Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Going Rogue

The club had a large scale test of the new Rogue Stars rules from Osprey.  We had 10 players in all, each one interested in giving the rules a try.
The Rogue Stars rules are from the same stable as the Song of Blade of Heroes rules, and share some similarities. As usual I found myself caught short and opted to make a force using whatever models I could quickly find.  This turned out to be the Aliens vs Predator game so I managed to quickly gather a force together consisting of 2 Predator's and a couple of Predator Hounds.  The Rogue Star rules aren't really intended to be used to create dogs, but I managed to shoehorn some dogs in by making sure they only had traits and no equipment.
My opponent had taken one of the lists form the back of the book and modified it slightly to accommodate his chosen figures correctly.  Rogue Stars is more of a toolbox for tabletop based roleplaying games, and to reflect this there are a large amount of table sin the book, one for scenario, one for location and one for any complications.   We rolled for scenario and ended up with Hostage, which looked a bit complicated for out first game. We rolled again and got Gladiatoral Combat. Even Worse. In the end we opted to just go for a simple raid, with the attackers (my Predators of course) trying to push the opposing forces off the table within an hour. We waived the hour limitation, as it was our first game.  My opponent had the luxury of deployment and occupied a couple of buildings, while I attacked from my table edge.

Rogue Stars has a simple activation system. One player is active while the other is reactive. As the active player you select a model and declare how many actions you are gong to attempt, up to a maximum of three. You then roll a D20 for each action, with a target number of 10 or above.  For each success you can the perform one action. For each of these die roles that fails your opponent gets a reaction die, which he can then use to attempt to activate one of his models, or steal the initiative, becoming the active player instead.  Every time you perform an action you receive a point of "stress". These stress points make it harder to activate your models, as each one gives you a minus to your activation roll. You can keep on attempting to activate your models indefinitely, until your opponent steals the initiative or you relinquish intuitive to your opponent.  The only way to get rid of your stress points is to end your turn, or have it stolen at which point all your stress points are removed.  It is theoretically possible to keep activating your forces for a long time, with individual models activating multiple times, but eventually you will build up so much stress you wont be able to achieve anything. 

In our game my die rolls were pretty awful and I gave away lots of reactions to my opponent while just trying to move.  After a change of die things heated up pretty quickly, with one of my dogs being psychically controlled, until the psyker was shot by a Predator. That predator was in turn killed by the big robot with the laser cannon hiding in the shed.  We managed to get the feel of the rules pretty quickly, and while there are potentially a lot of rules in the book, you will only ever need to remember the select few that apply to your squad.  In the end we ran out of time and had to halt with 2 Predators left on the table and my opponents big stompy robot.

So not a bad introduction to Rogue Stars, and the general feeling seemed to be quite positive. The rules seemed pretty easy to get the hang of, although I really struggle with games where you have to roll a die to be able to activate your troops. It is the same reason I am not too keen on Warmaster or Dragon Rampant. It can lead to some very frustrating games, as indeed this one proved to be in the early stages of the game.

There is lots of flexibility in the rules, with the author adding more traits all the time via facebook.  I see there being two strengths to these rules.  The first is the level of interaction. At no point in our game did either myself or my opponent feel disengaged from the game, or that we were just spectating while the other person took their turn. This is a good thing and keeps all parties involved.  The second strong point is the sheer flexibility of the game. The warband creation rules are very broad, with the ability to create almost anything, and use any models. the sheer variety of models on show during our test was testament to that. We had 40k Imperial Guard, 40k Necrons, Void Miniatures, AvP miniatures, and a few others I cannot remember the name of.
Psychic Apes!


Imperial Guard


Ion Age

I think the game will have some legs at the club, with already some talk of a campaign. The trick will be to use the tools in the game to create a warband of characters and then use the rules to tell an interesting story. If you want to use the rules to create the most powerful warband possible and crush your opponent then these are probably not for you, plus you wont make many friends.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Age of Sigmar

This week Ian and I gave Age of Sigmar another try. Ian has had a few more games than me so it should be an interesting learning experience.  I opted to dust off my very old Orc and Goblin army, which has not seen the table in a long time, while Ian brought his Ogres.
I took a mix of everything:

30 Orruks with Spears
30 Orruks with Bows
40 Moonfang Grots with Spears
10 Boar Riders
20 Ardboyz
4 Grot Fanatics
1 Doom Diver
2 Orruk Warbosses
1 Moonfang Warboss
Orruk Deployment

Ian brought:
6 Ogors
6 Ogors
9 Ogors
20 Grots
1 Thundertusk
1 Ogor
2 Wizards
2 Tyrants

Ogor Deployment

I don't really have any Age of Sigmar stuff, apart from the Generals Handbook so was relying on he free app on my phone for the stats. We opted for a random scenario and got "Gift from the Gods", which involved getting victory points from controlling some meteors that impacted on a random part of the battlefield on turn 2.

I deployed fairly evenly across the board, with my boar riders and archers on my right flanks, and the other Orruk unit on my left, next to the Ardboyz.  The grots held the centre. Ian deployed his army fairly centrally.  I wont the roll off for first turn and legged it up the table, trying to get to grips with the Ogors. My shooting proved ineffectual, with the Doom Diver missing and half of the Orruks being out of range thanks to their dismal 18 inch range.  In Ian's turn he got stuck in, with one unit of Ogors managing to charge my Ardboyz.  Combat in Age of Sigmar is a bit odd as you take it in turns to select  a unit to make its attacks, so the order in which you choose your units can be quite important.  To cut a long story short the Ogors made a mess of my Ardboyz, killing quite a few with not very many losses in return.  This game seems to be all about what buff you can add to units, and the Ogors seemed to get quite a few. 

How many attacks?

Tally Ho!

Turn two and I won initiative and decided to get stuck in. the Boar riders charged Ian's Grots, the second large units of Orruk Spears charged in to help the Ardboyz, as did my general. the Moonfang Grots had advanced to the centre of table and hidden in a wood, but decided now was the time for the fanatics to strike. the four of them popped out of the units and managed to charge the Thundertusk, but fluffed all their attacks, inflicting only three wounds.  On my right I kept on at the Pgor units with my Ardboyz, finding them to be a tough nut to crack.

Still at it....

Lots of useless archers...

Hiding in the woods

In Ian's turn he charged with everything he had. ON my right flank his rampaging Orruks inflicted 24(!) kills of my poor unfortunate Orruk archers. In the centre he inflicted 19(!) kills on the poor Moonfang Grots.  My army was disintegrating before my eyes!  We managed another turn but there was pretty much nothing I could do and by the time we finished I think I had about 8 models left on the board, while only inflicting minimal casualties on the Ogors.
Just before I removed a very large pile of casualties

And again!

So not a great result for the Orruks, but in interesting learning experience for me.  There are a few things I would have done differently here.  the Orruk Archers were useless, as were the Fanatics, Doomdiver and Moonfang Grots mob.  I didn't bring a wizard, although that was mainly due to the Orruk wizard being pretty poor.  I didn't really pay much attention to the various buffs and bonuses that you could perform, which left my army at a disadvantage.
Not many Orruks left now!

Mopping up the last few models...

Age of Sigmar itself had a part to play here as well, as the rules certainly favour large multiple wound models much more that horde style armies.  With larger models you are better able to bring your attacks to bear, as there is less need to try and get 30 models into weapon range. You are better able to resist damage, as you only lose any combat ability when you have lost 4 wounds, plus it takes 4 wounds to reduce your units attack total by three, whereas a horde is losing an attack per wound suffered.  The moral rules are a massive problem for hordes as well. In the game you test whenever you suffer casualties. You roll one die and add the amount of casualties you suffer. For every point this exceeds your bravery by another model runs away. When you have a bravery of 5 and just suffered 20 something casualties it is pretty obvious what the end result is gong to be!  In the end the Ogors seemed pretty indestructible to me, but that is usual when playing a new game.

I will definitely play the game again, but will be a bit more mindful of how everything fits together.  There are some very odd points values in the Generals Compendium though, and I hope they will be corrected in the hinted at annual revision coming soon.

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.