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Saturday, December 28, 2013

ODT GAMING: 2014 Half-human Army Project

ODT Gaming 2014 Army Project

Half-Humans: Halflings

So far I have collected some halflings over the past year and a few are below.  Most of these are this points are pinned and primed but I wanted to post a before picture before these start getting finished soon.  I tried picking up halflings that would match and also give me a variety of troops.  I am still looking for more pony riders, Halfling Spearmen, and Halfling Great weapon troops.     I have a collection of the GW and Battleforge minis with more to come.  Additionally, with the addition of Dwarfs and Brets this coming year I will tailoring this army to both books potentially...
Picked up a couple sets of farm animals
Another shot of pinned GW minis in a box Fighting Cocks and 90s Empire Halflings, I have about double this in another box.
Halfling Millitia Sword & Shield x25
Picked up a unit of these guys from battleforge! Sword and Board!
Got a lot of these of ebay, battleforge cavalry yeoman riders.

Friday, December 27, 2013

On the Bench: Veteran Guardsmen with Shotguns - Part Three

The third member of the Matchstick Boys has been completed. With the completion of the third model, I still feel like the casting on these models is not the best. I do like the look of the bandaged head, but it lacks the smooth curves that are on the plastic cadians.

When it comes to the color scheme I am using for this unit, I am finding that I like the sharper highlights on the blue. It does make the models pop a little more and draw the eye to them. I also think the brown boots are a nice contrast with the other colors on the model.

One last note is that I have not been satisfied with the quality of the pictures I have been taking with the iPad mini. I am not certain if it user error, the lens being dirty, or just the quality of the camera, but regardless, I am going to switch back to using my digital camera that I had used in the past. Just wanted to make a note of this as I feel like the pictures I have been posting don’t do a good job of showing off each model.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Episode 24 - Dark Elf Review


Episode 24 - Dark Elf Review
Sponsored by Heroes Haven Comics and Games

After many delays and a re-recording, episode 24 of the show has finally become available.  This episode begins with us introducing our newest sponsor, Heroes Haven Comics and Games.  Next, John goes crazy over the release of Be'Lakor and reads an email from a listener.  Once the excitement ends, the guys do Marshaling the Host.  After MoH, John Ontto joins the show to participate in a review of the Dark Elf army book.

Download: Direct Download | iTunes | RSS

Episode Timeline
00:00:17 - Sponsors
00:01:00 - Listener Emal & Be'Lakor Review
00:20:50 - Marshaling the Host
00:42:10 - Merry Mayhem Preparations
00:58:10 - Dark Elf Review
02:01:30 - Tournament Round-up

Army Lists, Feedback, Topic Ideas - Andrew@unstabledice.com
Upcoming Tournaments - Chuck@unstabledice.com
John - equinox@unstabledice.com

Show Links

Big Mek’s Garage 

Heroes Haven Comics & Games: Website | Facebook
Rare Choice Games: Facebook | Youtube

Friday, December 20, 2013

On the Bench: Veteran Guardsmen with Shotguns - Part Two

This is the second veteran guardsman that I have completed for the unit I am referring to as the ‘Matchstick Boys’. Similar to the last one, this one uses parts from the Forgeworld Cadian Hardened Veterans kit. I like the kit in general, but feel the casting of the head I used for this model was off. In particular, the area around the eyes seems sunken and off when compared to how the model looks in the picture on the Forgeworld website.

Another piece that I decided to add to this model was the resin backpack that came with the Forgeworld kit. I wasn’t sure at first if it would be appropriate as the unit is intended to depicted as an escort for a group of criminals being unloaded from a chimera transport. In the end, I was pretty happy with how it looked, though I do think that it was also slightly miscast like the head.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hump DayHeroes: Troll Country Prep Game

My Adepticon WFB teammate, Tom Jackson, and I recently conducted a couple of practice games as part of our preparation for the tournament.

Team Name: Troll Country

John Ontto’s Orcs and Goblins
Night Goblin Shaman (lvl 4) w/ scroll
Goblin Big Boss BSB w/ great weapon and Standard of Discipline
36 Night Goblins w/ bows
38 Night Goblins w/ shield and nets
6 Trolls
2 Speakchuckas
1 Wolf Chariot
1 Doom Diver

Tom Jackson’s Warriors of Chaos
3 units of 5 Warhounds per unit
2 units of 6 Trolls per unit
6 Chaos Ogres w/ Mark of Nurgle and full command

For our practice games, Tom played our side, while I played a combination Dark Elves and Daemons of Chaos. 

Daemons of Chaos
19 Plaguebearers w/ champion, musician and standard bearer
18 Plaguebearers w/ standard bearer
2 units of 1 Beast of Nurgle per unit
Skull Cannon of Khorne (John G. – Cheesy!!!!)

Dark Elves
Sorceress (lvl 3) w/ Dark Magic and Tome of Furion
20 Dark Shards w/ musician and standard bearer carrying the Banner of Eternal Flame
5 Dark Riders w/ crossbows , shields and standard bearer
3 Bolt Throwers

With the armies set for the game, we decided on playing Blood and Glory for our practice game.

Turn 1

The first turn began with me rolling for fragile alliance and going down only 1 step.  I deployed the dark shards in the middle and held them in position while the plaguebearers moved to secure the flanks of the crossbowmen.  At the same time, the dark riders marched around the house on the board in an effort to threaten the doom diver while a beast of nurgle and the hydra moved up to the river’s edge.  During the first turn’s magic phase, I rolled a 9 on the warpstorm table, but no damage was done.  The sorceress attempted a doom bolt, but without an irresistible force to back it, the shaman was able to use its dispel scroll. 

During the shooting phase, I begin with the dark shards lighting up a unit of trolls with their flaming attacks.  The end result was a single dead troll and the unit having lost its regeneration for the turn.  This allowed one of the bolt throwers to put another two wounds on the unit.  The dark riders added a third wound, bringing down another troll in the unit.  I finished the shooting phase with the skull cannon taking a shot at Throgg.  Fortunately for the king of trolls, he passed is Look Out Sir roll and the daemonic cannonball was passed to another troll, who was killed by its impact.

Tom took over at the bottom of 1 and started by passing all of the stupidity tests required for the trolls.  Sadly, the night goblins with the shaman were not as lucky as they rolled a squabble result.  When it came to charges, a unit of warhounds moved into contact with the dark rider as the other hounds positioned themselves to block the beast of nurgle and hydra that were crossing the river.  The turn concluded with the dark riders running down a defeated unit of hounds and being in a position to charge the doom diver on the next turn.

Turn 2

The top of two starts the DE/DoC rolling for fragile alliance and becoming desperate allies.  The beasts of Nurgle declare charges against each of the remaining units of hounds, with one being caught and the other making a successful attempt at fleeing.  The attempt is short lived though as the hydra rolls a 12 for its charge and is able to catch them.  Lastly the dark riders charge the doom diver while the plaguebearers maintain their position on the board.

The magic phase begins with me rolling another 9 on the warp storm table that has no impact on the game.  Due to the army becoming desperate allies, the magic dice had to be split for the turn (5 for the DoC and 4 for the Dark Elves).  The sorceress attempts to cast power of darkness and word of pain, but the former is dispelled, and the later fails to me the required dice roll.

The shooting phase is similar to the last one, with the dark shards wounding a troll and removing the unit’s regeneration.  This allow a bolt thrower to kill a troll in the unit.  The skull cannon however misfires and is unable to shoot in the next turn.  

Close combat begins with the dark riders murdering the doom diver and making the bad decision to turn and reform instead of running them off the table.  Next, the beast of Nurgle rolls a whopping 2 attacks and ends up losing combat and disappearing back into the warp. 

The bottom of two starts with the night goblins all getting along while one unit of trolls failing their stupidity check and rushing into the unit with Epidemius.  Tom also charges the unit of 4 trolls into the other block of plaguebearers and the chaos ogres into the hydra (doing d3 impact hits in the process due to a roll of a 12 for the charge distance).  Finally, the goblin shaman and bsb move to join the unit of night goblin archers.

The magic phase was huge this turn as the shaman was able to cast ‘Gork wil Fix It’ on the unit with Epidemius.  While the spell was not irresistible, I had to split my four dispel dice between the two armies, so I did not have an effective means to stop the spell.  The shaman was also able to kill six shards with an irresistible vindictive glare to conclude the magic phase.

The shooting phase saw a couple of wounds placed on the skull cannon.  Close combat saw the chaos ogre kill the hydra, which resulted in the champion getting +1 armour from a roll on the EotG table.  As for the trolls that assaulted the unit of plaguebearers, the daemons lost combat, but a flicker in reality caused them all to return.  Dan looked like a deer in headlights as I rolled the double 1s for the leadership test.  The combat with Epidemius resulted in the tally moving closer to activation and the trolls passing a moral check after losing combat.

Turn 3

I began the third turn by charging the dark riders.  In retrospect, it was a bad decision, but doing the math in my head, I figured I should win or tie if I charged.  The magic phase was uneventful as I rolled a 6 on the warp storm table and had to split my dice between the two armies.  As a side note, I did attempt to cast word of pain and would have gotten it off if I had remembered to add the plus one for casting dark magic.

The shooting phase saw all three bolt throwers firing upon the spearchucka.  The end result was 2 hits, but neither was able to actually wound the warmachine.  The dark shards were also able to kill a single troll in Throggs’ unit.  As for close combat, the darker riders whiffed on all but one of their attacks and proceeded to be run down by the goblins.  In the same round, the unit of trolls fighting Epidemius was defeated and rundown.   

The bottom of three had a few significant events.  The biggest of these was Epidemus falling in combat to the ogre champion.  Having killed the character in a challenge, the ogre champion rolled again on the EotG table to gain +1 WS. 

Turn 4

The fourth turn would be the last of the game, as the DE/DoC forces began with a remaining fortitude of 4.  It was in close combat that the game was decided as I lost the standard bearers within the unit of plaguebearers and dark shards. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

On the Bench: Army Painter Winter Tuft

Since I have first seen this product at my FLG, I have been debating on whether or not I wanted to try it. Recently, I finally broke and decided to try using it with the intention of writing a short review. In general, I really love the Army Painter line of products. In a future review, I will discuss my thoughts on their line of primers, but for now, I want to focus on their Battlefield Winter Turf scenery kit.

The purpose of the Battlefield kits is to provide bases with some larger clumps of grass without going thru the hassle of trying to do them from scratch. At ~$5.00 for a blister’s worth of the turf, the product is well priced for folks looking to upgrade the look of their scenic bases. Each blister contains enough turf in various sizes to cover a reasonable size regiment of WFB or 40K bases. On the back of the packaging, instructions on how to use the product are included.

The actual application of the turf is a snap and works as advertised. First, find the piece of turf that you want to use from the blister.

Second, place a small drop of Elmer’s glue where you want to stick the turf.

Third, remove the piece of turf from the blister using a pair of pliers.

Finally, place the piece of turf firmly, but not hard, onto the glue drop.

Overall, I found Army Painter’s Battlefield Winter Turf to be a great option for adding a little something extra to your bases. They make different versions of the turf product, including ones colored for a jungle or swamp. The process of adding the turf is simple and effective, so it is a great option for decorating multiple bases in a single sit-down. My only negative is that I would like to see Army Painter bundle the product as a part of a complete basing kit. They may already do this, but I have not seen such a kit at my FLG, so I am assuming for now it is not available.

Monday, December 9, 2013

On the Bench: Eagle Warriors Space Marine - Part 7

If there is one aspect of space marine models that I would say is iconic, it would be the shoulder pads. The reason I would call them out is that they give weight to the model and serve as a quick identifier of the marine’s chapter. They can also be the part of a marine that makes or breaks the overall visual of the model.

When selecting the shoulder pads for my first unit of tactical marines, I debated over whether to go with more complex ones (possibly even 3rd party ones) or use the simple ones from base marine kit. In the end, I decided on the simple pads as the model already contained a lot of extras (purity seals, eagle icons, etc…) and I wanted to give myself breathing room when working on HQ models.

The process for painting the model is basically the same as I shared in prior articles. The one nice part about doing the shoulder pads was that I did not have the challenge of trying to paint the divide between blue and white sections. The downside upon completion is that I felt they were kind of plain looking and actual detracted from the model. I may circle back with the unit once it is finished and add some type of freehand to all of the units pads, just to make them standout better.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why Can't We Have a Grand Non-Tournament?

As the internet cracks under the strain of various communities and groups debating what should be legal in a competitive environment, I am left to wonder about the state of the non-competitive scene.  By its very nature, the casual gamer is someone who does not need a structured environment in order to enjoy their hobby.  Games are arranged as time allows and usually involves a close group of friends or patrons of a particular store.  There isn’t a public outcry for events of a similar size to the larger GTs that can provide a non-competitive experience.

When it comes to a non-competitive experience, what about them prevents the creation of something similar to the Games Days of the late 90’s?  Why do casual hobbyists not feel as compelled to gather in larger groups as their more competitive brethren?  Based on the various discussions I have read since GW began their Advent calendar releases, it seems that there is a sizable portion that want to just play with whatever GW releases, but why don’t they want to do it as part of a large community?  Why does it only happen when in the context of proving who is the better player?

Many years ago, I attempted to run an event for WFB that was fully catered and had a ton of door prizes (we were passing out Rhinox riders as they were brand new at the time).  The only catch was that results were not being tracked.  Everyone would play 3 games and be randomly paired each game in an effort for people to mingle and play someone new.  The event was advertised months in advance and was even promoted and sponsored by Games Workshop (including loaning us LotR and Tau models to display that were not being released for a few more months).  At the end of the day, we had a lot fewer folks attend than what we had hoped for the event.

As the story goes, a couple of months later, we repeated the event, but this time tracked results and gave out awards.  Attendance was almost 4 times greater without making any changes other than determining a winner for the day.  Just to be clear, the same composition requirements were used, basically the same scenarios were used.  The only difference was that we promoted that someone would be declared the winner.  

It was an interesting experience, and one that I have always kept in the back of my mind as I have organized other events.   When I was running Invasion Kenosha, I always tried to skirt the line of making the event as inclusive as possible while still keeping a competitive element to encourage the attendance needed to run the event without me footing a sizable bill.  I will never claim that I did the best job and found the perfect formula, but I did give it my best and hopefully some folks will have fond memories from the five years that I ran it.

My point with all of this is that I would like to run something in 2014 that is truly an event for the casual player.  I want the experience to be organized and professional, but lack the trappings that come with it being labeled a tournament.  I want folks to become excited about attending, but don’t feel motivated to attend on the hopes of proving a point.  At the end of it all, I want an Indy Games Day that encourages people to bring their armies and not the ones provided by GW.  The challenge ahead is to figure out what will motivate the casual crowd to attend and provide the means to make such an experience possible.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Episode 23 - Battlescrolls Review

Sometimes the moment is just right for us to get together and record a short episode to discuss something currently happening in the hobby.  When those moments arrive, we call them an Unstable Moment.  In this brief episode, we review the new battlescrolls released by Games Workshop.  As part of the discussion, we talk about how these new digital updates work in the game and breakdown how battlescroll formations fit into the existing army composition.  We also take a look at the first two battlescrolls to be released: Be'Lakor and The Restless Dead.

Download: Direct Download | iTunes | RSS

Episode Timeline
00:00:17 - Battlescroll Review

Army Lists, Feedback, Topic Ideas - Andrew@unstabledice.com
Upcoming Tournaments - Chuck@unstabledice.com
John - equinox@unstabledice.com

Show Links

Big Mek’s Garage 

Rare Choice Games: Facebook | Youtube

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Roaming Gamer: The Wandering Dragon (Plainfield, IL)

Every month, I find myself wandering the country in search of new games stores to experience and write about. Sometimes I find myself dragging into a store just to find a new place to write about each month. However, with this month’s article, I have found a true gem that I could not wait to write about.

The first thing that stands out about the Wandering Dragon is the overall look and feel of the place. This is a gamer’s delight set-up within a classy atmosphere that I have not experienced in other stores. I have also been to stores before that have individual game rooms, but never one that had such well-maintained and nice looking ones as the Wandering Dragon. While this may not be the biggest game store, for example Rockhead’s in Kenosha is much larger, the Wandering Dragon has done an excellent job of maximizing the use of their space while allowing each gaming group a bit of privacy.

When it comes to their selection of games, the store is stocked with a huge variety of board, card, and miniature games. The only standout exception is that they do not carry Games Workshop products, but they can order them for anyone looking for anything from the standard lines. The store also stocks a nice assortment of snacks and drinks (including hot beverages), so there is never a need to take an extended break to run elsewhere during a game.

As for the staff, my personal experience with them has been fantastic. I get the impression that this is a family run business by the way they interact with their customers. If you are looking for a knowledgeable staff that will help you with finding what you need without pushing the latest product down your throat, you can’t beat the Wandering Dragon.

In some ways, this review reads like a commercial, but truthfully I believe that is because there is nothing negative that can be said about the store. If I had to find fault, the only criticism I can make is that they do not carry Games Workshop products in the store. The Wandering Dragon is located in a great part of Plainfield, but folks visiting it may never know that because there is no reason to ever step out of the place once you get there.

If you would like to read more about the Wandering Dragon, there is a great article about the store on the Plainfield Patch website.  You can find the article by clicking this link.

 Roaming Gamer Score: 4.75 (5 - Outstanding, 1 - Crapfest)

Monday, December 2, 2013

On the Bench: Eagle Warriors Space Marine - Part 6

One of my favorite color schemes to paint right now is pseudo-NMM gold. When I do it well, I love the brightness and contrast of the color scheme on a model. The challenges however is that when it is done wrong, it can have the reverse effect of making the intended area appear dull.

Privateer Press White Primer
Reaper Chestnut Brown (4:1)
Vallejo Brown Ink (1:8)
Reaper Chestnut Brown (4:1:1)
Reaper Chestnut Brown and Reaper Palomino Gold (2:2:1)
Reaper Palomino Gold (4:1:1)
GW Sepia Wash Reaper Palomino Gold (4:1:1)
Buckskin Pale (4:1)

The paints outlined above are more of a general guide than an exact step-by-step breakdown of how I painted the gold sections of the model. The trick that I found when painting these sections is to be flexible and not afraid of making touch-ups as you go. I find sometimes that I need to go back over a section with a lighter or dark layer to better blend the colors. I also make stupid mistakes, like miss whole sections, and find myself backtracking to catch-up the missed area.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hump Day Heroes: Lizardmen vs Empire Battle Report (1000 points)

Recently, Andrew and I gathered to play some games at my place and test out some of my theories about using lizardmen in the Adepticon Team Tournament. In particular, I wanted to get comfortable with using the ripperdactyls as I admit that I don’t typically use units with the frenzy special rule. I also wanted to try out various units using the old models I own before investing in any of the new kits.

John’s Lizardmen List 
Skink Priest with Lore of Heavens (level 2)
15 Saurus Warriors w/ Full Command
20 Skink Warriors w/ Full Command and 2 Kroxigors Stegadon
3 Ripperdactyls (proxied with screamers)
2 units of Salamanders

Andrew's List 
Captain w/ 2+ armour save
BSB w/ 2+ armour save
Unit of Statesmen (w/ Halberds) and detachment of Handgunners
Unit of Knights
2 Cannons

 The set-up of the table was similar to what we used in the game we played earlier and involved a couple of forest, some impassible terrain and a few hills. The scenario for the game was a basic pitch-battle with no special modifiers or objectives. When it came to deploying our armies, Andrew gathered the bulk of his forces in the center of his deployment zone. I decided to spread things out and placed my stegadon on one side of the impassible rock, my salamanders, saurus and skink units towards the center and my ripperdactyls to my far left.

Outside of playing lizardmen in 8th, another first for me in this game was selecting the Lore of Heavens for my skink chief. At the last Adepticon, I watched my partner in the Team Tournament use the lore to great effect and wanted to see what I could do with it. I was also interested in trying the lore as I am considering ‘Ekko as my general for next year’s TT with Andrew. When it came to spells, I ended up with Chain Lightning and Iceshard Blizzard.

With armies deployed and spells chosen, we proceeded to play out the game. My main strategy was to move the bulk of my army to engage Andrew’s forces while my stegadon and ripperdactyls came in on the flanks of his army. Knowing that Andrew had cannons, I expected the stegadon to be the early focus of their attention. To this end, they made quick work of the big beastie, dropping it by the second turn.

With the cannons focusing on the stegadon, my skink priest and salamanders were given an opportunity to unleash some ranged attacks on the Empire. In this situation, the real winner for me was the two turns of chain lightning that I was able to get off with the skink priest. In both turns, I gambled big and got irresistible force off both times. Unfortunately, the second time spelled the end of my magic phase as my priest lost his wizard levels from the miscast. Regardless, the spell bounced its way through Andrew’s units, dropping knights, handgunners, and even a crewman from one of the cannons.

Moving into the middle of the game, the ripperdactyls finally made contact with one of the cannons. They made quick work of it before being double assaulted by Andrew’s general and BSB. This became the tarpit of the game as my rippers kept failing to get past the 2+ saves. Finally, as the game was reaching its conclusion, I was able to score a killing blow and finish his general.

With a final roll of the dice, the game was over and victory points were tallied. I had lost the stegadon and both salamanders. Andrew had lost everything but the single cannon that I was unable to reach before the game concluded. It was a good game and not an easy win against such a skilled opponent. Most of the units performed well, with the skink priest over-performing and the stegadon under-performing. I really liked the saurus warriors and how they did against Andrew’s knights and statesmen. The ripperdactyls showed potential, but I felt like they would have done better if I had more of them on the table. In the end, the game gave me a lot to consider and a victory against Andrew. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Gathering of Might (AGOM) XII - The Unstable Dice Army Contest

During an upcoming episode, we will be talking about my preparation for AGOM XII. As part of the discussion, I would love to get a sense of what people are planning for the event, especially which books are being considered. To motivate folks that are attending in February to share their plans, we are hosting a new contest.

The Rules: 
1. You must be attending A Gathering of Might XII on Feb 22nd & 23rd, 2014.
2. You need to post what army or armies you are considering on The Unstable Dice Podcast Facebook page.
3. You must post on or before Dec 14th, 2013.

After Dec 14th, we will randomly select one post from all of those that were submitted to win a cool Unstable Dice Podcast prize pack. The prize pack will include an Unstable Dice t-shirt and a cool miniature from one of our 2014 sponsors. The winner will be announced during a future episode and contacted afterwards to get a shirt size. Actual prizes will be delivered in person at AGOM XII.

Monday, November 25, 2013

On the Bench: Veteran Guardsmen with Shotguns - Part One

At the moment, I am juggling a couple of different projects in an effort to keep myself motivated. To this end, as I find myself becoming frustrated or bored with one project, I can jump over to another one that can be done more quickly. The good thing about doing this is that I keep getting stuff painted. The bad piece is that I need to jump around too much; otherwise I will never finish an actual squad or regiment.

The color scheme used for this model is similar to ones that I have used in the past for my guardsmen, but with a few noteworthy changes. The first major difference between this guardsman and the ones from the prior squad is that I focused more on adding “hard” highlights to the model. Another difference was that I included the Vallejo Magic Blue to the mixture when working on the blue areas. Finally, I decided to go with brown boots that matched the belts instead of the dark grey ones on the first squad.

The ultimate goal with this squad is to have a 10 man unit of veterans armed with shotguns and flamers. I also plan on painting a chimera for this unit that is armed with heavy flamers on the turret and in the hull. Whether or not that actually happens is a matter of time and dedication, but for now I feel it is a strong possibility.