Warmachine

Painted Gorten Grundback

This is Gorten Grundback (Gorten1 for future-proofing purposes), Mercenary Warcaster for Warmachine. I usually try to write a bit about how my miniatures perform for me in games at this point, but there is a new version of Warmachine coming out shortly so it seems a bit pointless. Anyway, the little chap has been fun to play in Warmachine second edition.

I stuck with green Warcaster armour to tie Gorten in with the other Mercenaries I’ve painted. I felt that greying hair fitted the receding hairline and distinguished feature of the Rhul-man. Since there was quite a lot of bling on both weapons I tried to mix up the colours a bit; normally I assume that weapons are meant to be functional (only) and therefore paint them monochromatic.

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Next on the painting table: Tara, Herald of Obliteration.

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Painted Cylena Raefyll and Nyss Hunters

Here are Cylena Raefyll and her Nyss Hunters from the Warmachine Mercenaries; they’re not very picky though and will work for quite a few other factions. They have great defence but terrible armour, and are therefore in theory quite nice with the Warcaster Gorten Grundback as he can protect them from blast damage with his Solid Ground spell. In practice, the Nyss are really fast and Gorten is really slow (and wants to be at the back anyway) so quite often they are too far away from him to benefit from Solid Ground. Still, I really like the Nyss as they are fast and have a variety of cool special rules that let them do what I need most of the time, which is usually kill a few things and then be annoying to get rid of in return.

I painted the Nyss Hunters with mostly green armour, partly to match up somewhat with the primary colour on my Press Gangers and partly because even in a fantasy world where giant robots painted in bright reds and blues punch each other repeatedly, it seems worthwhile to dress in mostly natural colours if your plan is to hide in a wood. Putting the Nyss together was rather frustrating as the arms, body and weapons are all separate and have tiny contact points that require extensive pinning. I was quite glad to persevere through it as hopefully it will make the miniatures more robust in play and transport. I also did a little plastic surgery on the grunts (i.e. not Cylena) as they originally came with really big crooked noses that made them stand out as markedly different from their leader. Possibly they are meant to be related to Mortiis. Either way, I trimmed the noses a little.

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Cylena Raefyll allows an extra rule while she’s in play and is fractionally better at fighting than the rest of her unit. As a result, she is frequently the first to die; of course this is really due to my poor play. For reasons that are not clear to me, she not only uses a different set of armour to the other Nyss Hunters, but rather impractically chooses to bare her midriff despite the backstory for the Nyss being that they hail from the frozen North.

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There are only two weapons, two heads and three body types for the grunts so I tried to put them together to get variety.  Even so I think I did end up with a couple of identical twins.  Still, this is normal in Warmachine; the Press Gangers literally have duplicate miniatures.  At least one advantage to the huge number of bits that needed to be assembled for the Nyss Hunters is that they have a small amount of customisability.

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Warmachine seems to be very big on the ‘what you see is what you get’ that was common in Warhammer 40,000 when we played that.  Hence all these miniatures have to have both bows and claymores to represent the relevant rules in the game, even though I think that the bows look a little awkward on the sword-wielding ones’ backs.  I couldn’t think of anywhere more appropriate to put them though.

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I tried to emphasise that they are not just pointy-eared humans but giving the Nyss a very pale white skin tone.  This is just white with blue ink, then highlighted back to white again.

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Next on the painting table: Death Marshals.

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Painted Press Gangers

These are the ubiquitous Press Gangers for Warmachine. They’re Mercenaries by faction, and mercenaries in the sense that they can also be used in four other factions. So far, I’ve only tried them in the Mercenaries faction so I have no idea how they fare out-of-faction. Having said that, I’m pretty bad at Warmachine, so it could accurately be said that I don’t really know much about their performance at all. For me, their main advantages are having Advanced Deployment so they can start scenario pressure, and being cheap so I don’t worry too much when they inevitably die like flies. I initially took them to play with Gorten Grundback (Gorten1) who can cast Solid Ground and stop them being killed so easily by blasts and keep them standing if they make a tough roll. In practice, keeping them close enough to Gorten to benefit from this spell means that I’m not taking advantage of the scenario pressure. Anyway, they’re fun to play and I quite like the idea of starting my motley Mercenary army with a tide of screaming pirates racing across the field.

I’ve picked green as a colour with which to tie this fledgling Mercenary force together, so each Press Ganger has at least a bit of green on them. There are only a few different sculpts so I tried to make each piece at least a little unique by swapping the colours for the various items of clothing. I got these guys at the same time as my Nyss Hunters (more on them later) and the contrast between assembling these guys, who come as single piece to be attached to the base, and the Nyss, who come in approximately 100 fiddly pieces needing to be pinned, could not be more irritating.

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This is the Lass, leader of the unit and bearer of a few extra powers like being able to make enemy pieces take actions for her. I love the character of the sculpt, with one hand beckoning and the other holding a cudgel behind her back. Unfortunately, I could not get my camera to take a nice photo of her at all, and gave up after many shots of which these were the least bad.

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I really like the various improvised weapons the Press Gangers are wielding, particularly the table leg held by the chap in the middle. The one on the right with the lamp appears to have a squirrel tucked away in one of his coat pockets, which seems an odd choice for the admittedly surprisingly land-based sailors.

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The central chap here is the only other unique sculpt in the unit (after the Lass), and I really like the body-in-a-sack he has over his shoulder. I imagine that the hat is some common piratical accoutrement but I can’t help but see it as a bunnet and painted him accordingly.

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Here are the final three Press Gangers. They have a rule which allows them, under certain circumstances, to turn a living enemy trooper into another type of pirate. Hilariously, various other combinations of rules means that they can do this to dogs and possessed trees. It amuses me no end to think that the Warmachine world is filled with the kind of magic that allows people to put a trained war dog into a sack and pull out a scurvy sea dog.

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Next on the painting table: Francisco Ortega

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Painted Feora, Priestess of the Flame

Here is the mighty Feora, Priestess of the Flame (Feora1 for those keeping count at home), the last of the Protectorate of Menoth miniatures I currently own. I played most of my Protectorate games with Feora1 and in general I really enjoyed using her as my Warcaster. Her main draws from my point of view were her Feat (which sets nearby enemies on fire and is therefore highly entertaining even if far less effective in practice that I wanted it to be) and her spell Engine of Destruction (which gives a huge bonus to her combat stats and allows her to scrap things with ease). I didn’t really find the more general play from the Protectorate to be especially enjoyable as all the best abilities seemed to revolve around stopping your opponent from doing very much during their turn. Or perhaps it would be closer to the truth to say that I felt that those I played against had less fun when I played the Protectorate for that reason. Still, I do like the miniatures so I might very easily decide to dip back into the army at some point in the future.

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Next on the painting table: Press Gangers.

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

Painted Thyra, Flame of Sorrow

This is Thyra, Flame of Sorrow, my first painted Warcaster for the fledgling Protectorate of Menoth force. Unusually for me I’ve not got much to say about her playstyle as I haven’t got enough games in with her to make any conclusions. Her abilities make her seem like a turbo-charged Daughter of the Flame. Naturally, I regard this as a good thing. My experience with WarmaHordes has made me a bit cautious about Warcasters with a focus on melee assassination as you need to make sure you get it to work or you’ll surely die in the following turn.

Anyway, painting-wise I loved this miniature; a good painter could really make something special out of it. There is so much bling on her that every edge feels like it is worth an extra flick of the paintbrush. Though I do wonder how she gets around so acrobatically with such armour and robing on. I guess a wizard did it.

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Next on the painting table: Mr Tannen (for real this time)

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

Painted Daughters of the Flame

This is the beginnings of my probably-rather-truncated Protectorate of Menoth army for WarmaHordes.  I got this unit of Daughters of the Flame for my birthday, so it’s only taken me a paltry half-year or so to get paint on them.  Taking into account my total lack of skill at the game I found the Daughters rather effective.  They advance deploy and have high defence so I would generally just jam them in as deep as possible.  Inevitably they would get wiped out but usually I felt that it was worth it for either the amount of effort required to do so or for the board control that I was afforded as a result.  In the rare cases where a couple survived I was able to charge them off somewhere else irritating for my opponent as they have the acrobatics ability and are therefore hard to pin down.

I chose to keep close to the studio paint scheme for the colours with cream and red as all the other variations I considered just somehow didn’t seem to work out right for me.  I guess it’s not all about innovation anyway.  The armour was edge highlighted (rather than drybrushing which is my usual technique) to try and bring out the colour more, and overall I am happy with the results.  As with all my miniatures they’re best viewed from tabletop distance, and without too much scrutiny.

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I was originally drawn to the miniatures by the fantastic motion in them. You can really visualise the movement of each piece. Actually I think it’s a bit of a shame that the unit leader (both hands above head, right hand side in this set) is the least dynamic pose. I guess she has to take time to tell the others what to do.

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I was a touch disappointed that two of the sculpts are duplicated; I guess I’ve been spoiled by GW where everything is ‘posable’ off the sprue and Malifaux where you rarely want more than two of anything anyway.

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Finally, my assistant Argentbadger Jr MK1 wanted to add creative flair to the photos.

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Next on the painting table: Mr Tannen.

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Starting Warmachine and Hordes

The next Big Thing here at Chateau Argentbadger is Warmachine and Hordes, hereafter known as WarmaHordes. Of course, there are always reasons for choosing to buy into one game or another, and (for me at least) there has to be a good reason to spend my limited time, money and attention on a particular game. This goes double for a new game where we all have to learn new rules and buy new books and miniatures.  Since this is one of the few games I’ve bought into with even a modicum of thought beyond ‘looks cool’, I decided to show my workings.

This story started when I started using my Ogre Kingdoms in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I am not an especially good player, but I have literally never lost with this army, and in almost all battles I felt that there wasn’t even much of a threat of that happening. The feeling of being unduly powerful was compounded by Furycat picking up Tomb Kings at the same time and going through the sort of process I expected – i.e. losing a lot until finally getting the hang of the army after significant practice. Worse, I proxied a single game of Lizardmen against the Tomb Kings and won crushingly despite playing terribly for the entire game. This contrasts with my experience with Beastmen, where I always feel that I have to either play well or get lucky (or both) to avoid defeat. To summarise, I felt that there were serious balance issues between the Warhammer Fantasy armies. This isn’t going to stop me from playing the game, as it’s still a lot of fun (especially with Beastmen), but I have been a bit frustrated by the feeling of choosing to play on ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ mode depending on which army I select.

The first part of what I needed was a game with tolerable balance between armies so that I wouldn’t feel like the army was playing itself without me, or that one side was facing a significant uphill struggle solely as a result of faction choice.  For clarity, I’m not thinking about army building here (which I see as a skill in wargaming) but rather selection of which faction to play.

Next, Mrs Argentbadger and I have decided to try a bit of wargaming together. She isn’t a natural geek like I am, so we’re going to take this slowly and see how this goes.  We have busy lives, so this was suggested as a possible way to dedicate an evening to sharing a hobby rather than watching television, or simply indulging our own separate forms of entertainment even when we’re in together.  The main criteria here for game selection are rules which are tight and reasonably simple (by which I mean that they can be followed with logic rather than interpreted) and low model count armies for speedy games.

So, in a slightly roundabout way, I found that I was looking for a wargame with good internal balance, with a simple set of core rules and a relatively small model count. A bit of looking around suggested WarmaHordes as that game.  Let us see if that turns out to be right.

A few tries with the free-to-download rules seemed to be fun enough to entice Mrs Argentbadger back for more tries. I imagine that I am going to need to give myself a bit of a handicap to begin with, but I think that if this proves to be fun then she could easily become strong enough at the game to beat me without assistance. She can defeat me at chess without difficulty, though admittedly that can be said of a lot of people.

In the interests of putting some pretty pictures into the post, I have selected Circle Orboros as my faction. Choosing a force in any wargame always begins with the miniatures for me, and I like the variety of styles in Circle Orboros, ranging from werewolves, stone monsters, druids and barbarians.

I’ve (somewhat arbitrarily) decided to use Morvahna the Autumnblade as my initial Warlock to learn how to play, since her rules look amusing.

Mrs Argentbadger has chosen the Retribution of Scyrah, a faction of angry Elves. After a bit of research they seem to be regarded as a ‘new’ faction with fewer unit choices compared to the others. This might turn out to be an advantage as it will be easier to focus on learning how to play the units that do exist well, rather than swapping out frequently (which I expect to do).

Furycat has, as expected, decided on Cygnar. He always seems to prefer to play the protagonists in any setting (Empire in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Imperial Guard and/or Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000). We’re going to get in at the deep end and play larger games straight out of the gate as it looks like the test games we’ve had have been a bit imbalanced due to the low army size.

Finally (out of those who’ve expressed an interest in playing at all) Aramoro has looked at Cryx. They’re the evil undead faction, and seem to revolve around crippling the defence of their foes. Still, as he put it: “I don’t always select the annoying faction on purpose”. Here’s a random picture of a group of Cryx Warcasters that I think look cool.

Categories: Hordes, Warmachine | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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