Saturday, December 24, 2016

Eucebium Awakened

Last Sunday was our Age of Sigmar Game Day.  At the last one (Road to the Azyrspire) the Azyrspire was captured by Lord Egon of the Wanderers Clan Druthain.  They wanted to channel the power of the Azyrspire to recapture the Gates of Eucebium, but the Wanderers player wasn't there this time, so he didn't get the chance to re-take the Gates, but boy did he re-open them.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Magnetizing a Terrorgheist

I recently bought "King Vlagorescu's Ghoulish Host" and just finished my Terrorgheist the other day.  I don't have WIP pictures, but I thought I'd share a bit about magnetizing it for convenient transportation.  For starters, I gave very serious consideration to magnetizing it so that it could convert between a Terrorgheist and Zombie Dragon.  In the end, I decided that this was pretty infeasible.  There is a nice tutorial on how to do it at this blog, but after looking at the pieces in person, I decided that it was not for me.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Clash of Kingdoms: 3rd time's a charm

After yet another test battle, I have settled on a third option for handling Underdog Deeds in my new Clash of Kingdoms framework.


I liked the math of my second attempt, but it felt a little lackluster in terms of creating memorable and cinematic games.  Really, it felt more like a purely mathematical fix.  So I came up with a solution, which is to have the Underdog choose one of the existing victory conditions to be their "Underdog Deed".  I'm hoping that this will make the battles more tactically interesting and place a finger on the scales for the Underdog without overdoing it or making it feel boring.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Agents of Shield: Season 4

When Agents of SHIELD first launched back in 2013, I had high hopes for it.  As the seasons wore on though, it became clear that Agents of SHIELD was just never going to recover from its conversion from a Firefly-inspired episodic adventure show (most of season 1) to a Buffy-esque supernatural serial drama (seasons 2 and 3).  Five episodes into Season 4, I can conclusively say I was wrong.  Season 4 is awesome.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Clash of Kingdoms: 2nd attempt

Last weekend, I managed to get a couple of playtest games in using my "Clash of Kingdoms" framework.  Both games were fairly strange, but any time you want to learn something from a game, it's pretty much guaranteed that it won't go smoothly.

The main weirdness was that in both games, the Underdog would have won even without any hand on the scales (in these games the Underdog was 25 wounds down).  Because I had been doubling all Laurels of Victory in that bracket, the scores were wildly divergent even though the games were fairly hard fought.  So, having been down that road now, I don't think that multiplicative effects are the best way to go.


My new draft instead has the following Underdog rule:

"At the end of each of the Underdog's turns, if they scored at least one Laurel of Victory during that turn they also gain the appropriate number of bonus Laurels of Victory as shown on the table to the left."  (The table has the same points on it as the old Underdog Deeds table)

I'll be testing this one out this weekend, so hopefully it will work out nicely and I can release it to my gaming group for our next event!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Craftworld Flyers

Going has been slow lately, but I'm nearly finished with the final warscrolls for the Craftworld.  So here are the Crimson Hunter and the Hemlock Wraithfighter.

I wanted the Crimson Hunter to be an Aspect Warrior, but this would have created some weird interactions with the Autarch.

The other flyer is cool because it's both a Psyker and a Reanimant.  I was happy when I read up on this one and learned that it really was a "wraith" unit.  It knows Terrify which is a bravery based attack.

All that's really left now is the Wraithknight.  I've still got a long ways to go on the Battle Traits and Artefacts and whatnot for these guys though.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Clash of Kingdoms

I've been working lately on the future of the monthly Age of Sigmar Game Day I run.  I am trying to make good use of the lessons I've learned from the past six months of running these events so that I can improve things for the next "season".  So far, we have used the Clash of Empires style of battleplan (a la Warhammer World) for all of the events, including an 8-player Coalition of Death battle, and some 4-player Triumph and Treachery battles (the battleplans for all of these events are available in the Efengie Campaign Book).  I have really liked this style of battleplan because it does not rely on points, but still provides structure for the event.  So I am making some changes, and am working on a new framework which I will call "Clash of Kingdoms".

Monday, October 31, 2016

Magic the Gathering: Mini Spectrum

As a player of various games, I spent my youth playing a lot of Magic: the Gathering.  As time has gone on, I have other things to spend money on and keep up with, but I still often play with my wife and we wanted a way to do a little bit of fun deck-building without much investment, so I invented a new format.

I call it Mini Spectrum, but I'm sure somebody else could come up with a better name for it.  It labors under the following restrictions.  Your deck must consist of:

Plains x3
Island x3
Swamp x3
Mountain x3
Forest x3

Cards of your choice x15

All cards are restricted to one copy per deck (except I guess Relentless Rats?).


It's basically just a constructed version of Mini Masters.  Like Commander, games tend to be long(ish) and unfocused.  The deck building restrictions make card choice very interesting since you can't skimp too much on any one color (although an artifact deck could probably do fairly well), and need to watch out for cards that require more than one colored mana.

I've played quite a bit of it with my wife, and while we haven't worked really hard to build busted decks or anything, I think it's definitely got potential to be a fun format.  If anybody tries it out, let me know in the comments, I'd certainly enjoy hearing experiences besides my own.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Efengie Campaign Book

I have officially completed the first Efengie Campaign Book!  If you've read much of anything here, you may have seen some of my Eucebium posts.  This is the culmination of about six months of running themed Age of Sigmar events at my FLGS.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Age of 40k

I've had a couple people in the comments mention more specific and restrictive elements of 40k that I don't generally think mesh well with warscroll design, however, it seems like there is a desire to replicate some of those mechanics, and so I am happy to do so if it makes my work on these warscrolls more enjoyable.  Much like my prior 'Age of Warhammer' rules, this is a one page 'Age of 40k' rules set (pdf here) that brings in some of the mechanics that people seem to want without overpowering existing mechanics or forcing them on anybody.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Lady's Blessing

Mengel Miniatures is running a fiction contest for their Endless Deserts campaign book.  So I entered this story about some Duke Eobard of Betone (the Endless Deserts home for Bretonnians displaced by the End Times).  I've added some pictures of my Black Knights to illustrate (they were taken in my 2 year old's sandbox!).

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fliers in AoS 40k

As this post will demonstrate, I'm well on my way to having Necrons up and running with a full complement of warscrolls (I'll put them up sometime in the next week or so after I finish proofreading them).  So what's next? (Besides of course finishing the battle traits for about half of the armies)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sororitas Tanks

Although I still haven't finished a warscroll for the Penitent Engine, I've got new warscrolls for the Immolator and Exorcist.  I initially set out to make a Sororitas Rhino so that they could have a transport, but then I remembered that their Razorback equivalent was the Immolator.  So what I've done here is make the Immolator their main transport, and they can downgrade the Heavy Weapon to a Storm Bolter in exchange for an increase in transport space.  When it's downgraded, it's still cooler than a Rhino in some ways because it's got the Blood of Martyrs ability, and it can have a twin-linked Melta-gun or Flamer "instead of" a Storm Bolter.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Greater Good Battle Traits

The next army getting Battletome treatment is the Greater Good (aka Tau).  I have more than one friend who plays this army, so it was an early request, and I thought I should get it up to snuff.  The Greater Good's battle traits are Overwatch, and more options for how to use Markerlight tokens.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Review: Luke Cage

Luke Cage is the newest entry in the Netflix Defenders family of tv shows.  It follows in the footsteps of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, both of which were excellent, but I think managed to outdo both of them.  Insomuch as Daredevil is the Iron Man of Hell's Kitchen, and Jessica Jones is the Hulk with a worse attitude, Luke Cage is Harlem's Captain America.  Not only did they call him that at one point in the show, but he is the most morally centered hero of the Defenders so far.  Though he frequently says "I'm not the hero type", he is really the only one so far acting out of altruism.

I think that Luke Cage was a higher quality television show than the others because it made excellent use of social commentary.  It used the story of Luke Cage as a finely crafted metaphor for social ills of our time, all without losing sight of the superhero show I wanted to see.  It espoused a similar view of the world to Zootopia, and like Zootopia kept its eye on the ball, making good use of allegory without sacrificing the story.

The show was also the best so far at tying itself into the larger universe.  Not only did they name drop when appropriate, but minor characters (very minor, but memorable too) from the other Defenders shows were sprinkled liberally at the edges of the show.

All in all, I really honestly think it was the best one yet.  Even if you haven't watched the others, you don't really need to have.  While it uses some of the same characters (especially Claire Temple), it isn't super important for you to already know who they are.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Kabalites Battle Trait

It's already up with the rest of the battletomes, but I thought I'd talk a little about the Kabalites Battle Traits.  Some armies (like the Dark Eldar) have army-wide abilities that pretty much already resemble battle traits.  Other armies (like Imperial Guard) do not.  The Dark Eldar's Combat Drugs and Power from Pain abilities lent themselves to this task, so I rolled with it.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Malifaux Overview

I don't only play Age of Sigmar (even though it might seem that way).  I also dabble in a variety of other games, one of which is Malifaux.  This is going to be kind of a rambling review/discussion of the game and its models.

The game itself is a lot like WarMachine in that it has very complete and thorough rules.  However, unlike WarMachine, it is not quite so cut-throat in spirit.  It is highly scenario driven (more so than any other miniatures game I've played) and the players basically never have the same victory conditions.  In fact, the core rulebook even includes a "narrative" scenario generator.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Kabalite Abominations

The Kabalite Abominations (as I'm calling them) are a sub-faction with five units to their name.  They are led by the Haemonculus, who can get them into combat quickly with his "Speed of Pain" command ability (I've noticed that for whatever reason there ended up being more pop culture references in the Dark Eldar than I've had in most of the other armies).  The Haemonculus also has a couple ways to deal some extra damage.  Shadow of the Torturer messes with nearby enemies' battleshock tests, and the Torturer's Tools have a somewhat open-ended damage roll.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dark Eldar Kabalites

While I have been posting about these new "battletomes", I have been creating warscrolls for the Dark Eldar, a.k.a. Kabalites.  These guys appear to be the most fragmented of all of the 40k armies in terms of having distinct sub-factions each with their own leaders and troops and whatnot.  I ended up classifying them into four different groupings.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Battletome: Imperium Astartes

Last Monday, I updated the Space Marine Warscroll Compendium to Battletome: Imperium Astartes.  Now they have Battle Traits, Artefacts, Command Traits, and access to the Librarius Discipline.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Battletome: Space Orkz

On Monday, I updated the Space Orkz (along with Imperium Astartes) to a new Battletome style!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Looted Wagon

I've been working on completing warscrolls for (at a minimum) every unit that GW produces in each army, along with a few other oldies that catch my fancy (like the Mycetic Spore).  Today, I want to show off a unit that was always one of my favorites, the Looted Wagon.  Though the Lootas can go joyriding in/on/around other armies' vehicles during the game, this warscroll is representative of a vehicle that has been in Orky hands for somewhat longer, so certain "modifications" have been made.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tutorial: How to Paint Blood

Over my years of painting zombies, ghouls, nurgle stuff, and so forth, I have developed a pretty solid technique for painting fresh slick looking blood that I'd like to share today.  I used it recently on the champion for my Putrid Blight Kings, and I've been using it a lot lately to paint my big box of Flesh-Eater Courts guys.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Battletome: Tyranids Preview

It might seem like I'm only working on Tyranids, but I'm actually bouncing around between them, Space Marines, and Space Orks right now trying to get Allegiance Abilities in line.  However, since I have been posting about Tyranids a lot lately, I'm going to share some previews from the Battletome I've been hard at work on.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Harpy

Back to getting Tyranid monsters on the table, we have the Harpy.  A few posts ago I talked about distinguishing between these monsters (especially when two are made from the same kit) and making sure that they are appreciably different.  The Harpy and Hive Crone were not (in my opinion) appreciably different.  They were both just flying bugs with cannons, so (after spending a long time looking at the models playing spot the difference) I did end up rolling those two together.

I did distinguish between the two cannon options, but ended up foregoing both Tentaclids and angry scream for Spore Mine Cysts, because those seemed like the more interesting option.  I tried something a little different with the Drool Cannon, instead of having the damage/rend/hit/wound drop as it gets injured, the range on the weapon drops.  I don't think this should cause any problems as the Harpy has somewhat reduced damage output when compared to similar monsters.  It dishes out a little less damage to make up for the fact that it is a very mobile ranged combatant, something that deserves a pretty high premium in AoS.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sporocyst and Tyrannocyte

I'm getting pretty close to completing the Tyranid army.  This time I've finished the Sporocyst, Tyrannocyte, and because I'm still stuck nursing old wounds (and have three of them converted sitting on a shelf), the Mycetic Spore.

Seriously though, my feeling was that the Mycetic Spore was different enough from these new-fangled Tyrannocytes that it warranted a separate warscroll for all its immobile glory.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Warscroll Design Methodology

I received a question on one of my recent posts regarding how I create these.  It seemed like something that would be interested to devote a post to, just to go over my methodology, and how you can make your own warscrolls.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Trygons and Mawlocs and Fruit... OH MY!!

In my continuing quest to get more big bugs on the battlfield, I present the Trygon and the Mawloc.  In working on the big bugs, I also have a game design thing to talk about.  I seriously considered rolling all of these big bugs into a single warscroll much like I did with the various tanks.  For example, I rolled the Basilisk, Hydra, Hellhound, and so forth all together in a single "Artillery Tank" warscroll for the Astra Militarum.  The reason for this was that I didn't see anything that actually made these tanks unique.  All they had was different weaponry, which is easy to do on the warscroll, especially using the Tactical Weapons ability that I cooked up for Imperium units.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tyranid Broodkin

Going back and looking at the Tyranid warscrolls made me really want to make Genestealers into their own proper faction.  Fortunately, the models exist for this job!  I changed their keyword from Broodspawn to Broodkin (important stuff), kept the Broodlord and Genestealers mostly the same, and added new warscrolls for the Magus, Acolyte Hybrids, Neophyte Hybrids, and Aberrant Hybrids.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Tervigon and The Tyrannofex

I am now undertaking the daunting task of getting some more Tyranid monsters on the table.  Monsters take a lot longer to stat out because the math is a bit more involved what with the damage table and all.  Today I've got two big gross Tyranid monsters to add; the Tervigon, and the Tyrannofex.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Battle Traits (Imperium Astartes and Tyranids)

I've only got two armies left to go before I've got the basics out of the way (Dark Eldar and Necrons are both currently in the works), so I'd like to discuss what's next, and that's Allegiance Abilities.  I'm not going to add these to the Warscroll Compendiums until I've gotten a chance to test them because I think that an overpowered Battle Trait could easily get a lot more out of hand than a single warscroll.  But I would like to show off the two I'm currently working on.  I'm starting with Space Marines and Tyranids as I did way back when I began this project, mostly because those are the main armies my brother and I have, so it'll be easy to get some test games in.

Friday, September 2, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Astra Militarum Tanks

I've completed the Astra Militarum for the time being (and they are now up at the 40k warscrolls tab).  The last bit to show off is the tanks.  There are lots and lots of tanks available to the Imperial Guard (not even counting all of the Forge World stuff), and I am not super interested in exploring the intricacies of each and every one of them (just being honest).  So in the same way that I made the Predator extremely open-ended so that its warscroll could be used to represent Whirlwinds, Vindicators, and really any other tank on that chassis, I ended up making two tank warscrolls to represent most of the breadth of the Astra Militarum's battle tanks.

First, the Leman Russ can be used for basically anything on the Leman Russ chassis.  It has a turret, side sponsons, and a hull weapon, all of which are customizable by the Tactical Weapons ability.

The second is the Artillery Tank (because I couldn't think of a cleverer name for it), which can be used for the Basilisk, Hydra, Hellhound, Wyvern, Manticore, and all of the other tanks with that chassis.

At some point in the future, I will probably make a warscroll for tanks on the Baneblade chassis, but not this day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Wulfen and the Sanguinor

I received a request in the comments to make a Wulfen warscroll, and it rang some bells in my head, so I ended up spending way too much time today revisiting both the Blood Angels and Space Wolves warscroll compendiums.  One thing I wasn't super happy with when I first made them was how the specific chapters interact with vanilla marines.  With the addition of Wulfen and the Sanguinor, I feel like these two chapters are now more like proper Age of Sigmar factions, each with a few of their own "battleline" sorts of units, and their own leader.  The updated warscroll compendiums are available of course at the 40k Warscrolls tab, but here are the two new warscrolls (although many of the older warscrolls in those two factions have been tweaked as well).

The Wulfen are inspired a little by the new Orruk Brutes in that they have mixed weaponry like crazy.  These guys make up the foot troops of the newly minted "Fenryka" faction of Astartes.  I imagine that they would work as their own faction with Wulfen and Thunderwolves making up the massed units and the Wolf Lord at the fore.  They've even got their own Psyker (the Rune Priest), so they really have everything a faction needs.  By renaming them Fenryka, they're also able to work for successor chapters (not that the Wolves have many of those).

Similarly, the Blood Angels are now "Sanguine Astartes".  What they lacked was a leader, so I added the Sanguinor.  Even though he was a special character, I feel like the proper Sanguinor model or Astorath or just some cool looking dude with a jump pack and a big sword could do the trick quite nicely.  This guy is really just a beatstick character with a pretty cool command ability, and he rounds out the faction.  So Sanguine Astartes now has a leader, a psyker dreadnaught, and two units of their own (Sangunary Guard and Death Company) to round out a proper faction.

Of course all this isn't to say you can't mix them with plain old Imperium Astartes, it's just that they have some fun internal synergy now.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Ogryns, Ratlings, and Chimeras... OH MY!

Continuing with the Astra Militarum, I've made a design decision.  I think that the IG will only be defined by the "Imperium" keyword.  I think that unlike other Imperial sub-factions, they are going to be kind of the default Imperium forces.  Some keywords seem necessary while others don't, and so while Sororitas or Inquisition seem fairly important, Astra Militarum doesn't.

So as I mentioned before, the Imperium forces will feed off of the Infantry Squad to play into a kind of platoon structure where the infantry forces are important.  The Ogryn are pretty heavily cribbed from Ogor Kingdoms what with the Bull Charge, but you know, they carry guns.  I don't know if I'll make an Ogryn Tyrant with a Ripper Gun.  I just can't say.

I also made Ratlings, who actually seem like they could be pretty beast despite themselves.  They can't stand up in a stiff breeze, but they sure can dish out some pain from a long ways away.

Last, but definitely not least, I didn't want to leave those of you who might actually be using these high and dry while I finish up other things.  I figure the Chimera and Heavy Weapons Squad should round out the essentials.  I'm actually pretty proud of the Chimera's design since it's pretty different from a Rhino.  It's a little less durable, but it's got a lot more going on.  I think that Mobile Command Vehicle will be great not only for people playing IG, but also for carrying around Inquisitors, or even other Imperial heroes who want a bit of safety.  To clarify (and I'll try to reword the ability on the warscroll to give it greater clarity), the Chimera should be able to hold a unit of 12 in addition to a Hero.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Turning the Leaf

In July I ran the third installment in my five part Age of Sigmar Game Day series.  This month, the forces of order, reeling from their loss at Fort S'nak, have attempted to regroup at the mythical Skywell to be empowered by its nourishing waters.  The events have grown steadily in participation.  In the first one, we had 4 people, then 5, and now 6 for the Ambush at the Skywell.

I though this one went especially well and that I'll explore more heavy handed special rules in the future (like the Ambush).  The things that made this successful I think were that the special rule had a large impact, but didn't need to be remembered throughout the battle.  It made an early splash and then was unimportant for the remainder of the battle.

At the end of the day, a newcomer rocking the new Sylvaneth won the most battles, so the story ended up being about how her Sylvaneth intervened and "betrayed" Lord Cueyatl and Lady Vendetta to steal the skywell's power for herself.

This Sunday, we'll be following up with a climactic multi-player battle on the Windswept Plain!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: Astra Militarum

Having received a request to do the good old Imperial Guard next, I shall oblige.  I've only gotten a little bit completed so far, but here's a few warscrolls to get you started.  I've got rough drafts for the Company Commander, Infantry Squad, and Imperial Commissar.  The Company Commander is cool because he can issue two commands per turn.  I figured since the IG have issuing commands as a mechanic in 40k, they should probably be awesome at issuing commands in AoS.

The Imperial Commissar is a support character who can dish out a bit of hurt while also keeping his charges from running off.

The heart of the Astra Militarum is the Infantry Squad.  For obvious reasons, they're very similar to a tactical squad, but they have access to mortars, which do not require line of sight!  Other "Infantry Platoon" units are going to get a bonus for being near an Infantry Squad, which will make the Infantry Squad a great focal point for the Astra Militarum to rally around.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Eucebium Map Campaign

Since I'm working on my Eucebium campaign book to go with the series of events I've been running at my FLGS, I was inspired by the Map Campaign rules in the General's Handbook to make my own Spoils list for the map of Eucebium.  This seems like a really fun and easy way to run a simple campaign with minimal work.  I especially like that their Map Campaign rules are built around a map with about a dozen named locations on it.  Pretty much every book they've released so far has such a map in it, which leaves the creative endeavor of creating 'Spoils' special rules to the players.  Anyway, since I had already created my own map, I figured I might as well include a map campaign in the Efengie campaign book I'm working on.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review: Star Trek Beyond

This weekend, I went with my wife to see the newest entry in the Star Trek series.  From watching previews, I didn't expect much.  I looked like a pretty standard action romp in which they listened to the Beastie Boys and Bones was cranky.  They did not disappoint.  It was in fact a pretty standard action romp.  They listened to the Beastie Boys.  Bones was cranky.  I only mention Bones because he really stood out in this movie.

Early in the movie (I'm going to keep this as unspoilery as I can) the crew gets split up.  So there is a lot of stuff going on and it keeps jumping back and forth between different characters and groups of characters.  Most of the movie is spent getting the characters to coalesce again into a crew.  Anyhow, that element (along with more use of shaky-cam than I was happy with) made the movie feel somewhat frenetic and hard to follow.  That said, I think that made Bones stand out because he is so grounded during the movie, simplifying concepts so he can complain about them efficiently.

Honestly, I've got to say that the plot of this movie reminds me much more of Wrath of Khan than anything else.  That's all I'll say on that subject, but if you have opinions please sound off in the comments.

The movie has one of the best set-piece fight scenes I've ever seen.  It's extremely vertiginous for those not educated on orbital mechanics (it didn't bother me at all).  It does the classic Star Trek thing where you introduce a really cool idea and then barely use it for anything besides a backdrop (I'm looking at you Dyson Sphere episode of TNG), but it was a pretty awesome backdrop.

Also, as I was watching it (and I should have gotten this from just the trailer) I felt like the entire space adventure genre was upended by Guardians of the Galaxy.  The movie felt like it was trying really hard to iterate on GotG's success.  I think they actually did a good job with this and the movie didn't feel unoriginal, it just felt like it was made in a post GotG world.

I know this was more of a series of thoughts than a proper review, but that's what you get.  I'm not going to give it a number of stars, I'll just say that if you are expecting a fun sci-fi film, you'll probably not be disappointed.  If you're expecting a brilliant movie that will blow you away, maybe watch something else.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review: General's Handbook

Yesterday I laid my grubby hands on a fresh new copy of the General's Handbook.  I wasn't one of the folks who was excited about playing with points, I've been much more interested by the Narrative section (which lucky for me seems to have most of the content!).  This book is solid content.  It has a few stories in it, but is mostly just rules for making AoS the game you want to play.  So now that I've had a chance to settle in and peruse it, I'll give you a quick rundown of what you'll find in it, and my personal take on it.

Open Play (3/5)
This section is really just about multi-player battles.  They've split multi-player into two types, "Coalition of Death" and "Triumph and Treachery".  These are team battles and every-man-for-himself type battles respectively.  The book has two "Coalition" battleplans and four "Treachery" battleplans, but there is a catch; two of the "Treachery" battleplans have these funky battlefield layouts that arrange the seven Realm of Battle tiles that you've obviously purchased in a sort of circular pattern.  These two battleplans do not really seem like they can be played handily without such shenanigans, so I think for a lot of players they simply won't be used.  This leaves four other battleplans for us to throw down with, so it's not like it's a waste or anything, but it was a little disappointing that they went there.

Narrative Play (5/5)
As I mentioned, this is the section I was most hyped about, and I can say for a certainty that it did not disappoint.  In this section, you will find:
- 4 narrative battleplans (lopsided and wacky things like completing a ritual, fighting a monster, making a heroic last stand, and summoning a thunderstorm)
- 2 historical battleplans (complete with historical army lists for you to use)
- Path to Glory warband tables (I'm sure you've seen plenty about this, but it has tables for creating and maintaining Chaos, Death, Ironjawz, Fyreslayers, Skaven, Sylvaneth, and Stormcast warbands)
- 2 Path to Glory battleplans (these seem fairly niche)
- 3 different campaign types (map, tree, and matrix)
- 6 more battleplans to go with the campaign rules

That's a bunch of stuff.  I honestly can't say I've read all these battleplans, but from what I've seen, they look like fun and I'm looking forward to playing through their tree campaign (which is what the battleplans go with ostensibly).  If you wanted to play in a Path to Glory campaign with Gutbusters or Freeguild or anything not on that list, you'll just need to make your own tables, there is no support for anything not on that list (which is a surprisingly comprehensive list, but could have perhaps used entries for Destruction and Order).

Of the three different campaign types two (map and tree) can be used as stand-alone campaigns.  The third (matrix) is really more of an advanced technique for organizing a specific battle in a fun way.  I can imagine using it along with a single well-written battleplan (like Clash of Empires or one of the Pitched Battles) to run a two-player campaign, but it is not as robust as the other two campaign types.

The Narrative Play section is a huge step up in support for campaign players from basically any prior attempts at GW to get people to "forge the narrative".  I think that including this in a book that will be purchased by nearly every AoS player will generate a lot of creativity and fun in the community at large and will probably be more important than the next section (Matched Play) in the long run.  Speaking of which...

Matched Play (4/5)
So I'll confess, the first thing I did when I got this book was hand it to my brother so he could write an army list.  After he was finished with that, we played a 2,000 point game using the "Border War" Pitched Battle battleplan.  Points and Pitched Battles have been absolutely the most hyped part of this book.  While the Pitched Battles seem like really fun and well-designed battleplans, the points and force org left a little to be desired perhaps.

By a merely surface inspection, the points don't seem to add a lot of balance.  They add structure for those who need structure, but don't seem to finely tuned with some clever mathematical formula or anything.  Compare (for example) the new Kurnoth Hunters to Ironguts:

Ironguts - 3 models for 220 pts
4 wounds per model; 4+ save
2.18 damage per action per model 
Kurnoth Hunters - 3 models for 180 points
5 wounds per model; 4+ save
2.22 damage per action per model (with the Scythes, which have the same 2" range as Ironguts)

Take a look at the warscrolls and make up your own mind, but I don't feel like this is going to be the comp to end all comps.

There is also an Allegiance section of the book.  I think this will be a lot of fun and is another open ended section that provides stuff to do with what we will.  Specifically, it has an allegiance ability for each of the Grand Alliances.  These are fun, but I think are mostly balanced for Matched Play.  The Command Traits and Artefacts, however, are pretty cool.  Command Traits are special rules you can use to customize your general (think warlord traits in 40k), while Artefacts are magic items that can be carried by the heroes of your army.  I think that these will see a lot of play in both one-off games and campaign type situations.

All told, I think that Matched Play is a great addition to AoS.  It really opens up the game to a whole additional community of players and a new way of playing.

Overall (4/5)

They don't figure into the score, but:
Artwork - this book is full of little illuminations and decorations, but only has a few pieces of full-page artwork.  Spreads are in general reserved for photography, of which there is a pretty large amount.
Fluff - In the narrative section, there are a few fluff bits that go with the historical battleplans, but for the most part there is not much fluff in this book.  This is definitely a rules book.

Monday, July 4, 2016

S'nak Battle!

Last weekend I held the second Age of Sigmar Game Day event at my FLGS.  This time we were battling for control of Fort S'nak, a crucial control point for the Vale of Efengie.

We had an odd number of players (five, up one from last month!), so rather than having a buy we had one of the battles in the first round be a two on one match.  The Ogor and Orruk inhabitants of the Vale ended up siding with Order, so the two player team was an army of Ogors combined with Seraphon, and a small contingent of Fyreslayers.

We decided that the team would get 30 models between them, one of which would be the general.  Also, since we had special rules for the battleplan, we decided that only one model in the entire combined army would wield a Titan-Forged Weapon.

Round 1

Ogors with Seraphon and Fyreslayers vs. Beastmen
While the Beastmen were severely outmatched by Order and their allies, they managed to survive the battle and maintain control of their section of the fort.  The battle came down to the survival of a single Gorghon who was appropriately engaged with the Doomseeker from Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower.  Apparently the Doomseeker was not prepared to emulate the slayers of old.

Ironjawz vs. Hosts of Slaanesh
On the other side of the monstrous Fort S'nak, roughly even contingents of Ironjawz and Slaanesh devotees battled for control of the gates.  The Hosts of Slaanesh were victorious here with support from some Legion of Azorgh artillery.

Round 2

Ironjawz vs. Beastmen
The Ironjawz, this time with a Maw Krusha at the helm, thoroughly stomped the Beastmen army.  There was one turn when the Maw Krusha was buffed by the Battering Ram command ability and charged into a building full of Gors; so in addition to its normal impact hits, it also inflicted D6 mortal wounds on the unit.

Seraphon vs. Hosts of Slaanesh
This time, the Hosts of Slaanesh were led by an old school (horse riding) Archaon wielding a Titan-Forged Weapon.  The Seraphon army consisted of three dinosaurs (Engine of the Gods, Stegadon, and Bastilodon) and a Slaan (in addition to a few other stray units).  In addition to the armies being somewhat bombastic, the Seraphon foolishly set up around a mystical building which worked about as poorly as you can possibly imagine.  So it was basically a bloodbath.

So with three of the four battles going to Chaos, the Fort fell to the dark gods leaving the Vale open for a more substantive assault.  Here's the revised battleplan (with a few things fixed post-event) along with a fluff piece about the most important combat of the afternoon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Battle for Efengie: The Siege of Fort S'nak

Last month, at my FLGS, we enjoyed the first entry in the Battle for Efengie storyline.  This month, we're advancing to the Siege of Fort S'nak.  While the first event was fun (we had low attendance, but I think all of us had a good time), it was requested that it be more story heavy next time.  This is good news for me, because that's really what I wanted all along anyways.  I'm actually developing a campaign book based on the storyline which I will here when it is complete, but for now you guys can have a couple of teaser pages.

Last time I shared my small map of the Vale of Efengie, but this time you get to see the full map of Eucebium.  As you can see, the Vale is only a small area of it.

In working within the Clash of Empires framework, I've made this new battleplan format.  It basically lays out the framework such that players can know what is going to remain constant.  I'm fleshing out each event by making another page with the Laurels of Victory table, Underdog Deeds, and any special rules for the battle as below with the Realmgate Incursion battleplan.

After the first battle, I made this fluff page along with the Siege of Fort S'nak battleplan.  Basically that's what I'll be doing going forward.  After each event I'll write some fluff based on what happened and then craft the next battleplan to follow through on the outcomes of previous battles.

In this case, Fort S'nak is a landmark from our old store map.  It was general occupied by our FLGS owner who saw it as his moral obligation to hold the Fort and the City of Register at all times because somebody had to work the store.  Lady Vendetta (as mentioned in the fluff below) is his Ogre Tyrant.  In Sigmarizing the old fluff, I decided that Fort S'nak (formerly Snack) was an immense Sky Titan fortress that has more recently been occupied by Ogors.  Following through on the request for more story, we have the armies equipped with Titan Blades from the Sky Titans' armoury.  To tie the extra coolness into the battleplan mechanically, I added a Victory Condition that revolves around using the Titan Blades to crush your enemies.  I also replaced one of the Underdog Deeds with a building control related Deed (Strongpoint) to help drive home the siege aspect.

I'm doing a five battle story line (using the five room dungeon structure) so that we can have some closure at the end.  Once it's finished, I'll compile all of the fluff and battleplans (along with a couple of Time of War rules and a cool map) into a snazzy campaign book!  Won't that be fun!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: The Wolves are Here!

I finished mathing the Space Wolves.  I made some minor tweaks to numbers, but here are the warscrolls for the ones I didn't show off before.  The Fenrisian Wolves are eerily similar to Dire Wolves, but I've reworked a few of their abilities.

Thunderwolf Cavalry are kind of retooled from Bloodcrushers and other Juggernaut riding cavalry, however, I decided they ought to be four wounds instead of the five that Juggernaut riders get since the wolves are so much less severe than Juggernauts.

On a somewhat tangential note, I'm currently working on changing up how bikers work as I think the bonus wound isn't really a good AoS mechanic.  I'm probably going to attempt to come up with something 'jink' save related, but we'll see.  Either way, Thunderwolves won't get it, they've got Icy Fangs and Claws.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

40k Age of Sigmar: The Wolves are Coming!

There was a request for Space Wolves in the comments section the other day, and I'm only too happy to oblige.  I hadn't really been feeling like working on 40k warscrolls lately, so it gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get back to it.  So here's some preview of the Space Wolves I've been working on.  They haven't been mathed yet, just statted out by eyeballing it.  My favorite by a wide margin is the Lone Wolf.  I wanted the Lone Wolf to be not necessarily awesome, but super flavorful.

The Lone Wolf has a variety of armament options, but most importantly has a death wish and a hard time fulfilling it.  Funny enough, unlike the Blood Angels, who were mostly defined by their troops and elite choices, Space Wolves seem mostly defined by their characters.  So I've also got the Wolf Lord, Rune Priest, and Wolf Priest.

Jaws of the World Wolf seemed like the natural choice for the Rune Priest's psychic power.  I modeled it after the Ogre Butcher's spell.

Because of the Wolf Priest's Healing Balms, he's kind of like a hybrid apothecary/chaplain.  I didn't end up giving him any prayers ability, although I may rethink that.

I'm also doing Thunderwolf Cavalry and Fenrisian Wolves.