Monday, December 26, 2016

Hobby Update: Skeleton Archers

While the Warriors only had a few models with stands, the Archers were going to be the opposite. I figured working on them would be a nice intermediate step before tackling the basing of the Militia, who have nothing but stands.

I built/converted some Games Workshop Tomb King skeletons into archers (I didn't have quite enough bits), and picked up multiple packs of skeleton archers from Reaper Mini to fill up my ranks.

With so many repeated models (the ones from Reaper), I wanted to try to break the monotany a bit, and added straps and quivers all over to give the illusion of difference. For the base, since it's goofy to have the same rocks over and over, I added some "rocks" using green stuff. In retrospect, I should have used actual rocks or spent more time sculpting. The blobs don't quite work...

About half the models from reaper..
As before, models with stands were glued to the MDF base. I omitted the milliput this time, and just added the Vallejo paste, to play with the process a bit. Then everything was primed white, and then painted.
Mid priming.

These were pretty easy to paint up. Skeletons don't take much work, and with so much repetition, I cranked these out over a weekend.

...and now, worthy of the table top!
They turned out well enough! Might do a few touch ups down the line, but for now, these guys are done. They made an appearance as a horde in Battle 8, as my opponent did not have his models ready, and I figured why proxy if we don't have to? I don't plan on running these guys too often myself, but having them on hand to loan out for big games or as part of a small force to introduce Kings of War to folks is going to be great.

Basing wise, the green stuff rocks fell a bit short, and just the paste wasn't that great on its own for working with the models with stands. I've used the paste a lot for the Regnum, but I think Milliput will need to play a bigger role in basing the Militia...

Anyways, this Undead hobbying tangent is shambling towards completion!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hobby Update: Skeleton Regiments

Alright! I’ve actually made a ton of progress on my Undead! As mentioned before, this little side project had two main goals:
  1. Figuring out how to do some basing for minis with stands (to help finish my Militia)
  2. Get a nice little side army (which could be loaned out, or used for introductory or huge games)

One of my purchases for this project was a regimental box of Mantic Skeletons. The models have stands, and I could experiment with the basing, and then glue some already painted Games Workshop skeletons down to fill up the unit. I figured that would be a good way to ease into working with stands.

Step 2, and Step 1. You can see some of the hand-weapon sculpts here.
Step 1: Glue the assembled model to the base.

My bases are MDF bases from Ironheart Artisans. I've placed two orders with them now, and have been really happy with, well... everything. Speedy shipping, good prices and great quality. Haven't had a single one warp yet, and I've tried sloshing paint, paste and putty on them. If you are in need of bases... definitely check them out.

Step 2: Add some Milliput around the stand itself, and smooth it out. The aim is to create a slightly elevated area around it that works with and incorporates the existing stand, so that it looks like the model is just on a little tiny slope or hill or something.

Step 3: Add some Vallejo paste for some texture to the base. For this project, I decided to use the paste but paint it gray to create a rocky effect, and have the flat parts of the base be more dirt or mud.
Step 4: Prime! I went with a white primer for these, since that’s what I primed my GW Skeletons with.

...and we're up to Step 5 in this pic.
Step 5: Paint the base! Since everything needed to be painted up, I used some big brushes, and started with the base. Slopping around paint and not caring too much if anything got onto the model itself, as eventually, it would be painted over.

Step 6: Paint the mini! With the imprecise painting of the base done, I moved on to the model. I started with haphaardly applying the bone base color to the unit, and then working my way to the metals, leather straps, cloth, etc, finishing with the most precise parts last.

Step 7: Shading and washing the mini. I applied a hefty coat of brown wash to the minis, which got the bones to stand out a lot, and everything else looking pretty dirty.

This might be the end if every model had a stand. Since my models are all mixed up, Step 8 was gluing the other stand-less models onto the base. I used a plain, thin super glue picked up from the grocery store. After some futzing and a few fingers glued together accidentally, the units look like this:

The Regiment is pretty solid. I may add a shield for the standard bearer, and some varied browns to the skeleton feet to try and sell the muddy effect, but the unit is ready for the table.

The Troops are pretty good too. For better or for worse, the Games Workshop Skeletons are really hard to rank up (they are all leaning in weird directions), and I ended up with a few spares when I couldn't fit them in.

So there you have it. Some skeletons! Working with the stands was pretty easy actually, and this was a nice trial run.

Next up are four troops of Skeleton Archers, where I try to explore basing with stands in closer quarters, as most of those models have stands. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hobby Update: Mounted Scouts and Bows

I've had these guys sitting around for the better part of a year. About a month ago, I finished painting up the scouts themselves (the mounts had been finished ages ago) and got them table ready. Since that post, they have received a little shading, gotten a few more accessory bits glued on, and seen some action.

I couldn't get an unblurry shot will all 3 units.. so we'll do this piecemeal.
Since the other post talks about the models, this will be more about the unit itself, starting with the bigger picture.

The Mounted Scouts for Kingdoms of Men has three drastically different weapon options: Bows (24"), Pistols (12" and Piercing 1) and Carbines (18" Piercing 1), what you pick decide to roll with has a big impact on how you use them.

Scouts with Pistols 100 Points

Barring terrible positioning, cavalry will always be able to retaliate against the pistol wielding scouts. Against speedier lists (like, Elves or Ratkin) the Scouts will likely be also threatened by any infantry they themselves can threaten. Against armies with average speed (like other KoM), you only have an inch or two to play with where you can shoot without being charged by enemy infantry. Against slow lists (Dwarves, or Undead with all that Shambling), but that's a pretty situational match up.

The point I'm trying to make is that the short range of the pistols really limits the options for this unit, and any Scouts with Pistols will probably die after firing their first volley.

The best uses for Scouts with Pistols seem to be:
-Chaff for your cavalry, just be able to stand in front of your Knights and take that hit. Being cavalry as well, they can keep pace with the Knights depending on how threatening you want to be. If you play it smart, they might even get to shoot before they die.
-Gunline protection. These could sit back while your ranged units and war machines lob death at the enemy. Should anything approach the gun line, the Pistol Scouts can canter up, get in the way of your enemy, and shoot... as can the rest of your gun line. After a turn of focused fire, the threat is hopefully removed, and if not, their only viable charge target should be the Scouts.

Scouts with Carbines 115 Points

The 15 point Carbine upgrade gives you an extra 6" for range versus the Pistols. At 18" away, you're still vulnerable to enemy cavalry, but should be able to safely shoot at enemy infantry for a turn or two, and the Piercing can help you actually whittle away a bit of your target.

You can still use Scouts with Carbines as chaff or for gun line protection, but the extra range means fewer threats for them and a better chance to survive, and therefore more options.

I've really liked these in combined-arms lists. Stick them with infantry. The Infantry can move quickly and the Scouts can keep pace while shooting. They can also screen the infantry from enemy fire while everyone advances. These Scouts are really useful... but unlikely to stick around for long.

Scouts with Bows 100 Points

Dropping back down to 100 Points grants the Scouts with Bows another 6" of range but they lose Piercing. The added range is nice, and at 24", the only thing you should be wary of is other ranged attacks (war machines, Lightning Bolt, other shooters). Again, the increase in range means a better chance to survive, and unlocks other options for the unit like actual harassment of the enemy.
Second Troop.
My first game wasn't a great test for them. Three units was probably a bit much to run at 1000 points. I didn't really get to use their mobility, and they just scooted up and shot for a few turns before being sacrificed as chaff. It wasn't a terrible use for them... but definitely not the best use.
Third Troop.
However, even with a somewhat lackluster first outing, I was pleasantly surprised by the unit. It has a lot of potential.

In larger games (2k) I'll be taking all three Troops for additional testing. With focus fire, they should be able to whittle away a bit at a unit with a weak defense or a low Nerve, even with Ranged 5+ and no Piercing. With their mobility, they should be able to get into position in order to take those shots, or even flank charge as the opportunity presents. Looking forward to having these guys on the table again soon!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Battle 8: Loot and Legends

Both the Undead and the Ratkin had been sighted in the Badlands, and the Regnum Aeternum was wary. Scouts had spotted a massive Undead host on the move nearby. The Ratkin seemed… capricious at best during their first encounter with the Regnum, and the diplomats were dispatched soon after the battle. Perhaps the skittering tribe could be persuaded to take up arms against the Undead?

I was fortunate enough to lock in another game this week, against the same players as last time. We mixed it up a bit from last time though. This time, the Undead player would field 2k, and myself and the Ratkin would field 1k apiece.

TastyBagel’s Scout-errific 1k
Regiment Spear Phalanx
Regiment Mounted Sergeants w/ Mace of Crushing
Troop Knights
3x Troop Mounted Scouts w/ Bows
Army Standard Bearer w/ War-bow of Kaba
Beast of War w/ Light Ballista

The whole point of the list was to test out the Mounted Scouts (I'll have a separate post about what I thought of them soon), and after a few hours on and off playing with numbers, this is where I ended up. The Beast was added because it seemed like it would be a decent anchor/crutch, and would work well with the Spear Phalanx. Sergeants and Knights were there to add some damage… hopefully at a place of my choosing with their decent speed, and with 10 points left over, I bought some magic items.

Ratkin 1k
2x Horde Warriors
Troop Clawshots
Mutant Rat-Fiend
Death Engine
Swarm-Crier w/ Kevinar’s Flying Hammer

The Rats brought some hordes, monsters, and some fire support units. From my basic understanding of the army, they utilize a combination of Rallying (nearby units boosting the Nerve of other units) and Inspiring to stick around. I don’t know much about the Ratkin yet, but this seemed typical, though not optimized, since we’re still learning what his army can do.

Undead 2k
Horde Skeleton Warriors w/ Giant Rats
Horde Skeleton Archers w/ Fire Oil
Legion Zombies
Horde Werewolves
Regiment Soul Reaver Cavalry w/ Helm of Confidence
Undead Army Standard Bearer
Vampire on Undead Dragon w/ Heal (2) & Ensorcelled Armor
Lady Ilona
Mortibris the Necromancer

I offered up my WIP Undaed units as we figured out when and what to play, but my buddy built his own list, so we got some legendary characters and a big mean dragon. We absolutely did not get all the rules right for the special characters, so they probably weren’t worth their points. Playing at this points-level though, I think my opponent got to explore and learn a lot about his army. Both players did, so this was a good evening.

The board! Hills were Height 1; brown mesas Height 4 and the cluster of tree-looking things were forests.
We set up a pretty basic table and decided to roll for a scenario, and rolled up Loot. Remembering the goof last time I played this game, we set the counters on the center line this time, so all would be in play. To save time, we deployed all our units at once, making a few adjustments here and there. This was their second game, so the goal was to just play and get the game mechanics down, not get bogged down in deployment mind games.

The board with deployments! Astute readers will notice something missing...
From my left to right, the Undead Player deployed a Legion of Zombies, the Army Standard bearer, Horde of Skeleton Archers in front of Mortibris, Regiment of Soul Reaver Cavalry, Horde of Werewolves, Vampire on Undead Dragon, and Skeleton Warrior Horde. He decided to focus on (from my perspective) the Left and Center Loot tokens, leaving the Skeleton Warrior Horde to contest the Right Loot Token, and the Vampire/Dragon to support them or threaten the center as he saw fit.

Yeah, I deployed pretty far back. Here is a second shot of deployment, and the second chance to guess what we missed... 
I opted for a pretty far-back layered deployment. Left to right, I had Regiment of Spear Phalanx with the Beast, and then the ASB, Knight Troop and Mounted Sergeant regiments all screened by the Scouts. I wanted them in front to do double duty as shooters and screeners. I didn’t think my Knights and Sergeants would be good at grinding out the Undead, and would basically be one-use-only units, so I wanted to protect them while I could.

The Ratkin player deployed all the way up, and was apparently eager to see some action. So eager, in fact, that he forgot to deploy one of his hordes of warriors… we’d discover that in a few turns. Left to right he had the Clawshots and Artillery behind a Horde of Warriors, the Crier, the Mutant and the Death Engine.

My ally and I didn’t discuss real plan. We started out with the typical "this is your side; this is my side" approach. Fluff-wise, this makes sense being a little distrustful of one another, but probably not the best call game-wise.

The Undead player rolled a solid 1 for first-turn honors, and was beaten soundly by my Ratkin ally’s 2. Team Painted took the first turn!

Turn 1 Team Painted

My left was pretty static, though I probably should have been more aggressive with the Spear Phalanx to start. The Sergeants canter wayyy up though, and decide to face left, hoping to flank the enemy Soul Reaver cavalry, since that unit couldn't be couldn’t be abused with Surge trickiness.

Go Sergeants go! Set that trap!
I sent a lot of shots into the Skeleton Archer Horde, doing 7ish wounds. We had the ranged advantage, and I wanted to (try and) remove the Undead’s ranged option asap. My Ratkin ally shoot into the super-tanky Vampire/Dragon, but only scored one wound I believe.

Turn 2 Undead

The Zombie Legion scoots up a bit and pivots more towards the center. They are then Surged onto the token, which, in retrospect is cool but they wouldn’t have picked up this turn. Oops.

The Soul Reaver Cavalry scoot up a bit as well, and we turn the area west of the center mesa into a no-go zone for all involved. His Skeleton Archers shoot at my Sergeants, and the Lady Ilona throws some Lightning at them for good measure. …And they are wavered. That’s what I get for playing aggressively with them.

The Werewolves smash into the Ratkin Warriors, and the Skeleton Warriors sit in the forest, daring the Ratkin to make some hindered charges.

The Undead are on the move!
The Vampire Dragon double-times it over to the hill, and cannot use his ranged breath attack. However, in retrospect, this is an illegal move due to the distance and pivoting twice (once to move to the hill; once to face the center). I was not paying close enough attention to that flank. In any event, in our game, he ended up on the hill, staring at the flank of the whole darn battlefield. And that’s not good at all…

I thought that Horde would be tougher... good rolling Werewolves!
The Werewolves roll quite good, deal 12 damage, and then roll 10 for the Nerve check, routing them as the Crier was 7-8” away. Well… that did not go well. In double checking the Ratkin’s Nerve value though, I happen to notice that my ally didn’t deploy his second Horde. So we got that going for us.

Turn 3 Team Painted

We all agree to put the Ratkin latecomers out of charge range of the Dragon. That all seems fair, and they run up near the beast to try and chase it away. But we’re still in a bad spot losing that other Horde… additionally, I forget to take pictures.
The FLGS is looking festive these days. Oh, and Ratkin reinforcements arrive! 
My ally and I chat. I don’t think I have anywhere near enough strength to move that Legion. Contesting that Loot Token seems like a lost cause. I can chaff that side of the table up though while we focus on the other two…

I take a page from Swordmaster’s playbook, and run my ASB up to buy myself a turn against the Legion. He is unfortunately moving too quick to use his War bow now… More fire is directed at the Skeleton Archer Horde in an attempt to Rout it… but the effort is largely ineffectual. Very few hits find their mark, and I honestly don’t remember if we even got into “well I all need is lucky sixes” range in terms of damage done. Unwavering units ftw.  

Pic is actually from the start of Turn 4... but shows you where we sit.
One troop of Mounted Scouts don’t shoot, and instead zip up to claim the Center Loot Token and delay the Werewolves, who had reformed post-victory.

My Wavered Mounted Sergeants change facing to start at the mesa and think about what they’ve done. They were 2” away from charge range against the Skeleton Archer Horde before they were Wavered anyways. Perhaps they’ll survive and be able to charge the Werewolves next turn?

We hope the arrival of the second horde will distract the Dragon, and my Ratkin ally splits his monsters. The Death Engine takes the bait and slams into the Skeleton Warrior Horde, and the Mutant moves to threaten the Werewolves next turn. Meanwhile the Artillery and Clawshots fire at the Werewolves, and soften them up a bit… The Ratkin Warlock starts zapping the Dragon with Lightning. Hey, it might work…

Turn 4 Undead

The Zombie Legion attacks the ASB, and will eventually decide to reform, and the Soul Reaver Cavalry sneak around the Mesa. The Skeleton Archers will shoot and Rout my Mounted Sergeants. Lastly, Lady Ilona and the Werewolves decide to slam into the feisty bait of Loot-carrying Mounted Scouts… and will easily Rout them.

The Skeleton Archers are starting to be Healed now by Mortibris. The dozen or so wounds accumulated quickly start to fade away, and Life Leech starts starts doing work to heal the damage for the rest of the army as well. This is unfortunate…

On the Ratkin side of the board, the Skeleton Warrior Horde dukes it out with the Death Engine and Dragon hops over the reinforcement horde and breathes what I would assume would be terrible undead breath at them.

Turn 5 Team Painted

The Ratkin Warlock continues his personal vendetta against the Dragon, throwing more lightning at it. The Ratkin Warrior Horde moves up to claim the Right Loot Token, and eyes up a potential future charge against the Skeleton Warriors… who are grinding it out with the Death Engine.

One of the few glimpses of the Ratkin side of the table. Sorry.
The Werewolves had reformed again, though the Mutant Rat-Fiend barreled in anyways. Just an average Nerve check would see them off the field, but it was not to be…

It is getting a little desperate on the left…

The Spear Phalanx are fed to the Zombie Legion. They charge in and do some damage, but it is a purely sacrificial action. The Mounted Scouts move up a bit, and the Regnum and Ratkin coordinate fire.

Alright Scouts! Time to probably die.
The Beast fires the ballista into the Soul Reaver Cavalry, joined by a troop of Mounted Scouts and the Ratkin Artillery, and a little damage is done. (They are really strong with Defense 6+…) The Clawshots and the second troop of Mounted Scouts shoot at Lady Ilona… and manage no damage whatsoever; we rolled terribly, and didn’t know she had Defense 6+ as well… In retrospect, I should have charged the second troop into the flank of the Werewolves instead and tried to help Rout them. Oh well.

Turn 6 Undead

The Spear Phalanx are torn apart. The Soul Reaver Cavalry tear into the Mounted Scouts in front of them, and Lady Ilona Lightning Bolt’s away the other Troop with some help from the Skeleton Archers.

On the right, the Death-Engine and Skeleton Warrior Horde contine to duke it out.

No more Scouts. 
The Dragon opts to charge the rear of the Ratkin Warrior Horde and stomps them in one go. The Loot Token is dropped and left there, as the Dragon really wants to continue his rampage. The Werewolves crash into the Mutant Rat-Fiend, dealing 6 wounds…

Turn 7 Team Painted

The Knights have sat patiently all game. Face-palming continuously at the incompetence of the other cavalry. They nod solemnly to the driver of the Beast of War, and together they charge the Soul Reavers, and the vampire cavalry is obliterated. The knights overrun the full 6 inches while the Beast lags behind.

Sweet! We finally killed something! Go Team Painted!
What remains of the Ratkin do their best. The Crier moves to Inspire the Mutant, and the Warlock continues to harass the Dragon. I think the Artillery misses, but the monsters continue to slug it out. Unfortunately, poor dicing and Inspiring again mean the Werewolf menace remains on the board (though I believe it is wavered)…

Turn 8 Undead

The Vampire on the Undead Dragon continues his rampage. Eyeing a long charge, the fiend tears into the rear of the Mutant Rat fiend and shreds it.

Two rear charges from a flyer... the Ratkin had a bit of a rough time against this guy.
The Undead player begins to see some of the nuances of Surge. The Skeleton Archers land a wound on the Beast of War while the the Zombies change facing to eye its tasty, tasty flank. They need 4 hits from Surge to start feasting, and in a lucky break for Team Painted, roll up only 3!

*phew* Run away, Dino! Run away!
On the right, the Skeleton Warriors, benefiting from Life Leech and being a Horde, eventually overcome the Death-Engine… and the Right Loot token is now up for grabs.

Turn 9 Team Painted

After a great deal of measuring, the Knights and Beast, while having a bit of a respite, and running low on options. Range limits what they can do, and they decide to both attack the Werewolves, and the beasts are finally routed! It is a very small victory, however. The two reform, but the situation is dire.

The Werewolves are finally Routed...
The Zombie Legion still has the Left Loot Token, the Center Loot Token is held by the knights but their survivability is low. The Right Loot Token can now only be contested (not picked up) by the two Ratkin heroes….

Turn 10 Team Undead

The Zombies move up, and try for a long Surge against the Beast of War, falling far short.

The Dragon inches back and breathes on the Knights, aided by Lady Ilona's Lightning. Miraculously, only 1 damage makes its way through the armor! They are however, Wavered…

Turn 11 Team Painted

On the Right, the Ratkin Heroes set up to contest the Right Loot Token. If the Skeletons can make it through the (Inspired) Warlock and the Crier, the token will be theirs…

The Knights remember they are headstrong, and manage to shrug off their formerly wavered state, and the Beast moonwalks to hopefully prevent any trouble from the Zombies. In retrospect, the Zombies may have been able to sidestep and surge into the Knights… I don’t think this occurred to anyone at the time.

I think my Ratkin ally and I misplayed here. The Clawshots consider a charge, but instead shoot at the Dragon. That might not have been the best call. They probably should have charged, and the knights tried to get out of sight of the dragon. I honestly don’t remember what we were thinking here. It was late and the shop was closing soon.

The Ratkin Artillery, Warlock and even the Crier with Kevinar’s Hammer unload against the Skeleton Warriors, and mess up their ranks a little. The unit has survived the Death-Engine grind very well thanks to the boosted Life Leech from the Rats upgrade. They are nowhere near to routing.

The Zombie Horde still has the Left Loot; the Knights are about to get crushed by a Dragon, and the Skeleton Warriors are moving to fight for the Right Loot… Things are grim for Team Painted.

Turn 12 Team Undead

There’s no kill like overkill!

-The Zombies charge the rear of the Beast for the fun of it, ready to toss out 120 attacks.
-Lady Ilona and the Vampire on an Undead Dragon pincer the Knights.
-The Horde of Skeleton Warriors attempt to dislodge the Ratkin characters.
-The menacing Mortibris, the Undead Standard Bearer and the Skeleton Archer Horde scoff the dirt a bit… not having done much the last few turns.

We have a good laugh at the ridiculous amount of attacks the Zombies are dishing out, and several minutes later… 5 wounds are dealt to the Beast. He holds, unfazed. Last game, my opponent took way too many spells. This game, he neglected Bane-Chant (opting to Heal and Surge instead), or Brew of Sharpness for the Zombie Legion. I… I think he learned his lesson there. I don’t think he’ll be neglecting those again.

Hold fast! They are upon us!
With the Beast holding, we move onto the combat with the Knights. The Dragon and Lady Ilona deal 7 more damage to the unit…

Nerve check presented here without comment.
It was the dice roll hear round the shop. Apologies to everyone there for all the whooping and shouting... this last turn was pretty bonkerz. The Knights hold against all odd and all manner of foul Undead!

A little dismayed at the sudden reversal of the dice, we move onto the Horde of Skeleton Warriors verses the plucky (if generally unsavory) Ratkin heroes.

The skeletons swipe at the Warlock, and bludgeon him pretty good. However they fail to Rout him! And the Crier cheers on his companion.

In the end, the Zombie Legion retained control of a Loot Token; as did the Knight Troop. The third Token was unclaimed.

Result: Draw!

It was late (the shop was officially closing in just a few minutes), and we decided to call it quits, acknowledging full well that had the game gone another turn… Team Painted would have probably been done for.

While there were plenty of goofs and minor errors to go around, everyone walked away having learned a lot about the game. They got introduced to the scenario-side of Kings of War, as well as got to learn more about their armies. It was a good night.

Thanks to my opponents for a great game! This was an awesome way to end the evening.