Month: October 2015

Warmachine/Hordes: Rise of the Kriels

Warmachine/Hordes: Rise of the Kriels

I did a thing. I started a new force. I mentioned in a prior post that after enough standing around and watching people play Trollbloods, I finally gave in and grabbed some myself. That means there’s only one thing to yell: TROLL!

I had two Trollbloods blisters lurking around my stuff from the past (about 3-4 years ago I had a Trollbloods passion for a hot minute), so broke them out and used them as a basis: Madrak Ironhide World Ender and a unit of Troll Whelps. I loved the whelps too much to dispense with them, and Madrak2 is just too epic a pose to give up. I may have even had plans to use him in a role playing game: every game can benefit from an awesome looking Troll about to swing a huge axe. In any case, I literally dusted them off, as they were in my hobby box beneath a pile of unused Everblight bits. And I nabbed a few new models to start to make a force. Earthborn

I wanted to get my paint scheme for the warbeasts sorted out first and foremost, as that’s the core of a force in Hordes. While I like the blue skin with darker blue stone/scales that is used in the fluff/demonstration models from the company, I wanted something different for my own force. I decided to give pale skin with green crystals a try. I’m reasonably pleased with how it turned out, and I have an idea for how some of the various models in the faction will look. For instance, my Earthborn Dire Troll is above, and you can see the way the green works. I made it so he was “absorbing” the rocks down by the ground, so I worked in some stone-looking ones on his arm there. With his Elemental Communion ability, I figured that he could be like a terrain chameleon in that manner–absorbing the look of the surroundings. I like the effect, and that means for some of the other elemental-style trolls it will be something I can continue (e.g. the Mountain King can have stone mountains but also surrounding green gem protrusions). Swamp Troll

I also painted up one other warbeast in the testing phase: a Swamp Troll. I simply like the model, and I wanted to see how a model with far smaller stone protrusions would look with the green color I went for. I’m pretty happy with how he turned out. In painting him, I decided that as the trolls of the force got smaller they would be brighter and brighter shades of grey–so that the true Trolls, the Trollbloods, the Pygs, and the Whelps all have lightening hues (in that order). Assault on the ElvesIn addition to painting, I got a starting game in with my forces. I had a few abortive test runs with the Trollbloods before, but this was the first game where I fielded painted models so it’s the first one I’m blogging about. I faced off with a 35-point Madrak2 list against my buddy Dan’s Kaelyssa-led Retribution force. He was testing out a bunch of new solos, and I am still getting the feel of Trollbloods so both our lists were a trifle out of the norm.

As is always true in tabletop wargaming, painted models perform better than unpainted ones–and my Earthborn Dire Troll and Swamp Troll were the two more successful models on my side. I made a number of errors, often due to limiting my charge and movement lanes due to intervening models with medium-sized bases. I have one medium infantry unit so far with my Skorne, and a whole set of Blighted Ogruns for my Everblight, but for some reason with Trollbloods the base-size issues seemed to get in my way. Swamp Troll attacks

The elves got ahead in points for the battle (Steamroller 2015 Close Quarters), so I was forced to make a last-minute play for caster assassination. I got really close, too–most of the opposing force was eliminated, but they were dominating their own flag. I managed to get Warpath up on Madrak, use his feat to chop a hole, then warpath the Swamp Troll as far as I could so it could move on its activation and take a shot at dragging Kaelyssa with its tongue. It hit, and did fair damage on the tongue. I even had enough to boost the attack roll after the Drag in hopes of finishing her last few boxes but missed with that swing. At the start of her turn, Dan sat on all her focus thinking she’d have to survive a free strike as she moved back to the objective. Then he realized that little old Sylys Wyshnalyrr was hanging out and could simply run over to control the objective and score the final point to win the game for the elves at 5 to 4 points.

Overall it was a great game. I got frustrated at my own mistakes, but I quickly recognized that it was just growing pains with so many medium-based infantry clogging the field. Soon enough I’ll get the hang of it. Now to get the rest of the gang painted!

Battles (Privateer Press):
Overall Total 2015: 22 (Win/Loss: 18/4/0)

Skorne:
11 Wins (Fiona, Sorscha, Morvahna2, Ossrum, Borka, Kaelyssa, Stryker, Venethrax, and Butcher, Thagrosh)   /   2 Losses (Kromac, Kaelyssa, Kaya)

Trollbloods:

0 Wins   /   1 Loss (Kaelyssa)

Protectorate of Menoth:
3 Wins (Morvahna2, Kaelyssa)   /   0 Losses

Legion of Everblight:
4 Wins (Caine2, Kaya, Sorscha)   /   1 Loss (Fiona)

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Warmachine/Hordes: Butchering the Butcher

Warmachine/Hordes: Butchering the Butcher

I dropped by local Pittsburgh game store Phantom of the Attic to play a quick match against my buddy Mike’s Khador force. We had clashed once before recently, and both of us were ready for a rematch. It was a 35 point game, pitting his Orsus Zoktavir, The Butcher of Khardov (otherwise shortened to Butcher1) against my Lord Assassin Morghoul (Morghoul2). It was going to be a tough, uphill climb for my lightly armored assassin and his strike force to deal with the heavy armor and sheer-murder-ness of this Khador brick. Skorne Line

His forces were all heavily armored: the Butcher controlled a Destroyer and a Kodiak, and was supported by a big unit of Man-o-War Shocktroopers, a group of Man-o-War Bombardiers, and a few support solos. My force was my usual for Morghoul2: the Cyclops Brute and Razorworm for their animi and protection and then a whole heap of heavy Warbeasts including a Bronzeback, an Aradus Sentinel, and a Gladiator. With Paingiver Beast Handlers to help control all the fury and a Void Spirit for objective and annoyance duty, I felt as ready as I could be for the clash.

Bronzeback AssaultedThe first two turns were maneuvering, with some ineffectual shooting exchanged by both sides thanks to the inaccuracy of the Aradus Sentinel but also its Carapace that protected it from return fire. The Kodiak rushed forward to engage the Sentinel, landing some damage and throwing it. Then the Bronzeback returned the favor–sending it crashing through the Widowmaker Marksman. Normally the Bronzeback is the model that hits like a truck, but it found itself on the receiving end of the on-rushing bus that was the Man-o-Wars. On the feat turn from the Butcher. With Weaponmaster. And the charge. The Bronzeback went from perfectly healthy to crippled in an instant, and with my Beast Handlers committed to making other parts of my force continue fighting the Bronzeback was easily finished on the remaining turn–albeit taking a few of the Man-o-Wars with him.

Morghoul v Butcher

With my forces dwindling, and the Butcher near thanks to having used his feat, I had to take a shot. I moved some remaining force to draw his into deeper combat, leaving an open lane for some of my forces to slide in via envelopment. The Razor Worm used its Drag Below ability after killing the last Man-o-War to leave space for the two-sided assault. The Gladiator arrived first, and while he got a few licks in on the Butcher it still didn’t finish him. Thus Lord Assassin Morghoul had to try and finish the job, and he was narrowly able to get it done. If he had missed, or done just a bit less damage on any swipe, the Butcher would have been able to end things in his usual, sudden, axe-tastic fashion. That tense ending made it a very close and entertaining game, which is one of my favorite parts of Warmachine and Hordes. When you decide to go for it, it’s either succeed or fail. This time Morghoul2 had the luck of the dice on his side.

Battles (Privateer Press):
Overall Total 2015: 21 (Win/Loss: 18/3/0)

Skorne:
11 Wins (Fiona, Sorscha, Morvahna2, Ossrum, Borka, Kaelyssa, Stryker, Venethrax, and Butcher, Thagrosh)
2 Losses (Kromac, Kaelyssa, Kaya)

Protectorate of Menoth:
3 Wins (Morvahna2, Kaelyssa)
0 Losses

Legion of Everblight:
4 Wins (Caine2, Kaya, Sorscha)

1 Loss (Fiona)

Warmachine/Hordes: Exploding Elephants

Warmachine/Hordes: Exploding Elephants

I gathered for my usual Thursday night Privateer Press gaming with friends at Drawbridge Games, and managed to face off against a faction that I’m very familiar with: Legion of Everblight. Rico kept his Rhulic Mercenaries on the shelf and instead pulled out his amazingly-painted Legion forces. They’ve got a great bone paint scheme which really makes them pop more than a lot of Everblight schemes. We faced off in a 35-point match with a three-objectives scenario. His Warlock was Thagrosh, while I fielded Void Seer Mordikaar at the helm of my Skorne army.

Everblight Advance

Thagrosh’s force was a Scythean and a Carnivean for the heavy lifting, along with a Naga Nightlurker, a Shredder, and a unit of Legionaires. He was also accompanied by a Beast Mistress that was running three Shredders of her own. My own list was not a particularly great one for Mordikaar, but just one that worked for the points value while I’m working on painting all the parts of my new Skorne experiment. I brought a Bronzeback and a Gladiator, and a Basilisk Krea, a unit of Cataphract Cetrati, and the usual complement of supporting Skorne solos and units.

Everblight Attack

The forces largely clashed over the center and left objective. On the left flank, the Beast Mistress and her horde of Shredders turned their attention to the Cetrati. They made a fair mess of them, as the sheer amount of dice that the Beast Mistress gives them is bound to make an impact even from a low strength model like a Shredder against the high armored Skorne heavy infantry. Then once one gap appeared in the shield wall, the surrounding isolated models got further assailed by the gnashing teeth of the annoying beasts. In the center, I was luckier in that the Scythean fell just short of the Gladiator in its charge, while the Carnivean tried to control the objective that lay in the center. Most importantly to my eye was that Thagrosh decided to use all of his Fury that turn. I’m relatively new to Void Seer Mordikaar (only my second game with him, and I’m relatively new to Skorne as a faction overall), and he has an ability that I’ve been wanting to pull off for some time: Essence Blast.

Essence Blast is an attack that sacrifices a model to generate a spray from its location using the model’s Strength. It seems custom-fit to use one-wound infantry models for this, as Mordikaar can replace them and they’re expendable anyways. Despite my Titan Gladiator being entirely undamaged, I saw that the opponent’s caster was open and without fury. Pulling off the maneuver proved to be a case of perfect timing and rolls. It began with the Bronzeback clearing some of the path of advance with a throw, and then the Gladiator doing what he does best: slamming a foe. It had to suffer a free strike from the Scythean to do it, but the damage was inconsequential. The Gladiator slammed the Naga Nightlurker, who flew backward and hit Thagrosh–leaving the warlock knocked down.

Elephant Explosion

I took a few swipes with the Gladiator at the Naga just in case of retaliation, and also advanced up the Agonizer in case the Titan didn’t get the job done and I needed to Essence Blast from the mewling, tortured baby elephant as well. Turns out I didn’t need it: Mordikaar cast the spell, completely destroying my Gladiator but also delivering a fearsome spray that combined with the bit of collateral damage to slay Thagrosh before he knew what hit him. I was shocked that it actually worked that easily (expecting to need a shot from the Agonizer and maybe even some whip-wielding charging Paingivers to make the gambit finish him), and my opponent was shocked that hit happened so quickly.

While we were busy with exploding elephants, the other table saw a clash between Retribution and Trollbloods–I snapped a picture of their battle too because the Glacier King was just too cool to not discuss.

Glacial Fun

And discuss him we did… to the point where I talked myself into starting (yet) another faction. I’ve always had my eyes on Trollbloods (even had a Madrak2 model that I bought a long time ago and never built around but never got rid of). I’ve loved the look of the trolls for a long time, and I’ve always found them to be tough foes… well, not too tough (someday I’ll tell the tale of an old battle where my Lich Lord Venethrax decided that taking out a Mountain King himself was the plan). But the discussion of trolls got my own troll-blood flowing, so you can watch for them to begin to appear on this blog as I finish a few.

Battles (Privateer Press):
Overall Total 2015: 20 (Win/Loss: 17/3/0)

Skorne:
10 Wins (Fiona, Sorscha, Morvahna2, Ossrum, Borka, Kaelyssa, Stryker, Venethrax, and Butcher, Thagrosh)
2 Losses (Kromac, Kaelyssa, Kaya)

Protectorate of Menoth:
3 Wins (Morvahna2, Kaelyssa)
0 Losses

Legion of Everblight:
4 Wins (Caine2, Kaya, Sorscha)

1 Loss (Fiona)

Warmachine/Hordes: The Dead and the Cold

Warmachine/Hordes: The Dead and the Cold

As I mentioned in my prior post, the collapse and demise of Warhammer Fantasy has prompted a lot of interest in Warmachine/Hordes across multiple gaming stores in my area. This past Sunday I stopped out at Phantom of the Attic to join some others in some good Privateer Press battles. Both games were on the smaller side at 25 points, and we used the three objectives scenario both times. First I faced Charles’ excellently painted Cryx, then Mike’s classic-look Khador army.

Cryx 1

I was nervous about the game against Cryx, because Charles was fielding Lich Lord Venethrax–a model who is custom-made to give Hordes armies fits. His force had a lot of infantry for 25 points, from Bloodgorgers with their champion to a unit of Mechanithralls with three of their brute models. Two Helldivers, a crabjack, and the Bloat Thrall rounded out the force. For my part, I went with Lord Arbiter Hexeris and my usual complement of warbeasts: Bronzeback, Aradus Sentinel, Cyclops Brute, and the Razorworm (sexy Hexy’s bonded warbeast). Cryx 2The match was tough but things swung my way with relative luck. The Bloodgorgers were the only living models on his side, but they were in a spot that made sense for my Aradus Sentinel to advance deploy closest to them–his Poison shot, plus Hexeris2’s Black Spot made short work of them. The Bronzeback also proved how massive Trainwreck plus Smash and Grab is, as he beat his way into the midst of the Mechanithralls and ended up killing one of their Brutes with the thrown crabjack. And Hexeris2’s channeled spells through the Razorworm proved to be the icing on the cake for stopping any Cryx threats that got too close. Cryx 3

With my side inflicting heavy losses on the Cryx forces, Venethrax had to get the job done himself. He rushed forward and easily cut down the Cyclops Brute, but it was too little and too late. Hexeris moved up and landed a fair amount of damage on Venethrax himself before he had his Aradus Sentinel charge in and finish the job. Khador 1

For game two of the day, Mike’s Khador force was a classic specimen: a wall of Man-O-War Shocktroopers, with a line of Man-O-War Bombardiers behind them, a massive Decimator Khador warjack, and the Butcher of Khardov with a War Dog. My force was the same as the prior game, but I was grouped somewhat differently due to a house that dominated the center of the battlefield. I saw that it would extraordinarily difficult to make a play for all three objectives, so I focused on getting the center and the right objective. Khador 2

When Khador arrives, they hit hard, so I did my best to keep them at range so I could manage the first strike. The Aradus Sentinel and Hexeris2’s Black Spot again proved to be a central asset, as it blasted holes in the armored line of Man-O-Wars. Even their Shield Wall orders could not stop the Poison attack from wreaking havoc. Still, three wounded Man-O-Wars reached my Razorworm and the objective–however only one of them managed a hit on the defensive beast. I was able to clear the rest out with Hexeris2’s own melee attacks, having broken their Shield Wall thanks to the Razorworm eliminating the center model of the group. The Bronzeback and the Decimator went blow for blow, with the Bronzeback finally destroying the beast but left mostly crippled in the process. Khador 3

I still had to be careful, as the Butcher can win a game solo if he starts too close to the opponent’s Warlock. I was able to be at just the right range to discourage charging, which allowed my Aradus Sentinel to get a shot in to damage him and the Cyclops Brute to use its speed and reach to connect a charge and finish off the deadly Khadorian foe.

Overall it was two good games against two foes. I’ve definitely gotten the knack for my Skorne force, as these were two very different styles of armies that I had to play different despite using the exact same force. That’s my general test for effectiveness with a force–being able to keep the same models and run them in varied fashion to cope with quite different threats. I’m looking forward to rematches against the armies of the Dead and the Cold.

Battles (Privateer Press):
Overall Total 2015: 19 (Win/Loss: 16/3/0)

Skorne:
9 Wins (Fiona, Sorscha, Morvahna2, Ossrum, Borka, Kaelyssa, Stryker, Venethrax, and Butcher)
2 Losses (Kromac, Kaelyssa, Kaya)

Protectorate of Menoth:
3 Wins (Morvahna2, Kaelyssa)
0 Losses

Legion of Everblight:
4 Wins (Caine2, Kaya, Sorscha)

1 Loss (Fiona)

Warmachine/Hordes: From Large Battles to Intro Games

Warmachine/Hordes: From Large Battles to Intro Games

Warmachine/Hordes has taken off among my local gaming groups, in large part due to the complete demise of Warhammer Fantasy. I looked back at my old Warhammer blog recently, at a post where I was prognosticating about Warhammer 9th edition and saw just how wrong I was about the Warhammer Fantasy change. Yet it worked out relatively nicely, as there was a whole assortment of players who wanted to do tabletop miniature wargaming within a fantasy-ish setting, who decided to check out Privateer Press’ offerings.

The photos in this post are from my most recent outing to Drawbridge games where one local gaming community is getting into the game. I squeezed in another game against Dan’s Retribution force, and then taught a relatively new player how to play the game. Battle report and comments about both follow.

For the 50 point battle against Retribution of Scyrah, I decided to bring Lord Assassin Morghoul. I’m pretty happy with how I painted him, and I like his play style if only because it runs really, really fast. Until you commit with him, you’re not really weighing what spells to cast. It becomes three quick questions: which (if any) animi you’re doubling by having him cast them, how much fury are you banking in the Agonizer, and how much fury are you sitting on should a surprise attack reach him and he needs to transfer damage?

Morghoul2

The battle started as usual when facing Kaelyssa: the elves rushing forward and my forces having to struggle to contest the objectives with all the limits on running and charging. This game ended with a caster kill, but was much closer in objectives than my previous matches against Kaelyssa. Before I’ve achieved the caster kill in the nick of time, being dreadfully behind in objective points. This time the game ended much closer in points, thanks in large part to my warbeasts.

BronzebackThe Bronzeback’s Trainwreck animus and the Gladiator Titan’s Rush animus were the two critical elements. The first let me push foes off of objectives, and the second let me get the two inch speed boost that helped me reach the front faster. I had forgotten in past games that the Warlock can also cast the animus, so two models with Rush instead of one makes a huge difference. The Bronzeback was able to roll up and get its Smash and Grab to activate and throw a Phoenix off the central objective. The speed of the Cyclops Brute on the right flank also helped me get to and contest objectives more effectively.

Aradus Sentinel

Kaelyssa was a cagey foe, so it took a fair amount of luck to take her down. By closing with a Rushing light warbeast and Morghoul2 up on my feat turn, Kaelyssa was left with bad options. The force tried desperately to hurt Morghoul, but his defense 19 on the feat turn was too tough a nut to crack. He took some hits, transferred some damage, and survived. With Morghoul2 close, and the ability to heal the nearly dead Bronzeback at least a point in the crippled aspects, it was curtains for the elf caster. All in all it was the closest game I’ve played against Retribution.

I also got in a demo game against a new player who wanted to try out the game. I fielded my Legion of Everblight force, and he borrowed the Trollbloods starter set from the game store. Everblight Demo Group

It’s actually the very first time I’ve fielded Lylyth and her starter box. While I’m a long-time Everblight player, I jumped right to Absylonia and Vayl as my casters of choice. Lylyth is a lot like Morghoul2: it’s pretty clear what to do every turn. There’s a bit more nuance than he has, but not much. Especially with the starter box. It’s about sending the little Shredder missiles out for free to targets she’s hit with her bow, and biding time to come sweeping in with the raw might of the Carnivean. Shredder

The game was a good one, as I think Trollbloods are the best starter box army for players to learn Hordes with. They have a reason to do everything: shoot, charge, animus, spells, feat, boost, and more. While my force won the game (I don’t count demo sessions in my record, note), it was more about getting the player familiar with the system. He said that he picked up Cryx, so the next game it’ll just be a matter of learning the Focus mechanic instead of Fury for him.

Battles (Privateer Press):
Overall Total 2015: 17 (Win/Loss: 14/3/0)

Skorne:
7 Wins (Fiona, Sorscha, eMorvahna, Ossrum, Borka, Kaelyssa, and Stryker)
2 Losses (Kromac, Kaelyssa, Kaya)

Protectorate of Menoth:
3 Wins (eMorvahna, Kaelyssa)
0 Losses

Legion of Everblight:
4 Wins (eCaine, Kaya, Sorscha)

1 Loss (Fiona)

Warmachine/Hordes: Time for Retribution

Warmachine/Hordes: Time for Retribution

Despite my prior post discussing that my focus lately was Skorne, my first battle report on this site (after migrating) happens to be Menoth. This clash was a 50 point rumble between Dan’s immaculately painted Retribution of Scyrah force and my Protectorate of Menoth army. I wanted to field the Menoth because a team tournament is coming up in early November that I’m entering. I’m leaning toward bringing my Skorne to the tournament, but I wanted to give one last “check” on whether I felt like rushing the painting on my Menoth made sense instead.

Dan’s force was the brutal tier four “Force Wall” tier list using Kaelyssa. Not only does it deny running or charging on the first turn, but on her feat turn she prevents even more charging. My force was led by High Executioner Reznik, meaning that both forces had Witch Hound in effect–magic users could expect some nastiness. Retribution Army

Dan’s Force Wall, looking impressive on the field. Two units of Battle Mages a bunch of light skirmishing warjacks and a fair number of heavies, plus an abundance of free (thanks to tier) Arcanists to power all the jacks. 

Protectorate of Menoth army

 My force, in crude and partially painted fashion (ugh). Reznik was accompanied by a pair of Crusaders, a Castigator, and a Revenger. Then there was the throng of infantry followers: Holy Zealots with a Monolith Bearer, Exemplar Cinerators, Deliverers, and the ubiquitous Choir. It was rounded out with a Vassal Mechanik, a Reclaimer, the Covenant of Menoth, and Reznik’s favorite: three Wracks. 

Kaelyssa and Artificer

Kaelyssa’s force is difficult to face because it is so focus-effective and it puts so much pressure on the opponent in an objectives game like this one (three objectives, playing to seven points). With the first turn slow-down, and then a later turn of charge protection, it stole three quick points on turn two before my Menoth were even up close. Only my Holy Zealots were able to get anywhere near the objective. And while they were resilient with their devotions and monolith, there was no way they were shifting a unit of Battle Mages and an Arcanist-supported Griffon.

Thus, my immediate strategy went to ignoring the objectives and just going for the caster kill. I still had to play somewhat to the objectives, so that the elves wouldn’t bunch up and provide Kaelyssa with more defense via obstructed charge lanes. But I knew that any chance of scenario win was unlikely at best. The Deliverers, supported by the Reclaimer and the Covenant actually managed to triumph over the Battle Mages that they ran up to meet. As the Deliverers started dying to the enemy infantry, the Reclaimer got soul tokens and his Soulstorm ability started burning the foes down in retribution.

Castigator and Vassal Mechanic

Reznik’s spells and abilities proved to be decisive in balancing the battle for my force. Kaelyssa had slowed my force down with her feat, and was laying down patches of rough terrain with her Rift spell. Thus, I got my warjacks into a loose line across the middle where she needed to target them with the Rifts to slow their advance down. Although the Castigator and a Crusader were in combat with two Manticore heavies, once Kaelyssa targeted a  different battlegroup jack with the Rift, Reznik’s Witch Hound ability activated and I took a free strike from the relatively crippled Manticore to burst the Crusader into the back ranks. With their Warcaster hanging in the breeze against a Choir-fueled, Inferno Mace-wielding Heavy, the Elves had to scramble warjacks and other models to block its assault. When it got back to my turn, Reznik sucked the remaining Wracks of focus which gave him enough to load up the Revenger with focus, buff it with Iron Aggression, and advance it with his Perdition spell (toward a convenient close Arcanist). With the Choir chanting the hymns of battle, it rushed right into Kaelyssa and demolished her to very narrowly win me the game.

Overall I was greatly helped by terrible dice rolls by my opponent (his Battle Mages seem utterly cursed to never connect in their attacks–no matter what number they needed, they seemed to roll one less, except when killing a few Deliverers). I was also really lucky to have just the right movement abilities and spells with my caster, as the objective points stood at 5 for Dan and 0 for me at that point in the game–he would have won the next turn by scenario if I hadn’t pulled off the assassination when I did. That’s just how brutal the Force Wall tier list is to face… double so with a slow force with minimal shooting like I brought.

I was glad to get a chance to test Reznik out, and I think he’s my favorite of the Menoth Warcasters in terms of theme and story. I know that he’s got some major weaknesses, but this battle at least was a spot where he could play to his strengths. That said, I decided that I’m going to focus on preparing my Skorne for the November doubles tournament. With Menoth, I’d really only have one list–mostly the same models and just swapping between two Warcasters. With Skorne I can field two far more dynamic lists that can adjust to opponents more effectively. So expect more purple from here on out.

Bronzeback Titan

Speaking of purple, I also finished up my Bronzeback Titan for my Skorne force. Dan built a cool new water tower scenery piece from a laser-cut wood kit he got from Australia, so I figured a combo photo shoot would be nice. 

I keep a running tally of my Warmachine/Hordes wins and losses, as well as which generals I’ve faced before (in both solo, team, and multi-player games). I figured I might as well continue that tally here.

Battles (Privateer Press):
Overall Total 2015: 16 (Win/Loss: 13/3/0)

Skorne:
6 Wins (Fiona, Sorscha, eMorvahna, Ossrum, Borka, Kaelyssa, and Stryker)
2 Losses (Kromac, Kaelyssa, Kaya)

Protectorate of Menoth:
3 Wins (eMorvahna, Kaelyssa)
0 Losses

Legion of Everblight:
4 Wins (eCaine, Kaya, Sorscha)

1 Loss (Fiona)

Warmachine/Hordes: A Gathering of Forces

Warmachine/Hordes: A Gathering of Forces

Author’s note: It was finally time to migrate my gaming onto one single blog for simplicity’s sake (and because of my shiny new domain). The first few posts here will be combination posts that summarize my prior blogs. They’ll be maintained, but all new posts will happen on this site. You can check out all the older stuff at my 40k Blog, my Warmachine/Hordes and Pathfinder Blog, and my Warhammer Fantasy Blog–but be sure to follow this site for the one-source thoughts, comments, and records of all my gaming. 

I’m a bit of a Warmachine/Hordes fan (as followers of this blog will find out), so I can’t resist putting up a few photos of my models from my three main factions onto this blog. Currently, I’m focusing on my Skorne and Protectorate of Menoth armies. I also have a somewhat sizeable Legion of Everblight force that I’m holding onto, and a small demo set of Circle of Orboros for teaching people how to play Hordes. In the past I had a decent-sized Khador army, a small Trollbloods contingent, and a relatively huge Cryx force–all of those have migrated to new homes now.

Skorne

My Skorne are probably what I consider my “main” faction currently. I’ve got more than a few warbeasts painted up and I’m finishing some more infantry and support pieces. But I’m also oddly mad about collecting all of their warcasters. My plan is for casual games to get a carnival spinner, and bring general lists–then right before the battle spin the “Wheel! Of! Skorne!” to see which warlock I’ll have to field at random. My distinct problem is liking them all too much–so one of each named character is high on my list of “things to finish”.

Skorne 5

My newest Warlock addition: Void Seer Mordikaar. The lanterns light with the souls of the fallen to power his cruel magics. I’m still working on painting some units to accompany him on the field. 

Skorne 4

Another of my Skorne Warcasters, Lord Assassin Morghoul. Here he’s in a bit of dire jeopardy from a recent three-player game: he got knocked down and then finished off by a charging Retribution Arcanist. What an ignoble fate…Skorne 3

My Skorne beasts and infantry face down some advancing Circle warbeasts–a lovely paint job by my pal Roger. I went with a pretty standard Skorne color scheme, and just swapped the deep red for a dull purple.Skorne 9

My Cyclops Brute dealing with the push-and-pull of Dan’s amazing Retribution Battle Mages. Skorne has such variety in the warbeasts that they’re a fun faction to paint and model. Skorne 8

The Void Spirit shows the color scheme I’m using for “magical effects”–all the gems on warlocks and energy elements of the army will be in varied yellow tones. 

Protectorate of Menoth

I’m hardly as far along with my Menoth painting as my Skorne painting, so you’ll see far fewer of these models until I get more work done. I’m going for a “religious anarchists” theme, of neutral colors with bright red menofixes (the cross-like symbols on all the models). I’m also going with a non-standard Warjack colors (browns and dull oranges) and using greytones instead of metallic paints for the metal bits of the army.

Menoth 1 The Monolith Bearer is such a silly-cool model I had to include a picture of him. He shows the tones of the infantry pretty well, and the striking reds of the menofixes and the dust-masks of the models. Menoth 2

And of course, I got my Wracks painted up right away. What good is playing the “religious anarchists” if you don’t add in their modes of torturing their foes? 

Legion of Everblight

I’m just sticking one photo in here to show the color scheme I’m using for my warbeasts. While I have a fair-sized force painted up (three heavies, four lessers, four different warlocks, and the Throne battle engine) and some more to assemble, I’m a lot less enthused with Everblight than the other two forces so expect them to be a bit more rare in the posts of this site than the others.

Everblight 1

My Scythean blades its way through my buddy Stu’s immaculately painted Cygnar forces

40k: Crusade of Fire Campaign Phase One Summary

40k: Crusade of Fire Campaign Phase One Summary

Author’s note: It was finally time to migrate my gaming onto one single blog for simplicity’s sake (and because of my shiny new domain). The first few posts here will be combination posts that summarize my prior blogs. They’ll be maintained, but all new posts will happen on this site. You can check out all the older stuff at my 40k Blog, my Warmachine/Hordes and Pathfinder Blog, and my Warhammer Fantasy Blog–but be sure to follow this site for the one-source thoughts, comments, and records of all my gaming. 

Warhammer 40k Campaign: Crusade of Fire

The city of Pittsburgh is spoiled when it comes to fantastic and supportive gaming stores, and at one local store the 40k community decided to give a campaign a go. We decided that we wanted to do a variant of the Crusade of Fire supplement. The reasoning for the variant is that we wanted to take it in our own direction somewhat, but still play to the main components of that campaign.

Campaign of Fire Map One

This is the campaign map with the initial planetary situation at the start of the campaign. 

That meant assembling players, and playing a bunch of games. Right now–with about 20 total league games played–we’re at the point where it’s time for phase two of the campaign. Phase one has seen three factions really take off compared to the rest: the Crusade of Fire faction (Imperial Forces acting under orders from Terra and the Emperor) and the Defenders of the Sun (Imperial Forces acting under orders from the local Planetary Governor and from Mars) have each won a fair number of battles. And the The Prophets of War (all Eldar and Tau forces) had tremendous battlefield successes, leading to their near dominant control of one of the planets (Alfrost) and establishing control of a special-mission-winning space-lane.

Campaign of Fire Map Four

The current planetary situation–ready for phase 2 of the campaign (the warp storm mists retreating)

So that means it’s time for phase two of the campaign. The Warp Storm–those purple mists–are about recede (see a future post here for information) and reveal a somewhat different campaign for the remainder of play. So for now, I wanted to repeat the prior rules on this site so interested folks could reference the variant that we used. Stay tuned, more destruction–and better yet pictures of that destruction–yet to come.

Crusade of Fire – Prior Rules

This is the ruleset overview of the Crusade of Fire variant rules that we’ll be using for the current 40k campaign at Drawbridge Games (starting June 18th). These rules are based off the Crusade of Fire, but with some tweaks for play in our league. Players who are interested in joining the campaign are welcome at any point, and can contact info@drawbridgegames.com.

What a player needs to participate:

One or more armies for Warhammer 40k, gaming supplies, and a desire to play some fun games!

Forces can scale in points by player agreement. Preferred points totals to shoot for are: 750 points (representing small skirmishes), 1,250 points (moderate battles), 1,850 points (large battles), and 2,500 points (massive conquests).

Factions:

The Crusade of Fire tracks both factions and players within the games, and rewards both for success. On the factions side, there are five in the campaign. Each of these factions have sent agents to the Corvus Subsector, which are the planets which are the center of the campaign. An enormous warpstorm known as the “Crow’s Eye” had long kept the region isolated from the rest of the Imperium, but they finally disappeared: leading to many factions making a sudden and desperate grab for control of the system. Players pick their faction based on their primary detachment.

The Crusade of Fire (Imperial Forces acting under orders from Terra and the Emperor): These ships were launched in order to bring the Corvus Sub-Sector back under proper Imperial control. Initially dubbed “the Crusade of Light” with the purpose of bringing the light of the Emperor to the worlds that had been denied it so long, their sudden encounters with the waiting Servants of Ruin, Prophets of War, and The Oblivion’s guns meant that it must be a Crusade of Fire instead. Any Imperial force can choose to be Crusade of Fire except for Adeptus Mechanicus armies.

The Defenders of the Sun (Imperial Forces acting under orders from the local Planetary Governor and from Mars): These ships came not from Imperial center, but from the next sector over where an ambitious Planetary Governor– Rougeaud Yen, the Duc d’Elchingen–had made a deal with the servants of Mars. He would instruct any forces under his sway to secure planets for quick extraction of data, materials, minerals, and anything else of value. While still nominally working with others from the Imperium, certain clashes between their ends and the ends of the The Crusade of Fire developed and spread in the sub-sector. Adeptus Mechanicus armies must fight for this faction. Any other Imperial force can choose to be Defenders of the Sun.

The Servants of Ruin (all Chaos and Daemon Forces): The warpstorm activity of the Corvus Subsector was a perfect cover for the advances of Chaos. All of the planets within the system fell from Imperial rule to greater and lesser extent, and cults more numerous than to be believed were hidden everywhere. From this power base, raiding fleets of Chaos Space Marines and local Daemonic incursions were launched into the face of the Imperials, seeking to make the Corvus Sub-Sector a permanent beachhead for the waves of Chaos.

The Prophets of War (all Eldar and Tau forces): Greedy eyes and forces vying for their own foothold also had an interest in the sub-sector. The Eldar, graceful and ancient, as well as their Dark Eldar kin recognized that denying a foothold to others was a means of protecting their own interests. Likewise, the Tau sought to pursue missions of denial in the region–like the Eldar they were not interested in control, but rather claiming planets in the name of denying or increasing the cost of both Imperials and the “dangerous” races from achieving them.

The Oblivion (all Necrons, Orks, and Tyranid Forces): Some forces exist simply to ruin and destroy. A sliver of Tyranid Hive Fleet Jormungandr routed toward the region as the warpstorm subsided: the planets and their inhabitants suddenly visible to the distant controlling intelligence of the devourer. At the same time, the current Orks vying for the title of Arch-Arsonist of Charadon also took an interest in the sub-sector: the possibility of looting technology and demolishing foes meant an opportunity to prove oneself as a warboss and quite literally grow in stature. Finally additional tombs of the Necron Mephrit Dynasty and other smaller dynastic enclaves have awakened with the increase in mining and exploration in the worlds from Adeptus Mechanicus-motivated forces. While these three forces could hardly be said to be “allies”, they each have the goal of utter desolation, destruction, and extraction of resources.

Each win by a faction will add to the faction points, and will involve the spread of their faction markers across the various planets of the Corvus Sub-sector.

Battles and Campaign:

Each Battle: The campaign tracks success of factions and the successes of individual players. When two players challenge each other, they declare which factions their forces are fighting for (if they have a choice).They then fight as detailed below in “Battle Scenarios”. Following the results of the battle, both players will then record the battle and submit the scoring sheet. There are two scores that get recorded: the winning Faction gets 1 faction point. As for players, they secure campaign points as follows: a win is worth 3 campaign points, a draw is worth 1 campaign point, and a loss worth 0 points. In addition, players gain an additional bonus 1 campaign point after a battle if they have added a new painted unit to their army (this is registered with the GM’s by showing them the boxed/unpainted unit during the session before).

After completing the scoring sheet, the winner then replaces one of the opponent’s faction markers with their own. If the defeated opponent has no faction markers for their faction, the winner may expand their faction as if a tie. If the battle is a tie, then either or both players can place one of their faction’s flag if there is an same-planet empty tile adjacent to one of their own faction-controlled hexes.

Battle Scenarios: Battles for each will be basic victory points using the tactical objectives deck only (no additional objectives such as “first blood” or others). Players will place numbered 1-6 objectives (each placing three, rolling off for first placement, no objective within 12″ of another) prior to determining sides for the battle. Players generate three objectives from the tactical objectives list to start the game, following the usual rules for tactical objectives in the main rulebook. Races are allowed to substitute their own racial objectives deck/options from the Codex should they choose to do so. Regular games will be 5 turns in length. Occasionally variant scenarios will be made available for games, depending upon the progress of the campaign.

Expansion Phase: After each week of the campaign, there is a campaign expansion phase where the players for each faction can choose to expand their control of planets/jump to empty adjacent planets. That will occur on Thursday nights, and factions who have no player representatives there will have their expansion chosen for them. Expansion means either: 1) placing another control marker adjacent to one they already have, or 2) placing a new control marker on an open spot in the map if they have no other control markers or no room to expand on their current planet(s). The painted planet maps and faction markers will be kept at Drawbridge Games.

Golden Flags: There are various territories marked with Golden Flags on each planet in the GM’s map (hidden from the players) that represent pieces of a Doomsday Device that can be used by a faction. When a flag is uncovered by expansion after a battle or in the expansion phase, then the next game played by that faction uses the special “Doomsday Component” mission for their next battle (to be revealed later). To be able to build the device, a faction needs to discover and successfully battle to recover 4 Doomsday component pieces. If the Doomsday Component mission is failed, then a new secret space containing a Golden Flag on that planet will be determined by the GM’s.

Using Doomsday Weapons: Once a faction has 4 components, they can begin to target other planets. They place a special “Doomsday Weapon” marker in the space that they build it, and it can fire from that space to any other planet each Expansion Phase (each week). To fire, the faction representative(s) select one space on a planet other than the one the device is housed upon. They then roll a single d6. On a result of a 1, the device malfunctions, was sabotaged, or simply doesn’t work any longer–it is removed from the board. On a result of 2, remove the faction flag in the targeted square but the square remains unaffected. On a result of 3-6 that space of the planet is irrevocably destroyed and will remain destroyed for the remainder of the campaign. If 50% of a planet’s squares are destroyed, then a chain reaction happens and the entire planet collapses into itself and is destroyed. Note that the one exception to the need for 4 components is the Oblivion faction–these races are more focused on destruction than others, and thus only need 3 components to construct a Doomsday Weapon marker.

Removing Doomsday Weapons: Doomsday devices are well defended, so they must be assaulted from adjacent on-planet squares only. This means (usually) that a force will need to invade another adjacent space to get one of their faction markers adjacent to the weapon, and then have a player of that faction challenge a player belonging to the faction that possesses the Doomsday Weapon. This attack will use another special scenario “Stop Armageddon” for that battle (again, to be revealed later). Once a Doomsday marker is removed, the faction’s count of Golden Flags achieved returns to zero.

Reinforcements:

Players can spend their campaign points to buy upgrades, strategies, and additional units to assist them in their attacks. They declare their spending prior to the battle, and can only buy ONE reinforcements choice per game.

Campaign Points Cost Reinforcement Type
1 Give me more men: Bolster their own forces, giving them more points to spend than their foe. This allows a player to bring an additional 50 points for small games (750 and 1250) and 100 points for larger games (1,850, 2,500, and larger).
1 Orbital Bombardment: After deployment, they may make a single Strength 8 AP 3 Ordinance Large Blast shot at their opponent’s force before the game begins. The shot scatters 3d6 on a miss, with no reduction in range.
2 Command and Control: Randomly determine one HQ choice for this army after deployment (across all FOC’s and formations). That HQ choice gains the “objective secured” special rule for this battle.
2 Glorious Commander: Their warlord is able to have two warlord traits for this battle. Roll once for each. If the warlord has re-rolls, or a required trait, they only apply to the first trait. They may choose from two separate tables if they wish.
4 (Crusade of Fire and Defenders of the Sun only) Death Incarnate: You have hired a single assassin (Eversor, Vindicare, Callidus, or Culexus) which joins your forces for the battle
4 (Servants of Ruin only) Daemonic Nexus: You may field an additional unit of daemon troops (up to 150 points) with your army for free, counted as its own detachment.
4 (Prophets of War only) Engines of Vaul / Earth Caste Production: You may field an additional vehicle (up to 150 points) from your primary detachment’s army book with your army for free, counted as its own detachment.
4 Hunker Down: You may field one Fortification choice (up to total 200 points) for free for this battle
7 Shipboard Raid: Using this “reinforcement” the player gets to play an alternate mission: “Shipboard Raid”, which will be revealed only when this is first chosen. Players should notify the GM’s in advance when they intend to undertake this mission.
7 Critical Experimentation: Using this “reinforcement” the player gets to play an alternate mission: “Defend the Lab”, which will be revealed only when this is first chosen. Players should notify the GM’s in advance when they intend to undertake this mission.