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Friday, February 27, 2015

Bolt Action - Review: Rubicon Models T-34/76

Recently, Nemesis Andy was given the opportunity to review Rubicon’s 28mm scale T-34/76 plastic tank model.  Anyone that is familiar with Rubicon’s tank kits is well aware of the wealth of modeling versatility that comes in each kit and the T-34/76 kit is no exception.  Once you get the sprues out of the box you can’t help but notice all the cool little extras added to enable you to personalize your T-34.  From different turret options, to both steel and rubber track wheels.

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Warhammer Conquest Warlord Focus: Aun'Shi

images courtesy of if you aren't using this yet- do so now!

Aun'shi- the Warlord of the latest expansion pack "Gift of the Ethereals", is the 2nd Tau Warlord for Conquest, and features a unique set of abilities - as well as drawbacks! I love "tricky" card interactions, and so I was immediately intrigued by Aun'shi. He and his signature squad both have a forced reaction- after they attack, they must retreat from battle and head back to HQ. While that very much fits the fluff of Ethereals in the Universe, it is something you really have to consider when playing as or against this warlord!

First, let's take a close look at Aun'shi. Nothing new with starting cards or resources: 7 for both. Aun'shi's stats are, however, some of the best with 2 ATT and 7 HP (Along with Ragnar and Nazdreg). Aun'shi has two traits: Soldier and Ethereal. Finally, all Tau units you control at a planet with Aun'shi gain armorbane. That is huge! However, after attacking he must move to the HQ.

Clearly some strategy begins to present itself before even seeing any other cards- keep Aun'shi in the battle as long as possible before attacking! He has some major drawbacks - unlike every other warlord, he cannot win planets by himself if the opponent has an inexpensive unit there for the command struggle. He can win the command struggle and probably kill the unit (he hates Sanctioned Psykers!), but he will not be able to trigger the battle ability. However! With some high damage, ranged units at a planet with him - destruction can be wrought upon the enemy!

Next we get to his signature squad. He is joined by 4 Ethereal Envoys who's abilities look quite similar. They are one of the most cost-effective units, stat-wise. Costing a mere 1 resource for 1 ATT, 3 HP, and 1 command icon is a steal. They are saddled with Aun'shi's same Forced Reaction. With the low cost, low attack, these make excellent command struggle winners, although with some combos we'll discuss below they can become pivotal in battle.

Aun'shi would be incomplete without his Sanctum- a place to meditate on wrecking his foes. This is an excellent support, and it's a shame it's only a "1 of". Remember what I said about ranged units earlier? Imagine having the Stingwing swarm (or Vior'la Marksman with an Ion Rifle!) at a planet with Aun'shi when you possess the sanctum. The swarm attacks in the ranged phase, then can ready and do it again? That's potentially a bloodied
warlord! Love this card.

The Honor Blade is Aun'shi's signature weapon. Bolstering the attack of all tau by +1 the synergy here is painfully obvious. This card is so good, and unlike the Sanctum, the Tau have at least some ability to dig for the blade.

Finally, the event Ethereal Wisdom sees 2 copies in your deck, and temporarily grants a target Tau unit +1 ATT and the Ethereal trait. While granting the Ethereal trait may seem moot at this point, it's clear that Aun'shi has a de facto 5th card that, while not included in his signature squad cards, is an absolute necessity.

So, to review, Aun'shi's signature squad is alright. The Ethereal Envoys are so-so. but a good buy at 1. The Honor Blade and Aun'shi's sanctum are both great right off the bat! Ethereal Wisdom is so-so until we look at...

Kauyon Strike. When this card was released in The Scourge, people knew it was meant for Aun'shi. Suddenly all of your Ethereal units can descend upon a battle at Combat Action speed! "Oh, your warlord is exhausted? Bummer, cause here come some of my mates to rough him up!". Suddenly Ethereal Wisdom + Kauyon strike becomes one of the most powerful combos in the game. Need that Stingwing Swarm moved? done. Just watch out for tricksy Eldar and their nullify!

Another card worth mentioning is the Homing Beacon. The term "move" on homing beacon is only really triggered at this point by Aun'shi, the Ethereal envoys, and the Aun'nui Prelate as neither routing nor returning from planet 1 is considered a "move". Since Homing Beacon is not unique, you can have several at HQ and they can all trigger when an Ethereal unit moves back. In practice, I've found Homing Beacon to be so-so since Aun'Shi has cheap units that are easy to win command with. I'm not sure it's a 3 of, but it's definitely worth at least having one to get some advantage out of the forced reactions.

Editor's note: How did I not mention this card originally?
The final card that must be brought up is the Aun'ui Prelate. While he is a bit pricey at 4 resources (and thus fairly easy to telegraph as a result), his utility is obvious. Swinging for 4 and making the rest of your Tau swing for +1? Catch an enemy warlord exhausted and it's all over. Plus, he can trigger your Homing Beacon just in case you don't have any other Ethereals returning home. Fantastic card, that has often been the deciding factor in my games.

In conclusion, Aun'shi presents a unique, combo-centric, potentially very powerful deck archetype to the Tau (who were, in my opinion, very lacking under Commander Shadowsun).  I have played with and against Aun'shi fairly extensively at this point, and I've come to the conclusion that he can definitely win, but not always consistently (I will note that several store championships have recently been won with Aun'Shi so take my opinion with a grain of salt!). If the right combos are pulled off, and the right cards drawn- Aun'shi can win huge. However, with some clever plays by your opponent, everything can fall apart pretty quickly. I've had the most success with Aun'shi as a warlord sniper (which I think he does even better than Ragnar!). With a honed deck, and in the right matchup, Aun'shi is a killer. Against a savvy opponent with a strong understanding of Aun'shi - he can be easy to play around. Against opponents who aren't quite as strong with the Conquest rules or aren't prepared for Aun'Shi- he stands a good chance to win it.

Give Aun'shi a try, and sound off in the comments what's worked (and what hasn't worked!) for you. Who do you prefer to ally with?
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US Cav Recon vs SS Westfalen (Hold the Line)

A few weeks back, Jason reached out to us about learning how to play Flames Of War. He discovered that he lived quite close to me, and after some scheduling conflicts we were able to figure out a day to play! Jason had not played Flames Of War before, but had painted up an absolutely beautiful Cavalry Recon force out of Bridge at Remagen. Knowing this was to be his first game, I decided to play both a historical and a static opponent. I went with SS Westfalen. We rolled for the mission and came up with Hold the Line. I knew it would be tough on him to punch through my lines, but I was also glad my turns would be quick so we could focus on walking Jason through the rules!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bolt Action - New Unit: Soviet Blocking Detachment

During the German summer offensive in 1942 Soviet leader Joseph Stalin issued Order 227. The order was as known as the “Not one step back” order. No Soviet commander was allowed to retreat under the order without expression permission to do so. Anyone who disobeyed Order 227 was subject to disciplinary action which could include anything from death to reassignment to a penal battalion. Order 227 also instructed armies to created block detachments who were instructed to shoot any troops fleeing from the front. This was not the first time blocking troops had been used by the Red Army. Order 1919, issued by Stalin in 1941, instructed the Stavka to create blocking detachments as well. These blocking detachments were under the direct control of the NKVD.

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Interview with Artist Ben Zweifel

One of my goals when I started writing for Outpost Zero was not just to write about our favorite games, but introduce some of the people and processes behind those games. That's why I'm proud to bring you guys  this interview with freelance artist Ben Zweifel.

While Ben now focuses primarily on the Star Wars RPG, X-Wing, and Armada, his work has been featured in the LotR LCG from the very beginning of the game. His artwork was among the first that many of us would have seen when we started the game, as his portfolio includes the 1st stage quest card for Passage Through Mirkwood.

Ben has also done work for Fantasy Flight's board game line, notably for the Warhammer 40,000 game Relic (basically the 40k version of Talisman). After enduring my pleading for artwork featuring Abaddon or Maugan Ra, he was kind enough to answer my questions...


What was your earliest introduction to Middle Earth? And for Warhammer 40,000?

I grew up with both of them. I was introduced to LOTR at a very early age, and I think I had read them a couple of times by the time 6th grade rolled around. 40k on the other hand was a bit later but at one point I was fielding fairly large Space Marine and Tyranid armies. However, I think I enjoyed the modelling/painting aspect of it a lot more than actually playing the game. I could probably count the number of times I played proper games on one hand as opposed to the countless hours hunched over a table holding tiny brushes or gluing sand to bases.

Do you have a favorite character or setting from Middle Earth and/or Warhammer 40k?

I can't say I really do. I mean, I've always enjoyed most of the exploits of the dwarf characters in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I like their eccentricities, similar to the humans and hobbits but a little bit more neurotic. Elves are just a bit hard to relate to. For Warhammer, as a player especially its always been about creating my own characters, making my own chapter, primarch, etc. However as general archetypes I really like a lot of the Inquisition stuff. I find the wide variety of different character types that fit in there really interesting.

How did you come to work on FFG's games? Was there an application/audition process?

Most companies that work with a large number of freelancers are always looking. I submitted my portfolio to their art drop eons ago but I imagine that it still functions in a similar fashion. Although I don't have a lot of insight on the subject, it basically boils down to submitting a cover letter and a link to a solid digital portfolio. 

You've been working on the LotR card game since the very beginning - has your method changed at all when working in that setting? Do you approach projects differently than you once did for LotR?

Well I haven't worked on the LotR LCG since mid-2013 (Ed. Note: Since Ben's work has been featured in the most recent AP, this gives us a good idea of just how far ahead the design team is planning the game, incredible!), it is however a pretty similar process to most of my other work for FFG.

As an illustrator you are always trying to improve your work but that's a pretty slow and incremental process. The biggest thing for me has been the development of a really good relationship with Zoë Robinson (she's one of the strong influences steering the visual look of a lot of FFG products and the art director I work with most frequently). Since we've worked together for years now we're able to communicate complex ideas very effectively. That shorthand allows us to get on the same page much faster and gives her more nuanced control over the end result.

Illustration for games is mostly problem solving. All of our art plays a supporting role to gameplay, it's designed to enhance the experience, so the question that usually needs answering is: What are we trying to evoke in the players? Most of the time it's about capturing a specific narrative moment that can bridge the gap between dry gameplay mechanics and an immersive experience that makes you feel like you're taking part in exploring your favorite universe. The problem is, it's not always clear how to achieve that effect, especially since there's lots of other artists working on a product and none of us have the big picture. Zoë has that overview and, more importantly, she usually has a crystal clear idea of what she needs her artists to do so we don't waste a lot of resources exploring dead ends. That's a totally indispensable skill in an AD and one that's actually not as common as you would think. 

Do you have a favorite card of yours for the LotR LCG?

I'm pretty happy with how the Doors of Durin turned out, it was interesting because it went through a bunch of revisions, but I like where we ended up. Ancient Forest and Sinking Bog are close seconds.

How much work can we expect from you for FFG's Warhammer 40,000 products? 
I'm sorry to say most of my recent work has taken me away from 40k. However one of the big things I've done recently is the entire game board for the Halls of Terra expansion for Relic (set in the 40k Universe) which consists of dozens of individual illustrations. I did the original board for Relic as well and one of the early drafts had Abaddon in the very center of the board but it was later abandoned in favor of the Chaos Star. It just made more sense from a gameplay perspective.

Do you play any of the games that you work on?
In the past few years I've been mostly working on a lot of X-Wing and StarWars RPG (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force & Destiny) both of which I play. X-wing I play very casually and rather badly, partially because my fleet consists of contributor copies from ones I've worked on rather than a carefully selected army, leading to some rather wonky ship selections. I play the StarWars RPG pretty frequently as well.

What is your preferred medium for your art?
I work almost exclusively in Photoshop for any professional work. The volume of potential changes and the ease at which those are achieved simply makes it the most efficient and flexible.

Did you study art in any organized way? Or are you mostly self-taught?
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the Ringling College of Art & Design. It was a great starting point, and it's not like your done when you graduate, you keep learning.

Any advice for artists who want a career like yours?
I could say something like: "learn good fundamentals, know your anatomy etc." But everyone knows that. I think communication is key. Being able to write and speak to people effectively is a learned skill, expressing really complex ideas in a way that other people can understand them has been invaluable. The other incredibly useful skill you can learn is to be hungry for information, don't know how something works, go find out, don't guess. Whether it's how light reflects off carbon fiber or how the biomechanics of a bird in flight work or how linear actuators in robotics function, all that information is really important in imaginative illustration because all those data points inform your design and allow you to create something thats fantastic or futuristic but grounded enough in reality for the viewer to understand it.

Where can we view more of your work? 
I have my own site:, and you can find me on Twitter @pixelgarbage 

Huge thanks to Ben for taking the time to answer some questions!

Want to join the conversation? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!
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It's Always Night Attack in Philadelphia WINTER WHITEOUT Report

 By Mitch Reed
Photos By Sean "Throckmorton" Sarah

Philadelphia is popular destination for travelers due to the city’s rich history, sports teams that always seem to lose and of course cheesesteaks (Ed. Jim's Steaks is the best). Another reason to head to the City of Brotherly Love is to play in a tournament at Showcase Comics and Games, located in Swarthmore PA, a southern suburb of Philadelphia which is less than 15 miles from the center of the city. The staff has always been friendly and according to Cooper who mans the counter, "they are not barbarians". 

I have been heading to Showcase from Northern Virginia for almost two years now since they run some of the best tournaments in the area.  About twice a year Showcase holds a big tournament for about 20-30 people that draws folks from all over the Northeast and even some making the trip from as far away as Florida. 

If Superman played FoW, what list would he run? 

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bolt Action - Conversion Competition 2015

Hey Gang,

Time for another exciting reader/ listener competition. In the past we have ran painting competitions. This time we are going for something a little different. Conversions. What constitutes a conversion? Well, that is simple. Did you change the model from its original form? If so, well you have converted a model.

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Follow the WWPD Fellowship on Facebook!

Sierra hooked up the WWPD Fellowship with its very own Facebook account! Make sure to go "like" the page to keep up to date with all of the LOTR goings ons on Outpost Zero! Speaking of which, have you checked out our Article Index? We have a long list of Lord of the Rings: The Card Game content that will continue to grow!

That Facebook link again is!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Bolt Action - Bolt Action Radio Episode 33

Bolt Action Radio 33 kicks off with Judson hosting two special guests at the BAR. The jet setter Anfernee manages to pause his international travels long enough for a segment, and MarkDawg of BAR and LRDG fame (or infamy) drops in to make his BAR debut. As the only three patrons of The BAR they have plenty of time to talk about preparing to run or participate in a Bolt Action Dot Net Format event in the first segment. They then all depart for a quick break, and through the mysteries of recording science come back to discuss the lessons learned at two different Format events, both as a player and as an organizer.

If you would like the  direct link to this episode... You can find it here.

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Behind Enemy Lines Episode 1

Featuring some of the gents from down under, we're proud to announce a new podcast distributed by the WWPD Network!

Download now!

Join the new podcast guys on the block for Episode 1 of Behind Enemy Lines! The guys keep it short and sweet with introductions, news, and more!

In Act I, the guys introduce themselves and their favorite games.

In Act II, our intrepid hosts comb the interwebs for Newb News, talking info and rumours about the full spectrum of wargaming.

In Act III the guys talk about what they are up to hobby-wise. They’ll also let you know about the new podcast’s social media channels.

Check them out on Facebook!

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AAR: Fate of Nation Israel & Jordan Pincer (2305pts) - Game 1

By Tom Burgess

Having done nothing but lose to the UAR T-54/55 Hordes with my Israeli AMX-13 Tank Company since the release of "Fate of a Nation," I was eager to get in some games against my friend Charles' Jordanian force for something different.

Since the Jordanian Tank Co is an "Always Defend" force we wanted to see how well that special rule worked for them.  So we randomly rolled up Pincer from the defensive missions.

My force was the same as I had in my last few Fate of a Nation AARs posted here on  I am adding new kit like M51 Shermans and Recoilless Rifle Jeeps to give me more options. But for this game I had to fight with what I had for models, though the point level, 2305 pts, made me drop my air support, one Blindicide Team and the Halftrack Transports for my Infantry.

My Israeli Roster

My Israeli Tank Fore
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Bolt Action - Review: Rubicon Plastic Tiger I

Hey Gang,

As players of Bolt Action we are literally spoiled for choice when it comes to quality model kits, especially when it comes to vehicles. I personally generally lean towards the faster to assemble nature of resin kits. I have run into the products of another company that changed the way I view the alternative, plastics. Rubicon Miniatures.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Bolt Action - French army project: 1250 point list

It's was some 6 months ago that I posted the last update on my French colonial army project. Since then this fledgling force has grown into a 1250pt army, with many added units. The heart of the army is based around the infamous French Foreign Legion, but includes many other units from France's colonies to create a really fun and exotic force to chuck dice with. I'll take you on a quick tour and give a few insights into how it has been playing in recent games.

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Rumble in the Rubble - All Quiet on the Martian Front - 1860pts

On Super Bowl Sunday 2015,  four members of our local gaming group met at Hard Knox Games in Elizabethtown, KY to play an 1860pt game of “All Quiet on the Martian Front.” Hard Knox Games as a good collection of terrain which includes ruins/rubble pieces so we decided to fight out the “Ruins” Scenario from the book.  Since the two human players were both named Charles…we dubbed the game the “Battle of Charlestown!”

Charles and Charles had the following US forces:

US – 1st Kentucky Fencibles
Field Commander Squad – 30pts
Group 1
MkIIC Command Tank – 85pts
MkIII Unit (3 Tanks) – 225pts
MkIII Unit (3 Tanks) – 225pts
MkIIB Unit (3 Tanks) – 240pts
MKII MG Unit (3 Tanks) – 180pts
MkII Unit (3 tanks) – 165pts
HMG Armed Flivver Unit (3 Flivvers) – 45pts
Group 2
Infantry Command Squad – 30pts
MkIIIS Transport Tank – 75pts
Armored Infantry Squad  (3 elements) – 65pts
MkIIIS Transport Tank – 75pts
Infantry Squad  (3 elements) – 30pts
Infantry Squad  (3 elements) – 30pts
Rough Riders (3 elements) – 45pts
Group 3
Infantry Command Squad – 30pts
HMG Squad (3 elements) – 40pts
Gun Carriers w/ Light Howitzer (3 Elements) – 60pts
Gun Carriers w/ Light Howitzer (3 Elements) – 60pts
Anti-Tripod Gun – 80pts
MkII Gun Tractor– 40pts

1st Kentucky Fencibles
Charles' converted Light Howitzer Gun Trucks - Made from "Axis & Allies" and other parts

Charles' Machingun Flivvers
MkIIc Command Tank

Myself and my friend Ed ran the Martians with Ed taking Group 1 and myself Group 2.

Group 1
Assault Tripod w/ Black Dust – Command Tripod w/ upgraded experimental heat ray – 250pts
Assault Tripod w/ Green Gas – 250pts
2 x Assault Tripod – 400pts
Scout Tripods w/ Targeter – 155pts
Group 2
Scientist Tripod - 80pts
2 x Drone Units (3 elements ea) – 120pts
3 x Scout Tripods w/ Targeters – 465 pts
2 x Grenadier Tripods – 200pts

The full Martian Force

The Scientist Tripod (conversion) and Drones

Grenadier Tripod (conversions)

The 4' x 8' board that we fought over with all US forces already deployed with Stealth ("Blips") or Ambush.

We used Hard Knox Games great collection Miniature Building Authority buildings in the "rubble" mode to create "The Ruins."

The Martians deploy in and effort to mass on the left side of the board. Nothing was held in reserve!

Unfortunately the side that the Martians chose to mass  on was exactly in front where the main US Tank force was hiding using Stealth!

To make matters worse...the US side won getting the first phase of turn one, so the Martian Tripods were all on line and base to base...perfect for Barrage weapons! But the Martians seemed to be able to shrug off anything the humans can throw at them....that is until the "magic bullet!"

That "Magic Bullet" comes from a Machinegun that hit the already damaged Scientist tripod. That hit end up resulting in a "10" on the damage chart and blows the Scientist apart also destroying all of the Drones and one of the Grenadier Tripods. The explosion was big enough to also damage the Command Tripod on the right of the above picture. A huge and immediate setback for the Martian forces!

But the Martian vengeance for the initial setback was swift as Heavy and Medium Heat rays knocked out two tank units.

The Tripods then used their second moves to try to get some cover in and among the ruins.

Over the next turns the Tripods generally get the better of the tanks as they play "Cat & Mouse" among the ruins.

Finally...the last of the US tanks on the left of the board have been eliminated.

Pushing on the US rear area, the fast moving scouts are able to isolate and destroy the US command MkII tank.

The Martians having mostly cleared the left of the board, then turn to try to screen off the US units, most infantry and mobile guns, rushing in from the right.

Using their "Industrial Might" rules...the US players bring in some reinforcements into the Martian controlled area, but they come in piecemeal and are easily dealt with.

The Tripods take up a formidable position.

The Light Howitzer Gun Trucks and Machinegun Flivvers are pressed into front line use by the humans which gives the Martians the opportunity to deploy Green Gas!

The US dismounted forces approach the ruins hoping to take advantage of the damage already dealt to the Tripods and finish some off.

"Industrial Might" pulls in another Tank Unit from reserve, which is just as easily dealt with by the Martians as the last reserves.

Human infantry units race to the Martian controlled area of the ruins.

The Rough Riders get a little too zealous and get jumped by a Scout Tripod that Heat Rays two elements and routs the third.

The battle becomes desperate. Both sides are getting close to their break point. The Martians need to knock out just two more units to break the US force and the US needs to knock out just one more Tripod to drive off the Martians going into Turn five.

The Tripods try to target the weaker and more "squishy" US units.

A Scout Tripod uses one of the last Martian Command Points to get a double move and heat rays a full unit of US Machineguns to death.

One of the last US Tanks is knocked out.

The US Infantry assaults from the Rubble in an effort to take out a badly damaged and immobilized tripod but they fail to have any impact and are driven back into the ruins.

In retaliation, the damaged Tripod unleashed Green Gas against the human infantry, but they take only one loss and pass morale.

The Martians need to destroy one more US unit to win the looks like these Machinegun Flivvers will be that unit...but the Heat Rays just can get a hit or cause any damage to force a morale check.  The game will go into turn siz and the US will have a chance to knock out just one more tripod for the overall win!

That one Tripod ends up being dropped by again...machine guns...from a MkIIIs tank.

But having already met their victory conditions was not going to keep the humans from trying to drop yet more Tripods and here the Machinegun Flivvres make the Martians pay for not destroying them in the previous turn as the destroy a Scout Tripod.

And finally, the US infantry is able to bring down the immobilized Green Gas Assault Tripod giving the 1st Kentucky Fencibles two more than needed to secure the win.

Thus ended a great day of wargaming with "All Quite on the Martian Front."  Four players, a 4' x 8' city rubble board, 1860pts per side and roughly four hours. Pure joy and home well before the Super Bowl kick off!
I was surprised that this ended up so close.  The Martians too a big hit right off the bat, but came within reach of the win at the end of turn 5.  But it was not to be, the humans held on and came back and destroyed well over what they needed to retake the city ruins.
If you have not done so already, you really should try out "All Quiet on the Martian Front." It's fast and not at all complex. We seem to be able to snap right back into it even after long periods without an games of it and the models are just so fun and easy to work on. Both the US and the Martians force used a good bit of customized/converted pieces and this game really lends itself well to that.

Want to join the conversation? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!
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