30 October 2008

The Road Ahead, Random Musings


I'm continuing to work on the Burgundians & Low Countries figures for now. I've got some more archers just about done. At some point I'm going to work out some way of arranging a gallery o images.


I still intend to do an ancient army again (I sold off all my ancients during my time away from the hobby.) It's just up in the air a bit. Right now it all depends on whether Wargames Factory's figures come in before the holidays and whether or not they are any good. Otherwise, I think I may have to take advantage of Foundry's holiday deal on Ancient Germans. But that creates a deadline for me that I'll need to decide upon very soon.

In order to fund my ancient army by year's end without dipping into holiday gift money ("Sorry Mom, I wanted to get you something nice, but Foundry had this great deal on Germans...") I'm trying to sell off a few things to cover at least part of the expense. If you're feeling charitable, you can check out one of my ads at Bartertown: http://www.bartertown.com/trading/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=74461

Miniature Wargaming as a Hobby

This may get to be a bit of a rambling babble...

I've recently come back to the hobby after a bit of time away. Previously I ran events at stores and conventions, was a fairly active part of a local game club, did some playtesting for a couple of developers/manufacturers, and seemed to have a bit more involvement in the hobby. Lately I've been going to a local store for WFB games and some WFB tournaments in the region, plus a return to Historicon. It all seems a bit different.

For one thing, I feel like I'm not as much an active part of the hobby. I'm not running any games, no demos, no playtesting, no leagues, nothing. I just show up, play some games, chat a bit, and that's it. Except maybe for some online stuff like this blog.

On the other hand, the hobby itself has changed. It has become a more "competative" atmosphere, in my opionion. More people are interested in tournaments than in participation games or demo games. A lot of the big conventions I used to go to are gone, replaced by game-specific tournaments (mainly WFB & 40k.)

So I've been thinking about what I can do to contribute somehow. Everything that I've considered has been tainted with my own selfish desire to get more opponents. What my wandering mind has been considering...
  • Participation/Demo Games. I've been thinking about trying to put together a WAB medieval demo game to run both at the big HMGS-E conventions, and possibly at some more local events/stores. Honestly I enjoy WAB and I'm especially a fan of medievals, so this would be a good chance for me to try to promote something I'm genuinely interested in. (And maybe convert some new opponents.) I'd like to do it right, however, with huge armies and beautiful scenery. So I've got some work ahead of me, but a decent start.
  • Local Gaming Group. I'm on the east side of Cleveland. I know one other miniatures gamer on this side of town. (WFB player.) If I drive 30-45 minutes south or west, I can find more players. There's a similar situation with game stores. If you plot my location on a map of Cleveland, there's a bubble of no-game-stores within a 30-45 minute drive. They're mainly on the west side & Akron. I know there's got to be some east side players. So maybe I should see what I can do to locate & contact people. I've got one table here at home. It would be even better to have a store around here.
  • Convert the Nonbelievers! This one is a little more tricksy. Most of my non-gaming friends don't seem the type to be in any way interested. The few that might be interested, I fear would be put off by spending the money to buy a bunch of little toy soldiers, paints, etc. I have no problems providing everything, but it would be good to have some other people who are completely into the whole thing on their own. Not just in terms of materials, but learning the rules & providing some challenging games.
  • Non-Competative WFB Games. My introduction to the game was a huge multi-player battle. In the far recesses of my memory, this is still one of the Best Games Ever. There were objectives, tons of figures, and it wa a lot of fun with little competative pressure. The entire focus of WFB seems to be on competition lately. No veering from "official" armies, strict counting of VPs, etc. even in non-tournament settings. Don't know where I'm going with this. Just that something needs to save my interest in the game. I was originally looking forward to painting up & playing a WE army. Now I've trying to sell it and have little interest in WFB at the moment.
So that's my bit of "blog confessional" regarding a scattered thought on the hobby. A lot of it's things that pass through my mind while I'm painting.

Maybe it's the weather...

26 October 2008

Low Countries Pike

I finished one unit of 25 Low Counties pike. They're Old Glory Flesmish Pikemen from the Wars of the Roses Range. I'm slightly less impressed with them now that they're painted. Before that, I had overlooked some of the strange faces on a few of the figures. For example, one guy's jaw is close to half the height of his face, so he looks really cartoony.

The poses are pretty good. The detail is decent. But a few of those faces... I'm proud of the fact that I normally paint eyes on all my figures (well, barring those that have visors or helmets obscuring their eyes...) but I just had to pass on a few of these, as it would only draw attention to the fact that the faces were that bad.

Still, some of the faces are pretty good, and a few have closed helmets, so it's a mixed bag. Plus there's the bonus you get with all OG figures - they're inexpensive compared to other manufacturers. En masse, I don't know how much you will notice. I still have to finish the bases and add some banners. Once the banners are added, I figure they will obscure a lot of the unit and emphasize the "big picture" rather than the individual figures.

They did paint up rather quickly. I've got another unit plus some extra figures to do.

I do need to find a couple command figures, now. Basically a leader and a musician for each unit. I've got a pile of Front Rank musicians due to an ordering screw-up (on my part), but they look too large in the OG unit.

As usual, click to photos to enlarge them.

edit: Hrm... after taking a look at the photos, I wonder if I overdid the blue just a bit...

Gentleman! Behold.... Corn!

On the way down to Marauders, dinner plans with friends on Friday night changed, so we had a little extra time. We still wanted to get TF out of Dodge Cleveland, so we made a little detour around Cowlumbus. I was wary of a SLACKER ambush, since this is in their territory, but we managed to avoid detection.

"Let's go see the giant Corn!" I said.


"The giant Corn! It's Concrete!"


"You don't know the giant concrete corn? I think it's in Dublin. Somewhere just off the highway. We'll take 270 around the outside of the city and go look for it."

We had a mission! The first order of business was coffee - we jumped off at the first Dublin exit we could find. It was mid-day and I've got a habit to maintain. We head along whateverstreetitwas and spy a Starbucks in the midst of heavy traffic and school crossing madness. A few minutes later and the SteamCelica was parked on a sidestreet and we were walking a few block back to coffee shop, me excitedly telling tales of wonderous Corn! as we went. As fate would have it, right around the corner from the Sarbucks was a Dublin visitors' bureau. The very first item in their wonderfiul world of Dublin brochure' list of "Attractions" was Corn! It also happened to be just down the same street we had parked on, and in the same direction.

So after a tedious 15 minutes or so waiting in line behind 50 caffiene crazed middle-schoolers (frightening... very frightening...) we hit the road again and finally found the glorious, glorious...

...Corn! A whole field of it. And Osage orange trees throwing their fruit at us. (Seriously. Next time I bring a hard-hat.)

So that, it seems, is what passes for excitement in Cowlumbus Ohio, my friends.

25 October 2008

Marauders Mayhem - Day 2 Game 4

Day 2 - Game 4

vs. Bretonnians

I've fallen a bit behind. I'm just going to have to wrap these up in a bit of a slackerish manner so I can just get them posted and not forget entirely.

I went into Day two with a 2-1 record. I figured I would be up against some tougher armies the second day. For some reason I remember hearing that I was going to either face Brets or Daemons. I was hoping for Brets and got my wish. My last game against Brets was a slaughter, so I was optimistic...

From left to right, my opponent had... Knighte errant, archers, peasants with hero, KotR with lord & BSB, peasants with damsel, archers, pegasi, KotR with damsel, KotR.

From left to right I had... handgunners (in back corner, out of pic), swordsmen, rocket, greatswords, rockets, swordsmen, cannon, knights, pistoliers, cannon, knights.

The scenario was capture the flag and mutinous dogs (I thought I could take out the pegasi for the VPs and keep them from claiming table quarters...)

The brets advance. take a hill on the left, and push my cav into position to support each other on the right while still trying to pistol the pegasi to oblivion (unsuccesful.) I did land decent rocket shot on some peasants, though. I figured in a capture the flag game, that couldn't hurt.

On the left my pistols and knights fall collapse, though I leave one unit of KotR in position to get flanked by my supporting knights. On the left I previously took the hill to use it as an advantage when the Errants charged. I managed to peel off a full rank of them with a lucky rocket shot, first! Not much luck wiht any of the other artillery. My cannons were failing me.

This is towards the end of the game. My knights on the left managed to tie up his KotR and pegasi, and my archers in the woods put a wound on the damsel (who left the one unit of KotR but quickly ran to the peasant unit) and march blocked the KotR. The big tin man's unit of KotR charge and smash through my swordsmen, who break. My general was in the unit but manages to do nothing useful. The KotR pursue the detachment so that the knights smash into the flank of the greatswords. No problem, right? They're stubborn. I roll boxcars on their break test and they flee the folowing turn, are destroyed and the knights continue into the rocket. On the far left I break the Errants but fail to catch them. They rally, I charge and win combat again, they flee again, and he moves his archers into a position to flank me, so I end up forced to turn and face him. Nothing definitive happens on that flank by the end of the game.

So with my center smashed and my flanks just barely holding on. the game was a disaster. Nothing really went right and I failed to get wounds in any manner whatsoever (melee, artillery, etc.) A few failed break tests just finished me off.

So I'm 2-2 going into game 5...

21 October 2008

Color Tool

As long as I am sharing helpful links, I should include this color tool:


Plastic Banners

I had previously mentioned an article (written by Imperialforge) I utilized on making plastic banners. I found it on CMON:


The minor differences in the way I've done it are:

I used flat (non-textured) needle-nose pliers to hold the full length of the side of the banner that would connect with the pieces of tube. This way I made sure they remained straight.

I used hollow tubes, so I didn't need to drill out solid plastic rod.

Here's two of my examples:

Example 1
Example 2

My plan is to make a small batch of fairly generic looking banners to use as counters (mostly for captured standards and objectives) in games.

19 October 2008

Marauders 08 - Day 1 Game 3

Day 1 - Game 3

vs. Vampire Counts

Durring the voting for favorite army, this army got one of my votes. It might not have been one of the most intricately painted armies, but the overall look of a HORDE of zombies, in a coffin carrying case was really impressive. I'm always a fan of "more figures." Some of us were discussing the destruction possibilities on the large unit of 100 zombies. It appeared I was going to get my chance at it.

From left to right, my opponent had fell bats, zombies, plague cart, 100 zombies, more zombies in front of 4 vampires with skeleton escort, black coach, and dire wolves.

From left to right I had knights, handguns, rocket, cannon, rocket, cannon, swordsmen, swordsmen, pistoliers, greatswords, and on the far right, more knights.

Close-up of the zombie menace.

Opening moves (top of second turn in photo, I think.) The hordes shambles forward. I shift my pistoliers around the right, along with the knights. Everyone else is going to wait, with the greatswords moving next to the big pillar thing. Fell bats chase some cannon crew back behind the line. I spent my first turn wasting rocket shots on the skeleton unit with the vampires. Between the coach sucking up all his magic dice and some lucky/unluck dice, not much happens in the early magic phases.

Mid game. It sucked to have to do it, but I charged the zombies on the left flank with knights in order to keep them off my shooters. Around the right, my flankers move as fast as they can, and chew up the dire wolves. His skeledons & vamps turn to the rear. The black coach is fully charged up, and my greatswords fail their terror check in an attempt to charge it. The coach then charges them, sending them fleeing yet again. Cannons spend several turns bouncing shots (multiple 1's rolled to wound) against the coach (prior to it going ethereal) and the plague cart. The rockets get smarter, however. They aim here:

Right at that zombie. I picked him out of the bunch. First sniper-rocket shot nails him directly! The second veers off course slightly, but still hits piles of zombies. The rockets take down 43 of them. 3 more fall to handgunners, 1 more to an archer. Both units of zombies charge in to my swordsmen.

(Side note, I love the two zombies looking at each other in shock.)

After this, I simply forgot to take more photos.

The greatswords rally, but fail another test against the coach. In the end, I lose the greatswords, but it keeps the coach in the far corner for the rest of the game.

I eventually finish off the smaller unit of zombies in the center, but can not chew through the remaining 50-ish from the horde fast enough. (Also, they are striking first with WS6.) The knights on the left wipe out the zombies, but as soon as they turn to face the center, more summoned zombies pop up in their way. The knights on the right also get bogged down fighting summoned zombies. The pistoliers and artillery end up taking down quite a few skeletons, though (not surprisingly) they just summon back up. I did nail the BSB with a cannon shot, though. I'm not normally one for "cannon sniping" but considering 4 of the 5 figures in the front rank were vampires, there was little point in killing rank & file when they could be summoned back almost as fast as I could kill them, and they still get their Look Out Sir (or Ma'am, in this case) I feel no guilt.

This was the only game that didn't go the full 6 turns, probably due to the long magic phase and buckets of dice being rolled. I'm would have been interested to see where it would have gone. Many "what ifs." Not just about the unplayed turns. I wonder "what if" my greatswords hadn't failed multiple LD tests, "what if" I didn't roll 1 to wound on every cannon shot the first two turns, or "what if" I had just targeted the mega-horde right from the start.

End result is a narrow victory for Marienburg. I killed enough zombies plus a vamp to overcome the loss of the greatswords. I didn't lose much else. Record at the end of Day 1 is 2-1.


Saturday night my fiancee and I met up with some friends who live in the area. (She came down with me & hung out with them most of the weekend.) I'm not entirely certain where we went, since we traveled all over Dayton to get there, but we had some pretty good Mexican food. After all that (and a giant margarita), I was dead tired (undead tired?) and passed out before midnight.

Unfortunately, our neighbors in the hotel were on some sort of sorority party weekend or something, and I kept getting woken up by insanely loud gigling and screeching. Each time I would think, "one more minute of this and I'm going to go kick their door in," and it would quiet down and I would drift off, only to be woken up again by more of the same. This wasn't just like normal "late night" hours. This was like 4:30 am.

By the time the alarm went off (several times, since I hit snooze for 30 minutes...) I was significantly under-rested and not ready for Day 2...


I've got the attention span of a cat.

Not in the mood to write battle reports today (or yesterday) so I spent a bit of time prepping figures for my Burgundians the the eventual plan to expand their Low Counties allies into an army unto itself.

Pictured are 25 Flemish pikemen from Old Glory, 11 handgunners from Mirliton/Grenadier, 19 more archers from Front Rank, 5 more Front Rank crossbow, and 30 billmen/halberdiers that are a mix of Front Rank and Mirliton/Grenadier. (In the background are about 30 Foundry landsknecht pikemen that I was just too lazy to move. I don't know when I will get to them, they've been hanging around since the range first came out!)

That represents most of the infantry figures I currently have, with the exception of another unit of OG Low Countries pikemen and 30 of their Flemish figures with assorted weapons (about half with plancon & half with axes -- probably more suited to 14th century.)

I've got to check in with some friends, but we may get a big Burgundian vs. Swiss game in at Thanksgiving when an old friend comes into town for the holiday. I'm sure there's a great Charles the Bold joke in there somewhere, relating to carving turkeys, but it's just not coming to me at the moment. ;)

I'll get back to the batttle reports shortly, and still plan on an ancient/classical WAB army. (Waiting on the Wargames Factory figures to see what direction that takes.) So for now, the Burgundians get a few weeks of attention.

If a ball of brightly colored yarn doesn't distract me first.

17 October 2008

Marauders 08 - Day 1 Game 2

Day 1 Game 2

vs. Empire/Kislev

This was a first for me. I've seen the Kislev stuff (which looks great, in my opinion) but hadn't actually faced it before. My opponent's army was close to a 50/50 split between Kislev & Empire.

From left to right he had Horse archers, horse archers, outriders, steam tank, Griffon legion, flagellants, Inner circle knights with grand master, horse archers, horse archers, and horse archers. One of the latter had a mage. Somewhere -- in one of the two heavy cav units -- was a warrior priest as well.

From left to right I had two units of knights (mostly out of picture), rockets, cannon, handgunners (on hill), swordsmen + detachments, more swordsmen + detachments, cannon & rocket, greatswords + detachments, and pistoliers.

I played marshlands. His army was begging for marshlands, though, the effect of which was to slow all cavalry, monsters and steam tanks. My opponent played pitched battle, which limited the marshlands effects to the first two turns. My plan was to hold the center, stop the STank with cannons, punch through the left flank and distract/delay on the right.

First few turns, we advance, I shoot. Excitement, no? I nailed his steam tank with a cannon, but only caused a couple wounds. My first turn I actually rolled misfires on three of my four artillery pieces, only one blew up though.

If his cav was going to hit me, I wanted to try to make sure that when he did, I got the most out of my detachments, so I advanced in the center. The steam tank takes a point of damage from a blown steam point roll.

The left side is essentially mine, as I had hoped, though the steam tank could screw that up a bit. My plan is just to avoid it by hitting things (like the outriders flank) and moving on as fast as I can. My swordsmen momentarilly falter on the left side of my infantry center. General with Inner Circle knights charge in! But I hold!

Things go very badly for the Inner Circle knights and grand master. They are defeated and run down by the greatswords. I rally my swordsmen and move my knights in on the left. Flagellants charge in, but I figure I will beat them eventually and it only ties up a swordsmen unit - I take this as a fair (for me) trade.

Here it gets a little hazy. I think my knights blew it against the Griffon legion, who pursued them into the difficult terrain (ruins), with my swordsmen in pursuit. As predicted, I finish off the flagellents and head for the deployment zone. Game over, victory for the Empire. Well, Marienburg Empire at any rate. Annother good game and good opponent.

16 October 2008

Warlord Celts vs. Wargames Factory Celts

I thought it was about time someone did a review and comparison between the Warlord plastic Celts and the Wargames Factory Celts. I figured since I've ordered both, I would go ahead and perform this service for those still undecided between the two.

Below are two pictures. The Warlord figure is on the left, the Wargames Factory figure is on the right.

As you can see, the sculpting, proportions and detail are all fairly well done on the Warlord figure. The Wargames Factory figure, on the other hand, suffers from not being delivered yet.

The Warlord figure is animated and dynamic, while the Wargames Factory figure is still not here yet. As nice as Warlord's dynamic poses are, it could present a problem when ranking up a unit. Wargames Factory figures are at the moment easier to rank up, but will still look somewhat odd on the battlefield, since they've still not been delivered.

I'm still in the assembly stages, so I can't say how well each one paints up compared to the other, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the Warlord figures will be easier to work with because they are actually in my possession.

A couple gripes that I have with Warlords figures are -- and this has been mentioned by many others -- the fact that they only came with enough shields for 50% of the figures, and I'm also disappointed there wasn't a little more variety in the number of different heads. Still, this is nothing compared to the lack of Wargames Factory shields or heads or any other pieces, really.

So overall, I'd have to admit a preference for Warlord Games at this point.

(I must also admit that I'm considering abandoning the Celts altogether at this point and grabbing Foundry's Ancient Germans holiday deal...)

Marauders 08 - Day 1 Game 1

(click the images to enlarge them)

Marauders Mayhem 2008

Day 1 - Game 1

vs. High Elves

First game was against high elves. Scenario cards used were capture the flag and mutinous dogs (the latter was against me.)

From left to right, the HE had a lion chariot (barely in the photo) archers and a giant eagle, swordmasters and a RBT, 2 units of spearelves, a RBT and another eagle, more spearelves, more archers, more swordmasters, and another lion chariot (again, barely visible.)

From left to right, I had, knights, swordsmen with archer and sword detachment, handgunners in front of a cannon and rocket, greatswords and detachments of archers and swords, rockets, more swordsmen with the same detachments, a cannon, and on the far side of the woods were more knights and a unit of pistoliers.

Opening moves, nothing too unexpected. I moved my archer screens to the back so I could both protect them from giving up extra points and try to cover the war machines from the eagles. The eagle on the right was to be a nuisance all game. In this instance, if I charge it, it flees, and I'm stuck getting charged by the spearelves with some swordmasters crawling up my flank. So I just let it sit there...

I wasn't going to let the chariot on the left hit my knights, so I held them back to keep an eye on my infantry's flank. The left eagle chases off a rocket crew after a single round of combat. On the right, things go a little better, outside of the photo, my pistoliers have blasted a lion chariot and are moving in on the swordmasters.

My knights chase the chariot on the left awayas my infantry spreads out a little to draw off the swordmasters away from the spearelves. That damned eagle on the left took two wounds from assorted missile fire, but is still in the way. I'd have to throw away a unit to get rid of it. My pistoliers are shot to pieces by RBTs and archers. The few remaining take off, as per their usual M.O.

I charge and destroy the eagle, but my knights are then at the edge of the woods (not yet moved in the pic). I get the most beautiful grapeshot ever and kill 7 of 10 swordmasters. Spearelves continue to sit on the objective in the center. I continue to be a wimp and wait to resolve my right flank before commiting in the center.

And then it all falls apart. The knights on the right destroy the remaining swordmasters and pursue through the woods due to hatred. That's the good news. On the left, swordmasters shred through my swordsmen and the eagle eats a cannon crew and follows up into some archers (arrow drawn wrong.) My knights get pinned by a reform (or wheel?) by the archers on the hill, so the knights can't move on the chariot, but can't get away from the chariot either. I figure if it's going to catch me anyway, I may as well take the archers down with me. In the center my greatswords and general move up, get pelted by arrows & RBTS, panic and take a detachment with them in the last turn. Game over.

In the end it was a horrible game for the empire. I was wishy-washy about too much, and got into a little move-countermove on too many things (knights and chariot on the left, and that irritating eagle on the right.) It was a good game, though, against a good list and a good opponent. I thought this was one of the best HE lists I've seen. It had a bit of something for every phase of the game and seemed very flexible. My opponent was very good and simply outmanuvered me just about everywhere.

13 October 2008

Post-Marauders Mayhem (part1)

I survuved Marauders Mayhem 08, and did better than I expected!

It seemed pretty laid back, and there was a good mix of armies. The newer armies were not as over-represented as I've seen in other event reports. I ran into a lot of the regional regulars and met (and got crushed by) some new faces.

I'm hopefully going to put some battlereports up over the course of the week, but in the meantime, I will give a quick run-down.

  1. vs. High Elves - Loss
  2. vs. Empire/Kislev - Win
  3. vs. Vampire Counts - Win
  4. vs. Bretonnians - Loss
  5. vs. Daemons of Chaos - Draw
So I ended 2-2-1. Both losses were against what I consider balanced armies for their books. The Empire/Kislev was about a 50/50 alliance and was composed of cavalry and steam tank. The VC was a zombie horde. Really a zombie horde - one of the units was 100 zombies in a 10x10 formation. The DoC was all Nurgle.

I did manage to get the Generals Choice, Best Painted, and was on the Best Team (B.R.E.W.S!)

B.R.E.W.S. also had the doubles winners and the overall 3rd place, and overall did pretty well.

More later when I get some time. Til then, you can browse
The Results are posted at the Marauders Inc. forum and check out photos of some of the armies in attendance!

09 October 2008

Deadline Approaching


It's Thursday. I'm leaving for Marauders Mayhem Friday afternoon, and will spend the morning packing & loading up the car. So that leaves tonight to finish. I still have to:

Paint & seal the display base.
Base and seal about a dozen figures.
Finish painting about 6 more (less than 1/2 completed), then base and seal them.


On the WAB front, I've got someone else interested, so it looks like it will be ancients. (See previous entry on the "Next Project" topic.) I've got a couple boxes of the Warlord Games Celts, and have a couple boxes of Wargames Factory Celts pre-ordered through http://www.thewarstore.com/. When those come in (if ever... *sigh*) I'll decide how to split up the remaining 4-5 boxes I'll probably like to pick up, and what else to pick up, metal figures, etc.

I'll give a review of the Warlord figures when I finish assembling some more and paint them up. So far, though, they look good. My initial thoughts, though, are that they're going to be a pain to rank-up, and I really really wish they would have included enough shields. The latter seems like a really bad move, IMHO. I think they would have done well to include some arms with slings as well. Extra heads, too -- with fewer duplicates. More to come on this topic, plus pictures.

Look for Celts and a report from Marauders Mayhem next week sometime.