Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Now who's a good boy? You're a good boy, you!


When I started assembling my Reptile Hounds I noticed that with a tiny leg swap and a blob of epoxy made one of the hounds look like it was giving the "paw".

As I was painting the trainer at the same time, a weird idea emerged out of nowhere.

So, meet Rufus the Reptile Hound and Nathan, his trainer.

From now on whenever I'm fielding the two of them together, I'll keep a close eye on their performance to see if Rufus has learned any new tricks. Of course not to forget the statistics side of things I'm tallying up the times all of this has happened, too.

When I was thinking how to translate some common dog tricks into Warmachine, I wanted the tricks not to be either too hard or too easy to perform. That's why I ditched my idea of "bark" trick which would've been Rufus using his animus. Way too easy to perform in every single game.

So, the tricks are as follows:

- Fetch! Rufus scores a control point or destroys an objective.
- Roll! Rufus is slammed or thrown, and as a consequence is knocked down.
- Lie down! Rufus is knocked down while just standing still by an attack or effect caused by enemy model, or by a friendly effect that doesn't specifically target Rufus.
- Bite! Nathan uses Ancillary Attack on Rufus (while Rufus has an enemy model in its melee range).
- Kill! Well, pretty self-explanatory. Rufus destroys a model.
- Play dead! Rufus is destroyed or removed from play by an attack or effect caused by enemy model.

And last but not least, an ordinary trick almost every dog learns, but with a little twist from the culture of Skorne:

- Shake paw! Controlling warlock transfers damage to Rufus. Poor Rufus. The road to hell and good intentions and whatnot...

Rusty Old Man and Hippie Tharns

And last Tuesday I played two games of Warmachine with Circle of Orboros.

They were both 35 point games, and here is my list for the first game:

Mohsar the Desertwalker
- Megalith
- Pureblood Warpwolf
- Argus

Druids of Orboros
Minimum unit of Wolves of Orboros + Unit Attachment
Shifting Stones
Gallows Grove

And opponent had:

Haley prime
- Centurion

Maximum unit of Long Gunners + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Horgenhold Forge Guard + Jonas Murdoch
Journeyman Warcaster
Gorman diWulfe

Scenario was Fire Support. Now when I'm looking at the picture, I notice a horrifying error - there is seven members in the Wolves of Orboros base unit. I was never that good in math during school, but I didn't know I was that bad.

Anyway, Circle started game and first picture is taken from the end of Cygnar turn 1.

Pureblood Warpwolf had Mirage. On my next turn Pureblood advanced, used its animus and started spraying up the forge guard. I don't think it missed even one shot.

I didn't know what the heck to do with Wolves of Orboros, so I attempted to run them as far as possible, trying to engage even a couple of Long Gunners. Well, one Wolf got to engage them, so all in all it was a royal mess-up. But that's fine for a dirty cheater.

Ah well, then Gallows Grove teleports and Mohsar casts Crevasse on Gorman diWulfe, killing him. This was where I realised how awesome Gallows Groves are with Mohsar as he gets to ignore whole lot of stuff with Eyeless Sight. Mohsar also put up a pillar of salt in front of Pureblood Warpwolf.

I was quite confident at this point, but I guess I forgot to think that it'd be enemy turn next, and from now on I'd have to deal with Temporal Barrier.

Despite all of Centurion's best efforts it just couldn't destroy Pureblood Warpwolf next turn.

All but two Wolves of Orboros die to shooting by Long Gunners, and because of my mistake that should've been just one Wolf remaining.

Journeyman Warcaster shoots down Gallows Grove, and that was the worst of it.

Well, if I'd be able to destroy Centurion on my next turn the rest of Cygnar would have hard time destroying at least Megalith. So, Mohsar activates, tries to charge but that was just denied because of Temporal Barrier. He then just advances, casts Curse of Shadows on Centurion and shoots his spray, and then teleports over a Druid of Orboros.

Pureblood Warpwolf warps for strenght and starts beating. However, it is the last attack that drops shield. Movement is also gone, but not either Cortex or the spear.

Megalith advances and casts Crevasse on Centurion, but either deals no damage or doesn't break cortex or spear. Damnit. I was about to bring Megalith closer to melee, but then I realised that Mohsar would probably get shot by an impressive Combined Ranged Attack by Long Gunners. It had to back off to block Line of Sight to Mohsar.

Then Pureblood Warpwolf is butchered, and so is Argus and almost all of the druids of orboros, and the remaining Wolves.

Haley had not cast Temporal Barrier, but this was of little consolence.

Megalith charged to Centurion, destroyed it with one attack and continued to kill whatever was within its reach (or, in game terms, within 0.5" melee range) and then it cast Crevasse to some random model. I was wondering if I should try to assassinate Haley with Sands of Fate shenanigans, but when I counted up useable Fury I could have got in only a couple of attacks, and Haley was after all def 16 arm 19 target at the moment.

I don't remember exactly where an when control points were scored, but the situation there was that in the last picture Cygnar has three control points, and Circle goes to 2 from dominating a flag.

Mohsar had something like 5 damage boxes left and Megalith had also taken some damage, but still if Cygnar could just get rid of the two Shifting Stones I ha brought to contest left flag, Cygnar would win with scenario.

And, well, there was a warcaster and almost a full unit of Long Gunners over there.

I guess the major turning point in the game was my inability to destroy either cortex or melee weapon from Centurion. Also I should've probably been more aggressive with Megalith and go to harass Long Gunners.

Game 2:

Since last game went to the last minutes of deathclock, we decided to play another game with same board, same sides and same scenario to reduce set-up time.

This time my list was:

Kaya the Wildborne
- Pureblood Warpwolf
- Feral Warpwolf
- Scarsfell Griffon

Minimum unit of Tharn Ravagers + Chieftain + Shaman
Blackclad Wayfarer
Lord of the Feast
Druid Wilder

Opponent had:

Siege Brisbane
- Defender
- Ironclad

Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team
Maximum unit of Horgenhold Forge Guard
Journeyman Warcaster
- Hunter
Reinholdt, the gobber speculator

This game was hilarious in a few ways.

Circle got to start the game again, and picture is taken from the end of Circle turn 2.

Here Lord of the Feast outrageously outperformed yet again - it destroyed half of Horgenhold forge guard and gave a few damage points to Siege himself. However, when you look at the right side of the board you can see that Ravagers don't even want to fight. They're pacifists, really, though they look like big brutes. I mean, everyone hates them. And the few of us who don't hate them and take them to battle... then they fail even where they're supposed to be good at.

Three ravagers got a clear charge against Black 13th. Three MAT 9 P+S 15 + 3d6 attacks later not even a single blow had landed in its target. Well, sure, they did need 6+ on two dice to hit. Maybe they were just really unlucky and didn't misbehave on purpose.

Well, then was a "yikes" turn.

Siege dropped a foxhole on the two warpwolves, taking away Kaya's screen. And, heh... Yeah. Something you don't see quite often happened.

Kaya took 23 points in from a single attack made by Defender. Kaya did have one Fury left for transfers, and thank the Devourer wurm she did.

Hunter tried to shoot Kaya too, but didn't kill her.

Ironclad tries to charge Pureblood, but fails to get within range.

So, Kaya survived.

Next Pureblood advances and makes a double-handed throw against Ironclad to throw it away from Kaya's charge lane.

Blackclad Wayfarer casts Hunter's Mark on Siege and scores a hit.

Three ravagers in melee had been butchered by Black 13th puny little members. However, now Shaman, Chieftain and the unit leader charge in. MAT 10 and two MAT 9 attacks and a possible electro leap later... only one hit and kill, scored by the MAT 10 chieftain. No, this couldn't be bad luck any more. Those Ravagers weren't even trying.

However, then Kaya measures control range a bit and sees that she's easily able to charge to Siege.

Second attack even scores a critical knockdown. Well, Kaya isn't exactly a pro when it comes to caster kills against any heavier targets. But Lord of the Feast had scored a couple of damage in, and Kaya hadn't used her feat, so she had about 12 Fury for use. I don't remember if she upkept Occultation or healed Feral or Pureblood.

Last damage roll was outrageous, something like 5,5,6.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Quarter of an inch

Last Sunday I played a game of Warmachine.

It was a 35 point game of my Skorne vs Khador. We took fancy army pictures just like in the good ol' days...

My list was:

Lord Arbiter Hexeris
- Archidon
- Bronzeback Titan
- 2x Basilisk Drake
- Basilisk Krea

Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Minimum unit of Beast Handlers
Minimum unit of Farrow Bone Grinders

Khador had:

Vladimir, the Dark Prince
- Drago
- Marauder

Maximum unit of Iron Fang Pikemen + Unit Attachment
Maximum unit of Winter Guard Infantry + Unit Attachment
War Dog
Kovnik Josef Grigorovich

Scenario was Supply and Demand, which I guess is the 2014 version of plain caster kill.

Khador started the game and first picture is taken from the end of Skorne turn 1. Archidon is Hexeris' bonded warbeast and Ashen Veil is on Praetorian Swordsmen. Oh, and Archidon has Arcane Reckoning on it. Tsk tsk, oh you, Hexeris, why did you do that?

Well, anyway. Vlad uses feat then and on my side of the board I can see only red.

Thankfully my casualties were low, only a couple of Praetorian Swordsmen and Basilisk Drake that was shot down by winterguards and widowmakers. Marauder was quarter of an inch away from Archidon, and Drago could reach only the aforementioned swordsmen.

Iron Fang Pikemen used their minifeat and there I had then a huge blob of p+s 13 shield-walling infantry on the right.

Though I didn't lose too many models, I had quite a few heavy targets to take care of - that I couldn't charge, either.

This is what I tried to do: soften up Marauder and Drago with automatic one point of damage from Swordsmen and then kill the both heavy warjacks with beat-backing Bronzeback. It's just... Well, I had the intention to side-step away from Bronzeback's beat back lane, but somehow I failed in the application of this grand plan. It just happened so that I used side step to move in between the beat back possibility of killin' 'em all.

Drago died just to initial attacks + chain attack so with a bit better brain and placement the Marauder would've needed to survive 5x p+s 19 attacks. But quoth the raven: nevermore.

Archidon tries desperately to get a critical pitch to Marauder with two tries, but fails. Also I fail to remember that Archidon is not in fact a light warbeast and has a Fury maximum of 4.

Basilisk Krea and Drake on the right kill a couple iron fang pikemen, but nothing to write home (blog?) about. Honorable mention goes to one of the bonegrinder grunts who manages to kill one pikeman. It's a bit of a shame it wasn't swamp gobber who did that, because sometimes something happens that should happen more often.

Then it's Khador turn again, and there was a very real possibility of getting Hexeris killed. I had tried to place Archidon so that a slam would clip to Bronzeback and not carry over to Hexeris, but somehow I just couldn't do it. Archidon is slammed 4" back, which is just enough to land it on Hexeris. I didn't even remember about Serpentine on Archidon until opponent asked if it could actually be knocked down. I believe this was the first time Serpentine mattered for me.


Then, despite Ashen Veil, boosted RAT 5 with Signs & Portents butcher up all but one praetorian swordsman. What's left of Iron Fang Pikemen kill Basilisk Krea.

Things look interesting. Not really bad, but not that good either.

On my next turn I (again) waste my feat on scorching up the enemy infantry with double Ashes to Ashes. But that was quite well done, since only the flag bearer is left alive. And he passes the command check.

Bronzeback unsuprisingly wrecks Marauder, but I get to do very little to Iron Fang Pikemen. Yeah, taking a close look on the pictures I manage to kill only one.

Well, there's not much left of Khador, except the heaviest warjack of them all: Vlad himself.

Vlad takes a ballsy move and casts Blood of Kings and charges the Archidon. Archidon is left alive with only two hit boxes, and if I remember anything even mediocre damage rolls should have taken the beast out. War Dog runs in-between Vlad and Bronzeback, and then it's either Skorne kills Vlad or Vlad kills Skorne. The whole nation.

Hexeris charges the War Dog and spends rest of his Fury on attacks against Vlad. Then Bronzeback comes and finishes the job. We had already started picking up models from table so the last picture isn't too exact (unless Bronzeback gained Reach from those tusks...) but it illustrates the situation up there.

Good game, and I wonder how different it could've looked if Marauder would've been 0.25" closer to Archidon on turn 2.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Witching Hours

Huh, now, something needs to be done to this backlog of games.

So, here are the two games from almost two weeks ago.

Both were played with the same list against the same list.

Games were 25 points, and I was playing Cryx with following list:

Witch Coven of Garlghast
- Nightmare
- Ripjaw
- Deathripper

Maximum unit of Mechanithralls
Necrosurgeon & stitch thralls
Warwitch Siren

And opponent had:

Lylyth, the Primal version
- Carnivean
- 2x Shredders

Maximum unit of Warspears + Chieftain
2x Strider Deathstalker
The Forsaken

In the first game scenario was Supply and Demand. Funny thing that a small based fury/focus 5 warcasters might actually dominate the center zone without opposing objective being destroyed.

I was a bit worried about the matchup, since Lylyth herself was able to ignore stealth, and scenario had Killbox going on.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, however, game ended rather quick.

I thought it'd be a worthwile piece-trade if I charged Nightmare to Carnivean and tie up most of enemy army next turn. Carnivean had been Nightmare's prey, and after Carnivean had bit the dust new prey was Lylyth herself.

Next turn legion of everblight rolls damage rolls against Nightmare rather poorly, and only movement and one arm blow up.

Three focus, Infernal Machine, Veil of Mists and Ghost Walk later Nightmare is right next to Lylyth and kills her. She had one or two focus for transfers, but a very common oversight didn't save the warlock - all of her warbeasts were maxed out on Fury.

Since the game was over so fast, we decided to play a new game.

Game 2:

Scenario was Incoming this time.

Game also lasted a lot longer now. In the first picture only one of the two Strider Deathstalkers are shown in the far left, but there they both are, flanking.

I was pretty sure that I'd be able to kill first one and then the other with Stygian Abysses, but that was not to be. Sometimes FOC 9 attacks miss, and sometimes POW 12 damage rolls don't quite kill arm 11 targets.

Also, sometimes you just run your arc nodes out of your 18" control area.

Well, anyway, Witch Coven's second turn was pretty normal - advance and use feat. This prompted a reaction from Legion I did not expect - they backed off a little. How annoying! Well, at least that gave me strong foothold to scenario game. I just rush everything forward next turn and combo-striking mechanithralls manage to destroy enemy objective. Deathripper in the picture is still hunting the Strider Deathstalkers...

Next Lylyth tried to shoot Nightmare to get automatic hits with spells, but dice are once again against any plans to wreck the bad dream. Lylyth then has to spend the precious Fury for a boost, and this time she manages to land a solid hit with Parasite.

Assaulting Carnivean and a rabid Shredder fail their damage rolls against Arm 15 Nightmare, though Lylyth's feat gives quite a number of hits. But there are only so many warjack systems you can break with an ample supply of 1's and 2's.

Warspears try to whittle down mechanithralls and contest Cryx zone. As an added insult the Necrosurgeon seems to be impervious to any and all attempts to damage her, so the actualy loss of mechanithralls aren't a big issue.

Witch Coven finally nails down the last Deathstalker after third round of trying. Nightmare loaded up with three focus kills both Carnivean and the Shredder with absurd damage rolls. A crapton of mechanithralls maul down the other Shredder too, and suddenly Lylyth doesn't have any warbeasts.

Warspears try to do one last defiant charge to take down Nightmare and anything else, but they don't do much. Game store was about to close by then, and we decided to end the game. Only an amazing turn of events could have won the game for Legion any more.

I still believe the match-up could have been a lot tougher, but the smaller the game point size is, the greater impact dice screw has. In both games Nightmare was the key piece that just refused to go down or even have any important systems broken to pieces. Granted, Nightmare's destruction in both situations wasn't 100% certain, I actually didn't expect it to go from full health to a wreck in one turn in either game. But without a cortex or loss of both arms in any of these games would have had a very different impact, and in both games damage done was enough to accomplish either one of these goals.

But why am I "if"fing? I guess I just feel a little bad by having the dice go in my favor for once. Weird. I doubt you should feel sorry about winning.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Incursion 2014

Over a week ago I played three warmachine games, and this is one of those.

This one was Cryx, and I took Deneghra with me.

We had actually created two lists to practice for "tournament style" playing, and my other list had Wraith Witch Deneghra as the warcaster.

Game was 35 points, and here was my chosen list:

Warwitch Deneghra
- Malice
- Nightwretch
- Defiler
- Helldiver

Maximum unit of Mechanithralls + 2x Brute Thrall
Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls
Cephalyx Overlords
Warwitch Siren

And opponent had:

Prime Caine
- Defender

Arcane Tempest Gun Mages + Officer
- Hunter
Minimum unit of Greygore Boomhowlers + Jonas Murdoch
Junior Warcaster
Arlan Strangewayes
... and perhaps something I forgot?

This write-up is quite brief. First picture is also taken after Caine had used his feat... so there is pretty much nothing left on the table. Scenario was Incursion, and Cryx got to start the game.

Deneghra ran forward on first turn, so she gained a pretty damn convincing board control position for upcoming turns. Cygnar also had was taking a risk that didn't pay off - it was the left flag that disappeared. So opponent had to start rushing things to right side of the board, but Deneghra in the middle made that quite difficult.

In short - Cygnar wasn't able to bring anything to contest rightmost flag, when Cryx started scoring points from it starting Cygnar's second turn. Last picture shows Deneghra's position when she got to use her feat.

I'm not entirely sure what would have happened if we'd have had to play attrition game instead. Caine's feat took away pretty much all of my infantry, and a couple of lucky strikes against Malice had almost brought the helljack down. Defender had not yet taken any damage at all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Dead-Com: The Plague Unknown

First miniatures are fully painted and based for my probably most ambitious project ever when it comes to little toy soldiers.

I'm converting Deadzone plague miniatures into aliens from X-Com. This was mostly because I didn't like the appearance of Deadzone miniatures all that much, and none of the factions felt quite right for me. And in my long tradition of "playing things as they're not supposed to" I finally decided to start Plague with main focus being on Stage 3 and shooting.

Then I heard that the local Deadzone dealer (first game is always free and you can use my miniatures...) had been planning an X-Com homebrew expansion to Deadzone, and then things clicked. Visual style was then decided upon - X-Com aliens. From the '94 version.

For the moment I'm not looking for actual rules for Deadzone X-Com because I hardly know how to play the basic game. However, the project can be seen right in the Mantic forums, here, for anyone interested. And if there ever will be a playable set of rules, I bet this army conversion project will serve as a nice starting point for playing actual X-Com games.

I don't usually do astonishing conversions to my miniatures, because I don't think I got the needed skills. Or if I got the skills, I don't have the patience - which is quite funny. If someone had a mission to get me really bored, that person would have a hard time accomplishing his goal. But then when it comes to such projects as assembling, painting & overally finishing a miniature, I start rushing and leaving things only half done. Then the end result is usually rather ugly if I've tried to do any big conversions.

So... when I was going to make a Muton out of Stage 3 plague trooper and two Ethereals from two Reaper's cultist miniatures, I had to learn some patience. Every time I have tried to sculpt anything from milliputty or greenstuff in a big way have failed, because I just have to do everything in one go, even if it takes blood, tears and ten hours sitting in front of desk (yeah, in that way I'm patient.)

All in all it took days to finish these miniatures, but it took only a little while to paint them. I forced myself to add epoxy only one appendage at a time, and then leave things to cure overnight.

Results are far from perfect, but to my level of experience I'm quite happy with these. Only Muton's plasma rifle looks utterly ridiculous, and that's probably what I need to train next in the way of putty - making even simple details. Flash was quite unmerciful on the Ethereals, but I think they look nice enough for tabletop play. It's a shame I didn't cover the weird chest-belt with robes when I was still applying epoxy to the Ethereals - somehow I thought that some other detail than reddish orange robe would be welcome. But it wasn't.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A River Too Far (Warmachine)

Finally I'm getting to write the second game up from last Tuesday. Well, I forced the time to write because next Tuesday is time for yet another game.

It was a 35 point game and my list was:

Lord Arbiter Hexeris
- Bronzeback Titan
- Archidon (bonded)
- Rhinodon

Maximum unit of Praetorian Swordsmen + Unit Attachment
Minimum unit of Beast Handlers
Aptimus Marketh
Bloodrunner Master Tormentor

And opponent had:

Caine the Prime Version
- Ironclad

Minimum unit of Greygore Boomhowler's + Jonas Murdoch
Minimum unit of Arcane Tempest Gun Mages + Officer
- Defender
Arlan Strangewayes
Junior Warcaster

Scenario was Into the Breach.

The board was same as in last post, and again it was quite horrifying divider. Well, I did have Archidon who was bonded to Hexeris, so I though I might be able to clear pretty much all of Arcane Tempest Gun Mages with Ashes to Ashes and try to contest the zone with Archidon and Bloodrunner Master Tormentor. Beautiful plan, but it relied on two easy to kill models.

On the right side of board terrain formed an annoying bottle neck when Greygore's assaulted to my forces. It took way too many turns to break through.

I wasted Hexeris' feat on killing the arcane tempest gun mages, since first Ashes to Ashes scored only two additional hits. Well, at least the feat killed all but one gun mage, and as an added bonus even Arlan Strangewayes bit the dust!

Caine used his feat at some point, too, inflicting some damage on Archidon, who had already taken a little damage from Gun Mages. If I remember correctly Caine did some extra attacks against Archidon, too, and finally Junior Warcaster advanced and shot the dinosaur beast down with his hand cannon.

And there I was. I lost the control zone, and I had absolutely nothing to go and contest it!

Looking back now I see that I did in fact have Paingiver Beast Handlers, who might have had the possiblity of running to contest the zone for one round. But that wouldn't have changed anything, really. I was winning the attrition game on the right - just about all of the trollkin had finally died, as well as Ironclad and everything opponent had thrown against Skorne.

I had, in fact, cleared everything from the right by the time opponent had 3 control points. But SPD 4 warbeast and infantry that's on the other side of the board can only do so much... Now was the time when Beast Handlers ran to contest the zone, and I even managed to run Agonizer there too. And then, risking it all, I even decided to try an assassination at focusless Caine.

Hexeris advanced to the hill and cast Hellfire at Caine. I didn't boost, so Hexeris needed 10's to hit. Well, much to my amazemen results were five and five. Damage roll was rather bad, however, so I needed to succeed at yet another 10+ on two dice. I didn't.

So, in the end situation was that opponent had three control points, and my objective had two hit boxes remaining, and I had only one beast handler and agonizer contesting the control zone, and a furyless Hexeris standing on a hill in middle of enemy (albeit few in number) forces.

Defender shot the objective down, and Caine and Junior Warcaster took the contesters down.

Needless to say, the terrain played a huge role in this game. I think it's interesting to try out different things now and then, but it was a bit bummer that out of all of my factions I was playing with the one that is most screwed by terrain. I guess Skorne can build lists that can navigate terrain a little better than my lists, but I don't really have the models for such. I can only imagine how different these games could have been if I had played Circle, or even Cryx.