Monthly Archives: October 2009

20091013 Painting WIPs.

Didn’t have much time for hobby-type stuff last week on account of work getting out of hand.  I was able to make up for it over the weekend, kicking it into gear with those Devastators I’d gotten started on a month and half ago.  (Kromac over there’s been where he is for over a year, now.)

Then, I decided to come to grips with my motivation to paint some Skaven.  I’ve got rat-fever, but I can’t wait for the new Clanrats to drop to get spun up on them again.  Instead, I started slapping paint on some Gutter Runners and then got distracted by the Warlock Engineer I’ve been meaning to paint for a long while.
All of these are WIP, of course.

Alternate Approaches to Scenarios

Multiple Scenarios

The one really great thing (in my opinion) to come out of War of the Ring is its approach to scenarios.  As with 40K, there’s a little table and you roll for the random scenario for the game.  Where it differs from 40K, though, is that you roll more than one time.  So, you could roll up a game that’s both King of the Hill and Kill Points, for example.  Each scenario comes with a set of victory points, which you total up to see who’s won.

Now, we’ve been muttering about trying to play 40K this way pretty much all year.  The only sticking point is how to make the goals of the different scenarios roughly comparable.  Because, in theory, winning at one when your opponent wins at another should result in a draw.  It’s easy to compare how objectives in Seize Ground and objectives in Capture & Control should work together, but it gets a little tricker with Kill Points in Annihilation.  If we make the assumption that the average 40K army has 12 Kill Points (which seems like a reasonable assumption to me), we can say the following:

  • Seize Ground: Each objective is worth 3 VP.  That gets us an average of 12 VP, with a minimum of  9 VP and a maximum of 15 VP.
  • Capture & Control: Each objective is worth 6 VP.
  • Annihilation: Each Kill Point is worth 1 VP.
When talking about multiple scenarios, though, what happens if you roll Seize Ground and Capture & Control?  Do you get up to seven objectives on the table?  That seems crowded.  So, I imagine that if one rolled both scenarios, that it’d be the two objectives in the deployment zone,  plus d3 additional objectives.  The two deployment objectives could then be either 6 VP apiece, with the additional objectives being 3 VP, or we could combine them so the deployment objectives are 9 VP and the additional ones remain 3.  I don’t know how I feel about that.
Capture, Not Control
Anyone will agree that Capture & Control is really sort of built for the draw.  Most of the games I’ve played end up that way: I hang onto my objective while my opponent hangs onto theirs.  What if your objective doesn’t matter as much as your opponent’s (or at all)?  (I have no doubt in my mind that everyone else on Earth has thought about this already but, hey, I’m on a roll.)  This could go two ways:
  • Only your opponent’s objective matters: If you control your opponent’s objective, and your opponent doesn’t control yours: you win.  If both of you control each others’, or if no one controls their opponent’s objective, it’s a draw.   This feels to me like it would actually produce more draws, however, and possibly reward armies that are more in your face than ones that aren’t.
  • Your opponent’s objective matters more: If we’re working with the multiple scenarios setup above, we can weight the different objectives differently.  (Well, we could weight them even if Capture & Control was the only scenario, but it wouldn’t matter.  It’d be functionally identical to only having your opponent’s objective matter, as above.)

    I imagine this would work out like making your opponent’s objective worth 9 VP and your objective worth 3 VP.  In other words, it would make your objective just like any other objective… but your opponent’s objective as important as almost all of the other objectives on the table.

Hidden Agendas
This popped into my head in response to a goofy tournament format Ben suggested on the IFL forum (which is interesting, but I suspect is fundamentally too subjective to be wholly viable) and is also likely worlds away from being an original idea.
What if you didn’t know what your opponent’s scenario was?  

Battle Report Utility

Just wanted to take a moment to link to a neat utility that came up on the IFL forum the other week that I used to generate the map in my last post.
You drag and drop shapes that represent terrain and units onto a field.
I have no idea what it’s called, since I don’t speak the German, but here it is:

The “Get Picture” function seems to be busted, but it’s easy enough to take a screencap.  Also, it’s a shame there’s no 40K support.

Ratputin Triumphant

The game on Saturday happened, as planned.  As cramped as my schedule’s been, lately, I consider that a victory.

Harry ran High Elves, with a list that was something like:
Lords & Heroes
  • Noble – General, Great Eagle, Reaver Bow
  • Noble – BSB, Elven Steed, Battle Banner
  • Mage – Dispel Scroll, Dispel Scroll (Lore of Fire)
  • Mage – Elven Steed, Silver Wand, Starwood Staff (Lore of Death)
  • Archers x10
  • Archers x10
  • Dragon Princes x5 – Full Command
  • Dragon Princes x5 – Full Command
  • Ellyrian Reavers x5 – Full Command
  • Lion Chariot of Chrace
  • Phoenix Guard x12 – Full Command
  • Great Eagle
  • Repeater Bolt Thrower
  • Repeater Bolt Thrower
I ran the list I discussed here.
It was a full-on battle.  Very, very close with the dice deciding a lot of things.  It was a really good game.

Some notes:

  • The battlefield was different than what I’m used to seeing.  This was great.  I’d just been complaining with some other folks on about how WHFB battlefields always look pretty much exactly the same: Forests to the right and left, halfway between deployment zones with one to two hills along the back edge of each deployment zone (for bolt throwers, etc).  Harry started dropping hills in the middle of the board for fear of the Warp-Lightning Cannon.  I put forests in each deployment zone, hoping I could scout my Gutter Runners.

  • He lost his mages immediately.  On his first turn, his scroll caddy miscast with double 1’s (kill the Mage).  The other Mage died on my second turn: he’d been in a unit of Dragon Princes… which had lost a member to Storm Daemon, allowing the Warp-Lightning Cannon to snipe him.  To say that this helped is to wildly understate.
  • The Throwing Stars on my Night Runners didn’t really do much for me, though it did have a strong psychological impact on my opponent.  He seemed unreasonably concerned that he was going to get shot to pieces; I’m not sure why.  Yes, most of my army had shooting, but so much of it was at a negligible range… and it’s not like it was two blocks of archers and two bolt throwers.
  • I did like the larger unit of Night Runners, though.  They were more effective at screening, and tied things up pretty well.  Shame they’ll be losing Skirmish in a few months.
  • The Gutter Runners did quite nicely.  They locked down two flanks effectively and, on springing into combat, did me proud.  They were unable to help with warmachines, though.  I probably should try a Tunneling Team, after all.
  • I still like the Warlord with the Cautious Shield and the +5 Ward Save.  He’s not a death machine, but he helps keep the unit around very effectively, and is about as hard to kill as I can manage.
  • The Assassin wasn’t able to do much of anything, but that’s because Harry moved his general halfway across the table.  A flying general is handy to have.  I’d probably be better off with two Warlock Engineers, though, if only to provide Dispel Dice and Scrolls.
  • Ratling Guns didn’t get to shoot once.  I don’t expect them to, any more.  They’re another target, though, and are a threat that must be dealt with, which protects my other units.
  • Likewise, the Giant.  He didn’t get the chance to do anything except eat two rounds of shooting… which is pretty much what I thought he’d do.  At 200 points, I probably should have higher expectations, I think.  Maybe next time, I’ll try Ironguts or something.
  • The Jezzails kicked ass.  They deployed behind the hills, in the back corner, which meant they were safe from enemy fire (so the only thing that would chase them off the table would be misfires).  They still had a clear line of sight to the middle of the field and, if anything crossed over the hill (which happened several times), they were able to unload on it at short range.
  • The Warp-Lightning Cannon did quite well; threatening the heck out of most of his units.  It paid for itself in frying the Mage.  At one point, it shot down the flank of the unit of Dragon Princes that contained the BSB.  At S10.  I rolled a 1 to wound the BSB, but incinerated the rest of the unit.  That was pretty close, there.
  • The MVPs for the game, I think, were the Globadiers.  Small enough that he didn’t want to waste anything on them, those two 20 point units were able to kill hundreds of points of Dragon Princes, as well as opening the door to put down to enemy characters.  They were fantastic.

At the end of the game, he had:

  • General (fleeing)
  • BSB
  • One full unit of Archers
  • 2 Bolt Throwers

I had:

  • Nearly full block of Clanrats (with General)
  • Nearly full block of Slaves
  • Nearly full heap of Jezzails
  • Warp-Lightning Cannon
  • Half a unit of Gutter Runners
  • 1 Globadier

One quarter was contested, one empty, two mine.  I’d captured a banner, as well.  Ultimately, I won by over 800 points, but it could have very easily been a defeat had his Mages not been fried.

Ratputin Returns

I was so unimpressed with the way the Bubonic Court worked last time I played, I think I’m done with it for now.  It sacrifices too much of what it doesn’t have in the name of getting too little.  Plus, if I’m going to play in Dragon Wars, it’d be nice to refresh myself as to how the rest of the army I’ll be playing is supposed to work.

I’m playing a game against Harry on Saturday.  There’s a comp tournament next weekend, so he’s prepping for that.  My list unintentionally meets all of the comp tournament’s rules, save that I’m including a Dogs of War Giant, but he’s okay with that.  (I doubt it will make a difference, anyway).

Ratputin Returns
Skaven – 2,250 points

Lords & Heroes

  • Warlord – General, Heavy Armor, Cautious Shield, Foul Pendant
  • Chieftain – BSB, Heavy Armor, Storm Banner
  • Assassin – Weeping Blade
  • Warlock Engineer – Condenser, Warp-Blades, Dispel Scroll, Storm Daemon


  • Clanrats x27 – Musician, Standard, Ratling Gun
  • Clanrats x26 – Musician, Standard, Ratling Gun
  • Giant Rats x24 – Packmasters x4
  • Giant Rats x24 – Packmasters x4
  • Night Runners x10 – Throwing Stars
  • Night Runners x10 – Throwing Stars
  • Poisoned Wind Globadiers x2
  • Poisoned Wind Globadiers x2
  • Slaves x20 – Musician
  • Slaves x20 – Musician


  • Gutter Runners x7 – Poisoned Hand Weapons, Poisoned Throwing Stars
  • Gutter Runners x7 – Poisoned Hand Weapons, Poisoned Throwing Stars
  • Warplock Jezzails x7


  • Giant
  • Warp-Lightning Cannon

That’s 15 drops with 205 models.

I’m trying a number of different, new things out here.

  • The Giant, for one.  This started out with a decision to include some Ogre Ironguts but transformed into a “A Giant is more likely to suck down (and survive) all of my enemy’s fire,” decision.  Plus, it looks like it’ll be goofy and fun.
  • Gutter Runners.  I’m probably making a mistake here by taking so many of them, and by making them so expensive (those poisoned weapons increase their cost by 50%), but it’s something I’m not used to using.  I really need a way to deal with enemy warmachines, and these are it.  Initially one of these was a Tunneling Team, but after rereading the rules on that… no way.
  • Similarly, I’m taking slightly larger than usual Night Runner units of 10.  In a few months, I’ll be taking blocks of 25, but for now they skirmish and I’m used to units of 5.  I hope that, with groups of 10, they’ll be better at screening.  I’ve given them Throwing Stars to eat points: this Mainstay Unit stuff makes list construction difficult: if you can’t afford to buy another unit of Clanrats, you’re sort of stuck trying to find places to spend a few more points.  It will, hopefully, make them a bit more of a threat, though.
  • I’m only taking seven Jezzails for two reasons.  Seven is the magic number for these small units: it keeps them small (and cheap) while maximizing the number of models you need to kill before they break and run away (note that I don’t say “test to see if they break and run away”).  I’d take two units of them… but I only have ten Jezzails.  I hope we see plastic ones in a few months before I buy up to fourteen (but I’m not holding my breath).
  • As it turns out, I’ve always done The Cautious Shield wrong, thinking that if I give up my attacks, I can force a model to lose an attack.  What it actually does is automatically force a model to lose an attack and, if I give up all of my attacks, it forces them to lose two attacks.  That’s twice as useful!
  • I’m probably going to get my teeth kicked in on Magic.  (Heck, I’m probably going to get my teeth kicked in anyway, since I can’t outfight, outshoot, outmagic or outmaneuver any other army right now).  Just one caster, with one scroll probably isn’t going to be enough… but I want to play with the Assassin.