309 A Day with Nothing to Do

I finally had a free day and nothing I was supposed to do during it, so I decided to have some quality “me time” and do some fun stuff.

My first step was to the public library.  I managed to, within a straight hour of peace and quiet, to come up with a pretty passable adventure for my 4E campaign.  A little more roleplaying than we’ve had lately.

Then I headed to one of the two gaming stores in Dayton, the Bookery.  I like both stores for different reasons, but the Bookery opens an hour earlier than the Krystal Keep, and I was racing a severe winter storm.  I spent about forty minutes there, looking at all the stuff that they had there.

I will admit to some Games Workshop sticker shock.  $57 for the new Warhammer 40K rulebook?  What, was it hand illustrated?  And while this is old news to most, the new trend of only offering 10-12 plastic minis for ~$25 was a shock.  Maybe I’ve been painting Wargames Factory Numidians for too long, but $2.50 for a plastic figure of a sprue that’s worth only 7 points in an army list is crazy.  So basically, to get what you used to get in a regiment set, you’re looking at $50, plus tax.

Now and then I get tempted to get back into 40K; I own several small armies and have, through bartering, a bunch of chaos space marines unpainted in the basement.  And $25 for the new army codex isn’t too bad, but I think I’ll wait and pick up an AoBR mini-rulebook on eBay or something.  I don’t need giant full-color photos at this point–that’s what the internet is for.   But it definitely soured me on starting my son with a tyranid army.

I also looked at the Dungeon Master’s Guide 2 for 4th Edition D&D, but the information within seemed fairly obvious or not particularly relevant (like paragon-level campaigns).

So, I picked up the new copy of the Warmachine MkII rules.  Pricey at $40, but I own three starter box sets from a Christmas present I was given ages ago, and it wouldn’t be hard to get my ten-year-old interested in magical robots.

When I got back, I got caught up on this week’s Numidians. Right now the dip is drying and they’ll be ready to be photographed tomorrow.  I also primed two chaos beastmen, the OOP champion and standard bearer.  They will hopefully be a nice break from the ‘Mids.

305 Hostile Realms on the way

It’s been a while since I dropped any real money on hobbies.  The Numidians I’m working on were from November , as was the copy of The Pathfinder Bestiary.  So I was about due for something.

I thought long and hard about getting a new wargame.  I’m pretty set on RPG’s, have plenty of molds I’m not using, and about three dozen miniatures on the painting table.  I also decided to perhaps look at a new fantasy game.  You see, I’m mostly a Warhammer Fantasy Battles player to the point where you can take the number of times I’ve played other games, add them together and multipliy by three, and you still wouldn’t have the number I’ve played WHFB.  So I was thinking about something different.

The problem is, there’s not a lot in the way of fantasy wargames out there, which surprises me.  There’s upteen Napoleonic games, but little in fantasy despite the wide range of miniatures available.  Or rather there isn’t a lot that isn’t either a skirmish game (eg. Confrontation, Song of Blades and Heroes, or Malifaux) or a thinly-veiled Warhammer clone (e.g. No Quarter).  I like skirmish games, but I was looking for something to scratch my big-battle itch.  That got me down to two choices: Armies of Arcana or Hostile Realms.

Side note: I know about Hordes of the Things, the fantasy hack of the DBA rules.  I own it.  But my honest opinion is that HOTT isn’t that far removed from a skirmish game, given that you are usually battling with a dozen stands (40-60mm bases) with one to four miniatures on it.  Nothing against the game–it looks like fun and I appreciate the inherent flexibility.

Armies of Arcana, from what I can tell, seems very tooled for 15mm, which isn’t that big a handicap.  Hostile Realms is the fantasy hack of the Piquet system, which is (in)famous for its innovative ruleset.  That innovation (loved or loathed) was what won me over.  I wanted something really different from WHFB so that I’d have to start thinking differently about gameplay.  That was my problem with No Quarter (which is a free download and should definitely be looked at).  Yes, you get different monsters and the ability to tool up your own army list, but it plays very similarly to WHFB  and wouldn’t really push me in terms of new gamesmanship.

I’m not familiar with Piquet, as I said, but I’ll post a review of Hostile Realms after it arrives.  It should be here in about a week.

301 The first Numidians

Rather than jump and start doing a bunch of Wargames Factory Numidians all at once, I thought I’d start with just doing one sprue’s worth.

Wargames Factory Numidians

Most of the figures are just basecoated, but I did do some work on the shields.

Numidian shield designs

Initially I had thought of trying to have the javelin-wielding figures just hold the javelins as spears, pointing upward.  Unfortunately the arms just don’t look that good in that position, so most of my “spearmen” are going to be holding them over their heads.

My plan is to use these Numidians as a “proxy” Warhammer Fantasy Battles army, perhaps Empire.  The only downside is that I’d be stuck with just swordsmen, spearmen, bowmen, and slingers, who I guess could be huntsmen.  The Numidian cavalry are pretty lightly armored for Empire knights, but might be outriders.  Is that army competitive?  We’ll just have to see.

299 Games Workshop Skeleton Warriors finished

I  finally got the back rank completed.  Here’s a pic:

I used the newer stain, which appears to be a bit more brown than the old stuff.  I don’t think it turned out as well.

In any case, here’s a shot of the unit together.

Games Workshop Skeleton Warriors

All told, I think the unit looks really good.  I’ve already started on my next big army, pics soon to come.

298 The 2009 Warhammer Campaign final battle report

After about eight months of regular campaigning in Warhammer Fantasy Battles, it all came down to the battle for the Lost City.  There were a lot of special rules and details about the scenario, but it basically boiled down to one single siege battles.

Attackers: 2500 pts. of Vampire Counts with Mannfred von Carstein (me) and 2500 pts. of Skaven with Grey Seer Thanquol (Chris)

Defenders: 2000 pts. of Bretonnians with the Green Knight (my arch rival Vince) and 2000 pts. of Lizardmen (Tom)

We played on a 5′ by 14′ table with a castle wall running the length of the table.  Deployment wise, we paired off: VC vs. Lizardmen on one end and Skaven vs. Brets on the other.  I don’t know about the others but basically I fielded three units of skellies, one unit of crypt guard, two units of fell bats, a unit of ghouls, a unit of DoW halfing archers and a varghulf.  For heroes I had von Carstein, a wight lord, and a vampire standard bearer.

Vince surveys the fortifications

The defenders had the tactic of putting skinks and peasant bowmen on the walls, and then knights and saurus warriors behind the walls to repel attackers after the missile units have thinned them out.

On the Skaven side things went very badly.  The Green Knight and several knight units went outside the walls and killed Thanquol and scattered many of the units.  There were also a lot of misfire problems with the Skaven weaponry.  By the time the Skaven got through the walls, the knights made easy work of them.

On my end every major infantry unit of mine made it over of through the walls to the other side and put paid to the Lizardmen.  Mannfred lived up to his title as Master of the Undead by continually moving and reinforcing units as they were picked off by skinks or falling to Saurus Warriors.  Despite my strong victory, there wasn’t enough zones under my sole control and my side lost by a very narrow margin.  In the last turn there were several “this is the game” die rolls and enough of them went their way to make the difference, including an improbably halfling/skink melee combat.

Tom desperately looks to Vince for advice as undead swarm the walls

This was one campaign where I was always in the #2 spot behind my arch rival Vince and despite my best effort at the end I ended up in second place for the final.  Now we move into the 2010 campaign, which is my responsibility to put together.  I’ve been considering less of a “narrative” campaign and just going a flat “win-loss” tournament instead.