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.
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:

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)
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.

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


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!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...