Sunday, October 13, 2019

Back to Chaos

  I made the goal, at the beginning of the year, to paint four armies by the start of 2020.  It's not going well as I've only completed two and I only have two-and-a-half months left.  Besides the Ultramarines, my Chaos Space Marines were the definite priority.  After all, I've used them in so many games that they deserve a little color. 

  After getting many warbands painted for an Underworlds spree, I finally returned to those Chaos Marines.  I'm thinking if I can finish this army by the end of the month, I might be able to meet my goal...

Chaos Space Marines
  This unit costs less than 100  points (maybe FAR less, depending on the Chapter Approved) and brings just a little bit of pain.  With only five marines, the squad depends on cover (especially in ruins or woods) and provides that heavy weapon support for the advancing portions of the army.  Even better, they make great 'campers'- claiming objectives in the backfield. 

  At Toughness 4 and with a 3+ save (2+ in cover), they force the opponent to have to commit to killing them, which can be frustrating to the opponent with only 5 wounds.  The Missile Launcher allows the squad to engage any target, from armored to massed infantry, and that range works very well with the Boltguns.  And when the squad doesn't move, they get to shoot those bolters twice out to max range- that's some firepower!  Finally, the Aspiring Champion (squad leader) is armed with a Chainsword, giving him another attack on top of his leader bonus- that's three attacks at Strength 4, hitting on 3's (and don't forget "Death to the false emperor").  And remember that Chaos Marines get an extra attack when they charge or get charged, so that means four attacks and possibly more.  I enjoy rolling lots of dice in a fight, especially from a fire support squad...

  The ridged horns of the trooper models were so much fun to paint.  Unlike the two models below, these allowed me to quickly blend the colors and still show off the texture.  Painting can be so rewarding in the weirdest ways.  When I was building this unit, I had to scrounge for bits.  Some of this squad are made from Berserker bits, which is certainly ironic considering this unit's mission is to sit back and snipe vehicles and such...

  The Aspiring Champion was a blast to paint, just for the concept of having a beast in combat for a little 'ol squad.  Plus he has a more dynamic pose due to the Berserker bits noted above, and that little bit of character builds quite a bit of attachment.

  The Missile Launcher marine is a 'recover' from my older versions of this army.  You can notice the vehicle spikes that I lined up on an Imperial Missile Launcher to give it that 'chaos' look.  The pic unfortunately shows off the opportunities in this model too well...

  One more unit in this army down.  Let me know what you think and what projects you have been working on lately in the comments below.  

Happy Hobbying!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Tons of games of Underworlds

  I spent a great deal of time painting over the last month-and-a-half trying to get the Underworlds warbands painting in time for my buddy to play with painted models.  I didn't get to put in the work on Magore's Fiends like I would have preferred (painfully slow), but they're done and still look good on the tabletop.  I can always go back later.

  My mission was complete.  My buddy came down and we played a bunch of games.  Let me quickly cover them below, but I was proud that every model we used was painted.  The visual appeal, even in a board game, can be very rewarding...

Game 1
  My buddy played the Chosen Axes against my Stormsire's Cursebreakers.

  He built his deck to increase wounds, get inspired and gain glory points quickly for holding objectives, and healing all the time.  My Stormcast are typically very dangerous, thumping out skeletons, ghosts, and even Blood Warriors with confidence.

  It did not go well, as the lightning warriors found that they couldn't do damage fast enough to do any damage.  They luckily sacrificed themselves to keep the dwarves out of their zone.  This gave them the game-winning glory points at the end, but it felt hollow.

Game 2
  We still had to find the best 2-of-3, so we played the same warbands.  This time, the boards were set very diagonal with only four hexes to limit interactions.  In addition, most of the newly-named "Feature Hexes" (objective markers) in the dwarven area, by strategy of my buddy.

  This time was so much worse.  Everything that the Stormcast tried to do meant nothing as the Chosen Axes just racked up the glory points and easily defeated any of the gold boys that came near.  With upgrades and wounds to spare, it became a losing battle.  And none of the objective cards really helped, so the Cursebreakers had to settle for very few points and be outgained by more than one.

Game 3
  Two games down, each side with a win, and now it was time to get the third.  Having won the board phase, I set it up to be a long setup with as many obstacles to the dwarves as possible.  The Stormcast have upgrades to go through blocked and lethal hexes, so it wouldn't hurt them.

  Unfortunately, none of that mattered.  The distances were so great and the cowardice of each side being too strong meant that there was very little damage done.  It was not an exciting game and resulted in no scoring at all for the Cursebreakers.  The Axes got points just by standing on objectives.  I had to concede the game because there was nothing, and I mean nothing that the Stormcast could do to score points, cause damage, or even present a threat.

  In all three games, the dwarves scored 6 or 7 glory points.  They were very consistent in scoring points, regardless of the other side.  The Stormcast, on the other hand, were foiled in every legitimate way.  With speed-based ploys and upgrades, the Chosen Axes shared the same speed, defense, and offensive power.  But they are based on claiming objectives, so they score easily and quickly which allows them to upgrade and heal.  I found myself COMPLETELY outclassed.  It was horrific and I HATE those dwarves!  Credit to my buddy for building that deck- especially considering he doesn't play unless he comes cross-country to visit me!  Wow.  Victory to the Chosen Axes.

Game 4
  My buddy wanted to use Magore's Fiends and I chose to use Ylthari's Guardians.

  His deck was built around causing damage.  It wasn't anything terribly advanced and included upgrades that increased damage, so it was pretty obvious.  I can't really remember anything about his deck that was especially exciting- I'm sure it was pretty good.  But playing the trees requires a bit of focus and it was already late at night.

  My buddy was worried about my warband's speed.  I assured him that it was pretty much the same as him, that is until they're inspired.  And they get inspired by healing.  And they get reactions with crits on defense and attacks.  And they get movement shenanigans to bounce about the board.  It was frustrating for his Fiends and he got to feel a bit like I was feeling last series.  The Guardians scored a bunch of points and denied the Fiends scoring any themselves.  My buddy questioned his deck.

Game 5
  This happened a couple days later, and had to be the chance to settle the best-of-3 for the Fiends and Guardians.

  This time, the board was placed in a diagonal way again and even had an objective in no-man's land.  That was going to be advantageous to my both forces...  This was the same problem as the last game, except that all of Magore's Fiends focused on the defensive-based tough tree and took him out.  Without that unbreakable defense pumping out wounds and defying all damage that comes his way, the Guardians were suddenly vulnerable.  In this case, they used their unique gambits to destroy objectives and maneuver to deny the Blood Warriors their glory points.  The frustration was unbelievable and resulted in a scant victory for the trees.

  By this point, it was obvious that Ylthari's Guardians are a very powerful force, if played correctly.  I still fear for warbands that are able to shift the advantages to their side.  My buddy believes that his Magore's Fiends deck is terrible.  He even figured out that he was using the Khorne-dog wrong- putting him out in front and presenting him as an easy target.

Game 6
  My wife had built a pretty good deck for her ghosts and wanted to give it a run, so she brought the Thorns of the Briar Queen and my buddy went with the Chosen Axes (if I remember correctly- I was studying and taking a quiz, so I was a bit distracted).

  I remember hearing my wife cackle a number of times and my buddy exclaim how crazy it was.  The ghosts simply 'pushed' their way to surround the dwarves, get inspired, and then get glory points in nutsy ways.  The Thorns are extremely fast!  With a couple of healing powers and extra wounds, they attacked like a swarm and forced the dwarves to react in a non-beneficial way.  My buddy didn't like it and the ghosts easily won.  Like, easily.  I'm rather worried to play my wife now.

Game 7
  My son challenged my buddy to a game a day later.  My son used his Magore's Fiends against my buddy's Chosen Axes.  My son was already very worried, having heard my own experiences.

  Funny enough, my son still lost but he did a much better job with his deck than me against those dwarves.  He caused damage, had the speed to get in and lay down some smack before having to take the return attacks.  With his objectives, my son still scored some glory points and made a good showing of himself.  But he was not happy with his deck and my son instantly thought about revamping his deck.

Game 8
  It was time for the heavyweight matchup, taking place on his last night in town.  My buddy brought his Chosen Axes and I brought Ylthari's Guardians. 

  This game was very interesting because the trees were too afraid of the dwarves to directly engage.  But the objective cards cooperated and it allowed for the glory points to stack up.  Better, the board setup was advantageous and allowed the trees to use blocked hexes to their advantage.  The Chosen Axes were able to kill a couple of the trees and be generally frustrating, but it wasn't anything near effective and they couldn't score enough points to win.

Game 9
  Best-of-3.  Unfortunately this was a foregone conclusion.  From the board phase all the way through the beginning of round 2, everything was stacked against the Chosen Axes.  Their cards did not come up right and the objectives that they needed were either too far away or contested already.  To make matters worse, the trees simply ran as far from the dwarves as possible and taunted them.  Destroying objective markers and keeping everyone at arm's length (very Eldar-like tactics) made Ylthari's Guardians unbeatable.  With frustration oozing, my buddy had to concede.

  All in all, we found that his Chosen Axes deck was ridiculous and very well designed.  Impressively and enough to rekindle my hatred of dwarves (I've always been partial to the elves, of course).  Unfortunately, it's weakness is that it didn't have the ability to score enough points.  Getting up to six or seven wasn't really going to achieve a alot of victories for the dwarves.

  We also found that Ylthari's Guardians are very capable of scoring tons of points and, when used correctly, can frustrate opponents past even resignation.  They seem to be 'tricksy' in a way that's very dependent on dice rolls and extremely stressful for both the player and the opponent.  If crits come up, it's going to be a bad to for the opponent.  If they are rare, the trees are going to find themselves outclassed.

   It was a packed weekend of gaming.  I'm very proud to have finished painting the models in time and gave my buddy that experience.  Better, I'm very happy that he actually got to play the game!  It's also possible that he can come down later this year, with newly designed decks in hand and a mission to beat me.  I'll be happy to meet that challenge, hopefully with a Stormcast deck that can do anything...

  As always, Happy Gaming!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Blood for the Underworlds!

  I painted something fast!

  In a previous post, I noted that a buddy was coming to town and wanted to play some Underworlds.  So I frantically painted up the Chosen Axes dwarf warband that he was preparing to use.  But then we talked again and it turns out that he's also bringing a deck for Magore's Fiends...

  Darnit.  That means more painting.  So I finished up the trees from the last post and jumped right into this warband.  The good thing is that my son also likes to play this band and has been asking to paint them for some time.  I, being the perfectionist that I am, kept them to myself with a grand vision on how I wanted them to look.  But my buddy has thrown my timing off (by actually establishing a reason and a time-frame).  Now I had two people to stop procrastinating for.

  This warband was painted in the span of two days, between various other responsibilities.  I thought about taking pictures as I moved through the progress, but I was too lazy to pull out the digital camera (I miss my phone camera so much right now) and it didn't really matter.  With such a short turnaround required, I didn't exactly put my best effort forward.

  Nonetheless, they came out pretty striking and I'm happy with where the models are at.  A little bit of work on the reds and I think I can have these models at a display quality in no time!  But for now, they're game quality and just in time...

Magore's Fiends

  The pictures simply don't do these models justice AND show off all my corner-cutting techniques!  Oh well, I'm still relearning this camera.  The models just scream aggression and glory and definitely cut imposing figures across the gameboard.  In game, they are just as scary.  They aren't slow, have good defense, hit like a ton of bricks, and can be upgraded very quickly.  It takes some cunning to defeat these brutes and Magore's Fiends is definitely one of the bands we don't like to see very often.  

  Blood for the Blood God!   

Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Even the trees walk!

  In case you haven't been keeping up, Underworlds is our favorite game for this family.  It's the one that requires the least amount of setup and has the least amount of rules, and models are really cool.  We know that I'm into anything GW, and that I will recruit anyone I can to play, even my poor innocent children.  

  My son obviously plays all the games with me and he's already picked up and used a good number of the warbands.  My wife is all about her Death armies and that definitely is represented in both the setting and the two warbands that she forced me to pick up (it took so much convincing...).  But my daughter had not yet gotten into these games with us and, well, I just couldn't let that stand.  

  Owning all the warbands (and cards and White Dwarfs that even mention the game), I laid them all out in front of my daughter and asked her which one looked like her favorites.  She was stricken by the tree-ghost thingies.  Ylthari's Guardians it is!

  So I went to work furiously trying to paint these things and get my daughter interested in playing.  Maybe if there was some color on the models, she'd be able to understand what the warriors do and how to use their special abilities.  When the models were done, her mom and she played a game using all painted miniatures and it was much easier for her to keep up with everything.  Admittedly, I did not have a fun time painting these models- too many spindly details overlapping too many other spindly details!  But the final result was awesome and accomplished the purpose.

  Before I get to the pictures, I must disclose that I dusted off the old digital camera.  You see, the camera in my phone finally succumbed to years of drops and stopped working.  Unfortunately, I became spoiled and forgot how to use the real camera, so please forgive the poor picture quality...

Ylthari's Guardians

I forgot to turn the flash off...
And then I forgot how to focus...

  And that's it!  It took me a few weeks to finally finish them (and really about five days) because of some experimentation that didn't quite work out.  But they're done and great models to boot!  As far as their strategy in the game- 

  It's best not to put these warriors too close to the enemy's territory as they aren't the most resilient tree-stock around.  With some range and magic, plus the ability to cause additional damage and wound repeatedly, these is a 'rope-a-dope' warband in that it's made to wear the opponent down.  Few in number and requiring crits on the dice rolls to do anything, they aren't immediate masters like the Chaos and Stormcast warbands.  But some cunning and timing and they can be outrageously frustrating for the opponent.  

  Let me know what you think below and what warband you play if you play this game. 

Happy Hobbying!