29 December 2009

2010 Resolutions

John at Plastic Legions has made a list of resolutions and has mentioned that he hopes to see more lists around the wargaming blogs.

I'm not normally a resolution kind of guy. That implies planning, and I'm horribly at planning. However, I do have some general notions that I'm willing to gamble I will largely stick with.

1. Minimal wargaming budget in 2010. Work has gotten a bit tight, and I'm getting married in October. So limited wargaming spending isn't just a resolution, it's hard reality. I'm only planning on going to one out of town event longer than a day (Cold Wars) with a possible second one (Origins) if I can swing a free ride. My Old Glory Army card expires in a couple months, so I will try to place one last order using the discount before curbing spending on figures.

2. Participate in promoting the hobby. I'm running some WAB demo games at Cold Wars, and may do the same at Origins. I'm going to look into some painting events, too. Maybe like "The Paint Machine Road Show" or something.

3. Get back to pointless gaming. Points based games have become the staple. There's a greater emphasis on competitiveness. I'd like to take a step back to scenario based and "just for fun" type games. I'll also lump "less focus on 'officialdom' in games. We've already started this with our WFB campaign. I wouldn't mind trying something similar with WAB. This leads into...

4. Get into zombies. Seems goofy, but I've already started writing my own "beer & pretzels" style rules for a modern zombie apocalypse type game. I'm hoping they will really have the feel of a movie and not get too bogged down in reality. I also hope to maybe get some non-wargaming people into it. Of course, this means I will need to start getting & painting a bunch of zombies, which means I will be pushing my limits with Resolution No. 1 and interfering with Resolutions Nos. 5-8. I will also be in need of some suitable terrain.

5. Paint lots of Romans (and their friends & foes.) Already on my way with this. But I really do have quite a lot of figures still needing paint. I want to finish at least 90% of them by the end of the year.

6. Repair & update Skaven. I have a lot of broken plastic clanrats in dire need of repair. I also have some newer figures, plus a few conversions I recently built (posted pics a month or two ago.)

7. Sculpt Hellpit Abomination. This one deserves its own resolution heading. I'm excited about it. I just need time to sort out a plan and execute it.

8. Finish Empire steam tank. I bought & assembled the thing, started painting it then got distracted by other things. Definitely need to finish this.

9. Stop reading Warseer. I've quit looking at the WFB sections, which is the biggest frustration. But I think I need to quit looking at the other sections, too.

10. Play more ancients/medievals. Hopefully we can get more regular games going, and I can get some more people interested.

There's ten things off the top of my head. I don't think it's realistic that I will have time for all of it. But those are at least some indications of the possible directions I will head. Options for goals.

Addendum: After thinking about it a bit, I like John's idea for a big game. So I'd like to add an 11th resolution to have a really "Legendary Battles" type game of some sort.

27 December 2009

Holiday WAB

Got in a quick inter-holiday WAB game this afternoon. We played a double game. 2000 points each, my Romans and my Historicon team mate's Barbarians vs. Macedonians and... Hibernians?

I've had enough depressing losses to the Macedonians lately, so I asked to set up on the side that the Irish had started to occupy.

Due to the cramped battlefield, there was little room for manuever. I used more skirmishers than previous battles, and in spite of being fairly evenly matched in that respect I "won" that battle, largely thanks to a unit of barbarian cav that rampaged through light troops along the flank, and distracted one of the infantry blocks for most of the battle. Our battle lines got locked and I survived the initial onslaught without even needing to burn my stubborn ability when receiving the charge. The Irish mega-unit containing the general, army standard and priest gradually ground down one unit, but the rest of the Romans held their own.

My light infantry (Scutarii - run as Roman Auxiliaries) followed behind the barbarian cav, swung in and charged a full warband, ran it over on the charge, and then turned the flank in the last turn of the game. (They are the unfinished unit near the bottom of the pic.)

On the other half of the battlefield it sounded like things went OK for the allies until the general was killed. The Macedonians had 11 oracle points, which apparently went to good use.

Poor quality phone photo below. Identities have been hidden to protect the innocent (or not so innocent.) On the left are the Irish in the foreground, Macedonians in the background. My Romans in the foreground on the right, my allies in the background.

With all of the questions of the future of WAB, it was good to just put some figure on the table and play a game. It was also good to do well with the Romans for a change.

Addendum: Almost forgot to mention my vaguely hobby related holiday loot. I got HBO's complete "Rome" series on DVD.


I heard a joke over the holiday...

A U.S. Army general was negotiating with a cannibal chief in New Guinea during World War II. The general wanted the chief to rally his tribe to help American troops fight the Japanese. The chief refused, calling the Americans immoral. The general was shocked. "We are not immoral!" he protested. "The Japanese are immoral!" The cannibal chief replied, "The Japanese and Americans are equally immoral. You both kill far more people than you can eat."

24 December 2009


Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas or enjoyable and safe holiday of their choice.

Or even if you don't celebrate any holiday, just have a wonderful evening. ;)

22 December 2009

WAB vs. Crusader

At least some sort of light on the horizon for WAB 2.0. A second December newsletter now says they are sending it to the printers in January, with preorders to follow as soon as they have a ship date. It's 208 pages, full color, hardbound.

Someone on the WAB Forum pointed out the normal prices for the same 208 page full color hardbound type of books from Forgeworld, and that has me a bit concerned.

So I'd just like to state that if WAB 2.0 is going to cost me more than $50, especially if there are no army lists included, there is zero chance I will buy it, and I will instead immediately send my money off for a set of the Crusader miniatures rules.

21 December 2009

Roman Command

I finally painted up two mounted command figures from Foundry. One is supposed to be Pompey, the other is a mounted aquilifer.

The Pompey model, quite honestly, is awful. The face is a slightly distorted blob with a small ring representing a mouth that reminds me of Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live. His arms are thicker than his legs. The casting was really bad, too. The right side of his face (left side from the viewers point of view) had a large chunk between the eye and the nose that I sort of removed, but it was difficult to get the remainder to look like a face. Considering "good" half was just a blob anyway, I wasn't too worried. One half of the laurel leaf was decently defined, but the other half was either poorly cast or poorly sculpted. The legs & sandals were pretty good -- they looked like they were borrowed from a better sculpted figure.

Eventually I will post the other figures from the set, Caesar and a consul or some other official. They're not much better. I painted Pompey first because, first off, I find him (the person) interesting, and second, my first pack had two Pompey figures and no consul, the replacement had another Pompey, so I am somewhat overflowing with this awful figure.

The aquilifer was significantly better. A nice clean figure.

I prefer the Crusader figure I posted a few weeks ago to Pompey.

Here's the Foundry Page for reference.

20 December 2009

Mighty Empires: Year 1 - Winter

I have added two new notations. "S" for Ship and "X" for Razed settlements.

Year One of the Mighty Empires campaign wound down, and we're in the middle of our winter shopping. (spending the income.)

The big excitement was the capture of the Ogre capital by the Lizardmen at the tail end of Turn 4. After that the Ogres had two turns, including extra moves due to "forced marches" to move one hex into the capital and try to take it back. After four attempts, they made it, taking heavy casualties during a river crossing gone wrong and then proceeded to smash themselves to a pulp on the walls of their former city.

This has led to a considerable change in balance on the map, as the Lizards and Chaos forces are now divvying up the former Ogre lands (and the surrounding unexplored territory) in a strangely cooperative manner.

The Skaven made a half hearted attempt at some inroads through Goblin territory and threatened an attack on the capital itself, but in typical cowardly fashion, didn't go for the final attack -- which would likely have suicide anyway.

The Goblins hung near their capital, due to a combination of the Skaven attack, lack of a clear road through the mountains to their northwest, and starvation.

The Orcs (disguised as yellow Bretonnians on the map) stood back and watched the destruction of the Ogres from a distance at the north end of their Empire, while exploration to the south led to the discovery of yet more barren coast land.

Autumn spells led to additional income for the Lizards (on top of their already bountiful coffers,) the forces of chaos creating difficulties for the Orcs winter retreat, and the Skaven army being inundated with heroes looking to make a name for themselves.

Winter events were a little more harsh. Famine, plague and banditry were widespread and affected all.

What the map doesn't show are the numbers.

While the Lizards did deal a death blow to the Ogres, and have the largest chunk of real estate open to them, they blew their winter retreat back home through the mountains, and lost a second banner to a bad event. On the plus side, they've got far more cash to spend than any other Empire. They've also got a lot of distance between their capital and the other Empires.

The Skaven and Chaos Empires are both fairly solid. The Skaven still have numbers, though they're running out of land. Chaos has slightly smaller forces, but a large space for expansion (with minimal competition.)

Both greenskin armies are hurting. The Orcs started with smaller forces than anyone else, and a lot of their territory turned out barren. An early battle with an independent settlement was costly in terms of casualties. The Goblins lost one of their smaller banners, but then also had crappy territory and ended up succumbing to starvation. They're not as bad off as the Orcs, numerically, and they've got a strong front against the Skaven (mountains and Fortresses) but they're cramped for land and half of what they've got is Barren.


Commentary on the Rules

We've been adjusting a few things as we go. For example, in the various phases of Winter we discovered a lot of results for spells, events, etc. that would result in the utter destruction of entire banners of troops. If we had played it this way, there would probably be half as many troops on in the game. So instead, we roll on the winter retreat table, which is still harsh, but at least leaves something remaining.

The Equinox spells and Winter events have a huge impact on the game. Looking forward to the espionage phase, there's even more potential for big changes. The actual battles have been minimal. We've only had a few. There were a lot of agreements and alliances this first year, however. I suspect this next turn will result in more.

As far as the initial set up and army generation, the game was written for a slightly different army structure, so we've used some home brewed rules we found on a web page (I'll look for the link later) that adapted the game for 6th edition. Those mostly seem to have worked.

We've also used a modified version of the 5th edition Siege rules. We're working on tweaking those a bit.

We don't currently have any "advancement" or "experience" system where troops become veterans or characters improve. I think at least a basic system along these lines would add quite a bit of interest next time.

Overall, though, the existing game seems to form a decent framework for a campaign so far. The "luck" factor does seem a bit heavy. So if the dice don't like you, there's a potential for harsh consequences.

18 December 2009


Everyone posts photos of their pets in their blog, no matter what the topic. I believe I have even done so previously. This time, it's a little different.

I've been hunting around for suitable dog minaitures, and now have a small bin of them, in a quest to find a suitable match for our Shepherd/Husky, Sasha. This is one of the closest so far, though it's very large. She's mounted on a 20x40 base so I can actually fit her into infantry units in WFB/WAB (next to my self portrait figure, of course.)

It may look a little strange, but she actually is getting a bit of grey around the edges of her mouth as she gets older. She's around 8 years old +/-, we're not sure exactly as we got her from a shelter.

I believe it's a Ral Partha figure.


I mentioned that the Geier of the Carrion People figure was an old sculpt. It was actually the second along the lines of that design. (There are actually more than those two...) The first was sculpted & painted up as a one-off figure. I did it as part of the old Visions in Putty project on the minisculpt list (which I haven't looked at in years.)

So here's the original...

I actually like a few things about this one a bit better, like the head and positioning of the arms. However I was still figuring out how to do folds on drapery, so that's a bit off on this figure. The change in the head was based on actually looking at vulture heads. This one looks nothing like reality, where the others are more like somewhere on the distant horizon of reality.

16 December 2009

Christmas Giftsmas

In making a comment elsewhere about the plethora of great new stuff that I'd love to get my hands on, but having to watch my spending at the moment, I realized...

Considering that miniatures gaming (and history in general -- I even got my first university degree in the subject!) has been my biggest and longest running hobby (and/or obsession) I don't think anyone's ever given me a gaming or history related gift for my birthday or Christmas. :(

I'm actually considering selling off a few things to fund a purchase some of the things I recently mentioned in a previous entry. I'm like a lead junkie. (Or plastic, in the case of the new Perry WotR kit.)

More Romans & Spanish

I finally managed to finish a small group of Spanish caetrati that have been sitting on a shelf, half finished, in my painting room for months. Probably the beginning of summer, at least. The figures are Crusader.

I also flocked the Romans I recently painted at the Paint Machine. The figures are Wargames Factory.

I've registered several beginners demo games of WAB at Cold Wars, and I'm looking into doing something similar at Origins. So I'm now committed to painting as many Romans as possible. I'll be doing Romans vs. Barbarians games, however if I can paint a pile of Romans by then, I may do a Civil War game. If I get enough painted, I may also have to switch back to painting Germans for a while, to increase the size of the Rome vs. Barbarians option. Part of the final decision will depend on running a few playtest games.

11 December 2009


I'm a bit behind with this, but it's been sitting on the table for a while waiting to be painted. This is the (first) figure I sculpted for Black Orc Games "Mini Sculpt" program. You can buy these for $1 each here:

Geier of the Carrion People

Buy enough and I may even get to see a share of the profits. ;) Mainly I did it to see how my (very) modest sculpting skills would translate through the molding and casting process.

The arms are separate, fit into the shoulders and can be rotated in a variety of poses (ball and joint type socket.

I'm not thrilled with the colors I ended up using, it was just the first idea to pop to mind. I think I'll paint a couple others up in different colors. Click to get the full sized pic.

Any feedback is appreciated. I've got a couple of other slow moving sculpting projects in process and would love to get feedback, criticism, advice, etc. so I can improve. You don't even have to sugar coat it. ;)

09 December 2009

Behind the Scenes

No pics yet, but I've been keeping myself occupied.

I took a different direction regarding the gaming mat mentioned in the previous entry. Rather than buying a commercial mat, I decided to see what I could do on my own. So I got a roughly 4'-6" x 9'-0" piece of "bottomweight" in a khaki color. I added a bit of variation to this with light & random sprays of a darker brown and black spray paints. I tried adding some spray of white and green with diluted acrylics splashed from an old toothbrush, but didn't have much luck. I will most likely buy a green spray paint in the near future. Overall, it's not the best looking mat, but it still looks pretty good. I'm still not certain whether I want to risk trying to use some 3m Super 77 and Woodland Scenics flock on it.

I also built some more ladders for WFB sieges. We had our first siege game of the campaign on Friday, which got me thinking about modeling projects. THe ladders were super easy, and were build using basswood sticks glued together.

No painting for a few days. I'm trying to decicde what I want to do for myself, next. Not much luck in that area, so nothing new for me. In the meantime, I prepped a pile of figures for paintwork I owe a friend, to cover my room & board expenses from all the way back at Historicon!

Pics of new stuff coming soon...

02 December 2009

Paint Machine update, Holiday Wishlist, Cold Wars

I finally picked up where I left off a couple weeks ago with the Paint Machine project, with steps seven and eight.


I also just registered to run two "demo" style events at Cold Wars '10. I'm going to do Cimbrian war flavored "Romans vs. Barbarians" and teach the WAB rules. (The new ones, if emerge by then.) Provided I get the slots, I'll be doing them on Thursday night and Friday morning. It's been a long time since I've run convention events, so I'm starting off small before diving into larger events again.


There's a bunch of great new stuff that's either coming out soon or has recently been released. Plus a few other things I've been eyeballing. Sadly between the holidays, our wedding in less than a year, and the uncertainties of my job, gaming spending is on hold. I may try trading or selling a few things off.

First off, I need a game mat or something to use for a table at the above mentioned Cold Wars events. I'm considering of one of these from The Terrain Guy. I've got some terrain boards at home, but they're too large & heavy to be practical in this case.

Beyond that, here's a few things I've got my eyes on:
  • Perry plastic Wars of the Roses
  • Artizan Landsknechts
  • Rumored Ancient Germans from Crusader
  • Macedonian pike deals (boxes) from Crusader
  • Skaven clanrats from GW

In regard to the Crusader stuff, I've got an Old Glory card that will expire just before Cold Wars, so I'd really like to make one last purchase on it, as I won't renew this year (for the same reasons above.)

29 November 2009

Digital Temptation

I'd like to do more non-WFB gaming. I've come to an understanding, and can tolerate the game at this point. But it remains a matter of being the default option, because it's easy to find opponents.

I believe I've written my opinions on Field of Glory. I own the rules and several supplements, and have played a few games but it never managed to really grab me. A lot of that had to do with some of the minutia of the mechanics.

I recently saw the announcement for the release of this:


I haven't played computer games in a long time. The last one was Diablo 2, which isn't even a wargame. But it was enough of to time-waster for me to give up computer games for a long time, now. A lot of that also has to do with the lack of turn based games.

(I think my favorite game of all time was Age of Rifles, which I still own but unfortunately haven't been able to run on newer Windows machines. So it's been collecting dust for a while -- if anyone can advise me on how to get it to work, feel free!)

I'm tempted to give the FoG game a go. From what I've read, the association between the tabletop game and the computer game are in name only. Even if it was the same results, but with the mechanics hidden behind a computer moderated interface, I think I'd be willing to give it a try.

I'd be interested to hear any opinions. Especially from anyone who has played it. (Or any other turn based games -- 19th century and earlier only.)

27 November 2009

Black Friday

Today is Buy Nothing Day.

I modified that to Buy Nothing that I Can't Digest Immediately, as I met my friend J for dinner and a Great Lakes Christmas Ale.

Earlier in the day I played a few games at TWA headquarters. No one else was available, so we played two games. I captured really crappy photos with my cell phone, a Palm Centro. Worst camera on any phone I've owned.

First was 2000 points of WAB. I once again acted as Roman punching bag for R's Macedonians. These Romans vs. phalanx battles are really curing my urge to play Romans. So I'm really starting to itch for that Successor army that's been part of my long term plans...

The second game went significantly better. 2250 points of my Skaven against equal points of Warriors of Chaos. I had a mixed army, highlighted by the powerhouse Abomination and Plague Furnace. He had a lot of dogs, marauder cavalry, and packed a punch with some chosen knights flanked by a pair of chariots, and a badass dragon lord.

26 November 2009


Some friends and I are making Christmas ornaments as a surprise for a friend who's has a bit of a rough year. I decided to do a rampaging snowman. I've sculpted it up and just primed it. I can't wait to paint it up. It's about 3.5" high, from base to top of hat.

I also made a few "back up" bodies, in case I messed up on the first one. The back-ups were done with a lightweight clay for children's crafts, from Crayoloa. I had to use the whole thing at once, so I got a bit of a strange idea...

I'm going to make a snowman Christmas village, with a Cthulhu-esqe giant snow-critter, and a bunch of smaller panicking snowmen, fleeing for their lives. Here's the start on the bodies so far... I did the arms on all the little guys last night.

22 November 2009

Mighty Empires - Year One, Turn Four

We played out the first four turns of the Campaign. Minor change in participants... The former Bretonnians are actually Orcs, and what I formerly referred to as Orcs & Goblins are just Goblins.

After four turns we've mostly had just minor skirmishes. The quelling of a couple of independent settlements took its toll on a few banners. Due to casualties, two Orc banners have merged into the now larger Orc 1. In the first turn, Skaven 1 and Goblin 2 met and fought over the highland villages in L6. The goblins were killed or sent running and lost in the mountains. The Lizardmen aggressively invaded the Ogre kingdom -- the smaller Ogre border force fought in an orderly retreat, and sought shelter in the safety of their capital city. It is uncertain yet if a siege will be fought or not.

16 November 2009

Might Empires

I'm taking part in a Mighty Empires campaign using an adaptation of the old, detailed rules and tiles. We've dealt out the map, chose locations and rolled upstarting forces. I've volunteered to be the campaign cartographer. Here's my digitization of the base map. (Click maps to enlarge.)

Below are the starting positions.

Goblins - Green - 3,600 points, 7 baggage
Lizardmen - Blue - 3,500 points, 7 baggage
Warriors of Chaos - Red - 2,500 points, 9 baggage
Ogres - Purple - 2,300 points - 9 baggage
Skaven - Pink - 3,500 points, 6 baggage
Bretonnians - Yellow - 2,000 points, 7 baggage

I will be fielding my Skaven, Clan All-Out-of-Bubblegum.

Edit: fixed minor error on the maps.

15 November 2009

Mini Exchange

I previously posted photos of the miniature I sent to someone else from the Warhammer-Empire.com forum as part of their mini-exchange: http://zerotwentythree.blogspot.com/2009/07/mini-exchange.html

I recently received my surprise figure from far off Finland, painted by Rune:

And here he is in a unit of my figures. I think he fits in pretty well. I'll be using him as a warrior priest.

13 November 2009

Black Powder update (sort of)

I just checked my Amazon account to see when I could expect my copy of Black Powder.

According to them it's still not released and I should expect my copy to ship Februrary 4.


12 November 2009

First 7th Skaven battle

I played my first game with the new Skaven book tonight. Against a Dogs of War army, of all things. Ended in roughly a draw. We had to vacate the store, so didn't get an exact point count.

I had a very difficult time narrowing down my list. Too many new toys I wanted to try out. In the end, I did cram a lot of stuff in, but ended up with a small army and a not-very-optimized list.

I roughly had:

Seer on Bell
Priest on Furnace
Warlock Engineer
2x30 Clanrats
1 Fire Thrower
1 Poisoned Wind Mortar
36 Slaves
30 Monks
6 PCBs
5 Gutter Runners
1 Abomination
1 Catapult

My opponent had:
Lv. 4 Mage Lord
2x Lv. 2 Mages
1 Paymaster
30 Pike
30 RoR Pike (the ones that are WS4)
10 Crossbow
10 Marksmen
2x10 Duelists with pistols
2 Cannons
10 Volands Venetors

It was a short & quick game. I charged up quickly, except when my bell unit was halted by a Wall of Fire I failed to dispel. That allowed both pike units to charge both my clanrat units (one had already chased off my slaves.) One unit fled, the other was held up by my Bell pushing unit, which eventually became Death Frenzied & beat the enemy unit, killing the paymaster. That screwed the DoW army a bit.

Volands charge the Abomination and we tied combat (I rolled very poorly for my attacks). Their musician broke the tie, and in true Empire Greatsword fashion, I blew the Stubborn Ld8 roll and was run down.

The spell Scorch was only cast once, but it was NASTY. Took out almost half of the RoR pikemen in one shot. The Bell, on the otherhand, was a bit ineffective. The results didn't have any useful effects, I rolled doubles every time I rang it, which meant casualties for me, and my Grey seer blew every ward save he was granded by the bell (and died.) Even the dispel dice from the MR(2) failed me, as the unit had Wall of Fire cast on it twice.

The furnace and PCBs, on the other hand, ran over anything in their way. Granted, they only had lightweight stuff "in their way." But the quantity of wounds they threw out was pretty impressive.

Not certain about the war machines & weapon teams yet. The misfires with the large template are ugly. Both the WFT & Mortar blew up the first time they were fired (typical) and ended up taking out other nearby figures in the process (also typical.) The catapult got a nice hit on the Venators, but failed to roll wounds and ended up only killing 2. The next shot missed the enemy by a long shot and hit my own Engineer.

Looking forward to the next game. I need to focus on building a better & tighter army.

10 November 2009

Perrry WotR plastics

I'm such a junkie for medievals, so I'm pretty excited about these:



Now to stay on track with my current overabundance of projects and not get distracted just yet...

Skaven distratction begins

Tonight I was distracted by two things... one was the movie "Legend of the Black Scporpion" which was kind of OK. Not quite as good as the Hero/Flying Daggers/Golden Flowers series that sold me on Chinese epics. But still worth the free loan from the library! I would have even paid to rend the DVD. ;)

The second was a Skaven conversion... I was trying to put an army list together over the weekend, but failed. Too much interesting & untried stuff in the new book to fit into 2250 points along with my usual horde of infantry.

So I sat down to finish some commission work and instead an idea popped into my head...

This is my conversion for a PWG mortar crew. Actually,just part of it. But in game terms, this base is all that will count for firing, ranges, casualties, etc. I will have a loader tagging along behind or in front just for visual purposes. There just wasn't enough room on the base for a second figure, though.

It's a plague monk body & arms, with the gasmask head from the Doomwheel. I made the bottom canister of the gas mask with a bit of plastic rod and two small pieces of plastic tube. The wider tube parts are drilled with holes, though it's hard to see in the pic. I'm certain it will be clearer once the figure is painted. The cannon is a spare from the plastic Empire Steam Tank, adorned with some Skaven icons from the old clanrat set, and dragged along on a pair of solid wagon wheels. The "rope" is just twisted florist wire.

08 November 2009

Eye Candy

The link below takes quite a while to load up, but there a ton of great pictures of some fairly large battles being played by a gaming club in Paris. Some ancients, some medievals, some colonials, some WWII... it's worth waiting for it all to load up.


I'm very jealous.

Romans and their crops

Two quick updates. I finished basing me second painted unit of WF Romans. This is not the same group I'm working on over at the new Paint Machine blog, but is the one that partially inspired me to track my progress & time and start that blog.

Next is a bit of terrain. I've been searching for two years (yes, really) for a plain coir (natural coconut fiber) doormat to use for tall grass/cropland terrain. Impossible. Every mat I have found has some sort of graphics, pattern, color or phrase on it. I found a couple via mail order, but the postage & cost seemed like a waste compared to the inexpensive ones available at the local stores. So I finally broke down and bought one with a Greek style keyed pattern around the perimeter, and just dealt with the fact that I would have a certain amount of waste. I've saved some of the small edges to cut up & use for small tufts of grass on other terrain projects, but here's one of the smaller patches of regular crops/fields I cut, with a couple of figures (GW elf on the left, older Foundry Celt on the right.) I may try painting the edges of the black substrate to match my game table & other terrain and bases.

06 November 2009

Paint Machine

This may seem a bit schizophrenic, but I wanted to keep a separate blog of some specific painting tutorials & info. Thus, the Paint Machine was born:


05 November 2009

Black Powder

I just ordered Black Powder.

I couldn't pass up the $30 including shipping price at Amazon -- seemed worth the risk.

edit: I had tried looking for some decent reviews of the actual rules, but most of what I found revolves around how "pretty" the book is, and all the great pictures. Hence the "risk" comment. I'm starting to develop a belief that there is an increasing anti-intellectual trend in wargaming...

01 November 2009

Roman Command

In my quest for mounted command, I picked up the Roman General pack from Crusader Miniatures. It comes with one mounted and one dismounted general. They are from their Punic Wars range, a bit earlier than the Marian/Caesarian era army I'm doing, but I think they look fine.

Nice, clean figures. Here they are compared to a Wargames Factory legion (which will make up the bulk of my infantry) and their metal Caesar figure on foot.

31 October 2009

Rats and Romans


I took my Late Republican Roman army of Pompus Magnus out for the first time today, and faced a Rise of Macedon army.

It would probably be most Roman of me to blame my horrible defeat on the rash allied German cavalry. They rolled a 1 on their warband test to surge forward, charged a unit of slingers (who fired & fled out of range) and opened themselves up to an ugly charge from the Macedonian heavy cav.

In fact, that sounds good. Lets blame it on the unreliable barbarians and end further discussion at that.

More battle experience is definitely required. The troops also require a whole lot o' paint for morale to improve. Everyone knows painted figures do better. Most of my army is still being painted, so I'm sure they will do better in future games, as I make progress on the painting front.


Back in fantasy land, the Skaven army book comes out in another week or two here in the US. I'm already plotting and scheming to put Clan All-Out-of-Bubblegum back into action. I think the core of my army will remain the same: hordes of chittering and squeeking vermin. But there will be a few changes.

First is the appeal of a Grey Seer. Possibly on a Bell. I used to take a Warlord 99% of the time using the old book, but I think the new book makes the seer much more appealing than before.

Second are the rare slots. I used to run army with either no rare choices, or sometimes I would use the DoW giant as an excuse to field a Clan Moulder monstrosity. The new book, conveniently, gives me an actual monstrosity to field right out of the Skaven book. For now I will continue to use my "giant" as a Hellpit Abomination, but I plan on sculpting up a new, more mutated beastie ASAP.

The other rare options also look good. The catapult thingie is the one that first appeals to me. However, the wheel (dumb as the concept is) and the WLC are also decent looking. I'm certain I will be experimenting & switching things around for a while.

Back to the special options for the army, I'm stumpped. The plague monks continue to look decent, especially with the new rules for the priest and the Plague Furnace. But the tunnel teams with poison weapons have jumped up in price so much that I think they will go from a standard item in my list to something I rarely take. I'm bitter about the jezzails losing their skirmish formation. They already suffered at the hands of more maneuverable troops, like flying terror beasts, fast cav, and many other "war machine hunters." This is going to hurt them more.

Towards the end of my use of the old book a year and a half (or two) ago, I was learning to appreciate the Poisoned Wind Globadiers again, mainly because of their decent performance in the 'Ard Boyz tournament against some of the heavy stuff (like Steam Tanks.) But now that they are no longer core options, I'm not sure about using them. On the other hand, I'm still not thrilled with many of the other special options, so those slots may be open after all.

As far as the weapon teams, the first two that seem appealing to me are the Warpfire Throwers, which I've used through all editions of the game in spite of the fact that they've sucked, and/or they've been more likely to cause damage to my own troops. But I feel this time they're due for some success! I also like the look of the Mortar thing. The Ratling guns will probably be staying in storage. Not certain about the others, I need to review their rules in depth.

That's about it for now, until I get to read the book in depth. But I plan on doing a little bit of new painting for the rats, so expect to see some pics over the next few months.

29 October 2009

Marauders 09 - Day 2, Game 5

Marienburgers vs. George's Tomb Kings

Last game pits me against another BREWS local. For the final battle it's capture the flag, with the flag & it's surrounding bog on the far side of a pond from me.

The TK have, from foreground (at the river) to background... 3 ushabti, tomb king plus chariots, tomb guard, casket on the edge of the hill, archers, skeleton warriors, and some chariots and the tomb prince on the far flank, behind the woods. (Trust me, those are woods.) The scorpion that only looks like it is sitting on the bridge is actually somewhere below the surface, in the vicinity of the rear of the pikemen on the hill.

Marienburg had, from for to aft... pistoliers, knights, pegasus captain, cannon, pikemen on the hill, swordsmen, helblaster parked opposite the objective, more swordsmen, knights, and a cannon to hit the chariots as the filter through the bottleneck on the flank.

Two turns in +/-. On the far flank the prince sacrifices his ride to save the chariot unit from the cannon. He then strolls into the woods and kills the crew. Knights move up to hold off the chariots. Everyone else moves forard. Even the helblaster, since the sissy undead are staying outside of range. The pistoliers run up, blast an ushabti, then flee behind the knights. They even rallied the following turn! First time all weekend they did what they're supposed to.

Other than the distant chariots and the ushabti, the undead just sort of hang out, shoot a bit, cast a few incantations.

Eventually the king and his chariots get off an incantation that gets them the charge into the pikemen. The "extra banner" on the pikemen is the fortune from my fortune cookie at lunch time. It says something like, "Your success will astonish everyone." After the first four games, I needed all the supportive talk I could get. Unfortunately, it was a big let down. The arch lector challenges, ends up locked in combat with the champion and can't wound him. The pikemen almost all hit. Then I throw a bucket of 1, 2, and 3s and only manage a single wound on the chariots. The chariots kill a few pikemen, mostly with impact hits. Undead lose by a little, but distribute the wounds efficiently.

Over the next two turns the combat becomes a mess. My knights charge the chariots flank. The ushabti charge the knights flank. The scorpion finally shows up (4th turn?) and charges the back of the pikemen, which pretty much seals their doom. I managed to kill two of the chariots, and get the king down to just a single wound. But I couldn't seal the deal. I broke and that was the end of it. The undead pursued into my cannons and the wizard skulking behind the hill. The swordsmen then had their flank exposed.

In the distance, the chariots run over the knights like a speedbump. A very soft and shallow speedbump. The swordsmen on the far side of the pond are yet another let down. Even with a detachment swinging in on the flank (and quickly reduced to less than US5) they can barely manage to win combats against skeleton swordsmen. I think I killed like 2 of them by the end of the game... while the prince was slowly approaching from the woods.

Maybe it's because they had the advantage of defending a hill.


The game ended in yet another hideous defead for Marienburg. I finished somewhere in the bottom third of the standings. The only thing keeping me off the very bottom were the soft scores. My painting got me Best Painted, which came with a gift card. I used that to pay for the majority of a Fortified Manor terrain set, which I had been eyeying for the past year or so. Too bad the tournament wasn't a month later, otherwise I would have used it on Skaven! It's about time to go back to the army that is my true calling!

26 October 2009

Pets, Painitng

I realized I hadn't posted (that I recall) the obligatory pet photo. I'm actually constantly on the lookout for shepherd & husky miniatures so I can paint up figures for her. Such a sucker for a cute face. She's half shepherd (where she gets most of her color) and half husky (where she get her two colored eyes, curly tail, and love for the snow.)

We also have a cockatiel (crazy, obsessed stalker of the dog) and a leopard gecko (inherited from friends, anti-social, we mainly feed her crickets and she just hides.)

I love both cats and dogs. And most other animals. Because of my living situation, I was "a cat person" for a long time, and would, in fact, have cats sitting on my lap as I painted figures. Ra, "my girlfriend," as my ex would semi-jealously call her, would even swat a bit a the paint brushes as I pained. On occasion.

Sasha, the sheperd/husky in the above pic, sometimes will sit in the back room with me while I paint, but she will exhale deeply, sighing as I pay more attention to the toy soldiers then her, and mope out of the room. Usually it's not a 100% bad thing, because if she's out of site of the bird, he's usually screeching like an enraged harpy if he can't see her (as would be the case in the back room...)

25 October 2009

Alien Flu

I've been sick most of the week, and needed a break from painting for a few days anyway. So I've been posting my battle reports and going through some other photos from the trip to Dayton.

I've also been watching the Alien(s) marathon on AMC. They're showing the 4 films in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Alien film. Very enjoyable.

Between this and a recent browsing of some 40k stuff, I've been tempted (though resisting, so far) to jump back in after many years away. Bugs, of course.

Marauders 09 - Day 2, Game 4

Marienburg vs. Taras' Dogs of War

First game of the second day the match ups were posted and I discovered I was playing a fellow Team BREWS member. Burning River Electric Warhammer Studs. Or something like that. At least the "Burning River" and "Warhammer" parts are right. In any case, it's our tournament team name for the local game store (Recess Games) group. I was ready to go, in spite of a slight hangover and a little less sleep than I had planned.

Side photos this time. Marienburg on the left, Dogs of War on the right.

The filthy Dogs of War had, from the bottom of the pic, to the top... Golfags Ogres, Lv. 4 Mage, Marksmen, Mengil Manhide's DE guys, Vespero's Vendetta, two units of pistol armed duelists, a Lv 2 Mage, Volands Venetors, Paymaster on a horse, one galloper gun (has moved up behind the skull), and the RoR halflings whose name I currently forget, and another lv. 2 mage.

From forground to background, the righteous army of Marienburg had... knights, a cannon, volley gun and another cannon in the woods, swordsmen & detachments, pikemen, swordsmen & detachmetns wiht a unit of knights in front, pegasus behind the giant skull (a lot of those around this part of the Warhammer world, it seems,) and pistoliers.

That last bit was sort of screwed up. I should have made sure the knights were going after the hobbits, the pistoliers were bound to get shot to pieces. I don't remember the order of placement at this time.

Marienburgers move up in response to the slow advance of the DoW. The pegasus tries to casket away a spell from the (relative) safty of the volcano. Pistoliers and knights move up to threaten the galloper gun but deny any flank shots. In the foreground, we wait for the ogres to move up, taking shots with the cannon while we wait. (First shot takes out Golfag himself.)

Hobbits move up, shoot the crap out of the pistoliers. The mob of skirmishers in the center advances slowly, ogres decide they don't like being shot, so begin to advance more enthusiastically. Mengil's Dark Elves and the Marksmen start to inflict heavy casualties on the swordsmen in the foreground.

As the pistoliers do what they do best (run off the battlefield) and the nasty hobbitses round the volcano, the pegasus decides it's time to seek safty elsewhere. (I think I actually fled from a charge - not sure from whom.) The knights in the center make a charge to chase away some skirmishers, which sends Mengils DE's running as well. The knights pursue into Voland's Venetors to try to drop their numbers before the infantry line hits. The last ogre in the foreground runs over the knights. The cannon disappears after I miscas, resulting the DoW mage getting a free casting of Pit of Shades.

There's a little gap betwen the last pic and this one... In the foreground, the last ogre has been ventilated by the volley gun. The DoW mage has jumped (Steed of Shadows?) behind the woods looking for a good casting spot. The action is happening in the center, around the skull. The DoW skirmishers rally and start moving back trough the woods. The pikemen charge & finish off Mengils, but the pursuit leaves their flank dangling in the eyes of the distant Venators. In order for the Venators to charge, the duelists in their way have to charge the swordsmen near the giant skull. The pikemen flee, becoming the largest point value (inadvertant) bait & flee unit I've ever used. The failed charge of the Venators leaves their flank open to a pursuit move by the swordsmen unit, who break them on the next round of combat. The Pike rally the next turn as well. The swordsmen in the forgreoun (behind the pike, in the pic) never make it to the Marksmen, continuing to eat crossbow bolts until there's three guys left at the end of the game.

The game ends in a draw. My record is now 1-2-1. My hope is to get one more win, so I can at least end with a 2-2-1 record. Luckilly, I figure with a record as bad as mine so far, my third game will be against a real loser. Maybe even that guy in yellow at the top of the last photo. ;P


21 October 2009

Marauders 09 - Day 1, Game 3

Marienburg vs. Matt's Lizardmen

From left to right, the Lizards had... Saurus cav, skinks, spikeydinos, krox, terradons and a terradon hero, carnosaur with hero, two units of skinks, and salamanders behind them. In the woods in the center are som chameleons.

From left to right, Marienburg had... Knights with pistoliers behind, pikemen, two cannons and a volley gun on the hill, swordsmen and detachments, with a pegasus hero hiding behind them, and on the other side of the pond, the other set of swordmen & their detachments.

My opponent had apparently rolled his spells either before the tournament or while I wasn't looking. Something I would have normally been a bit miffed about. However, I stole (& cast) the best spell right away (Comet) so I guess it all worked out. (See below.)

This is a couple turns into the game. On the left my pistoliers have run their usual mission -- leave the table as soon as possible. I don't know, I might have just marched them right off the table edge. They were just that good the entire tournament. Again, the killed nothing. Maybe a lone saurus cav. I don't recall. The knights pass in front of the pike, who try to swing left to engage the saurus and hopefully bottleneck them in in next to the terrain. They got stuck moving through it, so were already slowed down.

My knights took some hits from the porcupine dino things but stuck around. Swordsmen in the center got a flank charge on the krox, chased them off and made the bad decision to pursue into the porcupines. My first thought was that it would be the best way to get into combat -- I wouldn't have to suffer through the stand & fire, and I'd get my ranks, hit them in the flank, etc. I failed to cause a wound, got bogged down in combat, which allowed the Stegadon to flank me. Previously I had been nailing it with cannons for a couple turns, but didn't do anything to it due to hitting skink crew and the 5+ ward save abillity. My Captain on the pegasus did stick around and steal spells with the Casket of Sorcery, though. In fact, combined with a misfire, by turn 3 the skink shaman had no spells left to cast.

Lizard birds soon took down my artillery anyway. I got a chance to blast at them with the helblaster but failed miserably. One died from the unit of 3, but that might have actually been from the cannon crew in combat. (!)

On the right, my knigts round the ruins and head towards the salamanders. My second group of swordsmen get charged by the carnosaur. He does very few wounds, and in exchange I actually wounded the beast. He loses combat but makes his break test. Over the next couple turns that is repeated, including my getting a flank charge. I was beating him by 3 and 4 points of combat res, but he made his break test every*single*time. Very frustrating.

More of the same. My pegasus lead the cav on a wild... uh, pegasus chase. The steggie busts through the swordsmen and into the knights. The pikemen brace for combat. My artillery crew still getting munched. I think the helblaster finally took down the unit of terradons. On the right the swordsmen vs. the king of the jungle grinds away... he's still passing break tests.

And here we are at the end. The steggie avoids the pike, in spite of my friendly neighbors telling my opponent that he's got nothing to fear from them. In the meantime, the razordons blast away at them. The pegasus takes off, leaving the saurus cav in the lurch and trying to avoide becoming a better target for the razordons. On the right, the salamanders are finished off, and my sworsmen continue to get worn down. Had the game gon a few more turns, they would have eventually broke due to diminishing numbers. As it was, I think I had to make a break test the last round of combat. At least I made my break test, too!

Essentially my swordsmen lost it for me. Had I broke the razordons in combat like I should have, I could have got out of the way of the steggie. It was a move with a risk, but only a small one considering I was starting with a big combat res advantage. You have to take some risks, especially when you've got a decent advantage. I got caught, though. On the right, I was getting lucky in wounding the carnosaur a couple times (3 or 4 wounds by the end of the game!) and he was rolling poorly to wound me. So I was winning combats, fairly significantly for a few turns. I just couldn't get the break (literally) I needed to seal it. A cannon hit on the steggie that actually did something would have helped, too.

So Day 1 ended with a massively frustrating game. Little did I know what Day 2 had in store for me. Bur first...

Saturday Night

Friday night we met up with friends for dinner. We were tired from driving around a lot, and spotted an Outback Steakhouse and it sounded like comfort food. Normally we try to get to local places when out of town, but Outback was just too tempting.

So Saturday night we met up with another friend who lives in the area. We met her at Therapy Cafe, downtown. The food was OK. The drinks were pretty good. Excellent, if the number of manhattans I downed is any measure. It was Salsa night, which combined with a long day, a happy belly, and a few strong drinks, resulted in me dancing like a fool. Presumably. I'm not sure, I have no measure since I don't know anything about salsa dancing, which is why my assumption immediately goes to "like a fool." I just tried to follow along with the people around me. We were, apparently, doing it "like back in Honduras" the DJ announced, as he announced one song. My fiance and I had loads of fun with it though, so that's all that matters. I've got to admit, I loved the music. She was looking up local salsa lessons yesterday. :D

So it was a long day and late night for me. Perfect preparation for an early morning checkout and return to gaming.

20 October 2009

Marauders 09 - Day 1, Game 2

Marienburg vs. Alex's Ogre Kingdoms

Ogres had, from left to right, gnoblar trappers, 2 units of three bulls, a unit of two ledbelchers, a unit of three ironguts and a tyrant, all behind the hill. In the center were more trappers in the ruined house, flanked by 2 hunters with their kitties, and 2 units of three bulls. Behind the hill on the right were 2 units of three yeti, two more leadbelchers, three bulls and three ironguts.

Marienburg had, from left to right, pistoliers, knights, 2 cannons and a volley gun on the hill, two wizards hiding behind it. In the center were the pike, then both sets of swordsmen with their detachments. On the far end was a lonely unit of 5 doomed knights.

Early in the game. The race is on. On the right, my pistoliers run up and shoot at... someone. I forget who. Doesn't matter, they missed with everything (as usual.) The ogres advance fast, over and arround the hill. My knigts move up to discourage them from rushing my artillery. The big Empire Guns blast away at a hunter and some kitties, killing some of both. Empire pegasus flys behind the leadbelchers and bulls near the skull terrain, but the captain gets blased off his mount and the pegasus sits their wimpering the rest of the game. On the right side, ogres again, advance fast. My knights move up to stall as best as they can.

On the far left, the pistoliers still try to dance around and shoot but fail to wound anything and end up running off the table after getting shot up for a couple turns by the tyrant's handguns. Again. Worthless bastards. The knights pursue after beating some bulls, and charge the ironguts on the hill. The tyrant out of the shot on the left) catches the first of several cannon balls, taking only a single wound. Not much happeneing in the ceneter. I try to move around to the bulls before my right can be overrun. My knights on the right charge & pursue more bulls, landing about 1/2" in front of a group of yeti.

Pic of the left flank.

Not sure I remember what happened here. I think my knights fled combat, then rallied and charged the ironguts, while the bulls who previously landed on my knights flank got shot to pieces by a cannon. Volley gun finished off the kitties. Around the skill, my swordsmen finally engage the bulls on teh left side, but just around the skull from them, the other swordsmen get multi-charged by ironguts and leadbelchers and break. My knights on the right are eaten by yeti. Not sated, the yeti bear down on the archers hiding in the ruins.

Hard to see in this pic, but my knights beat the ironguts on the left and pursued into the ruins where they were ambushed by gnoblars. No problem, right? We've got all this armour... so one would think. The tyrant starts pressuring the artillery, even after catching another cannonball for another two wounds. The volley gun kills the leadbelchers on the left. In the center the pike continue to run in cirles looking for an oppnent. Anyone. Really. The swordsmen on the right rally and put up one last fight at the table's edge. Archers are eaten by more ravenous yeti.

This is around the end of the game. Here are the gnoblars running out of time to get to the artillery after they kicked the knights asses. No, I couldn't kill any of them. Yes, they killed knights, beat them in combat and ran them down. My artillery mops up a bit, finally taking down the tyrant with a third cannonball. ANother cannon shot takes out a unit of yeti, and bowmen finish off the last leadbelcher with a lucky shot. I think one last cannon shot took down the second hunter, as well.

Game ended in a victory for me. Still it was a tense (in a fun way) game. I felt the pressure on my flanks all game, especially around the artillery (who really won the game for me). Half my infantry spent a lot of the game looking for a way to get into combat.

19 October 2009

Marauders 09 - Day 1, Game 1

Marienburg vs. Jim's Goblins

From left to right the green menace had something along the lines of: snotlings, bolter, giant, archers, NG archers, bolter, catapult, doom diver, spider riders with spider hero behind the woods, NG with shaman lord, NG archers, gobbo spear, chariot, NG with BSB, squid hoppers. Somewhere I think there was another shaman. Or maybe a hero. I forget. I was a bit scatter brained all weekend.

From left to right, the shining light of Manann had: knights (out of photo), cannons, swordsmen with sword and archer detachments, pikemen with AL on horse, vollygun, cannon, swordsmen with sword and archer detachments, pegasus captain with casket, pistoliers, knights (out of photo.)

The scenario cards played were capture the flag and pitched battle. I was the one who played capture the flag, thinking that gobbo infantry is soft and easily panicked. I figured with all of my infantry and the volley gun trained on the center, I could just stall and even lose on the flanks (as long as I did it slowly) and get all my points dead center.

So with that in mind, here you see the first turn. You can see I only inched up in the center, moving archers out to draw out fanatics. The pegasus moved forward, hoping to get safely behind enemy lines and work the Casket of Sorcery an the big shaman, and possibly start hitting the war machines if my cannons couldn't take them down. Which they couldn't. I was consistently about 1/8" away from hitting them, much to my frustration.

On the near flank I moved my knights up to block my end of the bottleneck by the woods. Fighting snotlings would be stupid. Allowing the giant on my flank double stupid. But if I could just sit there and make him wait for me, that would be fine with me, too.

On the far flank I did something similar. I moved my pistoliers up to shoot at squig hoppers, with plans to flee from a charge, leaving the knights behind them to countercharge. (Assuming they didn't blow any panic tests.)

That all fell apart when my pistoliers killed just one hopper, then ran only 4" from the charge and were destroyed.

On the gobbo magic phase in turn 2, those far knights, the pegasus, and several other units suffered massively to magic, such as the never-ending Gork's Warpath (or whatever it's called)

Further progress. Further magic and artillery death on my side. I failed every dispell roll by rolling exactly 1 lower than I needed.

I start to move forward. The standoff on the near flank continues.

The snotlings eventually move forward, blocking the giant. I figure I can at least clog that up wiht my knights. I failed to damage them, was charged by the giant, destroyed, etc. Moving up the line, my swordsmen slip past a lone fanatic, charge the archers, easily defeat them, hit the spider riders that moved over to cover the artillery. They hold, I get counter charged by a big block of archers on the flank. They destroy me. My pikemen are depleated by magic and artillery. In the distance a boatload of fanatics are released, turning the battlefield into a mess of a traffic jam with my swordsmen stuck waiting around. Eventually a couple fanatics pass through them and mess them up pretty badly.

End o' the game. My few remianing pike mop up the few remaining spider riders. My general lives. I thought I took down the giant with a cannon shot, but maybe that's after this photo was taken. He had one wound left by the time he was coming around my deployment zone. Otherwise most of what's left are my characters and artillery. Devastation for the Marienburgers.

That's par for the course, though. It wouldn't be an Indy GT if I didn't lose the first game. So I was OK with that. Even if the massacre was exceedingly one sided.