Sunday 28 April 2024

Armada: Orc Fleet

 Since completing the Nameless for Deadzone I've been working on expanding my Orc Armada fleet from the one ship I had to a complete force. Once again I've had these 3D printed by Bristol Independent Gaming. 

I wanted to try a fleet out with an XL ship and as I'd already bought my Orc XL it was a reasonably easy choice to expand that fleet out. The Orc's like to get in close and pack plenty of C guns which means that once they get within 8" of the enemy they can really dish the pain. They also have a decent amount of crew strength for boarding actions and lots of ships with Ram.

If we start with the XL ship it comes in two versions both of which have strong broadsides of C guns and plenty of CS. These are ships that want to get in close and mix it up, but don't necessarily need to board straight away. I think I prefer the Ripper Hulk version as you have the IDW to use whilst you get close and it's 20 points cheaper than the Maul version. One thing I can't work out is why neither version has the Ram special rule which looking at the models is surprising.

The Smasher is the Large main battle ship of the fleet and again packs some good guns on the broadsides and a decent amount of CS for boarding. The two special Orc item upgrades give you an extra broadside C gun (Morguns) or +2 CS in boarding actions (Morax) at a discount to the generic item costs of these type of items. This emphasises the get in close and mix it up playstyle of the Orc fleet.
For the new ships in the fleet I tried to make them more of a colourful spectacle by adding in some bronze guns and plating as well as some red and blue panels. 

The Orc fleet wide special rule is Let's get them! which allows the ships to try and grapple opponents going at full speed. This isn't normally allowed and going at full speed is generally a good defence for shooty fleets to evade ones that want to board.

Blood Runners are cheap support ships which you need to fill out the minimum number of ships slots if you are playing a fully kitted out XL. They aren't really fast or tough but will come in useful for some ramming action to slow down enemy ships and also for taking objectives.

Hammerfist's are the cheapest main battle ship option in the Orc list and are pretty tough with decent guns and CS. However I'm really not a fan of the model as it looks rather silly to me, so I've only got the one and it probably won't be out on the table very much.

The Bombboat has a decent amount of C weapons on the broadside but it's really going to be hanging back to start off with and trying to break up enemy formations with it's IDW. The IDW on the rear could be useful if it needs to take evasive manoeuvres or if it sails clean through the enemy fleet.

Lastly we have the rabble fleet, these are very cheap and have the nice bonus of adding an extra CS onto friendly ships within 3". Keep one of these near your XL with Morax and you having a 13 CS boarding monster to eat up enemy ships.

Mr T and myself have started playing 250 point games and I've drawn up an initial list to try out with the Orcs. They have an interesting Admiral who allows you to double fire a weapon arc once per game. Sticking him on the XL with Morguns means a damage output of up to 42 points or damage between 3"-8" and 84 points at<=3", that would mess up most ships days very easily. 

Saturday 6 April 2024

Deadzone: The Nameless

As well as playing Armada I've been working on a new Deadzone strike team to play, The Nameless. The Nameless are a collection of races more recently birthed from the sea than Humans, they seem to deeply religious and the ones encountered in Deadzones tend to be from the Ul-Ug’urub sect. The Ul-Ug’urub believe that the human spheres are like a floating rotten stellar whale corpse and ripe to be feasted upon.

The models are all 3D resin prints using files from the Mantic Vault and  printed by Bristol Independent Gaming for me. I have painted these up before as part of the excellent Star Saga game but the chance to upgrade the soft plastic board games pieces to sharp resin was enough to get me painting them again.

Deadzone strike teams tend to be around 10-14 models so as per usual I've ended up with many more than that to give me lots of options.

Starting with the leaders we have a Psychotroid, which uses the power of it's mind to invigorate friends and befuddle foes. Quite a few of The Nameless units have the Beast keyword which means they cannot pickup or carry equipment, this makes them less useful in the Scour scenario, should that come up.

I've not used any models Psychic attacks before and whilst they have a shorter range you  do get to ignore line of sight which in a crowded Deadzone is very handy. The standout ability would at first glance be Hyperkinesis which allows you to remove the activation marker from another unit, allowing it to go again in the same round. If you have a big powerful model, getting it to activate twice in a round could be pretty devastating.

The Blight is the other leader model I've painted up and it's much more of a close assault unit. Handily it can be given the Shield (2) item to bring it up to the same point as the Psychotroid so swapping between them is very easy. Overall it's probably less useful than it's brain powered comrade but certainly one to choose for a more fluffy experience for the opposition.

The Nameless have a couple of cheap Troop options to fill out their roster and you could go all-in on them if you wanted to concentrate on some of the big hitters in the Specialist / Support slots. Inkers are quite as fight orientated as the Scuttlers but they can lay down a smoke cloud to block LoS and they aren't Beasts so can pickup and carry equipment.

Next up we have the fire support units, both of which I think are useful in a list. The Riflemen aren't good in a fight but they do have a 4+ shoot stat and range 10 so they can hit most things on the board. They also apply the Prey mark to anything they hit which adds an extra melee dice to anything assaulting that target, this lasts until the model dies. The Gunslingers also get this rule but with only a range of 3. As Prey never expires you should expect to see it on lots of enemy models which is handy as there will be some nasty monsters aiming to get into contact with the enemy.

The Assassins are the first of these melee focused units and with speed 2/3 and Jump Pack they should be able to move around the battlefield swiftly to fall upon the foe. The only thing they really lack is from armour piercing to deal with hard targets, also being size 1 they will never get the bonus dice for being larger than their opponent.

The Caratid's overcome these deficiencies by adding AP1 and size 2 to their profile but this does come with a points increase and the Beast rule, to me it feels like a fair compromise for a superior melee unit. You should also never pass up the chance to unleash some combat lobsters against your enemy.

Needle Drones are a cheap Specialist option that at first glance may not seem that useful but they are speed 2/3 and aren't Beasts so can nip around the table and pick up equipment. The also have a short range psychic Blast attack which would be very useful for knocking enemy units off objectives or high perches.

Now we start getting to the big boys, Magnumite's (used to be called Ogres) are your giant crab-monster units that are tough as nails and give a nasty AP2 claw attack to anyone they can get close too. I do think that at 35 points they may be a bit over-costed when compared to other options in the list but with a Psychotroid giving them a second turn they could be nasty.

The Bathomite comes with the choice of three different weapons, the only unit in the entire list with a weapon choice to make. I went with the Crystal Cannon launcher as it gives a good high AP weapon to a list that doesn't have loads of AP built in. The Launcher would also be a good choice as some Frag(4) attacks knocking your opponents about is always fun.

Lastly we have the Goliath which is likely to be the biggest (Spectra is tallest but less bulky) model in Deadzone. I'd recently painted up another one for use in Kings of War and have a third which came with Star Saga, so at a push I could put three on the table at once.

It feels like this is the model you take a Psychotroid to use with, it's big, hit's hard and can take a bucket load of damage. Most other models in the game will not want to run into this thing even on sunny day, let alone down a dark alley in a Deadzone.

It isn't cheap and lacks built in re-rolls but when you are hitting on a 3+ against a target that will likely be smaller than you, possibly marked by Prey and having moved in this turn, the weight of dice will do the work for you.

I've enjoyed painting these up and went with a brighter scheme than the Star Saga ones and got some basing bits printed off to help lift the overall look of the models. Even if I do say so myself I think they look rather good. I just need to get some games in at some point to see how they play.