Saturday, August 07, 2010

More Test games

I played another game of LotR the other night.  We are all fine tuning our armies and just trying to get some practice in.  This time I played against Chris Ward, who is always a fun opponent.  We rolled randomly for scenarios and got the night fight one, which is my favorite.

Chris has a nicely painted Uruk army led by Saruman.  I was anxious to play against him because I do not have a lot of experience vs magic.  In addition to Saruman there were a captain, a handful of crossbows and an equal mix of shields and pikes as well as three berserkers.  His model count was 37.

I was running my new list.  Faramir, Captain of Ithilien with rangers and Osgiliath veterans.  My model count was 50.  I really feel the lack of might in this army, with only Faramir's three.  On the other hand the 12" banner, fight 4 within six inches of Faramir and the high model count all work well.  Faramir's better stats are nice too.

As I said, we rolled for a scenario and got "Ill met by moonlight".  We each divided our army in half, with a hero forward.  We were playing on part of the Osgiliath table.  I say part, because we only had some of the tiles and none of the scatter terrain.

Chris had Saruman, the five crossbows and berzerkers forward with the rest of his numbers split, pretty evenly, between pikes and shields.  I had Faramir, all of my rangers and veterans forward with only veterans to the rear.

Chris had to set up first and he built a firebase in a ruin in the very center of the table.  I placed my rangers to each side of that, with veterans in front.  Faramir, valiantly, hid behind a ruin so the crossbows and Saruman couldn't start the game by crushing him.

The first few turns were fairly even.  Our shooting was effective, as usual in this scenario.  The +1 to hit meant he was killing rangers on a 3 and I was killing Uruks on a five.  I had more shooting his was better.  It evened out.  He rushed everything but the crossbows and a couple of shields towards my right flank, which is where Faramir was now.  Both of us were moving our reinforcements up as fast as we could.  My left flank archers were sliding up towards his table edge.  In the way rolls were saving his crossbows, I only killed one through shooting the whole game, though his normal warriors and a beserker were not so lucky.

We finally engaged on the right flank, Saruman threw out a scorerous blast which killed one veteran and knocked over a couple of rangers.  The first round of combat was pretty tame.  Faramir got in one charge, killing two Uruks.  Saruman then blasted him six inches.  Faramir lost his horse but was unhurt, and no one was behind him.

Chris had moved his reinforcements over towards the brawl, dropping a couple off on my left flank, with the crossbows and their guardians, and a couple more in the center, forming a wall between two buildings.  I split my reinforcements, just about evenly, between my right and the center, with a couple heading over to help my left flank out.

Things were looking pretty bad for the forces of good.  Faramir was locked down every turn.  Chris had more models in the main fight and many of mine were squishy rangers.  We then had two brutal, for the Uruks, turns of combat.  In the first turn I killed six Uruk Hai.  I blew away nearly his entire center formation, between the buildings, opening up my route into his rear.  I killed a couple in the main fight, evening things up there enough for me to hold my own.  I also gained clear dominance in the flight on my left flank.

The rest of the game was just me closing the trap on the Uruks who were pinned in on my right.  I broke him but Saruman's standfast meant he didn't have to take any tests.  The fact that he had no room to maneuver and that I was coming at him from, literally, all four directions, meant that almost all of the fights were going my way.  With F4 and a reroll out to 12 inches Chris just couldn't win enough to make a difference.

Chris had some bad rolling going on in the end there, but I think my banner is what made the biggest difference.  In the end, the last turn, I killed Saruman when I jumped him with nine dudes.  He rolled a 1 for the fight, which was not really epic at all.  I offered to let Chris re-roll it, since that seemed like a sour note to end the game on, but he stuck to his guns and took the 1.  We hit 25% over the rest of the turn and the game was over.

I was not broken so it was a Major victory to me.  We didn't keep track of the kills for our heroes, but I think Saruman got one or two and Faramir got two or three.

On my side, I was really pleased with how my army worked.  I really feel the lack of might in the late game, with only one hero.  On the other hand the F4 is pure gold.  The 12" banner really paid off in this game, though this is the first time that it has.  Ranger shooting was as good as always and the large numbers were really useful.  I shielded more in this game and that helped me stay above break until the end.

For Chris, as he said, "I don't know if my army sucks or not with rolling like that".  I had two good rounds of combat that pretty much determined the game.  Saruman was good, making all of his spells and fighting off my troops until he was really, really, outnumbered.  There were a couple of places that Chris could have played differently, but with his center getting blown away in one round of combat there was not much he could have done to salvage it.

It was a fun game, as always against Chris, and I learned more about how my army works.  I'm pretty sure this is the list I will take to MitM.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Slacktastick

I've been slacking.  I not only haven't been updating the blog but I haven't really been doing much, at all, hobby wise.  I started a new job July 1st.  It is killing my soul.  I have no energy left at the end of the day.  I'm getting to be in great shape, working off all of the angst though.

Today I got in a game of LotR.  Keith had an, unexpected, day off and gave me a call.  I arranged to meet him down at the shop for a game.  He brought his Dwarfs and I brought my Gondor, with a twist.  I have been trying the new Faramir, Captain of Ithilien.  I changed out all of my Warriors of Minas Tirith for Osgiliath Veterans.  This means they have fight 4 within six inches of Faramir.  Along with this he acts as a banner for them and the rangers within 12 inches.  I had to drop my horn, Cirion and my knights to get him in but he seems to be worth it.

Keith and were play testing one of the Scenario's for  Mayhem in the Mountains.  This is the one I wrote a battle report about earlier, on the Bree table.  Each player divides their army in half.  Hero's have to be evenly divided.  One half deploys between 18 and 24 inches in, the other half up to 3 inches in.  This puts half of the force toe to toe with the enemy.  Night fight rules are also in play so bows and crossbows can only shoot 12 inches but they get plus one to their roll to wound.  This makes bows MUCH more powerful than normal.

We were also playing with table layout for the Osgiliath table.  We have five 12 inch squares of ruins, which work well, but we both think we need some barriers, walls and barricades as well as some difficult terrain we can throw down.  We also need to bevel the edges of the MDF that the ruins are based on as the square edges caused us quite a bit of positioning problems over the course of the game.

I only have one hero, so had to place him up front.  I also front loaded all of my rangers into the forward force, with the rest filled out with Veterans.  I placed them as far back as I could, but they were easily in charge range of the Dwarfs, if Keith got Priority.  Keith had Dain and Gimli, with Gimli forward.  He also had a mix of Khazad Guard, Iron Guard and Dwarf Warriors.  At the last minute I convinced him to try Dwarf Warriors with bows instead of Rangers.  I'm not sure how well that worked out, since the plus 1 to wound made all shooting better.  More play testing is probably called for.

Happily, I won priority.  Gimli promptly called a heroic move, countered by Faramir, who won the roll off.  One Veteran engaged Gimli, putting an end to his move.  Everyone else fell back while Faramir repositioned to a more central position, closer to where Gimli was.  There was some combat to Faramir's right, and my rangers started picking off Dwarfs like it was cool, which it was with me. 

Keith had 40 models in his army, while I had 50.  From the first turn on, I was ahead in the body count pretty much the entire game.  Dwarf armies rely on their awesome armor saves to stay alive.  With the shooting rules in this scenario, that is not as much of a factor for them.

Combats were going my way, my reserves were moving up faster and I had fire superiority.  Keith's front line was not holding up very well and Gimli was not killing anything.  By the time Dain and his boys got up there were not many of the first line Dwarfs left.  Dain managed a Heroic combat into Faramir.  Sadly, for Dain, Faramir had charged that turn, though a different model.  This gave Faramir four dice, instead of three, letting him win the combat, knock Dain down and put a wound on him after using up his fate.  This was the only charge Faramir got in the entire game, getting charged by Dain or Gimli every turn after that.  Dain died in the next round of combat but Gimli lasted the rest of the game. 

Once I broke Keith his Dwarfs started to fade, though slowly.  It took several more rounds of combat for me to kill enough to get him to 25%.  It is actually easier to kill Dwarfs with shooting, in this scenario, than it is with a sword.  That plus one on the die roll is better than the +1 strength of a hand weapon over my shooting.

I walked away with a major win.  Any time I get anything better than a loss against Keith I'm thrilled.  He is a great player, probably one of the best in the country, since he took second at Adepticon. 

I think we are both very happy with the scenario.  We have played it twice, on different tables, and it worked very well on both.  It changes the game a lot, forcing players to think on their toes and develop new tactics on the fly.  The table needs some more work, but it is going to work out well once we add some more terrain to it.

I needed a good game to take my mind off of work and this, as always against Keith, was a great game and a lot of fun.  I feel very good about where we are with the tournament preparations.  I hope we have people actually show up.

Monday, July 05, 2010

More on 8th edition Warhammer

I have played three more games of 8th Edition Warhammer since my last post.  It just gets better and better.  I got in two 1000 point games and a 1500 pointer.

The first 1000 points was against demons.  It was my first time playing them since they got their own book.  Things were going pretty well until the Blue Scribe got behind my line and got off the Vortex spell.  Half of my army died in that one round, including General "I always roll once worse than what I need and now I'm dead" who will not be missed.

After that the game was pretty much over.

The next game was against High Elves.  Rob had a big block (30?) of Lothern Sea Guard, some archers and some swordmasters, all lead by a mage.  I dropped a perfect shot on him from my Rocket battery and killed all but one LSG and the mage.  That was the first shot of my second turn.  Game over.  Now we all understand why big blocks my not be a no-brainer.  They probably still have their place, but there is a lot to be said for redundancy.

The third game was 1500 points vs Autret and his Vampire Counts.  My dice were a little bit above average, his were crap.  I channeled an extra dice in five times during the game.  I had a couple of turns where I had more dispel dice than he had casting dice, which is very bad for VC.

This was my first game against VC as well.  They were just as hard as I expected.  They also died really fast to my light spells.  Shooting in two ranks was awesome.  My cannon killed one of his vampires on the first shot of the game, which didn't help him out all.  His dire wolves got a first turn charge (he went second) on my mortar, in a building and wiped it, then failed four of five difficult terrain tests and lost all but one dog. 

I learned a lot more about the rules and about VC.  I also got to teach another person the new rules, so we have five or six people who have played them now.

This weekend we will be running some events to get everyone going on them, so it should be a fun time and a great way to get even more people to play.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Accomlished this week.

It was a busy week.  I got a lot done and played my first game of Warhammer 8th edition.  I began the week by finishing base coating my Warhammer trees.  I then got the first coat of dark brown paint on them.  Two more, dry brushed, coats and the trunks will be done.  After that it is down to the bases and, finally, the leaves.  I have nine trees to do all told.  These need to be done for September for the Mayhem in the Mountains LotR tournament we are hosting at Collectormania.

The next thing to be done was base coating my Sorylian fleet for Firestorm Armada.  I hit them with Army Painter Desert Yellow primer.  They will be bleached bone and some shade of blue, as yet undecided.  Bleached bone is my favorite color and seems to end up in most of my armies somewhere.  The bases and flight stands are black.  I need to drill a hole in the end of the bases and in the ships and glue a pin into the base.  Magnets and other such attachment methods all sound nice but are too much work at this point.

The next project was assembly on my M10 3" GMC Tank Destroyer Platoon for Flames of War.  This involved cleaning and gluing two M10's two jeeps and an M20 utility scout car.  There are crews for all vehicles and two dismounted carbine teams.  I still need to clean the flash off of the crews and mount the carbine teams on their bases.  That will happen at the same time as the infantry company gets stuck to theirs.

The third project of the week was making my new Faramir, Prince of Ithilien.  I don't like the new model very much.  I also didn't think a lot of the mounted model of my mounted Faramir blister.  Easy fix.  I glued the shield from a Warrior of Numenor to the mounted Faramir model.  Boom!  Bob's your uncle.  Done.

In preparation for Fantasy 8th edition, which I am super excited about, by the way, I borrowed the book from the shop and read through the rules.  As I went I compiled a list of changes from 7th.  14 pages later I had a PDF we could use, down at the shop, to learn the new rules.  I also listed out the new spells so we can all plan our armies when we don't have access to the book.  Magic items will be next, if I can borrow it again.

We played a 1500 point game.  I didn't use any magic items, and Jud only used the ones from the High Elf book.  We left the special terrain rules out of it but we rolled for the scenario and got the one where you deploy a foot apart at an angle and roll to see which units will come on as reinforcements. 

Jud brought High Elves.  A unit of five or six Dragon Riders with Musician and Standard but no champion.  Two units of Spear Elves, one of 20 and one larger.   A big unit of archers and a unit of 20 Lothern Sea Guard.  He had one dispell scroll on his Level 2 fire mage, who was his general.  He also had a mounted BSB with the +D6 to CR banner, which he put in with the Dragon Princes.

I had my Empire.  One unit of 25 swords, full command, with a ten handgunner detachment and a 12 swordsman detachment.  One unit of 25 spears full command with ten crossbows and 12 swords.  One unit of five Knights with great weapons, banner and musician, one unit of five pistoliers with musician and outrider with repeater pistol.  Artillery was a great canon, mortar and Hellstorm.  My heroes were a General of the Empire with full plate, shield and pistol, a mounted BSB and a level 2 with the lore of life.

He had to leave his seaguard off.  I lost my BSB and cannon. 

Here are my impressions.  This is a completely new game.  I loved it.  Movement is about the same but the phase is easier to understand.  All charge stuff happens at once now.  In my experience people usually moved their chargers when they declared them.  Now that is how it is supposed to work.  Random charges are something that I was not really all that worried or excited about.  After the first game I have decided that I like them a lot.  They add to the phase.  Before, I just had to know how far eight inches was.  Now I can take the chance and go for that 16 inch charge if I'm feeling lucky. 

Magic is AWESOME!  This is great stuff.  I love the winds of magic.  I love the new lores.  I love everything about this.  Our two level 2's got spells off, they affected the game.  They were viable but not overpowering.  My support spells were critical at times.  His damage spells killed a bunch of dudes.  His double six killed half of his archer unit.

Shooting is about the same but my warmachines were really good.  I usually made most of my guesses, and you still have to be good at placing the first spot for the canon and Hellstorm, but I killed a lot of elves with artillery.  True line of sight was a pain in the ass, just as I thought it would be, and added nothing to the game.   I do not like this rule.

Close combat was wildly different.  You beat me by 12, my leadership is 9 with the general in there and I'm stubborn with the BSB.  I'll just stick around for the rest of the game, thanks.

You won combat with your Dragon Princes?  Wait, they're not going to run off the table for the rest of the game?  They're going to reform and get a charge off next turn?  Crap.

It goes on and on.  Being able to move through terrain was great.  We had a bunch.  It was tactical.  It didn't stop the game.  It looked great.

My detachments play completely differently in this edition.  I ran 3x3 CC detachments all through 7th.  Now, with 5 wide and at least two ranks to take away ranks, they are a lot more vulnerable.  I am going to have to give some serious thought to how to make them work.

The game was fast and fun and, TLoS aside, I liked every single rule.  I love 8th edition.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

LotR gaming

We had Lord of the Rings day down at the shop today.  It was a very successful day, in my book.  We had eight people playing, including two new players, one of whom ordered the rule book.  We got to play two of the scenarios that we are developing for the, as yet to be named, tournament.  We kept up interest among the folks who have armies and a couple of us tried out new armies.

I played three games this afternoon.  One of the advantages of 350 point games.  I was trying out the High Elves, and I really need to make some changes.

The first game was against Rob and his Easterlings.  Rob played it better, tactically, and my elves just did not work the way I had hoped they would.  I set up first.


We had some of the new Osgiliath ruins in the center, with trees and wall around it.  We were playing the same scenario as my game against Keith the other night.  The picture above shows my initial set up.

Rob held me in the center and flank and crushed my elves on the right.  After that it was all mopping up.

My second game was against Curtis, who has never played before.  I have been trying to talk him into it for awhile, so he agreed to come down today and give it a shot.  I brought my Isengard army for him to test drive.  He had a good grasp of the rules and had been asking a lot of questions in the game with Rob.


The initial set up of the Uruk's.  Five crossbows are under the hand to the right.


And my elves on turn two. This was a straight up meeting engagement, since it was a teaching game.  My shooting was a lot better this game and I was able to force him to come to me.  I set up just my side of the line of walls, allowing me to gang up on him as he came through.

I did not get any pictures of my third game, against Russ.  He had a Mordor army made up of a generic Nazgul (10 Will) two specters, four trackers, a bunch of Black Numenorians and orcs backing them up.  We were playing a scenario in which each player has a hero in the center of the board and the rest of their army six inches in.  You are pretty much forced to fight at least one round of combat, as otherwise you can't use your stand fast.

This was a really annoying army to fight as the specters kept pulling my troops out of position, leading to the death of my captain, while the Wraith kept my courage down and black darted things.  We played that there were no In the Way rolls or any effects of casting in to combat.  That doesn't feel right to me, but I can't see where, in the rules, that would be wrong.

We both broke and he just got me down to 25% first.  That army build is definitely one that works your skills.  Terror, the specters and the Nazgul are all things that work well together to throw a monkey wrench in your plans.  I have not beat Russ with that army yet.



This was a game between High Elves (cleverly disguised as Galadrim) and Dwarfs.

We got two of our scenarios tested by a bunch more people.  Everyone liked the Stormy Weather one.  (Half your army in the middle of the table).  The Parlay scenario had a lot of questions.  We will have to work on it to see if we can simplify it and still keep the intent.

As far as my Elves went.  Their shooting was as good as I thought it should be, though S3 is not a huge improvement over S2 it is twice as good in a lot of conditions.  My spears did exactly what I wanted them to but my Elves with Elf Blades were too squishy.  I will have to give them shields.  I think the archers also need to have spears as they were squishy in the later stages and would have been better off providing more attacks to my other models.

I may have to re-consider my desire to not ally in Galadrim.

All in all, a very successful day of gaming.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

High Elves

I have decided on High Elves as my next Lord of the Rings army.  This will be my army for the tournament, yet to be named, that we are hosting in September.

I have two of the Last Alliance box sets.

 
These form the core of my army.  The problem with this set, and the range in general, is that there are only the two troop types, for High Elves, in here.  You get eight archers and eight elves with Elf Blades.  Spears come in blisters with three.  There are no models for hand weapon and shield, even though this is an option in the book, and one I would like to use.

I am going to have to hack up one of my models to see if I can position the arms right for him to be holding the sword one handed.  After that it will be a matter of figuring out if the Galadrim shields can be made to work, they are slightly different.

The easy answer, of course, is to ally wood elves with my High Elves.  I just don't want a Gladrim army though.  It may still come to this, but I am going to give conversion a shot first.  Of course, on the down side, that means I need another box of Warriors of the Last Alliance and a box of Galadrim to work on this.  I also need a couple more blisters of spears.  

The other downside of all of these Last Alliance boxes is that I now have a bunch of Warriors of Numenor with shields.  Spears and bows are all blisters as well for this army.  For now they have been stuffed into a used yogurt container against the day I decide they are worth my time and money.

I'll be sure to take pix of the conversion process.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Construction Complete

I have spent the last week assembling madly.  I have gotten a lot done.
1 x Land Raider Crusader
1 x Baal Predator
1 x Vindicator
2 x Razorback

And for LotR:
16 x High Elves with Elf Blades
16 x High Elves with Elf Bows
6 x High Elves with spears and shields
1 x Arwen

I still have 72 Moria goblins to get done.  I also need to do some painting this month.  At least twenty models is my goal.  We'll see how that one goes.  I also need to assemble two sets of the new Osgiliath ruins.  I suspect that I will be buying some more of those.  They are truly an awesome terrain set in a game system that sorely needed some more support from GW.

Friday, May 07, 2010

In Work

I am currently in an assembly frenzy.  This last week I have put together 18 High Elf bowmen and 18 High Elves with Elf blades as well as three with spear and shield, Gildor, Erestor, Cirdan, Thranduil, Galadriel, Saruman and Madril.  Oh yeah, and Faramir's horse.  I also assembled two sets of the old terrain of Middle Earth.  I have 72 moria goblins in progress on the de-flashing and gluing to bases phase.

I also picked up two of the Osgiliath ruins sets today.  I am really looking forward to assembling these.  With these two sets and the three sets of the old Middle Earth terrain I have I will be able to put quite a bit of LotR specific terrain on  the table.  It also means I will have a bunch to contribute to the tables for the tournament in September.

The goblins and terrain are going to be on hold for a week or so, though.  To my surprise I find myself with an assembly commission.  I was in the store today when a guy came in with nine boxes of space marine tanks.  He does painting commissions and doesn't have time to assemble these tanks.  I took half and Ian took half.  Five tanks for $65 dollars.  Awesome!  That'll buy me some models, "off the books", as far as the wife is concerned.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Play testing

As part of the tournament we are planning, for the fall, we are developing new scenarios and testing table layouts.  Wednesday night, my wife being out of town, Kieth came down and we played in my basement.

I laid the table out in the Bree layout that I had come up with.  The table was laid out with a village in the center.  There was a large village square with a fountain.  Surrounding the square were houses, two per side.  There was a road, lined with walls running out of the east side (north being Keith's side of the table - to the right in the picture below).  There were some fences and trees in various places around the town.

(The sunken road is nearest the viewer in this picture.)

The effect of this layout was that there was a good sized area in the center to fight in, divided in two by the fountain.  The road turned out to be a pivotal location, allowing flank charges into the village and a defended wall on each side.

(The sunken road is top right in this picture).

The scenario we came up with is a combination of several others.  Each player divides their army in half.  We are still trying to decide if we want to have the opponent choose the force that will be deployed forward or the player, though we went with the player choosing their army last night.

Half of the army deploys between 18" and 24" in, on the table.  This means that the two armies start with half of their troops right in each others faces.  The other half of the army deploys three inches in from the table edge.

Night fight rules are in play, meaning that bows can only shoot 12 inches but they get plus one strength.  This had the effect of forcing players to close on each other and, theoretically, it shortens the time they have to shoot.  It also makes the shooting much more dangerous than normal.

The other scenario element that we added in was a modified contest of champions.  Normally in that scenario it is decided by the champion who kills the most enemy models.  A lot of people (including me) really dislike this scenario.  In our scenario a major victory means that you have reduced your opponent to 25% but you are not broken.  A minor victory is achieved by reducing your opponent to 25%, but you are broken.  The kills of your champion add bonus points.  In our game Faramir ended up killing eight dwarfs while Dain only got three kills.  That gave me five bonus points for my minor victory.  We liked this because it makes the scenario about more than just what two models do, and it also has the potential to really get some spread on the player's points in the tournament.

Keith deployed first.  He had Dain with half of his force, divided equally by type (Khazad Guard, ranger, etc), in the village square.  Half of this company was on each side of the fountain.  The other half of his army was set up in the center of the table in his rear deployment zone.
(Dain is the red beared fellow, second from the right in the left hand company.  The shield bearer is the unpainted mini to the left).

I also divided my army in half by type, except that all three of my knights were in the rear deployment zone.  Faramir and Cirion were both forward with their half of the army.  Faramir, a bunch of WoMT and three rangers were set up in the road, just outside the square.  Cirion and the rest of the forward WoMT were in the east corner of the square, as far back as I could get them.  There were five rangers to the west of the village.  The rear deployment zone had knights, the horn blower and six rangers, off to the west.  The WoMT were in the center and five rangers were in the east.

(Faramir and his company along with the three rangers who are bait for the trap.)

I got priority first turn and moved Fararmir, in the second rank, and his band so that they were across the road, right on the edge of the square, with both flanks secured by buildings.  The rangers in the road moved up to the wall.  Cirion's lads backed up so that they had their flanks held by buildings, but they bulged out into the square.  Another part of his force moved up to fill the gap between two buildings, to the west of Cirion.  All of the rear troops moved forward at full speed.

Cirion's troops were setting up a trap for Keith.  By bulging out into the square they gave the Dwarfs an opportunity to have more Dwarfs fighting than humans.  If they moved forward to engage these troops then they would have to ensure that they split off enough troops to keep Faramir and his company locked up in  the street.  Once the Dwarfs had committed to this course of action, Cirion and his lads would fall back, past the houses, so that the situation was reversed and fewer Dwarfs would be forced to fight against more humans, who would have both flanks protected by houses.

(Cirion and his boys move back to increase their odds.  The Dwarfs have bounced off of the wall after their first attack, top right.)

The second part of my trap was based on Faramir, and was, by far, the riskiest part of my plan.  If Faramir and his lads got locked in combat to the front then they would not be in a position to react if the Dwarfs could get over the wall and into the sunken road, from behind.  It appeared that the only thing keeping this from happening was three rangers along the wall.  No problem, thinks the Dwarfs, we can take some D4 rangers.

In Keith's first turn he pushed forward on both sides of the fountain.  The eastern block pushed up so that their flank was on the house, with Faramir's lads just around the corner.  Dain's lads moved forward, trying to minimize how much shooting they would take from my rangers on the west side of the village.

My shooting was completely useless.  Keith managed to kill a couple of WoMT.  The additional strength from the scenario rules made the bows much more deadly.  I, again, won priority in turn two.  I used the opportunity to move the rear half of my army forward, running everyone as fast as they could go.  The knights moved up the western board edge.

Keith moved Dain's forces forward, leaving the other half of his force in the square in place.  He split his rear force in two, half heading directly towards the square and half heading towards the sunken road, which was still only guarded by my three rangers.  Shooting was, again, inconclusive.

Turn three Keith finally won priority and decided to move into combat.  His eastern force swung in to engage Faramir's company and block of the road.  He split the force advancing on the sunken road, sending a third of it off towards the square and the rest towards the wall.  Dain's force advanced against Cirion's company, pushing off a force to guard against the small group of WoMT between the buildings.

My shooting, this turn, was finally decent, with a bunch of Dwarfs falling.  All of the combats were inconclusive, with losses on both sides.  At the end o this turn we had each lost seven models, meaning bad news for Keith with his smaller army.

Turn four finally saw the Dwarfs reach the sunken road.  Two Dwarfs got in to combat with three rangers.  All of the troops who were originally deployed in the square were now in combat.

I pulled Faramir away from the street fight, where he had been in the second rank, and threw him up to the wall against the Dwarfs attacking the rangers.  The WoMT in the center pulled back behind a building, leaving the alley open.  I was hoping that Kieth would try to cross the fence, allowing me to engage his force piecemeal.  He didn't fall for it.  The WoMT who were coming up the center, from the rear deployment zone, split, with half hiding behind a building and the rest moving to reinforce Cirion.  Keith ended up forgetting how many troops I had behind the building and, when they finally came out, late game, he was shocked by ten fresh troops piling in to combat.

The fight in the sunken road went against the Dwarfs, with Faramir getting his first kills.  In the square, neither battle line was moving.  Dain was not getting kills but a few models were still falling to archery.  My rangers, on the western edge of the village, kept moving forward, behind cover, and dueling with his rangers, who were in the open.  My knights were swinging around the rear of the village.  I'm sure that Keith expected them to get in to the fight in the square.  My plan was to have them hit the Dwafs at the sunken road from behind, then swing back around to the square.  Additionally, I had gotten the reserve rangers up to the road and there were now eight there instead of three, along with Faramir and a WoMT spearman supporting him.

This was the decisive turn.  Keith's force in the square was engaged all along the line.  His rangers were losing the archery duel and hid behind the fountain, short buggers.  The force at the wall had just seen its advantage in numbers disappear.  Keith pushed everything he could up against the wall and bounced, losing several dwarfs.  In the next turn he pulled back, allowing Faramir to shift back to the fight at the edge of the square and the rangers, along the wall, to shoot at will.  The dwarfs along the sunken road evaporated over the next couple of turns.

In the road, Faramir managed to turn the fight and break through the dwarf line.  The knights finally reached the fight, one being dismounted by rangers and one killed, but they killed off the last dwarf in the way and the remaining, mounted knight, charged into the combat in the square.

(The Dwarf attack on the sunken road is over.  Faramir is about to blast his way through the dwarf line and Cirion is about to eat Dain's axe.)

Dain was slowly pushing back Cirion's company, killing Cirion in the process.  The WoMT line just wouldn't break though, with the ten troops behind the house providing the numbers to hold Dain and his band.  The dwarf Shield Bearer was having no luck in killing hi opponents, even with his free Heroic combat every turn that he was within three inches of Dain.  Only once did he get into a combat that involved Dain.

(Cirion's last moments.  You can see the shield bearer off stage left, in all his mithril glory.)

My rangers moved forward to engage hand to hand, Faramir's company finally broke out of the street and the Dwarfs were steadily pushed in to a smaller and smaller corner of the square.  When Keith finally broke, the shield bearer kept all but one Dwarf in the fight with their re-rolls of failed courage tests within 12 inches.  By the time the shield bearer failed there were not enough dwarfs left to really affect him much.

(Faramir leads the breakthrough.)

Keith finally broke me but with Farmair's stand fast and the horn blower I only lost five models to failed courage tests.  (Actually that seems like a lot, looking back on it.)  We called it when Keith got to ten models.

(The final moments of Dain's warhost.)

I really enjoyed both the scenario and the table layout.  As always, Keith was a great opponent.  We made some changes to the rules and clarified some issues.  We were going to play it out to total annihilation, thinking that with the two armies starting so close together this would not be a difficult threshold to reach.  It turns out that it just takes too long to wipe out an army so we changed that to 25%.  We also decided that throwing weapons would not benefit from the additional strength, since they were unaffected by the range restrictions.

My trap worked as I hoped.  If Keith had pushed everything against the sunken road, as he started to, it might have been different, and he had me very worried until he split his force.  He underestimated the advantage that a defended obstacle gives.  Faramir was a star, killing dwarfs right and left.  I manged to limit Dain to only three kills, but I just couldn't kill him.  I put one wound on him, even when I had him trapped by three models with support.  He is a tank.

This is probably the most enjoyable game of LotR I have played, which is saying something.  I think both the table layout and the scenario will be good to go for the tournament.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Slow hobby time

I have not been doing much with the hobby this month.  I am currently looking for a new job and that is taking most of my free time and what's left of my energy at the end of the day.

I have been following the rumors about Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition.  I have to admit, I'm very excited.  It sounds to me like the changes will be very interesting.

I have been happy with 7th Edition, by and large.  There are a couple of things I hate, the terrain rules first and foremost.  I hate the fact that, for most units, touching terrain is the end of the game.  Ranked units just come to a complete standstill when they get in to terrain.  Most of the other things people don't like don't bother me all that much.

Having said that, I am looking forward to the changes.  A percentage cap on characters would be great.  Even if, as rumored it is 25%.  I like this a lot better than the number cap.  Four vampire counts characters are not equal to four goblin characters.  The points cost doesn't make up for the fact that you only have those four slots to get whatever you need for your army.  I also don't like hero-hammer so this works for me on many levels.

This cap will also lead to more troops on the table.  I hate 16 model armies.  An army should look like an army.  Some people don't agree, but that's ok.  They're playing a different game than I am and not with me.

Random charges seems to be getting a lot of internet ink right now.  I'm ok with this too.  It makes things a little bit less certain, which is good.  There are plenty of "realistic" reasons why this rule works and it will not be nearly as critical if the rumored rules for casualties are true.

The new casualty rules are rumored to be that the first two ranks get to fight.  This is regardless of how many models get killed.  Casualties are taken off of the back and if you have two full ranks when this is done they all get to fight.  This means that getting the charge loses some of the importance that it used to have.  It also means that normal infantry might actually be of some use in the game for something other than supporting a character.

There are others, too many to recount here.  Warseer has pages and pages  of threads about this.  All in all, I think the summer is going to be a great time for Warhammer and I couldn't be more excited.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tournament

Tournaments.  They are a lot of fun.  They are a lot of work.  There are not very many LotR tournaments, and certainly not many in our neck of the woods.

Three of us are talking about setting one up in the Denver area.  We are discussing dates, locations, scenarios and terrain.  I think we can make it happen but there are a lot of things we need to get sorted quickly if we are going to pull it off.

The first issue we are discussing is whether or not we want to do it as part of Tacticon, the big Labor day convention here in Denver.  The first thought was to hold the tournament there.  We are now leaning away from that for several reasons.

1.  There is a $30 convention fee.  We would have to charge on top of that for prizes and food.  We are looking at a two day tournament, so there would not be a lot of time for people to use their passes to see/game the rest of the con.
2.  Labor day is not going to work for me.  Not a reason not to do it that weekend if that makes the most sense, but definitely a reason for me not to be all that thrilled about putting in all the work to make this thing go.
3.  The convention organizers have not bothered to get back to Keith regarding his request for ten tables.

Reasons to do it somewhere else.
1.  We run it at Tim's store, Collectormania, and it won't cost us anything.   We can fit in ten tables, and he might be able to get a bigger space if we need more.
2.  We can charge a reasonable amount and use all of the money for prizes and food.
3.  We are not locked in to a particular weekend.
4.  We only have to deal with ourselves, not the convention organizers.

We are going to have a meeting next Friday to discuss this.  If we are serious the biggest issue will be coming up with the terrain.  LotR is best with a lot of terrain on the tables.  I have enough for two tables.  I don't know about Keith.  Tim has a few hills but nothing else that really fits.  We will need to build a lot of terrain.

We also need to come up with the scenarios that will be played.  We have, realistically, all but one or two figured out, so that should not be bad.  It also gives us an excuse to play a lot of games to play test them.  We will also have to decide if we are going to announce the scenario's before the event, or let people show up blind to them.

I think we can pull it off and make it a great event.  Our goal is to have twenty players.  I think we can hit that easily, but partly that will depend on when we decide to run it.

I am excited about this.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Warhammer 40,000

I finally did it.  I played my first game of 40k.  Warhammer is my first love.  LOTR was second.  I'm not sure how I feel about 40k.

Tim has been offering to teach me for months now.  I just never had the time.  I like the fluff.  I like the models and have collected most of an Imperial Guard army.  It is much easier to get a game of 40k at the shop.  I have just avoided it up to now.  I finally took the plunge.

I made up a 500 point list.  It had a little bit of everything, just to see how things work.  A platoon of Guardsmen with two squads.  Special and heavy weapons.  Company HQ.  Veterans, who I played with normal guardsmen stats the whole game because I'm not very SMRT.  A squadron of scout Sentinels, just to see how a sqdn works.

Tim had to tactical squads and a captain.  We rolled kill teams.  Bad for me.  The game was fun but there were just so many rules that I didn't like.  I'll play a few more games but at this point it is not high on my list.

1.  I hated no armor saves.  Marines shoot at guardsmen, all the guardsmen die.  Yeah, fun game.
2.  The assault rules.  No real tactics there at all.  Pile in and you get to kill as many models as you want.  Dumb.
3.  What do you mean my missile launcher scatters 2d6 - BS?  What the hell is the point of that?  Minus BS?  No.  That is total BS.
4.  Small table.  Oh yeah.  Turn three we are in assault.  That's exactly how battles with firearms work.  Everyone tries to get into hand to hand combat because that is actually more effective than using a rifle. 

I suppose I'll give it a few more chances but I was not impressed.  The more I think about it the more I didn't like it.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Cannons

I played a 2000 point game of Warhammer this weekend.  My empire against my friend Rob's High Elves.  It was a great game, very tactical, lots of back and forth and lots of cinematic moments.  I forgot to take pictures of course.

What struck me was how great my cannons were.  I was using a list that I had tooled up to fight a HE Dragon lord list.  Two canons, Arch Lector, Warrior Priest and Battle Wizard.  Lots of dispels.  Rob plays a, mostly, infantry list.  he had one unit of eight Silver Helms with his general in it.  The point being, finally, that my list was not really a list I would normally play with.

The two cannons were the stars of the battle.  They killed a bolt thrower, his level 1 mage, his general and the hero of the Silver Helms and a chariot.  They also absorbed turn after turn of fire from two units of ten archers and two bolt throwers.  The only hero they didn't kill was his level 4 mage, who was killed by one turn of fire by eighteen of my archers, (three detachments of seven, one of which had taken some casualties).

The other thing that struck me was just how well his spearmen stood up.  These are a much maligned unit on the web.  Everyone hates them.  I found them to be pretty bad ass.  Once they got stuck in they just stayed there.  It helped that they were in the flank of my swordsmen, and that they were fighting empire swordsmen, but all the same, they did their job.  If Rob could have gotten his cavalry into that unit as well it would have been all over.

It was a great game and it reminded me that cannons work best in pairs.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Doldrums

I am having a hard time getting back in to the swing of things.  I started painting up the rest of my Gondor army but I just can't bring myself to finish them. 

I think I need to play.  Playing always motivates me to throw some more paint on my models.  When I'm throwing dice and my opponent's army is painted, and mine is not, it is a huge motivator to get it done.  I'm always good for at least a week after that.  Likewise, if my opponent's army is not painted I think about how crap it looks and want to get mine looking better.  Either way the gaming is what keeps me painting.

The other thing that helps is having a deadline.  I got more painting done in the lead up to the GitD than I have in any given year before.  Having that sort of goal is hugely helpful to me.  I have always worked best under a deadline.

Bottom line, I need to figure out a deadline or play some games.  We have our warbands league this weekend, so I may be able to get some gaming done then.  That would get me kick started on my Empire.  I have a lot painted for that army but there is more I can do.

Next weekend is our 40K league.  I have not played any games yet, but we are doing kill teams from the Battle Missions book.  That would give me a chance to learn the rules and to get motivated to paint my IG.  I have one squad of them painted.

I also got an American Rifle Company box for Flames of War for my birthday this week.  If I get them assembled then I could play some practice games of that.

I guess I just have too much hobby and not enough time or motivation.  I know what I need to do, now I just have to do it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hiatus ended

I'm back from a short deployment.  For a month I had no time to even think about the hobby.  It's good to be home.

I pulled out my last White Dwarf.  I went down to Collectormania to watch some 40K.  I pulled out the rest of the models for my Gondor army.  I even threw a little bit of paint on some.

It's going to take a while to get back in to the swing of things.  My brush control was crap.  my patience was thin.  My paints needed to have the stoppers cleaned out.

I'm starting to get excited about it all again though.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gathering in the Desert - Overview

The Gathering in the Desert is over, and it was a fantastic event.  I will do all I can to make it again next year.

Tim McKnight, the manager of Collectormania, and I had been planning our trip for a couple of days.  His army was almost completely painted a year ago, he only had to add a couple of models.  We both made up our display boards at the last moment.  They were functional but not all that hot.  The only good thing about mine was that the holes were cut in such a way that when the first four rows were filled I was broken.  It acted as a nice score board for both my opponent and I.

Keith, the other Colorado player, was flying down.  I offered to carry anything he might not want to take on the plane as we had plenty of room in the SUV.  He chose to send his display board with us on the way down, we brought his army and paints back with us.  It turns out, by the way, that you can't take a whole bunch of bottles of paint on the plane.  TSA and Keith had it out, guess who won?  Keith ended up checking his army.  The Sabol army case worked as designed and the army arrived with no damage.  Good stuff, but nail biting for Keith.  The other problem that Keith had was that, as a physician, he has been told that he can work for days without sleep.  When we got down there he was down two days on sleep, minus about three hours.  The night before the game he stayed up all night finishing his army.  He finished as Tim and I were heading for the door for breakfast.

Tim and I met up at the store at 0530.  It had snowed overnight and I was a little bit concerned about the drive.  As it happened, getting out of the parking lot at Collectormania was the worst part of the drive.  We loaded Keith's display board and Tim's stuff into the car and we were off.  The drive down was great.  Good conversation all the way and an easy drive.  We made good time and got straight to the hotel with no issues.  Once we were checked in we called Keith, got handed around for awhile, and got directions to the store.

Empire Games is an impressive venue.  They have twenty (or so) 4x6 tables, tons of terrain and the largest stock that I have ever seen.  The store is brightly lit and the staff were great, helpful but not pushy.  Tim spent some time checking the place out, professional curiosity. 

We checked in on Keith, who was playing in the March to Mt. Doom.  We met a few of the other guys and got directions to a local Mexican place.  Dinner was great and the beer was a godsend.  We hit a grocery store, since I had forgotten my ditty bag at home.  It turns out that in Arizona you can buy real beer at the grocery store.  We found some good Colorado beer, no local beers were in sight.  Once we were done we found our way back to the hotel.  At this point we were feeling pretty good about our ability to get around town.  It helps that Mesa is laid out on a grid.  Good system.  I wonder why we don't do that so much in Colorado.

Tim and slept like crap.  Hard bed, too hot, too cold.  I was looking forward to sleeping in, being away from my boys, but I was up at 0600.  I jumped in the shower and headed down for some coffee.  The hotel had breakfast set up so I ate and waited for Tim.  He got down, we called Keith, who was alive and awake but not really all that with it.  It took a few minutes to get to the store and get our armies and display boards into the store and we were ready to go.

I'll cover the games in separate posts.  The day flew by.  I enjoyed all three of my opponents and the tables were gorgeous.  I learned something in each game I played.  My opponents were all great sportsmen and very reasonable about everything.  It was the best day of gaming I've had, at least from a fun point of view.

Not so great from the gaming stance as I started out with a Major win, then a draw and ended with a total shelacking Major loss.  Over the course of the weekend I played against the best overall, Best General and 3rd Best General.  I learned a lot at least.

When we were done gaming for the day we all headed out for dinner again.  Since people were coming from all over the country they wanted Mexican.  Tim and I volunteered the place we had eaten the night before so we headed over.  Most of us even found the place.  Dinner was good and the company was great.  The dinner ended up sitting a little heavy though.  Back to the hotel, drink a beer, watch some curling on TV.  Hit the rack.

The second night was no better than the first, and the third was just as bad.  Day two was a shorter day, only two games.  My first game of the day was no fun at all but the last one was great.  I ended on a high note at least.  The awards were given out and Tim won best sportsman.  That was all he was really gunning for at this point so he was very pleased.  Jeremy, who we had met there and fallen in with, won 2nd best sportsman.

I packed up my army and board and talked with everyone about their games and weekend.  I was sad it was over but I was also beat and not looking forward to the drive the next day.  Anyone who had not already left went to dinner again.  A bunch of us headed back to the hotel and Tim and I picked up some beer.  We got a variety pack of New Belgium as Jeremy had just been snow boarding in Denver and was raving about the beer.  He was thrilled and we burned through the beer while we all sat around and talked through the games, history, sports, women, whatever.

Tim and I slept badly again so we were up early and out of the hotel.  The drive started out well, a little overcast.  As we got farther north we transitioned to rain, snow, harder snow, freaking BLIZZARD in ARIZONA and back to snow.  It took us two hours to finish the last twenty miles before Flagstaff.  It turns out, oddly, that Arizonan's can't drive in the snow.  If they weren't driving really, really slowly, they were in the ditch.

Once we were out of the traffic jam/blizzard we grabbed some breakfast and got back on the road.  The drive was reasonable until we hit Santa Fe and it got crappy again until we hit the Colorado border.  At that point the roads were clear and dry and the rest of the drive was easy.

I had brought the Fellowship of the Ring on CD so we listened to that on the drive back.  Tim had not read the books and was surprised by how different the books were.  We both agreed that the first few chapters of the Fellowship could have been tossed out the window and no one would notice.

We hit town about two and a half hours later than we had planned.  I dropped Tim off at the store at 2100 and headed home.  Mama and the boys were all racked out but I woke each one up for hugs an kisses, then went to bed myself.

As I said at the beginning, this was a great event.  The blizzard aside, the trip up and down was great.  I can't wait to head back to Phoenix next year.  Tim and Dean put on a great event and Tim's wife did all the book keeping, so thanks to her as well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Final Preparations

I am finalizing my preparations for the Gathering in the Desert.  I have painted my army, plus some.  I have fifteen copies of my list.  I have the rule book, the Legions of Middle Earth book and the Gondor in Flames book.  I  bought new dice that match my army.  This is vital, as all gamers know.

I am finishing up my display base.  It is simple but good enough.  I'll get pictures with the whole army later.  I only have to dull coat five more rangers and that is done too.  I just need to come up with a format for a battle report form and pack and I'm done.

I have read battle reports, played practice games and re-read the rule book.  I have a hotel reservation and have made arrangements with my friend for the drive.  I am ready to do this.  One more day of work and then we head to Phoenix. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Army finished!

I.  Am.  Done.  I have finished my Gondor army for the Gathering in the Desert.  I am dull coating it, but that is a few minutes.  I had to paint one last WoMT tonight.  That took twenty minutes.  Quite a bit faster than I was going when I started.

I'll get some pictures up tomorrow when I am done.  Now all I have to do is get the display base done.  I am hoping to get the holes drilled for the dudes tomorrow.  I need to decide if I am going to magnetize them.  I may put washers in regardless.  That will raise up the bases to a better level relative to the foamcore.

I am hoping to get a practice game in tomorrow night.  One of the guys at the shop has the night off and offered to bring in his army.  It is a terror causing list so that will be good practice for me. 

I am really looking forward to this tournament.  I am very proud of myself for getting this army painted. 

Monday, February 08, 2010

Practice Game

I got another practice game in on Saturday night.  It was against Keith, again.  Our first practice, a couple of weeks ago, he used his Fiefdoms list.  Saturday he used his Dwarfs.  This was a last minute change for him as he was planning on taking a Morgul Knights list.  He is painting frantically right now.  I only got a couple of pictures, and none of the table as a whole.

The dwarf battle line.  Dain is in the center.  There are ten rangers, a bunch of iron guard and Khazad Guard and the rest dwarf warriors.  He also has a single captain in there.
Dain
Captain
1 x Dwarf warrior w/ banner (He forgot this guy in this game)
10 x Dwarf Rangers
? x Khazad Guard
? x Iron Guard
? x Dwarf Warriors (some w/ 2 handed wpns)

600 points
2 heros
5 Might
34 Models
Break Point 17

I played with:

Faramir
Cirion
Warrior of Minas Tirith with Horn
8 x Rangers of Gondor with Spear
9 x Rangers of Gondor
16 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
1 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
5 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
4 x Knights of Minas Tirith

600 points
2 Heroes
6 Might
52 Models
Break Point 26

This is an illegal list, by the way.  I discovered after our second game (another report) that I have too many bows in the Ithilien section of the list.  I had also forgotten to pay for the shields on my spear WoMT.

 
Here is my battle line awaiting the Dwarfs as my Rangers duel with his.
We were playing contest of champions, as this is one of the scenario's for the Gathering in the Desert.  I had changed my list from my original list by adding Faramir and Cirion, specifically for this scenario.  The plan is for Faramir to try to kill things while Cirion works to counter his champion, without dying, of course.

We started out edging forwards.  I put Faramir and some Rangers in the tower, which was a mistake.  Keith just kept out of range and I ended up having to move him out.  Three turns to get up, three to get down.  I lost a lot of shooting.  The rest of my rangers were cleaning up and killed a lot of dwarfs, even with their D7.

Keith eventually got tired of the long range archery duel, which he was losing, and moved Dain and his entourage around a ruins to try and hit part of my line.


Dain is the orange spot in the center.  Six of these guys will go right to block my Cavalry.

I kept back up as long as possible to enable me to keep shooting him.  I managed a lot of kills through bow fire.  S2 shooting is not great, but enough of it will get through most of the time.  We finally engaged and the fight broke down in to two big fights.  Dain was in my line just forward of where he is in the picture.  The other half of Keith's army had advanced on the left (picture left) and hit my line by the tower.  Faramir went in there.

I managed to win a couple of priority's that Keith wanted and he burned through Dain's Might store making Heroic moves.  Cirion moved in to counter Dain and managed to hold him.  Dain got three kills before Cirion got there but none afterwards.  Keith realized, at home after the game, that he had forgotten that his Khazad and Iron Guards are S4.  This would have meant more dead WoMT.

On the left Faramir managed to get three kills.  The dwarf line was starting to bend but there was no real end in sight when the store had to close.  We added up the points, since our heroes had tied and I had killed 25 points or so more than Keith.  A draw really.

I learned some things in this fight.  That tower was very tempting but not worth the turns of lost shooting to get in to.  My Rangers need to be direct firing at the enemy for as many turns as possible.  Moving forwards full to get in range is better than moving half and volleying.  Faramir will need to kill some things by whacking on them with his sword.  He can't get enough kills with his bow.  

Keith also did some interesting positioning with his guys which worked really well.  I will keep that in mind as well.

It was a good game.  Keith is the one who taught me to play in the first place.  He learned from some of the best players in the country and has been to several tournaments.  My only regret is that I play him more than anyone else.  He is a great opponent but I would like to play other people so that I can face different tactical minds. 

Warhammer Warbands

I am running a Warhammer Warbands escalation league down at the local shop.  We are playing for four months.  We started in January at 200 points.  We are increasing the points by 50 every two weeks.  The original plan was to go up 100 points per month but everyone wants to play bigger games.

The first month was all training games.  The vast majority of the players had not played fantasy before.  This is why I am running the league, to suck them in.  Rumors say that there will be a new edition of the rules this summer.  Because of this, no one wants to buy the rules. 

This last Saturday was the first "real" game.  We are keeping score now.  We had 24 people show up.  We had about 16 the first weekend, 12 the second weekend and nine last weekend.  That is better than I expected, and some people are playing during the week.

Some people were complaining that they were getting burned out, so I may push the next session back to the end of the month.  That will give people more time to collect and paint. 

I am very pleased with how well the league is going.  There has been a lot of interest.  Lots of new armies are being started, not just to the low, warbands, points levels either.  People are liking the game and looking at it as a viable alternative to 40k, which is the major game at the shop.  I hope that we will have five or six people who are eager to play on a regular basis by the time we are done.

I have also learned that people are much more likely to play a game if someone takes the time to organize things and provide some structure.  I'll keep this is mind for the future, when things start to run down.

Painting Countdown VIII

Progress had continued despite my silence in recent days.  I have had to change my list, which means that I have one more model to paint, which I don't own yet.  Bummer.

On the plus side the rest of the army is done.  Everything is painted.  Everything is dipped/washed.  I have to do bases for everything but the rangers and Knights, but that will not take all that long.  I will hope to be able to get the WoMT this week.  If not then I will have to chop the spear off a WoMT and the sword off of a warrior of Rohan and call it good.  I'd prefer not to do that but, there you go, I need to have a back up plan.

Army II

I made a discouraging discovery last night.  My army is not legal.  I had forgotten that it is actually two armies that are allied together.  Per the Legions of Middle Earth (LoME) rules each one has to meet the bow limits of 33%.

Most of my army is from the Rangers of Ithilien list.  I allied in the Tower of Ecthelion in order to get Faramir with heavy armor and the knights.  What this means is that I had too many bows in the Ithilien contingent. 

After some tinkering in Army Builder I came up with the following:

(Tower of Ecthelion)
Faramir, heavy armor, shield
3 x Knights of Minas Tirith w/ shields

(Rangers of Ithilien)
Cirion
Warrior of Minas Tirith, shield, horn
6 x Rangers of Gondor w/ spear
10 x Rangers of Gondor
13 x Warrior of Minas Tirith w/ spear and shield
18 x Warrior of Minas Tirith w/ shield

Heroes:  2
Might:    6
Models:  53
Break Point : 27

This gives me 17 shoot 3, strength 2 shots a turn.  I still have three Knights for acting as reserves, grabbing objectives and moving bilbo's treasure and such around the board quickly.

If you have a passing familiarity with numbers you will see that 18 is more than 16. Sixteen is the number of WoMT with sword and shield in two boxes of WoMT.  That leaves me short.  Now I need to buy another box.  This is disapointing as I am finished with everything else.  All painting is done.  I need to finish basing and dull coat them, but other than that, I am done.

It also means that  I painted a bunch of models that I did not need to:
3 x Knights of Minas Tirith
2 x Rangers of Gondor
3 x Warriors of Minas Tirith w/ spear and shield

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Model Count for January

I have set myself a goal to paint twenty mini's a month.  In December I reached that, exactly.  In January I painted thirty eight minis!  38.  THIRTY EIGHT!  This is the most I have ever gotten done in a month. 

18 x Rangers of Gondor
6 x Knights of Minas Tirith
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirth with spear

I'm well on the way to my goal for February already, so this is one goal I may be able to accomplish.

Painting Countdown VII

More progress to report, happily.  I have all of my models now.  I will get Cirion and Farimir assembled and primed tonight.  I got eight more WoMT with shields painted tonight and got started on seven spears.  I still have one more shield and spear (bad primer job, had to re-do it), the horn blower and the two heroes.  If I can get them all done this week then that gives me plenty of time to work on the display base, play some practice games, spend some time with the rule book and play some practice games.

Here is the list and progress so far.

Faramir
Cirion
Warrior of Minas Tirith with Horn
8 x Rangers of Gondor with Spear
9 x Rangers of Gondor
16 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
1 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
5 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
4 x Knights of Minas Tirith

It doesn't look like all that much progress since last time.  Most of the work has been on dipping and basing.  The entire army should be done by the end of this weekend.  It's very exciting.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Knights

The Knights of Minas Tirith do not come with handy pegs and holes to keep them on their horses.  I do not like to glue my mounted troops to their mounts as this makes them much more difficult to transport.

 
 
I got around this with my KoMT by pinning them.  Sort of.  I drilled the hole as normal, in the dude.  I also drilled a hole in the horses.  I glued the pin (paper clip) into the rider but not the horses.  I used my X-acto knife to make the hole a little bit bigger.

 
 The Pin

 
The Horse with his modification

 
How they fit together, in case anyone has never seen a pin job before.
Once I had this all done the riders stay on during play but easily come off for transport.  I'm so happy with this solution that I am going to do it for all of my Warhammer cav as well.

Box 2 of WoMT

 
Here is the pile of Warriors straight off of the sprue.  They look bigger in a nasty pile like this.  It makes me happy and sad.  Sad because I have to clean mold lines off of all of these.  Happy because it is 24 more dudes for my army.

Here they are base coated.  The first one is an orphan.  He was left at the shop, broken and un-loved.  Tim gave him to me, just to get him out of there.  He was in rough shape with a bad basecoat and his spear broken off.  As it happened I need one more WoMT with shield for my army as only 16 come in the two boxes that I have bought.  I cut the hand and sword off of a warrior of Rohan and glued them onto this dude.  It is not like the Rohirrim will fight any worse without his hand. 

The basecoat on the front dude is pretty rough.  The ones on the guys in the back is butter smooth though.  I love the Army Painter line.  Great stuff!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Progress Continues

I got in my box of Warriors of Minas Tirith, though not the heros.  GW does their blisters as direct only.  The direct only guys are not exactly Johnny on the Spot when it comes to packing and shipping.  I should have them in the first part of next week, which will mean that I have all of the models for my Gathering in the Desert army.

While I was waiting for the new models I got the ones already painted, based.  I am finishing up the WoMT as I write this (the glue is drying on the sand).  The Rangers and Knights are all done.  I have taking pictures as I go so I will post up a tutorial on how I do my bases.

I spent most of my hobby time yesterday de-flashing the new WoMT.  Like, I suspect, every other gamer in the world I HATE de-flashing.  I use three tools.  Most of the work is done with a file.  I only use an X-acto knife in the spots the file won't fit.  I also keep a toothbrush handy to clean all of the plastic crap off so I can see the model as I work on it. 

They are clean and have the first bit of primer on.  One more coat and some touch ups and they will be ready to start painting.  I will begin that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tanks

I got my FoW tanks assembled.  They were quite easy as they are the starter set tanks.  Super glue the barrels onto the turrets of the Shermans.  Super glue the barrels into the divot on the front of the StuG's.  Done.  Bob's your uncle.

I am going to like the 15mm scale I think.  The tanks are awesome and the infantry are ok.  Mainly, I can have a LOT of each.  This is a good scale for WWII as you can fight some good sized fights. 

I also like that you can have a good looking table.  There is no real way to do this with Warhammer because the terrain rules are so bad.  Terrain brings most units to a screaming halt, so putting it on just means you can't really play in that area.  In FoW, on the other hand, terrain does not bring the entire game to a screeching halt.  You can build a great looking, diorama quality, table to play on.  I am looking forward to that.  A lot.  I love terrain.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The best laid plans......

I'm sick.  Deathly ill.  I slept all day and I'm going back to bed now.  This is going to affect my painting schedule.  I am still ahead though.  I have some flexibility.

I also just had a comforting realization.  I have painted more than I have bought this month.  That has never happened before.  If I can keep up even half the pace I have been going I will actually be able to get some of my armies painted.  Now that is an insane thought.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Painting Countdown VI

I complete eight spear & shield armed WoMT tonight.  All I have left is my horn blower and a single WoMT who will be armed with a sword and board but is currently broken.






Once the last two are done, tomorrow if all goes according to plan, I will need to dip these.  I am hoping that it will be nice on Wednesday.  If not then I will have to figure out some kind of box/shield/sack to shake the dip off in.

Following the dip will be any highlights and touch ups, followed by the bases.  You can see the first step of the bases done in this picture.  The brown will be covered by sand and static grass.  I paint the base anyway in case anything shows through.

Here is a shot of all of the WoMT together.  Once I finish the last two guys I will do an army shot so far.  The list is as follows:

Faramir
Cirion
Warrior of Minas Tirith with Horn
8 x Rangers of Gondor with Spear
9 x Rangers of Gondor
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
9 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
5 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
4 x Knights of Minas Tirith

As you can see there is not a lot left to paint.  I still need to do the display base and I would like to do an objective counter as well, though I am not sure what I will do for that yet.  I am pleased at my progress though.  This is already more models than I have ever painted in a six month period before, and this is two weeks worth of work.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Flames of War - Taking the plunge

I broke down.  I bought the starter set.  For $40 you get the rules, a quick start booklet, three Shermans, 2 StuG's and five dice.  I have the tanks all set for gluing.  All that needs to be done is to glue the guns on them.  Unlike the standard sets, which have separate tracks, these are one piece hulls.

Since I do not have much painting left to do until my next order of dudes comes in I may take a look at the rules this week.  On the other hand I may just use the time to re-read the LotR rules and get in some practice games.  We'll see how it falls out.

Painting Countdown V



I completed seven more of my Warriors of Minas Tirith last night.  That makes eight total.  That means I only have a few more models from what I currently own. 

Captain
Warrior with Banner
Warrior with Horn

6 x Knights of Minas Tirith
6 x Horses for the Knights
8 x Rangers of Gondor with spear
10 x Rangers of Gondor
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with Shield
9 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with Shield
12 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with Shield and Spear
 
I am changing up my list some, now that I know what the scenarios are going to be for the GitD.  I need a character that can actually kill things since Contest of Champions is one of the games.  In that one you pick one of your heroes.  The game is decided by how many kills each champion has.  My Captain of MT was just not going to get enough kills to compete in that scenario.  The above list would have required me to kill off my opponent's champion with bow fire to have a chance.

This is the list I am going to play test over the next couple of days.

Faramir
Cirion
Warrior of Minas Tirith with Horn
8 x Rangers of Gondor with Spear
9 x Rangers of Gondor
17 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
13 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
4 x Knights of Minas Tirith

This list will give me more hero support but I have to give up the Banner and a couple of Knights to keep my numbers up.  I think that it will balance out, and leave me with enough Knights to compete in the Seize the Prize variant.  In that one you have to grab a prize from the center of the board and get it off of your opponents side.  We'll see how the list does in testing.

My camera's macro is not 100% what I would like.  I am having a hard time getting good shots.  I'll keep experimenting until I figure it out though.  You just can't have a mini blog without pictures of minis.

Warhammer Warbands

We played the second round of our Warhammer warbands league yesterday.  We had fourteen players.  The games are very small, only 250 points yesterday.  When we play again in two weeks they will be 300.

I started this league because there were only three of us who played Warhammer at the store.  I gave a lot of thought to the best way to get people to play and decided to give this a try.  The response has been a lot better than I had hoped.  Over twenty people have signed up and we had sixteen the first day and fourteen the second.  There have also been a lot of games during the week.

The nice thing about Warbands is that you start off small.  We began at 200 points.  This gives people the who are just beginning to try out Warhammer without a huge investment in time and money.  One or two units and, perhaps, a hero and you can start playing.  This size force is also less intimidating to get painted, though it is not a requirement that everything be painted to play.

The other nice thing about a league is that people can try a whole bunch of different units and tactics before they buy a lot of models.  It has been interesting to watch people pick units that they think will be great and then to see how they work on the table.  A lot of players are discovering that the unit either isn't all that they hoped or that it doesn't fit their play style.

The bad thing about Warbands is that the armies are not designed to work at this level at all.  Everyone has been playing in the spirit of the warbands rules, ie, it is for fun.  Everyone also sees how much better their army could be if they had more points.

I actually think this is a good thing.  In dating and hobby organization it is always a good idea to leave em wanting more.  If they are thinking about how great it would be to be able to play with more points, then they will want to play bigger games, which means they want to play Warhammer, which is why I did this in the first place.

This league is just for fun.  No money involved.  That gives me the opportunity to modify it as we go along.  I have already increased point levels once.  Yesterday was supposed to be 200pts, not 250.  I also decided that we would just play for the first month.  No league points or anything like that.  In the future I can increase the points, or even push us up into small Warhammer sized games rather than large Warbands games.  We'll see where the community sits on that but I am pretty sure that, model collections allowing, that is where everyone would like to go.

Of all of the players signed up only four or five have played before and they may be the only ones who have the rule book.  The rumor mill is pretty sure that 8th Edition of the Warhammer rules will be coming out this summer so no one is willing to fork out the $$$$ for the rule book.  There are still quite a few instances where people are surprised by the rules, usually to their detriment.  There have also been a lot of people having trouble because the rules are similar to 40K but not the same.

Now that we have had a couple of practice weekends I think we will be able to really get rolling next month.  I'm very pleased with the whole thing.  It has been well worth the time and effort on my part.

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