Monday, April 10, 2017

Holy crap this dude is still alive?!

Hello there fellow wargamers and hobbyists and welcome to a long over-due post up here at Wargamer Ramblings!  Good Lord it's been so long, last year even!  So what's has been going on down here in our local community?  Why haven't I posted since December of 2016? What have you been doing?!

Well let me be real with you all.  My motivation to blog waned a lot mid-December and onwards because of my current work schedule.  I had a lot of time to catch up on a lot of modeling and painting sure, but I just didn't feel the spark if you will.  For those who don't know I work in emergency mental health and it's been a pretty heavy set of months since I started back on shift work.  It's been a hard ride and so to keep myself going I've had to scale back on getting stuff done like blogging and painting sadly.

Now that's not to say that it has stopped me from enjoying the hobby completely.  On the contrary there has been some serious motivation going to get a couple new armies started and I've been doing my fair share of reading up on new releases.  The local community has been doing some Blood Bowl as of late and historically it's not a game I'm interested in but some of the game reports have gotten piqued.  I've been keeping up with Dark Age releases and I've been watching the growing rise of Games Workshop coming back into the light of the community.  It's been an interesting turn of events these past months.

I managed to get some hardcore painting in shortly before "going dark".  As I said my scheduled changed pretty hard and so during some of the weeks where I had motivation I was able to get almost all of the Alchemists and Morticians painted.  Except for vKatalyst and vGraves they are all painted up, including my starter Butchers and Fishermen.  It was pretty cathartic to paint and I slipped off from getting it done regularly.  That's probably why I've been feeling more stressed lately to be honest, but that's another story for another time.

Also I have a confession to make (it feels like a confession because of how I've felt about the company for a long time) but I have spent money on GW products! *le gasp~* That's right, my heart has been softening and I've been eyeing up some of what GW has been making.  I've started sipping on the Kool Aid if you will.  I've been impressed with what I've seen and while I can't say that I fully trust them like I did as a wee lad, I've been able to be ok with what I've purchased.  Traitor's Legion is pretty legit, though the CSM base codex still needs a new edition, and the new White Dwarfs that have been coming out are actually worth reading.  Additionally I've been eyeing up on starting a 30k Legion force and aligning myself to the Thousand Sons.  Finally...I bought an Age of Sigmar army.  That has been a pretty big change of heart considering how I've had some strong negative feelings on this game.  I went with the Ironjawz to be exact, and my plan is for them to be undead Ironjawz raised in the aftermath of some fight in the vampire realms.  So I've managed to do some conversion work on them, but I've not been able to apply any paint just yet.

So there we have it.  Still alive, still kicking, just not typing as much as I used to.  Hopefully that will change but if you don't hear from me in awhile it's that dang work schedule again!  Until then game well, and may your dice roll well my friends.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ah yes a general update post for the weeks mmmyes.

Hey there fellow wargamers and welcome to another set of ramblings here at Wargamer Ramblings and I hope you are having a great time this day/eve/morn!  Things have been plodding along with war games in general in my household with no major updates so I'm just going to bumble a bit about what's been going on in general.  Let's get rolling!

So as you all know I've been painting up some Algoryn for Gates of Antares and I've got to say I'm pretty pleased with the overall results.  When I came up with this color scheme I was thinking to myself "like blue grey, like what Space Wolves should be but not so...pastel like?" One thing I've been getting annoyed with are my brushes which seem to make highlighting a bit more of a pain.  It goes to show just how important your tools can be.  So that's something I've been looking into upgrading but in the meantime I am using what I've got to the best of my abilities.
Right before it puts the wash on its skin it gets the highlights again
The only thing I've not been too thrilled with have been the Algoryn heads, the artichoke if you will.  The second squad has fared much better with the added drybrush layering than I did before but still I very much prefer the helmets to the heads.  I've also been rather fond of the snow effects and they've been incredibly easy to pull off.  After painting up the bases I just slather on some water effects from Woodland Scenics and spoon on some snow.  Let it dry and bam! Snowy bases!  For my sake I put some of the water effects into dropper bottles I grabbed from Hobby Lobby since the original bottle was meant for larger projects and as a result it's done wonders for my basing.
Le finished product~
Aside from Gates of Antares I've been excited for the release of season 3 for Guild Ball! Yaaaay Guild Ball!  They didn't change a lot to the game to disrupt the flow and feel but added some quality of life changes to keep things balanced.  I for one have been poring over the new stat cards and for some teams there haven't been a lot of changes but some models have had some work done.  I'm looking forward to testing out the new Katalyst and Midas models for the Alchemists and Bonesaw for the Mortician's got a lot more attractive in my eyes with his 'Football Dervish' rule.  I might do a post here in the near future about some of the changes but for the most part I'm hoping to get more games in general.
New Guild? Do you even farm bro?
Speaking of getting in more games I've got a couple of scheduled games here in the near future with a couple of gents from the Wise area for some Mk 3 Warmahordes.  I think I'm more excited about getting the games in than I do the game itself, but it'll be good to dust off some of the models and throw down.  I've been out of touch with Warmarhodes in general since my last game with Kevin.  I don't know there's just something about the game that hasn't thrilled me like Guild Ball has, but I'm confident I'll have fun either way.  Just have to figure out which force I want to bring with me on Thursday...Cryx maybe?
How I generally feel about WM/H
Finally there's been some chat in the group about getting into Age of Sigmar more with the upcoming releases of the new starter boxes for the factions.  I've got to admit I've been more and more drawn to it, primarily because of these guys here and here, and the new Ironjawz big starter is not a bad price for GW.  Have I committed to Age of Sigmar yet?  Not yet, but I think once some more projects of mine get smaller and completed there's a real chance I will be getting into it.  I do love the old Black Orc models and so a full force of Ironjawz (which c'mon, they're the same) has some great appeal.  Plus I've already came up with a couple color schemes in mind so painting them won't be too bad.
What the hell kind of name is Orruk?
That's about it for what's been going on, it's feels like a whole lot of nothing substantial but things have been progressing here and there.  Also holy crap I just realized we are close to this blog's 1 year anniversary too!  Geez I better come up with something to thank you all huh?  Well I'll think about it, and until then you all have some happy holiday time and wargaming in general!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dusting off the airbrush and painting skills for some Algoryn

Good tidings to you my fellow gamers and fans of the Gates!  It's been awhile since I've posted up some stuff but life has been changing up for me and so I've not done anything worth mentioning.  Until now.  I've dusted off the paints and brushes.  So after assembling and priming up the Algoryn force (save for 1 Avenger which is incoming) I'm ready to get them started!

So for this color scheme I wanted my Algoryn to be a reflection of the planet/moon they are currently stationed at. In our local gaming group we've got a system we're fighting in and my troops have landed on Mote 218 "a cold world with a rocky, permafrost riddled surface, and liquid oceans buried deep below the surface" per the group description. My group I've decided are part of a secretive, kind of black-ops, sort of government program that are sent off to do things like guard research stations or commit genocide to indigenous life-forms if need be. Still they are Algoryn so the color scheme needed to be somewhat blending in with the world they are fighting on. So let's look at where things went.

So I am going to start off by airbrushing the Algoryn which should save me a load of time off of basecoating.  I am starting off with Badger Minitaire's Raven Black, followed with Royal Blood, and then thinning down some of GW's Fenrisian Grey.  I like this progression because it the undercoats will influence the Fenrisian Grey towards a cooler shade without being overt.  Pictured above is also the edge highlighting color, Ulthuan Grey.

Here's my airbrushing setup, I am going to try out the paint station I have since it has a intake fan and hopefully it'll help catch some paint so it doesn't go on the apartment walls.  For the airbrush I am using a Grex, forgot the model but it is a gravity well type.

Here is the first coat with Raven Black.  As you can see it is not a pure black per se but it has a slight grey tinge to it.  I like it as it isn't a pure black which always looks odd, but also where the main color is a grey shade it will flow together.

Next up we have the next layer of Royal Blood, which is a dark blue surprisingly.  This undercoat should serve to bring out the Fenrisian Grey's blue tint without it turning into the half-half blue/grey that they use for the Space Wolves.

 It's a bright picture but this is the Fenrisian Grey in action.  As you can see it is a lighter grey with a hint of blue and I think the Royal Blood undercoat helped solidify that hint.  Unfortunately as it was a GW paint thinned down with some Liquitex Airbrush Medium I needed to apply some additional coats.

 So I skipped a few steps but I will catch you up.  So here we can see I did some edge highlighting of the armor with Ulthuan Grey.  Now this grey is a pretty stark contrast to the Fenrisian Grey as it does not share a blue tint but is pretty close to being a white without being pure white.  So after the edge highlighting I took some GW's blue wash, whatever the name is, and applied it pretty liberally to the armor.  This not only helped deepen the recesses but also brought the colors together to come up with what you see above.

For the metal bits I started off with a dark brown because I knew I was going to contrast the armor with a warmer color.  With metallics I wanted to incorporate copper for the leg wiring and I wanted to also use that in conjunction with the silver on the weapons.  Unfortunately I skipped some more steps so here's the finished product:

As you can see I definitely skipped some steps but the overall result I am pleased with. I went ahead post-picture and re-drybrushed some color on the artichoke heads (that's why they are so green!) and edge highlighted the weapons with some bright silver. The bases I mixed some modelling snow and water effects together and sort of lumped them on. Overall a pleasant success for a day of painting!

There we have it! Next time I hope to snag some more pictures of the steps I skipped, but if you want to know specifics feel free to leave a comment below! Until then happy gaming fellow wargamers and Gates fans!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Putting together some Algoryn for my Gates

Greetings and salutations fellow wargamers!  I hope you’ve been enjoying your time doing whatever it is you have been up to lately.  Which is precisely why I am going to talk a bit about a recent project of mine that I’ve been doing.  I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted any WIP or battle reports and it seems to be a lot of reviewing, but fear not!  Today I am going to go into some of my recent Gates of Antares work with my Algoryn!  Here we go!
The bulk of the glorious Algoryn force
In our local gaming group we’ve had a couple of gents, Mike and Clayton, who have been bringing word of this game to the masses.  At first I was hesitant because I didn’t see a lot of difference in the models or the appeal in the gameplay.  Well long story short their games and stories coupled with some maneuvering led me to become intrigued and eventually a full buy in.  I settled on the Algoryn faction because I found their pragmatically Spartan feel and the overall militarized theme appealed to me so I decided that would be the group for me!

Here they are assembled but still needing a bath
So I started with the 500 pt Patrol force which gave me a pretty good backbone to go with but I knew that I wouldn’t be satisfied with just that.  At the time I decided to buy in Warlord had released several other models for the range including the 2 models that did it for me: the Drop Capsule and the Mag Mortar.  It’s like they knew that in another sci-fi war game I loved the idea of troops dropping in pod like vehicles and also bombarding them with artillery!  Well at the time of this write-up I couldn’t grab some Drop Capsules like I wanted and instead I focused on getting the troops necessary.  From Warlord I ended up getting a few things including several drone/probe types for whatever my forces might need.
So clean, so shiny!
One thing that I found the Algoryn have are a lot of good support choices in the army, so with in mind I went ahead and grabbed as many weapon teams as possible.  Additionally I felt that 2 AI squads, while a good start, would not be enough to hold the line.  So I grabbed one more and rounded it off with an extra trooper so that I had maxed out units.  I liked the idea of the AI Assault Squad and Infiltrators so I went ahead and grabbed a unit each as well.  Now for my weapon teams I ended up with at least 2 of: X-Launchers, Mag Light Supports, Plasma Cannons, and Compression Cannons.  I would have liked a Plasma Light Support but the model is not out yet so alas I have none.  Additionally I grabbed a Medic Team because hey those two can keep us alive a bit more on the field.
Getting those winter/ice bases ready
Now in terms of everything else I can only take 1 tactical choice so I didn’t go overboard with my Mag Mortars so I grabbed one and a Compression Bombard for variety.  I did end up getting a group of skimmers but being on squads of 3 and no more or less, and only 1 squad unless you take a skimmer command as well, I went with only the one.  Additionally I am waiting on Warlord’s package to come in before I can also bring to bear an Avenger Wing as well.  I would like to see how these vehicles come into play in terms of battlefield efficacy and I think given some field testing I might be interested in investing in more of the skimmers.
Here they are ready to be primed up
So that sums up what I’ve invested into and assembled for now, once I get my package in I should have those elements added in as well.  I’m hoping in the near future I can get a bit more into the color scheme and maybe toss out a bit of the lore I’ve developed.  So this is what is keeping me busy, so I hope your own projects are going well also.  Until then fellow gamers happy gaming and good luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tick-tock, tick-tock, you forgot this guild: the Engineer's Guild!

Good day to you fellow war gamers and welcome to another Wargamer Ramblings post!  So not too long ago a friend of mine, Josh over here at the Ordinary Wargamer, pointed out that I had forgotten a guild for Guild Ball!  Looking back I did forget a guild, I forgot the Engineer’s Guild!  So I apologize for you Guild Ball fans out there, people interested in the Engineers, or players of the Engineers!  I truly just forgot to write up on them, so without further ado let’s look at the Tinkers and as usual stat cards can be found HERE.

So the Engineers are a secretive bunch who have secrets upon secrets and like to build and work things, much like an engineer (hurr hurr hurr)!  Like many guilds they have their own agenda to play out while keeping a public fa├žade of service with new technological developments and clockwork wonders.  On the field they remind me of how one would play the Convergence of Cyriss in Warmachice.  The activations need to be precise and the pieces of the machine need to work together flawlessly in order to succeed.  I could be wrong but I get the feeling that a wrong move could spell disaster for the Engineers.  Despite being unforgiving in some respects, a good Engineer player will be able to pull off some nasty moves and devastating plays.  So let’s look at the players of the team shall we?
Guild Crest
Ballista is the season 1 captain with a pretty good stat line and several momentous plays in his playbook.  Generating momentum with him shouldn’t be a problem with a lot of dodge results requiring 2-3 hits per play.  His character plays focus on a mix of support and ranged effects.  He can grant a jog move to another friendly model with ‘Second Wind,’ he can ‘Deadbolt’ someone to push them back 2”/with knockdown/3 damage.  Finally he can use ‘Flurry’ and drop a small area of 2 damage to the target and those within 2” of it.  He has Tough Hide to help with defense but he maintains a 4” aura that help generate more MP if a friendly generates a hit with a character play that causes damage.  Finally his legendary play ‘Mine Field’ is an 8” aura that causes 1 DMG per enemy reposition, and if they start or finish their advance in the aura they take 4 DMG.  Quite a nasty play if you rely on those a lot, right Fishermen?  Now Pin Vice, the season 2 captain I will get to in a bit because of her rather interesting take on the game.
Starter box with: Salvo, Ballista, Velocity
I am going to first talk about the human players of the Engineer’s Guild and it’ll make sense in a bit why.  Salvo is a winger with a nice stat line that can be used for scoring a goal in a pinch.  Her playbook is a little underwhelming at first and you’ll only generate MP with 2-4 results and they are when you tackle or a reposition.  She has ‘Kick Bolt’ and ‘Floored Bolt’ for her character plays which does a 3” push/2 DMG, and 1 DMG/Knockdown respectively.  She can use the Bonus Time! Ability once per turn for free and she can make a 1” dodge if causes damage.  Ratchet plays as a defensive midfielder with a decent stat line to suggest that he can also do a good job passing the ball back to where you need it to go.  His playbook is rather unassuming and his character plays are a toolbox.  He can heal a friendly Mechanica model for 2/remove all conditions, throw the ball 12” to a target spot with a scatter, or toss a rough-ground causing AoE within 10” that also deals 2 DMG.  Once per turn he can bring back to life Mainspring, one of the mascots, for 2 MP and for his heroic play he can cause a friendly Mechanica model to Sprint/Charge for free on their turn but they are then taken-out.  Engineer plays can also take Compound, a dual faction model for the Engineer’s and the Alchemists.  As I spoken about him before in a previous post, click HERE if you need to read up on him.  Colossus rounds out the last human player, but he is also a Mechanica model as well.  He’s quick to move, easy to hit, has 20 hp, and has a wide range of options for his playbook.  His character plays allow him to push models 2” when he makes base contact with them and if he can score a GB icon (which only takes 1 hit) he can grant his target a -4/-4” to their Kick.  For being a giant spider Mechanica he ignores the first tackle result on him, ignore rough-ground penalties through terrain and has ‘Tough Hide.’  As a central midfielder Colossus has a lot of variety to make him useful for a variety of situations.
Left to right: Colossus, Mainspring, Ballista, Salvo, Ratcher, and Velocity
So now let’s talk about the other Mechanica models.  Season 1 Velocity is a striker type with some really solid striker stats sporting a move of 6”/8” and a kick of 4/8” giving her a base 16” goal threat range.  Her playbook has a lot of reposition effects with dodges/pushes and her character play ‘Nimble’ bumps up her DEF from a 5+ to a hard 6+.  Additionally she has ‘Reanimate’ and ‘Close Control’ bringing her back to life once per turn with 3 hp and also ignoring the first Tackle each turn.  Season 2 Velocity is now upgraded to a goalkeeper but she can also adapt to be a striker instead.  Her stats are solid for her role and her playbook focuses on repositions and taking control of the ball.  Her character plays grant her +2 TAC or she can GB icon it up to give her target -4/-4” to their kick.  If she wants to play goalie she can stay within 4” of the goal marker and make the TN to score a goal go up by 1, and if they fail she automatically gains control of the ball.  She can ditch those two abilities to increase her move by 1 and she gains ‘Unpredictable Movement’ making it harder to catch her.  So depending on your need she can switch it up.  Hoist has a stat line similar to Season 2 Velocity and his playbook also has a wide range of options.  Unlike Velocity his adaptability comes from being able to replace his only character play, ‘True Replication,’ with that of another model for the rest of the game.  He also comes with ‘Tough Hide, Reanimate, and Sturdy’ making it hard to take him down.  While his ‘True Replication’ hasn’t been used he gains a slight buff to holding more INF.
So the two mascots for the Engineers are both Mechanica.  Mainspring can rush up the field and with his character play kick the ball a bit better, but if he’s taken out then he explodes in a 3” pulse that deals 3 DMG and puts the fire condition on people.  Now Mother is an interesting one because while her stats are similar to that of a mascot she plays around with the field using her nest markers.  She can have up to 3 at a time and she can drop one each turn within 6”.  Her character play allows her to teleport to a nest marker destroying it in the process or she can use them as proximity mines and put burning conditions on those within 1”. 
I am a fan of the blue/yellow combination, courtesy of Steamforged's dafruk

Aight so let me finish this article off with the Season 2 captain, Pin Vice.  She is mobile with a high move and the rest of her stats are common for the team captains.  Her playbook has a lot of options with several generating MP but she does not deal out a lot of raw damage.  What she does is interact with Mechanica models to do her bidding.  For a heroic play she can spend one MP to make all models on the team count as Mechanica.  Each character play when used will inflict 3 DMG on them at the end of the turn but she will instill them a boon by doing so.  She can grant someone +2”/+2” to their move, grant someone +1 DMG to their attacks and character plays while allowing them to use ‘Bonus Time!’ once without spending MP, or (and this is solid) they can activate after Pin Vice is done if they’ve not activated already.  Let’s look at her legendary play as well.  When used she will grant all Mechanica models an oil-marker which allows you, upon a successful pass, to immediately use the oil to make another pass without INF.  So if played right you can make a series of passes, all in succession, for free.  Need to get a final goal for the win and you have a good setup? Use this ability to get that goal in!  As a captain she is focused on pushing her machines to the limit but there are a lot of tricks available if you build a team around her strategy.

Another fine paintjob courtesy of Dark Iron Studios
So there we have it, the Engineer’s Guild!  I think now….let me make sure…yes now I am done with the Guild Ball teams!  Once again I apologize for leaving this team out, there’s a lot of potential in them and I didn’t want someone to think that by leaving them out they were a less viable option.  I just dumbly forgot!  Anyways have a good wargaming time fellow gamers and happy gaming!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Taking a look at my personal inventory and re-evaluating my gaming life

Good day to you my fellow gamers and welcome to another segment of Wargamer Ramblings!  So now that we’re done talking about Guild Ball for a bit (not completely done mind you, just taking a breather) I wanted to write up this little article.  I was inspired by my two friend’s blogs who wrote something similar, and I’m sure you’ve all seen an article of it before, but I wanted to take a moment and put that reviewing lens on my own life….

That’s right ladies and gentlemen I’m going to look at all the games I’m in, have/had armies, or expressed an interest in.  Let’s be real with each other, there are a lot of games out there in the table top miniature world and there are a lot of communities growing for each game.  As my friend Clayton has said before (paraphrased here) we live in a golden age of gaming where there are a lot of games, a lot of rule inspirations/copying, and many ideas being thrown around.  It’s a good idea from time to time to sit down and examine where we are at in this hobby so we know what we love, why we love, and who we love.  Let’s get started in no particular order, and by the way these are just opinions so if you don’t agree that’s ok with me J This might be a hefty ready again so please get a drink, snack, turn on some music and enjoy!

Hoo boy I wanted to start off with this one given its prolific presence in our community.  It used to be said that no matter what game you played, any wargamer had a 40k army in their collection and for most I would say it still holds true.  This game has a place in my heart because of my long history with the world of 40k and it being my first foray into plastic crack.  From the start with Space Crusade to my very first army of Blood Angels, 40k and its lore has history with my soul.  I’m sure it’s the same for others too, many people I’ve spoken to have strong opinions of 40k regardless of where those opinions may lie.  So chances are you will likely get a strong opinion when you bring up 40k at your LGS.

So where am I with this game?  Well at best I can say is that I have 2 active armies and would still play a game with someone, but it’s been a long time since I purchased anything 40k related or even invested much time into.  Not only because of my perceived price-to-model ratio being poor but also because I am frustrated with GW as a company in general.  I am not a fan of the choices they are making lately in terms of model aesthetics (I cannot stand the genestealer cult) and I find it really difficult to connect with some of the models being released.  Additionally it doesn’t seem like there is any sense of how they update the rules/armies except for whatever sells more, which in the scope of the industry is not really that appealing.  For a guy who loves Chaos Marines, having most other armies updated to 7th edition (and a couple of new “factions” released) whilst not seeing anything coming your way can get frustrating and really discouraging.

A couple things that has been bothering in a mechanical sense was the way that turns went and the low dice variance scores.  For one I no longer am a fan of the you-go-I-go mechanic as much as I used to be.  I’ve seen waaaaaaaay too many games dramatically shift in turn one when X blows up Y number of units or takes out prize model Z because my gun/unit/deathstar is so super effective~! One game in particular stands out when I saw a Blood Angel drop pod assault take out half of a Tyranid force in turn 1.  Fluffy? Yes.  Fun? Not for the other person receiving the shafting.  As for dice variance I think that in a world of genetically altered super humans and daemons and monsters, having a d6 to rely on for variance is no longer sufficient.  It doesn’t take into account the various differences inherently with each model, or possible environmental situations, and I feel like continued adherence to an old system stifles what could be an otherwise and improved and amazing game system.  So for me to come back I think if they maintained the scale of combat but just revamped the rules, including all the damn armies, to streamline then it would be worth taking another look at it with my wallet.

This is a game I’ve been recently getting into and for many, including myself, it’s becoming the replacement game of 40k.  I mean let’s be real, one of the designers is Rick Priestly.  It’s a game that has a lot of the elements and scale of 40k, has with vehicles and squad combat and other weapons of war, but set in a less grimdark and a harder sci-fi spin on things.  I find the lore to be in a way liberating because the background fluff allows it to be so.  Initially I wasn’t really into this game because I didn’t find the model aesthetics to be that great.  That is until they started to come out with more models and the divergence became more apparent and appetizing.  Now I can see how the different factions look on a whole and it’s starting to look more appealing with each release.  I just fell in love with the Spartan feel that the Algoryn bring to the table and so….

Now I am fully committed (also in part due to my gaming group getting into it hardcore) and have a soon to be functioning Algoryn force.  I am a fan of their dice mechanics and their turn system which I feel is a better representation to the battlefield and offers greater variance on the models.  Using the d10 system you can have models with obvious strengths and weaknesses that actually matter on the field instead of it boiling down a simple d6.  Also the randomized orders add a good element to the game because it at least gives you a chance to have that sense of control in a game and you don’t have to worry too much about being shafted turn 1, unless you have bad luck.  Which then the next game it might be completely different, which is better than having to worry if you get first turn or not every game!

I have a British army but I’ve not invested as much time or energy into it as some of my fellow gaming crew has.  When looking at it solely from Bolt Action’s perspective it’s a fun game yes, but I just don’t have the emotional investment into historical gaming.  I love WW2 stuff but for some reason it just doesn’t click in my wargaming.  With Warlord Games’ new introduction of the Konflikt rules and the alternative time-line bit going on, this might be a revived interest however.  I can feel it clicking more  The heavy infantry for what’s available out now looks great and I think with the quirky units coming out I feel like I can get in on this a bit more.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for what comes out for the British, but here’s hoping for some cool ideas and models in the near future! 

All right the next big game I’m invested in and that is Privateer Press’ Warmahordes.  I currently own a significant number of Protectorate models, a good number of Trollbloods, and a small Cryxian force.  I played a significant number of games in Mk 2 and participated in a few journeyman leagues as well as a couple steamrollers, so I’ve had some experience.  So here’s where I am with Warmahordes.  I still play it, it’s still fun, but the change from Mk 2 to 3 really felt more of a big rules errata than anything else.  Sure they changed the models around and increased/changed points so you could make more sense of it, but ultimately I still feel like we’re playing a shinier version of Mk 2.  It wasn’t a bad change, it just wasn’t a big enough change I suppose.  I guess in the end I was expecting some major changes but instead got a tweaked version of what I’m used to.  Not necessarily a bad thing, just a smidge disappointing.  Still it’s a good competitive game and a great game to organize tournaments around so I give it credit there, also still one of the best games to slow-grow into.  I still think the rule writing is one of the best in terms of clarity and comprehension and it has easily been the standard for which I judge other games in their rule composition.  Unfortunately the community has tunneled too hard on the competitive aspects of this game and so I tend to prefer playing with my friends who are not so focused on min-maxing or being hypercompetitive.  As a result of all this I feel like I am in this sense ennui when I think about this game.  Would I still play it?  Oh definitely.  Do I want to? Ehhhhh maybe.  Am I excited about future releases? Not really. 

Do I even have to go over this one?  Seriously I am in love with this game.  The rules are easy to grasp with a lot of depth behind it.  There is a lot of team variances that make playing each team different.  I am really intrigued by the game’s campaign/seasonal play and I wouldn’t mind trying this game out in that context.  They take into consideration team captains (i.e. players) doing the “wheeling and dealing” of the politics behind the scenes before a game is played.  The models are also pretty solid in regard to their sculpts and the different guilds each have their own thematic feel.  I like that it’s not super high-fantasy either and I enjoy the gritty medieval background.  Also I respect the company in that they have made efforts to get people to just play their game without any commitment to purchasing a single thing.  I mean how many companies do you know of that allow you print off paper models of their models, their tokens, and rules for free without charging you a thing for it?  I can’t think of anyone else, but Steamforged Games do.  They even put out a Vassal module so you can play online, and having tried it out it’s pretty solid! 

I love the idea of Infinity, I really do.  I also love the models, some of the best sculpts hands down. The background? Sci-fi warband battles with all kinds of crazy technology and cyberwarfare with vastly different factions, what’s not to love?  The problem is that I find the rules to be pretty hefty at times and sometimes it just hurts my brain.  Literally, thinking about the rules makes me go “uuuuuuuuugggh.”  It takes some dedicated time to learn the rules and then to implement them in games takes practice.  I think the moment I realized that the game was too hefty was when I tried to teach it to 2 friends of mine.  At first we struggled with a lot of stumbling with the rules, taking into consideration the different actions per order/gun distances/modifiers/die result/so on and then when my friend asked “hey I heard you can hack in this game right?” I sort of made an unnatural noise and well…we just moved on without hacking.  I love the models but I don’t think I can dedicate the time it would take to this game to master it.  It’s a great game if that is what you want but it’s a game you’d have to divert a lot of time to truly get good at, and to master the rules.  I respect anyone who does it because compared to me I would be a bumbling toddler.  Maybe I can do an occasional game or two but it’s otherwise really too big to mentally digest for my regular wargaming habitry. 

Another small skirmish game that I’ve been a fan of but set in a not-so-distant future.  I love the background story of collapsing nations and the subsequent uprising of mega-conglomerates with their spec-ops teams.  The game just went through a second edition and a lot of their rules have been updated with a pretty sleek and sexy rulebook.  Ironically my biggest gripe is that some of the rules can be unclear at times and sometimes it just seems that the editor didn’t do their job right.  Still the different MERCS teams available all offer different play options and each have their unique aesthetic which I love.  Still it’s a quick game with a bloody combat system that rewards smart play and it’s been a blast each time I’ve played.  Also it’s cheap as hell when you can get a whole faction for $35, score!  If the company continues supporting the game then I foresee some great potential.

I would love to get into Malifaux, but we don’t have the community to support it I’m afraid.  I love the card mechanic compared to simple die rolling (not that there’s anything wrong with dice) and the game play hits all the points on the list that I love.  Small scale/quickish battles? Check.  Models with some unique rules? Check.  Faction variance? Check.  Unique/quirk mechanics? Check.  Undead? Check.  I think Wyrd has done a great job with revising their game from the first edition and I think (from a distance) that this edition is pretty solid.  I like the quirky aesthetic they have going on with each faction and the feel of Malifaux’s models are enticing.  One thing that draws me in is how you develop an army list.  Instead of coming in with a list you generate like other games, instead you figure out your objectives first (which is done per player, so you each have different objectives) then you make your list.  So if you are playing an Arcanist faction but have more objective based goals then you might use a different crew of models than if you were wanting to kill everything on the table.  To me that’s pretty appealing and it encourages you to have a collection to draw upon should you come up with a different scenario.  Still without a local community to go off of I don’t think I’ll be getting into this game despite the appeal I have with it.

What’s to say other than that it’s a game I have an army for but probably won’t get much play out of it?  I think that the rules are pretty solid and well-written with a lot to offer for fans of old Warhammer Fantasy.  Unfortunately I think at this point there just isn’t enough of a fan base in my area to keep the engine running, and so despite having an army I don’t have the opponent to play.  I have played a couple games and I had a lot of fun, but without opponents it will be low on my list.  If you are interested the rules are free as is all the army lists and other bits!

So I wanted to mention this one as it was the successor to GW’s old WHFB line and for many people this major change has caused a lot of contention in the community.  I mean a lot of contention. I myself was initially part of the “burn everything related to AoS” group but now that the embers have cooled off a bit I’ve been taking a different look at the game.  The community who plays seem to really like this game and some of the new models coming out have been appealing to a degree.  I am careful with saying that last bit because of GW’s recent artistic direction and so I have reservations about future models.  That being said the recent release of the General’s Handbook has given me incentive to look into the game and so depending on our community I might dabble a bit into AoS…maybe.

I pretty much can sum up how I feel about this game in a sentence.  I have the models, I like playing the game, I don’t care enough about it to play outside of being asked or to sink more money into it.  That’s that!

So I am lumping up these two because not only are they from the same company and the same universe, but my feelings about them are also the same!  I think these games fill that sort of niche game fantasy of mine with epic scaled/space ship combat on a large scale.  I like the model aesthetics (especially for Planetfall) and I think the game system in theory would be fun and engaging to play.  With that in mind I am concerned about getting into these games for 2 main reasons: lack of community members and also a perceived lack of support from the company.  Now I can’t speak for Spartan Games but I honestly don’t know how much they are invested into Firestorm at this point.  To me it seems that they are all about the Halo game they have and coupled with their website design and low frequency of communication, I am left wondering if they left Firestorm on the backburner or not?  So I hope that they are invested somewhat into Firestorm so that my fears are to be assuaged and then potentially I could get into this game…one day.

I love the setting and the variance of models in Dark Age.  The background theme is sci-fi with wasteland warrior.  It also helps that the lore is pretty interesting and when you start getting into the storylines you get some pretty badass characters that you can bring to the table!  What I’ve enjoyed lately are the new model sculpts coming out that update the game and bring it in line with other models from other games.  I know a friend of mine enjoys the older sculpts but for me the updated ones are what will make this game more appealing for me.  One thing that I do love though is that each faction, and their various sub-factions, play differently and can accommodate different play styles.  That’s true for most games these days but for some reason I feel like it is a more prominent feature in Dark Age and is one of their selling points.  You can have two players both playing a Forsaken force but with different Saints and now each player is approaching the game from a completely different approach.  I have a small 500pt Kukulkani set but my heart is waiting for the new updated Ice Caste models as I believe I will enjoy their playstyle more, but I do like space Aztecs.

I am interested but I don’t know how much I like the models or the game system.  I think with new releases coming out I will have a better idea of if I can get connected with a faction or not.  Maybe I’ll get a demo and get a better idea of the game but I’ve heard good things about it from others so I am definitely willing to give it a shot.

This is a lot of games to go over, but not every game has been invested into and not every game I’ve invested to have current sway.  I’m sure if you were to take a look at your own list you’d have different thoughts and loves for each game, it’s what keeps us as a big community and powers our games along!  So what are your games and why?  Feel free to leave some of your thoughts and until then happy gaming out there!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The ragamuffins and outcasts here comes the Union Guild!

Good day to you my fellow Guild Ball players wherever and whenever you are, including YOU who might not have been interested but now you have been!  Welcome to another post about the last team I’ve got to examine (until new teams come on the field that is) and if you’ve been following the series you’ve probably noticed my lack of mention of them until now.  That is because we are talking about the Union team today and as per usual you can find the cards right HERE.

Dear reader I have to confess that this team has been the one team I’ve not looked forward to writing about from the beginning.  Let me explain.  Thematically this team is composed of the various rag-tag psychopaths and shady mercenary types that you can add to your guild roster in a game.  They can be used for whatever purpose you need them for but they can be fielded individually as well.  The thing about this team is that because of the nature of their role in the meta, each model has its own individuality and strengths to it.  So unlike the other guilds that sort of have a theme or a trend this group is full of special snowflakes.  If those special snowflakes actually did something and were murderous psychopaths.  Let’s get to digging!
The Union crest
Looking at the two captains we have Blackheart with some really good stats and playbook results and a nice ARM of 2.  He has the ‘Misdirection’ and ‘Commanding Aura’ character plays allowing him to steal influence from the enemy and buff TAC and damage against enemy models in his range.  His legendary play allows him, and friendly guild models in 8”, to receive a +1 to DEF or a 2” dodge.  Rage season 2 became a team captain and a murderous one at that.  His stats and playbook are aggressive and damage oriented.  His character plays allow someone to make a free attack, to receive a 2” dodge, or on a double GB result the target loses 1 INF.  He charges for free, receives an extra TAC against enemy Union models, and his first damage received each turn grants 2 MP.  His heroic play ‘Bloody Coin’ allows him to receive bonus TAC and damage when targeting someone who is already engaged.  His legendary play extends that bonus to friendlies in 6”.  So if you’re going for the take-out kind of victory Rage is definitely the kind of fellow you want in your arsenal to stack that damage up quickly.
A massive line-up left to right with: Minx, Hemlocke, Snakeskin, Fangtooth, Blackheart, Rage, Decimate, Mist, Gutter, and Avarisse/Greede
Moving on to the players starting with Gutter, her stats are oriented to being mobile and aggressive allowing you to move up the field quick and start getting some hits in.  She can ‘Chain Grab’ someone 4” to her and if she gets a single GB result in her playbook she can do a ‘Scything Blow’ for 3 damage in a 2” zone.  In addition she regains 1 HP each time she deals damage and she ignores 1 ARM.  Decimate has similar stats to Gutter with a slight buff to Sprint and TAC, but his playbook has several more dodge results.  He ignores 1 ARM when attacking and his character plays grant a friendly a free Jog, or with a ‘Thousand Cuts’ he puts a -2 DEF and deals 1 damage.  Decimate can set it up for other models to hit those more nimble targets dropping a 5+ down to a more manageable 3+.  Minx is a fast huntress whose kit is geared towards taking down a wounded prey as she charges for free, gains a charge bonus against damaged targets, and if they leave her melee zone then she can make a jog to them.  She can grant ‘Marked Target’ to help slower models get that charge boost in, and her ‘Screeching Banshee’ double GB play gives the poor target a -4/-4 MOV and 2 damage.  Hemlocke is a support model with a high MOV, low TAC, and high DEF.  Her playbook is minimal with only 1 potential damage coming out from her.  She can drop a ‘Blind’ on someone, heal friendly models in a 3” AoE for 2 hp AND remove any conditions on the affected (anti-alchemist say whaaat?), finally she can drop a 3” AoE with 2 damage and leaves the poison condition out on the field.  Oh and once per turn for free she can lose all conditions on her.  If she tries to leave on a parting blow her DEF goes up to 6+ initially.  What a crafty lady!
Your starter box with Gutter, Blackheart, and Decimate
Mist is a premier striker for the Union and his stats are reflective of being a nimble sort of lad.  His kick stat is great and he gains a lot of maneuverability from starting his move in cover which he can grant by dropping a smoke bomb on himself!  If he needs to start making some attacks on someone he can drop a smoke bomb on them and targets in cover he gains +2 TAC.  Rage is basically a beatstick with a high TAC and his playbook being filled with a lot of damage options.  He cannot be affected by other model’s character traits, can charge for free, inflicts the bleed condition on people he hurts, and if he does damage he gets to make one attack for free.  So if you’re rolling hot with dice (Scott I’m looking at you!) then Rage can pump out a sick amount of damage with only 1 INF given to him.  Granted that’s all that he can get but he can make it work.  Snakeskin is a charming lady with winger stats and a great ability to put some conditions on people while moving around the field easily, as she gets a free 2” dodge each activation and each person she damages is poisoned.  She has a good set of stats, good playbook, and can gain some added DEF with the ‘Nimble’ character play.  In addition she can make a ‘Clone’ of herself to help mitigate attacks, and against males she has an additional +1 DEF factored in.  Fangtooth is a big hunk of flesh and his stats are in line with that.  He is great at knocking people down with only 1 result and can grant bleed conditions with his GB character play, with ‘The Unmasking’ giving a 4” push with 3 damage on a double GB result.  He has a 3” aura of rough-terrain around him, ignores the first attack/character play against him, and his heroic play makes all friendly models in a 4” pulse take 5 damage for him to gain a +2/+2 MOV and +1 to his damage results.  A risky gambit unless you already have a strong lead ahead of the enemy and have nothing to fear from everyone taking 5 damage.
A close-up of the Avarisse/Greed oddity courtesy of Ridmasta over at Blood of Kittens
Greede and Avarisse are two models that need to be talked as together because they come together.  Greede is a striker who has 4 hp and comes attached to Avarisse.  Greede starts attached with Avarisse and in the maintenance phase he can either detach or reattach.  When Greede is detached from Avarisse he has a high kick die but low range and has a high playbook potential but average TAC.  His character plays can give him a 4” dodge and potentially grant a -4/-4 MOV and poisoned condition on 8 results.  Within 4” of Avarisse he gains +1 DEF, and if you’re feeling really bold you can take 3 damage for 3 TAC.  Avarisse’s stats are about average for a model of his health capacity and his stats favor being on the offensive.  His playbook has several options for dodges accompanied with damage so you can get a few punches in while moving up so that Greede can hop out of his harness…pouch…cage…whatever he’s in.  Snakeskin reminds me of a Alchemist in disguise and her stats are similar to other Alchemist guild members.  She has an average playbook with her momentous plays focused on her ability to tackle the ball out.  One thing of note is that anyone she damages, which she would only need 1 hit on 5 TAC dice, is now poisoned.  So you can easily toss a few conditions out there for little cost, otherwise she has an easier time dodging hits against males (due to her ‘Charmed’) and gets a free 2” dodge each turn.  Finally we have Harry the Hat who seems like a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ sort of fellow.  He has decent stats with none of them really standing out apart from 19 health, his playbook has a good mix of options albeit only 1 row, and his playbook grants him a couple options to either force a model to move to him through ‘Goad’ or he can drop a 3” burning AoE.  He can opt to take 3 DMG for 3 TAC and on the first time he gets damaged by an enemy model your team gets 2 MP.  Additionally his heroic play makes it so that anyone within 3” love his hat and gain a bonus to their TAC.  He’s got some Mortician stuff going on so if you need some of that manipulative ability then he’s your hat!
Some beautiful work done by JollyRoger Studio
Let’s take a quick look at the mascots.  Coin has stats similar of a mascot so there’s nothing special there.  What you take him for is the ‘Bag of Coffers’ which once per turn you can grant a friendly model 1 INF AND they get to use ‘Bonus Time!’ without spending MP.  This is a powerful ability for sure and the bonuses granted are nothing to sneeze at.  Strongbox is the turtle of the Union guild and his stats are pretty reflective of it.  His character play ‘Confidence’ allows you get a nice reroll on a friendly model’s next attack or character play (toss this on Rage on his charge and see what happens eh?).  He has ‘Tough Hide’ and ‘Shelling Out’ which lets friendly models who target an enemy model in this 4” aura gain +1 TAC and if they give a taken-out condition you gain +1 MP.  In my opinion Coin is probably one of the best mascots in the game and while Strongbox has a good supporting role I can see many people taking the snake over the turtle.

Well that sums up my examination of the Union team and all of the quick overviews for the teams in Guild Ball!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride along but dang this has been a lengthy article for me.  Next time we’ll talk about something else to give us all a break, am I right?  Until next time Guild Ball crew have a great time on the pitch!

p.s. I apologize for the long delay in making this article, a lot of real life stuff has popped up (and I’ve been addicted to WoW Legion) so hopefully I’ll be able to get back on a regular schedule and start pumping these out more.  Thanks for the patience!