So, a while back I posted that I had acquired a box of Bane Knights from a friend, and that he’d gotten the better end of the deal.

I’m not so sure now.

Once I started cleaning the bits and getting them ready for general assembly, I decided that I wanted to do a shield swap. Not really knowing where to start, I headed over to the Privateer Modeling and Painting forums, and asked them what was out there. I got some really cool options, but what really struck me was Scibor Miniatures spartan shields. With my degree in classic history, how could I resist! Now, armed with a shield swap out, I was emboldened. What else was out there? I found, again on Scibors site, Spartan helms. Sure they had heads inside, but I could drill them out, right? I could make them work. Now I was in a bind. I had spartan shields and spartan helms, but the bane lances of the bane knights didn’t fit the theme at all. I needed a good, solid, no frills, spartan spear.

At the same time, I was selling off everything I had left of my GW stuff. Among that lot was a huge bitz bag, some pound and a half of plastic parts. Among those parts were these spears:
Ungor Spears from GW

They seemed perfect! I only had 8 of them, but how hard could it be to get more? I’ve got a post out there on bartertown now with a pair of leads, so here is hoping!

Now I’ve got everything: Spears, Helms and Shields. Time to get to work!

I had to drill out the helms, which was easier than I thought it’d be, but still no simple task. The Scibor resin is extremely soft and I would have been disappointed with it in any other circumstances but having the soft material was useful, as it allowed me to cut the helmet down fairly easily. Once the hole was drilled, I carefully cut out the face using my hobby knife. I then shaved as much as I could out of the helmet, making it as thin as I could, so as to fit on the bane knight heads.

Grabbing one of the Bane Knight skull faces, I tried to stuff it in there.

The head was too big.

I was a little stuck, but like any good, determined nut job, I went with plan B: cut the face off. I’d expected something like this, though not as extreme, and figured out the basics of what I wanted. Cutting the face off was difficult, no lie, but nothing I couldn’t do. Well, except that once face that I had the clippers on backwards, and the face completely shredded.

Sadly, even the face clipped off was to large. I ended clipping the forehead off, both cheekbones, and even some of the eye socket. Whatever it took to get the face to fit in that head. Thankfully, I never needed to take away any of the defining characteristics that made it a face.

I had the face all cut and ready to go, and I shoved it into the Helm. The skull face was a little far back, but I figured that that would work out just fine. I kept trudging forward, drilling holes into heads and cutting off faces. The third one, I managed to get perfect.

Damn it. That meant that I had to go back and do the rest of them correctly. Ah well, the price of a coherent unit!

Once I got the heads drilled out, I had to build necks. I’d completely missed that neither the faces nor the helms contained them after I was done chopping them apart. The necks took some doing, but with proper green stuff blobs, they lifted the heads so that they weren’t sunk into the chests.

With all the heads mounted on the bodies, I did the easy part next: Shields. I clipped off the spike that held on the bane knight original shield, and slapped on the Spartan lambda shields. Done!

this next part was the second trickiest because I’d only done it once on a much larger centurion warjack. I clipped the bane lances off the hands and gingerly drilled through the hands to be able to line up the spear shafts that I had clipped off the Ungor hands.

Once I’d gotten the spear arms ready, it was all over but the posing!

I only got the first set of heads, which allowed me to get the 6 members of the minimum unit finished. Once I get the rest of the spears and heads, I’ll be on track for my Bane Spartans!

Oh, and of course, I have to do nice bases on them, so I just had a friend order the Forgotten Empires bases from Dragonforge. because dead spartans of a forgotten empire make only the most perfect of sense.

Stronghold Conquered!

I’ve made my way through that trials that were the faction Campaigns, and have emerged stronger for it. This trial is not for the faint of heart.

Stronghold was, as I said in the other article, one of the more fun campaigns, and thankfully it didn’t let up at any point. The first three maps lead smoothly to the fourth, which has a unique end game that forces you to play the game just a little different, changing up how the game ended.

The Stronghold units were balanced enough that I didn’t find the faction skewed towards might or magic heroes. The campaign rewards strongly favor might heroes though, giving me gauntlets, armor and weapons that were restricted to might only, thus diminishing some of the enjoyment I got out of completing certain quests.

The Faction play style was refreshing even for someone who has trudged through the 16+ maps to get here. The faction has a TON of melee capacity, even before you factor in the heroes skills and powers, which no other faction really capitalizes on. Inferno and Haven, the other two melee factions, approach melee with different styles, and I really think that Stronghold strikes the concept dead on the head for this game. The key to good melee is alpha striking, no retaliation attacks and Stronghold units delivers in spades.

Unlike the rest of the factions, the game play of Stronghold revolves around using all of your creatures. The core units are goblins, harpies and orcs, the elites are centaurs, orc shamans and Aztec themed ogres, and the champions are cyclopes. Whats unique about this set of units is that they are pretty bland before they are upgraded, but once upgraded, are perfectly built to execute the strongholds best tactic: axe to face.

Goblins and centaurs are ranged units, able to do a ton of damage with out retaliation, and the centaurs ability to take a free shot at the first enemy to close the distance with my army gave another retaliation-less attack. harpies, when upgraded to furies, attacked without retaliation. Jaguar Warriors, the ogres, when upgraded had a retaliationless charge attack that struck everyone adjacent when he ended his move. Orcs got a second, free, attack after the first and the retaliation that results from it, but did enough damage that I just often used them to finish off stacks. My favorites, however, were the Dreamwalkers and the Cyclopes. Dreamwalkers have the ability to curse units so that they take damage if they act, and the upgrade makes it affect the whole enemy army. With a magic hero like mine the effect was devastating and would be the first troop I upgraded to get the greatest output from them. The cyclops is definitely my second favorite champion unit behind the fate weaver. The basic unit is a melee beater,which works out alright, but the upgrade gives the damn beast magic laser-eyes. This attack does immense damage, has no range modifier, and burns for additional damage over time! It is right up my alley!

The whole setup lead to an extremely enjoyable campaign and a great bookend to the single player faction campaigns. I recommend doing them in order: Necropolis, Haven, Sanctuary, Inferno, Stronghold. It creates a flow that, while frustrating, starts strong, wanes in the middle, and finishes with oomph.

I’ve finally moved on to the final map(s). The game has two endings depending on what type of character you played, and with me playing both, I’ve got them each to play through. However, with XCOM: Enemy within snapping at my brain, I’ll probably just play the one.

Over the past few weeks, I have had my interest in fleshing out the RPG world I’ve created rekindled. Its been what I think about in my spare time, which generally consists of time between holding my baby, and the ride to and from work. Well, one of the concepts that I have always known about my world is that there are tribes of barbarians with totem animals on the fringe of the main country of the island, Tyrndall (tear’n’doll). These barbarians, I’d always thought, would ride their totem animals into combat, and probably have lycanthropic leaders.

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I’ve finally come back to HOMMVI after a decent Hiatus, and I am tackling the last two campaigns before I move onward to XCOM: Enemy within, Which I am extremely excited for. I’ve got to stick to my cardinal rule as hard as possible: One game at a time.

So, Stronghold!

This campaign finally feels like the Heroes of Might and Magic game that I remember. I’d started to sour on the game, very slowly, over the last few campaigns. The design theory was good, and it evoked the fun of my bygone childhood, but there was something a little off. At first I thought it was my adult brain taking on the child’s version of the game. The deeper I tread, though, the more I was convinced that this experiences was markedly different from the experience of my childhood. Stronghold has now confirmed that.

The Playstyle of Haven and Necropolis is extremely cautious. Sanctuary and Inferno are slightly better. Stronghold, however, is aggressive. Its Stacks are fast, its creature growth is plentiful, and it has access to almost all the best ability trees. Its is enjoyable to play, and the adventure map does not feel as tedious in these first two campaigns as they have been feeling.

The Battle map, however, is the same old boring method. Open with a withering salvo of magic and ranged attacks, have your melee troops wait for the enemy to inevitably cross the battlefield and into your threat range, and pummel them mercilessly.

the alpha strike is critical. The way the game structures its retaliatory strikes you take damage only after you inflict it, so if you hit first against weaker stacks you have a significant advantage. allowing your opponent to get the first hit is less problematic than giving ground, as the board is so compact that almost every unit can traverse it in two turns

Knowledge, though, is perhaps the greatest contributor to making Stronghold feel like the old game. I know to use the trade matrix early and often in order to get critical resources and buildings built. This allows me to have giant stacks of monsters early on. I have learned what spells and talents are good (chain lightning, Immolation) and what don’t do as much (armor of light, mass heal). I have also learned that enemies grow at the end of every week, which has contributed to me attacking early and often. Also, roving heroes are to be attacked head on, even if they are a challenging difficulty: if you come out on top, and have a better production setup (see trade matrix), every enemy stack you take out is an advantage. These are hard learned lessons over 4 campaigns, 16 maps and tons of mistakes.

In addition to the knowledge, having a both dynasty weapons fully leveled up is a huge boon that has enabled me to move forward swiftly.

I do get bored fighting the same type of armies over and over, but that is more a fault of having 5 factions with 5 campaigns each with 4 maps. Very rarely do I have to change the method I fight between hero’s or towns.

Soon, very soon, I’ll stop talking about Heroes and instead blather on about who died and how in my XCOM: Enemy Within games.

I was going to put up this write-up about Wild West Exodus on Thursday, but a friend of mine convinced me that the Goreshade and Bane Cavalry one was better timed. Thankfully he did that because I found something today that makes this post a lot easier to write, though a little more depressing.

behold: The WWX Quickstart Rules.

This is the craziest quickstart document I’ve ever encountered. It is 8 pages of insane rules gibberish and tons of exceptions and special rules. Its not quick or a start.

My Journey through the WWX landscape is a sad trail. It was the first kickstarter I’d found all on my own, looking for miniatures games too stretch my budget a little farther. I happened across this strange-looking Wild West science-fictiony game. It had some really cool concept art and basic Miniatures. It was alternate earth, which had worked well for Malifaux, and the factions were intriguing.
The Outlaws, Lead by Jesse James
The Union, Lead by General Grant
The Enlightened, Lead by Dr. Carpathian
The Warrior Nations, Lead By Sitting Bull.

Each had their own take on the world, some more unique than others. the Outlaws were pretty standard, as was the Union. The Warrior Nations were an amalgamation of all the Native American Tribes. The Enlightened, however, threw me off. They are a strange amalgamation of Undead and technology that seemed a little off. Maybe its just the way that it clashes so starkly with the other three factions. Each of those are their own take on something in the world, while Carpathian and the Enlightened are from Left-center.
Anyway. I was happy with three of the four, so I moved forward with trying to spread the word. Maybe someone else will get into it with me.
I had no such luck. I did get 3 other people to jump in, and I was pretty stoked that maybe I’d get some games in once the rules came out. The models were cool, and I had hope for the game.

The of the Warrior Nation just called to me, Starting with this bad boy

Geronimo. Add to that Werewolf Sitting Bull, Wereeagle Sky Spirit, a giant Goddamned Elk. All the warrior nations to that point were a ton of fun, and As each new model was unlocked, more cool things showed up, including the new factions: Confederacy, Lawmen, El Ejercito Dorado, and Holy Order, Heavy support, Cavalry/Light support. Tons of cool looking models and neat ideas.

But, for every four good ideas, they had a terrible Idea. A giant $100 train that is not a model in the game, but has some part in scenarios, Mercenaries inspired by Firefly, Ladies models that cater to lonely men, and Weapon carts pushed around by bulky Indians.

The biggest problem I had, though, was the structure of the Pledge levels. It seemed designed to make you pledge much more than you’d like just to get what you wanted. Its different from the structure you normally see, the entices you to go bigger. This specific setup gives you more things, but they are generally more things you Don’t want in order to get what you do. there wasn’t a single pledge level that tried to steal you to one full faction, they all added more and more factions. It was… frustrating.

So, I was looking forward to the beta test rules to come out, but there was some trepidation: They would only come out once the pledges were finalized and the Kickstarter ended. In retrospect, I’ll not back anything that I can’t see the rules of first. It would have changed a lot of what I have done since then.

Because the rules were awful. The beta rules came out with some giant, gaping holes. Stats are difficult to comprehend and read, some abilities made no sense on the models they were on, and balance was completely shot through. It was so easy to tell that this game was built with fun cinematic battles in mind, and that the best way to play would definitely be casual, club or home tables. However, With every pledge came a free ticket to the AZ based Duelcon and entry into their first tournament to be held. They clearly had aspirations to be a balanced, tournament worthy game that held a candle to the big tournaments of other games. However, their scenarios were terrible. I don’t mean bad or sloppy. They were just awful. Deployment and initiative favored one player over the other, and placement of terrain was part of the game. I don’t know if any of you went through the point in minis games where you thought placement of terrain was part of the game, but its terrible. I gave some serious feedback. However, no lie, the responses were overwhelmingly negative. Many people expressed anger at the tournament and balance crowd, while the balance crowd was very frustrated with the “but its fun” crowd. It was among the worst forum experiences I have ever had, and it was very divisive and overwhelmingly negative. The final nail, though, was the final rules set. Very little was changed from the original setup, regardless of discussion or debate, no matter how reasonable. The biggest and most important change, though, was not a change. There was a very specific rule, and I can recall the details fairly clearly.

There was a rule that penalized characters that are good in combat for being in combat. Each turn, a model can make as many melee attacks in a Fight Action as their Strikes stat. So,Geronimo, Warrior Nation Boss has a Strikes of 4. He can make 4 melee attacks in a given round. Sounds awesome! However, The rule in question reduced the amount of strikes he could make in combat by the amount of people he was in melee with -1, to a minimum of 1. This rule absurdly penalizes characters who have the sole purpose of being in melee, for being in melee, while also not penalizing characters who are bad at melee. This was discussed very vehemently, and almost the whole of the community thought it was lame and made no sense. Outlaw miniatures response was overwhelmingly terrible: They put a call out in the next set of rules specifically stating why this rule was not terrible. No one was convinced and it was, by far, the strongest reason for me abandoning the game forum and escaping to a miniatures games that seemed good.

Fortunatly, the Outnumbered rule does not seem to be on the quickstart rules. This is a start in the correct direction. However, for every move forward they seem to move another step back.

Included in the rules are such strange, esoteric rules like:
Armor: -When a model is hit, it must make an Armor Roll. Roll a D10 and add the target’s Armor Stat to the roll. Then subtract from this total the Power of the weapon. A negative result means that your Armor has failed to stop the attack and the model has suffered Damage. Mark one Lifeblood box on the target’s card for each point of Damage suffered. When a model has its last remaining Lifeblood box marked, it is removed from the table as a casualty.

D10 + Armor – Weapon’s Power = Damage

Example 1: An Outlaw with Armor 1 is hit by a Union Soldier’s Blaster Pistol (Power 8). The Outlaw player rolls a D10 and gets a 4. Added
to its Armor 1, he gets a total of 5. Subtracting the 8 points of the weapon’s Power, you get a negative -3. This means that the Outlaw takes
3 Lifeblood damage from the hit.

This is insanely ridiculous. Negative number are confusing and foreign to the way a game should be. especially because the solution is so easy: Power -(Arm + roll) = Damage, expressed as a positive number. Example one can be so simply rewritten.

An Outlaw with Armor 1 is hit by a Union Soldier’s Blaster Pistol (Power 8). The Outlaw player rolls a D10 and gets a 4. Added
to its Armor 1, he gets a total of 5. Subtracting that from the 8 points of the weapon’s Power, you get 3. This means that the Outlaw takes
3 Lifeblood damage from the hit.

The only words I changed were in bold.

The final issue I am going to go into here is that bonuses and penalties are expressed in relation to the stat referenced. Because the stats are better when they are lower, (you want to roll over the number listed) the bonus and penalties are reversed. a +1 is bad, and a -1 is good. This could have easily been changed to be shown as a penalty or bonus to the roll itself, to better align the game with player expectations. Its complex for complexities sake, and really could have been done better, cleaner, and been a great game.

There are tons more stories about rules that were dumb or weird or didn’t make any sense, but I’ll let you imagine what was going on.

Fast Forward to recently, and I am starting to get excited about the models, as they are finally getting ready to ship. The container is in customs, getting pulled and checked, and we have simple weeks to wait. We get the update on kickstarter and it has a bonus surprise, a glimpse at the next Boss we can expect to have in December:

I’m pretty sure that the middle snippet is of a werecat of some sort, and to me, it struck my excitement level back up to 11. I could have a werecat leading my Warrior nation army around. There could only be glory!
But then, a day later, I found the link to the quickstart rules, and all hope was lost, again.

I’ll get a review of the models once I get them all in, and Hopefully I can send some of them off to someone who will really enjoy the game, while I paint up a cool set of Warrior Nation models to sit on a shelf somewhere.

This is the longest post I’ve written, and I’m sad that its negative. Thanks for Hanging in there!

It has been a hard year for Cryx players. The best caster in the game, Asphyxious II, has been justifiably nerfed twice. Though its needed, it does not sting any less. Adding on top o that, we’ve not seen a new release in probably 12 months. I know: Hard is relative. However, we are starting to get some cool information coming through about what we will be in Vengance. Its been a trickle, but I’ll take it, and its hopefully going to come faster as Vengeance nears.
The first tidbit we were fed was the Scarlock Commander. We have no solid information on him in terms of his rules, but it really looks like he is going to be an attachment to mechanithralls and bile thralls that will allow them to use the souls of models they kill for some small benefit. He also may have a spell to cast that’s boostable with those very same tormented souls, but that could just be reaching for the sales blurb of: “souls used as fuel to power the commander’s dark magic” to make sense. His model’s been revealed, but his release date has been extremely vague, with him appearing on December, then vanishing. Here is hoping for early 2014. Its moderately disappointing, but I can wait.

The newer stuff has just come out in the last few days, though.
I give you, The back of NQ51!

It’s a really cool image, and has a whole pile of models from Vengeance. I’d expect it to be the front cover, but I could be wrong, as it definitely has the composition of one of Adrea Uderzo’s cover pieces.

As you can see, it has Goreshade, Lord of Ruin and Reznik, Wrath of Ages, facing off in the middle. On top we have what looks to be Eiryss 3 and a single mage hunter buddy, while in the center we have a 4 way combat between some sort of mystery Protectorate ‘jack with the guardian chassy, bane cavalry, a lone bastion seneschal, and some bane thralls. The mystery ‘jack looks pretty bad ass, with a great looking sword and a shield. The bane cavalry at the bottom are pretty cool looking, but they are pretty much just foreground fodder and its hard to make out any good details.

Goreshade, however.

The Image gives us a couple really cool clues. The runes around his hands spell out “Siphon Bolt,” which is likely one of his spells. The early speculation is that it’ll work like Kaelyssa’s Siphon shot, which would make sense as his original incarnation could siphon focus from friendly casters. Being able to take that theme and push it into a spell to affect enemies would be a natural evolution. He’s also got Voass, the enormous sword of the Elven god of winter Nyssor. On Goreshade 2 it was an auto-freeze reach P+S 15 weapon. I had used it more times than not to end games, as it can really make a high defense caster wiggle. This Cryxian is just giddy with the thought of a speed 8 caster with reach and auto-freeze on the weapon and mat 9 on the charge at P+S 15!

Reznick has runes as well reading “The Flesh is Weak” around his weapon. What that does, no one has any idea, but I assume its his feat or some other awful thing that that battle engine caster can do.

The best one so far, though, has been Matt Wilsons Upside-down tweeted pic of the bane thrall cavalry models.

While it doesn’t tell us anything, It does let us know that the bane cavalry is, most definitely, in existence.. It has at least masters that have been cast, assembled and painted. They have pretty cool swords, they have unique Horses, and they will cost all the money in my wallet because of it.

This is the best I can get at the stat line:

Spd: 8
Str: 7
Mat: 6
RAT: 4
Def: 12
Arm: 17
CMD: 8

Undead

Bane Sword: Pow 4, P+S 11, Weaponmaster, Reach.
Mount: Pow 10

I think they will end up with one more creative rule, but not much more. With ghostly and vengeance on one, and stealth and dark shroud on the other, it is solidly possible that it will be two rules. I can’t even begin to contemplate what they’d have. I think brutal or powerful charge is completely off the plate. I’d expect something completely different from stealth, dark shroud, or ghostly. I could see it being a pow 12 weaponmaster, as opposed to pw 11, but it seems far fetched to me. Tartarus really holds them back. With +2 speed and +2 to hit against a cursed unit, we are looking at a 15″ threat range at an effective MAT 10. That is powerful stuff. A P+S 12 weaponmaster, the ability to drop pow 28+ (4d6 + 12, -3 enemy armor for parasite/-2 for curse of shadows, -2 for dark shroud, ect.) onto somethings noggin from 13 inches away is already pretty legitimate. I look forward to discovering what else they get!

Earlier this year I signed up for Project Orange Crush Hunger. The concept is for the community to volunteer to paint models of a given army in an orange theme of each painters choice, and then once the army is finished, its raffled off. The proceeds of the raffle go to hunger relief in conjunction with the years Foodmachine efforts. This, the third year, they’ve chosen to do an orange Convergence army.

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Earlier this year I signed up for Project Orange Crush Hunger. The concept is for the community to volunteer to paint models of a given army in an orange theme of each painters choice, and then once the army is finished, its raffled off. The proceeds of the raffle go to hunger relief in conjunction with the years Foodmachine efforts. This, the third year, they’ve chosen to do an orange Convergence army.

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