Stane of Blood

On Saturday I travelled down to Woodmansterne in Surrey to take part in my first ‘Kings of War,’ tournament of 2020. ‘Stane of War,’ was a singles tournament for armies of 1495 pts, 4 games of 45 minutes in 1 day. I believe that particular point’s level was set, as it prevents repetitive selection whilst you select the troops you’ll take, and stops players spamming their army with powerful units. It kind of levels the playing field. I took a while to choose my army, as the ‘Empire of Dust’ has 7 irregular units, and it is tough to make a legal list with the unlocks you need to be effective. I wanted units that would take a charge and plenty of surge to allow me to get a few melee’s of my own started. My final list looked like this:

 

Ahmunite Pharaoh (Tome of Darkness),

Cursed High Priest (Shroud of the Saint),

Skeleton Spear Horde,

Skeleton Archer Horde,

Revenant Regiment,

Enslaved Guardian Regiment (Diadem of Dragonkind),

Enslaved Guardian Archer Regiment,

Desert Swarm Regiment,

Reanimated Behemoth,

Monolith.

This gave me 10 drops and a unit strength of 16.

 

Game 1: (Dominate)

My first game was against Grant and his ‘Varangur’. This matchup had been due to a challenge by Grant. We had been at several tournaments together and never played each other so as we were allowed to throw down the glove to anyone that was attending, Grant chucked his at my feet and I graciously accepted, even though I knew he would probably kick my butt. My first match at any tournament is never great, as I seem to need it to get me head in the game, and shake off the annoying nerves that dog me despite my mantra of ‘it’s only a game,’ I knew that the ‘Varangur’ had some fast troops and hit hard, so given the scenario I decided to keep my troops in close formation, move slowly toward the centre and deal with whatever came through first. Grants units were on my flanks by turn 2 and of course I broke formation to try and deal with the threat. This opened me up to Grants assault and he proceeded to pulverise my army. My skeletons did give as good as they took at first, but could not cope with the sheer ferocity of the barbarian warriors. Two lessons that I took from this game are as pointed out by Grant, if you have the ability to heal, you need remember to use it. Also if you are going to charge a unit, make sure that you actually have the correct angle, otherwise you might surge past you target, and offer up you flank in the same move.

Game 2: (Raze)

I believe that my opponent in this game was Marcin (but I am not sure). He had an impressive looking ‘Ratkin’ army. This was a tense game for many reasons, and I learned that the ‘Ratkin’ have some cool tricks, ‘Plague pots’, anybody? The main point of the ‘Raze’ scenario is to hold the most objectives by the end of the game. Other than the centre marker, you can start accruing objectives by turn two, so It does favour more speedy armies. However I was determined to do better in this game. It started well when my ‘Enslaved Guardians’ surged into and hammered his ‘Tunnel Runner Regiment.’ This decisive mover lead to me dominating the right flank, however the centre was soon in the hands of the Rats with their ‘Mutant Rat Fiend,’ glaring down upon my skeleton warriors, whilst being supported by a horde of ‘Shock Troops,’ and a ‘Rat Swarm’. I decided to claim my three outer objectives, that had been placed in the Rat’s half of the table, and keep my opponent from his remaining token placed in my half. The battle swung in the balance between the two forces until turn 6 when I rashly charged my ‘Enslaved Guardian Archers’ into his 2nd horde of ‘Shock Troops.’ Tis unit had been guarding the last objective. Although I won that combat, we rolled for a turn 7. My lust for battle had drawn me away, leaving a gap for his Rat Swarm to sneak through and claim his last objective, suddenly, my draw became a 4 – 3 defeat, so close, but no cigar.

Game 3: (Control)

My third opponent was Mick and he was using a ‘Vampiric Undead’ army. Most of his army did not worry me, and I felt we were evenly matched. However his army general was a ‘Vampire’ upon and ‘Zombie Dragon’, and I had no idea how to counter it. Both armies are quite slow as neither can march. As they staggered toward each other I sent my ‘Archer horde’ and ‘Guardian Archers’ to deal with two troops of ‘Wraiths’, I had underestimated the ability of this troop type, and soon the units were locked in a stalemate, that my dice results did nothing to assist. As the game went on, neither side looked certain to claim control of the field, as Mick and I traded units, however on his turn 5, Mick’s troops turned the tide of battle by destroying 4 of my units. I was able to claim the left flank with my remaining units, but it was not enough. I lost the game objective 5 points to 2. I was impress with my ‘Reanimated Behemoth’, which had been able to smash through the enemy lines, and managed to survive a grinding melee against a regiment of ‘Revenant Cavalry,’ and a ‘Mounted Vampire’ (not the dragon riding one), and claimed the top left flank for the ‘Empire of Dust’, without any help from the other units.

Game 4: (Loot)

Similar to the ‘Raze’ scenario, tokens are placed along/near a centre line, and your units need to capture and hold these tokens. The difference in the scenario is that unlike the objective markers, you can pick up and move the Loot tokens around, in order to keep them in your control. My opponent in this game, Elliot, had brought an ‘Elven’, army. He had a good selection of ranged and melee units, but nothing large to worry me. I have already learnt not to underestimate the ‘Elves’, as they are and elite force with excellent shooting and fighting statistics. After the sides were set up and tokens placed, I made my plan of action. My ‘Behemoth’ would take the right flank, with the ‘Revenants’ and ‘Pharaoh’ in support. The centre would be covered by my ‘Monolith’, ‘Archers’ and both regiments of ‘Guardian’. The Swarm’, ‘Spear horde’ and ‘Cursed Priest’ were to take the token on the left. Elves are fast and can march, unlike my shambling skeletal warriors, I had to be ready for them trying to sprint to the tokens pick them up and run before I could reach them. Thank the ancient gods for ‘Surge’, a spell that is a gift to undead armies, and keeps us in the running, so to speak. As the game progressed, my plan to take the right was faltering, not due to any great losses, purely because the ‘Elves’, being more mobile than my troops, kept grabbing the loot. My ‘Swarm’ took the token on the left, were shot and killed by a troop of ‘Elven Gladestalkers’, who claimed the token only to be butchered by my ‘Spear horde’. Once these guys had the token they weren’t letting it go. In the centre, units on both sides had been killed. However the ‘Elves’ had made an early claim on the token and never really looked like losing it. We held 1 loot token each at this point. It all came down to the fight on the right flank. My ‘Behemoth’ was too busy slaughtering Elves to concentrate on the objective, and by turn 3 this was also in the hands of the Elven army, a late surge from the monolith and then the ‘Pharaoh’ had been just enough for the ‘Revenants’ to make contact with the ‘Elves’ holding this coin. After 2 rounds of combat and with support from the ‘Pharaoh’ and ‘Behemoth’ the ‘Revenants’ claimed the objective. Due to time there was to be no round 6. With 2 tokens to 1 and a larger kill score the ‘Empire of Dust,’ finally claimed victory.

Over all this was a really fun day. The tournament, planned and organised by Matt Gee ran really smoothly. The tables looked immaculate and great to play upon. Matt’s brother scored for the event and the results were calculated quickly, so that the event did not drag and you knew your next opponent and table with enough time to tray and move your army and grab a coffee before starting the next game. The opponents were all good gamers and such a fantastic level of painting. Next time Matt plans a tournament, I will definitely try to attend; rumour has it there may be on in August 2020.

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/

Passing of the Shroud

Hello MoDers, with a combination of this heat sapping my will to write anything, and going on holiday only a day after the ‘Shroud of the Reaper’ tournament took place, my post event report is somewhat delayed.

In summary I had a really fun day in Bexley, taking part in a really well-run tournament and getting in four games along the way. A lot of work had gone into making the gaming experience a pleasure from well themed gaming tables to personalised dice trays. There was some spectacular armies on display it was clear to see that a lot of effort and no small amount of talent, had gone into their completion.

My Rhordians faced off against the ‘Forces of Nature’, ‘Varangur’, ‘Undead’, and ‘Dwarfs’. Sadly I did not manage to achieve even one victory in fact I finished in last place. However I did achieve my main goal of not getting tabled, and more importantly I had a lot of fun.

Army List

For many years I have been a Dwarf player, and became very skilled in using the gun line tactic that many Dwarven armies use to great success. One of the reasons I had for a change of army when I took up ‘Kings of War’, was to have a mobile army that actually moved toward the enemy without getting flanked, isolated and wiped out.

As I mentioned in the ‘Counter Charge’ podcast ‘Rhordia Revealed’ the league has a very good range of mobile units from Halfling Ranger Cavalry to the mighty Honour Guard. I set my mind on having a mainly mounted army. In Clash of Kings 2018 Rhordia was gifted two fun looking formations. I’m not a great fan of formations per se, as I love to create my armies free hand, and would hate Kings of war to take the Warhammer Battle Scrolls route. Army construction os one of my favourite part of the hobby, it links in very well with fluff. However as an option they seemed interesting.

The formation I was interested in was the ‘Thoroughbred Mounts’ which consists of a Regiment of Halfling knights, two troops of Halfling knights and a mounted Halfling master sergeant. As well as providing four units of nimble light cavalry the gained the added bonus of 1 inch to their movement and the Hatred special rule. I really wanted to try this out. Sadly I did not read the formation set up correctly when I went through the book, and thought that it was 1 regiment, 1 troop and a Master sergeant. it was only when there were 25 hours left until the army list had to be submitted, that I noticed my error, I had no more Halfling knight miniatures at my disposal, my draft list needed a total overhaul.

With only a week left until the tournament I had to think fast. In response to an earlier blog, by one of the event organisers, Grant Alexander, the suggestion of using the 25% allowance for allies. I now had to seriously consider this option. I still have my Warhammer Fantasy Empire, High Elf and Dwarf armies as well as a Kings of War Empire of Dust army, as Rhordia is a neutral army either of these could have come to my aid. As mentioned earlier my preference was always for the Dwarves, and they have some really great units at their disposal. On Twitter @Thunder_Ox suggested I brought in a solid shooting unit, in response to the same blog. A colleague at work, Neil Dennison, who is quite au fait with the Kings of War Dwarves and he suggested a unit of Dwarf Rangers with a Ranger Captain for inspiring and possible a unit of Earth Golems for added strength. With the models at my disposal, this was a viable option and the one I went for in the end.

My completed army list looked like this:

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Rhor’s Lunch Wagon:

Duke on Ancient Winged Aralez (Mind Fog and Blade of Slashing)

Honour Guard Horde (Chalice of Wrath)

Honour Guard Horde (Staying Stone)

Battle Shrine

Halfling Knights Regiment (Hammer of Measured Force)

Halfling Iron Beast

Mounter Halfling Sorcerer (Wind Blast, Drain Life, Myrddin’s Amulet)

Halfling Howitzer

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Dwarf Ranger Captain

Dwarf Ranger Regiment

Earth Elemental Horde

I had not realised at the time of submission that the staying stone had already been nerfed and now only strengthened the units waver level and not their breaking point. I had chosen this item in-order to keep the Honour Guard in the fight longer as they had themselves been nerfed in the Clash of Kings 2018, leaving Rhordia with very few units that can take a hit. Had I read this part of the Errata before making final selection, I believe I would have re though the selection. My other post game tournament thought on this list is that I should have selected the Volley Gun over the Howitzer, as indirect fire was not really required in these games, and the Howitzer which is pretty hit or miss was only effective in one out of my four games.

On the day I was most impressed by the units of Honour Guard which are pretty much a paper tiger, if they get the charge, they hit hard and with a large amount of attacks, there are not many units that can stand after these guys have struck them. Throughout the day these chaps wiped out a horde of Earth Elementals in one hit and a Horde of Brock Riders in another. I just need to find a way to keep them in the game once they themselves have been charged. My most disappointing units were the Howitzer as stated and the Duke on Aralez Ancient, but this is largely because I did not really know what to do with him.

Conclusion

At the end of the day I learned several things, the first is to really get to know how your army works, practice and practice so that you don’t spend a lot of the game making errors because you don’t know the best way to set up or how best to manoeuvre your troops. Sadly I do not get to play very often so I am not sure how to achieve this.

Get used to and do not forget the chess clock, at the beginning of the day I was more preoccupied with not forgetting to click the clock at the end of my turn, determined not to accidentally run out of time. By the end of the day, I was quite tired and regularly forgot to tap out.

Bring spare equipment. I thought I was pretty prepared with spare movement trays, pens, army lists and card cut outs to use as proxy units to balance upon hills and other difficult terrain. However during my first game my tape measure broke as the metal tip came off and the tape disappear inside the casing. Thankfully my opponent was prepared and allowed me to use his spare not only in that game, but for the rest of the tournament. Thank you very much Steven Pearce.

During the game it might be a good idea not to assist your opponent by setting up a pathway of individual characters for a strong unit to smash through and over run into the flank of one of your valuable regiments. Whilst my mounted mage was busy blowing back a unit of Naiad Wyrmriders, I took my eye off the ball and left him within charge range, allowing them to plough through the mage and the reaper special character and into the flank of my Halfling Knight regiment who crumbled under the onslaught. Two lessons there, be less impetuous and concentrate on what you are doing.

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I would like to thank my opponents from the day for 4 great games of Kings of War: George Harris, Alistair Austin, Dan Woodley and Steven Pearce. I’d like to thank Daniel Read for pre-tournament practice. And I’d also like to thank Mark Cunningham and Grant Alexander and the rest of the ‘Bexley Reaper Wargaming Culb’ for making the tournament possible. I’d also like to thank Mantic for softening the sting of coming last by sponsoring the wooden spoon prize. In all I had a great first tournament.

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Three games in June

Hello MoDers,

I cannot believe that July is already upon us. June was quite a busy month for me, and I did not get around to typing up a blog. I have mainly been spending a lot of my spare time with my family, so not really had the chance to hobby. I did get a few games however.

Game wise, I played three times using different gaming systems. The first was a ‘Kings of War’ style ‘Triumph & Treachery’. I played a game of this in May, so when the opportunity came up to give it another go, I jumped at it. ‘T&T’ has a strange mechanic with the random turns, decision changing cards, and the fact that you are allowed to build pacts with opposing players. In both of the games I have tried I fell victim twice to this final factor, yet somehow it enabled me to win both games. My attitude with both games was to just throw my units into any fray available, and hope for the best. Though risky it is a strategy that can gain a lot of coin, and it is the person with the most coins at the end that wins the game.

For the game in June I took my Rhordians, and went against Orcs and Varangur. In the first round my Duke tar-pitted the left flank by getting charged by an Orc Boss and some Boar Boyz , and surviving for 3 rounds. This freed up the rest of my army to tackle any Varangur that approached on the right. My artillery was not overly effective, luckily some melee combat did go my way, with my Halfling Knights sacrificing themselves to slow the enemy enough for the foot troops to form an effective position. The Greenskins had a long standoff against the Blood crazed humans, both sides opting to target any missile they had at my Halflings. When round 4 came about, the Varangur and Orc clashed in a grinding press of muscle and steel, in the end the stubborn orcs refused to give any ground, but it was not enough for them to gain victory. The objective of this game was to gain control of a magical tower, at the same time that the mighty forces clashed, my Halfling mage dashed through the gated entrance and claimed any magic held within, a sneaky victory, but a good one.

My second game the following week was a regular ‘Kings of War’. Having spent the day decorating the kitchen, I was quite tired, with no real mood for playing strategically. I decided to put a mobile Elf army together and see what happens. My opponent on the other hand is a very tactical player and had hoped for someone that would offer a challenge for his Orcs, I let him down on this point played recklessly, without a care for my troops or the outcome. There was an extra twist to the game itself, as we needed to choose a scenario. Normally I love these, as they add a difference to the game, making one think about each action rather than going hell for leather as one might in a pitch battle. On this day however it just added my confusion, I went against my pre planned set up, one thing led to another, and the Orcs carried the day butchering my elves and stealing all the loot. By the end of the battle I was down to two wizards. Strangely though; I was quite happy with the result.

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For the last of my June games I went back to ‘Warhammer Fantasy 8th ed’. My opponent for this game had been asking to have a go at the old game for some time. I was happy to oblige. I went with my High Elves, a similar list to the week before as I did not have time to re-pack. He brought his Warriors of Chaos. I set up with cavalry on one flank and infantry with artillery on the other. The game started well with plenty of charging and combat on both sides. However I seriously under estimated the power and toughness of the chaos troops, and although I struck first on most occasions, scoring many a hit, I could not wound them for toffee. By round five my entire army had been routed as the forces of chaos claimed victory. I did enjoy re-visiting this games system, but after a year and a half of ‘Kings of War’ the rules are a bit clunky, compared to the more basic, free flowing ones provided by ‘Mantic’.