Friday, 17 July 2015

Giving Age of Sigmar a fair trial

I went into GW yesterday. In hindsight, it probably wasn't the best of plans, but I needed some more 32mm bases for an upcoming game with my Sons of Horus and didn't feel like waiting for delivery.
 Pretty much as soon as I walked int the door, a staff member started the expected sales pitch for Age of Sigmar. I told him I wasn't interested, explaining my issues with the fluff and removal of points, but he was determined to try the hard-sell on me. Eventually he convinced me to at give it a try and to play a test game on their display table. I figured I had an hour to spare and I may as well try the game at least once.

I came away from the game surprised. Not a convert, but surprised nonetheless. It plays very well, with the game ticking along very nicely. We played three turns in less than twenty minutes, even with his overenthusiastic explaining of the rules, complete with over-the-top descriptions clearly aimed at a young audience. It was fun to play too. There are a few issues, like the fact that a Goblin can wound a Dragon just as easily as a Skavenslave, but on the whole it was a fun experience.

The game seems to seriously favour whoever has the current turn, as they get to strike first in combat. I personally find this a little silly. A Dwarf shouldn't be able to strike faster than an Elf just because it's his current turn. It kind of broke the suspension of disbelief for me, but I suppose it keeps the game flowing nicely.

After he'd decimated my Chaos forces with the Eternals, we got back to the subject of balance. He tried to convince me that the game was balanced, pointing out the instant death conditions and the 'social contract' in setting up a game - basically relying on your opponent not to be a git in what he brings. I couldn't be bothered to point out that this effectively kills the tournament scene, as his 'do it by wounds' suggestion still doesn't result in a fair game. My hundred 1-wound Goblins vs your ten 10-wound Dragons still does not make for a fair match.

 I'm still not going to play Age of Sigmar, as I have too many issues with the balance and the direction the fluff is taking, but I've at least given it a fair try. The Chaos models are lovely (on the whole - I'm ignoring the big ugly beastie) and seem perfect for conversions. The guy told me that the boxed set was designed with conversion potential in mind and I can believe him. Even 40k players who shun Age of Sigmar might be convinced to buy some of the Blood Reavers to turn into Khorne Berserkers, or else pick up some of the Stormhost Eternals for true-scale Space Marine conversions. I've seen people turn them into Custodes, Inquisitors and even Thunder Warriors. I'm guessing that the higher-ups in GW realise that even if Age of Sigmar isn't a success, the conversion potential will sell boxes where the AoS rules cannot.

Now people can't say I didn't give it a chance. I played a game and it failed to wow me enough to pick it up. Can't say fairer than that, really.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Poundland Scratch-build Idea

I found this in Poundland the other day. Whatever it was originally meant to be, it caught my eye as a good base onto which I can scratch-build an Arvus Lighter for my Militia/ Warp Cult:

If it doesn't work out, it's no big deal. It only cost me a quid, so I figured it's worth a try. If I can make it work properly though, I can build myself a fleet of flyers for not very much money at all.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Random Traitor WIP

Jsut a quick one today. I just wanted to show off the latest addition to my 30k forces. I had planned to make a Maloghurst the Twisted conversion when I sat down to build stuff last night, but somehow it evolved into this:

I'm not even sure what I'm going to use him as, but I love how the model turned out so I'll find a way to fit him in somewhere. I thinks he's got a distinct Cthonian or White Scars look about him, so I'm thinking of probably painting him up as a traitor member of the fifth legion who's now serving my Sons of Horus, maybe having him fluffed-out as being one of the rebel 'Scars who fled after the battle above Prospero.

Looks like I'm saving my Mal conversion for another day, once I can get hold of the Huron parts again. Oh well, at least I got a cool homebrew character out of it.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Techno-Barbarian 'Grenadiers' WIP

One of the advantages of things being so quiet at work today is that I finally have time to schedule blog posts. Things have been a bit hectic for me recently, so it's nice to catch up.

As promised, here's the beginning of my Techno-Militia, starting with my Grenadiers, built using a combination of discarded old bits and a little sculpting:

My plan is to field this force using the Gene-bulked and Dark Age survivors provenences, giving me heavily muscled brutes in scavenged equivalents of Power Armour, as well as giving me access to transports smaller than a Gorgon. Expect lots of Mad Max-style modifications to some Rhinos to follow in the near future. I plan to add at least 20 'Grenadiers', as I need them for my compulsory troop choices. After that I'm going to be adding all kinds of lesser scum and mutants to support them. I'm liking what I have so far though and think they'd make a great allied force for my Sons of Horus.

What do you guys think?

Thunder Warrior Militia Commander

To distract myself from my disappointment at Age of Sigmar, I've been working on my Imperial Militia force for Horus Heresy, having fallen in love with the Militia & Warp Cult list FW have just given us in Tempest.

I've decided to go for a Techno-Barbarian theme, partly as a way to use up all the odds and sods from my bits boxes, but also because I'm liking the idea of a Mad Max-inspired force, with lots of salvaged weapon and vehicles.

Inspired by Babu Dakal from The Outcast Dead and also wanting a place to finally include the model, I decided to use the Mk1 Marine from the 'Armour through the Ages' set as my Force Commander, with his background having him be a rogue Thunder Warrior who escaped Terra and is now a tribal leader on the fringes of the Galaxy. With the quick addition of a 40mm base and a pet mastiff from the Kings of War range, he was ready to go.

Vesh N'rada, Rogue Thunder Warrior, Techno-Lord of the Dark Wastes

Kudos if you get the reference in his name. I'm really liking how this turned out, considering it's such a simple kitbash. I'll post some of his minions soon,

Monday, 6 July 2015

A Sad Day

So Age of Sigmar has been released from GW and quite frankly it's rubbish.

I'm not just saying this to complain, or because I don't like change. I can see some good points in it. The rules seem fairly fun and easy to pick up, apart from a few key points

  1. There's no points values at all. They expect players to self-regulate what they use. That's fair enough, but it's so open to abuse that it's not even funny. Yes there's bonuses when you're outnumbered, but that doesn't help when you're playing three units of Skaven and a Grey Seer vs 3 Dragons, 4 units of Phoenix Guard, 5 Units of Swordsmasters and a Dozen Bolt Throwers. Outnumbering is done on models, not power either, so 5 Goblins are equal to 5 Chaos Knights, in the eyes of the rules.

    There is absolutely no way you can be guaranteed a fair pick up game any more, or even pre-make a fair list to use against someone before arriving at a club. Points worked just fine, there was no need to change it other than the fact that list restrictions hampered sales.
  2.  Silly special rules: Wargamers have enough problems with credibility amongst the uninitiated, without being forced to ride an imaginary horse around to gain a special rule, or trying not to kneel throughout an entire game (god help you if you drop a dice). Yes, there's the argument for fun, but there's better ways of making a game fun than making a fool of the players. In fact I'd argue that if you have to resort to that kind of thing to make it fun, your game's already a failure.
  3. The background: or rather, the lack of it. They've basically thrown out 30+ years and thousands of pages of deep and nuanced established background, all for the sake of IP protection and shaking things up. The background was the main thing which drew me into the game and it was the main thing which kept me playing. Now it's all gone and replaced with the bland High/Heroic Fantasy pulp which doesn't interest me at all. No more than the End Times did.

    If they'd wanted to shake things up, they could have held a major campaign and advanced the background, like Storm of Chaos or Albion did. There was absolutely no need to reboot the universe. In fact,it's probably driven off more players than it's drawn in.

    The result of these three issues on myself and my hobby (apart from wanting to go and knock some sense into the GW Design team) is this: effective today, I am leaving Warhammer Fantasy behind me for the foreseeable future. It's just not the kind of game I want to play any more in terms of both rules and background. Instead I will be migrating back to Oldhammer (probably 5th Ed, as that's my favourite edition) and playing Kings of War. These represent the kind of games I want to play, so will be what I'm focusing on. I will be buying no new Fantasy models from GW, as I refuse to add to their sales figures for this shambles of a game. Instead I will be buying either secondhand or from bits websites.

    This does not mean I am abandoning GW altogether.I will still buy 40k and Horus Heresy stuff, but I cannot and will not endorse the mess that they're promoting as the future of Fantasy.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Moral Maze

I've run into a bit of a moral quandary.

As you may know from recent posts, I've acquired some 1st Edition Space Hulk terminators and want to run them in my 30k Sons of Horus. Problem is that they don't come with any heavy weapons and Combi/Storm Bolters and Power Fists are really not the ideal loadout on them either.

My question is: on scale of 1 to 10, how heretical is it for me to consider chopping bits off these models which are almost as old as I am, replacing two of their Storm Bolters with converted Plasma Blasters and replacing one of each of their gun barrels on the others with meltagun barrels to make Combi-Weapons?

I'm also thinking of adding Chainswords to their fists to make Chainfists or blades to turn them into Lightning Claws.

The Purist in me balks at the prospect, but the gamer in me is thinking 'I really need something to hunt down opposing Knights and I don't have the money to buy a new unit to fill the role'.


Sails of Glory

Our planned Black Powder campaign game tonight was cancelled at the last minute so one of the regulars down my local gaming club brought along something new for us to try in the form of Sails of Glory.

Now I've never played any Napoleonic naval games before, but this seemed pretty good. Despite our frantic consulting of rule books due to the GM having not played it before (he originally had it planned as a demo game in a week or two's time), it seemed easy to pick up. I got a few photos, but due to a combination of my shaky hands and temperamental iPhone camera, they unfortunately turned out too blurry to post up.

We played a simple game with a ship of the line and a frigate on either side, French vs British. I took command of the French ship of the line, with my three fellow players also taking a ship apiece. Much amusement was had at the inexpert sailing of the commander of the British frigate, first attempting to sail straight into the wind, then swerving into the rear end of his teammate, then getting caught in a vicious two way boarding action against the opposing frigate, resulting in his prompt sinking. Despite this, the British Line Ship succeeding in giving the French the runaround, doing tremendous damage before legging it for open water with both French ships dogging his heels and eventually making it off the board before we could catch him. I worked out too late that if only I'd swung my ship a few degrees to port to get the wind behind me for a burst of speed, I would have caught up enough to fire another broadside into him. Oh well, I live and learn.

Anyway, good fun was had by all involved and plans are afoot by Mike (the GM for the night) for massive expansion and an awesome terrain set to match. I definitely want to try it again and I'll hopefully be able to get a few photos for a battle report too next time too.

I also managed to pick up the paints I needed tonight, so hopefully progress on my Sons of Horus will be on the way soon!

Edit: Mike put up a much better report from the game on his own blog here: . He did a far better job of covering it than I did and has a better grasp of naval warfare than I do, making for a far superior read!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Tub of Heresy

Having gone through my vast horde of GW bits, I decided to seperate out any and all bits which were usable in my heresy conversions. Needless to say, I ended up with rather a lot so now I've got a big tub of heresy parts to be used or stripped down, plus two small craft boxes of the rarer or more prized pieces I found.

By my reckoning there's enough parts in there for 20-30 marines of varying descriptions. Add those what I've already got built/painted and I reckon I'll be hitting 8000 points on my Sons of Horus and Thousand Sons within a few months, once I've had a sort through and build of what's in there.

Sods law says I'll still end up spending hours looking for that one bit I need for projects though!

Oh and annoyingly I've run out of the wash I need for my Sons of Horus, bringing progress on repainting them grinding to a halt (again). Hopefully I'll be able to finish off my first Inquisitorial Henchman Squad done  though.

Intro game to Epic - Orks vs Khorne

After many, many years of wanting to try it, I played my first ever game of Epic the other night and it was well worth the wait. Now that I've fixed the issues with the photos I can re-post this write-up of my experiences.

We decided to play NetEpic rather than Armageddon due to my friend's personal preference and borrowed a 3000 point Khorne army to face off against his Ork horde. They were both very aggressive assault armies and in hindsight I think I played too cautiously for a Khorne force, but it was still good fun and I'm looking forward to playing it again. I think in terms of play style I would have preferred a Thousand Sons force or maybe recreating my Sons of Horus in 6mm, but I got a basic understanding and a good feel for the rules and now I can start working out my own lists to try and collect.

I even managed to get a few photos of the game in progress:

Looking out over the battlefield on Turn 1. You can just about make out his Gargant on the far hill. He had some Madboyz, a Klan of Goffs, a Klan of Bad Moonz and a Kult of Speed plus a Stompa. I had some World Eaters, lots of Deamon Engines with some Flesh Hounds and a Banelord Titan in support

My fiendish (for Khorne at least) flanking  manoeuvre with my Berserkers and Flesh Hounds to try to avoid being hit by two clans at once. This was foiled by the Gargant and Braincrushas (I think that was their name, I forget it exactly) smashing my main advance to bits though.

Angron ended up taking the rather undignified step of diving for cover behind the Banelord Titan!

Then came Dan's altogether more successful rush with his Kult of Speed down the other flank which swept round behind my Banelord Titan to catch my basic World Eaters and Angron off guard. Only some hasty discarding of Reward cards save me from the ignominy of losing Angron to a bunch of opportunistic bikers!

Angron soon got his revenge however as he carved his way through most of the Kult singlehandedly!

The game ended up as a win on turn 3 for Dan, due to running out of time with him holding three out of five objectives and my inability to break his Bad Moon Klan, which had I managed, would have netted me a win. Still, it was great fun and a solid intro to the game, even though I can't afford to invest in it at the moment. It's definitely one to go on my future 'to collect' list.