It’s been awhile since we played this last round of Monster so apologies that this post will not be so indepth. The settlement decided to hunt another couple of level 1 Lions to keep the resources coming in. We have found that a full set of rawhide armour and judicious use of scenery really makes a difference and the survivors had little trouble dispatching both Lions. The session was most notable for a settlement event in which ‘Clinging Mists’ have given the survivors a dilemna: to start a new settlememt or go hunting straightaway. Part of me wants to plough on and get to more challening showdowns, but there is the nagging doubt that a bit of patience and perseverence now will ultimately result in a stronger game position. We decided on the former approach in situ but this may change on more careful reflection.

image

Also of note is the 3D terrain I am gradually working on and is seen in the picture below. It’s a slow process, particularly as I am distracted preparing models for SMOGCON, but I am getting there.

image

The road to SMOGCON – part 5

Posted: January 19, 2016 in Gaming, Trollbloods

I decided to play a different list this week – tier 4 50pt Doomshaper. This is a list I have always to play particularly with loads of Runeshapers as I love the models. Across the table 50pts of Cephalyx mercenaries.

image

I literally just chucked the models on the table with a couple of substitutes having not prepared in any way. A quick read through the cards and the strategy was fairly clear. The Trolls would need to block up to make good use of the armour buff from the Krielstone. There would be further buffing of the armour of the beasts through the Earthborn’s animus and the walls gained through Janissa and Doomshaper’s tier 4 benefit. The Runeshapers would protect the flanks and with Rockhammer they had a decent attack to clear the horde of Cephalyx infantry.

image

image

image

The two forces closed on each other and it became clear this was going to be a war of attrition. The Cephalyx struck first nearly killling Mulg and this put the Trolls on the back-foot. They were able to retaliate taking out the first Cephalyx heavy. The Runeshapers threw a load of Rockhammers into the advancing horde causing a good deal of mayhem.

image

After these initial exchanges I felt that the Trolls were marginally ahead but the beasts, especially Mulg, had taken some pubishment. The next strike would be crucial and it was some relief when Mulg wallopped the other Cephalyx heavy putting the Trolls in a good position.

image

image

At this point my opponent threw in the towel feeling that it was just a matter of time before one of the Dire Trolls laid hands on his ‘caster. It had been an entertaining game and I am pleased to have played a list I have always been interested in.
Sadly I doubt I will have time to paint the required models for SMOGCON, but I certainly want to play this list again. The Runeshapers did a great job of protecting the flanks and the buffed Troll brick in the centre was durable with decent counter-punch potential. Doomshaper didn’t feature much in the game and his spell list means he is much better suited to fighting another Hordes army. For me the find of the game was the Earthborn. I really like the animus and the way it interacts with scenery elements. I think adding one of these guys is a high priority.

This Sunday would see the start of a new Settlement. The survivors struggled against the initial lion and three were lost. To be honest I thought we were going to have to replay the first lion again but a timely critical to the Lion’s ding dong by the last survivor Big Barry (inflicted with his bare hands no less!) meant this would not be necessary.

image

image

And so Big Barry Land came into being. With only one endeavour to hand the Skinnery was founded and this at least enabled some hide armour to be crafted. The settlement decided to eat and dissect the corpses rather than bury them establishing the principle of death cannibalism. Big Barry spoke the first words, attempted an Augury and ended up sitting at foot of the Lantern hoard contemplating the meaning of the universe and hence ruling himself out of the next hunt.
Four new survivors embarked to hunt their first level 1 lion. The hunt was a fairly protracted but not particularly eventful one and the Lion was found in the Ground Fighting Mood. This enabled the survivors to explore a pile of debris and a bug patch before setting up an bush on the Lion in the long grass (note the 3d terrain in progress in the pic – much more of this to come).

image

image

image

This showdown went very well for the survivors and by using the tall grass to good effect it was not long before the lion was toast and three of the four were heading back to Big Barry Land with a decent array of resources.
A boil inducing green mist descended on the returning survivors meaning all three will miss the next hunt, but the settlement innovated Painting and crafted some very respectable gear including a complete set of Hide armour.
After a brutal start a good second showdown and Big Barry is in a good position to lead the hunt on the next Monster Sunday.

Second game with Gunny against Legion again but this time eVayl. Same list as the last game but this time Highwaymen instead of Scattergunners and I put my tier two trenches down.

image

The Legion list was small and elite including an Angelius, Zuriel, Typhon, 2 x Forsaken and 2 x Deathstalker. Looking at eVayl’s spell list this was going to be a very maneuverable force with lots of stealth and possible assassination threats. I decided to go with the usual strategy of rushing the burrowers forward to tie-up the centre ground and then look to punch a hole for the heavies and Gunny to assassinate at range.
First round went as planned but the Legion redirected making it harder for the Burrowers to get a substantial number of attacks on one beast.

image

The Highywaymen ‘water-falled’ on the Angelius but only managed a couple of points of damage. The Burrowers also failed to make an impact on Typhon and Zuriel. To be fair my dice were poor but this meant I had lost the initiative.
The Legion beasts ripped into my Infantry causing heavy casaulties leaving me in trouble for the scenario  and opening up the table for the Legion to attack my Battlegroup.
In my next turn I took two (somewhat diminished) death star shots from my Highwaymen which in hind-sight would have been a better option in the previous turn. I also had a go using the battlegroup to drop some templates near eVayl using Dozer’s Bank Shot to gain more control over the scatter. This tactic clearly has merit and I can see it being very good in the right circumstance. I do need to plan the activation order carefully to make the most of it and remember all the buffs and synergies.
From here in the Legion played a game of hit and run and Gunny failed to get any traction in inflicting serious damage. In fact it was looking like I would fail to kill a single model so I turned Gunny on a Deathstalker to avoid this embarrassment only to allow Typhon to rear-end him into oblivion.

image

Another good learning experience. Although I didn’t do well I was faster and used more of the aspects of the Gunny list that should make it a good one. I need to make some trench templates – although they had little effect in this game I can see them being useful in others. I also made the mistake of putting my objective in one trench meaning there was less space for models – must remember not to do that next time.

2015 : Year in Review

Posted: December 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

Another year of gaming has passed and it’s generally been a good one. I continue to be amazed by the sheer number of excellent games, models and accessories that are available. It does not seem so long ago that there was only really Warhammer Fantasy and 40K as genuinely well supported and popular games. Long may this last and I’m looking forward to even more diverse gaming in 2016 including a return to Dropzone Commander and the new Dropfleet Commander that I have backed with a club mate.

Getting the negatives out of the way first I must say I’ve found it increasingly difficult to reconcile family, work and gaming so it is a truism that the amount of time I am able to devote to painting. modelling and tournament play has fallen dramatically. I’ve prided myself on being a very good painter and reasonable completive player but increasingly I’m having to settle for less than my best and my skills and motivation on this front are waning. The most obvious symptom of this was my failure to take part in the tournament play at SMOGCON and failure to win anything in the P3 painting contest. This state of affairs is unlikely to change in the medium term, but I am thankful for being able to attend my local club on a regular basis to play a good selection of games.
And local gaming is where the positives have been for me this year. 2015 has been all about four really good systems that I have managed to invest a decent amount of time and energy to. I’ve enjoyed some great games with some great people (you know who you are!) in Warmahordes, Infinity, Batman and Kingdom of Death: Monster. I’ve played a couple of other systems too, but these four have commanded the majority of my time.

Warmahordes remains by preferred system for competitive play and I’m looking forward to updating my Trolls in the lead up to SMOGCON 2016. It is a blessed relief and a great credit to Privateer Press that the game has remained steady and balanced for a number of years, and where there have been problems they are skillfully dealt with via FAQ and new releases. For me Warmahordes is by far the most developed and well thought out product available to the gaming community and I don’t see that changing in 2016.

The arrival of Infinity N3 was much anticipated and the game itself is better for the new edition. The new rule set is clearer yet even deeper pushing the envelope for futuristic skirmish gaming even further. Much like Warmahordes I do find it to be a brutal alpha strike game and it can be disheartening if you get off to a bad start. Whereas I feel I’ve cracked Warmahordes and can hold my own I still don’t feel on top of Infinity. Perhaps for this reason I continue to bang the drum that says this game is really best seen as an immersive campaign setting rather than a pick-up and play competitive system – I’m aware many disagree with this interpretation. I’m certainly going to want to come back to Infinity in 2016 and I’m still waiting on a Kickstarter for some really nice pre-painted terrain that I will likely use a spring-board back into this game.

In contrast to the punishing alpha strike nature of Warmahordes and Infinity, the Batman miniature game has been a breath of fresh air and the best surprise of 2015. Like many gamers I was attracted by the familiar setting and cool models but the system itself is very, very good. The rules are interesting and cinematic in creating a ‘beat ‘em up’ feel rather than a massacre in which everyone dies. This makes it a lot of fun and much more forgiving, while remaining viable for competitive play. In addition I’ve already bought some models in anticipation of the Spiderman game which is due for release soon, although I’ll probably hold on playing this until there is a better selection of choices for forces. I also really enjoyed making my Arkham Asylum for this game and that particular project has to go down as my most ambitious and original this year.

Finally, and by far the most anticipated game, Kingdom of Death: Monster. For me this has raised the bar in terms of board gaming by effectively offering a self-running role-play game. My gaming roots are in role-play but over the years I’ve lost the youthful imagination and creativity needed to generate and then maintain a vivid fantasy (sad I know!), which is why I find wargaming much easier to access. The great news is that KOD tells the story as you play it. The rules are fairly thin (in a good way) and I would imagine it would be possible to break the game through careful analysis, but that’s not the point for me. What this game is all about is getting a group of gamers around a table and having fun in a grim unforgiving world. It needs a dark sense of humour and the perseverance to get up and give it another go when things go wrong, but if you have that it is a beautifully conceived universe to lose yourself in.

So, there we have it for 2015. Less painting and modelling but a healthy amount of gaming. I’m optimistic about 2016 and as mentioned my predictions for 2016 include Trolls at SMOGCON, Dropfleet Commander in the Summer, Batman and Spiderman and more Kingdom of Death: Monster. There are lots of other games to take further too including All Quiet on the Martian Front, X-Wing and Armada to mention just three. Just too much to choose from :)

Highwaymen in progress. Took a while to construct these guys. I was a little disappointed with the variation across the models. There are basically 4 sculpts: 3 x 3 and the leader. Nonetheless the sculpts are good for plastics with a good amount of well defined detail. There were a few mold lines to clear up and gaps to fill but nothing too horrendous. I’ve taken the trouble to do it properly for these guys as too often I’m a bit lazy about this.
First step is scraping or cutting the worst away with a scalpel. I’ve then taken to using a bit of wet and dry wire wool to achieve a smooth finish. After this my usual black primer with an azimuthal white. Note the darker undercuts in pics 2 and 3. This picks out any remain imperfections that need attention. In pic 4 an awful mold line was discovered and needed some quite aggressive tidying up to get to the siultuation in pic 5. Once these are gone another light dusting of white finished them off.

image

image

image

image

image

image

First practice game was a 35pt affair vs  eAbby. This was going to be a refamiliarisation exercise rather than a competitive game, so I took Gunny and what is pretty much my old sub-par list with Dygmies + Fellcaller, Scattergunners + UA, Bomber and Impaler. I used to take two Bombers, but as I have a semi-painted and built Dozer and Smigg they made the list instead. It was probably a tier 2 list with minor benefits I didn’t take, but I’m not too worried about that at this stage. The eventual plan is to upgrade to 50 via max Highwaymen and a Blitzer but I’m keeping it small and familiar to begin with. The Scattergunners should probably go too, possibly replaced by a War Wagon or 2nd Blitzer, I may even try the Mountain King with Gunny ….. but I digress.

eAbby was accompanied by a Carnivean, Scythean, Raek, Shredder, Swordsmen, 2 x Shepard and 2 x Deathwatcher. I’ve played these models before and always found them troublesome, especially the heavy beasts. However we rolled a scenario that favoured a backfield shooty Warlock which at least meant I didn’t need to worry about this aspect. I got first turn and deployed as seen below.

image

I’ve learnt that it is best to have a rough strategy rather than just ‘going for it’ and improvising. With this list there are basically three waves of attack. The Dygmies go in first with the intention of occuyping the middle ground early and posing a fairly credible threat to anything centre board turn 2. If they can hang in there for a turn or two the Scattergunners can get in and start spraying without fear of hurting the Pygs via their UA. It is likely they will get get tied up too turn 3. However, by now Gunny and the Heavies should be in a good position to start laying down the big blast templates and with the help of Gunnies feat they should enjoy protection from blast damage in turn 3 or 4. Finally, all being well, it should be possible for Gunny and his Heavies to find the gap needed in the mid to late game to knock out the opponent’s warlock.

The game itself roughly followed this plan but could have gone either way. The burrowing Pygs failed miserably to made any headway in attacking the Legion heavies but I did at least learn a new trick of giving them Snipe via Gunny to give them the range needed to attempt this. Thankfully they did do a reasonable job of jamming the centre ground allowing the Scattergunners and Fellcaller to get some reasonable sprays in.

image

At this stage Abby popped feat and the Legion beasts gained Flight. The Carnivean came down one flank and the Scythean straight at my Battlegroup putting Dozer and Smigg down to a single box. This was now the Trolls moment to try and punch a hole through to Abby and assassinate her. Gunny managed to knock her down with Critical Devastation, although she was carrying enough transfers to probably keep her safe. Nonetheless the remaining Scattergunners and Pygs did their best to finish her and a cheeky Arcing Fire shot from Dozer and Smigg put some hurt on her. The Bomber bravely stepped away from the Scythean, riding out the free-strike, but even his two boosted bombs were not quite enough.

Unfortunately I had left Gunny dangerously close to the Scythean and I must say I thought this meant game over. Somehow Gunny survived the onslaught giving him another bite at the cherry with the heavily wounded Abby crouched in a wood. The Trolls firstly attacked Abby’s beasts that were transfer targets successfully removing the Raek but leaving a badly injured Shredder.

Gunny just needed to escape the Scythean…..
Earlier in the game we had been disussing how the Bomber might do this and realised a friendly Push power attack would do exactly this and stop free-strikes to boot. The Impaler circled behind Gunnbjorn and did the deed freeing him up to have a go at Abby. I’m pleased to say he had a superb hit roll followed by a decent damage roll and Abby was a goner.

image

Dead chuffed to win, especially against arguably the best Warmahordes player presently at my club. Having said that we did do a lot of mutual coaching and the 35pt game took a good three hours to get through. Clearly there is no way the games at SMOGCON are going to be like this so regular practice including timed turns will be essential. I’m not looking to achieve a placing at SMOGCON but I would like to be a credible opponent.

So, main three learning points:

1) Dozer and Smigg are very nice. The Arcing fire is a nice addition to the Gunnbjorn assassination gunline tactic.
2) Don’t forget the option to push a model out of melee: friendly model or foe!
3) Snipe works on units as well as beasts. This is potentially good with Pygs and will be even better with Highwaymen.

Lets hope its onwards and upwards for Gunny and co. from here! :)

image