Monday, 23 April 2012

Warhammer 40,000 vs Warmachine - Part two

Continuing my thoughts on Warhammer 40k and Warmachine, lets look a bit closer at the games themselves.

Part IV - The Armies 

There is a great paradox when it comes to army selection in these two games. 40k has a lot more options for armies to play, but you don't actually see that variation in play as much as you would expect.

A case in point is our beloved space marines. Rumour has it that over 50% of all 40k armies are Space Marine armies. My anecdotal observations certainly show this to be the case. It's pretty obvious why Space Marines rule the roost in 40k land. They are cool, easy to paint, on all the posters, in the starter boxes, the narratives are written mostly from their perspective, comparatively cheap and forgiving to play.

The big redeeming feature of Space Marines is that there are 1000 chapters. Hundreds of them have been defined by Games Workshop over the years, and many have ended up with codex's of their own at some point (And by extension, codex support for successor chapters).

What this means is you have plenty of painting options. If you really want a bright pink space marine army you can have one.

So while there are loads of armies to pick from, most people pick Space marines. It's understandable as they have such great appeal but it does tend to make most armies designed for one thing..... killing Space Marines.

So of the 16 codex's currently playable 7 are Space Marines of some flavour and they seem to be the ones you see the most. Some, like the Dark Angels differ from the core space marine codex only in small way, others like Chaos Space Marines differ a lot. But at the end of the day your core troops are Space Marines

The rest of the armies are a mix of early 40k mentality (Warhammer Fantasy IN SPACE) and the later unique 40k add ons. Each one has it's own flavor and style, I just wish we saw more of them. I'd like to give a nod to the Tau as being something uniquely 40k (while being inspired by Anime and the Phantom Menace for sure). At least they aren't OGRE KINGDOMS IN SPACE...... or chaos dwarves in space.... oh wait...


I also love Orks as they have made them very characterful, Imperial Guard as they can appeal to the WWII gamer as well, Tyranids as I loved Starship Troopers and Necrons, because they are cool.

This gets me on to an issue about how GW does it's development cycle, which I think is a fundamental flaw that lets many of their armies and players down. Necron's are working with a codex that is so out of date it's unreal, with no new models in a decade as well. Instead of evolving each army over time in parrallel development GW has decided that throwing all attention on one force for a few months, with a new codex and models is the way to go. This leads to a frequent complaint from 40k players, myself included, which is that armies end up out of balance, feel unsupported, or just have rule sets so out of date they make no sense in new editions.

This was the final nail in the coffin for me playing 40k. I have a sisters of battle army and after a decade of no new codex I eagerly awaited the White Dwarf codex, which was awful. It killed the flavour of the army and generally killed my enthusiasm for the game. Does it really take 10 years to put out that mediocre effort?

Comparing this to Warmachine and you have a decided advantage to privateer press. While they have less armies in their game (11 compared to 16 in 40k, and yes i'm counting Hordes as it's a compatible game) each army receives updates at the same time, with new models and units being released periodically for everyone. The models also come with their rules printed on a card in the box.

Hi, I'm Cynar Blue, lets be friends
Painting wise though Warmachine has one major issue. There is no logical reason to paint a Cygnar army bright pink, Cygnar are blue, that is all. It's the game world but it does feel slightly constricting. That is Cygnar Blue, if your fielding an army you better get used to it.I've seen some variation on this, but Cygnar still feels like it "should" be blue.

Part IV and a bit, army selection

This is really where things get different between the games, how you pick a  force. First thing to note is that 40k breaks down at low point values and that Warmachine gets too cumbersome at high point values.

40k has the force organization chart, which prevents people from fielding an army entirely made out of the single most hardcore unit they can find. Warmachine has a field allocation system, but its not that restrictive. (Occasionally you have to only have 1 evil kick ass solo when you want 5 of them)

This is all down to a fundamental attitude difference between the games. 40k is trying to balance things out and make armies nice and even where possible. Warmachine is encouraging you to power game and combo build. If what you make is overpowered, don't worry someone else will have made an army that is your perfect foil.

This leads to 40k HQ units being a bit dry in comparison to Warmachine. The average Warcaster has considerably more unique powers than even the flashiest 40k HQ selection. 

However, Warmachine is definitely less friendly and forgiving in its army selection.

A standard marine army like this one here, with a smattering of random units from the force selection chart will do alright in most games, there aren't too many bad choices as such.

In Warmachine, it's not about what you pick, its how they work together. Units have unique powers and each Warcaster provides very different buffs to it's army. Cygnar Sword Knights are a mediocre melee unit by themselves, give them a cheap Warjack with a reach weapon as support and all of a sudden they are very good.

Your Warcaster is key, selecting units that compliment this key character is the way to play the game. If you caster likes to sit at range, shoot and boost shooting abilities you had better get them some shooting units. 

The learning curve is considerably higher with Warmachine, you can't just pick models that look good together, they need to work together as well. This means 40k, and especially our Space Marine friends are a lot friendlier to new players than anything in Warmachine.

Many top level 40k players would disagree with me on this assessment but I feel it is true.

Part Five -  The Rules

In my opinion 40k is the easier game to learn and to play.

Mechanically, GW have worked to streamline the game play as much as humanly possible over the last three editions of 40k. It works faster than warmachine, it can handle a lot of models, and it flows very well.

The character statlines are very simple and easy to understand. One wound is normal, more is good. Most skills have 3 as normal, 4 as good, 5 as awesome and 2 as awful.

This can lead to a bit of homogeneity between races and units that GW have been working to remove (Orks used to have WS3, BS3 before being changed in 3rd edition to WS4 BS2 to give more character)

The current rules have true line of sight, which are an absolute nightmare in games and leads to some funny discussion about someones leg showing out from a  rock. This is the single biggest annoyance with the game rules

Cover saves have also become incredibly good in the last edition along with brutal assault rules. This has reduced the effectiveness of stand and shoot armies and promoted a lot more close combat. Armoured vehicles are also very hard to kill so the popular thing to do is design a mechanized army with assault abilities that can kill vehicles and space marines. It's another example of the "more option, less variety" conundrum that besets 40k.

Warmachine has more variety in the stats as it is a 2d6 based system as opposed to 1d6.

Mathematically, adding in the extra dice creates a bell curve effect on dice rolls and many suggest this makes Warmachine more about luck than 40k. Having the 2d6 standard roll does allow unusual things to happen from time to time, but any dice rolling game has an element of luck attached to it. (And poor wargamers blame the dice for all their losses). There is also a boosting mechanic that allows 3,4, and very rarely 5d6 to be rolled.

40k has to hit rolls solely determined by the unit attacking. If a Marine squad is a good shot they will hit a large target just as easily as a small target. While this streamlines the gameplay and makes calculating to hit rolls a nanosecond long activity (My marines always hit on a 3+..... always) It is limiting in another respect.

Warmachine has some units that are low armour but very hard to hit due to having high defence skills. I like the idea of small nimble units being hard to lock onto and kill than a lumbering 20 foot tall warbeast.... it's kinda logical in its own way and it opens up different gameplay opportunities.

Assault is also more streamlined in 40k, but with Warmachines complexity comes additional options with a lot of special attacks and maneuvers. The dichotomy of "simple and elegant" vs "complex and rich" plays out in close combat when you have warjacks doing headlocks and double armed throws in combat.

Warmachine also uses an abstract line of sight system that actually causes less arguments than true line of sight. 

Part Six - Gameplay/Tactics

Once you set your armies up and are ready to go for it is when the differences between 40k and Warmachine become blindingly obvious.

Carl von Clausewitz..... knows about war
40k is driven by a limited number of turns, you either have to hold a number of objectives by the end of the game or destroy more units than your opponent. This leads to a headlong game style where forces move rapidly to control objectives or exterminate each other. It's fast paced and many units can move large distances in one turn, attack and assault. In two turns most armies have units that can effectively move across the entire board and assault. Delicate maneuver gives way to crashing armies desperately trying to lay down a killing blow in a deadly assault.

Looking back to Carl von Clausewitz we see that the key strategic imperative in 40k is concentration of force. The idea that if I apply 100% of my forces against 50% of your I should wipe you out while taking 25% casualties so that 75% of my force can defeat your remaining 50% easier.

Warmachine will sometimes have objectives but the key to winning is destroying you opponents Warcaster. Units move slower than 40k and have shorter ranged weapons. Time is not normally a concern but the battles happen up close and personal, so the first few turns are usually maneuver with scattered shooting until you feel you can launch a decisive attack.

This is where the Warcaster feats are critical. Each caster has a once per game special ability that is quite devastating if used well. You try to maneuver to maximize the effectiveness of your own feat while limiting the damage from your opponents. This gives the game a nice maneuver feeling that builds to a critical point as the forces close and each side try to extract maximum value.

Here are more of Clausewitz's ideas in motion, that of maneuver and the decisive point. That combat continues until a decisive point is reached where the outcome is decided. Warmachine is all about getting that point to go in your favor.

Again, the Warmachine doctrine of building synergy's and complimenting powers into your army allows you to extract the best results while maneuvering and implementing your plan at the decisive point in the battle.

Part Seven -  Conclusions

In summary this is how I see things

Warhammer 40k Pros
  • Simple and elegant rules with a low learning curve
  • Wonderful models and a large range
  • Good support from Games Workshop stores
  • Faster gameplay
Warhammer 40k Cons
  • Limited support from GW outside their stores
  • Annoying release schedule that neglects armies for a long time
  • Too many marines, homogeneity in army selection
  • Simplicity makes small games limited fun
  • Games can be reduced to simple rushes of transports armed with close combat troops.
Warmachine Pros
  • Ongoing support for all armies with new models coming out all the time
  • Deeper ruleset allows for more variety in models
  • Great community resources and support
  • Intricate combination building between units leads to an endless series of armies
  • Small games are still fun.... and cheap
Warmachine Cons
  • Some ugly older models, limited plastics, and limited logical paint schemes
  • No local store support
  • Steep learning curve
  • Complexity makes very big games painful
  • My brain aches when making lists as there is so much to consider

Post updated and edited from original

Warhammer 40,000 vs Warmachine - Part one

I found this crazy conversion on a site called

It's not my work at all but it's a fantastic blending of a Warmachine model into an Ultramarines army. It's simply a breathtaking conversion and would look stunning on a table.

It got me thinking about the two games.

At the heart of it, both games are miniature based wargames with pretty cool background material and legions of die hard fans. Some people are solely in one camp, while others play both equally.

In some ways its like the epic debates that have no real definitive answers, you know the ones

There cannot be a definitive answer because, in the end its just a personal opinion.

So, I'm going to look at the games and offer my personal opinion. Why? Because I like both games, but they are very different beasts. Most of the comments i've seen online about the topic have been written by people firmly entrenched in one camp.

That being said, these days I am very much favoring Warmachine. So some bias will inevitably creep in.

Part One - The Models

Warhammer 40k is Games Workshops flagship and they have been improving their craft for decades. The models have been getting better over the years, and some of the later releases have been simply breath taking. Of note are the really good plastic kits with plenty of options and the new finecast models.

That being said warmachine has covered a lot of ground since it was released. Some of their designs have been too over the top and just looked a bit silly really..... Lich Lord terminus, im looking at you as a prime offender.... bad Lich Lord!

But they are getting better at privateer press. Plastic kits are starting to emerge and they are redoing some of the older sculpts to a higher standard. While I think GW has the lead here and finecast looks very good the gap is closing. This is especially true now that Warmachine has such amazing models as Constance Blaize and the awesome Colossals. The gap is very small now but it's still there.

Part Deux - Consistency of the game world.

Warhammer 40,000 has a long and storied history with decades of material to read about. An epic universe with many factions and plots it has great imagery with its grim future full of fanaticism and war. This long legacy is one of the problems with Warhammer 40k. While its detailed and vast, its also inconsistent and prone to being retconned.


But seriously, squats did suck and I would have gotten rid of them as well. But this isn't the only case where things have been retconned out of existence.

One of the fears I have with my Sons of Medusa army is that in the next edition I wont be able to field my Master of the Forge on a bike. Lots of characterful units and forces have disappeared over time and well, it kind of bugs me a little.

Warmachine might not have the epic scale of Warhammer 40k, but it is far more internally consistent. The characters have evolved over time with the story and they have even introduced experienced versions of key characters with updated abilities. They have never removed anything though, and this means whatever you have purchased is still playable.

The Warhammer codexes have gotten a lot better lately, with background and more detail. The 3rd edition codexes were a bit thin. Warmachine slays them with the Forces of Warmachine books. Full colour, with amazing artwork and they are completely optional. You get a character card with the models with their points and stats on them when you buy them. So you only need to book for the fluff or the handy thing of having all the army in one.

All in all, I like the 40k setting a bit more. It's dark, its epic, its Gothic and its cool. Warmachine is a little on the anime side for me. But the consistency of Warmachine and its supporting books makes up for it.I also like the character development, I'm a fan of Epic casters and their Epic storylines.

Part San - Supporting the game

This one is a double edged sword with both camps having some really good points and some negatives.

First of all, GW has the stores. This is a mixed blessing as they can be really good for some matters and worse than awful for others. Got a painting question, they will help you out. They will push their product but that's their job (Sometimes they oversell, which pains me a lot as I hate having product pushed on me). Just don't ask them a modelling question about something they don't carry in store (Airbrushes.... what are those, all you need is this Citadel paint gun...... THIS HAPPENED TO ME)

They do a very good job at promoting their games, supporting new gamers and helping people connect for games etc.On the downside they do stifle any other games in their area, its GWs way or the highway. Still, the stores are very handy for picking up supplies for any form of modelling.

PS. The paint ranges is very good.

Privateer press has it's press gangers, a group of people who help you get into the game. When I first wrote this I hadn't met a press ganger and had no idea what the experience would be like.

I'm sure this varies a lot depending on your community but our local press gangers are awesome guys. I've even met one of the gangers from another town and hes pretty damm cool also. So far they have helped me learn the game, introduced me to gaming groups, invited me to events, exchanged emails on tactics and ideas and even driven me to games and events. Our local community is awesome and really inviting. Your millage may vary but my experience has been awesome.

There's no store support, and most of the advice i've got has been in the gaming area not modelling. that being said I think i'm not too bad at the old painting lark these days :)

Privateer press allows a lot of freedom online with its materials. Games Workshop are quite frankly ********* when it comes to people trying to build communities away from the stores. received a cease and desist letter to remove all GW materials from their site, people had done the terrible thing of making play aids and writing guides had their materials taken down.

This comic, posted under the entry for Space Hulk summed up what was going on. For the rest of Alex, Seth and Grun comics on board games, go HERE NOW DO ITS!

There was a mighty backlash from fans of their games and a lot of ill will was generated by this. Games that had been out of print for 20 years had play aids removed, and it just seemed ham fisted and over the top. Compare that to battle college an approved warmachine fansite that probably contains too much information on it.

So in short, Games Workshop stores are pretty good if a little pushy at times, Game Workshop lawyers are ******** and privateer press is very laid back about the whole thing but supports the community to do its thing.

This post is getting very long, so in part two i'll look at the actual gameplay and how the games differ.

Part Four - The Armies
Part Five -  The Rules
Part Six - The Gameplay
Part Seven -  Conclusions

*Note* Post updated and edited from original version 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

There can be only one - Highlander Tournament

Here we are, born to be kings etc etc wank wank


The poster to the right makes no sense. I mean there are all these references online to a Highlander 2 and clearly, that film should never ever exist.... that would be like making a sequel to the Matrix.


Highlander is the thought for the day, and that's because I am preparing for a tournament in sunny Napier that uses this format (a very strict variant of the format as well). The aim is of course to do better than last time (3wins 4 losses) and hopefully do well enough to earn the prize.

So what's a Highlander army list?

One Warcaster/Warlock
One Solo
One Unit (with unit attachments)
One Vision!

Kurgen - Just a badass dude really
And any number of warjacks and beasts as long as there is only one of each type. This particular tournament is going an extra step and saying no characters of any kind. That is their call and im ok with it, even if it means i keep thinking "I can take this unit and then.... oh no.... character model dammit".

The tournament is also 25 points, and with only one unit and one solo I am expecting to see a few lists fielding 2 very big jacks/beasts. I am also expecting to see a few big solo's and some pretty chunky heavy infantry. I have been thinking about how to counter this and I have a few options.
  • pHaley - sit in the bubble and wear down the opponent, they cant really out maneuver me as they don't have enough forces to surround me 
  • Siege - Few models means people may take big chunky units. Siege loves big chunky units and heavy jacks/beasts
  • eCaine - This dude loves small games, running around with his magic death pistols shooting casters and locks to bits. 
I've tried the first 2 with mixed results. pHaley seems good against melee forces.... but a shooting army really doesn't care that much about her bubble, and Retribution actively enjoy her coming up to use the bubble.

Siege looks solid, has a lot going for him as a caster in this format. I JUST CANT HAVE 2 DEFENDERS AND THIS MAKES ME SAD! But still, nothing to lose your head over. His armour cracking feat is almost worth taking him for by itself.... and I do like Siege a lot.

Next week I will try out eCaine and then post the 3 lists up here for comment and feedback.

Just enough time one more cheesy reference about this tournament


Seriously, just hand it over, i'm not gonna win it if I actually have to compete out there!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Warmachine vs Hordes - A NOOBs guide to Warmachine..... and Hordes.

Warmachine vs Hordes ..... How epic.... This EPIC
I hear you ask "So why is it Warmachine and Hordes.... is it two separate games... how can they can be played together if they ain't they the same game.... and if they can play together how on earth is it balanced.... surely one side is better"

Well my slackjawed hayseed readers, I can safely say this....


There! I said it!

Well, asides from the glaringly obvious differences between Warmachine and Hordes (Being steam-powered Warjacks vs Massive Meaty Warbeasts) there is a fair bit different going on mechanically in the game.

All this advice is generic by the way, for every example their is a caster/lock/beast/jack that seems to break it.... I'm talking broad themes here.

So lets break it down


95% of the rules are the same. How the turn is structured, how units move, cover and LOS, dice rolls, unit stats, pretty much the entire core system is identical

Each force is structured around a hero character and their battlegroup, and battlegroups work much the same way. The differences, while important, are far smaller than the commonalities. If you only play Warmachine factions, you will need to learn a few new tricks and rules when playing hordes.... and the reverse is true.

So what defines each system?



First up, your hero characters are warcasters and they have a focus stat.

You get the same amount of focus each turn on your warcaster and can use this to power spells and warjacks. Most Casters have 6-7 Focus but it ranges from 5-10.

At the start of your turn you allocate focus to your warjacks. This can be from 0-3 in most cases. Any focus left over you keep for you caster so they can cast spells, boost rolls, buy additional attacks and overcharge their power field (more on that later).

This means you should plan at the start of your turn what warjacks need what focus and what spells you will cast.

This finite pool that replenishes every turn has given rise to a perception that Warcasters get better as their warjacks die. This is not entirely false as it means they are giving out less focus and using it on themselves. Many casters are wrecking machines in the own right and barely need warjack support, focus spent on a jack may be more useful in their hands. Epic Caine, the gunmage is a good example of this.

Also, in general Warcasters tend to be more individually powerful than warlocks, both in feats/spells and weapons. This seems to be balanced out by Fury vs Focus.... see next section.


Left over Focus points are used to increased your Warcasters armour. In some situations you may keep back some or all of your focus points to make your caster harder to kill. Even the least armoured warcasters can get the same level of armour as a Khador Heavy jack by fully overboosting their field. Combine this with other spells and effects and your caster can be one tough cookie.

So if you think your caster may get shot at a lot one turn, consider holding back some points. 


Warjacks are reliable, if a bit crap without focus. They need focus to run, charge, make additional attacks and boost rolls. Some also need focus for their own bonus special effects. In general Warjacks are better armoured, cheaper and have better guns than warbeasts, they also tend to carry higher strength melee weapons.

All these good toys are less useful without the focus to power them.

So what happens is people tend to have only a few jacks bound to their caster, 2-3 seems a popular amount. Any other jacks are farmed out to "jack marshals" who run the warjack themselves and give it some limited bonuses. This allows you to use the warjacks you have effectively without wasting focus points you may need for spells or survival.



Warbeasts are mostly armed with natural weapons and tend to have more base attacks than Warjacks. Warbeasts have a higher operating tempo than Warjacks and can reliable do more in a turn.

Each Warbeast has a fury stat, between 3-5.

Warbeasts generate Fury when they are forced to do something. While within their Warlocks control area they can charge, run, boost rolls, use their animus (see later) , heal, and make additional attacks. Also, a Warlock can just rile a Warbeast to put Fury on it, even if the beast isn't doing anything but picking tis nose... it can pick that nose REALLY ANGRILY.

Where Warjacks spend the focus allocated to them, Warbeasts build up Fury that must be transferred off them at the start of the next turn. 

If managed well the beast can use all its Fury each turn, if not their is a chance the beast will frenzy at the start of your turn and attack the nearest enemy (or failing that, your own people). Their are units that can manage Fury for you as well, like the Legion Forsaken and the Skorne Beast handlers.

Each Warbeast also has an animus, which is a spell it can cast. This spell is also added to it's warlocks spell list as long as the Warbeast is in it's battlegroup.


Warlocks have a fury stat, and this amount is the maximum Fury points the can hold.  A warlock gets fury each turn by pulling it off their Warbeasts. During their turn the warlock can spend these fury points to cast spells, make additional attacks, boost rolls and transfer damage (see later). The average warlock has 6-7 Fury.

So, here's where Fury has an edge over Focus. Your Warbeasts generate Fury from their actions and you spend it on spells, this essentially gives you double the amount of spell casting and actions than the equivalent Focus Warcaster.

This is counter balanced by three factors

1.) Warlocks have in general weaker spells and effects
2.) Warbeasts cannot be forced outside your control area (a Warjack can be allocated focus and then move out of your control area to use it)
3.) You cannot generate Fury from a beast after it has died.(although you can at the moment of death)

Focus never drops off and a lone Warcaster is still a threat. A warlock with no Warbeasts to generate fury is not long for this world (They can "cut themselves" for Fury, but that's not going to last them for too long)


Instead of overboosting their power fields, Warlocks can spend one fury to transfer a wound to one of their Warbeasts. This Warbeast must be in control range, not be on full fury, and have enough health boxes to take the wound.

It's very difficult to assassinate a Warlock with healthy Warbeasts and a lot of Fury.


Well, if the ascetic differences between Warmachine and Hordes don't decide for you, then the mechanical differences should.

Focus is reliable, requires planning and Warcasters can be one man armies of havok and doom.

Warlocks are more about synergy and being one with their Warbeasts. 

Make the choice that's right for you.

PS. I also think the Warmachine infantry is a little better than the hordes equivalent.... but cannot really back that statement up much.

All this art stolen from this thread on the Privateer Press forums.  Full credit to all the original artists

See also

Part One -  An Introduction to Warmachine and Hordes

Read this to see if the game is for you

Warmachine and Hordes has a lot of options, figure out what one works for you

Some helpful advice on what things to pay attention to during your first few games. Or.... how I learned not to suck so hard. 

A quick guide with some advice on how to put together an army list, and some of the common pitfalls new players fall into. 

Considering going to your first tournament? Don't be too scared, read the helpful guide!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Painting War of the Ring - Part 2

Well, I started off showing you the bad guys armies, so it makes logical sense for me to show you the good guys next..... well duh?

Anyway, 5 factions, and the fellowship make up the free peoples faction for War of the Ring. A curious thing about the game is how you don't have to play "by the book"

What I mean by this is that you don't have to start in Rohan by attacking with Isengard and then follow up with Mordor attacking Gondor. The key battles in War of the Ring can happen all over the board, and whil it is logical to go for Gondor with all of Saurons might. Sometimes its better to head north to smash the dwarfs, or sack Rivendell.

The different strategies that can work are what makes this game a great one for me. My fondest victory ever came when I by passed Gondor and Marched an Easterling army through Rohan and into the Shire.

So armies!

Lets start with the biggest and baddest faction of good guys, Gondor. The models are mediocre sculpts again and the spears suffer from being low quality soft plastic.... so they get a bit of the droopskis. I used the movies colour scheme as a base for these guys and really like the simple black/white/steel look.

Rohan was also based on the movies look and feel. I think these guys turned out alright. The infantry sculpts have better detail than Gondor and the colour palette was nice and simple. The blond beards help these guys stand out nicely on the table, as do the white horses on the shields.

Tra-la-la its the Elves.I tried making these guys stand out from the Rohan units despite both having a predominately green and white palette. The elven infantry sculpts are pretty awful and suffer from "the leans" as you can see from the soldier on the left. Still, I thought the white charger look for the commanders was a nice touch, makes them look all regal and stuff.

THE NORTH! You remember these guys from the films right? right? Well, you do see some of them in a pub in Bree getting murdered by nazgul.... and Strider is technically a ranger from the north. The North represents the other human nations asides from Gondor and Rohan. So that's the Beorlings, men of Arnor, Carrock, the Dale etc.

More droopskis here but I do like the infantry sculpts. Beardy men with bows does capture the essence of the north, as does rangers on horseback.

I do lament that the Dwarves are a comparatively minor race in the game. It's their location one half of the Dwarven forces are in the far left of the map where they can't really get stuck in very easily. They also have less troops and fewer recruiting cards. That being said the Dwarves near the lonely mountain in the east have saved the day for the free peoples numerous times when I have played.

As far as the models go, I love these guys. Very stocky and I really like the leaders and Elites.

Sorry, not the best photo. On to the fellowship! Legolas - Painted elven styles! Aragorn.... well the model is kinda meh, so I painted him up like a ranger. Boromir is a far nicer figure and I used the red palette inspired by the films.

Gandlaf however is great. A nice cloak with some good detail, I actually bothered to highlight this guy and it shows!

 I think Gimli is pretty cool, but would liked to have seen him standing on a  rock like the Dwarf leadership. Merry and Pippin I painted using the Gondor and Rohan schemes.... they look quite good considering how tiny they are. Sam and Frodo look very cool and the gold trim helps you locate the fellowship easily on the table.

And for bonus points I got a limited edition Gollum figure thanks to a friend of mine. Doctor Doctorman, you know who you are.

Well that's almost it.... for now. I have battles of the third ages (even though its a terrible cost seeing I dont like the minigames). At some point I will finish off the bonus materials (Balrog! etc) from that box and post them up here.

Until then.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Descent - Road to Legend (Half way report)

Road to Legend is going well and we have just completed the Bronze campaign level and are half way through silver. 

First up, bronze treasures aren't that good. The heroes struggled mightily in the early stages of the campaign. And only once we hit silver did they start feeling like they could go toe to toe with the overlords minions.

Upgrading a unit of monsters to silver while the party is still starting gives the overlord a huge edge. The heroes got totally sick of  my sniping silver skeletons and silver sorcerers/dark priests. With only a few hero upgrades and bronze treasures these guys were really really tough for the party to deal with.

The overlord clearly has the edge at the start and some dungeons have been horribly one sided. The LT's have been daunting for the heroes, and I have used them well. Trashing 4 cities by the mid part of silver difficulty.

The first dungeon on silver difficulty, where they still had bronze treasures and I had upgraded one group of monsters to gold was a bloodbath. With the overlord scoring 3 to 1 in conquest. After this the players took multiple turns to upgrade dice and skills and get silver treasures and the pendulum seems to have swung. I'm holding even with them on the most recent dungeon but I don't think its long until the heroes have the upper hand.

That being said the score is still very much in the overlords favour at this time.

Still, we have been playing since the start of the year and having a pretty good time of it. The natural conflict of the game hasn't been an issue. The party taking their licks whens I smash their heroes to death, and I feel I have been gracious the times when they have stomped my face into the ground. I would not suggest this game to people who need to "WIN ALL THE TIME". As the heroes, you will die a lot, get used to it. As the overlord you can't ever stop the heroes, you can just make them pay for every inch they gain.

Here are the guys hamming it up for the camera. (The direction was to look like an old "White Dwarf kids playing 40k in the store" action shot)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Death of a gamestore

Well, I found out some kinda shite news recently.

Wargames supply, our local friendly gaming store is shutting its doors. I spent many an hour in there over the years and many a dollar.... but I do feel partially responsible for it failing.

Why? Because I stopped shopping there and encouraged others to do the same. Well, I still purchased some small items... paints and modelling gear.... but I stopped buying games and models a while back.

It had nothing to do with the staff or the products. In fact I would like to put out a commendation to the various staff members who have been through that place over the years. The laconic former manager, The young guy who didn't turn up on time but was interesting to talk to, She who hugs (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) , the long haired chap who occasionally wore chain mail and skirts and finally a special mention for the current store "manager" who is best gamestore staff member i've dealt with over the years.

It was all about price, and this particular brick and mortar store couldn't compete with online resellers. A store these days needs to be very agile and very savvy with its purchasing to stay alive. And, after spending hundreds of hours in the store I never once saw the owner (who did the purchasing).

So what does this mean for gaming in Wellington? Well if you are a GW fan we still have the local store for that (and only that). The other 99% of games will no longer have local store support. This means clubs will have to do more, especially about getting in new players. It also means that players will have to look online for their community as well as their products.

Is a store essential for a hobby to grow? I don't know, especially these days with the internet. Communities are more flexible, more fluid than they once were. Small pockets of gamers will continue to pop up and intersect, but I don't know. I met our local press ganger in the store one lunch time... without that chance meeting I may not have got into Warmachine.

Perhaps the game store business model is unsustainable in the face of the range of products available online from reliable distributors. Online shopping is no longer the wild west and there are many reputable sites to purchase stuff from.

I also read that GW stores lose money constantly, but they keep them open to promote the brand and the hobby and make up the difference in licensing games and mail order. As an organization they turn a profit and view the store loses as a necessary expense to promote the brand and create new customers. This is a tactic that obviously cannot work for a sole operator single store.

I don't know what the future holds for games store, but I do want them to stay around. I don't mind paying a little more for local service, but when it costs double.... well.... that's  when stores fail. 

If you are in Wellington and do want to buy games stuff from an NZ company, there is still Mark One  in Hamilton. Some of us don't have credit cards and can't order online. Chris at Mark One does free delivery nationwide, i've never had any problems and always get good service.

Also, shopping at Mark One doesn't cost double the price of online resellers.

I also hear good things about Jambo in Napier from some gamers I met from that neck of the woods.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Cygnar vs Wild

Rangers and Professor Pendrake

 So, the latest guys to go through the VomKrieg Painting factory are my rough and ready outdoors adventure types. That's right a unit of rangers (As seen in Previous adventures in underpainting) and Professor Viktor Pendrake.

Well, the underpainting experiment worked rather well on the rangers cloaks. What you see hear is two watered down dark green coats of paint, a little black ink, and some dirt texture. (I even dirtied up some of the rangers faces for that added GRRR MAN factor)

I had some issues with these guys as the models came with broken and bent rifles, which was pretty crappy. I had to do some work with greenstuff to make the suns look passable, and its not the best. Ah well, there is a downside to ordering from overseas (The upside is its half cost, so yeah, not a big complaint)

Pendrake I wanted to look a little different while still keeping the paint job simple. I tried making his armour quite dirty, but i've only just noticed I didn't use weathering powders on him..... I must do that later. 

What I did do is use some colours from WAY outside my normal Cygnar colour palette. That teal and red on the bow and sword is minor, but will help him stand out a little on the table.

So what do these guys do for me in game?

I've been thinking about also mentioning the units in game abilities a little more once im done painting, so here goes.

Rangers are a novel unit, they don't really do a lot by themselves but they are fast, can move through cover and are very hard to shoot at in cover. What they do is add a to hit bonus to any ranged attack within 5" of them. The plan is to have these guys hang out in sieges foxhole and run one guy up at a time to mark an enemy unit I want to blow away, should work great with Sieges ground pounder cannon.

Pendrake is totally and utterly Anti War-beast, I wouldn't field him against a Warmachine faction. All his powers make it easier for you to take down warbeasts, and he can make one unit a turn very good at hitting warbeasts in melee. he also has a chain bolo he can knockdown beasts with from range, and once something is knocked down its easy prey in this game.

Hopefully soon I can show you Gallant, Arlan, A Gun Mage and Blaise (Even if she is giving me nightmares to paint)

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