Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Drowned Earth - Available on Kickstarter now!

The Drowned Earth: First look at the Game

If you've heard about The Drowned Earth Kickstarter lately then you're certainly not alone! In this article we're going to take a brief look at what sort of game it is, and discuss some general points.

The first and most obvious point is that this is a low model count, character based miniatures game. Billed for games of 5-15 models (and working equally well with anything within this range) the game is played on a 3x3 board.

Like a lot of science fiction skirmish games, cover is important, or your models will shoot each other to pieces in no time! The game has been advertised with loads of beautiful, jungle ruin themed terrain, but the creators say it works perfectly well with less terrain, provided there's lots of cover to hide behind! In a game with a name like this, water is also a big feature, but again, not essential. It's fun to leap off tall buildings, guns blazing, and then landing safely in water. Swimming slows you down, as you might expect, and provides some cover too. But not all areas of The Drowned Earth are under water, and there's no reason not to fight on dry land.
So while the game might look like the terrain is a bit of a barrier to entry, I think most people who play games at home will have enough terrain to get by. This is especially true considering the board size is under average.

Turn Order
Lets have a brief look at the activation structure. The game is alternate activation, meaning that you each take turns in activating a single model. Each model has a personal pool of Action Points which they may spend during their activation.
However, models can also use these action points out of turn, to react against their opponent's actions, provided they have line of sight to the action. This, combined with the alternate activation gives the game a really involved, immediate feel: you're constantly interacting with your opponent, facing off in "firefights" and "duels". What's more, the orders are somewhat fluid when it comes to moving and shooting: you can shoot in the middle of a move, which creates a very cinematic feel, and often creates those wonderful moments of epic story, where an important objective is contested in a split second of furious action!

So this is probably the "Unique Selling Point" of The Drowned Earth wargame. Movement is pretty different to most other games: it's very easy to climb, leap, jump off things, swim and otherwise be awesome. Remembering that you can shoot in the middle of these forms of movement, this is a game where some pretty epic things can happen!
Honestly, when reading the movement chapter of the Beta rules (the rules are still subject to some change, although the creators have indicated the core rules will only need a few tweaks here and there), it can seem a little complicated, but actually its very simple:
You declare your chosen movement path, and if it includes "dynamic movement" (leaping, climbing, jumping down) you make a test. Each model has two movement values: if you get one success you move the short distance, and if you get two successes (called "Nailing It" in the game) you move your full distance. It doesn't matter how many different types of movement you encounter, you just test once, and measure.
Of course you can fail as well, and what happens when you fail depends on the type of movement you are encountering. Typically you just move as far as you can, and stop at the terrain which made you take the test.
Rarely, you can critically fail, when something REALLY bad happens (like falling off the edge of the building), but these really don't happen all that often.

Other cool stuff!
There are a few other rules which really give the game character, which don't fall under the above headings. All models have special rules, which is where the tactics of the game really come in. Most characters also have a "class role" such as Mechanic, Medic or Leader. These are accompanied by special rules such as infiltration, repair, heal or, in the case of the leader, Command.
Command allows a leader to take a free Command test (it doesn't cost an action point to do this) to move Action Points between friendly models (including himself) provided he has Line of Sight to them. This can be extremely useful when building a turn strategy, especially as the leader can do this multiple times until he fails a Command test.
We should also talk about the "Feat" mechanic: when taking a test there's a special symbol which overrides any other results rolled on other dice: it's an automatic success AND grants the model another Action Point. This can suddenly give a model the boost he needed to achieve something significant, or even just to duck down out of danger.
There are also the usual flame templates, stealth mechanics and other little bits of fun... including...
Dino models?! (editor - sold, where do I sign?) Well yes, indeed, apparently in The Drowned Earth, provided you rear them from egg, it's entirely possible to train and even ride dinosaurs. This isn't currently represented in the Beta rules (except for the odd tantalising reference to "troop" and "beast" models, and these will have to wait till the faction starter boxes and rulebook are unlocked. After then? Who knows!

I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at the game. To find out more head on over to check out

MSWG: Just want to say a massive thank you to James and his team at The Drowned Earth for taking the time to write this article. I am in for at least one starter team and some Dinosaurs when they are unlocked. If you wish to arrange a game at MSWG, please email

Quote of the Day: "Throw pound coins at me! I don't care if it hurts!"

Friday, 14 April 2017

Tale of Many Gamers: Sam Month 2

''Send in the war beasts!''

Better late than never, here is my army showcase for Month 2. I did get these complete on time but real life has got in the way of taking photos.

For those who didn't read the battle report between myself and Chris, my 400pt list was:

5 Gundabad Berserkers
Gundabad Ogre

Gundabad Captain with Shield
2 Gundabad Orcs with Shield
3 Gundabad Orcs with Spear

In total I had painted:

6 Gundabad Berserkers
Gundabad Ogre

Gundabad Captain with Shield
3 Gundabad Orcs with Shield
3 Gundabad Orcs with Spear

For month 3 I have to paint another hero plus 12 models. My target for this month is to paint an Orc Captain, 6 Spectres, 5 Mordor Uruk-hai and another Gundabad Ogre. I am having to deviate from Azog's legion for two reasons. First is the cost. Forgeworld isn't cheap and while I'm happy to pay the prices, sometimes the wallet just needs a break. Second is my ever growing backlog. I've decided to utilise this Tale of Gamers to try and reduce that backlog so expect to see a variety of evil models over the remainder of this tale (also the new Gundabad trolls will definitely make an appearance).

Now on to the pretty photos...

....maybe later.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Tale of Many Gamers: James G Month 2

''East rode the knights of Dol Amroth driving the enemy before them''

Finally completed my 400 point Fiefdom force for Month Two. This month I added a Mounted Captain of Dol Amroth (with dismount), a Captain of Dol Amroth on foot, three Axemen of Lossnarch, three Foot Knights of Dol Amroth and a Blackroot Vale Archer with Horn.

Forlong the Fat

Complete force

The foot knights of Dol Amroth

The Archers of the Blackroot Vale

This month also saw them take to the field of battle for the first time. They took on Michael MacDonald's Goblin Town force in a randomly selected scenario. The Goblin Town army consisted on the Goblin King, The Scribe, Grinnah, a Captain and four warbands of goblins.

The game selected was Hold Ground and annoyingly I won priority. It didn't start well with Forlong's warband consisting of the Axemen & Archers not turning up. The Captain on foot entered on the eastern edge of the board with the other foot knights with the lone mounted captain appearing on the opposite board edge.

I was able to place the Goblin King behind a ton of scenery at the furthest point away from me with the scribe choosing to appear alongside him.

The remaining two warbands of goblins appeared directly behind my foot knights!

Needless to say I promptly lost priority and was surrounded.

Despite having a banner in the centre of the formation, the combination of overwhelming numbers and being trapped led to four of my knights falling to the chittering hordes while only managing to kill a single goblin in return.
Forlong and his warband turned up adjacent to the fight to lend support while the mounted captain continued his charge across the battlefield. By the time the mounted captain arrived I had lost another three foot knights (including the banner) and two axemen. Although I was able to whittle away at the goblin numbers, the goblin scribe managed to pass every single one of his reinforcement roles with another three goblins being thrown into the mix every turn.
The presence of the cavalry made an immediate impact with ten goblins falling beneath his lance. This proved to be a little too late though to stop my army breaking. With the game ending on a 1 or 2 now, with nobody on the hill things were starting to look a bit tense.

In an attempt to score some VP's the mounted captain charged the Goblin King who had finally made it to the fight. After each heroic struck their opponent the Goblin King and seven supporting goblins were able to cut down the valiant knight.

With the death of my knight, any realistic chance I had of winning the game went up in smoke. With the Goblin King and two warbands worth of goblins swarmed onto the hill, the game ended. The goblins had won.

I had finished the game with a quarter of my starting army with only Forlong, an axeman, a knight and 2 archers remaining. None of them on the hill. The goblins had ten models seizing the objective. Neither general had been wounded but the goblin force had broken my army without being broken themselves. Goblin Town had won 13 - 0.

As with most games, deployment is key and no more so than in Hold Ground. My force had been separated early which allowed them to succumb to Goblin Towns superior numbers. My attempt to reinforce the foot knights with the archers also meant that I wasn't able to utilise their abilities as I would of liked. Six archers re-rolling to wound the Goblin King during his long trek to the battle could have been key.
Despite the loss it was a hugely enjoyable battle and I'm looking forward to learning from this game and growing my army. Next up is Prince Imrahil who will make a huge difference to the way the army plays. With him will also be another 8 Axemen and 4 Archers.

Thanks for this great article James! Until then, Happy Wargaming! 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Tale of Many Gamers: Chris' Update and Battle Report!

Bard: And worth a King's ransom... how is this yours to give? 

Bilbo Baggins: I took it as my one-fourteenth share of the treasure. 
Bard: Why do this? You owe us nothing. 
Bilbo Baggins: I'm not doing it for you. I know that dwarves can be obstinate and pigheaded and difficult. They're suspicious and secretive, with the *worst* manners you can possibly imagine. But they are also brave and kind, and loyal to a fault. I've grown very fond of them, and I would save them if I can. 

Chris - Well then, February is rapidly drawing to a close and I'm quite happy to reveal that I have completed my month 2 goal. I had to paint up almost the same amount of models as month 1 as it's an entire warband led by the Ring-bearer himself.

(Sam - I also managed to finish my target of Bolg and a Gundabad Ogre for this month. Thanks to Chris W from MSWG for going all the way to Warhammer World to pick the ogre up for me. I'll detail my 400 point army in another post. Now...let's hunt some tramps!)

I have never used a sword in my life!

"Any man who wants to give their last, follow me!"

So, with the 389 point army ready, it was time for their first battle.

Here is what I was up against:

Sam's Legion of Gundabad led by Bolg.

The board is set...

The scenario is To the Death!

The survivors set their sights on the relentless advance of the foul orcs...

The men of the Lake have poor aim, but Bard is a skilled archer and fells an orc.

First blood.

The rabble dart for cover, their 8" movers coming in handy.

Realizing that the onrushing orcs are charging between the buildings

the Lake-towners re-position to enclose the fighting space.

Don't want a nasty berserker flanking around the back.

"Is this a good place to stand?"

The orc filth have to move into the open.

The battle lines will clash imminently.

Bard spots his opening...

...a clear shot.

At the expense of 2 might points Bard slays the deadly beast

with 3 rapidly fired arrows.

A worthy trade.

The orcs decide it's time to get into their opponents face.

The captain calls a heroic march.

The survivors win priority when they didn't want it through fear of the counter charge.

But Bard has a thirst for blood after the destruction and chaos brought to his people.

He makes straight for the captain.

Both parties heroic strike, both expending their final points of might.

The sheer power of Bard's charge was enough to best the captain.

Meanwhile, Bolg looks to lower the numerical advantage of the fisherman...


As Bard is tied down in what is now a huge blood bath.

With mass casualties on both sides and every combat resulting in deaths!

Bolg now turns his attention to the little Shire-ling.

Bilbo's 3 might and ability to half Bolg's fight value is dangerous,

but only in combination with the Bowman.

Bolg seeks Bilbo 1-on-1.

The two army leaders finally meet in the heat of battle.

With the orcs broken, Bolg needs to fight hard and defeat the dragon-slayer

as Bilbo tries to find a way through to help his new friend.

With the fight value and dice against him, Bolg fights all the odds and

smashes Bard to the ground. BOOOOOOLGGGGGGGGG!!!

But unfortunately for the spawn of Azog it is not quite enough...

The orcs are reduced to 25% and the game ends. The Men of Laketown are victorious...for now. Despite the apparent death of Bard, the Orcs have been driven off. 

Final Scores:
Chris: 8
Sam: 3

Chris: That was a close game. I'm glad the brave men of Laketown were able to pull through despite losing Bard to the foul spawn of Azog. Next month, I have to paint another warband so I am going to paint up Gandalf the Grey and a warband of Mirkwood elves. 6 Rangers and 6 of their armoured friends.

Happy Wargaming! 

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Tale of Gamers: Lord of the Rings January Update

''Death! Ride, ride to ruin and the world’s ending!” 

James G's Fiefdoms

Tom S' Isengard

Leonardis' Azog's Hunters

Kieran S' Numenor

Oh Kieran...maybe next month.

Happy Wargaming! 

Tale of 40K Gamers: January Update

''There is only the Emperor, and he is our shield and protector.''

Chris Wakeling's Eldar

''Here we go my kill team 200 points exactly wraith guard with wraith cannons and a viper with shuriken catapults and shuriken cannon. I call them the bullet magnets as no-one seems to like them much...''

Nick S Tau

Month 1: tau kill team the the Ria'dras sec has arrived.

Strike team:124

Shas'ui - Aun'El Fal'shia Ria'dras :19
Pulse carbine

Fire warriors with pulse rifle x9 :

1x stealth
Photon grenades all above
2x marker drone :24

Xv8: 126

Aun'el au'taal Ria'dras:57
Airbursting fragments projector :15
Twin linked plasma rifle: 20
Expert shot

Shas'la N'dras Ria'dras:57
Cyclic ion blaster:15
Twin-linked plasma rifle:20
Feel no pain
2x marker drones:12

Jonny Munn's Death Guard

''From out of the wastelands the Death Guard March to war, ancient warriors garbed in hideous corroded, rotting power armour stride forward claiming this land as there own as a tribute to their master Papa Nurgle!''

Month 1:
Chosen with Power Axe (18+3+15)
Chosen with Plasma (18+3+15)
Chosen with melta (18+3+10)
Chosen with Flamer (18+3+5)
4 chosen with bolters (18+3)x4
Chosen with Autocannon (18+3+10)
244 pts

Tom P's Dark Alpha Eldar Legion

''A shadow hangs over the Grinsteadus system. Rumours abound that The Stranger; a notorious Drukhari Pirate Vessel, has been sighted in neighbouring systems. Drukhari scouts have been glimpsed across multiple worlds. One such band has been confirmed to be stalking the equatorial shrub-land of Grinsteadus Prime. Pray they don't take you alive...

(T) Kabalite Warriors 
9x Kabalite Warrior with Splinter Rifle 
1x Kabalite Warrior with Blaster 
1x Kabalite Warrior with Splinter Cannon 
Raider w/Dark Lance, Night Shields, Splinter Racks

208 points (I'm so confused)''

Daniel Lillywhite's Space Wolves...ish

Month 1. Kill team. 
''I wanted to create a space wolf army that was turning to chaos. I decided to keep the colours very dark and add lots of skulls and spikey bits. Using the wolves codex gives me lots of conversion options. 
My list:
Lone wolf with 2 fenrisian wolves and power weapon. 
5 grey hunters with meltagun. 
3 swiftclaws with flamer. 196 points''

Will M's Skitarrii

''Finished just in time are 200 points of Skitarii! 5 Rangers with a refractor field on the Alpha, and 10 vanguard with 2 arc rifles. Now, let's go and scout out some ancient tech!''

Elliot Hughes' Guardsmen

''Unfortunately, due to the heretical incompetence of Wayland Games (may they burn), I didn't lay hands on any models until yesterday. So here is my first month's contribution!
Technically one finished model, even if the paint is still wet.
I present the first Guardsman of the glorious Vulgard Siege Corps (and regardless of the colour scheme, not traitor guard)...''

Well that was a mission. Congratulations guys, great effort from everyone. I look forward to seeing these armies progress.