Warhammer Quest: Chaos Adversary Cards

This should be a short and sweet one – the Chaos Adversary Cards for Warhammer Quest have just arrived.

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This (actually sizeable – it may not seem that way in the photos but they are much bigger than your palm) card deck adds a bunch of new monsters to your games of Warhammer Quest, both Silver Tower and Hammerhal, and gives a handy reference to existing creatures – no more flicking between books!

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One card gives all the rules you need to implement this deck in your game. Exotic Adversaries are used as normal (you just have more choice), while Mighty Adversaries are used in the same way but only pop up once per adventure, as they are a bit harder than regular monsters.

Finally, you can just deal cards randomly when the players meet monsters, though I am not sure many people will do that.

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I won’t go through the whole list of monsters this deck includes, as GW have handily posted the list right here. However, there are absolutely no issues with tiny text, as with their Sigmar Warscroll cards, and everything you need is very accessible.

Full marks there.

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Each card has all the monster’s stats and abilities on one side, along with how many models will appear when the encounter appears, and the behaviour table on the back.

Simples!

This deck is £15 which, given the size and number of the cards, as well as the additional utility they give in Warhammer Quest, especially if you have a sizeable collection of miniatures, is more than fair enough.

I have no choice but to give this one a full ten out of ten.

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Throne of Skulls

This weekend, I made the trip up to Nottingham again, this time to attend the Warhammer 40,000 Throne of Skulls event. Throne of Skulls has a tournament-like structure, but it is intended to showcase all aspects of the hobby rather than being a hardline Grand Tournament where actually winning is key.

They do this by scoring playing in three categories: actually winning games (which accounts for half your score) and favourite game and favourite army votes, which are awarded by your opponents (you basically pick two favourite games and two favourite armies) and account for a quarter of your score each. Tie breaks are done by the total Power Rating you destroy (yes, this works on Power Levels!), along with the number of times you Slay the Warlord, Linebreak and get First Blood.

The missions themselves are drawn up using the Open War card deck which, I have to say, really, really works and is probably what i will now default to instead of the ‘standard’ missions in the rulebook. Seriously, check them out – agree a points/Power Level, draw a Deployment Zone card, an Objective card and a Ruse card, and you are good to go! Army building and actual play follows Matched Play rules (three detachments maximum).

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Here Comes the Death Guard

I went with my Death Guard, and drew up the following list:

Battalion
Daemon Prince (Blades of Putrefaction, Suppurating Plate, Tainted Regeneration)
Malignant Plaguecaster (Miasma of Pestilence, Curse of the Leper)
Plague Marines x 7 (2 Plague Launchers, Power Fist)
Plague Marines x 7 (Plasma Gun, Meltagun, Power Fist)
Poxwalkers x 20
Plagueburst Crawler
Plagueburst Crawler
Bloat-Drone (Plaguespitters)
Bloat-Drone (Flesh Mower)

Lord of War
Scabiethrax the Bloated (Miasma, Curse of the Leper, Plague Wind)

Patrol
Herald of Nurgle (Miasma)
Plague Bearers x 30

This is not what I originally intended to take, but my Death Guard characters and big block of 20 Plague Marines were still on the painting table, so I had to take what I had. I did not want to ‘spam’ units but, rather, take a variety of units that were representative of the Death Guard and the daemonic allies. The two concessions I made to pumping up the army and making things a bit tougher were the Suppurating Plate on the Daemon Prince (and my main problem with that is that it is what everyone does – though it is just too good to pass up, really…) and adding Scabiethrax, the massive Exalted Great Unclean One from Forge World. He is a tough cookie and, it has to be said, worth every point of his Power Level 30.

Was that a little too much for an event like this? Definitely not!

Enemy Forces

The vast majority of people took reasonable armies with a tough back bone – so, you would see Astra Militarum with a Baneblade, perhaps, or Marines with an Imperial Knight.

You also saw people who brought their A Games – the three Shadowsword armies, for example, the all Stompa/Morkanaut/Deff Dread armies, or the all Shadow Spectre force. One chap just brought along a Reaver Titan, which seemed like a fun approach (I think the record was him being destroyed in turn two by Eldar…).

Then you had the utter twats.

The one that springs to mind, and I seriously gave thought to walking into Bugman’s and reading my Kindle for a couple of hours if I had drawn him as an opponent, was some twonk who took eight Wyverns, three Earthshaker platforms and a super heavy, with some assorted other units.

My issue here is that this guy had given absolutely no thought as to whether his opponents would enjoy their games. No one at all. He just wanted to blow them off the table, as quickly as possible, for the least amount of effort. Consider, for a moment, what it would be like inside his head – he had taken an army that required no thought, no manoeuvre, just picking targets every turn and rolling a bunch of dice until they were deleted. You might imagine that he thought he was very clever in putting together such a force.

As it happened, he met two or three good players who were switched on enough to shut him down but, honestly, who goes to an event like this with that mindset, eh?

Battles Aplenty

So, how did I do?

Well, I haven’t been playing as much of 8th edition as I probably should, so I was fairly daunted, especially as my first opponent had brought an all-tank Militarum force which included a Baneblade (which I have not faced before!). However, you can rely on the Death Guard to be very forgiving as they absorb huge amounts of firepower.

I placed the Plaguebearers up front, Scabiethrax (he quickly became Scabbie over the weekend) behind them, with Miasma of Pestilence providing further protection – for a total of -3 to be hit on the Plaguebearers and most other things benefiting from Scabbie’s aura which gave them -1 to be hit. Then you had the daemonic saves, followed by Disgustingly Resilient…

It turns out that Guardsmen, even when they are in tanks, cannot shoot straight under those conditions. The Plaguebearers swarmed over the Leman Russ line, while Scabbie just caved in the side of the Baneblade in a single round of combat.

Good game, with a fun opponent – job done!

Game Two

Next up was an Ork player, going in with a Stompa, three Deff Dreads, two Morkanauts and a couple of characters. This was a tough battle and, while the Deff Dreads were dealt with quickly and I gave the Stompa a right smack in the nose (reduced to something around 15 wounds), this guy was just all over me. Scabbie was popped and the rest of my force was quickly following him.

The only reason I pulled a win here was because I seized two objectives early on(Death Guard are nothing if not great at holding objectives) and then burned my Ruse Card (we all had a Ruse Card which could be used just once over the weekend, which allows you to do something funky) to bring back a unit of Plague Marines who promptly popped up on his back line, mobbed a lone Mek, and stole his objective.

A very narrow win, but a win nonetheless. And if my opponent is reading this (highly unlikely!), you might well have earned a favourite game vote from me, my friend, but texting with whom I presumed is your girlfriend throughout the battle is Not Okay.

Battle the Third

This was one of my favourite battles of the weekend – six objectives on the table, one of which is the key item the armies need (all other objectives are removed once it is found), and I was up against Tyranids.

It has been years since I have fought bugs, and I was looking forward to seeing how they had changed. Grandfather Nurgle smiled on me early and the main objective just happened to be underneath one of my Crawlers. The Bloat-Drones also acquitted themselves nicely, with the Plaguespitters annihilating a six-strong unit of Zoanthropes and the Flesh Mower munching its way through 30 Hormagaunts before zipping around to generally create hassle among the remaining bugs.

The big swing in the game came when the Tyranid player cleverly timed his main assault so that everything nasty hit my line at once – even the Miasma-wreathed Plaguebearers took serious losses as Carnifexes, Gaunts and Genestealers all piled in at once. To cap it off, the Swarmlord dropped right next to Scabbie and charged in.

However… my opponent opted to attack with his Genestealers first, and I used the Counterattack stratagem to turn Scabbie around and clobber the Swarmlord. 24 points of damage later, and a major headache had been removed!

The fight ended up with a Trygon and ‘Stealers assaulting the objective I was holding, and they very nearly broke my defence. However, some tough fighting from Plague Marines and the Plaguecaster (who, unlike in every other battle I played with him, suddenly became good in close combat – and against ‘Stealers at that!) managed to finally beat them back.

My opponent in this battle was one of the greats at the event, and I would happily play him any time. Gold star to you!

And Then Eldar

The first battle on Sunday was against an Eldar force, and I knew I was in for a tough match. I get to the table, and I see all his infantry are Shadow Spectres, his three flyers are Hemlocks, and he has two Farseer Skyrunners.

His first turn was fairly savage, with even the Plaguebearers losing half their number, and things looked bleak. However, I had a turn, and things started to turn round.

This battle was tough – his Shadow Spectres, combined with the Alaitoc Craftworld rules, meant most of his units were at -2 to be hit. However, they are still Eldar, and rather weedy when hit in the face. The Plaguespitter drone annihilated a Spectre unit and then it and the Flesh Mower raced after his warlord and damn near mowed the Farseer down! The Farseer managed to (finally) get away with just three wounds, and the Eldar just pipped me for points (if I had got that Farseer, my own points would have been doubled and I would have got the victory).

First loss of the weekend!

Finally, Blood Angels

I fought Blood Angels in the last battle, and I had already been informed by James that my opponent was officially a Good Guy, as they had just fought. My opponent had been somewhat perturbed by James’ Shield Drones constantly deflecting his attacks – I had a feeling he would enjoy the combination of penalties to hit, Daemonic Invuns, and Disgustingly Resilient!

Right at the start of the battle, two Stormravens swooped behind my army and dropped off Dante and his Sanguinary Guard to raise a bit of hell. Unfortunately, they ran right into Scabbie, who promptly ate Dante.

Mephiston and a squad of Terminators then dropped from the other Stormraven, and went after a Plagueburst Crawler. It sustained some damage (thanks invuns and Resilience!) before pulling back, and then Mephiston was faced with a choice – charge into Scabbie or the badly wounded Herald next to him. He chose the latter.

But forgot about Heroic Intervention.

So, a second Blood Angels hero ended up in Scabbie’s belly!

After that, the Blood Angels were kinda swamped – the Stormravens were shot down, the Vindicator and Redemptor mired in Plaguebearers who they were killing at a rate of 1 per turn, and the Hellblasters holding the far flank were over run by the Drones, when they were not killing themselves with supercharged plasma shots…

My opponent took all of this in his stride, even as he bemoaned Miasma, Scabbie, Invuns, and Resilience, and made this another of my favourite games of the weekend.

The Results

I didn’t think I had done all that well overall, as I had lost one game, and among 160 players, you only get the top slots if you win all your battles.

However, as it turned out, only one player had won all his games (Eldar), and he received very few favourite game votes and nothing for favourite army – so, the field was open to several players.

James had won two games but, by virtue of being a Good Egg, managed to scoop the award for Best Tau player. Unbelievably, I managed to get the award for best Chaos player: four wins, accounting for 24 points, 4 Favourite Game votes (another 12 points) and 3 Favourite Army votes for another 9 points – a total of 45!

That was enough to put me in second place, just three points behind the winner of the whole event (if only I had painted my models a bit better!).

All in all, this was a good, fun event, and it looks like we will be going to the next one!

Heavy Metal for Death Guard

Work on the Death Guard progresses, albeit at a reduced rate – I was doing quite well this weekend but then made the mistake of installing Xcom 2 on Sunday afternoon (hey, it was on sale!), so the painting kinda, well, stopped.

However, I did manage to get these chaps done, the heavy stuff for the Death Guard…

Two Plagueburst Crawlers and two Bloat-Drones. I was preparing to paint these in a slightly different way to the troops (edging rather than drybrushing) but the drybrush worked on the Helbrutes and other drones, so I kept to the theme. The tanks are kinda funky, and I added some Nurgle’s Rot to the mouth of the mortar to get the right ‘feel’ across.

No idea how these are going to perform on the battlefield, but on paper they look just the ticket.

I just went with two extra drones and, on the table, I think the mangler and existing ‘spewer’ variants will see more use than the belcher-armed one, but variation is nice. With the bigger Forge World drones, I am getting a veritable fleet of these things and, with an Outrider detachment, can fairly fill the skies with Nurgle goodness!

I also managed to re-base these two guys so they fit better alongside the Death Guard army and, given how easy it was to do, I am now eyeing up the rest of the Age of Sigmar Nurgle Daemons…

On the painting table right now, and what I really wanted to finish this weekend, are all the Death Guard characters and a nice big unit of 20 Plague Marines (the Diseased Battering Ram, I call them). Managed to get all the base armour colours done, along with the gun metal, and am now ploughing through the brass. Once those colours are done, they should be fairly quick to polish off and, given I am going to GW HQ this weekend for an event, that is indeed the aim – but Xcom 2 is calling…

 

Shadespire Heroes

I think we can return to our regularly scheduled programming for a bit…

My painting has taken a serious dent recently – it is not so much that I am not doing a little bit every day (I am, -ish), it is more that I am not doing so much every day. Still, I am getting more than usual built and, with a two week break coming up around Christmas, I figure I can always just lock myself away with a mountain of DVD box sets and tinker away quietly…

Anyway, I did manage to finish off the two warbands that come with the new Shadespire game.

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As usual, I (more or less) followed Duncan’s instructions on Warhammer TV for these guys, and now the Bloodbound and Stormcast Eternals are ready for battle.

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For the Stormcasts, I was originally going to do them as Hallowed Knights to fit in with the rest of my armies but then I thought nah, never done golden Stormcasts before! And they do look quite reasonable in that scheme.

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The Bloodbound I painted in a slightly different way to the Age of Sigmar force I had done (just some minor changes in highlights, really) but they ended up looking pretty much the same – so go figure!

On the painting table now I still have some Death Guard that, frankly, should have been completed long before now, but what’s the rush, eh? And building-wise, I have been concentrating on my Forge World resin mountain that has been accruing for years. Got some interesting pieces, including more Blood Bowl Skaven, some Custodes bits and pieces, and a Leviathan Dreadnought and Spartan tank for the Space Woofs.

Looks like it will be a busy Christmas!

Women in Gaming

So, this week, I went and announced a gaming event in our offices that would be female-only. This is why I did it.

Those of you who hang around the web site rpg.net may be familiar with a recent post that described an incident of sexual harassment in the RPG industry. This led to discussions about the general treatment of women in gaming circles outside of actual employment in the industry, and prodded me first to write an article on this blog (which is sort of what you are reading now) but then to actually do something, however small, about it.

However, this was a culmination of something I have been considering for quite some time, and it started a while ago with one of those moments that make you stop and think… hmmmm….

It began with, of all things, an article posted on the website of the New Statesman (and if you think to draw conclusions about my political leanings from that, don’t bother, you will be way off base – I just find some of their articles interesting).  Anyway, I cannot tell you why I was flicking through their feminist column, as it held little to no interest to me back then, but I came across what might be described as a curious account.

The writer was talking about what it was like to be a woman in the modern age, and she mentioned that she never liked to walk down the street on her own. She did it, sure, but there was always something in the back of her mind that was concerned for her own safety.

My first thought? What utter rubbish. After all, this is 21st Century Britain we are talking about, not some… other country where violence is rife. I mean, I walk down the street all the time, and do not worry. I’ll happily walk down a dingy alley, at night, and not think twice about it. Perfectly safe. Wouldn’t even cross my mind that there is anything to fear.

However, I did have (what I hope is to my credit) the presence of mind to ask the women around me: are you ever concerned about walking down the street on your own?

And it turns out, women are.

It is a bit of a cliche, I apologise but the result of this was… Mind. Blown.

Never even considered it before, but there it was.

That was when I started thinking about it. For thousands of years, women have been mistreated for no other reason than they are women. Unable to own property. Essentially regarded as property themselves (and we are not exactly talking about a remote period of history for that). But while huge strides were made during the 20th Century, it did seem that being a woman was still (and forgive me if I go too far here) a bit of a crap way to live.

Think of it for a moment: being worried about walking down the streets of your own home town. Every day.

If that has not happened to you on a continual basis, I am not sure you can understand it. Pretty sure I do not know what this feels like.

However, you can muster enough empathy to do something about it and agree that it should not be normal.

There are horror stories in gaming of actual sexual assaults taking place. I have no knowledge or experience of that, and do not feel qualified to discuss it. What I want to get at is something that, in its own way, is a bit more insidious; the constant pressure being applied to women, every day, that makes them fearful to walk down the street – or into a gaming convention, or a gaming store, or sitting down at a table with a bunch of guys to play.

That is just not on. It is not decent. And it is not how we should be living our lives.

(If you flatly disagree with that sentiment, I am not sure I can reach you, but I would perhaps suggest that you ask the women in your life – family, friends, and colleagues – whether they are ever concerned about walking down the street on their own, as their answers may just surprise you).

(You might also consider the things said here, which are described from a viewpoint I can never represent – but think about what it would be like actually going through those events).

The next step, of course, is to start analysing your own life and what you have witnessed – and if you are anything like me, your first conclusion will be ‘not much, really.’ But is that true? Really? Remember, you might not have known that women are afraid to walk down the street, so what else is going on that escapes your attention?

For me, I recalled an incident that had happened a while earlier. We had this guy in our gaming group who, frankly, was not the most pleasant of people – fun enough to talk to, but I had already caught him cheating and pegged him to be ejected ‘at some point.’ Hadn’t done anything before, obviously, because, you know… confrontation, and I really just wanted a quiet life.

Anyway, I was on one side of the office working, while the others had gathered around a table and were chatting. And I heard said guy opine that the reason one of my staff members won games was because she used her breasts to distract her opponent. She was not present at the time, but it was said quite openly.

That is not an okay thing to say about a woman you game with on a regular basis.

My mistake upon hearing that was to file it under ‘okay, we really need to lose this guy.’ What I should have done was thrown him out immediately. I know that now. Suitably warned, today I keep a far tighter rein on what goes on in the office.

And the guy? He is gone. He was made to feel so uncomfortable that he left of his own accord. Which avoided confrontation (if that had happened, he would have just lied about everything, and that would have seriously honked me off), though I did miss the chance to say a few choice things to him.

I know that was not handled well, and believe I am better equipped to sort things out if it happens again.

The point is, all those casual comments do have an effect. They are not always taken as jokes, however intended. They can seem threatening, even if you do not mean them that way.

Have I made comments that went over the line?

Hell, yes.

I can fairly cringe at some of the stuff I have said in the past and, furthermore, I cannot promise that I won’t say such things in the future (seriously, I cannot believe my mouth sometimes).

But I can try. We can all try.

So, that is why I decided to hold a women-only event at our offices (which, incidentally, I will not be present at).

It is not about coddling women. It is not about women being thin-skinned. It is not about these things not happening around you, in gaming and out.

It is about women still being mistreated and disrespected for no other reason than they are women.

Even if you are not the problem itself (you probably have said inappropriate things at some point in your life that made the women around you uncomfortable, whatever your intentions), it is a problem that exists and is around you right now. Even if, like me, you were previously unaware of it.

(I do wonder what women think of us, that something so obvious to them is utterly invisible to many of us, but I digress…).

And to those of you who think me sexist or an SJW… it is one day dedicated to women only, in a small office, not the end of civilisation. As things stand, you have the rest of the year to yourself. You can give women one day.

(Incidentally, I am not sure the term SJW is really an insult. Social: we all live in the same society. Justice: justice is always good, surely? Warrior: warriors are cool…).

I’ll leave it there for now. I mentioned at the start that I had been planning an article about this, and this one is only really half of it. I have also been ploughing through various web sites and Youtube channels posted by people (well, guys) who are raising concerns about the advance of third wave feminism into tabletop gaming, and I have a few things to say about that.

Want to let things percolate in the mind a bit first.

Table-Legal Space Wolves

It took me a fair while (most of a year) and there were a fair few tribulations involved, but I finally finished off two squads of Grey Slayers for the Heresy-era Space Woofs, which means they are table legal using a Combined Arms Detachment.

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Painting these guys is easy (if you want quick to paint Heresy-era Marines, stick with MkIV power armour rather than the ribbed MkIII), and I have got the technique down pat now. Building them… well, that was more of a chore.

The issue is that GW do not do close combat weapons for their MkIV Space Marines (aside from the odd Power Fist and Sword for sergeants), which means you need to go to Forge World. Which is fine (though always a little expensive), but Forge World do not do a separate close combat weapons upgrade pack like they do with heavy weapons. So, you need to buy the actual Assault Marines. But I did not want to build twenty resin marines, I wanted to use the plastic MkIV guys…

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Anyway, long (and costly) story short, those are the Assault Marine arms you are seeing on plastic MkIV bodies.

It is done now, I like the results, and I am not going to think too much further on that subject.

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Knowing that, as Troops choices, these guys are going to get fielded a lot (in just about every battle), I kept them fairly cheap in terms of options – they are also the youngest Space Woofs,so I figured they would not be trusted with the really cool stuff. So, the Huscarls both get a Frost Claw (and one grabbed a Plasma Pistol from the Armoury), one Grey Slayer in each squad purloined a Power Sword, and one had a ‘special weapon – a Power Fist in one squad and another Plasma Pistol in the other.

Keeps everything low cost but still allows them to (in theory) deal with pretty much anything they meet on the battlefield.

Both squads desperately need a Rhino though…

So, what is next on the painting table?

Well, the two starting Shadespire warbands are almost done (will be finished later this week), and Death Guard Bloat-Drones and Crawlers have already moved into position to be done next – hoping to get those done over the weekend.

For the Heresy, I have some Thousand Sons characters and a flyer (which I am hoping will turn out fairly awesome) getting their base colours sorted but I will be returning to the Death Guard first to finish off their characters, Terminators and one more Plague Marine squad before I start looking at other projects…

Star Wars Trio

I was actually mucking around with Warhammer stuff more this weekend (Heresy and Shadespire, piccies coming soon!), but I did manage to complete another three models for Star Wars.

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Chewie, Kenobi and the Royal Guard Champion – I think these now finish off not only the Imperial Assault box set, but all the optional add-ons for the core campaign too…

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For once, I did not follow Sorastro’s Youtube channel for Chewie, instead falling back to a really easy way I found to do fur – Mournfang, drybrush Tyrant Skull, then wash with Agrax. Gives a really good effect and the only concession I made was to add some Nuln Oil to the head and shoulders to reflect the different colours of fur Chewbacca has.

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I varied the colours once again for Kenobi, but this was much closer to Sorastro’s suggestions.

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And finally, the Royal Guard Champion. He ended up a bit more purple than I intended but, well, he is a Royal Guard Champion…

Got some bits and pieces on the painting table to finish off right now but, those done, I will be back into the Death Guard!