Saturday, October 31, 2009

Adepticon 2010 - What Should I Do?

Registration for Adepticon 2010 is now live at I am looking at the Friday events as I cannot attend anything on Saturday, and Sunday is starting to look doubtful based on the courses being offered for the Spring semester (Yes, I do have higher priorities than warhammer!).

The question I am asking myself is whether I should participate in one warband tournament or one combat patrol tournament. I love small games, so both are tempting options. I am also not a big fan of large tournaments and crowds, so the warband and combat patrol events are more my speed and style.

So the question to my readers is whether I should play in a warband tournament, a combat patrol tournament, or both on Friday. Poll is open till next Friday, so please help me decide.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On the Bench: Amethyst Veil

At this point in the process, the last few layers are rather non-descript, so I will just list them and provide the final product.

Bleached Bone/Skull White (Bleached Bone:Skull White:Thinner, 6:1:2)

Bleached Bone/Skull White (Bleached Bone:Skull White:Thinner, 2:1:1)

Finished Model

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On the Bench: Amethyst Veil

Painting a Dead Horse is Harder than Beating it

Picking back up with the horse skeleton, the next step is by far the most important as it really does set the tone for the model. The ink wash requires a bit of precision, as the wrong mix of ink and thinner or application of it incorrectly can result in the whole model looking off when compared with other skeletons. My suggestion when using the wash is to apply it from the shallow part of the model into the deeper part.

Brown Ink:Black Ink (8:1:9, brown ink:black ink:thinner)
Desert Brown (4:1, paint:thinner)

After the wash has been applied, I let the model sit for a few hours, assuring that the wash has completely dried. With the wash dried, I proceed to apply another layer of desert brown (4:1, desert brown:thinner). Depending on coverage, I will apply two layers of the paint as needed.

The next layer is a transition layer, meaning that I will apply it, but don’t need to apply multiple layers like the prior step, as this layer is meant to transition between the desert brown and bleached bone colors. When applying this layer, I will thin the paint slightly more than fundamental layers like straight desert brown or straight bleached bone.

Bleached Bone:Desert Brown (3:3:2, bleached bone:desert brown:thinner)

With the transition layer applied, I proceed with another fundamental layer, this time of bleached bone. Again, I apply a first coat and follow it up with another layer of the same color, though applying it to slightly less area.

Bleached Bone (4:1, paint:thinner)

With the second layer applied, I call it a day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tournament Tuesday: Don't Run it if You Ain't Goin Run It!

Today's Tournament Tuesday entry was written while still boiling over the extremely poor handling of the Down n' Dirty Tournaments that were suppose to happen last Saturday and this Saturday. When the tournaments were announced in mid August, I was quick to sign-up for the Oct 24th date. I talked with my friend Ernie and he agreed to travel with me to Palatine, IL for the event. To cut to the chase, as we got closer to the date, I began to press the TO about the start time and such, as we would be driving down from Wisconsin and didn't want to be late.

Needless to say, the TO, who originally hyped this event, was not being very forth coming with answers. When a response was finally posted, it was in reference to the Oct 17th date and concern that it may conflict with another 40K tournament in the area that weekend. Fine, I understand the concern, but questioning whether or not to run the event less than two weeks before it is not an option. More so, canceling the event about three days before because of such a concern is even more unacceptable.

I am sure someone is going, "But John, you said you were attending the October 24th tournament". Guess what happened, that one was moved to Nov 7th in the same post that cancelled the Oct 17th. The reason for it being moved was to avoid conflict with Halloween activities at the store. Last time I checked, Halloween is on October 31st, which is the following week.

Let me just state now that in the scheme of things, this is no big deal. It is what it is and the time gained is time I can spend with my family. I just find it annoying that there were alot of other events in the area that weekend and could have attended the N.I.M.G.C. event on Sunday if I knew sooner.

With regards to the TO for the event, I understand his/her concern (I don't personally know them) about attendance, but if you are going to cancel an event over such concerns, make the decision early and not shortly before the event. As a side comment, moving the event to a different day is the same as cancelling it in my eyes. Now if I wanted to attend, I would need to work with my wife to see if she can get the day off.

So in conclusion, things are going to arise that may facilitate the need to cancel or move an event. While I understand that this may occur, when it does, it needs to be communicated in a timely fashion. Life is more important than a hobby, but as a TO's, we need to be respectful of that little piece of it that participants are willing to share with us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fantasy Thursdays: The Cheddar Bowl III Army List

The Cheddar Bowl III is going to be a challenging affair next March. The tournament has become a two day event and has risen the army sizes to 2500 points. In addition, the Cheddar Bowl III will be allowing for a variety of uncommon units like the FW war mammoth and the dark emissary.

The balancing factor for this tournament is the use of a composition system that involves each army being assigned a base score based on the book being used. This score is than modified by a panel of judges, who review each list to determine if the army’s base score should be raised or lowered. While I am not a fan of composition scoring, I have full confidence in the organizer to run a very fair and balanced system, so I welcome this change from my normal approach.

When it comes to the army, I am going to be fielding a DoC army that is themed around the idea of Be’Lakor (aka The Emerald Eye) leading his personal army of chaos daemons and emissaries. This army is about as soft as I can get it while still working with what I own and am interested in playing.

One of the fun things about this list is that each herald model will be a dark emissary model converted slightly to reflect the chaos god it is summoning daemons from for the army. I am also going to be using some special fillers I have been building to pump up my unit sizes. While I don’t want to reveal what they are without showing pictures, thinking about what the dark emissaries are doing in the army and you might get the idea.

Daemon Prince w/ wings and ASF 345 pts
Herald of Nurgle w/ lvl 1 110 pts
Herald of Slaanesh w/ lvl 1 & BSB 135 pts
Dark Emissary 265 pts
16 Bloodletters w/ full cmd 222 pts
16 Bloodletters w/ full cmd 222 pts
27 Horrors w/ full cmd 354 pts
18 Daemonettes w/ full cmd 246 pts
18 Daemonettes w/ full cmd 246 pts
14 Plaguebearers w/ full cmd 198 pts
10 Furies 120 pts

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ROCK CON 2009 - Sunday Oct 25th - Warhammer Tournament

Sponsored by The Last Square in Madison WI

Tournament specifics:
When: Oct 25th, 2009

Where: ROCK CON!!!!!!

Cost: $8 for Sunday registration at the con. $5 for the Tournament.

Prep Time: 9:00-10:00AM registration
Start time: 10:00 - 12:00
Round 2 - 1:00 3:00
Round 3 3:15 - 5:15
Awards Ceremony: 5:15 - 5:30
Rounds: 3 rounds - 2 hours each

Tournament Tuesdays: When Scores Don't Add Up

A group of friends and I went to a partners tournament a few years ago in northern Wisconsin. Overall, the tournament was well run and the players in general were a nice group who I would eagerly play again. The thing though that stands out about this event was what happened at the end of the tournament when awards were given out.

While I forget the exact award, my partner and I were declared the winner of one. The award included a nice gift certificate that had to be redeemed that day at the store. My partner and I preceded to walkabout the store in the hopes of finding something to purchase with our new found “wealth”. As we explored the overstocked isles of closest filling materials, we heard the TO announce that a change was being made to the results and that my partner and I would not receive the award we had been bestowed. Instead another team upon further “review” by the judge should have been awarded the prize.

My partner and I made a beeline to the judge to verify what we had just heard him announce. Upon questioning, the judge claimed that a math error had been made that resulted in another team not getting all the points they should have been awarded. We asked to review the raw data as it sounded odd to us, but were refused the request. The end result was us not winning anything, which is fine, and my partner, who was usually a laid back guy, swearing off the TO and gaming store for life.

Those are the facts as I remember them. On the trip back, the other team we travelled with mentioned that after the rewards they had overheard complaints about guys who were not regulars coming in and winning stuff. They also said that the team that received the award made a real stink to the owner and TO about the fact that they hadn’t won anything. With these points, I did not witness them first hand, so while I believe the folks that told me this information, I didn’t observe it myself, so I am not certain I have the exact details of what may have occurred.

My point in sharing this story is to talk a little bit about what should happen in situations like this one. When a mistake is made and it is not caught until after the conclusion of the tournament, what should be the appropriate response from the TO and what should be the expectations of the players impacted by the mistake?

When it comes to events that I am running, I always do an audit of the raw data a few days after the tournament has concluded. I like to go over the data not only for errors, but also to see if I can find any trends in what had happened. (As a side note, I strongly suggest anyone that runs an event to do the same. Not so much because you are afraid to make a mistake but because you may find it very insightful.) I have found in two instances, ones were I was manually tracking, that I made minor mistakes that caused players to shift their final standings in a tournament. In both cases, the errors did not impact who received any awards, but they were still mistakes that I needed to rectify.

In the case though that if a mistake was made that resulted in the wrong player winning an award, my standing rule is to award the correct player with the same prize, or an agreeable equivalent, while still allowing the original winner to retain their prize. It seems like the only fair thing to do that doesn’t punish either player for a mistake made by the TO. Personally, the integrity of an event is more important to me than a small hit to the pocketbook.

So while I can comfortably state what I would do in such a situation, it doesn’t mean that other TOs would do the same. Like professional sports, some TOs will make public a scoring mistake, but will declare that the original “ruling on the field” stands. Since I only attend “small” events, I am fine with this approach, but I could see how people would be upset if it happened at a “major” event. Another approach that I have seen, though only once, is for the TO to ignore the mistake, even when confronted about it. While this may seem like the worse approach, I can understand why someone might employ it.

In the end, a mistake made in the scoring of a tournament has the potential to impact everyone who participates. How such mistakes are handled will depend upon the TO and the nature of the event. While I cannot say there is an absolute right way to resolve a mistake, I do feel it is important for TOs to be prepared for such a possibility and be honest with themselves on how they feel best to handle it. A good tournament begins with an organizer knowing themselves and how they will handle a given situation.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On the Bench: Amethyst Veil

I Want a Pony

In theory, painting the bone on a black knight mount should be rather simple as I have already established the color scheme for the army. The reality is that each new model brings with it a new set of challenges and considerations. The challenge with these models will be that without the riders on them to provide some color contrasts, I need to add a little more depth into the paint scheme for each horse in order to compensate for the size of the model and lack of contrasting colors. The reason I am thinking this is that my experience has shown that the bigger the model, the more layers are required. In this case, the model is not that much bigger, so the number of additional layers in comparison to my standard skeleton should not be that much.

The first few steps in the process were done with all five models in the unit at one time. Each model was cleaned using hobby files and knives. In a few places I added a couple additional knicks, the idea being that they would give the models a little more character and individuality. The models were then assembled using GW plastic glue.

Once the models were cleaned and washed in warm, soapy water. Each one was mounted to a 25mm x 50mm George Base using Elmer’s super glue gel. The glue was allowed to dry for a day as I decided at this point to work on other projects. The next day, I used GW fine gravel and Elmer’s white glue to base each model. Again, I let the models sit for a day, giving the glue plenty of time to dry.

With the glue dry, it was time to prime the models. I decided to use a can of the new GW white primer since I am trying to save the cans of older GW primer for models I need to make sure don’t flake. I placed the models on some cardboard in the garage and gave them a couple of light coats. The humidity was low when I primed them and the can had been give a good few minutes of shaking. Needless to say, I still got a little bit of flaking on a couple of the models. Fortunately it was only on a few small portions and in locations that were not visible from a normal gaming perspective. Still it annoyed me so I gave the sections a gentle wipe with a cotton ball dipped in acetone. (Note: This is the only time and way in my experience to use acetone on plastic models) It helped, but didn’t perfectly fix the problem. With the acetone dry/evaporated, I gave each model a “wash” of skull white (3:1, paint:thinner).

The next session with these guys involved giving them a nice solid coat of Vallejo Desert Sand 3:1 (paint:thinner) using a size 0 brush. When applying this coat, I went over the model in detail and tried my best to make sure the model was completely covered. At this point, I placed the models aside for the day. (In this case, the decision to put them aside was not to allow for an extended drying period. If other responsibilities hadn’t taken precedent, I would have only given the models about 15 minutes before applying the wash.)

The next time I returned to these guys, I decided to work on the base before returning to the actual model. I begin the process with a thinned coat of dark flesh (3:1 paint:thinner). I next give the model a drybrush of charred brown (4:1 charred brown: thinner). Next, I applied a layer of bestial brown (4:1 bestial brown: thinner) and then two layers of bleached bone (4:1 bleached bone: thinner). After painting the base this way, I realized I had deviated from the formula I used for all of the skeletons. The good news was that the bases didn’t really look different, so I felt okay with leaving them as they were painted.

Next Time: Give that Horse a Bone?!?!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Wednesday Peek

Last Week's Peek...

This Week's Peek...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tournament Tuesdays: Two Day Tournaments

While one could say that GW the company is the source of the hobby, I believe that the Indy tournament scene is the heart of the hobby, at least in the Midwest. When it comes to defining what is an indy event, I would classify them as events that are run by individual/groups that love the hobby but don’t necessarily derive a living from it. This isn’t to knock those that do forge a living through the business aspect of the hobby, I simply feel there is a difference between those that do it purely for the joy and those that do view it on some level as a business strategy.

While each of these indy events is unique and has its own spins on how to approach the tournament format, there are trends that can be seen across them. Some of these trends arise due to the nature of the game system that the tournament is based upon. An example of this would be the use of composition scoring by most WFB tournaments in the Midwest. Right or wrong, a lot of tournament players in the area feel that such a system is needed because of how the current system plays. On the other hand, other trends seem to be based more on the preference of the typical attendee and don’t really reflect any perceptions specific to the game. One example of this would be whether a tournament is a one or two day affair.

Looking at the calendar for the remainder of 2009 and into the first half of 2010, most of the WFB indy events are two day tournaments. While I support each organizer running the event that they want, I do admit I am puzzled why so many of them elect to go this route. I understand the logic that it allows for more games to be played, and thus a clearer winner to be crowned, but couldn’t one argue that it also punishes the losers more? By this I mean, after the first game or two, typically a good portion of the players will know if they are going to be in contention to win an award.

When it comes to the idea of whether or not an event is one or two days, I have always appreciated the view that Adepticon holds on the topic. Adepticon is a three day event, but each day is independent of the others. This means that one bad day doesn’t carryover into the next. It also means that the overall convention is more accessible to more people.

When it comes to me and two day tournaments, I simply don’t attend them. Again, I am not knocking anyone for liking this style of event; I just simply don’t share the same opinion. As a player, three games in one weekend are sufficient for my enjoyment. Regardless of how I am doing, a second day of gaming is just draining for me. As a TO, I typically design the scoring for my tournaments so that the point breakdowns are detailed enough that ties are difficult to achieve. I am not claiming to be perfect, but with experience I have learned how important it is to minimize the chance for a tie.

So to my readers, what are your thoughts about two day tournaments? Do you like them or hate them. If you like them, I would love to hear what it is about them that you like. In the end, how we have fun with the hobby isn’t as important as all of us having it, so share what you are doing to make it happen.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fantasy Thursdays: Making 1000 Point Games that Work

This is a new segment that I am adding to my blog. Every Thursday I will focus on something related to Warhammer Fantasy. It could be an "On the Bench" segment, something from “The Mouth”, or it could be a battle report. The point is that I am going to dedicate every Thursday to talking about something related to WFB.

I love Warhammer Fantasy Battles (WFB). I like the setting of the game and the fact there is a lot of diversity in terms of the armies that can be played. Typically when I play WFB, I like to play games in the 1000 point range as the model count is lower and games tend to play faster. While this is a fun point size, I have found that a few minor changes and choices can make games at this size more interesting and fun.

Table Size

A standard size game of WFB is played on a 6’x4’ table. This makes sense considering the number of models typically at this size and the way units move within the game. When playing 1000 point games, I have found that 4’x4’ size tables are slightly better as it evens the field between long range shooting and slower CC units.


Along with the size of the table, the amount of terrain on the board is something to consider in 1000 point games. What I have found is that games at this level tend to be better if the concentration of terrain is higher than in a standard game. My personal preference is to try and theme the battlefield. A crowded village square is a great example of a battlefield appropriate for a 1000 point game. There are still lanes for long charges, but units that excel at this tactic will not rule the battlefield.

Unit Restrictions

I am not a fan of changing the standard army composition rules for games this size. I do think though that when playing 1000 point games, players should do a little bit of self regulation. A great example would be a unit of cairn wraiths. A small unit of three can be dangerous, but not overwhelming to most armies. If that unit is suddenly increased to 8-10 models, which includes a banshee, the unit can basically make for a quick and brutal game. Nothing in the rules prevents this from happening, but making it happen may not be in the best interest of playing a casual game.

In conclusion, 1000 point games can be a fun and challenging alternative to the standard games played in WFB. The size of such games allow for new players to get started sooner. It also allows veterans to try out new armies or experiment with variants that typically wouldn’t be played in normal games. The secret to enjoying games at this size is to set the goal to having fun and build the details around that purpose.