August 31, 2014

WIP - High Elf Dragon & some finished Romans

More work completed on my Dragon and first lot of Romans all done.  Few issues with decals which didn't turn out well but both looking goodish.

Found out that the Dragon is Asarnil the Dragon Lord an old 5th High Elf character









August 28, 2014

WIP - Painting a High Elf Dragon

Picking this guy up for $5 at Call to Arms was a nice bonus for me from that and I've been looking forward a lot to painting him up.  Still have to figure out how to sit a rider on top but green stuffing and sculpting the missing bit shouldn't be a problem.  While my High Elves are all purple I decided to make this guy green because (a) I like green, (b) I have several shades of GW green but only 2 shades of purple and (c) it will add more colour to the army.


Process so far has been:

All Areas
Undercoat - Tamiya Grey Spray Primer

Green Areas 
Basecost - GW Caliban Green
Layer - GW Warpstone Glow
Wash - GW Nuln Oil
Layer - GW Warpstone Glow

Grey Areas
Basecoat - GW Dawnstone
Wash - GW Nuln Oil

Horns
Basecoat - GW Mournfang Brown
Layer - GW Graveyard Earth

Veins
Layer - GW Mephiston Red

Tongue
Layer - GW Mephiston Red
Wash - GW Nuln Oil
Layer - GW Mephiston Red


I have to say that I miss the old style paint pots that GW used to produce as they didn't drip as much, were much easier to clean and the lid seemed to store paint better.  

For the Green Areas (Scales) I have at least two more layers to do each of a slightly lighter shade.  The Horns will also get at least two more possibly three and both areas will get a final wash.  Green Wash for the Scales and Mud Wash for the Horns.  The Veins and tongue only need 1 more layer of light red but I'm going to try and add a 2nd much lighter colour to the veins to make them pop possibly an off white.  The grey area I haven't quite figured out yet but it will be lighter than it is now but not by much.

August 26, 2014

WHFB why do you play: For fun or for tournaments & points?

(Couple of minor tweaks to original post following a thoughtful reader comment just to clarify more what I was talking about - changes in red)

One blog I like to read regularly is Herman van Kradenburg's Trouble in the Border Provinces.  A fellow New Zealand gamer he provides some good insight into how WHFB works, game play and lately the future direction of GW.  His latest post (link) has, like many blogs at the moment covered the Nagash End of Times releases by GW for Warhammer Fantasy.  Reading through this what stood out for me were a couple of comments he made after that post, two in particular
"I have limited time... I game when I can, more often than not against competitive games that play the tournament circuit.  For me to have a chance of winning I am forced to buy into the arms race."
"The Wellington area has become extremely competitive, and the gaming community is small.  I have had some great fun games when everybody is not (emphasis is mine) preparing for one tournament or another.... I've struggled to find fun games, continually coming up against someone's proven tournament killer list of testing-a-wanna-be-winner-because-I'm-going-to-tournament list takes a great deal of fun out of the game for me."
These comments stood out because they reflect the changes that have occurred at my local club over the last 3-4 years.  My club is small in WHFB terms just 5-6 regular players over the last few years. Until recently of those 5-6 I was the only one regularly attending tournaments and I did as Herman comments  use club nights to practice with my wanna-be-winner lists at various times.  But mostly I played for fun not points.  In the last 2-3 years all of our club members have become tournament players some like Jeffrey Kent and McCrae Louden very good ones.  Consequently, the nature of our games on club nights has changed significantly from fun lets give this model a spin lists to "I have to prepare for XYZ coming up next month" lists.  Hence a shift in play style from play for fun to playing for points (while having fun).  Every club night seems to be aimed toward this tournament practice meta whether deliberately or sub-consciously.


While I still enjoy playing I have to ask a question based on Herman's comments:
Q. Are WHFB games at your club played for fun or do people play to practice for tournaments?

One new question following a comment from a reader - the intent of my post is about the difference between games where we play just for the fun of playing and games where you have a long-term goal in mind i.e. winning an event.  Events are FUN please don't think I am saying they aren't if they weren't I wouldn't attend them.  But they do require a different mind set which leads me to a new question? 
Q. Do you play just to play or do you play for points i.e. competitively is it just about winning? 
Adam Richards and I for years played an ongoing series of "War of the Beard" games using the old 5th/6th Ed rules for that historical event pitching my High Elves against his Dwarfs.  These involved games ranging in size from 500pts right up to 4000pts+ with the emphasis being on fun.  Club nights also regularly involved members bringing along lists that contained their latest models - usually brought because the model looked cool and the player wanted to buy it e.g. my Dragon Mage.  The lists were never tournament optimal just full of stuff we wanted to take - although I do still take models/units I want to play at events just not as often as I used to.

Which leads me to one final question for everyone?
Q. How often, at friendly club nights, do you play armies full of fluff and models that you like rather than lists that are fine-tuned death machines aimed at podium finishes?
Yes having everyone in my club attending events regularly, and in the case of two players finishing at the top of table regularly, has dramatically improved our individual game play.  But it has also caused us to leave (as Herman points out) a lot of models on the shelf unused because they don't fit the meta (Dwarf Slayers and High Elf Spearmen are two great examples - I think HE Spears are awesome but they would get roasted at an event), and like Herman states has seen most of us invest in the arms race acquiring the models we need rather than those we want.

To end things I will put my hand up and admit that I have changed into one of those "lets take a tournament practice list" guys - I can't remember the last time I actually said to a club mate lets have a game rather than "lets have a game because I need to practice for XYZ" my game tonight for example is all about practising for Cracks Call in September not fun.  Starting to feel somewhat guilty about that now.

Interested in peoples thoughts on this issue?

August 22, 2014

Day 2 @ CtA - Ogres capture 10th Place

Call to Arms Day 2 and time to get some decent results to push myself up the leader board.  After Day 1's opening round loss to Joel I needed to win both games on the final day to snag a Top 10 finish. The fourth round draw was emailed out the night before and I was up against friend and club mate Adam and his Dwarf gunline.
Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom Doom
Game 4 - Blood n Glory
vs. Dwarfs (Adam Richards)

Now you would think that as a Dwarf player I would know how to beat a Dwarf list but playing Dwarfs is one thing playing against them is something else and holy crap is it difficult.  First up the scenario was Blood n Glory and I was at a major disadvantage as my Fortitude was only 5 (2 for General + BSB and 2 standards).  As I had a Gut Star list all Adam had to do was kill the Ironguts and he would break my army.

Adam had a pretty strong list two units of Irondrakes, 2 Bolt-Throwers, a Cannon, 3 Gyros, 2 units of Quarrellers and a block of HWS Longbeards.  As the game progressed I realised that I had stuffed up from the beginning and deployed badly.  Oh and did I mention that Adam rolled for army wide hatred on Ancestral Grudge at the start of the game!!!
Deployment - all of my stuff in the centre and Adam castled in one corner, except for a unit of Quarrellers which moved into the tower on my left and the 3 Gyro's which were sitting behind that tower.
With my Gut Star being the prime target I should have realised that Adams best bet was to castle in a corner and shoot me to pieces before I could hit him.  Given that Irondrakes have flaming attacks my main protection against shooting the 4+ Regen bubble would be less useful and I would have to rely on boosted Toughness to save me on the advance.  My initial thinking was deploy in the centre so I could head for either corner if he castled.  What I should have done was deploy hard up against one short board edge. This would have minimised his shooting time, reduced the time taken to reach him (a straight line is better than a diagonal) and forced him to move his units before shooting them making it slightly more difficult.
The advance goes in - on the left Gyros have blocked in one unit of Mournfang and taken out the Gnoblars and I am still 1 more turn away from being able to safely declare a charge on Adams Dwarfs.
 Big problems I can't get any magic off - Adam eats my +1 Toughness Spell and Regen isn't going to help against flaming attacks.  He has the Rune of Slowness on his Irondrakes and to hit either unit I have to first get shot at by his Bolt-Throwers and Cannon.  Without +1 T or Regen its not looking good.
Gyros hit the left flank Mournfang - this combat would go on for a while
Turns 2-3 Mournfang go in against the Longbeards who must hold while the Gut Star fails its charge on the same unit 
Turn 2 and I'm in serious trouble as Adam has out thought me.  My Gut Star is now less reduced below 50%, my Slaughtermaster has taken wounds and my Ironblasters have done nothing except kill off a single Gyro and wound another.  But at least now the Mournfang have been able to charge but those damn Irondrakes are just murdering me.  First round of combat I begin venting my dislike of the nasty new Dwarf book which gives his Longbeards a 5+ Parry Save on the turn they're charged and S4 AP attacks from the Runesmith so no armour save for my Bulls or Ironguts and a 4+ not 2+ for my Mournfang.
The Mournfang are dead but now I get both blocks the Guts and the Bulls into his Longbeards  - I get very lucky when Adams Irondrakes are lined up slightly behind his Longbeards meaning I don't hit them in combat.
 Turn 4 now I think and the game comes down to one combat the Gut Star or rather the 2 remaining Ironguts and my characters + the Bulls against his Longbeards.  I have to kill the unit and wipe it out before his two units of Irondrakes hit me one in the front and one in the rear.
Well that didn't work?  
 The Longbeards die and run but I can't catch them and the Bulls overrun into the Irondrakes.  The 2nd unit of Drakes hits their rear and they are now toast.  The Gut Star has to reform to face that combat as the Bulls are going to lose.  Meanwhile those damn warmachines are still shooting me to bits and the position of the combats means I can't fire my Ironblasters at anything.
 Game over Adam wins it after he not only breaks me but also tables me - only my Gnoblars are still alive.  To celebrate he dons his full Dwarf regalia complete with our clubs traditional horned helm of victory (we all have one) and I am forced to sing the traditional Manawatu Warhammer Song of "Doom Doom Doom... Doom Doom Doom... Doom Doom Doom."  I get lucky in that Adam's Longbeard's and General fled off the table giving me some points

Result 6-14 loss

Game 5 - Battleline
vs. Beastmen (Mike King)

I like playing Beastmen because I think they're a pretty cool army that and Mike's consisted of all of the old school metal miniatures which just look great on the tabletop.  He had the standard Gor Horde with 3 Mages in it, a big block of Minotaurs with Character a few chariots and some spam/chaff.  Mike was playing as the bye for the event taking the place of Sam Whitt who had to withdraw.  Basically he gave you a choice take the bye and get a 20-0 or play it out and see what happens I much preferred to play it out.

As was my usual pattern Game 5 the last game of the tournament was the game I played the smartest and with the fewest mistakes.  Battleline evened things out but in terms of lists mine was the stronger of the two particularly if I could deal to the Minotaurs early.
Deployment - both Ironblasters on a hill my blocks on the right opposite the Minotaurs and Gor horde and chaff on the left.  I kept everything grouped as Mike didn't have shooting, the Comet or Purple Sun.
 First turn I just edge forward slightly with only my chaff marching up their full allowance.  The plan was to position units to support each-other if charged while letting the Ironblasters and magic take care of Mikes Units.  The two Ironblasters shot at the Minotaurs quickly taking down half the unit and I spammed the Regen bubble early just in case.
My turn 1 - Regen bubble down, chaff fully forward waiting for the Beastman advance
Mikes opening moves
This I think is where I played things smart - Mike pushed his Minotaur bus straight at me with his Gor horde still in the background.  While I had shot away half of the unit it was still very dangerous.  So I had a choice in my turn charge it with the Mournfang and the Gutstar - the Bulls wouldnt be able to fit and try to kill it or back off shot it some more and feed it something difficult to kill off?

I opted to back off.  The Gut Star and Bulls both edged back slightly while I pushed the Mournfang up to a position where Mike's Mino bus could only charge them + any overrun would take them past my Gut star allowing me to either (a) hit the Minotaurs from the flank or (b) ignore them and go for the Gor horde instead.  At the same I chucked +1 Toughness down on the Mournfang making them much harder for the Mino's to wound and banked on their 2+ AS to protect them.

Meanwhile on the left?
On the other side of the table I don't know why but I charged the Gnoblars at something - they lost - while the 2nd unit of Mournfang opted not to charge anything but positioned itself annoyingly while an Ironblaster went for the Chariots.
The Mournfang did charge and kill one lot of chaff but then stayed put which allowed a chariot and a beast of some sort to hit them. 
What was happening on the left was largely incidental the big story was on the right.  It was now Mike's turn and he took the bait charging the Mino's the 2 that were left and his Mino BSB at the Mournfang.  2 units of Chaff and his Gor horde also moved forward.... in his magic phase

DOWN CAME THE HELLHEART!!

I love this item - I rolled a 4 meaning every one of his mages within 20" had to take mis-cast with all 3 of them in his horde it would not be pretty.  The first guy blew up was sucked down a hole and vapourised 1/4 of the horde along with himself.  The 2nd guy power drained himself and the 3rd killed more of the unit and hurt himself and the 2nd guy in the process.  Magic phase over 1 dead mage, the 2 surviving mages on 1 wound each and one of those now at Level 0.

Unfortunately for Mike things didn't get better when his Minotaurs couldn't finish off the Mournfang and he lost more models and very nearly the combat as well.

Turn 3 my charges go in...
 With the Mino-bus held up I charged the Gut Star straight at his chaff wiping that out with all of my units now under the 4+ Regen bubble.  Unfortunately for Mike when I killed his chaff unit it caused his Gor horde to take and fail a panic check.  They ran away but not very far.
Gut Star kills the chaff and reforms to face the fleeing Gor horde
Another turn rolls round and the Mino bus still can't kill off the Mournfang, although on the left Mike is having better luck against the other Mournfang unit. My next turn rolls round and the Gut Star charges the fleeing Gor herd.  They flee again but not very far the Guts roll for their charge catch them and wipe them out.
Gut Star charges and captures the Fleeing Gors - the Bulls meanwhile opt not to charge and after measuring it out I march them forward out of the Minotaurs front arc and into safety (passing the march block test first)
Meanwhile on the left
The rest of the battle consisted of me shooting away the surviving Minotaur and Mikes BSB, Mike's chaff cleaning up the left flank Mournfang and killing one Ironblaster and my two buses just hanging around looking pretty.

I made a couple of little errors with how how used my units on the left but overall the game went my way from pretty early on and the Hellhearts impact on Mikes army was huge.

Result 15-5 Win

The Final Result - 10th place
So after 5 games my final tally for the event was 53/100 points, 3 wins and 2 losses and I managed to avoid getting a 20-0 pantsing for the first time in a while albiet only because my Gnoblars got me that crucial 1 point off Joel.

With a max painting and sports score I ended up 10th continuing my good run of form so very happy.

Club wise the event was an even bigger success with Club mates Jeffrey Kent finishing 1st with his Dark Elves, McCrae Louden 3rd with his Chaos Dwarfs and Regan Ridge getting his best result ever finishing 7th with his Vampires. Adam Richards also came in slightly behind me in 11th place.

So 5 Manawatu Duellists went to CtA and out of a field of 26 we secured 4 top 10 finishes, everyone ended up in the top half of the table and 2 people got on the podium so not bad at all.

The results also had a massive impact on the overall WHFB rankings for the country as well and the upcoming Masters.

August 21, 2014

When is a proxy for a Warhammer model "extracting the urine"????

Very interesting thread up on the Warhammer Forum about the use of proxies at the ETC in Serbia this year.  To be honest I was surprised and somewhat shocked at the examples shown in that thread.  My assumption was that the ETC was THE top event for European WHFB gamers and that the armies on display would reflect that i.e. that not only would the players all be top class but so would the presentation of their armies.  It does appear that this is not the case.

The original thread is here (and an earlier thread here) and I also started a quick post on it on my local clubs Facebook page here

To recap here are some of the photos from the UK forum thread...

First the reasonably good (I think this is a pretty cool idea myself) a unit of Trolls from an Orcs n Goblin army.  The player has used trolls, they are based and they are trolls so it works and is pretty cool.


Then the bad this is a Chaos Dwarf Kadai you can tell that because it has a large base, or rather three large bases - sorry 3 movement trays and a model...


Then we have this one which according to the post was supposed to represent an Empire Steam Tank?!?  To which I can only say that the player in question was  - [phrase © S.Bowman ]- Extracting the Urine.
In local events here in New Zealand there are a couple of rules that are fairly standard at all events in relation to the use and presentation of models/units. Those rules are:
  • Proxies are not allowed.  If you are not sure then best to check beforehand to avoid problems later.
  • All models to be used must be painted to a minimum benchmark (at least 3 colours).
  • WYSIWYG or Weapons, armour options and upgrades chosen from the army list must be shown on the majority of models in a unit.
What this means is that if you want to field a unit of 20 x Dwarf Warriors with Great Weapons then that unit must contain 20 models (although leeway is made for reasonably sized unit fillers), those models must be Dwarfs or Dwarf like and at least 10/20 must be carrying 2-handed weapons.  So if its a duck, it should look like a duck not a striped Elephant with 6 arms.  The rule on painting is not always enforced but we have painting scores to cater for that, but the rule on proxies and WYSIWYG are if mainly through subconscious peer pressure.

Generally the result of this are local events where competitors put a good degree of effort into creating armies that are well presented.  Painting abilities vary widely but painting scores take this into account so no-one is overly penalised in terms of tournament placings while those who are better at painting/basing still get rewarded for their efforts.

This works well and I have benefited from it in the past were my Dwarfs picked up maximum painting points but suffered through poor generalship but I was still able to finish strongly overall.  I liked this as it meant the 18 months I spent paint stripping, repainting and re-basing my Dwarfs and building their display board were recognised (see my Dwarf repainting project posts).  But the weighting given to playing ability (generalship) is always higher meaning that this still counts for more which is what should happen.  So while I moved up through painting I dropped back further because I lost a lot.  My efforts at repainting my Dwarfs and my High Elves were also due entirely to the high quality stuff I saw at efforts and my desire to improve my own work.

In NZ events we don't really see proxies - although at CTA and Panzershrek Dwarf players were allowed to proxy Thunderers as Irondrakes because well they are still Dwarfs and they are carrying handguns which look fairly close to Drakeguns.  There are also a lot of other proxies of sorts involving non-GW models, heavy conversions and the odd kit-bash all of which look great.  My favourite from CTA were the following units from the other Ogre army - these honestly made my event.

Crocodile Mournfang Cavalry and Ironbalsters
But a line has to be drawn somewhere.  In a friendly game sure bring whatever you like but at a tournament people attend for a variety of reasons one of which (at least to me) is to see other peoples collections and to share in our mutual enjoyment of the hobby - ALL ASPECTS of the hobby - painting, modelling and playing the game.  

Consequently, I don't like proxies that "Extract the Urine" - my other pet peeve are models that are not fully assembled.  Unpainted I can accept as not everyone is a painter.  But if you are going to enter an event then glue your models together its not that hard.  

What do people think???