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

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Grudge match. Of happiness and joy.

Hi,

So, back in the day, when men were men and the Cub was but a gleam in his daddy's eye, I lived in sunny Newfoundland, and played 40k with a disreputable, if lovable, band of rogues and scoundrels.  Amongst them was Chris, who played Nurgle Space Marines, and never a more vile and puss ridden pack could you encounter.

As it happens, Chris came through Halifax the other day (his WWI re-enactment groups were doing a bit up at the Citadel, which we missed due to the Beloved's birthday and my desire to continue being married).  Chris and I, however, did manage a game of WFB at the local GW, due in part to the staff being willing to reserve us a table and loan Chris an army (thanks, Dan!).

Turns out, Chris has been working on Skaven, so we arranged to throw down at 1500 points, my Brets against his (Dan's) Skaven.  I ran a list similar to the one I'd run at the tournament a ways back, but with points fleshed out with a couple of Lords (thanks to the 50% L/H rule of the End Times). Chris ran a couple of 50-rat units, assorted characters, a unit of Rat Ogres, and enough weapon teams at which to shake a stick.

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We played the random deployment scenario, with Chris deploying first.  He put his rat block in the center, the ROgres off to the left flank, and his weapon teams distributed across the army.  I had my Treb and Yeomen on the left, my knights and archer in the centre, and my Pegs on the right.

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\My plan was pretty simple.  Chris had stacked up his two big infantry blocks a bit.  I hoped to capitalize on it, get his units tangled in each other, and then hopefully maximize my knights charge, breaking units piecemeal rather than letting him gang up on me.

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The major weakness of my list, along with it's strength, is the knight block, which functions as something of deathstar.  With my Army banner, a Lord, and my L4 wizard, it was something of an all or nothing proposition.

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First tun, I probed on the flanks with my Peg Knights and Yeomen.  Chris advanced, pushing his ROgres into the woods on the flank (they spent much of the game wandering in said woods), and opting to stack up his infantry rather than getting them bogged down in bad terrain.

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My Treb managed to misfire in it's first shot, but luckily only lost it's shot for the turn.  On turn 2, I charged my Yeomen into a weapon team that had strayed too close.  They promptly whiffed all their attacks, as did the weapon team in return.  As it turns out, I should have won the combat due to my musician, but both of us forgot it affected combat resolution (been a while for us both), so the units stayed locked in combat.

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In the centre, there was inconclusive shooting and magic exchanges.  I flew my Peg knights in behind his lines, causing ( I hope) a moment or two of indecision.

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On Chris' turn, his weapon team managed to get in a solid hit, while my Yeomen maintained their proud tradition of slapfighting, before running away in shame.

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On my following  turn, things got a little crazy.  Chris had pushed his rats forward enough that I figured I could chance a charge.  I sent the knights in, they hammered home, and then things went sideways.  One of the advantages that Brets have is that their wizards don't sit in the front rank of their unit - rather, they're snugly ensconced in the middle.  That meant that my Lady could still cast offensive spells (just not at the unit her unit contacted).  I then decided to compound the impact of my charge with a casting of Dwellers Below on the block of Skaven behind the one I'd charged.  This went off, with irresistible force.  On the plus side, Chris couldn't counter it.  On the downside, it caused a S10 hit to the Lady and every model in base contact with her, i.e., most of them.

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As it turned out, I got dumb lucky on this one.  Both my other characters dodged a bullet, and while I lost three knights, most made their ward save.  I lost some attacks on my charge, but was still in the game.

The Dwellers spell was a monster.  Half the rat unit failed their strength test and died, and while they made their Leadership check, the unit was well and truely gutted

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The turn continued crazy in the shooting phase, where my attempt to finish off the damaged rat block with my trebuchet backfired as the thing misfired again(!), and this time, exploded in a storm of splinters.

In the combat phase, my knights predictably won (by 11, or something silly like that).  The rats broke, and my knights chased them down, but not enough to engage the second, damaged rat block.

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This left them sitting in the middle of a shooting gallery of weapon teams.  It was about this time we figured out we'd been doing the aforementioned teams incorrectly through most of the game.  This wasn't looking too good for the knights.

As it turned out, however, Bretonnian armour stood proof against Rat tech (I think they overshot and killed as many of their own guys as mine), and at the end of turn 3, it wasn't looking great for Chris.

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I still had a solid block of knights, including all of my characters, his Rogres were tied up, and odds were good I'd break the second block of Clanrats had the game continued.

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We had to call it for time at that point, but it was a grand affair.  It was great to see Chris again, it's been far too long since we'd had a chance to play, and the GW guys here in Halifax were terrific as always in helping us out.

FMB


Friday, June 12, 2015

Da Boss

Hi,

So, a long time ago, in a Newfoundland far, far away (though not as far these days), a great adventure took place . . . .

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 . . . I had an ork army for 40k.

It was a good army, but for a range of reasons, I sold it, something I've always regretted.  That army was led by Warboss Binky, a mighty-thewed monster, chief of the Blu-Pantz Krue.

Binky lives again!

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Binky Jr. is the warboss for my growing ork horde.  He's taken the field against the Cub a few times now, but was long past due for a coat of paint.  I'm pleased by how he's turned out.

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In addition, I finished up a few more boyz, including a couple of my Frankenstein old-metal / new plastic hybrid sluggaboyz.

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Next post will hopefully be something a little special, if I remember to take pictures, and then maye some new Bretonnian or Acadie stuff.

FMB

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A-viking we will go . . . .

Hi,

After a long hiatus, Haemar's host gets a new addition, a point of Warriors to bring him up to a 3 point force.

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Kulli and the gang.

I've been watching the Viking's series of late, and binge-reading Cornwell's Saxon series, and between the two, seem to have jump-started my painting mojo.

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These guys are the usual mix of Wargames Factory and Rohan models, most with some modification / greenstuffing, especially in the area of hair and beards.

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I also tried to ensure they weren't as well-equipped, and that while they had spot colours to tie them in, were generally dressed in more drab / earthy tones, to distinguish them from the Hearthguard.

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Getting these guys finished seems to have fired me up a little, as I've gone on to finish the Bret Lord I started  while back, and get cracking on some other stuff as well.  Hopefully, this'll mean more regular posts in future.

FMB