APR – MAY 2010
The Sexiest Misspelled Magazine On Earth
Blood Brothers EVENT SPOTLIGHT:
EPIC ADEPTICON COVERAGE
THE 1st UNSEEN LERKER TOURNAMENT Reviews Rants Cute Kittens
DODGE THE DRAGON! A magazine for gamers, hobbyists and collectors
Check it ONLY IN out on UNSEEN page 22 LERKER
SINCE YOU LAST TUNED IN Shameless Plugs Thanks to the following people for allowing us to promote ourselves at their events and on their shows and websites:
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Team Unseen Lerker AchievementS
One Magazine To Rule Them All
Andrew Chesney – 1st overall, Merseyside Meltdown
– Takes #1 ranking in UK
– Best High Elf general, South Coast GT
Unseen Lerker Winners Tim Bamford (England) – free dice (Find Lergy competition, Issue 2) Tim Cross (Australia) – free dice (Issue 2 competition) Johan Forsell (Sweden) – free UL t-shirt (Issue 2 competition) Ed Campos (England) – free copy of UL (Wooden Spoon at South Coast GT) Adrian Orser (France) – free Warhammer Invasion game (Issue 2 Test Dummies competition)
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CREDITS The Unseen Lerker Team Editor: Isaac “Bobo” Alexander
I’ve been thinking lately about why people play this hobby. I myself got enticed to the game because of its rich fantasy background. In the beginning the models were merely a necessary backdrop for the awesome stories contained within the magazines and rulebooks. Many an evening was spent lying on the floor of my room, embroiled in the adventures of my favourite heroes. Then I discovered tournament gaming, and for the past five years I’ve been addicted to the competitive side of things, honing my gaming skills and playing in tournaments all over the world. Lately I’ve become less interested in the gaming and much more enthused with the painting and modelling sides of things.
Business Overseer: Bryan “Ubertechie” Carmichael Editorial Consultant: Chris “Fitz” Fitzsimmons Tactics: Loke “Gronx” Andersen Hobby Corner: Joe “Kittens” Sturge Lead Artiste: Max “Brakken” Karpsten Graphic Design: Heath Moritz, Agnieszka Moritz Contributors: Wayne Kemp, Stu White, Bryan Carmichael, Andrew Galea, Chris Fitzsimmons, Zach Kin-Wilde, James Hyde, Greg Dann, Dan Comeau, Jeff Galea, Ibis Miniatures, John Doe, Faithful Tim the Carrier Pigeon (RIP)
And that’s the wonderful thing about hobbies like this. There are so many facets to them that if we get disenchanted or bored with one then there’s always something else to immerse ourselves in. Mostly though it’s the people involved that keep my hobby fun for me. Like-minded people are always the easiest to get on with, and I can’t even guess at the number of great friends I’ve made through my hobby.
Special Thanks: Stan Veneros www.unseenlerker.com email@example.com Want to advertise in Unseen Lerker? Well now you can! A variety of options are available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
CONTENTS 21 4
Dodge the Dragon.
The Hobby Corner
A Basis For Basing Basic Bases.
Special Characters The force behind Rankings HQ, Andrew Galea.
Isaac Alexander, Editor
HAVE YOU SEEN LERGY THE LERKER?
This is Lergy, Unseen Lerker’s official mascot. He’s an insatiable little fellow who gets up to all sorts of mischief and turns up in the strangest of places. Unfortunately we here at the office have a hard time keeping track of his antics all the time, slippery little sucker that he is.
Domus gives us the low-down on the USA’s biggest event, Adepticon.
Ultimately we all play our hobby for different reasons. But it’s the common ground that brings us together and makes it so enjoyable. Don’t you agree?
Unseen Lerker Around The World
Look out your window. We’re there.
Wayne Kemp’s sensational Skaven. High Elves vs Dark Elves in a battle to the death. See what’s in store for Issue 4
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.
If you happen to see Lergy doing something suspicious somewhere in these pages, send us an email at email@example.com and let us know which page number(s!) he’s on. The first person to send in the all correct page numbers receives two free Unseen Lerker dice.
EVENT SPOTLIGHT By James Hyde
Adepticon Hosted by a high-class hotel in Chicago, Adepticon is one of the premier US events.
Intense action at the gaming tables.
Adepticon is an independent, yearly gaming convention whose primary focus are the two main games from Games Workshop: 40K & Fantasy. In addition to these, Adepticon has hosted a number of specialist games tournaments including WAB, Necromunda, Legends of the High Seas, Legends of the Old West, Blood Bowl, Space Hulk and Battlefleet Gothic. This year Adepticon expanded to include Flames of War, War Machine, and Monsterpocalypse! The convention is held over three days in Chicago, IL (USA) and is primarily staffed by people from two Chicago based gamer clubs (Adeptus Windy City and IWFB.org) with additional help from many, many others. Without a doubt, it’s the single biggest GW tournament weekend in North America.
The costs of Adepticon are very reasonable. Entry into the convention is $25 for the “Badge,” and if you arrive early enough, you get a bag filled with a large amount of goodies (see details below). Each tournament then has its own entrance fee, typically $25 per player, and $10 to $15 for the hobby seminars. The badge fee also gives you the ability to enter into the Rogue Demons, which is setup in a similar fashion to the Golden Demons. The Rogue Demons were expanded this year to allow entry of any range miniatures which was an added bonus. Being a previous winner, I had hoped to have at least one entry. But life and a bit of a distraction (damn you, Azeroth!) got the better of me.
Adepticon, for me, is the premier social war gaming event in the US. While Adepticon hosts a slew of competitive gaming opportunities and hobby instruction clinics, it’s a great event where I get to re-connect with old friends from across the nation and meet many new ones. Since the US is such a large place, there are people that I typically only see at Adepticon every year. Playing in two tournaments was fun, ogling the pretty miniatures was better - but the social atmosphere is what keeps me coming back and enthusiastic.
Visit the Adepticon website, www.adepticon.org, for more photos from the event, photos of the Rogue Demon Winners, full tournament results, and to keep up to date for next year!
Adepticon Attendance Attendees pre-registered for 2010-1,115 Participants registered and attended-over 1,300
40K Tournaments Friday – “The Gladiator” – 140 Saturday – The Team Tournament – 440 Sunday – 40k Championships – 220
Friday - Morning Warbands – 28 Battlefleet Gothic – 12 Friday - Afternoon Warbands – 15 Necromunda – 6 Friday - Size Matters – 51 Space Hulk (3rd Ed.) – 9 Saturday – Championships – 124 Blood Bowl – 34 Saturday – The Generals Challenge – 14 WAB Singles – 14 Sunday – Team Tournament – 156 WAB Doubles - 24
The location this year was again chosen to be at a hotel in Chicago, with the convention sprawling across three gigantic ballrooms, numerous side rooms, and even the hallways. Adepticon literally took over the hotel for the weekend. It is a great site because you can get a room with two beds for approx. $116 per night (US) or $53 a person if you are sharing a room - a remarkable price given the high quality of the room. Combine that with a number of food options in the hotel, the mall with a fully loaded food court right across the street, and the mandatory on site bar, and you have yourself one heck of a venue.
Flames of War Two Day Tournament – 34 Mid-War Intro Tournament – 14 Late-War Intro Tournament – 18
Tournaments A lot of these tournaments boasted some pretty serious competition. The top two spots in each of the main events won an invite to the GW 2011 Las Vegas Invitational. 40K Gladiator – A no holds barred 40K tournament with no soft scores and no crying. All of the big forge world goodies come out for this event, and it is usually fun to walk the tables and see the big beasties.
There were also a number of vendors with booths set up in the main 40K hall, including Gale Force 9, Sabol Designs, Battlefoam, Mantic Games, Armorcast and many, many others. Dennis Guirna’s Slaanesh Dragon, complete with kissing Daemonettes.
The 40k tournament gives players a chance to use all of their cool Forge World models, like this Tyranid Scythed Hierodule.
Fantasy Size Matters – A “no comp” 2,999 point tournament. “No comp” takes on a whole new meaning at 2,999. I developed the concept for this tourney, and then ran it with some serious assistance from a good friend, Steve Leckman. The “nastiest” looking thing I remember seeing as I walked the tables was a Lizard list with six Stegadons in it. There was much worse, but that list caught my eye. Three Games with scaled battle points. A fourth game would become possible, if needed, to break a tie for the top spots. Sports & painting scores were also determined for separate awards and for use as tiebreakers. 40K Team Tournament – Players form a four person team and two members of the team square off on the table vs. two members from another team. Without a doubt, this is the “Main Attraction” at Adepticon and the most heavily attended in all of the years I have been going. The various team theme awards are highly sought after, and it’s always neat to see the various displays of the teams.
EVENT SPOTLIGHT ADEPTICON
Johnny Hastings’s Beastmen, Best Painted Fantasy army.
My Adepticon I made the two and a half hour drive up to Chicago with Caius. We had spent the last month frantically painting 15 Games Workshop buildings apiece for the Warhammer Fantasy terrain. We arrived Thursday night, picked up our badges and loot, and proceeded to get unpacked and start drinking some bourbon. Friday, I ran the ‘Size Matters’ WFB tournament. This went off very well and many of the players reported enjoying the event. The toughest job I had was on Friday, picking the Best Army. The paint judges and I had selected the top two armies. I knew who I thought the winner should be, but since he is a very close friend, I brought in some big guns to make the final selection. With quite a lot of Golden Demon winners on hand, I grabbed James & Cathy Wappel, and Bennet BlalockeDoan to make the final selection for me and remove myself from any possibility of impropriety. They did end up picking the Beasts of Chaos army, painted by my good friend the notorious Johnny Hastings, creator of the PointHammered podcast. At the end of the day I shared many a good beer with friends and hit the sack far later than initially planned. Saturday, I played in the General’s Challenge tournament. Game one, I drew a Dogs of War army and played against an infantry/shooty Empire list. It just so happened that the DoW list sported a Lvl 4 and a Lvl 2 vs. the Empire’s Lvl 2 / Warrior Priest combo, so magic, specifically the Lore of Metal, ended up winning me the day. Going into game two, I was paired up with a previous General’s Challenge winner, a guy I know fairly well and never have had the opportunity to play against. I drew the Empire list I had just faced off against, and he drew a High Elf list. Unfortunately, his standard army is High Elves, so coming into the game he had a bit of an advantage. He won that game by 286 victory points and then went on to win the tourney. I played in game three against another good friend of mine using a Daemon army vs. a Lizard list
with Slann, Priest and a normal Steg. The Lizard player had me on the ropes until about turn three, when I made a combo charge onto a unit of Skinks with Furies and Fiends of Slaanesh. Due to the unit strengths at the end of the round the Fiends ended up overrunning back almost to their starting position (they had charged almost 20”) and into the flank of a Stegadon. Numerous other things flipped in that game, allowing me to eventually destroy all of his units except for the Slann and Temple Guard, giving me the win. I ended up skipping round four and played as a ringer in the Fantasy Championships for the final round instead, to give the tourney organizer a break. Many beers later, I ended up in a room full of drunkards at the end of the night. Thankfully, my mate Caius was around to help me find my way back to our room so I could actually function on Sunday. Sunday, Caius and I played in the team tournament together for the third year in a row. Sadly, this was the first year we did not create a new army specifically for the event. We played in the event using our fall & pumpkin themed Wood Elves and Goblins named ‘Trick or Tree’. This team army made its first appearance at Adepticon in 2007, where our army was lucky enough to win the Players’ Choice award. This year, I’m very proud to report that we won the Best Appearance award. This was a great achievement for us since we also managed to win the Players’ Choice award in 2009 with our Empire/Ogre Sigmarite based force (if you’re interested, check out our WIP articles for that army at http://tinyurl.com/3ylp2c8). At the end of the day, we said our goodbyes to all of our friends and got in the car for the trip home. I truly wish I had taken better notes to write detailed battle reports of the two tournaments I entered, but I was drinking and enjoying myself far too much for that level of seriousness. As always, Adepticon had been the highlight of my year and I couldn’t wait to go back and do it all again in 2011.
Fantasy Championships – Four games of Warhammer at 2000 pts. The WPS checklist comp system was used, in addition to the “No Special Characters” rule, for the comp score. Every list had to score more than 0 to be legal, and the comp score maxed out at 25. WPS was used to help tone down the overall “hardness” of armies in use, compared to what has been seen in previous years. We managed to get a small interview with the winner and get his army list. The General’s Challenge – You show up with nothing. At the start of round one, you are assigned an opponent and draw an “army” out of a hat. The organizer, and all around heck of a guy, Marty Gaska, provides you with both an army list and a painted army representing that list, along with dice, tape measure, and templates. Play a game of Warhammer, and then either advance to a winners or losers bracket. There are no ties, and there are no soft scores. Each round you draw a new army, and you can never play the same army twice. At the end, there is one clear winner. The army lists are typically very soft, play-tested and balanced in hundreds of games. This is the 6th or 7th time the organizer has put on this event, and the army lists are reviewed after each tournament. This is truly my favorite tournament format, and an event I managed to play in, as it takes the “list building” phase out of the game. This is an invitation only event, so being a poor sport ensures you are not invited.
Hobby Seminars If you needed to take a break from all the intense war gaming action there are a number of hobby seminars available to attend. The hobby seminars this year were led by a fantastic group of award winning painters and veteran hobbyists with classes designed for beginning hobbyist all the way up to seasoned painters. Many of the seminar instructors were also previous Golden Demon Winners including; Chris Borer, Mathieu Fontaine, Joe Orteza, Bennet Blalock-Doane, and James & Cathy Wappel. Seminars topics included Freehand Designs, Painting Skin and Faces, Modeling 15mm armor, Advanced Basing, First Steps to Advanced Painting, Intro to Miniature Painting, Working with Greenstuff, Building & Painting Historical Armies, and many more. Even Warhammer Ancient Battles gets a look in at Adepticon – leave no game unplayed!
Fantasy Team Tournament – Find a friend. Each player creates a 1,000 pt. legal army list. A few special restrictions existed, like no extra hero for Bretonnians. Play three games of Warhammer together against another team. Players also had to write at least a page of fluff justifying their team, and why and how they were put together. This is my favorite event of all, and I played with my usual teammate and friend, Caius Jennison. A custom built gaming board of Omaha Beach allowing players to recreate the landing at Normandy.
EVENT SPOTLIGHT ADEPTICON
Jeff Schiltgen (Winner of the 2010 Fantasy Championships) Did you do anything special to prepare for this Adepticon Fantasy Championship, having won Overall in 2006, 2008 & 2009? (Congratulations again on the repeat wins. That is one heck of a feat!) Each year, I spend a lot of time preparing for Adepticon. I only get to play in a limited number of tournaments each year, so I want to make sure I’m ready. This year, I re-built all my movement trays and also converted and painted two entirely new units of Flesh Hounds. Once I knew what my list would look like, I also played about 20 practice games with it. That way I really feel like I know the list inside and out. I feel like I’ve had some great luck over the years at Adepticon, and it’s really been a lot of fun competing at this event!
match-up was game one; my opponent had a Slann with the extra power dice for each spell, and he was throwing a lot of magic around. Not only did he have great magic offense, but his list was balanced and he had a lot of units he could use to counter my moves. Luckily for me, he had a few miscasts at bad times, which allowed me to get my combat units into the right spots. Any other highlights from your games you want to mention? I really had a great match with Jerrod Horstman and his amazing Daemon Army. His entire army is converted and painted to such a high level that it’s just really fun to see on the battlefield. I like to win games, but to play against really beautiful armies is a big bonus for me. This game was definitely my favorite! Are you planning on returning again in 2011? And if so, is there a new army in the works? Nothing will keep me away in 2011!! :) I am working on two armies right now; Beastmen and Vampire Counts. I’m not sure which one I will bring next year, but either one will be a lot of fun to use in the tournament.
Did the use of WPS affect your army list in any way this year?
Did you consider building a new army for 2010? I noticed this is the first year you have repeated with the same army at an Adepticon Championships? I was actually in the process of building a new army, but it just wasn’t going to be ready for 2010. It takes me more than a year to assemble and paint an army, and with a busy family schedule this past year was a bit slower than planned. Which army books did you play against? I faced Lizardmen, Daemons, Warriors of Chaos, and Vampire Counts. Of the four games you played, was there any one that was harder than the other? All of my games were tough, and all of my opponents knew how to use their lists effectively. My toughest
Jeff’s Daemons of chaos 2000pts Herald of Khorne on Juggernaut Soul Hunger and Armour of Khorne Herald of Khorne on Foot Firestorm Blade and Armour of Khorne Herald of Nurgle Battle Standard Bearer Standard of Sundering 14 Bloodletters Champion and Banner
11 Bloodletters Champion and Banner 19 Plaguebearers Champion and Banner 5 Furies 5 Flesh Hounds 5 Flesh Hounds 4 Screamers 4 Flamers 3 Bloodcrushers
All pictures courtesy of Adepticon Staff Photographers.
WPS affected my list a lot. First of all I have to say that I really like the WPS system, simply because it means your army comp score is up to you. Second, I think it really makes guys think about their lists and what they might have to leave out. For me, I really wanted a comp score somewhere in the middle (10-15), and I ended up with a comp of 13. To get there with Daemons is a bit difficult, so it really forced me to give up some of the better Daemonic abilities and tone down some of the units such as Flamers.
Unseen Lerker events The Unseen Lerker events team make some terrain for their upcoming tournament.
Unseen Lerker is not just a magazine. We’re an ambitious company of spritely individuals who want to get out there and provide all different kinds of wargaming experiences for as many of our peers as possible. Starting in May, we’ll be running gaming weekends promoting challenging rules packs, interesting scenarios, nice looking boards and terrain, fab prizes, and a general sense of fun. Tempest Rising, our first event, is to be held on the 22nd and 23rd of May in Stockport, England, hosted by Marauder Games in their
Gustav the Genie
missing in action You may remember this big fellow from the battle report in Issue 2. After the report hit our readers’ doorsteps, our email inbox literally buckled under the sheer volume of demands we received – people wanted more pictures of Jacob’s Scott’s fantastic Tomb Kings army. And rightly so! Here at Unseen Lerker we’re suckers for a nicely painted army, but more than that we like to show that we listen our reader feedback. So we’re very pleased to announce that Jacob Scott’s Tomb Kings will be a making a comeback in the form of Issue 4’s Army Showcase! Keep your eyes peeled for this gorgeous unique army.
coming to a watering hole near you
purpose-built gaming hall. Due to limited manpower we are currently unable to run any events outside of the United Kingdom, but rest assured that until we reach your own fair shores you can check out all the action in the mini-zine gazette that our official reporter will be producing for each event. This will be a free PDF download available from the Events page on our website, so check out unseenlerker.com/events for more details.
Tactic-Attack: Loke “Gronx” Andersen
Dodge The Dragon Big, scary, flying monsters – whether they be dragons, greater daemons, manticores, or a RyanAir flight – are a constant danger to the dedicated gamer. In this article we look at some of the more rudimentary approaches to containing these awesome beasts, ranging from pinning them with infantry, blasting them with artillery, or taking a leaf out of Brave Sir Robin’s book and legging it like a pansy. The key to defeating any enemy is to understand its weaknesses – so let’s take a look at the (often scaly) Achilles Heels of big flyers.
War machines This is an obvious one. Funnily enough, anything that has multiple wounds on its profile tends to be mighty afraid of weapons that inflict multiple wounds! Cannon, bolt throwers, stone throwers, as well as specialist multiple wound weapons like Doomwheels, the Piranha Blade, the Mace of Helstrum, or other quirky gadgets like the Brass Orb or the Virtue of Heroism – all are valuable tools against the wing-ed gribblies.
Ranked infantry Ever seen a Star Dragon run off by Gnoblars? It’s amazing what a few ranks and an outnumber bonus can do for you. With the big flyers having no combat resolution of their own, the more you can stack against them the better. Not only will your ‘sturdy’ unit be able to beat the monster for the first few rounds of combat, even when they lose combat eventually they should have a reasonable chance of holding. The main problem is actually catching the darn thing, since dragons & friends have a tendency of zooming around marchblocking and breathing fire on people (hardly fair if you ask me).
Star Dragon by Michael Biggs.
TACTIC–ATTACK! Loke “Gronx” Andersen Expensive While it’s true that monsters are some of the scariest units in the game, they are also among the most expensive. Each and every player using a flying fiend will have paid a pretty penny for it, and as a result not only will his army be much smaller, but if he wants to win the game he’s going to need his prized pet to have a significant impact on it. This can be a two-edged sword (as opposed to a three-edged sword, which we’ll talk about next time in my semantics about innovative armament and the dangers of budget weaponry), since if you have a sizeable number of tools at your disposal to handle said gribbly (such as the aforementioned war machines, infantry or magic toys) then the opponent will be given the difficult choice between hiding his flyer and keeping it safe, or bringing it into the game and risking it all.
Now, let’s take a look at how we can use these weaknesses against them… Setting the stage Deploying poorly against a flying monster is most certainly a good way to be defeated by one. There are too many variables to account for when giving concrete deployment advice, but little things like making sure your war machines cover as many landing zones as possible, keeping your units together within the general’s Leadership range, or not deploying any low-Ld or rearguard units further than the 9.99” line (to avoid first turn terror tests) all help to make the your monster experience a little easier to handle.
It’s wearing blinkers… They may be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but monsters also only have a 90° line of sight. This often means that your opponent really needs to think about his monster’s positioning so that your units don’t just flit past him and dance around the edges. Remember – the longer you can keep the big nasty from threatening your troops the more desperate it’s going to get. Pretending the monster isn’t there and walking your units right past it can be a perfectly viable solution in some situations. Here you can see a fairly solid Empire deployment accounting for an enemy dragon. With the dragon deployed last and being so mobile it can be hard to account for all the possibilities, but we can see that the Empire player has used his two Great Cannon to cover almost all the potential advance routes to the main body of his army, making it very difficult for the dragon to come across the table and score any points. Also notice how the Empire troops are clustered together around their general, minimizing terror as much as possible, while using the impassable terrain and the western board edge to indirectly limit the dragon’s mobility – don’t forget that if you’re up against the edge it halves the number of directions the dragon can come at you from. A single skirmishing archer unit has been stationed on the eastern flank to protect the Great Cannon there from the dragon’s malicious attentions, using the Skirmish Shield described below.
HeelanHammer is a podcast devoted to Warhammer Fantasy and aims to cover all aspects of the hobby, from club to tournament gaming, from book reviews to painting models - everything!
Remember that war machines don’t actually need to be firing in order to have a detrimental effect on big flyers. Many a time have I seen artillery being perfectly positioned to counter a dragon – forcing it to hide – only to then open fire at something else and explode, leaving the dragon free to come and molest the rest of the army unthreatened. Even with a perfect range guess or multiple war machines you’re unlikely to kill a big flyer if it decides to make the dash of glory – the threat alone is more important than the execution.
The Skirmish Shield This is one of my favourites. Last issue we had a look at diverting and the sneaky sorts of things you can do by fleeing with skirmishers. Well now we get even sneakier.
As with my last article, the important thing to remember here is that the skirmishers’ “centre” (for flee direction purposes) is the centre of the closest visible model to the enemy. Above we can see a valiant unit of Terradons interposing themselves between a Chaos Dragon and their Slann general. The first two Terradons are positioned very close to the Slann, ensuring that the dragon can’t declare a charge on him because there is not room for him to land and contact the Slann’s base. The third – and most important – Terradon however, is positioned out to one side and further forward than the others, ensuring that if the dragon charges then when the Terradons flee the Slann does not lie in the dragon’s Enemy In The Way path. You can use any skirmishing unit to this effect – I’ve seen 5 Gutter Runners protect the flank of an entire Skaven block like this. All it takes is a little practice and forethought and you can really mess up the dragon’s day. Just remember to double-check that EiTW path!
Wall of Flesh “He bravely turned his tail and fled…” A similar thing can be done using non-skirmishing units too.You’ll notice that both the above tactics rely on fleeing – and there’s a reason for that. If a big scary monster is declaring a charge then you have much more control over where it’s headed. It’s going to be a linear path, which you can sometimes even dictate by using bait. The reason I suggest fleeing as a primary response is because not only is your unit more likely to survive than if it were to hold, but it also means that the monster is not in combat and can therefore be shot/charged/ magicked/ridiculed at your leisure. Baiting, fleeing and countercharging is one of the few ways you can get your slow ranked infantry to charge the beastie, which can sometimes even cause IT to flee! Some opponents believe in getting around this by shoving their monster straight in your face to make sure you can’t get away. Something they’ll even leave it in
charge range of your units! When this happens it is very often worth sending your unit in, even if there’s a good chance they’ll get eaten alive, because the risk you’re taking in comparison to the points you stand to gain are almost always worth it. Likewise, if the flyer has a particularly low Leadership (or better yet, Hatred) then I would definitely consider charging it in the flank with something you don’t mind losing to draw it away from the game for a turn when it’s forced to pursue or fails its restraint test). Our very own editor once used 10 Skinks to force Andrew Galea’s Dark Elf dragon to pursue facefirst into a forest, saving his Slann from being charged. “We who are about to die, we salute you” Rearguard actions are never fun for the unit in question, but sometimes it just has to be done. Splitting up your army and positioning your units in such a fashion that if the dragon goes after them he will have to waste at least 2-3 turns eliminating them is often a very good start to limiting its effectiveness. Have a look at this deployment picture again. Notice how there are no easy points for the dragon to go after? The safest route for the dragon to take is down the eastern flank. The one Great Cannon stationed there will probably not bring the beastie down in time before it gets eaten, but notice how all of the units in that flank are positioned so far from the rest of the army that the dragon needs to waste most of the game just dealing with them? Moreover, if he decides to ignore them and go for the bulk of the Empire army not only will he be risking the second Great Cannon, but these units will be guaranteed to survive the game and deny the dragon potentially hundreds of victory points.
The real battle is in your mind Before you can go about dealing with these big flying monsters you have to realise that they are not invincible and that they can in fact be beaten. A lot of players tend to get stuck in the mindset of units ‘needing to make back their points value’. However, it’s important to realise that if a flyer’s threatening position influences your movement phase to the point where your entire battle plan disintegrates, then it doesn’t need to score a single point – you’ve already lost. Don’t be afraid to take the fight to them. Don’t be afraid to let them charge stuff and then flee with your units. Don’t be afraid to take risks in order to try and bring the buggers down – the one time it works you’ll know it was worth enduring the five times it didn’t. Remember to utilise as many weapons against them as you can – weapons like the Fellblade or spells like Beast Cowers are essential tools in your anti-monster handykit. They are big, and they are scary, and you won’t always be able to beat them. But the more you play against them the more you’ll learn about their habits and their weaknesses…just like in that movie, How To Train Your Dragon. And one day, you and not they will be the lord of the skies.
Check it ONLY IN out on UNSEEN page 22 LERKER
THE HOBBY CORNER Joe Sturge
A Basis For Basing Basic Bases With our regular hobby man Domus busy doing our Adepticon coverage we managed to bribe professional painter Joe Sturge into filling in for him this issue. Joe, as well as working for The Company in the past, has part-owned and run the Ibis Miniatures painting service for the last 4 years, and even had his Midwinter Glade army featured in the 7th edition Warhammer rulebook. This issue, Joe takes a look at how to improve the basing on your figures.
“What are you trying to say, punk?”
These have had a bit of attention put in highlighting and gloss varnishing the areas of water to make it super-shiny, then contrast added by using tufts of grass and light flock.
The way a model is based can either make or ruin the effect of the painting. I’ve lost count of the number of otherwise unremarkably painted armies which look superb through a little attention to detail on the bases. Similarly, it’s very easy to overlook a nicely finished and converted army if the first impression you get is of just how sloppy the bases are. It may take hours to paint a model, so an extra five or ten minutes getting the base right isn’t too much to ask, surely? That being said, if you can paint an army to a gaming standard, then it shouldn’t be too much of a leap to assume that you know how to stick sand to a base, and can probably manage to ink and drybrush it without handholding. I’ll therefore be looking more at the ‘what’ and ‘why’, rather than the ‘how’ of basing.
Keep it simple “Right, so I can ink and drybrush my bases.What next?” Well, thanks for asking. I’ve knocked up a small handful of relatively simple examples of different techniques, using 25mm square bases to give an idea of the kind of effects that will help present a model without overwhelming it. The general idea with adding grasses, tufts of foliage and the like is that less is very much more. I’m looking to accent the bases rather than cover them in stuff.
Tiled bases: I’ve gone and highlighted the individual tiles on these bases, but they can be just as easily drubrushed. The entirely tiled base has a little brown-green static grass to break up the effect, while the partially tiled bases use a couple of different types of clump foliage and static grass.
Others and sundries: Generally speaking, the stronger the colours on a base, the less ‘accessories’ it needs. The desert and dark wasteland bases, for instance, just have a smattering of static grass as they’re already pretty darn distinctive in the first place. Similarly, snow bases can easily distract attention from models if they’re too ‘busy’
As an added bonus, Joe has agreed to give away the example bases (above) he made to show one lucky subscriber just what he’s talking about! Congratulations to Piotr Puchała from Poland on his shiny prize!
THE HOBBY CORNER JoE sturge Examples “That’s all well and good, but how do I know that my army will look good?” Sigh. There’s no pleasing some people. I’ve picked a small handful of suitably instructive examples.
1 First up is Russ Veal’s fantastic Warriors of Chaos army from Unseen Lerker 1: Russ’s army is painted in a classic dark colour scheme so winter basing is perfect to give the models a little light but he has kept the bases themselves relatively stark with light grey rocks and white snow so that they complement rather than overwhelm the models. The black edges are also very important as they help to focus attention away from the bases and towards the models. The bases are very much separate from the army’s colour scheme which helps to draw attention to it.
2 Next is a classic Ibis green Lizardmen army: The paint scheme for these models is much (much!) simpler than Russ’s superbly detailed and intricate Chaos army. We therefore chose a far more complex basing scheme to support the models. The gloss finish on the water, the brown sand, light static grass and Bestial Brown base edges all support the models’ green, white and bronze colour scheme. The bases in this case are an extension of the models’ colours and do a lot to improve the look of an otherwise fairly ordinary paint job.
3 Lastly is Mr Andrew Chesney’s Skaven: Ches has used a classic Skaven brown and green colour scheme and his simple but neat basing really helps to enhance the horde feel of the army. Everything is very neat and simple with the brown sand and green static grass perfectly complimenting the colours on the models, enhancing rather than supporting the paint scheme.
Tools of the trade
“Okay, all that stuff is very nice, but would improving the bases really make my models look any better?”
“So, how do I...”
Why yes, it would. Having the right accessories to hand is very useful for adding character to a basing scheme, and there are plenty of places to get hold of them if you know where to look. My own tiny corner of the Ibis office (surrounded by mountains of discarded sprues and coffee mugs of course) features a small but jealously guarded stash of flocks, grasses, sands, snow and other paraphernalia (spelt successfully at the third attempt). Over the course of many years of obsessively buying anything that looks ‘interesting’ from websites (not that kind of website, silly), I’ve built up a fair collection of Tupperware containers to browse through. There are many online model and hobby shops which can provide anything from simple flock and gravel to the most weird and wonderful basing accessories you can possibly think of. I’ve picked a couple of my personal favourites just to get you started: www.barrule.com, www.modelshop.co.uk, www.arcanesceneryandmodels.co.uk
Enough of your questions, dammit! Neat basing can make a mediocre army look good, or a good army look spectacular. If these ramblings have been helpful, that’s good. If you’ve learnt nothing new, then I hope you liked the pretty pictures. Otherwise, please feel free to grab me at a tournament and teach me the error of my ways. And kiss my trophies.
Name: Andrew Galea
Andrew Galea As the internet takes hold and the world grows ever smaller, there are few demigods left in today’s wargaming era. The professional painters are like martyrs; the ‘immortal’ gamers like dinosaurs, old before their time. But there is one man who has succeeded where others have failed, and is now being referred to as the world’s first Wargaming Entrepreneur. His name is Andrew Galea. His story begins with the creation of the Irresistible Force e-zine, many moons ago, a project which was eventually abandoned in favour of the Irresistible Force gaming store and online shop. But ambition would not let Galea be satisfied with that, and in 2004 he ran the first Australian Masters tournament in Sydney. Now, he has chosen one more mountain to climb: an international rankings system.
Age: 38 Location: Sydney, Australia (soon London)
Favourite army: Orcs & Goblins
If I’m not gaming I’m... working on Rankings HQ! (or playing squash)
Often mistaken for: Joey Perrone, a 1980s semi-popstar. Look it up.
Andrew, thanks for joining us. Why don’t you start by telling us a little about yourself? I have lived in Sydney, Australia all my life, and I’m a software developer by trade, working in that industry for the past 15 years. I have a mathematics degree and have part owned and run the Irresistible Force business for the last 2 years. I am getting married on April 30th this year which is very exciting. There are three main passions that have dominated my years on this earth: sport, gaming and music. I played a lot of touch rugby when I was younger and represented Australia at three World Cups over 11 years. I play the drums and also sing and have done both (sometimes at the same time) over the last 25 years in pub bands. During this time I have played from time to time Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and tabletop miniature games like Warhammer. Go on then, you’d better tell us all about your latest project, RankingsHQ.com. How would you describe to someone who had never heard of it before? To sum it up, Rankings HQ is an international rankings and social networking web site for gamers and sports people world wide. It is an online hub where players of all sorts of games can track their social games, their competitive tournament games, articles, photos and stay in touch with both their local and global gaming community.
How would you say RankingsHQ benefits the hobby? There are many ways that Rankings HQ can benefit gaming communities and therefore the hobby in general. At the base level we have a free tournament calendar where Tournament Organisers can advertise their events, including uploading player packs for players to download. Clubs are being set up on a daily basis with the club administrator being able to add/remove players, update the logo, send out club memos and post club news articles. Tournament results can be uploaded and stored against player’s profiles for historical record keeping. We have tournament results available on the system from a few years ago already. All these services are free. So you can see why we have gaming communities keen to get on and get involved. Beyond that we offer pay per use services like tournament ticket sales, advertising banners and Tournament Overlord, our purpose built tournament management software. The reaction to Tournament Overlord has been enormous and we are very excited about what that can do for an organiser. The entire Rankings HQ suite of products and services brings communities together, provides an effective medium for communication and essentially makes the hobby we love more professional, more efficient and most importantly more enjoyable! What would you say to people who feel that a rankings system could be detrimental to their hobby?
You’ve just added Battlefront’s Flames of War game to the rankings, in addition to both Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. What other games systems do you hope to bring on board in the near future? There are lots of plans to expand the offerings on Rankings HQ. The software engine behind the site has been designed and built from the ground up with the flexibility to not only cater for each country’s variations on how they want to do their rankings but also to cater for different gaming systems. The next few game systems we are working on are Warmachine/Hordes, Lord of the Rings and one that I personally cannot wait to get on there: Blood Bowl!
Rankings are but one part of the many faceted hobby we love. Players play their games for different reasons and at the end of the day the old saying “each to their own” holds true. If you don’t like the idea of rankings then don’t look at that section of the site. There are many players that use all of Rankings HQs services and love the fact they get an online record of their tournament results and games without really caring about what rank they are. Sure some players might take things a little too seriously and concentrate on their ranking over other facets of the hobby but that if anything might detract from their perceived enjoyment more than being detrimental to everyone else’s hobby. The players that become bad sports in games because of rankings will do exactly the same thing when they are at a tournament. It is in their nature. From my experience it is the senior players in a community and the tournament organisers themselves that have the biggest influence on player behaviour rather than any rankings system.
Special Characters Andrew Galea Rankings HQ never pushes the mantra that rankings are everything and should dominate tournament scenes. They are just an added element that when it boils down to it are fun! I truly believe that. I love the rankings and seeing how I am going compared to other guys I know. It provides great banter and for me simply adds interest to an already incredibly enjoyable and interesting hobby. Countries like Denmark and Germany already have their own well-established rankings systems. Do you envisage these countries becoming a part of RankingsHQ? I have actually spoken with players and organisers from those countries and many others besides. I respect that some communities have their own thing going and have had for some time. There is nothing wrong with that of course and I always take the approach with any country that shows interest in becoming part of Rankings HQ that my team will work with them to provide them with the tools and services to enhance their gaming scene. The Rankings HQ engine has been built from the ground up by a team with intimate knowledge of rankings systems. It is totally flexible and can cater for any rankings system so when a community from a particular country does approach us one of the things that they always ask is if they can keep their existing system. And the answer is yes.
So the bottom line is that we are always open to other countries coming on board and certainly aim to have as many as we can. At the moment countries
are being added constantly so it is very exciting. Some communities have spoken with us but then decided not to go ahead for whatever reason; it is a slow process for some gaming communities to adopt a new rankings system. But Rankings HQ offers so much more to communities than just a rankings system and we have the resources and the plans in place to keep adding functionality to the site and keep working with the communities that are on board to make the site as beneficial to gaming communities as we can. Can you give us a teaser on some other projects you might have in the pipeline? Or is it all top secret? Well there are certainly a few things in our planning that are very exciting for us and most certainly the broader gaming community. There is so much great stuff going on in the table top gaming scene at the moment with the ETC, huge tournaments around different countries, things like Unseen Lerker. It is great to be involved in this and contribute something to our growing community with Rankings HQ. As for future projects I am not able to divulge too much just yet but the next 12-18 months is going to be an exciting time for RHQ and in turn for many tabletop wargamers around the world. I am bursting with enthusiasm about RHQ and the road ahead. I am moving to Europe to be closer to the heart of the world wide gaming scene and will be making frequent trips to the US in the next few years, particularly after the wonderful experience I enjoyed at Adepticon. So bring it on.
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Unseen Lerker Around The World Reader Ingvar Karpsten with UL Issue 1 at the Colosseum, Rome, Italy.
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ARMY SHOWCASE Wayne Kemp
Name: Wayne Kemp Age: 38 Location: Portsmouth Favourite army: Skaven
Most valued hobby tool: My overactive imagination!
Often mistaken for: Someone who knows what they are talking about!
Skaven Slaves with encouraging whip.
Wayne Kemp has been playing wargames longer than a lot of gamers have been alive. Always more of a lover than a fighter, Wayne tends to focus his hobby powers less on playing competitive games and more on making whacky conversions. His bloodlust is also tempered by spending time with his new family and (crucially) increasing his psych medication to levels which would rupture the eardrums of a baby seal. Wayne has always had two true passions within the hobby. The first is winning Best Army awards. The second is Skaven. Wayne, you’ve collected and painted no less than eight Skaven armies in your illustrious career. What is it about the furry little fellas that excites you so?
Your current army (featured) is very...green! What gave you the idea for the army’s character and colour scheme?
Pretty much everything to be honest. I’ve been painting and converting the rats since they first appeared in 1987. I love the background to Skaven, especially the way treachery is accepted, and even applauded when done successfully. Moulder is my favourite clan; I have another 3000 point army which is all Moulder. I’ve painted about 25,000 points of Skaven over the years and I’m more enthusiastic about them now than I’ve ever been.
The idea for the green skin was actually Dan Heelan’s, but rather than tone everything down around the green I decided to put other strong colours into the colour scheme by using red and purple. It sounds like the choice of palette shouldn’t work but I am really pleased with the end product. The army is based around a warpstone mining clan and the green skin is to show that they are infected by their constant exposure to warpstone.
Wayne’s wicked weaponteams. Hellpit Abomination – now with wheels!
AT-ST style lightning cannon.
Where did you get all of the ‘bits’ for your army? I’ve always been a hoarder and my bits box is pretty extensive. Having said that, I am always on the look out for new models and hobby material! The Abomination has eight vermin lord tails on it which I’ve had for years, waiting for the right project. I never throw anything away from previous projects which results in me always having plenty of bits to choose from. Just lately I have really got into scratch building anything that takes my fancy. The Abomination and the Doomwheel are examples of this. At the moment I am building a Plagueclaw Catapult. Then I am going to build a siege tower and battering ram for a tournament in November. These models will be mainly made from varying sizes of plastic strips that you can buy from most hobby shops.
That way I can plan out the look and feel of the army, and individual models. I’m always looking to do something new and original which is really hard now, as the standard of army painting and converting is so high across the world. I love looking at other people’s armies, no matter what the standard is because often effort is as good as ability. As for what motivates me, well that’s easy, tournaments. If I know there is a deadline then I will really push myself. Plus I am very competitive when it comes to painting and that’s always strong motivation for me as well.
What gives you inspiration when it comes to painting a new army? What sort of motivators do you use to keep yourself going during the harder painting sessions?
Inspiration for me is easy because they are Skaven and I never tire of putting something new on the table, to the point that my next project is another Skaven army! (Which will be set in an imperial sewer.) I tend to sketch a lot of ideas when I am in the process of putting an army together.
army showcase wayne kemp Kiss it better?
Rat Ogres, ‘leapier’ than ever!
How many hours would you say have gone into the army, from scratch to finish, and do you have any sneaky tricks for getting the most out of your time?
Warlitter (below) and Warlocks (bottom left).
Absolutely no idea! The project from start to where it is now has taken about two years, with plenty of breaks in there when I have been working on other stuff. Most of my painting is done when I’m at work, believe it or not. As for tricks, not really. The more I paint, the quicker I get. However I do know the Abomination took over 40 hours to paint! Is the quality of your work reflected in your concentration intensity, or do you tend to work on multiple projects at a time? If so, do you find this aids or inhibits your productivity? If I could work on one project at a time, I think the quality would be much higher but sadly that isn’t the case. My biggest problem with any army I have ever painted is that I get distracted very easily and so I usually have four or five projects on the go at any one time. Hopefully I can correct this with the next army but old habits die hard! What is your favourite unit in the army, and what do you love about it? That’s a hard one as there is a lot of love gone into this army. The Doomwheel and the Abomination do grab most of the attention but my favourite unit is the Rat Ogres. I’m really pleased with the movement on them, especially the one being shot.
Video Game Review
Assassin’s Creed 2
Zach Kin Wilde
The Godfather Author: Mario Puzo
Athleticism, stealth, battle and the occasional chance for a bit of nookie – they’re the broad strokes of this game. The details simply get better and better. What’s it like to be in the mind of a killer? Even though you control modernday Desmond, who inhabits the genetic memories of his ancestor, Ezio, you get a sense of immediacy and danger as you play through different missions. Because this is a sequel, I’d suggest playing the first in the series before you decide to jump in here. This historically themed game follows the path of a skilled assassin through the streets of many medieval Italian cities. It is set in the time of political savagery when the powerful Borgia and Medici families vied for dominance. Ezio has more personality than the previous game’s protagonist (Altair). The plot twists are woven through cinematic scenes with incredible graphics (except for lab tech Lucy – she’s ugly). There’s a good blend of bloody battle and puzzlesolving, as well as feature elements like cruising the skies in Leonardo Da Vinci’s
Ok, first things first, if you haven’t watched the awesome Godfather trilogy of movies, WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN DOING? Go away, watch them and come back when you have. Unfortunately I have found it impossible to divorce my review of this book from the movies of the same name, to which Mario Puzo also wrote the screen play. But, if you haven’t seen them, and don’t have the requisite eight or so spare hours to do so, allow me to tell you what the back of the book says: “A modern masterpiece, The Godfather is a searing portrayal of the 1940s criminal underworld. It is also the intimate story of the Corleone family, at once drawn together and ripped apart by its unique position at the core of the American Mafia...”
For those that have seen them, this novel covers the period of the first two movies, in considerably more detail than is seen on the screen. The Godfather provides a little extra seasoning to what is already
flying machine. A variety of interaction with game characters includes rooftop guards, street prostitutes, local dignitaries, secretive rebels, and a range of craftsmen and artisans. The complexity increases as Desmond unlocks clues left by another agent who pieced together a diabolical scheme between international superpowers that spans across time into real modern-day events. Beyond that, this game offers the unadulterated satisfaction of gutting, slitting, pummeling and letting blood flow in a myriad of ways. And dressed to kill! (I kid you not – the black suit makes a real fashion statement.) There are sparing moments that lack explanation and logic. Overall, this great game improves on the first one, with intrigue leading the way to the third instalment. I recommend checking out the live action short film (Assassin’s Creed Lineage) for a visceral introduction to Ezio.
a very tasty meal the pickle on the ploughman’s, if you will.You get character development, and explanation of motivation that means that you’ll get just as much out of reading this, as you did out of watching the movie for the first time, if not more. If you haven’t see the movies and choose to read this book, what’s great about it is that unlike many of today’s book to movie conversions you aren’t left feeling left screwed by the director if you watch the movie later. They stand alone as great works in themselves, and together as a testament to Puzo’s talent for story telling. Considering the book was first published in 1969, it’s still amazingly relevant. The themes of loyalty, betrayal, honour and revenge ring just as true now as they did when it was written.
BATTLE REPORT: BLOOD BROTHERS Andrew Galea (Dark Elves) vs Jeff Galea (High Elves) Death from afar: Dark Elf Crossbowmen hone in on their hated foes.
Astute readers will notice that the teaser in Issue 2 for this battle report was ‘Clash of the Titans’, a title which is not matched by the one above. This alteration, and indeed the origin of the game you’re about to witness, has a suitably dramatic backstory. The Unseen Lerker carrier pigeon – Faithful Tim – was winging his way back to the UL HQ with the Clash of the Titans battle report clutched tightly in his stalwart little bird-fingers. In order to get the report to our readers as quickly as possible, our aviation advisors had charted Faithful Tim a trajectory which would take him over Iceland before returning home. Sadly, as Faithful Tim was passing over the island he was caught in the volcanic eruption and perished, the report being lost in the ash with him. After a brief period of mourning the Unseen Lerker team needed to find a replacement for our missing battle report. Every issue we try to bring you a battle report from somewhere new and exciting on the planet, featuring top players and well painted armies. This time is no exception. Andrew and Jeff Galea are venerable
titans themselves; prominent figures on the Australian gaming scene for almost a decade. And when we realised that the two players’ armies were also brothers – High Elves versus Dark Elves – we simply couldn’t resist. Both players are masters of their forces, having been the best generals of their respective races in Australia for as long as anyone can remember. Andrew (interviewed on page 18) won the 2008 Masters event using his Dark Elves, while older brother Jeff is renowned as one of the finest tactical minds in the land. The brothers have faced one another numerous times over the years, with a multitude of results. High Elf vs Dark Elf games are traditionally very bloody in nature, and for this particular occasion we requested that the boys play 2999 points, but leave their dragons at home (having read our tactics article on page 11, I doubt they would have been much use anyway). Let swords be sharpened and vows renewed; let hatreds be rekindled, and brothers become enemies – to war!
Andrew Galea Dark Elves Andrew: I have been playing Dark Elves for around 10 years now through the last 3 editions of the game so you can imagine how pleased I was when the most recent book came out and their power level was catapulted into the stratosphere! My record against High Elves since the new book is almost 100% wins or draws, it just seems that the Dark Elves have it over their fairer cousins in most facets of the game. However my brother Jeff has perhaps played against Dark Elves more than any other High Elf player in existence and he spends a lot of time theorising and playtesting different things against the various armies. In more recent times he has been playing a more aggressive game against me and his results have improved, so I knew I would be up against it in this game. But when using the Dark Elves I go into every game confident I am not going to lose, because if things start to go poorly they are the best army in Warhammer to scramble for a draw. For this game Jeff and I had a gentlemen’s agreement to not go over the top in our army selection and also to not take dragons. For two players that play solely for tournaments these days it was refreshing to go into a game that still had some meaning attached to it but we could try out a few things we would not normally do in a tournament environment. My lists of late have all been led by a Dreadlord on dragon so for this one I decided to go with the Supreme Sorceress mounted on a Dark Pegasus with a Focus Familiar. I love that character setup. I backed her up with a Sorceress on foot. Ordinarily I would give her the Sacrificial Dagger but I wanted to play nice so gave her the Lifetaker and Tome of Furion instead. The Cauldron of Blood is another of my favourites and if I am fielding a big unit of Black Guard (like I wanted to in this game) I almost always take one and make the Hag Queen the Battle Standard Bearer. To round out my characters I decided to chuck in both my Assassins. Okay, so I maybe I wasn’t playing that nice! The rest of the army sort of selects itself. A unit of 20 Warriors with War Banner, some Harpies, Dark Riders, small Corsair unit and two units of Repeater Crossbows for core. The rare of two Bolt Throwers and a Hydra were a given, while for the special slots I opted for a single unit of Shades, Cold One Knights, Cold One Chariot and the Black Guard, giving me a nice mix of units with which to play around with.
Andrew’s Dark Elves 2997 pts High Sorceress – 410 Level 4, Dark Pegasus, Focus Familiar, Pearls of Infinite Bleakness, Dispel Scroll, Dispel Scroll Sorceress – 145 Lifetaker, Tome of Furion Hag Queen – 225 Battle standard, Cauldron of Blood 20 Warriors ��� 180 Full command, War Banner Hidden Assassin – 171 Extra hand weapon, Rune of Khaine, Touch of Death, Black Lotus
10 Corsairs – 105 Handbows, musician 5 Dark Riders – 117 Repeater crossbows, musician 5 Dark Riders – 117 Repeater crossbows, musician 8 Shades – 128 Hidden Assassin – 151 Extra hand weapon, Rending Stars, Manbane 15 Black Guard – 290 Full command, Crimson Death, Banner of Hag Graef
10 Repeater – 115 Crossbowmen Shields, musician
5 Cold One Knights – 143 Musician
10 Repeater – 115 Crossbowmen Shields, musician
Reaper Bolt Thrower – 100
5 Harpies – 55
Cold One Chariot – 100
Reaper Bolt Thrower – 100 War Hydra – 175
5 Harpies – 55
Once we deployed our troops and I got a look at Jeff ’s army I was pretty confident going into the game. I had plenty of tools to worry him and I felt I had everything placed in just about the right spots. Jeff had stacked his left flank with his two units of Dragon Princes, one behind the other, so I knew I would have to do my best to either hold up or destroy that flank as that was where the game would be won or lost. I knew Jeff would have a few tricks up his sleeve for me though, so we’d just have to wait and see what happened!
Jeff Galea High Elves Jeff: I have had many games against the Dark Elves and it is no secret that they are a pretty solid army against the High Elves. I was in for a tough time and didn’t want to get massacred, knowing the whole world would be watching. Andrew and I both decided to leave the Dragons at home, to get more troops on the table and to make the game a little more interesting. I have learnt that if I sit back with the High Elves I tend to lose the shooting war and die a slow and painful death. With this in mind, my army selections were made to advance and put pressure on the Dark Elves as fast as I possibly could. I decided against a level 4 mage as I didn’t want to invest all those points and then have the Ring of Hotek ruin my day. I opted for two level 2 Mages with three Dispel Scrolls, adding the Banner of Sorcery on the Phoenix Guard to give me some magic offence. The two combat characters, Lord and BSB on steeds, were both given the best armour I could. The reason for this being that if my cavalry units were to get re-directed by harpies, which invariably happens, the heroes could still charge out and do some damage. The only thing that could kill them were the RBTs, everything else should bounce off the armour. In a similar vein, the rest of my army was selected with an eye to weathering the Dark Elf missile weapons. I’ve been playing High Elves for ten years, so have quite a large selection of models – this made it easy to pick the most suitable units for the task. First up were the core choices, which more or less picked themselves. 20 Spearmen with the War Banner would provide the first of my solid anchors, as well as being fairly cheap (at least compared to the rest of my units!). Two times 10 Archers were also drafted without a moment’s hesitation. These would be tasked with keeping the Dark Riders and Harpies away from my flanks and war machines, while also trying to thin the lines of the enemy before combat ensued. Phoenix Guard are always a good choice, and I was hoping to line them up against Andrew’s Black Guard. I assumed the Black Guard would have the Banner of Hag Graef and the Phoenix Guard are the only infantry with equal initiative to force a roll off. Their ward saves would also keep them in the fight if they did lose the roll off to see who goes first. White Lions are another one of my favourite units. They’re very resilient against shooting, doubly so because they can advance through woods for a couple of turns if needed. I was confident these guys would be able chop up pretty much any of Andrew’s units, with the Lion Standard even killing the Hydra wasn’t impossible.
Jeff’s High Elves 2997pts Prince – 273 Barded elven steed, Sword of Might, Enchanted Shield, Vembraces of Defence, Talisman of Loec
Full command, Banner of Sorcery
Noble – 184 Barded elven steed, battle standard, Foe Bane, Helm of Fortune
6 Dragon Princes – 255 Full command, Gem of Courage, Banner of Ellyrion
Mage – 185 Level 2, Seerstaff of Saphery, Dispel Scroll Mage – 185 Level 2, Dispel Scroll, Dispel Scroll, Silver Wand 20 Spearmen – 225 Full command, War Banner 10 Archers – 115 Musician 10 Archers – 110 20 Phoenix Guard – 380
15 White Lions – 280 Full command, Lion Standard
6 Dragon Princes – 275 Full command, Standard of Balance 5 Silver Helms – 115 Heavy armour, shields 5 Silver Helms – 115 Heavy armour, shields Great Eagle – 50 Great Eagle – 50 Repeater Bolt – 100 Thrower Repeater Bolt – 100 Thrower
Cavalry have an important role to play in a High Elf army, and for this battle I went for two units of Dragon Princes and two units of Silver Helms. I have found the Silver Helms to be a great choice against Lizards and Dark Elves: they are cheap and can put pressure on the enemy shooting and annoying units like Harpies while the Dragon Princes can chase the bigger fish! Finally, my rare choices were easily filled with the usual two Great Eagles and two Repeater Bolt Throwers, which should hopefully aid me when it came to outmanoeuvring and outranging the Dark Elves. Laying my 2999pt army on the table, I was quite excited at the prospect of using so many of my models in one game. Most of my games tend to be around the 20002250pt level, so I was looking forward to this! I was well aware that Andrew would also have a lot of units, so I would have to be careful not to be overwhelmed. The plan was to advance as quickly as possible with everything and hope to engage the enemy – if I’m in combat then they can’t shoot me!
The Setup Deployment was an interesting affair. Elf players in particular traditionally tend to hold back their war machines and most expensive units until as late as possible when deploying, and this time was no exception. Eagles, Harpies, Dark Riders, Silver Helms, Archers, Crossbowmen – all were deployed with casual confidence as their owners eyed up the more exciting places left in their battlelines for their elites to occupy. It was Andrew who broke the poker-faced stalemate, putting his Hydra trump card directly behind the forest ready to run forward and rampage through the High Elf lines. In response Jeff stacked the flank with both his Dragon Prince units as well as his tooled up general, and Andrew escalated the face off further by adding his Shades, High Sorceress and Cold One Knights into the mix.
Both armies looked massive on the battlefield, and both players (in true brotherly fashion) were confident that they had the advantage.
All of the infantry was facing off in the centre, while both contingents of wizards loitered around the nearby stands of trees and the cavalry dominated the flanks. The final result was a hauntingly symmetrical composition of similar units; a mirror of good and evil.
Jeff: “My army is way bigger than yours.” Andrew: “You should know it’s not the size that counts.” Hands were shaken and the dice cast for the first turn, with Andrew winning and eagerly grabbing the initiative. Game on!
High Sorceress Chillwind, Bladewind, Word of Pain, Soul Stealer
Mage Shield of Saphery, Courage of Aenarion, Vaul’s Unmaking
Sorceress Chillwind, Doombolt, Soul Stealer
Seer Forked Lightning, Uranon’s Thunderbolt
Cold One Knights
Repeater Bolt Thrower
Cold One Chariot Reaper Bolt Thrower War Hydra
Silver Helms and White Lions race into position eastern flank, trying to outflank their evil cousins.
Turn 1 Andrew began his first turn by testing for Stupidity on his units – both passed with ease. The Cauldron then granted the central Crossbowmen a 5+ ward save to help them weather the High Elves’ inevitable return fire. On the eastern flank, Andrew’s Dark Riders surged forward to draw a bead on the High Elf Archers stationed there, while the Crossbowmen entered the tower and adopted firing positions at the array of arrowslits. The rest of the Dark Elf advance was somewhat timid; clearly Andrew was waiting to see how his magic and shooting played out before making a decision to commit to combat. Lightning crackled and smoke swirled as the magic phase began. Things kicked off with Andrew’s level 2 casting Chillwind at Jeff ’s Phoenix Guard. Jeff let it through, trusting in his ward saves, but the spell proved half an inch out of range. The High Sorceress then released her Focus Familiar, gaining her both Line of Sight and additional range from her position in the forest. She too attempted to Chillwind the Phoenix Guard, but miscast. One strength 8 hit later and she had not only taken a wound but also lost a magic level and the Chillwind spell for good! Unperturbed, Andrew threw his five remaining dice at Bladewind, again at the Phoenix Guard. There was a Mage sheltering in their front ranks and Jeff, unwilling to have his character wounded so early in the game, used his first Dispel Scroll to quell the attempt.
The Dark Elves’ first shooting phase was concentrated on the east-flank Archer unit, who lost six of their number as the scything bolts of their foes hammered into them. There was blood on the western flank too: the Shades had moved to the edge of the tree-line and dropped two Dragon Princes with their accurate fire. The Reaper Bolt Throwers tried to add to this tally, but were foiled when Jeff made six out of six 4+ armour saves. Both the Dragon Princes and the Archers passed their panic tests. In response, Jeff threw subtlety out the window and shoved his infantry units the full 10” forward. The Dragon Prince units on the left flank were more cautious, well aware what the Cold One Knights opposite would do to them if they were allowed to charge, and instead edged forward in what Jeff described as a ‘tricksy trap’. There was nothing tricksy about the magic phase however, as Jeff ’s Heavens Mage began raining lightning bolts down on Andrew’s nearest bolt thrower. The first of the two spells brought out the first of the Dark Elves’ scrolls, but the second went through and killed one of the crewmen manning the machine. In the shooting phase the central Archers found the enemy Crossbowmen too tough to injure, while a bolt thrower and the surviving Archers on the east flank combined fire to kill three of the five Dark Riders opposing them, and the second bolt thrower shot a Cold One Knight from his saddle. And just like that, it was back to the Dark Elves…
The cavalry “traffic jam” on the western flank.
Turn 2 After a very brief tea break (you can’t keep an elf from his tea), the action continued. The Cold One Chariot charged the central Silver Helms which had wandered a little too close, and Jeff fled back through his Archers and escaped. Nearby, the Cold One Knights moved right in the face of the foremost Dragon Prince unit, negating any tricksy trap they might have had planned, and ensuring that the Elf Prince and his unit behind were jammed up and wouldn’t be able to charge the Hydra when it came storming out of the woods. Which is exactly what it did! One of Andrew’s Assassins also revealed himself in the Shade unit, but dashed over to join the Spearmen instead, while the High Sorceress delved deeper into the wood. An 18 to cast Soul Stealer on the Dragon Princes produced the High Elves’ second Dispel Scroll, but the rest of the magical nastiness was kept in check. This left ‘just’ the shooting phase to come – and what a shooting phase it was! The Hydra managed to roast no less than 10 Spearmen with its breath attack, while three Silver Helms on the eastern side of the board also fell to barbed bolts and the Dark Riders continued what they’d started and killed one of the four remaining Archers. The Silver Helms and the Archers both failed their panic tests, despite their bonus re-rolls, and ran back towards their own board edge.Youch! The High Elves looked to be in a bit of trouble, and Jeff decided that the best way to get out of it was to charge! The Dragon Princes pounced on the Cold One Knights, the Battle Standard Bearer shot out of his unit at the chariot, while the two Great Eagles got into position to attack the Dark Elf bolt throwers next turn. Jeff ’s Spearmen were now crippled to the point of uselessness, but he cannily moved them to block the Hydra from charging anything else, lining up his general’s unit to counter if it took the bait. The Phoenix Guard and White Lions advanced more cautiously this time, wary of the Black Guard loitering nearby and all
the units which could potentially be supercharged by the Cauldron. Nearby on that flank, both the Silver Helms and the Archers failed to rally! Jeff was not impressed, though both units managed to stay on the board. Magic was a mixed bag this turn, with an Irresistible Thunderbolt finishing off Andrew’s bolt thrower but a Miscast Lightning (result of ‘5’) then causing the High Elf Battle Standard Bearer to become Weapon Skill1 from a free Word of Pain spell! That could mean trouble. For shooting, one of the Repeater Bolt Throwers could draw a bead on the western flanking Dark Riders, skewering three of their number, while the other one fired six shots at point blank range into the Hydra, only to be trumped by some impressive armour save rolls. In combat, the High Elf BSB and the chariot failed to scratch each other, making the fight a draw. The Dragon Princes knocked two of the four Cold One Knights from their saddles for none in return, but the Dark Elves passed their break test.
STAY CALM, EVERYONE Both these armies have special rules which benefit them against one another. The Dark Elves get Eternal Hatred, re-rolling their misses in every round of combat instead of just the first. The High Elves on the other hand are allowed to re-roll all of their failed Psychology tests, which can prove to be a key difference with two fragile armies like these. Unfortunately Jeff managed to fail four consecutive Leadership 8 tests, leaving his right flank in tatters!
Hydra advances. Burny death ensues.
Turn 3 Andrew began his third turn, gleefully announcing that the Cauldron was giving the Cold One Chariot Killing Blow attacks (the 1+ re-rollable armour save Noble fighting it suddenly looked very nervous). The central Harpies declared a charge against the exposed Repeater Bolt Thrower, while the other Harpies moved to block Jeff ’s western Eagle from charging their own bolt thrower. The Hydra, using what rudimentary brainpower it had, deduced that while the Spearmen kept standing where they were the Highborn’s Dragon Princes behind wouldn’t be able to charge it, and stayed put. The rest of the Dark Elf army seemed content to let the Hydra do the dirty work and remained mostly stationary, readying their crossbows instead. The High Sorceress threw a handful of dice at Word of Pain, determined to ruin the High Elf BSB’s day, but Jeff managed to dispel it with his dice. The rest of Andrew’s dice went into a Chillwind and a Doombolt, both directed at Jeff ’s second Great Eagle. With no dice left, Jeff gritted his teeth and waited for the inevitable. The dice clearly had other ideas though, and the flyer escaped with only a single wound suffered. This miracle seemed rather pointless when half the Dark Elf army then opened fire on the poor creature, killing it outright. Three White Lions also succumbed to the deadly bolts, as well as a Dragon Prince from the general’s unit, while a further three Spearmen were fried to a crisp by the Hydra. The combat between the BSB and the chariot continued, with the High Elf using his Foe Bane to full effect this time and inflicting two wounds to his enemy. Jeff breathed a sigh of relief when no Killing Blows were produced. The chariot lost the combat, but passed its test. Nearby, the Harpies’ charge against the bolt thrower backfired horribly when the crew stepped forward and killed one of the winged she-beasts, losing none in return and drawing the combat!
Andrew: “Every damn time! That bolt thrower is out to get me.” The Hydra was looming. Jeff, out of sheer desperation, charged the remaining Spearmen into it in the hope that he could force it to pursue somewhere out of the way for a turn. His general’s Dragon Princes also charged the Shades peeking of the woods, who wasted no time in gathering up their robes and fleeing back the way they had come! Finally, Jeff ’s Archers declared a charge against the flank of the Harpies fighting the bolt thrower. The High Elf infantry in the centre continued to press forward despite being marchblocked, while nearby the fleeing Silver Helms and Archers had all rallied and were preparing to get back into the game. The Heavens Mage again unleashed a Lightning spell, frying four Crossbowmen in the opposite tower and causing them to panic, while Thunderbolt was dispelled and the Shield of Saphery failed to cast. Shooting saw the High Elf bolt thrower home in its counterpart, killing one of the crew. Meanwhile, the cavalry fight finally ended with the Dragon Princes dropping the last of the Cold One Knights, while this time the BSB was unable to scratch the chariot but again luckily managed to dodge any Killing Blows. The charging Archers managed to successfully beat off the Harpies, but the last remaining creature managed to drag down both bolt thrower crew before running for the hills. Finally, the Spearmen couldn’t penetrate the thick skin of the Hydra, who killed four High Elves in return. Jeff bit his lip – if the Hydra’s handlers could finish off the last few models then the Hydra wouldn’t be forced to pursue. The handlers scored five hits – and five wounds! No more Spearmen remained, and the Hydra was free to wreak havoc once more.
Jeff: “That…was not part of the plan.”
Dark Riders: “No, chase us!”
Turn 4 The Hydra licked its many lips and launched itself at the flank of the now unengaged Dragon Princes. The brave cavalry didn’t fancy their chances and fled, but rolled too far and went off the table. The Archers who had just finished off the Harpies were also set upon by a pair of nearby Dark Riders. The Harpies who had been blocking the Eagle gave up on that task, moving in front of the Highborn’s Dragon Princes instead. The Eagle was still threatening the bolt thrower though, so Andrew moved his Sorceress out of her unit to try and rid himself of the pest. Harpies: “Chase us!”
Jeff: “No guts no glory.” Andrew discovered he had misplaced his unit slightly, meaning that when they fled they contacted the building and were destroyed. This caused the adjacent Dark Elf Spearmen to panic and flee through most of Andrew’s battleline, which caused a further panic test on the central Crossbowmen and sent them fleeing as well! The Black Guard and the Cauldron were immune, but Andrew’s Sorceress was suddenly exposed!
Magic brought no joy, with both Doombolt and Chillwind being dispelled, though Bladewind did bring out Jeff ’s third and final scroll. This left Andrew’s shooting to remove the Eagle and save his bolt thrower. Lifetaker inflicted its first wound of the game, but the bolt thrower itself only managed one wound as well!
Jeff (in his best Dr. Frankenstein voice): “It’s aliiive!”
The wounded Great Eagle, seeing the bolt thrower in front of it, bravely passed its Cauldron-induced terror test and charged in. The Elf Prince charged out of his unit at the Harpies, while the Dragon Princes turned to face the Hydra. Elsewhere, Jeff ’s Phoenix Guard had been offered the bait of the Corsairs, and despite the looming Black Guard flank charge Jeff went for it.
Things were equally exciting in the combat phase, as the Eagle sundered the final Dark Elf bolt thrower and overran off the board, while the High Elf Battle Standard Bearer finally managed to destroy the chariot, and the Archers and Dark Riders had another knife’sedge draw.
Meanwhile, a Phoenix Guard got a Rending Star in the eye, but the White Lions shrugged off the missiles that came their way. This lack of brutality continued as the chariot yet again failed to Killing Blow the Battle Standard Bearer, suffering another wound in return but again passing its break test. The charging Dark Riders managed to dodge the striking-first Archers’ attacks, killing one High Elf and drawing the combat.
Jeff approached his magic phase eagerly, his Heavens Mage unleashing both Forked Lightning and the Thunderbolt at Andrew’s vulnerable Sorceress. The first was dispelled with a flurry of dice; the second drew Andrew’s final Dispel Scroll. This left only Jeff ’s bolt thrower able to finish the wizard off, and despite the three hits it scored Jeff only managed a single wound! The Sorceress lived!
Archers vs Dark Riders in a battle of the small fry.
Turn 5 Despite the setbacks of the previous turn, Andrew pressed on. Granting his Black Guard a 5+ ward save, he charged them at the flank of the Phoenix Guard. Jeff leaned over the table for a very long time, eyeing off the distance and wondering if they were in charge range. It was close.Very close. In the end he fled, trusting his rallying abilities over his range guessing skills. Out came the tape measure….it was 10.12 inches! Out of range! The Phoenix Guard fled to the other side of the central obstacles, well out of the game now and needing a rally test to conserve their 380VPs. Andrew’s own units managed to rally, forming a nice bunker around the forest where the High Sorceress had been sheltering all game. The level 2 Sorceress, not eager to repeat last turn’s excitement, ran to safety. Magic began in an exciting fashion, as Andrew rolled triple ‘6’ to Soul Stealer the High Elf BSB. The Strength 2 hit did little to impress him though; the rest of the spells were equally lacklustre and failed to cast. Shooting also bore little fruit, with a mere two models dropping, and with another predictable draw between the Dark Riders and Archers, and the Prince unable to break the Harpies, it was back to the High Elves. Jeff, eager to stem the trail of destruction wrought by the Hydra, charged it in the flank with his four remaining Dragon Princes. Andrew held, confident that his monster would destroy them just as it had destroyed everything else so far. Jeff ’s central Silver Helms passed their terror test and moved back towards the centre of the board, threatening the remaining Dark Elves and looking to contest their home quarter in the last turn. The Phoenix Guard rallied and the White Lions backed up to watch the final moves of the game. He also moved his High Mage to the edge of the forest, keen to get his Shield of Saphery spell in range of the Dragon Princes and give them every chance to beat the Hydra in combat.
Forked Lightning again proved its worth, eliminating the last two Dark Riders who were harassing the White Lions, while Uranon’s Thunderbolt failed to cast and Shield of Saphery on the Dragon Princes was enthusiastically dispelled. Three Spearmen fell to the barbed bolts of the Repeater, but the anticipation of looming combat overshadowed it to the point where no one seemed to notice. First, the Elf Prince managed to finish off the Harpies he was fighting. Next, the Dark Riders managed to beat the Archers in combat, but they passed their break test. Finally, the big one: the Dragon Princes versus the Hydra.
Jeff: “This could go horribly wrong.” Heart in his mouth, Jeff rolled his attacks. six hits, three wounds and a flurry of failed saves resulted in the Hydra taking two wounds. In return it ripped the head from one brave knight, but Jeff saved the remainder. When the dust settled the Hydra had lost the combat, and it duly broke and was run down. The High Elves were back in the game!
The remaining Dragon Princes desperately try to bring down the Hydra.
Turn 6 Not too discouraged, Andrew took stock of the situation. With the High Elf BSB having joined the Silver Helms that were now threatening most of his army, he decided to reveal his second Assassin in the Spearmen. Nothing would be charging them now! The Black Guard also turned to face the cavalry, while the Shades and Crossbowmen moved to finish off the Eagle behind their lines. With the Hydra dead and his other troops at arm’s length, all Andrew could do was reload his crossbows and blast away with his magic. This latter goal went relatively smoothly, with a Doombolt killing three White Lions and reducing them to a mere five models remaining. The level 2 Sorceress managed to get some extra power dice through Power of Darkness, which she then unleashed on a Soul Stealer spell, but failed to meet the required value. The High Sorceress had no such problems, however, and managed to kill enough Silver Helms using the same spell to reduce them to half strength. The final Great Eagle fell to the Shades, while the Sorceress sighted down the length of her Lifetaker and put three shots into the High Elf Mage who had moved to the edge of the wood, killing him. The Archers and Dark Riders continued to batter each other in combat, with the Archers winning by one this time but the last Dark Rider staying fast for the last turn. Jeff ’s Prince declared a charge against the Dark Elf Crossbowmen, who stood and shot. The elf hero was half an inch out of range, but his impressive armour meant he was unharmed by the spray of incoming shots. The Dark Riders finally get their comeuppance.
As expected, Jeff ’s remaining units moved to contest what table quarters they could. While he rued the loss of his High Mage, Jeff finally rolled a ‘6’ for his Banner of Sorcery, and rubbed his hands together with the prospect of more Heavens magic. The grin was wiped from his face though when his first spell, Forked Lightning, miscasted and ended the magic phase. Shooting brought equally little joy, with only two Crossbowmen falling to the Repeater’s bolts. In combat, the Archers finally managed to drag down the last Dark Rider and clear all of the Dark Elves from their half of the table. And with that, the game was over!
RESULT Dark Elves: 1426VPs – High Elves: 1340 VPs
AFTER BATTLE THOUGHTS Jeff: Well some things worked quite well and others did not. I made an error in deployment which, in my opinion, really cost me: I deployed the two Dragon Prince units one behind the other. The idea was to spread them out and threaten the Hydra and Shades on my left hand flank, but Andrew won first turn and managed to pressure my flank so I couldn’t advance enough to free up both units. The delay on my left flank really fragmented my advance from turn one and screwed my whole battle plan. Despite this, the heavily armoured Silver Helms, White Lions and Phoenix Guard really did a good job soaking up the relentless firepower thrown at them. The two combat characters worked a treat, with the BSB charging the threatening chariot and, with Foe Bane, managing to destroy it (but not until after a few turns of the Chariot having killing blow from the Cauldron – that was a very tense combat!). I think my magic actually worked better that Andrew’s and he went with the level 4 option. Magic really is fickle in the current game and I hope it gets a change for the better in 8th edition. For High Elves, two level 2 mages with Banner of Sorcery does give you a decent magic phase and you aren’t relying on a costly level 4 Archmage. I also like being able to choose two different lores. Despite popular opinion, I believe the Silver Helms do have a role in a High Elf force and I have been using them quite effectively for the last few months. Sometimes you just don’t want to waste the elite Dragon Princes chasing Harpies or hunting bolt throwers etc… Overall, I was happy with the result but very disappointed in my deployment mistake. I have been getting good results against the Dark Elves and I believe that the aggressive approach is the way to go. I have tried, many times, to outshoot them, but even when using magic bows I end up losing more than I kill. Also, I’m at the stage now where I want to play Warhammer and actually witness exciting spectacles on the table, something which rarely happens in shooting fights but regularly happens when it comes nail-biting combat games – like this one!
Andrew: Well, As predicted, most of the action ended up happening on the High Elf left flank, and I have to say I was pretty pleased with how I played it over there: advancing my Cold One Knights in his face forced him to charge them with the first Dragon Prince unit after I had whittled them down somewhat with shooting. This allowed me to stay in that combat for several turns resulting in his big unit of Dragon Princes lead by his general stuck behind them. Whilst this was going on I was able to destroy the Spear Elf unit with my Hydra and also collapse his right flank. I had also suffered inevitable losses but in all I was looking pretty good mid game. There were two crucial combats that in the end cost me a win. Namely the High Elf Battle Standard Bearer fighting my Cold One Chariot. I gave the crew killing blow from the Cauldron several turns in a row but was unable to roll that 6 required to get through his 1+ re-rollable armour save. After several turns his Foe Bane weapon (man, who uses that?!) ended up destroying the chariot. The odds were always in the High Elf ’s favour but I so wanted to roll that 6! The other crucial moment was my Hydra (carrying the Spearelves’ banner) being charged in the flank by 4 Dragon Princes. The fact they had the Banner of Balance, therefore removing my hatred, did not help. Even with the no re-rolls I still was a little unlucky with this one. I only killed one Dragon Prince in return, if I had killed two he would have lost his +1 flank so the combat went from me winning by 1 to him winning by 1 and I broke and got run down. That was a several hundred point turn-around which brought the game back to a draw. The Dark Elves ending up around 80 points ahead once the dust settled. A fitting result for a hard fought game and Jeff played the High Elves very well as usual. Jeff and I have played many, many times over the years and it’s always a hardfought struggle between our two warring elven races. This game was by no means the bloodiest game we’ve ever played, but it was definitely one of the most fun.
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Reader’s Rant Be Cool
? John Doe
Rant. Get published. Stay anonymous. Feel the power. email@example.com
It’s close to one o’clock in the morning and my internet connection is running slow. I’m trying to watch a video here for “scientific reasons” and it’s taking its damn sweet time. I have to be up at 6am for the gym so my time is precious. While it’s loading I check my mail and I see I have a message from someone called Bobo the Vampire Monkey. As usual, I take the plunge and open the email, hoping for zoological related porn. To my disappointment it’s none of the above instead it’s some mail about writing an article. I scan the email again and I see no reference to monetary compensation or full frontal nudity or even the suggestion of forwarding pictures of my god-like body in various poses. My wife has been asleep in the next room for a couple of hours now. She usually heads off at about 10. I sit on the bed for 5 to 10 minutes chatting to her each night before she sleeps. She calls it “us time” and says it’s her favourite part of her day and feels like we connect. To tell you the truth I’m just there to try and get my leg over and usually leave after 5 minutes of frustration. Anyway as I sit here contemplating the email I come to a sort of an epiphany. I’ve wasted my whole life. No no, really, hear me out.Yes I have the trophy wife and the body of a Pagan God but you see deep down I always really wanted to be a ninja. In school I applied to do ninja studies but the career guidance officer told me there was no such thing and I ended up doing Irish instead. Irish is probably one of the most useless subjects around - even Irish people don’t use it except for remote villages in the west of the country where all the kids are ginger and can’t go out in the sun and brothers are allowed to marry brothers.
When I was younger I saw a film where the ninja wrapped cool black bandages around his body, only leaving his eyes visible. Naturally, I tried to replicate this awesomeness. The best I could find at the time was my mam’s tights and some black duct tape. I did the best I could and ended up with a black duct tape mask. That stuff is really sticky, and is probably the reason I no longer have eyebrows and am missing large clumps of hair from strange places on my body. While I was ninja-ing, my dad walked in. Utter silence. We agreed we’d never tell mum about this; she wouldn’t understand. Afterwards he went to his room and had a little drink and cried himself to sleep. We don’t talk much anymore. Maybe the black bra was overkill. Anyway I blame the educational system: if it catered to my needs better it would have saved me from a lot of trouble and counsellor fees (and in some cases compensation payments) in later life. I’ve decided I’m not going to write this article. I’ve seen a link for ninja lessons instead. The picture shows a man in a gimp mask and a studded black codpiece sitting in his basement. I’m suspicious at first. He doesn’t appear to be oriental (everyone knows all oriental people are mystical and know martial arts. That’s not being a racist that’s an actual scientific fact). But he does promise to teach me the lost art of ninja fisting and ninja pillow biting and has a cool sword in his hand, so I’m in. I’ve just confirmed the payment by visa and now I wait. I wonder if the Rock has mailed me back yet.
THE TEST DUMMIES The Uncharted Seas
Producer: Spartan Games No. of players: 2+ Type of game: Tabletop Miniature Game “The Uncharted Seas are a set of fantasy naval rules that allow you to wage mighty sea battles with a range of 1/600th resin and metal ship models. With a focus on straight-forward rules and fast dice rolling, Uncharted Seas is an action-packed game not to be missed.” --OG Games, official games provider for the Test Dummies
Dummy #1: Greg Dann Greg: Let me get straight to the point of this game as I feel it can only help when reading the rest of the review – this game is Fun. That’s right, I used a capital F and I sure as hell meant it. If you are looking for a detailed, in-depth recreation of the old battles upon the sea or a grandiose fantasy setting that charts the rise and fall of nations before allowing you to alter their path, then don’t bother. This is not the game you are looking for. The background is sparse, and somewhat dull, but Spartan games encourage you to work out your own stories with which to populate the world. The rule book itself is simply laid out and when a rule is written that might cause some confusion then they have provided diagrams, which are pretty good at clearing up the situation. Unfortunately with all the attention that has been put on these rules clarifications they seem to have forgotten about some of the more basic elements of the game. There were many occasions when we were searching through the rule book for the most simple of things only to find that they weren’t there. As experienced gamers this doesn’t cause a problem as you make a decision about how you play said rule and can both keep to it. Less experienced gamers could get confused. The game itself is quick, simple and fun. Turn templates are supplied to assist in manoeuvring your ships and to be honest that’s all the complexity for movement. When ships come into contact they either ram or collide and can take damage (so can the models – be careful!). If you have touched another vessel then you will perform a boarding action and shoot stuff up.
All attempts to deal damage work in the same way; a number of dice are generated according to the ships’ Ram or Collision value when ships touch, or the weapon table according to the range you are fighting at. Ships fire individually but a squadron can link fire with each subsequent ship and add even more shots. All this results in handfuls of dice being thrown down (it isn’t uncommon to have 14 dice in your hands just firing one Capital ship’s broadsides). Each ship has a Damage Rating (DR) and a slightly higher Critical Rating (CR), if the number of ‘hits’ equals or beats the DR then you score a hit but if it equals or beats the CR then you roll on the critical hit table instead which can result in anything from 2 points of damage to jamming the ships steering to blowing the whole thing to smithereens and damaging the ships around it. After a few games of trying to get the rules down right and playing with different tactics it became apparent that I really didn’t want to concentrate too much playing this game. Simple basic pushing models around, rolling lots of dice and watching for those 6s to come up all provides a very more relaxed gaming experience than playing Warhammer, and having three frigates slide up beside a line ship and unleashing torrents of fire which result in five or six ships being sunk is always fun, even if they are your own. One useful thing that Spartan Games have done is make downloadable cut-out templates of the ships, counters and cards available from their website. This means you can just buy the rulebook and get a taste of the game for a minimal price. Uncharted Seas provides nice break from detailed wargaming and is cheap enough not to anger the other half (too much). It’s quick, it’s easy – and it’s Fun.
Thanks to OG Games and the Test Dummies we will be giving away not only The Uncharted Seas rulebook but also an Imperial and Orc starter fleet – worth over £75 – to one lucky subscriber! The winner will be announced in the next issue of Unseen Lerker, so subscribe today for your chance to win!
Dummy #2: Dan Comeau Dan: I had been looking forward to this game since I heard of its release. Looking back through my rose-tinted glasses, I have very fond memories of Man’o’War, an old specialist game from Games Workshop based on the same premise of fantasy naval combat. In those terms this game does not disappoint. There is no big boxed set for this game, but all you need to get things started are a rulebook and a couple of starter fleets. I was very impressed when I first opened the book: every page is in colour, with some impressively photoshopped images and some nice illustrations. I was a little disappointed with the background, it is fairly generic and lacklustre, but given the youth of Spartan Games they can be forgiven for not having as rich and developed a background as some of the larger companies. The layout of the book is also slightly infuriating. Although there is a contents page, there is no index for quick reference for any rules queries. Luckily the game is simple enough that any such queries are few and far between once you’ve played through a few times. Moving on to the miniatures, these are not as detailed as I would like, but they fill the role perfectly, and lend themselves to a quick and simple paint job. My main concern is the fact that the boats are resin, which is prone to break easily. Combined with the heavy sails which are made of metal, you will require extra care and love to keep your boats intact. However, please don’t let these grumbles put you off. Fundamentally this game is ace fun!
The appeal of this game for me is the sheer simplicity of the rules, which really keep the game moving and in the spirit of. Combat and damage are based around D6 rolls, and the exploding dice mechanic means that 6s are good! If you have rolled enough dice to beat the opponent’s critical rating, you roll on the critical hit table and all sorts of cool mayhem ensues! Movement is kept simple, each ship has a set range (halved if sailing into the wind), and a set of templates are provided for turning. Each Fleet has a deck of cards which can be played to help yourself or hinder your opponent, examples include rolling more dice when attacking, or changing the direction of the wind. Combined with the integrated turn sequences this provides a nice variation to your games and makes for very dynamic and reactive gameplay. My only other concern about this game is the current lack of variety and incentive to expand your fleet. From the games I have played, I have seen no real incentive to purchase more beyond the starter set, as expanding the size of the game adds no real benefit beyond a longer game. There is not a huge variety in different ships for the various races, but this is something I am not too worried about, as I’ve stated before, Spartan Games is a new company and over time should see further support and more improvements to the game. Uncharted Seas is quick to play and it’s easy to pick up the basic rules. A game using the starter fleets will last no more than half an hour, which makes this a great game for people to pick up and play who want a quick and fun game. I would not recommend this to any die hard naval combat fans, as the rules are a little simplified, but if this does not worry you and you want something fun and easy to play in between other games then I definitely recommend it.
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Don’t forget to check out Unseen Lerker Issue 4, which will contain…
ISSUE 04 JUN– JUL 2010
Special Characters MORE FUN THAN JOINING A CULT
Jacek Jedynak, Polish Superstar
Maelstrom’s Summer Incursion
ARMY SHOWCASE Jacob Scott’s Tomb Kings
BATTLE REPORT A magazine for gamers, hobbyists and collectors
Blast From The Past
“It’s like watching monkeys on typewriters slowly becoming more literate.” Lucas Berring, reader.