Sunday, January 31, 2016

As the Dust settles...

The battle between the Empire of Dust and that of Man intensifies!  When we last witnessed this epic clash, Shobik himself managed to set a trap for the unwary humans.  While the valiant Guardians had been sacrificed, they were promptly avenged by the great war beasts of the Ahmunti.

Suddenly another opportunity presented itself to the right of Shobik.  The original plan had been to cede control of that flank to the advancing spearmen, knights and demon.

However, it appeared that the unit of knights could be isolated and destroyed in a series of maneuvers. The idea came to me as I pondered the limitations of shambling, and the benefits of Casket of the Dammed.  

I attempted to target the unit of knights with the Skeleton Cavalry archers and the Soul Snare to weaken it as much as possible in the shooting phase.  In addition, I wanted to take advantage of the +2 dice that the nearby Monolith would offer.  Finally, a magic booster that would work (lookin' at you, Hierotitan).

I didn't realize at this point that you cannot do multiple spells per turn with the same unit.  I also underestimated the power of the Casket of the Dammed.  Had I known that it was 5 dice and not one, I would have used that to move the chariots instead of the Cursed High Priest!   This would have let me save the Breath spell that I had purchased for him.  Again, lesson learned, so I will not forget again!!

Just the knowledge that such a multi-phase operation is possible with my old Tomb Kings thrilled me to no end!  One very happy Jimmy.

As you can see, I wasn't able to do that set of maneuvers quite the way I thought.  The Chariots were taken down by the knights, but the lesson was learned.
Unfortunately, the Cursed High Priest was just barely in the arc of the Tank.  Only the nearby Monolith could save the Priest now!  While his wrappings were badly singed in the attack, he managed to escape, to wreak havoc as the battle would reach its height.

It was at this moment that things looked darkest for the Sons of Shobik.  The General seemed about to charge the Scavengers, which would destroy them.  The rest of the forces of Men were moving forward in an arc, anchored by the Flagellants in the center.  Little did I know what kind of power those whackjobs could wield.
However, what remained for the Empire of Dust was still powerful and mobile, and it held the exterior flanks on both sides.  Could this positioning be used to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?

Soon, these benefits would take their toll on the forces of Men, foolish and impetuous child creatures!  Shobik was ancient long before the oldest of Men were born.  Now those mobile units would go on the attack, and the terrifying magic of the Soul Snare and High Priest would see off one hapless unit after another.

Continuing the primary tactic of isolate and destroy, the Flagellants unwieldy horde formation was not turned against them.  Hit from the side by the Worm riders, and from the front by the Bone Dragon and Scavengers, they suffered massive wounds.  The Spearmen units fled the field one by one, as magic and bow fire tore into their ranks.
Finally, Shobik personally dealt with the Tank, his great scythe cleaving it in two.

Fortunately for the Archers, they were Elite, so this collection of ones on ten dice would not be the undoing of the Warriors of Dust.

With the Beast and the unit of Knights defeated, the advantage in numbers was declining rapidly for the usurpers. They were being assaulted from all sides, hit by forces they could not comprehend.
However, they were still dangerous, as they had brought with them daemonic allies.

Shobik knew that he must bind this massive threat to himself, thus allowing his troops to destroy the Flagellants, Spearmen, and the standard bearer.  Once again, the multi phase synergy of the Empire of Dust proved the key, as they could strike from anywhere.
The Cursed High Priest immolated the standard bearer, and the Skeleton Archer Cavalry dealt the final wounds to the Spearmen.
Shobik stood in front of the Monolith, which told the tale of the Second corruption of Pseusennes, the damnation of their Empire, and the centuries of questing invaders into their lands.

Alas, the Monolith could not prevent the 'destruction' of Shobik.
However, the General found himself alone, surrounded by bow, beasts, and magic.  He and his Daemonic ally chose to leave the field, and return with a new, more deadly army.

Who knows what kind of horrid abominations he might conjure for the next meeting with Pseusennes' Legions.  But the forces of Dust have gathered, and stories are passing from one terrified village and town to another of vast ranks of skeletal creatures, armed with all manner of bows and magical scythes.
Great beasts with skin of scaley blue march beside them, creating a sense of dread as they move unerringly forward.
This is another aspect of Kings of War which makes me very happy.  I have been able to create multiple army lists with a huge amount of variety, since I can truly access that synergy between the units.  The magic items are the 'glue' between these units, making what seems like an ordinary unit have a very specific role in the army... or boosting its power.
There are units which I have never used in the previous system, and others that I never even made, which will now see action.
I have some work ahead of me reworking the formations and the movement trays, but this is very appealing to me!  While these new trays will not use the kind of diorama multibasing my other in progress armies will have, they should still be interesting to the eye!

Ah... all that fightin' makes a Pharaoh hungry.  I believe the name of the establishment if Fratello's, which had all kinds of fantastic things on the menu.  Years had passed since I last had a Gyro, so this was delicious!
I look forward to the next Kings of War battle at Draxtar games.  Head on out to Batavia and check out what's on tap!

The Dust has Risen!

In an effort to revive the old Tomb Kings army (which has not been out of the storage boxes in over 2 years), I thought I would give them a try in Kings of War as Empire of Dust.

I had no idea what to expect, since I had not even seen the game being played.  Going into it blind is a bit of an understatement.  Fortunately, any list building was very restricted to whatever I could translate from my 2250 Adepticon tournament list from years ago!

Right off the bat, my life was made easier by the free army building software, which can be printed and saved as a PDF, etc.  It was extremely helpful that all the special rules, magic items and so on were explained in nice big type so that I could go back and recheck them a million times during the game.

I had a vague idea of how some of the items might interact with units, and what kind of synergy might be established.  Before I played the Tomb Kings, I was looking forward to playing such an army.  The disappointment was extreme when I learned that was never meant to be.

I had a few hopes for Kings of War.  First, I was hoping not to experience one turn massacres due to unreal firepower from the opponent, or catastrophic pre-game scenario results (such as having my entire army squished into a 12 x 18 square!).  Also lookin' at you, Watchtower.

From what I had heard, units were not quite as devastating, or easy to kill in this game, particularly from shooting.  In addition, a supercomputer was not needed to calculate static combat rez, nor did you need protractors and decks of magic cards.

The fact that magic had some built in limitations here was very appealing, among other things!

It was with great anticipation that we arrived at Draxtar for the revival of the Legions of Pseusennes!!!  Heck, it was wonderful just to see them on a table again.  This feeling would magnify as the game played out.

This was not an ideal force per se, as I had very few cheap units.  Fortunately, the designers did not inflict every unit with shambling, and made the monsters tougher to kill (no goblin archers taking down a Necrosphinx in one turn!)  Yay!

There were other subtle solutions to the shambling issue... such as Casket of the Dammed, and extra movement on a few others.  Individual magic items could also be applied here and there if I was really worried about that.

Rich was kind enough to bring along his old Empire army, with a few allies as well!

The scenario was very vanilla in this case, since I had very little idea of what was going on.  I had to deploy the Monolith before the regular deployment.  

Something told me that all the action was going to be in the center of the table, so I put it there hoping for a few things.  First, another height 4 LOS blocker, and a boost to the various magics that would probably be used in this area.

I didn't know how helpful it would eventually be with the inspiring factor.

This was a familiar opponent in some ways.  Units of heavy knights, spearmen, Flagellants, and even the allied beasts.

I knew that I was massively outnumbered by raw bodies, but I hoped to be able to combine magic, a few key shooting units, hard hitting monsters, and some juicy sacrifices as well to take down enough units to even the playing field.

I ceded my right flank to the big stuff that the Men had opposite them.  I would shoot at the advancing spearmen as much as possible until they were either on top of me, or they were destroyed by an unfortunate fortitude roll.

The Men advanced forward in a virtual straight line.  I tried to create a staggered line in response, which would hopefully create a few traps.  While I knew that you could not "roll up" units with victorious advances after a close combat round (like WFB), I had no idea how those post charge/melee moves worked until they happened.

Here we go!  Setting the main trap.  The Enslaved Guardians seemed to be an appropriate high priced target.  I would find out one way or another how tough or weak units would be quite soon!

I attempted to use their Wind Blast spell before they were ultimately charged, but I was one success short of keeping the Steamtank/beast from charging the doomed Guardians!  Shobik was not pleased.

As I hoped, the Knights were headstrong and flew into the waiting sacrifice.  In all likelihood, their impetus alone would have been enough to destroy the Guardians.  The Tank was able to add it's fearsome strength as well.

There was an avalanche of Inspiration around the valiant Guardians, but the second test was still not enough to keep them from being pulverized back into dust.  All that remained was to discover what would happen with the post combat moves.

Would my trap actually work?  Are the units that remain in the correct position even strong enough to do the job?

The trap appeared to work.  I was able to counterattack the knights, and the Tank was not able to block the charge of the Bone Dragon (Aka Necrosphinx) into the mounted General.

The charge of the Reanimated Behemoth and the Idol of Shobik smashed into the Knights, claiming revenge for the Guardians!!

The General survived the flank charge from the Bone Dragon, however.  Also, the Behemoth would be the possible target of the Flagellant unit. 

Time for another sacrifice, then, and the Scavengers (carrion) were moved out to be a distraction.

Would the crazed Flagellants take this bait?  Could the presence of Shobik himself be enough to save the day for Pseusennes?

Find out in the next exciting episode... The Dust Settles.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Big Choppers = fun NMM!

I thought this Red Box Games barbarian would make a good example of how the surface area of something metal influences what you can do in terms of effects.

A few of the weapons on this set of figures have broad, flat surfaces, which are prefect for adding in a little more depth in color choice.

In this instance, I was able to incorporate a more broad range of reflected color in the browns and tans.  This would stand out nicely against the brighter, much cooler reflections of the snow colors.

The view in the center shows a little reflection of the sky, which now gives it a decent look from above.  I know that there are folks who say that NMM is just a "one view" effect, but I strongly believe that the thousands of images on my blog would suggest otherwize.

Obviously perfect realism is never going to be achieved, but at a little over 1 inch tall, I say it does the job :-)  I am not against metallics at all... in fact I like to use them myself.  But this older article should get across the point of why I do NMM:

Area 51

This is one mean lookin' Alien Hombre!!  And he's comin' to Wappelville real soon like.

In fact, the Watchers, Dark Nation, Confederate Rebellion and the Golden Army are all on their way quite soon!!

This Grey Hired Hand follows the same color scheme, and the same basing pattern.  I don't always get such a clear cut opportunity to contrast the colors of a miniature with those of the base.  The cooler grayish colors of the figure can even be set apart by the color of the grass.

Much more on the way!!! Hired hands from all the new factions are in the works so that you have something to go by when they come a knockin' at your saloon door!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Don't curse the Raven

The these wee hours of the morning, we have something from Albino Raven Miniatures!  This ork figure is one of many very unique and diverse designs they have created.

Here's a link to the facebook page, which will show you some of the newest creations that are under way:

I had a lot of fun painting this guy!  The figures are cast in very solid resin, with not a lot of tiny pieces to worry about.  There was a sculpted base that came with the figure, but I wanted to make a different base for him.

Check out their webstore to see the kind of variety that I'm talking about.  There are sci-fi and fantasy figures of various scales.  I am working on more of these figures, as well as a fun conversion project!  So, as always, stay tuned!!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Land of the Coyotes

Here we have the fourth installment of the Coyote Assault Troopers from Massive Awesome.

The campaign draws ever closer, so look for the Shattered Earth kickstarter in early February!

Once again, I tried to stay as close to the concept art as possible.  You can choose to go the Camo route if you want... I think these would be outstanding in digital or desert fatigues too!

Jungle setting might also be interesting.  With so many fantastic paper plants out there these days, you don't have to rely on those troublesome plastic aquarium plants!!

Tiny Tanks

We return to the tiny realm of Flames of War, with the third Hotchkiss.

Since at least half of my French units will be done in a desert color scheme, I thought I might try that out on this vehicle.  Once again, it is the interesting horizontal bands which you see so often on French vehicles.  In this case, a Souma 35.

It had been a while since I was able to take a brush to one of the vehicles, so I had forgotten how small these are!  1/100 scale is small enough, but the medium and light tanks of the French are barely larger than a quarter in some cases!

The view from above gives a better sense of the desert shades.

These ground level images make it look almost like a 1/35 or bigger size kit :-)

Here's a comparison to one of the previously painted "France '40" themed vehicles.  I'm looking forward to trying out this split unit scheme on some mobile AA and the regular artillery pieces.

One more shot of the three Hotchkiss together!