Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Old Man Pulls Off A Win!

Oh, yeah.  Hierarch Severius beat down Epic Irusk today at lunch.

My Protectorate list:
  • Epic Severius
  • Crusader
  • Crusader
  • "Blessing of Vengeance" (character Revenger warjack)
  • Choir of Menoth (4 models)
  • Choir of Menoth (4 models)
Khador list:
  • Epic Irusk
  • Great Bears (character unit, 3 models)
  • Destroyer (heavy warjack)
  • Mortar
  • Mortar
The MVP of the battle: Influence.  For 1 focus, Influence is fantastic.  It allows you to take control of an enemy model (after making a magic attack roll) long enough to make one melee strike with it.  I used Influence to kill 2 of the 3 great bears of whatever-they're-called and half a mortar crew.

High point of the battle (in a comic relief way) was when one of my Crusaders attempted to disassemble the Destroyer.  Out of four mace attacks, two of them were snake eyes (auto-miss) and one of the damage rolls of the two hits was snake eyes.  Let's call that a statistical out-lier.   Remember: all 1's = miss.  all 6's = hit.

Irusk has this annoying upkeep spell that gives a model an extra die on ranged attack and damage rolls.  Applied to a mortar it was annoying.  Pulling the "upkeep, fire, recast on other mortar, fire other mortar" trick is double annoying.  With effective RAT 3 and three dice against DEF 10, it's going to hit your heavy jacks a fair bit.  Boosted POW 16 hits hurt.

In the end, Irusk took down a Crusader in melee, and eSevvy charged him and got the kill.  The spell that gives Sevvy an extra die on attack and damage sounds too good to be balanced until you take into account that Sevvy has a MAT of 4.  An extra die is like having a MAT of 7.5... a lot more on par for warcasters.

We made a few mistakes during the game....

  • No backstrikes for the Influenced model: A model receives a back strike bonus only during its activation. (pg 61)
  • Brian forgot all his "tough" rolls.  All of them.
  • I forgot BoV gets "defensive strike" which might have saved it from getting trashed by the last remaining Great Bear.  Those guys are amazing.

Big fun.

The Unspeakable Shame of Proxying

I have no problem with people proxying models for things they don't have in their army.  I greet each request with enthusiastic approval.  Approaching this week's Warmachine game, I found myself balking considerably at the idea of fielding models that I either did not own or had not assembled.

It occurred to me that I never proxy.  Ever.

So why not?  I clearly have no problem with it, since I gladly let others proxy.  What is my deal?  Well, today I am proxying no matter how squeamish I may be.  Regular Severius shall be representing Epic Severius, and a garden variety Revenger will be the character warjack "Blessing of Vengeance."  It seriously took an act of willpower to settle on this list for today.  I almost reverted to a non-proxy list.

It's going to be tough, but I'm pretty sure I'll live through this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sun, Rain, Hats, Parasols

Saturday was my daughters band concert.  This year her school tried something different and had an outdoor picnic-type affair.  Although it rained before the concert, the sun was out as of the time this video was taken.  I managed to get both wet with rain and a sunburn in the same 2 hour span.  Apparently the risk of being exposed to sunlight trumped my desire to be exposed to watching my daughter perform.  Perhaps not "every inch" was obscured, but my ability to video recored portions of the concert seemed threatened at the time of this recording.  This recording includes my semi-coherent whining.  I faithfully captioned the parts that don't make sense.

Actually, most of them put their parasols away when the concert started.  The Hawaiian Punch hats remained on.  Oh, and someone put on a bright white straw hat as well that features prominently in my recordings later.

I sure complain a lot.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Orwellian Mathematics

Somehow the topic of "Newspeak" came up at work.

A: Newspeak?  I don't know the reference.
S: It's from 1984.  Orwell.  Newspeak is boring.
M: Boring is interesting.
A: I only read the barn one.
M: Animal Farm?  My whole life goal is to be more equal than the other animals.
P: How can you be more equal?
S: What's the mathematical symbol for "more equal"?

After a few candidates, we decided that the above symbol would mean "more equal" as it splits the difference between an equal sign and a greater than sign.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Recommended Reading: Gringo Nightmare

Okay, this one is a great read.  I followed this story closely when it was in the news, and Eric Volz's retelling of his experiences are riveting.

The basic premise is that a young American in Nicaragua is arrested for the murder of his Nicaraguan ex-girlfriend.  Over the course of the next year he endured the hellish conditions of the Nicaraguan prison system, the corruption of the Nicaraguan court system and the ever present shadow of the Sandinista government as the country creeps inexorably back into totalitarianism.

Of special note is the online "Exhibit Hall" that is accessible with a code in the book.  It contains a wealth of photographs of locations and people, pdf's of documents related to the court cases and even some audio files and videos.  It augments the written portion extremely well, and reminds one that these things happened and these places really exist.  The conditions he experienced are a daily reality to these men even now.

Seriously, get this and read it.  There's an excerpt available at

Iceland's Not Even Trying Now

Okay, I've heard the whole "infinite monkeys with typewriters writing Shakespeare" thing, but I think it would take about half an hour for a room full of monkeys to type "Eyjafjallajokull".

Seriously, Iceland?  If you ran out of names for volcanoes just ask for help.  There are lots of countries that don't have huge spewing ash plumes that would be more than happy to help you name yours.  You don't have to just bang on the keyboard and call it good.

EDIT:  I'd also like to thank you for naming my all time favorite candy "Opal" instead of "ytaisdnasdbg."  For anyone who has not experienced it, Opal is a sublime black licorice tablet with just a touch of chloroform.  Mmmmmm, tingly mouth.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to Lose vs. Karchev

I'm on a Warmachine losing streak.  Thursday lunch again saw my Menites facing down the Khador juggernaut.  (Not included in Khador list: a Juggernaut.)

So here's the breakdown of how I lost:
  1. I didn't stick to the plan.  I brought Holy Zealots to act as a wrecking crew against low DEF jacks.  All those POW 14 bombs can ruin a jack's day quickly.  Instead of moving them as I originally planned, I sent them off chasing a Widowmaker solo.  They killed him, but it marginalized a 4 point unit to kill a 2 point solo.
  2. I forgot how mobile Karchev makes other jacks.  Between his feat and tow, Karchev can take a jack an awfully long way, even across rough terrain.  In this game, the end result was that Behemoth got the charge off on Feora.
  3. I tried to wreck Behemoth with my warcaster.  If I had been smart I would have pushed Behemoth back an inch to get it out of melee with Feora and then ran like hell, but nooooooo, I just dropped 2 focus for Engine of Destruction and tried to disassemble the biggest jack in the game with my caster.  If I'd had optimal rolling it might have worked.  I had less than optimal rolling.  Zero systems disabled after all those P+S 17 attacks. 
It was pretty funny to see Karchev in his warjack body being chased by the Khador War Dog.  I likened it to a dog chasing a car.

Last week, the High Reclaimer got a one-night paint job as penance for losing.  I basecoated Feora Thursday night, but had too much Eldar work to do to give her a whole paint job.

I've been losing a lot, but I've also been playing with unpainted models.  Brian has at least a few models painted when we play.  Maybe that's it.....

Friday, May 07, 2010

How To Lose Vs. eVlad

Lunchtime yesterday saw a 15 pt Warmachine game of my Menites vs. Brian's Khador.  I took the High Reclaimer, some Knights Exemplar, a big unit of Exemplar Bastions, a Revenger and a small choir.  He took eVlad with a war dog, 3 IF Uhlans, the Great Bears, and the character warjack Drago.  

The game was a series of mishaps and bad rolling.  His Uhlans failed their charge against my Knights by about 1/2" and were in turn charged by my Knights, almost completely failing by only killing one.  The remaining two Uhlans wiped out 2/3 of the squad with just mount and regular attacks (albeit with Hand of Fate upkeep, which gives them "roll three, keep the highest two" on attack and damage rolls.)  My Bastions charged Drago, only getting three in combat and one of them whiffing his charge attack (need a 4, rolled a 3!)  The Great Bears chopped half my Revenger up, but it came back and killed one with its halberd. 

So here's the moment of truth.  I have 6 "soul tokens" gained from the Exemplars and some choir dying.  I'm thinking I can charge in to the Uhlans with the High Reclaimer, spend all that extra focus on attacks/boosts and kill the Uhlans, then pop his feat to get the Exemplars back and charge Vlad.  Rrrrrrrr.  Sorry.  Didn't quite work that way.  Despite having 8 focus on him (after allocating some to the Revenger) he charges in and whiffs his charge attack, despite boosting it.  He then proceeds to roll so abysmally low that none of the other Uhlans die.  I pop his feat and get the 4 Knights back, who then manage to kill one of the two Uhlans.  8 Focus warcaster + 6 Exemplars with their P+S 11 swords and weapon master could not take down 2 Uhlans.  Sad indeed.  At least I was fairly sure the HR could survive the return attacks.  Enter "Transference."  This is an upkeep spell that lets Vlad spend focus to boost a model's attack/damage rolls.  He boosted the rolls for the Uhlan's mount attack and took about 80% of my health.  The rider finished him off.   Game over.  

Nasty, nasty capability.  Great, fun game though.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

You Had Me At Steam Powered Armor

I don't really care how much the legacy of Zork has been compromised by (if at all) but I have created an account specifically because of this picture.

...such a Warmachine fanboy.... tsk tsk

Monday, May 03, 2010

Warmachine Mk II / Protectorate: the Awesome and the Meh

First off I want to say one thing I love about mk II: the point system.  By removing the GW-ish high point cost for units, I can pretty much make army lists in my head on the fly.  Forget 19 point and 21 point and 26 point solos.  Now they are all 2 points.  I can easily remember warjack point values as well.  Thank you, thank you PP.

Now, onto Forces of Warmachine: the Protectorate of Menoth

In the eternal battle between wargaming and my wallet, wargaming has reliably won. Sure, I face buyer's remorse at regular intervals but most of the time I'm pretty happy with my purchases.  This book makes me feel like I should have listened to my wallet. Don't get me wrong... I adore my PoM army and I have praise for the mk II ruleset, but this latest book, at a fairly steep $35, seemed like I was buying "Menoth's Greatest Hits" more than a new book.

Allow me to explain...

One of the things I love most about new books is new artwork.  Almost all the artwork for FoW:tPoM is artwork I have elsewhere, even if you don't count artwork included in No Quarter.  It's great artwork, but I've already bought Prime, Escalation, Apotheosis, Superiority, Prime:Remix, Legends and Prime Mk II.  That's almost as many books for my single army of WM as I've bought for all my Warhammer Fantasy and 40k armies combined.  I know recycled artwork is common practice in this industry as you get more and more editions under your belt, but I guess my expectation levels were artificially high because of how great all the other books have been.  If I'd taken a good hard look at the book before buying it, I would probably have only bought the Protectorate card deck.

EDIT!!!  Just got my Exemplar Bastions and Crusader/Vindicator/Templar in the mail!  Wow!  The Bastions might  be difficult to convert because of the peg/hole assemble, but they are soooo easy to put together.  No more glue and hold with the model exploding in your hand multiple times.  Plus, $35 for a unit of 5 is a breath of fresh air next to what Man-o-wars cost.  You can bet I'll be buying Cinerators!