Sunday, 31 July 2011

July Progress Update

Well, another month gone and another chunk of progress done on the army. I'm really happy with what I've done this month which includes: 2 Knights of the Realm, 2 Pegasus Knights, 1 'Trebuchet', a Battle Standard Bearer and a Dragon (who counts because of Transformation of Kadon!!!).

I'm really finding this blogging lark to be an effective motivator for me; not only with regard to the Bretonnians, but in terms of gaming in general. I'm making good painting progress, I'm going out of my way to arrange more games, I developed a campaign systems and I've really got moving on a long dormant project (which will probably make its first blog appearance this week). All in all, the sense of comradeship I'm getting from this is inspiring probably my most productive period ever in terms of wargaming. Soppy stuff, but true.

Anyway, on to next month. I'm finally going to set a proper single unit target this month as I aim to paint up a unit of 5 Knights Errant. I'm already aware from my initial battles that this unit will be too small to be truly effective and will probably need more Knights added at a later date, however, I'm Cheaphammering here - I don't have more of them! What's more, 5 is a reasonable target, I'm self-aware enough to know that more would be pushing it.

To go with the Knights Errant, I'll also be painting up the second Damsel, this one is mounted, to add further magical backbone to the army. Should I get to bonus time, I've also got an idea in the pipeline, informed by my experiences in the Storm of Game (and what I've got in my bits box).

So that's it for July: 10 posts, 3 games, 1 win and 13 models for WFB. Not bad for me!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

VICTORY!!!

I've won a game! I've won a game with my Wood Elves! Woo hoo!

In a marathon 6 hour game, my 2400 points of Wood Elves, 1600 points of Bretonnians and 1000 points of monsters, lined up against Andy's 4000 points of Beastmen and 1000 points of monsters for a really fun mash up.

On the subject of monsters, I had brought along my Forest Dragon and then added a Level 3 Truthsayer and a Level 4 Zoat (bringing my wizard total to 6!!!). This was in addition to my Treeman, two Great Eagles, an Eagle Rider and two Bretonnians on Royal Pegasi (one of whom was my not so secret weapon, more on that later). Facing me were two Hydras, a Manticore, two Razorgor, a Giant, a Carnosaur, a Cygor and a Ghorgon!

In terms of the battle, Andy was quite open about the fact that he deployed badly due to his placing of his fulcrums, with his Battle Standard Bearer at one end of his line and his General at the other. This left his Bestigor horde unsupported as they assaulted the centre of my line, and in the key moment of the game my Knights of the Realm unbelievably held for a round and then the Bestigor were pounced upon by my Men at Arms, my Wardancers and my Dragon. The Bestigor broke and from that point Andy was on the back foot, although he did almost turn my left flank later on (magic intervention saved the day).

Things that worked for me included my Wild Riders surprisingly blowing through a unit of Minotaurs and causing a Hydra to panic off the table. They then proceeded to chase off a chariot and tie up the other chariot and the Manticore before they were killed (although they killed the Manticore too!). My shooting also worked (for once) as my 50 (five-oh) archers shot up the oncoming monsters on the right so much that they withdrew. My Bretonnian Lord with Heroic Killing Blow was so obvious to Andy that by turn four the Lord had not really moved as every monster he'd charged had fled. I had to stand him right in front of the Carnosaur to get a fight, which he won with a Heroic Killing Blow.

On the flip side, just as my Dragon pursued and destroyed the Bestigor, and looked ready to storm a fulcrum, he got a rock dropped on his head by the Cygor. The Treeman was nuked by and Amber Spear hurled from atop a fulcrum (although he had scared off a horde of Gors, by Treesinging on them in a Blood Forest). My Spellweaver also miscast (on two dice) and turned every spellcaster on the table into frogs!

With the Beastman attack repulsed, the game was actually won by my newly painted Eagle Rider knocking one of Andy's Wizards off a fulcrum on his second go. I was quite pleased with this because that was my deliberate tactic (I had the second Pegasus Noble set up for the same job). This left me with two fulcrums and Andy with one, I think I'd still have won if it had gone to VP's but the result saved us the maths.
As for Storm of Magic itself, I loved it. It was a really fun change of pace from the regular game. The book is really attractive and the monsters hold all sorts of potential for fun variations. The magic items seem to be a bit of great silliness - the Living Deadwood Staff for example turned every forest into a Blood Forest, allowed me to move all forests every turn and had a bound spell for summoning more woods. Combined with Treesinging, this was lethal!!! The monsters were great fun and changed the dynamics of the game. Magic wasn't particularly overpowered, but the additional spells and miscast table certainly made the magic phase less rinse-and-repeat. I'll definitely be buying Storm of magic at some point and I'd recommend it to others.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Here Be Dragons!

The worst kept secret in blogworld is out...I've been working on a Dragon for my first Storm of Magic game this Thursday. It's an old Grenadier model I've had for years, and has had a couple of repaints in that time (it used to be bright red!). This time, I've touched up some chips in the painting, redone the eyes and mouth and given it a couple of washes.

It will serve as a normal dragon in combined Wood Elf/Bretonnian army this week (my only summoned monster) and it will also go into permanent reserve should either army ever manage to cast Transformation of Kadon. Finally, the eagle rider I did last month conveniently fits on the neck and so I've now also got a Forest Dragon for my Wood Elves.

I was going to use an old D&D model as a Baby Dragon too, but as is the case with a lot of the Wizards of the Coast soft plastic stuff, the casting is horrible, so I abandoned that idea

Following some advice, I've also taken the opportunity to use natural light for the photos. What do you think? Better? I might have to drag the entire army outside to take some new pics.

My next update it likely to be a battle report from the Storm of Magic game. I'm not holding out much hope given my record with both armies and the fact that I'm bringing only one monster and my opponent Andy has, I think, bought all the new plastic kits to add to his already monster heavy Beastmen army: Gorgon, Cygor, Razorgors, Chimera, Manticore, Cockatrice and even a Fimir Balefiend!

Still, as ever, I have a cunning plan...(they never work, but it helps keep my spirits up)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Raising The Standard

Ta daaaaaa....!


The Battle Standard Bearer is done and not only have I completed my July target (plus the bonus mortar), but I've also now got a fully painted, game legal, 1200 point Bretonnian army for less than £30 as this guy was bought at Triples last year at the same time as the Damsel I painted last month, and he was obtained at a knockdown price (£2.50 I think).

I was a bit worried about the banner initially. I was worried that it would be too fussy (were I not Cheaphammering, I would probably have avoided this model), but I'm actually quite happy with how it's turned out. Lee assured me, as his Chaos Knights were stamping all over my army, that my painting does look much better in the flesh than on this blog, and I'm inclined to agree with him as I'm really happy with how the army is looking; I just need to improve my photography.

In terms of colour scheme, I've kept with the red and blue, but allowed the pale blue that I'm using for 'Grail Units' (Grail Knights, Damsels, Battle Pilgrims) to be the main colour on the banner. I've also gone for white barding on his horse, rather than buff, to be a subtle indicator of characters. One of my bugbears about Bretonnian armies is you often can't tell who the heroes are. I figured I'd help my opponents and let them know who to kill...I'm nice like that.

So, we're fully into bonus time for the next week...what's that coming over the hill?

Friday, 22 July 2011

First Blood...all over the place!

The Bretonnians have finally marched to battle for the very first time and proved to be COMPLETELY USELESS!!!

The was the first game in the X Gamers campaign we've organised to accompany the project and featured Lee's Chaos Warband raiding the shores of Couronne, only to be met by a hastily mustered militia.

The Noble Defenders of Bretonnia: Grail Damsel, Paladin Battle Standard Bearer, 8 Knights of the Realm, 3 Pegasus Knights, 30 Men At Arms, 20 Peasant Bowmen, Grail Reliquae and 6 Battle Pilgrims, Field Trebuchet.

The Foul Hordes of Chaos: Exalted Champion of Chaos, Sorcerer, 8 Chaos Knights (just off the picture), 16 Chaos Warriors, 12 Chaos Hounds, War Shrine, 5 Chaos Marauder Horse.

Lee took first turn, as I had opted to pray to gain the Blessing of the Lady, and initiated his cunning plan of walking slowly towards me with troops that were much better than mine. His Marauder Horse whipped out to the flank to threaten my Men at Arms.

From the picture you can see I had placed my archers in the centre, and therefore hindered my own deployment (mistake 1). I then turned my Men at Arms to face the Marauder Horse (mistake 2) and opted to charge the front of his Chaos Hounds with my Pegasus Knights (mistake 3).

Add to this the fact that my first ever use of a war machine was a misfire and that my archers couldn't hit a barn door from ten paces, and you'll understand that things had started badly and would rapidly move downhill.

The Pegasus Knights had brought their rubber lances and only did two wounds to the Hounds, who proceeded to do two wounds back! I won combat thanks to my musician but the Hounds held. The following turn, the Pegasus Knights fluffed again, were beaten, fled and were run down...BY CHAOS HOUNDS!!!

Lee continued to advance and I continued to shoot at him...and miss (in fact the Haunted Mansion was doing more damage than me). I was able to slow him down with a casting of the Curse of Anraheir on his Knights (and once I told him what would happen, Lee wisely opted not to charge) and tried to redirect with my Reliquae.

It was only a matter of time before he got an opportunity to charge and the next turn the Marauders, Knights and Warriors all charged. The Knights failed their charge on my Knights of the realm and obstructed the charge of the warriors and so the Marauder Horse charged the Grail Reliquae's flank unsupported. Over the next couple of turns, the Battle Pilgrims got the upper hand and the Marauder Horse were routed.

Meanwhile, the Chaos Knights had set themselves up for a counter charge by the flower of Bretonnian chivalry. The Knights of the Realm charged...

The Knights broke...
The panic that spread from the destruction of the knights caused this to happen...

Game over.

Things I have learned from this humiliating defeat:
  1. Peasant Archers should be deployed out of the way of the combat blocks
  2. Shooting cannot be relied upon
  3. Knights of the Realm are NOT as hard as Chaos Knights
  4. A Leadership 7 Grail Damsel does not make for a very inspiring general
  5. Psychology is lethal to this army (Wood Elves and Vampires don't have this issue)
  6. Pegasus Knights should harrass the enemy's flanks and rear
  7. I'm going to need reinforcements before I play Lee again
  8. Lee's a nice chap who slaughters you politely
  9. It's me, isn't it? Not the army. It's me...it's my fault...

Saturday, 16 July 2011

It's not all peasants with pitchforks!

I feel like it's been ages since I last updated, but it's only been a week. Unforeseen circumstances meant that I didn't get a game this week, which was disappointing as it was meant to be the Bretonnians first outing. In fact, the game I never played was the reason I've been so long between posts, as I was working on a bunch of things at the same time to get them ready. I've made a promise to myself to not field unpainted miniatures again, so I worked to get everything in the 1200 point army as close to finished by Thursday as possible, and had succeeded in getting everything done bar transfers. However, because nothing was actually finished, I wasn't able to post an update.

Anyhow, that's now sorted. Transfers are done and it's time for a mid-month update!!!

Firstly two Knights of the Realm. A Champion and a Knight bring the unit up to 8, which with the addition of the Battle Standard Bearer who I'll be finishing this week, turns the Knights unit into a pretty decent hammer unit. It also marks the switch from Peasant Rabble to Chivalrous Host that will take place over the next couple of months.

Next, two more Pegasus Knights to create a unit. I've tried to model the unit as if it has just taken off, which is why the Champion's Pegasus is flying whilst the others still have feet on the ground. They're a bit of a bugger to rank up in combat, but I'm really pleased with how they look in skirmish order. This unit is the army's response to war machines.

Speaking of war machines...what's this? A mortar? In a Bretonnian army?

Well, yes..but no. Actually it's my 'counts as' trebuchet and it's as close to the most perfect example of Cheaphammer as you're likely to encounter:
  • Rule 2: The mortar was begged off my dad - I actually gave two to him with a job lot of ECW stuff. He was only using one, so I asked for it back.
  • Rule 3: I didn't have a trebuchet, I had a mortar. They both lob projectiles high into the air to smash enemy formations and fortifications - same difference really.
  • Rule 5: 90 points for the 'cost' of four unused figures sitting in my bits box (there's a prize of you can tell me where the guy in the hood is from).
  • Rule 6: Not only this work as a trebuchet, it also (surprisingly) works as a mortar should I wish to use my Bretonnians as an Empire army. The fact that the base is scaled to Impetus too means that it will serve in the WotR campaign.
  • Rule 7: Nothing in this unit is new.
There you go. The only issues this kind of creativity will create is that there are those (LOS Fascists!) who will complain that the model isn't big enough. However, the base is large enough to mean that I'm gaining no particular protection from templates, and I'm happy to allow people to draw line of sight to 10cm above the model, so where's the problem?

Fluff-monkeys might point out that Bretonnia doesn't use gunpowder. However, I'd point out that not only is this army based in Couronne which sits next door to Marienburg and so surely some of the nobles have dabbled, but also in Warhammer Armies from 3rd edition, Bretonnia did use cannons and handguns, so there is a precident! So, nerrr...

I do intend to get some actual trebuchets into the army at some point as I like the look of them, however, the mortar will serve more than adequately for the time being.

Looks like I'm on track to meet my target this month. Just the BSB's banner and transfers to go, and then I've got something BIG planned for the end of the month.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Wood Elves vs. Lizardmen (2500 points) - Part 2

TURN 4Whilst a unit of Skinks forced the Dryads to flee through the entire battleline, the Oldblood's Saurus unit amazingly failed a second charge on the Glade Guard, and the Skirmishers and Stegadon again played hide and seek with the Wardancers. The Magic phase saw the return of the Net of Amyntok. The Skinks finished off another Eagle and along with the giant blowpipe on the Stegadon, began to whittle down the Wardancers. Combat saw the Treeman munch some more Saurus and the Temple Guard demolish the remaining Wild Riders and then reform to face the Glade Guard.

In my turn there was only a little movement as the Dryads rallied, the remaining Eagle shuffled into redirection position again, and the Wardancers decided to try to head for safety. Magic was another complete wash out and shooting (limited by the Net of Amyntok) took down only a couple of Saurus. The Treeman splatted a couple more Saurus, but the blighters wouldn't break.

The tide had definitely turned...

TURN 5
Full of blood lust, the Temple Guard took the bait and charged the Eagle. The Lizardman BSB returned to his unit to join the fight against the Treeman, and Skinks circled looking for targets. The Speed of Light was again cast, this time on the BSB's unit and the Treeman looked in trouble. Poisoned darts took down a few more Dryads and all but two Wardancers. The Eagle was duly splattered by the Temple Guard and the Treeman was beaten in combat and lost a couple of wounds, but held his ground.

Knowing how this was going to go, I decided to make a last ditch rush for points. The remaining Wardancers charged a Skink unit, and the Treekin had another go at the Oldblood's Saurus unit, who were now in a wood and not steadfast. The Glade Guard dropped back fired a desultory volley at the Temple Guard. The Wardancers won, unsurprisingly, and the Treekin lost, also unsurprisingly. There was now nothing between the Temple Guard and the Glade Guard.

TURN 6
Stuart finished with a number of charges. The Oldblood's unit chased the fleeing Treekin off the table and the Stegadon made an outrageously long charge against the Wardancers. Meanwhile the Temple Guard failed to make contact with the Glade Guard. Speed of Light was cast again and with a lack of viable targets for shooting, we moved to combat. The Treeman and Saurus continued to tussle and the Stegadon steamrollered the Wardancers.

In my turn, the Dryads charged the rear of the BSB's unit and the Glade Guard failed to kill anything significant. With my magic once again shut down, the end of the game saw the Treeman finally cut down by the magic enhanced BSB and the Dryads again break from combat.

The result; a resounding win for the Lizards!

Overall, I'm not unhappy with the game at all. Magic was a pain, and my shooting didn't achieve much, but I consider that balanced out by Stuart's appalling charge rolls. To my mind I made only a few mistakes:
  1. The Wild Riders should have avoided charging the Temple Guard and marched away to threaten something more killable or draw them off - simply getting them to turn around was enough to slow them down.
  2. I should have used the Treeman to kill his BSB when I had the chance, instead of Saurus. He was the only one who was a real threat and would have been points in the bag (and I probably would have beaten the unit when the Dryads charged too).
  3. I need to remember things! I forgot fear tests, magic items and special rules, all of which might have made a difference.
Stuart deserved the win, but for the first time in a long time with the Wood Elves, I felt this was a game I could have won with a bit more thought. I can feel a win coming soon...

(Apologies to Stuart for any mistakes - I think the re are a few in the last couple of turns, but the gist is the same).

Wood Elves vs. Lizardmen (2500 points) - Part 1

After much research last week on the best ways to deal with some well-painted Skaven, my opponent Stuart completely out-manoeuvred me by turning up with his yet-to-be finished (barely started) Lizardmen.

My list:
G1 - Level 4 Spellweaver, BSB Noble, 20 Glade Guard
G2 - 10 Glade Guard
WR - Wild Rider Noble, 9 Wild Riders
Wd - Wardancer Noble, 8 Wardancers
D - 16 Dryads
Tk - 3 Treekin
Tm - Treeman
E - Great Eagle (x3)

His list:
TG - Slann Mage Priest, 21 Temple Guard
SW1 - Scar Veteran BSB, 24 Saurus Warriors
SW2 - Oldblood, 24 Saurus Warriors
Sk1 - 10 Skink Skirmishers
Sk2 - 10 Skink Skirmishers
Sk3 - 10 Skink Skirmishers
Sk4 - 10 Skink Skirmishers
St - Stegadon
T - 6 Terradons
Sa - Salamander

DEPLOYMENT
The scenario was Dawn Attack and Stuart had to deploy first and pretty much all of his rolls forced him to occupy the centre with a narrow deployment. Meanwhile, a few ones meant that my deployment was off to the left, with the Wild Riders and Dryads presenting a strong flanking force, whilst my Wardancers discovered that the wood on my right was a normal wood. We both advanced our vanguards on the flanks and prepared for turn one.

TURN 1
Stuart's first turn saw a general advance from the Saurus blocks, threatening to steamroller my flimsy line, and his Terradons, unable to do a fly-by this turn, moved into cover behind one of the two buildings. One of the Skink units discovered that the wood on his side of the board was a Blood Forest. In his first magic phase, what was to become a trend began in earnest when his Slann managed to cast Net of Amyntok on my large Glade Guard unit, forcing Strength test to avoid damage when moving, shooting and casting spells. Needless to say, S3 Elves didn't like the look of this.

In my turn, my Wild Riders moved to threaten the flank of the Temple Guard if they advanced, whilst my Treeman moved up into a blocking position in the third wood (a Wild Wood, no damage taken). The Wardancers dropped back away from the threat of the Terradons and the BSB passed his Strength test to switch to the smaller Glade Guard unit. Magic was non-existent as the Spellweaver failed his test and lost five Glade Guard for his trouble. Shooting was just as bad as the ever disappointing Hail of Doom Arrow was launched at the Oldblood's Saurus unit and only killed two of them.

TURN 2
The Saurus units advanced again and the Skirmishers engaged in more jiggery pokery behind the line. The Stegadon seemed to be being withheld for fear of the Wild Riders. The Terradons, still unable to get a fly-by off, moved behind the wood to my right to threaten a strafing run. Magic once again saw my Spellweaver's unit caught in the Net of Amyntok. The Salamander misfired and ate two of his handlers.

The battle began in earnest with two of my Eagles charging the exposed Salamander which didn't flee far enough. The Treekin also charged the Oldblood's unit. Meanwhile the rest of the Wood Elves went into movement overdrive. The BSB's unit of Glade Guard swift reformed to face the Terradons, the Wild Riders marched through a gap in the line to threaten the rear of the Temple Guard and were supported by the Wardancers using the Moonstone of the Hidden Ways to jump to the wood behind the Stegadon. The Dryads advanced again and the Treeman and third Eagle moved to block any sneaky charges. Magic was another damp squib, but shooting saw the Glade Guard mow down several Terradons and send the rest fleeing off the board. However, the Treekin were dismayed to discover that the Saurus Oldblood was packing the Blade of Realities and were broken for the loss of five wounds.

TURN 3
Suddenly surrounded by Wood Elves, the Lizards moved to protect himself from envelopment. The BSB jumped out of his unit to avoid a thumping from the Treeman and the Oldblood's unit charged the smaller Glade Guard unit, hoping to catch it in the flank, but simply stumbled forwards. The Temple Guard (threatened on three fronts) turned to face the greater threat of the Wild Riders, and the Skinks and Stegadon moved to avoid the Wardancers and pepper any viable targets with poisoned darts. The magic phase saw the Net of Amyntok finally stopped, but at the cost of Stuart being able to cast Speed of Light on his Temple Guard, which were now WS10, I10. Several volleys of poisoned saw off a couple of Wild Riders and one of the Eagles.

Trying to be more daring in my approach, and figuring I'd not get a better chance to take out the Temple Guard, I launched my Wild Riders and Dryads into the fray and the Treeman bundled into the unit facing him. The Wardancers cartwheeled about to threaten the Stegadon again and the Glade Guard unit (now both free to move) set themselves up to volley the Oldblood's unit. Now that my Spellweaver was free to cast spells, I discovered that for a myriad of reasons the Slann wasn't going to let me. Shooting saw the Oldblood's unit cut in half by Glade Guard and then the action turned to the fighting. The Treeman gave the Saurus a bit of a kicking, but they held, however the Dryads and Wild Riders bounced off the Temple Guard (partly due to Speed of Light, but I didn't help myself by forgetting to challenge with the Noble with the Annoyance of Netlings, who duly died) causing the Dryads to flee and leaving only three Wild Riders in combat.

The game was in the balance...

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Fly, my pretties, fly!

This weekend I 'ave mostly been paintin' fings wot fly.

The Wood Elves have got another game of WFB coming up on Thursday against Stuart's Skaven and so some of my focus recently has been adding a touch to my army due to the fact that Stuart curiously asked for 2500 points rather than what seems to be the rather more regular 2400.

Do you get that feeling that he's got plans for the extra 25 points that gives him in Lords or Rares?

My army doesn't really stretch that far without being silly, so I set down to add just a touch to it: an Eagle Rider and another 'Great Eagle'.

The Eagle Rider is to allow me to use one of the Eagles I already have in a different way and to add that bit more of a threat to war machines that I felt I was lacking against Shane's Tomb Kings. However, a little bit of memory jogging about the Skaven on a few forums reminded me that the Storm Banner would probably completely negate the pricey little blighter, so he won't be seeing action this week.

The Flock of Eagles is a classic bit of Cheaphammer and since it's been a while since I discussed the rules, they give me a perfect segway into a few more:

Rule 9: Shop creatively.

This is linked to Rule 2, but involves models you don't yet own. Whilst perusing your FLGS, look at ranges beyond what you are specifically interested in and open your mind to the possibilities. This is particularly useful when you are stepping away from Games Workshop merchandise, as most other manufacturers are significantly cheaper (this DOES NOT include Privateer Press who clearly make their models out of crystallised angel tears, as they're so expensive).

The Eagles are Great Eagles from the 10mm Hordes of Things range and effectively represent a flock of smaller birds at the Wood Elves beck and call. They also take up roughly the same amount of physical space so the 'line of sight facists' (the arch-enemies of all Cheaphammerers) can't really complain (although it won't stop them, the swines!). GW Great Eagle (£15.50)...my flock (£5).

Rule 10: Stick with your army.

Not specifically tied to the Eagles, but linked to the fact that I'm still plugging away with the Wood Elves.

GW wants you to change armies. This is fact. They introduce a new army with spangly new models and flashy new rules that mean you will automatically win and you're meant to go, "Oooooh...shiny!" and buy it like a sucker, re-mortgaging your house in the process. Then, over the course of new editions, FAQ's and other shinier new armies, you're army is relegated to the realm of the also-rans (Ogreville) and struggles to compete. This is meant to frustrate you and turn you towards the new shiny armies.

DO NOT GIVE IN!!! It is massively cheaper to stick with your army, until you finally get the shiny treatment than it is to start from scratch every year or so. So you may have to add a new unit, or change a few bases to make what you've got work with a new book, but this is pennies in comparison with start up costs.

I've had my Vampire Counts army since I was 11. My Wood Elves are about six years. I'm only doing Bretonnians now because I'm Cheaphammering for England.

And with another perfect segway, over to my current progress:

Not much so far, two pegasi (or is that pegasuses?) and one horse, minus transfers and a bit of slate for one of the bases (I need to walk past the house down the road again). I've started work on the other two horses for this month's target, but I have to admit, I hate painting horses. This sounds funny from someone voluntarily building a Bretonnian army (although, in my defence, I didn't choose the army, it chose me - Rule 1), but I find them a real chore. I think this is because horses, being plastic and with limited poses, lack personality or character. I find that other stuff I paint tends to come alive as I do it; horses don't, and so painting them drags.

What's more, I really buggered up the horse. It was originally going to be the BSB's mount, but due to misjudging a colour scheme I've had to do a bit of slavage work and it's actually my least favourite horse that I've done for this army. His rider will be relegated to the back ranks until the end of time because of this.

Anyway, by next week I should have two more horse done and be on to the knights (which are a bit of a doddle), including the BSB. What's more I should have a proper battle report, possibly even with detailed maps (although don't hold your breath). Finally, later in the month, I'm hoping to bring you the essence of Cheaphammer in one unit as my first bonus figures, complete with an analytical deconstruction of how a small unit can meet most of the rules in one fell swoop...how exciting!!!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Ooops, I did it again!

It was the club tournament Blood Bowl final last night and I somehow had managed to get myself to the final with a severely under-developed Ogre team, the Tinys 'n' Titans. Across the table from me sat Tom with his Chaos Pact team, the G.I.M.P.S., in their second season (they got to the final last year too) and ridiculously skilled up; Block, Dodge and Guard all over the place, three big guys and cheerleaders to spare. The difference in Team Value? 480,000!

To say that this game was a bit of a tall order was putting it lightly.

However, there were a few things going for me. 480,000 is a lot and it allowed me to replace my missing Ogre with the star player Bertha Bigfist AND hire a wizard (which is my always must buy inducement). Although I was under no illusions that these factors did not completely level the playing field.

I won the toss, but the first half was characterised by a distinct inability to get the ball moving anywhere as both teams failed to capitalise on mistakes made by the other. With the ball still deep in Ogre territory at the end of the half, I had a last ditch scramble to prevent the G.I.M.P.S. from breaking through to take the lead.

The second half began with an outrageous kick that ended up on the line of scrimmage, right by the touchline. This left the Chaos Pact team dangerously spread out and Tom struggled to protect the ball carrier. My Ogres thudded into the human cage as the ball was carefully moved to the lightning fast Dark Elf in the centre ready for an attacking drive. That was when I unleashed my wizard and a lightning bolt fried the Dark Elf knocking the ball loose.

My Snotlings poured through a gap in the line to protect Midget Ure, who'd grabbed the ball and run as if his life depended on it (it did) towards the end zone. Only one Marauder had any chance of stopping him - he dodged away from his Ogre marker but his blitz failed and the Snotling was pushed closer to the end zone and able to skip away next turn to take the lead.

With only three turns remaining, the G.I.M.P.S. needed to move the ball quickly, and their Goblin was brought on as a last ditch option. Out of rerolls, the Titans resirted to desperate ditch defending, including their celebrated snotling line defence tactic, ' you can only kill one of us' (a tactic I developed with my Goblin Team. Forced to take a dangerous route through the defence the Agility 5 Dark Elf (not living up to her billing in this game) tripped and fell ending all hopes of victory for the G.I.M.P.S. for a second season.

The Snotlings made an outrageous attempt to add to the score, moving the ball to within sprinting distance of the end zone with only on turn to go. Determined to avoid humiliation, the last Marauder flattened the little pipsqueak properly this time. The game was over and the least fancied side in the league (okay, maybe that was the Cream Cake Snackers) had taken the title against all the odds.

I've really enjoyed this season of Blood Bowl. Playing the Ogres has been a real challenge and in all honesty I'd say that they're not as bad as 'Blood Bowl Experts' make them out to be. However, they are very dice dependent and if the Ogres are failing Bonehead rolls you're in trouble. On the other hand, if those Bonehead rolls are kind (as they were in the semi-final) then there are not many teams that can handle six Ogres.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about playing Ogres is that I've learned a fair bit about the play-styles of my club mates from how they've reacted. When I last won the club competition with Skaven a couple of years ago, the games were all about my team's speed and really everyone was on the back foot. However, the Ogres and Snotlings are more of a struggle and I've really had to unpick my opponent's defence carefully, exploiting their mistakes. The fact that the games were often slow meant I've had time to study their strategies.

Some players backed off the Ogres (afraid of casualties), never really getting stuck in and allowed me to use Break Tackle and Dodge to move the ball. Some tried to drag me into midfield scrums and I found that against these players usings a couple of Ogres to pin their strong guys and scrap, allowed me to take the ball around them. On defence, I found that a lot of my opponents really underestimated how mobile the Ogres (especially with Break Tackle) are and how irritating Snotlings can be, whilst others tried to do too much and didn't play a safely as they should. This should all be useful intel next year...when I'll be returning to a team that caused me real trouble when I last used them: the Slann Frogcisco 49ers!!!

So that's Blood Bowl done for another year. I'm really lookign forward to getting back to some other games now. Next week I'm playing Stoo's Skaven with my Wood Elves at WFB. Not sure if this is when I'll be breaking my duck with the Elves in 8th...but we can always try...

Pictures to follow, possibly...