Kings of War Tournament report: Stanes of Blood

I’m not a big fan of the first couple of weeks of the new year. Stuff always goes wrong (like sickness or unexpected influxes of work) and any resolutions get very rapidly discarded. This year, was of course, no exception. So, I felt quite excited to get to the end of the first fortnight, pack up my rats and head off down the M4 with the Lazy Pirate in tow.

I decided to take my rats again after a good run out before Christmas. I took an evolution of that list. In a weird twist of fate at the previous event there had been a chariot special character. I generally avoid single chariots because their base can be a massive pain, however the character performed so well I decided to give the Ratkin equivalent, the Death Engine Impaler, a try. Controversially I ditched the Tangle in favour of Twitch and the Brew of Sharpness on one of my Shock Troop regiments, some chaff was also ditched to get the Impaler in.

My 1995 list

Warrior horde with Plague Pots

3 Shock Troop regiments with Plague Pots, one with Brew of Sharpness

Hackpaw regiment with Jesse’s Boots

Vermintide regiment

Death Engine Impaler

Mutant Rat Fiend

War Chief with Aura of Vicious and Blade of Slashing

Twitch Keenear

Mother Cryza

Scudku-z’luk, Demonspawn of Diew

I had mixed feelings about this list in a competitive setting. I love everything in it which makes it a great casual list, but at 12 drops it feels a little light and I would love to have an extra Vermintide regiment on board.

 Game 1 – Abyssal Dwarfs, Push

My opponents list consisted of a decent mix of shooting and fast punchy stuff. A couple of mortars, a horde of Decimators with Blessings of the Gods, a Helfane and a couple of regiments Abyssal Halfbreeds were amongst the list. It was a solid list, and I have form for making a complete mess of this scenario, so expectations were not high.

I was worried that the mortar shooting would dominate the game, however, not only were the mortar crew easing into the morning they were also targeting my fiend. The damage was few and far between, and the beast’s regeneration easily dealt with what got through.

The dwarf lines were solid, but a wavered regiment of gargoyles gave me an opportunity to get my fast stuff into his right flank early on, allowing Scud to jump over the lines in turn three to remove the mortars. My central core of shook troops forced their way to the other side of the table, although a double 1 on the decimator horde put my token carrying regiment in danger. Fortunately, the presence of the nearby Fiend kept them on the table.

On my right my chaff performed admirably, holding off the Helfane and some Immortal Guard just long enough for Scud to flank the Helfane, smash it of the table and steal its loot counter in the final turn of the game. This gave the rats their first win and induced a momentary glow of confidence…

Game 2 – Varangur, Salt the Earth

My next game saw me face off against Chris Lynch’s barbarian nastiness. His list brought a couple of Chimera Lords, a Frost Giant, Theign on Frostfang, 2 regiments of Huscarls, Magnilda, 2 regiments of snow foxes and 4 regiments of Draugr. My last couple of games against Chris have seen me get progressively worse results, I’m not going to dwell on this, suffice to say my goal for this game was to make it to round 4 and still have stuff on the table.

I played my usual tactic of castling up in one corner and hoping for the best. As his army had no healing I decided to use my lightening bolt to start chipping away at his titans. His titans and huscarls were serious threats to just about everything in my army so I needed to start wearing them down. The first couple of turns were spent trying to prevent Chimera’s going where they wanted, and I felt this was half achieved, only one manged a flank on a shock troop regiment.

About turn three the chip damage started to kick in, a combination lightening bolt and Cryza’s cloak of death saw the Hackpaws waver the Frost Giant and Cryza waver one of the Chimeras. Helpfully the sharpness Shock Troops managed to remove Magnilda. I’m not going to say the tide turned at this point, but there was a sufficient let up for my battered troops to stage something approaching a fight back.

Chris’s Draugr had managed to claim a couple of objectives early in the game whilst his hammers had “distracted” me, however the chip damage, combined with the annoying resilience of Cryza meant I managed to take a number of his hammers off the table. No turn 7 and a very poor roll by his Giant for random attacks meant Scud managed to hold an objective as well as a regiment of shock troops. It was a loss for the rats but a far better performance against Chris than my Basileans have ever put in.

Game 3 – Abyssal Dwarfs, Control

More angry dwarfs! I really liked this list as well. A couple of hordes of Golems were supported by a Decimator horde with Blessing of the Gods, Black Soul regiments, Berserker troops, an Abyssal Halfbreed Regiment, a Wingy Kingy and some Gargoyles.

Against this list I really wanted to avoid the golems for as long as possible, kill off the squishier dwarfs and hopefully get Scud into their flanks later in the game. One of the biggest challenges with rats is choosing the correct moment to deploy plague pots. Early on I moved up one of my shock troop regiments and forgot to drop my pots to give them stealthy. This would have likely stopped them getting shot off the table by a combination of the Decimators and the Golems (both hordes had the shooting upgrade).

I admonished myself and refocused. By turn 4, pot problem aside, my plan looked like it was working. To my right warriors, vermintide and shock troops were holding up the Golems and Halfbreeds. On my left Scud, the Impaler and Cryza had removed the smaller units and cleared a path to the Decimator horde. They charged, knocking hell out of it, and needed to roll a single 5 to remove it, before turning their attentions to the rest of the battlefield. They rolled a 4. In turn 5 Scud turned about to finish of the Wingy Kingy that was gnawing at his ankles then reformed to face into the centre of the field putting his flank to the Decimator horde. Cryza withdrew from the fray to zap at some Gargolyes and secure a table section. The Impaler went into the Decimators again only to double one them!

Although the Decimators were devasted they had a flank charge on Scud, which they took, and managed to waver him effectively taking him out of the game for the entirety of the second half. Fortunately, the Impaler did manage to finish them off in the final turn. All this meant the plan fell flat on its face. Fortunately, I managed to secure 2 of the table sections to my opponents 4, and to kill more of his army than he did of mine. Despite the frustration caused by the Decimators it was a very enjoyable game.

Thoughts on the list

Having had some time to reflect I couldn’t be happier with the list and its performance, 16th out of 24 works for me. I have had to get into the headspace that everything, including Shock Troops are chaff, but getting there makes the list kind of make sense. Scud is undoubtedly the engine that makes the list work with his rallying and lightening bolt being as important as his combat presence. The Impaler massively impressed, and its long threat range meant it worked well with Scud and the hackpaws.

Cryza is an absolute menace because of her Cloak of Death and I still can’t quite get over how durable the Shock Troop regiments actually are. Although there isn’t loads of rallying, I think the amount of inspiring helps to keep units on the table, even if they’re wavered, which doesn’t seem to be a sufficiently big enough deal for me to miss the Tangle.

All that being said there are a couple of thoughts I’ve had which I want to play around with before the next time I take them out, which will be for the Birmingham Bullrun in March.

And finally

As always, a massive thanks to the organisers for putting on a great event and my opponents who were all fab. It was a great way to start the year and I’m looking forward to the next event.

Bye bye 22… hello 23

2022 was a very busy year. A book got written (and published), tournaments were played and run, Basileans were painted, Halflings were continuously pushed to the back of the painting table, and the rats finally managed an outing in the final days of the year.

I have to admit, it not only felt busy, but when I start looking back it becomes abundantly clear it was busy. Settling down with a bottle of whiskey and a tray of mince pies at the end of December was certainly deserved. I think one of the best things about last year was starting to get some perspective on what I want to do with the time I have for whatever this sort of stuff is.

It’s fair to say that the last few years have been far from pedestrian, and certainly not predictable. Somehow, I’ve got to the end of it all doing far more than I really have the time for, but I’ve massively enjoyed it all. So, my thoughts for the last week, or so, have mainly been about what I think I’m going to be able to achieve in 2023 and they go something like this:

Books

In my excitement to get something out into the world I decided to write The Rose of Amzharr as the first part of a series. The plus side to that was that I didn’t have to write a couple of hundred thousand words in one go, allowing myself to ease into the world of writing. Of course, a story consists of a beginning, middle, and end, so I am far from done with it all and the next seventy thousand words are slowly being pieced together. I’ve had a bit of hiatus over Christmas, but I’ll be back on it in the coming days with the plan being to have the next instalment ready for the end of 2023.

Short stories

I’m quite excited about having my very own fantasy world to nurture and explore. I’m finding short stories are a great way of dipping in to it whilst the next instalment of The Rose of Amzharr grows. The best thing is that it allows me to explore a different aspect of Amzharr. Whereas the books are an adventure series the short stories let me play with mythology and folklore. It’s the best fun in the world for a fantasy author being able to endlessly ask why something happens, before inventing the most ludicrous explanation by way of response. I’ve made the short stories I’ve written so far available free through the blog. When I get around to it, I’ll give them their own dedicated page on TheWizardsBookshelf.com. I’m hoping to release at least one a quarter throughout 2023 and if they are well received I’ll consider popping them into an ebook, maybe even with some bonus material. They’re free and they’re here…

Ripples across Amzharr: the origin of demons

The Winter King: a short story

Tournaments

Running Kings of War tournaments this year has been a real eye opener. I have to admit to more than the slightest sense of satisfaction at manging to serve up two events in 2022. It’s also given me a fresh interest in how others run their events. I’ve certainly changed my view on a few things over the past few months (like soft scores). What I haven’t changed my view on is just how great the tournament scene is in the UK. So many lovely people contributing in so many ways to making events fun and friendly. In 2023 I’m determined to take my rats out a lot more and put a little more effort into the hobby side of things.

With regard to Bristol tournaments (the ones I run) there is so much I want to try, but am not comfortable I have the time to give over to it. Consequently, my aim this year is to put on three events to ensure we continue to have things going on and establish a bit of a foundation for the following years. Bristol has some great players and painters so I feel strongly that there should be something around here. The first of the events will be Tree Thugging in February, in July we’ll have the Southwest Clash, and towards the end of the year The Mean Squeeks of Bristol will return. Watch this space for details.

Hobby

I have a suspicion that this will be the area of my life that will be hit with the biggest cut in hours, but in many ways that’s fine. I know this is a rarely heard thing, but I actually think I have all the armies I want for Kings of War, and some great models painted up for skirmish games. Consequently, I’m going to continue in my quest to reduce my backlog and revisit some of those models I gave a rough paint job to on the basis that I would one day revisit them. It looks like that day has arrived.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll wish you all a very happy New Year and leave you with a bunch of my favourite pictures from last year’s hobby doings.

The Winter King: a short story

When the multi coloured curtains fall on Autumn’s final act the Winter King takes the stage, so say the short-lived peoples, the youngest races that inhabit the world of Amzharr. Thick carpets of diamond encrusted snow cover the world, intricate freeze forged artifacts are to be found where water once flowed, and a silent stillness fills the skies under which he is said to rule.

The Winter King has always been seen by the younger races of Amzharr as a cruel and uncaring creature, happy to see the world stop turning and life destroyed. Winter is a time of sombre sorrowing. Great grey clouds hang menacingly over the fields and forests. Stacked high, their fluffed faces leer earthwards threatening to send sleet and snow to bury the slightest hint of a green shoot, or blossoming bud, that might dare to deliver even the slightest hope that spring may find its way back into the world.

It is a time of great sadness and desperation across the world. The masses huddle around log fires and eat sparce meals, conserving their energy until the world returns to life. Throughout those dark days they tell stories, often of the Winter King and the evil deeds attributed him, little knowing that the Winter King of whom they speak is nothing but a myth. Their Winter King is a King of Winter, his court constructed from the lifeless lustre of frost bound fields and snow suffocated saplings. Their King of Winter is an aspect of nature, far greater than any angel or demon. It is the futile endeavour of a mortal mind to explain an element of existence beyond their comprehension.

That is not to say there is no Winter King, there is, but his story has been lost to the years. He is a lonely creature found at the heart of the fiercest snowstorms flailing around in a maddened dance. Those few lost souls who have seen him, and survived the storm, all too often mistake his capering and wind stolen cries as an attempt to command the weather, ordering it to do his bidding and lay waste to the world. Maybe it is because in the heart of the storm the flurries of snowflakes make it hard to see, or because the wind is so fierce it rips his words from his lips before they can be heard, but almost always those who happen up the frantic creature fail to realise that the Winter King is no ruler.

In reality the Winter King is a mocking name, given to him by the immortals who knew him long before the mortal races found their way into the world. However, he did not know then, just as he does not know now of his name. For the Winter King has an obsession which has driven him from the moment the Creators breathed life into him.

When the world was young the Winter King took his first steps. He raised his eyes to the sky and instantly became fixated by the great golden sun. So in awe was he of the flaming star that he began to follow it as it made its way around the world. Day after day he walked the round of the world, his existence becoming an aubade to the auric entity.

One day, whilst he wandered, his eyes to the sky, he tripped over a rock and landed on the ground with a heavy thud. He felt a surge of pain in his foot. He glared angrily around from his awkward seat ready to admonish whatever it was that had interrupted his infatuation. To his surprise the rock responsible for his downfall gleamed just like the sunlight. He was immediately entranced by its warm yellow colour. He forgot the pain in his foot and reached for it. It was heavy, yet smooth to his touch. In that moment he stopped lusting after the sun, and a new obsession was born, one made all the more compelling because he could reach for it, touch it and own it.

He cast a licentious look about the ground and his search began. It was not long before he had gathered a small collection of the yellow rocks. He started to fill a small sack which he would throw over his shoulder as he searched for more. Such was his obsession he did not rest enough to allow his foot to heal, and happily carried the sack over his shoulder as it grew heavier and heavier. If he noticed the pain of his injury, compounded by his increasing burden, he did not let it show.

When the bag became too heavy to lift any more, he emptied the gold onto the ground and covered it with rocks and soil before returning to his search. Time and time again he filled his sack and brought his finds back to the where he had hidden the first bagful. With each bagful the pile grew, and the little creature would pack more soil around it, and over it, to hide it.

Over the next ten years the creature travelled Amzharr in search of gold until he had found it all. He brought the last bag back to his hiding place, which had now become a great range of mountains reaching far into the sky, peaks lost in the clouds. Once the bag had been emptied, and its contents hidden, he set out into the world again.

Desperation gripped him as it became apparent there was no more gold to be found. Then, one day as he frantically grubbed around, he happened upon a diamond, and then an emerald. A new obsession was born with the sparkling gemstones that seemed to capture his first love, the sun, when it shone on them.

Once more he began to fill his bag and hide the precious stones away under piles of soil and rock. It was not long before another mountain range rose from the world.

Another decade passed and all the world’s gemstones were hidden. The Winter King’s bag was empty once more and his searches bore no fruit. He scoured the world once, twice, three times more, but there was nothing to be found.

One day, as the days shortened, and the sun’s warmth began to be whisked away by giddy young winds returning to the world after their summer sojourn, the creature fell to his knees and let out a cry of anguish. He sobbed loudly and looked around him, desperate to find something, anything that would make him feel fulfilled once more. Then, out of the corner of his eye he saw a hint of that warm, precious, yellow he had lusted after since he had buried the last golden nugget.

He stood and walked over to where it hung in plain sight from a tree. It was different from what he had found on the ground. Not a rock, but a leaf. He breathed a long sigh of relief and smiled as a new sense of purpose flooded through his veins, bringing with it a renewed vigour. He began to dance and caper around the trees, filling his sack. Around the world he danced again, stuffing leaf after leaf into the bag not once having to stop to empty it, so small and light were the precious leaves. Once all the trees had been stripped bare, he looked excitedly into his bag, and found to his horror that there was no gold, only tiny brown flakes, and spider web skeletons. In his frustration he tipped the crinkly fragments out and let the wind take them before collapsing into a sullen heap.

The days were shorter now, the giddy winds had become howling gales and rain had turned to snow. The creature watched as the tiny crystals fell from the sky. He reached out a cold hand and let a few settle. He saw the delicate structure Nature had gifted them. He looked around and for the first time saw the frozen beauty of winter. Though his beloved sun left him for far more hours each day, when it rose its light seemed softer, its rays refracted through icicles creating little rainbows, and for the few hours it stayed the world seemed to glow. Despite the biting chill the creature ran and danced and capered around in the snow. He became fascinated by the tiny ice crystals that turn spider’s webs into delicate strings of diamonds and marvelled at the shiny sheets of ice that encased the rivers and lakes. The creature was happier than he had ever been.

When the time came for winter to move on, and the snows started to melt, the creature surveyed the dark mud and grey brooding clouds the season left behind it. Rather than stay he decided he would chase after winter. He ran as quickly as he could until he caught up with the snowstorms and freezing winds. Once again in their midst he danced and capered, grasping at the tiny diamonds that fell from the sky, laughing at the crystal flakes as they were caught by the wind and whisked up around him. And there he has stayed to this day, oblivious to the world around him, save for the snow and the ice. Oblivious to the immortals who mocked him for bringing the dawn, mocked him as he made the mountains and continue to mock him to this day with the epithet the Winter King.

The End

Want to read more?

Try another short story Ripples across Amzharr: the origin of demons

And of course the obligatory plug…

Weekly Wins 23 and 24: Proxy hackpaws, actual hackpaws, angry dwarfs and happy holidays

The days seem to be flying by and the end of the year is looming. As you would expect at this time of year a whole range of things that aren’t about 30mm high are jostling for my attention, so hobby output has slowed quite considerably. Instead of painting I’m spending the odd moments between various deadlines thinking about potential hobby goals for the new year.

This had led to me being temporarily diverted from the halflings (a change is a good as rest and all that) to return to my wargaming spirit faction – the ratkin. Over the last year, I’ve been messing around with hackpaw heavy lists – will they be very competitive? Don’t care – hackpaws are awesome. The only downside is that I need about five or six regiments of the verminous beast riders. Rather excitingly, at the back of the cupboard I found some Oathmark goblin wolf riders. I really like Oathmark plastics because they are very simple to put together and the wolves in the kit can be quickly painted. This has resulted in is a couple of proxy units I can put towards the army, which I can always replaced in the future if I really enjoy playing it.

I’ve also done a little bit of rebasing of what I already have, and the units are starting to come together, although I still have at least three models to complete before I’m ready to put them on the table. The reduced amount of time has focused my mind a bit on what other quick jobs I can get done. One of those jobs has been to finally get some decimators rebased to make a full regiment.

It’s one thing painting a regiment, it’s another finding the time to base it.

I have to admit I love my Abyssal Dwarfs, but for some reason always find myself shying away from them for games. Maybe there’s a new year’s resolution in there somewhere? Who knows.

So that’s it from me for the year on the hobby front, although I’m hoping to publish a new short story on The Wizard’s Bookshelf in the coming days.

So, with that I’ll wish you a merry Christmas, happy holidays and all the best.  

Tournament report (and a bit of reflection on army changes): Slay Bells in Poole

It’s been a whilst since I’ve written one of these. Loads of reasons why not, so I’m not going to dwell, but I really wanted to put pen to paper for this event because it’s the first event this year that I took my beloved rats too, and I had an absolute ball of a time.

Going to tournaments this year has been, as aways, a great experience. I want to give a massive thanks to everyone who’s run an event I’ve attended. Having started running tournaments I now know the work that goes into it. The odd thing about this year though is that it’s the first year I haven’t played Ratkin (at an event).

The reason has something to do with the army changes that were made in 3rd, but definitely not the ones you might be thinking if you’re familiar with the changes. I think it’s important to say this because this is not a moan about losing Blight or Slave regiments. Truth be told I really like the new (well not so much anymore) ratkin list. It’s made them super interesting to play, and whilst I haven’t brought them to tournaments this year, I’ve played a casual game with them every month or so to see if I could find a list I’d enjoy taking to a tournament.

To be clear, I’m not a top player. I lack the cold consideration and in game cool to be one of those. Units tend to make it into my army because I like the look of them, or their fluff, or they don’t require much painting. Never because of how efficient they are, or even because I have a particular role in mind for them outside of taking up points. That being said, I do want to try and hold my own at tournaments and a little progression is not unwelcome. It’s for this reason I stopped playing rats at events at the end of 2021, because I didn’t feel I understood the army well enough to build a list I could enjoy playing and make progress with.

Whilst I wasn’t feeling so good about rats, the verminous villains were doing brilliantly in the hands of others. What was awesome to see was the range of different winning lists that were out there, shooting ones, MSU ones and horde ones; this made me realise it was me… not the rats. So, after a lot of faffing around I settled on a list I was excited about, and just about made it through a couple of test games.

The event

Slay Bells was at the impressive Poole hobby store Entoyment. We played 1995 points and there was a choice of chariot special characters. I went for a killy one that had Clock of Death amongst its abilities. My list was:

Skud

Mother Cryza

The Tangle

Warchief with Vicious Aura and Axe of the Giant Slayer

3 regiments of Shock Troops with Plague Pots

Horde of Warriors with Plague Pot

Regiment of Hackpaws with J Boots

Troop of Hackpaws

2 regiments of Vermintide

Mutant Rat Fiend

The games

Game 1 vs Northern Alliance

Scenario – Push

The Northern Alliance army was a bit of a two of everything affair. Two regiments of huscarls, two hordes of ice elementals, two regiments of ice gladestalkers, two troops of tundra wolves and two lords on frostfangs. The Northern Alliance spread out in a solid line with the Frost Fang Lords together on my left opposite my fast-moving units.

I won the first turn and moved everything forward as fast as I could. Although there was a reasonable amount of shooting, the strategic use of a hill and a plague pot meant it was fairly limited and my army made contact fully intact. Scud and the hackpaws shut down the left flank temporarily whilst my infantry made short work of the right flank. The shock troop regiments really came into their own here setting up multi charges to smash a whole in the line, which then allowed them to steal flanks.

By turn 5 I had all the tokens. Two were on a shock troop regiment in my opponent’s half and three were on a shock troop regiment in my half. Unfortunately, a troop of tundra wolves had snuck to the back of my half and the regiment carry three tokens found itself between the wolves and a frostfang lord. The wolves had three wounds on them, and the Tangle was nearby. The shock troops turned to face the lord and dropped their plague pot. The Tangle took aim at the wolves and completely missed with eleven fireballs. Even with the shock troops ready to take a double charge I still wasn’t worried because the three tokens in my half were only worth three points… way to completely miss read the scenario! Naturally enough the shock troops disappeared, and the lord took the tokens – now worth six points because he was in his opponent’s half!

Despite my stupidity I was really happy with this game because I really did throw it away. There were a number of things I could have done from turn 4 to protect my token carriers and simply failed to do. It was a weirdly promising start to the day.

Game 2 vs Orcs

Scenario – Invade

I was a little unsettled going into this game because Orcs are a faction I find a bit of a challenge to play against because there always seems to be so many of them. This list had Gak, my least favourite hero, a horde of great ax and a legion of ax amongst it’s ranks and I was worried it would turn into a very one sided grind. Fortunately, the dice were with me. My lightning bolts managed to waver Gak in the first turn which helped my fast units get a good position. Scud managed to one shot the two regiments of gore riders, both with front charges, one after the other. The hackpaw regiment got an early flank on a troll horde and took them out, whilst the shock troops managed their usual shenanigans with a bloody flank and front charge on the great ax horde. Finally, the rats mobbed the legion leaving a godspeaker feeling quite alone.

The dice were very much with me this game gifting the rats a win.

Game 3 vs Ogres

Scenario – Control

I found myself facing a shooty MSU ogre list, which is a great army for this scenario. The list featured some allied ice gladestalkers and a theign on frostfang, alongside Nom, two warlocks, three ogre regiments, two shooter sergeants, a shooter horde and two shield breaker hordes.

I really didn’t know what to do against this army and I fluffed my deployment, putting Scud behind a regiment of shock troops because I ran out of space. I did manage to win first turn and pushed everything forward as far as I could. The ogres shot pretty much everything at the mutant rat fiend which managed to survive, however my deployment error with Scud quickly became apparent. He was meant to be chasing down the ice gladestalkers. When the gladestalkers wound something, they reduce its speed by one. Because of this and because Scud had started a bit back from the front of the deployment zone he didn’t get into the archers until turn 3, slowing down his potential for carnage.

The ogres pretty much dominated the table with steady shooting and a load of units I found it hard to put damage on, and slowly my rats dissolved.

I think its fair to say this game was always going to be challenging, but my error with Scud, combined with an early double one (of three in this game) which meant an ogre regiment with 17 damage on it didn’t leave the table, really didn’t help my cause. Despite getting tabled I really enjoyed the game and took some valuable learnings from it about shooting.

I take no small amount of cheer from the fact that the Northern Alliance army went on to win the event, whilst the Ogres came in second!

All in all, it was a really fun day, very well run, in a great location, made all the better for taking the rats.

Thoughts on the list

I’m genuinely happy with how my list performed. Although it’s taken a while, and a lot of experimentation, to find an army that I find enjoyable and feels like a good foundation to build on for next year. The shock troop regiments are the real engine of the army, they are surprisingly resilient, seem to easily pick up flanks, and work really well with the Mutant Rat Fiend. Cryza is an absolute legend and Scud is just Scud.

One of the questions I did want to answer was how hackpaws would work without the Caterpillar Potion as we head into next year. I think I’ll be using them primarily to support Scud on multi-charges with the newly polished J boots.

The really interesting one for me was the Warchief with the fury aura. Having the aura and inspiring in one package is really useful. I had envisaged using him to ground flyers, hence the slayer axe, but not a single flyer was fought against. More than that I think his primary role commits him to hanging around the infantry rather than chasing angry flapping beasties around the table. Consequently, the one change I’m going to make is to use the fifteen points for his axe on a plague pot for the hackpaw regiment. With so much shooting around pots are now even more useful than ever, and if the regiment is going to be hanging around with Scud their nerve will generally be 14/16 which will make them a lot more survivable – that’s the theory leastways! It won’t be long until I find out with Staines of Blood just around the corner in January.

Weekly Wins 21 and 22: Froggo doggo, fungi tales and a very merry Chratsmas

After another couple of weeks of labouring away with the little people I’m at that stage where my army is starting to look like it might just one day be an army. My first flying dog is fully based and ready for action. I’m excited about this because he’s one of my favourite models from Northumbrian Tin Soldier and he’s set to play a starring role in the army.

As well as the flying doggo I’m also making inroads into the infantry with something that could be mistaken for a horde ready for the table. I have to admit I’m finding the halfling sprue a bit of a pain because whilst the models are lovely, the weapon ratio is a bit of a pain. The sprue has 10 infantry and 5 cavalry models; however the weapons options are a bit restrictive as you have the bits to do 10 melee weapon options and 10 shooting options. It means that everyone can get a weapon, but if you’re not interested in the shooting options well you have a bit of a shortfall. All that means I have a bit of a concern how far towards my final army my current sprues will be able to stretch – obviously it’s not the end of the world but it would have been fab if there could have been enough arm options to allow all models to have melee weapons.

With progress being made the army’s narrative is starting to take shape as well. The Mushroom Muster will be a valiant band of heroes who risk everything to gather rare Yellow Cap fungi. The Yellow Caps only appear as the winter snows begin to melt and they must team up with gnomic guides and their sniffer toads to ensure they bring back the real deal. I’m excited.

And finally rat news. After a year of mainly heading off to tournaments with Basileans the rats are off to Poole to play the Slay Bells event. I’m really looking forward to getting them on the table and I might even manage a bit of a review. There is a special character which is a chariot. I certainly haven’t put the effort in that some people have but I have given my Impaler an extra crewrat to fulfil the special character role, and it’s the perfect excuse to give this lovely looking model a run out.

The hobby count grows by a mighty 8 models to 76.

Wishing you all a creative couple of weeks.

Weekly Wins 20: rats are back, and the Mushroom Muster starts to take shape

Things have been progressing nicely in the cupboard of dreams where the backlog is stashed. It’s hard to believe I’m now 20 weeks into trying to clear my wardrobe of unpainted minis, but it’s happening! A few things have made their way onto Ebay, but not so much that I believe I’m actually making serious headway.

Am I on track to have no backlog by the middle of next year? Who knows, but I’m finding a new appreciation for what I’m uncovering and wanting to include more of my favourite models in my Kings of War armies, since they are the most likely to make it to the table at the moment.

One collection in particular look on course to find some openings in my halfling army, which is leading it down a particularly fun route. I mentioned in a past post that the little fellas would be supported by a number of giant toads, but plans are now in motion to expand recruitment, a theme has been decided, and a backstory is being considered. To that end this week’s hobby output sees the basing of my Sauceror on Aralez and the completion of my first regiment of Braves. I’m looking forward to rolling this basing out across the whole army and seriously considering whether it will become my entry for the next Birmingham bull-themed event.

In other news, the rats are being hailed once more as the champions of the wardrobe. After almost a year of messing around with Basileans I’ve decided I want to have a few months giving my vermin some TLC, and much needed exercise. Last week I added another Shock Troop regiment and on Sunday I took a new list out against an Undead army with the Shambling Blight formation at its core (together with Barkskin and tonnes of healing). The scenario was dominate, which was great for the Undead player, not so much for me! However, the rats scraped a victory in the sixth turn by destroying one of the zombie legions. A fun game, but wow, that formation is strong.

That’s it for this week. The new hobby total is 68 models completed, so still a little way to go.

Have a good week.

Weekly Wins 19: Bullspoons, exploding rats and little steps with little people

This week started with a visit to Birmingham for my penultimate tournament of the year. The Bullrun was organised by the ever-lovely Steve Hildrew, and it was a hugely enjoyable day out. I took my Basileans, having settled on a list that I thought would be interesting to play, and be a little different to the Knights and Angels list I’ve had a measure of success with. My list included:

Sisterhood Scouts Regiments (3)

Gur Panther Troop

Sisterhood Chariot Regiment

Elohi Horde with Celestial Fury and The Wine of Elvenkind

Elohi Horde with The Brew of Strength

Dictator with Wings of the Honeymaize

Ur Elohi

Julius

Rather excitingly my first game was against Mark Cunningham’s Rat Slave list. I really like the Slave army and have been really excited to see two very good UK players leading them to victory after victory in tournaments. Having drafted in a load of shooting I thought this would be quite a good match up. Unfortunately, I managed to make a couple of mistakes before the game even really began and Mark quickly capitalised on them. Despite it being a loss it was great to play a list I’ve been really intrigued by.

Next up was Richard Luke with his filthy Basileans (I jest of course) … yes, he won! Despite the outcome it was a really enjoyable game. I really like Rich’s list because it’s a great mix of units, rather than the sort of Angel and (insert unit name) spam lists I tend to end up bringing to the table.

By the time the third game rolled around I was feeling a little tired and hoping that the final game would involve far less thinking than the first two had. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. My opponent had brought a really beautifully painted forces of nature army consisting of loads of defence 5 and 6 units. The terrain restricted my lines of sight for shooting, and to make matters worse (for me) the scenario definitely favoured his army. This would have been a major thinking game on my part, had my brain been up to the job. It was not. Suffice to say that Nature triumphed, and I watched my army get dismantled. It was over pretty quickly, which did leave time for a good chat over a cup of tea, which was a pretty decent end to the day.

Despite failing to make a dent in the score board I did win another flying doggy in the raffle, and beautifully hand-finished wooden spoon. Not to mention having three great games with three lovely people I haven’t played before.

All in all, it was a great day. Looking back on it all I’m actually quite happy with my list and I see loads of potential for it. However, the event reminded me that one of the things I love most about Kings of War is that every element of the game has its nuances and needs a little practice to really get your head around. In my case I was using a reasonable chunk of shooting with a really manoeuvrable, punchy, nimble, flying unit that I haven’t really got my head around – more practice is undoubtedly required.

So, the flushes of tournament day excitement have receded and I’m considering my next hobby moves. After a few months of dancing around the edges with my rats I’ve decided that the time has come to reconnect. I’m not sure how long it will last, but my plans are to go back to vermin for an event or two. In order to do that I think I need another Shock Troop regiment. So, I dug around in the magic cupboard and found some of my old GW stormvermin and given them a refresh, which I’ve decided counts towards the overall hobby number.

In addition, and inspired by having another winged Alverez, I have moved the needle forward on my halflings and managed to complete another 10 braves (bringing the total to 13). Not bad for a week’s work.

Hobby total – 67

Have a great week and see you soon.

Weekly Wins 17 and 18: the Sisters get wheels, and a two-part build on the never ever

Time is of the essence, so I’ll make this quick.

A few weeks ago, I started going through my cupboards, dragging everything out, and trying to get on top of my backlog. It’s been kind of fun so far, but this week it became useful…

I’ve been wrestling with a new Basilean list for a tournament next week in an attempt to field a lot more infantry than usual. After a few iterations (and really bad losses in test games) I now have a list that does have more infantry (although this is starting from a base of a single individual, with the Wings of Honeymaize), but also required a Sisterhood chariot regiment (which I didn’t have). Wanting to spend no money I had a wandered through the steaming piles of backlog and came across a GW set that would get me far enough towards a suitable proxy.

Now the kit in question is one of my absolute, all-time favs. Also, I wanted to include one of my fav Mantic models, the new(ish) abbess on foot. I love having her in my lists, although she usually represents a priest. Because it was a case of fav model meets fav model, with the potential for a diorama style multi-base, my imagination started off twenty to the dozen. Soon I had amassed a pile of all sorts of additional models that could be added to the scene, and a backstory had been written (in my head).

 It was going to be EPIC… until reality interrupted and reminded me, I simply didn’t have enough time. My plans were redrawn. I’m not going to go too much into what I had in mind because I really want to see if I can build it as it’s absolutely in the spirit of my current mission. So, I’ll just show you what I’ve got so far… only time will tell if I actually manage to revisit a perfectly serviceable regiment?

See you all soon.

Weekly Wins 14, 15 and 16(ish): angry dwarfs, whiffy Basilean feet, doubles, and a sort of sad goodbye

Time flies when you’re having fun, also when you start a new job and have to run around the south of England for… reasons.

The last few weeks have been just a little on the busy side and it’s resulted in a fair few trips to the best of all the service stations (Reading, natch). All in all life is pretty sweet. Painting hobby has taken something of a back seat, but I have now completed all my outstanding Abyssal Dwarfs and can field an entire horde of Decimators, so the odd win is on-going.

In addition to finishing off my plastics I also painted up a very fetching new addition to my Basilean army (the one in the middle with the big pointy stick). “But that’s not a Basilean,” I imagine you’re currently screaming at your screen.

Calm yourself, no-one’s mentioned the withdrawl changes for at least three minutes. Allow me to explain. I did my first doubles tournament earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, I, and The Lazy Pirate, headed off to Hemel Hempstead for another session, courtesy of the Kings of Herts. At both events I’ve fielded my Basileans and have taken to adding models representing friendly forces to my own ranks. This Northumbrian Tin Soldier mini was added to one of my Elohi hordes.

The event itself was of the excellent standard expected from the Kings team and we managed a healthy 5th with our Dwarf and Basilean combo. We had a narrow loss to the Moonrakers in the first round before grabbing some well fought wins in the second and third games. A special mention goes to the final scenario which was written by Mark Cunningham and was absolutely cracking, I’ll probably be giving it a run out at Tree Thugging in February.

With the doubles out the way I’ve started thinking about what I’m going to take to the Birmingham Bullrun, part deux, on 4th November. I’ve decided as I’m snapping away wildly at the heals of the current incumbent of the Basilean’s first in faction to take Basileans (stranger things have not happened, but they might). After a lot of thought I’ve decided I want to take a more infantry-based army. I’m currently putting a new list through its paces, and pretty much losing at every available opportunity. There is now only one more trial game to go, the list has become sillier, the spear horde that has been charged and waivered in 100% of its test games has been dropped, and Julius (who I really didn’t want to take) is being called up from the dug-out. I guess it’s a case of only time doing the telling now.

Spear horde prepares to be waivered by a troll regiment…

Finally, I just wanted to share a couple of snaps of my lovely Genestealer Cult army that I waved off in the post the other day. It’s the first time I’ve actually sold on a full army. It’s been in the cupboard for quite sometime and used a grand total of 3 times, make of that what you will. Whilst this is a predominantly Kings of War blog it is a wholly and completely hobby blog, so I thought I’d share a few picks for the last time.

Now I need to dust off my diary and work out when I’ll next be able to lift a brush.

Oh, and the completed model count is up to 41.