Saturday, 25 February 2012

Call Of The Lichemaster...

I managed to get a little bit distracted and over excited this week although I am determined this will not affect my initial plan to get the Goblinoid army back on the field of play first. North Star had a couple of Mantic Zombie hordes available at a sale price and I weakened and bought one. I'm not quite sure why, part of me was thinking they might have some use in my modern day zombie project, whilst I know that Lead Mountain does have a lot of undead in it including a number of the small Fantasy Tribe skeletons and zombies, as well as the original plastic skellies.

Whatever, the models are excellent, much better than the current GW zombies so before I really had a chance to think about it I ordered a Mantic Undead Army box off Think Wargames (it was a good discount). I will however put them away (after a quick peruse and play with) until the Goblinoids are finished (and I have started on the painting of these).

This will give me some time to think about the background of the army. I really don't like the Vampire Counts background, to my mind it makes no sense for vampires to command an army of skeletons and zombies, it would seem to be much more logical to have an army of human thralls who could also serve as a food source (which IIRC was the premise in Harlequin's Raven fantasy wargame). It may be that Heinrich Kemmler is drafted into the games as a Necromancer would seem the best bet to be in control of an undead army, we'll see (and that thralls idea is possibly worth revisiting as well...).

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Taking Stock...

Ok, so my basic idea is to get my old school Goblinoid army up to scratch to fight Saul's 6th/7th edition era miniature Dwarf army over the summer, consequently it was necessary to take stock of what miniatures I have sat around and could need repainting

I have decided that I'm not going to be be too precious in using only 1980's miniatures, or paint them in the GW style of the period (which I never liked) or use exclusively Citadel miniatures (some of my figures predate even them). So this evening I have had a rummage in my drawers (oo-er!) and discovered the following:

7 x Chronicle Orc Wolf Riders (pre-Citadel takeover Nick Lund sculpts)
4 x Chronicle Orc Wolf Riders (post-takeover Nick Lund sculpts)
32 x Citadel Goblin Wolf riders (Kev Adams sculpts)

2 x Citadel Goblin Wolf Battle Chariots (Kev Adams sculpts)
1 x Citadel Fantasy Tribe Goblin Boar Chariot (Perry Twins sculpt)
1 x Chronicle Orc Wolf Chariot (post -takeover) with Citadel Orc LOTR crew (1985 vintage)
1 x Grenadier Orc General Wolf Chariot (Nick Lund sculpt)

Fantasy Tribe & C16 Orcs (1980 - 83)
36 x Chronicle (post-takeover) and Grenadier Orcs (Nick Lund sculpts)
23 x Citadel Fantasy Tribe/C16 Orcs (Perry Twins sculpts)
16 x Grendel Orcs (Kev Adams sculpts)
18 x Harlequin/Black Tree Great Orcs (Kev Adams sculpts - these are really huge figures)
36 x Mantic Plastic Orcs

19 x Citadel Half-Orcs (Aly Morrison sculpts)

15 x Citadel Hobgoblins (Aly Morrison sculpts)
1 x Citadel Hobgoblin Warhound Handler with 3 Hounds (Aly Morrison sculpts)

Grom's Goblin Guard (1985)
35 x Citadel Fantasy Tribe Goblins (Perry Twins sculpts)
27 x Citadel Grom's Goblin Guard (Kev Adams sculpts)
40 x Citadel Night Goblin Spear (Skull Pass models)
6 x Citadel Night Goblin Fantatics (Kev Adams sculpts)

1 x Citadel Skull Crusher Goblin Trebuchet (with Night Goblin crew)
1 x Citadel Lead Belcher Goblin Organ Gun

Currently AWOL but I know they are around somewhere and just need hunting down...

1 x Citadel Goblin King's Boar Chariot
c. 30 x Citadel Fantasy Tribe Goblins
c. 20 x Chronicle Orcs (pre-takeover, very small by later standards)
c. 20 x Citadel Drastik Plastik Orc Spearmen
c, 20 Grenadier plastic Orcs

...think that should keep me busy! :-)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Scenario Based Wargaming...

1985 was, to my mind, the year Warhammer touched the peak. The second edition of Warhammer had been out a year and now came the scenario packs with Blood Bath at Orc's Drift leading the way. Why do I regard this as the peak? Well I've always been a fan of scenario based wargaming eschewing points based battles as soul destroying exercises lacking the colour and depth that scenario based games ooze. This was also the time that WRG and Newbury ruled the roost in historical gaming when army lists were de rigueur with Ancient Britons fighting Han Chinese on featureless tabletops.

Mudat's Mercenary Half-Orc Maniacs (1985)
With my love of Tolkien and Moorcock, Warhammer crashing onto the scene in 1983 was a godsend. I'd picked up The Lidless Eye fantasy supplement for WRG Ancients but found the rules impenetrable. Ok, first edition Warhammer was clunky and had some problems but it was a breath of fresh air, even encouraging cross genre games. Warhammer II fixed most of the problems and whilst it contained a points system for those that wanted it it was an open ended game that allowed you to create the army you wanted, even (shock, horror!) mixed race armies of good and bad.

The emphasis of the game was to have fun and play scenarios with special rules invented just for these battles (remember the serving wench in Orc's Drift who would go into a frenzy if the busker was killed?). Yes, there was an element of role-play/skirmish gaming to this all but it added to the colour and flavour so who cared whether it was 'balanced' or not (heck, show me a historical battle that was ever balanced?)

So I never worked out how much my Goblinoid army costed in points and I'm not changing that now. It either won or it lost, the game and the stories it created was the thing. I bought the models I liked, painted them and played with them and to my mind that is how it should be. I hated maths at school so why pick a hobby with it in?!

Unfortunately GW lost the taste for the scenario/campaign boxes and 1987 saw the third edition with its additional hardback Warhammer Armies book that started to organise the way Warhammer battles were to be played along points lines. Fine for tournament play, but it seeped into the psyche of the game that even friendly games ended up being 1500 or 2000 points and the colour and flavour of the game drained away...

Of course generating scenarios each week takes time and that is something most of us don't have these days so the attraction of points based line 'em up games grows. However this is just laziness on our part as there are many sources of ready made wargames scenarios that just require a modicum of effort to use with Warhammer.

First off is Charles Grant's Scenarios For Wargames released in 1981 by WRG (no, I can't believe that either). 52 generic scenarios most of which can be easily converted to Ancients (and therefore by default to Fantasy) and even those that can't such as the one with a train can be converted to fantasy with some thought (a mad Old World scientist's steam wagon?). Bit hard to get hold of these days, but eBay can be your friend if you are patient.

In the meantime you can buy the Battlegames Table Top Teasers Special which contains 13 of Grant's scenarios and is well worth buying...

Of course you can invent your own or convert others. One of my favourites over the years was a Arab-Israeli scenario written by Bruce Rea-Taylor for his Challenger modern rules with a rear guard force dicing to stop retreating units join the rear guard before the mass of the enemy turns up. Many great games in many periods had with that one.

History is full of ideas, even more modern actions can be used to inspire. Operation Market Garden with dwarf balloonists and glider troops capturing a bridge behind enemy lines?

All in all I hope this whets the appetite and gives you some idea why I for one prefer scenario based games with their unique stories and background than lining up a set amount of troops and moving them across the board to meet some others in the middle. After all, if that is what I wanted to play I might as well try chess...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Road Goes Ever On...

On my regular blog I have been ruminating on Warhammer 2nd edition and how much fun I had as a teenager with the game compared to its current hefty version. The end result of this navel gazing was a decision to revisit the eighties this summer after my son finishes his GCSE's and play some 2nd edition games to see if he gets the same level of enjoyment out of it I did.

Chronicle Wolf Rider (1984)
To this end I am looking to take my old Goblinoid army out of retirement, spruce up certain units to C21st painting standards (my technique at the time was enamels washed with sepia oil!) and beat seven kinds of the proverbial out of his modern plastic Dwarf army. Depending on time and how this goes I may dig out some other forces such as my old Undead to see if I can form an army and a pile of new Elves that Saul has but have yet to see paint.

This blog will record the journey and include battle reports assuming we get that far and hopefully encourage some of you to set the time machine for the "good olde days" and have some fun even if just as a short term project...