Coming at you like a flung pancake A Monster Mash:
MEGA Battle Report:
Storm of Magic
Painting Big Beasties PLUS – FREE
Mantic Journal Lergy miniature!
The Army Doctor:
‘My Kingdom for a Herdstone’
A magazine for gamers, hobbyists and collectors
CREDITS THE UNSEEN LERKER TEAM
Graphic Design: Heath Moritz, Anna Rutkowska Artwork: John Blake (cover), Zach KinWilde (comic), Max Karpsten (Lergy), Angelika Rasmus (battle report) Contributors: Michael Biggs, Steve Wood, Bernard Lewis, Nick Peart, Rob Henson, Andy Isherwood, Chris Brookins, Greg Dann & Dan Comeau www.unseenlerker.com email@example.com Want to advertise in Unseen Lerker? Well now you can! A variety of options available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER This magazine is completely unofficial and in no way endorsed by Games Workshop Limited. The Chaos devices, the Chaos logo, Citadel, Citadel Device, the Double-Headed/ Imperial Eagle device, ‘Eavy Metal, Forge World, Games Workshop, Games Workshop logo, Golden Demon, Great Unclean One, the Hammer of Sigmar logo, Horned Rat logo, Keeper of Secrets, Khemri, Khorne, Lord of Change, Nurgle, Skaven, the Skaven symbol devices, Slaanesh, Tomb Kings, Trio of Warriors, Twin Tailed Comet Logo, Tzeentch, Warhammer, Warhammer Online, Warhammer World logo, White Dwarf, the White Dwarf logo, and all associated marks, names, races, race insignia, characters, vehicles, locations, units, illustrations and images from the Warhammer world are either ®, TM and/or © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2009, variably registered in the UK and other countries around the world. Used without permission. No challenge to their status intended. All Rights Reserved to their respective owners.
Unseen Lerker is back, and bigger and better than ever! This issue we’re all about upping the ante; we’ve got our biggest battle report ever (more players, more points, more pages, more table!) and to show you that we really are back in force we’ve included a couple of freebies with this issue. The first is a copy of the latest Mantic Journal. Now, Mantic is a company that shares our love of big stuff (or simply ‘mega’ as we tend to refer to it). They’re all about big armies and big battles, for modest wallets. I’ve seen this company grow over the past few years and have to say I think that ‘big’ is certainly a word to feature in their future too, as it were. Check out the Journal, scope out their website, and keep your eyes peeled for future developments from this spring-chicken-turned-Godzilla company. Secondly, if you’re a subscriber you should now also be in possession of your very own exclusive Lergy the Lerker figure! You can’t get this little critter any other way (although you can buy him some friends – see elsewhere in this issue for details), so covet him jealously. His diet includes fish, oats, bread, planks of wood, nails, plaster, tyres, porcelain fixtures, and lightbulbs. That’s all from me for now – I’m going editorial-lite this issue in order to bring you even more MEGA! Isaac “Bobo” Alexander, Editor
Editor: Isaac “Bobo” Alexander
The Army Doctor This issue MD Biggs accepts a Beastmen-related challenge – and he’s not allowed to reach for the usual toys...
It’s A Wrap!
A Monster Mash
OCD-inclined editor Isaac Alexander takes a look at how to safely package and post painted miniatures. The four participants of this issue’s Storm of Magic battle report chat a bit about the new monsters they had to paint up for the huge game.
Battle Report: Storm of Magic 4 Players. 10’ table. 10,000 points. That’s a lot of mega!
The Test Dummies Infamous dungeon dwelling duo Greg and Dan get their hands on Fantasy Flight’s new Lord of the Rings Card Game.
Michael Biggs is...
THE ARMY DOCTOR Dear Army Doctor, I am an old school WFB player who is returning back to Warhammer after being diverted for a while by Warmachine. As it has been a year since I last played and I am in a painting mood I have decided to drop my trusty and much loved Dark Elves and finish the Beast army I planned for 8th. But I have a problem as I want to use the things that are rarely used; I want to avoid things that the Interwebz say you must use, so if possible I want to avoid Herdstone and lots of mages magic spam. I’d ideally like to make use of the ambush rules as well, opponent depending. The comp system most of my friends play with is loosely based on the SCGT comp rules. Army Doctor, can you throw some ideas around which are outside the box of normal thinking and get a Beastmen army that is different and fun? Regards Rob Michell
This case looks like a real tough one (why oh why does nobody need help with their Dark Elf and Daemon armies?). Not only are Beastmen widely regarded as one of the weakest races available to the budding Warhammer general, but you’re further constraining yourself with another set of restrictions. Finally, I’ve got to admit to having little experience with goatish troops since the heady days of 6th edition Hordes of Chaos armies in all their mixed glory. With these caveats in mind, I spent a long evening with the Beastmen army book and a copy of Army Builder. The Beastmen army really relies on magic to support its troops in combat, as they are pretty mediocre on their own, but the Primal Fury rules combine really well with augment spells in protracted combats. Furthermore, the Beastmen army really struggles to do anything other than combat, its shooting is limited to a few Ungor skirmishers and the ridiculously overpriced Cygor, and the spell lores available to its Shamen are restricted to those with little long range damage potential. Because of these limitations, I knew I wanted a decent magic phase to back up my combat troops and a good number of cheap, throwaway units to get in the way of tough enemy units and to try and ensure combats happened in my turn so I’d get a magic phase to augment my troops or hex my enemies before the fighting started. So, with the theory done and some Beastmen figures kindly lent to me by Bernard Lewis, I brought my first beastly horde to the table to fight the Dark Elf army of Greg Milne, using the Blood and Glory Scenario.
Beastman List 1: ■■
Army Doctor Top Tip: You can find the composition guidelines for the South Coast GT here http://www.heelanhammer.com/SCGT/ SouthCoastGTRulesPack011Final.pdf It’s an excellent tournament and well worth looking out for in 2012. Get your tickets fast though. It sells out super fast!
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Beastlord, Heavy Armour, Shield, Gnarled Hide, Biting Blade, Dragonhelm, Dawnstone, Crown of Command. Great Bray Shaman, Level 4, Talisman of Preservation, Dispel Scroll, Shadow Magic. Wargor, Battle Standard Bearer, Heavy Armor, Shield, Banner of Eternal Flame. 2 Units of 40 Gor, Full Command, Extra Hand Weapons 6 Units of 5 Ungor Raiders 4 Tuskgor Chariots 30 Bestigor, Full Command, Banner of Discipline 5 Harpies 5 Harpies, Scouts
Subtle it ain’t, but then Beastmen lists never are. I envisioned having a solid Leadership 10 centre, with the Beastlord and Bestigor flanked by Gor. The chariots would hopefully keep enemy diverting units honest thanks to their long charge range and maybe join in combats in subsequent rounds. Half the Ungor would make use of the rather disappointing Beastmen ambush rules to try and threaten any enemy war machines, while the other Ungor units, alongside the Harpies, would try and box in my opponents units so I could fight combats on my terms. To support my units, I decided that a level 4 with Shadow magic would give me a good mix of augment and hexes as well as access to Pit of Shades for dealing with pesky Steam Tanks, Cauldrons of Blood and other low or zero Initiative targets. As it would be difficult to keep him totally protected, I plumped for a 4+ ward to try and keep him safe. The Crown of Command seemed essential to allow my larger units to wear down their opposition and the Dawnstone, Dragonhelm and Gnarled Hide would give the Beastlord a 1+ save to keep him fighting even if the oh-so-easy-to-kill Gor were dying in droves. Army Doctor Top Tip: If your army General is in a unit with the Standard of Discipline, other units can make use of his now improved leadership. Meanwhile, despite not being able to make use of the Inspiring Presence rule, the unit the General is in still uses his leadership as it’s the highest value available. This is a cheeky way of circumnavigating the problem with the banner, although it does make your army a little less flexible.
Greg’s Dark Elves were a variation on a list that is commonly seen on tables at UK, tournaments with a large block of frenzied Corsairs and a block of Black Guard forming the main bulk of the army. These tough combat units were supported by a Cauldron of Blood (who was also the Battle Standard) and a Level 4 Shadow Sorceress to help increase their damage output or give them extra protection. Dark Riders and a Noble on a Dark Pegasus provided the dual role of adding some shooting to the army and generally getting in the way, a small unit of crossbow elves added to the army’s firepower. The army
was finished off with a tooled up Highborn to lead it and the near ubiquitous Hydra. The game started off badly thanks to my inexperience with the army combined with poor deployment, causing my Bestigor to panic off the board on the first turn! I thought they had Leadership 8, rather than their actual Leadership of 7, and tried to get a bit tricky with my deployment, putting the Beastlord in one of the Gor hordes and relying on the Standard of Discipline to keep the Bestigor in line. Of course I rolled double nines for a panic test followed by the same to rally the Bestigor in my first turn. I could complain about luck – the chance of failing four Ld 8 tests in a row is only just over half a percent, but if you take unnecessary chances, then these things will eventually come back and bite you. I tried to claw my way back into the game, irresistibly Pitting Greg’s Hydra early on and trying to use the chariots to pressure his shooting and stop his diverting units getting in the way; this would allow me to use my Harpies to force him to overrun into my Gor and then hopefully Shadow magic his units to death. However, while the chariots just about succeeded in doing their job, dying in the process, the fact that I only had one spell that affected Greg’s army outside of combat meant he still had his Dispel Scroll when the crucial combat came around and he was able to stop my magic significantly affecting him. A few rounds of combat and a successful Mindrazor from Greg later and the game was over as my General and his unit was wiped out by the Cauldron-boosted remains of his Black Guard, leaving my army broken. Besides getting a reminder that changing your plans on the fly without fully thinking them through often leads to disaster, I learned some important things about the Beastmen army. Adding scout to a unit Harpies was a waste of points, as I had no real reason to scout them, in fact using their scout ability would probably have been worse than deploying them normally. The six units of Ungor were cute (I ambushed three of them) and harassed Greg’s Dark Riders surprisingly well, but were easy to kill and it was difficult to have the non-ambushing units in places where they would be useful and not cause multiple panic tests.
Engineer with an artillery battery of two Cannons, a Mortar, a Helblaster and a Hellstorm Rocket Battery. Ouch!
Shadow magic however, was the real disappointment. I, and many others, have used it to great success, in fact it’s one of the most common lores taken at UK tournaments. However, with so few spells that affected the enemy outside of the close combat phase, I couldn’t force my opponent to make a choice. Greg could hold on to all his magic defences until the crucial round of combat without losing models to magic missiles or direct damage spells as punishment for doing so. However, with my big mistake making the game such an uphill battle I decided to take the same army for my next game, against the army’s owner Bernard and his Empire, to give the army a fair crack so to speak and see if I could get a better result second time round. Bernard brought what looked like a huge Empire army: he didn’t have a Steam Tank and had put the points saved into lots of extra troops. His force consisted of an Arch Lector and Battle Standard in a big block of Halberdiers with accompanying detachments, a large unit of Knights and 30 Flagellants. Supporting the army was a unit of Pistoliers, some Outriders, a couple of level two Wizards and an
We played the Dawn Attack scenario, with Bernard deploying first and the dice gods favouring me by making it very hard for him to adequately protect his war machines from my Harpies and ambushing Ungor. This was very fortunate for me as Bernard’s artillery seemed laser guided in the first few turns with nary a misfire or a scatter in sight. Thankfully I was able to stay out of Helblaster range and two of my ambushing units turned up in roughly the correct area of the board to threaten his war machines. Thanks to Bernard throwing away his Pistoliers in an attempt to slow the main bulk of my army down, my support units were able to take down (or at least pin in combat – Ungors really are rubbish) all of his war machines by the end of my third turn, by which time the Flagellants had effectively traded with one of the Gor blocks, wiping them out and then having their few remaining religious zealots run over by chariot wheels. Unfortunately, the witheringly accurate bombardment had left my other two mainline units looking rather sorry for themselves and I was unable to press home my advantage, having to satisfy myself with hanging back and trying to combine Pit of Shades and Miasma to take out Bernard’s big knight bus. I did have one very cheeky bit of luck however, with a unit of Ungor that had turned up on the wrong side of the battlefield killing a wizard, after he miscast in a house wounding himself and reducing the detachment he was hiding in to few enough men that I could charge in with the Ungor and nick the last wound off him in combat! I eventually got Bernard’s knights after it became obvious he was not going to get the points back from his lost artillery without taking a big risk and being aggressive with them, and the extra points from that unit turned a small win into a more pleasingly large one.
Despite winning however, I still had major reservations about the army. Two units of Gor seemed unnecessary, scouting the Harpies was yet again a waste of time (I deployed them behind a house, about two inches outside my deployment zone) and the Shadow magic was again disappointing. The ambushing Ungor were a great success, but I couldn’t help thinking that it was the scenario and my opponent’s army combined that made them good, and in a game with less random deployment Bernard would have easily been able to protect his war machines from my beastly ambushers. With these reservations in mind, I ran through possibilities in my head on the three hour drive I had down to Portsmouth, where I was planning to get some games in against Dan Heelan, the current England ETC captain and general podcasting superstar, to see if I could come up with an army I was happy with and still fit Rob’s criteria of not being the standard Beastman list. My second list attempt was thus.
Beastman List 2: ■■ ■■
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Great Bray Shaman, Level 4, General, Death Magic. Doombull, Extra Hand Weapon, Heavy Armour, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Preservation, Arabyan Carpet. Gorebull, Battle Standard Bearer, Extra Hand Weapon, Heavy Armor, Gnarled Hide, Dragonhelm, Dawnstone. Bray Shaman, Dispel Scroll, Beasts Magic. 2 Units of 40 Gor, Full Command, Extra Hand Weapons. 2 Units of 5 Ungor. 2 Tuskgor Chariots. 2 Units of 5 Harpies. 7 Minotaurs, Extra Hand Weapons, Standard Bearer, Musician.
The flying Doombull was something I’d seen taken before at tournaments, and looking both fun to use and potentially powerful if a bit of a liability in certain match ups. With him not being able to join units, I opted to have the Great Bray with Death Magic to try and do a bit more in the early magic phases. I also made him the general, figuring he was less likely to die and give away an extra hundred points. As the Doombull took up a large part of my Lords allocation, I had to include a level one Bray Shaman to fit a Dispel Scroll in the army and to go for an occasional Wyssan’s Wildform. With the Great Bray being my general, my leadership would be rather shaky at best, hence I took the immune to psychology Gorebull as a Battle Standard Bearer to make a unit frenzied and, not wanting to lose Primal Fury, took a unit of Minotaurs to accompany him and give him and the Doombull an extra bit of protection by way of a potential Look out Sir! roll. To further insure myself against my own poor leadership, I had fewer throwaway units in the army making it easier to avoid causing panic tests by staying more than 6” away from my most important units. Finally,
I decided to give using two large units of Gor one last try figuring that, without the Bestigor, I could make better use of them. After kindly making me a cup of tea, Dan got out his Bretonnian army. It consisted of very few actual knights, with two large units of Peasants backed up by Trebuchets, archers, Heavens and Beasts magic forming a solid centre while a Lord on a Pegasus and three units of his flying Pegasus Knights chums flitted about being as annoying as possible. We played the Blood and Glory Scenario, and my fears about the ambushing Ungors’ effectiveness were clearly well founded as Dan expertly protected his Trebuchets from any potential Harpy or ambushing attacks. I was glad I hadn’t spent the extra points on multiple ambushing units. I couldn’t really trust the rest of Dan’s deployment as, with a vanguard move and a march, the Pegasus units could be virtually anywhere, so I settled for having a strong centre with the Doombull hopefully stopping the Pegasus (Pegasi? Pegasuses? Who knows? I’m pretty sure there was only ever supposed to be one of the buggers, not ten!) from getting too aggressive on one flank and the chariots doing something similar on the other. The Minotaurs would take advantage of Dan’s forces praying and try and be as aggressive as possible before the Trebuchets rendered them useless. After the near obligatory Dan giving me the first turn, I moved forward as aggressively as possible. Dan however, had made a full on attack very difficult by using his vanguard moves to threaten my flanks and wizards if I went into Full-On Attack Mode (TM). The Doombull in particular had to be very wary of Dan’s Lord until I found out whether he had heroic killing blow or not. My cautious approach meant I was unable to get in range of sniping Dan’s wizards with my Death magic and I had to satisfy myself trying to pick off the Lord, which did little.
Dan then surprised me by being very aggressive with his Lord, putting him in charge range of a chariot, an opportunity I was keen to take as I had a real chance of doing some damage to him and I could try and pin him in place so I could be more aggressive with the rest of the army. One heroic killing blowed chariot later, I knew to keep my Doombull well away from Dan’s general!
The Trebuchets took a real toll, and I had to make a choice: sit there and take it and hope to snipe off a character or two with my Death magic, or to give Dan some charges with his Pegasus units and rely on my rather dodgy leadership to pass a few steadfast tests and grind them out over several turns. With Damsels having magic resistance and the ward save from the Blessing, I opted for the latter option. I managed to get stuck into the Men-at-Arms with the Doombull and what remained of the Minotaurs, who racked up an impressive number of attacks before dying, leaving just the two characters. While this was happening, a poor flee roll meant my Great Bray General was ridden down by Dan’s Lord meaning that as soon as the last Minotaur eventually succumbed to the buffed up peasants, my break point was reached. We decided to continue playing and, although I managed to claw some points back, Dan was still well ahead on victory points and I had to chalk up another loss. After playing the game, I looked again at the list. I was very pleased with the flying Doombull. Even with Dan’s two Trebuchets and killing blow Lord, he was never in any major danger and stopped the highly mobile Bretonnians from running rings around my army. The other Minotaurs were less impressive however, and I decided to go back to the harder to wipe out Bestigor. I was also again disappointed with the Great Bray Shaman. I found it very tough to get him in range to cast his spells without taking risks and Dan was easily able to stop most of the magic he cast. The army’s low leadership was also a problem; a bad panic test kept my second unit of Gor from doing anything for the vast majority of the game, and it generally just made it harder to take risks. I decided to take a lesson from my experiments with Wood Elves in Issue 9’s column and try to see how the army did without a level 4 wizard.
Beastman List 3: ■■
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Beastlord, Heavy Armour, Shield, Sword of Might, Dragonhelm, Dawnstone, Gnarled Hide. Doombull, Extra Hand Weapon, Heavy Armour, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Preservation, Arabyan Carpet. Wargor, Battle Standard Bearer, Light Armour (it was all I could afford!), Shield, Chalice of Dark Rain. Bray Shaman, Level 2, Dispel Scroll, Death Magic. Bray Shaman, Level 2, Channeling Staff, Beasts Magic. 40 Gor, Full Command, Extra Hand Weapons. 2 Tuskgor Chariots. 3 Units of 5 Ungor Raiders. 30 Bestigor, Full Command, Standard of Discipline. 2 Units of 5 Harpies. 2 Razorgor Chariots.
This time Dan, in preparation for his forthcoming European Team Championship trip, took the opportunity to use the newly released Danish Lizardman list. Two Slaan, with Shadow and Light magic, headed up Dan’s magical assault, they were supported by a Skink Priest – it looked like my decision to not take a lord level wizard was going to be tested in the most vigorous manner possible! The core of Dan’s army was two Saurus blocks, both just over 30 strong. These were supported by the usual Lizardman skirmishers and chaff, with 6 units of 10 Skinks, 2 minimum sized units of both Terradons and Chameleon Skinks and 3 Salamanders. As it was just before the ETC, we played the Battleline scenario. The game itself however, didn’t involve much battling being rather stand-offish. I was unwilling to commit to fighting the Saurus, especially with the large number of potential buffs / de-buffs the twin Slaan could cast, and Dan, not used to having so many Saurus, was in my opinion nowhere near aggressive enough with his main blocks. Over the six turns we traded chaff, with my chariots, Harpies and Doombull stopping Dan’s many skirmishers from encircling my army, but still being punished for running down the odd Skink here and there with a cloud of poisoned darts, even with Chalice protection. It soon became clear that, with his more flexible auxiliary units, Dan was getting the better of this exchange and despite not committing the main body of his force he was going to get a small win. A desperate attempt to fluke my way back into the game by sniping a Slaan with Death magic unsurprisingly failed and the game petered out to a slightly frustrating finish as I was unable to take the fight to Dan without turning my small loss into a massacre. There was however, one positive note for me to cling onto. Despite Dan’s double Slaan assault, my casualties from the magic phase were surprisingly light and I got off as many spells as I did with a level 4 in the army (i.e. very few indeed). With that in mind, I looked at possible ways to increase my ability to deal with my opponents chaff for my final Beastmen list.
Beastmen Lists 4: ■■
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Beastlord, Heavy Armour, Shield, Sword of Might, Dragonhelm, Dawnstone, Gnarled Hide. Doombull, Extra Hand Weapon, Heavy Armour, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Preservation, Arabyan Carpet. Wargor, Battle Standard Bearer, Heavy Armour, Shield, Banner of Eternal Flame. Bray Shaman, Level 2, Shard of the Herdstone, Lore of Shadow. Bray Shaman, Level 1, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Beasts. Bray Shaman, Level 1, Ruby Ring of Ruin, Lore of Death. 40 Gor, Full Command, Extra Hand Weapons. 20 Ungor, Full Command. 4 Tuskgor Chariots. 5 Ungor Raiders, Musician. 29 Bestigor, Full Command, Standard of Discipline. 2 Units of 5 Harpies.
Okay, let me grab the bull by the horns and address the elephant in the room right off the bat. Preferably by fitting in as many clichés as possible! I know Rob wanted to avoid the Herdstone and magic spam if possible, but I was just not sure that it is actually possible. The major problem I had over all my previous games was dealing with the enemy outside of the combat phase. Therefore, for my final game against Dan, I caved in to temptation and took the Herdstone for extra dice to try and force more magic through, and the Ruby Ring to give me a magic missile to help deal with the small units of skirmishers, flyers and fast cavalry that were causing my army so many problems and keeping my chariots from supporting my combat blocks. I also took a small unit of Ungor to baby-sit the Shamen so they could stay near the Herdstone without coming into too much danger from magic and shooting. Dan, fresh back from the ETC rocked up with what he described as “the new hotness”. A Vampire Counts army with a large unit of Black Knights containing his Vampire Lord, a Necromancer and a Wight King Battle Standard Bearer with the oh so inevitable Drakenhoff Banner. This cavalry “bus” was supported by several ghoul units, a couple of units of 3 Fell Bats, a small unit of Wraiths and a Vampire Thrall. We played Battleline again and, with Dan having so many points in one combat unit, the game was much more eventful than our last. The Ruby Ring proved its worth by catching Dan out and severely damaging his Wraiths. Thanks to the Herdstone, I was able to follow this up by Spirit Leeching the last Wraith standing and wiping out what could prove to be a troublesome unit. As Dan’s cavalry advanced, I tried to engage his army on multiple fronts so he couldn’t support just one combat with his magic and the Thrall’s Helm of Commandment. All four chariots charged into one ghoul unit on my right flank and my Gor got stuck into combat on my left with another Ghoul unit. The chariots embarrassingly were torn to splinters by the Ghouls they faced, although not without taking a lot of the undead with them, whereas the Gor, thanks to my magic support, were just about holding their own. With my Bestigor threatening to mop up both depleted Ghoul units, Dan was forced to commit his cavalry, charging the elite Beastmen head on. Some careful screening with a Harpy unit prevented him from making contact with my Battle Standard and his oh so important flaming banner and the combat that would decide the game was on! The combat lasted several rounds with horrendous casualties on both sides. The 125 point Drakenhoff Banner was rendered almost ineffective by my 10 point banner of Eternal flame as it only worked against my high initiative Doombull, who flew into the side of the knights to support the combat. My Beastlord got stuck into a scary challenge with Dan’s Wight King, but managed to dodge any killing blow shenanigans and take out the Battle Standard. Eventually, with only a handful of Bestigor left, Dan’s Vampire Lord succumbed to combat resolution and crumbled. My Gor unit had been virtually destroyed by Dan’s Ghouls as I had been forced to pour all my magic into the main combat, but the Ghoul units had suffered
severely too and, with Dan using his magic to support the knights, were only a fraction of their starting strength. Easily too small to survive the numerous crumble tests they were going to be shortly taking… Until Dan revealed his Lord had the Carstien Ring! His lord reappeared in his bunker unit and what looked for a second like certain victory was cruelly taken away from me and I still needed to get some points with my crippled army. In the final few turns, the Doombull proved to be the star of the show. With his attacks nearing double figures thanks to the protracted combat with the knights, he slammed into the depleted ghouls wiping out a unit of 14 in one round of combat! Army Doctor Top Tip: Always remember to direct attacks on enemy champions where possible. If I hadn’t done this earlier in my game with Dan, my Doombull would have been stuck in a challenge and Dan could have saved his Ghouls.
At the end of the game, we totalled up the victory points and, despite his sneaky ring tricks, Dan had lost, allowing my beastly escapades to end on a high note. So what did I learn from my few weeks as a Beastmen general? The army really suffers from a lack of flexibility as there are very few ways to affect the battle outside of the movement and close combat phases. By not taking the Shard of the Herdstone, you’re making the already tough task of being a Beastmen general even harder as you really need your magic phases to support your army, both by doing some damage outside of close combat and to make sure your lightly armoured troops don’t die in droves. Taking a Beastmen army to a tournament already makes you stand out from the crowd. There are very few Beast armies on the UK tournament scene, and I’m sure the same is similar around the world as Beastmen just aren’t that competitive at the moment. The question you’ve got to ask yourself as a Beastmen player is “Is taking an unusual version of an already little played army more important than being competitive?” If you’re happy with losing most of your games, and sometimes not even being able to do much about it then I’d go ahead and take a list without any of the common items. But if you want to be competitive with the armies on the middle tables of a tournament, let alone the nastier lists that many of the other army books can field, then you need to be prepared to take some of the more commonly seen items. After all, just taking Beastmen in the first place makes you stand out from the crowd, so why not have a little fun while you’re doing it? Do you have a Warhammer ailment that needs curing? The Army Doctor is here to help. Write to him today for your free consultation – you could even become famous. Please include what composition (if any!) you usually use and the latest version of your army list (if you have one) email@example.com.
Who were the Landsknecht? Or more pertinentlyâ€Śwho do they remind you of? Lotte Whitmire
The real life Landsknecht were a troop of capable, fearsome and gaudily dressed mercenary soldiers who worked for anyone who asked during the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Originally formed by the German king, and trained by Swiss mercenaries they began as specialists in pike warfare, but after working alongside other armies expanded their skills in to other weapons. Most notably, swords. Very large swords, called DĂśppelhanders, because, yes, you guessed it, you needed both hands to use them. The swords were used only by the most experienced of the troops, who received double pay to compensate for the difficulty of managing to chop the pikes of oncoming armies with a 70â€? sword. Whilst the other members of units, which ranged in size from a couple of thousand to ten thousand, carried pikes in a square formation at the front, the swordsmen worked their magic from the back. The gigantic swords were not the only noticeable thing about the Landsknecht. These talented warmongers, who fought in all the major conflicts of the period, were also fashion leaders. Exempt from the tough sumptuary laws that were all over Europe, and prevented average folk from
wearing colourful attractive clothing, the Landsknecht made the most of this privilege and wore every colour going. Their outfits were characterised by slash and puff, a style where they would cut the top layer of clothing and pull the under layer through, multi-coloured tights and oversize feathery berets. It would be fair to say that hiding behind bushes and sneaking up on the enemy was unlikely to work out well for the Landsknecht.
Gaudy coloured outlandish clothing, big hats and giant swords…now who do they remind you of? We can tell you who they reminded us of…The Empire Greatswords from Games Workshop. Now what we realised next is that they are so like Landsknechts that we actually can’t tell the difference between Artizan Landsknechts and Games Workshop Greatswords, can you? Curiously, the Games Workshop Greatswords, set of 10 are £25, whilst the Artizan figures are £9.60 for eight. Which means building up your army will be quite a lot cheaper, but just as garishly clothed. Not to mention that the Artizan chaps are metal, so more forgiving to accidents (though not appropriate for chewing if that’s
your bag), and will serve you well if you choose to dabble in historical gaming at any point.
Aaaaand That’s A Wrap! Isaac Alexander
Safely sending miniatures in the post is something that many of us involved in the wargaming hobby will have to do at some point. It sounds simple on the surface, but what’s the best way to do it? How safe do you need to be, and what is too paranoid? Seeing as I have to wrap and post about a hundred miniatures a week for the painting Studio, I thought I might as well share some insight on the topic.
Bubblewrap is widely recognised as the most useful wrapping material around, and it’s actually very easy to get ahold of – any old supermarket or Pound Shop equivalent should have an appropriately sized roll to suit your needs. Not to be underestimated is the humble plastic carrier/ shopping bag – considering how useful these are, I am surprised that they give them away for free! You can wrap them around models, fill gaps inside boxes, layer them to create padding. They’re soft and plentiful, like women of my homeland. Ahem.
Part 1 – Packaging Materials
When selecting what to wrap as an example, I wanted to find something that would be challenging and relevant. Seeing as at the Studio we’re currently selling ‘pro-painted’ Necron armies like lemonade on a hot day, these seemed pretty perfect.
Amazing is the number of stories I’ve heard where someone has received a box full of miniatures – and the packaging technique can be described using exactly the phrase ‘a box full of miniatures’. Loosely tossing models into a box, or even a padded jiffy bag, can be acceptable depending on the circumstance (say they’re still on the sprues, or old and dented and in need of repairwork and painting anyway) but if you want your miniatures to arrive in the same number of pieces they started the journey in, some more precautions really do need to be taken.￼ Obviously as I do this as part of my business I am somewhat spoilt when it comes to packaging materials. I don’t expect the run of the mill wargamer to have a 50m roll of bubblewrap, kilos of foam, a fortress of cardboard boxes and enough sticky tape to fix the Titanic, but there are far more every day solutions to be found.
Part 2 – Mummification
Rather than go for the old “and here’s one I prepared earlier!” trick, I’ll actually take you through a step-by-step guide on how to correctly wrap a model, which you can then apply to the rest of your intended mummifyees*. A Triarch Praetorian seemed a fitting test subject. The new Necron kits come in about fifty trillion pieces, but with a good plastic glue (Revell Contacta, the one with the needle – highly recommended) they’re actually not that fragile at all. He did have a big protruding weapon though, which is always the most challenging sort of thing to wrap. I could have chosen to wrap a single-piece plastic High Elf Swordmaster or something, but where would the fun in that have been!
*inventing words is fun.
How to deal with protruding parts: pad it, pad it good! You must have something soft and pad-like around the house. Spare foam from your army case, sliced up and scrunched plastic bags, heck, you could even just cut up a cheap sponge that you use to do the dishes. Just make sure that it’s an appropriate size and shape to provide support for the long and pokey thing you’re trying to protect. It’s not essential to pad both sides of the pokey-outybit (yes, that is the technical term) but I’d definitely recommend it. Remember that the intent here is to provide a sort of mini mattress to absorb any pressure during the postman’s no doubt fraught journey to deliver your models. Having recently wrapped and sent a Zombie Dragon to Germany, trust me when I say there’s no such thing as too much padding!
Next you want to slice yourself up a nice strip of bubble wrap. The length of the strip will be entirely dependent on the size (height & thickness) of your model. What you’re looking for is a preferred 2 layers of bubblewrap around the entire miniature once you’re done.You don’t really need any more than that for plastic miniatures – as mentioned they’re pretty sturdy already. For metal miniatures I would DOUBLE that, at a minimum. When actually wrapping the model you want to avoid putting pressure on any of the protruding parts. Don’t be constrained by neatness, just wrap around in whatever fashion suits best until you create an even height around the entire model; you’re trying to fill the valleys and create as much of a ‘rounded’ mini-package as possible. I always seal the bubblewrap using masking tape rather than sellotape – so that the recipient can actually see where to unwrap it!
That’s pretty much the jist of it. As you can see you can then apply this to models of any size and shape, just follow the same principles. For some models (mainly infantry and cavalry) they are often ‘flat’ enough to wrap 2-3 together in one strip of bubble wrap; just make sure there’s a layer of wrapping between each one so that they don’t scrape each others’ paint off.
Part 3 – Enter, Transport Vehicle￼ So with your models all nice and securely wrapped up, we now need to find a really, really big envelope to put them in....actually, perhaps not ey? Cardboard boxes are your friend. The sturdier the better, obviously – I am pretty paranoid myself so don’t use anything that isn’t double-walled, but if you can’t get ahold of that you can easy engineer/upgrade (or ‘Pimp’, if you will) your box by use of reinforcing the insides with extra cardboard or foam or plastic bags. When it comes to acquiring cardboard boxes, it’s often easier said than done. The details of its acquisition are irrelevant – buy one, pilfer
Make sure the box is full with padding right to the brim, fold down the sides, seal it up with a judicious amount of sturdy tape, and hey presto, there you have it! One fully wrapped, fully secure army! Using the above technique I’m pretty damn confident that you can send painted wargames miniatures to anywhere in the world and they will arrive in excellent condition – one of the sales points we use at the Studio is that our miniatures are ready to put straight onto the tabletop, and very rarely do we have anyone give us feedback saying otherwise!
one, purchase a new toaster to get one, forge one in the fires of Mount Doom if you have to – but make sure it’s big enough to house your figures; nothing more frustrating than carefully stacking everything inside only to have your Necron Lord peeking out at the end! Again, I’d recommend padding the inside of the box using something like plastic bags. I have a 400-litre bag of packaging chips (that sometimes doubles as a beanbag) which I use religiously; it trickles in between all the models like sand and ensures that there’s no movement during transport. Some people prefer to pack ‘loose’ but my methodology is that if there’s no chance of the models moving, there’s no chance of them breaking! When placing the models in the box, try to keep them as far away from the sides as possible, with the most fragile things placed centrally.
Part 4 – Going the Extra Mile Of course, being paranoid, I had to place boxes within a box, didn’t I? All of the units got placed into their own mini cargo container and labelled (neither of these things are strictly necessary, but fits in well with my OCD). The larger vehicles were then placed on top in the middle and surrounded by more packaging material.
Anyway, perhaps not the article you were expecting to read this issue, and I feel I have paid nearly not enough attention to the use of inappropriate innuendos or random jokes about penguins, but hopefully you found this little wander into Padding Land useful or at least entertaining. Oh and remember – keep it secret, keep it safe, keep it boxed.
A MONSTER MASH With “a few” monsters being used in this issue’s battle report, we went foraging for every big stompy, gribbly, bitey, nasty beastie we could lay our hands on. And when that still wasn’t enough, we decided to get our gullible lab rats (er, volunteers) to paint some more!
Bernard Lewis – The Otherworld Giant Bernard: I have had the Otherworld Giant, sculpted by John Pickford, sitting around for almost two years now. The shelf it was on was starting to complain at the 2kg weight, and this battle report was the perfect excuse to get it painted. Being entirely made of metal and so damn heavy, the model had to be pinned first – I did this using the most powerful pin vice in Nottinghamshire and some thick (1cm diameter) brass rods. I’m a bit of a sucker for model flexibility, so when I saw the Giant came with a choice of three heads I decided not to attach any of them permanently, just using a big wad of blu-tac depending on which one was most suited for the occasion (for the battle report I chose the one that looked most ferocious). I undercoated the model using a brown spray paint – a common trick that we use around the Studio. Not only does it save a lot of time as all of the wood, rope, shoes, etc all gets painted instantly, but almost every single other colours applies really well over brown to boot (especially useful for the likes of flesh tones, which is horrible to try and paint over, say, black).
My painting arsenal of choice is the colour range from the Wargames Foundry. Each colour comes in three separate shades, which makes highlighting the easiest thing since teasing Bobo about his hair. The Foundry paint range is also massive, which helped a great deal since the Giant’s trousers and shirt are patchwork jobbies, so I had to select several different colours. The only colour I avoided was green which was being saved for the large, scaly waistcoat. After picking out all the different colours and applying a simple highlight to each of them, I painted the club and flesh and decided what I wanted to do with the base. The model still felt very garish and pastely, so to finish it I wanted to give it some washes to ‘sync’ it all together. Normally I’d use Army Painter Quickshade for the job, but wanted to experiment a little and instead reached for the Games Workshop washes: Badab Black, Devlan Mud and Gryphonne Sepia - each wash applied to an appropriate colour for best effect. All that was needed to finish him was some of the fantastic extras that you can hang from his belt, including a sack of booty, a of drink, and a couple of pigs. All in all the big boy took about 6 hours to paint; largely due to the sheer volume of paint that had to be allowed to dry between handling the model!
I started by applying a coat of matt black primer to the entire model. I wanted it to be fairly dark and planned to paint the entire figure without any kind of washes. When that was dry I cracked out the airbrush and applied several layers of red over the carapace. The airbrush layers start off fairly thin so you have to build up colour over time, while this is slower than using a red primer it does allow for shading and colour gradients. Next I switched over to a yellow and began putting a colour blend on the legs and upper carapace.
For the rest of the model I switched to traditional brush work. The horn, spikes and bone like areas were built up using the Foundry shading system. Foundry does a huge range of colours that include a shade and highlight for each paint so that you do not have to keep mixing them. You just leave a little of the previous colour showing and you can get a nice highlight effect with minimal effort. I also repeated this process for the fleshly bits using a dark slate grey colour. Finally I applied gloss varnish to the eyes and mouth area. This little extra detail can make a huge difference when painting big monsters. The shiny reflective eyes give the model that evil hunger which sets it apart from other monster kits.
Rob Henson – Arachnarok Spider Rob: I’ve had this model kicking around for a while now and the Storm of Magic game gave me the perfect opportunity to paint it. Over the last few months I have been playing around with the airbrush and the Arachnarok seemed like the perfect monster to blast with paint. I would have painted the entire model with the airbrush but as I had already assembled the model I thought it best to just go with the carapace.
Nick Peart – Emperor Dragon
For the wing membranes I started with a charcoal grey, then I highlighted up over a few layers adding some more white each time. To finish the model and add some shading I washed the whole thing with Badab Black, which can occasionally have an unwanted ‘dirty’ effect but with a dark colour like this blue interacted very nicely. When it came to basing the dragon, we actually had some difficulties because of the sheer weight of the model. The wings in particular made it so precarious that it overbalanced almost everything we tried to attach it to. In the end I handed it over to Master Bobo, who first cut a 100mm x 100mm base out of solid plywood (for the record, he used a saw!). Then came the task of attaching it to the base – enter, the power drill! Normally you’d use a pin vice to insert a brass rod or somesuch, but because of the sheer size and weight of the dragon Bobo decided to insert a screw up through the base and into the dragon’s leg. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite to plan...and in the process Bobo managed to create a new join where there hadn’t been one before, accidentally severing the dragon’s leg!
Nick: I would like to begin by pointing out that mine is the biggest. Bobo has seen them all, and will testify that mine is the biggest. Monster, that is.
Everything got fixed and pinned in the end, but you can see some amusing photos of Bobo’s embarrassing experiment in the vicinity...
This model is by Reaper Miniatures – they usually specialise in alternative 28mm sized figures that are ideal for use as characters and such in your Warhammer armies, so I was pretty excited to get my hands on this special guy. The whole thing is metal, thus bloody heavy, so the process of painting this was as much an artistic outlet as it was a workout! I think it’s a great model, with an imposing stature and it has plenty of menace about it! For the battle report I was intending to use it as a Storm Dragon so I went for a basecoat of blue, using the wonderful Army Painter spray. Next, using the largest brush I could possibly find, I drybrushed the entire model with Enchanted Blue and then a second, lighter drybrush of Ice Blue. I painted the teeth and claws Bestial Brown and then a quick 50:50 brown/bone highlight, and finished with a final Bleached Bone highlight. To break up the wall of blue slightly I picked out some of the other scales in grey; simple things like this just help add a focal point to the model and make it look better all round.
Andy Isherwood – ...Rambling Mostly Andy: While Rob wandered off into the dark corners of the room muttering about a freaking huge Dragon and Spiders I had a little flick through the book and looked into just how many cool beasties I would be able to afford, as it turned out that would be quite a few... I chose to field: A Shaggoth with additional hand weapon – always frenzied and incredibly grumpy should help a lot
The Shaggoth is one of my favourite units in the Warriors book, although that is only really from a background point of view as I rarely find the 265pts+ spare in my lists to field one. That being said though I had a spare 1000pts this time and so plumper for its slightly less armoured cousin in the storm of Magic book, a snip at 219pts with an extra hand weapon gives a horrendous number of high(ish) initiative attacks and a thunder stomp. I also had one already converted using one of the new sausage-(Mino)-taur axes and some additional spikes that had been sitting on my painting tray looking forlorn for the last 9 months... I set about painting and basing him in similar colours as the rest of my army so that he wouldn’t look out of place.
A Bull Taurus with a breath weapon upgrade – these flying burgers are a real menace and incredibly resilient as it turns out. A Cockatrice once again with the breath weapon upgrade to help deal with wizards or monsters alike as well as providing ample opportunities for a clever play on words. A Greater Spined Beast with the mark of Slaanesh for some cheeky always strike first fun (and because it’s incredibly killy) and finally last but by no means least an Eagle and two units of Chaos Hounds to be used to lure out any horrible Fanatics or Mangler Squigs that Nick may wish to field rather than using a much more expensive unit or as a fall back option they would be useful just to get in the way.
The second project was a Chaos Spined Beast... now I had a few models in mind for this monster after reading the background, then I realised I didn’t have a vast amount of time to paint both this and the Shaggoth so realised it was time for the fall back plan: A McFarlane Ice Dragon model that I had purchased about 6 months ago who had been gathering dust, his thoughts and whatever else Dragons gather. Having fixed all of the moveable joints in place and coming up with a suitable colour scheme that would fit in well with the rest of the warriors I set about getting him ‘painted,’ based and ready to fight. The only thing left was to look forward to all of the positive comments my hard work would soon receive when I deployed this cool looking monster at the start of the game and he hopefully killed something expensive... (Editor’s comment: we’re quite aware that Andy has a habit of rambling and didn’t really talk much at all about how he painted his monsters. Fear not, dear reader, he has been denied his daily gruel as punishment and subjected to an extra hour in the torture chamber – we’ll set him on the correct course soon enough.)
FORGING ON Building a Mantic Forge Father Space Marine army
Released in November, the Forge Father marks Mantic Games’ second entry in the sci-fi genre with a range of technologically advanced space Dwarfs. With a 40K tournament coming up and a free sprue in hand, I decided to see if I merge the two together and build myself an army... I’ve always wanted a Space Marine army and with a small 1000 point tournament being held at my club in a couple of months to try and get us back into 40K, I’ve decided that I’m going to expand a free Forge Father sprue that I picked up at an event into a whole army. Since the tournament isn’t going to be overly competitive, the first thing I did was check out the miniatures to see what I could build. What I quickly discovered was that with as little as a Forge Father Army Set and Forge Father Huscarl blister, I suddenly had the 1000 points filled. Opening the box, the Steel Warriors easily crossed as Tactical Marines and with four heavy weapons in each packet, I split the first pack of Stormrage Veterans and divided the heavy weapons through the Marine squads. The other five Stormrage Veterans were modeled to form a squad of Devestators whilst I used the remainder of the infantry to model a five-man unit of Veterans. The Jotunn Hailstorm on the other hand made excellent Thunderfire Cannons. My favourite model in the range is the Huscarl because he’s just dripping with character. After all, it‘s a dual-chain pistol toting, cigar smoking badass. A Space Marine Captain with counts as Storm Bolter seemed to fit the bill nicely.
So, what’s next for my little warband? Well, once it’s painted I’m going to play a few practice games of 40K and after flicking through the free Warpath rulebook you get in the army set I’ll probably give that a go too. I’ve already spotted the Drakkarim conversion pack on the Mantic blog and the Mjolnir Rocket Launcher so I’ll look at the heavy weapons in my army, and think about swapping things around. I haven’t really been this excited about a project for ages and I have to say that the best thing about all of this so far has to be that the entire 1,000 point army cost me less than £60.
Space Marine Army • • • • • • •
1 Space Marine Captain - Counts as Storm Bolter 10 Marines - 1 Heavy Bolter, 1 Plasma Cannon 10 Marines - 1 Heavy Bolter, 1 Plasma Cannon 5 Sternguard Veterans 5 Devastators - 2 Heavy Bolters, 2 Plasma Cannons 1 Thunderfire Cannon 1 Thunderfire Cannon
BNL-018 ckaarakk Tain of the Tarvax £24.99
BNL-012 nagausith Black Ælf Augurer £9.99 BNL-015 ViktOr cel ra˘ u Vojvod of Ardeal £9.99
BNL-017 eirik lOngaxe Steersman of Hrafnen £9.99 both models released December 3rd, 2011 BNL-008 alassar Bearer of the Dragon Standard £9.99
BNL-006 cYnuise OF Old Barrow Knight Banner Bearer £9.99
BNL-009 Vörtun Troll Jarl £24.99
BNL-010 Maagaan Warlock of Baalor £9.99
BNL-016 daachuch the brOk Skull-Bearer of the Gab £9.99
BNL-013 Quick-blade Under-Vermin Kin-Caller £9.99
BNL-011 Ornung Bone Orc Shaman £9.99
BNL-007 kaastaruk Skull-Bearer of the Tarvax £19.99
BNL-014 MelOda Warrior-Queen of Mercia £8.99 BNL-020 kraan Tain of Baalor £29.99 Foot and Mounted
BNL-005 erec One-arM Dwarf of Càrn Corm £9.99
see our full range of miniatures at banelegions.maelstromgames.co.uk miniatures not shown to scale
Matlock Mill | Hamilton Way | Mansfield | Nottinghamshire | NG18 5BU 01623 238 919 | firstname.lastname@example.org
coming in January 2012
BNB-007 the terrOr OF FOrtriu Chimaera £89.99
BNB-013 ulMOns Tarask of Var £49.99
BNB-018 Maru Swordtooth £29.99
both models released December 3rd, 2011
BNB-012 kerMOrannac Savage Oghurüc £49.99
BNB-014 Flint-Fang Kill-Thing of the Infernal Pits £49.99
BNB-019 krull Servile Lord of Dis £99.99
BNB-016 cOnJunct xiii Vivicoct £49.99
BNB-017 keiriOc-cró The Sea Devil £49.99
BNB-010 eurYalia Queen of Ker-Ys £49.99
BNB-009 galagaak Ox-Gore of the Darkwald £49.99 BNB-015 Ophius Gorgon Lord £39.99
BNB-020 talOs Colossus of Bronze £49.99 coming in January 2012
THE TEST DUMMIES
Lord of the Rings, the Card Game Producer: Fantasy Flight Games | No. of players: 1-4 Type of game: Living Card Game “The Lord of the Rings:The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to 4 with 2 Core Sets) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. By cooperating to overcome the obstacles drawn from the encounter deck, you will complete the quest before you and claim victory!”
OG Games, official sponsor of the Test Dummies
Dummy #1: Dan Comeau I’ve mentioned my lack of interest in Living/Collectable card games in previous issues, so must admit to a lack of enthusiasm when presented with this latest review. Which I suppose is why I was so pleasantly surprised! I’ve raved about them before, but Fantasy Flight do just make the best stuff. High quality cards and tokens, and loads of them – as usual, my little face lit up upon opening the box. The decks of cards are to the usual high card stock standard and the artwork really captures the Tolkien universe without being a direct copy from the well known look of the films. My favourite components are the Threat Trackers; I’ve always been a fan of the dials and trackers FF incorporate into their games. The rules booklet is set out in typical Fantasy Flight fashion – unlike their usual streamlined games though this one can take some time getting used to; without playing through the game a few times it doesn’t necessarily make sense straight away! This leads nicely into playing the game - this is a cooperative game where players work together to journey through various locations to achieve a final goal (depending on which scenario you play). Although the game can be expanded to 3-4 players with the purchase of a second core set, I felt it was best suited when it was just the two us versus the Game (capitalised to emphasise its evilness). I was worried about limited gameplay at first, with only three scenarios in the core rulebook, but quickly discovered that with judicious shuffling of the ‘Encounter Deck’ no two games should ever be the same. These encounter cards reveal various different obstacles to the players, and essentially keep the game flowing. These cards are drawn each turn and placed in the central play area – very similar to Space Hulk: Death Angel (reviewed in UL issue 9). The two most common encounters you, er, encounter, are monsters (which you have to kill) and locations (which you have to travel to).
Before you can begin play, you need to build your player decks. These consist of three heroes, and a deck from which you play allies, powers and other various tricks to aid your mission – the core set comes with suggested deck builds, but after one or two play-throughs I’m sure you’ll hit upon some desired ‘modifications’ like we did. During your turn you have to make decisions for each of your heroes, which essentially boils down to having them go questing (to generate resources and progress the game), or hold them back to defend (where they get the bash up monsters). Combat is a simple affair; all of the cards have the obligatory statline, and it’s just a matter of comparing your Attack stat to their Defence stat, and they take the difference in damage. Returning to the encounter cards, this is where the urgency of the game really comes into effect. It’s important to keep the central play area clear of encounters as much as you can, either by questing to locations or bashing up monsters. The more you let it get out of control, the more the Threat Dial increases, which leads to more monsters attacking you, and eventually the Eye of Sauron simply stares at you hard enough and you catch fire. Er, lose. Still, at least it’s not like Jumanji, where if the game starts winning a rampaging rhinoceros suddenly crashes through the wall! There are various other elements to the game (travelling, traps, temptations of mushrooms...) which add extra dimensions and ensure the game doesn’t become stale. I can’t think that we were ever bored when playtesting this game. Overall, I am a fan of this one and would recommend it to any player – even those like myself who are not a fan of card games. The lifespan (replay value) is the most impressive thing for me. Often games where you ‘play against the game’ get dull very quickly as you figure out the best way to succeed and then just rinse and repeat from there, but this one is different I feel. Not to mention that Fantasy Flight has already released an army (worthy of Mordor) of new scenarios and cards to expand on the core set. If I had one criticism, it would be the price - £29.99 RRP seems quite steep for a card game, but I would be happy to overlook that as the replay value makes up for this.
As always we’ll be giving away a copy of the game we’re reviewing (all our subscribers are automatically entered into the draw, so subscribe today for your chance to win!), but if you can’t wait and want to pick up a copy of the game for yourself head over to the Test Dummies’ official sponsor: www.oggames.co.uk
Dummy #2: Greg Dann Some of you may remember our review of Warhammer Invasion and the not so stellar opinions on the Living Card Game System...well, this month we have been handed another Fantasy Flight LCG.You may also remember our “meh” reviews of the co-op Space Hulk card game and yes, that’s right, this game is also a co-op or single player experience. Doesn’t bode too well does it! As usual the game looks good, the FF dials are stylised as Sauron’s Eye, there are plenty of counters and the cards are of a real quality all the way through. The rulebook is well laid out with a good description of how to set up the first game and a really useful breakdown of the turn sequence with delineation between phases and what can be done where. The game itself is a storytelling vehicle: each mission has set stages that detail a mini story which you are trying to fight your way through; the bad guys and locations are also different depending on the mission being undertaken, which all adds to the narrative effect. The use of the Threat Dial feeds in here as well as not only a timer for the game, forcing you to keep pushing and stopping the game from becoming stale, but also represents the evil gaze of Sauron as he searches for you. The players and cards are split into four spheres with their own characteristics and each led by three heroes that you should know from the stories of Middle Earth (Only ever watched the films? No idea who Glorfindel is? Watch out – he is a bad mofo). These heroes are, as you’d expect, the focal point of the game and act as the fulcrum around which the rest of your deck is built and operates. As with most cards games of this ilk the building of the deck pre-game is a major aspect and LoTR really makes you think; getting the right combination of cards is made more important by the fact you have to build up resources (the heroes each generate one resource per turn), which you need in order to play cards from your hand or use your heroes’ uber abilities.
The game is tough. I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that games where you ‘fight the game’ are typically skewed in the game’s favour, but this one noticeably bites back! Dan and I tried a few things to see how the game works – if you make a really dumb move then the game throws you back hard, and then laughs as you try to scramble your way back into contention. When the game gets on top you really feel the pressure. At the same time I did not find this frustrating as much as tense; with cards in your hand you feel that there’s always something you can do about it – you might be hoping on a card to come out, but those ‘Maverick’ moments are just that much sweeter when you nail it. The game is an LCG and so releases come out regularly with new cards for your decks but also with another mission that is very much set in the LoTR ‘verse. The fact that you know exactly what is contained in each expansion is the whole reason Living Card Games are better than Collectable Card Games for me. In CCGs you constantly have to keep up with the new releases to not be left behind in the arms race, but with this one for instance if I see a new expansion whose story arc I don’t find particularly interesting (I don’t have much interest in chasing Gollum over nineteen leagues of mountain range) then I’ll just wait a few weeks for the next expansion. Overall I think you are looking at a game that can be played regularly, which will challenge you consistently, and if you don’t get to play regularly, one that can be kept on the shelf and brought out every now and then to provide a bit of fun. Finally, a note on safety: if you don’t know who Glorfindel is, you had better go and read up on him. Before he rips your face off.
ARCANE Scenery and Models
We stock a huge range of miniatures and scale models with big name brands such as Warlord Games, Tamiya, Perry Miniatures, Victrix and more! Our comprehensive range is always expanding and includes many different hobby and modelling materials such as glues, plasticard, dice, tools, airbrushes, paint, finishing materials and of course scenery. Whatever your hobby needs you can find what you need at Arcane.
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Winter Incursion III
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Matlock Mill | Hamilton Way | Mansfield | Nottinghamshire | NG18 5BU 01623 629 425 | email@example.com