Saturday, September 24, 2016

Along The Black and Blue Danube

In late April of 1809, Feldmarshal Lieutenant Ludwig VonSourkraut finally began moving his division across the border of Bavaria despite delays caused by confused orders, poor roads and his own personal battles with the gout. On a crisp Sunday morning, his forces stood ready to cross one of the smaller tributaries of the Danube but a reinforced French garrison under the command of his old nemesis, Marshall Pierre Camembert, stood in his way. The Frenchman's resolve was the only thing stronger than his body-odor, and Ludwig knew he would be in for a grueling fight.

The view from the Austrian controlled South.
The Austrian objective was to push north across the river and secure the small town of Wasserhaus. Doing so would give them a minor victory. If able to push on to and occupy the town of Brunnenburg, the Austrian army would claim a major victory in the opening stages of the War of the Fifth Coalition. This past week, three friends and I got together to recreate this important fictional battle.

The French deployed in strength in the two northern towns.
For Napoleonics, we us a homebrew set of rules that is really easy to teach and learn and gives good results in a reasonable amount of time. We played a game with over 1000 figures on the board in about 3 hours - with plenty of time for drinking and conversations along the way. It was a great time and really fun battle.

Each player is responsible for commanding a brigade of troops, and our generals' personalities and abilities were randomly generated. My buddy Stu and I commanded the French side and these were our generals:

Men of refined culture and taste, obviously.
Our Austrian opponents, commanded by Ron and Alfonso, were ably led by Sir Connery and Sir Murray. With two knighted Generals, how could they fail?

The Austrians should never have let non-Germans lead their men!
The first several turns involved the Austrians jockeying for position. They concentrated their assault on the bridge at Wasserhaus and the Western flank, even going so far as attempting a sweeping cavalry assault by no less than eight squadrons of hussars.  The battle was incredibly bloody as Austrian infantry attempted to press towards the bridge and a wall of horses forded the river into a nest of waiting French Grenadiers.

Austrian Hussars begin their turn towards the Western flank.
French Carbiniers race foward to reinforce the bridge.
General Trejo leads the Grenadiers toward the Western bank.
Bavarians defend the Eastern flank of Wasserhaus.
French Carbiniers cross the river to push back the Austrian advance!
French Skirmishers desperately defend the watchtower at the bridge.
The Austrians attempted to bypass the bridge entirely and just ford the river.
The French Grenadiers held firm against the onslaught of the Austrian Hussars.
After several hours of fighting, the battlefield was littered with the tiny corpses of toy soldiers, empty beer bottles and the air hung heavy with cotton wool smoke markers. The Austrians just couldn't fully breach the river and were held at Wasserhaus. The French had won the day! It was an awesome afternoon and a great chance to get all my toy soldiers out on the table. I look forward to the next battle.

As a bonus (and because everyone always asks) here are all the rules and cards for my home-brew system. It plays really well and assumes that everyone involved behaves like an adult and has played a war-game before. And how many blogs offer you free rules?! (Don't answer that.)


Page 1
Page 2

Page 3

General Sheet 1 - print once and cut out.
General Sheet 2 - print once and cut out.
Special Event Cards 1 - Print once and cut out.
Special Event Card 2 - print once and cut out.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

More Work On The Silver Tower!

My hobby time this week was taken up entirely with working on models from Warhammer Quest The Silver Tower. So far I've been focusing on the smaller guys - its almost like painting 15mm or 20mm stuff - and everything is painting up nice an quick. At this point I've got over half of the set done. I expect a slight slow down on the project as I tackle the more detailed hero and villain pieces. Even before those I need to work on the Tanzigors, which are the last of the minions.

First up are the Tzeentch horrors. These models assembled and painted up really quickly. Having a model be 90% one color makes painting them really fast - its just a matter of basecoating and shading and I was almost done.

Warrblegarrbleboo! These models have a lot of energy in the sculpts.
A burble of Blue Horrors! 
Towards the end of the week I worked on the Grot Scuttlings. These are fun little models and an interesting re-imagining of classic GW gobbos. I'm not sure I'd want these to be a permanent aesthetic for goblins in Age of Sigmar, but as a one off or a unique unit in an army they appeal to me.

Eight legged freaks!
The last of the familiars got done as well. These are adorable little models that remind me of some of the classic GW familiar models and it's really nice to see this kind of stuff included on a frame.

Have you heard the Word of the Good Book?
This brings the total models I've painted up for Silver Tower to 36 out of 50 in the set. Not too shabby for about 3 weeks worth of work. I hope to get the whole box done and play some games in the next month.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mixed Bag 4 - More Silver Tower, Shipping Containers and Kill Team!

This week saw me grinding through a little bit more of my Silver Tower box. I managed to finish up the two Skaven models and a handful of the Familiar models. So far, the amount of models in the set is perfect for me - not so many that I get bored painting the same model over and over and not so few that I have to labor over each one for a couple hours. At this point I've got 20 some odd models done which is almost half the set. If I can maintain that level of momentum I'm confident that I should be done the whole shebang in a couple weeks.

Yep. That's two models. Not just one photo bashed together.
I put these guys on special bases since last week.
Insert your own Mac-the-Knife jokes here.
A discussion on FB emerged that you didn't need two of each familiar models. Luckily, this occurred AFTER I had painted them all. And it turned out, you do need two of each model. I THINK.
I don't care what this cat's name is supposed to be. He will always be called Fishy Joe Gillman in my home.

I also painted up some great scratch built shipping container models from my buddy Alfonso. He put up a video a while ago on how he built them - check out his Shipping Container tutorial - but I was lucky enough to get them from him since he felt he wasn't using them. I love these models because they painted up great and from a gaming perspective they really eat up some tabletop real estate and block Line of Sight nicely.

Now with 100% less skulls. I like that I can use these across multiple game genres.
Varying up the colors really adds to the character of the table.
4 of these will really break up the tabletop.
Finally, I got a chance to play some of the new Kill Team rules for 40K against my buddy Marky's Tau army. My Orks continued their tradition of getting their asses kicked by the Tau on this blog. It all started out so well - I had a lot of models, Marky was rolling very poorly, I was advancing quickly - but then Overwatch occurred and it turned out I had actually just been feeding my Orks into a blender.

The Orks advance on the dug in Tau forces. Probably not the best battle plan.
The Orks made cunning use of cover. Unfortunately, I had to poke my head out at some point...
Marky's Tau were more than ready. He laid down a lot of initially disappointing fire, but in the end the gun line did its job.
I spent several turns executing a clever flanking maneuver! Only to be gunned down moments before I could launch my attack.
Killing the Battlesuit was probably the most satisfying moment of the game.
I had a lot of fun playing Marky because we usually always have a fun time playing any game system, but I wasn't too impressed with Kill Team as a rule set. I've always looked at these versions of 40K as "Hey, do you wanna play 40K but not use all the cool robots and tank models?" and the latest iteration of Kill Team didn't do much to change my opinion. The game just needs something more - more narrative or evocative scenarios, a campaign system, SOMETHING. Otherwise, its the same old clunky 40K rules, just with less models. As a veteran player it doesn't really offer me much I can't get from a full game of Warhammer and if I was a novice I'm not really learning much about the tactics of the larger game. I'd certainly play again, but I'm not champing at the bit to get in more games of Kill Team. I dunno, your own mileage may vary but its not the game for me. I like stompy Dreads and clanky tanks in my games too much I guess.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

First Steps into The Silver Tower

After owning it for a couple months, I finally started assembling and putting some paint on my copy of Warhammer Quest Silver Tower. Painting this set is going to be… interesting… seeing as each particular set of minions and heroes has its own unique color scheme. I won't be able to rely on my old tricks for creating a single color scheme and sticking to a particular formula to get an army painted. I'm a little worried that not being able to approach this project in my usual manner could slow me down. On the upside, I shouldn't get bored having to paint the same models over and over. The first group of the Gaunt Summoners' minions I decided to tackle were the Kairic Acolytes.

Skraaaaw! Hawk-men, DIVE! NO! Wait. No wings. Damn.
These are just really cool models. I really like the Egyptian theme and I think they aren't so crazy mutated that you could use them in a variety of games. I could see them in a John Carter of Mars - style game as Martians if I were so inclined. They painted up pretty easily - I managed to crank them out in two days or so. A half-day at work before the Labor Day weekend helped a lot. I've also managed to get a lot done on the little Heat Miser-type fire imps as well. WQ Silver Tower is packed with a lot of small models with big character, so grinding through them should help me feel like I'm maintaining momentum on the whole set.

"He's Mister Green Christmas! He's Mr. Sun! He's Mister Heat Blister! He's Mister 101!"
Before I started on this project, I swung by my local Games Workshop and spent a little extra money to pick up two items that I'd been wanting to try out:

I decided to get all three - no point in only trying out one.
The new gem paints are essentially glazes with a gloss finish added in. Layered over a base of silver or gold, they produce a nice almost pearlescent effect quickly. I'm not sure that they will replace my usual old-school method of painting gems, but for this project they'll do just fine. If I was painting a Heresy-era 40k army such as the Alpha Legion, these paints would be top on my list to get.

More than enough bases for the entire Silver Tower set. And then some.
I also picked up a pair of Shattered Dominion base sets - the 25 and 32mm set and the 40 and 65mm sets. Painted up in vibrant colors, I think these will look really nice on the Silver Tower board. I saw some lunatic's review of these bases where he felt that the detail wasn't as pronounced as it is on the box photos, but I think its just fine. The box photos are pro-painted and yeah, they emphasized the edges like pro-painters generally do.

At the end of the day, both products are just time savers. I could make nicer bases and I can paint jewels that look better, but it would take 2-3 times the effort. And yes, it would be nicer but it would mean that I don't get to play a fully painted board game for close to six months. I think its a good idea to make products that relieve some of the burden on the average hobbyist. And give some of us old hands a shortcut if we want to take it.