Monday 31 December 2018

Review of the Year - 2018

So, how did 2018 go? Lets ignore the wider world, shall we? It is a silly place. My hobby year has broadly been dominated by Infinity and moving house. I've got a little painting done, but stuff I have painted myself amounts to an unspectacular 13 pieces of scenery. This might be the worst on record in on this blog.

Broadly, this has been down to an inaccessible paint table due to untidiness followed by the stresses of packing and moving. I managed to get three pieces of Reaper Bones scenery knocked out before the move, and getting just a tiny bit painted reminded me of the massive buzz that finishing a project had, and made me really keen to get more done in the New Year.

The slow progress of painting, and the process of packing stuff up into boxes made me realise just how much stuff I'm no longer engaged by is sculling about my flat. It's definitely time for a clear out.

I've updated my "On the Desk" page to cover my extended "year" up to the end of 2019. The goal is to paint twice as much as I buy, and establish a sensible measure for how much I can get painted in a year. Then, hopefully, 2020 can be about getting my unpainted models down to a year's worth of painting.

I got a bunch of goblins commission painted. I'm not going to be diving madly into the "Gloomspite Gitz" - for one thing, spiders are not popular around the flat! I still want to get a sensibly sized goblin army commission painted, because it is a thing I want to see in the world. We'll see how it goes next year.

Getting my Druze Bayram Security commission painted has been one of my best decisions of the year. I would have played my first fully painted Infinity game yesterday had I not accidentally left two painted models out of the case. It was a good feeling. Druze are a very hard force to get right in Infinity, and it's not a forgiving game, but I'm determine to stick them out for the reason of ITS Season X, which runs until August. I hope by then to have some of my Nomad figures painted, and the Druze commission painting expanded to include Ikari.

But the big thing for me next year is going to be settling in to my new home. From the blog's point of view, that should mean more painted figures as the hobby space is cleared and becomes easy to access and use. But a "plans for 2019" post is going to wait until later...

I hope both my readers have a Happy New Year.

Thursday 27 December 2018

Dark Sphere tries Infinity Tournaments, Part 2 - The Games

As I mentioned in last week's post, I attended an Infinity Tournament back in November at Dark Sphere. First up in the mission pack was Frontline, and I drew an ALEPH player whose ITS nick is jc.haynes.

I set up my Druze relatively aggressively, knowing I was going to need to cause some serious damage to the ALEPH forces if I was going to have any chance of getting a win.

For the first time, I was taking Armand "Le Muet", an alien mercenary sniper with a plethora of weird rules. I was intending to mostly use him on the offensive, but as I was so worried about ALEPH storming the midfield I set him up to defend in the first turn and hoped he wouldn't get too shot up!

The attack started with a Garuda Tacbot dropping in to disrupt my lines. Unfortunately for it, my hacker successfully hacked the transport aircraft, it went off course and ended up dropping flat footed in front of my entire link team. It was shot to pieces as it landed, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

A brutal crossfire was set up by the ALEPH player as they got an Asura and a remote of some kind firmly set up in the middle of the field covering the fire lanes.

I managed to take the remote down with Armand, ten moved my HMG Druze up to take out the Asura. It did not work, and down he went. I then spent most of my turn moving up to get him back up. My Killer Hacker tried to take the Asura down (as it was also a Hacker) but it was my Hacker whose brain melted first.

However, little by little, I managed to get wounds off the Asura, and, now injured, she pulled back to a safer spot. I managed to put a link team back together using the models I had left alive, and one of the combi rifle armed Druze managed to get a hit in and take her down, meaning I won the game 6-1.

I was pretty pleased at this point, as it meant I was fourth in the rankings and doing well. My constant goal at the moment for one day tournaments is to win two out of my three games.

So, next up it turned out it was John Benford, Infinity celebrity and one of the hosts of the Totally Crit podcast.

John was running Steel Phalanx, and was taking first turn so I deployed relatively conservatively with Knauf sticking his head out as a reaction piece. I was hoping his second wound and ODD would mean he could delay them a couple of orders before ducking back into cover.

I decided to have my Bashi Bazouk come in on the side Ajax was, hoping he'd charge forward and I could start gleefully shooting him in the back.

Sadly, my speed bumps were ineffective, and all three of my ARO pieces bit the dirt without really breaking the Steel Phalanx's stride...

I spent a turn trying to recover from the damage, but didn't get very far. Next, Steel Phalanx came for my link team...

This . . . did not go very well for my link team.

I managed to get my doctor over to get the sniper up and working again

My Lieutenant took a shot at one of the link...

Well, at least a crit made up somewhat for the damage done to the link... But there just wasn't enough left to recover from the casualties taken. John was able to score a solid 7 - 0 on the scenario by not quite pushing me into retreat.

So, onto my third game, and playing Yashar, also from HATE, who was bringing his much feared MRRF. This was a nice friendly game of Decapitation to finish up the day.

I decided to mix it up a bit and bring the list I'd not used yet with Scarface in. Partially, this was because the list was lead by Arslan, who's the toughest Lieutenant option available to the Druze, and I thought I might need the extra resilience.

Arslan was deployed prone on a roof top, while Saito Togan snuck into the midfield in Hidden Deployment.

The open table meant I was mostly pinned down by a Zouave sniper and a Loup Garou link.

Scarface took an early wound that Cordelia was able to fix up.

Saito was able to run around and do a little bit of damage.

But then he was hit by a Heavy Rocket Launcher, and all was woe.

Chasseurs started clearing up the middle of the field with clever antipersonnel mine placement mixed with surprise shots.

Scarface did a little more damage before being taken down, this time, with Cordelia in the blast radius.

I think this is the model who managed to take out Scarface.

A model had made a break for when Arslan was hiding out, and my Brawler broke cover to shoot them in the back and put paid to whatever Yashar was planning.

The game ended with Arslan being the only model left standing, on No Wound Incapacitation, which stopped Yashar from getting a clean sweep on the points. I'd only managed to kill the Designated Target, leaving it a 7-2 win to Yashar.

All in all, it was a fun tournament and I definitely feel I'm learning a lot about the Druze. I'm doing a lot of Satellite tournaments this year, so hopefully I'll pick it up quickly!

Monday 24 December 2018

Trying out Warhammer Underworlds (AKA Shadespire)

I've mentioned trying out Warhammer Underworlds in a previous blog post, but I thought it merited its own dedicated post. For those who haven't encountered it before, Shadespire is a 2 - 4 player skirmish games played out on a hex board. You use a fixed set of miniatures, but use two decks of cards with objectives and tactics that you can change to vary how the models play and what you're trying to do to win.

For the purposes of the demo game, I borrowed our tutor's "Chosen Axes" warband, who are Fyreslayers. My opponent had put together "The Farstriders", one of the Stormcast warbands.

Before you even start the game, you need to set up the board. You play over two sections of board, and you roll off to have one player and then the other place a board section each, which can lead to a long, thin board like this one, a more traditional square, or even an off-set S shape like board. You then take it in turns to place objectives.

My opponent and I both quickly cottoned on that this stuff was Important. The roll meant my opponent placed his board second, so he created a long thin board to balance that his warband had lots of ranged shooting compared to my tough and stabby group. Similarly, the rules around objective placement meant you could do interesting and clever things to place objectives where they are useful to you or to prevent your opponent placing objectives where they would be useful to them.

This is an example of one of the cards you can play. It added a bunch of move to one of my models so they could really rocket up the field.

Here you see me pushing up the field to claim objectives and try and beat up some Stormcast. Meanwhile, they skulked away like the cowards with ranged weapons they were shooting me full of holes.

You'll notice a couple of my fighters standing on objectives. That's not because I was trying to score using them (you need a card for that) but ending a turn on an objective meant that my fighters "Inspired", which means you turn their fighter card over and get a cooler stat line.

Other warbands inspire by different means - so a Khorne warband might inspire due to people dying (no matter whose side they're on) while the Skaven warband inspires by successfully playing sneaky trick cards. The Fyreslayers, obsessed with finding treasure, get inspired by staying on objectives (presumably to give them time to search them for loot).

Unfortunately, I was out-manoeuvred and started to lose more of my brave Dwarfs.

Slowly but surely, they were whittled down by the Stormcast, and I simply hadn't acquired enough Glory to win.

You get Glory for completing objectives. You can then spend it on cool upgrades. Whoever wins is the person who collected the most Glory overall. There's no benefit for having it unspent - you want to score early to get cool stuff. You can see the six glory the treacherous Stormcast amassed here - with five spent on upgrades and one left unspent.

Meanwhile, I amassed a mere three (the other four tokens are activation counters, unrelated to the game score). You can see an example of an objective card here, with an upgrade below it to the right.

As I said before, this is a really cleverly designed game that's easy to pick up but hard to master. It needs a few tokens but they all come in the starter box, along with the special dice with weird symbols you can see in a couple of the photos that you need to play. I hope to get a few more bits and bobs painted soon so I can pick up a starter set and start getting some games in.

Thursday 20 December 2018

Dark Sphere tries Infinity Tournaments, Part 1 - The Tables

Back in November, Dark Sphere decided to try running an Infinity tournament at their new Shepherd's Bush store.

I volunteered to help out a bit with checking the terrain set ups, in terms of volume and table layout, as it's quite hard to get that right as a non Infinity player.

Unfortunately, I did drop the ball on a couple of the tables and they weren't necessarily fun play experiences. However, lessons learned for next time, and we'll try and get more than one pair of eyes on the tables before we start.

That said, Dark Sphere did an excellent job in getting a whole bunch of scenery assembled and painted in the time available.

I'm keen to get some more games in down there and look at how to tweak the tables to get them working better.

There's definitely plans for some more Infinity tournaments at Dark Sphere in the future, which I aim to attend.

Some of the tables did need to use 40K terrain, but they did OK despite that.

I'll be doing a separate post about the tournament itself in the future. For now, you can have a look at all these different table set ups. (If you are an Infinity player and have feedback on any of them, feel free to comment!)