Four have fun in Chelters…

I had the recent opportunity to take a trip down to Cheltenham to visit my older brother Daniel and his wife and child (Ruth and Oscar). Daniel and Oscar both enjoy a bit of fantasy gaming, and have a small collection of Warhammer Fantasy figures. I had toyed with the idea of taking a small force of Dwarfs from my collection to put their armies to the test in a three way skirmish. However I remembered that I have been trying out some alternatives to Warhammer, and decided to carry something that is quite a bit lighter, but still loads of fun; Lord of War.

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In my earlier posts I have spoken about this card based skirmish game, as I have backed the kickstarter campaigns that they have launched to get the game of the ground, and make improvements. There are currently three box sets that feature six races Dwarfs, Orcs, Elves, Lizardmen, Templars and Undead. There are also some booster sets and other accoutrements that assist with and enhance game place, such as the foam battle mat. The basic rules to the game are really easy to pick up; and as you improve the advanced rules and boosters sets come into play, maintaining the enjoyment of the game.

On my first day in Cheltenham; Daniel took me to a local pub called ‘The Sandford Park Ale House,’ which an excellent establishment, that serves a wide variety of beers crafted around the UK and beyond, they also serve some really tasty food; specialising in a great selection of cheeses. They are also wheel chair friendly which is good for Daniel. We found a free table, ordered our first round and I cracked out the card, I had opted to take my ‘Templars Vs Undead’ card to the pub as they are in plastic card protectors and I did want any errant spills damaging my game. I read the rules to Daniel, and then showed him how to play, as I had been shown by the ‘Black Box Games’ team that were at SALUTE this year. After three pints of ale, a large plate of cheese and a bowl of chips, we had played about four games in three hours. We used both races twice each, and I beat Daniel each time, although I have to admit having played on two occasions previously, I had a bit of an advantage.

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When we returned to Daniel’s home, Oscar was back from school; Ruth was cooking up a roast pork meal, the smell of which had me salivating when we entered the door. Daniel went for a rest, and I offered Oscar a couple of games with the ‘Dwarfs Vs Orcs’ pack, we got one and a half games in before Ruth wanted to serve up, I won the first but the unfinished game was declared a draw as we had both eliminated 10 cards including two characters. Oscar enjoyed the game so much he wanted to go and buy a set on our way to the coach station the following evening.

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The next day Oscar showed me his largely unpainted figure collection, he has some lovely rare metals in there, finds at local auctions apparently. I suggested that we could do some painting that morning, and upped the stakes by challenging Daniel, Ruth and Oscar to a speed paint session. We all chose a figure we wanted to paint, I set up the table, and after Daniel finished having a natter with our Mum on SKYPE, the hours painting session started. As usual with these things the time flew by, Oscar finished his figure (A High Elf Sea Guard) before the time limit ended, while the three oldies were left wanting more time.

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In all I though good efforts were made by everyone taking part. We all had a look at the figures and discussed them, and then it came down to me to pass judgement. Daniel came 4th with his Wood Elf Scout, Oscar was awarded 3rd place for his High Elf, Both Ruth and I had that little extra detail on our figures that made them stand out. However, given that I have more painting experience, and was judging; I declared that Ruth had won with her Chaos Warrior. So my Orc (Whom I had decided was a Chaos Orc) took 2nd place.

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So I had a fantastic weekend visiting family, and got some hobby time in too.

I’ve had some really nice beers since my last post, the dark ales I drank at the ‘Sandford’ were beautiful, but my pick of the most recent ones has to be:

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A nice strong dark ale, perfect for a slow drink whilst you paint you figures, but at 6% make sure you don’t imbibe too many.

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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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