29 March 2014


A couple of years back Khurasan released the Gutter Gophers. I loved them and immediately bought a batch. As we all know, such impulse buys end up on the lead (and plastic and resin) mountain.

I finally painted them up last year and decided they would be the "Terrorformed"; creatures made accidentally as a by-product of terraforming.

Now, I knew that the poor chaps would struggle to open up vehicles or take on the likes of my buddy's alien queen. It was around the time of Salute and I knew that GCT Studios would be attending. I had already been eyeing up The Nian from their Bushido range as a candidate for a big daddy Terrorformed.

He just needed conversion:

Each of the back legs was put on the "wrong" side to give that back-to-front look of the Khurasan figures. I also added a Milliput tail and then cleaned my thumbnail.

The Nian's single eye was covered over. I added a couple of new eyes (although his single eye would be more appropriate given the phallic overtones). I then crimped the chain around his neck and added some Milliput foreskin (for want of a better word) to his penile head. 

Here his is, ready to paint.
And, finally a couple of shots of the big old fella with some of his pack. I think they work well together. My modelling skills are nothing special but the similarities in the figures made this a simple job.

23 March 2014

Oldhammer World Zone Mortalis

Yesterday, 6 of us went to Warhammer World in Nottingham. We had booked the Zone Mortalis table to play a game of 2nd edition Warhammer 40,000 using kill team rules with 400 points forces.

18 objectives were scattered around table and, upon finding one of these, the controlling player would roll d3 to establish its points value and roll on an event table which contained wandering monsters, random events such as teleportation and  items that the carrying figure could use.

The Space Hulk (kitted out with Ross's fantastic scatter terrain). 

Adam's Imperial Guard abhumans (Squats and Beastmen).  

My Genestealer cult had a lucky deployment where they could quickly get to objectives, unmolested. 

Ross's old school Imperial Guard. 

James's Inquisitorial band attacked the abhumans but later allied with them (not sure which band contained the most mutants to be honest!). 

Dave surprised us all as we were expecting his Nurgle warband. Ross was the first to discover that he'd brought a gaggle of Eldar instead. 

Simon's Necrons. We rib him constantly that they're not a "real" force. 

It comes to something when your purestrains are rooting round in bins for cigarette butts and discarded burgers.

This is where James and Adam joined forces and turned on me.  My Magus got got lucky and killed most of those beastmen. James's fickle Inquisitor then killed the rest!  

In the end, my Genestealer cult won with 11 objective points. I took a lot of casualties once I'd spread my band thin and advanced. Ross came second with 8 points but took delight in the fact that Colonel Bogey kicked a purestrain and my Patriarch to death in close combat (bloody conversion fields!). 

An awesome game. 

22 March 2014

Are you scared...when I look at you and lick my lips?

I can feel the power in my fingertips,
Are you scared,
When I look at you and lick my lips?
     - Stealer's Kiss, D-Rok

As I write this, I'm crammed into the back of a car on the way to Warhammer World. We have the Zone Mortalis table booked for a 6-way, 2nd ed 400 point game.
I've been frantically painting my genestealer cult ready for today. Hopefully will get a few pics up of the game tomorrow.

09 March 2014

Fireteam Andromeda Review

My guess is that anybody reading this piece is in the same position I have been in: Looking for a "suitable" ruleset with which to game all the 15mm goodness we are being spoiled with. Is this one worth buying and cajoling my friends into playing? That last part is probably more important that the few quid you will dish out!

For that reason I'm going avoid a wordy review and just try to list the key aspects of the game. In my experience, even the best reviews (which this is most certainly not!) still leave the ruleset hunter with questions. Feel free to ask anything and I will try to help. It should also be mentioned here that the writer is quite approachable and responsive if you contact him through his website.

Before I start, let me just say this: Fireteam Andromeda (FA) shares much in common with Warhammer 40k. But even if you have never liked Warhammer, please keep reading as FA is so much more than 40k in disguise.

So then, an overview:

Command and Control
FA has a C&C system with an enjoyable depth. You are always juggling choices in how to spend your "command points". The main use for these points is to activate your units. You can use them efficiently if you share activations with clever unit placement and and reduce your opponents points by damaging and suppressing their forces. The C&C is key to the game and you will be looking to your leaders to act as leaders rather than some sort of uber-heroes.

Turn sequence
Neither ugo-igo nor pure alternating activation. How many units you activate before play passes to your opponent is based on the traits of your leaders. Who goes first is determined by your leader and the type of platoons (rapid response, armoured etc.) you have in play and can be affected by command points. These points also let you react to certain actions in your opponent's turn. Decisions, decisions.

Play passes back and forth during a turn until both sides are out of command points.

If any units engaged in close combat (or were already in combat) this is handled in its own phase. Finally, at the end of the turn, reserves may arrive. They are placed on the table according to whatever rules they are using then activate as normal in the next turn.

Game engine
To shoot your opponents, each figure rolls a number dice based on the rate of fire of their weapon (just like 40k and other games). Remaining sationary allows you to shoot twice with some weapons. This is modified by cover, range etc. (how it should be!). To keep it simple, there are only three levels of skill (poor, average, good) that determine what you need to roll. You can make a unit concentrate fire for a bonus but, yes, it costs a command point that you probably really wanted for something else later in the turn.

Each hit requires a "saving throw" determined by the power of the weapon against the durability/armour of the target. Loss of morale affects command and control since units that are shaken do not generate you command points. You can still activate them but it also costs more points to do so and they are not as effective (a triple wammy!).

Movement is fixed by the infantry or vehicle type in question but can be customised in the army builder...

The Army Builder
FA allows you to design any of the sci fi (or modern) tropes you may want to represent. It does this with a robust points system that appears difficult to abuse. It is simple to use but allows a bewildering array of design options.

It works by offering four platoon types (generic, massed infantry, rapid response and  armoured). Each gives you a limited (but generous) number of unit types. The unit types are then detailed in terms of number of figures, weapons availability, and customisation. Here you will find all manner of quirks to make mobs of militia, elite power armour, jet bikes, medics, droids...the list goes on. Trust me on this, you will be spoilt for choice (and can revel in the golden age of 15mm sci fi figures) but will find it difficult to min-max. You get what you pay for but, on the other hand, you pay for what you get.

The platoon types themselves also have options. For example, even if Rapid Response platoons limit you to only 3 power armour squads, you could take the Power Armoured platoon trait to change the squad availability in favour of clanking PA brutes. Or make the whole platoon paratroopers (or burrowers if that's how you imagine it).

Ranged weapons are split into small arms, support, light and heavy. Within each, there is a further split into the likes of automatic fire, armour piercing etc. Each weapon provides some benefit at the cost of other traits. For example, an LMG may have a rate of fire of 4 but will have a low Power stat. Another weapon has a higher Power but a lower RoF. The final weapon in that class may be lower power and RoF but with a greater range. This forces you to chose weapons based on your play style and how you picture your force. You can tweak these weapon stats with unit upgrades but you have to pay for them.

A generic rifle has a range of 24" (12 to 24 is considered long range and gets a -1 shooting penalty). These are the sort of ranges used in 28mm scale games and in my opinion, they "look" much better in 15mm.

If you like the competitive element of 40k, you will find it here albeit with no no sales driven arms race based on the latest codex or figures. The rules are "tight" enough that you know what to expect from the force you have chosen but the C&C system (along with reactive commands) circumvents what is commonly known as "math-hammer" where you are simply calculating the odds of success for any actions.

As with any points based system, if you don't like competitive games, you can easily dispense with the points and use the engine to play something scenario driven. The army builders and their variety of upgrades will let you design all sorts of weird and wonderful forces with little or no tweaking.

A handful of scenarios are offered. These are very generic engagements and nothing you won't have seen before. We haven't used them yet as we have made up our own plots but they seem well presented for pick-up-and-play sessions.

These include walkers, ground vehicles, hovererererererers and flyers (which either fly around like gunships OR are used for gun runs). We found the rules for targeting vehicles too black and white (you do nothing to them, or you disable them for a bit or you destroy them). We use our own house rules here instead.

Just as with infantry, your options for designing vehicles are vast. My only complaint is that when you buy a transport vehicle for infantry, it is purchased solely for that squad. You cannot deploy multiple units in a single vehicle. A variable "Transport Capacity" stat would have been nice (and wouldn't be too difficult to make).

Special Rules
This is stuff like airbourne reserves (a la 40k deep strike), outflanking reserves, electronic warfare, hidden deployment etc. It's all been done before but that's a good thing as it lets you simulate various sci fi tropes.

This game has a lot in common with Warhammer 40,000 though without a lot of the nonsense that bogs that game down. The game engine is simple to use and not overly burdened with special rules. The C&C system offers players a lot of tactical depth during play. FA really allows you to flex your creative muscles and delve into your miniature collection as the army builders allow so much customisation.

I've probably missed a million things but was so please with how our game ran yesterday that I wanted to trumpet this under-publicised game as soon as I could. Please feel free to ask questions as I know the quest or the "perfect" rule system is a pernickety business.

08 March 2014

Fireteam Andromeda in Redemption City

I played my first game of Fireteam Andromeda today. Although I had previously GMed a game between Ross and James once before, this was the first time I actually played and only the second game of FA for our group.

Here is a "battle report lite" with a few snaps showing my Guardians of the Revolution and James's Blitzkreig AG forces. I hope to follow with review of the rules as very little has been published about this game. We've made a few house rules to suit our tastes but, on the whole, we are quite impressed with this system.

The mission:

We identified three mutual objectives on the table and secretly determined their worth to our force in terms of victory point value (zero, one and three points). Our "basic" units must be holding these at game end to score their points. In this photo the objectives are the truck on the far right, the small hologram on the roof of the centre building (the one behind the statue) and car in the courtyard behind the 4-storey building.

James's walker (this thing was armed to the teeth!) takes a pop at my Che Guevara MBT. This area, near the truck objective saw a lot of fighting. It was obvious that we had both assign the truck as one of our scoring objectives.

More fighting near the truck as my power armour arrives from reserve:

On the other flank, I had already advanced to the parked car (my primary objective) so James sent in his jump pack reinforcements. In the distance, out of shot, James also brings on a flanking vehicle which wipes out all but one man of my scoring unit:

I too have a trick up my sleeve and land a drop pod near to the objective bringing it back under my control:

Seeing that my forces are close to taking the truck aswell, James leaps his jump troops across the city...

...where they wipe out my scoring unit (who were already in the truck):

James only has one scoring man left nearby and he quickly occupies the truck, ready to get away with the rare ore it carries. I can't allow this to happen so I send up in my Knights of Cydonia to finish him off. The truck has been denied to both of us!

On the right, Blitzkreig AG desperately try to get an APC to the truck but they don't make it in time. As the game ends, I am holding the car which you still can't see (top leftish). James has one man stood by the hologram in the centre (which isn't worth much to him). Although he has power armour troops in the truck, they are too bulky to get in the cab and drive it (non scoring unit!). Victory to the Guardians of the Revolution!

All in all, a cracking game that this report doesn't do justice to (the lack of appropriate photos and correct continuity doesn't help). As I say above, I'll try to get a review of the rules and an overview of our house rules published for anyone that's interested (we really haven't changed much as the game tick almost all our boxes).

Here's few more photos and that's me done for my first ever blog post. Sorry it's not a bit more coherent but, you know how it is...you're engrossed in a game; not directing a photo shoot ;-)

(Ah, there's the car objective!)