Friday, October 28, 2011

Off the Beaten Cobblestones; Chained to the Desk, but My Mind is Free

Huhn. Its odd. I missed a week. I don't normally do that without some sort of pre-warning. Which means I'll probably be missing next week as well. So hopefully I'll have an epically long post next time.

I missed because of work. Lousy excuse I know. Busy, busy, busy. Been skipping out on my forum trawling as well. Well, while my hands, mouth, and ears have been chained to the desk my mind has been free.

So been thinking more about the more meta-textual/meta-physical things rather then crunchy fun rules, or fluffy bits of background. Much of this meta-textual stuff is about RPG stuff.

Every year around October, I get this itch. A big bad itch that is hard to scratch. I want some Undead. I'm not talking about Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings, or even heaven forbid Necrons. Ravenloft goes far to fix that itch.

There's a couple of reasons for that, mainly Halloween. The thing with Halloween is that it calls out to Gamers. There's the dressing up and pretending to be something that you are not, but there is more to it then that. There's the whole monsters thing. The real monsters are around for Halloween, all the classic ones. With the exception of the Dragon, but hell, Dragons aren't really that Halloweeny. I wrote weeny.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because of those. There's more to it then that though. The main reason is that every October, a friend of mine runs a LARP D&D game based around classic horror tropes with some interesting quirks. We've been doing this since highschool. There have been years where I haven't made it, or it didn't happen, but for the most part, its been there. People come back into town for these games. Almost no rules, and mainly talking, and then spending half the night bullshitting and getting caught up. There's an whiff of nostalgia in the crisp fall air, for one glorious night, we are all sixteen again.

I guess between the LARP and the Halloween, its what causes this itch. I want some Ravenloft. I know that I've been building up for a bit here, but there is some more to it, and I'm getting around to it in a round about way. Part of that is tired, and part of it is shear diarrhea of the keyboard.

The thing with Ravenloft is that it isn't your typical fantasy game. There are no Elministers, Rarys, or Rastlins around. All the neat powers of the stuff that makes D&D magic powerful and overwhelming isn't there. Ravenloft is an oddity of old school. Magic stuff is rare, and even if on paper the villians are puny, they are terrors.

Old School D&D was much less powerful. There's been a constant powercreep in the editions. Does anyone really remember when a first level wizard had maybe six hit points and one spell a day? Even in 3.0, a decent wizard has at least two spells of first level and at least four hit points. Ravenloft is the big equalizer. There's no high level helping hands. There is no raise dead, no resurrection. No mystical shops of magic items. There is a feeling of helplessness, even when everything is safe.

I think that is why I like Ravenloft so much, there is a definite horror movie aspect to it. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. The bad guys are going to win, eventually, all you can do is hold off the night temporarily.

In the darkness that is October that is what I feel. The warmth of the summer is falling away, and the drear winter is looming. There is foreboding in the air. Skeletons and demonic entities are everywhere, the plants are dying, and darkness is coming. There is still the hope for a slight return to warmth, but it is a temporary reprieve is all. The cold is coming, there is nothing you can do to stop it. Maybe its maudlin, but I miss that feeling during the true winter months when there are feasts and presents and celebrations. The cold is colder when it hasn't arrived yet.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Night Mordheim: The Dungeon and The Archetype

Hello fellow Mordheimers, and gamers of all stripes! I've spent the last few weeks in a pretty foul mood, haven't I? I tend to get all worked up about stuff, and then I burst like one of Papa Nurgle's zits.

That doesn't change the fact that I've gotten a good subject here. Almost as interesting the whole map campaign thing, which I really need to get worked together and thrown into a PDF one of these days. Art first, then revision, then er. I'm getting a tad off topic.

Ah, going back to the Dungeon. There is one big thing that really ties the Dungeon Delver to my personal favorite hobbies of Wargames and RPGs. That's the Archetype. Let me get a tad Jungian on you. Carl Jung was a psychoanylast that worked a lot with cultural histories and mythology. Very interesting stuff. Worth investigating if you are interested in the psychological basis of our hobbies (and stories).

Archetype is a very powerful force in our collective stories. People use different words for the different nuances of Archetypes; Cliche, trope, and stereotypes. To boil it down to oversimplification, Archetypes are the really recognizable thing. Dungeon Delvers cut out all the insidious grey areas of RPGs and leave the vagaries of rank of wargames behind. Dungeon Delvers are about Heroes. Big Simple Heroes.

Dungeon Delvers boil down the heroes to their core. The villains for that matter, as well. When you start a Dungeon Delver, there are typically four guys. Sometimes there are more. Typically four is what it is. There is something mythical about four. It's the number of good buddies that you typically have. It's considered the minimum number for a 'good' D&D party. Four is the best number for a ski trip. Four is two teams of a basketball pick up game. I'm getting a bit caught up in the numerology here, aren't I? Four really isn't the point. It's about the Archetype of the Hero.

Heroes come in many flavors. I'm going to start broad and then get a tad more specific.
*The Hard Hitter: Close combat, deals damage.
*The Magic User: Uses spells, to harm or to heal.
*The Ranged Fighter: Bows, crossbows, and arrows!
*The Skilled Person: Lock Picking, finding traps, and cool stuff.

So those are the broad categories. So that's the basics. That's what you NEED. However, the flavor of those broad categories are pretty weak, and not very evocative. I mean no one sits down at the table and says 'I want to play the skilled dood!'. If you look at that a bit further, those particular four types make up EVERY conceivable type of Hero. We could play the game of name a Hero, match the type. That's a tad boring, and a tad unfair, since this is the internet and we can all use our google-fu.

Now, what makes Archetypes, well, Archetypes is the further refinement. They are the little bit of seasoning that takes a plain piece meat and turns it into a Filet Mignon. That's the key, though, is not too much seasoning. Too much seasoning makes it too complex, and a character not an Archetype. Let's break it down;
*Heavy Hitter; The Knight, The Dwarf, The Shaolin Monk, The Rambo Guy, and The Barbarian.
*The Magic User: The Wizard, The Shaman, The Witch, The Young Priest, The Old Priest, and the Druid.
*The Ranged Fighter: The Ranger, The Elf, The Sniper, The Heavy Weapons Guy, and scared running away guy.
*The Skilled Person: The Thief, The Acrobat, The Ninja, The Assassin, The Sage, and The Guru.

Wow. That's quite a list. It covers a bunch of stuff. Some of it is great, some of it is not very applicable, and almost all of it is perfect fit for Mordheim. So to take those ideas, and change them into a Dungeon Delver. I'll even do a Sci-Fi version, as well.

Mordheim: Almost this whole list is from the Hired Swords enteries, or some of the expanded stuff. However, it makes things really interesting. You could almost do it with any warband.
Heavy Hitter: Dwarf Trollslayer
Magic User: Warrior Priest
Ranged Fighter: Elf Ranger
Skilled Person: Imperial Assassin.

Sci-Fi: Alright! Let's go back some old school and do up a bit of Space Hulk.
Heavy Hitter: Power fist blood angel.
Magic User: Librarian.
Ranged Fighter: Assault Cannon guy.
Skilled Person: Just as a change up, a SCOUT!

I've talked about the overall Archetypes that are really needed, so next week, I'll talk a bit about how all of those guys are used in a Dungeon Delver, and get a bit more Mordheim intensive, since that's what we're all here for anyway (right?).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Night Mordheim: History, Nostalgia, Venom, and Mordheim

Hello fellow Mordheim enthusiasts! Last week I spoke a bit about using Mordheim to play other games. So I want to delve a bit deeper into my favorite of the beer and pretzels genre of Dungeon Delvers (see what I did there?). A bit of history, a bit of nostalgia, and a bit of venom.

I feel that dungeon delvers exist in a unique position in our hobby, and many related hobbies. In that way I find that Dungeon Delvers are more important then my beloved starter sets. Seriously. Dungeon Delvers are a gateway. To put it another way, Dungeon Delvers are the the building blocks of three very disparate types of games; Advanced Board Games, RPGs, and War Games.

A Dungeon Delver is typically something that is given as a gift to a person of the ages 12-14 who is either very interested in it, or by someone who doesn't know that kid very well. Also typically it falls into the gift category of 'Kid already has Monopoly, Risk, and Operation, oh, wait this one comes with cute little knights!' by matron aunts everywhere. So the Dungeon Delver becomes the first of a step towards other games. Allow me to elaborate.

So let me talk about those three different things and how Dungeon Delvers work as a bridge.

Advanced Board Games: Dungeon Delvers are typically the first advanced board game that someone receives. Much like regular board games, it has dice and a board and playing pieces. That's about where the similarity ends. Then you look at Advanced Board Games, as I like to call them. Axis and Allies, Settlers of Catan, Formula De, are some of the 'advanced' board games that are more alike the Dungeon Delver then their more direct cousins like Monopoly or Risk. First off, the amount of rules and second is cost. The thing is that the Dungeon Delver typically straddles the line between regular board games and advanced board games. Sometimes the cost is more, but typically the rules are less. The Dungeon Delver gives the neophyte a taste for a more in depth board game, where strategy is more important then mere luck (although luck plays a part). Then they can more easily make the jump into the advanced board game where there is so much more thinking then just smacking the ass of the Hungry, Hungry Hippos!

RPGs: Ah, here the similarities are so much easier to draw the comparison. Most Dungeon Delvers are in a Sword and Sorcery Genre (with the exception of Space Hulk and Space Crusade), as are most RPGs. Then a great deal of the game revolves around going around in a dungeon and collecting treasure...which can be used in later dungeons. Then of course, if you use up all the premade Dungeons in the rules, often it leads to creating more dungeons. Those things are key to most RPGS, like Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder. All it takes is for someone to say 'What do we do between dungeons', and you are off like hotcakes. A few rulebooks later, and you've got someone rolling up their first Mary Sue Elf Ranger.

Wargames: Oh, right. That's what you guys are really here for isn't it? The granddaddy of everything. Without wargames, there would be no RPGs (TSR stood for Tacitical Simulation Rules, you know), there would be no advanced board games (Advanced Squad Leader anyone?), and well, no Dungeon Delvers. At one time the Dungeon Delvers were the most reliable source of new wargamers, especially to GW. Space Hulk, Space Crusade, Battle Master, and Hero Quest were what a whole generation of gamers thrived on. With those games, we got bunches of cheap minis that we could easily sublimate into another game like War Hammer or 40K. I can't count the amount of guys who were still using the Chaos Sorcerer from Hero Quest as their WHFB heroes, even ten years after the game ceased production.

Now, the history and the nostalgia is over, and here comes the venom. GW has let us down, hell, the entire war-game industry has let us down. Back in the day GW/Citadel made a couple games with Milton Bradley, and they SOLD! Everyone I knew that played games had one or more of those games. Almost everyone I talk to nowadays in their late twenties to mid-thirties who are playing games now cut their teeth on those games. They were easy, fun, and accessible. You could get them at any toystore in town. There was no special trip to a FLGS, no online order, just a quick trip to Toys R Us. The last great game that worked as an intro game was Heroscape, which was by Hasbro. Side note of history, it uses the game mechanics of Hero Quest because MB is owned by Hasbro now. This is a huge shame. First off, it used the GW rules watered down, and secondly it didn't lead anywhere. After awhile they did have a Dungeons & Dragons expansion, which was a bit too little too late. Right now, the closest we have to a Dungeon Delver is that Kings of War game with the undead. The problem with that is it isn't in main line stores. I can buy freaking Settlers of Catan at WalMart, but not a wargame thing!

Right now, you know what I'm stuck with? FUCKING STARTER BOXES THAT DON'T TEACH THE GAME! Come on GW! You re-released Space Hulk, and the followed it up with Dreadfleet! What the hell? You had a slam dunk, something that could have been put into stores and BROUGHT PEOPLE INTO THE GAME! Then you go and release a game that is getting scathing reviews and isn't going to be supported. At least with Space Hulk I could use the models in my 40K game. Bring me a Dungeon Delver, something mass produced, something in a Toy Store, something that makes sense and has a bit of balance to it. I'm out of luck here.

Where does that leave me? Why, with Mordheim. Mordheim is a classic Dungeon Delver. It could be twitched and changed to be the game that leads people to the FLGS to get more stuff. Lets do a comparison (Oh boy! A numbered list!);

Dungeon Delvers Have:
1. A board- granted Mordheim doesn't typically have a board, but if you make it 'The Sewers of Mordheim' you instantly do.
2. Dice- dur.
3. Getting Treasure- A resounding yes! Get some treasure, and add in the experience tables to encourage even more!
4. Monsters- Heck, if Skaven weren't enough, you add in zombies, and orcs, and elves (elves are monsters aren't they?).

So there's four reasons right there. The thing is that if you include a few of each as a base, there's a core there that you can use to build another army. A friend of mine started his Skaven army with the Gutter Runners that came with my Mordheim. It isn't a hard jump, and I have my reasons for doing such a long post with barely mentioning Mordheim at all. Mainly, because I will be working on a Dungeon Delving version of Mordheim soon. Which hopefully, I'll get started on next week. Why? Because I can. And I figured out that Open Office has a drawing program, and that should work out nicely.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Night Mordheim: Mordheim Quest, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dungeon

Hello, fellow Mordheimers out there. While I like to talk quite a bit about the main game of Mordheim and campaigns (I like to talk a lot about those things). I want to talk about something that many people over look when considering Mordheim. Mordheim is perfect for playing other games.

I see that you are intrigued. There are two particular types of games that Mordheim is infinitely suited for. RPGs and Dungeon Crawlers. Now, I have a great deal of love for those types of games, and it would seem that bits of both were chucked into the pot when Mordheim was created. Not all the best bits were included, nor were all the worst bits. Yes, there are parts missing from Mordheim that are in those other games (like a intelligence ability score). However, do not dismay! These are small trifling matters. Allow me to elaborate on the nature of those games, before I delve into using Mordheim for them.

RPGs, or Role Playing Games, are wonderful. I wouldn't hesitate to say that I play a lot more RPGs then wargames. Hey, that's me and my game group for you. The point of an RPG is to tell a collaborative story, where one player creates the story arch (the Game Master) and the others are all the main characters in a story. Simple. RPGs are not like World of Warcraft, or Final Fantasy, those are video games, knucklehead. While there are similarities, there as many differences between a table top (or pen and paper) RPG and a video game RPG as there are between Madden 2012 and playing backyard flag football (Football- with the egg shaped ball. Soccer is the other one.). I could spend days and days and weeks into months into years explaining the difference and why one is one, and the other is the other. That's not really why I am here today. The main point and thrust of an RPG (which the videogames do tend to hold onto) is that it is about the characters and how they evolve over time to deal with bigger and greater threats and stories. Some great RPGs that you may want to check out are; Warhammer Quest, Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire; The Requiem, and of course Dark Heresy.

Dungeon Crawlers are quite the opposite end of the Spectrum. A dungeon crawler is a bit more then a glorified board game. Compared to Mordheim or any other Wargame, they are quick and simple. Dungeon Crawlers typically include things like random movement, a board that can be set up in multiple ways, and a more static version of bad guys. These are the ultimate 'beer and pizza' games. There's not much tactically to them, but they are fun as all get out. The inherent problems of Dungeon Crawlers is that they tend not to last long in the market, as a matter of fact, most of the truly great ones are long gone and are horribly expensive to get through e-bay. Though, if you happen to have more money then sense, here's a list of the great Dungeon Crawlers; Hero Quest, Space Hulk, Dungeon!, and right now Ravenloft.

So that leads us back to the main point. Using Mordheim in regards to those other games. It actually isn't that difficult. Most of it has to do with adding, subtracting, or modifying rules.

RPGs in particular are easy to do with Mordheim. With the experience system for campaigns and the various types of characters available, it is just a matter of a few changes.
*Instead of each player getting their own warband, each person plays one particular model, while the GM plays the opponents.
*Add some sort of non-combat type of skills and some sort of intelligence ability score.
*Use Mordheim for combat, not for the actual role-playing. If you are rolling to hit with your verbal barbs, you are doing it wrong.
*Instead of having a full recovery/movement/shooting/melee phases for each person, the players all go, and then the GM does all of their stuff.
*Allow any model that starts without experience (but can gain experience) to be played by the characters. Will this mean that the person playing the Warlock is significantly more powerful then the one playing the verminkin? Yes, however in an RPG that doesn't matter as much.
*All characters use the Hero experience levels and charts instead of the henchmen one.
*The exploration phase is ditched in favor of actually providing PCs with treasure.

Dungeon Crawlers are actually even easier to do then RPGs. Most of using Mordheim for Dungeon Crawlers involves removing stuff from what is already there.
*Instead of a table, you play on a board. 1x1 squares seems to be about what you need. Walls block sight.
*Remove movement rate, running, charging. All depends on the roll of a d6.
*You can move OR shoot OR Close combat.
*Remove the to hit WS vs WS table, and just use the BS table for everything.
*No special effects for weapons.
*Only the 'heroes' get knocked down/stunned/out of action. Everything else just dies after losing its final wound.
*Pieces of wyrdstone are scattered around as treasure, most wyrdstone wins game!

Well, that's the basics. There's so much more you can do with this, and I can't wait to see what you guys think about things as well. I mean that Cockatrice from Storm of Magic is a beaut, and I can't wait to see someone design a Dungeon Crawl around that...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Off the Beaten Cobblestones; Rumors, More Nerdrage and Starter Boxes

Well, this is a bit of a turn up for the books. A post which has absolutely nothing to do with Mordheim, but everything to do with my love (addiction) to starter boxes. There's a rumor going round that 40K is about to release 6th Edition, which means a new starter box. That's good for me. The rumor is that there will actually be two different starters, regular Space Marines and Traitor Marines (not Chaos marines, but Traitor marines). Interesting.

The thing is that I think that GW has been doing starter boxes all wrong. Really wrong. Completely missed the boat or whatnot. So I would like to share my thoughts on the matter, in as orderly fashion as I can. So don't be surprised if this reads like an english paper, cause here comes the thesis. The problem with the GW starters is numerous, first being that the models included and the business decision thereof, the next problem is that the starter box is not really a starter box, and the third being a lack of support. There are several solutions to these problems that I will address afterward (or at a later time).

So the first issue is that the models that are in the starter boxes. These cause a problem. From a consumer standpoint, its a great a way. We old vets look at a starter box and say 'Awesome, some reinforcements for cheap! And I can sell off the other side to someone else, and recoup some money!'. This is NOT how GW looks at the starter boxes. GW has to look at a starter box as a 'loss leader', but putting in a great value for the price, you get people to come in. The phrase 'loss leader' is borrowed from big box retailers, like Wal-Mart and Target. They get you to come in the store because you are buying one particular item for much cheaper then the compitition, but you then end up buying other things while you are there that make up the difference in price. This is how GW looks at a starter box. You are getting a bunch of stuff for MUCH cheaper then buying the indivual models, you are more likely to expand your army. That being said let me break it down for you. I will use the current 40K starter box Assault on Black Reach and the indivual price for each in USD, cause I'm lazy and you can look up your own countries prices.

Item in Box Cost
SM Captain 15 for metal armed in the same manner (SM Master of the Recruits)
Tactical Squad 37.25
Terminators 50
Dreadnought 44.50
Total $147

Item in Box Cost
Ork Warboss 20 (no equivilant model)
Ork Boys (20) 29 x2 = 58
Ork Nobs (5) 25
3 Deffkoptas 33 x 3 = 99
Total $202

Grand total of all the models in the Assault on Black Reach, when purchased seperatly is...$349! Wow. Just wow. So basically from GW's perspective, with each Black Reach they are GIVING AWAY $250 dollars worth of models for the low, low, price of $99! Now I hear people in the back saying that you aren't getting options with the models. However from GW's perspective, the options for different weapons and poses is an extra benefit of the kit, NOT something mandatory. A nob is a nob, and Bob's your uncle. So the way that GW looks at it is for every Black Reach they sell, that's a lot of OTHER models that they aren't selling. So getting back to the original point, they believe that by giving away that much it will be more incentive for people to get more items. However, we all know that isn't how they work. The overall cost of 40K to get a reasonably sized army is MUCH more then what is in Black Reach. For someone just getting into the hobby, its often not a great investment.

Which brings us to the second problem, the starter box is not a real starter box. You don't get everything you need. Technically, you ALMOST do. From the SM side, you only have 1 troop choice. However, that isn't the main problem. The main problem is that you don't get the right rules. The full rule book in a smaller format is nice, but it doesn't help. The quick start guide isn't good enough. Then the main problem is that you NEED TO BUY A CODEX. That doesn't help anyone. They should include better intro rules and a mini-codex that is one half SM and one half orcs. Go ahead and ignore the fluff pages, just include the rules for what's in the box. Those types of things should have been ironed out well before release. It shouldn't be an ordeal to put out simple codex and a simplified version of all the rules normally used in play. The work is already done, its all just editing.

Now the final problem is an odd one. They don't really support the starter box, and it mainly just refers back to the GW main website. That is not good enough. Not only that, but the paint guides in the Black Reach section are NOT for beginners. They are basically the 'easy 'eavy metal way'. Not something for beginners, and most of the other articles are about how to expand your collection. These things are not beginner friendly, heck, they aren't even veteran friendly. Its just stuff. Kinda like the commentary track on a DVD with the Folly Guy, the Sound Designer, and the Costume Designer. Nice if you like that type of thing, and its something to put on the back of the cover, but 99% of us ain't going to listen to it.

How can this be fixed? Actually very easily, but it involves a very different methodology. Allow me to explain more in depth, and this is going to take a while. Time for another thesis. The problems with the starter box can be fixed with different levels of starter boxes, a different tactic for the rules, and better web support.

Now, the best way to change the system is to change what a starter box is and how it works. A bit of history, almost everyone around my age (early 30's) who is playing 40K now started because of one of two games. Either Hero Quest or Space Hulk. For me it was Hero Quest. Now, both of those games were a collaborative between GW/Citadel with Milton Bradley. You could get them at any store that sold games. They were a tad expensive, but they were awesome. They weren't 40K or WHFB, but they had enough similarties that you could not only transfer the models from the games but you picked up the rules faster. That is what the true starter box should be. It should be a limited number of models in a stand alone board game that introduces some of the GW game concepts. Then there would be a second level more like the starter boxes we have now, but instead of a great value it should contain most of the common unit types, and be a LEGAL ARMY. You bridge from starter to basic set.

Now with the rules, in the starter it should be only vaguely 40K-ish. Use the same shooting rules, and the same close combat rules. Other then that, it should be more board game like. Roll to see how far you move, a couple of boards that can be arranged in different ways, and the like. Then the basic set should include almost everything. Still include the full rule mini rule book, but also do a quick start guide that is actually worth it, and a mini-dex. While I'm on it, the painting guide should come with a couple of different paint schemes that are easy to pull off should be included.

Then there's support. Nothing should refer immediatly to the GW website. The starters should have thier own websites. Each website should have more indepth articles and easy paint guides, and other things like that. However, each website should then work on a tier system. First the starter would refer to the basic set which would then in turn refer to the main site. Right now, the site is a huge mess to navigate if you aren't used to it.

So to put those together, I have a plan. First would be a new starter game. we'll call it Ultra Marine; Space Hulk. Now, first off the cost should only be about $50. How do we get that cheap? First off, use the old Battle for Maccragge' molds. GW is always bragging about how much plastic molds cost, so lets reuse them. Now, going back to the original point of GW giving away models, there's much less there. Especially if you leave out the silly crashed thunderhawk. Throw in some boards that can be arranged in multiple ways, a pair of dice, and some simple rules. Include a one or two page painting guide, but make it seem more like an after thought then an integral part of the game. The website would have more missions, a bit more painting guide, and a link that says 'For more about the Space Marines Check out'. Then the basic set should be SM vs. Nids. They should come with legal armies for both, and some of the most common unit types. One very important thing to include would be a vehicle of some type. Some people would scoff, but it could be done simply, for instance do you remember the old army guy tanks? Basically a two part shell with no bottom, you could do that for a rhino easy. Yes it would stand out against the regular rhinos, but it is good enough and probably use less plastic then the dread. Then my big suggestion would be to include two of the same unit, but with different upgrades. So no matter how you added up everything the points would be the same, but the minidexs would include the different options so that you could include choosing different options from a codex. Then its website would include different set point builds, and more detailed paint techniques, and eventually a link to the regular GW website.

THAT is how you make a something that will actually spark interest in your game. Not something that is inherently frustrating.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Campaign Update; R3S4

Wow. Holy shit. Goddamn. Today was one of those days that makes me glad to be a gamer! I think that if every game was like this, everyone would play games. Hot damn. After weeks and weeks of waiting, we were finally able to get in that final battle before kicking over to D&D.

It was exactly the type of game that you would want for a final battle. Massive melees, alliances, a stubborn opponent who refused to quit, a seemingly clear cut victory that was hard won, and most importantly Peking Duck.

We actually started planning this battle almost a month ago. That's where the Peking Duck comes in. We planned to have a massive Chaos on the Streets match between all of us and see who came in where. I'll post that stuff later, once I've sorted it out myself. This week the planning kicked into high gear. The IT department had taken two adjacent computer towers out of our area to eventually be replaced. So on Tuesday I spent half the day cleaning up the area of dust and stray wires. All that was left were the phones and the monitors. Three minutes to move the monitors and the phones, and we had a giant gaming area. It was approximately 2.5x8 foot. Almost enough for a game of 40K.

When we placed all of the terrain, it was still kinda bare. Necessity being the mother of invention, we grabbed some other stuff from around the office to work as terrain. Small beach balls, an empty can of cashews, and even a Richard Alpert from LOST bobblehead all pulled some double duty.

In the end we had something that looked like this;


A huge area for us to game with. This spread us out nicely and created such a great game that we spent the entire day playing a single game, and finished the actual game with ten minutes to spare. We even took a nice break in the middle to order some Peking Duck and Pork Dumplings. Dear god, it was heavenly. I've never had a nicer day at work, and I'm hard pressed to think of a better day of gaming I've ever had. Peking Duck, by the way is mana from heaven. Ok, mana from Pan-Asia, but after I finished eating, it was joked that I had to go have a post-coital cigarette. Man, I must have been some sort of horrible person in a previous life to have this delicious meal denied to me up until now. The day passed wonderfully, and if you have never had Peking Duck while gaming, you really need to. We even lost track of how many rounds we had played by the end of the day.

Now, onto the game. We were playing Chaos on the Streets, and we happened to roll the scenario, Lost Prince. Since Richard Alpert was a tad huge and already pulling terrain duties, we went into my collection of random models, and with a bit of joking I found a perfect model. A dancing girl from the Reaper line that I bought years ago. So we decided to re-name the scenario in her honor....The Wayward Whore.

A pic of the Wayward Whore from a bit later. (I just realized that I'm going to have to do some heavy editing before I can repost this before I put it on some of the more respectable forums that I'm a member of)

Here's the battle breakdown;

LAZ (Skaven 276) vs. Megan (O&G 219) vs. Jim (Undead 249) vs. Tom (Dwarf 200)

Chaos on the Streets: The Lost Prince (The Wayward Whore)

Skaven Rout!
Orcs Voluntarily Rout!
Dwarfs completely destroyed!
Undead Victorious!

1. Who Killed Who:

Thunderer OoA Mohawk
Engineer shooting OoA BS II
Eshin Sorceror shooting OoA clansman in heavy armor
Thunderer OoA verminkin
verminkin curbstomps beardling
engineer shooting OoA giant rat
Eshin Sorceror shooting OoA orange beard
Orange Hair CC OOA verminkin
Dire Wolves curbstomp Big Un 1 after Necromancer casts life drain on him.
Vampire OoA orc Boy
Ogre OoA goblin spearman
Ghoul OoA Big Un 2.
Verminkin OoA thunderer
Verminkin OoA white beard
Beardling OoA verminkin
thunderer OoA BS I
Goblin shooting OoA direwolf
Ghoul OoA Helmet
Verminkin OoA Orc Shaman
Troll OoA Ogre
Ghoul OoA goblin w/spear
Thunderer OoA verminkin
Verminkin curbstomps engineer
Orc Cheiftain curbstomps thunderer
Direwolf Curbstomps goblin
Superghoul curbstomps goblin
Painted Dreg curbstomps Troll after Vampire Stunned.
Ghoul OoA Orcboy
thunderer shooting OoA ghoul
Balled dreg OoA thunderer
Ghoul OoA thunderer after Dreg stunned.
Vampire curbstomp beardling
ghoul curbstomp thunderer
Vampire curbstomp final beardling

2. Injury Results

Mohawk: 14- dead. That will teach me to spend time converting and sculpting a model.
BS I- 33 (-1 ini)
BS II- 34 (-1 WS)
Verminkin Club: x1: FR
Verminkin Spear: x3: all FR
Verminkin Sword x1: FR

Orc Shaman: arm wound miss next game
Big Un 1: 54 FR
Big Un 2: 52 FR
Helmet: 22 (-1 Move)
orc Boy:FR
orc boy: dead
Goblin w/ Spear x2: dead, FR
Goblin w/ Bow x2: FR FR

Ogre: FR
Dire Wolf: Dead
Ghoul: Dead

Engineer: 24 (stupid- which all things considered isn't that big of a deal with Ld 9)
Orange Hair: 31 (-1 BS)
White Hair: 46 FR
Beardling A+S: FR
Thunderer x5: FR, FR, FR, FR, FR
Clansman: dead
clansman: FR
Beardling: FR

Let's break it down by pics. I believe that I got pics of most of the action.

My setup;

Tom's setup; A quick note, I thought his set up was rather stupid when I first saw it. Lazy or some such, but those dwarves proved to be the immovable object in this game. He outlasted alot of the higher level warbands. Granted, he decided to fight until the bitter end, but it goes a long way to show how when Tom is with it, he's really with it.

Megan's setup:

Jim's setup:

Orcs Advance!

The Undead walk toward the Wayward Whore, who obviously is a fan of Twilight, since she wandered real close to them.

On Tom's turn, she must have realized that the Vampire was a Blood Dragon, and not Robert Pattinson, since she wandered away from them.

Dwarfs do a slight amount of maneuvering.

Goddamn Whore wanders away from me again.

I drop out of hiding with my infiltrators and hit Tom's line. This was a major piece of bad luck for me, since in the first exchange my CC-kitted night runner did nothing but whiff and then Tom's only piece of major luck, a thunderer (without a hand weapon!) took him out of Action.

Here chicka-baby! We gots the stones. *Snicker*

The Orcs try to show off thier manliness and go after the Wayward Whore.

Apparently, the Wayward Whore is a furry. She walked right up to my front line. Not my turn though, so I couldn't nab her.

The Undead advance with some bad intentions.

Tried to get another shot from a different direction.

Finally, I grabbed her, but it was not to last. As was my plan.

And some more Skaven Advances. Needless to say, I did more moving then just about anyone this early in the game.

Orcs advance, while the Dwarfs try to deal with the Black Skaven in thier midst. He hit them on turn 2, and remained there the rest of the game. Didn't get taken out, but didn't really do anything else either.

Jim advances and charges my line to take the Wayward Whore from me!

Some MORE advancement by Megan. Her plan was to take out Tom and then deal with the rest of us. Just as planned.

Eschewing the Wayward Whore, I charged Tom. I was mistaken in thinking that I would be able to get her back later. After this point, she was no where near where I could get to her in a reasonable amount of time.

And that Wayward Whore walks back toward the Undead, and the Orcs walk forward.

Jim measures to see if he can walk up to the Wayward Whore.

The answer? Not quite.

Overhead shot of the grand melee that was developing.

Ok, I lied. She did come near me, but I was really FOCUSED on killing Tom, so that I could kill Megan. According to plan, so far. I really wanted Jim to walk away with the Win in this match.

See this pic? This is basically how my rats stayed for the rest of the game. Me and Tom couldn't hurt each other...after he managed to kill a bunch of them.

Another overhead shot. It was taken like an hour later, but not much had changed, but I hadn't realized that at the time.

Goddamn Wayward Whore! Pick someone already!

More of me and Tom trying and failing to kill each other.

Go to the ghouls, girl!

Now, Megan's other grand plan came to fruition. She caught me in an anvil between her and Tom.

And who said the ghoul wouldn't get the girl?

Overhead of the grand guignol. Lots of close combat happening.

Jim arranges the planned decimation of Megan. He set it up well. She didn't see it coming.

Anyone else getting sick of Rats vs. Dwarfs? It seemed so damn exciting during the game, but really in pics, you can kinda see how nothing kept changing.

Overhead of the all the plans falling into place.

Now, it is starting to get really interesting, but its pretty much the same pic as before.

This was the one that we were all waiting for. The heavy hitters get involved. The Troll vs. The Undead Ogre (Ushabti). Battle of the Beasts!

Megan brings more forces to bear against me and Tom, to no avail, I might add.

That's because Jim had a devastating magic phase, and took out a good chunk of her warband. I've never seen him get off the 'life stealer' spell so many times in one game. He got it off three different times, and most of the time, he's hard pressed to get it off once.

Some undead move in to secure positions.

While the ghouls wiped most of Megan's warband off the board, I think we were all waiting for the Vampire to get involved in the Troll vs. Undead Ogre battle. Also with a bit of added Dreg!

Attrition was starting to effect me and Megan. She used the Orc muscian as a warboss for some reason. I guess she just likes drummers. That musician was the only hero she had left at this point, and Tom and I couldn't kill him.

A nice close up of the fight.

Troll finally took out the Ogre. However, he still had to deal with the Dreg and the decidedly not Twilight Vampire.

The last orc boy moves in to support his boss.

Then the Ghouls moved in, having killed almost everything of Megan's that moved.

More dregs move in to reinforce the boss.

Vampire and Troll, both down to one wound after many rounds of fighting.

And I finally routed off the table. Leaving the dwarves and the orcs to thier own devices. Tom rolled so many ones during the game, that we stopped calling them ones, and called them Toms. He didn't appreciate this, and called us all 'tards'.

The troll finally taken care of (by a dreg no less), the ghouls and others move in to finish off Megan's Orcs.

Megan seeing the writing on the wall, decided that cowardice is the better form of valor, and voluntarily routed so that she would have at least one hero left.

The Undead hit the hard as nails dwarves that were filled with more whiff then a fish market. The dwarves couldn't hit us, and we utterly failed to wound them.

I wonder what these two guys have in mind for the Wayward Whore once they get off the table? Probably just a nice meal of girl, knowing ghouls.

And the be-all end all battle was joined with the most unlikely of opponents, Tom and Jim. I think that Jim used this battle to work out some of the frustrations that he's had with working with Tom for almost a decade.

One more turn, and the Wayward Whore was good as home.

However, that was not to be, since Jim tabled Tom in that last round.

So that's all I wrote. Possibly later this week, I'll edit this for sensitive eyes, and post it elsewhere. Then I'll probably have the rest of the Post-Battle Sequence done.

Or not, I mean, its not like you can spell lazy without LAZ.