Recent Games

I was lucky enough to get some gaming action recently, alright one of the two games was another attempt with my solo gaming rules in which the dice make most of the decisions, but the second was game was with a real live person, my good friend Marc Wilkinson who owns a rather splendid Lizardmen army for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. We played in a battle bunker that has been set up by ‘Dark Sphere Games’ in Waterloo (London), a very fine establishment; and was marked by the unusual absence of beer.

Game 1

The first Battle, the solo affair was a 1000 pts game between Empire and High Elves. The dice worked a treat here, making some very odd, but entertaining tactical decisions. I selected two balanced sides with a good amount of missile and melee troops of both sides. The Empire ‘Ostland Northern Marches’ were led by a captain mounted upon a Pegasus with a large halberdier unit in tow. The High Elves ‘Waystone Coastal Patrol’ were under the charge of a High Elf noble mounted on a Great Eagle with his trusty unit of Lothern Sea Guard.

It’s is quite something when you put your troop movement in the hands of the dice gods, strange decisions can be made, a cavalry unit may reject an easy charge for an enemy across the battle field, a missile unit may totally ignore a nearby threat whilst focusing on a more juicy target. You don’t have to follow the roll of the dice, if you think the move too ridiculous and against your normal strategy, but it can make for some fun decisions. One such dice roll sent a unit of Reaver knights dashing across the table to a unit of Pistolliers (possibly to put the cavalrymen of the Empire in their place), only for them to be peppered by a unit of Handgunners and finished off by the Empire Captain.

Unit of the game had to be the Empire Mortar which took out half of the High Elf Archer unit, and the Lothern Sky-cutter, before blowing itself to smithereens. The battle itself was total carnage, with heavy losses, the Halberdier and the remains of their swordsmen attachment face off against the Sea Guard. In a the closing stages the Empire Captain charged the High Elf noble, made him flee, and caught him in the pursuit, Game over.

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Game 2

My game at ‘Dark Sphere’, was a 1500 pts game. My High Elves Vs Marc’s Lizardmen. Each time I play Marc he selects two spell casters, and I find myself totally outgunned in the magic phase. So this time I went with a level two High magic caster, and a level 1 with Grey magic, both proved useful in the game, but sadly the level two mage was also my down fall, as he cast soul quench in the second round, he caused a disastrous miscast which knock my unit of 30 Sea Guard; down to 14. Thank Asurman for the Shield of Saphery otherwise the unit would have gone entirely.

High Elf shooting was excellent and managed to decimate the Saurus unit, and cut the Skink/Kroxigor unit down to half. But it was not engouh when combat finally took place the combined force of a Stegadon and the Skink/Kroxigors smashed the remaining Sea Guard, and a flank charged upon the Archers by a Razordon hunting pack made the high elves flee from combat and sealed the fate of the Asur. My Sky-cutter and Reaver Knights had worked themselves into position for a fourth round charge, but all they could do was watch in dismay as the remaining army crumbled beneath a sea of reptilian wrath. My hat was definitely off to Marc, he very played well in the face of a barrage of magic and missile fire; and steered his army to victory.

In a post-game analysis I remembered that when a flank charge opportunity presents itself you really should take it, and that it’s probably better to charge the Stegadon before it gets to crash into you. Also poison weapons are really awesome. The High/grey magic combination was good and I may go with that again, but use less dice to cast with. I hope I get to roll the dice again soon.

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Birthday present part deux

I have made some progress on my nephew Oscar’s present the Chaos warrior. I’ve decided also to use this time to catch up with my back log of painting, and have decided to finish off a ‘Blood Bowl’ Dwarf conversion that I made into a standard bearer, he has been glues and fixed up and under-coated for the best part of two years, so while I wait for paint to dry on the Chaos champion, I’ll work on the Dwarf.

Out of the packet, prepared and washed:

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Basic colours:

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Inked and waiting for the next round:

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Warhammer Dwarfs 2014

Well it has taken me a while to put finger to keyboard in relation to this topic; and the new Warhammer Dwarf army book has been out for about 4 months now, many people will have bought the new figures and played a number of new list options. Be it a late review or not, I’ve been a Dwarf player since the late 1980’s and I’m going to post my thoughts about the new release.

On the face of it I like the new book, its hard back, contains a balanced mix of background (Fluff), rules, troop rules and costs, and the art work you might expect from a Games Workshop product. It is well produced and a pleasure to flick through.

However after my first scan through I was left feeling disappointed. I felt that a good opportunity had been missed. This book saw the introduction of two new units, (although the gyro-bomber is just the re-introduction of the gyro-copter bombing run from earlier an edition of the Dwarf army book). The dwarf player still lacks something to take the fight to the opponent, yes they now get bonuses on the charge, and have a host of weapon runes at the disposal of their hero characters, but when does a dwarf army actually get to charge on a consistent basis?

We have an army list that is totally devoid of any monstrous units, cavalry or chariots. The background states that the Dwarf Kingdoms are established within the mountain regions of the Warhammer world. However in all that time they have not found some mythical creature or beasts of burden to tame and put to some use. They are supposed to be the most creative race in the Warhammer world and yet the best war machine they can come up with is a light weight helicopter with a bomb? I don’t just play I collect, paint and model, I want a grand centre piece! Some kind of dwarf made dreadnaught or steam powered chariot. If Scibor can manage Dwarfs on bear back and West Wind Dwarven boar cavalry, then surely Games Workshop could come up with something better; that still fits within the rules and background of the sons of Grungi!

The sculpting of new models was pretty poor as well. I find that the elven models always look great as do the empire sculpts, in fact as each race has been given a re-boot I’ve been left salivating and wandering if I can afford to take up another collection. The two dimensional feel to the new dwarf figure such as that atrocious sculpt ‘Belegar Ironhammer’ left me feeling like no time had been put into planning the new dwarf army, although they had nine years to come up with ideas.

Putting the anvil of doom back in the magic phase has rendered it useless. The best rune, ‘Oath and honour’ has gone and the effects of the rune ‘Wrath and ruin’ have been reduced, which means that if you do get a successful strike past the enemy wizard, the effects will be minimal and possible not worth the cost of choosing the item. The Organ gun, a weapon that was more about luck than accuracy has also be worked over, now you have to roll the artillery dice, and any shot released still have to be rolled to hit and with the Dwarven BS of 3, its no likely, you better off picking a unit of 10 Thunderers where you will at least get 10 shots every round. As far as my collection is concerned its back to the shelf for these models.

 

I understand that changes have to be made, some of the old army rules did not fit well with the 8th edition Warhammer rules, some had been rendered obsolete and others had become over powered, so changes were needed. But I feel that opportunities were missed.

 

Having moaned and bitched about the changes that I dislike, what do I like. Well there has been a reduction in the cost of core troops such as Thunderers and warriors. Some new rules seem quite interesting, such as the new version of ‘Ancestral grudge’ and ‘Forgefire’. Also there appears to be no more -1 to hamper the roll to charge/flee. As I said I like the book itself, and despite what I said about the sculpting I do like the new Iron drakes and the new version Long beards, I also like the new gyro-copter sculpts despite the fact that assembled they are no bigger than a paint pot. The dragon slayer was rather cool as well despite displaying a rather elf level of agility.

 

I have done a brief comparison of the different Dwarf army books I have owned since 1993:

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1993:

  • 112 pages
  • 8 special characters including the double team ‘Gotrek and Felix’
  • 50 runes to choose from & 8 pre-generated magic items
  • A wealth of fluff and background (probably unequalled by the later editions)
  • 11 pages of painted examples
  • 15 page catalogue of now classic sculpts

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2000:

  • 80 pages
  • 2 special characters
  • 55 runes to choose from 0 pre-generated magic items
  • A good amount of fluff
  • 18 pages of painted examples
  • No catalogue
  • No new units or war machines

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2005:

  • 80 pages
  • 3 special characters
  • 63 runes to choose from 0 pre-generated magic items
  • Fluff and background okay largely based on troop type
  • 18 pages of painted examples
  • No catalogue
  • No new units or war machines

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2014:

  • 96 pages
  • 6 special characters
  • 52 runes to choose from & 6 pre-generated magic items (Some runes can now be multiplied for differing effects
  • A good amount of fluff and background almost equal to the first book
  • No catalogue
  • 1 new unit and 1 variation to an existing unit (sorry but I just don’t see the Gyro-bomber as new)

In contrast the book comes out really well, and just maybe it is better in some regard, if it wasn’t for those missed opportunities.