17 October 2016

Orctober & Hobbits

I decided to get into the "Orctober" spirit and try painting the last two of my small collection of Great Orcs.

I'm sort of torn, though, since the approaching holidays are putting me in an Undead spirit. Mostly, I'm trying to wrap up some commission painting right now, though. And then there are the hobbits...

I've received the bulk of my Westfalia Halflings. I'm dying to get working on them, but I'm trying to hold back and finish a few other things first. But waiting is hard. The eternal struggle of the wargamer -- to finish projects (or even just a portion of one) before moving on to the next. As I've been painting other stuff, I've been reworking some of my campaign ideas in my head, and just set some of it down. I've mentioned it a bit before, as part of my planned solo gaming experiment. In short, it's an alternate history WFB, centered around Marienburg and the Wasteland in IC 2439 (shortly after Marienburg's secession.)

At some point I hope to polish it all up into a cohesive and complete multi-campaign set. Unrealistic plans - maps, illustrations, actually playing the games & doing battle reports, etc. Maybe published on this blog and/or downloadable as PDF. But for now it's still evolving, drastically at times. The arrival of the Westfalia figures have encouraged me to start re-writing one chapter. Here's the start of the fresh draft...

I.C. 2439. Marienburg. The hobbit convoy was halted outside the walls of Marienburg. Guards and teamsters all were a bit impatient with the delay. It wasn’t just the idle time -- being forced to wait in the Cursed Marshes outside the Suid Gate had made even the animals jittery.

The job wasn’t one without it’s dangers. Roads through the Wasteland were more dangerous than those of the Empire or Bretonnia. Trade most commonly passed along the waterways. But there were no navigable rivers from the Little Country to the City of Gold, just streams, marshes, moors, and a good quality road through uncertain country.

They were working under contract to an ambitious hobbit looking to trade the region's produce, especially it’s famed sausage, to the larger markets of Marienburg. The people of the Little Country -- man and hobbit alike -- were rustic folk. Although they engaged in trade with merchants of Bretonnia, Reikland, and even (rarely) the dwarfs of Grey Mountains, they usually relied on the foreigners to come to them. Nob was the first hobbit (as far as anyone knew) to make the effort to market the communities’ wares directly to the outside world. He argued that by traveling to Marienburg, he could command a better price, and in the process employ some of the restless or ambitions youth of the Country in his venture as well.

The promises of mild peril and moderate profit worked. A significant train of wagons and an adequate force of guards had signed on for Scrobbleton’s Jackrabbit Trading Company’s first undertaking. And it had gone well. Better than expected, in fact. Flush with silver, and with the promise of further expeditions, most of the profit (after food and drink) was spent on new equipment -- better wagons, larger draft animals, heavier arms and armour.

This second trip to Marienburg had gone just as well so far -- until they had reached the gates, that is. This time they were barred from entering the city. Only Nob, along with his master of books, Will Smallroot, and a pair of personal guards, were granted entry to meet with the authorities. Now it was past first supper, and uncertainty was leading to disquiet. There was little room to pitch camp outside the city walls, and the landscape was pretty miserable to begin with. Rumors of marsh beasts large enough to swallow a hobbit whole were well known.

Minutes after a Bretonnian caravan had passed by the hobbits and entered the gates, Milo Greycap, one of Nob’s guards, emerged from the tall reeds to the west of the road.

“We need to leave. The master’s been taken, so has Will. I snuck out the gate but they will be coming for the wurst. Maybe us too.”

His comrades stood silent and dumbfounded.

“I don’t know everything. I was waiting down the hall. Through the door I overheard something about contraband, mushrooms, and the corruption of Marienburg’s youth. If we don’t get out of here, I don’t know what will happen. We need to leave now.”

More dumbfounded stares.

“Marienburg dungeons serve three meals of fishy broth with old roots a day, that’s it.”

The caravan became a rapid and precise maneuver as wagons were turned around, ranks were formed, and the entire party began a brisk march South.

As the walls began to disappear in the distance and growing darkness, a distant voice was heard, “Stop! Hold the wagons!” followed by a whiny blast from a horn. The hobbits pace quickened.


Forced Marsh



The Wurst Case Scenario



Anabasis - Part One



The campaign maps will be based on this composite from various sources.


12 October 2016

Post-Gaming Blues

Post-gaming blues setting in.

I should figure out a way to get in at least one game a month or just quit altogether.

10 October 2016

Never Go Full Grimdark

Rogue Dreams

I've been considering a small sci-fi or Rogue Trader project, and after playing RT last week it's on my mind again. Originally I was thinking about returning to my first RT army/figures, oldschool Eldar raiders. But I only have a handful of my original figures, and getting more seems like a big hassle/expense.

The other day, my daughter (5) inadvertently inspired a new idea, tied to the more "open" spirit of RT (vs. later "official" fluff.)

Pirate Robots

Seriously, without even going past those two words, how can this not be a good idea?

Well... OK, the figures. That's a tough start. I've got a lot of ideas for starting points, but none of them are ideal. I'm sort of OK with that, as it will be a big modeling project, and hopefully a unique and fun endeavor. More difficult to work with is the fact that my small gaming budget is completely gone -- indefinitely. So this is a bit of daydreaming. Pirate robot daydreaming. (Maybe and excuse for a bit of scratch-building?)

I'm still fleshing (or un-fleshing) out the concept in my head, but I think they're going to be a band of robots who have attained independent sentience/sapience/self-awareness/whatevs. But they're early in the evolution of AI (or early in our concept of AI,) and bear many marks of the loathsome meat that made them. Really a pretty faulty concept of AI, I think, but I'm aiming for the fun spirit of RT and cheesy space opera rather than hard sci-fi. So... eclectic meat hating robot pirates.

The first figure is easy. I already have it. Painted, even.

And really, this has a lot of what I'm looking for. Sort of rough & primitive, anthropomorphic mechanics, and a bit of (odd) character. But I also want some sinister (without going Full Grimdark -- you never go Full Grimdark) elements. And no meat.

Some of my big challenges would be using figures that are part of other settings, armies, characters, etc. (later 40k, Warmachine, 2000AD, etc.) without being identified too closely as such. Another would be pulling a diverse selection of miniatures together into a cohesive warband (though the "pirate" idea should help accommodate that.) Also, there seems to be a limited variety of human sized robots.

03 October 2016

Oldhammer Day USA 2016

I was going to do some good old battle reports, and give a blow by blow of the games this weekend. But I just don't have that in me. I'll leave that to better bloggers. But I did enjoy the weekend immensely, and will report with something like a lengthy summary and some photos. So...

I ran into multiple last minute car problems, and almost cancelled. Luckily I only had to make it from Cleveland(ish) to Pittsburgh(ish) and my friend Bill offered to drive the rest of the way. That was (possibly literally) a lifesaver. It cut my (and my car's) driving by like 2/3, and to be honest, I would have hated driving around that whole DC region.

At any rate, things really went well, and I'm glad I didn't cancel. Bill is an old friend from when I was a GW Outrider, and we've run into each other for years at conventions and gaming events in OH & PA. We drove out Friday and visited another old friend who lives in Glen Burnie, and stopped by Games & Stuff (great store, huge, well stocked, big gaming room.)

We stayed at Jeff's and then drove out to Huzzah Hobbies for Oldhammer Day in the morning. The store was smaller, but still pretty large, organized and professional, an had a lot of gaming space (over half the store) with plenty of tables, terrain, etc. The staff were great all weekend, given that a mob of Oldhammerers had descended on their store and taken over the back half of the main part of the store.

My main interest was getting in some games of WFB3rd, though I had brought a Rogue Trader warband for Escape from Nu Ork. But first thing Friday, I jumped into one of Brian's RT "Battle at the Farm" games.

Bill & Sean's Orks surrounded Farmer Floyd's sheep farm, and I led the valiant Imperial defenders (and only slightly less valiant farm-hands and sheep.) It was a fight down to the last few defenders, but by the end, the orcs were all dead or wandering aimlessly with fried brains.

I enjoyed RT quite a bit, and it has only fueled my recent interest in getting back into some small sci-fi skirmish gaming (like I play more than a few games of anything a year?) Hindsight was telling me that RT was a bit clunky, but the game went pretty well and I may give RT another look.

Still, I was anxious to get into some WFB3. I've got a greater love for pushing formed units of troops around a battlefield than for any sort of skirmish gaming. So Sean offered to face my Marienburgers with his Orcs & Goblins.

Armies were 1500 points (sort of a weekend standard, for the most part.) It was a classic match-up and was pretty close fought. In the end, Marienburg's mercenaries pulled out a win.

There was a bit of stumbling through the old rules (vs. things confused from newer editions,) and I had no idea what to do with an Empire army in 3rd (I used to play Skaven & Dwarfs back in the day) but it went pretty well and was a lot of fun.

I finished the afternoon with another WFB game against airbornegrove26's (givemlead.blogspot.com) Black Vasken. With a twist. The Marienburger's sat this one out and I fielded nothing but giants of various sizes and abilities. Two (Bologs and Waltraud) had apparently been partying before the battle, and showed up drunk.

I think 'Grove does a better job with battle reports than I could, so I will leave the details and drama to him But I do have to admit that one of the highlights was Big Dick climbing up to some temple ruins and throwing everything in sight (pigs, cauldron, priestess (?), and vending machine) at some trolls down below.

(Nigel -- I think -- the troll after being hit by a pig, but the vending machine landed just a little bit to the outside. Later the vending machine would be wielded by Nigel as the tool of Barry the giant's demise. Vorpal Vending Machine?)

It was a bloodbath, to be sure. In the end.... well... keep an eye on givemlead.blogspot.com if you want to find out how it ends.

While some Oldhammerers left the store in search of various venues in which to play Hotelhammer, I was hungry and tired. A truely OLDhammerer. So dinner, hotel check-in, and sleep was all I could manage.

Sunday morning we had time for one quick game, and I picked up one more battle for Marienburg's mercenaries. This time it was against Chris' dwarfs.

Chris fielded a number of newfangled inventions, like a gyrocopter and swivel gun, which were cool to see in action. (Well, until the latter blew half a unit of halberdiers away in a single shot.) Another hard fought game that went back and forth a bit, but in the end the mercenaries couldn't overcome the traditional stubborn tenacity of the dwarfs.

As with most public gaming events, I came home with some loot.

I got the Ork Goffik Rocker for defending the farm from the Orks. The Ramshackle cultist and the \m/ twins \m/ I got as general swag. The chaos warrior I got (along with a modern GW paint set, not pictured -- because how interesting is a box of paint?) from the painting contest. I hadn't even planned on, nor wanted to enter. But I was peer pressured, and participation was apparently semi-mandatory. So I picked two figures (one large catagory, one small) I wasn't using at the time and Mad Marcus, my Marauder Giant ended up winning the large category.

So the whole weekend was really enjoyable and a nice break from reality. I got to visit some old friends, and even ran into someone who used to play with the local group before moving away. I also finally got to meet some people I've "known" through various online communities for a while. And I got to push around some roll some dice and "play pretend soldiers." 

Of course I'm already thinking about next year, as well as having a fire lit to try to do some local gaming again. I think small RT/40k warbands would be fun. As usual, all I need is an opponent... As far as WFB, 2017 is going to be the Year of the Fimir. That was already the plan. I'm also hoping to refine and playtest the multi-player Giant Rumble rules I've been working on.

28 September 2016

Oldhammer Bound

I'm just about packed for Oldhammer Day USA. (Still debating bringing a small 40k warband for "Escape from Nu Ork") I'll be working away from home for a day or two, briefly coming back, then hitting the road the next day for Oldhammer festivities. I may do some live (or live-ish) updates via this blog or my Facebook Page and/or the Oldhammer in the New World page. Or I may just relax and catch up with that later. Not sure.

12 September 2016

Marienburg on the March

Here's what's hitting the road for Oldhammer Day 2016. Plus the baggage train. It's been so long, I have no idea how they will do. I'm counting on at least going out looking flashy, if nothing else.

Maybe I should print up an alternate Marienburg list with a giant in it. I can swap the dwarfs for a giant plusabout 25 pts. to put into something else. (I'm also bringing an all-giant army in case anyone is willing to play it, just for a laugh.)

09 September 2016

Marienburg Halberdiers

I finished enough halberdiers for two small units, using some previously painted command figures. Mostly 4th ed. era Citadel plastic, but I snuck in a couple of Artizan landscnecht pikemen equipped with Foundry halberds.

Also, one old Grenadier hobbit with a bow, to mix in with some previously painted Goblin Factory hobbits, for a small (heh heh) unit of scouts.