Thursday, 20 February 2020

The Four Horsethem

With two posts in a row covering Things I've Painted, I'm at risk of turning this blog into one of those wargames blogs that's less about games and more about Things I've Painted.

But here you go. I painted some more figures.

I've used my Undead HOTT army in a couple of my HOTT 52 games, and decided that it really needed the bases being brought into line with my current convention. This allowed me to rejig the composition of some of the elements and generally tidy things up.

But whilst I was doing it I decided to paint these beauties which I bought at MOAB last October in order to add to the army.

Theydies and Gentlethem, allow me to present ... The Four Horsethem of the Apocalypse!

The figures are from Slave2Gaming's Weird WW1 18mm range, and were sculpted by Mike Broadbent.

In the original myth, the four riders are differentiated mostly by the colour of their horses, plus some key piece of equipment or costume. These models all ride skeletal horses, so I used the colours as a guide to the riders' clothing and the horse trappings instead.

Here we have War (in red) and Conquest (in white, with a gold crown)

And here's Famine (in black, carrying some scales), and Death (in pale robes). Traditionally the robed skeletal  Death with a scythe always seems to end up in black. I blame Terry Pratchett. The pale robes looked a little odd as I was doing them, but they've grown on me now, and it makes for a nice contrast with the rest of the figures.

They were pretty easy to paint. A black undercoat covers a multitude of sins (dark brown would work just as well), and then I just dry-brushed layers of colour. The skeletons, for example, are a khaki base, with some sort of bone colour on top and white highlights.

Riders riding.

In HOTT I can run them as Heroes or Knights depending on my mood. Or even Gods if I'm feeling suitable apocalyptic. They are a little larger than the 15mm figures in the army, but they work nicely as a centre-piece in that respect.

Anyway, I'll probably debut them in this week's HOTT 52 game.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Bards and Berserkers.

A couple of weeks ago I painted a few more characters for my BattleSworn Elf and Dwarf warbands.

For the Elves I did a sorcerer and a bard. I'm not sure of the origin of the sorcerer figure; I got him in a big box of assorted GW figures, so I'm guessing that's what he is, but he's a one-piece plastic figure and looks like he came from a boardgame. The bard is a Reaper Bones figure. She's actually a human, but since my BattleSworn warbands are pitched at GW Middle Earth figures in terms of size, she's very tall in comparison to most of them, so I made her an elf instead.

The Dwarves have also acquired a bard, as well as a berserker. The former is a Reaper Bones gnome, whilst the latter is another GW plastic figure.

I took these pictures before I did their bases.

We've also acquired yet another cat. To be fair we've lost one too - our daughter finally moved into a place that allowed animals, so took Gypsy Danger away. That left us reduced to three cats, so we got a new one. And here he is. He's about two to three months old and he's called Mr Wednesday.

The name was the winner in a neck-and-neck poll run on Twitter and Facebook. We name all of our animals after characters from film, TV and comics, with the rule that each 'franchise' can only be used once*. Mr Wednesday (American Gods) won out over Raymond (Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

* My wife cheated with our two most recent goldfish, by naming them Elfo and Luci.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Kobolds Ate Milady

I gave the Kobolds another run yesterday evening, against the SAVE Envoys.

This time the Kobolds fielded: 4 x Fighters (including the Leader), 4 x Rabble, 2 x Chaos Warriors, 1 x Rogue/Shooter and 1 x Rogue/Assassin

SAVE had 4 x Fighters, 2 x Shooters, 1 x Arquebusier/Tank (Ranjit Singh), 1 x Rogue/Sniper (Josephine Carfax) and 1 x Brute/Chaos Warrior (The Baron)

The scenario was The Burden, with SAVE being given an extra non-combatant figure to protect - Lady Faversham. She counts as three figures, so makes the force harder to break, but a big loss if she is killed.

This was the deployment.

Lady Faversham was tucked away on the baseline, covered by a hired gun and Josephine Carfax.

The majority of both sides faced off in the gap between a hill and some rocky ground. The Kobolds rushed forward, hoping to slip through SAVE's line and make a run for Lady Faversham.

Which they did; you can just see a lone kobold at the top left of the picture.

Lady Faversham moved to the cover of some ruins, whilst a gunman moved out to protect her.

The two sides slogged it out in the middle, although the kobolds warily kept clear of engaging The Baron.

The lone kobold sneaked into the ruins, evading the gunman.

A second shot winged him as he ran through the buildings, but he reached Lady Faversham.

And killed her.

Both sides were taking casualties in the centre.

A kobold warrior attempted to rush The Baron, but Miss Carfax shot him down.

Other warriors now engaged The Baron, including the sneaky assassin. I really left it too late to use him though; his ability to poison people relies on using reactions in subsequent turns, so is best used early on.

As it was it wasn't poison that did for The Baron anyway, but a good, old-fashioned, spear in the back.

The kobold Kaptain engaged Ranjit Singh, who simply shrugged off most attacks.

The kobolds were fighting hard now. They were taking casualties, but most of them were rabble. And SAVE were close to breaking. The kobold archer and a gunman exchanged fire from cover, and the gunman was seriously wounded.

Into the last turn, and another of SAVE's hired muscle fell. But it wasn't enough; they were on exactly half losses, and the kobolds needed losses to exceed living figures for a win.

Technically the fight was a draw, but SAVE had suffered more losses, so the kobolds got the winning side of it.

In both this game and the previous one I tried a rule change Victor and I have been discussing where the number of dice rolled by the losing bidder in a melee is reduced by the number of hits they receive from the winning (lowest) bidder. This gives more incentive for an early low-value strike, and worked in that respect. But it does extend the length of melees and, I felt, made the Tank class a little to good, since a powerful attack against one was easily countered by the Tank bidding low. I think we might ditch the idea.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Kobold Debut

What better way to celebrate the eighth anniversary of this blog than by debuting my newly painted BattleSworn kobolds?

That's exactly what I did this morning.

I pitted them agains my Moria Goblins, who fielded 4 x Fighters (including the Leader), 3 x Rogues, 2 x Shooters, 1 x Cavalry (a wolf) and 1 x Brute/Giant.

The Kobolds were 4 x Fighters (inluding the Leader), 2 x Chaos Warriors, 4 x Rabble and 2 x Rogue/Shooters

I'm trying out scenarios from 'Challengers of the Great Beyond', and used one of the versions of the McGuffin scenario we're testing. Each side has three counters in terrain areas on their side of the board. If a figure moves over a counter it is removed, but no character can start on or touching a counter. When the fourth counter is removed, roll a D6 - on a 5+ the counter is an artifact and all other counters are removed. The fifth counter is the artifact on a 3+ and the sixth counter is always the artifact. The artifact must be carried off the side's board-edge to win.

This was the setup. Both sides defended the counters on their own side of the board, but had plans to grab ones on the opponent's side as well - the plan was reveal one or two on their side then use moves to reveal the last few on their own side, hoping to get the artifact. The game is a tense balance between choosing to remove counters, and getting your opponent to do it so you can try to ensure that the artifact is one of the counters on your side of the board, plus trying to bid such that you get to move the artifact off the board with reactions at the end, as these are harder moves to block.

I ran the kobolds (naturally, and used the solo mechanisms for the goblins).

The goblins sent their wolf round the flank to threaten a counter in the kobold's rear. I use a different version of Cavalry to that in the rules. Firstly it only costs one slot, secondly you can have up to four and thirdly they move differently. Instead of ignoring the first terrain change (which has the curious effect of making cavalry good in rough terrain), they can make a single direction change during their move, so long as they don't enter combat. Normal BattleSworn movement is always in a straight line.

The kobolds responded by attacking the wolf.

And first blood to the kobolds!

In the centre the two kobold Chaos Warriors (representing their 'elite' warriors) rushed into some rocky ground and used reaction moves to grab the counter their from under the goblins' flat noses.

The goblin Rogues also went after a counter, but ended up caught in a duel with the kobold's archers.

Things looked desperate when the cave troll charged in as well.

But the kobold's kaptain performed an intercept charge and distracted the troll.

By this point two counters had been revealed. The goblins used their turn to reveal a third, and then roll for a fourth, which tured out to be the artifact. All they had to do was get it off the board.

Anticipating the find I had run a coule of kobolds over to the goblins' edge, ready to intercept any attempt to move the artifact off the board.

A couple more joined them.

But let's not forget the actual fighting - the troll knocked the Kaptain away, but the two archers finished off their opponents, losing one themselves.

Two kobolds were now in a position to stop the goblins escaping. In regular BattleSworn this would be a a good position to be in. And in terms of actual figure positioning it was.

But 'CotGB' also uses card-based initiative bidding, so you only get a limited number of each bid value. And I'd used up my high, reaction, bids earlier in the game. Now I was stuck bidding '1' which allowed me an action, but gave the goblins plenty of reactions. My first attempt to attack the archer with the artifact was intercepted.

As was my second. And the goblins could move the archer with reaction moves both times, so he escaped.

The goblins won. They had taken more casualties, but got the artifact and had escaped thanks to my poor hand-management.

Despite the loss this was a fun game, and the kobolds looked great. The scenario seemed to work OK as well, offesring some tricky decosions about timing of moves and whether to take the initiative or not.

Eight Years

I just noticed that today marks eight years since I started this blog. It was originally designed to replace the defunct Stronghold website I ran for 'Hordes of the Things', but very quickly moved away from being a purely HOTT-based site to just general wargaming. And I think it's all the better for that. Still, there's plenty of HOTT to justify it using the old name though.

I'm still enjoying running it, and I hope you all still enjoy reading it.

Friday, 14 February 2020

HOTT 52 - Week 7 - Prester John vs The Pyrates

All the P's this week, as a gang of Pyrates (from Peter Pig, naturally), defend against Prester John. Obviously a pirate incursion into Darkest Africa will attract the attnetion of one of its legendary inhabitants.

The Pyrate army is one of my first HOTT armies and probably the oldest one I still have in use. Prester John is a more recent acquisition.

The Pyrates - 1 x Airboat General, 2 x Shooters, 1 x Lurker, 1 x Horde, 1 x Artillery, 6 x Warband

Prester John - 1 x Cleric General, 1 x Behemoth, 2 x Shooters, 2 x Warband, 2 x Blades, 2 x Knights

The defending Pyrates slapped down plenty of bad going so as to force Prester John onto a narrow frontage. That way the Pyrates could hide their vulnerable warband in the bad going, and use the shooters and artillery to engage the inevitable knight/behemoth attack.

The battle started with the Pyrates deploying a lurker against the native warrior warband on Prester John's left. The warriors routed the attacking sharks with no trouble at all.

The Pyrate captain edged round the flank of Prester John's army, having oted that all of the archers were on the other flank.

Prester John advanced slowly. The flying ship was a concern, but not a great one.

The ship moved in on the African king's knights.

As it did so, his artillery opened fire. Confusion in the ranks saw an element of blades try to fall back through the knights, and fail, efore the knights routed when they couldn't recoil either. It was a total mess.

An attack is always a good defence, so Prester John kept his fore advancing. Out of picture to the left the elephant and native warriors were moving up as well. But the captain steered his ship into the attack again, hitting the flan of Prester John's line.

The artillery fired, supported by musketeers, and Prester John fell.

So that was it - Prester John's army was defeated before it reached the main Pyrate line, by a combination of aerial attack and accurate artillery (and awesome aliterations, as well).

Prester John is very unlucky. It's an army that has quite certainly lost far more games than it's ever won. Maybe I'll give them another outing in next week's game (or before if I play more HOTT before then).
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