Friday, 29 March 2013

Pre-Match Build Up...

The Big Game is almost upon us...

Forget the Europa Football league (Big girlies that lot!) 

Two titans of the deranged world of Blood Bowl stand poised to clash in an epic struggle this evening. 

Vile and depraved - the Wasteland Wanderers, Naggarond's finest hope to seize the day... and as many body parts of the opposition as trophies! 

Standing against them are the Golden Boars, shining examples of the thuggery and brutishness so beloved of the fans. 

 Rumour has it that the services of Star Players, Griff Oberwald and the Mighty Zug have been secured by the Boars. 

Not content to be outdone the Wanderers have hired the feared Assassin, Harkon Heartripper (left) and Star Player, Hubris Rakarth (right).

 So the scene is set but the die yet to be cast. Who will win? Who will survive? Who will be able to eat an entire Big Moot Sandwich?

Edit - I'd hoped to post this earlier this afternoon but an influx of in-laws put paid to that idea. My good friend Ollie, of The Second Founding has been round and we've got the first 7 turns played. I'm not going to give any half time scores away as we have a load of notes and pictures to to sort out and get a match report sorted somehow between us.

Suffice to say, however, blood has been spilled, rocks and abuse hurled and much beer consumed!

Monday, 18 March 2013

To LPL or not to LPL...

That is the question!

So its that time of year again where the good folk over on the LAF get their annual painting competition, the Lead Painters League, going again. Big thanks to LAF'er, Overlord for stepping in to the breach as an organiser this year - its a big job!

Entry is limited to 50 competitors again this year, mainly because of the logistics of handling that many submissions each week. I guess it'll be a first come, first served basis again so fingers crossed...

Its a great competition with the LAF's finest on show each year - the range of creativity and painting excellence always amazes me. Have a look at previous year's entries and you'll see what I mean! Oh and you may get to see other Oldhammer stalwarts like Blue in VT and Phreedh who are also renowned LPL veterans.

Anyway, back to my question - do I enter or not? The pros are clear - tons of painted minis at the end of the 10 weeks of the competition, along with the sense of achievement that would bring and the enjoyment of being part of such a great competition.

Here's what I got done last year -



As you can see - not a bad way of getting going with my Lustria project, whilst dabbling with a few other scales and painting some minis I'd been itching to for ages!

And the year before...



The cons are slight in comparison - brushes worn threadbare through overuse, insomnia as entry deadlines loom and the sheer relentless pace of ensuring a team of at least five minis (and sometimes two teams to qualify for bonus points!) is ready each week.

Hmmm I think I may have talked myself into it!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Onlinehammer! The Battle of Plank Street...

As some of you may already have seen from Erny and Warlord Paul's posts, we had a fantastic game of WFB3 on Friday night - online!

Firstly, huge thanks must go to Erny for all his hard work and genius in setting the whole thing - in particular photographing his minis from above to create the virtual playing pieces! We used Roll20 to play the game which worked brilliantly on the main part. Next time me and Warlord Paul could do with sorting out our microphones so we can all chat instead of poor old Erny talking away while we furiously typed our questions, taunts and went off on lengthy, non-game related tangents!

The game played out much as it would have done on the table - we stated what we wanted each unit to do, rolled dice on the dice log, measured distances and forgot rules. Wheels and turning units is a bit tricky at the moment but not a problem between easy going players. In fact there's nothing to stop you lot setting your own games up once you've registered with D20. Perhaps one day online games at the weekends will be a real way of us Oldhammerers playing together on a regular basis...

As Erny intended, we certainly felt like we were round at "his place" - the beer (and cidre) flowed in ample amounts, snacks were consumed and much banter and chat took place. In fact we were so successful in creating that club atmosphere that the game lay forgotten on a couple of occasions as we pontificated on various subjects! Nor did we finish the game after four hours of play - a good excuse to get together again and continue the fun.

As Paul mentioned on his blog, such was our excitement and child-like joy that many of the key rules went out the window - mainly animosity and stupidity! However, even though my poor Dwarves suffered grievously in the face of such an unnaturally well co-ordinated Goblinoid assault, we were having so much fun it mattered not. Actually, I was rather taken with the tale of Chester and Julian - the Trolls with aspirations of higher education!

And the story so far? Here's the Dwarves' perspective...

King Cnut Axe Cleaver proudly surveyed his troops. To his left ranged the elite Longbeard unit, the Full Borowski's, led by Gunter Barrel Lover, and to his right the unhinged Troll Slayers of the Ginger Nuts gnashed their terrible teeth and flashed their terrible beards. Behind him, the faithful warriors of his own unit, the Angry Growlers, were working themselves up into their highly vocal battle rage.

He had deployed this doughty column of warriors in the small valley of Landinstrip, which lay to the South of Plank Street - the road that ran between his Royal seat at Axwoon'd and the Cooperage they had set up nearer to the Lonely oak woods. The Goblinoid raiders were bound to spread themselves out in an unorganised mass and Cnut looked forward to destroying them in detail while the usual squabbles and petty arguments disrupted their battle lines.  

To protect their right flank Cnut had sent his two units of Crossbowmen and the Bolt Thrower, Bjork the Wailer, to take up position atop the the gentle rise of Firry Mound - although why the hillock had been named thus was a mystery as the area was predominately covered in deciduous trees...? Whatever the etymology of the hill's name, it would provide a commanding view of the approaches from the road - any Greenskin scum attempting a flank attack would have to do so in the teeth of the combined firepower of the Crossbowmen and the War Machine.

Yes, Cnut was feeling pretty pleased with himself - all he needed was some Orcs to kill. And here they came! Yet something was wrong. They seemed... well disciplined, purposeful. Organised! Well Dwarven steel would soon put paid to that Cnut thought. 

The air hummed with the passage of a multitude of quarrels and the ranks of one of the units of Orc archers wavered. The impact of one of Bjork's great spears transfixing two of the foul creatures tipped the balance and sent them fleeing! Things were looking up and Cnut encouraged his brave warriors to greater inventiveness in the invectives they were hurling at the oncoming horde.

Despite this brief setback, the Greenskins kept on coming. A seed of doubt entered the Dwarf King's mind - what if they are organised? What sorcery could be strong enough...What was this Tim Mee Tay Lorrr they kept shouting about?  These and other questions whirled through Cnut's head in the brief moments before the entire Goblinoid battle line crashed into his!

All about him pandemonium reined - the Longbeards were forced back, the Troll Slayers seemed to be asking the Trolls to slay them and the Crossbowmen could no longer be seen beyond the leaping figures of Goblins that swarmed over the hill. Was this how it was to end? Had the Dwarve's worst fear of a well co-ordinated and disciplined Orc horde come about? How had the usual tribal differences been laid aside - what was uniting them? Was this the end of all goodly things? 

Cnut shook his head to rid himself of his uncharacteristic confusion and consternation. Think of the ale man, he scolded himself. If the Orcs were to win here then the cooperage would be theirs and they had no more idea about barrel making than they did about brewing - bloody heathens. Worse still - they might raid the grain stores, burn the hops and begin making their own foul and fizzy brews - Pisslen and Laaggghhhhh 'urr...

There was no way that shit was going to be brewed in Awoon'd...

Goblin Quest

Righty-ho - another post that has been languishing in the backlog.

Last weekend I managed to entice my lad into another game of Rab's fantastic Goblin Quest. Well, it didn't take much enticing actually! So with Dave King's excellent dungeon tiles prepped and ready, a handful of gold coins nicked from Star Wars Monopoly and a veritable cornucopia of dice types the scene was set for the adventurers to brave the terrors of the Dungeon...

Like Erny and his young 'un, we soon ditched the D4 movement and went with the option of moving up to 4 squares to speed up the exploration - and the killing of Goblins! I based the dungeon loosle on the sample map Rab also posted - my lad soon got wise to this and surreptitiously wandered round the table a few times to take a sneaky peak at what might be lurking ahead!

The initial Goblin sentries were no match for Sir Harry of Harkness and his two retainers, although the poor chap who was armed with the crossbow didn't fare so well. A combination of pushing him too far ahead to count on the support of his comrades and not being able to get many shots off before being mobbed by Gobbo's saw him grievously wounded!

My lad was a bit young to take these tactical considerations, and the Spear man's ability to attack diagonally,  into consideration. He was more concerned with matters like "Get the treasure" or "kill the Goblin!", which is fine by me for a four year old!

He was a bit worried by the troll that was guarding the first of several treasure chests and teamwork soon became a necessity.

The Troll was dispatched with some lucky dice rolls - Rab, my lad seemed to be similarly blessed with high rolls on his D20 up to this point too!

As you can see, Sir Harry's arch-nemesis arrived at this point and to stop his sister pinching the treasure chests and generally causing all kinds of mayhem, she took over the dice rolling for the baddies.

First up was the Giant Spider that awaited the adventurers in the next room...

Despite advice from his Dad, the impetuous knight sent in his gravely wounded Crossbowmen first to investigate...

... and soon found himself avenging the death of the loyal (and somewhat abused!) Retainer!

I gave the spider the same stats as the troll, but added in an additional rule. If the highest number was rolled on whatever dice the spider was using for its combat roll then the it could make a web attack which froze its attacker for a turn. Models that were attacked whilst caught in a web could only use a D4 to defend themselves. Other models could free webbed models by beating them in a combat roll - again using a D4 for the trapped model.

The Spearman suffered this fate and received a nasty bite before sir Harry could rescue him by vanquishing the spider - not without some injury to himself as well...

And yet the heroes' challenge wasn't over. Guttural shouts and pounding footsteps signalled the arrival of several Orc guards, attracted by the sounds of the struggle. Enraged by the death of their "pet" they race to attack.

It was here I began to suspect that my boy didn't have a well developed sense of his own mortality! With a badly wounded Retainer and slightly limping Knight he charged the burly Orcs. Two of the foul creatures fell, but not before killing the Spearman and further wounding the Knight...

I decided to give the young adventurer a way out - not that he seemed to worried about his imminent demise or the disappearance of his earlier luck with the dice. I also made another rule up - Sorry Rab! With things looking grim, I suggested that brave sir Harry might like to bravely run away and that I would let him roll a D6 to see how far he sprinted - the Orcs would of course pursue on the same basis...

His luck held out for a couple of turns as he outpaced the Orcs but slowly they gained on him and finally brought him to bay after some dismal rolling on his part.

With a lot of ground to cover to get to the safety of the exit and not many dice left to stave off the Orcs it seemed as if the adventure would come to a grisly end. Desperate measures were needed if the Knight were to survive to fight another day so I suggested that all the gold he was lugging about might be slowing him down. Were he to drop the treasure chest he had liberated from the Troll, not only would he be able to go faster but the Orcs would no doubt stop their pursuit to grab the ditched treasure.

Happy with this option, sir Harry duly jettisoned his treasure (with only a few grumbles about only having a few coins left) and ran to the safety and fresh air of the exit.

So feedback then - Everyone enjoyed the game so top marks there! I also rather liked the way the rules, character and item cards are presented - nice one!

We ditched the random movement and went with a movement allowance of up to the highest score possible on the character's/monster's movement dice.

The baddies seemed balanced enough although lots of lucky high rolls saw the Goblins dispatched with ease and the Troll was similarly unlucky!

The Orcs were fun to use and I liked the special Vicious rule they have of adding 1 to their combat score if they roll an odd number. Multiple combats worked well and there were a few free strikes as cowardly Goblins tried to run away!

The Crossbowman didn't seem to fare too well - mainly because of the way he was sent first into many of the rooms and didn't get a chance to fire before being mobbed!

Finally I wonder if there is a way of the hero recouping dice lost from the combat track somehow? Perhaps seeding the dungeon with a few magic potions? I seem to remember something like this being mentioned a while back on Rab's fine blog?

Anyway, well done Rab -  a most enjoyable game!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Heroes in a Half Shell

Right another WIP here - having finished my Blood Bowl team (still got the pitch to do) I thought I'd wrap up a few more loose ends before plunging into preparations for the Oldhammer Weekend in the summer.

I got into a great discussion on the LAF about using Eureka's Turtle Tank with Four A's fantastic Goblins. Huge thanks to fellow LAF'er Scurv for sorting me out with said Turtle, minus the Turtle warrior crew and at a very reasonable price too.

On a more personal note I also need to thank Scurv for very kindly taking my brother and his mate, who are taking a year out travelling round Australia at the moment, under his wing, providing accomodation and other assistance and some excellent nights out I gather! If you're reading this and ever find yourself in the UK as far North as York I'd be happy to repay the favour.

Anyhow - here's a few shots of the Turtle Tank and its new owners -

Mayhem: Red Runs the River...

Long time no update so firstly apologies for that - insert usual excuses about family, life, work, sleep, etc... Frustratingly I've been trying to get this final report finished for about a week and a half now!

I'd best also take the time before plunging into the last desperate moments of the Battle of Harrison's Ford to add that Mayhem is actually a very quick, intuitive and exciting game to play!

Turn 8
Von Damne's Dependables
CP's rolled - 7

A ripple of fear radiated out amongst the red and green ranks of the ford's defenders. Bluch Norres had fallen.

That was impossible. Norres' reputation was terrifying to friend and foe alike. He was the only man capable of punching a cyclops between the eyes. It was said of him that he did not fear the dark - the dark feared him. Now the unthinkable had happened and a great hero had truly passed into legend...

Beulengger redoubled his efforts having witnessed Norres' demise and together with the surviving lancers, smashed the last Skeleton horsemen to pieces. While he had the momentum and Lavister was fired with the lust for battle he wheeled around to face his nemesis.

With a great battlecry, Beulenegger spurred his mount into a headlong and desperate charge at the Giant in the hopes of finally seeing off their tormentor.

In a flurry of claws and feathers, Lavister lashed out sending the brute reeling backwards, clutching several deep rents across its chest and midriff. Cheered by the triumphant shouts and roars of pain coming from the river, the second unit of Lancers who had previously withdrawn turned to face the oncoming hounds.

Again using the Impact ability, the Griffin expends another point to fly into combat with the Giant. Gaining the bonus die for the Impact hit gave the Griffin the edge and the Giant received 2 damage points.

Turn 8
Zeegal's Marauders
CP's rolled - 6

The Giant reeled from the savagery of the Griffin's onslaught. Clutching the tattered ribbons of its belly with one hand, it swung its huge club in a wide arc to fend off the terrible foe. However, Lavister was not to be denied. Avoiding the blow with ease the noble beast once more raked the Giant with its great claws and with  a deafening crash the huge brute fell lifeless to the ground.

An unlucky set of dice mean that the Giant loses the combat by a score of 5. Needless to say it does not survive the damage roll - rolling under 13 on 7D6 (one for each damage point).

Barely pausing to feast upon their freshly killed quarry, the Hounds surged onwards and crashed into the newly reformed Lancers. The snarling and snapping beasts quickly threw the Horsemen into disarray.

The second unit of hounds couldn't muster the strength to master the slow but strong current of the river and contented themselves with slowly stalking forward to their next target.

Turn 10 
Von Damne's Dependables
CP's rolled - 2

Disaster! With the loss of the Bluch Norres' elite unit, Von Damne also loses 1D8 from his CP roll resulting in a rather paltry score of 2 this turn!

As confusion reigned with the line of command further disrupted by the hounds' advances, much of Von Damne's army could do little other than look on as the struggle for the river bank went on.

The unit of Lancers on the river bank itself smartly turned about and charged into the rear of the Hounds that were snapping at their comrades. Outnumbered two to one the Hounds fell into disarray as panic threatened to set in.

Turn 10
Zeegal's Marauders
CP's rolled - 7

Held at bay by two units of horsemen, the hounds fell into a desperate fury. As they were herded forward by the Lancers' charge in the rear, the savage beasts were funnelled forward, tearing down the opponents who stood before them in a wild attempt to escape.

Zeegal watched on with satisfaction as the tide slowly turned in his favour on the far left flank. With a sweep of his great sword, the evil general waved on his minions across the ford...

Turn 11
Von Damne's Dependables 
CP's rolled 5

Yet all was not lost on the left - bereft of many of their kin and their great leader Bluch Norres, the surviving unit of Lancers gave a great cry - the deaths of their comrades would be avenged! The hounds before them didn't stand a chance as a terrible fury possessed the horsemen.

The destruction of the Hounds pushes Zeegal's army past its breaking point. From next turn onwards  he will have to pass a leadership test before issuing any commands to his troops - failure will see the game end as he  looses control and his army break and retreat.

Back in the vanguard the Handgunners made it back to their original positions on the hill with the Thunderers. Taking advantage of the brief respite from the skeleton archers' volleys of black arrows, they and the Dwarves on the valley bottom reloaded their weapons.

The remaining unit of Thunderers, weapons already primed, ranged in on the lead Half Orc unit. As rifles crackled up and down the line the enemy ranks rippled and fell into disorder.

Turn 11
Zeegal's Marauders
CP's rolled - 5

A shudder of confusion passed through the ranks of chaotics as the realisation that all was not going to plan dawned on them. No longer did they have the strength of numbers they had enjoyed and even for such bloodthirsty creatures as the Half Orcs the task of taking the ford seemed daunting. Yet if any had considered fleeing Zeegal's baleful gaze and bellowed commands soon sent them scurrying back to the line.

Dulf Lundgrin, chief among the barbarous horde of Half Orcs was not happy. For too long he had been forced to wait while Zeegal had frittered away his army and now the ford ran red their blood. Pointing a clawed hand at the Halberdiers who blocked his path, he bellowed a challenge,

"I must break you!"

Led by Lundgrin, the Half Orcs charged the Halberdiers. The struggle was brief but the Halberdiers managed to hold the Orcs at bay. However, using the momentum of the charge, Lundgrin whipped his troopers into a frenzy and threw the human defenders backward. Trapped between the wild attacks of the Half Orcs and their fellow Halberdiers who were bringing up the rear, the soldiers had no where to run and were cut down to a man.

Dulf Lundgrin has the Push Back attribute that means he pushes back any unit he ends up in a draw with in combat. Should that unit come into contact with an obstacle or other unit they are eliminated.

Turn 12 
Von Damne's Dependables
CP's rolled - 7

Von Damne looked on aghast at the wake of death the Half Orc hero brought with him. Only the double impact of his trusty Dwarf allies could stop the onslaught...


The crackling report of the combined volley from the Thunderers and Handgunners stopped the Half Orc charge in its tracks. Despite Lundgrin's guttural commands and the sting of the flat of his blade, his warriors faltered and fell into disarray.

Seeing his chance to halt Zeegal's assault and send his evil army running for the hills, Von Damne quickly ordered his remaining troops into the fray. The surviving Halberdiers gripped their pole-axes tightly, ready to avenge their comrades. The thundering of hooves signalled the Half Orcs' doom as the Lancers charged into their flank. Lundgrin fell last of all, pierced by many lances and fighting to the last.

Turn 12
Zeegal's Marauders
CP's rolled - 0

Zeegal looked on, a towering rage building inside him as yet more of his minions fell at the defenders' hands. The surviving Half Orcs turned tail and fled and as he cured their cowardly hides, his control over his undead horde waned. Skeletal archers flickered and faded into insubstantiality, bones and decayed equipment clattered to the ground. 

With a last snarl of frustration, the Warlord turned his bestial mount and stalked back to the Wastes from which he came...


Well what a battle! It could certainly have gone either way at certain points and I thought the forces of evil had broken Von Damne's lines as the hounds badly mauled the Lancers holding the river bank. Yet some lucky dice rolls and the threat of the Thunderers covering the ford saw Von Damne's Dependables win through, though at a high price.

The rules were great - quick to play, easy to follow and full of many layers of tactical complexity for their apparent simplicity. It was nice getting all the different die out - D8, D10 and so on, and  I think using them as steps in combat/ranged combat skill and movement is elegant and effective.

One of my favourite things about them was actually building the two armies from scratch - assigning movement and combat values, special skills and attributes to give each different unit its ow unique flavour and tactical considerations.

I'd like to give Warmaster a try some day but I will definitely be coming back to Mayhem again - hopefully with a human opponent next time, rather than solo play.