I made this silly banner image for the 2016 Unplugged GT, but I’ll be damned if I can get WordPress to display it nicely. The 2015 theme kinda sucks. So I figured I would post it here anyway, even if it doesn’t make it onto the website. I will have to investigate using a different them. I like how clean 2015 is, and how it works very nicely on mobile phones. On the desktop though it leaves a lot to be desired.
I’m in the process of finalizing the contract but it looks like we will be on for April 15-17th. I’ll start taking pre-registrations once that is final. From there we have a lot of work to do! I think a revamp of the look of the website is up first. We’ve got some cool ideas for this year so hopefully we can pull some off. In the meantime, here is a blurb written by Mike about Kings of War.
I think there are several things that work extremely well. First, not removing individual models is such a huge time saver in the game. I can’t say enough about that. And it allows for a lot of creative unit displays with scenic/dioramic unit trays. I did see a comment somewhere – some podcast – mentioning that the base should contain at least more models than the next step down. ie. A regiment should have 11+ models. It might be something to consider in regards to paint judging or something along the lines of ‘proxy’ rules.
Basically this brings the game into being ‘element’ based, which has been hugely popular in historical gaming since the beginning of time. I prefer it and it allows for larger armies to be fielded more manage-ably.
Movement is just as complex as in Warhammer, though with different management. I think Rossi said that it requires thinking two moves ahead and I agree. When I was trying for a flank charge and basically moved past the unit it highlighted that fact. The line of sight change plays into this since it is tighter than in Warhammer. The unit may be big, but the line of sight doesn’t change. A nice tactical consideration when building units, and moving them at the perimeter of the field.
The game appears to be much harder to break; limited magic items and only 1 per unit, inability to construct death-stars, fixed number of attacks for units since reformation isn’t possible and model count is fixed, most spells available to everyone, no magic items that are over the top when combined with any unit, and heroes standing on their own keep a more level playing field. Not to say there aren’t some builds that too strong, but you can’t create an unstoppable ‘smash’em’ unit.
Ranges for spells, inspiring range, and character line of sight make placing heroes in the right spot at the right time more challenging. When the army gets large, you can’t cover everything you might want to. The option of adding extra battle standard bearers that are low cost adds a lot to the choices for managing inspiring with deployments and future movement. Plus, since they are standing alone, targeting them instead of a unit adds a tactical consideration not available in Warhammer.
In Warhammer you can’t pick off the BSB (except with a cannon ball or similar which always felt wrong and broken) and could only have one. So no thinking on how to deploy them – stick them in your ‘smash-em’ unit, and give him a broken magical banner is often the default choice. Recipe decisions and less fun to face.
Monsters and some heroes can be powerful, but without the bonuses for flank and rear charges they can’t be uber-powerful. Hero-hammer can’t occur, and with counter charges, you can’t safely destroy a unit from behind,keeping them from reforming by causing a large number of wounds/turn.
With all breath weapons and offensive spells hitting on a 4+, they are complimentary tools, rather than ‘remove a unit’ options like (fill in the spell of your choice here). Even a fireball (15) isn’t going to smash a unit larger than ‘troop’ level.
Units sliding to the middle when charging cleans up battle field and often prevents additional charges from making it in. All regiments are 5 models wide, so regiment to regiment charges means is mono a mono combat.
Having charge ranges fixed for a unit eliminates bull-shit failed charges and presents the classic choice (and best choice of most high level gaming, in my opinion) of sacrifice a battle to win the war. It’s a chess level concept and highlights skill over luck.
The very straight forward design for movement, army building, and combat makes it an easy entry for new players skill-wise.
And of course, the low model pricing and options for dioramic units makes cost of entry much, much lower. Having all the armies included in the $25 rule book makes the knowledge accessible to everyone, and eliminates the need for a $500 investment in rules and army books to be able to competitively play. Combine this with low model cost and scenic unit options, the KOW entry price is over 10x lower. (Current ‘buy and army in one go’ from GW starts at $800-$1000 and it’s still not playable for 2500 pt games, and of course needs a $125 purchase of books (hardback rule book). That is no small factor in KOW favor.
Outside of the game itself, Mantic is aggressive in engaging the community for feedback and play-testing. This can’t be overstated as an asset. If you visit their forum, the play-testing discussion is robust. In contrast, GW’s top down dictates, complete lack of disclosure of what they planning or why choices were made, and failure to engage the community on any level is negligent, demeaning, and just plain rude (harsher descriptions could be leveled against them here). Their utter disregard for players who have been loyal to them for over 10, 15, or even 20 years is despicable. It’s been a sour pill players have been swallowing for a long time.
With all of that said, what do you lose from Warhammer (and why that might not be a bad thing?
Personalizing a character gives a thematic and tactile option that is at the granular level. Many players enjoy this, and even a broken character (of which there were many) can be countered by a seasoned opponent. (New players are just left to suffer however.)
You lose the tactical choice of unit formations, such that you can’t reform to be six wide when needed for example. (But conga lines, front rows of un-killable characters, etc. are gone as well.)
Army flavor is reduced since there are not army specific magic items or spells for the most part. (Herein lay many a broken combo however.)
Not able to break the game will take away from top level playing as it had currently stood. Finding that army build or combo (and using it well of course) was a big component of top level play. (Shifting to a more chess like game composition however will reward top play more as time progresses.)
Players who groove on fluff just lose out. Lack of unit fluff (which I like a lot), and an absence of army fluff and history will be a big loss to players who find their gaming really enriched by the detailed backgrounds. (This is likely to change over time as KOW matures, but that doesn’t help now.)
Making a crazy lucky dice roll to make the ‘impossible’ happen, such as far reaching charges, casting a spell on crazy low dice, etc. can create great war stories for future telling, and add a moment of jubilation in game. (They can make the opponent miserable however, but good sportsmanship shouldn’t let this detract from the game anyways.) I have to say this is one aspect I will miss. I even enjoyed it when my opponent pulled off something like this. It’s just fun to see crazy shit happen.
GW’s models are superior in every way. Their advances in plastic casting has made possible some amazing details on models that were only available in metal before, or models that couldn’t be made in metal at all — flying models supported by wisps of smoke for example. Saying that, I think their quality is overrated since there are many model manufacturers that blow them out of the water for detail and composition. But for in house models with a vast model catalog, you can’t touch them. (However, their increasing level of detail has made painting more an more onerous over time. For the gamer first, painter second, it has made for some truly poor looking armies across the table. Simpler models make decent looking armies much easier. Die hard painters and converters will only have to tap into their own creativity to sculpt, modify, pose or otherwise personalize models. Lack a nice helmet on a hero, cut if off an sculpt your own helmet god dammit! *smile*)
With some more thinking I’m sure I could come up with additional talking points, but I think that covers the biggies. For me, KOW stands heads and shoulders above Warhammer. I think it would make for a very positive shift for the Warhammer community. Even if KOW wasn’t the only choice for large scale fantasy battles, it has a lot to put it at the top. For the first time in a long time, I’m grateful to GW. They have finally given players a way out, and I think our hobby will be better for it.
TL:DR – The 2016 Unplugged GT will be in April and we will be playing Kings of War.
Okay, now the full story.
When Age of Sigmar came out instead of a true 9th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battles we really didn’t know what that would mean for the Unplugged GT. It was a massive change, much more than anyone had really expected. We wanted to spend some time playing some games of Age of Sigmar as well as other games to see where we would likely go as a club, in terms of direction. We’ve always been a pretty hobby focused club, and from that perspective Age of Sigmar didn’t really change much except for the new aesthetic of the Stormcast Eternals. As we played games over the past few months it became pretty clear that for the majority of us Age of Sigmar was not going cut it for a long term solution to a competitive, organized play scene.
After much consideration and discussion we sat down as a group to determine what this all meant for the Unplugged GT. The club, and the GT, was born out a communal love for the game of Warhammer. Without Warhammer as know it where does that leave us? Thankfully there was a common theme going around the room (for the most part), and it was that although Warhammer is what brought us together it’s playing games, painting, hanging out with good people and the overall sense of a hobby community that motivates us. Warhammer just happened to be the catalyst. That’s great for the club and all, we decided we actually like hanging out and will continue to do that regardless of what games we are playing!
But what about the GT? That’s a different animal entirely. Are we motivated to run a GT if it’s not Warhammer? That’s a much more complex discussion and difficult to recap here. A high level take away though is that we as Unplugged Gamers have a unique opportunity to do something important for the community right now. There are only so many nerds out there playing with toy soldiers, and only so many people willing to host big tournaments. Since it’s these kind of events push the community forward, both in maturity and size, it’s kind of like our duty to run a GT and help the community grow.
So, with that, we will be running the Unplugged GT this year. We talked about moving it to a local game store to save on cost, but that’s not the way we want to present the GT, so we’ll be back at the hotel. Hopefully we’ll get the numbers we need to not lose money.
As for game system, to us there was really one clear choice. Kings of War. For a lot of reasons. I could blog about that later I suppose, it’s an entire topic on its own.
Hang tight for the official date, registration details and all the jazz.
As I sit here staring at my hobby test, and the nearby closet, I realize that I have some projects I am never going to get to. I’d like to clear some of the space out to make room for ones I will finish.
All for sale at 50% of retail. Let me know if anyone is interested!
2 boxes of Mournfang new in plastic
1 ironblaster new in plastic
1 box of ogres new in plastic
1 ogre batallion, partially assembled
1 skycutter chariot, opened but not assembled, Sea Helm has been removed
1 box of flagellents
1 gorebeast chariot, assembled, only 1 crew member
20 Lothern Seaguard (island of blood), primed with a little color added
On the off chance anyone has some Mantic Abyssal Dwarfs and would like to trade that is what I’m after.
This mega battle takes place in the land of Bretonnia, along a ruined stretch of land no longer inhabited save the outpost fortress of Pays de la Roussillon. The fortress serves as a major stronghold, allowing crusading armies to use it as a base of operations, but also as a bastion against the forces of Chaos marauding from the North and East.
This battle will take place using hidden deployment. Armies may deploy up to 15” from their own table edge.
The 5 main terrain pieces on the table are Pays de la Roussillon, Briere and the Pere Lachaise, Forêt de Mercoire,Limoges,Le Môle. Controlling each at the end of the game is worth a random and hidden number of objective points assigned to each before the start of the game. The winning team will have control of the most objective points at the end of the game. Each feature has any special rules pertaining to it outlined below, including how to control it at the end of the game.
Pays de la Roussillon
This is the main gates of the fortress of Bretonnia. It has been a scene of constant fighting during the end times. Should it be allowed to fall, surely the entire region will succumb to chaos. It is considered to be lost if all of the 3 buildings comprising it are destroyed, or occupied by Chaos forces. Under any other condition, the objective points go to the Order play. Additionally, this objective is worth an addition 2 objective points on top of the random value assigned to it.
Counts as 3 buildings. Each may be garrisoned by one of:
1 War Machine
Up to 30 infantry
Up to 10 monstrous infantry
A unit of a larger size wishing to enter may voluntarily take “casualties” to get down below the required size.
The buildings may be damaged like units. They have an effective Toughness value of 8. They are immune to poison, and may not be wounded by anything less than S6. So for example, a S6 attack requires a 6 to wound but may cause damage. A S5 attack may never cause damage. Each building has 10 wounds. When a building is “killed” treat it as per the spell Cracks Call.
Briere and the Pere Lachaise
The Briere is a large swamp that extend far to the Northeast of Pays de la Roussillon. At one point it was the Pere Lachaise, an expansive graveyard full of fallen soldiers who crusaded for and against Bretonnia. Remnants of the graveyard still remain, such as a large mausoleum that the swamp has not fully engulfed yet.
All of the swamps or marshes around the Pere Lachaise are considered dangerous terrain, for ALL troop types. Additionally, troops in a swamp may never claim rank bonuses and may never be steadfast. Additionally, the undead lay restless these days with the Von Carsteins in town. Any spells that raise zombies or skeletons add an additional d6 models each time.
Any character that wishes toLe Môle enter the mausoleum may do so, at risk of their own peril. To do so they must contact the mausoleum (which is normally impassable) as if they were going to enter it like a building. Roll a d6. On a 3-6 the character is able to coax the spirits of the mausoleam to lash out against an enemy. Pick an enemy unit with 18” and resolve a scream attack against the unit using 2d6+6 against leadership. On a 1-2, resolve the attack against the character who entered the mausoleum instead.
Forêt de Mercoire
This forest lies to the East of Pays de la Roussillon. It used to serve as ripe hunting grounds for the residents of Limoges. Rumor has it that deep within the forest a mad wizard built a tower along an intersection of the winds of magic. The tower fell into disuse long after after the wizard disappeared for an unknown reason. In the years that followed, the forest slowly changed. It became more wild, the creatures and even the trees themselves, perhaps being tainted by whatever the wizard was doing.
The old wizards tower may be garrisoned as a normal building, following the building rules for Pays de la Roussillon. Any unit in the tower may cast the following spell.
Madness in the Woods (Bound, power level 5)
Select a forest within 24”. The forest may either move 2d6” in any direction, OR the forest may be directed to attack all units within it. If elected to move, any unit within the forest (even partially) is moved with the forest. Units may not be forced to move into an illegal position (over other troops for instance), but otherwise are dragged along with the forest. If the forest is directed to attack, all units in the forest suffer 2d6 S4 hits as the forest lashes out. Wood Elves casting this spell may inflict S5 hits instead. Wood Elves being attacked by the forest suffer S3 hits instead of S4.
The ruined city of Limoges lies to the Southwest of Pays de le Roussillon. The people who used to inhabit it fled long ago in the face of conflict. The city now stands in ruins, a shadow of it’s former glory. The statue at the ce nter of the town is all that remains in good standing. It is a symbol to the people of Bretonnia that it still stands despite the devastation around it. Any Bretonnia units within 6” of the statue gain the Stubborn special rule.
This area of sloping hills and gullies lies to the SouthEast of Pays de le Roussillon. From time to time bandits have used the hills as a base of operations for raiding travellers in the region, but are usually dealt with in time by Bretonnian patrol forces. Something more sinister is going on the hills these days though. A shrine to chaos has been erected. Perhaps this is what has drawn the Glottkin here?
The chaos shrine may be used to summon daemons to the battlefield. Any caster within 6” of the shrine may cast the following bound spell.
Summon Daemons (Bound spell, power level X)
Power Level 10 – Summon Lesser Daemons. Place a core unit anywhere within 36” of the shrine. The contains 2d6+3 models.
Power Level 15 – Summon Daemons. Place a unit worth up to 300 points anywhere within 36” of the shrine.
Power Level 20 – Summon Greater Daemon. Place a Greater Daemon anywhere within 36” of the shrine.
Here are some pictures from the battle.
There was just way too much going on in a battle of this size to be able to write up much about what actually happened. However, it was epic in so many different places across the table time and time again.
Control of the objectives was determined loosely, based on what the battlefield looked like at the end. The forces of chaos has not quite knocked down the main gates, which cost them a lot of points. The forces of order had managed to hold the main gate along with 3 of the other objectives for a pretty clear victory! When we flipped the coins the chaos held objective (the woods) was worth the most, 5 points! If they had crashed the main gate it would have gotten them the win.
Good times were had by all, and it was a fittingly epic way to send 8th edition out in style. Thanks to all who participated for making it a great day.
I went ahead and summed up some numbers just for fun about this mega battle. It’s the largest I have ever played in or ran by a pretty fair margin.
8 Army books
40,000 points in total
18 linear feet of deployment zone
The largest unit goes to Mike Tiskus, who brought 100 zombies.
Chaos has 42 magic levels, versus 37 for Order.
Chaos has 13 monsters. Order has only 8.
Chaos has 10 special characters, order has 9.
Chaos has 6 war machines, order has 5.
Chaos has 699 models. Order has 688.
Team Order consists of:
Mike Tiskus – Vampire Counts
Nick – Vampire Counts
Mike Rossi – Dwarfs
Todd – Lizardmen
Kevin – Bretonnia (the pivotal role in the scenario)
Team Chaos consists of:
Jon – Skaven
Kyle – Skaven
Cory – Legions of Chaos
Jim – Wood Elves
Here is the gist of what is going down, which might explain the teams a bit.
This is the End Times. In a world being devastated by war and conflict, this epic clash shall see the living and the dead line the battlefield as far as the eye can see and beyond.
The Vampire Counts of Sylvania, sensing the urgency of the rise of chaos, have come to the aid of the Bretonnians. Do the Bretonnians want such aid? That is yet to be seen. The lines of undead well outnumber the Bretonnian host. Vlad Von Carstein, having recently found and resurrected his lost bride Isabella, has come with his mighty army to defend the beleaguered King Louen Leoncouner. Meanwhile, another force of vampires has arrived to help the Fay Enchantress defend her enchanted realm. Who leads this force? None other than Count Mannfred Von Carstein, rival of Vlad..
Elsewhere, Dwarfs have arrived in numbers not seen in many years. Led by the fabled Joseph Bugman they have poured out of the mountains to defend the land against the coming threat. Backed up by master engineer Grim Burlocksson and his battery of war machines they are ready to spill blood in the name of Karak-a-Karak.
Sensing the urgency of the coming conflict, the astromancer Tetto’ekko has transported a war host of lizardmen to the shores of Bretonnia. The Great Plan must not be allowed to fail.
Yet assembled against this mighty defense of humanity (and undeath) is a host of the forces of chaos unlike any in memory or song. From the north marches a mighty force of chaos led by monstrosities both ancient and horrible. Kholek Suneater has awakened to the call of the Glottkin, as have Festus the Leechlord and Throgg the Trollking. From the woods emerges Ghorros Warhoof, Sire of a Thousand Young, at the head of a band of centigors.
Unbeknownst to the chaos forces, just as the undead have risen to the defense of Bretonnia, the Skaven have arrived to take advantage of the situation. Thousands upon thousands of ratmen emerge from underground tunnels spreading the width of the land. Led by the Grey Seer Thanquol and his trusty steed Boneripper the Skaven have come to plunder. A few more well known Skaven have followed Thanqual on his quest for warpstone, namely Skweel Knawtooth and perhaps even others…..
From out of the woods comes Drycha and Araloth along with the tree spirits and elves of Athel Loren. Yet, they are not forming up with the Bretonnian battle line. What is Drycha up to this time?
More details about the scenario, teams and what not to follow. This is what the table looks like. Each of the 5 main objects holds some significance for the battle. Now can we actually fit 40,000 points of models on this table? We’ll find out in the morning!
You’ll notice a few key features.
This ruined wizards tower on in the woods could hold a dark secret.
This mausoleum in the swamps is sure to be important.
This is the very front gates of the Bretonnian fortress of Pays de la Roussillon. I don’t have anything to represent a road, but that empty space in front of it is effectively the road.
Some sinister shrine of chaos is buried in the north western hills. Is this why the forces of chaos have arrived?
This once proud Bretonnian city now lies in ruins.
I took the pictures on Wednesday. Does that still count?
Anyway, we are having a “Goodbye to 8th” mega battle this weekend. It’s just around 40,000 points in total with 9 players. It’ll be the largest game I’ve ever attempted to run both with number of players and point. I’ll be posting more details about it, along with pictures of the setup and scenario, this weekend.
For now I wanted to show off some new models I am assembling for use in the game. These are both Mierce models that I got during their kickstarter earlier this year. They’ve been sitting around since they arrived and I just needed and excuse to put them together. They are both lovely, and going together really well. I also threw together some custom bases. Will talk more about those later too, I used a new product on them.