Hobby Goal Month 1 - Throne of Skulls event, Warhammer World, Nottingham
Turns out, there is no better way to beat those new year (hobby) blues than by attending an event at the start of the year!
Exactly what was needed to ensure I am commited to completing my hobby target for 2016. - 12 AoS events over 12 months.
As my first Age of Sigmar event, I was really intrigued to see how the Warhammer world team would create a fun & enjoyable weekend for all, in a game with no list building & a heavy dependence on its attendees to provide the right environment based on the fluff provided.
It did not disappoint.
Joined by fellow Hammerer Will, the weekend event would be played out over 5 games, battling for control of Rotwater Blight in the realm of life - aiding either the Sylvaneth or Nurgle Rotbringers using battle plans & time of war rules taken from the first two realmgate wars books.
In the spirit of the weekend, Will & I decided to bring a list of Sylvaneth & Nurgle Rotbringers to really embrace the theme of the campaign. (And take advantage of all the fantastic bonus rules & abilites on offer!)
As well as a detailed events pack featuring a mixture of scenarios from both books, there were additional rules enabling us to be joined by one of the events teams' Sylvaneth Blightlords in our games.
With Archaon not quite released, Nagash & the Prime were the only members of the 'Big Hitters' present at the event. Out of 38 players, there were x4 supreme lords of undeath present, & x2 primes by my count.
Gamers attending events will often want to bring their centrepiece models with them. I mean, when you pay £65+ for one model, why wouldn't you!
If you want to bring your Prime/ Nagash/ Skarbrand etc. to an event I encourage you to do so.
Just remember to keep them in your box when your opponent doesn't have their own "big hitter" on the table.
I have to say everyone Will & I met at the event were a really fantastic group who made a fun campaign without any need to wrestle each other over army compositions.
There were guidelines in the rules pack to help keep the games fair, recommendations on how to interpret summoning as well as a consistent reminder to have fun & enjoy the event.
The 15 minute pre-game discussion time was invaluable in making sure everyone knew where they stood regarding rules interpretations & what armies they would use. So to all the critics: it can be done. Just follow a few simple rules, chief among them......
Game 1 - Hold or Die
A great scenario to kick off the weekend, this mission is also the first battleplan in the first realmgate wars book. I was the custodian charged with eliminating a primary force of invading Bloodbound before their reinforcements arrived to outflank me.
"Things I learnt: The bloodbound army I faced in this game had a lot of characters & at times caused my opponent a real headache trying to remember the numerous buffs, re-rolls and ranges of all their abilities. Sometimes the book-keeping isn't worth the desire to play 'Herohammer for'. "
A loss for the rotbringers but very close & loads of fun to play. There are good force restrictions on this mission to ensure you have quite balanced armies for the scenario. My opponent Sam was a great guy & had even made his warscrolls & abilities into double-sided laminated cards for quick reference!
Game 2 - The Ritual
Having diced off for roles in this scenario- also taken from the first realmgate wars book- my slow & purposeful Rotbringers would be cast as the invaders against the legions of undeath. This is one of those missions that is potentially very one-sided, & best played with friends at home/clubs so you both have access to plenty of models. In my case, I ideally needed to include some extra units with some form of speed (plague drones, beasts of nurgle) but due to my poor preparation, I had only brought the recommended 60 models to use over the whole weekend!
The undead force included black & blood Knights, the latter of which are very hard for my non-rending rotbringers to shift. A coven of Necromancers around the ritual altar also helped to complete the objective quicker by adding to the dice roles required by the ritual player.
It was a really fun game but over in an hour despite the two hour time frame.
"Being a good Sport
Buying someone a beer after beating them heavily is cool.
Telling someone you always buy beers for people when you beat them is not."
Game 3 - Breakthrough
Having a slow moving, very resilient, tar-pit army means that when "picket line" style scenarios appear your army is built perfectly to cope with defending your table edge from invaders.
Being British & allowing my opponent to choose which role he preferred probably cost me the game before we'd even started!
However, this game vs. Matthew (who would go on to win the event through well earned favourite game votes) was certainly my favourite opponent from the whole weekend.
Alongside being an absolute gent, Matthew consistently mocked his own army selection & was genuinely surprised at any & everytime they achieved something positive!
Having rolled for random deployment, the seraphon picket line was left without a single unit in the middle of the board! With the bulk of my troops making a bottle-neck for the central board exit, I thought I had this game in the bag.
Then the worst happened:
"Losing 9/10 wounds on your Great unclean one from a Bastiladon crystal is forgivable.
Losing wound #10 to a javelin hurled by the accompanying skink is not."
Despite getting some of my plaguebearers off the board edge, the rotbringers had failed to achieve the required number of escapees to win the game.
A loss, but one of the most enjoyable defeats I've ever played.
Game 4 - Kill the Beast
Oh dear. Facing off against the Aelfs for the first time proved to be an education in efficient murder-making. Protecting the Treelord ancient 'beast' were 25 odd witch elves with a cauldron of blood, two units of Wood Aelf archers, 2x bolt throwers, various Wood Aelf lords & mages & a Balewind vortex (!)
With only one missile weapon in my army, the glass hammer, double piling-in Witch elves obliterated anything that came near them like a blade wind.
Very short, & not very fun. The army run by (a fellow James?) was comprised of effective units, & yet it was the first army that I'd faced that lacked any clear 'fluff' during overall selection.
"The Balewind Vortex
After summoning this arcane fulcrum, my opponent enlightened me on the rules for this horribly efficient piece of (scenery?)
During our game, I mentioned to my opponent that on the table behind, four of the vortexes were being used simultaneously by the same player!
I was then informed that the idea had been recently taken from my opponent after they had played each other at a previous event!"
Game 5 - War of the Storm
Without a win all weekend, I was determined to reap glory for grandfather Nurgle in my final game at Rotwater Blight. Especially as this is my favourite scenario from the Ghal Maraz book!
My opponent Matt had lots of undead units I hadn't faced before, including Manfred von Carstein!
Being the Custodian & also unable to see the sun from within Warhammer World, Manfred would be hitting automatically in combat & wounding on 2's in his home territory!
Another worthy adversary was the necrosphinx, that is not only VERY fast but dishes out a lot of damage - unless your nurglings.
Having consistently been told they are one of the worst units in the game, my '7' bases worth were easily the MVP of my army! Particularly during this game as the little blighters charged the necrosphinx who took the entire game to remove them!
In the end the Mortarch of Night chased down my Great Unclean one & the army unraveled as he was mercilessly butchered. A very close game with lots of death ( mainly on my side! ) but a great scenario to end the weekend on.
I can fully recommend the Age of Sigmar events at Nottingham. The campaign weekends are really sociable & designed without the overwhelming sense of competition that the Throne of Skulls was previously famed for.
I met an amazing group of gamers & Hammerer Will ( a previous AoS sceptic ) even left with some new models brimming with conversion ideas & new army concepts.
Take a look at the next Blog Post for details on my second AoS event- The rise of the Seraphon doubles weekend.