Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's

Monday, 12 February 2018

Warbands in the Woods

For the second GROG game of the year we gathered for a 4-player session of The Woods, testing out the new warbands lists and scenario generator that Chris and I have been working on. As always Harry's table boasted a beautiful array of scenery breathing life into the ancient woodlands...

A Myeri Losbast makes his way through a shadowy mushroom glen...

Standing stones and caverns in a corner of the forest...

Tall conifers dominate the centre of the board, rising above the remote settlement...

Swampy pools and stone buildings on the border of the woodland...

Much of the terrain was courtesy of the companies that have put their support behind The Woods- Fogou Models (Dark Age buildings), Scotia Grendel (fungus, standing stones, ruined city) and Model Tree Shop (Trees, assorted, and a goodly amount of flock!).

The first game was a 4-warband confrontation in the middle of the wood. Mike's Wulver Cult were aiming to waylay Chris' Tuatha Bears, in particular their leader who had slighted the honour of the cult. Chris' outcast Bears were already carrying a wounded member (perhaps from their last encounter with the cult) and were simply trying to reach safety. A member of Harry's Fae Rade had been captured by my Myeri warparty and needed rescuing whilst my Myeri were trying to retrieve an ancestral artefact stolen by the leader of Mike's cult. The four warbands converged on an island at the heart of the forest...

The Myeri were hoping that speed and discipline would win the day. Their Draoi Geomancer cast a shroud of mists to conceal the group as the Losbastun took the lead with their Meirge and his totem. The captive Fae was given into the care of the group's Scealai so as not to slow down the warriors' advance.

Across the other side of the wood the Wulver Cult were advancing quickly towards their quarry. With their high Decisiveness and frightening weaponry they looked like they would have the edge over their foe.

The Tuatha Bears advanced steadily, keeping their distance from the cult. With a wounded member they couldn't move fast without splitting up.

The Fae made as much use of cover as possible, keeping their options open.

The pack of Whist Hounds manoeuvred into position to attack the Myeri from behind, but the mists prevented them from using their great speed to charge. The Fae Rademaster moved into position to dispel the fog.

The Tuatha were preparing for their clash at the centre of the board. Chris' Comlann formed up into a unit in shieldwall formation whilst slingers attempted a few shots at the shadowy figures in the trees. The cult's deerhound bounded ahead of the band, intent on taking down the quarry.

As the mists dissipated the Whist Hounds pounced upon the hapless Scealai, tearing his limb from limb. The uilleann pipes deflated with a pitiful rasp. As another of the Fae wove fate to elevate the captive to safety the Myeri formed up to perform the terrifying Peru-Peru dance. The Fae fled whilst the exhausted Whist Hounds cowered with fear.

Angered by the presence of the Fae the Myeri abandoned their mission and tried to take down their hated enemy. The Whist Hounds recovered, however, and the result was a stand-off until the Fae gathered enough stamina to magic their adversaries across the board. There they finally caught up with the Wulver cult, but by that time they were on their way off the board having completed their objective with only the loss of their deerhound. The Fae were successful in retrieving their captive colleague and the cult had exacted their revenge, leaving the Myeri and Bears to lick their wounds.

All in all happy with how the warbands lists played out. There are a few points values to tweak and a bit of wording to change but none of the bands seemed excessively overpowered. When it came to picking objectives some seemed more suited to particular warbands than others, as would be expected, but the next games showed that none of them was a walk in the park.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Terror of the Liche... CATmaster

A few weeks ago GROG had our annual Christmas game. This year I asked to play through the WFB2 Terror of the Lichemaster scenario as I built terrain for it last year and also painted undead forces for Deadcember 2016. Plus, of course, the scenario itself is bound in one of my collected volumes.
I made a few changes to the scenario to incorporate bits from the WFRP Lichemaster book, upscale the battles for my big terrain board and allow four players and a GM. My plan was to fight the two initial battles simultaneously as two 1-on-1 fights on 4x4' boards. Then push the terrain together into an 8x4' for a 2-player-per-side climactic fight. In the event we only had one player per side but it was still a lot of fun and we did get through most of it.

Harry's cats got in on the action. Testing the 'ice' on the glacial lake!

Apologies for the poor photos. I forgot my camera and only got a few phone snaps of the final battle for Frugelhofen. I think Harry and Mike got some better shots of the preliminaries.

At Gimbrin's Mine the Blue Blooded Bandits of Adolphus Zwemmer, lead by Alberto Taglielli, had a protracted engagement with the dwarves. Despite very poor shooting by the stunties they whittled the undead down (and were themselves whittled) until it was Taglielli versus Gimbrin Finehelm in one-on-one combat. Taglielli won and the dead dwarves were subsequently raised to the Lichemaster's cause and their zombie selves joined the attack on Frugelhofen. The Bogels were more successful in escaping, and Krell's undead contingent (lead by Mikael Jacsen) crumbled to dust when their champion was slain. The family were able to make it to the village and sound the alarm, missing only their dear dog Fritzy who paid dearly for his attraction to old bones.

Krell's undead sweep around the mill and try to enter Frugelhofen by the bridge. Riolta Snow (and her fawning hanger-on) does a grand job of holding it against the invaders. She is eventually slain but not before sending Krell himself back to the other side.

Her place is taken by Albi Schultz, sadly caught without his magic items.
Kemler manages to raise a handful of the slain skeletons to rejoin the queue at the bridge. His fireballs, however, prove damp squibs. Perhaps the snow has made everything too wet? The anarchist's bomb similarly fails to have any great effect, merely playing skittles with a couple of skeletons.

Meanwhile Zwemmer's bandits have made it around the east of the village and are crossing at the river narrow. Hector Brioche, the closest Frugelhofen has to a leader, and Alain Gascoigne, former soldier, lead a detachment of villagers to defend the crossing.

They are pushed back and the towering figure of Zwemmer enters the village streets.

The dwarf zombies take a dive into the raging Vasswasser and are swept downstream to the ford. After extracting themselves from the icy torrent they march into Frugelhofen from the south.

Zwemmer and his forces are finally destroyed after Hector rallies his peasant contingent. Leaving Albi and Hunk Bogel to make a brave last stand on the bridge he leads the surviving peasants on a retreat from the village. Frugelhofen is abandoned to the grip of the Lichemaster. Will the peasants find a hideout in the mountains until the pass clears in the spring? Will Kemler hunt them down and reanimate them for his army? Only time will tell.

Photos from Harry-

Gimbrin's Mine

The Blue Blooded Bandits prepare for their assault

Skirmish at Bogel's Farm


Monday, 11 December 2017

Newcromunda Underhive: a rulebook review of sorts

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on just the rulebook from the new Underhive box for a reasonable price and this weekend I finally got some time to have a read through. Here are some thoughts for anyone interested in them.

First, a bit of context. Necromunda was just announced when I bought my first White Dwarf. I'd been playing fantasy battle 3rd/4th mashup with some friends and Heroquest before that but the Necromunda fluff was one of the first (and about the only sci-fi) GW backgrounds to engage my interest. Of course, I couldn't afford it then. I absorbed it through White Dwarf and pretended I was playing Necromunda when I had the occasional game of Trinity Battleground, it wasn't until much later I got my hands on a second-hand copy. Then I discovered Confrontation and although I have never played it there was more expansive background to absorb and a wealth of complexity that was absent in the 40k skirmish game that actually got released. It was this that set me on the course of creating my own dystopian future skirmish game with a view to having much more roleplay elements and flexibility than the move-and-shoot that was Necromunda, but definitely influenced by the feel, multi-level action, character and gang development of that world. It was therefore deeply ironic that GW should announce a re-release of Necromunda just as my own game was ready to go to print... To be expected of course, GW have always seemed to be looking inside my head but that's something for another time.

So Newcromunda has emerged to mixed reception. Since I have absolutely zero interest in the new plastic models, card tiles and custom dice I will only write about the bit I have in my hands, the rulebook. It's about the same size as the original, has a nice matt cover and coloured pages with pretty textures. I note that it was printed in China, but I suppose that's only to be expected. The artwork throughout is a mix of modern 40Kish digital colour and some black and white images which are reminiscent of the Mark Gibbons artwork from the first release but have been given the steroid treatment to bring them in line with the modern miniatures.

The book opens with about 30 pages of background to the Necromunda world. It's well-developed as you'd expect from a game with 27 years behind it and is a blend of Confrontation and later Necromunda with lots of hints that will make Confrontation fans excited (Brat gangs on jetbikes and Genestealer cult activity- although no Caryatids sadly). I don't think there's anything substantial which is new, but there is a lot more depth than the original rulebook/sourcebook, particularly with regard to the interplay between the Clan Houses. Given the plan for the release of the Gang War supplements this background-rich presentation seems like something we can expect more of, which is a good thing as far as I am concerned.

Having mentioned Gang War it's worth touching on the release schedule for this. Now I understand the need for a company to keep people buying its products. I understand not releasing everything at once. But one of the joys of Necromunda was that you had everything in one book (well, two in first edition but at least in the same box, without Outlanders of course). The Necromunda: Underhive box gives you Goliath and Escher gangs with limited gang creation options and no development or campaign stuff. For that you have to get Gang War (which is actually not too expensive compared to previous GW releases) and even then you only get campaign stuff for Goliath and Escher. Now I haven't bought Gang War, I've only flicked through it, so I'm not best placed to give an analysis of it. However, it seems that the campaign/development is now individually tailored to each gang. This is great for depth and character of the houses but less good in two respects- Firstly it means that a campaign starting now will probably only feature two houses. Yes, the 'legacy rules' are on the Necromunda website, but anyone using them will probably feel they're at a disadvantage until their 'proper' release in Gang War. It could be a year before there are any campaigns worth joining. Secondly, and more importantly to my mind, it makes it much harder to create your own gang types. If you didn't want to stick rigidly to the background of Necromunda in first edition you could break out very easily by picking appropriate skills tables for the kind of gang you wanted. That's not so easy if you have gang-specific advancement. As I say, I don't have Gang War, so that's just my impressions from a flick through, I could be wrong.

Probably time we looked at the actual rules in Underhive. There's been a lot of debate over whether the changes are good or bad or even whether the game is still Necromunda. Well, here's my two-penny worth. This is a game which is still largely about moving around, sometimes grabbing stuff but largely shooting and engaging opponents in close combat. It's still a fight-focused gang game with facing and equipment important. There are no rules for '3d' terrain in the rulebook, which seems silly to me as it's not exactly a lot to put in (I think it's 5 pages in Gang War?) and platforms, gantries, ladders etc. add so much to the game. Maybe a beginner would find it easier to play without levels, but players managed back in 1995! A starter scenario (there is one anyhow) with no levels would have been a better way to go than ignoring them completely. What else has changed? Activation is now one model at a time, with the chance to activate multiple models that are close to leaders and champions (the new specialist rank which has replaced heavies). This is a much-needed change to modernise the ruleset, but I suspect that many campaigns had already adopted something similar, it's not a radical new idea. Close combat is now a WS check rather than a roll on a table and the streamlined rolling to wound from the latest 40K is there as you would expect. You still roll to see what happens to a downed fighter. Some comment has been made about the single and double action system which dictates how much you can do in a turn. In essence this is how it always has been, you can move and shoot, run (two moves) etc. but now by classifying something as a single or double action you have more flexibility to incorporate other actions (opening doors etc.). This is pretty much what every Necromunda campaign I've been involved in has done anyway, it's just written down slightly differently. The inclusion of Willpower, Cool and Intelligence stats from Rogue Trader and earlier editions of WFB offers another possibility for doing more interesting things than just running around and shooting stuff. This is a game it would be possible to include quite a nice degree of RPG into, but one which is still very much a wargame. The scenarios at the back of the book are pretty much what you'd expect from a 'stock' list of game types.

In conclusion- is it Necromunda? Yes I think so, with a dash of Confrontation thrown in for good measure. Have the changes been positive? Without playing, yes it looks that way. It takes in essence the same system and makes a few tweaks to bring it in line with more modern skirmish games like Inifinity and Malifaux. Nothing that a group couldn't have house-ruled in but pretty reasonable adjustments. Will it inspire me to go and join a local campaign? No. Having been playing a system with a good weight of RPG, lots of strategy and mechanics that don't rely on a ton of dice rolls I don't feel drawn to play this game. It suffers from the over-reliance on dice that most GW games have and that really bores me. When I knew no better it was mildly amusing to have gameplay dictated by little dotted cubes but having played several games with more innovative mechanics I now find this system pretty tired. The background still grabs me and I will still enjoy modelling projects based on it but I'm going to stick with other rulesets.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Campaigning in the wastes

The Factious Waste live campaign is now, um, live! With seven gangs currently battling one another over the spoils of 1984 region.

Now I have to remember to post the battle reports (like this one.) and prompt other gang leaders to send me their biogs and batreps.


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Golden Gobbos 2017 Gallery

We proudly present the third (sometimes) annual Golden Gobbo painting contest run by the Oldhammer Forum. Below are the submissions in all their glory and members of the forum can vote over on the Forum Voting Thread

What do you mean you aren't a member? Get over there RIGHT NOW!

C02 Illusionist:
Barakast Hell Rider

Half-Troll Chieftain

Hutk-Nke Nurgle Sorcerer




Usuthu Blue Tongue

Jolly Nurgling

Urathion Leader
C Series Chaos Beast