Thursday 31 December 2015

Tale of Four Oldhammerers, December results.

Leaving it to last minute again!

This month I did as many skeleton warriors as I could squeeze in, plus a unit champion, as January is going to be pretty busy to say the least. I have a mummy prepped for that month so I should be able to maintain things fairly well, fingers crossed!

Level 5 champion (centre) with light armour, 32 points. Six skeleton warriors with spears and shields, 12 points each. 104 points for the month.

The points so far, scored for painting at least one hundred points in a month or maintaining a 100 point monthly average (one point for that) and publishing a dedicated blog post on the project at least once a month (one point for that). This month sees Steve move into second place! Congratulations! I can feel your hot breath down my neck, and it's very motivational.

Paul 8 points.

Steve 5 points.

Chico 5 points. (Updated after Steward's Enquiry!)

James 4 points. (Updated to include a last minute entry!)

Thanks for stopping by! Seasons greetings and see you next year!

Thursday 26 November 2015

A Tale of Four Oldhammerers, month three.

Month three already, how time flies etc. We have 'a new miniature' arriving in January (by that I mean baby) so I am still concentrating on getting as many of the compulsory rank and file done as possible and staying ahead of the 100 point average. I can then have an easy ride for a couple of months by chucking out a mummy and a carrion.

I struggled to get a decent photo and uploading to the PC was taking forever for some reason (making re-shoots unattractive) but you get the idea.

L to R, three more reapers and the first two skeletons.

I had to add in some grass and foliage to some of the bases to cover up problem areas. The polyfilla sunk into a recess here or there while drying and one integral base was too prominent. I think it has worked out ok and I might look into doing more to make sure the units look coherent. I have ten reapers done now so I can put that unit aside, though I may do two more down the line to have three complete ranks of four. One of the reapers has some weird bobbles under the hood for eyes which I'm not sure about looking at the photo. I painted them to look like flashing red eyes but the effect isn't doing it for me, I might change to green or black them out entirely. Though the shield isn't much to shout about this represents progress for me, I have been struggling a great deal with freehand designs and I am actually pleased to have moved from 'terrible' to 'must apply himself more'.

3 x Grim Reapers at 14 points each, 2 x Skeletons at 11 points each = 64 points.

Monthly average, 110 points.

Next month when I have a few more skeletons done I'll do a shot with everything so far.

My scores tally shows Chico and myself joint top with Steve in third place and James bringing up the rear, but of course, as far as bragging rights goes it all hinges on the final battle at Bring Out Your Lead 2016!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Month two results of the oldhammer 'A Tale of Four Gamers' project.

Interesting project this week, and by interesting I mean in the Chinese sense. A black-robed rider on a black horse. In the past I would have cheated and painted the robes green (I paint everything green) or possibly highlighted them with navy blue or a faded grey. I wanted to stick with black though, so I could double up the uses of the miniature (for those perennial Lord of the Rings scenarios), and I also had the fatal thought 'let's try something new'. Hmmph.

I actually spent a lot of time on this miniature, believe it or not. Once I'd had the foolish thought that having a whole month to paint only one model would mean a great opportunity to experiment I was lost. To begin with, I sprayed it black, painted it brown, highlighted through light brown to cream then built up a series of dark ink layers. I had toyed with the idea of drybrushing some white over the cream but decided against it on a hunch.

Eventually I was left with something that looked ok but wasn't matching photos of black horses or other images online. I also had to come up with a way to matt down the shiny finish of the inks.

This stage was a windy maze of research, instinct and pure chance.

The glossy finish of the inks was in the recesses so shading removed that. I took the horseflesh off toward brown and the horse hair back to black, as per the photos I found. I note with chagrin that you can't really tell from looking at the photo of the mini. I sent the robe very gently toward grey to stop it from looking like an extension of the horse. I highlighted the tack quite a bit thinking that I needed something on the mini to pop; but it really didn't look at all right so at the last minute I painted over it and simplified it.

What I have invented, is a technique that completely disguises hours of work and looks like a subtle, five minute drybrush. I call it, 'Warlording' and I give it to the world as my legacy.

This model will be my level 15 necromancer and general, Naugrim Griefblight. I like an occasional pun but much prefer Dickensian levels of portent in a villain's name. With the addition of an undead steed and magic tattoos he comes to 168 points. After some discussion we decided we could go over the 100 point target occasionally to allow for some discretion but we would stick to the 1000 point total.

I'm now in the market for an identical model by the way, I'm going to paint it green and exorcise a lingering resentment.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday 30 September 2015

The Oldhammer 'Tale of Four Gamers', month one.

Here we go then, the results of the first month of painting. I'll be honest, I'm posting these now because the deadline is today rather than because I had an easy run this month and highlighted them to the Nth degree. I'm pretty happy with the time/results ratio though.

I fell in love with all of them bar one during painting, as I usually do with the older metal minis. The fellow on the far left of the picture is a post 4th edition monstrosity if memory serves and I had a tough time painting it I won't lie. Now it's done I kind of like it again, at least as much as when I first grabbed it off the slopes of lead mountain.

The outline when we started our Tale of Four Gamers was simple, get 100 points painted a month (no more no less) and show them with a minimum of one blog post per month. At the end of the first month I reckon it is worth keeping a simple points tally to keep things interesting. For that to work I just need to add in a clause that allows for a plus or minus of 5% of the points value, thereby accommodating the vagaries of Warhammer Armies, RoC etc. This leaves two points each month up for grabs with bonus points possible in the future.

Chico did well this month and I scraped in with a few hours to spare so we both get 2 points each. James didn't finish his palanquin as far as I know but he did blog regularly about his progress so he gets a point. Steve was well under the points total but he didn't know about the +/- 5% rule so I'll let him off this once. Having blogged about the progress and results he scores 2 points.

The standings then, in no particular order.

Paul 2 points
Chico 2 points
Steve 2 points
James 1 point

This month we will follow the same format, here's my 100 points.

An 85 point necromancer L10 and another 14 point Reaper (to make 8/10 complete). A necromancer is the only general I can afford (unless we mix things up with a bonus round one month) and having a general is compulsory so this choice was made for me. The sooner I get the reapers done the sooner I can move on to some cheaper skeletons. EDIT I haven't paid the 10 points for the horse, I'll have to rejig things... probably a skeleton instead of the Reaper. EDIT Having spoken to the other entrants and listened to their plaintive cries for mercy, it will be permitted to divide the points total of 1000 up any way you see fit.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday 1 September 2015

A Tale of Four Oldhammerers.

Hi all, been meaning to post for ages but life happened and stuff. I have a tactica centered around what went on at BOYL (the games, not the after-hours stuff, that stays secret I'm afraid) almost ready to go and a whole bunch of updates for my two D&D parties to polish and publish but this life thing, it just won't stop!

As you may already be aware from Chico's and James' blog posts, four of us have banded together to replicate the ever-popular and not-yet-done-to-death formula of 'A Tale of Four Gamers'. James of Realm of Chaos 80s, Chico of Oldhammer on a Budget, Steve of Eldritch Epistles and myself will each collect a Warhammer (fantasy 3e) army of up to 1000 points to be used at BOYL 2016.

Each month we must paint up 100 points and blog at least once about it. No doubt an extra challenge or two (play a game, add a bonus mini etc.) will spice things up as we go along!

Though Steve has yet to post I know he has chosen Slann. Chico picked Hobgoblins and James went for Chaos/Nurgle. I have chosen to do the mighty Undead! I'll be using the venerable Warhammer Armies as my guide.

From the slopes of lead mountain, 7/10 of my compulsory Grim Reapers.

A somewhat motley mix of minis and each one an individual, as is my preference. Equipped with light armour they cost 14 points each so 7 weigh in at 98 points; close enough. I'll concentrate on the compulsory troops while morale is high and try to blast out 10 reapers and 20 skellies as quickly as possible, then reward myself with a general and a (mwahaha) war machine. Christmas to me means Screaming Skulls raining down on my foes.

I have a bit more prep to do but hopefully I'll be back soon with an update on the painting progress.

Before I go, I must mention a very cool project from a friend of mine. Please take a look at the excellent sci-fi mini Kickstarter campaign from Chris at Macrocosm. The total is smashed after less than a week but there are a bunch of lavish stretch goals to aim for now. It is payday after all! Macrocosm: The Next Races.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday 4 July 2015

Social experiment: Age of Sigmar.

Go forth and play a game set in the World-That-Was, report back your findings. The world must know once and for all if the game is:

A Quite good


B. Not my cup of tea.

Click me for the full rules and warscrolls for the existing product line.

Credit for this picture goes to the excellent Bitter Old Painters blog, thank you gentlemen.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday 17 May 2015

The Albion Adventures II, the scenario explained.

This is a nuts and bolts post about the scenario I ran for a bunch of my Oldhammer gaming buddies yesterday.

My intention with most of the Albion scenarios I construct is to take advantage of the player's knowledge of current affairs, politics, religion or some similarly explosive topic and give them every opportunity make jokes about it. The only thing the average British casual gamer loves more than satire is a bit of pun-fu! To that end the obvious choice going into a big game in May so close to the general election was to riff off the silly circus we know and love.

The general background revolved around the election day kerfuffle in a hotly contested constituency. The player's warbands had traveled there to make a bit of coin working as mercenaries ensuring things went 'smoothly' and the electorate voted 'wisely'. The electorate consisted of only one family, the local lighthouse keeper and his kin. This made Beacon Island something of a Rotten Borough, unfortunately all the candidates were thoroughly rotten too and weren't inclined to leave things to chance!

I set up the terrain to take advantage of one of the excellent tables on offer at our venue, the Wargames Foundry. As the Isle of Thanet (particularly the constituency of South Thanet) was such a focal point for the media coverage I set our game on Albion's 'Beacon Island'. The name Thanet likely comes from a Celtic origin meaning bright or fire island, indicating beacons were placed there to help ships.

In real life Thanet, and Essex in general, is at the centre of a new debate about cultural identity. If you know anything about British culture at all you will understand this makes it the perfect target for our irreverent sense of humour!

I met a girl called Janet, she was from the Isle of Thanet, when I mentioned social justice she said why can't we just ban it?

The rivers formed a natural island with a road and a bridge so I set up a polling station and a Slann-gate I had been working on. I made sure the warbands started a good three feet (as the crow flies) from their objective and besides the river I set up a wood, a secret patch of quicksand and a secret patch of magical mist to act as further barriers, so much so that the swift Elves ended up with at least four foot of table to negotiate.

The river was monster-haunted and one of the players nominated a character to be obsessed with slaying large beasties. Setting up possible opportunities like this is a great way of engaging players in other ways that needn't depend on the main objective. Slaying the river monster would be a personal victory. Each of the warbands was deployed close to each other to encourage interference with each other's plans.

I had had the players choose small warbands of 4-6 models in advance using a Facebook event to guide things along, and I made them all characters or at least 'personalities' with names, good wargear and a bit of background. It's much easier to marshall 10 players or more when each of them has only a small unit each and the greater survivability of minis in Warhammer 3e means they can easily last a day of wargaming.

I lined up the candidates...

Lord McCameron the Bastard
Sir Edward Hatband the Betrayer
Nicholas Haystacks the Disappointer
Lord Far Age the Mad Usurper
Lady Pike the Kingmaker

... and dealt out 'election promises' from a deck of treasure cards I borrowed from a board game. I interpreted rules for the items that suited W3e on the fly and the players had to pick a candidate to back, or risk holding out for more and losing the offer altogether. I would've rolled a 50/50 test for each offer whether to withdraw or deal another card but there were no gamblers on the day!

Once the treasure cards were all handed out and allocated each warband got a voter to look after, one of the unfortunate lighthouse keeper's family. Even young Timmy decided to vote and had used ashes from the hearth to simulate stubble!

I calculated that to occupy the players from 11am to 4pm (with a break for lunch and mini shopping) I would hit them with three enemies or obstacles each. How they negotiated the river with its fords, bridge, currents and monster would also play a part in how they progressed. I drew three imaginary lines around the polling booth objective which would trigger encounters when crossed. As each monster popped out it immediately got a topical pun name, I had a few prepared but pretty soon the players were doing it themselves of course!

We had Hatbands unfortunate brother, locked away after a betrayal. There was the Spectre of Northern Independence, the Ghost of True Socialism and the Shy Tory Zombies roused from their slumber. We had the Serpent of Temptation to Vote with your Wallet. There was even the Social Network Troll with its venomous bile! And many, many more...

Eventually, most of the voters made it in time to cast their vote. The halflings voter was sadly killed but one stood on the shoulders of the other and put on the voters clothes... you can guess the rest! That's GMing on the fly for the benefit of the game!

In case you were curious, the Slann-gate was just a cool piece of scenery I wanted to bring along and use and it offered an excuse to have the final round of monsters pop out close to the polling booth.

And the result? A bizarre Albion Independence Party/Democratic Liberals coalition.... it''ll never last, if only because all that yellow and purple is so harsh on the eye!

TL:DR summary. Set up your 'campaigners' about three feet from the polling booth objective and give them a vulnerable civilian voter to protect. Have the candidates offer some tempting wargear to win the campaigners loyalty. Start them close enough to each other to cause friction from the first turn. Hit them with an enemy every foot or so and offer them opportunities to win personal victories along the way. Let them vote and announce the result!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday 5 January 2015

Epic Eldar.

I'm pretty terrible at remembering to take decent photos of the minis we use in games, concentrating instead on doing a bit of creative writing which is one of my favourite parts of blogging. However, in order to appease the unsatisfied hordes out there I will promise to try and rectify that in 2015! Here are a few posed shots of my 6mm/epic Eldar army, hopefully I will be able to organise some photos or links to photos of the other two armies in action on the 3rd (see previous post).

I use my epic stuff to play Future War Commander more than any other rules set (because if you are going to play in 6mm then it has to be 'go big or go home' and that means the slickest, funnest rules have the advantage. FWC requires you to have command stands, some examples of which are in this photo.

This is a closer view of my army general, Farseer P'aul.

I like my Eldar to be very mobile and tricky to pin down so I use loads of these old Falcon models as APCs in FWC. They are still useful in 'Space Marine' too.

Of course, the APCs require lots of guardian infantry, the backbone of my army, to be effective.

Though artillery and air support can be used effectively from off table it is considered a poor show amongst experienced FWC generals to not have the models painted up and displayed in a corner somewhere. Allowing opponents to use imaginary artillery pieces is a slippery slope and that way lies madness.

My air cover, Nightwing fighters. In FWC you use special command stands as Forward Air Controllers and Forward Artillery Observers and these guys call in the strikes based on what they can see.

It never hurts to have a fast, mobile reserve in any game so I use my Jetbikes often.

These scouts are usually my recce units in games of FWC but can easily operate as snipers if needed.

Swooping Hawks. This unit keeps in with the theme of mobility and speed and are unparalleled when it comes to capturing remote objectives.

Sometimes, even if you're Eldar,  you just have to dig in and weather the storm. These inexpensive anti-tank guns help the infantry do just that.

The hammer to the infantry's anvil, heavy tanks!

I have to choose my specialist infantry wisely as a Farseer because there are never enough points to get everything you want. I make sure to bring as many Wraithguard as possible as the heavy infantry are invaluable when spearheading an assault.

Death from afar. The Dark Reapers have broken up many an enemy thrust without ever endangering themselves which allows my own attack to be pressed home elsewhere.

One of my titans, the cherry on the cake. No game of epic is complete without one of these monsters pacing the battlefield with thundering footsteps!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday 3 January 2015

Oldhammer in York.

I headed over to York today for some gaming action with Thantsants of Somewhere the Tea's Getting Cold and Ollie our gracious host and author of The Second Founding.

This was actually the second session of gaming in 2015 already and the cause of much eye-rolling from SWMBO and a few demerits in the book of grudges too no doubt.

I GM'd a small but perfectly formed game of Warhammer 3e for the gents to kick off with. Thantsants' Druid had rustled up some local muscle to escort him to a mad wizard's cottage in order to stop a dangerous summoning ritual taking place while Ollie's Khorne boys were in town to ensure that said ritual went off smoothly and in good order. No doubt the protagonists themselves will tell their own tale on their respective blogs but suffice to say the Khorne general rolled up the rather tasty Bloodrage attribute and confounded all efforts to slow him down.

After lunch we moved forward in time and down in scale for some 'epic'.

We debated the way we wanted to approach the game and decided to run with the Future War Commander rules which were written by Peter Andrew Jones under the Specialist Military Publishing banner.

These rules give you a reasonably fast and free-flowing game which helps when there are three of you and bath-time is looming. We reached a satisfactory conclusion (well, Thantsants was satisfied) and got several game turns in and I honestly don't think we would have been able to say the same of a game one third this size using the Oldhammer Approved Space Marine rules (fond of them as I am).

Best of all all the minis were handsomely painted and fine sculpts while both games took place on beautiful tables. :)

As I intimated, Thantsants' Imperial Army won the laurels by seizing and holding two of the four objectives while Ollie's Tau and my own Eldar had to content themselves with a single objective apiece.

Thanks for stopping by!