Monday, February 8, 2016

Kings of War Modelling

One of the most appealing things about Kings of War is the modelling opportunities. Because you have a set base size you can make diorama like bases for each unit (or unit building blocks). This is at odds with Warhammer where you had to be able to remove individual models. Yes you saw some "unit fillers" but these were primarily aimed at lowering the model count rather than provide character. I had some, more modelling based "figures" in my Skaven - mechanical ogres, Warmaster Bells and Doomwheels, miscellaneous rat junks etc - and large multibases in my Vampires but these seemed an exception.

Kings lets you go the whole hog. In our local community we haven't seen much of this yet. I suspect two reasons; one, people don't want to rebase and two, people still are holding onto the hope either 9th Age might provide an alternate gaming opportunity or better still GW will see the error of their ways and a new Warhammer edition will rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of Age of Sigmar.

To help people see the opportunities that there are for their armies - especially any new armies they are building for Kings - I'd like to showcase any great examples that exist out there. If you have a multibases unit or if you have seen one either on the table or the net then send me picture and I'll showcase it. You can email it to me using Pete@thefieldsofblood.com or tweet it to @fields_of_blood

Looking forward to seeing what the community has done.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Some Walls for the Weekend

There was a small surplus after Runefang and so I used that to purchase some obstacles for future events. A couple of weeks ago you saw the fences and barricades I did, well this week I received convo that Mighty Ape had restocked the Warlord Games' Stone Walls.

These are made of a hard plastic and last night I took the chance to put them together. They did have some mold lines and require some filling between the pieces.

Intend to follow the usual tactic. Spray prime then drybrush. I'll then mount them on a hardboard base, flock and sand.

With the pieces already done, this should give me enough obstacles to do around a dozen tables.

Given it's a holiday weekend I'm hoping that I'll get them finished by Monday so check back.

 

A Defence of Kings of War

There is a general appreciation that Kings of War is more suited to being a tournament game than Warhammer Fantasy was. There are a number of factors that allow you to make that assertion:

  • Single person focus turns
  • A building block basis to army construction e.g. Set size units, limited special rules/abilities
  • Generally tighter ruleset with proactive Rules Committee
  • Limited magic system
  • Restricted customisation of individuals and units
  • Greater apparent external balance between races
  • Introduction of time factor
Certainly I have found the game more balanced and I find it rewarding from a focus on tactics. That's not to say there was anything wrong with Warhammer Fantasy. Eighth Ed was the most enjoyable game I have played but it suffered from balance issues - both external and especially internal. The size of the player base and the growth of the Internet meant that any balance issues were quickly identified and this resulted in most efficient net lists being arrived at. The goalposts could be moved by comp but really that was all comp did.

However a couple of complaints that I've seen emerge are:

1. Fluff - people are missing their Warhammer fluff. I understand that as I loved the fluff, bought the sourcebooks, read the novels etc. However a lot of the people that are missing the fluff either have forgotten the criticisms they had of particularly GW Fantasy fluff (rose coloured glasses definitely deployed) or haven't read the Mantic fluff. Conceptually I find the Mantic fluff no less engaging than the GW fluff. However it has 25 years of less development. To most of us the characters are underdeveloped but that's a time thing. Mantic are trying to bridge the gap through the release of the new sourcebooks on a regular basis.

2. Lack of Army Customisation - one thing a lot of people liked with Warhammer was the access to magic items that allowed them to build their "special" character. In reality this meant they liked taking a 1+ Rerollable AS Lord who also had a 3+ Ward Save rerolling ones. Or putting Banner of the World Dragon on a unit of White Lions. The only real customisation was whether you had 27 or 28. In KoW the customisation is less due to the building block approach -set numbers - the limited number of Artifacts all of which are common and the limit of one item per character or unit. It's funny how magic items aren't fun when every one can use them. I would say also that the lack of customisation is a bit of a misnomer. I have been playing a Ratkin army and the most common item choices in a lot of armies - Caterpillar, Honeymaze, Ensorcelled Armour, +1 to hit, +12" range or +1 Piercing aren't things that I would ever use.

3. Sameiness - one charge are that because of the building block approach games are very samey i.e. My Horde of CS(1) 4+ De fights your unit of the same stats. I've found that very rare myself and believe that there are a minuscule number of times equally matched units fight each other. Even in this situation the player who has been able to concentrate force into a vital area of the battlefield will win. The use of scenarios is also a winner for me. The scenarios are sufficiently different that they require different tactics to be employed to do well. Contrast this with "competitive" Warhammer e.g. ETC up to 2014 where a lot of TOs went out of their way to remove scenarios and play only Pitched Battle.

Yes if you have a small group of players in your area you will likely have a number of repeat games. However I'm not sure how that is any worse than the same number of players playing Warhammer. There are a whole swathe of armies I've never seen on table and I look forward to try out my skills against these new challenges - I mean WTF do Night Stalkers do?

4. Timed Games Are Anti-Social - the charge being that the introduction of time pressures means that there is less opportunity for social interaction. I can see the argument but I also believe that 50-60 minutes for each player allows you to have a well paced game with the usual banter. Personally I'm not missing the 3.5-4.0 hour games that occurred in Warhammer. I think the time pressure is a great addition as it forces you to make some decisions and ultimately has a benefit for those who make quick, correct decisions.

There's no right or wrong answer over what you should play or not. People have preferences and my view is that they should go with their gut. If you like Star Wars play X-Wing, like skirmish then AoS, if Imperial Knights are your thing play 40k etc. But the most important thing is just play!

Mantic Releases Abyssal Figures

The first of the Abyssal range are being released to retail by Mantic The Abyssals were part of their most recent KoW Kickstarter.

Each sprue has 5 Lower Abyssals and 2 Imps on it. They can also be used to create Flamebearers by utilising the extra arms provided. You also get standards and a suitable Leader

I'll be very interested to see the quality of the sculpts once somebody local makes the jump into the Abyss.

 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Drakon Rider Completed

I completed the Drakon Rider last night and based him. He is magnetised for ease of use.

Here are a few photos of the completed model.

The photos tend to dampen the colour in the griffon's plumage which is brighter in real life. Next time I'll get my light box out to get a better outcome.

Happy with the figure which has a lot of sculpted detail. The most important thing was to get something that matched the existing army. I had had intentions of making up a Horde of these beasties but I may stick with just a Drakon Hero initially. Checking last night I can now put a full painted and "operational" army on the table. As I hate playing with unpainted models that is a "win" in my book.

This figure works as a Drakon Hero but trying to rank 4-6 up as a Horde would be a nightmare. I'm interested in what models people are using for Drakon units - I think I'm right in that Mantic doesn't make any models (?).

This finishes what I need to paint to play the PEGs so focus will shift back to terrain and the Sisters of Sigmar Horde.

 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Size of the Player Base (Interested Audience)

I tend to track the size of the readership of this blog. You get quite good analytics on individual posts to see which type of posts attract an audience and which are just a bit "meh".

The single biggest change with the content of this blog over the past year has been the switch from WHFB to KOW as the primary focus. Audience figures started to decrease midway through the End Times releases and that trend accelerated in the blackout period between the release of Archaon and the announcement of Age of Sigmar.

The weekly audience views settled around 5000-7000 mid last year prior to AoS. Over the past 4 months or so, and with the focus on Kings of War, they have averaged between 4500-5000.

Part of the previous audience came to see links to new GW releases and for the past half year I've made a conscious effort not to shill for them. I still think GW makes good models - though I'm not greatly enamoured with the style of the Fantasy releases and the 40k releases have been pretty uninspiring (a Tau transformer looks pretty much the same regardless of size, while a marine is a marine is a marine). But I'm not inclined to promote a company that treats its existing customers as appallingly as GW did theirs.

Kings is an interesting game to cover. There are a lot less releases and the quality of the Mantic models generally will not reach my purchase hurdle. I appreciate the price differential but suggest there may be some false economy given the additional prep time. As such I haven't felt comfortable promoting their figures.

List building is interesting to a point. However there is a lot less customisation in the game and you don't have to be Einstein to know putting Caterpillar on a cavalry horde or +1 to wound on an archer horde is a good idea - though there are people on forums who think such a move was a technological triumph akin to landing a man on the moon.

The blog tries to hit a variety of Kings' subjects - hobby, list, event, rules, tactics - but it is evident that the interested audience is much smaller than was the case for WHFB. I'm hopeful that I can post enough interesting material over time that it generates a loyal following and return visits to the blog. A lot of this will be predicated on how well the game grows. Locally, and internationally, the Fantasy player base is fragmented and a lot of people have leaked to new games - sci-fi, steampunk, WW2 etc.

I am always interested in feedback as to what interests the readers and which posts they enjoy.

My Hobby Goals for 2016

At the start of the year it is traditional to set some hobby goals around what you want to achieve over the coming 12 months. For some reason I never got around to it in January but thought it would be smart to do it now.

So in no particular order here is what I'd like to complete hobby-wise in 2016:

1. Emperor's Children - I have three 5-10 man units of Legion-specific models to paint plus the Eidolin special character to paint. I've purchased the FW airbrush EC colours specifically for the task.

2. Tabletop World - There is a cardboard box under my desk with 5 unpainted buildings. I also have two buildings to base on my hobby desk. It is one of my priorities to get all of these done and based.

3. Rebasing Battlefield in a Box terrain - I have some BiaB terrain I am keen to re-base to get better utility out of. This includes the Elven Tower and the Orc/Ogre huts. Really it is a weekend job so should get done reasonably quickly.

4. Finish "Empire" Army - I have a number of units I would like to finish for my "Empire" army. These include my Sisters of Sigmar, 10-20 Flagellents, 10 Great Swords and various characters/crew models. Figure wise this is probably the priority for me.

5. Unpainted Armies - there are two unpainted "Fantasy" armies in the Dunn-geon. The first is a Herd/Beastmen army comprising Mierce models while the second is a metal "Big Hats" Abyssal Dwarf/Chaos Dwarf army. These are lower priority than the first four items so I expect I'll struggle to get them done this year.

6. Mierce/Forgeworld Monsters - I have the FW Keeper of Secrets and the Mierce Krull that need to be painted. I'm keen to use the airbrush to get them done. These are entirely achievable this year so I'm keen to make some progress.

In addition to these, I have a multitude of models that would benefit from paint - plus heaps of terrain that I'd like to make and paint. Certainly there is no pressing need to open the wallet in the near term.

KOW - State of Play

It's been almost seven months since the release of Age of Sigmar triggered a seachange in Fantasy wargaming. This was followed a period where a lot of erstwhile Fantasy gamers checked out their options.
What was quickly evident was that there was little appetite for AoS and so people started looking at alternatives. The rush to X-Wing came.....and appears to have went....as did a flirtation with 40k. In Fantasy gaming the options seemed to coalesce into three camps:
  • 8th Ed - either in its final form or with some agreed updates
  • 9th Age - the ETC/Swedish Comp project
  • Kings of War v2
Locally the views were initially mixed but in the end the Wellington (and parts of the Auckland) community decided to give KoW a go....largely due to its ongoing commercial support.

After four months of playing Kings, I'm not sure that it has been embraced by the local (NZ) community. The game seems largely restricted to Wellington and lesser so Auckland. After a few events I'm sensing that the community as a whole is not embracing Kings wholeheartedly.

The reasons I've heard are that people miss the customisation of, in particular, characters; the miss the list building versatility, don't like the time constraints, see it as having more limited capacity for social interaction etc.

While none of these - bar the last - are concerns of mine, they are all valid reasons to look at alternative games. So we are seeing people again look at other games - both within and outside Fantasy gaming. 40k is getting a second look - I'm not sure why as by all reports 7th Ed is an awful game both in a play sense and from a army comp POV.

From here I see that there will likely be more splintering of the community before there is a dominant gaming system emerging.

This seems to reflect what's happening internationally. Guys who two months ago were big champions of KoW - boasting of unbeatable lists on Mantic Forums - are now bemoaning how the game isn't balanced if they suffer vagaries of luck.

My gut feel is that KoW will see some retreat as those who flooded in after AoS decide it is not their game. They'll look at alternatives but we'll end up with a more spread out community.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Weekend Hobby Update

Quiet weekend for me on the hobby front other than working on my Drakon Rider - see post below. He is probably about 85-90% done now and I hope to have him done for the weekend.

Spent some time chasing up participants for the first of the Warlords' Super Series and hopefully that work will translate into sign ups in the next few days.

I have purchased the digital pre-order for the new KoW book "Destiny of Kings" which has rules for a campaign and new scenarios in it. It will be interesting to see what ideas they've come up with for the "hobby gamer" side.

 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

WIP Drakon Rider for PEGs

Over the weekend started work on a Drakon rider for my PEGs.

Currently very much work in progress but you have to start somewhere ��



Working my way through painting the base colours at the moment. Then some washes and highlights.

Not sure I'll be able to work up three Hordes of them!