Sunday, 28 November 2010

A Tangled Web

They're not finished yet... not by a long shot; but here's a little preview of my new spider-themed Goblin army...

I'll be using the stats for Night Goblins with spears for them (representing them climbing all over their opponents). Including netters of course!

I have about fifty more to do and when I'm done I'll have two fifty-strong hordes and a smaller unit with the left-overs for flanking. Add to the that two ten-strong units of Forest Goblin Spider Riders and this dude on the gigantic goblin and I should have a (small but) very characterful army.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

In Sight of the Skaven Capital!

Tim (Vampire Counts) vs Mike (Skaven)
With the extent of their realms dwindling within the closing fists of their enemies and legions of the undead in sight of their capital, the Skaven were getting desperate. Unless they acted quickly then all would be lost and they couldn’t rely on their attack on the fortress of the Vampire Counts to release the pressure on their frontier.
But Nagash had brought hundreds of warpstone meteors down from the sky to pave the way for the forces of Chaos and there was nothing that Skaven craved more. Needing to intercept the oncoming horde of the undead and seeing the warpstone littering the plains before them, the Skaven knew their mind. If they could get ahold of enough warpstone then they could effect the summong if a dread vermin Lord. With the Vermin Lord as part of their forces, no matter how dangerous that was, they could still consolidate their power base.

Battle was met. Clanrats rushed forward alongside Stormvermin and Plague Monks, assaulting the Skeletons and Crypt Ghouls that came shakily toward them. Scouting Gutter Runners crept toward the enemy flank and the dreadful tolling of a Screaming Bell sent awful shudders of power across the warpstone-littered plane. 
The undead immediately took hold of the warpstone meteorites but, filled with battle lust, the Skaven troops seemed more intent on slaughtering their enemies. An edge of fear that the undead were coming so close to their capital made the Clanrats desperate to defend their home, despite the greater strategic benefit of gaining the warpstone. Spheric, the genral of the undead force, ran into battle against the towering Screaming Bell and despite the cacophanous ringing managed to bring down Plague, his powerful sword, and destroy it with a single blow. But the Clan Pestilens Plague Censer Bearers rushed in from his flank, swinging their tainted flails, and drove him to the ground, taking him out of the battle. Immediately the undead army started to crumble but it was too late for it to do any good. The Skven no longer had the resources to stay in the fight and as their Grey Seer fled toward the edge of the battlefield they were forced to withdraw, leaving the warpstone in the hands of the enemy.
It was a close battle, fought almost to a draw but time had run out and capturing the objectives was all that ultimately mattered.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Battle at Twin Fords

Tim (Vampire Counts) vs Gill (Tempestrians)
On the border of the kingdom of Tempest Falls lies the great Thunder River, a slow flowing leviathan of water pouring down from the Black Mountains to where it joins the blood river. South of the Old Silk Road bridge, in the shadow of the forest, lay a tiny village named Twin Fords. The village was a desolate place, haunted by ghastly spirits and ravening ghouls. Much of the land south of the Old Silk Road was controlled by the forces of the Vampire Counts and this dismal place was no different.
But the Tempestrian Knights had already won a great victory against the undead and their army surged onwards, eager for greater glory. Confident that another victory could be won by eliminating the vampire lord the knights charged into town. The undead host gathered its strength from the other side of the river as the Tempestrian archers took up positions in the abandoned houses.
There were two shallow fords next to the village. On one side of the river stood the knights, their steeds stamping at the ground, at the other, rank upon rank of zombies and skeletons. Both sides knew that to act first would put them at a disadvantage as the water dragged down on their lags, slowing their charge, but the tension rose until finally the knights galloped forward, joining battle.
There were almost limitless numbers of zombies and more being risen from the dead every second by the powerful vampire sorceresses. The knights found themselves in a quagmire of reaching lifeless limbs but they fought on. With a wry smile, Methuselah, the Tempestrian lord, charged into the ranks of ghouls on his hippogriff. But he had grievously underestimated the cunning of his opponent.
As soon as the lord was locked in combat, his evil counterpart sent unit after unit into the battle, tying him into place for as long as possible. The vampire baroness leading the ghouls sent her pack forward, refusing any attempt Methuselah made to challenge her to single combat and every blow they struck against him was at the hippogriff, not the lord himself. With every ghoul cut down under his indomitable blade, the vampire baroness stepped forward and thrust her dagger up into the battle-scarred underbelly of the hippogriff. Methuselah fell flat on his face into the muddy bank of the river, the wry smile fully wiped from his face. He scrambled up and dispatched the vampire baroness with a single blow but as his enemies crowded round he realised the purpose of the strategy.
As the battle raged around him he found himself swamped. He managed to slaughter all the enemies in the immediate vicinity but as he ran along the river bank towards the vampire lord, hoping to kill her and cause her army to crumble, he was attacked again and again by further stalling units. The vampires were laughing at him and his pitiful attempts to regain the battlefield.
The archers stationed in the village buildings shot hundreds of arrows into the zombie hordes but there was no way they could prevent the mass of zombies from holding the horde. The battle was as good as lost and the Knights of Tempest Falls were forced to withdraw. What could have shattered the hold of the undead on the central eastern lands had become a hopeless waste of good men.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Empire Building

Years ago, my wife, son and I made a lot of cardboard houses to play Mordheim over. They were cool and we had a lot of fun but now that GW have produced their buildings (in quite a small scale), our old buildings don't like quite right next to them.

Hence my latest building project: to build a new set of houses more in line with the GW scale, specifically when it comes to size of roof tiles and level of detail.

At present I'm working on the prototype of a new line. If this one works then I'll slowly produce enough for a whole village. I would have finihsed the basic structure at least today but I've run out of wood so for now, let's see how the project is coming on...

Thursday, 18 November 2010

False Accusations

So my friend Joao suggested that the Empire were being quite passive in the campaign at the moment...

Not so!

This campaign turn the Empire have snatched two new realms, doubling the size of their holdings. If I win the game lined up for tonight against the Skaven the Empire forces will gain an extra army next turn. If victorious, I’ve also made a continuous join between the two New Sylvanian towns, strengthening their opposition and allowing mutual support!

“Quite passive” indeed!

They need to be careful because look at all those Tomb King armies lurking around like sharks. The Tomb Kings are concentrating on capturing the entire south at the moment so the New Sylvanians are going to come under threat very soon.

Fortunately however, the Wood Elves are threatening the Tomb King northern quadrant which can only play in the New Sylvanian's favour…

Skaven Realm Fragmented!

The Skaven are flagging a bit in the campaign with their pale yellow realms fragmented and cut off from support. Their capital is under imminent threat from undead forces shambling towards it and the reserves that were pushing in to reinforce their home have been pinned by Empire patrols sallying out from Malko, the fortress town.

Their diabolic genius is such though that even as they fall under attack they are launching a major offensive against the dark castle of the Vampire Counts in the south east, a conflict that could determine the entire future of the Border Princes and the Empire beyond.

The Skaven warlord’s overall plan is to take over the Border Princes, annihilating all life, prior to his own full assault on the Empire. He hopes to recover a warpstone meteor which will be able to supply power sufficient to summon an invincible Vermin Lord. After that, there is perhaps nothing that can stop him.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Vampire Counts Rules Crumble

And here’s what I really though of that game!

Classic Vampire Counts:

I had a vast zombie army. I’m talking bigger than has ever been seen before: three forty-strong hordes PLUS a sixty-strong horde using my newly painted zombies. I had points left enough for three magic-strong vampires, a Varghulf, some Grave Guard and some Crypt Ghouls… And some Cairn Wraiths!

My wife got some good rolls and played well and I got some pretty grim rolls but I was doing well. By creating several new zombie units in flanking positions I set up some carefully crafted combats. My wife was targeting my vampires (good for her) but my victory detector was starting to peep.

Then her lord charged my lord on his hippogriff.

He does a challenge. With some doubt I accept. I have a sword that auto-kills if a wound is scored, several attacks and I strike first. Obviously I miss completely and he kills me with his multi-wound sword. Making my entire army crumble.

The end.

Here is an alternative way that this battle could have played:

I set my lord up next to my wife’s lord on an empty board. We play out the challenge (taking five minutes). I lose.

Method two enables me to save time setting out my army and achieves exactly the same effect without the wasted time, frustration and despair!

I love Vampire Counts, I really do, but every game I either lose my lord and die, spend the entire game trying to avoid that stupid hippogriff guy, or get a lucky roll and beat him. Why should I need to protect the lord? He’s a vampire lord! He should be out there kicking ass!

What is wrong with that picture…?

Fresh Hope in the War Against the Undead?

Vampire Counts (Tim) vs the Knights of Tempest Falls (Gill)
The forces of the Vampire Counts commanded by the dread arch-necromancer Nagash were doing well, marching north, racking up victory after victory and drawing ever closer to Tempest Falls. Their advance had almost reached the Old Silk Road, half way point to the southern border of the Empire, but their good fortune was about to change. Nagash had used vast amounts of energy to draw huge warpstone meteorites down to earth to prepare the way for his allies from the Realm of Chaos. For a long moment his power levels ebbed and his armies grew still. Throughout the southeast region of the Border Prince, every shambling zombie and every marching skeleton shuddered to a stop.
It was at that moment that his enemies seized the initiative.
Charging south from the Old Silk Road came the Knights of Tempest Falls, ploughing into the ranks of the undead, hacking down the filthy unliving creatures as they tried to engage. However despite initial grievous damage the undead made a counterstrike. Nagash had only needed a moment’s respite. Reaching out with his vast power from his dark castle through his unwitting vampire pawns he caused multiple units of zombies to rise from the ground, surrounding his enemies. Flanked on all sides the Knights of Tempest Falls reformed their ranks to knuckle down to fight the battle of attrition that was coming.
But Methusala, the lord of the knights, was completely undeterred. He spurred his hippogriff, targeted the vampire general and swept down into the ranked-up skeletons defending him, calling the general out for a challenge.
The vampire general strode forward, wielding a sword that could kill with only a scratch but Methusala ripped into him, hacking with his own magical sword. He parried every incoming blow, slicing down over and over again against the vampire lord’s weakening defence until finally he lopped the vampire’s head from its ungodly shoulders.
Instantly the undead army started to crumble, no longer supported by the will of its master. The knights pushed into the faltering ranks, finishing them off, and as the field of battle became theirs, they burned the remains.
In his castle, far to the south, Nagash bellowed in anger. With the undead reserves withdrawing to defend his citadel from the Skaven army approaching from the west and this force scattered, almost the entire northern border  of land conquered by the vampire counts was left undefended. Should the Knights of Tempest Falls push south now, crushing the last remaining vampire army before them then all might be lost and every mile of ground gained would fall.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

A New Map!

It was about time I updated the campaign map (see right). The old one was a tad confusing and hopefully the new one does its job better. The regions controlled by each faction are a lot clearer now and the movement of the armies is illustrated by the shape of each army shape. If an army is shown as an explosion it means it is coming under attack. Armies lined in yellow are close enough to provide support for nearby battles that have yet to be played out.

This isn't the final version - I'm going to go on tweaking - but it's doing its job more efficiently than it was before.

It’s certainly clear now that unless someone acts fast, the Undead Alliance is going to take full control of the south and start sweeping north toward the Empire!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Zombies Are Coming!

With four games coming up involving Vampire Counts I thought it was time to invest in some more zombies. Up to now I’ve been using Games Workshop zombies to create a sort of graveyard diorama on each movement tray with zombies surging up from the ground and shambling between the gravestones.

This has worked well and looks pretty cool but I’ve always felt I ought to have more zombies.
Hence the quick purchase of sixty Mantic zombies!
I like Mantic zombies a lot. They offer nicely proportioned bodies and they're great value. With a game of Necropolis (my self-written horror skirmish game) lined up this evening I’ve been on full zombie-painting mode and have managed to complete all sixty. That ups the total number of zombies I could field in Warhammer to about one hundred and eighty (with a reserve of about thirty for raising during the game).
I’m quite curious to see how an army list will go with such a vast number of zombies tying up the enemy units. I’m interested at a thematic level (and who doesn’t love zombies?) but it might also open up some interesting tactical options. With the enemy units locked into a battle of attrition against a horde of three ranks of fighting zombies, the rest of my army can get into position for flank charges. And one hundred and eighty zombies only costs 720 points. For such a vast army, to still have so many points left for other things should be great!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Dwarfen Boundaries Collapse as Orcs Overrun Lines

The Orcs of Gaping Jaw (Tim) vs The Dwarfs of Karak Hirn (Mike)
Lying ready for the skulking orcs, the Dwarfs of Horn Hold readied their well-oiled handguns, crossbows and cannons and as the orcs and goblins came into sight they let loose, eviscerating the orc boyz in the centre of the onrushing horde. The flame cannon sent raging napalm into the ranks, incinerating orcs before they could close the distance to the dwarf gun line. The dwarf lord smiled grimly, confident that victory was near but his smile was premature.
There were simply too many orcs and goblins, and with many of them mounted on chariots and wolves and with a huge giant striding alongside, the dwarfs were in trouble. Almost simultaneously the giant and the orc warlord mounted on a gargantuan wyvern hammered into the dwarf lines. Chariots jammed full of goblins and dragged by ravening wolves were close behind.
Unit after unit crumbled, either fleeing or being wiped out by the brutal charges. The tremendous kill rate the dwarfs had achieved with their firepower couldn’t be sustained once close fighting began and to make matters worse, several cannons misfired and exploded.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the last unit of heroic dwarfs were harried from all sides by tricksy wood elves, keeping their distance but whittling the dwarfs down with bow fire. Their dark plan to assist the orcs had started acting at the worst possible time!
The one remaining dwarf lord refused to cow down however. He threw his oath stone to the ground and climbed on top of it, steadying himself and his men for the onrushing orc horde. As the warboss and his wyvern crashed into his line he strode into battle, hacking at the mighty beast and his unholy rider. But it was too little, too late. The dwarf lord was cut down and the orcs ravaged the remains of his unit. The dwarfs had lost and the battered remains of their army were forced to withdraw.
And smiling cruelly, the wood elves slipped away into the forest, knowing that their manipulations would soon bear sinister and tainted fruit.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Dwarfen Realm Under Threat!

As the day moves closer to sunset, Orcs and Goblins creep furtively through the undergrowth of the foothills near the Dwarf fortress of Karak Hirn… Horn Hold!

They prepare themselves to strike, easing their chariots quietly through the scrub, readying for a major frontal assault. Their last probing attack was repulsed, but now, with far greater forces, they hope to prevail, driving forward into the Dwarf realm.

But disaster! With their scouts alerting them of the greenskin approach, the Dwarf host is closing in on their Orc and Goblin foes, preparing to strike pre-emptively. With surprise on their side, the Orcs should be eliminated quickly and with the full fury of the throng.

However a third force is closing on the battlefield: capricious Wood Elves determined to weaken the Dwarfen hold on the mountains. They plan to strike from the edges of the battle with their arrows, bringing down the Dwarfs as the Orcs approach. And with the Dwarfs dead and the Orcs weakened, there will be nothing to stop the Elves from taking the field of victory.