Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Back to BASEics

Clever title, I know.

As you'll remember from this post—which briefly chronicled my efforts to work on a gaming project every day—I actually have been working on stuff daily. I haven't really taken any pictures of any of it because it's been a lot of subtle stuff that will bring my Khorne Bloodbound to completion. To be honest, I've mostly only had a chance to sit down and pick at my figures, working on a layer or a color at a time then cleaning my brushes and turning off the ole paint light.

Well recently I decided to bite the bullet, take the plunge, go for broke, and re-base my Warhammer Chaos army onto round bases. Ever since Age of Sigmar came out I've had the idea of doing a Slaaneshi war band that's out in Ulgu (the Realm of Shadow), looking for Slaanesh. The idea would be that I would build up a Slaaneshi war band and chronicle it on this blog through a narrative. Originally the project had me re-buying a lot of the stuff I already had in my Warhammer army, but that's ludicrous; my stuff's already done. The major problem was that they're all on squares, and I believe that models objectively look better on round bases. So I'm committing to having my Chaos models on rounds now that AoS is the new Warhammer.

Here are some pictures of my stuff so far:

I also thought I'd share what guidelines I'm using to re-base my models ('cause there is a method to my madness). Every Warhammer model is supplied with a square base. Because squares of a certain perimeter take up more area than circles of a certain perimeter I've decided to re-base all my figures one up from the bases they were supplied with. Citadel provides a really impressive range of bases, and I figure by using the rounds and ovals that are just slightly bigger than the squares the models came with, I can have a consistent and fair basing pattern.

For example: 20x20mm squares become 25mm rounds; 25x25mm squares become 32mm rounds; 40x40mm squares become 50mm rounds; and 50x50mm squares become 60mm rounds.

Cavalry and chariot bases are a little trickier, but use the same principles. Citadel has a set of oval bases which look great with cavalry on them. 50x25mm cavalry bases become 60x35mm ovals; 75x50mm monstrous cavalry bases become 90x52mm ovals; 100x50mm chariot bases become 105x70mm ovals.

Of course heroes I want to be particularly impressive-looking. To do this, I've decided to one up them from my new basing scheme. Therefore dark elf heroes—for instance—will go on 32mm rounds, and chaos warrior, and beastmen heroes will go on 40mm rounds. The same principle will work for cavalry heroes.

These are not hard-and-fast rules and I've already broken them on a couple occasions: My Lord of Slaanesh is mounted on a 60mm round even though he came with a 50x50mm square and he's a hero, so he should be going on an 80mm round base by my tortured logic. I found this to be too big for the figure and left a lot of empty space around him. In this case I broke my hero rule because he's already rather impressive, what with being on a super-tall daemonic mount and having a tall banner pole.

Also chaos daemons already come with round bases for use in 40k. For these I've decided to just use the rounds and ovals that come with the figures. So for the most part my daemonic infantry will be on 25mm rounds, greater daemons will be on 60mm rounds, and my seekers of Slaanesh will go on those odd 70x25mm ovals.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in these guidelines for basing in the new Age of Sigmar. I know the rules have confused a lot of people, but we have to get comfortable with the fact that the new game puts a lot of power in our hands. Provided we work within some reasonable guidelines and maintain consistency, I don't think we'll have many problems. Therefore I present my basing guidelines with the intent that they can inspire you to do the same. The spirit of my basing rules is to have an aesthetically pleasing base for the figure, not to gain an unfair advantage by basing my figures to maximize the amount of models I can get into combat, or some other beardy shenanigans.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Age of Sigmar Podcast

Just a quick post here, gamers.

I've been looking for more Age of Sigmar-positive media and forums lately and came across these blokes (am I saying that right?) from England (or the UK, or whatever you chaps call it).

It's a podcast called Heelanhammer (whose meaning is lost to me. You say you guys invented the language?), and it's great. It's very well put together, the hosts are informative and worth listening to, and I find it delightful (or as the British call it: football).


Vancouver's First Kings of War Tournament

Yesterday I had the great pleasure to play in the first Kings of War tournament held in Vancouver, BC.

Vancouver's always been a pretty hot city for Warhammer, with very dedicated groups of tournament players willing to travel to various locations to compete. I say this because when 8th edition Warhammer ended there was—and still is—a schism in Vancouver's gaming community. Some people have moved on to Warmachine and Hordes, some people have gravitated deeper into 40k, or into SAGA and Bolt Action, while others (like myself) are very excited about Age of Sigmar (AoS).

Then there are some of us who hope that the majority of the old Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) crowd will want to play Kings of War (KoW) to sate their tournament needs. I'm actually glad AoS split the tournament crowd here. If it hadn't, I don't think I would've given KoW a second glance. I'm having loads of fun with AoS, but I also had a ton of fun at yesterday's KoW tournament. I think the two games compliment each other better than others realize.

Anyway, enough of my yammerin' about the crowd here; let's get into the tournament: It was put on by Wargaming Without Borders (WGWB), which is a charity event run by a combination of the three biggest clubs here in Vancouver: WCP, A-Club, and CHOP!. This year they ran the gamut of popular miniatures games, but eschewing AoS, they instead ran a KoW tournament.

The tournaments these clubs run are great. They often involve a great "soft score" element—that is to say, sportsmanship, painting, etc.—and they're very well-run. Some of these guys have been running tournaments for over a decade, so they're always tight. They tend to have amazing prize support, and this was no exception. They raffled off about a dozen prizes and I managed to get the new Khorne Bloodbound Battletome for AoS, which, as one of the more enthusiastic AoS players in the city, was fitting.

There were four games at 1500 points each, using the scenarios from the KoW book. There were twelve players and the overwhelming majority of the armies were painted, with so few exceptions that they could be counted on one hand.

Hilariously enough, when I first signed up I thought this tournament would be a bit of a cinch for me. I'm not the most competitive gamer, which often means that I get rocked in tournaments, but I had been playing lots of KoW, and had even begun playing well before anyone else in the city, so I thought I'd at least give my opponents a run for their money. As we'll see, this was not the case. I was surprised to see how much experience everyone had with this game. Two people even had glued their models to the movement trays! Which is something that I had only seen my friend Paul do (and he's been on the KoW band wagon since day one). I had a great time, and I definitely would do another one.

So let's look at some pics I remembered to take (sadly, while I was prepared to bring my camera, I instead forgot it in typical Carmin style, and had to rely upon my cellphone):

The only shot from my first game. I'm not going
to lie, I was a bit rough from a party I went to the
previous night, which is the only thing that could
explain my horrendous deployment. My opponent,
Vern, still played a solid game, but my deployment
didn't make it any harder for him. A loss for me.

My second game was against another Kingdoms
of Men army (this time, my good buddy Paul).
Our game ended as they usually do: closely. Had
we gone to a seventh turn (which is randomly
determined on a 4+ after the 6th turn) I would've
won. Sadly, none of the four games I played this
day went past 6 turns.

We played the "Loot" scenario from the rulebook.
The blue counters are loot counters.

I was feeling better this game, so took more pictures.

Best dice roll of the tournament. That's a troop
of ironwatch riflemen (rifledwarfs?) shooting. For
those that are wondering why I would document
even a good roll like this, I should let you know
that I am famous—amongst gamers in Vancouver
who know me—at having the worst rolls at the
most in-opportune times.

Game three against another dwarf army. This
one was hilariously the "Invade" scenario, which
meant that two dwarf armies had to get into each
other's deployment zones to score. 

This game was against my good buddy Calen.
A guy I've known for almost a decade. He's a
skilled gamer in almost any game he sits down to
play, and only lost one game this whole tournament.

This was the dumbest move I made all game
(or maybe Calen's smartest), which is going up
against a dwarf king with regeneration and De: 6+.
Needless to say, the dwarf berserkers were a minor
speed bump in Calen's path to victory.

Little tactical tip for those that are thinking about
getting into KoW: Units with De: 6+ are really
hard to kill. 
So that's it. Sadly, I forgot to document my fourth game which was the "Dominate" scenario against a Brotherhood army (KoW's version of Bretonnians). At the time I hadn't eaten and was starving. My brain was in no state to even think about gaming and had never played against—nor even considered—this army and the game was pretty much his. Still, he played a solid game, and had a really uniform-looking paint job.

Here are some observations about the game in general:
1) KoW is more relaxing to play in tournaments. WFB, and to a greater extent, Warmachine/Hordes always left me exhausted by the end of the day, unable to think or do much but pack up models and grab a drink in silence. This was not the case with this game. I could've easily played another one or two games that day before feeling wiped.

2) Games of KoW are quick. Paul and I have been playing with chess clocks and our games of 1500 points have come in at just over an hour. I never had a game go to time in this tournament.

3) Every time I play KoW I like it more and more. When I first looked at it, I thought it was silly, but felt that I had to try it. My first actual game felt boring. But every game after that has had me like it more and more.

4) KoW is a better tournament system than WFB ever was. I love(d) WFB. For years it was my favorite game, and I tried to become a better gamer with every game I played, but for tournaments it was too wacky; too much variance in both the army lists and what happened in game. This made it amazing for club or campaign play (which I think was its intent), but for tournaments, organizers had to create a list of exceptions and rules (again, I think this was its intent). KoW was designed to be a tournament game and I think it excels in this regard. I can game comfortably knowing that this will be my tournament game.

So there you have it: A glowing review from someone who loves AoS, doesn't play a ton in tournaments (though that may change), and at first didn't think much of KoW. If you have been thinking of trying this game out, and have fond memories of 6th or 7th edition WFB, you should give it a go (I mean, you already have the models, and the rules and army lists are free). And if you're ever in Vancouver, BC and your models are handy, pop by an event held by one of these groups. You won't be disappointed.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Drunken Dwarfs

To keep in theme with the models I was painting, I began drinking beer and didn't stop until these four dwarfs were finished.

Here they are awaiting a gloss cote. When I play any edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle they act as markers for war machines to show that they can't fire this turn or next, and when I'm playing Kings of War, they're unit fillers for my horde of Ironclad.

Plus they're just great-lookin'.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Here's What I Painted Today

So I don't post as much as I'd like. To remedy this, I'm going to do some "flash posts" where I post what I worked on, even if it was just a couple brush strokes, or a few adventure ideas.

I'm going to a Kings of War tournament in a couple weeks, and I need to beef up a couple units and paint some movement trays. I need to finish 16 models, and here are some drunken dwarves and a master engineer.

They're not done yet, but I'm gettin' there!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gen Con 2015 pt. 1

If any of you are interested at all you can follow my Gen Con exploits via Twitter (as you can with a million other people who are more interesting than I).

I'm @carminlive

+++End Transmission+++

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An Oldhammer Evening

Just a quick post before I jet off to Gen Con.

I've been running a D&D5 campaign for a bit, and I decided to have it culminate in a titanic battle. The fate of the north of our campaign world hung in the balance. The big question became: what system would we use to play this out?

-Would I use the Unearthed Arcana Battlesystem rules that Wizards put out? Needs more playtesting.
-Would I use the D&D Miniatures Handbook from 3rd edition? Maybe, but then I'd have to learn a new system and teach it to everyone.
-Would I use Warhammer? Sure! I mean, my entire game group is a bunch of Warhammer players, that would work wonderfully.

But which edition?

The answer, of course, was 3rd edition. I mean, it's got all the role-play trappings of the era, but built to be a miniatures war game. It was fun converting all my group's D&D characters, and their adversaries into Warhammer stats. I'd read everything for 3rd edition, but I'd never actually played it before. It would be both new and familiar to everyone.

I enlisted the help of two of my friends who weren't in the campaign to be the "ringers" and play the evil forces of hobgoblins and traitorous northmen. While the player characters (PCs) took on the roles of their characters and those they recruited to help preserve peace in the north. I'm pleased to say that the PCs won (despite being outnumbered by ~1000pts.). Though the wizard of the party did make a shady pact with the enemy to preserve his own skin.

I let the players add some role-play elements to the game, and I acted as game master which was a lot more fun that I thought. I'd never played an '80s wargame before, and I worried that the job of game master would be dull, but it was pretty great. Anyway, here are some pictures:

The prep.

Depoloyment (the pink cards in the center are traps, and decoys).

The clash in the center.
The frost giant pictured there was determined to be drunk at the
beginning of the game. Out of the two giants in the game he was
the only one to survive.

The dwarves held their own, that's for sure.

The LotR figures are "Empire soldiers," and the Mantic ghouls
are summoned lesser daemons.

The dwarves pursue the hobgoblins (represented by savage orcs)
through the forest.

The ogres were led by the cyclops warlord Kronar. He defeated
the fighter Corvinus (king of the north), but ultimately lost the war.

The real casualties of the battle. The beer was drunk by myself
and two others, while the bottles of cider were quaffed by the
gnome player.

Anyway, while Warhammer 3 had some weird and clunky rules (Vortex of Chaos is over-powered), it was filled with character, and we all had a great time! A perfect end to the campaign.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Of Kings and War 2: The Kingining

It's been almost two weeks since the release of Age of Sigmar (AoS) and the Warhammer world's still dead; just giving you guys an update.

So a lot of people are running around confused as to what to do now that their little square-based soldiers aren't supported by new Games Workshop releases (at least in the way they're used to). It's totally cool to not be satisfied with AoS, either. It's so vastly different that the very thing that attracted you to Warhammer: the Game of Fantasy Battles (WFB), may not exist at all in AoS. I think a lot of this confusion will dissipate as the months go on, and as various gaming groups and/or tournament organizers coalesce into one game or another.

I've said last post that I'm immensely satisfied with AoS, but I may not have stated my reasons clearly enough: I'm a very story-driven gamer, and AoS fits that bill nicely. I love tournaments too! I love the planning and play-testing that goes into them. I love staying up late the night before putting the finishing touches on my army in preparation for the event the next day. I love getting up early—wishing I hadn't put off my painting for so long—and triple-checking to make sure I have all my dice and templates and so on. I love milling around at the venue, and checking the time and wondering what could possibly be stalling its start. I love that it can be stressful, and that I can spend the day hanging out and rolling dice with my friends from the local gaming scene, and maybe meet some new opponents as well.

All that being said, tournaments are a place I like to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

I have friends who are hardcore tournament gamers. They go to as many as they can (afford), and they love the challenge of two players evenly matched (ostensibly) save their cunning and strategy. Never mind them, I have friends that don't do a ton of tournaments but rely on the structure that AoS doesn't emphasize to play pick-up games. I understand their dissatisfaction.

Luckily, it's never been a better time to be a fantasy gamer.

I'm a gaming mercenary. I like certain games better than others, of course, but I've never been one to sit on one game and one game only. Some people online (and in my circle of friends) are in the midst of an identity crisis, torn between staying with WFB 8th edition or moving to Warmachine and Hordes, or even Kings of War. For me, there's never been any movement; only expansion. I've played Warmachine happily since the softcover, black-and-white, Prime book alongside the many editions of WFB. They scratch different itches, and I like that. I don't ever want to just play one game.

So what the hell does this have to do with Kings of War (KoW)? Well, if you read my first KoW post you'll know that I gave it an okay review. I liked it, but thought it was a little too bare-bones when compared to WFB. Well, they've released a second edition and you can download it now; I did. While a lot of my initial thoughts still stand, I do see that they've added more spells, and more unique things to the army lists. I said in my original review that it won't replace WFB for me, but WFB's kinda been replaced for me.

Now I understand the irony of me espousing the idea that no game is truly dead so long as people still play it (there are still dudes playing Kriegsspiel), and saying that WFB has been replaced, but really I'm at the mercy of the gamers around me. I have some opponents who will never turn down a game of 8th edition, but if I roll up to a game club and no one has any red hardcover army books, I'll be pretty lonely with my scatter and artillery dice.

I have opponents willing to play KoW, and really I should embrace that. I mean, I have a million fantasy warriors on square bases. They'll need a home somewhere. Not to mention that the models are interchangeable. Anything I paint or build for WFB is automatically a KoW model as well, and vice-versa.

This all came about before any of us knew what AoS was going to be. I had my High Elves all ready to go, but stalled when I heard a new edition of WFB was going to be released. I didn't want to jump into a new project if the army was going to be changed or new figures came out that demanded my attention. Now that the Bloodbound models are occupying my paint table, my thoughts turned to packing up my High Elves for an uncertain future. But here comes KoW. Maybe now my High Elves have a future, and should KoW never catch on I have a High Elf force for WFB that I wanted to do anyway.

I can't wait to try out the new KoW rules. Now that my favorite regimental fantasy game is in limbo, and my attentions are turned to its round-based reincarnation, I feel that in my twisted gamer mind a space has been vacated that KoW could find a home in.

I have no idea where the gaming scene here in Vancouver will go. I have some suspicions, but I don't know for sure. I love gaming with the people in this city, and would like to take part in any tournaments or club days that go on, whether that's Warmachine, KoW, WFB, or (hopefully) AoS. All I know is that right now, you really can't go wrong painting anything with platemail and a sword.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Age of Sigmar and You... And Me... And Warhammer

I love Age of Sigmar.

Let's get that out of the way. Let's also get this out of the way: I've been playing Warhammer for almost twenty years (to be precise: 18 years, 6 months, 11 days). In that time I've collected and read every edition of Warhammer, as well as played every spin-off game (except FFG's Warhammer Diskwars). Yes, I've even played WarCry.

As you've already read in this post—or not, maybe you don't read every goddamn thing I type—my first RPG foray was AD&D, but it was really the Hogshead edition of Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play (WFRP) that became my first RPG campaign. I took my high school friends through the entirety of the Enemy Within campaign, even having to hunt down the fifth book because Hogshead gave up the ghost before they could re-publish it. High schoolers playing through an entire five-book campaign, and meeting every week is some feat. I like to think that it was not only my amazing game-mastering skills, but the engaging world of Warhammer that kept us meeting every week.

I guess what I'm getting at is that the Warhammer World was a place that I've lived in since I was ten. the crucial years in a young boy's life were half-spent unfurling the plots of corrupt Imperial nobility, helping Eltharion repel the invasions of Grom the Paunch, and being the occasional third party member to the adventures of Gotrek and Felix. I exaggerate of course, but I truly can name all the provinces in Ulthuan. 

Now it's all blown-up, and we have something new. Why am I not devastated?

Because WFRP (Green Ronin's marvelous revision) still sits on my shelf, and I still plan to run the Enemy Within again. Because eight editions of Warhammer are arranged in a resplendent row beneath WFRP, and because I'm still reading through the End Times novels. My High Elves, my Dwarfs, my Orcs, Goblins, Chaos, and Wood Elves are still going to stay on square bases, and most importantly because the Age of Sigmar is good.

I haven't read any of the fiction yet, but I'm excited to do so. I'll miss the rat-catchers, and the clandestine plotting of Slaaneshi cultists, or ventures into the Border Princes to claim Ghal-Maraz, but as much as we are sometimes confused by Games Workshop's motives, they're not stupid. There's still creativity in the studio and I'm sure they'll make it work.

If you haven't played Age of Sigmar (AoS) yet, the do it. It's free. Get together with a friend, spend thirty-seconds talking about what forces you should bring, and start rolling dice. See that it's not just a dumb beer & pretzels game, but something more. Then come back and read on 'cause I have some things to say.

Warhammer has always been about playing games with your absurd miniatures collection. Rick Priestley was tasked with writing a game that Citadel customers could fart around with after having bought their tenth box of Ruglud's Armoured Orcs (don't write me telling me that box came out later). Points values weren't a priority because most people didn't play with them. You just got together with friends and threw your lead skeletons on a field and played-out a weird parody of Shakespeare

Sure our models aren't on big squares anymore; I'll miss that too, but the game's not terrible because of it. Sure those new models look a lot like Space Marines, but time will tell how popular they become. Let's not mince words, I always though the Tau, and Tomb Kings were silly, but could you imagine 40k and WHFB without them? Those are both armies that came out well into my wargaming career. I rolled my eyes then, as I'm sure many of you roll your eyes at the so-called "Sigmarines."

Two blog posts I read recently solidified why I like AoS. The first one is by a friend of mine, and he succinctly states what was going on with my feelings towards Warhammer were for a while, that I was bored with it.

I haven't been to the local gaming club in over a year, and the last time I went was to play Malifaux. They're primarily a Warhammer club, and I just couldn't bear to lug my dwarves out month after month to line up 24" apart from a Warriors of Chaos army, and play for six turns. I had tried to paint a new army to keep things fresh, but every time I got distracted.

AoS has me excited again. I've played two games so far, and demoed one, and I'm so stoked it's unreal. I already have scenario ideas in mind (the game is definitely scenario-driven), and I'm even determined to create some kind of casual tournament format (again, probably scenario-driven). Most importantly the new boxed set has me wanting to play a Khorne army.

Me: a Khorne army. Me: a disciple of Slaanesh. Me: a guy who rolls his eyes every time Khorne—the bro-iest Chaos god—gets another must-have unit. I am excited to play the new Bloodbound. Unheard of.

The second blog post I read, reinforced my belief that the spirit of Warhammer is still there. If you were to peruse either of the Realm of Chaos volumes as a player who started Warhammer in fourth edition or later, you'd be saying the same thing as people are saying about AoS now: "how do you build an army?" Warhammer, in editions past, had a Gamemaster; AoS just requires that you and your opponent moderate your own games. 

Anyway, both blog entries are great—and much shorter than this one—so give them a read, it's worth it.

I hope I made my points clear. I guess I'm not going to change anyone's mind necessarily—if it's already made up—but I do want to reiterate that though this edition is radically different in mechanics, it's still perfectly in line with Warhammer's spirit. 

It also doesn't invalidate anything that came before it. Bögenhafen will always be destroyed and saved in equal measure; armies of Chaos Dwarves will always march against Undead, or Vampire Counts, or Ogre Kingdoms, or anything else you may have on your shelf. You can still dole out Winds of Magic cards in the Magic Phase, or roll on the Intrigue at Court table in the High Elf book; whatever edition (or mix) of Warhammer you choose to play is still good, and even though Sigmar now holds court in the realm of Azyr, he could just as easily still be lost in the east, beyond the World's Edge Mountains, waiting to one day return and rescue the Empire from itself.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Scrap 4: Scavvies

Julie felt great after her fight with the Cawdor. Two successful bouts in a row had her flying high. A night of hard drinking ensued, and in that smoky underhive bar she heard a rumor.

"Scavvies, y'see? They been causin' trouble for the guilders lately. Took out a bunch of Goliaths that'd been hired to guard a caravan."

Julie spat on the ground. "Goliaths," she said, replacing the wet cigar in her mouth.

The man nodded, "they got pretty trashed, lemme tell ya. Anywhoo, these guilders are ready to pay a pretty cred to anyone who can mess up the patriarch of this family."

Julie leaned in, "family?"

The man nodded again, more vigorously, his eyes widening at the promise of an interested audience. He'd peddled this tale around the various saloons of this sector, and found nothing but disbelief. He didn't think the leader of a House Escher gang would even grant a male an audience, but here he was sitting across a table from the leader of the Necrotown 'Nihilators—no matter that two of her gangers stood behind him out of the light of the dim glow-globe suspended above the drinks.

"They're real messed-up, lemme tell ya! Bunch'a inbreds 'n' mutants. They call themselves The Subhumans." He looked around, "rumor has it, they even try'n breed with the dead."

Julie leaned back in her chair, and chewed on her cigar. The man licked his lips nervously and, after a while, reached for the bottle of booze. Julie stuck her hand out and grabbed the man's wrist.

"You've had enough," she said. "Tell your contacts I got this. Let Sweet Dee over here know where we can find these shitheads, and get the hell outta my sight."

The man bit his lower lip and nodded. He rose and moved out of the light towards the big one they called Sweet Dee.

Julie grinned and thought of all that a pile of credits would get her.


For a man, Doc Sellers was one of the best. Julie was no fool, and made sure to make contacts with no less than three friendly docs. Not only were they good at patching up the girls, but they paid a suspiciously high amount for any that didn't make it. 

Suzi sat at a greasy window, and looked out to what bits of the underhive she could see. The weather control systems had it raining for some reason. Rivulets of heavy water snaked their way through the grease and leaked into the window through the bottom. Her right leg bounced up and down and she took another drag off her cigarette. Twelve feet from her, under a black tarp lay Klaudia. 

In the other room with the doc lay Julie. A wyrd's rat had ripped her throat out. If the doc could do anything for her she'd have to scrounge up a vox at the market if she ever hoped to bark orders anymore. If she did make it, though, I guess she'd be glad that she wouldn't have to keep looking over her shoulder for Klaudia anymore. 

Doc Sellers cleared his throat and Suzi turned.

"I have good newth and bad newth," he said, pulling off bloodstained gloves and depositing them into a drawer with white, flaking, paint. "Thweet Dee ith going to pull through, though she'th not going to be the thame. I recommend a little prothedure while I have her under thtill."

He reached into the next drawer and pulled out a computer chip with three dangling cords. "Thith should enthure thome thenth of calm about her, but... Yeth, she'll never be the thame."

Suzi took the cigarette out of her mouth. "Julie?"

Doc Sellers lowered the lobo-chip and turned it around with both hands, regarding it. "That'th the bad newth."

Suzi put the cigarette back in her mouth and inhaled. Her eyes drifted to the dark doorway where the doc worked. Maybe they should have gone to Doc Homme instead. She was a female but despite that, Julie never trusted her to work on anyone but the juves. She was the one who "couldn't save" Katherine Kool, and though this led to Julie's ascension as leader, it forever marked her as bad luck. Julie was pretty superstitious.

"Oh," Suzi said. She looked over at the slab where Klaudia lay. Doc Sellers looked at her, then at Klaudia, then over at the greasy window.

Finally, Suzi ground the cigarette on the heel of her boot, and placed it on the window sill. She stood up. "I'll let the girls know." She began to leave the room.

"What about the lobo-chip?" Doc Sellers asked.

Without breaking step Suzi called back "put it in, I think she'll need a bit of calm when she wakes up."


"I can do it, sure!" said the woman at the other end of the table—the very same table that Julie had met with the man selling information about The Subhumans.

Suzi looked in her drink, her leg was bouncing up and down beneath the table. She could hear Carrie clear her throat behind her. Ever since Sweet Dee had gotten the operation she had been a little slow on the draw, and Suzi couldn't trust her to be the bodyguard that she had been for Julie. If this demotion bothered Dee, she didn't show it. But who could tell anymore.

"We took a set-back, that's all." Suzi said to the woman—Courtney Crash was her name. She took a swig of the fungus whiskey.

Courtney nodded, her eyes big and letting Suzi know that she understood clearly.

"It's not gonna be easy, but you say you're an ace with that sword, so I believe you. You know we got some scavvies comin' for us, right?"

"I heard," Courtney said. "I ain't afraid of those creeps. I got Slicer and Piercer here," she gestured to her sword and pistol hanging from the third chair by their scabbard and holster. "Though if I may," she began, "why don't we just off this captive and toss its body back down that stinkin' hole they came from and be done with 'em."

Suzi looked at her, her head cocked and looking tired. "First of all, you may not." Courtney lowered her eyes. "And secondly, it's because it's personal. I need him as bait."

As if on cue Marlene walked into the room, rubbing her knuckles. "It's asleep," she muttered on her way to the bar. Kandi was working tonight and already had Marlene's drink ready.

Suzi sighed and reached behind her, tossing a bag into Courtney's hands. "There's seventy-five," she said, rising from her seat.

"It's your deposit. From here on in, you'll take a share with the rest of us. You want some cool shit? It comes outta your pay. Carrie here's my second, Dee's still the third, but in case she don't make much sense, you listen to Marlene over there." Suzi slung her lasgun over her shoulder.

"Get some sleep. Tomorrow we tie that scavvy to a pole and go fishin'."

Suzi walked out of the bar and up the stairs to her bed.

Sweet Dee takes up an overwatch position while zombies lurk on the hive floor beneath her.

Sweet Dee scores a hit, taking two scavvies down with super-heated plasma.

A wyrd's giant rat has designs on Julie Ruin.

The second table. Not quite finished, but fully built. Sorry for the werid-sized photos. I left my camera at home and had to rely on my cellphone for documentation of Julie Ruin's final scrap.


Scrap 3: Ex-Cons

From the Journals of Julie Ruin, leader of the Necrotown 'Nihilators:

Word on the street was that this band a' Cawdor ex-cons callin' themselves "The Judged" was shakin' down our shops askin' for protection money. Let me get one damn thing straight: we're the ones shakin' down those shops! I rounded up the girls and we managed to hit 'em in this old-lookin' part a' town.

See the thing about these jerks is that they name themselves after their crimes, y'see? So there was this jack-off named Manslaughter, and some other bozo named Solicitation. Well, bein' stupid must not be a crime accordin' to House Cawdor, otherwise the whole bunch a' these dickheads whoulda had a hard time knowin' who's who, if ya catch my drift. 

Anyway, things were goin' pretty well until Sweet Dee's gun backfired, knockin' her on her ass the whole scrap.

Ta tell ya the truth, I was a little disappointed with the girls this scrap. I mean, they weren't the worst, but it seemed like I was doin' most a' the hittin'. My bolter was barkin' like a rad-hound. I sniped this little creep right off the bat, and knocked his ass on the ground. 

It got to a point where we were holed up behind this building with a heavy stubber and a jerk with a shotgun keepin' our heads down. It was at this point that I did what any good leader would do, and sent out the juve to draw their fire. That bitch Cynthia was nowhere to be seen (probably too busy tryin' ta knife me in the back), so I had to tell Mish to haul her ass out there. Well no kiddin'—BAM!—they take her out. I didn't hear the stubber go, though. I was plannin' on jumpin' out there myself when that maniac Marlene decides to rev-up her chainsword and jump out like a lunatic. Well, sure 'nough she takes one in the shoulder, and hits the plascrete. 

I heard the stubber jam, and the gunner goin' "oh," so I jumped out and squeezed the trigger harder'n I ever done. Well, that was enough for these jokers. They picked up their wounded and slunk off like a buncha Delaque. Well, all but one of 'em. We took that Solicitation fella and met up with their gang again a little later in an alley. I had my las pointed at his head, and demanded that they fork over some creds, otherwise they slavers'll have what's left of 'em. They were broke as a joke, but I still managed to squeeze 45 creds out of 'em (more than I'd get from the slavers, at least).


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Scrap 2: Masked Weirdos

From the Journals of Julie Ruin, leader of the Necrotown 'Nihilators:

After sufferin' at the hands of Ironboot's chuckleheads, my gang was lookin' pretty stupid. We took to the streets to show off some muscle and prove that we're not anything to push around. This is when these costumed lunatics showed up. 

Throwin' psychic powers at us like some kinda coven a' wyrds, they surrounded us and demanded that we surrender ourselves for judgement or some buncha crap. As if they were a group a' Arbites, right? I told 'em to fuck off and we started shootin'.

Sweet Dee took up position down a street, gettin' as much of a line a' sight as she could. I told Suzi to watch her back, and I headed upstairs with Carrie (who was still a little winded from our scrap with the All Naturals). Marlene and Cynthia ran around like a buncha psychos not bein' able to make up their damned minds. One time climbin' up a ladder with Carrie and I, and the next runnin' full-bore at a coupla supes that were tryin' to dance with Sweet Dee. 

Much to my surprise (and probably Marlene's chagrin), Cynthia popped off a supe with her stub gun and took the weirdo down. I reckon that's the last we'll see a' him, seein' as all kinds a' blood was spillin' outta his head. Anyway, things came to a head when Klaudia, Mish, and Patti were tradin' shots with a coupla freaks across an alley. One of 'em looked kinda weirder than the rest. He was probably a mutie or somethin'. 

Anyway, one of these creeps—a real sneaky bitch—comes runnin' up behind the three of 'em and tosses in a frag grenade. Boom! They were taken out, and at the mercy of a halberd-weildin' kook. I had had enough a' this and decided to start sprayin' bolter shells down at the mutie. I took him out and their boss (some red-clad clown) decided that maybe they'd had enough a' us embarassin' 'em. 

I ain't gonna lie, though. It was by the skin a' our teeth. Afterwards Mish has been complainin' about a sore right arm—which hopefully won't impact her ability to separate rubes from their creds in the crowds—and Klaudia's got a nasty criss-cross a' scars across her mug. Pretty scary stuff. Hopefully the others out there will feel the same way we do. Carrie's finally learned her lesson and started packin' man-stopper shells in addition to the hot-shots she's so fond of (but which never fuckin' hit), and I even got myself a slick set a' flak armor for the next time some jerk decides to plug me.


Scrap 1: Ironboot's Wrath

From the Journals of Julie Ruin, leader of the Necrotown 'Nihilators:

First, the Underhive in all its decrepit glory:

The whole shebang.


Ironically full of scavvies...

My first Gang Fight was against the All Naturals lead by the indomitable Ironboot. They are a gang hailing from House Goliath, and I was wholly unprepared to face them, evidently.

They came at us through the tunnels. Ironboot and two of his shotgun-weilding weirdos popped up through some old ventilation ducts and completely surprised Carrie and Mish. Sweet Dee tried her best to supply covering fire but her primary duty is to be my bodyguard and at this moment two of Ironboot's heavy stubbers had Cynthia and me in their sights.

The shotgun blasts caught us out of cover. The concussive blasts knocked Klaudia off a gantry and down to the streets below.

Sweet-Dee was next. Some meathead strode out into the street like he owned the joint and took aim. Her shot had missed, veering off to his left. She was dead meat; left without a gantry to stand on. She ended up hittin' the dirt too. It was at this time that I didn't even care about showin' up Ironboot. I knew I had to protect my girls, and fleeing is the better part of valor, after all.

We took off. I managed to get all the gals out safely but Carrie suffered a chest wound. She's been suckin' wind all week, which has really affected meal time. Patti's been fillin' in as helper, but let's be honest, I love her to shreds but she'd burn water.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Punk-Rockin', Never Stoppin'

For those that don't know, Necromunda is one of my favorite games. My list—to the right—of favorite miniatures games is limited to five, otherwise Necromunda would be 6 or 7 alongside GorkaMorka. The reason is that it's easily the most "punk" miniatures game ever written. Gangs with mohawks and studded leather boots fighting it out over garbage and evading the law and rich kids? I can hear The Exploited playing over a vox caster right now.

Now that brings us to today, where my gaming group is starting a Necromunda campaign. This will be the first time I've played Necromunda in over a decade. I believe the last time I played was when the boxed sets got compiled into the hardcover rulebook in '98 (the one with the hazard stripes). This, coincidentally, is the version we're going to be using. The re-make (Necromunda: Underhive) is very close to the original version but is missing some key bits that we felt, ultimately, did the game a disservice. Therefore, it will be ignored.

I'll be using the Escher, which is my favorite Underhive house, and I'll be doing them as punkly as I can (all the names are inspired by female punk rockers). I'd also like to use this opportunity to compile a bit of a narrative about my gang and post it here on this blog. I'll be using the tag "Necrotown 'Nihilators" for any posts related to this campaign, so keep checking back to see battle reports, stories, and pictures of my games.

Now without further ado, let's meet The Necrotown 'Nihilators (note: I'm not actually finished painting my figures yet. Until then, I don't want to show pictures of half-assed paintjobs. Once the figures are finished, I'll update the entries here on this post, so check back soon!):

Julie Ruin (leader)
If there's one word that can describe Julie it's "unlucky." She's had to rely on her skills and tenacity to secure the leadership of The Necrotown 'Nihilators (previously known as the Underhive Rats) from her former leader Kathrine Kool. This has made her all the more determined to move cautiously through her career; keeping one eye peeled for any pitfalls that she can't talk, or shoot her way out of.

Sweet Dee (heavy)
Dee-Lite—known to everyone as "Sweet Dee"—is a strong, silent type. She and Julie were juves in the "Underhive Rats" at the same time, and have moved up among the ranks together. She has no ambition towards leadership, however, and remains Julie's closest friend, advisor, and bodyguard. After all, who would dare knife Julie in the back when you're in the sights of a heavy plasma gun?

Suzi Shrapnel (ganger)
Suzi is a sharpshooter. Suzi has always been a sharpshooter. She's had her lasgun (Lungpiercer) passed down from her mother, and has earned her chops picking off anyone who got too close to her hab. This got her in trouble when she targeted the heavy of the Underhive Rats, who was scrounging for archeotech too close to Suzi's home. This led to a three-day siege by which the Underhive Rats ultimately lost when Julie mutinied against Katherine Kool. So impressed was Julie by Suzi's skills that she immediately hired her and Lungpiercer on.

Klaudia Shiv (ganger)
Klaudia is petty,  sneaky, and closely watched by Julie. She's the one who came up with the name "Underhive Rats" and deeply resents Julie changing the name. She'll still refer to the gang by its old moniker (even though it's just her, Sweet Dee, and Julie that remain out of the original gang), which causes some confusion amongst outsiders. Good thing Klaudia's not in charge of anything important (other than laying down a hail of covering fire).

Marlene Murder (ganger)
No one really knows where Marlene came from. She just kinda started hanging around, which is handy, as she brought her own chainsword. Marlene speaks in the third person, which irritates Julie to no end (who has taken to referring to Marlene in the third person as well). None can deny her skill with the sword, however. Though it is a little startling how enthusiastic she can get.

Carrie Blastein (ganger)
Carrie came on the gang as a juve not too long after Julie took over. The difference is that she came on as a cook! Carrie cooked the best millisaur jambalaya this side of The Wall, and was greatly welcome into the 'Nihilators. At first she avoided combat, but when the 'Nihilators were taken by surprise by a Delaque gang known as the "Hotshots," she quickly took to the shotgun, which has become her signature weapon. Now, it rarely leaves her kitchen, and she rarely leaves without it.

Mish Mash (juve)
Mish was part of a traveling circus, and worked as a dancer. When she was caught pick-pocketing Sweet Dee, Julie decided that her skills were better put to use in the gang rather than lifting creds off of dense Underhive rubes.

Cynthia Cyanide (juve)
Cynthia doesn't fuck around, and wants everyone to know that. After just one scrape with a Scavvy gang she decided that she'd earned the right to challenge Julie. Julie responded with a boltgun shot, which left Cynthia unharmed save a nagging case of tinnitus. This put a stop to Cynthia's mutiny... For the moment.

Patti Patricide (juve)
Patti's known affectionately as "Little Julie," due less to the fact that she looks like her, and more to the fact that she's Julie's favorite. Julie "sees something" in Patti and has taken her under her wing. In fact, Julie gifted Patti with Katherine Kool's "kustom" autopistol ("spark barker") as a sign of confidence (something that's rubbed Cynthia the wrong way since day one).


Thursday, April 30, 2015

I played Epic 40,000!

Today I decided to give a couple friends a demo of Epic 40,000. One guy showed up with his Tyranids and we built him a list. I originally wanted to do a small game to keep things moving, but we got carried away and we went up to 2500pts.

The other guy showed up just to watch, so I built a 2500pt Dark Angels army (complete with Imperator Titan, 'cause why not?), and we dove right in. We only got to play two turns before the Tyranid player had to leave, but it was still fun to give this game another go. I hadn't played Epic 40,000 since the late-90s/early-00s.

Epic 40,000 is appealing to my friends because all the armies that were in 40k at the time had official lists in the Armies Book that came with the game. Epic: Armageddon (while an awesome, awesome, game) only has four armies as official lists (Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Orks, and Eldar)—though the fans are doing a good job of amending that.

Anyway, it seems like everything went over well, and we'll probably give the game another (fuller) shot another time. Here are some pictures (don't mind the unpainted pieces of terrain; I'm working on it):

The table set-up: 122cm x 183cm

Imperator vs. Hierodule: Who will win? (A: The Imperator)

Shot from the ground complete with command squad surfing
on a Land Raider.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Of Kings And War

I had a chance to play Kings of War last Sunday. It was the second time I've played this game, and like the first, I was pleasantly surprised.

Here's the scene: A friend of mine has a 12'x4' table, which, as a gamer, is Shangri-La. He also has enough painted undead figures to line up along the length of that 12'x4' table. He invited over myself and another friend to ally against his dread legions. We played 3000pts and it only took us three hours.

This is the major benefit of Kings of War over other regimental games—being Warhammer, as I think the two games are the only regimental games on the market right now—that it's quick. Every time I look at Kings of War I always think it's going to be boring. I will admit, it is a bare-bones system. You move, you shoot, you fight in combat, sometimes you can cast spells—which are fancy (but not that fancy) shooting attacks—but really everything does what you think it's going to do outside of the normal randomness of a dice-based system.

Some (like my friend with the table) look upon this as the highlight of the system, but I look at it as a drawback (albeit one with potential). I like a game system with variance and options. Warhammer has drawbacks, sure, but a dearth of options is not one of them. In Warhammer you have an arsenal of stuff at your disposal, hell even the terrain on the table can give you things to think about other than "I can't see through those trees."

So naturally every time I read up on Kings of War, and set up a game my eyes hurt from rolling in my skull, and my lungs are well stretched from the constant sighing. However the game is super-intuitive and quick. Like I said, a 3000pt game (which is probably 3500–4000pts in Warhammer) played in three hours is unheard of in most miniatures games. Also, I've only read the rulebook once and the gap in time between my two games is most-likely longer than a calendar year, yet it was all in my head.

The game is written by Alessio Cavatore who used to work for Games Workshop, and was the principal author of Warhammer 7th edition. 7th edition was (in my humble opinion) fun, but it was the most ho-hum of Warhammer editions. Sort of a clean up of 6th edition, and a forgettable transition between the kind of game 6th edition created (streamlined tournament-ready system with some of Warhammer's traditional wackiness), and the game Warhammer is now with 8th (which is to say, great). So when I read the rules and saw who authored them, it made sense to me. But now I've developed a whole other respect for Alessio's work (my comments about 7th still standing). I see that what he was trying to create was a fast, simple, and intuitive miniatures system.

Kings of War will not replace Warhammer for me. I won't turn down a game, and I may even tailor an army specifically to the system. I can even see myself entering a Kings of War tournament and being satisfied by the state of the rules while within that medium, but it's not replacing Warhammer. What it is is a solid, fast, big-battles, game that would provide an excellent framework for customizing.

This kind of brings me to an aside: I think all too often (especially now as opposed to in the '70s or '80s) miniatures gamers get hung up on a "tournament ruleset," which is understandable, as it gives us the framework to not only play in tournaments but to facilitate one-off games against strangers in shops, clubs, or conventions. Having a set of house rules is tons of fun and can be pretty creative, but it's also something you need to inform people of when they want to join.

But one of the benefits to tabletop games (versus electronic game, for instance) is that they're malleable. Kings of War is a great example of a game system that provides a solid framework upon which I would love to see stuff added. I would love wackier units to add to my army, and a more robust magic system. Hell, even some interesting scenarios would spice things up. As it stands, the game is a set of vegetables. Good, but it needs something done to it to really be a favorite of yours truly.

Anyway, enough from me, enjoy these, passable, pictures of our game. I thought the lighting in my friend's place was too dark, so I turned on the flash (something I never do on cameras). After I got home and sobered-up (Kings of War also works when you've polished-off seven cans of beer), I immediately regretted my flash decision, and promise that I'll never, ever, do it again...

12' of Undead.

The grand alliance of elves and dwarves (and a
can of Cariboo beer).

Some o' my dwarves.

A rollicking fight in the center of the table.

Generals and gentlemen.

A big ole scrum against some zombies.

My dwarf general vs. a necromancer that the
undead player forgot to do anything with the
whole game (much to my benefit).