Monday 30 November 2015

A long overdue update - with more Shaltari!


Yep, it's been three weeks since my last post, and longer than that since I posted any painting progress. This is because I've been in the throes of a secret project, and I didn't want to tip my hand to Pete "Just War" McSecretpaint by putting pictures up here too early!

So let's hope the incident where the Blogger app decided to "publish" instead of "save" when I added the photos didn't blow the whole thing.

Anyway, here we are at last. I've been beavering away on my latest Shaltari acquisitions for a while - because Pete was one of the first in our group to start a Dropzone Commander force, he's been able to get more options ready and had the advantage of more or less knowing what other players would show up with for a smaller game.

Now I've added some more options of my own, and can take the game size up to 1500 points. Hopefully some things here will be nasty surprises for Pete, but even if not, they should at least make games more interesting by giving me more stuff to suffer a humiliating defeat with.

So here we go, onto the models...

First is a Warspear. This is a fast mover, which means it makes attack runs across the battlefield and can only be targeted by reaction fire. That makes it hard to shoot down and gives it the ability to attack almost anywhere, but I suspect it's lacking in firepower so I'll need to be careful in selecting appropriate targets for it.


And from underneath!

Then, two Tarantula battle striders. These are probably going to actually be my biggest hitters, and I wanted more than two when I went to get them. Sadly, only two were available, so that's what I have.
These have a special weapon that is better at damaging targets with heavier armour - something I've struggled to do up to now.

See? Two.

This one sort of crouches to target something on the ground.

While this one is more upright.

As there weren't any more Tarantulas in stock at the Outpost when I went shopping, I got a Jaguar warstrider. This is a big beast, with it's own AA turret. Ideally this can soak up a bit of fire and still punch back.

To the left...

... and to the right!

Last, but by no stretch of the imagination least, a Firedrake. This is a lovely model, and much bigger when I put it together than I was expecting! I had to get some parts replaced as they were miscast, which has left me with the miscast bits as spares, which I do have a plan for. 
This thing can beam in my troops, flies pretty fast, and has a powerful area effect weapon. I'm just hoping it isn't embarrassingly shot down before it can do anything!

*glides past menacingly*

So big the backdrop can't contain it!

View from above. Yes, this was fiddly to paint.

And breathe!

As is customary, let's see what that did to my numbers...

For 2015 so far:
Painted: 125
Bought: 68

And for the Challenge:
Painted: 68
Jokers Used: 4
Jokers Earned: 2

Thursday 5 November 2015

The Just War Doctrine

Recently, our merry band convened for our second game of Black Powder using 6mm American Civil War models.

In the first test game, *mumble* months ago, each side consisted of just a few infantry units, so we could get a handle on the rules. Kieron and I had the union forces, against Wes and Pete's confederates.

It was in that test game that Kieron made the error of saying "that's just war" when Wes was bleating about the small disparity of numbers on each side. Black Powder doesn't use points, you see, so we'd just lined up the very small forces we had available and had at it. There was some scenario that we came up with, but at this remove I've no idea what it was.

Anyway. The "just war" comment seems to have made something of an impression. Pete in particular was so upset by it that he painted an entire army, in secret, before the next game. Wes also increased the size of his force and added some artillery. This feat is particularly impressive when you consider that Wes and Pete would both have had their vision blurred by bitter tears this whole time. The "that's just war, dickheads!" banner on Pete's command stand was a particularly stirring touch.

So, what we, the gallant and sportsmanlike players on the union side, thought would be another small skirmish was in fact a case of a very small union force being caught on the hop by a much larger formation of sneaky rebels!

The Black Powder rules really shone here. We were able to quickly come up with a rough scenario - the union force would try to retreat the length of the table, while partly encircled by the confederates. We figured that if the union could escape with more units than it lost, that could count as a union win - anything else would go to the confederacy. As simple as that! We deployed the union force around a small farm, with the confederates off the table - they would move on in their first turn.

I took pictures, but I can only vaguely remember what happened here, so I'll try to roughly sketch it out with the aid of the photos.

We'd decided that my mid-sized brigade would try to stall the rebel advance, so I lined it up by the farm in order to intercept Pete's large infantry force as it moved forward.

At the same time, Kieron's two smaller brigades struck out towards the location of the confederate flanking force. The hope was that they could fight through there, and then have a fairly open line of retreat.

Artillery opened up on my position, but mercifully didn't achieve much. I didn't have much to do there really, so fell back to the foot of a hill.

Pete's force got a bit disorganised (we'd decided that the rebels would be inexperienced so they had to roll a die to see if they got into trouble the first time they attacked) but in general they were rolling toward me. My plan was to retreat in stages, with a regiment firing at the advancing enemy as the rest of my force pulled away.

Kieron and Wes clashed, and things got messy there. After some shooting and even some charges, both of Wes' brigades had broken, but so had one of Kieron's. Kieron's second brigade wasn't looking too healthy either.

Pete's cavalry tried to get involved, but repeatedly did so badly on orders tests that it could only trot forward a bit and never actually met the enemy.

Back at the hill, I got into trouble. It all looked so simple - just keep falling back and give some fire to put the rebels off their stride - but I just couldn't get the dice to agree, and I failed the orders test several times in a row.

Thus it was that Pete's infantry was able to pour fire into mine and even bring up a cannon for enfilading fire, while I was caught out of formation and barely able to do anything in return. Eventually, my force succumbed to the inevitable and broke.

On the flank, Kieron made a try at rescuing something, but with only a single target left to aim at, the confederates were able to break his remaining brigade too.

So a loss to the union, but not a terrible one given the circumstances - we at least got rid of a couple of enemy brigades.

As I said earlier, I was impressed with how Black Powder handled this very uneven matchup. Right until the end, it never felt like there was nothing that Kieron and I could do, it always felt like a bit more luck would have seen us through it.

So it's a shame that we can never play it again, really...