Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dropzone Commander league night

Last week I dropped in to Huzzah Hobbies for the Dropzone Commander league night being run by the erstwhile Scott of Itty Bitty Soldiers and other well-known hobby haunts.  I have played maybe 5 or 6 games of DZC, so I am not an expert and consider every game a learning experience.

I took a 1500 point Post-Human Republic Army consisting of the following:

Clash: 1498/1500 points
Standard Army
PHR Standard Roster [1498/1500 pts]
Hand of the Sphere [241 pts]
Command Squad: Zeus(Councillor), Odin, Neptune [241 pts]
Battle Pantheon [450 pts]
Battle Squad: 2x Ares, 2x Phobos, 2x Neptune [290 pts]
Helios Squad: 2x Helios, Neptune [160 pts]
Battle Pantheon [290 pts]
Battle Squad: 2x Ares, 2x Phobos, 2x Neptune [290 pts]
Immortals [312 pts]
Immortals: 2x Immortals, Triton A1(+Miniguns) [104 pts]
Immortals: 2x Immortals, Triton A1(+Miniguns) [104 pts]
Immortals: 2x Immortals, Triton A1(+Miniguns) [104 pts]
Heavy Pantheon [205 pts]
Hades: Hades [205 pts]

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The king is dead! Long live the Kings (of War)!

Okay, so unless you are simply not a miniatures gamer, or have otherwise been living under a rock, you may have heard that Games Workshop (GW), the big dog of fantasy and sci-fi miniatures, decided to literally and figuratively blow up their original flagship game Warhammer Fantasy Battles this past summer.  I have played Warhammer Fantasy Battles for 26 years.  Yes, that's right, since 1989, when it was in its second THIRD edition as a big old hardback book.  

I started collecting Skaven then, and much later dabbled in some other armies.  I still have almost every Skaven model I have purchased in the last 25 years.  Over the past few years, I got into 8th edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  It had some flaws, but I liked it.  I thought the game was solid and more interesting than ever before, and I thought the quality of the army books and models was very high.  In short, I was happy with the game.  I went out and bought a Lizardman army on Ebay and started collecting Mantic Chaos Dwarfs (Abyssal Dwarfs) to use in Warhammer.  

Then the bottom fell out.

GW began signaling that a new start was coming for Warhammer last year, when it released a series of "End Times" books about the end of the Warhammer world.  This was an interesting development, in that the books were very good and they released some very nice models along with them.  So, even though it looked like the Warhammer world was finally getting a change in the storyline after about 30 years, the future looked bright for the game itself.  

Then Age of Sigmar hit.  Yes, GW decided not only to destroy the world of Warhammer, but the game itself.  They sent the franchise literally into space, changed the rules completely, and though they deny it, invalidated just about all the existing models.  The free 4-page rules and free army lists could not hide the fact that the prior game itself (not just the storyline) was dead.  As documented elsewhere, these free lists went so far as to essentially mock the players by giving them re-rolls for foolish behavior like bellowing "Waagh!".  Was it supposed to be funny? Was this all just a joke? 

Sadly, no.  Age of Sigmar is real.  Read the rules and watch some battle reports.  The game has no points values, no sensible list construction rules, and no more maneuvering.  It essentially boils down to masses of troops, based individually and advancing in clouds (no more formations either!) smashing into each other and rolling dice until one side goes away.   

Wow.  The world is gone, the game is gone, and the replacement is essentially a mockery of a game designed for simpletons, or some corporate executive's idea of what children enjoy.  This is what happens when you drive away your best designers and even sculptors.  Because in my opinion, the new Age of Sigmar figures are some of the most baroque and ridiculous, as well as blocky, that GW has yet contrived.  

It is, in other words, Age of Sigmar is a complete disaster for a Warhammer fan of 25 years.  I can't take credit for it, but "Rage of Sigmar" describes my feeling pretty well.

So, where does one turn?  Well, in fact there are not a lot of good fantasy mass-battle options on the market.  This leads us right to the door of pretty much one company:  Mantic Games.  Mantic is full of has employed GW refugees like Alessio Cavatore, lead designer of Kings of War, Mantic's mass-battle fantasy game.  Alessio was once a champion Skaven player in Warhammer, then an important designer at GW itself. He left, joining Rick Priestly (an original designer of Warhammer) in freelancing for Warlord Games and others.  You may have heard of their little design, Bolt Action?  Anyway, Alessio and Mantic just released (such timing!) a second edition of Kings of War, or Kings of War 2.0.  The main rules are free and can be found here:

Darklands Formoraic Warband

Submitted for your approval are my Fomoraic Warband for Darklands.  These are all resin models, some from the Kickstarter Darklands First Edition II  by Mierce Miniatures and others I picked up online.  I apologize for the varied lighting I still need to work on my camera skills.  

This warband tallies up at about 1300 gold (points) in Darklands, enough for a good sized battle.  Darklands is a skirmish game set in a nightmarish fantasy version of Dark Age Britain and north-west Europe.  The followers of Baalor arise out of the cold north and set their sights on conquering all the lands above the water in Baalor's name.  The Fomoraic armies boase large numbers of frightening beast-men of all kinds, alongside corrupted and evil humans.  Featured here are the Sronax, a race of Rhino-men, and the Eye of Baalor, a human warrior band.  They are led by Kraan, untain (great lord) of Baalor and Maagan, a warlock.  

 The warband assembled for battle. 

Kraan, untain of Baalor.

Maagan, warlock of Baalor.

The Eye Ascendant, warriors of Baalor, in the foreground.

The Sronax on a sunny day.  They are led by a mighty Sronax tain, or lord.

Sronax lord.

An unfortunate Ysian patrol encounters the Sronax warband.

Let the ravens feast!