Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hobby Update: Varangur Army

I had a potential game fall apart on me, so spent the evening puttering around my apartment. One of the things I did was take stoke of the Varangur project. I realized that I'm about 50 points shy of 2000 points of Varangur painted and ready for the table. I could easily reach that with some Gifts and Magic items. Not bad for only a few months!

This seems like a good place to take a break on the Varangur. To be sure, I have future plans for the army. I still have two more regiments of Warbands to paint up and nearly 100 old Chaos Warriors in various degrees of completion that can be converted over into Kings of War. Mix in a few monsters... and this could be an great collection of baddies.

The first, immediate goal for the Varangur project was to create a small force on hand for introductory level games (around 1000 points). I figured a KoM mirror-match would be boring for an intro game, as part of the fun of Kings of War (in my opinion) is the variety of armies (and models) one can field. Right now, I can now offer up intro lists for the Kingdoms of Men, the Undead and now the Varangur, so yeah, I definitely achieved this goal.

The second, more long-term goal for the Varangur project is to create a large force for use in mega battles. I've talked to a few people who are on board with the idea, and can probably sway a few more for an afternoon of large-scale tabletop fighting. Having a few thousand points of evil vikings to draw from can only be a good thing here. So yeah, not there yet, but I'm definitely on my way with this goal.

This force is a good starting point for that future goal. Mix in my the other unpainted models, maybe pick up a few monsters... and the Varangur could be a numerous (and fearsome!) force for folks to square off against as part of a big game.

So, yeah. I have a good pool to draw from should I be fortunate enough to introduce the game (had a few people express casual interest... we'll see what happens), and I have a good starting point from which to expand the collection.

...But for now, I'm going to shift my focus away from the Varangur. I've got a bunch of old KoM stuff to get back to, and I would also like to get back to the Herd project I undertook (and quickly abandoned) late last year. Not sure what will be up next, but I should have some WIP stuff coming relatively soon.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hobby Update: Varangur Mounted Sons

Huzzah! All the Mounted Sons are done!

The whole, terrifying gang, together at last.
I have been hobbying on these guys for a few months now, so it's really good to be able to call them done. I wanted the end result to look pretty similar across all the units, so almost all of the painting was done batch style... finishing each step on every model before moving on to the next one. I think they turned out nice, but man, working on 30 models at once has been a pretty long haul.

See? Decent iconography. All gauntlety and stuff.
I ended up hitting a few snags with these along the way too. I was short a torso somehow, which was fixed via green stuff putty. I also ended up being short a few pauldrons. That was fixed by picking up a pack of these a few weeks ago... which, unfortunately, you can't really see from the pictures.

The pack had more pauldrons than I needed, but I'd rather use all those up and have generic knight ones for other projects.. So I ended up using the pads as kind of "accent armor" replacing a pauldron here throughout the unit instead of doubling up on one model. Sorry for not snapping any pics of it. I'm too lazy to go back.

The shoulder pads actually fit pretty well on the knights. Additionally, they solved a little problem for me, as I didn't know what to put on the banners. The armored fist made for a pretty good army icon, which was dutifully appropriated and incorporated into the banners to further visually unify the units, as you can see from above.

These cavalry units are over 1000 points themselves, so the Varangur are coming along nicely!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hobby Update: Varangur Chieftain, Skaald, and Warband

The Varangur project is humming right along. I managed to get a few units moved over into the "table ready" column the other day, so here they are.

"Go forth and die."
First up is the Chieftain. I picked this guy up years ago to use as a battle standard bearer for Warhammer Fantasy Battles. Out of the box, his left arm was a tentacle mass holding a shield. I had used the shield in another project, and had planned on building a tentacle holding the flag pole back when he had a purpose. Ultimately, I decided that my list didn't need him in my lists (go Slaanesh!), and he ended up just sitting in a box for a few  years.

As the Varangur project grew (and grew), I dug him up. I decided to build a gesturing tentacle for him, like he was ordering his troops "forward" to go "attack those guys" or something. Nothing too fancy about the painting, though I will say listening to this song while hobbying on him was a good thing. Immersion and everything.

The Varangur actually have a nice variety of things they can field for their Inspiring sources. Coming from Kingdoms of Men.. the Chieftain on a Horse seems expensive, but unlike the KoM, the Varangur leaders are actually quite competent in combat. When you factor in the high Nerve, good combat stats, smaller base size (relative to a unit, anyways) and the ability to take gifts, I could definitely see the Chieftains being a pain to deal with on the battlefield.

I also completed is a Skaald on foot. I picked up the model from Reaper a while ago to have on hand for Dungeons and Dragons. No real conversion work done to her at all, and nothing much to say about her in-game that wasn't covered when I chatted about the Mounted Skaalds. She'll mostly be taken to Inspire the troops.

Lastly, I finished up a Regiment of Warband with shields. The models are Games Workshop Chaos Marauders. I picked up a few Chaos Battalion Boxes back in the day, and had nearly 50 models sitting around.. enough for three Regiments.

However, I forgot how much of a pain these could be to assemble. The muscles on these dudes are so pronounced that you have to glue everything juuust right to get things to line up. The other regiments will be wielding two-handed weapons (Crushing Strength ftw!), and I imagine will be even more of a pain, so those other two Regiments will be worked on slowly. One Warband should be enough for the time being.

I've also made slow but steady progress with all of the Mounted Sons (three regiments and two troops). They are just about done, so hopefully I'll have a post of them up soon!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Battle 9: Spaceman Scuffle

After a little pestering and a handful of missed connections over April, I was lucky enough to get a game in! The points level was a little lower than I wanted, but hey, a game is still a game. Plus, we were both going to be rusty, so a smaller (quicker) game probably wouldn’t be a bad idea anyways.

TastyBagel's list.
Here is the list I ran. Special thanks to this website for being so awesome. The site is really slick, and free, if you are so inclined. The list (and all the pertinent rule therein!) all stays with the file, giving you a small simple I highly recommend using them.

I wanted to run my General on a Winged Beast... but decided that he would need to replace the Beast of War. At 1500 points... I felt that it was just too much tied up in too few units. One of the strengths of Kingdoms of Men is the number of drops I can field, and I didn't want to diminish that.

I figured I would likely out-deploy my opponent, and so my vague plan was for the infantry and war machines to be deployed early and in the center as bait, while the rest of the list, all mounted and zippy, should be able to be deployed later and on the flanks, or where ever they would be needed.

My opponent was my usual elf-playing friend. He brought a pretty typical list for him, though a little heavier on the infantry than usual. He fit two big nasty things in his list though, so I was obviously doing something wrong!

My opponent's list.
As he deployed, I was scared of the Herder and Dragon Lord. As usual I guess. Those have proven to be tough nuts to crack in the past. His Archers have also caused me some trouble...

I was somewhat pleased to see the rest of the list though. Lots of infantry. Elves are quick, but I felt with all my mounted units, I should actually have the speed advantage. With just the Archers (and the Mage, I guess), I also felt I had the ranged advantage. Hopefully, I could soften him up from afar, and then mop up with superior numbers.

My opponent gave me a gracious choice of 3 models to serve as a proxy for the Tree Herder: an Elf puttied to a model tree; a stoic LOTR-style statue; or a 3d printed astronaut. I obviously picked the astronaut.

We rolled up a scenario, and got Kill. We kept it, figuring it would be a nice scenario to ease us back into the game. I had arrived first, and set up a simple table as you see below: ruddy hills are impassable height 4 mesas; hills are height 1 hills, and the clumps trees are actually called forests (try to keep up) and will be treated as difficult terrain. I didn't want to get too fancy with the terrain. The first game in many months... I figured we'd have enough trouble remembering the basics.

I won the roll off, and not really having a strong preference for sides, picked the one I thought would make for better pictures, facing back into the play area of the shop. I figured I could use the mesas to divide the battlefield, and isolate my opponent's units.

Typical battlefield, and the Astronaut looms large in the center. All my opponent's stuff has been deployed at this point.
Drop by drop, I was somehow able to get him committed to a rather strong center. He went wide, but again, most of the list is infantry, which would somewhat limit his mobility. As you can see above, left to right, he deployed: Troop of Stormwind Cavalry, Regiment of Archers on the hill, Regiment of Palace Guard, Hunters of the Wild  and Tree Herder in the forest, Mage behind them, Regiment of Palace Guard, Dragon Kindred Lord, and troop of Palace Guard.

...and I finish deploying. The right-side of the table becoming much more threatening for my opponent.
Confirming that he was done, I finished deploying, much to the surprise of my opponent. He had forgotten just how many units the Kingdoms of Men can field. Left to right, I have a Troop of Knights screening a Troop of Mounted Sergeants, the General on a Winged Beast cowering behind some rocks, Regiment of Spear Phalanx screened by a Troop of Militia, the two Ballistae, Militia screening Spear Phalanx again, and then a pretty stacked right flank with two Troops of Mounted Scouts screening the Regiment of Knights and Mounted Army Standard Bearer, and a Regiment of Mounted Sergeants on the far right. In retrospect, I may have stacked the right flank too much. My two heaviest hitters (Regiments of Mounted Sergeants and Knights) are both there, heavily telegraphing that I want to roll up that flank.

In chatting with my opponent afterwards, he finished deployment and was feeling pretty good about everything until the rest of my army showed up. He elected not to vanguard anything, resolving to hold back and play a bit more reactionary and defensively. I surprisingly won the roll off for first turn, and off we went.

Turn 1: Kingdoms of Men

I was elated with the start. I always forget his Tree Herder can vanguard... and am always relieved when my opponent declines to move it. Getting the first turn was clutch too, as I was eager to press both my ranged advantage, and the strong flank pincer potential my additional deployments provided me. 

On the left, the Troops and General advanced. The Troops looking to deter the knights from advancing; the General looking to fly behind enemy lines.

The center was pretty static, and the Ballistae decide to shoot at the Archer Regiment, hoping to soften them up before their bows could be used. Both war machines missed though.

My right flank is ready to go. I want that dragon dead so bad.
On the right, the Mounted Sergeants screamed up the field, getting into position for a flank charge against the Palace Guard Troop. The Mounted Scouts leisurely walked up and fired off some pot shots at that same troop, slipping through 1 damage.

Turn 2: Elves

My opponent shifted just about everything to look at my right flank. Most of his army pivoted, and shuffled up to intercept.

Re-positioning to face my right flank. I will also draw your attention to the regiment of primed Palace Guard behind the forest in the center. My opponent decided he needed more models on the field, and buffed up the unit numbers a bit.
Three units, however, did not. The Mage jogged over towards the left, and got 2 Bane Chant off on the Archers, who themselves shuffled up, pivoted, shot with penalties, but managed to wound my General. The Troop of Stormwind Cavalry cantered up a bit as well.

Turn 3: Kingdoms of Men

I decide to pop my General up and over the trees, pivoting to face the center of the battlefield for the coming turns. My Troops of Knights and Mounted Sergeants spot an opportunity, and decide to flank charge the Troop of Stormwind Cavalry. It’s a hindered charge, but I figured… I don’t know. Something would happen with a combined 30 attacks. The Sergeants fail to wound at all, and the Knights only slip 2 damage through. (Writing this, I may have flubbed the math, applying the -1 to Hit from the Hindered Charge to the damage roll as well… I recall rolling some 5s with the Sergeants, which would have wounded, but that could easily be personal “memory” bias.) Regardless, the Stormwind troop holds.

The Ballistae decide to keep firing at the Archers. The goal was to try and soften them up and clear out that flank as fast as I can, which would allow me left to join up with my advancing infantry in later turns. However, both Ballistae miss again.

On my right flank, I do some measuring. The two Mounted Scouts and Regiment of Mounted Sergeants are all in charge range of the Dragon Kindred Lord. I decide to try and gum things up, and charge the Mounted Sergeants into the Troop of palace Guard. I was hoping to rout and overrun, out of sight of the Dragon Kindred Lord. Unfortunately, while they do route the Guards, they don’t get that far.

Additionally, I march one Troop of Mounted Scouts behind the Sergeants. The idea was to get them mostly out of the way, to prevent the Dragon Lord from hitting that unit and getting behind my lines.

The other Troop of Mounted Scouts shuffle up, screening the Regiment of Knights from the Dragon Lord.

All my moves here were based around trying to contain that Dragon. Back in the move phase of Turn 3, I was optimistic. I figured I might be sacrificing the Mounted Scouts and Regiment of Mounted Sergeants... but if I could just gum up that side of the board for a turn, I could basically have him surrounded turn 5.

All those missed shots and hits dashed that plan, but I was still optimistic. His dragon had very limited charge options for the coming turn, and my opponent would likely spend most of his turn mopping up my two closest units. The plan of encirclement was still good, but it would just take an extra turn or two.

Turn 4: Elves

With my a little overextended on my right flank, my opponent responds. The Dragon Kindred Lord flies the short distance over to the Mounted Scouts, and belches up a breath attack, which I forgot it had. It’s surprisingly not as devastating as I expected, due to a few low rolls. The Scouts are still wavered, but are still on the field, ready to delay for another turn.

View from the right.
The Hunters of the Wild (proxied with lizard-looking guys) get 1 Bane Chant from the nearby Mage, and crash into the Regiment of Mounted Sergeants. My opponent rolls a little below average, and only slips 4 damage onto the unit, but manages to Waver the unit too. Being wavered sucks, but when you want to just gum things up, it's not a bad outcome at all.

The center of the Elves continues to shuffle towards my right flank. The Tree Herder hides behind the mesa, hoping to smash the flanks of anything I commit to the area.

My General hides. Valiantly. 
On the left, the Archers move and shoot at my General again, but the penalties are too much, and no damage manages to slip through. The Stormwind counter-charge my Knights. Without Thunderous Charge, this is turning into a bit of a slapping contest.

Turn 5: Kingdoms of Men

On the left, I decide to run the Mounted Sergeants towards the center of the field, to hopefully threaten the rear of the Elves in the coming turns. I wasn't expecting to rout anything, but hopeful that a little harrassment might keep the elves contained.

My Troop of Knights counter charge the Troop of Stormwind Cavalry, and I win the armored slap fight. The General crashes into the Regiment of Archers. Being in their front arc, however, the General’s attacks are few. I think 2 damage is inflicted, but it is not enough to do anything significant. They are disordered though, so I guess that counts for something.

Slow progress against the pointy-eared folk. I'm technically up on points right now.
My left Ballista lines up a shot into the rear of the Astronaut Tree Herder, and manages to actually hit! I think they got 2 damage in, after some good blast rolls and terrible damage rolls. The other Ballista pivots, hoping to get some supporting fire around the right side of the ruddy mesa in the coming turns.

My opponent has committed a lot to face my right flank. The wavered units sit there, and the rest creep back a bit to put some distance between the lines. The Knights are my most serious damage dealers, and I am not ready to commit them yet.

I also retreat a bit with my right Spear Phalanx. In retrospect, it may have been better to commit to a strategy with them; either run them up behind the Tree Herder to be threatening, or just pivot and move into the forest, to get closer to my Knights.

Turn 6: Elves

Movin' and chargin'.
On my right, the Dragon Kindred Lord charges the flank of the singed Mounted Scouts… but they hold on double 1’s! The Hunters of the Wild again attack the Regiment of Mounted Sergeants, and easily rout them. The Regiment of Palace Guard advance cautiously, looking to peek around the mesa in the coming turns.

My Troop of Mounted Sergeants apparently spooked the center of the elves, and the Regiment of Palace Guard change facing in order to face them, while the Tree Herder pivots and moves to set up a potential flank charge… if the Sergeants take the bait and attack the Palace Guard.

On the left, the disordered Archers countercharge my General, and manage to get 4 damage through, grounding him. That was some good rolling. This fight is not going as expected.

At least the troop of Stormwind is gone. Right?
Turn 7: Kingdoms of Men

The fearless Mounted Scouts hold their ground, and both Troops of Scouts fire into the Troop of Hunters of the Wild. Doing (I think) 2 wounds. In retrospect, I should have moved the fearless unit up, to try and gum up the enemy infantry on my right. Kinda wasted the double 1's by not moving. The right-most units of Militia and Spear Phalanx advance now, hoping to provide some numbers to the fights on my right flank, and get ready to push that side.

In the center, my Mounted Sergeants have a chuckle, and run away, getting out of range of the Tree Herder and Palace Guard. They did a good job as a distraction, but I don't want to throw them away for no reason. My left group of Spear Phalanx and Militia move up, hoping to support the General and Knights (and Sergeants) in the coming turns…

The left Ballistae again connects with the Tree Herder, and brings him up to 5 damage.

My startled General beckons for the Knights to help him, and together the attack the enemy Archers. They don’t roll all that well for damage, nor for the Nerve check. The Archers, while luckily Wavered... are still in play.

Turn 8: Elves.

On my left, the Tree Herder and Palace Guard advance towards my grounded General and the knights. The Mage heals the Tree Herder for 1, bringing him down to 4.

The Elves move to contain my push on the left.
The Archers should be wavered… but in going through the pictures to write this report up, apparently they counter-charged here, rolled well and wiped out my General. Um, yeah, definite error there!

Well.... Oops.
On the right, the Dragon Kindred gives the Mounted Scouts another go, charging into their flank and routs them. The Regiment of Palace Guard and Troop of Hunters of the Wild advance a bit, towards my waiting right flank.

A bit of a standoff on the right.
Turn 9: Kingdoms of Men

The error with the archers leaves my left flank in tatters. The Knights can't get away, so they charge the Archers and rout them. They don't really have a place to go though. They decide to shuffle victoriously back, but are still in range of the Regiment of Palace Guard. My hope was to draw the Guards out of position as much as possible. The Mounted Sergeants scamper about, looking to muck around in the elves’ lines some more.

Both Ballistae fire into the Tree Herder… one hits, but only does 2 damage to it, bringing it up to 6 damage. The Ballistae only "hit" a little lower than would be expected in this game, but my Blast rolls felt lower than I expected. Just the perils of 5+ shooting I suppose...

On my right, the Militia and Spear Phalanx get into a decent supporting position, and the Scouts, Knights and ASB shuffle back, getting out of range of the Dragon again. The Scouts get a lucky shot off, and manage to Waver the Hunters, unexpectedly.

While my left did fall apart, I'm actually feeling ok about my chances for the game still. I'm down on points, but if I can make something happen on the right, I'm still in the game.

Turn 10: Elves

The (reinforced) Regiment of Palace Guard charges my Knights, and connects with all their attacks. Uh... What. The Palace Guard destroy the knights and reform to face my Ballistae. The Tree Herder pivots and moves ignoring my Sergeants to also threaten my center in the final turns.

The elves push forward...
The elves decide to abandon the wavered Hunters of the Wild, and both the Dragon Kindred Lord and the Palace Guard change their facing to try and make it towards the center of the battlefield in the final turns (and face the immediate threat of the Mounted Sergeants, to prevent any rear charges).

Lastly, the Mage also gets up into the face of the Mounted Sergeants, and hits them with a Fireball. According to the pics, it doesn’t look like anything hit. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Turn 11: Kingdoms of Men

In what was my center, now my left, the Spear Phalanx shuffle back to deny a charge to the victorious Palace Guard, and the Militia advance to speed bump the advance of the elves and buy the Ballistae some more time to do their things. Both Ballistae fire at the Tree Herder… and both miss.

Last-ditch efforts for the Regnum...
The Mounted Sergeants decide to attack the Mage. They don't really have a lot of options given where he ended up. They pile in... and do a whopping 1 damage to him. At least he is disordered, I guess?

My left Militia runs up to delay the Elves. My Spear Phalanxes reposition, in order to threaten the zone in front of my Ballistae. (The left unit is out of range of that looming Regiment of Palace Guard.) And on the right, seeing the elves turn, my host there advances.

The last ditch effort repositions...

After talking with my opponent, we agree the Militia could juuuuust flank charge the wavered Hunters, so the Militia and the Mounted Scouts both go in, wipe them out, and reform. The Regiment of Knights move up with the Army Standard Bearer in a desperate effort to push that flank and recoup some points in a possible bonus turn.

Turn 12: Elves

The Dragon Kindred Lord and Regiment of Palace Guard (and Mage) attack the Mounted Sergeants and easily rout them. The Mage backs up; the Dragon Kindred Lord overruns, and the Palace Guard changes facing to deter my right flank from pressing the attack, should the game go another turn.

The final push of the elves if faring far, far better.

The other Regiment of Palace Guard (the primed guys on the left) pulls back, avoiding any more possible fighting. The Tree Herder annihilates the Militia troop with ease.

My opponent rolls… and we go a final turn!

Turn 13: Kingdoms of Men

As it turns out, line of sight issues goof up my right flank. The powerful Regiment of Knights cannot see the Palace Guard. I would only be able to charge the Militia and Scouts into the front of the Palace Guard there... which is probably a losing proposition. I know I'm down in points, so decide to back off, inching away, out of sight in order to preserve points.

My only hope is the Ballistae. Both shoot at the Tree Herder, but only one hits. A few more damage is inflicted, but it holds without any real issue. It has a really-high nerve value. Shucks.

Turn 14: Elves

With just about everything out of the fight now due to range and LOS issues, my opponent really only has the Dragon Kindred Lord in play with. He decides to charge the Spear Phalanx, but surprisingly, they hold after taking 5 damage.

Result: Victory to the Elves!

In the end, I took out only 530 points (Archers, Hunters, Stormwind, and a troop of Palace Guard). My opponent took out my General, a Militia Troop, Regiment of Mounted Sergeants, Troop of Mounted Scouts, Troop of Knights, and a Troop of Mounted Sergeants… 730 points. Victory to the Elves!

I felt like my opponent played well overall, but particularly well on the right. I never really got to commit my right flank to a serious combat. Once the Dragon Kindred Lord showed up it was all about containment over there for me, and my unit advantage was nullified. Very good stalling on my opponent’s part. I do think he could use the Tree Herder more aggressively though. I think my opponent is overestimating the combat effectiveness of the KoM… Just charging up the center, I think the Herder could have handled all my infantry and war machines... or at least tied them up for a few turns.

As for me, I think my list was decent, and that my plan going into the game was good. I just wasn't fortunate enough to pull it all together.

First, I think I really over committed on the right. I really like running my Mounted Sergeants down the side of the battlefield... but I probably should have waited a turn or two. Zipping them out right away did delay... but I couldn't capitalize on it. I had enough chaffy units... if I had zipped them up a turn or two later, I think I could have opened up some tough decisions for my opponent, and a lot of flank charge potential. In future games... I'll try to hold them back.

My left flank was really disappointing this game. I just couldn't get it to work. There was the Turn 3 double-flank charge that failed. Two turns of low rolls against the Archer regiment. Their big 4 damage charge. The final nail in the coffin for my left was the error of the wavered Archers charging again and then losing my General... my left just could not catch a break. Had any of those things gone differently, I think I could have pulled out a win. Unfortunately, that's not how it went this time. Kudos to my opponent for the game though, and I am looking forward to the next one!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Hobby Update: Mounted Skaalds, Magus and KoM Wizards

I am still catching up on the blog. I was quite fortunate, and got a game in recently. A battle report should be up soon. But first, more hobbying. I took a break from the Mounted Sons, and painted up some heroes. First up are some mighty Varangur!

Just about everything in the Varangur army is expensive. However, Skaalds, their version of the Army Standard Bearer, are actually priced rather reasonably, and as a result, will likely be making their way into most of the Varangur lists I may run. They also have a ranged attack, so there is the potential for some anti-chaff attacks, general harassment or late-game support. Unfortunately, it is only a single attack, so primarily they’ll be around to spread that Inspiring bubble. Anything else I can do with them is a bonus.

About half the points of my Varangur are mounted units, so I wanted the Skaalds to be mounted as well. On the horses, they should be able to keep pace with anything. The models themselves are just kitbashes; a hodgepodge from old Games Workshop kits.

The Magus was a simple GW conversion too. Just a Chaos Warrior head swaped onto the body of the Chaos Sorcerer model. I never liked the head the original came with.

In game, the guy is just a pretty typical wizard, and will likely hang back a bit and blast at things, as wizards do.

In addition to these Varangur, I also managed to finish up some Kingdoms of Men heroes, who had been nearly done for about 6 months. I simply lost interest in them with a lack of games. But with just a little more paint, they are ready for the table now.

These guys didn't really get any conversion work. 

The mounted wizards are from Warlord Games, and came free in the Praetorian Guard box. That was a great purchase for me. Still need to work on the Guards themselves though… The wizard on foot is also from Warlord Games.

I'm not sure how often these will see the table. Special slots (heroes, war machines, monsters) are generally at a premium in my KoM lists. I seem to struggle connecting with spells of any kind, so I have been leaving the wizards alone the last few games. Still, it's good to have them done. They'll see play eventually!