Warhammer Visions – what I don’t see!

Well, the change to White Dwarf has happened!  White Dwarf has become a weekly pamphlet – I don’t think 30 pages qualifies for anything else.

Warhammer Visions is the big one.  It replaces the monthly White Dwarf, and is supposed to be the inspirational magazine, with almost double the page count (although at a hefty jump in price).  It also replaces the iPad subscription if that’s what you’ve got.

Its also, unfortunately, a really badly implemented move.  Although the page count has doubled, the size of the pages has roughly halved, so if anything, you are getting less for your money.   The print quality seems significantly worse in my copy than the previous White Dwarfs, which have been gorgeously printed whether you liked the content or not.

In terms of the content … well, the phrase damp squib truly springs to mind.  It is purely images of models … from Golden Demons, a show case of tyranids, Blanchitsu, and a “battle report”.  All of the minimal labels on the images are in three languages to maximise international sales.  Now, that’s not entirely a bad thing, of course – some people will find the images inspirational.  I don’t, at this point.  Why?

Well, Blanchitsu, while once my favourite article, now just seems to be pictures of his mates’ models, rather than anything actually from John Blanche, and there’s certainly no text saying why he likes them or what is special about the art.

The “Battle Report”  is a atrocious – a few snaps aren’t a battle report.  The setup, the army lists, the full board level illustrations highlighting the armies moves – these are pretty much vital to get a feel for an actual game.  Some photos?  Well, I see that on twitter as mates play with more information than here.

There isn’t any return of Heavy Metal – it still uses paint splatter and fairly simple colour guides to illustrate a few of the themed models (tyranids in this month’s case).

The photos themselves are reasonably well taken (if viewed on the iPad edition), but a lot have been seen elsewhere.  It doesn’t feel fresh.

I didn’t think it’d be a big deal for me, but I hate the multiple language labels.  It feels like we’re losing out on actual information about the models and paint choices for basic labels that work in three languages … its a sales move, and it shows.

I feel its a real shame, because I like the core concept behind Visions.  If we had a monthly magazine focussing on the cinematic and aspirational side of the hobby, that could be good!  What would need to change to keep me subscribing?

Well, some actual artwork, and short stories, would help too!  When I visualise the various worlds, I don’t just think of the models – I want to see the universe.  I want to paint an army of Crimson Fists because of the Rogue Trader cover, not because of someone else’s models.   With a bold title like visions, I wanted to see a new view of the fantasy and 40K worlds.

I’d scrap paint splatter in the monthly, and go back to the really advanced heavy metal guides.  Could I use them all?  Probably not now – but the techniques show that with practise I can get there.  Paint splatter is for the battlefield if I lack any inspiration – heavy metal is for dreamers.

I’m not sure visions is the right field for battle reports at all, but imagine if you used a short story from the heresy with shots of the battle deployed with models?  That might get me excited to get me playing.

At the moment, I’m afraid its a damp, expensive squib, rather than a visionary firework.  The best thing GW did was deliver it on a saturday, when their lines were closed so I couldn’t cancel right away.

High Elves

The first of the figures that Rob gave me to be Re-Furbished are some High Elves, they do look somewhat better but I think that most of that has come from re-doing the bases, the rest of the time I spent on them really didn’t improve them much, they’ll probably do best as second row figures 😀

Crete Gaming – Amon Sul

Well, some gaming had to take place during our trip to crete, which was a bit of an FoD reunion! Time and space was limited, so we decided to play a spot of Lord of the Rings! Playing the the journeybooks, we were up to Amon Sul, which was perfect! We decided to play through it twice, taking a turn on both sides.

(photos to follow)

Round 1 – Kipper as Nazgul vs Leonidas as Fellowship

Turn 1

The hobbits started to dash towards the stairs, which they could use to slow the Nazgul advance down. The Nazgul closed in, with the Witchking managing to charge into battle with Sam right from the start. Sam was pushed back but not injured.

Turn 2

The Nazgul got priority, and went to push the attack. Unfortunately, the Witchking decided his tussle with Sam was too scary, failed his courage test and fled! The remaining Nazgul charged pippin and merry. Frost and Sam threw stones to no effect, pippin got forced back but escaped harm, and merry forced his Nazgul back and chased him off the board!

Turn 3

Tussle with pippin, black darts did nothing to frodo, frodo, merry and Sam stoned a Nazgul to death.

Turn 4

Another round of black darts did nothing, the hobbits stone another ring wraith to death.

Turn 5

Aragon finally turned up in time to watch the remaining ring wraith immolate himself to try to score a moral victory by killing pippin, the most irritating hobbit. His fate point stepped in, and the Nazgul died in vain. Victory for the forces of good, and shame for the Nazgul, who were soundly beaten by hobbits!

 

Round 2 – Kipper as Fellowship, Leonidas as Nazgul

Unfortunately, this round is being written a few days later than the actual game, so its a bit difficult to pin down the exact turn order.

The game started identically to the previous round, with the hobbits breaking for the stairs and the Witchking entering combat early, and pushing Sam back.  Frodo got pushed to side, and then a slew of magics and charging saw the nazgul hammering into the plucky hobbit defenders.

Frodo escaped by the skin of his teeth, while the line of hobbit defenders stayed pretty lethal!   Pippin fell (to the sound of many cheers on both sides as that fool of a Took vanished!), but Merry drove one Nazgul from the board, and Sam killed another!

Aragorn arrived, but didn’t do too much, as Sam slew the WitchKing and another Nazgul ran out of will against him in an awesome display of hobbit might!  Aragorn managed to take care of the final Ringwraith over a couple of turns, but it was pretty much all over with Sams work brutalising the poor Nazgul!

Summary

I think the scenario is set to favour the forces of good, but I also think Leonidas and myself fell into the same trap – we saw the Nazgul as primarily a physical threat, not a magical one.  Their more subtle magics, like compel, never really got a look in.  If you think back to the movie, Merry and Pippin were forced out of the way, Sam thrown back and Frodo forced to put on the ring by the force of the Ringwraiths presence (or their ‘magic’), not really beaten by swords.  It’d be fun to see if a more magic based attack, trying to get frodo to put the ring on and moving hobbits out the way and keeping aragorn back would be more effective, using black darts or a physical strike to finish frodo when he’s forced into the open.

An absolutely tremendous set of games, which were amazing fun as always!  Alan, its always a pleasure!

Lord of the Rings Battle Reports!

While in Crete, myself (Kipper) and Leonidas started to play through the first Journey Book in the Lord of the Rings saga – The Fellowship of the Ring.

The games were really fast paced, simple and fun.  The skirmish rules really focussed on individuals, which was a little hard to get our heads round after all the focus on units in the other games, but easy to get to grips with.

Battle 1

The first battle was the hardest, as it was the very first time either of us had used the rules at all!  3 Nazgul had to sneak past 9 Dunedain.  Sounds like an easy win when you think of the Nazgul against mere men … but these were no mere men but the descendants of the Numenoreans, each counting as a minor hero in their own right.

The battle didn’t go well for the Nazgul.  Though they seemed almost unkillable by the feeble men, the magic system came as a bit of a shock.  Using Will for the Nazgul eventually kills them, and I actually annihilated 2 of the 3 Nazgul by overusing magic, giving victory to the enemy!  Tricksy scenario to win – I think the fact you can break the defenders means that you need to keep the nazgul together and actually kill Rangers rather than try to sneak by.  Worth playing to get a grip on the rules – Alan did a much better job on focussing on the objectives, which helped him trap my men, while I was experimenting too much.

Definitely win for the forces of good here though!

Battle 2

This was more of a standup fight!  9 Nazgul against 9 Rangers!  6 rangers started on the field, and nazgul arrived 1-3 at a time.  The Rangers set up a defensive line half way across the board, and fell back slowly firing bows, till entering a final line.  The nazgul hid behind a rock till all nine had arrived, and charged in bulk, using much less magic!

Things were very different here – though the nine proved very resilient to the Rangers, the Rangers abilities as heros with fate and will points to resist magic kept them in the fight, keeping the Nazgul hordes back.  Minor mistakes were made – might points allow you to modify dice rolls, and weren’t really used to full advantage.

At the very crux of the battle, the line of Rangers was broken by a couple of sneaky spells, compelling two of them to break away from the main line and letting the Nazgul dash through.

Battle 2a

We replayed the second battle, swapping sides, and it was a totally different experience.  Alan charged Nazgul forward as they arrived from different locations all over the board, and I moved forward very aggressively to hit them as hard as possible before they could build their numbers.

I had it a bit easier than Leonidas – I was reminded about Might points, and managed to wipe out several Nazgul by bow fire before overwhelming enough stragglers to meet the victory conditions!

The Nazgul sneaking across the north of the board were destroyed, before all nine rangers massed like a wolfpack in the centre to crush into the remaining black robed wraiths in close combat.  It was harder for the nazgul, every ranger they killed formed a new line to block them at the edge of the table, while the rangers just needed to jump two of the remaining 6 Nazgul to win.

Interesting battle both ways, and very fun!  Both went right to the wire!

Battle 3

This mission wasn’t as fun (though would be a great one to try single player!).  All of the Nazgul are acting as sentries, so they either stand still (roll of a 1), move depending on which side has priority (2-5, also the number of inches moved), or move normally (6).  If they end a turn within 4 inches of a good character, or get attacked or hit by bow fire, they then move normally.  The hobbits need to pass a courage test or fall under the control of the evil player.

Alan played this very smart, and kept the hobbits well away from the Nazgul.  As it turned out, the hobbits and elves just walked down the centre of the board and walked off!  The Nazgul never got close enough to really start the scenario playing normally!

Accurate to the books, and I think it’d have been fun if we weren’t so pressed to get in some decent games – felt like a bit of a waste of time the way it panned out!

Battle 4 – the Buckleberry Ferry

We didn’t want to spend the time on the setup for this, as we didn’t have an adequate ferry setup easily to hand, so we skipped to battle 5 – the Barrow Wights!

Battle 5 – The Barrows

This was played out on the morning of our departure, and wasn’t finished!

The hobbits have to sneak through the barrows and escape the other side.  If they fail a courage test, they are moved by the evil wights.  If the wights are near barrows, they cast spells for free, and have to paralyse and sacrifice 2 hobbits to win (or get frodo).  Once the hobbits have seen a barrow wight, they can call tom bombadil for help.

Poor Sam kept failing courage rolls, but the plucky hobbit managed to hold off two barrow wights long enough to call Tom Bombadil for help.  However, the other hobbits who were running to leave the barrows ran into the other two Barrow Wights, while Sam’s opponents put everything they had into delaying Tom.

Merry was sacrificed, while Pippin was being dragged to another barrow!  Unfortunately we ran out of time at that point – immoral victory to evil for sacrificing the most annoying hobbit, but Tom would probably have saved Pippin and seen the others to safety, so a probably tactical win for Good.

Definitely the most enjoyable game, which felt it could have gone either way at any point!

Summary

LotR was brilliant fun to play, moving quick and letting us get 5 games in the same time we’d spent on a single 2000pt game of Warhammer 40k, and needing less space.  Definitely one to keep trying!

BoFA – Evil

At last!
I’ve completed the Evil army from GW’s Battle of Five Armies,
Goblins, Warg Riders and Wargs that’s a lot of figures as anyone
who has put together any sort of Orc/Goblin army will tell you!
I think that the size of the army comes across well in the pictures.
Can’t wait for the builders to build the space for me to game 😀

Battle of the Five Armies – Allies

Its always good to complete a milestone, particularly when its a painting armies milestone. This particular one is the completion of the Allied contingent of said battle. So here you have Gandalf, Thorin, Beorn, The Elves, Men, Dwarves and The Eagles (not the band).

I have also completed The Wargs and Warg Riders ans considerable amount of Goblins, but as anyone who has painted a goblin (and Orc) army in either FB or 40k will tell you, there are an awful lot of goblins!

A.