Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Mordhein Season 3, Game 5

A short turnaround for our Mordheim campaign, with only two weeks between games.
All the usual suspects were there, with the campaign starting to have a two tier feel to it.
The Witch hunters, Dwarfs and Marienburgers all seem to be doing quite well, with the Skaven slightly behind them, and bringing up the rear are my Undead, sans Vampire and Rory's protectorate of Sigmar (PoS). 


Witch Hunters

Protectorate of Sigmar

Dwarf Treasure Seekers


Skaven (they had had their first move by the time I took this so had spread out a bit)

Warband ratings range from over 200 fro Dave's Marienburgers to as low as 80 for the PoS. I was definitely in the lower end of the pile with a rating of just over 100, with the others all floating around the 160 mark.
The mission this time was a search and grab, with some Dire Wolves and Warlocks on the board to make things a bit more complicated. We also changed the table around slightly this time, using a 6'x6' table with everyone deploying equidistant from the objectives. This would make for a much fairer game.
Deployment saw me sandwiched between the witch hunters and the PoS, which was not exactly ideal.
Early game saw a cautious advance from the Undead, trying o stay out of trouble and just get through the game unscathed, while elsewhere the Dwarfs and Skaven got stuck into each other, and the Marienburgers began sniping at the PoS. 

Undead advance with zombie trailing along behind

The Undead managed to shoot down one Dire Wolf before the Witch hunters engaged them, and came of it pretty badly. the Witch hunters sent in their war hounds first to pin the undead in place, survived the Undead counter attack and then annoyingly passed all their fear tests to launch an all out assault.  Two ghouls and a Dire wolf went down to the assault, leaving the undead in a bad position.

Witch Hunters gang up on the Necromancer

Just before the witch hunter assault.

Elsewhere the PoS had fled the board after losing two casualties to shooting from the Marienburgers, and bizarrely the dwarfs failed a rout test after a couple of casualties, surprising everyone with an early bath.
At this point in the evening I received a phone call and had to dash off to deal with a domestic emergency, effectively meaning that my Undead left the board without the opportunity to retaliate to the Witch hunters assault.
I am unsure what happened after that but from I can gather the witch hunters carried the  day, with the Skaven taking an early bath and the Marienburgers narrowly missing out on victory.
So a short evenings gaming, and another minor disaster as two ghouls id not survive the evening. The only good thing was that I managed to save enough money to resurrect my vampire, although at this late stage in the campaign he is nowhere the force he could have been.  the undead will struggle on, but with only 9 "men" they are definitely on the back foot.  if only the necromancer could actually manage to cast his spell when needed.....

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Age of Sigmar

I finally caved and had a go at Age of Sigmar.
I've been watching the game develop for a while now and picked up the General's Handbook recently.   the matched play rules looked ok and Ian and I decided to give them a trial run.
We jumped in at 1000 points, with me using my Dark Elves Aelves and Ian using his Orcs Orruks.
In Age of Sigmar the Dark Elves have been split into about 5 factions, which is a pain in the neck. I cobbled together a list from the stuff that I had but as it turned out I didn't have the requisite 3 battle line units required, but we decided to let it go so that we could get a game.
My force consisted of:
10 Darkshards
10 Darkshards
20 Witch Aelves
20 Corsairs
10 Drakespawn Knights
5 Dark Riders
5 Warlocks
10 Sisters of Slaughter
Witch Aelf Hag
Darkling Sorceress
Dreadlord on Cold One
War Hydra

Dark Aelves
Ian fielded:
20 Orruks
20 Orruks
10 Ironjawz
2 Bolt Shooters
1 Giant
20 Orc Archers
1 Orc Chariot
3 Grot Fanatics
1 Warboss on foot
1 Warboss on Wyvern
1 Shamen.

I really had no idea what to expect in this game, and had no ide what any of Ian's stuff was capable of , and only a slim idea of how my own would perform.
As such I let Ian have the first turn. It turns out this was a mistake as the forces od destruction all get a free D6 move at the start of the turn, and he had selected a warscroll ability that let his forces run, shoot and then charge with no problems, whereas normally if you run you cant shoot or charge.  So inevitably he was down my throat in the first turn, inflicting casualties.

They move how fast!?!?!?!?
My reply was fairly feeble, as most of troops were in hiding to avoid being shot, but I managed to deal some damage to the chariot and kill the shaman.

Hydra vanishes under a sea of Orruks
Turn 2 and the Orruks had priority again, with them charging in all over the table.  the ensuing fight saw the Giant killed, one unit of Darkshards wiped out, the Hydra killed and the sisters of slaughter wiped out.

Witch Aelves hide from shooting.
The Dark Elf reply showed that Witch Aelves, while fragile packed a punch as they eliminated one unit of Orruks, with the Warlocks finishing off the Wyvern with a spell.   

Orruks all gone...
Combat continued into turn three, with the Orruk archers charging into the Drakespawn Knights and combat continuing everywhere else. The Drakespawn Knights proved to be pretty tough, and wiped out the Orruk Archers.

End of turn 3
Turn 4 saw the Drakespawn Knights finish off both of the bolt throwers, and the Witch Aelves start to make inroads to the last remaining Orruks.  the Darkshards failed to finish off the Warboss as well.   We pretty much ran out of time at this point and called it a draw.  
My initial thoughts on the night went along the lines of "this is a pile of crap" as the game did not seem to make much sense. At one point in the game a unit of Orruks had so many buffs on them they had 4 attacks each, which even the Witch Aelves cant achieve.  Once I have had a chance to think on it though a lot of my annoyance probably came from the legacy of playing Warhammer for nearly 30 years.  I have to remember that this is a completely different game, and as such approach it differently.
So what didn't I like:
  • The movement phase is pretty boring now. In WHFB (my main frame of reference) manoeuver is pretty important, especially for fast cavalry.  That doesn't really exist now and it looks like Fast Cavalry are pretty much redundant now.
  • Lack of decision making.  You can almost do everything all the time now. You can always shoot (even when in close combat), and pretty much always charge. the only decision to make is whether or not to run, and in this case the Orruks didn't even need to bother with that.
  • The Splitting up of the Dark Aelves. I understand why they did it and in the future I hope they will get some attention but at the moment it is a bit of pain in the neck.
What did I like: 
  • The simplification of the profiles, although the game has lost some depth due to the lack of comparison between Strength/Toughness etc. I still like the level of simplification.
  • There is a lot of synergy in the game now, with Heroes attempting to provide buffs to the troops around them, rather than just being super tanks. Only a couple of characters in our game saw combat, with the rest providing benefits to the troops around them.
  • List Selection. Now you don't have to buy that one extra model to give you a slight advantage in width and combat resolution. That's all gone now, which is a good thing. Command groups are free for everyone, which is another thing we don't have to muck about with.
So after some thought I think the game has some legs. I will keep an eye on it and continue to play whenever I get the chance.  This is purely a game now, with the closest comparable example I can think of being Malifaux. The designers have made no attempt at "realism."
I must apologise to my opponent Ian for getting a bit grumpy in the middle of the game as well.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Mordheim Season 3, Part 4: Jailbreak

Instalment four of our Mordheim campaign saw a return to a more urban environment with a chance to break some prisoners out of prison.  There were six prisoners, and each one was  a potential hired sword for whomever managed to free them from the jail, and any that you didn't want could be dispatched.
We had the usual suspects this week:
My Undead
Andy's Witch Hunters
Ian's Dwarfs
Rory's Protectorate of Sigmar
Andy's Skaven
Dave's Marienburgers
The terrain was quite dense and the random deployment put me away in the far corner, with Dave's Marienburgers and Ian's dwarves best placed to get to the prison.

Early game saw Dave's warband make straight for the prison, and as he started the closest he was first to reach it and started rifling through the cells to pick the people that he wanted fro his warband. 

Sneaking about
The Skaven were next and piled in through a door, causing a massive scrap to break out in the prison.
Everyone else advanced cautiously, with the POS deciding to have a go at the dwarfs, and the Witch Hunters sneaking through the ruins towards my Vampires. I decided at this point that I was not going to get anywhere near the mission objective, as all Dave had to do was see of the Skaven and then voluntarily rout, carrying off the new recruits. This is pretty much what happened. After a few rounds of fighting Andy's Skaven failed their break test and legged it, leaving Dave in the prison, with a good defensive position and all the new recruits he could ask for. He hung around for a while just for fun, with his archers managing to take a couple of Witch Hunters out of action.  Meanwhile the POS were coming off second best to the Dwarfs and soon decided enough was enough and left the field before they took too many casualties.

Zombies lagging behind as usual.
Meanwhile the witch hunters had engaged the Undead, and despite some early successes from the vampire and band he got cocky and exposed himself, falling to a lucky critical hit from the witch hunter captain, and then finished of by one of his lackeys.  The Undead were not pleased about this and managed to see of the remaining Witch Hunters in short order, although the loss of the Vampire was going to be a problem.

Sodding Witch Hunters

This left only the Dwarfs and the Undead on the board (again!), and as the dwarfs were pretty much untouched and I had lost my best model I didn't fancy my chances much. I decided to stay out of range and shoot them and see if my life stealer spell could get some success. Alas it was not to be and the shooting was ineffectual and typically the spell was never successfully cast and eventually I decided that enough was enough and quite the field.  

Another shot, just to remind me what to go for next game.
This was followed by bad news as it turns out that my Vampire had died from his injuries! Plus I lost a couple more zombies. The loss of the vampire is a disaster as the Undead warband is built around the vampire and without him it will struggle.  Luckily the Undead are allowed to rehire a vampire if he gets killed during the campaign but at 110gold he is very expensive and I will not be able to rehire him until the start of game 6 at earliest, if I am lucky. This will only leave four campaign games left, which is not enough time for him to gain any decent experience and hence advances so I think that will be the end of eth Undead as a viable contender in this campaign.  
The rest of my heroes all gained advances, and my Dregs are now starting look like they might be able to achieve something, but without the Vampire around the warband will struggle.
Still great fun, even though there was never any reasonable chance of me succeeding in the mission from the outset due to my deployment and Dave's Marienburgers getting in there quick.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

I love my airbrush

Just base coated all my epic marines in about 25 minutes with my airbrush.  Just wash and detail to go and then done.  I don't like to think how long this would have taken me with a brush. If I didn't have an airbrush these would probably still be sitting in the box.    

Not looking forward to basing them all though! 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Returning through the Breach

I haven't had a game of Malifaux in a long time, so this Monday had arranged a catch up game with Alistair.

We had a quick chat beforehand and he decided to use his Ressurectionists, and as I only have Neverborn that was my default choice.  My Malifaux collection is pretty small, as I don't play it often enough to warrant a large investment so my choices were limited. I only have Lilith or Pandora, and opted for Pandora, as I quite like her less direct way of playing.  Alistair opted for Tara, mainly as he had not used her very much.
We played a 50ss game, and I opted for the Distract and Apprehend scheme, with the strategy being turf war (I think, basically stand in the middle of the table to gain victory points).  The board was fairly standard, apart from the train track running across it, with a sodding great train blocking line of sight.
In the end I opted for:
Pandora with The Box Opens, Aether Connection and one other, that I cant remember the name of.
2 Sorrows
Insidious Madness
Widow Weaver
Terror Tot
My opponent had (very roughly!):
3 Void Stalkers
I cant remember the rest, sorry
The game was pretty good fun, and we called it in the 4th Turn with Alistair 3-1 up and me with no way to really pull it back. The main problem I had was my models kept getting buried at inopportune moments, and the train across the track really made life difficult as a lot of the nifty Neverborn abilities need line of site, which meant they could not be used unless my crew crossed the train, exposing them to all sorts of nastiness from the Resur's.   When the Neverborn finally managed to get into position they managed to do a fair bit of damage, but it was too late in the game, and my opponent had some nifty abilities that I don't really know about.
I don't really play enough Malifaux to get any good at it, plus it is a game that really rewards precise planning, which was never a strongpoint for me in general.  I will keep plugging away at it though and see how I get on as the only way to get the hang of it is to keep trying.  The other thing about Malifaux is that you really need to have a good knowledge of the game as unless you know what the whether opponent is capable of you can get into all sorts of bother, which is what happened in this game.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

AVP, Updated Rules

The Aliens Vs. Predator game from Prodos games, still languishes in Kickstarter hell.  With Prodos apparently still having Wave 1 and 2 sets to send out, and trying to get Wave 3 approved.  They have gone very quiet recently, with no real updates to speak of, and the thought of seeing the rest of my kickstarter have pretty much been pushed to the back of my head. 
At least I have received my copies of the boardgame and a lot of the extras so I consider myself lucky, as there are some who have yet to receive anything.
The first edition of the games rules were quite entertaining, if just a little unbalanced and poorly written.  Prodos recently commissioned a few of the games more devoted fans to update the rules, and the V2 rulebook is the result of that.  It has been released as a PDF, with a V2.1 to come out shortly.
The main changes to the game have been to clarify a lot of the badly explained rules, and try to balance the forces included in the game to give some kind of internal balance. The main changes were as follows:
The marines were pretty much unchanged
The Aliens gained an additional tail attack to beef them up a bit and were ruled to be immune to their own acidic blood (well, duh!!!!!).
The Predators were hit the hardest, with the Smart Disc being downgraded a lot (thanks goodness!) and the number of Predators in the campaign scenarios in the ruled book dropped from 3 to 2. This was a good change as previously the Predators were never under nay kind of threat.
The other changes were to the campaign missions, with new objective for each side in the missions, all of which looked pretty achievable.
We tested out the new rules on Monday night, with three players that had all previously played the game, with me on umpiring duties. We went back to the start and played Mission 1.
The Marines had three objectives:
Close the Vent just outside the cryo chamber
Get to the control centre and retrieve the command codes
Scan the Predator Pod.
These were all pretty achievable as all three objectives were on the Marine side of the board, which meant that they did not need to try and fight their way through the Aliens and Predators.
The Aliens objectives:
Damage the armoury
Kill four models
Impregnate the passengers still in cryo stasis by carrying out 3 interact actions in the cryo-chamber (this is where the marine started out).
These were also pretty achievable as there was not to far to go on the board to achieve them.
The Predator Objectives:
Gain four Trophies
Eject the escape pod to prevent anyone escaping
Damage the engine room.
Again all pretty achievable.
The game started of pretty quickly, with everyone advancing to try and achieve their objectives, and everyone succeeding in their first one pretty quickly.  Tim's Aliens had a pretty terrible time of it as he could not pass any armour saves early game and lost a lot of models quickly putting him on the back foot.  The marines were pretty much ignored, and apart from a few Aliens approaching and then being quickly toasted by the flamethrower they were left alone to get on with things.  Douglas and his Predator's found themselves swamped by Liens and never managed to move very far throughout the whole game.   In the end the Aliens had a pretty terrible time, with a lot of them dying to the high rate of fire form the Predator weapons, and the rest failing to have any impact in CC, even with the benefit of their CC attack.  

By turn four there were very few Aliens left on the board, and Tim had pretty much abandoned any hope of achieving his objectives and just wanted to actually kill something. John and his Marines had achieved two of their three objectives, and were just waiting for the right time to make a run for the Predator Pod and complete their last objective.  The Predator's were still bogged down fighting the Aliens, and hadn't really moved anywhere. 

One objective to go....

Stuck behind the door!

This is where the randomness of the environment cards had a massive effect on the game. In an earlier turn of the game the player with Initiative had gained the option to place a random door anywhere on the board, and he opted to place it just next to the Predator Pod tiles, so that it would provide cover for his advance and stop his marines being shot to pieces by the Predator shoulder mounted plasma caster and the dreaded Smart Disc.  After the door was placed John advanced his squad round the corner, ready to open the door, rush forward and carry out the scan action required to win him the game. it looked like a sure thing.  Next turn arrived the environment card turned up and it was the door malfunction, meaning that the marines were unable to open the door they had just closed for the rest of the turn.  Douglas couldn't believe his luck and polished of the last Aliens he was fighting and advanced one of his Predators to right behind the closed door.

Caught between a rock and a hard place.

Mopping up

Next turn and the environment card opened all the doors, exposing the Marines to a fierce and slightly smug looking predator. To add insult to injury Douglas rolled a 20 for initiative and proceeded to tear the Marines to pieces. 
That pretty much ended the game, with the Predators left standing on the board, with plenty of time to achieve their victory conditions.
So was V2 any better?   I would say yes very much so. Two things played a big factor in this game.  the Predators only failed one armour save in the whole game (and they had to make a lot of them!) and the environment cards really ruined the marines night.  Apart from that the game seemed to play a lot better.
The Aliens still felt slightly underpowered, but that was probably because of the impervious Predators and some terrible saving throws early game. The marines felt about the same, capable of dealing with the enemy as long as they are prepared from them, but if caught on the hop they quickly fold.  The Predators were quite interesting though, as with only 2 on the board you have to make some decisions. You can either stay together and concentrate on one enemy, in which case you run the risk of the ignored faction achieving their objectives while you are fighting off the other, as almost happened in this game or split up and have a slightly harder time dealing with the enemy but also a better chance of achieving your objectives.   In the end it was hard to tell and the Predators punched well above their weight, while the Aliens well below it, with the marines largely ignored until the end.
All in all v2 is much improved, and everyone enjoyed themselves, which at the end of the day is the main objective of this sort of thing.  I will run mission2 in a month or so and see if we can get some more even results, as so far this game has had some pretty extreme results happen every time, which makes it difficult to come to a proper conclusion about it.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

An Epic Encounter

So this Monday I found myself at a loose end but managed to set up  last minute game of Epic.

I forgot to take many photos of this so it wont be much of a write up.

We opted for 3000 points and as it was very last minute and I did not know what my opponent would be facing I selected an already existing list suitable to cope with most situations:

Command Company
Mechanised Company
Tank Company
Infantry Company
Shadowsword Platoon
Sentinel Platoon
Manticore Platoon
Rough Rider Platoon
Hydra Platoon
Thunderbolt Squadron

My opponents force was a bit of a surprise:

Ork Great Gargant
Huge Boyz Mob, fully mechanised
Huge Cult of Speed
Huge Stompa Mob

4 activations.  This was going to go one of two ways.  He was either going steamroller across the board and I would be unable to stop him, or he would stall, allowing me to bring my greater number of activations to build up blast markers and outflank him.

That's a lot of Orks
In the end the latter was the case. I put a row of sentinels across the board at the start of the game to block any movement and the Orks didn't seem to know what to do about them. They marched across the board as far as they could and then stopped, trying to shoot at targets behind the sentinels. This allowed me to bring all my firepower to bear and I slowly started blowing bits of the Ork army. They accumulated blast markers at a frightening rate and in turn two bot the Speed Freaks and Stompa Mob were broken.  Turn three saw a breakdown in eth Guard communication network as a flurry of ones for the activation tests saw the army cohesiveness break down.  The final turn saw the Orks bunched up together on one flank, while the Stompa Mob, having failed to rally for two turns had been reduced to a single Stompa by sustained fire from the Guard Mechanised Company and the Thunderbolts. This allowed the Guard to capture the two objective on the Ork side of the table.

Guard drive of the Stompas
The rest of the guard advanced, trying to contain the orks in the centre of the board, while trying to ensure they cannot take the central Guard objective.   The Tank Company threw itself at the Gargant, stripping it of its shields and starting to inflict some damage, as I mistakenly believed that this was the Orks most expensive formation.  I managed to reduce it to three damage points, thanks to the Shadowsword, but alas at the end of turn thee it still had a few damage points remaining. I lost most of the tank company fro the trouble as well. It turned out it was fairly pointless as the most expensive Ork formation was the Huge Boyz Mob and into the Gargant.  A final sneaky triple move from the Hydra's captured the Ork backfield objective, leaving the guard in possession of all  three Ork objective, while the Orks had nothing, securing a Guard victory.
Less Orks, but still a lot!

An interesting game, and against a very friendly and cheerful opponent. I enjoy epic and its always good to expand the player base a bit further.  Also his army selection was very different from usual, which made fro a different type of game.  I have been playing my Guard fro a while now and need to start at looking at different ways that they can be played.  IN the interest of variety I have also started putting together my Epic Marines as well, and in this case am opting for Blood Angels as they are just about as far from Guard as its possible to get in terms of play style, as they are very aggressive.
I'm not sure how long the Marines will take as at the moment I am more interested in painting one off models as opposed to painting loads of the same model. I have been looking a lot at Age of Sigmar as well and recently purchased the Generals Companion, which at £15 is a steal.  I think A review will follow shortly, once I have had a chance to play the game. In the meantime I have been working on my metallic and picked up a Stormcast Eternal from E-bay nice and cheap.  I originally intended to have a bash at NMM gold but chickened out and ended up forking out for the Scale 75 Gold Paint Set, which turned out to be an excellent purchase.  They cover very well and the gold's are nice and strong.  I have always tended to avoid painting gold as I have never found a decent gold paint, but now I have found one I am making up for lost time and hunting about for models that can be painted gold!  Great fun.


Side View

Next week we return to the hive as we give the Aliens vs Predator 2nd edition rules a run out to see if they are an improvement.