Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lead Painters League Season 6

If you're reading my Blog and are not familiar with the Lead Adventure forum. Then I am not doing justice in talking enough about one of the best places in the nether-sphere to get your fill of  awesome lead and hobby. I was lurker for years before actually posting my own stuff, the forum has a somewhat different vibe that say CMON, or the WAMP forum. It's almost purposely Anti-GW, not in a "bash and troll" sort of way but in the "he who shall not be named' or a "been there done that" sort of way. While various eras of Citadel miniatures do certainly make their appearances, you would not be hanging your hat there looking for photos of the newest Space Wolves releases . You want to see  awesome Pirate ships or swashbuckling towns, Zulu Warriors fighting British Colonials or Near Future Apocalypse games than LAF is for you. Its different from say CMON, in that while the Talent bar is very high, its frequented by more of the middle aged guys with beards and lead fetishes, then say professional miniature artists, so its very much a niche forum in that respect. Anyway its one of the few places I frequent that while I contribute rarely, it just feels like it "fits".

Lead Painters League is years contest now in Season 6 held over at LAF, with this year quickly filling up its 50 spots. Its comprised of 10 weeks of submitted entries of Teams of at least 5 Painted miniatures in a particular scene that are voted on by the fellow members. Yes, you read that right its  50 miniatures in 10 weeks if you want to enter all 10 rounds (you dont have to) ...obviously unless you have alot of free time on your hands or are a speed painter, a person could spend all year working on getting ready for this, Not for big prizes. there are none. but simply for the love of the hobby and the competition of showing off your own stuff against other great stuff.

I was fortunate enough to make the submission deadline this year, and since you're not supposed to previously show off the entries, I am using a certain section of miniatures I have not been showing off on the blog much for anything with my initial 3 entries. Some of my better (non GW) stuff of the last five years is filtering its way in I still probably end up doing 15 or so brand new models for the contest over the ten weeks, the remaining stuff is from my current finished collection, you'll certainly recognize the terrain I am using as my back drop as the Dungeon and Space (warehouse) Hulk and Pirate Town will be making numerous appearances as background scenery.

Anyway I find this contest particularly inspiring so I wanted to take note. The entries for round 1 will be posted this Sunday on Lead Adventure Forum..and of course if you wanted to register and vote, I believe that would be encouraged and you would not be disappointed. Several of the rounds are Themed for bonus points. Round 1 is entitled "old lead" encouraging entries from before 1991, never one to disappoint in something called "old lead" I went back to late 79-80 with my entry.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dark Ages Campaign Concludes

Round 8 of our Dark Age Campaign came to an end last week. With a three way on territories going into the last round it was really anyone's prize to seize in Round 8. Rich and I had fantastic game it was very close with me probably slightly ahead going into the last couple turns. I made a gamble move I didn't need to go for some big points and it backfired, leading me to a bad luck serious of event that took me for slightly winning to a major loss. If I had just played conservative the last few turns a close score between Rich and I really would have changed the map dynamic above to where (given Chris's  score)  the winner would have been decided by a few territories or a tie breaker of total armies raised. In the end the big Victory for Rich . Gave the Caliphate of Cordoda the clear Campaign Win. Conquering nearly half of the known world (even back in Ireland, again after I kicked him out once, argh!)  Chris wrapped up in second with a good score and wisely invading all the remaining neutrals territories he could last round..Chris picked a I think 6 territories the last turn. The Saxons got a serious push back but maintained a decent sized empire all the way across the North. The poor Normans survive barely, with a few territories even reverting to Neutral Baronys.

I am pretty happy with the way this Campaign system worked out..there were a few tweaks along the way. But I'm confident good system with some unique mechanics if you want to play a map based campaign with  moves against multiple opponents in a single round and want to resolve them with just one game. Best part about the system is that it can be used for any size army game..its totally neutral to what you use it for, you could use it for a board or card game if you wanted give even play your favorite themed campaign and resolve all the games playing chess. You'll be reading about the first two of my own projects. a Skirmish Fantasy Ruleset and The Campaign Systems throughout the year here.  You'll also get to see the campaign playtested again this year as we gear up for another Ancients Campaign, (Antiquity this time, probably 300BC ish) later in the Summer.

I'll leave with a pair of Battle narratives written by both Rich and Chris describing their victories
in the final round!  Hail Caesar for the Win!.

Round 8 - Arabs vs Saxons on the river board
Mission: Take the High Ground (objectives)

John set up broadly, with each division equally in one third of the table. I set up the Damascus division in the center in 2 ranks; Berbers in a line to the right and split the Ghulams with the 2 heavy between the infantry divisions & the light units skirmishing on the left flank.

The center hill was the key component of the battle. John moved Huscarls & a large Coerls unit onto the hill which were charged by the heavy Ghulams. While able to chase off the Huscarls, the Royal Ghulams were flanked by archers (and despite counter charging with my own archers) and were broken. (In the final round, John managed to roll 3 6's out of 4 dice for hits!) The second Ghulam unit was shaken and chased off. And to top it off, the C-in-C was lost fighting the Huscarls.

The Damascus unit dithered about in the center for a number of turns, either being disordered by skirmishers or slacking about with critical lack of leadership.

The Berbers on the right flank fended off all attempts to cross the river & spent most of the game shooting up a cavalry unit & some Coerls. I believe John failed to move the final 3 rounds of the game & I had no reason to leave my objective unguarded.

Shooting on the left flank started well with John's heavy cav being blown off the board by a pair of 1s on a shooting break check. Slowly, the rest of the division crossed the river & chased my shooters back into the center of the board. The standard unit of Turkomen were broken by the Vikings, but it set up a flank charge by the Damascus archers which pushed John's units off the board.

Top of the eighth. Its looking bleak for team Arab. Surrounded by Saxons and down on points. The Viking/Coerl group needed 3 moves to charge into the Damascus Archers - and they succeed. Luckily, the Archers are only pushed back by the combat & the Vikings are shaken to prevent any pursuit. Huscarls with C-in-C charge into the foot Ghulams + City Spearmen. Being fully rested from doing nothing this game, Team Arab breaks the Huscarls & kills the C-in-C. Moving up, the units are ready for a final charge against the large Coerls guarding John's objective.

Bottom of the eighth. The Volunteers - a unit which last took an aggressive action some time in early January, pass their leadership with double 1s & rear charge the Viking/Coerls. With a flurry of righteous blows, the Vikings are dispatched to Valhalla. Game ends with the Ghulam/City Spear team breaking the Coerls and claiming the objective. Adds up to 30 victory points being scored in the eighth.

Final: John 12 Rich 37

Round 8 -Normandy vs Byzantium
Pitched Battle

The board had a small town on one side, hill in the center, and forest on the other. Both players deployed, avoiding the town on one flank, between mid-field and the board edge with the forest, loading all the cavalry on the forest side.

Aaron had the first turn and it was pretty uneventful. His infantry divisions crept forward, and his cavalry division stumbled over it's own hooves (a theme for the next 2 turns). Chris shuffled forward and into shooting range.

The face off between the Cavalry divisions lasted a couple turns. Aaron failed to move his cavalry - he was sweating because he deployed his units sideways on the board so that they would fit - but he did manage to hold off Chris' charge with shooting disruption. Supporting Chris' peltasts took the woods and began a game long poo-flinging contest with Aaron's archers, with no side the victor. Aaron finally engaged the cavalry units, and after a few combats over a couple turns a Pyrric victory resulted; Aaron was left with a shaken heavy cav and Chris, a small light horse archer. These two units were then stuck in a perpetual cycle of shooting wounds and rallies.

Chris' center division mimicked Aaron's cav and stared at the hill for half the game. Eventually, Chris' lancers were able to 'lance' a unit of archers and half a medium unit before becoming shaken, themselves. The rest of the division joined the other infantry.

The infantry divisions of both sides stayed about 15 inches apart until the last few turns. Chris was able to disrupt Aaron's line with shooting for a couple turns. Aaron even managed to disrupt his own line with a blunder. He was able to return fire, but Aaron's archers seemed to do more harm slowing the advance of his heavies than good. Aaron was unluckier than Chris in roughly even combats when the armies finally met, establishing a victory for the Byzantine Empire.

Final: Chris 22 Aaron 10

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lord of The Rings SBG- Playing the new books.

Last Saturday afternoon I got the rare chance to get out to the remodeled Chicago Battle Bunker for what can best be called a LotR area players gathering. These type of casual events dont come up too often and since I haven't played any Warhammer coming up on almost a year, This is one of the only things that's going to get me out there. It was a packed Saturday afternoon at the bunkers new smaller footprint of only 22 tables. Which yes sounds like alot, but not in comparison to its previous real estate. Every table was packed, with a variety of games , we had maybe a dozen LotR players from the Chicago, Joliet and Kenosha/ WI areas all in attendance. Great to see and play some of these guys
whom I only talk to at Tournaments or online.

We were all playing the new books and scenarios. Personally I am really liking the new book for my Mordor force as it opens up my lists to be a bit more flexible and include some other stuff that was associated with other lists so they had to be taken as allies. The ones I am interested in are generic troops whom shouldnt necessarily be stuck within certain lists, but thats the way *Legions*was setup so thats way we played it. In the past, if I wanted a pure Cirith Ungol List I was shut out from taking certain troops in accordance to theme. Thats all gone now, Mordor is Mordor and building theme lists is really up to the player.

Once again I was fielding my Tower of Cirith Ungol List, and under the new *Warbands* setup my list was:

Shargat, Captain of Cirith Ungol.
4 Mordor Uruk Hai
7 Orc Warriors w/ Banner
Mordor Siege Bow

9 Orc Warriors
3 Orc Trackers


Orc Shaman on Warg
3 Giant Spiders
8 Orc Warriors
1 Spectre

Trying out new units available, like the Siege Bow as a response to shooting, the Giant Spiders to run along with Shelob as an anti-Cavalry measure and the Spectre just to be a pain in the butt was alot of fun, I have since dropped the Siege bow and added some more foot troops. The list still tops out at 40 models which is a good number under old rules, but quite low for Mordor as tournament list in the Legions era.

My first match up was against Jeff whom I recently played at last Novembers BBB, He was also running Mordor and while Evil vs Evil matches are never my favorite, its a reality of tournaments so I was glad to throw down against a Mordor list different than mine. Jeffs was essentially a Minas Morgul force led by the Dark Marshall, loaded with Black Numenorean warriors, and Morgul Knights then filled out with Orcs..he also had a 12 dozen of so Orc Trackers for shooting, and Grisnak the Orc Captain in there as well.

It was fun match up, with things like the siege bow randomly hitting stuff and my Spectre doing wacky things like commanding one of the Morgul Knights to move out of formation so I could swarm it with Orcs on their move. We were playing the Domination scenario and we both had broken forces at the end and Jeff just squeaked out a victory over me with a Score of 8 to 7.

I must say the scoring and new deployment rules with the new books are great. GW really took a look at some of the larger issues with the game here to make it more playable in both causal and tournaments. Deployment specifically has new some great tactical decision making woven into it. especially if you find yourself facing a much larger force. Great Job here.

My Second game was against  Chris whom I have played many times now, and made the drive down with the WI contingent. Chris is great painter so always fun to get our miniatures down on the table together (although I was using some wip stuff here, sorry). He brought Gimli, Dain ironfoot and the Dwarf Rangers. We really started mixing this one up early with alot of front line deployment. I had a decent size flanking force with Shelob and Gorbag, against Dain while Shagrat and the Shaman with the Spiders took on Gimli. Chris was really sweating the courage checks for Gimli once we had the big melee going, as I was using the spectre to simply make him take a walk away from the battle. it never happened thou. We were playing "To the death" scenario...we really close to model on model attrition and both broke within a turn of each other. when it was all said and done VP were identical  and it was a solid draw and a great game.

This was basically a test list for Adepticon, I wanted to give my Mordor with Shelob one more go before I come back with good guys in fall. I have recently got my hands on bunch of old metal orcs, which a 100X better models than crappy plastic Orcs. So I am with pleasure repainting a bunch of this army, which should hopefully give this army a bump it needs in the appearance department to compete at Adepticon this year. with my current list, I only need to use about 5 plastic spearmen (and I am looking for metal OOP GW orc spears if you got them?)  and the rest of the Army is all metal, which is great...there is really no comparison when it comes to painted metals vs the early GW LotR plastics, they are just  terrible and to think they are charging almost $2 a piece for them gives me a shudder. I wont both with bitching about prices today..we all know the drill.

Great people and great games, good to see all the armies out this day, mostly good armies on the table other than a pair of Mordors (mine and Jeffs) and some Easterlings.  Adepticon this has an odd solution for the new books and that its you can run either at Adepticon this year..using the old Legions books will give players a distinct advantage over the new books because they be able to avoid the Hero ratio requirement and can spam more troops which is always the tournament "big pink elephant" in the room. Using New scenarios would really help even the playing field on that issue but as far as were told they arent being used and are using the regular Adepticon scenarios...So
I'll roll out my 40 model Mordor army and surely face huge superior numbers..not much I can do about it, I'll just go bring some good looking a well themed stuff and have a great time geeking out on Lord of the Rings.

Speaking of geeking out on LotR, this weekend is Gathering in the Desert run by my pal Tim K in Phoenix, AZ. always an awesome spectacle and event..I wish I could ever get my act together and get out there..but with it always being close to Adepticon, getting away with the wife, kids and business
has made it impossible, I will be checking in spirit looking for updates, Go Mordor!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dark Age Campaign Round 8

A somewhat belated post as the Campaign concluded this week, but here is the map as of the beginning of the move turn for the last round. Round 7, had the Normans coming back and beating my Saxons in a last ditch effort with a score of 24-12, While The Caliphate again made gains against the Byzantines 22-11. Again both close games for the most part until the tides turned with some key combats. In my case it was the Norman Cavalry again getting the best of me, and the luck I had in our previous meet was none withstanding. While the Normans had their bragging rights with the victory this week, their empire has about crumbled while the other 3 Empires all had 19 territories each, with Rich in the lead for total number of armies. Final moves had as all trying to reinforce hold territory and squeak up what could to win the campaign. I'll be back with final post for last rounds games as soon as we all update our data.


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