Tag Archives: Warhammer

Something to get your teeth in to


Warhammer: Vampire CountsIt’s been a little quiet here at 6 inch move recently.  Servitob has had an addition to his brood of future gamers, there is the usual chaos that accompanies the Christmas/New Year season and as for myself I’ve had to move an entire swimming pool/sports & leisure centre (and I’m telling you those things are heavy).  As a result our small band of gamers has had little time to get together and roll the dice.  This will be changing soon as life begins to settle down again.

This month saw the release of Warhammer Fantasy’s latest army book, the Vampire Counts.  Having bought an army of the undead when I was still a teenager this edition caught my attention.  I’ve always liked the dark, gothic imagery that has accompanied vampires in general and GW’s vampire counts in particular.  To me they are what a classic vampire should be; dark, sinister and above all blood thirsty.  No glittering skin here.  I’m almost impressed at the speed that GW has been turning out the army books for this edition of Fantasy.  Its been out about 2 years and they’ve produced 4 army books for it so far, along with the Storm of Magic supplement and several 40k codices.  Not to bad going.  It was good to see them do the Ogres, Tomb Kings and Orcs early on as all of these army books needed serious updates.  I just wish they’d hurry up and do the Wood Elves (they’re my favourite Fantasy army, I have about 6000 points, but their current army book is two editions out of date and a bit naff).  Still can’t complain, I have new vampires to play with.

So whats new to this edition of the dark lords of undeath? Well the book itself follows GW’s latest trend of full colour, hard back with a £25 price tag.  The book is nicely edited and of good quality, and if you’ve looked around a bookshop recently, it’s not too over priced for a colour hard back.  Saying that though, gone are the days when I’d buy every army book as it came out.  Now I’m restricting myself to getting the armies that I actually own, or are seriously considering purchasing.

The army has seen the return of a few old favourites.  The option of a Lord level Necromancer is back, as are the special characters Lichemaster Heinrich Kemmler and Krell.  Necromancers can again be made better wizards than in the last edition and once again Wraiths can be taken as Hero choices.  There have been some new additions to the ranks of the dead.  The Strigoi Ghoul King is a Lord choice that is basically a hate filled Strigoi vampire, who has weaker magical abilities than regular Vampire Lords, but more than makes up for it in close combat kick-ass potential.  The vampire characters all have a new special rule called The Hunger.  Basically whenever they kill one or more models in close combat you roll 1D6, and on a 6 the vampire regains a lost wound.  Nice.

The other new units include the Crypt Horrors (basically ogre sizes ghouls), the nice looking Vargheists (psychotic, bestial vampires in bat form), the Terrorgheist (a dragon-sized, undead bat with one hell of a scream), the Coven Thrown, the Mortis Engine and the Hexwraiths.

The Coven Thrown and the Mortis Engine are both made form the same kit.  I’ve been really impressed by the large, plastic models that GW has been producing for Fantasy.  For me the kind of symbolize a fantasy genre; you have epic heroes, magic throwing wizards and large, scary monsters

Vampire Counts Coven Throne / Mortis Engineand although GW can sometimes go OTT on the heroes and magic, the latest round of monster kits are fantastic.  In game terms both the Thrown and the Engine count as chariots being pulled by a spirit host that grants both units ethereal movement.  The Coven Thrown is a mount for Vampire characters, and comes with a pair of vampiric handmaidens to attend to their lord.  It has a 4+ ward save and nice little special rule called Battle of Wills that could result in an enemy unit turning on itself.  The Mortis Engine is a rare choice and has Regeneration, a Banshee swarm and a Reliquary that hurts the enemy and heals the undead and becomes more powerful the longer it stays on the table.  Both builds look good, but personally I prefer the look of the Mortis Engine.  It has the look of a gothic pipe organ and I love the swirling banshees.

Vampire Counts Black Knights / HexwraithsAnd finally we get to the Hexwraiths.  The rules for them are cool.  They’re ethereal, fast cavalry that can move through units, hurting the enemy as they go.  Their attacks are flaming and ignore armour saves, and their background as agents of death itself, sent to hunt down those who have cheated death is cool.  The models are OK.  They’re made from the same kit as the new black knights.  They’re not bad looking models, my only problem with them is that I don’t think that they do the concept art from army book justice.  Have a look below and you’ll know what I mean.

Now is it just me, or is that piece of artwork cool.  It really captures the terror and ethereal aspect of these creatures.  They are the stuff of nightmares and this picture shows that.  Like said, nice models but I’m not sure if they really bring out that same fear factor.

And now for the other stuff.  The magic Lore of Vampires has changed slightly.  All of your old favourites are there; Curse of Years, Vanhel’s Dance etc. but there are a few subtle changes.  The signature spell is Invocation of Nehek, but this time instead of targeting a single friendly unit, it targets ALL friendly undead units within 6″ (or 12″ or 18″ if you want to increase the casting value).  All friendly units regain D6+caster’s magic level worth of wounds, unless the unit is Vampiric, Ethereal or a Large Target, which only regain 1 wound per casting.  Characters and their mounts do NOT regain wounds from the casting of this spell.  The only way they can get wounds back is from the Lore Attribute; each time a spell is successfully cast from the Lore of Vampires the wizard, or a friendly model within 12″ regains a wound.  Unless the unit is zombies (or you have bought the appropriate upgrade) you cannot increase a unit beyond its starting size.  The Raise Dead spell can be used to create new units of skeletons once more, but you do have to increase the casting value.  Oh and in case you ever get tired of raising the dead you now have access to the Lores of Death and Shadow.

One of the cool things about the Vampires is that you can customize your lords of undeath.  You can still do this, though the list is a little smaller than in the previous edition.  This I feel is no great loss as several of the Vampiric Powers are now included as standard upgrades (such as armour and weapon upgrades).  The one I am going to miss is no more ethereal vampires.  Oh well, can’t have everything.  The list of magic items has been reduced to 9 as is the standard for the newer army books.  Frostblade has gone, but watch out for Skabscrath is all I’m saying.  As for the death of the general?  Well its still not a good thing.  Your general has to be a wizard with the Lore of Vampires, and if he/she is killed then all of your non-vampiric units have to take a leadership test at the end of the phase.  The difference this time is that if you have another wizard with the Lore of Vampires in your army then he/she takes over and the army doesn’t take anymore leadership test.  This is repeated if that character is killed and so on.

All in all I’m impressed with the new release.  They’ve added a few, nice looking units and made some minor rules changes to existing ones.  They’ve re-done the Black Knights, which is about time, as they seriously needed it.  What would I like to have seen?  I know it’s called the Vampire COUNTS, and therefore focuses upon the von Carsteins, but what happened to the other special characters such as Neferata and Walach. Harkon.  The zombies could also do with re-modelling, and I really wish they’d done a new Black Coach, rather than just making it a Finecast model.  It is however nice to see an army that has all of its units available rather than GW’s usual trick of not releasing half of the army list.  It looks like I may be dusting off the coffins that contain my undead models and giving them a new lease of . . . life.

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GW: The Company I Love to Hate or Hate to Love…. I’m Not Sure


Just a couple of things this morning from the opening salvo of 2012. Firstly I bought this month’s White Dwarf, it’s got a lot of stuff for the latest Warhammer Fantasy release the “Vampire Counts” in it. They’re an army that has appealed to me right from day one, I’ve never gotten around to the army though, but I have come close a few times. I had a little chuckle to myself when after the Editorial and contents page there was a double spread advert for Dreadfleet. I’ll not go into that here, I am sure all regular readers are more than aware of my feelings for the game, the picture at the start of this thread should suffice if you’re in the dark.

In other news I doubt many people will have heard about the leaked 6th edition rules, or what are rumoured to be 6th edition. After all the furore when this document first hit the Intertubes there has been a lot of sudden declarations of it being a fake, despite what would seem to be considerable evidence to the contrary. I’ve seen the rules myself and had a quick scan through and, personally, I’d be happy for 40k to develop this way. A lot of the problems with 5th edition have gone and it does seem to change-up the meta-game. Now, there are things I don’t like but overall I see enough positives here for this to be a good change for 40k.

Going back to that White Dwarf I purchased (taking the number of White Dwarfs I’ve bought over the past ten years up to needing two hands to count) it also alludes to this being the 25th anniversary year for Warhammer 40,000. I’m going to be very interested to see what overpriced tat the Sherriff tries to hawk onto us so that we can “share” in the celebration of this momentous event. I’m going to go with a generic hot beverage container costing upwards of a decent night out with one’s significant other. I can tell you now which I’d prefer and which one is much more likely. I think I might have the steak!

I’m certainly looking forward to this years releases. I’m impressed with the speed at which Fantasy armies are coming out. I’m sure Gribblin will be wanting to throw down soon with the new Vampires and we should also have a pretty interesting project kicking off here towards the end of the first quarter! Stay tuned for that. I also imagine we’ll be getting at least one Space Marine Codex this year. Black Templars are on the rumour mill and a new edition of 40k means that the generic Marine codex will need to be updated pretty quickly thereafter to make sure they don’t have to abide by any of the rules in the new book. Can’t have them behaving like all the other armies can we?

I’ll be keeping an eye on Mantic to see how Warpath and Kings of War develop. I’d certainly be interested more in their games once the product lines are a fully viable contender to the GW crown. I know that both my wallet and, perhaps more importantly, my wife would be appreciative of a reduction in the cost of my hobby..

Warhammer Fantasy – Magic Items Makes it Suck?


In the last week I managed to get in two games of Warhammer Fantasy with the only other player in our group, the man Gribblin. As far as fantasy is concerned we have a healthy and long-standing rivalry and have changed the armies we use as time has gone on (me far more than him unsurprisingly).

I know that one of our players specifically doesn’t play fantasy due to a perceived imbalance in the power that certain magic items bring to the battlefield. This view of the game was not helped when against Gribblin’s Vampires my 50pts Hellheart netted me 600pts of dead Vampires. The following game was not played in such a social setting so he didn’t get to see it do bugger all.

Anyone that plays Fantasy is aware of the game changing nature of some of the magic items, these are normally ones found in some of the older army books. I am talking about items that can change the game and cost very little for the consistent effects that they have. The second game I was playing was against Gribblin’s Lizardmen, a game I tend to find a lot harder than going against the Vampires. I’ll start off by saying that it was a close fought Battleline scenario and he scored 400pts more than me to net a win, however, when you looked at the table at the end of turn 6 there wasn’t a lot left on either side, but congratulations to him all the same.

I took a pretty normal Ogre list, keeping in the Stonehorn and using my new unit of Mournfang Cavalry for the first time (they were awesome). Across from me is one of the most frustrating models in all of Warhammer; the Mega-Pimp-Hand-Uber Slann. This particular anti-gravity amphibian had more bling than a 1980’s Mr T. Cannon balls screamed right through him, while he completely shutdown my magic phase, firing off an entire lore’s worth of spells every turn and (but for a poor dice roll) throwing his miscasts around to everyone else. Yes he is expensive but that model completely removed me from being able to play in one phase of the game, that’s pretty powerful.

I think that I am actually coming around more to our non-Fantasy playing friend’s way of thinking. When  I look at something like Kings of War from Mantic, each army has models with special rules dependent on the army, characters also get special rules but these are also available across the various armies. There is no real customisation of things with special item options.

I like the new 8th edition approach, that the rulebook contains the most of the magic items that are available to armies and there are but a few (normally pricey) options in each army book. However, in some of the older books the fact that magic items contribute such a huge amount can alter the balance of the game. There is the capability to completely neuter and army in a particular way, now, some may consider that just prudent planning and good generalship, but should you be able to win a game almost purely on the back of the fact you spent 100pts on a certain combination of stuff that your opponent can do nothing about?

I appreciate that Warhammer is a hugely complex game, but shouldn’t a battle be decided by the models on the table and the ken of the generals rather than an arbitrary decision made before the models even hit the table?

Please do not think that I am making a whine post because I lost a game of Warhammer, I had a very enjoyable time playing that game, momentum swung back and forth through the game and if I’d have remembered some more of the rules for my army I might have done a little better, still it was a well-earned victory and the first ever loss for my Ogres. The point of the post is to gather opinion on just how much of an impact people are happy with magic items providing to a game. I am not bothered about a 4+ ward save or 2+ armour save, those can be failed. But when you can kit something out to be nigh invulnerable and/or shut down a core part of the game when it already comes with decent protection, is that good irrelevant of cost?

I think much of what makes some of the Fantasy armies, “top-tier” is the access to their magic items list. If everyone purely had access to those in the main rulebook do we think we’d have a far more balanced game, or would it sacrifice variety for the sake of an opinion about what makes the game fairer?

 

6 Inch Move Review – 8th Edition Warhammer Armies – Ogre Kingdoms


No-one in the Warhammer speaking world can have failed to notice that one of the army books in direst need of being updated has finally crashed through the wilderness of the GW design studio and landed with a thud in stores around the world.

I’ve read, pondered, digested, giggled maniacally, planned, re-planned and procrastinated the writing of this post. I thought it about time that I actually put forth my feelings on the latest book. I believe the best way to start that is to look where we’ve come from.

The previous Ogre book stemmed from a previous age and was starting to show it, even in its native 6th edition it was regarded as an auto-win if you faced them across the table. Seventh edition didn’t do them any favours either but there were those of us who enjoyed the fat, sweaty, subtle as a London rioter being filmed walking down the street with the 52″ TV he’s just looted from the local branch of Currys, big guys! People played the Ogres the only way they could that would let them have any chance of winning. Then, we got 8th edition, a whole new era of gamer dividing awesomeness, suddenly Ogres were actually competitive again. Sure, no-one was singing that they were as broken as Skaven or Daemons but the changes of the new edition brought enough of a see-change that even though people still decried them as bottom of the ladder we could now bring the pain and shock people. Arguments ensued over just how Gut Magic worked, small children wept at night about how many characters were stacked into all-consuming death stars of Bulls or Ironguts but the Ogre players, like the armies that they played, rolled with it and kept on fighting.

So, after almost 300 words of drivel what is the new book like then? As we all know by now GW have decided to put all the new 8th books into hardback, another way of screwing more money out of gullible punters or a genuine improvement in robustness? I’ll let you be the judge of that. However, I must admit that the new books are very nice, still not sure they are worth the money, the Ogre book is 96 pages for £25 afterall but I paid it so I can’t really say all that much now can I?

The background section has been fleshed out (pun intended) so we get much more detail about what happened to the Ogres on their forced migration across the mountains, there are also larger sections expanding the known tribes and the new map is brilliant for showing the tribes, their haunts and the various roads leading through the region. Background and fluff is something the Sherriff has never had a problem with in my book. They might not be able to write clear and concise rules or even balance stuff all that well in some circumstances but they can certainly spin a yarn.

The bestiary is good and provides fluff for all the options in the book, although people have noted that the old Forgeworld Rhinox fluff has been copy/pasta’d into the Mournfang entry. Rather unsurprisingly all of the new units that models have been released for are viable. Ogres certainly have a lot more variety in how they can bring the pain. Gnoblars lost a dedicated Trappers entry and Bicker! but went up in price by 25% when the cost of Ogres across the board dropped in a lot of areas. The Tyrant got more expensive as did the bargain that was the Slaughtermaster who now makes a viable (if low leadership) general.

The special characters are generally overpriced for what they are and the Ogres have far less of them than the other new books, although you could argue how many Ogres you can get with a distinct personality. The new Lore of the Great Maw is pretty decent containing a huge haul of Augment spells and you have to take it on at least one of your Mages, the Lore has no quirks now and works off the standard rules just like how the Lore of Nehekhara has been brought into line with the new edition.

Ogre Bulls are now just called Ogres, are cheaper and now come with armour, they have a number of options and Ironfists now count as a shield so you can get a Parry save! Ogres have lost the Armour Penetration of their Ogre Clubs but also will be more reliable when charging into stuff and scoring impact hits due to the changes in those rules. The Special choices are really where things get interesting for the Ogres now, Sabretusks can be taken in packs of 1-10, that’s right for a mere 21pts you can take a M8 model with the same stats as an Eagle for running around on flanks and hunting warmachines or redirecting the enemy. The Mournfang cavalry are the heavy shock troops for the Ogres, they can get a 2+ armour save, can carry a magic banner and can use Ironfists to get a Parry even when mounted. They cost a lot but are going to be a huge benefit for Ogre generals. Slam in some normal Ogres into the front of a unit and a flank charge from these guys is going to be devastating! If you want another unit that is going to make your opponent cry then the new Maneaters are where it’s at. Substantially cheaper than before you now get to pick two of a myriad special rules when picking the unit, this makes them eminently customisable. They are not cheap either but then Ogre players are used to having to deal with expensive units.

In Rares we now find the Scraplauncher that uses a small template but won’t charge headfirst into the first thing it sees! We get a cannon with S10 grapeshot that is mounted on a chariot, it’s 40pts more than the (cheaper) Scraplauncher but also fills more of a hole. We get the Slave Giant now called a normal Giant and using the same profile from the Orc book, although I think he will now feature in even fewer lists thanks to our new arrivals. The Stonehorn (pictured at the start of this post) is a pure brute, it does an increased number of impact hits when it charges. It certainly isn’t going to take a normal sized unit down on its own but it will make a mess of what it hits. The Thundertusk is a support beast, still big and tough but not as brutal in combat. It can spit out spheres of ice and give Always Strikes Last to enemies within 6″! No more re-rolls for those pesky High Elves.

The Ogre magic items are typically lean as has been the style with the new books, they are often overpriced for what they are. Debates rage online about just whether the Ironfist (which performs exactly like a shield so the rules tell us) means that a Slaughtermaster can take magical armour but overall we have another solid book here. The general consensus among Ogre players is that this is a massive improvement, an assessment I am happy to agree with. It doesn’t make the Ogres hugely overpowered, but offers improvements and viable choices where none existed before.

I’ll be looking to get some of the new units for sure and will give a rundown of how the go when I finally get around to putting them on the tabletop.

 

Games Workshop – Worth It Depending on Your Point of View


Now, I have to admit that there are few topics as likely to be as vociferous as the conversations around the Sherriff’s pricing strategy. Often lamented as going off the slots that particular units fill from a force organisation or army list point of view. At least that would go some way towards explaining why 10 White Lions cost you the same as a college education. This “myth” is debunked by the awesome Arachnarok that I think is well priced for the size of the kit.

However, what I don’t want is another rant against the Games Workshop massive and their inflation (and wallet) busting decision-making. What I actually want to say today is that perhaps I can start to understand the other side of the fence right now.

Way back when I first started getting into Warhammer Fantasy I looked through the armies and ended up with a load of stuff for the Tomb Kings. I’ve long been a fan of the Undead in the Warhammer universe and the Egyptian styling was an aesthetic that had great appeal to me. My enthusiasm for the army was only blunted after a brutal crushing at the hands of the floating citadel’s very own Wood Elf hippy-meister Gribblin. I sold the Nehekharans and my Beastmen in 2005 and never looked back, however they will always be my first army and now, as many of you will know, they are the next in line to be released.

Plenty of shiny new models are splashed across the Internet as every Tom, Dick and Ramses is linking and reposting the images. Now, I have to admit to being super-impressed with the new items. I loved the imagery before and they’ve done a really great job of updating things and adding in stuff that I like. The Sphinx are obviously the stand-out models for the new range and as it follows the same kind of pricing as the Arachnarok I would be happy to part with my cash for that.

The real reason for the post though is to talk about the Tomb Guard. These guys were one of my favourite units in the original book, OK the models weren’t all that hot really but I liked them. The new models look amazing and yet they are stuck in the new GW scheme of “elite unit requires you to sell your soul to afford them” or the £25 for 10 models bracket. I in no way agree with GW stinging people for that much money and as Warhammer is now a game of large infantry formations the marketing staff must be laughing all the way to the Ferryman as they no doubt have the funding for the bribe to take them to their infernal destination.

£50 for a starting unit of 20 (who uses normal infantry units in lower numbers than this really?) is the same as a battalion for most armies and you tend to get way more than 20 models in one of those (with the possible exception of the Beastmen one). Yet, now I see one of the armies I have always had a soft spot for get one of these plastic sets and I can honestly say that I would actually part with the cash for this unit. Now, I’d use a discount retailer to save as much as I could but if the only place I could get them charged the full amount I reckon I might pay it!

I’ve pre-ordered the book for Tomb Kings so I’m going to give them a look, I will more than likely look at the possibilities for making unit fillers if I choose to do an army but the Tomb Guard would need to be two boxes strong at least for any unit even with a filler anyway, 10 models on their own would not be enough to do this allowing for wounds to be taken without ruining the ranking of the unit. I like unit fillers for their opportunity to reduce the cost of a unit to purchase and they can look really good too, however, if I were to use fillers I’d expect my opponent to be able to tell how many were left in a unit by totting up the ranks and files from the movement tray without anything too abstract.

So here I am, annoyed by the prices GW want us to pay but then also looking at something that to me is a fantastic piece of design work and my heart overriding my head. Watch out Gribblin I may need to get some more sand, after all, how could I not want to field one of these?;

Games Workshop – Punters Justifying the Spend


Recently on the Warhammer Forum I came across a topic that slightly echoes what I was talking about in my Voting with your Wallet discussion. For those of you with RSI or who are just too lazy to click on links let me do a bit of TL;DR for you. The poster is asking whether people are actually bothered by how much things cost now from our capitalist Sherriff.

What really did things for me was the recent Advance Orders for the Dark Eldar Beastmasters. This is a Fast Attack choice in the army and they were pretty popular under the old Codex and are still decent and destined to be popular with the new book. The problem is that GW has released these as metals, not even a metal boxed set mind you, but individual blisters. There is £8 for the Beastmaster himself and you can take 5 of these per unit. There are three different kinds of beasts that you can then take per Beastmaster, each of these beasts are sold individually at, you guessed it, £8 a pop. Bear in mind that you are going to want multiples of these in a squad the cost rises pretty rapidly. A full unit of these guys costs more than a 1500pts Imperial Guard army!!!

In the back of my mind I think I’ll be completing my already written Dark Eldar list and that’ll probably be from discount online retailers following stuff I sell on eBay so no money is actually spent. However, looking at the thread on the forum it is really interesting to see the different responses that people have. I kind of figured all this out myself already and was going to remark on it then this post came along and gave me an even better excuse to discuss things.

Going back to my childhood (again) Games Workshop was a great place you could go in and pick up a blister pack for a few quid. It was easy enough to start your collection with pocket-money, nowadays when your Hive Tyrant costs over £30 (the price of two metal tactical squads when I started) you can’t quite see things in the same light. Things are even worse in fantasy of course. With GWs ’10 men in a box’ philosophy you’re OK in 40k as 10 is a pretty standard number for a squad, in Warhammer though you are probably looking at 20-30+ models for one regiment and now you are paying £18 for those 10 men a unit of plastics now costs more than metals used to. It’s even worse if you have a unit like Stormvermin or Phoenix Guard, one benefits from large numbers in a unit the other costs more than making them out of solid gold.

So, we have a thread asking about people’s reactions to this and the vast majority of these people are more than happy to keep paying whatever the asking price is raised too. I have to qualify this that I know a lot of people buy stuff online and from discount outlets but a lot of the people in the thread above are talking about stuff from GW stores. Some will only buy from eBay second-hand to save costs, but there are still a good number of people who will walk into a store and spend their money on full price stuff. It is now impossible to start an army on our pocket-money, for many youngsters I can imagine that parents have to pay out the significant start-up fee for their games. I know you can argue that all you need is a character and some troops, but I ask you, dear Internet, have you really ever done that? I know I tend to plan an army and buy it, I may start at 1000pts for 40k but I’ll be working to a goal of the full army and the outlay for even this size of force is not insignificant even with a low model count army like the ubiquitous Space Marines (who little Johnny is probably going to be encouraged to pick up first anyway).

The justification that people use is that other hobbies are more expensive so they feel they are still getting a good deal. Well, my car costs less than a Ferrari too… While this seems to be a prevailing feeling among those that are still happy to part with vast sums of cash to fund their habit I can’t help but think they are missing the point. The point isn’t that this is a cheaper hobby than others we could choose, it is that it is now vastly more expensive than it used to be. I would imagine the only other market in which goods have increased by a similar amount is housing! My house cost almost twice as much as my parents when they bought it in the mid 80s. In the nineties I could get a unit of metal terminators in blister packs for £15, now they are plastic and nearer £30.

It doesn’t take long for a conversation regarding GW to turn to their aggressive price rising strategy and people say that their prices should come down and people would buy more. The problem here is that while there are enough people who are willing to part with their cash in spite of these rises then there is no incentive for the Sherriff to consider doing anything about it. I’m looking at the minimum I need to do to finish off my GW projects  and then focus on other games as needed. I’ll have my armies and play them but I can see my disposable income going to a lot of other places before GW gets a share. If you’re happy to keep paying through the nose for stuff then who am I to argue, but if you are one of the people who do keep spending it then please don’t come around here complaining about the next price increase, while you continue to make a demand GW can but continue to ensure a supply.

I fear that the longevity of this hobby may be hurt by the crippling costs involved with getting into it. New blood is always good for a hobby but with all the cheaper alternatives even the high street presence of GW may not be enough to maintain their age-old dominance. Something needs to change but it needs the customer base to do it and unfortunately a lot of these people seem to have money to burn!

ZombiePirate’s Ogre Kingdoms Review – 8th Edition


Welcome one and all. Last night I took full advantage of my wife being out and Gribblin and I threw down for another game of Warhammer Fantasy. Now, regular viewers may remember from way back when I chose High Elves as the army I was going to be doing. Unsurprisingly for one as fickle as I am that changed on a whim and rather than hordes of Always Strikes First ridiculousness I went with something way out of left field, the much maligned Ogre Kingdoms.

Ogres have had a bit of a rough ride in Fantasy. When they were first released way back in 6th edition they were decried, not only because they were perceived as a bit rubbish due to their MSU build philosophy but also because Wood Elves were due an update and had to wait even longer to get a new book. At the point in time the Ogres arrived I had been waiting for Wood Elf models that didn’t make my eyes bleed as they were an army I’d always liked the background for, Gribblin put paid to that though as a long time Woodies player and having an army, if I had picked up the hippy elves I believe we’d have had some very boring games over the years.

For me, picking Ogres was about challenging myself, sure they are better than they have ever been, but it’s a bit like saying a turd is better than it has ever been if you give it a wallet full of cash. It’s still a turd after all, even if in monetary terms it is the king of turds. This would also give me an army that would have a low model count, something I can do something with and have a chance of painting someday. Hey, a fella can dream can’t he?

So it was that I built an army and last night it had its second outing against the tweaked Lizardmen fielded by Gribblin. My list was unchanged from the last time we played and we are fighting at the 3000pts level, so we both expect plenty of nastiness on both sides. It was a fun game and the initiative was definitely with the Lizards for the first couple of turns, however, an interesting charge declaration in the bottom of turn two set me up to ROFLstomp my way through his lines in the following turns. I had to sacrifice a unit of Ogres really to do it but in the end it worked out. We were playing the Blood and Glory scenario and I broke the Lizardmen on turn 5 with the death of the Slaan and his unit.

Rather than a play by play (my poor memory is not good for writing battle reports) I thought I’d run through the same format as I did with my War of the Ring choices, a breakdown of the items in my list and their performance to date, OK it’s only two games but I am starting to get a feel for things and how they play. Now might be the time to start looking at tweaks.I think I’m on borrowed time before I get creamed by the Lizardmen or he brings out the Vampires.

Lords

Tyrant – Mawseeker, Fencers Blades, Greyback Pelt, Wyrdstone Necklace, 2 Sword Gnoblars, Luck Gnoblar.

This guy is nuts! Yes, he is expensive, yes he suffers from Stupidity, but a re-rollable Ld9 is not too much to worry about I feel. Unbuffed he is WS10, T6 with 6 attacks at S5 at 2 more attacks at S2. At best you hit him in combat on a 5. He is designed to challenge and get overkill and he easily makes back his points. So far he has a Slann, an Ancient Stegadon, a Skink Chief and some change, not bad from only two games. When fully buffed from a Butcher this guy is even crazier. I may look at what I want him to do and play with some different items but I really enjoy using this guy, he is blunt force trauma in the truest sense of the word, completely unsubtle but then, he’s an Ogre so why not.

Slaughtermaster – Talisman of Preservation, Blood Cleaver

Mandatory level 4 spellcaster. Sure, the Gut Magic Lore isn’t exactly the best in the game but it does have its benefits. Stackable buffs that can take Ogres over the top in terms of their hitting power and overall survivability. In an army with next to no armour getting the right few buffs off and keeping them up is a strategy in and of itself. The Blood Cleaver is a nice little tool that allows him to reclaim wounds he will inevitably suffer at the hands of his own casting. The Miscast table for Gut Magic is pretty brutal but I rolled on it for the first time last night and he just ended up with Frenzy, result!

I wouldn’t leave home without him at this points levels, single dice casting is alive and well and on a decent Winds of Magic roll I’ll typically end up with dice left over to dispel anything that my enemy has and as that enemy is a Slann there is generally something around.

Heroes

Bruiser – BSB, Heavy Armour, Talisman of Protection, Great Skull

Again a mandatory choice in any army is now a Battle Standard. The Re-rolls to leadership test is too valuable to give up especially with a low Ld army like Ogres. This fellow doesn’t do a whole lot other than hide in his unit, he has a basic ward save and so far the Great Skull hasn’t done a thing, probably a good thing considering the Slaan can throw miscasts at me. I’m likely to drop this item and use the points elsewhere. He doesn’t really have a job to do but does lend his attacks to a fight while he cowers in the second rank doing re-rolls. No matter the points level this chap would be one of the first things I put into the list.

Butcher – Dispel Scroll

Backup to the Slaughtermaster, carries a scroll for when I really need to stop a spell that didn’t get IF, provides another avenue for buffing the Ogres and can also single dice cast before letting his more experienced compatriot get on with things. It would be possible to drop this chap but I think that would leave too big a hole in my buffing prowess trying to cover all the Ogre units.

Core

6 Ogre Bulls – Standard and Musician

You have to take a single unit of Bulls, in this edition they got better due to Stomp and Monstrous Infantry. They can’t be Killing Blowed and some of the big spells won’t work on them. Giving them proper ranks also helps no end. They still suffer from low Initiative, low Weapon Skill and lack of armour but the can absorb a lot of punishment with Gut Magic around. These guys can do some damage but are mainly a flank protection unit for the others, they are small enough to be able to manoeuver around things but big enough to provide a threat in combat. I am happy to sacrifice these guys to achieve goals with the other Ogres.

9 Ogre Bulls – Standard and Musician

This is the second main combat unit, two ranks and generally the hiding place of the Butcher. They can get buffed and are likely to make it into combat with a large number of attacks, it takes a concerted effort to shift them although last night an Oldblood with Blade of Realities shows just how easy it can be to get rid of a 300pts+ unit when you take a 300pts character  with a 75pt magic weapon against someone who generally can’t pass a Leadership test to save his life (and being out of range of the BSB didn’t help). I do like this unit as it’s pretty beefy, although I could combine the two units and go for a Bull Horde, I am just wary of the fact I’d have all my eggs in one basket and one IF Purple Sun could potentially then remove me from the game.

7 Ironguts – Standard with Rune Maw and Musician

I LOVE THIS UNIT!!!! This is the core of my offensive line, if you’re a character and not the Butcher you go in this unit. I know, it’s a Death Star but that is the way to play Ogres and have any perceivable chance of winning. I deploy them 4 wide therefore giving two Ironguts a chance to attack alongside my Slaughtermaster and Tyrant. I’m happy to take challenges on either one of those guys really although the Tyrant is built for it. The Great Weapons are really not a hindrance on a unit that has low I anyway but between all the impact hits they do, the stomps and the huge number of high strength attacks they can roll they wreck things. Last night they went into the Slann and Temple Guard unit, two rounds of combat later and the Slann legged it and was run down, he only had a single wound left after the entire unit of Temple Guard got clubbed to death, I lost 1 Irongut…

The unit totals (with characters) over one-third of my total army cost but it is well worth it to see them rampage across the battlefield. I’ve not yet used the Rune Maw due to nothing offensive being cast their way but I’m going to keep it as I think that may change.

40 Gnoblars

Nothing much to say here, 5*8 for steadfast they are a giant roadblock and sit on the flank of the Ironguts, they die in droves to anything half decent but if kept close to the Tyrant’s unit (if they don’t bicker) they provide a valuable disruption unit and ablative wounds for the Rune Maw, at 80pts they are ridiculously cheap for what they bring to the table and if they don’t all die to a man or flee from the table it’s a bonus.

8 Gnoblar Trappers

These guys buy me a second Scraplauncher and the models are ace. However, they have done nothing in either game, they have just died although they have taken a cavalry unit out of the game for a few turns which is not bad for a unit costing less than 50pts. I’m waiting for them to wow me but they’re Gnoblars so I’m not expecting it anytime soon. Scouts is good but when you can’t setup out of line of sight in a wood somewhere or something they lose some of their effectiveness. They are still funny though.

Special

2 Scraplaunchers

Interesting units these guys, they are a chariot with a stone thrower on it. A Large Template Killing Blow stone thrower. They’ve not really killed a lot so far. They have been lobbing templates with impunity and last night they shot every turn but only rolled one Hit. They are horrific models to assemble but if I were to drop them I struggle to see what I could add in their place other than more Ogres, not necessarily a bad thing, maybe I just need to start rolling average for scatters and Leadership tests and my mileage with things may change.

2 Leadbelchers

Small and annoying, hilarious when an opponent doesn’t know too much about them and they choose to Stand and Shoot. They haven’t managed to blow themselves up yet and I can consider adding a second unit like this to sit on a flank and being annoying. I like them.

Rare

2 Gorgers – My Warmachine and Lone Character hunters. I like them, they are a little uncontrollable and I sent them against the wrong unit in last night’s game but they will always feature in my list as appearing in the back field of an opponent is something they need to plan for and worry about.

2 Giants – Both got mullered in the first game, second game one survived to the end. I use them as a tag team on a flank and I think they are doing their job well. They attract a lot of fire and all those poison shots are not going against my Ogres which is a good thing. Using two is definitely a good thing as otherwise it would be too little of a distraction, one turn of shooting generally sees it off. They are a threat which you need to deal with, I like the threat saturation approach.

Overall I’ve been very pleased with how my Ogres perform. I’m remembering all of their rules now which is a good thing and they’ve done me proud against one of the current top-tier armies. Gribblin is tweaking his army still and last night’s game was a lot tougher than the one before as it had a lot more Ogre killing potential than its predecessor, I don’t see that changing and I need someway to destroy that Oldblood with Blade of Realities, avoiding the unit he is in also sounds easier than it will be to pull off.

I might change some items around and still need to make up my mind on the Scrappies, I am sure they will have one game where they don’t miss and I just have to endure until then.