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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Holy Zealots and Monolith Bearer

I just won an auction for a unit of 10 Holy Zealots and a Monolith Bearer for $27 on eBay.  That would normally be $61.98 retail, for a discount of 43.6% off retail.  Not bad.  They look to be in pretty good shape based on the below auction photo.  The Monolith Bearer looks like it might need a little work, but that's sort of a hobby non issue at this point.

This purchase leaves me with the Flameguard Cleansers w/Officer and the Vassal Mechanik yet to purchase.  Full retail is $97.97 for those, but I'm definitely not spending that much.  Full Retail for the list is $311.91.  I've spent $66.99 so far.  This has been fun with numbers.

Here is where I am with the 75 point list as of today (assuming the auction comes in the mail ok).

Malekus, the Burning Truth-30Yes
Vassal Mechanik1
Choir of Menoth6Yes
Exemplar Cinerators16Yes
Flameguard Cleansers15
Flameguard Cleanser Officer4
Holy Zealots13Yes
Monolith Bearer3Yes

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Planned Menoth List

I picked up the Protectorate of Menoth Mk3 Starter Battlegroup yesterday.  It seems like the local community is going to be playing at the 75 point level.  Given that I already have access to some Menoth stuff, it made the most sense to just stick with that and expand.

I actually like the sample list in the Introductory Guide that came with the Battlegroup, so I think I'm going to work towards building it.

NamePointsRetail Price# Needed$ Needed
Malekus, the Burning Truth-3039.9900
Vassal Mechanik17.9917.99
Choir of Menoth631.9900
Exemplar Cinerators1644.9900
Flameguard Cleansers1574.99174.99
Flameguard Cleanser Officer414.99114.99
Holy Zealots1349.99149.99
Monolith Bearer311.99111.99

I only need to purchase five things, with a full retail price of $159.95.  I'm sure I'll be able to negotiate a decent discount by shopping around and checking eBay for deals.  I'm still going to stick with my Mercs/Rhulic idea, but that will top out at 10 points, which I already own.

Since everyone likes pretty pictures, here are all the models that make up the Menoth force I'm putting together...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

General Ossrum

I was out of town this past weekend for a family wedding.  While there, I happened across a small game store in Niles, Ohio called the Crystal Dragon.  It was pretty nice.  I ended up finding some Rhulic stuff for Warmachine and picked it up.  I haven't had much free time to hobby, but I did get General Ossrum assembled.  I'm pretty happy with these models and can't wait to get the rest assembled and then throw down some paint.

This batch gives me a 10 point Rhulic army.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Warmahordes - Protectorate of Menoth

My friend found out that I was going to be playing Warmachine and told me that me might have a couple of models hanging out.  Turns out he had a full 50 point Legions of Everblight as well as a 34 point Protectorate of Menoth list.  I've decided to work on the Menoth list first.

I'm still learning the game and the units involved, but what you see above is what I have to work with.  The first order of business was to snap the larger models off their bases and do a little basing work.  I like the rounded lips of these bases and think they lend themselves to scenic bases more so than the GW bases.

Here are some of the models rebased...

...and primed.

The list, in case you are wondering, is as follows...

Protectorate of Menoth - 34 Points

High Exemplar Kreoss - WJ: +29
- Crusader - PC: 0
- Repenter - PC: 0
- Vanquisher - PC: 6
Vassal of Menoth - PC: 3
Wrack - PC: 1
Wrack - PC: 1
Wrack - PC: 1
Choir of Menoth - Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
Exemplar Cinerators - Leader & 4 Grunts: 16

Friday, June 24, 2016

More Warmachine Mercenary Goodness

I got totally motivated and did some painting.  I knocked this guy out in about 3 hours or so.  I used the old 'Eavy Metal Painting Masterclass article from one of the White Dwarf mags from back when Assault on Black Reach came out.  I've always been a fan of the way they did leather straps and yellow armour, so decided to try and replicate the effect.  I'm pretty happy with the result.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Warmahordes - Rhulic Mercenaries

You might want to sit down for this...  


As I mentioned yesterday, I got a little bit of free time to assemble and prime the Thor Steinhammer model.  It was actually a pretty easy model to work with.  There were very few mold lines.  I probably spent only about five minutes total prepping the model.  I went with a pretty basic cork and sand basing scheme.

Here are a couple of pics showing assembly and priming.  Once the primer coat is fully dry, I'll start painting.  More pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Warmahordes Decisions

It looks like my local community is more or less officially moving away from 40k for many of the same reasons I talked about on Monday.  The decision has been made to move towards Warmachine/Hordes, which I will probably end up referring to as Warmahordes.

To participate, I'm going to need an army.  I went through all the various starter sets for all the main factions and none of them jumped out at me.  To properly enjoy the game, I need to like the models.  After all, I'm going to be spending a lot of time assembling, painting and playing with them.

Given that none of the factions caught my eye, I was beginning to get a little mopey about the prospect of enjoying Warmahordes.  And then...

...I noticed that there are actually a number of pretty well fleshed out Mercenary/Minions sub-factions.  I took a look through the gallery of models on and ultimately decided on the Rhulic Mercenaries sub-Faction.  They're a sort of steampunk dwarf faction.  I think I'm going to enjoy them.  I ran out to my local shop and picked up the only Rhulic dude they had in stock...  Thor Steinhammer.  I then literally headed straight home and assembled and primed.  I had forgotten what putting metal models together is like.  It's been awhile since I've had to file off metal mold lines or pin anything in place.  It was a weirdly nostalgic process.

I picked this faction partly because it'll give me an opportunity to paint some things I don't normally paint.  The Thor Steinhammer model I picked up has this cool flame effect that will give me a chance to practice a little object source lighting.

General Ossrum is probably going to be the Warcaster, or main leader dude, for my army.  Here he is, plus a small assortment of other units from the Rhulic crew...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What to Expect when You're Expecting Part 2


Now that the cards have been leaked and Flotillas are coming to Armada in the next few weeks, I feel like a man at the end of a chapter in his life. My Ackbar army list, which has finished sixth at the Pittsburgh Regionals, sixth at the New York Regionals, and Eighth at the West Virginia Regionals [plus 3rd at Nationals? -Kris], will cease to be relevant the minute flotillas hit the shelves. The list has been the focus of my tabletop life for sixth months, and I’m loath to say goodbye.
I come from games with longer life cycles, so I’m used to an army lasting a year or more. I feel like the Ackbar list, despite all the tournament play, is still young and in its prime. I should have six or more months to enjoy it. Instead I have a few weeks.

That said, flotillas will usher in a new era of strategy for Armada, because they will increase the activation count and alter both the lifespan of larger ships and how squadrons are used. The average activations per list will rise by at least one, and I think most lists will have five. However the biggest difference comes from the flotillas’ flexibility, which prevent players from using corvettes as blank cards. Right now, most high activation lists (4+) activations tend to have one activation that does nothing (other than make your opponent go twice). Now, I feel like those activations will allow a player to gain more of an advantage through buffs or tend squadrons.
Furthermore flotillas will make all players take squadrons seriously. As it stands players generally have a list that gives squadron commands or a pile of squadrons floating in space to act as a meat shield. I’m the latter. My squadrons die to a man in almost every game. Now, those poor doomed bastards will have a chance to do something on their way through the game. I find that idea super exciting. It’ll be nice to give my A-Wings and X-Wings something to do other than die screaming while my ships attack other ships.
This newfound respect for squadrons comes from the clear synergy of using two flotillas to up the activation count of the list while letting them run the four squadrons already on my list. No upgrades required, and my list is instantly more effective. Obviously, this is just my jumping off point, but it’s still nice to have an idea of where I’m starting and how many flotillas I’ll need to do so.

I hope this was somewhat helpful and informative. Until next time—She’s Got Admiral Ackbar Eyes.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Demise of an Era

Hello my hobby friends.  Today I’m going to say something that has taken me a long time to come to terms with.

I don’t really enjoy Warhammer 40k anymore.

Now, that’s a loaded statement.  I still like some parts of it, but not all.  I’ll explain.

Games Workshop has historically talked about the “Four Pillars” of the Hobby (note the capital H).  You’ll sometimes see people jokingly call 40k and its related parts the HHHHobby to signify these pillars.  GW is referring to the enjoyment that people get from collecting models and books, building models, painting models and, of course, playing the game.  I’m going to follow this same breakdown below.


So Shiny and New!
Games Workshop is convinced that people love collecting models, books and other bits of lore/fluff related goods.  Based on the number of unopened models I own, I think this is true.  In the past, I would see a new model come out and I’d buy it because it would complete my army or match up to a character in a book.  I’m predominantly a Tau Empire and Necron player.  Both of those armies have units I know I’ll never use, but bought just so that the army would be more complete.  I also have a pretty decent Skitarii army that I’ve only played with once.  I bought it after reading several books centered on the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Buying models on a whim has more or less stopped as the prices have skyrocketed over time.  I’m not going to quote specific data points, but anyone who has followed this hobby will easily note that prices have been rising faster than inflation.  This means that although things are generally more expensive than they used to be, GW products are even more so.  My hobby dollar doesn’t go nearly as far as it used to and there are many other products vying for my money.  In that sense, it’s difficult to justify collecting models that won’t see immediate and ongoing use.

I also want to point out that collecting can include things like the Black Library books.  When the Horus Heresy series started, I thought, “Awesome!  I love these stories.  Can’t wait to buy them all.”

This will never happen...
And now we have book 38 in an ever more fragmented series being released soon.  There are so many limited edition stories, short stories, novellas, novels and other tie in products, that it becomes unfeasible to own it all.  I’m the sort of person that if I can’t own it all, I’m not interested in knowing only part of the story.  GW has effectively pushed me out by making the actual collection and reading of the stories feel like a job.  Plus, I don't really believe they'll ever finish the story.


I hope you like Marines...
This is an odd one.  Games Workshop puts out some of the nicest models on the market.  Very few companies can compete in the multi part plastic model segment.  Give me a new and exciting model and I’ll put it together with glee…  but the models aren’t always new and exciting.

Anyone who follows my blog knows that I picked up the Betrayal at Calth set and have been working my way through it.  I’ve hit a wall.  So help me God, I can’t force myself to put together another Space Marine.  They’re all the same.  It’s like building the same model 40 times in a row.  It gets old quick.  I’m tired and am looking for a little variety.  Unfortunately, since the models are tied to a game, I feel compelled to stay within certain Faction limits and feel like spending money on a random model from a different Faction is a waste of time.  In that sense, building GW models has become a bit of a chore.


Now paint 99 more...
If building models is a chore, then painting models is even more so.  To use the same Betrayal at Calth set as an example, I basically having to paint 50 or so models to be more or less exactly the same.  Regardless of the Faction, you end up painting most of your models the same with a 40k army.  Iron Warriors?  I hope you love painting metal armour.  From a painting standpoint, Tyranids are all basically the same model with variations in size and shape.

Why don’t you just paint different things, you ask?  Well, if I painted different things, I’d never actually finish an army.  A big part of this hobby for me is presentation.  I like to finish projects.  I don’t want to paint random one off models that are never going to see table use.  The end result is that I end up painting a lot of the same thing, over and over.  It’s boring.  It’s really, really boring and starts feeling like work after a while.


I don’t even know where to start here.  The Warhammer 40k rule set has become this sprawling, expensive monstrosity that caters to wealthy individuals who are willing to be slaves to the tournament meta and throw sportsmanship in the trash if it means their min/maxed list has a better chance to win.  Casual gaming in an environment where you can’t control the community (as you
Basically a direct quote.
might if you only play at home) can be difficult at best.  Purchasing every rules publication at this point costs well over a thousand dollars and requires multiple different formats as no single format (physical book, eBook, iBook, etc) has everything available.  Add in limited edition rules that are only available to 100 or so players worldwide (unless you’re ok with IP theft) and you end up with a rule set where the “basic” version is ridiculously expensive and the “elite” version isn’t even available to all players.

By contrast, a full set of rules for Warmachine/Hordes covering every faction is 79.99 USD as of this writing.

From a gaming standpoint, the rules are poorly written, they cost too much and they currently describe a game that I’m not really interested in playing.  I’m a casual player who would rather spend his money on models and not rules.


The End?
I used to love Warhammer 40k.  I still do, in many ways…  but not in the ways that matter most.  I feel no compulsion to buy the latest and greatest things.  I’m tired of assembling infinite variations of the same few models.  I’m tired of painting the same should pads over and over.  And then, when all is said and done, I’m not even wanting to play a game with the models I’ve bought, assembled and painted.

It’s sad.  I kind of feel like I’m mourning a friend who isn’t dead, but maybe went off the deep end with drugs and I just don’t really want to be around anymore.  I hold out hope that he’ll be back…  but I’m just not that optimistic.


I’ve been filling that 40k shaped void in my life with other things…  mostly Board Game things.  You may have noticed lots of posts about Descent: Journeys in the Dark, Imperial Assault, Star Wars Armada and Massive Darkness recently.  These games have expansions I can collect, lots of little fiddly bits I can sort and store, miniatures I can paint and most importantly, easy, free rule sets I can enjoy casually with my friends.  Most recently, a friend has talked me into trying out Warmachine.  I have high hopes for it, but I’m a lot more cautious than I used to be.

You're damn right we will!

On the one hand, I’m a little sad and am mourning the enjoyment I used to feel for 40k.  On the other hand, I’m being exposed to so many new games and aspects of the greater hobby (lowercase H) that I know I’ll be better off in the long run.  It’s the change that is never fun.

Apologies for the long, rambling post.  I’ve been needing to get this off my chest recently and writing things out helps me get my thoughts in order.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Today's post is sort of an assortment of things I've been working on, looking forward to and buying.

First up is this little doodad.  I bought it at an arts and crafts store.  It was in the scrap booking section.  It's a fancy hole punch that makes leaves that should work pretty well for 40k and AoS base decorations.  I punched some sample leaves out of 110lb card stock and am pretty happy with the results.  I'm going to try gluing them down to a sample base over the course of this week and painting them up.

Next up is something I want to buy. Fantasy Flight Games put out a card game version of Warhammer Quest.  It's a ton of fun.  They just released two character expansions that give a little needed variety to the game.  These expansions are only $5 each.

Lastly, something I did actually buy.  I've been really enjoying Descent: Journeys in the Dark a lot lately.  As I've mentioned a couple of times, the Road to Legend app allows you to play without the need for an Overlord "bad guy" player.  It allows gives you expanded options, characters and missions as you buy more of the physical expansion packs to support the game.  To whit...  I used some credit today and picked up two of the expansions.  Lair of the Wyrm is the first small expansion and The Trollfens is the second.  There was an expansion released between the two that was bigger, more expensive and with more content, but wasn't discounted.  I got both of these at about 25% off.  I'm pretty excited for these to come in.  I think I'll start a new campaign with my wife when this stuff shows up.

I think I'm most excited about The Trollfens expansion.  The tiles look really cool and add a wet, swampy look to the outdoors areas.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Massive Darkness Kickstarter

The Massive Darkness Kickstarter is looking more and more like a must buy for me.  They've been unlocking stretch goals left and right.  I tend to like these board games, but a good part of the appeal for me is the actual miniatures.  As you'll see below, the core pledge goes for $120 and has a TON of miniatures.  They're not going to be GW quality and the scale is somewhat small...  the same as Zombicide, if you're familiar with that system, but they're quite detailed and should be fun to paint.

Currently, we're sitting at 146 various miniatures included in the core pledge.  The next stretch goal to unlock will add 13 more to that number.  In fact, with 21 days to go, I'm expecting the number to climb even higher.  From a hobby dollar per hour standpoint, it's hard to beat this.  You get what looks like a pretty solid game you can play alone or with up to five of your friends PLUS 150-200 or more miniatures to paint.  What's not to love?  It's potentially hundreds of hours of entertainment for $120.

Here's what is currently included for $120...

I was going to compare the value to the various GW boxed sets, but honestly am not able to.  Getting enough for six people to enjoy a night of gaming is a very expensive proposition, easily topping $1000 if you're looking for any sort of variety.  Six different Codexes alone can run $300 or more.  That's before you're even including core rules or models.  Just thinking about what it would take to let six people play 40k convinces me even more that this sort of board game is a good investment.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Custom Tuckboxes

I'll post more about how I did this when I have more time.

For now...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What to Expect when You're Expecting Part 1


Gaming is at a point of total anticipation for me. I’m waiting for the Armada Nationals Tournament on Wednesday. I’m waiting for Armada Wave 3 to be released. And, I’m waiting for my Hordes Trollbloods Mark 3 starter set. In essence nothing in my life has changed, but everything has absolutely changed in a radical and unpredictable way, because I now prefer games that are centered on unit activations instead of full player turns.

Armada is my favorite tabletop game of all time. Tournament jitters are part of the fun. New releases are massive events because they happen once or twice a year, like Christmas or my birthday.

But Hordes, that’s new.

As of this writing my whole experience with Privateer Press Games is limited. Six or seven years ago, I bought a Khador Mark Two Starter Set and a few units (which for me means, I bought a 35 point army). I played it once or twice and put it aside. The game wasn’t what I was looking for at the time. I wanted a game where hulking warjacks brutalized each other and what I got was an infantry based game. The game languished in my basement. Occasionally a friend would ask to get a game in, I’d trot everything out, lose with grace and dignity, put it back in the box, and put the box out of sight and out of mind. Mostly, it stayed in the basement because I was and am very into 40K.

Recently, I was standing behind my beloved Orks as they rampaged through the grim dark future. My mind began to wander, a lot. To the point where my long time friend and opponent had to keep reminding me of what was going on. I love 40K, but for my gaming life seventh edition is a tedious affair compared with its earlier editions. Afterward he said roughly the following to me, “Ever since you got serious about Armada, you don’t seem to be able to focus in our 40K matches.”

At the time I denied his accusations and said something about work stress and lack of sleep, but he was right. Since I got serious about an activation driven game, turn based war games feel slower.
The time I used to spend planning out my counterattack are now spent daydreaming, because I’ve acclimated to responding in the moment. The gut wrenching worries about losing a unit feel pointless in 40K, because I can’t use them until his entire army has attacked. But when it’s your army then my army, meh. You kill what you kill. I kill what I kill. Let the dice sort ‘em out. A huge part of my mentality comes from the quirks of a phase based system. My Orks make their movement but failed their charge, so my whole plan is shot. Nothing I can do until my next turn.

Conversely, in Armada, I frequently break into cold sweats hoping a ship lives until I can activate it one last time. I’ve restructured attack plans and whole battles around that idea. I’m forced to admit Armada has changed me forever as a gamer. So much so, that I’m willing to try Hordes and see if their layered synergy system is more engaging than the traditional turn methodology.

To be clear, the brief reading I’ve done tells me Hordes is not the same activation style as Armada. But I want to experience the Privateer Press activation style and see how it suits me. I’m hoping it’s more intense and more engaging by allowing some additional flexibility into my battle plans.

I hope this was somewhat fun to read. Until next time—She’s Got Admiral Ackbar Eyes and whatever it is trolls do.