Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Warmachine Tournament 2019-01-13

Portland Game Store has the happy habit of running a monthly Steamroller on a Sunday, which means a lot of people who can't make Saturdays due to work or whatever can still get a game in. This past Sunday saw six players competing for top place - a small turnout, but a good three games for me. (Well, sort of. I did lose every game.)

I brought Grymkin for my list pair:

Grymkin Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

[Wanderer 1] The Wanderer [+28]
 - Cage Rager [14]
 - Cage Rager [14]
 - Crabbit [0(-)]
 - Crabbits (2) [7]
 - Gorehound [6]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Lady Karianna Rose [4]
Death Knell [13]

Grymkin Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

[Old Witch 3] Zevanna Agha, the Fate Keeper [+27]
 - Cage Rager [14]
 - Cage Rager [14]
 - Crabbit [0(-)]
 - Crabbit [0(-)]
 - Crabbit [0(-)]
 - Crabbit [0(-)]
 - Frightmare [9]
 - Frightmare [9]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Lady Karianna Rose [4]
Dread Rots (max) [12]
Death Knell [13]

(For the non-Warmachine players reading this blog: The Grymkin are a literal army of nightmares from hell invading a steampunk fantasy world. Hence the goofy aesthetic to their models and names.)

Round 1: Old Witch 3 vs. Issyria

First I faced Michael and his brand new Dawnmowers Dawnguard Tridents.

Retribution Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Forges of War

[Issyria 1] Issyria, Sibyl of Dawn [+29]
 - Discordia [18]
 - Hemera [16]
 - Hyperion [32]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
House Shyeel Arcanists [0(7)]
House Shyeel Arcanists [0(7)]
Dawnguard Trident [16]
Dawnguard Trident [16]

Into this I dropped Old Witch 3. Scenario was Invasion. I won the roll and opted to go first, with Michael picking sides.

This was my first game with this list; also my first game with Old Witch, Frightmares, and Lady Rose... It went about as well as I expected. Windwall was money versus all that Retribution shooting, but even so Michael was able to do a lot of work. My Dread Rots were all but useless; I should have kept one back out of range so that I could Old Witch's recursion ability instead of just losing the whole unit to a well-placed consume shot from Hyperion. The Frightmares were likewise useless, but that's definitely a matchup problem. They had no decent targets here.

Fun game, though.

End of round 1

Grymkin spread out to get around the forest...

But the Dawnguard Tridents get some serious work done. All Dread Rots and one of the Frightmares gone, and all the Gremlin Swarms as well.

I'm able to take out the left Trident and Discordia, but... instead of hitting Hemera (center) with Scourge to stop Admonition, I should have put up Windwall again.


End of game - I'm out of time. Tried to kill the Hyperion just for the points, but couldn't close it out. Did kill Hemera, at least. Victory to Michael!

Round 2: Wanderer vs. High Reclaimer


Protectorate Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Exemplar Interdiction

[High Reclaimer 1] The High Reclaimer [+32]
 - Judicator [34]
 - Hierophant [0(3)]
Exemplar Errant Seneschal [3]
Scrutator Potentate Severius [0(6)]
 - Dervish [7]
Wrack [1]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
Exemplar Errants (max) [16]
 - Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard [0(4)]
Exemplar Vengers (max) [20]
Knights Exemplar [9]
 - Knights Exemplar Officer [4]
Visgoth Juviah Rhoven & Honor Guard [9]

I picked Wanderer for some variety, won the roll and went first; scenario was Standoff. 

Dennis is quite a good player, and this list has lots of Hand of Fate going on, so I wasn't expecting a victory or even an easy fight. But it turns out Star Crossed goes a long way... if not long enough.

I had a couple bad turns of luck, and made a crucial mistake that cost me the game, or at least more control points/army points. First, my flanking Gorehound failed to kill a Venger and then sprint into his backfield to disrupt things. Second, he got some crazy hot dice and wiped a Skin and Moans off the table with much less effort than expected (even under Star Crossed). Finally, I got so fixated on killing the Judicator that I forgot to cast Star Crossed on the final turn of the game, and left my beasts so full on fury that all the remaining heavies frenzied.

After my first turn, Dennis just getting going.

Second round begins. Sad Gorehound on the left didn't manage to kill a Venger and then sprint into Dennis' backfield.

Third round... Dennis scored three points to my one here.

Fourth round. At least I blew up that Judicator. As can be seen by all the fury tokens on the table, this is where I made my crucial mistake: I forgot to cast Star Crossed, and I left too much fury on the table to leach it off my heavies...

And here's the consequence. The blue Cage Rager on the left frenzied and destroyed the nearest target (an Examplar of some sort) instead of going for an assassination on the High Reclaimer. Also, of course, no Star Crossed.

Dennis lining up to clear some zones.

End of game, with three out of four zones controlled by Dennis. He won, 7 CP to 2.

Round 3: Old Witch 3 vs. Child

Grymkin Army - 73 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

[Child 1] The Child [+29]
 - Cage Rager [14]
 - Cage Rager [14]
 - Crabbit [0(-)]
 - Crabbit [0(-)]
 - Crabbit [0(-)]
 - Gorehound [6]
 - Rattler [8]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
Glimmer Imp [4]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Lady Karianna Rose [4]
Death Knell [13]

Remy's a newer Grymkin player who's making do with a limited model selection. But he's certainly getting the hang of using Child to good effect...

I dropped Old Witch again, just to get more playtime with her. Scenario was the Pit II ("Championship Belt"). Remy won the roll and chose to go first; I picked sides (and in retrospect, picked the wrong side...)

My crucial mistakes here were being way too cautious around his Arcana (also, should have dropped Wanderer again) and then going on tilt after he jammed me up with a Gorehound under Discord and a Gremlin Swarm base-to-base with Old Witch. It took me a good thirty minutes to clear them off, and in so doing I left a clear charge lane to my caster. He took advantage of it and neatly closed out the game with a proper assassination.

I should have played more aggressively, worried a bit less about Arcana, and not left my caster so terrible vulnerable. But it was a good game regardless, and I learned a new trick (Gremlin Swarms are very unkind to battle engine casters).

Deployed and ready to go.

Second round begins.

Third round begins. Note the jamming Gorehound and the Gremlin Swarm directly in front of the Old Witch.


End of my last turn - I have finally cleared out the Discord Gorehound and the Gremlin Swarm, but it took far too long. Notice how little has changed between this picture and the last one...

End of game. Lower right corner shows Remy's Cage Rager right up in Old Witch's face, having easily dispatched her.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Game Night: Black Powder 2, Napoleonics

Gaming at Andrew's after a long hiatus! Pete put on a nice game of 100 Days French vs. Allied with classic 25mm figures, using the new version of the Black Powder rules. I was granted command of the French right, which included the Guard and a division of cavalry.

Thanks to some command failures on both sides, the game developed primarily on the flanks. On the French left, a wood blocked free movement and became the chief battlefield. In the center, French infantry moved slowly up toward the defensive positions the British had seized - some houses and walled fields. On the left, the British heavy cavalry - the legendary Scots Greys - pelted up and seized the initiative. They were quickly met with a charge of French heavy cavalry, which pushed them back. A subsequent charge from the French, however, cost the French one unit of heavy cav and badly bruised the second unit. The Guard meandered on up at a walk, their only contribution being some cannon fire. 

The central French infantry regiments pushed up and evicted the British light infantry from the walled field. Then the Scots charged forward and retook the field, and a ferocious scrum ensued, eventually ending when the Swiss pushed the Scots back and a French line unit annihilated the rifles.

Finally, the French infantry reached the Brunswickers and the Brits holding the defensive line. The light cavalry made a daring but foolhardy charge at the British heavy cav, and succeeded in breaking them - but in the process, were too damaged to stay on the field themselves. Both divisions began to retreat. The Guard began to move up, but it was too late. The French center-right division and far left division both broke as well, along with another British division, and so the game was decided - barely - in favor of the Allies.

View from the French right of the advancing British and Brunswickers.

French cuirassiers and carabiniers charge at and are countercharged by the Scots Greys.

Turn 2ish, overview. Cavalry action on the French right near the camera, 95th Rifles in a field but disordered in the center, and the British left getting bogged down on terrain to the far right.

View of the French center.

Scots Greys retreat in good order, holding the British left. Behind the road and hedge the Brunswickers are awaiting the French.

Over on the French left, French line infantry skirmish with British line in the woods.

French heavy cavalry charge in on the Scots Greys again - but their supporting light cavalry failed the command roll, and so they must fight alone.

British cavalry charge in around the woods, braving French musket fire.



Checking for support in a cavalry melee on the French left.

The penultimate round: French infantry have pushed up the center but are held at bay by Scots and Brunswickers. On the French left, near the camera, skirmishing in the woods dominates the action, preventing the British from moving toward the French line. On the French right (top of photo), the Scots Greys have intimidated the French cavalry severely, destroying one unit, but have taken quite a bruising themselves.

The final state of things. The French are in retreat, half their divisions having broken. The Allies have fared only marginally better, but they hold the day.


Painting update

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the samurai. Been distracted by some D&D figures for a campaign that's just starting up...

Budget update

Spent about $30 out of my $100 budget so far, on primer and paints.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019: New Year, Fresh Start

Painting Station In Action

Blowing the leaves off this dusty thing...

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Painting Update: April/May 2018

April, aside from the Ticket Takedown, was a pretty quiet gaming month. I didn't even get all that much painted:


Some of Privateer Press's "trenches." Very easy to paint, and you get what you pay for: trench templates that work for Warmachine and don't result in tippy model syndrome.


Some Perry Miniatures sohei, for a friend of mine who's getting into samurai gaming. These were quite nice to paint.


Hero figures for my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game. That's a minotaur, two mouslings, a catfolk druid, a humanoid druid, and three female human sword-and-board fighters. (Not the actual size of my group; I just wanted to give the players some options.)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

2018 Ticket Takedown Tournament Report

March 31st saw the fourth annual Ticket Takedown - a local Warmachine tournament where first prize is a ticket to Lock & Load up in Bellevue. Happily, I was able to attend for my first tournament in a few months. I brought the following Grymkin lists; not the most competitive, I think, but the easiest for me to play with little practice.

The Child, Heavy Heavy

Grymkin Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

(Child 1) The Child [+29]
 - Cage Rager [14]
 - Crabbit [0(n/a)]
 - Crabbit [0(n/a)]
 - Gorehound [6]
 - Rattler [8]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
Glimmer Imp [4]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Lady Karianna Rose [4]
Dread Rots (min) [7]
Death Knell [13]


Grymkin Army - 74 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

(Heretic 1) The Heretic [+28]
 - Cage Rager [14]
 - Crabbit [0(n/a)]
 - Crabbit [0(n/a)]
 - Crabbits (2) [7]
 - Frightmare [9]
 - Frightmare [9]
 - Frightmare [9]
 - Rattler [8]
 - Rattler [8]
Glimmer Imp [4]
Glimmer Imp [4]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Lady Karianna Rose [4]
Dread Rots (min) [7]
Death Knell [13]

The Child list focused on having as many heavies as I could field, backed up by the Child herself for a hard-hitting beast brick. The Heretic list, on the other hand, fielded a passel of lights (plus the Cage Rager to kind of anchor the list), just because I wanted to see if that was a valid strategy. (It might be? Not sure yet.)

The event went to four rounds, and I had a perfect record: 0 wins, 4 losses. Which is ok, because at this point in my Warmachine career, I'm just happy to get in a full day's gaming! Plus, I lost on clock each round instead of getting my caster assassinated or losing on scenario points. If some of those games had not been timed, I think I had a good chance at winning, so all I need to do is, well, learn what my units can do...

First round I played the Child against what felt like a brutal Cygnar list:


Cygnar Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Storm Division

(Stryker 2) Lord Commander Stryker [+28]
 - Stormwall [39]
Captain Arlan Strangewayes [4]
Major Katherine Laddermore [8]
Savio Montero Acosta [0(6)]
Stormsmith Stormcaller (3) [0(5)]
Storm Lances (max) [20]
Stormblade Infantry [10]
 - Stormblade Infantry Officer & Standard [0(5)]
 - Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunner (2) [4]
Storm Strider [18]

This is the first time I've played the Child (IIRC), and it was a pretty rough game in a lot of ways; I was able to eventually clear the right hand circle zone and score some points there, but the left hand zone remained contested for the entire game even, as above, after I killed off all the Storm Lances. The Stormwall was going to be an intractable problem for the entire game, I think. Regardless, I spent so much time looking up my model abilities and trying to figure out what to do that I ran out of time when my opponent had a good 20 minutes left on his clock. (This is a recurring theme at the event.)

Second round was Child versus a Khador warjack spam list:


Khador Army - 74 / 75 points
[Theme] Jaws of the Wolf

(Karchev 1) Karchev the Terrible [+30]
 - Destroyer [14]
 - Destroyer [14]
 - Juggernaut [12]
 - Juggernaut [12]
 - Marauder [10]
 - Marauder [10]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
 - Destroyer [14]
Greylord Forge Seer [0(4)]
Yuri the Axe [0(6)]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Kayazy Eliminators [5]
Widowmaker Scouts [8]

(I've probably missed a few things in that list.)


When the game started, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to deal with all that metal. Turns out that may have been an unfounded fear, as a loaded Skin & Moans makes pretty short work of a Khador heavy. My favorite trick of the match was running the Gorehound with Discord on it (so no orders or spells near the beast) around near Karchev and his Forge Seers, then knocking Karchev down with a Force Hammered Juggernaut. My opponent took a good 20 minutes trying to unpack that particular order of operations puzzle, and in the end did not manage to kill the Gorehound. Again, this game went to time, with my opponent having around 15 minutes left. (I felt like a bit of an idiot on missing out on some easy points on my flag, though.)

Third round was a Grymkin mirror match; I dropped the Heretic list into the King of Nothing:


Grymkin Army - 74 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

(King of Nothing 1) The King of Nothing [+28]
 - Cage Rager [14]
 - Crabbit [0(n/a)]
 - Crabbit [0(n/a)]
 - Crabbits (2) [7]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
 - Skin & Moans [15]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Lady Karianna Rose [4]
Dread Rots (min) [7]
Dread Rots (min) [7]
Dread Rots (min) [7]
Twilight Sisters [7]
Death Knell [13]

(again, think I missed a few things on here)

No photo, sadly. I'm afraid this is the match I remember least. Not sure why. My opponent marched forward and cast a bunch of Ashen Clouds to block line of sight to his front line; I countered by shooting it up with the Frightmares, who can ignore clouds. I think that early attrition threw him off his game a bit, but he recovered nicely and kept me from making real progress until, as usual, I ran out of time.

The fourth and final round was against Trollbloods, and my opponent dropped the new hotness, Borka 2.


Trollbloods Army - 75 / 75 points
[Theme] The Power of Dhunia

(Borka 2) Borka, Vengeance of the Rimeshaws [+27]
 - Earthborn Dire Troll [14]
 - Earthborn Dire Troll [14]
 - Mulg the Ancient [22]
 - Rok [19]
 - Storm Troll [9]
 - Troll Axer [10]
Troll Whelps [0(4)]
Troll Whelps [0(4)]
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min) [6]
 - Stone Scribe Elder [3]
Lynus Wesselbaum & Edrea Lloryrr [5]

Some players may recognize this list as the one that Tim Banky took second at Adepticon Champions with. I did not, but I was pretty sure I was going to have trouble with it. I put the Child on the table, since I didn't think the Heretic's passel of lights could deal with that much Troll meat.

This was a much closer game than the others; I clocked out with my opponent having 1:48 on her clock, so I feel a bit better about my clock management this game. I was able to use a building on my side of the table to keep my caster pretty much completely safe from assassination, but I felt too threatened by his beast brick to run in and cause trouble. As it turned out, I was able to kill all the heavies, though it took most of the game and cost me a Skin & Moans. (Borka's feat was a brutal little time walk for me to deal with.) My opponent was also clearly more experienced against Grymkin than I am with them, and did a very careful job of playing around my Arcana choices.

It was nice to put some Hordes figures back on the table. I'm looking forward to getting more games in this spring, time allowing.

Congrats to Chad and Rune & Board for running a successful tournament, and to Aaron Allen for taking first place. (Side note: The tournament was held at Out of This World Pizza, one of those pizza joints that also has private dining rooms for birthday parties, a huge indoor play area, and the like. It was in fact a very good venue; food on site at a reasonable price and a large room that easily fit the 18 players with plenty of room to spare.)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Grymkin: The Wicked Harvest: Initial collection

Last year, Privateer Press released a limited release faction for Hordes: Grymkin: The Wicked Harvest. I went all in on this for three reasons:

  • I rather like the models, despite (or perhaps because) they don't quite fit the Warmachine steampunk aesthetic.
  • "Limited release" means that, unlike most factions in the game, Grymkin will not be getting new models. That means I can actually finish a collection of them.
  • They're a bit silly, and I think that's about how I like to treat toy soldiers.


As of now, I have a nearly complete collection (just missing a few extra beasts and a unit of Dread Rots), and here's what I have painted so far:

The whole horde

Warlocks (Child & Heretic) and warbeasts - 2 Skin & Moans, Cage Rager, Rattler, 4 Crabbits, and 2 Gorehounds

Solos - Witchwood, Lord Longfellow, and two Glimmer Imps, plus the Twilight Sisters

Two units of Neigh Slayers

Two units of Murder Crows

Two units of Hollowmen

However, I've only played three (3) games so far with them... I hope to change that soon, but it's been depressingly difficult to carve out time for Warmachine nights. Still, I'm having a fair bit of fun painting these little monsters.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Terrain Evaluation Time: Trees and Water

Ringing in my fifth decade with my first case of strep throat, so that gives me plenty of time to contemplate wargaming. In this case, terrain! Like a lot of gamers, I've focused almost all of my time on the figures, and collected a hodge podge of terrain pieces over the decades. It's time to change that, and the first step was to evaluate the terrain I already have and compare it to the scales I'm planning to use for gaming. 

After digging in the basement, I found that I had more trees than I thought, a few water pieces, and one old GW hill. I also had a fair number of buildings in varying stages of completion and painting, but more on those another day. I've resolved, and have mostly stuck with, gaming in only three scales: 6mm (aka 1:300 or 1:285, depending on the line), 15mm (1:100ish), and 28mm or 30mm (1:56 to 1:60 or so).

First, a look at the trees. I have three types: old GW, a bag of HO (1:87) model railroad conifers, and some Frontline Gaming conifers (their "summer tree" set).

6mm Napoleonic Cavalry, a 3-story building, and some GHQ microarmor next to the HO scale trees.

15mm figures next to the HO trees and the GW trees (far left and right). A Plastic Soldier Company StuG G and some Battlefront infantry and truck.

15mm ancients with the HO and GW. Essex slingers and I believe Old Glory15s Gallic cavalry. The bases are 40mm wide.

15mm ancients in among the Frontline Gaming trees.

Same as above, but giving some vertical scale.

Privateer Press 30mm Hordes Grymkin figures next to the GW and HO trees. The three models in front are standard human-sized.

Grymkin in the FLG woods.

28mm Frostgrave and Gripping Beast Crusader figures among the FLG woods.

And next to the HO and GW trees.
I'm pleasantly surprised. I'd have thought the older trees, the GW and HO ones, were writeoffs, but they don't look half bad. The HO ones will probably work ok with 6mm as old growth forest giants, while the GW ones are... acceptable. They do look a bit much like toilet scrubbing brushes for my taste, but they'll do until they get replaced with better looking kit. I need to make some area bases for stands, copses, and groves. I'd also like to get some deciduous trees, and some stuff that'll do for dense brush - brambles and the like. And, of course, some orchard trees.

One quibble I have with most wargaming trees is that they're far too short, usually for reasons of playability and practicality. On average, I think they're between 5" and 10" - in 28mm, that theoretically puts them between 24' and 48'. A respectable Douglas fir easily doubles that, but then you're dealing with 20" tall trees on the table. It's one reason I've grown fonder of smaller scales like 15mm and 6mm; you can show more of that height. The 5" tree in 15mm appears to be a good 50' tall in scale. That's a point I'll come back to when I get to hills someday...

After the trees, I took stock of my water supply: Two sets of rivers and a swamp from Wizard Kraft, and streams and swamps from Gale Force 9's Battlefield in a Box line.

6mm on the banks of a Wizard Kraft 4" river, with the GF9 stream in the back.

15mm WW2 on the GF9 stream, with the GF9 swamp behind and the Wizard Kraft swamp to the fore.

15mm ancients.

30mm Hordes figures; again, the three short models are human-sized.

28mm Frostgrave and Gripping Beast.
By the look of it, either line will do will, but I'll probably go with the GF9 stuff for now, simply because it is more easily available (and, I suspect, will hold up to rougher handling at the FLGS). On the other hand, the lower profile of the Wizard Kraft stuff is a much better fit for the 6mm figures, and I think it looks better to boot. Either way, I need to pick up some more ponds, narrow streams, and crossing points.

Lastly, few random pieces:
GF9 "Rock Outcrops"

These are nice for some scatter obstruction, but they also seem a bit fantastic, in that I'm not sure what sort of terrain you could expect to see rock outcrops like these naturally appearing in. Maybe a rugged mountain pass? They're definitely not well-scaled for 6mm figures, but they'll do all right for my other scales.

One last note: All these were laid out on a Cigar Box battlemat, and I'm quite pleased with that piece of terrain. It drapes very nicely and doesn't scatter bits of flock all over the place...