Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Workbench Update: Getting to Grips with Cygnar

One of my new geekly aspirations is to try and be a little more active in posting about what I'm actually working on at any given time. When I started this blog, I had envisioned writing about what I was doing, what I was planning on doing, and what I pondered potentially doing. I never really went down that road, but I hope to remedy that detour now.

I just finished spraying the matte varnish on the Hunter Light Warjack and a Light Warjack Wreck Marker. I'm very pleased with both, although I'd love to leave the wreck marker on the shelf.

Tonight I hope to start painting a model that I've been avoiding - the mounted warcaster Jeremiah Kraye. I think it's one of the most amazingly-sculpted models I've ever owned. I would like to finish this model, get a few games in, and then decide if I might try him out at the next Geek Day on May 23rd.

I've actually pondered painting the horse pinto-style, or maybe just a nice dark chestnut with white markings. The stock paintjob from Privateer Press (which is very beautifully-painted) has the horse painted grey. I hate grey-painted horses in wargames. It's just one of my wargaming pet peeves. Horses painted any shade of grey make me think of My Little Pony, and then I can't take the model seriously. Whatever happens, I will not ruin this lovely model with grey paint.

Here's what I have left in my Cygnar collection. Pictured from left to right are Rupert Carvolo, Epic Nemo, the Black 13th Strike Team, and another Journeyman Warcaster.

I am aiming to have all of these models painted before May 23rd. That's not to say I would use all of these days on the next Geek Day, but I would like to have the option. Also, on principle alone, I want my Cygnar collection finished so I can concentrate on other projects before and during the summer.

Finally, my birthday looms near. I've been pondering picking up a few Cygnar models to round out the old collection. In no particular order...
  • Stormguard x 2 (to round the unit out to 10 for Mk II)
  • Gun Mage Officer
  • Marcus "Seige" Brisbane
  • Hammersmith heavy jack
  • Darius and Halfjacks
I may buy some or none of these. I can't decide if I want a few more Cygnar items, or perhaps models for non-Warmachine projects. Since the majority of my group plays Warmachine, it's very difficult not to dabble with other factions. For now, I resist. Let's see what happens when the Retribution is released.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Geek Day Diary Entry #1: "Drowning in Humility"

Dear Diary,

Geekly supplies packed and ready

The open road and geekly possiblity lies before me.

The Church - for some a house of worship, for us, a house of war.

Today was the day we had been waiting for - our first unofficial "official" tournament as a group. For the most part, we have always confined our gameplay to our personal gamerooms and basements, in the comfort of our own homes, within earshot of wives, girlfriends, and children. For the past while, I've been planting a seed in the ears of those who would listen; let's take the game out of our houses, and in time, bring others on board and begin something that resembles an honest to goodness gaming group.

We had, on rather short notice, invited some other guys to join our inaugural geek day, but with unexpected work commitments and such, it was just the five of us. We decided to make a go of a Warmachine tournament, as it is the one game we all play and have models painted for. Chris H. (the Khador player) had a grand total of 27 points painted up, so we all decided to match this total and appear with lists in hand. The idea was to make up one list and to take all comers throughout the day with no changes.

As for scoring the games, I came up with a simple system which the guys seemed quite fond of. In short, the winner of a battle received a number of victory points, depending on which turn the enemy caster was taken out in. Simply put, a caster kill on turn one earned the victor 6 points, a kill on turn two earned 5 points, 4 for turn three, 3 for turn four, 2 for turn five, 1 for turn 6, and if both casters were still standing after turn six, it was a draw, with each player earning zero victory points. The reasoning was two-fold. First of all, I wanted to encourage risky and aggressive play, hence the awarding of a higher score for winning early in the game. Secondly, if neither player could take the enemy down in six turns, no victory points were deserved.

The Competitors and their Lists:

Our group currently has four Warmachine players in the St. John's area, and we have been lucky enough for each player to choose one of the four main factions. This was not engineered in anyway. Everyone just happened to have different tastes. The "secret" 27-point forces were revealed after we all arrived this morning.

Cryx: (Marc)
Asphyxious w/Deathripper, Harrower, & Deathjack
Mechanithralls x 6
Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls x 3
Necrotech & Scrapthrall
Gorman Di Wolfe

Ranking: 1st place (8 VP)

Khador: (Chris H)
Sorsha w/Destroyer
Kovnik w/Berserker & Juggernaut
Widowmakers x 4
Eiryss the Magehunter

Ranking: 2nd place (4 VP)

Menoth: (Ken)
Amon Ad Raza w/Crusader, Reckoner, Revenger, Repenter, Redeemer
Choir x 4
Choir x 4

Ranking: 3rd place (3 VP)

Cygnar: (Jason/JET/Me)
Major Haley w/Squire, Ironclad & Lancer
Journeyman w/Charger
Arcane Tempest Gun Mages x 6
Mechanik & Bodgers x 2
Stormsmith x 2

Ranking: 4th place (0 VP)

Match One: Loss to Cryx

First match of the AM was against Marc wielding the Iron Lich Asphyxious. This game was certainly the worst of the three I played (in terms of my performance I mean). I started out by trying to deal with the necrosurgeon and thralls. Haley cast Time Bomb and actually killed the necrosurgeon outright. I had hoped to clean out the unit, but it never quite panned out. The mechanithralls charged my lancer and totalled it. I still felt that I was in a good position.

Marc had been moving Aspyxious around an impassable cliff, and I had line of sight. I unloaded gun mages (with Temporal Acceleration cast on them) and the charger's fully-boosted dual cannon. Unfortunately, I was sloppy in placing my models, and Asphyxious benefited from cover from most of the shots. After failing to kill him, Haley was more or less in the open, and thanks to the extra focus granted by his feat, the Iron Lich took Haley down in turn three; four victory points for Cryx, zero for Cygnar.

Match Two: Loss to Menoth

I had just recoiled from Cryxian defeat. However, I had fresh tea in hand, and was ready to go to war once again. Ken's strategy was obvious - get those five jacks moving and swarm me with superior heavies. Early in the game I had a couple of really great moves. During turn two, Haley cast Domination on the Redeemer and sent it into the deep water, thus removing it from the game. I also managed to lock Ken's army with my feat while doing considerable damage to the other jacks.

Unfortunately, Amon Ad Raza is quite a customer when it comes to running warjacks. Using Synergy, Ken got the jacks moving, killing, and getting more deadly. By the time his Revenger charged Haley, its MAT was effectively 10, and it was lights out... again. Three victory points for Menoth and a big 'ole zero for Cygnar.

Match Three: Draw vs. Khador

By the time I took to the field against Chris H's Khador army, I was determined to get at least one win before the day drew to a close. This game was definitely my best-played. Highlights included dominating both the Berserker and Destroyer to turn around and kill their marshall, and using the Ironclad's quakehammer to keep the Khador heavies on the ground for most of the game. The rest of the match became a game of cat and mouse, as Sorcsha kept running away, while Haley's lancer and the charger kept pursuing. Some damage was caused by Time Bomb and the charger's dual cannon, but by the end of turn six, Sorscha had successfuly evaded Haley and was still standing.

So, the last game ended in a disappointing draw of zero VP for Khador, and zero VP for Cygnar.

A Great Facility; We'll be Back!

The church's attached hall has numerous areas with gaming potential, and we were able to rent a space for a very reasonable cost. Tables, chairs, and a full kitchen were at our disposal. Needless to say, we drank lots of tea, talked lots of trash, and ate lots of health food.


I had a wonderful time in spite of my endless string of defeats. There's something about getting out there for the day, away from the expectations and responsibilities of life, and geeking it up hardcore. The day was a great success. However, I learned a few lessons which I will apply to future events.

First of all, timers are absolutely required when playing in a setting like this. We had been using a chess timer until quite recently, having stopped while Chris H. got the hang of the game. Now that he knows what he's doing, it's time to bring back the timers. The game is far more gripping when there isn't time to plan the perfect move every turn.

Secondly, the next event will be planned well in advance, and fees will be collected prior to the game day. We would really like the next Geek Day to have double the number of guys taking part.

All in all, I think everyone had fun. Oh, and you're probably curious where we all stood at the end of the day:

Cryx: 8 VP (3 wins)
Khador: 4 VP (1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw)
Menoth: 3 VP (1 win, 2 losses)
Cygnar: 0 VP (1 draw, 2 losses)

Oh yes, your day is coming "Captain Cryx!"

Thanks for reading,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Warmachine Action: The High Reclaimer Takes the Field

Since Stu was out of commission for our usual Thursday night Impetus action, I stopped down to Marc's house where he and Ken typically play Warmachine on Thursdays. In the midst of drinking tea, heckling, and eating Angie's wonderful banana cake, I managed to crank out a few photos.

I just had to start the evening by getting a shot of Ken's 35-point Protectorate force. Ken had just finished painting the High Reclaimer this week, and this was his first test game using the infantry-driven caster. As you can see, Ken designed his force around the Reclaimer's reputation for buffing infantry.

Marc tried his first game with the Witch Coven of Garlghast and the Egregore using the Mk II changes. It was surprising to see Cryx so heavily outnumbered. This was also Marc's first game fielding the Brute Thrall (which was only 90% painted, but since it was Marc's house, I let him away with it.)

The Cryxian force started off with an aggressive advance, while the witches themselves stayed behind the forest. Marc used the Egregore's new Pathfinder ability to move the construct through the woods and to extend the witches' control area.

The Menothian force at the start of the battle. A Paladin stood back, driving the zealots forward!

The armies came within each others' sights very quickly.

Ken didn't waste anytime casting the High Reclaimer's Burning Ash spell numerous times. Gotta love 1-focus spells.

Marc manouvered a couple of arc nodes into position, but was hard pressed to make much happen thanks to the line of sight issues.

The Deathjack moved onto the hill and did very little. It was becoming obvious to Marc that his inexperience playing the new Witch Coven was costing him, as he made one poor decision after another.

Later on in the game, Ken's Repenter used its flamethrower to start messing up the Mechanithralls.

The zealots flew forward doing whatever damage they could with their firebombs. When all was said and done, a fair number of mechanithralls were removed from play, and considerable damage had been done to some of the Cryx warjacks.

The High Reclaimer himself, surrounded by his knights, cast spells and tried his best to make a mark on the undead force. One interesting thing about this match-up, the Reclaimer reclaimed very few souls throughout the game, as soul-reaping Cryx units always seemed to be closer to the dying.

By the second half, Marc was clearly annoyed with himself. He was having a very difficult time getting the Cryx forces to damage any of Ken's army. He finally decided to charge in with the remainder of the mechanithralls, including the necrosurgeon, stitch thralls, and the brute thrall.

After the charge, the necrosurgeon used the Reanimate action and managed to bring the newly-raised thralls into the combat as well. There was a swirling melee, and the heavy Menoth jack was heavily damaged.

Marc also used the Harrower to charge into the flameguard unit. There was some killing happening, but like Marc, I didn't feel that he was really doing much to the meat and potatoes of the Reclaimer's force.

Notice the Harrower back where it was a couple of turns ago? The photos aren't out of order. In fact, Marc used the new spell Watcher so that the Harrower could scoot back and defend one of the witches. (If Kevin is reading this, we find the wording and application of that spell kind of ambigious.)

Ken sent the knights exemplar charging into the Deathjack. If you haven't seen knights exemplar charge into combat before, you probably don't want to, unless you're the one controlling them. The damage was horrific, and I believe they almost took the heavy helljack out completely.

At the beginning of what would turn out to be the last turn of the game, here was the lay of the land. I tried to take the photo from a vantage point that suggested the possiblity that was open to Marc. Marc assigned three focus to the Harrower (which already had three soul tokens), and with the movement increase from Infernal Machine, sent it trampling over the infantry.

It stopped in front of the High Reclaimer, and that was that. The mighty caster was taken down by the vile helljack.

Final Thoughts:

Ken misplayed his caster placement on his last turn, no question. Marc (being a strong player) spotted and capitalized on this mistake, and won the game because of it.

However, like Marc, I will soon be an opponent of the High Reclaimer, and also like Marc, I spent the game baffled... how am I going to deal with the guy? When infantry is killed, the Reclaimer benefits from their deaths, and then brings some of them back to the table.

I think that both Marc and I still have some thinking to do.

Thanks for reading,