Monday, 28 February 2011

White Dwarf - March 2011 Issue

Well the cover says it all!

As anyone that hasn't been living on Mars in the last month or so will be aware, March will see the release of the new Warhammer Army book for Orcs and Goblins - the first  army book to be released since 8th Edition came out last July. The various Warhammer forums have been a buzz with rumours and sneak peaks of some of the new models and this issue of WD sets the scene for the official release date of the new book on 5th March. My copy is on preorder as is a set of the Orc Magic cards - these sets seem to sell out really quickly and I have managed to get a set of all the cards released so far.

I have to say the new Arachnarok Spider kit looks totally awesome but I'm not so enamoured with the new Savage Orc warriors and Boar riders - (maybe that's just the prejudice coming out in me as I play Dwarfs in Warhammer).

50 odd pages are devoted to the Orcs and Gobboes in this issue, with an interview with the team behind the new army book (a hardback book for the first time), a 3 way campaign involving Goblins, Skaven and Dwarves, a battle report (in which the Orcs actually lose - something of a first for battle reports involving a newly released army - usually the reports like to show off the new army and have them winning the battle convincingly, although there have been a few ties in recent reports), a 'Eavy Metal gallery and workshop on how to paint the new models.

The rest of the issue had more info on the Dark Eldar and Blood Angels and even War of the Ring gets some love with a campaign based around the White Council's attempts to remove the Necromancer (Sauron) from his Dol Guldur fortress in Mirkwood - shades of the campaign featured in the Fall of The Necromancer book GW produced for the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game but here it has been sized up for WotR. And Jervis has some words of wisdom on the relationship between gamers and their dice. Have a read and see if you can spot yourself in one of the descriptions!

So lots of eye candy as you would expect from WD - I know it's not everybody's cup of tea and definitely one for the GW fanboys but if you are an Orc and Goblin player "Warhammer is coming Home!!"

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Warlord Freebies at Wayland Games!!

As you know Dear Reader I had blogged earlier about a fab offer that Wayland Games were running for Games Clubs by handing out free copies the Dystopian Wars Rulebook from Spartan Games.

Well now Wayland have teamed up with those spiffing chaps at Warlord Games and are offering free sprues of Warlord Figures to anyone who signs up to both the Warlord Games and Wayland Games newsletters.

Warlord Games produce a huge (and growing range) of 28mm figures covering the Ancient to WW2 periods and with scenery and vehicles to compliment their figures.

Wayland ran a similar, hugely successful promotion with Mantic Games last year so if you want to try before you buy, or simply want to suss out the offerings from Warlord Games sign up for the newsletters by following this link

Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Red Devils

No, not the Manchester United Football team, but the nickname given to the British Paratroop force during WW2.

As promised Dear Reader, here are some pics of the Valiant limited edition British Paras that arrived this week at Kingsleypark Manor.

Firstly hats off to Colin Rumford at Valiant. The order was placed on Sunday night and arrived Thursday morning - post free.

So what exactly arrived in the post? Well I had ordered the Rifle Group (8 figs in the pack) (as mentioned in my earlier post, also available are a command group and a support weapons group) but was very pleased to see that that they didn't just contain riflemen but also a bren gunner and a sten:

There are five different poses in the pack including the sten and the bren gunner, but (and as is the case with the Plastic Valiant figs) no firing poses. The poses, in fact, have been lifted straight from their Plastic British Infantry kit. I don 't know anything about the ins and outs of figure moulding but presumably they have used the masters for the plastic figs and adapted them slightly for the metal figs. Also the heads are separate so that gives a wee bit of scope to change the look of the figure with a choice of beret or helmet. However, although it was useful to have that option it would have been even better if perhaps a few extra heads could have been included in the pack - not everyone would have felt comfortable fighting with just a beret on their bonce when there is a lot of shrapnel flying about but with 3 beret heads included you will end up with quite a high proportion of that type of headgear in your force. And the sculpting of the heads, particularly the helmeted ones was a bit disappointing - the detail being a wee bit blurred on some of the faces.

Just a wee bit of cleaning up required, with some slight mould lines and a bit of flash on the end of the weapons - the latter being a wee bit tricky to clean up as you risk losing the forward sight of the Lee Enfield if you file a wee bit too vigorously!

The detail on the bodies of the figs is, however, good, with webbing and pouches on the whole cleanly sculpted although on those figs who are in the "advancing" pose (inc the sten), the detail on the back of the fig disappears a bit under the right arm and side but nothing too drastic. The  figs are clearly wearing the Denison Battle smock.

Size wise the figs are sold as 1/72nd. On measuring up the figs stand about 25mm from foot to eye:

So clearly way to big to be used with those figs that are sold as 20mm and as seen in my earlier post "A Question of Scale" larger than the figs sold by The Plastic Soldier Company which are also sold as 1/72nd scale.

They do, however, size up well against their Valiant Plastic brethern:
I'll hopefully get some of these guys painted up over the next few days so will post some more pics here although, I'm debating with myself (never a good sign) on the colours to be used for the smock.

Overall impressions? The figs are, in my opinion, well done with the minor quibble about the faces although I'll see how they look once they are painted up. Certainly they are a welcome addition to the Valiant range after such a long hiatus. It would have been good to get a few extra heads, just to avoid having so many of the troopers wearing their berets but I guess my major problem with the figs is the price.
They retail at £9.60 for the pack, admittedly they are post free but that works out at £1.20 per fig. The only figures that I know of a similar size (and have experience of) on the market are the Stargrunt figures sold by GZG and they retail at £1.00 per fig (although P &P has to be added). But compared to Valiant's own Plastic figs which sell at £11 for a box of 64 figs (that's 17p per fig!!), they are pretty expensive to say the least. Presumably Valiant have decided that the demand for the figures wouldn't justify the cost of tooling up a mould for Plastic figures but guys these are British Paras! Every WW2 nut would want to field these warriors but at a total cost just under £51 to field the equivalent of a battalion under Rapid Fire rules, it would make most people think twice when considering there are other cheaper options available. Having said that, given the size issues of the figures and the fact that they are not compatible with 20mm figs, if you already play with Valiant figs then they are your only option if you want to refight the Paras' famous battles in Sicily, Normandy and of course, Holland.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Gobboes, Trolls and Loonies........

Official sanity warning - the names of the Goblin Team players in the following report are the product of Ruarok's slightly imbalanced mind.

One of the intriguing aspects about Blood Bowl is the different teams available and how differently they all play.

Without doubt, one of the most colourful and thematic of teams but also damned difficult to play with are the Goblins. With stunty, dodging Gobboes, leaping Pogoers, ball and chain wielding pyschos, grenade launching loonies as well as a buzzing chainsaw warrior and not forgetting the ponderous, stupid, hulk of a Troll who, if he's feeling peckish might actually snack on one of his teammates, the team has a lot of weird things going on and getting them all to work in unison is a challenge.

So it was tonight when I stuck to my threat from last week of playing with Ruarok's Goblin team the "Red Eye Renegades" against Alan's Khemri team (now christened the "Time Sandits").

I have won with the gobboes before, although admittedly the first time I played with them, when we were still pretty ropey on the rules, the Gobboes were dodging, using their dodge rolls and if failing them would use a team re-roll, which of course, as we now know ain't allowed - you only get one chance on your failed dodge rolls Gobboes! And so it was that that curse came back to haunt me tonight.

The Khemri kicked off and then started knocking Gobboes off the pitch left, right and centre:

End of Gobbo turn 2 and already 3 Gobboes were off the pitch.

Although the Gobbo fanatic, Junkie Jack Flash, started off well with a couple of knock downs with his ball and chain, he then ran into a Tomb Guardian who knocked him flat on his back despite a uphill 2 die block and resulted in automatic KO for the fanatic. The Goblin ball carrier, Smiley Joe, had, at least been thrown successfully up field by the Renegade's resident Troll, Lord Omnomnom Nom the III without being eaten but not far enough to avoid being taken down by a couple of Khemri Skeles. And although the ball did the inevitable ping pong about the pitch, the Time Sandits were able to recover, move the ball down the pitch to the waiting Blitz-ra who shambled in for score despite the desperate efforts of Captain Pigeoneye to bring the Khemri down

The Khemri score at the end of their turn 5 to go 1-0 up. Captain Pigeoneye is languishing on the turf.

Still on the kick off, a riot resulted in the clock going back 1 turn, so there was time for the Gobboes to pull off something special. The Goblin Pogoer, Bertie Bouncer and his pet, Puffles the Squig, bounded into the Khemri half. Lord Omnomnom Nom the III, once again resisted the temptation to have elevenses and threw the Goblin ball carrier, Swishy, up field. Disaster!! The bouncing Goblin, instead of scattering into an empty square landed on top of Bertie, knocking both Gobboes flat on their backs and the ball spilling. Fortunately the Khemri could not take advantage of the comedy of errors and so the half closed 1-0 to the pile of bones.

The Gobboes kicked off the second half and fortuitous bounce saw the ball end up in the Khemri touchzone right in the corner. The Khemri Throw-ra moved back to pick the ball ready to pass before Bertie could bounce him down .

In the meantime the Gobbo Bomber, Santa Hussein, had managed to toss one of his grenades onto the Khemri scrimmage line, knocking over 2 of the Tomb Guardians. Then at the start of the Khemri turn 2, the Gobboes got their, if I do say so myself, one and only piece of good luck of the game. The Throw- ra, failed to pick up the ball, burned a re-roll, dropped the ball again for it to scatter off the pitch only for the ball to be thrown back on to the pitch to land 2 squares from the incredulous Bertie, who promptly bounced in, picked up the ball and bounced home for the equalising score.

The Goblin joy, however, was short lived as the casualty rate started to climb and on the Khemri's next drive they ground their way through (rather than round) the Gobbo line of defence. Desperate times required desperate moves on the part of the Gobboes and the inevitable dodge roll "1", re-roll dodge roll "1" started to happen time and time again and the impotent Greenskins could do nothing but watch as the Khemri ground home for their second score.

Gobbo turn 7 and there was one, faint chance to get back into the game. Only 7 Gobboes left on the pitch (the Troll by this time was in the hospital wing, although I have just realised I should have made a regeneration roll for the Troll - oh well when you're down and out everyone wants a piece of your ass), but if Arrer Head (he has an arrow sticking out of his head - don't ask) could dodge through the Khemri line of scrimmage and get down field there was the remote possibility of a pass and then a run into score on turn 8. But it was a big "if". Even allowing for the fact that Gobboes suffer a -1 penalty when throwing the ball, I was still relying on the Gobbo making the dodge roll and  of course the useless creature tripped over his own feet. With no chance of getting into a position to score in turn 8, the Gobboes trudged off the pitch in shame at their loss.

Actually, there should be no shame in losing with Goblins, because let's face it, that's what is expected to happen!

Next week though, Alan and I are going to skip Blood Bowl, to try out his new purchase - "Incursion" by Grindhouse Games. For those of you not in the know this is Grindhouse's boardgame based on their Alternative World War II rules set - "Secrets of the Third Reich". We had a quick run through the introductory scenario tonight before the Blood Bowl game and it seemed pretty simple to pick up the game mechanics.

Nazis, Zombies, mechanised Grunts and a pyschotic, German chick in fishnet tights. What more could you want in a game?

Return here next week Dear Reader to find out more.........

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Borissov Refight

Well Ruarok and I re-fought last night's scenario. This time we added another company of T-34's and infantry (albeit Conscripts) to the Russian forces and this time he remembered he had 2 artillery batteries to call in!

This time the Russian Infantry Battalion deployed in the forest in the North-eastern part of the table, out of line of sight of German Artillery Observers! And the Russian Artillery strike resulted in the German Infantry losing a base and also their HQ!

However, the Russian movement stalled on the first turn, with the Infantry HQ rolling a command blunder and the battalion required to move half a move to the rear.

With little to see the German FAO brought down his strike more in hope than with any expectation of success but did manage to take out the other Russian Infantry HQ.

The Panzers, which I had split into 2 commands, failed their command roll as did the infantry and only the CO's command had any success and they moved East.

End of the first turn- only the German CO showing any sign of initiative.

The Russian advance started in earnest on turn 2 with the tanks moving down the Highway, the infantry, however, lagged behind. This, however, worked to their advantage as it meant that the armour met the German forces head on while the Infantry sneaked their way down the Eastern edge of the board out of harm's way. We had decided that for the Russians to win they had to get at least their break point equivalent of units (13) off the Southern edge of the table.

The German FAO dropped his radio and would suffer a -2CV penalty next turn but the Panzer HQ got it's act together and with a command bonus move sent his tanks Eastwards to approach the Russians from behind the hill that ran along the edge of the highway. In the meantime the German CO's tank units scored their first kill on one of the advancing T-34's.

End of the German Turn 2. Then all hell breaks loose....

The next 6 turns saw a massive firefight taking place on the slope of the hill and the highway beyond, with tanks being knocked out, German Engineers bravely assaulting the Russian armour and the Russian SMG infantry dismounting from their T-34's to close assault the Panzers. By the end of Turn 7, all 7 German Panzers were knocked out, the German Engineers had been destroyed and 6 of the T-34's lay in ruins. The Russians had, in the meantime managed to get 3 T-34's off the Southern edge and their Infantry battalion had now emerged from the cover of the woods on the Eastern edge of the table.

The carnage on the Borissov-Cherven Highway

They made a desperate break for the Southern edge. The German FAO, however, now had them in Line of Sight and called in his battery, the first strike deviated off the table edge, the following turn, 4 of the Russian infantry bases and the HQ were suppressed but no kills. Same the next turn - suppression but no kills. In the meantime the company of Russian Conscript Infantry had been making their way westwards had engaged in a firefight with the advancing German Infantry. While the German Infantry HQ failed their command rolls, the Conscripts held their nerve and scored sufficient casualties on the Infantry to force the Germans through their break point threshold. And even though the Conscripts were eventually destroyed it was too little too late for the Germans who promptly failed their morale test on Turn 10 and broke.

So whereas last night the German Artillery won the day for them with their devastating strikes on the Russian Infantry in the first battle, tonight they fell well short of inflicting a similar crushing blow. The German Panzers performed better but perhaps the extra company of T-34's just helped tip the balance in favour of the Russians. That, and the fact that Ruarok kept his Infantry out of harm's way until those final crucial turns when the only thing that could stop them from reaching the Southern edge of the battlefield was the German artillery strikes which proved impotent in the end.

So another good game. Starting to get into the swing of the BKC2 rules although still forgetting to add the extra attack die when firing at less than half range!

So plenty of incentive to get the Brits painted up and match them against the Whermacht's finest!!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wayland Games

A special shout out to Wayland Games based here in the UK.

Not only do they offer discounts off the RRP of a variety of wargaming goodies, they are running a scheme whereby they are sending out a free copy of the Dystopian Wars rulebook by Spartan Games to any games club that registers with the company. Needless to say after a quick e-mail to the KWC secretary Dave T, he has just posted on the forums to advise that a copy of the aforesaid rules is now on it's way.

For more info follow the link to Wayland Games and sign up for their newsletter

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Breakout from Borissov

Well, with the painting of the Brits slowly progressing but no where near getting a Battlegroup together for a game of Blitzkrieg Commander II (BKC2),tonight Ruarok and I decided to adapt one of the scenarios listed on the Specialist Military Publishing website and pitted Ruaroks' Russians against the German force that I had borrowed from Cammie.

The date is July 1941. The German 18th Panzer Division has been tasked with clearing the Borissov-Cherven Highway. In response, the Russian High Command have instructed elements of the Moscow Motorized Division to break through the German lines.
The forces are deployed at the start of the game, looking South, the Russians are looking to push down the Borissov-Cherven highway and through the German lines.

In BKC2, artillery, in my opinion, can be devastating. However, for early war Russians, still recovering from the purges of the Red Army in the 1930's, artillery has to be pre-planned and as such they lose a lot of tactical flexibility. However, as Ruarok, knew roughly where the Germans were deployed and as he was going first, he scheduled his first artillery barrage to land on the hill in the South Western corner of the table, where the German infantry were deployed. Scheduled artillery lands on target - no deviation rolls required, so down came the first artillery stonk, a battery of 76mm artillery -

The result of the first Russian Artillery barrage -The red dice are suppression dice, the white dice are hits (but no suppression).

So although most of the German Infantry were suppressed, no bases were killed outright and as there were no other Russian units nearby to take advantage of the suppression, the counters were removed at the end of the German turn. It was only after the end of the game that Ruarok remembered he actually had 2 batteries available to fire so the stonk could have been a lot more devastating. In the meantime the Russian T-34's rushed down the highway, while the Russian Infantry moved up through the centre of the battlefield.

In response, the Germans moved their Panzers east, towards the Highway, with a view to setting up a firing line that would cover the southern exit of the highway.

The Russian advance down the Borissov-Cherven Road.

On the Russian turn 2, the advance continued but with the tanks moving off the road into a line abreast formation. The infantry advanced between the 2 woods into the open battlefield. The German Forward Artillery Observer rubbed his hands with glee and radioed his battery of 105mm's to bring down death and destruction on the Russian hordes. Unfortunately a piece of Frankfurter sausage from the FAO's lunch must have got into the works of the radio and the call did not get through so the embarrassed FAO spent the turn stripping down the radio and removing the offending crumb of sausage meat.

 The German Panzers, in the meantime, started to take up their positions to bring their firing arc onto the Highway and a few long range pot shots had the effect of suppressing the lead Russian T-34. However, when trying to roll for a second activation the Panzer HQ failed his roll, so no more firing took place and we were into turn 3.

Another round of scheduled Russian artillery came in but landed on an empty part of the battlefield, the Germans having inconsiderately moved. The Russian Infantry continued their advance, while the Russian tanks moved forward, and took out 2 of the German Panzers. The German opportunity fire was ineffectual at killing any of the Russian tanks, although a couple more became suppressed.

Fortunately, at the start of the German third turn, the FAO did manage to get his radio working and this time the 105mm battery briught down their fire on the Russian Infantry, killing 2 bases outright and suppressing another 5 bases. The German Infantry started to advance out of their positions to try and take advantage of the suppressed Russian infantry. The German Panzers, however, continued their ineffectual fire against the T-34's, only suppressing 1 and acheiving no kills.

Position at the end of the German Turn 3.

The Russian turn 4 saw the T-34's push forward and take out another Panzer. The infantry were, however, effectively pinned as a result of the German artillery fire so the German Turn 4 saw the FAO bring in another stonk of fire on the infantry, this time with devastating effect taking out 5 of the remaining Russian Infantry bases as well as destroying the Infantry HQ base. The German Infantry also opened up and accounted for another 2 bases. All the German Panzers, could do in support, however, was suppress 2 of the T-34's.

The Russian Infantry threat has all but disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Turn 5 saw the Russian tank HQ roll a command blunder (a "12") and the resulting roll on the Command Blunder table saw all units under his command make a full move forward and no further action could be taken. The Russian CO then followed suit with his own Command blunder roll. This resulted in his Command Value (CV) being reduced by -2 for the rest of the turn and the next - this had significant consequences for the next turn as will be seen.

End of Russian Turn 5.
The German turn 5 saw another artillery barrage take out the last Infantry base and with it the Russians had reached their break point threshold. The German Infantry then started to swing west to support the so far ineffectual Panzers, who finally on this turn managed to take out their first T-34.

With their break point reached and the Russian CO on -2 CV, the Russians were on a shaky morale roll, which Ruarok duly failed and the Russians broke, and thus the Germans had thwarted the breakout attempt.

This was only my 4th game of BKC2 and the lack of familiarity with the rules did slow the game down a bit and also led to a number of errors being made through the game - Ruarok forgetting he had 2 artillery batteries, I forgot that units got an extra attack die when firing at less than half range as examples. We also discovered that we had been playing the suppression rule incorrectly when caused by opportunity fire. In the rules when a unit is suppressed by opportunity fire (ie when it has been fired on by an enemy during it's own turn) any suppression marker is removed at the end of the unit's current turn. We had been playing that the suppression remained all through the enemy turn and was only removed at the end of the unit's following turn- much more restrictive that is intended by the rules.

Having said that, I think once you get familiar with the rules (and to be honest it is not a lengthy rule set - most of the pages in the rule book are taken up with the army lists) I think the game plays fast and is entertaining. It may not have the detail that some gamers require - usually a unit is hit on 4,5 or 6 most armour saves on a 5 or 6 (later heavy tanks can also save on a 4 and some on a 3!) and Infantry get no saves at all. The ability to be able to command a formation to do several things in succession during a turn can be devastating. Equally, the curse of the failed command roll at just the wrong time can scupper any general's best laid plans.

Although BKC2 discourages using forces that are "balanced" in terms of point values, after the game on adding up what points values we had been playing with we discovered that the German force amounted to 1885 points and the Russians only 1545. We have left the table up and intend to reply that scenario again tomorrow night (and hopefully remembering more of the rules) but as the Russians are effectively the attackers, I'm going to suggest to Ruarok that they have a couple of more tank companies, just to raise their breakpoint threshold and see if that makes a difference. The scenario is scheduled to last 20 turns and our game tonight ended at the start of turn 6 so hopefully the addition of a few more Russian tankies might encourage Ruarok to keep his infantry out of harm's way and let his armour do the damage.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

I Spoke too Soon.......

Well, well, well.

Avid readers of these ramblings will recall my comments in "A Question of Scale" about Valiant Miniatures  not producing any new sets of figures for ages.

So what have they gone and done? Released some metal Limited Edition 1/72nd scale British Paras, namely, HQ group, rifle group and support weapons group.

2 points immediately leap out - first, they are British Paras and as such conjures up images of re-fighting the daring but ultimately futile Market-Garden campaign. I first read Cornelius Ryan's "A Bridge too Far" over 30 years ago and was one of the first in the queue at the local cinema when the film was released in 1977.

Second, the words "limited edition". So how long they will be available?

Much as I would like to think Colin Rumford has been reading my blog and decided to remedy my quandary about whether to stick with the Valiant figs that I have already purchased by releasing these figs, clearly he has been working away on some figures for the range for sometime. Although there are no pics of the Paras on the Valiant site, he has posted a shot of a work in progress on a German Infantry wagon set. Very unusual topic, but as all students of German forces in WW2 will know, the Germans relied heavily on horse transport.

The work in progress German Infantry Wagon set from Valiant Miniatures (Copyright © 2007-2011 Colin Rumford)

The other point is that these figs are metal, so it will be interesting to see how well they scale up against their plastic brethern. I've ordered a rifle group meantime to see for myself so fear not dear reader I will post pics once they arrive.

Also noticed that the Valiant range now seems to be owned outright by Colin Rumford. Presumably Julian Blakeney-Edwards is concentrating on his Victrix range of figures and has come out of the Valiant altogether. Perhaps this means more Valiant goodies to come soon??

I will keep you posted dear reader.

Friday, 18 February 2011

The Dull Desperadoes

I have a love-hate relationship with my Dark Elf Blood Bowl Team, The Drow Desperadoes. When they play well they can be devestating, with their Agility ("AG")4, good armour and speed. But when they play badly  - man it can be hard work and the "1" on that D6 just seems to turn up at the wrong time.

So after the Dwarrow Boys had struggled to their draw last time against Alan's own Dark Elf team , when  I heard he was going to pay with his newly finished Khemri team, I thought I would bring the DElfs back out to play. The last time I played a Khemri team was at the Tritex Blood Bowl tournament at Game09 in  Manchester when I won 6-0 (against the guy who lost all 6 of his games and when picking up his wooden spoon award announced to the audience that we should "fear his crappness!"). So I felt confident that I could get a good result against these animated piles of bones.

"Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones, dem bones, dem bones, dem..." - ok u get the idea.

Game got off to a great start. The DD's kicked off got a good bounce so that the ball ended up on the Khemri left wing on the sideline, a couple of squares from the centre line. Kick Off table roll - a "10". Free blitz move for the DD's so I flooded the area round the ball and my Star Runner, Runforez Run, moved under the ball to catch it and rolled a "1".

OK, I thought not great, but still I have tacklezones round the ball and the game hadn't even officially started. The DD's moved downfield on their first turn after Runforez did eventually manage to pick up the ball but the Khemri were still able to get a 1 die block on him in  their turn 2. But I had planned for that and put my star Lineman, Cala Hom, free a few squares from the touchzone to receive Runforez's dump off pass and thus thwart the Khemri blitz. However, the dump off pass was not accurate and so after bouncing about for a bit ended up in a square which was covered by a Khemri tackle zone. Not to be denied, in the DD's turn 2, my star Blitzer, Slize N'Dize, picked up the ball and handed off to Cala who strode in for a Turn 2 touchdown. This was going to be a dawdle, I thought. Especially when on the next kick off result, there was a riot and the game clock went back a turn so now the Khemri were just starting their turn 2 again.

The ball bounced deep into the Khemri half into their touchzone, so plenty of space for the DD's to try and get downfield and cut off the attempted pass, which Alan would no doubt be tempted to do given the general lack of speed on the Khemri team. But instead of the quick incisive thrust downfield that I was expecting, things got inexplicably bogged down and the DD's seemed to be getting nowhere fast. The Khemri started to move the ball down their right wing, while the DD's seemed to find it easier to trip over their own feet, with the number of "Defender Stumbles" results that Alan was rolling. Alan had the chance for an ambitious play with his thro-ra moving to the halfway line, and looking to make quick pass to a Skele who was in the clear and could have shambled down the DD half to hand off to the bitz-ra who was ready to stroll into the touchzone. But the curse of the Khemri struck - the AG2, no re-roll, and the ball was dropped by the Skele and bounced to land in the square between the 2 Khemri players.

A chance for a DD blitz moved the thro-ra away from the ball, a pick up by the star Lineman, Sleekit G'It, a pass to Runforez Run and the DD's were away down their left wing. Runforez  handed off to star Lineman, Hasky Draskie who raced home for the score, 2-0 to the DD's.

Hasky Draskie's fine score in the DD's turn 6 of the first half.

The first half petered out without any further score, but by the end of the half, 2 DD blitzers were in the KO box, and their Star Blitzer, Feliz Fasta, was in the hospital wing. Still, I would be receiving at the start of the second half, a quick score would make it 3-0 and there would be no way back for the Khemri.

But, of course, I was arrogantly, forgetting the "1's". And they came, thick and fast....

The second half, started with the DD's driving down their right wing. Then, they were forced centre field and started to fall down.......

That was as close as the DD's got for the rest of the second half to the Khemri touchzone. And although, the Khemri themselves failed to score a deserved touch down (due once again to the AG2 failing them at the crucial moment), they did have the satisfaction of almost clearing the pitch of Drow

So a final score of 2-0 to the DD's and while a win is a win, it could have been so much more glorious. Thankfully, this wasn't a league game as of the 5 Drow that ended up in the Hopital Wing the 2 Blitzers ended up with strength busts and 1 of the Linemen with an armour bust so not a pretty state to be in.

Alan says he will stick with the Khemri for next week's game, so in a fit of masochistic madness, I'm going to borrow Ruarok's Goblin Team.

That way when I keep rolling "1's" at least I can say -"Well what else would you expect from a Goblin???!!!"

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Mr Motivator - Where Art thou??

Okay, I don't really know if Mr Motivator plays any form of Wargames so why, I hear you ask Dear Reader, is he fronting this post???

Well, Mr M, was well known for his appearances back in the '90's on daytime TV, trying to get the nation fit with his mad aerobic routines. I don't know if he is still on the telly but for a guy of nearly 60, he doesn't look in too bad shape. But he had a routine to try and get the couch potatoes motivated and get off their backsides. And that Dear Reader, is something I am seriously lacking on the painting front just now - motivation!

The hoped for finishing of the HMG and mortar teams did not happen as I had hoped for in my last blog. Okay, I hadn't been feeling particularly great all week, but given I had the house to myself, I had the ideal opportunity to get some serious painting done - but I couldn't be ars*d.

I had hit the wall that I suspect many gamers hit when they are trying to paint their toys. It's usually a combination of things, knackered after a tiring and stressful day at work, downbeat at the sight of the lead/ plastic pile in front of me and also a realisation of "When am I actually going to get a chance to play with these toys? So is there any point???" It's a sad admission that since the New Year that other than a couple of games of Bloodbowl, I've only had one other face to face table top game and that reality does tend to get you down.

Which is in itself frustrating and self-defeating because, when I am painting, I actually quite enjoy it and listening to the podcasts that I subscribe to, the guys talking about their various painting projects can themselves give motivation to be productive. But it's getting over that mental hurdle to sit down at the painting table and get going.

Ah well, maybe I should download a Mr M video on YouTube and see if that does the trick.......

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Question of Scale

Well the Brit HMG teams are painted and gunked as is 1 of the 3" mortar bases. I won't base them, however, until the weekend when I can get them varnished (and hopefully by that time I will have finished the other 2 mortar bases) so no pictures of them yet. So instead I present these:-

As the observant amongst you will have noticed these are not 10mm Pendraken figs but rather 1/72nd scale Valiant Miniatures.

At least they say they on the box they are 1/72nd but when I compare them against the 1/72nd German Infantry figures that I bought just before Xmas from Plastic Soldier Company they are a good couple of mm taller and they are positively huge compared with 20mm figures from other manufacturers.

So what's a few millimetres between friends? (no sniggering please) Well actually quite a lot and for a wargamer it can be extremely frustrating when you buy figures from 1 manufacturer only to find they tower over another manufacturer's figures and thus look completely out of place:-

Here is a Valiant figure next to the Plastic soldier guys:-

The Valiant figure in the middle is significantly larger in proportion to the Plastic Soldier guys yet both are sold as 1/72nd scale.

And so the problem occurs in other scales as well - some 28mm figs are nearer 30mm or even in some cases 32mm. Some are nearer 25mm - the Valiant guys are pretty close to 25mm which makes pretty well useless with the 20mm figs that I had been thinking of buying to use with the Valiant stuff (gun crews and the like) and as the guys at Valiant have not released any new models for ages (must be coming up for 2 years now) it leaves me with the quandary - do I keep the Valiant stuff and game with it even though the range is pretty limited, or do I shift it on and get figures from manufacturers that have a broader range of figures available? Of course there will be those of you (Gordon) who will be saying why am I bothering with this scale at all and I should stick to the 10mm stuff.

I guess it comes down to the type of games you like to play. In 10mm and smaller scales (and maybe at a push 15mm scale for those that like to play Flames of War) the "big battles" can be fought on not a particularly large table and give a good feel for that type of game. You can of course fight "big battles" in larger scales as well - I was once fortunate enough to play in a League of Gentleman Wargamers WW2 game which was fought with 28mm figures. It sure looked impressive but the table took up the floor of a small hall:-

The LoGW WW2 game in 28mm held at Kirriemuir Wargames Club a few years back.

But for those of us with limited space and funds that can only dream about fighting on such tables above (and in fairness the above game was a combination of many, many peoples figures and terrain), the 20mm and upwards scales are more suited for the skirmish type wargame where you can fight a battle on the same size of table you would use for your 10mm stuff but with fewer figures and it would still look right. As it happens I like to play both so that's why I have the 2 scales of figures (that and the fact that I was literally blackballed into getting the 10mm stuff as the boys were buying all their WW2 stuff in that scale too).

Maybe I should look at getting stuff in 54mm (I'm sure those old Airfix figs re in the loft..............)

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Clearing the decks

Well not much painting today, other than finishing the last infantry stand for the Brits and another 2 M3 Half tracks.

Instead, I concentrated on getting a pile of figures which I had finished painting around Xmas/ New Year but I had never finished basing and those readers of this blog will know how I feel about basing. But, I thought I would get them done and out of the way so, 10 Dwarf Beserkers, 3 Dwarf Warriors, 2 Dwarf Lords, 8 Dwarf Miners, 3 Dwarf Artillery crew, a Chaos Blood Bowl Warrior and a Brit Napoleonic Rifleman were completed during the course of the evening.

I guess the picture shows part of the problem that I no doubt share with many, many wargamers - Fantasy Dwarfs, Brit WW2, Brit Napoleonic, Bloodbowl- figures from 4 different games and scales, all projects ongoing at the one time. And like many other wargamers I fall into the trap of starting 1 project and not finishing it because I got distracted by some other new shiny project.

The guys at Kirriemuir Wargames club are trying to discipline themselves into completing 2 projects before they start a new one. An admirable ambition but the problem is what projects do I want to finish first?

Of the projects listed above, I do at least have enough painted figures to play with the Dwarves and Bloodbowl, so I guess they should be of least priority. The WW2 Brits are the newest figures I have acquired and were purchased with a view to be able to play Blitzkrieg Commander with the boys without having to borrow their figures so I will keep plugging away at those and give it the highest priority. Now that all of the infantry stands are complete, I will start on the support weapons and vehicles in order to complete the mech infantry battalion first on the basis that if I need any armour in the short term I can always borrow Gordon's Shermans from his American army.

The Brit Napoleonics is the project I would like to get finished the quickest but it is also the one I am least enthusiastic about (if that makes sense). I love the period and the history and acquired the new improved General De Brigade rules from Santa (I also have Black Powder rules as well) and have played several games over the years at the club, but never with my own figures.

I have 2 infantry battalions completed and have enough figures to complete another 2 or 3 battalions and Santa brought me an artillery battery and a regiment of Heavy Cavalry so that I could, in theory, field a small force. But though I really like the Victrix models, some of them are a real pain to put together - the firing pose in particular is very frustrating to get to sit properly, and Napoleonic Uniforms, as those of you who have painted such figures will know, are not the quickest things to paint.

And as for the other uncompleted projects lurking in my cupboards - well probably best if I don't think about those otherwise I will definitely never get anything done - well maybe except one. I want to properly base my 6mm sci fi models with a view to playing Future War Commander (yes I know that they don't need to be based but I have decided from an aesthetic point of view that they would look better as well as minimise any wear on the paintwork if the models were handled by the base rather than by the model itself)  - more basing though :-(

So, I think the order of the day will be -

WW2 Brits
Chaos Bloodbowl team
Base the sci fi for FWC
Brit Napoleonics

I think for my own sanity, it is better to have a few models on the go of something else, otherwise I would go stir crazy painting nothing but the same models and troop types, which is why I think it makes sense to keep working away on the Bloodbowl team while painting the WW2 stuff. Having said that, I still have an unfinished Dwarf Artillery crew sitting on my painting table...........

Friday, 4 February 2011


Bloodbowl - a game loosely based on American football and played by half crazed zombies, troll slayers, vampires and Chaos warriors to name but a few.

My bro picked up the first edition of the game when it was released by GW back in the mid 1980's. We played a few times but somehow the game just never quite grabbed me. In those days tho, there were no minis, you played with cardboard stand up counters which usually fell over and there were only a few teams available to pick from.

So I went and played other things and never gave the game another look until about a couple of years ago when I started listening to the guys on Worlds End Radio, who raved about the game. Funnily enough Dave T had been bringing a set of Bloodbowl to the Kirrie club but there had been no takers. By this time tho the game now had minis and the rulebook had lists for over 20 teams and had an active Internet community supporting the game. It now used unique block dice rather than rely on D6's. So I took the plunge and after acquiring a second hand set on ebay started getting the boys on board to play. I was hooked. And fortunately for me so were the boys: - Dave T eventually got a game with the set that he had been bringing faithfully along to the club and a few of the other members also got sucked in as did my bro who hadn't played for years either.

Since then games have been played on a semi regular basis at the club although it has proved difficult to get a proper league running at the club due to players being involved in to many other game systems to give BB the attention it deserves.

But the game does get played at home and my mate, Alan, and I are trying to get a regular gaming session going in order to play. Last week my Drow Desperadoes Dark Elf Team squeaked home with a narrow 2-1 win over Alan's Norse Millfield Marauders team.

The Drow Desperadoes.

Tonight though Alan brought out his novice Dark Elf team so I decided to go back to my one of old favourites - The Dwarrow Boys.

The Dark Elfs choose to receive at the start of the first half and having only 1 re-roll were quickly forced to burn it having rolled double skulls on their first block of the game. However, they recovered quickly from that set back and moving the ball skillfully downfield eventually found the gap in the Dwarrow line for their Witch Elf to score the first touchdown in their turn 4.

It did mean, however, that the Dwarves had 4 turns to get an equalising score before half time and as I would then be receiving in the second half, I knew I could then grind down the second half and get my 2nd touchdown and leave Alan no time to get back into the game. That was the plan anyway.

And so the first part of the strategy worked to plan although it almost came a cropper when the Dwarf Runner, Forez Gunp, when making an essential go for it roll in order to make sure he wouldn't get tagged by a Dark Elf Blitzer in the final turn of the First half, failed his GFI roll but fortunately I still had 1 re-roll left, made it, moved the runner to the safe square from where he was able to jog into the touchzone for the equalising score on the last turn of the first half.

The second half, started promisingly with the Dark Elves ambitious kick bouncing out of bounds and giving the Dwarves a touch back of the ball which went straight into the hands of my grateful runner. I started to clear the pitch of Elves, whose knocked out box started to resemble the Casualty department at Ninewells Hospital.

But I wasn't knocking all the Elves out and those remained standing were doing a good job of slowing down the Dwarves advance up the pitch. But that was fine I thought, I still has plenty of time to get the second score and not leave Alan anytime to equalise. Then in turn 4 disaster!
After a few fortuitous dodge rolls, Alan managed to get one of his blitzers onto the ball carrier. A 1 die block and down went the ball carrier and the ball spilled. I was able to recover the ball the next turn and pay the Blitzer back for his impudence but a turn had been lost trying to recover the ball. The next few turns saw me move down deeper into the Dark Elf half, who were quickly running out of players. End of my turn 7 saw my runner who had the ball, in the clear, 4 squares from the touchzone. I thought I had covered all the approaches to him and Alan's nearest player was a blitzer who been knocked over (but not stunned). Alan started his turn, the blitzer got up made 3 dodge rolls and a GFI roll (with no re-rolls left either) to get himself adjacent to the ball carrier. My turn 8, I had a 2 die block to get the Dark Elf Blitzer down and had 1 re-roll left. I rolled - skull and a push. The push would leave the blitzer still standing next to the ball carrier. Do I use the re-roll? After swithering for a while I decided to take the push result and save the re-roll in case the runner failed his dodge roll. He did, he rolled 2, needing only a 3. But I called in the final re-roll, Alan held his head in his hands knowing he was powerless to intervene. - I rolled - 1. Down went the runner, ball spilled, turnover and the game ended 1-1!

The scene at the end of the match - Dwarf Runner on his back having tripped over his own feet. No wonder the Troll Slayer is gnashing his teeth in frustration!!

I realised long after the event that I should have used my ball carrier to do the blitz - would still have had a 2 die block and if I had got a push then he would have been clear of the tackle zone and wouldn't have had to dodge but in the heat of the moment the obvious play isn't always so obvious!

Blood bowl is one of these games where the rules are pretty fool proof, easy to pick up but tactical and very very entertaining. A league can give you the scope to develop your team and for your players to acquire new skills and the choice of teams mean that you are never short of different opponents. I have, in addition to the Dwarves and Dark Elves, an Orc team, Humans, Chaos and Undead/ Necromantic. Ruaridh has Skaven , Goblins, Orcs, Ogres and Wood Elves. Cameron has dwarves, my bro has Dwarves and Chaos and Alan has Norse, Dark Elves, Chaos and Khemri. It's one of these games I would happily play every day (if real life would stop getting in the way). It's just a pity it involves rolling dice........

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Podcasts and Bonnie Tyler

Well the next batch Brits that I have blogging about are finally done:-

I think I have been a bit heavy handed with the mud splashes on the vehicles but they are done now and I'm not re-doing them again. So the final base of infantry and another 2 M3 half track's have now been undercoated ready for me to start on.

So why the title for this post?

Well it is all Ruaridh's (or Ruarok on the Kirriemuir Wargames Club Forum) fault. I really got back into the painting gig  a couple of years back when Ruaridh mentioned he had been listening to a Podcast about Warhammer. Firstly I didn't even really know what a Podcast was (I didn't own an iPod let alone an iPhone) and why was someone doing one about Warhammer? So after being shown what to do with iTunes and how to download these curious audio files on iTunes I started listening to Jeff Carroll and his musings on all things Warhammer. And it was really good too (at least the early episodes were). And it was fine and easy to listen to a Podcast while I sat at the painting table and started tackling my first battalion of British Napoleonic Infantry which Santa had bought me that year via Mr Victrix.

"The 3rd Regiment of Foot - The Buffs"

And after listening to a few Podhammer episodes I started to discover more and more podcasts- all about this crazy hobby of ours. I really enjoyed Big Troy MacAuley's "This Week in Wargaming" (sadly defunct now - somebody else took on TWiW but it just wasn't the same without Big Troy) but also found such gems as Neil Shuck's "Meeples and Minatures" and the guys at "Worlds End Radio".

As Jeff and Podhammer started to become a bit less Warhammer orientated and more about Jeff's personal life I stopped listening but by that time 2 British based podcasts about Warhammer were on the go - Bad Dice and Heelan Hammer so I subscribe to them as well.

And then there are the guys at 3 Die Block which is a podcast about possibly the best boardgame Games Workshop ever  produced - Blood Bowl!!

So with the guys on the podcasts chatting away about whichever bit of the hobby they are interested in it's a lot easier to motivate myself to sit down at the table and start painting. Occasionally I will put on some music, if  I am up to date with the podcasts- I listen to a mix of stuff though no modern crap but I can't watch a DVD or the telly when I am painting - too distracting.

So why Bonnie Tyler?

Well it reminded me of the painting sessions me and some of the guys of Dundee University Wargames and Roleplaying club used to hold - usually in Herbie's room (that wasn't his real name but somehow us ickle firsties were given nicknames by the older guys in the group - mine was Garfield (after the cartoon cat) - don't ask why - I'm not really sure I ever knew the answer to that question but the names stuck). Anyway, almost every painting session Herbie would put on a tape of Bonnie Tyler's album "Faster than the Speed of Night". He did own some other tapes but they were all crap so Bonnie would always come on and warble away in the background while we painted and drank numerous cups of coffee with very iffy milk and had cheese on toast - ah those were the days.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Where it all happens

In a wargaming sense that is....

Here is my room, dedicated to the playing of wargames - although it quite often doubles as a laundry and ironing room :-(

The painting table is set up so that 2 can sit at it and paint away to their hearts content. The right wall is lined with 4 bookcases and extensions filled with my books, boardgames, figures and magazines (including every issue of White Dwarf Magazine since issue 1) and just out of picture on the left hand side are another 3 cupboards filled with games and figures.

The floor space allows me to set up an 8 x 4 board pretty easily, anything wider would be a wee bit of a squeeze as the room is only 10ft wide, albeit 19ft long. In our old house I could at a push put up a 12ft x 6ft board. But it was pretty cold in my old room which was in the attic of our old house. Just now the room smells vaguely of varnish as the Brits dry after their spray coat

Brits Update

Well the 13 Infantry, 3 Bren carriers, M3 half track and White Scout car have all been gunked*. Tomorrow after the Bell Rock fireworks (assuming no down pour) the vehicles will get their drybrush of Catachan green to dull them down again and then the little white stars painted on (I think they look like Meeples but they look starry enough from a distance). The infantry will get a spray of dull cote and then comes the basing.

God I find basing so tedious and yes I know it defeats the purpose if you put all the work into painting the figs only to then stick them onto a bit of card painted green but it is sooooooo boring. I guess the feeling is that when you get to the basing stage the figures are done and you want to move on to the next lot. It's a patience thing and I guess by that time my patience is starting to wear a little bit thin.

For the Brits, I'm using sand pva'd onto mdf bases which is then given a scorched brown wash and then a bleached bone drybrush. The flock is actually little tufts from MiniNatur which Mr Tulloch introduced the club to when basing his Mexicans etc. Things have come a long way from sticking figures on cut up beer mats and slapping some green coloured sawdust on.

I think the look is okay but I rarely go to town on my bases. I really just want to get the damned things finished.

gunked* - the magic fluid. A home made version of the Army Painter dip and at a fraction of the price. Shades the figs while giving them a gloss coat. Courtesy of Gordon, who if he had patented the idea when he first thought of it might have been sitting on a small fortune by now.........