We are seven days into the new year, and I have thus far avoided writing resolutions, recaps, stat analysis or blog critiques. For some peculiar reason it just hasn’t felt necessary.
I don’t know if it was coming back after more than a year with fresh eyes, but it seems Brad has come to the realisation that maybe he has just a few too many models in storage. So he has left a bunch with me. Which is nice.
The last few days have been going through this lot. At the moment it is largely just reboxing them into something more economical. I don’t know who taught Brad to sort, but he sucks at it. Orc and goblin part were spread across four or five different boxes, and I managed to condense them down to just two.
So at the moment the big plan is one of organisation. Get everything stacked away, find all the little random unused bits and banish them to my bits box, and then progress from there.
This isn’t to say that there isn’t a ‘plan’ for this year. There is, in the loosest sense of the word.
Work on the Skaven army, that seems like a no brainer. These battles against Brad have helped me to figure out where my army will probably grow and develop, which will help in building the necessary parts. I would also like to take them to some tournaments this year.
Another no brainer, issues of Skavenblight Gazette. It will be interesting to see what direction we can take it in this year. There are thirteen issues under our belt now, so it seems like we should be stepping it up a notch somehow. In what way, I do not know.
I am also keen to really put some work into writing a game system. This is something I have been tossing around for a couple of years now, but it just feels right to make this the year that something gets done. I already have a slew of ideas to work from.
If everything goes well with the Skaven, I would like to ‘finish’ off the Bretonnians. This will then, theoretically, give me the opportunity to work on another army. At the moment I have access to some Empire, High Elves, Orcs and Goblins and Tomb Kings. Who knows where any of this could lead me?
And that is it. That is all you get in the way of retrospective or, whatever the opposite of retrospectives is, insights.
Oh, and as usual at the beginning of the year, I have changed up the blog design.
So I did say I would give an explanation on where I have been (two posts earlier, if you are keeping track).
As alluded to in the aforementioned post, the bulk of this time was spent on issue 13 of Skavenblight Gaztte. I was quite happy with how this issue came out, though unfortunately most of the hobby specific stuff fell through. It wasn’t quite supposed to be so interview heavy, so self-interested. But thems the breaks.
The other thing I was up to was painting.
I have no idea if this happens to anybody else, but you ever just wake up one day and realise that you have like, a hundred half-finished projects lying around? Well, that happened to me around the beginning of November, so I decided to start doing something about it.
One of my projects lying around was three paintings I had been working on. As in, paint on canvas paintings. The first of these I started nearly five years ago, and still hadn’t finished. So I decided to break them out and finish them off.
The fruits of my labour.
Anyone who has been around my old place would have seen at least one of these. I have a bunch more canvases to do some other ideas I have, but the three that I had already started are now completed works. I am quite pleased.
Speaking of feelings, the other day when Brad took my Bretonnians to battle something occurred to me. I never actually finished the army off. There are a handful of models that still need attention, as well as a clutch of them that had didn’t have the new basing style. I just got so caught up in the Skaven that they were kind of forgotten.
In an effort to rectify this, I decided to tackle the easiest task at hand today. The original eleven knights, fifteen Men-at-arms, fifteen bowmen and Lord on Hippogryph i did all have the grey edges on their bases. The latest version I had been working on omitted the grey edges for black.
So out came the black paint, and over the course of about an hour I redid all the base edges. One step closer to another project completed!
Brad is back in Australia for a few weeks over Christmas before he heads back to Germany. So it seemed like an opportune moment to break out Warhammer and trash talk each other.
Thanks to a slight shed key mishap, Brad decided to take control of my Bretonnian army while I marched forth the forces of the Skaven. Since we don’t have a lot of the new edition games under our belts, the traditional pitched battle seemed the way to go. We randomised the scenery from all that I had available, and ended up with all buildings.
Brad took a nice mix of knights and commoners, with fair-sized Man-at-arms and Knights of the Realm units. I took three sizable blocks of Clanrats, backed up by weapons teams, Jezzails and Globadiers. I also decided to do something different, and took three Rat Ogres and a Packmaster.
By the end of turn three most of the units were in combat. I was especially pleased with how the Rat Ogres were performing, having charged a unit of bowmen entrenched in a building and breaking them. This left them in prime position to charge back out and engage the large unit of Men-at-arms.
Much like a good Skaven player, Brad used one of my favourite trick against me. The Men-at-arms had a Damsel in their unit with a Tres of Isole, which granted them a ward save. He also managed to compound this advantage by adding some hitting power in the form of a Paladin. These two characters, combined with a buff spell from Lore of Beasts, managed to make this unit almost impossible to shift.
Here we have the other side of the board, with 30 Clanrats trying (and failing) to destroy the Lord on Hippogryph. The unit of Knights of the Realm has also managed to push through and charge the Doomwheel. It didn’t last more than one combat, with the Doomwheel failing its break test and fleeing.
Fast forward to the end of turn six, and this is how the board looked. The Clanrat unit I had left only just managed to rally in the very last turn, denying Brad the points for both them and my Warlord. Of particular note, the Rat Ogres managed to move across the board, charging the Lord of Hippogryph. The fighting was fierce, with the Rat Ogres taking the Lord down to one wound and the Lord killing all the Rat Ogres. Then amazingly, the Packmaster both hit and wounded with is single attack, and the Lord failed both his armour and ward saves. I was very pleased with that. In the end it was a technical draw, with Brad a couple of hundred points over me.
Overall our game was pretty good. Half the time was spent with us looking up rules, forgetting rules, and generally acting like 12-year-old novices. But it was fun, which was the main thing.
I realise that this probably isn’t that much of a revelation to those who have been playing this edition for a while, but it isn’t too bad. Some processes and rules felt odd, but not flat-out wrong. I can see how players generally don’t play this edition at tournaments ‘straight from the box’, as there is quite a bit of randomness. But as something you can break out and play with a mate over a couple of beers, this edition seems very attuned to that spirit.
Not much Warhammer has happened the last week. A particularly demanding client at work has seen to that. What spare time I have had has been used on putting together the next issue of Skavenblight Gazette, which is supposed to come out in a couple of weeks.
Somehow, though, I had today off and managed to slip a tiny bit of Warhammer into the schedule.
Firstly I undercoated the Gutter Runner prototype, as well as the knights stump hovel.
Then I got a couple of layers of paint onto the Grail Shrine. I had to do another base gre layer to even it all out first, and then painted on the brown sections. It is a little hard to see in the photo (read: totally impossible) but I then did a light drybrushing of first brown and grey mixed together, and then green and grey. This is in an effort to build up a bit of colour on it, and to make it less of a total grey blob.
In reality the effect is quite subtle, and I am happy with how it has started out. But it just doesn’t photograph at all. Pity.
That time is upon us, where we sit at the bar of The Trading Post and swap war stories as we guzzle pints of foamy beer.
As I am sure we all know, when one picks up the game of Warhammer it is followed shortly by a choice of army. This is usually a single army which is then built to make a decent list which will be used a lot. And then to be followed by an expansion to include a few more options for future games. However, who stays with a single army? Once you have played one for a while, does it become boring until you branch out to another? Or, do you stick to a single army? There are merits to having one major army and to having a number of smaller ones. What do have and why?
Lets start at the end and work backwards. My current collection is made up of both Skaven and Bretonnian armies, both able to field at least 2500 points. So immediately this puts me into the ‘or More’ camp.
At present I have been playing Warhamme for at least fifteen years. I started off with Skaven, primarily because their miniatures and background spoke to me the most. To date, the bulk of my time has been spent with the Skaven army, though my Warhammer involvment has waxed and waned over the years. I took up the Bretonnians post an ‘off period’ in the hobby, shortly after finishing studying Graphic Design. Why did I come back into the hobby starting ‘from scratch’ with a new army, and not pick up where I left off with my Skaven?
For me, I think it was that I was coming back in with fresh eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the Skaven, but breaking out the old army it immediately struck me how dated it was. All the troop choices available, all the painting, was done by an early teenage me with only rough starting skills. If I was going to bring the ratmen back to the table they had to conform to my new expectations, and this meant rediscovering my skills and what I was capable of. The Bretonnians seemed like the perfect experiment for this.
There were a number of reasons the Bretonnians were chosen. The first being, they are almost the polar opposites to the Skaven. While the Skaven are hordes of swarming infantry, the Bretonnians are small groups of elite mounted knights. The Skaven employ magic and machinery with abandon, while the Bretonnians rely on their faith and mettle.
Second, I could quickly build up a Bretonnian force. This was important, as I wanted to get onto the battlefield as soon as possible. This was as much about rediscovering the game aspect as much as the modelling aspect.
Third, I could see that the Bretonnians offered a lot of easy conversion work. I knew in the back of my mind I would not be content using the standard miniatures, and would end up converting almost every model in any army I made. The Bretonnians seemed to offer a lot of conversion possibilities, enough that would allow me to undertake some of the more eccentric ideas I had for the Skaven.
After I had built up my Bretonnians to a point that seemed like a fair sized army I moved on to working on my Skaven.
And that cover the ‘What do (you) have and why?’.
Lets look at the rest of this query posed.
Indeed, who does stay with a single army? My brother, for one. He has been playing Warhammer for the same amount of time as me, and has faithfully led a Warriors of Chaos army the entire time. And when I say Warriors of Chaos, I mean, Chaos back from when it was all just one thing all the way up to the latest book. Though without fail it has always been almost exclusively Chaos Warriors and Chaos Knights. The man knows what he likes. And he like burly guys in armour.
Where as me, I didn’t mind taking up a new army. Before this I never had a problem giving other armies a go either. Borrowing a friends Undead or Orcs & Goblins was always an option. I even enjoyed putting together a number of enemy selections for Warhammer Quest. This was especially fun, as I got to model and paint all kinds of races without having to go as far as building up a whole army.
For the both of us, though, I don’t think our primary army ever got boring. Obviously he hasn’t gotten bored with is, as he is still bringing it destruction style. But even my dalliances with other armies haven’t been out of boredom with the Skaven, but as a means to experiment, build skills and understand the game.
Normally with these kind of opinion pieces I try to bring everything to point, or at least make some vague conclusion. However, I don’t think I can do that here. Obviously everyone is different, and they get something different from the hobby. Whether this means you must have one or one-hundred armies to achieve it, so be it. The main thing is that the armies you have give you enjoyment both on and off the battlefield.
Unless you play 40k. Those guys can stick it.
Yet another day of basically nothing being done. I have cut one Gnoblar from the frame, removed his weapons and repositioned the left arm so that both are above him and slightly forward. Next I have to find something ‘cargo-ish’ for him to carry. I also did a little filling on the Warpfire Thrower, as well as thought about how to make my Rat Ogre/Heavy Loader look a bit fiercer.
I came across this army the other day. It is the Gobotonnia army, an army of goblins that think they are Bretonnian knights. The models are really well converted and sculpted, and I plan to keep an eye on their progress.
About 6 months ago I sent a Knight Errant off to New South Wales as part of the UnderEmpire miniature swap. My lucky painter was Scrivener, a guy I have digitally stood over and demanded he draw Skavenblight Gazette covers.
The miniature came back to the fold today, and I have got to say, it is truly spectacular. In all honesty it puts the rest of my army to shame. He has used such a simple paint scheme and limited palette, but has achieved so much. It almost seems a shame for it to have to bunch up with my half-arsed knights and get splattered by Dark Elves.
It’s the Easter long weekend here, so I didn’t get a lot of chances to paint or work on the Skaven. I did spend an hour today working on this guys some more. As you can see, I didn’t get far. This is because I was helping my counterpart, Linda, paint the Battle For Skull Pass Goblin and Dwarf that came in a White Dwarf.
Not too shabby for the first miniature she has ever painted. At the moment I am letting her do the base colours, to get her used to painting a 3D surface and to practise applying multiple thin layers. If I had any of the new washes, I think that a Badab Black or a Brown wash over the Goblin and it would be an acceptable tabletop quality. So she hasn’t done too bad.
Brad stayed around last night, as it was easier than him driving down from a world away to get to Border Princes Teaparty, so I helped him finish painting some High Elf White Lions and Spearelves to a tabletop standard. It was interesting, I’ve never really painted elves before. But on to the tournament!
My first battle was against Aubruy and his Vampire Counts. I think in any other circumstance I could have given him a closer run for his money, but the terrain layout on the board we got hamstrung me a bit. The placement of the castle terrain meant that is was almost impossible for me to get in any kind of flanking force. With the large blocks of ghouls he had, I really needed to get a flank attack in there to bring down his static combat resolution and help me destroy his units quicker.
As it was, inability to maneuver, plus Aubruy’s small quickfire Invocation casts and multiple Van Hels undid me pretty quickly. When on more open ground my knights easily destroyed a unit of wolves and skeletons in almost a single turn.
Don’t get me wrong, he was a good general. Raising in the right units, not waisting troops needlessly. But I think on a more open battlefield he would have had a much harder time. As it was, he managed to beat me quite convincingly. Until next time!
Next up was Andrew and his High Elf force. I’m pretty familiar with High Elves, as I have played against Brad’s. But Andrew’s army was a lot different to what Brad usually takes.
Like Brad, he has archers, spearelves, Silver Helms, Swordmasters and an eagle. All these familiar troops I had no problem with. He also has 2 Lion Chariots and Phoenix Guard, troops I have not faced before. It’s interesting facing elves with Fear causing troops. To top it all off, he also had two Bolt Throwers. And he managed to hit with both more often than not!
Basically, in this battle, I was absolutely trounced. Bad rolling on my part played a big party, but Andrew did have a good handle on what his army was good at. He used the eagle to redirecting perfection, and like most, assumed that his massed blocks of Always Strike First Spearelves could stand up to a combined charge of Knights of the Realm and Questing Knights. Two mid sized knight units in a combined is my signature move buddy. No one stands before that. No one.
Somehow his two Bolt Throwers managed to wipe out all my Grail Knights in the first two turns. What the hell! Brad obviously needs to go back to Bolt Thrower firing school, as this guy was just making hits like it was no big deal. I tried to use Assault of Stone to take care of them, but the elven magic was far too strong and just blocked me at every attempt.
So yes, in the end I lost by a lot. I didn’t really make many mistakes in this battle, there was just a lot of unlucky occurrences on my end that I had to deal with.
Last game was against Jason and his Warriors of Chaos. I believe Jason is Andrew’s father too. There you go.
Where as everything was going wrong in the last couple of games, everything just went right in this one. I was able to choose my deployment side, opting for the side with a hill to put my archers on. The battlefield was basically a river down the centre with three bridges to cross. I set up the Grail Pilgrims to guard on bridge, the Men-at-arms with the Damsel to defend another, and sent the majority of my cavalry over the third.
My plan was to divide Jason’s army up, as I doubted I could withstand progressive charges by blocks of Chaos Knights and Warriors. He took the bait, sending three units to deal with the Men-at-arms and Pilgrims, while lining the rest of his army up to accept multiple knight charges. With combined charge after combined charge his force just folded like a cheap lawn chair.
He had the right idea, baiting my knights with Marauder Horsemen, but put his Chaos Knights way too close behind them. When the Marauders fled a charge, the two units of knight could just redirect straight into the Chaos Knights. Personally, I think Jason’s main problem was that he has what I like to call ‘Craig Syndrome’. Like my brother Craig, he largely believes that Warhammer is a game of moving guys into combat and hitting stuff, rather than it being a game of movement. This misunderstanding of the game, and movement rules, led to a lot of his woes I think.
If he keeps at it, I think he’ll eventually get the hang of it and start to do better in a competitive environment.
As it was, I have no idea how well I did overall at the tournament. I went home with one of the consolation prizes, so “particularly poorly” comes to mind. I did get a blister pack of Dark Elf Executioners. I wasn’t too sure what I would do with them, but I showed them to Linda and she wants to paint them. So that seems fair enough, methinks.
So for the last few weeks I have been sitting around, safe in the knowledge that I am prepared for Border Princes Teaparty. A conversation with Brad led me to looking at the tournament pack again, which reveals I need 3 extra models to use as ‘messengers’ as well as one to use as an extra standard.
This was all fine, I thought. I have a man-at-arms banner bearer I’m not using, I can use that. Except I realise today also, the army I am intending to field is 2200 points, and not the 2500 the tournament requires. Dammit!
One army list rewrite later, and I am still down one standard bearer. I think I can pull a swifty and use the standard bearer/icon guy I put together (but never use) for the Peasant Bowmen unit. Probably put him into one of the Men-at-arms units or something.
So here is the new list.
Bretonnian Lord: Virtue of the Joust, Heartwood Lance
Paladin Battle Standard Bearer: Virtue of Discipline, War Banner
Paladin: Great Weapon, Questing Vow, Virtue of Knightly Temper
Damsel of the Lady: Magic Level 2, Dispel Scroll, Icon of Quenelles
5 Grail Knights: Standard, Musician
8 Questing Knights: Standard, Musician
3 Pegasus Knights
7 Knights of the Realm: Standard, Musician
9 Knights of the Realm: Standard, Musician
6 Knights Errant: Standard, Musician
20 Battle Pilgrims
19 Men-at-Arms: Standard, Musician
20 Men-at-Arms: Standard, Musician
5 Mounted Yeomen
10 Peasant Bowmen Skirmishers
10 Peasant Bowmen
I was thinking about wedging the Hippogryph into there, but decided against it. I haven’t really had much practise with the thing, and I would like to avoid throwing around something so large and scary. Especially when I am so unfamiliar with how it works.
Oh, and the list comes to exactly 2500 points. Nice.