Sunday, 18 November 2012

Fields of Fire

Hello Readers

Well I have finished (sort of) the rule book for Fields of Fire.  "What is Fields of Fire?" you may ask.  Well thanks to someone already getting to the name "Warzone" I have had to change it to Fields of Fire, but honestly, I think that may be a blessing.  It seems to be a better name so far and I am certainly warming to it. So in this blog post I will give a detailed as I think I can get away with description of the rules for those interested in playing.  If you want the full rule book, please contact me and I should be able to give you a copy.

Starting the Campaign
You start your game of Fields of Fire looking at a big map.  This map is divided into hundreds of squares each representing an area 100km x 100km.  Each of these squares potentially gains the controller resources.  These resources are Population, Food, Fuel, Industry.  Food gives you the food you need to feed your armies, Fuel is needed to run your vehicles and Industry provides you with a monetary income to fund your armies.  Population is not a resource as such, but this stat dictates the population cap of your armies.  On each square you own you can build it up to focus on a particular resource, thus suiting your empire to your needs.

Once you have chosen a square to start on you immediately gain a set amount of funds and resources to start your empire off.  This is the equivalent to eight weeks income for that square and so is called the "8 free weeks".  As you begin training soldiers and buying equipment for them you realise that you must expand to protect even the most basic territory.  As soon as the game starts, after the 8 free weeks, you can start conquering your territory by moving soldiers onto a square and holding it for a week.

Fighting Battles
As you and the other players expand, increasingly you will be trying to gain the better areas for your empire. The game mechanics of Fields of Fire do not say that you have to go to war, but as the study of human history has shown, governments go to war all the time.  As a battle begins the movement of your troops becomes more specific.  You and your opponent set up their regiments on whatever side of a 1m x 1m board they cam in from.  This can even be on the same side at times, if the were divided by a river or a mountain range.  This board is equal in size to one of the squares on your campaign map, so you don't even have to think much about how to set up the terrain on your board, it is already there for you.

Fields of Fire, like every other wargame I have come across, has turns and each turn is divided up into phases or sections.  Each turn is represented by a day, so you continue to gain resources elsewhere in your country.  This allows you to bring fresh troops into the battle field and continue to fund the battle that in most other wargames is WYSIWYG.  The first phase is the Moving Phase.  One thing that FoF does differently to most other games is that both players move, shoot and fight at the same time, though one player 'has Initiative" and has a bit more say in how the game runs for that turn.    Also, each unit moves in a certain order, depending on how fast it is.  So for example, a Helicopter moves before a Light Tank, but a Light Tank moves before Infantry.  As in real life, vehicles can outrun any infantry soldier, so you need to keep a pretty solid battle line to keep your opponent from overrunning your supply depots and outflank your positions.  Because of the scale of Fields of Fire, you will not have a well balanced force, no matter how hard you try.   Even without the aid of special rules or pre-selected traits, you will find that each countries military takes on a theme of its own.  For example, in the current campaign I have started with one of my friends I have chosen to build fairly well rounded infantry regiments with good supply lines, while my opponent (I think), is going for an elite army, designed to smash aside foes and re-supply later.  (If you are reading this, make a mental note about this part and I will get to something on this topic later).

After moving is the Shooting Phase.  Just like when moving, the faster units go first, but you and your opponent basically go at the same time.  The thing with FoF is the scale of it.  Because at 1:100,000 scale, the range of, say, rifles, have no real measurement (it would be about 1mm).  So the shooting phase is where you fire your long range artillery and conduct aerial raids.  Even these are usually pretty small measurements though, as at 1:100,000 even a large artillery piece has a range of 20cm.  As far as the actual battle is concerned, the shooting step is not a terrible big part of the game, but it is very important.

Thirdly is the Combat Phase.  This is where most of the death, doom and destruction comes in.  During the movement phase, many of your regiments would have come into contact with the opponent and a battle will commence.  Depending on how you have equipped and organised your soldiers, depends on their "Ratings". Each weapon has an attack and defence rating at Long, Medium, Short and Close ranges.  In a nutshell, Close range is grenades and bayonets, Short range is rifles and small arms, Medium range is best for Light mortars and heavy Machine Guns and Long Range is the area of heavy artillery and big guns.  You and your opponent both roll dice and compare the attack or defence of your soldiers, the highest score wins that round and the loser suffers a "Casualty Point".  You basically slog away at each other until someone gives up, which usually doesn't take long.  Both sides then calculate casualties and the loser retreats.  Then players go onto the next combat.

Team Sized Battles
If players so choose they can even scale the game down further.  For every combat that you fight in the regiment sized battle, you can scale it down to several team sized battles at 1:1000 scale.  This does not really effect the ultimate outcome of the game, it just adds a level of tactical flexibility.  It does take a fair bit longer, but it does add a level to the game that a player can just get involved in for the day, rather than having to go through all the pre-battle building.

Team battles work in much the same way as regiment battles, just without all the worries of upkeep, food, resupply and other regiments.  You still have the Moving Phase, Shooting Phase and Combat Phase, but now the shooting phase is much more important and the combat phase a lot less so, depending on the tactical circumstances.

The Human Element
Fields of Fire adds one very important thing into the mix that I think most wargames fail to get, that is what I call the Human Element, the direct effect of decisions that actual people make.  There are many times in Fields of Fire, especially as your empire expands, that you have to make decisions that are just really hard and could spell doom for your entire empire.  If you are playing team battles, for example, I would suggest that you have another person under your command, directing the outcome of the battle that he is in.  Now say that this friend of yours is feeling a little under gunned and wants air support.  Rather than rolling a dice to determine if he gets it, he has to actually ask someone, in this case, you,  if he can have it.  You may give him whatever he wants, or you may say no because it is too far, too costly, not worth the risk or you just don't have the air power in the area.  The more levels of command you have, the more this matters too.  Say you have been playing in your campaign for a few months and you have a sizable empire.  Your armed forces are just too big to control by yourself, so you ask one friend to take care of the Navy and another to take care of the Air Force.  The Naval Commander has three people under him controlling various sectors of your empire (say, north coast, west coast, south coast), and each of them has another two people under them controlling some of the regiments.  When the regiments do battle, these people then get support from one of the ten Naval Captains under their command to control the team sized battle.

While the team battle is good for people who don't want to spend all that time building armies and just get out and have a game, it does add some of the truths of command to those above them.  If the person commanding the team battle is not doing a good enough job, then you may wish to remove them from command.  If they are doing well, you may want to promote them to command a division or even a corps.  Just as in real life, it is up to the people involved as to how far they can go or want to go.  This also means that players that want to advance still have to try to do a good job and not just flit away good soldiers, and so they really do care about what happens in the wider campaign, although they don't have to control any of it.

Now that bit above that I said you should remember, I am going to bring it up now.  I mentioned that I wasn't sure what my opponents army was made up of.  That is because you don't have to tell your opponent exactly what you have in your army.  Because you can make you regiments and companies whatever size you want, while we may have the same number of soldiers, he might have fifteen companies to my twenty.  Now if they are all equipped the same (which I highly doubt they are but bare with me) then that means that his companies are smaller and more manoeuvrable, while mine are better in a straight forward slogging match. There is the possibility though that his companies are the same size as mine and he has more of them, but I don't know that, so I have to make a tough choice on whether or not I think I can defeat him.

So that is about all I have for you today.  Thank you very much for reading and I hope that I will see you across the Fields of Fire board at some stage.

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

Hello Readers

I feel I really must appologise to my readers as I have been a bit lax in writing new posts.  The reason for this is that I have been very bust writing Warzone.  There are those out there who will be very happy to know that it is now up to a stage that a campaign can start.  So today I will explain a little bit more about Warzone and my plans regards the future.

The first thing in Warzone is to pick a section to start the campaign in.  My opponent and I chose a small section from a randomly generated map and we will be choosing which area to start in shortly.  The map is divided up into squares that represent 100km x 100km of ground.  Each square gives the person who controls it resorces and income, which allows them to build an army up to do battle against other players to take over more land.

Above is the area in which we chose to start.  This is roughly 2000km x 2000km area, so we will have a fair bit to go before any major problems arrise.  I am looking forward to starting the campaign as soon as possible as I think I at least will thougroughly enjoy playing, and I am sure my opponent will too.

The Future
The future of Warzone looks bright, though a little distant.  I do have a firm plan in place though which I think will work well.  Because Warzone is a 1: 100,000 scale game, there are no real miniatures required.  Any that are used are purely representative.  That is generally how most gaming companies make their money.  The other way is through the sale of ruilebooks and other such pieces of information.  They update an armies stats and so everyone has to buy another book, which can be very frustrating for players, especcially if they are not too keen on playing the game anyway.  Warzone is a vast game, where there is a hugge selection and variety of weapons, training methods and terrain types, and so any updates I do would be brought out very often.  This would be quite costly on people wanting to play Warzone.  But I have found a way to get around this problem.

Rather than buying the Warzone rule book or a new army book whenever a new one comes out, players will be 'subscribed' to Warzone updates, sort of like a magazine.  These updates will include new weapons and training scheduals, news about what is going on in the universe and upcoming projects.  It will only be a very small yearly fee, so anyone wanting to play even casually will be able to at minimum cost.  As stated before, there are no miniatures as such in Warzone, unless players really want to buy them (I suppose it does look better).  While I intend to eventually release my own range of miniatures for the game, along with other gaming aids, there are plenty of places in the meantime that sell iniatures of all different scales.  Because there is no set look for any of the units, vehicles or equipment (not yet anyway) you can buy whatever you want and paint and convert to your hearts content.

One of the cool things about Warzone is that you can have your own equipment made.  If you like a particular type of tank but wish it had a little more armour than you go to the head of the company who makes it (at the moment, that is me) and request that they make you some special ones or do research into a new product.  They may or may not be able to make it for you and it may or may not be worth the effort after you finally do get your special item, but the point is that even though you are given a certain range of weapons to choose from in the beggining, nothing stays the same in Warzone, just like in real life.

I have to date made the product lists of four weapons companies. I of course intend to make many more than that, but anyone who subscribes to Warzone will be updated as soon as the new products come out and will be able to use them straigt away.

Okay folks, that is it for me today.  Hope I have tickled your interest a little bit.  If you want any more information about Warzone then please let me know, especcially if you are one of my local gamers.  Hopefully next time I will be able to tell you how the start of the campaign goes and entise some of you even more.

Until next time

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Warzone Unleashed

Hello Readers

Today I bring you the slightly belated news that I have officially launched Warzone into the wider world.  I have started getting the hardware together and can start playing games as soon as someone feels like joining in.

On Sunday I gathered everyone together at the local games club to officially launch Warzone.  Everyone politely sat through my unrehearsed speech and it seemed to catch a few peoples attention. While we are yet to start playing, there are a few people who seem like they are interested.  With all the rules written up and the bases for the game having arrived, the few miniatures put on order, I can only wait in trepidation to begin the massive game of Warzone.

Well thank you for reading the very short post.  I will have a larger one shortly for the beginning of Warzone (hopefully) and some of my painting projects that are ongoing.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Part One of Table: Part One

Hey guys, nice to see you again.

My apologies for not posting anything for a while but my Internet connection has been down for a while (mostly my fault).  So to make it up to you I will be posting a lot of articles in the coming weeks.  Today, I will be showing you the first part of my table making project for Flames of War.

I started by making a rough drawing of what I wanted to put on the board.  This will be a northern Europe field, to represent terrain you might find on the World War 2 battlefields of northern France, Belgium, Denmark or Netherlands.  I decided that many of the feature on this board will be permanent but there will still be  alot of open space to place other objects.  All in all though, the board will be largely fixed.  I went don to the hardware store and bought a 1m x 2m board.  This will make up the first third in what will eventually be a 3m x 2m board.

I waited for the wind to die down to spray the board brown.  This will stop the board from flaking (I hope) and, if some of the terrain should come off, will make it look like there is still dirt under the grass.  Just for the record, I used Australian Export's "Mission Brown" spray because it happens to exactly match Citadel's "Scorched Brown", the colour that my British soldiers are based with.

I then got some scale trucks and marked out some roads.  Using three trucks side by side, I placed dashes around where the roads would be and one truck for country tracks.   After getting a satisfying road, I covered the area with PVA glue and sand.

After letting the glue dry I removed the excess sand.  Now, to line my roads with hedges.  I have had problems with the height of hedges before, as it was often not clear whether the unit behind it was concealed or not.  I got one of my Sherman tanks and carefully measured the height of what a hedge should be to cover some tanks but not others.  I was thinking in particular of StuGs and the Panzerjager.  They have no turret so their profile is lower.  This allows them to remain undetected in more terrain.  I waned my hedges to be taller than these tanks, but shorter than a 'normal' tank, like a Sherman.  So I cut the hedges at the height of the bottom of the turret, allowing the Shermans to see over, but still be concealed, while the StuGs and such can still hide if they want to.  Also, Infantry would be a bit harder to see.  For hedges I am using green scouring pads.  While they don't look very good in the packet there are a few tricks to make them look very much like a hedge, but still be cheaper than using clump foliage or buying pre-made hedges.

I carefully glued the hedges down along the sides of the roads and across the field a bit.  I tip with this, make sure you leave a little bit of a gap between the hedges and the roads for overgrowth.  I had considered painting the roads but I am actually pretty pleased with the colour, but if I was to, it would have to be done about now.

If you have ever looked at scouring pads closely before you will notice that they are teal and mostly see through, neither feature inherent in hedges in the early 1940's.  To fix this problem I gave them a rough coat of Citadel's "Camo Green".  You really don't need to be careful with this bit, as you don't need much to change the colour and even big splodges of it still looks good.  In fact, the patchier the painting, the better in my opinion, so long as you cover most of the scouring pad.  This also blocks a surprising amount of light.  Again, you don't need much paint to block out alot of light, making the 'hedge' look more solid.

After painting the hedges I put Hornby's "Spring Green-Coarse" flock around the edges, to give it an older look.  In parts I even put it growing up the sides of the hedges.  I then put the same coloured flock in a finer grade as grass to fill in some of the paddocks (I ran out before I could finish).  When applying this sort of flock, make sure you really push it into the corners and down into the glue.  Because it is so light it often doesn't break the surface tension of the glue and so appears raised if you don't pack it in a bit.

Well, unfortunately, that is it for now.  This section of the board if partly done and I shall update you as soon as I get some more flock.

On Saturday the guys of my local gaming group (Kingaroy Wargamers) are having a Warhammer tournament.  Some players from Toowoomba are coming down, so it should make for a great day.  I will bring you all a detailed report of how the tournament went and maybe even an interview with some of the players.  Looking forward to it.

Okay, catch you guys later

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Making Companies

Hello Readers

I am afraid that I will not be following through with what I said last time about today's topic.  I had said that I was going to do a post about making scenarios for Warhammer 40k, but since the new rulebook is only a few days old now, I thought I should probably wait until I have had a good look at it before doing that post.  Instead I am going to write about my progress with Warzone, partly to generate a bit of interest in it, but also to let you know how it is going.

As I said in a previous post, Warzone is a massive project.  I am sure it will take me AT LEAST until the end of the year, and that is assuming I don't find something shiny along the way and get distracted.  Yesterday I celebrated the completion of the second weapons company for Warzone; Peterson & Clarke Small Arms Co.  In Warzone, rather than choosing weapons as options or upgrades to your units, you have to go to the supplier and choose which weapon you want.  Most of the time this is more or less straight forward; you might take five hundred of those, six hundred of those and twelve tanks.  Now the thing with Warzone that I am at least trying to do is to, as best I can, recreate the realism and challenge in this.  Unless you are playing a really small game or resupplying only a few troops you would be much more likely to order weapons by the hundreds of thousands, ammunition by the millions, tanks by the hundreds and battleships by the dozens.  Warzone is not just a game of one off battles, it is a game where, during the course of a single day, you will play the equivalent of dozens if not hundreds of battles, each involving thousands of men.

For example, if you were to see the Battle for Normandy played out along a Warzone table, you would be figting on a roughly 2m by 1m board with dozens of regiments and it would take roughly 300 turns, about 6 hours.  Now don't think that Warzone takes a long time, remember that the invasion of Normandy is the biggest military operation ever undertaken, so I would expect a day of gaming to last about three hours.  Yes it is a tad on the long side, but that just means you have fun for longer.

Now when it comes to making the weapons companies for Warzone and the rules and stats for the weapons I am certainly putting in the hard yards.  While Warzone is set in the future, you basically play as a poverty stricken civilisation, so the weapons are little better than what we have today in most regards.  Each weapon comes with all the fluff statistics for it (things like muzzle velocity and rate of fire).  Then, using those stats, I have made sets of rules to reflect the effectiveness of those weapons.  Thirdly, each weapon has a cost, upkeep per day and things like that.  In the final printed version, I intend to keep these parts slightly separate so you can easily jump to the bit you need without having to go though all the jargon every time.

As far as the stats for each weapon goes, each weapon has an attack and defence stat, a number to represent how effective it is.  Now this is actually fairly hard to do, because everything from Pistols to Orbital Bombardment has to be taken into account.  Each stat though is effected by everything you could think of, like weight, rate of fire and effective range.  So for example, if a .30cal weapon had a rate of fire of 60rpm it would perform better than one that is exactly the same in all else but fires at 55rpm.  At first glance, this may make many of the weapons look very close together as far as stats, but if you take everything into account, like the range at which you are fighting and the special rules that accompany each weapon, I think that the rules are quite balanced overall.  Of course it is still early days yet, but we will see how it all pans out in the end.

Okay, well that is about all I have to say for today, thanks for reading and I shall see you next time.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Of the Living Dead and Full Scale War

Hello Readers

Today's post is going to be about two of my currents projects as a game designer.  While I love playing tabletop games I often find myself wondering "What would this be like" or "Wouldn't it be cool if..."  I have a lot of projects on the go, most of which will probably never see the light of day, but there are two projects which I think may have a bright future; "Zombies" and "Warzone".


Some of the local club members already have some fond memories of playing Zombies.  It is the first game I have made that people have actually played, which fills me with great joy, though I would like to get some more games in.  Zombies is designed to be an easy to learn, easy to play role playing game where the player, with as many allies as he wants, fights off wave after wave of zombies as they do their zombie thing.  The rules, in a nutshell, are that the players run around the board shooting zombies, picking up weapons and avoid being eaten alive.  At first this is fairly easy, but as you go through the game it gets harder and harder until, ultimately, everyone dies.  Yes, that is right, everyone will die.  It gets to a point that the zombies become so powerful that there is no hope for salvation and the last player snuffs it.  The point of this game then is not to survive, but to get a higher score than players before you.  I can see this game being good for groups of gamers, whether they be clubs, families or friends.  And it doesn't really matter how many players join in because while some things get easier with more people, some things get harder.  So far, we have found that four or five people is probably optimal, but we have still had some very interesting scores with just one or two.

As of the time of writing this blog, there is only one way to play Zombies, the "standard" game on a 2 feet by 2 feet board with a little bit of terrain (mainly for aesthetics, trust me, you don't want much terrain in a standard game).  While this is all fun and dandy, I am planning some "expansions" to the current rules, allowing players to play in a built up city, where every bullet counts, or in a campaign, where you have to achieve certain goals before moving onto the next map.  Overall though, the game works and I am happy for that.  Because of the way the game is set out, there is no need for character classes or anything else normally associated with an RPG.  It seems that each player has their own set of tactics anyway, making for varied games with different people, though I may at some stage introduce this.  The background to each game is really up to you.  You could be fighting waves of zombies  in central park, killing Micael Jackson thriller zombies in the dance studio or you could be destroying allies as they invade your home, whatever you want.


My other current project is, sorry....GIGANTIC.  If you thought your five thousand point Warhammer battle was big than you are about to be educated.  Warzone is a game of semi-futuristic battles on the lagest, or rather, smallest of scales.  To give those who don't know an idea; Warhammer is 1:28 scale, Flames of War is 1:100 scale (I think), a 6mm game (can't think of one right now) is about 1:130 scale and even the smallest scale naval battle games are 1:1000 scale, very tiny.  Warzone is on a different level, it is...wait for it...1:100,000 scale.  Yes that is right, every kilometres is represented by one centimetre on the board.  Let me tell you early on that this is not an easy game to play.  You MUST have gaming experience and a few brains before even reading the rules for this game.  It is certainly not going to be for everyone, but I think that those who play it will love it.

Warzone is an unconventional wargame in many ways.  Firstly the scale, 1:100,000.  Secondly, you might expect to find some sort of points system in a wargame, Warzone has almost completely abandoned the idea.  Thirdly, and most importantly, is the customisation on an unheard of scale.  Where in, say, 40k, you choose your codex and pick certain units to play with, in Warzone you design the codex.  Yes you heard me right, you get to design your own codex (essentially) and even change it half way through a battle.  This will eliminate the talk about which army is better.  For example, a conversation at a gaming club, might go like this:

Bob: It's not fair, you won because you are playing Necrons and they are so over powered
Bill: No, you are playing Space Wolves, they are cheesy.  I had to take this army to beat you.

and then the argument and debate continues.

The same situation in Warzone would be:

Bob: It's no fair, you won because you have better artillery.
Bill: Then why don't you use them then.  You can.

Warzone is about huge battles involving thousands of soldiers fighting over vast distances.  When making your Warzone army you have to decide on alot of things.  Firstly, you have to decide on what sort of society your troops come from; things like how rich the country is, how proud they are of their military, that sort of thing.  You then decide how you want to train your troops and in what.  You may want all of your soldiers to be able to drive a tank, or half of your army to be trained as a medic.  You get to decide how many soldiers are in each unit, company, regiment etc.  You then equip them with whatever weapons and equipment you want.  While they are on the battlefield, you have to think about your ability to supply them with ammunition, food and fuel.  The rules are such that you have to think about alot of things, but it is so far made that most of the thinking will be done before the battle.  The game itself is actually fairly simple, but the logistics side of it is where the complications begin.  You may want to play as part of a team with, say, one person controlling the army, another the navy, another the air force.

Warzone has been designed for realism, though some things have had to be skipped over.  For example, in Flames of War, the range of a field gun might be 2m, scaled to about 200m.  This is not at all realistic.  Not to criticise Battlefront at all, they have made a great game which I love playing, but Warzone is a different sort of game.  The range of artillery can be 10, 20, or even 30 kilometres. 

Everything matters in Warzone.  To explain what I mean by that, lets say you, with your 5000 point Imperial Guard army, made up of a Baneblade and only conscripts otherwise, have a battle.  You win, losing only the Baneblade.  Now the rules of the game say that you have won, but in "reality" the loss of a Baneblade would be catastrophic.  In Warzone, because you have to think of re-supply and replacing lost units, replacing a Baneblade would be a huge task and so, even if you route the opponent, they may have actually won the battle on a logistical level.

Ultimately, Warzone is a game for those of use who want to do alot of thinking.  Don't be daunted though by all this.  As I have said before, you do all that before the battle and if you do it well you only have to do it once.  When the next battle comes around you can easily say "I'll have three divisions of these, five companies of these and a battleship fleet," or whatever.  You have total control over the armed forces and I mean all of the armed forces; Army, Navy, Air force and even Space Fleet if you manage to get one.  Warzone is an all encompassing game where you can have as much fluff as you want and the rules allow you to reflect it fully.  Being at the scale it is, Warzone is not a game of miniatures, it is a game of skill, planning and tactics.

Well thank you for reading my blog today, I hope you enjoyed it.  If you want any further information on either of these games then please, don't hesitate to ask.

Join me next time when we talk about making your own scenario for Warhammer 40k.

See ya

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Cult of the Fifth Witch

Hello Readers

Today's topic will be a very fluffy one.  Today I will tell you about one of my current 40k projects, the Cult of the Fifth Witch.  I am not collecting an armyas such, I am getting a lot of models together and themeing them into a chaos cult.  At the local gaming club I hope I can use these models all together, but at a tournament I shall have to use them in each separate army.  So far the plan is to utilise parts of the Imperial Guard, Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons and Grey Knights Codexes.  I plan to write them all together in one 'codex', simply changing the titles of the special rules and such to give them a more thematic flavour.  And now, without further ado, the background story to the Cult of the Fifth Witch.


Planet: Hygex
Year: 751 M38

In some dark corner of an unknown Hive City on the planet Hygex lived Geralt Scipio, a scientist of great intellect but little renown.  He happened to stumble across a book in his studies one day that looked extremely old and was written with some strange writing on the front.  It was a mighty book, twenty centimetres thick, yet it weighed less than a kilogramme.  Scipio was, of course, interested in the contents of this book and try as he might, he was unable to open it.  After years of semi-focused study, he finally came to the discovery that this was a book of daemonic origins called "The Claws of Daemon Hands".  He guessed it must be of some great power and, rather than turning it over to the inquisition, thought that he may be able to use the power within to better his research.  Despite the book taking up more and more of his time, he was unable to discover it's secrets within hi lifetime, and so it passed to his trusted associate, Nearna Daela.  She was also very intelligent but could not open the book.

Planet: Hygex
Year: 818 M38

"The Claws of Daemon Hands" was yet to be opened, despite the efforts of Nearna Daela and her descendants, to which the book kept being passed down to.  It wasn't until a gifted child, Pirella Daela inherited the book that the power within became truly apparent.  Perhaps the book had chosen her, perhaps she happened to know how to open it, no one can be sure, but she certainly did open it.  Upon the opening of the book and the subsequent study of it, Pirella Daela gained great powers of the Chaos Gods and was a master at bending them to her will.  She called herself, the Fifth Witch, the unknown writer of the book being the first, Scipio being the second, her grandmother, Nearna Daela being the third, her mother Carlia Daela, being the forth.  As well as being smart, Pirella was very well organised and, despite not knowing very much about military matters, was able to write up 'rules' on how to build an army, based around the books teachings.  She wrote alot about "The Claws of Daemon Hands", partly translating it, partly simplifying it.

Using the powers she gained from the book, Pirella was able to call upon forces that were unknown to even some of the more powerful chaos worshippers in the galaxy and called upon daemons and the warp to slowly and painfully destroy Hygex in 819 M38, in effect, by herslef.

The Inquisition was, of course, organising Hygex's defence before it was destroyed.  They in fact caught Pirella Daela and killed her.  They destroyed Pirella's body, but realised that, despite it being an artifact of chaos, Pirella's notes, known later as the "Witches Cult" and  "The Claws of Daemon Hands", were invaluable pieces of writing for use against chaos itself.  The Inquisitors left on the last evacuation ship, just as the last Daemons took over the planet, and set course for a base on Sirelon.  Just as they were about to arrive on the planet, the ship was struck by a small asteroid, forcing the ship to crash on Sirelon, killing all the crew in a fiery explosion.  The only things that survived the crash was the "Witch Cult" and "The Claws of Daemon Hands".  An Imperial Guardsman, searching through the wreckage found them and sent them to his higher authorities.  It found it's way to General Forn Pale, a military genius but some didn't trust him, thinking he was tainted by chaos.  Whether he was or not, is really up for debate, but Pale certainly was after he came across the Pirella's belongings.  He used her notes and the knowledge he gained from "The Claws of Daemon Hands" to form the Cult of the Fifth Witch, named after Pirella Daela herself.


The Cult of the Fifth Witch is a very well organised chaos cult, as far as compared to others anyway, due to Pirella Daela's writings and Forn Pale's military experience.  Each member of the cult, a cultist, is a member of one or more sects.  There are no enforcements to be in a certain number of sects or be in any in particular.  The sects are rather varied, some a militaristic warband, other almost a type of book club of those interested in the ways of chaos.  Each sect ultimately takes care of it's own affairs, much like a small Space Marine chapter, though each sect is united under the doctrines laid down by Pirella Daela.

Currently, the leader of the Cult (known as the Overlord) is Verna Xenith, a powerful warrior and a wise scholar of sorts.  He oversees the four 'families' of the Cult, each led by a Baron.  These families are made up of like minded sects that have similar ways or designs for the powers of chaos.  The families are as follows; the Arm Family, made up of summoners and chaotic priests, the Eye Family, dedicated to learning about and spreading the influence of chaos, the Voice Family, who are powerful psykers, though not necessarily in tune with chaos, and the Claw Family, the militaristic members of the Cult.  Each family contains many sects, led by a Fanatic, each with their own thoughts on chaos, but all sharing the teachings in "The Claws of Daemon Hands" and the "Witch Cult".  Each Fanatic leads a 'pack' of cultists, varying in number usually between five and thirty. 

The Claw Family is the largest and most respected family in the Cult and the most strictly and well led.  Sometimes a Fanatic may gain such respect and power that when going into battle he leads other Fanatics like a general would lead Sergeants into battle.  They each have their own traditions and insignia, but all look similar to an opponent.

The Cult of the Fifth Witch is not an army, and probably never will be.  It is a group of heretics sharing the knowledge and power of chaos.  This means that, even when grouped together, they are not a huge force, though they are very powerful.  Typically, a member of the Cult is a warped and possessed fiendish being, or a daemon dragged from the warp, willingly or otherwise.  Many of the fallen hero's from the cult return to fight another day as lesser daemons or sometimes even daemon princes.  The Cult is a sneaky force, often striking hard and fast then vanishing into the shadows.

Under the direction of the Barons or the Fanatics, members of the Eye and particularly the Arm and Voice family join the Claw family in combat, lending their abilities or knowledge to a situation.  This makes the Cult a varied force, and hard to truly plan against.  The Cult has also spread to many planets, though each has few members residing there at one time.  It is perhaps better to think of the Cult as a group of prophets, drunk on power and high on knowledge, fuelled by greed and armed with chaos, allies of the dark gods themselves.

The Plan

Well that is my current project.  I don't really expect to win many battles, but it will be fun to collect.  I plan to do alot of converting with this army and utilise new and interesting paint schemes.  As you may have guessed, I love doing all this background stuff in Warhammer and I have always wanted to do a chaotic cult of some sort.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this post and I shall see you next time when I talk a bit about my current game design projects.

See you later

Sunday, 17 June 2012

My Story as a Gamer

Hello Readers

Today's post is going to be a little boring, no pictures or anything, but I feel I need to do it anyway.  Today I shall be talking about myself (who doesn't like doing that) as a gamer and where I am at the moment.  This at least will give you some idea as to where I am coming from in future articles.

My experience as a gamer started a long time ago, back in the days when the Lord of the Rings movies were coming out.  Though at the time I was not a fan of the story (I hadn't read it at least) I was interested in the whole fantasy genre thing.  I was over at a mates place, Beau, in 2003 where he showed me the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.  I was hooked and loved the fact that tactics made an impact.  I had been playing games like Yu-Gi-Oh and Chess for a long time before, but this was something different.  I remember that it felt real and I felt like I really cared about what happened to my guys.  We had a few small battles with Beau's quite large collection, though I realised later that we weren't quite playing it properly.  I went home that day with a new aim in life, to play this game and paint the miniatures.

It was a while before I got another game with my friend and it was a similar sort of day, though by now he had painted a few more miniatures.  I thought at the time that I would never be able to paint that well, or have the patience to even paint a whole army.  I was in Kingaroy (the closest town to where I was living at the time) when I stumbled across a shop that sold these gaming items.  They had a table set up with, if memory serves, a battle between Tyranids and Necrons half played.  It was an amazing sight and I was just so excited to play a game of this scale, which was a lot bigger than anything I had previously played.  Just thinking about that now, it was probably about a 1000 point game, though at the time this seemed like a huge force.  Lucky for me it was my 13th birthday coming up and for said day I got a box of Beastmen.  I was so happy and excited and I couldn't wait to paint them.  I bought some paint (some of which I still have and is still good) and painted them...furiously is probably the word.  To be honest, it was a pretty terrible paint job, I didn't even undercoat them.  I had no idea how to play Warhammer (I wasn't even aware at this stage that there was such a game, I thought that it was all played by the same rules at LotR) but it didn't matter to me, I had taken the first steps in a wider world.

I had another few games with Beau over the next couple of weeks where I added some High Elf Archers to my army.  We made up stats for my miniatures that reflected a similar unit in LotR.  I lost pretty easily, but I didn't care, I had never had so much fun.  I wasn't even aware of the points system and had I been I would have known that I had about 250points of miniatures while Beau had nearly 1000.  But as I said, it was fun and I didn't care.

It was at school that I had my next big experience with wargaming.  Beau had moved far away and apart from the sadness of losing a friend I now had no one to play with.  One day I was talking to some of the cool kids at school, not because I was their friend but because I thought I might be cool too.  Then some of them started talking about "Space Marines" and all these amazing things that they could do.  I asked one of the members, Marty, about what he was talking about.  He showed me the third edition Space Marine Codex and told me about the game.  This got me really excited again as I listened in on Marty and Dov's conversations about how certain hero's had done certain things and how such-and-such a model would take out some other model with ease.  Marty told me about the local gaming group and I simply HAD TO go along.

I stepped through the doors of the hall in Kingaroy not knowing quite what to expect.  I walked in and was amazed at the diversity and awesomeness of the armies on hand.  It was 2004, I was 14 and blown away.  I talked to some of the players there, recognising some of the people from school and realising that this was a really big thing.  I didn't know that so many people played wargames.  All around me were stories of the kind that had inspired me to go to the games night to begin with.  I talked to some of the players and showed off my miniatures, now made up of a unit of Empire Knights as well.  They were very polite and said that my paint job was pretty good.  One of the members, Brodie, asked me what colour i had used to undercoat with.  I answered that I didn't undercoat.  I even realised it then; all of the people who heard my say this looked around at each other as though I had committed some sort of terrible crime against humanity.  Despite not getting a battle I still had a good night though and left with high spirits.

It was a while before I went to the games nights again, in which time I had gathered together a 600 point army of Chaos Warriors, all heavily upgraded and built to survive, though they didn't.  I played against Dave alot, the person who ran those games days back then, and always lost against his Skaven.  I was slowly getting the idea of the rules though tactics were yet to cross my mind.  Looking back on those first few years of gaming I hadn't really grasped the hobby in it's entirety and was yet to fully understand how to play.  I had only just bought 5th edition Warhammer rulebook when 6th edition came out.  I gathered alot of Chaos Warriors together and lost all the time.  I think it was probably two years before I ever won a game.  This fact became more and more frustrating.  I was enjoying the game but a win occasionally would be nice.  I had about 3000 points of Chaos Warrior when I decided that they weren't for me and swapped to High Elves, who, perfect to form, got a new army book just as I got into them.  This started the long tradition of me starting an army and then they getting a new Codex or Army Book shortly afterwards.

Wargaming continued to be a big part of my life, though not a very successful one I must admit.  Over the years these are the armies I have played; Warriors of Chaos, High Elves, Tomb Kings, Space Marines, Space Marines, Eldar, Tyranids, Space Marines and then onto my current project of army building which I shall detail in the next blog.  I took a year off from Warhammer in 2009 I think to have a break from losing perhaps.  Coming back from this year was a good feeling, though to be honest I felt a little like I was starting again.

At the time there were two gamers groups in Kingaroy; the Games Day, held every Friday night, and the Veterans, held every second Sunday.  I was a part of the veterans, who felt to me and probably many of the others like the 'real gamers'.  This is a silly idea really but the politics back then were, lets just say, interesting.  I won't go into detail with them just in case someone gets offended.  When I got back into Warhammer I started playing with Tyranids, an Army that just suited me.  It entailed everything that I believed in and was just the right army for me.  I was now living out of home and so could spread my nerdness all over the place, which made me very happy and allowed for games whenever I wanted.  I was now a 40K player, and there was no way that I was getting back into Warhammer, I just didn't like the rules at all.

Then, in 2010, I saw a Youtube video on the Beasts of War channel about a different game called Flames of War, who had just released a set called 'Open Fire'.  This game intrigued me and after looking into it I purchased one with my housemate, Marty.  He played the Germans and I played the Americans.  This was something new, a different way of playing that just made sense to me.  I loved it, I loved it so much in fact that I gave up 40k and sold all my Tyranids on eBay, though I was sad to see them go.  It was a fully painted, 1250 point army of over one hundred models, painted green on top and brown on the bottom (let me know if you currently have them, just out of interest).  They were not painted very well, by my standards at the time, but it was a fully painted army, one of the few in Kingaroy at the time.

I started playing flames of war with Marty and loved it so very much, though as Marty moved away I had no one to play with until I convinced some people to get into it only just recently.  Even now I don't often get a game of Flames of War, so I am getting back into 40k, now that I have money to support my habits.

So here we are, the present day.  My apologies for going on for so long but we are nearly at the end.  I am now playing Flames of War as a British Infantry Company and am just starting to build up a 40k army, which I shall detail in the next blog.  My journey through wargaming has got me many friends who I respect very much and cherish their company.  It is a fun hobby, no matter if you are a painter, a player or just a collector.  I am now part of a fully amalgamated group called Kingaroy Wargamers with a wide variety of people and a few different types of games being played.  I have enjoyed wargaming for nine years now and weather I enjoy it for the next nine or ninety-nine, it will be time well spent.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Daemon Prince Rises

Hello Readers

Below is some pictures of my recently completed Daemon Prince for my upcoming (one day) Chaos Cult Army.  I will be talking about this army in a later post but for now I shall focus on this beastie.

I have not got a name for him yet, but basically he is one of the more highly respected members of the Cult of the Fifth Witch (the name of the Chaos Army I am working on).  He has been pulled from the warp against his will and is pretty annoyed about that.

To paint him I simply started with a black undercoat everywhere and then buitl up his skin to make a sort of  'cracked lava' effect.  I started with Red than drybrushed orange then yellow over the top.  I picked out the raised lewvels in black, leaving the cracks where the muscles join showing up brightly.  I then drybrushed dark grey over the top to pick up any details.

The armour was straight forward enough.  I tried to have a similar but more contained effect going on with the armour and so only used the red paint in the armour gaps.  I then painted a dark purple over that.  The chaotic icons were simply painted gold and the metal parts on the skin and such drybrushed with a metal paint.  After all that was done, the entire model was drybrushed in a light grey to give it a fine ash look.  I think this worked well and will do a similar thing on later models.

I used one tecnique here that I havn't used for some time.  When I drybrushed the greys over the other colours, I was not at all careful to avoid getting any in the receces.  This achieved an effect that I think works a little better on skin but worked well enough here; that the surface looks slightly see through, a little more three dimensional.  This was a little frustrating at times as I did make a few mistakes along the way and had to go back to do touchups.  I am happy with the end result though.

I tried something else for the first time that I suppose many people have done before me; I tried fully painting the parts of the model before I put them together.  This may seem like the obvious way to do it to some people, but this is new for me and I did find it a little hard to match the colours up just right.  I found that as I kept going, I developed a heavier drybrush, and so the models skin became lighter as I went, he started to look like Frankensteins monster there for a while, but I fixed that up easy enough when the model was glued together.

Something else that I will try with at least this current army is how I did the base.  I used a piece of pumice stone for the large rock he is standing on (which I shall have to do a seperate article on one day, it is worth it) and used a sand i got from the local pet store for keeping lizards.  Apart from the pumice, the base is not painted at all.  I think it looks alright, but feel free to tell me otherwise.

Well ultimatley, all is well that ends well.  So I am pretty happy with this model and am looking forward to giving this guy something to command.

From Antman

First Post

Hello Readers

As this is my first blog I am just going to be brief and detail what you can expect from upocmoing blogs.  This will be a blog for tabletop gamers, about tabletop games, with tabletop games.  It will feature as much stuff as I can get into it including reviews, posts of my or other peoples work, news and articles about games, systems and projects.  This will be a little bit mish-mash, but hopefully you will enjoy it anyway.

Thanks for reading this and I will get the fdirst real post up shortly.