Monday, October 31, 2011

Warhost of Cirith Ungol

Like the title says, here's my 600 point army for the week away biggest Lord of Rings SBG tourney in years. Bilbo's Birthday Bash in its third year. I've already rambled on at length about the event and the what's been going on with the game in general, So this time I'll just talk about my Army. This is my second 600 point army I've completed (the other being my Grey Company) This one comes in at 44 models, but with separate Wargs and riders for dismounted cavalry options, its really 60 models. A pair of Warg Riders and the all the dismounts are not pictured as I am still touching up finish the last of the models.

Its' taken me a good six weeks with my limited hobby time of late to get this army in shape, I did have some models painted but the were quite old and needed touch ups. A lot of freehand shields to do, new characters, etc. The nice thing about Orcs is once you have this much done you have the makings of all the Mordor armies, and even Angmar with limited additions of the main characters or monsters of which I have many done, So say I want to run Angmar or Barad-Dur at Adepticon or something, I only need to paint a couple models. So a nice bonus to wade thru the 30 or so crappy plastic Orcs I had to do. yes, I am not a big fan of the plastic orc models, there some of the weakest in the LotR plastic line, I really like the original metal orcs the GW had out of which there are only 10 poses. I seem to have hard time finding them but would love to get my hands on some to mix them in. If its not super obvious in the photos it is in person, the far superior metals just jump out compared to the plastics. I use both the Mordor Orc and Morannon Orc boxes here, the later using alot of converted weapons.

Speaking of conversions, this Orc Shaman is one of my favorites, A simple weapon swap can go along way with some these figs, this guy got the resin base, the dead body the spear, made from the original head and the shaft of some historical metal spears. most dramatically he got a new arm, which took a little GS work but is really just an arm off a Mantic Ghoul. which pretty much fit perfectly.

I went back an forth on the display for some time, I was reusing a castle gate I have and I made a rock cave for Shelob. My large deep display tray I used for years for WFB just looked to big, so made a smaller tray. The top section (deck) is magnetized so I can pop it out and switch it if I want to use a different army. Anyway my original set up now looked two busy with the two pieces on the smaller tray., asking my wife her excellent atheistic opinion, she said "why dont you use that thing over there"..pointing to my "not weather top" I made earlier in the year. I said, right , "and" I made it modular, so I can only use part of it, perfect! and there you go. Not as themed at the gates of Cirith Ungol and Shelob's Cave, but trust me this looks alot better.

I've been making those signs/ placards you seen the first shot for years now, so that wasnt a big deal, I got the display work done pretty quickly, (consider I am using a finished piece here, the "not weathertop" model was a quite a challenge which you can read about here.)

I plan on having everything done for my last ditch practice game early Tuesday right before we hit round 2 of our Hail Caesar Campaign. I am woefully behind in my Ancients painting as the rest of the guys are way past me, but now that this is done, I can start digging into that. I've got a pretty large LotR collection at this point, its probably one of the only lines, I pretty much 'collect" as well as game with. ( I think I've referenced my "active" versus "passive" collections before) Anyway look forward to big write on Bilbo's with lots of pictures, I am going to try to make a real effort this year to get alot of good pics as people are coming in from all over, and there will be some awesome armies there, AND I should mention the painting contest.

I didnt have time to get 3 entries as one category is exclusively Cavalry models, and I just didnt have time to a new model done to where it needs to I am just entering my Nazgul on Fell Beast and "something else" in the 25mm base category, not sure what yet..I have about a 1/2 dozen good options. Oh and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Promotion

Just in case you dont follow it, and have and interest in some great figures at reasonable prices, I thought I mention that Mantic  has some great Halloween promotions going right, from German Zombies to Gravestalker boxes (Ghouls and Zombies) to the yet to be released Dark Elf figures in a promo splash release this for just this weekend. This is the kind of stuff I love to see gaming companies doing and that we dont see enough of.

So if this your thing, get some! I think I am going to pick a small Gravestalker box myself.

I have not yet has a chance to try out Mantics 2nd Ed rules but we have been talking about and its definitely coming. We have all the new lists. I am definitely looking at Mantics rules for our replacementfor WFB for large scale fantasy hopefully we will get this going real soon.

In other news be slaving on my Cirith Ungol army for the upcoming Bilbo's Birthday Bash, the largest independent Lord of the Rings tourney in the US to date. The game is experiencing a resurgence here and as I result, I wanted to step up my hobby output for this event, so not only new army, but new display, display base , etc...I hope for photos up this weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Campaigns and Comedy

We kicked our Hail Caesar Campaign Tuesday Evening set in the Dark Ages in roughly 1000AD, The Saxons, Normans, Caliphate of Cordoba and the Byzantine Empire all square off for Control of the known world. While details on its mechanics I am keeping to our forums (feel free to join up if you're interested) . The map portion plays out "like" a game of Risk , where we move our armies during our turn, we play a game on the tabletop, and the results and score of that game are applied against all your moves and battles. Its Macro campaigning at its best ( or worst, depending on how you like it) as your one game dicates results of many battles depending on whom you played, how you scored, and how the other player did (and there scores) even the players you didnt play this week. To top it the are a handful of neutral armies on map throwing a monkey wrench into the scoring matrix should you choose to attack them
Round 1 of the Campaign

Game 1- Saxons vs Normans-
I faced off against Aaron, it was very close game, he shattered my center division early with a huge cavalry charge and with a dual sweeping advance rolled up the whole army, I got to close to his cav without proper support, a mistake I wont make again. Fortunately his Cav was so far exposed into my backfield with Sweeping Advance units from my other two divisions scored big rear and flank charges destroying his Elite Cav units as a response.

The game went back and forth like that the whole time. I had my 3rd Division ( my Vikings) the entire division was sitting with 4,5, 6 wounds (so shaken) Two of the units die and the game is over. Aaron pushed heavy with a bunch of units toward my 1st Division whom with failed Orders turn after sat unmolested until the end of the Medium infantry  charged two units of Norman Infanty (mixed Levy, and Med) and terrible dice shattered them. But my Huscarls and there two handed axes crushed the heavy Norman footman and overran into the flank of other two both units destroying them. With two broken divisons, the game ended. A failed Order check on follow me really hurt Aaron because bringing his last Heavy unit into the last melee would have probably turned the tide.

We have a very simple scoring systems of 6 points for a Heavy, 4 for Medium , 2 for Light, 3 for the General and 2 for other commander. lossed on both sides tallied the game at 30 for me to 24 for Aaron. a Standard victory result. the Norman advance into northern Europe was pushed back, enabling the Saxons to gain a good foothold in the North.

Game 2- Caliphate of Cordoba vs Byzantine Empire.-
Rich and Chris played a Storm the Camp style  scenario where armies deployed from the short edge of the table traveling longwise. they also reserve units that had to be ordered on the board. Rich has been gathering Scenarios from various sources for Ancients play. I expect we'll trying a bunch of them as weeks go on. In this game, Chris had some terrible luck and despite some early gains, he failed his order check on his reserve in a "do or die scenario" things went very wrong and Caliphate forces crushed him   Scoring was 24-0 in favor of the Arabs. Mapwise is shows the Caliphate taking Sicily and establishing a strong foothold in Southern Italy.

We were close enough with enough armies of move points to really mix it up beyond or closest opponent but I suspect that will change next week, although the loser suffered setback on the gaming table..they choose wise expansions into neutral territory so it helped minimize the losses.

For the Comedy portion of this post, I scanned this doodle I found on one of the tables Downstairs. Its from a previous Hail Caesar team match where Aaron and I played the English facing off against Musilms and  their allies in an early Crusade skirmish.  While Aarons division kept failing Order checks needing a "8"
I was using the Army General, (we play commander in chief rules) attached to on my division and had that key re-roll with time on his hands , Aaron was begging for the general to come give his troops a visit. Anyway if you played Hail Caesar at all the image below should give you a chuckle.

In other news, I rough finished my new 4 X 8 table, we played on it for the game described above..its still needs flock and prettied up, hopefully this weekend..with photos soon. Also my 600 points of Cirith Ungol is crawling along with the tourney right around the corner, I'll be painting right up until halloween finish all the extra pieces I need for separate Cavalry mounts and riders...leaving me 4 day to try to squeeze out a new piece for the painting of this stuff coming next time too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dark Ages Campaign

Our Dark Ages Campaign using Warlord Games "Hail Caesar" ruleset, kicks off next week. We are about a month behind getting this going, mainly to do my own workload but getting everyone armies in shape to have least 12 full units is somewhat of a process as well. I built a new 4 x 8 table that's actually 2 4x4's that can be flipped end to end for either a valley or hill with shallow river running thru the center. I have some pics of Tuesday when it I write up the first meet. My army is still bare metal with the exception on 1 unit thats about half done, I've just been too busy to make the time to get into it, but will change soon, as I hate being the guys with the least amount of stuff painted.

The map above plays out pretty much like a game of Risk, its diceless campaign game, that resolves map moves by calculating victory points played on the game table. I did it this way to avoid the time consuming pre game board turns of Campaigns past, this way people can resolve the map online during the downtime between session without have to rely on being face to face. After running gaming campaigns for years, I must say It just works better that way. The Campaign is Quasi Historical taking place pre Hasting at about 1000 AD. Forces are Saxons, (me) Normans (Aaron), Caliphate of Cordoba (Rich) and the Byzantine Empire (Chris) I had to stay a little loose with exact History and the map is just an excuse to give us something to fight for as we play out all these games.

Ancients interest around here has picked up. We have couple a new interested players one with an actual army..if I could find another looks for us to expand this 6 player. Ancients gaming is surely continuing around here all the way thru Adepticon 2012 while the Ancients events there are WAB related Rich is running a big open game with HC rules and there will be HC open gaming. I figure this Campaign with run around 8 rounds so until late Jan /early Feb when we all have to start cracking down for Adepticon.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Its not often I am surprised particularly by my Family especially when it comes to gifts, but I had a birthday just this last week and this one threw me for loop. At my celebratory birthday dinner, where I got several interesting gifts, a large box sat giftwrapped on the table, my little girls...going 'open it', "open it", long before we even had dinner. so I should have know something was up.

I had convinced myself sometime ago that I was not going to bite the bullet on Dreadfleet. At $126 shipped for one shot game with no support...I got over the initial splash marketing and said not this time GW. Apparently my wife didnt get that memo, as She saw me ogling over this when it was first announced...and I even said then..I'm not getting it, its too expensive. Before going back and forth on it again and saying no. So it was very much to my surprise she had the gumption to go out and get this for me on her own. She got me the mega paint set last year so I guess she has the GW thing down.

Very nice rulebook, comments on the game rules are again another beer and pretzels, random game that relies on dice, cards, a whole lot of luck and very little skill..things that GW seems to proud to hang its hat on with its own IP of late .


While I certainly dont have time right now to assemble this and get a game in, that will have to wait until next month. I did make the time to check it out and take some pictures. After reading a couple pretty negative reviews on the "game" itself I have mixed feeling on owning this, however examination of the box contents has gone along way to changing my mind.

The models in the box are really just great, same with terrain. GW again proves they are the king of plastics jamming so much on to sprue and not only labeling it for assembly but putting the assembly instructions on the box, which is nice touch. We all seen the sprue photos so I didnt post any here but all the images on the painted ships I though we freehand designed studio work, are actually all embossed on the sails in plastic so painting these ships and making them look great will be relatively easy for even the average painter. The game is jam packed with terrain and extras that can surely be used for any naval type game.

The 5 x 3 game matt is very pretty is thin and printed on a silk like fabric, if you lay it on a textured surface such as your sand covered game table it will hold stretched nice and tight, if you are playing on a kitchen table or smooth surface invest in a 5 x 3 piece of lexan to drop onto it .

Now I have been looking for a smaller scale naval game personally for a while now, it always comes up in our campaigns and would have been great for Legend of the High Seas to add Sea Battles into the mix and they just arent possible at 28mm other than close boarding actions. Spartan Games Uncharted Seas has been on my radar, for some time, much more so with the crazy new awesome models they are putting with it re-release. Dreadfleet will probably serve my purposes well as bunch of Naval components for parts of other games in the future...As a beer and pretzels' occasional one off I might get some use out of it, but I am definitely going to enjoy painting and building these models, I know at least two other people who have the game so who knows. Overall my feeling is major props to my wife for getting this, the sentiment is not overlooked despite her not really knowing the complications of my feeling toward Games Workshop, (how they can release plastics of this quality and still ship Failcast crappy resins is a total head scratcher)

Anyways there you go, So I got Dreadfleet, whether I actually wanted it or not.


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