Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Campaign progress update

When Jeff announced the Beard Bunker’s Campaign back in January, we promised we'd keep you updated with our progress. Well, over the last few weeks I’ve begun to build some momentum. Now that I’ve put some finishing touches on ten archers, twelve flagellants, and a fifth member of the Silver Drakes’Inner Circle, I’m sitting pretty on an 800-point army. Behold:

 Ha! In your face, looming deadline. I can beat you.

It comes to my attention, however, that we've not heard anything from my fellow Beard Bunkerettes for some time. Emma? How’s your army looking?

EMMA: After a very enthusiastic start on my Tzeentchian Chaos Warrior army back in the Spring when two units of malicious-looking meaty warriors and ten gangrenous warhounds came into being, my new-found hobby proceeded to take a back seat for the entire summer. Charlie and Maisey are entirely to blame for this as they are the ones who waved the Mass Effect game series in my face and said 'this is awesome you have to play it.' Roll on hundreds of game hours over the last four months and Commander Shepard and I have finally rid the galaxy of those pesky robot squids (albeit by accidentally running the right way when it came to the final big decision of how to end the war). It took a little bit of self-discipline but now I'm totally back in the painting zone and have five ultra-bling Chaos Knights to show off as well. Next step... a character!

CHARLIE: Bum grapes, that’s, like, easily the same number of points as me. Probably more. And it's your first ever army. What's the point of having a noob around if you aren't going to make me look good by contrast?* Oh well, Maisey can’t be that far ahead of us.

MAISEY: Bitches, please.

CHARLIE: God dammit.

They say a picture says a thousand words. If that's so, then the picture below is just Emma and I saying "I'm scared" five hundred times. That's almost three thousand points of Vampire Counts. I think Maisey might be a robot. A painting robot, with laser nipples and the power of time travel. He painted this army in the future, and sent it back in time to do battle with my hobby pride.

Man, I need to paint me more lil' plastic dudes.


*If I ever use the word 'noob' without irony, or imply that beginners are unwelcome in the Beard Bunker, I hope that each and every author of this blog will take it in turns to stab me with my own sculpting tool.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sharp, pointy teeth

Keen to reinvent the wheel as often as possible, I thought I’d try something a little different for the Beard Bunker’s third battle report. I’ve pretty much written a short story. With a narrative that, er, extends beyond the battle itself. Somewhat. I might’ve gotten carried away. It was fun, but very time consuming, so it won’t be happening again unless people are very vocally in favour of this sort of thing.

Now, since the Beard Bunker is allegedly a hobby blog, as opposed to a place for fiction, there will occasionally be notes about the actual, you know, game in this thing. The notes are in green, and will be anecdotal or talking about the balance of the scenario (as described in my last post). Why are these bits green? Well, if you find yourself getting immersed in the story, you can just skip the green parts and move on to the next bit in black so as not to break rhythm.

A note on the setting/timeline: Oskar Brandt will, as previously mentioned, act as a sort of protagonist for my Hochland army in the Bunker's campaign (even though he isn't actually the general). I’ve taken this as an opportunity to explore the story of his first ever command (aww). Please note, however, that his model represents him later in his career. Hence the slight dissonance between his appearance in the photos and the description in the text.

One final warning: this bad boy is about twice as long as When Dwarfs go Bad or Between a Rok and an 'Ard Place. There are things like a protagonist, a B-movie monster, a story, a dribbling assistant, and... stuff. It's a bit less serious than the sort of epic stabbyness generally published by the Black Library. Get the kettle on, put your feet up, and hit the jump if you’re feeling so inclined...

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

WFB scenario: Vampire Hunt

Before I get started on a Warhammer scenario whot I done wrote, I shall begin with an update on le campaign preparations. Given how enthusiastic my last post’s sign-off was about getting my Hochland army ready for the campaign, it’d be embarrassing if I’d since sat on my hands and tried, unsuccessfully, to twiddle my thumbs. Fortunately, over the weekend, here’s what I got done:

- Assembled the warrior priest.
- Assembled the final ten handgunners. There’s a blind man. No, it wasn’t a mistake.
- Finished assembling the volley gun’s base/crew.
- Started conversion work on the wizard. Right now, she looks... bald.

The learning point? Hobby begets hobby. Painting Captain Brandt got me more fired up than a buffalo sitting on a Catherine Wheel.

Speaking of Captain Newandshiny, Maisey and I pulled a fun little skirmish scenario out of our collective posterior, and it was a good time. I thought I’d share. If you happen to have an army of undead at your disposal, then yay. If you don’t, maybe just take this as inspiration for some oddball scenarios of your own.

Dragomir and Filthy Bogdan maxin’ in the Garden of Morr.

Vampire Hunt
A vampire has taken up residence near a small town and is preying on the locals. It falls to a small band of heroes and soldiers to find and slay the monster, but their task is a tough one. So long as the vampire remains concealed, he can raise mobs of undead minions and send them against his foe with impunity. That said, escape is not an option for the vampire now that people are aware of his presence; he will have to kill off his hunters lest they spread word to others in the area. For both sides, this is do or die.

Aside from a dribbling assistant (a ghoul is ideal) the hero-level vampire is alone and on foot. S/he is assumed to be a level two wizard who automatically knows the spells Raise Dead and Invocation of Nehek. Besides that, they have whatever equipment is depicted on their model. The hunters’ force may be worth up to 250 points, and may take whatever models they wish. Minimum unit sizes do not apply when selecting your troops. Taking three archers, seven swordsmen and a knight to accompany a few heroes would be perfectly acceptable.

You will need a 4’x4’ table with the outskirts of a village on one table edge. This is where the hunters will deploy. The vampire player then places 2-3 pieces of scenery in which a vampire could have made their lair – graveyards, wizard’s towers, haunted mansions and ruined chapels are all ideal. You should then fill the rest of the board with as much scenery as possible; this is not a battlefield, after all.

Bing-bong. Hello! Can I interest you in the Hochland State Pension
Scheme? No? That’s fine, thank you for your time, madam. Also, is
there by any chance a vampire in there with you?

The vampire player doesn’t deploy, rather, they secretly note down which piece of scenery the vampire is lurking in. The hunters then deploy in a small group on the outskirts of town, no more than 12” onto the table.

Captain Brandt and his men leave the outskirts of L├╝thorst thinking
that everything’s fine. Thirteen of them, and one vampire. What could
possibly go wrong...?

The vampire gets the first turn.

The game is likely to last many turns, but each of those turns should be extremely quick. It is best to play until either the vampire or the hunters are dead, or to stop at a time limit agreed by the players.

If the hunters are wiped out, the vampire wins. If the vampire is slain, the hunters win. Any other result is a draw.

All the models in the hunter’s force behave like individual character models, meaning that they can freely join up to form a unit or disband to work as individuals. Furthermore, none of the units in this game represent serious line units, but people (or monsters) standing next to each other. Nothing but the wounds caused during a round of combat count towards the combat resolution.

In hiding
The vampire begins the game hidden in one of the potential lairs, as mentioned above. S/he is only revealed if and when one of the hunters enters their lair. Note that it is therefore only possible to discover the vampire during the Remaining Moves sub-phase, meaning that the vampire may not be charged during the turn in which they are discovered.  Once discovered, the undead player places the vampire (and their dribbling assistant) anywhere within or in base contact with their lair. Alternatively, the undead player may choose to reveal the vampire's location during their own turn, again during Remaining Moves.

Saturation of Dark Magic
The vampire has chosen their lair well; it is an evil place ripe with the stench of death. Whilst within their chosen lair, the vampire’s spells have a range of 36”. So long as the vampire only uses 4 power dice to cast a spell, they will not suffer a miscast even if they cast with irresistible force. If there are no summoned units on the table, the vampire may cast Raise Dead twice in the same magic phase. Moreover, summoned units of skeletons may be raised beyond their starting size.

...that. That is what could go wrong.

Designer’s note: why have we given the spells such a huge range? Because misdirection is the vampire’s primary tactic for survival. Your ability to keep a poker face as the hunters approach your lair is paramount, as is your ability to look upset or nervous when they approach one of the ‘lairs’ full of nothing but a bucket of red herrings.

So there you have it, folks. Maisey and I played this the other night, with predictably hilarious results and lots of dribbling assistant impressions. A noble band of adventurers fighting off waves of zombies and skeletons felt like classic fantasy, but when said noble adventurers were getting overwhelmed by brain-hungry corpses as early as turn two, I started getting nervous. The end result, however, was so entertaining that I’ve a mind to write it up as a battle report. Suffice to say, it wasn’t over by turn three.
If you have any thoughts, questions or comments on the scenario, I’d be interested to hear them!


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Back on the Hobby Horse

Although I posted my last update on the Hochland army a month ago, I actually painted those models back in January. And then I thought: wait, when was the last time I actually painted something? Can’t’ve been that long; I write a hobby blog. People who write hobby blogs are doing hobby, like, all the time. Although, hmm, getting older subjectively speeds time right the fudge up. So, when was it? Three weeks ago? Something like that.



Turns out I haven’t done any painting since Nerd Thunder III, which was in... June. Dear sweet Vishnu on a Fisher Price pogo stick.

Now, okay, I was working hard on a novel, and I haven’t been entirely idle hobby-wise. Things have been built. A board was painted. But still... Jayyyyzuz. This needed to be rectified. Thus, over the last few days, I finally splurged paint all over Oskar. Now he looks like this:

Oh god did I ever struggle with the colour scheme. Parts of him ended up getting re-painted three or four times. He started off looking like he was from Nuln, with red insets in both sleeves, but it wasn’t Hochlandy enough, so then I painted his trousers green, but he started looking like one of Santa’s elves, so I broke it up with multiple shades of green, but then it just looked like one of Santa’s elves had upped sticks and moved to Athel Loren. It’d all gone wrong.

I had a bit of a sit.

In the end, this weird pseudo-quartered situation was the best thing I could come up with. Does it work? Feel free to say yay or nay in the comments beneath, but damn it all, the paint job does at least project the right vibe for young Captain Brandt: smug, practical... and a slight hint of grit.

A great rule to follow when painting a character is to occasionally look at the model from a few feet away. Does it still work? Does the structure/shape remain clear? Often, doing this will reveal flaws in your composition, or the need for stronger highlights. Looking good only from six inches away means it’ll never look inspiring on the tabletop. I generally make a point of doing this with all my character paint jobs.

Did I do it with Oskar here? Even once? Pff, whoops. And does he still work from two to three feet?  Um... errr... probably should’ve practised what I preached there.

Anyway, I now have a (technically) legal army – three little core units and a hero to lead them.

In no way can I rest on these puny laurels, though. Here’s where the whole army’s at:

Eek. And that’s missing another twenty state troops I haven’t even bought yet. At least the vast bulk of it’s assembled, and some of it’s even basecoated. Glorious. The thing is, there are some big-ass pitfalls. See that plastic Dark Elf Sorceress on the bottom right? She’s going to provide the armature for a female Empire wizard. Up to about 50% of the surface will eventually be covered in green stuff, and I haven’t sculpted properly for a while. And then there’s the banners. I’ve no idea what I’m going to do for the knights’ banner, and of course the unit of 20 handgunners I have planned will need a big slab of freehand on their flappy flag of love too.

Will I get all this done in the next three months? Who can say. All I know is this:

It’s on. It’s so on.