Saturday 23 February 2019

First Game of Erehwon

The Dwarfs of Oakenheim have had many years of peace and prosperity, little bothered by outsiders. But recently, rangers have reported much more activity on the borders, with goblins from the Red Hills in the south being particularly bothersome. Hoping to squash any sneaky plans the greenskins might have, the dwarfs have despatched a small force from the nearest hold, to confront and warn off the intruders.

You might not realise it, but there is a new game system in town. Quietly launched by Warlord Games, Warlords of Erehwon is a game by Rick Priestley, author of the original Warhammer Fantasy Battle. If you have played Bolt Action or Battle of Antares, you will be familiar with the basic system. If you have no idea what these are, then you can get a rough idea of the new game from this youtube video, in which the basic mechanics are covered.

My own one paragraph description of the game is that it is a large skirmish/small warband game, playable on a dining room table, with forces of around six to ten units per side, units from three to ten figures in size, so about thirty to fifty figures to each warband. If you play Saga, it's a similar scale, but with a very different play style. Units are activated one by one in a random fashion, drawing dice or tokens from a bag to determine this. Each unit then makes a choice from six different activations (move, shoot, rally type actions), carries out that action, then another unit is randomly chosen to activate. Actions are resolved using 10 sided dice by referring to one of six stats, with low rolls being successes (so the ideal game if you always roll 1's). It's a fast moving game, both players randomly but constantly involved at all times - there's no snoozing while your opponent takes his half hour turn. The photo above shows roughly what to expect, with six units of stout dwarf warriors facing off against ten units of sneaky goblins (some of them have obviously sneaked out of frame, the little gits). The photo below shows roughly 800 points of dwarfs.

In this first, trial outing, the game was quite easy to pick up, the rules are pretty straight forward. It plays more like the old Warhammer Fantasy Battle than any other game I have tried (Saga, Rampant, etc), but with much smaller forces and far less fiddly rules. If you like the feel of  the old WHFB games, but have developed a liking for newer, slicker game systems, it is probably right up your street. Suffice to say that dwarfs, goblins, trolls, and ideas for terrain are now swirling around in my over excited mind. I reckon that this game, and possibly the upcoming Saga fantasy supplement, will herald a renaissance in fantasy gaming.

The dwarfs turned their back on the smouldering heaps of goblin corpses. Gently, reverently, they hoisted their dead companions on to the carefully prepared litters, and began the solemn march back to the hold. Dozens of goblins had been slaughtered in the battle, but there was little reason to celebrate. Six of their own kin had been lost, six new burial mounds would be constructed at the hold. Heads bowed, they started the long trek back home.

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Dwarfs of Oakenheim

The dwarfs of Oakenheim have been roused from their winter slumber. Rangers patrolling the borders have reported worrying numbers of goblins gathering, not to mention rumours from the north of invading barbarians. Patrols have been doubled, plans have been made, reinforcements are on the way. In the meantime, the dwarfs of Oakenheim must rely on their resolve and their armour, to repel the interlopers as best they can.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am returning to the bearded ones. Not just painting them, but also some gaming. I have really missed fantasy wargaming in my hobby life. Warhammer was the start of everything for me and it gave me many, many years of pleasure, from playing with unpainted figures on the dining table with my brothers, to full on tournament battles. When the game met the sad fate it did, I had already drifted from it a little, but it was still a sad time to see the glory days ended. Since then I have enjoyed many a game system from varying periods and genres, but recently I have been reminiscing back to the old days. I have been plodding along, building up this dwarf force and an Undead collection, anticipating the release of the fantasy version of Saga some time this year. And then, out of the blue, almost from Nowhere, another option has become available. More on that soon.........

Thursday 14 February 2019


Dear Mariella, 

I am a grown man who really should know better. I keep trying to kick the habit, but try as I might, I cannot stop painting beards. I love hairy guys - axe wielding maniacs from frozen lands, grumpy old sods from underground realms, even silly gnomes with pointy hats - I just cannot get enough of them. I tried switching to smooth chinned elves, or even withered old hairless undead types, but I cannot stick with them for long and yearn for a little brush on beard action. On this day on which we celebrate secret love*, I think I have to confess that I am besotted by beard. Though not those attached to hipsters, obviously. What should I do?

Yep, I just cannot give up on the dwarf obsession. I prepped some elves to kickstart an old project, then stared at them for a good two weeks before I realised that my heart was not in it. I do love my elves, just not as much as I should do. So I have put them back in the drawer and dug out these old classics. They are a mix of longbeards and some characters and anvil guard, though as I don't play Warhammer these days, let's just call them veterans. It's not even a unit - what do we call a collective of grumpy old dwarves?  A complaint? A grumble? A Boar's Snout? Whatever it is, there's ten of the miserable buggers waiting (impatiently no doubt) for some love.

*so the love part is obvious, but there's also a secret in the photo ?!?

Wednesday 6 February 2019

The Three Hunters

It's sheer coincidence that I have painted these metal versions of the Three Hunters, just as a new set in plastic has been released. I have had metal figures representing the members of the Fellowship of the Ring for a long time, just never got round to painting them. As interest in the Tolkien stories has risen recently in the Nord household, I dug out these three figures to make a start on painting all nine.

I wanted three running figures, to replay the hunt scenes from the tale. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas pursue a host of uruk hai across the plains of Rohan, knowing that they have captured the hobbits Merry and Pippin. In the book (and film) they meet Eomer and his riders, discovering that the uruks have been destroyed, thus ending the chase. But imagine if that had not been the case and the hunters had finally caught up with their prey. That would make an interesting scenario to play out.

With the Lord of the Rings range, I am aiming for fast but decent painting - they are an antidote to the painstaking, careful stuff of late. They were completed quite rapidly, one session to get some base colours and metals on them, a second session to work the detail into the faces and slap on the bases, then a third session to complete the clothing and belts. Given the time spent on them, I am reasonably happy with them. It's a shame that Aragorn has lost some of his clothing in the chase, but I did not have a cloaked running figure. Now, all that remains is to paint the prey.....

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