Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Mordheim Season 3 - The Catacombs

Once again the antagonists gather to have battle in this the eighth outing in the current Mordheim campaign.

The warbands this time delve beneath the earth and venture into the mouldering catacombs lying beneath the now ruined town of Jurgenard where the bands had tracked one of the Necromancers Captains, Rufus the Beast of Dalberz who had been searching the town for an artifact.

Having dispatched the Beast and picked his bones for Intel, the bands had discovered the entrances to the Catacombs lying below the ruined town where the artifact was said to be hid.


Without much ado, the bands delved into the labyrinth in search of the artifact of unknown power to find out why the Necromancers minion had been sent in search of it.

Once again, all the Usual Suspects had gathered; Andy L and his Witch Hunters, Dave and the now much depleted Marienburger Merc's, Andy W's Skaven, Kevs Vampire led Undead crew, Ian's doughty, but very slow, Dwarves and my improving Protectorate of Sigmar.

Initial moves and the Giant Slater's (Woodlice)
 start to cause traffic jams already
The Undead having won the Lair of the Beast round got a free move to kick things off and then the Dwarves led off with all the bands moving towards their initial targets. Trying to avoid another WH vs Marienburger-fest the Witch Hunter's tried (as it turned out to be, in vain) to move to attack the Undead, while the Undead moved towards the Protectorate (for extra XP's) while to still tender Protectorate moved tentatively towards the Skaven, who in turn made a fast bee-line for the centre of the catacombs and the likely resting place of the artifact. The Dwarves moved as fast as they could go and headed for the Skaven in turn and the Marieburger's, just for a laugh headed straight down the corridors towards the Witch Hunters (probably really just avoiding the tough Dwarves, but that's a less funny reason).

WHs vs Mercs fight continues while everyone else
 closes around the strung out Skaven blockers
The WH and Mercs clash in the distance while Skaven outrunners
move to capture loot in the central crypt
The Witch Hunter's plan to avoid the Marienburger's immediately fell down when there move was quickly brought to a halt by one of the Giant Armoured Slater's (Woodlouse) which were lurking through out the Catacombs, and despite their best efforts could not dislodge the beastie. This forced them into the inevitable clash which the Merc's who un-characteristically stormed straight into the fray.

This fight however didn't last long, unlike previous encounters, with the Merc's getting much the worse of things and after a brief round or two's tussle the Marienburger's broke and left the procedings.


The Skaven continued their rush for the loot and quickly encountered two more of the Slater's but with room to spare left the combats ongoing and continued their rush towards the gaol and the central crypt where it was likely the artifact was lying.

Likewise, the Undead encountered one of the Slater's in their careful advance in pursuit of the Protectorate. They however quickly dispatched this obstacle and continued their advance.

The WHs consolidate and move towards the centre
 while the Undead close on the Protectorate
The Protectorate encountered two of the Skaven who had been left as blockers at the rear of the band and with much joy the PoS managed to quickly drop one of their number but the second proved a bit more stubborn thus slowing the Protectorate enough for the Undead to close the gap behind them.

The Dwarves continued their own advance and also encountered a lurking Slater on their way and this proved to be of sterner stuff and took a good half the band of hammers to beat the nasty beast into submission, further slowing their movement towards the Skaven. They continued their stolid clomping into contact with a couple of Rat blockers on the Skaven flank and though these were dispatched , this allowed the majority of the Rattie Ones to pass the Dwarves and into the central chamber.

The Skaven get cornered between the WHs and the Dwarves
 but break before the hammer falls
The Witch Hunter's having cleared the Merc's now advanced towards the goal but delayed their attack by detouring to dispatch a lone and defenseless Slater who was not hurting anyone. The delays from the Dwarves and WH's gave the Skaven enough time to dispatch one of the Slaters in the central chamber and get the rest of his band into the chamber and search for all the loot there. 

Now the WH's and Dwarves began to tighten the noose and with the escalating numbers of blockers down telling along with a couple of Gutter runners Andy had to check for Break Test and promptly failed. Meaning he high-tailed into the gathering gloom, but with his loot (and as it turned out the artifact) in his grasping claws. Curses, foiled again.



With the Skaven gone and the remaining blocker vapourising before their eyes, the Protectorate were left with little to do. Either an attemp to fight the slighlty dispersed Dwarves who were still some distance away and likely to be able to consolidate before we got there, or alternatively turn and face the fairly equal in number Undead who were their arch enemies anyway and already closing on the rear and had already traded distance shots in the gloom. No contest.

An about face was performed and the Protectorate advanced towards their bitter foes with the Warrior Priest leading the charge.

The Protectorate charge into contact with the Vampire Crew

...and vicious melee ensues
Unlike previous encounters where the Protectorate had got drubbed with barely being able to raise a blade before getting pummeled, this encounter proved less one sided and though the Undead did have the edge the Protectorate were able to put up a bit of a fight for once.

Both sides stuggled to put each others fighters out of the fight with several (mainly Protectorate) being Knocked out or Stunned but for once they dished out nearly as much in return.


The joyous barney went on for a couple of rounds and in the end the honour's were even with both sides getting four of their number taken Out of Action including the Warrior Priest and (with much jubilation) the Vampire.

With both our bands looking a bit sad we both decided to call it quits due to the losses and the with mutual assent the Protectorate and Undead withdrew from the proceedings to lick their wounds. This now left the the Witch Hunters and Dwarves advancing towards the central chamber and each other.

Final curtain draws near as the Dwarves and WH move
 towards a stand off
Andy was much non-plused as the Undead and PoS withdrew as he had hoped that they would distract the Dwarves and allow him to attack a partial Dwarf front but with only the two stalwarts left, each drawn up and consolidated, the Witch Hunters in the Central Crypt, the Dwarves in the smaller anti-chamber, a stand-off developed.

Neither side wanted to be the one to attack, thus losing a good position and neither fancied possible losses for little to gain with all the treasure gathered and the Artifact already gone, so they agreed to call it quits and a draw for Round Eight was declared. Boo! Hiss!

The Skaven however are now in possession of the powerful anti-Undead artifact the Cane of Alluminus, which puts them in a better position for the closing trials of the campaign.

And with a nominal Good victory, though with no winner, the next round will see the bands following the Dwarves and Witch Hunters nearer the final showdown and a confrontation with the Witches Coven before moving on to the final assault on the Necromancer at his stronghold of Slayer's End.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Planning 2017


With the New Year just begun and the prospect of another years opportunities ahead I'm looking at what I would like to do and perhaps achieve in the coming months. I'm thinking that last year, much in common with previous years, my plan is more in the way of a wishlist as going by previous years the plan (or any pretence of it actually being a plan) usually falls by the wayside fairly quickly.

So, with a skance look back over the past year and my fairly loose plan from the beginning of the year with thoughts of progressing my various projects which interest me the most or still had that peak of interest enough that I could get some progress made, all in all I can say that my plan worked. Or at least worked in terms of where I spent my attention and didn't wander off to new pastures. Where it fell down was a gross miscalculation in the amount of time I would have available for doing hobby-ish pastimes.

As a result progress was minimal overall and only meaningful in a couple of areas, with some bits receiving no attention at all, really because the year just flew by and wow, its next year already. So with this experience to the fore (and no indication that this year will go by any slower) I'm looking at a more directed approach and look at a smaller spread of topics to try and progress and see if this produces a greater return.

Future Wars - With a major part of my miniatures purchases last year being for this one, and a considerable amount of ongoing thought into this, my Future Wars project is must and at the head of the list. Already paying returns of the previous investment of time and enjoyin the 'story' I'm looking to take this project in new directions and developing things in quite a bit more depth. I think this will take up a good half of my likely painting and modelling output for the coming year.


Black Army - I want to move this project up a gear and get a playable army on the table for the end of the year. Always an army of interest, the Black Army of King Matthias of Hungary is an atypical Medieval army and so gives an added bonus from getting some attention in that many of the force can be utilised for a multitude of other forces so gives a double pay back in utility.



Empire - Being easily the largest single proportion of my figure collection and probably the smallest proportion of completed and painted, this army/collection forms the single biggest part of my personal lead mountain. For that reason alone, it makes sense to try and make a dent in the amount of unpainted lead. The fact that there appears to be a good likely hood of this army seeing some action this year is an added incentive.





These three areas, one each covering my overall interests of Fantasy, Historical and Sci-Fi, I think is enough things here to keep me suitably occupied over the coming months. Any other bits and bods I manage to give some attention to over the coming year will hopefully service these topics to a greater or lesser extent.

Not forming part of the plan, as they will just happen (or not) as they come will be the ongoing projects that are my Abbey modelling thang and my solo fantasy campaign both of which continue at their own pace in the background.



I do have a couple of other on-going things which will be a part of the coming year and the gaming there-in. The third club Mordheim campaign is roughly half way through its run at the moment and has been thoroughly enjoyable so far and will likely be run to its conclusion later in the year. I will need to get some minor bits modeled and painted for this, so some attention here will be required here. The other item here is the on-going exploration of terrain/gaming boards and the next step is this exploration is already underway and will hopefully pay out by the middle of the year if not earlier.



So with this much condensed area of operations from my usual rambling and organising, and the other bits parked for now (hopefully) I am hopeful that this reduced scope will bear much fruit over the coming year.



Saturday, 31 December 2016

That was the year that was 2016

Looking back over the last twelve months, it has been very much an up and down year, much in common with most people, and the year has whizzed by with such consummate speed that at times I have struggled to keep up with the pace.

In regards to my year of hobby related activities, it has been much aligned with my year of life in general, no major upsets but time speeding by has left me wondering where all the time went and the general lack of progress on the various projects in hand initially annoying but now just putting this lack down to experience.

The amount and variety of gaming has certainly increased this past year and much thanks to all my opponents/partners in crime for seeing this positive development unfold; with a refinding of uses for my Empire army with 9th Age and Oldhammer gaming and Chaos Wars, some board gaming with AvP and the like, Future Wars antics, Urban War and Dux B and Mordheim campaigns, and a few newbies to me with the likes of Song of Blades and Heroes and Otherworld Fantasy to name a few show a good helping of SciFi and Fantasy gaming though I note a general lack of anything historical which is quite a surprise.

The year has been one of Kickstarters too, with myself buying into several of the croed-funding project which have all borne fruit with the various Nickstarter Frostgrave and Rogue Star projects being quite nice, figures abounding too with a particular favourite supplier with Steel Fist miniatures with very nice foot and mounted knightly models. Raging Heroes is the only one which I note a lack of major progress and although the first wave of releases have been sent including the freebies, there still remains a load of figures outstanding which is a trifle annoying, I think a noticeable victim of their own success but I wait for the remainder of the order with bated breath.

Online and PC gaming has been a usual part of my gaming activities through the year with a couple of games being particular favourites like Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 but a couple of the much sought after games released this year were a bit disappointing especially Total War Warhammer being the main culprit in this department, much too linear and not enough free-form gaming here but I suppose that was to be expected looking back. The X Com franchise was entertainingly added to with X Com 2 and I picked up a couple of table top ideas from this game in particular.

My painting mojo has been fairly lax over the last year but I'm not getting hung up on this and look to improve on things in the coming year with a more targeted approach, but we'll see. I did manage to get a bit of modelling and terrain making done over the year and look to build on this success and produce some major pieces in the coming months. The other part where much of my attentions have been focused is in the realm of terrain boards with some experimenting and some success too, so success here all in all and a good foundation as it were to build on.

Several surprises come from the last twelve month, mainly by their absence, not games of Frostgrave which I thought would be a bigger player in the year and as said earlier, no historical gaming at all. The whys and wherefores of these are probably legion and I don't intend to ponder over much as to why but look instead to rectify this state of affairs over the coming year.

All in all a different sort of year in the land of table top gaming from the one's previous but that, as they say, is a good thing. I don't think it pays to be too introspective or dissecting with your leisure pursuits though some idea of where your heading might be handy. I intend to do more of what I've been doing over the last year and some new stuff too with just a hint of some Old Skool for a bit of spice. Should be good.

I hope 2017 is kind and generous to all out there and that the year has lots of toys to play with and is full of gaming and friends to enjoy them with. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Mordheim Season 3 - Warband Raid

 This next episode of the ongoing campaign was a bit of a side step to the main narrative where previously the bands had taken out one of The Necromancers Captains in an ambush while he had been searching for a relic in one of the ruined hamlets previously destroyed by the rampaging Undead horde.

This time the winner of that game had the opportunity to raid one of his neighbouring warbands in their encampment 'somewhere in the wilds' of the Drakwald Forest region. Kev being the Undead leader that he is swooped on the chance and plumped for a raid on his neighbouring Marienburger's who have been steadily growing in power so this presented too good a chance to miss to try and knock the Merc's down a peg or too.

So with all present; Kev's Undead, Ian's Dwarf Rangers, Andy W's growing Skaven pack, Andy L's Witch Hunters, my hard pressed Protectorate of Sigmar and of course Dave's Marienburger Mercenaries everybody lined up for a bit of a grudge (or should that be grudge's) match.

The Marienburger's being on home terriotory got to kick off the proceedings and immediately made a break for it, straight at their arch-enemies the Witch Hunter's.

The Witch Hunter's, slightly perturbed to be singled out in this way, made a side step taking temporary cover behind the nearby hill to take stock. Everyone else made moves towards the encampment and the waiting loot and XP's in the form of goods to be destroyed in the centre of the table.

The Protectorate's part in the proceedings was pretty short, given that they were down to five men from the start, as two of the heroes of the band were taking an enforced sabbatical for a round or two, and as they meandered unassumingly over in the corner, the Dwarf sharpshooter to their right, at extreme range, first dropped the Acolyte and then one of the Crusaders, so a much expected voluntary rout was duly called and the Protectorate played no further part to much hilarity all round.

The Marienburgers now commenced their attack on the Witch Hunters and an extended barney enveloped the hill with the Merc's charging in while leaving a screening line of archers to guard their rear from the advancing Dwarves, and then the Witch Hunters counter charging into combat with all their numbers involved in the melee. This proved pretty bloody for both sides and much chagrin from the WH side as Dave continued to throw sixes to a frightening degree but it wasn't one sided and both sides approached a break test at much the same time.


Elsewhere, the Dwarves, Skaven and Undead wandered into the encampment area and began to ransack their respective quarters with only a tentative skirmish between the rats and Undead squabbling over some booty to break the otherwise quiet half of the table.

The Dwarves advance on the rear of the Mercs and look
for cover.
The battle between the Marienburgers and the Witch Hunters continued unabated and uninterrupted for a couple of turn with the losses mounting. Much jesting and poking was had when Andy's Ogre Merc who he had been trying to defend was dropped and taken out of action, much to his chagrin. The only change in this was when Dave's rear guard volleyed at the advancing Dwarves and quickly took out out of their number who had exposed himself to the firing line.

The Skaven join the fray with the Marienburgers 
while the Dwarves close to destroy some resources
By this time things quickly changed with the Skaven now avoiding contact with the Undead as their low Leadership prevented realistic charges against them, shifted focus and rushed into contact with the back of the Marienburg Merc's, coupled with the impending assault on the other side of the Dwarves now closing too.





End of the big fight nears
All this attention now proved too much for the Mercenaries who with out anywhere to run, Dave decided on a all or nothing stance and manfully made his break test and the Mercenaries went down to a man, not one escaping to the closing encirclement.






The Skaven try to consolidate and the rest
 advance to contact
With the Merc's gone and the remaining bands fairly well spread, especially the Skaven who consolidated their position and the rest hoovered up the last of the loot and resources, everyone took stock.

The Witch Hunters very badly bloodied called it a day and retreated to lick their wounds, quickly followed by the Skaven who saw no real point in hanging about with no more loot to get. This left the Dwarves and the Undead for a final show down once again.

Undead and Dwarves close
The Dwarves drew back slightly and lined up to get a few pot shots at the advancing Undead. However the speed of the devil dog threw this idea out the window as it rocketed from the back of the Undead ranks and pinned the Dwarf line successfully while the rest of the shambling minions moved in.





The fight was brief and as soon as the Dwarves dropped another of their number Ian called it quits as he saw the way the fight was likely to go already on the back heel and no gain to be had.

The Undead approach the Dwarven position and charge
This then left the Undead with another field victory (the fourth in the campaign so far) although mainly due to being the last to get into the fights so were largely molested until there was no benefit from prolonging the fight from the other bands.






Losses from the various parties were not severe, though noticable on a couple of counts with the WH's losing their Ogre Merc and a henchman type plus a couple of wounds, The Marienburgers went pretty much unscathed though due to the loss of revenue had to drop a couple of the Hirelings they had picked up in the Prison Break. The Dwarves loosing a fairly good henchman also keeps them at a lower punching level. The Protectorate do manage to actually get some cash and are able to expand their number to the dizzying heights of eight.

Next up is going back to the campaign trail and exploring the catacombs in search of the relic The Beast was trying to locate prior to being ambushed.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

9th Age - Empire Civil War


Another week gone by and another weekly club game at the .... club. This week we have been mainly playing 9th Age, the fan written reiteration of 8th Ed. WHFB.

Myself and Andy L had had this game organised to play sometime ago, but before our game, the 9th Age team had revised the rules as written and amended the 'Empire' army list to suit. To avoid any issues (ie having to re-do our army lists) we plumped to play the 1.1.0 release of the rules we had based our lists on.


Playing a 2,500 pt a piece game, each of us playing Empire, the game was set for an Empire vs Empire Civil War pitched battle.

Both of us were unfamiliar with the rules though fairly competent with the previous 8th Ed rule set on which they are based, but we went for pretty different line ups with Andy going for a character/magic heavy line up with a small number of point heavy hard hitting units. I, on the other hand went for quantity not quantity with a large number of cheap cannon-fodder units and only a couple tough but smaller units along with a smaller number of characters with minimal magic giving more figures on the table. (The first different thing noticed was that the troop/troop types are generally slightly cheaper than their predecessors).

Andy was deployed first and had the initiative to start and advanced his Templar Cavalry on his flank with his centre & right stationary to hold. His Cannons commenced their sniping and one round one took out my Volley gun and damaged the Steam Tank.

I preceded to have a general advance and threw out my left flank to circle round his open left and refused my right to draw out his Knights expecting the clash with my Electoral Cavalry to be one way but once lost would draw his Knights off position or even pursue off-table next round.

Round two went much the same with my centre advancing and Andy's centre holding but the flank went differently than expected. Andy failed on his charge roll to get his Knights into my Electoral cavalry and I promptly broke with my plan and decided to get any advantage I could and my slightly out number Cavalry charged his and in an unfortunate state of events (for Andy) I completely ace'd the combat and his Witch Hunter led knights broke and were destroyed in pursuit allowing me to flank charge his other unit of knights with his general in tow.

My firing all concentrated on his hefty unit of Spear in the centre while Andy split his fire on the steam Tank (reducing it to lass than half strength before it got out of the line of fire), and my unit of Imperial Guard Greatswords.


My flank attack continued it's plod round the out side and slowly closed in and only managing to make contact at the closing turns of the game with the Flagellant band managing to make it and charged his Crossbow and easily breaking this unit and pursuing it to destruction and into the rear of his Spear thanks to the additional move this allowed. 


Meanwhile, engaged to their front by the Steam Tank which had cleared to alley of fire from the cannons luckily intact but much depleted in strength, the tank proved pretty nigh-on indestructible in combat against lowly infantry and this unit, already down to half strength by the close looked to be doomed.


The two units of Imperial Guard clashed right at the end and with Andy's skillful playing of the magic had managed to buff up his Greatswords and his Spear making them pretty resilient and with re-rolls on wounds the combat here went very much his way by a factor of roughly 2 to 1 but the Bodyguard rule saved my Guard from an ignominious fate.

The magic in general was low key with Andy generally getting a slight advantage due to more spell casters, but the effect here tended to be quite local, though in the Guard vs Guard fight proved to be the decisive factor.

With five rounds played and running out of time Andy conceded defeat though the game was far from over (especially given the fickleness of Warhammer-esque games) but things didn't look great though (not counted up, but I suspect the points difference on the table probably wasn't too disparate).


The run through of the rules was enjoyable and fairly painless with only some of the tweeks that had been made having to be checked. It was pointed out that my enjoyment of the rules was probably down to an un-characteristic win for my Empire (which I probably agree with).

A couple of points didn't sit right with either of us, but mainly the ability of the Cannons to be heavy duty snipers (the offsetting previous misfire/blow-up rules having been much toned down) and this ability on initiative could be quite disproportionate to their point cost. That said I believe things have been changed in response to this in the new iteration of the rules.

In conclusion, I can see where the nomenclature of a Tournament Rule Set comes from and I think they do this pretty well but they still play quite nicely. The trial with Empire vs Empire does limit this review with some of the other heavy army list requiring trial to see if more balanced but I did enjoy the experience if only because the 8th Ed WHFB rules were pretty OK but just broken by the Army Lists released to sell more and more figures. Shame really but 9th Age seems to do a reasonable stand in from what has been seen here. 

To be played again in the New Year definitely.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Chaos Wars - Second Assault


Following our recent initial trial run of the Chaos Wars rule set available through Ral Partha in Chaos Wars - Trial Run a month or so ago, myself and Andy W had got together to give the rules another outing.

With a bit more confidence in tour knowledge of the game, ie we gave the rules a read through and Andy had picked up on a few bits we had previously carried out completely wrongly, we put together a larger (medium sized) game and included most of the bells and whistles and also went for the 'high fantasy' option of more points to spend on weird stuff.

Still using the generic army lists that are available for download, we put together a Humans versus Elf conflict with the Elves being quite shooty/magicy and the humans not. (I had forgotten to bring most of my artillery pieces, so struggled to make up my fantasy points but we just went along to see how things played out).

The game itself was fine and with a fresh perception of the mechanics things went pretty quickly with only minor checks of the rule book (mainly to deal with the magic system, which is simple enough but just unfamiliar) and managed to get the game to a conclusion by the end of the evening.

At the end of the game, we drew conclusions on the rules as we had seen them after two outings.

All in all, the rules produce a quick play style fantasy game which is relatively easy to pick up and quite enjoyable. The rules mechanics all seem to work together and there were no jarring results once we had understood the concepts.

We did have a few issues with the amount of 'fantasy points' or the proportion to standard troop points for a given size of game, with our average sized game you had 300 standard troop points and 90 fantasy points. Given the strength and powerfulness of some fantasy type units (Andy's Dryads were super-powerful probably taking half my 'normal' army to take out one unit, he had two units btw)), the proportion of these fantasy points seemed disproportionate to the army size. As a guide we pretty much agreed that the half the proposed fantasy points wouldn't be far off the mark to get a more balanced game. I might be prudent to limit the number of similar fantasy/fantastical units available or making some units unique given their strength on the field.

After the clear up we had decided that the rules were fun to use and its malleability to produce almost any army/type you could think of and to suit your existing collection, the rules were certainly worth playing again and into the future. A few constraints may be necessary with the army lists to avoid going all 'Armies of Arcana' with the lists.

More of these rules in the future.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Defence of the Westfold












This week I have been lending a hand (ie moving some figures about and throwing really bad dice) to Kev who was having a dry run for his club demo game that he is intending to put on at Targe later this week up in Kirriemuir.

The game is a recreation of Theodreds' defence of the Westfold during the War of the Ring involving Rohan and Isengard forces on the banks of the River Isen. Kev is using the GW War of the Ring rules for the game as they are good and simple to use and give a reasonable feel for the forces involved.

All the troops mustered are part (and fairly small part to boot) of Kev's huge LotR collection which includes multitudes more Rohan and some Mordor forces too. You can find more of Kev's WotR festivities on his blog Double Six.

Here follows a couple of shots of the evenings activities;

Initial Deployment

Isengard advances towards the static Rohan lines



Crunch time

Check out the full game at Targe this coming Saturday 12th Nov at Targe for more info and a better look at Kev's impressive troops.
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