Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Baby steps up a short bullet spewing hill.

It has begun!

I battled the Dwarf forces of R.S. led by THE THURMANATOR in a mighty effort to avoid being torn to shreds by Dwarfen Organ and Long guns. The battle raged for 2 hours and in the end only a handful of Gnoblars remained to tell the sad, yet funny, tale of this great Ogre defeat. My Warhammerin' friends and I started playing "regular" Tuesday night battles last week. Two weeks in I brought my newly glued Ogre Kingdoms army to face the twisted stunty freaks known as "Dwarfs". We have been playing 500 point battles while we learn the varied, and lengthy, rules as we are all newbies to the game. Having no experience with the OK and their units I went to the experts at the Ogre Stronghold for suggestions. I chose to go with a small powerful army list provided by Mercules which he used in local Warband games.
Maneater (Commander) 80pts @90
- Heavy Armor 4pts
- Brace of Handguns 6pts

Butcher 130pts @150
-Wyrdstone Necklace 20pts

Bullsx4 @140
Irongutsx2 @96
Gnoblar Fightersx12 @24
Against the better judgment of those who have actually played this army I decided to mix it up a bit with 3 units instead of 4. I grouped the 4 bulls with the Maneater for one unit (marked as 1 in the diagram below), the Gnoblar by themselves nearby (marked as 2), and the two Ironguts with the Butcher on the far left (marked as 3). My opponent (the dirty, drunken, stinking, stunties) set his units up on a nearby hill with 10 Thunderers (marked as 4), 1 Organ Gun (marked as 5), a Thane (his Commander, marked as 6), and a group of Warriors (marked as 7).

The term "opponent" is not 100% accurate in this situation for it was not a mere mortal I was doing battle with. It was THE THURMANATOR. The perfect amalgamation of nerdy stat tracking, rules lawyering, min maxing, super geek prowess. A being who has played more games (and gamers) in his short time on Earth than a football stadium full of attractive women. And the games were not simply "played"... they were THURMANATED. A terror, a legend, a force of nature. This was my "opponent" in my first real match of WHFB. I had yet to begin and I had already lost.

With initial placement complete (after being "owned" in the terrain placement phase) we began the first turn of the game. Knowing the Dwarfen Organ Gun would likely tear apart my Ogres I decided to push hard and fast in an attempt to tie up the ranged units in Close Combat. I marched forward with the intention of smashing small skulls into a fine dust and snorting what was left.

Shortly after moving forward I attempted to cast Brain Gobbler on the Dwarf Warriors in front of my Iron Guts and Butcher. My hope was they would panic and run in front of the Organ Gun and Thunderers (not likely with Leadership 9, but what the heck...). I chose to roll 3 Casting Dice and rolled three ones. THREE ONES!! Miscast. The very first roll of the game, the very first roll for the Ogre Kingdoms, the very first roll for me, and it is THREE FUCKING ONES. I rolled against the Miscast Table with a five, resulting in a massive magical FART (represented by the neon green aura) which inflicted one wound on my Ironguts. While I did find the result funny it could have been much worse. Anything under a five on the table is pretty deadly and could have ended my chances of victory right then and there. THE THURMANATOR went next, firing his Organ Gun into the ranks of my Commander and Bulls and taking out two Bulls instantly. This was in addition to inflicting one wound on my Commander. At this point I was ready to call it as it was clear my tactics were not sound and I was going to be wiped out by the uber-nerd... the unstoppable perfect rolling machine...
Knowing it was too late to change my fate I pressed on, continuing my march to death from thousands of tiny bullets. My Butcher attempted to cast two spells (Bullgorger and Bonecruncher) and failed all his casting rolls. Keep in mind the minimum to cast is 3+. Yes. I really did roll that badly. Another round of fire from the Organ Gun took my remaining two Bulls down while the Thunderers fired into the Gnoblars killing one. At this point the Gnoblars are doing better than the multiple wound 35 point models. Somehow that doesn't shock me. The Dwarf Thane moves in front of the Thunderers in an attempt to stop my Maneater from attacking the Thunderers.
Finally! I am able to successfully Bull Charge the Dwarfen Warrior unit with the Iron Guts and Butcher, flanking with the Maneater. I inflict three wounds on the Dwarfs from the Bull Charge and another two in the attack. The Dwarfs hit back and deal two wounds on my Iron Guts (mostly due to a rules SNAFU and our group not fully understanding Close Combat rules). This unit loses Combat with a Musician tie-breaker, fails their Leadership break check, and runs 6" the other way. The Maneater passes and presses the attack on the Warriors. The Gnoblars move up but are still not in combat range. Dwarfen Organ Gun lays into the Gnoblars killing four and causing them to break 8" in the other direction. The Thunderers fire into their retreat killing another two. At this point the battle is pretty much over, but I figured it was important to finish what was started and press the attack.
This is what happens when you press an attack with nothing but a Maneater with one wound on him. The Ironguts and Butcher rallied only to be shot down by the Organ Gun. The Maneater continued attacking the Warriors and inflicted two more wounds before being shot down by the Thunderers. And finally, the Gnoblars failed their rally and ran right up to the edge of the board.

And that was it.

Quite possibly the worst showing for an Ogre Army ever seen. From start to finish I was rolling very poorly. My "opponent" was consistently rolling perfect rolls with maximum hits, wounds, saves, and dispels. It was a massacre, a bloodbath.

Good news: I learned a lot about the game and my army. Next time I will be better prepared to deal with a situation like the one outlined above, and maybe I won't eat as many bullets from the Organ Gun.

Bad news: I will have to play this same army again at some point. I have seen this Organ Gun in 5 matches now and it has yet to roll a single misfire. I am starting to believe it is invincible. It has greatly shaken my faith as it mowed down my entire army with 3 rolls.

Now I will head back the drawing board in an attempt to create an army that can handle 8 to 10 automatic hits with 6 to 8 wounds at a -3 armor modifier every round. I haven't lost faith in the power of the Ogre Kingdoms, but I have lost a little bit of faith in myself as a gamer.

Monday, April 28, 2008

In the beginning ...

Many years ago today ....

It was actually about 3 years ago, but I don't remember specific dates. It began with "The Underworld", a small comic store in Ann Arbor, MI. I had been visiting the store regularly for years (when F. started at the University of Michigan and I began making the pilgrimage across the blood red seas of I-94) and had witnessed what I considered the lowest of the low ... the tabletop miniature gamer.

They chortled and squealed in a high pitched mockery of the English language, often using phrases, or grunts, that meant nothing to the uninitiated. Like a tribe of radiated desert mutants they stalked and hunted any outsiders who mistakenly entered their darkened dens. Quick to poke and prod, to mock and howl at those who did not ... could not, understand their horrible world. They frightened me yet I was unable to ignore their enormous collections of tiny figures, each hand crafted and painted. Each with countless hours spent devoted entirely to their appearance, in stark contrast to the creators who owned them.

Time passed and many comics were purchased from "The Underworld". Each week I witnessed the same troll like creatures fighting over scraps of their dignity on a dingy table in the back of the store. I felt compelled to watch them. To study that which I did not, and could not, understand. Over time I began to associate some of their inhuman noises with their actions, and what those meant to one another. There was a system at work here, not the seemingly random actions I had first witnessed among them. Fascinating.

It was during this time that I met Brett. He was a mutual friend of a friend who had a strange and mysterious hobby. He never spoke of his activities but I knew he must be involved in some dark dealings at all hours of the day. And so it went like this until I saw him one day during a visit to "The Underworld". I assumed he was there, like myself, to purchase the newest shipment of comic euphoria. That was until one of the horrid trolls I had come to ignore approached Brett and spoke to him in a language I could understand.

What was this? Had I finally been infected with whatever ailment controlled these beasts allowing me to hear and understand them when they spoke? Could these hideous mutants actually be a form of humanity previously unknown to science? How was it that I was now speaking with this thing, and why was it acknowledging Brett as an equal, as one of it's own?

That day I discovered why Brett was often "too busy" to visit his friends. He was in fact one of them. A tabletop miniature gamer. He had extensive collections in both the Warhammer: Fantasy Battles and Warhammer: 40k settings. It was too late ... I had been infected.

Months later I was playing games with him and his freakish kin. I felt the very fabric of my humanity being rended, torn from my very soul. The corruption was deep and spreading fast. Soon after I bought my first miniature ... and painted it. It was only a matter of time before I had picked my poison and selected which Army I would begin collecting.

Warhammer: Fantasy Battles, the Ogre Kingdoms. I bought the Army book and wept.

Then I moved away to Austin, TX. Brett and his mutant kind were far away and the urge to play WHFB (Warhammer: Fantasy Battles) wained. I was far busier trying to secure a job in the Gaming Industry, paying off bills and debt, and keeping myself fed to be concerned with any hobbies. I returned to Ann Arbor a few times over the years to discover "The Underworld" had closed its doors and with it the steady stream of miniature corruption in the community. I felt both sad and relieved to know that maybe those once human could heal ... possibly becoming just regular nerds again. I left MI yet again secure in the knowledge that this part of my life had ended and a new chapter could begin.

But there it was ... the itch. A small spot in the bottom and back of my spine that I could never reach. The desire to play. To play tabletop RPGs. To purchase, construct, paint, and collect tiny armies of tiny Monsters and Men. To be like that I once shunned and viewed as abomination. To play Warhammer: Fantasy Battles.

And here we are. Two weeks ago I purchased "The Battle For Skull Pass" with a friend (who shall remain nameless for his sake). He had a desire to create and fight with tiny Dwarfs, and I had a desire to feed my nameless addiction. Since then we have played the game a total of 3 times and absorbed another helpless victim (who has begun collecting Orcs & Goblins). One week ago I purchased my first WHFB models in an eBay auction, the Ogre Kingdoms Battalion Box. I received these models on Saturday and spent the remainder of the next two days cutting, cleaning, gluing, and customizing Ogre models.

Today I started this blog to keep track of my new hobby modeling, which works nicely with my other hobby drinking. Here I will add pictures, posts, and other WHFB related nonsense. Here I will track my sickness. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures in a miniature world and maybe one day you too will be part of this tribe.

So it begins ...

Completed assembly of 24 Gnoblar models, 6 Bull Ogre models, and 4 Ironguts Ogre models. I have 4 Leadbelcher Ogre models left to finish assembling (possibly this evening).

(My new lowest tier geek/nerd/dork is the Larper ... although I fully admit that tabletop wargamers are probably just a short step above it)