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Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015, Thank God That's Over

What a lousy year.


Looking back at my blog posts from the past year, there was a lot of substantial content. Not as much scenery as I would have liked, but some pretty decent modeling projects and tutorials.


In the real world however, things were substantially more dire. John Stewart and Steven Colbert leaving Comedy Central; the loss of celebrity icons like Leonard Nimoy, Wes Craven, Yvonne Craig, Christopher Lee, Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister; all the lives lost in the terrorist attacks... On the bright side, the US Republican candidates all seem determined to escalate to World War III, so I guess we'll have that to look forward to.


On the tabletop wargaming front, we got to witness the death of Warhammer as we knew it (and along with it, some pretty entertaining wargaming podcasts). I feel like the gaming community is still deciding where the fate of fantasy wargaming will fall– Age of Sigmar, 8th Edition, the 9th Age, Kings of War, something else perhaps?


Speaking from my own experience, my gaming group's hobby mojo was stagnated. One local shop had some Age of Sigmar preorders, but the Fantasy game night is dead and they are liquidating their Fantasy inventory. Another shop that I don't get to often enough seems to be switching to Kings of War, but I don't know if Age of Sigmar is altogether dead there. Some Warhammer podcasts are embracing Age of Sigmar, while others have ended, but I don't know of any NEW podcasts that started up since Age of Sigmar began. So, all in all, I can't really say whether Age of Sigmar is a success or not. I think (as I had predicted) it is likely a wash.


The Final Campaign Update


Our Campaign has officially crapped out. The last update was in September of 2014, but we've been trying to maintain progress. It's been slow going, to say the least, and I think we're finally at the point where we should just call it quits.

 

Our Players


Justin Cunnane: Chixl's Warhost (Lizardmen)

Jason Pierson: Waaagh Blackfang (Orcs & Goblins)

Rob Hawkins: Skryre Lord Skreekits' Lightning Engineer Cult (Skaven)


Turn 13

 

 

The Skaven besieged the city of Malko (territory 64) in an effort to wrest control from the Orcs. It was a massacre, the Skaven were unable to take the city and their banner was Scattered.


Atop his wyvern, the warboss readies his troops behind the walls.

 

Goblin war machines occupy the towers.

 

The Skaven battle line, ready for assault.

 

Warlord Skabsis and his Clanrats, carrying ladders.

 

Gutter Runners deployed, their poisoned slings at the ready.

 

Their siege tower destroyed, the remaining forces rush toward the walls.

 

In the end, the Clanrats could not take the walls.

 

The Skaven banner attacking territory 74 suffered horrible losses was also Scattered. Against the Lizardmen in territory 12, the Skaven sufferen only a minor loss– A difference of less than 300 victory points would have been a draw; Justin won by 396 points, so my army retreated back to the tower of Tor Anrok.

 

 

Turn 14


All-out war erupts across the Skaven and Orc front... But no one has any time to play.

 

 

In territory 75, the Skaven massacre the Orcs. Jay had been consistently taking a gigantic block of 70 Orc Boyz, a medium sized regiment of Black Orcs and a medium sized regiment of Savage Orcs. I managed to break the large block of Orc Boyz and inflict approximately half casualties on the other two units using the Plague spell and the new Stormfields' rattling cannons.


When I faced Jay again in territory 76, the battle was much closer. He deployed his Orcs in a semicircle around his Rock Lobbas in an effort to prevent me from attacking them with my infiltrating Gutter Runners. The Rock Lobbas killed my Screaming Bell on turn two. Then the Stormfiends tunneled up and shot up the Black Orcs, wiping them out over the course of a few turns. and over a few turns. Jay's Rock Lobbas scored 2 hits on the Stormfiends, but only inflicted 1 wound each time, which wasn't enough to kill even a single model. The Gutter Runners infiltrated turn on turn two, and by turn four had eliminated two of Jay's Rock Lobbas.


I had eight Warlock Engineers as chaff, and they were able to hold up the large Orc Boy unit and prevent them from getting too close. Jay tried to use the Hand of Gork spell to get them into position, but the unit was just too large to effectively position.


The Grey Seer, having survived the destruction of the Screaming Bell, moved over to my Skavenslaves and continued slinging spells like Plague. He scored a solid hit on the Savage Orcs and then it spread to the Orc Boys. The Savage orcs charged my Stormvermin, but my assassin failed to kill Jay's warboss, and the unit broke. The Stormfiends then shot them to pieces. The battle lost, the Orcs retreated to territory 79.

 

 

That's where we called the campaign. In the final standings, Jay's Orcs have the clear advantage with my Skaven coming in a close second. Justin's Lizardmen are third, with Josh's Ogres, Lou's Dark Elves, and Steve's Empire all eliminated respectively.

In retrospect, perhaps a good idea for future map-based campaigns would be to end the campaign once half of the players have been eliminated, rather than letting it limp along with only a couple remaining players who find themselves battling each other four or five times per turn. It also gives a bit of power to the the players who are in the middle of the pack, allowing them to play "kingmaker," so to speak. As the bottom tier is eliminated and the top tier scoops up large swathes of territory, a mid-tier player can strategically eliminate himself when one of his allies is on top.

In our case, that would mean that after Steve and Lou were eliminated, Josh or Justin could have dropped out, bringing the player eliminations to the halfway mark and ending the campaign, giving the victory to myself or Jay, depending on who was on top at the moment.

I think we were all getting fatigued with the campaign though, and then the End Times and end of Warhammer as we know it just killed any drive to do, well... anything for the hobby.

The Future of Warhammer

I've finished all of my outstanding Skaven modeling projects, so my attention has turned back to my Vampire Counts. Not sure where I'll land on the Warhammer front. The guys have been mostly against Age of Sigmar. I have yet to play a game using any of the army building comp packs. Hopefully those will allow for some balanced army machups. I've only got three Age of Sigmar games under my belt so far and, while they were all fun, they mostly felt like they weren't balanced– That is, the games were won or lost because the army builds weren't comparable.
 

Everyone talks about scenario play, and how the books contain all these great scenarios. So the game that boasts free rules is great if you purchase a bunch of $60 or $70 books. For me, that's never going to happen because I have ZERO interest in the story of the Age of Sigmar, and I can't justify that price for a few pages of scenarios. I just listened to Garagehammer's lackluster review of the Seraphon Battletome, and it gives me little hope that any of the armies from Warhammer will see any justice in the new age. Sure, the Slaan themselves have escaped the Old World and can call up their former legions from memory, or stardust, or whatever-the-hell, but what about the mortal races? Have your Empire or Bretonnian generals and heroes also slipped their earthly bonds and been magically transported thousands of years into the future? No? Then I guess they're just dead.

I can't remember if I said this in a previous post, but as far as I'm concerned, my armies' mythology is still rooted in the Old World. I'm fine with using Age of Sigmar rules to represent Old World battles, but the idea of my Skaven characters surviving thousands of years into the future, or even my necromancers and vampires existing eons later in the Realm of Death is kind of ludicrous.

A local store is trying to get regular Kings of War tournaments off the ground. They've been holding one each month, and I think they have a decent following. So I might try the Kings of War route. but even if that pans out, it will still be "pretend Warhammer." I'll be imagining that my army is still a force in the Old World squaring off against "Chaos Dwarfs invading Sylvania", instead of Abyssal Dwarves fighting in Mantica. Whatever.

On to 2016

A lot of my blog time this year was spent playing catch-up from missed posts. I think next year I'll be treating the blog as more of a project log, with weekly updates of whatever I'm working on, rather than holding out until I have full-blown tutorials and completed projects to post. And, of course, more terrain.

'Til next year!

9 comments:

  1. Best wishes for the new year!
    With lots of fun moments, great games and painting time.

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  2. You should really try Ninth Age. Our gaming group decided to continue our campaign in 2016 using ninth age rules. Otherwise this would have ment the death of our campaign.

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  3. Happy new year.

    Looking forward to your posts for 2016. It's a shame your WHF is stalling out. For some reason 8th is having a bit of a resurgance at our club at the moment.

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  4. You should really try Ninth Age. Our gaming group decided to continue our campaign in 2016 using ninth age rules. Otherwise this would have ment the death of our campaign.

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  5. Happy Newyear & I look forward to some more great work from you in 2016.

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  6. I've tried Kings of War only once so far, so take this opinion with a grain of salt, but if you wish to retain the "feel" of the Warhammer world, I think you're better served going in the direction of 8th, 8.5, or 9th Age. KoW works in its own right, but I found I couldn't mentally/psychologically overlay it with a Warhammer vibe. The unit abilities are different enough, and the Mantica fluff is certainly different enough, to wrench your mind out of the Warhammer world as much as AoS does.

    I too want the Warhammer world to endure. I think the setting will become "owned" by the community, in the same way that the community assumed the care-and-feeding of Blood Bowl and the Lord of the Rings Strategy Game.

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  7. With your terrain building skills, you should have a look at Frostgrave. Not comparable, I know, being a tiny warband-based deal. It's really good fun, though, and I for one would love to see what you'd do with frozen ruins as a themed board!

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  8. I,too, still have a Warhammer shaped hole in my hobby gaming experience. While others games are fun and challenging in their own right, with Malifaux being a current favourite in our group, it's never quite the same.

    Still, I'll at least have your super cool blog posts to look forward to in 2016, so all is not lost.

    Happy new year!

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