Tag Archives: Uncharted Seas

Great Things in 2009


It’s nearly the end of the year, so here are some of my gaming highlights of 2009:

The Uncharted Seas

Spartan Games’ seafaring fantasy game is excellent. I don’t know when it first came out, but I came across it in 2009. It’s quick, simple and fun. It is on a parallel with one of my favourites, Silent Death (click here for info), for quick and enjoyable games. Unfortunately however, I feel a tempest is brewing for this game, and it will probably sink without trace within the near future. The game was inevitably released with a few flaws and balance issues. Sadly Spartan Games have been about as fast as an asthmatic sloth in releasing corrections and updates.

Space Hulk

Hooray for retro gaming! Space Hulk made a return in 2009, just as we had all forgotten how great it was. The main difference is that this version looks awesome. The boards and models are fantastic, adding much to an already atmospheric game. A big power fisted thumbs up!

We're Back, Baby!

World Of Warcraft Random Dungeon Tool

Well I cringe to include this one but it really has almost overnight revolutionised this grandaddy of MMORPGs. No longer do we wait for ages to get a group. No longer do we have to trek miles to a summoning stone. Just when you think WoW is getting stale, Blizzard go and pull this kind of stunt. I’ll happily wait a bit longer for Diablo 3 now!

ZombiePirateXXX is Going To Paint An Army!

OK so it’s not actually happened yet, but all you readers were witness to ZombiePirateXXX’s solemn promise to never play Warhammer Fantasy until he had a painted army. Man, the day he flops it will be a glorious day indeed, for his painting skills are legendary. I have visions of bright lights and hosts of angels singing ‘Hallelujah!’, followed by Gribblin giving him a good trouncing.

OK that’s it for now folks, feel free to add more!

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How Do You Eat Yours?


Rather than being a discussion of one of the best chocolate products invented by the hand of man today’s topic is going to be about how you plan and build your armies. There are a number of different ways in which this can be accomplished and I’ve actually been through a couple of ways myself, although I have one method that, while not the best perhaps, seems to always come out on top when I get that buzz of “ZOMG, new models, must have!!!!11!!!!!!one!!!!!”

I’ll split the various ways out and then expound on them, please feel free to comment on which is your preferred method or add something totally different.

 

The Core Method

This method revolves around the fact that most games have a set amount of stuff that must be included to field a minimum sized force. Games like 40k make this easy as you can pick an HQ unit and two Troops choices for a viable army, to play with though you’ll need an agreed points value, this is where I like Privateer Press’ products as you can get starter boxes which give forces balanced to play each other in order for people to learn the rules. Uncharted Seas and the new Firestorm Armada also work off this premise with their starter boxes.

We kind of hybridised this method when starting 5th edition 40k. We knew we wanted to play 1000pts games, I’d sold all my 40k stuff to get something a bit different and therefore started my Orks at that points level, I could then see what I lacked and adapt accordingly (more boyz!). This is in fact one of the core benefits of doing things like this. You can play your force and see what is lacking which can guide future purchases when you expand your army,  my 1500pts force therefore fills practically every troops slot available and after playing it I’ve further modified the list to make the Boyz squads fewer but bigger. They butcher stuff in close combat even with only a few of them but they tend to take horrific casualties as they cross the plains to reach their foes. Bumping them up in size means there are more ablative wounds hopefully meaning that more boyz can get stuck in later on. I do realise though that with making the squads larger that there are therefore less squads which means less targets for the enemy to worry about. Hopefully the covering fire of the Lootas still provides a distraction as well as Big Mek “Mr Suicide” who has yet to build a Shokk Attack Gun that lasts more than one shot.

Starting small also means that you aren’t laying down a lot of cash straight away. Obviously if you are starting out with something for the first time you’re going to be guided by what you like the look of, not necessarily knowing how it will play. You may like it, you may not so spending as little as possible is a potential benefit.

 

The Proxy Method

This has happened with a number of the lists I have produced for my Daemons in Fantasy. If you already have some models then this can work out but you’ll want to have your opponents consent and make sure he knows what is what. Proxying (for the uninitiated) is the process whereby you use a model you have to represent something else. I’ve not done this for an entire army as I believe that would get very difficult for your opponent to deal with, but I have expanded units beyond the model count I own or used single stand in models before spending money on proper representations. This has the advantage that you don’t go out and spend money on something before you know if it does what you want or work in the way you expect.

 

The ZombiePirate Method

Here we go, the method by which I generally do things. With most people when they first look at getting anything the first place that is started is with the ruleset for that particular army. This works across all systems as if you get a rulebook with all the forces in them or you have to pick up individual army books you’re going to be looking through them working out what you like the look of. The start of this method can work with other methods already described, what I do is have a nice read through the book, I looks at the units and their physical stats as well as stuff that I like the look of models wise. I will choose not to collect an army if their models luck bad, no matter how awesome the rules might be and so I take my picks and write-up a list for the normal game size, 1500pts 40k, 2000pts Warhammer Fantasy, 25ss Malifaux, 35 or 50pts Warmachine/Hordes etc… For the majority of these times what I will then do is make a purchase of the entire army, maybe in stages but sometimes in one huge bank busting blaze of debit card. Now, obviously depending on the army you’ve chosen this particular method can do more or less damage to your wallet. This also means you are laying down a whole wad of greenbacks on a force that has not yet seen action so you’re not sure about how it is going to perform, this is the chief downside of doing things this way, however, there is also another drawback that is almost at the same scale.

When you’ve bought everything you need in one batch you have an entire army arrayed before you, this can cause morale issues as you are presented with just how much stuff you’re going to need to build/paint. In days of yore I’ve assembled whole armies and left them on my painting table showing me in no uncertain terms just how much work I have left if I want to do it all. This is perhaps one of the greatest reasons why I never get stuff done, after seeing it all I chop and change from one thing to another. My current project is not done in this manner, I am doing things one at a time and leaving my table clear in order to do so, nothing else is cluttering it up (bar a Lord of Change and the aforementioned Big Mek “Orky McSuicide”). I am hoping that by having a more structured approach to things I stand a better chance of getting things finished. I’m looking forward to this weekend and setting myself the challenge of getting some figures actually done, I am away in London on Saturday so this may not be achievable but I’m going to give it a shot to push myself.

Time and time again I’ve fallen back on this method, written out an army list and then gone out and bought more and more stuff so that I have it all. I don’t know why I do this but I know that getting things piecemeal can actually be more beneficial (method 1 in the list here).My preferred method is probably the worst one but I’m sure each gamer has their own style and works in their own way, so don’t let anything here prevent you from doing what you want.

 

So then Intarwebz, when creating your ideal army, how do you eat yours?

Getting Excited by a New Project


As has been mentioned on these boards before I am an extremely slow painter. Not only that but I am beset by a fickleness that is well documented in my MMO playing. No matter what game I play I am normally accompanied by a horde of alts. I have already described the pernicious disease that is New Army Syndrome and therefore you can imagine how my normal whimsy can sometimes mutate into “super-whimsy”(TM). Now, my purpose today is not to talk about my many and varied idiosyncrasies nor my inherent psychological instability but more of a time when cosmic forces align to somehow influence us beyond our normal ken.

Over the past few days I am feeling something that I don’t think I have felt in quite a long time. I actually do quite enjoy painting and sometimes hold myself back from doing it more often, hence the consternation of my venerable gaming brethren who are often heard to lament the fact that nothing I have is actually fully painted. However, I believe that sometimes these things are down to motivation and if you do things right, well, in my case it may be that miracles can happen. I haven’t had a fully painted army since I was in my teenage years and that’s quite a time ago now, obviously this needs rectifying. I have finally come up with a project that is enthusing me. I have plans, actual proper plans for getting things done, I have an army list that I am super excited and happy about. I believe that I know what I am doing and for the first time in as long as I can remember I want to throw down this army on the tabletop as 100% painted! A tall order no doubt considering my notoriously slow style. This is going to happen and I reckon it’s also going to look half decent. I refer you back a couple sentences to where I refer to that fact that I have PLANS!!! Yes, plans! As a part of this I need to further motivate myself so that I do not just let things flag, this army list is not going to drop down until I have painted it, hence a second level of motivation here so, I can publically declare that I will not play a proper game of Warhammer Fantasy until I have put the finishing touches to this army. I am a grown man, it’s time that I did actually have something like this to be proud of and I reckon I finally have the excitement and drive to do it.

No doubt the people in my playing circle will also be super excited to see this. Gribblin might feel annoyed that he is robbed of his regular opponent but with nBreaker and another addition to our circle I can try to lend my talents to teaching them the game while I see them enjoying themselves and thus driving my desire to play even more and increasing the chances I have of being forced to complete my pledge. I reckon that this is the only way I have of getting something full painted. I need to do it. I can still partake of Uncharted Seas and I plan too, but the fun we’ve recently been having with Warhammer I don’t want to miss out on and I am going to do this. Motivating myself in this fashion coupled with the fact that I am actually excited about this list I hope that things combine into a successful implementation.

So Interwebz, have you ever been in the same boat as this? Do you often find yourself fighting the drudgery and need something fresh to inspire you? Or are you all top-notch people who paint everything as soon as you have it and get it on the table?

Answers on a postcard (or in the comments section, which might be easier.)

 

Elves Like Early Baths


So it was last weekend that Admiral Servitob set sail once more aboard his freshly recovered flagship.  This time he had spared no expense and had got his grog swilling crew sober enough to paint the ship without falling overboard or getting sea water in the varnish.  Soon enough he was to be joined in formation by the curry flavoured ZombiePirateXXX and a new dwarven ally, Captain Baerlerx Leowtodex.  The dwarf captain had brought his new flashy steeled battleship with his family fortune made in the comedy trade.  As everyone knows, dwarves make awful sailors so he was forced to spend several weeks trawling the local rivers with big nets until he had captured enough canoes, dingies, snorkellers and people falling off bridges to form a makeshift crew of the best sailors the dwarven race could muster.

Soon enough the joint forces were set upon by a bloodthirsty fleet, eager to test their mettle and prove their worth against the unsinkable yet relatively modest Admiral Servitob.  The enemy was comprised of Captain Gribblin, Lord High Lifeguard of The Elves, keeper of the sacred patent pink whistle and holder of the holy bouyancy device.  With them was the impeccably dressed human Sea Lord Banker, renowned for insisting upon only wearing his finest garments into battle, only to get them dirty with the blood of the slaughtered and therefore gain infinite grief from his laundry maid.  Following up from the rear was a new sight, the eager young Commander Threefeetly of the Dragon Lord Empire, sailing a brand new battleship.  A ship so new the crew were still busy peeling the stickers off the porthole windows as they sailed into combat.

Battle was joined, and with great yet somewhat predictable skill the Elf ship trailblazed into battle like a bunch of women at the january sales.  There were no bargain handbags or pointy stilletos to be found here though, only the deadly guns of the dwarves, shroud mages and bone griffons.  Soon enough the Elf battleship was blasted to a collection of loosely connected splinters, and had to escape to take a breather.  Unfortunately there were no nearby starbucks or cafes to buy a nice drink and a cake, so the elves were forced to sulk back in the direction they came.

The incredibly slow but jubilant dwarf captain, having made short work of the elves with extra helpings of gunpowder for everyone made slowly for the Dragon Lord battleship.  He was overtaken by a friendly bunch of sea snails who offered him a lift, but he politely declined on account that he was actually convinced that his smoke belching noisy hunk of iron must have a second gear.  Alas it didn’t so he crawled along.  No such trouble for the Dragon Lords though, who having read all the instruction manuals and filled in all their warranty cards were positively flying into battle.  Soon enough the Dwarves were within range and Captain Threefeetly ordered his strangely androgenous crew to open fire.  The shots pierced the mighty hull of the dwarven battleship, setting fire to the beard laquer store on board.  There was a tremendous explosion as fourteen tonnes of hair products combusted simultaneously, wrecking the ship.  Luckily the ship quickly sank, which prevented the fire burning anything really important.  Unluckily, the really important stuff was now at the bottom of the sea.

The swirling maelstrom of battle continued, with ZombiePirateXXX leading his crew in many brave boarding actions.  Eventually though, the major participants were exhausted and damaged beyond repair.  The Bone Griffon ship was virtually crewless, the Dragon Lords had all abandoned ship, the Humans were wishing they had brought more lifeboats, and the Elves were lamenting the fact that they were never going to get home in time for their favourite soap opera.  Except Servitob.  He had been sailing around, taking the occasional shot at the enemy to make it look like he was doing something useful.  In fact his Shroud Mage battleship was still fully functional.  Eventually, after several hours of manouvering he positioned his battleship to the stern of the remaining Humans.  Shroud Mage cannons roared and the new paint was stripped off them by the amazing heat of shot, striking a fatal blow to Sea Lord Banker’s ailing battleship.  The human ship exploded in a holy conflagration, spreading debris, cutlery and teapots all around.  The Elves could not believe their luck as the humans’ best tableware and fancy linen fell from the sky.  They quickly started stuffing it in their handbags, mumbling ‘Finders keepers, losers weepers’ and similar mantras until their ship was so overloaded, it too sunk.

And thus Admiral Servitob was able to sail into the glorious horizon of victory.

I don’t give a….


Saturday saw another Uncharted Seas event. This time hosted at the domicile of the erstwhile Servitob. We had a new player with his fledgling Dragon Lord fleet and another new player waiting for his own Orc flotilla that had to make do with my Human upstarts. The new Dragon Lords took on Servitob and his new Iron Dwarves in the first match with the new fleet. Servitob then proceeded to display the devil’s own luck with the volume of high rolls he made. Hopefully he will be along later to spin his own tale of hirsute midget derring-do.

I’ve got the new Skaven book for Warhammer which I may ink a review of once I’ve finished reading it, although now that Dragon Age has been released I’m running round acting like a Warlock which is 17 kinds of awesome and well over 9000!

In other news I have also found my favourite Internet icon ever. I present it to your here for your appreciation;

av-30414

Slow News Day


In what may be classed a “slow news day”, or, “I have things to post but don’t have the time to do it at the moment” er… day I thought I’d just make a quick note that people probably already know all about. Current 6 Inch Move favourite Uncharted Seas has a new cousin. Spartan Games have released information about their latest release, the futuristic Firestorm Armada. As I haven’t seen the core rules I’ll hold back from calling this Uncharted Seas in space, yet I can imagine that there are probably going to be a lot of similarities between the game as the rules set for the naval battles we are using are pretty solid.

There are a decent number of races to play and they will be releasing each in a starter box as per US, keep an eye on their website as they will be updating it with piccies and information regarding the new game. I know that some people have been waiting with bated breath for this to finally hit the shelves. Even with the love for US that we have in our gaming circles at the moment I don’t think we’ll be seeing this added to our list of games, we’ve really got enough on our plates before throwing in extra things.

In other new, Wyrd, the company behind global phenomenon Malifaux have updated their website, not to the pleasing of some of their customers judging by threads on their forums. Check it out if you want though, it’s certainly different to the way it was before.

Conventions in Gaming – Army Lists


This post has been blowing around in my head for a while. I’ve known that I wanted to continue through the various aspects of tabletop gaming under the “Conventions in Gaming” moniker as I believe that we can gain valuable insight into the things we take for granted and look at ways to make our games more interesting or perhaps just to see something in a new light. However, the structure to this post has eluded me for the past couple weeks so we’ll see how this goes.

I am sure we have all been there, pad of paper, calculator, rulebook/army book spread out over the table crunching numbers to try and come up with a list that is full of synergy as well as butt-whoopin’ awesomeness. Assigning costs to models has long been an established way of making sure that a fight can be “balanced.” I am using quote marks there because of the general cries that go up around the Internet when something new comes out that means that you can come up with an unstoppable force that seems way too powerful against a normally balanced all-comers force. Yes, I do play Chaos Daemons and no I have not taken an all Tzeentch army or Skulltaker. Army lists provide a way for us to develop forces and in many ways will determine the purchases we make as there are a number of factors that can influence how we build our armies.

For instance, some people will start off picking armies through the models that they like. We’ve all been there, a company comes out with a model that is 17 kinds of awesome, we have to have it, yet, when the rules are read, or it is put onto the battlefield it stinks the place up. Others will pore over the stats and rules for an army and try to squeeze those models into a list of the appropriate value. Some people may even take a mix of both methods. Different companies also release to us the means by which we can mould our forces in differing ways. For instance, Games Workshop has gone down the route of releasing a main rulesbook and then you have to buy a separate Army Book to be able to use your force in the game. Privateer Press when Warmachine and Hordes came out released all the information for their models in the rulebook itself, you didn’t have to buy another book to build a force to put on the table, they then released expansions to the main rules that added in new ones but also released new units for each faction. With the development of Mk 2 they are actually bringing out rulebooks a la GW but after that initial release it’ll be back to the original format of new releases being covered in expansion books. Uncharted Seas and Malifaux both contain all the details for their respective forces within the main rulebook. I’ll give a shout out to Spartan Games (makers of Uncharted Seas) here because the new fleets and rules they release for free on their website. Kudos to them for making things available so readily.

There are alternatives to the pen and paper approach, there are various pieces of software you can download to make the process easier. Wolf’s Lair’s Army Builder is a decent program (you have to pay for it) that allows you to create army lists for loads of games and there is an active community that creates the files that allow you to build the armies for certain games. Then there are things like Armies of Immoren for the Iron Kingdoms worlds, it’s a free download that makes army building a little easier, I even have iBodger on my iPhone which allows me to make Warmachine lists wherever I am. I know there are people with Excel spreadsheets that they have set up for the express purpose of creating lists to play with.

Now, speaking more specifically about what happens with GW books there is a common misconception out there. With 40K or Warhammer there are established points limits that are the “ideal” game size, 1500pts for 40K and 2000pts for Warhammer. Yet, although the armies are supposedly balanced around that points values there is no way to perform a direct comparison between the value of a model in one force and that in another. For example, in the Warriors of Chaos book the standard Marauder is 4pts and is a bargain. I have heard complaints from Bretonnian players that their Man-at-Arms costs more than this for a much worse profile. While both are rank and file infantry they are different in terms of how they fit into the armies, Marauders are a lot more offensive than Men-at-Arms and once both armies are fully arrayed things should be balanced, but comparing points costs from one unit to another in a different army cannot be done, the points values are the cost to the army that they are for and are not meant to be taken in any way as a broad comparison of the value of that troop type. This is one of my pet peeves with GW stuff, when a new army book comes out people inevitably look at something and declare it to be undercosted because “I have to pay X for X.” It’s not a good argument.

There are also different ways of costing things. GW and Privateer use Points costs whereas Malifaux uses Soulstones and this offers a slightly different mechanic into the game. Working with points generally means you have a limit that you cannot go over. Personally I have spent much time trying to squeeze something into those last few points or having to make hard decisions about what to axe to fit into the agreed limit. With Malifaux you have a set number of soulstones to spend on recruiting your crew, any unspent stones go into your pool and allow you to Cheat Fate during the game, which I quite like, it gives you a small bonus in some ways if you do find yourself with something left over.

So, what is the point of this whole post? Well I suppose it is to try and get your thoughts about how you go about preparing a force for the tabletop. I know for our Uncharted Seas games at the minute we are just using the starter boxes however, we each actually have a second starter box each (hence my rolling out of a Broadside Reaper in our last game) that we can use to expand our fleets which will mean we start working to points limits rather than arbitrary collections. In the real world of course there are no careful balancing of forces and history is replete with heroic stands made by vastly outnumbered forces. However, there is nothing stopping us from actually creating our own battles based on these ideas. Just because we do actually have an army list doesn’t mean we can’t throw it away from time to time and just have a game purely for the fun of it. It can provide an interesting diversion to your usual scheduled games.

While we do rely on these things for the majority of the games we play, cutting ourselves loose may help to reinvigorate an otherwise stale gaming environment. I believe this is why things like Apocalypse have become so popular. As I said at the beginning I have struggled with this post for a couple weeks, knowing I wanted to discuss army lists but without knowing where it would take us. I hope this post has been of some benefit other than me pumping out 1300 words of nonsense.

Who knows what I’ll come out with next time?