Saturday, 26 December 2015

The Obligatory Boxing Day Natcon 2016 Update

I promised I would have an update on the Flying Carpet by Boxing Day so here it is. The Flying Carpet is still not finished unfortunately. I could blame innumerable different things but it is ultimately distraction and a lack of focus that has delayed my painting. In saying that the only tasks that remain are the fighters on the deck and then any touch-ups. Here's how it looks:



I'm happy with the model overall though I'm not sure about the deck. It looks a bit boring at the moment and a bit dirty with the black wash. I'm thinking I should paint some directional markings on there but I'm just not sure what at the moment. I'll give it some time and see if inspiration strikes.

I've set a broad target of one unit or large model every month for this project so I've still got a bit of time to get this one finished up but as of next month I will definitely be started on a new model so check back in the New Year. In the mean time I have to get back on Trade Me and started looking for the rest of the figures in this set:

Honestly it's not another distraction. I'm dedicated to getting this model finished...really I am!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Slow Crawl to NatCon 2016

Christmas is almost upon us which has meant visiting friends and family over the past week as well as desperately trying to clean up at work in preparation for 3 weeks off. While I'm glad to be finished up with work for the year and certainly glad to have been spending time with friends and family it has meant painting has taken a back seat over the past week. That being said we do have some progress on the Tenkei:

The brass, red and metal are done leaving only the deck, windows and fighters to complete plus the obligatory touch-ups. I'm very happy with how it's turning out though it is a disappointment with this model that the majority of detail is on the underside.

A little bit more to go but with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day being a pretty quiet affair for Sam and I this year I hope to get some substantial painting time in and finish this model over those two days. All going well there will be completed photos up on Boxing Day.

That's me for another post. Seeing as my next post will be Boxing Day have a very merry Christmas! I hope Santa brings you all that you asked for...unless you've been naughty in which case I hope he brings you a lump of coal.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

In the dark future...or past...or something...

Just thought I'd put up a quick post to show my finished SIGMARINE!!!

Or rather Stormcast Eternal Liberator if you want the official name. Whatever you prefer to call him he's now ready to fight for the and protect the Realms from the evil forces of Chaos.

I'm not a fan of the shining gold armour Sigmarines at all so I wanted to try something different with this guy; I wanted him to be more dark and rustic. Based on the statue-like armour of the model I had this image of some kind of mythical warrior demi-god from Aegean Greece armoured in bronze plate from head to toe. I also wanted him to look rough and worn, like he'd been fighting in his armour for decades.

I've never really used verdigris wash before so I played around with that a little bit and I tried stippling on the edges of the leather to make it look cracked and damaged. I really struggled with what colour to use for the hammer and loin cloth scale mail, the traditionalist in me wanted it to be metal of some kind but I couldn't think of anything that would contrast well with the bronze. In the end a mate suggested I paint it a dirty jade colour and it worked out really well.

It was quite a lot of fun painting a model just for something different rather than working on an army project and I'm really happy with the result. Certainly a breath of fresh air like this can invigorate you to get back into production line painting if it feels a bit like the monotony is dragging you into a rut.

Speaking of which the Tenkei Sky Fortress, now known as the Flying Carpet according to my girlfriend, is progressing well. All the red and brass are done and I'm moving onto the detailing. I've got family visiting this weekend for the Christmas holidays so getting it finished by then is looking less and less likely but I won't be far off. I'll get some progress photos up this weekend either way. Until then...

FOR THE EMPEROR!!! mean Sigmar...

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

It's Mordheim Jim, but not as we know it!

This is what has been drawing me away from important work for the last three weeks. Mordheim: City of the Damned the video game has finally had it's official release! And it's a great game!

For those of you who might never have played Mordheim, either the video game or the tabletop wargame, here's a quick background to it:

Mordheim is a city within the Human realm of the Warhammer World known as The Empire. At a time of great unrest and civil war in The Empire known as The Time of Three Emperors a comet struck Mordheim leaving the town ruined and thousands dead in it's wake. The comet however was made from a unique rock called Wyrdstone which could bestow mutating powers over those who came in contact with it. Many factions within The Empire and beyond coveted this stone either for it's mutating power or for the wealth it could bring trading it to those who desired it. These factions hired bands of mercenaries to scour the city for shards of this stone which had scattered through the city when the meteor disintegrated upon impact. As more gangs of mercenaries flocked to Mordheim it was inevitable there would be conflict between them, and so Mordheim became a hive of cut-throats, thieves, brigands, sell swords and general scum of the earth. This is how it earned the title 'City of the Damned'.

Mordheim the video game is based off the tabletop wargame of the same name. It focuses on the conflict within the ruins of Mordheim between the mercenary warbands hunting for the fabled Wyrdstone shards. While the tabletop wargame has been around for 20 odd years and developed a long list of mercenary warbands to play, the video game at the moment focuses only on 4. They are:

- Human Mercenaries
- Sisters of Sigmar
- Cult of the Possessed
- Skaven

While there are a number of similarities between the game mechanics of the two games there also a number of differences to stop the video game from simply being a digital version of the tabletop wargame. Similarities can be seen in the turn based nature and a number of the stats such as Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, Strength and Toughness, and also the ability for your warband members to acquire both new skills and permanent injuries.

The video game however deviates in a few interesting ways:

- The turns of individual warband members are taken in an initiative order rather than the whole warband at once which allows for an interesting turn sequence of charge and counter-charge.
- The skills are completely different to those in the tabletop game and while some similarities can be seen there is a whole new matrix of progression and development to be explored.
- There are limits to the number of heroes and henchmen you can buy at the creation of your warband and to purchase more you need to first develop the reputation of your warband.
- There is a single player campaign storyline you can follow rather than simply playing one-off skirmishes.

There are a number of other minute differences but if you desperately want to know all of them it's better just to play the game. The purpose of this post was to give a quick overview of how the game plays so lets get stuck into it.

Once you've picked your race (I chose mercenary humans) your journey starts at your warcamp. Here you choose between a number of menu options including warband management, trading, and mission selection.

You then need to pick your starting warband members; about half a dozen to begin with. Once you've paid for the merc you can purchase equipment for them.

Got them kitted out? Great! Now you can begin your first gang fight! The map starts by providing two options plus the campaign scenario as another option. I've reach about level 7 for my warband and it's now providing three options plus the campaign scenario. The campaign is always rated at normal difficulty level but the other scenarios vary in difficulty from normal to hard to brutal to DEADLY. This last level of difficulty appears on the map in bright red writing so you know it's bad for you.

Now that you've picked a scenario the loading begins. The loading time of this game was one of the biggest gripes from those in the beta testing and to be honest it hasn't improved much now it's reached full release. Just be patient with this, grab a cup of tea or coffee or whatever, and let it do it's thing. It'll be worth the wait.

Once the game is loaded you'll generally start by deploying your warband. It's hard to establish exactly how your warband is positioned at ground level so it helps to refer to the handy dandy map as below to see where they're all placed in relation to each other.

Once the game gets underway the turn order of each warband member is defined by initiative. At the top of the screen below you can see the order of each character as dictated by their icon. Blue ones are yours, red are your opponent's.

Climbing up to higher ground can be useful for Marksmen when shooting. The missle weapons within the game vary from shurikens to bows of varying kinds to black powder weapons. I've found the opportunities to get a shoot in before being charged are few so I've upgraded to all black powder weapons to do as much damage as possible.

The Sisters of Sigmar are the only warband without shooting of some kind. Instead they can get a wide variety of spells. In this screenshot poor Flinginpoopin is about to get burned by a comet of Sigmar. Oh and did I mention you can customise your warband's names and skins?

Once both warbands reach combat things can get a bit messy. Your ability to hit and then do damage can be increased or decreased by a wide variety of different abilities, spells, injuries and environmental effects. In the shot below you can see the calculations just above the toolbar at the bottom of the screen.

The game still incorporates a lot of the cool combat effects from the tabletop wargame such as being stunned as in the picture below. Additionally your warband members can suffer from terror and fear, all alone tests, they can flee from combat if getting badly mauled and you can also get skills such as frenzy or suffer injuries which cause disabilities like stupidity.

Once the fighting is all said and done you'll hopefully come out with a handful of Wyrdstone to sell and a bit of extra loot. Then it's time to return to camp and tidy up the mess.

Each of your warband members will receive experience for surviving the fight which grants them stat increases in the left hand column. Each time they level up they also gain points to spend on new skills.

Unfortunately not all warband members make it through without a few bruises so injuries are also resolved at this point. Erik below was very lucky but it's not always the way. I've had people get blinded, suffer from traumatic brain injuries which cause stupidity, suffer various wounds that permanently reduce their stats and of course I've had a few who just didn't make it back...

Once you've paid up your warband for their fight (they are mercenaries after all) patched up your wounded and picked all your new skill-ups you're ready to start the whole process over again.

One thing worth mentioning and I think one of the best parts about the game is that there is no saving games mid mission then reloading it. What happens in game is done and there's no turning back the clock. I think this stays really true to Tuomas Pirinen's concept for the original wargame where over time warbands will inevitably be populated by grizzled battle-scarred veterans while, through a process of natural selection, the weaker members of a warband will...disappear. It's a tough life to be a Mordheim mercenary so you gotta learn quick or become just another corpse in the gutter.

So that's the game! As you can probably tell from this and previous posts I'm a big fan. I believe it stays true enough to the wargame while at the same time differentiating itself to make it a great game in it's own right. I'm really enjoying developing my warband and I'm really enjoying exploring the various skill trees to find synergy between my warband members. Being a wargamer at heart I don't think it'll ever surpass the joy of seeing fully painted toy soldiers moved across a tabletop full of beautifully built terrain but for those of us who don't have the time for such things any more it offers a more than satisfactory substitute.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Heading to Nationals 2016

For the first time in known history the New Zealand Wargaming National Convention is being held in Dunedin. I've mentioned previously that I'm going to have to reduce my event attendance in 2016 due simply to not having the money but given the inaugural nature of this event it was one I decided I had to attend.

If you're interested in details about the event you can check out the website here.

For myself I'll be playing in the Dystopian Wars. The only real reason behind this is that my wargaming friends from both Dunedin and Christchurch are also playing in this genre so it will be a good chance to catch up with a few familiar faces. Alternatively though it gives me the excuse to get stuck into finishing off some models that have, like so many others, been languishing in a cupboard for far too long.

I've finished and posted my first completed model already; a Hachiman Class Dreadnought.

Next in line for a coat of paint is the Tenkei Class Gyro Sky Fortress, more commonly known as the Flying Lilo. I believe this was one of the first models I bought after getting the Empire starter set so that would make it about...ohhhhh 5 years old. That should mean it's finally matured enough to break it out of it's blister I think.

I had intended to have the whole model painted bar the windows by the end of next week, but given that I'm already a bit behind schedule in that I haven't even started it, that target seems a little unrealistic right at the moment. So how about we say I'll have the Brass and the Red finished by the end of next week and then the whole model completed the week after.

That's about as ambitious as it gets for me  :)

Alright that's me for another week. I've started a blog post about Mordheim but I've been so distracted by the game I haven't got round to actually finishing it which is a bit embarrassing. For that reason I'll make a commitment to getting it finished by Wednesday this week so if you're curious at all about the game then check back in on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

A belated update...

Oops! I was supposed to post about this last week but I've been distracted playing Mordheim: City of the Damned. Just to be clear that's the video game not the tabletop game. It's really good now they've worked out most of the bugs and I'm finding myself becoming quite addicted to it.

Anyway I promised I would post an update of my completed Dreadnought last week so here she is:

I'm definitely happy with the finished product; it's simple yet effective and overall relatively easy and quick to paint. All the other models in my army have been painted with discontinued Games Workshop paints so I'm happy with how close I got the colour match. You could tell the difference at close inspection but on a tabletop no one would notice.

So now that's finished what is the next project apart from playing more Mordheim? Well I'm plugging away at a few spare Dwarfs I had lying around. I originally got started on them back in June and then they somehow ended up on the pile of half-started projects like so many other models. Now that I've finished the Dreadnought I thought I would take a little time out to start cleaning up some of these projects before I get stuck into the next batch of Dystopian models in December. So here's the progression so far:

Ok so it's not really much progression at all other than adding a few extra Dwarf models to the pile and doing a bit of greenstuffing on them. It's not all my fault as Mordheim has been incredibly distracting and considering I have no willpower we all know the game designers are the only ones to blame for my procrastination. I'll try to be a bit more productive over the next week.

That's all for now, I'll get a review of Mordheim posted up over the weekend so check back if you're curious about the game at all.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Conquest 2015 done and dusted

Well I'd hoped to have some further updates leading up to Conquest but as normal work and painting schedule have been so busy that I've not had much of a chance to add anything to the blog. Now the event has passed I'm finally able to take a bit of time to write about how things went.

My painting wasn't finished in time unfortunately. Long hours at work cut into the time I had hoped to spend painting and I was faced with the decision of whether I rush the paint job to meet the deadline or if I just take unfinished models. One thing I'm not good at is settling for a half-finished job so ultimately it wasn't really a decision at all for me. I kept plodding along, doing as much as I could until I had to go and catch my flight down to Christchurch. This is how my Longbeards ended up:

It's mostly the metal and leather that's finished with a purple basecoat just to add a bit more colour before I had to pack them away for the trip. They're a bit dark at the moment but once the beards are all painted white there will be a much better colour contrast. Additionally their shields will be painted purple to help bring a bit more of the primary colour into the models which is a bit lacking right now.

So with my half painted Longbeards and the rest of my Dwarfs packed into my luggage I hitched a ride to Wellington airport and headed due South for the weekend.

A friend in Christchurch was kind enough to pick me and another gamer up from the airport and provide us with somewhere to stay. So after a late flight, a few beers and a bit of food we crashed out to get up early the next morning for the gaming.

After a 7am rise and a hot cup of coffee we were on our way down to the St Albans/Shirley Working Men's Club; the home of the Cavaliers gaming club. It was great to see some familiar faces again after being away for 6 months. What amused me the most was the number of people who hadn't even realised I had moved. More than once I was asked where I've been over the past few months and when I explained that I had moved up to Wellington the response was one of earnest surprise. We had about 20 minutes before the games started so I made the most of this and said hi to as many people as possible before Umpire Alan got things underway.

Here was my army for the event:

- Lord on Shieldbearers with a bunch of Combat Runes
- Battle Standard Bearer
- 2 Runesmiths with Spellbreaking Runes

- 30 Warriors with Shields
- 10 Thunderers with Shields
- 30 Longbeards with Shields
- 15 Miners
- 15 Miners
- 2 Cannons with Rune of Forging
- Grudge Thrower with Rune of Accuracy and Penetrating
- Organ Gun with Rune of Accuracy

I must admit I was pretty slack with the photos for this event as I only remembered to grab two. None the less here's my attempt at a recap of day one:

Game 1 - Rhys: Empire

It was great to catch up with Rhys again. I've played him a few times in Christchurch and our games are always good fun. Rhys is an avid tournament gamer so the games tend to be pretty one sided but he's one of the best sportsmen I've ever met which always makes the bruising easier to bear.

This game was no exception to the rule; Rhys had a combat heavy army with a Steam Tank and two units of Demi-Gryphs supported by a lot of magic and two big blocks of Halberdiers. My only chance was to try and pummel his Demi-Gryphs before he could reach me and then turn the cannons and Organ Gun onto other targets. I rolled a lot of 2's and 10's with the Cannons and then 1's and 2's for wounds which ultimately meant my cannon shots tended to drop short or over shoot and when they did hit they only did a couple of wounds to the Gryphs at best. The only exception to this was the Steam Tank whom I knocked 5 wounds off in the first turn which effectively disabled it for the game. Anyway long story short I barely scratched Rhys' Demi-Gryphs who hit my line full strength and rolled me up. I damaged a few units but only fully wiped out one unit of archers worth 35 points while Rhys almost tabled me.

End result: 2-18 loss

Game 2 - Mike: Empire

Another Empire army but this one vastly different. Mike had one big unit of Inner Circle Knights, one big unit of Greatswords, one big unit of Spearmen, a unit of Crossbowmen and two cannons. It was a pretty small army but if any unit hit me at full strength I was going to be in trouble. In the end this game really came down to a duel between our generals. Mike knocked mine down to one wound before a couple of lucky rolls allowed me knock the last wound off his general. From there Mike's big knight unit fled and were run down by my Longbeards and the rest of his army was rolled up by my artillery and combat.

End result: 15-5 win

Game 3 - Peter: Dark Elves

That's not actually a picture of Peter...

This has to be the most ridiculous game I have played in a long time. Peter's army consisted of a Hydra, a Kharibdyss, a Cauldron of Blood with a big unit of Witch Elves, a big spear unit, a crossbow unit, two units of Dark Riders, a unit of Warlocks, a Sorceress and a Battle Standard on a Pegasus. My artillery failed a lot in the first few turns of this game which made things difficult. I managed to get rid of the Pegasus and Kharibdyss before Pete's army hit my lines and then it got really crazy. Pete's magic went nuts and his Witch Elf unit, not really needing any help in the first place, just obliterated my Longbeards. However I got immensely lucky with flee and pursuit rolls; without fail every time Peter tried to pursue my units he would end up between 1 and 3 inches short. In comparison my plucky little Dwarfs had no trouble running down Pete's Hydra when he fled from a charge. This played out for the last few turns as Peter's units brutalised my Dwarfs only for me to flee an inch or more outside his pursuit rolls and then rally for another charge. Finally the sixth turn ticked over and we tallied up the casualties to find that with all the crazy running around we had reached a draw. A fitting end to one of the most bizarre games I have played in a long time.

End result: 10-10 draw

Game 4 - Chris: Empire

Game 4 was against an old flatmate of mine and an army I was pretty familiar with. Chris' army was vastly different from the other two Imperial armies I had played, he had one unit of Demi-Gryphs, a big unit of swordsmen, a medium-sized unit of Greatswords, a unit of Handgunners, a unit of Pistoliers, a unit of Knights, a Cannon, a Helblaster and a level 3 Wizard. With my army being a pretty boring Dwarf gun line the game was going to progress similar to the game with Rhys in that either I was going to hit with my artillery and whittle down Chris' troops before he could reach me or I was going to fail at shooting and he was going to roll me up. With the exception of the first turn where both of our cannon shots rolled 1's for wounding my guns finally picked their game up. The cannons and the Grudge Thrower especially did a stellar job of knocking out Chris' artillery and punching holes in his heavy cavalry. Add to this some terrible dice rolls for Chris' troops at critical points in the game and it turned a bit one-sided. Games aren't as much fun when dice tend to go one way but it was still good to catch up with Chris.

End result: 19-1 win

Game 5 - Matt: Dwarfs

Last game of the weekend and it was a bit of Dwarf on Dwarf action. It certainly wasn't a mirror match though as our armies were vastly different. Where I had built a gun line Matt had ignored artillery completely in favour of more boots on the ground. Matt had one large unit of Hammerers and one small, one large unit of Ironbreakers and one small, three large units of Warriors, two Runesmiths and a Battle Standard. There was no way I could take that many Dwarfs head on so I was going to have to whittle his units down before they could reach me. I decimated his big unit of Hammerers first and knocked out one of his Warrior units while Matt took down one of my Miner units in response. Once the combat started it turned into a complete mess. I didn't realise Matt's Ironbreakers had a banner making them stubborn so they held the centre while the rest of his units began to surround me. After some nervous break tests the combat in the middle settled and it just became a giant cluster*#%k that had no chance of reaching a resolution before the game came to a close. While I had damaged a number of Matt's units I hadn't completely wiped out many at all and being stuck in combat stopped me from chasing them while Matt hid the remnants behind a hill where I couldn't shoot them. So when the points were all tallied up at the end the game came out effectively as a draw. A fitting end to a Dwarf vs. Dwarf match.

End result: 11-9 win (draw)

So that's Conquest for another year. I really enjoyed playing Fantasy again and it makes me realise how much I will miss this game. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, so much so that there was talk of running Fantasy next year despite it being an unsupported game.

I hope to make it back to Conquest at some point in the near future but I'm going to have to wait and see how far the pennies stretch for next year's gaming. I've set my sights on Natcon in Dunedin during the Easter break and the Blood Bowl Team Champs in Christchurch sometime around November. If I can find a bit of cash to get to one other tourny during 2016 it may very well be Conquest.

In the meantime I've started on painting for Natcon. I have a pretty bad track record for getting my armies painted in time for tournaments so I'm hoping that if I start early my might be able to break the cycle. Assuming the game system is on offer I'm hoping to play Dystopian Wars and as luck would have it I have a pile of unpainted models that I would like to paint in time for the event (who would have thought). First on the painting table is the Hachiman Dreadnought which has been base coated for about a year or two with no further progress. My aim is to have it fully painted by the end of this week which is pretty ambitious for me but I've been chipping away at it since I took this photo and I'm actually not that far off.

Anyway that's enough typing for one day I think. Check back in next week and hopefully I'll have shiny new photos!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Book Review in 300 Words or Less - Vulkan Lives

Still getting through them...what more can I say  :)

Horus Heresy: Vulkan Lives by Nick Kyme

I have a love/hate relationship with Salamanders novels. I used to have a Salamanders army so they always have a special place in my heart however I don't really like Nick Kyme as an author and he is responsible for all the Salamanders fiction. So with that in mind I approached this book with wary trepidation.

The story is set around two scenarios; The first revolves around Vulkan's imprisonment and subsequent torture by Konrad Kurze, the second is around the exploits of a group of Dropsite Massacre survivors trying to find a new purpose in their existence after the loss of their Primarchs.

Having your primary character trapped in a cell for an entire stroyline doesn't really set a great foundation for action or exhilaration, but I thought Kyme kept it interesting enough with the conflict of characters between Vulkan and Curze. The dialogue between them at least helps offer an insight into the role they played in the greater brotherhood of the Primarchs.

The story following the band of Dropsite veterans had moments that got me really excited. In the drawn out game of cat and mouse played between them and the pursuing Wordbearers we see the first Wordbearer character showing dissent with the change his Legion is undergoing. I thought this helped build a lot more humanity and realism into a Legion who, up until now, seemed a very one-dimensional substance. Unfortunately for me the ending for this sub-plot was extremely disappointing and left the whole thing a bit flat.

Overall I thought it was a worthwhile read being one of Kyme's better novels. Salamanders fans will definitely get something out of it and I think there's enough in there about the other dropsite legions to keep everyone else interested too.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Book Review in 300 Words or Less - The Zombie Survival Guide

I've still got a number of Horus Heresy books to read but I wanted a break for a little while so I went searching around the bookshelf for something different. I came across this book which was a Christmas gift to Sam (she's a big Walking Dead fan) and thought it would be worth a read.

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

I'm not quite sure what genre this book fits into. Mockumentary is the first word that comes to mind but in a book form. It's quite well written, it conveys the whole zombie scenario in a very believable manner. I originally thought the book would be quite tongue in cheek but it's written more as deadpan comedy or possibly satire. If you were a few clowns short of a circus you could actually believe zombies are real from reading this book.

The book covers what to do in different levels of a zombie outbreak ranging from just a few roaming zombies to a shambling horde of undead. It provides info on the best weapons and equipment to use in protecting yourself from a potential zombie attack and the best places to hole up if caught in the middle of said attack. It gives clear lists of crucial survival equipment you should have stored in case of a zombie outbreak and even provides an 'Outbreak Journal' for you to help catalogue actions leading up to an outbreak once you notice something suspicious.

Most importantly though the guide dispels the myths Hollywood has created around zombie attacks and how to deal with them. It highlights the ineffectiveness of flame-throwers, chainsaws and fragmentation grenades, it spells out the fallacy in using a boat as a refuge and it articulates why the most inhospitable places on earth are in fact the best places to be during a zombie attack.

All-in-all I found this to be a very amusing read. I did feel a little self-conscious about reading it on the bus where people might think of me as one of those crazy, survivalist, conspiracy theorists but having now read the book I can honestly say it was well worth the public humiliation.

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Road to Conquest 2015

When living in Christchurch one of the events I looked forward to every year was 'Conquest'. This is a wargaming event run annually around Labour weekend that brought gamers in from all over the South Island and even further North. It is the biggest gaming event in the South Island and brought together geek minds of all ilk for a weekend of beer, BBQs, gaming and general smack talk. It is a tournament where I can relay on being able to catch up with gaming friends I know I probably won't see at any other time in the year.

Sadly with the move up to Wellington and a new mortgage I will not be able to attend so many gaming events in the foreseeable future and Conquest is one of the events I may have to take off the calendar. However I wanted to make it to at least one last Conquest before I call 'time' on my favourite annual event so I have booked my tickets and sorted accommodation and I am heading down South to make sure I get one final hurrah!

There is also an ulterior motive to me attending this year; with Games Workshop cutting ties to the old style of Warhammer Fantasy the organisers of Conquest are also going to cease running this game system in their event so this is the last year we will see Warhammer Fantasy Battles as a game being played at Conquest. I figured this is the perfect way to say farewell to the old Fantasy I know and love.

So with that in mind I am setting out to paint as many Dwarfs as I can before October 31st. The goal this week is to get some colour on a unit of 30 Longbeards in the hope that I'll be able to finish them before the end of October. Given my rather poor track record of getting (or rather not getting) models finished in time for tournaments I'm trying to keep my goals somewhat reserved. So if I can get the steel colours and the fleshtones finished this week I'll be happy.

No picture updates yet as the models are only undercoated and a bit boring but check back early next week and I'll post some up. In the meantime here is a picture of some awesome dwarfs...

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

It's gone! It's finally all gone!

Last week I managed to get the last of the Lego in the mail and now there is finally space again to walk in the study. I'll admit there is still a bit of Lego left as you can probably see if you look closely at the picture but there are sound, logical reasons for all of it...well I tell myself there are and really I don't care what anyone else thinks.

In all honesty I did want to keep some of the Lego so I have kept most of the Lego Castle Minifigs and also all of the Minifigs Lego have released in their Minifigs series. Aside from that the rest of the models are old models from the 90's which I am "looking after" for Sam's brother so they were not mine to sell. It truly pains me that they continue to take up space but it's a burden I suppose I must bear :)

It feels really good to have reduced my toys by so much as they really were just becoming clutter. I've actually been so happy with the end result I have started to sort through my toy soldiers in an effort to reduce what I have there also.

Now that I've completed what I set out to do with the Lego I've been wondering what to do with my spare time. I've noticed it is starting to get filled up with playing computer games or watching TV which always kind of bothers me as being rather unproductive. So after a chat with a friend I've decided to set my sights on another tournament and see if I can get some more models decluttered in the process.

Anyway I'll post more about that later, as always thanks for reading and if you have an urge to declutter then start by throwing 10 minutes a day at it for a week. The hardest part is just getting started.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Greenstone Cup 2015

The Greenstone Cup is over for another year and the Av'ndale Dandies humiliated all competition to bring the cup back to Wellington!...well ok not quite. This was in fact my worst Greenstone cup placing ever and I managed to achieve it with a tier 1 team; Wood Elves.

At the start of the year I posted about 2015 being the year of the Elf for me and how I was going to try and step outside of my comfort zone. The aim was to play the four different Elf races in Blood Bowl in four separate tournaments and learn more about the 'dash' style of play. Wood Elves were the last team I needed to play so I thought why not bring them along to Greenstone where I think they could be quite competitive.

The build guidelines for Greenstone are 1,100,000 gp with 6 skills (5 normal skills and 1 'double roll' skill) with all the regular caveats around inducements and Star Players etc. This was the team I took:

And as part of playing my last game with Elves I wanted to try and finish painting my Elf team. I didn't quite get there but I got pretty close. This is them:

I'm very happy with the monochrome effect and I like the purple contrast. I think they'll look really good once I've finished painting the purple and the bases.

So anyway that was my team and my models, but what about my opponents? Well settle down with a tea, coffee, beer or whatever you enjoy drinking as I wax lyrically about my tale of woe...

Game 1: Ingwenya Lizardmen (Helouis)

Final Score 3-0 (Cas 2-4)

The Dandies made a good start to the tournament against Helouis' Lizardmen. The game was looking a bit concerning in the first turn when Helouis sent two of my linemen to the casualty bin but I managed to score quickly and get my reserve on the field to bring my team up to 10 players. A lucky sack on Helouis' Skink ball carrier gave me another quick point before the end of the first half. In the second half the Elves came up with another lucky sack to bring the score up to 3-0. Then by turn 15 Helouis was looking like she would at last get a very well deserved touchdown. All her Skinks had to do was complete a hand-off. But it seemed even that was too much to ask from her dice as the Skink fumbled the ball into the crowd. The ball then got pitched 11 squares across the field right next to a waiting Elf catcher to threw it down field to stall out the last turn of the game.

Helouis is one of those people who maintains a happy and positive outlook on things no matter how bad the dice are rolling and hence is always a great person to play. I think she deserved a lot more luck than she got in this game but I was glad to see she placed pretty well in the end which indicates that the dice did turn round for her later in the tournament.

Game 2: Holy Harlots Amazons (Nick)

Final Score 1-0 (Cas 2-4)

For the second game I moved to the top table to play Nick and his Amazon team. I forgot to take a photo of the game in progress so I just snapped a shot of Nick's team when we packed up. This game didn't go so well for the Dandies. I received in the first half and ran the ball up-field into a scoring position. To follow on from the previous game's early casualties turn 2 left a lineman dead and Nick managed to knock the ball loose from my catcher. Things weren't so bad though as it looked like a relatively easy pick up next turn and then in for the touchdown. Unfortunately not so as Nick had one last player to move and with her he strung together a hand full of unlikely rolls to dodge away, pass the ball and catch it with another player right in the middle of a ready-built cage. It was all pretty much one way after that as the Amazons ground their way towards the end-zone. Nick had so much Guard in his team that the only chances I had to strip the ball out of his cage required two dice, up-hill blocks. One of these left a Wardancer as a casualty while the other Wardancer was taken down by the Amazons on turn 11. A blitz at the start of the second half allowed me to get a point on the board but the game was pretty one-sided overall.

Game 3: Fifty Shades Dark Elves (Dave)

Final Score 2-0 (Cas 1-2)

Third up for the day was Dave and his Dark Elves. The Dandies did pretty well here but I must say there was a disparity of dice. Dave's weren't great and mine were pretty good. I received first and after a very unlucky early two dice block I was left scrambling to recover. I managed to get the ball to touchdown on turn 5 with a riot having delayed the game a little. On the kick off one of my catchers chased the kick and managed to injure himself tripping over his shoelaces but otherwise the first half was pretty uneventful. The second half started with a thrown rock which injured one of my Wardancers but thankfully the team kept it together and managed to turnover the ball and score again in turn 14.

Game 4: Ravensburg Rhinos Undead (Steve)

Final Score 1-2 (Cas 0-5)

This game started well enough with the Dandies scoring early in the first half after receiving. I was hoping to stall a bit but things were looking a bit too risky to do that. Once he received Steve kept basing all my players in order to grind them down. Unfortunately I wasn't having much luck in dodging away from him but thankfully for me Steve was also having no luck with his block dice or armour rolls. I delayed Steve as much as I could to get him to risk exposing his ball carrier for a blitz and sure enough my chance came on turn 7 to strip the ball out. Nuffle had different ideas however as my Strip Ball Wardancer leapt in and rolled a Both Down followed by a re-roll with the same result against Steve's Block Ghoul. Steve then flattened all my standing players and scored before the half time whistle. In the second half Steve received and just ground his way down-field, but this time his dice had turned exceptionally hot and my team fled to the casualty and KO bin. I had to take risks and was very lucky to knock the ball loose on a two dice uphill block and then pick it up in two tackle zones before making a pass to an open player. However just as Nuffle giveth he also taketh away as Steve rolled the 6 he needed for an interception and his Mummy plucked the ball from mid-air. That was the nail in the coffin as Steve stomped in another Touchdown and I was left with only 4 players on the pitch.

Game 5: Welcome to the Freak Show Chaos Pact (Gil)

Final Score 1-2 (Cas 0-4)

Another game that started well but quickly went pear-shaped. I sent some catchers down my left which drew a number of Gil's players away from the centre then blitzed through the middle and repositioned almost my entire team behind Gil's front line with a good screen to stop him getting to the ball. The Elves it seemed were working just how they were supposed to; with speed and agility. It was too risky to stall so I scored on turn 3 and kicked off to Gil. Gil's team formed a similar cage to Nick with enough Guard to make it difficult for me to strip the ball out. I learned from my previous game however and based his Guard players forcing him to cage up without them. I got a good opportunity on turn 6 where I leapt in to blitz the ball carrier however my Wardancer failed the leap roll and I had no re-rolls left (they were all gone by turn 4 *sigh*). My Wardancer in his incompetence managed to break his neck in the dive and then the following roll Gil broke my other Wardancer with his Ogre. Gil touched down before the end of the half as my players started fleeing to the injury and KO dugout as game 4 began to repeat itself all over again. By turn 12, due to having so few players on the pitch I advised Gil I was just going to shift the remnants of my team up the other end of the field and wait for him to score so I could attempt a 1 turn touchdown. So we called it a touchdown to Gil and save ourselves 4 more turns of Gil shifting his cage slowly forward. We set up for the 1-turn touchdown attempt where Gil promptly rolled a Blitz and smashed my front line. In the end I just didn't have enough players to get the chain push going for the one turn score and it was all over bar the crying.

Game 6: Wainuiomata Widowmakers Dark Elves (Dawid)

Final Score 1-2 (Cas 0-2)

This game was madness from the very beginning. By turn 2 I had a dead lineman and my cage had been busted wide open with 3 or 4 of my players in danger of being pushed into the crowd. Thankfully my Wardancers came to play this time and stripped the ball out of the Dark Elf cage which bounced free for my catcher to run in on turn 4. Dawid received the kick-off and set about decimating my Elves. It was one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen. For about 8 or 9 turns he was rolling 10's, 11's and 12's on the armour rolls only to roll 2's, 3's and 4's on the injury rolls. So thankfully my players weren't leaving the field but the number of players left dazed, confused and scattered across the pitch was making it hard for me to contain the Dark Elves. The remainder of the game played out similar to the previous 2. Dawid scored on turn 8 of the first half and then received for the second. He caged up and set about pushing down-field. I blocked him off for the most part and forced him to switch from one side of the field to the other but in the end he pushed through for the touchdown on turn 16. I had to try the 1 turn score again and this time it came perilously close to working but I failed a 'Go for it' roll when trying to move my ball retriever closer to the line of scrimmage for a pass.

So that brought the tournament to a close. It was an extremely disappointing finish for me as I struggled ineffectually to get to grips with playing Elves. In all honesty I have not enjoyed Blood Bowl very much at all this year in playing the pointy ear teams and have considered taking a break from the game many times. I think at the moment we'll just let things settle a bit and try playing some more bashy teams to see if I can reignite my interest in the game. With all the other models to paint and games to play however taking a break might not be such a bad thing.

As always thanks for reading and until next time remember...

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