Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 - A hobby year in review.

2009 was a busy/productive year for me and my hobby but also a trying year for me personally. Major life changes punctuated by a lot of hobby firsts makes a review of the year a fitting theme for this update:

  • "Completed" the painting of my first WHFB 2,250 force - my Beer Gut Tribe (Ogre Kingdoms). I still need to go back and touch up and finish the paint of a few models, but this was a big milestone for me (couldn't have done it without the help of my gnoblar painting champion Franki).
  • Participated in my first WHFB tournament, including my first IGT event. In the local tournament scene I finished 11th or 12th, just shy of the top 10. Not bad for a newbie playing Ogre Kingdoms!
  • Played about one game of WHFB a week on average, sometimes two or three. I would still like to play more but finding the time to do so is not always easy.
  • Played in the first round of 'Ard Boyz and placed second. I wasn't able to participate in the second round but I passed my place off to a friend (Mike G) who took Beasts of Chaos and managed a second place finish in round two - a moral victory for me.
  • Collected and built my second WHFB army, the Vampire Counts. Working on the painting now, but I plan on having these done soon so I can begin on my WoC and Beastmen forces next.
  • "Built" a gaming table for my home. I still don't have any good terrain though, just a few pieces of painted foam with flock (something I need to remedy next year).
  • Read a whole bunch of Black Library books, both Fantasy and 40k related. Maybe next year I will find the time to add reviews of them all to the site!
  • Joined many WHFB online communities, spent countless hours answering questions, collecting and sharing information, and discussing tactics and army lists. Probably spent too much time doing this but I did make some internet "friends" along the way so I can't complain too much.
  • Greatly increased the post amount on this blog, and gained many new readers/followers along the way. Thanks for reading, and please don't be shy with the comments!
  • Joined the BoLS blog community and discovered a lot of great (new to me) sites in the process.
  • Began moderating the Ogre Kingdoms section of the BattleReporter forum. Not super busy there but the small community is very friendly and helpful. You should check it out!
  • Pitched, planned, organized, and laid out the first issue of the Bellower - the first (and only) Ogre Kingdom webzine. First issue should be out in the next few weeks! Most exciting.
  • Became a part of the Stronghold Guard - a moderator for the Ogre Stronghold. I can honestly say I wouldn't be half the player or hobbyist I am today without the support I have received from the kick-ass community there. Looking forward to a new year of Ogre greatness!
  • Started brewing my own beer, something I have had to put on hold for the past few months but will take up again once I have moved and settled back in. Lots of beer reviews sitting around too, I should find the time to add them to the blog.
And there you have it, the short list of my accomplishments in this year of hobby. It seems less exciting when I see it listed in bullet points, but I have still come much farther than I thought I would. Here's to another year - new challenges, new armies, new location, new (old) friends, and a new gaming community. It should be interesting.

In other totally unrelated news - take a look at the new tattoo I got the other day (and my incredibly pasty white arm).

It is a raven done in a slightly modern Haida style. The raven is your classic "trickster" god/spirit, and now he sits on my shoulder looking me in the eye. You can never tell what he is going to want me to do ...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Post Gutmass holidaze.

Hope you had a happy Gutmass - mine was pretty mellow. No new minis or toys but I did get a pretty cool magnifying glass and started painting a few things.

Also came across this Minotaur preview from the GW website yesterday:

Awesome! Oh and the above image is © Games Workshop Ltd. All rights reserved. I have used it without permission. Don't sue me!

Hoping to get a few games of WHFB in today if I can find willing opponents. Otherwise its time for more painting and an attempt at putting the finishing touches on the first issue of the Bellower.

Merry Gutmass!

Hope you have a wonderful holiday with the ones you love.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Skavenblight Gazette - Issue #8 here just in time for the holidays.

What's this!? A new issue of Skavenblight Gazette is out you say? It's an xmas miracle!

Skitter away and find it here!

This is the first issue of SBG since the release of the new Skaven army book and as you can imagine there are a couple of pieces dealing with that subject. Other topics include secret police working for the rat-things, a story about everyone's favorite monster the Hellpit Abomination, a how-to for making your own flying rat monsters, and an excellent interview with Black Library author C.L. Werner. The issue is relatively short at 22 pages but all of the content is good and I enjoyed everything that was presented.

Of course my favorite part of the new issue is page 10 which features an ad for the Bellower ... something that I am trying hard to finish in time for the new year! I have a few more layouts to finish, an editorial to write, and then I need to put the whole thing together for release.

Seeing this latest issue of the SBG was a big help in this endeavor. I like the clean layout throughout, and the use of colorful background to highlight some of the articles. It has certainly given me some ideas for future issues of the Bellower.

Hope you and yours have a great holiday. I'll be spending mine working on a late gift to all you Ogre fans and maybe painting a model or two.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Vampire Counts 2,250 list take 4 - Revenge of the Skeledudes.

About two years ago when I started playing WHFB I had a really hard time winning. At best I could manage a draw, but I lost far too often. My first army and games were with the Ogres which are known to have a steep learning curve and hard time winning some match ups. Still ... I grew discouraged. With practice and patience I managed to achieve a winning record with the fatties and life was good.

Flash forward to last weekend's tournament where I brought my "new" Vampire Counts army out for a test run. The results? 1 draw (against Beasts) and 2 losses (against Skaven and a Night Goblin army). While the dice were not with me that day I still felt as if my list was the one letting me down. My magic phase didn't help matters; I only cast 11 spells in three 6 turn games with 10pd each phase. My vamps are some of the worst spell casters.

I learned a few things though:
1. VC core troops are really bad. No, really. They can't do anything.
2. A unit of 3 vamps (one being the Lord) and some Black Knights can wreck most things on the charge.
3. Wraiths are good and the unit of 5 with Banshee is quite powerful in the right situation.

Most of my games came down to me running my two units that could actually kill things into the enemy while the rest of my army was systematically destroyed. My plans to invoke enough Skeletons to keep them alive failed as I often needed to focus my casting on the costly (and fragile) Grave Guard unit. With that in mind I have made some changes to my list. Perhaps you can spot them in the following?
LORDS: (400)
Vampire Lord - Level 3, Red Fury, Beguile, Dread Knight, Blood Drinker, Walach's Bloody Hauberk, Black Periapt (400)

HEROES: (645)
Vampire - Dark Acolyte, Lord of the Dead, Book of Arkhan, Cadaverous Cuirass (195)
Vampire - BSB, Flag of Blood Keep, Dread Knight, Walking Death (250)
Vampire - Dread Knight, Supernatural Terror, Dispel Scroll x 2 (200)

CORE: (575)
Skeleton Warriors x 24 - Musician, Standard, Champion, Warbanner (237)
Skeleton Warriors x 24 - Musician, Standard (204)
Zombies x 20 - Musician (84)
Dire Wolves x 5 - Doom Wolf (50)

SPECIAL: (355)
Black Knights x 12 - Heavy Armor, Shield, Lance, Standard, Champion, Standard of Strigos (355)

RARE: (275)
Cairn Wraiths x 5 - Banshee (275)

Total Points: 2,250 (of 2,250)
Gone are the Grave Guard (right after I spent a week assembling them and making sure my vampire on foot would rank up in their unit), I have used to points to beef up my two Skeleton units and the Black Knights. As more added protection I have ditched the Hellfire Banner in favor of the 4+ ward save banner for the unit as most of the causalities I suffered came from shooting and magic missiles. The Skeleton Warriors where the caster vamp will live have gained a champion and a warbanner. I considered changing up the Vampire thrall to have Lord of the Dead (for early game invokes when he is near the Skeletons) but I like the insurance that 2 dispel scrolls brings.

I am considering changing up my warband list as well. I just don't see 10 Skeletons doing much against the types of forces I am likely to be facing. Comments, suggestions, and theory are welcome and encouraged. I don't really know what the hell I am doing with these undead!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review - "Shamanslayer" by Nathan Long.

A recent release from the Black Library and another book review for the site. Just finished "Curse of the Necrach" so expect another book review soon! Hope you enjoy reading these - I rarely get comments on the reviews.

"Shamanslayer" by Nathan Long

This review may contain spoilers! It can be really difficult to discuss any Gotrek and Felix book without giving away some part of the overall plot. If this is a concern for you I suggest skipping this review entirely!

Also: I have to assume you know something about Gotrek and Felix as a WHFB enthusiast. If not, here is the short version - Gotrek is a Dwarf Slayer hellbent on destroying himself while killing something mighty and finding his doom. Felix is an author who made a vow (drunkenly) to follow Gotrek and write an epic poem about his life and subsequent death.

Shamanslayer is the eleventh book in this series. As you might imagine there is quite a bit of back story going into this novel. Starting here is certainly an option, but you will have no association with events from the past that are brought up over the course of this story. I do not recommend starting the series here!

The book starts with Felix returning to the Empire to find his father. Life quickly takes a turn for the worse as Felix learns his father is dead - murdered at the hands (paws?) of Skaven assassins. Felix vows he will find the one responsible and extract a bloody revenge but his new quest is put on hold by a surprise visit from one Sir Teobalt von Dreschler - templar and librarian of the Order of the Fiery Heart. This is the first example of events from the previous novels being referenced. In this case it relates to a certain sword Felix has had for the past 20 odd years.

To keep things simple (and relatively spoiler free), Sir Teobalt wishes for Felix to undertake a quest to find his missing comrades and retrieve the order's regalia. Sounds easy enough for two heroic adventurers of the Empire right? One small problem... the woods near where the Order were last seen are swarming with Beastmen - a massive herd unlike anything seen before in the old world.

So Gotrek and Felix set off to kill Beastmen, find the source of the massive beast herd, slay it, locate the missing knights and their regalia, and possibly die a glorious death in the process. Along the way they are joined by some old friends (from previous novels) and new enemies.

I won't give away any more of the story but I will warn you of the massive cliffhanger ending this book ends with. While the series has always been continuous, each book has been a self-contained adventure with a clear beginning and end. Not so with this latest novel. Just when you get to the end of the story you find it is just the beginning of another bad situation for the two heroes.

Cliffhanger aside I enjoyed reading this book. Long does a good job of adding new dynamics to the complex relationship between Gotrek and Felix, including a few situations I found to be a bit shocking and sad for me as a fan of the series. While this is certainly no William King version of the heroes, Nathan Long is slowly making the series his own. If Gotrek keeps swilling beer, hacking up his foes, and getting grudgy, I will stick with the series for the long haul (as long as there aren't any more of these damn cliffhangers).

Overall this was an enjoyable read, I just hope future books don't leave our heroes on the last page staring death in the face.

Verdict: 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Progress Report - getting ready for my first VC tournament games.

What is this?! Ogre Kingdoms content on the Games Workshop site? Cool ...

Been working on the completion of my VC assembly and painting prep over the past few days. This involved some really tedious rebasing of my models to make room for my sprawling vampires in the ranks. The results are favorable, and I am glad I did it, but I managed to cut myself for the first time doing hobby stuff. Woops. I suppose bleeding all over my Vampire Lord is appropriate in a way.

Here is a unit of Grave Guard with my Vampire on foot. I don't intend on making anymore Grave Guard for quite awhile. They are really difficult to assemble as everything is small and has to be glued very precisely.

Sorry about the yellow light, my hobby room is not the best for taking photographs. It is hard to tell from that angle but there are two 40mm unit fillers in the Grave Guard as I wanted to make my models stretch to fill a unit of 20 and also break up the unit form a bit.

In other news, I purchased a can of the Army Painter color primer and did a quick job on the remaining 30 Skeletons (with spears but not for the actual option, these guys will go in the back ranks as I like the look of them).

The results look really good! I wish I had done this sooner as it would have saved me a lot of time. Oh well. Live and learn.

Taking my VC list to a local tournament tomorrow. It will be my first tournament with this army and I know the competition will be fierce. I hope to win at least one game and gain some insight into this new (for me anyway) army. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Carpe Noctem - The Invocation issue #3 crawls from the grave.

Webzine ahoy! This week we have the latest issue of the Vampire Counts zine The Invocation which is put together by the crumbling hands of Carpe Noctem members. Now in Landscape format! Hooray!

You can download/view the new issue here (it is around 10mb so it might take a moment).

This issue features the continuation of the magic item overview which was started in issue #2, updates on the Legion of Nagash, and the "Beta" release of the current Bloodline army list. The new army list makes up a majority of the issue but I won't get into my thoughts on the current list right now (and I have a few). The bottom line - if you are a champion of "fan made" characters, units, and rules, there is something here for you. The rest of the issue features classics such as a battle report, list building tips, model pictures, and some conversion and painting "how to" articles.

Overall this issue continues the with the layout and form set out with the first issue. The layout is clean and simple, but at times can be a bit boring. Much of the issue uses the same one or two backgrounds with little in the way of layout change to differentiate one article from the next. A few varied looking headings or illustrations would go a long way to help break up the "sameness" set forth throughout. I enjoyed the content of the issue but I couldn't help but notice a few obvious typos/mistakes which made it past the editing team. Oops!

Perhaps I am a bit biased but my favorite part of this issue (pg 61) was the ad for The Bellower - the first (and only) webzine dedicated to the Ogre Kingdoms! I was planning on announcing the creation of this publication at a later date but the folks from the Invocation team have done it for me! This is the top secret project I have been working on for the past couple months as I am responsible for the layout and Editor duties.

We've got some exciting stuff in store for the first issue, and if things go well we will be releasing a new issue each quarter for the foreseeable future. Soon I will have to put my money where my mouth is when it comes to layout and editing gripes ... perhaps a spot of revenge for the folks I have critiqued here over the past few months. Look for the first issue next month (I hope)!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Vampire Counts 2,250 list - this is what I am working towards.

I have posted a few variations of this list previously but this is what I am working towards for assembly and painting at the moment. Overall I am pretty happy with this list. I have played two games with it so far and won both. Would love to get feedback from the more (or less) experienced VC generals reading this. The overall theme is still Skeletons.


LORDS: (400)
Vampire Lord - Level 3, Red Fury, Beguile, Dread Knight, Blood Drinker, Walach's Bloody Hauberk, Black Periapt (400)

With the exception of the level 2 Vampire the rest of my characters are deployed in the unit of Black Knights. This Lord build is a bit of a hybrid but mostly combat orientated. He has a 1+ armor save, a 5+ ward save, and the Blood Drinker to help keep him alive. Combined with Beguile and Red Fury he can really do a number on most units/models while still supporting the rest of his unit.

HEROES: (605)
Vampire - Dark Acolyte, Lord of the Dead, Book of Arkhan, Cadaverous Cuirass (195)
Vampire - BSB, Royal Standard of Strigos, Dread Knight, Walking Death (210)
Vampire - Dread Knight, Supernatural Terror, Gem of Blood, Dispel Scroll (200)

The level 2 Vampire is deployed with the Grave Guard, typically with units of Skeletons to either flank. He spends most of the game buffing up these units while trying to stay close to the action to make use of the book. The BSB is mostly a support character but he can do plenty of damage on his own, plus he bring +2 CR and Hatred to the unit of Black Knights. Initially I was planning on making my BSB a Wight King but I have not been able to find a model I like enough to use so he has become a Vampire instead.

The third Vampire is mostly there for extra killing power, a bit of Terror for fun (this might get dropped), and the nasty trick that is the Gem of Blood. Great in a challenge when you just need to get that last wound in (especially if your opponent doesn't have a ward or regen save). It can be dangerous though .. on a roll of a 1 it does 2 wounds to the Vampire instead. This item might be dropped for another Dispel Scroll but for now I am going with just one.

CORE: (468)
Skeleton Warriors x 20 - Musician, Standard (172)
Skeleton Warriors x 20 - Musician, Standard (172)
Zombies x 20 - Musician (84)
Dire Wolves x 5 (40)

Skeletons! Initially wanted to field two units of 30 but I couldn't find the points to include the extra models and the Grave Guard. Zombies are my tar pit and redirecting unit, typically deployed near the flank of one Skeleton unit to stop and nasty stuff from getting a flank charge. The small unit of Dire Wolves is mostly a nuisance I use to chase off flyers and other Fast Cav. Also good for throwing at war machines to give them something to worry about for a turn. Would love to run more but I don't have the points!

SPECIAL: (501)
Black Knights x 7 - Heavy Armor, Shield, Lance, Standard, Champion, Banner of Hellfire (210)
Grave Guard x 19 - Heavy Armor, Shield, Musician, Standard, Banner of the Barrows (291)

Black Knights have the always important champ for taking challenges I don't want to throw a Vampire (or Lord) at. They bring the Banner of Hellfire for regen and anything that needs to be hit by magic attack. The Grave Guard are 19 strong and have the banner of +1 to hit. Always nice to hit most things on a 3+ especially when you have Killing Blow!

RARE: (275)
Cairn Wraiths x 5 - Banshee (275)

Wraiths. People don't like them and I know why. The biggest issue I have seen with this unit is it's larger frontage. I often throw these at a flank and they tend to kill themselves out of CC. Without the wounds for CR things can get dicey. You never want to crumble with a unit of 5 models that costs 275 points!

Total Points: 2,249 (of 2,250)

So that is what I am working towards finishing at the moment. As for the status of the models ...
  • 40 Skeletons (60 assembled, 20 painted, 20 in progress, 20 yet to be primed)
  • 20 Zombies (20 assembled and primed)
  • 5 Dire Wolves (10 assembled, 4 painted, 6 in progress)
  • 19 Grave Guard (10 assembled and waiting to be primed, another box to be assembled)
  • 7 Black Knights (16+ assembled, 1 painted, 2 in progress, the rest are primed)
  • 5 Wraiths w/ Banshee (5 assembled, 1 painted, 4 to be primed)
  • Vampire on foot (1 assembled and waiting to be primed - may make a different model still)
  • Vampire Lord (1 assembled and primed - a bit tipsy though and he doesn't rank up well)
  • Vampire BSB (1 assembled and primed - using one of my Blood Knight models)
  • Vampire on Nightmare (1 painted)
As you can see, most of the work to be done is in the painting stage. I am still hoping to have this done by the end of the year but it isn't looking likely. Even if I finish multiple units a week I will probably run out of time. I will have it all assembled and primed though dangit!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Vampire Counts Warband - Is this too much?

One of the FLGS is starting an escalation league next month. I have joined with my Vampire Counts in the hope of getting more models painted before I move (always helps to have some impetus).

The first part of the league is a 500 point Warband (using the Warband rules) and I have created a list I am considering playing. My question to those reading - is this too much? Am I being a bit of a prick by bringing the Wraiths?

Are you ready for the bad touch?
Vampire - Lord of the Dead, Biting Blade, Flayed Hauberk (145)

Vampire lives in the unit of Skeleton Warriors and spams Invocation of Nehek to raise more Skeletons with his 3 power dice and +1 to cast. I gave him the 2+ armor save and -1 AP magic sword just in case he does manage to get into CC. My original build was a bit nastier but I had to squeeze in under the 150pt limit for Warbands.

Skeleton Warriors x 10 - Musician, Standard, Champion, Banner of the Dead Legion (125)
Zombies x 20 (80)

Zombies tarpit and guard my flank. Skeleton's have the double US banner to ensure I get the outnumber from Fear but that is only really useful once I have raised more Skeletons in the unit. I am considering dropping it for a Warbanner, or I could add a Banshee to the Wraith unit.

Cairn Wraith x 3 (150)

"Like bringing a bazooka to a knife fight" is what I called the Wraith unit when someone played them against me at 500pts. I think there will be enough things to deal with them on the table that they won't be as devastating as the might be, but it is still a rather nasty surprise for most players. Without Van Hel's to back them up they become substantially less powerful.

Total Points: 500 (of 500)
Overall I am happy with this list and it is made up almost entirely of models I still have to paint (which is the point). I'm aiming to have this done for the first week of January. Time to break out the brushes and get to work!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Progress Report - New dice bag arrived!

Wow. Where did November go? It is already December 4th and the days show no sign of slowing. I'm still hoping to have my VC army done by the end of the year but there is a considerable amount of work to complete to get to that goal. I spent a little bit of timing painting my Dire Wolves this week and finished the first test model.

Today's cloudy gray day wasn't interested in lending a ray of sunlight for the photo, but you can still make out most of the details on this dead-eyed dog. I have three more mostly done and a method for the rest so I hope to have them done next week. I'm quite happy with the final gross/undead look of the model overall. I painted the dag's fur to match the color of my dog Udo. He isn't nearly as fearsome. Comment and critiques are welcomed and encouraged as always!

In other news, look what came in the mail for me yesterday!

My new awesome (reversible) dice bag! So long dirty Crown Royal bag, hello cool looking skulls. The bag was made by Marsbarn Designs and only cost a few dollars. The quality is top-notch and you can custom order what fabric designs/types are used if you wish. I highly recommend these dice bags and I am considering ordering another one down the road (once I move, get a job, and have my finances sorted out).

It's too late to order a custom one as a Christmas gift but if you act fast you might be able to pick up one of the pre-made types available through the Marsbarn Etsy shop (there might even be a sale going on). Don't be jealous of my swanky new bag, go get one for yourself now!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Win some you lose some.

Well the Beer Gut Tribe performed about as well as I had expected them to during yesterday's tournament. I won my first two games and lost my last. Going into the final round I was in first place by two points but I probably finished somewhere south of 5th place. Not a bad showing but not the three wins I needed to make it into next month's championship tournament.

I meant to take a bunch of pictures during the event but I only grabbed a couple and they didn't turn out very well. The picture above is the only one that was somewhat usable. Oh well. Here is a quick rundown of the games I played and highlights from each.

Game #1 - Jeff's Skaven.
  • Jeff is one of the better players in our scene (if not the country) and he brought a pretty ugly Skaven list from the new book.
  • List consisted of a Grey Seer on foot, two level 2 Plague Priests, BSB, two or three units of Clanrats with Ratling Guns, big block of Plague Monks pushing the Plague Furnace, a unit of Censer Bearers, Hellpit Abomination, Warplightning Cannon, and two or three units of Slaves.
  • Neither the Plague Priests nor the Grey Seer got Wither (thank goodness) but the Grey Seer did take the Dreaded 13th Spell.
  • I got turn 1 and pushed everything forward with a unit of Trappers heading towards the WLC to limit it's shots and charge it on turn 2.
  • Managed to get buffs up on all the Ogre units and Bangstick a Ratling Gun off the board.
  • Scraplauncher pulled off it's first amazing moment of the day by scoring a partial hit on a Plague Priest in a unit of Clanrats. Plague Priest then fails his "Look Out Sir" roll and is destroyed by a Killing Blow on the roll of 6.
  • Hellpit Abomination moves up the left flank towards a unit of Ironguts with a Butcher. Rolls triples, then 6, moving into the flank of the Ironguts with a super-charged S7 fury and crushing them all.
  • Leadbelchers move behind the Hellpit Abomination and blast a couple of wounds off the beast before charging the rear by themselves (while a unit of Bulls fails it's Fear test and stays put). They are quickly absorbed/eaten but manage to do one more wound to the beast.
  • Bulls get their courage up and charge the flank of the Hellpit Abomination and manage to do the last 3 remaining wounds to "kill" it. Jeff rolled a 2 and the beast stays dead for good.
  • Meanwhile on the right side of the board the Maneaters and characters slam into a unit of Clanrats who are crushed but slow down the unit long enough for the baited Plague Monk unit nearby to manage a counter charge on the unit's flank (only touching the BSB Bruiser).
  • This combat goes on for the rest of the game with the BSB managing to kill all but one of the Plague Monks while the Maneaters and Characters take multiple T tests each turn (probably in the neighborhood of 30 or more).
  • Grey Seer manages to cast the Dreaded 13th spell on the unit of Bulls which killed the Hellpit Abomination. It goes off with Irresistible Force and the 4 Bulls are turned into 4 Clanrats.
  • The Ogres have their revenge on the next turn when the Grey Seer miscasts and blows himself up (rolling a 2 on the miscast table).
  • Final score is close with a narrow victory going to the Beer Gut Tribe.
A close fought game that was a lot of fun. There were moments of "WTF" on both sides of the table and the game could have gone either way at many points. This was my first game against Jeff and I hope to be able to play with him again in the future. In other news - the updated Skaven book is no friend of the Ogre Kingdoms (then again who is!?). My next opponent is a familiar face, Jeff's father Mike.

Game #2 - Mike's Warriors of Chaos.
  • Mike and I have played a few times and it is always fun. Well, the two times I had to play his Tecilis list at BoLSCon might not be my favorite moments in WHFB history but they were still fun.
  • He brought a slightly unusual WoC list with unmarked level 4 Sorc Lord, level 2 Chaos Sorc with the Mark of Nurgle, Exalted BSB, three units of 20 Marauders, two or three units of Marauder Horsemen, a unit of Chaos Knights, two Chariots, and two Hellcannons.
  • Mike got the first turn and began moving forward with one Hellcannon in the middle of the field and another on the far right flank near his Marauder blocks.
  • In his opening volley with the first Hellcannon he misfired and rolled the "all wizards miscast" roll. His casters survive thanks to the Puppet. My first Butcher does 3 wounds to himself (after he was already able to cast Trollguts on his unit due to the Sorc Lord's miscast) while the second Butcher rolls a 1.
  • That would have been the game but Mike (in a move that proves to be his downfall) modifies the miscast to the "Butcher can no longer cast spells" outcome (later I found out he had the Black Tongue and probably could have killed him at any time).
  • With Gut Magic out of the picture things are looking grim for the Beer Gut Tribe.
  • After fleeing from a Chaos Knight charge on the flank, and a double Chariot charge in the center of the board, I set up Mike for the counter charge with my Slavegiant and Maneater units.
  • Mike flees from all the charges which allows me to redirect my charge into two additional units who also flee.
  • By the end of my turn 2 half of Mike's army is fleeing on one side of the board while his blocks of troops move up the right side.
  • Mike's Horsemen and Knights fail to rally and run off the board while the Chariots manage to turn around.
  • Sustained Hellcannon shots decimate the Irongut and Maneater units.
  • In turn 4 I charge my Tyrant out of his unit at the Hellcannon and deal 2 wounds.
  • Marauders charge the Tyrant's flank on turn 5 but he manages to hold (testing on a 4).
  • My turn 5 I charge a unit of Bulls into the flank of the Marauders who break while the Tyrant kills the Hellcannon before chasing the Marauders off the board.
  • Ganes ends as a decisive victory for the Beer Gut Tribe with only one unit of Marauders and the three characters left alive on the table.
What started out as a complete loss thanks to the miscast outcome on the Hellcannon misfire chart turned out to be a really fun game with some close calls on both sides. All of this thanks to the kindness of my opponent. Much appreciated Mike! Going into the last game of the day I was in first place with two win and ahead in overall points. It was a tie between opponents between Jordan's Wood Elves and Dylan's Dwarfs. I manage to draw the Wood Elves and I am sure you can guess the outcome of this one ...

Game #3 - Jordan's Wood Elves.
  • Jordan is one of the best players in the country and always gives a good game. That said I have yet to enjoy any of my games with him as he always ends up playing lists that seem tailored to destroy Ogres.
  • His WE list consisted of two level 1 scroll caddies, a Hail of Doom arrow BSB, Ancient Treeman, three units of Dryads, three units of Archers, Waywatchers, three units of Wild Riders, and some other bits I can't recall. It was mostly a forest spirit army.
  • This was only my second game against Wood Elves and I still hate them.
  • Jordan got turn 1 and moved up his Dryads and Fast Cav while shooting the crap out of my Ogres and Slavegiant.
  • I manage to get one or two Gut Magic buffs up but he quickly removes them in his magic phase.
  • Tyrant ends up fighting the Treeman and does two wounds in the first round. This combat goes on for two more rounds but the Tyrant fails to do anything while the Treeman gets about a wound on average each time and holds.
  • Treeman was equipped with the Annoyance of Netlings and D6 poison attacks.
  • Treeman finally breaks and flees but the Maneaters and characters fail to catch him and slam into a nearby unit of Dryads.
  • More Dryads and the Treeman charge back in and kill the Maneaters off but not before the Tyrant manages to land the killing blow on the Treeman.
  • Meanwhile the Slavegiant and a unit of Leadbelchers kill a unit of Dryads but are charged in the flank by Wild Riders and die (with the Slavegiant falling on the last Leadbelcher and killing him off).
  • Meanwhile the WE BSB has left the security of the woods and is standing in the center of the board shooting at some remaining Bulls.
  • Scraplauncher takes the opportunity to land a direct hit on the BSB and kill him outright with a roll of 6 for Killing Blow.
  • Game ends as a loss for the Beer Gut Tribe with only the Scaplauncher, Tyrant, BSB, and one Butcher remaining.
Why is it the Wood Elf army isn't considered a "strong" army? Compared to Ogres they have everything going for them but I can see how things go wrong with a bunch of T3 troops running around. I don't like Dryads. I don't like Trees that kill. Still, it was a fun game all around and I managed to kill about half the Wood Elf army which is good considering I expected to be wiped off the board by turn 3. Thanks for the first fun game Jordan!

So there you have it. Two wins and one loss and three fun games against some of the best players of WHFB I know. Win or lose you can't really beat an outcome like that. While I (probably) haven't made it high enough in the rankings for next month's tournament I still had a lot of fun and sometimes I need that reminder of why I play this game at all. For the fun times.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last Tournament of the year - Ogre Dark Horse list.

Last tournament of the year, and this season, happens tomorrow at BattleForge Games. This one is for placement in the "Tournament of Champions" next month. As of this writing I am 11th in the rankings and I need a place in the top 9 to participate. This year's events have really put a damper on my first (and last in Austin) tournament season but I am hoping to have a good showing tomorrow to squeeze into the finals.

Tomorrow's event is a "Hobby" tournament which means that painting score and some light comp are involved. That should make for some "soft" lists but since it is the last tournament of the season I expect to see some nasty stuff on the tables still.

With that in mind here is the list I will be playing during tomorrow's three games:
Tyrant – Heavy Armor, Luck Gnoblar, Cathayan Longsword, Beastkiller, Greedy Fist, Wyrdstone Necklace, Greyback Cloak (311)

A now "classic" build - I have been using this loadout for my Tyrant almost all year and I love it. It is a more defensive build but I have yet to lose a challenge with it. Destroying magic weapons is something I love to do. My biggest success was eating a Frostblade but I almost always manage to eat at least one magic weapon each game. The Tyrant is deployed in the unit of Maneaters with the BSB and Cookbook Butcher.

Bruiser – BSB, Heavy Armor, Sword of Might, Gnoblar Thiefstone (194)
Butcher – Bangstick, Dispel Scroll (180)
Butcher – Halfling Cookbook (155)

Nothing too crazy here. BSB has the SoM for a little extra wound potential and Wraith killing. The Thiefstone is good for initial magic defense before I can get my Gut Magic buffs up on the Maneater unit. This is the first tournament list I have taken with the Cookbook and I have to say it is pretty cool. Played two games today with this list and the Cookbook spared me a couple wounds (about 1 a game) but I am still not sure I would take it over a Dispel Scroll in a more competitive list.
Bulls x 4 – Champion, Bellower, AHW (186)
Bulls x 4 – Champion, Bellower, AHW (186)
Ironguts x 4 – Champion, Bellower (222)
Gnoblar Trappers x 9 (54)

How did I live with my Ogres before I started playing with Champions!? They have saved my ass on so many occasions since I don't know if I can go back to playing without them. In a game against WoC today I cleared off an entire army and only lost 3 Ogres thanks to the Champions. Running these units a little wider with 4 wide instead of 3. Makes for more attacks but also means I have to commit to a charge - not a lot of room for error.

Leadbelchers x 2 – Champion (120)
Leadbelchers x 2 – Champion (120)
Scraplauncher (165)

I stopped shooting with my Leadbelchers and I haven't lost them in the past few games. I often find the threat of the shots is enough to keep units at a distance. I use their shooting ability only when I think I can weaken or destroy a unit, usually in the case of flyers or Fast Cav. Scraplauncher has been a real disappointment the past few games, almost always scattering 8-10 inches away from my target and misfiring about once a game. Here's hoping it does better for me tomorrow!

Maneaters x 2 – GW, Heavy Armor (180)
Slavegiant (175)

Fairly minimal Rare selection but you need a unit of Maneaters to use as a character delivery system. The Slavegiant is fun and I have him painted so he makes the list. In a more competitive list I might drop him for more Maneaters but he has been doing really well lately and seems to enjoy jumping up and down quite a bit.

Total Points: 2,248 (of 2,250)
Not really my "ideal" list but I wanted to ensure all of my models in play were painted as I lost a third place spot during the last tournament because they weren't (stupid Hunter...). In the two practice games I played today the list performed well so I expect to win at least one or two of my games during the event. Here's hoping I can go all the way and grab a spot in the finals!

Since I am a dark horse to win tomorrow's event, and place in the top 10, I thought a review of a Dark Horse beer would be appropriate. Here is one I really enjoy from the Dark Horse Brewing Company out of Marshall, MI. I'll be adding photos of each beer as I review it so those reading at home can track down the ones they wish to try.

Dark Horse Brewing Company - Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA

Beer Type: American IPA

Appearance: 12 oz. brown bottle with an off-white label and a picture of a crooked tree. Beer poured a hazy amber with a thick off-white head that left plenty of lacing.

Smell: Some fruity aroma (apricots or oranges?) at first, followed by floral hops and some malt. Smells damn good!

First Drink: Sweet malt followed quickly by a sharp bitter hops. Oddly refreshing!

Mouthfeel: A little dry but not overly carbonated which makes it work.

Last Drink: Not a lot going on here, just tastes like a damn good IPA. A little bit more "dark" biscuit flavors are coming through in the aftertaste along with more of the bitter hops.

Drinkability: Can't complain! It tastes like a better (more refined) version of the first homebrew we made! 6% ABV makes the time fly while drinking a few.

Notes: Drank this on a recent trip back to my home state of Michigan. Then I drank it again. Then I brought some back to Austin with me. Now I want more and can't get it here. Oh well, I have something to look forward to when I move back home!

Verdict: 4.25 out of 5.

Links: Beer Advocate and Dark Horse Brewing Company.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Progress Report - Do you like Dags?

Haven't managed to complete much model work yet. Spent the first couple days of being unemployed worrying about benefits, finding a job, moving, etc. Realized it is too early for me to worry about any of that stuff yet - better to spend time painting while I have it! Then I got sick ...

In between bouts of nausea (and all the wonderful things that go with it) I managed to get a test model done for more Dire Wolves. I am pretty happy with this model given that it was the first time I have worked with a miniature that was primed black instead of white. I had to learn some new techniques, plus I had no idea how I wanted to paint the Dire Wolves.

Feedback is welcomed and encouraged as always! I am a novice painter and I find that I learn more from doing (which is so often the case), but I am open to suggestions.

I started the model with a dry brush of Dwarf Flesh, followed by a few washes, highlights, some4 undercoat, more washes, and ... here we are.

I don't think the new model will be quite as pink, although I like the gross fleshy look. It doesn't look quite dead enough yet. Not sure what it needs.

Here are his buddies, in various stages of paint WIP. I don't really like these models too much but I think they do look a bit better when they are painted.

And as a treat for those who have made it this far into the post, I present ZOMBIES!

My first unit of 20. I have another 20 I plan on making, but we'll see ...

And that's all for now! I also managed to get one of my Blood Knight models assembled for use as a Vampire BSB (it's the Standard Bearer) but aside from the primed model there isn't much to show yet. Going to focus on completing these Dire Wolves, finish up my Skeletons, and then it's on to the Characters and special choices.

Hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving holiday. I'll be celebrating with a Quorn log, tons of mashed taters, and Wild Turkey shoot!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Progress Report - Good news / Bad news.

First up, a bit of good news. I am going to have a lot more time to work on models in the next few weeks. I'm hoping to complete the assembly, basing, and priming of my VC force so I can get into the painting and hopefully complete the army before the new year.

The reason I have all this time to spend on models is because of the bad news. I was laid off from my job on Friday. I should be able to collect unemployment until I find a new job but it will still leave me a bit light on cash for any hobby spending for the forseeable future.

Also planning a move back home (Michigan) to be closer to my friends and family - this takes me far from the established WHFB scene here in Texas. Hopefully I will be able to scrounge up some games or get my friends back home addicted to collecting models of their own. I know I will miss the outstanding tabletop scene here in Austin. I didn't know how good I had it...

But enough about me and my (as of lately) crappy life. How about some more WIP pictures of my recent VC model work?

A finished Wraith with green stuff'd hood from the front.

I struggled a bit with the hood at first as it was covering too much of the skull below. I opted for a sort of "half cowl" look with tattered rags and I am pretty happy with the results.

This one was a bit tricky as I had to blend the green stuff hood with the original sculpt.

It looks a bit jaunty but I don't mind. Perhaps this particular Wraith is quite happy about his lot in unlife.

Also finished this little Skeleton unit filler. I bet this guy will be the life of the party.

Last but not least we have a fully assembled and primed Vampire Lord (being played by the mounted Mannfred von Carstein model).

This guy was a pain in the ass to get together as there were a ton of gaps that needed filling and I used one of the Iron Halo resin bases which required pinning and lots of glue to keep him standing upright. He is a bit tipsy and doesn't quite rank up with other cavalry models too well but I really like this model so I guess I will make it work.

That's all for now! Comments, suggestions, and critiques are welcome and encouraged as always.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Review - "Grey Seer" by C.L. Werner.

A recent release from the Black Library and another book review for the site. Finishing up the new Gotrek and Felix book "Shamanslayer" right now and should have a review of that coming sometime in the next few weeks.

"Grey Seer" by C.L. Werner

Fans of Gotrek and Felix are probably already familiar with Grey Seer Thanquol. Reading that series is not required to enjoy "Grey Seer" but I did enjoy reading Thanquol's recollections of his past failures (blamed mostly on the "Demonic Dwarf" and his "Man-servant"). As a stand alone novel (or the first in a new series?) "Grey Seer" delivers a classic fantasy story full of ratmen, smugglers, monsters, sewers, bizarre magic, and raucous battles.

The story begins with Thanquol being summoned to the Council Of Thirteen - the dread rulers of Skavenblight. After managing to not being burnt to a greasy smear by the horrific Skaven of the Council, Thanquol is sent on an important (and dangerous) mission - to find and recover a mighty Skaven weapon known only as the Wormstone (which has been lost for several hundred years).

Thanquol's quest sends him deep into the treacherous realm of Under-Altdorf (the Skaven realm that lies directly below the Empire city of Altdorf) where the Skaven rulers are a little too happy with their current situation and not excited to see the Grey Seer and his entourage of albino Stormvermin. Conversely, Thanquol is disgusted by Under-Altdorf's dependence on the humans and sees their reliance on the "manflesh" as heretical in the eyes of the Horned Rat. Shortly after arriving, and bullying the local leaders into at least pretending to help him, Thanquol discovers his "new" best friend - Boneripper the mutant Rat Ogre (Thanquol has gone through many different Bonerippers, most of which died at the hands of Gotrek).

While some of the Skaven characters in the book represent the "heavy hitters" of the Skaven elite, the human characters featured in the book are mostly criminals or those associated with them. One exception is a mysterious figure who controls a vast network of servants across all of Altdorf and leads the band of "heroes" to stop the maniacal Skaven from controlling the Wormstone. The relationship between the denizens of upper and under Altdorf is the primary focus of much of the novel and provides some interesting moments for fans of Warhammer lore.

Overall the storyline is a basic one. Villain sets out on an impossible quest, villain meets another villain, villains meets resistance, big fights ensue, magic is used, warpstone is snuffed, and the musk of fear is sprayed all over. The end?

I found the book to be an enjoyable read and better by far than some of Werner's more recent work. Werner manages to craft a believable world of Skaven, complete with interesting rat-characters, a good old fashioned mystery, and a huge magical showdown deep under the city of Altdorf. Those interested in Skaven culture will find plenty of new information here while those looking for an entertaining (and easy) read should be entertained as well.

I'm sure this is far from the last we have seen of Thanquol and I look forward to more stories set in the dark and dank world of the Skaven.

Verdict: 7.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Beastmen news and rumors.

Came across a few Beastmen tidbits today while checking the web. First up is this picture which appears to be a scan from WD featuring one of the "new" Gor models (click through to see a larger version).

It doesn't look all that different to me, perhaps most of the changes are in the head and torso? Things of note regarding the new Beastmen models (according to the rumors):
  • Gor models have a few different (not new options) weapons, poses, and shields.
  • Gors come with hand weapons and there is no option for halberds on the sprue - this probably means that option won't be in the book either.
  • Ungors will come with 20mm bases - hope you Beast generals are ready to re-glue a few models! This could also mean the end of mixed herds.
  • Ungors are a little different from the existing models (one or two new heads for instance) and still come with options for spears, shields, and hand weapons.
  • Ungors also come with short bows.
  • Mention of new special characters (and models) which include a Shaman named "Malagor the Dark Omen" and a Centigor special character called "Ghorros Warhoof".
  • Existing Lord and Hero models will likely not be updated.
Hmm. These are just rumors so as always take it with a grain (or two) of salt, but they do come from "respected" rumor sources in the community so it is likely they are mostly accurate. No sure how I feel about Skink style Ungors running around with Short Bows. It just doesn't seem very "Bestial" to me. Spears or Javelins I could see but not Bows (as a funny side note there is a part of the new Gotrek and Felix book that touches on the fact that Beastmen can't shoot bows).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Progress Report - Wraith WIP pictures.

Spent some time last weekend working on the final assembly of my Vampire Counts army. It has been almost a year and I have still yet to finish and play a 2,250 game with my new toys. What a shame.

To rectify that situation I worked on completing my unit of 5 Wraiths with Banshee. Here are a couple WIP pics before any green stuff was added.

The bodies are from the Lord of the Rings "Army of the Dead" models but I have removed the heads and hands and replaced them with Skeleton/Grave Guard bits. The scythes were made from Grave Guard standard poles/arms with Zombie scythe blades attached to the top. It was a bit difficult to find a pose that was radically different so I tried to go with ones that looked active and "realistic" - whatever that is for an undead monster.

And here is a group shot with the previously completed Banshee model. I have since completed the Wraith models with green stuff hoods and gap filling. I like the way they turned out, look for pictures of them to be added here soon.

Also wanted to share a couple links I have enjoyed the past few days:
  • Games Workshop's Astronomican is pretty awesome. I know most GW gamers like to give them flack for a lack of fan support but I think pages like this are a step in the right direction.
  • The Trading Post is a new Fantasy Blog hub with news and a long list of great Fantasy blogs you should check out.
  • Noeste's blog has a great post detailing his Dragon Ogre conversion - something I wish I had the time and money to try out for myself. While you are there take a look at his Female Marauders of Slaanesh which are also quite awesome.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Slayerbrotherhood - The Doom Seeker Issue #2 out now.

The second issue of The Doom Seeker has just been released. You can download it here or read it here.

While I am still a fan of the idea behind this webzine, and I applaud the New Slayer Brotherhood community for their continued efforts, the overall presentation of this new issue is still rather poor. A cluttered layout, mix-and-match font styles, and abundant use of clipart fail to impress visually while the content is a mixed bag with few standout pieces. My favorite thing featured in this latest issue is the awesome cover art. Very "Dwarf Slayer".

As a whole this issue seems to focus more on the entirety of Warhammer with very little Slayer-centric content (only 6 pages of 32 in total), and the presentation is lacking a unified vision. I hope future issues can maintain a more focused approach to the Slayer army while including some of the additional content featured in issue #2. Perhaps a longer duration between issues would help increase the quality of the articles used - I am sure there is not a ton of content readily available for any Storm of Chaos army (even the mighty Slayers).

What would a post about Slayers be if it did not feature at least one mention of beer!? Here is a brew I reviewed after my trip to Fort Collins, CO last winter.
Odell Brewing Company - 5 Barrel Pale Ale

Beer Type: English Pale Ale

Appearance: 12 oz. brown bottle featuring a red and beige Odell style label. Beer poured a clear amber-gold color with a thick off white head.

Smell: Some toasty malts, spicy hops, and caramel sweetness.

First Drink: Lots of earthy flavors and a little bit of the hops. Plenty of sweet malt, almost too much to make out the hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and well carbonated. No complaints here!

Last Drink: More of the hops flavor now, with a bit more mellow biscuit sweetness.

Drinkability: One of my favorite Odell brews so far. A nice little departure from the normal pale ale, but not too far out there.

Notes: This is my last beer from my trip to Fort Collins, Colorado last January. I need to go back and get more of Odell's excellent beers!

Verdict: 4 out of 5.

Links: Beer Advocate and Odell Brewing Company

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Beastmen release confirmed for Feburary!

BEASTS! Take a look at this sweet new cover for the new book. Pretty cool. Reminds me of the Ogre Kingdoms cover! The image is from the new Games Workshop newsletter along with this:
"In the dark places of the world, the Beastmen have been gathering in number and in February they will unleash their rage on the Warhammer world with renewed vigour. A feral army of twisted monsters, the Beastmen have inhabitant the dark forests and wild places of the world since such places existed. To lead a Beastmen army is to field vast herds of braying, brutish beasts who worship Chaos in all its forms, and who fight to level the civilised world.

This will be the first time ever that the Beastmen have had their own, completely stand-alone, army list. The forthcoming Warhammer Armies: Beastmen is full of twisted monsters old and new, and an all-new lore of magic. The Beastmen are the original inhabitants of the Old World: in February 2010 they come to reclaim it from the hands of Men.

Make sure you check out December’s White Dwarf for more on the Beastmen."
New Beasts in Feburary! I am very excited about this release but my wallet is less so. How about you? What are you hoping to see in the new Beastmen book?

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Dwarf FAQ/Errata released - Alas poor Thorek...

What the!? A new Dwarf FAQ?

Changes worth noting:
  • Thorek may only use his re-roll once per game.
  • Shooting attacks at the Anvil are not randomized on the warmachine - only on the crew.
  • Dwarf Rangers do not count as Warriors once upgraded.
  • Some clarification on Slayers from the Storm of Chaos book.
Well. Damn. So much for Thorek being overpowered! I wonder who else will be getting the "nerf stick" applied to them with new FAQ/Errata releases!?

UPDATE: My friend Thane Demolira pointed out that most of the GW tournaments have been playing Thorek this way for the past couple years so this isn't totally unexpected. Also, shooting attacks at the Anvil were never randomized and the Dwarf book already covers this.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Skaven - 2,250 Clan Moulder Freak Rat Romp!

I love monsters. The Skaven have their Clan Moulder who love monstrous rat creatures. Here is a monstrous rat creature list made with the new Skaven book that I hope to proxy and try out (perhaps collect, assemble, and paint):

LORDS: (225)
Throt the Unclean (225)

HEROES: (270)
Warlock Engineer(15) - Level 2, Shadow Magnet Trinket, Warp-Energy Condenser (150)
Warlock Engineer - Level 1, Dispel Scroll, Warpstone Token, Warpmusket (120)

CORE: (1255)
Rat Ogres x 10 - Master Moulder w/ Electro Whip, Packmasters x 3, Skweel Gnawtooth (580)
Rat Ogres x 10 - Master Moulder w/ Thingcatcher, Packmasters x 4 (485)
Giant Rats x 26 - Master Moulder w/ Thingcatcher, Packmasters x 3 (155)
Giant Rats x 9 - Packmaster (35)

RARE: (500)
Hellpit Abomination - Warpstone Spikes (250)
Hellpit Abomination - Warpstone Spikes (250)

Total Points: 2,250 (of 2,250)
Two big units of Rat Ogres w/ Packmasters and a big block of Giant Rats with Engineers. The smaller pack of Giant Rats is for harassing flanks or claiming table quarters. Giant monsters do what they do best - kill things! I have never played Skaven. Just looking for something fun to play with and model and huge mutant rats seem to be on my mind at the moment. Suggestions for the list are welcomed and encouraged!

It has been awhile since I featured a beer review on the site. I still have a huge backlog of beers I need to review but I thought this one was thematically appropriate.
Indian Wells Brewing Company - Lobotomy Bock

Beer Type: Doppelbock

Appearance: 12 oz. brown bottle with a red "cartoony" label on it. Beer poured a dark reddish black color with a thick head.

Smell: Bready... a bit of sweet dark aroma (chocolate?).

First Drink: A little bit of chocolate but nothing that really sticks around.

Mouthfeel: Thin and a little flat feeling (more carbonation would be nice).

Last Drink: More malt and bread flavors but overall this is a very simple beer.

Drinkability: Seems a bit like Shiner Bock in taste and mouthfeel, but I feel like there should be more going on.

Notes: This beer is 10% alchohol but you can't really taste it. Not great, not bad, this one is just alright (and my brains are still intact).

Verdict: 3 out of 5

Links: Beer Advocate and Indian Wells Brewing Company.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Skaven madness has been unleashed!

The new Skaven book is upon us! Run for your lives!!

I have only seen one game with the new book but it was a doozy - a classic Skaven SAD list vs a zombie spamming Vampire list. The Skaven won the game but blew up half their force in the process. Fun!

Today I will be playing a few games here at home with the new book. I will post my thoughts on the book as a whole after seeing a few more games in action.

I have already noticed a continuation of the trend started with the Warriors of Chaos book - I could probably make a better Ogre-type force from the Skaven book. Is it really a new trend or do I just really love armies with nothing but Monsters and 40mm troops? Double Hellpit Abomination and Rat Ogre madness lists ahoy!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A journey to the Maw - the making of Mawster Blaster.

The latest issue of The Word of Hashut was released last month and if you haven't taken a look at it yet I encourage you to do so now. It features a ton of great Chaos Dwarf material and this time around the mad Dawi from Chaos-Dwarfs Online have included a good deal of Ogre Kingdom related articles as well. One of the articles featured (on pages 76 and 77 for those keen to read it now) in the latest issue is a set of rules for a character known as "Mawster Blaster" which were developed by me.

If I am honest, this article did not turn out as I was expecting it to. I consider the content used as a "rough draft" for what I had hoped the final piece would be. As an example...
  • The piece of art shown for the rules is amazing but it wasn't quite what I had in mind for the character (more on that below).
  • The rules were written and revised several times but I did not have a chance to play test them.
  • The name for the character was a placeholder to be changed once a proper back story had been written.
  • I was not able to sculpt or paint an actual model for the character.
Although it doesn't meet my own standards I am pleased with the overall presentation of the rules and the great piece of art used in conjunction with my "rough draft". It was a good exercise in game design and I learned a bit about balance (at least on paper) in the process.

I started the creation of "Mawster Blaster" with an idea - I wanted to see a model which featured a Dwarf riding on the back of an Ogre (similar to Master Blaster from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome). Pretty basic but the idea really makes me happy.

My original concept for a character was a Dwarf Slayer who had lost the use of his legs in his search for a worthy doom. Disabled but not dead the Slayer hired an Ogre mercenary to carry him to his glorious death (the Ogre didn't mind as he got lots of ale, food, fights, and a share of the gold).

About a year later Willmark approached the Ogre Stronghold looking for ideas for an Ogre Kingdom tie-in for the upcoming issue of The Word of Hashut. I immediately returned to the Ogre carrying a Dwarf and thus "Mawster Blaster" was born.

While the basic idea remained the same (a Dwarf which did not have the use of his legs to get him around) the character changed in several major ways. The simple merc was replaced by a twisted Ogre monster from deep within the Chaos Wastes. The boisterous Slayer became a Tyrannical Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer Lord with a calcified lower torso lost to his devotion of dark magic. As the ideas began to take shape I wrote the first draft of the rules with a few things in mind:
  • Cost - I looked to monstrous mount options which already exist in WHFB to find a relevant example before settling on a Chaos Lord on Chaos Dragon as my basis.
  • Power - as both a Close Combat and Magic threat I had to keep balance in mind while adding just the right amount of overall capability for the point cost.
  • Unpredictability - I love flawed characters and I think they add a lot of fun and random chance to what can often be a very straight forward and boring game.
The first set of rules were far more complex and featured several "what if" type tables detailing the results of the Mutant Ogre's loss of sanity after visiting the Great Maw and what would happen should the Chaos Dwarf be knocked from his mount. While fun (and full of crazy Ogre flavor) these rules were too complex for the tabletop - although looking at the new Skaven book and some of the tables it features I have to wonder if I made the right choice.

I am currently working on some other "new" characters for inclusion in a TOP SECRET project already in the works but I hope to get back around to this character at some point in the future. I don't consider the rule included in The Word of Hashut to be final and I would love to hear some input from other players - especially if you have played with the published rules.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nathan Long on writing the new Gotrek and Felix book "Shamanslayer".

Came across this video on the Black Library blog last month and I thought it would be good to share it with you my dear (and few) readers. In the video (which is somewhat campy and ridiculous... in a good way) Nathan Long outlines his basic approach for writing, specifically how it relates to his Gotrek and Felix novels. Check it out!

My copy of Shamanslayer is in the mail (somewhere in the Western US) , or so Amazon tells me. Be sure to keep one non-patched eye out for a review of the book once I finish it (and find time to write the review).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Animosity IV Campaign begins 10/31 - The Great Migration needs you!

Sign-ups for the Animosity IV Warhammer Fantasy campaign have begun, and this time around they have included an Ogre Kingdoms faction (among others). Taking part seems pretty easy, and it's a great excuse to play more games of Warhammer!

The campaign begins on the 31st of October 2009, so head over to now and get registered! Here are a few links to get you started:
If you are interested in joining the Great Migration you will want to check out these links as well:

"As a player in The Great Migration you will take the part of a Tyrant, Hunter or Butcher in the service of Grazok Beastslayer as the mighty hunter leads your tribes into the land of Cathay. You are backed into a corner and your goal is simple. Cathay has food where you do not and you must take it for yourself. Grazok is not stupid however. An all out assault on the Cathayan army would be dangerous and he trusts you and your fellows to help him guide the tribe to a safer path. So your task is one a true Ogre will grasp quite easily. You must feed your tribe!

The Great Migration is an essentially neutral faction, and therein lies your advantage. While Ogres are quite rightly the largest and most feared humanoids in Cathay, they are not complete strangers. Ogre bodyguards have been employed within the Empire for centuries, so most people are well used to seeing hulking Maneaters walking along side the carriages of the more affluent members of Cathayan society.

It will be down to you as players to decide which way the Tribes you lead will go. You could approach the Figureheads and offer your might for hire, hoping to gain food for your whelps through this exchange. Many Figureheads would gladly use Ogre strength to further their own goals, yet you must decide carefully which ones will follow through on their promise of rewards and whether being led around by the nose suits your disposition. Alternatively you could choose a more independent path, and taking advantage of the weakened Empire take what you want when you want using your great strength to eat the very heart of Cathay. The choice is yours.

Finally, it may be worth pondering Grazok's own question to you when he gathered the tribes. Is it possible to escape the constant hunger of the Maw? Only Cathay holds the answer. Use your cunning as a Hunter, but don’t be afraid to unleash that inner Tyrant if it means securing a hot lunch! Pray to the Great Maw as you see fit and may it grant you a plentiful bounty!"
I've already signed up for the campaign and I am looking forward to playing some games for the Great Migration. It's not too late to get involved! Sign up now!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

While you were out.

After a few weeks away from my drinkin' and modelin' I have returned. I feel like I have aged three-hundred years in three weeks. Still playing WHFB catch up so here is a quick post with re-caps of what I missed while I was out!

  • The new issue of Word of Hashut is out now. This latest issue (number 6) looks amazing, features a lot of Ogre related content, and has the rules for a character I created called Mawster Blaster. I'll post a more in-depth analysis on this at a later date (detailing the creation and throught process behind the character).

  • GW added the Screaming Bell/Plague Furnace kit to their site. You can see pics of the kit, box, and sprues here. It looks like one hell of an impressive kit and I am glad to see GW actually putting pictures of the sprues up on the site. I'll add them to this blog's collection later this week.

  • Bell of Lost Souls added pictures of the Doom Wheel after assembly. I wonder if the person who took the pictures happened to write a step-by-step instruction book for the model as well. I was scratching my head after seeing it on the sprue for the first time.
More posts to come this week as I get re-situated (assuming I don't spend my extra time working on my TOP SECRET project or playing Borderlands). If you know of something else I might have missed in the past two weeks please leave a comment and let me know about it!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Two brutal Sundays.

It may not be "blog appropriate" but the events of the past week will certainly have an impact on my life and hobbies.

My father passed away last Monday night. I never had a chance to show him my completed models but I like to think he would have liked them. He had an enormous influence on my life and most (if not all) of my artistic talents can be credited to him. My love of monsters, fantasy, science fiction, nature, food, games, comics, reading, laughing, sarcasm ... the list goes on an on.

I gave up my place in the next round of this year's 'Ard Boyz tournament to the fourth place contestant. Although I might make it back home in time to compete I don't think I would be able to focus on something so trivial while being crushed by the combined weight of other events in my life. I'm not saying painting, constructing, and "doing battle" with tiny models isn't great (of course it is), just that life can be short (sometimes tragically so) and you never know what the universe will throw your way. Make the most of the chaos and hug the ones you love - you might not get another chance.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It isn't fantasy.

My father is quite ill. I will be out of town for a few weeks as I rush back home to support my family. Hope you and yours are doing well.