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”.

20190928_094058

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.

Long time, no type

This blog is long overdue. Many times since my last post in January I have meant to report on events that I have participated in, and games I have played, but sadly my depression and anxiety have been increasing since last November, and this March it came to the point that I needed to seek help, and go back on medication. This has left me generally apathetic and each time I have sat down to type, sentences fail to form in my mind and my enthusiasm for posting wanes. Here we are in June now, and I have added nothing to Mug ‘O’ Dice since the beginning of the year. I have decided to make a quick post today, largely as a catch up.

In March I attended ‘Manticon 2019’ a weekend of ‘Mantic’ based gaming. They were holding two ‘Kings of War’ tournaments one singles and the other for doubles, I teamed up with my friend Neil Dennison and we took a Sea Elf/Realms of Neritica army along to the battle bunker at ‘Dark Sphere’ in West London. There was a good attendance at the event and we played some good games against some friendly and knowledgeable people. I wanted to improve my tournament record having failed to win a game during a ‘Kings of War’ tournament. Generally it is not about the result for me, but to lose on every occasion can become disheartening. Our first opponent was a Night Stalker/Ratkin combination that annihilated our army, we certainly learned from that game and our opponents were kind enough to give us some tips for our next round. Game two was against an Ogre/Forces of Nature combination a very friendly couple took us up to round 7, and it looked like we might actually take the game, however the final rounds swung against us, and we evaded victory once more. The final game was against a Dwarf/Dwarf combination a very tactical game and one in which I finally broke my trend as we managed to force a draw. Our final results netted us the wooden spoon, the sting of which was removed when the tournament organisers presenting us each with a ‘Mantic’ terrain box, which was very kind.

April came along and SALUTE 2019 happened, sadly I missed it due to work, which is a shame, on the bright side at least I saved some money. It has made me more determined to attend SELWG 2019 this year at ‘Crystal Palace’ on Sunday 20th October 2019. Follow the link to find out more:

https://www.facebook.com/SELWGSHOW/

May saw an end to the ‘Kings of War’ campaign that I have been taking part in at the ‘Tanelorn Gaming club’ at the ‘Magic Madhouse’ in Stratford, East London. I had enjoyed taking part in this campaing, which was run by my friend Guy Harper. I only managed to win my first game against an army of ‘Ratkin’, however I enjoyed everyone of them, playing against some very friendly people. My ‘Empire of Dust’ army faced deamons, Dwarves, Beastmen and Elves as they fought their way into the Isle of Valundar, my Pharaoh looking both for his long lost brother, and revenge upon those who sunk his fleet. He saw gaining shards of the ‘Fenulian Mirror’ as a bonus. The last game as a six way affair with the object of securing the mysterious tomb in the centre of the board. Melee took place across the table and many troops were lost, By the end of turn five it looked like my army would carry the day, sadly we had trusted in a pact with some Dwarves who attacked us in the rear and flank and stole the victory. During the game I was impressed how much hurt a simple troop of Dwarf Berserkers can hand out, and the damage that a Herd Brutox can soak up. It really was a great climax for the campaign.

Finally I have entered another doubles tournament with ‘Kings of Herts’ this time it is a fundraiser for the school where they run most of their events. To find out more about it, follow this link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2266931370245040/

I am taking 1000 pts of ‘Empire of Dust’ my partner this time will be Mark Cunningham of the Bexley Reapers who I believe is bringing some ‘Varangur’ I am currently finalising my list and prepping the minis, I will try to blog about this nearer the time. Mark and Grant from the reapers are also organising a tournament to take place on 20th July 2019, I cannot make it as I am taking part in the race for life on the same day, but if you are interested, follow this link:

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:

20181109_111722

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/