Saturday, August 14, 2010

Second Battle of Song Of Blades and Heros

For this battle, I used a scenario from Song of Wind and Water.  The ratmen are attempting to summon a demon around an ancient stone circle, while my trusty orcs attempt to stop them.
The Armies: Ratmen
Splintered Light Miniatures Rats and Weasels as the archers.  I cut off an axe head and put a small candy on the end to represent a magic wand.  Not too happy with it but it will do until I can find a smaller object, maybe something with a gem cut.  Now it looks like a giant lollipop.  :(
Two Rat Archers, White Rat Wizard and Grey Rat Leader.

More Splintered Light Rats.
And the backbone of the group, five rat warriors.  Their Gregarious ability (+1 Q when taking a mass action) proved very useful when combined with the +1 from their leader, allowing them to activate on anything other than a 1!

The Armies: Orcs
BloodDawn Orc as an Ogre and Black Raven Foundry Orc
I love Ogres so one shows up here again.  And an Ork Champion.  I thought I'd go without a leader, big mistake.  I think they are a requirement for an army with base troops at Q4+.

Black Raven Foundry
Two orc archers.  Medium shooters so the rats have an advantage there with long range.

Black Raven Foundry
And five Orc Warriors.

The Setup

The board:
South end pictured at bottom was more open ground but longer to the stonehenge.  North flank pictured at top has rough broken ground but shorter as the crow flies to the stonehenge.  This image is pretty distorted, the table is long top to bottom and short left to right.

The rats are circled around the stone temple with the archers as scouts on either side.  The wizard can power up the summoning circle, one point with each successful action.  By the book, it's 9 actions to summon a demon but I upped it to 12 since I play on a bigger table.  The summoning can be interrupted by models entering the circle or knocking over the stones.
I recently made a really large two level, modular hill.  The base is about 2'x3' and flat on top so I can put other features on it, like this stonehenge model. 
The orcs split into two flanks.  One the north edge, three orcs and the ogre to allow the ogre to take advantage of his longer move to run through the rough terrain there.
On the south flank, the remainder of the orcs including the champion,  He gets one automatic success on all quality checks!

The Battle!

The rats win in initiative, alerted to the orcs loud advance.  Then send forth the scouts into a defensive position.
The White Rat Wizard starts his chanting to power the summoning circle.  Using the bonus from the nearby leader, he's able to get it going quickly.
The main body forms up to accept orders from their leader.
Using the red d10 to keep track of the summoning points.

On the orc turn they get off to a slow start, moving out cautiously.  Not sure what the rats are up to but they need to be driven out of Orky lands.

The assembled rats use group orders to quickly advance in an attempt to lay an ambush for the orcs on the north flank.

The orcs quickly lose their turn with poor dice, rolling snake-eyes on their first activation.

The orcs ineptitude, turning over initiative early several times, allows the rats to quickly power up the summoning circle.  Next turn they will be ready to summon a nefarious demon to do their bidding.
Keeping the leader nearby really saved the rats turning three failures into two successes.
On the south flank, the rat archer fires at the approaching orcs, forcing one to duck for cover.
-2 modifier for range cause this to only be a drop instead of a kill.
Allowing a brave rat warrior to rush in and finish the job.
Enough for a gruesome kill since the orc is already down!
The orcs on the south flank head back towards their board edge, fearing the brave lone rat, hereby dubbed the Thunder Rat!

When the orcs turn rolls around, they are a little more successful on the north flank.  The ogre and an orc team up on a single rat in the rough ground.
Even with the horrible roll, the ogre still kills the down rat.  +2 for down, +1 high ground, +1 Ogre is Huge, +1 Double Team and -1 to the rat for a 2 action mighty blow from the Ogre.

The other orcs on the north side are able to push back the defending rats.
High Ground and mighty blow only get this orc a tie.
On the rats turn they are able to open a portal to the netherworld and summon...
...Just a small imp.  But hey, it's something at least.  He moves out quickly and confronts the advancing ogre.  The imp is able to drop the big ogre.

But attempting to follow up, the ogre is not as vulnerable as he appears and drops the Imp.
The ogre and imp both attempt to activate to stand up and finish the other off but both fail their activations.  Games like this require a bit of artistic license to make a good narrative.  Instead of both of them unable to stand, it's better to think of it as they are locked in combat, focused on each other and vulnerable to a third soldier coming in to attack (the +2 to attack a down model)

Meanwhile on the south flank, the orcs have recovered and the Champion and Thunder Rat get into it.
The Thunder Rat continues his domination.

On the hill, the White Rat Wizard has a clear connection to the underworld and summons something much bigger this time.
Both demons are old Games Workshop Nightmare figures.

The bigger demon charges forth, causing Terror in the overwhelmed Ogre.  The Ogre heads back the way he came as fast as he can.
I've had enough!
And on the south flank, the Thunder Rat is able to kill the prone Orc Champion, causing the entire army to take a morale check as the orcs have suffered 50% casualties.

The Aftermath

The rats watch as the orcs head for the hills and safer, less demon-infested ground.
All in all, a better game than the first.  Flowed much better.  But once again, it seemed that whenever someone had an advantage and tried to push it, the dice were against them.  I think a leader might be a requirement for all armies.
Morale checks seem pretty devastating.  You have to roll all three dice versus your quality.  You're only completely broken if you roll three failures.  But it's very easy to break up an attack with a single morale check as it's almost impossible to stand your ground.

If I were to try this scenario again, I'd add a orc leader to the mix for free.  The rats have an advantage both as the defenders and the ability to summon demons.
SoBH might not be the most detailed of minis games, but it's not trying to be.  Great fun for a quick game you want to grab and play once in a while.

8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Rant

I'm not normally one to bash Games Workshop.  I don't buy too many of their products anymore but they do their thing and I do mine.  However the new massive 500+ page book for Warhammer 8th edition got me a little excited.  I'm still looking for the ideal mass battle game for my 15mm figures and Warhammer handles just the right sized armies I want to use. 
OK $75 for a single rule book is a little steep but it's full color and massive.  But upon further research it doesn't seem to have any actual army lists in it.  Just a summary, no points cost or unit abilities.  Seriously?  500+ pages and they couldn't fit in basic army lists like they did for 3rd edition, the last one I played.  So I'd have to buy the $75 book and a $30 army book for each army I want to use.  So $135 just to get started and that doesn't give you a single figure???
No thanks.  GW is really pushing customers into the "Warhammer Hobby" and if you want to use their products for something else, well too bad.  I'm an adult now and so are all my gamer friends.  I know they are not going to buy and paint up their own armies and I'm fine with providing armies for everyone.  Part of the reason I went to 15mm.  But no way in hell I'm shelling out more money for rule books than I would spend on a complete army!
Anybody got any suggestions for a mass battle rule set and want to break down the merits of their favorite?  I prefer single basing but can live with multibase elements as long as all elements are not the same size (ie 4 bases of 3 figures like HoTT, DBA, most of the others)

Orky Easter Island Heads

I'm certainly no terrain expert, but thought folks might be interested in these quick, easy and cheap Orky style Easter Island heads.  I picked up a giant bag of styrofoam sheets that someone was throwing out so I'm making these with the scraps for bigger pieces like hills.

Stone Orky Heads carved by a long forgotten tribe to watch out for intruders from off table.
Basically I started with three equal rectangles of foam like so
Then I stack them all together, cut out the basic shape and even out the edges.
And cut out a shallow gouge for the brow line.
At this point I separate them out and make deeper gouges on two for the eyes and leave the third for the nose.
And then cut out the final shapes making sure they line up as needed.  You can see how rough the cuts are here but that's ok.
Then glue the three pieces together and cut out some gouges for the cheek bones.  Once it's dry, sand it down real good so it stands upright and there are no sharp edges.
Add some ears, angle the eyebrows and cover in a thick coat of stucco textured paint.
Obviously I've got a lot of variation as I was experimenting.  But this is the style I like the most, kind of a demon orc look.  Like everything of this nature, by the time you have it down, you don't really want to do it anymore.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My 15mm Orc Army YTD

Some shots of my Orc Army.  I'm finished with it for now but will revisit after I knock out some scenery and another army or two.  Figures are from Black Raven Foundry, Splintered Light, Demonworld, Old Glory, BloodDawn and some plastics from BattleLore board game.  Sizewise they mix pretty well.  The BloodDawn are huuge but I use them as Ogres.  The BattleLore figs vary is size.  The lizard-riders are great but the foot hobgoblins are almost too large.
Wide shot of the entire army.  Obviously you can't see anything at this level but this is the size of the armies I want to play with. 
Aerial shot here, you can see a little more but not much.  16 different elements.  Hopefully the upcoming Mass Battle Song of Blades and Heroes can handle that.
Big block (18) of sword armed orcs with leader, banner and musician.
13 Orcs with spear.  I'll add some command to this later.  Both of these came from the same pack of BRF foot orc.  Great price.
10 archers again BRF.  Will need to bolster these guys for sure.
Hobgoblin archers from BattleLore.  Since there is only four of them, I'll use them as skirmishers.  But I like the look of them as they go with the desert theme I'm trying to get going for the orcs.
Hobgoblin skirmishers again from BattleLore.  I tried to make the skin tone of the hobgoblins more of the Games Workshop bright green, while keeping the Orcs a more ominous grey-green.
Human slaves, figures from Old Glory Crusades line.  My clear coat hazed over on these guys due to the humidity here in Georgia.  I sprayed them again and that helped a lot but they still look washed out.  But that's OK for feeble human slaves.
Two orcs that I stole from a BRF chariot pack ensure the slaves get to the front lines.
The Elite Forces:
Splintered Light Savage Orcs painted with blue GW style tattoos.  I can't wait for them to release the Savage Orc Command.  I'm hoping for a Shaman as well.
Ogres.  BloodDawn Orcs but they are tall and beefy enough to serve as ogres.  Painted in flesh tones to make them stand out from the orcs.  Very happy with these figures.
Minotaurs from Demonworld.  I love Minotaurs but most other brands look more like generic beastmen.  I can't stand "Minotaurs" with horns that don't stick out.  If anyone has online photos of the Black Raven Foundry minotaurs, please let me know!
The Cavalry:
Wolf Riders from Demonworld.  I got a pack of female orcs on bears and a pack of male orcs on wolfs.  Mix of riders here, not sure what I'm going to do with the bears.   I plan to get some camels and mount the remainder of the riders on camels.
Goblins on lizards from BattleLore.  I wish more figures came with plain, flat shields.  All the BRF figs have some design sculpted on the shield which I don't like.  I tried to repeat the hand print design seen on the right here and an orc skull design as much as possible.
War Machines:
Gork's Own Catapult.  From DemonWorld.  Someone please get those figs in production again!  This was one was clear coated with the human slaves that hazed over.  So I lost a good bit of detail.  But such is life.
Chariot from BRF.  Not crazy about the whole bone motif they got going on here.  They come two to a pack so I plan on using balsa wood to make the carriage on the second one.
Giant Cyclops from Reaper.  This is why I love 15mm, you can get an impressively sized giant for $5.
Orc on Giant Scorpion from BloodDawn.  He still has a high gloss coat, trying to decide if I like that but need to dull the rider either way.
Giant Spider from BattleLore.
Demonworld Orc Rider on Games Workshop Cold One lizard (from their old Darf Elf line)
Well there you have it, the entire army so far.  I'd like to get some more figures that look desert-y.  Eureka make some great looking Man-Orcs that I intend to add.  Maybe some Pendraken 10mm desert and night orcs for use as goblins.  Another couple blocks of basic foot orcs.  Not sure if it needs much more than that.