Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to build a Warmachine/Hordes Game Table

This article focuses on how to build a light weight terrain table for your Warmachine, Hordes, Inifinity, Warhammer, Dust Warfare games, etc.

4 ft x 4 ft sheet of plywood
4 pieces of 3/4" x 1.5" x 8 ft wood strips
Playground Sand
White Glue
Static Grass

First you lay out the sheet of plywood and the 3/4" x 1.5" strips to create a frame around the outer edge and one centre piece.  The wood will come in 8 foot pieces, so you will need to cut them down 4 feet on one end and 3 feet 10" on the sides and center.  *This can be done with thicker wood strips.  I was going for lightweight, which means there is some flex in the board. You then screw and glue the frame onto the plywood from the top.
I added felt pads to the framing to keep it from sliding and scratching my dining room table.

Next you use an old paint brush and spread glue over the entire surface of the plywood. Mix in a bit of water to thin out the glue so it will go farther and not become too thick.  Before it dries, sprinkle a thick layer of playground sand over the glue.  I did this in quarters so that the glue doesn't dry too much by the time I got to dumping sand on it.  The sand can be purchased at Home Depot or if you have a beach nearby, fill a bucket.
*This is a different table I'm working on, but it shows how I spread out the sand over the glue.

Let the sand and glue mix dry over night while sitting flat.  If you lean the table on its side, the glue and sand will drip down the tabletop and dry that way.  Once it is dry, apply coats of paint in the colours that you desire.  I went with a dark brown base coat with a three stages of lighter brown coats to give it a look of soil.  I used dollar store paints which work well, but take a while to spread and dry a bit chalky.  They require some effective shading and dry brushing to create depth.  Once the paint has dried, then apply the static grass to a thin layer of watered down white glue or woodland scenics Scenic Glue.  I used a mesh strainer to allow for an even coating of static grass.
Then, after that has dried, get some terrain on it!
And Some Games!

Starting the Journeyman League

Josh, Nathan and I have been playing Warmachine/Hordes for a few years now and we have a few friends now who are getting into it.  To help them get into it, I've ordered the Journeyman League Kit and will be starting up a League soon!  We will be playing every other week in person and on Vassal. Points will be earned for:
Game Points, Hobby Points, and Journeyman Points.
Game Points are earned for playing against other players in the league using that week’s rules
Hobby Points are earned for painting models
Journeyman Points are the sum of Game Points and Hobby Points.

Some of the players are in other provinces, so we will be using google hangouts to show off models and play online using

So far we have the following players:

Player        Faction                      Warcaster/Warlock
Jeremy        Mercenaries               Captain Damiano
Nathan        Trollbloods                 Marak Ironhide
Mark          Cygnar                       Coleman Stryker
Ryan           Khador                      Kommander Sorscha
Josh            Cygnar                      Constance Blaize
Adrian         TBA                          TBA

Here's the schedule of games:

Official Rules can be found here

We will be augmenting the rules slightly to fit our crazy schedule.

Warmachine Showdown - Session Report

Last week, we had our first 4 player Warmachine night and it was a blast!  I setup two tables in my kitchen, so we could all be in the same room.  I put one of the tables on top of the dishwasher, which is on wheels, so it could be wheeled around if we wanted to move it.
On one table we had Josh playing Cygnar, lead by Nemo and Mark playing my Mercenary army lead by Durgen.  On the the other table we had Nathan playing Trollbloods lead by Marak Ironhide vs me playing Mercenaries lead by Montador.  Our second game Nathan fielded a beast heavy Grim Angus army vs my Mercenaries Shae Tier 4 list.

It was Mark's second game and Josh did a great job teaching him the game.  Admittedly we should not have had him play a 25 pt game; especially not a tricky Mercenary army like this:

Durgen Madhammer
2 Bashers
Thor Steinhammer
Base Unit of Shield Guard
Hernne and Jon

They did not get to finish the game, but we're pretty sure Cygnar had the advantage by the end of the night.

Our first game went fast as both Nathan (Trolls) and I (Mercs Pirates) played super aggressive.  I lead with a slow walk, but ran my Mule up forgetting that Trolls have pathfinder and can charge over linear obstacles.  So my Mule was charged by Nathan's Axer and took a pounding.  Then Nathan moved Marak up behind a wall to take a swing at the Mule as well.  I brought Montador up front and centre for an assassination attempt and wiffed.  Montador then popped his feat.  Then I attempted to move the Mule back to block up LOS to my caster and he got destroyed by the Axer on his free strike.  So, I wiffed some more shots with my seadogs and got 5 damage on Ironhide with my Mariner.

On Nathan's turn he rushed in for the kill.  His Warcaster and Axer ignored my feat and were not knocked down when they entered my control zone.  But, thankfully Ironhide missed on the Attack roll.  The Axer succeeded and put 8 damage on Montador.  Then, Nathan charged the back of his Axer with a Longrider and slammed him 1".  Sadly that was 1" too short!

So, Montador survived and managed to finish off Ironhide for game!  A lucky win.

Our Second Game was Shae's Tier 4 list vs Nathan's Beast heavy Grim Angus list.

I went first and piled my army into the right corner of the table, with the Commodore Cannon on a hill :D

Nathan decided to play more defensively and he hid all of his stuff behind a building.

He also ran a longrider up into threat range of my seadogs, who I moved into a beautiful terrain piece that Nathan had made for our game.

The clump of models I created gave his bomber lots to hit with AOE's and I lost 4 sea dogs.  Then his Impaler hit my Mule, who was slammed back, crushing poor Dirty Meg.  I then feated and charged the Seadogs in and killed an Impaler and tied up the other one.  Nathan wound up with Grim Angus pinned behind the building and his Axer was rendered helpless by fear.  Nathan unleashed some fury and took out Lord Rockbottom along with a few more Seadogs, and put some damage on both my Mule and my Mariner.  Then he had a failed shot on my caster.  This left Grim Angus in the open, so we called the game.  Another win for Pirates!

It was a great night with lots of action.  We will be starting a Journeyman League in the next few weeks to get some more of our friends learning the game, starting with lower point values.

Rhulic Warcaster - Ossrum Tier Spoiler

I'm sorry, what is this I find?  A tier list for a General Ossrum?  A Rhulic Warcaster?  This is of coures lifted from The Bell of Lost Soulds blog But seriously... He gets trenches, 20" up the field, AD on one unit, and somwhere in there he gets upkeep spells off the bat for free.  What will this guys lists be like?  My guess is small battlegroup, lots of infantry.  The question becomes, which is better the tier or the Searforge benefit?

Introductory Video to Over the Top: The Dogs of War

Audio Quality isn't very good, but here's a video introduction to the Over the Top Vassal Module.
Prepare to be entranced by my melodious and intoxicating voice...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cygnar Stormwall Card - Unveiled!

Privateer Press just unveiled the Card for the Cygnar Colossal!  Check it out:

Looks pretty beefy.

More Lessons Learned in Developing a Game

So a few playtests later, I've learned something about designing a game.  Playtesters have a tough job.  At this point, many pieces that help you play the game are not built yet, like lists of parts and cost of upgrades, making a players options pretty muddy right now.  I know the game inside and out, but the poor players who are asked to try it out do not.  So far we've been playing without a full missions deck, so the games have been very combat oriented.  It's probably because the trade mechanic is stripped down and can get boring pretty quickly since there is no opposition to your success.  I'm working on that now that I have all of the ships in the module.  Here are a few of the ones I particularly like.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Warmachine Finishing Moves - Artscow Deck

While reading an old No Quarter Magazine, I discovered rules for Finishing Moves.  I think this would be very fun to include in our Mark II games as I regularly play my Mercenary armies against Nathan's Trolls.  Each Finishing Move is activated after a warjack kills a warbeast or a warbeast kills a warjack.

So I put together some art for some cards that can be printed on Artscow.  Here's some samples:

Artscow Album:


Twilight Imperium - Leader Cards

Twilight Imperium is a game that has a TON of rules that are well laid out in the rulebook, but not accessible quickly for players.  I have found a lot of useful quick reference sheets on and have just created an artscow deck for the Leaders Variant.

The cards were created by Tony Cimino (Diogenis)

Leader Card Artscow Album

I have put together a deck that includes 7 copies of each of the Leaders cards as well as the custom Pirate Characters for Merchants and Marauders (Created by pere cobo (alonsi)) and the Terrors in the Deep Variant (Created by Scott Lewis).

Artscow 54 Card Deck



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Playtesting Session, May 19

As you may know, I'm working on a pretty cool boardgame at the moment.  I was super excited to show my brother Jer how far the vassal module is coming along.  I just love how we can playtest our ideas on vassal, and I have to say, we both found this one very fun.  There's so much tweaking required, and this will take some time, but like any good game, a story has come from it.

One of the vital mechanics in this game is to track your reputation with powerful factions in the game.  Almost everything of consequence that you do in this game will effect your reputation, and some things are harder to do than others.  However, like any game that contains a chance element, there is always that 1:1000000 chance that can pay off, and that seems to be just what happened for Jer last night.

With a Pirate fighter orbiting the planet he was on, instead of choosing the safe route, and using his small cash of credits to do some commodity exchanging, or expand a part of his ship, he hires a wingman and takes it to the Pirates.  2 Incredible encounters later, he's outside of a Pirate homeworld, has destroyed 1 fighter and a capital ship, earning himself some serious coin from the Confederation and all without a single scratch on his ship!  Had he found a loophole in the game, or get ridiculously lucky?  According to my initial calculations, I think he got seriously lucky.  He had a 50% chance of surviving the 2 encounters in his present state, with only 1 remaining health.  I have asked a math specialist to do some analysis, but I think a conservative guess would be around <10% chance of doing what he did.  This is all good testing to determine routes that can unbalance the game quickly, and with each test will come little tweaks that make this game that much better.  Here's Jer's last move,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Building Project: Reversible Warmachine Table

I have started a new game table project.  The other tables I have built have primarily been flat surface in order to accomodate modular terrain pieces like hills, rivers and buildings.  I was thinking of a way to create a reversable table and thought of building a table with a framed edge.  This would allow for me to build terrain that was raised off of the table, but still be able to flip it over as it would rest on the frame.  Here's the table so far:

Reversible Table Continued: Part 2.

Josh's Next Board Game Design

Although this has come about furiously, with dozens of pages of information and inspiration compiled in a very short time, it has come about with a singular purpose. I want to make a game I want to play, because of how it plays and what it is, not because I made it, or because I can really dig the story. If I happen to able to get into the story as well, that's a boon, but my goal was to come up with a game system that makes sense to me and is fun for me to play. And here's the first sneak peak.

When I began compiling artwork from around the web to build a test-able version of this game, I got caught up in the readily available piles of artwork already available from one of my favorite games of all time - Privateer. Subsequently the Wing Commander fans will recognize no doubt, a couple of ships already. Now since the Wing Commander rights are under the EA banner, I will of course need to find new artwork in order to bring this game to press, however I am far enough off from that goal for now, that I am just having a blast bringing one of my favorite games to life as a board game on Vassal. Perhaps a whole WC themed version will warrant a release on Vassal, but what I am really keen on is the core mechanics.

So what is it in a nutshell? What this game will do is allow you to play as a swashbuckling adventurer in space, whose actions have consequences that will open up or close opportunities. You will be able to trade goods where they are in demand and take on missions for local merchants or one of the four spheres of influence in the game. As the game goes on, what you can do will expand according to your reputation with those factions and where you can safely go will change. There are also special bonuses for your relationships that will improve your options, but will restrict your access to other planets and stations. Additionally, there is a residual threat from an invading race that can seriously disrupt the actions and trade routes of the players of the game.

Player interaction will also take place when players hire eachother to accomplish missions and to mutual benefit. In Sandbox games, you will be able to set a time limit, and whoever has achieved the most fame by the end of that time will be the winner, for better or worse.

I am thrilled to see this come together, and will share some updates on its progress as it continues to take shape. For now, I'm just having a blast playing with it!


Over the Top: The Dogs of War V0.11 up for playtesting

After several games and many hours of thinking through the combat system. The Vassal Module is ready for some playtesting.

So "What is Over the Top?" Over the Top is a face-off battle game based in the Great War in Europe that pits your strategic management of your available troops against your opponent in a gritty battle where every inch may as well be a mile. Simple to play, but with real depth, players can feint, bluff and strategically lose ground to throw your opponent off balance and win the battle.

To setup, you select your desired side in the setup menu, Axis or Allied. There are Currently 3 armies, 2 Allied armies and 1 Axis army built in. In the Game Pieces menu, there is a setup tab with a list of the components to each army. Using the menus, simply drag the cards needed to the appropriate hand, until the Allied hand and the Axis hand have their armies. Also, note that the map has green zones already controlled by the allied player and red zones controlled by the axis player. There are tokens also in the game pieces menu that can be used to indicate where you control on the map.

To play, choose as many, or as little, troops to commit to the assault. Axis always goes first at the beginning of the game. You then place your cards face down on the table. This is referred to as "going over the top". Your opponent now chooses cards based on how many cards you have laid. When they have laid their cards face down on the table, both sides reveal their cards at the same time. Each card has an indicated number of dice to be rolled, and some cards can act in a combination with eachother. Remember to roll separately for Tanks. When the dice have been rolled, tally up the totals, and whoever has the highest sum wins that wave. Now you tally casualties. Each card has a power level indicated by a blast icon with a number inside. The winning side may only destroy as many enemies as the total power they have committed to that wave. The defender only inflicts damage based on how many 6's they have rolled, up to the total of their power. Casualties are placed in one pile, face down, and survivors are put in a reserve pile face up. The winner of the wave also pushes forward into another section of the map. The loser of the wave now has the opportunity to counterattack and it is their turn to "go over the top".

*Note: Special Weapons cards may not be best played with until you're comfortable with the game. They can be played at anytime, and once they are, they are placed in the casualty pile following their effect.

To win. Winning can be accomplished 3 ways. You can have an Over run, Strategic or Survivor victory. First, if you take over your opponent's final sector, the closest to the end of the board, you have "over run" your objective. This is an instant win. If you have not succeeded in overrunning your opponent, you play until both players are out of active cards in their hand. At this time, whoever controls the majority of the map is considered the winner by strategic victory. If the map is evenly split, count up your surviving troops in your reserve pile. Whoever has the most survivors is considered the winner of the battle by survival. If you choose to play several games in a row, like a campaign, ascribe a point value to each victory as follows - Over run =3, Strategic =1, Survivor =1 To read the cards. There are a couple of terms used on the cards that need to be explained. Support: A card can be supported by only one card of any given kind. Artillery can support 2 cards, Armour (tanks) can support only 1 card at a time. Immediately: When a card says immediately, that means the effect takes place when the card is revealed. Special weapons are revealed when they are played. Time them accordingly. Example: The "Hail of Bullets" axis special weapon does not work before dice are rolled because it is not an immediate card, but it destroys whatever it hits. The sniper on the other hand immediately destroys an enemy card of your choice before dice are rolled.

The module is available for download here (DO NOT decompress the file), and the Vassal engine is available at When starting Vassal, just go to File > Open Module, and find the module file (the zip file). A wizard will start and ask you some questions in order to make sure your opponent cannot see your hand. If you want to play a hot seat game, both sides have access to the same game pieces, just use the available windows to hold the cards.

Have fun and let me know any feedback you may have on how the game is balanced or questions about rules. Russia in particular has not been playtested extensively.

Bloody Bradigan - Painting & Tactics

Bloody Bradigan is one mean dude.

 Getting some paint on him
On the Table

Bloody Bradigan is a beautiful model and was really fun to paint.  Though I find skin quite challenging to paint typically, he was a dream because of the rippling muscles.  To paint him, I used a mix of the P3 skin tones, starting with dark and gradually getting lighter.  To do his tattoos I mixed some skin tone in with blue and then used a very thin brush.

Putting Bloody Bradigan in your army is a great choice when you expect to face an infantry/solo heavy army.  He's pretty one dimensional, which is great when you want something that will excel at pummeling the opposition.  For 2 points he will provide your army with a hard hitting beat stick that can take out models in base to base.  It's a bit strange that he has the gang fighter ability as it is tricky to get him into a position where he won't use berserk to kill his own dudes off.  He is tough to take down, especially when Doc Killingsworth is around, letting him pass tough rolls 50% of the time.  PLUS, stumbling drunk means he can't get knocked down!  So, as long as he passes tough rolls, he stays up, keeping his actions, which is fantastic.

Unfortunately I can't put him in Shae's tier list.  Dang.

Drakon Board Game Review

I am a big fan of Runebound.  So, any game that is based in the Terrinoth universe (and has models that can be used in Runebound) tends to catch my attention.  This has been on my radar for a long time for a few reasons:

1. It has the models from Descent, which I owned once and then sold.
2. I had printed cards for the models to be used in Runebound - they can be found here
3. It is playable for 2 - 6 players
4. It is quick (30 min)
5. It is simple

The object of the game is for players to explore the Drakon's dungeon and be the first to find 10 gold. The Gold coins are of different values, 1, 2 & 3 and are drawn randomly.
The gameplay is simple with a turn consisting of laying a tile or moving your character one space.  What makes it interesting is that each of the tiles have varying entrance/exits and special rules that change the play every time.  As well, one the first 'dragon moves' tile is drawn, the Dragon enters the dungeon and is moved on following turns by the players to block or steal coins from the other players.
It doesn't take long to figure out that there is a lot of depth in this half hour game.  Enough to say this is better than your typical filler and when you add in the additional special rules for characters, this can be pretty tactical.

I am very happy with this little game and look forward to many plays as it is quick and fun.  There are some backstabby elements that may not work well with every group and the fantasy theme may not suit.  But, the tactical depth is surprising and the ever changing environment of the dungeon make this a real hit.

Warmachine Printed AOE and Spray Templates

I found some awesome Warmachine pdf templates in my web travels.  Here's a few links for you to check out:

Warmachine & Hordes - Dice Odds and Timer App

Durgen Madhammer - My New Favourite 'Caster

Durgen Madhammer is becoming one of my favourite Warcasters.  Admittedly the first few games I played him in, I felt he was underpowered and lacked the punch for a range heavy caster.  Wow, have I been wrong!

Madhammer likes explosions... Lots and lots of explosions!  He doesn't truly shine with his tier benefits or under a Searforge Contract.  The real explosive energy of Durgen comes out in a Highborne Covenant or Syndicate contract.  The Basher is the jack of choice for Durgen.  I find myself running two bashers regularly as they can each flak field and give durgen 2 extra focus each turn.  They are an incredible menace to infantry, particularly swarm armies as they can grand slam, follow up and then flack field.  On Durgen's feat turn, that can be devastating.  Then Durgen can Carpetbomb whoever got knocked down as he has arcing fire.  Exposions galore!  The Avalancher is a solid jack to run in his list, particularly marshaled to Thor Steinhammer.  Having a range 15 pow 14 aoe 3 with boosted blast damage rolls on Durgen's feat turn is enough to scare anyone away.
The solos I most enjoy with Durgen are Herne and Jonne for the obvious scatter shot on a feat turn.  They become lethal for infantry AND jacks alike.  Reindholt is a nice addition as he allows Durgen to fire buster twice.  Sadly he can't carpet bomb or case cracker twice as they are special attacks, but getting shot twice still sucks for your opponent.  And, my latest fav is definitely Gorman DiWulfe.  He would be good in any list, but his ability to protect Durgen with Smoke Bombs is helpful.  Then when he gets close enough, being able to hit a scary jack or even a caster with Black Oil before Durgen hits them with Carpet Bombs.  Fun times!

As I play with him more, I'm sure I'll learn more tricks and strategies to share with you.  Until then, happy gaming!

Ascending Empires - Custom Board

I have always been a fan of 4X games and when I stumbled onto Ascending Empires, I was very excited. I have grown up playing a lot of Crokinole and tying that into a simple Civilization Space game was such an awesome idea, I had to play it! Now that I've played it a number of times, I know this baby is going to be around for a while. So, I had to make a board because the puzzle piece tiles that come in the game just wouldn't cut it.

Materials: 28" x 28" MDF board
1 1/2" Drill bit *USE a Forstner Bit. The bit I used didn't work well

 I picked up a 1 1/2" auger bit to drill the holes, but it left a beveled hole.  I would recommend a forstner bit instead as it will create a flat hole so that your planets don't lean.

I used the puzzle pieces as a stencil to draw the circles onto the board and then drilled the holes.  In this picture I used a bit of glue to fill in the angled holes that the crappy bit created.

I painted the board with black spray primer, and then white automotive spray paint.  Then I used a paint brush to add some stars.

I cut a hole in a piece of cardboard to make a template for the orbits surrounding the planets.  Then I lightly sprayed white around each planet.  Then using a light spray of black  in the centre of each orbit, it created a nice shaded look.  Then I applied 4 coats of Varathane, with light sanding in between.

Finally, I touched up some orbits with some paint to create some cleaner lines.  Here's the game all laid out!