Friday, February 19, 2010

When the office day is dragging, get your blog on about those models/games you'd try if money was no object.

Good afternoon everyone,

It's been a busy week at work for me catching up after the snowstorms shut us down for a few days and I have to say that the blogs I follow have been quieter than usual, giving me fewer fun diversions from work. I decided therefore to indulge in the age-old pastime of writing down a dream shopping list (of sorts) to say what I would do if I had the time and money. Hey, it's fun and it also lets me talk about all sorts of different miniature games. So on we go. I'm restricting this list to realistic choices (so no buying 3 Forgeworld Mantas) so that perhaps in a few years I can look back and see how many I could genuinely accomplish.

Warhammer 40k

Despite my reasonably heavy investment here I still have many things that I would like to expand in the game. I'll go by army.

Space Marines - I feel like I've pretty much done what I want to do with my marine force. It's not the biggest army but I have a pretty solid selection and I don't have any major expansions I want to make. I'd love to get an ironclad dreadnought and maybe a big squad of scout bikers but that's it. I like the way they play and I think that I have a reasonable handle on how to use them. I will be picking up the Storm Harbinger (if that's the name they are using now) from the rumoured Blood Angels release but this will be an opponent's permission or apoc unit only. I'm not tempted by any of the special flavours of marines except perhaps to get the wolf guard terminator set and using them to convert AOBR terminators with the mass of special weapons in the set.

Imperial Guard - An army that I'd love to collect but it's just too much of a model count for me. I think I might pick up a squad or two to fit into a general Imperial force for apocalypse or some 40k roleplaying.

Daemon and Witch Hunters - I love the character of these forces but they aren't something that I'm interested in making into whole armies unless there is a big change into cool plastic boxed sets. I like my Grey Knights and I would consider getting a few bits from each if I get the inspiration and money.

Tau Empire - Ah my lovely tau. This is an army that needs minimal investment (a battleforce and perhaps another hammerhead) to be complete for the time being. If I really wanted to flesh it out, I'd probably be tempted by some forge world tetras. I can see this one growing bit by bit like my marines.

Orks - I have loved the crazy vibe that orks originally had in 40k for a long time. I think the best part of it for me was when Andy Chambers and Jervis Johnson fought a White Dwarf battle report where Abaddon teleported into an orky village to beat the warboss into submission. It was a crazy mismatch of orkish ingenuity and chaos power that really was a good laugh. Now the orks have taken on a meaner vibe in the setting but I still really like the idea of playing a greenskin force. I have a painted set of AOBR orks and the temptation is constantly there to get another set and a few more models to bulk them up. The problem is that with such a numerous army, I would need to really invest a lot of time and money to make them playable even at 1850 points. Long term backburner project overall methinks, though those new Killa Kans are sweet.

Eldar - I'm temped here just for the idea of playing lightning fast elite warriors. That and having some of the coolest sniper models for rangers. I think I'd probably not be too competitive with these guys as I'd just want to play all the pretty models. This is a real possibility as OSH has tempted me with the offer of some second hand models for cheap.

Chaos Daemons/marines - I grouped these two together because I feel that they have so many links and I wish they could be played together all of the time. I've been getting a great fondness for Nurgle in all of the background and that's the way I'd want to play. In particular, there is such an evocative (and gross) section in the Chaos Daemons codex that describes the garden of Nurgle. If I made such an army it would be a few sets of marines and terminators (with FW Nurgle torsos), led by Typhus and backed up by some gribbly nurgle daemons and a grossed up soul grinder or two. This would be a list for fun more than anything and it's so quick to paint up if you get the hang of layering lots and lots of greens, yellows and browns topped off by inks and washes. I did a couple of units like this for a commission (Plague marines, dread, predator) and they came out very nicely.

Not saying mine would look like this, but that is some sweet decaying grossness.

Necrons - Outdated codex or not, I'm getting a good vibe for the scary robot skeletons. I think playing a bunch of Dawn of War helped this and I'm tempted to just pick up a couple of battleforces. Add a lord or two and you've got a neat army easily enough. This is something that I see as feasible and straightforward.

Warhammer Fantasy

Now while this doesn't really appeal to me in the way that it used to, I could see myself drifting into Ogre Kingdoms if I was going to play it at all. I'm not sure I like the regiment block way of doing units but I haven't played for many years so I don't know that much about how it works.

Lord of the Rings

Now this is my kind of fantasy. I love Tolkien's work and the depth that there is here with the lore and the characters really gets me going. If I could, I'd love to get all of the models and terrains to play through the entire trilogy with all of the key battles and scenarios. The problem of course is that even the GW studio probably had trouble getting all of the locations and models made up for this, it's such a big task.
As far as playing the game in a general setting I think I'd play with the wood elf factions or the dwarves. I liked both of these when I played fantasy in my early teens and they are definitely something I could see myself picking up. It helps too that the basic troop boxed sets are very cheap and you can just add a character or two to get a small battle force.
I suppose I could just get the Mines of Moria boxed set and build up a funky 3d playing area for it. It would also be able to double as an underground setting for another game system.

Flames of war

This is a new one for me and it seems like in just the last few months it has exploded onto the gaming scene. I am a total WW2 history buff and so it would be very cool to play this game. I'm not sure which forces I would go with but I think playing some of the desert battles in the early war when half the tanks were armed with pea shooters would be really fun. Lots of manouvre and misdirection there. Having teeny models would make it easy to paint up an army too, though I've heard that it can be quite expensive on some models.


Ah, we've reached the other big player on the 28mm scene. I am really really tempted to get into some Warmachine gaming. I think the artwork is fantastic, the setting seems to be really well fleshed out and I love the models.

Mmm, zappy lighting professor.

Do you feel lucky, punk?

I am thinking of getting the Cygnar warmachine book and having a good look through all of the cool artwork as well as getting a feel for the gameplay mechanics. The only thing that makes me a little wary of the game is that I hear from some people that it is very focused on creating killer combos and really going for the throat. I understand that all wargames (except perhaps some historicals) have the objective of winning the game but some say that the Warmachine mechanics lend themselves well to hardcore play. Of course, I've not played the game and it's just as easy to get asshat 40k players who only want to win so that won't keep me back. I think it's just about finding a good group of players and having fun with the game. I would probably even work out some narrative campaign type games to really focus on the background of the setting as much as the gameplay.

The other great thing about warmachine is that there are some really characterful models that I can see fitting into other game systems. The following two would work really well in Nuclear Renaissance I think.
I can just see her perched next to a steampunk-esque machine gun on the back of a fancy Victoriana vehicle.

A preacher roaming the wastelands bringing justice to the bad guys.

I think I'll be getting myself some warmachine at some pointe :-)


This game I know very little about other than it has some fantastic miniatures. I get the impression it's a victorian/steampunk setting featuring lots of supernatural goings on. Frankly I don't care what the game is about when it has such cool models as Lady Justice and Perdita Ortega.

Lady Justice

Perdita Ortega

Nuclear Renaissance

Ah the offering from the wonderfully characterful Ramshackle Games. I am already well into my collecting phase for this game and I think it is set to continue. I really love the style of the models, I like the mechanics of the game and I love Curtis' (the creator) attitude towards the game. He is all for people bringing in other models, using his parts in other games, suggesting good conversions and his customer service is incredibly personal. I have got a huge selection (9 or 10 vehicles, 20-30 figures) of Ramshackle's stuff at my place or still in the mail (grrrr, slow mail) and I eagerly jump on every new model that gets released.

Here is the beastly Huntsman spider tank in all its glory.

Cigars, suits and shotguns...all in a day's work in the wastelands.

For reference, this guy is taller than a dreadnought for 2.50 (that's 10 times lower!).

I will definitely be playing a lot of this game whenever I can and making up some cool terrain to go with it. The RPG aspects of the game are really good as well and let you really create a good mix of gang types that suit you best. A pair of ridiculously tooled-up heroes? Sure, just be aware that your opponent may bring a swarm of goons riding bikes to overwhelm you with sheer numbers.


Well that was quite an exhaustive (exhausting?) list of all of the games that have caught my eye. So in conclusion, I'll write up a brief purchasing list that will help me keep my dreams of wargaming grandeur in check when I realise the cost. Of course, if I win some kind of lottery (VERY long odds since I don't play) then you will may see this blog explode with pictures of my ill-gotten gains :-)

- Finish Tau army $150
- Few marine gubbins $50
- Some Guardsmen, DH and WH $100
- Orks from AOBR and other bits $250
- Eldar army $150 if I could get them at a good 2nd hand price
- Nurgle army $300 because of the forge world bits and variety of models
- Necrons $200 for a couple of battleforces, lord etc.
- If I played it would be at least $200 for a starting army.
- Not too bad if I keep the forces small. Say $200 for a couple of races plus Mines of Moria
Flames of War:
- These are pricey models so it could get to $150+ easily
- Cygnar army with battlebox, more warjacks, a few solos etc. $200-$250
- Some of the cool models from other factions $50
- Probably just a few key figures $50 max.
Nuclear Renaissance:
- Pretty much anything Curtis makes. Since I have most of it already and he can only sculpt so fast, $200

Grand total = $2300. Not quite as much as I thought but certainly not pocket change either. Hmmm, this is depressingly within reach if I get that book of mine finished and published....oh well, back to work on the writing :-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Damn, can't I stop buying models.

Hey all,

Just a brief update on my latest arrivals from the wonderful Ramshackle Games. I made a big order this time of:
- Nuclear Renaissance 2 (4 vehicles, 14 characters)
- Nuclear Renaissance 1 set (2 vehicles, 1 terrain, 12 figures)
- Larken, Chicken, Stanton and armoured dungers (5).
- Two bikers (Dag and Spiker).
- Vehicle upgrade set
- Big batch of miscast pieces

Now there has been ridiculously heavy snow over here around DC so I've only got one of the two packages from Curtis (bikers, vehicles from NR1, upgrades and miscasts). Still it gives me a little bit of time to get the assembly started before I'm overwhelmed by the incoming resin.

Here you can see my two half-utes in position to let the epoxy glue dry along with the bikers and three miscast dungers (very very small air bubble errors). I've added the rhino and marine for a sense of scale.

Here we see that marine Dreadnoughts are really not as big as you might think.

Last of all we have my vehicle upgrade kit (outside the box) and the batch of miscasts that Curtis added to this order for a minor sum. I think we can safely agree that this is a complete buttload of resin that will make for awesome conversions, terrain or even a kit bashed new vehicle.

So that's about all from me right now. I've finally got hold of some Krylon spray primer so I've got my next batch of miniatures to paint soon enough. The honour guard are next in line after the current ramshackle vehicles and hopefully working on them will be enough to get me stoked up for finishing the land raider so they can have an armoured bunker to charge out of.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Cityfighting and how I learned to hate Feel No Pain

Okay, so me and OSH managed to get in another cool cityfight game before the snow caused DC to shut down over the weekend. It was another Tau vs Blood Angels affair but we upped it to 1200 pts so we could throw in some more mayhem.
The mission was firesweep (clear and claim buildings) and we took two strategems each. I went for medical (gives feel no pain) on one of my home ruins and ammo dump (reroll misses) on the other where the pathfinders would go. OSH took power generator (reroll wounds) on his home and medical on the central ruin

My list (tau) was:
- Helios (plas/fusion) Shas-El + 2 gun drones
- 3 Stealths
- 3 Deathrains
- 1 Fireforge (Missile/fusion) crisis
- 2x 10 Kroot
- 4x 6 Firew Warriors
- 6 Pathfinders + Devilfish
- Skyray
- Broadside + 2 gun drones

OSH brought:
- Corbulo
- Inquisitor plus small retinue
- Vindicare assassin
- 5 Terminators
- 4 Death company
- 5 assault marines in rhino
- 20 tactical marines
- Baal Predator.

Without going too blow by blow, it went a bit like this:
- Tau don't do much first turn, devilfish moves to flank with FW cargo. Blood angels surge forwards.
- Good rolling starts to batter down marines, destroy assault rhino. OSH nearly makes it to the centre
- We continue shooting and knocking off marines. Kroot charge and die. Marines make it into the central building and Baal Flanks
- Tau pour fire into the middle and the baal. Marines really hold the middle and start killing Tau.
- Devilfish tau are near OSH's home objective. They outshoot then beat the inquisitor in assault. OSH moves out of the centre to claim.
- We put down all the fire we can but FNP is tough to deal with. OSH batters at me.
- More battering each side then the game ends.

It was a draw as we both held one objective and the other two were contested (one Death company vs 5 pathfinders and one vindicare vs the devilfish and cargo). I give OSH a huge amount of credit for reaching this point as I had so much more left alive at the end of the game (Shas'El, 2 deathrains, 18 Fire Warriors, 5 pathfinders, Devilfish, skyray and broadside) and thanks to some lucky rolling on my part he had only a few guys (Corbulo, 2 tactical, 1 death company, 1 vindicare, one baal minus assault cannons).

What did I learn?
- Tau can be really really nasty when they have enough markerlights. Having twin linking on the pathfinders let me just punish OSH at range.
- The vindicare can have a huge effect on deployment. I put my broadside out of the way for fear of being killed with a turbo penetrator round (2 wounds) and he didn't get to do as much as I wanted. In the end the assassin sniped out a deathrain with one shot from across the board. Very cool.
- Marines with Feel No Pain, cover and a medic are punishing to deal with. OSH saved or FNPed 15 wounds with no deaths in one turn!
- Helios suits are really nasty when there is cover around to slow enemy assaulters. Putting out the AP1 and AP2 shots forced OSH to stick to cover saves only without FNP.
- Think carefully about charging marines with kroot. It's probably better to shoot since you'll lose enough to the higher initiative that the extra attack on the charge probably won't be enough.
- Don't underestimate BA speed with their overcharged engines.

A thoroughly enjoyable game all in all though and OSH was a model opponent as ever. His terrain table is just great to play on as well. I've definitely got new appreciation for the marines after playing Tau and OSH told me he wants to get back to playing with big guns and fancy tech of his Tau.

So that's two draws in cityfight. The next match will have to be the decider :-)

Now some pictures of the game.

Devilfish prowls the streets.

Marines spy out their path

That's a lot of power armour

Missiles Away!

Lots of angry red marines coming for me

The broadside looks tough but he didn't do too much.

OSH's home base. The vindicare is hidden away at the top of the building just to the left of the white token.

Many marines plus Feel No Pain = much difficulty for Tau

OSH's terrain has cool model-placing points

Tau Firebase

Kroot about to die honourably...ish

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tau vs Blood Angels Cityfight Photos.

Hey folks,

Old Shatter Hands sent over the photos of our game so I am posting them up seperately from the game rather than trying to stuff them into the same post. I'll try to remember when each photo was taken in game.

These two show the combination of my colour scheme with OSH's. We agreed that they looked pretty neat together and it will be cool to see them lined up alongside one another when it comes time to have a big apocalypse game with them.

Stealth suits and deathrains ready to open fire.

Me checking TLOS.

The Chaplain's hiding spot.

Tau firing line.

The Skyray blocks the Death Company.

Again without the flash.

Our version of a stunt shot with rapelling lines for the Fire Warriors.

Thanks OSH for all the great photos and for the great game. Also, check out how cool his terrain is for the game. I love the ruins and the homemade buildings in particular.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cities of Death Battle Report vs Old Shatter Hands.

Hey everyone, here is my first battle report of the year.

After our last tangle on his 4x4 urban board (see OSH and I decided that we needed to scale the game down for a better experience (and a shorter game length). We settled on a 1000 point cities of death game. Braving the icy chill of the snowstorm that hit the DC area on saturday (20 deg F/-6 deg celcius) I hopped on the metro and struggled the few blocks to OSH's place in the snow.

Now OSH has been playing with his Blood Angels a bit more recently and so wanted to stay with a fast assault army. By contrast, I've been using marines and I jumped at the chance to have a go with some Tau. Fortunately OSH has plenty of Tau models so I could flesh out my guys with some of his to make the force I wanted.

My list:
- Shas El with Fusion and Plama, 2 gun drones.
- 3 Deathrains (Twin Linked Missiles and flamer)
- 3 Stealth suits with marker drone
- 12 Fire Warriors
- 12 Kroot
- 6 Pathfinders with Devilfish (Multitracker, Disruption Pod)
- Broadside with Targetting Array and 2 gun drones
- Skyray with Smart Missile System, Targetting array, Target Lock, Multitracker.

I was partly playing around with some different options but I think it is a reasonably solid list. It felt weird not to have hammerheads running around but they are just too vulnerable in city terrain for me and can't always make the most of their firepower. I was hoping that with a decent amount of markerlights I could drop seeker missiles on OSH and boost firing effectiveness enought that I could torrent through his armour saves.

OSH's List (from memory, may be slightly wrong).
- Jump pack Chaplain (plasma pistol)
- 5 Assault Marines (Plasma pistols, 1 power weapon)
- 5 Assault Marines (Plasma pistols, 1 power weapon)
- 10 Tactical marines (Missile and Flamer)
- 10 Tactical marines (plasma cannon and plasma gun) combat squadded.
- 5 Scouts (Missile Launcher)
- 3 Death company marines.

The mission we rolled was to control the city ruins. There was one in OSH's deployment zone, 1 in the centre and 2 in my deployment. For strategems, OSH took infiltrate so his scouts could get close and I took Rapelling lines (can deploy out of a skimmer along its move path with a dangerous terrain check). It was partly just for the cool factor but also I thought that the Fire warriors could make a later game rush for one of the buildings.

OSH rolled first turn and deployed forwards towards the centre with everything except the plasma combat squad, which held his home ruin, and the scouts who snuck round the building on my far left. I put the broadside, Shas'El, Kroot and Skyray on my left, the pathfinders and devilfish behind a barricade in the centre, and my Fire Warriors, Stealth suits and Deathrains holding the right. Then I was lucky enough to sieze the initiative...OSH didn't look so happy.

I figured that I needed to make the most of my 2 turns of shooting before the blood angels ripped me apart in assault so I moved to do this. The kroot took position behind the barricade, the skyray moved to open LOS to the assault squad with the chaplain and my stealth and deathrains jumped out to shoot. For firing, we managed to put three markerlights on the assault marines, the firewarriors dropped one, my shas'el plasma rifled one and then I popped three seeker missiles into them from the Skyray (I was determined to fire all of the missiles this game). Sadly the broadside rolled a 1 to wound. On the other side, the deathrains didn't kill any marines and the stealth suits were about 1" out of range. OSH mostly just moved forwards towards the central building. His chaplain jumped out of sight on my left, the scout missile man peeked around the corner, and a plasma cannon blast melted four kroot.

My second turn let me open up with a bit more firepower but I didn't kill as much as I would have liked. The pathfinders did manage to remove the cover save of the marines in the centre and my broadside splatted one. In reply, OSH failed to damage the skyray with a krak missile, but killed a broadside drone with plasma fire. His chaplain jumped over the building and into combat with the kroot, killing four, losing one wound and then sweeping up the survivors...ouch.

For the third turn I moved the skyray out in front of my barricades, looking to block off the mass of marines heading my way. I also shuffled the devilfish out as well ready to pick up the fire warriors. I knocked out a couple of the assault marines in the centre after markerlighting their cover away for the broadside and hitting them with various small arms. My Shas'el blasts the chaplain with plasma and fusion fire and moves down to go for the scouts. OSH gets his tactical marines into the central building to claim that objective and sends his assault marines after the stealth suits. The suits hold out, losing only the marker drone. The death company must go for the Skyray but fail to break through its armour.

Fourth turn sees me needing to make a real push for the objectives as OSH is holding two and close to getting a third if his assault marines beat up my suits. I send the fire warriors into the devilfish and they go skywards, leaping out on the rapelling lines to land on the top of the central ruin. The deathrains pop some of the marines in OSH's home ruin and my skyray pushes forwards to clear my front lines. With some markerlight help, my fire warriors, skyray and broadside gun down one of OSH's tactical squads. Only two marines left in the middle ruin now. In assault, OSH's assault marines cut down the stealth suits. In his turn the death company chop up the skyray (furious charge and rending are nasty) and the assault marines get into combat with the deathrains, killing one.

Fifth turn I really lay on the firepower to try and clear OSH off the objectives. My Shas'el shoots and assaults the scouts, killing them. My fire warriors and devilfish manage to torrent OSH's home plasma squad to death, the pathfinders finish off the other tac marines in the centre and my broadside splats a death company marine. In the assault phase I lose another wound from the deathrains. OSH's turn is short as he only has 4 models remaining. His death company charge at the devilfish but don't reach it and the assault marines kill the deathrains and consolidate onto the nearby ruin.

OSH rolls a 2 and the game ends in a draw with one objective each, though OSH gives me the moral victory for holding another ruin (though not with troops). I later realised that I'd forgotten to make a dangerous terrain check for the rapelling Fire Warriors so I give him the moral win as well.

Whew. Well that was a blast to play. I really like Cities of Death!

Game wise, there was a lot of luck swinging my way. Rolling to sieze the initiative was a real kicker as I got to pummel OSH's troops while they were out in the open. Knocking out one assault squad before it could move was great for not getting overwhelmed too early. I think that my army choice overall wasn't too bad. The markerlights were really key for forcing OSH to take certain saves or to boost my shooting. It's the first game where I've actually really fired off the seekers from my skyray so that was a cool use of markerlights too. The stealth team suffered with their short range and the speed of OSH's assault troops so next time I might swap them for another squad of fire warriors. Overall it was really fun to play on such a constricted board where every turn was key and I loved the tight fire lanes and movement zones etc.

I will add photos tonight probably when OSH sends them to me.