Hotlead 2023 —ADLG tournament

Last weekend was the ALDG tournament at Hotlead, you can see my previous post about that in general. It was a great tournament run by Tod and I really enjoyed it. Everyone I played/interacted with was great. I thought I would do a quick write up of the background of my list and the games played etc for this blog. The number of photo’s for games is limited (yes, I kept forgetting to take them), and these reports are from my memory but I hope they are at least a little entertaining for you.

List preparation and tactics/practice game feedback

I decided to take Seleucids to the competition. I have been trying various lists and played some practice games with them. I was tempted at the last minute to go with a basic German tribe – just deploy and charge forward like a mad thing, but in the end decided not too. They are fun for a simple evening game but just a little too deployment and dice dependent for a 3 game tournament. So the Seleucids it was, at least I would have something more to blame than the dice no matter what the end results.

In my practice games I have been trying different lists, trying to get some of the more interesting elements of the army onto the table. Seleucids have options for using scythed chariots, elephants and cataphracts all of which are different. They have a little of everything but there is not many of anything in bulk. The most you can have is Pikes and all of the ‘good things’ in the list are expensive. The Seleucids do not have a lot of filler which can add bulk out the army either. That means they tend to be small but powerful. Getting to a decent break point of units while still having a good fighting frontage of troops was a challenge with this list. I even had tried lists with included generals (to save points) but that in the end seemed counter-productive. Being able to rally important units and choose when the commander gets into combat is really important with an army with few powerful units.

Elephants originally had been the main target for me to include, as I had never really used them before. I tried them out in some test games. The problem was, no matter what I did I could not seem to get a good list that worked on the table with them. Scythed chariots on the other had are cheap but also don’t add to the size of the army. As that was another problem I struggled with they did not help. Scythed chariots give an even roll off die to give a hit on pretty much any opponent, but that was something I decided to pass on.

So, I had moved to a lists using cataphracts. Not too many as they are expensive as well. I had one command where there were a couple of those supported by as much light horse as allowed (4 bases) and a single cavalry base. I had tried a strong cavalry arm in sample games, but that had rarely worked in those games. The cavalry are was not enough to guarantee the win and a few bad combat die rolls/match up with opponents caused all kinds of issues. So in a change of tactic, the mobile arm would be in the roll of trying to the hold a flank/take advantage where they could. If they could turn a flank great, if not then use the Cats to help the infantry in the center or at least not have them flanked.

The core of the list is pikes and always was my central command. I expected and did always put this command down in the middle of my deployment. They are great going forward but have issues being flanked or even turning once the battle starts for real. I had 4 units of Pike for command, one of them being elite. To help I added a base of impetuous heavy foot. I found I could put that to the rear of the last Pike in the battle line. It could not ‘burst through’ the pike impetuously, only go around the side. So this gave me some limits for their wild charge. That wild charge could help secure that flank when the Pikes were engaged to their front and I did not have enough command to do anything else.

The last command was a brilliant commander and included 4 bases of medium foot, 2 bases of pike, an elite cataphract and a small collection of light foot. The cataphract(cat for short) and the pike were to support the central pike command/fight what was in front. The rest were my terrain troops – to help take and hold terrain or at least threaten in those areas. This would be on one side of my deployment (where there was terrain) and the cavalry would be deployed on the more open side.

So onto the games:

Game 1 vs. Ptolemeic

So another Successor army – this one with a good amount of mediocre pikes. I was defending and the terrain fell with the majority on the flanks and my base edge. The deployment was not great as my cavalry flank was facing a mass of medium foot with some pikes added for strength, while my medium foot were facing impact horse and light horse…

The center was a typical ‘we all march forward and fight’ so my pikes did that took on the mass of the mediocre opponents. I was outnumbered but the odds were about even and thats how it turned out. Both sides would some wins in the combats but that took multiple turns – allowing the game to be decided on the flanks.

On the right this was an issue. My medium foot tried to make for the fields on the flank and failed. A couple were bases of my medium swordsmen were ridden down by the Ptolemaic lancers in that process. The Ptolemaic lancers then went after my light foot which had evaded an earlier charge. This did split up the lancers though and gave my Pikes and Cataphracts time though to engage some of them. My pikes continued to advance even after the lancers disengaged from combat, and although it took time slowly I started to kill some of lancers. The Ptolemaic light had been left behind due to lack of command pips and the lancers and included general had charged onwards. I was losing on this side (in bases lost) but at least had caused some damage.

On my left flank my cavalry command tried to hold up the medium foot coming through a plantation. After a little light horse shooting which caused some disruption I had to commit to holding the infantry charge with my one base of Cavalry and the light horse. Otherwise, this flank would be swept away. This worked out better than I expected and although I lost some bases the light horse held up, doing about equal damage to their opponents.

Meanwhile, the two cataphracts in that command attacked the foot to their front. One died after severely damaging it’s opposing pike block, but the other routed it’s opponent. So the cats were powerful and it was about even on this side.

In the center holes were being created and the game came down to who had the pip’s to turn their unmanuverable units into the flanks of opponents. Both sides having pike blocks and my cataphracts, which all take multiple pips to flank attack opponents and our generals were often engaged in melee. I was lucky and got my remaining cat’s into the flank of an already damaged opposing pike block with the opposing General in. That fight was key as I eventually won that, killing the pike block and the opposing general as well!

The game had been brutal for both armies and in the end neither flank had been won with a clean margin of kills. So, we knew both armies were close to breaking (his on 25 mine on 24) on checking the next round we found that both armies had broken. Killing that General was key for me getting the extra damage to scrape the mutual destruction. A lucky draw for this one to be honest. It could have been a close loss with a different dice result or two. Neither flank had not worked out well for me, but then again the matchups were not great and my troops had done enough damage to keep me in the game.

This was not a great tactical game but more a a scramble and slog to get the kills where I could, I should have done other stuff with my medium foot vs. try (and fail) to get them in the fields. But then again I still am not sure what else they could have done other than be the obvious target for the lancers.

Game 2 vs. Ptolemeic (again)

So the second game was against the other Ptolemeic army in the competition. I defended again and this time with more terrain on my left which also was more into the table, I put the medium foot on that side, letting my cavalry face off against his cavalry on the right.

On the left I have the advantage in light foot numbers and I had a hill to sit my medium foot on. I quickly won that light foot battle and held the flanking terrain as the Ptolemaic foot and elephant moved up. In the end the elephant fell to the mass of those light troops. This gave me the advantage on this side of the table.

In the center the blocks of pike moved close and engaged. This again become a multiple turn combat ‘pit’ but my dice were hot in this game and generally my troops did well. This was helped by me having more numbers of pikemen. The Ptolemeic medium foot did ok, but did not have the staying power of pikes. My impetuous heavy foot came into their own as well here, moving out from behind the pike block to engage the opposing forces with ease.

I was aggressive on the cavalry side of things with my light horse, as I had an advantage of numbers. There were a lot more cavalry bases though on the Ptolemeic side. I moved up my light horse and took shots but the fled when attacked. In this way I was able to try to draw the lancers towards my pike and cats. This was to reduce their ability to move around my flank. It worked and soon I had a couple of those in favorable fights for me. Again my die worked well in this game and after a couple of turns the Ptolemeic lancer threat was muted. Just as I had found in my test games a strongish cavalry command which gets unlucky can be picked apart – which is what happened to them here.

Things were looking good, so I took a risk and have the medium foot charge down and attack the Ptolemeic pikes at the bottom of the hill. My fear has been they could turn and hit the flank of my now starting to win central pike blocks. This did not go so well for my medium foot – no shock really as it was the reverse of what had happened to the Ptolemeic central medium foot, but it did give time for my pikes to win in the center.

That was the key, as the Ptolemeic army had taking losses all across the field but especially in the center and it broke. I was lucky that I had lost just a few units in this so it was a good win for me. I believe this Ptolemeic list suffered some of the issues I had with list building. These successor lists are not easy to come up with a great list and it’s too easy to have a little of everything but not enough to be good at anything. That is the challenge for my level of play as well.

Game 3 vs. Classical Indian

So the 3rd game was against Indians and thus a load of elephants. I believe there were 5 in their list. I was attacking this time into forest. Most of the terrain fell on my opponents side and none of it got moved around. So he had a forest to anchor one flank but I think the terrain setup was not what he was after at all. It worked for me though as I had all of my terrain troops over that side and quickly moved up to threaten that area. While doing this I held all my force back on this flanks so after clearing out the Indian light troops I had a medium infantry ready to hit the flank of the main Indian line as it moved forward.

While that was happening my central command moved confidently forward – I was not too worried about pikes vs. elephants and medium foot/archers. My main concern was to avoid the having a cataphract vs. elephant fight as that was really not in my favor. That meant I held back my 1 cataphract base on this side behind the front line as they advanced.

On the right side of the table my mounted command saw there were only a couple of mounted Indian stands. So, I went to town trying to get around this flank. I was still cautious, (there was a lot of archers which could spoil my day quickly) but soon had a good matchups on the medium cavalry. I had kept the cataphracts out of bow range as much as I could but they did start to take shots. Meanwhile the Indians were redeploying their foot to face this flank as well.

Soon the center with my pike blocks were fighting the elephants and their support. I managed to get the pikes into elephants while the cataphract base in the center continued to hold back. On the left my control of the forest flank had slowed the Indians. The fear of that open flank if they charged forward had stopped the last elephant and its support in its tracks. This was the one facing my medium swordsmen and I was happy not to force a move. This was I believe my weakest area and so them not risking anything meant that I did not have to either.

On the right the Seleucid cataphracts had engaged a couple of mixed swordsmen/bowmen units. This soon became came a swirling mess drawing in other units. First, the remaining Indian light horse hit a cataphract in the back. Then my light horse hit that and soon killed it. But additional supporting Indian mixed swordsmen/bowmen also got engaged and then were then hit in the flank by more of my light horse. My general was with my only unit of cavalry not engaged. It and had fled a charge from an Indian elephant. A couple of turns later that elephant did get into the fight, but that was after the cataphracts had killed the first units they were fighting. So things were going ok on that flank.

In the end the Indian general could see the writing on the wall, as the central pikes were slowing doing their stuff. Even the central cataphract had been committed vs a unit of bowmen. So he threw forward the last elephant and support at my medium foot on the left. They did ok in the end, as I had thought but it was too late. I did not even need the next turn to bring in the flank charge of my waiting medium swordsmen. The pike blocks had continued to push through the center and big holes had opened up. The shock of the elephants had not been enough vs the massed pikes. The pikes had ground a victory in the center with help from the right flank. Speaking of that side, the swirling mass around cataphracts continued, and the cats survived even when fighting vs. elephants long enough to give me the victory.

So a good victory for me in this one. The terrain really did not help the Indians in this battle. I think they were hoping for the woods to break up my battle line. As it fell in the end it really helped not hindered me. Having the cavalry advantage to come around the flank, added to the strength and durability of the cataphracts also helped. I doubt I would have had the same success if using normal shock cavalry. This enabled me to take on the Indian foot in a sustained fight even with the elephants around.

In Conclusion

So in the end I came second in the competition! Two wins and draw is a result I am VERY happy with. I also hope you enjoyed the read and the background. A large amount of luck was involved in the wins but isn’t that always the case. Still it was a fun set of games and my opponents were all great and played well.

So if anyone has doubts about trying ADLG tournament’s I would say have a go – they are fun and friendly events. I hear next years Hotlead ADLG tournament will be crusades themed…Time for me to start looking at the lead pile.

Posted in 15mm, After Action Report, Ancients | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hotlead 2023

So another Hotlead is done and gone. The convention goes from Friday night to Sunday in Stratford, Ontario, Canada but as usual I just went for the Saturday. This year I played the in the ADLG tournament, which was great fun but I will try to do a separate post on that. As a punter I can say it seemed as well organized as usual and everything looked very smooth/professional. I’m sure there were some gremlins for the ‘red shirted’ organizers but from my viewpoint it all went well.

I believe the convcention was busy and heard the hotel had sold out of rooms. There did not seem to be many (if any) empty gaming tables which was good. There also seemed a good number of vendors selling figs, books and other things. The bring and buy was back this year as well. Last year they did not run one as we were just coming out of COVID. I was restrained and did not go mad in that or purchases in general. I still picked up some decent deals – mostly 15mm figures. The bring and buy is the big source of the money raised for charity so I hope it did well.

I did a lot of socializing and walking around looking at the various games when not at the tournament. It is always good to catch up with various people I do not see that often. There was a great variety of games being put on. Note, every game in the event other than the tournaments are participation games, where the shows attendees play the games. Pre sign up is allowed to some level but there are always places available on the day. As well as the ADLG tournament there was also a bolt action and DBA tournaments running on Saturday. I did not get chance to check out the Bolt Action one but the DBA one looked well attended. There is an area for RPG’s etc but I did not make it to that area.

There were a lot of really cool looking games run on Saturday. Some of the stand out tables which caught my eye were:

  • Nimitz the new game from Sam Mustafa being run,
  • Various areoplane games – at least one Check Your 6 game (run by Keith a great GM) which looked very nice, as well as several others using different rules, include one with telescopic poles for the planes. real 3D altitude and everything.
  • Chariot racing in the coliseum,
  • Small boat action in a big scale using Warlords Cruel seas.
  • Multiple big robot games – both Battle-tech and Gamma Wolves games were on offer,
  • A big English civil war game using Pike and Shotte rules in 28mm looked really cool,
  • A great looking 2mm Too The Strongest game – with some real guides and stages examples for how to make your own 2mm bases (at some point I may even try that we will see),
  • Multiple WW2 and even a WW1 games using Bolt Action, Flames of War and other rules sets,
  • Sharpe Practice on a nice looking table,
  • A great looking Zulu wars game using Ospreys “The men who would be kings” rules. I believe in that the Zulu’s had a surprise victory over the British,
  • There were Spaceship games as well – they always look interesting but never really draw me to them,
  • A big ancients battle that had a huge hill with loads of troops fighting on the steep slopes. I berlieve that was using DBM rules.
  • A ‘Saturday morning Cartoon heroes’ game with such characters as He-man, Thundarr the Barbarian and Skeletor fighting it out over a big table of terrain,
  • A 12 or so player multi-player chaotic game in the pulp era with loads of figures.

There were many others, so I am sorry if I missed them as they all looked so cool. I did not have chance to get a good look at all of them in enough detail. I have to thank the organizers of the event. Also, all the GM hosting games (and running the tournaments), as well as the attendees for again making Hotlead a great event for me and the others who attended. It was, as it always has been, a great day of gaming and chatting with like minded people.

So, I’ll finish this post off with a collection of pictures I took of various tables on Saturday. I did not catch all the tables but here at least is a sample. Note, if you click on the picture you should see it a full size.

Posted in After Action Report, Review | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

War of the Roses – Pike blocks

One of the optional troops which can be used in a Wars of the Roses army of pretty much any rules set is some mercenary pikemen. The ADLG lists have these as do Blood Barrons.

I had a bunch of figures from a bring and buy stall purchase from some point in the past and thought I should get them ready for the table. I think these might be Rank and File miniatures, as some of the other figures in the same purchase were from them. But thats a guess. That said, these figures are at least 20 years old when I started work on them, as some of the paper in the packaging was from the late 90’s. Hey but as models they still are perfectly ok and will get used now.

Rather than base them as DBx – i..e 3 or 4 figs to a base I decided I would do them specifically for ADLG. So they are all on a 40 x 40mm base. I managed to get 5 full bases out of the figures that I had in the group.

As these are at best French/low countries troops and more likely mercenaries, (even if paid for by French supporters) in Wars of the Roses I wanted to do the in fairly bright and colorful attire. They also have a much more random style of colours and fashion than many of the other troops I have done for this period. After all, the mercenaries paid for their own cloths and outfits.They likely did not have much else other than wine, women and song to spend their hard earn’t cash upon anyway.

The models came with long but VERY bendy metal pikes and so I replaced those with dressmakers pins. These are much firmer – the only negative is they are also much sharper. Some super glue though means that these stay in place and look suitably ‘pikey’. It just means I have to be a little careful reaching for them at times.

I also wanted to ensure that each base had a different set of poses. You can see from the photo’s the front rank is mostly kneeling in a defensive pose. Behind those, most bases have a rank with some pikes at 45 degrees and the rear ranks are more at rest/vertical pikes. This seemed better than having a base of just 1 style of fig or mixing them up in other ways. It is after all how pikes fought but may make closing with opponents toys a little more interesting at times.

Each base is packed with figs as well. There are 9 or 10 figures to a base. This does mean they look busy but also give the right impression of tightly packed pike block. To be fair, if I had a few more figs I likely would have gone for 8 per base and added another base of figs but that was not to be. I thought about adding some flags to the bases but decided against it. They are generic mercenary Pike blocks. If/when I do more specific ones I likely will use flags on those bases.

These were painted with a mix of normal colours and contrast paints. I do like the eclectic mix of all kinds of fashion and helmets in the units. These should be enough for most late mercenary medieval pike blocks really. The rise of the true Swiss/Landsknechts at the end of the period means those should really have different models. But these are great as generic mercenary pike I think and hope these guys should be perfect for the mid 15th Cent Wars of the Roses.

So there we are more figs ready for the table for this project.

Posted in 15mm, Medieval | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hobble Season 15 Review & Playoff games

Season 15 of the Toronto Blood bowl league Hobble (Hogtown is an old nickname of Toronto) is just finishing up so I thought I would do a quick post on that. This is the first season I have been playing in this group but I have been impressed with all the people involved. The organization was crisp and clear which helped as a newbie. All the players and people I have encountered have been very friendly as well. So first, thanks to all of them and especially my opponents for making it a very enjoyable league to be part of – even when I lost.

For those who do not know Blood bowl is an ‘Fantasy Football’ style game created by GW and plays really well. It has an in built league and skill development system. The game can be a little ‘rough’ though – you have to be willing to loose games as poor dice luck can easily spoil your game plans. At some point that will happen to everyone, even the very best players. The game is set up with every important move having a risk/impact so there is quite a bit of skill as well as a lot of luck in the game. That said it also works in your favour, as that bad die roll can hit anyone anytime and so it does teach you to never give up. Overall I like the game and it’s a solid system. Not all teams are truly balanced but it is far better balanced than many miniature figs games when it comes to setting up fair fights. It also has a inducement system to somewhat balance uneven games – but nothing is perfect. Added to this Blood Bowl can be played at bars and board game cafes. which makes the gaming locations much more flexible.

The league format for the season was 10 normal matches – one every 2 weeks over 20 weeks. Teams could start with a few open games under their belt (which helps some teams get going) but there was a starting TV limit. The scoring was like soccer – 3 pts for a win and 1 for a draw and I believe we had 16 players. At the end of that there would be 2 playoffs – the championship for the top 8 and the chumpionship for the bottom 8. So everyone got to play in the playoffs. Really it’s a competition for fun etc after all.

I took Skaven (Rats) and called my team the Washingroom Ratskins. I did have a couple of open games but not that many. Regular followers will have seen a few game reports here from the season as well. Skaven are a fast team meaning, the they are forgiving on the occasional poorly placed player. But they have low armour and so tend to be more squishy than other teams – luckily their standard players are not too expensive but their skill players are pricey. I have played before but I was rusty and was never the best player anyway.

In the end I did ok in the league. My target was to a have more wins/draws than losses. Yes not the biggest goal but a realistic one. I did that by far, finishing with 4 wins, 4 draws and 2 losses. I was very happy with that. That got me 9th in the league in the end on a tie breaker as others had the same number of points but they had more wins. So, I was off to the chumpionship playoffs. Not great, being in the top half would be better, but as I mentioned it’s still 3 playoff games for a win.

So onto the playoffs and here is a quick write up of each game.

Ratskins vs. Eleventh Local (Ilan)

My first knockout game was vs. an Elven Union team (the Eleventh Local). I find these elves can be hard blood bowl teams to play (both with and against). They are have the same issues as the Skaven but have more expensive, but more agile players. I was also giving up a load of inducements in this game and was quite surprised there was no star player assisting the elves in the game, This turned out to be a fast game – with the final score 3 to 1 in my favour. The weather had started perfect and the Ratskins team scored early as they had first possession of the ball. This did required the longest pass that I have tried all season, with the throw covering nearly half of the pitch. This was required as the Ratskins superstar thrower Payton Ratling (yes really you name all your players) was under pressure from the elves at that point. The Ratskins then defended as they kicked the ball to the elves. The Ratskins managed to get the ball from them and score again before the end of the first half. So I had good lead at half time and luck was with the rats as they had injured/KO’ed more of the elven players than had been in return.

The elves had the ball to start the second half and did a score in the early turns. This gave them a chance at least to get the ball off the Ratskins and tie the game up. It did not help them that the weather had closed as a blizzard hit the game. This slowed the game down and stoped long throws. The Ratskins got the ball after the elven score and they tried to slow the game down in the nasty weather. They moved slowly up the field to score and putting the game out of the elves reach. The elven team had taken a bit of a beating as well – as they had several players injured in the game. This had not been a lucky season for them generally injury wise and this game continued that. Interesting, the Elves used 11 rerolls in through the game, but it still did not help them overcome the Ratskins. So a win over possibly tricky opponents. For the Ratskins the negative was their star defensive gutter runner was out for the next game.

Sem-finals: Ratskins vs. Drakira’s Blades (Mathias)

This was a game vs. a Dark elf team (Drakira’s Blades). I do not have a great record against Dark Elves. They are tougher than the Elven Union and generally as fast as the Skaven other than the gutter runners. The difference is they do not have a traditional throwing game but are more of a running team. The Blades had the ball first. It looked a little grim for the Ratskins by the middle of the first half, as they were by then down to 1 gutter runner still active (and it was in the reserves so safe this drive). The elves targeted and bashed the Ratskins skill players where they could. Meanwhile the elf armour looked to be made of inch thick iron and I was doing nothing to them. The Blades moved slowly and confidently down the pitch to score in the first half. All the Ratskins could do was to apply pressure to try to avoid the Blades stalling too long ( i.e. wasting time to not give me me enough time to score when I got the ball) which they had tried to do. So the Ratskins had 3 turns to score before half time. The kick off event was a timing change by the ref’s so that became 4 turns to score. It was very close and I needed all 4 turns but the Ratskins managed that, so it was 1-1 at the half.

A key for the second half was that the Blades were down a KO’ed witch elf who eve with 2 bud kegs could not be revived (rolled 1 on a 2+ roll to get her back inn the game twice). So they were down a skill player. The Ratskins due to their large team still managed to field 11 players in the second half.

In that second half the Ratskins got the ball first and played a steady game. They scored after 3 or 4 turns using a standard cage and move down the field approach. But my dice had got hot and the elven team started too thin out with injuries. So it was a reduced Blades team that got the ball with a chance to tie up the game. They moved fast to score. Even though they lost the ball in the drive due to an active defense from the Ratskins, they recovered it and quickly scored in return. So there were now just 2 turns for the Ratskins to score for the win or lose the ball and have the elves win. The weather had turned into a blizzard as well which did not help the defenders, especially with their thinned numbers. My hot blocking was still happening and the Ratskins played a very unusual style for them in the last 2 turns. They bashed a hole through the opposing team and moved confidently up for a go ahead score in the final turn of the game. So in the end the Ratskins got a hard won 3-2 victory from the game. Nothing is as given in Blood Bowl and this was much a tighter game than I would have liked.

Chumpionship Final Ratskins vs. Dirty Dozen (Tim)

Well I made the final! Who would have thought! Not me for sure.

The Dirty Dozen are a Chaos Renagade team. They are a mix up of are a bash team with some skilled players. Luckily for me, one of their heavy hitting players the Rat Ogre was injured for this game. Unfortunately, although I had 1 my star gutter runner back, another of the skilled gutter runners out. So both team were down a significant player. I still was giving up some endorsements as the expensive Skaven team as I had a bench of extra players to absorb casualties makes the Skaven team worth a lot.

There was a blizzard which slowed both teams down a little at the start of the game. The Dirty Dozen got the ball first and in a slow steady drive moved the ball down to score in the final turn of the half. There were multiple attempts by the Ratskins to get the ball in this drive. The ball was knocked loose three times, but favorable bounces/positioning allowed the dirty dozen to recover each time. In the end they still needed multiple die rolls (hits and dodges) to score. So 1 was down at the half for the Ratskins but had put up a decent defense. What was more surprising was that neither team had had a lot of success of clearing the field of players. One Ratskin player had been injured but some medical treatment he had been made ready to be back in the game.

The Ratskins got the ball to start the second half but the Dirty dozen had a blitz. So they moved first and put more pressure on the Ratskins. So rather than my more traditional play I had the Ratskins cage up defensively around the ball carrier. They then moved slowly down the field. The blizzard still kept players from doing pushing extra moves/actions etc too much. The Ratskins also had a lot more success with hits this half, but there were still no injuries. Still all the big guys of the Dirty dozen were knocked out in this drive and trying to recover for the next one. I did not delay and scored around midway through this half. This evened up the game and left it all open for the last few turns.

All the big guys from the Dirty Dozen were back for the next drive, and finally the weather changed and the sun came out. The Dirty Dozen got the ball but could not cage up enough. This let the Ratskins rush in to try swarm the ball carrier. It was not enough though as he escaped and handed the ball to another player (a Renegade Human Lineman) who ran down towards the Ratskin endzone. If he could hold onto the ball he could score next turn and win, as there would be to no time left for the Ratskins to even the game up. But two of the Ratskins players could get to the ball carrier and did. One was Eli Ratling who knocked the ball carrier to the ground and stunned him. With his final effort Eli (the second skaven thrower) then scooped up the loose ball. So now everything had turned around, as the Ratskins had one turn left to score – could the Dirty Dozen stop them and force extra time?

The Dirty Dozen got two players on Eli Ratling and threw the hit but could not get him to the ground in their turn. This allowed the Ratskins to open a hole for Eli to dodge out and get the ball to their Star gutter runner who ran it in for the touchdown. So the Eli Ratling my alternate thrower of the Ratskins, who played second fiddle to Payton Ratling all season came good in the last game and gave them the go ahead touch down!

The game was not over though as the Dirty Dozen had a one turn touchdown threat. However, the Ratskins kick was in the right place for them and it made that play impossible. Nuffle the god of Blood bowl was obviously looking down more favorably on the skaven in the end vs. the Chaos gods of the. Dirty Dozen.

So the Ratskins win the Chumpionship. I must admit I was quite surprised and in my opinion lucky to win this game. I thought I was on the ropes I the first half but my dice rolls were better i the second. Considering the number of hits the actual injuries on either side were low which I think helped me as well.

So there we arm my summary of the league. Overall, I had a lot of fu playing the games and in the league. I would recommend anyone who enjoys campaigns and/or blood bowl to give their local league a try. You may be surprised how much fun you will have.

Posted in 28mm, After Action Report, BloodBowl, Board game, Review | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Dungeon Bowl – Quick review and game report

One of the local guys (Trevor), is going to Adepticon this year to play in their Dungeon Ball event. I took the opportunity to give him a practice game. That allowed me a chance to play the game as well, which I have been hoping to do for a while. I have had Dungeon Ball for a while and so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to try it out. We use the Adepticon format so he could practice that. I created a College of Death team of 1,150k with 32 star player points of skills added to it. That is a typical type of set up for tournaments.

I thought I do a quick write up of the game and my thoughts of the system after a first game. I must say going in I like Blood Bowl as a system so that should be clear before I start. Dungeon Bowl is just a variant of Blood Bowl. Although closely linked (and you can use the same figures) they are slightly different systems though. The concept of Dungeon bowl is that different wizards have teams of players who run around a dungeon in a competition to see who is the best. This is opposed to them actually doing gang fights etc. So basically rather than a playing field of Blood Bowl the game is played in corridors and rooms of subterranean layers.

The difference between this and normal Blood Bowl is the first, you just have to score win. So no turn limits etc. The second thing is the ball starts in randomly in one of 6 chests (the other 5 have bombs in them). Your players have to open a chest to find out what is in there and once the ball is found then run it to the opposing teams starting zone. So the game has 2 phases, the first an explorations stage where both sides are trying to find the ball. The second is once the ball is found where one team are trying to move the ball to win while the other is defending against that/trying to steal the ball to win themselves. To add another element there are teleport pads around the dungeon to make movement more open. These allow quick movement but you never know where you will end up, as you roll to see which pad the player reappears upon. With all things in blood bowl there is a chance you may end up failing the transport and disappearing for the whole game! Teams also have a magic sponge to recover 1 KO’ed player a turn. So really only injuring players takes them out of the game for good.

The dungeon is laid out as the players like – we used one of the layouts in the book. You then put the chests (one of which contains a ball – the other 5 a trap bomb) and the 6 teleport squares around the dungeon. Once that was done we started the game.

The teams are different in Dungeon Bowl vs Blood bowl. They each have a magical theme – mine was undead aka the College of Death. I had a 12 player team, with a Mummy, a Golem, 4 Ghouls, 2 Wights, 2 Wraiths and a couple of Skeletons. I had 3 rerolls and had mostly used my SPP to give all the ghouls either block or wrestler skill. That made them the core of my team – being fast and good fighters, if a little low on armour. My aim was to use the big guys (the Mummy and Golem) in defense and the Wights and Wraiths to attack while the Ghouls were to take on the ball carrier or take the ball and move it to score. A game starts with a team 6 players in the dungeon and the others teleport into random locations as the game goes on. That makes fora. fun dynamic as well as you. are never sure where the extra players are coming on the toard. So I started with my slowest players on the field as below.

Trevor used the College of Metal – a very punchy team with plenty of hard hitting players but not much speed or dodge/agility. This was a lot of strength players in his team with if I remember right, 2 each of Orc Blizters, Orc Bigun’s, Bloodseakers, Human Blizters, and Imperial Bodyguards. It was rounded out with a couple of goblins. He had a lot of guard skills on the various players. He started different to me and had his fastest players in the dungeon to start with.

The first turns went as planned with my team slowly spreading out and the first additional team member teleporting in. We soon found how fun and influential that was – as the random players appearing changes tactics quickly. The dungeon looks big but the teleporting meant that a couple of turns a safe area could suddenly have an opposing player or two in it,

The game ‘spread out’ all across the dungeon as little fights happened around the unopened chests or teleport portals as players came in. As each chest was opened there was a bomb and players got knocked over. In the end one of my Wights was injured by the trap and did not regenerate. So, it took time to find the ball as we had not yet opened the chest with the ball in it. This did allow most of the players to get into the playing field. We soon got down to just 3 chests left and the ball was in one of them, the other 2 were bombs.

The ball was found eventually in the chest close to Trevors starting zone. He had left that alone and moved onto ones further away at the start of the game. That had seemed a good tactic initially but as the game went on it had left a risk for me to get an open player to try to open the chest and if the ball was there run in and score. So he had moved a couple of players back to protect his base and to check out that chest. At the same time, it looked like the ‘big fight’ and pushing match would happen in a tunnel much closer to my end zone as there seemed loads of both teams heavy guys there.

But the ball focused us on the other side, and a couple of injuries and KO’s by my guys helped clear that corridor. We were both surprised how quickly the focus of the game could change from one bit of the dungeon to another. The teleport pads bring new players (and recovered KO’s) randomly which means suddenly you need to focus on other areas. The ball obviously is a key focus though in this second stage of the game.

Trevor moved the ball into the center of the dungeon and tried to protect it, but I had players all around that group. He kept slowly moving the ball carrier up to try to force progress. He seemed to be doing well until I got a lucky after series of die rolls. I managed to get the ball carrier on the ground and the ball bounced to an open square. I used a Ghoul to run in and pickup the ball then dodge out to relative safety. Trevor in his turn decided to not do a risky blitz attack of my ball carrying Ghoul but try to try to cage it in for next turn. That gave me a chance and with again some luck I managed to run the Ghoul out of the scrum and into the open – far enough away from all his players that they could not get to him. So then it was an open run in for the Ghoul to score for the win!

Overall, I have to say I really liked the game. From this play and reading the rules I would say it does not have the same ‘league style’ appeal and growth interest of normal Blood Bowl for me. Yes it can be done but there are not the same level of inducements etc that normal blood bowl has. That said in this ‘resurrection tournament build a team’ format the game is quick, dynamic and great fun. Thats is more how I’d like to play it.

The game itself was surprising for changes in pace, as the focus went from one area to another quickly and those areas changed over time. But they were related as well. The fast Undead (yes you do not hear that that often) really helped me and I suspect Trevor will be rethinking his skills for the tournament. The Metal team do not have the speed to react when things went wrong for them when facing a fast team. I had got lucky and injured a few players which really helped me as well. So there is definitely skill and tactics to learn and get better at in the game. That said the game play really ‘tells a story’ while being played. I did enjoy our game and will gladly play again when I get a chance.

This gets my vote for a fun game and one for people who like Blood Bowl especially to try. For the record our game took roughly 2 hours to play. It is a different feel and style of game to normal Blood Bowl but uses the same core rules. It also gives good excuse for a battle in a dungeon while not being a ‘home invasion, murder and theft’ style game which I really like. That style of game is fine and promoted by games such as D&D and Dungeon Saga but this is a more light hearted Dungeon based bash.

Posted in 28mm, After Action Report, BloodBowl, Board game, Review | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

15mm Ruins

Ok something a little different this week. Compared to the last few posts this is really more of a quickie. as well. It is back to some bits of terrain which I slowly keep working on. In fact this post has 2 buildings. Both claim to be 15mm but the they are more just oddly scaled really. One thing I find is that some of this pre-made resin terrain is not to ground scale at all. I believe they are from JR Miniatures who are now out of business and it was a common thing for some of their models to be on the smaller side.

This ruined church/chapel is obviously aimed for WW2 but could work for anything post medieval really. You would have to ignore the 2 industrial barrels on the side of the church though. That is a weird place to store them and seems more likely added to put this model in WW2 than anything else.

Really this is on the small side IMO – so maybe would work for 6mm just as well as 15’s but you have ignore those barrels and the windows. Otherwise not many 15mm figs will fit in that building footprint, but at the same time the windows are too big for 6mm. I must admit I do not really like this model ad I have no idea where I got it from. I likely got it cheap somewhere. It’s just too small to be realistic for any scale. But for an area piece it will work and gives the impression of a church.

Next we have an even more ruined building. This one is another small building model but at least could be pretty much anything. The building is really small if being used 1 to 1 scale games, but for many games where an area’s is the terrain and the model is just for visual effects it will work.

The nice thing with this is that with if not having anything modern this can even work for an ancient village in ADLG or such. It’s just some ruined stone walls after all. Again, not a spectacular piece but it does what is needed. I painted the ground greens for both of these as that should fit in with most of the gaming I do in 15mm.

So there we are a couple more terrain bits put into the done box for use this week.

Posted in 15mm, Terrain, World War 2 | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Blood Bowl – Hallway Horrors team

After doing the Beach Boos late last year, I had an issue in that the GW box is missing 2 Ghouls for the shambling undead team. I did not want to buy another box just for 2 extra figures. I guess that is the GW hope. but I did not want to do that. However, I have in the lead pile of to be done projects a box of the Necromantic Horrors team. This team also includes 2 Ghouls in it…

So, I decided I would paint this up using the same basic colours scheme as the Beach Boos. This allows me to merge the players – giving my 4 Ghouls for the Beach Boos, but also more undead figures for this team for reserves (for either team). That way I gain 2 full 16 player roasters (as the Necromantic Horrors team has all the needed positional players in a single box) by using the 2 boxes and painting them in the same style and with the same style of basing. Thus, my Necromantic Horrors team has come into being.

I am sure I am not the first, nor the last person to do this. It works and allows 2 teams full teams from the 2 boxes. It’s not possible for me to field both 16 players teams at the same time but who cares. I have more than enough teams to not need to do this. As an added bonus though this also mean these are a perfect group for Dungeon Ball. I have enough players of all types from boith teams to field a college of Death team from these. It’s great when a plan comes together.

As an aside, I believe I may have another undead team of lead figs from 3rd party producers somewhere in the lead pile – I think… Anyway, here you can see the full Necromantic Horrors team. I am calling them for now the Hallway Horrors – after the colours scheme which is somewhat Xmas themed by accident more than design.

So to the detailed close up pictures. The first positional players are the big guys – the Flesh Golems. I worked to make these two very different as you can see. They both are the basic same model with a different head but they have come out quite different. Overall, I’m happy with both but the lighter flesh one looks more striking to me.

Next we have the Wraiths. Basically Ghosts and with my colour scheme. I wanted to really keep the green/red theme going. So these are green. I did find these models difficult to put together and especially to remove the joint lines. I managed that but they were a pain to do. Was tempted to try to do a red one but just did not think that would look right/work. So they are both greenish – I thought about a white for the sheets but it just does not go with the rest of the team the same way. These are not great models. from GW. considering the undead models they have in the range but I have them and so they will work.

Next, are the two Ghouls. I numbered these 15 and 16, so I can use them in the Beach Boos team. See my plan is at work. These have different heads, so again, although the same basic model they do look different. One of the other thing you may notice is all the rest of the models have striped jerseys. That is not a big thing but does make a little difference between the Necromantic Horror and Shambling Undead player models. The Horror models have jerseys while the shambling undead really had more armour items. With the same colour scheme they all match well though.

The Horror team only has 2 Ghouls but also has 2 werewolves. These are fast, nasty players and just as with the flesh golems I wanted to try different things out on the two near identical models. So I went for a lighter and darker versions. This time I prefer the darker version. The lighter one is ok but does not pop quite so much to my eyes.

This team has Zombie linemen. I tried hard to make these all look different by poising them in different ways as well as painting them different. You can see the results below. Posing the two on the left was easier than the ones on the right. Still they all seem to work and then scarecrow look is a fun one.

Lastly, are 2 more zombies. I showed these sideways to show off the different poses. They are fun models so it’s interesting to try this. The one of the left is a bit odd – but heck it’s a zombie trying to look big ad scary…

So, there we are. My second GW ‘undead’ team. This now allows me to mix and match between the two team. I have not used this team yet – but I believe they are quite a strong team from my. understanding. I may in the end use these more, as they seem a little more interesting than the shambling undead but we will see.

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Ancient German – Command and Light Horse

This posts finishing my posts showing my Ancient German force. Here are the command stands and some light horse I did for the force as well. First of all are three command stands. I tried to do these all in bright colours so it is clear they are the big guys. After all whats is the point being the leader of a tribal army if you do not have the bling to wear to the battle!

The figures are a combination of Old Glory 15mm and Forged in Battle. Below are another 4 bases of commanders.These are more than enough for any force. I can use the different stands for different games as well so that is part of the reason for having a few more of them than needed for ADLG. You may notice that the shields on these guys do match up to the shield colours on the foot bases I have shown previously. So, I have at least been consistent in making them match up work.

Lastly, for this post I have a couple of bases of light horse with Javelins. These are needed for some options in the list. They also round out the choices I have when making the German force. The reality is these will just get mixed into the Gaul/British forces but I had the figures so why not paint them up.

Well that is the Ancient German force all done now. So I can move on to other things but they give me another load of figures for the period.

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Ancient German – Final Heavy Foot

OK another quick post today. Here we have the final set of German heavy foot bases – just 4 this time. This time you can see I went with yellow and white shields. Yes I have tried to keep to vaguely the same shield colours with different combinations so they do somewhat match.

Again, these have a mix of of clothing etc. which you can see from the back. I am not sure the makers of these models. Still they all go well and mix so as to give a decent mass of tribesmen you would not want to meet if they were not your friends.

With this last bunch of Germans (not sure if that’s the collective noun) I can now show a picture of all of the heavy foot bases I have. So here it is below. These make a big force for ADLG and in some ways an easy one to use. The deployment is the key to their success or failure – well along with good die rolls of course. The problem is once set up the armies lack of control with impetuous foot and low command value generals means massive reordering is not an option for them. Still they are good fun to play and a nice army to have ready.

So there we are. All the German foot is now done.

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Ancient German – White Shield heavy foot

Another quick post this time. Here we have some more German heavy foot. This time another 6 ADLG bases of heavy Swordsmen. They all have white shields to differentiate them from the other bases. This allows for an easy way to indicate troops in specific commands or elite vs ordinary ones.

Yes the Germans are a little one dimensional in their forces. Mostly impetuous foot troops. As with other posts here are close up pictures of the bases to show what they look like.

This shot from the back shows the mixture of cloaks, tunics and bear chested guys on each base. I purposely have done these guys with slightly brighter colours as well. The white shields imply a better quality to me at least.

The next set of 3 contain a base with a flag. Again this was found and scaled down from an internet image, printed and then touched up. The bases on these follow the standard I have done with the other bases for this force.

That means these bases definitely work for Gauls and Dacians as well as Germans. The shields do limit them to before the fall of the Roman Empire but that is ok with me.

Posted in 15mm, Ancients | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments