Saturday, 27 May 2017

Drinking with Dwarfs

I did go to Salute this year, but, given my current plan to buy fewer models and concentrate on doing things with the ones I already have, I ended up taking a slightly different approach from usual.

Instead of my normal plan to buy enough models to keep busy until the next Salute, which normally left me with has left me with an every accumulating backlog, I concentrated on scenery. Specifically, scenery I didn't have to paint, just assemble and that would work with models I already had assembled and painted. More specifically, 4Grounds Dwarf Brewery.

I have been a Dwarf player for over twenty years and have dwarfs for Warhammer, Lord of the Rings, Confrontation, Kings of War and even a handful for Warmachine. Despite this, I have no Dwarf specific scenery. For a little while I had half a plan to build a Dwarf Inn/Brewery until I realised that 4Ground already made one. I already have a few of 4Ground's Japanese buildings and like their work, particularly, the fact that you don't have to paint it, just glue it together. It's the lack of painting that really makes them stand out from the other major producer of nice wooden scenery, Sarissa Precision.

So, this year, I ended up putting most of my money into a single item. Not as much as I had originally thought as 4Ground were doing some decent discounts and I bought a few other bits and bobs from them. I also got another one of their Dwarf buildings, not from them directly, but from Dark Sphere who were having a bit of a clear out and were offering 4Ground stuff at half price. My heart sank when I first saw this as I thought I might have just dramatically over payed for something, but they didn't have the brewery, but did have one smaller building. In addition, as it didn't have a price, the guy on stand just guessed at a price and then halved it, offering it to me for £15. I wavered and he immediately offered it for £12 at which point I snapped it up. I later found that 4Ground charge £36 for it, so I really got lucky.

 Smaller, L-Shaped building

In the end, I was very glad to have the smaller model as it allowed me to get in some practice assembling a dwarf building before moving on to the big one.

Even the smaller building has a detailed interior with separate rooms

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will have been able to track my progress as I put it together. There were 17 pages of instructions and the process was rather like assembling a big Lego model only with glue, so it's very difficult to correct mistakes.

 Early work in progress

I was as careful as I could be, but still not as careful as the professionals and there are some places where my model has walls that aren't perfectly flush or surfaces that are not completely smooth. I hope none of it is too visible.

 I had to cut this piece, or the top would not have been flush with the column below

There was one piece that I simply couldn't get to fit and I had to cut it to make it work. I really don't know what I did wrong there.

 Interior Ground floor. Note the gold trim around the ceiling and stair rail. These should have been grey

There was one further complication. Part way through assembly, I realised that one sheet that should have been printed on grey card had been printed on gold. I'm sure if I contacted 4Ground I could have gotten a replacement, but I didn't want to disrupt my momentum and pressed on. For the most part it worked fine, most of it was wall trim for the interior that looks good in gold. The only real problem was with the separators for the roof section, some of which were grey and some gold. In the end, I repainted the gold ones. They aren't quite the same shade, but I don't think it's too noticeable.

 Interior second floor, showing off the wealth of brewing equipment that comes with the model

I think I can get quite a lot of use out of this model. As well as being useful for games in which one side is dwarfs, I could also see it being useful as a Dwarf run tavern in other fantasy games. I'm planning to try it out in a game soon and will post some pictures of it in action.

The finished piece from another angle

Monday, 8 May 2017

Beyond the Gates of Antares - The Final Battle

I have finally finished off my last two Ghar squads, which means its time for my largest Beyond the Gates of Antares game yet, 1250 points. For my Concord, that meant essentially taking everything. I was even able to include Kai Lek Atastrin, the special character from the starter box. I had had the points to include him before, but he is classed as a "limited choice" like my Nu Hu. As you can only include one limited choice for every four units, I needed eight before I could afford them both.

For the Ghar, things were a little more complicated. I had comfortable more than 1250 points, but couldn't afford to take two complete squads, so instead, I bumped up a couple of squads to 4 Troopers.

The complete army lists were as follows:

4 C3 Strike Squads (one including Kai) each with plasma lance and spotter drone
NuHu Mandarin with Shield, Spotter and Gun Drones
Squad of 3 C3D1 Light Support Drones with Spotter Drone
1 C3D2 Medium Support Drone with Spotter Drone
1 C3M4 Combat Drone  with Spotter and Batter Drone

4 Trooper Ghar Battle Squad with Plasma Amplifier
3 Trooper Ghar Battle Squad with Plasma Amplifier
4 Trooper Ghar Assault Squad with Plasma Amplifier
Outcast Squad with Disruptor Cannon
Command Crawler with Plasma Amplifier
2 Trooper Bomber Squad
4 Tectorists
6 Flitters

As I hadn't much like the last scenario I had played, I decided to play this one as a straight forward fight. Each army's goal was to break the other or, failing that, do as much damage as possible. An army would be broken when it had lost half its order dice (which would be 5 in each case as both sides include 8 units, one of which had two order dice). The game would last six turns and potentially continue if neither side were broken.


In the very first action of the game, the Concord strike squad on the right of the board took a pot shot at the Ghar Assault Squad at extreme range, only for a lucky hit from the plasma amplifier to take out one of the Troopers. This was a terrible start for the Ghar and I contemplated restarting the game, but I considered that if I adopted that attitude I would be essentially saying luck first moves were not allowed and so decided to let it stand.

Other than that turn 1 was pretty uneventful, both sides advanced slowly, though the Ghar were slowed by a few unlucky rolls that saw them stalled by difficult terrain.

On turn two, most of the Ghar activated their Plasma Amplifiers to try and move things along. The Bomber squad fired twice, missing twice, but on one occasion the shot scattered onto the strike squad hiding in the woods on the left. On the right flank, the strike squads continued there success by destroying a Battle Trooper.

 Under Bomber Fire

Both sides dropped a lot of pins on one another, and the Command Crawler scored a lucky hit on the Combat Drone taking out its batter drone. It also managed to drop 5 pins on the light support drone squad.

 Batter drone down

After two games in which all Plasma Amplifiers burned out on their first turn, they appeared to be paying the Ghar back. All but the Bomber Squad's lasted into turn 3 which was when everything kicked off. The turn started well for the Concord when the NuHu's gun drone took out another Assault Trooper.

 Exchange of Fire

But, the pins the Ghar had spent turn two dropping on the Concord units started to pay off. Kai Lek Atastrin's squad were hit hard by a Battle Squad and broke. After the Light Support Drone Squad failed to activate, the Command Crawler put two more pins on it, giving it more pins than its command value and causing it to auto-break. On the right flank, the Ghar took revenge for their lost battle suits, by reducing one strike squad to a single man.

 Strike Squad culled

The chaos continued into turn four when the Combat Drone failed to activate and then an insanely lucky shot by an Outcast Lugger gun destroyed it (it rolled a 10 to resist and then another 10 on the damaged table). This reduced the Concord left flank to a single squad hiding in a wood and leaving them one order dice away from breaking. There was some small comfort for the Concord when the Medium Support Drone destroyed the Assault Squad leader and the remaining Trooper broke and fled and the last of the plasma amplifiers burned out.

 Combat Drone destroyed

Assault Squad broken

On turn five some unlucky rolling by the Ghar stopped them taking full advantage of their position, when one battle squad failed to activate. Nevertheless, the Command Crawler was able to destroy the Strike squad that had been reduced to a single man, breaking the Concord. Their only chance now was to break the Ghar, a pretty unlikely occurrence. But, the game continued into turn 6.

 The Strike Squad hangs on

On Turn 6, the remaining Strike Squad on the right flank was wiped out by the Battle Squad. The remaining Concord opened fire, but to little effect and the game ended with the Ghar unbroken and victorious.

 Final fire fight

Notes and Comments

1. I had completely misread the rules for the NuHu's intel stave. I didn't realise until turn 6 that the thing could shoot. I knew it was pretty good in close combat, but thought the NuHu would be too vulnerable to risk in an assault. In fact, the thing had a range of 20" and a strike value of 6. I had missed this for three games. In my defence, it is listed under "Close Combat Weapons" I just missed the range value. Had I know about this, I would have used my NuHu much more aggressively, possibly leading an assault force of drones using her follow ability to get them to all activate at once.

2. I had also failed to spot that Ghar Disruptor weapons can not only put two pins on a unit, but can do so even against heavily armoured targets. This proved hugely effective this game as the pins the Ghar were able to drop in turn 2 proved hugely important in turn 3.

3. I was incredibly stupid not to rally the Light Support Drones on turn 3. If I had done that, I could have removed some pins and they would have survived another turn. Just a daft oversight on my part.

4. Other than that, I don't think the Concord did anything obviously wrong. Things just came together for the Ghar. The Plasma Amplifiers proved hugely effective, simply because it gave the Ghar so many extra activations. The Combat Drone being destroyed was insanely bad luck, but it shows that in a game were anything can destroy anything with a lucky enough roll you can't treat anything as indestructible.

I have now finished painting all the models I currently own for both the Ghar and Concord and played the highest point game I can. With that, my Beyond the Gates of Antares project is officially complete. This does not mean I am done with the game. I have two armies fully painted and a few different scenarios to try out.

It's likely that at some point I will add some more units to both sides. Given how pleased I was with how my Command Crawler turned out, it was inevitable that I would have an eye on the Bomber Crawler and as soon as Warlord release some bomb loader scutters I'll be after them as well. For the Concord, I am less certain, but the interceptor bikes look like fun. I am also planning a third force. I bought some Boromites a little while back, which I haven't gotten round to painting yet.

But, for the time being, I want to look at a new project. Anyone who follows me on Twitter may have seen that I got some Dwarf buildings from 4Ground and have been slowly putting them together. This will only keep me busy for a little while though, as I have some plans for a very different project, but more on that in due course.