Saturday, 31 March 2012

Painting War of the Ring - Part one

War of the Ring is about as good as a board game gets. It's deep, asymmetric, plays differently nearly every time, does not have "one tactic to rule them all" and is dripping in theme.

I really cannot say enough positives about War of the Ring.

It's so awesome that Fantasy Flight games put out a hyper expensive limited edition painted version. For roughly A BILLION ZILLION dollars to buy new. Sad thing is, the paint jobs were quite garish and a bit poo in all honesty. Thankfully I had saved all that money by buying an unpainted set and painting it myself (until someone points out that 100 hours painting if I had paid myself $4 an hour I would have lost money)



Ahem! Anyways. I painted my War of the Ring to a "Looks good on the table" standard. The models are pretty poor quality in all honesty. The plastic is soft and droopy and the detail is not so good. Not to mention the Nazgul who overbalance very easily. But a painted set looks 1000 times better than an unpainted set, it also makes it a lot easier to play as you can tell which guy is Rohan and which is Gondor.

Saurons units are the Nazgul for leaders (Only evil faction with leader units), Orcs for regular troops and Olog-Hai for Elite troops.

This is a pretty mediocre photo, but you can see i went for a dead flesh look for the Orcs and Nazgul and a very deep scaly green/black mix for the Olog Hai.

Isengard (That's the forces of Saruman) have Uruk-Hai for regular troops and Warg riders for elites.

The Uruk-Hai are the worst models in the game. Big silly mouths and a weird pose, its hard to make them look even passable. the Wargs on the other hand are great, a nice dynamic pose and some simple brown with brown ink on the Wargs and the look quite good.

I'm not gonna lie, the Haradrim are by far my favorite models in the game. The Infantry units are a nice simple sculpt with enough detail to work with and the Elephants (or Olliphants ain't it?) are a great unit on the table. Extremely characterful and decidedly chunky compared to everyone else in the game.

Finally, we come to the Character models for the bad guys team.

On the left we have Saruman the white wizard.... who i believe was the first model I white spray painted to undercoat in 10 years. I hate painting white, especially guys in white robes with white beards. I think he turned out ok, just enough grey to darken the shadows and give some definition.

The dude in the middle is the Witch King of Angmar and is a totally badass model by the games standards. I painting him, and the Mouth of Sauron (Phwoarr... dirty) in much the same style, dark, metallic, menacing.

I think the key to painting boardgames is to know the limits of the models. They tend to be far worse quality than your GW/PP wargaming models.... so don' paint them the same way. Just get them to a nice respectable level, dont spend hours on them.

Spray, base coat, ink, simple highlight, detail, base colour ring to show faction.... THAT'S IT

After that you have ever diminishing returns on your time.

I'll continue this series with part two, the good guys from the core game...... at some point I really should paint the expansion. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A NOOBs guide to Warmachine - Part Three

A NOOBS guide to Warmachine 
Part three – Your first games, learn as you go
So, you have decided to give Warmachine a go…. good for you. Here is your “play like you have a pair” T-Shirt and matching cap, pick up your tesla cannon at the door. Welcome to the revolution comrade.
I’m not going to go into the rules, that’s far too complicated for a blog post. Your first game will almost certainly be a confusing experience, there is a lot going on in this game… what I can offer is some maxims and advice for how to pick up the system, and how to maximise your learning experience
I covered some of this in an earlier post, but I will remind you that it is easier to learn off a veteran player. So find a friend who plays or track down a “press ganger”, they should be easy enough to find at your local games store or on the privateer press forums



Start small

Take small steps when learning the system. The worst thing to do is to dive straight in and try to play a massive battle with multiple casters and 100 figures. Your brain will melt. The good thing about Warmachine is it works really well with only a handful of models. Start with what is called a battlegroup or a warpack. This is one Warcaster with a small group of warjacks and/or beasts.
Your first game should be a simple assassination mission. So the only objective is to kill your opponents Warcaster without losing your own.

Ask Questions

Never, ever be afraid to ask questions. If you are confused about something that is happening just shout out to whoever you are playing. Your not stupid for asking questions, I’ve played very experienced players and they still need to ask about various units abilities from time to time.


Learn your models powers

Starting small means you only have a few units to remember. Get to know them well and what they can do. Often the difference between a win and a loss is remembering that a model can do a certain thing that you forgot about until after the game.
Skorne Warpack


Know your enemy

Sun Tsu said “know yourself and know your enemy and you will totally crush everyone with your massive biceps of doom……” or words to that effect.
Ask to read your opponents cards and ask them if there is anything you should really know about (like that their entire army is ghosts and can only be shot with magic bullets). If a model does something that sounds odd or you haven’t encountered ask, about it.


Keep your caster safe – Line of sight

Most new players get killed by caster assassinations, we don’t quite realize how quick and deadly the game can be and want to use the casters awesome cool powers. Keep your caster covered until you are more confident with their capabilities.
Also, note the line of sight rules. If you can be seen you can normally be shot.


Pick up the rules, do this after you have played a game

Reading the rulebook cover to cover before you play the first time probably won’t help you that much, it a lot to take in. Pick up the rules after a game so you have some context for how everything works.


Get a postgame debrief

Talk about the game once it’s done. Often you can feel like you have been crushed only to find out that your opponent was really worried you might have done X instead of Y. Sometimes it’s just one mistake that means the difference between winning and losing. Find out what they thought of the game and how it went. I learn a lot from post match debriefs with good players
Everyone needs a mentor


Find a mentor – Talk to people

This should probably be the person teaching you the game. When you are learning its good to be able to talk about what you have done and what you plan to do next game (Shout out to Sean and the rest of the Port Nicholson Privateers).
Most gamers are keen to talk about the game they love, so just get involved in the conversations that happen…. Even if that means just listening in to what’s going on.


Go online, but don’t drink the Kool Aid

There are some great resources online, battle college , Forward Kommander and the Privateer press forums are good.
However, don’t buy into all the BS that happens on forums and don’t use “prepaged army lists”. Forums can lead to a group think that says “X is the winner, Y is the loser” and a lot of what is said is theory or relevant only to that persons local group.
I say read what is said, think about it, but don’t take anything as gospel (except this guide of course)



Losing doesn’t mean you suck

You need resilience when playing this game. When I started playing I heard that “You need to play 20 games before you start to win any”. While I have done a little better than that the sentiment is entirely true. The game is hard, its vicious and there are people who play it very well. Don’t expect to kick everyone’s butt straight out the gate…. This is especially true if you were very good at other wargames.


Look for the challenge

View the game as a challenge, ask yourself “how do I get better”, “What did I do wrong” and “How overpowered is that?”. I think of Warmachine like it’s a big complicated puzzle. I love figuring out how I messed up and what I can do better. 
I can’t stress this enough, don’t waste your hard earned (borrowed or stolen) cash on models for a game you might not end up enjoying. We shall leave the advice of loading you up with models for a game that you end up not liking for other game systems.
Beg, borrow or steal models until you know what you want to play and that you actually like the game.
Have fun!
I cannot over emphasis this enough. If you aren’t having fun, don’t play. It’s just a game after all.

See also

Part One -  An Introduction to Warmachine and Hordes

Read this to see if the game is for you

Warmachine and Hordes has a lot of options, figure out what one works for you

A quick highlight of the differences between the two systems, what they have in common and how they differ. 

A quick guide with some advice on how to put together an army list, and some of the common pitfalls new players fall into.

Part Six - Tournaments for Noobs

Considering going to your first tournament? Don't be too scared, read the helpful guide!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

What does the scouter say?

His power level

It's over 9000!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, When i started this blog I joked with friends that if I got 9000 views, I'd make a post about it. I'm a little surprised at how quickly it has happened and how viewership of the blog has increased. From 160 views in the first month, to about that every day or two at the moment.

So what does the future hold for Vom-Krieg

More models 

Still to come are some Rangers (they are done, just need a non rainy day for photos) Some Solos, Gallant, Blaize, more Warjacks and Sam and the Devil dogs.

More Boardgames

I still haven't shared my painted versions of War of the Ring and Battlestar Gallactica!


A NOOBS guide to Warmachine has been really popular. So I'm going to continue it as a short series, until I run out of ideas or its stops being informative and just becomes a pile of dross.

More "How to lose at Warmachine"

My quest to not suck at Warmachine will continue to be reported. Join me in my dismal efforts to not suck more than a Michael Bay film.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Thorn - Conversions are fun!

I tried doing some conversion work on Thorn. I really wanted him to stand out from the other Lancer I have so I thought long and hard about what changes to make.

To the left is my finished Thorn and on the right is the standard unmodified Thorn as painted and assembled by privateer press. The template Thorn if you would.


So what changes did I make?

1.) Changed the spear - I cut off thorns hand and remolded it using green stuff. I wanted a spear down look reminiscent of Maori weapon the Taiaha. I wanted Thorn to appear active and more threatening than a standard Lancer. This worked quite well in my opinion. It was easier to cut through the hand than i thought and green stuff is just really good for making repairs.

2.) The base - I wanted Thorn to stand out and be unmistakable on the field. I thought he needed elevation so I got some milliput and rolled up a bunch of small pea sized balls. I assembled a rough looking stone wall for thorn to Stand on. This is the first real custom base I have made, and I'm quite pleased. really simple effect, any monkey like me could do it :)

3.) Smoke and fire - I plan on doing this on all my warjacks now. Just the addition of fire and smoke out the back of the chimneys makes a Warjack do much more dynamic. I took green stuff, made 4 small tubes about 2-3mil wide and 3cm long and layed them out in a Chaos Star shape (8 pointed star). I then lifted each side up and turned slightly while doing so to create the bulb shape of the fire and the ridges in the fire effect. Trickier than its sounds, I had to make multiple attempts to get that right.

4.) Colour scheme - My Warcasters are Gold, not Blue. I painted Thorn that way as well. Marks him out as a unique warjack while still maintaining the core Cygnar colours.

So that's that, should have Viktor Pendrake, Rangers and Strangeways up soon.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Haley - Popping the Bubble - How to lose at Warmachine

Well, i've been trying out a new warcaster since Valleycon in the form of pHaley.

So far my efforts with her have been made of phail. For those in the audience without the background pHaley is a Cyngar cast who has high focus, a pretty good spell list with a really notable you can build your army around. That spell is temporal barrier. 

Temporal barrier is pretty powerful. It projects a bubble the size of pHaleys control area (14" or 16" with squire). No enemy models in that area can run or charge, and they have -2 defence. The concept behind the lists i've been building is to use this bubble to limit my opponents ability to charge, get into position to charge myself and inflict significant damage on my opponent.

So far this just hasn't worked. Either i've dropped the barrier too early (as it costs a whopping 4 of pHaleys 7 focus a turn to cast) or people have found work arounds. People have been bursting my bubble in more ways than one.

Game One Vs. Cryx

My first mistake was saying "yes" when Thomas offered to play me with his Cryx army. Thomas is a very sharp player and I think him picking up Cryx as a change of pace from his Cygnar force is just downright unfriendly for all involved.

But I get ahead of myself. Thomas was fielding a force made up of the Epic Aspyhxious (or eGaspy as he is known) the Deathjack, a seether, cankerworm (See art below) Bane Thralls and Bane Lord Tartarus (See right) and probably a few other bits i've forgotten.

The List

pHaley with Squire

10 Precursor Knights with leader
10 Long gunners
2 chain guns

Knights to act as the meatwall and be supported by Long Gunners. Hunter and Thorn to harrass and the chain guns for some additional anti-infantry.

The Game

Well, things started off alright. Asides from eGaspy and his tendency to place cloud templates to block my line of sight.That was annoying let me tell you. Long gunners need to fire in order to be constructive, with limited fire lines they were having to maneuver (I also found out that you lose your aim bonus if you move on the spot)

The deathjack ran into the middle of my force supported by cankerworm and backed up by the bane knights. So far so good I thought as I diengaged my hunter from the Deathjack using parry to avoid free strikes. I popped my feat (1 bonus attack for all units) and the knights charged The Deathjack and Cankerworm while the long gunners blazed away at the Bane Knights.

Oddly, while the 12 Point Deathjack exploded in a hail of mace blows from the knights, the Cankerworm was barely scratched. The death knights were decimated by long gunner fire and things weren't looking too bad. Thorn on the other hand was being useless and barely scratched the Seether. Trying to be clever I used up too much focus with spells via thorn, temporal barrier was down.

Then things went pear shaped.

Cankerworm left combat with parry to go eat my hunter, 2 seconds later there was a hunter-sized crater. But the defining moment of the game was from Bane Lord Tartarus.  

He charged the pile of knights and used a thresher attack to stab everyone in his melee range.... in this case 6 knights. He hit and killed each and every one of them

HOLY CRAP, THATS NASTY!  I hear you say

It gets worse.... far far worse

Every knight he killed allowed him to add a Bane Knight that had been lost back to a unit and WHOMP! Full unit of Bane Knights who could activate that turn. Cue long gunners exploding into meaty chunks at the end of a Bane Knight charge

Haley held on for a while and managed to chain lightening to death most of the Bane Knights (And her own squire) But the bubble had burst and Gaspy simple held the objective to win (after spending 7 focus to kill 3 long gunners)

Game Two vs Retribution

Well, I could write a full battle report for this game but that would take longer than the actual game was. Let me say the following thing.


Simply put, I set up, moved up a bit, and then Chris (who's Skorne I have played before) used his casters feat for boosted attack rolls, cast snipe, moved forward and shot my caster 10 times (well actually 5, he didn't need the other 5 shots)

Lessons learned

  • Temp bubble at 4 focus is really expensive and you can easily overspend your focus
  • Mage hunters..... yeah..... ouch
  • Need ways to deal with stealth units. 
  • For the bubble to work I need to identify bug threats to it early one and kill them quickly, then work on grinding out a win.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

More experiments with underpainting

Just a quick picture update as I experiment with underpainting a bit more, if you don't know what that is check this previous post 

Here is a ranger after just one watered down layer of dark angels green. The desired effect of the underpainting providing the shading has worked really well. I hope to have these guys finished this weekend... stay tuned

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Descent - Painting the Tomb of Ice

The Tomb of Ice is the last expansion with models for Descent (At least until Descent 2.... the REVENGE comes out)

Tomb did a good job of handing some power back to the players. After Altar and Well, the players were getting hammered by evil curses, tough missions, a good variety of beasts and treachery. In order to claw some of that back Tomb of Ice introduced feats for players, and they are a real help.

The Monsters are a real mixed bag, but the big problem is they just don't hit the table enough. We are playing a road to legend campaign, and these guys rarely see the light of day, which is a pity.

First up is the Shades. A simple paint job as they are all black ghostly things. A little dark gray dry brushing and they were mostly done. Probably the best monster in the expansion, they are fast, hard to hit and have piercing magical attacks. Shades are also a classic fantasy monster and a welcome addition to any army of the undead.

The lava beetles were fun to paint, I did a very quick colour highlight from dark red to yellow and it worked out all right. The faces were done with a leather base coat followed up with bleached bone.

In game, these guys are a bit annoying. So very very slow and blast is great on certain levels, but mostly they haven't been too effective.

The Medusas are pretty cool models and the first time I pulle done out and placed it on the board I got a solid "What the F is that" from my players.
Painting was real simple, base coat dark green, dark green ink, and then a light green drybrush.
The medusa stun in combat, and the master has quick shot. With a rage card you could conceivably stun the whole hero party with one model, I must try that.

On to the Wendigo. Honestly, i'm yet to use these guys in anger which is a bit of a waste as they are both amusing and scary at the same time. Scary if you contemplate them chewing on your legs, funny if you imagine them singing back up for a mo-town act.

Easiest paint job in the land. Spray white, use dark ink, then paint the mouth.Ok, the mouth was a little tricky.

Finally, the Ice Wyrm. It annoys me they haven't hit the table for one very good reason. THE STOMACH TILE! Yes, Fantasy flight games added in a separate location tile for people who get swallowed alive by these things.... how over the top is that? Anyways, this paint job probably looks a lot more complicated than it was. The blue and blue gray scales are just base coats of enchanted blue and space wolf gray washed with blue ink. Nothing more than that.

The moral of the story is this. You don't need to paint like a games workshop studio member to have models that look ok and are fun to play with. Just use the following steps

1.) Spray black
2.) Paint big areas with slightly watered down acrylic paint the colour you want them.
3.) Use an ink to fill in the shadows on the model.
4.) Use drybrushing to create some highlights.

These are very easy techniques and don't require you to be artistically gifted (Cause I am not... I can barely draw a stick figure). But I know how to cheat at painting.

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