Come into the Garden…

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“There lies an island in the midst of the Mediterranean sea, upon which, resides a gardener of much renown. She dwells alone, gliding effortlessly through the labyrinthine topiary borders and flower beds, tending to her beloved flora with the utmost dedication… 

Dotted about, here and there, stand a plethora of stone statues. These masonic effigies are of a startling verisimilitude, with every detail of anatomy and expression superbly rendered, as if by the hand of a master craftsman. But they do not posses the proud bearing of the mighty Olympians nor the mischievous countenance of mythical nymphs or satyrs. In the most part, they are portraits of mighty warriors bedecked in armour and wielding weapons. Their faces, when not clad in ornate helms, are twisted into visages of utter terror and despair…”

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“The gardener meanders through her vast grounds and crafts them to perfection, with her scything bow, forged with precious metal filigree and a serpentine, bronze dagger.

Whilst meditating upon the statuary, she feels a deep and cutting sadness as if their faces reflect the horror of her own personal tragedy. You see, that behind the silence and serenity of the place there lies a dark secret. It is a story of lust, jealously and injustice. 

Once, many years before, the gardener was a pure and beautiful devotee of the goddess Athena. but the lustful advances of mighty Poseidon, provoked the ire of Athena and she banished the beautiful young maiden to this place, with a terrible curse. She will forever be cast from society and only encounter the attentions of men intent upon her destruction…

For to gaze upon her, is to take one’s final breath………. “

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Medusa the Gorgon in her garden

 

Epic Troubs!..

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I have been playing rather a lot of Epic:Armageddon over the last couple of months with the infamous Graham and I have come to dislike how convoluted the mechanics are, which really slows down the game play, as we deal with special rule upon special rule or simply reread the same rules that never quite stick in our minds.

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Titans of the Legio ‘Hydra Cordatiss’

The Kalashnikov Method

What I would prefer for my 6mm scale sci-fi games is a rule set that replicates combined-arms battles with cool tanks and monsters in a logical and elegant manner. This is what I like to call “the Kalashnikov method”. The simpler the rules are, the less that can go wrong and spoil the gaming experience.

To this end I had a scout around the internet to find some rules that would meet the above mission statement and stumbled upon LaserStorm by Nordic Weasel Games, which I purchased from Wargames Vault.

We have played two games at the time of writing and things are looking rather promising. In our first game, we had an armour engagement using the generic statistics straight from the rule book, we simply agreed what our models counted as. The very next day we played an infantry assault game, again using the pre-made stats.

I found the rules to be very simple and intuitive, it took us very little time before we were reeling off the stats without needing to keep checking and could get on with learning the rules and more importantly, playing the game.

I particularly liked the fact that there was no need to put counters down to keep track of things, this leaves the table full of cool miniatures rather than umpteen different counters for suppression, wounds, void shields, etc.

Ork Flag Gargant

Changing with the times

One of the great things about these rules is that they are usable with any sci-fi miniatures, in various scales and they have several different ways to field your models in the rules, including ‘pre-made’ generic unit types, an assembly line system where you can build unit types from tables or a system to create unique stat-lines. For my part I will be using the stats from Epic:Titan Legions, as they cross over really well and can be converted very quickly and easily.

All in all I hope that these simple and logical rules will provide me with the Epic 40k grand tactical experience that I always wanted.

Arachnophobia

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From the sylvan depths come insectile susurrations, many eyes wink in and out of existence, glowing with a malignant intelligence. A sudden skittering movement and emerald fronds rustle with the passage of some unseen creature..

Suddenly, with blinding speed, the undergrowth explodes into life as giant arachnids burst forth. Upon their backs, giving voice to high-pitched war cries and malevolent snickering, ride diminutive humanoid creatures bedecked in colourful warpaint and festooned with tribal fetishes… Goblins!!..

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Dust & Bones

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Two figures walk through the blazing midday sun, ignoring the oppresive heat as they move amid the desert dunes with tireless conviction. The first figure strides with purpose, planting her staff into the sand with each step she takes. The other sits, stoop-backed, on its wiry mount…

After weeks of unceasing trek, ruined statues and crumbling columns materialise, coalescing in the heat-haze. The figures press on until they are surounded by the remains of a long lost civilisation, weathered and eroded by millenia. The woman turns and speaks to the mounted figure in a clipped and strange language not heard by the living in centuries uncounted. The mounted figure spreads its withered arms wide and starts to chant in a almost inaudible rasp like the death rattle of a plague victim…

The desert sands shift and stir under the blazing sun, a corpse breath gust swirls through the forgotten remains of a perished empire. A hand of desicated bone brakes the sandy surface like a macabre flower reaching for the sun and the rebirth of an ancient empire begins…

Queen Khalida and her loyal liche priest

Skull catapult and crew

Orc and Skaven skeletons, slaves from the gladiator pits

Restless spirits of lost souls caught in limbo at the very moment of death

Cry Havoc & Let Loose The Frogs of War!

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The latest painting project is one of the excellent anthropomorphic animal miniatures from Dark Sword Miniatures. I absolutely love these models and as I have long had a fascination with frogs I simply had to get this one. Ladies and gentlemen may I introduce Sir Reginald Ribbit ‘dragon-slayer extraordinaire’...

Frog 1

Frog 2

Frog 4

Fantasy Visions

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As I eluded to in my previous post, I have been busy painting miniatures for the sheer enjoyment and here is just a small selection of the results:

Welcome to the new Age… of Sigmar

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Knowing me knowing you(tube)

I, like many a miniature gamer, spend a lot of time painting, and for entertainment enjoy nothing more than to watch (or at least listen) to YouTube whilst I’m doing so. Now there are a lot of entertaining folks out there in the YouTube community sharing their hobby and one such man is the legend that is Mr. Reef Beastman.

For many years Reefy produced a monthly show about his war gaming exploits, usually tallying in at 3 to 4 hours at a time and although he is now in semi-retirement and produces shows less frequently, I still enjoy watching them whenever he posts something new (or just re-watch some of the old ones which he has saved to his new channel).

I have made comments on videos and chatted with Reef in the past and one such interaction led to us arranging to meet up for a game at Warhammer World. I pulled together a small selection from my Grande Armée de la Mort, to field a detachment which will hither to be known as the ‘Children of the Hydra’ and headed off for my first ever game of Age of Sigmar.

Let battle commence

The tables at Warhammer World are breathtaking and the one Reef had booked for our game, a dedicated AoS board, was definitely no exception.

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Tomb Kings cavalry march forward under the unseeing gaze of decrepit statuary.

The ad hoc scenario involved Reef’s intrepid Sigmarites attempting to re capture their leader and his trusty Griffhound from the clutches of the Tomb King’s embrace. I had an absolute blast and after 4 hours of laughter and mayhem, the crumpled corpses of Sigmairites were piled like cord wood and the dreaded ‘Children of the Hydra’ retained the field (the name eludes to the fact that, like the legendary beast, every time you remove one head, two seem to grow back in its place as the dead rise to replenish their ranks)

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Sigmarite Prosecutors swoop in to save their beloved Griffhound.

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Skeleton cavalry swarm the golden warriors

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The monstrous War Sphinx stomps forward.

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Queen Khalida appears at the top of the steps

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And proceeds to engage the last remaining Sigmarites

I had such a good time that we agreed to meet up the next day to see if Reefy could salvage some honour. This game was not only to take place on another table but was to also include a third member, Mr. Remington Steele (another You tuber of much renown), who would be arriving later on in the battle to side with whoever seemed the most beleaguered. The scenario this time had ‘The Children of the Hydra’ besieging the Sigarites in their Dreadhold fortress.

When Remington arrived he was recruited by Reef and deployed his Vampire Counts forces in my rear echelons, caught between the two I battled valiantly until we ran out of time.

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Skeleton cavalry gallop across the blasted wastes to engage the besieged Sigmarites

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The War Sphinx negotiates a slope of skulls

Both Reef and Rem uploaded videos on their channels and I will embed them in to the comments section below. but feel free to click on the following links and check out their channels:

Reef Beastman

Remington Steele

The Andy and Rem Show 

Keep it simple… stupid – My thoughts on age of sigmar

As these rules have no point system, they are definitely not designed with the competitive war gamer in mind and that suits me just fine, I never liked having to play quartermaster before the battle and work out points down to the last dagger, making sure everything was equal.

Unequal battles can be very entertaining and fun, you just need to re-define the victory conditions via some kind of scenario. In the example of the 300 Spartans, they were hugely out-numbered, used terrain to best advantage but ultimately died to a man! Does this mean the battle of Thermopylae counts as a win for the Persians? Not necessarily as the Spartans were there to buy time for the Greeks to muster a force capable of facing the Persian threat, they achieved that even at the cost of their own lives.

One of the interesting ideas with AoS is that when deploying your forces, alternating the placement of units, at any time one player can choose to stop deploying any more troops. If this happens the other player can, if they wish, keep on placing units. When one side is out-numbered by a certain amount they can choose one of a selection of ‘sudden death’ victory conditions such as – ‘Assassinate the enemy general’ Achieving this mission (even at the cost of your whole army) will win you the game immediately. Now tell me that’s not the perfect plot for an epic fantasy story!

The rules themselves are only four pages long and many have scoffed that they are too simple, there are two points I have on this subject. Firstly, simple doesn’t mean stupid, some of my favourite games have very simple rules and are no less challenging for it (how many rules are there in chess? I’m led to believe that it is a very tactical game in deed! I’m certainly rubbish at it!)

Also the small set of core rules is somewhat deceptive as every single unit, monster and hero has a war-scroll for it, these provide extra rules and stats specific to them. The war-scrolls for the game we played added another 6 pages of rules for me to use!

The rules and war-scrolls for all the armies are free to download from the Games Workshop website for you to peruse so I wont go in to all the details, but if you are looking for a simple, fun, scenario-driven fantasy war game it is definitely worth a try.

My only gripe is to do with shooting, any unit can shoot both into and out of close combat, now this is somewhat of a double-edged sword and I will try to elucidate as to what I mean by this.

During my own turn, when my skeleton archers were engaged in close combat with an enemy, they were able to either shoot their bows at point-blank range in to the unit with which they were engaged, or ignore them entirely and shoot at any other unit that they had range and line of sight to. This seems a little incongruous to me as I would have thought that they might have been a bit too busy defending themselves from the enemy to knock, draw and loose arrows.

On the other hand there are also less conventional shooting attacks. For instance, my War Sphinx has ‘Fiery Roar’ shooting attack and it seems much more plausible for an enormous beast to roar in to the face of an engaged enemy before slashing, stomping and biting them to pieces. However, Games Workshop have always had the ‘Most Important Rule’ included in their rule sets and it is this:

‘In a game as detailed and wide-ranging as Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, there may be times when you are not sure exactly how to resolve a situation that has come up during play. When this happens, have a quick chat with your opponent, and apply the solution that makes the most sense to you both (or seems the most fun!). If no single solution presents itself, both of you should roll a dice, and whoever rolls higher gets to choose what happens. Then you can get on with the fighting!’

I have always liked this rule a lot, there are no lives or nations at stake in the hobby of war gaming only friendships. Is it really worth getting annoyed about something not going in your favour? Better to come up with house rules for anything you don’t agree with later and implement them in the next game.

All in all I had a great time playing Age of Sigmar and would definitely raise up my undead horde for another game.

 

 

Mob Rules

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Following-on from my previous post, here is a little clan of miniatures which I’ve had knocking around in the ‘bitz box’ for some considerable time and I have spent the last week or so painting up.
Orcs
The miniatures themselves are old 1990s era Games Workshop Orcs, with hoplite shields from Magister Militum. Orc glyph transfers have been applied to the shields and an old ‘sticky-back’ flag, which I picked up from eBay, has been used on the standard.

Shut up and paint!

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Ogre

For the past couple of weeks now I have been pondering about my hobby activities and in the vain of the New Year posts I have been reading lately I thought I might put fingers to keyboard and tell the internet all about it.

I have many wargaming projects of various eras and scales which I have been working on over the past couple of years and I have managed to finish the modelling and painting for several of them over the course of 2015.

Looking back I realized that I had gotten so lost in trying to tie-up the loose ends and finish them off that once i had done so I had nothing left to do!?.. I hadn’t considered this while I was ‘hell-bent for leather’ bringing all my projects to a close.

I started looking about for yet another project to start until I sat back and thought about it, am I going to chase the rabbit down yet another hole without any thought of the consequences?

After some deliberation I decided that I have started to really enjoy the painting side of the hobby (several years ago I hated painting with a passion) and I have much less time to play games these days so it makes sense to concentrate on painting and collecting (which is the bigger part of the wargaming hobby for most of us anyway).

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Goblin Shaman which I really enjoyed painting last year

One of the collections I have enjoyed building-up the most has been that of my Greek Mythology miniatures, my only remit with this project was to collect and paint miniatures simply because I wanted to, there was no real plan in regard to playing games (though I have played several games using various systems).

With this in mind I had a look through my boxes of bits and dug out some interesting fantasy miniatures which I had acquired over the years, mostly in too small a number to be used in an army, but always liked and I also went on eBay to find miniatures I really wanted to have a go at painting (including the ‘Ogre Hunter’ pictured above).

So my plan (if such aimless machinations could be so-called) is to continue happily beavering-away with no plan in mind than to simply spend time relaxing with a paintbrush in my hand.

 

 

Hoof & Claw

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Centaurs and Harpies

My birthday in September saw me gain some new additions for my Of Myth & Legend project which I took great enjoyment in painting. These miniatures are from Foundry Miniatures Greek mythology range.

Centaurs

These three centaurs were a real joy to paint and were somewhat of an experimental process as I had never really painted horse patterns before. With a Google image search providing inspiration I came up with different patterns for each and I am very happy with the end result. I certainly look forward to painting more cavalry in the near future.

Harpies

The harpies are very characterful and proved to be fairly simple to paint. I’m sure they will be hurtling through the skies of my wargame table very soon!