Well it’s a nice lazy sunday so I figured I’d finish up some Space Wolves I’ve been working on. These are a pack of Grey Hunters (barely) and I’ve got 15 more of these fellas on the workbench including all their magnetized arm options. Really enjoying painting these models and am looking at getting a game of Kill Team in in the next week or two.
Well as part of my having a look at other games while we wait for news of WHFB 9th Edition, I have managed to get my hands on a Warmachine Battle Box thanks to the generosity of Mike King who picked it up as part of his swag bag at Adepticon a few weeks ago.
Now there’s a lot of hate out there for Warmachine from some in the WHFB community (and I gather vice versa) but I’ve never really felt one way or another. The models have never really appealed to much to me and I’ve been pretty happy with 9th. That being said I’ve always heard that it’s a good tournament ruleset. What’s more is that in the lull between 8th and 9th our scene is a bit stagnant whereas if you trawl through some of the NZ Warmachine blogs such as Thrallblacks it becomes quite clear that Warmachine is probably the most played table top game in a tournament framework in the country at the moment.
Now as I stated the aesthetics of the game have never really grabbed me but the one faction that I do like the look like is the Elven Retribution of Scyrah. They’ve kind of got a sleek natural look to them that appeals so when Mike tweeted he had a box I thought I’d dabble my toes. Lucky for me my battle box arrived in the mail this morning.
Unboxing you come across a set of quick start rules, cards for the 4 models you receive and the models themselves. The first model is Kaelyssa who is my warcaster and the other 3 are various Warjacks. The Kaelyssa model is a simple two part model and is pretty well cast The other 3 models are a bit of a mixed bag so I’ll do some pros and cons.
- The use of a plastic/resin material means the models glue together very strongly and are very firm, I really don’t think you’d have to worry about these guys breaking.
- The models are wells scaled in relation to eachother. My warcaster is dwarfed by the warjacks and looks slim/fragile while I can definitely tell at a glance which one of my warjacks is the heavy warjack.
- Good value for money in terms of how many models you need to start a new force.
- The Battlebox doesn’t come with any assembly instructions. Now you can figure out where things go but it’s not totally straightforward. I’ve assembled a massive quantity of models and still glued one of my warjacks around the wrong way (which thanks to the first pro was very hard to take back apart and fix).
- The plastic is different than GW plastic meaning glue can cause more warping and you have to be quite careful when removing flash.
- The quality of the models is nowhere near what you would expect from a GW plastic kit. There’s a real lack of detail in the moulding which really makes the models appear bland unpainted.
- I found putting the models together a bit of a hassle, part of this was using an old thing of superglue and the rest was just the way the models fit together. Parts don’t always fit flush with eachother or want to sit right and I had to use some greenstuff here and there to get a good join between pieces.
All in all I’m not wildly impressed so far, but I’m going to persevere and get some paint on these guys in the next few days and see if I can bring myself to love them once they’re painted. After that I’ll go have a game.
Well since I last posted regarding X-wing I’ve been having games pretty regularly and it’s fair to say that its got me firmly in it’s tractor beam. I think I’ve had 10 games in the last week and a half and I’m absolutely loving it. In fact , thanks to the success of some trademe auctions and selling my Warriors of Chaos army (which I have barely used in the last 12 months) I’ve picked up a pretty respectable number of ships.
The above cartoon shows pretty clearly how things are playing out in my house. All that aside I’m really enjoying this game for a number of reasons and I want to tell you why:
1. Squad Building: One of the things I enjoy about WHFB (or any wargamer) is designing armies to find synergy and tricks to win. Now I don’t know if it’s good game design or me being new to the game (a bit of both maybe) but I’m at the point that with the right upgrades nearly every ship has the potential to be useful (I’m doubtful about that HWK-290). Combine this with no real hard and fast rules on squad building and the options are wide open. I’ve used a different list for each game I’ve played so far and felt like they all had potential and were fun to play.
2. You need a Poker Face: A huge part of the game is anticipating your opponents moves. This means projecting out how you see future turns going, what you’re trying to achieve and then accounting for John Murrie’s recklessness and utter disregard for the lives of his Pilots. I find this aspect of it a lot of fun.
3. Spatial Awareness: There’s no pre-measuring in X-wing, so picking the right moves to get your ships where they need to be (and not hitting asteroids) in relation to where you visualize your opponent ‘s ships being is absolutely critical. It’s kind of like playing an avoidance army in WHFB without being allowed to check arcs or measure and I’m loving the challenge of it.
4. They’re Pre-painted: While you can re-paint your X-wing miniatures (and I intend to do a few basic repaints to distinguish ships) they come with paintjobs that I believe are perfectly fine. Buy your piece of plastic and play with it straight away, just like when you were 6!
5. It plays quick: Full sized games between two people take about an hour so you can get multiple games in in a night, use more lists and play more opponents. I’m finding this a nice change from WHFB.
All in all I’m enjoying this game as far more than just a distraction until 9th Edition hits us and regardless of whether I pick up 9th or not X-Wing has earned a definite place in my gaming room. For the next little while I’m going to focus on trying to round up some more local gamers and in a few months maybe give a store championship a go.
Well NATCON has been run and won. I’ve got some thoughts on the event as a whole which I’ll address in the second half of this post but first I’ll do a quick run down of how my amazing Ulthuan Air Force went.
I went in with the list intending to get my games down quickly one way or another and knew that the army was a one trick pony. I was not at all disappointed….
Game 1 vs Richard H (WOC) Meeting Engagement
I had the definite advantage in this match-up until all of my big gribblies started off the table and I went 2nd. I flew around killing things most of the game but due to my slow start couldn’t grab everything and left a lot of points in the form of a Daemon Prince still on the table
Game 2 vs McCrae Loudon (Chaos Dwarves) Battleline
McCrae had all the tools to shoot me off the table but poor placement of his Warmachines meant I was able to neutralise them and grab myself some points. A 400 point swing in the last round due to special scenario rules and some Elves who wouldn’t run away far enough let McCrae back in for the 10-10.
Game 3 vs Phil Comins (Daemons of Chaos) Blood and Glory
This was a classic all or nothing game. Phil’s all Slaanesh Daemons had the potential to pretty reliably get a major win against me so I had a choice: I could play for the 5-15 loss or go balls to the wall for glory. I thought to myself, WWTSD? and went for it just like she would. My plan was to blow through a small unit of Daemonettes and then go for the Keeper with everything to get the Break. This all relied on breaking a unit of daemonettes in 2 rounds (which I was pretty sure I could do) but poor rolling by the big nasties and successful choirs dashed my dreams. With my big gribblies hit by 2 choir bombs and my core ruined by Daemonettes it was all over come turn 3.
Game 4 vs Evert (Chaos Dwarves) Dawn Attack
Evert had a very static Chaos Dwarf army based around infernal Guard with only a magma cannon and dreadquake mortar for real shooting. I had 4 flying monsters.
Game 5 vs Kelly Gragg (Warriors of Chaos) Battleline
Kelly had a pretty nasty WoC army that once again featured the Lore of Slaanesh. As such I knew that this again could be either a 5-15 loss played really well or a big win (probably a big loss lol). I went for a big risky charge on the DP with a frosty and made it but couldn’t kill it and found the rest of my army shut down my Slaanesh music. My one chance at points when I killed his lord on dragon went to waste when I couldn’t catch the dragon. Once again I was totally wrecked by a good player with the Lore of Slaanesh.
Game 6 vs Ken Hay (Dwarves) Battle for the Pass
Ken had taken a no warmachine Dwarf list based around a Dwarfstar with a shitload of tough characters. To be honest he’d managed to surprise a few people with it including McCrae, That being said his list is exactly what mine dreams about and the 4 monsters managed to thunderstomp their way to victory.
Game 7 vs Chris Ellis (Tomb Kings) King of the Hill
King of the Hill is just Battleline with a hill in the middle and whoever has the most fortitude on it at the end of the game gets bonus points. So my last game against Chris was at Equinox last year and to be honest as I was using my lizards and in the hunt for a podium it probably wasn’t to fun of a game for him. Now I’m not saying I’m a saint for running at the guy this time given the lists, but I did decide to take a big risk and let him into the game by charging my Star Dragon into his HKB Necrosphinx…… Top of Turn 1 my Prince is no longer on a Star Dragon. Fortunately for me this was his only real stroke of luck and a Frosty managed to save the Prince and the other 3 flyers were enough to table the Tomb Kings.
Game 8 vs Tim Joss (Dark Elves) Battleline
Tim had also attempted to tone down his usual filth for NATCON. His army asked the question, ” Can warlocks and bolt throwers with Dark Rider core carry a Black Dragon and Manticore?” The answer is that warlocks, bolt throwers and Dark Riders can carry whatever the hell they want.
That being said we were both knackered and I had a lunch to catch with my family (who are up in Akl). So we shook hands and called it a draw (the most likely result) and NATCON ended.
Ultimately skipping out on the last game cost me my shot at 3rd as Phil Comins put in a big win to come out 1 point ahead, but frankly he deserved it having both a beautiful army and having made me his bitch.
The army performed as expected but it’s weaknesses were greater than I had expected. My shooting was inadequate to deal with most threats and High Magic lacked the offensive punch to threaten my enemies. All I had was a L3 mage with a good ward save casting cute little meaningless spells. Ulthuan Air Force may be dangerous, but I’m thinking that a L4 on foot instead of the 2nd dragon would be the way to go.
NATCON as a whole
Now I’ll preface this bit of negativity with a thanks to all my opponents, Richard for TOing and to the organisers of the event as I know it’s a lot of work to run even a small event like Panzerschrek, much less a NATCON in Auckland that being said I found NATCON dissapointing this year. This was for a few reasons:
Attendance: Attendance was dismal with WHFB having only 9 players including 2 from Palmerston North and 1 from Invercargill. The event as a whole was small with the largest single event being 40k with a mere 16 players. It’s my belief that the biggest cause of this was the difficulty of having Equinox 2 weeks prior to NATCON in terms of getting players to attend both. That said I’m going to go out and put it out there that Equinox and NATCON should have been deconflicted in order to ensure both could be as successful as possible.
Venue/Venue Change: There is nothing wrong with James Cook High School as a venue per se. It has good parking, good facilities for setting up a canteen, good bathrooms and plenty of space. It suffers though from being a 30 minute drive from the CBD. Even this wouldn’t have been such a major issue if it was designated as the original venue and out of towners could plan around it, but when it is changed to on short notice this can make things difficult. The locals came to the party in helping those of us who had travelled get to and from the venue and I thank them for that. That said, this is hurting the reputation and enthusiasm for out of towners to travel to Auckland events.
Communication: The player’s pack was only released on the 13th of March (2 days before registrations closed and well after early bird registration). There was also no communication about who was attending. I believe that people make the commitment to travel and attend events (particularly on a long holiday weekend) based strongly around player’s packs and communication about who of their friends are attending. This was lacking.
So what? In the end I believe everyone who did attend probably had a good time and I do thank the organizers for their time (the chicken sandwiches were excellent), but I do truly believe that there are a few things that any tournament organisers/umpire can do in order to make people more likely to attend their events.
Player’s Packs: These can be conventi0nal (FOB Lite), borrowed from overseas (ETC/Swedish) or whatever wacky idea you come up with. The important thing is that it’s out there early so people know what’s up and can make a decision. I strongly believe Player’s packs should be out prior to any early bird registration closing. In games with moving release cycles you can still make changes, but you need to have something out there.
Registration Lists: I strongly believe that having a blog, or forum subject where you can put up who is coming is key to generating a critical mass of attendees. If you can hand on heart show a list of names of people’s friends who are attending, you’re probably going to convince that person to come as well.
De-confliction: You can’t move a NATCON or a NICON, that’s just how it is but you can move other tourneys around them. I believe NATCON suffered strongly from being too close to Equinox. This also was to my belief the prime reason for the relatively low numbers at a Wellington event last year that came with Equinox and NATCON being run successively in the two weeks before it.
I hope I don’t come across as too negative, but these are my thoughts on things that can be done to improve the running of tourneys around the country.
Keen to hear thoughts.
I’ve just got back from NATCON (which I’ll do a short write up for tomorrow) and thought I’d flick a post up as an update on Panzerschrek. At this stage interest has been very high and we’re currently up to 20 players leaving just 4 slots left (well 5 really as if we have a 25th player who wants in I’ll step aside.) This should be a good event and you can check out who is coming along at:
Another update is that there is no longer accommodation available due to a booking falling through. I’m still happy to help provide rides to and from the airport and help out your travel however I can.
Despite my current Warhammer funk I am heading up to Auckland this weekend to take part in NATCON. It’s a good chance to catch up with gamers in Auckland, see my family and visit the big smoke.
Now one of the most common complaints about WHFB at NATCON is that it’s a damn long weekend with a whopping 8 games over 3 days. I couldn’t agree more as I’m usually shattered by the end of Day 2. My solution? Take a balls to the wall list that should get its games done one way or another with plenty of time to go. As such I’ve set out to make the craziest ET list that still sticks to my current style of play (which at the moment means being a pretty elf and flying around like a dick).
Without further adieu, the Ulthuan Air Force
Prince – Star Dragon, Armor of Destiny, Star Lance, Shield
Archmage – Moon Dragon, Lore of High Magic, Talisman of Preservation, Book of Hoeth
5 Elyrian Reavers – Bows, Standard, Muso
5 Elyrian Reavers – Bows, Standard, Muso
5 Elyrian Reavers – Bows, Standard, Muso
10 Archers – Standard
10 Archers – Standard
10 Archers – Standard
The ideal is really really simple, charge things with Terror-causing flying monsters, walk star dragons between worlds and shoot off chaff with my core. I’m picking it to be pretty hit and miss. In some matchups I will probably dominate absolutely while others the opponent will shoot me off. That being said it does have a large amount of points denial when you account for hills being infinitely high in Auckland.
One way or another it will ensure that my games are over quick so I can torture myself at the Bring and Buy table!
So I’ll pretty freely admit I’ve got the ET Blues bad. Since reading through Archaon I’ve not felt much like doing anything with WHFB until we see 9th come out. I wrestled briefly with giving a new gaming system a go but a few factors prevented me from taking the jump. The first is that I really am hanging out for 9th before doing anything drastic, secondly I can’t be bothered painting anything at the moment except for the Dark Elves and Space Wolves I am grinding away on as I genuinely enjoy painting them and finally I wanted a game with a bright future and growing community.
‘The answer: X-Wing. It’s got a relatively low cost of entry (I’ve sunk $100 in and I’ve got a 100 pt force), I don’t have to paint anything, the game is as quick and tight as you’d expect from any Fantasy Flight Game and I think that with the new Star Wars movie coming out this game is only going to get more popular.
I picked up a Millenium Falcon and a Core Set and have already had a few fun games with my wife and am looking forward to playing a few games with John Murrie at the club next Tuesday. Furthermore I think a few of the other duellists will probably pick some X-Wing up as well. I’ll write up a more detailed review once I’ve got a few more games under my belt.
As for hobby news, I’ve finished the 20 54mm Turks for the Gallipoli diorama thanks to the help of McCrae Loudon and Caleb Rouse after I got too busy with work to finish it myself. The painting table is now full of my last tid bits of Dark Elves (~12 models) which I’ll work on before switching back to my Space Wolves full time in order to start getting some narrative games of 40k in. I’m also clearing out some of my spare models which you can check out at the link below:
I’m attending NATCON next weekend where I’ll be giving the Dark Elves a little break in favour of a very End Times inspired Ulthuan Air Force type list that has a L4 on a dragon. We’ll see how it goes….
Good Afternoon Everyone,
It is my pleasure to announce that the Panzerschrek 2015 Player’s Pack is ready to go. This will be the third year the event has run and I’m really looking forward to running it again. This year we’ll continue on with ETC comp to give the scene some flavor and to avoid any issues around a new edition coming out between now and July. We’ll also be doing Chinese food and Karaoke again this year after it proved to be a lot of fun last year (Pete Dunn won’t get off the hook this year either).
Finally for out of towners I’d like to stress that I have access to good quality accommodation for very cheap so please send an e-mail if you’re interested in that. Furthermore I can also help with transport to and from the airport. At this stage player numbers are limited to 24 and a lot of interest has already been expressed. I look forward to seeing many of you there.
Without further adieu you can find the Player’s pack at:
Please let me know if you find any errors in the pack.
Cheers. The Manawatu Duelists
As some of you may be aware I’m part of a project being put on by Peter Jackson to paint up 4000 54mm figures for a diorama commemorating the World War 1 Battle of Gallipoli. This battle was of crucial importance not just in New Zealand’s military history but also shaping the identity of the nation as a whole. Peter Jackson will be using these miniatures to make a diorama which will be displayed in the Dominion Museum in Wellington from 2015 to 2018.
Myself and another Palmerston local have put our hands up to do 40 Turks between us. I don’t usually paint either historicals or 54mm, but I thought it would be a cool opportunity to be part of something bigger so I’m currently working on the Turks. I thought I’d post up a photo of a nearly finished Turkish soldier. As you’ll see there’s not too much to them and not too many layers of highlights required according to the paint guide I’m working too. I suppose when there are 4000 figures on display there’s no need for that 5th highlight. Also the pink nails are not mine…
I woke up this morning to some pretty big news in terms of both the game and story of WHFB. Without further adieu I’ll put the most important parts below. Obviously this contains massive spoilers…
Still with me? Maybe you need a bit of time to digest it. Once your done having a coronary keep on scrolling down..
So what does this all mean? Essentially the Warhammer World as we know it has ceased to exist and there seem to be 3/4 factions that made it out alive:
- The Chaos Gods – As we know these guys are eternal, sure some of their mortal followers on one planet are gone. I don’t think Papa Nurgle is losing any sleep…
- The Lizardmen – The lizardmen who escaped in their temples are presumably floating around somewhere.
- Sigmar/Karl Franz/Valten? – Presumably one of these 3 in some form of eachother made it out to do the wierd creepy impregnation thingy to create a “new beginning”
- Possibly some Elves – We know from previous ET books that some chump named Araloth had been hanging out in some bubbles, that being said other spoilers are suggesting these got compromised somehow…
While I haven’t read the book (that’ll be tomorrow or the next day), it’d appear that if your guys aren’t in the above list….. They’re toast. Hooray!
As for the rules, these seem very clear (unlike some of the other ET alterations) that they apply to Warhammer as a whole. That being said, straight out of the book 8th Edn has never been the best way to play the game in my opinion, so the requirement for TOs to put in additional restrictions has always been there. However this change jumps the sharknado in my opinion. It takes “pure” 8th edn from being a flawed but playable game in a tourney environment to utterly unplayable rubbish. We’ll have the usual rounds of “wait and see”, “it’s your game to do what you want in” and so on. Ultimately though if this a signal from GW that future versions of the game will be designed with no regard for balance whatsoever then I think at least for me WHFB’s days are numbered.
The Way of the Future?
So what’s next for WHFB? I really don’t have any idea. In terms of fluff, I actually quite like the idea of tying it into the WH40k universe. The idea of Sigmar/KFranz being the Emperor of Mankind has always been around and I think a grimdark fantasy setting where he first tames earth or something like that could fly. Who knows really, it’s anyone’s guess. As I see it there are three real broad options.
The first is that it was all a dream a la Storm of Chaos. I think this is increasingly unlikely. Ultimately they’ve put a lot of effort into the ET series and models. Furthermore this would really piss people off if they did it again.
The second and I think more likely is that we see a 9th edition that is a radical departure from 8th edition both in terms of rules and fluff. This is risky, will piss some people off but could be awesome. As others have stated by rebooting the IP like this GW is putting it all on the line. A lot of people playing WHFB are doing so because they always have or because they love the fluff . I don’t think I’ve heard many people talk about how they love the tight ruleset… A radically differnt 9th edition will have to have its story and rules stand on its own merit, with very little help from the goodwill the IP has built up over the decades. Furthermore, anything too radical that affects the usability of existing models will definitely alienate current players.
The third and least likely option is that there is no 9th edition. Due to GW rumour control we have nothing hard and fast on 9th, and they have been sending me e-mails saying it’s the end of Warhammer. That being said I don’t think this is that likely. It doesn’t make sense to abandon any endeavour that has a marginal benefit (albeit smaller than 40k), they’ve clearly invested money in ET kits, and of course the last line of ET references new beginnings.
So what will I be doing? I’ll wait and see, one thing for certain is that not a dollar will be spent on WHFB between now and 9th edition and painting will be just enough to satisfy tourney requirements for the DE. I’ll also probably look to thin out my 7 armies a bit. I’m excited and nervous for the idea of a 9th edition and am trying to resolve to judge it on its own merits.
May you live in interesting times!