Thursday, December 1, 2011

My girlfriend kicking my butt at Dreadfleet :-)

My girlfriend, Edina, recently expressed an interest in trying out Dreadfleet. She got to watch me and another teacher who games play out one of the scenarios of Dreadfleet. While it confused her quite a bit with the language (she's trilingual but hasn't read up on nautical terms in English) she said it looked like fun.

I decided on to play a simplified game with her so that she could get to grips with how the game works without getting overloaded. In our first game, there was no wind, no fate cards, no captain duels in boarding actions and no special ship actions. We just kept it to the basic stats, the mechanics of moving and shooting, and the skill in positioning your ships to fire at the enemy. She took the Heldenhammer and Grimnir's Thunder, against which I had the Bloody Reaver and the Curse of Zhandri.

Edina moves up the dwarf ship Grimnir's Thunder

Now, while she may not have spent a lot of time wargaming, Edina quickly figured out that she could get my Flagship between her two ships and....well....blow it to pieces.

This is the result of her first volley

I'll point out for the above picture, that we're not using any hit modifiers so in the full game it would be worse since you get a bonus on the first broadside of the game. Still, ending up with being set ablaze twice, having a fire on deck (which can add more set ablaze cards, losing my rigging and taking hull damage is a big bit of pain, even for my notoriously resilient flagship.

"Pete, I want to shoot you with that one now!"

Playing with the funky turning tool. This game is really quite easy to get used to.

Repositioning to chase down the Bloody Reaver

Come on lucky red dice. Let me set Edina's ship on fire. Note, this is before the Curse of Zhandri died a briny death at the hands of the Heldenhammer's massive broadside.

Sad face as the Bloody Reaver is pinned in the corner of the game board by Edina's ships. They were wounded but I didn't like my odds of surviving.

The last sight seen by the crew and Captain of the Bloody Reaver

After my unceremonious drubbing, Edina was keen for another game. We decided to switch up the ships and this time I introduced the special mechanics for each ship (getting an extra order, rerolls etc.). In short order though, this game turned into a brawling, multiple boarding action and her dice came up hotter than mine, again leaving me defeated.

Me when the game was still in the balance. ***Not shown, Pete's sad face at losing shortly afterwards.

We've since played another game including wind and fate cards, which Edina handled well and we enjoyed. Naturally she won again, so her wargaming record is now a perfect 3-0 and I've now had four losses in my four games of Dreadfleet. Still, it's a fun game so you won't hear me complaining about getting to do something enjoyable with people I like.

Next on our list is a bigger game on Saturday, perhaps one of the scenarios, and some painting of the ships. We're also looking into other board games that we might be able to play together as it's a lot of fun and fits into our schedules nicely.

All the best folks,

Comments, criticism, advice, questions and merciless mocking will all be appreciated ;-)


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cheesing it up with Draigowing?

Hey all,

After rummaging around in the various gaming bits my dad brought over to Bratislava when he visited, I found my batch of metal Grey Knight Terminators that I got in trade before leaving the US. As I counted up how many bodies, arms and weapons I had, a thought struck me....Draigowing. While I don't have that many terminators, using Draigowing means I can make a 1500pt army with perhaps 15 figures all in all.

For those who aren't familiar with the term, Draigowing is named after Deathwing and is another all terminator force that can be played, this time with the Grey Knight Codex (the other one is Loganwing with Space Wolves). It involves using the special character Kaldor Draigo to unlock Paladins (2 wound terminator dudes) as troops and having a nasty, deathstar-type army list.

To sum up the list:

- Draigo
- Librarian
- 10 Paladins with 4 psycannons
- 5 Paladins with 2 incinerators

Add a few upgrades and it makes 1500 on the nose. Compact and deadly, I hope.

Here's what I have to start working with.

Sterm with a Storm Shield will be Draigo and the brother captain will be the librarian.

My long range firepower component.

The rest of the big squad.

My incinerator squad, still short a few arms unfortunately.

So here is the next project that I'll be working on alongside the Deathwing painting and Dreadfleet, though my girlfriend has expressed interest in helping with the latter. She played two games against me last night (winning both) and is quite a fan of the ship-based boardgame vibe.

I am a little short of weapons and other bits for these guys. You'll notice that I have an extra four bodies in the first picture with no arms for them. It's a bit of a bummer but I might just use regular plastic terminator arms for them and then paint them up as another Deathwing squad if I need to expand the army.

Of course, if any readers have spare Grey Knight terminator weapons they might be willing to part with, please get in touch ;-)

Also, any tactical thoughts or advice for this compact army is much appreciated.

All the best,


PS: Next post is about me getting my butt kicked at Dreadfleet by my girlfriend.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Awesome girlfriend syndrome ;-)

Hey guys,

So my great girlfriend officially became awesome last night when she started painting her first model and it is looking really good. This is her first ever time picking up a paintbrush for models and she picked out the pieces to assemble her terminator from my bits bag. I'm really proud of what she's done and here is her guy next to the Deathwing Lysander I'm working on. I've given up batch painting the army for a while in favour of finishing single models and squads. I'm tired of doing the same old stuff and I want to get some nice finished models out there.

I love the way she's done this model already. I should stress that this is an unfinished model (hence the blu-tac arms). In fact we're off to paint a little more tonight, which is a great way to round off the weekend.

All in all.....she rocks and I love her


PS: I think my P3 Morrow White is cursed. I knocked it over on my friend's black table when I was painting with them and look what happened again....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dreadfleet gameplay thoughts. Sorry no pics.

Hey all,

Recently I managed to find a couple of hours to play some Dreadfleet and see how the game actually pans out when it hits the tabletop. Sadly I forgot to take my camera to the game (despite putting it on the counter) and so there are no pictures. Still, a brief look at what we experienced of the game so far is still nice to see.

Three of us played the fifth scenario in the Dreadfleet play list. This is the same one that was featured for a turn on the GW website prior to the game's release. It was a good challenge since we had our first game with 9 ships on the field in total but all three of us are 40k and/or fantasy players who've been around miniature games for quite a while.

Once you get the hang of the turn pattern, the game plays nice and quickly. Its biggest shift if you're used to GW games is the alternating model activation concept. Starting with the player who wins initiative for the turn, the two sides take it in turn activating ships and running through an entire set of actions with that ship, then the other player goes. It gives some nice tactical implications to the game since you can clear the movement path for your ships and combine attacks if you play your ships in the right order. Of course your opponent can alter that with their plans so you have to keep on your toes a bit.

In a nutshell, each ship gets to issue an order (full speed ahead, repair, hard a port etc.), move, fire a broadside and then fight a boarding action if they are in base contact. You're even able to fire on a separate target even if you are locked into a boarding action that is ongoing. It's a nice touch that keeps all of the ships valuable while they are on the field, especially if they get locked into boarding actions and can't escape from them. In our game, my ship ended up fighting off boarding actions from two ships, attacking back to the one in front and then firing at the one to its flank.

The Fate deck seems to be a much maligned around the interwebs as it brings in random events and moves the wind counter around the table. I think it has been somewhat exaggerated in its power, though I suppose with a particularly strong draw of cards, you could produce big effects (somewhat like drawing a straight flush in poker at the start of the game). Basically you draw a fate card per player, per turn and resolve both. Our game was six turns long, though we ended on turn 4 I believe so a total of 8 fate cards were played. They gave some boosts to shooting, damaged one or two ships slightly and generally made the game more fun and crazy to play.

The changing wind counter was also not as powerful as I thought it might be. In the course of our game it started in the middle of one long edge, then move to one short edge, onto the next long edge then back to the short edge. Certainly not a massive gameplay shift though it did have implications as my flagship ended up failing a command check at the end and being unable to move enough to get out of the path of my opponents' flagship and fleet. Quite a dramatic end to the game all in all.

In essence, the elf warship made a run for it but was gunned down by the combined Dreadfleet. The Black Kraken (mecha-squid) was then tied up and battered to pieces over several turns by two ships on my opponents' side, my tomb kings ship got flattened by the enemy flagship. The skaven ship was fired upon from all angles and finally went down to the surviving elf dragon auxiliary. In the end, my Vampire Lord flagship did the most damage, sinking two enemy ships before finally being sunk.

MVP award goes to the Dwarf dirigible auxiliaries who, despite only getting one dice of broadside per turn, managed to make my flagship list badly for a turn (no firing), killed the first mate (lowering my command score), started a fire in the powder room (draw D3+1 damage cards if you don't roll 3+ at the start of the turn) and finally put the final point of damage on the titanic warship, sinking it right after it sank the alliance flagship.

So my feelings on Dreadfleet?

It's a good game. The models are excellent quality, the game is fun, it plays differently do other GW stuff but that's fine, it's self contained and it doesn't take itself too seriously. The price is a bit high but in general, it gets a thumbs up from me. It's not a wargame, it's not competing with Spartan Games or the like, it won't be further supported but you will have a good time playing it.

All the best,


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dreadfleet unboxing.

So Dreadfleet arrived and I got to experience the fun and excitement of opening a new boxed game again. I've not managed any assembly yet but I had a great rummage through all the plastic bits checking out the details and also have read the rulebook.

Everything that comes in the box spread out on the bed. Mmm new game :-)

So here is the game spread out and making a mess on the bed in our apartment (NB: Tolerant girlfriend helps here). There is a lot of stuff in the box and the actual box is both deeper than and made of sturdier cardboard than I recall the AOBR box being.

The ship sprues

The ships are impressively detailed. If you haven't already had a look at the sprue pictures on GW's website, then go and browse through them. It's been said around the blogosphere and forums that Dreadfleet really showcases the quality of GW's injection moulding technology and I tend to agree with that. Whatever you think of the aesthetics of the Dreadfleet models, you can deny that they have produced some very detailed pieces that fit together extremely well. My favourite parts are the top decks where they have tiny little cannons that fit to the gunwales very well. The Skaven cannons even have power cables since they are warp lightning cannons and that is some very small detail.

Rulebook, card decks, dice and the top of the big terrain sprue.

The rulebook and cards are both nicely printed. The colour layout and many diagrams of the book are to be expected from GW offerings, along with a generous helping of John Blanche's artwork and pictures of the models and terrain in the GW studio. The cards are quite thin but seem good quality so far. We'll see how well they stand up to play. I like that there are a bundle of plastic zipper bags inside the box so you can put all of your loose cards in together and make sure things don't get lost. I recommend getting a few small elastic bands to keep the different decks (Fate, damage, status, auxiliary etc.) together.

The gaming mat spread out on a normal single bed.

So the game mat. This is a very nice thing to have and I look forward to seeing how the ships look on it once I get them assembled and some layers of paint added. The material is a thin, feels silky and folds away nicely. I think it is about 5'x3' but here you can see it spread out over a regular single bed. You won't be short of playing space for your ships this game, that's for sure.

My girlfriend modelling the mat as a sarong (while remaining anonymous lol).
While she declined to show her face to my blog readers, my girlfriend did comment on how nice the mat was and her intentions to use it as a summer sarong if I get bored with Dreadfleet and don't want to play any more.

Well that's all for now folks. Sadly I left my clippers in the UK with some other modelling gear so I'll have to pick up a new set (plus some spray primer) before I get started on assembly. Some of the pieces are very fine and you want to be careful when removing them from the sprues.

More thoughts on the rulebook and other stuff soon.

All the best


PS: My girlfriend has started asking about her playing the game with me and is interested in painting one or more of the ships. Methinks I have a winner here ;-)

Monday, October 3, 2011

I bought Dreadfleet. Yarrr me hearties.

Taking to the High Seas

Well despite being on the bandwagon and not being happy about GW using resources to produce the non-expandable and non-standard scale naval game that is Dreadfleet, I ended up buying it.

Quite the dichotomy it would seem. I'll admit that it took me some time to be swayed over to actually purchasing Dreadfleet and there were a number of factors that got me interested. Here's a short list.

- The game looks fun.
- I have limited free time to play now that I'm teaching full time and at funny hours. This game is self contained and so easier to organise.
- I've come to like some of the models and the included terrain is really neat.
- I want variety from painting Deathwing models and these ships are all quirky and different.
- I love the gaming mat
- In a way I quite like a game that doesn't tempt me into buying more models.

The Skaven Ship monster is very cool.

I like the styling of the flagships.

I like the islands with extra scenery bits on top. The skull ones are OK but this one and the fortress one I'm in much in favour of.

Now I'm not going to argue in favour of this release as a long term naval wargame compared to Spartan Games. They are different things and satisfy different markets. I might even pick up some SG fleets and use this battlemat to make a good-looking playing surface.

I was also considering picking up the Warmachine two player starter set (for about the same money) when this was all released and that did have me tempted. In a twist of fate, the very fact that the game is expandable put me off the WM set. I just don't have the time or money to invest in it to the level I want to right now and I'd rather get a good fun game to enjoy than be constantly wishing I could field the force I'd like to in a WM game.

From a painting point of view, I'm also keen to try something new compared to 28mm level figures. The thought of painting up armies in consistent colour schemes isn't that appealing to me at the moment since I'm stuck into the Deathwing right now. I want to have fun painting these ships in radically different colours and styles.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I'll be sure to post up pictures when the set arrives and give you all a good look at the game, plus thoughts on how it plays out.

All the best


PS: I'm not stopping general wargaming by any means, just reorganising priorities based on the time I have to put towards them.

PPS: Next on the blog list is a big series on the utility, or lack thereof, of the different battleforce sets for 40k gaming.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How white is bone? Deathwing painting help please!

Hey everyone,

I really need some help and thoughts with respect to painting up the bone armour of the Deathwing. I have thus far painted most of my models in three stages:

- Bone white spray
- sepia wash
- highlighting with Menoth White base.

Now I started to paint up the next layer of highlighting with Menoth White Highlight and had a pause. Do you think it is too bright of a jump or should I continue to do this with the other Deathwing models?

L-R: Bone spray, sepia wash, menoth base, menoth highlight

It is possible of course for me to mix the base and highlight colours to have something in between but that carries the penalty of mixing paint to the same level for 27 terminator figures. I'm not sure if I have the patience for that haha.

Please pass on your thoughts so I can decide how I'll brighten up my models (or not).

Much appreciated.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bringing out the Dark Kin from Commoragh

Hi everyone,

So now that my Deathwing force is well into the painting stage, is complete at 1500 and just needs a couple of units to make it to 1750 (see other post), I'd like to talk about another army entirely.

Deathwing are, to me, the epitome of a durable, slowly moving elite force. There aren't many of them so you have to concentrate your attacks carefully but they will weather a storm of fire, never run since they are fearless and will often surprise you with just how long they can plough through the opposition when the chips are down. You can trust in your 2+ armour and 3+/5+ invulnerable saves all while gunning the opposition down with storm bolters, assault cannons and cyclones, or pulping them in assault with lightning claws, power fists and thunder hammers.

If Deathwing are the proverbial brick outhouse, now I want to have a try with the glass cannon that is the Dark Eldar army.

This might just be the most awesome cannon ever :-)

I've really enjoyed the tactical challenge of having to carefully consider each and every move I make with my small, elite Deathwing force and from all counts, playing a mechanised Dark Eldar force brings many of the same thinking challenges. Knowing that you are very vulnerable to shooting and assault from pretty much anything in the game makes me feel like I'll have to have razor focus all the time. Now that can be a tiring way to play but it is exhilarating too.

So having read a few tactica articles on Dakka and considered the kind of army I'd like to play here is my 1500point army list.

- Haemonculus.
- Haemonculus.

- 3 Trueborns with blasters in a Dakka Venom (two splinter cannons)
- 3 Trueborns with blasters in a Dakka Venom (two splinter cannons)
- 5 Incubi in a Dakka Venom (two splinter cannons)


- 7 Wracks with an Agoniser wielding acothyst in a Raider (flickerfield, aethersails, shock prow).

- 7 Wyches, haywire grenades, razorflails, Hekatrix with agoniser in a raider (configured as above)

- 7 Wyches, haywire grenades, razorflails, Hekatrix with agoniser in a raider (configured as above)

Heavy Support

- Ravager, 3 Dark Lances and Flickerfield
- Ravager, 3 Dark Lances and Flickerfield
- Ravager, 3 Dark Lances and Flickerfield

NB: To bring this up to 1750, I'd probably add another Haemonculus and ten Kabalite warriors in a Raider.

Rargh! We've come for your souls.

Army Selection Thoughts

Despite the tasty selection of characters in the codex I decided to start off with cheap Haemonculi to bring some paint tokens. With one token I get FNP, two tokens give me furious charge and three make me fearless. The first one is really key for a fragile dark eldar army and will make my Wyches even nastier in assault. I'll probably put one with each wyche squad.

For the elite selection I knew I wanted some nasty shooting and assault ability. The blaster trueborn are a tried and tested way to kill off tanks and terminators. Putting them in a dakka venom lets me move 6" and fire 3 blasters plus 12 poisoned splinter cannon shots out to 36". If I need to move 12" I still get to unleash the dakka since poisoned weapons always count as defensive. I added Incubi because the models are really nice and they will let me take out armoured foes or those with FNP that I don't want my wyches tied up against.

For the troops I started with wracks who bring their own pain token. With poisoned weapons they can put a nice hurting on an enemy in assault. I see these as being effective troops to tie up the more basic enemy forces that I don't want my wyches engaging or to sit on an objective if needed. The wyches are nasty assault units that can kill off enemies with the agoniser, threaten tanks with haywire grenades (possibly on turn one if the opponent deploys on the 12" line) and tie up big assault units because of their CC invulnerable save.

All of my raiders get a flickerfield (5+ invul) since they'll be in danger most of the game, aethersails to make sure I get a turn 2 assault, redeploy rapidly or tank shock at speed, and a shock prow in order to make tank shocks. It not only adds a threat to armour but lets me tank shock units to put them in a good position for controlling the number of models who can hit me back.

The ravagers are tank and heavy infantry hunters. Because they can move 12" and still fire all three weapons I think it will be very tough for a foe to stop me getting side armour shots. Also it lets me redeploy a lot of force very quickly that can reach out and touch hard at range.

The downside

So while this is an exciting army idea I hope to get started on soon, the inevitable downside is pricing. GW has made it quite costly to mechanise your army and having to shell out some £20 for each raider, £18 for each venom and £30 per Ravager makes it a big investment, even before I put troops in them.

Still it's a nice project to look forward to.

Thoughts, criticism and jokes all very much welcomed

Pete :-)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taking the Deathwing up to 1750 points

Hi everyone,

So my Deathwing army painting is progressing at a decent pace now that I've gotten myself settled in Bratislava and been able to unpack. One of my new coworkers at the language school is also a 40k player and will be introducing me to the gaming club here soon.

The army as it is so far.

I'm happy with the way that the models are turning out so far. I need to test out some highlighting as I'm not sure how much more I want to brighten up the bone armour and how extensively. Should I just do edge highlights with a brighter shade (I used Menoth White Base so I can do Menoth White Highlight next) or should I look to brighten up the armour more in general? Not sure on that one yet so I'll be doing a test on one of the grunt models before I apply it to Lysander/Belial/etc.

Now the army comes out to just over 1500 points with upgrades and I hear that a lot of people here game at 1750 so I want to increase my army size a bit. With 215-230 points (depending on upgrades) to play with I have some options. I don't really want to add more terminators since the current lot are such a mix of styles (GK, SM and SW) and I like the variety. Plus I already have 27 terminators to paint and I don't need more ;-)

I've been thinking about one of the new venerable dreadnought kits and the techmarine with servitors. I know the latter is not a power unit by any means but I've always liked the model and now that it's in the easily-assembled Finecast format, it's something I can consider. Superglue still hates me but the lack of weight on the Finecast means even I can assemble the models.

Some groovy venerable dreadnoughts

A good picture of the Finecast techmarine from the always excellent 40kbitz blog. Go and follow it ;-)

Any thoughts or advice for boosting the army? I'd like to keep everything in the same bone-white though I don't mind painting Ravenwing in that colour if land speeder is the way forward.

If only Sammael on Jetbike was available in Finecast, he'd be on my list for sure :-)

Thanks for reading,


PS: The other option is to leave the army at 1500 and move onto my new crush of a Dark Eldar Skimmer army. More to come on this soon ;-)

PPS: I got my new Windsor and Newton brushes as a birthday present to myself (27 years young and still playing with toy soldiers).
Deathwing Lysander approves of my new brushes!

WFB Orcs and Goblins using just a sprinkle of GW for flavour. Pt 3: The army list

Ok, time for the final part of my making an Orcs and Goblins army post series.

Here is the model list from the last post. Now it's time to point it up roughly and see what it comes to.

- Warboss on boar
- 40 Black Orcs
- 10 Boar Boyz
- 75 Orc Boyz
- 60 Night Goblins
- 2 Speak Chukkas
- Giant
- Arachnarok spider

1x Black orc warboss on boar = 160pts

Core Units

25x Orc Boyz with shields, boss, musician and standard = 175pts

25x Orc Boyz with shields, boss, musician and standard = 175pts

25x Orc Boyz with shields, boss, musician and standard = 175pts

20x Night Goblin archers, boss, musician and standard = 90pts

20x Night Goblin archers, boss, musician and standard = 90pts

20x Night Goblin archers, boss, musician and standard = 90pts

Special Units

20x Black Orcs, shields, boss, musician and standard = 295pts

20x Black Orcs, shields, boss, musician and standard = 295pts

10x Boar Boyz, Big Uns, Shields, boss, musician and standard = 255pts

2x Goblin Spear Chukkas = 70pts

Rare Units

1x Arachnarok Spider, flinger = 320pts

1x Giant = 200pts

Total army points as shown = 2390pts

So there you have an army that comes out to just about 2500 points. I don't know WFB that well but I understand that magic plays a solid part in it these days so perhaps some points tweaking to include some shamans would be a good idea.

That's all from me for now. If I get the time and funds to kickstart this project I'll be sure to keep you all in the loop with how it goes.

Thanks for reading.

Pete :-)

Monday, August 22, 2011

New brush time. How about Windsor and Newton Series 7s?

This is just a brief interjection before I get on with part 3 of my Orcs and Goblins posting.

I'm painting up my Deathwing now and I've come to realise it's time to buy some new brushes. My current set have been going for over a year now and while they're in decent shape, they're forking quite a lot not, making it hard to keep the detail painting going. My GW brush forked a while ago after just a month or so of use, so that's no help.I've heard rave things about the Windsor and Newton Series 7 brushes and wonder if it's time for me to invest in a set of them.

Does anybody have any experience with these brushes and what sizes to pick up? I was thinking of a size 2, a size 1 and a size 0 so I would have a range to work with.



Sunday, August 21, 2011

WFB Orcs and Goblins using just a sprinkle of GW for flavour. Pt 2: Saving money ;-)

To continue our look at making an orcs and goblins army on something of a budget, here are some price comparisons and ideas for saving those precious dollars/pounds/euros/florints/yen etc. ;-)

I know that many people buy from online retailers who offer discounts but for this post I'll keep everything on RRP or it will get very confusing with all the different places you can buy. Also, I'm rounding everything up to the nearest £ so don't have to type endless .99 etc.

1x Orc Mega army from Mantic (96 figures) = £100
1x Orc Ax horde from Mantic (30 figures) = £25
3x Night Goblin regiments = £63
1x Giant = £31
1x Arachnarok spider = £36
2x Goblin bolt throwers from Ramshackle Games = £9

Total = £264

Now if I want to be even cheaper, I'd drop the night goblins for now and either the giant or the spider, making the total around £170. Either that or I'd track down a set or two of the Goblins from the old Battle for Skull Pass Warhammer set. If anybody has the gobbos models from Skull Pass they'd be willing to sell/trade (I have metal Grey Knight Terminators), please drop me a line ;-)

Skull Pass Gobbos, have you seen us?

So the basic army I can build from this is as follows:

- Warboss on boar
- 40 Black Orcs
- 10 Boar Boyz
- 75 Orc Boyz
- 60 Night Goblins
- 2 Speak Chukkas
- Giant
- Arachnarok spider

Now for a brief comparison of cost vs GW sets.

- Orc Warboss = £17
- 4x Black Orcs = £104
- 1x Boar Boyz = £16
- 6x Orc Boyz = £108
- 2x Night Gobbos = £42
- 2x Spear Chukkas = £38
- 1x Giant = £31
- 1x Arachnarok spider = £36
- 1x O&G Battalion (15 boyz, 20 gobbos, 5 boar boyz, 10 spider riders) = £60

Total = £452
Difference = £188 looking at RRP, or

To be fair to GW, the spider riders in the battalion are extra, so I should knock £19 off the difference to account for buying a set of them to match.

Adjusted difference = £169.

Not a bad saving in my mind. Once you add in the discount from online retailers, you can knock a bit off each total as both Wayland Games and Maelstrom Games stock Mantic and offer shipping within the EU.

Ordering from both (and Ramshackle) to take advantage of the prices on offer, I come out with a total of £224 delivered for everything.

Part 3 coming soon where I put together something of an army list and ask advice from more experienced WFB players.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

WFB Orcs and Goblins using just a sprinkle of GW for flavour. Pt 1: Inspiration

Hey everyone,

I recently had a crazy idea about Warhammer Fantasy. When I first started with GW I was mainly a fantasy player and had a dwarf army. Since then it hasn't piqued my interest compared to 40k and other tabletop miniature games that are availabl That is with the exception of the greenskins. Much like my 40k ork army, which I was sad to pass on (especially after painting 80+ figures), I love the character of the WFB orcs and goblins army.

To me they hearken back to the days when Warhammer and 40k were less streamlined and dark worlds. There was more of a light-hearted dorkiness to a lot of the units and gameplay mechanics that I love. Perhaps it's something of the nostalgia for those innocent early days of wargaming :-)

However there are two big problems for me:

1 - I think the WFB orc boyz look really goofy and I don't like the proportions.
2 - It gets really expensive to make a horde army, especially with GW's prices on basic core unit boxes. I'm not inspired by spending £100 on two units of orcs who will make up basic regiments.

However, I've been browsing the web a bit as I wait for my training to start for my new job and have found a company that can help me out with my two major objections. Enter Mantic Games Orc range

I really like the character of their models compared to GW and the price is great too.

The GW orc looks to me like a caricature with its heroic proportions, where the Mantic orc is hunched and menacing.

I also really like the warboss on a boar that Mantic have going.

Their boar boyz, in my opinion, outdo those offered by GW as well.

GW's boar boyz

Mantic boar boyz

So the models live up to my standards, certainly with respect to making large blocks of troops. I know that there will be more repetition of model types using Mantic orcs as they are not the same kind of multi-part kit that you find from GW orcs, but in a big regiment of 20+, I think the difference between them will be less noticeable than when comparing individual figures.

When browsing the Mantic site, I notice the following deal for an Orc Mega Army

For £99 retail you get:
- Orc Krudger (warboss) on boar
- 10 x Plastic Resin Gore (boar) Riders with Command Group
- 20 x Plastic Orc Greatax with Command Group (Two handed weapon)
- 20 x Plastic/Metal Orc Morax with Command Group (Twin axes)
- 45 x Plastic Orc Ax with Command Group (boyz)
- (Enough little snotling-like additions on the sprues to make two or three bases)

Mmmm greenskin horde

Now that a solid bulk of the army is there, what from GW just can't be replicated elsewhere? Well, there are three big things for me that I would consider from GW. These are the parts that add some flavour you can't find elsewhere. When you're just getting the odd bit at GW prices it makes a horde army a lot less daunting.

- The Giant. Great model, lots of options for construction and fun to play with.
- The Arachnarok spider. Expensive but a really nice big plastic kit. Plus forest goblin riders are just cool.
- Night goblins and forest goblins. The little buggers are just awesome and have the fun of fanatics, netters, spider riders. I am also a big fan of Warlord Skarsnik.

So a possible purchasing block could look like this:

- Army deal from Mantic.
- Additional Boar boyz and orcs from Mantic
- Giant from GW
- Arachnarok from GW
- Couple of Night goblin regiments with fanatics from GW.
- Some forest goblin spider riders from GW
- Skarsnik and Gobbla from GW

So there's the gem of my next idea to go alongside my Deathwing army. Part 2 of this post will look at some cost savings from using the Mantic range. Part 3 will put up a basic army list using the models I've found.

All the best,


Monday, August 8, 2011

Painting display models

Hey everyone,

Been very busy recently getting myself settled into my new life in Bratislava, Slovakia where I'm teaching English (for more info see here so not much time to do anything wargaming related. I've managed to keep up to date on blogs and internet news for the most part but haven't broken out the brushes or even taken my models out of their packed state since June 28th when I put them away before flying here. Since I haven't yet managed to find any gaming groups around here and I'm not sure I'll have lots of evenings free to play wargames, I was thinking of getting a fancy model or two to really go to town on and make into display pieces.

The two possible models that have caught my eye for now are:

Ruby from Studio Mcvey

...and the completely crazy option of Elspeth Von Draken on a Carmine Dragon from Forge World

Mmmm, insanely fine detailing

Now the difference between this two are primarily scale and cost. Ruby fits on a 50mm base and costs about £27 shipped, whereas Elspeth would set me back something like £80 shipped. Quality-wise I would trust Studio Mcvey more but then again this is a new model from Forge World so the moulds are likely to still be good.

The main concern I have with both of these is making sure that my painting lives up to the quality of the models.

Have any of you painted models that were intended almost entirely for display? If so, how do you suggest going about it, especially for something as big as Elspeth? What's the best way to maintain interest during such a long and complex project? What techniques should be mastered before going about such a task? Paint in pieces then assemble? Create a fancy base for the model in case I want to game with it in the future?

As you can tell I'm both excited and intimidated by the idea of either of these models. Who knows, with a good enough effort over time they might even be somethiing I can sell for a profit. I can dream right? ;-)

All the best,


Friday, July 1, 2011

Simplifiying 40k for a children's summer another language ;-)

Hey everyone,

So I'm in Bratislava, Slovakia now and about to begin the exciting job of teaching English for the next year. It's been very fun so far and I'm relishing the opportunity to soak in a new culture and get new life experiences.

Big thanks go out to Old Shatter Hands for his networking to get me the job over here and giving me lots of insight into places to go and things to do while here. Props also for his helping me start learning the complex and very multi-layered Slovak language.

Later today I will be taking a bus with my new colleagues out to a summer camp the language school is running for children. During a meeting with the owner of the school, he asked me how I came to know Old Shatter Hands. When I explained that it was through wargaming and explained the basic premise to him, he thought it might be a fun activity to play with some of the kids, if I'm willing to bring the models.

Now I only have my Deathwing and there are only a few of them (27 total). Given that the children are going to have variable comfort and skill levels in English, I'll need to bring the rules waaaaay down from their current level so that we can have fun games but not get completely lost in the combination of poor rules and language barriers :-)

So my thirty second rules ideas are something like this:

- Giving regular terminators a 5+ save, SS termies get a 3+ save.

- Storm bolters are 2 shot. They need 6s to cause a wound (skip the hit and then wound mechanic)

- Assault cannons are 4 shot, needing 6s also. Cyclones are 1 shot needing a 3+ to wound.

- If TH termies get into combat, they need a 3+ to wound (again, combining hit and wound rolls). LC termies wound on a 5+ but get two attacks. Regular termies need a 6 to wound with one attack.

- I'll probably include the run rules so the assault termies can rush up a bit.

- Each team/player has to choose if they want a shooty or an assault squad.

I will be leaving out Belial and the Librarian from the game (or use them as objectives maybe) to keep it simple, which gives me 3 assault squads and 2 shooty squads.

So tell me what you think people. Does this look like a fun game that will interest the kids and give them a chance to use English, without completely confusing them?

Any and all advice is gratefully received.

All the best


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Everyone's a king when there's no-one left to pawn - sacrificing units

But what do you do if the only things to sacrifice are Astartes?

Hey everyone,

So the post title is a lyric by Razorlight but I had to think a bit about sacrificing units in my game tonight against Blood Angels. It was an interesting list the my opponent brought and I had to really make some tough calls about which units to keep and which to lose.

My Deathwing 1500pt list took on a Blood Angels army consisting of:
- Astorath the grim
- 5 jump pack Death company (DC) with Lemartes (uber chaplain). All with power weapons.
- 5 jump pack Death company, all with power weapons.
- 5 terminators with assault cannons
- 5 lightning claw terminators
- 5 tactical marines
- Death company dreadnought with Blood Talons

Now this isn't a very balanced 1500pt force but it sure packs a lot of punch if it gets the charge on you. Plus the death company get furious charge, feel no pain, rerolls to hit when charging and rerolls to wound (plus Astorath makes the opponent, i.e. me, re-roll successful invul. saves). Very nasty.

I quickly realised when my early shooting phases didn't kill off the jump troops that I would have to sacrifice units while the rest of my army moved to deal with the threats of charging Blood Angels. The death company with those characters hit so hard on the charge that you're pretty much bound to lose a lot of guys, or the whole unit if you lay with Deathwing five man squads.

Thankfully I spent a lot of time talking with Old Shatter Hands about the necessary sacrifice tactics he played with when using Tau and having to block the opponent's movement. The Kroot bubble wrap, Piranha blocking and accepting one charge in order to prevent multi-assaults etc. were all in my mind during this game. The harder part is that I had to accept the loss of ~250pt units as part of my sacrificial strategy.

As it played out, I whittled down my opponent's non-DC force with firepower and focused assaults while I fed in two units and the librarian to control the rampaging Death Company attack on my left flank. My army as a whole mopped up the entire BA force through careful shooting followed by concentrated assaults, then brought the weight of thunder hammers to bear on the rampaging Death Company and special characters. I had to use the assault rules to my advantage when I charged into the existing combat by making sure that I only made it into base contact with one or two DC marines and not the characters, meaning the new attackers could only be hit by a few shots each time. In the end it paid off and the Deathwing cleared the table, losing two entire squads, the librarian and a couple of terminators.

The victorious Deathwing posing on the GW gaming table.

Sacrificial tactics.

So here is my take on the steps of sacrificing units.

Do you need to sacrifice something?
If you don't need to have a unit die for a greater purpose, don't put it in a place where it can die. Simple really but something that people (me included) forget at times. You should sacrifice things when they will help your overall strategy, save a better/more important unit, tie up an opponent's powerful unit or act as bait that puts him in a vulnerable position. Otherwise, I would try to keep your toy soldiers alive as much as possible. They can't help you if they die for no reason after all.

Which unit will you sacrifice?
There are two main factors to consider when it comes to choosing who will die for your victory.
- The first one is who is close enough to get into the right position. Clearly if you have only one unit that can block your opponent, they are the ones with heads on the chopping block. The more your forces are set to work together and overlap, the more choice you will have about who to use for your sacrificial strategy.
- The second is to choose the unit you can most afford to lose. Most of the time you will go for your more basic choices over the expensive elites (choosing scouts over losing a squad of terminators) but remember what each unit is capable of. Assault terminators can kill like nobody's business but if you have scouts on the objective near the end of the game and a dreadnought coming to get them off it, the terminators are perfectly viable to give up in exchange for the win. In my case I gave up a ranged Deathwing unit led by the librarian in order to allow my thunder hammer squads to get the charge on the DC marines, giving them better odds to win.

What is the purpose of the sacrifice?

This one is the really key point that you need to keep in mind when considering your tactical options. You must have a good purpose for your unit or you will simply be throwing them away, which makes your models feel sad ;-)

You can sacrifice for a number of reasons including:
- Stalling your opponent e.g charging a dreadnought with a mob of fearless orks. Even without a power klaw, those orks will last a long time. They can't hurt the dread but they have taken it out of the game for a number of turns. Unless it's a Blood Talon dreadnought it probably won't kill that many orks per turn and will spend the game locked in a combat it doesn't want to be in. The Tau under OSH are masters at this as the Piranhas, drones and kroot all stall your opponent to give more time for the shooting elements to do their work.

- Blocking your opponent's movement. If you have a unit of Furious charge Blood Angel terminators in a land raider, you have a threat range of about 20" (12" move, 2" deployment, 6" assault). If I can move a unit in the way of the Land Raider you have to get past that first before getting into the assault you want to be in. Now I know that in this case my blocker would have to be a vehicle or the Land Raider could tank shock through, but the point stands. I've headed off a potential charge by Nobz with a couple of gun drones, letting me get the charge the next turn (plus another round of firing). Think about your opponent's likely avenues of movement when you start the game and plan on how to block them if you need to.

- Saving a more important unit from dying. Let's say I'm the one with a unit of Death Company led by a chaplain. If I get to assault, my damage output goes way up compared to if I am on the receiving end of an assault. In this case, I would happily sacrifice another unit to my opponent so that they are left close enough for me to get the charge on them (Note: This plays also into the bait tactic below). As mentioned before, you could also choose to save a scoring unit that is on an objective and might give up a very strong elite unit for this purpose. In the case of OSH's tau forces, he would give up a unit of 10 kroot (70pts) in order to save the squad of crisis suits (150+ pts) hiding behind them and let the army as a whole have more firing time. In my case, I let a character and a ranged unit take the killing charge of the enemy assault units in order that my counter-assault folks could return the favour.

- Baiting the enemy forces. Now this one is a tricky thing as it depends on your opponent wanting to kill your bait and expending effort doing so. The trick when baiting is to put your sacrificial unit in a position where your opponent can go for it, but will have to change his line of attack to do so. Putting a single dreadnought in line of sight of a broadside across the table is not bait most of the time, it's a target. Putting your expensive HQ unit (e.g. 3 Crisis suits + Commander) on one flank where your opponent can get to him if he just moves a couple of units is more like it. The idea with baiting is that you make his army start to act piecemeal, rather than as a whole. I will lose my bait, but you won't have the units that moved in position to deal with the rest of my army which is now moving to act on my plan. Of course, when doing this you should endeavour to use units and positioning that will be good even if the bait isn't taken. In my crisis suit example, if you ignore the suits, I'll be able to put a lot of fire on the flank of your force, which vehicles hate. Bell of lost souls did a good article with thoughts on baiting (

That's it from me for now. I'll probably post a little bit more this week but time is rapidly running out for me as I gear up to head off to a new country (Slovakia) and a new career (Teaching English). I fly out a week from now and it's both exciting and scary.

All the best


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I hate it when people give up before they've lost.

My last opponent could take a lesson from this pooch.

Hey everyone,

So my Deathwing got to play in a 3k points game last night and it was mostly a lot of fun. I teamed up with the Tau player I played against last week to take on a guy with 3k of orks. It looked like it was going to be a really great scrap but sadly the ork opponent just started getting despondent and downhearted really early on in the game and it took me giving him tactical advice to get him to actually try and play again, which made the game drag a bit.

Essentially he was upset that our turn one and two shooting really smashed his ork forces and he didn't think he could get into assault with us. Instead of really making an effort to maximise his gameplay to at least do damage to us, even if he still lost, he seemed happier to mope about and just resign himself to saying that he brought the wrong army and that game wasn't really winnable.


My side was winning when we ran out of time (turn 4) in the overbooked GW gaming space but I'd almost got to the point when I was going to make him swap sides to take my Deathwing so I could unleash my inner ork and kick some ass ;-)

Battle Report

Army lists were (approximately as these are from memory)
- 1500 pts deathwing.
Belial, Librarian, Assault command squad (apoth, banner), 2 assault squads, 2 shooty squads)

- 1500 pts Tau
Farsight, bodyguard. 6 crisis suits (firestorm, BC&PR), 6 stealth suits, 48 fire warriors, 20 kroot, 8 pathfinders, 1 Piranha, 3 Broadsides, a bunch of drones, 2 devilfish

- 3000pts Orks
Ghazghull, PK warboss, 10 Lootas, 10 Burnas, 20 Nobz kitted out, 80 boyz, 2 trukks, battlewagon, killa kan, 8 warbikers, Looted wagon with boomgun.

Basically the battle was a turkey shoot in turn 1 (understandable) and for turn 2 my opponent liked my advice to use the devilfish and drones as blockers (thanks Old Shatter Hands) so we could funnel the orks towards us and slow them down. It was pretty successful and our opponent didn't really hit us with enough to truly cripple us though I think he could have killed off the Tau player's flank if we'd had time for another turn or two (and if he'd been playing them like I would have).

His key problem was letting our shooting dictate his plan and footslogging ineffectively. If you're coming at us on foot, you should be moving and running as far and fast as possible from turn 1. When your trukk with Ghazghull and nobz gets stunned on turn 1 (leaving it in LOS of the broadsides again), you get that power squad of nobz out and get running as far forward as you can. You get your units into assault with the maximum prejudice and using cover as much as you can. Your killa kan should move and run from turn 1 too. If he loses the klaw, he's still on assault duty for taking out vehicles or tying up battlesuits in assault.

He chose to shoot with his boys mobs a lot more often than I would. In my book Boyz get to shoot when they are about to charge into assault, or for a turn prior if they are shoota boyz. Nobz don't shoot as their firepower is nothing compared to their ruthlessly powerful assault abilities. When you stop your boyz mob from running in order to take 2 rokkit shots (BS2) at the front armour of a devilfish (12) you've not really grasped where ork power lies. Also, a S8 AP3 large blast weapon should be aimed at the tightly clustered crisis suits to kill them with instant death instead of the 12 fire warriors nearby, no matter how cool it looks to cover 12 models instead of 3 and 2 drones.

When I got him to use his forces in a more effective manner (multi-assaults, using Ghaz's waagh, killa kan vs devilfish etc) the battle really jumped back into contention from where he seemed happy to leave it in turn 2.

It was still a fun game to play and it would have been nice if we'd had time to bring the game through a full turn 4 (we cut it short) and played turns 5-7. I think the orks would have probably lost, but they could have ripped up the Tau flank and it would have been an effort for the Deathwing to bring them down finally.

So don't let me see any of you blog readers giving up on games that aren't going your way. My charge to you is to persevere until the end. It ain't over until the last dice is rolled!!!

Pete :-)