Friday, 26 May 2017

Clocks, deployment, and why having a plan is important

Timed games may seem daunting initially, but I’ve been playing in them for years now and there are various strategies to save time. Here’s my thoughts on the Clocks of War!

Deep in thought

First up, playing fast doesn’t mean you can’t have a laugh with your opponent, makes sure you do! Rather it’s all about having a plan in advance. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ll be standing at the table and my opponent will say, “hmm I’ve not really thought about where I’m putting which units” This is bound to end badly… When I build an army, I will design not only the combat groups but also a general battlefield deployment. This is super important as that way when you arrive at the table you’ll know what goes where, and your battle plan will be forefront in your mind.

Here’s an example, I created it in Word, but you could use Universal Battle etc. This is actually the Varangrr army I took to Fools of War. (not my latest variant, I’m not giving everything away! :p )

So the central section is fast and shooty, it can redeploy during the battle as needed, the flank force can go on either flank with an intention of pure annihilation. I will decide before I deploy any units which flank I’m going for, however by deploying the central section first it keeps my opponent guessing.

Ok before you actually deploy, put some dice on the battlefield at the 12” line, so you know how far in you can deploy. Pick up your first unit, ask your opponent if they are ready (don’t rush them), once they are, start the clock and drop that unit. This should only take a few seconds, then while your opponent is deploying their unit, pick up the next one and have it ready. As soon as they are done, drop yours, press the button. Keep doing this until complete. My entire deployment usually takes less than 1 minute. My opponents usually take 3-5 mins, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it all helps!

I don’t pay a huge amount of attention to my opponents deployment, I don’t ignore it completely but it’s more important to keep to your design otherwise the army won’t work correctly, stick with your strategy! That being said I will sometimes save a floating unit till last such as a Dragon, and this I’ll place this down to take advantage of any mistakes my opponent has made in deployment.

Ok so we have a time advantage, how do we keep it? Be precise with your movements, check you aren’t giving away flanks etc but don’t over analyse. If you spend too long thinking about possibilities you will time out. The key thing here, is to use your opponents turn to think about what you want to do in yours! As they move a unit, consider ok on my turn I will move my unit there or I will charge them etc. By planning in advance you can quickly get things into place.

Have a set number of dice in different colours, and sort them on your opponents turn, you know you will be charging and need 18 dice? Get them ready in advance!

Rules debate? Ok these are rare in KoW but can happen, pause the clock.

If your opponent needs a toilet break or wants to buy you a drink? (Yes please!) Pause that clock, always be generous to your opponent, and typically they will do the same for you. Somewhat off topic here but if my opponent forgets to shoot a unit and it’s now melee etc, I am always happy to let them do so later in their turn, it’s just a nicer way to play. :-)

If your opponent has overbearing force in a melee, I will let them roll for double 1’s, and typically again they do the same to me. That being said if your opponent does want you to roll that melee out, that is absolutely fine, never get salty over this as it is simply following the rules.

My Varangrrr

Ok we’ve done all these things and time is getting low, what do I do? Don’t panic! Use what time you have wisely. If you have 1 minute left do not charge a Zombie legion into the rear of an enemy unit! Again you should be using your opponents turn for thinking about strategy and dice prep etc. Just do the things you time for, and preferably the actions that are most likely to win you a game!

I recall one game I won, simply by moving an ASB up and blocking a horde from getting into a dominate circle, if I’d done nothing else that turn it wouldn’t have mattered that was the one key action.

One last word for new players, and those who are especially worried about clocks and pressure and such. Don’t worry, just take things easy. It’s all a game we are playing for a laugh! If you do run low on time, as above just do the important stuff. You should never actually time out providing you stick to this. Just play the game, have fun and it’s all good!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Herja of the Fallen

A friend of mine was asking for tips on how to use Herja to the best of her abilities, I wrote up some thoughts then decided I may as well publish them on my blog in case anyone else was interested! Now while these are Herja specific they will apply to a greater or lesser extent for a variety of other characters such as Basusu, Pharaoh with Wings, Vampires etc. So could be worth a look regardless. :)

Also don’t forget knowing how your opponent is likely to use a unit may well be key to neutralising said unit, if you can predict what it may do you can limit its options and perhaps catch and kill it.


Tank – She can keep a normal unit of Infantry/Cav with CS busy all day long, between Def 6, Iron Resolve and Lifeleech she isn’t going to die… Now this isn’t something you are necessarily going to want to do with her all game long, but it can be just long enough to protect another unit from a flank etc.

War Engines/Characters – She is perfect for taking out War Engines, especially those without Individual! She will likely rout them in one turn. She will easily disorder characters so is ideal vs Flyers/Wizards as she will do at least one damage.  (likely 3 or 4+) That being said a Dragon will do some damage in return and may win the overall fight. So set up a trap In which you charge the grounded Dragon in the flank/rear the turn after.

Anything but? – She is very fast and can charge in any direction this allows you to add her in almost anywhere. Have a vague idea of what damage your units will do, doesn’t need to be perfect. If you see a combat and it’s not going to be a crushing win for you, consider sending Herja in too, the extra damage may be enough to swing the fight   

Here’s a chart showing what damage she’ll do on average. Elite makes her quite reliable.

Survivable – She just won’t die unless? Generally don’t move her into a position where she can be charged by anything that can kill her! (CS2+ or the Hammer of Measured Force especially) Or at least ensure that anything that can do so will be hindered when it charges. (place her on the edge of a forest for example) If she does take a pounding, despite Iron Resolve run away!  Losing flight isn’t generally a big deal for her. (assuming CoK) And of course the best way to run away is actually to charge and kill something else, (Lifeleech!) this even allows you to go within 1” of other enemy units handy for escaping traps. She is ideal points denial.

Objectives? – Now the CoK pack limits this but certain tournaments (such as the recent Lonewolf) actually still allow individuals to score, this is huge! If she’s near the centre of the board at the end of the game she can fly nearly anywhere and possibly give you a win. Worth bearing in mind.

Even with CoK she can stand on Loot markers etc and be generally annoying. And of course she can certainly help kill things which are about to give you opponent a win.

Special – Now assuming CoK tweaks she has a Heal 5 she can use anywhere on the table, now you will mostly want to be charging with her, so I would probably use this turn 1 or two if anything you care about has taken at least 2 damage. If you save it, it probably won’t get used at all.

Alternatively if you’re playing her per the book then you just pick an infantry unit and hope to get lucky. It’s incredibly annoying on Thralls, chaff that just won’t die…


Well honestly she doesn’t really have that many, she is relatively expensive, but it’s points well spent. Her one downside really is she does only have 7 attacks where as a horde of Fallen for similar points has 18. Course she’s so flexible and hard to kill that she really is well worth her points!

Overall – Herja is an incredibly flexible unit that as you’ve probably seen almost every Varangrr player takes! Now oddly despite all that I don’t actually use her myself! Why? Well as much as I can see her utility I wanted another main hammer, and now I’ve felt the power of three hordes of Fallen I am loath to drop one! :p

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Rise of the King - Lonewolf 2017

Ah Lonewolf, the jewel in the Texas crown of tournaments! I attended last year and had a blast, and was oh so close to winning Best General. Winning 5 out of 6 games losing only my final game vs Marc Taylor. Sadly my paint wasn’t great so I sunk down to 12th. This year I hoped that maybe the Best General trophy could be mine! I had also spent the last year working on my paint, and other hobby aspects, pushing myself to improve. Hopefully I thought this would give me a vague chance of a decent overall placing.

Now the fantastic thing this year is, I did not attend alone from the UK, my friends Waltz, Nick, Jon and Ed also attended and this just ramped things up to AWESOME+. We stayed with Jeff and Mark and they gave us the real VIP treatment, such nice people. Thanks guys! I could waffle on about Texas for a while as it’s amazing but I guess most of you want to hear about my army and the tournie itself, so onwards my friends!

The Army

This is the year of the Varangrr, I try to mix things up and make a new army most years, this just keeps things interesting, and allows me to push my hobby too. As I really wanted to go all out this time, I added flickering green LED’s to every Regiment and Horde and also the Monsters/War Engines. This required me to learn a lot of new skills but I think was worth it.

If you'd like to see a video of it, with the LED's flashing you can check it out on Facebook HERE.

Army List

I originally tried a different list at Fools of War, but it wasn’t really my style, being just a little too shooting centric. This new list focused on the hammers, 4 of which have Pathfinder, (3 Fallen and the Mounted Sons) this as you’d guess is rather handy. I also have chaff and even some nice shooting, not to mention the King on Chimera. It’s a good all round list in my opinion as it allows me to take out some ranged threats and throw a little damage around as desired but still hammer through where needed.

Start of Day 1

The day dawned and LONEWOLF was here! I, perhaps foolishly, stayed up late the night before, so I was a little hungover, but hey that’s part of the fun! Robby King rocked up to me and gave me a large can of some crazy high alcohol concoction, I actually rather enjoyed it, thanks Robby!

Jon and myself sporting our FFS Tshirts!
 Ok onto the games, now I won’t go into great detail, but will give some highlights.

GAME 1 – Kris Kapsner – Herd - Bullseye

I’d challenged Kris as he was someone I really wanted to play, and as he’s also won various tournies. I knew it’d be a close fun game, and it was! The scenario, Bullseye was a variant on Dominate, which was cleverly done, it consisted of 3 circles, and you scored more for being closer to the centre.

Kris Kapsner
This was a nail biter of a game! Kris and I both deployed heavily on one flank, I mostly tried to delay the Stampedes, while pushing through on the far flank with my Chimera and the Mounted Sons. Things were very close in the centre, an early turning point was the Guardian Brutes routing my King on Chimera in one go. (I’d been forced to charge them in the front to protect the flank of another unit) I’d really thought he would hold a turn... (average damage with Banechant was 8, with a 12 nerve check being needed twice, but Kris rolled really well for them)

By the end of turn 6 I’d killed everything bar the 2 Stampedes and the Shamans, but likewise I’d lost most of my army. If the game ended now Kris would win, if I got a turn 7 I would likely rout both Stampedes for a big win. The game ended! Giving Kris an 11-9 win. Amazing close game, Kris is a great opponent; I really hope we get to play again some day. :-)

GAME 2 – Mike Grajada – Herd - Debbie does Dallas

Mike was a really nice guy who came along with his son Jeff, (who has a child on the way, congrats again!) I hope one day I get to go events with my son. :-)

This scenario meant we each had a “Debbie” who buffed a unit it was assigned to, but on a 1 each turn it would go wild. Mine behaved well and happily stayed under my control all game.
Mike’s Debbie however was a true diva and decide she would much rather march the unit forward and give me a flank instead of charging and routing me, ouch…  

Near the end of the game.

I had an early advantage after taking all 4 of Mike’s chaff units by turn 2, this allowed me to start getting round the flanks and rears and eventually I wiped pretty much everything out. For a 20 - 0 win to me.

GAME 3 – Steven Housenick – Goblins – Lone Ranger

Steven had a really nicely themed Goblin list, that was also challenging to face! He really got into the swing of things here for a really fun game, it was actually really close and one of the key highlights was Steven’s Mawbeasts hindered charging my Magus Conclave, routing it, then hitting the flank of my Mounted Sons and routing them too! Eeeek!

Fortunately as the dust cleared I’d done the most Lone Ranger damage and got mine over to his deployment zone, for a decent bonus, giving me a 16-4 Win.

GAME 4 - Jesse Berglund – Elves – Twister

Jesse is one of the Lake SWATT guys and he was a pleasure to face. His list was tough so I knew I had to get stuck in ASAP. Luckily the Twister decided to help me out, touching down on both his Dragons and a shooting horde removing their flight and penalising all shooting in that area. I sped straight up the flank placing all my Fallen into a wood, Jesse double charged the Dragons into one of the Fallen, if he’d routed it, he may have been ok. (still needed a decent overrun) But luck was not with him and just wavered it, giving me a flank charge on both Dragons spelling their doom... 

With the Dragons gone the way forward was clear

Elsewhere my army mostly sat in forests, soaking up shots. I sent all my shooting into the Stampede causing it to back away. My King on Chimera was smashing stuff on the other flank, but then rolled poorly on the rout test against Palace Guard with Stormwind Cav facing its rear! Thankfully the Lonewolf reroll saved the day, allowing me to turn to face and eventually kill the knights. (I was behind an obstacle) 20-0 to me.


End of Day 1

So at the end of the day I’d done quite well despite my loss against Kris, I was now top of battle which was a pleasant surprise. A lovely evening followed going for a meal with Kris and the other guys. Again I was the last Brit standing as all the others got an early night again! :-P

Late night chilling

Start of Day 2,

Ok now I was even more tired and hungover but hey it’s all good, time for a beer and more KoW! ;-)

GAME 5 - Michael Pearcy – Basileans - Poison Wells

I’d been really looking forward to this and so had Michael, in fact he’d been thinking about it instead of sleeping, I suspect he was even more tired than me! ;-) This was a another great and very tough game. As Michael had the speed advantage I knew I would have to set up some bait, so I quickly got a Fallen horde up the flank threatening his units but out of LoS of everything bar some panther lancers, I dealt with them and held giving myself a nice nimble charge angle on his other units. My other units were set up to charge anything that charged the Fallen.

Michael went for it, but got overconfident and went in with just the Elohi (Gneuss could have combo charged with them) and they failed to waver my Fallen, this was a terrible result for Michael as I was then able to rout the Elohi and Gneuss with Flank attacks. 

To give Michael credit he kept going despite that, played very well and took out several more of my units, I just couldn’t catch his individuals. In the end I held two of the wells and his Paladins were backing away on my right, just holding the third. But my Magus conclaves concentrated fire and finally routed them last turn for a 16-4 win to me. Cheers Michael, what a great game, really hope we get to play again at a future event!

GAME 6 – Marc Taylor – Trident Realms of Neritica – Six Flags of Texas

Again! Just like last year it was down to Marc and myself battling for Best General! I knew I was top on battle coming into the game so theoretically even a draw would give me the Best General trophy, but honestly I don’t play that way, I always go all in and try to win big, more fun that way. I was pleased to see Trident Realms doing so well, despite the nay sayers saying they still weren’t that good. The army was obviously working out well for Marc! I knew this would be a tough game.

Marc won table sides and unfortunately was able to put both his bolt throwers on a hill. All his units were on that one table half, canny deployment and difficult for me to get around due to a large building.

Last year Marc got a double 6 waver on my Stampede this proved critical, so this year what does he do? First turn both Bolt throwers shoot one of my Fallen Hordes, both hit, 9 damage and wavered… Damn! Not an auspicious start. But it’s ok, I moved up on the flanks as much as I could, while staying well away from the Placoderm Horde… Marc moves closer and here he makes a mistake, he positions his Naiad Wyrmriders behind other units but within 16” of my Fallen, and he gives me a flank. (via a long run behind the building) This proved critical as I took them out in one go and was now behind his line. I was also able to rout a unit of his Crabs, though the other took a little longer.

On the right the Knuckers were being a menace, they are amazing units, and Marc played them really well. He easily took the flight away from my King on Chimera, however I still had LoS and angle to do a single pivot charge into his River Guard escaping the dead zone he had set up. (Knuckers on the flank etc) He tried again but once more I snuck out with a single pivot charge into a bolt thrower this time.

By then the Placoderm Horde was surrounded, I had purposely avoided it until I was reasonably confident I could rout it in one go. Fallen in the front and my King on Chimera in the flank did just enough damage and routed it.

At this point all Marc’s remaining units ran away! He sensibly tried to kill anything he could then fled the remainder to hold a table area, I finally caught one Knucker then the game ended with me in control of the other 5 areas, for a 19-1 win.


This put me in the lead for battle, however during the award ceremony my name was not called out for a Best General trophy! This had me excited, as that meant I’d done well enough for an overall trophy. My name was finally called out, and I walked up to the front. Jeff Swann was 3rd overall, Aaron Chapman was called out as 2nd overall, giving me… 1st overall! The chant of UK, UK, UK from my teammates, rolled out across the room. To say I was pleased is an understatement. ;-)

Congrats to everyone who placed, and Ryan especially for his beautiful army and board, a true work of art. Special congrats to Team BOJF, with Ed winning 2nd best Sports, and Nick for the best mounted Lone Ranger! (really nice conversion)

Ed and myself with our Trophies, note the snazzy Altrincham Gamers Club Tshirt!


Wow what a weekend, Mark had done an excellent job of running the event as always, I had an amazing time, and was really pleased to have this year not only got the highest battle score but indeed to surpass that and win overall! I was really pleased with my paint score, which was 62 out of 80, big improvement on last year. I’m glad I went all out with LED’s and working on my paint to improve my skills, hopefully I can continue to improve as time goes by.

Thanks to everyone I played, all my friends for coming along, all the guys I hung out with and drunk beers with, Jeff and Mark for hosting and their wives Jen and Lyndsay for putting up with us! Also thanks to my wife Cathy for letting me go at all! ;-) Lonewolf and in fact Texas in general is amazing I would love to come back next year to defend my title! Course before then we have the US invasion of the UK Clash of Kings to look forward to, Hell yeah! :-D

FFS and CC with Waltz looking especially handsome

Army thoughts post event

My army worked as desired all tournie long, I felt I had answers in general for all my opponents lists. The only thing I did feel was missing from my army was a combat Individual, I really struggled to get to grips with Michael’s individual characters.

Varangrr of course have Herja, who is very versatile, but I didn’t really want to spend so many pts on her, it would mean dropping something like a Horde of Fallen which I’d be reticent to do, and besides I liked being one of the only Varangrr armies without her. (she’s good, but you can do without her) A cheaper option would be the Cursed Son with Wings of Honeymaze, not nearly as survivable of course. Hmm I’m undecided, I do love the army as is. Now if I was play at a higher pts value she would certainly be tempting…

Jeff looking GORGEOUS with his UK cap on! Mike is Jealous! ;-)