Did you know this was out? I certainly didn’t, until I happened upon a post on one of the hobby news sites (yes, which one escapes me at the moment).
Look out for my mystery appearance in this issue, under my Clanlord Trask guise. And of course, I am giving my bloated opinions.
Our good friends at The Bellower have brought out their fourth issue, and it is the best yet. This actually came out late last month, but this seems like as good a time as ever to promote its release.
As always the issue is a quality piece of work. Writing and editing is excellent, and they are really hitting their stride in the page design area. The Bellower is starting to develop its own unique visual style. The articles flow really well, both in regards to content and look, and its easy to tell where in the issue you are.
Of particular note is the excellent piece on mixing and applying a blood effect to models. It is written simply and effectively with good complimentary photographs. I am also quite fond of Gastronomic Rumblings from the Butchers Pot, an article on one players experiences with the Ogre Kingdoms and Warhammer in general.
Off hand, I don’t think I have reviewed any webzines this year. To be honest, everyone was starting to do them, and I prefer not to become part of the white noise.
However, said reviews have become a bit thin on the ground lately, and since I have been otherwise occupied to produce anything Warhammer related, lets look at the latest release.
Ogres belly! It’s The Bellower!
First off, it sounds like they had a similar quandry we had producing the last issue of Skavenblight Gazette. Do we run 7th edition articles or not? It looks like they decided to abandon what plans they had made and dive right into 8th. Good for them, I say.
What articles they have included are the usual high quality. In particular, the analysis on the Ogres item choices is very good, and an excellent starting point if you are looking at what has changed in 8th edition. The article on creating a greenstuff banner was also informative, and contained some brilliant written and visual explanations on the process.
As usual, The Bellower looks good too. It hasn’t taken them long to really cement a visual style and carry it across the whole issue.
My only real gripe, and this applies to a lot of webzines, is when they apply the seasons to their dating. For instance, this issue of The Bellower is Issue 3 Summer. Except it isn’t Summer where I am, far from it. We only just hit spring a couple of days ago. These conventions, while they work in a local sense, are especially useless on something produced as digital media.
So as ever, if you are looking for a good read, I suggest you give issue 3 of The Bellower a good look.
Today Brad came around to christen the game room with a hefty game of Warhammer. 1500 points. Ogre Kingdoms versus Skaven. To the death. A no holds barred battle of epic proportions. This would be a sombre and gritty war, and legends would be sung of its magnificence and horrors.
Ok, Brad destroyed the mood a bit with his cheesy grin. And my visiting nephew hasn’t helped any.
So this is how the board stands at deployment. I have decided to take a Plague Furnace today. Seems like as good a time as any to give it a go.
End of turn 1. My clanrats are fleeing after their Warpfire Thrower explodes over them and the Plague Monks. Some of Brad’s Bulls are on the run too from a nasty Scorch, so that evens out. The Gnoblar Trappers are also fleeing, after being shot by the Doomwheel.
End of turn 2. The Gorger turned up behind my Jezzails, but the fleeing Clanrats rally and threaten the monster. The Giant Rats flee from the board, and continue their reign as useless points. Three Ogre Bulls flee before the Plague Monks, but are caught and killed. The Doomwheel misfires and ploughs straight into a unit of Gnoblars. The ensuing combat sees the Doomwheel win, and persue straight into the Plague Monks, blocking them.
Learn to drive, dumbass.
The Gorger charges the Jezzails, who break and flee. The Gnoblars charge the Globadiers, who stupidly take the charge. While the Globadiers hold out for a round of combat, they are running by the next turn. The Butcher leaves the safety of his Irongut unit and stands around looking smug. Somehow the Plague Monks and Doomwheel sort out their head on collision and move apart. More Ogres flee because of Scorch. The Jezzails fail to rally and flee past the Gorger towards the board edge. The Clanrat unit trails the Gorger, intent on looking like they will actually do something.
And here we see the odd logjam of Ogre Bulls and Ironguts. What is going on?
Annoyingly, the Gorger charges the rear of the Plague Monks. Unbreakable unit versus Unbreakable unit. Terrific. The fleeing ogres rally and turn to face the Plague Monks. The Bulls angle themselves in the wrong way, trying to divert the imminent Plague Monks charge. Displaying the power of Skaven magic, the Warlock Engineer blasts the Butcher to pieces with Warplightning. Meanwhile, the Doomwheel engages the Leadbelchers, while the Skavenslaves complete their faking move and head for a completely different ogre unit.
End of turn 5. The Plague Monks kills the Gorger, and then charge the Ironguts. The Doomwheel finishes off the Leadbelchers, while the Slaves are smashed in combat with the second Ironguts. The Jezzails rally.
End of turn 6. The Ogre Bulls charge the Clanrats who fail their Fear test. In an amazing move of tactical genius, they flee just enough to completely block the line of sight of the Jezzails. The Plague Furnace fires at the Ironguts to no effect. The Doomwheel fares better, killing two Ogres.
In the end, the battle ended in a draw. I quite liked the Plague Furnace, and will have to include on in my force in the future. Also, only having one weapon team didn’t seem to be a hinderance, which is interesting. Again, the Giant Rats failed to perform.
It is good to see that the Ogre Kingdoms still have some fire in them that lets them compete, though.
The Bellower is put together by members of Ogre Stronghold, another army specific forum. In this case, Ogre Kingdoms. One of the main forces behind it is Randroid, who you may have seen rearing his head occasionally in the comments of this very blog. The man has taste, you have to give him that.
Lets look at content first. There appears too be quite a few contributors to the issue, which yields a nice variety on article types. I particularly like the short story ‘Meat for the Journey’. This is the kind of thing I think fan made webzines should be running, explorations and explanations on their armies history and character.
The web is replete with people spouting on about tactics, painting and whatever else, but you don’t find that many pieces that delve deeper into all the tiny throw away lines. I hope we see more of this kind of thing in The Bellower in future. As it is, if the team can keep up the pace they have established in this first issue, The Bellower is going to be a real force in the webzine landscape.
Page layout and design is good. The focussed, characterful masthead is impressive and really sets the scene nicely. Some of the pages suffer from cluttering, packing too much text into one space, but this doesn’t adversely effect the readability of the issue. It would be nice to see a little more room in future, though. Don’t run text right up to the edge of the page, give it 10mm or so to breath. Space is your friend, especially in the digital medium.
While we are talking about type, The Bellower layout designer, also avoid what you have done on page 10. Running text around an object, in this case the Ogre Bull, is fine. However, don’t break sentences up when you do this. In this case, the Bull should be between the two columns of type, so that it adjusts around him.
Breaking sentences like this disturbs the flow and readability of your text, which is something you don’t want to happen. Following the content shouldn’t be a chore for the reader.
But that is a niggly, highly specific, gripe. Largely the design is interesting and varied, and complements the articles well.
Overall I am impressed with The Bellower. It reads well, and looks great. The real test is going to be whether they can keep it at this level. I hope so! Looking forward to seeing what issue 2 brings.
I haven’t really had much time to do all my regular Warhammer stuff the last week or so. Why this is can be revealed soon. Very soon. In the interim, though, I offer up a brief battle Brad and I had the other day. He popped around with his Ogres so I decided to give the new Skaven a run against them.
Ogre Kingdoms – 1500 points
10 Gnoblar Trappers
Skaven – 1500 points
1 Cheiftain Battle Standard Bearer
1 Warlock Engineer
25 Plague Monks
So the Ogres were a pretty standard ogre list, while the skaven list I have taken is pretty much a cut down version of the one I used at Dogs Breakfast.
The ogres took the first turn, moving forward in a V formation, with Bulls followed by Leadbelchers and then Ironguts. My Skaven were deployed with the bulk of their hitting power on the left flank, with a unit of slaves and the Globadiers on the right.
To be honest, the specific details of the battle are a haze. The Gorger appeared on turn two and tried to harry the right flank, only managing to put the hurt on the Globadiers. A unit of Leadbelchers and the Bruiser also managed to get a charge on the Plague Monks, breaking them in two rounds of combat. However, by pursuing them they were left in an opportune spot for the Clanrats to charge and overwhelm them.
The Gnoblar Trappers really failed to do anything, only drawing a 40 point slave unit away from the main battleline. The Stormvermin too contributed little to the battle, though they did soundly pummel the Bull regiment they flank charged.
Reprising its role as ‘man of the match’ from Dogs Breakfast, the Doomwheel performed amazingly. This instrument of destruction consistently put the hurt into the Ogres, either with massively powerful blasts of warplightning or with precision close combat attacks. Even misfiring once didn’t seem to phase it. I think, of any army in Warhammer, Ogre Kingdoms is the one that the Doomwheel will be able to do the most damage against. The warplightning attacks are extremely focused, doing D6 wounds on single models. Against such a small multi-wound force like the Ogres this is bad news. Ogre Kingdoms players be warned! The Doomwheel is your number one opponent in the new Skaven list.
So there wasn’t really much in this Ogre Kingdoms list the Skaven couldn’t handle. I think if Brad had attacked with a little bit more focus the result would have been very different. Obviously the Doomwheel should have been his first target, maybe keeping some Leadbelchers back to fire on it, rather than trying to bring it down in combat. When left one on one against ranked unit the Ogres did fairly well, though obviously faltered badly when Skaven flanked charged into the combat. I think some more Gnoblars might be needed to cushion the Bull units and protect their sides. Angle charging flankers off away from the Bulls, rather than destroying units.
In the end we didn’t bother totalling the results. I had lost the Plague Monks and Globadiers, while all Brad had left was a single Leadbelcher. A pretty decisive Massacre, I think you will agree.