Friday, 28 December 2012

Another full army shot

It's become a habit for me to take a photo every 6 months or so of my Empire army, to show how it has progressed. It's been about 6 months since the last shot, so I figured it was time once more, as the new year approaches.

Unfortunately the photo is not exactly a work of art. I was about to pack up the army into cases so that I could move it in preparation for the Hel Fenn game, and was a bit pressed for time. I still hope to get better at shots like this, but I really need to give myself more time if I want things to turn out properly. The green in the corners is me blotting out all the junk I had sitting in the background...
My Empire army, which is getting pretty big by now.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

From the vault: Judicious Rulings

A discussion on WargamerAU prompted a friend to ask me what had happened to an article I wrote a long time ago on the club website (it was 2006, apparently). Seems like a good time to dig it up again...

A standard game of Warhammer is between 2 players. However, sometimes there are more than 2 people influencing the outcome of the game...
Recently a player was telling me about a game of Warhammer that he had watched at the club. This game was between two regular opponents, one of whom had always won in the past. Naturally everyone was expecting the same result this time round, but this time things turned out differently. The game was close, and at a critical juncture in the game, a bystander pointed out to the underdog that he was calculating his combat resolution incorrectly. As a result of this revelation, the player went on to record a historic victory. It also upset the eventual loser of the game, who felt that the game had only been won because of outside intervention. Was the bystander right to point out the underdog's mistake?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Planning Hel Fenn

The artwork for the Battle of Hel Fenn, as found in the Empire at War source book
I've written a number of times about my intention to recreate the Battle at the Gates of Kislev, and how this is one of the driving forces behind my continued efforts in painting my Empire army. It's a long road if I am to get the army to the size I want, and the game has now been a long time coming. Discussing this with my friends, we came to the conclusion that we needed some sort of stepping stone rather than simply going all-out at some ultimate and still far-distant target (after all, the Kislev battle is meant to be the largest ever seen in the Old World). Thus we started to consider other, more achievable targets for the near future. And we came up with a plan. We would recreate the Battle of Hel Fenn.

I suspect most Warhammer players will have at least heard of this battle, even if they don't know all the details. Indeed, as with all such "historical" encounters in the game, the actual details are a bit vague, and tend to conflict depending upon where you read them. But there are some basic details that are consistent, and those are what we shall work with.

Hel Fenn came at the end of more than a decade of conflict known as the Winter War, in which Mannfred Von Carstein had invaded the Empire with his undead army and unsuccessfully attacked both Marienburg and Altdorf. Pursued by a combined army of the Empire and the Dwarfs, Mannfred eventually turned to fight at Hel Fenn, within the borders of Sylvania. In the ensuing battle, Mannfred met his demise at the hands of Count Martin of Stirland, and his army was destroyed.

Depending upon which version you read, there may have been High Elves present as well, or the Archmage Finreir may have been using his great powers to assist the allied forces from afar. Some accounts have the Dwarfs arriving late to the battle, and likewise some of the Empire army, including the Knights of the Divine Sword.

Mannfred was eventually cut down by Count Martin's Runefang, however you would normally expect a Vampire to be able to handle a mere human general. Martin's triumph may have been caused by Mannfred's exhaustion from controlling a vast army of the dead in the field, or it may have been brought about by the intervention of a third party - a rogue Vampire named Jerek Von Carstein, who had once been Grand Master of the White Wolves (other accounts state that Jerek was never raised into undeath, and his corpse was found at the foot of cliffs around Middenheim, drained of blood).

As you can see, the variety of accounts leaves things a bit open to interpretation. We'll be keeping things relatively simple, as there will be enough interest in the game due to its sheer size. The game will be 20,000 points per side of fully painted models, making it one of the largest games I've ever heard of, and it should make for quite the battle report. 

The models will come from 6 different owners and involve a variety of colour schemes, which largely dictates the unit types and sizes that will be used. I collated what we had available and arranged it into usable forces, which should help things work on the day. One point to note in this battle is that it was in the year 2145 - some 150 years before the formation of the Colleges of Magic. As a result, the Empire army contains no wizards.

Below is the "player pack" that we will use for the game. It will be taking place on the 30th/31st of this month, so this is no long-term pipe dream - it's happening in less than 2 weeks...

Owen has been busily preparing terrain specifically for the battle, and has also found time to whip up the logo you see below:

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Paint your wagon!

In my previous post I discussed the creation of my wagon unit filler for my Stirland halberdiers. Well, now it's painted! 
Finished surgeon's wagon unit filler
In my previous update I only had a basic wagon and an untextured base to show for my efforts, so obviously there have been a few things done to the model before paint could be applied. Here are some shots of the thing during assembly.
The assembled wagon from the left. The horse's harness was kept simple, rather than trying to include chain or anything fancy like that.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Print your wagon

My recently completed Stirland Halberdiers were painted without the inclusion of any unit fillers. 42 models, no filler. This was not because I didn't want to include a filler, but rather because I had only vague plans in terms of what I wanted to put in there, and the schedule of Duelling Paintbrushes didn't give me time to fiddle. Many of my Krakenberg (purple and white) units will include customised Ogre unit fillers, however I didn't want to continue that theme through to forces included from other provinces. It's meant to help reinforce the difference between the Krakenberg forces and those used by the rest of the Empire. Instead I figured I would go with an older plan I had - to include carts and wagons of various types in the units, being protected by the soldiers. These would then also give me the chance to stage scenarios involving the defence of caravans and the like, which I liked the sound of.

So then, I would need wagons. Games Workshop have at various times produced a number of different carts and carriages, however they're all pretty difficult to come by now, and prohibitively expensive. Nothing else jumped out at me as a cheap and viable solution, so instead I decided to give Pete's 3D Printer another try (or rather, to get Pete to give the machine a try. I stay back at a safe distance and wait for the magic to happen). This wondrous contraption makes things out of practically nothing, and we've already used it to make a few Wolfygryph bases and the plinth for my War Altar. The wagons would be a more ambitious project, and rather exciting.

The first step was to try to plan the thing out in Sketchup, designing each individual component I would need. I had a rough idea of how large I wanted it to be, and some Google image searches gave me a reference point. So I did my best to put the plan into action.
My Sketchup 3D wagon model, in a state of confusion and disrepair

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Duelling Paintbrushes 2 - the violent finale

When we commenced Duelling Paintbrushes last month, it was suggested that at the end, participants would bring their painted 1000 point armies along and use them against each other in a game. This idea was not abandoned, and on the weekend we got the chance to follow through on that plan. Thus was born Duelcon, which would consist of a round-robin event between Owen (of Terrain for Hippos), Drew (of Back in Drew's Day) and me - the only people that successfully painted at least 1000 points of Warhammer Fantasy during the challenge.

Owen got a little carried away and even devised a player pack of sorts for our little event, which you can see here (spoiler alert: it also contains the results). Note that the points limit was increased to 1150 points at Drew's request, because true to form he only read half of the original Duelling Paintbrushes terms and it didn't occur to him at the time that he might want magic items and the like for when he played with the finished 1000 point force.

Epic contest that this promised to be, we figured we would take some photos. I'm not going to go into a proper battle report for the games, but I'll let you know what was going on in the captions.

Here are the final lists:

Me: Empire Stirland

  • Wizard Lord (Level 4, Lore of Fire) with Talisman of Preservation, Dispel Scroll
  • Warrior Priest with Great Weapon, Armour of Meteoric Iron
  • Captain with Great Weapon, Full Plate Armour, Dragonhelm, Obsidian Trinket
  • 41 Halberdiers with Standard, Musician (the Champion got sucked off to act as a Captain to help fill out the extra 150 points)
  • 16 Crossbowmen with Standard
  • 5 Pistoliers with Champion with Repeater Pistol
  • Great Cannon

Drew: Orcs and Goblins (who fancy themselves as Wood Elves)

  • Goblin Great Shaman (Level 3) with Dispel Scroll
  • Black Orc BSB on Boar with Shield
  • 30 Orc Arrer Boyz with Standard, Musician
  • 20 Night Goblin Archers with Full Command, 3 Fanatics, Nets
  • 6 Trolls
  • Giant

Owen: Skaven of Clan Skitterclaw

  • Warlord on Great Pox Rat with Talisman of Preservation, Weeping Blade
  • Warlock Engineer (Level 1)
  • 25 Clanrats with Spears, Shields, Full Command, Warpfire Thrower
  • 25 Clanrats with Shields, Full Command, Poisoned Wind Mortar
  • 20 Stormvermin with Shields, Full Command
  • 3 Rat Ogres with 1 Packmaster
  • Doomwheel

Game 1: Empire vs Orcs and Goblins

Game 1 deployment. The Pistoliers used Vanguard to move past the forest before the game commenced

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

2012 Australian Masters - Day 2

This is the second half of my account of the Masters tournament I attended last weekend. You can find the first half of it here.

Game 4: Sealed Section
Casey Tabner, Dark Elves
Supreme Sorceress, (Level 4, Lore of Shadow) with Darkstar Cloak, Talisman of Preservation
Sorceress (Level 2, Lore of Metal) with Lifetaker, Tome of Furion
Death Hag (BSB) on Cauldron of Blood
Master on Dark Pegasus with Heavy Armour, Cloak of Hag Graef, Dawnstone
11 Repeater Crossbowmen with Champion
11 Repeater Crossbowmen with Champion
39 Dark Elf Spearmen with Shields, Full Command
5 Dark Riders with Musician, Repeater Crossbows, Spears
5 Harpies
5 Harpies
29 Har Ganeth Executioners with Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame
War Hydra
Reaper Bolt Thrower
Reaper Bolt Thrower

Comp score: 1.5/5

Casey is normally a Skaven player, but she would be using Zac's Dark Elf army against me. For my part, I had inherited Sam's Chaos Dwarfs:

Sorcerer-Prophet (Level 4, Lore of Death) on Bale Taurus with Charmed Shield, Earthing Rod, Talisman of Preservation
Infernal Castellan (BSB) with Shield, Mask of the Furnace, Luckstone
Daemonsmith Sorcerer (Level 2, Lore of Metal) with Chalice of Blood and Darkness
20 Hobgoblin Cutthroats with Full Command, Bows, Light Armour, Shields
20 Hobgoblin Cutthroats with Standard, Musician, Bows, Light Armour, Shields
32 Chaos Dwarf Infernal Guard with Full Command, Great Weapons, Lichebone Pennant
Deathshrieker Death Rocket 
K'daai Destroyer 

Comp score: 1/5

I'm not going to lie to you - when I saw the match-up and had a look at the Dark Elf army list, I figured I had no business losing this game. It was a horrible match for the Elves - the K'dai Destroyer presented a massive headache for which the army had no real answers. The shooting was unlikely to threaten it, the only spell that might hurt it (Pit of Shades) relied on it failing an Initiative 5 test, and the Executioners were flaming, so granted it a 2+ ward save. The only real chance of killing it would be Mindrazor on the Spearmen, using Mystifying Miasma AND Pit of Shades, or (maybe) knocking 3 off its Toughness with The Withering before shooting it - not an ideal scenario. The Bale Taurus was almost as bad, and the Chaos Dwarfs would be well capable of dealing damage to the Dark Elves in return. All in all, this game was a bit of a gift for me.
Game 4 deployment (well, soon after)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

2012 Australian Masters - Day 1

Well the weekend is over (actually, by the time I am posting this, it's already Wednesday morning) and I survived another whirlwind trip to Canberra for this year's Australian Masters event. After a weekend with plenty of gaming, karaoke and too little sleep, I'm just a bit tired. But it's time for another tournament report - this one with more pictures than ever before! I might actually be getting better at this...

For those not familiar with the Masters, it's a tournament with a unique format. Comp scores are determined by the players, with all the lists being collated and sent out prior to the event. The 3 highest and lowest scores were discarded, and the scores were then averaged out and attached to the armies, rather than the players? Why is this an important distinction? Because in rounds 3 and 4, players use the army belonging to someone else, drawn randomly out of a hat. So for those rounds you get the comp score associated with the list you draw, rather than the one you arrived with at the start of the event. These 2 rounds are referred to as the "sealed section", and are the real distinguishing feature of the event.

I've already revealed the details of my Empire list here. It received a comp score of 2.5 out of 5, so was considered about mid-range in terms of strength. Having said that, a number of people expressed their admiration for the list going into the event, and declared that it should be strong enough for me to do well. If people were to be believed, the list had the goods. In that case the only remaining question marks were around the player...