Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Painting Update - Kings of War, Guildball

As before, I'm continuing to work on my Kings of War project. 

I finished four bases of swordsmen, enough to combine into two Regiments or a single Horde in the Kingdoms of Men list.

Alternatively, these can be used as the back half of Citizen Militia units in the League of Rhordia list. The front half will be occupied by Halberdiers, as the Citizen Militia have the Crushing Strength (1) rule. These Halberdiers are assembled and sticky-tacked to their bases, so they're the next ones on the list that need to be worked on.

I should note that I actually had to re-base these models, along with the Arquebusier/Musket Block units shown previously. I had thought that the models would be able to withstand handling glued down only to the spackle that makes up the top layer of the base. That turned out to be a big mistake, as only after a couple games, many of the miniatures were tearing free.

The solution was to purposefully rip the miniatures from the base, cut off the hardened glue and trapped flocking, and then drilled down to the plastic underneath the exposed spackle. Then I glued the miniature back down - a much stronger bond formed with the plastic of the base - and touched up the base so that no white was showing.

Although time intensive, I think it worked pretty well.

After acquiring Mist after Snow Ball and playing him in a game (10-12 against Kevyn's Alchemists; Mist did score a goal, however), I painted him over the past weekend.

I'm not totally happy with the paint job - the Citadel Blood Red and the P3 Beaten Purple don't have enough pigment for my taste. So I'll look into replacing them with Vallejo equivalents (Vermilion and Royal Purple, respectively).

This scheme is what I plan on using for my Union. Boring, I know, but it works!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Painting Update - Guild Ball Terrain

My recent experience with terrain in Guild Ball really has me fired up to get some of my own terrain for use with the local players. So, after making sure I knew what the official terrain rules were, I headed out to one of the local craft stores to peruse their shelves and see what I could find. 

I found a baggie of thin wooden shapes - the last one! - and found, after some measuring, that the circles were perfect for what I needed. This gave me four 4.5" circles, four 2.5" circles, and six 2" circles. That's enough to cover two Guild Ball pitches in the maximum allowed amount of terrain (seven pieces). 

So, I planned to have:
1 Forest (restricted to one, maximum 6" area)
3 Rough Ground (maximum 6" area)
1 Barrier (restricted to one, maximum 3" area)
3 Fast Ground (maximum 3" area)
6 Obstacles (maximum 2" area)

The Barrier started pretty simply, with blocks of sticky-tack glued together to form a wall. Mist is here to show the height.

In the next step, I coated the sticky-tack with Citadel's gloss varnish. As the varnish dried, it hardened, making the sticky-tack less malleable. The base was then covered in spackle.

Here's the result after painting, basing, and varnishing. It's not perfect, but it'll work. The sticky-tack has also become much less malleable during the process.

The Rough Ground each had pieces of styrofoam glued down.

And then spackle was applied. I was aiming to show that there's uneven ground in these terrain pieces, while still allowing models to be places anywhere without falling over.

I did take a risk while priming these, knowing that the spray primer I was using wasn't water-based. The resulting melting, however, gave the styrofoam a much more natural look with less sharp edges.

For the Forest, I decided I could spare some trees from my collection, and added these to the base. They won't be glued down, however, so that way the trees can be removed in case a model needs to move into that particular section of the terrain. 

The layer of spackle went on around the trees, leaving holes where they would go afterwards.

Some painting, flocking, and varnishing later, the trees still fit in place!

The Fast Ground pieces were probably the easiest to get ready. They just needed a layer of spackle to start.

And to finish, they were painted, washed, and then covered in a layer of Citadel's gloss varnish (I've used that varnish more times in this project than I had in the past year).

I actually forgot to take mid-build pictures of the Obstacles, but here's the end result - cubes painted to look like crates, and thread spools that (hopefully) look like barrels.

And here's the final result. Compared to the original image, I'd say it's a half-decent turn out for a couple nights worth of work.

Now I can finally get back to painting miniatures.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snow Ball 2016 - Guild Ball AAR

This past weekend I drove down to Enter the Realm to participate in the Philadelphia area's first Guild Ball tournament.

As I was more focused on playing the games, I didn't take any pictures, but I will be grabbing a few from the Facebook page of the event.

First off, Alex, the TO, did a fantastic job of running the event, and everything went smoothly. And big thanks to Chris, the store owner, for not only hosting the event and providing catering, but for offering really awesome prize support!

The event had 21 players (it did get a little crowded), and was played over four rounds. Chess clocks were also in use, with 45 minutes for each player. You can check out the official tournament rules pack for more information.

The totals for Guild representation were:
Alchemists - 2
Brewers - 3
Butchers - 3
Engineers - 2
Fishermen - 3
Masons - 4
Morticians - 2
Union - 2

So there was a good spread, though Masons were a little over-represented.

(In a twist of fate, poor Tom - one of the local guys running Morticians - ended up playing against all three of the Butchers team in the first three rounds. Ouch!)

Teams were mostly good on painting, with most being painted, while some were partially finished and only a few were bare metal. But some of the paint jobs were incredible! And Mike, a local Brewers player, won Best Painted with his team. He certainly deserved it.

I was running pure Masons, and used the same six players in all four games:


Which I felt could either do a scoring or bashing game depending on what teams I was facing across the table.

I played against The Union (12-2), Fishermen (4-12), Morticians (12-4), and Masons (6-12). The Fishermen were the biggest surprise, as I had never played them before. They took my Masons apart and ran circles around me. It's a paint to realize that what should have been a power-turn is wasted because half your team can't move!

Funny enough, my last match against the Masons was a mirror match, with my opponent taking the same players. So at least we knew what the other player's abilities were.

Apart from one other game, these were my only games played on the clock, and it adds a whole new dimension to the game. I've had some games of Guild Ball go 2-2.5 hours due to unfamiliarity with the rules and analysis paralysis. The clocks add a sense of urgency to the game, and make sure that the time doesn't run on forever. I actually think it's much more fun to play on the clock, especially since both players only have 6 models to worry about, while still needing to think about positioning and activation order.

I ended up 2-2 and in 10th place, which I'll take for a first tournament and still being relatively new at the game. I also got a goal token for being the best Mason player that didn't place in the top four (my last opponent got 2nd place). I also decided to pick up Mist while I was there, for potential use in the future, seeing as how Harmony and Tower sat on the bench for the whole event.

Overall, I had a great time, and I'm looking forward to getting out to more events. It looks like there some going on either further north or south of the Philadelphia area, so I guess it all depends on how long I want to spend in the car. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Herd & Orcs vs. Kingdoms of Men & League of Rhordia - Kings of War AAR

Humanity apparently has the advantage when it comes to naming conventions in fantasy gaming, don't they?

The new version of Kings of War has sparked some interest in the local gaming community, thanks in large part to the old Warhammer armies that have apparently been sitting dormant in many of the gamers' collections. Our collections are varying in their completeness, as some of us (i.e., me) don't have 20+ year old collections to fall back on at a moment's notice. 

So, this past weekend, I took part in a four-player game. Ken and Chris allied together their Herd (950 points) and Orcs (1050) , while Alex and I took two different factions of humans, the Kingdoms of Men (750) and the League of Rhordia (1250). 

We rolled for the mission and got "Kill" - we would play 6 turns (with a potential 7th) and at the end tally up the points of the units we lost. Whichever side lost the fewest points would be the winner.

I took the right side of the human lines with Alex on my left. Opposite of my League forces were the Orcs, while Ken's Herd readied for a charge into Alex's lines.

The first turn saw the Humans shuffle forward, keeping their lines, and firing with everything they had (two Arquebusier regiments, two Musket Block troops, and a Halfling Volley Gun), which put some decent hits on the oncoming orcs and beastmen.

Turn 2 saw the initial charge of the game. After another round of shooting, Ken's Beast Packs charged into Alex's Spear Phalanx. My Household Knights attacked Chris' Gore Riders, but were subsequently counter charged and then flanked by a regiment of Trolls. With so many attacks, my Knights were routed, despite their proximity to my mounted Baron.

In turn 3, both lines were heavily in combat. Alex lost a Spear Regiment but managed to whittle down the Herd force. My horde of City Spear Militia was holding its own, but the Giant that had followed the Orcs into combat found one of my City Militia regiments to be a tasty treat, and routed the panicked survivors. Luckily, the other City Militia regiment was keeping the Morax regiment wavered, and incapable of charging into combat.

Fighting continued during turn 4. Ken's bestial forces were tearing into Alex's remaining two Arquebusier regiments. While my Volley Gun routed a regiment of Ken's Minotaurs, my City Spear Militia horde was routed as well. My Baron, however, routed the troop of Gore Riders. On my right flank, my remaining City Militia regiment was still keeping the Morax regiment at bay, while my City Militia horde charge into and routed the badly-damaged Giant.

The game was mostly over by Turn 5. Alex's Regiments were almost routed, while another round of shooting and combat from the League forces had routed all of the weary Orc units apart from the mounted Godspeaker. We decided to call the game then, as there was no way for the Herd units to reach the League in time to potentially make up the difference in points. Victory went to the humans.

I think the mission definitely favored the slower human armies (which only had five shooting units, but that was five more than the Orcs and Herd combined). Had it been another mission that required more movement (table corners, for example, or getting more units into the opponents half of the table) the game probably would have favored the more maneuverable armies. Terrain placement also favored the humans, allowing them a natural defensive position.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Painting Update - Guild Ball, Blood Bowl

Even as the new year starts to get settled in, I've been working on getting some painting done. 

The two Orc players are conversions of regular players into Varag Ghoul-Chewer and Ugroth Bolgrot, two Star Players for the Orc team in Blood Bowl. This was just a side project, and something I wanted to do with the extra Blood Bowl miniatures I have.

The little lady with the big hammer is Chisel, the first of the Season Two models for the Masons in Guild Ball. She's an Offensive Midfielder, and primarily focused on doing damage to herself to hit harder when in combat with enemy players.

As for games played, I managed to get in a couple games of Kings of War, with my Kingdoms of Men against a Varangur force (which I lost) and another against a Ogre army (which I won). I also played another game of Guild Ball against an Alchemist team, which I won 12-2. I hope to get a few more games in before the upcoming tournament I'm playing in.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Along the Danube - Blucher AAR

Happy New Year, everyone!

Curt stopped by before Christmas while I had some time off from work, and I suggested we try out an introductory game of Blucher using the Along the Danube scenario. Curt's a big fan of the Total War series of games, and was intrigued by the idea of playing a game at a higher command level (most games I've played with him have been skirmish level or, at most, company level). So, Curt took the defending Austrians and I commanded the attacking French. 

Curt set the Austrian defenses in two long lines, with 1st and 2nd Corps in the center, and the Reserve Corps on the Austrian right.

The French were set up by Corps. The Reserve Cavalry covered the French left, 1st set up in the center, and 2nd set up on the right, with 3rd Corps behind.

I began the attack with 2nd Corps, who advanced towards the middle of the Austrian lines.

Rules Note: Technically, Curt's deployment wouldn't work, as he was firing his artillery over the heads of his infantry units, which isn't allowed. 

Meanwhile, the Reserve Cavalry began to move up on the left.

Rules Note: A mistake by me - I only moved the Horse Artillery up another 3" before firing out of the woods. The unit would need to have at least its front edge out of the woods in order to fire.

Most of the fighting would occur in these two locations, where Curt's Austrian lines were pummeled by my artilery, but managed to repulse attacks again and again, especially the 2nd Corps' Light Horse (seen retreating above).

The French Cavalry Reserve did chase off two units of Austrian Light horse, but they found themselves losing again and again to the Austrian Grenadiers.

3rd Corp moved up to assist 2nd Corp, going after the Austrian special objective.

Curt had plenty of Momentum Points during his turns, and used them to launch his own assault on the French 1st Corps, which never moved out of its starting position. The attack was beaten back, but not without French casualties.

In Blucher, Cavalry units must retreat after assaulting infantry (even if they won), which Curt used to good affect with his Grenadiers.

He would angle his Grenadiers into my Cavalry Reserve units, forcing them into retreating off the table edge in the Austrian deployment zone. If my reading of the rules is correct, then this meant the units were broken instead of retired.

We decided to call the game at the end of Turn 16. While neither of us had the required eight broken units to end the game in a complete victory, the French had seven units broken to the Austrian's six, so we called it a minor victory for the Austrians (even though they had three times as many retired units than the French).

Curt's definitely interested in the game, and I'm looking forward to getting the "War to the Death" card pack (which includes cards for Early and Late French, British, and Spanish forces, and all their allies).

If we are going to play again, however, I'm definitely going to have to go through the rulebook a few more times!