Kill-Team battle reports

In preparation for an event I’m attending in the near future, some friends and I met up one evening last week for a couple of kill-team games. I’d already decided what kill-team I want to use at this event, going for a Tyranid force comprised of:

Broodlord – kill-team Leader with the Been there, Seen it, Done it trait and (subsequently) the Feel No Pain Indomitable Specialist skill.
3 Genestealers
1 Genestealer with Scything Talons.
1 Genestealer – Dirty Fighter Specialist with the Murderous Blows skill.
1 Genestealer – Guerilla Specialist with the Preferred Enemy skill.
1 Zoanthrope – Weapon Specialist with the Expert Shot skill.

Total: 196pts

I’ve been having great fun playing my Tyranids since restarting them recently, and the idea of an alien kill-team is really enjoyable. Plus, it means that I get to make loads of Aliens / Starship Troopers / Jurassic Park references during each game (‘How could they cut the power, man!? They’re animals!‘ ‘You kill anything that has more than two legs, you get me?‘ ‘Shoot her!‘). Unfortunately I haven’t finished painting my Broodlord yet and, more importantly, the Zoanthropes I’ve ordered hadn’t arrived. Luckily, my friends graciously let me use a Ripper Swarm as a stand-in, since they’re both on the same size base. Psychic Rippers, now there’s a terrifying thought – something for the Hive Mind to start evolving for 8th edition!

* * *

The night was still, the quiet broken only by the chirruping of the local wildlife amongst the ruins. Estoria’s three moons hung low in the sky, bathing the world in a feeble light and casting a monochrome shade over the crumbling buildings. Their pale moonlight illuminated the PDF trenchline as it snaked its way through the city, but the encampment was abandoned. No men manned the vantage points, no soldiers sat at the guns. It was as if the whole company had simply vanished without a trace.

The Space Marines moved almost silently despite their size, panning their boltguns around in slow, sweeping motions. Each Astartes moved in unison, covering each other as the squad advanced. Ahead, Battle-Brother Kurt held up one gauntleted hand for the squad to stop, the other gripping his auspex. His voice crackled over the comm-links in their helmets. ‘Brothers, I read movement ahead. Multiple signals in the ruins, and closing.’

‘Brother Nova, join him to investigate. Brothers Nate and Shiflett, form a secondary team and follow my lead’ Brother-Sergeant Grohl ordered. Fanning out, the Space Marines moved cautiously forward.

All around, in the darkness of the ruins, alien eyes watched them.

* * *

Game one pitted my bugs against Mark’s Space Marines in a game of Head Hunt. His forces consisted of four Space Marines led by their leader, Brother-Sergeant Grohl, and accompanied by heavy armour in the form of a a lascannon-armed Razorback tank. The Space Marines deployed close together, with the Razorback and three marines kept in reserve thanks to Brother-Sergeant Grohl’s A Cunning Ruse ability. I deployed most of my Genestealers hidden away in the ruins, with the Broodlord on a separate flank and the Zoanthrope – as the only model without Infiltrate – a bit further back in my deployment zone.

The Space Marines fan out as the Genestealers creep through the ruins.

Getting closer and closer…

The game started slowly as the Genestealers clung to the shadows of the ruins, avoiding the incoming fire from the Space Marines. At the start of the second turn the Razorback roared onto the board, its twin-linked lascannon turret traversing and blasting a shot at my Broodlord. She was clearly a tough specimen, however, as she shrugged off the potent shot. In response, my Genestealers moved out of cover and prepared to assault. The Broodlord thundered into the newly-arrived Astartes tank, her razor-sharp rending claws cutting through the armour and immobilizing the vehicle with a shriek of tortured gears. Meanwhile, one of the Genestealers scrambled up the side of the nearby abandoned PDF trenchline, launching itself at Brother-Sergeant Grohl in a diving charge. Sensing the creature, the Brother-Sergeant swung around, his arcane plasma pistol already in his armoured hand… only for calamity to strike as the fusion coils of the weapon overheated, detonating in a spectacular white-hot explosion and vaporizing the unfortunate marine.

Brother-Sergeant Grohl about to meet his end.

The Broodlord engages the Razorback.

Undeterred by this loss, his fellow marines pumped bolter rounds and meltagun shots into the Broodlord, but she continued to be tenacious and shrugged off all but one of the wounds thanks to Feel No Pain. The Genestealers, meanwhile, quickly closed the gap and started attacking the Astartes in close quarters as the Broodlord continued to attack the Razorback, her claws tearing off the turret and leaving the vehicle helpless. As turn five drew to a close, we rolled to see if the game would continue. Rolling a one, the game ended with every Tyranid model still alive (somehow!) and a 7-0 victory to the Tyranids.

A wave of chitin and claw falls upon the surviving Space Marines.

* * *

Colonel Jenson sipped the mug of hot recaff as much to warm his hands as to wake him up. Nights were bitter and cold on this Emperor-forsaken rock, and long too. Due to some quirk of the planet’s rotation, nights stretched to twenty Terran hours, leaving little of each day in the pale light of the sun.

He didn’t even know why they were here, to be honest. Command had briefed him about some insurgent rebellion, but by the time the regiment had arrived it seemed to be all but dealt with. Yet they were still stuck here, garrisoned out in the edges of the city.

All around him, giant floodlights were mounted on poles, cables trailing to and from generators which buzzed with a constant low hum. Despite their power, the lights barely penetrated the night, the darkness seeming to almost swallow up the light. Jenson didn’t care. Just a couple more hours of tedious sentry duty before his platoon was relieved, and he could retire to the officer’s quarters for some proper rest.

His reverie was broken by a shout from one of the sentries. ‘Look sir, movement!’ Straining his eyes into the darkness, Jenson glimpsed what the sentry had seen – inhuman multi-limbed shapes moving towards their position – and fast. Dropping his mug and drawing his plasma pistol, he shouted orders to his men. ‘Forward positions, two ranks! Targets at six o’clock, light them up!’ Around him Guardsmen scrambled forward to the sandbags, the distinctive snap-crack of lasguns piercing the night as the shadowy alien creatures abandoned stealth and dashed forward towards the line.

* * *

We rolled the Infiltrate the Camp scenario for my second game – this time taking on Tom and his Imperial Guard garrison. I won the roll-off to decide who was the attacker, and it seemed appropriate for the Tyranids to be trying to run through an Imperial Guard road-block. I deployed my force on one flank, hoping to maximise the cover to close the distance without too many casualties. In response, Tom’s Guardsmen deployed opposite, creating a two-man deep wall of bodies and lasguns. As the night started to fade away, my Tyranids prepared to run the gauntlet to punch through the Imperial lines!

The Imperial Guard blockade.

My Tyranids hug cover as they prepare to advance on the road block.

The Tyranids moved up the board with surprisingly few casualties, mainly due to the difference between the lasgun’s strength of 3 and the fact that all my models were at least toughness 4. Drawing upon the powers of its advanced mind, the Zoanthrope vaporized a few of the Guardsmen with its Warp Blast, scoring me a vp for First Blood and thinning down the line a little. A couple of Genestealers were gunned down by the Guardsmen, with a third killed by overwatch shots as it attempted to charge.

‘Fall back! Fall back!’ The Guardsmen panic as the Genestealers reach their lines and start to break through.

Having survived the barrage of lasgun fire, the remaining Genestealers cut their way through the Imperial Guardsmen.

The rest of the Genestealers, led by the Broodlord, made it into combat and promptly started to cut a swathe through the defenders in an attempt to break through to the table edge behind them. At the end of turn five I’d managed to get most of my remaining models behind the Guardsmen, with the Broodlord, Zoanthrope and a Genestealer running off the board at the start of turn six. The remaining two Genestealers chanced their luck, charging an unlucky Guardsman who was loitering too close to the board edge. The first Genestealer disembowelled the unfortunate man, and both managed to roll high enough to consolidate off the board. With five models escaped and three killed, the game ended in a 6-1 victory for the Tyranids!

The survivors of my kill-team who made it off the board, ready to now wreak some havoc behind Imperial lines!

Two very fun games, and I’m pretty happy with my kill-team. Just need to finish painting my Broodlord and the objective markers, and paint the Zoanthrope (which has now arrived). Hopefully I’ll get some more games in soon, and will report back!

Take care,

Ben

Malifaux spotlight: The Great Carlos Vasquez

Backstage in the Star Theater, it was busy. Girls ran to and fro with handfuls of dresses and accessories, changing in-between acts or getting ready to go back on stage. The Star Theater was packed tonight, every seat sold out as M&SU men returned from the mines, Guild guardsmen finished their patrols, and the young and wealthy of Malifaux snuck out from under the watchful gaze of their parents for a night on the town.

Cassandra pinned her long blonde hair in place, checking her makeup in the mirror – just to see a figure flit behind her, a hand tilting the mirror as it darted past. Looking up, she found Carlos Vasquez peering in the mirror, smoothing his dark hair in place.

The newest addition to the Star Theater, Carlos was a handsome young man with a toned, muscular body and jet-black hair who, as far as Cassandra could remember, had never worn a shirt. His physical attractiveness, however, was mitigated by his vain ego. Carlos was a man who was certain of his own genius and talent, and wanted everyone else to know about it too. At any opportunity he could be found flirting with the showgirls in the theatre, boasting of his exploits on and off the stage, and flexing one arm as he casually leant against the wall to show off his biceps. Cassandra couldn’t stand him. Snatching her mirror back from him, she gave him her finest haughty glare – a look that had reduced other men to quivering wrecks.

Carlos, however, grinned and winked at her. ‘Don’t worry Cassie’ – she hated it when he used that nickname – ‘I’ll try not to out-do your performance too much tonight.’

On-stage, Angelica was announcing the next act. ‘And now, presenting a pyrokinetic performance that will awe and astonish you, ladies and gentlemen…’ Cassandra noticed that Carlos was mouthing along with Angelica’s words, clearly relishing the ego boost.

‘….the great Carlos Vasquez!’ The crowd roared, the usual cheers of miners and Guild officers punctuated by the higher-pitched cries of excitement from the young women in the audience. Twirling his batons, Carlos vaulted onto the stage, leaving Cassandra rolling her eyes.

* * *

Between A Tale Of Gamers, my charity MTG tiger deck, and my rediscovery of my interest in Tyranids, it’s been a while since I touched upon my favourite game – so let’s go back to Malifaux, and one of my favourite characters. Carlos Vasquez (or, as I imagine he likes to be called, ‘The Great Carlos Vasquez’ – he strikes me as a rather vain, egotistical character!) is, for me, one of the standout models introduced to Malifaux in book four: Ripples Of Fate. So, today I thought I’d take a look at the latest addition to the Star Theater and break down why I, like many young ladies in Malifaux, am so enamoured with him!

‘The audience was told to stand back!’ (C) Wyrd Games.

Whether he’s dancing across the stage or charging across the cobbled streets of Malifaux, Carlos stands out as quite a mobile character. His Wk and Cg stats are above average, and his (0) ‘And Now, The Most Deadly Dance Of All!’ gives him a 4″ push – ideal to get him through severe terrain, out of melee, or just to give him that little extra movement. He also brings some (limited) mobility to the crew with his ‘The Flames, I Am Their Master’ ability, which is great for models who don’t like to walk themselves – such as his thematic master Colette, for example. However, do bear in mind that it is a pretty high target number – even a fast model such as the Mechanical Rider will still need a moderately high 7 to pass – and so it can be a bit risky. Alternatively, it’s worth considering this as an offensive action – TN 13 is pretty high, and if your opponent is low on cards you can drop down hazardous terrain to impede her crew.

At first glance, Carlos doesn’t look too offensive with his single fantastically-named attack, The Flaming Fist Of The Great Carlos Vasquez. I mean, a 2/3/4 damage track on a 9ss henchman? But then we get to the triggers, all built-in, and this is where the real fun begins. He can apply Burning to the target with the classic Stoke The Flames trigger, though this isn’t usually the one you’ll be going for. Instead, True Showmanship lets Carlos apply Burning +1 to himself – a setup for his final trigger (and one of my favourite trigger names in all of Malifaux) ‘The Audience Was Told To Stand Back!’, which deals damage to the target equal to the Burning condition on Carlos. Since it’s two separate bursts of damage Carlos can struggle a little against enemy models with Armor, but Hard To Kill, on the other hand, is not really a problem as he can bring them down to their last wound with his attack, and then use the trigger damage to finish them off. This means that Carlos’ overall damage (without outside assistance, such as other models giving him Burning) can clock in at between 7 – 11 in a single activation, giving him quite the substantial hitting power.

Defensively Carlos is, quite simply, a tank. As long as he’s not running into the enemy crew by himself, he’s usually very hard to put down. His Df is pretty good, while his Wp is a little lower, but the main two things that make him so tough are his Dance Of Flame ability and Stunt Double from the upgrade of the same name. Combined with his True Showmanship trigger to stack Burning on himself, and his henchman status, Carlos can prevent a substantial amount of damage before discarding a card at the end of the turn to heal himself.

While Carlos isn’t really a dedicated support piece, that’s not to say that he can’t help out his fellow Arcanists. I’ve already talked about how his ability ‘The Flames, I Am Their Master’ can give some extra mobility to your crew, particularly if a few models are clumped together – though, with a TN 13, it may require some high cards to pull off. His Stunt Double upgrade gives him another tactical action, allowing him to discard a scheme marker (friendly or otherwise) at range to force a decent Wp duel for nearby models or gain Burning +2. Since Carlos himself rather likes being on fire, you can always use this while engaged to simultaneously hand out Burning and increase Carlos’ quasi-Armor and damage. It’s also nice to have a way of removing scheme markers at range, giving you more ways to stop schemes like Spring The Trap, Set Up, or Dig Their Graves.

As I mentioned before, I do consider his personal upgrade to be pretty much mandatory. Of course, as a henchman Carlos has a second slot available to him, which I usually use for Recharge Soulstone. Carlos is usually in the thick of things anyway, and his melee reach is also 3″, so it all works out pretty nicely. His incredible 10″ threat range usually lets him engage whoever he wants to, so you can cherry-pick weaker models to take out if you’re desperate for soulstones. Alternatively, Imbued Energies is always good for Fast on demand, or – as a Showgirl – Carlos can always carry Practised Production.

Unsurprisingly, Carlos works well alongside his Star Theater companions. If Colette is leading the crew, he even gets his Showmanship upgrade free of charge (though it does still take up an upgrade slot). Unlike most Showgirls he doesn’t really use scheme markers much (barring the Pyrotechnic Prop action from his Stunt Double upgrade), allowing him to function independently from the rest of the crew if needed – and, with the Recharge Soulstone upgrade, he can help to replenish Ms du Bois’ supply as she burns through them. Colette also tends to like Union Miners for their False Claim ability, and – if you really want Carlos to do obscene amounts of damage – tagging him with their Modified Welder can increase his threat level substantially, especially after the January errata which increased the Welder to hand out Burning +2. Usually I don’t find it necessary to add on extra Burning as Carlos is quite self-sufficient, but if there’s a particularly beefy target that needs to go down this is an ideal way to get Carlos pumped and ready.

I’ve found Carlos also works well with Kaeris due to their synergies with the Burning condition. Due to the wording of Stunt Double, Kaeris can even heal Carlos on the fly by attacking him with Flaming Halo and declaring the Engulf trigger – Carlos can then discard a card to heal himself. This will remove the Burning condition from Carlos and leave him without Armor, but (depending on how many wounds he has) it can sometimes be safer to heal him rather than leave him with his BurningArmor. Situational, but worth bearing in mind. He also benefits from her Grab And Drop upgrade – since he’ll pretty much always be on fire, he can activate near Kaeris to benefit from the Wings Of Flame ability. This does mean that he’ll lose Burning at the end of his activation, but often thanks to ‘The Audience Was Told To Stand Back!’ he will have lowered his Burning to 0 anyway.

Carlos also brings some additional synergy to Mei Feng. Since he is happiest in melee and can hand out Burning with his built-in trigger, he can quickly apply the condition so that Mei can swing in and take advantage of it via the Superheated trigger on her Tiger’s Claw. He’s not a Construct and so can’t be used for Railwalk, but that’s what you brought Sparks along for, right? :)

Finally, as always, let’s take a look at what to do when you’re on the other side of the table and find yourself facing off against Carlos Vasquez. If you have it, condition removal such as Johan is superb against him, stripping him of both his defensive trick and the added offence of ‘The Audience Was Told To Stand Back!’. Definitely don’t attack him with Burning – one of my most memorable Carlos games recently was when I engaged Mad Dog with him! Having said that, however, if you can force your opponent down to having no cards in hand, Carlos will feel the heat (pun not intended) as he’ll then take damage from Burning. Given how much damage Carlos can take, it’s worth weighing up whether it’s easier to just impede him with attacks that apply Slow or Paralyzed rather than trying to kill him outright.

So, that’s my thoughts on our latest Showgirl. As always, please drop me a comment with your opinions, I’d love to hear them!

Take care,

Ben

Tale of Gamers: Update

My second Tale Of Gamers battle is scheduled in for next week, and I’m still on track having finished my first 250pts of reinforcements.

I’ve decided that my force is a little slow at the moment, so have added in two Taurox Primes – one with a Gatling Cannon and Volley Guns to deal with infantry, and the other with Autocannons and a Missile Launcher to deal with light vehicles (and ‘cos it looks so darn cool). This gave me 60pts left over, which coincidentally is what five Stormtroopers cost – so both squads are now bulked out a little bit. Next month’s additions are already under way, with a Command Squad assembled so I can start using those lovely, lovely orders.

The plain black panels were a stylistic choice on my part – Inquisitor Ariada du Bois doesn’t tend to announce her presence, so it makes sense that her vehicles would be unmarked except for the Imperial Aquilla. I am tempted to pick up Forge World’s brass Inquisition sheet sometime, however, to decorate the plain panels with the Inquisitorial =][=.

Reinforcements!

Yep, I did keep the tops removable so that I could paint the interior & crew.

I’ve also been working dilligently on my Tyranids, painting them as a splinter of Hive Fleet Leviathan. The contrast between the albino skin and the deep purple chitin is such a fantastic look, and I’ve also kept the red to a minimum by avoiding using it on the guns. This is really just a stylistic choice on my part but, as the models are beautifully sculpted to have their forearms meshed into the weapon, I wanted to keep it all one uniform colour so that the gun really looks like part of the creature – you can’t tell where the creature ends and the weapon-symbiote begins.

Unfortunately they are currently leaderless as my Hive Tyrant hasn’t got a base, but the troops and heavy support choices are coming along nicely. I’m particularly happy with the Carnifexes – aside from being stunning models they were also a joy to paint, and I can’t wait to get them on the table.

They’re not quite finished yet – there’s still a few details like teeth, eyes and the bases to finish.

And finally, I’ve been working on another model I love, Forge World’s Inquisitor Solomon Lok. I’m not sure if he’ll be appearing in my Tale Of Gamers army yet to assist Ariada, but it’s such a characteristic model I just had to paint him. I’ve chosen quite a muted colour scheme as, what with the hood and cloak, Lok looks to me like he would be able to blend in with the citizens of the Imperium if he needed to go undercover. Unfortunately, it’s quite hard to get a good shot of him when he’s painted in such a dark colour scheme!

That’s all for now, though I’ll be updating again soon with more painting progress and my charity Magic The Gathering tiger deck.

Take care,

Ben

Malifaux tournament report: Summer of Slaughter

At the weekend, I drove down to The Wargame Store in Wirral for their Summer Of Slaughter Malifaux tournament. Three games, with a little twist in that you had to write two 50ss lists first and then choose one to use each game. The strategies and schemes were released in advance, with round 1 being Guard the Stash (Corner Deployment: Convict Labor, Take Prisoner, Hunting Party, Undercover Entourage, Detonate The Charges), round 2 Turf War (Standard Deployment: A Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Bodyguard, Vendetta, Deliver a Message), and Round 3 Reckoning (Flank Deployment: A Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Breakthrough, Vendetta, Frame for Murder). I spent a few evenings uhm-ing and aah-ing over which lists to take, and – after all that – ended up rewriting one completely on the morning of the tournament. The lists I took ended up being:

Crew 1
Colette du Bois
-Arcane Reservoir, Shell Game, Seize the Day
Cassandra
-Smoke & Mirrors, Recharge Soulstone
Coryphee
Coryphee
Angelica
-Practised Production
December Acolyte
Malifaux Child

Crew 2
Colette du Bois
-Arcane Reservoir, Shell Game, Cabaret Choreography
Cassandra
-Smoke & Mirrors
Arcane Emissary
-Illusive Conflux
Angelica
-Practised Production
Performer
Mannequin
Union Miner

DSCF7698

I was a hipster Arcanist and used one of the Avatar Colette models all day :)

I chose Colette for both lists for a couple of reasons. First and perhaps most importantly, she’s my favourite master – I find her very easy and intuitive to use, and I really enjoy every game I use her. Secondly, I always think that she’s a very versatile master, and to my eyes she was well-suited to the scheme pool in all three games. The first list was a more elite, hard-hitting crew intended for round three, while the second one had a bit more flexibility that I hoped would suit the first two rounds.

20160702_11363220160702_123307Round 1 (above pictures) saw me go up against the Ten Thunders, led by Shenlong. I opted for list two, choosing to deploy first and grouping most of my models near Ms du Bois. The Emissary and Angelica split off down the right flank to cut off my opponent’s Tengu before they could start their scheme-marker shenanigans, while the rest of the crew headed towards the left stash marker. One of the Tengu strayed into the 12″ threat range of the Emissary, allowing me to charge and kill it. Meanwhile, Cassandra led the Union Miner and Performer over to the second stash marker, throwing out scheme markers as they went in preparation for Set Up. Next turn saw the Emissary charge the second Tengu, killing it and eliminating the Ten Thunders presence on the right stash marker while Angelica moved up to claim it for the Arcanists. Shenlong used his Mighty Gust to move three scheme markers forward, with a Thunders Brother nearby to prevent the Performer removing them. I stalled for time by activating other models before activating Cassandra, who moved forward to put down the last scheme marker so I could score the full 3vp from Set Up, and Colette, who used Prompt to move the rest of my models away from the scheme markers. Both of us revealed Set Up at the end of the turn; I scored the full 3vp, while my opponent scored 1vp as I’d neglected to check Cassandra’s proximity to one scheme marker. Turn four saw Shenlong make a dash into my deployment zone, while Cassandra dashed into my opponent’s deployment zone, dropping down a scheme marker so Colette could do one of my favourite tricks and teleport over at the last second with her Disappearing Act. Both of us scored 3vp for Undercover Entourage, and the game ended with an 8-4 win for the Arcanists.

20160702_14302320160702_143026Game 2 (again, above pictures) saw me face off against another Ten Thunders player, also using Shenlong. I opted for list 2 again, deploying fairly centrally. The first couple of turns saw both crews moving up, with Shenlong accompanied by Izamu on the turf war point. I jumped the Emissary forward using the (0) Minor Teleport to Deliver a Message to Shenlong, earning 2 vp as I don’t like revealing Deliver a Message. However, things started to go pear-shaped as my opponent’s Tengu and Thunder Brother moved down one flank with a host of scheme markers thanks to Shenlong’s Mighty Gust, while his Katanaka Sniper flipped the Red Joker for damage and took out my Emissary. I moved my Performer over to counter the Protect Territory attempt, but fatally forgot about Protect our Holdings. Colette and Cassandra did a good job of dropping down scheme markers for my Protect Territory, though a last-minute Mighty Gust from Shenlong pushed Colette away, knocking me down from 3vp to 2, and a couple of points for Bodyguard on Sensei Yu finished the game with a 5-8 loss. While my stupid mistake with the Performer and the Thunders Brother cost me dearly, I also think that Izamu was a major point – while he didn’t go on the killing spree I expected, I just didn’t have the tools to deal with him (particularly once the Emissary was out of the game). In hindsight, my first list may have been able to deal with my opponent’s crew more easily due to the Acolyte’s Smell Weakness action and the Corypheé’s general offensive power.

Onwards to game three! (No pictures, because I forgot to take any in the excitement) Finally, I got to play against a master other than Shenlong. This time, my opponent was running Seamus, and I finally selected list 1. Unfortunately the table was fairly open around the centre in terms of terrain, giving the mad hatter’s Belles a superb view of large swathes of the board. One of my Coryphée was Lured right into the heart of the undead thanks to Madame Sybelle’s Not Too Banged Up upgrade. Colette managed to save it, Prompting it back to its dance partner, but was then dragged in herself. I managed to save her with Cassandra, though barely as Colette limped back to join my crew with one wound left and very few soulstones. The Coryphée danced together into a duet, cutting down a Nurse and a Belle to score a Reckoning point for me. Mortimer poisoned Colette, and my final attempt to save her lay in the Malifaux Child. With no cards in hand, I top-decked the high ram needed to successfully cast Misplaced Trust… only to flip the Black Joker for the healing flip. Despite Colette being out of the game, the rest of the game went my way as Angelica moved up to drop down scheme markers for Breakthrough, while Seamus took the bait and killed my December Acolyte to score me another 3vp for Frame for Murder. Cassandra mopped up the scheme marker Mortimer had dropped, and the game ended with a 6-1 victory for the Arcanists.

It was a great day, and many thanks to all my opponents as well as David for organising it. I placed third overall, which I’m rather pleased with.

Take care,

Ben

Painter’s block

As you may have guessed from the lack of recent posts, I’ve had a bit of what I suppose we should call painter’s block over the past few weeks. I can’t attribute it to a lack of time, or indeed models to paint given that I’ve a sizeable Frostgrave crew sitting on my table. Instead, I’ve been struggling to find the motivation to pick up a brush and start painting, and have instead been falling back on games that don’t require painting such as X-Wing and Magic: The Gathering. The EU Referendum hasn’t helped, either, but I shall avoid talking about that as this blog is meant to be about wargaming, not my political stance.

I did force myself to sit down on Sunday evening, planning both assembly (a Johan model I won at a tournament a while ago) and painting (my old metal Rasputina model, and Kirai – I don’t play Ressers, but she’s a lovely model and I have had a paint scheme in mind for ages now). I have repainted an A-Wing for Fantasy Flight’s X-Wing Miniatures Game in the last couple of days, however, which was great fun. I’d consider X-Wing to be my second game – it’s fast-paced, fun and, rather crucially, straightforward in terms of mechanics. The phrase, ‘Easy to learn, difficult to master’ has never been so true!

I started off X-Wing playing just the Empire – mainly because they could hire Boba Fett while the Rebels couldn’t. This was back in the early days before Scum & Villainy were a faction, of course. However, as of late (and due in no small part to the co-operative X-Wing campaign I’ve been playing in), I’ve begun to emulate my favourite TIE pilot, Soontir Fel, and started to defect to the Rebellion. This was brought about by the A-Wing in particular – the nippy little ship with its incredible dial chock-full of fast, green manoeuvres won me over. To me, they’re such fun to fly and encapsulate what drew me into X-Wing in the first place (well, alongside Boba Fett and the fact it’s Star Wars. I mean, come on – it’s Star Wars!) – the fast ships. I love the high-speed dogfights as ships vie and jockey for position, dancing around one another as they attempt to lock the other pilot in their sights while avoiding their enemy doing the same. Sure, I enjoy flying the slower or larger ships such as the TIE Bomber too, but ships like the A-Wing and the TIE Interceptor are what X-Wing is all about to me.

20160624_091011Back on tangent (stay on target…), here’s the repainted Green Squadron A-Wing. I started by dulling the model with a wash of Nuln Oil, giving some more depth to the detailing on the fuselage. The red parts were then painted in P3’s green, before being highlighted in a mix of Loren Green and P3 green. This was then washed with . Finally, I picked out the lines on the engine and the cockpit in a mix of Army Painter matt white and GW Astronomicon Grey, and repainted the missile tips in Cygnar blue base. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out, and am really looking forward to using it in this week’s campaign game. I’ve been informed that we’ll be dogfighting planetside this week as opposed to in space, so I’ll have to try and get some pictures…

Take care,

Ben

Frostgrave: Venturing into the frozen city

A friend recently asked if I wanted to give Osprey Games’ skirmish game Frostgrave a go. I like to pride myself that I’ll give any game a try once, and a lot of reviews tout it as the ‘new Mordheim’. I remember playing a lot of Mordheim back in my teenage years and loving it, so – despite the use of dice instead of cards – I decided to see what it was like.

First of all, the character creation for your characters is superb. With ten different schools of magic and eight different spells for each school, you are free to pretty much create any wizard you want. The rest of the crew is rather more set, where you hire a model with set weapons – for example, a man-at-arms comes with a shield, sword and leather armour, and there’s no way to give him additional equipment – but this actually suits me. I like that the focus is on your wizard and his / her apprentice, with the rest of the crew just being the hired grunts who can easily be replaced.

Right from the start, I had a very certain idea for my wizard. Enter Helena Gabrielle Wells (+1 bonus point if you recognize the name reference), steampunk chronomancer!

20160524_090835A time-traveller from an alternate steampunk future, chronomancy in Helena’s time is amplified by clockwork machines. While usually chronomancy is restricted to short jumps, time skips and slowing or speeding the passage of time, these steam-powered machines amplify their powers and allow mages to travel freely throughout time. Regrettably, Helena’s time machine broke upon landing in Frostgrave, stranding her in the frozen city. Technology in the city is rather less advanced that that in Helena’s time, and so repairing the machine to amplify her powers and let her travel home is no small feat. To this end, she has gathered together a crew of mercenaries and hired swords, buying their loyalty with worthless clockwork baubles and trinkets – when you can create steam-powered machines, it’s easy to impress people who think that a crossbow is cutting-edge tech. She leads her men into the ruins, searching for items that she can repurpose to repair her machine. The alternative is to be stuck in this time – forever.

Thankfully, Helena isn’t alone in this endeavour. The only other person in her machine when it malfunctioned was her apprentice, Juliette Fforde. You can’t actually purchase guns in Frostgrave, so the explanation behind her pistol – when she casts her offensive spell Elemental Bolt, it’s actually her firing the pistol. The chance to fail represents the scarcity of anything she and Helena can repurpose as ammunition, and the fact it’s a magic spell is just how the residents of Frostgrave see it – in a realm of wizards and magic, one more sorcerer pointing a metal wand that shoots sparks and fire is hardly uncommon!

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Finally, I needed some minions – expendable hired swords who could accompany my mages into the ruins. After looking through the list of mercenaries you can hire, I realised that my old Lord Of The Rings models would be ideal here…

20160524_090944Going from left to right: three Barbarians, a Thief, three Men-At-Arms, a Warhound, two Knights and a Templar. I can’t afford to hire them all straight off the bat, of course, but they’re ready for if things go well!

The rules seem quite easy and straightforward too, with everything being dealt with by the roll of a D20. Our games so far have been a bit swing-y, where the warband who took the lead early on suffered suddenly in the late game. The range of spells is great, though sadly it does seem that it’s faster to ‘level up’ your wizard by using offensive spells, despite how many great buff spells there are in the rules.

Finally, Frostgrave scratches an itch I didn’t even realise needed scratching – character creation. Back in my teenage years, I played a lot of Inquisitor, Mordheim and other GW specialist games, and one of my favourite elements was creating my own characters. Writing their backstory, their motivations and their desires was an integral part of each game for me – I still fondly remember Arbites officer Inara Hardin from Dark Heresy, or my assassin Mack in Mordheim. It’s not something I’ve done for years now, but with its stripped-back profiles and campaign-focused gameplay, it’s something that I’ve found very easy for Frostgrave. I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I started thinking, ‘Who is my chronomancer? Why is she in Frostgrave?’, and the desire to create my own character came flooding back.

I’ll do a write-up of a battle next time I play Frostgrave – it’s a very narrative game, and so should work well for write-ups. In the meantime, I’d better get back to painting the warband…

Take care,

Ben

Malifaux: Heartfaux 2016

20160514_201512At the weekend, I headed down to York to join in with Heartfaux – a Malifaux tournament with a twist, where the money goes to the British Heart Foundation charity. Long-time readers of this blog will know my love of Malifaux and raising money for charity, and it was great to be a part of – last time I saw, tournament ticket sales and the raffle had raised £475, which is incredible.

My first game pitted me against Perdita in Interference. I took Colette – partially for her positioning shenanigans, and partially as I’d been driving for over two hours since 6:45am and wanted the master I felt most comfortable using! I made the classic mistake of not taking enough models, and found myself out-activated by the pack of Guild Hounds Perdita brought along. Despite that, my Union Miners did a great job of scoring the full VP for Convict Labour, and the Arcane Emissary managed to roll through a flank, either killing or engaging Guild models. Perdita managed to gun down Cassandra thanks to a hand full of high masks, and the game ended in a draw. Not a bad start to the day!

20160514_111348The second game was Extraction, and once again I opted for Miss du Bois. This time, my opponent took the Viktorias along with a plethora of Henchmen & Enforcers including Vanessa, Johanna, Sue and Taelor. The first turn lulled me into a false sense of security as the Outcasts advanced cautiously, not really doing much. My Malifaux Raptor tied up a couple of models, while Colette did the age-old trick of using Prompt‘s Final Act trigger on Myranda, slingshotting her upfield where she changed into Luther, killing Johanna and Leaping back onto the informant marker. However, turn 2 showcased the full power of the Viks as Blood was buffed up to the max, discarding Oathkeeper to dash into my crew and murder most of the models on the centreline. This did let me score the maximum VP from Set Up, though, and with a few more VP from Convict Labour the game ended with a 6-5 victory for my Arcanists.

20160514_133508The final game was Collect The Bounty, a strategy which I haven’t really played before. My opponent declared Arcanists too, taking the terrifying combo of Ramos with Joss and Howard. Again, I went with Colette – aside from being my favourite master to use, she’s excellent at Headhunter and I figured the extra Prompt attacks would be ideal to finish off enemy models. I also took Howard / Miss Step, along with Cassandra and a couple of Coryphee. The first turn saw both of us skirting around a small copse of trees in the centre of the board before his Reactivate-ing Howard finally made the first move, Nimble walking in and murdering one of my Coryphee before I could form a duet. In retaliation, Miss Step used Flurry to kill Howard. Joss moved to attack Colette, though I managed to keep her alive with high cards from my hand and burning through soulstones at an alarming rate. Miss Step killed Joss too, and took a battering from Johanna’s Relic Hammer before taking her out too. The Arcane Emissary finally killed Miss Step, and Cassandra finally managed to kill the one peon in my opponent’s crew, scoring Hunting Party. The game ended with a draw again.

20160514_154524It was a very enjoyable day, and many thanks to all my opponents as well as the event organisers. Roll on Heartfaux 2017!

Take care,

Ben