Monthly Archives: July 2012

Painted Austringer

This is a Austringer for my Malifaux Guild crew.  His main function is to send his bird off to peck people, which handily means that he doesn’t need line of sight; this is a pretty big deal on the more crowded Malifaux boards.  Of course, like every other miniature in Malifaux, there are a host of other tricks you can play with an Austringer but I almost never do anything other than move into cover and then use the Malifaux Raptor.  In theory you could even do this from inside a building with no windows and all the doors shut (presumably the bird flies up chimneys or something), though I never have.  I used the same colour scheme as for the rest of the crew, with a bright red bandanna just to liven it up a bit.  The bird itself has three ‘rows’ of feathers on its wings and painted them in different colours and then used a wash to link them back together.  Like the Guild Hounds, I deliberately left the eyes without pupils.  Overall, it feels like there’s something missing here, but I can’t really put my finger on it.

Next on the painting table: a Witchling Handler.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Painted Guild Hounds

Here are a pair of Guild Hounds for my fledgling Malifaux crew.  I have some trouble using them well, as they’re ridiculously fast, especially compared to the rather pedestrian nature of the rest of the crew, and as such they tend to get isolated and killed before I can support them. On the other hand, they are Significant (in game terms) when close to each other which means that they’re able to do various things relating to strategies and schemes such as (improbably) lighting or defusing dynamite.  Good boys.  Overall their biggest defense has always been that something else is a higher priority target. In keeping with the muted colours of the rest of the crew, I went for grey fur and cream body armour.  I conciously chose not to add pupils to their eyes as this gives them a slightly more scary look, and also adds a necessary patch of brightness which is otherwise lacking.

Next on the painting table: an Austringer.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Beastmen (2200 points) vs Empire (2000 points); 12Jun12

As we bring the Border Princes campaign to a close, I have one final game against Furycat.  Overall, it feels like honour is even between our forces, but now the new Empire army book is hamstringing him significantly, so it’s time for me to change things up and make it more of a game.  Furycat is a big fan of the video battle reports from Oncebitten360, and although I don’t care for the format of video battle reports in general, I checked them out on recommendation.  So, in homage to Oncebitten360, I decided to forego my usual Great Bray Shaman in favour a Doombull with all the trimmings and frankly ludicrous block of Minotaurs.  I’ve never really felt like I can get Minotaurs to work well in the past so I’m keen to test it out.

Doombull, Axes of Khorgor, Ramhorn Helm, Dawnstone, Gnarled Hide, Heavy Armour (D)

Gorebull, BSB, Beserker Sword, Talisman of Endurance, Heavy Armour (BSB)

Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, extra hand weapon, Lore of Shadow (BS1)

Bray Shaman, level 2, extra hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS2)

40 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G)

40 Ungors, full command (U)

Tuskgor Chariot (TC)

6, 5 and 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 to UR3)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

9 Minotaurs, full command, Ironcurse Icon (M)

Furycat has been struggling to get a list that suits his style, but I gather that the plan here is that the Lore of Heavens will provide a massive bonus to Knights, especially if the boosted version of Harmonic Convergence is cast.

Wizard Lord, level 4, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Heavens (WL)

Captain of the Empire, general, Helm of the Skavenslayer, Dawnstone, full plate armour, shield (C)

Captain of the Empire, BSB, Shrieking Blade, barded warhorse, full plate armour, shield (BSB)

Warrior Priest, Enchanted Shield, barded warhorse, heavy armour (WP)

Master Engineer, frilly shirt (M)

9 Knights of the Inner Circle, lances, shields, full command (IC)

5 Knightly Orders, great weapons, standard bearer, musician (KO)

45 Spearmen, full command (S)

5 Archers [Detachment to Spearmen] (A)

24 Greatswords, full command, Standard of Discipline (G)

Celestial Hurricanum (CH)

3 Demigryph Knights, standard bearer (DK)

Helblaster Volley Gun (HVG)

We randomly get Blood and Glory as the scenario, and a variety of surprisingly mundane terrain to fight over.  In the North is a Wyrding Well and in the far East is a Sorcerous Portal that we instantly forget about as usual.  The Wizard Lord gets Iceshard Blizzard, Curse of the Midnight Wind, Comet of Cassandora and Chain Lightning; sadly forgetting that the whole point of coming along was to bring Harmonic Convergence.  The Shadow Bray Shaman takes Melkoth’s Mystifying Misama and Enfeebling Foe; the other one has Wyssan’s Wildform and Curse of Anraheir.  The Beastmen happily take first turn, with one herd of Raiders ambushing.

As usual, there’s nothing too subtle in first turn movement for my Beastmen: everyone marches forward.  The Raiders in the West move to tempt either the Inner Circle Knights or the Demigryph Knights into charging through the forest.  I roll up 3,1 magic dice, but fail to cast Miasma on the Inner Circle Knights and the follow-up (Wildform on the Gors) is easily dispelled.

As I hoped, the Demigryph Knights charge into the baiting Raiders (the forest turns out to be a Wildwood, but it doesn’t attempt to beat them up).  However, the Greatswords and the Inner Circle Knights both fail their charges, on the Ungors and the Tuskgor Chariot respectively.  The Wizard Lord leaves his Archer companions to their fate, which apparently is to be a speed bump in front of the Gors.  The Spearmen also move up to face the inevitable charge from the Minotaurs, but crucially they can’t fully align so their flank is hanging slightly to the West.  The winds of magic give us 5,1 dice to play with and I let Chain Lightning through on the Tuskgor Chariot.  In retrospect, that was probably a poor idea as it jumps across half of my army, reducing the Chariot to a single wound, killing the Beasts Bray Shaman and taking off wounds from the Gors, Minotaurs and Ungors.  Ouch.  At least I dispel Iceshard Blizzard.  The Helblaster and the Archers plink a handful of Gors, but it’s not enough to matter.  Finally, the Demigryph Knights make short work of the Raiders and reform to face the line of battle.

It’s turn two and there are targets in charge range, so I happily send the Gors into the Archers, the Minotaurs into the Spearmen and the Ungors into the Greatswords.  I’m not expecting much from the Ungors, but against the Greatswords they’ll be steadfast for long enough to get something else in to help out.  The Harpies charge the Wizard Lord (who flees), fail to redirect into the Engineer and then roll 1,1,1 for charge distance anyway.  Idiots.  I consider charging with the Tuskgor Chariot, but with only one wound left it’ll do me more good keeping those pesky Inner Circle Knights out of my hair for a bit longer.  The same goes for my remaining Raider herd (once the Bray Shaman has run off, of course), moving into the path of the Knightly Orders.  I generate 6,2 magic dice and am greatly helped by the fact that the Wizard Lord is running for his life.  Miasma (-3WS) and Enfeebling Foe (-1S) both go on the Greatswords after two failed dispel attempts.  In the combat phase, the Gors blend the Archers into a fine red mist, and their overrun allows them to charge the flank of the Spearmen.  To no-one’s surprise, there aren’t many Spearmen left after the attentions of a horde of Gors a Doombull, a Gorebull and bunch of other Minotaurs.  Furycat decides that there’s no way back and throws in the towel.  Victory for the Beastmen!

Well, that was one sided.  Furycat discussed this for a while after the game and, while I think he might have been able to kill off a few things, he probably wasn’t going to pull a win out.  I did consider not even writing this battle report up as it was so short, but in the end I decided that I should do it in the interests of completness.  There’s probably not much to learn for any Beastmen readers out there (except that so many Minotaurs is probably overkill), but if anyone can make suggestions on how the Empire could have been played then I would be delighted to read about them.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

More painted Leadbelchers

Here are the final Ogresses that I’ve made up from my battalion box so far; a pair of Leadbelchers to add to the Little Death tribe.  There’s not too much to say about the painting except that I retained the purple trousers (I like to keep it as a sort of ‘unit colour’) and picked different colours for their tops from the other two.  I love painting Ogres, they’re so forgiving of poor technique. Readers paying attention will notice that I stated for the Firebelly that she was the last Ogre I owned, but that was because I thought I’d already posted these pictures (I took the photos at the same time, but it always takes me ages to get round to writing even a brief post around them).

Next on the painting table: some Guild Hounds.  For completeness, here’s the whole unit ready to guffaw at the ineffective fireworks they produce.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Malifaux tournament report: Blood, Steel and Stones (35SS); 07Jul12

On 7th July 2012 I set off for my first ever tournament in any game system, the Blood, Steel and Stones Malifaux tournament.  I wasn’t really sure of what to expect, so I packed up my Guild, my line in the sand markers and the usual hobby supplies and set off into the pouring rain.  I’m delighted to say how welcoming everyone was, especially since I think that all the other nine players knew each other or had at the very least met at previous Malifaux events.  After a bit of setting up boards etc, the tournament organiser (TO), David announced the initial pairings, found that he’d matched up a couple against each other and swiftly re-jigged it.  As there was an odd number of players, David himself was taking part and indeed I was his first opponent.  My battle reports are a bit sketchy since I didn’t want to delay the games too much to take copious notes; the same goes for the photos.

Game 1: Guild (me) vs Arcanists (David)

Strategy:
Shared Plant Evidence (spend an action to interact with up four pieces of terrain in the other half of the board)

Schemes:
Guild: Stake a Claim (end the game touching a specified piece of terrain; in this case it was a set of ruins just to the left of the centre), Breakthrough (have more models in the opponent’s deployment zone than he does)
Arcanists: Bodyguard (keep your master alive), Kill Protegé (kill off the highest cost minion, Samael Hopkins in this case)

Crews:
Guild: Sonnia Criid (plus 6 soulstones), Samael Hopkins, Witchling Handler, 2 Guild Hounds, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Austringer
Arcanists: Rasputina (plus 5 soulstones), Kaeris, Ice Gamin, 2 Gunsmiths, 2 Large Steampunk Arachnids

I deploy in a strung out line, focussed in the middle with the Guild Hounds out on the right aiming to go through the ruins and start planting evidence (though I have no idea how; they can light dynamite too!) and the Austringer on the left to hide behind cover and send his bird at people a bit.  David puts both Large Steampunk Arachnids facing the Guild Hounds, and they’ll tear the dogs to bits in a straight fight so I’ll have to rethink that part of the plan.  Kaeris goes on my left and everyone else takes up the firing lane in the centre.

Turn 1:  Mostly everyone just runs forward.  The Witchling Handler pushes one of the stalkers up to interfere with the Gunsmiths, and Rasputina burns a couple of soulstones to hurt him, then puts up ice pillars in front of the Guild Hounds, forcing them to turn around or spend ages trying to bite through them.  This picture is from the end of turn 1.

Turn 2: The Witchling Stalker severely wounds the female Gunsmith before being shot by the male one.  The Ice Gamin runs up to the clump of my miniatures with Sonnia in it (they explode when killed) and I have no choice but to kill it off with the other Witchling simply to get it out of my hair.  Sonnia then turns the wounded Gunsmith into another Witchling Stalker which is conveniently in combat with Rasputina, though she burns a soulstone to avoid its attack.  Here’s are a couple of shots from somewhere around the end of turn 2.

Turn 3: We’ve been playing fairly slowly, so this will be the final turn.  Samael Hopkins flips the dreaded black joker taking a shot at one of the Large Steampunk Arachnids in the hope of destroying it before it plants evidence, then runs away to avoid getting killed (and hence give up kill protegé).  Rasputina shows what she’s capable of by blowing up two Witchling Stalkers, but it’s too little, too late.  Sonnia and the Guild Hounds zoom around planting evidence and staking a claim.  The final score is 5 – 3 to the Guild (3 bits of evidence planted, plus stake a claim compared to 1 bit of evidence and bodyguard).  This is the centre at the end of the game.

It was a really fun game, and I learned quite a few rules clarifications from David.  I’ve got a feeling that he was going a bit easy on me (as TO, it’s not really in his interest to pummel the new guy on his first ever game in the group), or perhaps he was just distracted because he was meant to be doing the TO thing as well as playing the game.  After the game there was some lunch and general chit-chat, then the pairings were announced for game 2.  I was to play Greg, who has the coolest possible method for tracking his soulstones: sweeties.  Whenever he uses one in-game, he eats it for a ‘power up’.

Game 2: Guild (me) vs Ressurectionists (Greg)

Strategy:
Shared Contain Power (kill the opponent’s leader)

Schemes:
Guild: Hold Out (stop the other side getting models in your deployment zone), Kill Protegé (on Mortimer)
Ressurectionists: Bodyguard (keep your leader alive), Death After Death (end the game with more models than you started with)

Crews:
Guild: Sonnia Criid (plus 8 soulstones), Exorcist, Witchling Handler, 2 Guild Hounds, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Austringer
Ressurectionists: Nicodem (plus 6 soulstones), Grave Spirit, Von Schill (who was the leader for contain power and bodyguard purposes), Mortimer, Madame Sybelle, 2 Rotten Belles

I actually remembered to take a picture of deployment this time.

Turn 1: Everyone rushes forward like 5 year olds playing football.  The Rotten Belles lure in one of the Witchling Stalkers, and Madame Sybelle hits him a little.

Turn 2: Madame Sybelle kills her Witchling, and Von Schill makes short work of the other one.  Meanwhile, the Guild Hounds eat the Grave Spirit and dog-pile Nicodem, mainly just to clog him up a bit while he kills them off.  Nicodem totally ignores the dogs, instead summoning a Flesh Construct right in Sonnia’s face.  Eeek!

Turn 3: Sonnia uses a lot of soulstones to keep the Flesh Construct from killing her, and then tries to use her disassemble trigger to get it to go away.  This doesn’t actually work, but Greg is forced to discard enough cards that the Exorcist can banish it to oblivion at the end of the turn.  Von Schill rockets about being annoying, and somewhere around here the Witchling Handler is killed and Madame Sybelle and one of her Rotten Belles are severely damaged.  The Guild Hounds carry on biting Nicodem, and he carries on paying them no attention.  Down boy!

Turn 4: This is the last turn, again due to time.  Von Schill zooms into my deployment zone to try and make it hard to kill him and also to deny me holdout.  Sonnia turns both Madame Sybelle and the injured Belle into Witchling Stalkers (I love doing that).  Nicodem summons a boat load of Punk Zombies to try and get his death after death scheme, and is then killed by the Guild Hounds.  A couple of shots on Mortimer don’t get me lucky enough to kill him, so it’s now all about the Austringer and Von Schill.  The big guy is on 3 wounds.  The Austringer hits with his first attack, doing one wound.  He hits with his second attack.  I’m on a negative flip, so I need both cards to be above 6.  I flip the first: it’s a 6.  All I ned now is anything above a 5 to win the game.  Both Greg and I are on tenterhooks.  I flip the second card… it’s a 3.  Weak damage, and Von Schill is left on a single wound, denying me the points for hold out and contain power, while getting Greg the points for bodyguard.  The final score is 2 – 0 to the Ressurectionists (for bodyguard).  Here’s the scene at the end.  Von Schill is painted like Hulk Hogan since they seem to share the same barber (balding with an outrageous moustache).

That was a great game, perhaps the best I’ve had in Malifaux.  Greg was a lovely opponent, and I really enjoyed every minute of it.  Close games are always the most exciting.  Anyway, with that we were onto the final round where I was paired with Irving.

Game 3: Guild (me) vs Neverborn (Irving)

Strategy:
Shared Line in the Sand (attacker has to light the dynamite markers in the centre of the table while the defender has to defuse them; I was the defender in this one)

Schemes:
Guild: Bodyguard, Grudge (kill a pre-selected minion with a non-master melee attack; I chose Tuco)
Neverborn: Hold Out, Assassinate (kill the other master)

Crews:
Guild: Sonnia Criid (plus 8 soulstones), Samael Hopkins, Witchling Handler, 2 Guild Hounds, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Austringer
Neverborn: Lilith (plus 7 soulstones), Mature Nephilim, Young Nephilim, 3 Terror Tots, Tuco

As usual, deployment was a couple lines of miniatures hurrying to get to each other as quickly as possible.  My Guild Hounds were away out on the left with everyone else pretty much taking up the centre.  Lilith was on my far right and one Terror Tot was on the left, the rest of the Nephilim were advancing in the open ground behind the pool.

Turn 1: Everyone rushes forward to get started on the dynamite.  One of the Terror Tots in the centre is killed by the Austringer.  The Mature Nephilim is looking very big and scary as it stands next to the pool.

Turn 2: Samael Hopkins sets his bullets on fire then rapid fires at the Mature Nephilim.  Slightly to my surprise, the big chap dies on the second shot.  Lilith uses a couple of soulstones to get a blood token for herself (I’ve no idea what she can do with it though, as I’ve never played against Lilith or any other Neverborn before).  The Guild Hounds kill the isolated Terror Tot and Sonnia Criid uses Violation of Magic to turn the last one into a Witchling Stalker.  Did I mention how much I love that spell?  Here’s how things looked at the end of turn 2.

Turn 3: The fresh Witchling Stalker kill off Tuco, and the Young Nephilim is pulled down in a wash of black blood.  Only Lilith is left from her crew, but she’s already lit two of the dynamite markers.  Everyone starts running over to try and stop her.

Turn 4:  Pretty much my whole crew dog-piles Lilith.  It’s depressingly ineffective, as I fail to put a single wound on her this round.

Turn 5:  Lilith kills Sonnia (getting assassinate, and denying me bodyguard), and I finally pull down Lilith as black blood splashing onto the Witchling Stalkers after Samael Hopkins had delivered a wound causes them to blow up and finish her off.  The Austringer defuses one of the lit dynamite markers in turn 6.  The final score is 5 – 2 to the Guild (I got 4 of 5 dynamite markers defused and picked up grudge; the Neverborn took the points for assassinate).

There was an interesting bit of tournament etiquette here.  In Malifaux, the game doesn’t end if you table your opponent, instead the game can continue until turns run out in so that you can achieve various victory conditions.  When I killed Lilith in turn 5 (of 6), Irving shook my hand, which of course I reciprocated.  I took this to mean ‘well done, you wiped out my crew and will win the game’ as I was already ahead on VPs at the time.  However, he seemed to think that my accepting this handshake indicated that the game had ended, and was therefore aggrieved when I started moving my miniatures to try and get the remaining dynamite tokens.  It ended up with a disagreement between Irving and the TO in which Irving was asked to leave the store, presumably to cool off.  In full disclosure, they are brothers so I suppose that may have been the argument rather than anything relating to Malifaux.  Anyway, how would you have interpreted the situation?

Anyway, the tournament ended, and I came in a respectable 4th place with two wins and a defeat.  David (game 1) was third with the same record, beating me on some tiebreaker which I think was VP differential. Greg (game 2) won overall with 3 wins and Irving finished in 9th.  I’m pretty delighted at that result.  Lets have a quick look at my goals for the tournament:

  • Draw or win at least one game
  • Meet new gaming friends
  • Have a good time

Glorious success on all three counts, I would say.  In terms of playing the game I certainly can get better in pretty much all areas of the game, but the biggest thing I could fix is picking the right schemes.  Of the six I chose, I only managed to achieve two.

Particular thanks must go to David for organising the tournament.  I had a great time and I certainly plan to go back for more. It was quite interesting that I was the only player who brought Guild.

Finally, here are a few random pictures of crews from the tournament.  I didn’t take any notes about them, but I think that the purple and white Nephilim won the award for best painted and I know that the Kirai-themed Gremlins in the last picture are the work of NinjaBreadMan (the theme is a bit of a Malifaux in-joke).  There are some more pictures from tournament here and a podcast with hilarious echo issues here.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Painted Firebelly

Here’s the final Ogress for the Little Death tribe before I have to purchase more.  The Firebelly is that glorious coincidence of a lovely model and potent rules.  In games she’s wreaked havoc on my foes, and on the painting table she’s been a pleasure to work on.  I didn’t really go in for a higher standard of painting than the rest of the Ogresses, but I like it better since most of the work is on the skin, of which there is more in this case.  Colour-wise I found it hard to decide on how to paint all the paraphernalia hanging off the gutplate or the hammer, but it looks fine to me with bone colouring so I am happy enough.

The main focus of the Firebelly is the flames, of course, so I put a bit of work into getting them to look satisfactory.  Basically I painted the parts nearest to the mouth and deepest in the fireball as yellow, then moved to orange and red as I got further away from those points.  Then the parts that looked like clouds (i.e. rounded rather than spiky) were painted black and highlighted with dark grey.  Frankly it still suffers a little in the extreme close up, but it looks fine on the table top.

Next on the painting table: Guild Hounds.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Beastmen vs Bretonnians (2000 points); 08May12

For various reasons, it’s been a long time since my Beastmen faced off against Aramoro‘s Bretonnians in the Border Princes campaign.  A few turns ago, we agreed to briefly call off hostilities so that both of us could refocus on other threats (the Bretonnians against the Empire, and Beastmen fighting Orcs & Goblins) and though we didn’t intend a permanent cease-fire there was never the opportunity to clash again.  In the main, this was because Furycat‘s Empire had driven a wedge across the centre of the map by that point.  Anyway, it is always a pleasure to test my mettle against the Bretonnians as they play very differently from Beastmen with heavily armoured cavalry compared to unarmoured infantry.  I wasn’t feeling adventurous so I just went for a lot of goats on the table.

Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Ironcurse Icon, Lore of Shadow (GBS)

Wargor, BSB, Beast Banner, Gnarled Hide, heavy armour, shield, (BSB)

Bray Shaman, level 1, Dispel Scroll, additional hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

39 Gors, additional hand weapons, full command (G1)

2 x 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

40 Ungors, full command (U)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

23 Bestigors, full command, Banner of Discipline (B1)

24 Bestigors, full command, Manbane Standard (B2)

Harpies are so universally disliked (by people who aren’t me) that Aramoro actively spent some time putting anti-Harpy measures in the army list.  Otherwise, it’s the usual good stuff: double Trebuchets, a huge block of Men at Arms and bunch of I-can’t-believe-they’re-not-Frenchmen wearing metal trousers and riding on horses.

Bretonnian Lord, Charmed Shield, Heartwood Lance, Knight’s Vow, Other Trickster’s Shard, Virtue of Heroism, Warhorse (BL)

Prophetess, level 4, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Life (P)

Damsel, level 2, Potion Sacre, Lore of Life (D)

Paladin, BSB, Dragonhelm, Knight’s Vow, Virtue of Empathy (BSB)

11 Knights of the Realm, full command, Standard of Discipline (KOTR)

40 Men at Arms, full command (MaA)

3 x 10 Peasant Bowmen (PB1 to PB3)

2 x 5 Mounted Yeomen, shields (MY1 and MY2)

9 Questing Knights, full command (QK)

2 Trebuchets (T1 and T2)

We roll up the Meeting Engagement, which on the whole I like as it means that Beastmen can start relatively close and often sweep their foe into a corner.  We have some Blazing Barricades across the centre of the board with a Scree Slope in the East and a Temple of Skulls in the West.  The bulding is normal, the swamp is a Khemrian Quicksand and in the South East there is a Magic Circle.  The Prophetess rolls first and gets Shield of Thorns, Regrowth, Flesh to Stone and Throne of Vines.  Naturally, this leaves the sacrificial Damsel to to get Dwellers Below (she also gets Awakening of the Wood).  Meanwhile, the Great Bray Shaman takes Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering and Okkam’s Mindrazor and the Bray Shaman has Wyssan’s Wildform (of course).  I deploy centrally to give me the most options depending where the Bretonnians inevitably castle up; they make their stand around the building.  The Harpies, both herds of Raiders, the Paladin BSB and one unit of Mounted Yeomen are out too late the night before and will come on as reserves.  The Beastmen get to move first to try and get out from underneath the barrage of rocks.

The Harpies arrive in the far West and look to either get into mischief or at least force the Bretonnians to do something about them.  Both herds of Raiders appear in centrefield, nursing hangovers that Ghorros Warhoof would be proud of.  Otherwise, the main battle line just rotates West and starts to close the trap on the pesky humans.  Although it’s not really useful so early in the game we get 6,4 magic dice.  A low-level Miasma is let through on the Peasants in the bulding (-3BS), but Withering on the Men at Arms fails (despite only needing to roll 9 on four dice) and Wildform on the Gors is dispelled.  I hoped that the Withering would use up some dice in a later magic phase (or better yet, not be dispelled at all), and the Wildform was just to make the Gors less appealing as a Trebuchet target; it’s tough to miss such a big herd with artillery.

The Mounted Yeomen and one unit of Peasant Archers move to shoot up the Harpies, and the Questing Knights rush forward round the hill until they are stopped in their tracks by the awesome sight of goaty goodness facing them.  Otherwise, no-one is in any hurry to close the distance, although the Paladin rushes onto the field to try and join his Men at Arms.  We get 4,3 magic dice and start with an Irresistable Dwellers Below on the Gors.  I get lucky, and ‘only’ 10 of them are pulled down to their doom; the miscast kills off a few Peasant Archers, but there’s plenty more where they came from.  The Harpies are shot by many arrows and eventually the sorry survivor flees the table.  Helpfully, one of the Trebuchets misfires (and can’t fire next turn) while the other misses the Gors by a wide margin.

The somewhat depleted Gors reform to 6 wide (that is also useful to tighten up my battle line as we’re nearly playing lengthwise by this point) and everyone continues to hoof it toward the waiting Bretonnians.  The Raider herds take note of the incoming cavalry and move to make themselves unattractive targets; the Bray Shaman joins one to give himself a chance to avoid being hit by a rock or nasty magic.  With 4,4 magic dice the Great Bray Shaman puts Miasma on the Northern Peasant Bowmen (-2BS; let through), but the Bray Shaman fails to cast Wildform on the Gors.  The Prophetess fails to dispel Enfeebling Foe (-3S) on the Knights of the Realm.

Slightly to my disappointment, the Questing Knights don’t charge the Bestigors, instead moving past to threaten my rear areas.  The Paladin joins his Men at Arms, but his outrageous accent is too overpowering for the Prophetess, who leaves the unit and heads behind the building.  Magic comes up with a mighty 6,5 dice, but the Bray Shaman uses his Dispel Scroll on a six-dice Dwellers Below, Throne of Vines is dispelled and Awakening of the Wood fails to cast.  Not bad at all for such a big phase.  In the shooting phase, the Trebuchet lands a direct hit on the Bestigors but amazingly only kills 3 of them.

The Great Bray Shaman urges his herd to charge the building, which they do with gusto.  Everyone else just moves up to threaten charges next turn, except the Raiders who do their best to not be charged next turn.  The Beastmen Shamans have 5,1 magic dice to use, but Withering on the Men at Arms is dispelled with a Scroll and Miasma fails to cast (though there were plenty of dice to dispel it anyway, so it didn’t matter much).  The Great Bray Shaman and his Bestigors wipe out the Peasant Bowmen but fail to even wound the Damsel despite putting five primal fury great weapon attacks into her.  This will become a theme.  Naturally, she holds and the herd of mighty Beastmen are repelled from the building by a lone woman with an inappropriate dress and a faint smell of garlic.

This time there’s some actual forward movement from the Bretonnians as the Knights of the Realm crash into the waiting Bestigors.  The Men at Arms move forward too, presumably to stop the Gors from flanking the Knights of the Realm if they don’t break the Bestigors this turn.  Laughing, the Damsel leaves the building by a back door, leaving the Great Bray Shaman, the Bestigors and me cursing her.  The Winds of Magic give us 3,2 dice to use.  Throne of Vines is let through, but crucially I fail to dispel Flesh to Stone on the Knights of the Realm.  Toughness 7 Knights are going to take a bit of cracking, even for Bestigors who usually love to see Knights.  After a shooting phase which sees a few more Raiders shot and few more Gors hit by falling rocks, we move the critical combat.  The Bestigors put up a decent showing, but Toughness 7 is too much for them and they flee.  Luckily, the stone Knights of the Realm are inexplicably slow and fail to catch them.

After roundly cursing the Damsel for a while, I realise that the Great Bray Shaman can actually charge out of his unit at her; she even holds to my surprise.  The Gors get stuck into the Men at Arms, and the Ungors eschew the Peasant Bowmen and race past them to spike the Trebuchet (note: it’s only my lack of skill with Battle Chronicler that makes it look like the gap between the Peasant Bowmen and the building is too narrow for the Ungors).  After three turns of trying hard not to be charged, one herd of Raiders moves to make it hard not to charge them as they block the Questing Knights (and, conveniently, some Mounted Yeomen) from getting a clear shot at the rear of the Gors.  The fleeing Bestigors rally and turn to face their assailants, and the other herd reform to five wide and turn to face the action.  It’s another big magic phase with 5,5 power dice.  Enfeebling Foe is let through on the Men at Arms (-1S) and then the Withering is cast at them with Irresistable Force (-3T).  Both the Great Bray and the Damsel ward the Calamitous Detonation.  Finally, Miasma is dispelled.  The Ungors easily take out the Trebuchet and reform to face the other one, but the Great Bray Shaman can only manage a single wound on the Damsel.  Not surprisingly, the Gors rip the Paladin to bits and shred a good portion of his unit; they hold anyway though.

It’s charge of the Knights as the Questing Knights (and Mounted Yeomen) contact the poor Raiders and the Knights of the Realm have another go at the Bestigors.  The Prophetess moves into the building now that the Bestigors have helpfully turned away from it.  To make up for the big magic phases so far, we get 1,1 this turn.  The Prophetess rolls terribly on Flesh to stone and it is dispelled; note that this also dooms the Men at Arms to remain S1 and T1 as the hexes on them cannot be dispelled.  Bowfire also does nothing, but a good hit from the Trebuchet kills seven of the Bestigors next to the building; they hold.  My plucky Raiders manage to kill a Questing Knight before being butchered; both cavalry units reform to face the Gors and Bestigors.  The Knights of the Realm turn the Bestigors into kebabs and run a few survivors down.  To no-one’s surprise, the Men at Arms are hammered and flee with the Gors reforming to face the Questing Knights.  Finally, the Damsel manages to ward all four of the wounds she took this turn to survive (and prevent me taking a shot at the Prophetess to boot).

The Ungors charge the remaining Trebuchet, which holds.  That’s the last time I’ll write that for this turn.  The Bestigors charge the Men at Arms (who must flee) causing them to go through the Peasant Bowmen (who panic and also flee).  Then the Gors charge the Questing Knights (who flee) and redirect in the Mounted Yeomen (who also flee).  We get 5,2 magic dice, and I put Withering (-1T) on the Damsel.  It’s mainly frustration at her ward saves, and Aramoro knows it so lets it though.  Wildform is dispelled on the Gors.  The Great Bray Shaman finally kills off the Damsel, and the Ungors easily take out the Trebuchet.

Sadly, everyone rallies, including the Men at Arms who manage the 1,1 they need.  Everyone else moves up to threaten the Gors.  Another pitiful magic phase (2,1) has Regrowth on the Knights of the Realm dispelled, and archery is similarly ineffective.

The Great Bray Shaman charges at the Men at Arms, who flee again, and (again) panic the Peasant Bowmen; this time they go off the board.  Otherwise, there’s not much going on as I can’t get any victory points easily anywhere.  There’s another 1,1 magic phase, which puts the upgraded Miasma (-1) on the Knights of the Realm just to try and make them roll a little higher to get into the Gors.

After some urging on from Furycat, Aramoro declares that all four cavalry units will charge the Gors.  They feel rather surrounded, but at least the Men at Arms flee off the board to give me their juicy victory points.  There are 5,2 magic dice but somehow both Shield of Thorns and Flesh to Stone on the Knights of the Realm are dispelled.  The Bretonnian Lord skewers the Wargor on impact, but the Gors are not so easily cowed (that would be Minotaurs, of course).  There is a lot of death all round but not enough to take out any full Bretonnian units and the Gors end up needing a 6 to hold… which they do.  The game ends and we go to add up the scores; Bretonnians: 787, Beastmen: 872.  So after all that, it’s a draw.  But a great one.

That was a close game, and a lot of fun.  The silly thing is that, in terms of the campaign, we’re fighting over the territory of our mutual ally, the High Elves.  So whichever army won, there wouldn’t be any advantage to be had.  Putting my GM hat on, I guess I’ll rule that both armies stay locked in for another round; however since this is the last campaign turn it doesn’t actually matter in the least.  Overall, it’s fitting to be a draw considering all that!

There were a couple of bits of luck that really affected the game.  Firstly, that pesky Damsel shrugging off a stupendous number of attacks over four combat rounds stymied me in the critical turns when I could have been setting up to vapourise most of the Bretonnian army.  On the flip side, I needed to roll a straight six or less to hold the Gors in combat at the end and avoid giving up a few hundred points (and the game, of course).  All credit to Aramoro for throwing the kitchen sink at the Gors to try and pick up the win in the last turn.

Still, I think that this was a really good game to show what I enjoy about playing Beastmen.  The first couple of turns were just an unstoppable wall of goat braying their way across the table, and the Bretonnians were forced to break them up and take units on piecemeal.  In particular, note Aramoro’s clever use of the building to keep the Prophetess out of trouble; moving in and out as required to stay out of charge arcs.  The Western herd of Bestigors were a little disappointing when they faced up against the Knights of the Realm, but getting Flesh to Stone makes a bit difference.  Interestingly, I’ve taken the Manbane banner in a few games on a second herd of Bestigors and I don’t think I’ve ever used it at all.  Points well spent there…

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Malifaux Line in the Sand markers

As part of the Malifaux tournament I am playing in, I have to make up some markers for one of the strategies, A Line in the Sand.  In it, five dynamite markers are placed across the centre of table and each side gets victory points for either lighting or defusing them as appropriate.  After some consideration, I decided that powder kegs were the most appropriate easiest option, and set about it.  These are some of the barrels left from my Ogresses (you get a barrel for every two Ogres, so I had plenty), with a bit of paper clip sticking out and a little blob of Milliput on the end.  Then I painted them quickly.  They’re not going to win prizes, but they’ll do the job and to be honest I just don’t find the scenery building aspect of the hobby very inspiring (which is why I never do any).  Anyway, here they are; you can see the hand of my little helper, Argentbadger Junior, in the background.

The red and black basing is just a thought to save me making ten of them – the idea is that the red side can be turned to face whichever player has control.  In practice, if everyone at the tournament has them, we can just swap in and out as needed.  I’ll see how it goes.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 2 Comments

Beastmen (2200 points) vs Empire (2000 points); 10Apr12

It’s the final turn of the Border Princes campaign, and my first game is against Furycat’s Empire. With the advent of the new (i.e. 8th edition) army book for the Empire, I had no idea what to expect, so I just went for a minor variation on my usual army, i.e. lots of bipedal goats of varying sizes.

Great Bray Shaman, level 4, Steel Claws, Jagged Dagger, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Shadow (GBS)

Wargor, BSB, Gnarled Hide, Beast Banner, heavy armour, shield (BSB)

Bray Shaman, level 2, Dispel Scroll, extra hand weapon, Lore of Beasts (BS)

39 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G1)

20 Gors, extra hand weapon, full command (G2)

37 Ungors, full command (U1)

2 x 5 Ungor Raiders, musician (UR1 and UR2)

5 Harpies, scouts (H)

23 Bestigors, full command, Standard of Discipline (B1)

24 Bestigors, full command, Manbane Standard (B2)

Furycat purchased the new Empire army book on the day of release and has been vocal about its shortcoming in the time since, but this was his first opportunity to put anything to work on the table [note: in the time it’s taken between us playing this game and me actually writing it up, Furycat has posted some thoughts on the current Empire army book, which I highly recommend reading]. I didn’t actually take a copy of his list, but it was (roughly):

Templar Grand Master, knightly stuff, Runefang (G)

Wizard Lord, level 4, Lore of Shadow (WL)

Luthor Huss (LH)

Captain, BSB, protective stuff (BSB)

Witch Hunter (WH)

60 Spearmen, full command (S)

8 Inner Circle Knights, full command (K)

20 Crossbowmen, standard (C1)

Celestial Hurricanum (CH)

Steam Tank (ST)

As previously mentioned, we’d agreed that we would play Storm of Magic games (the basic scenario) to replace Battle Line if we rolled that. Furycat’s not keen on Storm of Magic as it’s too random for his strategic ‘may the best man win’ tastes, but he accepted that we’d go for it if that came up. And it did. So after agonising over his list for hours, he had to go back and pick another 500 points of monsters or crazy magic items; I got 550 points. Luckily we had Aramoro and Forkbanger respectively on hand for advice since they’ve played quite a few games of Storm of Magic.

So the Beastmen added:

Zoat, level 4, Lore of Life (not that he has any choice) (Z)

4 Royal Unicorns (RU)

The Zoat was selected because it gave me chance to use the Lore of Life for the first time. But that wasn’t the main reason: after all, wouldn’t you choose a Zoat if you could? I guess the Royal Unicorns were told that Ghorros Warhoof’s magic hat was actually the skull of a completely different horned horse-like creature of the forest, and not at all the one formerly belonging to the Prince of Unicorns.  Anyway, the Empire were joined by:

Chimera, some upgrades (C2)

Truthsayer, level 3, Lore of Life (T)

Apart from the four Arcane Fulcrums, we had the usual mish-mash of deadly to forget to use. This time there was a mist-wreathed swamp in the East that no-one went in (not that I blame them), a Sinister Statue that never fired at anything and a few forests and assorted obstacles. For simplicity, I’ve used the same tower picture for all four Fulcrums, but in reality we used the excellent models that Forkbanger has painted. Magic got messy. The Wizard Lord had Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering and Pit of Shades while the Truthsayer took Regrowth, Awakening of the Wood and Dwellers Below. Over on my side of the table, the Great Bray Shaman had Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma, Enfeebling Foe, Withering and Okkam’s Mindrazor; the Bray Shaman had Savage Beast of Horros and Wyssan’s Wildform and finally the Zoat has Throne of Vines, Flesh to Stone, Regrowth and Dwellers Below (after all, everyone else seems to think it’s amazing). Finally, the Witch Hunter takes the somewhat redundant step of accusing the Great Bray Shaman of heresy.

The game begins with the Steam Tank generating three steam points and zooming a terrifying 15” into some unfortunate Raiders. The Knights canter up to 13.1“ away from the Gor herd, presumably to reduce the odds of taking a ridiculous long charge, and the rest of the centre moves up to keep pace. The Lore of Beasts is Ascendant but it’s manipulated round to Light (which also does nothing, so no change). The winds of magic give us 13 power dice to 9 dispel dice. I dispel the Hurricanum’s bound spell and Shield of Faith fails to cast. Magical Duel from the Truthsayer is dispelled but Bridge of Shadows is let through, moving the Chimera behind the Gors, facing their rear and Hammer of Sigmar is also let through. Saving dispel dice doesn’t help as Dwellers Below is Irresistibly cast on the Great Bray’s Bestigor herd. Helpfully, he doesn’t jump down a magical hole this time, though 10 Bestigors do. Magical Feedback does nothing, but then it’s on to the event we’ve all been waiting for – the cataclysmic miscast. We are not disappointed, as all the wizards are turned into frogs [note for simplicity: I put a little starburst next to the Wizards for each magic phase in which they’re a frog]. After that, the rest of the turn can’t help but be a bit of a let down, as the Crossbows kill a few Ungors and the Steam Tank runs over the Raiders (though neither herd nearby panics).

Following the standard Steam Tank abatement plan, the surviving herd of Raiders charge into the side of the metal behemoth, and the Unicorns fabulously charge the suspiciously froggy Truthsayer perched on top of his Fulcrum. Sadly, he does stop being a frog in the magic phase, along with the Zoat. I have 12 power dice to Furycat’s 9 dispel dice, and Metal is the Ascendant Lore. Throne of Vines and Magical Duel are both dispelled, but Regrowth does get me back some of the Bestigors. I try getting in on the six-dice Dwellers action, but it is Irresistibly dispelled. To no-one’s surprise, the Raiders do nothing to the Steam Tank, but the Unicorns have a great run at the Turthsayer. Only one can attack him due to the Fulcrum, but it wounds him twice, he fails both 3+ wards and then fails stubborn 8 leadership and flees for his life. Improbable, but highly satisfying.

Now that the Steam Tank can fight back, it spends three steam points to grind those pesky Raiders into a thin paste. The Chimera and the Knights both charge the Gors, and Furycat is suspiciously careful to line up the Grand Master for a shot on the Wargor. Failing another leadership test, the Truthsayer continues his sprint for the table edge. Both the Beastmen Shamans return to normal form, but the Wizard Lord obligingly stays amphibious. The Lore of Beasts is Ascendant, and there are 13 power dice to 7 dispel dice. I let the Hurricanum through on the Harpies, and it kills 4 of them between the bad weather and the Lore attribute; the last one doesn’t panic. Hammer of Sigmar is dispelled, but I can’t stop Shield of Faith. A couple of shots from the Witch Hunter at the Great Bray Shaman both miss despite his rerolls to hit, and the Crossbowmen shoot a few more Ungors. In the main event, Furycat is delighted as the Grand Master easily kills off the Wargor with his Runefang, and a whole lot of other Gors go with him. They do manage to put a wound on the Chimera and drag three Knights off their horses though. The result is that the Gors lose heavily but are steadfast. Following the Truthsayer’s shining example, they fail their break check anyway and flee, getting run down by the Chimera while the Knights reform. To add insult to injury, the Great Bray Shaman’s Bestigor herd and the Ungor herd panic and also head for the pub. So where there was once a mighty battle line of bleating goat men, there is now nothing but some triumphant Knights and a scattering of fleeing victims.  Looking back, I probably had this coming to me after the Truthsayer’s antics.

With nothing much else useful to do, the Harpy charges into the Witch Hunter, the Bestigors who aren’t fleeing like little girls charge the Knights (a match up I’m much happier about, even with that Grand Master in there) and the Gors in the far West try to show that they’re contributing a little and charge the Wizard Lord, who sadly stops being a frog. The fleeing Bestigors pull themselves together, but the Ungors continue running right up to the table edge. Death is Ascendant and I have 17 power dice to 10 dispel dice. This should be good. Furycat sensibly dispels Wildform on the Bestigors, but I follow up with Hunters Moon (sort of like a super version of Wildform that affects your whole army) with Irresistible Force. A Calamitous Detonation does nothing of note, but the cataclysmic miscast is a Power Siphon, allowing the Wizard Lord to put Miasma (-2 WS) on the Bestigors in combat. The Zoat tries again for Dwellers Below, getting Irresistible Force this time and sucking 30 Spearmen (but sadly not the Captain) into a hole in the ground. Not bad. The Magical Feedback wounds the Zoat and then we get ‘Was it just me or did the world move?’ on the cataclysmic miscast table. It’s a slight let down that the only movement is the Bray Shaman swapping to the previously empty Fulcrum as the other two Wizards get teleported to the exact place they started. The Wizard Lord gets to enjoy his reprieve from frogginess as the Foe Render does nothing to him and the Gors bounce back from the Fulcrum; elsewhere the Witch Hunter makes short work of the foolish Harpy. In the main event, the Grand Master does his thing (i.e. kill one Bestigor for each of his attacks) and Luthor Huss turns into the Incredible Hulk and kills some more. In return the Bestigors smite the Knights down to just the champion and hold (they lost anyway despite a good round of combat).

The Spearmen realise that they can just see the corner of the Gors peeking out from the Fulcrum and charge in for a ridiculously minimised combat. The Steam Tank goes for it with 5 steam points and tonks over to the engaged Bestigors. It needs to make 14” on three dice and I breathe a sigh of relief as it makes it 13” across the table. Apparently the Truthsayer left the gas on at home as he fails yet another chance to rally and finally leaves the table. With the Lore of Fire Ascendant we have 9 power dice against 6 dispel dice. I dispel Miasma on the Bestigors in combat, Scroll Withering and dispel Hammer of Faith. With no dispel dice left to stop it, Furycat rolls 1,1 casting Shield of Faith (needing only 3) with Luthor Huss. There’s some sort of pathetic pillow fight between the Spearmen and Gors with only 3 casualties in total but the Gors are scared off by the size of the Captains moustache flag and run away (they get away thanks to swiftstride granted by Hunters Moon). Meanwhile, the three amigos kill off a few more Bestigors but are all cut down mercilessly in return. With that, Furycat has seen enough. Victory for the Beastmen!

That was a highly entertaining game, with ridiculous leadership checks defining both sides. I admit I was highly surprised that Furycat agreed to play Storm of Magic at all, but it turned out to be abnormally… normal. Still, the odds were in my favour all the way with a points advantage combined with Furycat’s unfamiliarity with his new army book.

Categories: Battle reports, Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Border Princes Campaign (Turn 15)

Well Border Princes fans: it’s taken me entirely too long to post this, the start of the final turn of our long-running campaign.  The map has been produced after a long series of events: losing the notes, improbably finding them again, failing to understand what we’d written, then working it all out again.  It is probably telling that we actually did the map moves in April.

Be that as it may, turn 14 of the Border Princes campaign was full of blood and thunder (but mostly blood).  Aramoro‘s Bretonnians managed to hold Malko for yet another turn, forcing back more Empire assaults than you can shake a frog’s leg at.  Otherwise it’s business as usual in the far West as Furycat‘s Empire push the Bretonnians inexorably toward their home territory; High Elf interference from Forkbanger‘s armies is largely ineffective, though they do make some inroads south of the Old Silk Road for the first time.  There are some skirmishes throughout the main contested area; a block of landed bordered by the Old Silk Road in the North, the Central South Road in the West and the Lower Thunder River in the East but they ultimately don’t affect who owns which patch of bloodstained land (a victories for the Empire over the Beastmen and High Elves are documented here and here, respectively, while a victory for a gimmicky High Elf army against a rather gentle Empire army is here).  In the North, Justinmatter‘s Orcs & Goblins defeat a contigent of High Elves who have found themselves far from the action.  Finally, despite a sound victory in the Iron Claw Orc Camp, the Orcs & Goblins are ousted from their lands with their home territory in the hands of the Beastmen (here, here and here).

Turn 15 is the last turn, and it begins with the Orcs & Goblins breaking their alliance with the Empire.  It’s largely symbolic gesture, as they have only two banners left on the table and they’re both trying to get away from the hideous braying of the Beastmen looting their home territory.  All the nations make a final push for glory, but the main battle in terms of deciding both first and last place is yet another assault on Malko by the Empire against the Bretonnians.  I like to imagine that they’ve long since done away with the castle and are now fighting over mounds of bodies, such has been the bloodshed on that territory.  The Beastmen mop up in the far East, consolidating total control over the lands of the greenskins.  The rest of the battles are mainly grinding along the Old Silk Road as that is where the majority of the banners are located.  Of note, defeats in turn 14 to a banner each of Beastmen and Bretonnians (both by the Empire) has them retreating to the same location (the actual Old Silk Road territory).  We rule that they’ll fight there rather than move again, but as the land is owned by their mutual ally (the High Elves) it’s completly irrelevant to the scoring; whoever wins will simply be defending their ally’s territory.

Here are the current scores, before we get on to any battles are fought. There’s no point working out permutations for number of banners next turn, as there will not be one.

Beastmen: 47 points (35 territories, 3 of which are special)
Empire: 30 points (26 territories, 1 of which is special)
High Elves: 24 points (19 territories, 1 of which is special)
Bretonnians: 15 points (6 territories, 1 of which is Malko)
Orcs & Goblins: 7 points (7 territories)

With only a single turn of battles to play, the scores are starting to widen out.  Nonetheless, there is still plenty to play for.  Of note, if the Empire can finally take Malko and have a good overall swing they are in with an outside chance of taking a clear first place.  On the other hand, a bad turn for the Empire coupled with good work from the High Elves could see them leapfrog the moustachioed powerhouse into a highly unexpected second place.  Malko is also key for the Bretonnians as holding it will see them leave the Orcs & Goblins in last place.  As for the greenskins themselves, events are out of their hands.  I intend to publish one further map so that the final scores are documented for completeness.

As it’s the final turn we agreed to add Storm of Magic games in as one of the possible scenarios, replacing either Battle Line or Watchtower depending on the preferences of the two players.

Thanks for sticking with us so far.

Categories: Border Princes, Campaigns, Warhammer Fantasy Battle | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.