Monday, October 26, 2009

AT-43 Dispatch: Monkeys and Robots Doing the Zombie Dance!

Hello everyone and welcome to the latest issue of the Dispatch!

In this issue of the Dispatch, we are going to start out staying close to home again with another look at the Sin City Daily. Then we are going to have a bit of a surprise in an Intelligence Report featuring a look at the new ONI army box! So without further ado, let's head right for the front lines!

Sin City Daily
More Monkey Business In Sin City

This weekend saw another game as Dyllon and I played another game of AT-43! As my latest additions to my Karman army have not arrived, we decided to throw in a Wraith Golgoth for each of us so that Dyllon could get a taste of the vehicle rules. In the end, it was a good game but the monkeys were put in their place by their Therian Masters! That'll teach them to complain about their banana rations...

More people have expressed an interest in checking out the game and Dyllon is still eagerly awaiting the release of the ONI army box, so things are still looking good for the future of AT-43 locally. Once I have the rest of my Karmans, I am thinking that I will run some demos of the game at BattleZone so that I can really get the game moving.

Intelligence Report
Taking a Closer Look at the ONI

We also have a little bit of a surprise here at the Dispatch. Thanks to our friends in France, we have some more detailed information on the ONI including some of their special rules. So without further ado, let's take a closer look at the Zombie Horror that is... the ONI.

The mercenary forces of ONI belong to the human species, the newcomer in the universal war. Its zombies know no fear, on the contrary; it is the other species of the galaxy which are afraid of them! Its powerful combat vehicles are armed with the best technology ONI purchased, stole or looted from the battlefields all over the universe.

Super Zombie Reanimators

The Super Zombie Reanimators are the largest unit in the army box, weighing in with a total of twelve Reanimators. Among their special abilities are Nerves of Steel (not surprising for zombies) and they suffer from Zombie Syndrome, which requires that they spend 1 LP to activate (not sure on the translation there...). ***Edit: It's looking like the Zombie Syndrome special rule actually means that a unit that shoots at the zombies has to pay 1 LP. I am guessing that this is to represent the leader yelling "The head! Shoot at the head!"*** Then there is the zombie gun. Esh...

Okay, this is an indirect fire weapon with Accuracy 3, an Attack Rate/Re-Roll of 1/1, AoE of 4, and a Pen/Damage of 4/1. Doesn't sound too bad, but there's more! It also has the Contamination ability. Sounds fun, don't it? Any enemies killed by this weapons are replaced with zombie detonators, forming a new unit whose card is added to the activation sequence in the next turn. Guess this explains the Reanimator part of the name...

The unit also includes a Zombie Master which gives the weapons of the unit the contamination ability. Yeah, that's right. As long as the master is alive, the whole unit can potentially create massive numbers of zombies. Thankfully, this is offset by a fairly low Armor of 5 but I can still see these guys being very difficult to deal with.

This is a ** unit that costs 500 points and includes two zombie gunners, one medic, one zombie master, and is lead by a Shomyo.

Zombie TacArms Alpha

This unit of three armored zombies, though their armor is not as heavy as the TacArms of other armies. Only an Armor 9 for these guys, which seems low but considering the figure is mostly bare flesh in kind of makes sense.

Equipped with a Zombie Gun (same lovely stats as above...) and basically a UNA laser gun, these beasties look like they are going to be some pretty solid all round fighters. They also have Nerves of Steel and Zombie Syndrome abilities, just like the Reanimators. They are a *** unit that costs 300 points and is lead by a Samurai.

Zombie Detonators

Well, we had to get to these guys eventually, especially since more than half of the army can create more of them! They have a very low Armor 4 and no ranged weapons. Instead, they have two sets of claws and fangs so they really do just want to run up and give you a kiss. In addition to the unsurprising Nerves of Steel and Zombie Syndrome, they also have Bioexplosive. This lets you sacrifice each of the Detonators when you activate the unit, resulting in an explosion with an AoE of 2 and a Pen/Damage of 12/1.

Not surprisingly, Detonators are only a * unit and only cost 175 points for eight of them. Of course with all these Zombie Guns you are going to need a lot more then eight, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Medium Destroyer

This is the "smaller" of the two vehicles that come in the army box. With a Movement of 30 and an Armor of 14, this is pretty fast for a type ** AFV with respectable armor to boot. On top of the Destroyer is a Medium Graser with an Accuracy of 7, Attack/Re-Roll of 2/0, and Pen/Damage of 15/2. A very respectable punch as it is, but there's more! Yep, the Destroyer also has the Mechanic ability so that it can repair itself or other vehicles within 2.5cm at either the beginning or end of its activation.

Weighing in at 325 points, it is also pretty inexpensive compared to most AFVs of its type. The one disadvantage is there is only one weapon but the frame has one extra damage box compared to most. Combine that with the Mechanic ability, and you are looking at one tough little package.

Heavy Battletank Vlad and Shogun Bokor

This is the personal vehicle of Shogun Bokov, the hero included in this army box. With a Movement of 25 and Armor of 16, this vehicle is another nimble "little" tank. Plus is mounts a heavy maser cannon with an Accuracy of 7, Attack/Re-Roll of 2/1, and a Pen/Damage of 17/3. That's six points of damage from one shot, assuming that you are firing in the direct fire mode. It can also be fired as an indirect fire weapon in which case it gains an AoE of 3 but keeps the other characteristics.

The Battletank also has the Mechanic ability (just like the Destroyer) and Bokor has the Interference ability which lets you choose one of your opponents card in their activation sequence and move it. Nothing like having your carefully laid out plans changed at the last minute.

As an added bonus, Shogun Bokor is also no slouch outside of Vlad. Equipped with a Sniper Rifle with an Accuracy of 10, she also has Triple Lens Optics which give her the Detection ability and also lets her ignore Camouflage. Always nice to be able to lead from the back, especially when you are leading a horde of zombies. And all this can be yours for only 690 points. Pricey, but definitely worth it from the looks of things.

The Parting Shot...

And there you have it! Still no official release date on the ONI army box but considering there are now pictures of the contents floating around, I am thinking that it will be very soon! That's all for now but be sure to come soon for more AT-43 goodness. Until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Monday, October 19, 2009

AT-43 Dispatch: Introducing the Sin City Daily

Hey everyone and welcome to another issue of the Dispatch!

This week, we are going staying closer to home with the Sin City Daily as we take a look to see what is happening locally with AT-43. So without further ado, let's head right for the front lines!

Sin City Daily
Spotlight on Local AT-43 News

This weekend, I was able to break out my Therians (along with some new Karmans) and hit the BattleZone to run a demo. I had originally scheduled a demo with the store owner so I could show him the game and get his opinion but that plan didn't quite work out. Something about first being late, and then being smashed. I'm sure you can all figure it out. :)

Instead, I ran the demo for Dyllon, one of the other employees at BattleZone Comics. The fluff seemed to interest him, the miniatures really caught his eye, and once he heard about the ONI (the word "zombies" can be a major selling point), he was pretty much hooked. Still, he wanted to try out the mechanics of the game so we set up a couple of small games just so that he could get the idea how it all worked. Two battles and a bunch of dead Therians later, he told me that he was interested in the game and that he would be picking up the ONI when army the box comes out.

Matt, another player at the store, took one look at the Karmans and said he would love to give the game a try. Just the concept of space monkeys had him excited, but when he saw that they had wrist mounted guns and smoking cigars... well, let's just say it sounds like another player will be seeking his own karma now.

Now I just have to get the owner to try the game and we'll see what happens. Hmmmm... maybe I should bring some liquor with me next time...

The Parting Shot...

Well, that's it for this week. A short issue I know, but with the interest that I saw this weekend, I am thinking the things will be picking up quickly. Until then, I'll leave you all with the best conversion I have ever seen of Omega Tiamat. This was done by Supercollider on the AT-43 forums and makes me want to pick her up just so I can copy his conversion.

What else is there to say? It just looks right. Until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Monday, October 12, 2009

AT-43 Dispatch: Rise of the ONI

Hello everyone, and welcome to the return of the AT-43 Dispatch!

This issue, we are going to take a look at the latest of the new army boxes that will be coming out from Rackham. So without further ado, let's head right for the front lines!

Taking a Look Inside the Upcoming ONI Army Box

Slated to come out in November, the ONI army box will continue Rackham's new trend of selling complete armies for a very reasonable price. The ONI will also expand the AT-43 universe so that it will include six different factions for players to choose from, providing lots of options for new and existing players alike.

Enough of the sales pitch though, what exactly is this box supposed to contain? As it just so happens, we have a picture that shows just what there is.

A whopping 26 miniatures for $70. Definitely not a bad deal, especially considering two of those miniatures are actually vehicles plus all of the other stuff that comes in the box. There is even some information floating around about just what these units are, so lets dig a little deeper to see what we can find.

First up are the zombie Detonators.

In a universe where no one can escape war, these happy go lucky fellows just want to give everyone a hug. Sure, they explode while they do it, but isn't it the thought that counts? As if that wasn't bad enough, the charges these guys carry are supposed to be strong enough to even damage an AFV, meaning this one unit that you really can't leave sitting around for too long. With no weapons, it should be possible to just run them every turn and before you know it... BLAM!

Next up are the what I have only seen called "super zombies". Fitting perhaps, but for some reason I don't think that's the official name.

Equipped with autoshotguns and buzzsaws, I expect these critters will be a terror in close quarter fights. Imagine fighting a zombie with a circular saw and a shotgun in a building. Eeesh... My advise? Run away and shoot them at range.

Next up are the zombie TacArms Alpha.

With some of the first images put into circulation more than a year ago, it now makes sense why they look the way that they do. They're zombies! It's all so clear now...

Equipped with a laser cannon and a zombie gun, it will be interesting to see just what these guys can do. The laser cannon will give them some serious armor piercing punch but the zombie gun... Not sure of the specifics but there was mention on the AT-43 forums that it creates more zombies. Take it from a Therian player, being able to create more troops during a game is always a good thing.

The last of the infantry units in the box is actually a hero, Shogun N. Bokov. Described as being "as beautiful as she is dangerous", she looks like she will add an interesting twist to the army. A commander with a sniper rifle? That's one way to keep your leader out of the thick of it. And unlike the rest of the army, she is actually not a zombie.

The last two miniatures are the Vlad heavy battle tank and the medium Destroyer.

The vehicle on the left is the Vlad and looking at that cannon I would say that range is not going to be a problem for it. The thing that I do wonder about is if it will be an area effect weapon or a direct fire. I am going to guess that it will be direct fire since it does not look like it can elevate high enough for indirect fire. Other than that, the only other real question is "What happens if you fire the cannon with the turret turned to the side?" But enough about recoil and real life physics...

It's counterpart, the Destroyer, looks like it might actually be some kind of a transport vehicle which would make the ONI the first of the factions to have the real transport model! As for the gun on the top, it is described as being a medium graser cannon. The UNA Fire Crawler mounts the heavy version of this weapon and based on the stats for that one, the medium graser should pack a pretty good punch as well.

In addition to all of this ONI goodness, there is also a container, six low walls, an area effect template, a tape measure, dice... Everything you need in one box so you can just open it up and dive in right away. As with all of the new army boxes, the ONI army box is an incredible value for a mere $70.

Well, that's it for this issue but be sure to come back for the next issue when we will take a look inside the Cog army box and all their wacky orange figures. So until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Dispatch is Dead! Long live the Dispatch!

Hey anyone and everyone who still might be frequenting the blog,

An odd title to this post but it seems fitting in this case. Almost a year ago exactly, I started writing in an issue format and introduced the Sin City Dispatch. Unfortunately, this is a project that has become a tad bit too time consuming so I have decided to change the format back to a much less structured form. This should make it a little easier for me to get things posted and hopefully get the wheels turning on the Dispatch again.

That's all for now but I have a few small projects that I am working on so expect some more posts soon. Until then... Later!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

From the Workbench: Taking a Look at Skargob'z Boyz

As I mentioned earlier, the Challenge is underway and so is my painting! So far I have assembled and almost completely painted one entire mob, Skargob's Boyz. Here is a picture of them in all their dirty, Orky glory.

I still have to paint Skarbog himself but the rest of them are ready for basing. Now I just need to assemble the next mob, add a few finishing touches to all the Nobz and the Warboss, and then get them all painted up. Should be a piece of cake since I am using a super-secret-ninja-shortcut for my painting.

Right from the start, I knew that I was going to be painting a lot of Boyz. Orks and giant mobz just go hand in hand from everything that I have seen. With this in mind, I decided that I should keep the paint scheme relatively simple but I didn't want to have it completely uniform. They are Orks after all, right?

For a base coat, I used the tried and true method of spray painting them with Dark Angels Green. This gave me a nice base to work with and let me take care of Ork skin tone all in one step. Next I highlighted their skin, first with Goblin Green, then with Snot Green, just to give them a little bit of depth. The next step was to start adding some of the details to make them really stand out. First I batch painted several different colors of shirts, then pants, just to mix things up. Having a cohesive looking force and painting uniforms doesn't have to mean the same thing after all.

Once their clothes were done, it was time to paint on the various leather straps and belts that Orks are prone to wearing. I originally tried to use Snakebite Leather for this (seems fitting somehow)but I couldn't get a good layer on with one coat. This wouldn't be an issue for a single mini or even a small unit, but I am looking at about forty Orks that I need to get done pretty quick. To solve this problem, I switched all the leather bits to black and it went on like a dream, as you would expect. The last step for the painting was to hit the sluggas, choppas, and all the little plates and buckles with some boltgun metal.

This gave me a unit of painted Orks but they still weren't quite done. As a finishing touch, I went over all of them with Vallejo Game Color Sepia Ink. This gave them a nice a dirty look and really just made them pop IMO. As I said before, they are Orks, and everyone knows that Orks and hygiene are two things that will never go together.

And there you have it! As I mentioned before, Skargob is still not done but I'll get him taken care of with the next batch of Orks, which I should have assembled and at least base coated by this weekend. This will give me an eighteen strong Boyz mob to throw down onto the table.

Up next is Wazgut'z Boyz mob which I am hoping to make some serious progress on this weekend, and yes more pics (perhaps even with better lighting!). Until then, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sin City Dispatch Update: Welcome to the Steel Cage Challenge!

Hey everyone and welcome to another special Dispatch update!

At the end of the last issue, I mentioned that I might be taking part in a list contest related to 40k. Well, we decided on the rules and the Challenge is on! So what exactly is the Challenge?

One of the podcasts that I listen to is 40k Radio. If you play Warhammer 40,000 and you haven't checked them out, you just don't know what you are missing. When they first started, they did what they called the Steel Cage Challenge. The three hosts challenged each other to build, paint, and then play a brand new army against each other. To make things even more interesting, they placed bets on each of the challenges. For the first round, the loser had to wash the winner's car. The second, the loser had to mow the winner's lawn. I thought that this sounded like a lot of fun but I didn't know anyone that was just starting to build an army so nothing came of it.

Well, here we are months later and there are two friends of mine that are just looking to get serious with 40k. Dylan has decided to collect a Tyranid army and Eddie has decided to collect a Chaos Marine army. I actually have three armies sitting around in various stages of generally being unfinished and I made the comment to Dylan that it's too bad that we couldn't do a Challenge since I already at least have things assembled. After talking with Eddie, they both decided that they didn't care and they wanted in on the Challenge, so here we go!

We are doing things a little smaller than they did at 40k Radio, starting with a 500 point block, then expanding to 750 points and finally 1000 points. This is not your typical full 40k army but it will give all of us a strong core to build from.

For each block, we will have a set amount of time to assemble and paint those models. At the end of that time, all three of us with face off against each other to determine the winner for the round. Rinse and repeat three times, and at the end we see who the winner is.

So what's the prize? Well, just bragging rights this time. Depending on how it works out, I might be doing this again in the future since I know of another player who is waiting until the new Space Wolves codex comes out to start working on his army. Of course I think that he is just using that as an excuse because he seems to have a hard time with the whole painted army concept, but I'll give Matt the benefit of the doubt this time.

Well, that's it for this Update, but I want to put up more about the Challenge in the next few updates. I am thinking post our army lists along with our own thoughts as far as our unit choices, along with at least some written Battle Reports to let everyone know how the games go.

Now I have some Orks to paint so until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sin City Dispatch #22: We're Coming to Get... CRASH!!! ouch...

Hey everyone and welcome to another issue of the Dispatch!

Well, things went slightly off track with the last issue of the Dispatch so unfortunately the planned Battle Report is not quite finished. I was taking pictures at the end of each turn and apparently missed a couple of shots so it became slightly disjointed. Falling off of a chair, into two other chairs, while twisting your ankle and doing something not quite right to your knee can do that. Mental note: Bring a step stool next time... The good news is that the bruises are just about gone. Still, I am going to just give a quick summary instead of a detailed report so that I can at least give my thoughts on the Retribution. After that, we will be heading back to the future... far, far into the future in fact, all the way to the 41st millennium. That's right, I am dabbling with 40k again and the conversion ideas are just flowing like mad! So sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!

Battle Report...
Well, kind of...

As I mentioned earlier, I had a few slight problems that kept me from doing the Battle Report quite in the fashion that I had wanted. I was still able to get some kind of an idea how the Retribution played so lets take a look at how it went.

We played two games featuring the Retribution against the Circle of Orboros. This right here actually put me slightly off right from the get-go because of the way that most of the Retribution stuff works. If you look at the various spells for the 'casters, most of them are either geared toward or received a bonus for targeting 'jacks. Against Circle, not so much. This made things kind of tricky as I was just trying to figure out what would be the most effective spells to use.

The 'jacks on the other hand were pretty potent. In addition to the force shield, they also add any focus left on them onto their armor stat. That's right, just like a 'caster. This meant that my Griffon light 'jacks were running around with ARM 20 on turn one while the Hydra was up to ARM 21. Of course this goes away in your following Maintenance phase... except on the Hydra. That's right, it can sit on that focus from turn to turn without loosing it which comes in pretty handy, let me tell you.

In addition to these two types of 'jacks, I also used a Gorgon and a Pheonix in the games as well. Due to some crappy die rolls on my part, the Gorgon pretty much just died (to an Argus of all things!!!) while the Pheonix proved to be a pretty potent 'jack, taking out another Argus in a single round. I also really liked the Pheonix field on it as well; recharging the field without spending focus is a good thing, especially since I couldn't roll higher than a 1 whenever I tried to do this.

As for the units, I was able to try out the Invictors and they were not bad at all. Having a ranged unit is really nice and the fact that they can buff each others ARM when they are in base to base helps out as well, though I was really worried about how that would work with AoEs. A couple of well placed ones could have caused some serious damage.

So overall, just how were they to field? Not bad, definitely a different style army than I am used to. The 'jacks in particular I found were a little tricky to get my head around (mainly due to the power fields) but they definitely packed a pretty good bang for the buck and having the ranged units was a nice change as well. As far as the warcasters, I definitely prefer Kaelyssa over Vyros because of her speed. Vyros is pretty slow and being used to someone like Deneghra makes losing 2" off my movement kind of annoying.

The other big question is will I still be collecting a Retribution army when they come out. As of right now no but this is mainly due to financial reasons. They seem like they will be an enjoyable army to play and I think that the way they are selling the units is much better than the current set up (whole unit in the box with no more blisters) but investing in building up a completely brand new army just doesn't fit into the grand scheme of things for me right now. Just means that I'll have to keep expanding my Cryx army instead... :)

From the Workbench

That's right, I have decided to unearth the Workbench again. I recently was asked about playing a game of 40k so I decided to start digging out my old models and figure out just how the game works again. I know, you're asking yourself "But what does this have to do with the workbench?" One of the things that I really enjoy the most about 40k is the conversion possibilities. The GW plastics are a dream to work with in this regard and with more and more of their lines being switched over to plastic this turns GW stuff into a hobbyist's dream. Their metal minis can be very expensive but most of the plastic ones are actually pretty reasonable compared to other minis that are out there and the quality of the plastics just keeps getting better as well. But enough talk already! It's time to get to the Workbench.

Genestealer "acolytes"

Months ago I first posted about creating my Genestealer Cult using the Tyranid Codex as the basis for all the selections. This means a lot of "counts as" models but on the whole I love the concept. That said, there are parts of the cult that can simply be used as is. It is a Genestealer cult after all, so of course it will include Genestealers.

Some of you might be wondering just how this is a Workbench segment if I am just going to be talking about Genestealers. After all, they come in a box, slap them together and bam, they're done, right? Not exactly.

One of the interesting things about the fluff for the 'Stealer cult is how they move among the masses on the planet and gain new followers. Traveling from town to town in small caravans as they spread the good word, there are those covered in robes that remain in the transports at their destination until they can be unloaded away from prying eyes.

As for how this concept fits into the game, I decided that there are two ways that I could work this into the list. The first option is to make these a unit with the scuttlers biomorph. Since this gives the unit the Scout ability, this really fits the fluff as it represents the disguised 'Stealers taking advantage of the confusion to move forward into a better position. The second option is to use these as the retinue of the Broodlord which gives them the Infiltrate ability, an even better fit for the fluff in my opinion.

The next step is to take the stock standard 'Stealer and use some putty to sculpt on some tattered robes. The first couple that I did with this method I really aimed for a very tattered and worn look, even going so far as sculpting on some large patches on the fabric. This was not bad looking, but I decided to try something a little different on the next two. Instead of going for the completely tattered look, I decided to try to layer the putty on to create something that looks much more like a robe. Of the two approaches, I like how the robes came out better but I will still be using both to fill out the retinue.

Here are pictures of the first two that I did in the "beggar" style tattered robes...

...and here are some pictures of the second two that I did with much more constructed robes.

Of the two sets, I really prefer the look of the latter robes but we'll see how they all turn out after I get some paint onto them. I also need to do some more 'Stealers and also give the Broodlord his own robe as well, then HQ selection for my cult will be complete. Next up after that will be the Brood Brothers but more on them in a future issue.

The Parting Shot...

And there you have it! Not quite what I had planned... actually nothing like I had planned but that's par for the course with life sometimes. As always, your feedback is appreciated so feel free to post away in the comments. Looking into the future, some of you are probably wondering what direction I will be heading in next since this one has had more of a 40k slant than has been the norm. Well, right now I am looking at running a little "contest" between myself and few friends as we start to dabble with 5th Edition 40k again and if that happens then I will be covering that in the Dispatch. We are still working out the details though so more on that soon. Until then, thanks for reading and may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sin City Dispatch Update: The time is now!

Hey everyone,

With the release of the new No Quarter (and the Mark I stats for the Retribution), it is time for some battle reports! Coming soon, there will be not one but two full battle reports featuring the Retribution. I want to get an idea how this faction will work and there is no better place than the field of battle.

As if this wasn't enough, I also want to give a quick review of that new game that I was supposed to talk about in the last issue. Can you say "Oopsy!" All that and whatever else my devious mind can come up with will be coming to you soon, but until then may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sin City Dispatch #21: "No, we really did warn you. Didn't you get the memo?"

Hey everyone and welcome to another issue of the Dispatch!

In this issue, we have more Retribution goodness with the upcoming release of varitable butt-load of new Retribution minis! PP is not messing around with these guys and it looks like their force book will contain just as varied a mix of units as all of the other more established armies that they have been developing over the past six years. Now that is a lot of material!

In addition to all of that, we will also take a look at the new board game that PP is releasing (no, I'm not talking about the Scrappers game), there is also a brief battle report, a top five list, and even a look at a completely new game. This is looking to be the longest Dispatch ever, so sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!

Upcoming Releases for Warmachine

As we get closer to September, PP has brought more Retribution goodness out for us to see. Starting off from the top, tere is the picture of the third warcaster for this faction. Say hello to Garryth, the Blade of the Retribution.

There is no fluff for this mini so far but he still looks pretty cool. There have already been comparisons to Caine for the dual pistols which is understandable really. That has always been Caine's thing. Then again, who doesn't like a good gun fight? Think of it, get Caine and Garryth together, then you could have the shootout at the OK Vale. :) I couldn't resist, though perhaps I should have tried harder in this case.

Anyway, a very nice looking miniature and oddly enough much better looking than the artwork which will be gracing the cover of No Quarter #25.

In the artwork, the blades just look too ridiculously long while the actual miniature seems to be much more balanced. Overall, definitely one that I am looking forward to getting and I think he will be a nice compliment to Vyros and Kaelyssa.

Next up is the one of the nastiest sounding units for the Retribution so far, the Mage Hunter Strike Force.

"Mage hunters are expected to function in extreme circumstances, such as surviving hand-to-mouth deep in enemy territory while isolated from friendly support. At home in any environment, they learn to scavenge and improvise, and to kill without hesitation. Their first priority is always the elimination of enemy arcanists and mechanikal constructs—which they believe harm Scyrah."

Yes, that's right, a whole unit of Eiryss clones. No, I doubt they'll be quite that bad, but it sounds like they will still pack a nasty punch. I am thinking pathfinder, camouflage, advance deployment and stealth right off the bat plus some kind of bonus when attacking 'jacks and 'casters. So individually, I don't think they will be as bad as Eiryss... but there are six of them in a unit.

And as if a couple of units of Mage Hunters wasn't enough, now you can throw in the Mage Hunter Commander to lend a hand.

"Veteran teams led by senior commanders are well versed in advanced Retribution techniques. Slipping past the outer defenses of an enemy base, they fire bolts through intervening walls to kill without a trace. Working alongside other soldiers in the Retribution military, these teams apply similar methods to erase vital targets before they can even join battle."

I am thinking that this guy will have all of the perks of the Strike Force (pathfinder, camouflage, etc.) and he will be able to use phantom bolt as well. That last sentence is kind of scary though. "...these teams apply similar methods to erase vital targets..." Does that mean that he can give a unit the ability to shot a phantom bolt? That might be a little over the top, but we'll find out soon enough.

"While Retribution handlers endeavor to train soulless as soldiers, some are destined to serve another function. Energy flows sent to destroy Retribution soldiers are siphoned into the body of the soulless. If they siphon too much it prompts complete organ failure. Heart and lungs burst from hostile energy pouring into the soulless, while leaving those allies around him untouched."

I love that they have included this part of the fluff in the army. For those of you not in the know, the Soulless are basically what the Iosians are becoming. As Scyrah gets weaker and weaker, more of the Soulless are born instead of Iosians. As for the abilities, it sounds like maybe they might be able to cancel spells that target a nearby unit. Not quite sure how that would work but it sounds like a pretty cool twist.

"Battle mage magisters manipulate invisible energies to tear an enemy limb from limb or to haul weighty machinery around like pieces on a game board. The massive arcanika gauntlets they wear not only serve as conduits for their powers, but can deliver tremendous crushing blows and send opponents flying."

This one kind of caught me by surprise. Featured on the cover of the Retribution forcebook, I figured that this character was going to be another 'caster but that is definitely not the case. Instead, this one sounds like it is going to be some kind of a close combat bruiser. In addition to a high strength, I expect that this one will also have the ability to either slam or throw his opponents which is a pretty crazy for a small base model.

"Nayl is one of the soulless, destined to stand forever apart from his people, an uncomfortable reminder of the doom awaiting Scyrah and all of Ios. At rest Nayl seems empty, yet a blade in his hand moves with a will of its own, expressing echoes of emotions. Nayl’s trainers prepared him from youth to serve as an arcane vortex when he at last perishes, striking against the Retribution’s enemies even as death consumes him."

Nayl is another interesting twist since he is a Soulless character. I am going to guess that he will be a weapon master and have multiple wounds to make him a little more survivable since it seems like he will be most effective against the enemy warcaster when he becomes an "arcane vortex". Sounds like that will probably be some kind of area effect that either sucks up focus or maybe acts like a short term mage blight. Could be really nasty and do both! Sounds really nasty but I suspect that if he does do something like this then it will effect all models within the area instead of just enemy models, making positioning a little tricky with him.

"Ghost snipers are specialized and secretive hunter-killers employed ostensibly to help patrol the borders by employing powerful rifles to bring death to hapless intruders who wander into their sights. Many were already sympathetic to the Retribution while others seek profit and a chance to exercise their skills abroad. These killers stand ready to aim their formidable rifles at the enemies of the Retribution."

Elven snipers with big, freaking rifles. Never mind bows or crossbows. Nope, these guys just bring a gun instead. Very cool idea IMO. Probably will have at least pathfinder and camouflage, plus I think that it will have the sniper ability like the Widowmakers. Then there is the sight. I imagine that having some equivalent to eyeless sight with that wouldn't be out of the question but I think that might just be wishful thinking on my part. Either way, it is a cool model and sounds like a nice addition to the army.

"Even the most masterfully crafted myrmidon requires repair and support, particularly after the rigors of battle. Arcanists are seasoned mechanics with a broad working knowledge of arcanika that allows them to piece together shattered and broken hardware to get even a mostly ruined myrmidon working again. Their expertise also allows them to lend subtle arcane power to push these machines past their normal operational limits."

For me, this was a sign as to just how much PP was looking at packing into this book. How often to people really field mechanics and here the Iosians are with one available right off the bat. I don't know how useful they will be but it is good to see PP doing everything they can to make this book equal to all of the future army books for the established factions. Of course it also says that they can help push the myrmidons beyond their limits but the question is how? Given my own non-existent experience with mechanics (ah yes, the joy of Cryx), I am not sure how this will translate in game terms but it will be cool to see.

"Invictor captains are veterans who have endured long years of service under merciless superiors. All Invictors are extensively drilled and trained to take part in complex coordinated actions, and this is particularly true of the veterans chosen to accompany each captain. Relying on this discipline, Invictor officers can deliver devastating concentrated fire at unprecedented range."

Hmmm... Sounds like this guy will give the unit CRA which is kind of an odd ability to have an officer add. Again, this is an aspect of the game that I am not that familiar with (Ranged attacks? What are those?) but it will be interesting to see just how he buffs the unit.

"Sentinel captains will commit any action that will bring honor and glory to the order and thereby to House Nyarr. The Sentinel discipline is the one most often chosen by heirs of House Nyarr's bloodline, for it exemplifies Dawnguard virtues. Banner bearers carry aloft in imperishable metal the oaths by which they live as a visible reminder to all their men of their purpose."

As with the Invictor unit officer and standard, I am not sure just what these guys will do. The fluff doesn't really provide many hints beyond the fact that it is an officer and a standard bearer. The first line almost sounds like it might make them fearless but with the lack of fearless minis in Mark II, I don't think that this will be the case. Hmmm... Looks like another wait and see with this one.

And there you have it! Lots of minis will be coming out over the end of this year and the beginning of the next to get them caught up but it does seem like PP will be staggering their releases, a move that is doubtless easier on them and definitely easier on everyone's wallet. Overall, I am really looking forward to getting the official stats in NQ so that I can try these guys out. I definitely like the overall feel of the army as it is much more of a military structure than I find Cryx to have plus it is something new. The other true militaries in the Iron Kingdoms (Khador and Cygnar) are both very rich in their fluff and their rules but I really like the idea of trying something totally different. But more on that in the next Dispatch after I get a few games under my belt...

And Now For Something Completely Different...

The next new release has nothing to do with Warmachine or Hordes... well, not directly at least. Back in issue #10 of No Quarter, PP released rules for what amounted to their own version of Bloodbowl. The main difference was Bloodbowl was played by humans (more or less) while Grind was played only with 'jacks.

An interesting idea but it was not something that I ever wanted to get into. The 'jacks are expensive enough to field just for Warmachine without getting more of them to paint up in Grind team colors. Well, it looks like all that is going to change in October with the release of the Grind board game. Here is the blurb about it...

"Suspended just above a lake of seething magma, this flame-scorched arena is ground zero for the most brutal sport ever created—Grind! Here 10-ton, ash-spewing, steam-powered robots called steamjacks fight to move a giant, spiked ball into the other team’s goal. Using every weapon in their arsenal, these steamjacks slam, smash, and crush their way through the opposition as they tirelessly slug it out for the title.

The Destructodome is the battlefield for two rival teams of armored metal warriors: the Iron Storm and the Steel Fury. With their eyes on the prize these two teams will stop at nothing to own the blistering field, so pack your playbook with cunning maneuvers, loadout your team with devastating weaponry, and get ready to stake your claim to glory.

Your strategy must be merciless. Your resolve, indestructible. In Grind, only victory can quench the burning fury within these unstoppable machines.

The Grinder is about to drop. Stoke your fire and brace for battle!"

This sounds cool enough to be interesting, but then you look at the back of the box.

Yes folks, that's right. The 'jacks are now made out of plastic. As if that wasn't enough, they also have interchangeable weapons. Admittedly there are basically just two forces to choose from for how (Cygnar and Khador) but even so they have got me interested! No idea on the price yet but once I find out, I'll be sure to pass it along!

The Top Five

This is a new segment that I am thinking about making a regular part of the Dispatch depending on how well it is received. Why? Well, why not? So without further ado...

The Top Five Things That Drive Me Nuts About Privateer Press

#5. They made Monpoc collectible. Yes, I'm still annoyed by this.

#4. With all of the different books over the years, the rules have become incredibly clear, easy to interpret, and never contradict themselves. (Nope, there's no sarcasm in that sentence.)

#3. They keep coming out with new models for different factions that look so cool that I want to buy them all!

#2. As if my wallet wasn't screaming for mercy already, they had to come out with a Grind board game complete with plastic minis.

and the #1 thing that drives me nuts about Privateer Press...

#1. They painted the Retribution 'jacks so that they look like they are made out of marshmallow, but still managed to make them look cool enough that I really want to get them all.

Battle Report
Taking the field with the Butcher

This past weekend I finally managed to get in a small game of Warmachine against Dylan, one of our local Cygnar players. Normally, I would play Cryx but at the time I just wanted to play a beatstick-style army list so I wanted to dust off the Trolls to try out some new tactics with them. The only problem was that I couldn't find my copy of Primal and there was no way that I would go to the store to game without a copy of the rules for reference. With that in mind, I decided to break out the oldest Warmachine minis that I have, dating from back in 2003 when the game first came out.

I didn't even have a gaming group back then but I saw the Khador miniatures and loved the look of them, so I bought a copy of Prime and the Khador battlebox. As luck would have it, I also received a free Butcher mini as part of a special promotion and I was inspired. Looking like some kind of a steam powered Space Marine, I thought that the Butcher was the best thing since sliced bread and started thinking up army lists that I could build with him. Time went by and my Warmachine was put away for years.

When I finally decided to get back into Warmachine years later, I decided to focus on Cryx instead as I had been told that Khador was the most represented faction locally (though all the players said they were Russian instead of Khadoran). I never got rid of those minis but never expected to use them... until last Saturday night.

To keep things simple, we only played a 350 point game. Neither of us had played in a couple of weeks so a nice quick refresher sounded perfect. Dylan broke out Stryker with a Ironclad and a Lancer, a Gun Mage Adept, and Junior with a Hunter, while on my side of the table was the Butcher, two Juggernauts, a Manhunter, and a unit of Widowmakers.

The die was cast and amazingly enough, I actually won the roll! I had a feeling that this game would all be about who was able to draw first blood so naturally I choose to go first. Now I had originally thought about making this a full battle report but as I forgot to take pictures after the first turn (can you say oops?), I'm just going to recap the highlights instead.

Of all of the units in the game, the award for LVP (least valuable player) would have to go to the Ironclad. While it was facing off against two Juggernauts and the Butcher, Dylan decided to do the tremor special attack. With a Juggernaut as his target, there was virtually no way that he could possibly miss which would put both of my 'jacks and my 'caster into a very dangerous position. It sounded so good... until those two dice both came up with 1's. "It's a swing and a miss! Strike three and he is outta there!"

That same turn, Stryker popped his feat to try to protect his beleaguered 'jacks from the inevitable onslaught but this is the Butcher we are talking about, who was the MDP (most devastating player). Charging forward, he swung Lola down with the force that only pure madness could grant to a mortal man, destroying half of the boxes on the heavy 'jack. With an enraged bellow, he heaved Lola over his head again and smashed the Ironclad to the ground, crippling it with his second blow. That's right, two hits from the Butcher against an Ironclad with armor 23 and it was out of the game. Now that's what you call brutal damage.

For the icing on the cake, the next turn the Butcher was able to charge the Lancer which had come over to take a swing at him. Charging while you are in melee... it's twisted and wrong but man did it let me demolish that Lancer!

Even with those two massive blows dealt to the forces of Cygnar, in the end the Butcher's rage left him vulnerable. Stryker managed to get a charge lane and with two mighty blows of his own was able to silence the madman. Overall it was an awesome game and it was nice to have a 'caster that I could just point at the enemy and say "Kill". No matter which faction I might focus on, the Butcher is one 'caster that I am never going to part with.

The Parting Shot...

And that's another one in the "books"! I have tried to add in a few new segments to the Dispatch with this one so please take a minute to tell me what you think. I enjoy writing these but I also enjoy sharing all of this with you guys so any feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading and until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sin City Dispatch Update: The Dispatch is coming, the Dispatch is coming!

Hey everyone,

I am still working on the latest Dispatch and man is it turning into a monster! With all of the Retribution previews coming out, it is packed full of more wild speculation plus a look at the new board game coming from PP in October plus a recap of a recent Warmachine game... It just keeps getting bigger and bigger!

So when will it all see the light of day? By Monday because I want to get it posted before the next No Quarter comes out just to see how close I was able guess about all the Retribution stuff.

Until then, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sin City Dispatch #20: "You Were Warned"

Hello everyone and welcome to another vengeful issue of the Dispatch!

In this issue we will be taking a closer look the Retribution of Scyrah concept art along with the latest pictures of their warjacks. The time of Retribution is close at hand so sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!

Upcoming releases for Warmachine

A couple of months ago, Privateer Press really started to push their new faction for Warmachine, the Iosians. This September the force book is slated to hit the shelves, making this the first of the new Mark II Warmachine Force Books. That's right, all of the stats in this book will be done for Mark II but PP has once again thought ahead and will be releasing their Mark I stats in No Quarter #25 so that we can start throwing down with these bad boys right away. So what do they look like? Here is a shot of the cover.

Though opinions seem to range to both end of the spectrum on these, I am finding that I like them more and more each time I look at them. In fact, I am officially throwing it out there now that I am going to take this as my second Warmachine faction after Cryx. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

In addition to the cover artwork, PP was quick to release pictures of two of the warcaster minis, along with pictures of the light and heavy myrmidons and concept art for several of the units. Here are each of those along with the flavor blurbs that were posted on their homepage, followed up by my wild speculation about what some of the in game effects might be.

"Dawnlord Vyros views the military might of the new Retribution as a sword in his hands, one sufficient to sunder any obstacle. He has the loyalty of the Dawnguard and the volunteered assets of dozens of other houses. The dawnlord has a reputation as a bold and forthright general who leads by example. Even pursuits such as falconry Vyros extends to applications in war, linking his mind to his hawk’s to look down from above and survey the battlefield."

I must admit that when I first saw this mini I really wasn't too excited about it. The sword just looks too big and the way that his head is positioned just looks kind of awkward. I have actually thought about trying to put a helmet on him instead of the bare head (novel idea: a warcaster with a helmet!) but we'll have to see once I actually have the mini. As far as fluff, he sounds pretty cool. Heck, it sounds like he might not even need LoS given the bit about the falcon. Depending on what kind of offensive spells he has, that could come in very handy.

"Kaelyssa is the foremost strike force commander of the Retribution’s mage hunters. Her sergeants claim she can hear the heartbeats of the enemy and taste their movements on the wind. Those wizards caught in her sights are left defenseless as their own magic is negated or turned against them. To Kaelyssa her calling is a dangerous but thrilling endeavor, and with every mission she extends the depths of her formidable talents.

If Vyros is the general of the Iosian forces, then Kaelyssa definitely sounds like she is the assassin. A mage hunter and a warcaster? Now that is one hell of a combination!

"The legendary Dawnguard have ever defended the security of Ios by eliminating threats to the kingdom as soon as they are identified. Here's a sneak peek at the Dawnguard Invictors releasing this September for the Retribution of Scyrah."

From this, I can only assume that the Invictors represent the rank and file unit of the army. I am thinking something like Trenchers with better armor.

"Dawnguard sentinels charge into the enemy as an overwhelming tide of cleaving blades. These heavily armored knights use their great swords to expertly carve through any adversary willing to stand against them. Sentinels embody sheer determination in flesh and steel and view themselves as the timeless essence of their order."

Where the Invictors are the line troopers, the Sentinels will be the hard hitting heavy close combat troopers. "Expertly carve" makes me hope for weapon master while "sheer determination" sounds like it might be fearless. Kind of like Bane Thralls now that I think of it, but without Dark Shroud.

"Companies of riflemen have joined the Retribution in number and serve as the long-reaching line for the army abroad. They wield heavy rifles capable of delivering punishing firepower against the human armies that so greatly outnumber them. Rather than haphazardly firing into the enemy, a rifleman is trained to take careful aim and regard each trigger pull as a prospective kill."

The Riflemen instantly made me think of Long Gunners which would be awesome. Given the size of the rifle and the cylinder located by the trigger, I am thinking that these guys will pack a serious punch and maybe even be able to make multiple shots. I can't see Pathfinder with that much armor but if their range is comparable to the Long Gunners it won't be much of an issue.

By themselves, these troops seem like they are going to be a pretty fearsome opponent. Then you throw in the warjacks...

"The Chimera has an unsettling appearance as its active power field makes its form blur and fade. Once it nears the enemy, a Chimera becomes a delivery device for its warcaster’s most powerful arcane powers, channeled across its arc node. The Chimera will strike and kill with its scything arm-mounted glaives, then vanish as nearby soldiers turn to desperately engage it. With a flicker of blended light it appears behind them to deliver arcane death."

"Blur and fade" sounds an awful lot like some kind of Stealth to me which on a 'jack is just nasty. Then consider the fact that it also mounts an arc node. No ranged weapons but with that combination, who needs 'em?

"The Griffon is a sleek and fast myrmidon, designed for swift flanking maneuvers. Its power field enables the Griffon to become near-weightless for short intervals, allowing for long, loping strides before it strikes home with its powerful halberd. By judicious use of this field the Griffon can negotiate marshy terrain, dense undergrowth or other obstacles."

This beastie will definitely have Reach with that halberd and the added armor of a shield (both pretty obvious just from looking at it), plus it sounds like it will have some kind of Pathfinder ability. Overall, it should be a tough customer with a serious threat range.

"The Gorgon exists to dictate the flow of battle by depriving the enemy of mobility. Its integral force cannon unleashes blasts of energy capable of forestalling an enemy’s forward momentum. Its more powerful fields require close proximity, and the Gorgon will rush forward to seize even larger and more powerful ’jacks or myrmidons to pin them in place. While its force-locked prey struggles to extract itself, the Gorgon deals punishing blows with its arm-mounted glaives."

Hmmm... kind of sounds like TB... onna 'jack! Probably nothing that sick but there are 'jacks out there that can force opponents back, such as the Revenger with its repulsion shield. This sounds like it might be a similar mix but worked into a ranged weapon. Then there are the "more powerful fields" which sound like some kind of a twist on a head/arm lock but look ma, no hands! It will be interesting to see just how this one will work because it sounds like it could be pretty nasty. Not the worst of the light myrmidons, but still pretty nasty.

The next three are especially interesting since they are the first of the new plastic warjack kits. What makes this one so interesting is the fact that all three of the heavy myrmidons can be made with this one kit. Not quite sure how the pieces attach but it sounds like it might be possible to mount some rare earth magnets in some key locations so that you can swap bits around to effectively "build" whichever one of the three you feel like using at the moment. Won't know for sure until I have the mini in my grubby little hands, but the possibilities sound very interesting. But enough of this, lets take a closer look at them.

"House Shyeel has brought the power of its formidable myrmidons to the Retribution, fighting machines enhanced by sophisticated arcanika systems. The Hydra stores energy in its arcane batteries to unleash a torrent of crushing blows or a singularly powerful blast."

Sounds kind of like your standard two handed 'jack until you get to the "singularly powerful blast" part. Since the light myrmidons have no obvious weapons, it could be that this blast is some kind of a ranged weapon. Maybe mounted in the forearms? Regardless of what exactly it means, it sounds like this might be like the Slayer for the Retribution.

"The Manticore is equally as formidable in melee or at range, thanks to kinetically augmented attacks and its Cyclone Cannon."

Well, this sounds like it is meant to be the "'jack" of all trades. Oh yeah, the hits just keep on coming... :) The close combat weapons are pretty obvious but I am not sure just where the Cyclone Cannon is supposed to be mounted or for that matter what it might be capable of. Yet another one that goes onto the "it will be interesting to see" list.

"The Phoenix enters battle in a blaze of blue-white flames as liquid fire ignites along its massive thermal blade."

Now this one just sounds like a world of hurt. Liquid fire? Massive thermal blade? Sounds like this one might have some kind of fire effect and hopefully it will also have Reach. Then again, the Deathjack still doesn't so sometimes you just never know. I do have to wonder what the things on its back are. The front looks vaguely similar to the device mounted on the shoulders of the Chimera. You know, the one with the arc node? Could this be a heavy with an arc node? Can you say ouch?

And there you have it... well, so far anyway. There will no doubt be more to come since the Retribution book will probably be packed with all kinds of nasty things. After all, the faction books for the other armies will have all the information from five other books plus more information. Makes me think that all of this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Overall, I am really interested in this faction. It really seems like it will have more of a military feel to it (wow, ranged weapons? what do those do!) and I like the look of most of the minis as well. They are very different from everything else in the IK universe but that kind of makes sense to me. After all, the Abyss and the Stormlands were created by the fall of the Lyoss Empire, the ancestors of the Iosians. If they could do that hundreds of years ago (even if it was a horrible accident) imagine the kind of power they must have had access to today.

If only it was July so I could get my hands on that No Quarter...

The Parting Shot...

And there you have it! This issue didn't go quite the way that I had originally intended but with all of the new information that was coming out on the Retribution I decided that I just had to get my two cents in. Until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sin City Dispatch Update: The Gears Are Grinding Away...

Hello everyone!

Just a quick update to let you know that the next issue of the Dispatch will be coming soon! It is still at the WIP state right now but I hope to have it wrapped up no later than this weekend.

Until then, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sin City Dispatch #19: Welcome to the Saturday Night Smackdown!

Hey everyone and welcome to another issue of the Dispatch!

This issue we are going to take a look at the latest Call To Arms Tour for Warmachine and Hordes. We just started running this locally and man are we having a blast! In fact, this whole issue is going to be about the League so sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!

Liberation of Umbrey Begins!
Another Look at Our Local Call to Arms League

We officially started our League off with a bang this past Saturday night. Something that Matt started to do to accommodate those of us with odd schedules, the after hours gaming at BattleZone has quickly become a tradition for our gaming group. Starting about 9pm on Saturday, Matt opens up the store until 3am so that we can all come down and get some games going, talk some smack, and generally just hang out with our friends.

This Tour of the League is proving to be no different as we continue to bring new players in the game and the "old guard" continue to build their respective forces into actual armies.

Here you can see Cody and Pat, veterans from the first tour, throwing down one of their first 750 point games. Since they both started getting into the game in the first tour, they have not had a chance to get in a serious game of Warmachine or Hordes before now and it really was an eye opening experience. The game has suddenly changed from some random groups of warriors fighting to two armies clashing on the field of battle. All of us are finally getting a taste of the what the game is supposed to be like and I think that we are all hungry for more.

Meanwhile, Ace and Kat were throwing down a battle box game on the other side of the store. One of the other Cryx players in the store, Ace is now looking at switching gears to give the Privateers a try while Kat is just getting into the game with the Legion of Everblight, making Legion our most popular faction in the store right now.

While this was going on, Matt and I were squaring off as well in one of the most intense games that either of us have played. We both loved the scenario last week but this game was an adrenaline rush like no other. As I mentioned in the last issue, we are doing timed games for this tour and though none of the games ran their full duration, the timing on the turns was enough to push the game to the next level. I can see how some people might not like it but for us it was like a drug and I think that we are all looking forward to more games like this.

After a Del Taco run, we all got back into the action again with Kat and Cody facing off on the far table while Matt and Ace squared off on the other one. I don't know how these games went as my next game was the last one to finish for the night but hopefully everyone had a good time.

Pat and I had hopped over to the table that Kat and Ace had been using and I proceeded to get my butt handed to me. After burning out early in the first tour, Pat was not sure how excited he would be to play in this one. When it came down to the wire, he did not hesitate at all and dove right in! Between his solid list and tactics and my silly mistakes and some crappy die rolls... well, as I said earlier, I got my butt handed to me, on a platter even. Still, it was good to get a game in with Pat after his long hiatus from the game, and it was nice to get my 750 point list on the table. Now I have a better idea which parts are going to work and which parts should be melted down for scrap.

The Parting Shot...

I know that some people were expecting more players to show up on Saturday but I am happy with the turn out. There are some more out there that I think will start to trickle in as things really start moving along so I am expecting it to be another really good tour! Now I just have to figure out how we will do the battle royale at the end... Good thing I have a couple of months to figure that one out. Until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sin City Dispatch #18: Come Into My Parlor...

Hey everyone and welcome to the latest and greatest issue of the Dispatch!

In this issue we will be heading to the BattleZone for the first game in the mini-campaign. Advance forces of Cryx and Legion have encountered each other and the battle is joined! What was the outcome of these opening moves? Read on to find out! After that we will take a look at how the next battle will play out in the second part of the Battle of the Gnarls. Finally, we will be taking a look at the special rules that we are using locally for Tour Two of the Call to Arms League. Lots to talk about, so sit down and strap in because we are about to hit the ground running!

The Battle in the Gnarls
The Battle Report for Part One of a Mini Campaign
for Legion of Everblight and Cryx

The mists hung thick around the trees but the damp went unnoticed by these soldiers. Moving wordlessly, the walking dead searched for the tell tale signs of necrotite. The Necrotech Devisious was the most diligent in the search, scanning the ground as he scuttled forward and occasionally digging into the earth with his vise claw. He suspected that the deposits that they had already discovered were going to be their best finds but Asphyxious demanded that they make sure.

Pausing again, Devisious peered at a ruined farmhouse in a corpse of trees just ahead. The building had obviously been attacked at some point so there could be something of value in the location but something pulled at the back of his thoughts. Digging deep into his long dead mind, he could feel that something was not right. But what could it be?

* * * * *

Deacon Valys moved forward with his archers, the cool, damp air a welcome change to the normal heat of the day. He did not like traveling this far south of the Shards but Lylyth had commanded it. Rumors had come to light of ancient stones which told of the resting places of other dragons, weaker siblings of Everblight. True or not, any information of this kind was too valuable not to investigate. Now he and his archers scouted to make sure that the Trolls of the Gnarls did not interfere with their search.

Ahead of them, one of the brutish Warmongers stalked forward. Valys despised their kind but in this case it might prove useful. Good bait for a Dire Troll if they happened to find one. The thought made him smile, but something pulled him out of his revelry. There was something near. Something familiar but very different. He silently signaled to his archers to stay close as they advanced toward a ruined farmhouse. As for the Ogrun, he could fend for himself.

* * * * *

Well, we played the first part of the mini campaign and it rocked! We both loved the feel and the way that it played out even though it was probably one of the shortest Warmachine/Hordes games that we have ever played at BattleZone. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

For this game, Matt and I decided to try something totally different. We both stepped out of the room and had Cody set up the terrain for us. After all, this was supposed to be an encounter between two advance forces so it only made sense to have this kind of a blind in play. Once he was done, we rolled off to choose sides and then did a blind simultaneous deployment. This was Matt's idea and it also worked great and really fit the feel of the scenario. Placing a "wall" in the middle of the board, we both deployed and then took the "wall" down. Here is an overhead view of the board after we deployed.

On Matt's side of the table, he had a unit of Blighted Archers with the Officer and Ammo Porter unit attachment along with a Warmonger Chieftain for good measure. On my side, I had a Necrotech, six Scrap Thralls, one eight strong unit of Mechanithralls and one six strong unit of Mechanithralls with a Brute Thrall attachment.

The game opened with the Chieftain moving forward into the ruins in the center of the board while the archers moved up to try to get a shot against my undead horde. A whooping three of them were actually able to get line of sight one of my Scrap Thralls but the combined volley fell short of actually doing anything.

For my activation, my horde moved forward and that was it. With no ranged units, I was at a slight disadvantage but I was hoping to be able to get a couple of those Scrap Thralls into his lines next turn.

Moving into turn two, Matt did the only thing that made sense and moved his archers as far back as possible. Facing an all melee army it was the only choice that made any sense, especially considering how attrition could play into this campaign. The Chieftain also moved backward but due to the ruins and the forest he was not able to move quite as far.

With most of Matt's army well outside my threat range, I attacked the only thing I could; the Chieftain. Three of the Scrap Thralls ran forward using their Death Burst special attack but only one of them actually managed to hit. That one managed to inflict seven points of damage on him but the other two were just low enough that his armor saved him. With those three attacks done, I called for a withdrawal and the game was over.

Now some of you are probably thinking "What?!? That's it?" but remember that attrition counts in this campaign. If I had tried to charge his archers, my troops would have been mowed down in short order so withdrawing was the only logical thing to do. This puts me at a disadvantage next game as Matt will be able to choose whether to go first or not, but this is a small price to pay. Besides, I keep rolling a 1 when we dice it off so this game won't be any different.

So what's next? Part two of course! Aware of each others forces, Lylyth and Asphyxious each need to try to buy time to finish their respective missions without interference. Who will succeed? Only the dice will tell!

The Battle in the Gnarls
Part Two of a Mini Campaign for
Legion of Everblight and Cryx

Lylyth had known that the Trolls might prove to be a problem in the Gnarls, but the Cryx? This was an unexpected complication. She did not know why the minions of the hated Turok were there but it was now more vital than ever that they complete their mission as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, the Iron Lich had been more focused on finding the necrotite than on this kind of a complication. They had found a few rich locations but the mining rigs needed more time to extract the precious substance from the ground. Knowing that something must be done to keep the rigs secure, Asphyxious summoned his strongest commander to deal with this nuisance. The forces of the Legion must be destroyed and he could think of no one better suited to deal with them.

Special Rules

Since this scenario follows along with the first, all of the special rules for terrain are still in effect except for board size. To make things easier, here are the terrain rules again.

Forest: By far the dominant terrain feature in this campaign, the Gnarls are known for how densely the trees grow. To accurately represent this, at least half of the terrain features that are placed on the board must be forests. These forests all follow the basic rules laid out in the core rulebook; count as rough terrain, provide concealment, block line of sight. For more information, refer to the appropriate section of the rules.

Hills: While not a mountainous region, the Gnarls still has its share of hills located within it borders. As with the other terrain features, these use all the normal rules from the core rulebook.

Ruin: Humans are often crazy enough to try anything once and that includes trying to build a home in the Gnarls, a known home to the Dire Troll. This ruin represents the end result of that foolish line of reasoning.

Stone markers: Numerous stone markers can be found throughout the Gnarls. While some of these hold great power, most are nothing more than ancient pieces of stone.

Stream: While there are no major waterways that pass through the Gnarls, there are a number of small rivers and streams that cross the area. A stream is a body of shallow water that follows all of the basic rules from the core rulebook.

Since this scenario will feature larger forces, a normal 4' x 4' table should be used.

Set Up

For this battle, both players will have access to whatever units are left from the first scenario plus an extra 250 points worth of new troops. In addition, the winner of the first scenario is able to replace up to 30 points worth of units that he lost in the first scenario but remember that this can only be used to replace lost units, not to buy new units.

There are also new restrictions for the force selection that apply to this battle:

a maximum of one character solo or character unit

no warcasters or warlocks

Once the forces have been selected, a total of eight pieces of terrain are placed on the table with the players taking turns doing this. As noted in the special rules, at least four of these pieces of terrain must be forests. Once the board is set up, the winner of the first scenario decides who will deploy first and take the first turn. Forces are then deployed as normal and the game begins!

Victory Conditions

The scenario continues until either one side is completely destroyed or one side chooses to withdraw from the battle. The remaining player is then the winner of the scenario. Since this is a larger battle, the winner is now able to replace up to 80 points worth of casualties that his army suffered in this game and will choose who will be the first player in the final scenario.

Liberation of Umbrey BattleZone Update
Taking a Look at Our Local Call to Arms League

The first tour of Call to Arms was great for us. We managed to bring in a bunch of new gamers and really build a good Warmachine/Hordes community at BattleZone. In fact we just had a pre-League meeting this past Saturday and I was shocked at how many people were there, including even more new faces. Still, for as good as the first tour went, Matt and I want this one to be even better so we decided to add a few things to the regular format.

You Want Me To Play How Many Games?!?

One of the big hurdles for a lot of players in the first tour was the sheer number of games. Some people had a lot of free time in the beginning and gamed their butts off... burning out in the process. Others were struggling to just get in one game. To make it more balanced, we are going to run each "tour week" for two calendar weeks. Sounds a little confusing at first but I actually wrote up a calendar so that everyone could keep track a little easier. To avoid the burnout factor and tighten up the field a little, there is also a five game limit for each calendar week. This means that you can still get in ten games for a tour week but you have to pace yourself to get them.

It's Day Three of This Game and We Are All The Way up to Round Two!!!

Another factor that we ran into headlong was the games that wouldn't end. Some of the match ups just took forever to play out so to avoid that situation in this tour, the games will be timed. Nothing like adding a little pressure to your game! Plus it should be a lot easier to schedule games this way because once you start there is a definite end in sight.

I'll Get You My Pretty, and Your Little Paint Brush Too!

One of the last things that we did was add a painting bonus to encourage people to start breaking out their brushes. Nothing too fancy, just going from bare metal or primer to tabletop level of painting on one miniature. And the time frame? One tour week, so two actual weeks to get it done and earn a League Point for each tour week that you do it. That's five extra points for painting five minis in two and a half months. Plus Matt is going to throw in a faction paint set for the person that paints the most minis in the League, and free stuff is always a nice perk in my book.

Overall, I have to say that I am really looking forward to the new tour. I have decided to go back to my roots and break out the Cryx but this time I am going to play them through the whole tour come Hell or high water. I have been trying to do too many factions and know that I have to pick one and stay with that one. Besides, they're walking dead. How can you not like the walking dead, right?

The Parting Shot...

And there you have it, another one in the books. Heck, I don't think I have written up a Dispatch this quick in months! That said, don't get too used to it. With the League starting up again, I expect that I am going to be pretty busy Saturday nights for the next couple of months. Don't get me wrong, I'll still be cranking out the Dispatch as fast as I can but I have to heed the Call to Arms. Until next time, may all of you dice come up Dragons!