Necromunda 17 – some very late initial thoughts
After preordering the box, and buying all the Gang War books, and the hardcover rewrites (with slipcase!), and some extra Escher cards, I have *finally* played a couple actual games of the new Necromunda.
I like it.
That said, let’s get the worst out of the way. The rulebooks. The Gang War supplements are a tire fire (tyre fire?) of retcon design, full of ‘Replace pages 17-24 from your first supplement with the following…’, etc. The fact that they parceled out the rules in this manner angers me to no end. It’s like the hardcopy version of offensively designed DLC; imagine you paid $90 for a videogame only to find out when you got home that it was episode 1 of 5 (providing only 4 hours of gameplay) and that each additional episode would be $35. Oh, and a year later $99 would get you the whole thing, with all the bugs worked out.
The hardcover rewrites are a definite improvement, but still manage to kind of fail all over the place, in glorious Games Workshop style. The rules are of course split (rather arbitrarily it sometimes seems) between two books, and constantly reference other rules in other parts of the book (or the other book) while rarely providing page numbers or anything else. It’s like everything is cross – referenced but with no actual references. Oh, and there’s no index. Just a minimal table of contents that’s pretty much limited to what are essentially chapter titles. Kind of reminds me of the second edition of Infinity; it reads okay, but looking anything up is a nightmare. Except that Infinity provided an amazing online wiki that pretty much negated any need to look anything up in their rulebook, and also *fixed* those shortcomings when it came time to release 3rd edition. The Necromunda hardcovers are literally the clearer *rewrite* of the new Necromunda rules and the only real improvement they seem to have bothered to make over the Gang War supplements is that they reduced the number of books from 5 to 2, and deleted the paragraphs that were retconned out of the rules. Grr. I like this game, but GW has pretty much hung themselves out to dry as far as my hobby cash is concerned.
K, just needed to get that out the old system, thanks. Moving on.
Necromunda 2017. First off, the game uses an alternating activation system that feels like they ripped it directly out of the Frostgrave rulebook, right down to Leaders and Champions having the option of activating additional models alongside themselves (models within 3″, even, haha). I’m fine with this – it’s a great system that keeps everybody more engaged and provides additional tactical depth – but I totally find myself mixing up the details with the Frostgrave method. Good thing they’re so darn similar, haha!
Close combat is *not* a face to face roll of any kind, which threw me off in my first game. Unlike Frostgrave, Infinity, or even the old Necromunda, being the one that charges in and attacks is a pretty big deal. If you can take somebody out fast enough, they won’t even get to strike back. I’m still up in the air about this, but I don’t hate it. I think I just need to get used to it. Might make armour more useful in this iteration. If they release a ‘slow’ gang at any point (I’m thinking of Mordheim’s dwarves right now), I expect they’ll be pretty much boned.
Shooting is pretty much what you’d expect, although they’ve tried to ‘simplify’ the stats as they’ve done with so many games recently. So your ballistic skill will be 4+ instead of 3; means the same but fewer charts. Makes some of the modifiers actually feel *less* intuitive, but that’s quite possibly just because I’ve used so many variations of the old system for so long that it feels more natural than it is. A lot of the heavy weapons are cheaper than they were in the old Necromunda, but on trying to use them in game, I think it balances out. ‘Unwieldy’ (N17’s trait for move-or-shoot) is pretty brutal. By making heavy weapons a double action instead of single (rather than just requiring no movement), one is prevented from aiming carefully, or even from using most of the sights and other upgrades. A suspensor modification negates this, but effectively increases the weapon costs by 60 each. Like I said, seems to balance them out okay, but it also means that some of the basic and special weapons seem a bit undercosted. Hopefully nobody tries to play this competitively, or you’d probably see a lot of lists spamming a lot of identically outfitted minis.
I think that’s all I’ve got to say at the moment. I like the new Necromunda, and hopefully will continue to.
Blood Bowl – The Road to Thunderbowl #1
Started up a Blood Bowl league at the shop, and played my first league game. The Crookshank Skullkickers faced off against Matt V’s Corpsetown Crushers.
Both of us are still pretty fresh. I’m pretty sure this was Matt’s first game, although you’d never guess it from his fully painted, partially converted, team of Necromantic Undead! I got a few touchdowns, we both broke some armour, and Matt started to get a real handle on his team by the time the game finished. I look forward to my next game!
Mordheim – Week 5/8: Magicked by Wood Elves
I was out sick for week 4,but back in action for week 5, up against an unofficial wood elves list. As one might guess, my dwarves had a rough go of it. I think I could have done better with the benefit of hindsight, but winning this one would have been a long shot any day of the week.
I deployed in two melee groups (plus a couple of thunderers up high in a central third area with good sightlines), but this was a straight skirmish with no loot, so I’d have been better off bulking all the melee into one clump. I could have focused my limited strengths a lot better.
Eventually I was spread really thin with terrible lines on everybody (too close as the crow flies to run, but too far by usable routes to close the gap). Especially at dwarf speed. I will certainly be hoping to avoid elves during the final few sessions.
Nonetheless, had a lot of fun, and it was my first time playing this particular player; it was nice to finally face off after chatting so many times. I did well of my Wyrdstone rolls, too, so I’m still doing pretty well overall. I think the wood elves are winning, but I’m surprisingly close behind the leaders for somebody that’s almost exclusively lost. Grin.
Mordheim – Week 3/8: Another struggle, another dead beardling.
This weekend the Tall Order faced off against some Beastmen Raiders, and it could have gone better. It started well, but was a pretty weird confrontation. They had no ranged attacks but huge charge ranges. I got a few shots in early, but forgot my noble’s BS5 and then had some trouble in close combat. Before long my noble, pit fighter, dog, and the beardlings were all either out or down. A lot more down than out when my turn started, so I opted to retreat.
After my disappointing retreat (I usually push things far beyond any reasonable point), we crunched the numbers and levelled our warbands. It came to our attention that the Beastmen Raiders were almost double my own rating, which made me feel a bit better. Hayl Stormcannon, my engineer, got Eagle Eyes so he should be more effective at shooting in the future, and Shank (my lone surviving Clansman) became a Hero.
Herring, one of my two beardlings, was killed.
Mordheim – Week 2/8: The Tall Order Strikes Back!
Took my Dwarf Treasure Hunters out for another spin last night, and the dice were on *my* side this time around. Faced off against some Middenheimers in a Wyrdstone Hunt and had much better luck, although there’s no ignoring that 3″ movement. The combats certainly went better this time (a lot of whiffing for both of us, but I was able to land a few at least). I grabbed a couple of the closest Wyrdstone shards, but couldn’t beat the Middenheimers to anything in the middle. I caught a couple of them in combat near the middle, but they’d already spirited the Wyrdstone away.
I didn’t lose anybody this time, which made a tremendous difference in the final Wyrdstone search, so I should be able to hire an extra dwarf or two. I still need to flip through the rules again and get a better feel for the various spending options. Until then!
Mordheim – Back to the Wayback!
A year or so ago, I wrote about playing Gorkamorka. It went well, and I ended up winning a very awesome Mordheim warband as a prize. Last year, try as I might, I was unable to make it out to the Mordheim portion of the Wayback, but this year is already better! The first session was Saturday, and I was there with bells on, for two full games; a Skirmish with J’s Sisters of Sigmar and a Wyrdstone Hunt with D’s Cult of the Possessed. And you know what I’ve learned so far?
Dwarves are *hard*. As I may have written about previously, my one-time regular gaming group and I tried Mordheim on our own a few years back, and I fielded Skaven since that’s what I play in Fantasy (so I have lots of minis already). They were faster than most factions… Dwarf Treasure Hunters are not fast. They are super slow. A full run only nets 6 inches, which means it’s hard to get to the Wyrdstone, it’s almost impossible to effectively set up charges, and I can’t outrun *anything*.
Also, my dice *hated* me, so maybe I have a skewed sense of the difficulty involved. I’m looking forward to next time, but after 2 full games I’m in no better shape than I started (although a little more experienced). The game against the Possessed was particularly rough. I was down a Slayer (healing from a Deep Wound received during my first battle) so I only had six Dwarfs going in. 5 got taken out, 3 died. It was a rough session. Fortunately the Engineer that *didn’t* get dropped made it out with multiple Wyrdstone markers, so I at least managed to replace the dead, more or less…
Until next time!
Blood Bowl – the Crookshank Skullkickers’ first games!
When the new Blood Bowl released, I snapped up a Skaven team and dice (the latter, in part, because I knew I wouldn’t get another chance) so that is be ready if I got the chance to get into it. As time progressed I got more interested, and I got the box set for Christmas from my folks. It wasn’t until last night, though, that I finally got to play.
I invited a few friends over to share the experience (and yes, while not intended, I totally did this on Super Bowl Sunday), and we busted out a couple box sets (plus my skaven) and played a couple games. A rousing Blitzmania start for us.
My first game was against an orc team called the Arrrghanauts. I’d never played before and he’d only played once, so we were pretty evenly matched in terms of experience. I used the default Skavenblight Scramblers lineup and he built up a list full of blockers and blitzers. I received the kickoff and then got the first touchdown early when my thrower rolled a 6 on a hail mary to a gutter runner that had snuck down the field during the previous turn.
The Arrrghanauts were definitely overpowering me in terms of the physical game, but I got pretty lucky on the injury rolls. Not every dice roll went my way, but some of the most crucial ones did.
The thrower here had already moved, and the blitzer needed to Go For It twice to make the blitz happen. 1, team re-roll to 4, 1 again. So the blitzer fell on his face, and my runner made another touchdown. The game continued on a similar note. I’d have about half my team lying on the ground, but as long as I could get *somebody* through the line I’d be okay. The Arrrghanauts made a couple of solid drives up the field but my skaven were fast enough to catch up every time, turning things around when they got there.
I got in a second game as well, also against Orcs. C is also a new player but she’s got a half dozen games under her belt already, and her injury dice were treating her a little better. I won that game as well, but I struggled more to score fewer touchdowns, and she caused a full casualty. I’m excited to play an ongoing league at some point but it will definitely make my squishy rats a bit more of a liability.
For the moment, though, the Crookshank Skullkickers are off to a strong start, with two wins in a row!
Necromunda – The Saxon Violets, One Year Later
Thunder’s Wayback Series continues, and Mordheim just wrapped up, which means the second season of Necromunda is upon us! While we had the option of continuing with our gangs from last year, the starting gang rating this year is about 1300-1400 on average and my gang wrapped the last season in second place at almost 2000. Most of us that played last season opted to make new gangs so that we’d be starting out at about the same level as the fresh players. I think only one player kept his old gang and his availability is so infrequent that he’ll probably be pretty evenly paced to everybody within a session or two.
For my part I’ve rebuilt the Saxon Violets with some familiar faces and some new recruits. Starting gang spend is 1000 credits, and every gang member gets some extra experience and an upgrade (a Juve ruling a 5 or 6 on their bonus xp can potentially get 2 upgrades).
So,what do the Saxon Violets look like one year later?
Brynja Spearhavok (Former Gang Leader): Brynja always struggled with leading the Violets. A skilled combatant, she was often distracted by the pressures of leadership, and suffered numerous injuries during hand to hand confrontations; her head wound eventually made it difficult to keep up with her leadership responsibilities. She retired a few months ago, and hopes to live out her remaining days in relative obscurity.
Elise ‘Cutter’ Cottrell (Former Ganger): Elise’s old battle wound grew more troublesome over time; it never really healed and she found herself losing more and more time dealing with it. The hard and active lifestyle of a Thunderhive ganger just made things worse, until she was out more days than she was up. Eventually she decided she was tired of making the Saxon Violets carry her, and she moved on. She polishes swords for a living now.
Bettie Rage (Former Juve/Ganger): Bettie’s intensity made her a terrifying opponent, but did little to keep her out of harm’s way. After quickly climbing through the ranks from Juve to Ganger, she disappeared defending the Lusty Bucket (one of the Violets’ drinking holes) from a hostile takeover. Things went south when the rival gang started using grenades and missiles on the cluttered block, and the Bucket was lost, along with the young and reckless Bettie Rage.
Patricia (Former Juve): Patricia was expected to be the next Polly ‘Pulper’ Pershon, and in a way she almost was. While she wasn’t killed outright, there has been no indication that she will ever come out of the coma, she is currently in the care of what little family she has.
Mack (Former Juve): Mack just wasn’t cut out for the Saxon Violets. She put forth a good effort in her first couple of skirmishes, but she didn’t get the thrill out of it that many of the girls do, and left to pursue other options before her first month was up. Mack was pretty reserved for a juve, and none of the other Violets even managed to learn her real name in the little time they had.
Skitterbritches (Former Ratskin Scout): Skitterbritches performed admirably for the rest of his time with the Saxon Violets. He was called away on personal business, and parted on excellent terms, providing the names of several available scouts that he felt had particular potential.
Next time, the Saxon Violets’ current roster!
Terrain T’ursdays – Dead Dragon WIP
This is an old plastic stegosaurus that I found in somebody’s old bits bag. I imagine he’d had terrain plans for it at some point, but he got out of the hobby (or at least the terrain building part) and I got a bunch of random junk that I’m pretty happy with. I snapped all the spinal plates off and did some minor clipping/filing to make that s little less obvious.
The base is just cut out of some pink insulation foam and coated with that grey pumice stuff I’ve used in the past. I’ll paint it up white and frosty at some point in the future.
The head isn’t especially draconian, but it’ll do.
Oops, didn’t hit publish. Guess this is going out Friday. Grin.
Welcome to the Wayback! Gorkamorka Season One
As promised, here is my unfinished Gorkamorka post…
In case you’re unaware of this, the Wayback is the name I’ve given to the local shop’s series of Specialist Games campaigns. A very friendly long time miniatures gamer runs the campaigns for about six sessions each, painting up appropriate miniatures as prizing. The Mordheim winner went home with a Necromunda gang, and I took home a Gorkamorka mob for my performance in Necromunda. Well, it’s Gorkamorka time, and there’s a dwarf warband on the line for use in the upcoming Mordheim campaign.
Our first Gorkamorka session was a couple weeks ago, and my first experience with the system was a blast. I played two games. The first was a basic ‘ grab the scrap’ sorta deal.
And that’s as far as I got. It was a lot of fun, I won the dwarf warband for Mordheim, and here are all the pictures I can find…