Tuesday, February 28, 2017

KoW - Character Placement

One area where I have recently been trying to improve my game is in the placement of characters. I find it is an area where I can be unduly lax - and the penalties can be considerable.

Early in my KoW experience I found that my characters were running the risk of being "tagged" by mounted characters. I'd leave them out, forgetting that first these guys had Height 2 - and could see across Infantry units - and secondly they had two pivots in their charge path.

After a couple of unfortunate episodes I started to ensure that my characters were tucked away and required an elaborate pirouette to be reached.

In the photo above you can see my Shaman and my Tribal Totem Bearer are tucked in safely behind the Spiritwalkers. Here they can Inspire, Bane Chant and Heal with a high degree of security.

However recently I have noticed that this level of protection is not without its downsides.

By placing my characters so close to the unit, I limit options for the Spiritwalkers. In the pictured example, when my Spiritwalkers destroyed the Trolls (Yay! Go Home Team) their subsequent actions were restricted. The proximity of the TTB and the Shaman limited any reform I could do as they interfered with any pivot. The Spiritwalkers had their options limited to a D6 advance or staying where they were as the characters prevented the unit backing up.

The constriction doesn't end there. In subsequent turns I am required to move my characters first if I wish to give the Spiritwalkers their full range of options. This means I need to ensure where I move the characters to - prior to moving the unit - is where I want and need them to be. All of this can get lost in the intensity of timed games.

Therefore I am trying to move onto the next stage of my "Character Placement" evolution. This is where they are still safe, can still provide their influencing skills through spells and Inspiring but do not restrict unit movement options.

More and more I'm training myself at the start of each turn - and then again at the end - to look at my placement and decide where exactly the character will be. Does it need to be within an inch or can I still get benefits by increasing the gap? What if as a result of combat a unit advances out of Inspiring range, do I have an overlap from another character etc.

Getting a strong handle on this aspect really improves your play - and outcomes.


Monday, February 27, 2017

KoW - The 50mm Rule

While browsing the net over the weekend - Liverpool don't play until Monday night - I re-read some articles on Nick William's blog. As most of you are aware Nick is a member of the KoW Rules Committee as well as a regular contributor to the Mantic Games Blog. He also posts articles on his own site.

Buried in one of his articles was a very interesting "rule of thumb" that would save me time in just about every KoW game I played.

The 50mm "Rule"

When units are pivoting - whether for movement or to charge - they must end their pivot clear of intervening units (Note: countercharging units have a more complicated exception covered in the FAQ). Generally you will find that units are at least 1" from enemy units and likely (though not necessarily) that from their own units.

Now say you want to pivot and move away (or charge). The ability to do this is based on the dimensions of your unit as a pivot must be around the unit's centre point.

Given the following scenario where Unit A and B have a gap of 1" is a legal pivot achievable?

Well this is where the 50mm rule comes into play!

As long as the width of the unit is NO MORE than 50mm larger than its depth, a legal pivot can be made.

Taking Large Infantry as an example, a Regiment is 120mm x 40mm while a Horde is 120mm x 80mm. Based on the 50mm rule, the Regiment is not able to pivot given a 1" gap (80mm > 50mm) while the Horde can (40mm < 50mm).

This rule can then be applied to all units:
Those units marked in Red can not pivot legally with a 1" gap between units while those in Green can.

It seems a bit counterintuitive in places e.g. an Infantry Regiment is more agile than a Troop, while an extra long base makes Large Cavalry (Chariot) Regiments more agile than non-Chariots. All this assumes sufficient gaps to the side.

The same rule can be applied with proximity to the enemy but remember you must be charging in this case.

Anyway hopefully the rule of thumb will help you in your games. 

Weekly Hobby Update

It has been another quiet week on the (physical) creative front as real life and the belated arrival of summer intervened.

I did finish the Night Lords Omnibus which - though the ending was totally predictable - was an excellent read. It really gave you an insight into what drives the Legions in the ongoing Long War (mostly survival).

Lack of free time meant that there was no 3D printing this week but with the arrival of free supplies of filament I am hoping to get back to it this week.

One thing I have been trying to do is publish a daily "thought piece" on Kings of War. I love the game as the mechanisms really allow you to focus on tactics rather than info recall. Over the past 10 days I have managed to get three games in and whenever I play a lot the game always sparks my thought processes and creative juices. This coupled with the release of the Clash of Kings supplement has given me lots of opportunities to blog about the game. The response has been remarkable too with page views going through the roof. Obviously there is an audience out there for ramblings on Kings of War 😎.

Purchases over the past week have been limited to a box of Frostgrave Cultists and another GW rattlecan from Mighty Ape. I was inspired to buy the cultists after seeing the remarkable job Paul Welsh posted on the Kings Of War Fanatics FB page.

I'm not sure what I'll use them for but after seeing Paul's fantastic unit I just had to buy some.

Hopefully the next week will see me hit my painting desk again. Have a good seven days.

Oh and thanks Leicester City for reaffirming that fairytales are just a myth!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

KoW - The Introduction of Unit Strength

With all the focus on new Spells and Artefacts and the removal of favoured crutches, one of the more significant changes in the new Clash of Kings has gone largely uncommented upon.

This is the introduction of the concept of "Unit Strength". In the past victory in some scenarios was decided on how many points you had in an area/sector/half. IMO this was a poor mechanism for a number of reasons. Firstly, it led to a number of situations where control of a sector could be decided on a 5 point Magic Artefact rather than a distinguishable difference between items. Secondly, there was no distinction between different unit types. Thirdly, and probably most importantly, it was an extremely clunky mechanism in that you couldn't see at a glance the state of the game. It was only when the calculators came out that a precise picture could be determined.

Horde, Hoard or Whored?

In 2016, the Rules Committee obviously recognised at least one of these problems and instituted a change where Individuals and War Machines only counted half points in scenarios where victory was determined by unit points. This was a step in the right direction but didn't address all the issues outlined above. This year, they have made that step with the introduction of "Unit Strength".

So in 2017 for the "Control", "Invade" and "Dominate" scenarios, the Clash of Kings uses the following metric for determining victory:

Unit Strength

  • 0 - Individuals, War Engines
  • 1 - Troops, Monsters, Heroes without the Individual rule, any unit with Height 0
  • 2 - Regiments
  • 3 - Hordes, Legions


Now rather than having to total up unit points, you just total up Unit Strength e.g. If you have an Individual, a Regiment and a Monster in the scoring zone while your opponent has a Troop and a Horde then you have Unit Strength of 3 versus his Unit Strength of 4. He would have control.

IMO this is a giant leap forward for KoW. You can tell the state of play easily and quickly which is a real boon even if you are not playing timed games. It also removes false granularity from the game - why should a 240 point Horde be better than a 235 point Horde; and why should that then change with the addition of a 10 point artefact.

Unit Strength also acts as a form of composition steering army construction. Want to take an Individual or Monster heavy (in terms of points) army? Well you need to recognise that your overall Unit Strength is going to suffer and that you will be at a disadvantage in the Control, Invade and Dominate scenarios.

I played Control yesterday and to start to get a feel for Army Unit Strength, my opponent and I calculated our scores. My Herd came in at 19 while Rob's Orcs had Unit Strength of 20. Just like there are views on the number of deployment drops you should have, very quickly "required" AUS will be a factor.

While not a new concept, I applaud the Rules Committee for introducing Unit Strength into KoW. It makes a good game better and even more tactical.


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Battle Report - The Herd vs. Orcs in Control

Today Rob brought his Orcs around for a game. We were keen to try out the new Clash of Kings rules ahead of their use in the upcoming WSS -Summer tournament.

We decided to play Control, interested to see how this played with the new Unit Strength rules. Terrain density was similar to that of the Norwegian Map Pack.

There were a couple of woods, two hills, two obstacles, a burnt out building, an impassable shrine and a ploughed field.
I had made some changes to my Herd dropping the Brutox and Centaur Chief and replacing them with a Longhorn Regiment, a Tribal Totem Bearer and a second Shaman. The changes were designed to add some Inspiring to the list as well as additional Bane Chant. The TTB took the Lute while my senior Shaman added Heal.
The Orcs had a Regiment of Morax, two Hordes of Trolls, a Horde of Ax plus War Drums as well as a Troop of Skulks and a Fight Wagon Horde all concentrated on my right flank.

Friday, February 24, 2017

KOW - Artefact Comparison: Re-rolls

With the release of "Clash of Kings", I've been looking at some changes to my Herd list. In particular I was looking at which magic artefacts, if any, that I would give to my units.

Previously I had been trying out the Blessing of the Gods on my Stampede. This gave the unit Elite - re-roll "1"s to Hit. The unit is one of my heavy hitters, generally with +4 to wound on the charge, so my opponent's De is irrelevant. With 30 attacks hitting on 4+ the non-Elite Stampede will theoretically do 12.5 wounds versus any opponent. With Blessing of the Gods this increases to a theoretical 14.6 wounds. So for 25 points I am increasing my "typical" damage output by 2.1 wounds.

One of the new items in the Clash of Kings book is Blood of the Old King. This costs 15 points and in one round of combat bestows both Elite and Vicious onto the unit. This allows you to re-roll "1"s to both Hit and Wound. Using my Stampede again, the theoretical wounds inflicted increases from 12.5 to 17.0 for that round (assuming no loss of Thunderous Charge). The cost of this is 15 points.

Obviously the critical thing is that this is a one use only item.

From my point of view the new item looks really promising. When you move to a theoretical 17.0 wounds compared to 12.5 (no Elite) or 14.6 (Elite) you open up all sorts of battlefield possibilities. There are very few units in the game that could reliably survive a 17 + 2D6 Nerve Roll. This allows you to throw the Stampede at virtually anything with a high probability of blowing through it in a turn. It removes the need for a charge partner allowing you to commit the supporting unit elsewhere.

Yes, it is only for a single round of combat but if used correctly it can change the nature of the game very quickly. And in turns where it is not used the unit is hardly a slouch. I think of it as eating a mushroom in Super Mario!

There is a lot of analysis in KoW that looks purely at output in terms of wounds inflicted per point paid. That is fair. However in this case I think there is a tendency to miss the wood for the trees. By amping up a unit like the Stampede for even one turn you turn it into a different beast in terms of battlefield capability.

For 15 points this is a very good investment IMO.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

KoW - Clash of Kings Supplement Release

The Mantic KoW Supplement for organised play "Clash of Kings" is being released tomorrow.

In addition to information and ideas on tournaments, campaigns, leagues etc, there is also advice on writing your own rules and scenarios. However the most "anticipated" content are the ten pages at the end of the book which contain the "rules" for the 2017 Clash of Kings.

Effectively these rules are an update to Kings of War v2. However they are not an errata so Tournament Organisers, casual players etc are free to use them as they see fit. Although not "official" rules, I think they will very quickly become the default option - much like 2016's COK Tournament Tweaks.

So what do you get? Well the focus is on:

  • Rules & Unit Changes - stricter Army Composition, changes to how Breath Attacks and Spells interact with cover, 2016's "Fly" amendment, modification to the Bane Chant spell and a mix of boosts and nerfs to various armies/units.
  • Magic Artefacts - the addition of ten new artefacts to join the existing list of Magic Items. Three of that original list are also removed reflecting their almost "no-brainer" presence in some builds.
  • Spells - Three new spells are added and are available to all Magic Users (except Living Legends)
  • Scenarios - Kill and Kill & Pillage are removed, the two 2016 CoK scenarios "Control" and "Push" are added as are six new scenarios. There is also a new scoring mechanism for some scenarios that focuses on Unit Strength values rather than Points values.


From a directional and strategic point of view I think this is a positive release. Kings of War v2 has been out for just under two years (20 months to be precise). Unlike Games Workshop who alter their meta continually through regular releases of army books and supplements, Mantic have chosen the full release at launch tract. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages (e.g. GW's method generally results in power creep whereby you need the "new shiney" to remain competitive while a lack of new releases can result in static meta where game is "solved" and becomes stale).

IMO this book is an attempt by Mantic (and particularly the KoW Rules Committee) to alleviate the dangers of a static meta inherent in a complete launch model. Based on feedback, their own experiences and that of selected TOs and players, they have attempted to "freshen" the game by addressing identified "flaws" and "no-brainers".

Is the process scientific? Again IMO, no because it can't be. There is insufficient data - games of KoW played - that you could get a statistically-based objective balance into the games. This is further hampered by the inconsistency of input variables - player skill, terrain setup, scoring systems - that makes a mathematical "solving" of KoW pretty much impossible.

However, my observation is that the Rules Committee recognise this and have taken a subjective solution to commonly identified "problems". For example, the removal of Ensorcelled Armour addresses the issue that every Hero (Monster) takes the increase in De if it can, a Horde of Ranged Attack Troops that roll to hit will take +1 to Hit far more often than not etc. EoD's Cursed Pharoah is a solid Individual but inclusion in all lists shows he is viewed as extremely efficient for his points when you add the Wings of Honeymaze. Can a scientific basis for changes to these items/individuals be provided? No - the consistent database doesn't exist in anything like a statistically meaningful size - but that is the beauty of the human condition, the ability to extrapolate based on insufficient data. Sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong. Based on my observations with rules changes, the Rules Committee have fallen heavily on the positive side.

We can all quibble about how broken somebody else's army is - again the human condition - but personally I am happy with 90% of the rules changes, and certainly can see the case for the other 10%. Have they missed things? Almost certainly, but the efficient market hypothesis says everytime you change the goalposts you'll likely create a new set of undercosted items/units. Thegoal is that these are less pronounced.

For me the other main benefit of this book is increased variety. As a person trying to grow the KoW community in an environment where it competes with other games - both in and out of genre - one of the biggest criticisms/complaints from non-participants has been a lack of variety. Personally I don't believe it is the problem they are portraying it as but "the customer is always right". By introducing new Magic Artefacts and Spells the Rules Committee have provided some ammunition to help fight that complaint.

None of the spells appear at first glance to be overpowered, my opinion is that they are likely very situational (for instance, I can see Bloodboil being used in an army that lacks ranged ability or other damage spells). Among the Magic Items, one stands out as far more likely to be used than any others - and possibly all others combined - we'll see if the RC have created a new rod for their backs.

The new scenarios are really variations of the same. Generally there are only a limited number of things you can do:

  • Kill something
  • Collect something
  • Hold something
  • Go somewhere
It's a little bit like the theory that there are "only seven storylines", one you've got them covered it is variations on a theme. The changes to Victory Conditions are a well considered change. I always felt that a Horde with a 5 point Magic Artefact shouldn't outscore a Horde in a number of the existing scenarios.

So overall I am happy with the changes and the book. I like it addresses some deficiencies in the rules, removes "no-brainer" choices, introduces great variety and thereby refreshes the game to a certain extent. I like the process of yearly updates to address glaring issues.

Just as importantly, I hope that it provides a path whereby when we see an updated version of Kings of War (hopefully 2+ years away) that change is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

KoW - Pricing of Magic Artefacts

One of the hardest things for the Rules Committee to balance must be the pricing of Magic Artefacts, largely because not all recipients are created equal. For instance the value of the (current) Ensorcelled Armour on a Dragon Lord is much greater than it is on a Swarm Crier.

It's Sometimes A Matter Of Perspective

There are three common approaches to addressing this conundrum:
  • Pricing at a Single Value;
  • Restricting Who Can Use An Item; and
  • Tiering the Cost.
In the first approach, the item has a value placed on it based (most likely) on its average utility. In this approach it is accepted that there will be winners and losers (see above Ensorcelled Armour example) but hopefully over time things will average out.

The second assigns who can take the item. Again using Ensorcelled Armour as the example, it is designed for Heroes rather than for units (or Monsters). The problem emerges when boundaries are blurred e.g. Hero (Monster). The rules say that Hero (Monsters) can definitely take artefacts but to me this looks like an area where Alessio didn't fully think through the consequences. One potential fix is to restrict Ensorcelled Armour to Heroes with De 4+ or less.

The final approach is more complicated, though not more complex. That is to have some form of differential pricing e.g. Ensorcelled Armour on De 4 or less is 20 points but is 70 points on De 5. There are numerous examples through the rules where differential pricing may provide a "better" outcome. For instance, Caterpillar bestows Pathfinder. It costs 20 points. Where do you get most bang for your buck, putting it on a Troop or on a Horde?  Similarly, it is of far greater value on certain types e.g. Cavalry over Infantry. Extending the example to the extreme "Where is Caterpillar most useful, on an Infantry Troop or a Cavalry Horde? And where do you get most value for your 20 points?"

The rules writers have taken the approach of a single value, no doubt acknowledging that there are winners and losers? Where the discrepancy is too great they have then partially implemented the second approach. I'd contend that there are cases where the third approach would produce greater fairness but I understand that this has to be balanced against increased complication.

Sometimes though a mix of the first two approaches doesn't necessarily work. I'd surmise that the ubiquity of Ensorcelled Armour on a limited cohort of Heroes has led to the removal in the upcoming COK Organised Play book. If you are going to rely on the first two approaches then you need the blunt instrument that is the Banhammer.

For v3, I'd hope that we see some consideration of Approach 3 for a limited group of items (and as part of an overall approach reliant on the first two methods). That would allow items to remain on the list of Magical Artefacts but further restrict the "no-brainer" solutions. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

KoW - Inspired?

The "Inspiring" ability is without a doubt one of the most important abilities in Kings of War. Because of the vagaries of dice, being able to make your opponent re-roll Nerve rolls resulting in a "Routed" result can literally win or lose you a game. A stray "10" or "11" can be (re)-turned into something more statistically probable or you get a second chance for your foe to deliver the dreaded "Snake Eyes".

The Ultimate Example of "Inspiring"

With my Ratkin I typically used three sources of Inspiring in my list - a Warlock with the Talisman, a Swarmcrier and the Daemonspawn. I always felt that this was more than ample. The two foot Individuals "umbrellaed" my main Infantry blocks while my Daemonspawn was free to rampage but had an Inspiring bubble he could project if necessary with his flying ability.

Recently I have started playing The Herd. Due to the make-up of my list I have only been able to get two Inspiring characters into my army. One is a Centaur Chief and the other is a Shaman on foot. After four games I have noticed far more instances where I am not forcing my opponent to re-roll successful "Routed" results.

Is this bad play on my part or do I have insufficient (or inefficient) sources of Inspiring in my list?

Well The Herd is a very fast army and my construction has emphasised that. As a result there are numerous opportunities for a unit to move outside "Inspiring" range. There are times where this is not a problem - in relation to chaff units that are charged having done their job, for example - but in the vast majority of occasions, it is a problem.

I am convinced that in my case, around 80% of these occasions are most likely due to poor placement on my part. This either occurs at deployment but more likely occurs in subsequent Movement phases. The tendency is to focus on the movement of combat units rather than support units - both the Shaman and the Centaur Chief fall into the latter group. You then move your support units as an afterthought. I would suggest that the really good players take as much, if not more, care in ensuring that the supporting units are in an optimal position. This can mean having to balance the "Inspiring" ability with the positive effects of ranged attacks, particularly Magic. However most gamers being unbridled optimists seem to err on the offensive output rather than risk mitigation side of the equation.

So for me that leaves about 20% of instances that I can probably not avoid by tightening up my placement. How do I address them? I would say it falls into three key areas.

Firstly, I can buy a third source of "Inspiring". This comes at both a points cost and incurs a list construction tax (a unit has to be given up to allow another Individual/Totem to be taken). In the end there is probably also a redundancy cost as there will be numerous instances where "Inspiring" is not used or the affected unit as an alternative source.

Secondly, I can make my existing sources more mobile. My Foot shaman could be put on a mount for 15 points giving him an additional 6" of mobility to plug an "Inspiring" hole. This seems a rational choice (and would be my preferred option) but I love my foot model.

The third option is to accept that there will be circumstances where a unit is out of "Inspiring" range. The key with this is to know the probable outcome and know the impact of a unfortunate dice roll. If the whole game hinges on you surviving that combat and your opponent doesn't have to re-roll then probably better not to commit in the first place.

For me, I'm going to persevere with the two sources of "Inspiring" in my Herd and focus on tightening up my placement. This will hopefully hone my skills as a player. If after another 10-15 games I determine it is not working (i.e. it's beyond me) then I'll look at the more fundamental option of a list change.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Weekly Hobby Update

Lots of things done this week, just not too much on the creative front.

First of all, I got two games of KoW in on Saturday. I've got to say that I love this game, in that the rules are so crisp and clear that it allows you to focus on tactics rather than application of layers of combos. In the games I had, I was specifically trying out the Chimera that had been recommended to me as a "must have" unit. After using it I can see where it has application but again with so much of KoW the devil is in the detail of how you use it. The Chimera can Fly, has CS2 but it only has 7 attacks. You are paying 210 points for it so you need to be aware that throwing it in frontally by itself is not going to pay dividends....even against chaff.

Secondly, I purchased the two Gathering Storm books. I chose to get the enhanced iBook versions largely because they are half the price of the physical versions. My main interest is in reading the advancing storyline so they will hit the bedside table once I finish the Night Lords' Omnibus.

I received my copy of "Gangs of Commorragh" last week. This new initiative of GW to produce mini-games with standard models in it is fantastic. I have a Dark Eldar army painted by Troy Forster that featured in a four page spread in White Dwarf (somewhere between #250-270) which lacked Hellions and had 6 Reavers. The ability to add a further 6 Reavers plus 20 of the new Hellions is win-win.
Printing continued on my trenchworks. I've now got an additional 10 modules to paint. The PLA filament I was waiting on has arrived so I can get back to them. My intention is to have three 4' parallel lines joined by connecting trenches so I need 15-16' of models to complete the project. After this I have an Aztec Ruin and a Daemon Summoning Dais I want to print.

I managed to get the Players Pack out for the first of the Warlords Super Series to be played on March 18. Hopefully we will see a good turnout. I know it is easy for me to say but it is important that the community support these events if we want want KoW to grow. There are competing calls for our time and with the fractured nature of Fantasy here in NZ at the moment growth and continuity are essential.

The hall for the Fields of Blood NZ Masters has been booked. The event will be held in Wellington on the first weekend in December and will have competitions for the three genres that FOB provides rankings for - Kings of War, Warhammer 40k and Flames of War. I urge TOs to send through their results and I'll get them uploaded to ensure the rankings are up to date. Thanks to the three gentlemen who lodged results this week.

Coming up I have my monthly 40k game with Hagen on the first Sunday in March. He gets to wipe the table with me and I get to moan about how bloated and cumbersome the 40k rules are 👍. Win-win. 

And if anyone is looking for a game of Kings of War just drop me a line.....I have a table available for evening or weekend play. The Clask of Kings Organised Play Book is released this week and I'm interested to try out some of the new scenarios, spells and magic items.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Battle Report - The Herd versus Undead in Dominate

Conscious of the fact that I don't want to "do a Vaul"* here's some observations on my second game down the Club yesterday. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos during this game as my battery was low.

Kent and I rolled up "Dominate" and generated a new terrain map from the Norse Map Pack. My army was the same as that against Carson. The Undead had a Lord on Pegasus, Liche King and Army Standard Bearer, two Hordes of Werewolves, Horde of Wights, Wraiths, Zombie Legion, Revanant Horde and two Troops of Skeletons.

I won the roll for first turn and decided I needed to take it to try and stop the infantry Horde and Legion from getting in the centre circle. To this end I managred to push my Spirtwalkers through one Skeleton Troop and in conjunction with the Brutox pushed forward into the Zombie Legion.

On my left the Lycans charged the Wraiths and were Bane Chanted by the Shaman. However they rolled really poorly for the Nerve Check - needed unrerollable 5. This failure set the tone for the game as I had to react to setback and started reinforcing failure with more failure. 😟

The Spiritwalkers inflicted 20 wounds on the Zombies which set me up for a victory against the Nerve 28 Legion. However the Brutox inflicted nothing with its 10 attacks. I failed the Nerve Roll and now my Spiritwalkers were in a lot of trouble. They survived the first Zombie countercharge but died when they and my Brutox failed again to make a Nerve Roll. This, along with my Lycans being Wavered twice put me in a precarious position once the Wight Horde disposed of my screening Beast Pack. My plan was falling apart dramatically.

On the right a Werewolf Horde routed my Harpies but in turn were destroyed by a Stampede. These were then charged by Vampire Lord and the second Werewolves but held. I managed to get the disordered Stampede and my Centaur Lord into the Vampire and damage but he held. The Stampede fell to the combined charges in the next turn.

The second Stampede and the Centaur Chief finished the Vamp on Pegasus but were now outnumbered 4 units to 2. Eventually both fell to the Undead.

In the centre the Spirtwalkers were finished off by the Zombie Legion while the Wights destroyed the Chimera I had had to chuck in to fill a hole. All the while the Lycans were failing to finish off the Wraiths as they were constantly wavered. When they finally did they were charged by the Wights who killed them.

At the end of Turn 6 the game was a draw and I hoped it would end as Kent would steamroller me if it went to Turn 7. It did and he did.....at the end I only had my Shaman left.

It was a great game and I learned an awful lot. The key thing was to have contingency plans. When I got into bother I was fully committed and if things continued to deteriorate I had no way to claw it back.

Well done to Kent....an emphatic victory to him.

* "Doing a Vaul" - we had a player locally who used to post battle reports on YouTube. However they only ever featured him winning!

FOB NZ Rankings - 40K updated for Over The Top

Adam Thornton has sent me through the results for Over The Top, the Hamilton Immortals annual 40K tournament.

These have been uploaded into the Rankings.

Just a heads up to any 40K TO out there. Your event can go into the rankings as long as it has a minimum 8 participants, is at least three rounds and is open to the public to participate.

The info I need you to provide is:

  • Player Rank
  • Player Name (full name not just first name or nickname)
  • Primary Detachment
  • Date of the event
  • No. Of Rounds

You can flick them through to me at pete@thefieldsofblood.com


Battle Report - The Herd vs Forces of Nature

On Saturday played a 2000 point game vs Carson's Forces of Nature. We rolled up "Invade" and used the Norwegian Map Pack (#7).

Here's Carson's army at deployment:

He had from bottom to top:

  • Naiad Heartpiercer Regiment (f)
  • Fire Elemental Horde with Pipes of Terror (r)
  • Forest Shambler Horde (f)
  • Tree Herder (r)
  • Forest Shambler Horde (f)
  • Tree Herder(r)
  • Sylph Talonriders (f)
  • Beast of Nature with Wings and Bolt (r)
  • Beast of Nature with Wings and Bolt (r)
  • Winged Unicorn (r)

My army from the bottom:

  • Lycan Horde with Fire Oil (r)
  • Beast Pack Troop (f)
  • Stampede Horde with Blessing of the Gods (r)
  • Beast Pack Troop (f)
  • Shaman (r)
  • Chimera (r)
  • Spirit Walker Horde (f)
  • Stampede Horde with Brew of Sharpness (r)
  • Beast Pack Troop (f)
  • Centaur Chief (r)
  • Brutox (r)
  • Harpies Regiment (f)

Playing Invade, Carson used his Vangauard to move Shamblers forward. I won roll for first turn and gave it to him.

By moving the Beast Pack towards the centre I was able to get the Stampede and Chimera into the Shamblers routing them in one turn.
Using Nimble nod Pathfinder I advanced the flanking Beast Pack an the Lycans to threaten the Naiads and Fire Elementals.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

KOW Tournament - Sunday Bloody Sunday - Auckland

Details and the Players Pack for Sunday Bloody Sunday a three round 1500 point event have been posted in the "Fantasy Event Calendar".

The Auckland based event is being organised by Daniel Linder.

If any NZ Tournament Organisers want to list their event here on Fields of Blood just drop me a line.

Warlords Super Series - Summer: Players' Pack

The Players Pack for Warlords Super Series - Summer can be downloaded here

Here are the salient points:

  • 18 March
  • 2000 points
  • 4 Rounds
  • Scenarios - Invade, Dominate, Loot and Control
  • Clash of Kings 2017 Tournament Rules will be used
  • Scoring is Battle-60/Sports-30/Presentation-10
  • 12 points for a win with 3 BPs based on Attrition
  • Checkbox Sports Score with Default being full points
  • Self-scored three tier painting checkbox
  • Norwegian Terrain Map Pack used
  • $25 or free for 2017 Warlords' members
The CoK book is released in the next fortnight. Ideally, you can grab one from Mighty Ape/The Hobby Corner thereby supporting Mantic and a local retailer. However I will summarise the pertinent rules changes and inform participants.

Kings of War Results - DIGCon

Earlier in the month the Dunedin Independent Gamers ran a KoW event. The tournament was five rounds using 2250 point armies

The results were as follows:

1.   Eugene Gielen (Goblins) - 15 points
2.   Doug Harper (Empire of Dust) - 13 points
3.   Robert Higgins (Orcs) - 12 points
3.   Jeff Milne (Salamanders) - 12 points
5.   Joel Cunningham (Varangur) - 11 points
6.   Justin Elliot (Abyss) - 8 points
7.   Phillip Bennington (Ratkin) - 7 points
7.   Jeremy Wells (Brotherhood) - 7 points

Great to see a Kings of War event in the Deep South and congratulations to Eugene on the win.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Shattered Landscape

Probably the thing that I've regretted most over the past 2-3 years is the shattering of the Fantasy wargaming scene in New Zealand. This is not just a local problem but its effects are amplified when we start from a smaller player base.

One of the most enjoyable experiences I've had was organising the three NZ Team Championships. In its second year it attracted 64 players and it was wonderful to see WHFB players from around the country interacting over the weekend.

With the demise of WHFB there has been a shattering of the local player base with "refugees" coalescing into three systems - Age of Sigmar, Kings of War and The Ninth Age. Each has its proponents and different games are stronger in different areas. For instance, AoS is seeing a real surge here in Wellington backed by the support of the local GW shops and managers.

Over time I suspect one system will gain dominance and given the company behind it, I think it is more likely to be Age of Sigmar. New minis of high quality (and generally good design) plus a monthly mag, increased social media just mean it has the dice stacked in its favour. Personally it doesn't appeal to me as it is a skirmish game but as they say in the movies "You can't fight City Hall". In the end it will likely attract more new entrants and from there that lifeblood will provide growth.

The key thing is to play the game you enjoy and make the most of your local scene. To that end the Warlords are having a designated Kings of War day on the third Saturday of every month. This will encompass regular tournaments - see recent post - multiplayer games and the certainty that if you come along you will get a game. The other games are welcome too and recently there have been regular AoS games on view. I haven't seen any Ninth Age but any players of that are more than welcome as well.

I'm sure the Fantasy genre will survive....and that it will look different in two years time than it does now. The only certainty really is change. Will we get back to the tournament scene of early 8th Edition? I don't know. People will gravitate to what they enjoy. The best advertisement is to keep having fun.


Kings of War Terrain Maps

I've been meaning to post these up here for some time. Last year epicdwarf on the Mantic Forum created some terrain maps for KoW. These maps use the same set of terrain features to create 12 different and challenging battlefields.

You can download them here

Here is Map 12:

The terrain pieces are as follows:

  • 2x Hills - Height 2
  • 2x Obstacles (walls/fences) - Height 1
  • 2x Woods - Height 4
  • 2x Impassable (red hex and grey lozenge e.g. buildings, large stone) - Height 2-4
  • 2x Difficult Terrain - e.g ploughed field (yellow rectangle)/pond (blue oval) - Height 0-1
One of the good things is that there are no hills in any deployment area in the 12 maps. This encourages movement and hopefully creates a better game.

As I understand it epicdwarf is working on an upgraded pack with more maps.

Happy Valentine's Day

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fields of Blood New Zealand Masters

The 10th Annual Fields of Blood New Zealand Masters will be held in Wellington on the weekend of 2/3 December.

The venue is Cochran Hall at Cashmere Avenue School in Khandallah.

There will be competitions in the three genres that Fields of Blood keeps rankings for:

  • Warhammer 40k
  • Flames of War
  • Kings of War Fantasy
As usual the rankings year will finish on 31 October and the invitations will be sent out the first week of November.

Play in your local events, send in the results and get qualifying!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Trenchworks - 3D Printed

Over the last fortnight I have been printing 40k trenches for some upcoming games.

The first line of trenchworks is now completed with the connector trench to the second line also finished.

The picture above has an Ork on a 25mm base entering the labyrinth. The trenches are all modular made up of 4" square sections.

There are around 24 sections in this layout with the top of the "T" being 60" across.

The interesting thing is the cost. Each section costs around NZ$1.50 to print - so NZ$36 (US$ 26) for the lot. The actual printing cost was the cost of the Citadel Caliban Green rattlecan to spray them.

Mine have been painted to match the GW bastions I have and the Skyshield Landing pad.

Really happy with how they've turned out and I'm going to do another 36 which will give me a three trench defensive line for 30k and 40k games.

For those interested the models are from Printable Scenery and the cost of the file pack is NZ$9.95 (though I got mine as part of their Apocalypse Ruins Kickstarter).


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Kings of War Events in Wellington 2017

I will be organising a series of Kings of War events in Wellington during 2017.

The first set will be a return of the Warlords Super Series, four individual one day tournaments to be held at Wellington Warlords during the year. Each will be 2000 points and played over four rounds. The events will use the Clash of Kings 2017 Tournament Pack rules.

The dates for the individual events are as follows:

  • Summer - 18 March
  • Autumn - 20 May
  • Winter - 22 July
  • Spring - 30 September (moved to 4th Saturday due to General Election)
The cost of these events is $25 each. However they are free if you are a full Wellington Warlords member (annual sub $50), so much cheaper to sign up and you get to attend an additional 20+ meetings if you wish.

The other event will be the return of "The Horned Rat". This will be held on Queens Birthday Weekend (June 3-4) in Upper Hutt. As NiCon in Auckland is not offering KoW, an opportunity has opened for a North Island event that weekend. Saturday will be a four round 2000 point event while Sunday will be a large multiplayer game. The cost is $30 and that allows you to play either or both events as your schedule fits.

Players Packs will be released soon for both the Super Series and The Horned Rat.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Friday, February 10, 2017

40k Rankings - Updated for Valleycon

The FOB NZ Rankings for 40k have been updated for Valleycon.

The event was five rounds over two days using 1500 point armies. According to Ryan, the umpire, a number of baby seals were thrown into a shark pool - translation: there was a clear division in the strength of the lists.

Glen Burfield won the event with his Eldar beating the then-leader Cody Parlato's Necron in the final round.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Emperor's Children Rapture Battalion

I've had a couple of games now with the Emperor's Children and I am using the Rapture Battalion detachment in "Traitor Legions".

I am building this around the Kakophoni formation as this provides the most thematic EC army. At 1500 points this is exceptionally hard as you need six units of Noise Marines, an HQ choice and an Auxiliary choice to maximise the benefits. With the Auxiliary choice my cheapest option is to take a single Spawn marked with Slaanesh. At 33 points it is all I can really afford. To give some punch I have chosen a Daemon Prince as "Lord of the Legion". He represents my old Noise Lord Challis Drant who after ten years in abeyance has ascended to daemonhood.

So the current list I'm using runs as follows:

  • Lord of Legion - Daemon Prince with Wings, Power Armour (215 points)
  • Kakophoni (1252 points)
  1. Chaos Lord - Bike, Melta Bombs, Sigil of Corruption, Blissgiver, Warlord (160 points)
  2. Noise Marines - 8x Noise Marines with free CCW, Champion with Doom Siren, Icon of Excess, Melta Bombs, Lightning Claw in Chaos Rhino with Dozer Blade (276 points)
  3. Noise Marines - 4x Noise Marines with 3x Sonic Blaster and one Blastmaster with Champion with Doom Siren, Power Sword and Icon of Excess (195 points)
  4. Noise Marines - 4x Noise Marines with 3x Sonic Blaster and one Blastmaster with Champion with Doom Siren, Power Sword and Melta Bombs (169 points)
  5. Noise Marines - 4x Noise Marines with Sonic Blaster with Champion with Doom Siren, Melta Bombs and Power Sword (142 points)
  6. Noise Marines - 4x Noise Marines with 3x Sonic Blasters with Champion with Doom Siren and Melta Bombs (155 points)
  7. Noise Marines - as per #6 (155 points)
  • Auxiliary - Chaos Spawn - Mark of Slaanesh (33 points)

I don't see the list as at all strong in the current game as it sticks to a single detachment that has high cost of entry. There is little in the way of AP2 in the list and little mobility. I'm not convinced with the Rhino as it looks to me to be a free "First Blood" point but hey ho.

As I expand the list to 1850 points I'm likely just to add options to existing units i.e. Expanding all to six man, adding in icons and options.

Anyway interested in any feedback and assistance.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Creature Caster and Jeremy Glen

Earlier in the week I posted pictures of the delivered models from Creature Caster's First Wave Kickstarter.

This Kickstarter funded in March 2014 after a campaign that started a couple of months before with some guerilla marketing. A series of photos were supposedly "found" in a cafe and then posted on a number of forums with an "OMG! Look at these leaked images of secret models". It then transpired that they were photos of CAD models for Creature Caster's upcoming Kickstarter.

Creature Caster was the creation of Jeremy Glen who had been the principal of Ultraforge which produced resin models around 2007/08. I have their Treelady while Jack has the Dragon which he uses for his Dark Elves. Both were great models. So, fair to say Jeremy had a reputation for producing good models.

The Kickstarter raised Canadian $335,000. It fair exceeded it initially expressed expectations. This led to a number of additional models being created as stretch goals. This did not immediately concern me as Jeremy was showing the completed CAD designs for the original suite of models through the campaign.

If you at all pledged during the campaign you'll know how involved Jeremy was. He was all over the Comments section released regular (sometimes daily) updates and was a frequent poster on the forums following the campaign. An additional two Daemons and either two or three Dragons were added during the campaign. In addition, alternative parts were offered for the initial suite of models.

Everything was planned. The models were to be 3-D printed from the CAD sculpts and then cast to "jewellery quality" in resin. Jeremy had the printers and casters all lined up as a result of his "extensive experience in the industry". There was little risk.

One of the key selling points - especially to overseas pledgers - was that Creature Caster had a series of warehousing hubs set up around the world to which the models would ship and be distributed. This promised lower shipping costs and importantly bypassing of customs duties to the international supporter.

Of course, it was all BULLSHIT!

Jeremy was a master marketer but, it transpired, a crap businessman. A few whispers started to surface that he had a less than stellar reputation with the owners of a number of North America's larger retail outlets - a big talker but not a reliable deliverer.

But it didn't matter, he had the money.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Weekend Hobby Update

Quite a busy weekend.

I continued printing off Trenches and now have around 20 components done. Woke up this morning and had run out of PLA - so I'll be making some calls this morning.

On Saturday I had a 40k game against Hagen's Sisters. As noted in an early post I had fun but that was more in despite of the rules - which I find have levels of detail that add complexity rather than improve the game. Not sure what snapfire, going to ground, overwatch etc really add for instance. Wound allocation is laborious etc. Still good to get the models out and we have another game set up for first weekend of March.

I spent the last two afternoons watching the Las Vegas Open. This was high end competitive 40k so was an interesting watch. None of the five games I had on in the background got to Turn 5 which tends to reinforce my point above. The technical ability of the players on show was very good and it was fun to follow the event. 400 players, wow!

This week I'm looking to finish up my Emperor's Children squad. Struggling to get a nice purple highlight. The ones I laid down with the airbrush have all but disappeared as I have painted the rest of the figures.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Gaming Room Setup

Over the Summer (ha!) months I have reorganised my gaming room set up for the year ahead.

In the background is a display cabinet with internal lighting I picked up second hand. It has a lot of my 40k armies in it - mainly to keep the dust off them.
The room has a permanent 6' x 4' table set up. I built this last Xmas and the GW Realm of Battle Board drops into it.
What I like about it is that there is a surround that stops dice going off the table. It also has insets for counters, dice and drinks. At the end is a power box with USB ports so you can plug devices in.
Through the door in the background is my garage were I store terrain and have my printer.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Creature Caster Finally Delivers

Two years, three months late I finally received my models from Creature Caster. This Kickstarter has been a clusterfuck right from the beginning - or more correctly, since CC received the pledged funds. I will be making a post on the KS in the next few days but this post will provide some pictures of the models I received.

It is fair to say that early pictures of the finished models showed a distinct divergence from the promised "jewellery grade quality". Detail was very soft in a lot of cases while there was evidence of mold shifts and overall casting inexperience. So it was with some trepidation that I received my finished models. I pledged for three daemons - the Vulture Daemon, the Maggot Daemon and the Plague Angel while local gamer Peter Williamson purchased the Treewoman.

1. Plague Angel

Expanding Trenchworks

Quick update on the expanding trenchworks as printinting continues unabated in the Garage Forgeworld.

The lone Ork has now got a far distance to cover from one end to another. At the moment I'm concentrating on printing straight sections to build up the length of the trenches. Once I have about 10 more I'll start adding in variants.

By the time I'm finished it will be an Imperial Fists' wet dream.


Wargaming As Sports

Who would have thought we'd reach the day where you could sit on the couch on a Sunday afternoon and watch a Warhammer 40k tournament live from Las Vegas.

Both Frontine Gaming and Warhammer TV are providing live coverage of the Las Vegas Open 40k event that has 430+ entrants. This is via their channels on Twitch (both in Creative).

The Frontline coverage has both players lined up while WTV has a commentary team. I prefer the former as it is more interesting to follow their thought processes.

Great photography, multiple cameras.....the whole nine yards. Interesting watching the different player psychology too!

Even if you don't play 40k it is interesting to check out.