Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Book Review: Master Of Death

Let me put a disclaimer on this one. I love the Vampire Counts. I have at least 3000 points worth of them and i love the huge quantity of fluff that has built up around them over the years. with that out of the way one thing that has been lacking over the years is real insight into the patriarchs (or matriarchs in Neferata's case) of the vampiric bloodlines. yes we know Alcadizar led an army that smashed Lahmia and scattered the vampires to the four winds, but then there is a massive gap in the lore until Nagash returns to recreate his empire. Josh Reynolds was the man chosen to create three time of legends books, each focusing on one of the undead lords that were mentioned during the rise of Nagash trilogy (which, shamefully, i have not read), and so far he has not dissapointed.

W'soran, also refereed quite commonly by the other Vampires as the "old monster", is the patriarch of the Necharach line. He is vain, as are most of his brothers, and cunning like Neferata, but also a monumental coward compared to his brethren. Nagash's death showed him that even the greatest can fall, and fleeing does not irk him like it would his siblings. He also does not mind sacrificing those closest to him to further his plans. He is consumed with finding the secrets of life and death to try to prevent the true death ever occurring to the one person he can't live without, himself.

I didn't know what to think of the book at first. It has an odd structure where, before the start of every chapter, you get a flashback. However the whole story is a flashback, as in the first chapter we see the betrayal of his protege Melkhior (a huge part of the existing background fluff, so a logical thing to place in the book) and W'soran's death. Most of these flashbacks seemed to have no continuity to them, often they were his interactions with his fellow vampires, and quite often him running from the problem at hand, trying to take as many of his books and acolytes with him. most of them didn't seem to fit. Their were alot with Ushoran that made sense as it showed that he was the only one of his brethren he seemed to get along with, and built the tension as Ushoran was now his greatest enemy, having been possessed by the crown of Nagash. Overall the book showed his attempts to become greater than the great necromancer, to transcend death and become unto the god that Nagash believed himself to be. Since we have already witnessed his death we can view this story as a tragedy as we know the great work will never be complete.

It is in the conclusion of the book, however, that the fog was lifted and everything made perfect sense. Everything that was learned, all the flashbacks, all the pointless little ditties came together in the final battle and an absolutely breathtaking finale. I will not spoil it, but it made the whole book, and made me so so very pleased that i had persisted. From that end alone i give it a 9/10, and recommend you check it out if you are a fan of the background of these great characters.

Master Of Death is on sale at Games Workshop stores, on the Black Library website, or available as an Ebook.

Monday, 24 March 2014

NZTC day two

Well as i stated, day one didn't quite pan out as we had really hoped. However i had high hopes going into the 4th round as we were up against the Basiliers, a team from Christchurch who i had experience versing from my two years down south. here we go...

GAME 4: Rhys Hodgson (Basiliers)
Out of the four players, Rhys was the only person who i had never versed, so i didn't quite know what his play style might be. Since he was running a Throgg list with plenty of chaff and both an unkillable lord and unkillable bsb i decided to bunker in a corner with my riders out on the far flank. I was lucky to get first turn and took off half his chaff. Rhys, seeing that i didn't choose to advance on him, decided the better part of valor was to back up and conserve his points. nothing really happened in the majority of the game but Morathi did manage to death snipe his Sorcerer Lord from a bunker of marauders. In the end i won by about 15-5 as he got my shades while losing all his dogs and his wizards. however the other games were close, with Sam beating Mikes orcs but Basil crushing Fern and hamish getting schooled by greatswords (we gave him a bit of shit don't worry) in the end we won the round by about 43-37 (i cant remember exactly). we were happy with the result, at least it wasn't another 20 pointer.

GAME 5: Ross Hillier-Jones (Wolf Pack)
Chaos Lord on Disk, BSB on steed, Throgg (but with only one unit of trolls), Hell Cannon, Crushers. Not what i would call the most normal Chaos list. However this was the round of ACME style comedy for the Wolf Pack. Hamish threw a massive sook about being paired up with Locky's Skaven even though he had green lighted the match at our pre-tournament meeting. first turn saw, on table one (Hamish V Locky) : exploding Skaven artillery, table three (Fern V Jeff) exploding cannon and STEAM TANK! and table four (me V Ross) rampaging Hell Cannon (don't worry, it blew itself up turn two, alongside Locky's Bell). This game went from bad to worse for Ross, as i slowly encircled his entire force. By slowly i mean i was in his rear by turn three, resulting in the most epic single combat in any of my games. Throggs Trolls, who had been harboring the BSB since the start of the game and the Lord after he realized he was dangerously encircled. All my Executioners attacked the front, the Master with the ward save hit them in the flank while Morathi and a unit of warlocks smashed into their rear. in the end he had Throgg, one Troll, and his Lord and BSB, who were promptly run down by the warlocks and Morathi. In the end it was a 20-0, and this round saw us all win once more (me and hamish defiantly 20-0 our opponents, and the other two won but i don't know by what.) so another 60-20 saw us rocket back up the field. we were so very happy at this point, what could possibly go wrong.

GAME 6: Paul Davison (Grumpy Old Men)
Paul was down from Auckland for the weekend, and we had a great chat about the difference in the tournament scenes in the north island. However not before Teclis led his High Elf brethren in great slaughter of the Druchii. 4 Bolt Throwers, Enough horsemen to rampage all over mine, some Eagles and a big block of  White Lions to soak up all of his miscasts (and their were alot of them, damn that banner of the world dragon). we dealt to each others cavalry by turn three while his Bolt Throwers conducted intense counter battery fire. it all came down to two moments, where the Executioners were in a position to crush the white lions, only to lose half their numbers to the irresistible dwellers (sigh), and where the destruction of my shades (after five rounds of fire) panicked my Corsairs who were preparing a 6" charge into the artillery... in the end it was a well executed game and a crushing 15-5 to Paul. this round saw another tie, as it was practically a 40-40 (it might have been a point or two either way but that doesn't matter as much in the end.)

So we ended the weekend on 7th place, pretty much bang in the middle, which was a far cry from our 11th or 12th position we had managed a year previously. with two major wins, two major losses and two draws we were at least content with our results, as it showed we had the potential to really refine our tricks and come back swinging next year. you will see us again. Now, until Nationals, I'm signing out. Remember to play hard and rattle 'dem bones.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Finally getting round to NZTC games

Well here we go finally, its been over a month now and i'm only now doing a write up of the NZTC. Hopefully this means its now new again and people want to read about it. here we go

Master with battle standard bearer with a 1+ armour save
Master on a Pegasus with a 1+ armour and 4+ ward
Master on a Pegasus with a 1+ re-rollable armour save

31 Corsairs with additional hand weapons, full command and the banner of discipline
5 Dark Riders with repeater crossbows, shields and a musician
5 Dark Riders with repeater crossbows, shields and a musician

29 Executioners with full command and the flaming banner
3 Repeater Bolt Throwers
5 Shades with great weapons

5 Warlocks
5 Warlocks

What i realize now is it's pretty much a net list, but in my defense i would have had a mutiny on my hand (from a certain Empire player) if i had taken anything else (i myself was leaning more towards a Malus Darkblade list). We were picked to do brilliantly by Pete, and we just had to prove him wrong (again). As a team we decided to have the lowest scorer per round wear a blond wig and tiara (be the "beauty" shall we say) 

so here we go

GAME 1: John Murrie (team Buckethead)
The first game saw me paired with John's Ogres, which is an army i have versed 3 times in all my years of wargaming (i know right, once in 7th and twice in 8th). Irongut bus with BSB and Slaughtermaster, beast wizard in a 6 Ogre unit, 3 Ogre unit, 5 Leadbelchers, 4 Mournfang, some puppy's and a Blaster. Let me tell you i have learned to HATE Leadbelchers from this game. John had a convenient building on his flank to slip them into and he ravaged my chaff with them. if i remember they accounted for a bolt thrower, both units of dark riders  and far too many Executioners. however on the flip side John had terrible luck with his Gutstar, losing 5 Ogres in one round to the Executioners, then failing the LD9 re-rollable break test in the second round. in the end we cleaned up alot of each others miniatures, but the numbers ended up with the dark elves just out in front with a 13-7. John, as always, was just a great guy to play against and his ogres gave me a few things to think about visa vie my fast cavalry. Unfortunately i won the round by the smallest margin (never thought that was gonna occur) and so i donned the wig. having minced the full 60 points for the round, we were feeling like kings of the field, until...

GAME 2: Nick Hoen (Team with the guy...)
The "Guy" himself, Nick was a powerhouse over the weekend, and our game was no exception. High Elves packing a Silverhelm bus, a Dragon Prince bus, a Prince on a Dragon (extremely impressed with this dude), chaff, and two frosties. before i had even moved i was scrambling to preserve points as with one spell (flames of the phoenix) i was down to 9 executioners. this was compounded by having his buses not 10" away with a very light screen of chaff between us. in the end i picked up one of his frosties and his chaff, but lost nearly everything but my ward save peg and the corsairs (who were hiding in a building). a 16-4 or 17-3 loss (for the life of me i cant quite remember) and the team only getting just above the bar (23 points or so)  brought us back down to earth. this was a huge learning curve as i have versed high elves alot, but only twice in 8th, and i didn't quite realize how dangerous their spell lore could be. You guessed it, the wig was staying on...

GAME 3: Glen Burfield (Stonesfall Massive)
Daemons. Wont. DIE. I play daemons enough that i knew how to verse them, don't rush forward, chaff them out and force them to close with you. well hell that didn't really work. i lost all my artillery in the first turn to a combination of the reign of chaos (that also killed a unit of Dark Riders) and the Skill Cannons and all my chaff to the machinations of his blue horrors. highlights for me was a beast of Nurgle taking 3 turns to force 5 Shades from a building, and then having to send another in to finish them as he didn't want to lose the Beast. all in all it was a 20-0 for Glen, and in this round the rest of the team did not much better (we completely stuffed up our matchmaking and were punished for it)

first day saw us sitting on 100 points, huge improvements were needed for us to place, and we were willing to come out guns blazing day two. but that is for the next post...

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Who wants a Tank?

ever felt like driving round in a M4A3 Sherman? How about a 2pd attack carrier? even better, what about a SCUD missile launcher? well in July you really could as some of the Littlefield Collection goes under the hammer over in California. a Hummer, a Stuart, an 88", a Toad, Valentine, M37. the only thing their missing is the German Giants like the Panzer IV and the Tiger for pure Awesomeness. Unfortunately the reserve for the SCUD A is $300,000, But it would be cool to drive down a street with a 2pdr cannon on the back.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Well that was entertaining...

well howdie folks, its been far too long. How are you all? Did Christmas bring you all the miniatures you asked for? Working my arse off over the holidays while preparing my new Dark Elves for a stroll through the wild fields of battle left me with very little time in which to actually do any blogging (that and topics that had not been discussed to boredom were few and far between). But lo, I am back now, and ready to jump straight in the deep end. 
~those bloody Aussies, coming here and stealing our things again

Unless you have been living under a rock (or are more inclined towards game systems like 40K and FOW) you would know that the 2nd annual New Zealand Warhammer Teams Championship (hereafter referred to as the NZTC) took place last weekend to much excitement and gnashing of teeth. I myself was put in charge (some would say under a puppet regime) of the Beauty and the Beasts, the Kapiti Wargames Club committee team. consisting of Sam Campbell (using his favorite cologne of eud de la Nurgle Daemons), the beauty in the team Fern Campbell (rocking Hamish's "push it forward" Throgg list), Hamish (how many chickens can i fit amongst this light council and artillery park? ) and the eponymous hero of the piece, Me (with a can opener of a Dark Elf list).

Overall the team did quite well, though the kiss of death from Pete Dunn (why did he have to pick us, why) and a round or two of match up fails left us with two overwhelming victories, two soul crushing defeats and two close draws. We finished the weekend in 7th place on 252/360 possible points (7 points behind the infamous Vonn Traps on 259). Unfortunately, and in a complete U-turn from last years event, the Aussies from The Team With The Guy managed to rampage home with 315/360 possible points (meaning they averaged 52.5/60 points in each round! ouch). 2nd was taken out by the decidedly unsexy tank tops of Shirts Off and 3rd was snaffled by the DILFS (yes, it is what you think it means, and no, they weren't)

I will be back in the next couple of days with how my games in particular went and changes leading up to the National competition in Christchurch (three days of wargamming in a club that i really enjoyed attending in my times down south, anyone who can i recommend should head down to it, its gonna be a blast!) but in the meantime, stay gamy, and rattle them bones!

i would like to also put a shout out to Herman at Trouble In The Border Provinces for the photos, check him out in the tabs on the side