Thursday, 14 May 2015

Planetfall - Dropping out of high orbit

Well #warmongers what a week! Two blog posts and about different games, wonders shall never cease apparently...

This time I'm taking a look at Planetfall from Spartan Games - a small scale (10mm) sci-fi ground/air support combat game set in the same universe as Firestorm: Armada. As such the forces on offer are identical in terms of the races and factions, but the force selection and ally system in Planetfall has advanced such that more diverse and interesting forces will make regular appearances on the table top, resulting in more than simple monolithic blocks of similar looking models. What's it like? Read on!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Guildball first impressions

Thanks to the inimitable @docbungle (who's excellent review can be found here - happy now bear?) and the equally lovely folks (@comaboy_77, @edenblade, @rob_norman and @johnnyhawkwind) I regularly* game with at 4tk Gaming in Colchester I've now had a chance to play a couple of starter set games of the latest skirmish style game to hit the tabletop in a big way: Guildball

After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign that has delivered some great models and a nice looking rulebook it's now possible to buy this game as a regular punter, and from first impressions this looks like a new game that's going to live on long past the initial flurry of KS-related enthusiasm.

The basic premise of the game is medieval football. Which means kicking stuff, especially your opponent! You might be thinking your reference points at this stage should be games like bloodbowl and dreadball but I would caution against that as it's a far more fluid and model-level encounter style of game than the team-level approach taken by them. In fact in many ways this doesn't feel like a sports game at all, really, it's far more of a resource management and battle tactics game - which is why I think it's actually a better sports game than those others I just mentioned. Bear with me, I'm going to explain this...

I know I just said I don't think it's a sports game, but what I mean is that it doesn't set out with the premise that you are the manager of a team going around coordinating a scoring or defending effort. Due to the alternating activation style of the game it is far more fluid and dynamic than that, and you always feel "at pitch level" in a way that the initial set-up of those other games doesn't quite achieve. The opening fluff is pitched at someone wanting to know more about being a player, and I'd say that the overriding feeling throughout the game is that you're at that level, you're not a detached team manager only bothered about having strikers, defenders and other "roles", the members of each team have names and a personality that is exuded through their play-style.

Taking its game mechanic cues from games like Infinity, Warmachine and that sort of "activation" focused game style means that you have both resource management and activation order choices to make every turn, which means again, you're far more "down on the pitch" than if you were more focused on taking actions until you stuff up with the ball, or something like that. The fact that it's an alternating activation style game makes this is even more true, you're always involved and thinking about how to respond to what your opponent's current player is doing.

In fact possession of the ball is a distinctly optional thing and losing it isn't a big deal; scoring goals is by far the most efficient way of winning, but is not the only way, you also generate VPs by "taking out" members of the opposing team. The way the violence on the pitch is represented in the rules adds another layer to the game, because when a team member is taken out of the game they do not disappear forever (there is no perma-death in the game), but rather they have to sit out and await the application of the 'icy sponge' to get them game-ready once again. Most players have multiple icy sponge levels that mean if you bring them straight back on they have less health than if you wait another turn. It's a tricky balance though, because players sitting on the sidelines healing up don't generate influence (the main resource in the game) and so leave you with fewer options for the players who are still out there wondering where the ball, and their erstwhile team mate, went.

The final "layer" to the game is an additional resource type known as momentum. Momentum builds up (funny that) over the course of a turn and can be used for a variety of different purposes - allowing you to counter-attack, boost your defence, or most importantly of all: make a shooting attempt on goal! You gain momentum by doing things like passing, scoring and taking out opposing players and interestingly it resets to zero at the end of each term so it's very much the short term resourcing question every turn; do you spend it to keep one of your players up and running or save it for that run on goal you have planned later on? Are you going to generate it by committing two heavy hitters in some close-up fights, thereby exposing your weaker players, or do you play a passing game and generate it whilst getting into a scoring position? It's a really nice additional element to the game that keeps you thinking beyond the initial dole out of influence at the start of the turn, and keeps your opponent wondering what you might do with it (and so whether they should save theirs just in case!)

So, in summary then, this is a really nice game. I've not played masses of it yet but as I said at the outset, it feels like it has the legs to go the distance, and the way they're talking about introducing new seasons shouldn't mean you are forever buying "the next big thing" with wacky new rules to make it "different". Rather they're talking about the ongoing development of the game in terms of an on-going narrative with the players you've already got developing from season to season, changing and evolving along with their story. 

You can check it all out here: and best of all they even provide print-and-play players to get you started alongside completely free rules!

- rob

* yes guys, I know, hilarious liberties being taken with the word "regularly" here...

Friday, 27 September 2013

Day by day, hour by hour...

Hello again fellow wayfarers, it would seem that I am once again embarking on my travels through the realm of Table Top in the kingdom of Gaming!

What the?

Yes, ok, sorry about that, I felt a grandiose opening was required given that it's been about six billion years since I last posted anything here.

It's not that I haven't been doing hobby stuff, but I've been and gone and got married, changed job and a million other little things all of which have conspired against my contributions to the world of blogging, maybe that's a good thing...

So, next...

As the title of this post suggests I'm trying to adopt a new approach, particularly to painting, whereby I give myself an hour a day to sit down, get out a paint brush and apply some wet coloured liquid to a model of some description. 

So far it's going ok (given that I only started a few days ago this is a good thing!) and I'm well on my way to painting up the Throgg that's been assembled and undercoated on my "things to be painted" tray, which also has on it a Chaos sorcerer and warlord with accompanying manticore; some converted warp talons; a couple of lovely single minis for no particular gaming system and an overwhelming sense of not achieving anything painting-wise since I did a test piece for my Firestorm Armada Directorate fleet at least two months ago.

I'm about to get up and running with Warmachine again, for the first time in a while by splitting the two-player starter set with a mate who wants to play Khador. That means it's Menoth for me, a brand new faction from my point of view, which is conjuring up fond memories of running a Redemptionist gang in Necromunda many moons ago. A predilection for making my enemies crispy-fried is not without precedent it would seem!

The models in the starter set are decent (I especially like the bastions) and my first priority will be to get the 'caster and two accompanying 'jacks assembled and undercoated ready for painting. I also need to plan out my paint scheme. At the moment I don't favour the standard off-white, simply because I know I'll obsess about getting it clean to the extent that it stops me making any decent progress. I've seen a number of alternate colour schemes around, but I'm keen to try something a little bit different. Watch this space as I don't want to spoil the surprise (and no, the surprise is not going to be that they remain unpainted!)

For once I'm also not rushing ahead of myself and looking at alt 'casters and planning how to expand things before I've even gotten my first lot of models. I'm determined to play the starter set models until they're painted and then try to expand slowly from there. The first bit I'm reasonably confident about, it's the 'expanding slowly' part that normally catches me out. Still, at least the release rate for the core factions in Warmachine is pretty stately at the moment. Privateer Press are focused on the Convergence of Cyriss faction as far as Warmachine goes at the moment, with a smattering of other bits here and there, so it a reasonably settled model state. Which reminds me, I must not look at the Cyriss stuff for a long time, some of those models are lurvely!

Anyway, that's me right now, hoping that the reigniting of my interest in Warmachine gets me properly stuck back into painting a force rather than just the odd model here and there.

- rob

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Event report: Charity #warmongers #marathon for @MSUK6


Ok, that was a crazy 26.2 hours and no mistake! Really rather tired now, but what a brilliant load of awesome fun where we raised over £200 towards our London Marathon sponsorship target for the marvellous MS-UK.

If you want to catch up on what exactly I was doing and why then refer back to my previous post on the matter, but for right now I want to do a few thank you shout-outs. 


To my partner in crime and fellow #warmongers #marathon completer I want to say a huge thank you. First for agreeing to do accompany me in this crazy enterprise and secondly for doing a bunch of the organising that helped make sure we were never sat around without a game to play.

Rob & Phil ready to go!


To my fantastic fiancée Beth, who is going to be running the marathon with me, I want to say thank you for the excellent cakes (that helped raise a big chunk of the money on the day) and support throughout the 26.2 hours. Coffee runs, doughnut deliveries, pizza pickup and energy drink injections helped keep me going throughout and without them I probably would've been asleep on the floor of 4Tk Gaming after about 15 hours! Thank you, I love you, you're wonderful!

Andy @4Tkgaming

For loaning the club space (and waiving club fees so that everyone could come along and watch and take part without having to pay) and giving us permission to advertise on 4Tk Gaming's Facebook all that was going on, thank you Andy! Without having had such a brilliant venue, perfectly set up with all of the table space and scenery we needed this event could never have gone ahead. 

The opponents!

For turning up at midnight to play a 6 thousand point Storm of Chaos game (Steve, Chris). For keeping us going with 40K from 04:00 to 06:00 (Andy, Ian) and then arriving at 06:00 to push us through with X-Wing and Relics (Dave, Paul) - the 'dead zone' people deserve special mentions. But to everyone else that Phil and I played over the marathon THANK YOU SO MUCH! I think Phil and I might've ended up fighting in the arena for real (ref: Spartacus) if we'd had to play each other too often ;-)

Spartacus the board game

Special mention to Mark, for possibly the most confusing 40K army to play against ever (Tzeentch Daemons). I haven't had such a long 'pre-game decide what your army can actually do' session since Rogue Trader days (blame the three Daemon Princes) and whilst it was in no small part due to my extreme tiredness at 10:00 on Monday, I have never felt less in touch with what an opponents army was up to lol! Still, it gave us the tag line of the event: IRON ARM!!!

The games

In total we played 8 different games and here's the running order:

  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle
  • Warhammer 40,000
  • Relics
  • X-Wing
  • Warmachine/ Hordes
  • Spartacus
  • Drop Zone Commander
  • Legend of Drizzt

Twitter-folk and #warmongers everywhere

I got so many RTs, re-blogs and messages of support over the marathon that I've lost track of who and when and my brain can't quite cope with the idea of going back over the tweets yet (at some point I abandoned tagging them all with #warmongersmarathon and moved to #warmongers #marathon, I have no idea why, great plan Rob!). Thank you all for helping me to get my message across and to generate lots of awareness for MS-UK and MS in general.

Everyone else!

To everyone who came down to 4Tk Gaming to show their support, throw some money in the donation pot and consume cake thank you! We never felt like we were struggling for people to talk to and to keep us going and each one of you helped push us through the 26.2 hours.

The photos

So here's a selection of pics from the marathon, enjoy and please share this as widely as you can, it's not too late to add a donation to the pot here: 

Thanks again everyone! I am already planning what I might do next time...

- rob

Ready for Storm of Magic

WHFB - this was game 1!

Part way through Storm of Magic

Empire holding off the hordes of chaos

Demigryphs and Inner Circle knights carving through the Skaven masses

First game of 40K

Heldrake being hunted by a Storm Eagle

Hello Mr Obliterator, so nice to meet you!

Relics: Orcnar vs Nuem

Legend of Drizzt D&D board game

40K vs the multi-coloured daemon princes
Last men standing!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Charity #warmongers marathon gaming event for @MSUK6

Hello lovely #warmongers!

Some of you already know that myself and my other half, Beth, are running the Virgin London Marathon for the fantastic Multiple Sclerosis UK. The training is going really well (even if my legs are screaming at me right now after our third 20 miler last night!) and we're raring to go on April 21st.

MS-UK are a brilliant charity, very local to us and the work they do by giving support to those with MS is a brilliant example of the impact that well-organised, dedicated and bloody hard-working charitable organisations can have.

What am I doing?

Well, this is a question I often ask myself in a different context, but right here, right now I'm raising money for MS-UK, in support of my sponsorship for the London marathon, by having a charity wargaming marathon. That means 26.2 hours of non-stop gaming (!) starting at 12:30 on Sunday the 30th of March through to 2:20pm on Monday the 31st March.

Myself and the wonderful Phil @4Tkgaming will be taking on all-comers in a variety of gaming formats including:

  • Warhammer 40,000 (come and challenge Phil, current Ultimate Commander champion!)
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battles
  • Warmachine
  • Relics
  • Hordes
  • Infinity
  • Drop Zone Commander
  • Dreadball
  • Bloodbowl
  • Sedition wars
  • Munchkin
and many more!

We already have a good stock of opponents lined up, but we'll endeavour to take on anyone that comes through the door - so long as we're still conscious, of course. All you have to do is make a suitable donation to the MS-UK cause and the dice-rolling can begin!

I'll be live-tweeting the event (@peppermint_cat) with the hashtag #warmongersmarathon, so you can follow the goings on even if you can't come down in person.


Beth will be baking up a storm and accepting monetary donations in exchange for cakey goodness. 


Next important question, where will we be doing this? Andy, the owner of 4Tk Gaming (@4tkgaming on twitter, on Facebook, map here: has very kindly agreed to support the event and provide us with all the gaming facilities we need over our marathon effort.

How can you help?

Firstly, if you can, get down to 4Tk Gaming over the Sunday/Monday of this weekend and show us some support by keeping Phil and I awake and entertained.

Secondly, please share this as widely as you can, retweets, reblogs, facebook shares will all help to spread the word and bring the support from far and wide!

Most importantly (and you knew this was going to come down to money, didn't you?) we need your cash! Even if you can't get down to donate in person (in exchange for cake or a game), please, please, please support Phil and I as we raise money for MS-UK. Anything you can give will spur us on on the day and fuel Beth and I through the somewhat daunting prospect of completing 26.2 miles along the river bank in London.

You can sponsor us on the day, or here online:

Thank you!

So thank you for reading this, thank you for retweeting and reblogging and sharing it far and wide and thank you for your support!

- rob

Monday, 4 March 2013

Catching up to move forwards: @jamiemscott, @sallycat_33 and @Orions_Fury

Around this time last year (!) I ran a mini-project on twitter called the #warmongers #miniswap. It was a small project but close to my heart, however I performed abysmally, getting paint on, but not completing, two different miniatures, one for @jamiemscott and the other for @sallycat_33. It is somewhat remiss, to say the least, that others have long since completed their tasks whilst mine have languished on the painting desk (and in a case, a box, etc.) Alongside this I have also been working for far too long on an Orion for @Orions_Fury - I finally picked up my paintbrush for this yesterday and made some decent progress! This reminded me about the other owed miniatures and pricked my conscience!

Time to sort this sh*t out!

My goal

Simple, before salute, I will finish all of these minis and get them delivered to their intended recipients. Jamie, yours will be at Salute or the Tor Gaming Expo at TTN in May, whichever is sooner! Dan, yours will be hand delivered. Sally Ann, I will be passing Wisconsin way at the end of May so can drop it by then wherever works, if it fits in with you - I would like the opportunity to check out a USA LGS... :)

There, that was painless wasn't it? Oh, I actually have to paint stuff now, err...

- rob

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Relics: Nuem - painting progress

Quick update on the progress I'm making with my Nuem. You can see some previous progress (Specialis Pueri and my first Paenitentiam) here.

Really enjoying painting these models, it's great to have the variety of models with lots of flesh and heavily armoured suits all in one faction :)

Anyway, here are the pictures, they were taken in a rather rushed fashion this morning, so they aren't great!
Paenitentiam 2
Paenitentiam 3
Nuem Dedicatus
Nuem Dedicatus (rear)
Nuem Dedicatus (alt shot)

Next up will be some more Nuem - probably a couple of Tormenta, another Dedicatus, another Specialis Pueri and a bunch of  Auxilium Sagittarius. I'm also hoping to get some Warriors of Chaos onto my painting table and to finish off my Empire 2400pt list (need to paint three more Demigryphs and another Helblaster Volley Gun, plus a couple of standard knights).

- rob