Category Archives: Reviews
Stuff I have looked at and my thoughts!
They say great things come in small Packages, but they never consider if those same small Packages were bigger, you could fit more of the great things in them! With this in mind I have a small review of some 15mm terrain from Mad Mecha Guy…
This package was gloriously large, and opening it has filled my house with the smell of laser cut MDF, something which has caused alarm more than once with my wife checking for burning items about the house. The first thing to state about Mad Mecha Guy stuff is the sheer level of reasonable cost. Compared to a lot of companies, you get a lot for your money. My purchase of the Small Military Base plus some raised walkways, which are not currently part of the catalogue. The service offered is excellent with great communication and, to my never ending surprise, they will do requests for whatever you want! I wanted raised walkways and mentioned this once I found out that he takes suggestions for future products. A few days later and we have collectively settled on a design and price. The small military base set sells for a low price of £20 plus P&P. With my custom walkways the cost was still under £40 and that included P&P!
Not pictured, because it’s not been assembled, are 2 more huts, a vehicle shed, walls, gates and the rest of the raised walkways. This all together means you can very nearly fill a battlefield completely at a budget that will leave your wallet breathing a sigh of relief.
The quality of the stuff is generally very good with little in the amount of cleaning needed. Just a few pieces had not quite cut right but only in the sense that the cut had not gone straight through the wood properly. This is easy enough to clear up with a sharp knife though.
All in all I cannot sing enough praises for Mad Mecha Guy! To have a look at their website, follow the link below:
Yes ladies and germs, at long last since I first started interviewing independant developers I have managed to get my local group to drop Warmachine/Hordes just enough to allow other games a peek and , due in part to the cheapness of the scale but also the awesomeness of the game (spoiler alert) , I am now able to properly review Gruntz 15mm! This has been a long time coming as I am fairly sure Robin was my first interviewee for this blog and I promised back then that I would present a review of the game itself. Now I have a few games under my belt and the points level is increasing after every game I feel I can say something meaningful, so where to start…
Gruntz is designed for you to put your own imagination to work, to come up with your own ideas and universes or adapt ones you love to the joy of 15mm gaming. That said Robin has given us a look at his imaginings of a universe with the Heliopause setting. The Gruntz book features fluff for a myriad of factions in the Heliopause setting as well as some history of the universe in general however there isn’t a lot. Personally I have not looked at this in depth as it is not a setting I’m making use of, so I cannot comment on the content but it is good that those not interested in the grey matter exercise of inventing such things can just use whats there already. I myself have devised a faction loosely based on the Covenant from the Halo universe. My Comrades have developed their own factions as well. At some point we’ll tie in how they encountered each other and build up our setting nicely into a thing! That is definitely part of the appeal to me. Not that we couldn’t have done this anyway but its easier when you can build your own units using the unit builder. In fact to play the game you will have to! or you will need to download pre-existing ones from somewhere. There are various locations but I would look to the Grunts forums first of all.
A game that is designed to be generic needs a good way for you to represent your forces on the table. Robin has done a remarkable job with the unit creation side of things. List creation became a joy to me once more as I devised the tools of my opponents doom. I have seen unit creators that seem to require a mathematical and scientific mind that would make Steven hawking feel like an outright idiot. The Gruntz creator is simple enough for me to grasp so, quite frankly, anyone can manage it with relative ease. The balance that has been achieved thus far is fantastic. My helicopter gunship that seemed to be an absolute powerhouse was quite quickly dealt with by normal grunts I thought would achieve nothing. This happened through me underestimating what they could do and moving to close. Nothing is so ridiculously strong that it cannot be dealt with. This means you uber aircraft of doom will die to far cheaper fighters or AA fire if unsupported. It all encourages a very balanced army selection and leads to evenly balanced games won on strategy and tactics rather than pure luck (though its a dice based game so remember luck can skew things) Perkz and Modz are what you use to give your vehicles and gruntz special abilities to make them unique and vary greatly from defensive abilities like auto heals to more aggressive ones that allow 2 shots from your units guns. They add some lovely flavour to proceedings and help you bring your universe and its inhabitants to life.
The rules for Gruntz are simple to master. Anyone with any gaming experience will pick them up with ease and even recognise some of it from other games. The mechanic is 2d6 based and works the same way as Warmachine, roll 2d6+your models stat and compare the result with the opposing defensive stat. Equal or higher gets you the hit/does some damage. There’s nothing revolutionary about the rules and this makes the game easier to pick up. Models get to activate in units one at a time, once activated the unit has 2 action points they can spend to move, or shoot plus other special rules may take up an action. A commander is needed to lead your forces and he brings some boost to your units of his own but losing him can hit your army hard as every gruntz unit must take a morale check wonderfully called “Condition Brown”. In the normal course of the game units can be suppressed, if they take heavy casualties they can suffer “Condition Brown” and flee, they can go into overwatch, go prone, the scope of detail is just great without being complicated. The one rule that does stand out is models being waxed before they die, its a mechanic that iv not seen before but takes things like saving throws gained from Perkz out of your opponents turn and into your own, upon activating a unit you remove waxed models, or use their perkz to remove the waxed condition personally I like the way this works as it helps the flow of the game to remain smooth and consistent.
There are none. Sort of. Robin has not released a miniature line for gruntz and all are encouraged to make use of the large number of manufacturers there are out there to use for your games. I can’t review them all for this so I will include my favourites for you as links below and some of the images are from some of the lines that are out there. Seriously though, there really are a lot. If you have never looked at 15mm gaming before you’ll probably be surprised at the number of them. Each time I search google I find another brimming over with funky stuff. If there is a sci fi staple you love there is someone producing something thats damn close, Alien, Predator, Stargate, you name it, someone has come damn close to making it. As far as the book goes, it is available in print form but buy it electronically from places like DrivethruRPG or WarVault and then any future updates to the rules can just be downloaded free!
If the thought of unit creation is tiresome to you then a recent Indiegogo campaign may have the answer. Barracks is a program for unit creation that leaves you with a funky printable stat card at the end, making it super easy for you to create to your hearts content! Barracks can be purchased through WarVault here:
In conclusion I have to say that Gruntz only real restriction is your own imagination, cheesy as it is to say. It plays smoothly in just a couple of hours; is easy to learn; cheap to buy, both as a rulebook and in terms of miniatures, and outright fun. The requirement to design your own troops can be avoided easily, if that’s a sticking point for you. The only thing I would say is that this is not a tournament style game. Its very much more scenario based without being overly complex like some others can be. Basically, try it. It won’t break the bank to do so and I don’t think you’ll regret it. Your chairman commands you!
A few 15mm mini companies…
Seriously though, there are tons of them.
The guys from 6 Inch Move, The Shell Case and myself were invited by the wonderful Dave Lewis, of Hawk Wargames fame, to his personal bunker on the 23rd June to try the game out for ourselves and maybe even have a little input into it, as they are still in the closing stages of playtesting the rules. (Worry ye not those that think there is not enough time for the book to be ready for the release date, there is a deal with the printers for a rapid print run.)
Unfortunately due to a family emergency I was not able to attend. To say this was gutting would be understating it massively. However My good friend Phil of The Shell Case with one of “The Chaps”, his gaming group, and 2 people from 6 inch move went along and spent a whole day trying the game as it presently stands and gave a little feedback and made some suggestions to boot. They have both respectively posted on their blogs regarding this so I encourage you to check out both. It is interesting that they both use the same game to compare Dropzone Commander to, having never previously met and not really communicated in a big way since going. Needless to say that they are good reads and should have you salivating for the release of the game!
6 Inch move have also featured all the pre-order army deals for Dropzone Commander on their blog so why not check those out as well to see the goodies for yourselves!
Comrades! For your reading pleasure I bring you the first part of my Faction rundown of the Retribution of Scyrah (RoS) It is by no means exhaustive and I welcome input via the comments, even if its to disagree!
The Retribution of Scyrah is the first “New” faction that Privateer released for the Warmachine game. They are very different to any of the other factions both in appearance (really VERY different from the other factions in appearance) as well as the way they play on the table. Some think they do not belong in the aesthetic of Warmachine but I feel they have a place. Elves are always more advanced either spiritually, magically or technologically anyway so their “Space Elf” appearance is not badly out of place in my opinion.
The character of the faction is very much one of extreme xenophobia. Its important to realise that the RoS does not represent a full nation of Elves, rather they are a faction within the nation of Ios. They have risen in prominence because of more recent events and the deaths/disappearance of their gods. The RoS believes that humanity or more specifically, human spell casters, are responsible for the death of their missing gods as well as the weakening of Scyrah, the only elven god still located within Ios. They believe that these humans are somehow drawing on the life force of Scyrah to power their spells. The reason they think this is that the disappearance of the gods coincides with humanity gaining access magic. Whether they are right or not is unknown. Recently though, there has been word of another of the missing gods of the Elves, Nyssor. This stirred up a hornets nest and spurred the rapid growth of the RoS, especially with the discovery that Nyssor lay on the hands of humans. So a form of war has begun. Conquest is not the goal, without the full strength of the Iosan nation it wouldn’t be realistic but there is purpose.
Wrath, the most recent Warmachine book, features the recovery of Nyssor from the clutches of humans and Cryxian agents working under Goreshade, a former Elven lord, now Eldritch, who’s beliefs vary wildly to the rest of his former nation. Once head of the House Vyre, Goreshade conducted horrible experiments to try and find out why his people were dieing out. Some new born Iosan children were born without a soul. These Soulless were the focus of Goreshades experimentation but he didn’t focus purely on them. He made extensive study of the occult forbidden lores within Ios. The Soulless themselves were undesirable to say the least. Many were out down at birth. They were more or less hollow shells of people with no ambition or interest in anything of which to speak. The Retribution has taken some of them in to train in whatever aptitudes they can pick up, but mainly for the effect they have upon enemy spell casting. That is a brief overview of the fluff situation anyway.
Probably the most important thing to remember about RoS is that the prefer a combined arms approach. Certainly you can go all guns or all melee but you will find yourself outclassed in one way or another. The RoS has some great strengths and some terrible weaknesses. The main strength they have is their fantastic infantry. There is no dud unit amongst them. Seriously, the only thing that comes close is the Cavalry unit. They aren’t poor per-se, despite being a little counter intuitive, but in a faction stocked to the gills with awesome they fall below par. The major weakness of the faction is Stealth. There are a very limited number of ways RoS can mitigate Stealth, sprays and templates being the main ones. The faction as a whole is heavily into assassination, with a leaning towards ranged assassianation. There are more ranged units and solos, be they magic or gun based, than melee at present and every Myrmidon (Iosan name for a Warjack) bar 1 or 2 has a ranged attack as well as their melee weapons (See, combined arms). All the heavies do certainly, I think the Griffon and Aspis Light Myrmidons may be without them but this is not an issue for their functions. So I will now move on to the models in the game themselves…
Why Solos first? because everything else is Juicier than Solos. Save the best till last. That said RoS has some utterly devastating Solos. Being assassination oriented there are some extremely “killy” solos as well as some excellent support pieces. I’ll start with my favourite:
Mage hunter assassins (MHA) are the masters of psychological warfare. They are absolute terrors to your opponent. The main reasons for this are 4 inch reach during their activation, Weaponmaster and Decapitation. Which means they can hit you from far enough away that even reach models cannot hit back without moving, they will use four damage dice on the charge attack and double any damage they cause. There are many stories of one-shotted casters from a surprise charge. At 2pts a piece you may well shout “Broken” but they are not masters of hitting. Most casters have a high enough DEF that the average MAT of the MHA means that they are unlikely to hit casters. The danger is ever present though and that will make your opponent focus alot of aggrivation on any that you have. They are fast and have Stealth so the ranged focus on them will mostly have to be AOEs. Keep them away from your other infantry and that means your rank and file are left alone unexploded while your opponent hopes for a lucky deviation. Though that deviation will likely kill them if it catches them. I like to have 2 of these where ever possible personally as the fear factor is just fantastic.
These on a flanking manouver will leave your opponent unable to ignore them. I have had an opponent focus his caster and a character jack on eliminating them, leaving them way out of position. If your enemy ignores them however, then they can strike unhindered, lopping heads off left, right and centre. They are very good at hunting low DEF solos and whilst Warjacks are not the ideal target necessarily they can still receive a lot of damage. Warcasters are my favourite targets but they need help to hit warcasters. Luckily, RoS have a number of ways to do this as will be revealed.
My second favourite Solos available. The function of these guys is fairly straight forward. They have large long ranged rifles. They pop opposing solos. But wait! Theres more! Their rifles have a special shot. This shot deals 3pts of damage automatically, without a damage roll required. This means that things like the Menites book, whose abilities mean they only ever take 1pt of damage from a damage roll, will take all 3. A second shot finishes that particular nuisance nicely. If you hit a Jack or Beast then you can choose the coloumn/spiral that takes the points. Take 2, add Eiryss1, who has the option of a similar ability, and you can guarantee 9pts of damage per turn to whatever you like. These guys have a good RAT and RNG as well as some reasonable survivability through Prowl, though as with a lot of RoS stuff, AOEs = Death. Not much else to say here really. This 2pt solo speaks for itself. Another solo I like to take 2 of if its viable.
House Shyeel Magisters…
These guys look like they are wielding a pair of powerfists, and in a way, they are. Though they are not the strongest hitters out their they make wonderful Slam factories with their Combo-Smite ability. They have a decent defensive ability called Force Barrier that adds to their defense against ranged attacks Added to that you have 2 magic ranged spells. One lets you move another model D3 inches, called Whip-Snap its a handy one for getting a bit of extra threat range from something nasty, like a MHA or Garryth. A model can only be effected once though so no double tapping that one. The other is a standard magic missile that causes a push toward or away on a hit, with crits causing a knockdown. If you can get range on an enemy this one could be the better option depending on how likely you are to have your man within the RNG 6 required for Whipsnap. Generally I suspect that the Force Bolt will be used more often unless you need to setup some funky positioning for a charge. On the other hand the force bolt can effect the same model multiple times so taking more than one Magister means you can drag models quite far out of position.
The Scyir is one of the less often seen solos of this faction. He has a limited use in this faction where he would find a lot of use in other factions. Thats not to say he is a bad model. Firt thing I will mention is his CMD 10 and Commander. This seems to have limited use but the majority of casters in the faction are only CMD 8 and with the prolific amount of CMD check causing effects out there you could find him useful for keeping your models in the fight. Next he has reach which is always useful, especially when we come to his Jack Marshall ability. This is mainly useful as he has Flank with any faction warjack. He also has Iron Sentinal which puts him in the harder to hit range of solos and gives him a decent ARM. To accompany his jack marshalling he has the Drive Reroll, which is not much to write home about but has its uses, since its free to use you may as well. Finally we have the Coordinated Strike ability. This allows this model and his Warjacks to see and move through friendly Dawnguard models. With 3 units that have the Dawnguard moniker, that can only be useful. He is also a faily high MAT model with the strength to seriously hurt casters so long as you get the Flank as well.
Dawnguard Destor Thane
The Destor Thane is a model that was initially derided as being of limited use. But he has come to be invaluable to many now. He is another Commander at CMD 10. He is a Gunfighter and Virtuoso which will be of limited use should you charge with them. He is Unyielding which can make charging more desirable but don’t be fooled. The Destor Thane is not for charging into combat. His Lance Cannon is what makes his so utterly useful. With its Multi-Fire and the Thanes RAT 7 you can expect some reasonable troop clearing ability without buffs from casters. His ARM 17 and 10 damage boxes make him very survivable and you can start to see why they are 4pts a piece. Alongside casters such as Rayvn and Ossyan these guys can be really accurate or devastatingly hard hitting
The Retributions premium support Solo. every faction would kill to get their hands on this level of 1pt solo. He is squishy, to be sure and is a 1 damage pt to balance out his usefulness. His abilities are Concentrated Power, which grants a friendly faction warjack +2 to its melee damage for one turn, Power Booster which is not a new ability but clears Disruption and allocates a focus point. Finally Repair, which speaks for itself. Most people to not wait for a spare point to take at least one of these guys. Often they will take 2 if they have more than 1 warjack. He’s unlikely to kill anything but he makes the faction warjacks much more effecient and effective. A decent little package all round.
House Shyeel Artificer
This chap is very new and I have had no real experience with him. He is more of a defensive/support piece than offensive. He has the Force Barrier ability like the Magister and has a spell that can grant this to everyone within 3 inches of himself. His second spell is Magno Blast which is a POW 13 magic attack with some control elements. It pushes models within 2 inches of the model hit 1 inch toward of away but his low Magic ability means this is unlikely to happen often. Finally we have Polarity Field which prevents enemies from charging it. The main purpose of this model is grant Force Barrier to as many models as possible. I didn’t mention in the Magisters section that the Force Barrier makes models immune to blast damage. The squishy nature of the majority of the mage hunter type models makes this guy a very tempting prospect but his medium base gives pause for thought as he looks to be difficult to block LOS to, making him an easy 3pts for your enemy to take out.
The first version of Eiryss is considered the most filthy dirty model in all of christendom. For 3 points she is a steal. An advanced deploy, Fearless Pathfinder with Stealth, high DEF and a crossbow that strikes fear in to the hearts of men and Gods alike! Make no mistake. People will bend over backwards to eliminate the threat this models poses to warcasters. She has Camouflage making that high DEF crazy whilst in concealment or cover. Although she is a Mercenary model that anyone can take she is a Retribution Partisan, meaning she counts as a Retribution model in a retribution army. This can be important for some of the buffs out there that require a faction model. Her major disadvantage does not apply in a retribution army so I won’t go into it now. She is a squishy model to be sure so you have to be careful with her. Keep her safe and the psychological threat alone can cause your opponent to make mistakes.
Her crossbow allows you to choose one of 3 abilities per normal attack: Death Bolt – makes her a good team up with a couple of Ghost Snipers. Death bolt causes 3 damage points to her target so with the Ghost Snipers they can dish out 9 points per turn to whatever they can all hit. Warbeasts and Warjacks will end up with targeted columns going down. Phantom Seeker is the second ability which allows Eiryss to ignore LOS and concealment and cover for her shot. This can be situationally useful against some Solos but it is rare that you will use it. Finally, the reason for the fear, Disruptor Bolt. This causes a model hit to lose all Focus points on it. Warcasters hit cannot replenish their focus in their next turn. Warjacks hit are disrupted. This is deadly for Warmachine as being left without focus leaves a caster vulnerable. They cannot even upkeep spells. This is the reason your opponent will commit a lot of resources to taking it out.
The Epic incarnation has overtaken the Prime version as the most often used, for one reason, Upkeep and Animi Removal through hitting a model. She can still drain a warcasters focus by hitting it but they can replenish it now. Warjacks still get disrupted. She gains Sniper and Whiplash as basic abilities and gets Technological Interference which prevents allocation of focus and channeling from non-Myrmidon warjacks. This incarnation sees more table time mainly for the upkeep and Animi removal but otherwise has some mildly useful abilities the determined use of which will likely get her killed so look out for that particular trap.
Fane Knight Skeryth Issyen
Issyen is something of an unknown quantity for me, never having had the required cash to buy him. So I will run through his stats etc and postulate regarding his ability. The first thing that springs to mind is that he is a Weapon Master that can make 2 attacks. He is as survivable as many of the other Dragoon Solos and his Righteous Fury ability adds to that durability as well as buffing his strength. He has Reach and a magical weapon so going for the incorporeal models has some benefit his weapon, that looks somewhere between a Lance and a Halberd is Blessed. Who doesn’t like to ignore Arcane Shield? In short I think his speed will make him a good Solo hunter and her can finish off a warcaster fairly well. I would not count on him to take one down on his own though.
Nayl, Mage Hunter Soulless
Nayl is a walking bomb. Unfortunately this bomb can be triggered by an enemy attack. This means you can use him to tie some stuff up and his reasonable MAT and P+S 13 sword means freestrikes are dangerous. However he also has an inherent danger. Because your opponent triggers his death your opponent can attempt to do so before Nayl gets to him, while he is still amongst your own troops. This matters against warbeasts Warjacks and casters since the explosive area prevents spell casting, channeling, Animi use as well as the loss of any Fury/Focus. In the hands of a power attacking warjack/beast he can literally be used as a grenade against you since his effects are not specific to enemy models. For this reason, there is likely a better way to spend 2pts.
Narn, Mage Hunter of Ios
Narn is walking death. He is a Weapon Master, with Acrobatics, Sprint, Arcane Assassin, Advance Deployment, Fearless, Pathfinder and Stealth. He can get there fast, slice something up, ignoring spell based buffs to DEF and ARM, then get out of dixie. He is another squishy Solo but another one that cannot be ignored. If your opponent ignore his then their caster is toast. Simple as that really. Only high DEF casters have little to worry about but if they do get hit they tend to have less armor. He is another strong psychological threat as well as a physical one.
And that, as they say, is that! The first part of my Retribution Write up. Please feel free to comment if I have something wrong, or you have some other ideas you think are relevant and I will look at adding them. The next section will be about the Warjacks and I have no idea when it will be done. This section took what feels like a lifetime!
Comrades! As some of you will know I interviewed the creator of Gruntz (if not then check it out damn you!) and I have since then been given and purchased models to use with the game. The models I have bought are from Khurasan and Critical Mass Games. Today I am going to show you what I have picked up from Critical Mass Games. At christmas my brother, in an uncharacteristic show of generosity, bought me one of the Gruntz starter sets, Specifically the Kaamados Dominion. So to that end I will be showing you what that means and what I have been able to do with it painting wise *cough* nothing *cough*.
So first we have the smaller Squatmata. I have not read what producers Critical Mass Games had in mind when they created these fellows but they seem to be a fodder unit, lightly armed and armoured. The various model types of unit available in this range put me in mind of Halo’s Covenant, Squatmata being very much expendable troops, running around panicing waving their arms in the air just because something Master Chief shaped slaughtered their comrades, while the “next up” make the proper back bone soldiery of the Kaamados Dominion.
These warriors are the standard troops I believe. I like the over all appearance and the sculpts are clean with little flash removal required and seem nicely detailed, though these are my first 15mm scale miniatures so its tough not to feel they are missing something compared to my standard 28mm fare but there simply isn’t the space available in 15mm to go overboard on detail. That needs to be saved for the vehicles and walkers really. Speaking of which…
- Segway, woo!
I have 2 vehicles thus far. First I have this resin Scout buggy…
This comes with several options to mount on the roof. A missile battery, an anti-infantry gun of some kind and what I think is the most over sized sensor suite possible for this small vehicle. That’s my opinion of course but that’s the whole point of this review! I just think something slightly more subtle would have worked better for a sensor suite. By comparison the weapons are fairly small, the gun I feel is perhaps lacking in “gun-like” details but this is a minor gripe, it’s sci-fi after all. How many moving parts would you see in a space alien laser turret? The missile battery works well enough for me that I can use them as anti-tank or anti-infantry missiles with little problem and other details on the buggy itself are pretty good.
The resin tank is flipping massive! It came with the tank tracks as seperate pieces as well as the turret and dual gun barrels. It is, I suspect, supposed to be the equivalent to a heavy walker of some kind. Its appearance will be recognisable, clearly Halo is an influence in the CMG bunker. Where it differs is mainly the drivers window (seemed odd at first but my brain then said “Alien space technology window”) The turret is a wonderful thing as well. 3 options for armament exist here. Standard “Big Gun” barrels, Mini-gun type barrels or spacey high tech-ish barrels. I opted for these as I decided they could then be whatever I want them to be. Big gun barrels and mini gun barrels having definite target types in my head. Other details on the tank are reasonable, I kind of feel that CMG could have gone nuts with details on a model this size but I can see why they wouldn’t. It would visually overwhelm the rest of the forces and look out of place as a result. The casts on both vehicles are clean with little to no flash removal required. The only gripe is the buggy wheels. They were connected to some sprue by the tracks which took away some of the detail when I removed it. But placing them with this part looking at the floor covers it up.
And that, is that. I realise my pictures are not the best and I intend to improve them at some point The peoples Camera is not yet ready. I will Maybe even paint one of the vehicles, you never know. For now though, why not check out Critical Mass Games full range and while you are at it, get the Gruntz Rules so you have something to use them with!
Those magnificent men on the Shellcase machine, or Phil as hes also known, has posted another wonderful review for all you martial arts fans.
Bushido is a skirmish level game thats full of eastern promise. Check it out, why not?
This is the bit that features Warhammer World itself. We all know the forgeworld bit was the bit we were interested in REALLY. But in the interests of complete-ness…
“This was my second visit to Nottingham to Warhammer World and I think I was even more excited this time. As soon as you pull round the corner you’re greeted by huge Astartes statues and buildings with massive aquillas plastered on them, a very impressive sight. “
Would you like to read more? I’m not stopping you!
Twitter chum and all round “A Bloke” @Warllama40k visited the Forgeworld open day, as the Storm Eagle post suggests. Here is his take on that which he saw. That which cannot be un-saw…
“This is my brief overview of me and my mates trip to Nottingham for the annual Forge World Open Day. We went last year so we kind of knew what to expect. We set off around 6:30am and arrived at half ten. As usual the retail queue was huge so we bypassed that and went straight to the display section. I didn’t really ask a lot of questions but did a lot of looking and taking photos so here we go!
Chaos Dwarfs have been a dream army of mine for as long as I can remember and these two models are from the army list in Tamurkhan. They are the Skullcracker and Iron Daemon.
I had a leaf through the Throne of Chaos book and it is amazing. The general look and feel is of such quality it was very tempting to buy it there and then. The Chaos Dwarf army is actually quite a small part of it, with the only core unit being the infernal guard, hmmm.
Also on display were loads of monsters from the Monsterous Arcanum book such as a giant squig.”
Would you like to know more? then go Here.
and look out for part 2!
The Shell Case once again has a great miniatures review for you delectation. Go here to see the Goodies!
“Yes, those fine chaps at Freebooter kindly sent me a couple of their models to review. Specifically, Romerto the Strangler from the Assassins faction and Totol from the brand new, and thoroughly shiny Amazon faction for the Freebooter Fate expansion; Deep Jungle.”
Freebooters Fate is a 30mm Skirmish game with Pirates! It is also diceless! Something I have not done before it must be said and the thought of no dice is intriguing and scary at the same time!
This review will focus on what has been something of an awakening for me in gaming terms. Before two local lads looking to start up their own business decided to hawk something other than Games Workshops fare, nobody in my group (that were not Warhammer Ancients players, spending more time looking in the rule books than playing the game…) had fully committed to another game. There was some dabbling in Full Thrust but nothing solid ever took off there. Only a couple of us got fleets to play with and one of the ancients players who had played it before and already had a fleet, took me and a friend on and introduced us to what, exactly, Phalons can do. It was not pretty, and it was slightly unfair the way it was done to us. I’ll leave you with an analogy regarding posterial invasion to give you an idea of the feeling. But i digress…
When Warmachine, brought to you by Privateer Press, was first introduced to me, pictorially via No Quarter Magazine, I really took to the look of the Menites straight away. Primarily due to The Harbinger Of Menoth. An utterly astounding model even 4 years later and one I have never had the “Sputniks” to buy let alone paint. Anyway a game was duly proxied and much filth ensued on both sides. What is not to love about steam powered psychically controlled robots, controlled by powerful warrior wizards? Since I was facing a Cryxian army, with the inevitable Banes (Essentially Skeletal warriors 2.0. Start playing with, or against, Cryx and you will see what I mean.) I took great joy in popping Harbingers feat (Once only spell type effects with a large effect on the game) and watching them die. The next game, due to the wording of the feat, lead to them marching towards me backwards, which was even funnier and solidified this games place in my heart.
The Warmachine setting is immersive. The Iron Kingdoms, part of the continent of Immoren, is the setting for Warmachine. The Iron Kingdoms consist of :
Cygnar: I always thought of them as Americans though thats not completely accurate. Excelling at a combined arms approach mainly, with a heavier lean towards ranged weapons, as well as bringing advanced (in Warmachine terms) Electricity based death leaping from person to person. Not my favorite faction by any means.
The Protectorate of Menoth: Originally a part of the Cygnaran nation, consisting of masses of religious zealots following the True Law. They were forced to break away after a civil war they lost. Gods are a fact in Immoren, the Menites want you to pay proper homage to the creator of mankind, Menoth. If you don’t, they will find you, Wrack you and burn you. So watch it!
Khador: Psuedo Russians, very much interested in the motherland. Lead by an expansionist Empress seeking to reclaim lands previously annexed by them. Their combat doctrine is big heavy things to smash you aside with. Its all basic but Huge! *mild spoilers* The story line as it stands has Khador invading parts of Cygnar and largely crushing the nation of Llael completely, except for the bit the Menites took over.
Cryx: Not strictly an Iron Kingdom, but who’s going to argue with a nation of Dragon worshipping dead people? Toruk, the immortal dragonfather, sits waiting for one of his children to mess up so he can track it down and consume it. Essetially your undead faction with copious amounts of Iron thrown in. The Nightmare Empire, as it is known is off the mainland and heavily piratical. But no nation is in a hurry to try and go there.
The Retribution Of Scyrah: Again, not an Iron kingdom, or even a nation per say. The Elven nation of Ios believes their gods are dead, mostly. The one they had remaining is slowly expiring in her temple. Another one was recently found and recovered however. Basically the Elven gods left their people to save them but it didn’t work. The Retribution was a rogue sect that believed that human magic is responsible for the death of their gods and the arrival of “souless” elven children. For this reason they intend to kill all human spellcasters, and most other humans as well. Just for good measure. The rediscovery of their gods has caused an upsurge in popularity for the Retribution to the point that they have gone on a far wider offensive, invading sovereign lands, if temporarily, in an effort to save their remaining gods and find any others that may be out there using their highly advanced technology and magic. My present second faction.
Mercenaries: Obviously not a Nation really. It does however account for the remaining Llaelese forces and introduces this settings Dwarven people, The Rhulics. As well as various soldiers for hire and ner-do-wells and… Pirates!. There is really not much more to say about them. There is to much character within the faction that I couldn’t possibly bring it all here in one go. This is my main faction at the moment and I love ‘em!
Click on the faction images above to visit their gallery pages on the Privateer Press website.
The fluff in general is very well written throughout the various books and differs to anything GW related (or anything else I’ve come across so far) in that each book progresses the story line of the Iron Kingdoms as well as for each faction at the same time. One of the best things about this is it makes it very difficult for the background to just be wiped out and re-written (*cough* Necrons *cough*) Another advantage is that you can see a coherent progression throughout the books and it is worth your while getting each one as they come out, since they will all have something for your army in fluff as well as in models and rules.
This is an area that Warmachine really opened my eyes. Before Warmachine I did not know that you could have a coherent rulebook. Games Workshop had only just found out about indices and gave it a half hearted go, pretty unsuccessfully. The Warmachine rulebook in Mk1 was clear. There was very little ambiguity compared to GWs offerings at the time. There were problems no doubt, not least the sheer number of special rules. But they resolved this with the Mk2 release. The rules as they stand now are once again very clear for the most part. As with any game of this nature, stuff crops up. There are FAQs that deal with these issues but there has not been a need for masses of these. Playing Warmachine I have not spent nearly hours arguing with people about how a rule works with Warmachine whereas games have had to be abandoned due to rule disagreements in Warhammer. The mechanic is based on 2D6. I found this can take a bit of getting used to but you do everything flows very nicely.
An example of this mechanic: You use your models MAT statistic (Melee ATtack) and add this to the roll of 2D6. Then compare this to the targets DEF statistic. If your total is equal to or higher than the targets defence then you have hit! Very simple really.
A central mechanic of this game is the Focus mechanic. Focus is the resource your warrior-wizard has to spend each turn. He can allocate up to three to each Warjack (or massive steam powered robot if you prefer) he controls to improve their combat ability; add a die to any “to hit” and/or “to damage” roll he makes; buy additional attacks or cast spells. This warrior-wizard, known as a Warcaster, is the commander of your army and most important piece. If he dies, in most game scenarios, you lose the game. This adds a strategic element to the game that few other games offer. You want your warcaster involved for their spells and abilities and also their “feat”. But at the same time your warcaster will not survive out on his own. A feat is a type of spell that you can only use once per game. It will often give you a large advantage for a round or effect you opponents in some way. Some will allow you to complete the game, others will allow you to recover from the precipice.
Individual models have rules of their own and these are covered by stat cards. I have found stat cards to be a very good way of keeping track of things in the game. Far easier than an enormous books with endless page flipping. The cards are there in front of you. This brings me to possibly the best thing about this game. Its in the rules that you MUST share the info on your models if asked to. So if someone wants to look at your cards, you have to give them up. There is no excuse for failing something because you did not know the rule. Any time you ask to see your opponents cards, he must show you them. So you can plan appropriately. If you fail due to a rules quirk, its your own stupid fault.
The artwork for Warmachine is truly fantastic…
Warmachne truly has some of the best artwork I have ever seen for any game…
Here is a selection of Warcaster and Warjack models..
And thats all for now. Be sure to keep a look out for reviews of other games that I have planned, including Gruntz, Three Plains, and Dystopian Wars!