February 28, 2011

Battlefront vs. Maelstrom - Conclusion

I have watched this debate over the last few days and I am amazed at the propoganda and misunderstandings from a lot of the community. I would like to state that I support Maelstrom Games in general though they are no angels either. You can get all the pertinent information here. Maelstrom are selling the products at a much larger discount than the other retailers. While this is good for the consumer in the short term or on an individual basis it is bad for Battlefront on the long term and bad for players of Flames of War. Why you might ask. Well simply from the fact of what this will cause in the market.

For players of Flames of War getting cheap product is great. However as this comes from only one source what happens to the other sources. Well they will be forced to either follow suit, which they are not allowed to, or stop selling an unprofitable product. This in turn removes the stock in large levels at least from brick and mortar stores. This results in less viral marketing and in turn lower numbers of new players entering the hobby. Roll that forward for a few years and Flames of War will be stuck within whats called a death spiral where they are no longer able to grow effectively and as such may result in the end of the company. This is a good possibility due to a single online stockist offering a massive discount. It has long term consequences that should be noticed.

Why are Maelstrom doing this, they claim in the interests of the customers but come on we should not be so naieve. We know they are a business and yes they are gamers. However at a certain point money takes over and the bottom line becomes ever increasingly important. Maelstrom needs to squeeze out its compeitors and one way of doing this is underselling. If you compare it to a Ryanair model of cheap flights they are simply doing the same. They are balancing volume of sales versus a lower profit margin and they are doing it really well. This isn't in the long term intrests of any of us. As it will result in games stores closing. Simple as that Maelstrom offers too good a deal to pass up. I am like you greedy and I don't want to spend more euros on an expensive hobby than I need to.

Battlefront has to respond to this. They are not acting in the best interests of the customers either let it be said. They are moving to protect their market share and market placement. They have to as they don't control IP on the game. They can be replaced by another supplier in terms of minatures easily and then they are going to be in trouble, fast! They have to stop sales at a massive discount from a single trader. That could easily be done by removing what would appear to be a cosy arrangement with the retailers to not sell below 10% as a discount. Allowing everyone online at least to do that would spread the damage and benefit the customers somewhat. It isn't great from the point of view of high street retailers but it is a start.

A good site to see what I am talking about is Canister and Grape the customers are looking at this simply from a cheap miniatures point of view and not as a long term cause and effect. Believe me I want cheaper miniatures, however I also want local games stores!

Disco Inferno

I have finally managed to sit and paint this weekend. Even better I got to couple this with a few games. Recently one of my local Games Stores, Atlantis Games, were selling off some reduced Warmachine stock. Mainly MKI stuff that was missing the new cards. They were in most cases almost 50% off so I made sure to stock up. One of the purchases was some Flamguard Cleansers. The test model you see here came out fine and so I will do the rest like this. I haven't used them in a game. I was thinking I should have taken them in the Annihilation Campaign as at lesat then I would have a good feel for them. I guess I can always give them a run out over one of the coming weekends. I took them out to paint as I wanted to have them done in anticipation of the new Unit Attachement they will soon be getting, in March I beleive. It would be nice to have them done once the UA is out so I can just run them together from the start.

I am planning to begin a painting challenge soon maybe even this week if I can get to the shop. I have noticed that while I have been playing for a long time I have not collected all of the miniatures from Prime yet. I think it would be a good challenge to buy the last few things and paint them up just for a sense of completion. It would involve about twenty five models so it is a big undertaking. Maybe you will see plans here soon...

I got two games in over the weekend. One via VASSAL with a friend, Gareth, from Ireland. I will post a report up later in the week from this one. The other was with the Miniwar Hamburg club. Last time I was there I got my first game against Cygnar. This time I got a taste of my own medicine as I had to face off against Menoth. It was a good game but I had an advantage in numbers and that then resulted in better positioning. It was also my opponents third game and while he played really well he made pone mistake and that cost him the game. He used Reznik and he charged an undamaged Crusader. He didn't do enough to wreck the 'jack and in return a damage roll of double six smashed the 'caster.

February 25, 2011

A chance encounter at Orosk

" The blizzard had finally abated. The frozen hills were no place to be stuck in the middle of a snow storm. The first snows of the season had taken the Menites by suprise and they were ill prepared for the turn in the weather. Their supplies were far behind them and the rough terrain meant it would be evening before they would catch up. In their haste to get to Orosk the Harbinger had left Reznik and half their forces with the baggage train. She regretted that now as she shivered on the ridge overlooking the village. She had paused here to survey the apparently deserted hovel. All seemed quiet, indeed not a single peasant could be spotted in the area. No fires seemed to burn in the hearths of the homes here. The only life visible were the crows congregated on the buildings and trees. Ranging ahead of the main forces the Avatar of Menoth stopped. The lone Idrian scout the Harbinger had brought north from Lael could now be seen running from the trees to the east of the village. He was waving and even from this distance it was obvious that something was wrong. Suddenly two plumes of smoke rose from the centre of the village. From behind one of the houses a Juggernaut moved. The huge Warjacks frame shuddered with the movement. Ice could be seen breaking off the oddly grey coloured hulk in huge chunks. So the village wasn't as empty as they had hoped."

You will have to excuse my poor fiction but Annihilation part two began last night and it is probably best to present it in some context. I am not sure my opponent Owen from Far Far Away had the same fluff in mind but it couldn't be far off! It was delayed a little due to some minor issues. We also changed the proposed format and will fight three battles at 35 points rather than an escalating campaign over four games. I wanted to use something different and fluffy with regard to the Northern Crusade so my army is lead by both High Executioner Servath Reznik and the Harbinger of Menoth. The list of troops I can choose from during the entire campaign is:
Avatar of Menoth
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Holy Zealots (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer
Holy Zealots (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Temple Flameguard (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Temple Flameguard (Leader and 9 Grunts)
Temple Flameguard Officer & Standard
High Paladin Dartan Vilmon
Paladin of the Order of the Wall
Paladin of the Order of the Wall
Paladin of the Order of the Wall
Vassal Mechanik

Battle One: A chance encounter at Orosk
Harbinger of Menoth vs. Kommander Strakhov

Menoth Turn OneAll the pictures are clickable to enlarge so you can see the action better. This is the game after the Menites have taken the first turn. As the scenario was killbox I guessed it was pretty important to get up and into the box. I also wanted to get behind cover as soon as possible to help improve the defence on the Harbinger. As I was using a tier list I got two walls to place. I found them more of a hinderance as I felt the Widow Makers would reach them before I ever could and then use them as a good firing position. I stuck them on the flank where I felt the Widow Makers wouldn't try to hold. Thankfully I was proved correct.Khador Turn OneThe Khadorans followed my example and moved up, a little cautiously I felt. They have the armour to wither the storm so they should use it. The Widow Makers made a few shots the the Temple Guard but Martyrdom from the Harbinger kept them safe. At this point I could easily heal back the damage and so it was best to keep the troops for when I might need them. Strakhov sent a cinder bomb upfield to cover the advance. The short range and a poor scatter meant it didn't have any effect. Beast O' Nine moved up annoyingly to the right preventing my Temple Guard from having freedom on that flank. Everything else just maintained position.

Menoth Turn TwoHere is where it really started to get interesting! The Khadorans in my opinion were a little far back for me to really get an effective attack on them. However simply moving up into range for them to attack me wasn't going to be very good either! I used the Harbinger to improve the charge distance on the Temple Guard. They then charged the Widow Makers. I separateed them into two groups to prevent Beast O' Nine ripping through them easily. I killed the Widow Maker I was touching but I didn't have reach to attack any more sadly. I also used Iron Zeal to try to keep them alive a little longer. On the left everything milled forward. I wanted to get the Zealots out in front to tie up any chargers and have the Paladins and Avatar as a response force.Khador Turn TwoSo here came the punishment. I was confident I could keep the infantry alive at least in numbers where they could be effective still due to Martyrdom... Beast O' Nine had a different idea. He attempted a trample attack over the top of my Temple Guard (You will notice a theme of this if you have read the previous campaigns reports!) However his base couldn't fit. Once again their is no rule I can find for this situation. If someone out there knows please tell me! Anyway we played it as if he could declare another action. So he moved up and then threshered the entire group of six Temple Guard in front. This also took out the officer. I probably should have martyred him but I didn't think of it until too late in the turn. Actually I had thought he was in the back group but only noticed later he wasn't. Everything else moved up slowly with a few shots from the Widow Makers causing some Temple Gurad to be martyred. I really feel that looking back at the game that this was a turning point. The Khadorans were not aggresive at all and allowed me to get my force into position. If they had moved up fast I would have been pinned in position without charges or even space to move around.

Menoth Turn ThreeNow came the fun. The Khadorans had moved into an acceptable threat range and I could get some charges that I felt would work out nicely. To prevent counter charges or at least make them risky I activated the Harbingers feat meaning anyone ending their movement closer to me would take a good hit. I then boosted the charge range on teh Avatar with a spell as I felt he could reach the Men O' War. I also healed up damage from the annoying martyrdoms. Don't get me wrong I love the ability but it really is a risk management feature in a resource management game! The Avatar charged once the zealots had moved out to flank the Devastator. With a nice roll for focus the Avatar was on four, perfect. The charge was in thanks to the boost as I had to go over an obstacle. This resulted in the killing of two Men O' War, two more on fire and one of those left with a single damage! It also opened up Strakhov. I then used the Gaze of Menoth spending my last focus to force everyone within eight to advance towards the Avatar or not move. This coupled with the Harbingers feat meant that I was in a good position. The Temple Guard charged the Drakhun, avoiding the melee range of Beast O' Nine and preventing a counter charge. I hoped to tempt the dog forward but I didn't manage it. The Drakun took some damage and was set on fire. The Paladins then advance and used impervious wall. They were in a good position to threaten in the next turn. I was feeling confident!The Harbinger had hexed Beast O Nine meaning that he couldn't use any special attacks in the next turn. This really limited his usefulness.Khador Turn ThreeThis turn a lot of interesting things happened. Firstly fire claimed the damaged Man O' War leaving a direct line to the Khadorn Warcaster! The other Men' O War advanced towards the Avatar and one was killed due to a good roll on the feat damage from the Harbinger. This facilitated the next move. The Devastator slammed the Avatar.... once again I forgot about power attacks. The avatar went flying back and landed on his ass. Beast O' Nine packed with focus came in and smashed the downed 'jack. However thanks to some very low rolls on boosted damage the Avatar wasn't too badly damaged. Beast O' Nine also took some pain from the feat. Strakhov moved up and shot at the Harbinger, again he took damage. The Devout blocked the shot. The Widow Makers tried too but were unsuccesful in doing much.

Menoth Turn FourThe game could have been over this turn but it was not to be! Vilmon charged the last of the Men O'War wiping him out easily! The Zealots then got in behind the opened Devastator and wrecked it. Thats great as I hate that 'jack. They were then in a good position to threaten Strakhov. The Paladin then charged Strakhov and managed to miss. My Mekanik rushed forward and repaired the damage on the Avatar reducing it to having only two boxes marked. The Avatar had already shook off the knocked down effect and now advanced into combat. Sadly I was out of range with the choir. I advanced, survived a nasty free strike with some light damage, hit and did some good damage. If I had hit with the Paladin I dare say that would have been game over. I left Strakhov with seven boxes. However I was stupid and left Beast O' Nine completely in my back arc and ready to charge. I advanced the devout to force a free strike on the Beast. I don't have a shot of the Khadoran response... I was too tense to think of taking it. Anyway Beast charged and that was the end of the Avatar. While it was close not being able to use my shield gave Beast the damage he needed to wreck the 'Jack. This is a massive blow as thats a lot of points gone for the Campaign. Strakhov killed the Paladin but I martyred to keep him on the field. More pot shots were taken though the Harbinger had camped enough focus to weather the storm of bullets.

Menite Turn FiveAgain the game was in my hands. I did want some revenge however so I loaded the Devout up with focus. He charged the rear of Beast. The Drakhun then counter charged. However I was able to make a boosted defensive strike and I left the Drakhun with one damage box left. In return he took out my cortex and took of my left arm. My attack on the Beast didn't even scratch it. Vilmon then charged and did a whopping ten damage. My Mekanik again rushed forward and fixed up the Devout, restoring his arm and cortex. The Paladin then hit Strakhov and did six damage leaving the 'caster on one box. I was annoyed but I thought that I could get him with the zealots. The Paladin was safe from the blasts due to impervious wall. However after the first few attacks we realised that the damage type was fire and Strakhov was immune to that! So another turn would ensue.Khador Turn FiveBeast O' Nine turned on the Devout and smashed it. It wasn't even a challenge. However he had left Vilmon who was vulnerable this turn alone. Strakhov once again killed the Paladin but I martyred him as he was my only way to reliably kill the 'caster. It also pinned Strakhov in place so that he couldn't escape to wreck havoc on the Harbinger. Fire on teh Drahkun killed the horse and thankfully reduced his movement. Not enough though to prevent him engaging and damaging the Harbinger. She was getting low on life points at this stage. The Widow Makers had advanced and shot her previous to this but a few misses meant I hadn't taken much damage. It is hard to hide a large based warcaster.

Menoth Turn SixI wanted revenge. As this camapign can hinge on casualties I knew I wanted to inflict some more. I especially wanted to take down Beast O' Nine. That would have been fitting. So Vilmon attacked and again did about ten damage. This lef the 'jack in bad condition. The Zealots moved up and peppered him in the rear. This left the damned thing on three damage points. The Harbinger then moved up and blasted him with a POW 16 cataclysm. I boosted the damage and managed to roll 1,1,1. Okay I can't complain my opponent had some rough luck too. However to leave the 'jack right on the brink of destruction was annoying. As the Harbinger was in a bad position now I needed the Paladin to be effetive. Thankfully he was and he took out Strakhov. Game over and a win to Menoth!

PhotobucketI will sum up the battle later as this post is pretty long already! I would just like to to feel some of my bitterness by sharing this shot with you. I hope to rectify this during the next battle thats for sure. Beast O' Nine your days are numbered.

February 23, 2011

The next step into Khador

So tonight will be the continuation of my friends Annihilation Campaign. The first series of battles were fought between Khador and Menoth as the Northern Crusade pushed into Khador territory. This campaign is in turn part of the Orgoth Legacy narrative campaign whcih is involving a lot of other players, mainly in Ireland but not exclusively being from there. I am playing via Vassal so while I have very much a minor part in the ongoings I do feature somewhat. Maybe if I can get back home for a few days I can take on some of the other protagonists! All this is being organised on farfaraway.org. The first leg interestingly finished in a draw. I won the second and fourth games in the series but was destroyed in the other two. The dynamics of the campaign were really interesting and the rules forced me to make decisions I normally wouldn't be comfortable in doing! When you throw a unit forward to be sacrificed for the greater good you have to realise that you won't be able to use this unit later in the campaign. Of course it may mean you win but it will hamper your army selection later in the series. I managed to weather the casualty storm last time as two quick caster kills in game two and three meant that the casualties were not as high as they should have been.

Tonight I am going to mix things up and try some new 'Casters again. With Vassal I get the option to try a lot of different things I wouldn't otherwise and while I normally stick to things I am familiar with I think this time around I should try out something a little different. I have 88 points to spend which does not include any points spent on 'jacks via points from the 'casters. I also like to run Tier lists but as I am building for two Casters from that pool it is too hard to find a cross over between pairs that would allow me to build two separate tier lists easily. I am also unsure of exactly what I am playing against so that is also a concern. I am most likely playing against Khador again but I could be up against Legion or Cryx! All three of these forces are in the area so I am not sure as to which I might face off against. Its very hard to build a list to take on all three of these forces equally. However I do want to stay somewhat true to the theme of the Northern Crusade so I am trying to restrict myself to the following Warcasters: Severius, Harbinger, Vindictus and Reznick. These are most active in that theatre from the fluff.

Annihilation Campaign: The Border Clash
Battle One: Tentative Beginnings
Battle Two: The Raid
Battle Three: Fully Engaged
Battle Four: The Slaughter

February 21, 2011

Did your land just fall?

I picked up the first of the Dungeons and Dragons Essentials line recently. I am not sure what I was expecting from the Heroes of the Fallen Lands but I was suprised when I got it in the post. Firstly it is A5 in size and a paperback. I was used to getting my Dungeons and Dragons books in A4 format and hardback. I really liked that format, especially as it sits easily on my shelves. Not to be put off by a books cover I delved in. The next thing that hit me was how the pages looked the same as the larger books but were just a lot smaller. The first few pages have been shrunk to fit the new format rather than being reformatted. Its not so bad but the font sizes are a little on the small size. Getting deeper into the book was an improvement to an extent. The powers and tables presented really seem to belong in a larger book that can hold them better. Its not so bad but they do seem to float on the page a little and not sit in its confines well. However the graphics, both old and new, are fine. I can't really complain much to be honest as the book set me back less than €15 which is more than half what I remember paying for the Players Handbook 1.

The general game rules haven't changed and are presented pretty much the same as they were before. The classes and races however are different... quite different. I was expecting this from the reviews I had heard online of the book. However reading through the Dwarves as an example I was delighted to see that you are not as confined as before with the selection of powers and abilities. You can choose where you want your ability boost to go rather than being restricted to two as before. Okay so you are restricted to three now but this really allows for the Dwarf player to try out less than optimal classes than before. Thats always something that annoyed me just a little. The races were very much stereotyped into what they could be simply because they couldn't apply their bonuses where they wanted them. At least now thats somewhat better.

Reading through the classes I didn't see as many changes. They basically function the same. The powers have been reworked especially in the case of the Fighter. For me this is an improvement but in some ways I miss the older way the Fighter worked. He really made for a tatical piece on the playing board. The new fighter doesn't benefit from daily or encounter powers. Instead he will be making basic attacks and
applying bonuses based on the stance he is in. I can't describe these too well as i just don't remember them. However this will still make for some fun and to newer players make more sense. It does I suppose portray a warrior better than the previous system. It just doesn't feel as cool! However as mentioned my players, the ones new to fourth at least, couldn't understand why they were only allowed to do a certain attack once per day. It felt far to similar to the wizard and his spells. It also evoked more of a mystical warrior than a dirty brawler! Hopefully we can try out these new classes soon. Ravenloft is working out well and maybe we can make a shift to fourth if the players and GM are up for it....

February 18, 2011

We all have a cross to bear!

Sometimes miniatures are strange, I mean really strange. This is one of those. I can't understand how this guy can move around at all. I guess suspension of disbelief in needed here! I got this guy completed this week. He isn't a solo but close enough. The Monolith Bearer of Menoth is great. I have wanted to play with him since he came out but I never managed to pick the model up. I finally spotted him in Atlantis Games here in Hamburg and I could resist no longer! He is one of the older Privateer Press models and thankfully he isn't as encrusted in detail as some of the newer models are. He was pretty easy to paint to this standard. I think it only took two hours again. I could go back and do more but then he would stand out far above the standard to which I painted the Zealots. The only thing I wanted to experiment with was the marble stone. I have seen it painted really well and I wanted to try. With the little effort I put in I got a resonably respectable result. I will now use the same technique, with a little more attention to detail, on some terrain I have planned.

In the few games where I have used the bearer he has been outstanding. The ability to make the entire unit of zealots immune to damage for a turn is a game winner. Done correctly your opponent will stand no chance against them as they move through their forces with impunity or withdraw with equal ease. I have used them to stand in a line infront of trenchers and basically block all damage to my forces for a turn. Thats nothing to be sniffed at! I think the Monolith Bearer will find a home in my armies in future.

February 16, 2011

Solos and why I love them

Some of the best things about Warmachine are the Solos. I am not talking about in game at all but instead about painting. Firstly Solos are cheap. For a few Euros I can pick up one. Secondly with a little bit of effort I can also get it painted quickly. This is great. Last week I picked up the Vassal Mekanik. Within one evening I was able to paint him to the standard you see here. He isn't my finest work but for an investment of two hours or so he came out pretty well. Not only does this add to my army but it really makes me feel like I am making some good progress. Taking out a unit and painting them can be a slog, especially with ten detailed miniatures. The clean up and assembly tends to be the thing that takes me the second longest. The next being the basecoating. It always seemed to be easier to basecoat before. Now it takes me ages. Menites are the worst due to there being so much white. However I have managed to keep the white to the minimum on this guy.

PhotobucketSo I spent last night preparing my Flameguard Cleansers while listening to Lost Hemisphere Radio. I hadn't listened to this Podcast before and it was amusing and fun. It certainly helped to pass the time while filing down the strange mould lines some of these guys have. It also helped drown out the cursing when I realised the blade attachements for gun don't really attach! So I had to cut off the little attachment knob and therefore break the gun off the arms in the process if I was unlucky. I wasn't pleased. I want to get these guys together to be ready for when the unit attachment comes out in April. I have no idea if it will be good but I like completion and these are a step on the way to having everything Menoth.

I was checking out some of my Khador stuff last night.... I must not get distracted!

February 14, 2011

Paint them and they will preform

I figured out why I lost with Feora! It was because I hadn't painted her. I don't now how many people have this superstition also but it was one that was prevalent in my first gaming group many moons ago. Models always preform better once they are painted. The other one was that a newly painted model always died in its first game... Interestingly this has generally proved to be true! The best one we ever had was in a Blood Bowl League. One of my friends was playing Wood Elves and despite having lost badly for most of the league he would not buy any more players to replace his losses. Why not? Well because he wanted to hire a treeman. So eventually he got the gold together and hired the treeman. That weekend a newly purchased and painted model was placed on the board in front of my Orcs. By the second half the treeman had been killed despite the best efforts of the apothecary. The guy promptly quit the league.

This weekend I had two games. It was nice to play on the tabletop rather than on my desktop. I met up with the nice guys at Miniwar Hamburg suprisingly close to my house. The venue is a small place but adequate for a good few tables. I lined up against Lars first with his Cryxian forces. I wasn't looking forward to this game in truth. Its pretty hard to play in another language. Its even worse when the game is interactive and complex like Warmachine. On top of that I haven't played Warmachine on a table in over two years. Also I have no clue about Cryx. My Warmachine games have been sheltered and I have generally only had one opponent who almost exclusively uses Khador. I have played Cryx maybe twice before I think. So when the army was laid out before me I didn't have a clue what everything could do, this generally means you are going to lose. Lars was nice and friendly however and with some limited banter (I haven't progressed to true banter level yet!) we played and had a great time. I lost through making far too many mistakes and having a clever opponent spot them. Epic Asphixious was pretty good but next time I think I can handle him!

Unexpectedly I got in a second game against another great opponent, Jan. He was using Cygnar and Kara Sloan. I have never faced Cygnar before so again this was going to be a learning curve. I had no idea what Sloan could do but I suspected that with her big gun she was likely to shoot me. They Cygnarians were not really out in force. Ten trenchers with four 'jacks and a journeyman were all that faced off against my Menite horde. I outnumbered them almost four to one. In the ned my numbers paid off as I was able to sacrifice a lot and get Feora safely close enough to burn everything to cinders. Fire even managed to kill Kara. I was a little lucky this game but I guess that balanced out from the previous one.

So in Feora's first game she died as predicted. However much fun was had. Getting a game on a table was a novelty, rolling dice not quite as much! The best thing was that all the armies there were painted. The terrain was decent too and it made for a nice spectacle. So I hope to head back in two or so weeks for some more action!

February 12, 2011

The Black Company

I finally finished reading the entire series of the Black Company novels by Glen Cook. These have finally been released in four omnibus editions meaning that they are much easier to get your hands on. I got into them on the recommendation of Steven Erikkson, author of the Malazan books of the fallen. In his foreword he mentions Glen's books often so I picked up the first one shown here. This is a strange blend of fantasy and warfare. The author focuses very much on the lives of the soldiers rather than on descriptive text. Often locations are given a very cursory description while the blisters on the feet of the marching soldiers are given more space! Still this makes for some very interesting reading and is definitely removed from the standard fantasy tropes. In fact the fantasy is kept to a minimum and while there is ever present magic in the world there are no races of Elves, Dwarves or even Orks. There are monsters mentioned from time to time but to me at least it was never clear if these were created via magic or an actual race in the world.

The entire series deals with the Black Company, a ruthless band of mercenaries, with a long past. Exactly what their past is and what they did in history is one of the main subjects of the series and as they travel the author reveals more snippets of this. This is generally more prevalent in the later books than the early ones. The first book deals with a war where the mercenary band find themselves eventually fighting on both sides of the action.

The later books in the series discuss how the fortunes of the Black Company wax and wane and it finds them moving southwards into lands styled heavily after the Indian subcontinent. This again provides some really interesting backdrops for the action. While some more descriptions of this land would be great we are left with not much. The religions are discussed sporadically but in enough detail to satisfy. The Thuggi cult, Hindus and Buddhists all get transfer in some forms to this setting. Even Physical locations such as the Khyber Pass and Afgahnistan are transposed. They are altered enough though to be enjoyable and you won't immediately identify everything.

February 11, 2011

They are walking all over us

Last night saw the finale of the Annihalation campaign via VASSAL. It really turned out to be a thrilling affair. The interesting thing for me was that I had plenty of points that survived to fill my army up. As most my my 'jacks were scrapped I didn't have much choice there. Otherwise the attrition of the system didn't have much of an effect on me. On my opponent there wasn't much of an effect either. He was still able to field a full regiment of Iron Fang Pikemen along with some Men O' War and a full compliment of 'jacks. Overall I have to say the campaign system was good despite this. It often leaves you second guessing about sacrificing stuff as you may want them later in the campaign.

Hierarch Severius vs. Irusk
Annihalation Finale,Battle reportThe screen shots of the battle can be clicked on to enlarge them. This one shows the game after the first turn. The Menites went first moving more aggresively than usual up the field. I wanted to ensure that I could get in position to threaten the central zone before Irusk put up inhospitable ground! For the Khadorans they advanced somewhat more cautiously. The Destroyer targetted the Repenter and due to superiority was able to get into range. Thankfully the damage roll was abysmal.

Annihalation Finale,Battle reportI then proceeded to throw my Repenter forward. I had hoped to flame the Iron Fang Pikemen to the right of the Destroyer hopefully taking the three out with the aid of the choir and boosting the damage against their shieldwall. I was a little short but clipped the front two taking them out. I knew the Repenter was doomed but it would force the Khadorans to deal with it putting them nicely in range of the Zealots who advanced into position. The Temple Flamguard moved up onto the hill maintaing shieldwall. I also cast Holy Ward unto them to give their defence a much needed boost. The Vanquisher took a shot at the Juggernaut and while hitting rolled terribly and did only a few points of damage.

Annihalation Finale,Battle report The Khadorans on the left went for the bait. The destroyer almost trashed the Repenter alone but left enough systems undamaged that the Iron Fangs had to get in on the action. This scrapped the little 'jack but left my zealots in a perfect position. Irusk then moved forwards and used his feat in an attempt to keep me out of the zone. He didn't move far enough in though and I was able to eventually get regiments in. The other group of Iron Fangs moved up to occupy the hill. The Juggernaut nestled in behind these, I guess to respond to whatever threatened.

Annihalation Finale,Battle reportThis turn was the one where the scenario kicked in. Anyone in sole posession of the central zone at the end of their turn would win. So I really needed to get guys into the zone. The Temple Flameguard advanced into position through the inhospitable ground. I then killed one of the Iron Fangs due to the effect of tough from Irusks feat. They put up Iron Zeal giving them an effective armour of 21 and with Holy Ward and Set Defence they had defence 17. I was trusting that they couldn't be dealt with too easily though I was wary of the Destroyers bombard cannon hitting them. The Vanquisher again hit the Juggernaut but only for a small amount of damage. The zealots then pelted the Destroyer with bombs with a lot of them doing damage luckily. While it was only a rather paltry amount it still adds up! The Iron Fangs were also rained upon but the feat kept them in the game. I only killed one. A scattered shot also landed amongst my zealots and killed one. I then put up the Monolith Bearers feat and make sure I didn't cause a catastrophe!

Annihalation Finale,Battle reportI was expecting a nasty response from the Khadorans. I hadn't been able to deal as much damage as I wanted on that turn due to Irusks feat. The Iron Fang in the front of the Templeguard fell to a free strike. The Men O' War then ran forward to get into position to threaten me. The other two Iron Fangs charged into combat but due to my really high defense were not able to do anything. Then Irusk moved forward casting Superiority on the Juggernaut. The Juggernaut then declared a trample! I really thought the game was over at this stage. Despite the fact that Severius was sitting on six focus the Juggernaut was likely to do a lot of damage. However when we measure the trample the Juggernaut was not able to get into an area where its base was free of models and have Severius in melee range. We checked the rulebook and it wasn't clear on what a failed trample does. So we moved the Juggernaut along the line and then stopped once he contacted the Templeguard. He then spent the focus to kill two of them. The Mekaniks then charged forward to prevent the Vanquisher from charging the Men O' War. The Destroyer took a shot at Severius due to arcing fire but missed. It scattered into the Iron Fangs but did no damage due to Iron Zeal.

Annihalation Finale,Battle reportThings were getting really tense at the start of this turn. Severius was really threatened and it was going to be almost impossible to keep him safe. He acted first giving three focus the the Vanquisher. I had a plan! He popped his feat and took control of six of the enemy. He then cast Fear of God on the Juggernaut preventing it from taking any special actions. This kept me safe from tramples for now. Sadly that was all of my focus. Somtimes I wish I could have more... The converts acted next. The three Men O' War ran into contact with the vanquisher, turned around and began to pray ferverently. The Mekanik had to move over to make room! The Iron Fangs also moved to surround the Destroyer. I wanted to pack them in so that I could get them with the blasts from the Zealots but that would have meant the Destroyer was in melee making it harder to hit. I was able to get one into the back arc. The Vanquisher went next and did a circular strike. These were boosted against the last two Men O' Wars and he managde to take out everyone touching him. That was great as now a huge chunk of the Khadoran forces were gone and the Vanquisher was free to act as he wanted. The Templeguard piled in around the Juggernaut but even with a combined attack I was only able to two a few points of damage. The zealots continued the bombardment of the Destroyer finally blowing off the left arm knocking out the movement and the cannon in the process. This meant Severius was much safer!

Annihalation Finale,Battle report The Khadorans didn't have much of a response this turn.The Destroyer ambled forward now that its movement had been knocked out. The attack rolls were a little poor and he didn't manage to take out many of the Zealots. The Juggernaut got superiority cast on him and a full allocation of focus. Three Templeguard were killed as a result. The mekaniks decided to get involved and charged onto the hill. Against my defence they had no chance. Their wrenches smashed on my resolute shields.

Annihalation Finale,Battle reportThe battle had turned into a slaughter and it seemed to come right down to attrition. Irusk was too far back to be at risk but he also couldn't contribute fully to the game. My zealots once again tried to finish of the Destroyer. I seriously damaged him but still left it functioning. I also used the lucky Monolith Bearer to take out the last Iron Fang Pikeman. I made a lot of mistakes with Severius this turn casting the wrong spells. This left him really vulnerable and I used the Choir to surround him to prevent a trample. The Vanquisher, almost filled with focus moved up and used those two precious points to absolutely smash a Mekanik into the ground. As I said it wasn't my best turn tactically. The Templeguard again failed to do much to the Juggernaut.

The last two turns seem to be bereft of screenshots despite the fact I am sure I took them... hmmm. Anyway the Juggernaut trampled forward smashed the Templeguard out of the way. He was able to get into reach thanks to a nice airburst from Irusk clearing out the Choir. He reached combat with Severius but only managed twelve damage. The Old Man survived. In my response I used the Vanquisher to charge the Juggernaut. This took it out. Now I just needed to take out what was within the zone to win. The Zealots finally wrecked the Destroyer. I would have been very happy for them to have done this a little earlier! However I can't complain. Severius then moved forward and killed the last Mekanik.This cleared the zone and left Irusk as the only surving Khadoran on the field. I had won!

Annihalation Campaign:
Battle One
Battle Two
Battle Three

February 10, 2011

Sing for your supper

After I bought my battle box many moons ago and played a few games I quickly came to realise that I needed some help. The Choir of Menoth are a staple of every army I have used. There has never been a game where I haven't brought them. If you are using 'jacks they are essential. However up until very recently I haven't been fielding a full unit or the few times I did I had partially painted models in the mix. Over the weekend I sat down and finished the unit. Interestingly these are some of the first models where I attempted blending this can be seen especially on the shoulder pads of the Priest. To tie these guys in with the rest of the 2011 army I added red to the streamers coming from their staves. The brown robes were touched up. Oh adn i finally glued on the canisters they carry on their backs and painted those. I had kept them interestingly for five years in a safe place, which I remembered! So I was finally able to complete these guys. The swampy bases need some varnish but I am awaiting getting the entire army close to being finished before I tackle that task.

Choir 2005This is a model I painted six years ago. From what I remember it was early in 2005 when I first sat to paint these guys! Not only was I a poor painter but from this photograph you can see that my photography skills are poor too. Interestingly I use the same terrible camera to take the shots I use here now. You can see the streamer from the staff here was white. I had decided to write TAOS on it for some reason. Thankfully thats covered up now.

The next on the table will be my Knights Errant I think. They have also been staring at me for a while. I think after my Zealots they were my next purchase. One of them is painted and the others have some base coats applied. All the gold armour though got to annoy me and I couldn't continue. I think I had been painting Dwarves around the same time and combined with their gold armour I really couldn't keep motivated. Sadly the GW paints I used are no longer in production so I will have to find a Vajello equivalent.

February 9, 2011


Well it looks like my Warhammer wishes were answered! GW have just posted new images of the Arachnarok Spider. It looks really good and is bristling with detail. It even looks like they have incorporated some pieces of a stegadon in there as armour plates. This leaves me wondering if Forest Goblins will reappear as a regiment choice now? That would be great though my favourite goblins will always be the Night Goblins. They were the first army I collected a long long time ago.

Also included are Skulkers. These nice fellows seem to be assassins and they are rumoured to get Always Strike First, armour piercing and killing blow. I am not sure if they count as characters though as then they could be targetted before they have a chance to be effective unless you roll very luckily. It is nice to see that some of my hopes have been confirmed. We are getting new stuff and not just a rehasing of the same old! I wonder will this be enough to tempt me back towards Warhammer though?

February 7, 2011

Weathering and airbrushing - part four tutorial

So it seems that I am destined to have to continue my efforts at discovering how to properly weather a 'jack. I took out my crusader this weekend to give it a go. The procedure was the same as last time though I kept the weathering as a more minimal element of the model. I feel that this time I was more succesful but I still haven't managed to get it correct. The first problem I think is the fact that I am only weathering with one type of rust. Their should be a lighter colour included here, something like Vajello Dark Red Ochre or Burnt Sienna. Then I should probably branch into some other advanced techniques. One thing I find very difficult is getting the pigment to stay in place and to be honest even getting it in place! As it is a light powder it blows all over the place. On every tutorial I have seen this is never presented as a problem. However for me it is as annoying as hell. Not only does it not stay in place but it falls onto other parts of the model wher I don't want it to be! I am hoping that there is a trick to this that I will discover somewhere.

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket Here are the shots of the completed Crusader. He came out much better than the Vanquisher simply by not having covered him in pigment. The shoulder pads I thought wouldn't see much wear and so I didn't chip them heavily. The armour on the hands and arms of the Jack got some more chips though. These worked out pretty well. I had given the model a much more heavy coat of hairspray than before and this helped with the weathering a lot. I did manage while cleaning my brush to splash a small amount of water over one of the backs of the shoulder blades. This caused the hairspray to bubble under the white. However I left it and eventually after some drying it shrank back into position. I also weathered the engine parts more heavily than before on the Crusader. I think this came out well but could really do with a lighter rust colour on the most heavily weathered areas.

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketThese are the WIP shots. The hairspray as you can see it really shiny. It was dry in this photo. However once you come to chipping it you actually lift it off so there is no shine showing. The final shot shows the chipping having been completed but without weathering pigments added. All that is left for me to do with these two 'jacks is apply varnish to fix the pigment in place, add some highlights to the red on the shoulder pads and then to do the bases.

I am wondering if it is possible to use the varnish I bought from Vajello in an airbrush. It seems from a few disscussion fora that I can. I am pretty reticent about doing this for the moment as when I tested the varnish on an Ork it isn't quite as matte as I would like and even tends to obscure a lot of highlights. This will be the next test for my airbrush!

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

February 5, 2011

Thats a ghost fence, it's scary!

Privateer Press have a competition running this month for some terrain. I have half a mind to enter myself. The prize isn't anything special, rather it is the terrain shown in the picture above. The theme of the competition is waystones or boundary markers. As I am currently thinking about my own terrain and how I should improve it I think planning to enter is a good idea. It should hopefully provide me with some added incentive to do some terrain finally.

The theme is a tough one though. I would love to make something Warmachine related but I can't think of something good. This competition is definitely geared towards Hordes. The most obvious boundary marker is a wall. This would be great for Menoth. Another good menoth idea would be a line of abandoned and partially collapsed Wracks. Having skeletons lying around the bases rather than a body on top would be a nice touch. They next level down is a fence. Also fine but a little too agricultural. Beyond this we get into an area that rally isn't terrain anymore it is more like decoration. A row of signs saying keep out is not really going to impede the miniatures but it does adequately mark a boundary. One solution to this would be combining the fence and the signs. This doesn't keep with the modular scenery as presented in the competition. If I was to do this I guess using an aged fence would be best. Then you could break it up into smaller pieces and have it much more modular. Making it a barbed wire fence would help this too. I will think about this a little more.

For Hordes this terrain piece is pretty simple to do. Considering that Waystones and Boundary markers are a staple of the Circle forces somehow imitaiting them would be good. Considering the feral nature of most of teh societies described in Hordes a boundary consisting of the impaled heads of your foes would also be good. Once again this begins to become a decoration rather than a terrain piece. So hopefully over the coming weeks I can get something together... Once I have a good idea of course.

Details can be found here.

February 4, 2011

A sad day for Feora

So last night saw battle three of my Annihalation Campaign. The first draft of the rules can be found here. Sometimes I play Warmchine and it just feels like 40k. Othertimes I play it and I feel like I have just been slammed to the ground, trampled then caught in a headlock and finally just as things couldn't get any worse my arms are ripped off. Well last night was such a game. I played terribly. My opponent in short order tore me to pieces. Here is the report:

Feora vs. Irusk
Battle ThreeThis is a shot just after deployment. The mission meant we had to try to control the yellowed zone in the centre of the board. The Khadorans went first and as you can see in the picture (click to enlarge) the Iron Fang Pikemen moved into cover behind a building. I am not really sure why but I guess to escape my shooting. The Destroyers then proceeded to move up the map ready to pummel me with shot on the next turn. Battle ThreeI moved up the board cautiously. I spread out the Templeguard but maintained shield wall to mitigate any blasts that might stray towards them. The zealots ran up and spread out also. This was to save them from blasts too and to get them in a threatening position for the Iron Fang's. They couldn't charge easily from behind the building so once they moved out I could get a turn of shelling them. Getting them into shieldwall wouldn't have been that easy from that position either making the bombs much more dangerous. As I had spread the Templeguard I was unable to manage to get my Vanquisher up close. Instead I nestled him in beside the Wrack.

Battle ThreeNow the pain began! The Destroyer on the right fired at the Vanquisher, doing some damage but more importantly destroying the Wrack. This blast then tore apart that part of my army damaging the Vanquisher more and killing pretty much everything in teh blast. POW 14 as a blast? You don't want to be near that. The second Destroyer then moved forward and targetted the Sunburst Deliverers. This killed them outright. So my ranged threat was pretty much halved giving me not much chance at a distance versus the two destroyers. I had no choice now but to move up and engage. Had I got the first shots off maybe I could have destroyed one of the Destroyers... That was not to be!Battle ThreeMy response was to get right up close. First I fired at the Destroyer with a boosted damage roll. This took eight boxes from him, nice. I wasn't sure if the Templeguard would have made a charge to the same Destroyer so instead I ran them up to it. I then realised I would have managed to get them in as I had an inch to spare with reach. At least in my mind I had tied it up and could deal with it next turn. The zealots then moved up and remained spread out. They dealt with the Iron Fang's coming around the building. Killing three but not able to get anyone else due to shield wall. A question arose at this point, a critical hit with a blast radius: does it set fire to everyone hit or just the target? I left the zealots in a formation where only three could be reached once I got my Wall of Fire in place. Feora then charged forward, killing a Templeguard to manage this. With four focus due to a Wracks help she had cast Engine of Destruction for the extra speed and then cast Wall of Fire to keep the Iron Fang's back. I had intended to feat this turn but I just wasn't catching enough under the area of control. So I waited another turn.

Battle ThreeSo Khadors third turn... and their last!The destroyer on the left aimed at Feora, hit and did twelve boxes of damage as the first action of the turn. The mechaniks moved up and repaired the other damaged Destroyer. This Destroyer was given full focus and Superiority. It then tramples across my Temple Guard ending up right beside Feora, killing almost everything under him. With his focus he took another attack, boosted the to hit roll and just managed it. The damage roll was then a double six if I recall correctly and so Feora bit the dust.

So we have one battle to go which I have to win. I will be forced to play with Epic Severius too. Thats not such a problem as I like him as a caster. He is pretty subtle but with some luck in positioning of the enemy you can easily assassinate their 'caster. My losses were not so bad from last nights game. I will still easily be able to afford a full force and include two 'jacks in it. I was worried I wouldn't have any left at all for this battle. I will most likely have to face a 'jack heavy force in an attempt from my opponent to limit Severius' effectiveness. So it looks like we are in for an exciting conclusion to this campaign!

Annihalation Campaign:
Battle One
Battle Two

February 3, 2011

Weathering and airbrushing - part three tutorial

This is my base coated Vanquisher just before I got busy chipping and weathering. This was shaded prior to the weathering as I didn't think that I would manage it afterwards. Shading is simply a wash of GW bleached bone and once that has dried overnight some black lining along the pronounced areas. This was tidied up with a reapplication of white in the most raised areas. Nothing very inventive in that! While letting all that dry I continued with the base. I generally paint the bases first as it saves accidentially getting paint splashed from the base on the model. I stuck with the standard swamp bases as I have with the rest of the army. The one thing I don't like however is how often I manage to make the 'jack look like he is standing on a little island. I did this once again and I am unimpressed! However with the other 'jacks I have planned I will be watching out to avoid this. The distiction between making a land base with a water feature and making a water base with a land feature is huge.

PhotobucketThis picture shows what I did with the chpping and the pigments. You can click on it to enlarge it. Firstly I had a lot of difficulty with the chipping. I am not sure if it is the hairspray or my failure. I would like to blame the hairspray. I actually used a very expensive one and maybe the cheaper ones would give a better effect. I could not for the life of me manage to get it to chip with a stiff paint brush. I have no idea how that is possible. After stabbing the model in various places for five minutes nothing had happened. I had wet the area as advised but still nothing. I then took out a cocktail stick (small wooden stik used at parties for sausages). I wet this and softened the top of it a little. After some strong words I managed to get a chip on the left shoulder pad. I tried a second time and managed to lift the undercoat off also. There were some strong words again. I continued and I was able to make the chips but not in a great way. I lifted a lot of undercoat off in places.

PhotobucketThis close up shows the chips a little better. The central part of the jack, above where the head goes came out really poorly. I stupidly placed the chips pretty much equidistant from the others giving a really false look. I also made them far too big. Next time I will try to reign in my impulses. However on the small area just below this I really managed to get some nice hips done. How they came out so good here I have no clue. Maybe it is the smaller area? I then proceeded to do the leg armour which also came out fine. The minimalist look is definitely the way to go. One thing I did notice is that by wetting the area some of the white paint will soak it up and begin to move around. This is okay but you have to be careful not to let it spread over the chips and dry as it gives them a terrible milky look.

Once the chips were down... I mean done I got busy with the pigments. I have to say these will be a great addition to my painting repetoire. However at the moment they are a complete annoyance. Learning new techniques for these is not easy. On the left shoulder pad ('jacks left) I followed the method described here. This involves applying the pigment and then with a damp brush streaking it downwards, or stumping it as described on that guide. Well I used too much turpentine and my brush was wet rather than damp. I probably also used way too much pigment. I made massive red streaks down the should pad. So to rectify that I attempted to remove some of the excess with a clean wet brush. This helped a lot and also changed the colour of some of the rust. There is a stronger orange colour on this shoulder pad than elsewhere on the model where the rust is much more red. I am guessing this was just a result of thinning with the turpentine. I did go back later and touch up a few places with white paint to make the streaks look a bit more natural.

PhotobucketThe right shoulder pad and elsewhere were done using the guide found here. Basically I applied the rust powder in clumps and flooded the area with turpentine. I then let this dry (very important to let it dry fully!) and then with a stiff brush streaked it downwards. The first thing to note is that I used far less pigment powder on the right shoulder pad. This meant smaller steaks. Also I didn't go straight downwards with these. For some silly reason I went off at an angle and so the rust doesn't look quite as good in my opinion. However this method with less pigment seems good. I didn't achieve the nice orange the otherside has however. I also came back later to touch up this side. I mixed water with the powder on a palette and then applied some fine lines within the streak. This darkened the centre and with a little more practice should look good.

So this is model one of the weathering experiment. I can't say I am happy with it. It is a good beginning I hope. The most important thing I learned is not to overdo it. I thought I was being conservative but looking at the model I really went over the top. The central piece of the 'jack is the worst. It looks terrible and while the shoulder pads are not that fantastic either they are ruined by the monstrosity between them. So with this in mind I have cleaned and glued together a Crusader Warjack. I managed to pick it up cheap also which was nice. I will begin with it at the weekend and hopefully the next part of my weathering experiment will go better. One excuse I will make is that white is unforgiving for an experiment like this. I guess it would be easier to weather models on a darker basecoat than white!

Part One
Part Two

About Me