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Scenario play in Warmahordes is not just a tournament standard. In fact, I would advice anyone already over the game rules learning hill with a decent (25 points?) collection to play scenarios from the get go. Here’s why.

Caster kill games get old very fast. More so, there are bad matchups and there are worse. Caster kill exaggerates these matchups in a very clear way. The rock-paper-scissors aspect of the game comes to the forefront in such a way that when a bad matchup is set one player will just have no fun at all. It is great to learn, specially to learn what your models can do and when, but after a while it will be about the best list.

Let me give you an example of this. You have anti-X model on the table. It will be deployed straight ahead of your opponent’s X models. Every single time. Now, depending on the scenario, your anti-X model might seem to work better someplace else due to some of its other rules and abilities. So now you have to make a choice based on scenario. Choice is good.

It gives you something to fight for. Alright, I admit it, Steamroller scenarios are as abstract as they get. You could add some fluff and spice to any of them, but I’m sure not everyone will. And in the end, it’s still about controlling the flags or occupying the marked area. But still, they add something other than utter destruction, something to think about other than shooting and hitting.

Makes scenery important. There are factions that can ignore almost all the terrain on the board with the proper list (Legion, Circle). They make caster kill games an unfair proposition. One player has to deal with the forest and the walls while the other one ignores them all and focuses on grinding the opponent getting ready for caster kill. Trust me, I’ve played a ton of those and it is not fun at all. Sure, on a scenario things are the same for both players (one ignoring everything) but that player has to be active about stuff, and not just reactive from safety. You can hide all you want, but when I score that 3rd point I win no matter what you have done and how with your spiffy rules.

Makes movement crucial. In a game where movement already is a beast of a factor (unlike many other wargames) the scenarios make planning your movement specially tricky. You want to be where you want when you want, and you need to avoid the enemy doing that as well. It’s no longer a matter of staying out of threat ranges. It’s going where you have to, considering the risks that threat ranges pose, and thinking how to deal with that.

Makes you a better player. Ok, I can only speak for myself about this, but I really think I do a lot more brainwork playing scenarios than plain bashing. And the best part is I don’t get burned so easily. After a couple of games of caster kill remembering every threat range and trick the enemy model’s can pull on me I get exhausted. But I can play 4 or 5 straight scenario games where both my opponent and myself are thinking above the abilities of the models, and it somehow makes me worry more about tactics and movement and crazy tricks with what I have there and then, than just thinking about the initial deployment for the rock-paper-scissors kind of game. I can honestly say this kind of play has made me a better player.

You might think that Steamroller scenarios are only for the hypercompetitive game. And you’d be wrong. Take away the time limits and just play the scenarios at any point level with any composition. Make a story out of the abstract win conditions, make new scenery elements to represent objectives and zones. It’s all about playing with something else in mind than just bashing your opponent. It rewards smart play and not only good model stats memory. It creates a better looking playing board (most of the time).

Now, about that last point, it is true that most scenario boards seem boring. When playing competitively people try to make the board as fair as possible, and this usually means drawing an imaginary line along the board and placing mirrored scenery on each side. This is good for tournaments, but it shouldn’t for your regular scenario play. Set up the board before choosing (or rolling for) the scenario. Make the basic adjustments to place the objectives or the areas and then roll for sides. Suddenly it’s not just a matter of thinking if you wanna go first, but now choosing the board side might be just as useful.

And this is why I like to play scenarios.

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This is aimed to Warmahordes players of course, but possibly of use for other game systems with persistent on table effects and packed figs!

So, you have cloud AOEs and all kinds of stuff. They can be in the middle of the table, marked with a simple circle of the appropriate size and made from any material you like. But then you have these clouds and things on top of figs. And when models are too close things can get a bit mess unless you have spiffy metal rings, and even then.

If you want to know, I made these while thinking about the Circle druids making all those cloud effects while packed together and also while considering shooting some clouds on my units with the Greylord Ternion unit.

The example piece is for 3 inch AOE markers. Make the marker on your favorite material. In this case, a piece of plastic sprue (from which I make my wreck markers also).

Then cut it in 4 equal pieces. Easy!!!! Now you can place a smaller marker under the base of the figure without too much fuss, showing the general circumference for a very clear idea of what the cloud is covering.

But, smart reader, it’s very easy to center a round AOE under a model’s base, but not so easy to center this pseudo triangle. And you are right. That’s why I center the templates on some 30, 40, and 50mm circles, and make tiny marks representing the edge of the appropriate size base.

Now if you’re putting the template under a small based model, just align it with the first marks, medium base with the second marks, and so on. Now your opponent can be sure the thing is centered and you’re not getting those few extra life-or-death millimetres.

Hope you find these useful. Warmahordes is a game about information, and all of these clear, precise, and comfortable markers make all the difference when half an inch is a big deal.

Dust Tactics Unleashed
Rules changes for DT to do away with the board, by Guido Quaranta.

Most of these rules are variations to the regular Dust Tactics rules. You need to know the basic game, and most of those rules apply normally. The rules noted as “(extra)” are my own creation for different aspects of the game. More on them on the Designer’s notes at the end.

Remember this is a living document. I will update this post, and let you know via blog post when I do.

Latest version: September 2011

Distances: 1 square = 6 inches

Squad formation
Models in a squad must remain within 2 inches of a leader model. There must always be a leader model in the unit. If the leader model is removed as a casualty, immediately choose another model. When a hero starts the game inside a squad, he/she is the leader.

Line of sight and shooting
Every weapon line can shoot at a different target. Only the models with LOS (line of sight) to the target can shoot though. Distance is measured from the base of the nearest model with the weapon to the base of the nearest model in the target unit. Always measure from the models’ base edges. Every model shooting must have LOS to the target, but distance is only measured from and to the closest models.

Limited-ammo weapons can be fired by any model (as normal), but those shooting must have LOS to the target.

A player can remove any figure from his/her target unit taking casualties, even those out of LOS from the firing models (exception: Sniper special rule).

The models from an active squad do not block LOS to other squad members. Nor do they block movement (they can move through models in their own squad).

Squads block LOS to other squads (as in the normal rules). Consider the space between models of a single squad as a solid screen. For robots, consider their bases as blocking LOS.

Firing flame weapons
Make a template 2 inches wide by the needed length (6, or 12 inches, depending on the weapon). Place it against the nearest base edge of the firing figure, towards the closest model in the target unit. Any unit the template touches (except the one from the firing model) is affected, whether friend or foe.

Close combat
Close combat weapons have a range of 2 inches. If at least one figure from the active unit is within that distance from an enemy, they can fight using CC weapons. When a unit attacks with CC weapons, the whole unit fights (not only the ones 2 inches from an enemy). Also, every model from the target unit gets to fight back.

Cover and scenery
Area terrain: It’s represented by a small area (the size of a CD is perfect) where you place cover elements (tank traps, ammo crates, etc.). If half or more of the squad is completely inside an area terrain they gain the corresponding cover save.

Ruined buildings (extra): They block LOS to everyone like obstacles do. Walkers and vehicles cannot enter this terrain. They provide hard cover to squads inside. If there are several levels of height, it takes one action to move up or down a level. Squads in higher levels can trace LOS over squads, tank traps, ammo crates, but not over walkers, other buildings or obstacles.

Changes to skills
Agile: The unit moves 10 inches per move point instead of 6.

Activation roll (extra)
Every unit must roll 3d before activating. Heroes, or units with heroes attached to them roll 4d. Check the result on the table below.

0 hits: The unit doesn’t do anything this turn. Counts as activated.
1-2 hits: The unit activates normally.
3+ hits: The unit activates and has an extra action.

If the unit activates using Reactive Fire (or fails to do so) it doesn’t need to make an activation roll.

Armor saves (extra)
Only infantry squads get armor saves. The roll is made every time a squad takes casualties from a weapon line shot at them, as many times per turn as needed. This means that a unit targeted by another one, shot with 3 different weapon lines, will roll armor saves 3 times, and not just one after all the casualties have been added.

If the save succeeds, the unit doesn’t receive casualties. If it fails, the unit can still make any relevant cover save (if available).

Armor saves are made with 4d. The armor of the squad determines the result needed for a successful save.

Inf1: 4 hits to save.
Inf2: 3 hits to save.
Inf3: 2 hits to save.
Inf4: 1 hit to save.

Armor saves cannot be made in close combat.

Designer’s notes
So, I craved for two aspects of the rules that were very important when creating rules changes. First, to use only the numbers on the cards. No extra attributes or anything. Second, to use the DT dice. No need to get or roll other type of dice.

Now, the most obvious changes are the activation roll and the armor saves. Let’s talk a second about them.

The activation roll is mainly my first try to make it more enjoyable to solitaire play. When I play solo, I apply the activation roll to either both armies or just one, and add a bit of uncertainty to the battle. Other mechanisms would be needed to make it more enjoyable, and I’m working on that.

The armor save seems a bit strange. But already the game design has included the different infantry armor to its ethos, so I might as well use it. If you see clearly, the chances of making a save are very low considering most troops right now are Inf2. But still, they do add a tiny bit more survivability to the whole game. Why is this necessary though? Well, I believe that the board game is quick and deadly, and I love it. But when setting up a tabletop game, we usually go a bit larger. The play area is bigger, there is more scenery, if only because the movement and shooting distances are a bit larger. However, I still enjoy playing with few units, and this gives me a slightly longer game, and also another bit of unpredictability. I am developing a simple system for the walkers, not in the form of saves but in the different ways that they can be affected beyond the simple “alive” and “dead” states.

Hope you can try them out and enjoy them.

So I’m painting my Cryx. I wanted a completely rusty, old, decaying metal on them. Not just some rust effects, but completely messed up “undead” looking metal plates and joints. And for once in like 15 years, I went from theory to practice with the same actual results! So here’s how I did this.

I painted my model with chainmail from Citadel Colour. You can see the little guy down here, but of course I needed to experiment somewhere else, so he was not the test subject after all. I decided to try this on a piece of plastic scenery I had lying around.

1- Paint your metal on your figure. Easy, done. Now, the next steps are done with a wash and some Tamiya weathering powder. I swear, I never learned to use that bastard, but I thought it would be useful. I scratch some powder on a palette and mix it up with some Devlan Mud wash.

2- Once the metal is dry, I apply this orange wash all over. I wait for it to dry, and apply a second wash of similar color and texture. Down here you can see both of them. The second one takes the metal to a quite bright tone. Metallic paint still coming through the wash, which is great.

3- After the second wash is dry, I do a simple wash of Devlan Mud to mess it up and darken the recesses. After that is dry, I make another wash like before, only this time making it very orange, and thick as normal paint. I apply that to raised areas and exposed metal, anywhere you want your rust to be more obvious. Below you can see both of these steps.

4- Light a cig and continue to paint the figure. Yeah! That’s it! And the results are way more than satisfactory. At least for me. The bare plastic around the painted example gives me a comparison to check how real the effect looks. I think it will do great.

Recap:
1. Paint your metal
2. Wash with mix of Devlan Mud (or any other oily, dark wash) and Tamiya weathering powder (or any other brand you like).
3. Wash again with the above mix.
4. Wash with Devlan Mud.
5. Detail with a thicker, more orange version of the first wash.

Here’s some detail pics.

I’ve already applied this technique to the test model, and it’s great. You will see the little guy painted here in a couple of days. Hope you can use this technique!!

Chronicles of Blood is a solitaire wargame developed by Crystal Star Games. It’s a fantasy mass battles game where the basic unit is the regiment, represented by several figures on a base. It’s an amazingly clever and elegant design, which you should check yourself because it is absolutely free. You can find it in DriveThruRPG to name just one.

Anyway, I’ve been playing the game quite a bit, and decided to add a few clearer rules for my games regarding some stuff. The game is vague in some aspects, and I enjoy that, but since I love dwelling in game design I thought I’d make the hacks available to anyone interested. These are not clarifications to the rules. More like tweaks I enjoy to make it a bit more solid, and maybe even limited. Always a good thing when playing a solitaire game.

I will be updating this article, mainly with new profiles as I need them, so be sure the check back whenever I post an update on a regular post.

Remember, these are not clarifications to the rules nor official words from the publisher, just fan work.

Rules

Line of sight

LOS determines what a regiment can see. LOS extends to the sides of the regiment from the front side in a 45 degree angle. If you use any kind of template for pivoting the regiments you can use the same one to determine the LOS angle.

A regiment can only charge an enemy that was in LOS at the start of its activation. A regiment can only shoot using Archery if the target is within its LOS and it is not completely obstructed. Other regiments and terrain such as woods and hills block LOS, while shallow terrain like rivers do not.

A regiment completely on top of a hill can trace its LOS over other regiments, but not over other hills or woods. A regiment inside woods or ruins can see outside and be seen in return.

Movement

Straight & sweep
A regiment can move up to its Speed in a straight line or a sweep. This is basically a diagonal move without changing the regiment’s facing. However, a regiment can only end its sweep move with its front side completely within its original position’s LOS. Any sharper sweep and the regiment would require a change of formation or risk disruption. This simply means regiments can move diagonally, but in an angle not greater than 45 degrees.

Side step
A regiment can make a side step move during its activation. It moves up to 10cm to either side (just one, not both in the same move) maintaining the same facing. The regiment cannot pivot during a side step move.

Reform
A regiment can make a reform action during its activation. The regiment can change its facing freely staying in place, and no further movement is allowed.

Charges
Any regiment ending its move in contact with an enemy regiment is by definition charging. Regiments can only charge enemies that are in its LOS at the start of their activation. Charge contact can only be made with the front side of the charging regiment’s base, against one of the target’s sides (any side, just not a corner). Neither the rear, nor sides, nor any corner of the charger can be used to contact an enemy regiment. A regiment must stop at least 1cm away from an enemy if it cannot charge it. It is perfectly normal to pivot after moving in contact with an enemy using a corner, if the regiment has enough Speed left (“closing the door” move in other wargames rules).

Cover

A regiment completely inside terrain that provides cover, like woods or ruins, gains +1 Armor while in the terrain against Archery.


LOS and Cover

Multiple combat

If a regiment’s move ends with its front side in contact with two or more enemies after charging then you’ve got yourself a multime combat. Remember only the sides of enemies’ bases can be charged (any side) and corner contact doesn’t count.

When there is more than one regiment fighting on one side simply roll both Fight dice, add modifiers separately and choose the higher number. If this is enough to beat the opponent’s roll then each regiment rolls its own Damage die and Wounds separately. If the side with multiple regiments loses the combat both are moved back 2cm and the lone regiment chooses which regiment to wound. If a tie, then every regiment in the combat takes one wound.

Lone monsters

Monsters are big and scary creatures. Monster regiments use the regular basing (and movement rules) for the armies. However, some of the biggest monsters come with their own bases. These are lone monsters not limited by the drills of military movement. They can move freely without the need to pivot, retreat, or side step. They have 360 degree LOS.

Army banner bearer hero

The army banner bearer carries the army or alliance colors and represents the rally point for the whole army.

A regiment that has an army banner bearer benefits from an increase in their Morale battle stat like a regular banner (see Heroes of the Battlefield p. 1). Additionally, it allows any friendly regiment within 15cm, including itself, to reroll a failed Morale roll once per turn.

An army banner bearer increases the points value of a regiment by 4 points. A regiment can have either a regular banner or an army banner, not both, and of course not more than one. Only one regiment per army can have an army banner.

Special rules

Huge
A regiment can be so big it can be seen from all over the battlefield. Some monsters and war machines are the most common examples.

A huge regiment can see and be seen over other regiments and scenery. It does not half its Speed while moving through terrain, but it also doesn’t gain the cover Armor bonus while on terrain that provides it.

Rock Lobber
Some machines or monsters can throw massive rocks at the enemy creating all sorts of chaos. Rock Lobber is a variation of the Archery special rule.

A regiment with this rule may shoot at an enemy regiment within the distance listed in brackets with the Rock Lobber special rule (eg, 40cm, 50cm, etc). The shooting regiment must have LOS to the target. If the target is in range and can be seen, roll the shooting regiment’s Fight die. If the result is 4+ the shot hits. Otherwise it’s a miss.

Roll a d6 for damage and deduct the target’s Armour stat for the target regiment and every regiment within 5cm of the target (both enemy and friendly). Roll different dice for each.

If the shot was over half of the Rock Lobber range away deduct a further -1 from the damage. The remaining total is the number of Wounds the regiments lose.

Pathfinders
Some troops spend most of their time hiding from the enemy, using terrain to their advantage to strike at the right moment. They know the lays of the battlefield and move fast where they are needed.

Pathfinders do not half their Speed stat while moving through rough terrain.

Profiles

These are a few profiles I did for my games based on the existing ones. The formula is pretty easy to work out and they have worked well in play too. Take into account I play Middle-earth games with these rules.

Dark

Stone Giant. Lone Monster – S 15cm – F d10 – D d8 – A 4 – M d6 – W 8 – P 14 – Special: Huge.

Cave Trolls. Monsters – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 3 – M d4 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Rock Lobber (30cm)

Goblin Spearmen. Goblin Infantry – S 15cm – F d4 – D d6 – A 1 – M d4 – W 5 – P 3 – Special: Spears

Uruk-hai Warrior.  Uruk-hai Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 3 – M d6 – W 6 – P 8

Uruk-hai Pikemen. Uruk-hai Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 2 – M d6 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Spears

Uruk-hai Scouts. Uruk-hai Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d6 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Archery (50cm), Scout

Wild Wargs. Warg Cavalry – S 25cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d4 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Scout, Charge!

Warg Riders. Warg Cavalry – S 25cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 2 – M d4 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Charge!

Light

High Elf Spearmen. Elf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 2 – M d8 – W 5 – P 8 – Special: Spears

High Elf Archers. Elf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d8 – W 5 – P 7 – Special: Archery (60cm)

Gondor Spearmen. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 2 – M d6 – W 5 – P 6 – Special: Spears

Gondor Warriors. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 2 – M d6 – W 5 – P 5

Gondor Archers. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 1 – M d6 – W 5 – P 5 – Special: Archery (50cm)

Gondor Scouts. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 0 – M d6 – W 5 – P 5 – Special: Skirmishers, Archery (50cm)

Gondor Knights. Human Cavalry – S 25cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 3 – M d6 – W 5 – P 9 – Special: Charge!

Vault Wardens. Dwarf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 4 – M d8 – W 6 – P 11 – Special: Spears

Stone Thrower. Dwarf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d8 – W5 – P 8 – Special: Archery (90cm)*

*Note: The dwarf stone thrower is more akin a ballista than a catapult, therefore it has Archery rather than Rock Lobber.

or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the Khador Heavy Warjack plastic kit.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. In fact, the subject has been built, painted, and operational for a while now with quite a few battles under its belt.

Privateer Press’ lovely heavy ‘jack kits are screaming for magnets. In Warmachine it’s not a matter of switching a bolter for a plasma gun. You can get away with that. Magnetizing these kits gives you four completely different playing pieces, and it’s well worth the effort.

So after unboxing your kit you’re left with a torso, legs, a couple of shoulder pieces, and a host of heads and arms to personalize your warjack. The first thing I did, and having had the experience of building and painting the metal starter box, was to pose the model in a way only the plastic kit would. I decided to make him stepping over a big rock, therefore I cut part of the left foot to make it bent. Placed the rock, dryfitted my legs to make sure everything was in place, and cut and glued the foot piece in place. After that I glued the legs to the base.

Now comes the easy part before the hard work.

First I drilled both firing weapons for a better look. The Decimator’s gun can be drilled completely while the Destroyer’s cannon it’s up to you how deep you go. I made it just enough to look good when painted. The original piece is way too shallow.

Then, I realized the heads and right-hands-with-huge-axes options were not going to be that heavy. It’s a light resin, so I punched some circles with some office circle-cutting thing (you probably know the name of the tool in English… I do not) from some little metal pie oven trays I keep around to make craters. Those are stuck to the hand and head variants, trimmed a bit, and glued. This is actually looking decent!

Now it’s time for some drilling and magnet gluing… always a bit of a pain. Anyway, I glued a magnet on the neck position, one on each shoulder (on the arms side of course), and the right arm needed to get two magnets, one to attach to the shoulder (so keep your polarities correct!) and the other for the right-hands-with-huge-axes pieces. You are able now to check how those heads fit and even how the axe hands work on the right arm.

After this is done I glued the shoulders, slightly turned in a way they don’t look so stiff, and glue the torso to the legs. You already have your basic model. Everything else will be detachable and usually kept in a ziploc bag for safe-keeping. You can even start painting it in case you take a while with the final step.

This next step is tedious, but obviously important. Drill and glue magnets on every one of the weapon options, checking the polarity on the correct shoulder all the time. You can see I glued the left hand to the arm, since it didn’t need to be a separate option. And yes, after this you’re actually done!!!

So here are the options, clockwise starting from the top: Juggernaut, Destroyer, Decimator, and Marauder. The kit comes with cards for all of them, specially useful the Decimator one since it isn’t in the 2010 card deck.

I’m sure I didn’t cover the process in extreme detail, like where to buy magnets or which glues to use. The thing is, my data won’t mean anything to you (unless you live in Buenos Aires) so go to your friendly hobby shop and ask about magnets, sizes, glues, and of course pick up a heavy warjack kit. Oh yeah, here’s a little something extra for your troubles.

So I decided to turn this into a small article because you’re not always a lucky bastard like I was with this model.

Had this chimera tank for quite a number of years. You have seen it primed black in many a battle report. So far it’s the only one I’ve got (I love this model and will get a few more) and decided I wanted it for my Snow Guard force (AKA IG Valhallans). But I had never painted winter camo on a tank before, so the experimentation began.

Do not ask why, just follow the course of events. Covered the tank with a very dark grey color. Then I used some toothpaste with and old toothbrush, and put all that on the edges of the model. I thought that stuff would dry in a few hours. Well, it took a few days.

Now, the thing didn’t REALLY dry, ever. I still grabbed and old brush and started messing the thing up with white paint. Very messy. Take a look.

When I tried to remove the supposedly dry toothpaste, I thought it would be like peeling out PVA glue. It was actually like removing buggers from the model. If I used a blade to clean it, it would have taken me forever and also remove the grey color (even the black primer). So it was really a bad idea. I decided to cut my losses, I took the model under the faucet, and with the old toothbrush went on with the cleaning. Removed all that crappy stuff, and let the model dry.

Now… that is not half bad right? Instead of a recently painted winter camo model I had one that looked like it’s been campaigning for a couple of years. I’m cool with that, so with a rush of blind faith I carried on. My family passed near that table and saw that model transform so much over the course of a week.

Tidied it up with some drybrushing, metal on the tracks and guns. Applied some simple transfers. Then messed it up with lots of rust (Tamiya powders) and a lot of dirt. After a few more washes and rust dripping down the metal plates, a coat of varnish and voila.

All is well that ends well.

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