Franticon 2020 – Ante Bellum I – Vanguard

Hello MoDers, I’m back with another instalment of my Franticon 2020 weekend, this time it’s Day 1, The Frantic Gamers ‘Vanguard’ tournament. I’m not sure why I’m writing these out of sync, I suppose that it’s not so important now, as the event took place over a month ago. I had decided to attend all three days of Franticon at the end of 2019, about the same time I received my copy of ‘Mantics – Ice & Iron’, the campaign and war-band expansion supplement to their table top skirmish game. My favourite ‘Kings of War’, faction ‘League of Rhordia’ was included and I wanted to put them to use. They had been noticeably absent from the original book, although eventually available in PDF format, it was great to finally have them in print.

Although I had backed the ‘Mantic’ ‘Kickstarter’ for ‘Vanguard back in 2018, and was really pleased when it came in the post (despite the missing league), as rulebooks go, it really is a thing of beauty. Sadly I never got around to learning how to play the game, (I can’t just read a rules set, I need to read and then play, several times, for them to sink in). I saw the ‘Vanguard’, tournament as the perfect opportunity to get to grips with the game. Determined to play with the ‘League of Rhordia’, I perused their troop choices. They have several handy units to choose from, each with different skills and upgrade options. After deciding upon some possible choices, I raided my miniature collection to look for suitable figures to take on the various roles. Due to the disappearance of a large number of the ‘Halfing’ options from the main ‘Rhordian’ army list following the release of ‘Kings of War’ 3rd edition I decided to get my ‘Halfling’ on and phys-rep all the troop types with these hairy footed lovelies. This made it really important for the figures that I chose, to look like the soldiers that they were representing. Thankfully I have a large collection of relevant minis to choose from, by companies such as ‘TTCombat’, ‘Games Workshop’, ‘Warploque Miniatures’, ‘Reaper Miniatures’ and was able to do just that.

Several list drafts, and painting sessions later, my war-band looked like this:

1 House Guard Captain – Rare elixir of Resilience

1 Halfling Sorceress – Lucky Charm

2 Halfling Braves – Bows

2 House Guard – Halberds

1 House Guard

1 Honour Guard

1 Rhor Markswoman – Musket

Sadly I cannot remember a huge amount of detail from the tournament; I cannot remember the names of all my opponents or the names of the scenarios that we played. I apologise if you are reading. I do remember that I enjoyed my first ever games of ‘Vanguard’ and learned a few tricks for the next opportunity that arises.

Game 1: My ‘Rhordians’ faced a war-band of Vampiric ‘Undead’, I don’t have a great track record against this faction in ‘Kings of War’. However ‘Vanguard’ is very different. I believe that the mechanics of the game allow you to focus more on the objective scenarios, and in fact not doing so can lose you the game. I do not recall the name of the scenario, but do remember that the aim was to seize and retain an objective that was in the centre of the table. I ran my ‘House Guard’ and ‘Honour Guard’ up to the centre, whilst my ‘Halflings’, ‘Mage’ and ‘Markswoman’ climbed a hill for a shooting advantage. My melee troops were pretty much going to grab the objective and pass it back, then sacrifice themselves to hold back the enemy, whilst the Captain took the objective to my deployment area. All good in theory, and whilst my shooters on the hill were keeping the skeleton and zombie grunts at bay, a wraith and his vampire masters were upon my fighters by turn 2. I had to change my tactics a little as my Captain’s prowess was needed on the front line. Thankfully he has a skill called ‘Unleash the dogs of war’, which allows him to summon a fresh ‘House Guard’ to the war-band. The reinforcement arrived 3 inches from the Captain. By the next turn the objective had been passed and was making its way back to the ‘Rhordian’ camp. Eventually a ‘Werewolf’ that had been scrapping with my ‘Honour Guard’ since round 1, broke through the lines and force fatigued himself to reach my objective bearer. He did not have enough power to actually assault my warrior, but my opponent told me that it was enough to have made contact, to make me drop the objective. It was disappointing; however I had killed enough of his war-band to outscore him, and scraped my first victory in my first game of ‘Vanguard’.

The press that had taken place in the centre of the board showed me that ‘House Guard’ and ‘Honour Guard’ are tough, and able to jam up the battle line if that’s what you need, even against big hitters like ‘Vampires’. I was glad that I had chosen these chaps. Although I cannot remember my opponent’s name, he was one of the Spanish contingent that make their way to the UK ‘Mantic’ tournaments. I want to say that he was very friendly and helpful. He understood that it was my first ever game of ‘Vanguard’, giving me time to make decisions and explaining, as well as he could, what actions he was taking and what the consequences of each action might be (dependent upon the dice of course).

Game 2: This time a face a war-band of Elves, and another friendly player, although I do not remember his name, I remember him telling me that this was only the 8th game of ‘Vanguard’ he had ever played. It felt good that we were on a similar footing re our experience and knowledge of the game. The aim of this scenario was to get as many of your troops in your opponents deployment area by the end of the game. My ‘Markswoman’ and ‘Halfling Archers’ took the right flank through some rough ground, and ended up in a shoot-out against three elven archers. My ‘Captain’, ‘House Guard’ and ‘Honour Guard’ were set up to forge their way through the centre of the table with support from the Mage, whilst the ‘House Guard’ without a Halberd was placed on the left flank to stop a trio of Elf militia.

During the game my results were mixed. Whereas I had been successful on the right flank, the left flank went to my opponent who outnumbered and tore through my single Guardsman. I had been impressed by his staying power in the previous game, but had overestimated his ability in this one. In the centre a spider mounted elf prince made a mad dash for my Mage, knocking her down, but failing to kill her. In doing so he had exposed his flank to my ‘Captain’ and a ‘House Guardsmen’ with halberds, and was swiftly despatched from the game. In the same turn my Honour Guard had charged my opponents forest shambler, this developed into another grinding press, as various fighters rushed in to support on either side. I was thankful at this point, as with the previous game, for the healing support from my ‘Mage,’ and the war-band’s ability ‘In Rhor’s name’ which for the cost of only 2 power points allows a human warrior to re-roll any dice that failed to save a wound, and remove any fatigued counters he may be marked with, or in the case of Halflings, if killed in melee they can take a nerve check to get a Down but not out result instead. This is a really useful ability that can be used more than once per round, so long as you have enough power. Toward the end of the game my Honour Guard was killed and I decided it was time for a rush my troops toward the edge of the table. By turn 6 we both had three models in each other’s deployment zone, so the game ended in a draw.

Game 3: I actually remember my opponents name in this game, as we have faced each other previously and had a few pre/post game chats. Marcin Gambino is a very talented painter, and I faced his ‘Ratkin’ at ‘Stane of War’ in January this year. This time he was using ‘Nothern Alliance’ and I was both in awe and slightly disturbed by the large amount of ‘Snow Trolls’ he could take. There is no doubt that ‘Northern Alliance’, are a very capable army, each troop choice has some phenomenal skill. Sadly I cannot remember much about the game, fatigue was setting in, and I allowed myself to be too concerned by the ‘Trolls’ to think about the rest of his army. The scenario this time was to kill your opponent’s war-band; I think it was 1 point for each Grunt/Warrior class and 2 points for each Support/Large/Command unit killed. I had the first loss, as a Halfling brave got sniped by an ‘Elven Ice-kin’. Thankfully there was some instant payback as my ‘Markwoman’ shot and killed the Elf. After my opponent’s ‘Snow Troll Prime’ dashed in to the void left by the elf, and I spent the rest of the game trying to kill it and the ‘Troll’ that replaced it when it was killed. All this took a heavy toll on my army as one by one my brave ‘Rhordians’ fell. Victory went to Marcin, and the tournament drew to an end. I totally miss used my ‘Honour Guard’ in the game, from setup I did not really know what to do with him. I have to hand it to Marcin he out played me, making great use of his power dice and regen, he definitely deserved the win.

I really enjoyed playing ‘Vanguard’ and definitely want to play it again. I think the League of Rhordia play really well, and hope they stay as versatile as they are currently. I definitely need to remember to use heal more often during the game, and I barely used the special items I selected, perhaps I didn’t need them. Overall I placed 10th out of 20 and this qualified my for a prize, which netted me a ‘Kuzlo and Madfall’ mercenary set which I look forward to painting at some point in the future.

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Franticon Kings of War 2020: Doubles

Hello MoDers,

Welcome to my much delayed post following my 3 day attendance at Franticon 2020 that was held in Dark Sphere (Shepherds Bush) London, between 6th and 8th March 2020. It had originally been my intention to type up an all-encompassing blog to post the weekend after the event, but life happened and ‘Corona Virus’, started to get a grip on the UK so I have been somewhat distracted.

So after the usual procrastination I have decided upon a strategy to write about the event. I plan to write 3 separate blogs for each event: ‘Vanguard’, ‘KoW Doubles’ and ‘Kow Singles’.

Last year I took an Elven Sea-kin list to match my friend Neil Dennison’s Trident realm army. We came dead last, but over all had a great day. I was inspired to return. A few months later my ‘Kickstarter’, pledge in the ‘TTCombat’: ‘Halfling and friends’ arrived and brought with it enough ‘Treemen’ to build a ‘Forces of Nature’ ‘Shamblers’ horde. I knew then what my doubles army would be for ‘Franticon 2020’, I just had to think about what else I should add. My friend Neil came to the rescue again as he did not want his ‘Treemen’, and gave me his, so now I had 2 hordes of ‘Shamblers’ it looked like I had a theme for my ‘Forces of Nature’: lots of tree men.

My work had a restructure and I had a relapse with my anxiety and depression. Somehow during this time I lost touch with Neil who moved to a new department, which is a real shame. However toward the end of 2019 several London based ‘Kings of War’ players put together a gaming group and ‘Facebook’ page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/414256149261614/ for Kings of War: Central London. We play at venues all around London, but mainly seem to congregate either at the ‘Bad Moon Café’ or ‘Dark Sphere’. Here I met Chris Lynch, who mainly plays with an Elven army with a fantastic autumnal sylvan style, the army is really well painted and Chris uses it to great effect. He agreed to partner me in the up coming doubles, and by early January with some suggestion from Chris, my 1000pts ‘Forces of Nature’ army was ready, on paper that is.

With just over 2 months I had to get the following army together:

1 Druid mounted on a Forest Steed with the Shroud of the Saint, which gave him healing (5) I also paid for him to have Surge (4)

1 Tree Herder with Healing Brew, (the main reason for this choice was the Radience of Life aura which provides the army with added healing, very useful). He also came with Surge (8)

2 Forest Shambler Hordes

1 Beast of Nature (with fly and extra attacks)

It was only 5 drops, with an overall unit strength of 8, but with similar choices on Chris’s army, I believed we stood a good chance, despite my awful memory and lack of experience using this faction.

I had a good amount of minis in my collection to represent most of these army choices with the ‘Treemen’ from ‘TTCombat’, a ‘Manticore’ from ‘Warploque Minitures’: ‘Arcworlde’ range (I made some slight alterations to this mini by adding some ‘GW’ ‘Ghast’ wings) as my ‘Beast of Nature’, and a lovely sculpt by ‘Conquest Games’ from their ‘Wealdgeist’ range, a mounted elf lord on a boar, that I believed would be perfect as my mounted ‘Druid’. ( I picked this chap up at SELWG 2017, always hoped he’d come in useful). However no matter how much I looked around I could not find a large ‘Treeman’ that I liked enough to buy as my ‘Tree Herder’. Thankfully Chris came to the rescue and suggested that I look closer to the source, as ‘Mantic’ make a ‘Tree Herder’ sculpt that is really nice, I looked at the website, and have to admit it was one of the best large ‘Treeman’ figures I have seen. Chris said that I could use one of his, as he had 2 ready to go and only needed 1 in his army, but having seen the ‘Mantic’ model, I just had to buy it. The model arrived 3 days before the event, and I had a huge task to finish all of my units including my herder, It is the fastest that I have ever finished a paint job, and took three nights staying up past midnight to manage it, I was exhausted before the first day, but it was worth it:

The Doubles event was being run by ‘Kings of Herts’ on Saturday 7th March. As usual Paul Roberts and Matt Green put together a really well organised tournament. Here is where my terrible memory comes in, I cannot remember the names of all out opponents, I really should write more down, when I know I’m going to be blogging. I remember that we faced Jude and Gino, 2 lads from Cornwall (Like me!) who brought a Kingdom of Men/Nightstalker alliance. I have played both in the past and they are really good at ‘Kings of War’, I was a little worried, but we had an upper hand, as Chris and I had more experience with 3rd edition. Despite some careful deployment and manouvering, it was not long before our units were engaged in a grinding melee. Thanks to Chris we were lucky to gain the central objective early which meant they had to come to us if they wanted to get those points. We managed to hold out toward the end, I think I lost everything bar 1 ‘Shambler’ horde. We claimed victory in our first game, it was very close though:

Our next opponents were Daniel and Ed with a Sylvan Elf/Dwarf alliance, Ed’s army looked lovely. Their army was quite similar to ours, but boy did they know how to use it. After the 1st round things looked bleak for us, and we decided that someone was going to need to make the first move forward, we did and we were crushed. I learned a big mistake I had been making regarding the movement for flyers and their pivoting. Most will know this, for some reason I did not. Whereas flight gives you up to 20 inches movement, if you use it you can only pivot once. If you only use the basic movement of 10 inches then you nimble comes into play and you can pivot twice, but not if you move more than the 10 inches. I hope I can remember this as I plan to use flyers a bit more often than I have in the past, due to the disruption they can cause. Needless to say we were annihilated, but it was a fun game especially the press in the centre of the table:

Our last game was against Jon and his partner (sorry I have tried to research your name, but failed miserably). They had Orcs, Goblins and lots of Trolls. I am still not use to the way in which an Orc army can dash across the table and brutally clash with your units. Thankfully most of our troops were toughness (5), with good nerve, so not so easy to break as my ‘Rhordian’ or ‘Empire of dust’ soldiers. I must admit that by game 3 I tend to be really tired, I don’t understand how the game tires me out so much, in many ways it is much more exhausting that a good session in the gym, and does not bring then benefit of an adrenaline/endorphin rush to keep you going. Therefore I cannot remember a great deal about this game, I think it was close, I know we lost, but that is pretty much all I can say, other that we had another brilliant set of opponents:

As often happens when fun is being had, the time flew and it was heading into the early evening. I started to pack, only taking a break to listen to the placings and awards. I did not think I had played particularly well, and had been a bit grumpy after my mistake in the 2nd game, mainly because I don’t like to make mistakes, so I was very surprised when it was announced that I had won the ‘Most Sporting Player’, award, so surprised in fact that I responded, ‘Me! Are you sure?’ It was an unexpected end to the event. As a prize I was given a ‘Mantic’ ‘Greater Water Elemental’ which will help me expand my ‘Forces of Nature’.

At the end of the day I travelled back home, very tired, both looking forward to and dreading the next day. Overall day 2 of ‘Franticon 2020’ was excellent.

After winning the greater elemental, I obviously had to buy enough miniatures to build a lesser elemental horde. And as the ‘Mantic’ Glade Walker Druid is a great match to my mounted druid from ‘Conquest games’ I definitely needed to purchase one of these also, now to reach 2000pts:

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Here is a list of links to the suppliers I used to build my army:

https://www.facebook.com/darksphereshepherdsbush/

https://ttcombat.com/collections/fantasy-realms

https://www.warploqueminiatures.com/bestiary?page=2

http://www.conquest-games.co.uk/index.php?cPath=41_46&&page=1

https://www.manticgames.com/games/kings-of-war/forces-of-nature/

Events

Hello MoDers,

Welcome to my first blog of 2020. I hope that the festive season treated you well, and that you have plenty of hobby aspirations for the year. This post is in fact about plans I have set so far, as well as a brief write up of my first battle this year.

At the end of 2019 I joined a ‘Facebook’ group for a number of ‘Kings of War’ players based in and around London. We use this page and a dedicated ‘What’s App’ group to plan and organise games at venues around the city. The main venue that I have attended since joining is ‘Bad Moon Café’, near Borough, South London. The group is very friendly and we exchange ideas and hobby advice as well as playing games.

The Facebook group page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/414256149261614/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

If you are interested in visiting the ‘Bad Moon Café’, their website can be found at: https://www.badmooncafe.co.uk/

My record since 3rd edition ‘Kings of War’ is not great, my games have been closer, but as well as still making poor strategic decisions, I have been having phenomenally bad dice rolls. In the game I played on Thursday I was averaging 2 to 4 hits and 0 wounds for most of my rolls, both in ranged and melee attack. The game was fun, although the noise build up in the café was quite distracting. I find that I am always learning things in this game, we had a brief discussion about a unit’s front arc and line of sight and where it is measured from, which was eventually solved by the group members.

My opponent Matt Gee’s Ogres are a stunningly painted collection that is exquisitely based along a piratical theme. I haven’t fared too well against Ogres in my games, and hoped my undead units would stick around a little longer than usual, but in my eagerness to get into a brawl, I let my units get flanked, something that I let happen far too often. Matt is as skilled a gamer as he is a painter, and it did not take him long to pound my skeletons into dust. I did at least manage to claim one of the four objectives, but wasted my ‘Idol of Shobik’ to do so. After the game Matt gave me some tips in relation to my ranged units and the use of ‘Surge’ that I will try to remember to put to use next time.

The events that I am hoping to go to this year include a number of tournaments, both single and doubles, and with any luck I’ll make it to SALUTE 2020.

1, ‘Stane of Blood’ a singles event of up to 1495 pts being held at Woodmansterne village hall, Carshalton, SM5 3, United Kingdom – 25th January 2020 – https://www.facebook.com/events/woodmansterne-village-hall-carshalton-sm5-3-united-kingdom/stane-of-blood-i/1171951633009988/ – I plan to take my Empire of Dust with me to this event, and am close to have decided upon my army selection, which will definitely contain a unit of ‘Guardians’ and possibly ‘Shobik’.

2, ‘Franticon’ is a 3 day event at Dark Sphere in Shepherd’s Bush Megastore, Unit 8, W12 Shopping Centre, W12 8PP London, United Kingdom – 6th to 8th March 2020 – https://www.facebook.com/events/dark-sphere-shepherds-bush-megastore/mantic-franticon-2020/375353553116306/  – Over the course of the weekend there are a number of ‘Mantic Games’, based tournaments and hobby events. I am planning to take part in three events:

Friday March 6th – Vanguard (Ante Bellum) – I hope to take a ‘Rhordian’ war-band to this event, but still have not actually played a game of Vanguard since it came out in 2018.

Saturday March 7th – KoW doubles (KoH) 2000 pts (1000 pts each) – I am preparing to take a ‘Force of Nature’ army to the doubles event, since I received a batch of ‘Treemen’ in the ‘Halflings and friends’, Kickstarter by ‘TTCombat’, I have been itching to use them. I don’t currently have a partner for this event, I was hoping my Neil Dennison who partnered me last year would be up for it, but we seem to have lost touch.

Sunday March 8th – KoW singles (Erit Bellum) 1650 pts – For the third tournament of this event, I will be taking my ‘Empire of Dust’. I will decide upon my troop selection after ‘Stane of Blood’ and probably just add an extra unit whilst tweaking the others.

3, Shroud of the Reaper – La Calavera’s time – a 2020 pts singles tournament which is held at Freemantle Hall, 51-75 Bexley High St, Bexleyheath, Bexley, DA5 1AA – 21st March 2020 – https://www.facebook.com/events/freemantle-hall-51-75-bexley-high-st-bexleyheath-bexley-da5-1aa/shroud-of-the-reaper-la-calaveras-time/396843571225954/ – Again my ‘Empire of Dust’, will make an appearance and I hope to make good use of Mark and Grant’s special character.

4, Jack of Herts – School fund raiser – a 2000 pts singles tournament which is held at Aycliffe Drive, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 6LJ, United Kingdom – 13th June 2020 – https://www.facebook.com/events/521036865375109/ – Other than making sure I could make the event, I have not thought much about which army I will take, but as I will be most familiar with my Empire of Dust by this time It will probably be the one I take. Paul and Matt always host a great event and I am looking forward to making the trip to Hemel.

5, Clash of Kings – 10th to 11th October 2020 – Firestorm Games, 15 Trade St, Cardiff, CF10 5DT – https://www.manticgames.com/games/events/tickets/kings-of-war-tickets/clash-of-kings-tournament-2020/ – I went to my first ‘Clash of Kings’ last year at ‘Element Games’, in Stockport, last year. It was a really well run and exciting event. Getting away from London and having a weekend of war-gaming was brilliant. However it was not cheap, the event ticket, train fare and hotel rate all mounted up. With the ticket costing £70, I will need to think about whether I can attend this year.

6, Salute 2020 – 18th April 2020 – Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Docks, London E16 1XL – http://www.salute.co.uk/salute/salute-2020/ Not specifically a gaming event, although there are various participation/demonstration games going on, SALUTE is a hobby event where sculptors, developers and stockist come to display their new products and sell all sorts of gaming goodies. I cannot always make it due to work commitments, but I definitely hope to this year.

Nearly 2020, time for a project update

Hello MoDers,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

2019 has not been a great blogging year for me for various reasons. On the bright side however my hobby opportunities have increased since becoming involved in the Kings of War tournament community. I have taken part in tournaments both local and away from London, which in turn has driven my project completion rate up a notch, so that I can have a greater choice of units from my chosen Kings of War armies. Currently I am collecting:

Empire of Dust, League of Rhordia and Forces of Nature.

I have not played with the former two since the release of 3rd edition, because I have been focusing upon my Empire of Dust army.

As this December 31st this will be my final post of 2019, so I’d like to share with you my progress on my current painting projects.

Sir Jeffrey Hudson:

Prior to the release of Kings of War 3rd edition I was toying with the idea of taking part in the whole 3 day ‘Franticon’ event in March 2020. Having just bought the ‘Ice and Iron’ rules expansion for Vanguard I was really intrigued to play with a ‘League of Rhordia’ faction. I wanted to represent each warrior type in the war band as a Halfling, I have a perfect Captain, some great House Hold Guards and even a Mage or two in mind.

Having been given some of the war bears from the TTCombat ‘Halfling and Friends’ kickstarter, I thought they would be a perfect mount for a Halfling Honour Guard. With the idea firmly in my head, I found a suitable Rooster rider from a TAG kickstarter and went to work. With some cutting and filing and plenty of green stuff, along with some plastic confectionery from my bits box, I made some good progress.

As tradition dictates I bought a bottle of ale to drink whilst I hobbied, the beer itself ‘JHB Bitter’ from ‘Oakham Ales’, gave me some inspiration as to what I should call the fella when he was finished: “known as “Lord Minimus” Sir Jeffrey Hudson, also, was an adventurer, courtier and duellist in the service of King Charles I, he was only 3′ 6″ tall but his modest strength was more than made up for in character”, I decided that this was a great back story for my Halfling honour guard.

Monolith:

Sadly when 3rd edition Kings of War was released I had to wait for the new ‘Uncharted Empire’ supplement to come out, to find out that the ‘League of Rhordia,’ took quite a hit, and lost a large amount of the units it boasted in 2nd edition. It is still a very capable army to use and thankfully kept the ‘Aralez’ one of the things that add character to the list. Sadly the Halfling presence was greatly reduced, which put a halt in my progress with my ‘Halfling/Rhordian’ war band. I do not know if the changes in 3rd edition Kings of War have transferred over to Vanguard yet, so I may still be able to go ahead with this idea at the ‘Franticon’ tournament at ‘Dark Sphere’ in London this coming March.

With the release of 3rd edition Kings of War, my Empire of Dust army also faced some changes. One of these was the evolution of the ‘Monolith’. Before it was a kind of scenery piece, that you could place during the set up phase. It could boost the spell casting of your army’s magic users, if they were within 6 inches of it. Although I had a model to use for this, I couldn’t work out what to do with it, so never added it to my army list.

The new Monolith is an entirely different beast. It can move, has real staying power and once per shooting phase can cast Surge (8) upon any EoD unit within 24 inches. I have used it a few times and it works very well. I decided my current model needed a lot of work to keep up with its new role as a Titan. I went to work with my converting kit and a new pack of ‘Mantic’ insect swarms. I’m quite happy with the assembly so far, but still have a few more details to add.

Behemoth:

Another EoD unit to be visited by the change fairy was the ‘Reanimated Behemoth’, which is now on chariot based monster. It no longer has the option to take a mini catapult, but can be given the ‘Drain Life’ spell, which has less range, but is a really useful ranged attack option which I believe fits the fluff of an undead army much better. I had already begun to tire of my ‘Ghostly Stegadon’ miniature which was one of the first EoD units I painted. I wanted something different. I had already been painting an old ‘Games Workshop’ ‘Tomb Scorpion’ to be a scorpion husk within my army. However that unit has been removed entirely from the EoD list. Straight away I decided that with a few changes the scorpion would make an excellent Behemoth. I had a vision of a giant scorpion with a pile of skull trophies mounted upon its back, shooting death rays from its eyes. I had to attempt to recreate that idea, and am quite happy with the way it has turned out.

I’d like to say thank you for reading my posts and sticking with me throughout what has been a tough year. I have a few blogging plans for next year and hopefully more hobby opportunities. Work seems to be settling down a bit, so hopefully my anxiety and depression won’t have so much of an impact on me in 2020. Happy New year!

Clash of Kings 2019

Hello MoDers,

I know I said my next article would be after SELWG 2019, however after my first weekend long ‘Kings of War’, tournament I just had to write something about it, it was utterly fantastic.

I decided to represent the ‘Empire of Dust,’ as I am most practiced with this army. Don’t worry I am still Halfling obsessed. I just seem to be better able to utilise the abilities of this army, in a way that provides a challenge for my opponents, whilst giving me a better opportunity to obtain those elusive victories. I took the following 2000 pts army:

Ahmunite Pharaoh – Mreb’s Grimoire – Drain Life – Spell Syphon,

Cursed High Priest – Myrddin’s Amulet – Fireball/Vicious – Drain Life,

Idol of Shobik,

Bone Dragon,

Reanimated Behemoth – Light Balefire Catapult,

Soul Snare,

Skeleton Spear Horde – Brew of Strength – Casket of Damned,

Skeleton Archer Horde – Heart Seeking Chant.

Enslaved Guardian Archer Horde – Chant of Hate.

Upon first view, it looked quite a small for a force that cost 2000 pts. I think that my selection, especially with the spells and other buffs I added, I kind of tied my hands a little as most other armies at the tournament were much larger than mine, and after getting out flanked and pretty much overwhelmed in my first three games, I several valuable lesson over the weekend, this one was: ‘More boys, less toys”.

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On the Friday evening I played a practice match against Richard Massie, who went on to join our team ‘Jacks of Herts’ for the weekend. He played with The ‘Trident Realm’ and they are quite tough, each unit has ‘Ensnare’, and Richard had brought along two ‘Kraken’, (giant squid monster) which have ‘Regeneration’, this means that unless you take them off in one round they have the potential to heal any/all the wounds you give them. They did this to great effect and I could not really focus on the rest of his army. I had been lucky enough to take out his two units of ‘Naiad Heart-piercers’, before they could do any damage, however his two ‘Leviathan’s Bane’, more than made up for any damage those units might have caused. Half way through this game came another lesson: ‘Know your army’, my memory is not the best for this, however it was good to find out before the actual tournament, that the Stats for ‘Guardian Archers’ are: Me (4) and Ra (5), not the other way around. I really dislike making mistakes, and am glad I learned from this before the proper games started. This is what practice games are for.

Over the weekend I played six games of ‘Kings of War’, against five different races from ‘Pannithor’ (‘Salamanders x2, Orcs, Abyssal Dwarfs, Vampiric Undead, and Night-stalkers’) with six brilliant hobbyists (Dan, Jez, Caillem, David, Tom and Andy). Of my six games I lost five, and finally broke my duck by gaining my first tournament victory in the grudge match: Undead V Empire of Dust (I like to think of there being an ancient grudge between these two evil factions). Four of my losses were quite close, and could have gone either way. However my Skeletons were smashed to smithereens by an unstoppable green tide, played very well by Jez Gurney. Two more lessons from these games were ‘Set up according to your strategy, not theirs’, and ‘Play to the scenario, it not all about killing’ (Unless you are playing the kill scenario). Also if you buy a spell or magic item, make you you use it, I wasted 30 pts on ‘Spell Syphon’, and did not use it once.

As well as the fun of seven games of ‘Kings of War’ over the weekend, there were plenty of shenanigans on the Friday and Saturday with games, quizzes and some special reveals from Ronnie Renton and the Mantic team in relation to ‘Kings of War 3’, and their new ‘Kickstarter’ project ‘The League of Infamy’:

https://www.manticgames.com/shop/what-is-the-league-of-infamy/

(There was also some mention of Mantic Halflings).

After all the talk and sneaky peaks at some beautifully painted ‘Mantic’ miniatures, I played a couple of really fun games. The first was called ‘Guns & Money’ a game of heists and hustles, in which you are armed with a gun shaped piece of foam, and need to bluff your way to the end without getting shot (too often) and amassing a fortune in ill-gotten gains. The other game was ‘Tiny Epic Defenders’, a great fantasy based co-operative board game with really interesting game mechanics. I played this with Paul and Matt from ‘King of Herts’ and it was a perfect end to a fantastic day.

I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I started my journey home on Sunday evening, but was lucky enough to have the company of Tom, the Night-stalker player I had face in my fifth game. We had an interesting chat about everything we heard about ‘Kings of War 3’ whilst we waited for our train to Stockport.

Over all I had a really good weekend. The Mantic team had run an exciting and enjoyable event, the host gaming centre ‘Element Games’ in Stockport was well very welcoming, and the Premier Inn across the road was clean, warm and very comfortable. I definitely recommend attending the tournament if you have the chance, the event has already been planned to take place in Cardiff in October next year:

https://www.manticgames.com/games/events/tickets/kings-of-war-tickets/clash-of-kings-tournament-2020/

I can’t wait until next year to get me ‘Kings of War’ fix, and so I have bought an early bird to the ‘Franticon’ weekend at ‘Dark Sphere’ in Shepherd’s Bush, London in March 2020. I have five months to plan and prepare 2 armies and a skirmishing force for the three day event, and learn to play ‘Vanguard’:

https://www.manticgames.com/news/mantic-franticon-2020/

Until then however my next stop is SELWG 2019.

First for 2019

Hello readers, welcome to my first post for 2019. This post will be shorter than my usual ramblings, and focus on my recent hobbying and hobby plans I have so far for the year ahead.

I have not played a game since mid-December, and due to various work and health related issues, it does not look like I will be rolling any dice until mid-February, when my Kings of War, Empire of Dust army will take their next turn in the campaign being played at Tanelorn gaming club “The Lost Isle of Valundur”. Our armies are now at 1,500 points, and my force has a new recruit in the form a ‘Soul Snare’ that I scratch built out of green stuff. I had an idea for this unit for a while and used a half finished model several times, its lightning attacks and health buff ability was really useful, however it got an upgrade in ‘CoK 2019’ where it dropped the aforementioned spells for an altogether more effective one that really suits the fluff for both the unit and the army: Drain Life, I’m looking forward to using this.

My initial ‘Soul Snare’ was just an Ankh made out of green stuff and stuck to a 50mm base whilst I decided what to do with it. At Christmas I had some inspiration, I decided to build the entire model out of green stuff. I wanted to show it bursting through the ground, rising into the air above a well of souls, with tendrils of arcane power leeching out to steal the life force from enemy warriors. I decided to find something conical, upon which I could place a thin layer of green stuff and stretch it into a shape I was happy with, then I let it dry. I then painted it with Balor Brown, washed it in army painter strong tone, smeared it with PVA glue, and washed it again with army painter, then came dry brushing with Balor Brown, Zamesi Desert, Moon Dust yellow and Ushabti Bone, to get a grainy sandy look. I cut a Perspex rode to make the Ankh float, and used a mound of green stuff to keep it in place, I moulded it to look like the well of souls was drifting up toward the base of the floating Snare, ready to be expelled into the field of battle and rip the life force from the enemy forces. I rolled thin slivers of green stuff to create these tendrils and attached them to the Ankh. Finally I wanted to make the Ankh itself look aged, it was a clean golden colour, I washed it with strong tone to make it look dirty, and as an extra touch I stippled parts of the surface in Dark Angel Green, Scaly Hide and Toxic Mist to give the appearance of decay. My pictures do not  do it justice, but try as I might I cannot stop the camera from blurring at the wrong time and the brightness going just as I press the shutter button, I need to work on this:

Hobby for the beginning of the year:

On Saturday 23rd March 2019 I am going to take part in the Franticon Kings of War doubles tournament with my friend Neil. I was originally going to take my Halfling heavy League of Rhordia to match his Trident Realms army, sadly Halfling archers, generally the staple of my low point Rhordian forces were nerfed in CoK 2019 making them barely worth taking, so I have decided to dust off my Warhammer Elves and give them a bit of a play, they will make a good match for Neil’s army as I painted them as a Lothern Seaguard army when I used to play Warhammer Fantasy, I will write more about these when I freshen them up for the tourney in March.

https://www.facebook.com/events/245149449525248/

I had hoped to go to SALUTE 2019, sadly my job has disrupted this and have me working the weekend of April 6th 2019. However if you have the time available, I really to recommend purchasing a ticket and getting yourself down to Excel London and enjoying a day of games, painting displays, new releases and sales bargains, always a great day out.

https://www.facebook.com/events/621466248227439/

Finally There will be another Reaper tournament on Saturday 20th July 2019 and I am seriously considering buying a ticket, it was really good fun last time, and I know that Grant and Mark will make it even better this time around.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2178879795497410/

MoD September to November

Hello readers, I really must get more on top of this blogging, yet again I have let too much time go part without touching finger to key. This might be a long issue, it really depends on how much I remember there has been a good amount of hobby these past few months.

Isle of Valundur

I have played two games in the slow grow campaign since my last blog. I have faced off against an army Elves and a throng of Dwarfs, both enemies pipped my skeletons to the post in the Kings of War pillage scenario.

Game 1 against Guy’s elves was a bit of a slow starter, and I lost a token to him from the beginning as he placed a unit of scouts upon one that I had placed in his deployment zone (objective markers are placed before the role to choose sides), the marker had been placed in some difficult terrain, which meant he had cover and anyone that charged them would be hindered. The unit really did prove impossible to shift despite two direct hits from a balefire catapult, a hail of quivers from the guardian archers (a unit that is definitely worth it money) and a full on charge from revenant chariot unit who totally failed to scratch the Elves, who would not relinquish the objective. Centre table there was plenty of blood shed as a unit of Palace Guard marched toward an unreachable objective. My Skeleton Spears horde charge an enticing horde of Forest Shamblers, wounds were caused on both sides, but sadly it was my troops that crumbled. A Forest Warden charged out from the woods right at my Enslaved Guardian Archers, and although he drew some ichor, the Guardian counter charge proved decisive and the Treeman was downed. The game continued in this vein, with the final action taking place around the only marker my army had nabbed. My opponent did not want my deadites to have any objectives at all, and swooped his Drakon Rider Lord in to dispute the claim. The fateful dice role for turn 7 took place, a 5 was the result and the turn took place. I was reticent as I did not think my army could hold out. I turned my Behemoth around to face the Drakon Lord, and used my Pharaoh to surge her into the flank of the winged monster, with the doubled attacks, after the undead beast’s rampage was finished, there was nothing left but Elf jam and a few scales. A moral victory that earned the Behemoth ‘Man of the Match’ (on my side) and softened the pain of losing. Thankfully I did get an exploration phase and managed to find my first shard of the Fennulain Mirror.

In game 2 I faced Conrad’s Dwarfs, a totally different prospect to the Elves, and although dwarfs are not the fastest movers in the game, they weren’t slow in getting into the action. With my 150 point boost I upgraded my Enslaved Guardian Archer regiment into a horde and gave them healing brew. This unit has proven to be reliable and effective, by doubling their number I increased their attacks to 18 and strengthened their nerve. I also brought in a Swarm regiment to act as a screen. Given the table size and points value of our armies, we altered the role for objective tokens from D3+2 to D3+1. I duly rolled a 1 so we only had two objectives to fight over. I decided to split my army in two, sending my Skeleton Spear horde and Chariots under the guidance of my Pharaoh for an objective that had been placed in the centre of the table. The Guardian Horde, Behemoth and bugs went for the other marker which had been placed on the far right of the table. My tactic was just to go for it and see how Conrad reacted, and moved all my units toward the objectives. In the shooting phase my Revenant Chariots took a shot at a regiment of Berserker Brock Riders although they hit they could not scratch the tough dwarf hides. My Behemoth needed a 6 to make her shot, and she hit her target, causing 3 wounds on the nearest horde of Dwarf Ironclads. In response to this Conrad used his suped up Dwarf King to push back the Chariots with a Wind Blast spell he acquired earlier in the campaign, putting them in a poor position for their next round. The Dwarfs moved up rather quickly and but not much else happened in round 1. In the rounds that followed there was plenty of action, with the Brock Riders and Mounted King making the first charge of the game, initially bouncing, but eventually destroying the Revenant Charioteers. In turn the Guardian Archers vaporised both of Conrad’s Dwarf Berserker troops in separate shooting turns. In the centre of the table there was a tussle between two hordes of Dwarf Ironclads and my horde of Skeleton Spears, there was charge and counter charge for three turns, and my Spears held out, taking and inflicting pain. In the end however they were overwhelmed by the tenacious Dwarf units. (On the walk home I realised that I had forgotten to use the units phalanx and life leech special rules, and only remembered the ‘Pipes of Terror’ special bonus in the first turn. The result could have been quite different, darn my faulty memory). This victory gave the Dwarfs the centre objective. The Brocks and King raced across the table towards the left side. Whilst my Pharaoh, Behemoth, Guardians and Bugs turned to face the approaching enemy. My Guardians shot a volley at the weaker of the two Dwarf hordes, destroying the unit and claiming some revenge for their downed skeleton brethren. The Brocks and the King charged the Guardians who duly collapsed under the force. The Behemoth stepped forward and was willed into the flank of the king, he scored 7 wounds but was unable to make the King leave the field. My opponent was then left with a dilemma, he was presented with a possible flank charge on the Behemoth with his Dwarf Ironclads, but this would mean leaving the objective and relying on a 7th turn to make it back, he was eager to take out my giant beast, but took the route of common sense over the thrill of gambling away his lead. This decision served him well the dice was rolled for the extra turn, but a 3 decided that the game came to an end. His Dwarf horde held one objective, my Swarm held the other, with a unit strength of 3 in comparison to my unit strength of 2, the Dwarfs carried the day. I did not get an exploration phase this turn, but earned enough points for three units to gain veteran status, one of these was my mighty Behemoth which has somehow become ‘Stealthy’.

Grumpy Old Tin

23rd October was SELWG 2018 at Crystal Palace, sadly I could not make it this year, but my friend Nik came over from Austria to attend, he stayed over at our house, and was generous enough to gift me with some products from is small gaming production line ‘Grumpy Old Tin’. In the past he has sent me some fantastic wooden buildings made using his lazer cutting skills. Now he has started making his own flock, grass tufts and mosses. I’m particularly fond of his scenic wild flowers. Check out his wares at www.grumpyoldtin.com

King of Herts 2

In October I attended a brilliant doubles tournament in Hemmel Hempstead run by Matt Green and Paul Roberts. This was to be my second Kings of War tournament and my first in the doubles format. I put together a 1000 point ‘League of Rhordia’ list which consisted of mostly Halflngs. I was partnered by the very talented Rusty Shackleford who brought his Dwarfs. We were to play three games, we definitely played the pillage scenario, but I have forgotten the other two scenarios that were selected. We faced three alliances: Neritica with Elves, Werewolves with Vampires (basically two lots of Undead) and Neritica with Dwarfs. We did not win any of our games, but we came close and scored enough points to avoid last place. Our first and last games were really close, however the Undead alliance tore our troops asunder, my poor Halfings did not know what had hit them, although my Master Sergeant gave as good as he got, holding out against a horde of Werewolves (at least for one round). The games were really fun, and I think learned a lot from Rusty and my opponents. Matt and Paul were excellent hosts and event organisers creating a great atmosphere. They also arranged for  ‘The Pit’ gaming shop to be on hand to sell some great deals, and sent out an order to local eatery ‘Burgitzza’ who do a nice line in burgers and pizzas. If you have the time I thoroughly recommend that you attend one of their Kings of War events.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1841774202605061/

The guys also gave tournament goers with some lovely laser cut wooden terrain pieces, Rusty was kind enough to paint up mine and he also gave me a painted Dwarf Waystone, and a dead Halfling wound counter, all painted beautifully:

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Winged Aralez

When thinking about my army list for Kings of Herts I wanted some mobile fire power to assist the Honour Guard unit that I was taking. The obvious idea was Halfling Ranger Cavalry, and I was taking a troop of these, but felt I still needed something more. Flicking through the pages of ‘Uncharted Empires’ I noticed that as well as being able to mount your mage upon a horse, they also have access to the Winged Aralez. According to Armenian mythology  an Aralez is a dog like spirit that live in the sky and are believed to decend to the field of battle and lick the wounds of dying warriors which can heal or even resurrect them. People have used many different miniatures to represent these majestic creatures. I have tried to stick to the dog like description and used the ‘Games Workshop’ Thunder Wolves to model my own Aralez. I currently have two hordes of Honour Guard and an Winged Aralez Ancient (not a GW mini), but I did not have anything to represent the middle ground, the simple Winged Aralez. I had enough parts left for one more Thunder Wolf, but no wings. I had used Griffon Wings for the Ancient, but decided they would be too large for the younger Aralez. I looked around and asked my friends Nik and Neil for advice, and eventually resolved upon finding some wings from an old school Wood Elf Falcon Rider, I hit e-bay and found just the thing, when they arrived I was ready to start. I had already decided that I would stick to the tan body colour that I had used with the Honour Guard, but I wanted the mane, wings and tail to have a fiery appearance, to show the Aralez had taken on some of its master’s hot temperament during the bonding that all Aralez riders must go through. I was happy with the finished piece, but had an issue, originally I planned to use the old ‘GW’ Supreme Patriarch ‘Thyrus Gormann’ as my mounted wizard, however his staff prevented him from sitting upon his mount. After a quick trip to my bits boxes I had a combination of High elf and Empire knight parts and with some help from some green stuff I quickly assembled a new wizard to ride the beast into battle. This meant that I was still painting the night before the tournament, but that is nothing new.

Franticon

Over the weekend of 23rd – 24th March 2019 Dark Sphere Megastore in Shepherds Bush will be the venue for a huge ‘Mantic’ event which is co organised by the Frantic Gamers Podcast. There will be tournaments of ‘Kings of War’ (including Kings of Herts 3)and ‘Deadzone’ and the ‘Dreadball’ 2019 UK National Championship. I’m going to the Saturday and plan to take part in the Kings Of War doubles tournament. For more information follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/245149449525248/

*** Excelsior ***

Gaming Galore

Hello MoDers, I’m trying to squeeze this blog in before September ends time really does seem to fly these days. So in the past month since my last blog I feel like the hobby gates have crashed open, and I loads of gaming opportunities have come my way.

After my experiences at the ‘Shroud of the Reaper’, tournament that I took part in at the end of July, I have been bitten by the tournament bug. During the day a few people recommended that I take part in as many tournaments as possible, to get some game time and become more skilled using my army. Daniel Read directed my to ‘Kings of Herts,’ a Hertfordshire based gaming group who hold regular singles and doubles tournaments. He tagged me in on their Facebook page, and after making sure I was not due to work the weekend of their next tournament, I asked if anyone needed a partner to team up with, thankfully Veteran ‘Kings of War’ player Rusty Shakleford offered to partner my Rhordians, with his Dwarves, and I was set for my 2nd ‘Kings of War’ tournament, my 1st doubles. I’ve been working on my list, we have 1000 points each to spend on our half of the army and I’m working on some new ideas, such as a Wizard upon a Winged Aralez, here’s the progress so far:

If you want to check out ‘Kings of Herts,’ here is their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/2034232993516266/

Just after I paid for my ticket to ‘Kings of Herts’ I received an invite to a ‘Kings of War’ slow grow campaign by my gaming friend Guy Harper. This takes place at the Magic Madhouse in East London, when gaming club ‘Tanelorn’ run a gaming afternoon every Sunday. I was really grateful to be considered for this campaign, as it would give me a chance to build up my ‘Empire of Dust,’ army and get some much needed gaming practice. Another thing that really appealed was that being a slow grow campaign it does not take place every week, which makes it more easy for me to take part.  I played my first game in the campaign two weeks ago and against a ‘Ratkin,’ general. As it was the 1st round of the campaign we had 750 points of troops, inclusive of our generals. Both armies looked quite balanced and even though I won a solid victory, I think a lot of that was due to some good luck on my part, and some very bad luck on the part of my opponent. It didn’t help that both sides were coming under act from hidden goblin assailants during the shooting phased, although this did add some fun to the proceedings. My army in this campaign currently consists of a Pharaoh in a chariot, a horde of skeleton spear warriors, a behemoth and a unit of enslaved guardian archers. We have 150 pts to spend on our next forces, I’m thinking about adding a soul snare, or maybe some chariots.

If you’d like to track the progress of out campaign, here is a link to the campaign Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/231771117514137/

There are two other tournaments that I am interested in attending this year, there is a ‘Shroud of the Reaper’ Christmas event. As I am expanding my ‘Empire of Dust,’ forces, I may swap out my 500 points of Dwarfs for some skeletal allies instead. The tournament is taking place on December 8th 2018 in Guildford, here is a link if you want to know more.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1935057850120876/

Finally there is ‘Kings of Herts 3,’ which is going to take place during a Mantic weekend of Madness called ‘Franticon’ which is being held at the Dark Sphere Megastore in West London on 23rd and 24th March in 2019. I am hoping to go to the doubles tournament with and Empire of Dust army.

https://www.facebook.com/events/245149449525248/