Friday, April 29, 2011
As regular readers know, I like to game. I like to paint, I like to model, I like to write my silly little blog, but in the past year I have made a conscious effort to play more games. Inevitably, like many other gamers, I have now started to look around for other gaming experiences; new games systems, new armies, bigger and more spectacular battles. Of course, as a frugal gamer I fear the required expense that comes with these options.
Recently though, I have come across another option, which improves my gaming for minimal outlay; I’m not getting more games systems, I’m getting more gamers. I’ve joined an excellent gaming club.
The benefits of joining a club are well known, but can’t be overstated. Plenty of new players to face, lots of other armies to battle against, trial games of new systems, and even the ability to share lifts to tournaments and other events. Of course, going to a club does have its costs. My club costs me £2.50 per visit for entry, a couple of pounds in petrol and the cost of a couple of drinks. I visit every couple of weeks so the cost averages out quite well, and the idea of laying out my army in front of a room full of other players helps me to focus on getting figures painted and building the best army I can.
So over the last couple of months, I’ve managed to massively expand my gaming, without a huge outlay of cash. I’ve also made a few friends, and brought a new person into the hobby. Playing any existing games you own with new people, whether seasoned pros or n00bs, can be great fun and put a spark back into your gaming. Give it a try and let me know how you get on.
It got me thinking. I was President of our local club, the Wellington Warlords for 5 years finishing up a couple of years ago. Over that time we built up membership to around 120 members. That has now fallen away to 70-80 people but more worrying is that less of these members come to the Club regularly.
This has taken a lot of pleasure out of my gaming as over the past 6 months or so there have been as little as 2-3 tables at some meetings. Like the blogger above part of my premise for belonging to a club is to play a variety of people.
To fill out the background, the Warlords meet weekly alternating at two different venues. They have trestle tables, GW basecloths and terrain. There is plenty of parking and the venues are on bus and train routes. There are no table fees but the annual membership fee is $60 (USD 45; GBP 25; AUD 42) for existing members and $40 for new members. This gives you access to 50 meetings a year for the cost of a box of Space Marines/Clanrats.
Yet the membership premise doesn’t seem to work. I organise a lot of events and these are supported by the local gaming community but this doesn’t flow through to Warlords membership to the extent I would think it should.
So here’s some questions for local gamers.
• What’s your thoughts on the above?
• What is it about club gaming that puts you off?
• What is it about the Warlords specifically?
I’d love to know because it’s in my own selfish interests (greater variety of opponents) to get you along.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The DVD goes for some 4+ hours. It covers the tools you need plus the painting of an Elysian IG army with 3 vehicles and 60 Troops.
I found the sections on required equipment, techniques etc excellent. In particular there is a comprehensive tutorial on using an airbrush on vehicles and also some of the weathering techniques he uses. The parts on detail painting on infantry was less useful but still informative in terms of the overall army.
Inspired by this I went out and made two new purchaces. Both via our local eBay equivalent Trade-Me. The first is an air compressor with a tank (Brandon explains in the DVD why this is important).
The second was a small spray booth. I decided here that discretion was the best part of valour in that my long suffering wife, Lynne commented on the thin black dust that pervades our garage.
I'm really looking forward to doing some airbrushing over the next few months and seeing what results I can achieve. I have 4-5 Tau tanks plus three Iron Warriors Rhinos to act as guinea pigs.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I had high hopes of at least one Fantasy game and one 40k game so that we could get "new" armies on the table. In the end we only managed the one but this would give jack a chance to show me how to use the "Battle Chronicles" software to post battle reports.
So 2400 points of Skaven vs. Night Goblins (with obligatory Goblin Warboss General). We drew up our armies knowing what army the other player had but no clues as to make up. Jack was obviously using the new Orc & Goblin book and came up with a list of big blocks backed by the various NG toys. After using the Skavenblight Panzer Division at Runefang i decided to use something completely different. My list was:
Lvl 1 Engineer
2x Naked Engineers
25 Stormvermin - FC
2x 25 Clanrats - FC
2x 40 Slaves
1x 35 Slaves
2x 6 Gutter Runners
Warp Lightning Cannon
Hell Pit Abomination
Lvl 4 NG Great Shamen
Lvl 2 NG Big Boss
3x 35 Night Goblins - Nets/Fanatics
2x 25 NG Archers
2x 6 Spider Riders
2x 30 Squig Herds
5 Squig Hoppers
2x Fast Hitty Snotling Pump Wagons
We rolled up Blood & Glory, both with Fortitude 6. Jack chose sides and I won roll for first turn
We both set up our blocks in the centre. I wanted to use my magic and Jack to flood the centre with fanatics so that my heavy hitters would need to go through them to get into the blocks. I deployed one unit of Gutter Runners in the Tower to try and neutralise the Squig Hoppers early.
In my first turn, out went the naked Engineers to try and muddy any Fanatic tricks and give my Seers a chance to ply their trade. The General got Plague off on the central Squig Hoppers but in the process managed to wound himself, his twin and the Engineer. The Warp Lightning Cannon and Plagueclaw catapult hit the Goblin Generals unit reducing it down to single digits. Unfortunately the NG Level 2 Shamen failed his LOS and died an ignominious death.From the Tower the Gutter Runners killed two Squig Hoppers which hopefully would force them onto the defensive.
The Goblin Warboss and BSB scurried off to a safer home. Unfortunately for Jack the Squig Herd on his right squabbled drawing in the nearby NG archers. The NG on the left involuntarily decided to charge the naked Engineer and the central Squig Herd the same. The Trolls charged the other engineer who decided to flee. The NGs failed charge but the Squig Herd made it in killing the Engineer. The Suig Hoppers moved backways while the Pump Wagons and Mangler did similar.
Turn 2 saw my Doomwheel hit the Spider Riders while the Gutter Runners moved out of the Tower. My leftmost Clanrats took one for the team by charging the Squig Herd and exploding the Fanatic. This allowed the HPA to charge in support which sealed the Squig's fate.
The Grey Seer cast Plague on NG2 which caused them to panic taking the Goblin Warboss and BSB with them. The Doomwheel exploded the Spider Riders which caused the other NGs to panic, running into the centre.
The third NG unit panicked from shooting from the Warplightning Cannon and turned tail.
Fortunately for Jack, all three NG blocks rallied and turned to face the Skaven. The lone Squig Hopper disappeared off to the corner.
The Wolf Chariot charged the Slaves and the contest was drawn. The Chariot tested and held. At the same time the Mangler Squig went through the Doomwheel causing two wounds.
Both the Trolls (stupidly) and Squig Herd moved forward.
My third turn started with the Clanrats charging through another fanatic but this time the HPA came up short. The Doomwheel went into the back of the Chariot while the other Skaven blocks moved back.
The Doomwheel killed the chariot while the NG and Clanrats fought a draw.
In Jack's Turn 4 he put the Pump Wagon into the flank of the HPA causing two wounds before dying. His Doom Diver hit and killed the Doomwheel. Unfortunately however the Rock lobba exploded forcing a panic check on his Warboss unit which failed and exited the table with the BSB.
This broke Jack's army giving the Skaven the win.
So what were the lessons learned from this battle? Well Jack twice failed Ld 9 (with BSB reroll) panic tests. This cost him the game.
I learned a few things. If your general is close by you can drop your blocks on fanatics and then tag in your random movers. I think this was quite a good lesson. Happy to tuck it away for future.
Jury is out on two seers. I love it from a defensive point of view in that it gives me two +4 dispel options which means I can use them with two dice to pressure most casting attempts. If I fail it happens again....so some defensive risk is gone. However I'm not sure that two is very efficient. I'll try it again but I'm not seeing it as long term venture.
Doomwheel is still blah in 8th. Not a big fan at all. The PC is great if you don't misfire vs. goblins.
I was able to get a couple of spells off as Jack held dice to stop me skitterleaping naked Engineer into his army triggering all Fanatics. I hadn't thought of it....I'm glad he had :-)
From a play point of view I'm pretty happy to confirm that I prefer a mixed army - not all combat like the SkPD or zappy like this one was. I think the Skaven compete better when they are multi-dimensional (though this was nearer the centre than the SkPD)
I am running a similar event at Horned Rat in July but now I have some background against which to run the event. So without further ado, welcome to the Isle of Mir Avinu.
This little known island off the coast of the Old World has been disputed for time immemorial. Originally a High Elf staging post for their new colonies, it was seized by a Dwarven fleet during the War of the Beard. However the last few millennia have seen it strangely abandoned until rumours circulated that there may be artefacts buried associated with the Old Ones. This inspired raiding parties to converge on the isle and try to gain a jump on the other races.
A period of fighting has occurred in recent months after the various parties ventured out from their footholds on the island. As the seasons move into winter the known part of Mir Avinu is controlled thus:
Dwarfs = Orange
High Elves = Blue
Empire = Purple
Skaven = Red
Orcs = Green
Chaos = Black
The success of the Orc & Goblin armies over the campaign season can be clearly seen. Two tribes – the Pigstikkas and the Squigchompers – drove a broad swathe through the central territories striking into the heart of lands previously controlled by Man. This push facilitated a southerly migration by the Realm of Men forces where they were blocked by various Skaven infestations.
The two Orc & Goblin Waaghs have now merged into a single “co-ordinated” force and will be looking to keep pushing the Men south. Their major concern appears to be the exposed flank they now have to the Forces of Chaos that are largely marginalised in the southeast corner.
The Skaven spent much of their campaign picking away at the scab which represents the Realm of Man. Very early they had decided their major tool was one of undermining cities and castles and they had much merriment collapsing the structures of the Over-races. Their ultimate strategy is unknown (probably even to them) but there has been talk that vast payments of cured dairy products passed between the Greenskins and the Ratmen.
The other forces of Law and Order appear to have got themselves into a bit of a pickle. The Elves have seen their lands splinter into three separate areas – and history tells us that this sort of sundering is not a good thing. Resources will undoubtedly by directed to linking the three isolated Elven groups as matter of priority.
Finally the Dwarfs. Their lands are now split in two. They hold a sizeable stronghold in the northern mountains but also lands in the south far from the hills. Couriers have been intercepted that indicate that some kind of financial transaction between the Dwarfs and the Realm of Men may occur whereby southern lands will be swapped for gold. This would certainly help finance a Dwarven effort to rid the mountains of Greenskins.
So that is the backdrop against which the second campaign season will occur. Surely all kinds of arcane alliances will manifest themselves over the course of the weekend.
The BBC recently posted a fantastic article on the psychology of choking in sports, that actually draws a lot of parallels to wargaming (and in fact any task one does a large number of times).
I highly recommend reading the article itself, but here are the guts of it:
"In effect, experts and novices use two completely different brain systems. Long practice enables experienced performers to encode a skill in implicit memory, and they perform almost without thinking about it.
This is called expert-induced amnesia. Novices, on the other hand, wield the explicit system, consciously monitoring what they are doing as they build the neural framework supporting the task.
But now suppose an expert were to suddenly find himself using the "wrong" system. It wouldn't matter how good he was because he would now be at the mercy of the explicit system.
The highly sophisticated skills encoded in the subconscious part of his brain would count for nothing. He would find himself striving for victory using neural pathways he last used as a novice.
This is the neurophysiology of choking. It is triggered when we get so anxious that we seize conscious control over a task that should be executed automatically."What you can do about it is another matter altogether, but as it is with most things - knowing what you're up against is half the battle. Choking is a huge part of the NZ 40k scene, where I've seen some people choking for over half a decade now and not being able to get past this hurdle.
I also think that this has a lot to do with why you see the people who never change their list by much progressively do better and better, to a greater effect than just the impact you would expect to see from getting more practice.
The original article can be found over at the BBC here.
It was originally written particularly focussing on some likely upcoming penalty shootouts in football, and took some time to reference Rory McIlroy's recent public implosion, but is well worth checking out.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
• Maximum Power Dice usage of 12 in Magic Phase (as distinct from maximum of 12 dice in pool at any time)
• Army to have no more than four (4) potential template weapons
• Army to have a maximum of four (4) warmachines
• No more than two (2) of any Special choice
• No double Rare choice worth more than 70 points
• No Power Scroll
• Only one item that automatically dispels a spell
Army Specific Restrictions
• Daemons of Chaos: No duplication of Daemonic Gifts
• Empire: Steam Tank is classed as Warmachine in terms of General Restrictions
• Lizardmen: Slaan may have maximum two of Focus of Mystery, Becalming Cogitation, Cupped Hands or Focused Rumination
• Skaven: Maximum of three Engineers
• Orcs & Goblins: Maximum of three Mangler Squigs and/or Pump Wagons total
• Vampire Counts: Only one Vampire may have Loremaster ability
Does that stuff anyone's plans?
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
In regard to new units I’ve seen the new models in the “flesh” and can confirm that they look great. I am expecting a second wave of releases in the next few months when we’ll see new plastic Ushabti (with Great Bow option) and at least two new character models. One of these is likely to be a new King/Prince model that is at least part a swarm of scarabs and the second is a new 60 point character type called a Necrotect.
The rumours around the new Sphinx figures look to have been pretty much on the mark. The Warsphinx will be 210 points while the Necrosphinx will be 225 (cheaper than the Abomination). The Necrosphinx can give up one of his five Str 5 attacks for a Str 10 Heroic Killing Blow – in effect becoming the monster killer he was rumoured to be. Interestingly, both can gain a Str 4 Breath Weapon but I do struggle with GW’s pricing. On the more static Warsphinx it is 20 points whereas the flying Necrosphinx only pays 10 points. Value for money? You be the judge!
The Tomb Guard come with shield standard as suggested by the models which have the arm molded to the shield. Looking at the model it does appear that there is only one standard top. These are some of the nicest figures GW have produced in my opinion.
In line with the Orc & Goblin book there is a limit on magic items. Hopefully this confirms the new trend.
No more magic charges but lots of opportunity for magic movement.
Hope that casts some more light on things. Two and a half weeks to release.
The quick answer is okay, the considered answer is that the jury is out.
How did I get to this? Well, the army took a narrow loss and had four big wins.
However, the army was largely untested versus warmachines, only facing a Hellcannon, mortar and cannon over the weekend. Against some of the Orcs and Dwarfs it would have had bigger problems but even this would be a bit misleading given the restrictions to no duplicate Special or Rare choices.
As a result I didn’t lose the Furnace, Bell or HPA over the course of the weekend. The pushing units were wiped out in a couple of cases but in all games the points for the big three (around 950) were preserved. So it is very difficult to advance a categorical case either way.
What was learned over the course of the weekend? Well, Skaven without shooting are more difficult to use than a Skaven army with that capability. I missed my Doomrocket and having at least one warmachine to deplete blocks prior to contact. This meant I needed to rely on magic and then the weight of ranks. I also really missed my Gutter Runners. Those units are worth their weight in gold in most games and to not have them meant my army was very linear. I guess the one thing I would say is that removal of the shooting aspects of the list is like playing with one arm in shackles.
Prior to the weekend I made a conscious decision to stick to the Plague Lore rather than use any Ruin spells. This meant my effective range was more limited so that I couldn’t sit back and try and blast opponents with pseudo-shooting. I really enjoy the Plague Lore but again it really works against the opposition armies I had over the weekend. Unfortunately I never got the Plague Spell to jump and nor did I ever generate new rats with the 13th Spell – however in spite of that both were effective tools.
Not having shooting removes “one” of the advantages of big slave blocks. One of my common tactics is to tie up an elite unit with slaves and then pepper it with poisoned shots from my Gutter Runners. Aah, good times…..I missed that.
I’m still really unsure about the Grey Seer on Bell. There are advantages and disadvantages to its use. He becomes largely impervious to magic that allows a Ward save, the leadership bubble of the army is extended, you have 360 degree LoS and you get some nice “Easter Eggs” by ringing the Bell (though I think this feature is overrated). Against this you take a unit out of the game, he becomes more static – Skitterleap is useless – and I think the army as a whole becomes more defensive.
The Furnace is the Furnace. I tried the Plague Banner instead of my normal Banner of the Underempire and to be honest I’m not sure which is best. The PB is more aggressive giving you that solid single phase hit but the BotU gives you ongoing benefits and probably helps long term survivability. Either are good choices.
With the addition of 400 points of shooting the army could be devastating. Certainly I’d fancy my chances to be competitive if it had the WLC, two units of Gutter Runners, a Doomrocket and an upgrade to an Engineer.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
On that basis I am looking to run Horned Rat IV as a campaign weekend building on Runefang.
Venue now confirmed. Mark it in your diaries.
Ben has a newly finished Warriors army that is looking very swish (I forgot to say in yesterday’s report how nice the various armies I played were. Glen’s is a WIP, Tim’s is finished and Joel’s Empire were absolutely beautiful. That continued into my last game vs. John Murie).
The mission was Blood and Glory. Ben had two blocks of Khorne Warriors, one of Tzeentch backed up by the Hellcannon, Warshrine and a Khorne Chariot. His characters were a Sorceror on Disk and a BSB. Three units of hounds filled out the rest.
This game can best be described as a firestorm of magic. Both of us regularly rolled well for the Winds of Magic. Ben was chucking Gateway at my Bell and HPA while I was throwing the Curse of the Horned Rat at his Warriors. I was lucky enough to win that battle sufficient to seriously deplete a unit of Khorne (1 left) and Tzeentch (2 left).
The real stars were a unit of Slaves who got a flank charge on a Warshrine, breaking it and overrunning into the flank of the remaining Khorne Warriors. They were then flank charged by a Khorne Chariot and held on Steadfast. Helped by another unit of Slaves who charged the rear of the Chariot they miraculously won the next round of combat, removing Frenzy from the Khorne troops. Oh the indignity for the boys from the Chaos Wastes!
It couldn’t last and the next turn the “relieving” slaves were broken but the originals continued to hold on Steadfast. This allowed the Plague Priest to get into a position where he could unleash his foul magic and associated fumes, killing the BSB to win the game.
Ben was unlucky that me prevailing in the magic maelstrom relieved him of his whole left flank.
But oh the stories the slaves told before the Clanrats and Plague Monks ate them at the afterparty!
My last round was against John Murie of “Stumpy Heaven”. Rather than write a complete set of lies I’ll let him tell the story:
Ok I dont' know if I talked myself into this or was talked into but basically I ended up playing Pete Dunn. I got called out so went "Sure why not ill give it a go" - mind you I've also wanted to play against him so was looking forward it, but not to his 4 units of Clan Rats, 2 of Slaves, HBA, Plague Furnace with Censor Bearers, and Screaming Bell.
Game did not start well when the Dawn attack deployment rules saw Pete's entire army go down pretty much in the middle of the board while mine got split onto either flank. The Archers and White Lions in the left corner, the Dragon Princes Spears and Phoenix Guard in the right.
Was a fun game but bugger me if the Skaven army doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. Nearly every unit had 2-3 special rules that did something nasty or at least it seemed that way, maybe its just my poor embittered Dwarven side coming out in me.
Things were going OK though particularly when I got the White Lions, Budgie and Archers into the Plague Furnace. The combat lasted a long time and was confused by a unit of Slaves/Clan Rats charging the flank of the Archers and the HBA charging the rear. I managed to kill the character on the Furnace, and all of the Censor bearers but the White Lions had to make a few Stubborn leadership rolls. When they finally broke (only 12/21 left) the Budgie was left alone to take on the Furnace.
Somehow my little Eagle survived until Turn 5 and even got two wounds on the thing before he got BBQ'd. The White Lions meanwhile got swamped by 50 Slaves kept making Stubborn rolls before getting killed off - just before the HPA could rear charge them (it ended up 1" short on the last turn).
On the right things didnt go much better. I made a big mistake in not advancing hell for leather straight at Petes units here which included 3 Clan Rat units, 1 with the Bell, 1 with the BSB and some Slaves. Things would have been Ok but he got the 13th Spell off on the Phoenix Guard and turned all - YES ALL - 18 of them into rats so they went bye bye in Turn 2 (Pete: Just killed them, needed one more for ratty fun). This left my Archmage alone and she just couldnt get anything off including Dwellers and was eventually killed off.
Only the Spears and Dragon Princes got into combat, the Princes chopping through one unit of Rats and the Spears routing the Slaves. Combat then got messy with a 2nd Rat unit flank charging the Dragon Princes and the Bell setting up to rear charge the Spears who had turned to flank charge the Skaven BSB after routing the Slaves. But before this the Dragon Princes earned their props in Turn 3 by rolling double 1's on the re-roll to make their break test (I needed double 1's) and stop the flank charging Rats from overrunning into my Spears before they could finish the Slaves off.
End result wasn't much in doubt though particularly when Pete kept rolling 10-12 PD most turns and Channelling successfully in 4/6 turns. Damn Skaven dice. By end game I had 6, count them, 6 Spearmen models and the BSB left on the board.
It's always nice to get the other viewpoint.
halfway through the game John asked me whether I had anymore tricks and I told hiim that we hadn't even scratched the surface....his shoulders visibly dropped.
So in the end I finished with a very narrow loss and 5 big big wins. I was pretty happy with that result.
Part Three will be a wrap up with my thoughts on list and event.
Okay, John has asked for my viewpoint on the game. So here it is:
I deployed first and got most of mine in the centre. John was evenly split on both flanks. This wasn’t necessarily an advantage to me as my army was down and I had no opportunity to react to the situation. I had to play the cards as they lay so to speak and so my army split in two parts and headed off to the High Elves.
On my right I was surprised when John charged my Furnace with the White Lions – and I would have been stuffed if he had stopped there. I underestimated the hurt they could dish out with the re-roll to hit. However John put the Archers into the flank of the furnace and that probably cost him the game. The Archers brought the full ranks of my Plague Monks into the fight and gave me 19 extra attacks re-rolling to hit and to wound (due to Plague Banner). After that I out-united him on that flank and it was only a matter of time before he lost a battle of attrition.
On my left I moved forward and john read that as a signal that I was coming to fight. In fact it was just a feint to get within range of magic. I had four spells that were going to hurt the elves – Wither, Vermintide, Plague and 13th – but they need to be around the 17” range to maximise effect. From Turn 2 onwards as John came forward and started to close I had opportunities to target high value units and did it. I was helped by good magic dice but to be honest I felt I had the edge with my mix of spells.
So what could John have done differently?
To be honest his best bet was probably to do what he did. He engaged in a magic war and Dwellers and Flesh to Stone were his two best tools. I knew that and used my resources accordingly. Losing the Phoenix Guard really hurt him but –hey – when a Level 4 is throwing Dwellers around he deserves all he gets. The only suggestion I would make is sometimes you have to take the risk with magic and to that end I take the Earthing Rod. I think you should have defaulted your duplicate choice to Throne of Vines, or failing that, you just need to elf up and run the risk of miscast.
Hope that helps.
Monday, April 18, 2011
I used the Skavenblight Panzer Division that I had been threatening to do but went into the event with no practice games. The final list was:
• Grey Seer on Bell with 20 Clanrats
• Plague Priest (Lvl 1) on Furnace with 20 Plague Monks and Plague Banner
• Chieftain with Storm Banner
• 2x Engineer (naked)
• 2x 25 Clanrats
• 2x 39 Skavenslaves
• 1x 34 Skavenslaves
• Hell Pit Abomination
One of the characteristics of the army was the lack of shooting, the billowing fumes from the Furnace being the only ranged attack. To complement this more I chose my spells only from the Lore of Plague. Interestingly enough, I had the same 5 spells in every game – Pestilent Breath on the Priest and Wither, Vermintide, Plague and Curse of the Horned Rat on the Seer.
So how did it go? Well, surprisingly well.
In my first game against Tim Norling’s Wall of Chaos which included 60 and 40 man blocks of Khorne-marked Great Weapon-wielding Marauders backed by Rage Warriors, I managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I managed to neutralise Tim’s major threats and then feed him chaff as I concentrated magic on his big block of marauders working on the assumption that if I picked up his hounds and them it would be enough to win.
All was going swimmingly until Tim charged a block of Slaves with his Rage Warriors who held him on the first round of combat. Their flank was exposed to possible charges from a unit of Clanrats with BSB and more Slaves. Now I’m going to put this down to “learned behaviour”. At last year’s Guardcon my Clanrats charged this same unit in the side and broke them……but I keep forgetting there wasn’t a unit of slaves – read roadkill – in their front. Rather than ignore the flank and let Tim harvest 72 points, I committed two units including the BSB and managed to lose an additional 435 points. Given the final margin was a 14 VP loss I think I need to “unlearn” this behaviour.
Next up for me were Glen Burfield and his Prince on Sun Dragon-led High Elves. High Elf armies always look small, and at 2000 points with a Dragon they look especially small. We were playing Battle for the Pass which suited the war of attrition that I wanted to play. The Prince charged a unit of Slaves and was held long enough to be hit in the flank by the HPA. My magic was concentrated on the rest of the Elf army and I managed to wear them down when they came forward to close, then flee so the elite units couldn’t get them. Over 4-5 turns the Elf army was reduced to a lone unit of archers – who decided life on their hill was just fine.
The final game of day one was against the Empire of Joel van de Ven-long. Joel had inflicted two Massacre victories and was very much helped by the hill in his deployment area being an Anvil of Vaul, giving units within 6” flaming attacks. When my HPA came on as a reserve I made sure it was down the other end of the board. Joel managed to roll IF with his Level 4 four times in the first three turns, the upshot of this was that he was Level 1 by the end of Turn 3. As part of a Time Warp inspired charge, a “6” was required by a 40 man Horde formation of Halberds led by BSB and Warrior Priest to charge my Furnace. I thought it was a bit ambitious anyway and when it failed I very quickly charged it myself with both Furnace and Bell units. My Priest picked off his Priest removing the hatred and the block broke and was run down.
The funniest moment was when Joel’s now-Level One miscast again while in combat with the Screaming Bell unit. Everyone in base contact took a Strength 10 hit, it randomised onto the Seer and took his last wound off him. Unfortunately for Joel, it was not enough and the rest of the Skaven army removed the rest of his army.
Day Two to follow.
Friday, April 15, 2011
So, another Empire in Flames has been and gone, the first big Victorian WFB event for the year.
The tournament results make for some interesting analysis. EiF was run under 8th edition rules. Magic stayed just as the rulebook said, and there were no caps on unit sizes or army selection. Combattle was used, and some of the tourney regulars who hadn’t used the system before were very positive about this.
So without sabotaging the magic phase, and allowing people to use lord-level characters, surely the games were a disaster? How could people have fun playing WFB by the book? Strangely, the games were lots of fun, by all reports. People had loads of fun. The game, magic included, works fine and EiF showed it. The top armies all included level 4 mages, although Sean Davis had equal-best battle score with just a level 2. That said, there was a massive spread of variety between those mage lords, using Death, Light, Heavens, Greenskin and Skaven magic. Add in tournaments run in the last 6 months that have been won by armies with NO mages, and I think we have a pretty solid body of evidence that the magic phase doesn’t need tampering with. In addition to this, massive horde units didn’t define the tournament. While some of the armies at the top featured units of 30+ elite troops, most had a mix of unit types and sizes, proving once again that balanced, all-comers lists are not only more fun to play with and against, but also more successful in gaming terms.
TOs who decide to ‘monkey with the magic phase’ or aggressively limit the unit choices available to players are, in my opinion, reacting to a rash sentiment primarily espoused by ex-eminent members of the WFB community. Simply citing that 'we changed the rules and our games were fun' is missing the point. Your games are fun even if you change the rules because Warhammer is fun, not because you have made it better. It is only by comparing games with and without magic, that you are currently playing, that you can even begin to come to any kind of valid conclusion. Trying to discourage people from utilizing the magic phase reduces the variety of tactical approaches and decisions within the game, and I think that's a step in the wrong direction, especially given how much effort goes in to using composition scores to preserve variety.
People who have learned how to play the game are now finding that magic is not the dominant factor in determining the outcome of games, and plenty have changed their minds about needing to change the rules of the game. Anyone who claims that Warhammer is ‘30% luck’ is sorely mistaken and should rethink their tactical approach. And in a ‘rebuilding phase’, which the WFB tourney scene seems to be in, the best way to attract new and enthusiastic players is not by changing the rules of the game that they rock up to play.
Which brings me to the great success of EiF, which was the massive turnout by new and upcoming players. Apart from the high standard of painting by new players, this group had some great results in the overall stakes, and the best sportsman award. The attitude displayed by all those who attended, and especially by those who have not attended many tournaments previously, made for one of the most relaxed tournaments I have witnessed. People were playing in the spirit of the game, and it was refreshing to see people bringing this kind of attitude into the tournament scene. I hope that these players will continue to attend tournaments as it was a pleasure to meet you, and I look forward to a chance to play toy soldiers with you!
Congratulations must go to the winners of all the prizes – displaying the full range of skills that define the hobby. Be it painting, sportsmanship or battling, this tournament has made me think much more positively about tournament WFB than I have in some time. I hope that similar success is had by future tournaments.
Well said Chris - and I'm glad to hear the Oz scene is alive and well,
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Real mix of combatants – 2x Orc & Goblin teams, Dwarf, Skaven, High Elves, Chaos teams and the Realm of Man (made up of Empire, Brets and wood Elves).
To encourage some diversity from normal 2000 point lists there were a number of extra composition constraints, notably:
• 30% Core
• 20% Rare
• No double Rare or Specials
The lists are all in and are generally much weaker than you’d normally see at 2000 points. However there is a Warriors army with 60 and 40 Khorne-marked great weapon Marauders to keep people on their toes and I do think the O&G armies look strong.
In fact there will be a lot of interest to see how the O&G go this weekend given there are 6 on show and it’s the first local event to use the new rules.
I’m taking Skaven (no surprises) but my list has no shooting other than the Censer on the Furnace. Made up of three blocks of Slaves, three of Clan Rats (including Bell), one of Plague Monks (including Furnace) and the Hell Pit Abomination. The lack of warmachines, doomrocket and gutter runners to annoy, harass and deplete is a real concern.
Definitely will get some photos so watch out on Monday for the aftermath.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Jack posted up the release info regarding Storm of Magic that GW have envisioned for this northern summer.
My first thoughts are that this will be a lot like all the other recent “expansions” that GW have released. It will follow the well-worn path….massive hype on their website and in their stores “What are YOU doing for Storm of Magic?”, wall to wall coverage in White Dwarf for a month, lesser coverage the next month, some nice new models and then……..nothing. Six months after the fact there will be a 2-3 page article in White Dwarf and that will be it.
Call me a cynic but we’ve seen it time and time again.
Hands up. Whose still playing Cities of Death, Lustria, Apocalypse, Planetstrike, Battle Missions etc……not many, if any!
I remember watching two or maybe it was three Apocalypse games struggling through Deployment and one and a half turns. Still it sold a few Baneblade kits didn’t it? I wonder how often they are used….I’m guessing in some cases they haven’t even been built. Shame you Guardies couldn’t help yourself and broke the platic wrap – now you can’t even return it and get something useful.
What is does mean……and this is where it can be great….is that a lot of armies will get some new model love that they otherwise wouldn’t. And….and this is my fervent hope….we get more of the fantastic terrain GW has been turning out.
I very disappointed that the regular update regime that I had in place has fallen by the wayside this year. At the end of 2010 I gave up administering the rankings for New Zealand for a variety of reasons; however one of them was not that the process was onerous. Since that time the NZ rankings seem to have fallen by the wayside with updates being irregular at best.
I’m not sure why that is – and I’m certainly not directing blame in any direction – however I do think it has a negative effect on the NZ tournament scene.
Rankings aren’t everybody’s cup of tea but I do think that they provide a spur to tournament attendance. No matter what people say everyone likes to see their efforts noted by a high ranking in the game system that they dedicate their leisure system to. To achieve that recognition requires participation at a minimum of three events. That can only help tournament numbers.
I certainly hope that there is a concerted effort over the next few weeks to get the NZ Rankings up to date as I know I’d certainly like to see the lie of the land after the first quarters events and leading into NatCon.
Monday, April 11, 2011
The only other info out is these two pics of new plastic monsters, with a whole lot more to be released as well.
The Restless Dead - D3 + 1 wounds if augment spell is successfully cast on friendly Nehekharan undead unit. Any unit can only be effected by the Desert Wind once per turn.
Khsar's Incantation of the Desert Wind - Cast on 8+. All unengaged friendly Nehekharan undead units within 12" may make a single move as if in the remaining moves sub-phase (cannot charge). All non-engaged friendlies can be instead targeted within 24" for a casting value of 16+. Any unit can only be effected by the Desert Wind once per turn.
1. DJaf's Incantation of Cursed Blades.
7+. Augment, range 12". Until the start of your next magic phase close combat attacks gain Killing Blow or Heroic Killing Blow special rule. If the unit already has Killing Blow or Heroic Killing Blow special abilty, it will work on a 'To wound' roll of 5 or 6+ while this spell is in play. Can increase range to 24" instead on a casting value of 10+
2. Neru's Incantation of Protection
9+. Augment range 12", until start of caster's next magic phase. 5+ ward save on a single friendly target unit. All friendly units within 12" can be targeted instead for 18+
3. Ptra's Incantation of Righteous Smiting
9+. Augment range 12" until start of caster's next magic phase. Target unit gains 1 attack (mounts, riders, models crewing chariots, monsters and war machines). If armed with a bow or great bow then get multiple shot (2) special rule. All friendly Nehekharan undead units can be targeted instead within 24" for 18+.
4. Usirian's Incantation of Vengeance
Hex range 18" 10+. Until start of caster's next magic phase target unit has its movement reduced by D3 to min of 1 & all terrain is treated as dangerous terrain if unit moves. Range can be extended to 36" for a casting value of 13+.
5. Usekhp's Incantation of Dessication
11+ Hex range 24". Target unit suffers -1 strength, -1 toughness (to min of 1). Until start of caster's next magic phase. Can instead choose to reduce by D3 (min of 1) for a casting value of 22+
6. Sakmet's Incantaion of the Skullstorm
Remains in Play. Magical Vortex 15+. Small template is placed on the board and a direction is nominated. Artillery dice is rolled and the number is multiplied by wizard level = amount template is moved in stated direction. Every model passed over or under the template suffers a single strength 4 hit. Misfire = place template over caster and scatter by wizards level in random direction. Use large round template for a casting value 25+. On subsequent turns, vortex moves randomly equal to role of artillery dice. If misfire, vortex dissipates instantly.
The major spell in the Lore of Shadow is Mind Razor where you get to substitute your Leadership value for your Strength in combat.
There are a number of Dark Elf specific reasons why this has been perceived as a problem. Specifically,
• Army-wide Hatred allowing re-roll of To-Hit rolls, Eternal Hatred for Black Guard
• Presence of the Cauldron of Blood which allows you to add +1 attack. On Corsairs with the Frenzy Banner this can add up to a lot of attacks
However the main reason why people are getting antsy is that the Dark Elves have a special roll that allows them to ignore the 6 Power Dice maximum, rolling as many as they have access to. This is further enhanced by the Sacrificial Dagger which allows you to “sacrifice” usually a Spearman to add another dice.
In reality this means that you can end up with a block of Corsairs with 4 attacks, re-rolling to hit in the middle of your army at the start of the Dark Elf magic Phase and there is nothing you can do to stop them getting Mindrazor off, making those attacks Str 9 or 10.
Not surprisingly most of the bitching comes from players who have armies composed of elite infantry – Chosen/Chaos Warriors, Grave Guard, Temple Guard/Saurus etc. I’m pretty sure that Dwarfs would also appreciate the opportunity for a grumble as well. Suddenly all those heavily armoured troops that you’ve pulled together in a Death Star unit aren’t so safe.
Well, not surprising, my response is a resounding “Boo Hoo”. This is a classic case of “Catch me once, shame on you. Catch me twice, shame on me.”
Let me map this out for you: Cauldron, Lore of Shadow, Sacrificial Dagger, High # of Attack troops = Likely Pain
It’s not Rocket Surgery! It just means that you have to do what the rest of us do to YOUR Deathstar. Feed it crap and re-direct. Just because they don't have to think, doesn't mean you don't.
If you can’t do that with your current 4-5 unit list, the answer is obvious…….change your list.
As a great man once said “Evolve or Die”.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
My oh my!