2011-12-08

Hordes of the Things army: Die in a Fire

David Kuijt and Dave Schlanger threw down the gauntlet before Fall-In: Paint up 48 points of Hordes of the Things in time for Cold Wars, and they'll have a matched enemy to fight against it. 

Well, I already had a bunch of prepainted D&D fire elemental (and related) figures I planned to build into a HOTT army, so why not do that?  At Cold Wars we played a 72 point Fire vs. Ice battle, and lost, so this project has turned into a grudge match.

Here is the army so far.  I may augment it if I get additional figures for Christmas, which would push it up to 72 points.

The bases are laser cut masonite, with chunks of broken plaster attached using paintable transparent silicone caulk. I built up enough caulk to swirl into a lava texture, and placed the rocks so that on each base, the miniatures would be appropriately either standing on a rock or emerging from the lava.

The lava colors were painted starting with white, then yellow, wet brushed orange and dark orange, and then over the black I applied dark red and grey on top.  Fire is brighter where it's hotter, in the center, and darker at the edges where it's cooler, so you end up using the reverse order for shading.  Adding a lighter color over the black can make it lit from below in some places.

The only concern I have about this army is its durability.  The figures mounted on lava are likely to pull the paint off and break off, because I didn't strengthen the plaster with anything before I painted it.  I'll just bring lots of superglue and touch them up when I'm finished.

In the center is a Fire Titan (behemoth).  On the right, a magician, and on the left is an Immoleth, which I'll use either as a God or deep warband (using WADBAG's excellent variant rules for deep spear and deep warband).
All of the figures shown here are D&D miniatures, except for the Mage Knight figures shown here and the dragon below. There would be a lot more army potential in MK figures if more of them were as good as these.  On the left and right are blades and in the center is an aerial hero.  It's not very visible from this perspective, but the flame guys on the left are flaming skeletons.

The fire elementals on the left are warbands, and the Azer Fighters and Raiders on the right are blades.  Some of the Azers are repaints of ther crappy model, done to match the not-crappy Azer.

The Magmins on the left and right are lurkers.  The Flame Salamander will be either a beast or a deep warband (they have the same depth).  

 Here are two fliers on the ends, and either a flier or an aerial hero in the center.  As you can see, when I originally purchased my figures I didn't consider how I was going to base them, so I have a few mismatched bases that I don't prefer.  Clearly it means I just need more figures...

In the center is the impetus for building this army in the first place: a phoenix I bought at Michael's crafts.  It'll be a dragon in HOTT.  On the ends are large flame elementals, deep warbands.

Miniatures: D&D Characters

I'm planning to start playing some D&D 4E with my daughter, her friend, and his dad. I've sent them all through the new red box "build a character" section, but we haven't gotten all four of us in the same place at the same time to actually play a session.

It's been so long, I don't remember any of the characters' names, but I've had a chance to paint figures for all of us.

Daniel chose a female Halfling cleric.  Clerics with swords? Blasphemy!  This is Reaper Miniatures Gnome, because it's virtually impossible to find a halfling cleric figure.  She's too tall compared to the elf, but she'll do.

This is a Reaper miniatures human thief I painted years ago.  I just rebased it on a square base and modelled some more stones for use with the D&D square grid.  This is Levi's character.

Martine chose an Elf wizard, wearing maroon (just like House Gryffindor).  This is the Celeborn figure from Mithril Miniatures.  Not exactly a level 1 wizard, but he's wearing mundane red, and we're pretending that scepter is a wand.  I like the way the green gems turned out.

Mung smash!  Raah!  I "rolled" up a fighter to beat stuff up.  This is a Mithril Miniatures Easterling. I'll play Mung when no one else is around, but I expect we might invite another friend over once and a while.  All theoretically, of course.


2011-12-03

Norse Irish, Painted for the Kids, part 2

I've finished basing the whole Norse Irish DBA army. Soon I'll be auctioning it off on the Fanaticus Forum with the proceeds going to the Child's Play charity.

DBA army II/46, Norse Irish.
Here are the elements not described in my previous post.  Most of the figures here are from an Essex Miniatures army pack.  The camp followers are Trey Corbies, donated by Sean Devitt of Trey Corbies miniatures.  Paul Potter donated two elements of Auxilia from mixed manufacturers.

Thanks to all of the painters who helped on this project!  I should have the auction thread started on Fanaticus shortly.

Jon Barmore painted 2x3Ax.
JM Seman painted 1x3Ax and 1x2Ps.
Paul Potter donated and painted 2x3Ax, various manufacturers.
Sean Devitt donated and painted camp followers from Trey Corbies, as well as the camp.
Tim Hladon painted 1x3Ax and 1x2Ps.

2011-11-20

Preview: Norse Irish, Painted for the Kids

Over on the Fanaticus forum, I'm organizing a charity painting project.  Painters have volunteered to paint one or more elements of a DBA army.  When it's finished, I'll auction it off on Fanaticus, and all proceeds will go to the Child's Play charity.

The army I selected was Norse Irish, II/46.  Most of the figures are from an Essex army pack, but some painters have volunteered to provide their own figures to save on shipping costs.  There will also be a camp and camp followers to go along with the army.

I sent out the unpainted figures, and completed the basing and groundwork after they were returned.  I decided having consistent basing would be important to giving the army a unified look, since the painting styles would be different.

Here's a preview of the first 6 elements completed. I'll be taking better pictrures when everything is finished.

A hearty thanks goes out to all of the participating painters! 

Jeff Franz painted two elements of Psiloi.
Frank Wesner painted the General (3Ax) and one 4Bd.
Alan Ferrency (me) painted one element of 4Bd.
Vincent Maloney painted one Auxilia.

2011-11-07

Fall-In 2011: Part 2

Before we went to bed on Friday, we made sure we knew what time Saturday's events started.

Embattled Isles


The first event on Saturday was an excellent set of themed games arranged by the Davids.  They built 7 scenarios that all took place in England over a long span of time.  The battles chronicled successive waves of invaders taking control of England and then defending against the next invading army.  Each battle had preset terrain and army deployments, and some had special rules.  Unfortunately, we only had enough players to play 5 of the 7 scenarios.

I enjoyed this format immensely, but it must have taken a lot of work to arrange.   The huge win here is that all metagame concerns are completely gone, so players are evaluated based on their ability to command in a variety of situations they don't have complete control over.  Defenders and invaders had separate winners, ensuring that any scenario unbalance was compensated for in the results.

In the end, the top three on our (defending) side went 3-2, and I ended up in the middle of the pack (worst of the best) based on points.


The shortened event left us with too much time to spend money in the flea market and dealer's hall as the snow piled up outside.  At some point during the weekend, possibly between these two events, I got in a few pickup games with Jeff Franz and Jan Spoor.

Viking Fury

In recent years, the highlight of every HMGS-E convention has been the themed campaign event run by (you guessed it) the Davids on Saturday night.  This year's theme was Viking Fury: the Viking invasion of England and Ireland.  I played one of the Viking players: Ivar the Boneless. Unfortunately JM, aka "Ragnar Shaggybreeches," wasn't around for me to blame him for my name (Ragnar was Ivar's father, but he's still not sure who the mother is).

Chris's Picts are taken from behind.
In the first round, I yelled "Waagh!" and ran forward, as all good Vikings should.  "You guys approach his position from the woods, and we'll sail up from behind and surprise him.

Chris surrounds me, but not fast enough.
In the campaign turn, I landed on a space on the map that must be defended by either Chris Brantley or Jan Spoor, and took my chances.  Chris defended with his Picts, placed a mandatory waterway, and ended up with it at his rear.  Fortunately for me, he didn't anticipate my littoral landing.  I boldly deployed my general with 3 supporting units behind his lines, and took his camp on the first turn.  Luckily I had enough PIPs to run forward with the remainder of my force.  The 3" move for 3Bd (Raiders special rules for this campaign) definitely helped get my guys back into command.

After that, it was a matter of me killing two more of his units before he surrounded and destroyed me.  I plowed forward in the center, while he spent PIPs to go around me on both flanks.  In the end he completely surrounded me, but I was back in command and he had gotten out of command.  He was almost within striking distance of my camp when I killed a second element and convinced these reasonable men to join my cause.  Bitches!


Pushing David Kuijt back into the sea.
In the second round, I attacked David Kuijt, also a Viking who had claimed a landing spot on the campaign map.

He did anticipate the possibility of a littoral landing at his rear, and protected against it.  However,  through a combination of not making very many horribly bad mistakes, and rolling really well, I finally beat David, 4-2.

He ended up being my first vassal, since in the first round my victory only gained me a place to park my boats and set up camp.
Nick Swales rolls me up.

In the third round, I had yet another chance to invade on the campaign map, and I attacked Nick Swales with a long line of spears.  This was a fairly straightforward "line 'em up and roll high" sort of affair.  Unfortunatly only one of us gets to roll high enough to win, and this time it was him.  He poked a hole in my line where my warband had hoped to poke a hole in his, and beat me down with attrition in a 4-1 victory.

In the final round, Rich Baier attacked me to steal my growing vassal tree.  Again we were both Vikings, so it should've been a fairly even match.  And again, it was a straight line without much complicated maneuver involved.  But this time, Diceman was on a winning streak.  He didn't win with a few 6-1 splits, but instead he kept pushing me back with die rolls just good enough to beat me, consistantly over a long period.  Eventually I had to die, and I did.
Diceman has a lucky streak

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed playing against Rich, because I had so many recoils that my combat factors were never horrible. I consistently felt like a good die roll was just around the corner; it just never came.  I don't have notes regarding how badly he beat me, but I suspect it was 4-0. He went on to win the entire event, and I ended up in a multiway tie with the third most points.

I definitely have fun at these conventions, especially given how few opportunities I end up with to play DBA and HOTT outside the conventions.  I know I'd play better if I played more often, but I'll take what I can get.

And now, to plan for Cold Wars.  I need to get 48 points of "something HOTT" ready for a grudge match, and it's looking like it'll most likely be my Fire army. We'll see what other events pop up that will require more painting...

A hearty thanks to all of the game masters and the event coordinators!

Fall-In 2011: Part 1

JM and I rode out to Lancaster with Larry early on Thursday, to get to Fall-In with time for dinner before Larry's Glue Factory event.  I wanted to write this up before I finished reading JM's account of what happened during BBDBA on Friday. I expect he may find my post-game analysis a bit tedious, but I find it helpful to go back over images to learn from our experiences.
Mike Guth's Tuaregs approach the dunes.

Thursday: The Glue Factory

The Glue Factory was a DBA theme requiring all participating armies to contain at least 8 mounted elements out of 12 (not including elephants).  I brought Mongol Conquest, because it was one of my two eligible armies (along with Skythians). Mongols have many light horse, with low combat factors, no room to maneuver on a 24" board, and high aggression "guaranteeing" I'd never place terrain. I didn't think this was a strong army compared to what I expected from the competition.

I expected to see mostly Knight armies, but I shouldn't have been surprised by Mike Guth's Tuaregs in the first round. He won terrain and placed massive dunes in the center.  These are bad going to me but not to his camels.  The only thing in my favor was that they didn't block shooting, though they did constrict his command radius.
An anachronistic civil war vs. Dave's Golden Horde

I didn't expect to win with this setup, and I felt successful for killing 2 elements before I lost 2-4.  This was too much terrain even for Mike, who had command radius issues once he sent his general into the center.

In the second round I had a much better chance of success if you just compared army composition.  I faced Dave, whose last name I didn't learn, with his Golden Horde.  Surprisingly, I won the terrain roll, and had to figure out what a Steppe is supposed to look like.  Unfortunately I lost my fourth element to his bow shots before I killed four of his, and he won 4-3.

I found it interesting that when you have two light horse armies, you no longer need to play as a flanking force to gain an advantage.  My success was through flanking him around my right side... but so was my demise.
Mike Bumala's Normans

 In the final round, I faced Mark Bumala's Normans.  Once again, I placed terrain.  This game was a horrible massacre: I lost 1-5g.  I was really perturbed by how uncooperative my dice were being; it's the only time I remember recently when I got very angry at bad die rolls.

Friday: Big Battle Doubles

Friday morning, JM and I got up nice and early, with plenty of time before the BBDBA doubles tournament at 9am.  Except, it didn't start until 10am.  When did that happen?

We had time to get in a bit of a Viking civil war between our recently finished Baueda Viking armies. This Fall-In was notable for being the first HMGS-E convention I've been to when I've played a substantial number of pickup games between events.

This time, the Grey Wardens (JM and I) took Leidang (III/40d) with a Medieval German ally (IV/13a).  We chose 6 blades and the psiloi from each Leidang, and 2 auxilia in the German ally.  This left the Leidang with 2x3Kn, 12x4Bd, 4x3Ax, 4x2Ps, 2x4Sp, and the Germans with 5x3Kn, 2x4Sp, 2x3Ax, 1x4Cb, 2x2Ps.

Two Davids: Leidang on Leidang action
In the first round we faced Two Davids (Kuijt and Schlanger) with a nearly mirror image of our army.  They also had Leidang with a German ally, but they included 5 blades and 1 bow from each Leidang army, and used all of the German spears.  We won terrain and placed the terrain we planned for, with the waterway on a short edge so we wouldn't see any landings.

The crux: our right flank bad going
We initially placed both Leidang commands, and then we were faced with the typical defender's dilemma in BBDBA.  After placing 2 commands centrally so they're hard to ignore, the enemy places 3 commands so they overlap your two and extend out each flank.  The defender now must choose which flank to attack and which to hold back.

Their Germans were on our left flank, but their knights were deployed inside a marsh, and didn't look like they had room to maneuver.  On our right flank, we were a bit cramped by terrain, but our Germans are better in bad going than theirs.  We deployed the Germans on our right.  After a few turns we learned a few reasons not to have done what we did, but I think if we had deployed on the other side we simply would've learned a different lesson.
Our allies see their brothers working for the enemy, and flee.

We were slightly outmatched in the bad going on our right flank, but it could have gone either way due to the low combat factors.  When we first entered combat, it did go either way, and we ended up getting crushed in the bad going, and soon the German command broke before it could make contact. 

On the left flank, JM did an admirable job of holding off the Germans for as long as possible, but unless you're winning somewhere else, living as long as possible just isn't good enough.  He broke the enemy's German command by killing its general, but that was too little too late, and we couldn't catch up in elements before losing by attrition, 13-87.

In retrospect, in the best case scenario our knights on the right flank would still have been waiting for that combat to end before they could attack very strongly.  The fact that we didn't want to advance on our left flank gave the enemy Germans the time they needed to maneuver to our flank unhindered.  It feels like we might have been better off deploying our Germans on the left, but then we would've had our knights facing their bad going, and we still wouldn't have been able to flank them as easily as they could with bad going troops on the other side.  In short: it's better to have terrain to anchor both of your flanks, than only one of them.
Stooge stand-in Mark Pozniak, with stooge Larry.

In round 2, we faced Larry Chaban and Mark Pozniak, using Larry's "Jagoff" army: Medieval German IV/13d.  With 6 war wagons and 6 artillery, this is a formidable beast.

They defended and Larry placed pool table terrain. They deployed "everything except the mounted" first, with supported pike protecting the war wagons and artillery.  The Pike are too strong for our blades to beat consistently, and the war wagons don't let us get any overlaps because they don't recoil.   Our only hope was running fast, killing some artillery, and taking advantage of gaps in the line.

We were left with the standard BBDBA attacker's dilemma: when faced with a narrower force, which side do we deploy heavier on? Which flank do we want to attack, where do we want them to deploy their third command, and how do we deploy to encourage them to comply with our preferences?  In this case we didn't ask all of these questions, so we didn't answer them.

For the Leidang, we used an interwoven command deployment: part of command A, then part of B, then the rest of A, then the rest of B.  The theory was to be able to get localized 2-on-1 command advantage, but the downside is that it always costs more PIPs to maneuver the groups, and it lets them get 2-on-1 command advantage at different locations.  We won't be trying that again

In this game, we were basicaly trying to attack with our blades and knights while they attacked with their knights.  The problem with this plan is that all else being equal, their knights are faster than our blades, so we have to hold them off longer than they'd have to hold us off.

We also learned a lesson about allied commands: they are unreliable.  They can get high PIPs, but they can also get low PIPs.  This makes them more well suited for less PIP-intense missions than "primary attacking force."

This time, the force JM was using to hold off the enemy also happened to be our CinC.  We did kill a few elements, but not many: we lost 8-92.
Rob and Matt Torres place their center command.

In our final round, we faced Robert and Matt Torres with their Low Countries army.  They had lots of pike, with some artillery and knights in support.

Just before initial contact
They won terrain and placed a river to narrow the board, with terrain on one flank.  They deployed a pike block on each side with an empty space in the center for their artillery and blades.  Our counterdeployment was simple: a straight line of blades against most of their pikes, with a flanking force of mounted and bad going troops on the one open flank.  Our hope was to break the center and then hit both of their internal flanks from their center to break another command and destroy them.

Overall, our plan worked, but there was a flaw: neither of their weak commands we attacked was their CinC.  Since we rarely have occasion to need to know how to win, we (or at least I) didn't realize that demoralizing two commands isn't enough, only attrition or demoralizing the CinC lets you win.
The Aftermath

In the end, we did kill their center and envelop and destroy them on our right flank; but we still needed to frantically kill elements while their strong CinC command hammered our low PIP command.  We ended up losing one command, and almost lost our camp, but we survived long enough to win a 74-26 Pyrrhic victory. 

Looking at these pictures, it becomes more clear to me that with heavy foot lines, you really don't need to extend very far past the enemy's flank to gain a significant advantage.  We could've shifted our entire line left two elements and we'd have been better off on both flanks.

Finally, the Grey Wardens won a game!  I think our next goal should be to end with more than 100 points.  I feel that we made mistakes, but they were a bit more strategic in nature than in past events, and that we agreed on what we'd try, even though it didn't work.  At least I didn't run my forces towards inevitable crushing defeat, like last time.

In the end, the Stooges and the Davids didn't finish in time but still ended up first and second in our bracket, so they diced off to enter the finals.  Larry and Mark went to the finals and won the event.  Congratulations!

A Game of Ice and Fire

Because we knew we wouldn't be participating in any other events during the time slot after Big Battle Doubles, JM and I arranged for a pickup game of Hordes of the Things against the Two Davids.  This turned into 72 points of 3-on-3 mayhem.

The Ice Elementals, commanded by David Kuijt, David Schlanger, and Mark Pozniak, defended their barren icy wasteland from liberation by the forces of Fire and Earth commanded by me, JM, and Chris Brantley.

I didn't get a good sense of the battle on the other end of this large table, but the general flow seemed to be: we melt them with our fire, and the resulting water puts out our fire.  The earth elementals broke first through the loss of their general, followed by my complete annhiliation.

This was my first experience using the "large warband" variant rules, and I liked them a lot.  The figures were pretty, and the terrain was also quite nice.  Overall it increased my inspiration to play HOTT, and to complete some of my existing HOTT armies.  I've started basing my own fire elemental army, using many of the same D&D figures seen here.

Oh yeah! JM and I also played a pickup game of Hordes of the Things, Ewoks vs. Undead.  I was not at all put off by the weird combination of troops, it really didn't seem any worse than fighting ahistorical matches in DBA once you got the figures on the table.

2011-10-11

Congress of Gamers 2011: DBA

This past Saturday was Congress of Gamers in Rockville, MD (just outside DC). I was afraid I might not make it to the De Bellis Vasingtonium (DBA open) event, because we were going on a long family weekend... to DC.  I'm glad Marla argreed to let me leave them at the zoo for most of Saturday.  Thanks!

The events I didn't participate in included a lot of open board gaming along with some organized board gaming events such as a racing series.  There weren't many miniatures games other than the ones organized by "the DBA crowd." Unfortunately I wasn't able to participate in the Wings of War Balloon Busting event either, due to time constraints.

I really enjoyed the format of the "Bring-and-Buy," where you drop off your old board games and hope someone buys them.  I didn't bring any games due to timing, and didn't end up buying anything because the prices were high compared to the size of my wallet and my desire to own the games.  But I think in future years I could sell off some of my games fairly easily since I wouldn't expect to get as much as they were asking for theirs.  I also missed participating in the no-ship math trade.

Hordes of the Things

I arrived too late to play in the Hour of Wolves and Shattered Shields event, a Hordes of the Things giant battle scenario set up by David Kuijt and Dave Schlanger.  I did get a few pictures: here's an overview of the whole battle.

This scenario was based on the Battle of Dale.  This battle was left out of the movies, and the main characters weren't there so it was chronicled in less detail in the books as well.  Around Dale in the North of Middle Earth, Dwarves, Elves, and Men faced the forces of Sauron: mostly Easterlings (evil men).

In HOTT terms, each side had 108 points split into 4 commands, good guys vs. bad guys (aren't they always?)  As in the Giant Battle rules, all players on a side played simultaneously.  Although this can slow things down given enough players, I think I prefer the "long line" battles over the more free-for-all format used in the Two Davids Monsterpocalypse themed HOTT games.  I should probably actually play a normal Giant Battle before I settle on that decision...

All the figures were Games Workshop, mostly Lord of the Rings figures (with a few pigeons from the Warhammer elf line.)

De Bellis Vasingtonium

As it turned out, only an "hour" of wolves and shattered shields was a bit optimistic. When everyone finaly cleaned up the Battle of Dale, we started De Bellis Vasingtonium: a 4 round DBA tournament open to all armies.

I couldn't decide whether to take Feudal Spanish (III/35b) or Later Achemenid Persians (II/7), so I brought Hittite Empire instead: I/24b.  I chose the psiloi option, giving me a final composition of: 3xHCh (gen), 1xLCh, 6x3Sp, 2x2Ps.  Except for its lack of bad going troops, this is a fairly solid composition, especially for 1200BC. 

JM's right hand blocks his view of his Greco-Indian general.
I thought I might face another early army, but JM's Greco-Indians were the earliest possibility, so we played each other in the first round.  "I came all this way to play against you?"

I attacked and JM set up basically a pool table, which suited us both just fine.  Early on I denied his elephant flank and concentrated on his other side.  I didn't win this battle, JM lost it 2g-0.  Our battle lines seemed fairly well matched, but after the first few bounds of combat, JM misused a 1-PIP roll and left his General open to being outflanked, so I killed him.

Apparently JM stopped making mistakes early, because this was the only game he lost.  Congratulations on the 3-1 placing, that's excellent!

Before: Doug Austin's Bosporans vs. my Hittites.
In the second round, I faced Doug Austin's Bosporins.  I've faced these guys twice before in BBDBA but never in single DBA.  I was the attacker, and Doug set up symmetrical terrain with two roads and a central wood.  He set up in a tight block with his bad going troops poised to run down the road and take my camp.  My plan was to run as fast as possible towards his knights while expending the minimum force necessary to distract and delay his light troops... who were running twice as fast towards my camp.

After: A big mess of Bosporans and Hittites
In the end, my expectations were met and my plan ended up working, but the timing and some luck went in my favor this time.  His plan was complicated somewhat by a greater need to consider his general's command radius due to the woods, but mine was limited by the speed of my heavy foot.

He moved to within striking range of my camp before pulling back his bowmen to try to kill my general.  In the mean time, my spears and mounted troops finally reached his knights and I started gaining an advantage there.  He was even able to shoot several times with his artillery, which he deployed on his base line.  In the end I took his camp with my LCh, and won 3c-1. 

I decided to use "before" and "after" pictures here, because the contrast is so striking.  After Doug ran down the road and I ran up the open ground, we ended up almost perpendicular to our starting deployments, and Doug had turned my "flank" (my original rear).  Apparently his bowmen thought my wall was too high, because he didn't end up attempting to take my camp.

I won two games in a row? Weird!  Unforutnately things started going down hill from here.

Mike's Medieval Portugese took my camp.
In the third round, I faced Mike Guth and his Medieval Portugese time travellers. This seemed like such an ahistorical matchup that even a bystander asked something like "what are you... why.... what?" In reality, they were just using their time machine to get some practice in before sailing to North America.

I don't have any pictures of the start of this game, but I defended and set up terrain with a small wood on either side of a road.  I deployed with my spears in depth in the center (double ranked with psiloi support) and mounted on the flanks, to defend against a central Knight assault.  In retrospect I think a thinner line would've been more flexible and less intimidating to him.

The Portuguese and Bostporin army compositions are similar, but with more heavy foot in the Portugese.  I don't remember Mike's setup.

He pulled a psiloi rush on the first turn.  He didn't kill my LCh, but did really annoy me for the entire game.  That psiloi required a huge PIP expenditure for me to defend against, and the best I got was a stalemate. Finally, he took my camp with his auxilia and won 2c-1, with about 1 minute before time was called.

It was definitely a good move for him to do the psiloi rush even if he didn't kill me, because I was definitely set up incorrectly to handle it. I put two mounted on that flank, because as soon as I was free of the woods they could move out to their flank and be more useful... the problem being that they were never able to move past the woods.  I may have been able to deal with it better if I had spear and psiloi over there.

I don't have any pictures at all of the final game, which is probably just as well.  I faced David Kuijt's Hussites, and basically beat myself with a bunch of mistakes to go along with my lack of experience with or thought about Hussites (or war wagons in general).  My only consolation is that I learned more than DK did :)

First of all... a gentle hill is not bad going, and you should ask what kind of hill it is before you decide which board edge you prefer.  After deploying incorrectly because the hill was not actually protecting my flank, I failed to correct my mistake and wasted PIPs maneuvering around the hill even though it wasn't bad going.

Hussites have war wagons that are superior to my mounted but inferior to my spears, and blades that are superior to my spears but lose to my knights.  His initial set up let him swap his elements to ensure he had a few hot spots that he could take advantage of and poke holes in my line.  I'm not a very good element dancer, so I didn't see much advantage to trying to swap elements into good matchups as I advanced... but I hadn't considered that the PIP sink of the war wagons would've prevented him from swapping back as easily.

But that wasn't the last of my mistakes.  Without much enemy mounted, my psiloi were wasted in the spear support role I put them in: this is a mental block I need to get over.  They don't die to anything in his army except his light horse, so I should've had them out in front, extending my line or at least preventing flank maneuvers.

I hadn't even considered the effects of massed War Wagon and Artillery firing on my lines.  That's pretty brutal.

In the end, he outflanked my short line with his light horse and general... but his 4-0 victory came from slaughtering my line in head-to-head combat while making me spend all my pips on my flank.

In general, I have a problem with beating myself when playing DK by paying more attention to what he's doing than to what I'm doing... but this time I made some big mistakes that I should not have, and that made it even worse.  Larry wouldn't have admitted to knowing me after seeing that game.

In the end, I finished in the middle of the pack with a 2-2 record, which surpassed my expectations but not my hopes. 

Summary

I had fun at Congress of Gamers, and if there are enough events I'll try to make it down again in future years... but the hotel cost may be too high to make it worth it if we aren't planning a trip down there already.

2011-10-10

Malifaux: More Totems and Spiders

Before I recently finished my DBA Viking army, I painted some more Malifaux figures.  Here are some pictures, now that I have some that are in focus. 

I prepared and primed my Guild totems about a year ago, but didn't get much paint on them until a few weeks ago.  I bought Abuela just after Christmas.  So: Yes!  Some of that old lead does end up painted eventually...
Governor's Proxy
The Governor's Proxy has a basic, serviceable paint job without too much interesting going on.  The basing matches all my Malifaux bases, which will make it harder for me to change my mind later with a new crew.  All of the bases shown here are from Dragon Forge Designs.
Enslaved Nephilim
I decided to go with red skin for my Enslaved Nephilim.  I like the way the grey hair and red skin turned out; it almost has the look of ashes and fire.  His wing stumps, not seen here, are also grey.

Abuela Ortega
Abuela Ortega was a fun figure to paint, but apparently I'm running out of different colors of brown to use for outer layers.  I tried to add some interest to her dress and shirt/apron but not much of them shows.

Overall I seem to be taking more of my 15mm technique onto these larger figures than the other way around, these days.  It works well enough and produces a reasonable result, especially for the B-list figures instead of the big names.

Steampunk Arachnids
Finally, my last stand of Steampunk Arachnids?  Hopefully.  This brings me up to two sets of three Arachnids, and two Arachnid Swarms.  Unfortunately these models are a slippery slope.

I have most of the Hoffman box set crew assembled and primed, as well as a Peacekeeper and a few other M&SU/Guild figures.  I'm not sure when I'll get to those. They're an excellent crossover crew for my Ramos and Perdita crews, because Hoffman is guild and can use Perdita models; Ramos and Hoffman can use each others' steam punk models; and Hoffman is M&SU so he can use my M&SU mercenary cheaply as well.

2011-10-03

DBA Army III/40a: Vikings

Baueda Vikings: DBA III/40a
Here's the army I'll be playing in the Two Davids "Viking Fury" campaign game at Fall-In 2011: III/40a, Vikings.  JM and I bought identical Baueda figure packs for our armies, and I look forward to contrasting JM's paint job with mine.

3x4Bd(gen).  "You're not doing anything, you must be in charge."
The Baueda figures are good: not the best I've ever painted, but also not the worst.  They have an extreme variation of poses, which is good for this kind of army, but they are also reasonably static poses that don't get in the way of fitting the figures on the bases.

3x3Bd.
The army pack usually comes with a viking tent, but I already have one, so I ordered it without the tent directly from Baueda.  Unlike most DBA army packs, which provide only exactly as many figures as you need for the army, Baueda provides enough figures to build either III/40a or III/40b with all options, and you'll end up with spare figures on top of that.  We also received additional free samples from Baueda, with even more Viking scouts.  Between our two army packs and the samples, we're only short a few handfuls of figures to build a third army (not that we want to right now).

2x3Bd, 1x3Wb.
There are a variety of different shields, weapons, armors, and poses, resulting in a wider variety of combinations of those features.  I like the level of detail the figures include: they have belts and a few pouches, but the figures aren't cluttered with a bunch of "what is that, anyway?"

3x3Bd.
The only problems I have with the figures are that they required a bit more cleanup than I'd prefer, and some of the individual figures have poorer sculpting than others.  The quality of faces varies widely across the figures, and some of them have rougher cloth sculpting and a few missing details.

1x3Bd, 1x2Ps.
I had some goals when painting this army.  I wanted a variety of colors and patterns across the army, but I also wanted a coherent look that didn't end up as gaudy and garish as I think my Leidang turned out.  I also wanted to try some new color combinations, since I've been getting stuck on a few standards lately.  Overall, I think I achieved my goals, but only some of the experiments were successful.

I also used a new sand for the bases.  It has a higher contrast between darker and lighter grains mixed in the sand, which is more apparent at this small scale.  Overall it reads a bit lighter than I'd prefer, but it will probably work just fine.

Overall, once again I'm happy with the way this army turned out.  I look forward to trying it out with the special Raider rules that will be in effect during the campaign.