Sword of Caledor

Sword of CaledorWell, it has been a long time since I have posted an update on my blog, but I have finally completed something to write about. I tried a couple of times to take pictures of my Loremaster of Hoeth model that I used a couple of weeks back, but they ended up blurry. I will give it another shot soon, but for now, you will have to settle for a book review.

Sword of Caledor is the 2nd book in the Tyrion & Teclis series. I had meant to read this book much sooner than now, but I prioritized buying more High Elves over buying the book. Due to my procrastination, I had to turn to ebay to pick up the hardback version, but it has arrived and I have finished it.

For those not up-to-date on the story so far, Tyrion & Teclis are just coming in to their renown, having defeated N’Kari at the end of the previous book, while he was trying to destroy all of Aenarion’s heirs. For a longer version, see my review here.

As mentioned in my review of the first book in the series, this book is expounding upon the brief story contained within the High Elf and BRB lore about the High Elves. If you read on, assume that spoilers will be present.

The book starts off with the very simple assassination of the Everqueen by Urian Poisonblade (acting as a High Elf). Even though he was the last one to be with her, he somehow escapes suspicion of poisoning her. I’m not sure exactly how that works, but he gets away with it.

The story picks up again with Tyrion & Teclis wading through the jungles of Lustria, searching for Aenarion’s sword, Sunfang, which was made by Caledor (the Sword of Caledor, maybe?) They end up finding it, but not before losing many of their human entourage to the jungle’s inhabitants and the temple’s guardians. While Teclis doesn’t know for sure, he seems to think that some of the slaan’s writings are of import, and he scribbles these down to take to the more experienced people in the Tower of Hoeth.

While the twins are retrieving the priceless heirloom, Malekith decides that he wants a Keeper of Secrets for his pet, so he summons N’Kari, who he promptly binds to be his slave. In the meantime, Morathi secures the services of lots of Warriors of Chaos. It would seem that they have decided to launch their attack on Ulthuan after all of this time.

Teclis & Tyrion return home. Tyrion is chosen by House Emeraldsea to compete to be the new Everqueen’s champion. There is a point made about Tyrion and Urian Poisonblade’s practicing fighting each other and how Tyrion is the only one who can really give him a challenge, but he is still better. Also, Urian seems to have doubts about life being better as a Dark Elf than as a High Elf.

In the meantime, Teclis studies how Caledor made Sunfang and his father gets hold of the knowledge which gets him very excited because he now knows what he needs to know to fix Aenarion’s armour, after all of these centuries. Teclis goes to the White Tower, and shares the slaan pictoglyphs with the High Loremaster who verifies that they are talking about some nasty times, which people are picking up on since the Winds of Magic have been tainted lately. They walk through an area with nifty artifacts and Teclis seems interested in the War Crown of Saphery. Teclis goes to the library and ends up encountering Caledor (you know, he’s trapped in the Vortex). They talk about things and eventually it is mentioned that Teclis & Tyrion have to stay alive to keep everything from falling apart.

In the meantime, Tyrion has journeyed to the tournament to become the champion of the Everqueen. He takes everybody down in the sword & shield combat, and makes a fool of himself with all of the political pleasantries after the fact. He gets runner up in the joust the next day, which pretty much drops him out of the running.

While all of that is going on, the Dark Elves have landed on Ulthuan. Now N’Kari is teleporting them around the island for Malekith & company. One group shows up at the Everqueen’s tournament grounds. They attack at night, slaughtering most of the elves. The Everqueen is captured in her tent. Tyrion is awakened, and doing what all heroes do, he heads out and cuts down some Dark Elves. He then puts on their outfit, heads into the Everqueen’s tent and cuts down the guys in there. He and the Everqueen run off into the night, with her also wearing a Dark Elf outfit.

While I enjoyed the book, it does seem to suffer from what many middle books of a trilogy do. I don’t think it was as exciting as the first book, and I expect book three to be more exciting. The book starts and ends with action, but everything else in the middle is fairly tame. It’s great for people wanting to know more about High & Dark Elf societies and politics, since that is what a good portion of the middle part is focused on. I enjoyed the book and think that it was well-written, but those with less Elf inclinations than I might not appreciate it as much.. The benefit to waiting so long to buy and finish the book is that book three is already completed. Now I just need to get a hold of it to “see how it ends”.

2500 Point Tournament – Valentine’s Day Massacre Results – February 22nd

Well, the dust has settled after the tournament on Saturday, and it is once again time to chronicle my games and reflect on the errors that I made. The list that I took is the same as mentioned previously here.

There ended up being 20 players total at the tournament, which is a really good turnout for the area. Over half of the field traveled for a couple of hours to get there. The tournament turned out to be a bit of an invasion by the evil forces of the Warhammer world. Why do so many players play all of the bad guys?

I actually remembered to take some pictures for once. Many of them are kind of blurry, but they are useful to describe situations easier. Also, it seems that I took less and less of each game.

Game 1: High Elves vs. Vampire Counts

Scenario: Kill the opponent’s characters

Bonus Points: +3 for killing opponent’s characters. +1 for each terrain piece controlled (max +2)

This was my first game since November, and my first 2500 point game for probably a year or two. Needless to say, considerable rust has built up over that amount of time. Also, this was my first time ever playing against Vampire Counts.

My Deployment:

Opponent’s Deployment:

Those who are better at this game than me, can probably already see some issues after the deployment. I will try to point out any errors that I think that I made after recounting the game.

After vanguard moves, I ended up with 1st turn.

The Phoenix flies in front of the Bolt Thowers to provide them protection from the advancing Hex Wraiths. The Reavers that were in front of the Silver Helms move to the center of the board.

The Phoenix flies in front of the Bolt Thowers to provide them protection from the advancing Hex Wraiths. The Reavers that were in front of the Silver Helms move to the center of the board.

I move the Phoenix Guard and Swordmasters up to get in range with my magic missiles.

I move the Phoenix Guard and Swordmasters up to get in range with my magic missiles.

The reavers on the right flank advanced. The black ones shot at the zombies and the grey ones fired on the wolves.

The Reavers on the right flank advanced. The black ones shot at the zombies and the grey ones fired on the wolves.

If I remember correctly, I nailed his Crypt Horrors with the medium Fireball. and maybe a Soul Quench, too. I think I managed to cause 4 wounds total. Of course, he stops the boosted version of Burning Gaze on them. The Bolt Throwers fail to hit/wound the Terrorgheist.

His zombies charge my Reavers, who promptly flee. You can't see it here, but the Dire Wolves advance down my far right flank.

His zombies charge my Reavers, who promptly flee. You can’t see it here, but the Dire Wolves advance down my far right flank.

He moves everything up on my left flank, getting his Hexwraiths out of the charge arc of all of my stuff. He also summoned some zombies to block up my Silver Helms.

He moves everything up on my left flank, getting his Hexwraiths out of the charge arc of all of my stuff. He also summoned some zombies to block up my Silver Helms.

Also, not pictured was that he moved his Necromancer and unit into the building.

My Silver Helms make short work of the summoned zombies. I elect not to overrun. Meanwhile, the Flamespyre flies over the Ghoul unit, and faces back towards the Hexwraiths.

My Silver Helms make short work of the summoned zombies. I elect not to overrun. Meanwhile, the Flamespyre flies over the Ghoul unit, and faces back towards the Hexwraiths.

On the right, my Swordmasters and Phoenix Guard await the coming melee. The Reavers get in the way, so that hopefully I can charge. The Reavers on the far right reformed after charging into the flank of the Wolves and wiping them out.

On the right, my Swordmasters and Phoenix Guard await the coming melee. The Loremaster gets through the Death signature spell, but does nothing. The Reavers get in the way, so that hopefully I can charge. The Reavers on the far right reformed after charging into the flank of the Wolves and wiping them out.

I think that my son took this picture of the Ghouls with the Vampire in them with the Phoenix behind.

I think that my son took this picture of the Ghouls with the Vampire in them with the Phoenix behind.

I think that my magic this turn was a big failure. One of the bolt throwers finally managed to cause a couple of wounds on the Terrorgheist, though.

The Terrorgheist flies up and screams off two of my Silver Helms. Also, you might notice a more considerable unit of zombies once again in front of my Silver Helms.

The Terrorgheist flies up and screams off two of my Silver Helms. Also, you might notice a more considerable unit of zombies once again in front of my Silver Helms.

His Hexwraiths charge into my rightmost Bolt Thrower, wiping it out. His Crypt Horrors charge my Reavers, who end up fleeing, and manage to fail 3/4 of the Dangerous Terrain tests they make. The horrors redirect into the Swordmasters, but roll poorly. Also, his Mortis Engine manages to cause a couple of wounds on the Phoenix with its blast thingy.

Phoenix Guard and Swordmasters charge the Crypt Horrors

Phoenix Guard and Swordmasters charge the Crypt Horrors

Silver Helms wipe out the Zombies, and I once again don't overrun. The Phoenix charged over the top of the Ghouls to engage the Hexwraiths.

Silver Helms wipe out the Zombies, and I once again don’t overrun. The Phoenix charged over the top of the Ghouls to engage the Hexwraiths.

Well, the combat didn't go as well as I had hoped. The Swordmasters managed to fail their Fear test. The Phoenix Guard turned broke, but the Swordmasters managed to stick around. Also, I managed to fail 2 of my 2+ Ward Saves for the Phoenix fight, but I took a couple out.

Well, the combat didn’t go as well as I had hoped. The Swordmasters managed to fail their Fear test. Between that and his re-rollable 4+ Regen, I lost the combat. The Phoenix Guard broke and fled, but the Swordmasters managed to stick around. Also, I managed to fail 2 of my 2+ Ward Saves for the Phoenix fight, but you will notice a couple of Hexwraiths missing.

I think that I forgot to take pictures of the his next turn, so I will just have to try to describe what happened. My Swordmasters lost the fight on the right. His Crypt Horrors had a big overrun and managed to run down the Swordmasters and the already fleeing Phoenix Guard. The Phoenix whittled down some more Hexwraiths and the Terrorgheist screamed off some more Silver Helms.

My Silver Helms charge into the Ghouls. The Bolt Thrower can't get through the Terrorgheist's Regen. The Flamespyre finishes off the Hexwraits.

My Silver Helms charge into the Ghouls. The Bolt Thrower can’t get through the Terrorgheist’s Regen. The Flamespyre finishes off the Hexwraits.

On the right, my black Reavers rally, and the Grey ones shoot at the Mortis engine, to no effect.

On the right, my black Reavers rally, and the Grey ones shoot at the Mortis engine, to no effect.

My High Helm (Silver Helm champion) challenged the Vampire Lord, and he ended up getting the maximum overkill bonus. The Silver Helms and BSB did some damage, but they failed their double 1 break test and were caught. The Terrorgheist screamed off the final wound of the Phoenix. I think that the Dire Wolves charged my Bolt Thrower, killing it, but maybe it survived. Other than that, it was only the 7 Reavers on the right that survived. Maybe if I would have remembered to roll for my Phoenix, it might have made a miraculous recovery.

Result: 0-20. Massacre to my opponent. Since I had hardly anything left on the table, and I hadn’t removed much of his army, this is no surprise.

Thoughts:  For starters, I was very unprepared for this game. The only thing that I knew about Vampire Counts has been what I have heard on podcasts. I knew that the Vampire Lord was scary in combat, and that the Terrorgheist scream can cause problems.

Thinking back on this now, I think that I probably should have just castled up on my right side of the board. This would have allowed me to be as far as possible from the Garden, which was giving him many bonuses. Also, I could have just sat back, firing off my Magic Missiles and Bolt Thrower shots at him. Clearly, deploying the BSB away from my other combat units was a big mistake. At the time, I just thought it would be a good idea for the cavalry to be on the flank, but having the BSB over there was kind of dumb. Another problem with the deployment was that the Archmage wasn’t able to use Hand of Glory on the Bolt Throwers since I had deployed him so far away.

With how I deployed, maybe I should have been more aggressive with the Silver Helms, but I assumed it only would have brought the Vampire and Ghoul block into combat more quickly. Also, maybe I should have been more aggressive at attacking the Mortis Engine. To be honest, I was having a hard time keeping up with where all of the special rules were coming from. A big fail on my part.

Game 2: High Elves vs. Warriors of Chaos

Scenario: Magic Flux. Double 6 and Double X (where X is the turn number) are Irresistible Force and Miscasts

Bonus Points: Killing opponent’s wizards or for rolling double Xs.

Well, I have played Warriors of Chaos before, but this was my first time facing off against a Chimaera, Daemon Prince and double Hellcannons. I had heard many things about how scary these can be. Even though his Daemon Prince has wings, he does not have the Fly ability.

Deployment:

Despite having to roll for deployment, I thought that it didn’t turn out too bad for me. The Silver Helms and BSB was next to the Swordmasters. The Phoenix Guard were all alone on the flank, but you can’t have it all.

Unfortunately, the game started off quite poorly. I failed to dispel Doom and Darkness. Then, a Hellcannon hit them and they fled off of the board. So much for having the BSB close to my battle line…

Despite the blurriness, you can kind of see that my Phoenix and Reavers have moved up by his Nurgle Warriors and Daemon Prince.

Despite the blurriness, you can kind of see that my Phoenix and Reavers have moved up by his Nurgle Warriors and Daemon Prince.

The Phoenix Guard angle to try and protect the Slaughterbrute, while the Reavers move up to shoot at it.

The Phoenix Guard fail their quick reform, so they just turn to try to protect the Bolt Thrower from the Slaughterbrute, while the Reavers move up to shoot at it.

I think that it was this turn that I manage to get Arcane Unforging off on the Daemon Prince and destroy his Dragonbane Gem. The boosted Burning Gaze fails, though. It might have been the next turn, though… My Bolt Throwers at his Hellcannons, but didn’t do much.

The Chimaera stares down the flank of the Swordmasters

The Chimaera stares down the flank of the Swordmasters

His Slaughterbrute had moved up. My Phoenix Guard engage it in combat. It breaks and they run it down. Also, you can see that my Reavers have circled the back of the Hellcannon to shoot it some more.

His Slaughterbrute had moved up. My Phoenix Guard engage it in combat. It breaks and they run it down. Also, you can see that my Reavers have circled the back of the Hellcannon to shoot it some more.

My Phoenix flies over his Nurgle warriors, not really doing a whole lot. The Reavers shoot some more at the Daemon Prince, doing nothing.

My Phoenix flies over his Nurgle warriors, not really doing a whole lot. The Reavers shoot some more at the Daemon Prince, doing nothing.

His Chimaera charges into the flank of my Swordmasters. I manage to stop the Doom and Darkness, but he gets off Soulblight on them. Between the Chimaera;s attacks, breath, and Thunderstomp, he kills quite a few, but they are steadfast. They reform to face the creature for my turn of combat. On the left flank, his Tzeentch warriors engage my Phoenix Guard, and the combat lasts for the rest of the game. My are keeping his Nurgle warriors from advancing quickly. By this time, his Hellcannon in the center of the board has eaten all of its handlers.

The Swordmasters are quite pumped up for the combat. Wildform counters the Soulblight, but they are WS9 from Hand of Glory and a 5+ Ward from Shield of Saphery. The Phoenix flew over the Daemon Prince, using Walk Between Worlds but didn't really do anything to him.

The Swordmasters are quite pumped up for the combat. Wildform counters the Soulblight, but they are WS9 from Hand of Glory and a 5+ Ward from Shield of Saphery. The Phoenix flew over the Daemon Prince, using Walk Between Worlds but didn’t really do anything to him.

Despite all of their buffs, the Swordmasters only get 2 wounds through. They break from combat, and the Chimaera catches them, sending a unit of reavers running through his Nurgle warriors.

Despite all of their buffs, the Swordmasters only get 2 wounds through. They break from combat, and the Chimaera catches them, sending a unit of reavers running through his Nurgle warriors.

The battle on the left flank. By the end of the game, I was regularly remembering to have him test for Fear. He never failed one, though, but he did have to use that BSB re-roll a couple of times.

The battle on the left flank. By the end of the game, I was regularly remembering to have him test for Fear. He never failed one, though, but he did have to use that BSB re-roll a couple of times.

I don't particularly remember what happened here, but my Phoenix is in a bad spot. Also, that wound really seems to have gotten to his Daemon Prince. His wing fell off.

I don’t particularly remember what happened here, but my Phoenix is in a bad spot. Maybe this was after he died and came back to life? Also, that wound really seems to have gotten to his Daemon Prince. His wing fell off.

This blank spot in the table is where my Reavers used to be. If I recall correctly, the Hellcannon ate them.

This blank spot in the table is where my Reavers used to be. If I recall correctly, the Hellcannon ate them.

My Phoenix Guard nearly die to the man, before finally fleeing and being caught.

My Phoenix Guard nearly die to the man, before finally fleeing and being caught.

In the bottom right corner, my Bolt Thrower failed to stop the Chimaera bearing down on it. It charged in. The crew managed to do one wound before it smashed them up.

Result: 3-17. Major Victory to my opponent.

Thoughts:  Well, it didn’t really start off the best, losing my Silver Helms and BSB in the first turn. However, I think that I still could have pulled it back with better playing. Since his warriors ended up on opposite flanks, I probably should have chosen a flank, and piled everything toward it. Also, once the Daemon Prince lost the Dragonbane Gem, I should have been throwing 6 dice at Burning Gaze and Searing Doom to bring him down. Also, I really needed to focus my shooting better in this game.I was shooting at many things instead of just focusing it on one target.

Game 3: High Elves vs. Empire

Scenario: Battle Line. You could call a Last Stand once per game to make any one unit pass a Leadership test.

Bonus Points: Not calling last stand (+3). Killing opponent’s most expensive Core unit (+1). Killing opponent’s unit that called a last stand (+1).

Deployment:

As one might expect, this game started off with a lot of shooting. Most things shot at the Phoenix. I think that he managed to kill it in the 1st turn, but maybe it was turn 2.

My Reavers flee from the Demigryphs. Also, you can see the wound on my Loremaster from using the boosted Searing Doom. I think between that an the bolt throwers, I did 6 wounds.

My Reavers flee from the Demigryphs. Also, you can see the wound on my Loremaster from using the boosted Searing Doom. I think between that an the bolt throwers, I did 6 wounds.

My right flank ignores his fast cavalry and moves up. I placed the Reavers in the way, like they are supposed to be.

My right flank ignores his fast cavalry and moves up. I placed the Reavers in the way, like they are supposed to be.

My Reavers charged the flank of his Demigrpyhs (to get out of the way of the Silver Helms). He fled with them, so they redirected into the knights. My High Helm fought in a challenge with his BSB. I was not impressed with the lack of kills that I did.

My Reavers charged the flank of his Demigrpyhs (to get out of the way of the Silver Helms). He fled with them, so they redirected into the knights. My High Helm fought in a challenge with his BSB. I was not impressed with the lack of kills that I did.

The Phoenix comes back to life behind the hill. The Phoenix Guard prepare for the Steam Tank to roll up. I think that I must have been able to fly the Phoenix over his fast cav, or maybe I shot a Bolt Thrower at them?

The Phoenix comes back to life behind the hill. The Phoenix Guard prepare for the Steam Tank to roll up. I think that I must have been able to fly the Phoenix over his fast cav, or maybe I shot a Bolt Thrower at them?

Fast Forward many rounds of combat. The Silver Helms were locked with the Knights for a long time. He had outriders support in the flank, which I eventually killed. The Demigryphs hit the flank, but were only adding combat res, since my BSB was locked in a challenge with his BSB. He kept casting Speed of Light. Eventually, the Swordmasters arrive in the flank of the Demigrpyhs and wipe them out in 2 rounds. It was too late for my BSB, though.

Fast Forward many rounds of combat. The Silver Helms were locked with the Knights for a long time. He had outriders support in the flank, which I eventually killed. The Demigryphs hit the flank, but were only adding combat res, since my BSB was locked in a challenge with his BSB. He kept casting Speed of Light. Eventually, the Swordmasters arrive in the flank of the Demigrpyhs and wipe them out in 2 rounds. It was too late for my BSB, though.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Guard have been fighting the Steam Tank. When they are flanked by the knights, they turn to face them instead.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Guard have been fighting the Steam Tank. When they are flanked by the knights, they turn to face them instead.

My Swordmasers charge the Knights. He chooses to flee, but I catch them.

My Swordmasters charge the Knights. He chooses to flee, but I catch them.

He manages to break and catch my Phoenix Guard and then takes out one of my Bolt Throwers.

He manages to break and catch my Phoenix Guard and then takes out one of my Bolt Throwers.

Result: 7-13. Minor Victory to my opponent.

Thoughts:  Overall, I felt that I played this game much better than the others. With all of his high armour saves on the table, I probably should have set up my Bolt Throwers in the corners for some flank shots. Also, my first priority should have been his fast cav. Once they were cleared out, I could use my Reavers to hold up his advance.

I think that I took too long with the Swordmasters moving up to support he Silver Helms in combat. They fought for many combat rounds, and I was at a disadvantage since he kept getting of Speed of Light.

Overall Thoughts:

It was fun to get out and play once again. I will admit that I was a little disappointed that I didn’t manage to win a game, but I did manage to improve my results by the end. I had once again thought about scrapping the army list, and just going with an all flying/cav list, but I think that I will probably stick with this one.

One of the things that really caught me off guard at the tournament was that my last two opponent’s weren’t using artillery dice when rolling scatter/bounces for their war machines. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, since I hadn’t seen this before.

Once again, my lack of experience was really against me. When I think about it, I probably need to focus on these areas:

  1. Deploying Better
  2. Spell Selection – I made some poor spell selections with my High Mage. In most instances, I should have defaulted 2 spells to the signatures due to their low casting values, which lets me take more advantage of the Book of Hoeth.
  3. Spell Prioritization – I probably could have cast better spells or cast them in a better order
  4. Knowledge of Other Armies – Time to study

In the end, I was happy to see the other High Elf player walk away with the trophy. At least somebody is representing the High Elves well in the local scene! I almost had the Winds of Magic quiz, but I missed out on the statline of the Skaven Clanrat. For some reason, I thought they had the same Initiative as an Elf. I guess that it is only as good as our horses.

Well, back to painting now. I’m not sure how likely the next 2 tournaments are for me to make it to, but hopefully, I can have even more painted before the next one I get to!

Armies

After the first game, everybody set out their armies to be judged for the painting awards. I went around and took pictures of most of them. I realized that I missed taking pictures of our armies. One of them was mine, another my 3rd round opponent (all bare plastic), and for some reason IggyKoopa’s…. I’m not really sure why I didn’t get that one, since it is a nice looking army.

Overall, there were a lot of nice looking armies present. The Bretonnian army was what I had envisioned doing back when I owned Brets and before I realized the difficulty of getting anything to that standard.

2500 Points High Elves Tournament List

With the tournament coming up this Saturday, I thought that I would post my updated tournament list. I posted the initial list a while back, but I have since made some revisions. The major changes are dropping the unit of Archers and 15 White Lions to bulk out the unit of Silver Helms and adding a Flamespyre Phoenix.

There are almost 20 players signed up (viewable in the sidebar here), which is much larger than the last tournament that I went to. There is a decent variety or armies, with 11 different ones. My main goals for this tournament are to win at least one game and make fewer glaring mistakes.

As always, I will try and write up battle reports for my games. Maybe this time I will remember to get some pictures to go with the wall of text.

Lords

Archmage, Level 4 (High), Talisman of Endurance, Ironcurse Icon, Book of Hoeth

The plan with the Archmage is to place him in the unit of Swordmasters. With +5 to cast High Magic and the Book of Hoeth, he can use only one die to cast many of the smaller spells. If they go off, the lore attribute kicks in to give him and his unit a Ward save (or increases the existing one). His Ward save starts at 5+ due to the Talisman, but can increase to 3+ if he gets a couple of spells off. I am leaning towards him being my general, since he probably won’t be throwing multiple dice at as many spells as the Loremaster will be.

I am really hoping to get Hand of Glory with the High Magic. It can increase the BS on the Bolt Throwers to hit easier with the single bolt. Also, it can raise the Initiative of the Swordmasters, which will let them strike before Chaos Warriors. Finally, it can be used to boost the Swordmasters’ WS to 7, which makes them harder to hit by WS3 troops. There is no guarantee that I will get Hand of Glory, but the other High spells have their own benefits. I’ve heard that Arcane Unforging, Drain Magic, Walk Between Worlds, and Fiery Convocation can be quite useful…

Loremaster of Hoeth, Sword of Might, Shield of the Merwyrm, Power Stone

I was really impressed by the Loremaster’s versatility the last time that I used him. Since the Archmage will handle the bulk of the casting duties, I decided to give him some combat gear instead.  The Sword of Might and Shield of the Merwyrm combo gives him 3 Strength 5 Attacks (with ASF) and a 4+ Parry save in combat.

He can also provide support casting for my Archmage. He can provide the long-range damage support or combat buffs. Also, if the opponent decides to shut down the Archmage’s spells (or if the Archmage fails to cast), he can use the left-over dice to get some spells through. I didn’t have enough points for a Dispel Scroll, but I thought that the Power Stone might be useful for a turn to push a spell through (Wildform maybe?).

Hero

Noble, BSB, Barded Elven Steed, Dragon Armour, Star Lance, Enchanted Shield

Since I bulked out the Silver Helm unit, I decided to put this guy on a horse so that he can tag along. He has a 1+ Armour Save with a 6+ Ward (2+ vs flaming). Also, the Star Lance gives him Strength 7, ignoring Armour Saves on the turn that he charges.

Core

14 Silver Helms, Shields, Full Command

Dropping the unit of archers gave me some points to bulk this unit up. The unit should provide me with some decent punch and the threat of  along range charger. Due to Martial Prowess, all 14 of them can fight in a round.

I thought about splitting these into two groups of 6, but it just seemed to be a better idea to put them into one big block to make them more of a combat threat.

5 Ellyrian Reavers, Bows, Spears

5 Ellyrian Reavers, Bows, Spears

5 Ellyrian Reavers, Bows, Spears

The Reavers help to fill out my Core. They provide me with a fast moving unit and something that can take out light troops or chase down war machines. They are also critical since I opted to leave out Eagles from this list. They will be used as war machine hunters or to slow down the opponent’s scary unit(s).

I was rather impressed with these guys last time, even though I used them rather poorly. Hopefully, I can use them better this time.

Special

21 Swordmasters, Full Command, Banner of the World Dragon

The Swordmasters are the main infantry combat power of the list. They will be run 7×3, so that all of them can attack, providing me with 28 attacks at Strength 5. The Banner of the World Dragon protects them from magic, while the Archmage with High Magic will hopefully get some spells off to give them a Ward save against shooting and close combat attacks.

22 Phoenix Guard, Musician, Standard, Razor Standard

The Phoenix Guard are the anvil in the army. With their 4+ Ward, they should be able to survive for a while against most things. With their re-rolls to hit, and S4 AP, they can do some damage to lightly armoured enemies, but mostly they will just hold things up. Also, don’t forget that they Cause Fear :)

Rare

Bolt Thrower

Bolt Thrower

The 2 bolt throwers will be used to target the high Toughness/armour save targets. If none of those are available, they will help to thin down the number of bodies approaching the line. The Archmage can cast Hand of Glory on them to help out with the single shot success rate.

Flamespyre Phoenix

This is the main change for this army list. As I mentioned previously on my blog, how can I not have a phoenix in my army?

After looking at the Flamespyre’s statline (3 Str 5 Attacks), it seems like a bad idea to charge this thing into combat unless it is coming in to a flank or rear, and then it’s probably only for the extra combat resolution or Thunderstomps.

The Flamespyre’s main responsibility will be to fly over large blocks, hitting them with its Wake of Fire. Ideally, I can use the Archmage’s Walk Between Worlds to have it fly over again in the Magic phase. With this being Strength 4, I think it is probably more effective than the archers’ shooting would be.

Also if it is killed, it has a (small) chance to come back to life! I’m sure that I will give it plenty of opportunities for that throughout the day…

Thoughts

Dropping the Archers and bulking out the Silver Helms has given me a fast, fairly hard-hitting unit. I might miss out on the Strength 6 attacks that the White Lions added to the list, but hopefully I have other ways to deal with the high Toughness and high Armour Saves that I will have to deal with.

I will be relying on the Swordmasters and Silver Helms to deliver the combat punch for me, with the Phoenix Guard doing what they can to help.

The list is very magic heavy, which can be quite the double-edged sword. Ideally, I will be casting so many spells that my opponent will have to let 2-3 through each turn. Of course, this also makes it more important for me to pick a good order to cast the spells in. Between the Archmage and the Loremaster, I should have a spell for any situation. The trick will be getting it through.

This might have morphed into a list that is similar to what another person in my area runs, but it was not intentional. I think that he runs the Frostheart instead of the Flamespyre, and I don’t think that he was running the Archmage or Swordmasters. Oh well, the tournament is tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes.

Ventura

The first of my holiday season purchases which I have chosen to review is Ventura. VenturaI have to admit that this game wasn’t really on my radar until the sale, and its normal price of $80 would have been a bit steep for me to give it a try. However, being able to pick it up for $20, I was willing to give it a shot. The game is focused on the Italian revolution, and 2-4 players choose one of the families to lead to victory. So far, I have only played the 2 player game but it tends to take us (my 7-year old son and I) about an hour or so to get through a game.

Packaging

As with most Fantasy Flight games, the exterior packing and artwork is well-done. However, also like many Fantasy Flight games, the interior uses their generic square box layout, which doesn’t accommodate the storage of the pieces very well. Also worth mentioning is that it is a bit taller than other FFG boxes. It’s not a big deal, but it did surprise me a bit.

Game Components

The components for the game are excellent. The cards and tiles are vividly colored and clearly depict the information needed. Probably the best component (my opinion), is the player mat. You use it to organize your armies, but it also has the sequence of play detailed on it, which is great. It really makes it easier to learn the game, and to keep from forgetting things. Each family also has a set of colored playing pieces. The only complaint that I really have is that the number on each army is hard to read without picking it up. I plan to paint the numbers in a contrasting color to remedy this situation.

Player Mat

Player Mat

Unpainted version of the red pieces

Unpainted version of the red pieces

Painted version of the yellow pieces. Much easier to read at a distance.

Painted version of the yellow pieces. Much easier to read at a distance.

Gameplay Overview

Winning the Game

There are two ways to win the game:

  1. Capture another player’s capital
  2. Accumulate 30 Victory Points

Game Setup

The board changes from game to game. Each player receives 4 tiles. The Papal tiles are placed next to each other, and then players alternate placing tiles. After all of those tiles have been placed, each player places their home tile and then claims 3 tiles by placing the “tower” markers on it to indicate the income.

Example of the tiles. The Black player has claimed one of the Papal tiles.

Example of the map at the end of Turn 1. The Black player has claimed one of the Papal tiles and the Red player has taken a tile from the Black player.

Each tile has varying attributes. They each have an income value, movement required to move into, and might provide defense bonuses (ranged, melee, ignore wounds). In some instances, the tiles might receive bonuses depending on the tiles around them. This is generally represented with the 1+1x symbol. The Papal tiles are special since they are the only ones that award Victory Points.

Turn

During each turn, players alternate taking the actions depicted on the player mat.

  1. Buy victory points
  2. Take a tile/Ventura card
  3. Pay to take additional Ventura cards
  4. Claim territories
  5. Collect income/pay unit maintenance
  6. Place tile
  7. Buy Conscription cards
  8. Deploy units/armies
  9. Move units/armies & fight battles

Once you have played it once, you get the hang of it, with the player mat providing a handy reference of what happens next. Captains of Fortune are important because they allow you to have more than one unit in an army. Also, you can add units to the Captain’s army regardless of where it is located on the map. If you do not have a Captain of Fortune, all units must be recruited in a city.

The most involved portion of the turn involves the combats. Whenever a combat starts, there is a combat overlay that you place on your player mat. Only the units in the top row are involved in each round of combat. You place your units face down on the mat, until both players have finished. Then, you flip them over and resolve combat.

The first round is a ranged round (using the bow value on the cards). After that all of the subsequent rounds consist of melee (crossed swords). In some cases, you might be able to annihilate the opponent’s units before they reach you, or you might need to put some cheaper troops to soak up some wounds. The shield on each unit represents the number of wounds it can take. As each unit is destroyed, the remaining units are shifted up following the arrows on the combat overlay.

Example of a combat. In this scenario, this army would cause 11 wounds in the ranged phase (Montefeltro 2 + Artillerymen 6 + Arquebusiers). However, if this group was fighting in the Melee phase, it would only do 1 wound.

Example of a combat. In this scenario, this army would cause 11 wounds in the ranged phase (Montefeltro 2 + Artillerymen 6 + Arquebusiers). However, if this group was fighting in the Melee phase, it would only do 1 wound.

Scoring Victory Points

There are 3 main ways to accumulate victory points

  1. Pay Florins (varies on the amount paid)
  2. Control Papal tiles (2 per tile, per turn)
  3. Defeat the opponent’s army (5 points). It is only considered an army if it contains a Captain of Fortune.

Overall Thoughts

Disclaimer: All of my games have been played with only 2 players.

I have mixed feelings about this game. At first I was extremely excited about playing it. It’s a lot of fun to get a good Captain of Fortune and an army that wins some tough combats. However, after playing it a few times, it does seem to have some flaws.

It seems that whoever emerges as the victor from the first battle usually ends up winning.  If you have a decent army, you can march around capturing all of the income producing tiles, crippling your opponent’s ability to get back in the game. Also, you generally have a Captain of Fortune, so you can add more units to the army, to keep it competitive.

Often, the final turns are just a formality, as the person on the back foot can’t march out and claim anything, without the risk of being destroyed. Meanwhile, the dominant player is collecting a lot of money and can buy more units to assault the opponent’s home tile. with. Only one of our games has been won by victory points, and that was probably only because my son wasn’t paying attention to that (he is only 7, after all).

My son still likes to play it, though, so we will probably continue to play it from time to time. I might try to come up with some house rules for it.

Hand of Glory – Spell Markers

I have completed the first of my spell markers. My initial plans were quite elaborate, but I abandoned them for something a little more simple. I settled on making the value of the roll like a wax seal, with a ribbon that identifies which attribute has been modified.

To create the seal, I rolled a ball of green stuff, and then pressed my finger into it. Then, using my sculpting tool, I carved the values into it.

Spell Marker - Hand of GloryThen, I dug through my wife’s ribbon box and found some “suitable” colors. I painted everything, placing a magnet within the fold on the ribbon and some scrap magnetic sheet that I use on my movement trays on the back of the ‘wax’. This way, I can place the appropriate value on the attribute affected.

Hand of Glory

Here is how it will look in the game.

Hand of Glory - In Play

The markers for Miasma will be similar, but with different color ‘seals’ and ribbons. Let me know what you think.

Swordmasters Completed!

Well, it has been a long time coming, but I have finally finished the unit of Swordmasters that I started so long ago. Now they will be the killing machines that they should be (because we all know that painted models fight better).

The banner for the unit was “sculpted” out of green stuff. It’s not as fancy or dynamic as what is done by professional sculptors, but I was finding it hard to fit one of those banners in the unit. The rune on it is Sarathai, which stands for the World Dragon, defiance, and unyielding. Also, I put the 7 stars of Hoeth, as mentioned in the Uniforms and Heraldry book.

Metal Swordmasters 1 - FrontMetal Swordmasters 1 - Back

Metal Swordmasters 2 - FrontMetal Swordmasters 2 - Back

Metal Swordmasters 3 - FrontMetal Swordmasters 3 - Back

Next up is the Flamespyre Phoenix…. or the Loremaster…

Hobby Lessons – Plastic Glue

Plastic Glue

It has been a while since I wrote about lessons that I have learned in the hobby (mostly learned through mistakes). The previous one was about Army Building and how I had lost my spreadsheet that I use to write my lists. The good news is that I found the USB drive that it was on, and the file has now been backed up to my desktop computer! Now it is time for another lesson!

Back when I started in the hobby, I was still in college. Since I was operating on a very limited budget, I tried to only buy the bare essentials that I needed. Also, I was a bit of a “closet gamer”, so didn’t really have anybody to help me along or mentor me in the hobby. Most of what I learned was from GW publications.

When you are in the hobby, you tend to need to glue stuff together and there was mention of super glue and plastic glue. I figured that super glue is renowned for sticking stuff together so why do I need to buy plastic glue? Over the years, the super glue hasn’t really lived up to my expectations, with many of my models needing to have arms glued back on. It does a great job gluing my fingers together, but it doesn’t seem to be as powerful on models. I have tried various kinds of super glue, but haven’t really found any that live up to the reputation, at least when it comes to miniatures.

Being unsatisfied with my results using the super glue, and constantly being reminded about plastic glue from GW’s model assembly instructions, I decided to finally pick some up. Although, admittedly, I picked up 2 tubes of Testors from Wal-Mart, rather than the GW brand. However, I have been using that ever since. It really seals the plastics together. I think that I remember seeing/hearing somewhere that it creates a chemical reaction that actually melts the pieces of plastics together. However it works, I have been very impressed with its bond and wish that I had tried it sooner.

Obviously, I still need super glue for the metal models that I have, but I am still searching for a good kind. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

Lesson Learned:

Plastic glue is superior to super glue when gluing plastics together

Flaming Base

Over the weekend, I finally completed some hobby! It isn’t much, but it is a start. While the model is not competed (or even started at this point), I am sure that my astute readers will recognize that this is the base for a phoenix, and probably come to the conclusion that it is for a Flamespyre Phoenix and not a Frostheart.

These same readers might also point out that I posted a tournament list recently, and there was not a phoenix in it. Let’s just say that I have had a change of heart since then. I thought that it was a bit sad that a blog names Flames of the Phoenix isn’t using a phoenix model at all. With that being said, I hope to get some work done on the Flamespyre once I can muster up the courage (and get some white primer).

When mounted on the base, I plan to have the tail of the phoenix very close to the ground. The thought with the base is that the phoenix is leaving a trail of fire behind it (like a Wake of Fire in its rules). The flames are crudely sculpted, but between that and the painting, I think that it gets the point across as to what it is. I intentionally left the earth by them blackened to show that the earth had been scorched. I am mostly happy with the results.

Hmm, I didn’t even notice until looking at the pictures that some of the green stuff is still showing! I guess there is some touch-up to do on the flames…

Other than that, what do you think? Does the effect work?

Top-down view

Top-down view

Side View

Side view

Gaming Aids – Spell Markers

A long, long time ago I wrote about this subject, but I never got around to finishing my spell markers. The only one that was worked on was for Flames of the Phoenix (old High Elf book), but isn’t really relevant anymore. I mostly abandoned the others for a couple of reasons: 1. I was a bit elaborate in my design, and 2. The spell card placed next to a unit generally does a sufficient job of reminding me.

This topic has once again been brought to my mind as I was refreshing myself on the rules for my army. I decided to read through the High Magic spells again and realized that many of the spells in the lore have multiple effects. These effects, coupled with me not using the lore before, can cause a big problem for me. I don’t always do a good job of remembering things when I am playing, so I thought that I might need to come up with some gaming aids for myself (and maybe my opponent, too).

High Magic

Shield of Saphery (Lore Attribute)

The High Magic lore attribute provides a +1 bonus to the mage and his unit’s Ward save each time that one of the High Magic spells is successfully cast (to a maximum of a 3+ Ward save). This is obviously something that I need to keep track of. I thought of various ways to try and track this:

  1. Count the number of High magic cards placed next to units for any effect that continues. For any other spell that is cast and resolved immediately, pile the cards up by the mage’s unit. To calculate the ward save bonus, just count the cards. Fiery Convocation can be a little problematic here, since it is Remains in Play. the opponent might dispel it, and I would have to be sure to place it with the stack in the mage’s unit, or if it continues into another phase, I have to be sure not to count it.
  2. Place one of the unused High magic cards (i.e. my mage did not pick it) next to the Mage’s unit and add a token to it each time that a spell goes off. To calculate the ward save bonus, just count the markers on the card. Clear the card at the start of my magic phase.
  3. Create a token that I can place by the unit and each time a spell is successfully cast, place a marker on it. To calculate the ward save bonus, just count the markers on the token. Clear the token at the start of my magic phase.

For the immediate future, I plan to use #2. I have plans to eventually create #3, but I should probably hold off until I finish painting my army.

Apotheosis

Of all of the spells, this one probably needs it the least. The main point of this spell is to heal wounds. However, it also causes the target to cause Fear. I could just place the card next to the unit to represent this, but my first thought when I see this spell is: “healing”. I’m not sure what sort of marker I would use other then something printed that says “Causes Fear”.

Hand of Glory

Hand of Glory is very similar to Miasma (Lore of Shadow), but augments instead of hexes. Traditionally, I have just placed the Miasma card with a die face up on it to indicate the modifier. However, there are a couple of problems with this:

  1. You have to remember which attribute was modified
  2. Sometimes dice get knocked over or scooped up

I was struggling to come up with a good way to represent this, since it has to be able to handle 5 different values (WS, BS, I, M, All 4) and show the modifier, but I think that I have found a decent solution.

Tempest

The lingering effects of this spell has some similarities to Iceshard Blizarrd. However, one big difference is that Iceshard Blizzard can only hit a single unit, while Tempest (using a template) has the possibility of hitting multiple units. For these reason, I can’t simply use the magic card to represent this and actually need multiple markers to mark each unit that is effected (maybe I am being optimistic here, since I do have to wound them with a S3 hit) to cause the lingering effect.

Loremaster

Melkoth’s Mystifying Miasma

For the thoughts on Miasma, see the above comments about Hand of Glory, since this is basically a reverse of that spell. However, I can’t re-use the marker, just in case I have them both active at the same time.

This list only covers the spells that I am planning to be using in the upcoming tournament. I am sure that other spells in the main rulebook could also benefit from this treatment. Also I will eventually need to think of some markers for my phoenix models (Attuned to Magic and Phoenix Reborn).

Am I unique in wanting these types of markers? What do you usually use to track these types of things (in particular Miasma)?