Megalith Games has posted a video of the work in progress render of the Mortans Technocrat for the awesome Godslayer. Enjoy…
von Strauss grunted with satisfaction as Baduk’s axe impacted against the chest of his beastman opponent with a wet snap of a split sternum. The beast grunted its own sound of simple approval, a cloud of steam billowing from a scarred snout, as the life bled from its eyes as quickly as it poured from his ruptured heart. The beastman dropped to the wooded ground in an expanding pool of blood that blackened the grass and soaked the soil beneath. von Strauss eyed the herd master carefully. These twisted children of Chaos were unpredictable at best, stupid at worst, and as likely to turn on their allies as their enemies if the hunger took them too soon in battle.
von Strauss was loathed to deal with the herd beasts at all but he needed their brutish simplicity to draw out his quarry from behind Middenheims grat gates. He knew the arrogant fool would be keen to prove his worth following the injuries he suffered at the hands of Baduk. von Strauss could sympathise, he too had suffered wounds and with it the displeasure of his patron. Baduk’s protection of his liege despite near fatal wounds of his own had earned exultation. Baduk’s ascension had been painful for both of them. von Strauss’ failure to slay von Bomburg had drawn Khorne’s attention. As Baduk had endured the fire trials the flames had leapt from the fire pit and enveloped von Strauss. The heat had burned him to his core. His skin had become liquid, mingled with his vital fluids, and flowed from the seams of his armour, swirling around his glowing red form. He hadn’t made a sound. To utter a word of protest would be to invite his doom.
As the embers of the fires grew dim and Baduk’s body crumpled to the floor, his armour creaking and pinging as it cooled in the night air. All around them the rest of von Strauss’ force stood in silent reverence. von Strauss himself stood reborn. He stood far taller than he had been and his armour was a resplendent crimson horror. The armour he’d worn into the Northern Wastes and had protected his body ever since was no more. Every edge was razor-sharp and made of brass and gold. The plates were swirling crimson coalescing into leering daemonic faces before dissipating into maddening patterns. He knew without having to try that he’d never be able to remove his armour again and his face would forever be the hollow eye sockets and vertical slit of his helm. Such is the price of failure.
Following the duel the von Strauss and the herdmaster had entered negotiations for their assistance. Trying to understand the beast’s gutteral tones was all but impossible but they had somehow made it work. At its conclusion the herdmaster had insisted on a feast to celebrate the alliance and the promise of man flesh that would keep the herd fed for weeks. Herds of twisted creatures cavorted and brayed as they feasted on raw, rotting, carcasses the origins of which von Strauss couldn’t determine. The clearing was ruined by black, jagged, herdstones adorned with crude runes of power that von Strauss could only just identify. They were all a far cry from the symbols of power that were inscribed on the armour of his men. The earth around the herdstones bubbled and seethed with the unholy powers infused in the rock. One moment the soil melted and bubbled like liquid, the next it was leering sucking mouths.
The beastmen bounded through fires, off rocks and on to one another’s backs rutting and biting and fighting the prospect of raiding an Imperial town too much for their simple minds. Minotaurs clubbed smaller creatures to the ground and ripped them apart, gulping down wet bloody chunks of flesh, the bones audibly cracking as the powerful jaws of the minotaurs made short work of their diminutive cousins. von Strauss and his men stood like crimson statues watching the orgiastic display impassively. If von Strauss could sneer he would have, Khorne didn’t need cavorting or debasement to prove obedience but skulls and murder. His hollow eyes rested on the herdmaster who, in turn, was looking on at his beasts like a proud father. von Strauss would take great pleasure in offering up his skull to Khorne once he’d served his purpose.
Immelscheld was a town much like any other in the Empire. A dense collection of rundown homes, a chapel, a watch house and a low, crumbling, curtain wall. Unlike many, but not all, of the towns of the Empire this town had been chosen by the fickle Gods of fate to be the object of ruin. As the sun dipped into the luminous hours of early evening the beastmen broke cover and charged. Far too far from the town, the attack was poorly positioned, by von Strauss’ design, so the small garrison could be roused to arms. von Strauss watched them run hurriedly to the walls, yanking on chainmail and struggling to tie beltswords around their waists.
The small garrison had fought bravely, not a man fleeing in the face of the maddened, drooling, horde of beastmen as they hacked their way into the down. von Strauss was reluctantly impressed by the garrison commander’s tactics: issuing every man under his authority to man the walls with a crossbow, felling dozens of beastmen and faltering their first charge. It gave the defenders just enough time to draw their swords. It mattered very little to von Strauss, all that mattered was the town burned and Middenheim responded. von Strauss watched at the head of his vst host, concealed in the woods South East of the town. The beastmen brayed and bleated as they sacked the town, citizens attempting to flee burning homes being cut down or set upon, snouts coming up bloody. von Strauss looked skywards as if sensing his patron’s attentions. Already the carrion birds circled, the heat from the burning town making them bob and wheel in the updraft as roofs collapsed in a shower of swirling sparks. The doomed town took a long time to die. Long enough for the beastmen to gorge themselves on the town’s inhabitants and pass out amidst the smouldering ruins.
The first rays of light brought with it the trumpeting of horns and the snap of banners caught on the wind. At the head of a grand host of men in black plate armour Baron von Bomburg marched with renewed purpose. His own armour was polished with lapping paste to a brilliant sheen so it shone in the light of the early morning like a second sun. And he felt as luminous as he appeared. The healing process had been long but nothing compared to the time it took to recover his physique. Endless swordrill with Viktor had slowly sharpened his skills, rifle drill with his handgunners had brought back his aim and time with his fellow nobles had honed his mind once more to the art of strategy.
When a messenger from Immelscheld had reached the gates of Middenheim, exhausted close unto death, von Bomburg had relished the opportunity to put his abilities to the test, and to run out his army that had marched for so long to reach the mountain city only to find the Chaos raiders they’d been summoned to fight had vanished. von Bomburg spared a look at Viktor, ever at his side, and the rest of his household guard resplendent in the livery of his house and he felt his breast swell with pride. No finer unit of infantry existed outside the greatsword regiments charged with the protection of the Elector Counts.
Horns trumpeted again drawing von Bomburg’s attention to the town ahead. It was a smouldering ruin, blackened timbers from homes jutting into the sky like broken ribs. The chapel had fared only slightly better but that had only meant the beastmen had defiled it with feces and symbols and runes that made his eyes hurt. Bodies lay strewn in the streets and the town square, burst open from crude axes or torn to ragged pieces by inhumanly strong arms.
He glanced at Viktor and saw his look of disgust reflected in his oldest friend’s face. Viktor nodded towards his liege and brought his arm down in a chopping action. The horns sounded once more, causing dark and twisted shapes to caper from buildings and beneath broken down wagons and hurried towards the tumbled down walls. von Bomburg drew his sword, holding it aloft for all his men to see, a gleaming blade etched with symbols of power he didn’t understand.
It’s time to once again done our spangly jumpsuits and silly helmets and try to catch some speeding balls… I refer to, of course, to Dreadball Ultimate, the third rule release for Dreadball from Mantic.
Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Dreadball. The games anyway. The models are a bit hit & miss. Season 2, whilst useful, wasn’t convincing as a real supplement as it offered very little to the game other than teams it didn’t really need. And I’ll be honest when I heard about Season 3 I rolled my eyes and concluded that Mantic must have still had some of the Dreadball kickstarter money lying around.
When it was announced that Season 3 would be called Ultimate and offer a multi-player option I was pleased for two reasons. The first was that it actually sounded like you’d get something for your money. The second was that Ultimate had a nice ring of finality about it which meant Mantic could stop trying to come up with nonsense rules and focus on making the ones they had better. And the models for that matter.
So what’s in the box? Quite a bit actually. A lovely big gaming mat for use with up to 6 players, a deck of cards, a nice shiny new book and some Giants – the new model type new for Ultimate.
I must be honest – unlike me I know – but I don’t like the idea of Giants. Aside from being, well, giant, they do two things that piss me off: the first, require their own set of rules because they don’t fit the existing ones and the second is they’re overpowered to the point that if you don’t take a Giant of your own to counter act your opponents you stand very little chance of taking them down. It’s something that always really annoyed me about MVPs in Dreadball, they just unbalance the game too much. And Giants are just mental. They ignore the threat hexes of non-giants, they get bonus dice up the whazoo and thanks to their size they’re not the easiest opponents to get around.
I’ve never been a massive fan of Blood Bowl but at least star players were just juiced members of your chosen race/team. In Dreadball they can be used to offset team weaknesses (which were designed to be there) whilst being nails to take down. Giants are this but more so. Which is a bit pants. It’s difficult because I know my opinion won’t be the popular one and it’s kind of one of the big draws for Dreadball Ultimate but the reason Dreadball is so good is because it’s genius in its simplicity and things like Giants rather over egg the pudding. It’s all a bit gimmicky.
But if you’re wise enough to buy the Ultimate boxset, rather than the book, you get them all included so take ‘em, don’t take ‘em it really makes no odds.
There’s a couple of rule tweaks in Ultimate/Season 3. There’s nothing really to write home about other than it’s now against the rules to screen the model with the ball. I’m a bit mixed about that as it rather seems to benefit the newer weaker teams especially going up against the likes of the Forgefathers. But you know what? It’s not going to ruin my day. It will ruin Neil’s (of The Chaps) though as it’s a favourite play of his to shut the ball down if the score is tight with only a rush or two to play.
As usual there’s also yet more teams to add to the ever-expanding Dreadball league. If I’m honest, I’m fairly indifferent towards them. There’s a couple of interesting ones . The Kalamarin, with their sticky or hard guards (I’ll leave you to make your own jokes) and the teleporting space armadillos are the Ukomo appeal but otherwise it’s just ticking the boxes to make sure they’ve robbed all the teams from Blood Bowl as well as a couple from the sci-fi hall or fame. Including some diminutive grey chaps. And some of the models look bloody awful.
But on to the real reason to get Dreadball Ultimate: the big mat and the rules for some utterly mental game play. This is where the real work’s been done. The board/mat/thing is gorgeous. I mean bravo to whoever designed it because it’s arty without being fussy and actually builds on the look of the Dreadball pitch rather than just emulating it. It doesn’t feel quite right rolling on it mind, the bounce just isn’t the same as rolling on the board or a table but I suppose the answer is to, you guessed it, roll on the table. But on a serious note, the surface tension created by the fabric does mean the dice don’t roll as well. So, yeah, roll on the table next to the mat.
It’s a finely balanced thing, having up to 6 teams running about the place, but Mantic just about pull it off. Three players is a bit more manageable though. And quicker. And having that many people playing a game designed to be that quick has the potential to get confusing and lead to disagreements but some how it does work. And having two balls in play at any given time is only going to end well.
With Dreadball Ultimate I rather feel like they were trying to do too much to make it worth the price tag. In the interests of fairness, it does. There’s a lot in the box that adds a lot to the game. I’m not 100% convinced by it all but the rules for 3-6 player games and a pretty new board is enough for me either way. I do think the Giants are daft and I think that they’ll actually make for some pretty boring games but as a one off bit of fun I could live with them. It’d be a different story in a league however.
I do dearly love Dreadball and the introduction of new teams would get me excited if it didn’t feel like Mantic were just covering every possible statistical iteration available, and if they put more effort into the models. Some of them, particularly the the Not-Space-Elves look utterly, unforgivably poor.
But is it a poor supplement? No. Granted the book feels rather padded out, again, but the Ultimate rule set is way cool. Some of the new teams are way cool. The Giants are daft and overpowered but they come in the box so fuck it. With the addition of some new cards and the like and it does genuinely add a whole new dimension to what is already an awesome game.
Dreadball Ultimate is available from Firestorm Games priced £35.99.
Time for the second game of the Blood Bowl Season! Using the Chaos Edition of Blood Bowl from Cyanide Studios, we take a look at a custom team of randomly selected Facebook/Twitter followers of War and More Radio and track their progress.
Will the Throgg Bronzebacks make a killing as the MVP team of the year? Or will the Chaos God of Blood Bowl, Nuffle. Have other plans for our them? Tune in to find out!
MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ATT64 and #WarMoreRadio
It’s been a wee while since I last looked at the awesome game that is Godslayer from Megalith Games. As I wander ever further down the path of damnation with A Tale of Two Armies I thought I’d take time out to look at my other favourite fantasy game.
This time round I’m taking a look at the Shadow Element menace of the Troglodytes. The Troglodytes, for the uninitiated, are the servants of the fifth element of Shadow. Turns out that hot ginger chick wasn’t the fifth element after all. Shame. Shadow is the great cosmic balancer and the Troglodytes are the instrument with which this is achieved. They are also the doom of all mankind. Born from the loins of the greatest of the five elements, and created with the sole purpose to wage war, the peoples Calydorn are rather stuffed.
They’re big buggers too. Massive in fact. Something that doesn’t come across in the photography as they’re all in scale with each other. Only when you see them with another model from the Godslayer range do you appreciate the kind of beasties you have on your hands. It also explains why there’s only 5 models in the box for £33. To be fair £33 is quite expensive for the 8 models you get in the other boxes but consider as well you get a raft of cards as well as quick start rules in each one. Also consider that the likes of Games Workshop charge £31.50 for three models, and Megalith’s are metal.
But back to the Troglodytes and their massiveness. They are proper big and do an excellent job, through that simple fact alone, of feeling out-of-place with the rest of the range. And as they should for they are magical beasties of killy stabbiness. Compounded with the fact that the models ooze menace and you’ve got yourself quite possibly the most interesting faction in the game. Whereas the other forces in Godslayer are a specific people or peoples and have a clear look and feel, the various elements of the Troglodytes means that it doesn’t quite line up. Which is a good thing. They’re hardly a disciplined army like the Mortans or a bunch of tree hugging hippies like the Wyldfok.
This said the Duskborn and the Ironhide Brutes do tick all the design boxes of the hall of fame of historical ass holes. There are elements of the Mongols and Babylonians in there to name but two. The point that Megalith, I think, were trying to get across is that the Troglodytes are a powerful, brutal, invading force and their equipment is designed for long grinding battles. And they do the job very very well. It’s all spiky helmets, long armour scale skirts and heavy shields. There is no virtuousness in these creatures, only a self-righteous zeal and belief that the world should burn. Which is kinda cool.
The Feral Hammerfist, on the other hand is different again. It’s also even bigger than the other models. And its metal. So it’s very heavy. Which is a good thing. As mentioned before it doesn’t really feel like it quite marries up with the rest of the force but belongs there for that very same reason. It’s big it’s imposing and it has punch daggers the size of a large water melon. It’s style of war is one of pummelling everything within its reach then moving on to the next group of enemies and repeating. It is the Hulk of the Godslayer Universe. My one complaint, if I had any is that the head is a little flat. It’s meant to be mind, it wasn’t a miscast, but because the ears are wide as well it just gives the impression a little bit that something large stamped on its face. I also hate the spike on its head. That’s coming right off. Other than that it’s a good model with some nice detailing so it won’t be miserable to paint.
In the game Troglodytes, specifically these ones less I give too much away, are nasty. Their Melee is high and Defence monstrously so. Hurting them is very difficult and would require mob tactics to take even an Ironhide Brute down. Throw in the sub-faction special rule that allows them to regenerate and suddenly what we find ourselves with is kinda what the Lord of the Rings game never quite – for me – quite managed, which is towering creatures of ethereal power wading through hordes of mortals that wastes dozens of lives to bring them down. Which is all rather cool. But more importantly it makes for an interesting game.
Plus there are lots of other bits and pieces that will make your opponents groan. Like Ironhide Brutes ignore shields. Throw in stuff like Carnage and Rage for the Duskborn which is all geared around making life very unpleasant for those that get into combat with him.
What you end up with is a super elite force that you have to play with very tactically but equally one that’ll be very hard to manage if you’re on the other side of the board. And this highlights what I’ve always felt about Godslayer – which is the variety woven into the fabric of the game. No two units are similar. No two factions even vaguely follow the same path as the other. Even the sizes of the basic troops varies hugely. And that’s why it’s such a good game.
The Troglodyte starter set is available from Firestorm Games priced £33.08.
The second unit of reinforcements for my 1,000 point list comes in the form of the new and very promising Demigryph Knights. I mentioned in the Wizard review I needed to give my force some more teeth, well it turned out to be some beak instead. And claws, lots of claws.
I don’t know about you but I really like the models for the Demigryph Knights. They have right balance of fantasy and functionality that, for me, is required in an Empire army. The oversized, heavy plate, barding gives them a real sense of war worthiness: something to keep all but the pontiest of sticks at bay, all the while the Demigryphs get down to the business of ripping off faces.
Their riders regal and imposing with just a tinge of arrogance to them, which is exactly as they should be seeing as they’re knights. Riding on Demigryphs. With big sticks. Of the three poses for the Demigryphs themselves, one is awesome, one is good, and the last one is a bit meh – it’s cocking its head to the side which although accurate fluff wise, is a little too much like an oversized chocobo for me. Younger readers will have to Google what one of those is. You young whipper snappers. They really are another unit goes under the ‘reward’ title for painting as they look great and as there’s only three of them you’ll stay the course in terms of effort.
When Games Workshop started to release Monstrous Cavalry for the various armies I wasn’t sure if the Empire would even get any at all, or if they did what would the mounts be as the Pegasus had sort of been bagsied by the Bretonnians, despite it still being a mount choice in the Empire book. The use of a ‘half’ griffon made me wonder why I hadn’t thought of it before, which is a good sign as the decision is a little obvious in hindsight and makes total sense. Rare praise for Games Workshop these days. And in doing so has given the Empire a unit capable of actually doing some real damage in combat (honestly).
The Knights themselves are fantastic, and just make me weep over the missed opportunity that is the old Knightly Order kit even more. The heads are great, gifting you the pleasure of choosing which ones to leave out rather than which ones to include – likewise for the shields, plenty of good choice with a nice range. The stylization of certain armour elements into pointed beak shapes works really well and really tells the story that these guys are an elite unit rather than Knights given Demigryphs to ride for the day. All the weapons arms/options included look good enough to make you pause for a difficult aesthetic choice. If and when the old Knights do get a new kit, if they look anything like this there will be much rejoicing in the street, songs will be sung, mead will be drunk and babies will be named in honour of the sculptor. I’m predicting a significant rise in the number of Empire cavalry armies you’ll see galloping around what with them being a pretty good investment for the points.
Rules wise, you couldn’t ask for much more as an Empire player: the Demigryph Knights are a unit to be feared by almost anything. [Except Skullcrushers! -Ed.] The Demigryph itself kicks out 3 Strength 5 attacks basic plus another for its Stomp for a total of 4 at Strength 5, and then the already Inner Circle Knight on its back adds another at either Strength 5 or 6 depending on how you arm them. But this is where one of the very few annoyances rears its head: if you choose to equip them with halberds instead of lances (which is a choice most people would usually go for) there’s no rules exception for using a halberd while mounted so you lose your shield. The 1+ armour save is a big deal for mounted units and sacrificing it for an extra point of Strength is not a decision to be taken lightly – and most seem to have stuck with the Lances as a result. I fail to see why the Halberd could not have been an upgrade rather than a free weapon swap and let you still use the shield – as represented on the models themselves.
But still, with a box of three being able to chuck out up to 16 attacks at Strength 5 or 6, they can tear apart small to medium-sized units and elites really have a lot to fear as the Demigryphs have the armour-piercing rule to boot giving them -3 to armour saves. With the errata on Monstrous Cavalry stating you use the higher value for both Wounds and Toughness now, you’ve also got a unit that is now quite resilient too at Toughness 4, 1+ armour save and 3 wounds each. Deliver them into an enemy flank and they’ll eat anything. Someone even mathed out that they can beat Skull Crushers in straight up combat as the Initiative 4 on the Demigryph means it goes before the Juggernaut, and that’s at 12 points less per model too. [It's worth noting though that the article go the Skullcrushers armour save wrong so it's probably about even. -Ed.] It’s just a pity you can’t take them as character mounts, but maybe that is just taking the cracker.
Demigryph Knights are available from Firestorm Games priced £30.15.
I know it’s not hobby but it’s Lego and it’s awesome. So bite me. Plus I can remember doing stuff like this with my Dad & brother, and can’t wait to do this with my kids in a few short years. That and Lee (@leefaccini) loves Lego so this is for him too…