Monday, December 12, 2011

Campaign Turn 1

Following the auguries written in the night sky, the sorcerer Cenobael the Bloodless leads a band to claim the ancient ruins at the Blasted Heath.

 The opening Chaos gambit is repulsed by the Dwarfs

Friday, December 9, 2011

Marshes of Madness Campaign Rules

As promised, here are the rules Jon and I will be using to fight the campaign.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Afterthought - Inspiration

One of the greatest things about a campaign is the endless decisions.

"The shortest way would be through the pass at Cirith Ungol, but that is narrow and dangerous to move an army through."

And so he decided to  march along the mountains north, and then west, to the haunted pass of Cirith Gorgor, and the untold legions of the Black Lord.

"Why so glum, wizard? Does the mere thought of Sauron's vast forces overwhelm your spirit?

"This war is without final hope. Victory cannot be achieved by force of arms, whether you sit here to endure siege after siege, or march out to be overwhelmed. You have only a choice of evils."

"Then, if the choice be mine, I choose to march!"

Enter the Marshes of Madness!

For all of my disappointment with the Blood in the Badlands supplement (see my previous post), I have to admit, it's inspired me. Maybe that's worth $33. I'm proud to present the campaign map for The Marshes of Madness, a 2-player Warhammer Fantasy Battles campaign designed specifically to pit Jon's Dwarfs against my Warriors of Chaos in a series of linked battles.
 Follow your nodes.

I'll post the rules tomorrow - the opening battle is on Sunday. Psyched!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blood in the Badlands Impressions

After having a few days with the Blood in the Badlands book, I'm not overly satisfied with my purchase. I was hoping it would be a "campaign in a box" like the old Idol of Gork set. Unfortunately, it's not much more than a hardbound White Dwarf issue.

Retailing at $33, it's a slim volume, and it gets much slimmer when you discount the battle reports, which take up at least half of the book. What's left is an interesting but unfortunately pamphlet-sized collection of background material, campaign rules, and a few scenarios. What little rules the book does provide rely on the Mighty Empires and Storm of Magic campaign supplements - so although you could certainly get along without them, if you haven't invested in these additional expansions, Blood in the Badlands is an even lesser value.

I was also disappointed to find (and this isn't Games Workshop's fault, just an unhappy coincidence), that the army special rules for Dwarves and Warriors of Chaos cancel each other out. So, Jon, it might be time to recruit other participants for the campaign.

It's not all bad. The production value is extremely high, as always, and the hardcover is nice. What rules the supplement does provide seem to be enough to create an interesting experience without emphasizing the campaign over individual battles too much. I don't even mind the army features and battle reports too much - they're fun to read - I just wish they would have saved them for the magazine. In addition to the overwhelming amount of battle reports and campaign journals, the book is full of little sidebars and callouts featuring the studio's inside jokes. I can't help but feel that I've just spent money to read about someone else having fun.

Hopefully it'll be just as much fun when I get a chance to try it out for myself.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two More Battles

Death! Destruction! The Dark Gods! It's all part of a Sunday afternoon.

Jon and I played two 1,000 point games this weekend as part of our quest for mastery over the Warhammer Fantasy system before we start looking for some tournaments. We decided to play both games by the book, using all of the crazy terrain generation rules.

At the end of the day we each took home a win. I won the first game by massing my forces in a corner and applying as much pressure as possible to Jon's left flank. A large hill in the center of the table helped hide my units from Jon's Organ Gun and Thunderers while I chomped through his dudes piece by piece. In the second game, I foolishly deployed my knights immediately in front of the Dwarven artillery, and due to a failed charge (4 inches on 3d6, really?) and poor rolls on my Blasted Standard, Jon mercilessly obliterated ~30% of my army in one fell swoop. Elsewhere, his Ironbreakers cut down my ogres to seal the game.

I think we're both becoming much more comfortable with the system. We're planning another game this Sunday, and I hope to assemble another unit or two before then so we can move to 1,500 points. In my current list, I have about 500 points tied up in 9 models, and it's starting to catch up with me, so I'll need to get more troops on the table soon.

I also need to rethink my magic. I've been having some success with the Lore of Tzeentch (in our first game, my Sorcerer pulled off Treason, causing the crew of the Organ Gun to slaughter each other in one turn), but it' seems pretty situational - I'm finding there are a lot of instances where I have wasted magic dice at the end of the turn due to a lack of targets or spells.

Jon and I both pre-ordered the new campaign book, so I hope we'll get a chance to start playing some linked games soon. Clearly, there is a rivalry brewing between my northern barbarians and Jon's bearded heroes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

I don't like multiplayer miniatures games. Between setup and the increased downtime, there's far too much waiting around, and at least one player always seems to be marginalized. Multiplayer games have their virtues, though, and when they come off the right way, they're good for hanging around with friends (and it's a good way to initiate a new player).

We had an odd number of Fantasy players and a shortage of tables the other night at the club, so we decided to try out a multiplayer game. The forces were arrayed thusly, and after some gentlemanly chatter, we took to the field of glorious battle:

The Forces of Disorder
  • Ogres (Colin)
  • Orcs and Goblins (Akil)
  • Warriors of Chaos (myself)
The Forces of Order (aka The Unlikely Alliance)
  • Dwarves (Jon)
  • Elves (Brett)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Game of Kings

The blog has been quiet recently, but that doesn't mean I've been neglecting the hobby. I have about 1,000 points of Warriors of Chaos ready to be primed and based in anticipation of an upcoming match against Jon's Dwar(f/ve)s at the end of the month. I'll post some pictures when I have something worth photographing, but right now the momentum is good.

I'm also going to spend an hour or two cleaning up and priming my FSA fleet for Dystopian Wars sometime this weekend for Sunday's game. I'm trying to get some paint on them before the end of December so they'll be presentable when I take them on the road. I'm also going to prime a few of the Perry Brothers' ACW infantry I picked up at the end of the summer. They'll be a nice break if painting fatigue sets in and Christina has been asking about them.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shaka, When the Walls Fell

Warhammer Fantasy hit the table again, this time it was Dwarfs vs. Orcs in a classic showdown. This is the stuff starter box cover art is made of, especially given that both armies were painted by the prolific Dungeon Painter. I took command of a mixed-composition Orc war party while Jon fielded his no-nonsense Dwarf gun line.

Big news.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Escape from Yeti Island

After a month or so in port, Dystopian Wars finally hit the table at last night's PAGE meeting, where four admirals gathered for a learning game. Since everyone is still a new hand at the game, we decided to play a four-way battle.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gallows Point Incident

Deployment is hard.

During the late stages of the Utani Offensive, Imperial forces suffered a series of defeats due to a communications breakdown in the sprawling coalition command structure. Of the diverse forces represented, the Valhallan 554th under Captain Vladimir "The Yeti" Gloval remained focused on the larger war while attendant Imperial guard, Space Marine, and Adeptus Mechanicus forces pursued their own objectives.

Seeing an opportunity to outmaneuver the enemy, Captain Gloval deployed his forces to Weyland's Rock, a planet well-suited to the 554th's combat expertise. Grand Master Azrael of the Dark Angels disapproved of Gloval's plan and demanded the Valhallans return to the front immediately. When Gloval refused, the Grand Master dispatched a delegation under the command of Master Belial of the Deathwing. The Deathwing intercepted the 554th on the windswept Gallows Point. Their mission was to convince the commander to reconsider his movements...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

America! By jingo!

The only GW here is George Washington.

I've been buying Games Workshop models pretty regularly for the past 15 or so years now, and in that time I haven't purchased more than one or two products from competing companies. For the most part that's because the production quality and art direction of GW models are top notch, but recently I've been curious about what I'm missing. In that spirit, I recently picked up two boxed sets of the finest American miniatures made by Great Britain - the Federated States of America starter set by Spartan Games, and American Civil War infantry by Perry Miniatures.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Deathwing Company Standard WIP

Due to a recent bout of insomnia, this model is much closer to completion than the photograph suggests, but here's what I've been working on lately.

One flag is just not enough.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Command Central

I'm thinking about heading over to Alternate Universes in Blue Bell on 9/17 for a 2,000 point tournament. This gives me about a month to get everything assembled, inked, and based, which is reasonable.

Here's how things stand at the moment:

Point values have been blurred to protect the innocent

Monday, August 8, 2011

I am competitive.

The dust from 'Ard Boyz has cleared, and 2,500 points of terminators are all back on the shelves. At 12 players, there was a decent turnout, and the staff at Redcap's managed everything smoothly. I learned some rough lessons, but overall I'm happy with the results:
  • Round 1: vs. Lovell's Necrons: massacre (Dark Angels), full battle points
  • Round 2: vs. Jesse's Imperial Guard: major victory (Imperial Guard), 1 battle point
  • Round 3: vs. Jonathan's Eldar: Massacre (Eldar), no battle points
I believe this puts me at around 17 points for the tournament - probably toward the bottom of the pile (update: I tied for 6th of 12), but every point was well-earned. The second round was particularly close and I nearly pulled off a draw, which I'll count as a morale victory against my opponent's formidable Guard list.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Inspiration is Everywhere

It's not a dumpster, it's a Rhino.

It's not exactly a revelation, but observing objects in your environment is a great way to increase your painting skills. Today I walked past a decommissioned Dark Angels Rhino. Having just assembled a Rhino, I'm excited to try to replicate this weathering in the next few weeks using the hair spray weathering technique.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Works in Progress

Finally: some WIP shots.

Shadowy figures...

More pictures on flickr. I like this set because it was taken by Christina, who knows a lot about photography but almost nothing about miniatures, which is a nice change of pace.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reimagining the Dark Angels

One of the things that first attracted me to Warhammer 40,000 in my callow youth was the game’s grim, operatic setting. It’s Star Wars without the naïveté, a universe like our own, where no one gets along and the best you can hope to be is morally neutral. Sure, Warhammer 40,000’s bleakness is over the top and probably just as much of a cartoon as traditional “black hat vs. white hat” settings, but the grit is compelling.

That’s probably why I’ve always been a fan of the Dark Angels, the knights in tarnished armor who all but define the term “antihero.” With their storied history and secretive nature, the Dark Angels are billed as engaging and morally complex. But are they?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Deathwing 2500 points, for real this time

With just under a month left until 'Ard Boyz, it's time to go into extreme task-oriented mode.

It's the final countdown

Monday, July 11, 2011


Sunday night gaming is picking up. Recently, I got some table time against 1500 points of Joe's Kingbreakers Space Marines. We generated the mission randomly, and it turned out to be a classic: Annihilation with Pitched Battle deployment rules.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Capture and Control

I made it out to the game club last weekend where I had the opportunity to face off against Colin's Nurgle-heavy Chaos marine army at the 2000 point level. We rolled Capture and Control with a Dawn of War deployment. The mission practically guaranteed a draw, but the deployment type favored my close-range heavy infantry.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

'Ard Boyz Speculative List: Deathwing Assault!

'Ard Boyz is all about bringing your craziest, spammiest lists. I've been doing some thinking about the crazy configurations the Dark Angels codex offers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Name Game

One of the reasons I made so many false starts in army construction (other than general flightiness) is that it took me a while to realize I really need to "get behind" the character of an army to maintain an interest. That's why I keep coming back to the Dark Angels - they just get me, you know?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Slow and Purposeful

No pictures to accompany this post, but last night I engaged in a massive cleaning/priming/basing operation. As it stands, there are 22 primed terminators and a dreadnought on the table, as well as finished bases for ten of the terminators and the dread. Early this week I'll give the terminators their Gryphonne Sepia wash and finish up a bunch more bases. When I get that far, I'll be able to attach the models to the bases permanently, and then they'll just be waiting for detailing. It'll be nice to have a significant portion of the army in a playable state.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Absolutely No Good Reason the reason I painted this Crimson Fist.

Brother Melquiades

It's not like I have to work on my 'Ard Boyz army or anything.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blood on the Streets!

No updates for a while, because I've been waiting for my plans to come to fruition. Fortunately, the time is right. I present: Mordheim!

Not pictured: the other half of the gang

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Goblins Great and Not so Great

After watching Kevin's Tzeentch d(a)emon army thrash Jon's Dwarfs on Sunday evening, I had a chance to try the goblins in a small 1,000 point "Blood and Glory" scenario. My opponent was Kevin and his victorious demons, and luckily both Kevin and Jon brought along extra goblin models so I was able to try out some units I don't own.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

There's no wrong way to paint a goblin.

Remember when Peter Jackson made a bunch of movies about hobbits, and everything on screen was brown or green? I really like that aesthetic. Sure, it's still fantasy, but it somehow feels more viable than the technicolor illustrations from the Player's Handbook of yesteryear. That's why I decided to eschew the traditional jet-black night goblin wardrobe in favor of an earthier approach.

Gollum times infinity

Monday, March 21, 2011

Progress Report

I've been stealing a few spare moments over the last week to do a little modeling. In the past few days I've primed and laid down the initial wash on a bunch of goblins, and I've been getting some goblins on their bases.

I'm pretty happy with my basing scheme. Once I've got my basing material glued to the base, I prime with a very dark brown spray I picked up cheaply at the hardware store and the base gets a quick drybrush of snakebite leather. Then I pop on a goblin, which has been primed separately (the goblin needs to be sprayed white for the painting method I'm using - I'll detail that at a later date). After the miniature's been painted, I'll throw on some "Swamp Tuft." Because I'm panting the Night Goblins' robes brown instead of the customary black, I'm worried there's going to be alot of brown and green, but my intention is to try to achieve a more naturalistic appearance, so I'm not too worried.

Modeling supplies.

Before Sunday's game, I'd like to get the first two ranks of two units painted, which means I need to completely finish 34 models. I also need to get the rest of my army in a playable state, though, so first I need to prioritize.

As I type this, the glue is curing on the Battle Standard Bearer I threw together last night. When I get home I'll put some primer on him and most likely be so excited about the prospect of painting him that I'll forget about everything else.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grond! Grond! Grond!

I don't really have anything significant to report, but I've been thinking about orcs a lot lately, so I thought I'd offer these gems.

Kind of makes you remember why we do what we do.

The Bakshi version was weird as hell and constantly disappointed me as a child (when I'd ask to watch Lord of the Rings, I'd get this about half of the time, when I really wanted to watch the Rankin-Bass version). But, this definitely captures the hellish cacophony that should accompany any marching greenskin horde. I love the trumpets.

I've been making progress cleaning, priming, and putting the first licks of ink on the goblin army. I'm on track to show up with a fully-primed army of 1,000 or 1,500 points the Sunday after next.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Greenskin Army Book, Quick Update

I picked up a copy of Warhammer Armies: Orcs & Goblins today. My initial feelings about the book could be generously described as 'cautious.' For one thing, it's only available in hardcover, which seems a strange choice on the publisher's part given their history of softcover rules supplements. For another thing, the customer is obliged to pay nearly another $10 USD for this dubious privilege. Luckily, I've been able to get almost all of my goblins at substantial discounts, so the few extra dollars doesn't scratch my greenskin budget too badly, but that's incidental. The real test of the hardcover's value is the following:
  1. Is the aesthetic appeal of the book worth a few extra bucks (about the cost of an issue of White Dwarf)?
  2. Is the book more durable than a softcover?
I'd answer no to the first question, but given the success of Games Workshop's various limited edition offerings throughout the years, I suspect many hobbyists will answer in the affirmative. Regarding the second, time will tell, but I feel optimistic.

There's no question that the book itself is beautifully illustrated and designed, and best of all, it exudes the "new game product smell," which evokes all of the wonder and possibilities I felt when I bought the Warhammer Fantasy 5th edition box as a kid. The creative copy is on the level of most other GW stuff: adequate. The rules seem a little clearer than the previous version of the army book (I always wondered whether a Night Goblin could take the Spider Banner, for example). As a pragmatic hobbyist, the book seems a bit bloated to me: of the book's 112 pages, under 60 pages are directly related to rules.

Regarding the rules themselves, it's hard for me to speak authoritatively, being new to the army. Overall, the book doesn't feel like a "codex creep"style overhaul, but a fine-tuning. For example, the magic item lists has been slimmed down considerably, now consisting of just eight items, many of which are only available to certain unit types. Among the casualties: the Staff of Sneaky Stealin'. Oh no! But wait. A modified version of the staff's power has been built into the spells of the Da Little Waaagh. That's especially cool, as goblins were previously out of luck when it came to taking advantage of the special rules for Waaagh! magic.

There are also a few new unit types (Mangler Squigs seem neat; the Arachnarok is fun if a bit impractical) as well as a few "unit upgrade" characters, both of which are goblins. Beyond the price and unnecessary (to my mind) amounts of background material, I do have one minor complaint:the army list in the back of the book doesn't include page references for the units, so you need to go hunting. That slows things down a bit. There's plenty more little bonuses, though. The Animosity rules seem a bit more forgiving, and the Warboss' Waaagh! ability (still orcs only, of course) is characterful and potentially devastating. The new edition seems a little more flexible and streamlined than the previous and it's a good time to start a goblin army.

Regarding the actual construction of said army, I've been out of town most of the week and I didn't have a moment alone all weekend, so I haven't made much progress, but I now have the following assembled, cleaned of mold lines, and primed:
  • Night Goblin Warboss on Great Cave Squig
  • 3 unmounted Night Goblin Shamans (Shamen?)
  • 2 Night Goblin Big bosses
  • a Night Goblin Battle Standard Bearer
  • 2 Cave Squigs, 3 Herders
  • 50 Night Goblins with spears, shields, and full command
  • 10 Night Goblins with short bows
  • 18 giant spiders (sans riders)
  • 2 Night Goblin Fanatics
I'm expecting loads more Night Goblins, Fanatics, and a Spear Chukka in the mail any day now. It's going to be tight, but my current goal is to have a legal 1,000 point army primed and on the table by March 27.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Before I forget - and because he asked me about this ages ago - you should check out some of the fantastic work my friend Matt is doing over at his blog, Sarcophagi. Matt is a true hobbyist and his Imperial Guard are phenomenal (just ignore the Warmachine stuff).

Down, Down to Goblin Town

I've been knee-deep in green over the past few days, so I thought I'd report on some of my progress and talk a little about my plans for the goblin project. Last night was a rare no-plans-at-all night so I had blocked it off as hobby time, but about an hour into it a friend stopped by and wanted to go on a bike ride, so, priorities.

A few months ago I picked up two packages of Games Workshop's modular movement trays, and last night I assembled a few of them. I know that I want to start the army with at least two units of 50 goblins each in horde formation, so I cut the ten by ten (20mm spaces, not inches) sheet that comes with the package in half. It's very easy to score and snap with an xacto and a straightedge. Then it's just a matter of removing the plastic "lips" and gluing them to the sides. This part requires a razor saw, but on the whole it was still incredibly easy. I was surprised by the value of this kit and would certainly recommend it. Of course, it's easy to construct your own movement trays out of cardboard and popsicle sticks, but for the ease of construction, sturdiness, and most importantly, time saved, I'll stick with the modular trays.

Here's a few blurry cell phone pictures of some of my progress:

Some likely lads.

This is part of a unit.

King Under the Mountain

Games Workshop has always treated Orcs and Goblins as the comic relief of their setting, but I'm inspired to put some of the fear back into them. Really, what's so funny about hordes of deformed subterranean creatures who know only malice and hatred, whose chanting fills the ancient halls, and who periodically spill forth in vast waves, wreaking vengeance against the hated surface-dwellers? Sounds terrifying to me.

To that end, the power behind this barely-contained force of devastation is the Underking, a self-styled abyssal regent (counts-as Skarsnik). Having subjugated dozens of night goblin tribes, he holds court in an ancient dwarven throne room among a rabble of sycophants, advisors, and slaves. The army will contain only night goblins and count-as night goblins (spider riders, for example) as well as the various beasts that populate the unlit halls: spiders, swarms of bats (counts as snotlings!), cave trolls, and, of course, lots of squigs. I have a few more ideas, as well, but I'll save those for future updates. In the meantime, I'm pretty excited about goblins. As I learned in my youth, goblins who live in caves are badass.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

O. G.

Ok, first things first. I didn't finish my pledge. I didn't even come close. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Having said that, I've been surprised about the number of folks who have been asking about this over the past month or so, and I've been fiddling with some plastic offhandedly over the past few weeks, so I thought I might start posting here again, albeit sporadically.

In terms of hobby developments, I've been selling off some kits that I'll never realistically paint and assemble. I also dug out the unfathomable legion of night goblins I picked up a few years ago when everyone was selling off their Skull Pass stuff, and have been slowly cleaning mold lines off of goblins. Upon some reflection, I really enjoy Warhammer Fantasy, but I just don't have the painting skill to do the High Elves the way I want right now. And that bothers me. But it turns out I can paint goblins to a level that I find acceptable. Some of you may have seen this test mini from a while back:

So there it is. The Original Gangstas, Orcs & Goblins. I went down to the local game store yesterday, where I was lucky enough to thumb through their advance copy of the new army book. It doesn't look like there's anything too mind-bendingly crazy in there (especially since I'm planning a Night Goblin-exclusive force), but overall, it definitely looks solid and I'm psyched.

I'll post updates as they occur. I also need to figure out what I'm doing about 40k, because I owe Matt a fully-painted game, and that is something that needs to be rectified.