Bloggers are people too

Covid-19 has sent so much of our lives online, work and social. As bloggers, we were already there, of course. Yeah, online communities, we did that before it was cool, sorry, I meant necessary!

One of the fun things about keeping a blog is the interactions with other bloggers via comments on each other’s blogs. Often this leads to new ideas or new blogs to read. Rinse and repeat.

Like many, I have been spending a lot of time in Zoom and Teams and similar online tools. As a way to keep up with family and friends it has been very useful. Not as good as in person, but way better than not talking. I have also discovered it has been a good way of meeting new people. I now spend Sunday mornings playing ukulele with what is Saturday night for a bunch of people in Ireland and the UK (and afternoon for some players in North America). I did not see that coming three months ago, and has been one of the good things to have happened recently.

So. Why not mash these two things together? On Saturday morning, 8th August my time (east coast of Australia) I’m going to run a Zoom meeting and invite you, my fellow bloggers, to join in. BYO beverage. No agenda, just a chat.

Time zones are not kind to us. 9am Saturday 8th August Melbourne time is 7pm Friday in New York (and midnight Friday in London). Proof enough that the world isn’t flat, even if the web can bring us a little closer together.

A zoom link is here The meeting ID is 864 4152 7751. There is no password, but there will be a waiting room.

Say hi in the comments if you want to join us.
Dave

Wombles of Chernobyl Common

These have been in the lead mountain for a long time. I always thought they might end up fighting zombies, and while I don’t rule that out, it seems a radioactive wasteland is calling out to be explored. Zona Alfa is the latest in the Osprey blue series of wargames rules. A small confession, all I know about it is from this interview with the writer on the Cast Dice podcast and that my copy of the rules is due to arrive tomorrow. There is no downside here, since even if the rules turn out not to be my jam at least these long unpainted minis now have paint. Huzzah!

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The miniatures are from Eureka Miniatures, 1980s Soviets in NBC suits, loaded with  character and are pretty much complete with a squirt from a rattle can and a wash.

See you in the Zone.

Which way is Atlanta?

I have completed an M4 Sherman to support my yet to be finished US. The 1:72 kit is from Italeri, one of their World of Tanks range. Some hobbyists may find the detail a little light, but I found the model easy to build and easy to paint. Major pluses in my ledger.

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I know that Georgians fought with distinction in Normandy and beyond, as part of the 30th infantry division, ably supported by Sherman tanks. However, I do wonder if any camp fire discussion turned to the M4’s namesake?

Zvezda Germans

Hey, you know what would be cool? A new scale, that’s what!

Not content with a a cupboard full of 28mm WWII, I picked up some Zvevda plastics, US and German, in 20mm. They’re so cheap, it would be rude not to do both sides. I have a vague idea that I can use them for the Airfix Introductory Wargame. I’ve not played it yet, but a read of the rules makes me think it is what it says on the box, and Modiphius have a pretty good track record. I think a key challenge for this game is finding the right audience. It is an introductory game, so alongside airfix models or in more general game or toy shops is probably ideal. At wargames stockists it may simply be too simple to please existing wargamers. Good luck to them, it deserves an audience.

Anyway, back to the minis. It’s been over 30 years since I’ve painted any softer plastics, or this scale. A wee stroll along memory lane (insert dad joke here). I started with the Germans because you’ve got to start somewhere.

I know some folk can do masterful jobs on smaller scales, and hats off to them. I didn’t take much care or time- the goal to get the box painted. At this scale (and smaller) the general impression is all that is required, and I feel I have achieved that.

Now onto the US.

 

 

Daemonettes

I have a growing hoard of daemonettes. The models have dynamic and threatening poses, and in numbers they bring some great close combat grunt. A large squad with a herald can gain re-rolling, rending wounds on the charge. While shooting can really mess up their day, if they can get in a charge, terminators and other marines will be quickly gutted and served up as victory kebabs.
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The chainmail-bikinis can perhaps be forgiven since they have 5+ invulnerable saves. However, I do have reservations about collecting daemonettes. It doesn’t take long to see that in the Grim Dark future the patriarchy has not withered and died. It is more than the frequent lack of women in this fantasy sci-fi vision of the universe. The images that do make it through into the background and the artwork, and onto the table, are from a rather limited selection. It is like the designers of the 40K universe read the first couple of pages of the Damned Whores and God’s Police and rather missed the point.

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The Juan Diaz sculptures: still my favourites, even with the limited number of poses

And yet, here I am. Life is messy. Daemonettes often accompany my Word Bearers. Nothing says I’ve been reading Lorgar quite like zealots summoning daemons, and the combination of shooty marines and close combat daemons complement each other nicely. With my most regular opponent often fielding pskyer heavy Grey Knights it also feels right on theme.
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An experiment in practicing painting flesh

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One from each squad

I have a recently acquired a lot of Nurgle plaguebearers. Add a Soulgrinder and greater daemon (or two)  and a troop heavy Nurgle-Slaanesh daemon hoard is looking like my next 40K army.

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The most recent, and final, squad. For now.

And in the meantime, no slut-shaming my daemonettes or they’ll manifest on your home world and teach you the error of your ways.

Daughters of the revolution

Scott bought over his growing Soviet force for Konflikt 47, the joint Warlord Games-Clockwork Goblin game of weird world war. The rules are similar but distinct from Bolt Action and bring new challenges to the table along with the opportunity to field some of your more esoteric units. The fictional diesel-punk background gives motivation for the weird-science that changes the course of the war and extends the fighting into 1947.

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Armoured SS-Shocktroopers take cover in a barn as their truck brews up

What lifts K-47 above a mere campaign book for BA, with a bit of fiction and a collection of special rules that add walking-armour, flying-troops and horror-elements, is that the core mechanics also change. The main shift is adding more complexity to the assault phase, which gives room for specialist close-combat troops to participate on equal footing in the game. Close combat is still lethal, as is shooting at a distance, but the changes mean that both types of units can compete without the game being unbalanced.  The added complexity works in this milieu because of the expanded range of abilities – it allows werewolves to exist on a battlefield full of machine-guns; handled well either can win.

Players of Gates of Antares will recognise the ability to react to enemy orders. This also brings new dimensions to game and is a welcome tweak, keeping both players engaged at the table in ways the IGYG rarely can. Reactions can be great, but while they can save a unit it still surrenders the initiative somewhat to your opponent. It is not always clear what is the best decision, which is what makes it a fun addition. I think the complexity of reaction-orders could be bought into Bolt Action too, although the ability of officers to order units when they activate does fill this niche in a simpler way.

 

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The Soviet first wave emerges from the morning mist

I pretty much took my standard Bolt Action Germans, adding some Games Workshop zombies as totenkorps, and a unit of sci-fi stormtroopers as ersatz SS-shocktroopers. We played 1,000 points, so while I usually take a Tiger in the late war (not because they’re ace, but because, well Tiger), I fielded a Stug III.

Scott’s army has more of the new units, with lots of walkers, a sonic-armed tank and a unit of daughters of the motherland. His painting skills are top-notch, let down by snaps with my phone-camera. We played the maximum attrition mission from the book.

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The Germans push forward to take up firing positions

The game was evenly balanced until turn 3. The Soviet advance was beginning to stall, with the Germans taking up good positions to take advantage of their better squad based shooting, and the Stug III was giving grief to the Soviet light walkers. It felt like to me like the Germans were about to take the upper hand and start not just laying pins but start to destroy Soviet units. Sensing the weakening resolve of their inexperienced brothers, the daughters of motherland broke cover and charged towards the not one but three LMG nests. Their rush forward left them in the open and taking fire from all sides they went to ground. However their enhanced DNA saw them survive, and by absorbing fire that would have destroyed most other units, allowed the other Soviets to push forward. The Germans found their own attack falter, and break.

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Mentioned in dispatches: daughters of the motherland

The Soviets took the field with a major victory over the fascist invaders.

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Totenkorps have yet to have a big impact in any game, but they do receive a lot of firepower

If you don’t mind a bit of weird in your world war, Konflikt 47 may well work for you. It adds lots of modelling opportunities and new challenges for your gaming pleasure.

Drop me a line if you want a game and happen to be near the Republic of Northcote.

Sisters are doin’ it for themselves

Rejoice citizens of the Imperium. Those valiant warriors of the faith the Adepta Sororitas have successfully defended Imperial Shrine world WB-R-Murphy-02 from a brutal Chaos Marine invasion. Long a shining light of the Imperial Creed, Murphy-02 found itself threatened and near obliterated by the combined efforts of several traitor legions. However, the Sisters, along with steadfast support from the Mechanicus and several Imperial Knight Houses, stood firm.

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The Sisters and their allies prepare for the initial Chaos assault

Apocalypse means beer, huge templates, buckets of dice and lots of minis. It remains a favourite with our gaming circle. Big games are especially sweet if you can assemble two themed lists and play with friends over an ace looking table. In the past we have played Tyranids versus Space Marines and lots of Marines against combined daemon and traitor lists. This time we bought in the Sisters and pitted them against a “pure” traitor marine list: no daemons, cultists or dodgy alien allies; 12,000 points a side plus super heavies.

The Sisters set up the center of the table and Chaos came on from both short table edges.


The Sisters won the role for first turn and while tactics can be hard in a game that large, the Sisters players coordinated their first round of shooting well. Chaos never really came back from that opening round of shooting.  Orbital bombardments and combined Knight firepower took out our Titan and the Chaos mad, long dash across no-mans’ land never had a chance to gain momentum.

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Turns out all you need are some lucky orbital bombardment roles and 3 or 4 Knights and Nurgle’s finest Titan is a smoking, smelly pile.

Once close combat was joined the scores started to close, but Chaos never looked like getting in front. But that is not the point of Apocalypse. You just have to go with the flow, and “forge the narrative”.


A game this large, over 25,000 points on the table, is hard to take in. As a player I find myself concentrating on the part of the battlefield where my forces are and larger trends are missed or confused. This is part of the Apoc experience. Highlights for me include Abaddon and two terminators charging two Imperial Knights. And destroying both. At the other end of the table, not one, but four Saints teleported into the fray, and reclaimed at least two objectives. The stuff Saints live for, surely.

Don’t worry, Abaddon is already plotting his revenge.

VBAL May

Life can really get in the way of your hobby at times. I did managed to sign up for a tour of duty for the May Victorian Bolt Action League event. Three games in a day, held at the excellent House of War in Ringwood. I liked how Tristan organised the day. Rather than the usual swiss chess sort of thing, we were divided into axis and allies, so no blue on blue. He had also appointed overall commanders, who (in consultation with their team) allocated people to tables. Each table had a different mission, so the terrain matched the mission. Both terrific things to bring to an event, and greatly lowered the stress levels because there was no “top-table”.

I took my Germans, of course. They are still my only painted 28mm WWII. At 1,000 points I left my Tiger at home and gave my Stug III a run instead.

I faced Soviets twice and the US once. I didn’t win a sausage all day, but had a cracking good time.

Round 1 Loss to Rick Vaveliuk’s Soviets. I ran out of momentum (and men) in the centre, while a T34 demolished my supply dump on turn 7 to turn a draw into a good win.
It is always a pleasure to fight Rick and was a nice way to start the day

Round 2 Another loss. Soviets again. Having trouble keeping the Bolshevik hoards back today. Kittyhawk Down and a great game.
Thanks Tim, and nice to see the citizens’ militia on the table

Round 3 Loss to Chris in hold until relieved. Turn 3 just saw my Germans taking too many pins and I failed order tests across the board.
Clear victory to the marines.

D.

Stuff I like

I found this comic being published via blog. I know nothing about Olde England Grown New, except it is a tale of danger and derring do set in the English Civil War. The first episode can be found grouped together here and is worth the read.

Something else that not too far away is edition two of The Golden D6 I’m looking forward to this being published, it looks like a ripper.  Come on Adam, just because you have a day job, a family, …

Cheers,
D.

Strike Force Varus

The Teutoburg System sits just beyond the Ultramare region ruled by the Ultramarines. While not governed by them it is considered part of its sphere of influence, so when tax receipts ceased agents were sent to discover the source of the problem. When the agents also failed to return, Strike Force Varus was despatched to investigate, with orders to crush any heresy, mutant or xenos they find and restore order to the system.

Strike Force Varus is 1,350 points of Ultramarines (almost) ready for Arc40K 2016.

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Brother Captain Varus

It consists of a battle demi-company, led by Brother Captain Varus and is accompanied by the Teller-Penn Anomaly, a Librarius Conclave. Varus and part of this team went to the Norris 1,000 and I was pleased with how they worked on the table. I only won one game, but this was really a function of my generalship, I think, not the army. By replacing the scouts with tactical squads I will get to field a demi-company. Along with the Ultramarine chapter tactics this means most squads will be re-rolling at least ones in four of the game turns (in either shooting, assault or both). I think this will provide the edge to the army. It will need it as there are few other toys.

The Librarius Conclave looks fun and I haven’t seen one on the table before.
We shall see how it goes.

Onward, to the Teutoburg System.

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See you on the battlefields.