Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dachshunds, redux

Hi,

Perhaps predictably, the planned test game of HoW isn't going to happen this weekend (the slow crucifixion that is grading having intervened), but I did finish up a unit of Hanoverian line, the regiment Dachenhausen.

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For some reason, every time I look at them, I think of toothpaste.


These are actually the second Dachenhausen horse I've done up, the first unit being their dragoon complements (seen here).  Unlike the other, these guys are done is a fairly distinctive minty / apple green. Nifty, though it blends in a bit with my basing.

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I am still chuffed by the oversized flags.  Accuracy be damned ;)


The completion of this unit also tapped out the flags I'd prepped, so I spent a little bit of time this morning putting together another sheet of flags.  Kronoskaf has been invaluable for this - if you're into the 7YW, and have yet to come across this gem, I'd highly recommend it.

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I might need to drybrush the base a bit more - I find it blends out, at least in photos.


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Somewhat counter-intuitively, they are mintiest from behind.  


I also made a small buy at Baccus to flesh out a few missing bits from the lead pile (I know, I know).  Along with limbers and such, I picked up a bag of highlanders, because apparently the idea of going blind painting tartan in 6mm is appealing.  I did this once before, about 12-13 years ago, and am vaguely curious if I can do it again.  Time will tell.

In the meantime, I have some guns and officers on painting sticks, to keep me occupied through the week.  While I'm still hoping to get in a test game, time will likely be short in the next several weeks.  End of term + Christmas prep = busy monkey.  Worst case, I'll keep painting, and maybe get some time for a game over the holidays - I might even be able to talk the sprogs into helping out.

FMB

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Plans within plans. Also some British lads.

Hi,

As I'm riding the 6mm bug, one of the things I've been thinking about is how to make use of my figs.  In the absence of a club like I had in Toronto, and the relative disinterest of the Cub, one option is to take the trail bravely blazed by others, and play a solo game.  While the social aspect of the hobby has always been a key attraction, beggars can't be choosers.  With this in mind I dug about my rule sets to think through what might be an option.


There's a long, and storied, tradition.

My go-to rules for the 18th c., for several years now, have been Sam Mustafa's Maurice.  This is, if you've not read it, a fantastic game, and one that has given me many pleasurable evenings, even when playing against my nemesis, Nicholas von Lemmingsdorf (some of his dastardly deeds are chronicled in the Sausage War posts).  Maurice is, however, ill suited to solo play.  Much of the charm of playing the game comes from the cards, and interaction with the opposing player - there's much scope for shenanigans and mischief, and the give-and-take of the game is key.

As such, I've been considering which of the other rules I have available for the period (such as Black Powder, and Sam's other SYW game Might and Reason), and ended up digging out the relatively recent Osprey offering of Honors of War).  I picked this up soon after it's release, but other than a cursory inspection, hadn't really spent much time looking at it.


The game is, I think,  a little out of my comfort zone.  I've always been a little skeptical of games with rigid time / distance / figure ratios.  The notion that historical units were standardized enough, moved consistently enough, that such ratios make sense always seemed a little suspect to me.  I tend to favour games where such issues are abstracted; one of the reasons I like Sam Mustafa's games so much, and games with similar mechanics (like Impetus for ancients), is that rather than work on fixed scales, they deal with relationships (distances and moves in base width units, etc.).  While the accuracy of such games may be hard to establish, they feel right to me, which at least for me, matters.

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British 11th (L) and 25th (R) foot.


HoW, however, on closer examination seems to fall somewhere between fixed ratio rules and the completely abstract.  They also lack a built-in "gotcha" dynamic, and, unlike M&R or Black Powder, are explicitly functional for small games (one of 4 scenarios in the book, clearly intended as a learning exercise, sports 4 units a side), which means I can use them with even the limited number of Brits and Hanoverians I've painted up.

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Again, with the turnbacks.


The game is designed with 28mm figures in mind, and the various distances involved are scaled to units of a particular size using such figs.  They are, however, workable for other scales of figure.  You can see what I mean here in terms of how the rules fit in between purely abstract rules like Maurice, and "old school" fixed scale rules, in that the various ranges and move distances in the game are actually predicated off the footprint of the suggested 28mm unit.  The rules handle shifts in scale by reducing firing ranges and moves based on the shrinking footprint of the "standard" unit.

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Baccus 6mm 


This actually ends up giving me a couple of different options.  My 6mm 7YW stuff is based on 60x30mm bases, two bases to a unit (a standard I adopted back in Toronto to allow for use in both M&R and Maurice).  I can either use the bases independently as units for the suggested 6mm distances, or use the "double base" units and the distances suggested for 15mm figures.  I'm leaning, at least for now, to the latter, although really big games might warrant the former.

I'm hoping to get in at least a small practice game this weekend, assuming I can find time after making a dent in the rather large pile of work I need to do.  Even with having to look up rules on a first run through, the small intro scenario shouldn't take too long.  Assuming all goes well, I'll have some sort of battle report available by early next week - the first such for historicals in some time.

FMB

Friday, November 10, 2017

Strange Days

Hi all,

It has been a growing realization that I've not made a post to the blog in months - since June, in fact.  There's a number of reasons for this - the summer was particularly busy and stressful, work has been fairly intense, etc., but I'm not sure that's why.  I've been able to get a fair bit of painting done, and while I don't game with anything like the same regularity as I did a few years back, I have managed to get in a few games.

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Two new Hanoverian battalions join the fray.



Part of it, I think, is the irregularity of my gaming.  Back in Toronto, I used to play every Wednesday, like clockwork.  Here, it's maybe once or twice a month, and even when I join a campaign or some kind of organized play, the interrupted nature of the gaming means I often lose the thread.  This has happened twice now with campaigns I joined at the local G-Dub, and despite my best efforts, seems to be the new normal.  My best blogging used to feed off of a paint-game-blog-want to paint more rhythm, and for the last couple of years, that's not been as rhythmic as I might like.

I also have found of late I really miss historical painting and gaming.  With the exception of some occasional Bolt Action, the Cub's not been terribly interested (his main preoccupation being GW stuff, especially 40k), and the historical scene here in Halifax is spotty.  While there's a few people, everyone seems to do their own thing, and the last couple of times a meet has been organised, it's been out of town, or at a time I couldn't make it.  As much as I like, and am fond of GW (I've become a great fan of Age of Sigmar), there's an itch historicals scratch that fantasy  / SF gaming doesn't.

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Only about a dozen more elements, and I'll have something to put up against the French.


It's perhaps not surprising then that I found myself picking away at some 6mm Hanoverians.  There seems to be something of a tradition that when I pick up the blog again, it's with 6mm stuff.  I've had these fellows sitting on their priming sticks, staring at me accusingly for months and months, so it's good to get them finished.  Needless to say, this got me reminiscing over old blog posts from the Sausage War, and rooting through the box of goodies sent me by my old friend Stewart, and before I knew it, I had another unit on the sticks and primed ;)

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Turnbacks are a pain, but worth it.


I have enough of a backlog of stuff I've done over the last while that I should be able to keep up a semi-regular posting schedule.  I seem to be in that stage of life where I have money and energy, but little time, but I'm learning to make some time to paint on a regular basis - it's good for the soul, and my blood pressure.  I'm also going to have to learn to make some time to paint historicals, even if I can't use them right now.  There's a satisfaction to them I don't get with the fantasy stuff, and I need to learn to indulge that.

FMB


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Time flies. Has flown. Flew.

Hi all,

Long time no speech, due more to apathy than anything else.  I've actually been getting a fair bit of hobby done, at least compared to the snail's pace of winter, but haven't made time to grab pics or draft much in the way of posts.  Mostly been working on some stuff for Age of Sigmar and 40k.
The release of both the Khorne book and the Skirmish rules for the former seemed to get my juices going, and the imminent release of 8th edition for the latter has me rather excited.  While the Cub and I have been playing some games of 40k, I've enjoyed them more for the time spent with him than the game - but the new rules look great, and I'm looking forward to spending quality time with him on a game I enjoy.

The new edition has also got my eye wandering at some non-orky options for the game (not that I've not been pumping out stuff for da boyz), and I dug out some models I've had kicking around for the last few years.

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The new edition has adopted the keyword mechanic from Age of Sigmar.  Armies are legal as long as all models share at least one keyword - which can include such broad ranging ones as "Imperium".

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At the same time, the backstory of the game has moved forward to an extent not seen in many years.  One bit of this is that a good chunk of the human imperium has been cut off, including several key Space Marine worlds.  Among these is Baal, home planet of the Blood Angels - who were already on the back foot, barely staving off an invasion by a Tyranid Hive fleet.

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The prospect of doing a combined imperial army - some Blood Angels, imperial guard (Baal Planetary Defense Force), a little inquisitorial presence, etc., seems fun, gives me an excuse to paint minis I  like when I want a break from orks, and will get me to paint up some of the stuff stashed away in the drawers of shame.  I'm looking forward to it.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . .

Hi all,

Actually got out to GDub yesterday for real live games of Age of Sigmar yesterday.  The shop ran a 1000 point tournament, and I took my "Free Bretonnians", along with my newly (almost) completed Freeguild General on a Griffon.  The TO rules that the "Free People" and "Free Peoples" keywords were distinct by the rules, but it prompted me to bring a list that was probably better for the scenarios we were playing anyways.

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The pride of Bretonnia-that-was


I took two units of Freeguild archers as battleline, a unit of Grail knights, a Lord, a Damsel, a Standard bearer, and the aforementioned FG general on griffon.  Game one was 2 Places of Power (heros claim objectives, you get more points the longer you hold them) against a solid, but not oppressive Stormcast list, with a mix of Liberators, Prosecutors, Drake riders, a Celestant on Dracoth, one of the lantern guys, and the standard bearer from the starter set, the name of which I don't recall.  He'd built for resilience, which I discovered when my Griffon charged into a prosecutor unit that, thanks to stacked buffs, had 2-up saves, re-rolling ones.  Not the smartest move I could have made ;)

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Grail knights vs. Dracoth riders.  Not going to win this one.


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Griffin vs. Prosecutors.  This one I'll win, but it took much longer than expected.


First couple of turns went okay, I used my mobility advantage to get the alpha strike, sending my Grail knights against his General and my Griffon against the Prosecutors on my left.  The plan was to take and hold two of the objectives.  As it turned out, however, I didn't do much more than scratch the Stormcasts' armour.  Grail knights, while solid, are not as super killy as I recall, and the Griffon struggled to punch through the buff-stacked armour saves of his opponents.  This set up my opponent (a fun player I've run up against before) up to counter charge with his own heavy hitters.  As my units are generally most damaging on the charge, having fired mine to little effect, things weren't looking great.

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The Horned Duke charges in.  Still not winning this one.


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Standard bearer, in splendid isolation.


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Damsel vs. Celestant on Dracoth.  Really not winning this one.


An early lead in objective points was lost as the game turned into an attrition fight.  While the stormcast lack my mobility, they make up for it in equal or greater killing power, and better overall durability.  I tried to cycle a bit, pulling my standard bearer out, and sending in the lord, but even he couldn't do enough damage on his charge to counter the pressure I was facing in the center - and my big hitter, the Griffon, was bogged down, and eventually surrounded.

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It wasn't long after this I remembered that the Griffon could fly.  Away.


In retrospect, I should have redeployed the griffon sooner, rather than trying to grind.  I also needed to concentrate my forces a little more.  I forget that my Brets aren't as hard hitting as they used to be, except in large numbers, and I need to use my mobility to concentrate attacks on single targets as much as I can.

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Turn four, and a distressing lack of Brets on the table.


Forgetting this led to me being ground down and tabled by turn 4.  Solid learning game, against an enjoyable opponent.

Game two was Border War (objectives scored by number of models, the further into opposing territory, the more valuable) against a Nurgle Demon army led by a fantastic looking Forgeworld Great Unclean One.

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Papa Nurgle's Tallyband.


I've played this scenario before, and the key seems to be taking the objective in one's opponent's deployment zone - it's worth as much or more than any other two put together.  In my experience, this usually involved some combination of force concentration (to break through an opponent's line) and sacrifice play (you don't have to stop your opponent, just delay them).  With that in mind, I deployed so as to refuse a flank.  The plan was to concentrate the killy parts of my army in a way that would let me turn one of his flanks, and hold off his advancing units by feeding them peasants.

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Massed Bretonnian chivalry cares not for toxic slime.


I had some early success in this game, managing to rapidly clear out his speedbump units (including a FW plague toad he ran as a beast of nurgle, and some Nurgling swarms), which put pressure on him to defend the high-value objective in his zone.

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There used to be nurglings in front of those knights.  A good charge, and I think an Arcane Bolt from the Damsel took care of them.


While this left my grail knights exposed in the centre (they'd eventually go down under the combined weight of a unit of plaguebearers and plague drones), it left my Griffon free to sweep around to attack his backfield, and my heroes free to charge targets of their choosing.  Net effect was I ended up holding a central position, with my griffon on the high-value objective in his zone.

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Plague bearers dealt with, Plague Drones dealt with (mostly), Herald dealt with, and my Griffin on the sweet spot.

It also meant I was free to hold the objectives behind the lines with scruffy peasants, which added to my points, and put further pressure on him to attack.

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Don't discount scruffy peasants.  What they lack in fighting ability, they make up for in stench and numbers.



A critical moment came when he committed the Great Unclean one against my Griffon.  While he was able to do some damage, it didn't take me out, and I had good counter attacks.  A couple turns fighting saw my griffon rider emerge battered, but triumphant.

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Post-battle action.  Nothing left of Papa Nurgle but some stains, and I suspect a raging staph infection


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Plaguebearers kill peasants, but not quickly enough to drive through to the objective.


He committed his remaining unit of plaguebearers to the fight, but wasn't going to grind through to the objective in time, leaving me with clear control of all four for the two remaining turns.  Big win to me.

This was a game where I think I generally played it right, and a few things went my way when they needed to.  In this list, the Bret Lord and the Griffon rider are the things that actually kill stuff, but I also used my units together well, concentrated attacks, and made sure to eliminate threats before moving on.  I played to the scenario, and it worked.

Third game was Escalation (army comes on in three waves, over three turns, fighting over three objectives), against an army that really showcases what you can do with the new version of the game - a combined force of elves and dwarfs.

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Dwarfs, led by an elf.  It's a brave new world.


This was a tight game, and a fun one.  I packed most of my effective force into my initial deployment wave, which consistent of the Griffon, the Lord, and my Grail knights.  These ended up looking across the table at a Dwarf cannon, a unit of ironbreakers (which ignore anything under Rend -1 - and only the Bret Lord and Griffon have Rend -2), and his general, some kind of elven sniper guy).

The cannon is a bit of an issue.  While it's not super accurate, it has (perhaps unsurprisingly) the potential to blow large holes in things, and can, for example, easily one-shot my Lord.  Getting to it is a priority, but it meant exposing my guys to at least a couple turns of shooting - and he could easily hide it behind the line of iron breakers, which meant probably another turn of exposure before I could work my way around.

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Knights, about to grin and bear it.


The plan was to try and score some early points, and then put enough pressure on that something could get through to the cannon and shut it down before it could do too much damage.  It mostly worked; I got my first wave stuck in quickly, and chewed my way through to the cannon before it could get more than one effective hit in (I caught a break in that his dice were a little cold shooting), and my second wave brought in my peasants in the backfield to hold an objective.  By turn three, with all forces on the table, I had a decent edge in points, and while he was in a strong position to counter-attack in the centre, I had a good shot at winning.

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Love this shot - The Blue Laird under a pile of choppy elves.


He had a unit of elves with these giant falchion things - not sure what they were called, but they got bonuses against monsters, and put the hurt on just about anything they came in contact with.  They chewed through my griffon efficiently (with the help of some concentrated shooting), as well as most of my heroes.  One of my favourit pictures from the day was them swarming my battle-standard bearer, who went down swinging.

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Peasants sensibly far from the action.


At this point, the game more or less came down to dueling mistakes.  The aforementioned standard bearer should have gone in the other direction, to intercept a unit of sword masters marching in to take the centre objective.  At this point, we each had uncontested control over one objective, and were fighting in the middle.  If he could take it turn five, he'd catch up and win; if I held it to turn 5, I'd win.  By sending my standard bearer to fight in his backfield, I'd given him a change to reach the centre - and even if he didn't get stuck in, he'd take it by virtue of numbers.  Instead, he decided to shoot the damsel holding the objective off the table (he had a number of small, but really effective "sniper" units), rather than moving up to directly challenge for control.  His mistake cancelled out mine, and I won the game by a single point.

The whole day was a blast.  I had three good games, three good opponents, (big thanks to all three) got to try out a new toy (even without access to the synergistic buff, the Griffon is a big gribbly monster), and learned a bit more about how Brets  / Free People(s) are likely to work in AoS.  I won two games, lost one, and walked away with best appearance, which felt good.  Brets still need the charge, but they aren't an all-or-nothing charge army.  What they bring to the table now are mobility and versatility.  Concentration of force is key, and knowing where to put what resource.  Getting bogged down in an attrition battle is death.  I'm starting to really enjoy playing with them, and will keep picking away at the painting queue, along with my Khorne (which I've been working on as well).

FMB


Friday, April 7, 2017

Puttering and Progress

Hi,

Been a busy week, but managed a couple evenings of picking away at stuff.  For starters, a couple more Bloodbound finished up, one warrior and one bloodreaver.

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Nothing too fancy on these guys, just aiming for solid table top.  I'm actually pretty stoked for my Khorne stuff right now, as a new book has just dropped (mine is waiting for me at the store).  Among other things, it makes it much easier to run a combined mortal / demon Khorne list, adds some new toys (eg, new prayers for Slaughterpriests, of which I already run 2), and offers new formations.  I might have to break down and pick up some Bloodletters to go with my Bloodcrushers, and even a herald or two.

I've also been working on the "Bretonnian" Freeguild general.

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Still work to do on him - more highlights in several places, more work on the details, and I need to assemble the back banner, but he's far enough along that you get a clear sense of how it'll work when finished.  I don't know if he'll be completely ready by next weekend (when I'm hoping to try him out), but he'll be good enough for gameplay anyways.

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The list I'll be running is build around him, a big block of knights, a damsel on peg, and a min unit of archers to fill out the battleline requirements.  That's it ;)  I'm hoping to use my mobility and stacked buffs to be able to focus 900 points on small sections of my opponents' armies.  We'll see if it works.

FMB

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bits and pieces

Hi all,

Didn't get much time for puttering this weekend, but did get an hour or two with the Cub down at the G-Dub, and we brought our brushes.  Managed to pick at a couple more of the Khorne chaos warriors.

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Don't know as they'll be winning any awards, but they'll do just fine for gaming purposes, which is where they'll see the most use.

Speaking of gaming, I'm planning to attend a 1000k Age of Sigmar tournament in a couple of weeks.  The plan is to bring my Bretonnians, and I've got a secret weapon in progress.

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Although the Brets are legal, they won't be getting any love from GW in the foreseeable future.  That said, there are opportunities in the new game not to be overlooked.  One is that Brets now share a key word, "Free Peoples" (i.e., a thing that fosters synergy) with much of what used to belong to the Empire army - including their heroes.  One of these "Free People" heroes is a general on a griffon, and he comes with a fairly useful command ability (buff a unit for morale, charge, and to hit purposes).  Also, as he's riding a Griffon, he's a bit of a beatstick.

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The problem, of course, is that Brets themselves don't have a griffon rider, and the old Empire model doesn't look at all appropriate for a Bretonnian army.  Hence this fella.  It's the griffon from the Isle of Blood set, cut down, and with some Bret pieces and green stuff, (notably bits from the Green knight) added in.  There's a back banner I'll add once painting is done (glueing it now will make it hard to paint).  It'll serve nicely.  Hopefully I can get it painted up in time for the tournament.

FMB