Building an Army in Age of Sigmar (3rd edition)

The Age of Sigmar exploration continues!

After looking at the core rules themselves on Saturday, today I’m looking into the other half of that, army building. It’s a part of the game that can sometimes sound a bit too straightforward – you muster an army, then start throwing dice around as per the rules, which is where most of your focus ends up. However, there are some fairly stringent rules as to how you build your army, so let’s take a look!

I’m hoping to get my first game in on Friday, too, so this will be a useful exercise as I build my list for that!

It was first edition AoS that gave us the three ways to play that have become the norm for Games Workshop now; open, narrative and matched play. That’s still true here, and as with 9th edition 40k before it, a lot of the development has gone into narrative play this time around, as we get a new and improved Path to Glory system. Narrative play, as I remember it, used to be “historical” missions that would often stipulate how the game should run, even sometimes which armies should be used for each mission. Path to Glory has existed for the whole lifetime of the game too, first as an expansion book in first edition, then as a part of each battletome. Now, it’s very much like 40k’s new Crusade system, albeit simplified.

Open Play used to be a case of “bring whatever you want, and go smash!” – with correspondingly little time given to it. In third edition, open play uses points and features a battle plan generation system straight out of Warcry, which is interesting!

Matched Play is pretty much the standard though, I would say, with strict rules around points and how many of which unit types you can bring for each level. Third edition goes a bit further and suggests table sizes and number of scenery pieces for each size of game, as well. It’s interesting to see this development, and along with the player code and other bits and pieces, I feel like GW are more than ever trying to tell people how they should be playing the game. Which is a good thing, but being the eternal optimist, I just wish it didn’t have to be such a thing, you know?

For my first game on Friday, we’re playing at around the 600 points mark, because that’s how many points James can muster from his Slaves to Darkness. I’m still back-and-forth a bit, but I’m currently planning a list of Ossiarch Bonereapers. I had been thinking I would try the Khorne guys, but I don’t have their book, and I don’t really want to buy it when it could well be replaced in a year or less! Last year, I did a lot of work in a short space of time to get a lot of these guys painted up, as well, so I think it’ll be nice to get them on the table and see what they can do!

The points limits start at 750, and within this bracket I need 1 battleline unit, and can have 1-2 leaders. Everything else is 0-1 of, so I’ve decided to bring the following:

Mortisan Boneshaper (135 points), two units of Mortek Guard (140 points each), and one unit of Immortis Guard (190 points).

The Boneshaper is a wizard, and can natively cast an offensive spell but I’ve given him a second that improves the combat effectiveness of my other units. He also has the ability to heal units, which may be very handy! My two battleline units are the Mortek Guard (both sword and spear varieties). They strike me as pretty tough for basic troops, making two attacks per model, and with a 4+ save that their sergeant can allow them to reroll with his command ability. They also have exploding 6s that the Boneshaper’s extra spell changes to exploding 5s to hit. Nice! The Immortis Guard have a similar ability, whereby they can attack with their massive shields and dish out mortal wounds on 6s. Their command ability is to pile in and attack again with shields only once combat is finished, which seems kinda bonkers but I do love it!!

I’m going with the Petrifex Elite, which is the colour scheme for my army. Interestingly, their army-wide special ability used to be +1 to save across the board, but I seem to recall that was deemed too powerful so it is now worsen the rend of attacking units that target a Petrifex Elite unit. Could be handy, I suppose!

The big thing with Ossiarch Bonereapers is that they don’t get to use command points or command abilities, but instead generate relentless discipline points which can only be spent on their own command abilities. A recent Tome Celestial in White Dwarf has helped out with this a bit, by giving more options, but it definitely feels like the Bonereapers are getting a rough deal at the moment!

Now, there are a lot of other bits and pieces that go along with list building in Age of Sigmar 3rd edition which I’ll go over now, but which I’m not sure I’m using in this list.

First up, all of the old warscroll battalions are gone, instead we have new core battalions which grant you specific bonuses based on how you build your army. The only one I could use in this force is the Vanguard, which allows me to issue a command ability without using a command point, but both of those things don’t apply to my army, sad face. They’re interesting ways to organise your force, and while I don’t know much about the game yet, I don’t think they’re too broken…

Enhancements are the catch-all term for relics, command traits and all those lovely bits and pieces that I enjoy from list building in the past. Something completely new, though, are Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics. It seems like an effort to incorporate the Objectives stuff from 40k, but as I’m not a huge fan of that, I do find myself a bit lost here. I’ve chosen Vendetta as my Grand Strategy, which is basically Slay the Warlord.

Overall, it seems like list building in third edition is a bit tighter than last time around. I seem to recall it was a little bit faffy in second edition to find all of the rules that you need, but while there is more to it this time around, I feel like it’s getting better. I suppose I need to wait for my actual battletome before I can fully judge it though, to see what I can do these days!

The Witcher: Blood of Elves

I finished reading book one in The Witcher series on Friday, Blood of Elves, and I have to say, I’m very impressed. It’s a series of books that has been around in the original Polish since the 90s of course (Blood of Elves dates from 1994), but has really only hit the mainstream with the video game from 2007, I believe. The games merely use the characters from the series, but I understand that they don’t otherwise adapt the book material. Could be wrong, though, as I’m not a video gamer!

Book One in the series takes all of the stuff we learnt across the two anthology books, particularly from Sword of Destiny, and begins the story in earnest. I’d say that it also begins to pull all of the fairly disparate stories into a more cohesive whole, but honestly, this novel still has an element of the short story anthology to it. There are just seven chapters in the book, but they’re long, and almost disjointed enough to feel like separate stories.

We begin with Dandelion being tortured by a man named Rience, for details of the real people upon whom one of his popular ballads is based – notably, Geralt and Ciri. Rience is very interested in where the child is, but fortunately Dandelion is saved by Yennefer before any serious damage is done.

Roughly the first half then sees us at the Witchers’ keep of Kaer Morhen, where the sorceress Triss Merigold has been asked to help them deal with Ciri, who is having some strange episodes. The witchers haven’t tried to give her any of their elixirs, in part because it seems their infrastructure is collapsing, but they also have next to no understanding of female biology. It’s clear that she possesses some form of magical potency, and during one of these she tries to delve into the girl’s mind, with fairly disastrous results. Triss informs Geralt that Ciri needs a stronger mentor, and to see more of the world.

With the spring, Geralt, Triss and Ciri set off for the Temple of Melitele in order for Ciri to gain some more mainstream education. On the road, however, Triss becomes ill, and Geralt is able to seek aid from his old friend, the dwarf Yarpen Zigrin, who is leading a caravan on the business of King Henselt of Kaedwen, one of the Four Kingdoms. We get to learn something about the political situation, and the caravan is attacked by eleven marauders. It turns out that the caravan was only a ruse, to work out if Henselt could trust Yarpen.

The story then fractures, as we get to see Geralt on the hunt for Rience, whom he tracks down with the help of Dandelion, but whom escapes from him. We end with Ciri receiving a magical education from Yennefer, before the two head off from the Temple, amid rumours of a new war.


I enjoyed this one, although the chapters sometimes ran a bit too long for my liking. The way the story is paced did take some getting used to, as well, but overall I think it didn’t take too long to get into.

While it perhaps isn’t compulsory to read the anthologies first, I think I got so much more out of the story for having done so. There are references both huge and trivial throughout the book, and while it would feel just like any kind of fantasy story that begins with the fallout from a historical war, having read all of the preamble in the earlier books, I think the setting does become all the richer for it.

I also really liked the way the story was buttressed by the two educational styles. To begin with, Ciri is learning almost entirely how to handle a sword, and she seems to be pretty good at that, to boot. We later see her come into her own magically, and it seems likely she will be a force to be reckoned with in that arena, as well. She’s a really well-developed character over the course of the novel, becoming beautifully rounded out, and I found myself really invested in her story by the end. Interesting that the book should be sold under the tagline of The Witcher, when this really seems to be Ciri’s story.

As we know, Geralt is a Witcher, meaning he has undergone training and mutations to kill the many monsters that plague the land. However, only once do we see him in his professional capacity, and that is a sideline to his hunt for Rience. There is an excellent battle sequence at the caravan, though, which I enjoyed tremendously, and he does get to kick some serious ass during his fight with Rience. I hate to think of the shape that guy will be in if and when he shows up for book two!

We also get to spend a lot of time with Yennefer, and while in many ways she is as inscrutable here as she ever was in the short stories, we do get to have some insight into her as a person, and I think it helps to round her out more as well, rather than just being the woman over whom Geralt painfully pines.

There is quite a bit of politics and power-plays later in the book, but I definitely feel as though we need a map because I do struggle to picture where all of these kingdoms and cities are in relation to one another. There are some really interesting bits about the Wizard Council as well, and in general I think the world-building is great. In particular, the history of the elves is explored, and I was almost overjoyed to see that here we have a credible reason for just why the elves are an ancient race that is dying out.

In short, I think the first book in the series (book three if we’re counting actual volumes, though, but the first novel) is really good, and I’m thoroughly invested in just what is going on. I would have preferred a more in-depth discussion of the politics, or a map, to help with the bigger picture, but the character drama that is playing out has really sucked me in!

I’m reading The Witcher series with Dave, Milou and Jenn, and will be linking their blog reviews here in the fullness of time, as well!!

Learning to play Age of Sigmar (3rd Edition)

Welcome to my first musings on learning 3rd edition Age of Sigmar!

I’m sure there will be quite a few of these posts going up in the coming weeks, as I attempt to figure out what I’m doing with AoS. They’re probably more for my own benefit than anything else, but hopefully by publishing my thoughts here, experienced folks can tell me where I’m going wrong!

Very briefly, I think the game system is really interesting. While the free pdf has been called out as coming across as litigious because of the way each rule is numbered, I think this is perfect and in line with a few other games that I’m familiar with, so it’s not unexpected. Especially with a ruleset that can get cumbersome. It’s quite clear, and I think better than the 40k layout. The fact that the sidebar has useful clarifications is nice, too.

The game seems to broadly follow the same basic premise as 40k, which I think started when Warhammer Fantasy became Age of Sigmar with the famous four-page rules sheet, but has evolved and expanded into a much more filled-out game. It starts out with a player code, which basically amounts to “be nice”, and I like that a lot. While attempts are made to summarise basic rules concepts, I was surprised (like many players, I think) that engagement range wasn’t made a thing here – instead, “within 3” of an enemy unit” is used throughout.

There are six phases to the game. We start with the Hero Phase, which is basically the Command Phase and Psychic Phase from 40k. Generals get a command point for the army, and one hero can perform a heroic action. Wizards can cast spells, and Priests can cast invocations.

Next comes the Movement Phase, where units move up to their move characteristic, they can retreat from combat, and they can run (+d6 to their move). The Shooting Phase is next, where units armed with missile weapons can shoot them. Shooting seems to be very much an exception though, unlike in 40k, and within the rule book, actual combat rules are put into the combat phase. After any missiles have been shot, the Charge Phase allows units within 12” of an enemy to charge at them.

The meat seems to be in the Combat Phase, though. Both players alternate fighting with a unit, and there doesn’t seem to be a rule for all charging units to fight first. Interesting. At any rate, after a 3” pile-in move, fights are resolved with the normal roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save. A big thing here is that it seems wounds spill over within the unit, so one attack doling out 3 damage can kill 3 one-wound models. Interesting. A unit’s saving throw can be modified by rend (AP) on the attacking weapon, and by cover if relevant. A unit can potentially get a Ward save once a wound has been allocated, which sounds a bit like magical protection or something, and can save against Mortal Wounds as well.

I find the development of Mortal Wounds kinda fascinating, as a mechanic that initially represented such devastating damage that you couldn’t possibly defend against it, to the sort of damage that was coming from everywhere, to suddenly being able to defend against it with special stuff, etc. I don’t know anything about the AoS meta, of course, but hopefully it’ll be a bit more sensible here, and mortal wounds will be a bit more circumspect. We’ll see.

At any rate, we finally have the Battleshock Phase. Here, you roll a d6 for a unit that has lost models, and add the number of models slain that phase; for every point by which the result exceeds the Bravery of that unit, another model flees. Coherency needs to be maintained, and if a unit of 6+ models has any that aren’t within 1” of two other models you must remove models until unit coherency is restored, same as 40k.

Overall, I like these rules. It’s interesting to me, that 9th Edition 40k has been somehow clouded for me, while 3rd Edition AoS feels much clearer and better, but it’s very similar. True, the Hero Phase is very different, but it strikes me that games of AoS would be much faster than 40k, and much more enjoyable, dare I say?!

I remember having this chat with the manager of my local GW back when first edition AoS was out, whereby the rules are quite straightforward but the bulk of the mechanics are within the warscrolls, and I think that holds true more than ever in third edition. With all of the allegiance abilities (roughly analogous to chapter tactics), and the command traits etc, it can become quite a task to work things out! But this comes from practice, I suppose, as you become more familiar with your chosen army.

Of course, I haven’t yet played it, so I could be barking up the wrong tree here. I think I played a couple of games with my Nighthaunt at the start of the last edition, and that was pretty good! I think there’s a huge attraction to fantasy for me, because it’s how I got started and all. Each time I find myself in this situation, it somehow feels like coming home for me, and I feel really positive about it all. So hopefully it’ll be a good time for all!

Converting miniatures (an opinion)

This is something that I’ve had bubbling around in the back of my brain for quite a few years now, and seeing as how I’m churning out all manner of blog posts right now, I thought I might as well try to get this idea on the virtual paper, as well.

The hobby of building, collecting, painting and playing with miniatures is diverse, and we’re all in it for our own reasons. There may be many overlapping reasons, but ultimately, what you do with your money and your time is entirely your own business (so long as it’s not illegal). In more broad terms, everybody has a right to be happy, so long as what makes you happy doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s right to be happy.

Hopefully you’re still with me, so far…

Something that I see and hear a lot, especially around new releases of miniatures, is “I would get one of those to convert up”, or words to that effect. That’s fine, converting models to make them more personal to you is a big part of the hobby, and for a fair number of folks, it’s almost the whole reason they’re in the hobby. I have no problem with people who convert miniatures, indeed some of that stuff is incredible to see. We see conversion guides in the pages of White Dwarf quite regularly as well, where alums of the Warhammer studio show off their efforts (always using 100% Citadel parts, naturally).

I think what bothers me is when people adopt a sort of hipster attitude to it, though, and try to make out that they would improve the original model because they have a better design vision than professional miniatures designers working in the studio. I remember it being a big thing particularly with Lauka Vai, Mother of Nightmares, above. She’s a very weird model, for sure, but that’s kind of the point. When it was shown off, I loved the fact that it’s literal nightmare fuel, but was told off by a fair few people because it needed converting up.

It’s the sort of attitude that is prevalent to a wide degree, with the half-joking “is this an Archon?” and “every new model is a Necromunda model”, which are both somewhat jokingly meant. I don’t watch his stuff much anymore, but I remember Kirioth would enthuse a great deal over new model releases with an immediate “I’d convert that”.

And I would always think, why?

What’s wrong with getting a model because you like how it looks? Well, apparently it means I’ve drunk the GW kool aid, or something, but I happen to like the look of a lot of the models that I own. It’s actually the reason why I bought them

I think it really bothers me when people make the announcement in that way, like they’re expecting praise for seeing the possibility for making it into something else. Sure, if you’re wanting to build a model to represent something, and then GW produce something else that would get you maybe 30% of the way there, then I get it. But the knee-jerk attitude of “I will get this and make something better from it” really bothers me.

Now, there’s I think a legitimate argument to be made about the lack of poseability in a lot of the new miniatures, which I do find rather baffling. I used to love the fact that Tactical Marines could be posed, and that they came with a variety of extra bits and bobs that you can you to further customise your force. But this is more about customisation, not conversion. At its most basic, a different paint job is customising your minis, but whether it’s adding bits and pieces, or hacking a model apart to make it look like it’s running, that’s all fine. When people complain that monopose miniatures make it harder to convert them, I just tune all that nonsense out. There are some great looking monopose miniatures out there – why would you want to convert the Master of Possession? Are you saying you’re better than Jes Goodwin?!

You might retort, but I don’t want my Master of Possession to look like all the rest. Well, that’s a very valid point, and I don’t really have a rebuttal for you. But then, this rambling post isn’t really aimed at that aspect of it. Wanting a miniature to look different in the scheme of your army is one thing – and if you want to include two of a miniature, but don’t want clones, then I get that too – but if you’re going to tell me that you have a fully-converted 2000-point Guard army that uses parts from 6-billion other kits to make something that doesn’t look like a Guard army, I’m not going to be impressed. Cue RDJ rolling his eyes so damn hard it hurts.

I think I resent the fact that I’m apparently not supposed to enjoy a model for its own sake, and can only like it for the opportunity it presents to make something completely different. That’s really what bothers me, and I think I’d the crux of this whole post. It’s like you’re being told off for having a lack of imagination, or something. I don’t buy a car because I think it would make a great spice rack.

You’re allowed to like what you like!

I would actually go one step further, and say that people are allowed to paint their Space Marines as Ultramarines, but I know that might be a step too far for many! (Ultramarines are great, remember!)

Of course, I’m not trying to tell people off if they also want to buy a model to make it into something else – as I said, conversion is a great part of the hobby. I just dislike that snobby tone where people seem to think they’re Truly Special (TM) for doing it, and the rest of us plebs can build our models according to the instructions, and presumably eat mud for dinner as well. I bought that Keeper of Secrets because I loved its pose, its insinuated deadliness, and not because I thought I could make it look better by using an Onager Dunecrawler for its legs, and a Treeman’s sword, and parts from a pewter model that was initially released at Game Day in 1995 (because I’m that cool).

Yeah, I know, I’m kinda ranting, but it’s all tongue in cheek. The main point that I want to make is that converting a miniature isn’t always some kind of brilliant move that ought to result in everybody bowing down before you.

If you start talking about “looting”, though, I’m going to have to walk away entirely…

Throwback Thursday

I don’t normally get into this sort of thing, but for a variety of reasons I felt the need to do so today! I think talking about a return to Age of Sigmar yesterday, more broadly about Fantasy in general, has put me in the mood, somewhat.

When playing Warhammer Invasion, I would almost always play as Chaos, and it’s a faction that I really enjoy a great deal. When it came to the miniatures, though, it took a lot longer for me to fall in with the ruinous powers. I’ve recently begun to work with some gusto on the Khorne Bloodbound models as a second army for Age of Sigmar, and I’m also still chipping away at the Black Legion for 40k. So I’m definitely feeling Chaotic at the current time!

The models tend to be absolutely beautiful though, whether it’s in the baroque majesty of the Khornate armour, or the lithe beauty of Slaanesh Hedonites. Which reminds me, I’ve got some of those mortal units still boxed up somewhere…

For me, there is a definite appeal to the Fantasy miniatures, I think mainly due to the fact that it was Warhammer Fantasy that initially got me into this mess. True, I never played the game, but there’s a lovely sense of nostalgia attached to these things, for me. I’m not about to do a complete 180 and throw my lot fully into AoS, especially because most of my gaming buddies are more 40k-centric. But I’m definitely leaning into the fantasy setting once again. And with stuff like Warcry and Warhammer Underworlds, it’s hard to stay away from the mortal realms!!

Age of Sigmar, too?

Well, that didn’t take long, did it?! I’d only talked about this on Monday, and two days later, I’m changing my plans! Well, kinda…

There’s been a bit of chatter going on around me recently as regards getting into Age of Sigmar, and James in particular has been off-and-on keen since getting the Slaves to Darkness box at Christmas. I already have an Ossiarch Bonereapers army of not insubstantial proportions, although I believe I may need more battle line units, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

However, I also have some Khorne Bloodbound models from a project that I had picked up just over twelve months ago, but was sort of abandoned when my second daughter was born.

I really enjoy the Khorne models for Age of Sigmar, I think it may have something to do with the nostalgia because they of course came out with the original AoS starter box, which was a glorious time in my memory… They do look great, though, particularly the Mortal units, like over-steroided barbarians. Glorious stuff!

I’ve talked about the Khorne models before, and it’s a project that I did make some efforts to start, but unfortunately stalled with. But now I’m really enthusiastic about getting an army underway! I’m not intending to go crazy with them, however. Famous last words, of course, but I’m in the process of thinning down the ranks, after all! I actually have quite a lot of models to start with, anyway, so it would be kinda redundant to just buy more when I’ve got so many. I’ve got the starter box, plus an additional box of the guys in armour (I think they’re called Blood Warriors?) so at this point I have quite a substantial force!

I have downloaded the rules for AoS 3, but I’ve not yet been able to really digest them. Army building is something that does confuse me a little, because I’m not sure how any of it works these days! I will definitely need to take a proper look at the rules, I think. If memory serves, though, you need two or three battleline units in the army, and certain things are made battleline when you take certain units… it’s all quite confusing to me, so I need to get a better understanding there.

I have plenty of AoS terrain, thanks to all the Warcry stuff, so I think when it comes down to it, actual games should be pretty good! Just need to arrange some dates, I guess!

Age of Sigmar will hopefully be coming to the blog again this summer though!!

May Plans

Somehow, I’m on quite the blog-writing streak here at the minute, I think this is day 16 now, which is quite exciting! Amid all of the rambles, though, I feel like I need to get a bit more focused. I’m very much in a Star Wars mood at the moment, and combined with a return to board gaming, I seem to be moving away from what has been my main hobby for the last eight years now, miniature war games. I did touch on this on Friday, but I think I need to try to strike more of a balance, and see if I can keep up the games while also enjoying a bit more of the plastic hobby. I have the coming week off work (which is just as well, really, because I’m in the middle of some pretty intense training at the moment!) so thought it would perhaps be a good time to recalibrate, and whatnot.

So, to start with, I want to try to press on with the Black Legion bits that I’m in the middle of painting. I may have said this before, but I find it difficult to come back to projects when they’re halfway finished, so I do need to keep on with these guys before it’s another couple of years before they’re fully painted. I’m not going to go any further than this for the time being: I wouldn’t say that I’m in a hobby slump per se, but I’m definitely in that realm of feeling a bit overwhelmed with just how much I’ve got going on, so don’t want to plan ahead beyond the one immediate project for now!!

It’s no secret that I have a lot of armies on my plate, but in the last week I’ve started to take some action here, and have listed my Blood Angels on eBay to try and trim down. As it stands, I’m hoping to get around £100 for the lot, which would be nice, and traditionally I would almost immediately plough that back into Games Workshop’s coffers, but I’m hoping that I can be more circumspect this time around, and resist the allure of new shiny stuff. I still want to off-load more models, including my Nighthaunt, so hopefully I’ll be feeling a bit better about the hobby and stuff once I’ve cleared away some of the chaff. It’s amazing how much noise is in my head from the variety of projects that I have at the moment.

I’m very keen to give the new Kill Team a try – well, especially seeing as how it isn’t really “new” any more. This would kinda play into the Black Legion that I’ve been painting up as well, as I could start painting those models that were built up from the Nachmund set, though at this point I have quite a few sets of miniatures from which to draw – including AdMech and Genestealer Cults from the White Dwarf rules.

Unfortunately, nobody around here appears to be that into Kill Team right now, I think in part as a result of a general downer on 9th Edition 40k that seems to be led by the main group from my local GW. So it may be a bit of an uphill struggle on that one!

I do need to finish building the terrain from Nachmund though, at which point I may just try it out with me taking on both sides, just to see how the ruleset works. I may have a better chance of convincing people if I’ve got a better grasp of the rules!

So far, then, I don’t think my plans for the month are particularly onerous! Finish painting five/six models, build up some terrain, and maybe read over some campaign books!

Of course, I’m still really keen to play lots of other games that I own, and have been enjoying quite a variety of them in recent weeks. I’m still trying to convince Jemma that the Star Wars LCG is worth playing, and I’m still in the middle of the jungle in the Forgotten Age campaign, but I’ve recently also been thinking a lot about Lord of the Rings LCG. It’s widely been referred to on my blog here as my favourite game, and I think that holds true for the first couple of cycles of the game. But somewhere around the Voice of Isengard, I just lost interest due to the game becoming so incredibly difficult to play solo.

There are about six full cycles that I have not yet played, and last year I made an effort to change that, playing my way through The Lost Realm before once again getting distracted. Now, I have a vague memory of playing through the first three scenarios in the Angmar Awakened cycle as well, and even mentioned it here on the blog, but I didn’t record it on my BGG stats, and I don’t actually remember the scenarios themselves, either, so in confusion I’ve somewhat given up for the time being.

I still want to play this game, though, so I’m thinking that I’m going to go straight in for the final cycle of the game, the Vengeance of Mordor! This should be interesting, as from what I remember of it from promotional stuff at the time, we get to explore some fairly interesting aspects of Middle Earth, and we get something of a unique look at the world. So that’s pretty exciting! Although I may not be saying that when I’ve been beaten into submission by the scenario!

I’m hoping to get started with it while I’m off, anyway, so stay tuned for more updates there!!

The Black Legion update 2

Hey everybody,
It’s been a long, long road with the Black Legion, as I’ve been doing little bits and then leaving them for ages, but I have finally finished the first group of five marines, and the Sorcerer!

Maybe I’m just a masochist, but I eventually really got into painting these guys, even with all the trim! They are incredibly detailed miniatures, of course, regardless of the fact that the trim takes forever to paint. But I did get into it, by the end! I think it helps being in a more relaxed mindset when tackling them – I’m not trying to rush things to get them finished for the sake of having finished models, I’m just painting each model and enjoying the ride, you know? While I’m not going to win any awards of course, it is great to see them finished, as well, which is spurring me on to do more! I think I am definitely over my hobby slump of recent weeks, then!

Currently, then, my painted Chaos forces consist of seven models – the Sorcerer, the Master of Possession, and these five marines. I’ve got some Cultists that are kinda sorta on the way, too, but for the time being I’ve started work on the next batch of five marines so that I have the full squad painted. I think I’ll then turn my attention to finishing the Cultists to get a 10-man squad of those, too, before doing anything further.

Of course, I have also been building a second marine squad, using the fancy models from the Nachmund box, but currently I don’t know how that squad is going to turn out, rules-wise, because there are three “odd” models who currently don’t have rules. However, with all of the codex talk now starting to take place, it seems like they will become an option for the squad, which I’m quite excited for.

It’s quite nice in general to have the new book to look forward to, with of course the promise of new kits coming at some point. The live stream from the WarhammerFest event the other day has shown some very exciting things, and of course we already have the new Chosen and Warpsmith out in the wild after that box set that came out recently. Seems like they’re really leaning heavily into the Cultist side of things this time, with a new 10-man set, plus the Cultist Command Squad (for want of a better term), plus the possessed Cultists and the abominable possessed Cultists – disgusting yet beautiful, all of them! New Possessed models, as well – wonderful stuff! Part of me wonders where the separate Greater Possessed and the separate Obliterators are, to say nothing of the plastic Mutilators, but I suppose we can’t have it all just yet.

But we are getting a new Daemon Prince…

I did talk about this when I last mentioned the heretics here on the blog, and at the time I wasn’t sure whether I was going to keep going with the army. Well, I am now sure, having enjoyed my time with the models that I’ve painted up to now, so I’m looking forward to seeing where things will be going from here! That said, of course, I’m not going to go mad with this project, because I’m actually trying to thin down the various models that I have once more, but I realise that I always say this, and follow it shortly after with “look what army I’m going to start next!”

I enjoy the Master of Possession though, and the daemonic side of the army, so I think I will likely be getting myself some of the new Possessed when they’re out. I’ve talked about having a Cultist-centric army in the past as well, of course, though I think I’m somewhat shying away from that for the moment. Maybe I’ll reconsider in due course. The new Cultists do look good, and I’ll be interested to see whether the older Cultist models remain viable with these new guys coming along as well (I think I have about 35 of these guys, after all!)

I’ve been trying to organise my miniatures into some kind of cohesive army, and have come up with a 1000-point list (well, it’s actually 999 points) to use next week against my buddy JP, who has played exclusively Word Bearers since I’ve known him, so it’ll be interesting to throw my guys against whatever he decides to bring to the table, as he has been starting an Imperial Fists army, as well.

At any rate, I’ll be keeping my stuff confined to just marines, with the legionaries and Havocs, plus two Greater Possessed and an Obliterator. Nothing too fancy. Without having the second edition of the codex, though, it’s going to be a hilarious game where I will have the old codex, one of the Vigilus books, the Daemonkin mini-codex, and one of the Psychic Awakening books on hand!

That new book can’t come out quickly enough!

However, I’m trying to keep myself under control, which isn’t easy with the amount of Chaotic good stuff coming out soon! I absolutely don’t want this army to get out of control, though, so I will be trying, as much as possible, to stay focused on just the models that I have, for the time being.

But then they go and announce this, and I’m all “oooooooh! Traitor Guard!” 🫠

Warhammer Fest 2022

Oh man, this was an exciting one! Four days of previews that are really pretty great, for so many in the hobby. Let’s try to break down some of the new stuff and see what’s coming our way in the next few months!

To start with, Chaos is back on the menu! We’re getting a lot of new Cultist varieties, including a ten-man squad, a sort of command squad, and mutant cultists of various stripes. Delightful! There’s also going to be new Possessed, which will presumably be accompanied by the Chosen and the Warpsmith when the big release comes.

Oh yeah, and there’s also gonna be a new Daemon Prince!

Points values will be made available for free, but the upcoming Chapter Approved will be tinkering with the rules, specifically around command points, and giving everyone new secondary objectives. There has been some outcry about why CA is coming out when armies like the Guard still don’t have their Codex, which I think is pretty valid, but 9th edition has been so strange to me, I suppose I’m not really surprised.

World Eaters will be getting a Codex, too, but it’s too soon to show off any new models. And the new Squats are getting a trike, which people seem to be excited for. I’m still underwhelmed with the Squat news – I’m happy for those players who have wanted this to happen, of course! I’m just happy, also, that I don’t feel the need to get any!

Next up, we have Age of Sigmar! Leaks from the Slaves to Darkness book have been on Facebook for about a week already, but it’s great to see these big lads in high definition glory! There’s a new Skaven model coming out, and Sylvaneth are getting a lot more new models!

This has been quite a surprise, to me. Seems like each iteration of the game grows this army, and they’re getting further away from their Wood Elf origins. It’s great to see, and I think I’ll need to exercise some restraint because Sylvaneth are an army that I really would love to try out. I mean, the Treelord mini is one of my absolute favourite sculpts of all time!

Big news from AoS is that Cities of Sigmar will be getting what I suppose we’re now calling “the Battle Sisters treatment”, and there will be updates for the redesign online. Could be interesting…

Big news in Specialist Games comes once more from the Squats, as we’ll be getting them in a new gang of Ironhead Squat Prospectors. Interesting, seems like 2022 is going to be the year of the space dwarf.

The next Kill Team box has been announced, Moroch, and will be Phobos Marines vs Traitor Guard, with the new Sector Frontieris terrain! I’m unsure about this one, as I don’t want the Marines, and I already have the ogryn and commissar models from their release in Blackstone Fortress, so I’m thinking that I might sit this one out. That terrain is, of course, wonderful, but given that they split these boxes up eventually anyway, I think I might just wait.

It does look tempting, though!

New logo and new location for Warcry, as we head into a cursed jungle for what many seem to think will be a soft version two. I’m not sure about the jungle, because I personally love the aesthetic of fighting in these abandoned cities (or mines!) and can’t really see that translating well. I’m prepared to be wrong, of course!

We also have a new warband preview – the Horns of Hashut – which is odd because it feels like they’re half of the suspected new box… We also have the centaur dude who looks pretty great – I hope this is going to mean we get more unique crazy sculpts for these sort of mercenary allies as time goes on!

I have to say, though, I’m disappointed to hear that the new setting is going to bring with it more AoS races “to the fore”. I don’t think Warcry is good when we have just any old fantasy race; I much prefer it as a Chaos vs Chaos game. Don’t get me wrong, I know why they’re doing it, and adding in the whole AoS catalogue has probably kept interest in the game to the point where we’ve been able to have so much amazing content for it. But I really preferred it when we were seeing bespoke, weird Chaos warbands unique for this game…

The final day, yesterday, brought the big news about Horus Heresy 2.0 that has been teased and spoiled and goodness knows what for a long while now. We’re getting a new box set, which is huge, and new MkVI marines. New plastic tanks, and a slew of plastic weapons upgrades to try to muscle in on people who have been 3D printing their own. It’s an interesting move, and I wonder if they’ll start to do these kinds of weapons packs for other armies, giving Kabalite Warriors a second blaster, etc? It’ll be interesting to see whether these Necromunda-style upgrades have any traction into 40k, anyway. Without being a Heresy aficionado, however, the final day was otherwise a bit of a whimper, to me.

But it was definitely an exciting few days, and here’s hoping that I am the lucky one to win everything they’ve previewed here!! 🤣

The Witcher: Sword of Destiny

Hey everybody,
I’m still playing catch up with getting my thoughts on the Witcher books down on the blog here, so it’s time for book two already! I did read this back in March, so it’s been a while before I’ve put pen to paper, so to speak!

I want to say right off, that I really enjoyed this book, perhaps even more so than the last book. Now, the first Witcher anthology, The Last Wish, was a tremendous book, and I pretty much ran through it, lapping up all of the stories almost as quickly as possible. I also really liked the frame story that felt like it made the anthology something more. Starting on Sword of Destiny, I think I was initially hesitant, because it is a straight up collection of six stories that are loosely told in chronological order, but otherwise felt a bit like a step down from the earlier book.

However…

While I was reading it, maybe halfway through, maybe not even that far, and my opinion just totally changed and I really got into it. I think it helps that the stories are, on the whole, longer than those in the previous volume, so they have a bit more time to evolve. Plus, I suppose, we’ve already met most of the characters by the time we get to this book, so when, for example, we meet Dandelion again, I did give a little cheer to see these familiar faces.

(Interestingly, this was the first book published for the Witcher series, back in 1992, though I think that’s probably because The Last Wish collects stories that were published in magazines etc).

The anthology is interesting, though, as while we know that Geralt is a Witcher, that is he hunts monsters for a living, he does very little of that throughout this book. In the very first book, he pointedly refuses to take part in a dragon hunt, as dragons are not a threat to humanity. The monster hunting comes second in the next story, which is something of an exploration of Geralt and Yennefer’s relationship. I thought this one was a really interesting character story, and tells us a lot about the two of them (although it’s actually three, as the story is a love triangle with another sorcerer, Istredd, who I believe shows up in the main novels too).

The third story, Eternal Flame, was a nice little story that features halflings and changelings, amid the theocratic city of Novigrad, which is I believe an important place within the lore. I found it interesting because it made for a very different type of fantasy story – one of the main plot points was the mercantile activities of the halfling (or, should I say, the shapeshifter). Dandelion is also back, which is always a pleasure!

He’s also in the fourth tale, A Little Sacrifice, which was both my least favourite, but also one that I still managed to enjoy a great deal. The “main” story involves Duke Agloval’s pursuit of a mermaid, and his hiring Geralt to investigate the deaths of some pearl divers purported to be the work of a sea monster. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it, I just wasn’t really into the story all that much. However, intertwining this is the story of Dandelion’s fellow minstrel Essi “Little Eye” and her relationship with Geralt. It was kinda cute, and I think much more down to earth than Geralt and Yennefer, which is the kind of tempestuous love story from a drama or something. In sharp contrast, Geralt and Essi is like the sort of thing you would see happening every day, and there was just something really quite lovely about it all – which makes the ending really quite heart-rending.

The last two stories are somewhat strongly connected. Sword of Destiny introduces Ciri to the lore, as Geralt comes across the girl while travelling through the Last Forest in an attempt to deliver a message to the dryad queen, Eithne. The dryads attempt to take Ciri as one of their own, giving her the waters of Brokilon to drink and forget her former life. However, the water has no effect on her. It later transpires that Ciri is the granddaughter of Queen Calanthe, from the previous book, and is the Child of Destiny that Geralt had originally claimed under the Law of Surprise. Geralt, however, refuses to take her as is his right, and claims to have only invoked the law to look destiny in the eye.

Finally, we have Something More, where Geralt is injured when saving a merchant from undead monsters, and hallucinates memories from his past. While the merchant is able to take Geralt to safety, he offers anything in return, and so the old Law of Surprise makes another appearance, as Geralt asks as payment that which he was not expecting upon his return home. Along the way, we learn that Cintre, the kingdom of Calanthe, has fallen and the royal family has committed mass suicide. Geralt mourns for Ciri, only to find that the merchant’s wife has taken in a refugee fleeing the attack – and of course, it is Ciri. Wonderful!

These stories were almost more mature than the last volume, with much more of a focus on the human drama between the characters than we had last time. We do still have the world-building, as we get to explore more of the setting, and we get some very interesting new characters to add to the development of those we know from The Last Wish, but I feel like it was a definite step-up from the last book.

I have no real idea as to the chronology of the stories, or how they are supposed to link in to the main novel series yet, but that almost doesn’t matter, really. I mean, each story was self-contained enough that you don’t feel that you’re missing out on anything, but I still get the impression that they’re setting up more important relationships (particularly with Ciri) for later down the line. I found it interesting that I was able to enjoy these stories almost in isolation, therefore, although I suppose having read the first book, that has provided enough grounding?

At any rate, I really enjoyed this one, which is weird, because both Jenn and Dave, with whom I’m going to be reading the main series, were pretty ambivalent about it, at best! I wonder how our opinions will turn out after reading the next one, Blood of Elves…?