Monday, 26 December 2011

New Vampires Sparkle

The interwebz have been chattering about the first pictures of the new Vampires.

And jolly nice figures they are to. I particulalry like the romanticism of the vampires riding in the Coven Throne.

And it does seem, judging by the pictures, that GW have given the book a thorough root and branch review. The new figures clearly fit into the rumours of the return to bloodlines. Which again is something else that I thorughly approve off. Indeed, if it is true, one can only hope that they follow this through when rewriting the Chaos books and put an end to the absurdity of troops carrying the marks of different Gods within the same army - or at least including a rule akin to absurdity as a penalty for mixing such units.

This book is important - imo - for a number of reasons.

The most obvious is that the VC are a 'top tier' army - gosh how I loathe that whole tiering business - and it will act as a marker as to whether the designers are genuinely attempting to balance the game.

Personally I will be interested to see if GW use the opportunity to shoot the Mantic fox. The new figures are certainly a cut above the opposition. However, if GW also take the opportunity to construct the lists in a way that eliminates the Mantic offerings, it will be a sign that the company is acting to protect it's game from cut-price opposition.

As a subsiduary to this, my hunch is that the army is going to cause VC much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Already Vampire players - already some of the most tetchy and defensive in the 'community' - have been getting their retaliation in first.

However, all those players who have built up hordes of skelletons and ghouls may just find that when the new book hits the shelf, offering the possibility of an all cavalry, flying, fast moving army, with large parts of it ethereal, they will find their current army sadly lacking. After all, who wants to play the boring old game of grinding and re-raising when you can charge around the field, literally scaring the pants off people?

The Hexwraiths are confirmed as ethereal. And it depends on the Black Knights being moved to core - possibly dependent on bloodlines - but it doesn't appear beyond possibilities. Add to this the flying monsterous infantry, Terrorgeist, the Zombie dragon.

My other hunch is that the grinding and reraising, may be a thing of the past. From the pictures it is possible to read the signature spell - restore a single wound on a successful cast - and the rules for Wind of Death - which appears to have replaced the Wind of Undeath as the big spell in the deck. The interesting thing to me is that there is no mention of raising Spirit Hosts. Now obviously this may or may not be significant, but - and this is me wishlisting - hopefully it will mean that the zombies and skeletons have been upgraded in their fighting ability, but at the cost of the ability to easily re-raise them.

Still we shall see.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Deathfist Has Always been the Ogre Style

I've been working on my Ironblasters....

Cue picture...

One of the things that surprises me in the to-and-fro concerning the Hellheart is why it has never come up before.

The Hellheart was in the previous book, it's effects were pretty much the same - if anything they were worse, especially if you rolled a 1 on the miscast result. And yet suddenly it is a problem.

The answer is fairly obvious. Because of the restrictions - pointless limitations - there was no room for it in the lsit. And there were other ways of getting magic defence - most of which have been removed from the new book.

Given the nature of Ogre magic, and the history of magic defence, it is obvious that they have been designed with as a magically defensive army. The 'mistake' in the FAQ concerning Deathfisting only adds to this background and seems less and less like a mistake than a design choice.

Which makes the uproar all the more silly.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Ironblaster Madness

Here's something with will cause apoplexy among certain sections of the interwez...

Cue picture....

I've highlighted the base coat, now they need inking.

So Ironblasters...

In the space of three months Ogres have gone from being an army that in some comp systems required extra points to make them competative, to the hysterics hate army of choice.

Supposedly they can shoot better than anyone, their cannon are the most accurate, the cavalry is unstoppable, their magic defence kills the magic phase... etc, etc...

It is certainly interesting to compare the overblown reaction the Ogres have recieved to the two previous army books; Tomb Kings and Orcs and Goblins. The general consensus is that both of those books are pretty ordinary - despite Tomb Kings winning The Throne of Skulls - and whilst it is true that the TTOS is not the tournament that it once was, in terms of filfth, the principle behind the winning list has application in list building going foward.

Yet somehow the Ogres have gained a reputation for being a power army.

Ok, I have praised the army book for it's flexibility - which was inevitable with the removal of the pointless limitations - and I am certainly very happy with the army now, compared to what it was. But honestly, people really need to get things into perspective.

Take for instance the claim about the Leadbelchers being better at shooting than Wood Elves.

6 Leadbelchers have the same footprint as 24 Glade Guard. Both can move and shoot, both have strength 4 shooting. Yet the Wood Elves have BS 4 against the Leadbelcher's 3. The Leadbelchers tactical footprint is more easier to manouvre, and have all figures fire. However the Glade Guard will always get 24 shots. The Leadbelchers will get between 6 and 36. Yes you get a unit that can also fight but the fighting is irrelevant to the arguement is about shooting.

Are they really comparable?

I'm not going to criticise either unit, but it's apples and pears. Particularly when all of the units they are compared to are core, and the Leadelchers are Special. Which implies they are elite.

The primary targets for the hysterical haters are Deathfist, Hellheart, double Ironblaster, and 3 units of 4 Mournfang.

Yes it is pretty scarey.

Add when you add the core, and keeping in mind the two characters are naked bar the itmes needed to do the tricks, this army is going to be easily over 2000 points. You will maybe get a BSB, some chaff and another unit. Maybe you will get lucky - and luck will play a big part in the game - and not get shafted by the current Shadow magic meta. But honestly is this so scarey?

If this were any other army maybe people would have a case, as the chances are you would be able to pack in all these toys and still have a sizable army.

But with Ogres, you have to take a hard decision, take one - maybe two - and try to make them work.

It is already comped.


Monday, 19 December 2011

Back in the Saddle

I've done some more work on the Mournfangs...

Cue picture...

It took me ages to work out why they all have patches of bare flesh on the shoulders. It was only when I was skimming through the book that I noticed that the Ogre control them by hitting them with their clubs.

I have been thinking about yesterday's game.

As I said yesterday, it was one of the best games I have played in ages. Perhaps the cynical might suggest that it was because I was on the winning side. And partly that may be true, if one considers the way in which we won. But frankly, I am less concerned by the out come. My enjoyment was that the game had the feel, imo, of what a Napoleonic battle should be.

But ultimately it was a game that was played in the gentlemanly manner suggested by the rules. Which is good, as wargaming can all too easily get far too serious and competative. Maybe it is the inbuilt friction of the rules which helps.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Clearing the Way to Salamanca

And so I dragged myself out of bed and into the bleak midwinter for a Napoleonic battle.

I'm glad I did as it was one of the most enjoyable games I have played in many a long year - even if I did nearly get frostbite waiting outside the hall because no one had the key.

Cue blurry photo...

The French side had three infantry brigades of 4 battalions, a cavalry brigade of 4 squadrons, and an artillery brigade of 3 batteries. Opposing this was an Allied army, which I estimate was two infanty brigades with an artillery battery, and a small cavalry brigade of two squadrons. The British brigade also had two sections of Riflemen.

The British were commanded by two players, while there were three on the French side.

I'll admit that I haven't looked at the Black Powder rules in ages, but from my previous experience with the rules I was clear about one thing, that at all costs the Allied Cavalry had to be contained, if the French infantry were to advance.

The game was played on a 6' by 8' table, lengthways. The orders we, the French commanders, were given was that we had to drive the British from the river and to proceed down the road towards Salamanca (or some such place). At least I think these were the orders, as we only gave them a cursory glance, as we realised that we were attacking, and spent the planning stage discussing how were were going to contain the Allied cavalry.

The tactical problem we had, was that the centre of the line was divided by hedged fields, which effectively meant that the two wings of the French army would have to act independently.

I was commanding one infantry brigade and the cavalry.

The plan we came up with was that I should fight a defensive action on the right flank with the infantry, to tie down Allied left, while the 2 remaining infantry brigades pushed down the road to force a crossing of the river. The artillery brigade was deployed in the centre. As was the cavalry, which was to act in support of both flanks, with the priority that they engage and drive off the Allied cavalry.

My infantry formed a brigade line in a wood on the right flank, drawn up in mixed columns with lines of skirmishers out in front, in true revolutionary French fashion. On the left the two other commanders opted for a formation of two battalions drawn up in line, with a battalion in column on each flank forming a brigade box. The artillery deployed in a line. And the cavalry in a brigade column on the right of the artillery, flanking my infantry brigade.

At which point came the first surprise - which on reflection was not that surprising - Riflemen took position in the hedges in the centre. I wasn't expecting the allies to deploy across the river. Then came the second surprise, the Allied cavalry also deployed across the river, directly in front of my infantry.

The remainder of the Allied army, drew up in a line along the length of the river bank, with meagre reserves behind to plug the gaps as and when needed.

And so the battle commenced.

One the left the leading French brigade failed to issue orders and did nothing. The supporting Guard's brigade, having nothing to support did nothing. The artillery held it's ground in order to fire on the Rifles in the hedges. Which meant it was over to me on the right.

The cavalry rolled forward, got two orders, formed a line to face off against the threat from the Allied cavalry, with the Hussars angled to charge the Rifles in the hedges.

This created a bit of problem, as the cavalry were now positioned in front of the infantry, seriously restricting their movement. As the plan called for me fighting a defensive action, I threw one infantry battalion foward and formed square on the flank of the cavalry. A second battalion attempted to do the same to the rear of the cavalry, but only had enough orders to move foward.

There was much merriment on the Allied side at this percieved over reaction to facing a mere two squadrons of cavalry, Light Dragoons and Spanish Hussars.

In the firing phase the artillery opened up on the Rifles and managed to disorder them.

In the Allied turn the British Dragoons did what British cavalry does - it advanced with all haste toward my lines. While the Spanish Hussars did what Spanish cavalry does - it retreated back across the river. Questa failed to give orders. In exasperation the British C in C - Wellsley - raced across the battlefield to lead a Spanish battalion from it's position in the centre, over to support the Guards brigade on the right, which would be seriously under pressure if the French left could be shaken from it's lethary; the French on that flank out numbering the British 2-1.

The French Cin C, Junot, was given a special rule for the battle. At the start of each turn a dice was rolled, the result of which meant that he would either act as an inspiring leader, have no influence, or a dithering fool.

On turn two he rolled a 6, and all French commands gained an extra two command points.

The result of which was that the left flank kicked into gear and shot down the road. Both the lead brigade and the Guards moved three feet towards the British line. The Thin Red line suddenly looked very thin indeed. The artillery manhandled their guns forward to close with the Rifles cowering in the hedges.

Now all that remained was for the cavalry to deliver the coup de main against the plucky British Light Dragoons and the right flank could join their brothers on the advance. Unfortunately there was a mix up in the orders, meaning that the cavalry did nothing - perhaps they sipped a little brandy and smoked cigars who can say? The problem was that the failure of the Dragoons to charge, also meant that the Hussars could not drive in the Rifles picketted in the hedges.

On the plus side because the cavalry hadn't moved, the Infantry could move through them. Which three battalions did, and formed into squares to protect the indolent cavalry. The fourth battalion moved to face off against the Rifles.

At this point there was a rather fortuitious occurance.

Two of the squares managed to shoot at and disorder the Light Dragoons. This meant that the Dragoons were effectively pinned, being able neither to charge or retire on their turn.

Likewise the artillery pounded the Rifles in the hedgerows, and again forced them into disorder, meaning they were pinned.

The rapid advance of the French left against the British Guards brigade, led to some rather curious manouvres on the Allied side. The Spanish Hussars, instead of coming to the aid of their stricken comrades, heading toward the British left flank. Questa again failed to give orders. And Wellsley was forced to intervene to lead the Spanish Battalion to a poistion supporting the British lines. Taking the place of a British battlion which was committed to the furthest most point of the Allied right flank to ensure the French did not make an unopposed crossing of the river.

In the firing phase the British artillery opened up on the rapidly advancing French left wing, and missed. Again the Rifles proved ineffective in the centre. Though musketry from the Foot Guards did force a disorder on the right hand column of the leading French Brigade, stopping it from charging.

From the moment the battle opened, the commander of the leading French brigade had been urging anyone who would listen to 'throw them in' - they don't like it up them, if you will. And despite only having one column in a position to do so - the other being unable because of disorder - he threw them into the river in an attempt to throw the Highlanders back from their defensive positions. Unfortunately the column became mired in the crossing and only made it half way, leaving themselves dangerously exposed to Allied fire.

There was a brief exchange of views between the French commanders, with myself urging the commander of the Guard to move through the leading Brigade, but the Guard commander, wisely as it turned out, deciding to keep to his prefered option of supporting the attack.

On the right wing the Dragoons finally understood their orders and charged the British Light Dragoons. However the Hussars were clearly having problems with the order to charge the Riflemen in the hedgerow - "What Riflemen". And so it was left to the PBI to flush them from their hiding places.

The rest of the infantry remained in square, and in their previous positions, as I wanted to ensure that if the cavalry combat went awry, I could keep the British cavalry boxed in.

The problem for the artillery in the centre was that they were now left with very few targets, thus they began moving forward to support the left flank and try to get an aim on the Allied line.

The shooting phase was largely uneventful.

Which left the cavalry battle between the French Dragoons and the British Light Dragoons. It was a tight battle with the French narrowly coming out on top, forcing the British to retreat to the river. The French pursued, and this time resoundlingly defeated the British, who turned and fled the battle. The French them rallied back, bloodied, but victorious. The way was now open for the infantry assualt the Spanish and Portugese left flank.

The Allied response was swift and bloody.

The Spanish Hussars stooped their redeployment to the right flank and took up a position offering rear support to the Portugese line infantry.

The situation facing the French left was that they had advanced into an enfiladed position. They were drawing fire from four line battalions on the river bank, a battery of guns, and a section of Riflemen in the hedgerow.

Thus the battalion which had got stuck in the river was destroyed by musket fire. The column on the right of the battalion, which had previously been disordered, was shaken and forced to retreat, and the foward line of the central battalion was disordered, preventing the second line battalion from stepping through and engaging the enemy.

In short the brigade was on the point of shattering.

On the right flank the only thing of note was that the Spanish battery fired on one of the squares and inflicted wounds.

The battle had swung in favour of the Allies.

Again the French commanders had a discussion. The commander of the leading brigade was still calling for the bayonet, but couldn't do anything as his two line battalions were pinned on the river bank in disorder and his other battalion was fleeing with Junot in hot pursuit trying to rally them. I tried to impress on the Guard commander the urgency of the situation, and that he must move through the shattered brigade and at least cover it, to save it from destruction. The Guard commander was understandably cautious, having witnessed the deadly fire of the previous turn... and let's face it, it is easy for me to urge this bold self sacrifice, as they are not my troops being killed.

He decides to adopt the bold approach, and the dice gods are in his favour. He gets the necessary command points to put his left hand column into the Highlanders, and his right hand column into the Foot Guards. Plus he manages to get the two line battalions through the leading brigade and into a position to fire on the artillery battery deployed between the two.

The Hussars finally get moving in the centre, and relieve the pressure on the left flank, by chasing the Rifles from their enfilading position, and back across the river. In doing so they also force a Portugese battalion to form square. Unable to continue further the Huassars retire back to the safety of the hedgerows.

The rest of the cavalry moves forward to positions from which they can support the infantry and stop the Spanish Hussars from coming back across the river.

I am now faced with a tough decision. I have an infantry unit in the hedgerow that is beyond my normal command distance, and three battalion formed up in square. I need the infantry in the hedgerow to drive off the riflemen - the only allied troops on that side of the river - but if I fail to issue an order, then I am left with three infantry units in square, under artillery fire, and an attack that has stalled.

I opt to drive off the Riflemen first, and manage to get the order off. They flee back across the river. I also manage to get two of the three battalions formed up in mixed column and marching towards the Spanish and Portugese on the other side of the river. The other unit fails it's orders and remains in square.

The artillery continues to move forward in a search for targets, by a combination of limbering up and manhandling.

At Junot's insistence, the panicked remnants of the leading brigade's column rallies, and due to the invention of the Guard brigade stepping in to shiled them from fire, the lead briigade is operational once more.

Again the French fire is less than impressive.

And so to the combat.

The fight between the Guards and the Highlanders is an epic. Both sides slaughter each other without mercy, but in the end a combination of the Highlanders having the advatage of height from the river bank and slightly better saving throws, means that they win the day. The resulting throw is pitiful and the guard column disintegrates into a mass of bodies floating in the river, with the odd survivor scrambling back across the river and fleeing for safety. However the Highlanders have paid a heavy price, being shaken and disordered.

Elsewhere the fight between the French Guards and the Foot Guards, is much closer. The French win the fight but the Foot Guards are made of stern stuff, and stand their ground to fight another round.

And so to the Allied turn.

The Riflemen who have been chased back across the river move to support the British Guard's brigade. The Spanish/Portugese brigade, as yet largely untouched, hold their ground and prepare to drive off my assualt.

In the shooting phase the Guards continue to inflict casualties on the Guard brigade, disordering the leading line battalion in addition. On my right the mixed columns do their job. The skirmishers are driven in from one of them by artillery fire, which also inflicts casualties, And disordering the other unit that is in a position to charge.

Again the combat with the Foot Guards proves inconclusive. This time the French lose the combat, but it their turn to show their worth.

With the leading brigade now back in action, but their path to the river blocked by the disordered Guard, they are forced to manourve around their comrades, and take up a position threatening the battlion on the extreme right of the Allied line and the shaken Highlanders. In theory this will give the brigade an advantage of 3-2, but is reliant on the the Guard holding under whithering fire from the artillery.

The Guard hold their position, something in part forced upon them by the inconclusive fighting with the Foot Guards.

I decide to take some bold action with my cavalry.

The victors of the encounter with the Light Dragoons, having rallied, are ordered to charge the Portugese battalion to the left of the Foot Guards. My intention is to drive them into square to make it easier for the infantry to assualt. But the Quesada calls my bluff and the Portugese declare they will take the charge in line formation and take the opportunity to fire.

The Cuirassiers are ordered to charge against the Portugese battalion on the extreme left of the Spanish line, they form square and the cavalry fall back. The Dragoons move up along side the Cuirassier. However the Hussars in the hedgerow fail to charge the Foot Guard, and do nothing.

The chance to charge infantry in square with infantry in column is to good an opportunity to pass up. So I order the charge, but the infantry get bogged down in the river and fail to make it.

Elsewhere, the artillery continue to move up and seek targets of opportunity.

Having seen the battle swing away from them, the action reaches it's critical moment. Though at the time I doubt any of the French commanders thought so.

In the shooting phase the shaken Highlanders had their morale broken and were forced to fall back.

The battle between the Guard and the Foot Guards reached it's conclusion with the destruction of the French battalion. The Dragoons were driven back by the Portugese infantry, despite wining the combat because of the resolve of the infantry.

In all these cases, there was a sense of moral victory for the French, yet apart from the gap left by the Highlanders, still the Allied line was continuous along the river back, and still it had flank and rear supports to offer bonuses in combats, against what would by necessity be increasingly piece meal attacks.

And this sense was only increased during the allied turn when musketry and grapeshot shook one of the two remaining units of the Guard brigade, and the unfortunate column that had failed to cross the river to engage the Portugese square.

And so we reach turn six.

The tactical situation from the French p.o.v is this.

The lead brigade is moving out to the extreme left of the French line, it is hinged on the shattered remnants of the Guard. The Guard have to take a leadership test, which - vive l'Emperor - they pass, or they are shattered and have to retreat.

The artillery after moving around like the Israelites in the desert trying to get a line of sight around the hedgerows, now has two batteries in position to fire, with a third possibly being in position in the centre depending on charges.

The cavalry have one shaken unit of Dragoons. One unit of Dragoons and the Cuirassiers are in a decent position to force the infantry to form square. The Hussars, in the centre, are in a similar position. However the command is strung out making it not easy to give commands or co ordinate the attacks.

My infantry have one shaken unit. And of the other three units, all have taken casualties. And like the cavalry it will be a lottery as to whether I can get them all to do what I want.

Junot does not help matters, by rolling neutrally on his influence. It is worth bearing in mind that Junot has only influenced the battle on this roll once, when he gave +2 to command and allowed the left wing to rapidly advance.

In short, in my opinion, the French have fought well but ultimately we have come on in the same old way and been off in the same old way.

True to form the commander of the lead brigade gives his orders. The column, which having rallied is on the verge of being shaken, charge the Guard infantry across the river. The two remianing units mve around to offer fire support.

A quick note. The Allied commanders are exceptionally cheerful. I realise that time is getting on, and no doubt the game will be called at this end of this turn if the assualts don't gain leverage - it is the last game still running, people have increasingly become involved in chit chat, etc.

But still....

And so it is the turn of the Guard commander.

He has saved his command from breaking. He has two units left, one of which is shaken. He has already stated, and I agree with him, that firing is as effective as combat. And so he starts to issue his orders. The shaken unit will hold it's ground and shoot. The Allied commanders and various bystanders begin to jeer - come on be bold. At which point he and I have a little conflab. Though why he would listen to me, after having advised him earlier on a course of action that lead to the almost destruction of his command...

"What about if you form the Old Guard into column? And charge the Foot Guard? They're disordered and shaken. It'll take three command points."

I like him. He is a cautious commander. He is like me, he likes to play the game at his own speed and in his own way. But more importantly he has sacrificed his command and in doing so he has paved the way for this one last desperate act. Go on... please... pretty please....

He rolls the dice, he gets three command points.

We've lost but we're in.

He doesn't even move the troops, the Allied commander does it for him.

As for myself, I put in a couple of charges, the infantry who have been lurking in the hedgerow charge the Portugese who drove off the Dragoons. The infantry who were disordered but used their mates as a meatshieild pile in on the extreme right.

It don't matter we've lost.


The battery in the centre fires grapeshot at the Portugese line infantry, who had been shaken by the Dragoons. Two hits. No saves. Roll the dice. 5. They are off.

By this time I have been in and out for a fag, having a cup of tea, chatting with a few people, I'm not really up with what is happening in the game. I barely notice that the Duke of Wellington is with them. A quick bit of searching through the rules to see if he is killed by the grapeshot. Nope. He is running with the Portugese.

Much merriment.

Lead battalion in on the Guard. Many hits, no saves. Guard against Lead battalion, few hits, many saves.

My combats.... see above.

Oh btw, says the Allied commander, who had set up the game and designed the scenerio, on turn six British reinforcements arrive under the direct command of Wellsley behind French lines, but as he is not on the table they don't arrive.

The Allied line is to all intents and purposes - smashed.

I have enough troops, and of the right type to roll it up.

Game over.

The French win.

Cue random picture....

Perhaps those on the other side of the river might disagree with some of the specifics of the narrative - meh that's what history is all about.

It was certainly a damned close run thing.

It was certainly an epic game that justified the time and effort put into painting the figures.

Well worth traipsing out on a winter morning.


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Raaa Raaa

I've been working on the Mournfangs...

Cue photo...

They need the detail adding.


It's off to the club again tomorrow for a game of Napoleonics.

Time to dust of the French,


Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Mournfang Threat

The new episode of Bad Dice has an Ogre Review.

What struck me was the divergence of opinion between the Ogre player and the others on the issue of the Mournfang cavalry.

I am not saying the unit is not good, and tounament results would indicate that 3 units of Mounfang is a winning combination. But, if it is as good as the chicken lickens would have people believe the meta will change, and ways will be found to overcome Mournfangs.

The lore of Metal was one suggestion.

Which made me wonder why Mournfangs should provoke this change when Chaos Knights and Stanks have not?


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Friction and the God Complex

I listened to Meeples and Minaitures today.

They had a very interesting interview with Richard Clarke from Too Fat Lardies.

He clearly does a great deal of research for his rulesets. I was particularly struck by the observation that the type of wheat grown in Normandy in 1944, would have allowed a tank to adopt a hull down position within the field. He gleaned this by attending an agricultural exhibition.

In itself it is a minor point.

But I have often come across situations when playing wargames that people will say things like, 'that bog shouldn't slow my troops down,' or 'there is no way that I can't see through that wood,' etc. Indeed it is a common sentiment that terrain should just be ignored.

But then much of the friction of war is ignored by wargamers, if it stops them doing exactly what they what when they want.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Hu, hu...

It seems the missus has been gossiping at the school gates.

Yesterday I went to the eldest's nativity play, and afterwards this bloke, who I vaguely recognise came up and introduced himself, and said that he had heard I was a wargamer. It turns out the area is somewhat of a hotbed of wargamers. And we agreed to meet up and have a game... yadda yadda...

What amused me was the curl of the lip that greeted my admission that I played Warhammer.

And to be fair it was the same lip curl I used to give back in the day when I was a hard core historical gamer. So it's nice that some things don't change.


I have been putting together the Ogre toys I got at the weekend. The Mournfang are a bit weird looking. I'm not saying that I don't like the kit, it's just the head and tusks are a bit... well weird. The Ironblaster on the other hand is the dogs doodah. The last time I saw a model kit that excited me this much was probably the Aurora Banana Splits buggy back in the seventies... or maybe the Airfix 1/32nd Bamboo house.

BOOOOOOOM, hu, hu...

The Ogre FAQ, after the intial row, has kind of settled down. The chicken licken in me can't believe that the Deathfist won't be FAQ'd to exclude magic. Yet despite the best efforts of the rule lawyers to define the word 'hits' as singular, and people getting confused with the idea that the Greedy Fist is not a melee weapon but a talisman, which is why you can use it for 'ranged attack' when they can't use a magic sword, it appears that it is just accepted that Ogres can do this.

However, what surprises me is the snootiness and general nuttiness of those that argue that Death is not a good Lore for the Ogres, and that the Maw is better.

Quite how they can know this is not clear to me. The book has been out for two months people are just getting used to playing with it, and experimenting with the new lores. So for anyone to make these assumptions is pretty daft.

The Lore of the Maw is fine. But I do wonder if there was not the restriction meaning that one Butcher in the army had to have it, any Ogre player would take it. Beasts does what the Maw does but cheaper. If you are running a shooty army Heavens is better. And Death, especially with the Fist, allows Ogres to join the meta game of the big spell - I realise the big spell of the Maw is pretty similar to Purple Sun, but it is not in the same league.

My guess is that those that advocate the Maw and the no armour on the Butcher ruling, are doing so because they keep the Ogres more controllable. At the moment the 'big' spell to stop is regen, I rather like the idea of people letting regen go because they want to save their dice and scroll to stop their mage being FISTED, hu, hu...

The Butcher restriction is no where near as annoying as the pointless restrictions of the old book, but it would be nice if the designer would just let Ogres build the army they want.


Monday, 12 December 2011

Ogres Cheer as Jervis Errs

The Ogre FAQ has arrived.

And the internut has gone slightly nuts.

Firstly on account of this late insertion into the FAQ by Jervis Johnson...

"Designers Note: I have to hold my hands up for not spotting that
allowing a Butcher or Slaughtermaster to take an ironfist, would also
allow them to take magic armour. Allowing them access to magic
armour certainly wasn’t my intention, and it’s something we’ll
certainly fix when we do the next edition of the Ogre Kingdoms army
book. However, after much debate, we’ve decided that it does not
give the Ogres an unfair advantage, so we’ve decided to leave the
rule as it is written for the time being. That said, I’d personally
recommend that you avoid giving your Butchers and
Slaughtermasters magic armour – doing otherwise goes against the
spirit, if not the letter, of the rule."

Ok armoured Slaughtermasters are perhaps not very fluffy, but then Ogre armies without a Tyrant are not very fluffy either, and there are plenty of those around these days.

It remains to be seen if the change is made in the next book.

The other change is that the Greedy Fist can be used for ranged attacks.

Which instantly sent people in search of ways to exploit this. And rather than reaching the conclusion that the designer would perhaps of intended us to reach, that it should be given to the Hunter, the preferred conclusion was to give the Slaughtermaster Death Magic to target and castrate the enemy mages.

If this was the intention then it is a great way to balance out the armies. Ogres are particularly vulnerable to Purple Sun and Pit of Shades, so, it may be argued, that to give them some powerful anti-magic is sensible. But let's face it, Jervis has already admitted that he made a cock up in giving Butcher a +6 armour save, how likely is it that he really thought this through?

The result is that the rush is on to find the best way to incorporate DeathFist/Hellheart and a scroll into lists.

Stand by for outraged sewer dwellers arguing about comp.

As for the notion that Ogre players should play to the spirit of the rules, I find it rather laughable. For years they have played an army that was hamstrung by the pointless limitations within the army book, facing armies with that smashed them in the magic phase, with shooting that was as likely to kill them as the enemy, why shouldn't Ogre players finally get the chance to play like everyone else?


After yesterday's game I had a chat with a competative player, who is in the process of building an Ogre army. And I was struck by his observation that the new toys are great, but the strength of the army lies in the units they have always had.

This is something that people have overlooked when raging about Ogres being the new bandwagon, having overpowered items etc.

I have certainly took this approach when considering lists. Essentially my thinking is twofold, how do I keep my core infantry alive, in strength, to get them into combat turn 3? And how to keep the characters alive. The best way in my opinion is to use the toys and chaff as distraction. Obviously in yesterday's game, an Ironblaster or two would have been useful in getting rid of the Bell, which would have saved me three rounds of combat.

We will have to see how this all plays out.

Amusingly, I noticed the ultimate bandwagon jumper netlisters I know is moaning that the Ogres are a bandwagon he missed jumping.


btw - I was very pleased to note that the lists the other player is working on, whilst having similarity to my own, are also sufficiently different to show the variety and strength within the Ogre book. Instead of Jervis complaining about his percieved error, he should be patting himself on the back for not only producing a well balanced book, but improving it in the FAQ.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Battle of Kraken Plains

Had a game today...

Cue blurry photo....

It was 2400, Ogres vs Skaven.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was not overly confident going into the game as I didn't have the toys to deal with the Bell, double A bomb, and was rather worried that I would get stuck in giant blocks of saves and ground out. Let's put it this way, the army I have at present is really only a flexible base for the army I would like to have. And the army I was imagining facing, was the army I would build.


My concern was not alleviated when I looked at the rather small number of figures I had, as I went for a fag leaving my opponent to rank up his massed hordes.

To be honest the army I ended up facing wasn't the army I was expecting - 2*30 clanrats, 30 Stormvermin, 30 slaves, 50 clanrats with the bell - some had weapons teams, some didn't, a warp lightening cannon and an abomb. I noticed his list included jezzails but they never appeared on the table, I decided against mentioned it. He had four characters, 2 mages, a BSB and a combat chap.

So basically he had 5 blocks to my 3.

The battlefield had two woods, kind of in the middle of the table, two hills, one in each deployment zone and a large ruined tower in the right hand side of my deployment. We didn't role for scenario.

I get to deploy first, so I set down 10 gnoblar trappers on the 12" line anchored on the right hand wood. He sets down the cannon on the hill. I set down some more gnoblar trappers next to the first. He sets down the slaves opposite the first trapper unit. I set down some more trappers, he gets bored with deployment sets up his whole army so that the Abomb is on his extreme right supported by a block of rats, and it is fairly obvious that the rest of the army is intending to advance between the two woods.

So I line up my sniping Maneaters in front of the Bell, my leadbelchers with the Firebelly on my extreme left opposite the Abomb, and deploy the bulls and Ironguts on the left in a refused flank.

And because we haven't gone through deployment correctly, and because neither off us can be bothered to work out who would have finished deploying first, we dice for it... I win.... you bet I'll go first.

Turn 1

I push my mobile minfields - sorry gnoblars - foward. Move the Maneaters forward a bit. Move the Leadbelchers foward a bit. And kind of jiggle the bulls and ironguts so that they threaten the block supporting the Abomb and offer a face to the block with the bell, while moving away from the rest of the army, whilst maintaining the protection of the wood to block LoS to the cannon.

I throw a fireball at the Abomb, it gets dispelled. I throw braingobbler at the block supporting it, it gets dispelled. He now has no dispel dice left to block my casting Flaming Sword on the Leadbelchers.

The leadbelchers then roll 17 shots, 12 of them hit, 10 of them wound, and the Abomb disappears. My opponent is not pleased. He says that he should have used his dispel scroll. I keep my counsel as to the wisdom of going through the deployment phase correctly. The Maneaters snipe at the Grey Seer, get a couple of wounds but the ward saves cancel them out.

His line rumbles foward, in the way I predicted. The main line pushes through the gap between the woods toward my mobile minefields - sorry gnoblars - the block that was supporting the Abomb flanks around the woods. In the magic phase he tries to cast a template spell from the Grey Seer onto the gnoblars, it would have hit 4 of them, if it kills two and forces a panic check my minefields might be a little too mobile for my liking - rerollable leadership 5 is not great, especially when the other two units will be testing without a reroll. I decide to take a risk. I have Hellheart and because no spells have as yet been cast, I ask him if it is OK to use. He says yes. I need a 4, roll a 1. Hellheart is 50 points wasted (BUT IT'S OVERPOWERED AND TOTALLY BROKEN... WAH!!!!). So he rolls for the spell, gets like an 11 on two dice. He still has a lot of dice left in the magic phase, and I really don't want this spell to go off. So I scroll it. He is surprised at this, I grin and bear during the comments about it only a rubbish sell and a waste of a scroll etc - and keep my mouth shut about why I don't want him to cast it. There's a bit more magic, he gives poison attacks to a unit I recall and I throw a lot of dice at another spell and stop it.

His cannon fires and misses, and the weapon team attached to the unit that was supporting the Abomb misfires, kills itself and a couple of the parent unit.

Turn 2

I roll for ambush and both Gorgers decide they are hungry and come onto the table. In the movement phase one of them runs towards the cannon and the other runs towards the increasingly isolated clanrats who were supporting the Abomb.

The gnoblars move into range for throwing things, the Maneaters redeploy slightly to keep them 13" from the Bell. The leadbelchers move to angle themselves on the flank of the isolated clanrats, and the bulls and ironguts do a little dance to bring one unit of Bulls and the Ironguts into a good charging position on the horde with the Bell, and the other unit of Bulls into a position threatening the isolated clanrats.

The magic phase is pretty much a non event. In the shooting the gnoblars chuck stuff at various targets, taking the odd figure off here and there. The leadbelchers open up on the isolated clanrats. After there pinpoint display of marksmanship against the Abomb, the law of averages kick in, and they manage to kill bugger all - in fact I think they may well have killed nothing. Oh and the Maneaters finally find a way past the Grey Seers ward save and inflict a wound.

The Skaven them charge the 3 units of gnoblars with the slaves, the stormvermin and the horde with the Bell. Buckets of dice get thrown and each unit loses maybe a few figures. The fight between the gnoblars and the slaves is real handbags stuff, with the gnoblars actually killing more, but losing on everything else. They flee, the slaves run after them and catch them. The Stormvermin simply wipe the gnoblars out. But crucially the gnoblars fighting the horde and the Bell manage to keep two of them alive, which then break and he pursues.

There was some magic and shooting in the Skaven turn but it didn't amount to much.

Oh the other thing of note is that the isolated clanrat unit on his right turns to face the onrushing Gorger - turning it's back on the Leadbelchers and the Bulls.

Turn 3

The pursuit by the Horde with Bell created a situation in which my cautious fiddling in the previous two turns has paid off, because I can now get the Bulls into the flank and the Ironguts in the front. And what's better is that when I roll for charges, both units are Bull Charging. One Gorger piles into the warp lightening cannon. The other restrains himself and performs a little street mime to entertain the isolated clanrats, while the leadbelchers reload behind them.

After reloading the Leadbelchers move closer to the rear of the isolated clanrats in order that the Firebelly can belch on them should it be required. The Maneaters do a little shuffling about to keep a decorous distance between themselves and the newly victorious Stormvermin.

Not much happens in the magic phase. I think I tried to get stubborn on the Bulls and may have thrown a fireball at the isolated clanrats. Not that it matters because in the shooting phase the Leadbelchers had readjusted their sights. At the time they fired there were 28 rats in the unit. When the smoke cleared, there were 16. The Firebelly then spat the magnamised (c) contents of his guts over them and killed 8 of them. 'Merde' they squeaked and legged it into the warrp lightening cannon and died.

And so to combat.

The Gorger left the Warp Lightening crew with a single wound.

The Bulls killed 7 from impact hits, the Iron Guts killed 6. They then leaned on their swords while the Skaven used their superior iniative to pound on the gut plates of the the Iron Guts to inflict 2 wounds. The Ogres then struck back and killed 15 more. They then stomped another 5 to death. To give a grand total of 33 killed, versus 2 wounds recieved. "WADOOMIO" cried the Ogre general, "unbreakable" spake the Skaven.

It was at this point that what may very well of been the critical moment of the battle occured. The Stormvermin declared a charge on the Maneaters. The Maneaters stood and fired, the Stormvermin failed the charge. I say critical because I have a big block of Ironguts locked in combat with an unbreakable unit, and they have to chop to bits the Bell if they are to free themselves from the combat. The last thing I need is for the Stormvermin to come in the flank, especially when he also has a unit of slaves and another lot of clanrats coming in as well.

In the magic phase the mage with slaves got Cracks Call off on the Maneaters irresis... iressis... and had to roll on the miscast table. He managed to kill one of them. But lost three magic levels in the process. The two remaining Maneaters held.

And so it was chop chop time. The Gorger ate the cannon crew. The Skaven in what remained of the horde, with the help of the bellringing Rat Ogre, managed to kill an Iron Gut. In return the Ogres killed off the remaining Skaven, and cursed the ward save on the Bell, as for all their chop chopping, and bash bashing, they managed to inflict but a single wound.

Turn 4 + 5

To cut a long story short. The Bell was finally destryed and the Ironguts reformed to face the danger on their flank. The Maneaters tried a bit more sniping, but without success. The gorgers and the as yet unengaged Bulls moved a bit, the Bulls swinging round to come into position on the Ironguts right flank. The Leadbelchers also moved.

The Stormvermin charged the Maneaters, beat them and forced them to flee off the board. They reformed to face the Ironguts.

At this point the ogre general was heard to mutter a most ungentlemanly expletive, as the situation was such that the Ironguts would have to charge the Stormvermin alone, the Bulls would have to charge the remaining clanrats with gorgers coming in on the flank. The Leadbelchers would have no targets, and the unused Bulls come do no more that move into a position to protect the Ironguts flank from the slaves.

I needn't have worried, as the Bulls and Gorgers virtually wiped out and ran down the clanrats. And the Ironguts made short work of the stormvermin, killing half of them in the process, at the cost of 2 wounds that took one of the Ironguts over the limit and onto the after battle bar-b-que - and running down the rest.

It was at this point that the Skaven player conceded.

I lost the Maneaters, 3 units of gnoblar trappers, and 2 Ironguts. He had remaining 20 something slaves and a mage who had forgotten everything he knew about magic.

As Bruce Forsyth would say, good game.

Yeah we played fast and loose with the rules a bit, but no matter.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Fighting One Handed

I have arranged a game at the local club for tomorrow.... WOOT.

And it is a double WOOT, as my Ogre toys arrived today; four Mournfangs, two Ironblasters, and a Butcher.

Being an old school player, they will not be seeing action tomorrow as I have standards, and playing with unpainted models is a no, no, in my book. Another annoyance was that the Finecast Butcher was perfect, not a single blemish... I suppose I could complain and get another one, but... as I say I have standards.

It was interesting to see the Finecast version of a model that I already own in metal. And it does have to be said that the detail is crisper, and more defined.

So I spent the afternoon glueing together the Mournfangs, with the 'help' of my three year old. The kit is really nice, even if the feet are rather confusing to fit on the legs. In two hours, we managed to get two mournfangs and one rider built... three year olds don't really understand the concept of not squeezing the tube of glue, and we swept quite a bit of time crawling around under the table searching for various bits which fell off the model due to 'play'. Still it was a fun way to spent a couple of hours - even if he did then beat me at Frustration... grrrrrrr.

Tomorrows game is against Skaven.

I have cobbled together a list with a level 4 as the general, who will be bunkered in a 10 strong unit of Iron Guts carring the banner of swiftness, and hopefully protected by the BSB carrying the Rune Maw. It will perhaps not surprise you that I have given the Level 4 Hellheart.

This unit is supported by two units of 6 Bulls, some sniping Maneaters and a unit of 4 Leadbelchers, and a Firebelly, with three units of trapper gnoblars providing the chaff.

Oh and two Gorgers are lurking on the sidelines.

Yeah not a great list, but it is what I have painted, and I want just want to see how they play.

Frankly I have no real plan.

We shall see.


Friday, 9 December 2011

It'll Soon Be Christmas

Don't tell my eldest lad...

But I know that he and mummy bought me Island of Blood today.

He's only three and he had clearly been told not to say anything to daddy about the present. When he got back from shopping he burst in, in his usual fashion, and announced that he hadn't bought any soldiers because they were too expensive. Under teasing questioning later, he refused to wilt. And despite displaying all the telltale signals of lying, he refused to admit that he had bought any soldiers.

According to the missus he was very proud to be buying daddies present. And very carefully carried the box - which is not much smaller than him - to the till. Where he informed the cashier, "this is my daddy's christmas present. It's full of soldiers."


While this cherubic scene was occuring, his younger brother was smearing his head with Sudocream....

Oh the joys of parenthood!


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Hello Sailor

I mentioned the other day that the missus is getting me Island of Blood, and that I intend to start a High Elf army.

Which means that I have been playing ebay roulette, and the first of the purchases arrived today - some Lothren Sea Guard.

In truth since I made the decision I have been wandering around running potential lists in my head, and I am rather excited at the prospect of starting a new army. I thought I'd go for a marine theme.

Ok I still have the Ogres to finish but yah know....

I have been wondering about the paint scheme. I think I am going to go for sky blue and purple.

God! I'm thinking about colour schemes...

The elves have tapped into my inner gay....


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Empire Expands

I notice Warlord have bought Immortal Miniatures.

It's obviously a sound move for Warlord as they continue to promote their Hail Ceasar ruleset. And if it means more plastic ancients figures, that this is good also.

Though I do find myself wondering how long the love affair with Warlord will last as they follow the business strategy of the embrionic Citadel/GW?

I noticed a sewer dweller suggesting that the new Rorke's Drift! battle set! (not sure why they need the exclamation marks) was designed to be used with Black Powder rules. Which made me wonder about the institutionalised nature of many gamers.

Obviously you could use the Black Powder rules for such an action but I'm pretty sure that you would be left cursing Warlord for selling you a £30 ruleset that was ill suited to the game.

Still if you are dumb enough to believe that you have to buy your rules and figures fromt he same company, then it is your look out.


Monday, 5 December 2011

Just Maybe....

I was rather amused to find a sewer dweller pondering on how the new Beastmen models might be improved.

The basic approach was to take all the existing rules for each of the models, change them to make them over powered, give each of them a ward save and cut the points cost of the model.


This got me thinking about what makes an army list.

From memory the WAB rulebook has a break down of how each figure is points costed. And I presume that there is a similar formula at GW for generating points costs within army books. Though at times it does seem rather arbitary.

The new Beastmen monsters are a case in point. No doubt there is a reason why they are 275 points, based on the atributes and special rules they have. And if one takes them in isolation, they may well have attributes and special rules that justify the cost.

However, where this falls down is that like all monsters they are vulnerable to cannon and to shooting, and in the context of the army there is nothing to create a problem for the opposing player when deciding target prioties... perhaps chariots, and maybe Minotaurs... but let's face it if you are sitting opposite a Beastman army with the new gribblies coming at you, and you have a cannon, you are going to shot the gribbly first. Which makes them pretty much worthless, regardless of how much they cost.

Which got me wondering if perhaps something else is going on in the design process.

Suppose that the designers have asked the question, how many Jabberslythe's are there in the Warhammer world? And based on that assessment, they then ask the further question, how likely is it that a Jabberslythe would be attached to an army?

In other words they are approaching the design from an angle more akin to how someone designing an historical army list would approach the task.

Obviously the Empire steam tank is a notable fly in the ointment of this thought exercise. The fluff tells us exactly how many of them there are in the world. And on that basis they should probably be costed in order that they only appeared in very high point games, Similar to the Slaughtermaster in the old Ogre book. In order to have one, you had to have a Tyrant, and that effectively meant that you had to be playing at over 3000 points in order to have a level 4 caster.

Are Slaughtermasters really more rare in the Warhammer World than Steam Tanks?

Perhaps they are. Or perhaps the designer was making a point that an Ogre army should be led by a Tyrant.... and no one bothered to point out that the Empire doesn't have a Panzer Division, or a plethora of Pope mobile's.

So perhaps the reason for the costing of the Beastman gribblies is that in fact they are not very common. And perhaps the reason Beastmen choose not to take them along when they go to battle, is because they are actually not very good, and tend to draw fire which means they get killed easily.

Ok it will not stop Beastman players wishlisting a 2+ ward save to shooting, and the ability to regenerate wounds for killing enemy troops with a menhir, or any of the other hairbrained new rules they were cooking up in the sewer. But it is surely a more healthy and rational approach to enjoying the hobby than grubbing around comparing models across army books.

Because let's face it. You can make your Beastman gribbly as badass as you want, but no one is going to play those rules, because in 9 out of 10 cases homecooked rules of this kind are designed for one reason, to make your army win.

Changing the subject....

The missus asked me what I wanted for Crimbo.

Which was odd because on the day she asked me, I happened to notice that Island of Blood was being sold at a knockdown price in a local shop. So providing we can get our act to together, and she gets her Kindle, I may very well be donning ladies knickers and starting a High Elf army.... yes I know I hate High Elves.... but hey! A lady can change her mind, and at my age I can justify support stockings on the grounds of health.


Friday, 2 December 2011

Hurrah For Dullness

Following on from yesterday's post about the Greek 'newspaper' kathimerini's attempt to stereotype and defame gamers, I am pleased to see that the story is steadily making it's way around the internet.

I was struck by this comment posted on the 122nd Cadian blog, which describes how the 'journalist' obtained the 'story'. It was posted by Moskitokiller:

"I was interviewed for that article and frankly, I was expecting some negative remarks but not that open aggression. I was surprised by the absolute stereotyping and the unjustified political labelling. The journalist and her assistant approached me while I was playing on the IC tournament. She knew my name and was very pressing. I said I am not interested, at least not on the spot. I was very reluctant for the interview and I received three calls before accepting, after we agreed that I would stay anonymous and that there won’t be any photos. From the very beginning I found myself defending the fluff and the community. There were some interesting discussions about science fiction and politics during the interview that lasted 2, 5 hours! Naturally, none of those were mentioned. Even though my name is not mentioned, I was portrayed as a confused individual with a mathematical mind that does not think! Yes baby, that’s me! An animal that can solve non-linear differential equations. And I am as far as anyone can be from right-wing extremism and fascism, as it can be certified by anyone that knows me personally.
To be fair though, I have to mention that the overall climate of the interview was friendly and even fun at some points."

For me, what makes this all the more surprising is that it indicates the lengths to which the 'journalist' and indeed the newspaper went to obtain the desired result.

In the dim and distant pass I wrote for a number of business magazines, and part of my job was to ring the CEO's of companies and interview them. Usually the interview would last between half an hour and an hour. And yeah, I admit that I went in with an agenda - since most of my articles were about ISO9000 and whether or not they used it. Occasionally something would come up in the interview, like when I interviewed the head of the Bus Service in Northern Ireland, that would take the story off in a new and interesting direction - in that case it was about the difficulties in managing a workforce when they were running a risk of being killed on duty.

The idea that these interviews took two and a half hours indicates two things to me. Firstly that the newspaper wanted a sensational story, and the only thing she could find was this spurious and fabricated Nazi angle, which I suspect was her equivilent of ISO9000, based on a cursory examination of a few websites and noticing the words race and war.

And secondly that wargamers are rather dull hobbyists, which is a good thing really. Because let's face it most mens hobby's are filled with jargon that is baffling to an outsider, and only really make sense to those engaged in the hobby.

Obviously there are jokey elements to the story, and many sewer dwellers have found much ribaldry in the article. And it is perhaps a sign that the hobby is moving more towards the mainstream - in the same way as video games - perhaps helped by the success of the Black Library novels, in particular the Horus Heresy series, that this 'journalist' decided to 'explore' the subject.

But it still doesn't excuse the behaviour of this journalist, or of the newspaper in choosing to run such a piece.

Those photographed and defamed as facists have every right to be offended.

And so should every right minded gamer.


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Greek 'Nazis' Make 'Journalist' Lose Elgin Marbles

All lesbians are hairy, boilersuit wearing, harridans.

Germans have no sense of humour, the French don't wash, the British have bad teeth (but great sweets) and Americans are fat and stoopid.

Oh and gamers....

Well if you are a Greek gamer the chances are that you are a Nazi... an introverted Nazi, who only goes out to talk with friends (Nazis) in cafes or houses, doesn't watch football or television, listens to foreign rock music and they are Nazis. Oh and did I mention that they are Nazis.

Well at least according to the article highlighted by 122nd Cadian blog, they are.

Daily Mail readers may well smell a rat... if the bankrupt Greeks can't get reparations out of the Germans, maybe, if they can get the epithet to stick, they can get money out of the enemy within and there minis will be confiscated and sold on ebay to keep the country in the Euro... well maybe not... but this resort to Godwin's law by the mainstream media is frankly silly.

And I realise that we have to allow for elements lost in translation...

"A large percentage of their population compared with their average number (5 out of the 15 interviewees) had some racist and xenophobic ideas and had been involved with the study of Nazi texts, including "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler."

Now excuse me... but a 'journalist' toddles along to 40k tournament to write an article on gamers. After a few polite questions about what is going on, did they paint the figures, how long have you played, they then ask if they have read Mein Kampf?

I've read two pages of Mein Kampf, and a couple of pages of Das Kapital, which makes me a liberal no doubt, and as a liberal I wonder about the racial views which follow...

"George, a mulatto (from a Greek father and a mother from impoverished Louisiana), one of the most intelligent and sincere kids we met, following the question if the game is "a bit" racist he replied: "It's very racist and in America (US) many gamers identify themselves with that racism. Moreover, Black Templars, that have the Iron Cross as a sign and their colours are black, white and red, are clearly Nazis""

Mulatto? Better not use words like that in the Premier League.... not that gamers watch football... but then better not tell the 'journalist' (or FIFA) that the Maltese football team have this same 'iron cross' on their badge because it is not the 'iron cross', it the cross of the Knight's Templar.... the clue is in the name... George might be intelligent and sincere, but he is not perhaps that reliable when it comes to indentifying Nazis (though no doubt this is evidence of Islamophobia).

But let's be fair to the piss poor 'journalist' 40k is extremely racist, as is Warhammer fantasy.

I can think of a number of races that I would like to commit genocide upon. And I am perfectly comfortable in expressing my racism - perhaps encouraged by reading two pages of Mein Kampf when I was 14 and studying the rise of Hitler for O level - that there are sub Ork/Ogre races... Eldar have proportionately smaller barians you know... and Skaven are just vermin, pure filfth and deserve to be wiped out....

I guess it remains to be seen if this nonsense provokes the kind of hysteria that surrounded D&D back in the 1980's.

Will the communists and trade unions switch from rioting outside the Greek parliament and start targeting garage games of 40k?

Of course if it leads to people giving grief to the numpty Flames of War players who think it's clever to have Das Reich patches on their Battlefoam bag then maybe it will have achieved something.

I suppose this is what happens when you stop journalists hacking celebrity phones, and send them out to find stories...


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Corrections and Clarifications

So following on from my post yesterday, after checking the rules it turns out that the Beastmen monsters don't have the ambush rule.

So yeah....

They are a bit rubbish really.

Though looking on the brightside, I am hopeful that the release of the kits will lead to Beastmen players buying them to paint, and then experimenting with them, and finding them useful.

Or failing that fielding them as cannon fodder for my Ironblasters.


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Beastmen Monsters? Best in the Game...

Still no sign of the Ogre FAQ.

I have sent my letter to Father Christmas, a couple of Ironblasters and a couple of boxes of Mournfang cavalry, so I should be in a position to start playing again in the new year when the models are painted - and to experiment with the list.

I managed to reign in a slight case of grey plastic fever provoked by the release of the new Beastmen monsters. Indeed the infection led me to crack open an excel workbook and fiddle around with a few lists. The fever subsided when I calculated the cost of the chariots I was proposing. Which led me to put off further exploration, until such time as a reasonably priced plastic kit came out - or I won the lottery.

Which is another way of saying I didn't think the monsters were that bad.

Or the beastmen in general, I was particularly impressed with the magic options. True there is a distinct lack of shooting in the army, and the leadership is pretty weak. But I found myself thinking that actually the monsters were pretty good, with the proviso that you can hide them early in the game.

Which led me to thinking that perhaps using the monsters as ambushers might be a good idea. For instance a Jabberslythe coming on late in a game near to units outside the BSB bubble would be very handy, making them take leadership tests and possibly run.

Now obviously the the counter to this is that to do such a thing is to potentially waste a large number of points, and leave the rest of the army out numbered - (and it may well be that monsters can't ambush (I didn't check)) but it strikes me that monsters come into their own in the second half the battle when the blocks have been ground down. The problem in the early game is finding somewhere to hide them from cannons and shooting.

The Beastmen appear to have an army specific rule that does this perfectly.

Right back to peering through the letterbox and pressing refresh on the computer.


Monday, 28 November 2011

Ghast and Avast

Wading through the rumours concerning the Vampire Counts has given me both optimism and dread.

The optimism stems from my appraisal that the new book, in common with recent books, will force Vampire players to make some hard choices in the Special and Rare sections. Something that will hopefully be compounded by the reappearance of the bloodline rules.

The dread comes from the potentially large number of units that will have the Ethereal rule (and not because of the number of American podcasts that will mangle the word). My Ogres have limited options for dealing with Ethereal units.....

Still, all will be revealed in January. And hoepfully the release wil be accompanied by declarations of rage quitting... and it would also be nice if GW winged Mantic's fox (obviously the model range procludes an outright killing but it would be nice if the tweeks wounded it a bit)

I realise that this blog often rails against the sewers of human filfth... aka internet forums... but I find the developing meme relating to when and how GW announce releases rather baffling.

What confuses me is this.

If you can only buy something when it is realeased - by which I include the advanced orders - then what does it matter if GW tell you of the release date one day or one year in advance?

Perhaps a legitimate complaint is that the new arrangements work against those who have to save up, or set money aside, for whatever it is. But this is fairly weak. For if you have internut access which allows you to propogate the meme, then you also have internut access that allows you to go to sewers and search the rumour threads, and make the necessary financial arrangements based on the information contained therein.

Now it is true that much of what is contained in these threads is false, certainly if the release is some months away. But it is equally clear that some of the stuff is leaked by GW - oh! they may deny it but let's be honest, it is in their interest to do so, and they would be mad not to. How else do you explain the sudden re-appearance of rumur threads (closed down to waffle and wishlisting) about armies that are known to be imminent which contain accurate information? It is surely not coincidence that one day threads will be a 'I spoke to a red shirt and they said...' followed by a scrawl of internut cynicism, and the next there are the *touch nose* 'I met a bloke in the pub and he told me...' followed by a pretty accurate break down of what the new army book/codex contains.

My point being that if you are particularly interested in an army, and you do need to save up for the shiney new toys, you don't need GW telling you to do so.... oh wait.... I see the error in my logic....

Another element of the meme that amuses me, is the notion that this change somehow breaks the rules of marketing.

It is not hard to find sewer dwellers who are experts on marketing - just as it is equally not hard to find sewer dwellers who claim to know more about GW's business model, accounts, design process, costs, etc than the people running the company. According to the marketing experts 'geeks' require advance notice in order to build their excitement for new products. Which I am guessing comes from GCSE business studies, or some equally low level certificated eductional ego massaging procedure. Homer Simpson's Nuts and Jello is another example that springs to mind.

The fact is, I don't want my email box filling up with emails form GW advising me that I can in six months time buy a product that I don't want because I have no interest in the army or the particular game system.

I'm perfectly happy that they send me three or four emails a week informing me that in a week, or so, I can buy a product that I don't want because I have no interest in the army or the particular game system.

I would not be happy if those emails increased exponentially to fill out the (supposedly required) ad campaign - say three months, one month, two weeks, one week, release date (I already have a number of companies that think this is a good idea, I see their emails whenever I am cleaning out the spam). And frankly by the time it arrived that I could buy, far from being mildly interested in a product (that I have no intention of buying for the reasons previously mentioned) - which is the case now (I might go and look at it on the website, I may even daydream about buying and using it as the basis of an army before I remember that is an army I am not interested in or a game system I don't play (which is perhaps a sign that the marketing has worked)) - I would be thoroughly pissed off - and in future uninformed about GW products because their emails would be going straight to spam.

It's a lesson Privateer Press, and their moronic Gangbangers (who I suspect are behind much of the GW bashing in the sewers) would do well to learn.


Friday, 25 November 2011

Suck On This

The Vampire army book has been removed from the GW website.

Which appears to confirm the rumours that the new book is coming in January.

In some senses this is the biggest test yet of the moves to rebalance the game that appear implicit in the 8th edition army books. Obviously there will be some movement in points, and maybe some tweeking of the stats, but the big question, and the one that the GW designers have to address if they are to get this right, is what magic items will be cut and which remain.

My guess would be Dreadlance, Blood Drinker, Flayed Hauberk, Helm of Commandment, Talisman of Lycni, Rod of Flaming Death, Carstein Ring, Wristbands of Black Gold, Skull Staff, Book of Arkhan and Black Periapt, with the banners being Drakenhof, Dead legion and Barrows.

The wishlisting on the internut is along the lines of wanting skeletons and zombies improved in their fighting abilities. Which may or may not be needed. But hopefully GW will acknowledge that in fact the core of the VC is undercosted, due to the ability to raise more troops, and either leave things alone, or increase the points.

Still we shall see when the new book arrives.

Hopefully there will be a massive uproar that the army has been nerfed.

As it will be a sign that a) the army hasn't and b) GW really are serious about balancing 8th edition, and the baleful days in which the designers competed with each other to make the cheesiest army book are over.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Three Cheers


It was Christopher's birthday on Garagehammer, and the listeners had a whip round and bought him several hundred quid worth of stuff from Forgeworld.

Which was nice.

I for one have had hours of entertainments from podcasts, and haven't paid a penny for it. So in a hobby in which so many people in the sewers of human filfth... a.k.a. internut forums.... waste the equivilent of the electrical supply of a small town bitching about not being able to get something for nothing, it is nice to see that one of the hobby's good guys got a present from his grateful listeners.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Character Flaws

Now don't get me wrong, I really like the new Ogre book, and the changes, and the new units, but there is one thing that disappoints me.... that they didn't do more with the Gnoblars.

Ok there is a gamey/beardy/cheesy reason for this, namely that the characters are just so damned expensive, and it would be great to have some 50 point Gnoblar magic casters.

And true I am looking to cram two or three wizards into a 2000 point list with blocks, and chaff, and artillery, and cavalry, and.... you get the picture.

But it still doesn't get around the issue of the characters being expensive.

I am not whining that they are over priced, because for what you get you are getting a good deal. It's just that they take up a large chunk of your points allowance.

Oh for some cheap Gnoblar characters.


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lubed Up and Enough Already

Gav Thorpe entered the Overlords Room 40001 and highlighted an issue that bugs me.

"My uber unit, piled into his cannon fodder and raped them."

Really? Raped them?

Add this to references to butt sex, lube, etc and it soon becomes clear that America has a very dubious relationship with sex and violence - violence good, sex bad - and their neurotic standards are spreading via the sewers of human filfth... a.k.a internet forums.

I'm not talking about the jokey home-erotic banter in some of my favourite podcasts - Life After the Cover Save or Pointhammered - but the whole macho bullshit that appears to not understand how socially inappropriate it is to use the word rape in the context of a game of toy soldiers.

(These terms have clearly become jargon within the hobby, and I have to say that was highly amused at the posh chap from the Imps who, William Hague stylee wore his baseball cap backwards, got down with the kids and raped and sodomised his way through the ToS)(btw, it is a sign of how the linguistic tick began in America that people with posh English accents sound ludicrous using such terms - other examples being cool, groovy, whatever...)

Still the Gav Thorpe interview was interesting, and a breath of fresh air.

Speaking of a breath of fresh air, I happened across the rumour about contingents.

Like every gamer I am occasionally subject to grey plastic disease... and it's related syndrome current army/project boredom.

The idea that instead of having to spend the time and effort starting a completely new army, you can start a smaller side project, is very appealing. As is the hope that the contingents will follow the path of similar projects in the past of growing into full blown armies.

The chance of GW releasing a Cathay army in one go, is pretty slim. However - and I realise that Cathay is not one of the armies mentioned - there is a better chance that if the insectoids take off, that they might grow into an army of the Maw, which will then attract Chinese dragons, Four Horse Chariots, Rocketeers, etc.

On a similar subject, I noticed this on the Chance of Gaming podcast.

Someone - namely the Army Collector - has compared the points cost of the same army from 1998 and today, and discovered that a 1991 point Space Marine list is now only worth 1265 points. And further that a Dwarf list that used to be worth 1928 points is now worth 1606 points.

As expected this led the discussion on TMP in the direction of GW the evil empire, price gouging etc.

Yet actually there is a very practicle reason for this - as Gav Thorpe pointed out of the Overlords - the number one request GW recieved was for bigger battles with more troops.

The company can either keep the points the same and encourage people to play larger point games. Or fiddle with the points to allow existing players to cram that bit extra into their list, whilst keeping the points level at an attainable level for people either starting a new army or new to the game.

I realise that perhaps smaller point games is the answer, but let's face it, if you have got the figures, you want to get them on the table.

Still sense and reason is not going to change the paranoid delusional mind of those who see GW as a conspiracy - speaking of paranoid delusions...... viola.


Monday, 21 November 2011

Dice Psychology

Now I realise that there are many mathmaticians who have studied statistics - the missus is one of them - who will tell you that you have no psychological influence over the outcome of a dice roll.

According to the missus each individual die roll is a unique event of probability. Which is undeniably true, but it doesn't explain why I roll more 1's if I say "anything but a 1" before rolling instead of "I need 2+".

Nor indeed does it explain why somethimes you can play a game, and know from the moment it starts that you are either going to win or lose.

I'm not talking about the list, army match up, or anything tangible; but rather those games in which you just know you can't win.

The example that springs to mind is a game I played with my Woodies vs High Elves. It was a rematch - I had won the previous encounter - and I got the feeling that the outcome meant way more to my opponent than it should have. Plus they were the kind of competative player than has borderline personality issues with regard to the hobby.

The crux to a combat in the centre between an Alter Noble and an Archmage who was hiding behind 5 shades to protect him from the challenge. The combat went five turns of combat, and eventually pulled in a unit of High Elf archers.

The combat occured because I wanted to shut down the magic phase, in order that I could position my encircling troops to take out his support troops before making an attack on the Pheonic Guard bunker. Now clearly I was rolling well and he was rolling badly in order than the combat went as long as it did. However because his mage was refusing the challenge I was determined to win the fight and bring him to battle. And it wasn't until my focus dropped because I had decided that I had won, that the dice Gods went against me, my attacks whiffed, my defence failed and I was run down and killed.

Obviously if you don't believe in the psychology of dice, you would rationalise this as the averages balancing themselves out. The problem is that this ignores what is going on in the mind off the player when the dice were thrown, the narrative of the dice up to that point, etc.

Yes, the dice are inanimate objects, and the result is a matter of chance... and yet... and yet.... why is that whenever there is a dice throw that I don't want to make, that I know will go against me, or conversely that I can't wait to make and I know will go in my favour, it always goes the way I want it to go/against me?

There was a Standard Bearer article on the subject a while ago, based on Jervis' conversations with a psychologist in Bugman's Bar. According to the psychologist the reason people percieve this effect is because just as it is human nature to find patterns in randomness, it is natural to find significance in extreme results.

Which is fine except it ignores that there are two psychologies - on either side of the table - involved in the dice throw.

At which point I will stop before I get all Jonathon Cainer and start waffling on about the energies which flow back and forth across the table during a game.


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Gnoblar Love

I didn't manage to get up.... so I didn't go to the club....

However when I did wake up, I did so with the thought "18 Bulls is @500 points... that's not bad."

Sad I know.

And yes I know it is more like 600, than 500... but rather than go through the whole phalanx debate again....

I have been pondering instead the question of gnoblars.

And more specifically trappers.

My inital thought on the matter was to have 4 units of 10 gnoblars, two of which had trappers, and to use them to psych out the enemy whilst playing a refused flank. The problem is that in the units with trappers the gnoblars effectively become 5 points a model. Add to this that they are more than likely going to fail any panic tests they have to take, and the whole 'trick' relies upon the enemy charging and losing one or two models to a dangerous terrain test.

Which made me think about using them in ranked units.

48 gnoblars, with a muso, standard and trapper, is 165 points - which sounds a lot, indeed it is 5 Bulls with ironfists. But it is still 8 ranks, which will take some chewing through, it still has sharpstuff, it still has the potential dangerous terrain test, and it has the added bonus that no one cares if it runs away. Give it +1S, +1T, and regen from magic and suddenly it has even more potential as a speed bump.

The CR res alone is going to see off chariots, small cav units, etc.

Which led me to come up with this list...

Slaughter Master - lvl 4, Crown of command, thiefstone.
Bruiser BSB
12 Bulls, with muso, standard, iron fist.
10 gnoblars, trapper
10 gnoblars, trapper
10 gnoblars, trapper
10 gnoblars
48 gnoblars, trapper, muso, standard
3 Leadbelchers
2 Mournfangs
2 Mournfangs
1 Sabretusk
1 Sabretusk
1 Ironblaster
1 Ironblaster

2000 points

That's 13 deployments - 6 of which are totally throwaway.

Plus by careful placement of the chaff, two thirds of the table can be effectively march blocked, allowing the striking force of fighting troops to fall on the flank. And as the chaff costs about 250 points, if the enemy decides to chase it off they are never going to get their points back, and will never make it to the main battle.

Obviously ignore that this list cannot kill anything ethereal.

And obviously ignore that it will change as I decide that 18 bulls at @600 points is to good a thing to pass up... or the Mournfangs should go for the +2 save and not be used as pseudo chariots.... or that I need more Leadbelchers (which is something I very much doubt)....