Age of Sigmar, week 8

Wow – it’s happening, folks! Even though I’d heard about this at my local store last week, I’m still a bit surprised that this is really a thing! The Celestant-Prime is coming out next weekend, and it looks hilarious. A massive Lord-Celestant with enormous wings, and of course – Ghal Maraz!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar

The Lord-Celestant part of the model looks just fantastic – the armour looks superb, with all those details like the comet on the shoulder pads, the lightning-bolt buckle, it all just looks amazing. The wings are a little too goofy for my liking, I think the attempt to make them more imposing than a Prosecutor but not having them out wide has left it looking a little, well, weird.

It’s really fun to see Ghal Maraz finally in a Warhammer figure – I mean, it really is the iconic weapon of Games Workshop. I mean, it’s a subjective thing, but the hammer in the Valten kit just doesn’t look as badass as this chap. The cometstrike sceptre is another awesome-looking weapon, which has a pretty amazing mechanic – allowing you to pull a comet from the heavens and hurl it onto the battlefield.

All that swirling stuff at his feet is perhaps what seems most, well, goofy to me. All that gunk actually provides the model with the ability to change one roll to the result of your choice. Jeez! There’s no Paint Splatter in this week’s White Dwarf, though we do get a short piece on how to paint this mystical swirling energy.

This week’s White Dwarf has a great look at the Hallowed Knights – which is the silver colourscheme you can see on the chap in the forefront here:

Warhammer Age of Sigmar

I’ve been enjoying these little bits of lore they feature in the magazine, it’s really nice to see that narrative sort of thing being pushed in line with the narrative focus of the game.

The week in review

This week I’ve been mainly finishing off the Judicator models I started the previous weekend.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar

I’m really quite pleased with how these guys have come out, I must say! Very much worthy additions to my Lions of Sigmar, at any rate! I’ve been wanting to use my second box to get some more done with the crossbows, but instead I’ve started to work on yet more Liberators!

Two down! #Warhammer #AgeOfSigmar #Liberators #warblade #grandblade

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

I’ve built these guys up with the warblades, as I’d wanted to get these done since getting the box. They look pretty badass, and that chap with the grandblade looks particularly nice. As we have a long weekend, I’m thinking I might build up a couple more – those guys with paired warhammers could also be fun. We’ll see what happens.

On with the #EndTimes! #Warhammer #skaven

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

I also finished reading The Rise of the Horned Rat this week, the fourth novel in the End Times series. At first, I didn’t really like this – Skaven just annoy me. But as the novel wore on – actually, within just a couple of chapters – I really came to like it. The novel features the battle between the Skaven, the Goblins and the Dwarves at Karak Eight Peaks, and it was a whole lot of fun. Something I particularly liked was the way each race feels different through not just the manner of speech and such, but the very narrative itself. So the Dwarves are very stoic and so on, the Skaven are pretty chaotic, and the Goblins are just mad. It created a nice effect!

I’ve found Goblins hilarious for a long time, and it was a lot of fun to read those parts of the novel that featured Skarsnik, the Goblin King. As with the established tradition here, the author, Guy Healey, is also the man responsible for a previous novel featuring a protagonist, having already penned the Warhammer Legends novel Skarsnik, along with novellas set in the same region. Anyway, it was a good read – perhaps not quite on a par with Fall of Altdorf, but still well worth reading.

From what I can tell, the actual story of the End Times is now resumed: following the Return of Nagash, we have the Fall of Altdorf while, simultaneously, the Curse of Khaine and Rise of the Horned Rat take place in other parts of the Old World, so are almost branching-off from the timeline. But we’re back on track with the fifth and final novel, The Lord of the End Times!

I’ve since started reading the climactic book, but haven’t really gotten very far. Hopefully next weekend will get there!

Looking ahead

The tease at the end of White Dwarf mentions “Death from the Skies”, which I’m really hoping means we’re finally going to be seeing the Prosecutors, but at this late stage of the game, who really knows! Every rumour I’ve been reading seems to be pointing to the Age of Sigmar releases winding down now, and (possibly) Tau coming up next. In a way, I’m looking forward to this, as I really need to take a break from buying models! I’ve ordered a Celestant-Prime purely for the hilarity factor, though I am kinda looking forward to having a real centrepiece model – of all the stuff I’ve been painting, I don’t actually have anything that’s really big. But I do want to get ahead with those kits I already have – I mean, I haven’t even touched the two Paladins boxes I have yet…

So let’s see what happens next week! Fingers crossed for Prosecutors…

Warhammer Age of Sigmar

The Grey Havens

It’s time for a Game Day Extra, guys!

I am thrilled to see the news go up this evening of a new deluxe expansion for Lord of the Rings LCG – The Grey Havens! After having been part of the playtesting group for the last cycle, it’s actually really exciting not to know what’s coming next!

So this box, and the following Dream-chaser cycle, explore a nautical theme in Middle Earth, as we go on a quest to the ruins of Númenor! Awesome!

We get to choose a ship to sail, which almost acts like a fourth hero, adding an area-effect as well as the usual stats such as bolstering each hero’s attack strength, or allowing you to draw one extra card per phase. Even with these two examples, it’s nice to see how each ship could be seen to fit a particular sphere (tactics and lore, respectively), despite being Objective cards and, therefore, essentially neutral.

Ships interact with enemy ships, and something called a Sailing test is hinted at. It all seems pretty amazing, and while I remain stoked for the remaining quests of the Angmar Awakened cycle, I’m super-excited to get my hands on this next box in the fourth quarter!!!

The Revenge of Izrador!

Hey everybody!
It’s Tuesday, so it’s Game Day here at spalanz.com! Aw, yeah, time for a look at another boardgame this week, as I turn to the mythic expansion for Runebound 2nd Edition – it’s time to enter the Age of Shadow, with Runebound: Midnight!

Runebound Midnight

This game is mythic for a couple of reasons, I think foremost among them being just how rare this thing is nowadays. Heck, even when I bought it back in a second age of shadow, it cost me €100 on ebay. It was published in 2006 by Fantasy Flight Games as the second big-box expansion to the second edition of Runebound, in an attempt to crossover from the world of Terrinoth into Eredane, that of the Midnight RPG setting. While I find this setting completely irresistible, I get the feeling that the crossover wasn’t all that successful, and Midnight appears to have had a very short print-run, and then quietly dusted under the carpet, leading to ebay prices getting huge.

Runebound Midnight

The setting is the land of Eredane, or “the land under the shadow”. Basically, it is a fantasy land where evil has triumphed, and we’re now having to eke out a living in the wilds, away from the gaze of Izrador and his Night Kings. It’s just something that really speaks to me, somehow. I mean, take Star Wars for example. We haven’t really had a look at this yet, but the period between episodes III and IV is just so intriguing to me, because evil has won, and the good people are forced into the sidelines. Sure, there have been some incursions such as Dark Times, but we haven’t really had a chance to explore what it’s like to live in these dark days. Midnight shows us a world that is conquered by evil, and much like sneaking around in Mordor, it’s up to the heroes of the game to exploit the weakness of the Night Kings by destroying a powerful magical artifact, the magic mirrors, to even give good a chance at eventual victory.

Runebound Midnight

Much like Descent, Mansions of Madness, and the like, Midnight pits one player against the group, as one person takes on the role of a Night King. He or she will attempt to thwart the heroes and, if the threat level ever increases to 10, the heroes have no hope of victory. The heroes need to infiltrate the Night King’s strongholds to destroy the magic mirrors there; they need a total of 1 + the number of heroes in the game for a total victory.

Midnight isn’t like a normal game of Runebound, as several of the player steps are messed-with to create a wholly new experience. While other big-box expansions do this to some degree, none feels quite like the completely new game that Midnight is. The biggest change is the Night King step, for obvious reasons – let’s take a look.

The Night King’s turn always happens first, and involves a number of stages. First, the threat step, where he’s basically trying to increase the threat level to achieve his victory condition. He takes a doom counter and adds it to a pool, then rolls the two d10s – if the total is less than the current threat difficulty (which is set at the beginning of the game to 16), nothing happens, but if he equals or exceeds it, then all the starburst adventure jewels are replenished (there are no event cards in Midnight), the pool of doom counters is returned to zero, but the threat level increases by one. So right away, you can see that there is a chance to have the threat level increasing right out of the gate, but if you roll like me, you likely won’t be increasing it for several turns.

After that, comes the Patrol step. The Patrol is indicated by an undefeated challenge marker, and is moved much like a hero, rolling terrain dice and so forth. The Patrol is spawned at a Stronghold space, and can move to attack a hero, whereby the Night King player draws three cards from the deck corresponding to the hero’s level (level 1 is green, 2-3 is yellow, 4-5 is blue and 6+ is red) and chooses one to be the Patrol. An important thing to note here is that the hero cannot optionally engage the Patrol.

Finally, the Night King gains gold that he can spend to influence combat or spawn more patrols. He can also level up, by spending gold to increase his ‘shadow power’ – replacing the green jewel icon on his character card with a yellow one, and so forth. These shadow powers can be pretty debilitating to heroes as the game progresses.

But onwards to the heroes!

Runebound Midnight

The heroes of Midnight are a disparate band of chaps trying to survive, and as such have been noted as being distinctly weaker when used in other Runebound games. At any rate, there are some pretty cool alterations made to the hero step, let’s take a look!

A hero still rolls five movement dice, but rather than just using these to move, they also have other abilities – for instance, you can spend one die to try to heal, rolling it and, if the terrain symbol matches what you’re currently on, you will heal as you find a healer sympathetic to the resistance. You can also use the dice to barter, which involves matching movement dice to the terrain you occupy, and drawing market cards every time you match that terrain.

Runebound Midnight

The market deck is completely replaced in Midnight, which is also a really nice idea. The main game market deck is used as goods, because the economy has no real value since Izrador gained power. The Midnight market deck has got a lot of grungy stuff like the scavenged wargear and suchlike, it’s all really nice and thematic, I have to say!

Also thematic is moving into towns, which heroes now have to infiltrate – you make either a Sneak, Jump or Diplomacy test (so, the three basic attributes) at 10 + the cost of your highest-cost item. If you succeed, you can interact with the town as per the usual Runebound rules. This also applies to sneaking into Strongholds, though that will normally involve something far more ghastly!

Runebound Midnight

During an Adventure, the Night King tries to influence the combat by rolling dice equal to the hero’s level, trying to match the terrain symbols to those on his character card – he can only choose one feat to influence, but for each matched terrain symbol rolled, he increases the toughness of the combat in that feat by 1. Someone like Sunulael has a good chance of doing this as all of his influence is in the hills, while Zardrix will increase the ranged value by 1 for each road rolled, but the other two feats rely on marshes being rolled. However, there’s an important rule in Midnight that has the potential to save the day here – there are no allies in Midnight, so a hero can attack in multiple phases if he has unspent experience counters: for every two counters, he can attack in one additional phase. This is potentially why the heroes have been seen as weak outside of Midnight, as they really shine with the additional rules of this particular expansion.

During the Experience step, you have the chance to upgrade your grungy Midnight market item into a Covenant item, by using one of your face-down goods cards as an upgrade. It’s something that sounds really amazing, but usually ends up (for me, at least) being a bit hit and miss, as the regular market item’s effect becomes a special effect of the Midnight market item – matching these things to create something truly epic happens exceptionally rarely, in my experience.

Anyway!

Runebound Midnight

The goal of the game, for the heroes, is to destroy the magic mirrors, which are placed by the Night King at the start of the game. The players need to infiltrate the stronghold and defeat a red challenge in order to destroy the magic mirror, and can do so by teaming up. The Night King still attempts to influence the combat each round, and the red challenge itself also gains a bonus to its life equal to the number on the magic mirror counter. When going up against a magic mirror, a hero cannot use the attacking in multiple phases rule, unless the hero specifically has this ability anyway. When heroes gang up on the stronghold, they still act independently, so you need to go through all three phases before the next hero attempts the challenge. If defeated, the heroes gain 4 experience points and the magic mirror token, and once they’ve gained their victory number, it’s all over for Izrador!

Runebound Midnight

This is actually a really fun game. It’s very different from normal Runebound, and not just mechanically. It feels like a completely new world but with a vague semblance of the normal Runebound rules. Something very obvious, there isn’t really any emphasis on magical abilities in Midnight – crucially, there are no runes in the game! I mentioned sneaking around Mordor earlier, and this is precisely what it feels like to me – you’re in an evil land, trying to avoid the notice of the bad guys while bringing about their doom.

In a normal game of Runebound, you have allies to hook up with, and magical abilities from the various runes that give the game its name. There is something of a high-fantasy feel to it as you play glamorous warriors or highly skilled mages, but in Midnight your armour is rusty, your robes are grimy, and you’re skulking in the shadows.

That can be absolutely amazing, and every time I’ve played with this expansion I’ve had a huge amount of fun. But it can be a bit wearing, you know? It’s a terrific theme, but it’s not a theme I like to return to again and again. Back in 2011, I rated this a 7 on boardgamegeek, and I think that still stands. It is a fantastic, thematic expansion, but of the big box expansions for this game, it certainly isn’t as good as some of the others.

Check out my other Runebound blogs:
Runebound (core game)
Island of Dread
Sands of Al-kalim

Age of Sigmar, week 7

Can you believe we’re on week seven of releases for Age of Sigmar, already? It only feels like yesterday when I was watching those painting tutorials and thinking “this might be worth looking into…”

This week feels like a fairly quiet one, though, with just one new kit and a whole host of re-packaged stuff for Nurgle. Not really being a Chaos kinda guy, I’ve passed on this again, though I must say, the model for the Exalted Deathbringer does look quite nice. This is actually an issue that probably needs addressing right now, the Chaos kits that have been coming out – well, since End Times, really – are really, really great. I think the problem is they’re perhaps too detailed for me, I don’t think I’d have the patience to paint all of those little trophies and such. I absolutely don’t mean to bash these kits in any way, I’m just not interested in them because I’m so caught up with the Stormcast Eternals!

So yeah – if Chaos is your thing, that’s awesome!

White Dwarf, and next week

Chaos continues next week, with something pretty damn huge!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Chaos Dreadhold

It’s the Chaos Dreadhold! The releases are actually a collection of four scenery pieces that are entirely modular, and can be put together to form something pretty incredible!

Not having any Chaos army, I don’t really have any use for this, but it looks absolutely immense, and I really feel well and truly mind-blown by the scale. I mean – wow!

The Dreadhold kits are accompanied by a hardcover book that sounded very much like a Codex: Scenery Pieces when I first read the description in White Dwarf. I mean, it talks about the rules for using the pieces in your games, but also features “warscroll battalion formations” like you have an army of terrain on the board! But I suppose that’s essentially what you have with these pieces, seeing as how much more of a role scenery appears to play in this game.

More new Chaos warriors are also released next weekend, the new Blood Warriors of Khorne. I thought there was already a kit for these guys, going back a whiles ago, but on perusing the store, I think I may have been thinking of the Khorne Berzerkers from the Chaos Space Marines. Which I think raises an interesting point about how Age of Sigmar is looking a lot like 40k in some respects.

Another fantastic kit, featuring lots of weapon options, it looks like it would be a whole lot of fun to put together, getting all manner of poses out of them!

The week’s adventures

Which brings me onto my painting adventures of the last week! Well, kinda. I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping the last week for some reason, so have been using the time to build models – why not, right? I eventually had to stop myself as I was building too much, but one of the things I’ve returned to is the Ogres! Remember these guys from much earlier in the year? Well, they’re back!

I first started with Ogres back in January, following an impasse with painting over the festive season. Inevitably, I gave up with them having only really gotten one model anywhere near completion, the Mournfang Cavalry musician, but have now returned to the kits as a suitable foe for my Stormcast Eternals! I’m hoping I can tempt my buddy Tony into playing…

The Ogre Kingdoms – now Ogors in the Age of Sigmar – are really great kits. For the most part, the kits are actually just the same basic body shape, but with so many different head and weapon choices, to say nothing of the extraneous wargear, that each model can look totally different. The Ogres from the Mournfang Cavalry and the Ironblaster do look different, but the different parts are enough of a match that kitbashing between them all is not really a problem:

M

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

The centre Ogre there I’m intending to use as the Ogre Crusher for the battalion – he uses both arms and weapons, and head, from the Mournfang Cavalry kit, the gutplate is (I think) from the Ironguts kit, and the body is a basic Ogre body. These sorts of modular things are what I really like about kits like this, allowing for a real sense of army customization and the like.

Of course, Ogres aren’t the only kits I’ve been building over the last few evenings…

Stormcast Eternals, Sylvaneth and Ogors – oh my! #Warhammer #AgeOfSigmar

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

I currently have a grand total of thirteen new models built and undercoated (though with some gnoblars, so it’s probably at least 15), and also three yhetees that were undercoated and then left. Alongside these, I have five further Ogres that need work from earlier in the year, but I’m hoping to get them done, if nothing else this week. All in all, I’ve got my work cut out!

That's my weekend set up, then!

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

Amazingly, I’ve also started working on some of these things! Ever the king of procrastination, I usually build stuff, maybe undercoat it if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, but rarely do I actually move on to doing stuff with them already. Not so, the Judicators!

#AgeOfSigmar #Judicators looking good so far! #Warhammer

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

These models are superb, without a doubt. They were a bit of a nightmare to put together – they’re the first “real” Age of Sigmar kit I’ve put together, and while I knew they were fiddly because of all the awesome weapon options, I wasn’t quite prepared for how many parts they come in!

These #Judicators are pretty annoying to put together… #Warhammer #AgeOfSigmar

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

That said, after one or two Judicators, you really get the sense for how the go together and can just get on quite easily. I’ve gone for three with the Skybolt bows, and made up two Judicator Primes: one with the Shockbolt bow, and one with the Thunderbolt crossbow. That last looks amazing – I thought it looked silly at first, but the actual model is really nice, looking forward to doing something (hopefully) amazing with that one!

And I’ve also got three more Dryads built up!

Over the horizon

Next week is the Chaos Dreadhold, but what’s next? The White Dwarf teases “Hallowed Knights, Golden Demon and a Prime Example” – which, if the cryptic musings of my local GW store manager are anything to go by, is indicating another Lord-Celestant, the first Sigmar created. And he’s huge. The internets rumour him to be the size of a Bloodthirster, and wielding Ghal Maraz itself! (Spoiler for The Quest for Ghal Maraz, I guess…). I’m a bit torn by this, as I don’t really go in for these particularly huge models – I mean, it’s supposed to be miniature wargaming, right? I suppose it might be interesting, but I’ll reserve judgement for that.

The week after, we finally get the Prosecutor kits I’ve been waiting for for, like, seven weeks…

Painting the Age of Sigmar!

(Originally posted on tumblr) I’ve been able to make some real progress with painting the Age of Sigmar starter box since the weekend, so thought I’d share that progress here (as I feel quite pleased with myself, and want to show off!)

Age of Sigmar

I’m pretty chuffed, anyway – it feels like ages since I’ve actually painted something new like this – ordinarily I buy stuff and it goes on the pile, to be looked at “later”, but I’ve been really fired up for this since painting the free Liberator just over 4 weeks ago in the Lions of Sigmar colours.

And here he is, finished! #Warhammer #AgeOfSigmar

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

It’s a fairly simple scheme of Balthasar Gold, washed with Agrax Earthshade, and drybrushed with Griffon Gold. The purple bits are done in Naggaroth Night and then kinda overbrushed with Xereus Purple. The silver bits are the usual Leadbelcher/Nuln Oil/Runefang Steel job, and the scrollwork has all been done in Zandri Dust and washed in Agrax Earthshade – I think officially it then uses Pallid Wych Flesh to highlight or somesuch, but I like the look of the shaded base only, so have left it. The top of the shield is run over with Gehenna’s Gold, just to try to mark it out from the rest of the mini. The most difficult parts of the whole starter set have undoubtedly been the relief on the Liberator shields, though I think I’ve got there in the end!

First set of #Liberators done! Well, in the main! #Warhammer #AgeOfSigmar

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

These models are just awesome, I have to say, and I’ve really enjoyed painting them up over the last few weeks, no matter how slow progress has been! Age of Sigmar has really got me interested in the Warhammer Fantasy setting, no matter how different that setting now is, so whatever problems the game itself may have, there is at least some good to be ascribed.

I’ve also recently finished up the Dryads from the newly-renamed Sylvaneth faction:

Age of Sigmar

These guys were a whole ton of fun to paint up! I’ve gone for the winter scheme, which I feel has come out really well – I particularly like the frozen-mud effect on the bases, even if I say so myself! It’s a really simple scheme of Dryad Bark base (what else?), with a drybrush of Russ Grey and Fenrisian Grey. The leaves are done in Celestra Grey, washed with Coelia Greenshade, and drybrushed lightly with Administratum Grey. The bases are done with Stirland Mud and drybrushed with Praxeti White for the finish.

Going to paint some more of these guys soon, and hopefully I can enter them into a painting competition at my local Games Workshop!

Now that I’ve almost finished the starter set (I have no interest in painting Chaos, and the Lord Relictor looks too silly for me to do anything with just yet), I’m thinking of moving onto some of the new models. Possibly Judicators, possibly Protectors. I’d told myself I wouldn’t be doing anything with them before the starter set kits were finished, anyway.

What a great time to be a miniatures painter!

Age of Sigmar

Warhammer: Diskwars

Hey everybody!
It’s time for another game day here at spalanz.com, and in light of the recent Warhammer-fest I’ve been having, I thought it high time I learn to play with cardboard discs. I’m sure you agree. It’s time for Diskwars!

Warhammer: Diskwars

This game originally came out towards the end of 2013, and I promptly snapped it up, at the time being a huge fan of FFG and slightly in mourning for the end of Warhammer: Invasion, one of the great LCGs that will no doubt be featured in my blog before very long. Diskwars seemed like a fun game, anyway, but unfortunately its timing seemed to be a bit off. See, that summer, FFG announced two huge new games before GenCon, then proceeded to saturate GenCon with even more hugeness – Diskwars was announced right alongside Battlelore 2nd edition, and Eldritch Horror followed soon after during the GenCon weekend, as well as the epic-scale ships for X-Wing, while huge stuff like the Star Wars RPG Edge of the Empire went on sale. Amid the hugeness, Warhammer Diskwars seemed to get a little lost, and its eventual release wasn’t exactly the event FFG no doubt hoped it would be.

But like I said, I snapped it up, and it has been gathering dust ever since. A couple of times I’ve tried to get to grips with it, but haven’t really gotten very far – but no longer! Let’s take a look!

Warhammer: Diskwars

First thing I remember about this game was being surprised at how the components were just basically sheets of cardboard, with a small deck of cards. But this is a combat game played through cardboard discs – no minis! I suppose Games Workshop don’t want other companies making plastic figures of their stuff anymore. The artwork, so far as I can tell, is entirely derived from the Fantasy RPG and aforementioned Invasion LCG, which is kind-of a good thing, as the artwork in those products is just astounding. There are four armies in the box – Empire, Orcs, High Elves and Chaos – along with a bunch of tokens and a small deck of cards. As well as the discs, there are terrain pieces that can be used to populate the battlefield and interact with the players.

Warhammer: Diskwars

The discs look good, and feel quite sturdy – FFG are of course known for their vast amounts of tokens (and their dials, of course, but there are no dials here!), but these feel different, like they have a smooth coating rather than that linen-feel or whatever it’s called, so it feels like these discs will likely hold up to a lot of playing.

Each disc has all the relevant information on it to be used in the game. Starting at 12, we have the unit’s attack strength in the black circle, and counter strength in the white circle; following round, we have the toughness, then the stamina. At the bottom of the disc is the race and set info, alongside the hero’s recruitment points/unit’s cost. Finally, moving back up the left side is the hero’s command rating, and finally the movement value.

What do all of these mean?

When a disc is activated, it is moved end-over-end a number of times equal to its movement value. Let’s use Archaon the Everchosen from the above picture as an example, because I usually play Chaos in the LCG. When Archaon moves, he is flipped four times – or, until he lands on top of another disc (pinning it), whichever happens first. An activation token is then placed on the disc to show it has been activated, which I feel is a lot handier than it probably sounds!

After movement, discs have the opportunity to use a focus ability, which is something Karl Franz in the above picture possesses. Discs can also make a ranged attack, which is denoted by a “play” symbol and a number of icons representing dice. Ranged attacks are made at one of three ranges – short, medium or long – as determined by the range ruler. Dice are rolled, which determine the results – there are hits, critical hits, scatter and Chaos results possible.

Warhammer: Diskwars

A fourth range, ‘siege’, denotes anything outside of the scope of the range ruler provided with the game. In the above picture, the Hellcannon rolls three attack dice during its attack. If it rolls any hits, these are ignored as the attack was made at siege range; any critical hits rolls will deal damage equal to d6, however. Furthermore, if any Chaos symbols were rolled, it can move the Hellcannon, potentially trapping enemy discs, dealing 5 points of Impact damage as denoted by the keywords. Ouch!

For me, this game seems to be at its most exciting in the melee phase. If Archaon were to land on top of another disc – let’s use Tyrion, as I normally play the LCG against Tony, who is High Elf through-and-through – he deals damage to it equal to his attack strength (the black circle). Something I think is really cool, the defender (pinned disc, this case Tyrion) deals damage equal to his counter strength also, which really reflects that sort of melee chaos of battle.

When dealing damage, tokens are used (of course!) to denote each point – if a unit is dealt damage equal to its toughness, in this case 5 for both Archaon and Tyrion, he is instead given a wound, which ordinarily removes that unit from the battlefield as a casualty. However, some units have a stamina value, which denote how many wounds they can take before being removed. Continuing the Archaon vs Tyrion deathmatch, Archaon deals six points of damage to Tyrion, which is more than his toughness so he takes one wound. Tyrion deals 5 points of counter damage, which equals Archaon’s toughness, so he also takes a wound. Both heroes have stamina values of 1, so the next time they attack, they would be removed as casualties simultaneously.

Something I find pretty hilarious is the possibility for a Scrum to happen, where a disc that is already pinning another disc is then itself pinned by a third disc, becoming both the attacker and defender. Such battles are fought top-down, so you may have thought you’ve successfully pinned your opponent, only to become attacked as well, where you may not survive the combat! It sounds fantastic, anyway!

Returning to the Archaon vs Tyrion situation, however, some important bits of information have thus far been overlooked. Each disc has some keywords and effects that would trigger, changing how that deathmatch would turn out. First of all, Archaon has “Impact 2”, which means he deals two points of damage when he flips onto Tyrion. Furthermore, his effect deals one point of damage to each disc within short range when he engages Tyrion, who is within short range at this time. This wouldn’t have any further effect on the combat, however – while damage persists from round to round, whenever damage equals or exceeds a unit’s toughness, it is all replaced by a wound token, so while Archaon winds up dealing 9 points of damage here, he only needs to deal five to make a wound, and the other 4 points are wasted. Tyrion, however, is a much stronger foe, as he rolls a d6 when he engages, and deals a wound on the roll of a 6. As each unit is considered to engage the other as soon as combat begins, Tyrion can potentially deal 2 wounds to Archaon, which would remove him from the battlefield, leaving Tyrion with just one wound and able to fight again!

Archaon also has the keyword Caster, and both have the keyword Hero. These mean nothing in and of themselves, but interact with the Command cards the player has. Remember the Command value of a hero disc? That determines how many Command cards you have in your hand.

Warhammer: Diskwars

Command cards are resolved during the Activation Phase, which actually comes before the disc movement bits I’ve just been talking about, but I was excited to talk about discs first! These cards determine the course of your actions during that round of battle. To begin, each has a strategy – slow, steady, devious and bold. These are resolved in a specific order – bold before steady, steady before devious, and devious before bold, with slow activating last. The number at the top of the card shows how many discs you can activate that round, so it can sometimes pay to be slow! Finally, the card has an ability that will trigger during the round, from passive abilities that will affect anything to specific abilities that interact with certain keywords. Furthermore, each faction has a specific card that directly interacts on the battlefield, for which a faction token is used to show the ability has been used – such as Fulminating Gaze for the Empire in the above picture.

Command cards are a good way to interact with the game, making it more strategic than just flipping discs and killing your opponent’s guys. There is an even more exciting type of card in the game, however – Scenario cards!

Warhammer: Diskwars

As you may know, I love thematic and scenario play in games. Scenario cards are used in Diskwars during setup to affect the game in some specific way. Players then get one card in secret which provides an objective to achieve, for bonus victory points at the end. It’s an interesting way to add more depth to the game, I feel.

Army customisation

The core set for Warhammer Diskwars features everything you could want to play the game. While there are a lot of discs (62, actually), your actual army won’t necessarily be all that big, due to the recruitment rules. Remember that each hero has a recruitment value at the bottom of the disc? This is the number of points you can use to build a regiment around that hero – other units have a unit cost in the same place. Returning to our old friend Archaon the Everchosen, he has a recruitment value of 33, so you can use up to 33 points of units in his regiment. The Hellcannon shown earlier costs 12 unit points, so takes up a lot of points, whereas something like the Kurgan Marauders only cost 5 points. There are other restrictions, which prevent you from having two Hellcannons with Archaon for instance. You can have more than one regiment within your army, which you decide upon before playing. The number of regiments then determines how the deployment zone is laid out, with deployment cards granting special abilities to units deployed from that zone. Finally, if you have any recruitment points left unspent, these can help you gain the initiative, as players roll a d6 and add any unspent points to determine who goes first. Aside from getting the Ghal Maraz first-player token, going first can have its benefits in that you may be able to pin rather than be pinned!

Expansions!

Of course there are expansions for the game – just two currently, one for the Dwarves and one for the Vampire Counts, though both bolster other races to some extent.

Warhammer: Diskwars

Hammer and Hold brings the Dwarves to the battlefield, as well as providing supplemental discs for the High Elves and Empire, and introducing two more races, the Lizardmen and the Wood Elves, albeit in very small numbers. Legions of Darkness follows a similar path, with a new Vampire Counts faction, alongside Chaos and Orc reinforcements, and Dark Elves and Skaven as support races. Some really cool new keywords also appear – Guard, for instance, acts as the opposite to Impact and deals damage to a unit that flips onto it, while Poison prevents damage from clearing, making it potentially easier to get rid of a unit through other abilities.

Back in January this year, FFG announced they were no longer supporting organised play for the game, which many players felt was a death-knell at large (that, combined with the End Times that was running through Games Workshop, of course). However, at GenCon this year, FFG stated they still felt the Old World was a viable property, and while GW may be going into new realms with the Age of Sigmar, Warhammer Quest adventure card game has shown FFG is committed to this world, so I don’t think we need to worry until they come out and tell us they’re not doing anything else for it. If they stay true to form, that would only happen with a final release, anyway, so if nothing else, there ought to be at least one last hurrah for the game.

Personally, I’d love to see the four subsidiary races fleshed out – Lizardmen above all else – and also maybe some love for the Tomb Kings, even if it’s just one regiment that could complement the Vampire Counts.

Final thoughts

Warhammer Diskwars looks like an excellent game. Like I said, I haven’t had the chance to play it yet, but everything I’ve learned in order to write this blog points to it being a whole lot of fun. Sure, there are a lot of rules, and I foresee a lot of consultation with the rulebook during at least the first couple of games, but it should be a real blast, and I look forward to trying it out a lot. Army customisation should also be a lot of fun, as you look at which units to pair with which heroes, and perhaps combining factions into an army to take on your opponent. As with any such game, variety should be the spice, and while the two expansions look excellent, there’s always room for more in any wargame, so hopefully we’ll see something soon. However, overall this looks like a really solid game – when I get round to playing, I’ll be sure to have a write-up to either confirm or deny that, anyway!

Age of Sigmar, week 6 – and more!

Hey everybody!
The releases just keep coming for Age of Sigmar! Fortunately, we’ve moved into the realms of Chaos now, and while it’s nothing against the models themselves, I’m perfectly fine to sit these out. That said, there is a new book out today!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar

The Quest for Ghal Maraz is a lovely book, let me tell you! As you may know, Ghal Maraz is the name of Sigmar’s warhammer – the weapon that gave its name to the entire game line – was lost during the end of the world-that-was, so the Stormcast Eternals are dispatched to find it once more. I’ve flicked through the tome, and I’ve got to say, it’s really impressive. So many people write off these big hardcover books for being of little value to the game, but the fact of the matter is, these books are beautiful. The artwork is awesome, and the dioramas of miniatures are truly spectacular. The content is also pretty great, meaning the sum is well worth it. Of course, everybody is different, but I’m a fan, and will no doubt keep buying these things as long as Games Workshop keep pumping them out!

This might sound a bit weird, but the book actually feels like one of those Annuals types of books you might have had as a kid, with some sort of overarching story, some fact-file type things with character profiles and whatnot, and some things for you to do – in this case, the battle plans and painting guides. It’s actually a lot of fun when you look at it, anyway! The book ends with a series of warscrolls for you to use in your battles. The majority of these warscrolls are basically those we’ve already seen – the Stormcast Eternals and the Chaos guys from the last book are reproduced in their entirety, alongside which we have those for the new Paladins, and the new Chaos lord that’s up for preorder this week, who you can see on the cover of this week’s White Dwarf.

Indeed, the theme for this week’s Dwarf is very much Chaos, particularly Chaos re-boxings. Continuing last week’s Skaven re-boxings (which are available today, of course), we’re now getting more Nurgle-centric releases, including the fabulously-disgusting Glottkin model from the End Times. Beautiful! All of these re-packaged models have warscrolls in the book, of course, but will henceforth come with them in their box, also. Chaos – and, specifically, Nurgle – is strong in this issue, with an extensive look at the Khorne army that has grown considerably since the Age of Sigmar starter set, and an article exploring the Nurgle/Skaven alliance. This is something that feels completely natural, to the extent that now we see it, I wonder why it hasn’t happened sooner.

So I’m still a little concerned by the fact we’ve not had the Prosecutors box yet, in fact I’m starting to wonder if we’ll even be getting one. Hopefully, of course, we’ll get the winged beauties as part of a second wave of Stormcast Eternals that includes even more wonderful models – time will tell!

Anyway!

What else I’ve been up to this week

As a sort of celebration of a year of painting miniatures, I’ve been slowly working on some Sylvaneth Dryads that were picked up last week. Beautiful models, let me get that out there right now. I was worried they’d be horrendous to put together, but they’re actually pretty straightforward. I’m following the Winter scheme that was put out in the How to Paint Citadel Miniatures ebook, helped immeasurably by the very wonderful Roemer’s Workshop, and I have to say, I’m really impressed with the results!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar Sylvaneth Dryads

I’ve actually cheated somewhat here, and drybrushed the highlights rather than layering them, but the effect, I feel, is just as good. I also haven’t gone for the glow effect with the eyes, but I think they look just fine without it. I’m particularly pleased with the frozen-ground effect, as I was worried it wouldn’t look that good, but has turned out pretty much exactly as I’d hoped! So I’m going to get some more of these guys built up soon, though I’m currently involved in getting my Stormcast Eternals finished from the starter box. It is six weeks since this thing came out, after all…!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar

And finally…

Finally resuming the #EndTimes reading after ~10 months! #Warhammer

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

I’ve been reading The Curse of Khaine, the third novel in the End Times series that came out in November last year. Of course, I’ve read the first two – Nagash and Fall of Altdorf – and thoroughly enjoyed them both, but stalled over Christmas and hadn’t read a Warhammer novel since. It’s really nice to get back into that world, however, even though I now know how the End Times end!

The story is pretty decent, nowhere near as good as Fall of Altforf, which remains one of my favourite fantasy novels of all time. It’s pretty much a character-study of the dark elf Malekith as he pursues his quest to become the Phoenix King, seen as his birthright since his father, Aenarion, held the title. Malekith is now a very old guy – I think 6000 years old is given as his age, though I could be mistaken – and as such, he has periods where he lapses into memories of the past. This is an interesting aside to the pacing of the novel at first, but does get a little annoying as time goes on. Purely a personal thing, but still – pages-long reminiscences can be interesting to build character, but they keep coming throughout the whole book, and it did feel like it threw things off.

End Times Khaine

The novel accompanied the fluff/crunch release of Khaine, a model that the new Age of Sigmar campaign books seem to be streamlining. Breathtaking collections of Citadel miniatures sit alongside fantastic artwork to tell the story of the battles on Ulthuan as Malekith attempts to re-take his birthright. The hardback fluff book is akin to a historical non-fiction book, and tells the full story of the war – as such, it’s almost the perfect companion piece to the novel.

All in all, this has been a pretty decent week!

Now bring me my Prosecutors, dammit!