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Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: Frostgrave

Frostgrave, published by Osprey, is a small scale fantasy skirmish game built around a campaign setting. The game reminds me a lot of the old GW Mordheim, although it appears to be a lot more streamlined and simpler. You build a warband of around 6-10 models, which is lead by a wizard and his apprentice. As you play games, you'll collect treasure, gain experience, and over time, your wizard and his warband will become stronger and stronger. While it can be played as a standalone one-off pickup game, it will truly shine in a campaign setting.

The book clocks in at 130ish pages of full color, hardback goodness. In the table of contents below, you can see the exact breakdown, but you're looking at about 20 pages of game play rules, 20 pages of campaign rules, and a whooping 30 pages of detailed spells to choose from.


As mentioned earlier, the game is all about your wizard, and to a lesser extent, his apprentice. The wizard represents the player on the tabletop. There are ten different classes of wizards, each aligned to a unique type of magic:  Chronomancer, Elementalist, Enchanter, Illusionist, Necromancer, Sigilist, Soothsayer, Summoner, Thaumatuge, and the Witch. Each magic type has three aligned schools of magic, one opposed school, and five neutral schools. Any wizard can (with time) learn any spell, but  the further away from their class's basic school they get, the harder it is to use that magic.

Gameplay goes as follows:

  • Initiative: Warbands roll for initiative to see who goes first this turn.
  • Wizard phase: The wizard, and up to three mercenaries within 3", activate. An activation consists of moving, and then taking some kind of action, such as casting a spell or attacking in combat, or you can take the action and move afterwards.
  • Apprentice phase: The apprentice, and up to three mercenaries within 3", activate here.
  • Soldier phase: All remaining mercenaries activate.
  • Creature phase: Any creatures on the board not belonging to either warband activate using specified rules for AI.

All combat outcomes in the game are decided with a simple roll of a d20. For attacks, each player rolls a D20, adds any appropiate modifiers, and the highest result wins. You then take the winner's die result, subtract the loser's armor value, and the remainder is the damage the victim takes. Pretty simple, right?

There are only six basic stats to remember for each character, and every wizard starts with the same stat line.

  • Move is how far the model moves in inches
  • Fight is a modifier added to their combat die rolls
  • Shooting is a modifier to ranged attack rolls
  • Armor reduces the damage you take
  • Willpower provides a defensive modifier against spells and trickery
  • Health is how much damage a character can take before falling unconscious

In addition to the wizard and apprentice, you can also hire mercenaries to join your warband. These will be non-magic users and in comparison, fairly cheap and dispensable. In addition, they will not gain experience or improve as the campaign goes on, and will probably die often and need to be replaced. Examples of these hired hands include thieves, archers, knights, and apothecaries.

When your wizard or apprentice wants to cast a spell, simply consult the spell description for the casing value, and roll a D20. You need to meet or exceed the casting value for the spell to go off. For example, in the Elemental Ball spell below, you would need a 12 on a D20 for the spell to cast - a slightly more difficult than average spell, but it yields a ball of area affect +5 shooting strength havoc. Now that's what I call a fireball! This roll is modified by the alignment of the spell to your wizard's class - For example, an Elementalist only needs the 12, but if you are a neutrally aligned Necromancer as seen in the graphic above, it'd take a +4 penalty for a total of 16+ required!

Each wizard starts with eight spells - three from their own school, one from each of the three aligned schools, and two spells chosen from any of the neutral schools. Additional spells will have to be learned later through the campaign system.

In addition to the warbands fighting each other on the tabletop, there are rules for a wide variety of neutral monsters that will attack both players with their own scripted AI. You can place them before the game starts, or some of the scenarios in the book will specific which types, where, and when they appear. I can't wait to lead my opponent into a trap of freshly raised zombies!

The campaign system is pretty expansive, but still fairly simple. It's very reminiscent of role-playing campaigns with lots of charts to see what treasure and such you find. Your wizard (and by extension, apprentice) gain experience by casting spells, vanquishing foes, and collecting treasure. You can trade the experience in for increasing base stats, making spells easier to cast, or learning new spells. After each game, you roll on various charts to see what happens to any troops knocked unconscious. Hired mercenaries will often outright die, where as the wizard and apprentice have a better chance of surviving, albeit possibly with some long-lasting injury effects. In the event your wizard outright dies, you can choose to either start fresh with a new one, or have the apprentice step in and assume the wizards role, and hire a new apprentice. There are also rules for building up your base of operations, which gives some small benefits throughout the campaign.

I've gotten a chance to play four games thus far to try out the campaign system. I took Grey Seer Skitterscratch and his yet-to-be-named apprentice out vs Mike's Dark Elf warband.

I built the following warband:

  • Grey Seer Skitterscratch, the Summoner
    • Started with spells Summon Demon, Control Animal, Brew Potion, Leap, Summon Imp, Steal Health, Destructive Sphere, Crumble
  • Apprentice
  • Giant Rat (Warhound)
  • Clanrat (Infantryman)
  • Stormvermin (Man at Arms)
  • Jezzail Team (Crossbowman)
  • Jezzail Team (Crossbowman)
  • Jezzail Team (Crossbowman)

Clanrat (Infantryman) and a Giant Rat (Warhound) team up against his Squig (Warhound)

Stormvermin charges up the ladder to hit a Night Goblin Slave (Thug) and a Knight

My apprentice stealing some treasure, attempting to prove his worth to earn a name

The opposing caster coming up to rescue the knight
After our series of four games, I was able to bring Skitterscratch up to a level six. He can now summon demons on a 9+ (from a 12+) and skitterleap around the board on a 6+. I did manage to get the unnamed apprentice completely killed off, but Skaven lives are cheap, and it was a mere 210g to purchase a new one. Skitterscratch also managed to learn Mind Control, although its at a whooping 16+ to cast currently, purchased some magic gloves that help him cast better, and found a magic "crossbow" for one of the Jezzail Teams.

Frostgrave releases mid-July. A "Kickstarter-styled" preorder program going on over at Northstar just ended today, and expect to see it at Historicon as well for anyone who wants to get it earlier.

Want to join the conversation? Want to give Skitterscratch's Apprentice a name? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!
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Symbols in Miniature Wargames

By Dirty Jon Baber

As miniature wargamers, most of us have the desire to realistically represent past events on the battlefield.  Many of us pick historical games specifically to re-enact battles and wars we have read about or seen in movies.  There is even a subset of us who always strive for very realistic unit construction and representation of specific battles in startlingly exact detail.  I am not personally hyper-focused on this aspect of the hobby, but I am amazed at some of the awesome detail and hard work that people put in to these projects.  Many times, these projects include accurate unit and national symbols.  Some of these symbols can be considered offensive.  In thinking about the armies and conflicts that my friends and I use for wargaming, I can easily find reasons that non-gamers might be disturbed when looking casually at our hobby.  

The swastika is outlawed in parts of Europe.  This symbol is highly offensive to many people, and is still used as a symbol of hate and violence by neo-Nazis.  Outside of our hobby, I feel a bit of disgust every time I see it, but I have put it on my own tanks and airplanes when historically accurate.

The Arab-Israeli War is still weighing heavily on the Middle-East today.  People are routinely killed over some of the same things that drove this war.  The Star of David can inspire some very strong reactions from people in the area, and even spark violence.  This symbol is highly offensive to some peoples and revered by others.  These flags are all over the place when we play an AIW game.

When strolling through Historicon, I see my friends running an American Civil War game, full of troops.  Battle flags are everywhere, historically represented.  The GMs of this ACW game are some of the most liberal people I know, yet here is this symbol that in a different context is very, very offensive to some people.
Image from Perry Miniatures

This can go on and on.  The British burned down the White House.  Do Americans think of that when seeing the Union Jack?  The United States of America did horrible things to the Native American population under our own flag.  Do Americans - native and otherwise - think of that when they see it? Probably not enough. How about the Mai Lai Massacre?

In all my years of wargaming, I have only met one person who acted and spoke in an overtly racist way.  I immediately called this person on it, and never heard another word along these lines from this person again.  I still see this person around, but I never “hang out” with them - a polite greeting and I am on my way.  I point this out to illustrate that I do not think that this hobby is overrun with a bunch of crazies celebrating “bad guys” or glorifying horrible acts of human cruelty.  To me, the miniature wargamer is mostly interested in the game, the history and the miniatures and has a kind of necessary disconnect from what the game pieces and results actually represent - people being maimed and killed on the battlefield, sometimes to advance an abhorrent ideology.  

I think that this disconnect is also present when choosing armies, conflicts and battles.  The miniature wargamer is usually not evaluating the politics, ambitions and prejudices behind the units being represented. Some are, but many are not.  While I think that most miniature wargamers inherently (and likely unconsciously) understand this disconnect, many outside the hobby do not.  With recent events and national discussion, I think it would be a good exercise for our community to do some self-reflection.  Here are a few questions that are worth exploring:

  1. Why are you playing “the bad guys”?
  2. Why did you paint that symbol on there?  Isn’t that offensive?
  3. Do you want the “bad guys” to win?

For me, miniature wargaming is a special case.  I cannot recall being offended or even considering symbols for any reason other than historical accuracy - was this on that tank/flag/etc.?  Perhaps I should think more about this. As I reflect now, I have not had any problem with any scenarios I have seen actually played.  In thinking about it further, I would probably not want to game something like the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  I cannot sufficiently articulate my aversion to this, but I just feel like it would be wrong.  To me, gaming anything too directly related to the Holocaust just seems too horrible to participate in.  Yet, I put a swastika on a tank.  Strange rules, indeed.

Having grown up in the South, one would think that I would be interested in the ACW.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Sure, I played a little Johnny Reb back in the day, but I really have no interest at all in the war or the gaming of the war.  To me, that conflict was so embarrassing to the nation, that I have stayed completely away from the entire thing.  I have met many, many, many people (NOT wargamers) that are just a little too much “in to” the Civil War to make it a very uncomfortable topic for me.  I grew up in the city and went to mostly minority-majority schools that were still impacted by Massive Resistance.  I think that the experience of having mostly minority friends gave me a strong appreciation for their thoughts and feelings about the ACW and the symbols of that war.  I have no interest.

Now, I have a TON of friends who are ACW game fans.  I have absolutely no problem with this at all.  None of them are crazies and many of them I consider my best wargaming friends. These folks also make some of the most detailed and beautiful models and scenery I have ever laid eyes on. I see their hobby shared enthusiastically with many happy hobbyists at conventions.

I'm ok with this.
I am SUPER not ok with this.
It is interesting that symbols in other contexts affect me in different ways.  For instance, I’ll put a swastika flag on a tank.  I’ll take a picture with the flag at a reenactment event - duplicating a picture of soldiers taking the flag as a trophy after defeating the Germans.  However, when I see that flag used by German reenactors, I feel like I could never do that.  Could I reenact Germans?  Maybe.  If I did, it would have to be Heer troops.  SS?  Not a chance.  This is especially true after being at an event and hearing the conversations - in German - between a group of SS Reenactors.  Let’s just say that they were getting WAY too in to the role.

So, what’s the point of this article?  Well, I wrote it to help me explore some of my own thoughts about the symbols we use in our hobby.  I clearly have no answers and “rules” for everyone to follow.  Everyone will have their own feelings influenced by their life experiences.  I would ask you all to take a moment and think about these topics and your thoughts about them.  We regularly use symbols that are highly charged and can provoke some really strong reactions and I think that it would do us well to reflect on how we feel about that.

Now, a bit of a caution.  There will be discussion on this topic in the WWPD Forums.  Please be VERY mindful of what you write.  This is a hot topic and can spark some strong feelings.  Please be respectful to everyone.  We will be watching closely.  

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Bolt Action - Painting Guide: French Goumiers

Welcome to another step by step painting guide, this time I've chosen a very exotic unit, the Moroccan Goumiers of the French army. This is actually the first squad for a future project, the French Expeditionary Corp in Italy. The miniatures themselves are from the Artizan Designs range. These are fantastic miniatures and are a pleasure to paint. Let's see how to do it...

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Warhammer Conquest Regionals AAR at Atomic Empire in Durham, NC

Over the weekend, Andrew and I headed down to Atomic Empire in Durham NC for the Conquest regionals. To be honest, we were very rusty since we'd been inundated with awesome releases for Lord of the Rings and Star Wars Armada--man I wish I had time to play it all!

As usual, my memory for what went on in games is pretty spotty, so I'll keep this high level!

I ran Ragnar straight out of Davis' head. Ragnar's been my go-to for a while, and since we'd been slacking on Conquest play, I figured I could drive Davis' deck pretty well.

27 people showed up, and 3 (included me) used a bye for round one.

Round One was a bye for me, thanks to one of my earlier tourney wins! This allowed me to do some recon. I walked around and observed what I was going to be up against. I only saw one Aun'Shi. I saw one other Ragnar, several Catos, one Nazdreg, one Zogwort, one Urien, two Eldoraths, one Shadowsun, and many many Kiths. Thankfully, I think Ragnar is a pretty good matchup against Kith, so I wasn't sweating it too hard!

Round Two was (surprise!) against Kith. My opponent's name was Judah, and he ran a pretty straightforward Kith build. I had a nice opening hand, with lots of command. I managed to dominate command early and held my lead. Won on planet 4 due to planet win. Our game was fast, so we got a second one in--in this game I managed to assassinate his warlord in relatively short order as well. My first Conquest game in quite a while went pretty well, and I was feeling back in the swing of things!

Round Three was (surprise!) against Kith. This time, unfortunately, my opponent was Andrew. This had the potential to make for a long ride home! Fortunately, I managed to get the upper hand on Andrew's Dark Eldar, though as always, it was a pretty good game. Sucked that we had to face off so early, but I had hope that we could both still make the top 8.
Getting beer. At a game store. Are we in heaven?

Round Four was against Aun'Shi. Thankfully, Aun'Shi is my second favorite warlord, so I was very familiar with all the tricks! I played a bit more conservatively, anticipating the shenanigans. I may be wrong, but I don't think John played a single Kauyon Strike, and he only got one orbital city out. He did (through pure tricksiness) wipe a planet with a well timed marksman with gun drones. Ouch! Still, Ragnar wasn't about to get bullied around by some Tau, and we managed to pull off the victory. I believe  I had all 3 Honored Librarians out this game, so I piled on cheap units to their planets and they made it through okay.

Round Five was against a gentleman named Josh running (gasp!) Kith. I was fairly confident going into this, but that confidence quickly drained. I drew a pretty poor opening hand for command, but Josh had the exact opposite! He COMPLETELY dominated me on command for three turns. And when I say completely, he was usually winning 4 planets, and drawing on another. The few times I did have a glimpse of winning a command struggle, he Archon Palace'd that away. It was both brutal and inspiring to watch! Josh ground me to a pulp and actually won by assassinating Ragnar! Well earned.

Still, I managed to make the cut to the top 8! In fact, I came out of Swiss ranked 2nd, behind only Josh.

Top 8 This time I was paired with another Kith--which was weird! This Kith was driven by Scott, and I was firing on all cylinders. Scott was an awesome dude to play with, but I pulled every space marine trick there is, and managed to take the game home.

Top 4 Finally, something other than Kith! This time, I went up against Pierson who was running Eldorath. He pretty much completely tore me to shreds. He had excellent command, and some well timed Superiorities, Nullifies, and Gift of Ishas. A well earned victory to Pierson who went on to win the whole thing!

Top 4 schwag: mat, playset of Colosseum Fighters, deckbox, spot-gloss Nazdreg, 3 (argh! I need one more!) alt art Nazdreg's Flash Gitz. The store also generously gave the top 4 spots a $30 giftcard!

I never expected to make it to the top 4, so I was tickled pink! I got some sweet schwag and best of all--Atomic Empire had a bar! They had some pretty rockin' local brews on draught. Very cool.

The final game came down to Josh and Pierson. I felt pretty good that my two losses for the day wound up being the two who would face off for the top spot! In the end, Pierson took it home.

The top 4 Warlords were:

I used my $30 giftcard to grab another ship for Armada and one more beer to cap off the day while we awaited the final round results!

Want to join the conversation? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!
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Review of Nachjager (Digital)

By Mitch Reed

When I did my first article on Nachtjager I promised you a review of the digital only content after it was released. In two’s and three’s over a six week period, the digital only lists for Nachtjager appeared on Forces of War (Forces) and Flames of War Digital (FOW-D) and I checked them out as the dropped.

Billed as a release of 14 lists, the total really comes to 16, since you can field two types (veteran or ersatz) Fallshirmjäger or (British or Canadian) Parachute companies.

The lists:
  • German Grenadierkompanie
  • German Ausbuldungskompanie
  • German Fallshirmjägerkompanie (Veteran and Ersatz)
  • British Commando
  • British SAS Squadron
  • British Motor Company
  • British Lorried Rifle Company
  • U.S. Parachute Rifle Company
  • U.S. Glider Rifle Company
  • British Airborne Armoured Recce Squadron
  • British Parachute Company (British and Canadian)
  • British Airlanding Company
  • British Armoured Car Squadron
  • British Guards Tank Squadron
 This is an impressive list, even more so when you realize that the Nachtjager book only had six lists.

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Bolt Action - AAR: Hungarians vs Bulgarians, 1944

Autumn 1944, the Soviet steam roller enters Hungary itself. Romania and Bulgaria switch sides and turn on their former Axis ally. Desperate Hungarian forces gather for a local counter attack, reconnaissance tanks tell them that there is a section of the Soviet line being held by the lightly armed Bulgarian troops. It's point defense, can the Bulgarians hold off the Hungarian assault?

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Star Wars Armada - 300 Point Spring Tourmament Report at Dragon's Den Richmond VA

Just a few days back, I had the chance to play in my second Star Wars Armada tournament at Dragon's Den in Richmond VA (See my previous report for part one). This was the 2nd half of their spring tournament. For this, the winner of the day would earn the Victory II alt art card while the winner of both events (combined scores) would win the Imperial Gunnery medal.

I was fortunate enough to be joined by my buds Sean, Eric (a co-host of Intensify Forward Firepower), and Jon as well! Jon's thoughts are below.

If you've listened to our podcast, you'll know that I am on the fence on the usefulness of fighters in the current meta. So, I elected to try an experiment and went squadronless!

I had:
*Assault Frigate Mk II B (72) + Mon Mothma (30) + XI7 Turbolasers (6) + Gunnery Team (7) + Electronic Countermeasures (7)
*Assault Frigate Mk II B (72) + XI7 Turbolasers (6) + Gunnery Team (7) + Electronic Countermeasures (7)
*CR90 B (39) + Tantive IV (3) + Leia Organa (3)
*CR90 B (39) + Jaina's Light (2)

Which clocked in at a cool 300. I won't even bother listing my objectives because I went first all day!

GAME ONE Happened to be against Eric. Kinda sucked since we're homeboys, on the other hand, he lives two hours away, so we haven't played Armada against each other often. Eric had 2 Assault Frigate Mk II Bs, Luke, 3 B-Wings, and 3 A-Wings (including Tycho). One or both of the frigates had Flight Controllers and/or expanded hangar bays. Adar Tallon was on one as well. My memory is really this bad; I don't remember other upgrades, but I do know he had General Dodonna.

I chose Hyperspace Assault from his objectives and he obviously put the non-Dodonna guppy in ambush along with the 3 Bs.

As a side note, we had to play on a pretty crummy board. I absolutely love Dragon's Den so I don't want to harp on this, but the picture above really drives home what makes miniature games interesting: they look way cooler than board games! Take away the space part and why even have painted ships? Still, the Den was accommodating a large amount of players for their relatively small size, so again all props to the shop.

Many people remarked how this resembled more of a koi pond than a game of Armada!

By the time I've written this, I don't remember the exact results, but I know I managed to take down both of his guppies. I think I lost Jaina but besides that managed to pull out the 10-0. Make sure to listen to IFF Episode 6- Easy's Shame to hear more about this game!

Round 1: Eric's Rebel Fighters
Round 2: Jeremy's Imperial Brawlers
Round 3: Sean's Rebel fighters

Game Two was against Jeremy's Imperial Brawlers. Jeremy had a Vic II, a Vic I, and a kitted out Demolisher. He also had two TIE squadrons!
I chose Minefields from Jeremy's objectives, and I think I threw him for a loop! I had a theory that not many people had actually played those objectives yet, and it paid off! I took one mine hit, which I repaired immediately, and Jeremy later took one as well--I call it even!

The game went pretty well for me, minus my own major mistake, which I will get to! Well, I made two mistakes, but one I managed! I thought Jaina's was going to get out of his Vic I's front arc (but it was a close flyby). Instead, I had a good quarter inch of the rear of the base in his front arc AND side arc. That meant Jaina's was dead... or so we thought! Somehow, the little ship managed to survive (see above damage!) and escape post-haste. In fact, she went on to deliver the death blow to Jeremy's Vic II!
Jeremy and I squaring off.

You can see Jaina's trajectory. Headed right for pain. Besides that, we managed to take down Demolisher for the loss of Tantive IV. But with the loss of Tantive, I couldn't react well enough on a navigate and drove one of my Assault Frigates off the board! D'oh!!

But then, going into the final round... I damn sure almost drove my flagship off the board too! Thankfully, a well executed "juke" kept Mon Mothma from costing me the game.

With his Vic II and Demolisher out, I would've had a 10-0 but for flying my own ship off the board. 7-3 was the end result.

Game Three was against Sean, who I played first in my last tournament. Sean was running a similar list with a handful of changes. From memory, he had an Assault Frigate Mk II B, Yavaris, and Jaina's Light with Leia on it. He also had Luke, 3 B-Wings, and 2 or more A-Wings.

I again chose Hyperspace Assault. Sean hit me with Yavaris and 3 Bs. Focused fire brought down his Yavaris and Corvette, but his absolute last die of the game managed to bring down my flagship!

Fighters dogged the flagship relentlessly! My Flagship was 122 and his losses amounted to 117! He got the win, though the match was a 5-5. I think he had a combined score at that point of 24, while my 7-3 had me sitting at 22. Sean very deservedly won the day!

There once was a capital ship there!

Thankfully, my score from the previous tournament (29) combined with today's of 24 gave me the highest score of the combined tournaments and I managed to win the sweet gunnery medal, which I plan to wear every single day. Well, maybe not EVERY single day.

When we got back to my place, Eric and I had a massive reorganization of all of our Armada stuff. As you all can probably relate to--that felt good man. Real good.

Eric in one of his games.

Dirty Jon's Brief Tournament AAR:
Jon's List: 3 Gladiators with Concussion Missiles, Screed, Wulf, Demolisher (+all the fixins), Howl Runner and 4 Interceptors.

Round 1 - Played a really good dude who had a Star Destroyer and a couple of Gladiators with a token fighter force.  We played Hyperspace Assault, and I went first.  The terrain we placed went across the middle, so I tried to isolate his VSD and used my fighters to screen his Ambush.  I planned to have my fighters in a position to gank his stuff when he appeared.  Luckily, I had a squadron command right when he ambushed and I rocked his squadrons down.  I ran around a bit and ended up killing his VSD, but he rocked down two of my Glads, and I lost overall.

Round 2 - Played against a new guy who was great, but I (who am also very new!) am pretty sure we messed up some rules.  We did Opening Salvo and I went first.  He had 3 VSDs and a small fighter force.  I ended up isolating one of his VSDs and bringing it and his fighters down.  I also injured one of his ships at the last minute (netting me half points).  He killed a Glad and injured one of my ships, but I healed one at the last minute to pull out the win.

Round 3 - Got to face Mr. Sean!  I'll let him describe this mirror game, but safe to say his experience showed and he tabled me.

Overall, I had a good time!  It takes a while to set up play the game--I'm new.  I REALLY liked the Interceptors and Howl Runner combo for a small, fast and efficient force.  I would like to see this list face off against Rebs, as I think that the ships will be a little more effective and the fighters a little less.  I had trouble--due to inexperience--at keeping out of the front arc of VSDs.  Thanks to Chance and Steven for lending me the ships.  Next time, Mr. time!

Want to join the conversation? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!
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EW 1390 Tournament - German List

By "Dirty Jon" Baber

Early War seems to be my jam this past year. With another tournament coming up at the awesome Huzzah Hobbies, I had to take a look at what I might play. The tournament will be 1390 Early War and open to everything. I decide pretty quickly that I will play Germans - my only other option is the Finns, and I am a bit tired of them.  Plus, why change something that is working!
I have a ton of options for lists, but at a low point total and taking into account that ANYTHING could show up, I go for a list that has all the options - Czech Panzers from Blitzkreig. I considered a couple of other lists, but at this low point total, I think this is the best at handling all comers.

HQ & 1st Platoon

Two Panzer 38(t)Bs in the HQ and five more in a platoon  I did not even consider the 35(t).  First of all, I don't have the models. Second, I don't want to pick up Unreliable for only a savings of 5pts per tank. The 38(t) is a great EW tank at a cost of ~88pts each.

In EW, this tank is likely to stick around and be pretty effective. First of all, it is Veteran and this makes it both hard to hit (especially at range) and also gives me a good chance to make Stormtrooper checks. The FA of 2 is not fantastic, but it makes me immune to MGs and gives a good chance to bounce AT 5 and 6, which is fairly common in EW. The platoon is 5-strong, which means it can take a ton of abuse and still stick around. Last - and certainly not least - having Protected Ammo is just fantastic because there is a TON of 5+ Firepower out there.  Three quarters of the time, my tanks are re-mounting. This is a huge advantage in the relatively low lethality of EW.
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Bolt Action - Review: British A9 Cruiser Tank

The British A9 Cruiser Mk1tank was designed in the 1930's as a fighting vehicle that would be fast, lightly armed and armoured and would have the role of striking behind enemy lines at vital strategic assets like supply lines. It was also designed and built during the Great Depression and had many cost saving measures with a maximum armour thickness of only 14mm. Its greatest asset however was its top speed of 25mph and the new high velocity QF 2-pounder gun.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bolt Action - Season 2 Live

Alright Barbarians its finally here, Bolt Action Season 2.  We poured through you feedback and suggestions, edited, re-edited, and for good measure re-edited again to make sure that it is as clear as a Gin and Tonic.   We are really excited about the changes this season with fixed weapons and armored transports getting a little love.  We have been play testing and playing nothing but Season 2 for the last two months up here in Alaska and we are totally loving it.  My favorite part is the increased usefulness of infantry medium machine guns.  This season will be up through the end of the year and we would love to hear from you throughout the Season on how the rules are working.  Either leave a post in the forum or contact one of the crew directly through the forum.  As always enjoy and may the dice be with you.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Conquest Warlord Review: Baharroth

After a brief hiatus from gaming in general due to some crazy life stuff popping up, I have found myself reinvigorated by Conquest. I was playing almost every night in preparation for a regional tournament (that I ended up skipping), and really diving into some decks and warlords that I hadn't yet had the opportunity to play (although, I still haven't played Zogwort, and probably never will). The warlord that has grabbed my attention the most has been Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind in Eldar-speak.

When it comes to the 40k lore I obsess over two factions: Eldar (of all varieties) and Chaos. I love the Eldar storyline and background, especially concerning the Phoenix Lords. Now, Baharroth isn't my favorite Phoenix Lord in the background, but in Conquest he's a fun, unique, and effective crusader for the Eldar race.
Whenever we get a new release for Conquest, our first thoughts concern the new warlord and the impact of his ability on the game. Baharroth's ability can take quite some time to read through, so you should sit down before continuing this article. Ready? Deep breath....


Oh...well...ummmm... That's a bit underwhelming...

At least, that was my first reaction, and the first reaction of many other players as well. But rigorous playtesting has confirmed that while the Mobile keyword on a normal unit adds a bit of flavor, having it on a warlord can be extremely powerful.

Baharroth is a command phase monster. Most warlords, when they commit to a planet, will be stuck there for the rest of the turn. Eldorath has the ability to move, but only if he has his signature event Foresight in hand. Aun'shi can use Kauyon Strike or Over-Powered, er, Orbital City to bounce around to different planets, but only Baharroth has the built-in ability to commit to one planet and then move around to others without an event card. This effect is huge, as it effectively leverages his warlord trait across multiple planets in a given turn. He can claim a good command value on one planet, then fight on another. Of course, he can also get out of harm's way if necessary, making him very hard to bloody.

Some art from the 3rd Ed. rulebook 

That said, he only has 6 HP, and can become vulnerable if you pick the wrong fight. Plus, you have to remember that movement via mobile occurs before combat starts, so make sure you have a plan to fight when you have to. Luckily, Baharroth's signature army units can move around as well to come to the aid of their leader.

There has been controversy surrounding this unit, much of it deserved. Namely, is it too damn expensive for what it does? I'm inclined to say that it is a little expensive, BUT! the unit is still very good. Note that its +3 attack only applies if Baharroth is present ("your" warlord, not "a" warlord"). If an enemy walord commits to their planet and you can't get Baharroth there, or don't want to, then get these guys away from the action, because they'll be obliterated.

This lack of attack ability is the primary reason why I'm inclined to ally with Tau for Baharroth, since Tau provide access to Ion Rifles (and the Earth Caste Techs that can fetch them). Now, this is a four-cost investment, but now we're looking at a mobile unit that could be swinging for 6. Plus, the Eldar event Death from Above can help reduce the cost of these guys, but automatically places them at the last planet. I've been including that event in my deck thus far, but the jury is still out on it.

Assuming we live in an ideal world, that 6 attack can be boosted even further by:

Now this is a great support. Simple, cheap, and effective. Also, the artwork continues in the game's grand tradition of stomping all over the Imperial Guard. In addition to Baharroth and his Hawks, this support can target Wildrider Squadrons and get them swinging for a beastly 5 attack. All in all it's a fantastic support that synergizes perfectly with the warlord and the faction as a whole.

We go from a great support to a very middling attachment. There's no base attack boost, and the ability can take some serious maneuvering to set up. When you compare this warlord attachment to the Tempest Blade, Plague Banner, Glovodan Eagle, Frostfang, etc - there's simply no comparison. Most of the time I've been using this for the 3 shields.

We're going to end on a high note with Baharroth's signature event: Cry of the Wind. "Baharroth" roughly translates to "Cry of the Wind", so A+ on theme for the designers. The obvious use for this card is to make your units super-mobile. But it's important to note that this card can apply to enemy units as well, which is how I prefer to employ it. If an opposing Eldar or Dark Eldar player tries to use their Wildrider Squadron against me, I can just move it right back to where it came from. If someone tries to get cute with Plannum, I can move their unit right down the line and out of contention for the rest of the game. This is a fantastic event with a ton of utility, and can really get in your opponent's head.

Time will tell if Baharroth is a competitive warlord or not, but I can say that he's been a blast to run. He may not be my favorite Phoenix Lord from the lore, but he's carved out a space among my favorite Conquest LCG warlords.

Now we just need badass Maugan Ra and I'll never play another warlord.

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