Monday, June 30, 2014

FOB Rankings - Warhammer Fantasy Updated for Carnage

Carnage was held in Christchurch over the weekend and the results have been uploaded to the rankings.

The event's winner, Basil Moskovis has moved up two spots to 11th.

The big question for 2014 is whether the much maligned Skaven will continue their fall from grace. They started the year in 2nd Place, are now 7th and by year's end look likely to be overtaken by both Dark Elves and Wood Elves as the Elfpocalypse continues its momentum.

Rats really are only for fluff gamers these days as they are abandoned for the power armies.

Locky Reid remains the lowest ranked Kiwihammer host.

The Kickstarter Backlash

The Kickstarter backlash is well and truly in the ascendency.

This is largely inspired by ongoing delays in the delivery of early 2013 Kickstarters. The most high profile of these is Raging Heroes “Toughest Girls in the Galaxy” where they demonstrated all you need is concept art featuring “boobs” and you can sell nerds anything.

However it is not just Raging Heroes. Secret Weapons Miniatures continue to be late with their “Tablescapes” – latest delay is problems with box printing – and it is likely to be at least 10 months past delivery.

In both these cases – and true with a lot of Kickstarters – the manufacturer is WGF in China. They are practically the only player in the game and so Kickstarter promoters are hostage to them.
Obviously the losers here are the backers. They have effectively provided an interest free loan for the product development and are unlikely to get the product they have funded much in advance of retail release.

I am convinced that the major reason for this is ill-defined and in some cases unexpected stretch goals. I expect that a lot of promoters start out with a tight little project but start seeing the cash coming in and then start making promises far beyond their capacity to deliver. From there, things spiral out of control.

In my view it speaks volumes for those Kickstarters that stick rigidly to their script. The most obvious of these was Frontline Gaming with their table mats. They had a product with 2-3 variants and refused to move beyond that until they had delivered. I would not hesitate to back one of their projects going forward.

Similarly, the first Mierce Kickstarter succeeded as they controlled their own production rather than relying on someone else thousands of miles away. Say what you like about maelstrom/Bane Legions/Mierce, they delivered a good Kickstarter.

And recently we had the Creature Caster campaign. Here they refused to overpromise and offer new concepts over their tightly scripted offering. They haven’t delivered yet but the professionalism during the campaign gives me every confidence that they will.

Miniature Monday - Grrrrrrr

Nothing completed to show for this week.....for two reasons.

Firstly, my mother is currently staying with us. My painting table is in the Family Room where she watches TV. Putting aside the fact I hate reality programmes like "My Kitchen Rules", "Border Control", "Road Cops", "When Celebrities' Pets Attack III", "Surf Cops' Embarrassing Kitchen Nightmares" etc, contrary to her protests she needs a hearing aid. If you think reality tv is bad try listening to it with the TV cranked up to 60. I just go into the lounge and strap two pillows to my head.

Secondly, Nurgle the Cat pointed out to me the folly of my ways. While trying to commandeer my lap yesterday he managed to knock the three Wargamma "Pools" I was painting. When they hit the ground large pieces of paint flaked off. So kids, always wash any resin models in detergent before you paint them. It removes the release agent the manufacturer sprays on them during production. I got lazy this time and it bit me on the arse.

I have however been mildly productive. I have cleaned up and primed 6 more Waywatchers and assembled and started painting the stags of Sisters of the Thorn (while watching sport at a pleasant 22 on the TV volume control). I also managed to pick up some metal Eternal Guard off Trade Me which boosts my unit to 30 (or 2x 15).

Sunday, June 29, 2014

GW Release Ork MegaNobz

Colour me impressed.

Next week GW release the new plastic MegaNobz kit and I think it is pretty spectacular. You can make three MN including one as a Big Mek.

GW are continually pushing the bar with their plastics. There is the odd miss but generally they hit the mark.

This time they have done it spectacularly.

Friday, June 27, 2014

New Zealand WHFB Event Size - Some Stats

With the FOB NZ rankings now having just passed the second anniversary of the first entered event I thought I would take a look at the size of events.

Split the data into two periods - 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013 and 1 July 2013 - 30 June 2014.

 July 2012 - June 2013:
  • Events - 16 ( Northern 7, Central 6 and Southern 3)
  • Average Size - 20.6
  • Median Size -19
  • Largest - 43
  • Total Entrants - 329
July 2013 - June 2014:
  • Events - 21 (Northern 10, Central 7 and Southern 4)
  • Average Size - 19.8
  • Median Size - 19
  • Largest - 30
  • Total Entrants - 416
For the purposes of this exercise Northern is North of Taupo, Central is North Island South of Taupo and Southern is South Island.

In the twelve months just ended we have had more events (30% increase) but they are slightly smaller on average. However this average is distorted by Equinox 2013 which drew 43. This year it fell to 30. The median size is the same at 19 participants.

From a Rankings viewpoint this means that in the past twelve months the largest rankings event was worth 90 points. It means that the highest achievable score was 262 points (Dan Butler currently has 256 points). The previous year it was 274 points.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Internet Forums

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.

I wrote the above almost four years ago. Since then I've revisited the topic in "Forms vs Blogs" which remains one of the most visited posts on the blog.

The passage of time has not changed my view virtually at all. For me blogs and podcasts, rather than forums remain the "better" info source. 

The forums I do visit has changed a bit over the past few years but remains pretty limited:

Warhammer Forum - ETC WHFB, and Fantasy

Dakka Dakka - Dakka Discussions and News & Rumours

Interestingly the one thing that has changed over the past four years is the rise of Twitter. Here you can comment and get instant feedback. The difference here is that it is surely between a group of "friends". Be warned though -"There Be Trolls". The circle I move in certainly has contenders for Throgg's crown - not me obviously, I am paragon of virtue. 

While You Were Sleeping.....NZ WHFB Rankings

On the weekend the results for 2013 Horned Rat VI fell out of the Fields of Blood NZ Warhammer Rankings.

This had a meaningful effect opening the gap between current leader Dan Butler and his pursuers. However the most important change was the dramatic fall of Locky Reid who fell from 3rd to where he is now the lowest rank Kiwihammer host.

The Top 10 has a wide geographical spread encompassing communities from Auckland to Christchurch.

On the Army Ranking front Skaven have dropped from 3rd to 7th (really are little more than a fluff choice now!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ETC 2014......and 2015

If you are going to Panzershreck then remember lists are due this Saturday.

The timing of this event is a little unfortunate as it falls the weekend after lists are due for this year's ETC lists must be lodged. That means that the three of the NZ ETC Team attending will already be committed come the event - so no last minute list-tweaking.

For those interested in the NZ ETC planning we are very in the final stages and are tying down some of the loose ends.

Flights and accommodation have been booked for some time, races and lists have largely been finalised, peripheries like dice have been ordered.

The team shirts are currently being finalised   So all in all it is getting close

For any NZ gamers interested in attending ETC 2015 - to be held in Prague, Czech Republic - you should probably start thinking about it now. The process for selection will start late August/early September when I (as 2014 Captain) will seek nominations for the 2015 Captaincy. The 2015 Captain will be selected by the 2014 team.

The 2015 Captain will then put together a selection panel to select the 2015 team. Typically this will comprise himself and two others (at least one of which will be based here in NZ). Nominations will then be sought from interested participants. This will be flagged on various forums, blogs etc. Preference is given to NZ passport holders (we need at least four) and those who have been resident or recently resident in the country for 3+ years.

It has been found that early selection of the team is preferable so people have the necessary certainty to budget accordingly (circa NZ 3000) and secure the necessary leave passes from home and work.

Hopefully that provides sufficient flavour to pique the necessary interest for a bumper bunch of candidates.

FAQs, Where Are Thou?

A few weeks ago Games Workshop released updated FAQs for Warhammer 40k. Now these were obviously necessary given the edition - oh wait still no mention of 7th  - change.

However it is now 14 months since we have seen anything for Warhammer Fantasy. In that time we have had three Elf books released plus Lizardmen and Dwarfs.

This is pretty slack.

Either GW don't think their rules need FAQs - quick heads-up, they do - or it is just not a priority for them.

Yes we get the same drivel trotted out - usually by Jervois in the WD - "We are a miniatures company, not a rules company" or "Our games are not designed for tournament play" or my favourite "Just make up your own house rule" but those are all cop-outs.

In a way GW is abusing its position - and the goodwill of its gaming history with its players - trotting out such drivel.

We all have the right to expect that the rules we buy for our games are clear and fit for purpose. In most other endeavours consumers rightly expect flaws and errors to be corrected and the GW hobby should be no different. GW is treating its customers poorly in not providing "fixes" to its rules.

Eventually it will blow through all the goodwill it has with long term customers - who are committed due to sunk cost in product and time.

I find it incredible as they are no doubt aware it prevails - sufficient GW HQ staff play in UK tournaments that they would have to have the awareness of tadpole to be ignorant of the need.

The effort is minimal too. Any studio designer could address the problem in an afternoon.

Their post sale customer service with regard to rules quality is currently non-existent and this is something they should look to address. Out of pride, if nothing else.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rules Release Dates

As you are all aware earlier this year GW changed its release policy. This tied in to the weekly White Dwarf revamp.

The key thing with the change was a change from releases announced at the start of the month and then staggered over it to a true weekly release schedule - only 7 day prior announcement. Hand in hand with this looks to be market testing - or it could be an internal battle or even incompetence - as to when is the best week to release rules.

Certainly there appears no rhyme or reason to the strategy which suggests they may be testing the market. The first release saw Dwarf Army Book come out week three, while with the IG or whatever they are now called we saw variant codex week one and main codex week four. Imperial Knights had rules released week two while Wood Elves got theirs week one. Finally 40k Orks have had to wait until we eh four.

I can only assume that GW is trying to determine whether the timing of rules release affect sales - either positively or negatively. I can see reasons for why you would go either first or last week but second and third week make little sense. The case for late army book/codex release is that it keeps models under wraps longer which seems to be GW current preferred option.

However out of all the releases mentioned above I believe the one that generated the most excitement (in my not unbiased opinion) was Wood Elves. Here people got to see the rules and models and as an observer and reader of GW-related media it seemed to cause the most positive reaction.

Contrast this with the current Ork release. This seems to have gone on forever and each week the excitement seems to be a bit less.

So why different reactions?

Well I reckon people want to see the rules before they commit their money. I may be wrong on this and I guess their target market can be swayed with "OMG Da New Flash Gitz Roxxor - wow Dude each gun haz 12 bitz and moar dakka". But at $85 NZ for 5 plastic models they better more than "Roxxor " they need to be game efficient for me to want to buy them.

I think it would be absolutely fascinating to see the weekly sales breakdown for each sales strategy. We won't.....but maybe by the end of the year we'll see things crystallise into a coherent strategy. One schedule must be more successful.

Internet Tuesday - Universal Battle

Ok, so Internet Tuesday again.

This week I thought I'd highlight Universal Battle. This is a tool whereby you can fight Warhammer battles against people via the net.

The Interface is a Top-down View of the Battlefield 

Effectively UB is the website  universal The website provides a digital platform to meet opponents and play games without the need for physical interaction. Now to a lot of people that might sound horrific - one of the key attractions of gaming for me is the physical nature of the game and social interaction. However it can provide an attractive proposition in three key areas.

Firstly, some people have limited opponents due to geographical isolation. Secondly, it allows practice of certain comp systems against a wider range of people than may be available in your local gaming group. And lastly, it removes the need to physical have the models so people can test different army builds very easily.

At this time of year you can click on and you'll see it being used extensively for ETC preparation. Teams will be trying out different builds and new armies to see how they go. For instance, a month ago you couldn't click on without seeing 5-6 games using the new Wood Elves.

All the ETC Maps were uploaded early so you could practice on them

To play games on the system you need to buy a subscription. However this is pretty cheap. Alternatively if you are a voyeur then you can log in as a Guest and watch to your heart's content. If you don't want tourists then you can make your games private. 

I generally check in most evenings to see what builds are been used. I've played a few games on the system and while initially fiddly you soon get the hang of it. The ability to try tactics and different builds is useful. 

So if you have a half hour I'd recommend clicking on and checking out the site. If you find it has ongoing use then please support it. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Miniature Monday: The Three Amigos (or My Little Ponies R Us)

As I noted last week I'm taking the opportunity to paint whatever I feel like at the moment - I have no tournament deadlines I have to meet.

So this week I picked up three Fiends that had a rush job on them when used by Tom in the previous Daemon of Chaos book (remember lone Fiends 45 points).

This edition they have been superseded by Beasts of Nurgle but I think there is still some utility for them.

We always called the Fiends, "My Little Ponies" due to their cartoonish looks and we named them after three of the little darlings (Use Google, it has the internet).

After a few evenings work I'm happy with the finished job.




Over the next week I am going to do some aquatic terrain pieces - ponds by WarGamma I got at Adepticon and tidy up Waywatchers for painting.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Review - Foldio Lightbox by Orangemonkie

Recently I found and supported a Kickstarter by a company called Orangemonkie.

It was for a collapsable lightbox suitable for taking pictures of models etc.

The box is made of lightweight plastic sheet that fixes together by enclosed magnets. It literally takes 5 seconds to put together.

However the great thing is that you can buy it with LED strip lights in it and that gives yopu all the lights you need to take photos on you iDevice.

Here is mine set up for a photo:

The light strips are at the top and powered by two 9V batteries.

Here's a quick snap I took of "Moonbeam" to show the lighting.

The Kickstarter finished six months ago but you can access the product from their website

I think it is a great product and fully recommend it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Skullvane Manse Wanted

I'm after a Skullvane Manse kit to use as part of a terrain conversion. Unfortunately it is no longer available through Games Workshop hobby centres but there may be some in your local game store.

Really appreciate if people could check. Happy to pay cost and postage. Or alternatively if anyone has one they are willing to sell.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Upcoming Event: Crack's Call - Masterton, Waiarapa

The Masterton Marauders are running their inaugural event this September. Get behind it.

Date: 27/28 September

Location: Rathkeale College, Masterton

Points: 2000
Rounds: 5

Time Limit: 2 hours 45 mins

Start/Finish: Sat 8.20am / Sun 4.00pm (latest)

Composition: FOB Lite

Scenarios: From rule book except Battle for the Pass

Cost: $70 includes meals (Saturday Brunch plus Dinner, Sunday Brunch)
Meals are compulsory for all (minimum numbers required by caterer)

Format: Swiss. 150 VPs = 1 TP, Max 20 TP per game

No Players: Minimum 20, Maximum 30

Prizes: Top 3 overall, Top 3 presented.

Registration: By email to Neil Williamson at

Closing Date:       3rd August
Payment Due:       30th August
Army lists Due:    14th September
Payment method: TBA

Accommodation (if required)

Bed in cubicle (bring a sleeping bag) plus shower. Common room, TV lounge.
Add $25 per night

A Customer Service Success Story

So in early April - and with the impending participation at Adepticon in Horus Heresy event - I thought I should buy an electronic copy of the 40k rules. Now I never got to use as my involvement in the three games was limited to seven turns.

But I did shell out my ill gotten gains to GW/Apple to buy the iBook version. Less than six weeks later I was the proud owner of a now outdated set of Warhammer 40k 6ed set of rules. I had never opened the file.

To say I was less than impressed is reasonably accurate. What annoyed me most was unlike other software companies there was no upgrade facility for recent purchasers of the outdated rules set.

So I wrote an email of complaint to GW Customer Service, received a form email saying they were dealing with a lot of "issues" and would get back to me within 7 days...and waited. After two and a half weeks - and the same form email but a personal "we are working on it" email as well -  I got the reply.

It came from Black Library to whom my concern had been passed. While they could do nothing re the iBook - the sale being owned by Apple - they gave me a copy of the new Warhammer 40k rules in eBook format.  They acknowledged the concern I had and provided the eBook as a "goodwill gesture".

Now this was nothing more than I would expect as I believe my complaint holds considerable validity but I think it is important to give credit where it is due. To me this was good Customer Service.

I'm hopeful complaints like this will at least raise the issue at GW. As a software provider rather than just a miniature company they will face this more and more.

Throwback Thursday: Tips for Speeding Up your Tournament Play

Today sees the introduction of another new segment - Throwback Thursday. This revisits a previous forum post, something that is still relevant or needs updating etc.

The first of these is "Tips for Speeding Up Tournament Play" which I first posted in late 2010.

At the time I noted that:

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.

This is still relevant. People pay to attend an event with a set number of games and so it is important that they get what they play for. The last event I attended had five games and we finished four. In the fifth game we only got through four turns and that is ultimately un satisfying. 

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. What is important is that an unfinished game becomes a rarity. Nobody wants to be categorised as a slow player.

So here is the list of six things that I highlighted in the original blog post. All can help you speed up play and ensure you and your opponent feel you've had a "fair" contest:

1. Army Builder Have 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. There are now other tools e.g. Quartermaster that perform the same function.

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. Prior to an event I update this to reflect the list I am using.

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 this list I would now add another couple of items:

7. Army Choice If you err on the slow side then it is important time management extends to Army choice. You are probably better to play a three block Dwarf army rather than a 15 unit Orc & Goblin army with three mages using different Lores. You need to help yourself and play to your strengths and limit your weaknesses. 

8. Don't Be Afraid to Raise Issue if you realise that time is going to be a problem then raise the issue as early as practicable. This might be "We'll need to be mindful of time, an hour's gone and we haven't started Turn 2". Make it a shared problem even if it isn't. By sharing responsibility people are less likely to get defensive.

Like everybody I have my slow games where the time flies. 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 :-) and I hope 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Next Week's White Dwarf Confirms Codex: Orks

Next week's White Dwarf confirms the release of a new Ork Codex.

So by rights this will be the last 40k Orks release. The big question is what next:
  • Warhammer Fantasy
  • The Hobbit
  • Citadel Hobby Release
I'm going to go with a filler release - so one of the both two, with new Fantasy first week in July. 

On The Painting Table - Fiends of Slaanesh

As I said a couple of weeks ago I've reached a stage where there is very little that I need to paint for upcoming events so I am just painting whatever takes my fancy.

Recently I painted Tomb Guard and Horse Archers for Sam W to use at Wrath & Ruin  (oh the irony). This was followed by 18 metal Eternal Guard for Wood Elves. I followed this up with Impassable Terrain last weekend.

I've now got two new projects on the desk. The first is six Waywatchers and the second three Fiends of Slaanesh. I've decided to wait to do the Waywatchers as I have 4 blisters en route from the UK and I might as well do them all together. So that leaves the Fiends.

Anybody who played Tom prior to the release of the most recent Daemons of Chaos book will know that he always ran single Fiends in his Rare choices. I had painted up three of the metal Fiends which were affectionately dubbed "My Little Ponies".

They all had names - "Moonbeam", "Sparkles" and "Primrose" based on their colour choice and an internet search of the relevant cartoon. However I had rush painted them and wasn't very happy with them - wash and drybrush.

Last night I pulled them out and re-base coated them - don't worry Tom, same colours - in preparation of given them a better paint job.

Hopefully I can get them done for a show-and-tell next Monday.

Internet Tuesday - YouTube Rules

I've decided that I will try to structure the blog a little bit by introducing some regular segments.

The first of these is Internet Tuesday where the intention is to highlight something interesting relating to the hobby that I've found on the net.

This week it is the YouTube channel Fred the Referee. You can access easily via a YouTube search. The "Fred" in question is Frederique, a Norwegian who has refereed at the last few ETCs and a member of the current FAQ team.

He has uploaded around seven short (3-4 minute) videos that go through a number of complicated rules situations. The focus is very much on ETC but in a lot of cases the concepts are universal - and where ETC deviates from WHFB BRB it is noted.

I found them very useful and easy to follow. They cover things like the 1" rule, virtual pivots, pursuit direction, railroading and cover considerations. If you have a spare half hour I recommend checking them out.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rankings Model

Fields of Blood has been running its ranking model and hosting the New Zealand rankings for awhile.   In fact we have just celebrated the second anniversary of the first tournament entered - Horned Rat V.

The rankings now cover Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40k and Flames of War and are used to provide conversation around the NZ tournament scene as well as act as a selection mechanism for the NZ Masters.

Over the past 12 months we have expanded the number of icons included to now allow not only for Best Race icons but also icons for most armies used and most events attended.

Earlier this year Jack expanded the model first to the Australian Fantasy community and then the Flames of War community in the USA (through the "What Would Patton Do" website). Most recently he has also implemented the model for the Bad Dice UK Warhammer Fantasy Rankings.

All this is done free of charge, Jack sees it as a way to stay attached to the community while his playing opportunities are limited. It's also a way to give back to the community something that gives some people a lot of pleasure.

Jack has also indicated that he is happy to provide the model and administration of the model to other communities if they would like a rankings model put in place

In the next quarter, Jack is relocating to Boston in the US to attend M.I.T.  However he is still looking to provide administration services to the rankings so don't worry.

However if any other communities are wanting to have the system up and running it is probably worth moving now as the move is likely to pre-occupy a fair chunk of his time in the next little while.

If you are at all interested drop me an email and I'll get things rolling.

Quiet Times Here in The Empire

We have entered a period of quiet times here in New Zealand - as far as tournaments go anyway.

Here in the Empire (greater Wellington) the next event is not until mid-August. Then it is another six weeks until the inaugural Masterton (Badlands) event. The next actuall event is Panzershreck in Palmerston North (Troll Country) which is just over a month away. As I understand it that event has sold out.

Up in the Chaos Wastes (Auckland) they are running Tin Soldier - also known as "Monstercon" - the week after Panzershreck.

Goodness knows what is happening down in the Southlands. I expect they are either in a stasis or in a period of spawning.

So that le aves plenty of time for hobby through the long winter months. I expect to see lots of new armies come the Spring. If you are planning something new let us know in the "Comments" section

Eighteen Weeks in - They Got Me!

So Games Workshop new White Dwarf strategy works.

Finally after 18 weeks of picking up the weekly White Dwarf ( I like it, ok?) they finally got an add-on impulse sale.

Yesterday I bought the last box of Wild Riders/Sisters of the Thorn from Lower Hutt GW when I picked up my WD. The head calculator kicked in and I realised I could only save $6 on the $50 box from overseas so with great largesse I parted with my $$$.

And why did I buy SotT?  Don't know really. I just felt like making something and it was the unit we don't have in the Dunn Wood Elves. I'm sure that they will be nice to paint.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Impassable Terrain - Finished

So here are my two pieces of Impassable Terrain. Very simple to make - you saw the WIP photos. Just gravel, drybrush, static grass and clump foliage.

I've added more photos over the page.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Where To, Vampires?

A comment was made in the feedback on the Army Ranking post as to why Vampires were so low in the rankings. I gave a brief answer there but I thought I'd expand on my thoughts in a separate post - hopefully inspiring more dialogue.

I played a very hitty Vampire list early last year. It had the normal bus mounted blender lord and friends but was backed by a lot of fliers - including the much maligned Varghiests - and some zombies and ghouls bi found it fun to use but it had a lot of bad matchups. The 2013 ETC threw up another Vampire list build around Crypt Horror blocks this did very well having the least overall bad matches at the event - by my analysis anyway.

Looking at these prevalent builds I thought I'd give my thoughts on the Vampire situation and what drives it's ranking. I think it can be put down to one thing.

Inability to Get Consistent Big Wins

One of the key considerations in singles play is that to maximise your chances of doing well you need to have a list that can deliver consistent big (15+) wins.  I suspect that both lists fall down on this facet.

The foot list will very rarely lose big but it is incredibly slow and as such it struggles to "grind" - and that is what it does - out big wins. This makes it ideal in the team format - or even in the WDL environment (though it struggles to score bonus) - but not so much in 20-0. Five or six 12 point wins are unlikely to get you on the podium.

The blender lord bus list conversely can score big points but it is susceptible on two fronts. Firstly it can be chaffed up and secondly it has a lot of concentrated points.

In the 2012-14 game we have seen the rise of Light Councils that really hurt the Vamps and the continuation of cannons as Warmachine of choice reinforce the susceptibility of the second build to big losses. The light council removes support elements while sniping cannons are always a risk for the Vamp Lord and 500-600 points he entails. Most commonly this manifests itself in an Empire list which are regulars on the scene.

[As an aside a 20 Hexwraith list did very well at ETC 2013 scoring 119/120 points. However I suspect in regular singles such a list would be shredded when matchups couldn't be controlled].

So what's stopping VCs from "competing" ? Well in a nutshell, a combination of meta and scoring requirements. Will this change with the Elfpocalypse we are currently seeing. I suspect not in the short term.

Rankings System Update Mooted

One thing we are considering for the rankings is a function whereby if you click on a tournament it will highlight those people who are currently sourcing ranking score from that event.

That then gives a heads up as to who is protecting ranking points going into the event. At the moment you can determine it but it requires reverse engineering - looking at individual scores and seeing if they are using event. Speaking with Jack it could be an easy tweak.

I think that would be a useful feature for us "Ranking Whores".  What do others think?

WIP - Impassable Terrain

Last evening I started work on building some Impassable Terrain for upcoming games.

The ETC maps have pieces of IT as integral to their setup and I wanted to have pieces that were different to ruins and also conveyed an "impassable" nature.

So I took some previously based and painted Garden of Morr terrain pieces and looked to make them a little bit more imposing.

I've used a couple of off cuts of blue foam I had and given them a basic structure. I have then mounted various elements - shrine, wall, rocks - on and will leave them to fix. Tonight I'll get the craft knife out and start carving up the various faces.

The next step will be ground cover and paint. 

Check back Monday for the completed pieces. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What Now For Bretonnians?

All the drumming seems to indicate that Bretonnians will be the next Fantasy book off the rank.

The current book is 6th Edition vintage and was released in Q3 2003. Therefore it will be 11 years old later this year.

I personally think the book has held up very well - as have the figures that saw a major revamp at last release. The core KotR, M@A and Peasant Archers box sets are all still very nice multipurpose models. I don't necessarily see them being replaced.

So what will we seem.

Perhaps Demigryphs have been found in the Southern forests? However I hope rather than that we see a revamp of the rules for Questing and Grail Knighrs with a new multipurpose kit. Something that  makes them an anvil unit - so stubborn/ITP - that can hold the line allowing  other units to deliver knockout blows.

Also some type of enhanced Grail Relique type kit that builds on the current concept but uses the mechanics of the DE Cauldron.

And in Rare some type of monster, probably flying e.g. Griffon

If they wish to broaden the range more then a set of Estalian or Tilean mercenaries may work.

All in all I think the book only needs an update, it already has it's own distinct character.

Wargaming Podcasts

This weekend sees the Bad Dice Daily podcast go into a hiatus as Ben Curry and his partner prepare for the upcoming birth of their first child (Congrats by the way).

This is going to leave a bit of a hole in my hobby listening time.particularly as their fortnightly has become highly irregular.

I'd say that 2014 has been a bit of a bad year for  Warhammer  podcasting as existing casts have fallen by the wayside or become more irregular.

While Wargaming podcasting isn't necessarily a thankless task - the principals get to experience their 15 minutes of fame - I can see how it can become a chore. A lot of casts start with a burst of enthusiasm but over time that store is dissipated and their is little left to say - bit like blogs.

In most cases I think this is due to lack of structured format and focus - certainly the best shows work to a tight format. I've always struggled with tournament or game report casting (and blogging) as it seems to quickly fall into the "then I rolled a six" or "OMG my LUX Suxor". Also those that have a limited hosting group seem to work better - as the cast doesn't lose its structure as all try to shout over one another to get their input heard.

We now have a number of casts approaching or recently achieving their 100th episode. You can only applaud their longevity. Generally they have strong ties into a local - then national/international - gaming network. My current list of favourites is:

The Watchtower
Skull Bros Awesome

I also listen to Garagehammer (professionally produced), Heelanhammer and Jaded Gamercast. I find these can be a bit hit or miss depending on the topic. A relative newcomer is the Irish entry, Hobby Craic.

Given the time and effort that is put in is largely unfounded I'd just like to thank all casters who do take the time to give me something to listen to while commuting or painting. Cheers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

ETC Maps

One of he things that I have liked while playing ETC games is the use of the ETC maps.

I thought that these would be bland but using them there is sufficient variety to make challenging games. You can get them here

Too often when putting together a table they devolve into a symmetrical setup with two woods, two hills and a building.  These maps have been thought out and the developer Furion has done a great job.

However I think they are also useful outside the ETC. Personally I plan to use them as templates for future events - not rote but certainly to ensure setup variety. One change I will be doing is using Building rules and Mysterious Wood rules in conjunction with the maps.

Army Ranking

One of the benefit of using the Fields of Blood ranking model across various countries is that the data can be compared and contrasted.

Included for each area is an Army Ranking where the best results - excluding icon holder - are taken to determine relative success in that country.

Here are the current results for Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand:

As can be seen there is a fair amount of correlation between  the three countries. This despite a variety in the degree of comp systems and the application of that comp. NZ for instance uses a lot of hard cap comp and is generally permissive while Australia uses more restrictive comp and relies less on hard caps. The UK spans the spectrum but generally errs to the NZ end. 

At a casual glance the outlier seems to be Dark Elves/Skaven in NZ. The local experience is at odds with that seen in Oz and the UK but I think it can be generally explained by the smaller size of the market. I expect we will see Dark Elves gradually improve as more armies come to the table.  The other interesting army is Wood Elves. Oz with its softer comp has a presence already but again I suspect the new (and stronger) book will start to see it move higher. 

The next thing I thought I would look at is the development of an Overall Army Ranking Guide. There is no pretence that this possesses any scientific rigour but I suspect if plotted over time will show some macro meta trends. 

So from this it is possible to start determining which books are performing best. I suspect it comes as no surprise to most to see the Top 5 comprised of the two "of Chaos", the High and Dark Elves and  Empire. This strength level certainly fits my view of all round tournament strength. 

I'll be revisiting this every couple of months to see if there are changes and also whether we can see some trends developing. 

Have at it. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Grassy Knoll

There is always a lot of chatter that GW manipulate rules to sell models and once they have their evil way they change them again.

Well donning my tinfoil hat - and knowing it to be true because I read it on the internet - I headed into my local GW to purchase some Waywatchers. Obviously I had first checked Trade Me and eBay to bolster my Green credentials re recycling and ACT credentials re economic efficiency.

Unfortunately the local manager told me they are Direct Only. So I jumped onto the GW site. Now I'm only able to access the NZ site so I checked in - willing to pay "Tyranny of Distance" Tax. But they are out of stock.  What?!?! Surely the Design Studio told the Production Department.  Bugger!!! I now have to wait for them to be put on a boat and shipped via the Roaring 40's.

Off to send my complaint to Lee Harvey Oswald in Customer Service.

Monday, June 9, 2014

FOB WHFB Rankings - Updated for Wrath & Ruin

The rankings have been updated for Wrath & Ruin and it sees Sam Whitt welcomed back into the Top 10  as a result of his 2nd Place.

Not much visible effect until you flick to Masters mode where the effect of another event starts to solidify Masters qualification.

Wrath & Ruin Results

Over the weekend I attended the inaugural "Wrath & Ruin" Fantasy Tournament put on by the DILFs* at the Onehunga RSA in Auckland.

The event used the latest ETC comp, rules and maps and gave three of the NZ ETC team to get some practice. It was five rounds.

Here are the results:

Bryan Orsborne won both Best Sports and Best Painted ( beautiful Brets). 

A big thanks to all those who attended as it was extremely useful for the ETC guys. 

* you may wonder about the monicker "DILF". I've been reliably informed that it stands for "Dudes Inuits Like to Fondue" - strange but true!

Guest Post - Charles on WoC (Part II)

This is the second part of Charles' post. Remember also that he is playing in Oz which is the spiritual home of panel/peer comp - so soft rather than hard caps - and that steers some of his thinking.

Part II

Here's also a summary I did during early days of army design to check / prompt the design. Its not exhaustive or always correct - but initial thoughts

vs Shooting armies
1. Cannons
2. Bolt throwers
3. Mass Archer
My army's approach
• Fast moving units to take them out
• Screens to give hard cover
• Trolls to protect from cannons
• Multiple threats
• Hounds in front of trolls vs flaming shooting

vs Magic Armies
1. Dwellers / Final trans
2. Buff for combat
3. Magic missiles

My army's approach
• Level 4 for dispel
• MR for expensive units
• Mage killers
• Scroll
• Trolls with Scyla for MR

vs Movement armies
1. Fast movement
2. Chaff

My army's approach
• Hitty chaff
• Flyers to go over

vs Combat units
1. Steadfast blocks
2. ASF
3. Regen
4. High AS
5. High WS

My army's approach
• Treason
• 3+WS characters
• Regen trolls
• Chariots counter charging

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Guest Post - Charles Black on Warriors of Chaos

The following is a Guest Post from Charles Black. Charles is a past doyen of the Warhammer scene and has recently got back inTo tournament play. About a decade ago he wrote an article in the now defunct Irresistible Force eZine on Warhammer Tactics which I still think is the best treatise on Warhammer I've read. So I asked Charles if I could post his recent forum post from WAU so readers of Fields of Blood could see it.

Take it away Charles:

I've had quite a few request for my list. I'd prefer NOT to just post it. I dislike the whole net list phenomen.

This is because a list itself is usually dependent on the specific nature of the tournament, the players, and your personal play style. So what is below – is my list, but in a way that includes a range of options depending on the factors above. I find the core of my list has been the same (although it wont be for Carnage – raaaargh … ) but there are a lot of options depending on what the tournament pack says, what comp is and what models you have and what play style you have.

The basis for the list came from discussion with Andy Potter regarding the changing meta towards (1) ballistic skill shooting from Elves and the variety of demon armies out there that monster WoC (2) the armour busting capabilities of many armies in response to 1+AS armies and monstrous cav (2) the rise of new smash units that do it at least equally as good as WoC such as Star Dragons, demns etc and (3) the ‘perfect storm’ where as new armies with natural counters to WoC were brought in (DE, HE) by GW, the traditional ‘hard choices’ in WoC (DP, crushers, Chimera, core chariots and anything nurgle) were comped down in response to the power level. The challenge as a WoC player is that in any comped environment, you just cant take the traditional choices and start the tournament on an even footing.

So the list I took and the variations revolve around the following principles (1) have range threats to deal with ranged threats of other armies – in particular those that can afford to sit back and magic / shoot but have the comfort of counter charging if you get to close (Empire, HE, DE, Brets, Demons) (2) have an anvil – a tough unit that can take damage and attract attention and can effectively deliver CR when needed (3) have enough chaff to divert non flyers and to get into opponents chaff (4) have a combination of combat threat units to soak missiles (5) have a second wave to either finish units off or to counter charge.

SO with these in mind, the core of the army is

1) Lvl 4 on Tzeentch, flys, 3+WSwith re-rolls and 1+ AS. I give mine Sword of might, breath weapon and potion of foolhardiness (mainly if I see a threat for a panic test. He is my main range threat unit with gateway. However, Treason is also spectacular – probably most valuable spell in deck as it can totally change combats (use lowest leadership and no BSB or inspiring presence). In addition his OK combat potential (3str 5 and 3 str4) means he is ideal against smaller units. With his breath weapon he can really surprise some units and can make a huge difference in an all in vs elf units.

2) Tz BSB with dem steed and 3+WS and 1+AS is very useful. He does what he’s meant to do – beat stuff up. The 3W is excellent. GW or Halberd.

3) Lvl 2 on metal and scroll. Great spell choice. May add ring of fury for additional anti elf spells. Charmed shield useful. Generally leave unmarked so can join marked units.

4( If special characters allowed – I take Scyla. 105 pts and gives MR to the trolls. He is also unbreakable and has 4 W. His main use is the Leadership 10 bubble.

Not sure what ill do if I can’t take Scyla as I need the trolls and Ld 8 is too unreliable even with a re-roll and if they are unsupported they are virtually useless with Ld4 stupidity.

Core is comprised on any and many combinations of min sized Slaneesh (no panic) marauders both mounted and on foot (a mix of board and sword and flails is ideal). Then mounted marauders with flails and javelins. Add command depending on tournament conditions. On top of that 3-4 hound units to chaff things up. For face off, I went more untis on foot due to the tournament cnditions (600points / game for 5+ models or 3+ MI or MC). In the end I had 11 units that could contest table quarters and deployment zones. On the dogs I need to be aware that they can panic BSB and general.

For Special, I have been going with 6 trolls – these can catch cannon balls for chariots behind and I generally run with BSB and scyla in the unit. Quality death star and MR 3 on Scyla stops the risk of fireballs running your day.

Then 2 gorebeast chariots. Great, tough, solid units. Slaneesh is my favourite mark. Nurgle is obviously excellent, but Ld 8 might be a problem esp as I sometimes run them with marauders.

I’ve tried hellstriders – sensational unit, but I don’t really need more fast cav. I realy like knights and they get under the comp stick biut for some armies they are simply a very quick and very easy 250 points.

I try and always take a shrine as I think it is great. A very tough unit that can hit hard and has useful boost spell – although I cast it very rarely as I usually have lvl 4 and lvl 2 casting.

Finally to rare. Sometimes nothing, this tournament I took shaggoth. Took EHW. Very very useful esp against all those pesky elves. I think there is a lot of value in 3 dragon ogres as they have 12 wounds and can get into combat quickly. Helcannon would be great but combo with tzentch magic is an auto comp hit. I think there is a lot of value in a slaughterbrute if he is connected to the lord – and it would fly under the comp radar.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


I've been really pumped on the hobby side of things over the past few weeks and am putting this down to not having an army that I'm painting towards. So in the past month I've managed to do 13 Tomb Guard, 15 TK Light Horse Archers and 18 Eternal Guard as well as the twenty hills I finished.

I really enjoy jumping from one project to another and painting different elements for different armies. Upcoming I have 6 Waywatchers plus Pink Horror command elements. I'm also looking at three Fiends of Slaanesh that look interesting.

This weekend I have got Wrath & Ruin in Auckland. I'm just not feeling it at the moment and would likely give it a miss if it wasn't an opportunity to catch up with Tom and Jack. Not sure whether it is Winter or playing ETChammer or something else but my level of enthusiasm in effectively nil. ETC proper is only two months away and I can't wait for it to be over. I can live with the comp and the rules changes but the thing that gets me down is the style of play to be successful. In part it is down to the role in team as well as requirements of the army but it has sucked all the fun out of the game for me. I'm enjoying the tight games with opponents but the risk averse style is limiting the fun.

With this Miasma well and truly descended, I am hoping the Southern Spring will see a continuation of GW's release schedule. There are three books left to release in this edition and I am very hopeful that we'll see them all released before 9th. While I don't own Brets I like their play style and think they offer an enormous amount to the game. My hope is that we start to see the non-Core knights more viable again. When Mierce did their Kickstarter I took the opportunity to buy a lot of Monsters and Monstrous Infantry. I hope a new book sees a selection of viable builds emerge for these figures.

Finally Skaven. No surprise that these are my favourite army. I am really keen for the book to be re-done. This will see Magic Items shrink to 10-12 and I suspect that a lot of "unique" rules will be gone. My hope is that they introduce more unpredictability into the army. I'd like to see Slave units leadership capped at say Ld 8 as I think Ld 10 is not consistent with fluff however I hope they keep the Life is Cheep concept. There is nothing more fun than shooting into a combat though there should be more scope for randomisation of casualties (as in past).

As long as it keeps dollops of quirkiness I'll be happy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

FOB NZ Rankings - WHFB Updated for Southcon & Nicon

Over the weekend there were two events held in NZ, pretty much at opposite ends of the country.

Southcon was held in the Deep South and was won by Rhys Hodgson while Nicon was held in Tauranga and was won by Antony Kitson.

The results have now been entered in the rankings and have resulted in some changes.

Antony on the back of his win has jumped to 5th Place. He has also gained The Changeling for having played the most different races.  Ross Hillier-Jones renters the Top 10 as does Rory Finnemore (who also takes the Empire icon off Joel van de Ven-Long.  Mike King regains the Beastmen icon to go with his Marco Colombo (Most Events).

Jeff Kent continues to battle with James Brown for lowest ranked Kiwihammer personality. Both had the weekend off,  though congrats to Jeff on his engagement.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Another New Dawn Fades

2013 was definitely the year of the Kickstarter for the Wargaming hobby.

2014......not so much.

So why is this?  Well two reasons spring to mind.

 The first was that people eventually clicked onto the fact that a load of Kickstarters were no more than a pre-ordering mechanism for figures that were already scheduled for production. Both Mantic and Reaper hijacked the crowd funding platform to book pre-sales for ranges that almost immediately had widespread retail releases. People cottoned on to the fact that they could avoid the "risk" and wait for the product to hit retail shelves and then buy what they really wanted.

Secondly, a lot of dross got dumped on the market. Again Mantic and especially Reaper were guilty again. A lot of the Reaper minis are absolutely gak and no matter how cheap, your investment in time to paint them must be worth something. I believe that the market is now being more discerning in what it will fund.

Finally, delays. Most wargaming Kickstarters suffer massive delays - well those that fall outside the precinct of pre-sales. It is not unheard of for campaigns to be months and even a year behind delivery. I have been reasonably lucky, Mierce and Mantic Deadzone were on time but I'm now seven past due for Tablescapes. Some of the miniature offerings are even worse. Why is this? Well a couple of reasons. Firstly, some Kickstarters overpromise, be it through stretch goals and freebies and this puts pressure on both design and production capability. It is this second one though that I the main roadblock. Most wargaming Kickstarters use the same production facility in China. As such this producers sets their own timetable and the Comments section on a lot of the campaign pages is filled with tales of woe re unexpected delays.

The market is therefore in the hangover period. The initial euphoria around Kickstarters has gone and punters are both more skeptical and discerning as to where they put their funds. Campaigns have scaled in their promises and are critically aware of the problems that have plagued the 2013 offerings.

I don't think anyone has lost money yet but the community as a whole is a lot more circumspect. Well run campaigns still hit targets but there is a far greater scrutiny on delivery dates and whether they are realistic. Creature Caster, who just finished an offering, were steadfast on the number of models they would produce and stuck to hit although stretch goals were hit early. The community appears to have rewarded the promotor for his discipline.

It will be interesting to see if the second part of 2014 see a revival in the wargaming Kickstarter.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Demise of the Intelligent Battle Report

A while back I got my self a subscription to Wargames Illustrated. I'd bought the magazine off and on for 10 years. Wargames Illustrated is much more in the style of a traditional monthly magazine with a mix of content, including battle reports along with new product releases and nice pictures of painted models.

I like my battle reports to give me some insight into the strategy of the players, why have they done that, so that so that I can learn something from the battle reports. The battle reports in Warhammer Visions have become pictures of pretty models with very few words. So it was with some surprise and disappointment that that I read the battle report in the latest WI and it contains no descriptions of the tactics the players are using, but loads of close up of Jadgtigers hiding in a doormat and explosion markers over all the models.

Fortunately there is a way out of this impending disaster. Phew! Youtube has loads of channels about wargaming and has a variety of different people playing different games. These people also cover the range of gamers, there are people posting different kinds of games from the serious tournament gamer to the games run as part of a narrative campaign complete with named characters and D&D style role playing aspects.

So who else watches Youtube chanels and which ones do people like the best?