Sunday 16 September 2018

Mordor Marches Out

Finally. After a very long summer and numerous other distractions -  ten weeks after the last game - dice have been rolling again in Matt's dungeon. I wanted to play with my newly painted Mordor orcs, so we decided on a nice and easy game of Dragon Rampant. The game is really designed for smaller forces than we were using, so we added a few tweaks to accommodate the larger number of units - allowing a commander to fail three activation tests before ending his turn. We also relaxed the three inch rule for friendly units. And we just lined up our armies for a good old pitched battle rather than play one of the wacky scenarios from the booklet. Sometimes, especially as a Mordor orc, you just want to get stuck in and smash some bones. This photo shows most of my force deployed for the battle, just out of frame were a unit of six cowardly warg riders who behaved so badly in game they do not deserve to appear in this post!

Across the table were Faramir's brave men of Gondor. A lot less bodies than the orcs, though as you might expect, considerably more skilled in combat. And with both forces lined up and ready, we started playing. Dragon Rampant is a nice system for quick and easy games. Our tweaks worked well and we found that in most turns both players were able to activate most of their units. It wouldn't be Dragon Rampant without those infuriating (at times) activation fails, but the three fail rule cushioned the blow for the most part and it felt more like a conventional wargame to me.

Most of the fighting took place in the centre of the table, with the orcs rushing forward to a more conservative Gondor force. I made a deployment error, the troll hidden in the woods seemed like a good idea when I saw all the archers across the board, but three consecutive activation fails and then a slow slog through the woods meant he was wasted in game terms. Only towards the end of the game did the troll manage to finally smash some Gondor skulls.

The rest of the battle ebbed and flowed nicely, first one side seeming to have the upper hand, then the other seeming to take control. Pictures speak volumes, so here's a few to give a flavour of the action.

By the end of the battle, both sides had taken a considerable beating and fought to a stalemate. I think in terms of a "result" it was most likely a draw. But gaming is not about winning or losing, it's about getting your lovingly painted toys out of their box for a couple of hours to run round on some nice terrain.

I posted a couple of pictures on facebook and got a lot of compliments (and questions) on the terrain, which is nice but totally undeserved as it's all Matt's. The "board" is a faux fur fleece throw or blanket, oversprayed in part with cheap aerosol paints. The terrain is a mix of scratch-built and some items from Thomarillion.

More games to come in the future I hope. I am already thinking about how to beef up my orcs in some way and would like to add some black orcs. And with ONLY 99 DAYS to go until xmas, I may well be adding considerable reinforcements at that time. Faramir, what's that in the sky?

Saturday 1 September 2018

Dwarf Warriors WIP

As I mentioned in my previous post, the dwarfs are back. Here are the first half of a planned unit of twelve. I seem to have taken so long to get together this small bunch, it's been two years since I started work on them, though only the one plastic warrior at the rear survives from that first attempt. I know a lot of people like the cartoonish, gnome-like figures of old. I do myself, in some cases. But I have always felt that basic dwarf infantry have been a bit, ahem, short changed. The fluff and artwork have always described them as hardy, well armed, doughty fighting warriors, but the models have always portrayed them more as bumbling oafs. I want my warriors to look battle-hardened, experienced and a bit grim.

These are a varied collection of many different generations of the dwarf. Front left and front centre are both Marauder dwarf figures from 1992 I believe. The centre figure had a strange pom-pom on his helmet, which I cut away and replaced with the banner top from the figure rear left, which then had a plastic bit from the current hammerers set. This will be the banner bearer of the unit, though originally it was a runesmith from around 2005 I would guess. The rear central figure is an old Anvil bodyguard, again from around 1992. And the drummer is a longbeard from the mid to late 1990's. So this one unit contains bits spreading over 25 years, which I find particularly fitting as it matches my time in the hobby.

It's been a long road to get here, but I finally feel happy with my initial selection. The second half of the unit will no doubt cause more headaches, but I can cross that bridge some other time. For now, I can get on with happy task of painting.
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