Monday, 24 November 2014

Weekend Warmaster

Dave and I played some more Warmaster over the weekend, and a couple more games a few days ago.

We were initially planning on switching to Hail Caesar, but decided to stick to Warmaster a little longer, and I think we're at the point where we're nailing all the niggly things, such as multiple combats, and the moving, pursuit, and fallback moves.

The other day we played a couple of games, first starting with a 1000 point game, and then trying to get in a 2000 point game later in the evening. We were getting tired late into the 2000pt game, and that ended when Dave killed my general.

Yesterday's game--back to 1000pt Undead vs Undead while we come to grips with it again--went very well, and was a very narrow victory for Dave. We decided to cut down the width of the table as well, to about 4'. I think 4'x4' is an excellent size for a 1000pt game.

One of the other great things we did was plonk a city right in the middle of the table with some lines of trees blocking visibility across the battlefield. Later in the game, I managed to lure his chariots into the city where he was surrounded by trees. Then I sent my archers in, and made him fall back into the trees, destroying the remains of that unit.

Very enjoyable, and now I think I'm remembering why I loved the game so much in the first place. I really should have taken pictures, but I guess I thought the games were just going to be run-of-the-mill trial and error games. As it turns out, they were so much more than that. So next time, I'll make a point of taking photos regardless.

At some point in the near future we're planning on taking other armies so that we can learn the Confusion rules. ;)

Monday, 3 November 2014

I think I try to play too many games

So here's my conundrum. I like wargaming, but I have 30,000* other hobbies which I try to devote some attention to every now and then (*may not be exact number).

I also try to play most wargames, but I'm finding that more and more lately, I can't find the time to read a complete set of rules. Most of them are just so unnecessarily long-winded that I just find myself nodding off or going to do something else.

The new Osprey books are great. They are nice concise books, that manage to pack all the rules and fluff into small packages with a low page count. And the couple I've browsed through are also well written. That's a big thing that's missing in a lot of rulebooks.

As much as I dislike the price-gouging of Games Workshop, I still find myself loving and playing their Specialist game line. Although, I'm starting to realise that the nostalgic warm fuzzy feeling I used to get doesn't match up with the current reality of trying to play them. While they had a lot going for them, many of them also had pretty horrendous flaws. Whether that's tables that have to be looked up for determining combat results, or whether it's a full page damage flow chart with uber descriptive text as per Adaptus Titanicus, in some way, I find something about them I don't love.

Games change, and with that, as gamers, we're exposed to a shifting landscape of mechanics. Often times, old mechanics are superceded by updated, streamlined, or more logical ways of playing.

Warmaster, for example, has been inspirational toward games such as the Commander series of games (ie; Blitzkrieg/Cold War/Future War Commander), and Black Powder and Hail Caesar.  Every one of those games shows a natural evolution to the Warmaster mechanic, and each one of them is better than the original game that they took inspiration from.

But I also play a lot of other games.

Saga, for example, is an excellent Dark Ages skirmish game. It uses a battle board, in which players roll special dice and allocate the results to their special abilities, or their movement actions on the board. It's a lot of fun, although I hear that you have to play each period specifically because mixing forces from the different books results in very unbalanced games.

Airwar C21, which is a modern air combat game. I've played it once and really want to play it again, but I ordered a physical copy in January 2014 and the author has not delivered it to me. Long story short, after waiting a over a month, I tried getting in touch with him, but he didn't answer his emails. I posted a comment in one of his blogs and he finally got in contact, and said he never got the payment notification. So he allegedly sent me a copy then. Another couple of months went by, and it hadn't arrived. He said sometimes things get lost in the post (it's happened to me once in 20 years of international ordering, so guess it's feasible), and allegedly sent me another copy. Another couple months went by, and nothing. At which point he emailed me a PDF, so I have something at least, but it's going to cost me to print it and bind it, and I've already spent more than the value of the PDF edition cost, so not keen on pursuing that game. I wouldn't feel good if any of my friends were to throw their money into a black hole.

Dust Tactics was recently re-released, and thanks to a new member of our club, I got into that. It's a pretty fun game, but like Saga, only played rarely.

I've tried getting into ancients gaming recently too, and I've dabbled with DBA, Impetus, Hail Caesar, DBMM, and FoG. Hail Caesar is the one I'm most happy with, but I've yet to finish reading the rules because they're so verbose. Not that they're badly written, just long, and I haven't had the time to get through it all.

Now, DBMM, that's a horrifically written set of rules. Wow, my brain melts trying to decipher that outstanding body of verbiage. The guys at my club insist I shouldn't read the rules for DBMM, that I should learn by playing. And I'm pretty sure that they simplify the movement rules. But if I can't grok the rules as written, then I feel like I'm doing nothing more than turning up and rolling the dice for someone else.

DBA and Impetus are "skirmish" games, and I want something I can fill the table with miniatures. FoG felt like Warhammer Fantasy Battle or WAB to me, and I didn't enjoy that.

So I guess that leads me to Hail Caesar, which can be adapted to be used for fantasy with minimal effort--because as my friend Grant says, "all ancients wargaming is fantasy." :) We've got a few more people in the club now that either play it, or are open to playing it, so that's a plus. It's not as much fun playing with myself, and certainly in public, nobody wants to see that.

Then for sci-fi wargaming, I will stick to Future War Commander. I loooooooove 6mm sci-fi. Love it. Almost as much as cheese and bacon toasted sandwiches.

The back of FWC has skirmish rules that I've always meant to try out, and certainly that would give me reason to use all those 15mm minis I bought a couple of years back. Plus those beautiful space frontier town MDF buildings from Krazy Ivan, of which I have a healthy buttock-load.

People at my club have been talking about resurrecting Mordheim and Blood Bowl. Plus there's a big push for The Hobbit, and a few guys have been playing Judge Dredd which looks interesting. I stopped playing Flames of War and wanted to find a simpler WWII ruleset, so might switch to Blitzkrieg Commander as I'm already familiar with the system, but again it's just another system to play, more miniatures to finish painting, and how often will I play it realistically?

Our club only runs once a fortnight, so I feel I'm playing a different game each time. I really think I need to sit down and focus on one or two games, and actually play them. As opposed to not playing 20 games.

And those games will most likely be Future War Commander and Hail Caesar.

But those Osprey books are reeeally nice looking.

I'm doing it again aren't I?

Do you have these troubles? How do you cope? What game or games have you settled on? I really need some advice, or at least to know that I'm not alone and that there's a support group for Obsessive Compulsive Wargaming Disorder.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

6MMRPC Project - Part 2

Apologies for the delay in getting an update out. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster here for the last little while.

But I've done some painting. And I even played a game this past weekend--Warmaster of course. :) Although we found that we were getting bogged down by the close combat, so we'll be trying out using the Hail Caesar rules to play with our Warmaster toys some time in the near future.

I thought to take some photos of the early stages of the Warmaster Undead, but didn't take the middle stage with the unlacquered bases. So here are some initial shots... these are the strips all painted and about to be based.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Non productive couple of weeks

I apologise for the lack of updates over the last couple of weeks. Things have been a bit hectic here with two holidays and a funeral. The roughest, of course, was the latter, which was my grandmother's passing. She was a third parent to me, so my mind hasn't been able to focus on any painting or reading lately.

A bit of progress has been made on the buildings I've been painting, so this weekend, my plan is to finish them off and give them a spray coat, and make an update before the weekend is through.

Thank you all for the continued views and comments, they are always appreciated.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

6MMRPC Project - Part 01

Here's the first post chronicling my actual painting progress. I made a post a few days ago outlining what I had to paint, and promptly forgot a few things. First and foremost, were my Forgeworld Warmaster terrain pieces. When I played last weekend, I pulled out some of these buildings. Only one of these was finished, which you can see in the photos, and that was one of the Victorian style houses. One of the brick buildings was half painted, and the others weren't started yet.

My friend Grant also gave me a few castle towers, which while didn't make it to the table that day, sat around unpainted in a drawer.

So over the last week I've found the time to get started on these. They're in various stages, but pretty close to done.

Almost complete. Still to do are the window frames, the chimney, the front door, and the grass.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Rumours of a Re-release of Space Hulk

Bell of Lost Souls have some info on rumours of what is suspected to be a re-release, or a new edition of Space Hulk.

Going by that, and going by the comments -- one of which seems to indicate that s/he has already pre-ordered it -- odds are good that this is truth, or some variant thereof.

In 2009, the world got the 3rd edition, which happened to fall on the 20th anniversary of the game. Now, five years later, the likelihood of GW cashing in on the 25th anniversary must be too good to resist.

So my first question is, will this be a new edition, or a re-release of 3rd?

I'm going to lay a dollar on it being a new edition, because, well, GW like to do that. The next question is, will I buy it?

Honestly, I'm not sure. I'd like to because I'm an addict, but the reality is, it'll probably cost about NZ$250. The 3rd edition was something like $170 or $190 (maybe it was the former and Dreadfleet was the latter), and five years later, $200 doesn't seem enough of an increase. One of the prices mentioned was US$125, hence why I figure they'll just double it for New Zealand, even though our exchange rate is very good compared to the US dollar.

But even at NZ$200, that's a huge chunk of change, especially for something I can pretty much do now already. I've never owned a copy of Space Hulk myself, but I do have Space Crusade, so I have the basic minis. Plus I have more Marines and Genestealers, so that's not an issue. Making up hulk deck plans is pretty straight forward with graph paper, or with art taken from the web and printed out.

The most I've ever paid for a board game is about NZ$120, and even then, I cringe when I see something over $80.

My shelves are full of over priced board games that hardly ever get played. The less they're played, the less their value is to me. Maybe that's the clincher, if you're going to play this a lot, then it might be worth the money, but the reality is, no matter how much I'll want to, I just won't. Even at NZ$100 I'd be humming and harring over the purchase.

What's its value to you? Is US$125 good value for money? If you're in New Zealand, how much would you fork out for it?

Or do you think we're being misled and the release is something else entirely?

Monday, 8 September 2014

Got My Climbing Gear On for Lead Mountain

Starting this blog was me putting on my big boy trousers and making a concerted effort toward getting my minis painted. In the last week, I've managed to get a fair few Warmaster skeletons painted. Of course, not finished, but most have paint on them now and look far more respectable than they did two weeks ago.

And today, thanks to Planet Ares VI, I discovered Chris' Miniature Woes. Chris has recently started a group project called The 6 Month Mountain Reduction & Painting Challenge, in which for 6 months, he and others will aim to post weekly updates of their painting efforts.

As far as omens go, that's about as good as I'm going to get. ;)

I'm joining in the challenge, and I have a bunch of minis that are unpainted or half painted that I aim to get through. I'll just list them here for now, but as I get through them I'll post updates (before and after if I remember). There are so many that I can break them down into genre...


  • Warmaster Undead. Currently most are a fair way through, but I still have a few unopened blister packs that I'm going to get done.
  • Warmaster Chaos. Having just purchased a few of these recently, I'm going to aim to finish those that aren't, and possibly repaint some of them too.
  • Mordheim Ratmen warband. Mostly painted from when I was playing years ago, but need to finish off the stragglers.
  • Mordheim Witch Hunters (I think). Completely unpainted, but seeing as Rob and I will be playing the game soon, I should get motivated to paint them.

Science Fiction

  • Marhaf Legion from Plasmablast Games. These are 6mm sci-fi models that I am going to use for Future War Commander. Plasmablast Games is possibly my favourite maker of 6mm sci-fi minis, and the latest Marhaf Legion are so exquisitely detailed. 
  • Progenitor from Plasmablast Games. I have a lot of Progenitor, and they're great models. Most are painted, but I bought a bunch of infantry a while back and need to get those out and painted.
  •  Chuhuac from Loud Ninja Games. A while back, Eli of LNG ran a Kickstarter campaign so that he could get his 15mm space lizards made. And holy cow, they are some stunning miniatures. Sadly, however, I haven't had the time to focus on any 15mm sci-fi gaming, so put these on the back burner. And that's partly why I haven't supported his latest Kickstarter for his Yan'Drassi models. I'm hoping he has some left afterwards though, because they look really good.
  • Spaceships from Zandris IV. Been a while since I touched these minis, and it's been a while since I've played Full Thrust. I'm hoping that before the 6 months are up, at least one of these will have happened.
  • Epic Space Marines for Future War Commander. A donated army that I should finish as a fitting tribute to the Emperor.


  • Saga Anglo Danes. These are probably 60% done, but they've sat unfinished for a year. About time I finished them off. 
  • DBMM 20mm Greeks. I ended up with a mix of 28mm and 20mm, so will probably just stick to the 20mm for the time being.
  • DBMM 20mm Romans. Thanks to the kind souls at my local wargaming club, I had a bunch of Romans donated. Need to get cracking on these.
  • DBMM 20mm New Kingdom Egyptians. Another donated army, and thankfully mostly finished. There are, however, a bunch of chariots that are still on the sprues.
Wow, OK, that's just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more. Now you see why I need to get onto this?  Thanks Chris for the inspiration and letting me jump on board. It seems this is just the kick in the bum that I needed. haha

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The First Warmaster Game in Quite Some Time

Well, that worked out rather splendidly. This has to be the first time I've seriously played Warmaster in at least a decade. Thanks to Dave for dusting off his old bones and pulling them out of retirement, we had a few others join us and take some of the commands. Phil, a new guy to our club (as of today in fact, and I hope he enjoyed himself enough to come back) joined Dave, and Rob, another diehard of classic GW games joined me in a 2000pt Undead vs. Undead ultimate showdown!

OK, it wasn't the ultimate showdown, but it was so much fun. Warmaster has always been my favourite GW wargame ever, and in the years since, I was worried that I had changed my preferences in gaming styles.

We ended up playing the scenario The Battle of the Little Big Bash, which was written around Empire attacking Orc defenders, but hey, maybe we were their dead, resurrected years later to do battle once more in the afterlife.

The scenario had a river breaking up the middle of the table, with one bridge for the attackers to cross. I played the defenders, and Dave the attackers. The idea was that I had to stop his units getting to my side of the river. We rolled up a 7 turn game, but only got through 3.5 turns before we called it a day and I conceded to him. Mind you, now that I think about it, we completely forgot to count casualties and determine breakpoints, so it's possible the game wouldn't have lasted much longer anyway.

Yeah, we forgot most of the rules, but that didn't detract from the enjoyment in any way. A few more games and finishing a re-read of the rules will certainly help. And I'm quite keen to play again.

Ultimately, what made it really easy for Dave to win, was his flying units. All he had to do was fly them over the river, keep them out of range of my bows, artillery, and spells, and he was good to go.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Osprey Wargame Releases for 2015

Osprey have published a list of wargame titles coming in 2015.

I've recently bought copies of Dux Bellorum (Arthurian/Dark Ages; AD 367-793), Ronin (Age of the Samurai), and On the Seven Seas (Age of Piracy c.1500-1730).

Haven't really had a chance to go over them yet, but I had a quick browse through Dux Bellorum, and I must say, I really like what I see. The  fact that they're all only 64 pages long really appeals to me, as I like to play a variety of different games, and frankly, such a small book is far easier to consume. In my old age, larger rulesets just don't get the attention they deserve.

The Osprey Wargame (OWG) books are fantastic in this regard. As I play them, I'll post reviews up here, but no promises as to when that'll be. :)

Anyway... Of the forthcoming titles that appeal to me in particular are a fantasy skirmish game called Frostgrave, and possibly their other naval game, Fighting Sail, which is listed as "fleet actions" c.1775-1815.  Then there's Black Ops (Tactical Espionage), which, OK I admit, that sounds pretty great too.

I wholeheartedly approve.

Progress of the Warmaster Undead

This weekend I have a game of Warmaster organised. The plan is 2000 points, of which I'm going to play Undead. However, a few others are interested in playing as well, so I've prepped a 1000pt Dwarf force, and a 1000pt Chaos army.

The Chaos were a recent purchase, from a firesale at this year's Call to Arms convention. Working on getting them up to scratch as well, but mainly been working on the Undead so far. Here are some progress pictures.

I started with a few units of archers, and tested a new painting style. Previous units were done by drybrushing bone over brown, and painting the weapons, hoods, cloaks, and instruments a leather colour, and then doing a brown wash over them. After that, I'd put a matte varnish.

Some time ago, however, I got hold of a tin of Army Painter's quickshade lacquer. The darkshade version. Did a test of an infantry stand of undead and they came out great. Now I just paint the whole thing bone colour, touch up the weapons and instruments with brown, silver, and so on, rocks and stonework grey, and then coat the whole thing in quickshade. It's like magic. They do have a gloss appearance, which I'm not fussed over at the moment. Maybe it'll offend me later, and I'll do a dullcote over it. But at the moment, they're fine. And that lacquer seems much more protective than the crap I was using before.

So first off, here's a close up of the finished archers.

I've coated the base on a couple of stands in quickshade as well as a test, and to hold the basing material in, but it turned out a bit dark. I guess I'll try something else for the other stands or just give it a light brown drybrush and see how that looks. But I think the flock grains are a bit too big for this size miniature.

Anyway, here are the rest of the progress pictures. I'll post up more when they're all done.

CAV: Strike Operations Kickstarter

I just noticed that Reaper Miniatures have a Kickstarter campaign for CAV: Strike Operations.

Personally, I've never played any edition of CAV. My friends and I, however, have played a LOT of Battletech over the years. And recently, a new friend and I have tried our hands at resurrecting Adeptus Titanicus. The latter, however retro, is an awful set of rules.

It's even got me thinking about writing my own robot battle game (which naturally, those who know me will not be surprised to learn that I've already started and have most of the mechanics worked out).

But being a sucker for new & shiny, this piqued my interest. Until...

"Bones are only the best high-quality plastic gaming models to hit the industry...ever."


"The CAV: SO line of figures will use the same plastic as our fantasy figures"

That first quote is a complete lie. I supported the first Bones Kickstarter, and after receiving my figures, I concluded I would not support the second. The plastic is utterly horrendous. It's soft and bendy (the exact opposite of Games Workshop plastic which is hard and brittle), and almost every single miniature arrived bent or in some way deformed. I don't have the time or patience to heat them all in hot water, and hope that I can set them in the poses they're supposed to be in.

To me, they were simply really cheap figures that I can throw some paint on and use them for D&D games in a pinch, but had we not got so many miniatures in that set, I would have felt utterly ripped off, especially with their bold claims (bald faced lies) that they were made out of the highest quality plastic. 

OK, so the material isn't as bad as 1/72 scale figures from companies like Zvezda or Airfix (which is soft and brittle), but when they say that the CAV: SO miniatures will be of the same material as the Bones minis, I'm walking away. In fact, I would probably compare the plastic to that used by the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons and Star Wars miniatures that came out a few years back.

I will say one positive thing, however. The multipart models had pegs designed to only fit one way, which was actually a brilliant design.

I just don't think models made of that plastic are worth the asking retail price. At the current Kickstarter price of US$100, there are 35 models included, which puts them at US$2.85 each. At the current exchange rate, here in New Zealand they are about NZ$3.40. However, there will be an unknown shipping charge attached. The more free miniatures they include, the more international backers will have to pay in shipping.

If I was in the States, I'd probably get on board if the cost came down to $2 a model, but there's no way that'll be the case for international buyers.

Maybe this is within your budget range, and maybe the plastic doesn't bother you, and maybe this is balanced out by the fairly low cost. Just please know that the plastic is not high quality, and go into this purchasing decision with your eyes open.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A New Blog: The Pants of War

Hi, I'm Spiro Dotgeek, and this is my new wargaming blog. I have a general blog that I host on my own server, but there's a fairly large community of Blogger bloggers that I wanted to be able to join. This makes life a bit easier in that regard, and outsources the dealing of spam mitigation. :)

I'm in Wellington, New Zealand, and my local wargaming club is Wellington Warlords. A few of us have been getting into older, classic Games Workshop games such as Warmaster, Adeptus Titanicus, Mordheim, and others. We're also using Epic 40K miniatures, but using the Future War Commander ruleset, which is brilliant.

Warmaster is possibly my favourite published game ever, and Future War Commander uses a similar command system.

Over the last few days I've been furiously painting more of my Warmaster Undead, so hope to get some pictures of the games and the figures up soon. This weekend at Warlords, I'll be having a 2000 point game.