Thursday, December 23, 2010

Skaven New Releases

Okay so it looks like the original source of the new release skaven figures may have blown its bandwidth for the moment. I'll leave the links up and see if they correct it.

As to the actual figures; I'm not a big fan of the HPA at all. While it's meant to be a moulder "creation" it just tries too hard for mine.

I really like the Doomflayer but am interested on how it is packaged. The pics have an old ratling gun (just below the WLC) so I guess it is not with that. Given we had WFT and PWM in the IoB set, i think that there must be a warpgrinder we havent seen.

The mixed WLC and catapult kit is okay though I'm not convinced by the mount on the WLC. I suspect we'll see a lot of catapults out of the box with the WLC having converted mounts. I understand that the counterweight on the catapult and the warpstone in the cannon are the same piece. So some juggling required.

For me though the best releases are the characters and the magic cards. Ikit Klaw will definitely be my new engineer and i found a gem tonight. If you look in the unit in front of the pink HPA you can see a character on a Dwarfen arch. I understand that it is Tretch Craventail. Looks a great figure for the skaben character with the best fluff. Check out the army book.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Skaven 2nd Wave Photos

Thanks to Warpmaster who found them. I like some, don't like others. Will buy all.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Coverage from the NZ Masters

Luke Brimblecombe (Vaul on a lot of forums) has made some Youtube battle reports for his games at the NZ Masters. I'm including them here for those that are interested.

Game #1 vs Lizards

Game #2 vs Daemons

Game #3 vs Dark Elves

Game #4 vs Skaven

Game #5 vs Warriors of Chaos

Game #6 vs Lizardmen

They make for a good watch.

On a side note all the terrain is mine. Spent the past year or so building up my Fantasy stocks

Friday, December 17, 2010

40K: A Golden Age?

You hear a lot hype around 40k 5th Edition. That it's the best version ever and that all the problem have been ironed out of the game.

I fell out of love with the game starting probably in 2007 and going on from there. A lot of the locals here have assigned my taking a back seat playing wise as a negative reaction to the 5th Ed rules. While I wasn't necessarily enamoured with the rules, 5 ed didn't come out until 12-18 months after I had given the game away.

The last three events I played were Liber Animus IV, V and VI - an invitational tournament held in Melbourne, Australia for Australasia's best players. At IV (2006) I played with an Ulthwe army, an Emperor's Children army at V (2007) and in 2008 I used a Space Marine army. TBH by 2008 I was well over 40k and it was a real chore to play.

So what was the turning point for me?

Well strangely it wasn't the rules or rumours of the new rules. It was pretty much entirely due to GW turning their back on the fluff they had created. Those who know me know I'm pretty much a Chaos player. I was inspired by the Index Astartes articles that appeared in White Dwarf (starting around #250). These gave army list tweaks that allowed you to build unique armies based on the Traitor Legions post-Heresy. This was expanded on by the 3rd Edition Chaos Codex which reinforced the variation between the various Legions. Over this period I built/acquired six of the Traitor Legions - Death Guard, Emperor's Children, World Eaters, Thousand Sons, Word Bearers and Iron Warriors. While all were Chaos all had their own distinct flavour.

GW had previously broadened the Eldar universe with Craftworld Eldar and the Orks with their Klan lists. I embraced this building Goffs, Ulthwe and Iyanden - in fact I think I was probably responsible for the death of more Wraithlords than Hivefleet Kraken.

This all changed in 2007 with the release of the new Eldar codex. Suddenly the craftworlds were gone. Yes you could still make a craftworld-ish list but it was a bastardised version that was totally unsatisfying. This was followed up by the new Chaos codex which GW was said was aimed at Chaos Renegade forces. Great. But it was a big F#@k You to all of us that had built disinct and unique armies. Instead of having six different forces now I had one big pick'n'mix bag of chaos units. Hey but don't worry, at least I can play Apocalypse games!!!!

So this was the tipping point for me. after dropping literally thousands of dollars building my armies, GW wiped them out in a 12 month period. Yes I could still play but it was a dilute, saccharine type of flavour.

So what would get me back to being enthused about the game - GW resurrecting the Craftworlds and the Traitor Legions. If I could have anything for Xmas it would be new codexes for both. It might not be 2011 but it will happen. I'm cynical enough to know these decisions are driven by marketing and the next cycle will see a return to both. So in the interim my 40k involvement will be focussed on painting my Iron Warriors.

And woe betide when we get our new codex, cos we are totally pissed off!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Top 5 Common Magic Items for Skaven

Okay, today the new Common Magic Item list. With 8th Ed 80+ CMI were available for purchase. So what are the best for Skaven.

I'll preface this by saying that there are two things every Skaven army needs and places must be found. They are both bloody obvious but I'm going to state them anyway:

Battle Standard Bearer Upgrade to Chieftain

Dispel Scroll

Nothing will ever convince me that these two things are not mandatory!

Of the rest here are my picks:

Number 5: Ironcurse Icon (5pts) - 6+ Wd vs. Warmachines - stick it on a Furnace unit or the General's bunker.

Number 4: Obsidian Amulet (30 pts) - MR2. Great on the General's bunker. Coupled with other items can give him a 2+ Wd Sv vs. Magic

Number 3: Banner of Eternal Flame (10 pts) - How I wish Clanrats could take magic banners. All CC and shooting attacks are Flaming. Unfortunately it competes with Storm Banner and Banner of the Underempire for slots in my army.

Number 2: Earthing Rod (25 points) - Re-roll one miscast result. Well if you're going to throw the big dice you better have protection. Now mandatory on my Seer.

Number 1: Talisman of Protection (45 points) - 4+ Wd American Express, your Seer should never leave home without it.

Honourable Mentions:

Charmed Shield
- so cheap for its effect. Ignore the first hit....yes please. Nice if your BSB doesn't have Magic Banner. Unfortunately mine always it doesn't make the Top 5.

Armour of Destiny - Heavy armour and a 4+ Wd. See Charmed Shield.

Sword of Swiftslaying - ASF. Great on Warlord or BSB. Same limitation, no magic banner for BSB if he has it. Good for Warlord though.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top Five Skaven Magic Items

Okay, time for some Skaven goodness……

Having had the book now for 13 months (and two editions) there has been plenty of opportunity to look at the various Skaven Magic Items. This excludes the Common Magic Items list in the 8th Ed rulebook which does tend to complicate your choices.

Number Five: Shadow Magnet Trinket (30 points) – This item gives all shooting at the unit -1 to hit. I used this item extensively when the Skaven book was first released, putting on a Plague Priest riding a Furnace. Its value was gold. Unfortunately with 8th Ed it has had to go as my Priest needs to carry a Dispel Scroll. Underutilised and definitely something I revisit in larger games.

Number Four: Warplightning Condensor (20 points) – Channels a Power Dice on a 5+ and +2 on the number of Warplightning spell hits. Great kit on an Engineer Mage and useful on a Grey Seer if you have a slot. The extra channel is the cream, the real value is that +2 Str 5 hits. Worst case it acts as a draw for Dispel Dice.

Number Three: Banner of the Underempire (25 points)
– 2D6 Str 2 hits on every unit in combat with the carrying unit. Early on I was having trouble with elite Elf unit hitting into the flanks of my Furnace unit. This banner stopped that. It is fantastic at inflicting extra kills on T3 units like Elves and Bloodletters, reducing either attacks or ranks. I didn’t use it at one tournament and really missed it….straight back in.

Number 2: Doomrocket (30 points)
– One of the most hated items in the game….it generally is as about as popular as Cupped Hands, Pendant of Khaleth, Hail of Doom, Icon of Despair. Large Str 5 template 4-10D6 out from the carrier and you can Stand and Shoot with it. No LOS is required. Now it’s not going to matter to your opponents that you might have missed, fallen short or overshot in the past. When you tell them you have it you not going to get their vote for Favourite Opponent.

Number 1: Storm Banner (50 points) – For many the Doomrocket is the #1 Skaven item, but not for me. The Storm Banner stops all flying, adds +2 to rolls to hit from shooting and requires non-BS warmachines to shoot only on a 4+. You test each player turn and it runs out on a 4+. In the past it was potentially better/worse as it did not affect magical shooting. This meant most Skaven shooting was unaffected but so were things liked Runed-up Dwarf warmachines. So why do I rate it as #1? Well it is the one item out of the above list that you can build your gameplan around. You know that the turn it goes up that your chances of damage are likely to be reduced by at least 50%. This is great when you have units like the HPA, Furnace, Doomwheel and Gutter Runners in your list. It might be up for one turn, it might be up for seven – however regardless you know it’s going to pay for its points.

The Sundering - Warwhinger Rage (Guest Post)

Today I'm going to have a guest post from a friend of mine, Brad Morin (skabradisdead) who lives in Melbourne. Brad is an ex-GW US staffer and all round nice guy. He publishes a blog which I always find a good read.

Here he sums up a lot of frustration that is going on in the Australian scene....I like to call it "The Sundering"....which alone in the world has really struggled with the transition to 8th Edition. There's been a lot of tosh written about "how the veterans built the game" and it's disrespectful not to listen to them now as they know what they are talking about. Anyway I'll leave it to Brad:

Well the introduction of 8th edition in Warhammer Fantasy Battle shaken up an otherwise generally stable community of gamers. Yes there are some major game changes (6th to 7th was more of a rules tweek than a proper edition change) that need to be considered. The hardest ones to swallow it seems are steadfast and the “Over the Top” magic system.
I am here to say that this is not your Dad’s warhammer. It is a new system with rules that interact completely differently than they did before. There are groups of very vocal gamers in other parts of Australia that have been publishing page upon page of vitriol on for some time now. It started as whining. Then it turned to rage quitting and then it lead to a constant campaign to lure Warhammer players away from the scene to play warmachine. (Not everyone mind you truly fits this category and if you like warmachine God bless you that is fine with me). It has gotten to the point that people in other countries have contacted me and others I know to ask what the heck our problem is. It is an embarrassment within our hobby.
This madness has got to stop. It is pushing away new gamers and making “newcomers” to the scene (like me) want to rage quit. If you don’t want to play the game… Don’t! But leave me alone. I don’t like warmachine… sorry I just don’t like it. I want to play Warhammer.
I flew up to Orktoberfest earlier this year to play in a fantasy tourney and in the midst of the top tables a few of the (former) “Warhammer Elite” had set up a game of warmachine. Fine… They were friends with the TO. Whatever. Come game 5 though I get the draw and I am scheduled t play on that table. WTF? I walk up and politely inquire about using the table (that I have been assigned) only to get laughed at and told to find an empty table. While I should have caved someone’s skull in with my figure case at that point I did not. I played nice. I assure you next time I will not.
This just emphasises for me the arrogance of some people in the community. People think that they know better after a few games that the people that wrote the game system. I can safely say now with 6 8th ed tournies under my belt that IT WORKS THE WAY IT IS WRITTEN! Yes I have faced the endless horde. Yes I have had crazy magic work for and against me. If you play the missions as written it really does balance the game nicely.

People with huge hordes will have few banners and will loose that mission.

Hordes cannot start in buildings and they loose their ranks and other benefits when they are in a building.

That OTT magic… Well it houses large units as do war machines.

Leave 8th ed alone… Evolve or move on and most of all leave my player packs alone.

I like 8th the way it was written...

My thoughts are that 8th is a different game. Less about distance and angle micromanagement and more about risk management. The luck quotient has increased IMO from about 15% to 25%. Does this make it a lesser game? No, not at all. You now have to factor a series of likely, possible and potential events into your planning. A lot of people appear not to like that or not to want to do it. That's cool....I'm glad you like Warmachine. But please leave 8th alone...or more importantly keep your stooges/acolytes/whatever away from 8th Ed players pack.

As it stands I think there is only one item that is clearly brken in 8th - The Power Scroll. I have won and lost games to Big magic. When I win because of it I smile, when I lose I laugh - and I've a few games to Dweller's now. But shit happens. Deal with the fact you lost at toy soldiers and move on.

I like is far more fun. It takes different skills from v7....but then Rugby Union requires different skills from Rugby League - unless you are Sonny Bill Williams!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Work Ahead

Just to ensure that I enter the holiday season in the right frame of mind (depressed) I sat down last night and worked out what I have to paint.

4x 30 Clan Rats
Screaming Bell (half done)
6 Rat ogres
3 Warpfire Throwers
3 Poisoned Wind Moetar
Nurglitch on Pox Rat
Warlord on Bonebreaker
7 Plague Censer Bearers
20 plague Monks

As I said.....depressing


Tabletop World's new Merchant House and Well
Temple of Skulls
GW's new Ruined Tower
GW's Witchtower
Base a Conflix Village

Iron Warriors
50 assorted Marines
3 Obliterators
2 Dreadnaughts
2 Rhinos

McMourning set
Lady Justice set

Flames of War
88mm Flak
Recon Platoon

So there's 2011 gone.....well at least it will be cheap.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vermintide II - One for the Good Guys

Last year Neil Williamson and I ran Vermintide which was a 1200 point one dayer to finish the year. It attracted 32 players and was a real highlight at the end of the year.

This year we looked to do it again and although the 2009 event received great feedback we attracted less than a dozen. This was a real shame as the one day event was an effort to open things up to those that can't normally commit to a full weekend. Unfortunately it appeared that people were just too busy at this time of year.

A stuff up with hall bookings meant that it had to be moved from Saturday to Sunday and that dropped numbers again - down to 7!!!

Still the morning after I'm really glad that we had the event. The guys who played were fantastic and a pleasure to TO for. There was no gripes or grumbles they just got on with their games.

Rather than VPs I used the UK system of WDL of 3-1-0. This really changed the dynamic of the event as you only needed to be 100 points up to win. We played rulebook scenarios except Battle for the Pass.

Results were as follows:

1. Dave Meachen (Dark Elves) - 12 points
2. Tane Woodley (Dwarfs)/Tom Dunn (Daemons) - 10
3. Tim Norling (Warriors) - 9
4. Hugh Dixon ( High Elves) - 8
5. James Millington (Skaven) - 7
6. Paul Hassell (Beastmen) - 7
7. Matt Hassell (Dwarfs) - 4
8. Kent Jackson (Wood Elves) - 1

Tane played first three games and Tom played last two. This meant that we didn't have a bye.

It was a really fun event and I certainly enjoyed seeing the guys battling away.

Friday, December 10, 2010

More Regular Updates

The last few weeks have been pretty hectic and blog updates have fallen by the wayside.

Over the last month I been doing some consultancy work - shock to the system after a couple of years with my feet up - and that's stopped a lot of the daytime updates. Coupled with that, participating in the Oz Masters then running (and unexpectedly playing in) the NZ event has really chewed up the time.

With that over I was hoping to do some serious uopdating and then I got hit by food poisoning which laid me out for three days.

But now I'm back (well as back as my refound love for Panzer General II will allow me)!

Last night I got out my Iron Warriors and this morning promptly ordered 3 Rhinos. The army was built when the IW could have 4 Heavy Support and Oblits were Elite. So some reworking of the list will need to be done.

I've also made up 120 Island of Blood clanrats and once the mould lines are cleared they will be on the painting table. Three units of 40 rats I think!

Finally, my Abandonned Factory from Tabletop World is painted and pics ready to post. I've ordered their new merchant's house. Hope it's here for Xmas.

New Zealand Masters Results

Over the weekend I ran the 3rd New Zealand Masters here in Wellington. Invitations were based off the end of season rankings for NZ on Rankings HQ.

Unfortunately a couple of people dropped out of the 40k field in the final week reducing it to 10. The Fantasy field was the full 12, though one participant missed his flight and I stepped in to play on the morning of the event.

Here are the results of the Warhammer and Fantasy competitions:

So the NZ Masters for 2010 are:

Warhammer 40k - Charlie St. Clair (backing up his 2009 title)

Warhammer Fantasy - Raymond Dick

Charlie was a clear winner however Raymond suffered losses in the final two rounds that made his win a much closer thing. Certainly in the Fantasy event things went pretty much with Comp Score (Battle Points being adjusted by the difference in the two players scores) rewarding the players that brought the softer armies.

The whole weekend was played in great spirit and was an excellent way to finish the 2010 year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Skaven at the Oz Masters

Sorry for the delay in posting how I did. Monday I spent traveling back from Sydney and I've been working the past two days.

So how did I do? Not as well as I hoped. My target was Top 10 preferably Top Half and I did neither. I finished 12th but that was a lot better than it was looking after Day One when I was someway distant the rest of the field.

So what happened? I went 2-1-3 for the weekend but was really hurt by the Comp Differential I had to give away (38 Battle Points). My army played three of the four armies that scored 10 for Comp and one that scored 8. It was a mountain I couldn't climb especially as for four and a half games I had little or no luck.

The big underperformer for me was the Furnace which disappeared 3 times on Turn 1 or 2 due to a single shot. Not much you can do about that!

Even though I felt I got the raw prawn I had a great time. Whereas 7th Ed was 10-15% luck, I feel 8th is about 25%. That said it is still far more fun than 7th which was very staid towards the end. The ravages of luck are very Skaven too and I love that aspect of the army.

When I get some time though I post a report from the game with the greatest comeback since Lazarus.......they will be telling the whelplings in the breeding nests about it for years.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Games Day Skaven Warlord

If anybody in North America is going to Games Day or has access to the Games Day figure (below) then I would love to get hold of one:

Happy to fix you up via PayPal or similar.


Monday, November 22, 2010

NZ Masters Lists Released to Participants

Over the past week while I've been negotiating the political minefield that has been Australian Masters composition, I've been organising the New Zealand Masters due for the weekend of 4/5 December.

The players in the 40k and Fantasy fields have now submitted their lists, these have been checked and have been sent out to competitors to mark. The process progressed without anyone feeling it necessary to send out a list of guidelines for their peers.

As it stands the makeup of the fields is as follows:


3x Daemons of Chaos
2x Lizardmen
2x Warriors of Chaos
1x Bretonnian
1x Dark Elves
1x Empire
1x Orcs & Goblins
1x Skaven


3x Imperial Guard
2x Eldar
1x Chaos Space Marines
1x Necrons
1x Orks
1x Tau
1x Witch Hunters
1x Tyranids
1x Space Marines

The players have until Wednesday evening to get their scoring of the lists in. I'll be releasing the lists and the scores to this site on Wednesday/Thursday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Australian Masters List

Ten days out from the Australian Masters and I am looking forward to the event immensely.

Last week we had to lodge our list so that it could be peer-marked by the other participants.

My list was as follows:

Lords (310 points 15.5%)
Grey Seer – General, Earthing Rod (25), Talisman of Preservation (45) – 310

Heroes (466 points 23.3%)
Plague Priest – Furnace (150), Flail (4), Dispel Scroll (25), Opal Amulet (15), Ironcurse Icon (5) – 299
Engineer – Doomrocket (30) – 45
Chieftain – Battle Standard Bearer (25), Storm Banner (50), Shield (2) -122

Core (501 points 25.05%)
25 Clanrats – Full Command, Shields – 132.5
25 Clanrats – Full Command, Shields – 132.5
35 Skavenslaves – Musician – 72
40 Skavenslaves – Musician – 82
40 Skavenslaves – Musician – 82

Special (397 points 19.85%)
22 Plague Monks – Champion, Standard, Banner of the Under-Empire (25) – 199
5 Gutter Runners – Slings, Poison – 90
6 Gutter Runners – Slings, Poison – 108

Rare (325 points 16.25%)
Warp-Lightning Cannon – 90
Hell Pit Abomination – 235

Unfortunately for me, at least five of the other fifteen participants viewed my list as too hard for the event and I received a veto notice which meant I had to re-submit. I was disappointed (and surprised) that the list was viewed as negatively as I see it as a standard Skaven list. However the people have spoken so I had to make changes to my selection.

After discussions with the Tournament Organisers I dropped the Storm Banner and the Warp Lightning Cannon. My new list is:

Lords (310 points 15.5%)
Grey Seer – General, Earthing Rod (25), Talisman of Preservation (45) – 310

Heroes (446 points 22.3%)
Plague Priest – Furnace (150), Flail (4), Dispel Scroll (25), Opal Amulet (15), Ironcurse Icon (5) – 299
Engineer – Doomrocket (30) – 45
Chieftain – Battle Standard Bearer (25), Obsidian Amulet (30), Shield (2) - 102

Core (505.5 points 25.28%)
26 Clanrats – Full Command, Shields – 137
25 Clanrats – Full Command, Shields – 132.5
35 Skavenslaves – Musician – 72
40 Skavenslaves – Musician – 82
40 Skavenslaves – Musician – 82

Special (402 points 20.10%)
22 Plague Monks – Full Command, Banner of the Under-Empire (25) – 204
6 Gutter Runners – Slings, Poison – 108
5 Gutter Runners – Slings, Poison – 90

Rare (335 points 16.75%)
Plagueclaw Catapult - 100
Hell Pit Abomination – 235

The composition system being used means that I will score 0/10 for my list so I’m going to have to play well if I’m going to achieve my goal of finishing in the Top 10.

It will be interesting to see how the other armies fare once the results of the comp scoring process are released. At least one other (also Skaven) has received a veto.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tips to Speed up Your Tournament Play

One of the greatest causes of annoyance for both tournament players and organisers are games that are not completed within the alloted timeframe. An unfinished game is enormously frustrating and can ruin both a player's enjoyment as well as distorting performance.

There are some serial offenders when it comes to not finishing their game and in most cases it is not deliberate but through a lack of organisation or an overly relaxed approach to speed of play [That said there are players who do see slowing the game down as an integral part of their arsenal in an attempt to preserve their win-loss ratio].

All of us are guilty from time to time of relaxing into a game and not watching the time but I do feel that we owe it to our opponent to be organised in both approach and execution. Taking it to its most mercenary people pay four a 6 game tournament, not a 5.5 game event.

So here are some of the things that I do when I am concerned time will be an issue:

1. Army BuilderHave a copy of my list in Army Builder format. This has all the statistics related to my actual list so I don't need to look up basic stats in the middle of the game.

2. Cheat SheetI have a cheat sheet for my army. On it the basic stats are repeated but there is also a copy of the misfire tables (important for Skaven), the range and spell rules of the spells I use plus a list of things I have to remember each turn.

3. Gaming AidsMake sure you have dice and templates sufficient for your game. To this I now add the Battle Magic cards that cover your opponent's spells.

4. Time Management If you work on the basis that Pre-Game, Spell Generation, Deployment and Post-Game take approximately 30 minutes then both players are left with an hour each in a 2.5 hour game. That works out to about 10 minutes for each player turn. Some will be longer, some shorter but if you strive to an average 10 minutes for your turns then you should be right - Dwarfs of course should only take 5 minutes as they ignore both the Movement and Magic phases.

5. Practice When you play your non-tournament games adopt the same discipline. Get used to playing at speed so it becomes your normal habit.

6. Reputation is Important If things start going against don't slow down. There is nothing wrong or dishonourable fighting a rearguard action but there is in playing purposely slow. bad reputations are easy things to acquire, hard things to lose. Be mindful of that.

To all my opponents - if you ever think I'm taking too long then put a rocket up me. I certainly won't begrudge it :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rules Lawyer vs. Risk Manager

One epithaph that is thrown around a lot is that of "Rules Lawyer". The term has different meanings to different people but the inference is hardly ever positive.

I believe that one of the key characteristic of a good tournament gamer is good rules knowledge. In every wargame I've played competitively (DBM, 40k 3rd and 4th Ed,Fantasy 7th and 8th Ed) I've always invested a significant amount of time in learning the rules and, in particular, the specific nuances of the rules. The intracacies of the mechanisms and importantly variations from the norm have a significant effect on your play.

Sometimes those with a heightened rules knowledge are branded "Rules Lawyer", generally in a derogatory fashion to label what some people see as pedantic play. In some cases this may be the situation but generally I feel it is a term thrown around by those who have been surprised that something actually plays differently than they thought.

And that is probably the crux of the matter. I'm a strong believer in playing RAW (Rules As Written) especially in tournament games. Why? Because that is really the only fair basis on which to run a game in which the two participants may be largely strangers. Some people will talk about common sense or rules writers' intent but these are very subjective.

Where I depart in defense of "Rules Lawyers" is where people try to manipulate a series of rules to reach a convoluted outcome that satisfies their "interpretation". It's known as "looking for Easter Eggs". There are a few axioms that should guide you if you find yourself proceeding down that path. Firstly, if it seems too good to be true then it probably is. And secndly, if there is any doubt about the rule then you should probably play it as least beneficial to you.

What anybody with an intimate knowledge of the rules knows is that there are a number of questions/rules/situation that have no clear answer. Try as you might you can't reach a conclusion that you are 100% sure of. There are more than a handful that I've identified in Fantasy 8ed and these normally occur where there is an interaction between the standard rulebook and one of the army books.

Here is where the Risk Manager comes in. Before a tournament if I think these could be an issue I'll ask the Umpire how they will rule on them if asked. This is a continuation of the "no surprises" way I like to play the game in relation to the rules. I'm aware that there is no definitive answer so I'm happy to go with how the Umpire wants to play it. As least with prior knowledge I can factor this into my planning and if there is peer comp, factor it into the score I give.

Just like a boy scout it's best to "Be Prepared".

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Australian Masters

So I have snagged an invitation to the Australian Masters at the end of the month. In fact I snagged two invites, one of the auto-invites based on the Australian Rankings (I finished #11 - not bad given I only attended 3 Oz events and had to rely on one of the smaller sized NZ events for my 4th score) and one auto-invite as the #1 in the NZ Rankings.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to accept the Aussie invite so that the NZ one passed down to the next NZer. Grrrr!

Still I'm very happy to be going and I'll be looking to finish better than 10th out of 16 (my result at the 2008 Australian Masters). If I can finish in the top half I'll be overjoyed.

The system being used is one of Comp-Battle where your Comp score is added to your battle score each round.

Here are the particulars of the Comp Scoring:

For 2010 we will be reverting back to the classic Masters pier judged voting.

• Players will judge and vote the composition of prior to the event for every other player's army.
• Gavin and myself will also cast a vote resulting in 17 votes.
• The highest and lowest scores will be removed leaving 15 composition votes for each player.
• The 15 qualifying votes will be added together to derive the composition modifier.
• Each army will awarded 10 base points per round to represent the composition component of their tournament score. Their composition modifier will be added to their base points to get their composition score for that round.
• The maximum composition points a player can receive is 15. The minimum is zero.

Example 1:

Player A submits their army and receives the following 17 scores:

0, -1, +1, +0.5, 0, 0, -0.5, +1, +0.5, -0.5, 0, 0, 0, +0.5, +0.5, +2.0, -0.5

The highest (i.e. +2.0) and the lowest (i.e. -1) scores are discarded leaving 15 scores. The sum of these scores is 2.5. The score of 2.5 is the players composition modifier. This is added to 10 to give them a composition score of 12.5 which is added to their battle score each round.

Example 2:

Player B submits their army and receives the following 17 scores.

0, -1.5, +0.5, 0, -0.5, -0.5, -1, +0.5, 0, -1, 0, 0, 0, -1, 0, +1, -1.5

The highest (i.e. +1) and the lowest (i.e. -1.5) scores are discarded leaving 15 scores. The sum of these scores is -3. The score of -3 is the players composition modifier. This is added to 10 to give them a composition score of 7 which is added to their battle score each round.

Note that in the two examples above if the composition modifier is greater than +5 it will be capped at +5, and similar the composition modifier is capped at -10 at the other end of the scale.

The following are guidelines for players to consider when marking army composition:

Very Soft (+2): Highly themed and forsaking most of the tougher choices available in the army book.

Soft (+1): Player as made an obvious attempt to bring an army that is

Standard (0): This army is considered a standard army for a competitive tournament such as the Masters. Good solid tournament army that will be a challenge to play with and against.

Hard (-1): A tough list that has a few strong combinations and potentially pushing the envelope in some areas.

Very Hard (-2): The player has gone all out to put together the strongest army they can. This will be one of the toughest armies in the field. Not a rejection but close.

Note that 0.5 fractions can be awarded if you think an army sits between two categories.

Rejection: This army does not belong at tournaments.

If an army receives 5 rejection votes from the players (and organisers) the it will be rejected and the player will be asked to resubmit. If a player is asked to resubmit their list then when the players vote on the new list any positive votes (soft, very soft) will be discarded. Therefore the best composition score a resubmitted list can be awarded is zero.

Note: a player's composition adjustment will be added/subtracted to their battle score after each round during the tournament. Their adjusted battle points will be used to determine the draw each round.

On the WargamerAU boards the campaigning has begun in earnest! We are being regaled by some of the comfirmed participants about how soft their armies are and why they should be scoring positive comp. And from some of the comments I'm guessing an army of Skaven Clanrats led by two naked characters would struggle to get a positive score.

Call me cynical but I'm going to wait until I see the lists before I start drinking too much of that Kool-Aid! I'm yet to be convinced that you can make a Slaan soft when he has Becalming and Rumination....and Light is not a weak lore. Similarly a Dwarf army that stops a magic phase dead and is backed up by the Guns of Navarone ain't no candidate for beatification.

The lists have to be in this weekend.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Next Projects

Thought I'd talk about the various things I'm working on at the moment. It will then act as a reminder to me that I need to finish these things.


Plague Lord Nurglitch model to use as a new Plague Priest.
More Censer Bearers to use as my Plague Monks
Spinetail model I picked up to use as Champion or naked Engineer
Rat Ogre Bonebreaker to put my Lord on
Screaming Bell
Assassin models for Night Runners
Island of Blood Rat Ogres (x 6)


2x Temple of Skulls as per the recent White Dwarf. Very very bleak
Fortified Manor
Basing Conflix Buildings for a town


The Iron Warriors that have sat downstairs for the last 6 years. All with Iron Hands bionics and Iron Warriors Forge World stuff - inspired again after reading "The First Heretic"


Bought two gangs to paint - Lady Justice and McMourning - and I'm keen to give the game a run over Summer

So plenty there to paint and build. I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

So the Watchtower Gets A Run....

Tom and I gave the newly finished Watch Tower a run down at Warlords today. We rolled up a random mission and got........Watch Tower...spooky yeah?

Unfortunately for Tom the dice abandoned him - when you play Daemons you've got to be able to make the 5+ ward. He won the roll for the tower and put his Bloodletter block in.

I been thinking a lot about this mission lately and have worked out a few strategies for playing it which I was able to try out.

The closing date for submitting my list for the Australian Masters is next Saturday. I'm hoping I can get a couple of games in this week before I finalise it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

True Line of Sight = Y2K

By my reckoning the True Line of Sight (TLOS) is Warhammer's equivalent of the Y2K bug.

At the introduction of 8ed we heard that moving to TLOS was going to be a cause of friction in the Fantasy community. I hated its inclusion in 5ed 40k (sufficient for me not to want to play the game) so was waiting with trepidation for the shitstorm to explode.

Fast forward four months (is it only that long?) and the noise has been quiet. In fifty games I have not had one disagreement over TLOS and touch wood this will continue. People just seem to get on with it and adapt. Generally I assume everything can be seen and if there is doubt I use a tape measure/pointer to determine if that is the case. There is a little known rule in the book that everything in the first two ranks of a unit can see (and by extension/implication can be seen). That's good enough for me.

There also was much gnashing of teeth that existing terrain collections couldn't cope.....well guess what? They can! It just means that your big beasty can be seen. I can live with that.

What is interesting with the "current terrain collection can't cope" crowd is that there appears to have been little traction in replacing the offending pieces. Far easier has been to impose changes in the core rules. What I generally sense is a 7ed hangover that dovetails with a general unwillingless to let go of those great skills they built up distinguishing 13.9" from 14.1" (grrrr bad Pete).

The inability to "hide" your uber unit is just another piece in the Brave New World that is 8th Ed. Perish the thought you'd have to adapt!


What is it about wargaming forums? IMO they seem to be becoming more irrelevant and in some cases counterproductive.

I'm sure that I've probably got rose-tinted glasses but that didn't always seem to be the case. Certainly 8-9 years ago the various forums I belonged to seemed more helpful, more collegial and generally a wothwhile use of time. Yes I can rant about the youth of today or rednecks insisting on their right to free speech but over the past couple of years (especially) it seems that there has been a rise in the number of internet warriors and a decrease in the signal to noise ratio.

Forums used to be the place where you asked for assistance, discussed lists and tactics and you could be pretty secure in the knowledge that you'd get the required help. Now any kernals are buried in chaff, people use them as an outlet to whinge and moan and to point score off people they haven't met or aren't likely to meet.

It's all a bit pathetic really.

I can understand why those that do have knowledge and experience now avoid participation on various forums given they are likely to be countered by somebody who has no experience of the topic massaging their e-penis.

I now frequent very few forums whereas 3-4 years ago I saw them as a key part of my hobby.

Here's a list of the ones I do:

The "Warhammer Fantasy" Forum at - this is still the best place to get a definitive answer when you have a rules related question. Generally you'll get an answer on the front page, as well as any dissenting argument. After the first page things are likely to descend into arguments over semantics or Rules As Written (RAW) versus Rules As Intended (RAI).

The "Warhammer General Discussion" Forum at - Almost exclusively my use is information around specific tournaments I am attending. Avoid all threads on Composition, the State of the Game, Rage quitters etc

Previously I contributed a the City Guard forum, Warlords forum, Dakka Dakka, NZ Wargaming discussion Group but have pulled back both my reading and input. Unfortunately the Skaven specific forum "The Underempire" seems to have a large number of posters that appear to have little on-table experience (with a few notable exceptions). I have always avoided Warseer and by all accounts I'm not missing much.

Around 12 months ago I set up a private forum which has a limited membership and cuts across both Fantasy and 40k. This has been reasonably successful as most of the participants know each other and user names are actual names rather than non de plumes. The signal to noise ratio for a closed forum is much much higher and I would encourage any gaming group/bunch of gamers to do the same. It might not broaden the community but in these end days it seems as though the community doesn't want help.

Increasingly I spend my online time reading blogs. If someone has taken the trouble to set one up then generally they have a commentary worth reading (well I have to say that given you're reading this). More importantly you can choose to read their thoughts uncluttered by the ill-informed input of BLORK_69_R_L33T (or suitable equivalent).

Grumpy old man mode off!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Dwarven Thoughts

Since January I've played over 100 games with my Skaven, fifty of these since 8th Ed has come out.

I am a bit of a conservative in that I tend to settle on a list and then build tactics around it rather than constantly change my list. However in the time since Orktoberfest I've had a bit of a play around with different ideas. I feel as though I am starting to get my head around the meta and this has been helped by playing the rules as per the book including scenarios and victory conditions.

The toughest matchup for Skaven in 8ed are Dwarfs. Their Magic Defense is very strong as is their Leadership. They usually have a similar number of DD to your PD as well as access to multiple scrolls. They have access to a variety of warmachices that can be runed to increase their offense capacity while protection can be bought to reduce the chance of mishap. They are T4 which makes them hard for troops that are S3 to hurt. In short Skaven struggle to get points out of them.

That said I think they are a very fair army, they just happen to be the Rock to the Skaven Scissors. I like playing against them far more this edition as after a cleansing period most Dwarf players have realised that making the play is a two-way street.

Against Dwarfs you are still in for a very hard game and I think they are a good army at Masters type events as they negate two of the stronger armies Lizards and Skaven. Fast armies can still be a problem for them as are the Warriors of Chaos. The mega-blocks WoC can put out mean that Dwarfs need bigger units than they had before.

All in all thought I reckon Dwarf players must be enjoying this edition far more than 7ed.

Sometimes You've Just Got To Let It Go!

One of the most important things to come out of Orktoberfest was the success of the valiant Seerlord Morskitta in turning back the ambush by Brad Morin's Daemons. As regular readers will remember

the Seerlord was ambushed by Brad Morin in some all-consuming thirst for revenge that had festered for four or more years. Have coaxed the unaware Skaven into accepting what they thought was a friendly game, Brad turned up with his "Nails Daemons", fresh from bashing noobs at Melbourne's Conflict event. Brad had even gone to the extent of adding in a fully-equipped Bloodthirster to ensure he would right what was obviously a heartfelt "wrong".

Knowing he was up against it from the beginning it took all the tactical genious of the Horned Rat's favoured son to see off the challenge. Key to what turned out to be a hallmark victory for the rats, was removing Brad's magic offense and defense when on Turn 2 his Horror block with Herald found that they had ascended to Ratdom!

These newly converted rats joined with the Abomination to see off the Flamers which meant that now the Daemons had no ranged capability. As you'd expect given Skaven's innate superiority to all lesser races and forms, the Seerlord pressed home his advantage to rout the pretender and his rabble.

The More I See You......

The more I play the scenarios the more I enjoy 8ed.

While there is some grumbling that not all scenarios are internally balanced, I personally think that any shortfalls are down to list design by the participants. Sure you can get a bad draw but if tournaments run the scenarios as a block rather than try to "pick winners" then I think that given average player skill the balanced army will win out over an extreme build. And to be honest that's how it should be.

Over the past month my approach to each of the scenarios has evolved. This is reflected in both the tactics I deploy and in list construction itself. If I'm looking to play the full gamut of scenarios then my list needs to be broad-based than if I was only going to play "Battleline".

Playing games other than "Battleline" increases the meta in Warhammer 8ed. for instance, there has been a lot of comment that with "The Watchtower" scenario the game is normally decided by the die roll to see who occupies the tower. The inference is that it is impossible to dislodge an opponent if he deploys there at the outset. I believe that such analysis is overly simplistic and that as long as youhave design your list to deal with this scenario as well as the others then you can get an extremely challenging and exciting game.

Last night I had a 2000 point game against Dwarfs. The scenario was "Blood & Glory". My Fortitude level was 6 while that of my opponent was 7. Seeing that my opponent had spread his FP out across a variety of units so I knew it was going to be difficult to win via scenario. Similarly I knew that if I concentrated my FPs in a single unit which I protected then the Dwarfs probably lacked the mobility to break me. This meant that we probably both realised that VPs were going to come into it at the end but that we needed to be careful not to overcommit - especially in my case. In the end he got one of my FPs and I got none of his. The game did come down to VPs and I made sure I had hunted down easy points in his list when they were on offer. I also tried to look for kinghits if possible. The game did eventuate in a draw but it was on a knife-edge in the last turn where I was close to scoring some big VPs for what I saw as calculated risk. My opponent also had opportunities in the last round but these had a more limited payoff profile versus risk.

Immense fun.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

3rd Annual New Zealand Masters

On the 4th & 5th December I am running the 3rd Annual NZ Masters here in Wellington. These will be two day six round tournaments for the players ranked highest in the RankingsHQ rankings.

It is also an opportunity for the top ranked tournament players in New Zealand for Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40k and Flames of War to get together over the weekend.

The fields for Fantasy and 40k have been finalised after invites were sent out and accepted. The participants are as follows (current ranking in brackets):


Jack Dunn (2) - Wellington/Auckland
Joe Dixon (5) - Nelson
Rion Roben (6) - Auckland
David Meachen (8) - Wellington
Nikola Jaksic (9) - Auckland
Peter Williamson (13) - Palmerston North
Luke Brimblecombe (14) - Auckland
Mal Patel (16) - Christchurch
Raymond Dick (17) - Wellington
Tom Dunn (18) - Wellington
Locky Reid (19) - Christchurch/Wellington
Ryan Simister (Defending Masters Champion, 25) - Whangarei


Charlie St. Clair (Defending Masters Champion, 1) - Wellington
Mark Buttle (2) - Tauranga
Andrew Bartosh (3) - Auckland
Hayden Korach (4) - Hamilton
David Eagles (9) - Christchurch/Wellington
Hagen Kerr (10) - Wellington
Alan Borthwick (11) - Wellington
Ben Foster (12) - Hamilton
David Foster (13) - Auckland
Glen Burfield (15) - Levin
Wes Barclay (16) - Wellington
Craig Stewart (17) - Wellington

Special mention should go to Nikola Jaksic who placed in the Top 10 of both the Fantasy and 40k rankings.

Orktoberfest Observations

Having had a week now to digest Orktoberfest I've had time to formulate a few observations.

The composition system for Orktoberfest was one where there were a series of hard caps which you weren't allowed to violate. This made it quite difficult to gauge the strength of the list that you should aim for. You are worried that if you don't take some of the harder options then you end up with a knife at a gunfight while if you go too hard then you deny your a challenge.

In general I thought the lists at Ork tended towards the harder end but with more than a smattering of what I'd call weaker lists. I'm not sure whether the players with weaker lists took them as a conscious decision or because they haven't got their heads around 8th Ed yet.

My list was hard in that it had two WLCs. Certainly having seen what was on offer I'd probably drop one in future. That said, my list was appropriate for the match-ups I had;

Round 1 - Bloodthirster, Nails Daemon list

Round 3 - Death Magic Slaan with 2-3 of the main tricks

Round 4 - Strong Daemons, lots of fiends, usual suspects

Round 5 - Two Dragon, avoidance High Elves

Round 6 - Certainty Slaan with Life, lots of sallies

So in five of the six games I had pretty fair matchups. Notwithstanding that I'd drop the second WLC in future as two seemed to act as a flag to opponents. The list had little other shooting - the Doomrocket and 6 Gutter Runners.

Personally I would have preferred a panel comp with in-built Comp-battle (BPs adjusted by differential in Comp) but understand that when pack went up we were in early stages of 8th. Both the OZ and NZ Masters will have Player assessed comp so it will be interesting to see how this goes (I expect there will be some griping).

Leading on from this, scenarios. Orktoberfest used a half-pie scenario system over the weekend. Effectively it was Dawn Attack, 4 Battlelines and a homegrown Messengers scenario. I think that using the rulebook scenarios has a positive influence on list composition and just playing Battleline effectively encourages harder lists - ones that harvest/deny points rather than contest objectives or have to deal with scenario special rules. While people might not like all the scenarios I think that they are a great balancing factor.

Other special rules that were played were infinitely high hills, Look Out Sir on Spells and fleeing troops give up points at the end of the game. None of these added anything positive to the game. I was on both sides in terms of benefit. My Skaven characters got LOS against big spells which is a major boost. As I have said previously while the spells are potentially disastrous they are an incentive to spread the risk. Introducing abstract cover for large creatures I think is wrong. It's a fundamental rules change that is not needed. Big gribblies need to be in danger as it is very hard to get points from them in the limited turns you have before they get into combat. Again fleeing troops giving up points is not a positive rules change. Essentially without it you need to construct your list so that you must finish units off to get points. This means that your list needs to be multidimensional in that you need some form of ranged attack capability so you can get points at the end. You also need to have combat potential as winning combat is the quickest way to get points. However in winning combat you need to commit to harvest the points i.e. pursue rather than reform. This acts as a further tactical decision you must make.

The only special rule that they used that I did like was the 12 die limit on the number of power dice you can use. Without this a Slaan with Focused Rumination and Death Magic for instance would be ridiculous. It is already a very strong combo but at least it has an upper limit.

Overall I had a lot of fun at Orktoberfest - great opponents helps - but I'm unconvinced that moving the game rules away from what is in the book was successful.

I like the game out of the book with the overlay of panel composition scoring around a series of guidelines. To date I think that there is only one thing in the game that is truly broken - the Power Scroll - however there are builds and combos that are stronger than others. This can be dampened by the use of scenarios but true game balance requires a form of composition and the ability of TO to veto certain lists if they are significantly stronger/weaker than the rest of the field.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Orktoberfest Wrap

First of all apologies for the delay in posting this week, real life got in the way.

Last weekend was Orktoberfest in Brisbane and I took my Skaven across. My list (2000 points) was as follows:

Grey Seer
Plague Priest on Furnace
2x Warlock Engineers

2x 25 Clan Rats
2x 40 Slaves
1x 35 Slaves

21 Plague Monks
6 Gutter Runners

Hell Pit Abomination

The tournament was six games and though I made a few mistakes I managed to win five of my six games. All were hard fought, two turning my way in the last couple of turns. The game I lost (Daemons of Chaos - James Moorhouse, I felt hinged on one critical dice roll which did not go my way. The margin of victory in this game should have been greater to James but time ran out and he fully deserved his 16-4 win.

The tournament was dominated by Lizardmen - filling all top four slots and five of the top 10. I was next at 5th (field of 44), 5 BPs behind the winner. I also managed to pick up Players Choice for Best Painted army. Congrats to all the winners.

My opponents did not like the 2 WLCs and in future I'll drop one and restrict myself to two Rare choices to make the army more comp friendly.

I'm hoping that the Lizard lists also show some restraint in future - a Slaan with Life/Death magic, Focused Rumination and Becalming Cogitation is not much fun for their opponents. When this is layered with Focus of Mystery, Cupped Hands and placed in a Stubborn unit it gets very hard to get any points out of the army.

More later today.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Evolution of Magic

I've previously stated how much I like the 8th Edition system for Magic. The Winds of Magic coupled with the requirement to choose your lore at the time of list construction makes Magic a fickle beast.

It is also an evolutionary process. Whether driven by your local meta game or as a result of re-evaluation of lists, three months after the launch of 8th we are starting to see lore choice evolve.

I'll take a local example. One of my regular opponents plays Warriors of Chaos. Under 7th it was the Tzeentch lore choice all the way - Flickering Fire, Pandemonium and Gateway. These spells served him well and complemented his 7th Ed list build. With the advent of 8th he used this lore initially and again it worked very well. The spells were easier to cast in 8th given the +5 to cast a Tz Sorcerer Lord had.

After a few weeks I suggested to him to have a look at Shadow Magic. This lore had a series of augment and hexes that dovetailed with his WoC Combat build. He studied it and started using it - to good effect.

Fast forward two months and the two of us have started to discuss his lore choice again.While Shadow is a very strong lore, it reinforces the strengths of his WoC build i.e. it makes his strong combat troops even stronger (either by buffing or making opponents weaker). What the Lore does lack is a focus on direct damage spells and a magic missile.

This becomes very important in a list that has next to no shooting capability - particularly with the "Dead or Fled" rule and Victory Points. Essentially it restricts his offensive capacity to the Combat Phase. Now this might be more decisive in 8th but a smart opponent can exploit this reliance and likely give up few VPs.

Now we are discussing the use of Death Magic instead. Not only does it contain the dreaded Purple Sun but it also has a signature spell and one other strong direct damage spell. In this instance the choice of lore clearly strengthens the capability of the list rather than reinforcing an area where the build is already strong. He now has a ranged ability to finish off units/characters that are harbouring precious VPs.

And who knows, in three months we might be back at Tzeentch Magic for all the reasons it was originally taken?

Just to show not every is cut from the same cloth and to reinforce the point above. My son Jack uses Dark Elves. He has been using Dark Magic but has recently been considering the switch to Shadow Magic. Why? Well, whereas the WoC player has little ranged capability the Dark Elves have it in droves. That is not an area of weakness for them. Their main susceptibility is survivability in a prolonged combat and - as we have seen above - the Shadow deck has augment and hexes that perfectly provide a solution to this problem.

So in the end I suppose the message is to constantly re-evaluate Lore choice and list build in light of one another. As one changes so might the other.

Or you could just play Skaven where you are totally deprived of choice!!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Orktoberfest This Weekend - How the Valiant Were Ambushed

So this weekend I'm going to Orktoberfest in Brisbane. Fortunately for me, my lovely wife Lynne thinks us having a four day weekend in Brisbane for our wedding anniversary is a fantastic idea! I get two days to play dollies while she shops.

I love the Orktoberfest tournament. I've been the past two years and it is my favourite event of the year. There is a bit of a cloud over the 2010 event due to "The Sundering" brought on by 8th Edition but I'm sure it will still be a great event.

Of course I am taking my Skaven (I'll post up my list tomorrow) and there is the added bite that I have to overcome "The Ambush". In 2006 Brad Morin (of GW US fame) was one of the big stars of the Melbourne 40k scene. We had a first round grudge match at Liber Animus III where is Dark Eldar Wych Cult took on my Craftworld Ulthewe. I'm going to say I slapped him around (but truth be told I think it was a close one) and came out on top. The forfeit was the loser had to grow his hair for six weeks. Now Brad is a nude nut, a total chrome dome, grinning skull, whatever you want. At the end of the time his crown was covered in a blanket of ginger fuzz.

Fast forward four years and little did I know how deep the resentment ran. I suggested that Brad and I play in the first round at Ork so we can catch up and have a natter. "Sure" he says and off I go expecting a nice friendly game.

Well it's not to be. Fresh off winning Conflict in Melbourne Brad is bringing "Nails" to Orktoberfest. For him the ambush has been sprung and I wandered into blissfully unaware.

So what am I facing? well just about the hardest Daemons of Chaos list you can construct at 2000 points.

Bloodthirster? Check

Tzeentch Herald with Master of Sorcery and Lore of Life? Check

Two Khorne Heralds? Check

Two Bloodletter Buses? Check

Block of Horrors? Check

Multiple Single Fiend units? Check

Big unit of Flamers? Check

As I said - NAILS!

And like a Babe in the Woods here I am meandering blissfully unaware towards it when I submitted my list.

Really Brad you shouldn't let such bitterness consume you.

My "friend" now has the temerity to try and claim underdog status.

But still your startled hearts, dear readers - I'll try my best with Seerlord Morskitta's brave, valiant and virtuous sons of Skavenblight.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tricksey Skaven

Listening to the Bad Dice podcast the other evening Ben Johnson gave a runthrough of his games at Throne of Skulls - The UKGT. Ben was pretty honest in that the event was a demonstration of how broken the Power Scroll is - with most armies that could carrying one, documentary proof of the Ulthuan Teclis Cloning Programme etc. However he did play one opponent that made me chuckle.

Clearly thinking outside the square, his Skaven opponent in Round Four had brought along a Warlord with the Folding Fortress (100 pts) and a unit of fourteen jezzails!!! The Fortress was plonked down on his board edge and in went the Skavenblight Rifles.

Pe-ow Pe-ow

In true Skaven fashion it all went pear-shaped because it was a Blood & Glory mission and he stupidly decided to put his Warlord and BSB in with them - though I can understand the Warlord was perhaps a little bit worried about the chances of blue-on-blue. The now-single focus target eventually failed a Panic Test and fled off the board with the Warlord and Chieftain in tow. Game Over.

However, that brain fart aside, I think that the tactic could have some merit......and I think I may know just the right Watch Tower in which to put them......

Monday, October 18, 2010

Call That a Tower? This is a Tower!!!!

For the past three years I have organised the Warhammer 40k New Zealand Grand Tournament FIELDS OF BLOOD. This year a bunch of the guys who attended pitched in to buy me one of Tabletop World's new Guard Towers.

As I've mentioned before this company is based in Croatia and make high quality resin terrain pieces. The new Guard Tower is their most ambitious piece yet.

Over the past two weeks I have been painting it up and here is the end result:

To give you an idea of how big this piece is here are some pictures of a Skaven Slave Musician venturing in to wake everyone up:

The tower stands 43cm tall (around 18")and has five floors. It then sits on a purpose built hill making the whole model just over 20" tall.

Just to make the kit more impressive it has total internal detail in each of the five floors:

Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to get some better pictures but I thought I'd give you all a teaser of what is a fantastic terrain kit.

Some Marshland I've Been Building

Sorry for the lack of updates over the past few days. I didn't get any games in over the weekend but I have been building some terrain.

First up, I've been wanting to do some marshland terrain pieces for my games and this is what I came up with:

The base for these are the Games Workshop Moonscape Craters. This has then been filled with Woodland Scenics' Realistic Water. Whatever you do, do not use Games Workshop's Water Effects - it is crap!

The pieces have had Silfour Tufts added to break it up and then finished with static grass.

I'm happy with the effect.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Truncated Scoring in Tournaments

In just over a week I'm off to Orktoberfest in Brisbane. This has always been my favourite tournament of the year as not only has it attracted gamers from all around Australia but it is the last event of the tournament year. This means it is always hard-fought but immense fun.

In last year's event I won 5 out of my 6 games but only finished 20th. This shows how tough the competition is.

As an aside, the game I lost included one of the most freaky events I've seen happen on a Warhammer table. I was playing Nathan Goodchild's Chaos army and we had reached the last turn. I had the opportunity to fire my Warplightning Cannon but potential targets were limited, As I remember I shot it at a Chaos Knight to try and get the remaining points from the unit. Of course I misfired and rolled the old "Spin Wildly" result. My Skaven Warlord was by himself on my baseline 23" away from the Warmachine. With any of the other 359 degrees open, the scatter dice decided to roll exactly so it put the Str 10 shot through my lone Warlord. He promptly failed his Ward Save and took the necessary 3 wounds to kill him. Oh how we laughed!

Anyway enough digression back to the main topic.

This year at Orktoberfest the organisers have implemented truncated scoring for the first three rounds of the event. This means that for those rounds the most you can get is a 15-5 result (regardless of the VPs you earn). The rationale behind this is to try to ensure that the person who wins the event has to really perform on Day Two of the event. In the later stages of a tournament as the Swiss Chess system of player pairings has had a chance to match players, wins should theoretically get harder.

At the start of the tournament there is greater potential to get mismatches in player skill in the various pairings. There is the opportunity to have what the vets call a "Bunny Run" where you score high points against less skilled players and then have the opportunity to defend a lead against players not so "fortunate".

I am really keen to see how this pans out at Orktoberfest. The games Day One are worth a maximum 45 points while those on Day Two have the usual 60 point maximum. Looking at this prior to the event I can see how this should have the desired effect but the proof is in the dessert as they say.

It will be fascinating to see how it plays out.

Direct/Indirect Fire Revisited

Back in July I highlighted a problem in the rules regarding Direct/Indirect firing of a Stonethrower. You can find the discussion here.

In the latest FAQ GW have resolved the issue.

The rule for Direct Fire has been changed from

"place it anywhere completely within the war machine's line of sight"


"place it anywhere with the central hole within the war machine's line of sight".

That clears the issue up making it easy to ascertain if the shot is direct/indirect.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NEWS FLASH - Warhammer World Rocked By Redundancy

And in other news:

The Warhammer World was today rocked by the release of new FAQs for Army Book and the big 8th Ed rulebook.

These FAQs saw the mass retirement of Chaos Lords as the Standard of Discipline became all the rage for those from the northern wastes. Retirement homes in Kurgan, Hung and Norsca expected to see an influx of battle weary killing machines made redundant in the wake of this year's must have item.

Suddenly all the talk was of downsizing with the Sorceror Lord being the major beneficiary. Recruitment agencies were besieged by people trying to secure proponents of the Dark Arts.

"I thought I had a job for life" said Trajan Nawak, previous leader of the Nemesis Incursion, "however the guys took a vote and plumped for a restructuring."

We understand that the previously little known mage Spotin Thesun will now lead the next invasion.

Comment from other races was quick. "Well if you can't beat them" squeaked Seerlord Morskitta.

"Certainly it opens up other opportunities for me" said the Dark Elf Sorceress Malikant, "first of all I can lose this bloody pegasus."

Other races weren't so happy. "Bloody typical" grumbled Thane Snori Nosebleed.

New FAQs Out

All herald the era of the Standard of Discipline!!!!

Dark Elves
High Elves
Orcs & Goblins
Tomb Kings


Monday, October 11, 2010

The Article That Every Gamer Should Read!

Charles Black is one of the elder statesmen of the Australian Fantasy community and current captain of the Australian ETC team. Back in 2003/04 he wrote an article for the now defunct "Irresistible Force" magazine published by Andrew Galea, entitled "Warhammer Tactica". A copy of the IF issue that contains the article can be downloaded from here

To me this article is one of the best pieces of advice that a gamer (not just Warhammer Fantasy generals) can read. It breaks the thinking about your game down into stages and causes you to really think about your army, your enemies and the tactics you employ.

More than anything it has stood the test of time. Although almost seven years old it transcends the various editions of Warhammer and focuses on core principles. I find myself reading it once or twice a year....and always when I am planning a new army. Charles goes through a series of steps that you should consider and encourages you to plan for your tabletop battles.

Rather than regurgitate the article here I'd encourage all gamers to download the article and read it.

Earlier this year Charles spoke about the article with Ben Curry on the Baddice podcast. This was released as a bonus episode on the Snake Eyes section. For this interview alone I'd encourage people to sign up to the Bens' premium section. Charles presented his thoughts in relation to the current (end of 7th Ed) game in the context of the article. As I mentioned above the article was as relevant today as it was when it was written.

If you really want to improve your game I urge you to download the article and read it. You are probably doing a lot of the things contained already but if it gives you one area where you can improve then it has to be worth it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Skitterleap - What the TO Learned!


Scenarios are the glue that hold 8th Edition together. Importantly, as a suite of games, GW's rulebook scenarios act as a balancing factor on army construction.

At Skitterleap there were groans from the two players who only had Fortitude of 4 when we played Blood and Glory. In this instance the loss of a single standard cost them the game. Guess what? They both lost. Will this inform their list design in future - I hope so. On the flipside it made from some really interesting and tense games where they were on a knife's edge from Turn One.

Only brought a gunline - Watchtower is not your friend.

What I think was critical was keeping the integrity of the scenario. You held the Watchtower, you won. You broke your opponent's fortitude, you won. To do this in a 20-0 scoring system there needs to be some adaption. I did this by making the "objective" worth 1000 points AND by limiting the losing player to 9/20 Battle Points. This worked really well, I thought.

The Meeting engagement scenario was played last round. There were a lot of draws as players held their arms back. This created an opportunity for someone to come through the pack....but they didn't. The top three tables were either 10/10 or 11/9. However I'd suggest that you can't always count on that. Again I see this as a list design factor which mitigates against single big units in your army. Or at least a game plan that relies on certain units always being where you want them.

Game Time

Skitterleap was 2400 points and 2.5 hours a round. When 8th Edition came out there was instant agreement that the game was faster which meant bigger games could be played.

A lot of games had to be called before they finished. This is generally unsatisfactory for the players and is definitely so for the TO.

The fact of the matter is that some players are slow players. As a TO you'd hope they'd realise this themselves and either not take a horde army or come prepared to play fast. That is/was not always the case.

I appreciate it is a new set of rules but there was just too much slow play (all unintentional IMO).

So what is the solution?

Well players need to address this issue themselves. But as a TO the best thing I can do is decrease the points size until players get up to speed (pun intended) with the rules.

For the next six months any tournaments I run will be at the 2000 point level with round time of 2.5 hours.


These worked really well - scroll back through posts to find them. I thought the lists were balanced in the context of the scenarios we played. The top four players scored 70, 70, 69 and 67 out of 100. So in this instance no list swept its opposition. The more extreme lists failed to do well across the breadth of the scenarios.

As a TO I'm pretty happy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Skitterleap III Results

Here are the results for Skitterleap III (just click on the image):

I'll post up my thoughts on the event later today

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Skitterleap Update

At the end of the first day, the top of the Skitterleap table is very tight:

Neil Williamson (WOC) - 44
Gordon McBride (Bretonnians) - 44
Raymond Dick (Beastmen) - 41
Locky Reid (Skaven) - 41
Stu Robinson (Beastmen) - 40
Sam Whitt (WOC) - 39
Tom Dunn (DOC) - 39
Joel van de Ven-Long (Ogres) - 37
Mal Patel (Lizards) - 37
Hugh Dixon (Dwarfs) - 34
Tim Norling (WOC) - 34
Kent Jackson (VC) - 33
Mathew Collett (High Elves) - 26
Tane Woodley (Dwarfs) - 25
Alex Abernethy (DOC) - 22
Keegan Martin (High Elves) - 22
James Millington (Skaven) - 21
Mike King (Lizardmen) - 11
Ben Wadsworth (Orcs & Goblins) - 10

In Round 4, the draw is:

Neil v Locky
Gordon v Raymond
Stu v Sam
Tom v Joel
Mal v Hugh
Tim v Kent
Mathew v Tane
Alex v James
Keegan v Mike
Ben v Bye Buster

The scenario this morning is Watchtower, with the final game being Meeting Engagement.

Skitterleap - More Fun Than Watching Your Team Lose The AFL Grand Final By 9 Goals

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hidden Little Gems

You know how you can read an army book or codex a million times and then one day you spot a little gem that you've never noticed before. I had one of those last night.

I always outfit my Gutter Runners with Poisoned Attacks and Slings. However I never noticed until last night that the slings don't replace the other weapons.

So from now on if you want to charge my Gutter Runners with your fast cavalry and think I can't Stand and Shoot, well think again. My Gutter Runners still have Throwing Stars and they have the Quick to Fire rule. That means there is no minimum distance for the S&S reaction.

I'd never noticed it before.......doh!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scenarios in Tournaments

Over the past month one of the hot topics on Warhammer forums has been the so-called "Rage-Quitting" by veteran players. If you believe the posts this is in part because the game now requires less sophisticated tactics, is prone to big spell-itis and has generally been "dumbed down".

Now I don't prescribe to those theories (with the exception that a big spell can hurt you and completely disrupt your battleplan) as I think the game has moved on, evolved, what-have-you.

At Pilgrimage in August, three scenarios were played - Battleline, Meeting Engagement and Battle for the Pass. Post-event you should have heard the gnashing of teeth as various people catalogued how the scenarios neutered their armis. For goodness sake people read the Players Pack. You knew where playing them. Construct your army to deal with them!

Which brings me to the point of this post - The Scenarios.

I was always a nay-sayer re scenarios in 7th Edition. However in 8th Edition I believe that GW have hit a winner. The scenarios are varied and if you play all six of them, internally balanced. What sort of army can win Battleline? An extreme army - be it in terms of magic, points denial or hitting power. What type of army will dominate tournaments where the full gambit of scenarios are played - a balanced army.

Only want ghouls as your Core Infantry? Good luck for "Blood and Glory". Only want to take big blocks in Battleline? Good luck when you meet a bigger dog (read deathstar) and can't deal with it - I'll bet then you wished you had spent 100 points on three cheap throwaway units rather than the "uber-mega-combo of doom" sword on your Lord. Playing "Watchtower" - well you better have something in your list that can claim the tower (20 or less core infantry) or shift the incumbents. Put 1000 points in your Deathstar? Hope you don't roll a "1" in "Meeting Engagement" or it gets separated from your main force in "Dawn Attack".

The scenarios provide a balance that acts as a form of comp over the course of a tournament. Yes you might compete well in "Battleline" but let's see you across the full gambit.

This of course is predicated on the fact that you are playing the scenarios. Already I have seen events where scenarios like "Watchtower" or "Blood & Glory" have their objective reduced to 400-500VPs. This isn't playing scenarios (nor do I believe is it giving the game a fair chance). This is playing "Battleline - with a Twist of Lemon". In a lot of cases I think this is the influence of compromise to appease the Rage-Quitters. These guys don't want to give up their 7th Ed paradigm.

At Skitterleap III this weekend, the scenarios are......the scenarios. If you don't control the Watchtower you don't win the game. If your Fortitude level is breached you don't win the game. Yes there is an opportunity to score points/lose points but the scenario is sacrosanct.

I see the ability to adapt, evolve, amend your battleplan and list as the key in 8th Ed.

The game has moved on from the ability to judge distances and know with near absolute certainty the outcome of particular combat. It is now about risk management, risk mitigation, having a balanced army to cover various scenarios and contingencies.......and especially having a Plan B when shit happens.

To mix historical references - "It's a Brave New World out there, evolve or die".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Magic Defense - Lore of Life (Rethink)

On an earlier post I indicated that when I played against Lore of Life I typically let my opponent get off "Throne of Vines" and then dispelled it in my next phase at its given casting value.

In retrospect, my thinking was coloured by the fact that the most common LoL caster was a Slaan and typically they backed it up with Cupped Hands (allowing them to bounce a miscast on a 2+). I still think that this is the way to go against such a beastie but have changed my view when they don't have Cupped Hands.


Well purely down to the Miscast defense that "Throne of Vines" has on the rest of the magic phase. When there is no other Miscast defense, the successful throwing of Throne of Vines stacks the cards in the favour of the caster for the rest of the phase. It gives them 80%+ impunity from a miscast meaning that they can quite happily pick up 5-6 dice for that important "Flesh to Stone", "Regrowth" or offensively "Dwellers Below".

So now if I see no Cupped Hands, I'll shut down "Throne of Vines" as a priority with the downside that I may have to where one or other spells (but probably not "Dwellers Below" at its lower casting effect.

It took me awhile - but I got there!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Skitterleap Lists

Here are the lists for Skitterleap.

A very mixed field:

3 Warriors of Chaos
2 Beastmen
2 Dwarfs
2 Lizardmen
2 Daemons of Chaos
2 High Elves
2 Skaven
1 Vampire Counts
1 Ogre Kingdoms
1 Bretonnian
1 Orcs & Goblins

So no Empire, Wood Elves, Tomb Kings or Dark Elves.

We are playing all the scenarios sans Battleline so it will be intriguing to see who gets up.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Skitterleap Composition

Skitterleap III has no formal composition criteria. Instead I have sent guidelines to the participants and reminded them that there is a judge veto if a list is deemed too strong relative to the rest of the field.

Here's the guidelines:

As per the players Pack there is no formal comp for this tournament HOWEVER I am asking players to be mindful that we are in the early stages of 8th edition and to consider their opponent’s enjoyment as well as their own.

Some suggested guidelines when composing your list are:

No Power Scroll

If you are bringing Lizards you can choose only two of the following three on your Slaan – Focused Rumination, Focus of Mystery, Cupped Hands

No repeated Rare warmachines

Only one unit of Flamers (limited to six models)

Warmachine cap of 4 (Steam Tank counts as one). If you bring three of the same Special choice warmachines then the third counts as two (e.g. you can have 2 cannons + other warmachines but if you have three cannons that’s your lot).

One list has already been sent back - High Elves with 7 levels of Magic, Book of Hoeth and Banner of Sorcery - as it was felt that it would definitely dominate one phase of the game to the extent whereby other participants would not enjoy the game.

My stance remains the same. At this stage I prefer that the core rules remain intact. However that means players need to self-regulate to an extent re their lists. The comp guidelines are backed with a veto/resubmit for those that can't.

The day when there will be more formalised comp is coming - as people recognise those aspects that need addressing and the effects of any solutions imposed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Skaven at Guardcon Part 3

So I hit my targets - made the Top 5 and the final of Players Choice.

How did the army perform?

Well the answer is......mixed.

Looking at the various parts of the army, here's my thoughts:


No problem.....did exactly what I wanted. Wouldn't change the kit.


Again performed as expected. Having the naked Engineer in the Slaves really worked, lifting them to Ld 8 outside the General's range.


The Plague Monks were mixed. Against the Lizards they suffered from a bad roll of dice with Steg doing 18 impact or thunderstomp hits in two rounds of combat. They got rolled by Nikola's Chosen but that is to be expected.

The Gutter Runners were excellent. They are critical for taking out warmachines, possibly characters etc. Their poison attacks are gold. The only thing is that I need to be patient and I need to protect them - Storm banner, Warpgale etc - as they only have the ninja save.


The Abomination was fine. He got Gatewayed and beaten up charging a building but generally he was always a thread. Opponents hate him and that's good enough for me.

The big disappointments in the list were the warmachines. They largely did nothing all weekend ...... or that's how it seemed. The Warp Lightning Cannon especially underperformed. Dropping from two to one after Pilgrimage was really noticeable as you take the redundancy out of the list. With two you know you'll probably get a job done but with one ....and two chances to misfire....efficiency drops.

The Furnace was good at this event as it can fire indirectly. However again it underperformed, misfiring and exploding twice on Turn 1 this event.


I wouldn't change the list but I will change some of my decision-making in future.

I love my Skaven and love their unpredictable nature.