Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Warhammer Fantasy Battles is Dead, Long Live Warhammer Fantasy Battles!!!

You've read all the stuff about Age of Sigmar I am sure. I'm not going to rehash it or give you my opinion on it. Instead I'm going to post about love of something wonderful, and that is rank and file blocks of fantasy infantry marching to war. Obviously this has been removed from Games Workshop fantasy gaming completely. I think this is bad even though I understand the financial reasoning behind it I would have rather that the support for the game was reduced rather than the game be thrown away in exchange for another skirmish game.

Fantasy war gaming, in general, is based off from historical reality. Even the earliest records of war indicates the use of ranks and files on the battle field. Some will point out that there is also record of skirmishing units of troops, which is true, or they will point out that the ranks and files did not truly hold once battle was engaged I would heartily agree with. I would in return point out to them that they don't understand what war gaming conventions are or why we play the way we do and then move on.

Warhammer Fantasy Battles was truly the last rank and file fantasy war game. All other have been lost. I know people will wag their finer at me and point that finger over to Mantic's Kings of War but this is not so. Kings of War is a fine game, not one I play, but a fine game. It lends itself beautifully to easy game play, fields of fantastic troops, and epic conflict. It is not a rank and file game though. The many miniatures placed onto the movement tray or in some cases directly modeled onto the movement tray are not individually removed. The entire unit is treated as a single entity and remains or leaves as a single entity. You could just as well place 15 models to represent a unit of 20 or even a single card board tent with a picture on it. This would facilitate the game just fine and in no way affect play so long as the movement base/tray was the appropriate size.

This is fine, it is a good game, I do not mean this as a criticism I simple mean this as an observation and clarification.

The essence of rank and file war gaming is the pace it sets and the ebb of the armies on the table. Added to this essence is the complexity that the fantastic would bring to the game. It is a sad loss that our gaming community clamors for the simpler and quicker rather than engaging in an enjoyable duel of generals over the course of an evening. Historical war gaming fathered this structure and through the years it has proven to be a good structure. Warhammer was the by word for fantasy war gaming because it intelligently based itself off from the historical predecessors and engaged the players on a greater level than many games do today.

We have lost our espirt de corps you might say. As a community we look towards games that complete quicker and give us gimmicks we can utilize to find victory rather than out think and out flank our opponent. We want to play our two or three model/card combo and immediately have the advantage.

Rank and file war gaming does not have this aspect truly. It relies on good maneuver, good planning, and a good measure of fortune. Even the best laid plans can be lain low by a bout of 1's on the dice and even the most outnumbered regiment can hold their own with a good run of 6's. Before anyone deducts the value of the dice I would point out historical battles such as Thermopylae and Agincourt  as examples where their may not have been dice but there was certainly a good measure of fortune. We can't recreate humanity and reality on the table, the dice do this for  us.

I don't plan to give up this style of war gaming. In fact just the opposite I plan to more actively engage it. Try to build a community for it within my community of gamers. I plan to fight the mental decay of simpler war gaming every way I can. Join me in this! Raise your regiments of models (carefully so they don't fall) and bring them to war with you.

On the model painting front I've been very busy but not been able to take pictures, sorry for that. I've gotten several commissions done from imperial assassins to men-at-arms including some 6mm DZC and several of my own units that I had primed for way too long. If I get the chance I'll take some crappy pictures. No promises though :(

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dungeons and DOTA

Since the launch of 5th edition D&D, which they are just calling D&D which is alright with me, I've played a lot. Both of my sons have games they DM and I play in both of them. I've lost about half a dozen characters to various deaths by this point and I've also had a very successful cleric. I'm very good with clerics. The new cleric is a solid character class with a lot of support power and good survivability, offensively not so much but it is a cleric so I am okay with that.

I have also been playing a lot of DOTA 2, occasionally with my sons. I've always like Warcraft and as that was the true precursor the graphics of DOTA 2 along with the variability of play is very fun for me. One of my sons incorporated several of the characters into his D&D game and it gave me some inspiration to create an epic weapon that I want to pass on to any D&D enthusiasts out there.

Wraith King is one of my favorite characters and he has a cosmetic item named the Relic Blade...
...a broken sword that when he is wielding it is completed as a ghostly blade. Very cool in my opinion so I've created it as a magic item that mimics Wraith King's powers in game.

RELIC SWORD (legendary weapon)
Long sword +3, requires attunement
1. Life Leech: with every hit that causes damage to a living target the sword heals the wielder of 1d3 hit points.
2. Mortal Strike: critical hits with the Relic Sword do maximum damage on the dice.
3. Reincarnation: when slain the wielder of the Relic Sword returns from the dead the next round as if they had just had a long rest. All enemies within 30 feet of the wielder have their movement halved for two rounds. This effect cannot be used again until after a long rest.
I don't believe this is a game breaking item but it is very good and of legendary quality. The life leach effect could be over powered but only healing 1d3 isn't going to save you unless you are able to wield it with many attacks in a turn. The damage is good for a magic weapon but again not ground breaking. In the right hands it can be a horribly deadly weapon such as a fighter with improved critical from being a champion or a good rogue, but it may also cause the player to use it or enter battle when they shouldn't.

This pretty faithfully recreates the Wraith King except the healing effect isn't an aura and the Wraithfire Blast power isn't recreated. I think of this as the weapon that Ostarion used for centuries before finally succumbing to death once and for all.

I'd like any thoughts people might have on this. A few other item's have popped into my mind and I may post them if people were interested :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Old School RPG Products

So if you've read any of this blog you know that a big fan of the 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons and the really old Warhammer Fantasy and Rogue Trader 40,000. A while ago I got a big lot of old metal miniature box sets and every know and then i'm able to get one out and get it painted up. I always think about how these sets are thirty or more years old and never been painted, maybe never even seen the table! I just finished Grenadier's AD&D small box set Orc's Lair (#2011), please take a look...
Original box in good condition, I was so excited by this!

Originally this 'insert' was on the back of the box which was shrink wrapped, again I was so happy to have it as well!

The completed figures!
I didn't get a chance to take individual pictures. I'm still using my iPhone which means generally crappy pictures but if I get a chance I will get them out again. It is just a great set with a good selection of Orcs for a Dungeon Master to bring to an adventure. There is a lot of character and a good series of encounters could be played out with these. I can imagine that supplementing this box set with a couple packages of Orcs and you'd have a great module ready to go.

Also I obtained this from a Half Price Books...
 I just love the old products from TSR with artwork by Otis on it. These just have such a wonderful feeling of innovation and amazing feeling of adventure. The Rogues Gallery was an item I had always heard about as a kid but never found. Having it now I don't see that a product like this would sell. The invention of the internet and the web and a mass of materials for RPGs this kind of product isn't viable. Which is kind of a shame, since frankly if I could have a book of just D&D 5th edition NPCs to use I'd love it.
Some of the artwork in it looks unfinished, like this sketch, and I love that they published it this way. I think it has a great effect to generate some ideas in a dungeon master getting to look at sketches like this.
In case someone was wondering what it looked like inside this fine work besides the art work. As  you can see it is basically tables of stats which seems daunting if you're not used to this. To an old school DM like me this would have been a great gift, to a current one maybe not so much.

I also have a couple other models done that if I get a chance I will get photographed for you. Until this I hope you are all enjoying success in your games and that the monsters are being slain expediently! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Gender and Gamers, Lizardmen, and Screaming into the Enemy's Mind

Lots to talk about today gentle readers! The last thing, listed first in the title, is the heaviest so if you aren't up for heavy then please feel free to skip that part. I won't be offended. Also if you read that part and wish to comment then feel free but please be aware this is not a public forum and I do take action against obviously offensive commenting (I have done so in the past).

First lets talk about some PSYCHIC SHRIEK goodness. Last weekend I played a great game of Ultramarines vs. Dark Angels/Imperial Knight and it was a good game all the way around. During the play of the game I had a Librarian with Psychic Shriek and a conversation came up between my opponent and I regarding the application of the power. If you are familiar with the debate then what i'm about to say will make sense, otherwise you should skip to the picture ahead. In short I think that the power clearly should not require a to-hit roll. I feel this way because it does not inflict any hits, it only inflicts wounds. While it does not use a template it is similar to one in that fact that templates do not require to hit rolls either. They simply inflict hits. I understand that some player point to text that says witch fire powers are like shooting attacks but in that same paragraph it also states that this classification of powers may not require to-hit rolls. At mi casa this means that PS will not require a roll to hit. If you are playing at my battlefield and you want to do that I won't stop you and if I am at your house and you want me to roll to hit I will do so.

Now for something exciting!

This is my recently completed Saurus Scar-Vetaran "Krok'Tan". I have two SSV's in my Lizardmen collection and the other is on Cold One. This guy will lead my many strong Saurus Warriors into battle and may at times act as General in the event that the Slann Mage-Priest is unavailable. This is an older piece I have wanted for a long time and am very happy to get! My wife gave it to me for Christmas and I loved adding it to my collection.

Finally I have a serious issue to weigh in on so if you wish you may skip from here on out. That being said I wanted to say my peace about sexism in the gaming community. It's become apparent that there is a problem with some of the men in our community and their need to oppress or attack women who enter the community. I cannot abide this. It is offensive and disgusting. The very nature of our community is one of acceptance and inclusion and to see some in our group try to marginalize a group is just not going to fly with me and it shouldn't fly with you. I can say I don't believe there is a man in the group of players I play with, which is about 30, that would talk down to a woman or insult her for being part of our community. I can promise you that if one of them did I'd kick his ass so hard he'd never roll a dice again. As a man within the gaming community I encourage all other men to root out this infection and excise it. We must represent ourselves well, we cannot let what is likely a very small percentage of our community to be the part of our community that gets the most press. There are many fund raisers and community projects we partake of but that is not what gains the most attention. Instead we are burdened with the ignorant and the hateful. Their doxxing and anonymous cowardly attacks gaining coverage. Where one foul mouthed child gains national coverage the dozens that raise thousands for charity goes unheeded. The only way to effectively improve this situation is direct action. I encourage all of you to turn to anyone who expresses such behavior and say, "No man, that isn't happening here." and discourage them. I have always taken that stance and I am sure many of you reading this are of the same mind, but I believe that many times it goes unnoticed or unrecognized. Take the time out to talk to your peers about it and to talk to any shop owners or organizers. We want to enrich our community not be branded as sexist assholes. This is on us, let us take command and lead a good charge!

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Swine What?!?!

The Darkest Dungeon continues to entertain and surprise. I rarely buy into games early because I know that it is a huge risk. TDD drug me in because of the art work and side scrolling turned based combat more than anything. Initially I thought it was going to be too hard, but it isn't, BUT that could be because of the Stockholm-like relationship I have with Dark Souls.

Never the less it does have it's own flavor. The Warrens are filled with pig based monsters that are very disturbing. You have to play it to see it but the one that walks around on human arms while dangling a pair of pig legs under it is really on the high end of "wtf?!"

Then it does something like this...

If you can't figure out which one it is I'm not going to tell you. That half Roman gladiator and half war boar is a delicious beast indeed! I would love it if they would release some card board stand ups of these fine creatures.

I killed it, then I killed another, and I killed a bunch more but no one leaves the Warrens without scars. I know this is basically shameful promotion for this game but I am not connected to it in anyway at all beyond being a player.  I cannot encourage you enough to go buy this game!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Imperial Knight and X-wing

I just finished a fairly large project. Okay I finished it last week but I am just getting to blog about it. My friend asked me to paint up his Imperial Knight which I gladly did. He also paid me which was another glad thing. He wanted House Taranis and I did my best to accurately produce the desired product, observe if you will...
You'll note he is NOT weathered. I don't weather a lot of my pieces instead allowing them to become weathered through use. Not exactly the same I know but I didn't want to impose weathering on his piece unless he requested it. 

Sorry the picture quality isn't better. Still using my iPhone potato. 
A top down view to give you some view of the shoulders. 
Sorry there is no front on picture, that was just so bad it wasn't worth posting at all. This took quite a lot of time and the decals were kind of hard to work with. I've done a lot of decals but several of these were decal within decal and that can be tricky. He did the sub-assemblies and you can't see it but he used magnets on the gun arm so that he could swap between guns allowing him to field both variants.

It was a very satisfying project over all and I did kind of hate to see it go out the door, but I have to admit I'm looking forward to facing it on the battlefield! 

I've never destroyed an Imperial Knight, wonder how that will feel? ;)

Also I've kind of had an overwhelming desire to play Star Wars X-wing out of no where and scrambled to trade for some pieces. On Sunday night I got a bunch of players together at the LGS and we had some epic space battles.

We played 50 point squadrons each and I took a Tie Phantom and Tie Fighter into the fray. I did okay, both of my ships survived. Which was pleasing since I had two other games that nighta nd both were horrible losses. I am really struggling with anger issues in my life right now. I don't mine losing, but I become furious with being so badly beaten I don't get to play. At some point you have to wonder who the hell balances this stuff when there are events like that in a game. I am at the point that I don't even want to win anymore. Just have fun and not want to hit something when the game is over. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Swine King

I have been slowly working my way through The Darkest Dungeon and I've finally defeated the first of three  Swine Kings...
...and if you're playing this game let me give you a hit. See that little bastard on the right, behind the absurdly gross Swine King...yeah him, don't hit him whatever you do.

Well until you kill the king then give him a little of his own medicine.