Vern and his Wonderous Journeys

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Dwarf Character Names

I just want to use this opportunity to note down the names of my Dwarf Characters in my Dwarven Warhamer Fantasy Army.

Dwarf Lord = Prince Rodnar Fireforge of Karak Azul
Thane Josef Bugmen who is the standard bearer (is this the special character??? :))
Runesmith Hegar Lorekeeper (his family is also responsible of keeping notes on Dwarven tradition and history)
Master Engineer Flint Thunderbeard (he has a younger brother Feros Thunderbeard who is the Champion of the Quarrellers unit...just look at the resemblence in the minis)

Apocalypse Game today Chaos vs Children of the Old Ones

I had a 40k Apocalypse game earlier today. The players involved were Lawrence using Orks, myself using Eldar versus Kenf with his Emperor's Children and AHX with his Chaos Imperial Guard. The theme of the battle was Chaos versus Children of the Old Ones. I know this stretches the fluff a little but it still makes a good game in my opinion. There are many first's in this game. Firstly, this is the first time Lawrence is not teaming up with Kenneth. In addition, this is also the first Apocalypse game by the group that contains a Super Heavy on both sides. The Chaos side had a Brass Scorpion while the Old Ones Side (what a term :) ) had a Kill Krusha Tank, affectionally known as the KKT. Finally this is the first time I am using a special character, namely the Phoenix Lord Baharroth. Each player fielded a special character today. Lawrence fielded Zogwort (using a Savage Orc Shaman model), AHX fielded Creed and Kell while Kenneth used Abaddon. My opponents, especially AHX, make good use of their special characters today. AHX was using Creed to issue orders to his squads, his repeated usage of "get back into the fight" and "bring it down" gave Lawrence and myself lots of problems. Kenneth's Abaddon did what he do best, killing lots of ork boyz. On the other hand, my team did not really make good use of our special characters. Lawrence's Zogwort only casted one psychic ability in the game but he managed to kill some marines in close combat (despite the fact the the boyz would have done so anyway). My Baharroth did worse. He only killed one guardsmen, with the grenade assault and one sentinel in the game. To rub salt into the wound, the great Phonenix Lord took an wound from that Mon Keigh walker in close combat. My only consolation in the game is that Baharroth did not die, although he did left the table on turn 5 for another skyleap attack and never came back.

There are a few great moments though. Most significant of all was Kenneth's deployment of the Brass Scorpion in the middle of the table and he managed to hide the monster so well that none of our anti-tank can see it lol. The daemon construct then followed on by launching a devastating close combat assault on Lawrence's ork mob only to end up being tied into combat which in turn meant that my Fire Dragons were unable to shoot it in my turn. The monster then finished off the orks in the combat phase, shot more orks in his shooting phase followed by an assault into my wraithlord, which served as my cannon fodder in this game. Fortunately I managed to take out one structure point from the Brass Scorpion before Kenf butchered my wraithlord. In the Old Ones turn, Lawrence and myself threw lots of anti tank shooting on the Brass Scorpion but all we got were weapon destroyed results. In the assault phase, my sword wielding wraithlord charged into the daemon construct. Alas only one structure point was taken down while the second wound was another weapon destroyed result. I don't know how but it seemed that Kenneth fluffed his attacks and I won combat.

[Note: there is a small problem here which I only thought of on my way home. I have forgotten whether the Brass Scorpion had caused an wound on my wraithlord or not. The problem was at turn 5 AHX threw lots of shooting at the Wraithlord and failed to take out the last wound. If Kenneth had caused an wound earlier AHX would have targeted the KKT instead. Nevertheless I doubt the result of the game would differ much since the KKT had three structural points remaining. In addition, most of AHX's shooting ended up in misses rather than failed to wound rolls].

Back to the battle. In the subsequent chaos turn, Kenneth's Brass scorpion did more shooting but did not assault due to a bad roll for the assault distance. In my turn, I shot the monster with my wraithlord but failed to do anything. I then continued my attack by charging my wraithlord and my Farseer into the daemon engine. I decided to assault with the farseer because I need to improve my odds as much as possible, more importantly, I feel that this is a good chance for my farseer to earn a glory moment (fluffwise he would have done this to put his rival, the Autarch to shame). So it goes, Farseer had three attacks, one hit, one "wound" which is a penetrate result followed by a '5' on the vehicle damage table. The Farseer had taken the last structural point from the Brass Scorpion :). I did some test rolling and found out that the wraithlord would have done the same but since it was the Farseer that did it, I have something to talk about for the rest of my gaming days. :) Wahahahha

Anyway that was the main event in the battle for me and I enjoyed the battle very much. The death of the Brass Scorpion did not win us the game but it allowed us to get a draw. My opponents' mass pie plate attacks were devastating and I have a new found respect for the Imperial Guard. With so many pie plates, one can only make so much cover saves per turn. I was truly embarrassed that Lawrence's forces have to take so much of the shooting. Most of my guys went down quickly (mainly due to pie plates and a single orbital bombardment by Kenneth) and my only achievement (apart from killing random marines/guard and the Autarch single-handedly taking out a unit of gun-slinging Penal -_-") was taking out the Brass Scorpion. Nevertheless the game is still fun and memorable.

I was surprised that the game is so successful despite the fact that we had minimum planning. We had absolutely no discussion on logistics and we did not even have an umpire this time. I was in fact afraid that things will go wrong which led to me scanning through the Apocalyse book quickly two hours before the game. In the end it is fortunate that everything turn out well. I truly enjoy myself today and I encourage other players to give Apocalypse a go. Forget about competitiveness or balance and concentrate on having fun. You will reap more from such crazy games then those standard "balanced" games.

Vern signing off.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Update on painting projects

I am very excited lately. GW has released new Eldar support platforms which have captured my imagination and inspired me to do an Exolite Eldar army. Here are the additional Minatures that I will require

10 Eldar Guardians (Converted into Exolites)

2 Wraithguard

6 Swooping Hawks with Exarch

1 Vyper with Brightlance

1 War Walker with double Scatter Laser

2 Shadow Weavers.

I already own most of the models, and all I need are a box of glade guard for conversions, 1 Wraithguard and 2 Shadow Weavers. I will embark on this project once I conpleted my dwarven quarrellers and rangers.

Concurrently I will also do the beginnings of my historical army - the Byzantines. The first project will be the Varangian Guard which will be made up of plastic Viking models. I will do

15 Hand Weapon and Shield Varangian Guards and
15 Varangian Guards with Danish Axes

I expect to have another 14 spare Vikings left. They will be either used for spares or be assembled to form more Danish Axe wielding Varangians. :)

The painting of the historical army will be done at home while the 40k troops will be painted at Kenneth's.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Why do I hate unbalanced lists.

Hi all,

It is of great misfortune (or fortune?) that I am on MC today (monday). This gives me time to rest and also allow me to sharpen my other non-work related skills. So here I am preparing a new post for this blog in an attempt to improve my writing abilities.

Inspired by BOLS, I am going to talk about unbalanced list, mainly in warhammer, warhammer 40k and also the Total War series.

Why do I hate unbalanced list? Because it is unrealistic!!! In a real war, due to the scarcity of resources, commanders are often unable to have a perfect order of battle consisting of the most powerful and effective soldiers for the tasks. To illustrate my point, the US invasion force of Iraq do not only consist purely of US Navy seals. The British defending Singapore in WW2 have only a couple of British regiments (18th Div if I remembered correctly) and have to rely on the Indian Army to provide the main source of strength. Unfortunately in games of warhammer/40/TW, not only do people try their best to squeeze in every elite unit available, these units even appeared in multiples in some unbalanced lists.

Let me give some examples of the strange army lists in the gaming world that irritates me to the extreme.

- Empire all knight armies. Well... in a backward agricultural society where trained soldiers are always scarce, having a 2000 points all cavalry army is not really convincing fluffwise no matter how you justify.
- All knights High Elves....well an army consisting only of nobles? well done.
- Beast Army of Khrond Kar (Dark Elves). Seriously, big monsters are designed as linebreakers in dark elf armies much like the war elephants in history. Can you imagine an army of nothing other than elephants. If this is the REAL world, I will simple avoid battle and harrass your supply lines until your large creatures of war collapse one by one.

Warhammer 40k

This is more difficult because the 40k universe is not modelled/inspired by real world armies. GW dictates all the fluff and this provide some justification for unbalanced builds sometimes. One example will be Mr Magnus Calgar deepstriking with a force of terminators. Nevertheless unbalance silly looking builds still exist.

- all monster creatures tyranids. Yes GW mentioned that entire broods ofr MCs were used in battles sometimes. But these are often during the final stages of an invasion AND while the Monstrous Creatres broods are released, they are also accompanies by even large swarms of tiny critters. So if you want to field 8 or 9 monstrous creatures, I will say go ahead but I would like to see about 200 plus gaunts too.

- Army of no 3+ save space marines. This is really a joke. A force of marines with no tacticals and just scouts and termies? Do the US army go to battle with just recruits and special forces?

Total War Games.

This is the part that irk me the most. Due to the nature of a pc game, where every unit is available just at the click of a mouse, players have a tendency to just take the good stuff and there is nothing holding them back in terms of painting or monetary commitments. Let me give an example. In warhammer, I will field a unit of say Tomb King Skeleton Heavy Horsemen simply due to the fact that I have spent ages doing them up and they bring me joy on the tabletop. Similarly Lawrence would want to field his screaming bell because it costed him $90. But in a game like RTW where there are neither emotional attachments with any unit nor real life restriction like minatures cost and painting commitments, players would more than often just choose the best stuff.

- An RTW Roman army of Prateorian Cohorts. Did Caesar gave you guys a day off or something? Or did you guys just got demoted into normal legionaries.
- An ETW army of riflemen. Oh 1850s troops appearing en masse in a 1700s battlefield
- A Carthaginian army consisting of sacred band troops only. I know the temples are rich but I seriously doubt they can pay for an army.

So. Here ends my gripe on unbalanced lists. I know it is a game and I know people wanted to win but REALISM is also a part and parcel of the hobby in the first place. This is a reason why Gamesworkshop designed the "slot" system back in 6th ed so as to remove silly armies consisting nothing other than RBTS. Franky speaking, if fluff and realism is out of the question, I would rather be playing a game of warcraft where I can spam as many units of chimeras as I like.

I am a student of history. I ventured into this hobby because I would like to re-enacted the amazing battles that are fought in the annals of history (or in the case for fantasy and 40k, battles in featured in great works of literature). I want to see armies in formation, displaying the colors and all. Soldiers moving in formations and bringing the fight into the enemies. I want to imagine soldiers shouting their war cries, vicious hand to hand combats, unhorsed cavalry and dead cavalry mounts.

I want to be able to see and imagine all these. It can't be done when the force arrayed on the opposite side of the battle field consist of only 7 models.

Disclaimer: I am perfectly acceptable to face un-balanced lists in a tournament. That is because it is a tournament. While I will try to stick to my balanced armies, I do not insist my opponent to do the same. Kudos