Necrons progress

Hey everybody!
So I’ve been playing quite a bit of 40k over the last four weeks – at least, a lot of 40k for me! – as I attempt to get better at the game, though more importantly, getting better with my Necrons!

I’ve talked about this at length on the blog already, of course, but Necrons are my first army, and I always have such affection for them as a result. It’s always around late August/early September when I really feel that nostalgia flooding back, and so I’ve launched myself on something of an offensive to try to play with my beloved first army more, and try to get the proper feel for them in 8th edition. I’d played them three times during the Index days, and then just twice in very small-point games earlier this year, benefiting from the Codex.

All of these games used a basic build of Catacomb Command Barge, Cryptek, two units of gauss Immortals and one unit of tesla Immortals (in varying numbers) as the basis of my battalion. I also chose the Mephrit dynastic code that has been my standard way of thinking about Necron builds since earlier this year, but mainly forgot about its effectiveness – as well as forgetting about my warlord traits and relics. Because that’s what I do!

Game One
So back at the end of July, having moved to the Wirral, I went to check out the local store here with a longtime gaming buddy Kev from my local Games Workshop, and we ended up with a 2 vs 2 game, 500 points each. It was me and my Necrons alongside my buddy’s Harlequins, against the unlikely pairing of Ultramarines and Death Guard.

Outcome: Draw (victory points)
Notable moment: Tesla Immortals taking out a Daemon Prince of Nurgle
Learning points: Keeping Immortals close to the Cryptek to aid with Reanimation Protocols! Also – Wave of Command is too useful to forget!

A four-player game is inevitably a bit of a mess, as everybody has got all of their bits going on. Given the slow speed of the Necrons, compared with the Harlequins, I didn’t have a great deal to do for a lot of the game. My attempt to move my Triarch Praetorians up the field saw them draw all the firepower the enemy could muster at them, which was interesting to me, as I kept hearing the news that they are actually amazing, and need to be taken out as soon as possible. As a result, they didn’t do anything, but it’s useful to hear these sorts of things!

Game Two
At the start of August, I played a game against a relative newbie JP, who was running Word Bearers. 750 points this time, so in addition to my tried-and-tested battalion of Catacomb Command Barge and Cryptek, and three units of Immortals (two gauss, one tesla), I had the Praetorians and an Annihilation Barge, so that was fun!

Outcome: Draw (though it came close to a Necron victory)
Notable moment: Triarch Praetorians wiping out ten marines in one round.
Learning points: Wave of Command is too good to forget about – shame I forgot about it for the entire game! Also, ending the battle with 6 CP is a waste!

This game was a lot of fun! It helped that my opponent and I really got on from the off, so that made for a really good game. I have a (very) nascent Word Bearers army of my own planned, so it was interesting to see what was going on with them! As a relative newbie, though, I quite the fact that the game wasn’t particularly fast-paced, as we had the time to think through the rules and whatnot. Of course, I still forgot Wave of Command, much to my chagrin, but you can’t have everything, I guess!

It was interesting, to me, to think about how I hadn’t appreciated aspects of the rules such as tesla weapons being assault weapons, so I can freely advance my Immortals up the board for the additional range with merely a -1 to hit penalty, (which would have been negated, of course, by Wave of Command!) Time to think about some better tactics…

Game Three
Last week, we upped the points value to 1000, which allowed for a few more interesting units to be included in the list. Well – I basically swapped out the Praetorians for two squads of Lychguard (one of each configuration) and some Deathmarks, which were a bit of a meta-choice as I knew JP included terminators in his list. I was hoping to make use of some of the special rules for these “new” units, to see how they work and so on!

Outcome: loss
Notable moment: Lychguard grouping up to destroy some Chaos Marines – it didn’t quite go to plan, though it was a hell of a moment!
Learning points: Still only used Wave of Command once! Can’t believe it. I still need to remember my CPs and stratagems!

We were playing a Maelstrom of War game this time around, which is something I really enjoy as it hearkens back to my formative days of learning how to play 40k via battle reports. I’ve only been able to convince people to play MoW games twice previously, so it’s always fun to get them in! My cards were just dreadful though, and I think that’s probably why people tend to not play them very often at my store.

The Lychguard sadly got taken out a little in overwatch, so they didn’t get to hit with their full force, but it was as gratifying as it ever has been to see the warscythes make mincemeat of the enemy. I think the sword-and-board Lychguard need to be used more defensively, though, as I wasn’t as impressed with their prowess as I have been with the warscythes. I’m thinking it might be more interesting to have a squad of ten with scythes going out into the wild, while keeping the five with shields back with a high-value HQ or something.

Game Four
My fourth game took place yesterday, and I was playing against Kev’s Harlequins this time. I’ve played Kev often to know that he is a very good player, with armies that run really synergistically. I’d hesitate to call him a power gamer, but nevertheless, his lists tend to be tuned and optimised, so I was a bit hesitant! But he’s also into Necrons, so I found it quite formative to play against him as he knows the army well.

Outcome: total loss (tabled turn 4)
Notable moments: Canoptek Wraiths are amazing!
Learning points: Canoptek Wraiths are too amazing to leave camping objectives. Also, I’m still forgetting Wave of Command. And – OH MY GOD! – I forgot Reanimation Protocols!

My list has changed again, this time bringing scarab swarms and Wraiths in place of the Lychguard and Deathmarks.

Canoptek Wraiths are a unit that I haven’t used since 7th edition, and I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was going to do with them at first. But they were fairly impressive, I have to say! Even if the Wraith Form ability has been nerfed to prevent them from charging through buildings, it is still a hell of an ability, and well worth the inclusion of these gribblies in my list! They are quite a hefty chunk of points, as I had kitted them out with the guns because I was originally planning to go Sautekh with my dynasty. I see a lot of advice with regard to ditching the guns, of course, but it’s always handy to have a particle caster in melee, as it’s just an extra attack if needed, and I think there should be a case made for just one transdimensional beamer, simply because it’s important (I feel) to have the ability to dish out mortal wounds.

I am so annoyed with myself for forgetting about Reanimation Protocols in this game – I mean, it’s like the defining trait of the army! I think I need to think of myself as a total newbie when it comes to playing Necrons, and try to forget about my history with them. Kev suggested making notes on my army list with the sequencing, starting with Reanimation Procols, Wave of Command (or My Will Be Done), and then into the movement phase, etc.

I had two big units of Immortals, both of which were tied up in combat in fairly short order as it happens, nullifying their effectiveness. So annoying! There were a lot of learning points in this game, but I think when playing a melee-orientated army, I need to think about my own melee capability, and not assume that I’ll be able to weather the storm simply through staying true to my nature (massed firepower).


The Future
So where do I go from here? First of all, the crib-sheet idea of getting my sequencing down through note-taking is gold, and I will definitely be employing that in future games. Both of my opponents in these games have armies that have some significant melee presence, but I can’t rely on the fact that I might be able to dodge out of combat and stick to shooting people. Praetorians and Wraiths are a decent start – I think Lychguard might be too specialist at lower points levels – but I’m thinking about points efficiencies here, and I might be making some radical changes to my general list soon enough!

Also on Friday, I bought a box of Necron Warriors. Shocking, I know! Well, for my entire 40k career, I’ve written these guys off as being horrible-looking models, and have stuck to Immortals as my troops of choice. However, if I’m going to be playing in the big leagues, or at least if I’m gonna be building out from my core list, I really need to think about these. 110 points for 10, as opposed to 75 points for 5 Immortals, is pretty decent, and there are some intriguing possibilities that I’ve been mulling over for my next couple of games, that might see some decent stabs at a win!

I’ve had the C’tan Shard of the Deceiver built for over four years now, it seems, and in that time I think I’ve managed to prime him and nothing more! I’ve never seriously looked at the C’tan Shards, mainly because the cost is almost prohibitive, but now really is the time to be looking at pretty much the entire book, and see what I can do with all of my little plastic people. The Deceiver has a special ability called The Grand Illusion, which allows me to re-jig my deployment with him and/or D3 other units, so long as they end up more than 12″ away from the enemy. How interesting, given that Necron Warriors are armed with rapid fire weapons: a blob of 10 can be dishing out 20 shots, hitting on 3s and wounding – most likely – on 4s, with -1 AP. Not bad for the basic troop choice! D3 other units guarantees at least one unit of Warriors can be re-positioned for optimum rapid-fire goodness, but the option to also bring some gauss Immortals is also really interesting. The trade-off, of course, is do you move them out of the range of Wave of Command, which could have had them hitting on 2s?

Certainly something to think about!

Rerolls are hard to come by for the Necrons, it seems, but the Triarch Stalker is a model that I’ve talked about before on my blog as being useful for this, as a unit only has to be targeted by the Stalker for other units to then get rerolls of 1 in that shooting phase when they target the same unit. I have two, one of them is having the paint stripped so I can start again, but I think I need to get a move on there!

I’m still really keen to get on with painting my Doomsday Ark as well, a model that I keep hearing so much good stuff about online. Given that this is almost three years in pieces for me now, I think it’s probably the time to get moving at long last and finish this thing off!

I think the only casualty of moving house was the Tomb Stalker, my first Forge World experience and still one of my all-time favourite models. I do have a second one waiting to be built, but I think it would be remiss of me to not attempt to revive this guy and see if I can perhaps bring him up to date with the rest of my army. I’m hoping that I could maybe use lots of thin layers of paint just on the top of the carapace, to bring him into the dark grey and blue scheme I have now, rather than the gold and green of my last attempt at a Necron army!

I’ve only used the model once, and he did precisely nothing but draw fire, so I’m thinking it might be time to try again with this guy on the tabletop.

Necrons

I have a lot of plans for the future for my army, including all of the above but also moving into Destroyers, and even Flayed Ones! I’m actually thinking, much the same as my Drukhari, I’d like to have at least one of every model in the range. So I’ll doubtless be picking up all of the named characters once again! So that’s exciting.

In fact, my entire future with the army is exciting me – I don’t think I’ve felt this way about Necrons since those heady days of 2014! Stay tuned for some serious thoughts on my list building once again, as I delve into the pages of the codex! You know you love my rambling thoughts blogs!

Getting started with Necromunda

Hey everybody!
It’s my 900th post, and I wanted to do something kinda special to mark the occasion. As it turns out, Blood Bowl isn’t the only game I’m finally getting into! I’ve talked about Necromunda a few times on this blog already, so I think it’s about time to take a look at the game in more detail. Think of this as something of a sequel to last year’s brief overview blog!

The Basics
Necromunda Underhive is a skirmish game where players control the members of a gang, vying for supremacy in the Underhive. At its most basic, the game is quite straightforward, consisting of three phases in each round. To begin, players roll off to see who gets Priority for that round, then all the fighters are readied.

The Action phase sees each gang member activated, alternating between each player. Each fighter can take two actions. There are a number of different actions available to players, grouped into basic actions (which can only be taken once in each activation), simple actions (which can be taken more than once), and double actions (which take up both action slots for the fighter). So for instance, moving is a simple action and so can be taken twice, while shooting or fighting is a basic action that can only be taken once, and charging is a double action (though it does allow for a fighter to make a free fight action if he or she ends that charge in base-to-base contact with an enemy gang member).

Resolving both shooting and close combat attacks works exactly the same as regular 40k, whereby fighters make a ballistic skill / weapon skill check, and if it is successful, make a roll comparing the weapon strength to the target’s toughness and referring to the usual to-wound chart. The target gets the chance to save against the attack (unless the weapon’s AP value negates that), and damage is inflicted. If a fighter is reduced to 0 wounds, they are taken out of action. There is an end phase which, in the basic rules, is only there to mark the end of the round.

Advanced Rules
At its most basic, that’s it! There are a number of scenarios in the main rulebook that add a few special rules to the game, but overall victory is still attained by taking gangers out of action. However, there are a number of Advanced Rules that feature in the book as well, which really add a layer of depth to the game that can be somewhat confusing at first, though seem to be well worth adding in to give the game that all-important depth.

Within the Advanced Rules, there are rules for activating groups of fighters at a time – activating up to two additional fighters when you activate a Leader or Champion – as well as a host of additional tidbits that make combat so much more interesting (and deadly!) Rules for running out of ammo, firing two pistols at the same time (flying through the air is optional), stray shots, as well as assisting and interfering in close combat attacks all add to the tactical nuances that make the game so appealing. There are also detailed rules for suffering injury at the hands of rival gangs.

The End Phase comes into its own with the Advanced Rules. If any gang member is seriously injured, the gang will need to make a Bottle Test, which functions similarly to the Morale phase of regular 40k, with the exception that you’re looking to compare the dice roll + number of gang members injured or out of action with the number of gang members who started the game. You then get to make a Recovery Test to see if those fighters can recover or succumb to their wounds. When a fighter is initially wounded, others close by need to make a Nerve Test to see if their bottle goes. In the end phase, those fighters who Broke have the chance of Rallying.

Gang Composition
The main Necromunda Underhive base game comes with two gangs, Escher and Goliath, each of which came with pre-populated fighter cards that dictate how to build the models to make a named gang. When founding a gang of your own, each gang has options for how many of each type of gang member you can include as a start: Leader (usually one), Champion (usually two), Ganger (usually no more than the combined total of other gang members) and Juves (usually unlimited). Each type of fighter costs a number of credits to purchase, and of course their wargear and weapons also cost credits. The main rulebook gives 1500 credits as the limit for a starting gang, though 1000 credits seems to be more normal in the few brief conversations I’ve had about the game.

Fighters can sometimes have access to skills that give them additional options during the fight. Weapons have traits that can give even more options. It all begins to feel a little bit confusing (and not a little unlike 7th edition 40k!) In this respect, then, I think it’s a really great thing that GW have given us the basic rules to use as something of a primer, to get used to things before adding in all of the more complex stuff. Of course, Necromunda has had so much released for it up to this point that it begins to feel much like a sandbox game, but I’ll get to that in a bit!

There are also Tactics cards available for each gang. These cards are split between generic gang tactics, and gang-specific cards. You create a deck of them at the start of the battle, shuffling the generic ones with those of your chosen gang, then the scenario you’re playing will dictate how many you can use, as well as whether you get to choose your cards or have to choose them at random.

Of course, I say these cards are available for use – GW has not been able to keep them in stock, and most of them are no longer available for purchase. While sometimes the card packs and dice sets they put out with a new release are somewhat bonuses to the main event, these cards actually have new and additional rules to them that make it quite difficult to get into the game if you haven’t been there for each release. I suppose it’s always possible that there are just supply problems and GW are trying to put these right, but for now at least, it’s going to be difficult for newcomers.

Necromunda makes great use of terrain, and while the base game does involve some scatter terrain placed onto a tiled board, with all the rules needed for encountering it in a variety of ways, there are rules for multi-level gang skirmishes that take place among the gantries and chains of environments such as the Sector Mechanicus terrain.

With the release of the Palanite Enforcers last weekend, there are now seven gangs available to use in the Underhive. GW have also given us rules for Genestealer Cults and Chaos Cults in the game, two of the more convincing factions from regular 40k that make the most sense for use here! I’ve talked at length in previous blogs about just how much I love the more regular factions like these, which consist of just average folks (if Genestealer Cultists can be called “average”!) that have that indescribable grim-dark feel to them. I mean, it’s arguable that these factions are more 40k than Space Marines or Tyranids! All of which just adds up to yet more reasons to love this game!

While each gang was being released across 2018, they were accompanied with a Gang War book. The first Gang War featured advanced terrain rules to allow for the famous 3D-style games, while subsequent books included the rules for the new gang as well as a Trading Post featuring new and exotic weapons that your gang can come across during campaigns. These books formed something of a treasure trove of ideas and really bring out the RPG-style element of the game that so many people love it for.

These supplements were combined into the Gangs of the Underhive hardback book that came out last Christmas, and the updated hardback Rulebook, much to the annoyance of players who had been buying these products as they came out. Personally, I was of the opinion that these softcovers did at least allow for players to, you know, actually play with their miniatures for a year or so, which can only be a good thing.

So far this year, we’ve seen a pair of hardback campaign books released alongside the new plastic kits each quarter, The Book of Peril and, most recently, The Book of Judgement. While featuring rules for the new releases, there are also campaign rules and a whole smorgasbord of additional bits and pieces that can colour games of Necromunda in new and interesting ways. The Book of Peril is possibly most noticeable for introducing the idea of the Guilds of Necromunda as factions, something that has been teased for a while now…

Necromunda Underhive is a game that I’m hoping to play soon, having convinced a couple of people at the local club to give it a try. While the base game is decent enough, of course, there are so many additional moving parts and rules that add so much depth to the experience that it becomes something closer to a traditional RPG than a simple boardgame. The game is so customisable that it really boggles my mind, and I find myself just itching to play it whenever I think about it!

So I’m finally going to be playing some games with this very soon. I’m intending to feature the game quite a deal more on my blog hereafter, as it’s a game that has really captured my imagination right from the outset. Look out for more content as the months go on, and hopefully I’ll even get to try a campaign or two! It’s going to be an exciting few months as the year draws to a close, let me tell you!

Gen Con 2019!

Having somehow missed my annual blog roundup last year, I’m back with a look at the hot new stuff coming out of GenCon 2019 – spoiler alert: some of this stuff is really hot!

There they all go! It’s almost a tradition or something these days to see the geek swarm as the doors open on a Thursday! Wonderful stuff.

Marvel Champions LCG

I want to start with what was, for me, the biggest, most awe-inspiring, and most shocking reveal of the event so far: FFG have got the Marvel license. Well, maybe. I’ve not been able to find any further details on precisely what they can do – I mean, crikey, this announcement just came entirely out of nowhere and I’m still not entirely sure what it means for games. Where does it leave Upper Deck and Marvel Legendary? Hm.

A co-op living card game, to go alongside Lord of the Rings and Arkham Horror, is definitely an interesting move. The cards look similar to the heroes in Lord of the Rings, with their attributes running down the left hand side, and abilities down the bottom etc. The villain AI side of things appears a little more like Arkham Horror and the act/agenda mechanic, with a deck that can either attack your hero or work to advance their schemes.

I am particularly impressed with the news that the core set of Marvel Champions actually includes full playsets of all the cards, going against the grain of all previous LCGs. It’s a complaint that I’ve seen since the dawn of time, though, so I suppose it’s good to see the company work out that niggle!

However. I just don’t feel like I’m in the market for another LCG right now, and given that it does feel like an amalgamation of two other games that I already own, play and enjoy does make me think that I’ll likely pass this one over. I enjoy Marvel superheroes for sure, though not nearly as much as I used to enjoy them, and the theme is therefore just not strong enough for me to want to get this for the experience of playing a game in a specific universe.

On the subject of Arkham Horror, though, we’ve got another game set in the Lovecraft universe – Arkham Horror: Final Hour! This seems to be designed as a quicker game than the others in Fantasy Flight’s stable of Arkham Files games, and focused much more on combat than any of their previous games.

I’m not sure about this one, if I’m perfectly honest! There is still the element of investigation and discovery, as we attempt to find the clues to stop the ritual while beating back a tide of endless monsters and gribblies, and there seems to be a lot of interesting stuff going on from the image of the board up there, but there’s just something holding me back. Previous games have almost been built around the narrative and storytelling of the lore, and bringing that to the fore, while this just seems to be a little more on the punch-and-run style. I’ve definitely got my eye on it, and I think I’ll aim to get in a demo at my local store (as well as finding some videos on youtube in the fullness of time!) before making a final decision…

What else have we seen from FFG?

I gave up with Armada almost as quickly as I picked it up, but I saw these being delivered at the local store and had to chuckle to myself. £165 for a “miniature”?! Blimey. Apparently the base is bigger than the deployment zone, which I find silly, but I’m sure for narrative play it is a lot of fun.


Fantasy Flight Games used to be my all-time favourite games company, with amazing games that I used to enjoy playing again and again. I suppose my own life has evolved and I don’t really have the time for huge afternoons with intricate games anymore, though I’ve also noticed that there is a marked reliance on licensed games rather than sticking with their own stuff. I suppose that’s where the mega-bucks lie, and names like Marvel and Star Wars will certainly bring in the $$$. While there is a small part of me that is sorry to see things like Terrinoth go by the wayside, it’s still cool to see the company have a presence on the scene, and they are still producing amazing products, which has always been a hallmark.

However, I just don’t seem to feel the love for these things anymore. I suppose that’s probably because Games Workshop has sort of replaced them in my heart as favourite games company – so let’s take a look at what they’ve got to offer us from GenCon 2019!

Having recently announced my intention to get into Blood Bowl, I’m really impressed with the timing of this! Lizardmen are perhaps my all-time favourite Warhammer Fantasy faction, and I had been hoping I could pick some up to start my fantasy football journey with them, but alas it was not meant to be! I’ll definitely be picking these up though, as I just love them all!

Some of these skinks do look a little bit silly, though I love that dude prancing across the centre with the sun headdress on! What’s not to love!

So the Mirrored City has been shattered by the necroquake, or something, and the various bands of adventurers have made it out to find themselves trapped within a mountain range known as the Beastgrave. Well, something like that… I’ve still never played this game, of course, but I’m not sure that I like the Beastmen warband, as cool as some of the Gor models are, and the updated Wardancers are really quite divisive, aren’t they?!

I can’t decide, so I think I might wait this one out for now.

The manager at my local store is really excited for this one, though I’m not really feeling the love, either! My first thought was, oh it’s X-Wing in the 41st millennium, but I’ve no real idea what to expect here. Much like Adeptus Titanicus, I suppose I just don’t have the pedigree behind me to want this sort of game when it is so out of whack with the rest of Games Workshop’s products. Necromunda, Blood Bowl, and all the others are at least infantry-based miniatures games, and I can get behind them in a way that titan legions or airplane squadrons just don’t excite me as much.


So far, then, I’m not doing so well out of this year’s Gen Con, am I?! Stay tuned as I update this blog over the weekend with more news and opinions – who knows, maybe I’ll find a game that I actually like the look of!!

The Tree People Project

Hey everybody!
Following my post the other day about Wood Elves and my thoughts on making a small force for Age of Sigmar. Well, that has kinda been ramped up in the last couple of days!

I’m really quite taken with the idea of putting together a combined Dark Elf and Wood Elf force, though of course how that would work remains to be seen. I suppose I’m waiting for the Cities of Sigmar book to come out before I can see how things will go down from there.

In the meantime, I’ve picked up a couple of things for the big tree force, starting with a box of Kurnoth Hunters and the Start Collecting box.

I’m thinking that the trees will be headed up with a Spirit of Durthu. It’s a beautiful model, absolutely stunning, and I’ve been wanting to get one again for a long time now.

I really love this dude, though while I originally preferred the staff, I’ve come instead to prefer the sword. Which is quite helpful, as the official painting guide for this model is for Durthu with his sword:

I am going to stick with my winter theme, though the Sylvaneth Battletome has a whole wealth of colour schemes for the “wargroves” now, and I may well take some inspiration from there.

But seriously, that sword!!

There is definitely something about the Sylvaneth that has inspired me right now. There is an element of nostalgia here, as I think back to my early days in the hobby, when I was probably equally into fantasy and 40k. I’m trying to re-capture that a little bit, I suppose, with the thought of using a number of older, Warhammer Fantasy miniatures. That’ll be where the Dark Elf side will come in, I suppose, and I’ll get to that in due course!

Sylvaneth Kunroth Hunters

For now, I’ve decided to try and get started with this project with these chaps. I want to try and complete one unit per month, and thought these guys would be suitably engaging to try my hand with it to see how far I get! With a baby on the way, I’m not sure I’ll get very far once we hit October, but until we get to that point, I suppose it’s a good way to keep motivated!

So there’s the plan! We’ll see how it pans out…

Getting Started with Blood Bowl

Hey everybody!
So after a bit of a false-start late last year, I’ve decided once again to try my hand at Blood Bowl. Well, to tell the truth, I’ve been convinced to try my hand at Blood Bowl following the news of a campaign of sorts coming sometime in October. How much of this campaign I’ll be able to take part in, I have no idea, as I’m expecting the arrival of the heir mid-month, but we shall see.

However, I’ve been trying to find out a bit about the game online, and I’ve not really found a great deal of useful information, if I’m honest. It’s also confused with the fact that some info out there is dating back to the old version of the game, and it’s unclear (to me, at least) whether the rules etc are all compatible. So I thought I’d create a sort of sub-blog here on my blog to chronicle this fine journey, as I seek to find out just what on earth I’ve let myself in for!

What is Blood Bowl?
In the game of Blood Bowl, the roar of the crowd and the chance for glory brings together players and spectators from every race in the Old World. On the pitch, tactical finesse meets wanton, brutal violence in a game where anything can happen (and often does!).

That’s how the official site puts it, and from what I’ve learnt so far, that seems to be pretty true! The game was initially produced in 1986, with rules by the legendary Jervis Johnson, and was basically a parody fusion of American Football with Rugby. There is a typically 80s over-the-top vibe from the game, with references to ridiculous violence and outlandish cheating.

Blood Bowl went through four editions up until 2000, at which point the “living rule book” concept took over with updates running through to 2009, bringing some significant changes, mostly along the lines of official teams being added to the line-up.

In 2016, Blood Bowl became the first game to be produced by the newly-established Specialist Games division. Plastic Orcs and Human teams from the starter set have been followed by all manner of classic Old World races, from Dark Elves and Undead to, most recently, Halflings and Wood Elves.

There is a lot going on with this game, it feels. I know a few people who have said it’s like no tabletop miniatures game they’ve ever played before, which is an intriguing prospect for me. I suppose one of the defining aspects of the game is the “turnover” mechanic, whereby a coach’s turn is over as soon as an action they have attempted fails.

Blood Bowl teams, as far as I can tell, have been released alongside team dice, card packs and thematic pitches, all of which were one-off releases. I find this utterly bizarre; it’s a similar situation to the Necromunda gangs, which came out with cards and dice that have since been discontinued. It feels odd to me that they wouldn’t want to keep these sorts of things in stock, and available to gamers.

I’ve picked up the Shambling Undead team to get started with, seeing as how I’m currently on a bit of an Undead kick in AoS. While I’ve managed to pick up the cards and pitch for a team that was released last winter, I’m still a bit bummed that I couldn’t get the dice. The fact that I can’t get products like the pitch, cards and dice for teams like the Dark Elves has left me thinking that I won’t bother picking that team up now. Putting aside the foibles of the collector, it’s slightly annoying that the pitches and the card packs contain additional rules for the game – rules that cannot be accessed by players coming to the game late.

It’s a rant, I know, but never mind.

There is a lot that I don’t understand about Blood Bowl, and I’m planning to be back here with updates as and when I get through playing the game!

Hobby Happiness: Mortarch of Nagash

Hey everybody!
This past weekend was a little nostalgic for me. I recently moved house, and so was trying to find the best location in which to do my hobby stuff. (For those who are interested, it happens to be the dining table, as the whole room is flooded with natural light and is awesome).

I also spent a good few days building up the amazing Mortarch of Nagash kit, which comes in the Start Collecting Skeleton Horde box, and is the third time I’ve bought this model! Back when the End Times were going on, I picked one up alongside the rest of those releases, but promptly sold it off for one reason or another… I then picked up the Start Collecting box when I had grand plans for a Tomb Kings army, but sold it off when I got rid of all of my Age of Sigmar stuff about two years ago. But having started with Nighthaunt at the beginning of this year, I’ve decided the time was finally right to build up this bad boy and make myself a Legions of Nagash army!

This model brings me immense happiness to finally have it in my collection. Sure, it’s only built, and I still need to paint it – fortunately, Arkhan isn’t actually glued in place, as I feel that would have been a silly thing to do.

The End Times
I first got into the modelling side of Warhammer in the summer of 2014 – in fact, it was five years ago today that I placed my first order on the Games Workshop website. By September of 2014, the End Times had begun, starting with the release of that awesome kit, Nagash:

Of course, I have recently picked up Nagash, as I really fancy having him as an army centrepiece (though at 800 points, I can’t see myself including him very often in an army list!) However, this blog is about the Mortarchs, specifically Arkhan the Black, who will be much simpler to slot into a list.

I just really love these models. I think I’d originally wanted to build up Neferata, because I really love her lore and think the model just looks so incredible and badass, but following my Tomb Kings experiment, I had started to look at Arkhan the Black more as my Mortarch of choice.

While a lot of people didn’t appreciate the End Times for blowing up their world, I suppose I didn’t have that level of hobby investment at the time to feel I had to burn my entire army and post the video up on youtube (well, I didn’t have an army yet, so there is that). Instead, I was kinda bowled over with excitement for how awesome these new models were, and really got quite caught up with the whole thing in a good way. As such, I always look back quite fondly on the End Times, as being the real start of my hobby adventure.

The actual End Times themselves didn’t really culminate until late spring 2015, so I still had the best part of a year to enjoy my time with Warhammer Fantasy, so I do still look back on the Old World with some nostalgia, mainly for the lore rather than the game of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

The Model
Holy buckets, this model is amazing! It was a real joy to build up from start pretty much through to the finish. (Unfortunately, the reins on my model were broken on the sprue, and as this part is so small and delicate anyway, it has left them pretty much unusable. Luckily, I still plan to also have a Neferata model at some stage, so I’m thinking I’ll just use those when I come to it, as the two Mortarchs don’t share those parts).

That’s not to say it wasn’t fiddly, as there were several points during the building where I felt a little bit at sea. Also – Arkhan has a sword in its scabbard on his back, Zefet-kar, the Tomb Blade. The scabbard is part of the cloak, but the grip and pommel are a separate part. And they’re tiny! Well, at least his beard wasn’t a separate part, also.

He looks amazing, though, and the dread abyssal Razarak is actually quite sturdy and able to support its own weight really well, given that it is only held aloft on that skeletal tail-thing. Don’t get me wrong, it does wobble a little bit, but it doesn’t seem like anything is about to collapse!

Painting Plans
Now, I’m probably not about to go down the route of all that non-metallic metal on the armour that the studio has. I do want to do a deep blue scheme though, so have been considering using the new Night Lords Blue colour on his armour. I don’t know what to do about the rest of him though – in all honesty, I’ll most likely just end up following the studio scheme of pale bone and pale turquoise skulls. I do want to try out the contrast paints on him, though, so I think that might be interesting.

There’s a real presence about this model, though, and I am really looking forward to painting him up! I started painting two mortal followers of Khorne at the weekend, really because I wanted to try out the contrast paints again, but also because I want to try to get back into painting properly, and trying to get good at it. With moving house, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve had the time to consistently sit down to paint in an effort to get better, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get back into the swing of things now, and hopefully get somewhere near “decent”!!

Warcry up for pre-order

Hey everybody
It’s finally time for Warcry to emerge from the haze of the fairly bland internet previews and come up for pre-order! I thought this day would never come – I’d actually been growing a little bored waiting for the announcement, and had begun to lose faith it would be of any interest, given the complete lack of anything beyond previews of the models themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, those previews were showing off some pretty spectacular models, I just wanted to know more about what the hell the game is, and so it was with no small measure of joy that I discovered the “how to play” video finally uploaded yesterday:

Visual Appeal
The game looks amazing. I mean, I’m really blown away by the aesthetic that GW have captured here. The warbands included in the starter set have a totally unique look to them, and while there is definitely something to be said for the classic Slaves to Darkness look of the old Warriors of Chaos, these new models really capture the look of the classic Warhammer berzerkers of old. While it is of course set firmly within the Age of Sigmar universe, taking place at the Eight Points (more in a bit), there is still something very Old World about some of these minis. I think the Untamed Beasts warband in particular give off that Conan vibe that was almost the hallmark of old GW, pulling together and synthesizing so many disparate elements from classic fantasy into their own setting.

The terrain is just mind-blowing, though. I mean, sure, we’ve had ruins and archways like this before, most recently with the Azyrite Ruins set, these things are just phenomenal. I think the most impressive aspect we have here is that the terrain is designed to be multi-level, so we have all of these walkways, bridges and ladders that bring up the idea of Mordheim from all those years ago. Is Warcry meant to be Mordheim for the modern era? I have no idea, having never played the older game. But it has the feel of a classic in the making, with some fairly straightforward rules that should get you up and playing very quickly.

The Rules
Warcry uses a fairly straightforward system of rules, with some flavour from the current 40k set in terms of the strength vs toughness mechanic. The initiative is a very interesting idea, where you both want the duplicate rolls so as to employ powerful abilities within the game, but you also want to roll singles so as to give you a higher chance of going first. The additional die you get to add to your pool will lead to some pretty difficult tactical decisions, I’m sure!

The actual rules seem to be quite straightforward, and predominantly close-quarters focused. While there does appear to be some ranged combat possible, from what I’ve seen so far it does seem to be around the 3″ max range. Which is in fitting with the sort of skirmish game that a board densely packed with scenery like this would suggest…

All of the glyphs and runes that appear across the fighter cards really add something to the feel of the game, being as it is set in the realms of roving Chaos bands. It was a really nice idea to provide that additional feel to the game, I think.

First thoughts
There is a definite boardgame feel to this one, I think. People have been calling it Kill Team for AoS, including the designers, and I can sort of see that, but it also feels like much more its own thing. There are elements of Kill Team, though it feels a lot more like Necromunda to me – instead of gangs, we have warbands, but these are models that are specifically created for this game. I’ve heard somewhere on the e-grapevine that there will be rules for these warbands to be used as Slaves to Darkness stand-ins in regular Age of Sigmar games, which is cool and all, but I do like the idea that we have a distinct and separate game that is its own thing.

At first, I was one of those people a bit surprised that this was solely a Chaos vs Chaos game, and while there are rules to include other factions such as Stormcast Eternals, Idoneth Deepkin and Nighthaunt in the game, I get the impression that the design is really focused on these individual Chaos bands, with the six we’ve already had previewed as well as two additional bands that we have yet to see any models for.

Even the new scenery feels like it is intended purely for these Chaos warbands to fight over. The game is set in the Eight Points, what was once the Allpoints, the mystical crossing-point between all of the Mortal Realms, but that has since been captured by Archaon and fallen into Chaos and ruin. Warring factions now compete for the favour of the Everchosen, and that’s really what the game is all about. It feels almost weird to be bringing in Daughters of Khaine into this, though I must admit that the idea did cross my mind to pick up some models…!

The Future
I had kinda forgotten about this game. I’d certainly lost some interest in it, after waiting for months since the initial announcement with no news on what it was, beyond the fact it features Chaos on Chaos violence and had some very attractive miniatures. With the ability to add in regular AoS miniatures, the game will have a lot of traction, I’d guess, and while there does seem to be some mixed reactions overall, I think the general impression is a favourable one of the new miniatures.

With the two additional warbands – Spire Tyrants and Scions of the Flame – as well as the promise of further warbands for the game coming, I’d guess there will be a decent amount of life in this one. Kill Team has the benefit of having a wealth of miniatures to choose from across the entire 40k range, and so far GW have only seen fit to create two brand new teams for that game. As such, it has really taken off and flown with the number of expansions available for it already.

I get the impression the opposite may well be in store for us here. We’ve seen six warbands, making me think those miniatures are ready to go now, and it won’t be too long before all six of them are out in the wild (three of them are available for pre-order this weekend, even if the Wild Beasts and Iron Golems are stuck within the core box). A Kill Team-like approach has been taken with repackaging older terrain sets for this game, with the second such pack announced at today’s AoS Open Day, but I could totally see something like the Rogue Trader box coming out later in the year with those final two bands, side by side with some more terrain to supplement that from the core box, as well as maybe some rules tweaks or something.

Of course, there is always the possibility that we’ll see some rules, further down the line, that bring some of the Shadespire warbands into the mix. I’m not overly familiar with that game, though have been enjoying painting up a couple of those warbands, but from what I’ve heard, there is a similar feel to both – even down to the glyphs to denote the mechanics of the game. Shadespire / Nightvault (and the upcoming Beastgrave also announced at the Open Day) is also organised into these small-scale warbands, of course, and while some of them are perhaps on the smaller side (such as the Stormcast), bands like the Godsworn Hunt or the Sepulchral Guard have a similar feel as regards the model count, and the Darkoath models perfectly fit with the aesthetic of warring Chaos tribes.

Of course, if we do end up seeing a similar situation to that of Kill Team last year, we’ll be seeing all of that sweet new scenery, repackaged and expanded upon – that has got to be reason enough to want this to be the AoS version of Kill Team, right?! The terrain is already fantastic; I can only begin to wonder at how it could be expanded upon!!

At any rate, I’m really happy to announce that I think Warcry could well be the next big thing for me, and I’m really keen to get my hands on all of that plastic to get building, painting and playing!