Sunday 27 October 2019

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

Over the last few gaming nights Mick and myself have been playing out a series of learning games for Blood & Plunder. We started off with a basic game with no buildings, worked through occupying and attacking buildings and this week added in artillery fire.

To do this we setup an English Buccaneer force attacking a Spanish town with the support of off-shore artillery in the shape of two light cannons on a Bark. The rest of the English started ashore with the Spanish setup behind defenses.

The idea was that the artillery would help clear out the buildings and we could learn how the rules worked, in the end despite needing only 5's to hit (on a D10) they only managed 1 hit throughout the whole game. This did include a turn during which they spent their activation re-loading but it was a little disappointing. That one hit did kill one man so it was not a total wash-out for the cannons.

The rest of the game saw some good English musketry whittle down the Spaniards and the Spanish Lanceros die to the man (again!) trying to spear some English. Next time we have agreed to try a naval battle so I need to work out some lists for ships.

I have also been busy on the Undead front with the new Kings of War v3 being released this week, though my copy still has not arrived. I got my base extender from Warbases to convert my 50mm Monster into a 75mm Titan. I started to extend the wall across the new frontage and he should be battle ready again very soon.

Also completed this week are some of the resin models from the Fireforge Games Kickstarter, these ones don't look to be going on sale at the moment. Due to a packing error they had to ship me an extra one so I ended up with two.

These chaps needed to go on 25mm bases so I plan to use them as Barrow Wights in Vanguard. The Ancient Fury  special allows them to move quickly and if given a horse upgrade would mean they have an 18" move/charge, rather nifty.

The other Vanguard model completed is Zombie Blaine who is this years Mantic show exclusive. Blaine appears in all the Manitc games as an inter-dimensional time traveling arse-kicker. This version will be deployed as a Zombie Orc, these are more heavily armoured than normal Zombies and are Warriors so die less easily.

The Mob Assault and Vicious rules make him dangerous if paired up with other Mob Assault models.

The last model completed is Lady Ilona, she is a unique Vampire model for Kings of War who became very popular with her formation in KoW v2. The formation made her and 2 Regiments of Soul Reaver Infantry extra quick so they could fight on equal terms with cavalry hammers.
In v3 she has lost the extra speed (though she is still Spd 7) but retained Def 6+. She still looks to be a beast at killing opposing individual heroes (having 16 attacks @3+ against these) and also carries the spell Enthrall(5) which is a reverse Windblast. She is 280 points which is normally Dragon territory so she would be an expensive buy.

Next week is the Mantic open day and the launch of the League of Infamy on Kick Starter so I fear for my bank balance!

Sunday 20 October 2019

Beyond the Wall, Trees Grow

Firstly an update on the Zombies from last week, I had been looking for some trees to add onto the bases for my Undead and some twisted wire ones arrived via Ebay yesterday. These proved to be just what I was after.

The basic tree is has plastic leaves and a clear twisted wire look so I used some modelling putty and flock to jazz them up along with the same GW contrast brown I have used on the other tree stumps on the base. At less than £1 per tree you can hardly go wrong, the only draw-back is the normal long delivery time from China.

I have also been working on some more models for my Vanguard company and this week painted up some command options. The Crypt Gouger is a new command model and comes with Scout which helps in most scenario's and a couple of anti-ranged defensive abilities. HI signature ability allows him to place grave markers on the table that he can use to summon Zombies.

These markers can also be used by the Necromancer to summon Skeletons (he can also do that without the marker but with a limited range) so the two command options work well together. The Necromancer also comes with a good range of spells including the ever useful heal.

I made up six grave markers though it is highly unlikely I would ever use that many but they where fun to make and better to over spec than not have enough.

The basic Skeleton comes in two varieties, with and without bows. The melee version is a mere 6 points meaning that Undead companies have the potential to field large numbers of models which can be added too throughout the battle by the Gouger & Necromancer. Opponents could find themselves unable to wade through the bodies quickly enough to get to objectives.

The Archer version is eight points and throws only one dice as a basic attack hitting on a 6+. They do have one big advantage over other shooting Grunts in that the Undead warband rule means that as long as they stay within 6" of a command model they go Down but not Out when 'killed' rather than being out-right killed, this means they should hang around much longer than normal Grunts unless the enemy can get in close to finish them off on the ground.

All these extra bodies does mean that the Undead Vanguard force is a large one if you want to model all the choices, so this is likely to be a very large company once completed.

Saturday 12 October 2019

Beyond the Wall, Something Lurks

We knew something terrible lurked in the marsh beyond the wall so sent a messenger to request help from the city. Several months later two priests arrived to lead all the able-bodied villagers away to clear back the land behind the barrier.
That was the last time we ever saw any of them alive, I curse the gods that it was not the last time we saw any of them at all.

This week I finished off most of another section of the Four Horsemen army, this time featuring Pestilence atop his fearsome mount. From our reference material we can see Pestilence:

Death on his pale horse,
Famine with his scales,
War carrying a sword,
and Pestilence with his crown.

The plan was to use this model as a Revenant King on Undead Wyrm with the wing upgrade as this gave a decent flying utility unit which was fast, nimble, capable of fighting but also had the capability to cast spells. A post today on Facebook though suggests the 50mm monster version of this may not be in KoW v3 so I may need to up his base to 75mm square.

No matter what size base he ends up on I really enjoyed putting this model together and the Toad from Mantic is a fine looking beast with the rider from GW looking like it was made for the job. I also used a head with crown from Fireforge and the flag arm from them as well so it really is a model of many parts.

The bases use the same walls as from the other sections of the army but this time behind the wall I flocked with a darker static grass and then used the same lighter grass as in the War section of the army in front of the wall. On the bases I added some fauna in the shape of mini-toads and maggots.
As well as the Mantic and Fireforge undead models I also added in a couple of Perry Priests, one being dragged to his doom whilst another prays for deliverance.

The Regiments took a lot of work for what will be one of the cheapest units on the table, but at least that means they should see action on a regular basis.

The Zombies are one of the units that we know the stats for in v3 and they actually got slightly cheaper but lost a point of Defence and a few attacks. As these would only ever be used as chaff or objective grabbers then that loss of offensive power isn't a big deal.

On the bases themselves their is quite a lot going on with the undead surging forward through a marshy area towards the breached wall. I used Gloss Gel Medium mixed with brown acrylic paint and thinned out with some water to fill the marshy area. This worked pretty well and was much easier to work with than pouring resin as it didn't leak through the basing material, it does take a few days to properly set though.

The Goreblight is a new unit being ported into the KoW army after being released for Vanguard. I'm not a fan of the model that Mantic released for this one as it looks like it should be part of the Nightstalker faction instead of the Undead. I am however a fan of the Deadzone Plague models so drafted in a 1st Gen Mutant to use as this unit (I'm actually waiting on a second one of these to arrive in case I want to double them up).

This is another unit that we have seen the stats for and in fact he has already been updated from the initial reveal so is 15 points cheaper now. Shambling monsters on small bases are perfect for getting into flanks and at only 175 points with Def 5+ and Fearless 17 he would make a decent road-block as well. Oh, and Cloak of Death causes an auto-wound when he is activated to enemies within 6", which is nice.

We have also seen the stats for the new Necromancer who comes with an Aura to help boost Zombie units, though as this cannot be taken by mounted versions I'm not sure I will get the benefit from this.

And last but not least I painted up some Zombies to go into the Vanguard arm of the Four Horsemen army. One of the new Undead Vanguard leaders has the ability to raise Zombies from the ground so even if they are not fielded as part of the original team they should see some action.

Sunday 6 October 2019

Get to Da Chopper!

Yesterday I traveled into Bristol and met up with John in the Old Duke for some more Deadzone action. This time we played out a co-op mini campaign that saw our Strike Teams join forces to battle out four games against AI plague zombies.
We each picked out 150 points of troops and then started with a sub-set of that group. My 150 points of Marauders was :

commando * 5
Grunt Bot with Flamer
Commando Specialist with Flamer
Ripper Mauler

I went with Bolts as he has armour 2 and I was working on the theory that the Plague would not be packing much armour piercing. Flamer are always handy against mob opponents so two of those looked like a good bet.

The first scenario was a 50 point each game so I started with 3 men and John who was playing the Enforcers only 2. The Enforcers aren't cheap but they pretty much all come with armour 1 so are hard to kill, their jump packs also mean they can zip around the deadzone with ease as well.
My list was Bolts & two Commandos.
We started off in the middle of the map and had to kill at least 4 zombies before we made an escape. The AI worked such that the zombies had a reasonable chance of moving after each model activated and then made towards the sound of fighting / gunfire or if they could see someone.
The scenario itself was a bit of a bloodbath my my Marauders losing both Commandos and the Enforcer leader dying as well, only two people escaped the field to raise the alarm.

The next game upped the points to 75 each but we could not field any of the troops lost in the previous game so I had Bolts, the three remaining Commandos and the Specialist with Flamer. John added a Flamer of his own, some melee chaps and a heavy burster laser. We need to uncover a marker that represented a working radio transmitter  and then escape. This game went much better and I don't think we lost anyone with our troops laying down the hurt on the zombies and one of Johns jet pack chaps managing to nip in and uncover the correct marker on the first attempt.

Game three saw our combined forces trying to make our way to a pickup zone, this allowed us to field everyone who was still alive so I added the Grunt Bot with Flamer and Ripper Mauler to my forces. We spent a lot of time in melee so having so many strong melee units helped my guys out considerably.

We split into two groups one on each wing and set about getting stuck in. By now we had a good understanding of how to use sound and motion to draw the zombies into groups that could be mass attacked and keep them from mobbing us too much.

We did get several waves of reinforcements but our combined killing power was too much and despite a few close calls we progressed nicely across the table and again I cannot recall anyone being killed.

The final scenario saw us attempting to get to a raised landing platform and then call in the rescue craft. This could be called in as long as we had at least one model on the platform and no zombies occupied it. Any models not on the platform when the rescue craft arrived would be left behind.

Johns chaps had the advantage here as their jump packs meant they could easily make it too the top of the platform with a couple of sprints onto nearby buildings (all building where brought by John who had done some excellent work on the painting and posters on them) whereas my Marauders would need to wade through the zombies to make it out.

Right, should I be off then ?

Once again the Grunt Bots and Ripper did good service with them being able to punch a lot of zombie face on the way to the platform. John as expected made it on mass to the platform ahead of my Marauders but opted not to call the e-vac until I had arrived. It was not all good news however as I lost the Commando Specialist to a zombie and another Commando was left on the ground having gotten caught up with some zombies on the way.

All in all a good way to spend the afternoon and we managed to get four games in without really hurrying at any point. There are also some scenarios in the Nexus Psi book (that had this mini-campaign in) that allow for the introduction of AI zombies into a normal pvp game, which would be very interesting.

This week on the painting table I've been working on more zombies of my own and the bases for the Pestilence section of the Four Horsemen army. I made use of some new Green Stuff World shrubbery tufts. These are pretty long but can be cut to length and then super glued to the walls. The next step is to add the zombies and other beasties onto the bases and then add some marshy water effect to complete the bases. Having completed all the normal troops for this section I have started on the monsters and Pestilence himself and some zombies for the Vanguard force.

I also took delivery of a laminator today and tried it out on some Blood & Plunder ship cards, I can see a lot of plastic covered items in my future, hurray!