Age of Sigmar: the first game

Well folks, I had my first Age of Sigmar game on Friday evening – my first in a very long time, and certainly my first with the new edition. For the curious among you, I last played in 2nd edition, in February 2019, with my Nighthaunt, and aside from it being really fun, I don’t really remember a great deal of it!

I have talked quite a bit about Age of Sigmar recently, as I was gearing up to play against James and his Slaves to Darkness, but through one thing or another, we just hadn’t been able to get round to it until now. As such, a lot of my research into the game had gone a bit by the wayside, so it was still a bit of a steep curve when we started!!

However…

Age of Sigmar plays fairly similar to 40k, with the broad game outline being fairly similar. That said, there is overall less going on, somehow. The fact that your weapon profile tells you what you need to hit and to wound is such a tiny difference that nevertheless speeds things up a lot, and the fact there are very few mixed units means oftentimes you’re fast rolling because everybody has a sword, for instance.

Also – shooting is so rare as to be non-existent.

In our game, because James only has the Start Collecting box, we were playing at roughly 570 points, so that allowed me two units of Mortek Guard, one unit of Immortis Guard, and my Boneshaper hero. The first unit of Guard died pretty quickly from being in the centre, whereas my Boneshaper kept reanimating models from the second unit, causing some significant irritation as they just would not die! However, the Immortis Guard really surprised us both. In a single round of close combat, they killed off the Chaos Lord, the next two rounds they saw off the cavalry, and in the final round they swept in to demolish what was left of the Chaos Knights. They only took a single wound in the sole game, too!

Beasts.

I think the Mortek Guard should be fielded in larger units, though – I know we were somewhat constrained by points, and by how I’ve built everything, but it’s just more reason to get that second box of Guard and bump each unit up to 20 bodies. I also think I needed a bit more speed – I very much moved up the field, then let everything close the gap and come to me. Since the game, I’ve built up my five Kavalos Deathriders, which I’m hoping to get painted at some point before we can arrange another game, as it might be good to mix things up a little!

Though I can’t help noticing how my horses are much smaller than those Chaos steeds…

It was a very fun game – made all the better because I actually ended up winning, 8-7! Didn’t expect that. We both agreed, though, that being able to just play the game, without needing to constantly check rules, was such a huge plus, and I think it’s a credit to the designers that the game is very sleek, by and large. Sure, we had some complex interactions come into play from command abilities, traits, and other special abilities, but even these were fairly straightforward to walk through. It made the game experience overall really quite light, in terms of being able to actually play the thing!

I had a fairly interesting idea pop into my head during the game, though. We were talking about my Bonereaper models, and I was explaining how they’re supposed to be bone constructs, not reanimated skeletons like the old Tomb Kings. In conjunction with the oft-repeated possibility of Mortek Archers being a unit for the army, I started to think about the old Tomb Kings line, and doing some mental comparisons, wondering whether GW might expand on the Bonereapers with Tomb Kings analogue units.

The current Bonereapers line up has skeleton swordsmen, skeleton spearmen, skeleton horsemen and big constructs akin to the Ushabti, along with the huge catapult that is a Screaming Skull mk2. On an unrelated note, it does make me chuckle how many paint names have survived when the units they were named after have gone up in smoke. But anyway. The Tomb Kings also had skeleton archers, which begs the question, if Bonereaper archers could be a thing, what else could we get?

I think Necropolis Knights are fantastic looking units, and would absolutely love it if somehow a similar thing could be introduced to this army. I’m not sure what they could be riding, but I reckon it could look very cool to have a different sort of mounted elite type of unit?

I think having chariots in the game is very important, to keep with the fantasy feel, and I do like the fact that several armies have their own take on this. I’d love to get something for the Bonereapers, it’s almost a no-brainer as we already have skeletal horses, and the crew are just Mortek Guard.

I suppose the Ushabti are a cross between the Immortis Guard and the Morghasts, and the Gothizzar Harvester replaces the huge scorpion (or possibly the Necrosphinx, though that was a very beautiful model…)

I’ve heard some rumours talking about more units, including the ever-present Archers rumours, but also mentioning a mounted hero, possibly mounted on some kind of war machine. I think the possibility of having a hero in chariot is perhaps a bit too close to the Tomb Kingd and Settra, but war machine rumours do come back to some kind of ballista that is mentioned in the lore. Now that we’re supposed to have Stormcast chariots and a few armies have ranged war machines, it does present some interesting speculation!!

I love variety, of course, so would definitely like to see more for my favourite Death faction!! Especially if I’m going to have the opportunity to play more AoS!!

Rumours and Reveals

Well then! We had a fairly exciting set of reveals from Games Workshop at the weekend, though as seems to be the standard for them these days, it ended with more teases…

To start with, we’ve now seen the new Warcry box in its full glory, and my goodness it looks good. It’s very different from what we’ve had up to now, which has been very firmly set in civilisation (albeit a ruined one, for the most part). We’re heading into the swamp, and they have really managed to get the kind of jungle theme of rope bridges and bamboo platforms down well. There are also weird statues, which I like, but it could probably do with more levels to it – it feels very much like the recent Ash Wastes box for Necromunda, actually, with a lot of platforms connecting to two treehouses.

The warbands do look good, even if the online community seems to be less than enthusiastic. However, I feel a bit sad to be saying it, but I think I’m going to pass on this box, as I have done on the Necromunda box. I have far more Warcry stuff than I have time to play it, so as the game moves forwards into the realm of beasts, I think I’m going to stick behind at the Eightpoints. Though I’m thinking I’ll pick up some Horns of Hashut when they release separately…

Speaking of Necromunda, the other houses will be getting their vehicles it seems, starting with the Goliath. They look suitably over the top with roid rage, so that makes perfect sense! I wonder what Delaque will have…

The next warband for Underworlds has been revealed as a Witch Hunter and his crew, and Blood Bowl are getting an Amazons team. The preview ended with this, however:

The Space Hulk preview from the other day has been shown as a bit of a red herring – we’re getting close-confines games, of course, but it’s Kroot vs Imperial Navy, of all things!! I’m really quite excited for this one, as I feel the Navy guys will be similar to the Elucidian Starstriders from the last Kill Team close quarters box, and show us another side of the Imperium that we rarely otherwise see. I’m glad it’s not Space Hulk with Primaris marines, because like many people, Space Hulk means something very specific and very precise to me.

However…

The last week or so has seen the beginnings of what I suppose is much more serious speculation about 10th Edition 40k, rather than idiots like me jokingly talking about it in terms of “aren’t we due a new edition soon?” and so on. If these rumours are to be believed, then the new edition is coming out next summer, and will be launched with a Tyranids vs Space Marines box, with the bugs getting a range refresh much like the Necrons had for 9th. There are all manner of rumours about plastic Dante and Primaris Furioso Dreadnought, as the poster boys will be the Blood Angels this time around.

Tyranids will get new Genestealer sculpts, and a bunch of other bugs, with what I guess will be a Silent King equivalent.

Now, the rumours have already proven to be false, because they were prefaced with the news of a new Kill Team box set on a space hulk featuring the new Kasrkin models vs new-sculpt Genestealers. Which obviously isn’t happening. In the past, though, rumour mongers have claimed to be talking from pictures rather than text, and the Navy sculpts do bear a similarity to the Guard models, so maybe the spiky crests of the Kroot were mistaken for scything talons? Who knows.

Personally, I hope we can get some more mileage out of 9th edition before they go shifting things around again. There’s no real need to do this, as we lost certainly one full year to the pandemic, so I would imagine that very few people were actually able to play this game for its entirety. I’ve spent quite a bit of money on this edition, codexes and the like, but it’s continually baffling to me when GW had been releasing actual gaming supplements when the majority of the world couldn’t get together to use them, and then promptly outdated them with yet more supplements. 9th edition has been such a weird time, hasn’t it?

However, the fact remains that 9th Edition is two years old this month, and recent editions of 40k have only lasted three years, so it’s possible…

Primaris terminators and Primaris devastators? Primaris Death Company? Primaris Dante? Who knows… but it’s going to be an interesting time seeing if there is any substance to these rumours…

Hobby Goals 2022 check-in

Hey everybody,
We’re now over the halfway point of 2022, so what better time than now to look back at those hobby resolutions from way back in January, and see how I’m making progress against them! What better time, indeed…

Let’s just remind ourselves what I had decided to do this year:
1. Paint more terrain
2. Start painting the Adepta Sororitas
3. Finish painting the Ossiarch Bonereapers kits that I have
4. Continue to paint up the Genestealer Cultists
5. Paint up the Tyranid models that are currently primed
6. Try to sort out the AdMech, Drukhari, Necrons and Chaos Marines, and other bits!
7. Start painting the new Tau army

Quite a modest list really, isn’t it?

So let’s take a look.

1. Paint more terrain
Well, I have made some efforts with the Galvanic Magnavent, which is built up in a differing configuration to the norm. Progress was fairly good at the start of the year, but I have barely touched it since. I think I do suffer a little with these big terrain pieces, because I don’t want to make them stand out too much, but equally I want to do a nice job on them, and getting the balance right has not been easy so far!

While I have barely painted any further terrain, I have been building all sorts. I’ve built up the Red Harvest terrain for Warcry; I’ve also built up the Defiled Ruins set. I’ve built up the terrain from Kill Team Nachmund and Kill Team Moroch, so have done nothing but increase the terrain backlog there!

I wonder if I’ll actually make good on this one…

2. Start painting the Adepta Sororitas
I have struggled with these girls so far. After coming up with a scheme for them, I promptly used it for my Tau army (more in a bit), and have kinda gone off the idea of painting the Sisters in the same way. For a while, I did consider just cutting my losses completely with the army and selling it off, and while I have moved away from thinking so extremely about it, those thoughts haven’t entirely gone away. The new Citadel paints announcement has given me pause on dumping the whole lot on ebay though, because I’m once again thinking about the white scheme that I was playing around with ages ago. I think potentially using some of those new paints could give some nice results, so I don’t want to make a final decision before trying them out, but for now I think I’m not really considering them as a project for 2022, if at all. I guess we’ll see how that changes, though!

3. Finish painting the Ossiarch Bonereapers kits that I have
I don’t think I’ve even taken them out of the wrapping! For a while, I was hoping to try Age of Sigmar with James, but I’m not sure if he still fancies giving it a go, so it’s all quiet on this front once again.

4. Continue to paint up the Genestealer Cultists
I haven’t painted anything for this army since December.

5. Paint up the Tyranid models that are currently primed
I haven’t painted up anything for this army, and much like the Sisters, I did consider offloading them at one point! However, I think I’m going to keep the army that I have, and will paint them up at some point. But again, like the Sisters, I don’t think this is a project for 2022 any longer.

6. Try to sort out the AdMech, Drukhari, Necrons and Chaos Marines, and other bits!
I think this is the one that has some of the best results so far! To start with, I am keeping the AdMech that I currently have. It’s around the 1000 points mark, although that doesn’t reflect the latest balance dataslate, but seems like it might be a fun army to try out and have. I haven’t done anything with my Drukhari beyond looking once more at the Wych Cult models I have (seems to be a ritual for January) and then putting them all away again. Necrons haven’t been touched, but Chaos Marines have had quite a lot of success, as I have finally finished painting the ten man Legionary squad, as well as the Sorcerer – so along with the Master of Possession, I have a nice start here! Furthermore, I have begun work on the two Greater Possessed, and I’m intending to finish off the ten-man Cultist squad that I’d started working on before I moved house three years ago. So that’s quite good progress, I think!

As far as “other bits” go, I have sold off the Blood Angels, so they are no longer a concern. I still have my Deathwatch, which I will likely keep the bulk of, if not all of them, but I’m intentionally not paying any more attention to those guys just now. I also have the Scions that I have flip-flopped over for so long now – earlier this year I did get them all out and had a look at everything, but they’re just such lovely models that I had to put them back again. I’m just not sure what I want to do with them, though…

I have not done anything more with Necromunda models, but I want to get moving with painting up more of them, as I love them so much. I haven’t yet bought into the whole Ash Wastes thing, but my local store still has a copy of the box on the shelves, and I’m being increasingly tempted by it – I think I want to know what this new thing for Kill Team is going to be first, of course! That Necromunda box is not cheap to be throwing a lot of money down for it, after all! Who knows, I might well end up getting it, as I do like the Nomads, and could possibly sell off the Orlocks, but I’m just not sure for now. I am, however, in the Necromunda mood…

There’s a lot more “other bits” to talk about though – more shortly!

7. Start painting the new Tau army
I’ve actually done really well with this one, as well! For the first few months of the year, I was really strictly painting Tau units, and have somehow come up with around 700 points of painted models so far. I’ve even played a game with them! Something seemed to happen around April though, firstly as the wheels seemed to come off a little as I started to paint my Chaos Marines, then I started to play different sorts of games, and my interest in 40k waned quite a bit. To get myself back into painting, I worked on some other projects, and have been slowly trying to get back into the painting groove, so to speak. I have quite a few units to paint, though, so I really ought to try and get back into them!

So, what have I been doing all year?!

Well, after my hiatus following the Tau run of painting, I have finished off ten Khorne Bloodreavers. I started to paint these guys last year, after a bit of an abortive attempt to get a Khorne army played in the summer of 2019. I started work on five of them, it took a long time to get even five done, but then the other five were painted in short order and here we are! Lovely stuff:

I have talked about Khorne before, but I think it’d be cool to have a small collection of these models painted. They take me back to the start of AoS, when I was really living the best hobby life, so even though I wasn’t into Khorne back then, it does bring back some fond memories! They’re also really nice models, with that tremendously Warhammer-y aesthetic of over-the-top spikes and muscles and skulls. It’s all just great, and I’m looking forward to getting more of these guys painted up! It’s not going to be a massive army, by any stretch, but I’m excited about it, so that’s half the battle!

Staying with Chaos, I’ve also finally started to work on the Exalted Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh, the model I fully built before realising I was going to make things ridiculously difficult for myself. It’s been languishing in painting limbo for years, but I’ve finally made some pretty decent headway with it recently, I think! Getting the steeds of Slaanesh colour scheme sorted was a big part of this, of course, but it’s turned out looking pretty nice, I think – painting the whole thing with Celestra Grey, then shading the mane with Drakenhof Nightshade and then using Apothecary White basically as a shade over the body. There’s something a little liquid about them, when you see them in the flesh, which I quite like – it’s like they’re a little weird, which I like. Perfect for Slaanesh of course, too!

Finally, I’ve painted these objective markers! I’ve had them hanging about for a long time now, I think I started to paint them last December or something. Well, here they are, finished! Not exactly the biggest of painting projects, and not exactly Golden Demon-standard, but they’re done, which is the main thing!

I’ve been building a great deal, of course – terrain, and kill teams. I feel a bit like I’m at the point now where I need to spend money on storage, which is never exciting to me! But so many of my miniatures now are just thrown into boxes of some sort, whether they’re painted or not – it’s not a good look, especially as I tend to be the one moving between locations! I think if I were hosting games at my home, then it might be a different matter as things could afford to be a little more precarious. But miniatures storage isn’t cheap, either, so I need to find something that I like and that will work for me.

There’s so much more to this hobby than just chucking dice and moving tiny plastic men around!

Warcry content in White Dwarf

Hey everybody,
I’ve been going through the archives, so to speak, and taking a look at all of the stuff published for Warcry through White Dwarf since the game was launched in 2019. If I’m honest, there’s not as much new content in there as, say, for Necromunda, but even so, I thought it might be useful for others like me, who are curious as to what else is out there for this great game!

While there hasn’t been a great deal of content in the way of new rules and so on, I think it’s interesting that White Dwarf has been giving us new cards for fighters, particularly recently with these pull-out sections they’ve been doing. This really goes back to the Jakkob Bugmansson fighter card that came in with a slew of other game “expansions” within the magazines, as an actual printed card for use in the game.

Back when Warcry was released, we had a Designer’s Diary in the September 2019 issue that showcased the initial six warbands, and talked through the influences and such for the miniatures. We also had two battle reports. A couple of months later, the December 2019 issue had a Realm Focus article on the Eightpoints, and included a two-page painting guide for the ruins showing four different colour schemes using Contrast paints. I think this is quite useful, as I still don’t know how I want to paint my scenery from the original core set!!

The first new rules for Warcry came in the February 2020 issue, Issue 451 in the new numbering system, when we had the rules for Fyreslayers. At this time, GW had already released a bunch of card packs for some of the various Age of Sigmar factions, but Fyreslayers weren’t one of them. While they would release further waves of packs, it felt like a lot of people saw the White Dwarf release as “righting a wrong” or something, but anyway.

The Spire Tyrants were the seventh original warband released for Warcry, and in Issue 452 (March 2020) they got their own campaign rules, Lord of the Pits. The very next issue began the Tale of Four Warbands, which was a great way to raise the profile of the game, in my view, showcasing four warbands and some amazing colour schemes, as well as featuring battle reports to show just how awesome the game is!

In Issue 454 (May 2020), we had rules and a campaign for the Lumineth Realmlords, who were a new army when the Sentinels of Order expansion book had been released, so weren’t included. The Lumineth were also expanded in the article on the Warhammer Community site, of course, which was partly later folded into Tome of Champions 2021. The Lumineth were treated to a box much like the Slaanesh Sybarites that I picked up last month, though, giving all the fighter cards for the faction.

We had another warband release with Issue 456 (September 2020), with Cities of Sigmar getting cards and a campaign. I say “cards”, of course, but they’re just printed in the magazine – you know what I mean, though! This was followed with the Jakkob Bugmansson card in Issue 458 (November 2020) as I mentioned above, which was a physical card, as well as a challenge battle for using him in games.

Things went very quiet on the Warcry front for the whole of 2021 though. It wasn’t until Issue 473 (February 2022) arrived that we got our next Warcry fix, with rules for gaming in Thondia, within the Realm of Beasts. Everything Age of Sigmar seems to be focusing on Ghur right now, so it’s no surprise really. There are a bunch of charts in this update, which allow us to generate new Victory Conditions and new Twists, as well as new charts for gaining artifacts and command traits when playing a campaign in Thondia. In addition, all beasts in the battle get +1 toughness, which is a nice thematic bit.

Issue 474 (March 22) gave us the first of many tie-ins to Age of Sigmar releases, when we had updated rules for Idoneth Deepkin and Fyreslayers, which accompany the two new characters that came out in the boxset. These characters also have cards in the magazine. Campaigns for each warband are also included here, all battles of which make use of the Red Harvest terrain, something I thought was interesting as it seems to suggest that this will be the new starter. At least the box is still available to buy, which is a nice change!

The next issue, Issue 475 (April 22) gave us Oath of Ascension – four linked games for Chaos warbands, each one fighting to become a Daemon Prince. It’s a really interesting mini-campaign idea, I think – you each have an Annointed fighter, who is trying to become a Daemon Prince, but whoever fares the best over the first three games then finds that Chaos has turned on them, and that Annointed fighter becomes a Possessed fighter under their opponent’s control. The “winner” needs to take down their former champion, but each time the Possessed fighter takes out another member of their former warband, they gain 10 wounds. Very nice!

Finally (for now!), in Issue 476 (May 22) we had updated rules for Nighthaunt and Daughters of Khaine, which goes alongside the recent boxset much like the Fyreslayers and Idoneth. We get new campaigns for each as well, once more using the Red Harvest terrain. The rules are more substantial for Nighthaunt, as they had more new models, but even so, it’s nice to see that GW are keen to keep the Age of Sigmar model range relevant in Warcry as well. Interesting, too, because the more models you have available to your warband, the bigger your collection becomes, until you might as well invest in Age of Sigmar as well…


At any rate, that brings us up to date with the stuff White Dwarf has made available for Warcry so far. I’ll be keeping this page updated as time moves on, so that it provides (hopefully) as complete a picture for what is out there. While a lot of stuff, like the early Fyreslayers and Lumineth stuff has of course been superseded and replaced, it would be nice if we had this collected in one of the annual books. Looking through my little Warcry library so far, I don’t think the Spire Tyrants campaign was ever reprinted, for instance, and as we seem to be getting much more stuff coming out this year, I would hope that it doesn’t disappear into the mists of time as things move on.

May 2022 retrospective

Hey everybody,
What a month May has been! I’ve been on quite the writing spree this month, and have been able to write a blog every day for the whole month, which is just unheard of normally in my little corner of the internet! How is this possible, I hear you ask? Well, I have no idea. I suppose quite a bit has been going on, though, resulting in more to talk about, and there have been some planned bits and pieces that I was intending to cover in here regardless, but it’s been good to see the posts come out!

To start with, I’ve continued to be interested in a wider variety of games than usual, something that began in April really when I seemed to go into a bit of a hobby slump around Easter. Rediscovering such games as the Star Wars LCG, as well as playing more Arkham Horror LCG and Lord of the Rings LCG has definitely helped, I think, to give me fodder to talk about. While I have recently been getting back into the plastic crack, predominantly thanks to the upsurge of interest in Age of Sigmar, I think so far this spring, I have seen a much more varied games focus than usual.

Lord of the Rings in particular has been really great to get back into playing, as it feels like a really long time since I have properly been involved in that game. Indeed, it feels like years since I last built a deck from scratch, but that’s what I’ve been doing, and I’ve really enjoyed it! In the past, I’ve been in the sort of position where I play a couple of games, enjoy them, but then don’t follow up for ages (if ever), but I am hopeful that this will change now.

Age of Sigmar always seems to get me somewhat excited, as it is a really nice-looking game in many respects. I’ve talked about it many times now, but I think it is significant that Fantasy is what got me into Games Workshop stores back in the day, so it’s perhaps to be expected that AoS will fire up my imagination like that.

I’ve been working on the Khorne Bloodbound models that I had started around the time I moved here, so summer 2019, and have finished the first five Bloodreavers. I’m sure I’ll need to add some Blood for the Blood God at some point, but for now they’re done! I’ve started on the next five, as well, but this is where I’ve become distracted by Slaanesh once more, and have moved on to painting the Exalted Seeker Chariot that I’d built up in the winter of 2018, I think it was.

Slaanesh is a big thing for me, and always has been. I think it’s one of these armies that I’ve just always wanted to have, but have so often been distracted away from. This time, however, I’m hoping to actually make it happen! Slow and steady, like. We shall see, anyway.

I think I’m going to end up with three armies for Age of Sigmar – Slaanesh, Khorne, and the Ossiarch Bonereapers. I don’t think it’s going to be too excessive, but I need to make sure I don’t go mad! I was hoping to get a game in with James at the end of last week, but we had to cancel as his little boy wasn’t very well. Hopefully soon, though, I’ll get to see what third edition has to offer! We’re starting very small, with just a couple of units to see how everything works, so stay tuned for more of that!!

I’ve finally started to build up the Defiled Ruins terrain box for Warcry, as well. This thing has been in and out of the project queue for ages now, so it’s nice to finally have it built, if not fully “ready” in terms of painted as well! I think the original Warcry stuff has got a great look to it, but these more generic Azyrite ruins look great as well, and the set mixes nicely with the other ruins that I’d already painted up around 12 months ago. Indeed, I’ve also built up some more of those ruined bits that I had picked up from the Mortal Realms magazine, so that I have some nice bits to add further variety to my boards. I now have four Warcry environments, and I’m at the point where I’m thinking that I probably have enough to be going on with now. The new box that seems to be suggesting we’re moving into the swamp hasn’t grabbed my attention yet, but I remember being underwhelmed by Red Harvest until I’d seen exactly what we were getting!

For the scatter terrain that I painted up last year, I followed the scheme in the magazine. However, I’ve now come across this beautiful stuff that has got me considering a lighter grey colour scheme. I suppose it’s testament to how good the terrain looks that it would work well with so many different colour schemes!

It’s been a very productive month on the reading front, too, as I’ve made my way through quite a few Star Wars books in my Great Prequel Re-read! This month, I’ve enjoyed revisiting one of my all-time favourite Star Wars novels, Cloak of Deception!! I’ve reached the first movie milestone, The Phantom Menace, and have begun to read the long line of Republic graphic novels that follow, starting with Outlander. It’s exciting to come back to these books, as I think it must be easily ten years since I last read them, possibly longer.

Something that I didn’t mention in my episode one blog is the short story Darth Maul: Endgame. It’s by James Luceno and I think was written for a re-issue of Shadow Hunter, and is set during the timeline of the movie, as we follow Maul after his duel with Qui-Gon as he returns to Naboo to wait for the Queen to return. His principal task, it seems, is to root out the Gungans, but along the way we get to meet Captain Magneta, former chief of security to King Veruna, which I thought was fascinating. Indeed, the whole story, while perhaps a little needless, was nevertheless an interesting look at both the Naboo invasion on the ground, and also a look at Maul as a character. He learns of Hego Damask, and begins to question his role at Sidious’ side. I think it’s interesting because this really seems to crystallise Darth Maul as a character, where he is portrayed as such an obedient servant to Darth Sidious, with such a one-dimensional hatred of the Jedi, that you have to wonder where the character could have gone if Obi-Wan hadn’t bisected him. I don’t think he would have been an effective Sith Lord, otherwise, but clearly being killed has done him the world of good in terms of his criminal empire!

I’ve also watched the first two episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, which was really quite sensational, I have to say. In a nutshell, Obi-Wan has given up, and works on the production line very much in a rut. When Bail Organa contacts him for help when Leia is kidnapped, he is very reluctant to intervene, thinking he needs to stay on Tatooine to look after Luke. However, he is eventually persuaded, and travels to the planet Daiyu to track her down. Turns out the kidnap was a ruse by the Imperial Inquisitor Reva, known as the Third Sister, to draw out Kenobi. She has heard that Darth Vader has been looking for Kenobi, so reasons that bringing him in will elevate her position.

It is from the Third Sister that Kenobi learns about Anakin’s survival following their duel on Mustafar.

It’s a really good-looking series so far, I’m very impressed. I think it’s feeling very much like this is an event in terms of Star Wars tv, like it’s much more important than what we’ve seen before. I mean, up to now we’ve been getting Luke in a very marginal role only, but here we have Obi-Wan going to rescue a child Princess Leia, while being pursued by the Inquisition and, by the looks of things, Vader himself. It’s like a movie sequel, told in 6 parts.

I’m very impressed, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes next, though I’m still a bit annoyed with how it’s going to potentially mess with the dialogue in A New Hope, where it feels very much like Vader and Obi-Wan shouldn’t meet until the Death Star corridor…

It’s been a very busy month, but I don’t think I’ll be able to keep this up through June as well… We shall, of course, see!!

Hedonites of Slaanesh

Following on from Friday’s post, I wanted to give a bit of an update on my Exalted Seeker Chariot project, as well as a few fruits of my research into the new units in the army. I’m trying not to get excited, of course, as I have quite enough to be going along with, but as always with projects like this, it’s hard to not look around at what else there is, and where I might like to go with it!

The Chariot is going well, despite the fact that the whole thing is glued together. I’m enjoying the challenge of trying to get it painted, of course, and seeing it all come together at last, so hopefully things will continue on like this for now. It’s really nice to finally be getting some Slaanesh models painted, even if this is the third project diversion I’ve had so far this year!!

Starting with the latest additions to the army, Dexcessa looks like a lovely model to think about. Not only can it move 12” and fly, it’s-1 to hit and can fall back and later charge, it can issue a command once per turn without spending a command point, and Daemon units within 12” do not take battle shock tests. Something that I really like is the fact that, after it has attacked once, you add 1 to the attacks of each of its weapons at the start of each round. It starts out with 6 attacks, between its talons and its scourge, so that’ll quickly get up there, which I find quite exciting!!

The alternative build is Synessa, a wizard who knows all of the spells in the Slaanesh lore, and can issue commands to friendly models anywhere on the battlefield, provided it has line of sight to the model. Very interesting as a wizard choice!

The Shardspeaker is one of my favourites of the new models. It is also a wizard, and gets +1 to save rolls, and gets access to a magical attack if it casts a spell that isn’t unbound. It has a couple of ways in which it can mess with enemy units in somewhat close range, which I like, though I think it could definitely benefit from being screened somehow if you’re getting within 9” of an enemy, as it only has 5 wounds.

Myrmidesh Painbringers are a very attractive choice for that screen. Each model has 2 wounds, and at a full complement of five models, they’re making ten attacks, hitting and wounding on 3s, with -1 rend. For an unmodified wound roll of 6, they’re dishing out an additional mortal wound, too. Sure, they aren’t a tank, but they’re pretty nasty, I would think.

Hedonite models get the additional rule of Euphoric Killers, each hit roll of 6 inflicts 2 hits on the target. You still need to roll to wound, but ten attack rolls should score some 6s, which just gives yet more fodder for the possible mortal wounds.

The alternative build for the kit is the Symbaresh Twinsouls, who have 3 attacks each but a slightly worse stat line otherwise.

I particularly like the Dread Pageant, though that’s mainly in the context of their original incarnation as an Underworlds warband. In Age of Sigmar, they don’t particularly stand out for me, though they do have the useful ability of dishing out mortal wounds on 6s to hit, and with 13 attacks coming from the unit as a whole, there’s definitely scope there!

Now, I really like the idea of the Slaangors, but I’ve not really read good things about them. They have 3 wounds, and they make 3 attacks (4 on the charge). They move 8” and, at the end of combat you get to roll a dice for each Slaangor model left, dishing out a mortal wound on a 4+ to any unit within 3”.

I suppose part of the problem might be how you fit in a unit that costs 130 points if that’s all it’s going to do, but I do think there might be a place for them in the list somewhere! Rules like Euphoric Killers do make high-attack units a bit more interesting, as the possibility of rolling 6s is increased.

As always, the spells and command traits etc available to the army offer more bits and pieces that will stack in favour, it’s always exciting to sit down with a book and try to put all the pieces into a list! Of course, I’m really trying not to go overboard with buying more models, so I don’t want to run away with my plans just now!!

That said, I’ve recently picked up the Slaanesh Sybarites box for Warcry, which is very impressive to me. You get some Myrmidesh Painbringers, and some Blissbarb Archers, and all of the cards for all of the possible unit types in a Slaanesh Sybarites warband, which is a lot! Clearly, Sybarites are distinct from Hedonites in Warcry, as the latter seem to be entirely the daemon units, but this box was a revelation to me. I don’t remember them being released, but it seems to have come out alongside boxes for Stormcast, Lumineth and the new swamp orruks. Very interesting, if for no other reason than they give all the cards you need.

Anyway, that’s probably enough from me for now. I’m going to continue to try to not buy more Slaanesh units, despite the fact I really, really like that Dexcessa model!!

The Dark Prince

Hey everybody,
I’m definitely on an Age of Sigmar kick at the minute. I’ve been working on the Khorne Bloodbound units, of course, but now I’ve turned to another of the four. It was inevitable really, wasn’t it?

Of all the four Chaos gods, Slaanesh is the one that I keep coming back to, time and again. It weirdly plays into the whole thing about the allure of the Dark Prince that I talked about a fair few years ago now; he’s very definitely got his crab-claws into me!

I’ve currently got five Khorne Bloodreavers finished, and have not only begun work on the next batch of five, I’ve also got the Wrathmongers out as well! However, getting my head once more into Age of Sigmar has got me thinking again about Slaanesh, and I’ve started to paint up the Shardspeaker as well.

Thing is, I love the idea of a Slaanesh army. I love the lore, I love playing Chaos in Warhammer Invasion principally because I love the Slaanesh cards, and I really love the models. I think the fact they have had such a huge overhaul into almost entirely plastic is just wonderful, and we’ve got such delights now as to be truly spoilt.

Here’s the thing. I’ve bought and sold a Slaanesh army twice so far in my hobby life, and am currently sitting on my third iteration. I’ve kept this the longest, as I’ve had these guys with me for about four years now. I think having such beautiful models as that glorious Keeper of Secrets probably helps, of course.

I really want to make a go of it this time, though, so intend to get this project underway at some point in 2022. I’m particularly keen to make an effort with the Exalted Chariot, which is my biggest hobby mistake so far, in that I built the whole thing before trying to paint it.

To date, however, I have only painted a single Daemonette, and she isn’t really finished, if you count the base. But she was painted up slightly over 3 years ago now, so I do think it’s time that I made more of an effort to get some more models finished. Especially as I seem to recall the paint scheme I came up with for them isn’t particularly onerous.

I’ve been Instagram-stalking myself, and June 2016 is the earliest mention of Slaanesh (above), so I’ve had this idea for 6 years now, almost! I think it’s time I made it come to fruition, though getting a good balance is going to be key of course. I know that I have too many projects on the go, and I know I made the decision this very month to focus on the Black Legion, but within days of doing so I’ve had this massive swerve. However, I do find all that trim a bit exhausting, and unfortunately I’m now in the position where I need a new brush for all of that. Bah! I don’t want to fall into that trap again, but I think in more general terms, 2022 will be something of a year of Chaos for me!

I think I just enjoy painting up models for Age of Sigmar, almost more than I do for 40k. So I’m looking forward to getting underway with this!

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!

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…