Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2015 Gaming Calendar

With January rapidly coming to a close I thought it was worth taking a closer look at the Wargaming Calendar for 2015 and coming up with a bit of a plan. Also I need to clear the plan with the Master Scheduler (in other words, my wife) so that I don’t get into hot water.

Battlecry - Tigers in the mud
Traditionally one of my favourite events of the year as in the past it was hosted in a big gymnasium and it was filled with people playing a wide variety of wargames, as well as board games and card games. It also had the biggest turn out of retailers of any of the events I would normally go to. This resulted in some good games along with a few ways to be parted from my money. This year they are moving to a new (smaller) venue and dividing the event up over a couple of weekends. Hopefully it will still retain the flavour of previous years and luckily I only have a few weeks to wait to find out!

As for the gaming I am taking a slightly unconventional approach (at least by my standards) and dividing the weekend up in to two events – one day of X-Wing and one day or Hordes (first chance to roll out some Trolls).

Ides of March
Yeah, this is the big one! 40-50 Warmahordes players and a chance to get in a bunch of tough games (that I will of course loose). Ideally I will be taking the Trolls along for their second outing but IOM does have a fully painted requirement (which I am really pleased about) so I might have to put down a backup list with eBaldur and/or Bradigus Thorle and lots of constructs. Super excited about this event

Ides Of March - Sweet trophies!
To go to the NZ Nationals or to not go… that is the question?
This year the New Zealand Nationals will be in Auckland (yay!) but I am really struggling to find the time and enthusiasm put a 3 day weekend into gaming these days. Ten years ago I would have gone in a heartbeat but with more responsibilities comes more hard decisions… not going will definitely put a dent in my efforts to take out the Romanian spot in the NZ Flames Of War Rankings though! I might end up just having to put in a days friendly gaming somewhere instead?

The North Island Convention is on another long weekend (just like the Nationals) but in this case it is in Thames (which is a short-ish drive away from the in-laws house) which might make it a bit easier to get away for a couple of days. Whilst it is too far away for concrete plans, Flames Of War is definitely on the cards.

Panzerschreck - Road Trippin'
Panzerschreck is the ancestral home of Flames Of War tournament gaming and traditionally takes the form of a doubles Late War event. 

Definitely keen on this as we normally hire a big mini-van for a nice team building 9 hour drive! I’ve been chatting to Phil about pairing up for a bit of low stress gaming. 

Assuming I get my act together I’ll either be taking an Atlantik Wall Puma company or Romanian StuGs so that could be quite a lot of fun.

Lords of Ruin - More sweet trophies!
Lords of Ruin
I am working on the assumption that this event is happening again this year as it was an absolute blast last year. Sean Lincoln organised a fantastic event in a local pub (down in Wellington). This is my drop dead target for having the fully painted Trolls in action!

Looking forward to this one day W/H event here in Auckland. All the usual suspects will be there, and it will be a low stress event!

We still need to get out ducks in a row with FlamesCon but my assumption is that it is happening… so much for insider knowledge eh! Either way, Romanians all the way baby! Currently thinking that it would be fun to play Early and Mid War, just not confident that I can get an EW Romanian army painted for it…

Well, there we have it, but 2015 event plan… throw in a few 1 day X-Wing events that pop up over the course of the year and it is feeling pretty solid to me.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Year of the Trolls: Designing My Meat Mountain

2015 has finally come around and it is time to start thinking about what I am going to paint if I am going to make "The Year Of The Troll" a reality.

First up how do I build a list that is going to be fairly competitive? Looking around the forums it is pretty easy to see that all the talk is about the "Miserable Meat Mountain". There are a lot of different builds that people are touting and the key seems to involve a couple of units of Warders (defensive infantry) with a Krielstone Bearer (defensive buffing infantry). Throw a good caster, a tough warbeast, and some strike infantry and it sounds like you have a good list.

Now that I know that much I am throwing the rest out of the window and building something that I like to look of!

First up lets find a caster. There are some really nice looking models in the range. One of my favourite models is Grim Angus. His feat is quite defensive which seems to pair up nicely with the whole theory of the list. He can buff friendly troops to help them get into combat, and he can annoy enemy units, making them drop their defence or be unable to charge. Sounds good to me! Plus he has a gun and I love a good gun line.

When it comes to warbeasts everyone loves Mulg. His ability to protect his caster and knock the socks off enemy ones makes him a powerhouse on the tabletop. Plus I watched him roll over me in a game in 15 minutes a few years ago and it would be nice to do that to someone. Does not really matter what you add after that!

Units. The Meat Mountain people seem to have that under control but I am going to make some changes. Warders and a Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes are a no brainer. I like the idea of the Champions rather than the second Warders unit. They are semi defensive but have attacking power on the charge. Plus it means that I don't have to duplicate units. Last but not least I am going to add some Fennblades. I love the models and I have real trouble knocking them off when I see them across the table.

Flavour the list with a couple of solos to help the Fennblades move around the table, and a Fell Caller Hero to get them back up when they are knocked down, and it sounds like a pretty decent list.

My 50 point Meat Mountain List
Grim Angus
- Mulg the Ancient
- Troll Axer

Fell Caller Hero

Fennblade Kithkar

Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes - Leader & 5 Grunts

- Stone Scribe Elder
Trollkin Fennblades - Leader & 9 grunts
- Fennblade Officer and Drummer - Officer & Drummer
Trollkin Champions - Leader & 4 Grunts
Trollkin Warders - Leader & 4 Grunts

I've already started thinking about expansion options - Kriel Warriors and Highwaymen are looking pretty great but I should probably focus on the first 50 points before I start thinking about the next!

Time to hit the brushes!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thinking about 2015

I'm on the last day of my Christmas holidays and before I call them over I wanted to take a few minutes to think about what this year would hold for me on the hobby front!

Flames Of War
I can already feel myself going down the proverbial rabbit hole with FOW this year. The impending release of Nachtjäger has me keen on building two different companies. First up is a German Panther / Jagdpanther company - this has been on my "to-do" list for many years but I've just never gotten around to it. With the new plastics coming and the IR gear I think it might be time to take the plunge and paint up a really late war company. The British are pretty exciting too with the ability to build plastic Comets, supported by plastic infantry, riding in plastic M5 half tracks. My current plan is too keep the list tight with 8-10 tanks, a motor platoon and a carrier patrol.

Following on from this I have a small pile of Israeli Jeeps that are undercoated and ready for pin washing. I'm really enjoying the look of the Sayeret list from Fate Of A Nation and whilst I don't have much to paint to field a Jeep company I am worried about how I will fit it in given all the other projects competing for hobby time this year.

During the break I've also taken the opportunity to tidy up my garage and I came across a pile of Soviet ISU assault guns that I bought during the River Of Heroes play testing, so many years ago. Given how much I love playing tank destroyers in World Of Tanks, the idea of building a small focused ISU company is very appealing!

Last but not least, I'd like to make an effort at qualifying for the NZ Masters this year. I already have a feeling that I wont have the time but I will leave the thought sitting in the back of my head and see what my chances are looking like come the middle of the year. Of course I want to have a little side challenge... I want to do it using Romanian tanks! With the release of the StuG and Panzer IV plastics I can build most of the army using these new kits. Throw in some infantry in 251s, heavy artillery, recon and maybe a Stuka and I might have a fun list!

Dust Tactics
I've taken a bit of a hiatus on painting my Dust models after getting the first 100 points completed, but playing in the tournament at FlamesCon has gotten me pretty excited about pushing on and getting the next 100 done. I just need to make a call as to what it will be. I've completed all of my Steel Guard models, so I need to turn my focus to either the SSU heavy tanks, or Red Guards infantry. Both are tempting and will look great when done. I guess I need to schedule in a tournament to help me focus my energies!

WarmaHordes - aka The Year Of The Troll
Yep, 2013... I mean 2014, no wait, 2015! The Year Of The Troll... This year I am making a serious attempt at putting a fully painted, 50 point, Meat Mountain on the table! I'll explain the Meat
Mountain later in a future post, but suffice to say it involves lots of Trolls, with lots of hit points. To help me achieve this lofty goal I've enlisted the help of local WarmaHordes painting guru, Chris Baker. His ability to paint to a high standard, at an exceptional pace has become legendary round these parts. Of course no matter how hard he tries I wont be able to paint as well, or as fast, but he has shown me a few tricks that I have been trying over the Christmas break. More on that later too!
X-Wing (and Armada)
I don't really need to say much on this front. There is nothing to paint, you just put the models on the table and away you go. Of course there are some exciting releases that FFG have already shown off that I really like the look of. It is nice to have a distraction that does not require any brush time.

We have been doing a lot of lunch time X-Wing at work and the ability to power through a game in 2-3 lunch breaks has been really good. We are also really lucky to have a vibrant tournament scene here in NZ thanks to a couple of local organisers and some pretty outstanding local stockists. Which reminds me, I have to go and check out the new store that just opened - sadly here in Middle Earth that is not a statement that we get to make very often! I hear that they are running quite a few 1 day events that would be fun to get involved with.

Building Battlefields!
A bit like the Year Of The Trolls, this is something that has been on my Christmas "to-do" list for a number of years. I have bought a lot of the Battlefield in a Box range of products because they are the perfect combination of pre-painted and well priced! That might sound like a sales pitch but I really believe it when it comes to these items. I generally cannot be bothered building terrain from scratch, let alone painting it (I'd rather be painting miniatures) so the range ticks the box for me. What I would like to do though is put a little flock on them and spruce them up a bit. I've picked up some storage tubs in the Christmas sales and will get everything sorted out and hopefully at some point this year I'll get them all finished.

I also came across a blog post from my friend Pete over at The Fields Of Blood and I am pretty envious of his finished Tablescapes Urban Tiles! 

His painting guide was really good, and most importantly made the task sound really easy... so it looks like I will need to make an exception to my "not painting terrain statement". Somewhere on the 2015 painting plan I need to find time to knock these out. He said it only took about 12 hours, how hard can that be to find!

So, that is my 2015 plan... 1 week into the year and I am feeling confident! 

Good luck with your plans and hopefully the new year treats you well.