Thursday, July 20, 2017

Who is the Rules Committee? Dan King

Welcome back for another profile of the members of the Kings of War Rules Committee.

This time we interview someone who might be the best Kings of War player in the world and an original member of the Rules Committee (hmmm - are those two related?); the man himself - Daniel King.
Please introduce yourself to my readers out there.

Hi, I'm Daniel King, member of the Kings of War RC (Rules Committee), member of the podcast FFS, holder of the Lone Wolf GT Title and the current no 1 ranked UK player. ;-) I’m also the only person to have been 4 times UK National KoW champion. :-D

The man, the myth, the legend himself
How long have you been involved in gaming (and wargaming) in general?

Wow well,quite a while now! Lets see, just short of 30 years! I started with games such as Heroquest and reading Tolkien, before moving onto various fantasy, board and wargames, RPG’s too. I've had a fondness for fantasy and in fact dungeon games ever since!

How / where / when did you first learn about Kings of War?

I was one of the original testers for the beta back when the KoW rules fit onto a single piece of A4! I found out about it via a good friend of mine, Jez Gurney. It took me a while to get into the game, but when I did I went in big and backed Mantics first ever Kickstater, for a staggering amount of money. Course I then went on to win the first Clash of Kings in the UK for a prize of £1000, so I didn’t do too badly out of it!

Why would people know you in the Kings of War community?

Hehe well if anyone hangs around on KoW Fanatics or listens to FFS they will have heard me chatting about various things and making hilarious puns! (Well, they amuse me! :p )

And what does that all entail?

Mostly chatting about KoW, I must admit to being rather into the game, so it’s nice to discuss various aspects with others.

Half the RC hanging out at LoneWolf
Is there anything specific you have worked on?

The first Mantic product I actively worked on, (bar some playtesting in beta) was Kings and Legends the first expansion back in 1st edition. After that I ended up becoming a founding member of the RC. (the only one left now) From then on I had a huge part in every book, helping balance and design units, rules, I even wrote some fluff!

The Herd in Uncharted Empires was my specific army, that I designed fully and balanced with the help of the rest of the RC and the community. I wrote the background piece on them as well as all their unit fluff and I really love how it turned out. The list was designed to allow you to field a Narnian style of army, with a Native American feel to them.

So you are the one responsible for those damn Stampedes!  I think they have replaced Elohi (in my mind) as the unit which you have to build your army around defeating.

Hehe well me and the playtesters! Originally they we’re TC(4) with no CS at all but testing found them to be relatively useless, as the TC was quite easy to strip off them. They are very strong, but I find the best way to deal with them is to either shoot them off or just distract them with chaff.

With the upcoming summer campaign – what is your favorite of the new special characters and formations?

Eckter the Trident Realms character is both a lovely model and a great unit! TR again show themselves as the master of specialty Wind Blast as this guy has a variant that also deals damage! Not to mention being effective in melee and hard to shift too.

Unit wise I like the Empire of Dust Living Legend unit, this is literally a unit of Skeleton pirates armed with Explosives! This gives them the Blast rule in both melee and range. Bonus points for those who shoot with them then surge them into melee too. :p

Formation? Hmm there’s a lot of fun ones, my favorite is probably the Kindred Borderguard because giving a chunk of spears Vanguard and getting them onto objectives early is just amazing! I’m also loving the Undead formation Mhorgoth’s Rotting Retinue, which gives a load of Ghoul units Thunderous Charge (1)!

Since you’ve been heavily involved with KoW since the beginning (I fondly remember that first Mantic Kickstarter myself) is there anything you miss about the earlier versions?

Well I guess I miss having someone else to complain at about the rules. It’s easy to take things personally when people say this or that unit isn’t right. Because I’m party to so many conversations I’ll typically know why we did such and such a thing and it’s generally for a good reason. Course you can’t balance everything perfectly but we do the best we can.

So exactly how many Kings of War tournaments have you won?

Erm, I honestly don’t know. I’ve won 12 in the last 2 years, (3 of those being GT’s) but that’s just 2nd edition, probably around 30 or so?

Does being the top player hurt your enjoyment of the game at all?  Do you feel like everyone is just trying to take you down?

Well I dunno about top, there’s some amazing players out there! But no it makes it more enjoyable, there was a point where it felt a little too easy, but then players got better and better and I didn’t win either CoK or Masters, and I even got knocked down to 3rd I the UK for a while. I really relish other players challenging me as it makes we want to do even better and makes it all even more enjoyable! I’m now back at No 1 in the UK. :)

With so many tournament victories – is there any you still want but haven’t achieved yet?  

Well winning Lonewolf was a huge one for me, I never dreamed I’d be able to win overall. (was hoping for Best general at best)

It would be nice to come back and win CoK UK again and of course I would love to be the UK Masters champion! Hehe if I ever win the lottery or something it would be amazing to just travel all round the world attending events. :-D

Lone Wolf sounds great – but does this mean we won’t ever see you at Adepticon?

Ah well the Lone Wolf guys are the only ones who have invited me to come stay at their houses, take me out for drinks and food and generally show me a good time! If someone was to do so for another event, I would certainly consider it. Of course I get enough wife agro about going to Lonewolf! :-p I must say the thought of retiring and becoming an world travelling KoW player greatly appeals!
Dan is able to stay so calm and collected at tournaments.

What army/armies do you play, and why?

I’ve played a lot of armies over the years! My current armies are Varangrrr, Herd and Undead, though I am planning on making an Orc army next. Why those armies? Well they all worked well with models I liked and had different aspect to their playstyle which appealed to me.

Snowy Herd Army
Where do you play, in case I wanted to come and get beaten by you?

I’m a member of the AGC (Altrincham Gaming Club), so I can be found there. Or I live in Macclesfield where I regular play various games with Jez. Or come and meet me at a tournament such as Lone Wolf in Texas, probably the best GT in the world! I’ve have such a good time at Lone Wolf previously that I intend to return as often as I possibly can!

This is the question on everyone’s mind – just how do you hope to defeat Dan King?  Pray to the dice gods?  Get him drunk and take advantage of him?

Ah well I do certainly lose! Getting me drunk can be helpful, although I may start to build up a tolerance eventually! I only came 3rd at the last CoK UK and 5th at the UK Masters. Both due mostly to be being beaten by a certain Paul Fox, one of the best southern UK players. ( I just beat him for the first time as Bristol recently!)

Is there any army you can’t win with?  I suspect that you would be able to take almost any army list (even the ones I make) and kick butt with it.

Oh I definitely have my favourite styles, I’m very much into fast armies. That being said I do like to mix things up so my upcoming Orc army will be a mixture of Orc Ax hordes with Gore Riders and yes at least one Krudger on Winged Slasher. ;-)

What advice does the champion have for new players just starting Kings of War?  (Or even old timers that can’t seem to win?)

Play good players and get beaten by them! Seriously, every time I lose a game I always feel I’ve learnt more than if I win. Going to a tournie even if you lack in experience is great for this.

What hobby projects are you currently working on?

My Varangrrr have just been finished a week ago, the next project will probably  be Orcs. I’ve been hesitant to make a horde army, due to the amount of painting involved, however I have recently acquired an airbrush which I’m getting better with so hopefully that will help speed it up!

Dan's Varangur army
What other games do you play, Mantic or otherwise?

KoW is my main game, but I play Dungeons and Dragons weekly and love to play various board and card games. I’m also really into computer RPG’s, especially classic dungeon crawlers like Eye of the Beholder or Dungeon Master.

So which edition of D&D is your favorite?  (Me, I still have my fondest memories of playing the original white box (with brown booklets) edition with my friends, and being so excited when Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first came out).

Well now my personal fave is AD&D 2nd ed, and we still play campaigns using these rules. That being said we are currently play “Keep on the Borderlands” using the Basic rules from the late 70’s!? This campaign was released the year I was born! (1979)

What is the FFS podcast?

Hehe, it’s a podcast where myself and a few others talk about recent tournies, armies we’re working on and just generally anything KoW related. We tend to waffle on sometimes and I make various bad puns, but hey we get a thousand or so listeners to every episode so it can’t be that bad. :p

Unfortunately, gaming (in general) doesn't pay the bills.  What do you do when you aren't involved with gaming?

I’m a software developer for a Law Firm.

I do find it interesting how many gamers are in some aspect of computers (being a software developer myself).  Do you have any other hobbies, or does being the best Kings of War player (with a few other games thrown in) take up all your free time?

I love to read books, watch TV and movies, (Fantasy and sci-fi or just action are my fave genres) and spending time with my wife and young son. Recently we’ve joined the National Trust so now often wander round parks, old country mansions and gardens and such at the weekends.

If you could be Ronnie Renton for a day, what would you do?

Blab about everything. Oh wait that’s what Ronnie does anyhow. :p

On a personal note – congratulations on the excellent work toward becoming half the man you used to be.  (Maybe if you just stopped carrying all those stones around?  (Yes, even though the US is on the ‘English’ system of measurement we have never used ‘stone’)  (And you aren’t the only one who can do bad puns)

Thank you! Yeah I’ve been trying my best to lose weight this year, I’ve not been dieting so much as trying for a lifestyle change. I exercise regularly and eat healthily during the week saving the excesses for the weekend. I’ve lost about 50 pounds so far.

Finally, as the only original member of the Rules Committee, I have to ask (becomes it still seems to come up over and over again) – when will the Twilight Kin come out?

Well as far as I‘m aware Mantic still plan to bring them out, but the date keeps slipping. The last rumour I heard, is they may be released as part of Vanguard, the upcoming skirmish KoW game. Something I shall be playtesting soon.  :)

Any final words?

Hope to see you across the table, for some Kings of War!

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Empire (of Dust) Strikes Back

There is an old joke that says if you ever finish painting your last miniature, you'll die.  If that is the case, then I figure I'll live forever, even if it will be as a dry, desiccated skeleton slowly painting away every night.

Last September, I was so excited to get my Empire of Dust Mega Army after Gencon.  I took pictures of all the sprues and metal parts, and got my Shogun bases together.

And much like the mummies and skeletons, they then sat in my stack of army bins that need painting, not even built.  The bases got re-purposed for other armies. Origins approached and sped by like a lightning bug flitting about in the desert.

And then I got a chance to proof read the new campaign supplement for Kings of War - Edge of the Abyss (it is good to know (at least some of) the Rules Committee).  It isn't officially released for another week yet (July 24th), so I can't say much, but if anyone has seen the army deals on the Mantic Web site for the campaign you will notice the special character and new unit - Arkhanten and the Restless Souls of the Raia, as well as the two formations, the Ahmunite Deadeyes and the Dunestalkers.

Well that got me to blow off the dust and finally get mine painted up for Gencon.  One of the events we are running, that was very successful at Origins, is the "How You Use It!" tournament. This is a 1000 pt tournament where all the armies are pre-set but the players change tables each game.  I thought it would be fun to actually do some of the matchups described in the fluff of the book - which meant that I needed an Empire of Dust army to battle in REDACTED against REDACTED who are trying to REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED.  It looked like too much fun not to do.

Ultimately this is still a demo army for me, so it is just a tabletop standard for the paint job - base coating and a wash.  The idea it to be able to show off the miniatures, but also show a paint job that is easily achievable to almost anyone.

My plan didn't quite work as well as I had hoped.  I did a white primer on everything but the enslaved guardians and the swarm.  The mummies bindings were painted bone, and the armor painted silver.  I used turquoise for the cloth, brown for the wood, and leather for the straps.  Then a sepia wash over everything.  This brought out all the detail and turned the white bones into the color I wanted, but the mummy wrappings ended up being very close to it, and even the armor, which looks appropriately aged, is a bit too close to the same color.  But otherwise I'm pretty happy with just a couple of weeks work.

First up were the archers.  Now a note on the basing - my son (from whom all my good ideas come apparently) strongly urged me to match the bases of all my demo armies - so they are in fertile, muddy dirt with green grass - rather than the desert sand with some tufts of dead grass that I would normally expect for an EoD army.  I guess that means that REDACTED REDACTED defeated REDACTED and the REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED.
Skeletal archers
On other note - I have found that I don't have a source for sand unless I buy it.  No beaches, no sand boxes at playgrounds - nada.  I've bought some at various places, and some is too fine.  My wife recently picked up a bag (I'm not sure from where) which she put in little baggies to weight down paper bags for a silent auction (held outside, so with a bit of a breeze to deal with).  She then gave me the left over sand (by dumping it into my existing sand bucket).

So I painted my standard watered down white glue, and dipped these in the bucket, then set aside to dry.  It wasn't until the next day that I went to paint them that I realized how thick and coarse this new mixture was.  This was more than texture - there were large rocks all over.

So I spent the next evening sifting out all the larger pebbles - keeping those for when I actually needed them.  Thus the rougher texture on these bases.

So on to the Revenants.  I do wonder a bit why all the Revenant kits (both Undead and EoD) are only the 2 handed weapon variants.  It might be nice to actually have a choice on the sprue.
Revenants - exchanging shields for 2 handed weapons
Mantic's mummy models are interesting, as were the reactions toward them.  They are not your typical shambling piles of rags - but are instead armored warriors (of course still in rags).  Back when they first came out for the Undead list with the first Kings of War kickstarter they were fairly unpopular and all the talk about them was pretty negative.

Jump forward a few years, and they release the EoD army, which of course includes the exact same Mummy models.  However now all I hear is praise and excitement for them, and how people love the new and different take on mummies.  Go figure.

If these are mummies, then are the skeletons deadies?
Of course you have to have your base warriors.  I have always preferred spearmen, so I built them with spears.  It wasn't until later that I actually checked the list I had made - which DID NOT have them with spears.  This required a bit of re-jigging the list - which is why I have a regiment of archers instead of two troops.

Horde of skeletal spearmen
The Enslaved Guardians are some of my favorite EoD units.  I love the giant statues - and the ability to have some with crossbows (pretty much ogre shooters) and some with hand weapons is a great option.  Plus the ultimate surge shenanigans with these.  If someone makes the mistake of getting too close to these guys - shoot and then surge them into combat for a double punch.  Not many armies can pull this off (Undead, EoD and Nature), but it is fun when it works.
Enslaved Guardians w/ crossbows
Swarms of scarab beetles and other creepy crawlies.  I don't really care for my paint job on this - but it is a demo army after all so it falls under the "good enough" category.

The box comes with an army standard.
Army Standard Bearer.
and a cursed high priest (with surge, of course).  The priests staff was very fiddly, and the bottom broke off within a day of assembling him.

Cursed High Priest
Lastly, units in the EoD have an option to take a "Casket of the Damned" - which adds 5 to the surge roll once a game for the unit.  The mega-army box came with two, so I have added them to the revenants and mummies - just to make sure they get that flank when they need it.  These actually still need magnets to keep them from moving around in the case during transport.

Caskets of the Damned.
The full army list is here.  One problem with it is the special rules actually go to 2 pages (just the one rule) - so I'll have to do some old world (i.e.scissors & glue) cut & paste to make this a single 2-sided sheet for demos.  I don't have unit cards for them yet either - time to check with Matt on those. However they are now ready for Gencon (at least for the "How You Use It!" tournament (which there are still plenty of tickets for)).

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Who is the Rules Committee? Kris Kaspner

They have been whispered about in the dark recesses of the internet, their names cursed and praised at game tables around the world.  But just who are the enigmatic Kings of War Rules Committee? Are they a hooded sect of gaming masters manipulating our favorite pastime to their own twisted desires?

Actually they are a group of really nice guys, and I thought it would be fun to interview each of them to see exactly what makes them tick.

So in no particular order (ok, he was the first to respond :-) - welcome the newest member of the Rules Committee.
Please introduce yourself to my readers out there.

Kris Kapsner.
Would you buy a house from this man?
How long have you been involved in gaming (and wargaming) in general?

I started playing tactical games at the age of 3 when my mom introduced me to chess for the first time.  To this day she tells me I beat her the very first time I played her.  But, I have my doubts that she was trying very hard.  I’ve always loved the fantasy genre.  My mom read me the Hobbit and started into the Chronicles of Narnia when I was just 5 years old.  In 8th grade I think I started playing Dungeon’s and Dragons with friends.  Shortly after that I think Hero Quest was released.  That was my first introduction to miniature games and I loved it.  I continued playing various role playing games through high school.  I tried Star Wars, Marvel Super Heroes, Shadow Run…but I always came back to Dungeon’s and Dragons.  It was my love.  I enjoyed the Forgotten Realms setting the most.  After high school I entered the Army and continued my role playing career.  After the military I went to college and once again fell into a role playing group. 

It was around that time that Mage Knight came out and I bought some models.  I loved the tactical movement of models on a table and quickly took to that game on the side of my role playing.  I was recruited by some Warhammer Fantasy players to give that game a try.  It looked expensive, but not any more so than I’d already spent on Mage Knight!  So, I jumped in.  I wanted to build and paint knights and the Chaos book had just been released for 6th edition.  Other players told me they had the best knights and I liked the look of “Viking-like” warriors.  So, I bought them.

I was talked into entering a tournament in 2003.  I hadn’t played in any tournaments for any games before.  So, I went just to have fun and get a few games in all in the same day.  It turned out to be a 24 player Rogue Trader tournament.  I went 3-0 and was tied with another player for 1st place.  The TO asked us if we wanted to roll off for the winning spot or play it out.  We both agreed to play a 4th game and I won that one as well!  After that, I was hooked on tournaments.

I shifted to Beastmen for the next decade, then went back to Warriors of Chaos in 2013.  In 2012 I started branching out from the small local tournament scene and entered the 2 day grand tournament scene.  I LOVED it!  I still enjoy the small local tournaments.  But I enjoy traveling to GT’s more.

How / where / when did you first learn about Kings of War?

A friend in Minneapolis told me that Kings of War was our game to switch to.  I tried AoS, but didn't enjoy it too much even though I won the first AoS tournament I went to.  I missed line of sight and careful unit movement.

I drove down to Minneapolis for a demo in Jeff Shiltgen’s basement.  By turn 2 I knew Kings of War was the game for me.
Kara Brown battles the calm and cool Kris in the final round of Adepticon 2016
Why would people know you in the Kings of War community?

Well, I'm a co-host of the Lake SWATT Fantasy Squad podcast and part of the tripod that started the International Campaign Day for Kings of War.  I’m also the Chair of the Midwest for the US Masters

I attend quite a few tournaments and do my best to get to events outside my region to promote my region and my tournament, including traveling to the South, Southeast, Mountain and Pacific Northwest in just the last 10 months.

I’m the Tournament Organizer for the Lady of the Lake GT in Duluth, Minnesota.  And, I'm now the newest member of the Kings of War Rules Council.

Wow, and I thought I was busy!  So tell me a little about your podcast.

We started the podcast three years ago in the summer of 2014 to promote our local gaming scene and especially the first Lady of the Lake GT.  We had shifted from running a GT at Berserkon, our local gaming convention and struck off on our own as purely a Warhammer Fantasy two day event.  We needed to up our game as far as promotion went.  So, we started the podcast as part of that.

Michele Olsen, Andrew Conway and myself got the podcast and website initially off the ground.  Andrew had to step away for a bit when he had a baby.  But, he's starting to come back now.  Michele and I have been putting out about one episode a month since we started.  I think we’re known for having a rather long podcast.  Usually they are 2 and a half to 3 hours long.  I think that’s mostly my fault.  I enjoy talking. 

Michele has the Oasis Rising YouTube channel.  She is an amazing painter and has won two Bronze Crystal Brushes at Adepticon.  Andrew has the City Fox Gaming Twitch TV channel that we'll be live streaming the Lady of the Lake GT through this year.

(I saw Michele's fantastic elf army at Adepticon - it was incredible)

We shifted to Kings of War in the Fall of 2015 and have maintained a KoW focus for the show ever since.

What is the International Campaign Day?  Is this the campaign that Mantic has been talking about?

No, the International Campaign Day was started by Mark Cox and myself as a way to bring the entire US community together to play interactively.  We saw our Warhammer community fractured by the AoS release and brainstormed a way to get players connected across the country.

We designed a way for game results to directly impact the next games played even over great distances.  Players report their results into a spreadsheet and the winning side gets a bonus for the next games.

All the games are played at the same time, adjusted by time zone to allow all the games to start and finish together.  This allows our community to interact directly with each other whether at a store or in their basement with a friend.  And, each round of games directly impacts the story line as we see which side wins, good or evil.

The first ICD was so popular that we had to expand from just a US focus to an international focus.  The second ICD was truly designed as an international campaign from the beginning and ran 12 games over 24 hours.

Ben Stoddard joined our team for the 2nd ICD and the three of us are working on the third ICD to cap off the Global campaign that Mantic is running from August 21st to September 30th.

September 30th is the next International Campaign Day and will be designed with a similar format to the last one.  Players who are interested should find us on Facebook and get connected with us.  It’s a lot of fun.

So what are the Masters?
Kris taking a coffee break at Adepticon 2016
The US Masters was started originally for Warhammer Fantasy and was designed as a way to bring the whole US together under one roof to have the "best of the best" face off against each other.
We currently have 8 regions: Northeast, Mid Atlantic, Southeast, South, Midwest, Mountain, West and Pacific Northwest.

Each region sends 8 players to the event.  A "US Master" is crowned based on battle points alone.  A "Paragon" is crowned using a combination of battle, sports and appearance scores just like most GT’s crown their “Best Overall”.

I see the US Masters as a way to bring our communities together and grow our events.  The US Masters ranking system typically encourages players to travel outside of their regions because players meet each other at the Masters and want to travel to each other’s events.  It's a great way to bond our community together as well as provide an incredibly competitive environment for players to compete.

The US masters isn’t for everyone.  Some players don’t want to be that competitive and that’s ok.  It was a ton of fun though, as you know Mike.  You were there and saw that there really weren’t any players being poor sports or ruining other player’s fun.  It was competitive but also laid back in a way at the same time. 

Don't be shy, how did you do last year?

Well, I finished 2nd Paragon and had a lot of fun meeting new players, some of whom are coming to the Lady of the Lake GT for the first time this year, which is fantastic!  Somehow I managed to win events in three regions over the last 10 months or so.  But, taking 2nd overall at the US Masters and winning Best Sports there was one of the highlights of my gaming career.  It’s been quite the year.

On top of all of this you still manage to get to a lot of tournaments (except for maybe those that I run :-) ).  So tell me a bit about what you liked across the country with various tournaments.

Ha!  Well, I made it to Adepticon last year Mike (Yes you did - but it seems so long ago).  A family emergency issue kept me from making it this year. 

I do enjoy traveling to tournaments.  It's a lot of fun to meet new people who share the same hobby enthusiasm that I do.  I also enjoy seeing old friends and catching up.

I love seeing new armies and getting inspired to make my army even better.  I like the challenge of trying to do well against some of the best players around.  If I don’t win an event I take pride in trying to beat the player who wins the event or go down swinging to them.  I handed the only losses the winners had for Adepticon Clash of Kings last year and the Lone Wolf GT this year.  I take some pride in that.  I feel like I can play with anyone…but can certainly lose to anyone as well.

Going to a variety of tournaments also lets me get new ideas for my own events, like borrowing the idea of custom designing a hero for the Lady of the Lake GT this year that every player will have.  I borrowed that idea from Dragon Fall GT last Fall.

I remember that - I think I still have hoof marks on my butt from how hard you trampled me there.  You mentioned that chaff was the best thing to stop your stampedes - and the tournament gave you the perfect chaff killer to remove all of mine!

Adepticon Clash of Kings 2016
So you finally give somebody else a chance to win something at Lady of the Lake GT.  Tell me some more about it.

Well, my goal for the Lady of the Lake GT is to make it more about the overall experience of hanging out with fellow players than about the games themselves, even though the games will be really fun.
We throw a party in my back yard with free food and even live music this year.  I want to keep costs down for players so I invite everyone to camp in my back yard.  We have almost 20 doing that this year.

I serve breakfast to the players who stay at my house.  We have people camping in the back yard, sleeping on my couch, on mattresses in my basement, in my RV in the driveway, probably in the loft in my barn shed... It's a great time! 

I also want something different as far as how the games are played at the event.  So, I put extra effort into making the terrain stand out and something you don't normally get to play with.

Instead of scenarios out of the book each round, players get scenario cards at the beginning of the tournament.  Each game they choose one card and can't use that same card again for the remainder of the event.

Players play both the scenario they choose themselves as well as the scenario their opponent chose. 

We have a miniature painting contest as well.  Our trophies are unique and are printed on a 3D printer, a sword in the stone.  Our large trophies are small castles with the sword trophy on top.

The overall winner also gets to draw an engraved sword from the stone and take it home with them as Her Lady’s Champion of the event.

All of the above is great, but none of it tops what we do as a charity event.  We raise money for a local food shelf and team up with a local non-profit organization that turns every $1 we raise into $10 worth of food.

Last year we raised over $32,000 worth of food for a local food shelf.  We did that while having a great gaming weekend!

Aren't you missing something?

I'm now the newest member of the KoW Rules Council.
With Dan King and Nick Williams?  Are you allowed to have this much of the Rules Committee in one place at one time?
And what does that all entail?

Being on the RC is more of a commitment than I was expecting.  But I'm greatly enjoying it.  Players, nor even Mantic perhaps, realize how much behind the scenes discussion the RC has on a daily basis to help make KoW the game it is today.

Is there anything specific you have worked on?

I gave input for the Clash of Kings rules and wrote an article for the book.  The upcoming Summer campaign book is my first project to see from the RC's perspective.

From what I've seen, I think the campaign will be a big hit.  The fluff in it is really compelling, and I can't wait to see how it turns out (and especially what happens with the Dungeon Saga tie in).  

I love the tie in with Dungeon Saga.  I'd really like to play that more, especially as a precursor to KoW games.  But, Vanguard will be doing that well soon.

Oooh - Ronnie hinted at Vanguard during his Adepticon talk.  Can you give us any information on it?

Yes.  Vanguard is the skirmish version of Kings of War that will be its own stand alone game.  We’ll see some models introduced for factions that haven't currently had models produced for them, including a new faction not yet released in our rule books.  That's pretty exciting!

The rules are designed at this time and are entering an alpha playtesting stage which I’m taking part in.  I think the goal is to have the rules fine-tuned by Gen Con and there may be some demos there. But we'll have to see.

So what army/armies do you play, and why?

I own many armies.  But, the Herd always draws me.  I love the idea of hoofed and horned woodland creatures defending nature.  I always viewed my Beastmen that way, as defenders of the forest and less a part of Chaos.  Mantic has now given me that and I love it!
Kris' Herd army had the highest painting score at Adepticon 2016, but didn't have the required 75% Mantic models to win Best Mantic Army
I also have an Elf army fully multi-based and have used it a bit.  I'm now working on getting my Warriors of Chaos converted to KoW as a Varangur army.

After completing my Varangur I'll start into Dwarves and Orcs I believe.  I have the models for them and some conversions that I'm excited to do.

Where do you play, in case I wanted to come and get beaten by you (again)?
Looking calm and collected as he prepares to kick butt at Adepticon 2016
I play at Level Up Toys and Games in Superior, Wisconsin.  I'm there most Wednesday nights playing Kings of War.

What hobby projects are you currently working on?

Currently I’m working on getting terrain ready for the Lady of the Lake GT.  After that, I'll be wrapping up my multi-basing project for my Varangur.  Perhaps I’ll be ready to put those on the table for Dragon Fall GT in October.  I think that’ll be my next 2 day event that I’ll participate in.  I plan on making it to a 1 day event over in Fargo, North Dakota in September though.

What other games do you play, Mantic or otherwise?

I like to role play and play board games when I have a chance.  But mostly just Kings of War. Although, I'm very excited about Vanguard and how it will tie in to KoW.

Unfortunately, gaming (in general) doesn't pay the bills.  What do you do when you aren't involved with gaming?

I've been selling real estate for 18 years in the Duluth, Minnesota area. I'm a Realtor with Re/Max, the current past president of the Realtor association and treasurer of our charity organization Realtor's as Neighbors.

Ok, do you ever sleep?  It is amazing you actually have time to play any games at all.

Ha!  Yeah I sleep.  I just have to balance it all.  :)
Kris v Joe Flesch at Adepticon 2016
If you could be Ronnie Renton for a day, what would you do?

I would release a Herd army.  ;)  In all seriousness though, I'd like to see even more units released by Mantic to flesh out existing lines and then expand.  I'm excited about the Northern Alliance army.

The Northern Alliance does sound cool.  Any final words?

Thanks for doing the blog Mike!  Keep up the great work.

Watch this space for interviews with the other members as well.

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

July SW Ohio Mantic Pathfinder News

Hot dogs, fireworks and sunburn - what could be more 'Merican than that!  Why staying inside with air conditioning and playing games!

July is that in-between month in summer - in between Origins and Gencon that is!  Origins has come and gone, and we had another great show.  Not quite as busy for us (compared to prior years) due to the event registration SNAFU ( though they have said that things will be improving next year, including allowing organizers to see their events on-line (and thus be able to correct stupid mistakes)).

Gencon is fast approaching.  Unfortunately the pre-registration discount is gone and four day badges are sold out, and they may sell out on Saturday badges soon.  This year is the 50th anniversary of Gencon - so remember he who hesitates is lost!  There are still plenty of openings for both Kings of War tournaments there - and what better way to spend a hot August weekend than playing games in Indianapolis?.

So did everyone get the rest of their Walking Dead kickstarter?  now to just find time in my schedule to paint up all these minis.  Mantic is releasing a barn (with hay bales and fences) similar to the RV they did for the game, and all this new terrain fits the terrain tiles - it brings an added dimension to your games.

Excitement is building for the Edge of the Abyss summer campaign for Kings of War.  More and more information from the upcoming book is being released. Mantic now has special deals on all the formations on their website.  Take the opportunity to expand our army by asking your FLGS to order them for you.

No new information on the arrival of the Veer-Myn tunnelers (making me wonder if they got lost underground - I knew they should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque).

Star Saga, Terrain Crate and Dreadball II are both in that kickstarter phase of "being produced, but no new information".  

This is short this month, but better short than nothing at all.

If you can't get enough of me babbling on about games and hobbies, please check out my blog at .  Somehow this past year I've managed to find enough to update twice a week (Monday and Thursday at 6:00 pm) and I hope to continue to share my bizarre thoughts with you all throughout the coming year.

Mike Carter
Your friendly local Mantic pathfinder:

Monday, July 10, 2017

Wayback Machine: Drunk Dwarfs

It was my first Adepticon in 2012, and I was sitting in the Warhammer Fantasy hall. Since I had never been before, I made sure I left my Saturday open so I would have plenty of time to visit the vendor hall. Plus the championship just sounded a bit too cutthroat for my tastes.  If you have been to Adepticon, you know that is a mistake - there is little to nothing to do if you aren't in a tournament, and the vendor hall is small enough to visit between tournament rounds if you aren't a slow player.

One thing I did notice was the amount of drinking going on.  This was the first convention I had been to that allowed alcohol.  I even saw one guy with a corny keg in a suitcase.  Since brewing beer is another of my hobbies, I couldn't help but think that it would be cool to bring my own beer.

I was extremely impressed with a lot of the armies I saw there, but one in particular just knocked my socks off.  Brandon Palmer of GMM Studios was debuting his Monty Python themed Ogre army - Munchy Gutsmen and the Holy Gristle.  Like all of Brandon's stuff, it was fantastic.  However the thing at the time that I noticed most of all wasn't the beautifully painted models, nor the awesome castle as the backdrop for the display board - but the cart that he had it all mounted on to transport it.
And he just keeps upping his game.
So these different ideas were all floating around my head as I sat there.  Warhammer.  Beer.  Display Carts.  I brew beer and play warhammer.  If I had a cart then I could easily bring a keg of beer. Dwarfs are famous for drinking beer.  I like the way dwarfs play in warhammer, but haven't liked the static models that much.  Dwarfs drinking beer.  Drunk dwarfs.  Beer on a cart.  Drunk Dwarfs with cold beer on tap.

Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself - that is the finished army and display in my basement just before Adepticon 2013!  (For full details on how I made the cart - check out my post here)

Like my better projects, once I got the initial idea it didn't take me long to start coming up with ideas for it.  First every unit had to be tied to beer or drinking.  So of course I would have to find as many drunk dwarf figures as I could.

Dwarfs are all about war machines.  The grudge thrower was their catapult - so why not throw kegs of beer?  I couldn't go into battle without a trusty cannon for taking out monsters - so make it beer powered!  An organ fueled by kegs of beer!

Dwarfs also like 'normal' shooting - and I preferred black powder over crossbows - but how about using beer bottles as guns?  Hammerers were a main, powerful unit - what better hammers than beer cans?  What better armor than beer cans (that ended up not being used).

For the anvil of doom why not make the brew pot of doom instead?   Another interesting unit were miners (because of the underground advancement rule, allowing them to show up on any board edge later in the game).  Nothing fit for them until I thought of switching one letter - and they became minors - all with fake id's trying to get into this party.  Add in a beer powered gyrocoptor and I was about ready to go!

It took me a little while, a lot of research, and I never did add up the receipts for all the miniatures I ordered from any manufacturer I could find to get everything together.  And for once I still have some of the work in progress pictures.

Steam Cannon / cannon conversion, with barrels and wire for hoses
the grudge thrower just needed barrels
the gyrocoptor got barrels under the skids, some new engine parts, hoses, and eventually a steam blast from the gun
Hammer test - the can is green stuff, the label just a reduction of a can label from the web
the organ gun was a set of four barrels, with hoses going to each gun barrel.  I made the shelf from craft sticks to hold the barrel piece (it came pre-painted)
Thunderer, still needing work.  The beer bottles were bought from doll house supply sites - and ended up about $3 a piece.  As you can see it took some work to be able to fit them into the mini (mainly carving out the space for the bottle).
One thing I found while looking for drunk dwarfs was the "Sister Sledgehammerers Maidens" "fantasy football" team by Warlord Games. (and it wasn't until writing this five years later that I realized that it is the same company where I bought my roman and celtic historical minis from).

Specifically in the team were the Line Maidens sculpts - they didn't so much block their opponents as 'distract' them.

Well, when you get a bunch of drunks together, especially where there are young women and lots of beer - it just seemed natural for a wet t-shirt contest to break out.  A quick table out of craft sticks and then pin the for female dwarfs on it, and I was off (ok, way off).
Line Maidens or Dancing girls
These weren't enough though.  I went through all the other metal dwarfs I had acquired, and using the regimental bases (4 models wide) I set up appropriate models to go in front of and behind them.
even found a guy to pour the beer.
These are carefully and intentionally posed.  The shy fellow on the far left is blushing and waving as the girl is blowing him a kiss.  Others in the front are cheering them on.  The guy on the barrel on the right is pouring out a beer - right above the girl holding her breasts together as it splashes on them.
I had fun with these
One of my favorites is the second from the right in the back - I didn't even have to convert him - just proper positioning and he is about two seconds from getting slapped as he reaches for the dancers ass.

And now fully painted
I really had fun with the dancing girls & wet t-shirt contest.
so much character in them
I ended up using wooden dowels instead of green stuff for the beer cans on the Hammerers. Scouring the web for various beer labels, these were simply printed out and glued on.
The minors were fun.  I used the bodies from Dwarf Seekers by Avatars of War.  Since they are under age, I didn't want them to have beards yet, so used human heads (mainly from GW Free Company sprues).  Liquid green-stuff was used to smooth over their skin a bit for the t-shirts.  The beer logos are again color printouts of logos I found on the web, as well as the fake id's they are carrying (there are not a lot of pictures of fake id's on the internet - if you look closely though you can see both McLovin' and Agent Mulder).  These young dwarfs aren't yet old enough to drink, and just want to sneak in to the party.
As it seems to happen, a new army book came out while I was playing this army.  The book added a couple of new units, including IronDrakes.  These heavily armed warriors carried mini flame cannons - and while I didn't want to buy them, I did want to include them in my army.  So instead I used Mantic Forge Father Stormrage Veterans, and gave them the guns which I got cheap off of eBay.  I then added beer cans as fuel tanks on their backs.

The thunderers that I showed in progress now painted up.  In general most of the faces are hidden to make room for the bottle.

I really love the organ gun.  It was one of the first pieces to use the Armorcast Cinematic Effects - these are actually venom blasts - but painted up to look like beer foam.

The cannon / steam cannon conversion also got a cinematic effect - though I trimmed off all the sharp pieces of shrapnel - as the beer power wouldn't explode quite so violently.  The beer foam/cannonball are actually on a pin, so it can be removed for transport.  The figure firing the canon is also magnetized, so can come off if appropriate.

BOOM - hur hur hur
Like the WIP in progress shot, the grudge thrower was an amazingly simple conversion, but that fit the theme very well.  I made sure to have really crappy beer on the labels for the kegs - the dwarfs wouldn't waste the good stuff on their foes after all.

Change the bolt on the bolt thrower to a bottle

I used a (very) old citadel paint cap to make the brew pot of doom.  The beer and flames are valejo gel paint effects painted appropriately.  I ended up putting too much in the pot, so it shrunk down as it dried - leaving a better effect for the boiling beer than I expected.

I really liked the old gyrocoptor - especially after adding a keg and hooking it up to the steam gun. However I could not use it effectively in the game.  Instead of just putting it aside however, I turned it into a turn counter.  Some double sided tape attached the base to an MDF circle I cut out, and then made sets of beer cans for the turn numbers.  It easily rotates around on the brass rod.
Beer one
Beer three
beer five
I ended up using the same Scibor mini for both the BSB and the Lord on Shield bearers, but I never tended to field them in the same army, so it worked ok.

A beer rune smith

I made this slayer for a campaign, but it never went past the third round

An engineer, with his own version of the beer helmet

A second engineer when I needed one.

Dwarf lord on Shield Bearers.  Yes, it is the BSB, but also the anvil guards from the Brew Pot of Doom.

From the back

When the new gyrobomber came out, I really liked it.  Beautiful kit - you have to give GW credit for making plastic kits that go together very well.  I replaced the air bladders with kegs.

The army probably did better than any other Warhammer army I had played - and I played it more than any other, right up until I stopped playing completely.

At their first tournament, the 2013 Seige at the Tower in Columbus Ohio on January 5, 2013 I won Best Painted Army. Nothing to show, but $70 in gift certificates to the Guard Tower, which I used to get a bolt thrower and a copy of Flash Point.

At the 2013 Cincycon WFB Tournament on March 2nd, I again won best painted (out of 18 people). This one came with a large beer glass, a copy of the just released Daemon book, and a Garden of Mor scenery kit (close to $100 in prizes). Not bad. I got my score for the Adepticon primer as well, and my score tied with the winner (but sportsmanship was the tie breaker - and he beat me by 3 pts there). Also had the same score as the overall winner, who had the highest score for painting, sportsmanship and game play. Yeah he kicked butt.

So I take the dwarfs, with the beer tap working, to the big one - Adepticon. First thing was the 1000 pt "How You Use It" tournament - and without the display I win Tourney's Choice for half the army. (A mantic skeleton & catapult box, a box of gnoblars, and a pair of crystals (scenery) from Armorcast for the prizes). For the 5 round, 2 day championship, I had a lot of people coming by, bringing their friends, all telling me how much they loved my army and display. Unfortunately not quite enough to get a majority of votes, and did not get the big prize.

At Origins 2013, they dwarfs won Best Painted - unfortunately the awards for this never came in :-(

In October 2013, at the first annual Legendary Games Faire, the dwarfs won the Players Choice, getting a $50 gift certificate (which I'm saving for the new dwarf book rumored to be coming out soon) and engraved glass

Buckeye Battles 2014 - won Best Theme for the team tournament with my son - a team of lizardmen and dwarfs in search of the fabled golden hops!

Unfortunately, the day before we headed up for the tournament, my wife asked me to trim some of the neighbors bushes that were over our back fence.  The work didn't take long - but what I didn't know at the time was half of what I cut down was Poison Ivy.  During the team tournament I wasn't feeling well and kept getting worse as the day wore on, then the next morning my eye was almost swollen shut and I looked like I had been blessed by Grandfather Nurgle, and felt it too.  So my army was set up, the keg was working, but I went and withdrew from the tournament and spent the next few hours trying to find an urgent care.

Eventually I did find one, and they prescribed some steroids - which I then had to find a Kroger to get filled - but once I started taking them I immediately felt better.

I took a little nap, then headed back to the tournament to see how my sons were doing.  The ringer offered to play me for fun, and we had a good game.  Then Jeff came by and actually put me back in the tournament - giving me an average score for the first game to keep my pairings appropriate (which he then dropped for the final scores).  So I got in most of the games, and people enjoyed the beer.

Unfortunately, many people had already submitted their favorite army votes before finding out that I was back in the running, but event so I  tied for third in the voting for Player's Choice.  Disappointing, but understandable.  Also Brandon Palmer had actually come to Buckeye that year - so realistically I didn't stand a chance anyway.

After that I was pretty much done with Warhammer.  I played in a few more tournaments, including getting invited for a second time to the Path to Glory tournament in Columbus, which I believe was the last time I was to play Warhammer, because even though I did the best with this army, I had started playing a lot more Kings of War, and enjoyed the game much more.

So the dwarfs were put in their bin to rest.  They didn't convert well to Kings of War.

Until my oldest son suggested we do a team tournament at Adepticon - my drunk dwarfs and his nature army.

Some of the stuff directly translated, but the gyrobomber did not. I repurposed the model, taking off the main rotor and adding a drill from an old sprue (I think it was from the miners).  I then added two cannons (left over from the Mantic canon/organ gun) for a bit more firepower, and tank treads from a tank sprue I had gotten in my swag bag at Adepticon the previous year.  The kegs also got labels, and a new base with the mud from the treads.  And thus was my steel behemoth born.

A couple of years before, Wyrd was selling their Nightmare Whiskey Golem at Gencon.  Of course I had to pick one up, and it hadn't been used (except as a giant for a mega battle), so I based him to match the army, and he became a Greater Earth Elemental.

For my son't allied Nature list, he took appropriate drunk / beer themed units as well.  First were two druids - both from Privateer Press, and both drunk

Then two hordes of water beer elementals.  One the light lager

the other a darker ale

The elementals actually managed to match the two home brewed beers I made for the occasion pretty well, considering they were painted before I'd kegged the beer.

He also converted a regiment of forest shamblers to be Hop Elementals

The final team army on display

Team Drunk Dwarf, with their beer horn
Unfortunately the display did not survive the drive home afterward (all the brewery equipment breaking off) - so for now the dwarfs are back in storage.

Because it is all fun and games . . .