Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oh a thought is growing in my mind...

So, on my work bench (old Sportcraft pool table) at this moment is...

  • 20 saurus warriors
  • 5 terradons
  • 20 saurus warriors with spears
  • an elf hott army 15mm
  • a goblin hott army 15mm
  • and a few odds and ends
I have trouble focusing as you can see and recently a thought has been growing in my mind. I like my Vampire Counts models and the army I'm building. I am not pleased with it's performance thus far but half a dozen battles do not a judgment make. I love my Lizardmen, love 'em to death, and I'll always have them and always play them.

But... well... let me digress...

My humble beginnings
... I started Warhammer with the 5th edition starter set which also launched a new figure line for Lizardmen and Brettonia. I got my ass kicked senseless for the entire first year I played this game because I was not only the only Lizardmen player, I WAS THE ONLY NON BRETTONIAN PLAYER. It was insane how many knights I had to fight against. Everyone had them and I was pretty poor then so all I had was the contents of two starter boxes for the longest time (I traded my Brettonians for more Lizardmen). My wife got me the Slann to general my army, a really big purchase for us at the time, and it changed everything and has ever since. I still use the same saurus warriors and same Slann model to kick ass, and ass they do kick muchly.

Well, I've had models for about half the armies pass in and out of my hands several times. I have lots of loose models from just about every army and I've also always wanted a HUMAN army. With Warhammer we're looking at Empire and Brettonia, right? Well I had an Empire army pass through my hands twice and neither time could I really tool up to paint them. So I kinda put aside wanting a Human army, stumbled into a Vampire Counts army and went with Undead Humans.

Then I saw this...
Imagine you hear a choir, kay?
... and things have changed in my mind significantly. This is one of the coolest units I have ever seen in fantasy war gaming. The idea of a troop of pilgrims carrying the remains of a knight into battle with them is killer. Reading the rules for it makes it a must have on my list of things to own and paint before I die. Now everyone basically builds their arm around one thing; a theme, a model, a color scheme and so on. This is why I will build a Brettonian army. Not expediently mind you, I'm not gonna go run out and drop the hefty price of $88.20 on the unit I have in mind (the Reliquae with 18 pilgrims) which is only slightly over 200 points.

But... it has grown in my mind and I will have to build an army of Brettonians. I'm thinking this is psychological since I've always felt a little bit like I missed out on the Brettonian craze of 5th edition. Maybe the Grail Reliquae is representative of that and it will please some deep psychological need to assemble, ;)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vampire Counts vs Warriors of Chaos

Forgive me, I forgot to take pictures. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, they WoC were proxy dwarfs and that never makes for yummy pictures does it.

Anyway, it was only a 1,000 point game for my friend to try the WoC and here is a simple break down.

1. I held back for the first three turns of the game trying to weaken him with Winds of Undeath (and make some extra spirit hosts) and Curse of Years. This worked only so so. He had a level 2 chaos sorcerer with Pandemonium and that gate spell that is feared so much. He didn't have the sorcerer in a unit so it suffered a wound from Winds (the only time anything suffered a wound with the exception of the hell cannon). He miscast on the second turn and destroyed his wizard.

2. For the first three turns (the magic dueling) he held back and just bombarded with his hell cannon. He would blast the unit with the vampire and ghouls and I would replenish them, this went back and forth back and forth the entire game.

3. One exciting event took place on my right flank. I charged a unit of 15 chaos warriors with 10 dire wolves, a spirit host (from winds of undead with 2 wounds) in their flank and the varghulf into their rear. The unit suffered 5 casualties from curse of years in the magic phase then failed TWO break tests. With nowhere to flee it was destroyed.

4. The other unit of chaos warriors (same number) was charged by a spirit host and a unit of skeleton warriors. The battle went very poorly and even after a corpse cart charged the flanks they were defeated by the crumble rule.

5. The exalted champion charged the varghulf and the spirit host jumped in. The champion was defeated but when the varghul fand spirit host charged they hell cannon the varghulf was too badly wonded to survive.

When the game was over there were a couple points of discusion...

First: the rule that results in more wounds applied when loosing the fight is kind of bull crap. I can understand and agree with it to a point but there needs to be some changes. I surrounded a 15 warrior chaos unit with a skeleton regiment, a corpse cart and a spirit host. Because I lost the fight by 5 I lost all  three units. It is acceptable the undead side of the fight takes five wounds, but it seems unbalanced they should take fifteen wounds (5 per unit). Also, if there is a necromancer or vampire in the unit shouldn't it take NO WOUNDS as the controlling character is directly impacting the unit. It just seems unbalanced. I cannot win a game with VC b/c fear no longer makes any one run and the attrition is stronger than my magic can compensate for.

Second: why do skeletons have to be shitty fighters? Have they never seen Ray Harryhausen animate one of these buggers? They are fast and deadly, not lethargic and weak. Fragile not flimsy! They should fight at least as well as a human and they shouldn't be so slow.

Well, just my opinions. I'll play them like they are and see if adding a vampire lord with 4 levels of magic helps. Also, maybe throwing in the grave guard might help. But so far, they can't close the deal at all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vikings and a Brit...

So if you remember I got a box of Wargames Factory Viking Huscarls from Origins, right? Well I put together four of them and painted them up along with a figure from Vendel miniatures line (now defunct, most of it with SGMM ).

This is the ancient Britan (Briton, Britain?) looking fellow. He actually appears in Martin Hackett's book and I liked the miniature a lot when I saw it. Later when I got it in a trade (and I didn't know I was) I was very happy. I think he'll be a great leader figure in a fantasy or dark age skirmish.
Plastic viking huscarl with a great big axe. The Wargames Factory box has a crap load of options but who could pass up a running axe wielding viking?

Another plastic viking, the shield's not the best but I make no excuses. It's hard to see but he's holding an axe getting ready to split someone's (or something's) head.
Another viking with sword and short spear. Not much on the defense but his chain shirt and helmet will have to suffice eh?
He's BALD, I love that the kit had the option for a bald headed guy. It's hard to see his face but the picture does great presenting what the enemy would see coming at him.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wa-Pow! Yu Jing!

I have a friend who really likes Covus Belli's Infinity. He's got a bunch... sitting in my basement... unassembled... unpainted.

I have four models. BUT they are assembled and painted. While looking for something else I came across them and thought it would be nice to put a picture of them up here. Let me know what you think...

Front view... oooooo!

Back view.. OOOOO!
 I honestly cannot remember the names of these pieces right now. I got them in trade and they were in a "horrowshow" of a mess. I didn't strip them but did an over paint and went for a primary color + high lights and detail. I think they turned out pretty nice. The bases were attempts at something science fictiony but I don't think it turned out all that wonderful. Good enough to kick some ass though!

Gaming on the Cheap

I am a man with a family and many financial responsibilities. I rarely, very rarely, buy any product new. I wait for gifts much of the time or I trade things I obtain somewhere for something that I want. The Vampire Counts army I'm building is all traded for materials except the skeletons regiment which I won off eBay years ago for a song, I believe $21.00 with free shipping for 20 GW skeletons, basically a 60% discount. I am always looking to game on the cheap and I thought it would make a good post of how I go about gaming on the cheap.

Taking as an example building a new army for Warhammer based off a recent acquisition. I obtained as a reward from GAMA for working Origins this past June, a Mantic Elven Warhost. There was a lot of options but this one stood out to me the most!
Quite a few miniatures for a good price!
As you can see, it is basically a huge chunk of elveny-plastic-goodness that any fantasy war gamer would dig. I haven't assembled mine yet, but have been thinking about going to it. I have a big chunk of Lizardmen I'm working on and the Vampire Counts so I don't know if I should. But, if taking into consideration about building on the cheap, let us look what could be done. If you apply the High Elf army book to this you have...
  • 20 spears with command for 205 points
  • 20 archers with command for 265 points (adding light armor)
  • 10 shadow warriors with a shadow walker for 176 points
  • a repeater bolt thrower for 100 poitns
This is a respectable starting force!  746 points, 2 core units of endurable numbers, a nice scouting/skirmishing unit and a war machine. The price runs only $59.99 were you to buy it new, or go to the warstore and get it for $47.99, or like me work for it and get it free. This army lacks heroic individuals but I'm sure we can address that easily enough.

A real quick way is to split the Island of Blood box with someone, that will give you a prince on a griffin, a mage, a small fast cavalry unit (Elyrian Reavers), and two more small infantry regiments (Swordmasters of Hoeth and Lothern Seaguard). Really this almost immediately brings the army to 1,750 points. But we CAN go cheaper...
Remember these guys?
Ah, Mage Knight was a great game in its day but its day is past, fortunately you can find the miniatures fairly affordable when looking for them. This "Skyguard Griffon" is essentially a mounted prince on a griffin. A much bigger griffin than the GW one if you must know and it's already painted and all scenic based. All you have to do is pop it off the clicky one and make a nice new square one and you're golden. I have one of these, got it for five bucks but you can still find them cheap (like this). The rider is not terribly in line with the Mantic or the GW but he is still perfectly fine for fighting table top battles. So, if you chip this guy in you've built an army just over 1,000 points and give him 100 points of war gear and you've got a 1,200 point army ready to fight. It does lack magic, but finding an elf wizard isn't that hard to do and you don't have to spend $13.50 to get one (for example). All in all, you can put together a nice 1,000 to 1,250 points of high elves for less than the Games Workshop battalion box...
Oooo elves!
..which is a fine box. Just, I can take the same one hundred dollars and have... my griffin riding prince, high elf mage, spear men, archers, shadow warriors and repeater bolt thrower (total $66.48) and have more army (the battalion box is only 710 points). None of them are GW models, and GW models are very nice. I have plenty and you've seen that. But I know there are lot of men like me out there and sometimes you need to field some warriors for club night on the cheap!

I've been heavily influenced by many war game authors to not sweat where the models come from and to not fear conversion work or mediocre paint jobs. When you smash your opponent's Warriors of Chaos with your average quality high elves it only adds to his shame. Especially if the victorious prince is a recycled Mage Knight piece, more shame more shame more shame.

Post Script: as an aside I do encourage you to watch out for scale discrepancy, 25mm isn't always 25mm.  I purchased a couple Reaper Warlord figures for my VC off from eBay and they were too large. There are pictures of them on my blog and my flickr and when I tried to fit the necromancer in with the skeletons he looked like a friggin' giant next to them so I had to find another in trade. I feel this is okay pretty often, such as if I was using a mounted vampire who would be running about alone, but if it's too much in a unit it just looks goofy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vampire Counts Plans

I'm gonna build and army yes I am! I'm making plans to expand the 1,000/1,250 point army into a full 2,250 point army and this is what it will look like...

  1. vampire lord on abyssal terror with level 3 magic, dark acolyte, flayed hauberk, sword of battle, crown of the dead and seed of rebirth
  2. vampire with infinite hatred, walach's bloody hauberk, and a luck stone
  3. wight king with the army's battle standard, an additional hand weapon and talisman of preservation
  4. necromancer with an extra spell
  5. 20 skeletons with the standard of hellish vigour
  6. 36 crypt ghouls
  7. 14 dire wolves
  8. corpse cart with unholy lodestone
  9. 20 grave guard
  10. 3 spirit hosts
  11. varghulf
this means I've only gotta paint up my general, another 16 ghouls, the grave guard and touch up the dire wolves that I got in trade to finish the force. The general is going to be the toughest, it's kinda messy and I'll need to do some heavy cleaning and light conversion to finish it. Just wait till you see it!

Oh yeah, this is also a little against the rules as there should be 562 points in core and I've only got 493 points since the dire wolves and the corpse cart, while core selections do not count towards the total core points. I don't care, my club won't care either.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Federals and the Confederates Tangle... YEEE HAAA!

If you have read enough of this blog then you know I have two ACW armies, and I don't get to play them very often. Well, my friend Ron was over a couple days ago and we sat down and pitted the USA vs. CSA in a pitched battle of sorts. I use the rules for American Civil War gaming  from "Wargaming: An Introduction" by Neil Thomas which I feel is a nice book to introduce one to historical war gaming covering from ancients to World War 2 with relatively easy rules. I did make one change, normally it takes four casualty points to eliminate a stand of soldiers but I have pared that down to three points to make the blood fly a little more, except artillery which retain four points. Below is a small collection of pictures with high lights and afterward is a synopsis of the battle. My armies are designed around 1861 which means the CSA has less units although more cavalry. The game would be decided by either side reducing the others forces by 66%, or 4 CSA regiments / 6 USA regiments, normally Thomas' rules call for a 75% elimination but we both decided this would be more expedient.

The following pictures were selected from many I took to represent the game and give some interesting insight to the most contested areas...
This is the initial deployment. The Federals are across the bottom obviously with the artillery deployed on "Nickles Hill", before them is "Bateson Wood" and to the right is "The $&*# River". The river had a different name but that is its name now.

The fight at the river involved a regiment of Federals crossing over four times to be peppered by the Rebels and thrown back across. This is during their third attempt. Ron kept a single of his four infantry regiments in reserve on that side and made good use of them pushing back twice their number of Federal infantry regiments.
The fight for Bateson Wood was the very exciting and involved two Rebel regiments against three Federal infantry and one cavalry. Eventually they took the wood having eliminated the cavalry completely and one of the infantry at the loss of only a single regiment of their own. The wood reduced movement but allowed a saving throw which Ron was effective at making keeping the regiment under fire for long periods without falling back.
Another photo of the Bateson Wood fight. This was early on and the fight was yet to get messy.
To the left of Bateson Wood the Federal cavalry regiment attempted to flank and charge the Rebel infantry but failed three charges, each time taking casualties sufficient to throw them back. The third charge which is about to come up in this picture results in them being rebuffed off the battlefield.
In the middle Ron's only artillery unit held it's own well enough until the three infantry regiments and one artillery battery I brought to bear pushed them out of the game. Artillery is the only unit with an inherent saving throw and it kept this battery in the game up until the next to last turn.
Synopsis: The Confederate forces being out numbered were determined to be the defenders although they had no defense works. The play out of the battle really took place in three locations; the wood to the left, the artillery battle in the middle, and a flanking attempt by the Federal on the right. On the left the skirmish in the woods lasted the entire game, with a final victory for the Federals coming when their remaining artillery battery blasted an extremely weakened Rebel regiment. In the middle the Federals lost an artillery battery early to enemy artillery (mostly because I forgot to make saving throws derp!) Eventually the USA fended off a two regiment cavalry assault from the Confederates and destroyed their only artillery battery. On the right the CSA pretty much ran the show pushing back and significantly reducing the three regiments brought to bare against them. In the end the Federals won by eliminating two cavalry regiments, the enemy artillery battery, and an infantry regiment. The majority of the hard work was done by the Federal artillery which had a good string of barrages on very weakened enemy regiments to win the game.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Okay okay okay... so I made a mistake

New rules for building armies means I'll make errors, so here is what I've decided will be my 1,250 points Vampire counts army AND the 1,250 points Lizardmen army to oppose them!

I have a lot of Lizardmen models and wanted to pick a balanced force for them, as I wanted to do for the Vampire Counts. I find I like balanced forces which often means I don't like winning.


Well, the plays the thing they say, except last time I played I lost so bad I made an ass out of myself. I think that is probably just a normal danger of being a war gamer.

The lizardmen list...
  1. saurus scar-veteran on a cold one with light armor, shield, biting mace, and aura of quetzl; a suitable general figure to lead the army. If necessary he can get stuck in pretty solid and bring some hurting himself.
  2. skink priest with a hand weapon and the staff of sorcery (and level 2 wizardry); having played 8th edition a few times now I think he'll be able to throw out some good spells and will need the dispel assistance of the staff.
  3. 20 saurus warriors with hand weapons and shield; I dig the 6+ parry save more than the old increase in save, ward saves are always a chance to survive.
  4. two cohorts of 10 skink skirmishers; screening infantry with short bows that shoot poison arrows always have a use. I know current rules don't allow for short bows with skinks but mine have them so eat it!
  5. 4 kroxigors, one of which is an ancient; I just really dig big hulking monsters!
  6. stegadon; seriously, did you think this wouldn't be in the list?
  7. salamander with 4 handlers; not much of a threat but I'm hoping the surprise of a shooting flame template will shake up infantry blocks or fry some skirmishers, for only 80 points this is a pretty effective unit imho.
The Vampire Counts...
  1. Vampire with supernatural terror, infinite hatred, wallach's bloody hauberk and a charmed shield; much more combat capable and a solid threat now with a 3+ armor save, 5+ ward save hatred and terror. I will feel more confident with this guy leading to the front.
  2. Necromancer with 2 spells and the staff of damnation; now much more threatening with an offensive spell and a bound spell that allows some close combat in the magic phase, thin the numbers before than can hit back!
  3. 20 skeletons with hand weapons, shields and light armor AND the standard of hellish vigour; now they can flank and don't need to hang out with the vampire.
  4. 20 ghouls as normal.
  5. 13 dire wolves; HA didn't see that coming eh? Got some in trade and these will be a nice unit of war beasts to throw into the enemy.
  6. 3 spirit hosts as normal.
  7. varghulf as normal.

Well, the dire wolves should arrive next week and I'll pit the two armies against one another in a solo game. I'm not sure what solo rules to add to affect the play, if you have any ideas please throw them to me. Also, if you see something I've done wrong with the lists let me know!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Vampire, New Necromancer, New Plans

Okay so I think the key to my loss, well the SECONDARY key (beyond I used no zombies or Raise Dead spells to bring them in) was that my characters were too weak. I focused on infantry, which is fine, but my vampire and necromancer were really no threat.  So I think I'll fatten the points to 1,250 (I like to jump in 250 points blocks) and do this with the army list...

Vampire with walach's bloody hauberk, charmed shield, infinite hatred and super natural horror.

Necromancer with staff of damnation, seed of rebirth, and an extra spell (giving him two).

The skeleton regiment of 20 will be given the standard of hellish vigour so they can range from the vampires in the army.

The crypt ghouls, corpse cart, spirit hosts, and varghulf remain unchanged. This leaves me with 95 points to work with though, so, I was thinking either I can fatten up the crypt ghouls with another 10 models and a ghast which I could turn into a horde OR I could add another necromancer, or a wight king. Lots of options in 95 points.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Vampire Counts... beat pretty bad.

Forgive the picture-less post, I try to put some eye candy on every post even if it isn't original eye candy. Well hell I'm sure I can come up with something give me a minute...
Ubiquitous Dice Photo
 ...there we go.

So I fielded my freshly painted 1,000 points vampire count army. It is light on magic items (only a biting blade for the vampire general) but heavy on units. I misread the rules for magic with the vampire and gave him ONLY invocation of nehek which might of made a difference... but probably not.

Matthew, my friend and first time player of Warhammer, was furnished a dwarf army by another friend who I hope bursts into flame right now. It consisted of two HUGE blocks of dwarf warriors with great weapons (30 and 40 in count), a dwarf cannon with a couple runes (including the flaming one), an organ gun and a rune smith with nothing but three runes of spell breaking. It is evident he designed the army to defeat vampire counts, which I really wasn't upset about then but will get even with him for later. An astute mathematician will quickly notice that is more than 1,000 points of dwarfs, I didn't notice it then but I don't think that would have mattered.

I deployed with my corpse cart center, to it's left the skeletons with the necromancer behind and to its right the ghouls with the vampire behind. On the left flank was the varghulf so the skeletons could march, before the varghulf was the spirit host. He deployed the organ gun between the two blocks with the rune smith in the smaller of the two and the cannon way back on my left flank.

Well I don't want to drag this out too long so the short is that my vampire counts smashed themselves upon the rock of dwarfs and shattered. It was a slaughter although I have maneuver superiority. I was only able to slay 4 dwarf warriors, 2 organ gun crew, and run off the crew of the cannon. I lost all my skeletons, all of my ghouls, and my spirit hosts and my necromancer blew his own mind with a double sixes casting of invocation. Matthew did not need to move at all, it was terrible. The high toughness of the dwarfs reduced my many strikes to few injuries and he was blessed with his saving throws while I was the opposite. The great weapons made swift work of everything. What a terrible mess.

With time to consider my mistakes were many. I was really very foolish to throw my undead head long into the dwarfs. I should have made sure a flank charge was set up to neutralize the rank bonus so I didn't loose so many to combat resolution. I literally lost the entire ghoul unit to axe and combat resolution in one turn... to a dead man.

Well next time I hope to play them better. I need to get my other 16 ghouls painted up so that I can field a nice horde of them, get my grave guard in the fray, and get that other varghulf and corpse cart on the table.