Friday, 14 October 2016

Epic Blood Angels

I finally finished my Epic Blood Angels.

It took a while to get the whole force together, especially the Thunderhawks but I think the army is finished. There is certainly enough to play 3000 points, which is the standard at our club.

Many thanks to John for starting this of by gifting me a box of unwanted Epic stuff. I did the marines fist as I don't really enjoy painting armies any more and their red armour makes them easier to paint.

The Full Army

And again

"modern" Thunderhawks

Original Thunderhawks, proxying as Stormtalons until I find a better alternative

Tactical and Devastators

Assault Marines and Death Company. Tanks on the Left.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


This is going to be a bit of a personal post, rather than my usual reporting on the weeks gaming at my local club.

I lost my dad to Leukaemia this week. He was diagnosed in December last year and was initially given only 2-5 months to live.  He managed to fight on for 10, even though his last few months were spent coping with all the cumulative conditions that were taking their toll on him.

We all knew this moment was coming but that still cannot prepare you for when it does.  Luckily we were all there when he passed and it was peaceful so we have that to be thankful for.

The prospect of losing my father had made me slightly philosophical lately about the ways that he has influenced me as a person, and also how he has influenced my two brothers.

My dad was fairly old fashioned, working hard for his family but also spending a lot of his time pursuing his own interests, while my mum raised us. He never backed down from a fight  and was always very active in whatever he was involved in. He spent a lot of time on committees for the various organisations that he was involved in and tried a lot of different things, jobs and travelled a lot during his life.  

My fondest memories of my dad was always when we were playing board games together. My dad liked to keep busy, so quite often the only way to spend decent time with him was playing cards or a boardgame. He was always happy to  play board games with a slightly impatient and fidgety child with poor attention and would quite happily explain rules several times, or give advice on things we had missed. The games we played varied a great deal, from cribbage (a particular favourite of his) to monopoly and even Talisman and Space Hulk!  He was never derisive of my hobbies and interests, even though many were and while was not full of false praise would do his best to support my hobby.

We shared a similar interest in reading as well, especially fantasy, sci-fi and historical dramas.  I was a late reader, not really taking to it until I read the Hobbit when I was well over 10 years old. I remember talking to him about how much I enjoyed it and that I couldn't wait until my birthday to get my hands on the Lord of the Rings. Low and behold a copy was gifted to me a few week later, totally out of the blue and by surprise.  It has a hand written message from my parents inside and remains one of my most prized possessions, even though its a bit worn and starting to fall apart. I have other copies of The Lord of the Rings, but that is the one that I always come back to and enjoy reading the most.  As an adult I would read books and pass them on to my dad, and when he was finished we would discuss what we thought of them and their merits relative to other things we had read. Even during his illness I was still passing books across to him to read, so that we could discuss the various characters and themes in them during my visits.

My dad also always had unbuilt model kits lying around the house when I was younger. My oldest brother built a lot of model plains when he was younger, and my dad had a few kits lying about the house that he always insisted he was going to build when he was older and had more time.  He also had a model railway layout in the loft, that I remember spending a lot of time playing with. Those kits never got built, as my dad was always looking at something new to do and upon his retirement he built a G scale model railway in the garden. There followed years of us discussing various model making materials and techniques as my dad tried to create something a bit different and we discussed the best use of materials and techniques.  

I think my lifelong love of gaming stems from those happy times playing board games when I was younger, and the early exposure to my dads model making (intentioned rather than actual activity) cemented my love of model making and gaming. I still greatly enjoy gaming of all types, and although time is limited by work and other commitments I try and play at least once a week, and if not playing then I am always at least reading about games, or assembling and painting models.

When my kids came along they both developed a love of trains, and we all enjoyed family trips to  Falkirk for the model railway show. My youngest Blair still loves trains and always asked to run a train around the garden when visiting my dad.  He has a Hornby model railway gifted from my mum and dad one Christmas and we are looking forward to making a layout for it in honour of my dad and so he has something to remember him by.

Me and my dad at my graduation in Dundee, 2010.
There will be no gaming for a few weeks while we come to terms with this, but I'm sure I will be back to it soon enough, after all what better way to remember him than by continuing to do one of things that he had such in influence on.

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.