Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Painting Update - Dark Ages Terrain, Kings of War

With no games played over the past weekend, I thought I'd show what little hobbying I got done in the meantime. With both a full-time job and graduate school demanding most of my time, I'm finding it difficult to squeeze in moments in which I can paint and build. But I'm getting things done, if slowly. 

I've finished up a unit of Knights and a Standard Bearer for my Kings of War Kingdoms of Men army. I'm using Games Workshop's range of Empire for them, since they offer a decent range and a local shop was having a sale. 

I'm looking to get a unit done a week, which should mean I'll have 1500 points by the new year. The last 500 points will probably come from the Undead or Dwarves in the new starter box, which'll also be a convenient way to get a copy of the rulebook. 

In painting the Knights, however, I did figure out that my usual process of painting multi-based miniatures (which was mostly made up of Flames of War stuff) isn't going to work. Normally I just get everything on the base, slap on some drydex for the basing material, and paint. That isn't going to work with these 28mm models, especially with the infantry. So now I'm in the process of removing the miniatures from the bases as I paint them, then replacing them after I've also completed the base. Hopefully I'll have some examples to show soon. 

I've also removed the Free Company models from the project, and put them on Renedra bases which match the rest of my Frostgrave models. Those miniatures are wasted in a big-battle game, and they provided me with enough models to make up a second Frostgrave warband (sans spellcasters) for demos, or general usage. This means, however, I'll have to replace them with other GW models. 

I also wanted to show the 4Grounds buildings that I used in the last SAGA battle report. These are a combination of the Anglo-Danish and High Medieval kits, which work really well together. It only took me a couple days to finish building them. The toughest part was probably the thatch roofs, which needed a couple coats of a 50/50 mix of water and glue to get the teddy bear fur to stay down.

The interiors are really well decorated, if a bit sparse - although those bits will just get in the way of your minis as they fight.

Although I probably should have been a little more careful while I was building these. Some strange runes have appeared on the floor of one of the buildings!

So, that's it for this week. I do know that Bob Fanelli's hosting another Halloween game, and if it's anything like last year's, then it's going to be tons of fun!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Battle of Stompfordshire - SAGA AAR

I finally got the change to play SAGA again with Tom, one of the guys who frequents Stomping Grounds. It was a demo game, with Tom playing the Vikings against my Anglo-Danes. 

We played the Clash of Warlord scenario for a simple objective - either kill the enemy warlord or score the most victory points by the end of six turns. 

Tom had the first turn, and so advanced his warriors on the left and shot with his Levy on the right, causing two casualties in my 10-strong Warrior unit. We both advanced our Hearthguard and Warlords into the town, although I had my Warlord hang back a bit. 

Tom's Warlord and his 8-strong Hearthguard unit ducked in between two houses, as his Berserkers killed my 4-strong unit of Hearthguard, with a single Berserker surviving! However, thanks to some decent dice and the Anglo-Dane's "The Push" ability, my Warrior unit managed to completely destroy Tom's Levy.

Tom's Viking's emerged from the small village, the Warlord ready to tear into the Danish warriors. 

But his own household warriors were up to the task, dispatching the Danes with only a single loss. 

Now Tom started to bring his Warriors back from the flank, my Levy giving them a hearty wave farewell. Meanwhile my own Warriors and Hearthguard try to reposition themselves.

Tom continued to bring his Warriors into the village, crossing through the small marsh. His Warlord also consolidated with his Hearthguard. That gave me the opportunity to strike against the Viking leader with my Dane-axed equipped Hearthguard. Unfortunately, a combination of Fatigue and Tom's battleboard stopped my attack, and the Viking's slaying of a single Hearthguard forced them to retreat. 

Tom's counter-attack with his own Hearthguard and Warlord decimated my remaining elite warriors. 

This left my Warlord with the last six of his Warriors facing an incoming horde of Vikings. The gods alone knew what the Levy were doing in that field.

Unfortunately, a single accumulated fatigue from trying to get the Warriors into combat brought their charge distance from M to S, bringing them up short.

Since that was the last turn of the game, we tallied our Victory Points, as neither of us managed to killed the opposing side's warlord. Tom scored 17, and I score 10 - a decisive Viking victory.

Despite the defeat, it was fun to get SAGA out on the table again (even if it did cost me a couple broken swords!) and the 4Grounds buildings look fantastic.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Painting Update - Wild West Exodus

Wild West Exodus is a game that I haven't talked about much on my blog. It's certainly an interesting premise - a skirmish game featuring a sci-fi Wild West (with some magical elements) with grav-bikes, robots, laser guns, zombies, and werebeasts. The rules are interesting, although the individuals factions could use some rebalancing, and unfortunately the company is suffering from distributor problems and Kickstarter-itis (i.e., big expansion from Kickstarters and a reliance on them to get out new products).

Since the interest in the game has passed on at the local store, I'm looking to sell my small collection of Warrior Nation models. I thought I should at least post some images up on my blog, as I did manage to get all of them painted. 

This is Sitting Bull, one of the Bosses (leaders) for the Warrior Nation. In the WWX world, all the Native American tribes in the west came together to form one large nation to combat the Union and Dr. Carpathian (one of the most prominent villains). The Native Americans are able to find their spirit animals and transform into a hybrid with them. Sitting Bull's is obviously a wolf.

Another Boss - Chief Irontooth, a cougar hybrid.

Stone Fist and Running Foot, one of the Underbosses for Warrior Nation. Because nothing says "Don't mess with us" then strapping a pair of cannons to your mystical energy infused horse.

And another Underboss, Sky Spirit. I'm guessing he's some kind of eagle hybrid.

Sidekicks are a step below Underbosses, but are still powerful named models. Walks Looking is the daughter of Sitting Bull, and ostracized from the rest of the Nation for not being able to transform. She becomes a Boss in another faction, the Dark Nation (essentially, an Evil Warrior Nation).

Light Support units bring a lot of firepower in WWX - only being outclassed by Heavy Support, which can cause some balance problems - and these Energy Beasts are considered some of the best in the game. They're fast, can move once for free per activation, and their shots are both powerful and can pass through terrain. They're no slouches in close combat, either.

Light Support can also come in the form of infantry models wielding heavy weapons. For the Warrior Nation, that means Gatling guns and crossbows. Other factions have infantry equipped with rocket launchers, sniper rifles, and shotguns. 

The lowest tier of power in the game are Hired Hands, but enough of them can still drag down more powerful models, and you'll want a few if only to avoid being out-activated by your opponent. These Close Combat Braves might only wield pistols, knives, and tomahawks, but they can still take a chunk out of a bigger model with some decent dice rolls.

And if you have Close Combat Braves, you obviously need Long Range Braves. Although I think the usefulness of the guy with the spear is debatable, especially when compared to the rest of the Braves who at least managed to arm themselves with bows and rifles.

So, hopefully passing these miniatures along to someone else will mean I can invest some cash into another game that seems to be building steam in the local scene - Guild Ball!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

King of the Hill - One Hour Wargames: WWII AAR

Having to postpone any Lovecraftian adventures until a later date, I instead met up with Alex last weekend to help playest his WWII rules. Like his Dark Ages rules, they're based on the One Hour Wargames ruleset, with Alex's own tweaks, adjustments, and additions. 

The scenario we played is a slightly altered version of the one featured in my Take the High Ground! post. Instead of a road running off to the side of a hill, this road ran right through it. The scenario set the Italians defending against a British force. 

In our first game, I was commanding the Italians, and Alex the British. I had a AT gun unit and an infantry unit to work with. I positioned the guns on the left side of the hill. 

As per the scenario rules, Alex got to pick three units to arrive via the road at the beginning of his turn 1. Two tank units and an infantry unit roared onto the table, heading towards the hill. 

My infantry moved into the wood, and my AT guns exchanged fire with Alex's tanks. Dug into the hill, they were able to inflict a decent number of hits on the lead unit.

At the start of turn 3, I was allowed to bring two units onto the table via the road on my side - a tank unit and mortars. The two units of infantry were at a standoff, neither willing to get closer. And my AT guns continued to hit the British armor.

After some more movement and shooting on my part, the rest of Alex's force came onto the table on turn four - two more tank units and a mortar unit (with the defensive and movement capabilities of a tank unit). This is where things started to go poorly for me. 

I lost my tank unit, and my AT guns were run off the table.

Turn 6 saw the arrival of the last of my units - another tank and infantry unit. My tanks drove to the side of the hill, intending on hitting his tank in the side. My infantry arrived and moved onto the hill. Alex drove his tanks hard towards my mortars, while his own mortars hit my infantry. 

A lucky round of shooting forced one of Alex's tank units back, giving my infantry and opening to try and get to the tanks to do some close range attacks. I pulled my second infantry unit off the hill to save them from the enemy artillery.

Alex's tank poured fire into my guns at close range, and his artillery and tanks continued to outmatch my own armor. 

It's not looking good - my first infantry unit falls to a mortar strike. I send the second unit into the flank of the tanks attacking my mortars, which are only a few hits away from being routed. 

In quick succession, both my remaining infantry unit and my mortars are destroyed, and Alex takes possession of the hill.

I move my reaming unit of tanks onto the hill, hoping to regroup, bunker down, and run out the clock. Unfortunately Alex's weight of fire is too great, and my tanks are destroyed. Victory goes to the British!

I did want to try out the British side, and knowing I didn't have much time left (other engagement called), I decided for a fairly foolhardy headlong rush, hoping to push the entrenched units off the hill quickly. 

Unfortunately, I should have remembered the lessons I learned in my game of Hail of Fire against Curt - frontal assaults on dug-in defenders never work!

Alex deployed his infantry and guns much like I had, but elected to keep his infantry up on the hill. I brought on two units of tanks and the howitzers for some early game bombardments. However, I had forgotten that dug-in units can only be seen from 12" or less away, so my mortars didn't have a shot. 

As both of Alex's units were Ready, they opened fire as soon as I had moved into range. I was still hoping that my tanks could at least get rid of the infantry, while the mortars dropped rounds onto the AT guns.

The arrival of Alex's tanks threw that plan into disarray, and I was forced to pull back lest I offer the arriving armor my own tanks' flank. The infantry on the hill were fully ready for my attack, and delivered a devastating blow to my assaulting tanks, who meekly replied.

Alex quickly finished his one-two blow by knocking out both of the damaged tank platoons. With the rest of my units showing up, I decided for a second push.

I sent my infantry in to attack the AT guns, who had a disadvantage in return fire. Meanwhile I readied my tanks on the left to receive any charges from Alex's armor.

Alex didn't take the bait, however, and simply destroyed my attacking infantry. Now at a distinct 2:1 odds and with still-fresh troops in well defended positions, I realized any attack I made was going to fail. I conceded to Alex, and the Italians cheered with their victory well in hand.

Well, chalk that up as two losses. But here I am, buying a copy of One Hour Wargames to supplement Alex's rules and trying to find some vendor that sells averaging dice (which Alex uses in his rules instead of regular D6's). I guess we'll be seeing more of these rules in the future!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Strange Aeons - Kickstarter Review

Back in October of last year, I put money into a Kickstarter for the Second Edition of Strange Aeons, a set of rules for Lovecraftian skirmish games. A year later, the Kickstarter has finally been completed, and I received my pledge.

Since I didn't have a lot of money to spend a year ago, I went in with a basic pledge - enough to get m the rulebook in both physicial and digital format, the starter set, and a token set. I also received some Kickstarter-only bonuses.

The rulebook is spiral bound, which is extremely useful when reading or playing, as the book will sit flat. It's filled with both fantastic art of Lovecraftian horrors and pictures of the miniatures that the Kickstarter helped to produce.

I can't say much to the quality of the rules themselves, although the previous edition always received high praise. Hopefully I'll get a game in soon enough.

The starter set comes with four Threshold agents (the protagonists of the game, who stand in the way of the cultists and monsters), and I received an additional miniature as a Kickstarter bonus - an Exorcist.  

The resin used for the miniatures is of high quality, with plenty of detail and little flash that only required a short cleaning time to clear away. There are some places where detail gets a little mushed, and I've found a couple holes, but for the most part these are great sculpts.  

Opposing the Threshold agents are the servants of all the insane deities of the cosmos, and the vast majority of them are cultists. The starter set comes with five - a leader, and two each of a knife and gun wielding variety. Additionally, I received a midget cultist and a Maniac.

These sculpts were even better than the Threshold agents, and I can't wait to get them painted up.

It should be noted that UMW have decided to cast the miniatures in two different colored resin - blue for the Threshold, and green for the Lurkers. It helps distinguish the two sides if you don't feel like painting the miniatures.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Lovecraftian game if there weren't any horrors included, so the starter set also includes a Formless Thing and a Fishman. 

When the rest of the miniatures are released, I'll probably be picking up some Innsmouth-themed minis to go along with the Fishman.

Finally, the starter set also comes with four objective markers (three crates and a chest). Kickstarter backers also received a couple extra bonuses - a tombstone with the name "Pickman" on it to be used as a grave marker for certain kinds of Lurkers, and some pumpkins. 

I'm glad that I've finally gotten my pledge after the wait, and now I'm watching UMW's store page for more of the kickstarter miniatures to be released. Hopefully I'll be able to get a game in with Carl, another Lovecraft fan. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Between a Rock and a Hard Place - Frostgrave AAR

After some missed days trying to get together, the group gathered for some games of Frostgrave. It was a busy day at the store, with a Warmachine/Hordes Journeyman League beginning, and some D&D: Attack Wing getting played as well. 

As Carl had forgotten his lists, the first game was between Bob, Gary and me. We played the Well of Dreams and Sorrows scenario, where any Wizard who managed to get to the water in the middle of the table and drink from it received 100 exp (essentially a free level). Treasure tokens went down as normal. We deployed in corners on a 4'x3' table. 

Bob's Soothsayer make a quick Teleport to the pool, before eating an Elemental Bolt from Gary's Elementalist and was taken off the table. Bob's apprentice stepped up, however, throwing out Mind Controls left and right. 

I was essentially fighting a two-front battle, with Gary's warband to my left and Bob's to my right. Fair's fair - I had the highest level Wizard and a warband that had seen a few games. 

The game ended with Gary securing three treasures, and Bob and I grabbing two each. Bob decided to start his warband over (he wanted to try some different spells), so Gary and I went through the after-game mechanics detailed over at the Bad Karma blog. 

For the second game, Carl had brought out his own Elementalist, and supplied plenty of terrain from his time playing Mordheim. We supplemented this with a couple pieces of terrain from the store, and then spaced the buildings out a little more to fit the table.

This time we played a straight-up game, with each of us placing three treasure tokens on the table. As before, we deployed in corners.

As we've come to see with our multiplayer games, the game basically broke down into two fights, between Carl and Gary on one side, and Bob and I on the other, with some limited interactions. Carl's gang gave Gary's Warband a trouncing, while Bob managed to sidle up, grab some treasure, and then make it off the table (forcing my own Treasure Hunter to look elsewhere).

Carl made off with three treasure tokens, while Bob, Gary and I had two each.

Bob decided against continuing with the campaign (since he wanted to get in on the Journeyman League), although Gary and Carl expressed their interest in playing more games. However, Gary's also interested in participating in the League, so it may look like Carl and I will be  delving into some Lovecraftian horrors next weekend.