Friday, 26 August 2011

My Return to Minis: part 2

So I find myself making a Mordhiem warband. Hopefully without having to spend and arm and a leg to get it.

First priority is reviewing what models I have from when I gave up years ago: a pretty fair collection, as it turns out. Enough to make an orc and goblin warband out of plastic models (backed up by some squigs), and a dwarf treasure-hunter warband out of a few chainmail dwarves, some really old warhammer dwarves, and a reaper dwarf I picked up at a convention a few years ago. Plus an ogre and a Halfling hired sword.

Problem is, I don’t actually like any of those models very much. I don’t really like most of GW’s stuff, except their plastic gnoblars and river trolls, both of which are sold in minimum quantities far larger than I could ever need, and so are off the table. I’m still going to build and paint those orcs and dwarves, but just so my non-collecting friends can have something to use on occasion.

This leads me to decide that I’ll make a warband out of minis from other companies. A quick trip to the local gaming store reminded me that Reaper Miniatures makes the official Pathfinder minis, and I’ve always loved the character illustrations in Pathfinder. So the Reaper online store is my first stop.

Wow. They sure have a big range, don’t they?

After several hours of trawling through the catalog, I worked out the models I could get for a mercenary warband, or for a dwarf warband that I actually like the look of. I spent some time trying to decide which to go for, but in the end I picked the human mercenaries. I’ll only really be playing one warband, and I’m not sure I’d like how slow dwarves are.

Actually, calling my theoretical warband “human” might be a bit of a misnomer. Reaper’s copious catalog includes a fair number of half-orcs, and I love half-orcs, so they’ll be forming the backbone of my warband. They’ll count as a Middenheimer group, for the increased strength scores on the champions and captain.

A quick run-through of the models I’m planning on buying:

Henchmen with two-handed weapons. Some of the models have bows, so I’ll probably add bows to the rest as well. It might not be the best combination of weapons, tactically... I guess I’ll just have to see how it goes.

Henchmen with swords, daggers and crossbows. At least once I give the second one a crossbow. I’m thinking of having them as Swordsmen, for the extra bonus in combat... but again, swordsmen with crossbows might be a bit of a waste.

Two youngbloods. I was originally going to have one of the youngbloods be human, but I just love how gangly and weird that half-elf model looks.

One of the champions. I’m still tossing up whether that weird-looking sword should be a sword, or a two-handed weapon, rules-wise.

The other champion. Obviously some kind of mutant, I mean, just look at those huge great... horns. She’s going to be the one and only model in the warband with any kind of armour save, thanks to that shield. Seriously, armour in Mordheim is just uneconomical.

Annoyingly, I couldn’t find any models I liked for a captain. I’ll have to look further afield.

I picked out some hired swords, too: A warlock (who is excellent, but really needs a pointy hat if you ask me), Halfling, elf, and ogre.

And two different options for a dwarf trollslayer. One the one hand, the lady looked suitably angry to be a trollslayer, but on the other, the guy is really rocking the Tolkein dwarf-wearing-a-hooded-cloak look. Either way, I’ve have to convert them to be holding two axes, even the guy. What is that, a can-opener?

And lastly, I just love this thing, so I might buy it and use it as a wardog.

Due to reaper’s (comparatively) cheap prices, all the above models should only cost me about $160, approximately. Possibly plus postage, depending on how much it would cost to order them through my local gaming store, as opposed to ordering them directly from Reaper.

Next: searching for a captain.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

My Return to Minis (Part 1)

many years ago, I was into Warhammer 40,000. While I still find the works of games workshop interesting, and their settings ripe for darkly humourous role-play, I haven't bought anything of theirs in a long time, nor played either of their two big games.

My reasons for quitting were several-fold:
  1. Games Workshop miniatures became too damned expensive.
  2. I grew to hate painting dozens of models.
  3. I sucked at strategy, which was exacerbated by the fact that 40k strategy seems to mostly be army list selection - and I could only field the small selection of models I had.
  4. the friend I would play with lost interest, and while I could probably have found people to game against, I like to have a circle of friends, some of whom I game with, not a circle of gamers, some of whom are my friends. Hmm, this sounds liek a topic for a future blog post...
Then last year, The Lone Amigo dragged me into playing battlefleet Gothic with him. It was excellent. While the official GW BFG models are even more stupidly expensive than the rest of their range, we used lego or meeples blu-tacked together for our ships. Movement and prioritizing of actions is a very important part of the strategy, not just getting the right models to counter the other army. I really enjoyed it, but it wasn't going to cause me to actually go out and buy any models. The meeples worked far too well.

Then, in the last few months I've made friends with a fellow nerd named Matt in my liberal arts classes who is really into miniatures. I went around to his house and we played a game of malafaux using stuff from his copious minis collection. I, again, enjoyed it. It's a good game, and I recommend it to anybody reading this. Skirmish games involve rather different strategy than huge 40k slug-fests, and that's strategy I can actually handle. I find myself momentarily feeling the urge to rush out and buy some minis for the game, which are quite reasonably priced. But I don't. Matt is pretty much the only guy I would play against, and he owns a copy of essentially every Malafaux model ever made, so there is no need. Besides, the models are cool, but they don't appeal as much as some other stuff I've seen out there. I vaguely consider buying other models and having them "count as" but that seems a bit pointless when I can just use the "normal" models that Matt has, particularly as steampunk minis are a little harder to find than some other genres.

Then Matt mentions that his gaming group is really into Mordhiem.

I tried to get into Mordhiem back in the day. Heck, it solved my issue about heaps of minis. But the problem was, I didn't actually LIKE any of the minis they released for Mordhiem. I got some Orc and Goblin minis to use for it, but I never actually acquired the rulebook, and so never actually played.

So suddenly I realize all the barriers to me collecting tiny metal and plastic men have been lifted. There are so many competitors to Games Workshop that sell miniatures I like more for far cheaper prices that getting together a dozen or so models won't be hard. I have glasses now, so painting won't be an issue. I have access to people to game with. And the rulebook for the game is free.

Looks like I'm back into miniatures.