Tuesday, April 26, 2016

TMAT 2016 Preview: The Army of the Dead

Hey Reader!

Also been a long time since I last posted - between working full-time (with growing responsibilities as I train a mostly green team, including my boss), starting up a small business, and blogging for the aforementioned small business - on top of normal life - it's been a whirlwind of excitement around the How, :)  But the Forge has been busy with a brand new army for the upcoming TMAT GT, and I'm super excited about it!

In retrospect, I don't think anyone (except maybe Tiberius - I was chatting with him about it when I was adding the wash) that I even owned models for the army, so when I posted on the blog I got a few responses of, "Wow: you own Army of the Dead models?"  And I was like, "...oh yeah: I haven't show you guys these."

So I decided to do a post (much in the same style as the post Tiberius put up, which you can find here), highlighting my army for the tournament.  So with no further ado, my Fiefdoms army...

1.  High Concept: The Fiefdoms of Gondor

I've seen a few people in our gaming group play Fiefdoms, but to date it has been exclusively 1) Dol Amroth men-at-arms, knights, and men-at-arms (which, for the record, are good units for what they are designed to do), and 2) as an ancillary squadron to a Gondor army.

Honestly, I've always liked the Fiefdoms list - Clansmen of Lamedon are among the cheapest F4 S4 2-hander troops you can purchase (only 8 pts/model, yo!), and with a ranger-style archer option and a mix of heavy infantry and heavy cav, they've got their bases covered.

What's more, their heroes have some flesh and color to them: they all offer something useful to the list.  Now we won't do the breakdown here (I'll save that for a post series someday), but for now just know that the Fiefdoms army can do well more than just a heavy infantry block supported by cavalry, which is what we have seen to date from them.

My army is an attempt to showcase some of that versatility.  It uses a small troop of rangers (still not sold on them being better than Rangers of Arnor, but they'll do in a pinch), a small detachment of Clansmen of Lamedon (because I try not to go anywhere without a 2Her nowadays - good for cracking a D6 wall, especially if it's a S4 2Her), and 19 (yes, 19) Warriors of the Dead.

The army is still very one-dimensional (it's designed to run up into your face and wreck your lines), but it does it in uncommon ways.  Let's take a look at how it does this.

2.  Unit Choices: Heroes and Warriors

Leading the army is Angbor the Fearless, the old guy in front of the other five Clansmen, who not only lends a 2-hander to the army, but also allows Clansmen within 6" of him to treat him as a banner (because you know me: I don't go anywhere without a banner re-roll).  The Clansmen are not only F4 (like Angbor), but they also boast Courage 5, allowing them to be reliable charging units against models that cause Terror.

Next to them you see a small detachment of Warriors of the Dead with shields, which add two essential traits to the force.  Since these bad boys start at D7 as their base profile, adding the shields brings them to D8, so that S4 models wound them on 6s (effective neutralizing of a lot of Forces of Good power heroes), S3 models wound on 6/4+ (so elven archery gets dicey against their ranks, as do basic infantry), and S2 models (i.e., most archers) are wound on 6/5+ against these boys.  With them comprising over half the army, it also means you have to kill at least a few of them in order to break the army, and with them outnumbering the softer Clansmen almost 3:1, we should have ample protection from non-volley archery.

But these boys aren't just tanks - they're powerful killers.  Because they wound targets on Courage Value instead of Defense, most models - even if elves are in the mix - will be wounded on 5s or better.  This means that we should be looking at high damage output, even against heavily armored opponents, with minimal casualties.

We also have a small troop of Blackroot Vale Archers.  I've had these Dunedain models for a long time, and I've just never used them because frankly I love the poses for the Rangers of Middle Earth better, :P  So as I was painting up a spare Aragorn model as Duinhir (who almost made the cut for my army), I was like, "Eh, I might as well try these guys out."  So I grabbed these models, changed up the color scheme to a brown coat + blue jerkin (to look more like Gondorians), and have added them to my force.

We'll see if I use them again - I have my reservations on these guys (C2 is hard to overcome), but it's archery, and I need that to support the main body, :P  Not to mention they get to re-roll to-wound rolls against monsters, which could be useful in a pinch.


All in all, the more I look at this list the more I think of it like a large club: it's very one-dimensional, very predictable, but the one thing it does it's pretty good at, :)  I look forward to seeing how these guys work at the tournament!  Should be a lot of fun, win or lose!  Until next time, you know where to find me,

Watching the stars,


"Firenze!  What are you doing?  You have a human on your back!  Have you no shame?  Are you a common mule?" ~ Bane, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Sunday, April 24, 2016

TMAT 2016 Preview: The King's Champion

Hey everyone,

Long time no write, I know. Been working on a few things before a short trip this week, and got some time in for a picture or two. Behold, the (nearly finished) King's Champion and Heralds conversion for my upcoming TMAT list:
Here's the list (missing a few models I'm going to borrow from Glenstorm's collection). 10 of the units are Defense 5 and flexible skirmishers, while the rest are Defense 6 archers, D7 front-liners, or D8 (or D9!) heroes. 
Yeah, he's a beast, if you haven't seen his profile - potentially D9 with 5 Fate points and 3 Attacks (with 2 banner rerolls for the lower two dice) at F6 S5 - killer!
The banners came from two blisters of GW's Warhammer High Elf Lothern Sea Guard (excellent unit in big blocks). These were set on half-toothpicks, giving them not only a point to insert into the banner, but also remaining thick (as I've always assumed a Dwarf war standard would be).
The King's Champion (as well as the Heralds) come from a metal Dwarf Warrior blister and I've seen this particular model converted different ways to be Dain, Durin, etc. In this case, he's been given the two hand axes from the two shield-toting Dwarves in the set (who became the heralds) and got accented with a fur hide cloak (thematically won from a Dunlending) and two great tusks which he won in an epic battle with a feral Boar (parts actually came from my Warg blister - hurrah for base scenic modifications).
Also did some work on my Dwarf Shield-Bearer (DSB), who is a converted Dwarf Ranger. The black hair coming out was added on thanks to Dwalin from the first Hobbit movie, did some decorative stuff to his cape too...
A free-hand dragon - not the best, but pretty good given the size. Going with a dragon theme because his shield has a dragon too. Did some silver trim on the hem too, matching what I've done for Balin's cape as well.
Next week, I might post something before the GT, we'll see. I need to finish basing the models - planning on getting the KC up on something (not going to do that for the heralds - I think they'll stand out on their own). Until then, happy hobbying!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Announcing: TMAT GT 2016!

Time to announce the opening of registration for the fifth annual Tell Me A Tale Grand Tournament! This tournament is a small 1-day independent tournament for the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game and will be played on Saturday, May 7, 2016 in Purcellville, Virginia starting at 10am (players are asked to arrive at least 20-30 min early for check-in and setup). LOTR SBG players in the greater D.C. area and beyond are welcome to attend, but are asked to register NLT Apr 30. The tournament is free to play and the rules for the tournament are provided below.

1. Gameplay

(1.1) The ruleset and FAQ/Errata from the One Rulebook (ORB) and warbands sourcebooks will preside over the tournament along with the TMAT House rules listed in the tab above. Apart from the rules adopted in the house rules, the Hobbit ruleset will not be used; however the armies and models may be used. It is the responsibility of the player using the new models to provide their full profiles on the day of the tournament.
(1.2) The tournament will consist of three games - each will have a time limit of 90 min. At the end of 90 min, players will be permitted to finish their current round and tally points.
(1.3) Once started, the time clock will only be stopped if two players have a significant disagreement on a particular rule (line of sight, special rules for a unit, etc.), in which case all games will stop and the other competitors will mediate/look up what the proper ruling is. If a resolution is unable to be established in a short time period, a roll-off will be cast to determine the ruling for that particular game.
(1.4) There will be approximately 15 minutes between games for players to move to the next table, refresh themselves, turn in their scoring data, etc. and there will be a 60 min break for lunch following Round 1.
(1.5) Upon check-in the day of, players will draw a number and be assigned to randomized opponents and boards. The boards you are assigned to will determine scenarios played.
(1.6) Scenarios will be a mix of Warband and LOME based scenarios with minor modifications. See Section 3 for scenario details. Scenarios played will be determined by the table you are on.
(1.7) Battle Points are earned as follows: Major win: 10pts, Minor win: 8pts, Draw: 6pts, Minor loss: 4pts, Major loss: 2pts.
(1.8) Additional Battle points can be earned by: 1) Accomplishing various Oaths of Battle in-game with your Army leader (see 4.1); 2) Kudos points from your opponent (see 4.2) 3) Secret Objectives completed each round (see 4.3).

2. Army building

(2.1) Army size will be 600pts, 60 model limit. Your army must contain a clearly designated Army leader.
(2.2) Armies may be constructed either using the Warbands scheme or using a modified LOME scheme with at least 200 points (33% of total) spent on at least 2 heroes and all LOME alliance restrictions in effect.
(2.3) For the purposes of deployment, LOME armies will be broken into 3 detachments of at least 6 models (if your army contains fewer than 18 models, divide as evenly as possible). These detachments will be treated as warbands for the purposes of deployment and any scenario rules that refer to "warbands." These detachments must be designated prior to the tournament and will be submitted with your army roster. If you have insufficient heroes to provide a leader for each detachment, nominate a model to "lead" the deployment for any detachment without a hero. All models in a detachment will be deployed within 6" of the leader.
(2.4) For newer post-LOME models that do not show up on the old army lists, use common sense to determine which list they would fall under. Feel free to contact the tournament organizer if you have questions as to whether a new model is allowed in a certain LOME list. Please consult the House rules page for the adopted LOME alliance structure for the new Hobbit army lists.
(2.5) WYSIWYG - equip your models appropriately. Proxy models are permitted only if specially purchased/converted/clearly established for that role permanently. (e.g. no "counts as, but only for this tournament" substitutions. If you want to field a particular character, invest the time/$ to do so). Exception: generic Nazgul models may be used as named Nazgul as long as it is clear to your opponent what they represent.

3. Scenarios

(3.1) For all scenarios, scoring rules regarding the opponent's army leader will be modified to the following as applicable: 0 Victory Points are scored for wounding the enemy leader. 2 Victory Points are scored for killing the enemy leader.
(3.2) Depending on the number of participants, the following scenarios will be used (in order of precedence)
(A) Tempt the Fates: To the Death variant. Wipe out your opponents to win! Play continues to 25%.
1) Setup: Each player receives an allotment of 3 tokens. These represent the players Doom Pool.
2) Deployment: Warbands/Detachments are placed on opposing board edges within 6" of the board edge on the roll of 1-3, and within 12" of the board edge on the roll of 4-6.
3) Scoring: 3 Points for breaking your enemy, or score 5 points if your opponent is broken and you are not. An additional 2 VPs are awarded if the opponent has been driven to 25% of their starting force at game end. Score 2 points for killing the army leader. Score 2 points for having a banner in your army at the end of the game.
Special Rules: Doom on You!: Doom tokens can be spent to alter any roll made by the player, except rolls made by heroes (but including priority rolls or in-game roll-offs). Each token spent can alter a single die by +/-1 in the same manner as might points. Players can spend multiple tokens on the same roll. At the end of the round, add any used Doom tokens to your opponent's Doom pool.  

(B) Domination: Scenario setup, play and scoring uses the rules from the Warband sourcebooks with the following exception for setup: Opponents select opposite corners of the board rather than board edges. All warbands/detachments are deployed within 18" of their corner.
(C) Storm the Camp: Advance into the enemy territory and claim it for your own! Game ends at 25%. Setup: Opponents select opposite corners of the board and all warbands/detachments are deployed within 18" of their corner.
Scoring: 1 point if the enemy is broken, or 3 points if they are broken and your army is not. Score 1 point per model within 24" of the opponent's corner at game end.
(D) Hold Ground: Scenario setup, play and scoring uses the rules from the Warband sourcebooks with one exception: play continues to 25%.

4. Additional Scoring

(4.1) Oaths of Battle: For each game, after deployment select 1 Oath not previously sworn and announce it to your opponent. If both players achieve their oath: score 1 Battle Point, If neither player achieves their oath: score 0 Battle Points, Only one player achieves: that player scores 2 Battle Points. 3 bonus Battle Points are awarded if a player fulfills their oath each game:
Blood-sworn Enemy: Choose an enemy hero - he is your arch enemy and they must die on the field of battle before the end of the game
Future King: Your army leader must continue to lead his force at the end of the game, neither slain nor "heroically departed."
Chivalry in Battle: Your army leader must fight the enemy leader in melee combat for at least one round and survive (die being rolled on each side). Your army leader may not use the shielding rules in this effort.
Line in the Sand: Nominate a piece of terrain within 12" of your opponent's board edge (or place a marker if there is no suitable terrain). Your leader must end its move in base contact with it at least once during the game.
Battle Prowess: Your army leader must kill more models than your opponent's army leader.

(4.2) Kudos: At any point during your game, up to 3 categories may be awarded by your opponent once per game, worth 0.5 battle pts each (maximum of 1.5 battle points per game). Your opponent is not obligated to give the maximum kudos - or any kudos at all. They must be earned.
Hope Rises: A non-named figure acts in a way that both players agree was awesome. (Example: Your uruk captain just used a might point to shoot into a combat and kill his own troop - thus opening up a previously concealed Legolas to 6 xbow shots!)
Lead by Example: A named hero acts in a way that both players agree was awesome. (Example: Eomer just called 3 successive heroic combats to catapult himself to the rescue of your banner!)
Master Plan: Perform a maneuver that causes your opponent to be impressed (for good or ill) by the strategy. (Your elf cavalry just rode around behind the opponent's line and dismounted in order to shield their opponents into difficult terrain - thus clearing a path to the objective!)
Fortune's Favor: Experience a very lucky streak of dice rolling that is acknowledged by both players (Example: your orc archer just passed 2 in the ways to wound a D7 unit!)
The Dice are trying to Kill Me: Experience a very unlucky streak of dice rolling that is acknowledged by both players (Example: your mounted Nazgul had its mount slain, was thrown to the ground, failed both fate rolls and broke its wraithish neck!)

(4.3) Secret Objectives: Each round, a secret objective will be randomly shuffled out to players for the chance to win extra Battle Points that round. These objectives do not impact the outcome of your current game, but add to your overall tournament score. Your secret objective is not to be revealed to your opponent until game end. Each successfully completed secret objective is worth 2 Battle Points.

5. Registration:

(5.1) Registration is done via the comments below. Post your army list and note your army leader and indicate how it is organized under the appropriate LOME or Warbands rules. Once a list is posted it may not be revised. If the posted list does not comply with the guidelines given, the Tournament Director reserves the right to make minor ad hoc corrections to facilitate compliance.
(5.2) On the day of the tournament you must provide a hard copy of your army roster with: 1) A complete army list organized by warband (or detachment for LOME armies) with the army leader designated; 2) The complete profile stats of all units in your army; 3) Total model count, army broken point and 25% level of your army (all fractions are rounded down - a 31 model army is broken when reduced to 15, 25% when reduced to 7 models)
Players who fail to provide their army roster on tournament day as outlined will not be allowed to participate until they produce the required roster. If this should delay the first game, they will be credited with a major loss and their opponent will automatically be awarded a major win.

For any questions regarding the above, feel free to ask away in the comments below. We're looking forward to yet another great tournament. Let the games (and modeling/painting flurry) begin!

- Z