Wednesday, February 10, 2016

KOW Showcase - #2 Chris Walsh's Forces of Nature

A European reader of the blog has sent me some photos of a phenomenal KOW army from the UK. I understand it is the work of a gentleman named Chris Walsh and it graced the tables of the U.K. Clash of Kings in 2015.

What a beautiful army and it really captures the potential that KOW has to showcase great figures.

There is the Ultraforge Treewoman of course but there are a lot of figures I don't realise. Who makes the stone golems? They seem to have the air of Confrontation about them...very Rackham-esque.

What a talent Chris is!


Kickstarter Progress

Aaaaah....Kickstarter. The place dreams go to die.

Over the past three years I've supported about ten or so Kickstarters. Currently I am waiting for four of them still to deliver. In order from oldest to newest:

1. Creature Caster

The brainchild of Ultraforge creator Jeremy Glen. This one is currently 15 months overdue. And in all likelihood I would think this is a year away from delivering. In reality it has been a train wreck since the moment it was funded. Up to that point Jeremy was an ace promoter geeing up the unwashed to support his creative ambitions. Post funding Jeremy suddenly turned into a snowflake that realised at various points he needed to discover himself. That's all fine except when you've taken $350k+ on the basis that the concepts were developed, a lot of sculpting done and that the project needed less than nine months to deliver.

Unfortunately we discovered Jeremy was a true artiste and couldn't project manager a pissup in a brewery. Production has now started but I am absolutely convinced that packaging and shipping are as yet uncharted icebergs on Jeremy's crowd funded journey.

I'm (with local Peter Wialliamson) in for $325

2. Custom Game Dice

My first Kickstarter fraud. John Warren raised $75k to buy a laser and blanks to produce custom dice. Four months into the KS after a failed website and a few proto dice, John discovered that human gestation is 9 months and his wife who was pregnant gave birth. John then unfortunately contracted a mystery illness that left him unable to work and required him to relocate to a different state with no forwarding address. However the Internet is a small place and some backers tracked him down through his reseller business on Amazon and his business mentoring podcasts. But don't despair, John had found his Saviour so everything was OK.

Recently after six months hiatus John has offered "those who want them refunds" though this is "at some point and as circumstances allow". He has steadfastly ignored requests as to what has happened to the assets he purchased and the shipping costs that haven't been incurred. Indeed 3-5 backers have offered to take the assets off him at cost - no reply.

I don't expect this to ever deliver or refund. I'm in for $37 but are getting my money's worth out of his KS comments section.

3. Mierce Miniatures Monstrous Mounts

Again another one well behind schedule. Mierce use KS to fund pre-orders of upcoming models. I am waiting for a flying monster with rider which is 12+ months beyond scheduled delivery. I've no doubt I'll get the model but have come to the conclusion that in future I'll wait until retail release. The upfront discount does not recompense delays and changing circumstances [since ordering we've had End Times, the death of WHFB and 7 months of AoS].

4. Kraken Mat

I only funded this just before Xmas. The mats are similar to Frontline and and are scheduled for delivery in May, originally April. Local Ryan Lister and I are buying one each. As yet no problems have developed other than the delivery creep which is related to the success of the venture (more stretch goals).

I expect delivery this half year.

Other than that the only other recent funding was for "Winterdale" a KS from a local company [headed by blog reader Matt Barker]. This promised 3D printable files for terrain. The files were delivered on time and I look forward to arranging to get some printed in the near future.

"Summer" - Warlords' KOW Super Series - Last Call

Last call for the first of the Warlord' Super Series for KoW. The one day "Summer" event will be held at the Warlords venue at KPC Hall in Khandallah on 20 February.

The event is open to all (free to Warlords members) and is the first of the four events in 2016. It is 2000 points and four rounds.

Lists are due this weekend.

Love to see as many of you along as possible.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

KOW Showcase - #1 ~ Jayden Howell's Samurai

Over the weekend I asked readers that had taken the plunge into building KOW armies to send me photos so I could showcase one of the real attractions of KOW, the ability to "hobby out". KOW's building block unit structure - Troop/Regiment/Horde/Legion - allows you to build single base dioramas as there is no need to remove individual models.

The first army I'm showcasing is Jayden Howell's Samurai. Jayden plays at the Kapiti club, just north of Wellington, and has attended Vermintide, Kapiti CoK and Runefang. At each he has used his Samurai army, first as Kingdoms of Men and more latterly as Basileans.

The figures are Warlord Games and are later period Samurai (15th-16th Century).

Here are some pictures of his army:

What I like he has embraced the single aspect, in that each block is a standalone piece that tells its own story. This to me is one of the real appeals of Kings of War - especially where you have multi pose figures.

Well done Jayden and thanks for sharing.


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 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.