Friday, August 29, 2014

Lore of Undeath Cards???

Looks like GW might have missed a trick with the new Nagash release.

When the release was announced I checked with my local GW Hobby Centre to see whether they were getting in the associated magic cards. They were.

I then noticed a few threads on forums indicating that they had sold out immediately they went on pre-order on GW's web store. No problems, the shops are getting them.

Yesterday I dropped in to confirm that the cards would be on sale on Saturday and was told that none had arrived in.  The Manager checked with other NZ Hobby Centres and they had also received no Lore of Undeath cards.


I jumped on the NZ GW web store and yes, they had indeed sold out.

So it appears that GW has seriously underestimated the likely demand for these cards. The cynic might say that it's a ploy to make you buy the campaign book.....but I'll go with error over malice.

If you see the cards snap them up.....and if there is a spare set on offer then please help a brother out.

Bloodbowl for the iPad

Somehow I missed this......arrgh On the 30th June Bloodbowl was released on the iPad.

A few years ago I used to commandeer Tom's xBox to play the game but with his move to Auckland I lost that avenue. I never played the board game version but loved the electronic version.

So last Sunday I was in the iTunes Store and on a whim searched Bloodbowl. And lo and behold there it was. Once downloaded I paid the extra DLC fee for Skaven. And for the past week I've been playing the game. And what fun it remains.

Typically I manage to get in two games in an hour and a half.

Very reasonable cost too....$10 for the game and $3.79 to play additional teams. I bought Skaven meaning for less than $15 I'm a happy Stormvermin.

If you like Bloodbowl or just want a new game.....check it out

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughts Ahead Of Nagash Release

So the End Times hit this Saturday.  I have pre-ordered the interactive version of the rule book on my iPad - $88 vs. $165 for the physical book.

And I'm excited. In fact I'm probably more excited about this release than any release since 8th Edition hit.

Why? Well this is the first time in almost a decade that GW have advanced the Warhammer Lore. I loved the Storm of Chaos campaign (even though I wasn't playing WHFB at the time) and the 40k Eye of Terror summer was a "golden time" for me as far as GW games go.

While I love the gaming aspect of WHFB I like the imagery and background more. One of the reasons I could never play X-Wing or Lord of the Rings/Hobbit is that regardless of how good the game the background does nothing for me. I found the LotR movies (and books) tedious and overblown and I haven't bothered with The Hobbit movies. Similarly while the original Star Wars movies were good I always found them (and the universe) overrated. The second set were just dire.

However with the Warhammer World I think GW has done a phenomenal job over 2-3 decades to create a fantastic backdrop for their game ( they have done similar for 40k though the current millennium lacks the majesty of the previous nine).

Therefore the opportunity to have the backdrop progress is very appealing for me. My reading - so far - of the "story" is that this is indeed epic. Powers are afoot and responses required. This draws in all theatres with the WW and that is exciting.

Now I appreciate that this is all an effort to sell more models and source material but the critical thing is that there is an "effort". Over recent years "effort" in Fantasy has been a rare commodity. A couple of limited campaign books, one expansion but generally just "treadmill" releases. By that I mean Army Books that from a lore point of view have been uninspiring.  When your biggest fluff advance of the past five years is the discovery of Demigryphs in Empire forests, well you do have problems.

Now don't get me wrong, the models and the rules are the best they have ever been (I've only played three editions). But that for me is only part of the story. This End Times storyline is the missing piece.

In fact I'd be a very happy gamer if GW delayed 9th for another two years (or issued it as v8.5), released the remaining three Army Books and then concentrated on these campaign style additions to add models, units, scenarios etc.

If they wanted to ice my cake they'd then only have to update the FAQs.

NZTC 2015 Players Pack Released

The 2015 NZTC Players Pack has been completed and can be downloaded here

Tickets for the event will go on sale Monday September 1 and as noted in the pack are restricted to sixteen teams.

If anybody would like to participate but doesn't have a team please contact me at and I'll put you in touch with other gamers.

UPDATED: To include schedule. Sunday finish 6.00pm latest - you should book flights requiring airport check-in no earlier than 6:30pm

UPDATED: With NZ payment info - Australians contact me directly

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Let's Just All Stay Calm.........And Panic

The impending release of the Nagash campaign book seems to be causing all sorts of unease across the community, be it here in New Zealand or worldwide.

I've read numerous forums, blogs etc where there is much gnashing of teeth as to what the book means.

"It's the return of Herohammer "

"It's truly the End Times"

"The game just got massively more expensive"

"I'm going to be forced to play against these new uber lists"

"It's the end of tournaments as we know it"

Yes people, it truly is the End Times. You are all going to be forced on a weekly basis to play Nagash End Times games often against your will. Your wallet will be assaulted as you are forced to buy all this new material - rules and models - just to breathe.

Perhaps it's time to get a little perspective.

Your hobby is what YOU make it. If you want to play the new campaign then play the new campaign. If you don't, then don't. Nothing is compulsory. You choose to do what you want.

Life will go on...pretty much as it does now.

Tournament organisers will publish Players Pack that set out the specific considerations for their events and gamers will be able to choose to participate or not. Conscription is not being introduced.

Remember folks, it's a hobby and meant to be fun. It shouldn't be causing anxiety.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Lore of Undeath

Here are rumoured details on Nagash's Lore of Undeath

Lore Attribute - Raise Dead
Place a counter on the battlefield every time a friendly Wizard successfully casts a spell from the Lore of Undeath. Any friendly Wizard who casts a summoning spell from the Lore of Undeath may choose, after having successfully cast the spell, to spend one or more counters. For every counter spent, he increases by 10 the amount of points that the spell may summon.

Signature Spell Call of the Grave (9+)
Call of the Grave is a summoning spell with a range of 12". Base spell summons a 50 point infantry unit from the Undead Legions list. Bigger versions summon a 100 point (13+) or 150 point (16+) unit.

1. Dark Breath (6+)
Dark Breath is a blessing that targets a friendly unit with the Undead rule within 12" of the caster. The unit immediately regains 1D3+1 wounds. In addition, if the unit is not engaged in combat, it can perform a normal movement as if it were the Remaining Moves phase.

2. Hand of Dust (7+)
Hand of Dust is a blessing that targets the caster. In combat, the wizard may choose to forego all of its normal attacks in order to perform a single attack with the Hand of Dust against a single miniature in base to base contact. If the attack roll hits, the enemy takes a wound with the Multiple Wounds (D6) rule with no armour saves allowed. If Hand of Dust kills an enemy character in a challenge, immediately gain D6 Raise Dead counters.

3. Soul Stealer (8+)
Soul Stealer is a direct damage spell with a 12" range. Roll 2D6+2. For each point the result exceeds the target's Leadership, the target takes a wound with no armour saves allowed. If this spell causes at least one unsaved wound, gain D3 Raise Dead counters.

4. Abyssal Swarm (10+)
Abyssal Swarm is a summoning spell with a range of 12". The caster summons a unit of War Beasts or Swarms from the Undead Legions list of up to 75 points. Caster may instead choose to summon a unit of Monstrous Beasts of up to 150 points, in which case the difficulty is 16+.

5. The Herald (10+)
The Herald is a summoning spell with a range of 12". The caster summons a character of up to 65 points from the Undead Legions list. The caster may instead choose to summon a single Monster, Chariot or War Machine of up to 200 points, in which case the difficulty is 24+.

6. Dark Riders (16+)
Dark Riders is a summoning spell with a range of 12". The caster summons a unit of Cavalry, Monstruous Cavalry or Chariots from the Undead Legions list of up to 150 points.

Scary stuff!

Yes Timmy. We want you to use all these great models

End Times: Four Books - Followed By 9th

The drums are beating that the "End Times" will comprise four books.

The first of these - Nagash - is released this Saturday.

Next cab off the rank is in November when we will see a Chaos-focused book. This fits with the rumours around plastic Greater Daemon kits that have coalesced recently.

For me the interesting one is in January. The third "End Times" book will have a considerable Skaven focus - and quite rightly too. It would be good if this is a major revamp as the current book is starting to show its age and it would be nice to throw away the seven page FAQ. My own hope is that the rats get a little more chaotic in playstyle.

Finally, the fourth book will be in March. Details on this are scant but what word there is says it will pick up the races not covered prior. I'm picking this will be Empire, Brets and possibly Dwarfs (perhaps O&G). I've a sneaking feeling the Elves and Lizards will be largely on the sidelines in this conflict however we may see some internecine warfare

That then leaves the way clear for the Summer 2015 release of 9th Edition.

A lot of this is not dissimilar to what we heard early in 2014 of combined sourcebooks for the Forces of Good and Evil. However the twist is that the concept has been wrapped up in the fluff and its advance.

Exciting times ahead.

The Undead Legion Army List

Details are starting to leak on the Nagash-inspired UNDEAD LEGION list. A quick count shows that you have 61 different unit choices - and an increased chance to play Herohammer - with a Lord allowance of 50%.

Here are the individual unit choices:


Mannfred von Carstein, Mortarch of Night
Arkhan the Black, Mortarch of Sacrament
Neferata, Mortarch of Blood
Krell, Mortarch of Despair
Vlad von Carstein, Mortarch of Shadow
Vampire Lord
High Necromancer
Ghoul King Strigoi
High Queen Khalida
Tomb King
High Liche Priest


Wight King
Cairn Wraith
Tomb Banshee
Prince Apophas
Tomb Prince
Tomb Herald
Liche Priest

Core Units

Vampire Counts Skeleton Warriors
Cypt Ghouls
Dire Wolves
Tomb Kings Skeleton Warriors
Skeleton Archers
Skeleton Horsemen
Skeleton Horsemen with bows
Skeleton Chariot

Special Units

Corpse Cart
Grave Guard
Black Knights
Cypt Horrors
Fell Bats
Bat Swarm
Spirit Host
Tomb Guards
Necropolis Knights
Tomb Scorpion
Tomb Swarm
Khemrian Warsphinx
Sepulchral Stalkers
Morgast Harbingers

Rare Units

Blood Knights
Cairn Wraiths
Black Coach
Mortis Engine
Bones Giant
Screaming Skull Catapult
Casket of Souls
Morghast Archai

So what an absolute smorgasbord of unit choices. The potential to make a killer characterful list from this is phenomenal - mixing Skeleton Archers, VC Ethereals for a start.

Not too sure that TOs will be keen to let this genie out of the bottle.....not without other End Times books also in play.

Monday, August 25, 2014

NZTC 2015 - Update

The dates for the 2015 NZ Teams Championship have been confirmed for 28 February/1 March.

Players Pack will be up later this week. Limited to sixteen teams.

Tickets go on sale 1 September.

Start herding the cats, people

A Harbinger of Doom

In the fluff for the new "End Times", there is an event remarked on that may confirm what is largely suspected.

"At the North Pole four impossibly gigantic deamon armies are forming. Four Greater Daemons bow to Archaon".

Plastic kits for Greater Daemons are on the way people.

The Big Cleanup

For the past fifteen years I've had a dedicated Wargaming room in the basement next to the garage. This is where I game and store my stuff - my understanding wife lets me have a painting table upstairs.

Coming back from the ETC I knew I had to do something about the space as it is full with the accummulated shit of 15+ years. There is so much crap in the room plus armies and systems that  I haven't touched for 5-10 years. I decided that a lot of this doesn't need to be readily accessible.

So yesterday the big clean-up started. When Hagen called around for coffee he was roped into helping me transport:

  • 10 metal toolboxes of 15mm DBM armies
  • 9 GW cases containing 40k figures
  • Sabol Army Transport "Division" and "Motor Pool" cases
out of the room and into the void under the house. 

Later in the evening I started on the bookshelves. Into a big storage bin went all the old Warhammer rules and Army Books plus the same for 40k. 

Tonight I start on models. I have boxes of bits, unbuilt models, stuff that needs repairing - and stuff that will just get binned. I went to local supermarket at lunch and picked up boxes of zip-locked bags, reusable plastic containers to bundle the stuff up and store in a 60l plastic bin. 

The upshot of this is freeing up space so that I have cabinets to store armies and terrain more effectively. 

I'll post pictures later in the week of progress. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Battle Report - Watchtower (Beastmen vs. Ogres)

This weekend sees the return to "normal" Warhammer after spending the last six months focusing on the ETC.

And what better way than a game against regular opponent Mike King. We decided on 2000 points and I put together an Ogre list not knowing what he'd bring - strong likelihood of Beasts or Lizards, lesser of his new High Elves. The list posted on Friday was amended - dropping a Firebelly to beef up the Maneater block.

We rolled up "The Watchtower" and got at it.

I won the roll for the Watchtower but chose not to put a unit in it. We then set up facing each other.

My right flank had the Ironguts - with all characters - and the Mournfang. Lurking behind the Watchtower are my unit of six Maneaters (ITP, Stubborn) that I felt had best chance to hold tower.

Mike's heavy hitters were a unit of Minotaurs with Doombull and Warbull BSB with them. I did not want the Doombull (ASF) getting into my Ironguts and I thought my Maneaters would have real problems too.

He also had a horde of Gor with Beastlord and three Bray-Shaman (two Shadow, one Beasts).

Mike pushed up his Mini-Bus on one side of the building and the horde on the other. I sent forward a Sabretusk to re-direct the Minos and the small Ogre unit to sit in front of the Horde. My Ironblaster decided to just be a chariot Turn 1.

On my far right, the Mournfang took out some Ungor and then reformed to threaten the centre.

At the start of Turn 2, Mike charged the Bull unit - who fled.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Taking the Ogres For A Spin

Playing my first game since the ETC tomorrow and taking the Ogres for a spin.

Trying to come up with a 2000 point list has left me at this:

Slaughtermaster - Level 4 (Heavens), Fencers, Glittering Scales, Ironcurse, Dragonbane, Scroll

Bruiser - BSB, Heavy Armour, Enchanted Shield, Luckstone, Crown, Great Weapon
Firebelly - Gold Sigil Sword
Butcher - Hellheart

9 Ironguts - Full Command, Lookout Gnobbler, Standard of Discipline
3 Bulls - Bellower, Ironfists

3x 1 Sabretusk
2 Mournfang - Bellower, Heavy Armour, Ironfist
4 Maneaters - 3x XHW, 1 x GW, Bellower - ITP, Scouts


First time I've ever used Heavens and have ever used the Crown.

Fully expect to see significant changes over next couple of weeks.

Nagash Book Just The First

It appears in October we will be getting a second "End Times" campaign book. This one will feature additional forces for the Chaos Incursion.

I wonder if we'll see the rumoured four plastic Greater Daemons? If so they will arrive ahead of the Creature Caster Kickstarter.

Guess this is the final nail in the coffin for the "9th Edition in September" boosters.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Team NZ Performance at ETC 2014 - Captain's Observations

This was the fifth time that NZ had sent a team to the ETC. Six of the team plus the Coach (James Milner) were returnees with only Rory Finnemore and myself as debutants.

When the team was put together last September, I set out the goal I wanted the team to achieve. This was to improve from last year's 26th Place into the top half of the table. Effectively this meant Top 16. I also identified 12th or above as significant outperformance given the playing resources, set up and logistics of other countries.

The team selected was:

Pete Dunn (Skaven) - Captain
Mal Patel (Lizards)
Dave Grant (Ogres)
Dave Meachen (Daemons)
Thomas van Roekel (Dwarfs)
Tim Joss (Dark Elves)
Dan Butler (Warriors of Chaos)
Rory Finnemore (Empire)

James Milner - Coach

Initially we did not have Dwarfs in the mix - Rory was playing Vampires and Thomas Empire - but we switched late last year. The other decision was around Dave Grant's army. We considered switching him to Wood Elves when the new book fell but decided against it. In retrospect both these decisions were correct.

Going into the event we played two practice rounds - beating Serbia and then a narrow loss to Singapore. After the Singapore game we spent 5+ hours reviewing and revising our matchups - remedial homework from the Captain.

So our round results were as follows:

Round 1 - Scotland (eventual finish 11th)  - Win 97-63

Round 2 - Norway (21st) - Loss 60-100

Round 3 - Switzerland (12th) - Win 84-76

Round 4 - Australia (19th) - Win 87-63

Round 5 - Czech Republic (9th) - Loss 76-84

Round 6 - Finland (14th) - Loss 63-97

Our record was 3 wins and 3 losses. In achieving that we beat the 11th and 12th placed teams and took a narrow loss to the 9th Place team.

Going into Day 3 we were placed 11th and I gave the team a target of a minimum 150 points. Unfortunately we only got 139 points and were jumped by teams coming from much lower on the table.

This meant that we finished 20th and failed to achieve the placing we had wanted. This was very disappointing to the team - I personally was gutted - as we felt we had done well.

With the benefit of a week to provide context I think the final placing undersells the performance.  Throughout the weekend we were always playing on the Top Half tables. This means that we have a very strong strength of schedule. All our opponents came from the other top twenty teams. We had three wins and all of those came against teams that finished above us. Against the Czechs, the team gave up what looked like a solid "85 point" win when a few things went awry. That would have set us up for a Top 12 finish last round.....might have beens.

To give some context of how ruthless the ETC is. Norway who finished below us placed eventual winners Sweden in Round 5.

Obviously the highlight for me was the win over Australia who had been tipped to do very well. They were quite confident going into the event and to beat them 87-73 was a big fillup for the NZ team. The haka performed by Rory post Dan Butler's win over Nick Hoen (in what Oz had as a solid Green) brought a standing ovation from the room.

Regarding our lists I think we had two lists that were problematic. The traditional Skink Cloud Lizardman list was just too 2012. I think one (Jack Armstrong from England) did well with it but generally the Lizards that achieved were "newer" builds. We may have got some assessments wrong but generally I think the list itself was pressured. And WoC. They underperformed last year and did so again this year. The problem was that they didn't have enough good matchups and had more orange than in the past. In the end it meant Dan went under the bus to get the team better matchups. I also found in the matchup process that we relied a lot on DoC, Skaven and Dwarfs to take what would be problematic matchups for other armies. We certainly missed not having High Elves.

I'm going to talk more about Matchups in a later post as this really is a topic that deserves wider review. However I will say here that the team owes a great debt to Jack Dunn for his work in developing matchup software. While it is only as good as its inputs, based on team assessment this software regular gave the team a pickup of between 5-10 points in the matchup process with no angst. While other teams mulled over matchups, James and I shuffled cards and pushed buttons. We never left the matchup process with an expected score less than 86 - some cases improving from 76. Perhaps his MIT PhD can be on enhancements of ETC Matchup software.

So where will I grade us.....a "C" on recount. But it could have been a B+/A-. Curses.

And playing Captain....Forget about it.

EDIT: And I'm not sure how I forgot to mention the efforts of James in herding us cats during the round. Thanks mate you made my life a lot easier.

Skitterleap 2014 - October 25/26

Skitterleap 2014 is on the weekend of 25/26 October here in Wellington.

You can access the Players' Pack here

The headline details are:

When:  25/26 October

Where: Cashmere Avenue School Hall, Khandallah, Wellington

Armies: 2000 points using FOB-Lite Comp

Rounds: Five (three Saturday, two Sunday) using Scenarios

Umpire: Ryan Lister

All the details for registration, the mechanics of the event etc, are included in the Players Pack.

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nagash - Sticker Shock?

We've seen the models - and they are beautiful.

However I wonder if there is going to be some serious sticker shock from NZ consumers when they see the price of the models.

Nagash, Supreme Lord of the Undead will cost NZ$175. That's pretty expensive.

But how does it compare to other countries. Below is a list of other GW RRP and in brackets the NZ$ conversion.

UK GBP 65 (NZ128)
EURO 85 (NZ134)
USD 105 (NZ125)
CAD 130 (NZ141)
AUD 150 (NZ166)

So it looks like NZ consumers are getting the highest price - recently that was generally the preserve of our Australian cousins). And this seems to reverse some recent moves to normalise the price.

Perhaps GW has decided that NZ doesn't need the Supreme Lord of the Undead - we are already living in the End Times.

ETC Match-up Analysis

Posted below is some analysis undertaken by an ETC "analyst" that looks at the results of specific matchups at this year's ETC.

While it doesn't differentiate between different list build - and appreciate that the total data points are 768 - it does give some insight into how certain matchups played out.

An entry has only been included where the matchup occurred at least 5 times.

Some points I noted:
  • Dark Elves, High Elves and Daemons were very strong across the field
  • Dark Elves had no "bad" matchups whereas DoC struggled versus Lizards and High Elves vs. Dark Elves (this last one was important given they are the two most prevalent armies)
  • Skaven and Empire have higher good matchups than most - but that matchup process is important
  • WoC and Woodies were general underperformers (more surprised by the latter than the former)

My Skaven Adventures at the ETC

So I spent the last fortnight travelling to and from and participating in ETC 2015.

I intend to do a series of posts over the next week or so on my experiences and thoughts coming out of the event - especially re Team NZ. Today I thought I'd start with my own playing performance (and get that out of the way).

My list was as follows:

Grey Seer - Screaming Bell, Skalm, Earthing Rod, Dragonbane Gem

Chieftain - BSB, Shield
Assassin - Weeping Blade, Potion of Strength
Engineer - Level 2, Doomrocket, Condenser
Engineer - Level 1, Dispel Scroll, Ruby Ring
Engineer - Potion of Foolhardiness

39 Stormvermin - Full Command, Storm Banner
3 x 39 Slaves - Pawleader, Muso
2x 2 Rat Swarms

2x 5 Gutter Runners - Poison, Slings

2x Doomwheel
Plagueclaw Catapult
Warp Lightning Cannon

To say I have some familiarity with the Screaming Bell list is a bit of an understatement. I had played the list for about 18 months before I applied for ETC (with some forays into DoC  to get variety). Once selected it meant the next 12 months of Screaming Bell (enormous fun for all my regular opponents).

Leading into the event I played three ETC warmup events - Horned Rat VII, Wrath & Ruin and Panzershreck. In the first I suffered a 5-15 loss after blowing up my Bell but other than that I didn't give away points. I managed to win W&R and Panzershreck by winning 9 out of 11 games and drawing 2. In the process I learned that the nemesis - apart from three dicing the bell - is Life magic. I did manage to secure two draws vs. Empire Life armies which to me are the devil.

I'd like to thank the locals who did play me so I could try things really helped.

When it came to matchups I had one set of "reds", the ten armies with Level 4 Life and minimal "orange" - generally Empire, Lore of Hashut Chaos Dwarfs and the Swedish Wood Elves. Other than that I fancied I could generally hold points. I saw my role in the team as a blocker trying to take the enemy hard hitters - Dark Elves, Daemons, Woodies (wrongly it seems) and (as a back up) High Elves. I didn't expect to be given the chance to play Lizards, WoC, ethereal VC etc.

Warm Up Games

We played warmups vs. Serbia and Singapore. In my game vs. Serbia I fought out a 10-10 vs. their Daemons (4 VPs my way), while against Singapore Dark Elves (Flying Circus) it was also 10-10 (3 VPs). Both were hard games which blew away some of the cobwebs.


Round 1 I was drawn vs. Scotland (Rob Ritchie - who is a lovely bloke). In the end we fought out a 10-10 (about 70 points my way) with me removing two blocks but leaving 4 warmachines on 1 wound. I cast 13th for the only time on the weekend and removed 16 Hammerers. I'd argue it should have been 12-8 my way but Rob would similarly argue the same if I hadn't got the spell off.

In the second round I played Oystein Berg (Norway) who had a Chaos Dwarf list. I fancied the matchup if he didn't castle - he placed everything into a 16" corner square. I could rush him but he had Death/Hellcannon, Deathshriekers, Magma Cannon and Iron I saw a steady bleed of points. I deployed in the other half with important stuff outside his range. 10-10. We then played a game with me rushing him...10-10.

The 3rd round saw me matched up vs. Sebastian Berg (Switzerland) and his Daemons. He hid his LoC behind the hill and baselined the rest. I managed to get a unit of Plague Drones, Beast of Nurgle and pressured his Horrors and Plaguebearers. He didn't want to come out and play and so it petered out to 12-8.

Our grudge round saw me up against Mick Ferraro (Australia) and his High Elves. He had a White Lion BotWD buss which he deployed away from me. I deployed in corner then began the push forward. He sacrificed his two units of Silver Helms to extricate his Frostheart and by start of Turn 3 I was about 300 points up. It petered out again and we called a 12-8.

Fifth round saw me up against the Czech Daemon player. He had a similar list to the Swiss DoC but crucially rolled up 2+ armour save on his LoC. This removed the threat of my Gutter Runners and the Doomwheels. As long as he hid it from WLC it was safe. This he did and he held the rest of his army back. He had Final Trans and Searing Doom, as well as Blue Fire so rushing him was risky - I could see my Doomwheels giving up a bracket early. Final Trans always scares me (thanks Tom) after deployment we agreed a 10-10 (as an aside this suited me as it freed me up to act as Captain).

The final round saw me drawn against the Finnish HE player. Here he was all-mounted with a Silver Helm bus that included 6 characters. He pressured me early but I was able to delay him and started working on the two smaller SH units. My hope was to get Deafening Peals off once or twice to remove the warmachines. Unfortunately that only happened once (Turn 4) and I only got 1 - typically I should get between 2-3. There was one bit of play I was quite proud of in this came, I combat reformed a Slave Block facing a single SH, 19 wide preventing his bus going around it. Into the last turn I had dragged the game back to a 10-10 when my opponent made a very strange combat reform putting his bus into one long line. I then had two opportunities - to try for the magical charge into flank hoping he'd fail Break Test and/or Cracks Call down the line. I need a 5 to get in on the charge which was only about a 16% chance....against that I had the opportunity (25%) to Deafening Peal off the warmachines. I rolled Scorch. However I still had Cracks Call - my 5 Dice plus Level 4 vs. his 4 Dice and now Level 1. It had the potential to go through 10 models - six characters and 4 SHs. Each character was a bracket on a roll of a 6 and one SH was worth 170 points (also on a 6). Unfortunately he dispelled it.....I still don't want to do the maths :-(. The game was 10-10


So in the end I went 2-4-0 scoring 64 points.

Looking at my matchups - using the ETC average for the matchup - my baseline was 53.3.  The sample size is small but it gives you an idea on performance.

Scoring 10.7 points more than I "should" makes me feel happier about my performance. I know through the event I felt under enormous pressure to contribute both as a captain and as a player. Certainly in the matchups for a lot of armies Dave Meachen's DoC and my Skaven were the first line of defence. This generally made my conservative buttons kick in, possibly more than they could have.

Apart from hitting the 13th against Rob I didn't feel I had a huge amount of luck at the event. Deafening Peals was generally underwhelming in its results and the Storm Banner never stayed up more than one opponent turn. If these had been a little bit more in my favour I suspect I could have squeezed another 5-6 points out of my result. However the important thing was that - apart from the speed of the SH bus in the last round - I never really felt under pressure of losing a lot of points. The army holds points well and if you play tight, it makes things very difficult for opponents.

About three months ago I changed out a Hell Pit Abomination plus 65 points for two Doomwheels. That was the correct decision as I think I would have struggled to protect its points, while the Doomwheels have more projection (and importantly scare the shit out of most Elves).

Overall it was a very interesting experience. I was mentally and physically shattered at the end - 48 hours door to door to get there. One thing that became blatantly clear is that acting as a Playing Captain is a very difficult road to travel. I'd never combine the roles in the future.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Citadel Hobby Knife 1 - Jack 0

Jack was down this weekend before heading off to the States for Uni.

While making toast and getting ready to disappear out the door to see family, he decided it would be a good idea to remove his painted Caudron Avatar from its painting base.

It wasn't.

He managed to slice into his palm severing a nerve and doing damage to his muscle.

So instead of flying back to Auckland this morning, he found himself in surgery at Hutt Hospital having the damage repaired.

So kids, hobby tip - don't multi-task with Citadel Craft Knives.

Nagash - The End Times

The new Nagash models have been sighted in a copy of Warhammer Visions. These are truly fantastic models and I certainly can see me getting pretty much all of them.

Feast your eyes people.

Looking at them I get a real "Alien vs Predator" feel. There seems a strong Tyranid influence.

Next is Arkhan the Black. Again simply stunning.

I love this next model. Looks like a new unit.

The new Spirit Hosts fit with the Hexwraith, Mortis Engine models released in 2012.

A new Manfred van Karstein

Looks like a Khemri/Lahmian crossover character.

I think these will sell very very well

2015 ETC Selection Process

Since the end of the ETC I have been asked about ETC selection process for 2015. Thought I go through what was discussed by the team in the hours after. This fits with previous process but establishes a slightly different timeframe.
Part of the reason for this was so members of this year's team could have a period of time to reflect on whether they wanted to be in the 2015 mix.
The first stage is that the 2014 team elects a Captain for 2015 from available applicants. It is my intention to call for nominations for 2015 Captain on 1 October and to close the application window on 15 October. The team will then vote to determine the preferred applicant. Essentially there are nine votes – including James Milner (2014 Coach). In the event of a draw, and to get early resolution, I’ll have a casting vote. This will be finalised no later than 22 October.
The incoming Captain will then establish a selection panel of his choosing. In the past it has included past captains and players. My recommendation is that the panel include at least one person who does not intend attending 2015 ETC (to provide wider perspective). The selection criteria will be established by the panel. This year I stated upfront what the panel was looking for in applicants.

Applicants for the 2015 will then be opened and any interested player will be able to apply. The only criteria from ETC is that a minimum of 4 players hold NZ passports. This year we aimed to provide a team that blended experience with a reflection of the NZ tournament community.
I would expect that the whole process would be completed by mid-November giving a nine month lead-in for preparation.
As an aside people have asked what they can do to get on the team. The following are my own thoughts based on my prep and what I saw and experienced this year.
  • It is a nine month commitment to ETC
  • You can never prepare enough. Select a race you want to play and use it relentlessly.
  • For this to be meaningful I believe you need to fit your army to ETC restrictions. So if you are playing “Swedish” take an ETC army that fits those restrictions. Essentially, playing an army that is significantly harder than that allowed for the race at ETC is of lesser relevance than practice with ETC army.
  • Clubbing baby seals maybe (is) fun, but of less relevance than your results versus other “good” players. For instance, the English selection process ignores rankings and focuses on how you have done versus other ETC players. I think this is a solid practice.
  • Be a team player…individual egos need to be shelved. So if you are focussed on your own individual goals rather than team placing, then I contend you are less useful to your captain.
Hopefully this year’s event, the coverage etc will whet the appetite of people to apply for 2015. This year we had 16 applicants. It would be great to have that choice again. If you want to discuss further I’m happy to answer any questions and provide my view.

Appreciate if this post could be linked to any relevant forums in NZ and Oz by a regular user of those sites

Updated FOB-Lite Comp

Having read the thread yesterday seeking comment, here are my proposed changes to FOB-Lite Comp. I have marked up deletions and additions:


Power Dice usage is limited to 12 in any one Magic Phase.
Night Goblin Mushroom D6 do not count as "power dice" as per their Army book.
Chaos Dwarfs’ Chalice may not be used mid-spell.

  • No single non character unit in the army may be over 500 points
  • No triple of the same warmachine except for Elven Bolt Throwers/O&G Spear Chukkas where you may take up to 4
  • Max  4 units with the ‘Fly’ or 'Hover' special rule (a max of 3 may be characters)
  • BSBs in older books are assumed to have mundane weapons as per core troops
  • “Fozzrik’s Folding Fortress” may not be taken.
Race Specific Restrictions:
  • Hell Pit Abominations and Warp Lighting Cannons are 0-1 unit selection per army.
  • A Screaming Bell or Plague Furnace may only be placed in a unit containing no more than 50 models.
  • Warlock Engineers are 0 – 3 models per army.
Tomb Kings
  • Khalida is restricted to unit with 40 shots
Daemons of Chaos
  • Beasts of Nurgle restricted to maximum of 6 in list with Epidemius
  • Skullcannon 0-1 unit selection per army (unless either Bloodthirster or Herald of Khorne and a unit of Bloodletters taken)
  • Ironblaster 0 – 1 unit selection per army
  • You may take a max of two of either Dispel Scroll, Runemaw or Hellheart, not both
    Chaos Dwarfs
    • Magma Cannons are 0 – 1 choice
    Warriors of Chaos
    • Crown of Command may not be taken on model with Third Eye of Tzeentch

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    FOB NZ Rankings - WHFB Updated for CTA

    The rankings have been updated to reflect the results of the weekend's CTA WHFB event won by Jeff Kent with Dark Elves. Also impacting is the rolling out of Nerdycon 2013.

    Really the big news in these rankings is the performance of Dark Elves. In June I wrote a blogpost on Army Rankings and Dark Elves were in 9th Place. Fast forward two months and the juggernaut has hit the road....Dark Elves are now up to 2nd Place. This represents a major decamp into Dark elves over the past few months whereby they are getting contributions into their overall ranking from a variety of sources. Come the end of the year I'm picking that the Icon won't be residing with a player in 28th Place.

    Individually, Jeff enters the Top 10  while McCrae Louden consolidates his place (looking at Army Rankings it appears he is the only Dwarf player with any skill :-)   ).

    Switching to Masters Mode, we now see the Masters field starting to coalesce. Anyone from 210 points can pretty much book their accommodation and personally I believe 205 will get you in.

    The events still to go are Crack's Call, Tauranga Open, Guardcon and Skitterleap. Crack's Call and Tauranga will likely attract mid-teens, with Guardcon and Skitterleap in mid-20s.

    FOB-Lite Comp - Comment Sought from Locals

    Ok, I'm back.

    I've got shedloads of content to post over the next little while but I want to get some input from you guys first.

    FOB-Lite Comp is the permissive system that I use at a lot of my events. It needs an update.

    Over the last 12 months we have seen a lot of new books released and that has seen layers of comp removed from the system. I have as much as possible tried to leave new books uncomped while old books have progressively had their comp "revised".

    Looking at recent meta trends there is now a little bit of a disconnect and I suspect that certain books are better than others.

    There are various ways to address this:

    1. Remove further layers of comp from the existing system

    For instance, should there be restrictions on Ironblasters, Skullcannons, Warp Lightning Cannons when there are no restrictions on items such as RBTs (Elves can and do take four - other races limited to one "cannon") or on Empire (two Stanks, two Cannons).

    There are no restrictions on Stanks, Frosties but there are on HPAs.

    Are these "restricted" items controlled by Rare allocation e.g. You could take 2x HPA but that would restrict you to a single other Rare choice. You could take two Skullcannons but that limits the number of Plague Drones.

    Some things shouldn't change - limit on Skaven engineers, shot cap with Khalida, BoN with Epidemis - but have these other restrictions been surpassed.

    2. Write layers of new comp for other armies

    Here, for example, it would be to allow two Stanks but prohibit other cannons. Or allow Banner of the World dragon but restrict Frost Phoenix.

    For Dark Elves, it would need to be more elaborate. A restriction on lists purely constructed via all the "good items" e.g. Peg Riders, RXB Dark Rider Core, Max Warlocks, death magic etc. The ETC tried this and while it worked to an extent it was complicated and not all embracing.

    Wood Elves would like require a shot gap - especially on Trueflight arrows - and potentially limits on Wild Riders.

    3. Some middle ground

    My major concern is that I am keen to keep the system simple and permissive. As a TO I don't like telling people they can't bring their toys.

    So locals go at it.....what needs to be done to update FOB-Lite Comp. I want your input. I don't promise it will be implemented but it will be read and considered.

    Remember, you can't please all the people, all the time - but let's be positive and try to get something workable.

    Note: This doesn't apply to NZTC where ETC comp will be used.

    Thursday, August 14, 2014


    Most campaigns I have been in have been about "running an empire". Players expand their territory until they run into opposition either from another player, hostile natives or random event.The key feature of campaigns is that people have one army list for their whole empire, they then divide it to do different missions. How you divide your army affects what units are available to deal with the opposition. So this means your army composition can vary significantly from the standard one off games. That's most of the fun about a campaign game. However in Warhammer campaigns, the campaign doesn't seem to matter and people just get together to fight standard battles.

    Questions then
    Why are warhammer campaigns different to other campaigns?
    Would warhammer players participate in a campaign where they had to manage their units to form armies?
    Would a series of smaller battles made up of task forces where they wouldn't be guaranteed to have a Lvl4, general and BSB in every game?

    Can you organise an empire? Would you want to try? There's gold in them their hills.


    GW's 2014/15 Release Schedule

    A quiet afternoon trawling (rather than trolling) the net has thrown up the interesting tidbit that GW's release schedule until Summer 2015 is going to be heavily 40k focused. And there is a strong accent on that "heavily". The intention is to have all 40k codicies in hardcover by next June.

    It's Grey Knights next followed very quickly by Dark Eldar and CSM (Phil Kelly - and including the cult legions).

    Fantasy 9th is not coming out before Summer 2015. That means we will see opportunity for the Brets - Skaven - Beast completion. All books in the same edition.

    All this is very good for the current Fantasy game - and makes sense in light of GW financial difficulties.

    EDIT: Apparently the next Fantasy release is Nagash campaign book with variety of special characters including reboot of Nagash and Arkhan the Black

    Monday, August 11, 2014

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    Do scenarios define the game?

    Following on from the last conversation about how a diverse meta encourages different armies. How much do the scenarios define the game? How do other games handle scenarios to provide high degrees of replayability and army diversity?

    Historical games.
    Ancient wargaming such as DBMM does not provide scenarios both sides line up across the table and advance to contact. However there are a number of stratagems like flank marches or extra dummy troops that generals can employ to provide high degrees of variation. There are also something like 400 army lists in 4500 years of war.

    Flames of war
    This game focuses on capturing objectives or killing enemy units and the general in order to win. There are a wide variety of different deployment options and many missions feature an attacker - defender split with different rules for each side. With asymmetric deployment maps that can look like:

    This is widely regarded as the big rival to warhammer, it's gone for more of a tournament game and it's scenarios are designed to be over and done with in 90 minutes. Timed turns and death clocks are common. The scenarios also feature kill box where if a players general is within a certain distance of the board edge it either takes damage or gives up scenario points to the enemy. Warmahordes scenarios often focus on control of objectives or zones with the alternate way of instantly winning killing the general. A typical mission map looks like.

    Even 40K has missions
    Back when I played 40K in a tournament setting (circa 2000) there were a large variety of missions including attacker - defender missions. Not all these were used at tournaments but they were certainly usable in pick up  games at the club so you needed to consider them. the most popular tournament mission was Dawn assault. You won this game by killing 75% of your opponents units or by controlling the most table quarters at turn 6. Deployment was in opposite table quarters, not within 6" of the table edge and not within 24" of another enemy unit already deployed. The deployment map looked something like:
    So with warhammer really having only 3 missions (battle line, blood and glory and watch tower) and some jurisdictions not even using all of those, is it any wonder that we have a narrow meta and limited combinations.

    So do people think importing scenarios from other games would be a good thing to expand the meta? Would people come to an event that wasn't rule book missions if the missions were published with the players pack? Or is that one bridge too far and no one will come?

    Painting lamp looking for a new home!

    I'm moving to the US in a couple of weeks, and unfortunately my painting lamp won't work over there (different voltages and all), so I thought I would see if anyone here might want it.

    Now, this thing is pretty much the Rolls-Royce of painting lights. It gives off natural white daylight that is also flicker-free, which is important when painting at night so that your colours aren't distorted by yellow light.

    The other main feature of the light is that is has a negative ioniser built in. In other words, this thing gets rid of dust. The negative ions that it generates repel dust from your painting area, and make sure none of the models you are painting get dusty. It sounds like snake oil, but having painted in a very dusty room for a year, the difference this lamp makes is very real.

    I can't recommend this light highly enough to anyone looking to paint to the highest level, and I am gutted I can't use it in the US. I know both Dad and Charlie have one of these and would agree with me about just how good they are. It's also used by top Golden Daemon-level painters in Aus.

    Warning: these lights are not cheap. They are made by an obscure company in Australia and aren't widely sold. Mine cost me $220 including shipping when I bought it 3 years ago, and it looks like it would cost about AUD 210 ($230) to buy it today. Still, it's completely worth it and I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

    I'm looking to get $170 (75% retail) for it if anyone is interested in buying. Just drop me an email at jack AT

    Monday, August 4, 2014

    Fun, the social contract in wargaming

    There has been a lot of angst among the commentators on the US warhammer scene recently. It seems like Wood Elves are really shaking up their meta and are seen as "not fun" because they don't play "proper warhammer"

    For those not familiar with the US meta, some points worth noting.

    1. they don't play watch tower in their tournaments
    2. they heavily subscribe to the "push it forwards" school of warhammer.
    3. tournaments heavily favour kills rather than win differential
    So the high power Wood Elf army in the US is an all cavalry army with a big emphasis on avoidance and Wild riders to the flank. This approach creates situations very like ancient Rome vs the Parthians or Custer and 7th cavalry vs the Indians.

    This is a hobby and we do this because we enjoy the collecting, painting and playing with our models. I think we have a social contract with people to behave in a sporting manner and be pleasant. I don't think we have an enforced agreement to play or design armies in a particular way.

    To the contrary I think we have a contract to present a range of different tactical challenges so we all learn.

    So do people like a variety of tactical challenges or is Warhammer all about smashing toys into each other like my son does?