Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Learning Curve

If I get to keep playing Warmachine this much I figure I'll actually know how to play well by the end of the Summer. Nate brought over his Trollbloods yesterday for my second crack at Warmachine vs Hordes. I brought out my Bile Thralls for the first time, considering Nates lack of shooting they were a good choice, against the last Retribution list I played not so much.I finally have Skarre figured out...although I keep thinking shes tougher than she is, but after her feat turn she is super super fragile. still I could have pulled it of win here but bungled the chance

35 Points
My Cryx


6 Bile Thralls
6 Revenant Crew
Captain Rengrave
10 Blackbanes Ghost Raiders
Pistol Wraiths x 2

Nate's Trollbloods

Madrak Ironhide, World Ender
Dire troll Mauler
Pyre Troll
Troll Impaler

Fell Caller Hero
5 Trollkin Champs
10 Fennblades.

I keep the Pirates and Jacks close. The Bile Thrall were on the flank with facing the Troll Champs. Blackbane and company were on the other flank close between myself and the Fennblades. Pistol Wraiths were close to my jacks to support and go after the solo asap.

Game went very well, the bile thralls..absolutely put a major stink all over the Champions basically making them worthless (my Jacks came in and cleaned them out in a turn) and eventually blew the Fell Caller too. ..the Pistols wraiths ended up going after the Impaler which killed one them with a beefy spear shot. The other however, kept blasting away getting the deathchill every turn keeping the impaler in check with only one action a turn. I declared my feat early..I think a turn too I wanted to gid rid of the Fennblades and Blackbane and Crew now P&S 15 (thanks to my feat)...did so easily on my turn even though the "tough" troll infantry saved three of them, but they where just killed the next turn.

Madrak is a beast..I never go into close combat with him..because he wrecked my slayer quite readily with his reach and threw a axe and popped the second pistol wraith easy. Madrak was tying up both my jacks..but Nate got the Dire Troll into feats huge ARM bump saved me from his attacks but I was still almost dead. I used Ritual sacrifice and ended up with 11 focus on my following turn..

Stupidly..I should have kept it all for Skarre just bought additional attacks and boosted until I killed the troll, However..I cast Dark Guidance...thinking I have 4 Pirates and Blackbane sitting right there ( Rengrave got killed in trample attack that put the troll into me in the first place)
I figured I'll gang everyone up on him and it will help put him away. Stupid...first of all, I immediately knocked the troll down with Great Rack so everyone else attacking auto hit and so I didn't need the 4 point Dark Guidance. Skarre pounds the troll, I buy extra attacks with soul drinker and heal up some wounds and put about 15 or so the troll..everyone else can not wound the damn thing..and buying 4 extra or boosted attacks for Skarre with that focus I wasted surely would have done it. as result on nates ARM back to 16...a huge damage roll of 30 on his first attacks puts me away (I only had 9 or 10 points left)...dumb. Nates caster was pretty much untouched but the all the Warbeasts were seriously hurting and if I had just put the troll away, Madrak was in still had a couple Bile Thralls, an undamaged Reaper, most of the Ghost Raiders and Skarre and a couple Pirates left.

Anyway I got this game figured out as much as I know my own units. I am aware I'm not running close to an optimal build with pSkarre but its what I have...I have Terminus on the bench right now..and he seems alot more suited for the units I I'll plan on giving him a tryout this weekend...thinking about trying to play in this event up at Games Plus end of the month its an all painted event...I am currently painting away...and everything is already primed and based- its doable...its only 30 models..and the 1/3 of them (the ghost raiders) are almost done so we'll see. Aaron and I get together Saturday for a couple of games. Then we try out "Hail Caesar", next Tuesday.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hail Caesar and Some

After checking out Rich's copy and reading some combat examples over at the Warlord Games website. I was excited at what I read. and the Hail Caesar book showed up at my doorstep mid last week. A departure from the large army wargames I am used to, Its a a non-bucket of dice game, While I am fine with WAB 2.0 as its an iteration of WFB 7th ed. Where I really like WAB 2.0's scoring system but It still has its annoying kinks, where random dice too often overrule common sense and psychology effects are just a tad too overwhelming to quantify as "fun". As a result trying another Ancients gaming system that seems to get away from these things and offers some new ideas with alot more modeling freedom, wasn't a hard sell.

Hail Caesar's rules also don't require individual model basing or fixed unit sizes. units fight as who;e units (not individuals in the unit) and casualties count toward morale checks and there is no need for pulling a model per wound ( you can- but its not needed a dozen counters will suffice) This gives you alot more modeling options for things like Shieldwalls and Warbands.

Unlike other games we are familiar with, Units will very rarely fight down to the last man before one breaks, somewhere after 4-8 casualties a unit (depending on its size) becomes "Shaken" and after that they start making break tests. You can of course continue to make your break tests and continue taking casualties but once you hit twice your "Stamina" in KIA's your going to auto break. There are ton of options for what happens when you break depending on the unit and its skill. Breaking doesnt automatically mean removed from the table. the best troops can of course regroup and keep on fighting , while others are scattered to the winds. There is also a detailed Orders system that enables you to declare orders and make multiple moves should your leadership succeed. Armies are arranged in divisions with sub commanders then an overall General, you know, like a real army.

I really like what I am seeing here with Hail Caesar, it makes sense, is very intuitive and leaves bases sizes and army lists up to the player. There is alot more open ended "player agreement" here, which is totally fine by me and fun for a game with adults. The rigidity of GW's rules and its tournament application often followed to letter and the arguments about RAW or RAI (rules as written or rules as intended) are about as tasty these days as cup of pisswater.

Hail Caesar is both simplified in its dice mechanic but complex from a tactical standpoint in regards to units there use and movement as a result this game reads like a breath of fresh air, I have yet to try it that is happening on July 5th, until them we are working on getting our armies sorted. Rich and I are working on getting four full side prepared, Ancients- Romans vs Britons and Dark Ages Anglo Saxons vs Saxons will be seeing the field of battle first I am sure. Since I saw a box of Conquests new Norman Knights floating around my basement last club night, I think I'll be seeing my traditional nemesis soon as well.

It worth a mention that another great thing about these rules is they are very amendable to other types of games. The Hail Caesar Yahoo group has some great discussion going on about Lord of the Rings...while things like magic and hero use will take some creative thought and house ruling, army to army type combat with fantasy armies with this system , simply blows stuff like War of the Ring and WFB's current incarnation out of the Water.

Go figure- this game was written by Rick Priestly, who worked for Games Workshop forever writing many folks favorite games (mine: LotR SBG) or editions of their favorite games. I don't know with any certainty but scuttlebutt on various forums seems that he left GW over differences with various games "new directions" and a personal quest to do his own thing. It not like there have not been alot of big changes at GW within the last 3 years. As a result, like alot of us it seemed the love affair with Games Workshop is over. Congrats Rick. I surely get some review opinions and Hail Caesar action reports in for our Ancients gaming as soon as we start throwing dice.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Warmachine Rolls on...

Played a couple of great games of Warmachine Wednesday with two of my favorite fellow disgruntled WFB players Steve and Brian. I've known both since the early days of 7th ed, Both plainly state they have moved to Warmachine and are not looking back. I have two reasons I am still hanging on to WFB, one is my love for my Empire Army that I have 5 years of work into, the other is to socialize with guys like Steve and Brian, with guys like this dropping from the fold, I don't think I will be far behind.

I am still hanging on by my fingernails and have what looks to be a great WFB event (Blood in the Sun) right around the corner, how that plays out with dictate my interest in the fall. That and of course how bad Matt Wards new surely horrible book, aka "Storm of Magic", further pollutes the local WFB pool.

The fact that Rick Priestly is gone from GW and writes the fantastic "Hail Caesar!" (more on that in my next post) and Matt Ward who wrote the freaking DoC Army book for WFB and War of the Ring still has a job as is writing new supplements for GW is pretty telling in my opinion on the piss poor decisions being made in Nottingham. I swear from the looks of things its not long before we see crappy pre painted plastics on the shelves of Walmart with "Games Workshop" all over them.

Anyway back onto our Warmachine recap, we could get a 4th so we really on got two games in my Cryx force versus Retribution then the Legion.

At 35 points our lists were



10 Blackbanes Ghost Raider
6 Revenant Crew
3 Black Ogrun Boarding Party
Captain Rengrave
Pistol Wraith


Shredder x2

Striders +UA
Blighted Ogrun (warmongers?)



10 Dawnguard Invictors
w/ UA Officer and Standard
10 Mage Hunter Strike Force
w/ UA Commander
Stormfall archers
House Shyeel Magister

Game 1 was versus Brian's Retribution...where he showed me how mage hunters work by killing me in one round. rebooting for a second game after that lesson. I gave him a much better game...but being afraid of mage hunters made me overly cautious...I fed my unit to him piecemeal and by the time I killed the mage hunters (or most of them) I'd lost to much stuff the threated Ravyn, a Manticore a Griffon, and half a squad of invictors with Skarre and few Revenant Crew...I did put a few wounds on Ravyn via backlash but that was it.

I went down to Ravyn and the Griffon pretty easily being already my own feat and a couple of shooting wounds. Ravyn has this great move combo where she can shoot, melee attack, shoot again, and melee attack again etc..until she runs out of focus...she single handedly wiped 7 of my Ghost Raiders..the turn before they went incorp again...which was a bummer.. anyway tough list.

Game 2 was versus Steve's Legion. Steve mainly plays his Cygnar he brought out his Legion so he could show me the Hordes side of things and how it played.. I immediately got tied up with both his beasts while being harrased by the Striders on one flank. I was setup to do Ok, but fail to kill Angelious (who I have to kill twice as Thagrosh's feat is too totally resurrect it) I stupidly keep forgeting about Skarre Sacrificial Strike...which could have finished the thing numerous times as i had the bodies and the focus and It was only attacking me via its reach while engaged with my mangled Reaper.But I was too worried about the Shredders..anyway..I was careless and died.

At least losing all these matches, its showing me whats up, I'm not playing enough and am doing enough other things that everytime I play I feel like I am playing catch up with rules. I realize my units arent the most ideal for my caster. From what I read it appears from the way I like to play and units I have Terminus is the caster for me. but I like Skarre and want to learn to get decent with her. Anyway Warmachine is steep learning curve but I am really loving the game. Look for some painted units coming this way soon.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Monthly Pirate Update

When this...

Our 3rd meeting of our Legends of the High Seas Campaign took place on Tuesday evening. 6 crews fighting for domination in our little mock up of the Caribbean circa 1720. My Royal Navy Crew took its lumps losing both games this week, however both losses where totally negligible in the campaign phase where I had only permanent losses of a few able Seamen. I played my own Raise the Flag scenario, which went quite well until a bad round turned things around...I ended up conceding before I took a chance as my very experienced hero's having to roll on that scary injury chart, even with the Surgeon I am fact my Midshipman took a chest wound and is now Defense 2. Still Adam and I agreed it was one of the better games we both played in the campaign.

The second game was quite similar as we demoed my scenario on my ship wreck board. Joe, my opponent had a larger crew than I did, got to both wrecks first and found all the chests quickly (which have to moved to your D zone to score)bad luck, placement, and poor rolls on shooting to wounds..had me breaking first and things went south quickly again I conceded.I did manage to capture on of Adams heroes.(via "Captured" on the injury chart) so he and I will play prison break first thing next week. 2 rounds, 4 games to go. As usual scoring update, etc are on my Legends of the High Seas campaign blog

Goes to this, you best give up the ship or meet Davey Jones locker.

Just a teaser WIP pic of new lighthouse for the shipwreck board, looks much more appropriate. Top section goes on this weekend. photos soon.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pilots House

My original favorite terrain medium was plastic kits until I got my skills up with the Hirst stuff and there is was going back. Still it takes a great plastic kit to catch my eye and those are few and far between these days. I do however have a bunch of opened, (i.e non returnable) GW and Pegasus plastic kits gathering my recent attempts to shed all my GW fat, I found myself staring at the GW Chapel.I never got great use out of any my plastic Warhammer terrain, my Watchtower gets some use, but usually some one or another always feels slighted when you bunker up in the building or use buildings to circumvent some other bad situation. While some people call this Warhammer tactics. I find it usually boiling down to ye who uses WFB lousy building rules to their advantage first wins.

As result plastic kits like this always find much more use for dioramas, set pieces or the best use Skirmish games. Since my interest these days lies squarely with Skirmish games over the large format wargames. Doing something with this thing had found its proper time.

Coincidentally the next WFB tourney I am playing here locally has a terrain contest, and since this meets all the criteria, its going to be my entry, That was probably in the back of my mind as the thing that got me started on this but with Pirates going, my early steps with War Machine, LotR or working on my own ruleset. I am always looking for stuff in the fantasy style that could be used with various systems. It is also the perfect addition for another piece for my town board..(which is getting another 3 x 3 add on real soon)

I should also mention I was inspired by user Galland on the lead adventure forums pirate buildings, he converted this piece as normal church and built an incredible scratch Pilots house, While I decided to use it for the Pilots house. Thankfully the kit is pretty flexible. there are enough doo dads you can do alot with it..I did bore out most of the windows skulls and church and GW iconography with a dremel before putting together and using some plastic needlepoint grid for window lattice., and of course the whole thing its augmented with the Hirst fieldstone base and some interiors floor and wooden pieces. The bay window is an old armorcast piece I've had for many years and never found anything to do with...mast and rope ladder nothing more than a dowel and string. This was built very quickly and looks great sitting at the end of the dock as the Pilot house, you can use the upper floor and mast for play easily with LotHS rules. The end result is very "mordheimy" more than historical for sure..but that ok..I like the GW Fantasy IP when it comes to Mordhein quite a fact I am getting the itch to play it with all crossover it has to Pirates.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Ruined Tower and the Impatient man.

I am not a patient man, odd I choose a hobby that demands much patience. I've always considered it a exercise in self discipline. I had been wanting to build the Ruined Tower or "Not Weathertop" as its often called for a long time now and just never got around to it. I had already cast all the blocks and built the base back in the Winter, the last time I had the urge, but ran out of gas before continuing thru to the build. Over this Memorial Day weekend, I found some time waiting impatiently for other things to dry, cure. And I thought. "Well- I'll just throw this together, how hard can it be?. This is not a hard piece to build, in fact I think its listed as one of the beginner pieces on the Hirst Arts site.The casting level is easy as it and the whole build only uses the one mold.(#65) The key to this project is to follow Bruce Hirst's directions on his website to the letter. I, however decided I didnt want to build it as specified but with the base as totally separate piece. In the original plans each section is attached to the floor. I attached the floors to the terrain piece/base and wanted each section as a single removable piece.

While it doesn't sound like a huge difference it is when you build it as gluing the pieces to the floor and working up allows you a symmetry you don't get working top down or from the middle, as I did. In short after I glued up the entire back section it was out of wack so I had to break it apart and do a half dozen casts to get the clean pieces I needed to get it straight. I also made the mistake of mixing block made from merlins magic and hydro both plasters cure differently even the perfect scrape every time will yield different finish depths between the two materials. To do a good build of this model all you blocks must be identical in depth. Any discrepancy will throw that big curved back wall out of shape.

My end result is less than perfect but is more than fine for my uses and can dual as the multi use terrain piece I wanted. The painting was very easy taking no more a hour or so to base coat, coat with my go to woodland scenic's umber,and go back and dry brush the thing. with one overnight dry period it still took me 4 evenings, instead of the two I was envisioning but another Hirst Lesson learned.

If you want to build this piece, and are not an experienced caster..I suggest you buy the blocks already cast from several vendors out there that sell licensed Hirst blocks, and then follow the directions and you will have a great build on your hands in no time. If you want to re-invent the wheel like find myself doing more often than not...then cheers to you man!.

(Here's the stripped down version of the build here, and why I didnt want to attach the floors to the walls)


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