Saturday, August 29, 2015

Rochambork

Hi all,

A rather hectic summer draws to a close.  The Cub went back to his mom's for school this morning, so it's back to weekend visits, but before we shipped him off we got down to the GW for a game.  It's the first in a while, as I've been scurrying about with work, and we've spent the last couple of weekends camping, but it was a fun one.  1000 points, my orks vs. his marines.

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The field of battle - Cub insisted on a clear shot before things were deployed ;)


I took my usual boot-heavy list, while the Cub took some toys, including his Redeemer.

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The orks deploy, L to R: Shootas, Sluggas, Shoots, Tankbustas.  Couple of Deffkoptas around too.


Opening turns were fairly uneventful.  He pushed forward with his Redeemer, and laid down fire with his tacs and Devestators.  I moved the boyz up, found covere where I could, and poured fire into the Redeemer.  In the 1000 point games we usually play, it often comes down to whether I can take out his Redeemer before it delivers fiery doom, and / or whether I can close the boys into shoot + charge range before the Redeemer unloads said doom.

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Binky's eye view of the table.  Target #1 ahead.  Fun fact:  Puddin's favourite staff guy, Chris, can be seen in background.


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Tacs move up to secure the trench.


There were a couple of key terrain features dominating the centre of the board - a massive crater, and a trench system.  While neither would help me against flame templates, they'd do the business against regular shooting.  My Mad Doc earned his keep this game (really should paint him up), but he couldn't keep up with the volume of fire forever.

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Orks converge.  See that open space in front of them?  Just wait for it . . . 


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Quick, into the trench!


Then, glorious day (Kaloo!  Kalay!), I got in a barrage with my Tnakbustas that finally broke through the Redeemer's armour, and the behemoth ground to a halt centre-table.

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Fist pump!!  The Redeemer about to lose it's last hull point.


Cub contered by dropping a 'pod and his assault marines right in the middle of my advancing formation, backed up by his bikes

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Yeah, that open space was just the right size for a Drop-pod and some marines.


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Remnants of the shoota mob move to engage the Librarian


A great and glorious barny ensued, with flame templates countered by sheer ferocity and buckets of dice.  Some fun moments saw Cub's Librarian terminator surrounded by the remnants of a shoota mob:

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Feel free to whistle the theme from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" here.


And Warboss Binky lay waste to most of a tac squad:

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Binky SMASH!!!


When the girls came back to check on us, the orks were pulling ahead, but it could have gone either way.  Cub still had an assault squad and some devestators, and I was down to a shoota mob and a few rump ends, with lots of open field to traverse.

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Marines noticeably absent from the ork side of the table.


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Although, the Tankbustas do seem to be missing here . . . . 


We decided to Rock-Paper-Scissors it, and old age and guile won over youth and enthusiasm.

Fun game, and a really nice way to end the summer with the Cub.  I'm finally starting to get some painting juices flowing - I managed to put together the figures from the Age of Sigmar box set, but haven't touched a brush in months.  Here's hoping I get some minis turned out over the next couple of weeks.

FMB



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Warriors of the Lady

Hi,

Been both busy and away of late, hence the lack of updates.  Spent a good chunk of the last 3 weeks in Ontario visiting family, and most of the last week catching up with work as a consequence.  That said, the big hobby news has been that our Age of Sigmar box set was waiting for the boy and I upon arrival, and today we got down to the G-Dub for our first full game with the new rules.

I had a great time, so did Cub.  I get that these rules are not for everyone; they represent a real departure from the old WFB rules, they are not a rank and file system, and they constitute a major departure from the official fluff of the old game.  That said, I played the equivalent of what would have been a 1000-1500 point game in old terms, got it finished conclusively in less than 2 hours, including first-time looking up rules etc., and got in a game that was fun, dramatic, and demanded constant, tactically relevant choices.

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The Lady's forces, arrayed. 


The day was semi-organized, with players showing up with what they had, and the staff running us through the scenarios appearing in the new AoS book (which is gorgeous, and I might pick up in a bit).  We played the new "Watchtower" scenario, which has the tower in the center, occupied by a single unit + hero from one side.  Attackers deploy, then turn 2 the rest of the defender's army gets on the table.  From the end of turn 3 on, there's a 50/50 chance the game ends, and whoever holds the tower wins.

I had the larger army (in a pick-up game, I'd have just outnumbered my opponent, and been dealing with the sudden death clause), so was the attacker.  My opponent, running a goblin wolf-rider force, put his shaman and a unit of wolf riders in the tower, and I set up opposite.

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Arrow Storm!!


The game plan was to hit the garrison with my knights, archers, and trebuchet, while the mounted yeomen ran interference, and the Peg Knights played shortstop.  I opened up turn one with an arrow storm from my peasants.  They now have a special ability where, once per game, they can fire a volley with triple (or quadruple, if a large unit) shots.  This is definitely a buckets of dice game; after 80 shots were fired, I think I took out 3 wolf riders, although cover from the building helped them.  My trebuchet fired, but poor roles and good cover saves blunted it's effect.

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We took the top of the tower off for ease of reference.


With shooting out of the way, I sent in the knights.  The way combat works, charges aren't that hard to execute.  While distances are random, the Brets have access to a number of ways to re-roll (generally based off hero abilities), and I'd placed my knights close enough to the tower to charge it reliably.  The game treats buildings with relative abstraction; you can't move through them, and they give defenders a bonus to armour saves (in this scenario, to battleshock / morale as well).  Bretonnian charges are effective as ever, and after my knights, both knight heroes, and Pegs hit home, there wasn't much left in the way of goblins, just a weedy Shaman who was rethinking his life choices.

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This is what a bad day looks like for a goblin shaman.


The aforementioned Shaman opted for the better part of valour, and high-tailed it back to the rest of his army, which had just appeared on the other side of the table.  There were a lot of angry wolves headed my way.

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Run, Forrest!  Run!!


More to the point, there were pile of goblin units and heroes headed towards the tower.  I'd need to head them off if I was to have a shot at winning.  I threw pretty much everybody forward, including the peasant archers, intending them to take up residence in the tower.  A good run roll (you can run in the movement phase, sacrificing the option to charge) put me in range of the tower next turn.

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A Scot's Greys moment.


Unfortunately, my knights didn't make it in this time (they were more or less at the limit of their charge range), and only my two knightly heroes, and my pegs made it in.

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That shaman's day isn't getting any better.
On the plus side, I had gotten my Palading bearing the grail banner into combat with the runaway shaman.  If I killed the shaman, I could invoke his special ability that let friendly units within 15" ignore battleshock (the end of turn morale test that can force more casualties).  On the downside, my heroes were facing down a pile of wolf-riders, and looking awfully lonely doing it.

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Grom, on the right, about to make his move.


On their turn (my opponent consistently won the role to go first each turn), my opponent piled in my knights, and sent Grom the Paunch (a chariot-riding goblin king) down the flank to cut off my archers from the tower, bypassing the mounted yeomen along the way.  Turns out, goblin war-chariot special characters are tougher than scruffy peasants with bows, and my lads started taking casualties left, right and centre.  The new morale rules meant they didn't break from combat (though I could have voluntarily left), but sticking around meant that they were losing extra models each turn.

While Grom was positioned so that I couldn't retreat into the tower, my mounted yeomen hadn't been engaged, and I moved them to occupy it instead, along with the Damsel of the Lady.

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On the left, knights get set up for their big charge.  On the right, peasants are dying dutifully.

At the end of the turn, we rolled, and got another.  Putting the Yeomen in the tower would prove a key decision, however,  It gave me the initiative; my opponent now had to break through and drive out my garrison, or lose the game.

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Just pretend they've dismounted, okay?


On his turn, my opponent did some damage, clawing down my Lord (who died fighting in a dogpile of snarling wolves and goblins), and my Pegs were on their last legs.  My Palading held out, however, and my knights charged home.  They slammed into the goblin line, and despite some spectacular saves on his part, between combat casualties and battleshock, tore apart the goblin lines.

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No more goblins.


The battle turned in a melee, with my knight chasing down the last of the goblins.  Grom was dispatched by a trebuchet shot.  In the new rules, you can freely shoot into combat and while in combat, including with warmachines.  While I was okay with this with the archers (think of it as point-blank shooting), I'll admit I was a little flabbergasted regarding the Treb.  That said, the idea of a massive chunk of masonry kissing down and plucking the goblin chief is rather cinematic.  All I could think of was that bit from Return of the King when the camera follows the stone down into the orc army.

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No more Grom.


The game ended on my turn 4, with all goblins dead, and the tower in Bretonnian hands.  Despite having a numerical advantage, the game didn't feel at all like a push-over.  There's aspects of this I'm only beginning to wrap my head around.  Movement is much looser than in the old WFB, but unit positioning, and threat projection, will be key, I think.  There's a clear degree of abstraction in the rules, and people will be comfortably with that or not.

A key thing for me was that by old standards, this would have been a problematically small game.  With the new rules, it felt like a real one.  The Brets still feel like "themselves" (combined arms, hammer cavalry, the charge matters, heroes lead from the front), but everything seems to work better than it did under WFB rules.  Heroes are heroic, but are as much leaders as killing machines.  Morale is different, but still matters.  Shooting is easier, but doesn't seem to be as immediately lethal.

This isn't WFB.  It is, however, fun to play.  I'm jazzed to paint Brets, assemble my AoS box, and get in more games.  Good times.

FMB

Friday, July 3, 2015

I love my wife.

Hi all,

I suspect I'm rubbing off on the Beloved.  The other day we were at the G-Dub en famille (I had taken Cub down for a game, the girls came to pick us up), and pon arrival, she showed me the following:

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"Swear to God", she said, "I couldn't figure out why they'd make orc flavoured candy".

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She wasn't joking - she actually read the flavour as "Orc Hards".

I love that woman.

On a tangentially related note, for those that don't know, GW is about to overhaul their Fantasy game.  As of writing, we honestly don't know a whole lot, other than that they're indicating core rules and model info on existing figures will be free, and that the ruleset coming in the teaser / starter box bears only limited resemblance to the existing system.  Of course, given that we have, at best, only a limited and partial ideas of how the new rules work, the internet promptly responded with multiple days of speculation-based rage that boil down to this:


With a side helping of this:


Take a look over at Warseer.  There is a 120 page plus thread full of absolutely vile and billious venting, the basis of which is the half-formed sense of the new edition we have so far.  This, with full rules to be released, for free, Saturday.  I will never understand this aspect of the internet.  While the new game (and it does appear to be a new game, rather than a new edition) may prove to be a steaming pile, why not wait until the thing is, to stretch the metaphor, fully excreted?

In the meantime, the fairly reliably info that I will, in fact, be able to play with my Bret models in the new game has cheered my up tremendously.  I had started up some new knights a few weeks back, and then stalled, as the rumors at the time were that proud Bretonnia would be no more.  With new rules for my (as Puddin' refers to them) "horsies" about to drop, it's time I put bush to figure.

Speaking of Brets, I've yet to post pics of my new Lord, the one I converted up a while back.

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Still coming up with a name.

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I'm reasonably pleased with how he turned out.  I'd like to get the barding a little more crisp, but he'll suffice for now.

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I ran this guy in the game against Chris a few weeks back, and he did pretty well.  Curious to see how he'll translate into the new rules.

To be honest, I do have my own trepidations about the new version of Warhammer Fantasy, most notably among them the complete abandonment of the old fluff.  The Warhammer world is gone, along with much of what drew me to GW / fantasy in the first place.  While aspects of what I'm seeing in the new system do seem to address recurring problems for the game (especially the insanely high cost of entry), it appears to be a much "looser" game, and one that explicitly draws on the 40k aesthetic.  The thing is, if I want to play 40k, I can.  If I want to play skirmish outside the Warhammer world, I can.  So why would I play Fantasy 40k light, other than I've already sunk a pile of money into a pool of models that the producing company more or less just torpedoed, and seems to be indicating they will no longer meaningfully support?

GW seems to be gambling that the Age of Sigmar system will attract far more new players than it drives away old ones, but that seems like a tall order.  They'll have to directly compete against Privateer Press, Spartan, Malifaux, Mantic (who are gleefully about to release their latest version of the "I can't believe it's not warhammer" rules, Kings of War), et.c.  Do they have the chops to do it?

Tomorrow's the big reveal, and no doubt there'll be lots of releases over the upcoming months.  Fingers crossed . . . .

FMB

Friday, June 26, 2015

Observing Officer


Hi,

It's evidently high-traffic time here in Halifax.  As you may recall, a few weeks back an old gaming buddy swung through town, and we picked up a game of fantasy.  This week, another gaming buddy, Kyle, this time from Toronto, was passing through.  He touched base, and we got down to Monster Comic Lounge on Wednesday for some Warmachine.

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35 point work in progress.  Not pictured, the Void Spirit.

I ran a 35 point list, consisting of:

p Hexeris
Titan Gladiator
Rhinodon
Cyclops Savage
Krea
Full Paingivers
Min Rievers + UA
Aptimus Marketh
Extoller Soulward
Void Spirit

I painted Marketh, and put in some work on the soul-destroyingly fiddly Rievers.  I'll be relieved when they're finished up.

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Not pictured:  My bitter, salty tears.

My opponent ran a beast-heavy pMorghul list, which had a couple of immediate effects.  First, as he had no shooting, it reduced the utility of my Krea (which is primarily a defensive piece against shooting).  It also meant that my feat (which targets enemy infantry) wasn't as useful as it could be.  The fact that I realized this BEFORE the game rather than in a moment of gonad-shrivelling terror DURING the game indicates progress ;)

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Go forth, my minions!  Actually, there's no Minions in this list, though I'd love to be able to take Gorman.
One of the things I"m going to have to work on with Skorne is active synergy.  The bulk of my experience with the game has been with Cryx and Magnus, and while both offer plenty of synergy, it tends to be passive; pieces just work well together.  Skorne, it's becoming clear, requires one to actively make pieces interact.  One simple example can be found in the use of the two Extoller support solos.  Both collect souls tokens from my dead infantry, and can put them to good use (they actually compete for them - whichever is closer gets the token).  That means it makes sense to split the solos up, and have each shadow a different infantry unit.  Both, however, offer some real advantages to the Rievers (eyeless sight on CRAs vs. a free buff spell each turn), and I'm going to have to learn which solo to "assign" to that unit in a game depending on what my opponent brings to the table.

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Venator Rievers are off-picture to the right.
Story of the first game was pretty straightforward.  I pushed my beasts into the centre, hoping for some positive trades, the Rievers off to the right flank (mostly to try and pick off targets of opportunity), and tried to use terrain to limit my opponent's charge lanes.  I got hung up in subsequent turns, however, when it turned out that the objective on my half of the control zone (the black box) counted as an actual model, i.e., I couldn't move through it.  This unfamiliarity with the new scenario dynamics (Privateer Press releases a new set of scenarios each year for formal play) was a running theme throughout the game; at the start, my opponent had asked which objective I wanted, and I replied in some confusion, pointing to the objective on my side of the table, "That one?".  Turns out, the new scenarios have objectives with specific profiles, and durability; players choose what kind of objective they want "their" objective to be.

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Right flank.  The Rievers took a shot at the Savage, but only scratched him up a little.

I suspect there will be a learning curve with the Rievers as well.  I threw them out on a flank, thinking they'd function as a reasonably independent flanking force.  They got off one combined shot against the opposing Savage, and did a little damage, but were promptly engaged by the aformentioned Savage, and taken out of the game for all meaningful purposes.  What I'd forgotten about is how line of sight works in the game.  Little stuff can see big stuff over other little stuff, especially when their target is on a hill - that means that my Reivers don't get in each other's way when shooting at things bigger than them.  I could have hung back, and shot up his beasts on the way in, instead of pushing them out and spreading them to get what I though were clear shots.  Lesson learned.

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This did not go well for the Rievers.

The following turn, I found out about the whole "can't move through the objective because it's a model" thing, which pretty much shut me down for a turn, as it meant I didn't have charge lanes, and completely lost the initiative.  The rest of the game had me more or less desperately responding to my opponent's moves, with his greater number of heavy beasts giving him the advantage in terms of attrition pressure.

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To be fair, this didn't go well for everyone else, either.


I made a last-ditch assassination run on Morghul, but with 5 fury on him, he had transfers to spare, and the game ended predictably.  On the plus side, I learned a ton, both in terms of mechanics / rules, and in terms of how to use my models in game.  The Hordes side of the game involves, it seems, much more active management, and it'll be a matter of practise until that becomes second nature.

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Last ride of pHexy.

Kyle had arrived part way through my game, so I handed over the reins to him, and he sat down against another mirror match, this time against pXerxis.

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Guys in the foreground are Nihilators.  Think berzerkers with unusual piercings.

On the plus side, this time there were infantry.  On the minus, still no shooting.  Our opponent made the gentlemanly offer to let us swap the Krea for a Drake (the offensive equivalent), but I figure you've got to learn to play around it, you know?

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The thin oatmeal line.

Kyle deployed in a similar fashion to how I had, but supported the Rievers with the Krea.  Our opponent pushed his infantry forward, the Nihilators in an aggressive wave across the front to tied things up, with his Cetrati (some of the toughest, hardest-hitting infantry in the game) following closely on the right.

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Note the Nihilators engaging our beasts.  They're not going to do much damage, but we do need to extricate ourselves, and it puts us on the back foot.
Kyle did a much better job of handling the list than I did, and used his pieces to reinforce each other.  There were a couple of times where he ran into snags, but it had more to do with his unfamiliarity with Skorne than anything else.

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Moving to contest the Zone.

One interesting moment (for me anyway) came when he manoeuvred to use the opposing objective to protect his Rhiodon.  Positioned where it was, the opposing Gladiator couldn't charge his beast.

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Also note, the Rievers are still in the game.

Our opponent ended up winning (IIRC, he got his Gladiator in on Hexeris), but I thought Kyl did quite well.

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Now I just need to finish the filaree on those damn Rievers.

Next week I doubt I'll be out to game, as family stuff will take precedence, but it'll give me a chance to get caught up on a painting post.

FMB

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Rise of the Archeoptadon

Hi all,

So, the last couple of weeks have been a cup-runneth-over stretch, in that not only did I manage to get down to the GW for a game with Chris (see last post), I also managed to get out for my first game of Warmahordes in a year and a half; also, my first here in sunny Halifax.

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Newly painted Rhinodon (aka the eponymous) front right.  Needs to be painted Aptimus back left.

I had made contact, via the PP forums, with the local Pressganger / volunteer cat-herder, Gareth, but as it turned out, my work schedule conflicted with the local game night, and with one thing and another, I never really got my act together.  With term over, and time commitments much more flexible, I made contact again, was recruited into the local Facebook group, and went down to one of the local geek temples, the Monster Comic Lounge, for a game.  The group was super-friendly, made a new guy and rather rusty player feel welcome.  I got in a 25 point game against a nice fellow named Pete, who cheerfully took me apart, a not unexpected outcome ;)

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Engaging the Bastions.  If I'd thought through the Gladiator charge, more bastions would have died.  If I'd thought to use the Krea's animus, more of my stuff would have lived.

We played straight-up assassination to keep it simple, and I ran pHexeris, a Gladiator, a Savage, a Krea, my newly painted Rhinodon, plus an extoller, min. Paingivers, and Aptimus Marketh, against Pete's Menoth - he had a newer caster with which I was unfamiliar, two units of Bastions, a 'jack that shot and dropped defence if it hit, and some utility solos plus choir.  I deployed in a brick, he in line, and off we went.

The game was pretty straightforward.  I baited with my Savage, he came up short on a Bastion charge, I sent in my heavies, and proceeded to make a pile of mistakes Pete was able to convert to advantage.  I forgot how "thinky" the game was, and my mistakes ranged from forgetting to use the Krea's animus (a spell-like ability that protects nearby things against shooting) to not placing the Gladiator effectively on the charge, thus missing out on a number of attacks.

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Gladiator down, Savage thrown in as a speedbump, Rhinodon threw the unpainted Bastion to clog charge lanes, but it died.

The Bastions impressed me to no end.  Multi-wound weapon-masters (extra damage dice) that can "share" damage around or concentrate it on the target, they're a terrific tarpit that can dish out some damage; Pete used them to good effect.

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My instincts for the game weren't totally shot, I tried some fun stuff like having the Rhinodon toss a bastion to block a charge lane (it died, unfortunately), and got some decent attack vectors in, but in the end, I'm out of practice, and Pete played a terrific attrition game, grinding me down to my Warlock and utility pieces.

A last-ditch attempt at spell assassination failed, and Hexeris went down under a hail of blows.

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Last chance, Hexeris on the left.  He's not going to pull this off.

The game was a blast; I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed playing Warmahordes.  They play Wednesdays, and seem to finish earlyish.  I can see getting down for a game, then heading over to Games People Play for some Commander afterwards.  Fingers crossed.  In the meantime, my painting juices are fired up, and I'm putting together Skorne (and other models) in a happy glow.

FMB