Monday, February 29, 2016

Hobby Update: Eccentric Foot Guard

Like last weekend, this weekend was also unseasonably nice for Wisconsin. Unlike last weekend, I actually did get a fair amount of hobby time in, interspersed with ome long walks around the thawing Lake Monona and just generally enjoying the weather. Unfortunately, like last weekend, little got “finished.”

Of my 50ish old Greatswords, I figured I could breeze through most of them in a few hours and be done by lunch… but I was wrong. As I looked at them, I realized almost all the cloth on the models was purple… and I wanted a combination of purple and white to keep with my color scheme and fluff. Ugh.

So, much of my hobby time this weekend was spent painting a few layers of white stripes onto all those Greatsword models. All the new white makes them “pop” more now, which is what I wanted, but they still aren’t all done yet... Hopefully they will be by next week? I feel they are becoming a bit like Zeno’s Hobby project. Never quite able to call them finished.

I broke up the Greatsword grind with a few minis for D&D, and oddly enough a unit of medieval-styled Foot Guard with shields.

What? Where did these jerks come from? And who took such a bad, fuzzy picture?
When I picked up Kings of War, I made a list of all the possible KoM units, and then took my existing Empire collection and tried to map it all out, to get an idea of what models I should be picking up to cover those shortfalls. Ballistae quickly rose to the top of my list, both for use as independent war machines, and as upgrades for potential Beasts of War.

After some searching around online, I found a fantastic ballista option offered by Eccentric Miniatures. As I was browsing the site, I noticed they had some other model options. I already had more Bowmen than I really wanted, but I figured I could use some heavily armed and armored knights on foot, to use as Foot Guard with shields, and added them to the cart.

These models were neglected. They didn’t even come up on my “to-do” list from a little while back. My fluff was moving in a different direction (wanting to use Roman Legionaries as my “anvil-like” units like Shield Wall and Foot Guard).

However, after spending a large chunk of time Saturday working on the Greatswords, I needed a breather. I needed something simple, something quick, without dipping into that new plastic. So I knocked these guys out on Sunday.

Comparison shot! What tiny, wimpy-looking Foot Guard.
Unlike their Ballista pack (which gives you two Ballistae for $10 USD!), which I would enthusiastically suggest you pick up if you are looking for a ballista model, I’d struggle to actually suggest these knightly models.

The plastic is of good quality, and these are pretty easy to paint up. And, at $16 for a box... you’re spending $1/figure. That is the best price-per-model ratios I think I have ever seen.

That said, the sculpting is putting me off. The proportions of limbs and torsos just seem downright gangly to me. There are better models out there. But if you are just starting out, or are strapped for funds, these could be a good buy for you.

Now, I need to get back to working on Zeno’s Greatswords…

Friday, February 26, 2016

Kings of War is different (More thoughts on MSU)

In addition to hobbying (the greatsword-swinging Foot Guard should hopefully be all done by the end of the weekend! Pics to come once they are based!) I sat down over some coffee today and did some more thinking, with the goal of articulating for myself some of my perceived differences between Kings of War and Warhammer 8th Edition. I'm not getting as many games in as I would like.. so hopefully some thinking can help me get the most out of them by picking the best tactics and units to test.

So, on with some differences between the systems and thoughts on adapting the MSU playstyle
  • First, is that all characters are individuals now – they can’t join units like they could in WHFB.
  • Second is that unit sizes are streamlined, and units in general are “more similar.” A horde is a horde everywhere (though there is still some variation between 20mm and 25mm models), and something like spearmen in one army are relatively equally costed to their counterparts in other armies.
  • Third, is the lack of death star builds, and this is a result of the first two differences. Characters can’t hide in units, buff them and inflate the “worth” of the unit. You can still run some big and expensive units, but there is more of a points cap on them, particularly since characters can’t join in.
All of the above funnel into a big strategic problem for an MSU army – and that is that it’s harder to out deploy your opponent now. A relatively similar WHFB list and KoW list… the KoW list should have relatively more drops, due to characters and war machines each being distinct deployment drops and unit sizes/costs being more circumscribed.

I’m definitely a fanboy of Swordmaster of Hoeth (link and his brother. Looking at Swordie’s reports though, he’s not out-deploying his opponents as much these days; usually by just a few drops. It’s harder to leverage the strengths of MSU (combo charge potential; annoying sacrificial chaff units) when your opponent can go drop-for-drop with you most of the way.

  • The fourth difference is the non-linear cost of units. It was an easy call for me to make when list building in WHFB to split units up into smaller pieces, as I was not spending any points to do so. Nowadays, one horde is are far less than the four troops that comprise it. The MSU player is paying a little bit of a premium for those extra units and attacks and in-game options offered by having more units.
  • Fifth is spells. Running MSU in WHFB had some good success as much of the magic phases were spent casting huge spells to try to destroy huge units. Now though, we have lots of magic missiles-type spells flying around (Lightning Bolt!), which, is bad news for our smaller units...
This would be the second big takeaway. You are paying a premium for your smaller units. An MSU force should make sure our unit sizes (particularly troops) make sense, otherwise your army will just bleed points away.

  • Sixth is treating units as units in combat. Having the entire unit swing regardless of how many models actually makes contact with the enemy is huge. This was clearly shown here, on this very blog in the Battle for the Brews game. The MSU player will need to watch those angles and ranges even more carefully now.
  • Seventh is the Nerve mechanic, which, honestly, is really nifty. I like the idea that a larger unit would be harder to demoralize and break. This is far more elegant to WHFB’s clunky rank bonuses and steadfast rules. However… Nerve does make it a little more difficult to break these larger units with an MSU force. The value is high, and as long as the unit is on the field, it is attacking at full strength. It’s hard to contain and whittle down a large unit when you can’t reduce its combat prowess through model attrition.
  • The eighth difference is fixed charge ranges. This is big. If you are in range, you can connect. There’s no real “baiting” charges anymore (and no fleeing!). True, the choice still lies with your opponent whether to charge or not, but their job is simplified, as they only need to juggle the statistical averages for combat, not that and balance that against the thought of will I even make it there.

That is the third and final takeaway for this post. Combat is different now. Charge ranges are fixed. fighting is one-sided each turn. It’s total. It’s brutal. I think MSU will need to develop some new skills for setting-up winning combats.. but I don't have enough experience to know what those are.

So, after all that blabbering, here are the big three takeaways that I will be looking at as I go to play my next games (in addition the "checklist")

Biggie #1 – All armies seem to have more drops now. Out deploying an opponent is harder, and that means that MSU got harder to play.
Biggie #2 – You are paying a bit of a premium to run your smaller units. Make sure you run the units in the sizes you need, otherwise you’ll bleed points away to no effect.
Biggie #3 – combat is different, now that it is one-sided each turn. Winning combats/games for MSU will require some different skills. to how MSU can/should/will change to compensate for this... I don't know. I'll get some more games in, and see if any ideas come.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

MSU LIST CHECKLIST (Early thoughts on MSU)

Years ago, I bookmarked this thread. It was about my dear old Empire and a concept of playing called MSU, or "multiple small units."

I even took notes on it! I was pretty fresh out of college, and still wayyy deep in that habit when I picked up this hobby. The thread was a wonderful overview, and really helped me learn the basics and then build my own successful MSU army (..for Warriors of Chaos). 

Anyways, from Smithf's old post, and numerous other discussion threads in the WoC and Empire forums, I compiled a "checklist" of elements that a good 8th Edition Warhammer MSU force should consider. It is below...
·         Healthy amount of S5 Attacks
·         Solid Leadership/Panic Protection
·         Fast, mobile Supporting Units
·         Good Support via Magic and/or Shooting
·         Stubborn/Unbreakable Troops
·         Wizard hunting tools
·         Good magic defense/dispel ability
·         Minimal characters
·         Having units that can Flee a charge
·         Having units that can potentially make long charges like flyers or cavalry

Checklists can be amazing. Mine helped me build more focused lists, and have a better idea (prior to play testing) what the lists strengths and weaknesses were. All that, in turn, aided my decision making in deployment, and then helped me again in the in-game decisions I was making. Creating and using the checklist, essentially creating a "know thyself" situation for me and my lists, had a wonderful ripple effect on my playing.

Now, while I have reined in my excessive note taking a bit, I’m usually still not far from a note pad (old habits die hard), and have been jotting down KoW ideas as they pop into my head. The notes hit a critical mass, and I figured I’d write a post to try and rough out my newbie thoughts with MSU and Kings of War, as it relates to the outdated list above. Below is my rough draft at an "MSU Checklist" for Kings of War. I'll be referencing it as I continue to play and test my MSU lists:

·         Ready access to Crushing Strength, Pierce, Thunderous Charge (or Bane-Chant). I want to do damage, and these are the easiest special rules/abilities to get the job done. Bane-Chant works in a pinch, but having the others abilities already on a unit is better, as I won't be relying on a spell or even investing in a wizard.
·         Inspiring bubbles where needed. Inspiring is cool, but in MSU, even with a reroll, a lot of my Troops will simply just Rout with an average roll after taking a bit of damage. Covering my whole army with Inspiring probably won't be worth the cost. What I intend to take now, will be enough to Inspire just a handful of my more critical elements, in an attempt to let them stick around longer to get their jobs done with more consistency.
·         Fast, nimble supporting units. Flank and rear charges are big deals in the game. Surrounding units is a goal for MSU armies, as it is how we tend to tackle and defeat larger or better units. Mounted Scouts and Mounted Sergeants will likely be playing bigger and bigger roles in my KoM lists for harassment and flanking, respectively.
·         Long chargers. Getting the charge can be important. Having flyers or cavalry be able to increase your threat range can really put the pressure on an opponent who does not want to get charged, or alternatively lets you make longer supporting charges.
·         Something that can take a charge. This can be taken all sorts of ways in KoW. You can go for a defensive brick of a unit, or a 70 point chaff unit to take it and probably die. Since potential overrun is only D6, containing and/or speed bumping enemy units with chaff units seems pretty viable. I'll probably be going that route with my MSU lists.
·         Disordering tools. While eliminating enemy wizards in KoW isn't as vital as it was in Warhammer, having a hero on a horse to long charge and Disorder enemy Wizards (removing your opponent’s magic support) or Disorder enemy shooting blocks or can be a great option to have.
·         Minimal characters. The sentiment still holds true, though with the unlock mechanic for list building, a few more supporting heroes could see play if I find myself starved for Troop slots.
·         Good support via magic or ranged attacks. This can take the form of Bane Chant, Heal, war machines to (hopefully) dish out big damage, or simple missile units to clear chaff and soften up enemy units before they get into melee range.
·         A way to deal with Flyers. Flyers seem to be in vogue. Drakons Riders from the Elves, and Elohi from the Basileans seem pretty common inclusions as units, and lots of armies can field powerful characters on flying monsters, so it is something serious armies should be ready to face. I've only theory crafted so far (my meta is pretty small and learning the ropes of the game still), so I haven't developed a tried-and-true toolkit of good counter tactics yet.. though the forum has a good write up of ideas here.
·         Good amout of Chaff/Drops. The usual goal of an MSU army is to "out deploy" your opponent. It seems harder in KoW, since all armies seem to have more drops. This is something I will definitely be looking at more in the coming weeks.

So yeah, more blabbering that usual this time, but I enjoyed organizing my thoughts. More to come after I get some more games in! And if you think I missed something on the MSU Checklist, let me know. These are early thoughts, and I'll likely be revisiting and revising this in the future.

Edit: This post was originally titled "Early Thoughts on Multiple Small Units" but was retitled to fit with the MSU Resources page on this blog.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hobby Update: Scouts with Pistols!

I didn't get much picture-worth hobby done this weekend... hence no updates. Saturday was a beautiful 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C, for those in the rest of the world...) in Wisconsin. A place not historically known for nice weather in February.

Location filming at its finest.
So, on this most beautiful of Saturdays, I opened up all my windows, and wandered around outside for a bit. Sunday, I hung out with a 13 day old baby, the happy, exhausted parents, and some mutual friends for a few hours. Then I did some errands on my way home, and tidied up the apartment. So... all in all a very nice weekend, but not super productive on the hobby front.

I did get in some work on the Foot Guard/Greatswords on Saturday morning. New bases all ready to go, I started prying off old models. They were all painted at once, but assembled in a few stages.. meaning I used several kinds of glue. That wasn't great for the process. Some popped off right away. Others.... not so much.

In order to not trash any models, I decided on a more methodical approach, first clearing away the basing sand with a hobby knife, then using the knife to slice or pry the feet from the base. It was labor and time intensive, but some of the models would have been ruined if I had just tried to brute force them off. The whole process took a few hours, and I soon had enough of hobbying for the day. Hoping to get back to these this week.
Great. More old magnetized bases sitting around now..

I was hoping to get in a game tonight, but it was not to be. Doubt anything will work out this week (Monday was usually "tabletop" night for most people; I am newly single, so have way more free time/me time than my peers, particularly the one with the baby). I'm considering giving Universal Battle a try. If anyone has any experience (or tips), I'd love to hear about it.

But, no game meant I could hobby! I couldn't finish the Foot Guard in an evening... but I did finish up the Scouts with Pistols tonight. Just now!

"Pew pew pew"

I love the models, aside from the horses. I think I need to go in and just chop off some of the plastic attaching hoof to base (like in the center model here). The issue is that most have just a single hoof flat against the base, so you kind of need some of that extra plastic to prevent that single point from becoming stressed or snapping entirely.. I may fiddle a bit. 

Not the best angle for him, but the guy on the left is my favorite.
I got a little wash happy with these... mostly because I spilled my container all over my desk. I couldn't think of a good way to return the contents to the bottle (I had one sponge in the apartment, and had just used it to clean out my slow cooker, which had chili mac in it), so I grabbed some other models and just started throwing black wash on every model nearby. It all turned out ok I think.

I've run these guys a few times (I started blogging after my first few games, so this blog isn't a complete record of my in-game failings), and honestly, I don't know what to make of them. A few threads in the Kingdoms of Men sub forum have discussed them, but pistols seem the weakest option in my opinion. Their short range of 12" basically turns them into 100 points of chaff... and their shooting (at 5+ to hit) may not do any damage before they are routed off the table.

The best hypothetical use I have devised for them is protectors of the gun lines. If you're fielding a lot of war machines or stationary shooters (like infantry), these could potentially intercept threats very well. They can run up, pivot shoot, all your other shooters around could take a turn shooting at the threat too. If you pivoted well, and the enemy survived, your opponent would be left with charging them, or potentially nothing (if they would need to use their pivot to try to avoid the Scouts). 

...That's kind of a pie-in-the-sky situation though, and unless you are really running a gunline (which, with 5+ across the board to hit... may not be the best idea), one could argue that their points would be spent elsewhere, on a plan rather than on some vague contingency.

As it stands, I'm happy they are done, but they will likely only be used in larger game, or if I need to field multiple armies for some reason. For now, they will dutifully guard my bookshelf.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hobby Update: Objectives!

My original hobby goal for this week was to officially bring my two Troops of Yosemite-Sam Scouts and two Troops of Crossbows into the fold of the Regnum Aeternum with some painting touchups and some rebasing. It seemed like a reasonable goal. Most were touched up about a year and a half ago in preparation for a local tournament… so really, it was a pretty doable goal.

.....But I won’t be reaching it.

The Scouts may still get some attention this week, depending on how things go, but I am for sure putting the Crossbowmen on the back burner. I have 20 models, but decided I just don’t want to run two 10-man Troops. If I need to rebase them, I want to multibase them (at least in the style of how I’ve been multibasing, with my odd mix of 40mm and 20mm squares). That means picking up a few more models (for suitable unit leaders and such)  to bring me up to 24 models. Once I hit that numbers, I can do my 8 man troops and transition them over "properly".

With that all said I have still been hobbying on two projects this week..

The first is starting to transition all my old Greatswords into 6 Troops of Footguard with two-hand-weapons. I thought I was out of 40mm square bases… but then I remembered that I had a few spare GW 40mm squares sitting around, as well eight squares for old half-done unit filler for my Empire. I knocked the filler off and threw on my sand yesterday (gravel will be added soon), so after tonight I will just need to touchup the old models, paint up a few more, and then glue them all to their new bases...

Not too many steps in the plan. Just a lot of models...
The second project, is dealing with all that old unit filler. Eventually, I wanted to do up some personalized loot/objective tokens on 25mm round bases. Apparently, “eventually” arrived earlier this week.

The materiel of the Regnum Aeternum hangs in the balance... Carbines, Pole Arms... and a king's ransom in liquid courage...
Back when “eventually” meant “many weeks from now,” I envisioned a mix of gear, beer, and wounded minis to be contested on the battlefield. Turns out I had enough gear and beer done already (just needing some touchups here and there where I broke them off the original bases) to cover all of the 7 tokens I needed! I may do up some casualties of civilians later on for a better selection of things to fight over though. I still like that idea, and could lead to some cool narratives for battles.

Anyways, just a quick mid-week hobby update. Now, to tackle those old Greatswords...

Monday, February 15, 2016

War Machines of the Kingdoms of Men

I was thinking about the Battle for the Brew, and decided I was actually pretty happy with how my Ballistae performed. They solved a troop shortage problem for me, and did their supporting fire job well. I’m going to continue running and experimenting with them, but I decided I was also curious enough to do some additional (basic) number crunching on my other War Machine options.

So, first up we have just the stats, and then the average hits that would be generated from the Blast column.

PtsMachineBlastPierceingAv. Hits
60BallistaD3+2Pierce 34
85CannonD6+1Pierce 44.5
90ArtilleryD6+2Pierce 35.5

All the war machines hit on a 5+ and have the Blast rule for generating hits, so it should be a little more honest to compare them to each other using this simple math than it was comparing them to the infantry shooters.

Like we’ve done before, we’ll take the average number of hits, factor in Pierce, and see what the expected damage caused would be against the various defensive stats.


The high Pierce value on all the war machine options kinda makes for a boring table. Piercing 3 means that everything up to any targets with Defense 6 will be hurt on the same rolls. In the case of the cannon, with Piercing 4… even targets with Defense 6 will be hurt on 2’s. Our war machines can really reliably dish out the damage… if we hit with the shot.

Now, we take the points cost of the machine, and divide it by the expected damage. It looks my spreadsheet may be rounding a bit for the Ballista (should be 18.01 or .02), but hey, close enough. You get the general idea. As expected, when the expected damage vs defense isn’t really changing… factoring in the points also doesn’t really change anything.


So… the big question, what does this mean?

Well, the biggest takeaway for me is that the war machines for Kingdoms of Men are very comparable mathematically. All hit similarly, and all have a good pierce value. There is no choice mathematically superior enough to simply dismiss the other choices. So run what you have or want and let your inner fluff bunny guide your picks if you want. With that said, here's how I'm looking at each option.

The Ballista is a great “all around” option. Mathematically-speaking, it deals the best overall damage for the points invested, but it’ll be a little less effective against Defense 6 targets, and deal a little less damage on average when it hits. It’s an effective, basic war machine option, and will be my go-to choice I think.

Siege Artillery is also a mathematically good choice overall, but with Indirect Fire, can do a few things the Ballista can’t. It can fire over a crowded battlefield or into forests to harm enemy targets without being hampered by cover penalties. If you play with lots of forests or often find yourself needing 6's to hit with your war machines... taking some Siege Artillery can really help you out.

The Cannon, with Piercing 4 will be a little overkill against many targets (you don't need that much Piercing, usually), but if you find yourself facing down a lot of Defense 6 units on a regular basis, running a Cannon seems like a good choice for dealing damage to everything.

Initially, I was bummed that I went to the trouble of examining these units, and didn’t find anything that mathematically stood out. While thinking more, and writing this post though, I'm actually really happy about that.

They are comparable enough that as a player, fluff can rule, and I'm not given a slew of false options if I were to try to run a "good" or "competitive" list. That's huge, but it goes a little further. Each choice also has a bit of a niche, that would let it shine a little brighter depending on your play style or your meta. That's.... really cool, and really well done game design.

The more I dig into the mechanics of this game the more I am impressed with it. Bravo Mantic!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Army Update

With a stack of new plastic vying for my attention, I decided to sit down this weekend and try to figure out just how much transition work I still needed to do on my old Empire units, excluding characters and war machines. The units are the big time sinks for this army, and I want to get the transition work done or mostly done before moving on to my shiny new projects… because if I know don’t do it now they’ll languish unfinished for who knows how long. I have over 1000 points of new stuff here already… with about another… 400+ points of Roman infantry minis still to order…

Anyways, in the “ready” category, here is an army shot. A few units need a spare model to truly complete them… but I’m counting them as done. They’re close enough.

Sorry for the poor quality... I'll do a better photo shoot soon. That's 2 Regiments of Knights, 2 Regiments of Shield Wall, 1 Regiment of Pikes, 3 Troops of Pole Arms, 2 Troops of Mounted Scouts with Carbines, 3 Troops of Arquebusiers. Four Troops of Bowmen aren't pictured. That’s 1765 points in units, plus an addition 120 for the two Ballistae shown here. Huzzah!

Not the best photo I ever took. Lots of wasted space. 
In the “in progress” category, meaning stuff just needs rebasing and paint touchups, I have 4 Troops of Foot Guard with two-handed weapons, which once multi-based with my weird scheme will be 5 Troops, 1 Regiment of Pole Arms, 2 Troops of Mounted Scouts w/ Pistols, and 2 Troops of Crossbowmen. That’ll be 945 points.

In the “ugh” category, meaning I still have lots of things to prime, paint or glue together, I have 1 Regiment of Pikes, 1 final Troop of Foot Guard, 1 Troop of Pole Arms... and one Regiment of medieval-style Foot Guard. That's another 435 Points by my count.

Looking at the army... I'm surprised at how many points I have already... though I think my numbers are inflated a bit, given how many Troops I have. I couldn't run this as a legal army.

This weekend was pretty chill on the hobby front. I did find a handful of old State Shooters hiding in a box, which was a nice surprise. I did them up as a third Arquebusier Troop.
Still needs some shading/wash work, but not bad for a few hours work.
So…. Lots of rebasing to do still. The "in progress" stuff should go quickly, but I'm running low on larger bases, and will need to order more before I can do up the old Greatswords. This week I hope to finish off the two Troops of Crossbowmen and the two Troops of Mounted Scouts with pistols. Should be an easy enough goal to reach.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Plastic!

In January, I caved and ordered some new plastic... and over the last week it all arrived. I've gazed upon the sprues, but am trying to hold off actually working on anything until I finish up transitioning my old Empire stuff over. We'll see how long my resolution holds... these are some cool looking models.

So.... this is (*gulp*) wave one of new stuff for my army. Wave two will be some more Roman Legionaries so do Roman-style shield wall and spear phalanx units to keep with my fluff. In wave one we have:

·         Two boxes of Praetorian Guard from Hail Caesar, for a total of 40 minis. I’ve been wanting to add some Romans for some time, and with KoW, I have an excuse. These will be used as Foot Guard with shields. hopefully they'll anchor my infantry lines a bit.
·         A box of Foot Sergeants, totaling 48 minis! I ordered some stuff from Fireforge Games, and this was part of a bundle, AND pushed my order over into free shipping territory, so I had to splurge and pick it up. Lots of options with these guys… but I have no real plans for them yet though.
·         A box of Mounted Sergeants, totaling 12 minis. Will be mixed in with some spare GW knights and run as Mounted Sergeants, giving me some cheap and nimble cavalry, which should go great with my general MSU approach.
·         A box of Mongol Cavalry, totaling 12 minis. Will be run as Scouts with Bows.
·         Two packs of Mongol Heavy Horse Archers, totaling 8 minis. Will be the leaders in my units of Scouts with Bows… with models left over. They looked cool, so I splurged and went for 2 packs. We’ll see what the spares end up being. Maybe some kind of Elite Scouts troop or something? I did not think the purchase through and was blinded by cool historical models.
·         One box of Empire State Troops, 10 models. Not a huge fan of the models, but I as it turns out I need a few bodies to finish off three units properly. The repaints have been the hassle with these; painting them up from square one isn’t too bad, now that I’ve learned to leave the arms off until the end. 

My plan is to start with the State Troopers, to help finish off my Empire transition projects, and then dive into the rest of the cool new models in some (hopefully) organized fashion. Not sure on when these new models will see some love; I have lost track of how much more Empire stuff I still need to touch up and transition over. I'll hopefully do an inventory of things and some army-wide progress pics this weekend to see where I stand. Lots of hobbying to get to!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Battle for the Brew

Rumor has it a company of dwarves were forced to abandon a batch of a particularly potent brew. Securing (and then consuming) it would definitely boost the morale for the soldiers of the Regnum Aeternum, which has been sagging lately. Unfortunately those haughty elves also heard the rumors, and despite their late departure, their fleet feet have carried them to within striking distance of the kegs at the same time as the soldiers of the Regnum Aeternum. Beer is serious business. Let battle be joined.

My opponent arrived before me and graciously set up a table. On my left, two copses of trees sat in either deployment zone. A small column of ruined stone between them. Near the kegs was a small hill - perhaps the dwarves had planned on returning to the rolling landscape to reclaim their concoction? Lastly, on my right, a patch of terribly rocky ground sat in his zone, and a ruined impassable building sat near mine.

Deployment! But what's this? A vanguard move? Oh no!
My deployment left to right was a Troop of Pole Arms, Regiment of Shield Wall, Troop of Foot Guard with two-handed weapons, a Ballista, a Regiment of Shield Wall, Scouts with Carbines behind them, a Regiment of Pikes, an Army Standard Bearer, another Ballista, two more Troops of Pole-Arms, and a Troop of Bowmen wayyy off to the right.

My plan was to swing around with my left flank; my center (stuff between the Ballistas) would move up, and the remaining Troops of Pole Arms and Bowmen on my right would either delay his "heavy hitters" on my right (heavy cav is heavy cav, and the Hunters of the Wild have a crazy amount of attacks.. not something I wanted my De3+ Regiments facing) by taking the charges and dying, or flanking the baddies if they moved into the middle. I was hoping the ruins would mess up his movement a bit.

His deployment, left to right was Ballista, Troop of heavy cavalry (Stormwind Cavalry?), Troop of Palace Guard, Regiment of Palace Guard, a lurking wizard, a Regiment of Archers, and another Troop of heavy cavalry (I'll just call them both Stormwinds) hiding behind a unit of Hunters of the Wild, which apparently have vanguard. Whoops.

And then my opponent rolled and took the first turn. Fortunately, my Bowmen were a little back, so he was slowed down a little bit, and could just charge them.

Turn 1, in it's entirety. Ignore that tree in front of my left-most Pole Arm Troop; it should be by my Foot Guard Troop but I moved it for ease of moving my army.
The hunters of the wild ran up, joined by the Stormwind Cavalry. The center moved up, the Elvish Archers blocked from taking any potshots by the hill. The Elvish Ballista fired and missed! The other Troop of Stormwind Cavalry swung around the forest and hid behind the ruined stone column, apparently eager to engage my left flank.

First is the worst, second is the best! Woooo!! Get some! End of Turn 2.

Eager for a fight, my solders moved all over the place. On my left, a brave troop of Pole arms moved up to bait a charge, expecting to die. A Regiment of Shield Wall and my Troop of Foot Guard moved to double-team the elves once they broke through.

In the center, the Scouts advanced, supported by the Regiments of infantry behind them. I think they and my Ballistae hit the Palace Guard for a few dings of damage.

My right... I wasn't sure about. The Bowmen were soon to be dead, but there was a Pole Arm Troop ready to avenge them, and a second troop aiming to delay the nearby unit of Stormwind Cavalry if they swung to the center, or possibly charge the archers if they took the hill. I was putting a lot of faith in these 70 point troops...

Turn 3, the baits are taken!
On the left, the elvish cavalry charge in, attempting to crush the Troop of Pole Arms, flub a few attacks, and roll 3 for the Nerve check.. and the Pole Arms hold and are unwavered! The Archers gain Bane-Chant via the elf wizard, and land a few wounds on my right Ballista; and his ballista lands a single wound on my Shield Wall behind the Scouts. On the right, the Hunters of the Wild massacre the Bowmen (as expected), and reform to face the center.

Turn 4, some traps are sprung.. others..... not so much. And a mistake is made. Can you spot it?
First the good stuff! On the left, the Foot Guard wind up in the flank of the Knights. the unit leader was about a model's width out of the knight's forward arc. The knights are battered from the saddles and the unit routed! The victorious, plucky Troops reform to face the enemy Ballista.

Then, the bad. Neither of my Pole Arms Troops can charge on my right flank. The reform of the Hunters of the Wild took them about a half inch further than I could charge, and the second Troop of Stormwind Cavalry, having simply reformed, were never really in danger from my Troop. I decide to march both up at the double. Neither will probably survive, but only a D6 overrun will slow the pointy eared jerks down a little. Delay is the name of the game on my right flank.

In the center, I get greedy. I move up, eager to apply some pressure and box in those Palage Guard, but don't check my angles.

End of Turn 5. It was not a good turn for me. I even busted out the rulebook to make sure my Pikes got Ensnare correctly, which saved them from 5 hits!
Turn 5... everything started to fall apart for me. The Pole Arm Troops nobly fell, delaying the those enemy units slightly. the elf Archers, buffed again by Bane Chant, shot at my Scouts, and on the reroll, they actually ended up being just fine, which was unexpected. Unfortunately, I got my angles wrong, and the Regiment of Palace Guard were able to charge my Pikes, getting coverage of about a model wide, not corner to corner, but "clipping" the unit. Ensnare saved me a ton of wounds, but he rolled a 12, and re-rolled and 11, Routing the Pikes and breaking free by a single integer (they would have only been Wavered with 10, allowing my to flank with the Shield Wall on next turn). Ugh. an error, and it's compounded by very good rolling. This isn't good for me.

Turn 6, otherwise known as Damage Control Mode.
On the left, my troops go after that Ballista. They should take it out without any issue, as it only has one round of shooting to defend itself. My left Ballista reforms, as it can't shoot at anything due to issues with my line of sight. With the center in shambles, I decide not to charge with my Shield Wall, as without Crushing Strength, they are unlikely to do anything. Instead, I put my faith in 5+ shooting attacks (with Piercing). The Scouts nimbly pivot around, and shoot into the Regiment of Palace Guard, joined by the Ballista on my right. No damage is done; every single shot missed.

Middle of Movement, Turn 7
The tides have very much turned, turned, and the Elves start mopping me up Turn 7. I have a lot (400ish points) on my left flank, but with my center having caved... it's all way out of position at this point. The elven wizard swings around the hill and casts Heal on the Palace Guard. The Archers shoot and rout my scouts; my Ballista is overrun; and the ever-speedy Stormwind Cavalry with their addition height, are able to see and charge my Shield Wall in conjunction with the Regiment of Palace Guard. My center is now truly gone at this point.

End of Turn 7
The Pole Arm Troop makes it to his Ballista and Routes it.The Foot Guard pivot and start swinging towards the center of the field. My Ballista takes a shot at the Troop of Hunters of the Wild, and surprisingly hits! They take 3 points of damage, but sadly easily remain steady. Mt last Regiment only has one point of Damage, but I don't like their chances of holding against another Palace Guard/Stormwind combined charge. I figure my best chance of salvaging the situation is to charge the cavalry. It's the best of a bunch of bad options. I end up doing a single point of damage to them.. not really enough to do anything.
End of Turn 8. beginning of turn 9. My opponent is seeing how much he can move into the center. Turns out it's a lot.
As you would expect, Turn 9 does not go well for me. Having failed to break out, which, honestly was a long shot anyways, the Palace Guard and the Stormwind Cavalry jointly charge me anyways, with the Palace Guard in the flank now... so a worse situation than what I was originally trying to avoid. As you would also expect, my Shield Wall crumbles. Both elf units reform to face new targets...

End of Turn 9.
So at the end of Turn 9, I'm in a bad spot..I'm down to just 165 points of units to contest the objective. 

Turn 10
Turn 10, I can't make any charges with either of my Troops, so they shuffle around to face the coming carnage. Heal has brought the Palace Guard down to a single point of damage... so it's not even a really viable target. It's well and over at this point, but I try to play out the game. The Army Standard Bearer scrambles out and away out of charge arcs try and Inspire my remaining troops.

Turn 11. Because every BR needs at least one blurry photo.
Turn 11 ends up as you probably expect. The Stormwind Rout my last Ballista, and the Palace Guard chases off my Troop of Foot Guard. The elf wizard flees to safety behind the Hunters of the Wild, lest my Standard bearer get any funny ideas with his 1 attack (admittedly, he was getting funny ideas).

Turn 12 I charge with the Pole Arm Troop, and do not come close to routing the Palace Guard. I concede. 

Alas, the brews had slipped through the clutches of the Regnum Aeternum, and the expedition to retrieve it was in complete disarray. This would definitely not help morale. Worse than a loss though, was a loss to those arrogant, pointy-eared elves.

Still, this was just a skirmish in the borderlands: fortunately, neither side had committed much to the fight. The elves would take their victory, claim their prize and depart. Meanwhile, the Regnum Aeternum would regroup to fight again another day.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Packing up right now for a game tonight! Below is the list I’m bringing. I’m still using just the free rules for list building, as no one else has bitten the bullet and picked up a rule book yet. Last time I played this gentlemen, I took magic items… and just seemed unfair. And then I lost the game anyway.. so if I’m going to lose, I’m going to lose on an even playing field!

Other than just the free rules, the list was born of 1) wanting to get my pike conversions on the field, and 2) fielding Ballista instead of typical shooters to free up Troop slots and points. Without Crushing Strength I’m worried about the deadliness of the Pikes… and the Ballista’s are mathematically hit-or-miss… so we’ll see how this all works.

Foot Guard (2hw)
Mounted Scouts w/ Carbines
Standard Bearer
Shield Wall
Pole Arms
Shield Wall
Pole Arms
Pole Arms

The list is… well, it’s a bit OCD. There are no open slots or leftover points. As I was building it, I thought that would be cool to try. We’ll see how effective it is.

After looking into the "deadly" math behind our shooters, I also looked at Militia, Pole Arms, and Foot Guard with two-handed crushing strength weapons as both troops and regiments, to see how deadly each were for their points. The Militia (lacking Crushing Strength attacks) ended up looking rather feeble. I was surprised that looking at points spent / average damage expected, that the Pole Arms and Foot Guard were always within a single point of each other (related; anyone know how to make a good table in blogger?). I should stress that this is just “deadly math” looking at expected hits and expected damage compared to points spent.. not covering Nerve, Defense.. etc.

Troops of.. Def3 Def4 Def5 Def6
Pole Arms 16.8 21 28 42
Foot Guard 2hw 17.1 21.375 28.5 42.75

I’ve really liked my Foot Guard Troops, so I figured I’d put my newly transitioned Pole Arm Troops to the test. They aren’t as durable or as deadly, but they are cheaper, and should get comparable results for the points invested. Hopefully there are enough units on the table that someone will find a flank and do some damage, or walk away with an objective.

I usually have some general deployment plan with a list… I don’t here. The only plan I have right now is to deploy back a bit, to buy me time to position and react since Elves are fast, and to save my Pikes until he commits any cavalry. We’ll see what I come up with when the dice start flying.