Tag Archives: Warmachine

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?

Conventions in Gaming – Terrain


Sun Tzu in his critically acclaimed, nobel peace prize winning, magnum opus “The Art of War” espouses that the greatest of Generals use terrain to their advantage in order to win battles and by doing this it is possible to win a battle against a more numerous enemy. We’ve all seem movies or documentaries from the ancient world whereby Phalanxes line up opposite each other and then go at it, but even in battles of yore such as the famed Thermopylae terrain was used to great effect to reduce the impact that the Persians outnumbered the Greek forces opposing them.

So it is with our tabletop games, whereas there are those armies that would love to have a battlefield devoid of any terrain in order to have charge/fire lanes available to them it is not only unrealistic but actually takes a lot of fun out of the game. Even games like Uncharted Seas which take place on the oceans are not devoid of terrain, an island or peninsula can dramatically alter the ebb and flow of a game as well as increasing the number of strategic options available to a General. How you utilise the terrain in order to provide cover or interrupt line of sight can have a large impact on how emerges the victor once the dust of combat has settled.

However, just as good terrain placement can produce an interesting and fun game, so the opposite is also true, a game with bad terrain placement can actually decide a battle before the first turn starts and can mean that one side, if not both, end up playing something that is dull and boring. Something along the lines of you’d rather spend the time you just played by volunteering to be the patient for a Dental student’s first root canal and they’ve run out of anaesthetic. I’d like to give specific proof of this for a game I had around three years ago that still sticks in my memory for all the wrong reasons. OK, this wasn’t a typical game, but still, things could have gone better. It was around the time when Hordes was coming up for release. We already had some stuff for Warmachine in our gaming circle and decided to take a two Warpack starters from Hordes up against one appropriately sized force from Warmachine. So it was that me trying out Legion alongside Trolls went up against a sizeable Khador force. I can’t remember the details behind how we went about setting up the terrain but I remember that our Khadoran opponent just placed a line of building that separated the battlefield in two halves with a small gap in the centre. We were playing a caster kill game and I know that I wasn’t happy when I saw the terrain, it very favourably suited the Khador stuff and I know that I should have said, “no, we can’t play like this, the game will be purely dictated by how that terrain is placed to the detriment of the game.” However, I held my tongue and we played the game, and yup, we got spanked. Not because we were bad players but because the terrain was that horrible the game ran exactly how I knew it would and nothing we could do compensated for that. I know that real life battles aren’t always fought over ideal terrain, one side normally has an advantage, but we’re not talking real combat here, we are talking about a game that is supposed to be fun for all players, this wasn’t.

Therefore, whenever I set up terrain before a game, or when I setup during a game opposite my opponent I always try and make the placement fair for both sides. I actually have pretty good luck in ending up on the side of the battlefield that I want but still, I don’t want the odds stacked in my favour before the first dice has been rolled. In Warhammer 40,000 I like a decent amount of cover to protect my Orks approach (to be honest though there are enough bodies in those units to provide a kind of cover all their own) while Servitob’s Space Marines love nice open fields where they can see and shoot anything approaching them. A balance between the two provides us both with options in how we deploy and move our forces and advantages that we can exploit in bringing the armies to bear.

Games like Warmachine and Hordes also have spells and actions that allow you to create your own terrain, this is when you can obviously try to stack those odds in your favour, but these things don’t tend to stick around the entire game and are therefore carefully balanced. Usually you also have things to counter those kinds of abilities in some flavour.

We use terrain to give variety to the otherwise bland tables we fight across, they add colour and extra options that we need to factor into our plans. They also add to the fun of the game and if you are the one that uses the terrain to your advantage, so much the better. Just as Sun Tzu taught that terrain use is a major aspect of battles, so it should be with us, whether home-made or bought from a store using terrain to spice up the fields or setup specific venues is a great way to keep the hobby fresh and interesting. I’ve been fortunate enough to have bought a lot of terrain recently. The new stuff that Games Workshop is producing is of really good quality and I have a 64 litre storage box full of the stuff with more on the assembly line. As the possibility of a Planetstrike 40k game looms for Saturday I will tonight be putting the finishing touches to my Skyshield Landing Platform, I then have a Bastion to assembled that I want to convert with all manner of Orkiness. It’s having little things like this that helps to motivate me while playing. Terrain is something I feel I can never have enough of (that and Ork Boyz) and I am always willing to fork out some green on pieces I like the look of. We should never take our terrain for granted, nor see it as a necessary evil. Properly used terrain is as much a part of the game as the models in our army and in fact, if you really plan out your battles, terrain is another unit in your army if used correctly, in most cases though it won’t deep strike and lay waste to stuff!

Hopefully the next time you stare across a war torn battlefield, before or after a game, you can have a new found appreciation for those hills, craters, fences, ruins or whatever you have. Things would be a lot more boring without them.

THOSE models!


Yesterday afternoon before being carted away to the in-laws I got some time to sit down and assemble some of those models I’ve been Twittering about for what seems like an age. Kind of needed to at least make a start as it looks like this weekend is going to produce some gaming, not least of which is the Fantasy grudge-match between the Vampire Counts and my Daemons. I’ll be talking more of a concept in this post as well as providing specific examples, the reason behind this may get posted after things have appeared on Saturday as I don’t want to give away too much before the big day, so to speak.

Now, I’m sure everyone out there that has been involved in making models for their games is about to give one of those knowledgable bobs of the head confirming their consent to what I am about to speak about, you know what they are, THOSE models. These models you have glanced at, either in glossy magazines or on the pages of the geeky depths of the Intarwebz and declared that you must own it. Either due to its amazing quality of craftsmanship or its unbridled power on the tabletop. We all have models we really love and the sculptor obviously took his time when putting it together. However, when the manufacturer took decisions on how to break it down in order to be packaged and then assembled by you or I that person seems to have had an overwhelming case of the brain farts! I’ll give you a specific example as a starter for ten, the Tomb Kings Screaming Skull Catapult, in game terms it’s pretty evil and the model it decent too, however, trying to put that thrice-cursed model together is an exercise in futility. Now matter how much glue or green stuff you chuck at that thing you still need about four additional sets of hands to hold it together and it’s quite a substantial size of model,

I’ve also heard things about Mortenebra from Warmachine, she has loads of little spider legs that go (or don’t go as the case may be) around her base. Problem is that these things are tiny, therefore not conducive to being pinned and with a very small contact area for any glue to hold. I was assembling a new model over the weekend that fell into just this kind of category, not matter which way you choose to build it the pose and bulk of the model make it hard to hold together, this gets even worse when some of the parts are ill-fitting and are going to need a lot of green stuff later on to plug the holes before I get around to painting it. If the model looks good (or at least should when it’s finished) I find this adds even more frustration to the process of trying to get the damned thing to stick together.

I know lots of techniques, pinning, adding a small blob of greenstuff into the join, cleaning the parts first, scoring each side of the join to give the glue a better surface to grip to, but still, this thing almost got thrown across the living room. Bits fell off at various points even after vigorous attempts to get it to hold. What really gets my goat are joints where all the weight is at the other end of the piece, thus naturally the parts try to snap the bond you are trying to create, I just know that if this thing is unfortunate enough to ever have a brief relationship with the floor that I’ll be picking up the individual parts again even once I have filled in all the gaps with green putty. I thought therefore I’d add here my own list (in no particular order) of some of the most evil models I’ve ever had the misfortune of trying to assemble. Please feel free to comment and add your own;

  1. Any Warmachine Cryx spiderjack, those legs are evil and they don’t ever stick to their base.
  2. Witch Coven Egregore, not so much of a problem to put together but mine is no longer attached to the base as the whole ball is supported on a stick thin piece of bendy white metal.
  3. The aforementioned Screaming Skull Catapult
  4. The new contender from yesterday….
  5. Pink Horrors, one piece models that get incredibly annoying when they come with horns or extra arms that need attaching…
  6. Obliterators, stupidly fiddly little weapons that need gluing into their fists… &*£%!@* annoying I tell you.

I am sure there are others but these are the ones that stick out in my mind as the royal pains in the lower back!

“What do you mean 5 armies isn’t enough?”


I don’t know if anyone else experiences this, but I have an inkling that many do;

That urge you have whenever you see a new army for whatever game tickles your fancy and you end up with this overwhelming desire to go and spend your hard earned cash on something for it. There are even those times when an army you have previously discarded as one you will “never collect” actually inspires you out of the blue.

I’ve often mused that once you get into miniatures wargaming it becomes more of an obsession than a hobby, hordes of metal and plastic end up taking over your home and heavens help you if you are married or co-habiting… I have a couple of army cases that are full of stuff and STILL these things are all over the house.

Currently I have the following forces;

Warmachine: Cryx and Cygnar

Hordes: Skorne

Warhammer: Warriors of Chaos

40k: Orks and Daemons

And I am just waiting for my Uncharted Seas fleet to arrive through the post.

Last year I managed to clear out a lot of stuff to try and consolidate my collection, I sold Space Marine, Dark Eldar and Necron armies for 40k in order to get my Orks. I sold my Dark Elves as I wasn’t playing Fantasy and my Khador from Warmachine. I also managed to get rid of my Confrontation Celts and Daikinee due to the changes that Rackham made to their game. All in all I sold a lot of pieces and my main game since has been 40k. However, even though I know that I don’t want to be in the same situation again with having millions of models all over the place I still find myself being tempted, quite severely, that leads me to have to rigorously put down my own will.

I like my Orks, they are brutal and seem to fit with how I play. My Daemons are really an accident as I got them for Warhammer but on the eve of the Warriors of Chaos release and ended up with an army of them instead and converted the Daemons over to 40k. Yet, after having two battles with my Warriors I am now looking at the option of using my Daemons in Fantasy for a change. I have been facing the new Vampires and have to say that I am finding them to be a tough challenge. I have won both the games I have played but they have invariably been horribly bloody affairs but highly enjoyable nevertheless. I am now looking to throw a spanner in the works by changing what I field.

I never design an army around beating a particular opponent, I tend to throw an army together to face whatever would come along, even if I know pretty much exactly what I will actually be facing. The Daemons have a unit that I do not currently have in my collection. It’s not one I’d be using in 40k only for fantasy and therefore I am reluctant to go out and spend money on the stuff (I’d be doing a conversion as well) just to satisfy things for one game. I’ll proxy with my opponents permission. But really, the crux of this post is that after playing with one army, I get the urge to look into another and then I go work out an army before I have to take a step back and realise that to do this would mean another batch of plastic. Another few nights of actually assembling everything and another lifetime of having to provide storage for all these extra models. I just find it very hard to settle on any one thing and with having multiple games that I like to play this just makes it all the worse.

Should I just give in to the obsession of gaming, or is there a way that I can curb the desire to create new forces with which to surprise my enemies?