This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.
Last Saturday (26th September) I had a great first play test game of Wars of Orcs and Dwarves with Buck Surdu, Chris, Mark, Jim and Greg. The game was hosted in North Yorkshire but all of the players were from various locations in the USA (Buck lives in Florida, Mark in Massachusetts, Jim in North Carolina and Greg and Chris are from Maryland). The game was played using 'Zoom', a video conferencing application. I have a webcam mounted on the ceiling in my games room, the camera and microphone covers the whole of my games table. These images are web into the video conference. All of the players have rules, dice and units stats. The players make there decisions and roll there dice and the results are reflected on the table top for everyone to see. Games take a little bit longer to play, as there is no concurrent activity, but they are certainly the next best thing to get together around a gaming table. The huge bonus is off course that you can as easily play with friends from the other side of the world as your friends from the next village.
Wars of Orcs and Dwarves takes the rules mechanics of 'Wars of Ozz' which is a Black Powder, Mass Fantasy Battle game set in the world of the 'Wizard of Oz' and 40+ other books written by L Frank Baum and others and applies them to Tolkien inspired, 'traditional' fantasy. Mark, Greg and Jim played the Orcs and Goblins and Buck and Chris played the Dwarves. The battle started with aggressive opening moves from the Orcs. Mark immediately sent the pack of ferocious wolves charging into Bucks Dwarven archers.
On the Dwarves right flank, Chris Palmer sets his Brigade to advance through the woods and rocky ground towards the 'Great North Road' which provided the strategic objective for the game.
Fighting unsupported the wolves took casualties from the Dwarves short range volley as they charged home and in the subsequent rounds of melee. We can see the survivors routing past the advancing Ogres and Goblins.
The next unit to charge Bucks Dwarven archers was a regiment of Night Goblin Archers. They have already suffered two casualties from bowfire as they have advanced. After each four casualties, a base is removed.
The Dwarven archers managed to move to there right flank to let the more heavily armored Dwarf Free Company advance into melee with the Goblins.
Meanwhile on the Orcs left flank, Greg and Jim have managed to get there Orcs to surge forward to occupy the road, control of which determines the winner of the battle.
Bucks Dwarves stoically fought of the Night Goblin attack, but no sooner had the Goblins routed there place was taken by a unit of huge, lumbering Ogres.
Gregs Orcs fan out in to line occupying a defensive position between the sturdy dry stone walls.
On the Dwarves right flank, Chris's brigade advances cautiously as fast as there short legs allow.
A bizarre sight, Jim’s Ogre regiment charges in a one stand column. It was a gamble, if they had reformed, it would have used half there move so they would not have got into combat, and it certainly kept the pressure up on the Dwarves.
Chris Palmers Dwarves fought well, here we see another unit or Orcs routing towards there own lines.
The Dwarves had enlisted the aid of a mercenary hill giant. He had little problem defending the bridge from the advancing Goblins.
Eventually the Free Company on the Dwarves right flank broke.
At the end of the game, victory was awarded based on the amount of non-routing units occupying the terrain tiles that included the main North - South road. The Orcs had three, the Dwarves had two, so on this occasion it was a minor victory to the green skinned brigade.
We are already planning a return match in four weeks time.
The game mechanics worked very well and I think was enjoyed by all.
The terrain was all built using Sally 4th Terra-Former modular terrain tile kits, which you can find out about here.
Over the last month I have been rebasing all my old Games Workshop Warhammer Fantasy Battle miniatures onto 2" square unit bases for playing Wars of Orcs and Dwarves. Click here to take a look at the rebasing article and some of the classic Warhammer miniatures in greater detail.
I've just started a big project to rebase all my Warhammer Fantasy Battle miniatures onto multiple 2" square bases for playing amongst other games 'Wars of Orcs and Dwarves' (WOOD).
I've been playing and collecting Warhammer Fantasy since the first edition was released, and in fact we were playing fantasy battles before that using amended versions of Wargames Research Group 6th Edition Ancients. I was very excited when WFB was launched, rather than house rules and amendments, here was a set of rules purely for playing out Fantasy Battles. I remember the excitement of going to the local games shop in Kingston upon Thames, where I was at college and buying the box set of three A4 booklets. In those days Games Workshop sold and supported all sorts of fantasy and sci-fi games and you could of course use figures from any manufacturer to play Warhammer...boy how things have changed, and not all for the good. I've played all the different editions over the years and collected Dwarves, Empire, Brettonian, High Elf, Wood Elf, Skaven, Lizardmen, Ogre Kingdoms, Tomb Kings and probably some more that I can't even remember.
I was appalled when Games Workshop axed Warhammer. So many people had invested so much time, money and energy and it felt like a pretty cynical move to get people who wanted to continue playing fantasy to go out and buy an 'Age of Sigmar' army and start collecting expensive miniatures from scratch. I was pretty disillusioned and sold most of my Warhammer miniatures on eBay. I think that I'd intended to sell them all but got distracted or bored listing them and some remained, lurking amongst the thousands of historical miniatures in my collection.
Then came, Wars of Ozz, a fantastic mass battle fantasy system set in the worlds described in over 40 'Oz' books by L Frank Baum (and others). Not the Tolkien inspired Warhammer Fantasy by any means, these guys have muskets for a start, but it is a fantasy world with giants, trolls, skeletons, magic and much more, In fact as the 'Wizard of Oz' was first published in 1900 it is quite possible that Tolkien read it and was inspired by it as a child! I've really enjoyed playing Wars of Ozz. The rules are intelligent, streamlined and reach a conclusion in a couple of hours. They are fun to play and do not need the myriad special rules and exceptions that slow so many systems down. I asked the author 'Buck' Surdu, if it would be possible to use the underlying mechanics of Wars of Ozz to write a set of rules for playing games using our old Warhammer Figures and featuring traditional fantasy races like Orcs, Dwarves, Goblins and Elves. Wars of Orcs and Dwarves is the result. It's just in play test at the moment.
This blog is going to be all about the units that I am rebasing, and new units that I put together to supplement them.
These are some of the first plastic miniatures that Games Workshop ever made. You used to get 60 figures for £9.95 (because no one is going to pay £10 for a box of figures!). You got ten each of Dwarves, Goblins, Orcs, Skaven, Wood Elves and Dark Elves. These guys have fought many a campaign. Prior to this Warhammer Regiments box set in plastic, Games Workshop had released 'Drastic Plastic' 54mm figures and a box of plastic skeletons.
This unit is also mainly made up of figures from the Warhammer Regiments plastic box set. Each figure has a seperate head and their was a choice of two to give you some variety.
One of the issues I always found was ranking up miniatures whose arms and weapons often extended beyond their base size. In Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Orcs were mounted on 25mm square bases. In Wars of Ozz and Wars of Orcs and Dwarves, figures are mounted on 2" square bases, and it does not matter how many figures are on the base, the base is an element. I have mounted three Orcs to a base, this allows me to stagger them so that they rank up better and gives a bit more room for scenic modelling on the base.
The command base just has two figures, a Black Orc Boss and a standard bearer. They are both from the early days of Warhammer.
This weekend I have been painting and basing a unit of Wolves for my Orc and Goblin army and a unit of Dwarf Adventuring Companies armed with double handed weapons and crossbows to use in next weekends big Fantasy Battle game.
The Wolves are from Sally 4th Miniatures. I have painted some of these up already as Arctic Wolves and mounted them on single bases for the White Out solo / co-op play games set in the icy wastes. This time I wanted a 6 base unit of twelve wolves. I really like the dynamic poses, especially the leaping and the landing wolves, so I added some logs and rocks for them to jump over.
Here's the complete unit. It was very quick to paint up and was the first test for the spectacular new 'Masterclass: Drybrush set' from Army Painter. When I first looked at these revelotionary new brushes, I thought that no way they could be used on miniatures, as they are huge. However, they are the best dry brushes that I have used ever and the large heads with composite bristles makes short work of picking out detail.
This is the first of two units of 'Adventuring Company' Dwarves. I've called them Adventuring Companies as they are well equiped but with a wide variety of arms and armor. I needed a couple of extra units for my Dwarven army. About 15 years ago some one came into my shop with a bag of poorly painted Dwarves, which were pretty old school even then and asked if I could use them as her son had given up Warhammer. I said thank you very much and they've sat in the bottom of a cardboard box for fifteen years.
I had a look through them and sorted them into figures with a spear or double handed weapon and those with a single handed weapon, stuck them on temporary painting bases and resprayed them over the top of the old paint with Army Painter spray primer. As I had 40 figures to paint over a weekend I needed a quick technique, so I used the Instar Alpha Contrast Paint. This stuff is magic. It's like the GW Contrast paint, but less than half the price. It puts a base coat and low lights on in a single coat (when thinned with Water +) and is very highly pigmented and flows brilliantly.
As the figures are all different, most are Games Workshop but some are pre-slotta base GW, some are TSR D&D Dwarves. I wanted to blend them together as a unit and with the rest of my Dwarf Army so I did some enhancements. The standard bearer is converted from a Spearman using the banner pole and standard from the North Star Oathmark Dwarves. The shields and shield decals are also from North Star Dwarves (apart from a few figures that had shields cast on). Some of the figures had crossbows as part of the castings, but to make it look more like a dual armed unit I added plastic crossbows from my bits box that had been left over from some Perry Miniatures War of the Roses miniatures, (a range that I would reccomend to anyone wanting to collect a Warhammer Empire Army).
Keep checking back... Lots more units to photograph and add.