Monday, April 24, 2017

KOW - Three Billy Goats Gruff

I have finally finished my Herd army and I thought I'd post photos of it. A lot of the models are Mierce Miniatures that I have purchased through Kickstarter or their regular promotions. There are some old metal GW models in it - ungors and pestigors - as well as Mantic, Malifaux and GW plastics (fenrisian wolves and Thunderwolves).

About 75% of it was painted by a local painter Sam Whitt - who does commission work btw - with the rest by myself. I also some small "enhancements" to Sam's work - mostly rust effects or an added highlight. All the basing is mine. This was my first KOW army and I wanted to really explore the scope for multibasing.

Little Billy Goat in Front of Tribal Longhorn Regiment

Two Beast Packs with Lycan Horde and Chimera Behind

Mierce Lycan Horde with Chimera BFF

Stampede with Mix of Mierce and Malifaux Models

Middle Billy Goat in Front of Spiritwalkers

Centaur Chief and Centaurs

Lycan Horde using GW Thunderwolves

Second Stampede following Formula of the First

The Avatar of the Father

Mierce Guardian Brutes

Mierce Brutox #1

Big Billy Goat Gruff - Brutox #2

Second Guardian Brute Horde

Giant Eagles - GW and Mierce

My Mantichimera (Mane to be Darkened)

Spiritwalker Horde

Tribal Longhorn Regiment

The Whole Migration

I'm really happy with how the army turned out. There is probably 3500 points all in all. I'm going to call it done for now but may revisit it later with a view to adding a Horde of Tribal Chariots.

Next for me is basing Goblins.

 

KOW - Some Sunday Gaming

A group of five of us got together at my place yesterday for some games of KOW.

I set up two themed tables - one in the wintry North while the second was the sun-baked Desert of the South.

The Frozen North

The Sun-blasted South

We used the Epicdwarf Map Pack so both tables had two each of wood, hill, obstacle, impassable building and Height (0) difficult ground.

There were two Varangur armies and one each of the Elves, Herd and Forces of the Abyss. Managed it so that everyone got two games in.

The day provided the opportunity for us to continue to play the new scenarios and we tried out "Push", "Ransack" and "Scour".

I managed to snap a few pictures through the day.

Herd Advancing on the Varangur

Herd Heavy Hitters Shatter the Varangur Centre

Abyss (Lliam) and Varangur (Neil) Fight for the North

Every Unit in the Varangur had Nimble Making It Very Mobile

I learned a few lessons over the course of the day. The first was just how resilient the Varangur Heroes are with their De 5 and higher Nerve. My Chimera hit one in the flank, expecting to roll through it onto another an inch away but no luck. The crafty Magos took the hit and then bunked out. Similarly a Lycan Horde could only Waver a second Magos on the same turn.

The game also saw an incredible run of Snake Eyes. In each of FOUR occasions where anything but double ones would break a unit, that is exactly what we got. It was the first time I've rolled Snake Eyes when it mattered three times in a game. By the third time resources were starting to get stretched.

Fun way to spend Sunday morning and early afternoon. Thanks to the guys for coming round.

 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

KOW - GW - Why the Resentment?

This afternoon I started reading a thread on the KOW Fanatics page that was signalling GW's announcement today about Warhammer 40k's revamp, as some sort of victory for Mantic. Bubbling below some of the comments was bare disguised animosity to GW.



First of all, I'd be very surprised if the revamp has anything to do with Mantic. To suggest that Warhammer 40k was in any way threatened by Mantic is nonsensical. Warpath to 40k is the proverbial mosquito to an elephant.....the Warpath player base in relation to 40k is a rounding error.

Second, 40k was a bloated mess. It has been 17 years since the last major reboot and the rules currently in use span three editions and ten years. Playing the game has slowed to a crawl - evidenced by the completion rate for 1850 point games at major US events like LVO etc. Power creep which had previously been related to codex release was now being driven by the freedom allowed in list building whereby the game had become seriously divorced from the fluff.

Third, GW had in AOS trialled organisational mechanisms for armies that reduced reliance on individual codexes/army books and instead used the war scroll (datasheet) as the building block. This allowed the use of keywords which meant the rules could be more streamlined. Now I have never played AOS (I have no interest in a skirmish based Fantasy game) but the people who do play seem to like it ..... more power to them.

What I don't understand is the antagonism that some people have towards GW?

GW made a business decision to blow up the Old World because they did not make as much money as they wanted from Warhammer Fantasy. What was the upshot of that? A more splintered community and the removal of 30 years of established fluff. I lament the second part more than the first.

Why? Well it got me to look at Kings of War which I never would have done without the demise of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I'm sure that this has opened up the world of Mantica far more than anything Mantic Games could have done. My guess is that the influx of "refugees" increased the player base for KoW by orders of magnitude.

Personally I'm grateful that I found KOW as I think that the second edition is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable wargames I've played (along with 40k 3e/4e, DBM and the first three years of WHFB 8th). In fact, as I look back now I roll my eyes at some of the WHFB rules mechanisms - comparatively they seem so clunky.

It also gave us "Uncharted Empires". It is highly unlikely that this expansion would have got off the ground or received the commercial reception without GW binning WHFB. KOW players now have 21 largely balanced armies giving a greater variety of opportunity to build and play. Following on from this, I'm pretty sure that the Empire of Dust models and those of the Trident Realms owe at least a hat tip to the large player base KOW now enjoys.

Miniature wargaming needs the GWs of the industry so that companies like Mantic can flourish and grow. While they didn't create the hobby they did undoubtedly push it far more into the mainstream and gave it a high street presence.

Yes they can make decisions we all think are shitty. But they are a publicly traded company and in the end their only responsibility is long term enhancement of shareholder value. There are a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks who felt they made poor decisions (myself included) but you can't argue with their share price. From my perch it seems as though the company is far healthier than it was prior to AoS.

And just as importantly so is Mantic and Kings of War. So why the resentment?

Dancing in the Streets

And there was much rejoicing......

Overnight Games Workshop made the announcement that Warhammer 40k was going to a new edition. More importantly they provided some detail as to what can be expected.

Effectively, 40k will receive the Age of Sigmar treatment. As GW used to say "This is Great News".

After five editions in the current format, the level of bloat set new levels on the corpulence scale. Earlier this year I tried playing the game but the amount of extraneous detail included in the ruleset slowed the game to a crawl. The need for, even experienced players, to have to check the rules and codexes pretty much every turn suggests a ruleset struggling under the weight of bolt-on after bolt-on.

So what have GW said?

  • Three ways to play - sound familiar?
  • Free rules
  • All models including FW can be used
  • Codexes invalidated - watch the rush to eBay
  • Points values included
  • Three Factions - Imperium, Chaos, Xenos

This pretty much suggest Warscrolls under another name - I'm guessing Datasheets.

 

We are like so see other AoS mechanisms. I'm guessing that Armour will go and vehicles will get wounds. Also expect that we'll see the simplified to hit to wound rules but with weapon modifiers.

 

I'm very happy about this announcement as due to the bloat the game was slow and plagued by situations where there are unintended consequences. The ability to layer rules from different books written over a period of up to 10 years was silly.

 

A cleaner Rules skeleton with a reset of unit rules will make the game both more attractive and more accessible.

 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

KOW - Beating the Waver

One trick tactic that a lot of new (and possibly some older) players are unaware of is how you can counter an unfortunate "Waver" from Melee.

This only works if you are "Nimble" but is worth knowing. It may save an important character or unit AND allow you to damage the enemy in return.

When you are "Wavered" you may only:

  • Hold;
  • Change facing; or 
  • Move backwards.
"Nimble" allows you to make a single extra pivot of up to 90 degrees while executing any Move order.

The diagram below shows how you can combine the attributes of these rules to move yourself out of danger and attack an enemy.
The Pink unit has been Wavered in Melee by the Green Unit (1). It is now in a vulnerable position while also shielding the front facing of the victorious Green unit. This makes it impossible for the Green unit to be charged from its front arc.

If the Pink unit is Nimble, it may change its facing before it moves (2). Here it rotates 90 degrees - remember it must stay outside 1" from the Green unit so it must be no wider than it is deep.

The Pink unit can now make a move backwards at half its normal speed (3). If its Move characteristic is very high, it may get out of the Green unit's front arc. However this is very unlikely. What it does do though is open up the front facing of the Green unit allowing another unit from Pink to Charge it.

Remember you must have the "Nimble" rule, so if you are using the COK rules it will no longer work for Flyers as they are automatically "Disordered".

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

KOW - RUNEFANG IX - Kings of War Event - 3/4 June, Wellington, NZ

With Nicon not including a DBMM event, the Hutt Wargaming Club have organised their own event on Queens Birthday Weekend (3rd and 4th of June). As Nicon is also not including Kings of War, I have been offered space to organise an event.

RUNEFANG IX - KINGS OF WAR EVENT

However this will be different from your usual two day tournament. I appreciate that it might be difficult to get both days "off" to attend a wargaming event on a holiday weekend so I am organising separate events on each day events. 

On the Saturday will be Runefang "KINGS" which will be a four round 2000 point tournament using the 2017 Clash of Kings rules. The Sunday will be a complete change of gear where we'll have "WAR", a large multiplayer event, pitting the forces of Good versus Evil.

Cost is $25 and that covers both days. However you can attend either or both as you choose.

I have attached the Players Pack here

KOW - The Joy of Doubles

On Saturday we had our monthly KOW day at the local club. We had people bring along 1500 point armies and decided to try out some of the new COK scenarios.

The Elves and Herd Set About Trying to Turn Back the Ravening Hordes

Doubles are a great way for players of different skill levels to interact as they tend to be less competitive. They also provide opportunities for wider discussion of rules and tactics. For new players especially, it can be a less intimidating way to learn the game.

The other benefit is that it creates a "bigger" game. We had 3000 points a side on the normal 6'x4' table. The extra 50% in points per side allows both reserve lines and greater width in the battle line. This generally makes the game more "cinematic".

My New Lycan Horde Made Their Debut

In our game Orcs and Undead took on Elves and the Herd in Scour. The Elven Herd Alliance was able to remove two Orc Hordes on the flank by hitting them hard - Guardian Brutes and Swordwind into one and a Stampede into the other. This allowed the Alliance to roll up the flank, secure the objective counters then move into the centre.

The Alliance Forces Were Victorious on this Flank.

There was one great moment in the game on Turn 1. The Orc Skulks had Vanguarded forward and took a shot at the Elven Boltthrower causing one wound. The Orcs then rolled box cars for the Nerve Check (needing 11). Re-roll for Inspired and box cars again.....take it off!

The Undead Rumble Forward Harassed By The Herd Chaff

Certainly recommend Doubles as a change from "normal" KOW games. Really social and it helps you understand a greater breadth of armies.

 

Monday, April 17, 2017

KOW - Avatar of the Father

As mentioned in yesterday's blog post, I have been painting up the model I'm using for my Avatar of the Father in my Herd. This was one of the eight Mierce Miniatures' Monster I got for my birthday during their recent sale. It is the third of that eight I've painted up in the two and a half weeks since they arrived (so they are not sitting on the shelf!).

The Avatar is the last model I have planned for my Herd army and will mean that I have 3500 points of painted Herd.

This was quite a hard model to paint. I tried to get an inky black and found that it is very hard to achieve without the model looking very dark and detail starting to get lost. The lighting isn't the best - I must get my light box back - but you get the idea how he came out.

This is probably one of my least favourite Mierce sculpts. While it fits the description of a winged avatar, I think it is a bit contrived and awkward. The wings are nice but overall I'm not a huge fan of the model.

He comes on his own rock which I have incorporated into the 50mm square base he is on.

So that's it for the Herd, next projects are the continued basing of Goblins and then the multibasing of existing Orc and Salamander (Lizardmen) army.

My next army painting project will likely be Night Stalkers.

 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

KOW - Analysis of Flying Monsters

Over the past week I have been painting the Avatar of the Father for my Herd army. This has been largely an exercise in completeness - I bought a suitable model and want to paint it so I can draw a line under my Herd - but it got me thinking.

I looked at the cost of the AotF in relation to the Chimera and was trying to determine its "value". It is certainly better than the Chimera but is it 110 points better? That question is one I'm still to answer - I suspect in the context of my army, it's not - but I thought I'd first look at it in relation to the other "big" flying monsters in the game.

As a basis for comparison here is a table I constructed:
The table captures their base characteristics - in this case all have or have been bought "Fly" so get Move 10". It look as though the baseline for all is Me3+/De5+ with Attacks between 8-10 and a base Nerve of 17/19. The cost of that is 290-300 points with Special Rules adjusting relative to each other.

The rules writers have then varied the big flyers to capture individual/race character. So what jumped out at me:

  • In most cases you will get a Ranged Attack (a small minority have potential for more than one). Interestingly, these are all of the 4+ hit variety [I think it might be interesting to see a Flying Monster in future with a traditional shooting attack as a variant - probably not greatly effective though without an Attack multiplier]. The four without any kind of ranged capacity have a blue marked background.
  • However the points cost of these Monsters means that you will likely want them in combat - especially Turns 2-5 - rather than taking a less aggressive stance. The really confusing one is the Vampire Dragon Lord with his two ranged attacks plus Lifeleech. He seems a real Swiss Army Knife of a unit. I can help feel that while he has tools for everything there is a real opportunity cost associated with that every game. However, I'm sure there will be times that the Surge(3) will win you a game...however it comes at both a fairly large opportunity cost and a (hopefully) small sunk cost.
  • If I was looking for an army with a Ranged Attack threat on a flying monster than my choice would definitely be the Elf Dragon Lord. Not only do you get a very high attack breath weapon but you also get the benefits of Elite. This gives you an 8% higher success rate in achieving hits. The go-to Magic Item for a Shooty Big Flyer should be the Boots of Levitation for 30 points which allows a move of up to 20" then shoot.
  • Speaking of Magic Items, all of the Monsters bar the three Living Legends and the Empire of Dust Bone Dragon have access to "Hero" Magical Artefacts. In the past the two "go-to" items were Ensorcelled Armour and Medallion of Life. Thankfully, those are now gone and we may see more variety in choices. I think that the Boots are a good choice but for some that rely on Thunderous Charge - Caterpillar Potion. Other choices I like are Blessing of the Gods/Chant of Hate, Blood of the Old King Kittens or Healing Brew (if nothing else taken).
  • The removal of Ensorcelled Armour and Medallion of Life has probably given the Living Legends a boost relative to their peers. My Ratkin Daemonspawn used to look enviously at 6+ Flyers but now they have been dragged back to the pack. Still the Living Legends lack the ability to customise.....
  • All of these Flying Monsters - bar the Bone Dragon and Void Lurker - are Inspiring (Night Stalkers' Mindthirst being a special case). This means that they can act in a largely self-sufficient manner while still providing potential for army support.
Summing them up, I think my top three choices would be the Elf Dragon Lord (with Boots), the Archfiend (with LB) and the Daemonspawn. I think these three provide the best all-round delivery mechanism.

The two cut-price options that stand out are the Orc Krudger on Slasher (it is the Home Brand flyer) and the Salamander Fire Drake (Wal-Mart version of the Elf Dragon Lord).

However I would say that there are no glaring mispricings in my view. The EOD Bone Dragon is really a different class (more comparable to a Chimera, say). Certainly you could use each of them in an army with some tactical modifications. I feel that with say the Vampire Dragon and Basilean Dragon you may have a small sunk cost on abilities that are rarely used e.g. Surge and Heal respectively but that's a small quibble.

Once again the rules writers have got things pretty right. I think if they were to re-price things there would be very few that would change by +/- 20 points in today's meta.

Am I wrong? Have at it! 



Saturday, April 15, 2017

KOW - Warlords' Super Series - 2000 Point Tournament, Wellington, NZ

The second of the Warlords' Super Series "Autumn" is being held in Wellington on May 20.

The Players Pack can be downloaded here

It is four rounds, 2000 points using the 2017 Clash of Kings pack. Scenarios will be randomly generated prior to the round

The event caters for all skill levels.