Wednesday 31 December 2014

That was the Year that Was - 2014

And with 2014 rapidly coming to a close, I am looking back on the Year that Was 2014.

A mixed year once again full of surprises, some good and some bad, which I suppose is much the same for every one.

A new job was started, which was certainly unexpected but all good so far, and all the usual up and downs that goes along with real life away from the escape that is gaming, came my way.

My gaming life over the last year has been a bit up and down too, and probably related with the foregoing but I'm happy to say mainly up as a lot of what I'd planned (or really added to my Wishlist) to do was completed, or nearly so, so a big up for me, certainly compared to previous years.

My overall gaming outlook was to play more skirmish, story driven games rather than one of battles and that was definitely a big responding TICK as almost all of my games this year have been in that category including the successful conclusion of the second Mordheim Campaign which was lots of fun to do and kicking off the new Club Necromunda campaign which is now around a third of the way through along with a number of other skirmish types including some successful (and other less successful) experiments, some of which I'll post on in the new year.

As far as modelling and painting was concerned I'm pretty pleased too with my output and although I didn't quite get to my target of 300 completed miniatures I was damn close (completing more than I'd managed in the two previous years combined) and managed to get a fair bit of terrain bits and bobs done to boot.

The major Terrain project for the year was the ongoing Abbey Project and once again just shy of the final target, a fair of progress has been done and the first stage is near completion with a WIP post due again once the New Year rolls around.

The other Terrain stuff for the Future Wars project has been more successful with a fair bit completed there mainly in the way of accessories and table dressing but all good too.

The other thing terrain-wise I've been 'playing' with is card stock modelling and have put together a fair selection of buildings which though lacking the obvious 'weight' and 'depth' of constructed modells are quite nice and certainly quick and very inexpensive and will do for the fill villages etc that I don't have time to build the long way.

My army projects have all advanced, with the exception of my Italian Wars project, which hasn't really received any attention but is still there to be done and I will get to it, hopefully soon.

For new inspiration, I've picked up a spread of new skirmish rules that are about at the moment and cover a full spread of periods, from the Dark Ages through to Ultra-Modern/Futuristic era's and these hopefully will be the springboard for new stuff in the New Year.

Also inspiration wise I've seen a good number of movies this year, which is good in it's self, but these have often given me added inspiration for modelling and gaming so......nice there too.

All in all a pretty decent year hobby-wise with a few surprises as I've said and not a few excellent games too, so looking forward to more of the same (painting/modelling/gaming) in the coming year.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Second Battle of Isen Fords - Rematch

With this game going to be the last club game of the year, something with a bit of fun was going to be called for, and when Kev suggested going for a re-fight of the ever popular (in my book anyway) Second Battle of the Fords of Isen, a quartet of us were up for a laugh with Kenny, Dave K and myself jumping in to take sides.

This time round I plumped to go on the Evil side and see if I could get a victory, as was narrowly snatched from me last time as the Goodies. with Dave K taking the other half of the Baddies, and Kev and Kenny going the forces of Light.

Initial Set up
The Initial st up was pretty standard and my Dunlendings and Dave's Uruk moving towards the forces defending the ford, taking pot shots as they advanced.

Rohirrim re-enforcements arrive

The Rohirrim re-enforcements appeared on their first roll check and that was before we even reached the Ford Defenders

The wolf Riders appear too

The Isengard re-enforcements appeared the following turn but the wolf riders failed to make a scratch and all went down very quickly though occupied some of the Rohirrim Riders for a couple of turns.

The fight for the ford

The fight at the ford was hotly contested and the greater numbers of Dunlendings and Uruk quickly forced the Rohirrim back here. The Rohirrim were pretty successful in feeding the Troll and keeping him out of doing any major damage unitl near the end.

The Troll and numbers of the Uruk wade across the river and start to make a dent with the Uruk abandoning their bows eventually to just get stuck in. The Dunlendings begin to lose numbers to the far more successful Rohan shooting.

The forces of Darkness are running out of numbers

By about turn 8 it was more than aparrent that the Rohan had grasped victory in terms of numbers with all but a couple of Dunlendings gone and the Uruks beginning to drop in number and break tests were starting to depleat the numbers even more. But the Rohan were getting close to break tests too.

Playing right up to the final turn 10 and though the Rohan forces had lost a couple more mainly to the Troll, it wasn't enough for them to get sufficiently worried with their number surviving more than triple the amount of the forces of Darkness left giving the forces of Light a comfortable victory. The forces of darkness never really looking like they were winning this one from the outset.

A grand game to end the years gaming with, and lots of fun but a victory in this scenario eluding me once again. Next time perhaps?

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Necromunda Campaign - Round 3 Gang Fight

Redemptionist's advance into the refinery

Once again the gangs were out looking for a fight in this, the first game in the third round of the club Necromunda Campaign.

Up for a rumble in our outing this time were my Redemptionist's (dubbed the 'Mad Santa's' in keeping with the season), Andy's Van Saar, Kev's Cawdor, Ian's Escher and John's Eldar.

After the usual random deplyment and throwing for initiative, things kicked off with the Eldar taking up position at one end of the refinery with a commanding view of a good part of the field and started taking pot shot's at anything that moved.

The Eldar set up 'Camp Bieltan' at the end of the table
House Cawdor, adjacent to the Eldar took cover as best they could and started returning fire on the Eldar, though Kev thought he may get the worst of this exchange in the long run.

Cawdor take cover and return fire

Next round House Escher take up positions and start to exchange fire with House Goliath as they begin to mass on their left flank.

In return the Goliath's start to advance quickly, due to the lack of cover at low level with a couple of their heavy weapons taking position at vantage points above to offer covering fire.

House Goliath advance in the open on House Escher
under covering fire from their heavy weapons

The Redemptionist's move through the refinery towards the battle between Escher and Goliath's with the tail of the cultists realising they wouldn't get anywhere in time turning and using cover headed towards the outermost Eldar stationed on one of the refinery tanks.

The fire fight between the Eldar and House Cawdor continued with initial success going to Cawdor taking an early advantage taking out on of the Eldar Number and downing another.

This advantage was brief however as the Eldar began to bring numbers to bear on the Cawdor and though another Eldar went down to a Melta blast the accurate shooting of the Eldar quickly began to drop the ganger's in return.

The Goliath's start to go down
The advance of the Goliath ganger's quickly became a very messy affair with gun fire and melee and grenade's exchanged but this very quickly turned in the favour of the defending Escher who managed to concentrate their fire and in the end take out the Goliath's where they failed to get that important kill.

The Redemptionist's close through the refinery on the
 distracted Escher and Goliath's

The 'Mad Santa's' closed on the exposed Eldar Scouts and under significant fire (mainly from flamers) both of the scouts were taken out of action.

Very quickly on the other side with a lot of casualties down and out of action from the withering Eldar fire, House Cawdor saw the better side of valour and quit the field.

The Eldar start the move round towards House Escher's
This was quickly followed by House Goliath with Dave's heavies not doing well against the Escher decided to cut his quickly mounting losses. This left the Redemptionist's advancing on House Escher through the refinery with a third of it's number on the other side of the refinery still a distance from the main body of Eldar.

Redemptionist's taking cover from Eldar Sniper's

The Eldar then promptly failed their bottle test, forced by un-characteristicly high losses leaving these three for all intent's and purposes out of the fight.

This then left the Escher to slug it out with two third's of the Redemptionist's who had nothing for it but to give it large and charge the slightly scattered Escher.

Dropping a couple early on in the exchange the number advantage on the spot soon tolled once the Escher re-grouped and took cover from the new threat and once again the Priest's bodyguard, my close combat zealots with their eviscerator's, failed to do anything in combat other than a brief flame attack downing a couple temporarily and with the Priest going down from a long shot, it was time to fight another day.

Escher take cover and return fire on the encroaching
A good, gun-fest of a fight with thing's obviously hotting up a bit as the gang's begin to pick up some experience but still lack any staying power. But promising on things to come.

A well deserved victory goes to a canny Ian and his House Escher who saw off two attacks and a it of sniping to gain a victory.

In the after game experience round however, House Escher saw their survival rolls for casualties bringing up the Redemptionist's capturing his Merc gun-fighter and converting him to the Redemptionist cause. Hallelujah! The Redemptionist cause grows, mu-wha-ha-ha-ha!

Wednesday 17 December 2014

The Hobbit; The Battle of the Five Armies - A Review

As my last post intimated, I have been looking forward to this movie a fair bit and managed to get to see it yesterday.

The title of the movie pretty much sums up what the movie is all about and most who will go a see it will have a pretty good idea of what the movie is all about.

As with all Peter Jacksons' LotR/Hobbit movies, it is credited as being 'based on' the works of mr Tolkien and as with any Hollywood blockbuster they've got to play about with things a fair bit to make it acceptable to the great unwashed. With that said and understood and knowing that the film was going to be an action-fest with characterisation and indeed the plot loosely based on the book I was happy to go in a watch a 'switch your brain off' entertainment film.

And all in all thee were no disappointments as Mr Jackson has delivered more of what he promised and the franchise goes out with a suitable bang.

No surprises with Smaug getting his just comeuppance at the hands of Bard the Bowman in the opening stages of the movie after he has torched most of Laketown. (I do like what they've done with Laketown and the look of the urban environment definitely tickles my terrain making juices).

The whole early piece of the movie sets up the situation nicely and still keeps the pace up while reminding everybody on what happened in previous episodes.

The mid part of the movie tidies up some of the set pieces which had been left un-resolved in the previous Desolation of Smaug. A particular favourite is the freeing of Gandalf from Dol Guldur, with some nice touches and cameo's here which are totally non-canon but good movie stuff.

The bulk of the rest of the movie is un-surprisingly the main action in the title and generally worth the wait though again the drift of the action has little to do with the battle as described by Tolkein (which doesn't go into a great deal of detail anyway) but goes the winded up hollywood story version instead which is a good visual feast.

Again I'm happy with this and the film concentrates on the main characters individual actions and builds detail around these which all makes good cinema. I particularly like Thranduil here (very nicely played by Lee Pace) and is suitably haughty and Woodelf King-like (though his mount with the nudge bars is bit over the top), not my usual elf-disliking self.

All the cameo's are well done in fact and the cast throughout is well cast with Richard Armitage doing a good job of Thorin's gold lust and doesn't get too cheesy.

I also noticed some of the cut scenes.

There are a number scattered across the film and the locations are very picturesque and indeed again several are very cinematic. A good job there too, a couple being very Japanese art cinema inspired I'm sure.

Of course the bit everybody wants to see is the main action and the battle is well done but as said only a few scences have the 'big picture' particularly in the early opening stages of the battle.

Lots of epic action and big nasty monster types and all the evil protaganists are suitably bad and as ever in these things always seem to be better a killing folk.

All in all the troops depicted I liked the most were the Dwarves of the Iron Hills. I like the look of them and how they behaved in the battle.

Actually with that said, all in all the people that don't come out in a very good light all in all are the humans. In the film very small in number (compared to everybody else) and generally looking quite shabby compared to the more (I suppose stereo type racial cousins).

I did groan a bit when I saw (or more rightly heard the voice) of Dain when the Iron Hills Dwarves make their appearance, with the light relief character being in the form of Billy Connelly. Though I did get the joke of the 'Big Yin' playing a Dwarf, I would of been happier with someone like Ray Winston as Dain,

I can see the script for the character did sit with someone like Billy, who does what he kind of does now a days. But that's a minor gripe, I still liked the dwarves.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable romp with all the usual heart strings being plucked, heroic stoicism, self sacrifice, bravery, love, loss etc etc. All that you could want from an epic.

Once the dust has settled, this one gets a 9 out of 10 'must see' from the Warblog.

Friday 12 December 2014

The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies

Looking forward to see the Battle of the Five Armies which is released today.

The bit I've been looking forward to seeing since they started the whole Hobbit adventure. Going by the clips I've seen so far it looks to be pretty good, but what's not to like about massive battles on an epic scale.

I'm not going to let the slightly improbable multi-racial (not least to say vertically challenged) love interest get in the way of a good battle-fest.

Certainly bound to be a few ideas for scenario's etc from this the 'last' in the cycle of the LotR films. You never know though, some of the Silmarillion might get made into a film or two yet :-).

Monday 1 December 2014

Necromunda Campaign - Round 2 Scavengers

Round 2 of the campaign already :-) and another four way game (6 of the other players having already played their Round 2 game a week or so ago) and this time the scenario is the Scavengers scenario.

The contestants up for a fight this time were my Red Redemption fanatics, Doug and his Genestealer Cultists, Kev's House Cawdor and Andy's Van Saar.

The Initial setup

House Cawdor start their exploration
Following the ubiquitous random deployment, and initiative House Cawdor kicked things off and advanced towards the centre, followed by the Redemptionists doing likewise.

The Van Saar and the Cultists with their nefarious 'Vents and Tunnels' abilities deployed their forward scouts and 'claiming the majority of the loot from the outset.

The Red Redemption start their hunt for loot...
With nothing to lose and much to gain, the Redemption and Cawdor fanatics launched themselves into the fray, but trying to keep to cover in the process.

...and move into the structures for cover.
The scenario had a 'scary monsters' roll for each players turn and a few occasions were meted out but only one of the Van Saar were actually taken out by this, the rest of the rolls were pretty innocuous, like the Brother at the back being 'delayed' for a turn.

The Redemption generally made for the high ground and quickly put fire onto the forward Van Saar but only temporarily dropping a couple in their vantage points, while the two Deacons made a beeline for two loot counters that could be seen in the gantries. The Priest, flanked by the two Zealots rushed the loot stashed on the wrong side of the check point. (hopefully the double handed Eviscerator armed maniacs would draw the attention of the nearby Van Saar lurking the the shadow of the central tower).

The best of the Brethren drops on round 2
 and doesn't manage to stand again for the whole match!
Quickly the Van Saar retaliated and dropped one of the Deacons as he rushed towards one of the Loot counters, and dropped a Brother who was sniping at them from cover.

The Priest rushes for the loot while the Zealots take the hits

A fellow Brother with a long shot from his shotgun took out one of the Van Saar guarding the loot counter atop the guard tower. The Deacon with the flamer dropped the Van Saars companion as he sped towards the other counter.

Reaching the counter at the Check Point while taking fire, the Priest managed to pick up the loot while the Zealots tried to slow the Van Saar who rushed into combat. The combat went poorly for the Reds with the Van Saar winning all the combats and it ended with one Zealot out of action and the Priest and the other Zealot dropped.

Cawdor in the shadows
(MacBeth would be proud)

The House Cawdor generally were keeping to cover and laying down a lot of fire at the Genestealer Cultists they could see who were spread out a fair bit. The Cultists in turn, returned fire but little effect was caused to either side at first.

The Van Saar made a few side steps towards the Cultists on their left but no serios moves but enough to make the Cultists watch their flank and hold back from an all out attack on Cawdor.

A Cultist holds off the Van Saar flanking move

Cawdor keep together while laying down suppressing fire
on the Culists 
Slowly but surely, Cawdor advance keeping together and slowly surround the forward Cultists and make a bid for the nearest loot which the Cultists have been guarding.

The recovery rolls for the Priest and Zealot didn't go well on the next time round and both succombed to their wounds. This meant that on my next turn a Break test was required. This left the Van Saar free to move round and hoover up the loot in the area.

Van Saar move off with another of the loot counters

The Reds clutch two of the Loots in the nick of time.
The Deacons on the far side of the field now made a bit for glory. The dropped Deacon crawled on his hands and knees and managed to reach the loot on the gantry and claimed it for the righteous ones. The other Deacon rampaged up the ladder and rushed the Van Saar on top the guard tower who was still a flame from the previous Deacons flamer and with Chainsword and Hand Flamer laid the Van Saar out and claimed the second loot counter.

With three out of the match and two on the ground, I called it a day and the Reds vacated the scene but with two loot counters for their trouble.

Cawdor and Cultists shoot it out on the gantries
With the majority of the loot in their possession and with three of their number out of action, the Van Saar also decided to leg it.

Van Saar move to claim the high ground (and the low)

The fight between Cawdor and the Cultists began to come to head at this time and a couple of Cultists were dropped by fire even though the hand to hand fight was inconclusive. With one loot counter in their possesion, the Cultists bade the fight a farewell to minimise loses too.

The fight for the last loot
This meant that though they had suffered pretty lightly the House Cawdor had possession of the field (and by default the winner) they had recovered none of the loot which left Kev a bit non-plussed by the turn of events. Still a win is a win.

Round 3 is up pretty soon so the fast paced campaign will continue unabated and things should start hotting up too.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Necromunda Campaign - Round 01

Table one

A catch up post for the first round of the club Necromunda Campaign just kicking off a couple of weeks ago (well OK, a month ago, but who's counting).

With a total of twelve participants signed up for the campaign this one is going to be busy and hopefully full of action and entertainment.

The first round with 6 turning up for the first bash we went for four on one table and two on another and we started off things with Andy's vertically challenged Van Saar, Dave Goliath's, Ken's House Cawdor and my own Red Redemption on the first table and Kev's Cawdor versus John's Eldar on the other table after the usual random deployment throws.

Table Two
The randomly determined starting points meant I was starting in the open facing up to the Van Saar who with 'Tunnels & Vents' skills meant they could forward deploy pretty much where they wanted. And they did.

Goliath's in the open!

The Goliath's mob handed faced up to the Cawdor fanatic's who outnumbered took to cover while the Goliath guys advanced pretty much in line order while pouring lead into the enemy while advancing.

The Redemption in the open!

Starting the fight in the open was not a good idea for the Redemption crew especially as the Van Saar already had snipers in good positions right from the start, so the Redemption rushed towards cover and immediately came within range of the most forward deployed Van Saar, but they ket loose with Autogun fire and flamers and themporarily downed a couple as they ducked for cover.

In return the Redemption took some fire but no permanant loses. Next round and pretty much every one had targets but the leading Zealot got mashed by the Van Saar leader before she could even swing her Eviscerator. Returning the favour, the Redemptionists took out the Van Saar leader in a blast from the Priests meltagun and another wave of flamers.

Next up the Van Saar dropped the other Zealot and with one of the Crusader Brethren temporarily dropped a Break test was required and this of of course failed in excellent style and the Redemptionists fled the scene. Though having caused some minor wounds on the Van Saar.

On the other side of the field the Goliath's advancing seemed to go pretty well much to everyone's surprise and even with the Cawdor Crag Rats doing lots of climbing and sniping and much sneakiness they went down pretty quickly to the Goliath might (though not as quickly as the Redemptionists) and the Goliath's turned and headed en-masse towards the Van Saar who were equally advancing across the gang ways though they used cover on the way.

Van Saar on the move
Goliath's use the unsubtle approach again.
The clash when it came was short lived and the shear numbers of the Goliath's worked in their favour and it wasn't long before the Van Saar had to make their break test and legged it too, leaving the Goliath's the victors of this Gang Fight.

Van Saar firing line
Over on the other table Kev's Cawdor had a very difficult time of it against the might of the fully equiped Eldar but he made a bold stand against them ducking and diving in cover but with only his leader really able to do any damage against the Xenos tide, the game was only going to end one way.

And end one way it did though they managed to last longer against the Eldar than the others did against the Goliath's so John's Eldar didn't have it all their own way.

A good start to the new Necromunda Campaign which will involve 10 main rounds with interspersed fill in one-on-one games in between so a maximun 19 games each before the Big Finale next year.

Next week, is my Round 2 game with Doug, Kev and Andy with a Scavenger scenario picked from the campaign ladder by the winner of the Round 1 Dave and his Goliath's. This should hopefully be reported quicker than Round 1.
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