Tuesday, 25 April 2017

How does Malifaux work again? Battle Report

Apologies for the long break - I was at a big LARP last weekend and had fallen behind on blog posts - despite having done a ton of things to blog about, I failed to schedule the time for the actual blogging.

Anyway, as you may have surmised from the title, I've dug out my Malifaux stuff, grabbed a set of Gaining Grounds 2017 and tried to play a game.

Up against McMourning, I dropped Frame for Murder on Teddy, and took Tail 'em as there's swarms of annoying puppets for activation control.

McMourning's crew, while a new crew and still yet to be painted, looked suspiciously more like a well thought out list than "the starter boxes and a couple of extra models".

Teddy was catapulted up the field with the intention of smacking McMourning very hard in the face. I genuinely bodged the charge and he got killed to gain me two points (McMourning didn't quite take the bait). All to plan, if only I'd caused some damage on the way out.

I managed to click up two points for "Tail 'em" on McMourning as the crew really needed to be up in the thick of things. Some Graves were dug and some Heads taken, but things were dying pretty slowly.

Unfortunately, everything had a lot of poison and died. Fortunately, it was direct poison damage and none of them really left head markers.

With the score at 4 all, a Marionette needed to die to be thrown in a grave - but with a good hand to cheat with, it just stayed together to save me into the draw.

All in all - a really good reminder of how Malifaux works. I made some bad mistakes - sending the Personal Puppet out of range was an epic rookie error. Still, holding out to a draw was pretty good going for a first game back. My opponent was lovely and really makes me want to make another Malifaux tournament some time soon.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Fomori Witch finished!

Pottered through some hobby this weekend. I finished up this Fomori Witch. I've probably mentioned that it's done by Krakon Games before. You can also get it from Bad Squiddo Games. It was part of a "clearing the decks" exercise I did over the weekend, for . . . reasons.

This little Starship Generator from the Reaper Bones line got a basic tabletop job for a bit more scatter terrain when I need it.

Remember I was working on a Chaos Spawn? This one now has all it's limbs attached. I just need to add its back tentacles, and then it will be ready for undercoating. I'm feeling really good about the number of things I'm getting ready for undercoat and thus off the painting desk.

Random back-lit photo because I forgot to take a proper one! The other "Made to Order" Inquisitor got based and undercoated. In order to stop the base toppling over, there's a lot of fisherman's shot weighting down the the bottom of the stairs... I also totally forgot to take a photo of a Jokaero I assembled and undercoated, but given that's a stock model, there's nothing interesting or different to see there.

 So, why the effort to clear the desk? Well, it seems Mike Marshall is running another Malifaux event. It's called Spring Showdown III and it's on 7 May. I haven't got a ticket yet, but I'm "moderately tempted" to go...

I'm not confirming yet, as I'm setting myself some targets to do so.

1. Not being completely dead from all the other stuff I'm doing.

2. At least one new Malifaux model assembled and painted for the event.

3. Having actually played some Malifaux this year in a practice game so I remember how these rules things play.

I will keep my loyal readers (both of you) up to date this progresses!

Monday, 27 March 2017

A little bit of weekend painting

I got a little painting done this weekend. I wanted to see if Army Painter spray undercoat worked on Reaper Bones material, to which the answer is "it seems to be OK". The terrain isn't for much in particular - will probably see service as a piece of scatter terrain for Infinity.

I went with a bright colour scheme on the terminal because I'm trying to get out of the habit of painting everything in dull colours. It's a useful practice exercise for when I want to use it in anger.

A late Christmas present finally wound its way to me. I had a good sit down read and got reminded why I love Blood Bowl so much. I should really consider digging out my Skaven team...

I also got the Daemonhunter undercoated. He can now potter off into the "waiting for 40K to catch my interest again" pile.

This was a common problem with some old sculpts - he has quite a strong forward lean, and that can look a bit odd if you're not careful with assembly.

Monday, 20 March 2017

40K - It's not me, it's definitely you

When I started this hobby back in the early 90s, I was far more into to the Fantasy side than the Sci-fi one. My first wargaming book was Warhammer Armies for 3rd edition, and my first full rules set was 4th edition Fantasy.

I got into 40K much later - picking up some Tallarn when they first came out, as I was still pretty obsessed with Frank Herbert's Dune at the time. But I was a few years older then, so while my fantasy interest ambled between Skaven and Empire, and eventually both armies were sold off, my Guard ended up staying in boxes at my parents house.

This meant that when I got back into the hobby because my darling wife was a painter, and we were looking for a joint hobby to do together, it was my Guard that first got caught up. This blog was first started back in 2012 in the aftermath of a Throne of Skulls tournament where my wife and I had rushed to get a 1500 point Guard army painted after I'd not quite remembered how little was actually painted...

But now? I'm not really interested in playing 40K. I'd been telling myself for a while that it was just that I wanted to play "narrative" games, but was that really true? On reflection, it's not that. People refer to the rules set having gotten "bloated", but that's really not it. Army power levels are massively uneven, and shovelling most of your models off before you've got a chance to do anything with them is no fun at all.

So, my Guard are getting packed away into boxes for a bit. I'm not rage quitting or sulking. I've made a rational decision that I can get more fun for less effort with other games for now. Rumour mill indicates a new edition of 40K later this year, and I rather hope it is a pretty massive overhaul on an Age of Sigmar scale to bring things back into a more balanced, fun experience.

In the meantime, I've got plenty to be pottering along with. I've got 1,000 points of Age of Sigmar Chaos to get finished up so I can give that rules set a go. I'm assembling a couple of figures to act as test beds for my planned Infinity colour scheme. I'm even getting a bunch of the Made to Order Inquisition figures all assembled and undercoated for when the enthusiasm returns.

You may also still see some 40K hobby, because I've got a few of those boxed game malarkies that need assembling and painting, and the intent has always been to assemble them to play the games they came with, not just as a cheap way of getting troops for my army. But for that to start, some other part done projects need finishing first.

Really, even with 40K on the back burner, it's hard to know where to start!

Monday, 13 March 2017

40K Casual Tournament at Dark Sphere

On Sunday, I pottered down to Dark Sphere with my darling wife to take part in a casual 40K tournament. The idea was pretty simple - three games of 40K at 1,750 points, with an emphasis on the casual side of things.

The ticket price was £6, which is basically what Dark Sphere charges for 3 table hires for 40K. There weren't any prizes, but we got a couple of thank yous for taking part - some Sisters of Silence art cards, and a pot of paint each.

This was a new thing for Dark Sphere, and they were openly soliciting feedback at the end. I'll certainly be sending them a few thoughts. From my point of view, it was mostly little niggles, and the event was broadly enjoyable and fun.

I was running a "Castellans of the Imperium" detachment from Gathering Storm I. This let me take a mash of Imperial units from lots of different places - Inquisition, Guard and Militarum Tempestus all together.

First up, I came up against a Tau list, beautifully painted with lots and lots of big stompy robots. I was a bit nervous about the firepower it could put out, and this was soon proved right by my big Guard infantry platoon getting wiped out, along with Coteaz, before I could take a turn.

After that, it was mostly just mopping up. There was nowhere I could bring on units without something shooting them to death - even those dropping out of line of sight of any units were blown apart by interceptor units with indirect fire weapons.

In the end, the victory points stood at 18-2 in the Tau's favour. I'd maybe caused two wounds to one of their units, and almost everything was dead. It was just a case of removing models. My opponent was friendly and fun to play against, but it didn't really feel like a game as such.

 Next up, I found myself facing a beautifully painted Imperial Fist army. My opponent was just getting back into 40K after some years away, and was painting up an Imperial Fist force suitable for use in 40K or 30K.

We were playing the Emperor's Will mission, with both of us having a single objective, and we speculated on a few different narratives that could have caused the fight - was it a Heresy era battle putting down rogue psykers, a conflict in the aftermath of the Heresy when Dorn objected to the Tactica Imperialis, or maybe it was the Inquisition trying to suppress some secrets when some warp storm delayed Fists emerged in the 41st millennium?

This was a much closer game, with good back and forth in casualties. The Guard took some hits, but in turn took out a lot of tanks and wiped some key squads of Marines off the board. The Storm Trooper squads did some excellent work trying to capture the Marine objective, but weren't quite able to make it, leaving us both with our own objectives and Line Breaker, but the Marines having gained First Blood for the win.

Finally, I faced a beautifully painted Dark Eldar force who had recently joined the Ynnari. This is the new death aspected Eldar force. I really loved that we got to have a "Gathering Storm I" list face off against a "Gathering Storm II" list.

We were doing the Maelstrom of War mission where you have to hold objective points to get instructions that actually score points.

Sadly, I was unlucky on the cards - I ended up with four cards to capture two each of the objectives held by the Dark Eldar, and failed my reserve rolls twice for my Storm Troopers so they never dropped in.

I did manage to get some things to line up properly, though - I used psychic powers to grant one of the platoons rerolls to hit and Ignore Cover before ordering them to open fire with "First Rank Fire" from an officer - the resulting firestorm took out most of a Reaver Jetbike squad, and an exploding Venom took out the survivor.

So, I ended the event with some complicated feelings - my lists aren't doing well in the current meta at the moment, even at a casual game. I enjoyed the games, but I think if there'd been more than one close fought battle, then I'd certainly have enjoyed them more.

I don't play 40K enough to work out the entire problem. Is it just me not playing enough? Is it that my army selection isn't competive with all the new releases and I need to change up my units? Are the Guard simply not a reliable choice with the current Codex? Is it the terrain choices made on the tournament boards not granting enough cover?

I'm going to ponder this question a bit longer, and work out if the effort I'm putting into this is worth the enjoyment I'm getting out, or if there's things I can put the same effort into and get more enjoyment from.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Tak Kickstarter delivers

So, a couple of weeks ago, I got the one thing that wargamers dread more than the Royal Mail Red Card of Frustration. The Royal Mail Grey Card Of Gouging You £8 As A "Handling Fee" For Customs Charges. So, I gritted my teeth, paid up, and waited.

Wait a second, this doesn't look like miniatures!

No, it is in fact "Tak", a board game that Patrick Rothfuss made up in his Kingkiller Chronicles series of books. An enterprising gentleman then came up with Actual Rules and then there was a Kickstarter.

I also threw in a few quid for another card game called Pairs, because why not? Quick games we can play while travelling are always a good investment.

I went for a travellers set, because I'm going to a LARP called Empire now, and this will fit in wonderfully. The cloth mat was an extra, and if you look closely, you'll see a coin to the right of the picture that can be used as an imaginary "centre square" on a table if you're lacking a board.

This was wonderfully timed, because it meant I could take it to a small player social event that was happening this last weekend. This post was written a while ago and set on a timer, because I am probably sleeping right about now.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Fomorian Witch and an old favourite

So, I decided to throw down some paint on this Fomorian Witch. She's called Nemain, and is produced by Krakon Games. The skin tone is mostly Foundry Moss Triad, but also using Athonian Camoshade for extra depth and with light touches of Vallejo Duck Egg Green as an even lighter highlight.

I was a little sloppy with initial colours, so I need to go in and neaten up a whole bunch, dropping some of the darker colours back in to areas of shade. The brown robe doesn't have enough contrast with the skin if it's not under bright light, so I need to think about how to give that some definition. I'm pleased with the red, though. I've been being told off about going too dark by Sim, and this effort with Mephiston Red, Wild Rider Red and Carroburg Crimson is much better than my usual murky stuff.

Meanwhile, this classic "Made to Order" Daemonhunter has been given an appropriate Hero Base. I wanted to make sure this old classic figure was on a 40mm base for the modern terminator base size, but was having trouble working out how to not make it look swamped. By making, effectively, a little mini diorama, I think I've solved the problem well. (I've left the arms off for painting.)

I'm pretty happy with the amount I've got done this weekend. Various figures also got undercoated in the first good weather we've had in ages, but you've already seen them assembled, so I won't repeat that here.

Finally, I'm having a little bit of a clear out of some bits and bobs I'm just not going to get around to painting or using. Feel free to have a look at my stuff on eBay - there's definitely still some bargains there at the moment!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Totally Crit 9

So, back at the end of January, I went down to High Brooms to play three games of Infinity at the Totally Crit Open 9. Get used to looking at this jungle board, as random selection ended up with me getting to play all three of my games on it!

The first mission was "Safe Area", and I was up against aphexblue, who was playing the Shock Army of Acontecimento. He kind of apologetically confessed he'd kind of won the UK Infinity Masters this year.

Well, I thought, at least you'll end up on a bottom table next game and have an easier time of it. As it was, I was facing a sniper link with a good field of fire in the centre of the table, and a light tag - Tikbalang, maybe?

With a tournament, there's not really much of an opportunity to take lots of close up shots. So, the game summary - he runs a repeater remote up the flank and nearly brain melts my Interventor Lieutenant with a Killer Hacker. Passing three BTS rolls is all that saves me.

I manage to get rid of the repeater bot and have a TAG in a commanding position and the sniper link to deal with - but positioning means I simply can't slice the pie to get one and not the other - so my Intruder HMG goes down without having taken out either, although he managed to scare the TAG and make it duck back into cover.

Then I get absolutely mauled. The TAG rampages across the field taking out almost everything I have and putting me into retreat. I make a noble effort to take out the TAG with my three surviving figures, but in the end, a lone Alguacile Forward Observer flees the board as the sole survivor. I lose 6-0, avoiding a bigger loss as the total collapse of my army ends the game before aphexblue can get his models into good scoring positions.

After a pie and chips, game 2 comes around with the much dreaded Rescue. I'm up against Riker, who is running a Haqqislam force. This time, I'm paralysed trying to take out a Djanbazan with HMG, and despite judicious use of White Noise, never quite manage to dislodge it.

My spending time on that problem means that a Haqq Total Reaction remote can move up into a good position in the centre, and I can't get any figures into a good spot to discourage Haqq from grabbing a civilian and running off with them.

This is how close my Zero got to one of my civilians, but I ran out of orders!

I'm kicking myself for not getting a picture of the Haqqislam, because they were absolutely gorgeous.

Still, the new hacker "Switch" scored me my only points of the tournament, ambling up the field pretending to be a WarCor, then hacking the enemy HVT for a mighty 2 points. Couldn't protect me from a 7-2 loss, though.

And finally, its Antenna Field, and I'm facing off against some beautifully painted Morat Aggression Force, run by JoeyDoubleDee. Here, a Vanguard link holds down an Antenna until the Lunokhod ambled up and showed them that the Heavy Flamethrower has a bit more reach than you remember...

Once again, I got ruined by MSV2 - this time a link team of Yaogat who walked up the board as a Haris link them dropped the link to go into suppressive fire and stayed there most of the game. I simply couldn't dislodge them and got pretty much murdered in my turn 3 trying to get them off the objectives.

It then became a simple exercise for them to do a couple of clever runs to the right antenna to claim a full 10-0 victory over me.

With such a stellar performance, I was pleased to pick up the Wooden Spoon award, and am now officially one of the worst performing ITS players in the country...

If anyone plays Infinity, I would strongly recommend playing in a Totally Crit Open. They're welcoming, friendly, and well run. They also have a podcast, which is rather good.

Learning points: work out how to deal with MSV2. Get better at working out the odds of doing something before you do it. Get better at taking out models in suppressive fire.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Infinity Battle Report: Nomads vs Onyx Contact Force - Rescue

Totally Crit Open 9 has now been and gone, but before I went, I had a last minute opportunity to get a practice game of Rescue in. Rescue is a notoriously difficult mission where your objective is to try and retrieve four civilians from just in front of your opponent's deployment zone while they try and do the same thing - then have more civilians in various zones than your opponent.

It seems that in practice, you spend two turns punching your opponent's army in the face, then grab a civilian if you have enough people left standing...

The Lunokhod gets to hide as far forward as possible with the intention of acting as area denial for the civilians. The Intruder with HMG sits prone in camo in a good firing spot. The WarCor is a lie - it's a new hacker "Switch" using a Holoprojector to pretend to be a passing journalist.

There's nothing much out of the ordinary here, either, but there is a SinEater hidden away in that building on the left covering people's advance onto the civilian, and a Securitate using their Repeater to act as an unpleasant surprise for anyone who gets too close!

My opponent cheerfully drops down a link team of four robots and an alien hacker, with a plasma sniper rifle covering an awful lot of the board. They become a definite priority to do something about. There's a doctor nestled away out of sight.

And a small fireteam of two heavy infantry who are poised to charge down my left flank - which they immediately do.

On my right flank, the Intruder pops out and riddles the sniper full of holes. Once it's gone, I advance a camo token (a hidden Zero Forward Observer) and Lunokhod up to a place where they might have a chance of getting a civilian in a future turn.

Meanwhile, that flash of white you can see up the street is my Prowler with Spitfire, who has handily blown away one of the two Suryats before it can do anything dangerous.

He retaliates with a Fracta drop troop with Spitfire coming on from the board edge. It rampaged down my backfield, and nearly reached my lieutenant before I was able to take it out.

In the centre, a total camo Noctifer comes out of hiding and takes out my Zero. I return the favour by running the Lunokhod up and setting it on fire. Zoe runs up to repair the Lunokhod, succeeding, but being shot down in the process - but I complete my classified objective to test run some new engineering technology repairing the robot.

I reveal my sneaky hacker, but he isn't able to do anything really cool.

I start seriously losing models, and anyone who could get to a civilian on my side is taken out.

Finally, the Suryat on my left, with no-one to really oppose them, runs out and grabs a civilian. They don't get far, but end up controlling their HVT while I don't threaten theirs - leaving the score 3-2 in their favour.

My big learning experience here was to watch out for controlling the HVTs at the end of the game - I had the Prowler free to deny the points without making any dice rolls but didn't remember to do so! If I'd done that, I'd have won 2-1. Not a mistake I'll be making for a while...