Monday, October 31, 2016

Bad Moon Rising - Empire of the Dead AAR, Part 1

Happy Halloween!

In the spirit of the holiday, I've got the first of a two part after action report of a massive, Halloween-themed participation game of Empire of the Dead, run by Gary. There were seven gangs on the table, each with their own objectives and grievances with one another. 

Like his Assault on Castle Klankk game, Gary went all in on the terrain, creating a sizable town with docks, fields, an industrial section, and even a graveyard.

And, of course, there were plenty of innocent (and not-so-innocent) civilians populating the streets and alleys.

With that, let's take a look at the factions than ran amok through the town.

Dracula and his brood arrived via an unmanned ship, looking to drain as many civilians as possible and convert them into vampires.

A pack of werewolves also arrived with a bone to pick with the vampires. Though they weren't opposed to picking up a few snacks along the way.

The Industrialists, having realized that a number of valuable Clickers had gone rogue, geared up and set out to reclaim them.

Members of the Supernatural Branch, following a tip they had received earlier, desperately worked to save some civilians from the impending slaughter.

Also looking for Dracula was Van Helsing and company.

Lurching out of the corn fields, the pumpkin-headed Field of Screams looked to secure some valuable, and fresh, fertilizer.

And feeling as though he'd been under quota for the year, Death itself stalked the street with an assortment of banshees, poltergeists, and other spirits.

The Supernatural Branch fanned out, somewhat concerned by all the howls coming from the park.

Death and his spirits began to float through the streets, wailing and shaking ephemeral chains.

With a steam-powered Mech and a Penny Farthing bicycle, the Industrialists began to move through their section of the town.

The vampires fanned out, looking for unprotected necks from which they could feed.

The Field of Screams found an unwilling volunteer to head back into the cornrows.

And the werewolves snacked on a nanny and her charge, while the rest moved towards the town's center.

Another two victims fell to the werewolves - a hapless gravedigger and a flower lady - but a burst from the Supernatural Branch tank's Gatling gun killed a wolf.

Come back on Wednesday for Part 2!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Shattered Glass - Wrath of Kings AAR

We're back this week with another Wrath of Kings AAR. 

Kevyn and I are still trying out new lists and Motivations. I brought some new characters while Kevyn dropped the Ravenscar mercs onto the table.

My List (Shael Han, 10 Morale, Disrupt Supply Line
Madam Mui
Dragon Legion Keeper (Commander)
Iron Lotus Warrior x10
Dragon Legionnaire x8
The Deathbloom
Hong Yao

Kevyn's List (Goritsi, 9 Morale, Assassination)
Korrad Ungarash
Ravenscar Mercenary (Commander)
Skorza Skirmisher x6
Ravenscar Mercenary x6
Shield Breaker
Scourge Hound
Ravenor Alpha

First turn was the usual slog forward. I had Hong Yao and the Deathbloom out on the flanks.

With Kevyn winning the initiative on the second turn, I managed to get the Deathbloom and Hong Yao into trouble. Luckily, Deathbloom's high Wound value and Hong Yao's resilience kept them alive (and would continue to do so through the fight).

Meanwhile, the masses of infantry converged in the center as I aimed to push through to the Supply Line tokens.

This is where things started to go downhill for the Goritsi force. The Ravenor Alpha was killed by a combined attack from Hong Yao and the three Iron Lotus Warriors that had broke off from the main group. The rest of the Iron Lotus Warriors had crashed into the Skorza line, killing off all but one of the werewolves. The Deathbloom used her Stalker ability to shift away from the Shieldbreaker and into the squishier Ravenscars. The mercenaries tried to counter attack, but failed.

While Kevyn was now at a low enough Morale level to win initiative, his force was fractured enough that there wasn't much he could do. The Shieldbreaker's Howl from Beyond ability killed off a few Iron Lotus Warriors, but the big wolf was quickly surrounded by Dragon Legionnaires.

The most damaging part of the turn was the loss of 4 Morale from two Supply Line tokens, thanks to the Deathbloom's Stalker ability and a nearby Iron Lotus Warrior.

The game then ended the next turn when the Deathbloom swept over to the Ravenscar Sergeant and tore him into shreds.

During our after-game discussion, Kevyn and I came up with two potential problems as to why House Goritsi hasn't treating him so well. The first is that he's been playing defensively with a glass-cannon faction, which I've managed to take advantage of in turns 2 and 3, smashing into his lines and wiping out large chunks of his force. The second is the perennial problem of dice. For the past few games, mine have been on fire - keeping Hong Yao alive, passing Will Checks, and hitting the top of the defensive chart time after time. Kevyn, on the other hand, could roll a dozen or more dice to try and hit one model (in this game, it was Hong Yao), and only come up with a single point of damage. Which I then saved against and prevented.

Kevyn's has taken the proper gamer's path of tossing those dice in the trash and getting a new, shiny set that will hopefully learn from their predecessor's fate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Painting Update - Arena Rex, FIW

Let's see what's on the painting table this week!

I finally finished with all of the Ludus Magnus figures for Arena Rex. Viatrix, on the left, is the other leading lady for the faction. She's a counterpart to Lupa's bare ferocity, taunting opponents to keep their attention on her. This can be useful if pared up with other faction models like Otho or Iason.

On the right is Septimus, another decent Favor generator with good damage and push results. And in the middle is Nero, Ludus Magnus' mount, Titan, and beast all rolled into one very angry package. With two stages, the massive bull is going to stick around for a while, and can both put out high damage and rearrange enemy placement in the arena. He can be ridden by Septimus, turning the pair into a very dangerous duo.

I also finished the British Wilderness Force for Muskets & Tomahawks. Half of the force is made up of Rangers, the green-coated light infantry force made famous by Major Robert Rogers.

The other half of the force consists of British-allied Indians and Colonial Militia. 

While this is a small force in Mustkets & Tomahawks (a little over 200 points, or half a regular game) these miniatures can also be used with the Song of Drums and Tomahawks rules, and provide plenty of options. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Whipped Out - Wrath of Kings AAR

As predicted, not only has another Wrath of Kings AAR made it onto the website, but it features some new additions from both Kevyn and me. 

My List (Shael Han, 10 Morale, Stand Your Ground)
Dragon Legion Keeper (Commander)
Big Sister
Black Lotus
Dragon Legionnaire x7
Wrath x3
Iron Lotus Warrior x8
Hong Yao
Shield of Taelfon

Kevyn's List (Goritsi, 9 Morale, No Confidence)
Hestra Nostrollo (Commander)
Skorza Alpha
Zeti War Dancer x10
Skorza Skirmisher x4
Duke Anton don Genoria
Ravenor Alpha

Turn one was the usual advancing on both sides. The Duke took a point of damage from his degenerating body.

The fighting began on both flanks. Hong Yao charged into the Ravenor and managed to score two hits. The Ravenor, attacking back with more dice now that it was hurt, did manage to get an Overkill on Hong Yao. But one of the two Will Checks saved the damage, and Hong Yao's resilience soaked up the rest of the damage. The Ravenor flew away, knowing a bad deal when it saw one. Two Skorza Skirmishers took its place, but failed to do any damage. Another Skirmisher ran into the Wrath group, but only got a wound as a reward.

The Zeti War Dancers tried to connect with the Iron Lotuses to make room for the Duke, but failed. The retaliatory strikes from the Lotuses' whips wiped half of the War Dancers from the table, and put another wound on the duke. The Black Lotus leader took her action to gain a Stand Your Ground marker, ready for the next turn.

After winning the initiative roll, I activated the Lotuses, removing the Stand Your Ground marker from the Black Lotus and taking a point from Kevyn's moral before getting a new one. The Duke and a few more War Dancers were wiped from the table. Kevyn tried getting the Ravenor into combat, but bad rolls only put a single hit on one of the Wraths.

Hong Yao was kept busy by the lake, while the Legionnaires kept moving together. Kevyn finished the turn with the War Dancer's counter strike, taking out a chunk of the remaining Iron Lotuses. I lost a point of Moral from a failed Will Check and the No Confidence motivation.

In the last turns, I managed to activate the Lotuses again, taking out the last of the War Dancer Infantry and removing another Stand Your Ground marker. The Lotuses were then removed by Hestra. The Ravenor took out two Wraths (and doing a point of moral damage from the No Confidence motivation) before being cut down by the Big Sister and the surviving Wrath.

The Legionnaires moved to close with the Skorza Alpha, and four of them used their action to gain a Stand Your Ground Marker. Kevyn managed to kill two of them (and I lost another two points of Moral), but their activation at the beginning of the next turn removed his last two Moral. Victory went to Shael Han, but only with a 2 point lead in Moral - a very close win. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Testing, Testing - Empire of the Dead AAR

With Halloween fast approaching, Gary asked Carl and I to help playtest some new factions for his big holiday-themed Empire of the Dead game. As we haven't had the chance to play the game in the past year, Carl and I were happy to help. 

Gary asked me to put together a "broken" Gentleman's Club list to go up against his pumpkin-themed Field of Screams faction. That wasn't exactly hard - Gatling Guns and Hunting Rifles accompanied by Heavy Pistols and Axes were passed around.

The Field of Screams list was close combat focused, with slow, shambling scarecrows with some magic and Unnatural Occurrences (treated as single-use abilities).

The mission was Fracas - simply kill enough of the enemy until they were forced to retreat. The game was played at night, so line of sight was decreased to 18".

I split my Gents into two equal groups - one Hero with a Gatling Gun, a Subordinate with a Hunting Rifle, and two Subordinates with pistols and axes.

The Field of Screams took a couple early casualties as my Gents had used EotD's overwatch action to wait for the approaching horrors to enter into gun range.

Carl decided to focus on the group of Gents on the left. One of the Gents was momentarily entangled by one of the Fields' Hero characters, but managed to break free. Another Gent got into close combat, but was only discombobulated.

The Gent who broke out of the entanglement was killed, but the Gent by the well managed to hold his own for the turn. Another Fields Hero couldn't make it into close combat, so he used his Unnatural Occurrence to put a wound on the Gents' President.

The last round went well for the Gents. Another Fields Hero went down and two more Subordinates were killed. At that point, the Field of Screams crew was below 25% and was forced to retreat.

We also played two other games. Gary adjusted some of the stats of the Field of Screams faction before Carl and I played a second game. The Field of Screams crew won, thanks in large part to getting into close combat sooner. Carl also used more of the factions Unnatural Occurrences, and some magic. It was a better approximation of the Halloween game, where there won't be so many guns on the table. 

For the last game, Carl used the Gents list I had written up while I used Gary's Death faction, which featured poltergeists, banshees, and even the Grim Reaper. We discovered that the faction wasn't great in close combat (and didn't have much in the way of shooting, either). However, because all the models in the faction were spirits, I had to make a Bravado Test whenever one was about to die. If I passed (which I did for all checks, save one) then the model lived. I managed to win via attrition. 

It looks like next week's games will also be testing for the Halloween game, which I'm looking forward to. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Escalation - Wrath of Kings AAR

As Kevyn and I make progress with getting paint applied to figures, we decided to meet up for another Skirmish game of Wrath of Kings. We've both made some purchases for our respective factions, and this was the first chance for us to bring out the big 80mm based miniatures - the Goritsi Blood Engine and the Shael Han Fulung Devourer.

My List (Shael Han, 9 Morale, No Confidence)
Big Sister (Commander)
Dragon Legion Keeper x2
Wrath x4
Dragon Legionnaire x10
Hammer of Heaven
Shield of Taelfon
Fulung Devourer

Kevyn's List (Goritsi, 9 Morale, Steal Intel)
Hestra Nostrollo (Commander)
Skorza Alpha
Zeti War Dancer x10
Skorza Skirmisher x7
Blood Engine

Careful examination might lead some readers to doubt the list I've written. As it turns out, Kevyn forgot to place two Skorza Skirmishers during deployment! Keep that in mind as the battle progresses.

Kevyn and I spent the first turn moving forward - the Goritsi werewolves and vampires moving at breakneck speed, while the Shael Han forces worked their way in a more cautious manner. My Shael Han stayed in base contact with each other, taking advantage of the defensive buff from the Dragon Legion Keepers.

The Goritsi drew first blood, with the War Dancers leaping over the Shael Han lines, blades flashing and blood spraying. The Dragon Legionnaires and Wraths strike back, slaying a large chunk of the War Dancers. A lucky blow from one of the Wraths killed the Skorza Alpha. Somewhat worryingly to Kevyn, the Fulung Devourer's ranged magic attack managed to put a couple wounds on the Blood Engine.

The above picture might look like the turn went Shael Han's way, but that's not the whole story. More piece trading went on, with Shael Han managing to hold the advantage. One of the biggest reliefs was the Blood Engine going done from a combined assault from the Hammer of Heaven and some Dragon Legionnaires. Another Skorza Skirmisher went down to the Devourer's magic breath attack.

Midway through the turn, however, two of Kevyn's models scored hits on the Big Sister and one of the Dragon Legion Keepers. The Big Sister was killed, but more importantly, Kevyn generated two Intel tokens. Had the models carrying these tokens survived until the end of the turn, I would have lost 4 Moral point - half of my total Moral at the time.

As this happened in the middle of the turn, however, I was able to target and kill these models with my later activations, cancelling the threat of the Intel tokens. Live and learn!

The game ended when another Zeti War Dancer and Hestra Nostrollo went down, netting Shael Han another wind. Of course, Kevyn was missing a couple Rank 2 infantry from his force, which might have helped in the scrum! Expect to see some more Wrath of Kings on the blog, especially as Kevyn and I continue to expand our forces.