Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Night Mordheim; Campaign Organization

Hello, and welcome to another installment of Monday Night Mordheim. I tend not to think too much about what I am going to post, unless I'm on a roll with something. I tend to look at what is happening around me and then riff off that.

Originally I was going to write an article about multiplayer, or about using Mordheim as a roleplaying substitute. However, after the events of tonight, I want to talk a bit more about the role of Campaign Organization.

I've talked a lot about campaigns here, and it seems that the subject is inexhaustible. So what brought me back to them tonight? Well, Boy Scouts. Those of you who know me, irl, know that my kids and I are involved in the Boy Scouts. Tonight after the Cub Scout meeting, there was a adult leader meeting. At this meeting, we worked on getting the Spaghetti Dinner. Lots of things were discussed, and I ended up getting the plum assignment of data entry of the mailing list to digital. Huzzah, at last the troop is entering the 20th century. Sitting around with the Scout Master, Assistant Scout Master, The Troop Council, and the other members of the adult leaders group, I realized something. It takes a lot of work to get something done right.

Like a Spaghetti Dinner, a good campaign requires a lot of forethought before it can be put into action. I've talked about the pre-campaign set-up, and the types of campaign that someone can run. What I've completly neglected to mention is the stuff that is required once the campaign starts up and gets going. So, yet again, I am going to hit up a bunch of different points, doing so in my favorite way possible; a numbered list.

1. Win-Lose-Draw Record. While each player in a campaign will probably keep this themself, but it pays to have someone keep an official track of it. That way, there is a neutral (or quasi-neutral) party keeping everyone honest.
2. Experience During a Match. Each scenario has ways to get additional experience beyond just the participation award. In most of them it is heroes that get additional experience for taking someone out of action, but in others models (heroes and henchmen) gain additional experience for completing certain tasks. This should all be recorded by another player who is not taking part in the battle that is going on.
3. The end of battle sequenece. This is especially important. I can't count the number of times that someone has lost their warband record sheet, and we had to rebuild from just the notes we had on file. Recording each post battle sequence can help this immensely. Also, it helps if you have some unscrupulous players (and we all know they are out there, but they obviously don't read this blog). Sometimes a surprise audit of the warband record sheet can catch those guys off guard, and keep 'em honest.
4. Game schedules. Depending on the type of game, this can resolve itself fairly easily, or become complex. A map campaign may have a set time for the campaign phase, and then each player schedules matches against opponents at their leisure. That's tough to handle, but it needs to be done.
5. Campaign Recorder. During the campaign, someone needs to keep track of what happens during the campaign. There are times that someone misses a meeting or a match, or doesn't catch what happened. The campaign record or some sort of telling of what happened during the game. This can be very important and very indepth, or it can be very open and vague. If you do something indepth, like battle reports, it can be a great benefit to the game. Especially if people like to use sneaky tricks. You can read up on them and see what worked and what didn't.
6. Space Maintainer. The janitor. Someone needs to clean up after the game is done, and it can be done in many different ways. Everyone splits the chore, last one out cleans up, owner of the space (if someone's house) cleans up, loser cleans house, the guy who didn't chip in for pizza. Something, anything. Leave the place you were in better then when you left it.
7. Liaison. This one is not really that important, unless you play in a FLGS, then it is VERY important. The Liaison should be someone there to help explain the game and promote it and invite more people to play in the game.

Well, that's enough for now. I can't take much more of this. Next week, I think I'll do something interesting.

Oh, and if you happen to be in Pittsburgh on November 12th, I can recommend a great place to get some spaghetti....

Friday, September 23, 2011

Off the Beaten Cobblestones; Hope and Disappointment

So, the other day, I had to run down from the store I was shopping to hit an ATM. On the half block walk to the ATM, I saw the former facade of the train store (they moved), and there was a flyer on the door. It was for a gamestore! A gamestore opening in my neighborhood! If the place was halfway decent, I would be able to get some games in without having to go to the gamestore in the college area where parking was expensive, or the crappy gamestore that had NO parking, or the good gamestore in the north hills, which was a half hour drive! I was geeked! Then I did an internet search on it. I found their website.

Wow. Total let down. Black text on white background. That wouldn't have flown in the days of geocities. Now, there's tons of places to get html script, not to mention free WYSIWYG editors. While that in and of itself is bad, that's not the worst. There is no mention of all. Lots and lots about WoTC stuff. Magic, and D&D 4th Ed. It chills me to the bone. A gamestore without miniatures. I'm going to have to do an expedition there to really take a look at it. I was geeked, but now I am apprehensive.

So let me break it down;
1. Black Writing on white background. This is just plain old laziness. It is the modern equivalent of putting up a sign that you painted with spray paint on a piece of old particle board.
2. No real list of store hours. From reading all of the posts, I now know that they are open on Fridays and Saturdays from noon-10pm. What about the rest of the week? God help them if they aren't open on Sundays. That's like asking not to make any money.
3. No true list of products. Reading their announcements I can see they do a fair amount of card games, and some D&D 4th Ed, but that doesn't make a game store. A WoTC store, yes, game store no. Seriously, do they even carry dice? Or games from other companies? Kids like the Fantasy Flight 40K RPG, do they carry it? How about snacks? Though, they choose a really bad area for that, since they are between a McDonald's and a grocery store (which is mentioned in thier website), but gamers are LAZY.
4. No information about what kind of game area they have. Do they have folding tables for their card games, or a separate area for Roleplaying games?
5. What is the deal with the political commentary? WTF? I play games so that I don't have to think about religion or politics or any of that real world Bull Shit. Either make it funnier or don't bother.
6. Where's the pics? I realize that I'm not a big person on pics, but seriously, at least take a picture of your front door so that people know when to stop on the right street.
7. What games are you allowed to play there? Seriously. This may not even be an issue for them, or one they haven't even thought of. But all of us wargamers know that if you show up at a GW with a bunch of Maulifaux, you are going to be asked to leave.
8. About the only thing they did right was keeping in theme for the posts, some sort of gaming god. Cute. I like it, others might not, hence on the list.
9. I'm posting this short of one day of a month after opening. If the store hadn't opened yet, I could excuse this type of thing as they get stuff sorted, but nope.
10. The tournament page has two listings. Both for MtG. Look, I've been around gamestores, Magic pays the electric bill. I realize that. The issue I have here is that there is a date when the tournament is, and the cost of the tournament, but there is no start time and end time. Man, tournaments should be something that are really well planned, and booked well in advance. Not just about two weeks worth.

Ok, ten things that I mentioned that could be improved. I'm half scared that this is being run by someone that I actually know. This webpage could be done better in blogger, or wordpress, or hell, even in word pad. I'm half tempted to offer to pimp their site in exchange for hosting my kids games every week, or half a box of GW skeletons, or one whole box of Mantic ghouls. It would still look like amateur crap, but it would look like amateur crap that was trying. Seriously, I was going to wait until tomorrow to and stop by after work with Megan. She was going to buy dice (yeah, she's falling into that addiction).

Now, I have to go by and see if it is even worth showing anyone else. That would be a travesty. In all of my years, I've seen several gamestores go under. The Comics and Gaming Dungeon, Helm's Deep, both gone. From just this webpage it ain't going to last very long at all. Even the crappy gamestore has a facebook (and looking at that it doesn't seem as crappy now).

Wow, I was really a bastard to a place I haven't even been to, haven't I? I should give them the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Off the Beaten Cobblestones; RPGs

The world is a funny place. As much as I love me some Mordheim, I play more RPGs then war games. Which is one of the reasons I love Mordheim so much, it splits the difference. That's probably worth a post at another time.

The thing is, today we started playing a new game, just because. Vampire; The Masquerade. I've come back to it after a decade. Thinking about it, it is really interesting. Actually more then a bit interesting. Its story worthy. Or rather blog post interesting.

Ten years ago, I and two other guys were running an interlaced WoD campaign with alternating sessions of Werewolf, Mage, and Vampire. I was the one running Vampire. I had recently starting reading Changeling, and I was generously adding Changeling to flavor the campaign.

One of the big Changeling events, was the 5th of November. Those who are not British probably have a little thing nagging at the back of their head about it. It's Guy Fawkes day. I can't for the life of me remember why Guy Fawkes was important to Changeling, but it was. I had seeded a session where some Unseeley were going to blow up a big thing of the Vampires. I had been building up to it for months. It was still only half way there.

Then it was 9/11.

That was it. No one wanted to play in a 'gothic horror' version of the real world anymore. Buildings blowing up, and supernatural entities guiding the fate of humanity just wasn't escapism. It went from creepy fun, to eerily real. Our group actually had a bit of a falling out over it, from a bit of backpedaling I tried to do. It was dumb and stupid and we almost didn't get back together again.

Then I got Mordheim, and we got back together. For awhile it was great until the wives got angry about being excluded. Not that we didn't want them to play, they didn't want to play a wargame. So eventually we ended up with D&D again.

Time passed, and the RPG group fell apart. Kids, new jobs, and night classes. The standard stuff that always happens. Now, my kids go to play RPGs at their friends houses using all my old books. I have a group that I play with at work that enjoys RPGs a bit more then wargames, but I can occasionally get to play a good miniatures based game. A decade of leaving, I've come back to my old stomping grounds. Its a new group, a different type of world, but its a bit like riding a bike. You don't forget the mechanics. Was a decade enough that 'gothic horror' appeals again, I don't know yet. I'll enjoy it while it lasts, and even if it doesn't work out I still have Mordheim.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Night Mordheim; Official, Homebrew, and Thoughts Thereupon

So the whole map campaign thing is done for now, but I can foresee that it will rear its head again. Things like that don't stay buried for long. Now, when I write my Monday Night Mordheim articles, I like to either be very specific to Mordheim, or something that can be applied to any wargame that anyone would happen to play (like much of the Map Campaign stuff). This one is going to be both, so bear with me for a while, it will all make sense in the end.

There is one thing that Mordheim has that no other game in my experience has, and that is varying levels of 'officialness' or 'canoncity' if you prefer. The closest thing that you can get to it in another wargame is the occasional variant lists or White Dwarf codexes for 40K. While those are all well and good, that's basically two levels. Mordheim takes it quite a bit further, it has roughly four levels of officialdom. I say roughly because you can make a debate that there are actually only three, but that's a debate for another time and place.

So what are they, and how are they defined? Well, that's a tad tricky as well. Let me go through and lay it out, as I personally see it.

1. Official; These are the warbands from the main rule book, the Empire in Flames Supplement, and the 2002 Mordheim Annual. So there's quite a few there, they are also the only ones that currently have rules available from GW.. These are the most heavily play tested and balanced warbands.

2. Unofficial: These are warbands that are pretty much balanced for play, but due to release date or other whim of fate, did not make it into one of the three important books. They are fairly balanced, for a given value of balance. Many of them were created to support specific variations of Mordheim (like Lustria or Khemri), and are more balanced in that context.

3. Experimental: These are ones that are found all about the place, but are mainly unpublished fan stuff, but much of it has become 'default' and are only lacking official GW printing, but some of them are completely bonkers.

4. Homebrew: These are fan made stuff, some of which is tweeked official, unofficial, and experimental. Others are whole fabric completely new stuff.

Now, there's a bit more to that stuff then just the straight up where and when it was presented and how much it was play tested. There are also other FAQs that were done after the game had ceased support and were answered by the original designers and the people who were involved with GW's specialist games forums and publications. I wanted to establish what I was going to talk about before getting into it a bit more. Besides the obvious layers of officialdom, it does something that other games do not. Everything after the first layer of officialdom is wonderful great stuff...for those who are willing to do a bit of work. It keeps the game fresh, and opens up new layers of complexity and modelling challenges. There are several GW fantasy armies that have experimental or homebrew rules, thus allowing those who play those armies to start a Mordheim warband.

Which brings me to the meat and potatoes of what I want to talk about. The layers of officialdom invite monkeying around with the rules and the game. Not many other games have anything like this. You might see a homebrew codex out there on the internet, or a fan rules update to an army that hasn't been supported for awhile, but those are exceptions rather then the rule. If you go to any website about Mordheim, a great deal of it is dedicated to fan rules. Is this an issue? Nope! Fan support is what keeps Mordheim going.

While there are a lot of people out there playing other games, there is not the same level of fan support. Mordheim lives and breathes only because of its fans. 40K has its fans, and supporters, as does WHFB, or take it a different company, so does Maulifaux. However, there aren't many additional resources beyond the occasional fan-fic for them. Why is that? What is the difference between those games and Mordheim that makes them sacrosanct to change? Is it the 'tournament' culture or the WAAC gamers? Fluff vs. Crunch? I'm not to sure.

Take for instance the much maligned Chaos Space Marine Codex or the Tyranid codex. They are both rather older, and some people might argue non-competitive compared to newer codexes. Now, I freely admit that I don't get around the internet as much as I used to, but has any one released a fan codex of those armies to come more in line with what is being released currently? Granted, you can't use your homebrew Iron Warriors (now with added Basilisk!) at a tournament, but what about around the club table? Heck, that's what clubs and FLGS are for! Experimentation and tweaking to make the rules fit what you want to do.

Mordheim is still there plugging along waiting for anyone who wants to make changes. Its not Open Game License, but fan sources are now becoming the dominant force in the game. Let me let you behind the scenes a bit. When I was a kid, we played Hero Quest... a lot. We burned through the scenarios in the book. We did not see anything wrong or abhorrent about making up our own scenarios, and creating our own maps with grid paper. It wasn't just me and my couple buddies, everyone I knew that played that game did the same thing. In 2nd D&D everyone made up a ton of homerules for different things, until 3rd Ed came along and actually created rules for absolutely everything. Rules got more complicated to give the players whatever they wanted to do.

Or does the difference come from Mordheim's campaign structure? If asked I would say that is the most likely reason. The rules for changing the rules are right there in the book. Allow me to clarify a bit. There are rules in the back of the book for one off battles, where you can pay additional amounts for additional skills, stat increases, and the like. So it is just a hop, skip, and a jump from creating already powerful warbands, to using those same rules to create warbands that do not yet exist. Mordheim is for all intensive purposes an openly creative system. You can create a warband of Ogres by figuring out what the difference between an Ogre and a human is, and then applying the correct costs to build up humans to Ogre stats. Its all built in for people who want to use it. 40K, WHFB, and even Maulifaux do not have a campaign mode like that. Typically if you run a campaign with those, they are escalation games, where the amount of points able to be spent per game or overall changes based on what happens in the campaign, but it does not change the basic trooper.

Maybe that's what's missing from those games. I don't see that much fan stuff out there. There are the occasional (and becoming more occasional) fan Apocalypse data sheets, but I haven't seen a fan scenario in years. A few years ago, there were still a lot of fan made stuff. A friend of mine did a Dark Angels codex to come in line with 5th Edtion, the Astro Mag had published some updated Kill Team rules for 5th Edition, but those were way back at the beginning of the new edition.

It could be argued that WHFB and Mordheim are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Mordheim is almost nothing but a patchwork of fan based things that are held together by a solid core of official rules, but WHFB is almost nothing but official with no fan stuff. That's a problem. A game should feed off of its fans, and grow into what those fans expect. Right now, we get the same old same old for every WHFB edition and army book, because there is no one showing GW a different way of doing things. All of that zest, zeal, and other things starting with zed from the fans are all happening in Mordheim.

That's where I am looking from right now. All the vibrance of the games, the stuff to get excited about isn't from a designer or studio, it should develop nicely from the fanbase. I like stuff that makes a a game unique. I think lately that seems to be missing from the big games. The individuality that used to make every game unique. There are builds and builds and builds for army lists out there for 40K and WHFB, but they seem to be variations of a theme.

I think that's why I enjoy Mordheim so much. There's still so much creative energy going into it from the fans. I might take on the task of doing up a High Elf warband. I know that I'll never play it in a tournament, it might be the source of derision from the rest of the community, but it will be unqiue. Something that is mine, and whoever decides to use it. My challenge to you is what kind of home brew do you do?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Off the Beaten Cobblestones; Planning for the End

So. Well, it looks like we won't be playing Mordheim this week either. Seems that Megan has to go to a wedding. See, that's what happens when you let a girl play games with you. She puts things like family and culture and stuffs in front of a big slap down fight.

All kidding aside, the real world rears its ugly head again in our games. It happens to all of us. Not really a big deal. Just gives me another week to prepare for the next session. Muhahaha.

Regardless, one thing was solidified today about that final session. It came about because of dumplings. On Thursdays its just me, Megan, and Po (who is also a gamer, but not there on Saturdays). We were all sitting around as Po who works night shift was debating what to get for lunch. We started talking about all the great places around the building to go eat. I happened to thank the two of them for turning me onto fried dumplings from the local Chinese joint. Man, those are good. So we started talking about Chinese food.

I'm not a very adventurous eater, since I have a lot of food allergies. When I say that I am a meat and potatoes man, I mean that literally that is almost all I can eat. However, I am starting to branch out a bit with Chinese food. I mentioned that I would love to get some Peking duck, but won't order with my family, because I have no idea if any of us would like it and it is rather expensive. So Po spoke up, that if we wanted to order a Peking duck, he would pitch in for it. I think he was talking about tonight, but it turned out that Megan has never had Peking Duck, either.

So we made a plan. Next Saturday is the day after pay-day. So we will all have money, and we will all be in the mood to kill each other all day. So instead of taking our usual lunch breaks to make four separate food runs, Po is coming in (he knows the good places to get food) and we are ordering a huge Chinese food run. Peking Duck, fried dumplings, wonton soup, white rice, egg rolls the whole nine yards. So we are going to work, eat Chinese, and slaughter each other in a huge Chaos on the Streets match (with one spectator). With the exception of the work thing, I really can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Hmm, I happen to have a new Chaos possessed warband sitting around, I wonder how much time Po has...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Night Mordheim: Return to Complex Map Campaigns

Last time I was here, I mentioned that I had done some work on adapting a complex campaign structure to the peculiarities of Mordheim. Well, I did some work on that, and what I am about to present to you is the rules that I have constructed for using Mordheim for a complex map campaign. Undoubtedly someone will poke holes in this like cheesecloth, but I'd love to hear some feedback on this!

Complex Map Terrain Changes to Mordheim

1. Territories Rules:
A. Types of Territories: Urban, Necropolis, Tainted, Riverfront, Park
B. Each type of territory provides different amounts of gold Crowns that can be used for the purchase of defenses and territory enhancements, it CANNOT be used to purchase things for the warband itself.
*Urban: Generates 5 GC per campaign turn.
*Necropolis: Generates 1 GC per campaign turn, but 6 for Undead Warbands.
*Tainted: Generates 1 GC per campaign turn, but 6 for Skaven and Possessed.
*Riverfront: Generates 8 GC per Campaign turn, and unit starting in a riverfront territory can move to any contiguous riverfront territory, breaking normal troop movement rules. This represents them using the river to sail up and down to other territories.
*Park: Generates 3 GC per campaign turn, but 1 for Undead.
C. Territory enhancements can be purchased from the GC gathered per campaign turn. These can vary depending on the type of territory and the cost.
*Tower: Costs 50 GC, large tower at center of game board that you get to set up in, regardless of scenario played.
*Pinned Scenario: 50 GC, only one particular scenario can be played in that territory.
*Blockade: 50 GC, block free movement on rivers. Available only on riverfront territory.
*Rubble, rubble, everywhere: 20 GC: All movement on the table top counts as difficult terrain.
*Alter 30 GC: All sigmarite warbands are at +2 to all rout checks.
*Totem 30 GC: Magic users get additional +1 to spell casting checks.
*Fortified: 75 GC: Defender gets to place terrain and set up first.
*Forge: 25 GC: Rare roll +1
D. There are two types of territory, occupied and unoccupied. A warband can take an unoccupied territory just by walking into it.

2. Defenders Rules.
A. A defense unit is a henchmen group. It must be a non-limited henchman group type, but otherwise follow normal henchmen rules, but do not count towards warband limits. This is representing 'locals' or the equivalent wearing your warband's colors and helping defend your territories.
B. Defense Units can only be purchased from the GC generated from territory, at standard costs.
B. Defense Unit henchmen do not gain experience.
C. Each territory must follow the warband's limits.
D. Defense Units can move at a rate of one territory per campaign turn.
E. Hired swords can be hired for defense purposes, but they still cost the normal amount and still cost the same in upkeep, both of which can only come from the GC generated from territories. These Hired Swords cannot be moved, and will never join the warband. This represents the locals banding together and hiring a neighborhood bruiser.
F. If a defense unit fails, all members are automatically considered dead. If they succeed in driving away an attacker, then they would roll normally for injury results.
G: Defense Units never make rout checks. They fight until the bitter end. This represents the fact that most of them are defending their homes.
H. Appropriate Defensive Unit Types by Warband
*Mercanaries: Warriors
*Possessed: Brethern
*Witch Hunters: Zealots
*Sisters of Sigmar: Sigmarite Sister
*Undead: Zombies, Ghouls
*Skaven: Verminkin, Giant Rats
*Orcs: Orc Boyz, Goblin Warriors
*Dwarf Treasure Hunters: Clansmen, Beardlings
I. If the attacking warband outnumbers the models in the defensive unit by a ratio of 3:1, the defensive unit automatically flees to an adjacent friendly territory. With two exceptions.
*Skaven will flee if outnumbered 2:1.
*Dwarves can choose to defend regardless of number, but it will result in a battle where the opponent might get some extra XP!

3. Warband Rules.
A. Any thing the warband buys can be given to a defensive unit. However, this will not be able to be gotten back from the defensive unit.
B. At any time, a henchman unit can be split off from the warband and declared a defensive unit, once declared a defensive unit they can NEVER join the warband again. This represents some of the henchmen 'retiring' or some such. However, they can be replaced, even if they are a limited henchman group.
C. At any time, a hero can for the period of one campaign turn leave the warband and go to any territory to aid in defense. The hero will not take part in any attack actions that the warband undertakes. The hero will still gain experience during that campaign turn (should they participate in battle), and afterwards, they still partake in the exploration phase, and can rejoin the warband after that turn.
D. Only the warband can attack. All other units are used only defensively.
E. Warbands if they are in an occupying territory can be joined by defensive forces, and this does not count against thier maximum warband number, but do count towards the rout check number. This is the only time that the defensive units will rout.
F. A player can at any point, gather 250 GC from territory income and start a second warband (using only the 250 GC), which can also attack. That player would then have two attack actions a round.

4. The Campaign Turn.
A. Each person rolls to see who goes first during the campaign turn.
B. Highest roll goes first in each phase, then descending.
C. Movement Phase; In order, each player gets the chance to move any of their units/warband into other territories. Each player moves all of their units BEFORE going to the next player.
D. Combat Phase: Resolve any battles that result because of having multiple players units in the same territory. Winner of battle takes territory. Each battle will result in its own post battle sequence.
E. Diplomacy Phase: In order, each player gathers their income due to their territories. They can then buy additional defensive units and territory enhancements. They may also trade territories, equipment, and even captives during this phase.
F. Repeat until victory conditions are meet.

There you go. And I would like to take this opportunity to say; 日本の人々を歓迎する. I am assured this means "Hello to the People of Japan!". I could be completely wrong, I don't exactly trust my source to the fullest. I just wanted to say that because I have seen that the third highest amount of traffic coming from Japan (US and UK are first and second respectively). I just want to say that I really respect those people viewing this website from Japan, reading a blog in a different language, about a game that is out of production. That my British and American friends is dedication!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Off the Beaten Cobblestones: All For Naught and Random Things

All For Naught;

So, well, here's where I expected to post Campaign Update; R3S4. Unfortunitly, it didn't happen. Since it was going to be a four player Chaos on the Streets match, and we had only two players (myself and Megan) show up, it wouldn't have been a good match. Well, I take that back, any match between Megan and myself is always good.

So all that planning and plotting is all for naught. Nothing happened. Gotta wait a week before even attempting it again. So the plans are in motion, and now are just on pause.

Random Things;

Now, either Megan has not read the last blog post, or she is an amazing actress. Either way, my plans that I did NOT make public continue. A feint within a feint, so to speak.

I do find it interesting how far Megan has come since she started gaming with us. When she starting playing with us the closest thing that she had done to gaming was video games, mainly Guitar Hero. Since she's joined our group, she's played D&D, Alternity, and now Mordheim. She has steadfastly refused to play our DC Universe based version of Marvel Super Heroes Saga Edition (great game, but I like DC better), that's too geeky for her.

While this also would apply to Tom, the closest he came to gaming was a emulated version of Dragon Warrior I for the NES on his PSP.

The difference between the two is night and day. Even though I leave the books at work, and sent everyone the PDFs, Megan has been the only one to actually read them (or at least the parts pertaining to her stuff). One of these days I'm going to have to post some pics of our workspace. That is what makes her the better player. She actually thinks about her Warband (or Character's) strengths and weaknesses. Tom just kinda throws whatever he has at the problem, which is fine when when it is Skaven and you are using Dwarf Crossbows, another thing entirely when you are talking about Lightning Bolts and Frankenstein.

Well, enough praise and bashing on my fellow game players. Not that its not fun anymore, I think that I'll talk about what happened the other day.

Middle Son walked up to me out of the blue and said; 'Dad, I think I want to play 40K, can I get an army?'

I looked at his trusting eyes and said 'Hell no. I can't afford 40K, what makes you think that you can?'

I think I hurt his feelings. Not much, but a little. I took pity on the child. I told him about all the other wonderful games that I've played. While he expressed no interest in Mordheim, he did express interest in the next best thing, Necromunda.

So I made a deal with him and Eldest Child. If they sat down and read the rules, and improved their painting skills, I would buy the Imperial Gaurd units you can use to make a Necromunda gang. While its been awhile since I played Necromunda, it is the game that got me into the GW stuff. I think that I actually have enough random SM bits lying around that I might be able to cobble together a Spryer gang. That might be fun.

So I'm looking at this to help teach them painting skills, and hopefully eventually real conversion skills beyond the random Kitbashing that Eldest Child has been doing. At eleven and twelve, they are at the right age to start a crippling hobby addiction. Muhaha.

Also been kinda thinking that if Megan buys her own Possessed warband, I might give her the ones that I just got. Already cleared it with CK, and he's happy as long as the models get used. However, that leaves it up to her. Just because she's looking at a close combat killy warband, doesn't necessarily mean she'll choose Possessed...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Off the Beaten Cobblestones- Metagaming, Intent, and Being a Bastard

Well, here it is almost 24 hours until our final match for this round of our campaign. We decided that after this week, we are going back to Castle Ravenloft for awhile, so no more campaign updates. We are going to save our files and whatnot and then pick it back up a later date. Which is the awesome thing about saving the information somewhere, we can always pick up later.

So here's our standings;

If you notice I include the win percentage. That's important for my metagame. I am always thinking about the overall. I know that my fellow players are constantly thinking only about this game. I know when I can comfortably lose, and still remain in the first spot. Strategic.

This week is another Chaos in the Streets, four way match. Its a good way to put a capstone on the campaign so far. There's a lot of not on tabletop action happening behind the scenes. Right now, Jim and Megan had plotted to take out Tom. Fortuitously, I have also joined that alliance. Which is good, because while I have lost to everyone at some time, Tom is the only one that I've lost to twice. Playing Skaven, I have a hard time dealing with ranged foes.

This alliance, for me, is about taking out the foe that I have trouble with. For Jim and Megan, its about killing Tom because he has pissed them off with how he plays the game (ie ineffectively and inattentively). As was noted in previous posts here, that Tom's antics also get on my nerves. So in a way, I'm being a total bastard. Everyone is ganging up on the guy in the worst spot. I'm winning, and I'm planning on continuing that practice, at the expense of the guy who is kinda clueless (about the game).

See, this game means nothing for me. Even if I lose, which is possible, I still win overall with a 58% win record. Let me break it down, if Megan wins, she'll have a 58% record as well. Ok, so a tie, at best. If Jim wins though, he'll have a 50% win record. If Tom wins (doubtful at this point), he'll end up with a 29% win record.

The best possible outcome for me though, is that Jim wins. Actually best for us both. He and Megan would end up with a 50% win record. So while I'll be a unanimous first place, he and Megan would tie for second. If Megan wins, its a tie way tie between her and me for first place, with Jim in third. Not where I want to end up.

Right now, I have not formalized an alliance with Jim, but I'll probably send him an email with a link to this post, thus showing the best possible outcome for him. That being said, it is entirely possible since this is the internet, and I know that Megan does occasionally read my blog, that she might try to get him to come around. That really isn't in his best interest. Let's see, second place or third place?

Here's where my intent comes in. I am going into this battle knowing that I am going to lose. With everyone sitting in a position to try to best me, that's some heavy duty opposition coming down. My job in this battle is to make Megan lose. Thus, assuring my overall victory for this stage of the campaign. I need to have Tom's dwarven crossbow men taken out, which will allow me to concentrate on my real goal. Right now it seems that I have taken care of that.

That could all change though, if Megan reads this and takes it to heart. She might turn on our already forged alliance and form one with Tom. Which to be honest is the Bastard move that I would do. Right now, she is the one with things to lose. First place tie or second place tie. I'm such a bastard, that I am willing to post this and make it public. It will add a bit of doubt to her. I know my plans, and I've probably figured out hers, or even straight up given them to her.

At the end of the day, a win would be nice, even if I split it with Jim. Tom is a thorn in my side that needs to be dealt with. Megan is the one with everything to lose, and Jim is the one with everything to gain. The thing is though, at the end of the day, I'll still be in the front position. It doesn't matter who wins the battle. I still win the war. This huge wall of text is a metagame to end all metagames. If no one reads it, all will go according to plan. If only Megan reads it, well, it might make things a bit difficult. If Jim is the only one to read it, everything comes up roses for me. If Tom reads it (HA!) well, that will be interesting. If they all read it, they will all go into the match not knowing who they can trust. At the end of the day, that suits the Skaven just fine. Divide and conquer.

Well, I for one can't wait until Saturday when this all comes down. Until then I'll be sitting in the catbird seat, grinning like the rat that ate the canary.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hobby Update; More Stuff Done

Well, here we are again. I'm updating like mad. Getting ready for that last push.

*Orc Shaman
*Verminkin x4
*Three Giant Rats
*Night Runner with Fighting Claws

*Orc Shaman
*Verminkin x4
*One Giant Rat (maybe)
*Night Runner with Fighting Claws

Some Pics:

Does this look spectral enough?

And the Night Runner, Yes I know his hind legs are screwy. I'm still learning to sculpt. It looks fine when viewed straight on, but the sides are wonky.

Oh, and look what I got in the mail from my good friend Captain Kellen. You can visit his blog Here. After many years, at long last I have actual Chaos Possessed Models, not just ones I've knocked together.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hobby Update

Here's some stuff that I have done this week.

So what I needed to do;

*Orc Shaman
*Verminkin x4
*Night Runner with fighting Claws
*Giant Rats x3

Here's what I have done;
*Verminkin x4
*Orc Shaman

Since I only have two giant rat models, I started sculpting one. So here's the four finished verminkin, and the beginning sculpt.

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monday Night Mordheim; Labor Day Delay

Did you have a nice day off, those of you who had the day off? Those of you who didn't, too bad, so sad. Well, there's probably something else coming up eventually. I had nice little map campaign modifications for Mordheim thing all written up, and it is currently sitting on the hard drive of my work computer. Which naturally means that I do not have it. So that will happen next week, in the meantime, I have a bit of mind work here.

My friend Megan has been playing in my Mordheim campaign for awhile now. She's been playing my Orcs and Goblins warband, and is thinking about a Warband for herself. So while I've talked about the different warbands and their associated costs. However, I haven't really talked about the pros and cons of the different warbands. At least at the starting point.

Mercenaries: The catchall for 'human' warbands. A very cheap warbands. They are basic, fairly easy to paint, and cheap to purchase.
Reiklanders: These guys are awesome for new players, with their improved Ballistic Skill for marksmen, and extended leadership range. However, they really only really excel at ranged combat.
Middenheimers: Gotta love semi-vikings. Great for people who love to run up and smack things with a hammer. Their heroes get a strength point bonus. The down side of these guys is that the bonus point of strength isn't that great, and as the campaign goes on it becomes less and less important as others gain that same strength bonus through experience.
Marienburgers: To be honest, I love me the merchants of Marienburg. Their main focus of an extra 100 GC at start means nothing later in the game. That bonus though goes a long way to winning those first few games and putting yourself in the catbird seat. Plus they have a lovely blue/yellow scheme, which I happen to find fetching.

Cult of the Possessed: These are a great warband...for someone who has been in the hobby for awhile. The conversion opportunities are limitless. They excel in close combat, but while they have some missile fire, its not enough or good enough to go toe to toe with other ranged fighters. Their major downfall though, is that they do not have cheap or easy to replace heroes. The cheapest you can get a replacement hero for is 45 GC before buying weapons, and have stats roughly the same as standard henchman, unlike other 45GC heroes who get some extra bonuses.

Witch Hunters: Witch hunters are a very characterful warband. They lack numbers that other warbands have, but they make up for it with really good cheap expendable henchmen, however those cheap expendable henchman the warhound are almost impossible to get modelwise. There are lots of things that can be used as a counts-as, but actual warhound models are hard to come by. The main benefit of witch hunters is that they play a bit like Mercanaries, but they get the added benefit of the Warrior Priest, who can change things radically. Many of their members also have special rules to help getting those unholies dead. They are a bit all over the place, and you can equip them however you want, their playstyle is not as limited as others.

Sisters of Sigmar: Battle Nuns! Huzzah! Unique and well thought out, but a bit hard to come by. The Sisters are a close combat warband with limited (slings) ranged weaponry. They excel at close combat though, especially with thier unique weapons (Hammer of Sigmar anyone?). However, their greatest assest is the Augur, who not only re-rolls basically everything, you get to roll TWO dice for her in the exploration phase, which as you know gets you the money which wins you games.

Undead; The best and the worst in the game, and almost everything causes fear! Don't even bother with ranged weapons. They are excellent at close combat. The vampire is arguably the best model in the whole game. Ghouls, are also arguably the best henchmen in the game, they start with a higher strength and toughness then most things, and an added attack, and then they can get better!

Skaven: Skaven can be anything you want them to be. Hordes, ranged fighters, close combat monsters. Whatever you want. Their main downfall though is their low leadership, Skaven have to work fast, because if they take too many casualities, they can rout out quick. That being said, the newer models are amazing.

Well, that's all for now, I could go on with more warbands, but I think I've said enough for now. I would love to see what you guys have to suggest!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hobby Update

Well, I went ahead and finished him. I'm not too happy with the overalls, especially the skin, but I rather like the stars.



Off The Beaten Cobblestones- Hobby Planning

So next week is the final match (for now) in our campaign. Right now, I'm sitting in the catbird seat. That's fine and dandy. However, I'm thinking that I need to get some last minute hobbying done before we go into that last game, which is going to be another Four Way Chaos on the Streets. So I've got six days to do stuff, and quite a bit to do. Let's take a look at it.

x4 Skaven Verminkin with swords.
x1 Night Runner with fighting claws.
x1 Orc Shaman.

So six models, and six days. It's a bit of serendipity. I think that tonight that I'll work on the Shaman, since it is partially done.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday Campaign Update; R3S3

Well, another week come and gone, and well here we are. Yet again, with a full match and then a half match. It was a good day for Mordheim, and a bad day. Good day for me, I pulled forward a bit more in the standings, and Megan is debating getting a warband of her own (since she has been using my Orcs). On the bad side, we were able to get a bit more play time because of the Labor Day weekend, but Tom jetted the second I turned my back. The match had like two rounds if that left. Megan had to get two people into Tom's deployment zone for breakthrough, and he only had to take out one more of her models to force a rout check. So we are just going to give him the loss this time. We're kinda sick of it, especially since he tends to wander off during the game, or put us on an unnecessarily delay at other times. I'm not saying that we ignore our work when it comes up, but part of being able to play is being ready to get going at the drop of the hat when someone gets available. When we have to re-explain what is currently going on in the battle every partial turn it drags things down. A bit of attention would do nicely. While, I have given Tom the address to my blog, I doubt that he's red it. Jim is a follower, and Megan has posted. So I know that they are paying attention. If he reads this post, excellent, if not, well, such is life. Getting on with it though...

The Quick Score Sheet:

Jim (249 WBR) vs. LAZ (245 WBR)
Wyrdstone Hunt: LAZ Win

1. Who Killed Who & Other Experiences:
BS1: Wyrdstone
BS 2: Wyrdstone
Vampire OoA Mohawk
Pierced Tail: Wyrdstone
Verminkin OoA direwolf
Verminkin OoA direwolf
Scritch McWarp OoA Ogre

2. Injury Results

Direwolf: FR
Direwolf: FR
Ogre: FR

Mohawk: Full Recovery

3. XP gained:

Vampire: 2 (50)
Necromancer: 1 (19)
Painted: 1 (13)
Balled: 1 (13)
Balless: 1 (13)
Super Ghoul: 1 (13)
Ghoul Group: 1 (11)
Warlock: 1 (1)
Ogre: 1 (1)

Scritch McWarp: 3 (27)
BS 1: 2 (26)
BS 2: 2 (27)
Mohawk: 1 (11- 6=+1Str)
Pierced Tail: 2 (2; 3= Skill)
Bell Ringer: 1 (15)
Verminkin A: 1 (13)
Verminkin B: 1 (8)
Verminkin C: 1 (4)

4. Exploration results

Jim: 5 for surving Heroes- Vampire to look for rare
13456-4 shards

LAZ: 5 for surviving Heroes, 1 for winning-
445556: 5 shards, Markethall 11 GC

5. Recruiting

Jim: 6 xp for recruiting.
Exchange 3 shards for 55

LAZ: 11 XP for recruiting
Exchange 7 shards for 90
1 verminkin with sword, sling, 4 xp: 40
2 crossbows: 50
1 sword: 10

6. New standings.

Jim: 263
LAZ: 276

To be honest, this particular match went poorly for Jim. He's played a bunch of games at different times. When I pelted him with sling rocks, he panicked. Instead of realizing that his 3 attack ghouls would rip my verminkin apart, he thought that they would get a round of firing when he charged them. I can't remember what game that is from, but I recognize the mechanic, I've used it before. I had planned that I would grab the wyrdstone pieces lying around and then retreat to bear up my loses. However, I ended up chasing him down, which really weird. Especially since I kept advancing a single giant rat forward (but not into combat!) to prevent his guys from running. It was also a bit ridiculous terrain, Tom was being lazy, and only set up a fountain and four buildings.

Jim's set up, he had hired a Ogre, which we are using a TK Ushabti stand in.

My set up, and Jim's snacks.

Mohawk the frenzied nightrunner, hiding. I knew that without more terrain, he was a dead duck. However, he is expendable.

My Black Skaven set to grab the wyrdstone before the battle is joined.


Like I said, expendable.

Very expendable.

More advancement.

Jim advances.

I set up to defend the Nightrunner hero (the painted one) who grabbed the wyrdstone in the building. I figured that a Giant Rat (termagaunt) and a verminkin would give a good speed bump to the Vampire. Then I pummeled him with slings. Hence the two wounds.

Jim runs away.

Slings forward!

And the giant rat (termagaunt)slows people down.

Tom (WBR 180) vs Megan (WBR 209):

The Quick Score Sheet:
1. Who Killed Who:

Xbow Thunderer OoA Helmet
Goblin animosity OoA goblin
White Beard OoA orc boy
Troll OoA beardling

After the debacle with the terrain in the last two games, I wanted to give each person a good chance. There were long lanes of fire for the dwarves, and plenty of places to hide for the Orcs.

Megan sets up to take advantage of the streets before getting in range of the dwarf missile line.

Tom set up with my help to get some lanes of fire.

A neater pic of Tom's front line.

Orcs advance!

Orcs hide, which is what the pennies are. Hiding tokens. Cheap and plentiful!

This pic turned out well.

Orcs take cover.

Fully forward.

The troll hits the dwarf lines!

And where we ended.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Off the Beaten Cobblestones

I rather like the new title for the stuff that doesn't quite fit elsewhere. I just want to put something out there. It is now September, and you know what that means (besides back to school)?


While I enjoy Halloween in and of itself, there is one thing that cannot be overstated, terrain! The single way best way to get terrain bits is Halloween. While many of us will invariably wait for the post-Halloween bargains at the party stores, you need to take a look at your local dollar stores. Today I picked up another gargoyle for a buck. Not too shabby. I recommend getting in to the store quickly, the cheap stuff goes quick.