Salute in Review: So long and Thanks for All the Models…

Salute 2014

Salute 2014, you are done! What a day!

My head is still spinning slightly to be honest. This year Salute was everything I’d hoped for in some ways and something of a missed opportunity in others. Anyone who knows me in real life is well aware of my propensity for taking on way too much stuff (still, it works out occasionally, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this, here and wouldn’t that be a pity…) and yet again I managed to overcommit my time for the day. Worst of all it meant that, for the second year running, I missed out on the #warmongers lunch time meetup. Boo me! Boo I say!

Thing is, I distinctly remember my phone alarm going off at 12:45 and then snoozing it, about 14 times or so… Damn… Then I walked out of the hall at about 2pm, rang Phil to find out where everyone was and it was all over. Not even a trace residue (okay, I just made myself feel ill) of #warmonger was to be seen and I trudged disconsolately back into the hall to BUY ALL OF THE THINGS instead. [Mat would be proud. -Ed.]

That’s part of the problem with being on a stall most of the day I suppose (I have a nefarious alter-ego, beware!), but to tell you the truth I really enjoy that aspect as well. It means I get people coming to talk to me (the poor mad fools!) and I get to ask them all about the hobby they’ve been doing, what they’ve seen at the show and what shiney things they have been tempted into buying. It’s a brilliant thing to be able to get so many different views on the hobby with people covering everything from 6mm historical right through to the usual suspects like Games Workshop and the like. The big difference from last year were lots of folks talking about Malifaux, Warmachine, tonnes and tonnes of X-Wing, and a bit more Bolt Action chatter (I think Phil will have more to say on that front in the not too distant future).

It’s obvious that the hobby is in an amazing state at the moment, with almost too much going on to be able to keep track of it all and it’s generating masses of enthusiasm across the community that without doubt followed me home!

The haul ™

It was my most satisfying Salute haul yet I think. I picked up the three main systems I had planned on, didn’t get massively distracted by anything else and found a couple of little bonuses along the way. Here’s a lovely picture of all of my awesome shiny from the day

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Besides three new skirmish games: Wild West Exodus, Dark Age and Saga, I also picked up Zombie Dice (which I’m looking forward to being a staple family game) and a lovely dice bag from @TheDiceBagLady. All great stuff. I’ve already been cracking on with the assembly of my Wild West Exodus miniatures clocked my first game (see my article going live tomorrow), watch this space for a lot more on that front as the miniatures are gorgeous! I’ve also had a good peruse of my other figures and I’m very pleased with my choices. I’m loving the character of the Irish war band with the wolf hounds (one of my favourite breeds of dog besides my own of course) and the Core models from Dark Age have a nice alt-feel to them despite the obvious superficial comparison with the Convergence models from Warmachine.

I also got the chance to meet all of The Shell Case team for the first time and they’re all quite normal (yes I said ‘quite’) and a great laugh to mooch around a show and generally enthuse about the hobby with. We made some great contacts and are all really excited about what’s happening with the site over the coming months, stick around, it’s going to be ace!

The Shell Case does Salute – Reece

Salute 2014

As the 12th April comes ever closer and the prospect of another day filled with nothing but the sights, sounds and smells of the UK’s best all-round gaming show (and with the recent trend with Games Day, arguably just the outright best) fills our every waking thought (especially Mat’s – it’s his first time and he’s really quite excited), the members of The Shell Case team attending Salute this year (sorry Ashley, next time maybe?) have taken time to reflect on their hopes and expectations for Salute 2014.

Here are Reece’s Salute hopes and dreams:

Reece

What do I want to do at Salute? Mostly I suppose I don’t want to freak out about the size and number of people and spend the day dithering. Aside from that though, I’ll be looking out for skirmish games that catch my eye and getting the Demo games in. As much as I love large-scale battle games, with my piles of unpainted models, I feel a little less guilty getting into games that require a half-dozen models a side at most.

Plus, I’ve found that there is a bit more variety in small-scale games, with makers less likely to have sanded all the edges off, leaving slightly crazy things like models fainting from dehydration or being able to ricochet bullets off of walls, that sort of thing.

I’ll also be looking about for books to do with Warmachine, now that I’m on a PP kick. I may even pick up some of the tie in novels to see how they read. Oh and Infinity, Dead Man’s Hand, The Horus Heresy and Heresy Miniatures and…

And goes without saying that I’m looking forward to hanging out with the rest of the team and chatting with the #warmongers at the Meet Up.

#TheVoxmanPledge 2014

In between recording podcasts and working in real life, I often get into lengthy conversations about miniature wargames on Twitter (My handle is @ATT64 if you wanna say hi). The other day I made an interesting comment (for once lol) and I would like to explain in further detail what I have planned.

“We live in a golden era of miniature games, go forth and play ‘em all!” (The Voxman Pledge)

It should come as no surprise to any avid miniature wargamer that there is an absolute colossal ton of games now available to buy. With dozens of successfully fundraised kickstarter projects and entrepreneurs looking to make a name for themselves in the industry, its an exciting time to collect miniature games. The competition between these new games is frantic and often brutal as the general population dictates the ultimate fate of these new projects. We have the power to change the landscape of miniature wargames for the better

Over the break, I thought about my relationship with the games I currently own and play:

Warhammer Fantasy: Empire | Skaven | Dark Elves

Warhammer 40,000: Tau | Orks

Warmachine: The Protectorate of Menoth | Convergence of Cyriss

Firestorm Armada: Terrans

Dust Warfare: Sino-Soviet Union (SSU)

I realized that my relationship with games has changed significantly over the years and the free time I have available to me is much more restricted. I started off playing massive battles of 40K with 4 childhood friends on a ping-pong tale, using cardboard boxes to create expanding cities. I eventually transitioned to playing Warhammer Fantasy, which allowed me to further design detailed ranked up miniatures in the form of my Empire Averland State troop focussed army and my 210 Skaven horde. Overtime I desired more variety in my gameplay and tired many things both in 40K and fantasy, but I always found that it felt the same regardless.

I tried multiple small units, monsters, all cavalry armies and even using only one Hellpit Abomination (rebel). I discovered Warmachine around 2010 and even though I slowed down playing Fantasy, I still retained a deep love for that game. Now with regards to 40K, I really found that while I still appreciated the universe and the built-in complexities within the established codices. I didn’t like actually playing it. I am a firm believer that the fun focus of that game is around list construction (for tournaments or causal play) or potentially creating a thematic army. I just felt that the game was usually over in 30 minutes, but played out for 2 1/2 hours. Keep in mind that I don’t hate 40K by any means, I just realised it wasn’t the game for me.

I have played Warmachine for several years now, but for some reason I have been beginning to feel burnt out. Maybe, its the sole focus of the competitive scene or the sheer flood of new miniatures being added to the game, but for some reason I entered a hobby slump. Don’t get me wrong, if you phone me up and have an army I will play you! I love the game, but I guess I am tired of it’s one direction approach and needed some more variety. I played Dust Warfare and Firestorm with varying degrees of success, but with their scattered release schedules and rule hiccups. I have decided to wait and see.

Recently though, I have had a rather profound realization about my hobby. I want to try everything. That’s really it, I am tired of trying to be “The Tournament goer” or “The Hobbiest” or even “The Fluff Gamer”. I want to have fun, it’s really that simple. For so long, I have prided myself by bringing the best list I can make for a tournament or building an entire army around a narrative or trying to be a better painter/modeller. But where was the fun? When I played Blood Bowl, Dreadball and even to a lesser extent X-Wing, I realized that I had been so focussed on a particular aspect of this hobby that I ignored what makes a game fun and engaging.

I don’t have to own an entire complete range of miniatures or even be a hobby completest, I just want to have fun like I have always done playing miniature games.

So I say unto you fellow Wargamers and Warmongers, that I will try to play every and any game I can during 2014. I don’t have to own or buy every miniature, heck I don’t even have to be that good at playing the game. I just want to have the willingness to try to open my mind to other experiences that these new/old games are offering. At the very least I want to trim down my collections and gradually have a variety of miniatures from several game systems. Now of course, common sense and reality are also important here. I’m not throwing pots of money at every game system. At the heart of my goal is to at least try every game and if I like it, then perhaps collect a small amount for that game. Simple, nothing complicated.

So I ask you then? Are also going to take the Voxman Pledge? Are you going to investigate other games and explore what makes them fun and enjoyable?

If not? That’s ok too, because there’s always a variety of ways to have fun in this hobby, just promise yourself to try to have fun during 2014.

Cheers!

Adam, aka Mr Voxman

Convergence of Cyriss Heavy Kit – A Review

Warmachine-Logo

The Convergence of Cyriss, is the latest faction to be released for Warmachine from Privateer Press, and trying to understand how this faction is meant to be played on the table top has been fairly challenging for me. This rogue faction is Privateer’s attempt to introduce a primarily battlegroup (warjacks) focussed faction into the game. Although infantry and other goodies exist in the book, it is obvious that the warjacks are the main workhorses of the army. Through army mechanics like induction and interface nodes, each warjack can share the Mat/Rat values (Or Weapon/Ballistic skills ) of their controlling warcaster ; they can also transfer one point of focus (which allows you to buy extra attacks or add another dice to roll) to another warjack if they are within 6 inches of each other.

This will be the first of many articles looking at the warjacks and their roles in the army list. Today I will also be taking a look at my experiences building some of the kits and the overall opinion so far.

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Cipher

This warjack (or vector as the book calls it) in my opinion is one of the most crucial vectors in the entire army! Bold words to be sure, but it makes perfect sense. This vector can fire its main cannon twice (with a focus point) and can change which ammo it uses for every shot. The first shot allows the Cipher to damage models under the template, while the other two can reduce the defence of models hit by 2 (Models trying to hit the enemy require a roll of Mat/Rat +2D6 >=Def) or create an area of rough terrain. Since the shot is a 4 inch Blast, it covers a lot of ground and can potentially debuff your opponent. To add icing to the cake, it also has 2 Pow 18 melee attacks which is above average for unbuffed heavy warjacks. It is the most expensive of the standard heavy warjacks in this army, but for good reason. I am finding it really hard not to take at least 2 of these bad boys in any given list.

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Monitor

This warjack is basically a buzz saw catapult that snipes invisible miniatures off the table…think about that for a moment…The Monitor boasts one of the strongest individual solid shot weapons in Convergence. Being able to ignore enemy stealth models makes this a really attractive addition to any list. The down side to this model is that it relies heavily on the warcaster having a high rat value. Stealth miniatures usually range around the Def 15-17 value, so if you are trying to hit them with rat values of 4 or less (even using 3 dice) can be a daunting prospect. In melee, this vector is average, but it has the nice ability to auto hit with its additional attacks if the first one hits, therefore symbolising the claw hand clamping down onto the enemy. A solid vector that is only 8pts, so it can fit into most Iron Mother and Forge Father army lists (Warcasters that have rat 5), but it is debatable with Aurora, Lucant and Axis (Rat values of 4/3/2 respectively) army lists.

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Inverter

The first vector so far, that actually has no guns to speak of. So you know what that means? IT’S CLOBBERING TIME!!!

 

The Inverter has an interesting load out that makes it truly unique within the Convergence. The Meteor Hammer, is a chain weapon that ignores shields, bucklers and shield walls, which is awesome for smashing tougher targets or warjacks. An added bonus is having the special ability of Reach, which allows you to target enemies within 2 inches of this weapon (Normally only ½ inch). The second weapon is the Macro Pummeler, which essentially knocks enemies on the ground and can only be used once per 2 player turns/one round. Having no ranged weapons, means that this vector needs to rely on having a decent mat value to smack targets and hopefully set up other friendly models by knocking down tougher models for additional abuse. While not necessarily a required vector in every list, I feel that this model is fairly effective in an Axis list (For Mat 7 and the counter charge ability), allowing you to make undesirable situations for your opponent. Theoretically, this vector can be a solid addition to any list that needs a warjack that has 2 strong melee attacks. If your focus is to be primarily a ranged battlegroup of vectors, you might want to look elsewhere.

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Was it fun to build? All three of these heavy vectors can be built from the same model kit, which has been a solid feature of all the current heavy warjack kits that Privateer Press has provided up to this point. Where the trouble lies is in the design of the moulds and the finished product. Although the kit was brilliant to look at and has many interesting aspects to it, there are a million mould lines and not the kind that is easy to remove. Multiple times I found a mould line that would fly over nearly impossible to remove surfaces like the gears or detailed arms. However, I powered on and tried my best to hide the ones that are obvious, but a smart modeller could probably locate them with no problem. I also went through the trouble of magnetizing the kit, so that I could use all 3 vectors and change them out to my liking. But even that proved to be a challenge, because there are many points of contact and needed to be planned out beforehand.

The positive side of the kit is that it can build 3 of the most important warjacks/vectors that will be in nearly every Convergence list. The bad, is that you will have to plan ahead of time and use a large amount of skill to remove painful mould lines. I was told by Privateer Press, that most of these model problems are a result of them being the first wave of that miniatures line. So perhaps my opinion of the kit might change in the future. However, for myself and others we will have to power on, until the next time we need to purchase the kit. Regardless, I finished the miniatures (multiple boxes) and I felt that I had overcome a massive hobbyist milestone.

Stay tuned for more first impressions of the other Convergence vectors and models (which may or may not have model reviews included) to come in the following months!

The Convergence of Cyriss Battlegroup is available from Firestorm Games priced £33.07

ODAM 8 – Now with Added Content

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I’m not quite sure what happened with Episode 8. We were reduced to a skeleton crew either due to scheduling conflicts or Ashley not getting her emails. The result? Content. Now you all know how I feel about talking about actual things so I was eternally grateful when Jason joined in half way through the show.

With special guest Kevin Bryant (@KevinBryant76), we talk about Warmachine (a lot), the Horus Heresy and Special Characters. And I think there was some prattling on about fluff.

As always our shows have bad language from the start so it’s now for young ears. Or, at least, easily offended ears…

Episode 8 – Now with Added Content

I Love the Smell of Green Stuff in the Morning…

Okay so there are 2 issues with that statement 1, I have to go to work so no hobby for me in the morning and 2, green stuff doesn’t actually smell, but I like the theme I’ve got going on, although I may need some suggestions on the next article title…

The idea behind these articles is to chronicle my decent into plastic crack addiction, and to be fair I have it pretty bad as Phil, my plastic crack pusher can testify to. [He really does - Ed.]

So a quick update: my Mordheim warband is complete. Well to a point. There are still a few conversions I have designs on and they are unpainted at present, but I want to get a few more games under my belt and see how they develop before doing any more work on them. Monty’s Bastards have had their second outing, you may have seen images going up on twitter, anyway it ended pretty much the same as the previous outing. Monty only managing to limp off thanks to a tenuous alliance with Neil’s Skaven.

I am hooked on Mordheim and as previously mentioned, I do regret sneering at it for being an inferior Necromunda. I think my problem was I was never a fan of Warhammer Fantasy so tarnished Mordheim with the same brush, which when you consider I loved Warhammer Quest doesn’t really make a huge amount of sense. But I guess that’s what happens from being a snooty up hiver.

As evidence of my addiction I have a Russian Coalition fleet for Dystopian Wars which I am yet to play, but I love the models, although not 100% sure on the sputnik look-a-like air ships, and I now find myself with a Necron fleet for Battle Fleet Gothic which are currently being stripped of paint ready to be rebranded as Star Fleet ships. Seriously turn a Scythe Class harvest ship upside down and tell me it doesn’t look a hell of a lot like the Enterprise.

And I’m now looking at some Warmachine Warjacks… but not for Warmachine. [Because it sucks! - Ed.] I’ve never really been interested in it despite the models being quite cool. But I’m looking at them with the intention of converting them into Chaos Titans to use in Adeptus Titanicus II, and after reading another blog I’m feeling really inspired.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about a bit more, converting models and proxying. I have never liked having standard models, it’s one of my things. I always wanted mine to look a little different to everyone else’s models. I remember my old Chaos Champion put together from a mixture of bits including Dante’s Cloak, Yarrick’s Claw a few Storm Bolters and a hacked up Lighting Claw. Since returning to the hobby, Phil has opened my eyes to the wider wargaming world I see a whole plethora of possible proxies waiting to be converted. A little bit of green stuff some imagination and you don’t need to have a standard model. Okay so it may not be so easy to convert Space Marines but to be honest Scibor do some really nice casts and I am itching for an excuse to lay my hands on some of their Science Fiction Warriors.

In fact one of the #warmongers mentioned recently creating a Welsh Space Marine Chapter. Scibor do Celtic Science Fiction Warriors range so this may be a good place to start. And if said company would like to send me any models for mentioning them well that’s fine by me. Doing these sorts of conversions and proxies does tend to lend itself more to the skirmish style games but you can still create a nice character for your army from another games models. Freebooters do some great models some of them would work well with a sculpted cloak and could either be a Dark Elf or Wood Elf depending on which way you swing.

And if you are in to the specialist games you could do worse than look at Firestorm Armada for Battle Fleet Gothic proxies, the great thing about the range is you can buy spares and different parts so you could create pretty much anything you wanted within reason and if you had the ability and patience to do so. I still have one I’d like to create myself but for use in Firestorm Armada, for a scenario I have swimming around in my head. But I think I have enough games systems to deal with for the time being and I think I may take the plunge into Dreadball next.

What I’m saying is there’s no need to have the standard models when there’s so much available and really all it takes is a pair of clippers some glue maybe a bit of green stuff and some imagination. I know I’m inspired to create unique models, and that’s what our hobby is about; being creative whether it’s with your back story, the scenarios you create or the models and terrain you develop for yourself.

As you can tell my addiction is running rampant, my wife is happy I have a hobby but not sure she’s so happy with everything that comes along with it, namely the boxes of models littering our dining room table and the sheet of chip board and Styrofoam insulation I plan on using for the creation of a custom Mordheim board but that’s a separate article.

I would like to mention how much I appreciate The Chaps and the #warmongers community at large, as I’ve been made to feel accepted and its great having a group of like-minded people all willing to help each other out and share their thoughts and ideas.
Thank you.

ODAM 7 – Warning Might Contain Phil

ODAMRoundel copy

In the seventh Of Dice and Men show, we manage to insult just about everyone including Warmachine fans and, as it goes, Firefly fans. So go us. My bitterness levels may be slightly higher than normal, which may have been proportionate to the amount of alcohol I’d drunk just before the show.

We had come connection problems during recording but do bear with us, because we are ridiculous.

As usual there’s explicit language from the start, and unfortunately for some…me.

Enjoy…

ODAM Episode 7

I also have to apologise to my fellow countrymen, the English Civil War was 371 years ago not 700 years ago. I got a bit carried away trying to make a point.