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Category: Newbreed (page 1 of 9)

ETC 2015: Flames of War

Ah, Prague, a beautiful city rich with history and culture, one time capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This isn’t where we were. Our event was a little further out.

The actual location of the ETC was a metal shed, full of sweat, heat and… sweat. In Ireland, this is the kind of place you go to auction livestock.

Having experienced a degree of shock from the heat, I was concerned for the well-being of my delicate team. Imagine my relief in finding that their specialised dietary requirements could be met locally.

Preparation was paramount this year, months of planning, list analysis and pairing under tournament conditions (read: drunk and sleep deprived).

On the way, we noted that Team USA had gotten there before us and were doing a little freelance work for the local CIA front.

After a night of drinking and sweet, sweet dance moves, we square off against Brian’s favourite nation, Team Belarus. I take their Finnish infantry list in Dust-up. The decision to harass his force before falling back to eliminate his reserves was a little too greedy. His reserves arrive quickly, fight well and I make heavy going of finishing them off. After a close fight, we prevail. With his reserves gone, an additional platoon kill was required. With all key platoons close to testing and the enemy deployed in good positions, it took almost an hour to unpick the defence and force company morale checks.

Ireland Score Score Belarus Result
Padraic 6 1 Artem Win
Brendan 1 6 Michail Loss
Ulick 3 2 Denis Draw
Brian 4 3 Andrew Win
Floody 3 3 Bartosz Draw
Baz 3 3 Valery Draw

Looking around, we took two wins from the round, lost a game outright and the rest were mutual losses. Having expected an easier run-out, I feared the worst as we pop into the table in 18th place. The only consolation was getting paired with England in the next round.

Between rounds, we met with Adam from the Breakthrough Assault podcast who had said unkind things about our lists previously. We forgave him his abusive comments as his crippling height disadvantage meant that there was little honour in picking a fight about such things.

Facing off against Team England, I reminded my team of their many crimes against our people (especially on the part of Steve Charlton) and strongly implied that a loss would see the Union Jack fluttering over Dublin by morning. I then squared off against their German infantry list. Pete dug in across the board. I chose a flank and rolled forward, hoping to weather the ambush. The planned smoke bombardment failed to form and the ambush was brutal. The surviving tanks fought it out for a few turns, killing a few guns, suffering heavy losses. The game ended with a futile last attack killing off the company commander.

Ireland Score Score England Result
Padraic 1 6 Pete Loss
Brendan 6 1 John Win
Ulick 4 3 Graham Win
Brian 1 6 Steve Loss
Floody 4 3 Jez Win
Baz 6 1 Kevin Win

Luckily, the team performed well, beating the English 4-2 overall. Freedom is secured for another year and we climb to 12th place. That paired us against a team who might harbour a historical grudge against us, Greece.

In honour of the occasion, special actions were called for. We located his monument and fired off quick prayers to the patron saint of rules lawyering, St. Beardius.

Best possible start to the day.

The next morning saw me defend against French tanks. Arkon, the Greek player, played a very cagey game. A careful push along a tree line tried to force my ambush but I held it for the right moment. Losses were even when I pounced but the ambush did no damage. Thankfully, the counter-attack stumbled in turn and the fight degraded back into a knife fight again. At a key moment his three bailed Laffleys fled, taking the company commander with them and the lack of covering fire saw the attack unravel. Although dangerous to the end, the surviving platoons were hunted down and the company broken.

Ireland Score Score Greece Result
Padraic 4 3 Arkon Win
Brendan 6 1 Panos Win
Ulick 4 3 Harry Win
Brian 1 6 Frank Loss
Floody 6 1 Unknown Win
Baz 3 4 Unknown Loss

Another 4-2 win settled our nerves and we began to feel comfortable. We were happy to find the Greeks to be both friendly and fair and hoped to find the Swiss as pleasant. Overall, the win gets us 9th position.

My glum and hardened veterans feast on the hearts of their enemies. Well, the hearts and assorted innards of something, anyway.

We resist the urge to accuse the South African team of murdering Cecil the Lion. We do not resist the urge to spread rumours amongst the other teams that the South African team murdered Cecil the Lion.

As another nation that ducked WW2, we have a deep affinity with the Swiss. Deploying my pidgin English during the pairings, I quickly realise Arnaud’s grasp of the language is better than mine. Playing German Mech, he is “delighted” to “win” the roll to attack and gamely advances to make a fight of it. His mobile elements make it through but his guns are bogged down. He viciously targets the mortars, to my confusion, as I filter tanks from reserve to cover the objective. The plan was revealed as eight Paks arrived wheel to wheel as my forces began to filter in. Without mortars, they will be difficult to remove. But his volleys do not have the desired effect and, with frankly ludicrous rolling, the shootout goes entirely my way.

Ireland Score Score Switzerland Result
Padraic 4 3 Arnaud Win
Brendan 2 5 Christophe Loss
Ulick 6 1 Etienne Win
Brian 5 2 Markus Win
Floody 6 1 Maurus Win
Baz 3 4 Stefan Loss

The battle of the neutral powers goes our way this year. Another 4-2 win pushed us slightly further up into 6th place. Our reward was a game against Slovenia who had beaten us 6-0 in 2012, right as we were starting to getting cocky. I fear that history might repeat itself.

Riding high on the glory that evening, I refuse to allow my team to eat in such a common establishment and insist we move on to somewhere that would be, at the very least, above-average.

Next morning, fresh-faced and happy after an entire two hours of sleep, we sit down to pair against the Slovenians. Frankly, we were delighted to be playing a team with a reputation for good-spirited play.

Truly, they are a happy and friendly people, free of burning, lingering hate. 🙂

Fighting a tank list in a mobile reserves mission, I fear the worst. Primoz enacts a set-piece offensive, rolling on my home objective. The stalling forces fought well with reluctant trained troops driving off two separate assaults. Their heroics are in vain as the reserves arrive too late to retrieve the situation and the enemy plan locks me out for a turn six defeat.

Ireland Score Score Slovenia Result
Padraic 1 6 Primoz Loss
Brendan 3 4 Jan Loss
Ulick 4 3 Anze Win
Brian 3 4 Rok Loss
Floody 4 3 Milan Win
Baz 5 2 Tevz Win

Overall, we manage a 3-3 result which drops us to 8th place but keeps us within striking distance of the top five. Our last game is against the International Brigade, Team UN #1.

My last game was against a fellow Irishman, Darragh and his Czech tanks. Having suffered their fire in the last game I move quickly to engage them and push the fight into open ground. The Somuas and Laffleys were caught out of position but arrived in time to continue the fight once the Hotchkisses had lost three of four platoons. He is unlucky not to company morale me before I do the same to him to claim a final victory.

Ireland Score Score UN #1 Result
Padraic 4 3 Darragh Win
Brendan 2 5 Matteo Loss
Ulick 3 2 Karol Draw
Brian 6 1 Ilya Win
Floody 2 5 Unknown Loss
Baz 5 2 Nic Win

The team as a whole went 3-2 and with wins scarcer in the final Fair Fight mission, it was enough to jump us into 4th place. USA, Poland and Australia scamper off with the trophies as we watch resentfully.

Having come within touching distance of the podium, we were proud but also a little disappointed. That disappointment was brutally compounded the next day when Brian drops the celebratory ice-cream Floody bought him. His sobs ring through the Old Castle for hours.

No matter, we gather our belongings, take a bearing off the Eiffel Tower (who knew it was visible from Prague) and start marching home.

P.S. I’m missing some names from our match-ups, if you know them, let us know.

Epic Battle Report: The Fall of Amphipon Station

The Fall of Amphipon Station

“We owe the workers nothing, we have granted them much honour in allowing them to serve us.” -Tech-Adept Thurmann to unknown PDF commander

The world of Ketrin is the scene of a bitter conflict between the forces of the Mechanicus and the remnants of a long forgotten Waaagh. Long thought to be contained, after centuries of minor clashes and skirmishing, Ork attacks have flared to dangerous levels. Across the planet, warbands are forming and their predations threaten the holy work of uncovering the planet’s history and unearthing ancient knowledge. The civilian population and PDF have been left to their own devices as the Mechanicus focus on the defence of their own outposts.

Ork Forces

At the heart of each warband, there can be found a warboss. Outside the recently conquered city of Amphipon, Warboss Grug stands atop his Gargant, revelling in the adulation of his newest followers. Ten mobs of Grots, four mobs of Nobs and fourteen mobs of Ork Boyz scamper alongside the warmachine.

His Mekboys have stripped the city bare of anything useful fulfilling their dimly-remembered duties and the fruit of their labours sees a mob of seven Stompas clanking into battle.

But the true strength of Grug’s warhorde lies in his veteran Blitz Brigades, three formations of Gunwagonz led by a pair of Oddboyz each. The orkish psykers add a deadly punch to the massed firepower of ramshackle tanks. These are the forces that have swept down through the barrier lines into the open plains. Three tribes can be seen, the red of the Speed Freaks, the yellow of the Bad Moons and the blue of the Deathskulls.

        Mechanicus Forces

Facing this incursion is a lumbering defence force. The heart of the Mechanicus army is an ancient and deadly Ordinatus Majoris (Armageddon class), toting a spaceship killing Nova cannon. This godmachine, Blessing of the Omni-messiah is a revered icon of the faith and deploys alongside its dedicated escorts. Its Colossus assault robots keep the enemy at bay while a squadron of Avengers guard it from aerial threats.

All Mechanicus facilities maintain garrison forces. Amphipon Station is no different, having avoided the fighting in the city, an intact Sagitarii demi-century has been bolstered by the activation of a long-buried Minoris and Hydra.

Following a series of one-sided encounters in close, rugged terrain, the tech-priests have revealed their answer to Ork close combat ferocity. Praetorian combat servitors in a specialised Minoris transport have been assigned to the defensive effort to blunt any Ork assault.

Over the past weeks, losses have been high and mechanised formations grow rarer as the engine-seers focus on deploying and repairing more powerful and prestigious weapons in preparation for a grand counter-offensive One of the few combat-ready Skitarii demi-centuries has been assigned a troop of Chimedons and attached to the force.

A dedicated hunting group also join the battle. Three Macharius super-heavy tanks (named after the famed Imperial commander) are guided forward by a maniple of Crusader scout robots.
The opening stages of the battle sees the Orks concentrated and all indications are that they intend an advance north out of the city towards the Mechanicus facilities to the northeast. The Mechanicus force is spread out over a wider front, attempting to protect their assets outside the city.

The Ork infantry deploy on the right around the captured landing port and facing off against the Sagitarii dug in around the archaeological station and ancient ruins. The Stompas lumber into position, delighting the infantry rushing past their feet. In the distance, the Ordinatus Majoris looms over the ruins, skirting the edge of the forest.

In the centre, the Deathskull brigade idles under the shadow of the Gargant as Praetorians, Crusader scouts and the Macharius tanks filter through the forests. On the left, the Badmoon and Speed Freek brigades rumble through the city while the air defence post to the north harbours the Skitarii and Colossus robots.

The Stompas open the battle doubling forward, firing their cannons with more enthusiasm than accuracy, to everyone’s surprise, a unit of Sagitarii are caught on the exposed loading ramp and wiped out. But as a whole, the garrison weathers the fire easily.

Their small arms don’t threaten the Stompas but they are not defenceless. Return fire from the attached Minoris rips through one of the Stompas and detonates its magazine sending flaming wreckage back through the buildings, drowning out the Orkish roars.

The firefight does provide an opportunity for the humble footsloggers, Ork infantry use the lull after the firefight to infiltrate the station and close in on the garrison, moving through the buildings very quickly. Crackles of alarmed binary indicate that the garrison is trying to adjust their fire.

On the left, the Macharius tanks elevate their main guns and rake the Speed Freaks with deadly long range fire, destroying three Gunwagons and rocking the formation. In the face of a new foe, the Orks stop their squabbling and begin revving their engines.

Recognising the machine that claimed his predecessor’s Gargant, Grug orders the Deathskull Blitz Brigade to bring it down. Roaring along the edge of the woods, past the archaeological station, they close in on the Blessing. Massed shoota fire weakens the void shields but not a single round can penetrate the glowing protective fields.

Grug watches with alarm as a Minoris of unusual design roars from out of the forest. Hatches open, clawed, slavering machine-things pour out of the vehicle and begin skittering forward into assault range.

Facing the ingenuity of the Mechanicus, the Orks have long since learned that the new humie stuff should be shot first. The Gargant stumbles forward and lays down heavy fire against the servitors. As the dirt and smoke clears, the barrage of rockets and shells is revealed to have had no effect.

The tech-guard scurry over the flanks of the Ordinatus, readying its primary weapons. With a flash, a Nova cannon rakes through the leading line of Gunwagonz. Where it hits, tanks are reduced to little more than motes of dusts and steam. Three Gunwagonz vanish in a split-second.

As the fighting around the station dies down briefly, a second battle begins to the west on the far side of the forested area. The untouched Bad Moon Blitz Brigade rumbles out of the city towards the Macharius platoon. The speed of the advances wreaks havoc on the already poor Ork gunnery and they deal only minor damage to a single tank.

Their hasty advance sees them ambushed by Crusader scouts rolling through the trees into point blank range. The speed of the Ork vehicles, smoke from the inefficient weapons and chaotic layouts confuse their targeting system. The robots claim a single vehicle with short-range multi-melta fire and are unlucky not to claim more as the tanks shrug off melta hits.

The Speed Freaks Brigade have recovered from their earlier losses, stopped shooting into the air and directed their energy towards the enemy. They move up in support of the Bad Moons and their erratic, random fire successfully downs a single robot.

Away from the fighting, Colossus robots sneak into the city, making their way through the battle-scarred streets to retake the airfield control post from the Orks. They encounter no resistance as it becomes clear that any sizable Ork band has been drawn to the sound of fighting to the northeast.

Monitoring the nearby battle in the western forest, the Skitarii platoon see an opportunity to flank an entire Brigade. They abandon the air defence post but can’t quite get into position for a true cross fire. Their few accurate shots ricochet off the crude armour.

The Avengers make their first appearance diving into the clearing and claiming two more vehicles from the Bad Moon Brigade. The Mechanicus has total air superiority but few air assets with which to exploit their dominance.

Turn 2

Recognizing the deadliest threat, the larger Orks of the Deathskull Brigade manage to redirect their guns towards the Praetorians. The gunwagonz come crashing to a halt and vast quantities of dakka are sent into the advancing servitors. The stitching fire claims two squads but the formation remains active and dangerous.

Grug roars for more firepower and the Meks deliver. The Gargant manages to lay its big gunz on the servitors and two squads are claimed by a massive burst. Little-used overrides activate and the Praetorian formation withdraws under fire.

In the battle of the woods, the Skitarii successfully close the noose on the Bad Moons catching them in a crossfire. The results are disappointing, the heavy fire into a swirling mob of confused Orks claims only two vehicles.

Faced with threats from all sides, the Orks respond with traditional simple aggression, attacking the target directly in front of them. Through a quirk of Ork engineering a few of the guns appear more potent that expected. Rather than weather the rounds, the super-heavy tanks are utterly shattered. Two Macharius tanks are destroyed outright as the big guns punch clean through their armour and a series of damaging hits sends the surviving tank into full retreat.

On the other flank, the Ork warband makes the most of their successful infiltration. Breaking cover to charge across the few steps of open ground, their sheer numbers seem to overwhelm the light spattering of defensive fire.

Heavy axes bite into oily flesh and the fire dies away. The defending Sagitarii are wiped out, their vehicles overrun by stikk-bombers and the entire garrison is destroyed.

Hoping to draw away a larger Ork formation, the Crusader scouts abandon the fighting in the woods and make a quick march for the Ork ammo cache in the city outskirts.

The Stompas, denied the joy of treading small squishy infantry underfoot, turn away from the archaeological station and begin a march towards the Ordinatus Majoris. Their frustration effects their gunnery and their projectiles sail harmlessly past the Ordinatus or vanish against its shields.

The scout robots find that they have been overly successful. Tracked by an entire Speed Freeks Brigade, they are forced to turn at bay and are wiped out to the last, within striking distance of their intended target.

For the crew of the Blessing, the Stompas present a target worthy of their weapons and they bring it to bear. The deadly beam weapon fires a fraction too early but it still has the power to destroy two Stompas utterly.

Turn 3

Fresh from the massacre of the Crusader robots, the  Speed Freeks Brigade reappears behind the Skitarii. They now find themselves surrounded by the Orks, in turn. One Chimedon is raked, takes a hit to its generator and burst into flames.

The Ork Gargant, switches its attention to the beleaguered Skitarii, claims another Chimedon through sheer weight of fire.

Caught between multiple formations, the footsoldiers of the Machine-God prove resilent. They focus fire on the priority target, hoping to eliminate at least one angle of attack. Their fire is disappointing, killing another gunwagon.

The Orks respond angrily, shootas hack down those within close range and destroy another transport. Although still numerous, the Skitiarii are hopelessly outgunned at this point.

As the western battle approaches its end, the Avenger flight is ordered to support the Blessing and prevent a total rout in the east. Their attack run is impressive in its daring as they roar in above the treetops but their guns can only claim a solitary tank.

The Deathskulls ignore the aircraft and fire on the Blessing. The tech-adepts squirt amused chatters of binary as gunwagon fire patters harmlessly against their void shields, a few rounds penetrate but have no noticeable effect.

They continue to focus on the better target. The moment of quiet that precedes a Nova Cannon shot is broken by the crackling hum of plasma as it fires. Four Stompas are blasted into chunks of smoking metal and vapour as a perfectly aimed shot claims the entire Stompa formation.

Their victory is marred as the  Ork warband bursts from the station and attempts to board the Ordinatus. Teams of tech-adepts throw back the initial attackers but weight of numbers forces a panicked retreat. The leading wave of Orks is cut down as the machine churns backwards to safety. The mob stagger to a halt as their target outpaces them in its flight. The station has fallen.

Turn 4

The Bad Moons manage to gun down another squad of Skitarii but as ammunition runs low, their firepower is diminished. Even the Oddboyz can’t marshal their usual level of destructive weirdness.

But under attack from all sides, the randoms spray of gunfire begin to tell, with Chimedons being knocked out one after the other. In the face of an untenable position, the Skitarii break out towards the air defence post, making little effort to defend themselves.

In the east, the Deathskulls Blitz Brigade spread out into the woods and chase down broken formations fleeing the battle. They claim a heavy transport but to their frustration, the surviving enemy slips away.

The hunters become the hunted as a rallied Ordinatus sights them and claims an additional two vehicles. The army might be crumbling around it as the front line disintegrates but it remains active and deadly.

The skirmish marked the end of the battle proper. The eastern defensive line has utterly ruptured and there are few formations left to resist. The Blessing of the Omni-messiah has successfully disengaged but around it, the remnants of shattered units are in full flight.

In the West, the surviving Skitarii rout towards their jump-off point. The formation pushing into the city now risks isolation as larger Ork formations threaten to cut them off from the retreating army.The only consolation is that much of the force could escape as the Orks are diverted by the joys of looting a Mechanicus site. Already, flares can be seen in the distance as they indulge themselves in “experments” with captured tech.

The Mechanicus deem further defensive efforts to be impractical and withdraw their remaining assets from the region. Their forces have suffered badly in open terrain as greater Ork mobility allow them to isolate and surround their formations. However the Blessing of the Omni-messiah continues to evade destruction and has been responsible for more than half of the losses suffered by the Orks, adding six Stompa kills to its Gargant kill and adding to its impressive tally of smaller kills.

Final score: Orks: 1785           Mechanicus: 425

Preening Dandies (Final Edition)

Preening Dandies (Final Edition)

After well over a year of entries, we’re wrapping up the Preening Dandies series. It started as a way of getting us to paint our stuff, a role it fulfilled admirably. However, it’s been supplanted by the painting and modelling section on the forum and it’s time to hold the metaphorical pillow over its face and shush it to its eternal rest. It’s lost, gained, lost and gained hosts, its posting date has slipped further and further but we’re finishing strong with nine entries across six systems.

Terminator Squad (Warhammer 40,000)

We start with AlCorp’s Terminators. The bone effect is nicely done with clear differentiation between whitish fabric and whitish armour. More amusing, the entire squad can clearly be identified as that of a player rather than a painter. The blue fists, while they add a splash of colour, are clearly very prominent squad markings. Other giveaways are the three colour minimum scheme and the fact that he didn’t notice that two of the weapons are unpainted.

Old Guard Grenadier Command (Historicals)

Craftfeld was a late arrival to the format but a methodical contributor since. This are a Napoleonic era French command stand. Since I’m not doing the research and knowing his tendencies, I’m going to assume a good level of historical accuracy. The best feature of these pieces is the blue cloth. If you look at the unit as a whole, you can see some quality highlighting work. The trousers on the eagle bearer and the officer’s cloak are fine examples.

US Rifle Infantry platoon (Flames of War)

These would be Newbreed’s work. The signature sloppy paint scheme, heavy use of Devlan Mud and presence of a man with a dog are all the clues you need. However, looking closely, two of those teams are actually not his work. Shame on him/me.

Necron Fleet (Battlefleet Gothic)

I’m going to be brief, this picture does not do Void Dragon’s work justice, you must immediately go read his painting log to get larger and better pictures. It also details the work involved in making something look quite so pretty.

German Grenadier HQ & Infantry platoon (Flames of War)

We have another staple of the forum here, Nosediver sends in some Germans. I like what I always like, his attention to detail. The ultra-realistic looking camo effect on some of the helmets and tunics might look normal to the more accomplished 28mm painters out there but to replicate it in 15mm is impressive.

German Half-Track (Flames of War)

We see Frogdog beginning to develop his style. The airbrushing has given him a solid paint job and he’s begun showing more ambition in the modelling sphere and added a lot of stowage to this Plastic Soldier Company model.

Dwarves (Warhammer Fantasy)

Easycompany joins us at the last minute with a Dwarf regiment. It’s a nice, classic scheme for some old-school models. The Dwarf models tend to remind war-gamers of the good old days of White Dwarf. So, that’s nice.

German Panzergrenadier Lehr Platoon (Flames of War)

Is it not pretty? Frustrated florist Herrireland lets his creative side run free and produces this nice mechanized infantry unit. As ever, your attention should be directed to the quality of the basing and you should marvel at his endless supply of multi-coloured flowers.

Bastion Seneschal (Warmachine)

And we finish the series with the “participant most likely to be a painting robot” Lowry. He’s got something lovely here. The brass effect on the shoulder pads, the crisp finish on the model and overall colour balance are great but, frustratingly, I think the blurry halberd blade might have been the best part. The blue-green effect on the sigils and flame effect along the blade’s edge seem worthy of a second glance.

So, he’s clearly the most preening dandy of them all. We will not be taking entries for the next post, obviously, but I do encourage our contributors who want to share their work with an Irish audience to pop into the forum and make themselves known. Thanks for all your entries to date and hopefully, we’ll run across some of the entries again on tables throughout Ireland. We’ll finish with the final standings.
Preening Dandies
Player Score
Lowry 15
Newbreed 14
Nosediver 9
Quozl 7
Craftfeld 7
Frogdog 7
Trget 5
Welshman 5
Sycopat 4
Floody 3
Void Dragon 3
Alcorps 3
The Big BZ 2
Bristolscale7 2
HerrIreland 2
Jiggy 1
Maynard 1
Crazy Aido 1
Easycompany 1

Flames of War Tournament Stats (IRE/NI: May 2013)

We’ve got another Flames of War tournament kicking off soon, it seems like an appropriate time to have a look at the state of the game. We’re still operating with a seriously flawed data set (not enough tournaments yet) but we’ll improve over time.

First up is the big pie chart of nationalities played. The Germans remain very popular but their market share has dropped slightly. The Americans have also slipped slightly while the British record the biggest increase. Soviets and Hungarians climb very slightly. Overall, it’s situation normal here with an even mix of Germans and the rest.

I mentioned in the last round up that the tournament scene was notable for its list variety and that remains unchanged. The last tournament had twelve players with twelve completely distinct armies and included six never-before-used company lists. We’re still waiting on a list to be re-used. I suspect that run will end with the next tournament, this Sunday, but it’s still nice to see such a large measure of originality and experimentation.

The win ratio graph has gone to hell after a run of draws (which I treat as losses). I wouldn’t read too much into it as we’re going to keep seeing big swings like this until we’ve gotten a large number of tournaments into the system. It’s also a bit of fudged statistic as the national lists can vary widely in type and quality. With that in mind, we’ll quickly say that the Germans and Americans see a drop, the Soviets and Hungarians climb slightly and the British completely tank. Now, the last tournament didn’t see many of the new Bridge by Bridge companies so the British are still running on their older lists and I think we see that the v.2 versions are just a bit outclassed.

Those general overviews don’t really help in that a German list could be anything from a Jadgtiger company with a small number of heavy tank destroyers to a Luftwaffe Flak battalion pressed into service. There’s a wide variety of force lists which have only been played rarely so we’re going to ignore those and focus on the regularly played options. In essence, I’m ignoring the force lists that have only been used by a single player at a single tournament. So, what interesting tidbits can be drawn from the data? What’s are the most popular and successful lists?

The most popular army list is, without a doubt, Kampfgrupper Pieper from Devil’s Charge. It makes up 12% of all armies played and a whopping 24% of all German armies fielded in tournaments. However, it has the worst win ratio of any of the widely used lists, winning 22% of its games. It may have the numbers but it’s lacking in staying power.

The second most popular list is everyone’s least favourite opponent, the vile 2nd Infantry Division from Devil’s Charge. To no-one’s shock, it has the highest win ratio of any list at 69%. You could argue that it’s the players behind the list driving the win ratio up but as one of the guilty, I can say you’re wrong. The rules revisions to tank destroyers may draw some of the venom from the list.

The Panzerkompanie from Grey Wolf (third in popularity) is the second strongest performer on a 64% win ratio. I’ve got a real soft spot for it and it continues to perform even in the face of some internet hate. The bronze medal goes to the Hungarian force, Puskas Szazad on a 63% win ratio. This is a bit of a surprise and it’s probably the combination of assault guns and plentiful artillery that make it deadly.

As a quick finish, I’ll say that tank lists are played more often than infantry and mech lists are the least popular. You could argue that tank lists appeal more to players due to their low cost in actual money, their iconic status (think of the Tiger, Sherman and T-34) or the ease with which a force can be assembled and transported. I honestly can’t say.

When we look at the percentage of their games won by these list types, things change. Infantry lists score highly while the tank lists do not perform well. This is largely in line with the results of the 2012 ETC where the foot-sloggers strongly out-performed the armour. As we get the results for more tournaments, I’ll be curious to see if this trend continues.

Specialist Games Being Discontinued?

We’re hearing some awful and plausible rumours that Games Workshop are killing the Specialist Games lines. It appears that existing stocks of Specialist Games models (regular and Forgeworld) are being run down and will not be replaced. Damn dark day.

Rumour has it that with the full switch from metal to finecast, the Battlefleet Gothic, Epic, Necromunda and Inquisitor ranges are just going to die out. No restocks, just the remorseless running down of the existing inventory. No mention of the fate of Blood Bowl, which does soften the blow slightly.

I’m really hoping to be proven wrong on this one.

Preening Dandies (March 2013 Edition)

We’ve just managed an entire year of Preening Dandies posts. We’ve got seven entries this month, spread over six game systems. I’d like to thank all those people who’ve contributed over the last year. In many cases, we’ve seen their styles evolve and I’ve found that they’ve encouraged me to try that little bit harder in own painting. So, thanks, chaps.

Deathmarks (Warhammer 40,000)

We’re slightly honoured (really, really slight) that Floody has deigned to send in a picture of a unit of Deathmark from his award-winning Necron army. He’s created a force that looks like it’s emerged from a sandstorm. The green crystals provide a splash of colour but accent the alien weirdness of the Necrons. They do remind me a little of the traditional Tomb Kings paint scheme.

Norse-Gaels (SAGA)

We’re not immune to gold nerd fever at On The Step. An off-hand comment has led to widespread adoption of a new game system. If you’re in the area and want to play some SAGA, do contact us. This three lads are generic warriors from the Norse Gael faction. I’m finally getting to use all my shades of brown and I’ve been inspired to make more of an effort with the basing after seeing some of last month’s entries.

Grand Scrutator Severius (Warmahordes)

Lowry continues to expand his Protectorate army. He’s risked the high contrast painting techniques on the robes and it’s worked like a charm. The rest of the model is painted with care in the standard colours. I notice that the edging on the stole (priestly scarf to you) ties it into the model as a whole and might have to steal it for my own Menites.

German Nebelwerfers (Flames of War)

This guy has started getting up at 6.45 am to paint his stuff. While we commend Frogdog’s dedication, he’s utterly mad. This is a unit of German artillery which we assume has seen some heavy action from the scorch marks on the rocket launchers. He’s gone with a dark camo pattern which I think is intended to let them serve as Hungarians when required.

Sdk Fz 222 (Battlegroup Kursk)

Quozl is the standard bearer for the other 15mm WW2 wargame currently getting some playtime. We’ve gotten so many German camo entries at this point that they’re starting to blend together in my mind. I will say, having seen his Irish warband in a partially painted stage, that he’s probably one of the most careful painters I’ve encountered. It comes across here in the evenness of the paintjob.

Ototo (Malifaux)

Craftfeld sent in this Malifaux entry. I was a little curious as to whether this was a conversion or whether the model actually sits off it’s own base. A quick search reveals that it does. I find the balance between the cool colours on the left of the picture and the warm colours on the right to be very appropriate for a faux-Oriental model. I am left with the sneaking suspicion that you’ll spend a lot of time standing it back up, though.

Daemon Prince (Warhammer 40,000)

This is the end result of months of labour on the part of Alcorps. Alternately, it’s the end results of leaving the model in its box for months before painting it in a fit of enthusiasm. It’s neat, it’s been washed with some care, the model is, objectively speaking, very nice. But when I look at the face mask, I can only see this guy.

Preening Dandies
Player Score
Lowry 12
Newbreed 12
Nosediver 7
Craftfeld 6
Quozl 6
Trget 5
Sycopat 4
Welshman 4
Frogdog 4
Floody 2
The Big BZ 2
Alcorps 1
Bristolscale7 1
Crazy Aido 1
Jiggy 1
Maynard 1

We’ll be doing another roundup in May so get your works into prd@onthestep.net before the end of April. As ever, our local tech adept states that photos above 5MB in size tend to bounce back so keep your entries below that size.

Rules Refresher
1) Each participant may only send in one entry for a given month. You can send in multiple photos of the entry but only one will be used.
2) The entry can be a single model or single unit. The smaller the unit, the more detail in the photo so aim low.
3) The model can be from any game system. If it’s particularly esoteric, we’d appreciate a covering note explaining what it is.
4) The entry must have been finished within that given month. You can’t submit completed pieces from your back catalogue.
5) If you want us to include a link back to more of your work, we’d be delighted to do that.

Preening Dandies (February 2013 Edition)

We’ve trudged through snow, ice, sleet and waves of nagging from Frogdog to bring you another batch of finished models. Gaze upon them disdainfully.

Paladins of the Wall (Warmachine)

There’s a lot to like here in Lowry’s entry. These are the stalwart good guys of the Warmachine setting and it shows in their oh-so-noble, pretentious poses. The white robes and rich reds all work well but it’s the little touches that make it. Only one is wearing their trademark flowing cape and the other has befriended the crow accessory from the Wracks set.

Romano-British Infantry (Hail Caesar)

My own contribution follows on last month’s entry. This is a small unit of Romano-British auxilary infantry. The colour scheme is unchanged but to reflect their scratch unit status, I’ve been painting a higher proportion of the models as old men, beardless boys and gingers. Soulless abominations.

Fallschirmjager Mortar Platoon (Flames of War)

Nosediver shows off two things, another completed platoon and his fancy new 4grounds buildings. There’s not a lot more to be said for his painting, it’s spot on. The Army Painter tufts continue to make his great work look even better. I think it’s in the nature of 15mm models to require good basing. You simply can’t just throw on some sand and assume that the paint job on the model will carry it.

Tiger (Flames of War)

Here’s an advertisment for airbrushing, check on the finish on this tank. Frogdog sends in a Tiger with what can only be described as very nicely blended camouflage. That quality is actually near-impossible to replicate with brushes and just makes a mockery of my efforts to produce something similar.

Gebirgsjager Squad (Flames of War)

Craftfeld sent in a few pictures this month, I went with this one to highlight the ultra-realistic basing. This just reinforces my earlier point that 15mm bases can be mini-vignettes and look their very best when people make good use of their basing materials. Craftfeld has been getting ever more ambitious in his use of household/garden materials of late and the tree is just spot-on.

Preening Dandies
Player Score
Lowry 11
Newbreed 11
Nosediver 7
Craftfeld 5
Quozl 5
Trget 5
Sycopat 4
Welshman 4
Frogdog 3
The Big BZ 2
Bristolscale7 1
Crazy Aido 1
Floody 1
Jiggy 1
Maynard 1

We’ll be doing another roundup in April so get your works into prd@onthestep.net before the end of March. As ever, our local tech adept states that photos above 5MB in size tend to bounce back so keep your entries below that size.

Rules Refresher
1) Each participant may only send in one entry for a given month. You can send in multiple photos of the entry but only one will be used.
2) The entry can be a single model or single unit. The smaller the unit, the more detail in the photo so aim low.
3) The model can be from any game system. If it’s particularly esoteric, we’d appreciate a covering note explaining what it is.
4) The entry must have been finished within that given month. You can’t submit completed pieces from your back catalogue.
5) If you want us to include a link back to more of your work, we’d be delighted to do that.

Flames of War Tournament Stats (Ireland and Northern Ireland)

We’ve seen three Flames of War tournaments so far with War in the North coming up very soon. Down in the secret Warhead bunker, the pre-tournament plotting saw wild and unfounded talk of total infantry dominance. Flamethrowers were fueled, assault guns began revving their engines, hopes were raised and…. a load of tank lists suddenly appeared. I thought it might be interesting to check the stats and see what’s actually happening.

We’re relying on the results of three tournaments so we can expect some kinks in the early stages but I think it’s worth the effort. I’m avoiding all mention of players and focusing on lists to avoid wandering anywhere near the awful concept of player rankings.

1) What’s the most popular nationality?

This was a easy one, it was ze Germans by a massive margin. The Western Front is very strongly represented in Ireland. The Americans also do well. I’m guessing that since the game has begun to expand massively since the release of the v.3 rules, the American/German focus of the last few books has seen most people focus on those nationalities. The availability of the new PSC kits also makes the German lists quite cheap to build.

The newer Market Garden compilation (British/German) and incoming Ost Front in Germany books (Soviet/German) should see the balance swing again as newer Soviet and British lists appear. I would hope to see the Germans remain steady on 50% as it lets us run more “no blue on blue” tournaments.

2) Who wins most of their games?

Two points to make here, firstly, I’ve treated all losing draws as losses, secondly, I have not taken into account the margin of victory. Consider it a rough guideline rather than an exact depiction. We’re dealing with a very small sample size here so we can expect the results to shift dramatically over time. I would expect to see the Soviets to continue to sit behind the curve and the Americans to stay slightly ahead of the others.

The core American lists (2ID/ARP/TDC) are very forgiving but the new tank destroyer rules might undermine them slightly. Subjectively, I noticed that the American lists did tend to drop down the rankings due to scoring 4-3 narrow wins rather than 6-1 slaughters.

3) How much variety are we seeing?

We’re seeing an incredible amount of list diversity. The thirty forces submitted for the three tournaments come from twenty-two different army lists. Even when the forces come from the same list, their composition is extremely varied. For example, the SS-Kampfgruppe Peiper entry above represents three very different forces, one based on King Tigers, one based on Panthers and one based on the humble Panzer IV J.

We’ll wait for the results of the next tournament before digging more deeply into the infantry vs armour debate.

Preening Dandies (January Edition)

January turned out to be Flames of War month with half the entries coming from that system. Worryingly, they’re all Axis forces. The many and varied units of the Allied side don’t seem to interest our contributors, who I now suspect of spending their spare time marching around in jackboots.

Fallschirmjager HMG Platoon (Flames of War)
I had intended to submit this exact unit but Nosediver pipped me to it. He also stole my colour scheme and basing method. Some say that he developed them independently and before I did but we all know it was some kind of time-traveling shenanigans. As ever, the troopers are gorgeously painted with multiple forms of basing material been used for that authentic springtime in Germany look.

15mm Howitzer (Flames of War)
His name was once a byword for giant piles of unpainted metal but Frogdog has actually started mass-producing painted models. Despite our clear one model/unit policy, he’s decided to sneak two other units into his picture and they actually look good. The new style artillery base looks surprisingly appealing here and the gun has a nice scuffed effect along the barrel.

Oiran (Malifaux)
The model itself isn’t the focus here rather the basing effort. Everything you see from the banner poles, banner and base itself is Craftfeld’s own work. The overall look is a pirate/oriental court effect which I think ties in well with the model itself which seems to be a hooker ninja of some sort?

High Reclaimer (Warmachine)
Lowry sends in the High Reclaimer but also slightly cheats the system to show off one of his Wracks. The blades on his mace are exceptionally nice and the model as a whole looks fluff-perfect. The rust effect where the chains meet the rack and at the joints also look great in the photo. We also note the appearance of small rocks on his usually bare bases. Baby steps, eh.

StuH 42 Platoon (Flames of War)
We have a new entrant this month as Floody sends in a platoon of assault guns/tank hunters. We see the Ambush camouflage claiming another victim. It’s so so pretty but I imagine it’s soul destroying to paint. I’ve said a lot about this before so you can pore through the back catalogue for other examples. Some of these tanks seem to be the stubby StuH assault guns so I expect infantry lists are in for an unpleasant surprise at the next few tournaments.

Romano-British Cavalry (Dux Bellorum)
I present a tiny unit of Romano-British cavalry. Their friends are strewn around my workspace, blutacked to lollipop sticks, awaiting some attention. I’m actually quite pleased with my first attempt at horse-flesh. The key is using Devlan Mud to cover all sins, drown them in the stuff.
Preening Dandies
Player Score
Lowry 10
Newbreed 10
Nosediver 6
Quozl 5
Trget 5
Craftfeld 4
Sycopat 4
Welshman 4
Frogdog 2
The Big BZ 2
Bristolscale7 1
Crazy Aido 1
Floody 1
Jiggy 1
Maynard 1

We’ll be doing another roundup at the start of March so get your works into prd@onthestep.net before the end of February. As ever, our local tech adept states that photos above 5MB in size tend to bounce back so keep your entries below that size.

Rules Refresher
1) Each participant may only send in one entry for a given month. You can send in multiple photos of the entry but only one will be used.
2) The entry can be a single model or single unit. The smaller the unit, the more detail in the photo so aim low.
3) The model can be from any game system. If it’s particularly esoteric, we’d appreciate a covering note explaining what it is.
4) The entry must have been finished within that given month. You can’t submit completed pieces from your back catalogue.
5) If you want us to include a link back to more of your work, we’d be delighted to do that.

Chubby Bowl I: Review

The first Chubby Bowl ran last weekend over two days in Dungeons and Donuts, Galway. If you missed this one, no worries, it’s now a quarterly event. The next event (Chubby Bowl II) is running from 6-7 April, 2013.

Did it go well? Yes, it did. The organisers ran into the issue of flaky players but the reliable half appeared on time and eight players sent their teams into the melee. The venue was the Dungeons and Dunots store in Galway. It’s home to the world’s only gaming themed doughnut stand which sports the Super Munchkin, one of the few doughnuts that comes with a bacon topping.

The White Isle Star Bowl tournament rules were used which meant that teams were slightly more developed than in a normal tournament. The Orcs proved massively popular and everyone went with the maximum number of Blitzers and Black Orcs but the Star Player requirement, extra skills and extra cash meant that no two teams were alike. All the Elf teams also went straight to Jordell Freshbreeze as their special character but again, the rest of the team varied massively in composition and skills. The Khemri team was the dark horse of the tournament and proved very potent. The decay nega-trait was less punishing when teams regenerated between rounds and those Tomb Guardians proved to be excellent Orc-hunters.

 I grabbed some team photos and the less horrifically blurry are presented below.

Gaydar (Pro Elf)
Shampoo Gorillas (Orc)
Uruk Hai Skool (Orc)
King Tut’s Waagh Waagh Hut (Khemri)
Blorcs (Orc)

The timetabling was relaxed and games ran until completion and the Illegal Procedure rule wasn’t enforced in any of my games. Like most niche tournaments, the atmosphere was friendly and people were chatty throughout. Wins and losses were taken in equal good humour and the soft drinks/doughnuts flowed like wine. All in all, a disgusting display of human decency.

Here’s shots of a few games underway. For the record, in the fifth shot, Morg didn’t actually knock any of those opposing players down, he just stepped into that spot when he spotted the camera. But the ability to take credit for the work of others is what separates the superstars from the journeymen.

A lot of the players had spare teams with them and I took the opportunity to grab some shots of the more eye-catching examples, apart from the first image, these are largely the work of Sean Nee and Ronan Murphy. Check out the Connacht emblem on the first Dark Elf and watch for the use of green stuff to make runes, numbers and team logos throughout the photos.

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