Monday, January 30, 2012

What the hell! Skaven!

This must be some crazy shit, but I just involved in Skaven too!

My friend gave me a whole bunch of unassembled Skaven stuff and that's enough for me to really get started on the army.  A few bucks here and there and I should have a huge army.  That's pretty good considering I didn't spend anything on the Ogres.  My only problem is.. I have limited amounts of experience with and against the rats.  I've been developing a list lately and it looks something like this.

Keep in mind that I have rules!

  • The first rule is that I wanna take Queek Headtaker because I like his fluff and his rules.
  • I will not be using the Hell Pit Abomination.  I hate the model, hate the rules and I don't want to hear people bitch.
  • Out of all the clans, I think I like Clan Pestilens the most.  Hence why I have some of the Poison Wind stuff.
Here's the list:

14 drops

Queek Headtaker = 215
Lv.4 Grey Seer (Scroll) = 265
Lore of Ruin

Chieftain (BSB, Shield) = 72
Warlock Engineer (Brass Orb) = 65
Warlock Engineer (Doomrocket) = 45
Lv.1 Warlock Engineer (Condenser) = 85
Lore of Ruin

35x Super Stormvermin (FC, Razor Standard) = 455
35x Clanrats (FC) = 242.5
+Poison Wind Mortar
35x Clanrats (FC) = 242.5
+Poison Wind Mortar
40x Skavenslaves (Musician) = 82
40x Skavenslaves (Musician) = 82
6x Giant Rats (Handler) = 23
6x Giant Rats (Handler) = 23
6x Giant Rats (Handler) = 23

Doomwheel = 150
Doomwheel = 150
Warp Lightning Cannon = 90
Warp Lightning Cannon = 90
Plagueclaw Catapult = 100

My biggest problem is that I don't know what's acceptable as core and what formation the units will be in.  I know how to do elite and expensive armies, but an entire made of random fodder is new to me.  I mean, look at how many models this is!  It's insane..

The Super Stormvermin is upgraded with Queek's benefits.  WS5, S5 with Halberds and Razor Standard is pretty insane for damage.  Right now, I'm thinking about putting them in 7x5 formation.  Does this work?  Or should I spend the points to get a bigger unit in general and put them in Horde formation?

What about the rest of the core?  Clanrats should be 5x7 deep and Skavenslaves is 5x8.  How does that look?  The Rat Darts are there for deployment reasons and the rare slot is filled with all kinds of crazy contraptions.  Doomwheels do good amounts of damage once they start blasting into combat and I've seen Warp Lightning Cannons do crazy stuff.  The Plagueclaw is there to drop Large Templates (great vs. Warriors of Chaos!) with no armor saves and the rest of stuff is pretty self-explanatory.

Thoughts?  It looks pretty solid to me but I'd like to know your opinions.

PS - I must be crazy to take this army with so many projects already.. but the price was just too good to pass up on.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Are we playing the same game?

ETC in a nutshell.
It's been a while since I've played Warhammer Fantasy and I've recently kicked it up a notch.  I've had High Elves since 7th and have played loads of games since then.  When 8th came out, I played loads of games in the beginning, but ended up playing more of 40K because of the armies, time and enjoyment factor.

However, there's just one little thing that's been bothering me.  Alright, it's not very little and it actually raises a huge eyebrow for me and that's ETC.  First, the whole concept of ETC is to promote balanced play (in some people's opinion).  Taking a closer look at the rules and restrictions, I can't help but ask myself:  Isn't this just houserules?  I see the same kind of shit in my local league here.  The fact is:  I'm willing to bet that 95% of the world that plays Warhammer doesn't play with these rules.  The tournaments in my area consists of two conditions:  No special characters, or no restrictions at all.  Many places I've played in the past had the same conditions.  I asked about ETC to a couple of older veterans of the game in my LGS and no one cared for it at all (some didn't even know what it was).  I mean, for fuck sakes, the thing is called EUROPEAN Team Championship.  Why the fuck should I even care?

I can't help but wonder:  Are we playing the same Warhammer?  This is probably one of the biggest problems I have with sites like  It's like Book of Hoeth doesn't even exist.  It's probably the reason why threads like this turn into this in a couple of weeks.  Nice Euro advice dude.  Run more Silver Helm buses.

PS - I realize I lit the fire, and that's perfectly fine with me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

You are what you play?

Well, I'm not really running any experiments, but I'm just really curious what everyone thinks about this.  Do your personality resemble the personality of your army?  If so, what facet?

I'm just curious because I've noticed the following things on the following forums... and please don't kill me if you take this personally because it's just a surface observation.  It should be taken very generally.

On the Lizardman forums (Pyramid Vault and Lustria Online), I've noticed that the discussions that people have are of higher-leveling thinking.. always mathhammering in nature and methodical in arguments.

The Ogre forum.. Ogre Stronghold, has a strong hint of Might is Right, a Just do it! attitude.  I get an overall sense that players just want to push models forward and bash things, and encourage others to do the same.

Dark Elves from Druchii on the other hand, are not as emo as the High Elves on  I thought this to be the other way around but the High Elf players tend to be a lot softer in comp and outright hate their tools of power (Book of Hoeth).  The Dark Elves, on the other hand, have no problem preaching about the Hydra, Stubborn Lord, Sac Dagger, the Cauldron or Wych hordes.  Personally, I'd say I fit under the black sheep, dark secret of High Elf players.  I favor power and I despise the weak.

The Wood Elves on and the Bretonnians on Roundtable has seen better times.  However, this doesn't stop them from trying.. and that't always a good sight to see.  Despite the whine threads every now and then and the endless wishlisting (rightly deserved!), both these forums work hard to deliver wins as notably weaker armies.  I think this is an inspiration.

Lastly, we have Carpe Noctem, the last racial forum that I frequent.  As VC players, they're a tenacious bunch.  They realize that playing with the same GGstar + Drakenhoff has given them a bad name over the years and they're working hard on digging themselves out of the grave.  I think it's great to see the community working together and providing feedback on optimal playstyles and lists.  I would say that there's an increased number of Heavy Metal and goth-loving people on that server (just looking at avatars and various band iconography).

What do you think guys?  Isn't this an interesting observation?  And yes lol, I have been to all these forums and interacted with the community.

PS - Would you guys like it if I did podcasts for army book reviews instead of actually writing it out?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BR: 2500pts HE vs. VC

Hey guys, this is my first game vs. the new Vampire Counts with my High Elves so I'm really excited to report the game.  I literally just finished playing and I'm pretty tired, but I had to get this BR down before I forget too much stuff.  Throughout the game, I managed to snag a few pictures, but nothing too crazy because we were just having a great time.  I played against my friend Lucas and he's always a good sport.

Before the game began, I gave my opponent a choice between a competitive list and a casual list.  He went with the casual and I took the following:

Lv.4 Archmage, Silver Wand, Robe, Talisman of Saphery, Lore of Shadow
Noble, BSB, GW, AoC, Dawnstone
Lv.1 Mage, Sigil, High Magic
40x Spears in FC w/ Lion Standard
2x 10x Archers
20x Phoenix Guard, FC with Banner of Sorcery
24x White Lions, FC with Banner of Eternal Flame
12x Sword Masters
5x Dragon Princes
2x Great Eagles

I guess I also owe it to some folks over at for wanting to see some BRs that feature non-book lists, so here you have it.  I literally took out my case, and decided to take a little bit of everything.  Overall, I was pretty happy about the list.

I didn't get the full list from my opponent, but here's what he had:

Lv.4 Vampire Lord, caster stuff
Lv.1 Beast Vampire
Wight King BSB w/ Black Knights
A unit of Black Knights
A unit of Vargheists
A big block of Crypt Horrors
A big block of Skeletons (Bunker)
A smaller unit of Ghouls
A larger unit of Ghouls
A Corpse Cart

We played on a map that's pretty straight forward.  I had 10 drops total and I managed to outdeploy him in some critical spots.  The biggest one is probably the White Lions vs. his Crypt Horrors and the Dragon Princes on his far flank while the rest of his army stayed together.

I'll post some pictures and talk at the same time.. hopefully it all makes sense.  Keep in mind some pictures are missing because we were having a ball!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some observations on VC gameplay

So after a few games of playing with the new VC, I have some notes to share with you guys:

  • A Lv.4 is really important in the army because of magic dominance.  You really need a strong magic phase to keep your units in good number.  Grave Guard are still amazing with GWs, it's just they're a lot more fragile than last edition.
  • Supporting casters are a must have too.  The 6" bubble for rank 1 IoN is a great way to raise bunkers and keep units alive when they're next to you.  2 dice is a good chuck for a Lv.1 caster.
  • Ethereal re-directors are decent, not the best.  The reason why is because of the 12" bubble and clunky bases giving you a harder time.
  • Speaking of the 12" bubble, this is my biggest observation.  It keeps your entire army bunched up and close together and leaves very little choices on army composition.  A large core block of Skeletons is the right way to go (I've tried 60 and 2x 30) and the larger block allows you to anchor on one side of your flank entirely.  The 12" march bubble is very important in 2 respects:
    • It makes cavalry-based armies a little less attractive.  You want movement, you desire movement, but leaving your army behind you while you seek glory is just troublesome.  Foot Lords are probably better because you want to be in the center of your army.  Cavalry Lords are bad unless your entire army can keep up with you (an entire cav army or flying Vargheists).
    • Overruns and pursues can be bad for your Lord's unit.  Say you win combat by a lot and roll really high to pursue or overrun.  Unless your units are in position to charge or counter-charge next turn, their movement gets hampered a lot.  You can't march unless you're within 12" and you can't rely 100% on Van Hels to get your shit where it needs to be.
    • If you plan on taking Black Knights, they should probably hang out behind your main forces or something so you can VHD them around the side so they can supporting charge next turn.
  • Big blocks of Skeletons are pretty win.  My Ghouls have done pretty well in games, but I found Skeletons to be the core unit for price vs. effectiveness.  You just lock something down hard and that's always good.
  • The biggest winners I've seen on various forums, battle reports and personal experience is the Mortis Engine, Crypt Horrors and Vargheists.  The Mortis Engine just lets you cast with +2 to all things and it's just ridiculous.  When a Lv.1 casts like a Lv.3, there's a good chance you'll get a lot more spells off.  With IoN needed to sustain your army's model count by the time you move across the battlefield, I would definitely recommend the Mortis Engine.  The funny thing is that Crypt Horrors are also really amazing.  T5 with 4+ Regen because of the Mortis Engine really holds the line when you need them too.  And Vargheists, flying Frenzy Monstrous Infantry is just really good.  Good WS, high S, good I, flying, a lot of attacks, it's all good.  T4 with no armor saves might seem like liability, but it's mother fing ridiculous vs. armies that don't have a lot of shooting or magic missiles.  They just fly over most re-directors and hit things on the flank.  Bam, dead units everywhere.
  • So in summary, let's recap what I think is good:
    • Big units of core to hold flanks (Skellies!)
    • Ethereal misdirectors are clunky with the 12" bubble
    • The 12" bubble really hinders movement and keeps your army tight
    • Mortis Engine, Crypt Horrors, Vargheists and GG w/ Great Weapons (yes, they're still amazing) are the way to go.
PS - And this is probably pretty random.. but I managed to get my hands on a Ogres army for really cheap.  Guess I'll have Ogres on top of VC soon!

PPS - Hellheart vs. Vampires when they have a Mortis Engine just ruins their undead lives.  Roll twice on the Miscast chart and you pick the result.  Terrible.

PPPS - I have a game as High Elves vs. the new VC tonight!  BR will come soon :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More VC army construction

UPDATED: 1-19-12

I'm still working on the finer points of designing a solid VC army and I'd like to take you guys on a guided tour on how I reach certain decisions.  Hopefully, this short article will help you guys in your army building stages as well.

First, I'll talk about my lord choices:

Vampire Lord = 433
Lore of Vampires
Red Fury, Quickblood
Knight, Ogre Blade, Dragonhelm, 4+ Ward, PoFool

Lv.3 Master Necro (Book of Arkhan) = 190
Lore of Vampires

This here is what I had at first.  I wanted to do this for the following reasons:  Keeping the VL at Lv.1 makes him a mere support caster.  It gives him focus, as he's now a primary melee attacker.  Bigger spells are not really used by him, thus limiting the amount of PD thrown (which in turn lowers the chance to miscast).  This also allows me to fill in a Master Necro at Lv.3 and Book of Arkhan.  It gives him a dedicated role and allows him to cast elsewhere (2 casters vs. 1) while maintaining a good magic item.

However, my list progressed to something like this:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2500pt VC army brainstorm

Alright guys, gloves off.  I have enough models to make it happen, so now it's time to proxy a few games and see how I do.  However, there's some stuff I want to go over first.


Vampire Lord = 433
Lore of Vampires
Red Fury, Quickblood
Knight, Ogre Blade, Dragonhelm, 4+ Ward, PoFool

Lv.3 Master Necro (Book of Arkhan) = 190
Lore of Vampires

Vampire = 210
Lore of Shadow
Aura of Dark Majesty, Fear Incarnate
Knight, Enchanted Shield, Scroll

60x Skeletons (FC, Spears) = 330
29x Ghouls (Ghast) = 300

40x Grave Guard (FC, Banner of Barrows) = 520
8x Black Knights (FC, Screaming Banner) = 263

Saturday, January 14, 2012

8th Ed. Vampire Counts Army Book Review

Possibly the worst cover art I've ever seen.

To start things off, I'd like to say that I'm very happy with the new Vampire Counts book.  It's a solid army book with lots of different options and has tons of versatility.  One of the things I enjoy the most when reading new army books is judging its internal balance:  The book must be interesting enough that there's multiple viable builds possible.  What can I say?  Phil Kelly wrote the book and the man is capable of delivering awesome material.

Now, the moment you've all been waiting for... the book review.  To start things off, let's talk about the spcial rules and work our way down to special characters, lords and heroes...etc.

New VC and High Elves Tactica

Hey guys, I'm getting my hands on the book today and I'm gonna get on a review ASAP.

As for what I've been doing lately, I've been arguing with fellow High Elves players on  One of the most raging topics is:  Do High Elves need the Book of Hoeth to be competitive?  Think of uncomped areas.

What do you guys think?  Personally, I think you don't NEED it to be competitive, but it certainly helps a lot!

Check out this massive tactica I wrote on  It's basically all the HE info on this site transferred over plus a few more things.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My 2500pt Ogre army!

Looks something like this..


Lv.4 Slaughtermaster (IF, Hellheart, AoD) = 388
Gut Magic

Bruiser (BSB, GW, 2+, Ironcurse) = 191
Lv.1 Firebelly (GW, Scroll) = 154

9x Ogres (FC, IF) = 323
6x Ironguts (FC, Discipline) = 308

4x Mournfang (FC, HA/IF, Dragonhide) = 360
4x Leadbelchers = 172
4x Leadbelchers = 172
Sabretusk = 21
Sabretusk = 21
Sabretusk = 21

Ironblaster = 170
Ironblaster = 170

The Lv.4 SM has 4+ armor, 6+ parry and 4+ ward.  He also carries the Hellheart to mess with enemy wizards.  I guess it goes without saying that he's been officially approved to carry armor because the designers failed to catch it.  That's perfectly fine with me!  I just wish all Ogres could parry with Ironfists regardless of what weapon they're carrying.  Visually, that would make more sense to me because of the way Ironfists look.  Anywho, the rest of the heroes look pretty standard.  BSB enjoys a 2+ save and carries a Great Weapon, the Firebelly carries a scroll and Great Weapon himself.  All 3 of those heroes will sit comfortably in the 6 Irongut unit for a total of 2x 3x3 blocks to make up the main belly force.

The Special slots are also pretty standard:  3x Sabretuks as better Eagles, 4x Mournfangs with all the bells and whistles, and 2 units of 4x Leadbelchers so I can shoot things to death.  I was thinking maybe cutting the squad down to 6x Leadbelchers and then buffing up either the Ironguts or Bulls, what do you guys think?

Lastly, I'm taking 2x Ironblasters because I think shooting big ass S10 cannons is ridiculous.  Plus, they're not bad in combat and they're really tough to kill!

Other things I might do is as follows:
SM takes Glittering Scales and Fencer Blades to make him almost unhittable in combat.
I find room for another Bruiser with 4+ ward for another beatstick.
I drop some Leadbelchers and maybe a Ironblaster for more Core units.

Is it me or is this army really small?  I normally deploy 100+ elf models to the table and this is looking quite sad!  I guess I should be counting wounds and not actual models?  It just looks really funny to me lol.

Monday, January 9, 2012

BR: 2500pts HE vs. DoC

I had this game about a week ago but people on is complaining about my lack of battle reports.  So... I'll write this one up even though it was a pretty unimpressive game.

My list:
Lv.4 Archmage with Book, Shadow Lore
Noble BSB with GW, AoC, GP
Lv.1 Mage w/ Sigil, High Lore
32x Spears w/ FC, Lion Standard
30x Spears w/ FC
20x Phoenix Guard w/ FC, Banner of Sorcery
30x White Lions w/ FC, Banner of Eternal Flame
12x Sword Masters w/ Musician
2x Great Eagles

His list:
Lv.4 Chicken Lord w/ re-roll and Loremaster Life
Khorne BSB w/ AoK and Great Standard of Sundering
Changeling in a unit of Lv.3 Wizard Horrors
Slaanesh Herald w/ Siren Song in a big unit of 30x Daemonettes w/ FC,
Big unit of 30x Bloodletters w/ Khorne Herald
Small MSU unit of Flesh Hounds
6x Flamers of Tz
3x Fiends of Slaanesh
5x Seekers w/ FC

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tactica: High Elves vs. Daemons of Chaos

I will most likely do one of these a month depending on what the monthly poll turns into here.  It will be more competitive focused and will be a LIVING Tactica encompass the current meta.  This will continue as long as High Elves are using the same army book.

I've also gathered all the articles I have here and re-posted most of them on  You can find the thread here:  HERO's Guide to High Elf Glory [8th Edition]

Without further ado, let's get into the nitty gritty.  The format of these tacticas will also be more straight forward and gets to the point quicker.  My reasoning is that people just want to know 2 things:  What the hell does that unit do and how do I kill it?

So with that in mind, I'll list out a bunch of units, characters or something and then provide an answer.

In a pickle: Vamps or Ogres

Right now, I'm still pretty undecided.  Both armies are 8th Ed. books which means balanced, fun and well-designed.  I currently own High Elves and I used to have Dwarfs.. but I sold them off because I didn't "feel" them.  I always ended up going back to High Elves..

Right now, the only thing I have built for Vampires right now is my 10x Dragon Princes to be used as (well, Dragon Princes) Blood Knights.  I have nothing for Ogres but a whole bunch of stuff for my Vampires.  This totals up to 80x Mantic Ghouls, 30x Mantic Zombies and 40x GW Grave Guard still sitting in boxes.  Let's list a bunch of pros and cons and see what happens:

First, I need an army that's radically different than High Elves.  Let's go over what High Elves are known for:
  • Elite troops, everywhere, nothing is expendable and everything costs an assload of points.
  • This also means they ASF, re-rolls to hit with high WS and Initiative
  • Masters of magic, know all the lores, wields High Magic
  • Dragons are big and powerful, have Griffon friends and Eagle allies
  • Fairy little girly Elves connotation
  • Aesthetically beautiful pleasing to look at; a beautiful army made of silver and azure
  • Everything is on infantry bases or cavalry bases for the most part
  • Requires expert generalship to win out these days.  I'd rate HE as one of the hardest armies to play right now if you avoid the book and Teclis due to the nature of the army.
  • Probably somewhere in the middle for popularity
  • Assloads of models to assemble, but this is my first army and I have everything already

So what about Ogres?
  • Big and fat; monstrous troops, cavalry and monsters all over
  • Still elite because of the points that goes into everything gives you..
  • High toughness, low armor, but a lot of wounds per model.  Low WS and low Initiative.
  • Not masters of magic, but have interesting hungry Gut magic
  • No Dragons, but Giants, Cannons pulled by Rhinox, Mourfangs (bearcats), freaking Mammoths!
  • The exact opposite of little girly Elves with big, burly, fat, questionably manly, full-retard Ogres
  • Aesthetically hysterical to look at.. not beautiful in the slightest but.. interesting..
  • Bases are mostly monster bases with lots of chariot and monster bases too
  • Requires solid generalship since your Ogres are few, your charges must be well-calculated and you have to know which models you can break with combat and which ones you can't.  Primarily melee-orientated army.
  • Not a really popular army, a plus for me
  • Very few models to assemble because everything is big and burly

OK.. now Vampire Counts..
  • The core of the army is expendable troops with elite supporting elements
  • Crappy WS expendable troops with powerful fighter lords, cavalry, killing blow elite infantry and cav
  • A mix of points spread around.. dirt cheap fodder and expensive elites
  • Very solid magic with a good mix of movement, augments and power
  • Big Undead Dragons, Terrorgheists, spectral ethereal stuff, Coven Throne, and flying Vargheists
  • Not really girly per se, but Vampires have that emo connotation about them (e.g. Twilight)
  • Aesthetically a mix of zombies, skeletons, Vampire Knights (HUGE!), ghosts and a mix of the above
  • Bases are very diverse too; core is mostly infantry with powerful knights to giant monsters
  • Pretty low generalship I'd say.  In 7th Ed, it was all Innvo-spamming GGdeathstar and Blood Knight bus of doom.  In 8th, almost nothing changed.  Regen Banner in a GGstar with +1 to hit or BK bus in almost all games.
  • Probably the biggest bandwagon of Fantasy to date (think GK to 40K)
  • A fucking million models to assemble because of all the cannon fodder

The biggest problem I have right now is that I simply cannot decide on what army I want.  In a nut shell, VC really appeal to me because of Blood Knights and fighty Vampire Lords.  I'm not a huge fan of undead, I don't care much for the whole zombie-revive undead mechanic.  Aeshetically, I just want to see fully armored vampiric knights riding into battle, smashing against anything in the game and winning.  It's a pretty linear way of thinking when it comes to Vampires I think.  I really hate the emo connotation and the caster lord in a bunker playstyle what might be effective.  It's really all about the Blood Knights for me, Blood Dragons or mauling the opponents in vicious hand-to-hand combat.  I want superiority in WS, skill and martial prowess.  Maybe that was one of the reasons why I was attracted to High Elves but also Khorne Daemons.

Ogres also appeal to me because they're funny.  I think if you want playstyles, Ogres are pretty much the exact opposite of High Elves.  They're slow, low WS but fast to get into combat and just smash things aside.  They're vulnerable to I-test spells or anything that can dispatch them before they can do serious damage.  The low WS doesn't help either, showing me that the army is pretty much made out of brawlers and lowly-trained fat people who use their guts as protection.  However, they do have BEARCATS! in the form of Mourfang Cavalry.  My wife calls me bear because she thinks I'm big and burly (maybe I'm getting heavier?) and this is something that I'm willing to accept.  They also have awesome cannons, radically eccentric fluff and powerful warbeasts.  I also think they're pretty characterful simply because the Ogres themselves are funny, almost a parody of wargaming.  I can't really picture an army made of Shreks.. can you?  Definitely something different from the seriousness that is High Elves (and me for that matter).

Well, there you have it folks.  Everyone knows me as the guy that plays High Elves but now I'm looking for a second army to offset that.  I just don't know!  Help! (more below)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Do you feel it?

The simplest question in the world can sometimes be the hardest..

How did you get into the armies you play?  I have many armies and tried many more, but there's always some that sticks to my heart.  You know, the armies that you constantly go back to and prefer over the ones you bought on a whim.  You gotta FEEL the army to really get into it.

So the question once again is.. did you feel your army before getting it?

I'm asking because I'm in sort of a pickle.  I didn't invest a lot into VC yet, but I'm not feeling them the same way I felt about High Elves.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolution

Hey guys, hope everybody had a nice New Year.  I look forward to 2012 for a number of reasons, some of which are personal and I'll share them with you now.  Don't worry, this is all minis related and I promise you you won't be disappointed.

First, a sad realization:  I have plateaued as a minis gamer and in a bad way.  To categorize myself in a nut shell:  I love list building, playing the game and putting models together.  I hate painting, thinking about fluff or anything else really.

Now it's time for me to tell a story:

Something like 4 years ago, I played my first game of 40K at the gaming company I work at now.  I played a slightly older chap who used to work at GW and he had the most beautifully painted army I'd ever seen.  I was almost embarrassed to pull out my completely unpainted miniatures that I just put together.  This was back when 5th Ed. was still young and I just got my hands on some new Space Marines.  Long story short:  I tabled him by turn 2.  He turns, looks at me and says:  "Larry, I give up.  I'm not having any fun."  This is probably the saddest thing I have ever heard.  To me, everything was going perfectly:  Shrike Infiltrated and charged where he needed to, my Drop Pods came down and unloaded their Dreadnoughts precisely where I wanted them, my Sternguard arrived the next turn and annihilated their intended target... everything was perfect - from a strategic and tactical point of view.  However, one thing was not perfect:  My opponent was not having fun.  I was having fun because I view myself as a great general with a ton of experience.  That's what happens when you play the hobby and focus on its gaming aspects for the last 11 years.  Sure, I have painted armies before and had my shares of fluff discussions, but gaming is my specialty and what I do best.  I remember this story perfectly and vividly because it is the hallmark of where I failed as a minis player.

Another story:  A month or two ago, I played a friend of mine who is also considered a casual player.  He likes to paint a lot and I swear to God he builds the worst lists I've ever seen.  He's one of those one-a-list players but his models blows mine out of the water in terms of presentation.  Now, I'm playing with Dark Eldar, another completely unpainted army because I spend all my time building and playing these armies instead of anything else.  The gist of this story is that I've already "calmed" down as a competitive player.  I purposely took no Venoms, no special characters, no min-maxed Dark Lances (even though I still had 3 Ravagers), Wyches without FNP Haemonculi and no Wracks or Beasts.  Basically, I played what I viewed as "optimal but fair".  Sadly, I greatly outplayed my opponent and a day later an email goes out to my gaming group labeling me as a power gamer.  This is what prompted that post about FW model because my friend actually wants to take a Achilles vs. me just so he has a chance.  Sadness again.

Just recently:  I played a Warhammer Fantasy game, High Elves vs. Daemons.  I saw my opponent playing Kairos a previous game before and I asked him before we played if he was taking Kairos.  The reason why I asked is because if he was, I was going to take Teclis to combat him.  I have never done this, ever, in 11 years of wargaming.  I used to take whatever I want, whoever I want, whenever I want and never gave my opponents any ands, ifs or buts.  But hey, times are changing and I'm getting older.  Moving on:  After hearing what Teclis could do, my new friend says he'll take a normal chicken lord instead and then I asked him if I can take the Book of Hoeth.  Not even a special character, but now I'm asking if he's OK with an item.  I never thought this day would happen, never.  Anyways, we play the game I max out on my tactical acumen.  My Eagles redirected accordingly, I played superb and I'm basically way ahead of him.  Out of sheer sympathy, I let him rear charge my Spears after I opted to flee with my Eagle instead of just letting my Eagle redirect.  The reason is because I want him to kill something.. anything.

For one, this is not a spiritual funk that I'm in.  It's true, I've been inactive from minis and this might be one of the reasons.  Years of dedicated gaming has made me a great general, but for what?  I hardly make mistakes, I know the ins and out of my army and my list is battle-hardened and optimized.  There is no competition, I don't attend any tournies anymore because people are assholes but in turn, I'm viewed as one because of my gaming apparatus.  At the same time, I still feel the need for competition and I'm an elitist regardless of what I do.  When I see unimaginative and poorly-tuned lists, I think to myself why.  When I see poorly executed maneuvers without any consideration for the future, I think why.  When I see 5 marines charge a full squad of Wyches and Archon instead of getting back in their Rhino and running away, I think why.  "Why" is the definition of self-proclaimed superiority and the personal view of an elitist when you constantly question other people.

I think for this new year, I want to break the mold of asking why but rather ask:  Why not?  I spoke to a friend today and asked him what I should do.  He's an older gentlemen and has tons of experience with minis gaming and I know he can tell me something.  Maybe the reason the guy charged 5 marines into a full squad of Wyches is because he wanted to see something epic.  However tactically-flawed or outrageous, he just wanted a story in the lines of:  The Space Marine Sergeant punched the Archon through the face with his Power Fist.  Maybe the poorly designed lists I see are people who don't care winning (at all) and all they care about is physically portraying the different spices of life, sprinkled in the form of toy miniatures.  Maybe people misplay and make tactical errors because they are not as experienced as I am, someone who has tread thousands of battlefields in the fantasy-past and space-driven future.

I've offered for other people to build my lists, I've sacrificed units just so I can say I lost something and I've asked for my opponent's permission to play things.  My new year's resolution is to simply:  Play the beer and pretzels game the game was intend to be played.  I'm still going to blog about the competitive aspects of gaming and share all my knowledge about becoming a better general, but I want to do it with one important message:  Make sure you and your opponents are having fun.