Saturday 9 June 2012

So, it's been a while...

Without being boring, a variety of factors have kept me away from painting and blogging during May. This has prompted rumours of my departure from the blogosphere, however, you'll be delighted to know, that it was simply a temporary hiatus and normal service is about to be restored.

Despite the lack of other activity, I have managed to squeeze a few games in over the past month and this post is all about a quick catch up of my gaming activities.

Way back at the end of April, having got my hands on the Saga Expansion, Northern Fury, I took part in a four-player game of the new scenario, Wooden Oaths. I was using my Vikings as Jomsvikings for a bit of a change and my ally, at least initially, was Pete with his Vikings. Across the table were Matt and his Normans, and Mal and his Saxons.  here's the initial deployment:

Pete advanced some of his force towards Mal's line, whilst the rest move towards me. I was wary of this as Wooden Oaths gives players the chance to switch sides at a moment's notice, and so a bit of backstabbing was possibly on the cards.

Meanwhile, keeping a wary eye on Pete, I charged headlong towards the cowardly, crossbow wielding Normans.  Matt very kindly kept stopping my abilities and so ran my Wrath up nice and early.


Pleasantly, Pete didn't betray me, but he did clobber a unit of Matt's cavalry leaving both sides exposed and vulnerable. Never one to avoid an opportunity to be a bastard, in the following turn I charged both Matt and Pete. It was on this turn that we all discovered that Jomsvikings at full Wrath are utter filth. The following turn, to avoid payback, I changed sides again and we all had a friendly chat atop a hill strewn with bodies until the end of turn four when it became every man for himself.

Meanwhile, faced with only half Pete's force, Mal finally attacked and sent the Vikings scurrying back to Norway.

With Pete neutralised, Matt and engaged in a brutal slugging match to see who could die last.

However, with Pete out of the game and Matt and I exhausted, there was nothing to stop Mal's relatively untouched force from claiming victory.

Overall this game was a load of fun and I heartily recommend Wooden Oaths for multi-player games. I'm also glad that I've got an alternative to my Vikings for Saga. The Jomsvikings play differently enough to give variation to my games of Saga until my Bretons get done and there's a brutal pleasure to be taken from watching your opponent struggle with the decision of whether they want to stop the face-stomping now and run up your Wrath, knowing that they are simply enabling a worse face-stomping later.

Early May saw me playing my first game in the club WFB campaign (blog here) which is based on the new campaign book, Blood in the Badlands. Having chosen my starting realm (I'm green) to be close to the Summer Isles, the objective for the first season, I was suddenly threatened on several sides by High Elves, Empire, Orcs and Tomb Kings. Players only fight one battle per turn, so I was matched against Matt's Empire army that had invaded my kingdom.

My Prophetess, Lady Visenya marshalled the peasant levy to muster around the edge of a small hamlet, and despatched a large contingent of Knights to the flank to sweep around the enemy force, which was themed around Matt's War Altar and so thankfully lacked war machines.

The frenzied Sigmarites, led by their 'Arch-Lector', advanced at a pace, but took hea.vy casualties from the Bretonnian arrows and artillery (19 in one shot from the Trebuchet). The Knights Errant swept away the enemy skirmishers whilst the Knights of the Realm and Pegasus Knights thundered into the Inner Circle Knights and ran them down (whist taking a total of zero casualties from the dangerous terrain).

The remains of the Empire host continued towards Visenya in the village, aided by a successful of Final Transmutation that threatened to destroy the Men at Arms, and for a brief moment it seemed that my general might fall beneath the warhammer of the Arch-Lector, until the Paladin stepped up to meet the challenge. With the enemy charge held, the Knights' encircling manoeuvre was complete and they fell like an avalanche on to the rear of the enemy host, routing them and running them down.

In short, I won. But it was one of 'those' games where if it could go wrong for Matt, it did. I destroyed his whole army; he killed about twenty of my models. Here's a picture of the end of the game.  Matt's army is that unit of 15 militia in the middle:

My final game of the month was against...Matt again! This time we played another battle in our ongoing VBCW campagin. Once again the Wortley Militia and their B.U.F. allies would be taking on the Handsworth Volunteers.  We didn't particularly have a story for this game, it was one of many skirmishes during the civil war.

As we were using our bastardised version of 40k for the game, we also used a 40k mission: take and hold.  With two objectives, one in the town and the other in a small cottage along the road near the edge of the table, we would have to split our forces. Matt massed his infatry, supported by his improvised transports in the centre.

To his left, his artillery stolen from the local regiment, was placed to support his strike force attacking the cottage.


The Wortley Dragon, my improvised tank, steamed up the road and began to pour fire (to not much effect actually) on the Handsworth centre.

Whilst the Wortley Militia made their way across the cornfields towards the cottage.  However, they were pinned down at the fence line and came under heavy artillery fire.

Meanwhile, the B.U.F. push into the town, firstly met heavy fire and were then hit with a charge by the Handsworth Sword Dancers. Taking refuge behind the wreckage of their vehicles, the B.U.F. drove of the cavalry and pressed on towards their objective.

However, the destruction of the Wortley Militia and the failure of the Dragon to seize the initiative saw the cottage fall into the hands of the Handsworth men.

Realising that time was running out, the B.U.F. mounted a desperate final push saw to take the town. Despite infliciting terrible casualties on the enemy, a single vehicle contested the objective and the day belonged to Handsworth.

Once again the light-hearted setting of VBCW made for a fun game and saw sentences uttered that had never before graced the English language: "the Lewis guns on the bus with open fire on the Rington's Tea Van." What's more, I feel that our games continue to show that the rules for Warhammer 40k are actually fast, fun and balanced when you actually stop trying to balance things with special rules and points.

This week will see me playing Flames of War against Pete in our long-delayed 'tank-off'. My next post will also demonstrate that I've actually been doing some painting too.

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