Sunday, September 21, 2014

High roller

Hi,

Another Peg Knight finished, which rounds out the minimum unit of 3.

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This guy turned out okay, though I'm noticing that the varnish I've been using lately seems to be dulling out some of the highlights and blending.  Maybe wait longer for the paint to cure before varnishing?

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I'd love to run thee guys in larger numbers, but I'm pressed for points.  Maybe once I get over 200 points, I'll have some room.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Gleam of victory, at end of day.

Hi,

Whew!  Finished up the 1000 point End Times tourney I've been yapping about lately.  4 games, lost three, won my last one, and got "Best Sportsman".  I ran the following list:

General: Damsel L1 (Beasts), Warhorse, dispel scroll
ASB: Paladin, Barded Warhorse, Enchanted Shield, Dawnstone, Sword of Striking
C1: 10 Knights of the Realm, Full Command, Standard of Discipline
C2: 20 Peasant Bowmen, musician, standard, braziers
S1: 4 Peg Knights, musician
S2: 5 Mounted Yeomen, shields, musician
R1: Trebuchet

Generally speaking, I was pretty happy with the list.  The knights were stellar, and even the mounted Yeomen helped out, distracting and otherwise occupying the attention of potential threats.  I even got the Puddin' to help roll dice ;)

Game one was against Woodelves.  He had a biggish unit of archers, two of the deer-riders (one Gladeriders, one the other ones), some skirmishing bow with nasty, armour-ignoring arrows, and some Dryads.

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Early in the game, he was able to tear up my redirectors, damaging (and driving back) the Pegasus Knights, and tearing up the mounted Yeomen.  He charged the rump of the latter, wiping them out - I got a few lessons in how to re-direct the hard way ;)

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My knights charged back, and smashed his glade riders, but it cost them, and left them damaged and exposed to a flank charge by the dryads, who broke the unit, despite the presence of my general and the Battle Standard.

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Highlights of the game for me included a perfect Trebuchet shot that gutted his unit of archers, and an epic, multi-turn battle between the remnants of the dryads and my Pegasus knights. I lost this one, but learned a couple of useful lessons.

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Game two was against skaven.  He had two huge slave units, a bumker of, I think, plague rats, two warp lightning cannons, a Grey Seer, tooled-up gutter runners, and assorted skaven shooting weirdness.

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This game taught me an important lesson about getting stuck in.  He had two turns of shooting on me before I managed to get my knights in, and thanks to a failed charge with my Peg knights, that meant four shots with his warp lightning cannons.  That did enough damage to take the steam out of the Bretonnian charge.

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Another issue I ran into was the scenario, Dawn Attack.  This randomizes deployment, and the upshot was that I kind of fought against him piecemeal.  This was entirely on me (I should have used terrain etc to hid until I could coordinate), but the upshot was that when I did charge, it was into his tarpit unit, which held me until he got in a flank charge.  Even with some luck on my side ( a plague spell that rebounded back onto his units, doing far more damage to him than me etc.), the hardest hitting part of my force was whittled down bit by bit, and never really got its mojo going.

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So far, lessons learned were to use the rest of my army to deliver the knights, and to commit decisively with the knights themselves.  Pick a target, strike home, and use the rest of my army to support.

Third game was against Undead, which had a few advantages, given we were using the End Times rules.  He had a unit of ethereal knights, 3 big beasty Vargeists, a big unit of skellies, another big one of zombies, a corpse cart, and a necromancer.  The scenario was Meeting Engagement, with diagonal deployment, and I set up as following (my Pegs ended up being randomly selected for delayed deployment).

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This one did not start auspiciously.  His vargeists charged my Mounted Yeomen, who failed their Terror check and fled (note to self to be more mindful of deployment!), and seeing his ethereal knights charge THROUGH my archers, killing four in the process, then having them run off in terror.  This left me with my knights, Pegs (when I finally remembered to bring them on!), and Trebuchet.  The latter got in a decent shot, but the necromancer grew back his (un)dead, and it eventually fell to the Vargeists.

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In the mean time, my knights went straight for the necromancer, beginning several turns of grinding.  While they steadily chewed through the skellies, the rest of his army whittled me down.  The ethereal knights proved to be a struggle for me, as the only thing in my army that could damage them was the Paladin with his magic sword.  In addition to the archers, they eventually did for the Pegasus knights as well.

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The last turn saw my knights surrounded by, and in combat with, vargeists, the corpse cart, zombies, and skeletons.  The game actually hung by a thread.  I killed his necromancer in the last round of combat, but the damage done by the charging Vargeists meant I still lost the round.  I had two chances to make a 6+ roll on two dice.  If I held, I'd pull out a marginal win, but the knights finally broke and ran, giving my gracious opponent the win.

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I learned some important lessons about mutually reinforcing deployment, and also the importance of decisive commitment.  It was also educational in terms of Magic dynamics.  While my Damsel was able to blunt the worst of the necromancers' magic, I don't think she got off a spell all game.  Lvl 1 vs. Lvl 4 is no contest.

Final game was against Lizardmen, and this was where things came together for me.  He had two big blocks of Saurus, some skimishing skinks, a big dinosaur that launched spells, a spellcaster, and a BSB.  I put the archers in an elevated position coving the right side of the table, and piled everyone else on the left, trying to support each other.

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This meant I'd basically split his forces.  In the first turn, he reacted by trying to swing sideways, but it kind of stacked his units up, and he had to deal with the kind of piecemeal coordination problem I had in my earlier games.

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It also meant he'd advanced the Saurus with his BSB forward far enough that I had a shot at it with both my undamaged knight block, and the Pegasus knights (down one flier from his magic / shooty dinosaur).

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I charged, got in, and challenged.  My BSB cut his down, my knights crashed through his Lizards, and I won combat dramatically enough that he failed his Ld roll, and broke.  My Pegasus knights pursued, caught, and destroyed him.  Best first turn all day ;)

Turn two saw him wheel his second Saurus unit, and advance through the woods to engage.

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This one wasn't as decisive as the first combat, and actually turned into a bit of a grind.  In the mean time, my trebuchet did decent, if undramatic work, putting a wound on his dinosaur and skink sorcerer, while my archers got some shots in on the skinks.

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In the end, however, Bretonnian armour and leadership held out, along with some help from the Damsel.  This was the only game where her active spellcasting really helped, probably because she was only up against a level 2.  There were a few rounds of combat where Wyssan's Wildform (a buff) made the difference, and I was able to grind the Sauraus down turn-by-turn until they broke.

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End game saw my knights and the remaining Peg take out the dinosaur thing, and I came away with a pretty significant win.  Felt good to end the tournament like that.  It was the first game where it really felt like I got things working together properly.

I had a grand time.  Four terrific opponents, all of whom were very patient with a rusty player, and I learned tons.  It'll likely be a little while before I'm out to game again, but I'm looking forward to it, and to getting some more Brets painted up.

FMB


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blowing a horn


Hi,

Finished up another Peg knight the other day, this one the musician for the unit.

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Colours were a product of my kids, the favourite colour of each.  I leave it up to the viewer to decide which preferred which.

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The sudden burst of Bretonnishness is partly a product of the availability of gaming here, and partly with a specific goal in mind.

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While there does appear to be a historical community in Halifax, there don't seem to be many people playing games for which I have figs, and scheduling, at least so far, has been difficult (though I want to make it work at some point, I'm jonesing for a historical game).  There is an active GW community, however, and access / scheduling for that has been relatively easy.

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They're running a 1000 point tournament this coming Saturday, using the just-released "End Times" rules.  I'll not be taking much advantage of that, as I'm hoping to be as close to fully painted as I can swing, and don't have much that could exploit the expansion's options, but it will be a chance to get in some games, and brush up on rules etc. a little more.  The poor Brets have been sitting on the shelf unloved for several years now, and are past due an outing.

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The Acadian project's been on hold, painting-wise, but I've been reading up a storm.  Just finished Grenier's "Far Reaches of Empire", which provides a closer look at the guerilla fighting and military side of the events leading up the Acadian expulsion, and also offers a bit of a counterpoint in perspective to Faragher's more cultural approach.  Grenier assesses the Expulsion as a military decision, while Faragher is far more concerned with its impact on the Acadian people and their culture.  I'm going to take a bit of a break from recreational non-fiction for a few days (hit up the library near us for the first time, and found a treasure trove of BPRD graphic novels), but will probably get back to reading later this week.

On a final note, Ian, over at the the Blog with no name, has talked his wife Cath into running the Secret Santa again for this year.  While to my shame I've not yet painted up last year's gift (I will, I promise!), I'm doing it again this year.  Shopping for geeks is fun ;)  If you've not yet jumped in on this, I'd recommend it.

FMB


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Slow Finish


Hi,

This guy has been sitting on the shelf about 80% finished for the last several years.  The Nagash, "world is ending", business coming out of GW has me looking at WFB lately, and I decided to finish him up.

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3 more of these, and I'll have a round 1000 points of Brets painted.  Wit that in mind, I trundled myself down to the local G-dub Sunday for a "How do you play this again?" game, with, as it turns out, the store manager.  He took ogres, and we played the one with the banner points as a win condition.  I, of course, forgot my camera.  I was reminded of how much more I like WFB, a a game, compared to 40k (though I should get in a game of the latter to judge fairly).  I might putter with the Brets a bit, maybe try to get in some Nagash related games.

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I've noticed lately that the pics I've been taking seem fuzzy.  I'm wondering if the Puddin', who like to play with the camera, has managed to muck up the lens.  Anyone have tips on cleaning a camera lens?

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In other news, I've got my first unit of Massachusetts provincials based up and primed.  Looking forward to painting these.  The colours will be a nice break from my French.

FMB

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Native Son


Hi,

Things are starting to shake down here in Monkeyland.  Finished up the orientation for Newjob yesterday, and while I'm a little sad that Cub goes back to his mom's today, the upside is that now that we're in Halifax, we'll see him again in just over a week, rather than in several months.

On the geek front, I've spent some time modelling and priming up most of 1000 points of 40k orks.  The Cub has shown some interest, so I figured we'd take him down to the local for a few trial games.  He's also been painting a few old space marines I've got kicking around.  Three cheers for GW, gateway to the hobby ;)  I helped him a little with the eyes, but the rest is his work.  Not bad for an 8-year old, and a far sight better than his efforts of a few years ago.

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For myself, I've managed to paint up a few more Natives for M&T. I like how they turned out, and feel better about these than the last batch of French.  Less rush, less feel of "work".  One thing that's pretty clear about how things will operate here; in the absence of any regular gaming, my painting is less instrumental.  With no pressure to get stuff on the table, I might get less done, but will also be painting for the joy of it, which comes with it's own advantages.

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I also had a chance the other night to sit down and plan out the Acadian project a little.  Historically, this is one of those "margins of empire" struggles.  It bears a similar relationship to the F&IW as that bears to the 7YW proper.  While the bulk of the literature I've seen focuses on the Ohio / Champlain corridor / St. Lawrence theatres, there was a long-running guerrilla conflict, preceding the formal outbreak of war by several years.  French marines, militia and provincials, Abenaki and Mik'maq, Massachusetts colonial militia, mercenary ranger companies, and more, along with shifting identities, and mounting violence and atrocity.  The Acadians, with close kinship ties to the Mik'maq, cultural and religious ones to the French, and economic ones to Boston and Massachusetts, were torn apart, and eventually forcibly relocated.

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Before we came out here, I picked up a mess of the 18mm Blue Moon figures.  The more I paint these, the more I like them.  I think, given the often metis nature of the Acadian community, and the sometimes haphazard equipment of the informal combatants, I might try my hand at some conversions.  I've done head swaps in this scale before, when I was putting with FoW cossacks, so I'm kind of interested to see what I can cook up here.

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Another thing I'm looking forward to is making some terrain.  In addition to several 4Ground buildings, I'm going to need some terrain basics - hills, trees, etc.  I've been purusing some websites out there, and will see what I can cook up.

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To help get me in the mood, I've been reading Faragher's "A Great and Noble Scheme" on the morning commute.  It's a sympathetic history of the Acadians from the earliest settlements to expulsion, and stresses the various connections that both pushed the Acadians towards neutrality, and eventually made that position untenable.  I've been finding some interesting similarities to recent histories of the US RevWar and 1812.  The Acadians comprised a nativist and North American culture, distinct from the imperial cultures that fought over Acadia territory.  In many ways, they were ahead of their time, foreshadowing some of the issues that would drive later conflicts to different ends.  If you get a chance, I'd recommend reading it.

FMB


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Catching up


Hello!

We seem to have gotten past the hump of moving in.  Lots of scattered boxes etc. still about, but all the necessary day-to-day stuff is unpacked, furniture is set up, and we're getting back into something of a routine.  Sanity, bit-by-bit, is being restored.

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With all the disruption, geek continues to be somewhat interrupted, but I've manged to get my little hobby corner set up, and my painted stuff is back in it's usual home, along with a few "on deck" projects.

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In terms of gaming, the Cub and I (with a little dice-throwing assistance from the Puddin') managed to get in a couple of X-Wing games, including one crazy game where the little monkey out-manoevred me twice, getting into the blind spot of my Firespray.  Hairball antics included this mess:

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We tried out the new ships picked up just prior to leaving TO, and I've been impressed by all three.  The HWK adds some nice support to the Rebs, as does the cheaper option of the Z95, and the Firespray is just fun.

We've also scouted out some the the geek shops in the area, including a comic store downtown that carries some X-Wing ( Strange Adventures ), and the local GW, and found customer service at both to be excellent.  The GW, in particular, was impressive, with both manager and staff showing enormous patience with the kids and their questions.  I'm used to a store environment that's a little more  . . . agressive, not to mention awkward, but these guys went a long way towards making me think GW's a place I might want to take the kids and share my hobby.  Cub's shown a little interest, and we may get down for a casual trial game on a weekend, and see how it goes.

Between the positive vibes of the visit, and the recent release of the Ork codex, I even cracked open some of the boys, and did some modelling.

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They won't be a primary painting focus, I think, but I enjoy the ork models enough that they'll make a nice break from whatever historical stuff I have on the go, and GW's "painted" policy is lax enough that I might even get in a game.

The plan is to take the kids down to the Citadel this weekend, so hopefully I'll get a post out of that, and we'll see what can be done about getting a few figures painted.  Work's keeping me busy though, so progress, while incremental, is likely to be slow.  So far, we're really enjoying Halifax, and taking the time to explore the city and get to know the place a little better.

FMB

Saturday, August 2, 2014

We made it!


Hi,

Clan Monkey arrived safe in Halifax yesterday around lunch, and stage one of move in is complete.  Today will likely include the Great Grocery Shop, and hopefully a good run around for Cub and Puddin', as they've spent the last several days cooped up in the van, miraculously not killing each other.

Painted minis traveled with us, and arrived safely.  The lead pile (along with other, less important household goods) is due to arrive mid-week.  Tuesday I go in to the new job, to be duly processed as another cog in the machine.

Now I just have to talk the Beloved into the 5 hr drive to Louisburg ;)

FMB