Necromunda 17 – Amanda the Raven
As long as I was on a roll, I finished up another member of my Escher gang this week… my gang leader, Amanda the Raven.
I got impatient with this one, and didn’t really give the shades enough time to really set. Unfortunately this led to some messy drybrushing that I’m not entirely happy with. Instead of a highlighting effect, it’s more of a shoddy mush, but I can’t be bothered to redo it all. Good enough for the tabletop, anyway…
In case anybody’s curious, the miniature is from Bombshell, I think (it’s been a while, haha).
Necromunda 17 – Jane the Whirlwind
Well, I have made good on my promise and finished painting Jane in recognition of her Pitfight win on the 8th.
We’re mostly just talking about some drybrushing and base work at this stage; most of the primary painting effort was done when I posted last week.
I like a lot of things about these Raging Heroes miniatures, but I do have a couple minor complaints. There a lot of low-relief detail that’s hard to pick out until after it’s been painted, and that sword, oof. Super crooked and twisty on arrival. It’s resin, so that’s sorta expected and it was pretty easy to reshape with hot water, but I never really felt like I got it perfect. Even after straightening, it feels a bit shifty.
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.
Infinity – Quadrant Control
Last weekend we ran our monthly casual day for Infinity. We only played one game, but we took our time with it; Steve and I were both playing some unfamiliar stuff so there were a lot of things to look up. Steve was running Varuna; for me, it was Ikari Company. We fielded 150pts each against Aaron’s 300pt Nomad crew.
When the Non-Aligned armies came out, I was excited by a couple of them. Both StarCo and Ikari included some models I already owned, and when I managed to get some old Wu Ming and a Yojimbo for cheap, my decision was made (while I was certainly interested in many of the Nomad models in StarCo, the idea of Yojimbo leading a pair of Desperadoes was too good to ignore). Casual day is the perfect opportunity to try something new, especially because I have a pretty bad track record with bikes in this game (they show up, they blow up). I brought:
Keisotsu x2 (1 paramedic)
Al Fasid (HMG)
Bounty Hunter (Spitfire)
No lieutenant for me, as my crew were paired with Varuna, and Steve had the better lieutenant.
The Keisotsus performed admirably. They missed a lot of shots but managed not to get killed themselves. The paramedic attempted to save some folks but without success; all of his patients failed their PH rolls and died. The Brawler accomplished very little beyond taking a bullet that might have killed somebody else, the very first shot to hit him was the DA round that killed him. I definitely underused the Al Fasid. He made some good advances and claimed a Quadrant in the final turn, but the first two turns I barely touched him. He was a little too buried in cover to be especially useful in AROs, and those pesky Nomads kept landing repeaters next to him, which had me playing a little more hesitantly than was probably really necessary.
The bikes, though! This was quite possibly my first game in which I had bikes last beyond the first turn. Both were killed, but they both went down in admirably violent outbursts, which my friend Peter (who fields many a Haqq bike) assures me is what bikes are for. Yojimbo took out a couple of threats with his CrazyKoalas. I was a little surprised to see he had no rifle/long gun (since there is clearly one strapped to his bike) but he still took out a pair of serious threats; next time maybe I can get him into close combat…
With the way cleared, my Desperado sped up the left side of the board unopposed and took used his shotgun to do a bit of damage.
Kablam. He managed to take out a trio, and it would have been 4 had the last fellow not had No Wound Incapacitation. This was probably the crux of the game; it left Aaron with neither the points nor the orders to claim sufficient quadrants in the third turn (we were tied after the first two, 2-2), and I still had the Al Fasid to advance into his quadrant to claim a couple points for our coalition.
Final Score: 4-2 for Varuna and Ikari Company.
Saga – I actually played!
Almost two years ago, I bought a 4-point metal starter box of Vikings from Gripping Beast, with the expectation I would never actually play (I just liked the idea of painting some viking miniatures). When second edition released, I decided to get the actual books, and convinced a friend to at least snag the base rulebook, but while that has generated vague interest, it hasn’t turned into actual models or games yet. I did field some of my Vikings as Ostlanders during the last local Mordheim campaign, but that and Frostgrave were starting to look like the extent of their usefulness around here, until I recently showed my Vikings to my friend Dave and got some real results (maybe the fact that I’ve recently made a real effort to get them all painted had an effect on their usefulness in this regard). He took advantage of the Gripping Beast black Friday sale and bought himself some Normans. He assembled them over the holidays, and last night we played an actual game of Saga…
We laid lots of terrain down, then rolled Method B for deployment and ended up touching almost none of it, haha. Clash of Warlords for our first game.
My Hirdmen watch as my Warlord and a unit of Bondi advance through the woods, leaving them behind.
Being new to this whole thing, I leave a unit of Bondi hiding in rocky ground while my Berserkers run around it in the open. The Berserkers will be largely cut down by ranged fire during Dave’s first turn; only one will be left standing.
My Bondi attempt to cut down some Norman Crossbowmen, but Dave’s dice are on fire…
… son of a dingleberry! (I rolled 13 hits, and Dave defended against almost all of them).
My last Berserker decides to make himself useful and charges a unit of mounted Norman Hearthguard. Valhalla gets him some extra dice…
… and he takes them out! He’s also gone as a result of Valhalla, but this is probably the first interaction to go even remotely my way, and marks a bit of a turning point in our battle.
Having finally dragged themselves out of the rocky ground (and having been whittled down by more ranged fire), my Bondi manage to take out some more Norman Warriors, but not enough. A few still remain standing.
My Warlord has defeated his Norman counterpart, but so has 3 Crossbowmen and a largely untouched unit of Levies to deal with.
Crossbows down, Levy Archers to go…
While he doesn’t take them all out, my Warlord does take out enough Levy to negate Dave’s final Saga die, ending the game.
We quite likely played more than 6 turns, as we sorta glossed over that part and just played until one of us ran out of Saga dice. Lots of fun, though, and both of us are very much looking forward to playing again (and we’re going to get some more miniatures so we can start thinking about 6 points in the not too distant future).
Thoughts after our first game?
Normans are probably going to be a tough fight for me. I did okay once I’d closed for combat, but the Norman ranged options did some real damage (especially to my poor Berserkers!) and the mounted Hearthguard twisted some of my deployment choices back on me. Their maneuverability really limited my ability to choose my battles via deployment.
Berserkers need some real help getting across the battlefield. I’ll need to make better use of terrain and other units to get them safely into combat.
Our game took a few hours, but that included *lots* of rules searches and clarifications, plus we basically played to annihilation. Games should be pretty quick once we get a better handle on the game.
I’ll probably read through the rules again now that I have a game under my belt. It’s well laid out from a reading perspective, but trying to find specific rules while playing was pretty rough (reminded me a little bit of Infinity’s second edition, but not as brutal since the book is a lot shorter). There are definitely a couple of things I’d just like to confirm we did correctly where movement and fatigue are concerned.
TLDR: We really like Saga.
Saga – Vikings!
The painting bug finally caught hold of me again, and the result is a whole mess of Vikings. Previous to the last week or so, I had slowly worked my way through two Berserkers, a Hearthguard, a Warrior, and my Warlord. 5 models. I have now more than tripled that, and I have also convinced a friend of mine to take advantage of Gripping Beast’s black Friday sale, so I’m actually going to get to *field* these ruffians (and not as Ostlanders).
Viking Paintfest, Round 1:
I started with these three Bondi (warriors), as they were ‘based’ and primed and ready to go. Realized pretty much immediately that if I was going to work on multiple minis at the same time, I should do more than 3. So I finished that first night by grabbing a few more that I’d already gritted the bases on and priming them.
This brought the count to 5 Bondi and Gunnar Hamundarson. I don’t have Njal yet, so he was probably a silly choice to paint at the moment, but it’s just such a great model.
I used a lot of different colours on this lot (and so many browns!), but I like the feel of it. Uniform in their lack of uniformity, if you will.
And there’s that batch finished, and bloodied up. I think I mixed about 7 shades of red for this group; I reduced that to about 3 for the next lot.
Next lot! 7 miniatures this time: 2 Berserkers, 3 Hirdmen (hearthguard), and 2 Bondi.
I went with this combination because it would finish off a bunch of units that I’d started over the past year (usually one at a time for local painting contests).
I picked up some GW Nuln oil to wash the armour (is it weird that I’ve never bought any previously?) and decided to try a few more interesting shield designs.
Mixed results. I’m not exactly a freehand genius, but I’m happy enough with the results. Once I’ve bloodied these fellows up a little it should soften the aspects I feel look weird.
It takes a pretty serious effort on my part not to overdo it with the blood. Maybe I do anyway, but it strikes me as pretty unlikely that vikings wading through a battlefield *wouldn’t* be visibly bloodied, so here we are. Weapons and hands seem like obvious candidates, and I picture shields just being another weapon; either via a classic bash, or using the edge (with shields this big, though, maybe that’s unrealistic? I have no personal experience with dark ages combat, haha). That’s enough overthinking for now…
So, the result of this latest painting binge? I have now painted:
Gunnar Hamundarson and my Warlord.
One point of Berserkers.
1 point of Hirdmen.
1 point of Bondi.
Next up? Another point of Bondi and maybe Njal or a mercenary unit, depending what finds its way onto my desk.
Infinity – Preparation vs Tactics
Before I get started here, I would probably mention that the meta I play in is relatively casual. We’re competitive, we play to win, but the vast majority of us would rather lose an interesting game than win a boring one. With that in mind, the following thoughts and opinions might get more or less mileage based on your own community, but I think the core sentiments stand.
One of my favourite things about Infinity is that it’s not a list-building exercise. What you bring will totally impact your game, and your ability to react to situations or complete specific objectives, but the miniatures you put on the table are far less important than what you do with them. There are totally benefits to preparing ahead of time, but that isn’t enough on its own. [Aside: the primary reason I could never really get into Warmachine/Hordes is that it always felt like the opposite; the outcome seemed determined before the game even began, because no amount of skill seemed able to overcome a ‘weak’ list.] I feel like one of Infinity’s strongest selling points is the necessity of *playing* well. In a straightforward Annihilation scenario, a really skilled Infinity player could do decently with a list provided by their opponent.
That said, in ITS and other scenario based formats, a well planned list can still be a huge benefit. This is usually my weakness. Life makes a lot of demands, and I don’t always make time to sit down and prepare lists. I often set up the tournament and then just select a couple of appropriate lists from among my past creations. This generally serves me fairly well. I play vanilla, and tend to like well rounded ‘toolbox’ lists that provide me with an appropriate response (albeit a limited one) to just about every game-based situation that’s likely to come up. I’m usually short on specialists, so I have to both play well, to make up for those shortcomings, and really pick my early targets carefully (I often lean towards trying to get second deployment in these cases, since my ability to respond effectively in the early game becomes particularly important to me). In Direct Action tournaments I generally do really well; Operations tournaments are harder but I can usually eke out enough minor victories to place in the top half (we’re a pretty small community, so that still usually means I’ve placed). It’s a bit of a slog, though, and I sometimes feel like I play too slowly when I have to lean so heavily on tactics. I can speed myself up by using Limited Insertion, but I’ve had mixed results with that so far. It definitely keeps me fast, but I wind up really feeling the paucity of orders.
The last couple of tournaments I’ve tried to prepare my lists around the declared scenarios. The first time was a very small tourney where I had a pretty rough day with the dice, so it was hard to tell whether the lists were working or not. A couple weeks ago was the second time. 3 rounds: Nomads (can’t remember if it was vanilla?), Qapu Khalki, and Military Orders.
Round 1 (Acquisition) – Nomads
This was the scenario I didn’t plan for, and was my best game. Controlled everything, and even got the Classified objective (I *never* get my Classified objective), so it couldn’t have gone much better. I played a strong tactical game. I had to, since my list didn’t provide any really advantage.
Round 2 (The Grid) – Qapu Khalki
I lost this one, and I shouldn’t have. I brought a list that should have crushed it, and then focused on all the wrong stuff. Tactically, this one was a tire fire. I brought a Limited Insertion list with 7 specialists (I think 5 were Forward Observers). Peter’s QK went first; he had no useful specialists for this one, so his only hope was to kill the Designated Target, and to kill me before I could tag some Antennas. He did indeed manage to take out the target with his Datatracker for 4 points, then got into playing some long range tag with me. We were pretty even, dice-wise, and both lost a couple units. On my turn, I neglected to respond to the situation. My initial plan when designing the list was that I’d wait for the second turn to start attempting to designate antennas; this would avoid wasting orders on antennas that my opponent would just flip back anyway. You see what happened there? I let my preparation trump my tactics. Peter *couldn’t* flip antennas. Designating even one would have netted me a guaranteed 3pts. Half my list or more had Anti Materiel weaponry, so another 3pts would very likely have followed in my second turn. Instead, I focused entirely on trying to remove some of his units, thus giving him 2 full turns to reduce my numbers before I even attempted to *fulfil the scenario objectives*. He eliminated most of my specialists during his second turn, and took out the last one with an ARO during mine. I managed to kill the Designated Target, but not with my Datatracker. I lost, 2-4. Peter approached the scenario with a nearly useless list, but played with his weaknesses in mind and prioritized eliminating my strengths before I could put them to use. I failed to respond to the situation at all, and let my preparedness be a hindrance. Well played, sir.
Round 3 (Rescue) – Military Orders
80% of this list had terrain rules, and I selected one of the other 20% as my Datatracker out of habit (I often use the Unknown Ranger because I find he survives very well). That’s about how this round went. I spent about half the game’s orders dealing with 2 *very* hard to kill units (ignoring them as much as possible would have been a much better plan), and then made a bad call in my last couple orders of the game. I used an order or two to try and clear a path when I should have just triggered AROs instead. The orders used up trying to remove threats meant that my Datatracker couldn’t get his civilian to my DZ (to add insult to injury, I also failed to remove the threats). The extra order worth of movement would have gotten him there, which would have resulted in a major victory instead of a minor one, and that would have won me the tournament. Our first kit ever, and I was so close… but so far. I put too much faith in my lists, and let my preparation get in the way of my tactics.
It was an eye opening experience. I still came in second, and I had a blast, but it hurt to be able to look at the games and see so easily what I’d done wrong. If only I’d opened my eyes earlier, while playing. Hahahasigh.
Frostgrave – Enemies Without Number
Well, we continued our Forgotten Pacts campaign last week, and it was *insane*.
Three of us again (Chris and I, plus Alex joined us for his first game of Frostgrave!), so we settled from the corners.
Three of us meant 9 treasures, so the board started with 9 barbarian berserkers. Every dead berserker spawned two more, and they started to add up fast. My warband killed about 10, and while Chris and Alex were less overwhelmed by barbarians than I was, they still took out a few each. Never mind appropriately armed miniatures, I had to use almost the entire bestiary I’d brought with me (we had boars and dogs counting as barbarian berserkers by the end).
Katie the Wolf was trying to get into this watchtower (there was a treasure on the top floor) when fresh barbarians started spawning on the nearby board edge. It was probably the most ‘popular’ spawning edge by a significant margin, and it meant she never made it to the tower door. She did manage to stem the tide for a few turns, though, and was responsible for about half the berserkers taken out by my warband.
My early game is often about sending a few fast soldiers to grab the treasures nearest my opponents. Playing this scenario again, I’d probably worry less about grabbing those treasures and instead focus on getting to those in the middle of the board. I definitely underestimated how quickly the berserkers would pile up (9 to start plus 16-18 double respawns means over 40 barbarian berserkers even *without* random occurrences), and I’d be pretty wary of those board edges in the future; every barbarian you take out near a spawn edge has basically a 50/50 chance of putting another one right on you.
Oh, and I lost another dog.
Mordheim – Week 1
The Wayback is back, and it’s taking the form of Mordheim! I’ve set my Dwarf Treasure Hunters aside this season, and have opted to run an Ostlander warband. It’s a little bit of a mess because I’m building around the models I want to use, which is resulting in some largely unimpressive axes and shields, but I’m enjoying the flavour of it all.
Say hello to Clan Spearhavok. The above photo was taken *after* my first game, so it does not include my clan Elder (leader), as he perished as a result of my very first game this season. Yep. Rayle, Breaker of Chains died in glorious single combat against a centaur. My very first post-game included one of my Blood Brothers becoming the new leader. The sassy dwarf’s name is Pip the Slayer, and she’s in charge now.
Other Heroes going into game 2 are Katie the Wolf (sword and long dagger in the front row), Gunnar the Long Fang (not pictured, he would join to fill Pip’s now vacant Blood Brother slot), and my Priest of Taal, Seventh of Dusk’s Talons (the Lord of the Feast miniature from a Hordes army I’ve never really done much with).
Henchmen groups are the Butchers of Ostland (two-handed weapons with wintery bases), the Reeking Mayhem (viking berserkers), the Kodiaks (sword/shield pair), and the Long Death (archers on either side). The rest of the pictures are from the second game.
Gunnar the Long Fang and one of the Butchers of Ostland have just dispatched an enemy after a charge; the Kodiaks duke it out with Mad Dog.
One of the Long Death prepares to take a shot. This first round of shooting resulted in brilliant hits for both members of the Long Death, but they mostly missed in subsequent rounds.
Pip the Slayer leads the second Butcher, Katie the Wolf, and the Reeking Mayhem toward the enemy.
Same crew, different angle. I was planning to finish painting Katie the Wolf the other night, but I ended up basing a bunch of stuff instead (including Katie herself, which would be why the evening went that way, haha).
I managed to fell the Ogre Bodyguard pretty quickly, but the opposing heroes proved to be a much bigger problem. The dice didn’t seem to be much on my side, and despite some valiant efforts made by my warband, I lost soundly.
Seventh of Dusk’s Talons, the Priest of Taal, was the most unfortunate. Never much skilled with a sword, Seventh found himself overwhelmed, suffering a crushed hand, a smashed leg, a chest wound, an old battle wound, and being blinded in one eye. It was determined that perhaps he lacks the will and ability to be the clan’s spiritual support in battle, and he has retired to a less involved role. His apprentice (The Jackal’s Teeth) has replaced him.
No Henchmen were killed, but one was found to show particular promise; Anja Born of Death has left the Butchers of Ostland to lead as a Kin-Hero.
SAGA – Viking Hirdman
February brought me my new Saga books along with some viking dice, wire spears, and a couple of new units. The wire spears meant I finally finished assembling all of my previous units (I’d been holding out, avoiding those soft metal spears they came with).
All of this also got me jazzed to paint something for the local shop’s historical miniature painting contest, so I picked out a hearthguard that was already prepped and primed and got cracking.
You’ll notice I’m also using my citadel painting handle for the first time. I picked it up a little while ago, but I’ve only painted cars for gaslands since then so this was my first real opportunity to try it out; colour me impressed. Even using the non – beveled Renedra base, it kept a good grip throughout the project.
Flat Earth for the ground, Red Leather for the helmet, Golden Yellow for the hair/beard, and a Game Colour orange for the tunic. It was a very bright orange (I think I’ve previously just used it for Escher gangers), and I had doubts right up until the final clear coat.
The pants are a Heavy Opaque Blue (I love the coverage the heavy Game Colours provide) and mostly Gory Red on the shield.
Oily steel for the metals, and I mixed some of my Red Ochre pigment into my gore to get it a bit chunkier and I liked the results; I’ll definitely do that again.
And that’s my first Viking Hirdman, all painted up and waiting for me to paint up some fitting compatriots.