Monday, 1 August 2016

Clash of Swords - An tale of speed painting and not knowing how to play - Part 1

It's been a while but I've not done a lot of anything Wargame related since the Bugmans XXXXXX event which is basically all down to real life. Obviously this is something I'm not happy with and have been trying to do something about but again, real life stops it.

Image result for meme hobby

But I've signed myself up to a Age of Sigmar tournament at the end of October, so I need to start doing stuff now as I've got 12 and a half weeks to paint something up. The great things is that with The General's Handbook being released, the internet is a buzz of people coming up with different ideas for army lists. After the usual thinking about things and trying to work out what I could do in that time period, I've come up with the following ideas......

A Death Army

This is the favourite at the moment because I have not played anything Undead related since 4th edition Warhammer Fantasy and also anything Undead related, lends itself nicely to painting things quickly. I have two ideas for this - One based on an army I have seen on The Grand Alliance Forum and another which I'm not too sure I have thought of or seen on the net somewhere....

The Spirit Bomb is a list that has some nice synergies between the units, has a nice mixture of units and looks fun. The list is basically as follows:

Allegiance - Death
Allegiance Trait - Deathless Minions
Command Trait - Ruler of the Night
Artefact - Tomb Blade

Leaders -
General - Vampire Lord on a Zombie Dragon - Deathlance (Tomb Blade), Shield, Chalice - 440pts
Heinrich Kemmler - 160pts
Necromancer - 120pts

Battleline -
20 Zombies - 120pts
20 Zombies - 120pts
10 Zombies - 60pts

Units -
12 Spirit Host - 480pts
4 Morghast Archai - 480pts

Total: 1980/2000pts

The army basically splits into three elements. One element is made up of the General and Spirit Hosts as the General buffs them with the Deathless Minions & Ruler of the Night combo (extra 5+ save against anything) and lets them re-roll their attacks. The next element is made up of Kemmler and the Morghasts, which again buff from the Deathless Minions combo and are quite good at beating things up, and finally the Zombies and Necromancer just wander around claiming or contesting things. What I like about this army is that it's not point and click in how you use it but also forms a nice basis for adding more and more things to in the future.

Next on my notepad of ideas is an army based around the Nighthaunters faction. This army is as follows:

Allegiance - Death
Allegiance Trait - Deathless Minions
Command Trait - Ruler of the Night
Artefact - Ring of Immortallity

Leaders -
General - Tomb Banshee with Ring of Immortallity - 80
Tomb Banshee - 80
Tomb Banshee - 80
Tomb Banshee - 80

Battleline -
6 Spirit Hosts - 240
6 Spirit Hosts - 240
6 Spirit Hosts - 240

Units -
10 Hexwraiths - 320
10 Hexwraiths - 320
10 Hexwraiths - 320

Total: 2000pts

I would say this list is not as effective as the Spirit Bomb one above but it's a nice theme, has a fair bit of durability and very, very importantly is quick to paint! I think push come to shove, I could probably assemble and paint this over a weekend if I needed too! I'm really torn over this one because I love the theme and that it's quick to paint but it's not as effective as the Spirit Bomb list.

I do have other ideas floating around but I think I need to be realistic, so a Death Army is what I'm probably going to take. I've not settled upon a list but I know I can start on a load of Spirit Hosts to keep me busy!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bugmans XXXXXX Review

So it's been over a week now since the Bugmans XXXXXX event and I've got five minutes to scribble down my thoughts about the weekend.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm on about, Bugmans XXXXXX was an Blood Bowl event run by the Warhammer World events team. It was quite exciting as I think it's been six or seven years since there has been a Blood Bowl event there.

If you have not been to Warhammer World, I would suggest that you make the effort to go at least once if you can. It's a great gaming hall with fantastic tables for playing games on and it's free. They do ask you to only use GW models and try and play the system the table is designed for, with the game you want to play (so 40K on a ruined Forge World). So if you want to have a gaming day with your mates, it's worth the visit if you don't have too far to travel.

You also have Bugmans bar, which is basically a pub with a nice selection of beer and food (and coffee for the drivers!). If I lived closer to the venue, I'm sure I would be there every weekend if I could! There is also the Exhibition Hall, which is where all the painted miniatures and cool dioramas are. You do have to pay to go in, but to be honest it's worth it to see all the cool stuff in there.

New Stuff
Because GW are re-releasing Blood Bowl, there was a stand where Andy Hoare (head of Specialist Games) was set up showing off the new models. The core message he was saying was that the game isn't changing and staying using the core CRP6 rules that the community have been using for years and that they want to try and do plastic models with resin upgrade packs/models for anything unusual (like Star Players).

Overall, I'm really excited and can't wait to see the game. Andy said they were trying to get it released this year.

The Event and Thoughts
The event was a bit of a weird one as it wasn't a tournament as such, due to how you win it. Basically, you don't win the event by winning all your games. You win by collecting points for scoring touchdowns, causing casualties, completions, getting sent off, etc. I thought this was a nice change but I did see it as squiffed more for Elf teams than for anything else. But again, it was something different to celebrate Blood Bowl and show off the new game.

I had five great games against a mixture of people who play quite regularly to not very often and this was the general camps that majority of players sat in. I didn't win any of my games but due to some completions, casualties and a couple of touchdowns I came 69th out of 92. I was really shocked that the event nearly pulled in 100 players as I was expecting around 30 to 40!

So to sum up, I had fun and I'm excited about Blood Bowl. I hope GW do this again when the game is released.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Preparing for Bugman's XXXXXX League Cup

I'm really excited about going to the Blood Bowl Tournament being run at Warhammer World - Bugman's XXXXXX League Cup! I'm firstly excited because it's Blood Bowl and my favourite game ever from GW, secondly because it's at Warhammer World which is a great venue and not too far from where I live and thirdly there is a real buzz about what is going on with Blood Bowl at the moment.

As you are aware, I'm painting up a High Elf team, so I thought I would go through my thought process for why I picked the team and why I picked the players on my Team.

Savy players may have looked at the Bugmans event pack and noticed that it's not winning games of Blood Bowl that will get you prizes in the event, but doing things such as throwing passes, scoring Touchdowns and committing fouls, as you get points for doing these things. Just by sitting down and working out what teams can do what, it's clear that any team with high agility (such as High Elves) will do well.

This isn't why I chose High Elves.

I chose to do a team of them because I have never, ever used a team which has been able to dodge with much success. I've always in the past used teams, which would rather take the ball and ram it down your throat than run it into the Endzone. Also it didn't help my first experiences with dodging was with Black Orcs and this sort of put me off the idea of doing it. Another reason why I chose to do High Elves, was quite simply I had a stash of models and it was very easy to convert up a team without spending any extra money!

Now onto the team - High Elves have a couple of basic builds you can play with but it boils down to, do you want Catchers or not? Catchers are very nice players as come with the Catch Skill, can move up to 8 squares and have agility of 4. So they are very good at running into your opponents half of the pitch and catching the ball. The downside is not that they have a armour value of 7 but that they cost 90,000 but a LineElf can do a similar job for cheaper. With this in mind, I decided against having catchers (this and having a team with very similar stats makes it easier for me!) and picked the following....

2 x Blitzers
1 x Thrower
8 x LineElves
Prince Moranion
3 x Re-rolls
1 x Apothecary
Fan Factor of 2

(Note - Bugmans has a 1,300,000 limit for picking teams)

I've played a few games on the computer game and in real life with a similar team and it's a playstyle I'm enjoying and seems to be working for me. Basically, all the LineElves do all the hard work by getting the ball, while the Blitzers run around as counters to cages or targeting players for a Blitz. I have found that the team really needs three re-rolls if you can get them because it helps out if you have a bad game. I also thought the addition of Prince Moranion, gives me some much needed Strength to the team and puts him on an edge against Black Orcs or Chaos Warriors if I need to one dice Block something.

I'm really happy with the team and just need to get them painted now! Oh, and some readers may have noticed in the pack that I could have a player sponsored by Bugman to get the Leader skill. While tempting as you basically get a re-roll for 30K, what self respecting Elf would take sponsorship from a Dwarf!

More Kings of War Ponderings

Just a short one today. . . .

No not that short! Since writing about my thoughts on Kings of War, I had one little thing that was troubling me, but I couldn't put my finger on it. It wasn't until I was watching a battle report on the Mantic Game YouTube channel, when I spotted what it was.

Warhammer 8th edition was the best version of Fantasy that GW ever wrote. Yes it was complicated and vague at times, but it was fun and you could never 100% predict which way a game would go (yes, you could have a very good idea but a crazy magic phase or some lucky charges would swing the game). Kings of War has none of that. If a unit is in range to charge, it can. Same with shooting and magic has been toned down.

On the one hand this is great as it makes it easier to balance the game but at the same time it's no fun. Statistics are ok but they can just suck the fun out of playing a game. I want to have fun, I want the crazy stuff to happen as it creates stories about the last time I played Chaos and wherever I had good or bad luck. I want to take risks and gamble playing it safe against something which could win the game for me.

Kings of War is a good game but I don't think it's a great game.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

My thoughts about Kings of War

Like many gamers who played Warhammer 8th Edition for years, I was a little sad when the Old World imploded and GW completely did away with Warhammer how we knew it and came up with Age of Sigmar. I think a little sad is a understatement, I was in complete shock! Working in IT though, I'm used to change, so I was able to quickly get over it and move on. But I still had a itch that needed scratching and that itch was to play a ranked infantry type game before I could let go of what was and move on.

Image result for world imploding

Nine months later, through a chance facebook post of the Kings of War Fanatics group, I was able to get a game in of Kings of War down at a club I used to frequent when I was younger. I was quite pleased about getting in a game as there wasn't many local players for Kings of War and I was happy I wasn't leaping in as a knee jerk reaction due to Warhammer being dead, so I could see the game in a neutral state.

I'm not going to do a in-depth review as plenty of people have done that already and frankly the rules are free and you can make your own minds up about it. (rules are HERE) But if you haven't had chance to do any of that, here's a quick over view of the game.....

It's like Warhammer lite

Well, it is and it isn't. I think you can see that the foundations are set upon how Warhammer used to work but a lot of over complex rules have been stripped away completely, such as psychology or simplified like magic. The game flows very nicely and when you have a lot of units on the board, it has the right feel of a grand battle. 

First turn of my game
Movement is still as important but units don't seem to be able to dance all over the board like they could in 8th edition. Also shooting is interesting as it can cause damage and wipe units off the board, but is balanced with modifiers for moving and cover but more importantly if you can cause a waver on a unit, they can't shoot! Magic is bundled into the shooting phase and is simply an ability that works on a 4+ (so a shooting attack would work on 4+ but you still need to wound and do a nerve check) and nothing seems over the top. Combat worked very well, and I quite liked how you could only fight in your turn and I enjoyed how you caused damage to units. In fact how damage is caused is really cool as models become less wound markers and you can have fun coming up with dioramas on the bases.

So in the game I played I used my High Elves and partnered up with a Undead army against a Orc and Goblin army. This was quite cool as it allowed me to see lots of different units and get a good feel of the game. 

My "Dragon Rider" about to cause a world of hurt on a Giant that failed to rout a unit of "Gladestalkers"
Overall I think the game was enjoyable, had some of the things I enjoyed from Warhammer in it and gave me one last fix. I think the rules are nice and quick to pick up and if there was lots of players locally to me, I would probably jump straight in and pick this game up. But there isn't and I think most of my games would be now and then or at tournaments.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Putting the Blood in Blood Bowl

A new blog and rather than ramble on about introductions, previous attempts at blogs and general procrastination, I thought I would jump straight into things.

I like Blood Bowl. I wouldn't say I love it, but I would say I really, really like it. It's one of my favourite games from Games Workshop as it's fairly simple to pick up, has lots of scope and is a lot of fun. Over the last few years, I have been eagerly waiting for GW to release a new version of it, and when I got to see some of the concept art and new models at a GW open day at the start of this year, I got quite excited. I got even more excited when I found out they were running a Blood Bowl tournament at Warhammer World, so I brought tickets as soon as I could.

There is one little problem... GW don't make Blood Bowl models now and you have to use Games Workshop produced models at the event. This left me with three options:

1) eBay
2) use one of my old teams
3) convert a team from GW models

While the old Blood Bowl models have a certain charm about them, the costs are quite staggering now and all my old teams are basically about bashing the opponents, so I chose option three.

It's not far off twenty years since I started playing Blood Bowl and as a young lad, for some bizarre reason I only cared about bashing things. I could not understand about dodging and why you would want to do it when you could smash somebody in the chops! Being older and more refined now, I quite enjoy playing a game where you need to think about things rather than acting on instinct.

My old Orc team which had seen better days

I also play Blood Bowl 2 on my PS4, so I had chance to play around with a few teams and I quite liked how High Elves played. They could take a few hits, dodge a lot and seemed to fit into my playstyle now. I had some High Elf spares lying around and quickly converted up the following....

New High Elf team in their grey plastic naked glory!
All of the models are from the Spearelf, Archer and Chariot kits. I wanted to keep them looking High Elfish with a bit of a nod to the old Blood Bowl designs and I think I've succeeded. I need to do some minor clean up work on them before they get undercoated but overall I'm happy with them.

Linemen - made from Archer legs and Spearelf body, head and arms

Blitzer - Chariot rider head, body & legs, Spearelf arms

Thrower - Bolt Thrower Crew body and head, arms from Silver Helms (I think!) and feather from archer kit

Catcher - Chariot Rider legs and head, Bolt Thrower arms, and Archer body
I'm quite pleased with the results apart from my attempt to convert up Prince Moranion and I'm going to have a reattempt later this week. I wasn't happy with how hunched over the model looks, so need to go back to the drawing board. If you squint you can see him at the front of the group shot!

I've really enjoyed working on this team and think I've caught the bug as I want to convert up some more! I think I may attempt Skaven next!!

PS - Whilst assembling these High Elves, I cut my thumb and there was some blood :(