Wednesday, September 30, 2015

FOB NZ Fantasy Rankings - WHFB Updated for Canopenner & Crack's Call

The rankings have been updated for two recent events - Canopenner and Crack's Call.

At Crack's Call Glen Burfield played the tortoise with his Daemons and swept into 1st with a 20-0 in the last round.

The Masters field is starting to coalesce now but there are opportunities still for people to wheddle their way in. Monstercon is on in Auckland during October while WarBanner is being held in Hawke's Bay.

And for those who doubted the Elfpocalypse, the Army Rankings have the PEGs occupying 1,2 and 3.

Perhaps GW was right to blow up the world.

KoW Special Rules "Combat" Chart

While trying to make sure I understood the various Special Rules that impact the Ranged Attack/Melee phases I put together the chart below:
Please advise any errors or omissions.

Hope it is useful!

Mantic Release Kings of War FAQ

Released today.

You can download it from here

I'd almost forgotten what FAQs looked like!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sarissa Kings of War Trays

My KoW trays arrived from Sarissa today. That was 8 days from when I ordered them - so thumbs up for customer services.

Tonight I glued the lips to the base ready for painting. I'm unsure yet whether I'll magnetise them as I want them to be able to be easily useable by a multitude of armies as I get into the game

My intention is to paint them black rather than texture them. A couple of reasons for this. One, they can then be used by any army regardless of my basing style and two, it makes it clear that the tray is not part of the unit i.e. Measure to the model base rather than the tray.


Counter Charge Podcast

The Counter Charge podcast is the old Ohiohammer Mantic Radio show and can be downloaded from

The show is now dedicated to Kings of War and there have been five main shows since the change in focus.

The first three of these were devoted to the KoW 2nd Edition rules. In the fourth show they had members of the Kings of War Rules Committee answering FAQs where they clarified areas of confusion. For a new player this was very useful - and the level of interaction with the community contrasted completely with that evidenced by GW.

Yesterday saw the latest episode released and this was a real coup. They had the rules author for Kings of War, Alessio Calvatore on the show where he went through some of the design philosophy for 2nd Ed. it was great to hear some of the thought process that went into their development.

In addition, to the main episodes they release a mini (5-10 min) episode at least once a week. This looks at the KoW community and has a short interview with a local player or details a hobby aspect. They represent nice little fillers if you have a spare few minutes.

Certainly well worth the listen.

Vermintide - Ninth Age Comes To Wellington

The annual Vermintide event is being held in early November here in Wellington. It is being run by "The People's Champion" Neil Williamson . Here's the details:


One day tournament on 7 November
Co-hosted by Wellington Warlords and Masterton Marauders.
Edition Warhammer 9th Age Beta
Armies  Latest edition of 9th Age Ravaging hordes or beta army list as at 24 October1200 points
5ft by 4ft tables
No comp except TO veto
90 minute games
5 rounds
Swiss pairings after a random round one
Self-assessed painting score
Army Lists on Supplied Vermintide template
Tournament Officials:   Neil Williamson (T.O)
                                        Carson Turnbull (Registrar)
Where: Khandallah Presbyterian Church (27 Ganges Rd, opposite the New World in Khandallah)
Start Time:   8.15am for 8.30 start
Finish Time:   6.00pm (latest)
Registration & Payment due: 18 October
Army lists due:         24 October to
Cost: Cost:                       $15 (Warlords and Masterton Marauder members), $20 (non-members).
Limit on Numbers:        Maximum of 24

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kings of War Tokens

One thing I am completely unable to do is play a game without the appropriate tokens.

I really dislike the tokens Mantic produced as part of their Kickstarter so I did a quick search of the net and settled on this:

It is a set of acrylic tokens made by Ironheart Artisans in the US. The set includes the requisite wound counters plus objective markers and tokens for "Disordered" and "Wavering" (I suspect my brave rats will never use any of these).

I also was told of a second set from a UK manufacturer Counter Attack Bases which you can find on via a quick search on the Goggle.


The Future is Different....But Bright!

I’m somebody who likes to throw heart and soul into my hobby endeavours. Generally I find it hard to try and play multiple systems at the same time. So since coming back to gaming in 1998, I’ve played DBM (Ancient Historicals) 1998-2001, Warhammer 40k 2002-2007 and Warhammer Fantasy 2007-2015. I might dabble around the edges in other games but generally I’m a single focus person.

For the past few months my gaming has been in a state of flux. I recognised early that Age of Sigmar in its current form held little of no interest for me. I’ve continued listening to podcasts, reading blogs and visiting forums promoting Age of Sigmar but it has not changed that early opinion. Certainly I can see a couple of positives around the game – continued manufacturer support and an impression that more of the units are useable than in competitive WHFB – however my opinion of the company given the way they handled the last two years of WHFB gives me no faith that they are motivated by anything other than selling the latest model (and here in New Zealand at extraordinarily excessive prices). I understand that from the point of view of shareholders but I believe that they care little for people’s continued longevity in the hobby past the first $1000 of purchases. Effectively, churn and burn.

That has left a number of alternative paths.

One of these is to continue to play Warhammer Fantasy Battles, either in its current form (v8 or community advanced versions v8.5 or Furionhammer). Personally I love WHFB 8th Edition. It is the most enjoyable version I played and I’d put it in my favourite rulesets like DBM 2.0 or 40k 4th Ed. However I see problems continuing to play it. Firstly, GW abandoned it over two years ago. Therefore it requires “house rules” be they FAQs or Comp to ensure both balance and greater playability. The problem with this is that my view may not be the same as your view and this can lead to dissatisfaction and fragmentation of what is likely to be a fragile continuing player base. The other key problem – and the one that has become increasingly evident to me over the past few months – is that there is nothing to look forward to. The game is frozen. The release schedule is frozen. This is it. Now I am sure some local communities can survive but they will require strong leadership often vested in 1-2 people. What happens when those people move on?  A fortnight ago GW destroyed the Island of Blood Starter Sets. Where then does the new blood come from? No new models, no new rules, decreasing visibility and no access to the basic resources (rulebooks) to play the game. I have come around to the view that decline is inevitable. It may be at different speeds but just like King Knut…….

The second is to embrace some advancement of the game. For instance, the Ninth Age project being put together by the Europeans (Swede Comp & ETC Comp). This offers some advancement of the game with the promise of new Army Books and new mechanisms. An argument can be made that there is some potential. I was originally quite enthusiastic for this project but as time has gone on some of this initial optimism has diminished. Again there are a number of reasons. Firstly, while the project has wide community involvement, it is labouring under all the worst excesses of design by committee. Layers and layers of unnecessary complexity seem to be being built into the rules for what I expect is little actual utility. This is not going to help the rules being accessible and a lack of accessibility sets it on a downward long-term path. Yes the rules may be enormously intricate and may provide greater strategic and tactical conundrums but if no-one plays….

The project still suffers from a lack of manufacturer support. That means both progression and new releases are not going to happen. Fluff may not matter to all gamers but it does matter to me. The environment off which I hang my games is important to me and it needs to be immersive and offer some progression.

So where does that leave me?

Well, with Kings of War.

This game has been around for a number of years and recently released its 2nd Edition. For years, local gamer Tane Woodley has been trying to get me to give the game ago but I never have. Why? Well first and foremost, I was really happy with Warhammer 8th Edition. I loved the game and loved playing it. As noted above, I’m a single focus guy and was happy with what I had. Secondly, any reading I did on the game indicated some fairly basic issues. These appear to have been addressed with the release of a new edition (as you’d expect). Sure this edition will through up other issues but we are seeing progression. The third reason was army coverage. I saw it as largely a game of limited races (one of which wasn’t my beloved Vermin). Over the years they have released more races and importantly they recently released Warhammer “Refugee” army lists with the promise to incorporate into established game over time.

So we have a living ruleset put together by a commercial manufacturer. This commercial backing means that there is something to look forward to. A company committed to a massed ranked game promising ongoing releases and progression. Suddenly something to look forward to. I hadn’t realised that promise of something new was as fundamental to my gaming experience as it appears it is.

Therefore I have decided to embrace Kings of War. I intend to give it 6-12 months to see whether it develops into the game/world I hope it can become. And as a single focus guy, for me that means immersion. So this blog will increasingly focus on the world of Mantica and the KoW ruleset reflecting what will be my gaming focus. Hopefully I’ll find sufficient local gamers to play against to scratch my wargaming itch. I have sufficient unpainted figures to continue the hobby aspects for a good few years. But for the future the Troop, Regiment, Horde and Legion will be the currency of choice.

Podcast Cleanout

This morning was quite a sad day for me. I had a Cleanout of the podcasts that I regularly download and listen too. Dominating the list of those cleaned out were the Age of Sigmar podcasts.

Included in this list was Heelanhamer, Bad Dice (which had just restarted) and Garagehammer. All of these have provided over 125 episodes each and for the past four to five years have been staples on my commute, while I was out walking or while I painted.

However I've realised more and more in recent weeks with the shift from Warhammer to Age of Sigmar that less and less of the content is relevant to me and just as importantly less and less I understand (not playing the game). The pleasant personalities of the hosts can only carry things so far.

I say it is sad as these shows have given me literally hundreds of hours of content cover the past half decade or so. During that time I have made sure that I financially supported the shows to at least help these guys neutralise the not insubstantial costs they incur for hours of free content.

Thanks very much to the hosts of these shows for all their efforts and the hours of free enjoyment that they have provided in support of the hobby.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Holy Crabsticks!!!

While watching the rugby this morning - two of my least favourite teams battling it out - I took the opportunity to prime the Daemonettes I had assembled during the week.

70+ Juan Diaz metal with some plastic conversions are now all ready for the painting table.

So much nicer than the recent plastic versions. You can see standards and musos amongst them as well as chariot crew.


Kings of War - Starting the Journey

I arrived home on Friday afternoon and found this in my letterbox.

I had purchased it from Firestorm Games - using the coupon code from an AoS show - and by a combination of great customer service. And the efforts of the Royal Mail and NZ Post, it was here in six days.

Yesterday I sat in the brief sun we had and read the fluff of the Mantica world. I found it quite interesting - far more than I thought I would. It is largely based on a world that looks strangely like the Mediterranean. The key difference from the Warhammer World is that the various races are less organised into vast all-encompassing empires and more into nascent nations. This gives real potential for story progression over time but an interesting setting for your games.

I have just started reading some of the individual army fluff sections - fluff and lists for eleven different forces are in the book - while referencing the specific rules back to the main rules section.
In addition, I have been running through a few combats to see how they work. As someone who has come from a historical Wargaming background there are a lot of familiar mechanisms.

The one criticism I hear repeated regarding KoW is that there is little depth compared to Warhammer. For me the jury is still out on that one. Wargames such as DBM had a similar rock-paper-scissors base and I defy anyone to convince me that Warhammer was either more strategic or tactical than it.

Games can have detail but that doesn't necessarily mean greater depth. Don't get me wrong I love Warhammer 8th which I found a fantastic game for risk management. I willing to see what Easter Eggs KoW can deliver.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kings of Cascadia Podcast

The Dimensional Cascade Warhammer podcast has undergone a transformation. As from its latest episode it is now going to be focused on Mantic's Kings of War.

The podcast hails from the NW USA and has been a very good listen. What I like is that while they have opinions they always present the reasons as to why they reached conclusions.

The latest episode - and first KoW episode - is a good example of this. They go through their reasoning for the switch in focus and why they are embracing Kings. And they do this without denigrating other games other than to point out the differences around their key decision points.

Certainly well worth a listen.

P.S. I bet GW wish they had sent them Age of Sigmar starter too!

New Bloodthirster Model

One thing about GW is that for the most part they make very nice models. I certainly think their Skarbrand is a great Bloodthirster model really capturing the essence of Khorne.

This week's White Dwarf has some pictures showcasing the model.

Yes there are skulls but is that really surprising?

I think the wings are really spectacular...though I question their utility.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

GW Campaign Weekend - A Raging Success

It looks from the photos that the first Age of Sigmar event at Warhammer World in Lenton was a raging success. The venue was bursting with people enjoying their AOS fun.

Oh wait?

But I was told that Age of Sigmar was taking the UK by storm.


Pinning for the Ages - A Touch of Green Stuff

The past few nights I have been getting the Juan Diaz Daemonettes ready for priming. If you know these models you'll know that they are metal and two piece - body and an arm. As with all metals that are going to be used for gaming pinning of the joints is desirable. With these models that creates real issues as the figures are very very petite with arms having a diameter of less than 1.0-1.5mm.

When I pin I use paperclips as the pin and my drill bit is around 0.7mm. This creates all sorts of difficulties - particularly how far you can get into the "arm" piece given the sculptured form. I aim for around 1.0mm.

Pinning 80 of these daemonettes over the past few evenings let me develop some helpful tips. The most important of these was the use of liquid green stuff.

The first thing I did was remove the very short pre-cast nub on the arm (this was insufficient to hold the arm for gaming use. I then would file the joining surface on the arm flat and drill a hole for the pin. This is fiddly as given the size of the piece and a 0.7mm hole there is little room for mistakes. Finally I would superglue in the paperclip pin.

Turning attention to the torso there is a pre-cast hole. This is too shallow and too wide. First I would drill the hole deeper. The problem was that if you just now glued the pin in it was very loose - -due to the cast width and difficult to position. So I would place a drop of glue on the protruding pin and then using a matchstick would put liquid green stuff in the body hole. The pinned arm would then be placed and put in the correct position. The inclusion of Green Stuff gives extra rigidity and solidity to the bond.

This allowed me to fly through the models and tonight I'm planning to prime the "army".

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hobby Update - Getting in Supplies

So on Sunday afternoon, having read the Kings of War rules on Saturday, I went to Sarissa Precision and ordered myself a whole series of generic movement trays.

My thought process is that with KoW you only need a standard set of trays given it is a unit rather than model game. I'm therefore looking to create a set which I'll paint with black rims and I will then be able to use for whatever army I'm running.

This will give me the opportunity to try out the game and see if I like it.

Sarissa make great trays and when I'm putting them together I always look to magnetise them. To achieve this I ordered 12 sheets of Steel Paper from Gale Force 9.

Both companies have displayed great customer service in the past so I'm expecting the parcels to arrive early next week.

From there I will be quickly up and running.

How GW Sees Us - An Analyst's Assessment

Interesting article in Interactive Investor written by Analyst Richard Beddard. It provides a real insight into how Games Workshop see their market and their customers.

Games Workshop is casting itself as a relentless profit making machine. Customers, staff, and investors who don’t like it better get out of the way.

On Tuesday, the day before Games Workshop’s annual general meeting, my twelve-year-old son burst into the office and noticed the proxy forms allowing me to attend and vote.

When he saw Games Workshop written in bold on the papers he asked what I was doing. I told him I was visiting headquarters to find out more about the company. “Good,” he replied, “Can you take back my set?”

I think he was hoping for some cash back. Joe had bought a kind of starter kit and had started painting the figures in preparation for his first fantasy wargame. But without friends who play the game, or a parent modeller, he ran out of steam and for the past year it’s been standing in a pile destined for eBay.

The failure of Warhammer to storm the ramparts of the Beddard household has not put me off Games Workshop as an investment, but it does add to my insecurity because my personal experience coincides with the experience of gamers protesting through various Internet channels including this web site, that the hobby is increasingly inaccessible to gamers.

I came to the AGM wondering whether Games Workshop was alive to the risk that it is serving a diminishing band of nostalgic modellers who are prepared to spend a lot of money on intricate miniatures they will probably never use in battle, while through price rises, rule changes, and staff reductions at Games Workshop stores, the company has alienated new recruits who cannot afford armies of figures, and frankly aren’t that bothered about how pretty they are.

Though it’s profitable now, such a strategy might not enhance Games Workshop’s ambition to stay in business forever.

Walking up Willow Lane in Nottingham, the company’s headquarters looms like a fortress, shuttered and battleship grey. Within the keep is the newly refurbished Warhammer World, venue for the AGM.

Shareholders are led up a wide arcing staircase through one of three shops into the events hall, a keep within the keep surrounded by mock castle walls and filled with tables for gaming and modelling, and then into Bugman’s Bar, named in honour of the greatest dwarfen brew-master. There, the AGM motions are passed without question, new chief executive Kevin Rountree gives a presentation and finance director Rachel Tongue take us through the numbers. We’re whisked through a permanent exhibition of miniatures, some standing alone, and others massed in battle on vast sets, so tumultuous sometimes its hard to work out what I’m looking at. Here we mingle with directors and other senior staff including chairman Tom Kirby, who has run the company for most of its history, and Games Workshop’s head of intellectual property. In the final chamber of the exhibition, he and the company’s head of product and supply talk about Warhammer Age of Sigmar, a complete reboot of the original Warhammer Fantasy game. Then it’s back to Bugman’s for a lunch of roast beef, syrup pudding, and a pint (and a half) of Bugman’s Best, which is a very fine beer.

As an AGM experience it beats an hour in an anonymous public relations company’s office in the City.

Touring the exhibition, I asked one of the board members if he played, or if he modelled. He used to do both, he said but now he finds running businesses is even more fun. Not for the first time that day the thought crossed my mind that Games Workshop’s management might view staff, customers, and investors as figures on a tabletop that they must manoeuvre ruthlessly to victory. Rountree’s main preoccupation is recruitment. He and Kirby have spent the last five years returning the business to high levels of profitability by taking out cost. Now, if it’s to grow, the new lean profit machine must recruit new storekeepers, particularly in continental Europe and North America. It’s a hard job, he says, running a one-man Warhammer store, and the company’s tough love, it supports managers who “want to continue in the job”, contributes to a 30% turnover rate. I’m not sure that’s bad for a retailer but considering for most of Games Workshop’s managers the job must start out a vocation, it could improve.

I’ve got bad news for disenchanted gamers complaining on the Internet. The company’s attitude towards customers is as clinical as its attitude towards staff. If you don’t like what it’s selling. You’re not a customer. The company believes only a fraction of the population are potential hobbyists, and it’s not interested in the others. The move to one-man stores has reduced the number of customers, sometimes by 30%, but the stores are profitable now.

Maybe you think you’re a customer, or a potential customer, because you like playing games. But this is the important bit. This is the bit written in every Games Workshop annual report. The company’s mission statement is “we make the best fantasy miniatures in the world and sell them globally at a profit and we intend to do this forever.”

It does not mention games. In conversation, I’m told that the word “Game” in Games Workshop encourages the misconception that games are its business, but that only about 20% of Games Workshop’s customers are gamers. The rest are modellers and collectors. Maybe half of them think about playing now and then. The other half have no intention. People actually walk into the stores because they’re curious about modelling fantastic armies.

When another shareholder asks if the company would sell games with pre-painted easy to assemble miniatures like the popular Star Wars themed X-Wing game, there’s a collective growl from the Games Workshop people. It wouldn’t be a hobby business then, it would be a toy company.

Games are easy to sell if they catch on, but it’s the modelling aspect of Warhammer that makes it a hobby, sometimes for life, and peculiarly lucrative to Games Workshop. Some of the individual models we’ve seen in glass cases, those from the company’s Forgeworld collection, retail at £1,250 each. Some customers spend many thousands of pounds a year and they paint them with incredible craftsmanship. These are good customers.

Though I’m left with little doubt where the businesses’ priorities lie there is hope for gamers who like to model. Kevin Rountree explains how introducing products at new price points is different to reducing the recommended retail price, something the company resolutely refuses to do. It’s considering “putting more value in the box”, discounting in other words, when people buy in number. That ought to encourage gamer-modellers.

The Age of Sigmar is something of a revelation too. I hadn’t appreciated how much it breaks with the past. Games Workshop has simplified the rules from 150 pages in an expensive rule book to four pages that are available for free download or in its free app. They’re easier to learn, easier to play and easier for the company to translate into many more languages. The game’s narrative will continuously unfold with associated product launches and in a trick borrowed from the Space Marines of Warhammer’s futuristic sister universe, Warhammer 40,000, gamers can employ heroes with superpowers (Stormcast Eternals). Purists think they unbalance the game, but Warhammer 40,000 grew to be a far more popular game than Warhammer Fantasy. The company cannot divulge sales figures, its in a closed period and Age of Sigmar is only in its third month, but in terms of other metrics, downloads and Sigmar themed magazine sales, management seems more than satisfied. Anyway, it’s at pains to point out, Warhammer Age of Sigmar is a long-term investment.

I leave the Games Workshop fortress confident of one thing. Managment have set a course and they will not be deviated. Ultimately, shareholders who question it come up against the mission statement. Games Workshop exists to make models, because that’s what it does well. Potentially lucrative income from licences granted to video games producers like the much anticipated and soon to be released Total War Warhammer will always be incidental because video gamers do not become modellers, and Games Workshop doesn’t know how to make good video games.

Niche businesses are often very profitable and the hard decisions they take is what makes them different, but they’re also vulnerable if unforeseen events reduce the attractiveness of the niche. That’s why most niche companies try to expand their niches, or develop related niches. Having defined itself so tightly, perhaps the only way Games Workshop can grow is geographically, which explains the emphasis on North America and Europe (where it already has a sizeable presences). It has a small team in China, sussing out the Asian market.

Sigmar sounds like a good product, and I think maybe I should buy it for Joe for Christmas. But as I walk back along a tow-path to the railway station the spell wears off.

He just wants to play. He’s not an anointed one. He doesn’t have Warhammer DNA. I don’t think he’ll ever walk into a Warhammer store because he wants to paint a Stormcast Eternal.

Maybe we’ll get him X-Wing instead.

Slaanesh Is Not Dead

Over the past ten years I have been collecting the metal Juan Diaz Daemonettes for a Slaaneshi army project. These are the metal "boobies" models that were released during 6th Edition and then eventually replaced by the god-awful plastics we have (or perhaps had) today.

The rumour was that these little models with naked breasts (sometimes up to six) upset the sensitivities of Little Timmy's Soccer Mum.

The project has stayed on the back burner as Horrors, Bloodletters and Plaguebearers have been painted - and the pile has grown. It is now sitting somewhere between 80-100 - of which 20 were painted at some point. As I rationalise my collections and move thru what I am keen to retain (and paint or have painted) these ladies are a big part. I have painted the chariots and the Fiends, some Seekers. However the Kipper and foot Daemonettes have remained unfinished.

Last night I pulled out the Daemonettes and started getting them ready for painting. I have converted Chariot crew, foot standards and musicians and pinned all the extremely fiddly arms. Once this is done I plan to prime and then flick them out for painting.

As the picture shoes I'm getting through them but still have at least another 20 to do.

Still nice to see progress.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Hobby Update - Sisters of Sigmar

I am painting up a Sisters of Sigmar unit of 35-40 for my Empire army. My intention is to use them as a Halberdier unit or maybe as Flagellants.

On the weekend I finished the first ten and am now well on the way to finishing the second ten.

Here's some photos - the bases are to be finished (dark grey).

Very happy with how they are turning out and they will break up the Yellow & Black of my Averlanders.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Kings of War 2nd Edition

So in my continued quest for a new set of Massed Rank Fantasy rules since GW turned me into a Warhammer refugee, I've started to take a look at the Kings of War ruleset from Mantic Games.

Mantic have just released the second edition of the ruleset and it seems to be gaining some traction with the outflow of Fantasy gamers from the Warhammer (ex) World. The ruleset is one of the four candidates for next year's ETC.

Last week I ordered my copy of the rules from Firestorm Games (particularly using the code "Heelan" to support Mantic Games). The rules have been dispatched and should be here this week.

Yesterday I sat and read through the downloadable set on the Mantic Games website. They are 27 pages long and seem to include everything but Magic Items and Scenarios.

Pleased to see that pre-measuring is there - I don't think I could go back to the "Dark Ages" - though I am less convinced re set charge distances (I liked the uncertainty of charging in 8th). Perhaps it is a halfway house that will work - bridging the mechanisms of 7th and 8th - time will tell.

The rules are well set out and easy to follow and I think having read them a couple of times I'd be 95% confident of being able to play a game cold. I really like the "Nerve" mechanism and think that it will be interesting to explore.

One concern I have is around player interaction. Largely your turn is YOUR turn and your opponent has little input. This seems to follow more of the Warmachine path but I understand is balanced by turns - and the game in general - being faster.

I've listened to five episodes of the "Counter Charge" podcast that have explained the rules, gone through an FAQ and covered the Ratkin list beta. I understand that KoW is not on Army Builder but have found the company list builder online.

So over the next few weeks I hope to get some games in to see how it stacks against the competition. It has one great advantage and that is the support of Mantic. I don't like the Mantic models and think their use of Kickstarter doesn't sit right but you can't deny that they have an opportunity here and they are taking every advantage of it.

Interesting too, to see some of the people who left Warhammer at the transition to 8th Ed embracing the KoW avenue.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

FOB NZ Rankings - 40k and WHFB Updated

The Fields of Blood NZ Rankings for both 40k and Fantasy have been updated.

DonkeyCon attracted 32 participants and cemented the South Island as NZ's current 40k powerhouse.

The Tauranga Open was also fought last weekend with Ant Kitson powering Dwarfs to the podium.

Monday, September 14, 2015

9th Age - First Game

One of the biggest cliches doing the rounds at the moment is "it feels just like a game of Warhammer". Well on the weekend I had my first game of 9th Age guessed it.

The game was between Skaven and Tomb Kings (or more properly Ratmen of Underblight and the Entombed Dynasties). A Ravening Hordes style compendium is available that seeks to balance and re-point for the 9th Age and both armies were drawn from that - 2400 points.

One of the nice new changes made in the rules - that needs the benefit of some play testing - allows you to multiple drop at each stage of the alternating deployment. This allows you to drop your whole army immediately and guarantee first turn (more work needed guys). It is an interesting mechanic and I think it can be refined, perhaps with a +2 cap.

The first pic shows my first turn and the rats scurry forth. There has been some nice changes to the rats - slaves are now a more reasonable WS1 which means they never hurt anything, plague monks are core, both the Doomwheel and HPA have been toned down with a little bit more certainty re outcome. The big change is too magic where the rats have been hit by the beatstick and that they have little or no toys (less magic items than any other army). It will take awhile to see how things compare to other armies but that will be part of the fun.

In the game I managed to get the Furnace and monks into archers with both TK Magic users. That was never going to end well for the bone-ies.

Slaves clogged up the flanks but versus even the Skellies they were hitting on 6s. You can see the Tomb Guard blocked by a diverter - though now this costs a minimum of 65 points. He eventually fled and the TG overran into the Slaves....poor positioning by me.

With the death of the Hierophant there was a crumble test and both catapults crumbled.

In the end the Skellies were charged by Stormvermin and Slaves and were surviving until the intervention of the HPA (who had weathered the charge of 4 chariots).

All in all it was a fun game and I'll certainly be pursuing it over coming months.


Trust Issues

It is generally accepted that the release of Age of Sigmar was motivated by commercial realities. Warhammer Fantasy Battle was not selling enough for the space it occupied on Hobby Centre shelves. Nor did it reach the necessary hurdles for Return on Equity to please the GW accountants.

These are valid reasons. It appears that the player base of Warhammer Fantasy was just not buying enough to justify its continued existence AND the game was not attracting enough new blood to generate the required sales. Barrier to entry - effectively model count - was cited as one of the reasons for this.

The new business model is in my view clear. Get Little Timmy into the Hobby Centre, show him the cool new Stormcasts and sell him the starter box. Hope he goes to school on Monday and convinces 3-4 of his friends of how cool this game is and they do the same. Everyone has a starter set, a paint set, some GW glue and clippers and eventually one of two box sets. If they are still there in six months shoo them out of the shop. They are now more trouble than they are worth. GW has got their $750-1000 out of them. Time to move onto fresher meat. Rinse and repeat.

From a shareholders' point of view I can't necessarily fault it - if it works.

But what to do with all those pesky "veteran" gamers who bought the Kool- Aid but no longer spend as much as a new customer?

GW addressed this by releasing Warscrolls for existing armies. You can continue to use your models in the new game. Wonderful.

The problem is how long does this go on for? Will those Empire Knights still be supported as new kits are released. What about the three different types of Guard infantry for Elves....sorry Aelfs?

See GW has just finished selling the community a series of books called "End Times". While the title may be honest, I don't think GW was actually forthright in telling people these books would all be obsolete for their franchise Fantasy game within 9 months.

As I result I have trust issues. Why would I convert existing armies over to Age of Sigmar? I have no basis for believing the models I currently own will be game legal in six months.

Being a cynic I see a pretty rapid retirement of the "old" Warhammer range to be replaced by new game types. Yes you can use your old models but they are quickly unsupported and replaced by the new shiny.

Why wouldn't I look at other games, be they Kings of War or Warhammer variants? I'll wait for the release of full scale army books that confirm the validity of my existing models before I commit to AoS.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

ETC Fantasy 2016

I've been asked to poll the New Zealand wargaming community with regards to its preference for 2016 ETC Fantasy.

There are four choices that have made the shortlist:
  • Age of Sigmar
  • Kings of War
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th Edition
  • The Ninth Age
If you have an interest in which system the ETC selects for 2016 can you please drop me an email. Each person can only vote once and the email reply must contain your actual name.

The question is twofold:
  1.  Which system would you like to see the ETC use in 2016?
  2. If that system was selected would you be interested in attending ETC 2016 in Greece next August?
The vote is only open to NZ-based gamers. Previous members of NZ ETC teams residing offshore will be polled separately.

I am going to leave the poll open until Friday 25 September which will allow results to be collated in time for the NZ Captain Chris Wilcox to vote.

The results of the poll will be published here on Fields of Blood,

Hobby Update

So I got a bit of hobby in this weekend.

I managed to finish the fifteen Great Swords and now just have to base them. I'll get that done over the next couple of nights and then post pictures of the unit. It is now 35 strong and I have found enough to boost it to 50 though I'll probably stop at 40.

Next to hit the table was 20 metal Flagellants. These are coming along quite quickly and will boost the current unit of 30 up to 50. If I get a good run I'm hoping to get them done over the next week or so.

On Saturday I managed to get in my first game of 9th Age. We played 2400 points of Tomb Kings versus Skaven. Later today I'll post my impressions of the game.

Hoping my THM Scenery Kickstarter arrives this week. I'm keen to paint some terrain pieces while I work through the Flaggies.

Finally I submitted my 2000 point list for Crack's Call. They were due yesterday so we should see them in the next few days.

Friday, September 11, 2015


One of the reasons I haven't piled into Age of Sigmar is that for me it doesn't fit my idea of a massed rank wargame. I like the idea that you have blocks of troops that function as blocks of troops did in "real life".

Sure Warhammer Fantasy Battle allowed some "unnatural" formations - conga lines spring to mind - and positioning - railroading - but generally it was about manoeuvring quadrilateral blocks or lines of troops. Personally I never used a conga mechanic and worked to get a realistic counter to railroading as I thought that they were gamey exploitations of rule mechanisms.

I've been keeping my eye on various AoS threads and blogs because I'm hopeful that GW will eventually introduce expansions that allow for a more traditional "Warhammer" game.

So I was interested when I read this on formations in Age of Sigmar.

I'm sorry but an "inverted T" is not a formation, it is the exploitation of a rules mechanism. If the game rewards what are these type of mechanics then I am more comfortable that the game is not currently for me.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Biel Tan Eldar For Sale

I have two really well painted Beil Tan Eldar units for sale. They are Aspect Warrior units that were part of a GT award winning army painted by Alan Borthwick.

The units are painted in the colours of their Aspect and will fit into anybody's Eldar army. They are mounted on resin fractal bases and the associated Wave Serpents have magnetised flying stands for ease of transport.

The Dire Avengers come in a unit of ten including Exarch with Diresword while there are nine Fire Dragons including an Exarch with a Firepike.

More pictures over the page

9th Age Beta Released - A Fantasy Battle System For Massed Armies

The "9th Age" beta has been released and can be downloaded here

This is a complete newly written ruleset for massed army Fantasy wargaming. It has been put together by the authors of the Swedish Composition System and members of previous ETC Composition/FAQ teams and referees.

This project has its own website and forum and is just embarking on a project to produce Army Books for a variety of races that you can play using the rules. These races will be familiar to anyone who has previously played Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

Now the beta has been released the playtesting of the ruleset begins.

If you are at all interested in massed army Fantasy battles then I encourage you to download the rules, try them and provide feedback to the authors through their forum or through The Warhammer Forum.

I am also expecting that we will see the culmination of Furion's "Warhammer Reworked & Rebalanced" in the next few days.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New Zealand Fantasy Gaming

It is fair to say that the New Zealand Fantasy gaming community is in a state of flux...or more probably stasis.

Warhammer Fantasy Battles has been the go-to game for the past two decades and now it has reached the end of its Company-supported life. GW have gone out of their way to draw a line under the game.

Their replacement, Age of Sigmar is polarising. In their quest to lower the logistics for entry GW have moved from the ranked units on square bases to free form round bases. Anecdotal evidence is that the pickup from existing NZ Warhammer Fantasy players has been low. For instance I am not aware of any locals who have bought either the starter box, any of the Stormcast releases or the new fluff books. I'm sure there have been some sales but I get the feeling this is to new players - which let's face it is the target market - and to 40k players. I suspect GW were hoping there would be more pickup from existing players.

There is also an opportune release of Mantic's Kings of War rules. Written by ex-GW staffers this has managed to force its way into the frame as the only company supported mass ranked alternative. There is growing interest in this rule set - Kapiti Club are having an event later in the year and I know a few Auckland tournament players are giving it a try. The aesthetic and quality of the accompanying models is not for everyone though.

And then there are the community driven rulesets. Foremost of these is 9th Age and Furion's Rebalanced & Reworked. Both of these are due to deliver a play test beta in the next week so they can be considered along with AoS and KoW for next year's ETC. Both need to overcome the disadvantage of no company support to establish themselves and have some longevity. People point to the community run Bloodbowl as the model for this path.

So where does that leave New Zealand?

Well from the tournament scene point of view - in a pickle! We have a very small catchment. Typically any given year there are around 50 active tournament players with perhaps the same number playing 1-2 events. Therefore there is no much capacity for fragmentation.

And that's what I think the community is likely to experience. I am not optimistic that the community will unite under any one banner and as a result tournaments will become smaller and more marginal (both financially and playability wise). I hope I'm wrong but similar declines were experienced in Ancients with the demise of DBMM. You get local pockets of players but no accepted "national" tournament game system.

That's depressing. But unfortunately it is symptomatic of the size of the NZ game. Over time I suspect people will drift to other tournament games that have greater numbers - Flames, 40k, Warmachine and possibly X-Wing (with the movie franchise boost).

Overseas the community rulesets are likely to find more traction due to the size of the player base. I think it is highly likely ETC will choose one of these. Therefore locals who want to continue ETC involvement will be at a disadvantage. It does however give them an incentive to promote and organise around a ruleset - they will have little success if they wait for someone else to do things.

So as always the solution is in the players' hands. Suffice to say the landscape in a year is going to look decidedly different from what it did a year ago.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

RIP Nick Garden

Unfortunate news over the weekend that local wargamer Nick Garden died suddenly at his home. He was only 34 years old.

I didn't know Nick well - my main interaction was through the organising of the Flames of War Masters which he attended.

Nick mainly played Flames of War but he also played Warmachine. He recently finished 3rd at the Panzershreck Teams Event. Nick was an active member of the Hutt Club, where he was on the Committee. I understand that he was also a keen participant in the preparation of the awesome Anzac Diorama at the NZ War Memorial.

Condolences to all his friends and family. Thirty four is far too short a life.

RIP Nick.

Nick finished 2nd Overall in Flames of War
at the 5th New Zealand Masters in 2012


Friday, September 4, 2015

Warlords' 40k Day Tomorrow

For any of you locals, the Warlords are having a 40k day tomorrow at their Khandallah meeting.

Idea is to have a series of 750 point games so those new (or returning) to 40k can have some exposure. Armies aren't required to be painted so it's an opportunity to get some table experience before you commit paint.

Kicks off at 9.00am

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The 9th Age Approaches?

I spent last evening going through the 9th Age alpha release.

The authors so far have done a good job with the main rules. They have reintroduced the SLOS over TLOS - this was a staple of European competition - but have resisted the opportunity to meddle for meddling sake.

The one key area that is new is the Magic system where punishment for miscasting is much much harder and it gets worse the number of PD you use. It also does away with spells auto going off/being dispelled. On the whole it makes things around magic more catastrophic - especially with big spells. Now this has consequences - Death Stars - but it will be interesting to see how they address them.

Each day now they are giving sneak peeks of new rules. For instance steadfast can be broken if a unit is contacted in the flank or rear by 2 or more ranks.

The authors seem to be ignoring the "helpers" who are wish listing or attempting to introduce unnecessary rules into the project.

As always proof will be in pudding.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

NZ Warhammer Whats App Group

Last week a Whats App group was created for NZ Warhammer players.

It gets around some of the limitations of Twitter (character count, security etc).

If you are interested in joining the group download the app for your mobile device and drop me a text (email for number if required).

So far it has been pretty freeform but there has been discussion of ongoing tournament scene, gaming alternatives to AoS, some playtest discussions and so on.