Tuesday, 28 February 2012


Hello from Whistler, Canada. Nice and snowy here. I was going to post up some pictures of my final progress for the month I took before I left. However, as seems my luck at the moment I left the camera on the bus from Vancouver. Tried to get it back to no avail. If I didn't have bad luck I'd have no luck at all. If these things do come in threes it stands to reason that it will snow heavily tonight and I'll not be able to get the bus back to Vancouver airport for my return flight.

Anyway I digress, you will just have to take my word on this until I can upload new pictures from home.

I painted 4 teulu for Saga, 3 lawmen for Legends of the Old West and 8 High Elf archers.

Just close your eyes and imagine how great they look ;)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Neuma en' templa

Don't worry I haven't forgotten about the High Elves. When the Raven' last game of the season was postponed till the 8th March I had a few gaming slot to fill. I dusted off the Elves and headed into battle against the Tomb kings... yet again. The High Elves were triumphant but at great cost. All will be revealed, read on.

After receiving the Storm of Magic warhammer expansion for my birthday I persuaded Craig that we should give it a go. He ran to the shop and got the expansion himself and to out-do me got himself two nice Games Workshop Fulcrums! Grrr. I would have to make do with home made efforts.

Both the High Elves and the Tomb Kings (Craig's army) have strong magic phases. Lets see how much fun magic can be when you get 4D6 power-poo die. We decided on a 2500 point army, that meant I quickly had to paint 8 archers to gaming standard (more on that at the end of the month). With the extra 625 points worth of Storm of Magic goodies I bound a Great Dragon (which strangely is cheaper than - in terms of points value - the high elf dragon and about twice as hard! Go figure!) and a Great Eagle. I decked the later out so he had always strikes first, +1 strength and flaming attacks. The rest on the points were spent of a wind-catcher prism which depending on which class of magic i in ascendancy gives different abilities to a unit.

Craig went for a bound Stegadon and Dragon. This is how we set up:

Two Arcane fulcrums each, the winds of magic were in equilibrium (maybe that's why it ended up being so bad!). I was lucky and got first turn. The Sword Masters moved into the wood. In turned out to be filled with poisonous thorns. Three of the Sword Masters fell but they passed the panic test and so now themselves had poison attacks. The Silver Helms were pinned down though. move forward and they would have Chariots charging them, followed by Necro Knights should they survive the impact hits. The great eagle swoops into the cover of the building ready to strike the archers on the hill.

The rest of my units (Sea Guard and Archers) held firm to shoot at the skeleton archers. But our arrows were cursed and we only hit one of them. I kept the Dragon close to avoid the un-bound cantrip.

Magic and the storm rages. Life is in ascendancy but my 5 dice attempt to cast Throne of Vines with my level 4 archmage is dispelled with a scroll.

This leaves Craig enough dice to dispel any further spell casting attempts. My archmage is left looking pretty on top her fulcrum. Less storm more damp squib.

The Tomb Kings charge. The Dragon into my unit of archers, they flee and the charge is re-directed into the Sea Guard (who stand firm as they have the Lion standard). The archers never reform despite being so close to my Prince on the Fulcrum (He is a lvl 1 High Mage)

The Necrosphinx also rocks up on my other unit of archers. They also flee (off the table) and the charge is re-directed into the sword masters cowering in the wood. They manage to pass all tests and remain still for close combat. With poisoned attacks they manage to cut through the stone beast and a victorious without suffering a single wound.

The Chariots and Necro Knights remain still as they know they are pinning down my super Silver Helms. The Stegadon, Skeleton warriors and a unit of archers on the flank moved forward.

Magic and the Tomb kings Storm is about as violet as the High Elves. All spells are dispelled.

In the shooting phase the Chariots aim their bows at the Bolt thrower. One arrow hits the target but the light armour holds out! Phew! The unit of archers tries their luck on the eagle. His scaly skin deflects any accurate tips. The catapult hits the Dragon reducing him to 5 wounds.

Bar the close combat for the sword masters, the only other to resolve is the Dragon. He eats (and breathes) through the Sea Guard who turn and flee. One is eaten by my great Dragon along the way, a meal he needed for the Dragon-off that was about to happen after the Tomb King Dragon over-runs into him.

Only 1 charge for me to declare. The eagle swoops into the skeleton archer (those on the hill mid battle field) flank. He wins combat and the number of Skeletons diminishes. But they are able to reform to face my eagle.

The Sea Guard reform.

Magic and again I try Throne of vines, dispelled. I attempt to banish the Tomb King Dragon, dispelled. Next is a magical dual, dispelled. Finally the Fate of Bhuna to snipe the Necrotect, come on this must work... no it's dispelled. We were finding that the Storm of Magic just wasn't blowing.

With only the Bolt Thrower able to shoot, I try a single Bolt attack on the Chariots, and miss.

Dragon vs Great Dragon ends in stalemate with both suffering wounds.

The Tomb Kings continue their advance, slowly. Both the Stegadon and the archers start to move in on my Sword Masters. The Chariots and Knights hold firm to pin my Silver Helms again!

Again magic fades to nothing. Shooting and I lose a couple more sword masters but they don't break. The biggest loss is caused by the screaming skull catapult again being on-target on the Sea Guard. They hold firm though.

Combat, the eagle continues to tear holes into the Skeleton archers, keeping them well occupied. But at a cost of 1 wound. The Dragon on Dragon fest continues and finally my great Dragon is victorious, but only has 1 wound remaining.

Turn 3 and I am forced to make some tough decisions. My sword masters have to leave the wood to avoid the charge from the stegadon. But with the eagle keeping the archers busy they are free to March into the centre field. Moving through the poison thicket kills another 1! I decide to move the Silver Helms forward and accept the charge that will inevitably come next turn. The Dragon flies to the safety of the nearby fulcrum in an effort to protect my archmage from the archers.

Magic and things start going right. The Throne of vines is irresistibly cast and absorbs the miscast. Stone skin is then cast on the sword masters to protect them (+4 toughness - ask me that question again JP!).

Shooting and the Sea Guard aim for the warriors. The Bolt thrower misses again.

As is no surprise the Tomb King Chariots charge the Silver Helms. This frees the Necro Knights to reform and start moving out.

The stegadon and archers move into a position to pressurise my archmage on her fulcrum. A nasty little scorpion pops up behind my Bolt Thrower.

Magic and some sort of cursed blades spell is cast on the archers granting them an extra attack. But it wouldn't be enough and they would crumble in front of the Great Eagle. The eagle reforms to face the catapult. The impact hits from the Chariot kill an entire rank of Silver Helms but they hit back hard, and with the help of the Battle Banner (rolling a 6) combat is drawn. They survived.

Turn 4 and the High Elves are angry. The Sword Master charge the fulcrum, the dragon the unit of archers harassing my archmage, and the eagle charges the catapult.

Magic and an augment spell is cast with irresistible force on the word Masters. Again the miscast is absorbed by the Throne of vines. This grants the Sword Master 2D6 strength 4 hits on anything in base-contact with them. Oh dear Mr Skeleton wizard! I attempt to un-bind the Stegadon, Craig's dispel attempt fails and poof, it's gone (another lucky D6 roll - I needed a 5 and that's what I got). With dice left I went for a cheeky summoning spell and up popped a Lion Chariot.

As expected the UN-PAINTED model (tut tut) on the fulcrum is cut down by the shield of thorns. Even more unexpected was my Silver Helms success at cutting through the chariots. But with heavy casualties only the Battle Banner (another 6 is rolled) saves them.

The dragon demolishes the archers and in doing so the High elves secure the left flank of the battle field. All the Tomb Kings can do is march the warriors ever closer to my Prince on the Fulcrum. Charge the scorpion at the Bolt Thrower and continue combating the Helms.

The Helms break and run, escaping the chasing chariots. But with that we ran out of time.

I think we had both forgotten the win conditions for the scenario. The winner was he who controlled the most fulcrums. After my Sword Masters triumph that was the Elves. Woo Hoo. Even it it had come down to points I would have won as I had only lost the 2 units of archers, 2 nobles and 1 great eagle. But also had an extra 150 points from the Lion Chariot. With more turns Craig would of reached the Fulcrum with the Prince but by then my Death Mage would of made it to the empty fulcrum! So I'm claiming the win!

At the beginning of this post I said "The High Elves were triumphant but at great cost". But what was that cost? Well as we packed up and headed to the car I found I had a ticket for parking in the Motorcycle bay (big enough to hold at least 6 cars)... at 9.30pm at night, when no-one wants to park bikes on Queen's Road anyway! Come on... that Traffic Warden must need Horlicks to sleep at night! £35! There goes my money to get some extra Old West figures!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Ydw i go iawn bod rhad

Two posts in as many days. I'm trying to get things finished before I head off to Canada for a Scientific workshop at the end of the month.

Remember how I said I was trying to to get my Welsh war band for Saga completed on a budget, check out how cheap I really am (or forced to be by SWMBO):

1) Take 10 blank yellow dice off Ebay (£2.44)

2) Download the Saga dice symbols as a PDF from the Gripping Beast Saga forum

3) Edit the colour of the symbols in Photoshop

4) Add 1 sheet of transfer paper (£1.40, Ebay again!) and print said symbols on using an Inkjet

5) Spray with a suitable acrylic varnish (borrowed from work - hush!)

6) Mix together to produce your very own Saga dice

The total cost of this little project was £3.84 which amounts to an £8.16 saving over the cost of the original dice. Or as I see it more pennies for miniatures. I have 6 dice complete and a spare 4 cubes should I need more. I'm trying to work out why Gripping Beast sell the dice in packs of 8 when the rule book specifies you can only generate a maximum of 6. I'm presuming you need more to account for the general ability to generate dice on the army board (is that allowed to take you above 6?).

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Meci 8 - La naiba, cu acest rezultat Raven primul sezon Bowl sange este peste tot, dar ...

With the WFC season coming to a close very soon it was time for the Ravens to take on the mighty league leaders, a Skaven team known as Crouching Rodent, Hidden Virmin (CRHV). Over their last 8 games CRHV had won 7 and drawn 1 game. This was going to be a tough ask. With such different results over the season there was a massive difference in team value (175-105), which after the retirement of Count Edvard Cullen (the strength 3 vampire) last game, gifted the Ravens with 700,000 gold pieces for inducements.

It was time for Count Luthor von Drakenburg to enter the fray.  The vampire star player was obviously sick of the general mocking of his favourite vampire blood bowl team by other league participants. Well that or he didn't trust the head coach and wanted to ensure the Ravens had a fighting chance of making the play-offs. The Count tried his hardest to secure at least 2 points from the game. Would he manage it... read on:

With a wizard creeping around in the vampire stands, and an induced Thrall with Strip ball the Raven's had options to halt the Skaven advance. The toss went to the Skaven and they decided to receive. The vampires having none of this Blitzed themselves an extra turn before the ball landed deep in the Skaven half. A vampire pushed through the left side zone to put pressure on the ball.

But the Skaven weren't worried about a slow, pitiful vampire. A couple of simple blocks on the Thralls occupying the line of scrimage and two gutter runners had free reign of the vampires half. The ball was picked up, handed off to another gutter runner (deep in the Skaven half) who ran up field at lightning speed to hand off to the gutter runner on the line of scrimage. Another scurry and the ball was 3 moves away from the vampire line. A second gutter runner followed to keep any nearby Thralls occupied. Boy are they are fast.

Count Luthor reminded Ratboy Stu that hypnotic gaze can be a dangerous skill. The previously marked Thrall was suddenly free to pressurise the ball carrier. Another Thrall moved down field but couldn't reach the action. A 3rd ran in to mark the hypnotised runner if the Blitz on the ball carrier should play out well. A vampire dodged away from his marker to Blitz the ball carrier, failing the GFI cost the leader re-roll and meant that the 3 dice block resulting in push-back couldn't be re-rolled. The Gutter runner was pushed closer to the end zone.

The wizard skulking around in the Vampire stand stood up, but decided better of it. Let the Skaven score in turn 2, that gives me 7 turns to equalise.  This did not please the fans and a riot followed pushing the clock on 1 turn. Only 6 turns to score but still a fairly easy ask. The ball landed straight into Countess Svan II hands. The pass to Luthor was easy and the ravens flew in to cage Luthor with the ball. It is well know blood bowl lore that rats are useless cage breakers. Add to that a high strength, high agility ball carrier with both Block and Dodge it was going to be extremely difficult to stop my advance.

But those rats did try. The ran towards the left side zone where I was breaking through. This pushed me closer to the rat ogre.

But with the main pack spilt from the ogre it was fairly easy to mark him with a sacrificial Thrall to keep him from Blitzing (or at least trying to) Luthor.  We kept moving the cage towards the end zone.

But the Thrall population was thinning and a decision had to be made. Try and hold on or score now and leave the Rats 2 turns to get one back? The later was the chosen action. I could stop him... I thought... until another riot pushed the clock back granting him 3 turns to score!

3 runners pushed through our defence. 1 ran left field, 1 right. The 3rd stayed central and due to its starting position couldn't run that far past the line of scrimage, but nevertheless was in range to score next turn should the ball be thrown to him. So 3 targets that could score. We hypnotised the two deep in our half (to prevent them being able to catch the ball without moving) and Luthor Blitzed the 3rd putting him in the dug-out. It seemed to be going to plan. But then the Skaven throwers are just as fast. In the 8th turn Tte Gutter runner on the left side easily dodged away from the marking vampire and ran to the line. The ball was scooped up and run down the left side for an easy short pass without possibility of interception. With 2 rats in possible scoring position the wizard couldn't stop it so saved his magic for another day.

CRHV led 2-1 at half time, but now I was receiving.

I decided to spice things up a little. The Countess moved in to secure the ball, while I started to mark the weak gutter runners and get a passing game going. This involved a vampire dodging through the Skaven defence, but when Luthor tried to follow he tripped and fell! 390,00 gold pieces had just face planted, with a free re-roll! Time to go back to caging!

The rats used this opportunity to move in on the countess. But she was semi caged and this gave her time to pass to Count blockula (to her left) who ran into the left side zone to cage up. Luthor eventually made it over to support as did the countess.

As she reached the caged ball she pulled off a spectacular block against the Ogre, threatening the Ravens chances, and stunned it.

We pushed ever forward, the rats conolidated and grouped between the cage and the line. That was when the wizrd finally saw his chance. A massive fireball stremed onto the picth frying 4 rats. 2 were stunned and 2 were sent off injured. That success meant the Ravens could cage the ball near the end zone while the few remaining rats tried to stop the equaliser (2 points would be better than none!)

It eventually came in turn 8 as Luthor made the easy dodge away from the rats and scored (again!). The cheers rose from the stands. That Draw result would see us level with other teams fighting to avoid the wooden spoon. But those celebrations would be premature.

CRHV had 1 turn and could only score if quick snap (or Riot) was rolled to move a movement 10 gutter runner that vital 1 square closer to the vampire line. As is Raven luck this season that's the result that was rolled at kick-off.

Maybe I did make the mistake in not leaving my players on the line... meaning the rats could Blitz a hole in my defence with a storm vermin and needed only 2 GFI rolls to score and win... but Stu still had a re-roll anyway (if I had setup better and forced him to make a few dodges) so once that fateful '9' was rolled at kick-off it was pretty much over anyway.

That has probably secured the wooden spoon for the vamps. Only a win against the Chargers and other games going in our favour will see us through.

Tis a sad day!


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Y Da, y drwg a'r Hyll

The Good:

My goodies forming art of my Birthday present finally turned up. I now can start reading the rules to SAGA ready for the club league starting at the end of March.

Along with the rulebook I purchased 8 Welsh warriors to add to my war band (I did think that Rohirrim had too much armour to represent Welsh warriors so broke the cheaphammer philosophy). The Warlord pictured here is an Anglo-Dane. I got this mainly because I if didn't get something for £2 I wouldn't hit the free postage limit and would have to pay £2 postage. It seemed a no brainier. Especially considering I can then use the Anglo-Danes I got from JP to form a second faction at some point. I do have Welsh warlords coming. Andy kindly picked them up for me from York but due to a series of sickness bugs hitting the kids I haven't managed to catch up with him to collect them yet.

The Bad:

So with all our spare cash paying nursery fees for 2 kids I am trying to 'cheaphammer' my Welsh war band. This involves converting several Rohirrim models into heath guard. Here is my first attempt:

As these Teulu are meant to be 'family' (probably rich land owners or something that fight along side the local warlord) I thought that they would have suitable matching attire probably left over from Roman occupation (at least this helps me justify why they are well armoured and wearing red cloaks). The Red colour may also seem apt for Welsh what with the associated Dragons and all that (I don't know when Dragon Myths were introduced to Wales... time to investigate).

I hand painted the Shields using designs shown on the Gripping Beast models. Here is a 'better' picture of all of them:

So I could really use some feedback on how these are looking. What you like or don't like etc. How bad are they really (I think I will eventually replace them with official models)? I have another 4 of these models to paint and don't know whether to keep to the same paint scheme or mix it up a little maybe a nice regal green or blue) to represent a different 'family'? I plan on painting my warlord in red clothes to fit with this unit.

The Ugly:

This month I succumbed to every wargammers worse nightmare. Distraction. It's an ugly word.

But these miniatures aren't. Legends of the Old West - Another skirmish game that I want to get into. Anyone that has befriended me on face book can probably guess why. Initially it looks like a posse for the game only needs 6 models. That's do-able on a  budget. So over the coming months expect cowboys to feature more and more - along with some suitable scenery.

Next up in terms of gaming, the Raven's are taking of the league leaders tomorrow. I found out the team value difference is 70. That's a whole lot of inducements coming my way. See you soon for the match report.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Meci 7 - Voi lua o halba de târfă Bugman, vă rugăm!

The Raven's are trailing in the WFC league. Would our next game against a group of lady dwarves (known as Bugman's Bar Wenches) provide an uplifting run-up to the end of the season for the Vampires... the short answer is, surprisingly, no. We lost again. Badly. I blame the beer:

Final Score 2 - 0 to the Dwarves
Casualties 3 - 0 to the Dwarves

Both teams had a low fan factor of 4 but this didn't stop the 24,000 fans eager to see the Vampires return to establish a winning form. But this was a midday game, so with the sun out not many vampire fans opened the coffin lids and the dwarves had +1 fame. With the Ravens low fan factor they induced a vampire mercenary with Block.

The dwarves won the toss and elected to kick first. The kick was deep but a short pass later between Count Le'stat'ium and Count Blockula ensured the Ravens could start to cage the ball on the left side of the pitch.

But as is the general story of this team my first turn was hampered with not 1 but 2 failed bloodlust rolls and I stunned 2 thralls. This failing of bloodlust rolls (and rolls in general) would continue to harass me throughout the match.
Turn 2 and in an effort to keep the ball safe we are forced back away from the midline as the dwarves close in. A simple 2 dice block against a dwarf line man woman ends with Count Le'stat'ium (my only vampire without Block) eating grass.

Then disaster, A Troll Slayer blitzes in against Countess Bella Svan and knocks her out! She would not return from the dugout for the remainder of the game. Gulp!

With one vampire down and the ball carrier heading to the wrong TD line I consolidate. I attempt to run Count Le'stat'ium in to help protect Count Blockula (the ball carrier) but on the simple 2+ dodge he trips over the grass and again eats dirt!

The next couple of turns saw a couple more failed bloodlust rolls and the Thrall (and re-roll) population thinned as we ran the ball across field. Our only hope of scoring was to break away from the pesky wenches and pass the ball to a Thrall deep in Dwarf territory.

Hypnotic gaze came into it's own again allowing Count Blockula to get within long pass distance of the Thrall. The 4+ pass was fumbled on a 1! Typical. If I wasn't failing bloodlusts it was every other roll, be it armour, dodging, and now passing.

The dwarves went on the offence surrounding and stealing the ball (as well as all my other vampires).

The vampires tried to stop the offence but with a 3:1 ratio of dwarves to vampires it was never going to be easy.

The dwarves made sure none of my vampires could reach the dwarf runner (by stamping them into the ground) who pushed though and scored a TD on the last turn of the first half.

With the dwarves receiving and the KO'd countess deciding to stay in the dugout it already looked gloomy. The ball was kicked wide and we were able to setup again. This applied some pressure on the dwarves as they sent their super fast runner to pick up the ball with only a second runner to defend.

But they successfully picked up the ball and headed to the centre of the pitch to cage up (silly old dwarves). Whilst they were doing this it seemed the vampires had realised how to play bloodbowl and broke through the cage (good old hypnosis) to knock down the ball carrier.

But where is the attacker in the above picture I hear you cry? I had made a critical error. The Blitzing vampire failed bloodlust and so needed to take a bite at the end of the Blitz. But silly me followed up the successful block stepping away from the nearest Thrall. Tom took delight in pointing this out as I sent the vampire mercenary into the crowd for a snack.

Actually thinking about this while I write I made too mistakes. This vampire was Blitzing, he had used his full movement allowance (6) but I could of 'Gone for it' and then dodged up field on a 4+. I didn't even bother just removed him. Doh!

So with the ball free what could I do? I thought my best bet was to surround the ball and make sure it was in a lot of tackle zones. I get 4 tackle zones on the ball and as I get ready to move the vampire to put a 5th on it. The vamps luck ran out at this point, guess what happens... another failed bloodlust roll; made worse by the failed dodge roll as I try to get to a Thrall. Another vampire in the dugout leaving me with only 1 on the pitch.

The dwarves show their skill using positional play to pushback and knockdown a Thrall into the ball which bounces onto the dwarf runner. Great. Another struggle to get the vampire back for a Blitz on the ball carrier but again in the mid-field rumble we knock the ball free leaving 2 tackle zones on it.

But the dwarves make their presence felt bringing more players in to surround the ball, pretty much ensuring I wasn't going to get it. But could I stop them?

I had 2 vampires nibbling crowd members and this many players in the KO box. Numbers were not on my side.

My remaining vampire was pushed around like a pinball and the dwarf runner got her hands on the ball.

The movement 7 dwarf runner proves her awesomeness and pushes through again out of range of the vampires.

I'm forced to make crazy dodge rolls in an attempt to get Tom to score and end the drive, but with all players surrounded this is an impossible task. The Wenches have great fun blocking my remaining players eventually killing off a Thrall. Cackles of evil laughter were heard pouring from the mouth of the Bugman's head coach as he scores the 2nd Touchdown in his last turn.

Would my team return to full strength for my final turn? No.

I wasn't lying when I said the Countess didn't wake up again! So all that we could do was to try and get more than 1 Star player point (for that successful pass in turn 1) this game. We lined up to kick the line of 3 guarding dwarf line women. We manage 1 push back and then try to complete a short pass for token points. A failed blood lust roll means biting another Thrall, then the pass is fumbled.

Could I roll anymore 1s. Well it would appear so... my bad luck continued as I rolled 1 for my winnings.

Now it the bottom 2 of the league that all important play-off place looks out of grasp. Especially as my next game is against Crouching Rodent, Hidden Vermin, the league leaders! With that (and inducements in mind) Count Edvard Kill'em (the strength 3 vampires - I'll get you Kelly!) was retired to become club mascot. With 2 Thralls missing the next game, my team value stands at a massive 105. Exactly where we started. It's a good job this team is fun to play, otherwise I might end up crying in the corner of the club!