Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Warhammer Gifts From A Friend, and Reset

A friend of mine did some house cleaning and came across old miniatures (mostly Warhammer Fantasy) he brought a long time ago. He brought them with the idea of making a fantasy chess board. At this point that project was never going to happen so he offered them to his gaming buddies (which includes me). I, of course said loudly I wanted them and he was more than happy to toss the boxes and blisters packs my way. Here is a picture of some of those gifts...

What to do with these new old models got me thinking. At first I consider using some of the collection for conversion projects but I couldn't think of anything they would be good for. Then I remember that I wanted an elven army eventually for Chaos Magic lore reasons and these miniatures would be a decent start. I'm not going to immediately put together the entire collection but I think I will work on the box of High Elves, the box of Dark Elves and maybe one blister soonish. This might even allow me to get in some Age of Sigmar games in.

Which leads into another decision about the models and even the blog itself. Am I going to build these miniatures so I can used them in both Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition and in Age of Sigmar or should I only keep AoS in mind? There are elements of 8th edition I like and do not see in any game I'm currently playing. That and along with the good memories I have of playing 8th is why I held out hope that I will get to play it again sometime. I really want to finish the Border Prince Campaign as well as play through the scenarios that were in the End Times books. However I'm beginning to realize it is getting unlikely that I will get to play 8th edition again and will probably never get to regularly play it. I only have one friend that I know of that still has 8th edition armies and has an interest in playing. That said, we never played one last year and even he has started selling of some of his armies. The final nail for me is that my friend is leaving soon for college. That means there is no hope for me playing 8th edition for at least 2 or 3 years from now. It makes no sense for me to work on new 8th edition armies, especially since I don't own any of the elven army books. There are lots of local players that play 40k and/or Age of Sigmar. I don't know how these models will fit into AoS but they along with my Bretonnians should be fun to find out.

I think it is time for me to remove the Border Prince Campaign page. I had a lot of story plans connect to the campaign but it doesn't make sense to have most of my blog's lore based on an unfinished campaign that will remain unfinished for years to come. As much as it pains me, at this point its better for me to reset my lore and start again with a new campaign or narrative tool. Age of Sigmar was made with narrative battles in mind and those are perfect for telling stories through fiction and gaming. Before I make any new plans for gaming fiction, I want to concentrate on getting more of my collection assembled and painted. I will need some time to decide where to take my fantasy stories and I have plenty of models to paint and even more to assemble.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

An Arco-Flagellant Force

I never used Arco-Flagellants when I played Witch Hunters in 4th edition. I thought there rules were interesting but I didn't like the models at the time nor their lore. I didn't like the idea that part of my army were convicted criminals overdosing on combat drugs (and I still don't). Back then I had the idea of doing a conversion using ninja models with cybernetic limbs and using the Arco-Flagellant rules. That never actually happen. At the time I only wanted to use Games Workshop models and I don't think GW had anything in their catalog that fit what I was looking for. While I still think it is an interest idea for a conversion, it not something I would do today. The conversion would make them thematically similar to Death Cult Assassins and I already have 3 of the current miniatures.

I have used Arco-Flagellants quite a bit in 8th edition. Earlier this year I made an Ecclesiarchy list to test out all the close combat options available in the Adeptus Ministorum. A lot of the options were okay at best in my opinion. But there were two that both my opponent and myself thought were really, really good. Of course Arco-Flagellants were one of them (the other being Penitent Engines). They have a clear battlefield role of killing low armor, mid range tough enemies. And they do that extremely well. The shear number of attacks they can generate in close combat is insane. More than once this year my Arco-Flagellants generated so many attacks that I had trouble holding the dices. In my test list I initially thought aforementioned Death Cult Assassins had the same role as Arco-Flagellants, only Arco-Flagellants were much much better. But after playing a few more games and taking a closer look at the Death Cult Assassins abilities, I realize Death Cult has a slightly different role from Arco-Flagellants. Death Cult Assassins are much better at dealing with low toughness, high armor opponents due to their armor piercing which Arco-Flagellants lack. Death Cult also possess a lot of close combat attacks of their own. In fact one Death Cult Assassin has the average number of attacks that one Arco-Flagellant has. I never realize that before. Though with Arco-Flagellants having random attacks, they benefit more abilities that give other units bonus attacks, like priests. I always did have a fondness for Death Cult Assassins (thought I never played with them either in 4th edition) with them essentially being Imperium ninjas. But with Arco-Flagellants being stronger, more resilient and point-wise cheaper, Arco-Flagellants are currently just better. That said, I will be using both.

The Big FAQ 1 of 2018 was just release and it prevents taking a datasheet(an unit) more than 3 times. So far I have not used Arco-Flagellants more than twice in an army but I was contemplating a list with 6 units of Arco-Flagellants. Now with the Big FAQ 1 around, I can only use 3 Arco-Flagellants units at most. Which is more than enough for most of my games. I just wish I could have played one game with a ton Arco-Flagellants. It seems Games Workshop are constantly updating and amending the rules so I suppose there is a chance the 3 datasheet limit could get removed in the future and I can legally run a mass Arco-Flagellant army.

I'm not the type of player whom makes a single army list. The player that plays the same list over and over again, making slight tweaks to the list after every game or two. That type of player only buys miniatures that are also in that single list. And once they have their army completed and painted, they will only buy new miniatures when they tweak the list. That type of player is definitely not me, though it would make miniature buying much much easier. Every time I played 40k this year, I made the army list from the ground up. Many of my lists were made to test certain elements while others were made based on what I was feeling like playing. The downside to make new list every time I play is that I can never fully learn the strength and weakness of a particular list. That only comes with playing the same list multiple times against a wide range of opponents and scenarios. However I can and have learn of the strengths and weaknesses of individual datasheets (units) as well as the strength and weakness of the overall collection of forces that I call my Imperium army (mostly the Sisters of Battle, Ecclesiarchy, Sisters of Silence and the Inquisition). The makeup of my army changes from game to game, but there are datasheets that I use repeatedly. And it is those elements I think I will focus on collecting models for first. Ever since I first learn how great Arco-Flagellants were, I've always included at least one unit of them. The 3 Arco-Flagellants pictured above will be the start of me building 2 full units of 9. With 3 already assembled, I'm thinking up ideas for conversions to use for some of the other 15. I'm not going to use my old cyber ninja idea, but I am thinking of doing a few priests with the cybernetic limbs. I haven't found any models I want to convert yet but the plan is buy probably a reaper priest model and replace the arms with Arco-Flagellants arms. I also have Chaos Spawn limb bits that when painted up metallic should work for Arco-Flagellants. Why priests? I have a short story idea that will explain in universe for priest Arco-Flagellants. Hopefully I can post it soon. I will be posting my painting progress on the Arco-Flagellants I currently have and the entire conversion process of the next batch of Arco-Flagellants. Stay tune!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Sister Who Speaks

Sometimes when I'm putting models together I brainstorm conversion ideas that I could do with said models. Other times I come up with mini-stories that explains the fictional role that the model or unit I'm working on has in the army overall and what are some of the intra-army relationships are like. And then there are those times I do both.

One of the things I'm currently working on is a box of Sister of Silence. I love the miniatures but I also want to have at least one with a "traditional" look. I think it would make her look similar to my Sisters of Battle and therefore help make both Sister forces look apart of the same army. While head swaps is among the easiest conversion to do, I won't be converting any Sisters of Silence anytime soon. I want 2 squads (one armed with swords, the other with bolters) to be model as is. Once I get a third box of Sisters is when I will start looking into the conversion. Also I don't have a lot of female head bits in my collection to use in conversions.

As I was crafting the story of how this future Sister conversion was going to fit into my army, a question came to my mind. Why would a Sister of Silence look so radically different from the others? I decided to go with her being the Silence Officer whom interacts with the rest of the army. That means she would be the one who would go to officer meetings, get issued orders for all of the Sisters of Silence in the field and in general the person to communicate to when concerning Silence affairs. This may not sound like a big deal but the job requires speaking and Sisters of Silence take a Vow of Silence when becoming members. With fantasy I would be more than happy to ignore setting fluff and make up my own fiction details in my stories. But 40k feels different. It is the setting a lot of fans call home and it is truly unlike anything I would have created on my own. Especially Sisters of Silence. Fortunately there is a really easy way to explain how this will fit into the setting. A jackass Inquisitor!

Inquisitors' authority in the Imperium is insane. They can practically order nearly anyone to do anything on penalty of death as long as they claim it is for the benefit of the Imperium. An Inquisitor can easily conscript a force of Sisters of Silence to serve under him/her as his personal army/bodyguards. It would even make a lot of sense if it was an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor currently hunting a powerful psyker. Sisters of Silence communicate with each other with sign language and to outsiders by acolytes. Acolytes are women training to be Silence of Silence but have not yet taken the Vow of Silence. If said Inquisitor felt it was beneath him/her to talk to an acolyte or wants to be able to talk with someone in the middle of a firefight when acolytes are probably not going to be around, he/she could give an Imperial Mandate to a Sisters of Silence to permanently break her Vow. And I have an Inquisitor that could fit that role already assembled. Just need to be primed and painted. And I also need to get a better camera.

With all that said, even though it makes perfect sense in the 40k lore, I'm not sure I want someone like that in my army. I suppose I could say the Inquisitor regrets issuing the mandate but that feels cheap and like poor storytelling to me. I think I would prefer to say that the Inquisitor was killed off and the Sisters of Silence were then later recruited into my current army. There is another scenario I could use that I just thought of. Starting off the same as before with an Inquisitor conscripting a force of Sisters of Silence, the difference being that the Inquisitor doesn't mind dealing with acolytes. In fact the Inquisitor grows fond of the working relationship they have with one of the acolytes to such a degree that they Imperial Mandate the Sisters of Silence order to accept the acolyte without her taking the Vow of Silence. Still a jackass thing to do and an abuse of power. However it doesn't setup a personality that makes me instantly hate the character. It will be awhile before I can bring this character to the tabletop. While I could use my new Inquisitor Greyfax model pictured above, this character for me deserves an unique model with my own personal conversions.

A little weird when you think about it that I've put this much thought into the backstory of two conversion projects I don't plan to do anytime soon. But that is how my mind works. At least now I can start looking for bits to fit into these projects. Also just because they don't currently have models doesn't mean I can't put them into stories. Thank you for reading my random musings on story and conversion.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

New Year Return and Resolutions

It's the new year and this is my first update in nearly 4 months. By no means this was intentional. There are many reasons for the hiatus, but to go into those reasons now would probably derail this post. I hope I can discuss some of those reasons in the future but for now I want to focus on moving forward. Here are my Chaos Magic plans and goals for 2018:

Flames of War and Team Yankee - I have decided to drop Flames of War and Team Yankee. There are a lot of games I'm interested in and I have very limited resources to apply towards those games. While I'm use to playing with proxies, I'm hate it and want whatever money I put into the hobby to go towards not having to proxy. For me Flames of War and Team Yankee is competing with Warhammer in this vein. Anything I want to get in Flames of War is just a drop in the bucket compared to what I need. The reason for this is the Flames of War Germany has so many lists with so many options that I could easy find 5 different late war German list and not duplicate any unit between them. Now if I made a single list and just try to collect models for that single list, then Flames of War would probably be the best game for me to get to playing without proxies. But that is not how I want to play war games. It is also not a very good idea since Battlefront changes the official point limits of games every year. Not saying Battlefront is bad for doing that, but it does help explain why Flames of War is not good for me to invest in this year. My reason for dropping Team Yankee is slightly different but still related to limited resources. I still have a ways to go before I can play a 100 point game with West Germans and even further to go before a can play a good list at 100 points. Given that the local interest in Team Yankee has wain a lot, it makes more sense to me to instead invest in other games. Team Yankee (as well as Flames of War) has an unique problem in that I need to invest a lot into carrying cases. What I have now works fine with every game I'm playing except Team Yankee and Flames of War. At this time I don't want to spend any of my limited resources on carrying cases.

What this means is that I will not be picking up any new models, participating in any campaigns or write any short stories set in those games. With Flames of War still being active locally, I may still play one offs. I will also keep up with the rules and write any articles I think are worthwhile for others. It is also possible if I get into the habit of working on models regularly I may work on Flames of War and/or Team Yankee models I currently have and needs finishing. I will be posting pictures of any models that are newly painted. I know from last year that things can happen to change my plans and there is something I can foresee happening that could possibly have me picking Flames of War and/or Team Yankee back up. Nevertheless, I don't see me dealing with Flames of War/Team Yankee until 2019.

Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar - I really miss playing 40k. The last time I was really involved in the game was mid 5th edition. I then discovered Warhammer Fantasy and completely left 40k behind because I was far more interested in the fantasy genre than sci-fi. I played 40k a handful of times since and I never really felt the spark. At one point I had the opportunity to play with friends every (or maybe every other) Saturday morning. I was not a morning person and it felt like a real chore to get out and play. So that opportunity closed on me and I didn't miss it. I played 40k last weekend on Saturday morning and I couldn't wait to do it again. I'm still not a morning person but I'm now excited enough to be willing to get up every Saturday to play if possible. When I left 40k, I did not have many miniatures, partly because I tried to build 3 separate armies. This time I want to concentrate on a single army. A Sisters of Battle army with some various Imperium aspects. I've nickname the army "Sisters with Friends."

I wanted to spend Christmas money to get one new thing for my 40k army. Sadly my local store don't have much I want to buy on the shelf. I thought I had to settle for either the Triumvirate of the Imperium boxset which has the Saint but includes Belisarius Cawl which I have no interest in or the Talons of the Emperor which has more troops but is more expensive. After thinking it over I decided it would be better to get more troops to start. So of course when I finally decide to buy the box set that has been sitting in my store for 8 months was purchase under my nose recently. I can't even order it as its currently out of stock! So I ended up with the Triumvirate box set instead. Next month I will picking up a box of Sister of Silence and Sisters of Battle command retinue. I love the rules for the Imagifier and Hospitaller so I wanted to get those models soon. I actually wanted to get the Hospitaller ever since I started playing. At the time I was sad that she could only go with Inquisitors but now she is with Sisters of Battle proper.

After next month I will probably only picking up single sisters packs every other month or so. I need a lot of special weapon girls and I currently have very little. For the first half the year I see my self only playing for fun with lots proxies. Once I feel comfortable with the rules I will start considering local tournaments as I do have a Blood Angels force I brought from a friend. After a few months I should be able to make a hodgepodge tournament Imperium force. Later in the year I will see about setting up a kill-team mini campaign. By the end of the year my 40k goal is to have 25 models painted and participate in one event.

Age of Sigmar was a game I thought about dropping but this past weekend while I was playing 40k there was an Age of Sigmar tournament. I got to meet players that are into 40k and Age of Sigmar and were willing to travel to tournaments around the country. Traveling to tournaments is something I've wanted to do regularly do for a while. Even though I've only played a handful of AoS games, I've always stay somewhat up to date with the AoS environment by following Vince Venturella youtube channel. Now knowing there is a fairly strong AoS local community, it doesn't feel right to completely ignore it. Especially when I can supplement my AoS Poison Army with my older chaos stuff to make it playable. I still have a lot of work to do on the Poison models that I have. If I do get any new models for it, it will be the Skaven Plague Claw and/or the Verminlord. My AoS goal is to have 30 models for my Poison Army painted.

Smaller Goals - Reflecting back on 2017 I notice a flaw in myself. I tend to make my goals way too big. I make plans that require hundreds of painted miniatures and several detail terrain pieces that goes from there when I don't own most of those miniatures, much less even have them assembled and painted. That is why I'm trying to make my goals this year smaller scale. I might have too many goals, but at least each individual goal should be something I can achieve. And as long as I'm able to complete some goals and still make progress with others, I will consider this year a great success. I still have my big plans but I now realize I need to wait on them until I have a build a proper foundation.

More War Journals - The idea behind War Journal was to have a series dedicated to a particular war game that had a regular schedule release. Maybe with a co-host, maybe on my own. My first attempt at War Journal was for Battletech. That never got off the ground due to scheduling conflicts and failing to find a place to record. Later I did 26 episodes of War Journal: Flames of War with Tracy George. This year I want to start two new War Journals. One on Relic Knights which I've been promising to do for years. The other I want to be on Dracula's America. Both will be solo projects (though it is possible I could have guests) but will have their differences as well. Relic Knights will be about what it is like to start the hobby from the beginning and document my progress. Dracula's America will be closer to what War Journal: Flames of War was, except it will just be me and have video instead of an audio only podcast. My goal is to do at least 6 War Journal episodes.

Short Stories - The initial purpose of this blog was to have a place to host narrative fiction of my adventures in fantasy campaigns. Very little was done on this front because our campaigns ended before I could get much written. This year I want to go back to Chaos Magic roots a little bit by publishing more narrative fiction. The Border Prince Campaign ended early and unfinished but I am still using my army's fiction in the overall Chaos Magic mythology. There are a few campaign turns that don't have a corresponding short story. I had story ideas for them but I never got around to flushing them out. Writing those missing turn fictions will be a major goal for me. Also I have a couple of short story ideas that are not necessarily connected to any campaigns that I want to write. These stories will help flush out other parts of my Chaos Magic mythology. Doing any new fiction for new campaigns is unlikely for the time being.

Catching Up on Past Articles - In addition to missing turn fiction, there are some articles I said I would write that I never got to. The main ones I'm thinking of are the ones discussing my time at the Warlord's convention last year. I still have my notes on days two and three. I got sidetrack with other things and never wrote my article on day 2 and day 3. A 2018 goal of mine is to write 10 articles I said were coming. Included in this are Topics of the Week questions that I wanted to write about and I think are still interesting to have a piece on.

Other Things - Beside the two Warhammer games I'm still interested in BattleTech, Darcula's America and Test of Honour. These games require a lot less resources than Warhammer. The BattleTech community is far more forgiving with using proxies than any other community I've been apart of. That means I only need a handful mechs to play BattleTech outside of large epic battles. Dracula's America is a low model count skirmish game. Using Reaper's Miniatures, each figure averages to around $5 each and I already have the bulk of what I need for a while. Test of Honour is the most expensive of the three in the short run. However each box set usually has 10 to 30 models in it. The exception being the newly release Ninja of Iga expansion. The fact that Ninja of Iga only has metal figures (unlike earlier expansions that had 1 metal figure and multiple plastic minis) explains the low model count and higher price. Being that I love ninjas, I will have to pick it up at some point. I've recently grab Chobei's Renegades box set with Christmas money so I probably won't need to get any more Test of Honour stuff this year once I have the Ninja of Iga as well. My BattleTech goal is to paint 5 mechs and play a few games. My Dracula's America goal is to paint 9 figures. For Test of Honour, my goal is to paint 50 figures by the end of the year.

Lastly, beside War Journal, I have another series I want to do this year. It is a show that will mix League of Legends and Dracula's America. The idea is that I think a few characters in League of Legends would fit right in with the setting of Dracula's America. Trying convert miniatures to look like League's champions will be a major part of the show eventually. The first episode will explain more with how the series will work. I hope to do at least six episodes by the end of the year.

And those are all my hobby goals I've set for myself this year. I'm sorry for not having updated in so long. I don't plan on that happening again. Thank you for reading and I got work to do. Happy Gaming!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Progress Review #5

I got back to some kind of track in August, making some progress on my models. Here is what I got done.

I started painting my spell caster for Dracula's America and finally decided on a look for my Leopard 2s. This is my only picture of the caster but I was only a third done with her at the time. I've since nearly finished her and will have more pictures of her later this month. For my Leopards, I've started the process of painting my tracks and attaching them, one by one.

By the end of this month I hope to have the caster finished and at least 4 tanks with the tracks and camo. I gave my 5th tank a commander and I'm having a slight issue with him. Once I figure out how I want to handle it, then I will bring it up to speed with the others. I primed an old Panzer IV H to test out washes for my Leopards. I ended up liking both washes. Once for the green base, the other for everything BUT the green. Using both is going to make the wash process really slow and a pain in the neck. I suppose it will be worth it to make sure I like the final results this time. Thank you for reading.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Issue with Weapons in Dracula's America

I've played four games of Dracula's America and my interest in the game is even higher. (I actually played two games before I publish my review.) Its unique system keeps all players involve for most of the game. And every game so far has been very close, though I've always been on the losing side. Without a doubt Dracula's America has become one of our favorite games to play and we are looking forward to eventually starting a campaign. But as we prepare what we want for our initial posse, we realize an issue with the weapons in Dracula's America, at least under a campaign system. Well, an issue if you don't want to buy and paint 5 times the amount of miniatures you would otherwise need.

The issue has to do with a "what you see is what you get rule", which a lot of miniature games have. If you don't know what this rule is, it means that the model needs to have the weapons its equip with to be physical modeled on the miniature. In most games this is not a big deal once you figure out how to make the model fit your playstyle. But with Dracula's America, a model can only have 3 weapons and no more than two models can have the same weapon beside the basic pistol. A starting posse has 6 models and $22 dollars to equip them with. You can't have any uncommon gear in your initial posse, like repeating rifles, sawed-off shotguns and others. After your first battle, both sides get some cash and then you can start upgrading your crew. So the equipment your posse has can (and most likely will) change after every game for most if not all of a campaign. As someone whom uses proxies a lot the hobby, I understand why the rule is in place. In games with fully equip posses, it is extremely important to know that a model with a rifle if that suppose to be a normal rifle, repeating rifle or a buffalo rifle. Losing track of whose who is a big problem with using proxies, both for the user or their opponent. But at the same time if I'm planning on making a character look vastly different in two or three games from now, why should I model how they look now? I don't want to buy a model for every version I want to use. I suppose I should say this is a problem unique to Dracula's America's campaign system. If you are not a campaign style of player, then this won't be an issue for you. Dracula's America does have a match play system where you build your entire posse with $100. But I haven't play it yet and I'm currently focus on campaigns, so my point of view is only from the campaign side of things.

I didn't realize this issue when I pick up my first mini, a cheap Reaper Bone miniature. I like the model a lot but it only has a single pistol. Knowing what I do now, I wouldn't have pick it up, or I would have pick it up with the purpose of doing conversions on it later. But since I have it, I will make it my posse's spell caster (which the game calls Arcanist) and build the rest of my posse around her. Deciding on what to get next is further complicated by another issue related to weapons, available models. Northstar makes the official line for Dracula's America but I've not been that impress so far with what I have seen. To be fair, I've never seen their models in person which could make a difference. However, it is really off putting to me that they modeled something wrong. There are several creature that you can summon in Dracula's America and a specific summonable creature is an angelic two pistol using gunslinger called a Seraphim. The Northstar official model only has a single pistol. When the game has rules about models being accurately depicted, having the official model wrong undermines the rules. I also prefer to get my miniatures at brick and mortar stores and my local store would have trouble getting Northstar stuff. So that leaves me to find suitable western options that my local store currently has on the shelf, which is two: Malifaux and Reaper Miniatures. Malifaux has been on the edge of interest for me. I knew its setting was called the weird west but I've never got around to truly look at their model line until I needed to find stuff for Dracula's America. At this point I realize they went all in on the "weird" part as most of what I saw while flavorful was extremely outlandish and grotesquely weird. The only things I thought might fit was one crew (which another player interested in Dracula's America already have), a lone model and box of random bits that will allow you to build custom characters. The random bits is out of range of my budget for a while and I don't want the crew because I would like everyone posse to be as different as possible. The only other Malifaux model I'm interested in is the Forgotten Marshal. While he is pricier than what I would like, if no one else gets him, I will probably pick one up.

With Malifaux out, that just leave Reaper Miniatures. I've always been fond of Reaper's products though in the past I just browse their stuff without looking for something in particular, and picking up any miniature I thought was interesting. Now I'm looking for wild west miniatures equip with particular weapons. And it doesn't help Reaper's website is awful for searching. Reaper's miniatures have searchable labels and western is one of those labels. However that doesn't bring up all their western models for some reason. If I had to guess, I think the problem is that the western label only brings up miniatures under their Chronoscope brand and not under any other brand, like Savage Worlds which has their Deadlands minis. Whatever is the reason, it means I will eventually have to look through Reaper's very large catalog, one mini at a time. The reason I need to do this is because I need figures with multiple weapons, in particular rifles, shotguns and carbines. Figures holding a weapon in a way to make it easy to snip the hands off for conversion purposes is a bonus. What disappointed me the most about Reaper was the lack of Native American figures. I found only 3 in their catalog so far and none of them had range weapons. I wanted at least one Native American in my posse but at this time I don't have any viable options. If someone wanted to play the Skinwalkers faction(which only Native Americans can join), then Malifaux and Reaper are not options for them. Unless you want to do heavy conversions on three different models, then you would have look at one of the smaller miniature companies for Native American figures. Who? I don't know. I didn't see any Native American figures at Northstar under Dracula's America either!

As I mention earlier, many of these issue are only present if you play in a campaign. Under match play, you can make a list and then buy and convert your models to fit your list with little problems (unless you want Native Americans). For me, I think I will be looking to build my posse around where I see them during the middle of the campaign. Early in the campaign I think it will be easier to remember to disregard certain gear as weapon options are very limited then. As the campaign goes on, I can start buying items on the model but I don't have in my posse yet. By the time it gets past the middle and heading towards the end, I will probably be needing to expand beyond the initial six and will have a lot of experience to know what exactly I need. That's all I have on weapons in Dracula's America. Next time I will go into what I'm working on for my posse and talk a little bit about the factions. Thanks for reading. Until next time.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Quick Review: Dracula's America

I had seen pictures of models on Twitter and in an email for Dracula's America. I wasn't really interested in it at the time. Partly because I'm already in too many games that I'm trying to buy miniatures for. And partly because westerns is a distance 4th for genres I want to play in. That said, I got the chance to read a review copy of the book during a 2 and half hour trip to play some Team Yankee. I wish I didn't. Not because it was a bad read. I wish I had not read it because now I really REALLY want to get a few western models and play a few games.

Dracula's America is a skirmish wargame in a similar vein as Frostgrave, Necromunda and Mordheim. You have a warband of six to ten models (Dracula's America calls it your Posse) where you battle other players' warband and random encounters to earn treasure. Build in these games are campaign systems where your force can gain experiences and grew in power. I will admit that I haven't read all of Dracula's America from cover to cover. I didn't get to the fluff of its alternate history. But I did read the rules of how to play, the various game mechanics, how to build a Posse, a few magic spells and all the powers you get from the special factions. In all, I think I read about 65% of the book and I feel confident that I could play a game with a pre-made Posse and would only have to look in the book for charts. To me that is amazing after a single partial read. For me to do that means the rules were written in a simple and easy to understand way for a game that has quite a bit of complexity to it.

The game uses a dice pool system in a way I've never seen or heard of before. Your base dice pool will depend on the action you want to take. For example, shooting is a 3-die pool while a dodge reactions is a 1-die pool. Situation modifiers can increase or decrease this dice pool, though nothing can reduce the pool below a single die. Any die that rolls a 5 or higher is a success. The more successes rolled, the better the result. The type of die used is depended on the characters. If a character has only recently started wearing a gun on their hip, then they will be using d6s for all their die rolling. Now if a character has been in a few fights and has seen a thing or two in their time, then they would be using d8s. But if a character's name is known throughout the country because of their exploits, then they would probably be using d10s. I really like this tier system. It is a way to make veterans of the west more powerful than novices without giving them bigger numbers for stats.

Like all western based games, Dracula's America uses a deck of cards. A deck per player to be exact. Cards are used as an initiative system. At the beginning of the turn, all players draw cards equal to half the number of models in their posse, round up. So if you had 9 miniatures on the table, you would draw 5 cards. You get to draw an extra card if your boss (whom is the leader of your posse) is still on the table. Initiative is done by each player picking a card in their hand and playing it face down. Once everyone has picked, the cards are reveal. The player with the highest valued card gets to act first, any black cards before red cards. In case of ties, roll off. And if two of the exact same cards are used, a special event happens as well. When its your turn to act, you can either pick one model to take 2 actions or you can pick two models to take 1 action each. After you have resolved both of your actions the model/s get a done token and discard the playing card. The player with the next highest card gets to act. Once all the players get a chance to act, play repeats itself by everyone picking a new card. Models with done tokens can't act again. Play continues until either all models on the table have acted or all players are out of cards. I've never seen an initiative system like this and at least on paper I love it. While essentially play is swap back and forth between two players, I see interesting choices being available at all points. You never know if your opponent will activated one model or two on their next turn. With the right cards in hand, you can setup a plan to take two turns in a row by playing a low card followed by an Ace. You won't have enough cards to have all your models take two actions, so you need to strategize who best to get those extra actions and when.

The types of actions available and interaction with terrain seem to be more or less standard with skirmish games. The one significant difference is that facing matters. Not only does a model have to face in the direction where it is shooting but also getting shot in the back does extra damage. Also one of the available actions is a ready action which allows you to interrupt an enemy model later in the turn. However you have to be able to see them to interrupt and if your back is to them, then you can't use the ready action. Now combat is anything but standard. I already explain how skill test work. For combat, you attack with a skill like shooting. If you get at least one success then you hit. The victim now has to make a save. This is not a test so a success isn't automatic at 5+. Instead the number needed to save is based on the number of successes the attacker got. 5+ on a single success, 6+ with two successes and so on. The victim needs to make this test even if they can't roll high enough to succeed. Damage is based on how much the victim fails their saved. There are three damage states in the game; shaken, down and casualty. Shaken means you have some light wounds and have some penalties. Down means you are either serious wounded, or too scared to get off the ground. Either way, the only thing they can do is crawl until they get healed. Casualty, like the name implies is being dead or too gravely wounded to continue. A model that takes a casualty is removed from the board.

I didn't get to fluff where they explain the story behind the setting because I ran out of time. I only know the tagline which is that Dracula's minions assassinated the president and mind control the congress into making him President for life. I also read about the playable factions in the game. I only got to their game rules but that was enough for me to get a favor of who they are and the possible role in the setting. I think the setting has a lot to offer. I am reminded of Deadlands in tone and mystery. I could very easily see adapting Dracula's America to play a wargame in the Deadlands world. Also I can see adapting your favorite pen and paper roleplaying game to have a lot of fun in Dracula's America as well. Just using Dracula's America ruleset as is or with slight changes make work as rpg as well. Some of the available factions includes The Crusaders of the Twilight Order (whom members can have knight armor, holy bless weapons and can summon angelic gunslingers), vampires that serve Dracula, devil worshipers whom can summon demons, Native American shapeshifters and just a lot more.

What I like most about Dracula's America is how they separated the mundane and supernatural. In most fantastical games, the supernatural aspect is entwine through out the rule system. This fine by me as I love my magic. But if someone was a historical player, it would be a headache if not just impossible to use these fantasy games as mundane historical games in my opinion. Dracula's America on the other hand has made it extremely easy to go mundane. If you want to play a historical skirmish western game, then all you need to do is read the first half of the book and play as it. If you do want to play with supernatural elements then the second half of the book can be seamlessly inserted into your game. I don't know if this design choice was intentional but it is really cool they gave us the option to play without magic if we want.

The only thing that disappointed me about Dracula's America is the campaign system that came package in the book. After seeing a few Frostgrave campaigns and how seemingly rich Dracula's America backstory is, I was expecting something rich with story. Instead we got a very abstract campaign system with very bland scenarios. To be fair Frostgrave's rich campaigns came in separate releases from the initial book. But at the same time Frostgrave had more initial scenarios and those scenarios were far more interesting. I suppose its not too bad to have this as your weak point as it easily fix with a new campaign book release. And my complains only deals with how you suppose to organize a campaign, how to decide the campaign winner and the lack of any kind of story. The system for how your posse grows in strength is excellent.

I'm really looking forward to trying Dracula's America. If you are a fan of a weird west setting or enjoy skirmish wargames with leveling up mechanics, then I would definitely suggest you take a look at Dracula's America. Even if you dislike westerns and/or vampires, as long as you are a skirmish wargame fan, I would still suggest looking at it. The uniqueness of the system might be enough for you to love the game despite its genre. Thank you for reading.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Topic of the Week - Allies in Age of Sigmar

This week topic is related to the up coming General's Handbook 2. I'm not exactly excited about the book because I dislike buying books (just rather put that money towards more models). Also, personally it feels like I just brought General's Handbook 1 and seeing it replace is a downer to me. That said, I AM excited about Age of Sigmar getting allies. There is probably more details about it out at the time of my writing but I don't know it. I get the vast majority of my Age of Sigmar news from the Topic of the Week videos and the few times I get to watch Warhammer Weekly. My understanding is that in the General's Handbook 2 there will be the option to take up to 20% of your army from a different faction as allies and still keep your allegiance abilities. It is unknown to me exactly how this will work, including whether or not it will be possible to cross grand alliances. In any case, my response is that I'm all for it to the extreme. I certainly understand this can lead to abuses and realize this can bring a lot of headaches to the community. However I think the flexibility is worth the risk. I create my own lore and it rarely fits into the same boxes Games workshop sets up. I have two examples of armies that mixes alliances. To really understand why I mix alliance, I need to explain the lore and ideas behind each army.

Funny that I was just talking about my goblin army in my last article when before that I probably hadn't thought about it since a little after Age of Sigmar was first release. My goblin army is a mix of death and destruction and I got inspired to build it from the Diablo 3 expansion. The undead in that game were an eerie light blue. The lore behind my goblin army is that an Angel of Death made a bargain with a tribe of goblins. If the goblins devote themselves and worship him, the Angel bestow his powers to them, allowing the goblins to use it as they see fit. The Angel showed off his powers by instantly killing the Orcs whom enslaved them (and greatly weaken himself in the process). The "default" army would be all goblins. Two-thirds of the goblins would be painted green like normal, while the rest would be painted light blue. The blue goblins would represent goblins that had died and are currently being animated by the Angel's power (gamewise, there is no different between green and blue). Once the Angel recovers some of his strength, he would then be able to animated and summon powerful undead that would be under the control of goblin shamans. The undead would be blue in color, in the same shade as some of the goblins. The undead would be mostly skeletons with the potential of a few heavy hitters, outside of vampire/Tomb King characters. A side benefit to this army was that it was a "reservable" army. By that I mean it wouldn't take much to make it playable as a completely different army. Get a few undead characters, expand a little on the undead elites and use the blue goblins as ghouls and it can serve as a playable pure undead army. The Angel himself wouldn't appear on the battlefield with the exception as unit fillers under 8th edition rules. The unit fillers would have represent the ability of large groups of goblins projecting a ghostly image of him. All I needed to find were Demon Prince size Angel models. Probably would have been one of the few unit fillers that would have cost more than just buying more models!

I discarded the idea of building the goblin army early in Age of Sigmar because I had too many other games and armies I also wanted to work on. Which is probably for the best as it would probably get smash by anything remotely competitive. Since AoS split up goblins into 3 or more factions, I probably couldn't ever get allegiance abilities for it whether or not I included the undead. Its a shame as I really love the theme behind it and think it would have look cool on the tabletop.

My Chaos Army is something I plan to get back to and has multiple narrative parts. Chaos has two separate storylines but the one that mixes alliances deals with the Chaos King Amirren. Amirren is pretty much my version of Archaon. Think I even use Archaon rules to represent Amirren once in a campaign. Powerful warlord, decent sorcerer, but Amirren's greatest gift was his charisma. With it he manage to convince 9 other warlords that were almost as powerful as he is to serve under him. Each of these warlords, which I called the Lords of Chaos, had their own uniquely looking armies (I very much didn't limited my imagination to what my budget could afford!). Half of the Lords of Chaos were sorcerers, some of the greatest in the world and each sorcerer was a master of something. There is the Master of Magic, a sorcerer with knowledge of nearly every possible spell in the world. When I have used him in 7/8th edition games, I've gave him the Third Eye to represent this aspect of him. There is also the Master of Fire, a sorcerer whom can bend flames to his will. Outside of always having lore of fire, I hadn't figured out how to show off his flame mastery on the table. I suppose I can use flamers to act as fire elementals he controls as part of his army. But the one Lord of Chaos I probably developed the most was Vikihra, the Master of Death. Amirren has ordered his Lords from time to time to temporary disband their army and wander the world alone to search for ways to better themselves. Vikihra, having completely mastered death magic, decided to seek the knowledge of undeath magic when she was asked to go on one of these worldly trips. Her goals were not only to gain more power, but also find a way to heal her body. Centuries ago she was burned alive and only survived due to her knowledge of death magic. However her burned body is a constant source of pain and healing magic have shown to have no effect on her. For decades she studied under various vampires and dark priests to learn necromancy directly from those whom wield it. Eventually Vikihra develop her own type of necromancy. In many ways it was inferior to either of the other necromancy magic, but to her, it was better because she made it. Her new fond powers and knowledge did nothing to heal her body. When Amirren summoned his Lords of Chaos and their armies, she shocked the other Lords and even Amirren himself when she arrived with a significant larger army that was bolstered with her own undead creations.

Vikihra is one of the few characters I brought a specific model for though I never got around to convert and paint it. I loved the look of the Queen Khalida miniature and once I decided to use it, it help develop some of Vikihra's history. Unlike my goblin army, I do consider this an active project. And since Vikihra is one of the most develop concept I have, I could see myself having this army on the table in a year or two. It would be also a lot of work. Vikihra's undead will require a lot of conversion as her undead doesn't look normal. Kitbashing Chaos bits with undead parts and making it look good and easily identifiable will be time consuming (and maybe outside of my skill set at this time). But when I do get to it, I would want to be able to travel the country to events with it and not be handicapped. I do see it being stronger than my goblin idea but I don't think its overly strong. But that is something further down the road for me.

What allies means for me NOW is less interesting. The AoS army I'm working on now is my Poison Army which is a mix of Nurgle Chaos Warriors and Clan Pestilens. I have a problem with battlelines. Nurgle Chaos Warriors is the only battleline I can/want to use. I don't mind warriors but they are too expensive to fill my battlelines ONLY with warriors. Plus I want the army to be more Skaven than Chaos. Allies will allowed me to add clanrats as battleline and still have the feel I'm going for. I suppose I could start looking for poison users in other forces and add them with allies though I can't think of any at the moment. Another thing I could do is have Chaos be my allies so I can have allegiance Pestilens. Since I want to use more than 20% Chaos, I'm probably not going to do that. But it is an option and having the option is much better than no option.

Vince's Topic Video -

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Progress Review - My Plans For Armies

My progress in June had been on the lower end. I did make a lot of progress but most of what I did was start work on assembling several different miniatures. Progress is progress, but except for stuff I've already publish about, nearly all my progress was with incomplete models. Nothing I want to show off at this time. So instead I will talk about all the armies I have plans for.

I've gotten the opportunity to get involve in a lot of new games recently. With a growing need to collect and paint new miniatures for these games, I've almost forgot the main purpose of this blog, which is to be the place where I can publish the narratives surrounding my war games. That aspect of the blog is something I haven't work on in a while. One reason I've delayed writing fiction was because many of my ideas required a better miniature collection. This was further complicated with the death of Warhammer Fantasy as I was no longer sure what game I can find people to play with. I crafted my mythological world by mixing concepts from Warhammer Fantasy (or rather concepts I thought were from Warhammer as I got some of them wrong) with some of my own ideas. I figure it would be fairly easy to swap to a different game. I was wrong. Finding a game system that thematically fits what I've already developed, that also excites me to want to play it and have local players interested in it is much harder to come across than I thought. This is the problem I have with Of Gods and Mortals. OGAM is a game I enjoy a lot and I have a lot of local player willing to play it. However it really does not fit into my setting. Aspects of classic mythology, sure. Armies made entirely from a single mythology and lead by a god causing havoc on the land, not so much. Trying to decide what force I wanted to play in OGAM was difficult because I wanted whatever I build for it to also be used, if possible in my narratives. What I settled on what take models from several different armies to have something playable, but not necessarily a complete force of itself. It might look like a single army when I'm done but whether that is the case because all its parts are from the same faction or just a happy accident remains to be seen.

So between deciding on an Of Gods and Mortals force and discussing doing a Frostgrave campaign, I figure I should list all the different miniature armies I plan on building. Many of these armies are not apart of the Chaos Magic Mythology narrative that I've started here. However the ones that are apart of it I want to explain how they fit into that narrative. There are a few armies I had plan on building but are now off the table. I will mention the ones I can remember at the end.

Team Yankee - Earlier this year I was still planning on having three Team Yankee armies. 120+ points of West Germans as my main army, exactly 100 points of Soviets and then going back and redoing my Americans. However I no longer see myself doing three armies any time soon. I rarely play Team Yankee anymore and it is hard to justify investing in three armies when I have so many other games I want to play as well. When I do get to play, I mostly enjoy it. So for now, the only Team Yankee army I will be working on is West Germans and once I get to around 120 to 140 points, I will probably be done with Team Yankee for a while. I would love to do more with Team Yankee but it doesn't make sense for me at this time. And it figures I decide this around the time Battlefront release rules for playing big Team Yankee games. It should go without saying but none of Team Yankee is apart of my Chaos Magic Mythology.

Battletech - I almost forgot about BattleTech. Its also not apart of my Chaos Magic Mythology, though at some point I might make a space mythology for the sci-fi games that I play. I see all my current BattleTech models to be apart of a single force and will paint them up as such. I don't see myself investing a lot into BattleTech though I do see myself getting a vehicle here and there. I'm also will be playing in a campaign so BattleTech deserve to be on the list.

Relic Knights- Given I know very like about the factions and their playstyles in Relic Knights, I plan to only have a single Relic Knight army, Roh Empire. The Roh Empire reminds me of my Chaos force and if I end up not liking the game I can still use the models for something Chaos. In fact, I have even more of an incentive to work on Relic Knights now. My Of Gods and Mortals army will use two Relic Knight miniatures. I plan on painting my Roh Empire force in a similar way to my other Chaos stuff. Relic Knights is not apart of my Chaos Magic Mythology but I may be reusing some of its miniatures in the Mythology anyway (OGAM isn't apart of it either).

Sisters of Battle - The newest edition of Warhammer 40k has interested me enough to return to it. Even though I'm interested in most of the factions in the Warhammer 40k world, this time around I will only be working on one force, Sisters of Battle. Or to be more accurate, a force who's core will be Sisters of Battle. I will be adding Sisters of Silence and maybe the Adeptus Custodes to my force, but the rest of it will be Sisters of Battle. Outside of maybe grabbing the Talons of the Emperor box in the fall, I don't see myself buying much for this army this year. I have 10 year old models that I've never finish that I can work on. Will probably have to proxy my first few games to get a feel of what to buy next after finishing the old models. Sisters of Battle is not apart of my mythology either.

Chaos - My Warriors of Chaos army is where this blog started. At first I didn't have a narrative behind the army, I just added to it without regards to any story. I later develop two narratives out of the army once I started playing campaigns. I didn't bother restraining my narratives to models I own. As such both armies look quite different from not only each other but also my actual miniature collection. Towards the end of Warhammer Fantasy, I started collecting with an eye to making key aspects of the narrative have model representation. These two armies (Chaos King Amirren and Arkyrian Cabal) were meant to be the backbone of my Chaos Magic Mythology, but I could never build on their narrative because campaigns kept ending early. With Warhammer Fantasy officially discontinued and my desire to find other games to play, my Chaos forces are frozen for the time being. It is unlikely that I will get to play with them anytime soon so it doesn't make much sense to work on models for it at this time. Getting miniature versions of units I mention in the narrative will be the first things I will work on when I go back to Chaos.

Poison Army - My Poison Army is in a weird position in my mythology. I haven't develop any kind of narrative for it yet. The Poison Army came about from my desire to play something similar, yet different for my first army with Age of Sigmar in mind. I might even have multiple different narratives for it, also like my Chaos army. I consider the Poison Army to be an completely different army from my Chaos force even though a few units are in both. I have an idea for a Skaven campaign that will be sequel/side story to the unfinished Border Price Campaign. I will be using the Poison Army in said campaign and it should be the Poison Army's first entry into the my narrative. Now whether the campaign will shape the identity of the Poison Army remains to be seen. The answer will depend on the results of the campaign. Sadly that campaign wouldn't be able to start until I get a lot more done with the Poison Army first. Since the Poison Army is one of the armies I'm currently investing in, I hope the campaign will be able to start sooner rather than later.

Elven Nation - An Elven Nation has been in the background of my writings for a while and future plot points will have them take on a more prominent role. That said, I don't have any plans to start on an army outside of picking up a random unit to practice painting or something to that effort. But if I get involved in a new game (which has happen a lot in the last 4 months) and elves fits in that game as a playable force, then it is possible the Elven Nation will see a sudden appearance on the table top. For now, I just have an unit of archers to paint.

Fae - When working on my setting, I wonder if fairies and other fae creatures should be apart of the Elven Nation. As I flush out in my mind various nations' role in the story, I realize that the two should be separate entities. Allies, but separate nations. When I decided to get into Hordes, I felt a Fae force was the closest nation in my fiction that would fit the Circle Orboros. The more I look through Circle Orboros available units, the easier it was for me to get a clear picture of what the Fae army look like. This doesn't mean my Fae army was identical to Circle Orboros. While there are some overlap with miniatures I see little to no reason to do conversion, Circle Orboros also had miniatures that didn't fit my version of Fae. Not to mention I also thought about miniatures from other games that would flush out this army. I was planning on building a Circle Orboros army but that is on the back burner due to other games taking up too much oxygen in the room. Once I get done with some current projects, I will get back to Fae/Circle Orboros. It is also possible that Age of Sigmar suddenly becomes my main game and my Fae nation would make a perfect second army in AoS.

Thylalon - The knights from Thylalon is going to be the protagonist in my Holy Moon stories. Thylalon started out as my Bretonnian Army. But I quickly develop concepts for Thylalon outside of Bretonnian. Warhammer Fantasy ended right as I was starting to build this army. With an uncertain future I haven't touch it since. More than any of my other forces, I've been looking for another game that I could play my Thylalon knights in. But the only thing I found with an Arthurian Legend favor was Saga and its another historical. Saga is a game I'm looking to get into down the road so I have reason to work on the mundane aspects of Thylalon. I will still be on the lookout for more traditional fantasy games to use my knights in.

Samurai Nation - The idea was to have a country inspired by Japanese culture and separate from the events of previous campaigns, to have its own campaign that will setup who's who in the land. After that, one of the Chaos King's generals was going to sail to that land and invade it, creating a host of storytelling potential. However, due to Test of Honour, my Japanese miniatures have progress much further than the rest of my stuff for the Chaos Magic Mythology. While I could do a samurai campaign relatively soon, the invasion part wouldn't come for a very long time given there was suppose to be at least 2 or 3 campaigns worth history before said invasion happen. With Warlord Games release new Test of Honour stuff, I might have to change my planned story arc. In any case, my Test of Honour miniatures will be going strong for the foreseeable future.

Shieldmaiden - My Shieldmaiden Knights started out as a desire to have a miniature force of all female warriors, regardless of rule set. I didn't have a story behind them and I didn't care if I could used them in a game. When I started this hobby, outside of using proxies for testing, I only wanted to use the official model for the war games I played. It did feel right to me to use another company's model to play their game. Nowadays, I'm far more willing to any model I feel is appropriate to what I'm trying to represent. Not only that but I'm sometimes modeling with an eye towards using a miniature for multiple games. This change to my outlook is what makes my Shieldmaiden Knights idea a possible gaming force. Also realizing that the Shieldmaiden Knights was similar to Sisters of Battle help inspire me to develop what their proper place should be in my mythology. Now that I have some understanding in how they are organize and why, I have some guidance on how to collect and build them as an army. Which comes at a perfect time as I want to use them in a Frostgrave campaign. Given that Frostgrave is a skirmish game, I only need to paint up a handful of figures which will allow me to ease into a full army later. I'm also have a short story idea which I can use to kick off the campaign and introduce who the Shieldmaidens are in the setting.

And those are all the armies I am currently working on or could be working on any in the future. It it's a much bigger list than I initially thought and I'm glad to be able see everything like this. I do want to mention the armies I was planning to build at one point but are no longer a consideration. The first is my Flames of War German army. I was even planning on getting something for it this year, but chance my mind for more Team Yankee Soviets instead. But the death knell of my German army came with Version 4 of Flames of War. V4 looks like a great system but it is way too similar to Team Yankee while also being vastly different in key ways killed it for me. I recently visit a Team Yankee forum and I could see several players confusing the two systems. Now I just heard rumors that Team Yankee will eventually fully adapt the V4 system. If that does happen then I don't have a reason to stay away from Flames of War and my Germans, providing my time is completely taken up by other games.

The two other armies I was planning on building were both Warhammer Armies and they both died with the transition of 8th edition into Age of Sigmar. One was a pure goblin army. I've never been fond of orcs but goblins always had a place in my heart when I want to be evil. Chaos was the only army I had for the entirely of 8th edition and after years of only playing Chaos I finally wanted to start on a second (and third) army. I just wasn't sure if I wanted to do goblins or Bretonnian or both. The story behind it was that a god-like being of death empowered goblins to kill their orc slavers and to worship it. I was inspired to make it after playing the expansion to Diablo 3. The army had a lot of ideas but when Warhammer became far less important to me, I had to cut it. I would love to work on it again but I just have too many other things that is more important to the mythology, plus the many games I'm playing that isn't apart of the mythology. The other army I cut was a 3rd Chaos army. This army not only would have had it own separate story but I would have start building and converting it like I didn't already have a ton of Chaos. I wanted to start with a short story and then continue the tale by playing narrative battles and more short stories. The same process I wanted to do with Holy Moon. But alas with me playing less Warhammer I really didn't need another Chaos army plus the Poison Army sorta took it place. I had almost completely forgotten about the 3rd Chaos Army and the goblin army until I started writing this piece. They both had great stories behind them and conversion I want do with them. Perhaps I will be able to revive one or both of these armies. Who knows what the future will bring.

And that's all I have for my army plans. I'm sorry I haven't updated in over a month but this article took me far longer than I could have imagine to write. I've had troubles writing before but rarely has it been this bad. I won't have a progress review of July because I spent most of the month working on this. Sorry again, and thank you for reading.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Start of My Poison Army - AoS

I finally got the first 15 models of my Poison Army assembled. While I still have another 11 models to put together, I wanted to pause here to show off what I have and to test out a paint scheme. I think I want to do some combination of brown, green and yellow. I will paint the monks' robe and the warriors cloak the same color so it looks like it came from the same place.

I did some minor conversion to help make the army look like it is one force. I notice there were giant rats on the sprue when I was assembling the plague monks. I got an idea to put a few rats on warrior's heads so they might look like pets or at the very least to show the warriors were comfortable around rats. I don't want every chaos warrior to have a rat on his head but I think a third or a fourth of them should be fine. The rest I want to put a giant rat on their base. I decided it would be easier to paint the rats and chaos warrior separately since it didn't look like there was a lot of room for a brush if I had already glued the rat on the base. I've been thinking about other uses for giant rats. If I ever decide to add a character on a Palanquin, I can convert one being carry by a rat swarm. As interesting (and helping to unify the army) that would be, I wanted my Poison Army to be more Skaven than Warriors of Chaos. Of course when I decided to make this army I thought there were a lot more Clan Pestilens options available.

I also did some weapon swaps. One monk has a chaos axe and one warrior has a Skaven blade. I like how they turned out except the monk's robe is hanging in the wrong way. It is hard to see in these pictures though I suppose I could say it is like that because of the force the axe is being swung downward. When I get it painted up I will make sure I will have a much clearer picture of it taken. With there being people locally playing Age of Sigmar now, I'm really excited to play AoS myself again. And this was my first step.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Expanding to Osprey Games - Ronin, Of Gods and Mortals

Since returning from the Warlord Games Convention, I've been trying out a couple of new games from Osprey. Tracy picked up Ronin while we were at the convention and later Of Gods and Mortals. I had heard about Ronin in the last few months due to it being similar to Test of Honour. The few complains I saw online about Test of Honour was that they already had Ronin for their skirmish samurai game and saw no need to change. I can certainly understand that feeling. While I really enjoy Test of Honour, I was interested in seeing what Ronin had to offer. Tracy picking up Of Gods and Mortals really surprised me. He told me that he wanted to limited the games he played to just Team Yankee and Test of Honour. Perfectly reasonable giving how much of an investment it is to get into these games. Him getting Ronin makes sense because we can still use Test of Honour miniatures with it. Of Gods and Mortals on the other hand requires (at the very least some) getting new miniatures. In a way, I suppose I do understand why he would be tempted to look into it. Both Test of Honour and Team Yankee are historical games and sometimes you just want to play with magic or a dragon. Also OGAM doesn't "lock" you into particular company miniatures. While there are some official models, you are encourage to get any miniature than you want. I guess that would make sense as Osprey only makes game rules themselves and commissions out the miniature making process to third parties. Both of us already have a large collections but while we could adapt some of it to Of Gods and Mortals, picking up a few new models is going to be needed. But are these games even worth it?

My answer for Ronin is at the moment is I'm not sure but my gut feeling says yes. I've only played one game and I still need to read the rules completely myself. From what I played, I see a rule set that is far more complex with a far different tone than Test of Honour. Ronin doesn't have a group system so every model acts on its own and fewer miniatures are used compare to Test of Honour. The game is broken into five phases in which all players will have the options to act during each. The first phase is Initiative. For most of the game you activate a single model and then play passes to your opponent to do the same. Initiative determines who will have first choice in each of the phases for the entire turn and it is rolled every Initiative phase. So you could be going second every turn for the whole game. Morale is also checked in the Initiative phase if you took enough casualties in the previous turn. Next is the Movement phase. This phase is when players take turns moving troops around. What is interesting with this system is that range units can also fire at a penalty during this phase as well. The third phase is for melee combat. The melee combat has a lot of quarks and complexities with it that I'm saving talking about it when I do a full review of Ronin. What I can say now is that the core melee mechanic deals with risk management of actions. Each troop has a number of actions they can do per turn based on their stat. At the start of combat you decide, in secret, how you want to split up your actions into offensive and defensive actions. Offensive actions needs to be spent to do a melee attack. Dodge is free but spending a defensive action increases your chances of surviving the attack. Play swaps between combatants until all players decides to pass instead of attacking. It is interesting that after the combat, figures are not pushed back. Once you are in base to base with an enemy, you stay that way until one decides to move away which comes with risks. The fourth phase is when range units can shoot again. There is a table with all the different range modifiers you have to consider when making a shot, including whether or not you shot in the movement phase. The advantages of bows vs muskets are similar to what it is in Test of Honour. In Ronin they have the same range though muskets suffer an additional penalty beyond 24 inches. In 2 turns bows can fire a maximum of 4 times compared to 1 of a musket. However muskets are far more deadly. Range damage is resisted by roll a d6 and adding the troops combat value and armor. Muskets ignore light and medium armor while heavy armor gets downgraded. In the single game I played I notice it was hard to get any damage done with bows. Not impossible, but certainly challenging. I can say ignoring armor is a big deal. The last phase is for cleaning up. Minor things that while important doesn't change the big picture.

I like Ronin for being a more detailed game. Strategy can do deeper in a complex system. Also Ronin uses more traditional army lists and has options for Chinese and Korean forces. All positives and makes me want to play more of it. One downside I notice is that some weapons doesn't seem to be a viable option. In particular, Naginata seem to be better in almost every way to the Nodachi (Naginata is a polearm while a Nodachi is more like a great sword). I did notice a very slight advantage for the Nodachi, but I don't think its worth taking over the Naginata. I don't like see weapon options being next to useless. In Test of Honour every weapon has something unique about it. I'm not sure they all are of equal power but since the benefits are unique and changes gameplay, I think they are all viable options. Of course I might have miss something in Ronin which would make the Nodachi more tempting. As it, I think there are enough ups for playing both systems. I think I will wait on playing Ronin again until the Test of Honour Ninja box set is out. Seeing Ninja as an option makes me want to take it but I don't have an appropriate 28mm miniature for it. One last bonus about Ronin for me is that there is an expansion that includes supernatural options for the game. I'm all for adding supernatural to my games.

Of Gods and Mortals is the game we have put more time into. So far I've played 2 games of OGAM. It is an interesting war game about the various traditional mythological pantheons warring each other. If you ever wanted to play game where the forces of Zeus fight against Odin, this is the game for you. Models are classified into either Gods, Legends or Mortals. A force will have a single god, 1 to 5 legends and the rest are mortals. While gods are by far the most powerful units in the game, losing all your mortals means you instantly lose. Also if the god is defeated, mortals has the option to resurrect them. What attracted us to the game is that OGAM has simple mechanics and a large roster of options to play with. However after a single game there was one aspect we really didn't like (and it was a big one). Combat is resolved by both players rolling a single d6 and adding various modifiers. The side with the higher results wins and knock their opponents back. If they win by 3 or more, then their opponent takes a casualty. If there is a tie, then both sides take a casualty and you roll again. Everything only has a single hit point and one bad roll attacker or defending can kill you. If you get killed by a lower class enemy (legend dying to a mortal, or a god dying to a legend) you do get a check to see if you can ignore the damage. We like everything else about the game but the combat system was a deal breaker. Tracy came up a new system that tried to stay close as possible to the intent of the original but we found more satisfying. It involves taking the total combat modifiers that would normally be added to a single d6 and instead roll a dice pool equal to that number. So if normally for combat you would add 4 to your d6 roll, the new system would have you roll 4d6s instead. Any result of 4 or higher is counted as a success. Both sides compare success and the side with more success roll a dice pool of their net successes for damage. Any results of 4 or higher on this roll is a wound. Gods are defeat after taking 3 wounds, legends after taking 2 and each wound removes a single mortal model. With this change we think the game is a lot more enjoyable.

The official miniature line doesn't cover everything that is available in OGAM. What models they are, some of them are tastefully nude. And some aren't tastefully nude. For example Hercules isn't wearing pants, nor are the harpies. With this in mind we are going with other companies miniatures. Tracy is interested in Greek and has pick up a few Reaper Bone miniatures to fill out his army. As for me, I've been leading towards Japanese Mythology so I could expand my Chaos Test of Honour force. There are so many armies I want to work on that I feel like I shouldn't invest in a new one unless I can connect it to a current project. I still want to do my Warhammer inspired storylines which require multiple armies themselves. One plot line I'm wanting to do is some chaos force travels away from the current lands and arrive in a Japanese like nation. For this I need to build up a collection Japanese models. Some of the things I was wanting to do is to have a Warhammer Fantasy 8th edition Nippon force. With the death of Warhammer Fantasy it looks I will have to craft these stories around using Test of Honour and Ronin. Of Gods and Mortals is a possibility though I don't see any of the Japanese Mythology gods fit in with my Chaos Samurai force. Still, the legend options of Japanese myth offer ways I can expand samurai into supernatural areas. One of which is the Snow Woman. I think she would fit perfectly into my Chaos force and I've already build a model for her. The sprue I got from the Warlord Games Convention turned out to be all female zombies. I really don't like zombies which means their value greatly went down for me. However I did find one combination that looks okay if I use green stuff on her leg. This model I can prime/paint her white, and just paint her dress, hair and maybe her lips. This will make the model resemble the Snow Woman from her mythological stories. If that is not enough, I can also use her as a Geisha Spy in Test of Honour. Basically Japanese Mythology will give me a reason to look for supernatural options for my Test of Honour force all the while I can continue expanding Test of Honour which will also help with the mortal requirements in Of Gods and Mortals. My only sticking point is not having a suitable god to use in OGAM.

There are other pantheons in OGAM that I'm interested in such as Norse, Egyptian, Arabian and not to mention Greek. But unless I can tied one of these pantheons to one of the armies I need to build, I do not see it being worth it for me to invest at this time. That said, Of Gods and Mortals does have rules to make up your own force. With how simple the rules are, I'm worried that players could break the game making custom armies instead of building something to fit their personal fluff. Putting that aside, I could make up a rule set for an Arthurian Legend list. The main army in my Holy Moon story is inspired by Warhammer's Bretonnia which itself heavily borrowed from the Arthurian Myth. I don't like using the create your own option to make an entire force, but that might have to be my option outside of Japanese. I'm sure in the upcoming weeks we will be playing more OGAM to see if our new system works. If things works out in our upcoming games then you can be sure I will be writing more about Of Gods and Mortals in the future (I keep wanting to call it Of Gods and Monsters).

One last thing I like about the game (Tracy doesn't) is it the first miniature game I've seen that unique characters are truly unique. By that I mean that while most miniature games have unique characters you can only take once in your force, most of them allow mirror matches. Of Gods of Mortals rules say that if both players have the same unique character, roll off and the loser will have to replace the unique with something else of equivalent value. The story is always important to me in war games and having unique characters on both sides always bother me a little. At least in Warhammer players could say their own custom character just has the same stats as an unique. But that really doesn't work in a game about traditional mythology. Also I think it can deepen strategy since you will have to consider backup options in case you are denied your uniques.

Ronin -

Of Gods And Mortals -

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Progress Review #4

For once I am quite pleased with the progress I made in May. I only got to work on models from one game, Test of Honour. I can separate the progress I've made into three groups. The first is my tournament list.

On one hand I tried to have my tournament force completely finish by the tournament, that didn't happen. In fact I was working on it on Saturday and Sunday morning of the convention. Part of the reason I was having so much trouble finishing was that my glue had gone bad and I didn't realize it. It wasn't making very strong bonds so it was taking longer for it to cure and later on would come undone when the model was being handled. The important part was that the entire force was painted, not quite finish but at least everything had paint on them. Because of this I have decided to change a little how I want my Chaos army to look a little. With how dark the spearmen are, I think I want to have some models to be brighter. I should be able to accomplish that by inking with a red instead of violet. I won't be changing the color scheme, just the inking.

None of these models are finish thanks to the wind incident. Those models need to be resealed. As for the others, several models need to be repaired, bases need to be finish painted, horses needs a lot of work, some weapons need work and lots of inking and sealing has to be done. The horses needs to get a special mention. When I started working on the horses I thought there was some cloth or armor on them and the only part of the horse's skin you could see was around the neck. I decided to paint that 'cloth' bluegreen, the same color as the underside of my Lord's cape. After I had started, I realize that tassel fabric around the horse doesn't go above the belt. This was Thursday before the convention so I was really running out of time. I decided to just go with the bluegreen and later I will go over it with a darker flesh shade. Another thing to note is that I did not use the special character. When playing with Takeda Naoko, I notice the blade of her naginata kept bending at extremely angles. So much I thought it was going to break. I didn't want to deal with it so I just assemble a mount samurai. I had one more idea for my force that I didn't get to in May. I figure that since this was going to be my Chaos army, I should put the kanji for chaos somewhere in the force. I learn that there are several different ways to write chaos but after settling on one I ran out of time to paint it. I want to paint it on the back of my Lord and on the flag of the battle standard.

These were models I was working earlier in the month. The archer was my original Sergeant of Archery. However I put way too much primer on him so I decided to make a new one instead of fixing it. I figure I would striped the primer off and try again though I might attempt to scrap the excess off with a knife. I don't feel comfortable with a knife so its up in the air what to do about it. Also pictured is the battle standard though you can't really see the flag that well in this picture. Sorry for that. He is really top heavy and I will probably have to put some weight in his base when I finish him. I was also working on a musket group for my chaos force. I stop working on the banner and muskets so I could focus on the tournament list. Now that is done, I can finish them up so I will have some options for different ways to play chaos.

When I got back from the convention I immediately started working to build my Oda army (after I brought more glue). I was planning on just using stuff from the main box set for Oda but that wasn't going to work because I'm using more muskets that the box set could make. The box set only makes 10 range guys and I need 12 for my list (still got 2 more to build). I got extra range models from stuff I already own so its not that big of deal, though it is a little surprising. I like to imagine that each box of miniatures is a group of men that my two sides are fighting over to recruit. Though I'm just starting my Oda force, the first wave is going to have more models than my Chaos force, at least that is in the tournament list. I've also already decided on a color scheme and what to do for the bases. The only thing that will slow me down with Oda is that I need to invest in a way to make my own decals. I know what the Oda family crest looks like and its way too detail for me to draw it by hand. Still I should be able to get the army to a state where it is mostly done before I need to add the decal.

That's everything I got done in May. I also have big plans in June. I want to continue working on Test of Honour models as I'm not only building up a second force, I also want to do a mini 3rd force to use in scenarios. I also want to get work done on other games. In Team Yankee when I pick up my Berlin box I hope to have all 6 Leopard 2s finish by the end of the month. If I can also get to the Gepards and Pahs, that will be icing on the cake. And there is still my Skaven I want to get assembled, about 5 Sisters of Battle painted and there is still Relic Knights. Let see how much of this I can get done in June. Thanks for reading.