Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Mordheim, Season3, Game 7

The club Mordheim campaign rumbles on, with all 6 players assembles for this months instalment. This was to be a dungeon delve, with us all trying to locate a certain piece of treasure, while trying to survive the denizens that lurked in the darkness.

Assembles were:

My Undead
Andy's Skaven
Dave's Marienburgers
Ian's dwarfs
Rory's Protectorate of Sigmar
Andy's Witch Hunters.
Protectorate of Sigmar




Witch Hunters


We each started in one of 6 rooms, and all had to fight our way to the centre, defeat the residents and then make off with as much treasure as possible hoping that one of them will be the artefact that we are looking for.

I ended up sandwiched between Andy's Witch Hunters and Rory's POS, and decided to make my way for Rory, as he is worth more xp to me.  Early game went pretty typically by this point in the campaign;

  • The Marienburgers and Witch Hunters engaged each other.
  • The Dwarves started the long slow march through the dungeon.
  • The Skaven threw out a screen of Giant Rats and ran ahead of everyone hovering up the treasure.
  • The PoS and the Undead advanced toward each other.

That pretty much set the tone for most of the game. There are now 18 Skaven , and they just put a screen of giant rats out, while using their increased movement to hoover up any treasure and avoiding any fights.  This time the Witch hunters were victorious, seeing of the Marienburgers. The Dwarfs kept marching along, although they managed to get in contact with the Skaven this time.  the undead and PoS got into a pretty good scrap, with POS giving a good account of themselves and managing to take the Vampire out of action (he really has been utterly useless this campaign!) before deciding to retreat due to casualties. the Undead followed suit right after, carrying of the Vampire and prepping the sticky tape and staple gun, ready to get him back into action.

Late game and as soon as the Skaven had the required amount of casualties they left the board. With the Undead and PoS leaving to lick their wounds, and the Marienburgers had routed early doors this left only the dwarfs and the witch hunters on the board. A stalemate ensued, with neither of the cowardly scumbags warbands willing to engage the other.  In the end they agreed to call it a draw, with no one claiming victory. Both warbands should hang their cowardly heads in shame!

In the end my undead had a terrible night, with everyone, but especially the vampire  fluffing his attacks something rotten, and gaining a chest wound for his trouble.  No permanent casualties though which was good , and one Ghoul was promoted to a hero bringing me up to the maximum 6. the campaign is approaching the end now, with only a couple of games to go, and the clear frontrunners are currently the Skaven, although they don't actually do much and have yet to win a game, which is very in character. The big question now is whether or not to buy a some armour for my weakened vampire, or to invest in a couple more ghouls. The ghouls will probably be more effective (wouldn't be hard!) but I feel I should try and keep this vampire alive having already got one killed in the campaign.
So far we have played 8 games and the win tally so far is:
Undead - 4
Dwarfs - 2
Witch Hunters - 1
 and 1 draw.
There are 3 games left, I think plus any raids that anyone wants to conduct so we are definitely on the home stretch.
Next week I am giving Age of Sigmar another bash. This time though I am using my Orcs and Goblins as I have a bigger collection of them and can make a slightly more balance force than my dark elves.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A New Age

I have been watching the development of the "9th Age" rules set for a while, but had never really thought anything of it.  The (9th Age is basically a fan made 9th edition of Warhammer Fantasy battle. It started out as 8th edition with a few rules tweaks, but is now heading the direction of being its own rules set.
Andy, one of the club members is a big fan and has been trying to get everyone inot the game. I have resisted for a while but finally caved and we had our first game last night. 4500 points, my Dark Elves against his Empire, or whetever they are called to avoid copyright infringement.
My army consisted of:

Noble Dark Elves
Dreadlord on Cold One
Dread Prince on Cold ONe with Army banner
Oracle with lore of Alchemy.
21 Corsairs
22 Repeater Crossbows
21 Witch Elves
Cauldron of Blood
8 Cold One Knights
5 Dark Riders
5 Shades
2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
5 Harpies
Andy brought:

Smelly Humans
1 General on a big Horse
1 Warrior Priest Type
1 Her with Battle Standard.
20 Spearmen
20 Spearmen
30 Greatswords
1 Cannon
1 Mortar
1 Wizards Wagon, or something.
1 Units Inner Circle Knights
1 Unit normal Knights
12 Archers
4 Demigryph Riders
Deployment was fairly standard, with all the infantry facing off against each other, with the cold one knights and Bolt throwers on my right flank, facing off against 2 units of knights, and a unit of Demigryph Riders on my left flank facing off against the Dark Riders and eth Shades.
Andy managed to lose the roll for first turn, allowing me to open things up. I managed to inflict some casualties with shooting, killing some knights and one of the Demigyph's, but apart from that didn't achieve much. Andy's opening turn involved some very accurate artillery fire, as his cannon damaged the cauldron of blood (imagine the mess!) and the mortar landed a shot right on top of the Corsairs, but thankfully the damage was limited.
Mid game saw some more of the same, with the Dark elves trying to inflict as many casualties with shooting as they could, concentrating on the mounted part of eth Empire army. The Empire artillery continued to be pretty effective, hitting the cauldron of blood again on his second turn, destroying it and landing a mortar shot directly on the Witch Elves, killing a third of them.  Dark Elf shooting also proved ot be effective, reducing the Demigryphs to a single model and damaging the wizards wagon (sorry, forgotten its name).

Dark Elves under pressure

Lots of Knights
Mid game and the infantry in the middle finally met, with the Corsairs and Witch Elves charging the spearmen, and studiously avoiding the deathstar looking unit of Greatswords. Both units managed to inflict heavy casualties on the empire units, but unfortunately both held their ground.  The turn after saw the Greatswords go into the flank of the witch elves, reducing them to a couple of models, but not before they managed to reduce the spearmen to two only two men.  the same happened to the Corsairs, with the remaining Demigryph charging them in the flank. Casualties were high the Corsairs were broken and run down by the Demigryph, but once again managing to reduce the unit of spearmen to a couple of models.  ON the Dark Elf right flank the Dark Elf general was charged by the other unit of knight, but he managed to kill 4 of them, receiving 2 wounds in return and the combat remaining deadlocked.
The Demigryph managed to pursue into the Crossbowmen (crossbow elves?), who excelled themselves in the next turn by seriously wounding the giant chicken.  Sensing things were going badly the Dark Elves charged everything they could. the Harpies charged the Mortar, the Dark Riders charged the Cannon and the Cold One Knights charged the Inner Circle Knights, who had up to this point just sat on a hill looking menacing and not wanting to get their freshly polished armour dirty. It was a long charge but they were lucky and made it in, with the Dark Elf nobles making a big mess of the human knights, who despite the presence of the general fled of the field.  The Crossbow elves, in a feat of bravery managed to kill the remaining Demigryph Knight as well. 
By this time troops were getting pretty thin on the ground for both side, but we kept going. In the final turns of the game the Empire General fled the field, the remaining spearmen were mopped up by either magic or shooting and the empire wagon was destroyed by the Bolt Throwers.
End game saw just the large unit of Greatswords and archers left on the Empire side, with some scattered remains of various light units, the crossbows and the Cold One Knights left on the Dark Elf side. 
My first taste of 9th age was fairly enjoyable, probably due mainly to having an opponent who was great fun to game against.  9th Age itself feels pretty much like another version of WHFB, which it pretty much is.  The rules are a bit tighter, but slightly less fun, I think. A few sections have been sanitised so much that they seem quite dull. Artillery don't have templates any more. I thought that was quite an entertaining part of the game.  While there is no faulting what the designers are trying to do, I think sometimes they don't quite have the same sense of the fun that previous edition of Warhammer had.
The line of sight rules also seem a bit strange. I remember the fuss that was made when 8th came out and you could shoot through forests etc. In the 9th Age you can even shoot through your own troops, with regiments proving to be no obstacle to line of site. I find this a bit jarring and it reduces the need for clever deployment as you can just shoot through eth troops in front of you.
Magic is also a sticking point, with the expensive wizard in the Dark Elf managing a grand total of 2 spells all game, neither of which were of any real importance. In hindsight the points would have been better spent on something else, like a chariot or a Hydra.

in general I had a good game, and enjoyed it. At the end of the day it is just a version of WHFB with a few tweaks on the edges, much the same as any of the previous editions. The real sticking point with 9th, as it has always been is trying to produce 15 or so balanced army books, all with their own play style and identity, and that is where they will struggle, I think. Just like previous editions..........

Next week we are back to Mordheim for a trip into the catacombs, so my undead should feel right at home.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Feeling a bit Busty

My wonderful wife gave me a pretty decent digital camera for Christmas, as I had been talking about getting one for a while. My phone camera is pretty good but I really wanted a decent one.

I was pretty chuffed and ordered a light box and lamps from E-bay pretty quick, and armed with my new toys and virtually no knowledge of photography had a play about.....

These are the busts I have painted in the last year, pictured in front of various backgrounds. I found a tutorial on the Tale of Painters blog and set up my camera as they instructed, although I still have no idea what any of it means!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

2016 has gone, and it has been a pretty turbulant year personally and in broader terms.  Enough has been written about al the various things that have happened in the real world, so I won't comment on that.

In retrospect this was a pretty good year for gaming, with a bumper year for painting getting done, largely thanks to a back injury keeping me off the bike, 3 campaigns getting played  (one of which is still ongoing), and a few new games played.  My daughter and I finally finished the last the expansion sets for Dungeon Saga, and will be moving on to creating out own heroes and dungeons in the new year.

Painting was where the real success was this year, with a large amount getting done.  I normally paint just over 100 models a year, but this year I managed:


A blood angels army for Epic
50 or so Aliens for AVP, plus some Predators and 5 Colonial Marines
40 Uruk Hai to round out my War of the Ring Isengard army.
About 30 or son assorted fantasy figures, including adventurers, goblins and monsters.
10 Dark Elf cavalry for Warhammer (plus I rebased the entire army)
A Mordheim Undead warband
A few bits and bob for Frostgrave
A handful of display pieces, including some Stormcast Eternals and a few busts.
The Forward Base buildings from Antenicitis Workshop
Blood Angels Assault Force

Mordheim Undead
Forward Base

My Brothers 2015 Xmas Present, sadly no prize at Carronade this year though!

I entered a few painting competitions this year at shows that I was visiting and managed to pick up a 1st prize at each of them, which was also quite encouraging.  I have really enjoyed painting this year and have made great efforts to take the quality up a notch from good tabletop quality to something more suited to a static display.

In terms of games played it has been a mixed bag, as along with my usual trips to Middle Earth that I try and fit in across the year there was a wider than usual array of games being played, including:

Dux Britaniarum
Chain of Command
Aliens V Predator
Age of Sigmar
Urban War
Field of Glory
Song of Blades and Heroes
Otherworld Miniatures Game
Blood Eagle
Sword and Spear

By far the games I have played the most this year have been Mordheim and Chain of Command, but that is probably more due to them being regular campaigns.
Re-based Dark Elves

This year has been good for campaigns at the club, with a Frostgrave Campaign, 2 Chain of Command Campaigns, a Mordheim Campaign and a Dux Britaniarum campaign as well.

I played in three of these, with the Chain of Command going rather well with a German Victory, while the Dux Britaniarum campaign sort of fizzled out due to the difficulty some of the players had advancing in the campaign. The Mordheim campaign is still ongoing, with a couple of games still to go.  In the end it was a bit of a stretch as at one point I was playing in three campaigns at once and they were pretty much taking up all my game time, so I have limited myself to one or two campaigns at any one time in the future.
Dux Britaniarum


This year was tinged with sadness with the loss of my father in October, and gaming has been a big help in getting away from things for a couple of hours.

On the home front my Daughter Lucy and I have continued to plough our way through Dungeon Saga, and we finished the last of the expansions just after Christmas and are now looking at creating our own heroes and adventures. We also managed to start playing Conan as well, which is a great game let down badly by a terrible rulebook.  I haven't really done any other gaming at home as most of the people I game with live in the Falkirk/Linlithgow area and it is probably a bit far away for a decent nights gaming.
Dungeon Delving with Lucy

Kickstarter has also kept on delivering, with most managing to deliver at least something. In 2016 the following were delivered:

Forward Base by Anteniciti's Workshop
Conan the boardgame
The Halfman Army
Art of Trundvig
Kings of War Rulebook by Mantic
Northern Mercenaries.

So all in all a good year, but there are a few things I missed and would liked to have done:

Attend Salute. I have been once many years ago, and have always wanted to go back but make a proper weekend of it, rather than going down and up I one day.
Attend Vapnatrak in York. The club runs a free bus, but it always coincide with my sons birthday, so I don't really expect to ever be able to attend that one.

So what of 2017?

I don't really have any particular plans and will just continue going with the flow of whatever is popular at the club, while continuing to occasionally make a trip to Middle Earth or run some Aliens vs Predator. Despite what people say I am still quietly confident that I will eventually receive all of my pledge.

I will continue plodding away at my painting projects, with the only really new thing being the 15mm Ayyubid Egyptian I bought for Field of Glory. This was a fair old investment and will take up a fair amount of my time. In between I will keep adding to existing projects such as my Dark Elves, Aliens vs Predator and Middle Earth collection, while trying to fit in some display quality paint jobs in between.

My first game of the year will be 9th Age, the fan made version of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I have some reservation about this, and time will tell if they are correct or not. I am also looking forward to the completion of out Mordheim campaign as it is always a highlight of my gaming year, and then perhaps and campaign of Frostgrave may be possible. There is also a late Roman supplement for Saga due, and while the cost is eye watering it will be another use for my Dark Ages collection, which has been gathering dust since the end of the Dux B campaign and everyone moved on to play other systems.

The other thins I am looking into are the neoprene gaming mats. They seem to have taken off lately and I think they would be a good addition to the terrain collection.

Rogue Stars was also delivered just before Christmas, and while the book was slightly disappointing I am giving it a bash at the end of January so we will see then.

Epic has had something of a renaissance as well in the last year, with number growing from just myself and one other to a good half dozen players and there is quite often one or two games gatting played on a Monday night.

All in all a packed year ahead....

Last model of 2016.  Not quite finished.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Mordheim, Season 3, game 6.5

Why 6.5? THis isn't strictly one of the games that will make up the 10 game campaign. This is a side show to that, where as the victor of lasts week game I had the option to go and raid someone elses camp.  As Dave had the warband with the highest rating and had been rather successful lately I opted to pick on him, in the hope of bringing him down a peg or two.

The scenario was simple.  Dave set up his Marienburgers in the middle of the table, surrounded by treasure tokens and loot crates, and we all deployed round him. Last man standing wins.  Deployment ended up very similar to last time, with my Undead sandwiched between Andy's Skaven mob and Rory's Protectorate of Sigmar, with the Witch Hunters on the opposite side of the table, and Ian's dwarves sandwiched between the Witch Hunters and Protectorate of Sigmar (PoS).

Early game saw the Skaven and undead make a dash for the table, while the Marienburgers tried to exit assault the Witch hunters, who bottled it and decided to hide behind a hill.  The Dwarves began the long slow plod towards the centre, but still managed to snipe the PoS of the table. 

The Skaven and the Undead managed to reach the centre of table, bagging a couple of treasure tokens. The Skaven couldn't decide whether or not to have a bash at my undead or to go after the Marienburgers, trapping them against the Witch Hunters.  They made a half hearted attempt at the undead, but the prospect of trying pass all those fear tests on the low Skaven leadership put him off and he changed direction and went after the Marienburgers.

By this time the fight between the Marienburgers and the Witch Hunters had reached its peak, with the witch hunters taking down a fair few of the Marienburgers but suffering heavy losses in the process, including their ogre mercenary.  The Witch hunters decided enough was enough and called it a night, trying to minimise their losses.  The Skaven then pile in to the Marienburgers, with the Rat Ogre making an awful mess. Dave decided to fight on though and with some lucky break tests managed to fight on. This cost him dear though as by this time the Skaven and dwarfs were upon them and they were wiped out to a man.

This left the Skaven, dwarfs and undead on the table, and the skaven then decided that enough was enough and also left the field, leaving it to the dwarfs and undead (again). The Dwarfs headed for cover, trying to get into a position where they could use their crossbowman (dwarf?) to snipe at the undead.  They hadn't reckoned on the 18 inch charge of the Dire Wolf though, and it burst from the back of the undead to pin the dwarf missile troops in combat and stop it firing, allowing the other undead to advance, and then charge the dwarf position.  Another dwarf went down to the undead charge and at this point Ian decided enough was enough and legged it, leaving the undead victorious.

So another win for the undead, more through luck in deployment than anything else.  I ended up between the skaven and PoS. the PoS were out of the game pretty quick and the skaven don't really want to engage the undead, and I'm not fast enough to catch them. This left me in a bit of  vacuum, despite getting into the centre of the board pretty quickly.  Everyone else got stuck in pretty quickly, apart from the dwarfs so once again we were left on the board to fight it out.

I suffered no casualties in this game, and got a good haul of loot so my warband is starting to look pretty healthy again.  Most other people suffered one or two casualties, with the Witch Hunters rather amusingly losing their hard fought for Ogre. 

My warband is starting to look pretty good, with the dregs getting quite tough. The necromancer remains a source of embarrassment though as he regularly fails to achieve anything.  We have resorted to sending him to do all the risky tasks in between games, and sure enough while being lowered down a well looking for treasure he picked up a disease and will need to sit out the next game. I'm not sure I will notice him missing, to be honest.

Apart from that the campaign is starting to balance out some more, with Dave's Marienburgers coming out of the game a lot better than they should have considering every model was taken out of action, although his casualties were enough that he warband is now down to a more manageable level. The witch hunters lost their ogre, which makes a hefty dent in their abilities and the dwarfs lost another model, which is keeping them on an even footing.  The skaven remain a worry, as canny use of disposable giant rats are helping to keep them in the campaign. That coupled with their speed and ability to hoover up treasure tokens so they are rapidly moving ahead of everyone else.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Civil War

There is a new version of Basic Impetus going to be released shortly, and as Fraser is a man with connections he obtained a playtest copy of the rules for us to try out.  I brought my Late Romans, opting to use the Eastern Empire list, while Fraser opted to use the early republican list, so geographically ok but a few hundred years apart from each other.
The new Basic Impetus has set army lists, representing a "typical" army of the period, with just a couple of optional swaps that you can do to try and change them about a bit.
My list consisted of:
Heavy Infantry with supporting Archers
Cavalry ranging from light horse archers to heavier Clibinarii
Light infantry with Plumbati and Javelins
Skirmishers with Javelin and Sling.
Fraser had a mix of heavy infantry, representing the Triarii, Hastati etc.
One unit of Cavalry and some skirmishers
The new rules have quite set rules for selecting terrain, with a die role dictating what your options are and taking it in turns to place it.  We ended up with some hill, some broken ground and small wood.
Initiative is decided by a dice roll, adding in any cavalry units you have, with the lose having to deploy first. Having more cavalry I had a good advantage here, but Fraser won the roll off and I had to deploy first, opting to take control of a large hill in my deployment zone with my heavy infantry.
I deployed my cavalry to the right of them, and guarded my left flank with my skirmishers.
Fraser deployed in a fairly solid line, with his cavalry and skirmishers on my right.
Early game saw a cautious advance from my troops, as I had the cavalry advantage. I hoped to turn one flank of Fraser Romans and get round the back of his army.  The only major hurdle to overcome was one unit of skirmishers, which should have been easy for my cavalry to overcome. Alas it was not to be and my entire cavalry flank was bogged down trying to defeat one unit of skirmishers.

Where it all went wrong.....

Left Flank not ding much better

Waiting on the hill to soften the opposition with shooting.  No effect though.
Mid game and things only got worse.  My cavalry were destroyed by the Roman reserves and my left flank also started to disintegrate, thanks to some truly awful dice rolls. 

Right at the end

Definitely not going to plan!

Late game saw the infantry lines engage, with the Republican Romans having a clear advantage thanks to a higher VBU and the use of Pilum. Eventually my army was broken, with Fraser only losing a couple of units of skirmishers, making for a repeat of last week, only with a different system.
So the first attempt at Basic Impetus went badly, in terms of how the game went, but more importantly how were the rules?
The main problem with the main Impetus was that there were too many "trick" that could be done, and the whole movement/interrupting your opponent movement mechanic all got a little bit too precise, making for a game with a very tournament feel to it.  Basic Impetus removes a lot of these issues, as you now cannot hold your troops in preparation of your opponent doing something and then reacting at precisely the most advantageous moment. 
I think we got most of the rules correct (or Fraser did anyway, I just sort of did what I was told), apart from the javelins/Plumbati rules, which only work in the first phase of a combat and we were using them in every phase.
The things I liked: 
Set army lists, no more min-maxing to get the most efficient army
Simplified turn.
Evasion is simplified, due to most units being unable to perform a second move
Stand and shoot
Simplified measurement
Pursuit and retreat rules from combat.
Initiative is very important now, and you get a couple of re-roll included for free, with the option to swap out some troops for a couple more.
Things I wasn't quite as keen on:
No counter charge.  You can evade, or you can stand and shoot, but there is no chance to counter charge. Why? It doesn't strike me as a difficult thing to add in.
Shooting is largely useless, especially skirmishers shooting at other skirmishers, as the -2 dice usually means you cant do anything.  Put skirmishers in front of your main force and you are pretty much missile proof.
Also a minor gripe but why bother with the supporting archers?  I don't think they have ever done anything of any note in any of my games of Impetus beyond providing additional casualties to the main unit, preserving its Impetus and fighting ability.  It is certainly not worth building any kind fo strategy around them. They must have been useful for something or they wouldn't have been fielded. it is a bit of a mystery.
Still I enjoyed the game, and think the rules have some legs. We will give it another go in January and see what happens.