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  • 40K: Unboxing Leman Russ

    As someone who digs into games based on their lore, I was thrilled when Privateer Press started Skull Island Expeditions, breathing further life into a setting that I already loved. When it comes to depth of lore, though, it’s tough to beat Games Workshop’s immense library of tales of the Warhammer world and the Warhammer 40K universe. In the grim darkness of their future, there is only enough novels to choke a Leviadon.

    With the Horus Heresy being essentially the Big Bang of the 40K setting, the insurrection that set brother against brother in a cataclysmic conflict that threatened the stars themselves and established the eternal war between the defenders of humanity and the legions of Chaos, it’s no surprise that the setting has been very successful. With a series of novels and an entire variant on Warhammer 40K supported by Forge World models, players and fans have been able to enjoy a more retro design to familiar model concepts (you know, as retro as something set in the 31st Millenium can be), but more notably, they can field the Primarchs of their chapters themsellves.

    When pal 49 scored the models for Lemun Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves, and two enormous Wolf-Kin to run with him, clearly it’s an opportunity to crack open the boxes and look at the components.

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  • 49 welcomes OAG to the Nightvault

    The Warhammer Underworlds box games have been one of my favourite developments from GW in the last few years. I’ve really enjoyed the small unit sizes for painting projects to try out new colour schemes and to paint models I’d never normally buy for an army otherwise. With the pandemic, I’ve not played any in-person games recently but the notorious OAG, my girlfriend, has never played a miniature game in her life. She expressed interest in my wargaming addiction and since I didn’t have a lot of experience with actually playing the Underworlds game, it was time for a new experience for both of us!

    We’ve been playing a Zoom-based D&D campaign geared to noobs with a fantastic DM and have been enjoying it immensely, so adding models and boards to dice wasn’t a big stretch.  Going over the warbands and models available, she instantly fell in love with squigs, calling them ‘Angry Grapes”. Accordingly, Zarbag’s Gits were procured. Painting took a bit of time with some false starts, but now that they were fully done, it was time to teach her how to play. I chose the Godsworn Hunt, purely because I love the models. We took the cards straight out of the packages, and didn’t get too involved in deck building to keep things slightly simple.

    Rather than leaping directly into the game, OAG sat down with the Nightvault rule book. Many confused noises where made, and quizzical expressions directed towards me. After a short while, we set up the kitchen table with our chosen boards, placed objectives and rolled for initiative!

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  • Necromunda: The Monarchs reign

    Many moons ago there was an MMORPG called City of Heroes. I played it a lot. Once PvP was introduced, some of us set up a little fun PvP league, 5×5 matches. I wasn’t that good at it, because, well, it was a competitive thing and we all know I’m about as competitive as celery, but it was a lot of fun. My crew were the Kings Row Monarchs, and we were resplendent in burgundy and gold. Roll it forward to umpty years later, and it’s time to paint up a Cawdor gang for Necromunda. The new models have come a -huge- way since the models of the 1990’s, and while the aesthetic’s been twisted somewhat, the zealous rabble of Cawdor still appeal… and it amused me to think of the bottom feeders of Hive Primus styling themselves as kings of the refuse dumps. Hence, the Kings Row Monarchs ride again, after a fashion.

    After ogling some of the weapon parts available and hearing that the jury-rigged combination polearm/firearms were the business, a starting roster was assembled. This may well change once House of Faith comes out later this year and Cawdor gets the special treatment some of the other houses have already seen, but if the pandemic lets up and allows us to gather for gaming before the book is out, I’m ready for shenanigans…

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  • New Year, New Campaign, New Warband. All the WARCRY!

    When it comes to finding a distraction in these times, most of us find a reprieve in our tabletop gaming, regardless of if it is roleplaying, strategy, board games, or war games.  Finding the time and partnering up with a group of friends for our social interactions is difficult at the best of times and just by or very nature of being gamers, we are not always the most reliable individuals.  Some are more punctual than others and my group is no exception.  I have a mixed bag of gamers in my group, with myself being the most punctual.  Now take on the reality that is COVID and the restrictions that have been put in pace and getting together for any sort of gaming has become even harder to accomplish. I have been lucky enough to have a small group of friends that fall well below the threshold put in place by the state of Virginia (five, including myself).  We meet up every other weekend if we can, for a round of some sort of war game before launching into our RPG night.  I hope that during your time under these restrictions that you have been able to ‘scratch the itch’ of gaming in some way, shape, or form.  Please stay safe and observe the regional guidelines put in place for the safety of you, your family, and your friends.

    Enough of the obligatory check in on reality, lets head into the realm of the fantastic.

    I love Warcry.  I can’t stress this enough.  I…LOVE…WARCRY!\

    It is simple to learn, cheap to get into (Relatively speaking), fun and fast to play.  I have bought into the game of Warcry…just about all of it actually.  Remember that ‘relatively speaking’ thing I said in the previous sentence?  Yeah, I left that behind, waaaaay behind, and blew past ‘relatively speaking’ in no time flat.  I dove in whole hog, all in, hook, line, and singer.  Totally okay with that too.

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  • Jolabokaflod

    Everyone celebrates the holiday season differently. From family gatherings with a big meal to taking off for sunnier climes, from going skiing to hitting the beach, from midnight mass to spinning a dreidel, different cultures and difference traditions can make the season marvelous. As we go rapidly approach the holidays under the shadow of a global pandemic the holidays are going to look very different for a lot of families, and many of us are looking for alternative ways to mark the holidays that will allow us to do something special without putting ourselves or those we love at unnecessary risk. Enter: Jolabokaflod.

    With thanks to Magnificatz for the graphic, Jolabokaflod is an Icelandic Christmas Eve tradition where you gift books (never a bad thing), and spend your Christmas Eve with a few morsels of chocolate and a new tale. It may not be the most social of traditions, but in an environment where we’re trying to avoid gatherings, this may be the perfect time to start participating in Jolabokaflod. Encouraging people to enjoy the written word is never a bad thing, and who knows what worlds of adventure await you hidden amidst the pages.

    With that in mind, some suggestions for your consideration.

    Skull Island Expeditions was Privateer Press’ e-book adventure, and while the dedicated site may no longer be available, the tales of the Iron Kingdoms are still available through DriveThruRPG. Whether you’re a fan or Warmachine or Hordes, there are plenty of texts to choose from. Personal favourites include Howard Tayler’s Extraordinary Zoology, Dave Gross’ Dark Convergence, Chris A. Jackson’s Watery Graves, Larry Correia’s Into The Storm, and several of the short story anthologies with tales by Doug Seacat, Aeryn Rudel, Orrin Grey, and a host of other authors.

    Games Workshop’s Black Library continues to spit out books at a borderline alarming rate, filling the lore of their assorted universes with books, e-books and audiobooks. Whether you’re into Warhammer 40K or Age of Sigmar, Necromunda or Blood Bowl, you may find something of interest. This year they’ve opened up the Warhammer Crime and Warhammer Horror imprints, including the classic Drachenfels, written in the 80’s by Kim Newman – one of the first game-related novels I ever read as a nascent nerd, donchaknow. The Siege of Terra also continues in their cataloguing of the events of the Horus Heresy, the defining conflict of the Warhammer 40K setting.

    If you ever ask me for a book recommendation and I don’t reference Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld at some point, I may be trying to subtly let you know that I’ve been kidnapped or something. There are 41 canon Discworld novels, written over 32 years. The earliest parody fantasy tropes and literature, while later books satirize elements of present day life and society. Wyrd Sisters, for example, parodies Macbeth , while Monstrous Regiment cocks an eyebrow at war, propoganda, and gender roles. Most recently I reread Unseen Academicals, which is – on the surface – a tale about the citizen of Ankh Morpork formalizing a soccer (nee football) league, but along the way has something to say about at inclusion vs exclusion, nature vs nurture, the link between ignorance and racism. All in a fantasy setting with a smattering of both Romeo & Juliet and Cinderella. There are so many great books in the series that where to start can be a much bigger question than it would first seem, but there are Reading Order lists out there and I’d be happy to help point anyone in the right direction.

    The gift of a book can amazing. It can be from an author you know the recipient loves, or it can be an opportunity to share one of your own favorite authors. If you want to go non-fiction, it can be a stepping stone into a new hobby or field of interest, or even a promise of an activity that you’ll share with the recipient once we’re on the other side of the pandemic, such as with a new RPG book (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything just released for Dungeons & Dragons), a new sourcebook for tabletop gaming (The Broken Realms event for Age of Sigmar has started with Morathi), or perhaps something to fuel the creative side (Such as Angel Giraldez’s Masterclass). Maybe this year, since many of us can’t gather with our loved ones, the gift of reading may provide some comfort, should we take a tip from Iceland.

  • Thought processes: Starting a new faction

    When starting out a new faction, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options. When playing a faction you’ve known and loved for ages, it’s less common but still easy to get overwhelmed with options. One of the best things Privateer Press ever did with Warmachine & Hordes was to introduce the concept of theme forces. In MkII, these allowed you to build thematic armies based around a particular Warcaster or Warlock, limited to model choices that fit with the leading character or a point in their fictional history,  but with additional perks and benefits to balance out the loss of competitive versatility.

    In MkIII the concept changed to align with the subtypes of each faction, opening up a lot more versatility through Warcaster/Warlock choice. For example, Cygnar’s four in-faction themes are Heavy Metal (Warjacks), Storm Division (Lightning-centric), Sons of the Tempest (Gun Mages) and Gravediggers (Trenchers). Circle Orboros’ themes are Devourer’s Host (Tharn), Bones of Orboros (Wolds), Wild Hunt (Wolf Sworn) and Secret Masters (Druids). These allow players both new and old to make purchases, build their collections, and create lists using models that will thematically work together, helping combat some of the potential analysis paralysis, and you can easily just choose a concept that you really like and build an entire army around it, with the theme benefits actively rewarding you for your choices.

    Basically, it’s a winning concept, so it’s no surprise that other companies have their own incarnations.

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  • AoS: Pandemic Project Update

    You know that feeling you get when you’ve overcome an obstacle and the end is in sight, only to find the last step is another obstacle? After having the model stare at me judgmentally for what seems like forever, the #PandemicProject finally pushed me to finishing the Terrorgheist (well, except for basing). The Court of the Radiant King, a splinter of the Hollowmourne Grand Court resident in Hysh, just to give those arrogant Lumineth something to think about.

    The largest GW model I’ve tackled in over two decades (not to mention being so much larger than the classic metal Zombie Dragon from the 90’s), finally stumbling over the mental hurdle that was the Terrorgheist means that the only kit remaining to be assembled and painted in my entire ghoul collection is the Zombie Dragon (with its attendant Ghoul King, of course). Being so close to the finish line for the project has also pushed me to make a decision re: how I plan to base the army. I’m opting for a lighter brown, dirt and rocks, starting with a P3 Beast Hide base.

    Of course, achieving a milestone in the project means it was time for a new Family Photo!

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  • The Underhive calls…

    Maybe it’s the constant ads on my social media feed about the upcoming Necromunda video game, maybe it’s the impending release of the House Of Blades supplement and the Ogryn gang, but it’s no understatement that the Underhive is on my mind today. When the game first released back in the 90’s I was an ardent fan, ran campaigns for my locals, and had several gangs of my own, from the core six houses to the Ratskins, Spyrers, Redemptionists, and more. The relaunch of the game a few years back has seen a massive upgrade in the quality of models, new gangs like Palinite Subjugators and Enforcers, and chaos and genestealer cultists are in the mix as well. We’re still waiting for some of the classic “second wave” gangs to return, and I have a fully painted Orlock gang, but as I listen to the tapping of pipes and breath in the heady vapors the corpse-starch vats, I can hear the House Cawdor calling my name, drawing me back to my roots.

    Necromunda 2.0 took the core concepts of the six Houses and pushed them further to extremes. In the old edition, the only real difference between gangs was which skill sets were available to your squad as you leveled up. Now, each gang also has access to different tiers of weaponry, even available at different prices, to reflect access. For example, a beginning Orlock gang will pay 25 credits for a shotgun, while House Escher pays 30 for the same weapon. Each gang more closely represents their House’s role in the hive, such as the Goliaths – masters of the foundry – layering up with heavy melee weapons and armour, while Eschers have access to toxins, hallucinogens and other weaponized pharamaceuticals.

    House Cawdor remains true to its original flavor as a house driven by its devotion to the Imperial Cult and the Cult of Redemption. That I’m drawn to the gang populated by zealots with flamethrowers may come as no surprise to anyone familiar with my fondness for the Protectorate of Menoth, but there’s more to House Cawdor than just a desire to set the Underhive ablaze. The poorest of the six core houses, Cawdor’s adherents are drawn from the very dregs of the lower levels. The scavengers, the silt farmers, the most menial of laborers, all striving for something more in an uncaring hive that would as happily see them fill the corpse-starch vats as tend them.

    The end result is gangs of desperate individuals with some incredibly substandard weaponry fighting to carve a niche out not only for themselves, but also for others of their faith. See, as much as they’re loose gangs of filth-covered masked zealots, there’s a slightly altruistic side to them as well. I mean, aside from generally trying to elevate the level of general faithfulness to the emperor by getting rid of heretics.

    Next step for me was, of course, looking through Gangs of the Underhiveand putting together a 1000cr starting crew. My thought is, while Cawdor gangs are stuck working with jury-rigged equipment, what if one gang boss was a little luckier than most? What if he was a little more mechanically inclined than most, and had actually managed to get a rusted, busted hunk of gears and metal working again? Rather than leaning heavily on the traditional Cawdor methods – to wit, caving in heretical skulls and setting the corpse ablaze – he leans toward delivering judgement to heretics from the far side of the table?

    • Gang Leader w/ Long Rifle, Flail – 155cr
    • Champion w/ Heavy Stubber – 225cr
    • Ganger w/ Cawdor Polearm/Blunderbuss – 85cr
    • Ganger w/ Cawdor Polearm/Autogun – 65cr
    • Ganger w/ Cawdor Polearm/Autogun – 65cr
    • Ganger w/ Reclaimed Autogun – 55cr
    • Ganger w/ Reclaimed Autogun – 55cr
    • Juve w/ Recovered Autopistol, Maul – 35cr
    • Juve w/ Stub Gun, Flail – 45cr
    • Ambot – 215cr

    With the Metro-Morph terrain kits in the basement of the Gdaycave I am bound and determined to get a Necromunda campaign rolling at some point, and I’m confident that I can rope at least a few locals into such shenaniganry.

    This will be added to pile of “Things Gdaybloke plans to get to”, but even with the little bit of fluff concept behind this, I’m feeling rather good about it…

  • What’s on your Societal Reboot agenda?

    While the self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing of the Era of COVID-19 has been a boon for hobbyists in terms of getting things painted, it’s been an active struggle for those of us that crave the tabletop experience. Yes, there are tabletop simulators online, but they don’t compare to the actual fun of pushing toy soldiers around a tabletop, rolling dice, and uttering vague (or even specific!) invectives against the dice gods as your sure-thing turns into a complete crapfest.

    I’ve spoken several times on social media about the benefits of having a hobby that we can sink into while distant from our opponents, enjoying a creative outlet and getting models painted, but the end of the list of benefits is always that we have something to look forward to: Actually getting to play our games with our friends, putting the models we’ve been working on onto the table, and enjoying the full tabletop gaming experience with fully painted armies.

    To that end, I ask this – what are you lining up for your gaming experiences? What are you most looking forward to?

    Myself, Age of Sigmar is high on the list since my main #PandemicProject was my Flesh-Eater Courts army. My Court of the Radiant King is almost ready to ride out across the shining plains if Hysh in service to their liege, to unleash truth, liberty and justice upon those evil ne’er-do-wells of the so-called Realm-Lords. Of course, since they’re bat-sh!t crazy, truth, liberty and justice actually translates to horror, dessecration and a whole lot of snacking. The painting table’s gotten a little jumbled lately, but I’ll find time to paint the Terrorgheist yet. And yes, for the 40K fans out there I am keenly aware of the Indomitus crusade, but my Flesh Tearers are nowhere near ready to field. Yet. And yes, I’m aware that I’m playing Flesh-Eaters for AoS and Flesh Tearers for 40K. There may be a subconscious theme running here. I admit nothing.

    Marvel Crisis Protocol is right up there as well. I’m keen to assemble the full Guardians of the Galaxy roster (still need to get Drax/Ronan) and to get some personal experience as to how well they synergize (or don’t, which would also be totally in character). I’ve been slowly painting up other MCP models as well, so don’t be surprised if Spidey or Shuri find themselves in the mix, I’ve never been shy of applying whimsy to list creation.

    The world of Riot Quest is expanding with Wintertime Wasteland, but I still have a bunch of models to finish painting from the Mayhem block. Finishing Feora the Forsaken also resulted in War Room being fired up and a list being put together that I’d love to try out… and of course, it’s become another painting project waiting to be launched.

    Perhaps more timely is the imminent release of Warcaster. My Iron Star Alliance will be put on the table against AEdge’s Marcher Worlds, and pal Brandon’s admitted that the Empyreans are right up his alley aesthetically, so kicking tires with a new system is always on the to-do list… as is playing Monsterpocalypse. Blastikutter’s out now, it’s only a matter of time before Privateer gives me more units to work with beyond the Mollock Berserkers and Brutes.

    Now I need to finish the commission paintjobs I have on the table so I can get back to work on models for each of these plans…

  • AOS: Pandemic Project Update – The cup runneth over

    Alright, it’s been a busy week, so the Corpsemare Stampede didn’t get finished (or “finished enough”), but the last six Crypt Horrors did, and they’re joined by the first two endless spells – the Cadaverous Barricade and the Chalice of Ushoran. As with previous updates, basing will wait until everything’s done, so I can make it consistent across the entire army. What this does mean is that, after the Stampede is done there will only be two models remaining before I can call the #PandemicProject complete – the Terrorgheist and the Zombie Dragon.

    The biggest challenge I’m having right now is staying focused as we come to the end of the project. “What next?” is constantly in my head, and I’m being torn between Monsterpocalypse, Warcaster, Warmachine and 40K. So many excellent options available to me – analysis paralysis is a thing! But we’re here to talk about ghouls…

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