Vir's Archive

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Moving Armies Part 4:The Results of the First Leg

A Pre-packaged Army for GenCon '11

Moving Armies Part 4: Made it to North America - now did my army as well?

So, I'm in Texas now. The trip from Africa was a bit hectic due to a family emergency making us leave about 5 days early. Still, we made it, and so did my little GenCon '11 Warmachine contingent. I've been home for a while now, played a couple games, and now know what I forgot, what I should have brought, and what I am pleased is still with me.

P3 Bag - Not Just for Paints

Due to space constraints, I used the P3 bag to transport my Khador in anticipation of our annual GenCon '11 tourney. I had to make some hard decisions on who/what I would bring since I couldnt bring my full Battlefoam Warmachine bag (which travels nicely and holds all my Warmachine figs). The P3 bag was a stopgap measure because we had very limited space (what, with a 8mo old baby and all) and adding a carry-on that was not carrying babywipes and diapers was not an option. So, the decision was to put the smaller P3 bag into the luggage and take my army that way.

Top layer of foam (standard WM inf) in the bag (pic with it removed is below)

To its credit, the P3 bag fits in a large-size suitcase like a champ. Its small enough to allow a lot of other stuff go in. This, alone, makes it a good choice for gamers who travel a lot. You can sae your carry-ons for your laptop bag and maybe a backpack full of clothes and books (what I normally do). The downside, of course, is that other people handle the luggage (colloquially called "throwers") and breakage is more likely now that it is out of your loving/obsessive hands.

Lots of infantry - only a few spaces.

I used a bunch of my custom foam from my Warmachine bag in the P3 bag to make it a bit more robust and protective for the models. I could have used the Battlefoam standard warjack trays, but I knew the P3 bag would be thrown around a lot by baggage handlers. So, I went with the big, thick tray I had made (detailed in Moving Armies Pt 3).

The top layer of foam is behind, to give you an idea of how the custom foam fits.

I used a bunch of terrycloths to protect the larger 'jacks and make sure they didnt bounce around a lot. I doubled-up a bunch of the models to maximize carrying space. Again, there is an abvous trade-off here - more models, but at the cost of more breakage or paint chipping.

Bowed, broken... but available (at least)

Surprisingly, the army made it with little breakage. Kudos to Battlefoam and their bag. The Battlefoam trays did what they were supposed to do. The only major issues were with the two Talons (merc jacks) and Fenris that I brought. The Talons were the easier of the major issues to address - both had arm issues and the tips of their spears were bent. Luckily, repairs look fairly routine.

You can see where the spears started to bend.

Fenris? Ye gods. I did everything I could to protect that model and even then he still broke in three places. I'll need to reglue him and hope for the best. The pissy think is that his horse had a bunch of black paint, especially on the mane, rub off. The model is sealed so I dont know how/why this happened. Its a fairly large repaint, and I have been holding off - but I cant avoid it.

So badass, even his pretend horse can't handle him!

The rest of the models are good, excpeting some minor paint chipping. I was concerned doubling-up a bunch of the models would lead to more paints chips, but, happily, very little occured. Of the infantry, there is no breakage that I can see. Happy day.

A Plea to PP

I love the Fenris model and his rules, so I'll keep bringing him. But jeebus kreeist, he is impossible to transport for anything longer than a mile. Privateer? If you are reading this, please think about doing a more stable resculpt, please. Please? Please!

See the wear on the tail? Ugh.

Model Choice

Lets talk a little about the models I brought. I ended up bringing a smattering of Khador (mostly focused on the stuff I know I like to play) and my new Mercs (which I have not taken to a game yet).

The Behemoth is on the right

Interesting note/

In dealing with limited model choice Warmahordes really shines. You can bring some core infantry, a handful of solos, some jacks... and a butt-load of Warcasters. The nature of Warmahordes is that each army plays different with different warcasters - meaning you can get a lot of play variation by skimping on the units, but loading on the casters. This makes Warmachine and Hordes an ideal game for traveling gamers.

Interesting note off/

Okay, here is what I brought:

Infantry and Solos:

full unit of Croes (to proxy as Kayazy as well),
two sets of Doom Reavers,
Kell (to proxy as a marksman as well),
Mechanics (4 man)
Kayazy Underboss (he is my universal solo proxy)
Great Bears
(whats left of) Fenris
The Dog


Beast 09
Magnetized Plastic Khador Jack (Destoryer, Juggernaaut, Decimator, and Marauder)
Magetized Torch (so he can play as any of the above magnetized options)
two Talons
two Renegades


Old Witch and Scrappy

Looking Back - What I Brought and Why

There were two areas I really agonized over - Alexia and her crew and the 'jack selection. To play Alexia right, you need a lots of zombies and thralls. As much as I love the unit, it simply took up too much space. I couldn't justify taking up to half my infantry slots in the bag with Alexia. I really, really wanted to... but couldn't.

A selection of infantry and casters, snug in their beds. They're all doubled-up.

The jacks were an issue because Beast and the Behemoth are so big, but so darned effective. I added Torch and the Magnetized jack because of their versatility and relative space efficiency. I also really wanted to bring Drago and a Kodiak, but could not fit them without changing the warjack tray and/or leaving out Beast and the Behemoth. Drago got dropped because he isnt versatile enough. I dont play with Berzerkers and Vlad is only one caster - meaning Drago would get limited play. The Kodiak ended up being left behind simply because it was the odd man out.

A view of the custom foam in action (I talked about the custom foam in a previous blog)

I kept Magus' smaller jacks for two reasons. First, they are small and fit in odd places in the bag - making them space efficient. Two, I really want to try my mercs out since they offer a very different playstyle than I am used to, and GenCon is the best chance to do actually play with them before we are off to Sri Lanka. So, they made it in.

Magnetized 'Jacks are the weapons of choice for the gamer-on-the-go

Additionally, I also had a Destroyer, Juggernaut and two other khador magnetized jacks I left behind. The Destroyer and Juggy are from the new Khador plastic box set and are so darned wide I am not sure where the heck they are supposed to go. Again, another argument for magnetizing - if only for more efficient storage.

What I Wish I brought:

Looking back, I wish I brought either Drago or the Kodiak. They both fill similar roles in my play style (aggressive, vanguard jack), and without them I am having to train myself in new tactics. I have an odd tourney this Tues (25 points, cage match, mangled metal) and wwant to bring either of them for the format (Kodiak for the two open fists, Drago because I want to run Vlad).

Otherwise, considering my limited space and what I plan to do, this was a solid bring.

Stuff I Forgot that You shouldn't:

See? I brought dice... but thats about it. Dumb.

I talked about this in an earlier blog post, so I want belabor the issue. That said, I forgot my core rulebook, the faction cards, and the templates. The faction cards are the ones that hurt. Templates are annoying, but everyone has a set, so I have to look sheepish and borrow a et each time I play (not fun).

Recommendation: Comics (July '11)

The Story is Where its At...

So, during my vacation I have been reading a lot of comics. Not sure why, as I have a backlog of novels to read - but I guess I am in a mood or something.

I have two tpb/graphic novels to recommend based on some great dialog and amazing storylines:

DMZ is amazingly good. Its not funny (except in a darkly humorous way, and usually unintentionally). Its not beautiful. It is haunting and a damn compelling story. Its the story of Matty Roth, a rookie photojournalist that gets dropped into the middle of a warzone. The catch? This warzone is NYC after a militia gets the jump on the good ole USA and creates a defacto secession in New Jersey.

I initally stayed away from DMZ because the character concept of a photojournalist really didnt grab me and I thought the story would be preachy. There is an element of preachiness, but its subdued and takes a backseat to the very engaging story. As many of you know, I am a military-phile and would not enjoy a story that denigrates the military. DMZ doesnt do that, but it does try to take an unflinching look at what war in a modern post-apoco U.S. might look like. DMZ walks a tightrope between depicting the realities of a warzone and telling a comic-style story we want to read - and does so with aplomb. Its an amazing feat, really, and worth picking up.

The art is solid, but not great - though the pages are on that old style comic paper so it feels a bit different than all the high-glossy comics we have grown accustomed to (its more... substantial... to pull a phrase out of the air). Its a great read, and there are a TON of TPBs so you should be flipping pages for a while.

My next recommendation is the SPAWN: Endgame collection. I've been an on-again-off-again fan of Spawn since issue three way back in the day. I've enjoyed the mature storylines and the growth of the setting as the line developed. As Spawn moved away from its superhero cousins, it became a much stronger line. Who can forget the Billy Kincaid story? That was cutting-edge for the time, and would still find an audiance were it written today.

Well, the Spawn continuity gets a major kick in the pants with Endgame. Al Simmons is out of the picture, and a new soul is selected to be bonded with the Spawn costume and prepare the legions of hell. However, due to some other major setting shifts, this Spawn is left to his own devices without any guidance from Hell. Again, its a good story carried by some great writing. A word of warning - dont expect to be spoon-fed the specifics of the characters or the situation - there are mysteries here, about the nature of the new Sapwn, about the relationships of the characters, about the status of Heaven and Hell - and they dont have neat and tidy answers (as is befitting of a plot restart). This feels a lot like when I first started reading Spawn - since I have a lot of questions about the nature of the setting (and thats a good thing, since it makes the world seem more real).

The art is snazzy too (as always). Supposedly, for the TPB, they cleaned up some of the iconic panels... which I appreciate but can't verify. I'm enjoying this story and the dialog enough to be looking forward to the next TPB, due this week or next.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First 40k Game in a Long, Long time

Its like Going Back to a Girlfriend You Know is Bad News...

As the title says, I played my first 40k game in a long time. Why go back to 40k, you ask? Because I have been in contact with a small group of gamers in Colombo, Sri Lanka - and they play 40k. No Warmahordes there yet, but when I arrive, rest assured I shall introduce them. Until then, I'm tenatatively excited about the prospect of playing with some expat Brits and local Lankans at their chosen 40k.

Just When I Think I'm Out...

To get into the swing of things again, I dusted off my love for the Deathwing and took them for an outing. I faced an IG Cadian army, heavy on the infantry, but with a respectable amount of support. 1500 points. Assault (kill the dudes, nothing fancy).

The Game went well. I was lucky that I faced an infantry-heavy army and had each of my 3 5-man squads with Assault Canons. The others had Cyclones. I also fielded two Dreads with TL AutoCannons and Missile launchers (anti-armor). Belial was in the army, under a standard configuration. That was about it. I wanted at least one Land Raider, but couldnt fit it.

Andy, my buddy and opponent, walked me through the rules and fielded a large IG force. His core was twho IG regiments, with lost of meltas. He had 3 Heavy Weapon squads with 2 Lascannons and one Autocannon. He used one Vet squad with meltas. His vehicles were one chimera (for the vets), one Valyrie, and 2 Leman Russes.


The battle wne to the Deathwing, but it was tight throughout. Those 2+ saves kept me in the game, but as expected, each loss of a single termie was devastating. The Deadnaughts were golden, being my most reliable anti-armor (each took out a Leman Russ). Late game things got dicey as the chimera came in on the side I was winning, and I suddenly found out how hard it can be to even crack relatively light armor with the Deathwing. Yeesh.

I knew going into it that Deathwing and Dark Angels have an old codex and even with the Dec 2010 Errata, arent elite like the damned Blood Angels or newer Grey Knights. Still, dropping 20+ terminators with Dread support in a 1500 point game is satisfying.

Something I learned:

If you are going to field a Deathwing army, take equal parts Assault Cannons and Cyclones. They are what is going to carry you through the game. ACs are particularly nasty. Additionally, the TL Autocannon w/ Missile Launcher on a venerable Dread is a good build. It helps make up for the anti-armor deficiencies of a small DW army.

Any Game You Walk Away From...

Overall, a good game and a nice (re)introduction into Warhammer 40k. Its been said before, but 40k plays much differently that Warmahordes and getting some time with my Khador last night accentuated the differences.

As someone once said; the GW games are made by a miniature company who attached rules to their models. The PP games are made by gamers who added good-looking minis to their game. Different philosophies - and knowing what they are and what to expect from a game makes all the difference.

"Know what you are getting into," I always... er... sometimes say.

My Viewership in Far-Flung Places

Due to the nature of my work and life, I pay attention to minutiae about countries a bit more than most, I think. In managing this little blog, I tend to watch what days get the most hits, what topics prompt the most visitors... that sort of thing. On a good day I see a spike of about 20 viewers- usually from:

- the U.S. (about 80% of my viewership),
- Canada (love you guys),
- the UK (say "hi" to Kate Middleton for me),

... and fewer but regular hits from:

- Australia (thanks NFB, I know its you),
- New Zealand (way better than old zealand),
- Germany (Koln is one of my favorite cities)
- Scandanavia (mostly Sweden)
- S. Africa (great rugby)
- China (knows how to build a hell of a wall)

.... and then there are the odd ones.

- Iran. I've seen someone(s) from Iran pop in at least a couple times a week. I really hope its a wargamer that, like me, gets stuck in odd places and has to go out of their way to get some gaming in. I cant imagine how it would be to game in Iran - I hear its actually a nice place to live and has a vibrant, if underground, young population. I like to think that Vir Triumphalis is an outlet for some 20-ish gamer who has to struggle to get a couple games. I like that image a lot better than the idea some Iranian intel dude is stuck having to read my blog and try to decipher what the hell I am talking about.

- Russia. I get a lot of viewership from Russia. Okay, not "a lot" but about 10 hits per month of so. Thats statistically significant and usually on par for places like New Zealand and South Africa. I've traced some of the origin pages and its definitely in Cyrillic - and looks to be Russian gaming forums and clubs. Thats very cool. If you are one of my Russian viewers (or the Russian viewer) I say, На здоровье!

- N. Korea. Yup, it hasn't happened recently but for a while there I would get a couple hits a month from N. Korea of all places. Huh. Maybe Kim Jong Il likes himself some Trollbloods and skypes with his buddies while playing Dark Heresy.

Or Maybe not.


If you are popping in to this post, and have the time and wherewithall, leave a comment and let me know where you are from - especially if you are from outside the U.S..

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back in Texas, Prepping for GenCon

Life Gets in the Way of Gaming. News at 11.

Its been a long, strange journey. The reason for my tardy update of this blog was simply due to the untimely death of my father. We were on our way out of Gabon when I was told about his death. Luckily, the embassy was amazingly supportive across the board and helped get me and my family out the door and home as soon as possible. From there, its been a whirlwind of training, consultations, and family stuff. Only now am I getting home to Texas to enjoy some R&R - and finalize the crap with my father's estate (anyone wanna buy a plane? No?)

What Not to Wear... err... Lose.

What has the last 3+ weeks taught me? Stuff NOT to forget if you are gaming on the go.

1) If you play Warmachine, dont, for gawd's sake, forget your faction cards! I just had to rebuy my faction cards because its damn hard to play the game without them. They are small and portable and you should have no excuse not to bring them. Faction decks are surprisingly hard to find in LGSs.

2) Rulebooks. This isn't a biggie, but having the core rulebook of your game system should be important. If you forget it or intentionally leave it behind, you can rebuy it. But seriously, who wants two core rulebooks?

3) Templates. Again, small and portable and surprisingly hard to find quickly.

You might think I would say "dice" but unless you are freaky about the hoodoo associated with your particular dice, they are easy and cheap to rebuy. Plus, having more dice is always nice.