It’s happening again…

Just when I think I’m out…Is there any interest beyond my immediate contacts to restart this defunct blog?!  I’m getting some pressure from friends and associates to begin again-and there is plenty to discuss with the success and further involvement with the CODEx gaming club-and growing interest and promotion of other board and wargamish type games.  I’ll have to mull it over-streamline content and prep time, but if there is interest-I am happy to talk all things Dreadball, Deadzone, Warhammer, X-Wing, EotD and a handful of indie-games titles-time to sleep on it and decide this weekend!  Take it easy all!


Empire of the Dead Review


Empire of the Dead caught my attention online about half a year ago, when the seed of starting a lunchtime gaming club for the school that I work in was just beginning to germinate.  I knew I wanted something with multiple layers of depth, but then I also wanted clean, accessible and modifiable (and they say I teach English…) for a fifty minute time frame.

I looked at my background in gaming and painting, short as it is, to see what I could run with – video games were staple, but didn’t offer real community.  Board games were ideal, but didn’t permit massive numbers to sustain the fetal club.  The old reliables: Warhammer, 40K and even Lord of the Rings were runners, but too deep too fast to be an anchor just yet.  Although, that said, Mines of Moria got a decent airing as a gateway option.  Dreadfleet?  We haven’t got the aeons needed!  I began to collect Malifaux at the time, intrigued by the fantastic character miniatures and card mechanic – without really having an opponent to try it on.  This system seemed feasible, but needed support.  I tried the rules, collected two factions and got ready.  Knowing nobody who played, I promptly emailed Wyrd for club and organisational advice, then a month after no response, did so again.  Nobody replied at all.  I began to have misgivings of promoting a company product where the company didn’t have the decency to reply to some very simple questions.  Please don’t take this to be my blaspheming against such a wonderful game that I deeply enjoy from the little experience I’ve had of it (read: forced on gamer friends to try out with me), but there would come a time where interested students would take the next step, and if that was Wyrd directly, they may become disenchanted and abandon the hobby before it had a chance to truly take root.

Then it happened…West Wind Productions produced something eerily similar in its Victorian Gothic Steam Punkiness that had an even simpler premise, an even more accessible rule mechanic and the scope to be as broad and successful as any system this side of Nottingham.  It could be played within minutes by beginners, and the time frame for a faction scuffle was easily completed in forty-five minutes.  The artwork was evocative and for students of history and/or literature – very familiar indeed.  I promptly bought a book and got down to the nitty-gritty of figuring out if it was worth investment for the club.

In a word, it really was – and is, a fantastic system.  I tend to eschew the games that I find -if not plain difficult – then cumbersome for my students, as experience has taught me that it really needs to hook a young mind early if it is to be sustainable as an activity.  Empire hits that target pretty neatly.  The system is based (so far) on four to six main factions – Lycaon Werewolves, Gentlemen of a few types, Holy Orders and Nosferatu Vampires.  They a principally based on skirmish battles, with plenty of room to improve and expand.  The models are nicely sculpted – some more than others, frankly, but the character is still there.  It is clear when on the table who is a vampire thrall and who is a gentleman  – and the box starter sets are priced quite fairly to pick up a group and start gaming directly.  My own squad of Holy Orders (I called them the Sanctus Volvo, but that’s just the kind of geek I am) were my first purchase along with some Nosferatu for the school.  After they were all painted up, I got in a few test games between gaming students, and before the week was over, the room was crowded with interested spectators.  I split the models and began four players – two to a faction and rotated as quickly as possible.  I knew I had a tiger by the tail, and the opportunity to truly create a community in the room, and I was loathe to let any interested party disperse before rolling the die twice.  Out of those primary players, easily eighty percent remain as the resident experts and moderators.  Over fifty percent of those rock their own factions now.  What game has ever achieved something so easily?


The action revolves around a single dice – a D10 to determine wounds and damage – even the traditional leadership statistic of ‘Bravado’ is given this easily remembered rule to overcome fear etc.  The real game-play is not to be found in exhibition, but those games are the easiest pick-ups to be found at a lunch-break.  Characters are activated one at a time, and each character is customisable within the rules of their faction (what weapons they may use etc.)  The real draw is the league.  The rule book promotes league play as primary, and rightly so – because accumulating credits and recruiting MVPs and Mercenaries provides the depth of play that constantly challenges your faction.  The assortment of weapons that your team can be modified with is unbelievable, and when playing a foe of similar strength, a genuine sense of tension and suspense is felt with each character choice.  What I like about the game, is that the losing player in a league can still beat the top player in the right scenario.  Rolling for Day and Night at the start of each skirmish lends a sense of trepidation if you’re playing supernatural or human alike, as the bonuses conferred could completely alter your game-play – but not to make it unplayably one-sided.  I witnessed just recently a group of Holy Order brothers kicking three shades of snot out of Nosferatu who were invading their monastery.  The monks held the upper hand until the Graf (Lead Vamp) used his power of influence to turn day to night.  Suddenly the monks were on the retreat to their holy ground in order to gain that last bonus in a very different type of battle.  There have been pains taken to balance the factions out, and it is up to the players in the game to provide their own advantages – whether it is through use of firearms, melee weapons, Arcane powers or Influence points.  Each player has an ability that the other can counter – it only comes down to outfitting your crew and adequate preparation.  This makes three-player plus games pretty frenetic and fast too.

Terrain is not supplied for this system yet, but anything will do for 28mm scale.  And although terrain adds all sorts of new options like “wait and shoot” commands that snap activate on enemy models that come into model pov sight and ‘hide’, you really don’t need an inordinate amount like say, Infinity requires.  I have been using some of my GW stuff like the Garden of Morr and Chapel etc. and they work fine, really what suits this game best are walls and hills.  The theme may cry out for Olde London Towne, but most of our battles have been isolated hamlets and ruins to date!  This was how we discovered one other aspect that lends itself to Empire – modifying the rules.  There is a wonderful option for including an angry “mob” of villagers (not in Empire, but locatable in the Vampire Wars section of West Wind’s website).  These play a great role in some scenarios, affecting play and reward  alike, but we discovered that if we use the fifth faction – Zombie Victorians as their own mob controlled by a third player, we created an ‘infected’ feel to proceedings.  We have had great fun having zombie mobs harangue movement, line of sight and when they incur a wound on any player model, turn that wounded  character in the next round.  Players start taking ranged weapons seriously and hiding in Holy ground mighty fast with the undead multiplying around them!

Not to sound overly gushy, there are some less positive considerations too.  The rulebook recycles a lot of the art, although there are some splendid representations of Victorian stereotype present.  The introductory story is a well-written narrative along the lines of Bram Stoker’s Dracula journal style, but from this first-person perspective doesn’t expose the purpose of the various factions to adequately capture the essence or drive of the supernatural groups – this was a style choice, but I think it leaves more to the reader to elucidate on in their own faction games.  Aside from the odd grammatical error, the book is solid.  It does a great job of collecting the reference material on one or two pages, but then hides these pages apart in the book.  If it had a detailed faction list  beside the weapon choice list in order to modify the roll cleanly, then it’d be perfect.  What I did to compensate for this was copy and laminate the relevant pages and create a template for players to fill in their new stats before a game for quick reference.  This works a treat, and allows what I think is crucial in the league game – open list transparency.  I usually dislike this guideline in other systems, but Empire lends itself to this if only in league, in order that the lower outfits with less money to spend augmenting their arsenal can strategise accordingly, otherwise it could be a washout.


The models are on a par with Malifaux, and the sculpts are tight.  My only issue within them is the similarity of gentlemen and monks.  True, humans look like humans, but the president could have a readily identifiable hat with a ‘p’ on it, right?  Well, not quite but you get my point.  As an opponent of Gentlemen regularly, I find myself asking many times ‘and which one is your secretary?  was he not the vice-president?’  Aside from that, I have to say I really like the character-rich persona of the pieces – it lends itself to creating background fluff.  The mercenaries that can be hired and retained in-game are amazing, ranging from Mr. Chops the Demon Butcher to Hide, Holmes and Watson, Man-Ape and even a Deathlight grim reaper.  These are wonderfully realised pieces, and only let down by the absence of their stats for play in either the book or their own packaging.  Recently, West Wind released a downloadable ‘Gentlemen and Jackanapes” PDF that rectifies this-but you do have to search for it.  The focus on a small number of factions to begin this system with was a wise one.  While it leaves you with a desire for more variety, this is clearly a system in its infancy and ready for further development – and accordingly West Wind are releasing more models and carriages in next month.

All in all, Empire of the Dead is a fantastic line that permits huge expansion with minimal effort.  The D10 for everything doesn’t simplify or reduce game-play at all – rather enhances the speed at which decisions are reached.  To boot, West Wind are a dream to talk to!  Site communication is professional and informative and Wendy on the phone has been very good to our fledgling group in supplying advertising posters and genuine club-support to help foster our group.  I cannot praise her, or the company highly enough for their invaluable service beyond the amazing product itself.  If my review hasn’t rambled you to an early doze, then I hope it has enticed you to try it out – let me know how you got on, or if you disagree with me on anything!  I think that this system has legs, and is both an easy pick-up and built for lengthy league play – and wonderfully enough, three and four-way play-off scenarios click along at a much faster pace than I’ve previously had the pleasure to experience – which suits the purposes of the club perfectly in order to get as many lads playing as possible, and also introduce new gamers to the fracas.  I’m not given to reviewing too much on this blog, but if I were to venture a score, it’d be an 8/10.  I think that there are places for this system to grow, and am looking forward to see that development take place soon.


Next post should analyse Dreadball.  Following backing the successful Kickstarter campaign, I’ve eagerly awaited introducing this to the school club, and I’ll be letting you know just how it is working out as another game built on league focus.

Empire and Dreadball Coming – but not before the creation of a gaming club to fit them!

How long has it been since I last blogged?  How long?  Ok, so aside from holidays I have been a little busy, and ironically enough – with gaming and organising!  So busy that free time from gaming and organising really is not writing about it or reporting on it!  I have been on overload for about two months now – just ask my beautifuly and so very, very patient wife about it – and have truly been putting Trojan work into the establishment of a Games club in the school where I work.  It has taken off like you wouldn’t believe.

I began it as a single day video-gaming lunchtime activity for some interested kids during the winter months, but suggested that we build a community with it – broadened it to giving them a webpage and blog each, and a means of keeping track of scores and recording Tournament/League winners.  From here, we tried running it twice a week (losing one more lunch time, but what the feck, right?), which quickly spiraled out of control regarding both attendance and participation.  At this juncture, I proposed at the weekly team meeting (the students run it, I’m just facilitating and supervising for the school) – that we go unplugged for a fortnight and see what other games we could break into.  We had the following and interest, now was the time to focus our efforts on broadening the community. Lo and behold – doubt and dubious looks askance gave way to unbelievable delight as board, miniature and card games not only took hold, but sustainable hold over many of the lads involved.  Now the xbox is set to digital Thursday and every other day of the week is unplugged!

What is yet more interesting is that part of the appeal lies in the fact that many students don’t have the option of sitting down to game with family and friends anymore.  Not even ‘anymore’- it was never truly part of the current youth culture to begin with!  They play video-games, not boards or cards – and multiplayer to them usually means they’re alone and playing online, so the novelty of sitting opposite an opponent was relatively unique!  It piqued their interest enough to bring them in, and the inherent enjoyment led them to returning and establishing leagues and exhibition plays!  I got the school to give us something from the budget and cajoled a local art and hobby shop into spotting us a few bits and pieces towards the cause – including an old Realm of Battle gameboard, Big Red Rulebook and a few starter sets from GW.  I gave some of my own bits and pieces to flesh out options and painted models to go by, along with some multiples of paints I’ve had here from the older GW sets and terrain.  Gamer’s World in Dublin gave us some amazing deals on minis and Magic: The Gathering Cards too.   The biggest success story of the entire lot was West Wind’s Empire of the Dead, though.


I invested in this series as soon as it hit Dublin in Gamer’s World.  I picked up the book for a review, and fell in love with the simple rules and fast skirmish play.  As a fan of Malifaux, but not finding opponents easy to come by or ready to play too often, I felt that this new offering from West Wind was worth a look, and my it certainly is!  I like the atmosphere of Victorian cyber-punkesque Zombie-London.  I enjoy the weaving in of the popular fictional characters based from this celebrated period of British history and most of all, I like fast skirmish gameplay that concludes for lunchtime league play for the lads.  I picked up a box of each faction for the school and set about copying and laminating markers and statlines.  (I’ll leave the formal review of the game for another post, as it really does deserve a thorough guide  before I endorse it for everyone!  Suffice to say that it is really appealing for a lot of reasons, but the game really does stand up to gamer scrutiny in the broader sense too)

That was before Christmas, now in January, I have ten students who’ve bought at least one faction each, and another two dozen looking to play with the school sets to break into the game.  In the middle of all this, I’m still awaiting Dreadball which was lost in transit before Christmas.  I have some very psyched  students already naming their various teams in anticipation of the league to come!

As a club, it is moving from strength to strength – we have the numbers growing by the week here, and the amazing Gamer’s World has generously given members a great discount towards purchases and we’re constantly exploring different systems.  The big challenge of how to moderate the growing number of interests is something I’ll need to focus on and soon, but for the moment everything is working out well for the lads, and I’m delighted for the corner of the school they’re making their own – run by them, for them.

So…it has been how long since I last posted?  Now you see!  Getting this thing under control and expanding it towards others is a pretty big task for me at the moment.  Games by and large have passed me by while I’ve been the platform for others to game these past weeks.  After four gaming days a week, lunchtimes lost and preparation of new systems for the following set of days, blogging about games doesn’t come as natural as I’d like!  I can’t sound like I’m belly-achingtoo loudly though, as I am a happy victim of success here, and hope to complain about a lot more in the term to come!

Book Review – The Horus Heresy Series book 1 – Horus Rising by Dan Abnett

This was something of a venture for me – I’ve tried reading some of the Black Library material in the past without a barometer, and found them pretty shallow. This was the exception that opened my eyes to the 40K universe proper.

It is by no means a fantastic text, but I was overwhelmed by the deft approach that author Dan Abnett adopts to populate a seemingly lifeless universe with characters that draw you in, and genuinely engender feelings towards. The concept of this first book in the Horus Heresy series is purely an introduction to future tragedy, and to that end, makes all the right moves in allowing you to sympathise with the main characters and their followers. I’ve always looked on the soldiery of 40K to be automatons and clones – but Abnett invests a great deal of time in showing you the human qualities of these supermen. They are indoctrinated servants, but also make choices within their roles that affect the world around them, just as regular individuals would.
There is an obvious care and devotion to the source material at work here, as Abnett captures the sterility and service-oriented atmosphere of Warhammer future with aplomb. The aesthetic attention to detail is clear throughout the novel; and there is a clear theme of service and duty that resonates at every caste level in the text. Abnett isn’t one to bury the lea, even within a chapter, as he allows his characters to mature and develop at their own pace – it often makes the reader…this reader wonder how to feel about certain characters very early on – but that is how such judgement and affiliation works in real life too.
At the very core, Horus Rising succeeds as a story about soldiers in space. It isn’t without flaws – such as the dense terminologies that reference a prior knowledge with Warhammer 40K that would have helped me immensely, but as to that – hey didn’t stop me enjoying the text either. I could have done without the excessively (and repetitively frequent) adulation prefacing the arrival of the Primarchs in their every scene, but this was really my only substantial demerit towards the book. What it did do successfully was encourage me to read the next in the series. I recommend this to any fan of the hobby game without reservation – and to those willing to give it a chance, you might find there is a depth here worth your time.

Orc on Orc action…wait, let me rephrase…

So this week so another battle of Warhammer Fantasy – My own bright green thuderboyz versus a really well-rounded clan from Kilkenny!  This was another first for me – a game within the narrative of the Big Red Book – Bugman’s Ale chase!  While this scenario could easily have been terribly frustrating, it became one of the most fun games I’ve had in a while!

The loose premise, for those of you not familiar with the generic scenarios, is that there is a Dwarf Brewery/Tavern with the most saught-after Bugman’s brew ever made, and a loose number of barrels on the back of a driverless pony and cart fleeing (quite literally) every time a player’s model gets within an actionable distance of it.  Victory is points based on who holds what at the end of the game.  (There – I’ve spoken GW intellectual property without undermining potential purchases of the book!)

This has the potential for mayhem, and it in our game it truly delivered.  We limited ourselves to 700 points each, no war machines and more or less matched each other in troop choice.  The only terrain was a regular wood area and the brewery itself, modeled ably by a recently painted Warhammer Church.

The real hilarity came after we had set up for a serious race to the brewery andall but one single unit each failed the animosity test!  Orcs are really a gambler’s army at the heart of it, but these rolls were beating the odds and making mincemeat of our own forces before we’d made it eight inches from deployment!  We both ran straight for the alehouse – Kilkenny with his single unit of boyz with his black orc boss, and me with my black orc regiment.  When the animosity rolls allowed it, we both commited a unit of fast cav to net the pony – my spider riders versus his wolves, and began a “to-me-to-you” back and forth with the weakest units on the board mauling each other, then pursuing again!  The fight that occurred in front of the alehouse was just as interesting, as the forces that actually joined battle were severely diminished by their own squabbling on the way – I only made headway to get to the building first as I had been forced to charge and failed to meet anyone!
While I can claim to win the game by so small a margin as to make it ridiculous – I have to say it was a real cluster-f***, but one that we both loved every minute of playing!  The early and familiar recognition of the orc animosity soon gave way to hilarity and genuine disbelief as they continued to screw-up and maul one another.  We ended up, in such a low-scoring game, doing much more damage to ourselves than to the other – so much so that we spent a good deal of our time simply trying to catch that cart to see what our own forces would end up doing!

What did I take from this little game?  Fun – plain and simple.  I do think that a rematch would play differently – we had a hard time outfitting 700 points and keeping things legal – but it certainly made for an enjoyable run.  Real problem – or cause of the zany antics was due to army choices – Orcs by two.  I could not see this game being too pleasing for the orc player if he were to roll as we did against any other army.  The mayhem wasn’t helped by the size of the table as a result of these race choices either.  We should have reduced the area not just on the basis of points, but also because of the races here again – we just had too much ground to mess up!  I would definitely recommend this scenario to people, but only if you’ve really measured the possibilites of each force a little more carefully before launch!

On another note – there is incredibe support going for the Mantic Dreadball Kickstarter since my last post – I’d post a link to the various podcasts, models, rules and announement, but it’d be much more informative for anyone interested in this exciting new project to check it out at the source – Dreadball Kickstarter website.  As of the time of writing, they have accumulated $233,109 of a $20,000 goal!  The feedback and comments are overwhelming in their support, and Mantic’s own management of this tremendous runaway success is truly admirable.  I also think that it is great that they are listening to the fans in order to direct their product line – my own request (echoed by hundreds-or was I an echo too?) was for Grey Aliens themed players – and they’ve only gone and announced it for the next stretch goal!  Overall – I am glad to back this product and company, even if I am dubious of many kickstarter enterprises in general.  They really have gone above and beyond in fan-interaction, and are producing a game for the people as much as it is from the people – well worth a check if you haven’t been there already!


Ok, that’s it for this week – have a long week ahead here in work, but hope to get a more involving game that this one in over the next few days – but to be honest, if it is half as fun, I will still consider it a success!  Take care, all!

Dreadball Fever

Hey all!  Have been on a further hiatus as we’re back to work here and the starting weeks are always a busy run.  I have played a couple of games since last post, including a 3 way battle royale of Warhammer Fantasy which worked out well for my Greenskins – my shaman mounted wyvern finally paid off- and a return to Lord of the Rings Mines of Moria – but most of my last week has been focused on the behemoth of a Kickstarter that is Mantic’s Dreadball.

I was first drawn to Dreadball from a post by Quirkworthy on his wordpress blog.  I followed his link to the Kickstarter website and was bowled over by the fresh concept of a sport-based miniatures game.  I know that Bloodbowl has been around since the year dot, and comparisons cannot be avoided, but in fairness, it is a system that GW haven’t done a lot to promote in recent years – really it doesn’t fit neatly in with their business model to keep selling to an already established customer base.  If you have the Bloodbowl set, you’re not buying more Bloodbowl in general, but if you have a box of Clan-rats, you might be back for more Skaven sooner than you think!  Dreadball is remarkably dissimilar to Bloodbowl when you get down to the details, and from the early reports – looks to play more directly and possibly faster.  I am a growing fan of Mantic – having recently purchased their 2-player battleset and regretted not knowing about their previous kickstarter until it was too late – but this time I jumped in early.  Their reward system in the stretch goals has seen me increase my pledge three times – I’m now at the “Striker!” level and might avail of some extras, as I am really looking forward to their model sculpts and what appears to be their own genuine excitement for their product – it is refreshing to see a company glowing with pride and gratitude for their own pet.  They are in constant dialogue with their fan and customer base in the comments section of the site, and are actively reacting to public requests to form the game around an already ecstatic community.  I know that is a lot of pressure for a company, but I cannot fault their response in how they are handling their public and support.

I am not an employee of Mantic or an advertiser, but a genuine fan that wants to see the one-off games like this flourish.  I gather that there will be great support for this product from Mantic in the building of their product line – the already super-successful Kickstart has shown that there is an interest in supporting a company willing to make a product for a public salivating for this system.  I don’t think that they are reinventing the wheel, but am looking forward to the type of alloys and threads they are garnishing it with!  I think that the game looks set to be fun and well-thought out, and I am happy to back something that I believe deserves some grass roots support to encourage further development.

For anyone interested in supporting this venture, check out the project on the Kickstarter page, or the Dreadball Website here.

Some painting and no games – but lots of Works in Progress!

Heya all! Pretty light on gaming this week, but can take the chance to post a few pics of side-projects that keep me invested – along with the Azhag and Manglers from the previous post.  I didn’t get a game this week for a very simple reason – the heat of the GW shop was nigh unbearable – it is what is stopping me heading over this evening too!  I have played there twice when it hits the 29 degree mark and it becomes a sauna with just a handful of players and painters, so was not interested in spending the evening quite like that today!  Will be having a game on Saturday at a more local club, so looking forward to seeing how my reconstituted Orcs fare out against a new opponent!

In the mean time, here are a few shots of my current WIPs!

This Spear Chukka was the Finecast version and neatly went together after some slight hair-dryer action on the base pieces.  I more or less copied box-art for the scheme as I really shot through this model and crew in jig time.  I like it – although from the army book, I don’t see an effective run even if it is cheap, it is just one of those models that I’d like to have one of – not as an obsessive compulsive completionist, but just because I like the screwy and cartoony style that Goblins bring to the table-reminds me not to take this game too seriously and just enjoy the animosity!  No real complaints, but am curious if anyone ever really got their Gobbo carrying the upright arrow to actually keep that arrow without it breaking at least once?  It seems like a flaw in at least this model of finecast, but it is far too thin and spindly for its own length.  Apart from that-all I have to do is base the models and they are all set for zany fun!

These two are the compliment to my Manglers from a previous post.  They are still in the processing point where I’m not quite sure of colour.  I thought I’d fashion a really subterranean appearance for these two – so got me some new paints and washes…sorry; shades – and went with some Violet and Blue/Gray squiggy goodness.  The Finecast models here were simply terrible.  Perhaps the dark photography hides the distorted crumbling aspects of the model’s features – a good thing.  No amount of Green Stuff could fix the supporting leg of the blue fella, who toppled from his perch and broke apart for the umpteenth time seconds before this photo was taken – you can see one of the new chips by his left eye there!  I’m going to have to change the laws of physics to get him to stay on the other lad when they’re done as there is literally NOTHING to hold him in place.  I thought the other mangler was an odd mould, but this one was much more awkward…still a cool piece though!

And this is Azhag the Slaughterer.  I LOVE this model – so much so that I am afraid to photograph any closer to draw attention to the p-poor effort I did in painting this guy way too fast.  I have A LOT of touch-ups to do on the fella later, but like many big models or even complicated terrain pieces – you get tired of the same thing over the length of time it takes!  So I am taking a break from Azhag for a bit.  I liked how his wings worked out, and the final skin tone is about right.  I  had tried it with Orchide Shade as a base, but it wouldn’t cooperate so needed to raise it to a very Orcy blend – but the brown wingspan help break that up plenty – I may go even lighter with it.  Not that this model was without faults.  Assembly was a pain – even now in order to get the most of it on the base, you’ll notice that the rock in his left claw is clear of the base proper.  This was the only way I could get it to fit together evenly, even after a great deal of manipulation.  I used half a pot of Liquid Green Stuff and it still has areas that I’d sooner ignore than fix, but regardless it is a great model – positively bursting with detail everywhere.  It was worth the wait for the mail order (The first one came with two right legs and had to be returned.  The replacement came super slo-mo, but was a much better kit.  Even with the tricky and lengthy assembly, it fit more keenly together).

And finally – a Chapel that I am rescuing.  I had to really respray the crap out of this old thing in order to start from scratch.  I didn’t try to strip it at all, but went with a Chaos Black total cover and worked up.  I liked the effect of  the brickwork.  I used a mix of Dheneb Stone and Khemri Brown to build a base, heavily soaked in Gryphonne Sepia and Agrax Earthshade (two seperate layers) before a liberal drybrush with Dheneb Stone.  I used some Astronomicon Gray and Dheneb Stone stippling on the plasterwork to tone it into the bricks and am happy that it worked together well.  the roof is a blend of Shadow Gray and Enchanted Blue.  I washed it with Badb Black before a light Scar White drybrush.  The Statues are the go-to for tarnished brass – undercoated in Scorched Brown with a little Tin Bitz in (2:1 mix should o it) followed by a drybrush of Shining Gold and very light drybrush of Hawk Turquoise in the weather-beaten areas.  The rest is detail that I’m still working on.

So that is all I am up to for the moment, although I keep threatening to break away to try something different for a break from Warhammer Fantasy.  I keep getting pulled back into the Orcs and Goblins gig in order to perfect the army and build a better, more competitive list!  Someday, I’ll get to Malifaux again – even Lord of the Rings seems interesting at this point.  There are plenty of Rangers and Mordor in the attic still unpainted!  As always – any and all comments and criticisms are welcome!  Especially regarding scenery and Terrain, as I know many people hate breaking to do them – colour suggestions and alternatives are constructive to me as I try to break away from the cookie-cutter boxart!  Take it easy all, and catch up with a battle report soon!

Getting my Azhag hannded to me…

Hey all!  This week I managed the first real game in a while – a 2000 point melee pitching my Orcs against some veteran Tomb Kings.  In short; I was destroyed.  This marks another spectacular loss for my Orcs and Goblins – I’m now averaging about one in five for a victory, but still enjoying most games.  This one started poorly; came back around; then finished hard!  I was trying an experimental mix in my force and was given the chance to field a still largely unfinished Azhag on Skullmuncha because my opponent wanted the 2000 points and I had brought about 1600 – having not intended to field Azhag at all,  and if I did use the model – sub it as intended substitue for a much cooler looking warboss on wyvern.  The problem truly lay in my unpreparedness, but there were upsides…

This was the inaugural run of two Mangler Squigs which I fielded on each flank alongside a Boar Chariot and Spider Riders.  The Purpose – at least in theory – was to draw fire with either the Manglers or Cavalry in order to push the horde of Boyz and Black Orcs up the centre.  The General would be in the thick of it and really that was all the tactics there was to this game.  It was an experiment for the Manglers and Cav more than anything else – but with Azhag now on the battlefield, I had more to think about.  This was his virgin run as well, and looking back – I am sorry I didn’t prepare more by working on his own stats beforehand.

My opponent’s Tomb Kings had some things for me to worry about – two units of three chariots, a bone giant and a lotta Skeletons bolstered by a Necrotect, Tomb King (I think) Ushabti and not to mention a very large Screaming Skull Catapult.  Truth be known, I had to give him some points in order to play my guys, as I was definitely out of my league but was confident with good ole Azhag at the reigns.  I get the initial roll and plough my forces dead ahead – making ground and edging the Manglers ahead with their cav to draw the fire…they didn’t.  In my opponent’s opening turn he begins his shooting phase with a Screaming skull…not on the big target of Boyz – or the straight line of Greenskins pushing up the battlefield – but on the head of poor unsuspecting Azhag.  A Direct hit, and Azhag concedes two wounds.  Poor guy has only got three.  Second unit up to shoot and his Bone Giant’s Great Bow takes Azhag out of the running permanently…Ouch.

This was the trend for some time, as instead of dealing with the looming threat of Manglers as I thought would be on the mind of ay Orc-fearing general, my opponent was deflty able to take apart the larger units with bows and magic.  He did eventually take own the Manglers – just as the one remaining was about to ram into his archers and Ushabti by about an inch and a half!  But without going into the minutae of the game, my guys were well beaten by a very good player who I always enjoy playing.  I just would like to give him a better game than I have to date!  There were some highlights – I broke the back of his Chariots before they could really get going – my chaff of Spider Riders redirected his charge before biting it, and the other side prematurely charged the bulk of my Black Orcs – which really was his only mistake.  I enjoyed seeing my other chaff unit of Night Goblins shooting out of a building on his Ushabti and actually getting somewhere.  I’ve never seen Ushabti before, and didn’t really this time either – but arrows even from Ballistic 3 seem to make a difference.  What I really liked was in his second and third turns he did focus on the Mangler’s – especially as his Chariots approached their flanks.  It allowed the brunt of my force to get into the thick of it with some Skeletons and take the biggest win they had before being utterly destroyed by some very nice buffs that I couldn’t prevent.  Without a wizard or a general – the boyz just didn’t want to play nice!

So I enjoyed the game later rather than early – and the eventual loss was a learning experience on a number of calls – know your army first and foremost – but also know your enemy.  I should have been all guns blazing for his Necrotect or Tomb King – but my previous game had cautioned me on his chariots, and in this game I was even more worried to see another unit of three.  If anyone out there in digital-help-land can help me against these sons of mothers, I’d really appreciate it!  How do I get to the main block while enduring great shooting and really good Chariots? Suggestions welcome as help is definitely needed!

I haven’t posted some of the many things I’ve been painting over the last bit – but promise to soon!  They have been small projects to be used as asides in order to keep into the hobby, but really nothing outstanding on their own.  Have redone a very poorly painted Citadel Chapel there recently, and am rushing through a Goblin spear Chukka in finecast at present – so will get some up here in a bit.  Other than that, it looks like I have another game this week and am hoping to work on kicking some Skeleton butt this time around – one thing is for sure: if I’m bringing the Azhag model, it’ll be a fancy Warboss althernative for sure, just so I can field a more productive magic phase!

Aaaaaannn we’re back!

Hi again all!  Have been out of commission for the last while owing to recent nuptuals, but am stirring to get back in the saddle with some new developments in a week or so!  Have not played a lot of games this past fortnight  – and even painting has taken an understandable back seat.  What I have been doing is getting a feel for second WHFB army after many many discussions with  two friends who heve been trouncing me with my Orcs and Gobbos lately!  The truth is that I have a love for the fluff-who doesn’t? – and I like the fluff of the Bretonnians and Wood Elves best of all; but was warned against them as viable armies in 8th edition.  I like underdogs too, so I splurged on a Bret battalion in Dublin and was gifted a half-painted wood elf collection from one of the lads – so am in process of stripping down the few he had actually painted.  I haven’t anything substantialwith either army, but am looking forward to the challenge of learning the new groups!  You may think I’m foolish, but I like the idea of not rolling for animosity to do simple movements and actions – and maybe not painting greenskins for a little bit!  Orcs and Goblins will still be my main force for some time, but the Brets are getting the R&R development for the next bit!  As for the wood elves-they’re the dark horse army for me, as I never really intended to field them as they are.  They seem ridiculously outclassed in so many ways that I can only see one or two builds that could work – kind of the same as the Brets, but even more so – I’m only considering them lately because I never play against them and wondered why.  I’ve enjoyed matches against almost every other army but them and so I figured it’d be interesting to put together a low-point force to see what they could do.  I expect that the Brets are good at one style and one style only, but I can always balance that with the dynamic nature of the Orcs and Goblins when in the mood for something less constricted.  These are all my fine thoughts in theory!

As for Malifaux – am on the way to getting some Arcanists completed, and loving the models save for one small gripe – their assembly is atrocious!  Any piece that needs attaching to the main body has very little recess with which to join snugly.  I’ve had a really difficult time with the Ramos bx set – his wacky spider machines are a real pain to stick together and then to the base.  A friend has suggested pinning them-but I’m afraid I am a novice to this fine art and don’t know enough to risk ruining them!


So that’s all I got for this last couple of weeks, but more on the way – I promise!  Am trying to get a game in tonight, but if I do it will be chance at this stage- want to try out the pair of Manglers I got going on to see what damage they might do!  Take it easy all and be back soon.

Mangler Squig Number 1!

This week I have just finished the first of my pair of Manglers after much layering – I went with the traditional darker orange for the first set.  I love this model, but the Finecast was a pain in the rear.  I needed a ridiculous amount of green stuff and liquid greenstuff to rebuild a degraded side – I couldn’t quit fix the right eye area of the uppermost squig, but got it to an acceptable finish.

This was an exciting model to paint, even with the imperfections of the mould.  I had played with the Squig as a loan twice, and really loved the idea, the fluff and the cost to field such a unit-even a pair of them on each flank while the core advanced in the centre.  They may never get into combat, but they could possibly run as Rare chaff and take some heat off of the mainstay of the army.  Like the Fanatics, I think the possibilities with these guys run from the hilarious to the awe-inspiring – right through to the unfortunate blow-back into friendly units.  I’ll post the final version of this guy when I get through the second pair too.  For now – here it is!

The painting was really hit and miss.  I didn’t use any kind of template, but wanted to create a darker version of the boxart sample.  The model was given a Chaos Black prime spraycoat and a 2-coat base of Jokaero Orange from the new paint range.  I gave the entire model some Fuegan Orange shade wash and began to layer up with Squig Orange. This proved too light, so messed about with combination of Agrax Earthshade (Devlan Mud) before a drybrush of Blazing Orange and final light coat of Bloodletter Glaze to raise the finish back from the darker tone of the brown wash. Ipicked out some fine highlighting of Blazing Orange on raised areas.

The eyes were Averland Sunset base with some Golden Yellow layering.  The darker areas I dound too large for simply a Nuln Oil/Badb Black wash, so used a small amount of watered down Chaos Black in conjunction with a later Nuln Oil shade wash to add some depth to the area.  In hindsight, successive layers of Nuln Oil might have been a more effective as  a subtle finish.

The teeth were based with Calthan brown, before receiving a Bleached Bone drybrushing and Skull white extreme highlighting.  The entire mouth received a Nuln Oil shade…don’t know about you guys, but am not delighted with Nuln oil or Arax Earthshade just yet.  They’ll “do”, but not near as complete as Badb or Devlan Mud.  The chain links were easily done with Boltgun Metal lightly washed in Nuln Oil.  The rope was based in Calthan Brown and highlighted in Bestial Brown – but next time might go with something lighter still-maybe even Dheneb Stone.

The Night Goblin Models were painted the same as previous Night Gobbos listed on this site – but the Chaos Black did NOT want to adhere to the resin.  It took a LOT of paint for the pigment not to want to run and pool.

Ok – so my Malifaux arrived with Azhag the Slaughterer this week…mixed results.  I had to return by mail the Azhag model as it arrived with two right legs.  It was a shame as the overall finecast model was really well moulded and fit neatly together – but the entire model needed to go back.  The Ramos Box set that I got for Malifaux is absolutely fantastic – will have a go at Ramos himself this evening if I get the chance.  I love the style and mould of the Malifaux range – but I gather that nobody in Ireland plays this game, so it may be down to me to spread the word.  I really hope not-I’m hoping there is a thriving community out there that I am unaware of ready to teach me the rules, as opposed to me having to do the hard slog of learning solo!  I like having a skirmish game that gives me a break from greenskins now and again.  They are neat models and require a bit of stretching after getting used to the Orc pallette.  Will post an update on these guys soon!