweep on around the enemy flank/rear. Something about those 35 point table-quarter-stealing units of Gnoblars offended me. Maybe the fact that I had completely forgotten a similar unit in game 2 as it lurked outside of the game proper. Anyway, I had allocated several units and the ability to raise more, all for a couple of table quarters when really I should have kept them in a position to assist the rest of my army.
I forgot to take photos of deployment. Here we are in the middle of Adam's first turn. Having failed to charge Alarielle's unit, he set about blocking it up with Sabretusks. I hate those things.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Moonstruck Aftermath - Part 3

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

Game 3 - Battle for the Pass
Viv Gleeson, Undead Legion

  • Vampire Lord (Level 4, Lore of Vampires) on Barded Nightmare with Heavy armour, Shield, Ogre Blade, Talisman of Preservation, The Other Tricksters Shard, Red Fury, Quickblood, Beguile
  • Tomb Banshee
  • Tomb Banshee
  • Necromancer (Level 1, Lore of Death) with Dispel Scroll
  • 41 Skeleton Warriors with Light Armour, Shield, Full Command, Banner of Swiftness
  • 18 Skeleton Archers with Standard
  • 18 Skeleton Archers with Standard
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Dire Wolves
  • 5 Vargheists
  • 5 Vargheists
  • 9 Black Knights with Barding, Lance, Heavy Armour, Shield, Standard, Champion
  • Screaming Skull Catapult
  • Screaming Skull Catapult
  • Black Coach

Comp Score: 1

Viv! We meet again. The Blender Lord himself was my next opponent, and this time around he was sporting a painted army. Excellent! Unfortunately it looked like a pretty frightening army for mine, which was less excellent. Flaming catapults? Durthu was displeased. Actually, all of my units were displeased, except the Dragon Princes who thought such considerations were quaint with their fancy asbestos Dragon Armour...

I got briefly excited in the lead-up when it occurred to me that Alarielle would get to use her Touch of Purity rules, which mean she wounds on a 2+ and inflicts D6 wounds in combat against Forces of Destruction. Viv then informed me that allying Vampire Counts with Tomb Kings actually makes your army less evil instead of more evil (even though as a person it makes you more evil instead of less evil)... The point was conceded that Alarielle would do D6 wounds against Viv himself as he was a bad man, but this would not help me in-game.

The game began with plenty of threats about how the Black Coach would have flaming attacks by the time it made combat (yes, it can do that), how the Blender Lord could take Durthu in a single turn, and how I was going to Dwellers off said Blender Lord before such a confrontation could take place. 
The Undead set up. There was a horrible Temple of Skulls hill thing in the middle, but nary a model would balance on it and so we swapped it out for something a little flatter and rules-laden. Did you know my army theoretically required 5 army books? High Elves, Wood Elves, Vampire Counts, Khaine and Nagash. I blame Lore of Undeath. And End Times. Anyway, it came in useful here...

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Moonstruck Aftermath - Part 2

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

Game 2 - Meeting Engagement deployment
Damien Stallard, Ogre Kingdoms

  • Golgfag Maneater
  • Firebelly (Level 2, Lore of Fire) with Dispel Scroll, Potion of Speed, Additional Hand Weapon
  • Bruiser with Battle Standard, Talisman of Preservation, Enchanted Shield, Heavy Armour, Additional Hand weapon
  • 6 Ogres with Standard, Iron fists
  • 10 Gnoblars with Standard
  • 6 Ironguts with Standard, Standard of Discipline
  • 6 Ironguts with Standard
  • 6 Leadbelchers
  • 6 Maneaters (Stubborn/Swiftstride), 3 with Additional Hand Weapons, Standard, Champion
  • Gorger
  • Sabretusk
  • Sabretusk
  • Sabretusk
  • 3 Mournfangs with Standard, Heavy Armour, Ironfists, Dragonhide Banner
  • Ironblaster

Comp Score: 4

A pretty good score from the first round meant I moved up to Table 4 for the second game (The Dwellers decided to keep the tables ranked, presumably so that they could keep an eye on the naughty people on the top tables). It also turned out I had gone from playing the "best painted" army of the event, to playing the "second-best painted" army. All the eye candy for me!

Damien's army was a far cry from your normal Ogre list. It had nothing really resembling a "gutstar", and was led by a hero-level character in Golgfag Maneater. Golgfag gets to select 2D6x10 points' worth of magic items before each game, which is pretty funny. Unfortunately he had rolled snake eyes in the first round, so he was clearly due something better. Apparently not, as Damien picked up the dice and once again rolled double ones! Of course, he then confessed that he was hanging out for a 10+ so that he could choose the Wizarding Hat, so I'm more than half convinced the dice were just trying to save him from himself. He ended up with the Sword of Striking and Charmed Shield - a far more practical selection than the Hat would have been (I heard that he did indeed get to choose the Wizarding Hat in a later game, so eventually he got to live the dream. I don't know how that worked out for him game-wise though)...
Damien had a beautiful army, but I don't seem to have a lot of good photos of it. Sorry! We ignored the water on the end of the field, as all it would have done was shorten the table.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Moonstruck Aftermath - Part 1

Moonstruck is over, and despite the best efforts of some of the participants in the "Call of the Wintermoon" team competition, everyone survived with relatively minimal psychological damage.

As usual I'll write up what happened in my games, try to be brief, and probably fail. At least you know what to expect...

I've explained my list before, but here it is again for convenience:

  • Alarielle, Incarnate of Life 
  • Durthu 
  • High Elf Noble (BSB) with Sword of Might, Enchanted Shield, Dragon Armour 
  • Wood Elf Spellsinger (Level 1, Lore of Undeath) on Unicorn with Dragonbane Gem 
  • High Elf Noble with Dragonhelm, Heavy Armour, Great Weapon 
  • 18 Maiden Guard (Lothern Sea Guard) with Spears, Bows, Light Armour, Full Command 
  • 18 Maiden Guard (Lothern Sea Guard) with Spears, Bows, Light Armour, Full Command 
  • 18 Dryads with Branch Nymph 
  • 6 Treekin 
  • 5 Dragon Princes of Caledor with Standard, Musician 
  • 5 Sisters of Avelorn 
  • Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower 
  • Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower

I ended up with a 4 out of 5 for comp, which clearly suggested that the comp panel had similar doubts to my own about whether Alarielle would be enough to make the rest of the list competitive.

Game 1 - Battleline deployment
David Travers, Empire

  • General of the Empire with Sword of Anti-Heroes, Dawnstone, Enchanted Shield, Full plate armour
  • Battle Wizard Lord (Level 4, Lore of Life)
  • Captain with Battle Standard, Griffon Banner, Full Plate Armour, Shield
  • Warrior Priest with Heavy Armour, Great Weapon, Ironcurse Icon
  • Master Engineer
  • 38 Halberdiers with Full Command
  • 28 Swordsmen with Full Command
  • 10 Inner Circle Knights with Full Command
  • 5 Outriders
  • Great Cannon
  • Mortar
  • 24 Flagellants
  • 3 Demigryph Knights with Champion, Standard
  • Steam Tank
  • Helblaster Volley Gun

Comp Score: 4

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Moonstruck: The last push

Moonstruck is tomorrow! Yay! Or if you're like me and still have a whole lot of stuff you'd like to do: uh-oh...

I've been spending all of my available time for the last week on getting my army ready, but it's still not "done". it's usable, but not by any means completely finished. Naturally I left myself with far too much to do in terms of preparation, as is my grand tradition. On the bright side, it doesn't really need to be "done". "Close enough" will do the job, right?

Here's where most of my recent efforts have been directed.
My Sisters of Avelorn. Such a tiny unit, but they are a bit fiddly with their flaming bows.