Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Unicorn

I am a lucky man for many reasons. I am fully aware. I’ve rolled the hard six when I needed it. I’ve gotten the timely killing blow in a challenge. I’ve made armor save after armor save when I just needed to survive.

My luck extends beyond the table top though. I’ve been blessed to have a really awesome woman agree to spend her life with me. She is smart, fun, and smokin’ hot. She goes beyond simply living with my nerdy hobby. She really seems to embrace the dorkiness. She sent supportive texts throughout the tournament. She offered to sew a bag for army transportation. She even asked to paint with me.

Naturally, I said yes. I had some spare Cygnar Warjacks lying around from a starter box. They were very close to the bottom of the painting queue. I originally bought them as a way to expose my friends to miniature war gaming. I thought they would be big enough to not be overly complicated while still giving her some fun details to work with.

I told her she could paint them however she wanted. I’m painting a Cryx faction alongside her, which will be dark red and silver, so I don’t feel the need to keep the colors as standard fare. However, she was adamant that she stick to the traditional blue and gold colors. She looked over the artwork and the painting section in the main rulebook, then left markers on the page with the actual jack that matched the model she was working on.

Thus far we’ve had two painting sessions together on lazy Sunday afternoons. I wouldn’t mind if that becomes a thing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tournament Post #2, Gaming Side

For the weeks leading up over the tournament, I had spent a decent portion of my unengaged free time thinking about what I was going to bring to the tournament. I wouldn’t say agonizing because I was on vacation for a bit and I spend about two hours a day commuting. I had a lot of time that I could have been thinking about lists because it was just the easiest thing to do. I thought about running a pretty hefty cavalry block, because they really scare folks, but I decided I wanted more board control. I sacrificed half the unit, dropped the champion and switched their role over to monster hunting. I ended up with a list that looks like this:

Chaos Lord of Khorne, Sword of Swift Slaying, Charmed Shield, Favour of the Gods, Talisman of Preservation

Exalted Battle Standard Bearer of Khorne, Necrotic Phylactery, Shield

Sorcerer of Tzeentch on Disc, Level 2, Third Eye, Infernal Puppet, Talisman of Protection

18 Warriors of Khorne, Halberds, Standard of Discipline, Musician

24 Warriors of Khorne, Extra Hand Weapons, Full Command, Razor Standard

5 Knights of Khorne, Flaming Banner, Musician

6 Trolls

Chariot of Khorne

Warshrine of Khorne

Scyla Afingrim

Nothing on the list outside of the infantry blocks and the characters are so expensive that I would really mind losing it. The knights and the Trolls are getting close to there, but not quite. I would also always hesitate to take a frenzied chariot. Nine times out of ten, I’d say it’s a bad idea because it’s so limited in where it can go and it was one bad roll from costing me in that regard, but I really got tempted by the 10 attacks it puts out per turn outside of any impact hits.

Strategically, the list is pretty straightforward. The infantry blocks try to dominate the center of the board, which will usually be achievable for them. The trolls and the warshrine take positions in the line next to the general’s block. The knights and chariot are set up on either flank. They can usually deal with anything that gets put out there, and they act as a pretty nasty pincer if my opponent castles up. Scyla is usually one of the last pieces deployed. He gets stacked up as the bait, or alternatively to hold up something nasty.

In game one, I was matched up against Tomb Kings. I had played them once before, so I had a general idea of how the book worked. I liked my chances, if I could just get past the chariots and Tomb Guard. Scyla bounded forwards, angled in front of the chariots and forcing a decision. If my opponent charged Scyla, he’d end up trapped between the trolls and knights. If not, he’d get boxed in to his deployment zone. He charged and accepted Scyla’s challenge with his Tomb King. Even with impact hits, it took two rounds of combat to kill Scyla, who rolled a pair of sixes for his attacks and managed to take the Tomb King with him. The knights and the Trolls also arrived in that time, and that was just too much to stand up to. On the opposite flank, a failed charge on my sorcerer exposed his cavalry’s flank to my chariot. From there, the tide of battle kept going my way, as the Warriors did what they do best in the centre. Turn six came around and I moved various units onto objectives and picked up a full twenty battle points.

This landed me on the top table, which was both a blessing and a curse, because it was right next to the wall that butts up against the restaurant next door’s kitchen. I also got stacked up against Chaos Dwarfs, which is definitely a match-up that I don’t like. My opponent had two cannons, 3 blocks of Dwarfs with blunderbusses, a Colossus, Obsidian Guard, and a level four wizard with Shadow. I usually prefer to dance around a little and try setting up a favorable match up, but between him being able to lower my toughness and a barrage of Earthshaker shells, I decided to sprint across the field and take what I could get. My right flank was denied by the Colossus and I knew it would take some time for the knights to get past it. I thought I’d try to take a few wounds off of it, so my sorcerer cast Infernal Gateway on turn two. Naturally, I rolled double sixes for the strength, sucking the monster into the warp, and suddenly the flank was wide open. It was one of the more memorable moments of the tournament, but I do hate to see how disheartening that can be. To my opponent’s credit, he looked on the bright side and proceeded to snipe my wizard with his bolt thrower the next turn. He blocked off my infantry with two hobgoblin meat shields, meaning I was grinding my way through about a hundred victory points with my two hardest hitting units. He ended up getting my trolls and my chariot, but not before they had run off the Obsidian Guard. I ended up taking the game 17-3 and stayed at the top table.

My last game was against something of an MSU High Elf army with a big block of White Lions and Korhil, plus three mages. He had way more units to deploy than me, so his Sea Guard with the Flaming Banner got to deploy opposite my trolls, which pretty much doomed them from the start. Both they and the chariot, which charged the Swordmasters, ended up surviving longer than expected, which gave me the opportunity to get my Warriors into his softer archers and spearmen. Scyla apparently hates chariots, because he had two rounds of combat in which he managed to roll sixes again, smashing it to pieces. The biggest surprise of the game was my opponent’s inability to get spells off. I shrugged off a magic missile, and let a couple ward saves go up, but he either failed to cast Dwellers below, or I dispelled it. The match was eventually decided when my Warriors with extra hand weapons charged his White Lions. Their massive strength and re-rolls to hit meant they were chopping down a bunch of my guys, but my weight of attacks meant I was going through his even faster. He fled in his turn, the top of six, which allowed me to complete a charge and wipe them out as the game was ending. The game went to me 14-4.

In all, I had a great time. I think I played really well almost the entire time, with only a few mistakes. My dice were probably pretty close to average, with some timely rolling at memorable moments, and a few whiffs that could have been. I’m looking forward to the next opportunity I have to do this.

I’d also like to say thanks to the guys that said they were following my preparation. It encouraged me a lot to try and get better at this.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tournament Post #1, Hobby Side

Saturday saw the occurrence of the aforementioned tournament. To say that it went well would be an understatement, and a significant one at that. My goal going in had been to win at least one game, have fun, and at least get a little consideration for player’s choice. I will be a little more optimistic heading into the next tournament I attend.

After three good games, the dust settled and I had managed to go undefeated. We’re still awaiting the final posting in terms of battle points, so I don’t know if I finished with the highest score, but if I did, that’s just extra gravy on an already awesome day. I also got a vote for player’s choice and a lot of praise for my work, so my ego is reaching a size where it has to cannibalize itself to survive.

I am really happy with the way my army turned out. I am a very slow painter, but I really feel like the tournament deadline helped me push myself to get things done. It wasn’t an altogether unpleasant experience, but I don’t think that I’ll try to repeat it. The Warriors were getting done at a decent rate, by my standards at least. They weren’t anything incredibly intricate, but they’re the older kit, which didn’t have a lot of options as far as intricacy. Additionally, I decided I wanted to run the unit with extra hand weapons as a six wide by four deep block, which meant painting four more Warriors than I had originally intended. I didn’t really have the time, energy, or appropriate models for this, so I looked around at what was sitting around in my collection, grabbed a Bloodcrusher Juggernaut, and ended up with a pretty cool looking unit filler. This was the state they were in on Wednesday night:

Once the infantry were done, it was time to start working on the Wargs and the other peripheral units. The Warshirne was by far the easiest. I had an old corpse cart hanging out, and I had planned to put a charioteer with a whip in place of the necromancer. The feet were incorrectly positioned though, so I gave the necromancer a quick three shades of blood red on his outside cloak and swapped the zombies that I never liked out for some horses. I had some of the old chariots, but they had mostly fallen apart due to the incredibly poor basing system for chariots in the late 90’s. A little glue saw the model put back together, and I cut a new base using the spare parts from a movement tray.

At this point on Thursday night, I knew I wasn’t going to finish the job, so I chose to concentrate on the sorcerer. I wanted to keep him close to the overall color scheme of the army, but need some way to differentiate between his patronage to Tzeentch and the rest of the army’s loyalty to Khorne. The bloodletter mounted on him was going to provide plenty of the base blood red/chaos black/tin bitz colors, so I went with a pair of purples for his tunic and cloak. The Warlock Purple is straying towards warmer colors, and I think it does a nice job linking that part of the scheme to the cooler Liche Purple. I also used Chainmail on his armor, which in it of itself is not a shocking choice, but I’ve purposely avoided it throughout the rest of the force. I think individually it’s unnoticeable, but in the overall presentation of the force, it’s a small detail that subtly distinguishes him as different.

After a pretty bad SNAFU with the marble company, my marble didn’t ship until Wednesday night, so I was really sweating it out. Thankfully, it arrived Friday afternoon, so once I hit the door, I got to work basing. Doing the 25mm bases has never been easier. I’d glue down a section of tile, then paint the sides liberally with Scorched Brown. This contributes to the look of grout filling in the space between the bases as if it were a real temple. If I had left it unfinished or gone with black, I think it would have been a distraction from the base and the model. Both would have looked sloppy and hastily done. I also had to make some decisions on larger bases. The chariot sized bases and the 40mm squares actually had gaps between them on the bases themselves. I could have just painted them in, but instead I filled them with hard drying foam. It took a little while to set, but when it did, I just painted over it and I essentially had grout in between tiles. While it wasn’t necessarily the neatest job, it was relatively painless and unless you get close you can’t tell the difference.

Unfortunately, this work contributed to the demise of the Wargs and not being able to finish them. I got one done, but decided to go to bed around 4 a.m. I thought I’d get up at six. I was wrong. Nine o’clock rolled around and I had to scramble to find a tray. Then I drove as smoothly as possible to the game store. This involved making early decisions on running yellow lights and hoping so desperately that all the upraised metal bits directly behind my seat would not become projectiles in the case of a 65 mile per hour accident. I made it just fine, grabbed my table assignment, and things kicked off at 11:30.

That’s pretty much the extent of my hobby half of the tournament. I’ll delve into the game side of things tomorrow most likely. In the meantime, I want to thank Rush over at Warpstone Pile for putting on the tournament. He did a heck of a job. Things went smoothly and it seemed like everyone had a good time, mostly because everyone was talking about what a good time they had. Pairings were made quickly and adjusted so everyone go three games against different opponents, while still holding to the NOVA Open system that people are trying to prep for. So yeah, thanks Rush.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tournament Prep Update

A quick update. I've finished 3 of the halberdiers, with some details on two to go, so that unit is almost done. It's a really slow pace, but I'm a really slow painter. I also justify it because I received the last bits of my army in the mail Wednesday, so naturally, I spent that night converting the 3 new Wargs and the Sorcerer. The Wargs only come in 3 poses, but with a few simple clips, you can swap out some of the weapons and heads and it at least makes you look twice before you declare them too monoposed. I like the way the sorcerer conversion came out. It was largely what I had pictured in my head, though I still need to iron out some details with the collar. Pics will follow soon.

Can I finish in time? Maybe. I need to finish the last two halberdiers Sunday night when I get back from my trip, then do the berzerkers on Monday, Tuesday, and into Wednesday. That leaves me some of Wednesday and Thursday for the Wargs and Friday for the sorcerer. If that happens, I can walk into the Tournament with a fully painted army.

The last hiccup beyond that, though, is the distinct possibility that the last of the marble doesn't show up in time. It's been ordered and has shipped, but it could arrive between Tuesday and Saturday, and if it's the latter, I'll be a sad panda. Oh well. I have to focus on what I can control.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tournament Prep

My local club is having a tournament in about two weeks. Could a normal person with some focus have their army done in time? Most likely. As for me, I have 14 infantry, 6 monstrous infantry, a conversion and paintjob for a sorcerer, and a warshrine to paint, plus all the models need to be rebased. Thankfully, I have plenty of motivation and I'm excited to work on my Warriors of Chaos, since they in no way resemble Drop Pods.

I’ve managed to get the first ten warriors with halberds glued down, as well as my Lord and BSB. I like the way they are coming together.

The marble is from a company that does kitchen remodeling. The squares are each just under one inch, which makes them ideal for a 25mm base. It does make the 40mm bases that I’ll be using for my proxied trolls much more difficult. Thankfully, my dad happens to be something of a handyman, so I had access to a marble cutter. This is what they turned out like:

It’s a little rough on some of the smaller pieces, but it will certainly do, once I get a chance to paint the sides. Currently, I’m debating whether or not to fill in the gaps. I think it might help the illusion of a temple floor. If I did a scenic display board, I think it would look great, but I hesitate to do this for convenience' sake. If I did fill them in, that would essentially force me to use the same army list over and over if I wanted to reuse the board. If I didn’t, I could reuse it, replacing squares and pulling some out as needed. There's always just placing them on a flat board, if I wanted to stay basic. It’s something to chew on for a while.

As far as my list is concerned, most of it is set. I have about 275 points that I’m not sure what to do with, though I suppose that beats being way over. I have two solid infantry blocks, the trolls, and a nasty unit of cavalry. I think I’m going to take some things that are less hitty. The units should provide plenty of punch, so what I need is something to play a nuisance roll, or a force multiplier, or something like that. Options include a warshrine, spawn, an un-upgraded daemon prince, Throgg, Wulfrik, upgrading warriors to Chosen, or a small unit of knights. We'll see what I come up with.