Tuesday, June 28, 2016

EM-4 Miniatures

I was cruising the internet a while back, searching for sci-fi miniatures.  One company popped up that I've never had dealings with called EM-4 Miniatures (http://www.em4miniatures.com/).  Their prices were really inexpensive yet the miniatures appeared to be quite detailed and well proportioned.  I read some good reviews, even from someone that ordered directly from them to the United States.  So I took a gamble and ordered some of their plastic unpainted near future minis and hoped for the best.  

Well, today they arrived and I have to say, I'm impressed.  For starters, I placed my order on June 18th and today is June 28th; I received a package from across the Atlantic Ocean in less time than I've received things in the US from a couple states away.  Secondly, 15 plastic miniatures for approximately $17 (probably less now thanks to the whole Brexit scenario).  Thirdly, these little sci-fi guys have a nostalgic look to them, reminding me of the old Rogue Trader game.  Fourthly, they snap together, like without glue, although obviously I will glue them later its neat being able to assemble them so easily and how interchangeable all their pieces are.

Without further ado, here are some pictures....

These are the Troopers.

The characterful Gangers.

The retro-looking Space Rangers.

Snapped together the Space Rangers.  They come with three heavy/special weapons and four standard rifles, so you could decide what load-out to outfit them with.  I'm going to try to leave their weapons interchangeable if possible.  Their leader guy has sword, pistol, and nice shades.

The Troopers; two rifleman, two pistoliers, and a leader guy with pistol/knife combo.

The Gangers are a characterful bunch.  There are two pistol/knife combo arms, a pistolier, two rifle arms, and a shotgun.  I'm not sure what is going on with the girl with the flowing braid and ridiculously long feather off her head, but it screams retro sci-fi.

Here we have an Infinity Haqqislam, the EM-4 Space Ranger leader, a Deadzone Enforcer, and a Reaper Bones IMEF soldier.  Proportionately the Space Rangers should fit in quite well.

Then the EM-4 Trooper leader, a Sedition Wars Vanguard, EM-4 Ganger, and a Reaper Bones Chronoscope figure.

Here is a group shot to show scales.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hammer and Forge review - supplement for Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes

I've just picked up a pdf copy of Hammer and Forge (http://www.ganeshagames.net/product_info.php?cPath=1_6&products_id=287).  This is a supplement for Ganesha Games' Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes (ASOBH), focused primarily on Dwarves.

The price tag is $10, from which you will get a thoroughly illustrated version and an ink-saving copy.  From the cover to the back it comes in at 82 pages.  Its crammed with lots of fluff, optional rules, new traits, and even a brief Dwarven Dictionary.  Whether you decide to play in their game world of Norindaal or not, you will find plenty of ideas on how to incorporate Dwarves in your games of ASOBH.  The rules for ASOBH are NOT included in Hammer and Forge, so the main rules are required to use anything out of this supplement.

The first part of Hammer and Forge is mainly to describe a certain part of Norindaal that pertains to Dwarves, much like the isolated area for Fightin' Fungi (the first official supplement for ASOBH).  It starts out with a nicely colored map, then introduces you to the background behind various Dwarven communities.  They also mention other creatures that inhabit this same region, including; hobgoblins, undead, possessed dwarves, and the obligatory dragons.   

Then comes the heart of all SOBH games, the traits.  Every character in your warband might have the same Quality and Combat, but the traits are what make them unique.  You might think there is only so many things you can add to this simple game engine to make it different, but Hammer and Forge adds a whole new level.  There are black powder weapons, drunken rules, dragonslaying, and even a battle giant (I think I need to make one of these!).  Black powder is completely optional in your games, but included are some rules to add a little chaos, such as smoke tufts from gunfire that drift in the wind each turn.  Later in the book is also rules on using cannons, awesome!

There's only a handful of new spells added in here as well as new group actions, but then brand new layers of customization are included in the form of Rune Magic, Magic Items/Beverages, and Feral Traits.   Some of these new rules can be slightly more complicated than what you want in your games, however, I personally like how many new options are available.  Nothing is mandatory in how you outfit your characters in your own games, use what you want.

Next up are scenarios, campaign rules, and profiles.  There are only a handful of scenarios, but each is a flavorful story, aimed to be one-shot adventures in your campaigns.  The profiles take up a good chunk of the book.  From orcs and goblins to dragons to the various Dwarven societies of Norindaal, you shouldn't run out of ideas on making your own warbands from all the listed characters.

Lastly are a few pages of a Dwarven Dictionary and some catch phrases.  Why do you need this?  You probably don't.  But Andrea Sfiligoi obviously has a well developed game world of Norindaal and is trying to input this wealth of background into these supplement books.  It just adds flavor to all the gamey material.

Overall I enjoyed Hammer and Forge.  If you are veteran player of ASOBH, I would recommend Hammer and Forge just to get all the new traits and abilities.  If you are new to ASOBH, I would say hold off on Hammer and Forge until you have reached the point where you want to inject some new rules into the game. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Kings of War - Elves vs Orcs 2000 pts - in 6mm!

I pulled out the 6mm miniatures I got from Microworld Games ages ago and threw down a straight up kill scenario of Kings of War.
FRONT:  2 Flaggers, 1 Goblin Wiz.  SECOND ROW:  3 Troll Regiments, Goblin Rabble Horde, 3 Skulk Troops.  THIRD ROW:  2 Ax Regiments, 2 Greatax Regiments, 2 Morax Regiments.  BACK:  Giant

FRONT:  2 Army Standard Bearers, 2 Drakon Rider Lords.  SECOND ROW:  2 Kindred Gladestalker troops, 2 Kindred Tallspears Regiments.  THIRD ROW:  2 Drakon Rider Regiments, 1 Hunters of the Wild Regiment, 1 Kindred Archers Horde.  BACK:  2 Forest Shambler Regiments  

Elves on the left.

Orcs on the right.

No terrain :(  
All the Vanguard units advanced.

The Kindred Gladestalkers and Orc Skulks traded some arrows.

The Kindred Archer horde got a couple hits on the Goblin Rabble horde.

An Orc Skulk unit got 4 wounds on the Hunters of the Wild regiment, then rolled boxcars for the nerve, routing them.

One of the elf Army Standard Bearers took heavy fire from the Goblin Wiz and Orc Skulks.  The Giant and Kindred Tallspears would battle throughout the day.  An Orc Ax Regiment and Kindred Tallspears traded blows up top.

The Kindred Archers put 12 wounds on the Goblin Rabble horde after a couple turns, then rolled boxcars, routing them as well.

Forest Shamblers charge in as the Drakon Riders aim for the backfield.

Neither Forest Shambler regiments would survive their encounters.

The Drakon Rider Lords would lead daring flank assaults, one against a Greatax Regiment and the other on an Ax Regiment. 

The Elves' right flank was collapsing, only the Kindred Gladestalker troop remained.

That same Kindred Gladestalker troop was able to rout a Morax Regiment.  The Drakon Riders and Lords would continue to play havoc by flying over enemies to charge into others.

The end of the game, the Orcs were dominating.  Only the Kindred Archer horde, a Kindred Gladestalker Troop, and both Drakon Rider Lords and Army Standard Bearers remained.
This was an enjoyable game, with a couple surprising turn of events with some lucky and unlucky Nerve rolls.  The Orc Skulks and the Kindred Gladestalkers were stars of this game, proving that numbers don't matter in a big game like this, shooting their worth of points and more.  The Giant is a beast as expected.  The Drakon Riders/Lords were neat, being able to pinball their way thru the backfield.  A Morax regiment puts out an insane amount of dice.  The Forest Shamblers were a bit disappointing, I guess they are more for supporting main troops than leading a charge.  Trolls are kinda nifty as well being able to regenerate.

Its nice being able to fit large armies on a small table and to carry them all in a little storage container.  I really need to get around to finish painting these teeny tiny guys.  I've noticed that you need bright colors to make them stand out, so that might be on a future agenda.  I found the Kings of War rules to be perfectly suited for 6mm, just swap inches with centimeters.  I used the tiny dice I got from the Arcane Legions box for wounds and to indicate wavering results.  Works perfect.

Now I just need more troop types; cavalry, war engines, other races, etc.  But need to paint first, keep getting distracted with more purchases.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Of Gods and Mortals - fantasy warbands

I finally got around to trying out Osprey Games' Of Gods and Mortals (which is actually written by Andrea Sfiligoi of Ganesha Games and uses the same engine as Song of Blades & Heroes).  Essentially the game is a slightly larger scale version of SoBH, but includes a three-tiered system of Gods, Legends, and Mortals.  And like other games using SoBH's engine, Andrea Sfiligoi was nice enough to include a unit calculator so players can make up their own units.  So I decided to stat up some fantasy miniatures to give the game a test run.

Very nice rulebook, inexpensive, and has lots of great artwork and pictures.
Lizardmen Warband
Lizardmen (946 points)
Carnosaurus Rex (God) Q2 C4 - Armoured, Huge, Tremble Before My Might
Skink Priest (Legend) Q3 C2 - Healing, Shooter Long
Lizardman Champion (Legend) Q3 C3 - Armoured, Hammering Blow
Lizardman Cavalry (Mortals, x4) Q4 C2 - Armoured, Long Move, Mounted
Lizardman Cavalry (Mortals, x4) Q4 C2 - Armoured, Long Move, Mounted
Lizardman Warriors (Mortals, x8) Q4 C2 - Armoured
Lizardman Warriors (Mortals, x4) Q4 C2 - Armoured

Humanoids and Things Warband
Humanoids and Things (951 points)
Bog Troll Demon (God) Q2 C4 - Big, Hammering Blow
Ogre Chief (Legend) Q3 C3 - Big, Hammering Blow
Goblin Shaman (Legend) Q3 C2 - Lightning, Shooter Long
Mincemeat Chariot (Legend) Q3 C3 - Big, Combat Master, Dashing, Long Move
Trolls (Mortals, x3) Q4 C2 - Big
Orcs (Mortals, x8) Q4 C2
Bugbears (Mortals, x7) Q4 C2 - Ambusher
Gnolls (Mortals, x7) Q4 C2 - Traitorous Strike

This is after deployment.
The scenario was Showdown, just a good ol' fashion battle to the death.  There are three woods and a couple hills for terrain but they wouldn't be a factor in this game.
Lizardmen went first.  The majority of the Lizardmen units moved this first turn, no turn-overs.  The unit of 4 Lizardman Warriors used an Invocation to give their God an extra die.

The Goblin Shaman blasted the Lizardman Champion with a Lightning bolt out of the blue, leaving only ashes behind.  The Lizardman God would begin whittling away at the Gnolls and Orcs.

A lot of back and forth combat occurred midfield.

Mortal units are no match for the mighty Carnosaurus Rex.  The Lizardmen's right flank was in jeopardy until the Lizardman Cavalry charged the Ogre Chief.

The Gnolls have been removed and casualties piling up midfield.  The Orcs would flee after this when they had more dead than living models.

The Bugbears finally were able to advance after a couple turnovers, trying to pile on outnumbering bonuses against the Lizardman God.  So the Lizardmen all piled in as well for a complex fray.  The Goblin Shaman cast another Lightning bolt, this time obliterating the Skink Priest.

Saurus Cavalry were able to take out the Goblin Shaman as the Carnosaurus Rex continued taking out Bugbears, thanks to the Invocations from the 4 Lizardman Warriors relaxing in the back.

The Orcs finally charged back into the mix.  The Mincemeat Chariot killed off one of the Lizardman Warriors used as part of the Invoking squard.

The Lizardman warband had more dead than living, so morale test taken.  All the Mortal units ran back some, but the larger group of Lizardman Warriors completely fled the battlefield.

The Bog Troll Demon charged into Carnosaurus Rex, causing a Clash of Titans, which Awed the Orcs and Bugbears.  Then a follow up attack, the Bog Troll Demon slayed the Lizardmen's God. 

Morale test taken for Lizardman God slain.  All the Lizardmen Cavalry run, their movement takes them off the board.  There are not enough Mortals remaining to perform an Invocation to bring back the Carnosaurus Rex, the Lizardmen have lost this battle.
It really helps already being familiar with the Song of Blades & Heroes mechanics, so the game didn't take long nor was it difficult picking up the new rules.  There are enough differences where I still had to look some things up occasionally, but nothing to worry about.  I made my own quick reference sheet to go along with the one included in the rulebook;  mainly on how CO and OO units move, Invocations, outnumbering, etc.

Its definitely a step up from skirmish, with 29 models for the Humanoids and 23 models for the Lizardmen.  I have mostly individual models in my collection, which is perfect for skirmish games, but not so much for mass combat.  

Overall the game is great.  It might not be something I'll play regularly, however I can see it being used as a way to escalate a SoBH campaign.  There should be a way to incorporate SoBH into OGAM; strip away the God/Invocation mechanic, change the tiers to allow more variety, etc.  We'll see what the future holds.