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’.

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Frostgrave, Kings of war and more.

I have been quiet for too long, the intention to blog has been there, but not enough will to actually put finger to keyboard. I have however been busy, getting some games in, painting/finishing some figures and drinking beer, well maybe not so much of the latter if only due to finances.

I got my copy of Frostgrave from ‘Northstar Miniatures’ at the end of July. The book itself is beautifully put together, and the rules are intriguing. I am still to play it as I have been preparing my own wizards/apprentices to use, the ones prepared by Northstar are nice, but this is the type of game where you can do your own thing. So far my Arcworlde Wizard is going to be my Illusionist, and I bought a lovely sculpt from ‘Black Scorpion Miniatures’ to be my witch. I also plan to use a classic ‘Citadel’ High Elf Mage as an Elementalist, and have my eye on several minis for my Necromancer.

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Even though I have not yet played Frostgrave, I have had the opportunity to play Kings of War 2 and Dungeon Saga by ‘Mantic’ who visited my local gaming club on two occasions over the last three weeks. On the most recent visit Ronnie Renton himself came down, a very nice fellow to whom many of us at the Hackney Area Table-top Enthusiast are very grateful to.

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Kings of war is very much the game to replace ‘Warhammer Fantasy Battle’, if you wish to continue to play proper table top battles. It is actually faster and easy to play than WHFB, and because you do not remove figures as the casualties’ accrue, it is easy to set up for a new game or tidy your army away. I have played this 4 times now, although 2 of those times were the 1st edition. I love the fast pace of the game, and they fact that artillery and magic are useful, but they are not game changers, means there is guaranteed combat, and often unexpected results. The fact that Mantic are expanding the range of their armies is a real bonus.

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Dungeon Saga is similar to Hero quest, but with some important differences, the one which stood out to me is that if even one of the adventurers dies, the whole mission fails; this encourages greater team work to complete the game. Each level is tougher than the last and it becomes imperative to protect the weaker members of your team.

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Despite the bad taste it left in my mouth, I have tried ‘Age of Sigmar’, and although many people have enjoyed it, it’s not for me. I will be taking up ‘Kings of War’, however I will also continue to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle, as long as I have an opponent to play with. I have also decided that in an effort to keep the old world alive, I am going to write and alternative narrative which I will post on the ‘Warhammer battle reporters’ website, for people to use if they wish, like many do, to continue with 7th or 8th Edition. I am also going to add 3 further armies to my collection, I already have Dwarf, Empire and High Elf, and it took some time to decide which three armies would join them, in the end I decided to go with Khemri, Orc & Goblin and Beastmen. I just need to get hold of the figures; I have had some luck, but keep getting out bid on Ebay. I need to find some other sources.

As I have said some nice beers have been consumed since my last post, and it’s difficult to say which I preferred, possibly the badger brew, but here’s a few pics of some of my recent refreshments.

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Unit fillers and board games

Hello Mug ‘O’ Dice readers.

I have not been in a great place recently, so I’ve taken some time to relax and reflect. This has given me an opportunity to get some painting done and plan further projects. Warhammer 8th Edition may be on the way out, but I am determined to finish off my Empire ‘Witch Hunter’ themed army, and Bugman’s based Dwarf army.

To that end I have completed two unit fillers for Bugman’s large Ranger unit. I plan for the main Dwarf himself to feature in this unit eventually, but I’m building the troops up first. I have put together two 40mm bases using the theme of camp canteen. One of these features a ranger drinking a mug of Bugman’s XXX whilst leaning on his crossbow, for this I used a classic citadel drunken dwarf. The second base features a Halfling cook from ‘Warploque miniatures’ and a female dwarf cook from ‘Lead adventures’, hovering around a camp fire. I have planned a third base, to complete the set, but still await the arrival of the minis. Here’s how it all went together:

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Even though my mood has been low recently I have been trying to keep myself busy; and my spirits high by getting involved with a local gaming club. I’ve been planning to attend the ‘Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts’ for a while now, and last Wednesday I took my opportunity. They are currently playing a Warhammer 40K campaign based on the Badab War. I do not currently play 40K, luckily other games are played at this club, for example they are currently running a blood bowl league. I originally went just to see what the club was like when a friendly group of younger gamers invited me to join them. We played two card based games ‘Dixit’, and ‘Coup’, I had great fun. It was good mixing with like-minded people just chilling out playing board games, I definitely intend to return, and I might even dust off and repaint my Halflings for a spot of blood bowl.

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Future plans I have embarked on include collecting a wide range of female Dwarf warriors; for a unit of shield maidens, to represent the fairer sex in my Dwarven army. I’ve already found some lovely sculpts through ‘Oathsworn miniatures’, and ‘Reaper miniatures’ I plan to have around 20 to 30; to form a good strong unit. Keeps your eyes peeled for this development.

In light of the changes to Warhammer Fantasy, I have decided to make a small investment in a Warmachine / Hordes army to see if I enjoy that game. I had toyed with the idea of going with Menoth, but the foce that has attracted me most is Circle Orobos, so I think I go for them, I just love the Warpwolf and Satyr models.

It is Salute 2015 on April 25th, The day is booked off, and my ticket secured, I’m really looking forward to this as I missed it last year. I’ll be posting pics and showing off my wares.

A fine skirmish

I enjoyed my game at ‘Dark Sphere’ last month so much; that I have decided to try and make a regular thing of it. My tri weekly work pattern means every third Monday I should be able to get a game. Hopefully I will become reacquainted with the rules once more and maybe hit the tournament circuit once again. I’m not sure if I’m guaranteed an opponent every time, but I have already met a bunch of great people who have also been bitten by the Warhammer Fantasy bug.

For this game I decided to shake the dust off my Dwarfs and put the new army book through its paces. My opponent, a friendly gamer called ‘Daniel’ who was thankfully up to speed with the 8th ed rules; brought a beautifully painted High Elf army, so it was a great opportunity to strike a grudge from the old book and put the aloof sons of Asuryan back in their place.

After Daniel finished basing up, I was relieved to see that he had not brought any cavalry, but the sight of a lion chariot and two repeater bolt throwers was enough to make me pause for breath. The main thing that struck me about his force was how well it was painted, my dwarf models are old and not all completely painted, ‘damn my lazy streak’, but there was a beauty in his figures that seemed to make them shine like the glittering host they were representing.

We rolled for a scenario from the rulebook, which is not something I normally do; preferring to go straight for an open engagement or writing my own scenarios. We got ‘Meeting engagement’ which divides the table diagonally with a 12” no man’s land. Set up is decided by the role of the dice, each unit is rolled for on a D6, and any units for which you role a 1 do not come on during the set up phase but come into play as reinforcements later. Luck was with the High Elves on set up as all units passed, however I think that in my army both the fighting infantry units, an Iron Breaker horde and a Dwarf Warriors armed with great weapons must have found a few kegs of ‘Bugman’s XXX’, as they failed to turn up for the start.

After this however the tables turned as the dice gods were kind to me but not so good to Daniel, who didn’t have one successful magic phase, and although his elves aim during the shooting phase was true, they must have bought their arrow heads from the rubber emporium. The game wnet to 4 rounds and ended with victory for my sons of Grungi. Daniel was not without his successes however as his Sword Masters slaughtered my Warrior unit, taking out a T5 Runesmith, in one round of combat. When they tried the same trick with the Iron Breakers things weren’t so good for the Elves.

If the Sword Masters were man of the match for the High Elves, then the unit of choice for the Dwarfs had to be my duo of Gyrocopters, who weathered a storm of magic and arrow to caused havoc and sow mayhem amongst the pointy eared foe. The combination of steam gun and Brimstone gun proved a useful tool.

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Results aside, I had a really enjoyable game with a fantastic opponent. Sadly again due to the game taking place in a shop there was a total absence of beer, but I was able to make amends for that on the way home, by stopping off at the local supermarket:

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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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The Dwarfs are coming…

Has it really been a month already?

It must be time for a new Blog update.

Today I want to talk Warhammer fantasy, current products on the market, and thing that are due to be released.

October / November saw the release of the new Dark Elf rule book and a multi-player campaign guide called ‘Triumph and treachery’. Both looked very impressive. Now I’m not a Drow collector, but I have to say I was very impressed with a number of the sculpts that were released, from new core foot soldiers,  fantastic creatures such as a monster called a Kharibdyss, and the new ‘Cauldron of Blood. I am still to get a copy of the army book (I have asked good old saint Nick to assist with this so we’ll see), so I’m not in a place to see if the changes to the army book have any negative impacts to the force put out by the Dark elf player, as a Dwarf collector I often secretly hope for a few unintentional weaknesses within my foe, but they do seem to have done a well-rounded job on this one.

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As for ‘triumph and treachery’ I have can only say three words: ‘I want it’. I have been putting together multi-player games for a while now, as there were, until recently 3 regulars in my gaming group. What I like about the triumph and treachery campaign is that it is more than just multi-player, it appears to be a slightly different gaming system. With mercenaries, under hand tricks and a game resolution that is based on what you have killed during the game, it lends itself to a different style of play from regular Warhammer fantasy.

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Now rumour has it that next year sees the release of a new Dwarf army book (the first since the beginning of Warhammer fantasy 7th edition) and I’m hoping for good things, we need some good changes because right now the sons of Grungi are just not that competitive.  So what would I like to see in the new Dwarf book.

Well my first worry is that, like with the other armies where the lists of magic items specific to that army have been severely stripped, the dwarf magic system of runes will be equally culled, to me this would be a travesty as the dwarf army has no real magic to speak of, and runic artefacts are one of their only ways of countering this, I would hate to see the choice of runes reduced to something like 7 or so options that can be selected

Many of the races in the Warhammer world have been given special rules that suit their character and background, the Dwarfs are not exception, but I feel the three long standing rules, Ancestral grudge, resolute and relentless need updating. The hatred of Greenskins and mistrust of elves is still a good rule, but resolute just hampers the already hampered dwarf movement, and relentless which allows dwarf to march even when within 8 of an enemy is redundant now that all armies can do it with a simple leadership test. I like to see some modification with these two rules. Also I would like lord, hero and special troop types to be stubborn to represent the tenacious dwarf spirit.

I would like to see the rangers as a separate warrior type, rather than just clansmen / quarrellers who can scout. Give them clansmen statistics and arm them with heavy armour, great weapons, throwing axes ad shields, with an option of swapping the axes for crossbows. As well as scouting, give them a rule that makes them difficult to detect prior to their first move, so they can have an actual impact on the game.

Please do not mess with the ‘Anvil of Doom’ too much, it is great that it works in the shooting phase and therefore cannot be dispelled, it made it a viable option that improved dwarf play.

Give weapons options to gyro-copters, things such as the template steam gun, but also a mini bolt thrower like the ‘skycutter’ carries, droppable bomb and/or a battering ram which gives +3 on the charge. Allow players to make units of gyro-copters, and consider two seater versions.

Please keep the organ gun at auto hit.

Please don’t rule out existing special characters in favour of new ones, but please re-introduce some of the old ones like Burlock Danminson or Gotrek and Felix.

Give Iron breakers something other than just good armour save, they no longer have their 2+ due to 8th edition rule, which is a shame, they used to be little tanks.

Introduce new gear:

Steam golems:

Dwarf dreadnought

Death rollers:

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Airships:

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Ever since I read JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ I have been gripped by fantasy fiction, table top games and role play, and it set up a long time love of all that is dwarf.

This is why when it came to choosing an army to play Warhammer Fantasy by Games Workshop (GW), way back as far as the  early 1990’s, it was the ale quaffing beardies that I opted for.

Most fantasy players have a love / hate relationship with GW, who produce rules / gaming systems and churn out some fantastic sculpts. They are a large driving force in the fantasy gaming arena. However many people believe that they are over priced, and make un-necessary changes to rules their rules, forcing people to spend more money. It is a fine line they tread, one could say between market place bully boy, and table top innovators, it has to be remembered that it is companies such as GW breath life into the gaming community and have helped make it what it is.

There are however some companies out there who make absolutely fantastic models at a fraction of the price of GW, and these can easily be utilised in un-official tournaments,  at clubs and in house games.

Right now I am really impressed with ‘Avatars of War’ Pathfinders who would make excellent models for Dwarf Rangers, I’m quite tempted to get a unit to accompany my Josef Bugman (A GW special character) into battle:

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