Friday, 30 November 2012

Monthly Mini Porn Issue 11

A very brief selection this month, as I have spent less time than usual browsing the web. These are a few miniatures currently not available through Kickstarter, just the usual channels!

Crooked Claw miniatures are building up a collection of classic goblin sculpts, very nice for skirmish games or to add variety to your armies.

Possible foes for the goblins, or maybe reinforcements for chaos dwarf generals, are these Fallen Dwarves by Miniatures of the North, available on the Anvil Industries site.

If dwarfs and goblins are too small for your tastes, try this for size! Andreas Miniatures are selling a 54 mm scale Carthaginian Elephant and crew. 

Last but definitely not least, Spartan Games continue to release more models for their Dystopian Legions range. If I could find an opponent, I would buy these minis in an instant, they really are blowing my mind. These are from the Britannia range, Knights Templar and a crusty old colonel in his steam-powered bath chair! 

Monday, 19 November 2012

First Game of BOFA

That's Battle of Five Armies if you are confused. The titular battle was the climax in the Hobbit book (and no doubt the upcoming film), pitching an alliance of elves, dwarfs and men against goblins and wolves. In my case, it was more an Encounter Between Three and a Half Armies, since the goblins or elves are not yet painted.

We set up a village to be defended by men, with dwarfs coming to their rescue from the nearby hills. Rushing in to pillage were the wolves and wolf riders. The game plays very much like Blitzkrieg Commander, hardly surprising as both games are based on Warmaster. BOFA seemed very fast moving, there are few stats to get bogged down with, and I'm sure the rules will come fairly quickly after a couple of sessions. I could remember most of Command, Shooting and even Combat, it was just the rules on Confusion that (wait for it) caused some confusion.

Pitching an all cavalry force against a pure infantry force was probably unwise, the goblins rampaged through the enemy in no time at all, but it gave us a reasonable idea of how the game plays and it seems promising. I am keen to get some more tiny figures painted, perhaps some goblin infantry to make the opposing forces a little more balanced. Time to break out the tiny brushes and giant magnifier!

Coincidentally, there's a teaser trailer up on the GW website today, the totally expected release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Strategy Battle Game. I am guessing it will be similar to the previous 25mm incarnations of Lord of the Rings, skirmish level gaming recreating scenes from the book/film. We will find out later in the week.

Friday, 16 November 2012

New Dwarfs from AOW

The first set of  Warcast dwarfs from the Avatars of War Indiegogo project have been released to supporters of the project. It's been a frustrating wait for some, communication from the company can best be described as sporadic, but I think most will forgive and forget when they get their hands on these magnificent bearded fellows. There's also a video of the regiment on their website.

As far as I am aware, these are not yet released to the general public, they are available only to supporters of the project. And yet they are on the website shop, but marked as out of stock. As usual, your guess is as good as mine. I reckon they will become available from independent stockists eventually. The price is 35 euros, which will equate to about £25 in the UK webstores. A couple of years ago my eyes would have watered a little at that, but these days that puts them at about mid market rate. For that price, I reckon they are good value, from what can be seen in this picture at least.

Also released in the more traditional metal is a dwarf champion. As with the regiment, it's in the webstore but marked as unavailable, so I guess that means it's either just for pledgers, or the webstore is to be updated, or something.

It's an interesting time to be a Dwarf collector. There are rumours on Warseer (and I stress the word rumours) that the GW dwarf range is to be radically overhauled, in the same way that the Dark Eldar range was completely redesigned. I find this really hard to believe, the existing dwarf range is far more developed than the Dark Eldar ever were. Whatever the truth of this, it does seem (according to rumour) that dwarfs are nearer the front than the back of the army book queue, though this means little more than they might be released in 2013, more likely 2014. There's also dwarfs to be released by ForgeWorld in the near future. Dwarf players around the world, let the grumbling begin, as you dip into your seldom-opened chest of coins to get your hands on these new-fangled models!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Massive Voodoo

I am guessing that most of you will need no introduction to the guys at Massive Voodoo. You have probably also seen that they are producing an artbook of their work. Most painters, I would guess, are familiar with their awesome website. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then visit the Massive Voodoo website, see what they contribute to the hobby, then have a look at their Indiegogo project. A fine present for any of your painterly friends and a lovely way to say thanks to the MV duo for all the joy they have brought us down the years. This is going on the top of my list to Santa.

More samples of what you can expect below.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Part 1 : How to Lose With a Goblin Army

After several fantasy-gaming-free months, I decided to give Warhammer another go. I love playing Saga and have enjoyed several games of Blitzkrieg Commander, but recently I have been looking at my Warhammer collection, wondering if I should keep some or sell them, to make way for newer toys. If I was to sell, it would almost certainly be elves or greenskins under the auction hammer, so I decided to give them a last chance.

Looking through the orcs and goblins army book, I remembered that I had wanted to try an all-goblin force at one point in the past, so I scoured my "little black book" for clues. This is a little notebook I keep with all my army lists, the occasional battle report, ideas, sketches, etc. Sure enough, written earlier in the year, a 2000 point all goblin list.

As I don't own that many goblins, it was not a balanced army. I had to boost the character allocation considerably in order to make up the points, and there is far more rare choices than I would normally use, but it would give me a chance to try something a bit different. A goblin warboss, a night goblin army standard and two night goblin shamen prodded forward night goblins with netters, night goblin archers, fanatics, wolf riders, spider riders, a squig herd, and a 40 strong mob of gobboes. A couple of spear chukkas, a doom diver and a stone thrower made up the artillery. A handful of trolls added some dubious hitting power, while a pair a pump wagons added a random chance for some carnage. The basic plan was to use the night goblin netters and goblins as anvils, hoping that the trolls or squig herd could function as hammers.

Across the table was a pretty scary-looking chaos army, warriors, knights, a giant, ogres, dragon ogres, all powerful and hard hitting units, led by a Sorceror Lord safely ensconsed in a unit of maruaders. Things started badly when the night goblin shamen lord's very first spell cast with irresistible force, causing him to forget three of his four spells. A very lucky bolt killed two chaos ogres, but that was the highlight of the game and it quickly went downhill thereafter. The squig herd was extremely unlucky in combat with dragon ogres, as the mighty beasts made 5 armour saves (6's) from 7 dice! I guessed at this point that Gork (or Mork) were seriously annoyed at me for neglecting them for so long. Needless to say, the squigs broke and went wild. A trio of fanatics held up the forces of chaos for a little while, but they quickly throttled themselves or span wildly into a forest, making little impact on the enemy advance. Such are the whims of dice rolls.

From a tactical point of view I messed up in a few areas. For some reason I moved my pump wagons forward, they were charged and obliterated by the remaining chaos ogres. Night goblin netters were next on the ogre revenge list (still smarting from that early bolt no doubt), and while the little gits held them up for a couple of turns in classic anvil style, nothing was available to act as a hammer. This was mostly due to me badly positioning the hammer units, the trolls, which were sensibly sticking near to the goblin boss for his inspired command yelps, but were totally out of position on the wrong side of the board! Ah well, it has been six months since my last game.

Most amusing moment of the game? Possibly the giant and stone trolls in combat, the giant yelled and bawled, the trolls were unable to fight back, but held. Then he took a chomp out of one, restoring his wounds, the trolls swung ineffectively, so then resorted to vomit. They spent the whole game (of four turns) in this fashion, rooted to the spot taking chunks out of each other, regenerating them, in a comical never-ending combat. My only real "chance" came from a surprise charge from 5 wolf riders, who failed their animosity roll and then rolled double 6 to just scrape a successful charge of 21 inches onto the rear of the marauders and Sorceror Lord. After some bizarre dice rolling the marauders ended up taking a break test! Which they passed, then turned around, pummelled the upstart goblins into the ground and normal service was resumed. By the end of turn 4 most of my units were dead or dejected and we called it a night.

I knew that using an all-goblin force would be an uphill struggle, but combined with my rustiness, a powerful enemy and some awful dice, it was more of a massacre than I expected. I can't remember the last time I conceded in turn four. Having said that, it was great fun! I want to give the little green gits another go, partly to see if I can improve (I can't really get much worse) and partly to give my opponent more of a challenge. A few tweaks and some more practise is needed.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Thoughts of Chaos

Although I have not played a game of Warhammer for at least six months, I still enjoy the collecting side of the hobby. And as most wargamers know, collecting in this context means wondering if I will ever get round to painting the piles I already have. Many an hour has been spent over the summer months, sorting through my two boxes full of chaos bits. Most of this sorting comprises me staring at the figures and willing them to do something, with an occasional half-hearted attempt at cleaning and assembling. The biggest impediment to progress is my fear that I will never actually game with them! It seems to make more sense to concentrate on my Saga forces, as that's the game I play on a regular basis.

However, if pressed, I would probably concede that Chaos is the favourite of all my Warhammer collection. For me, they offer the most variety, the most scope for modelling, painting and thematic experiments. I still have a soft spot for my elves, and could never be rid of my dwarfs, and I keep promising myself that one day I will tackle the hordes of undead. But the one army I have consistently worked on over the past few years has been my Chaos Warriors.

When the previous book was launched, I bought into the new range on a reasonable scale - a battalion, a metal Lord on Jugger, knights and marauder horsemen. Not a huge splurge by most standards I guess, but with the book it came to around £100. That was 4 or 5 years ago. In today's prices, £100 would buy just the book and a battalion, if that. I have also picked up various other bits from ebay, forum markets and other bloggers. I have about 2000 points painted with a similar amount unpainted. So I don't need any new toys, but as we all know, that never usually stops us from buying the latest releases for our favourite army. The biggest impediment to me buying the new range is the plain and simple fact that I don't really like them. The characters are poorly executed, and finecast is still far more effort than it should be. The plastics are either dull and uninspring (the Khorne and Slaanesh riders on daemon mounts), or just completely over the top and messy (the warshrine). I did ponder over the use of the shrine boxset as bits, but decided against it in the end - that £35 would buy me a complete Viking warband for Saga.

The biggest shock among my rambling thoughts is that, for the first time, I will not be buying an army book for one of the armies I collect. The cost is an issue, but it's more than that. The last couple of books I bought have given me less pleasure than any of the previous versions. To be fair to GW, this is to be expected in older gamers, as they cannot re-invent the wheel each time and there is bound to be some duplication in updates. It was the Vampire Counts book that proved to be the (ahem) final nail in the coffin. So much of the fluff was simply copied from the previous book, while the couple of pages of new material was tame and un-convincing. The direction of the game and the newer design concepts have left me colder than a wraith in a crypt. So, unless the next wave of models offers some mind-blowing must-have model, I will be abstaining from this latest version of my favourite army.

That's not to say I am abandoning Chaos, far from it. The book update I will borrow from a friend, while reinforcements will be acquired from other sources (the Avatars of War range is highly tempting). And there are other manufacturers that are slowly seeping into my collection, more on this in future updates. GW no longer offers what I am looking for, but plenty of other companies do. There are new forces at work in my Chaos army, which when you think about it, is rather fitting.

Friday, 2 November 2012

New Forgeworld Dwarfs

Pictures have emerged from the recent French Golden Daemon, showing some Forgeworld dwarf sculpts. Presumably these will be launched along with the upcoming book featuring the bearded ones, greenskins and the Empire (see this post for sketchy details of said book).

The trollslayer looks nice and solid, not scrawny like the metal figures, but what the heck is going on with the neck? The head looks like it is erupting from the chest, chaos dwarf style.

The armoured dwarf is better, though I still think the head could be a little higher on those shoulders. The boar trim on the backpack is intriguing. The armour is superb, highly detailed and streets ahead of the plastic armour quality. Strangely, the beard seems a little flat and dull. The pose too seems a little static. It's better than the trollslayer, but too relaxed for a wargame figure.

Finally, as far as dwarfs are concerned, there's a standard bearer, with the now obligatory pipe and comically oversized banner. Nicely detailed and sculpted it has to be said, but not my cup of tea (or should that be pint of ale).

These are better detailed than the plastics, as you would expect, but I think from the images I have seen to date, I will be buying the Avatars of War dwarfs.

Incidentally, the pictures came from this facebook album, it's well worth flicking through, there are also some night goblins and more monsters in there, including a rather strange monster offering. I don't own monstrous arcanum so have no idea what it is.
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