Weekly update: Nommern and Warmachine

This week, I am going to talk about my games over the last two weeks, as well as the painting I got done this week.


First of all, we had the fifth semi-annual version of Make War Not Love and it was great as usual. I had to supervise an exam in the morning, so I could only make it there on Saturday afternoon, but I never the less managed to get three games in on Saturday and another two on Sunday. There were less people there than the previous times, mostly because only one person wanted to play Warhammer and thus decided to go somewhere else in the end. It seems that the number of Warhammer players is still steadily dropping around here. There is another gaming group in Luxembourg where the game seems to be going through a renaissance right now, but none of the people in Nommern felt motivated to dust off their fantasy armies. Maybe End Times or a 9th Edition can breathe new life into the game, but right now I am personally at a loss about whether I will continue to play Warhammer. I have just discovered two sealed boxes of Dark Elves that have been gathering dust since last October’s release of the codex, as well as a pile of unpainted Vampire Counts models, which is saying something as these are the armies I still actually play or would if I could muster the enthusiasm. There were also no Tau armies, despite Tau having been the most popular army the last four times.

But enough nay-saying for the moment because I did manage to play some 40k and it was an eye-opening experience. I played one game with my Nurgle army and it was a good game where we both ended up with a Sorcerer with Invisibility and even had the two units face off against each other. Luckily for me, I had managed to kill the opposing Aspiring Champion in the first round of combat, so in round two my Nurgle Lord could punch the opposing Sorcerer with his fist and thus achieve psychical superiority. From that moment onwards, I could dominate the psychic phase and a unit of invisible Nurgle Bikers is impossible for most armies to deal with. After the game, I spent some time with Patrick, my opponent, to give him advice on how to improve the general performance of his army.

The other four games were with my Dark Eldar and they rocked. I ran the list without Incubi that I talked about in the last article, so two units of Grotesques from the Grotesquerie formation, 6 Venoms and 5 Raiders as well as 3 Ravagers. I actually had very low expectations as I felt that Dark Eldar could not keep up with some of the armies I faced, but they did very well and won all 4 games. It was good for me that there seemed to be an agreement to run only Maelstrom missions, so there were no kill points to worry about. The way the games went, I would spend the first couple of turns manoeuvring in the middle of the battlefield to avoid too much return fire, then swoop in to grab multiple objectives per turn. More importantly, every time I drew the cards asking me to hold multiple objectives or have 3 units in the enemy deployment zone for d3 points or even all of the objectives for d3+3 points, I managed to score those easily with a bit of calculating and moving flat out. Those points enabled me to outscore most armies, even if half my army ended up dying in their paper planes. One game was actually a negative play experience for me and my opponent, as he was running an Unbound Necron army that brought a ton of Destroyers, Wraiths including the T5 Forgeworld version, as well as a Tomb Stalker monstrous walker. He had four shooting units (Destroyers and Heavy Destroyers) and the rest of his army was melee-based. Unfortunately for him, I got first turn and was able to drop his shooty units first turn, then would have been able to wreck his T4 and T5 units more or less at will with my mass of blasters and lances, so we called it quits there and then. It was a shame as his army looked very cool, but the match-up was extremely lopsided and the fact that I could have reversed in turn 2 and 3 to prevent him from charging before turn 4 and able to fire at him without receiving return fire would have made it unfun for either of us. The other games were against a Thunderwolf-heavy Space Wolves army, a Tyranid force with a Malanthrope and 3 Flying Monstrous Creatures and a Ravenwing/Deathwing army.

This got me thinking: Was I completely wrong with my assessment of the Dark Eldar? Did the mission favour me over other armies? Was it blind luck? Or was it due to the fact that I didn’t face Tau or Eldar?

I also played four games of Warmachine over the last two weeks, helping Chris prepare for Saarcon, an event in Saarbrücken next weekend. I will not be able to play as I missed the registration deadline. I had actually believed it would be a 32-people event, but there were only 18 places (I guess they got 18 people who paid for 16 places, so they added a table). Oh well, it might have been a bit early for me. I hope to gain more playing experience this year, then start playing in some events next year.

We went 2-2 in games over all, with one win and one loss each for eStryker and eHaley. The games I lost were both due to my caster being assassinated, whereas I won my games on scenario. The game I lost with Stryker, Chris managed to fail a credible assassination attempt with Grissel on Stryker, hitting him with two of Grissel’s three different shooting attacks to knock him down and drop him to three wounds, but being out of range for the last shooting attack, which was a 8″ spray whereas the other two were 10″ shots. I then used a focus to get back up, charged Grissel with a re-roll from Reinholdt and all seemed to be dandy. At least until Stryker failed four average attack rolls and then didn’t manage to do much with the one hit he scored. I could have tried to move the Lancer, risking two free strikes, then cast Positive Charge on it to get a +2 bonus on the rolls to hit and wound to even the odds in my favour. Oh well, the odds were there, but sometimes the dice don’t want to cooperate. In the game I lost with Haley, I made two mistakes early on: in turn 2, I took a Focus Point from the Squire that I ended up not needing as my Stormwall killed all its opponents with the first few attacks. I also parked the Squire next to Haley that turn instead of behind her, so she was unable to run into a control zone to dominate it for two points, so I only got one for controlling it. As Haley could not have been targeted that turn, I would have received an extra point. These two mistakes meant that I could not have an extra Focus Point from the Squire in turn 5 and needed to empty one control zone to dominate it for the win.  He had three models in that zone and I had a full unit of Gun Mage Pistoleers in there. Unfortunately, the three models had engaged most of my Gun Mages, so they would be unable to fire. The plan was therefore to use Haley’s Telekinesis spell to move all three models out of melee range and closer to the edges of the control zone. Haley has 8 Focus and Telekinesis costs 2, so I could do 2 TKs with boosted attack rolls (Haley needed an 8 to hit them as they were in melee and thus gained +4 DEF) and one without boost. Luckily, the Squire would allow me to re-roll one failed attack roll. Of course, I easily passed the two boosted attack rolls, then failed the unboosted one twice. If I had not used that Focus Point on turn 2, I would have had a third boosted attack roll and thus easily pulled the last Warder out of combat. Then the Gun Mages would have been able to shoot them out of the control zone with their Thunderbolt shots and Haley could have dominated for the win. The way it worked, my Gun Mages shot the two unengaged models out of the zone, then failed miserably to kill the model in melee. Of course, if Haley had dominated in turn 2, I would have won the game in turn 4 already. So not making either of the two mistakes would have won me the game. Lessons to learn.

During the games, I used my new unit of Stormlances (see below for pictures). And they rocked. On the charge, they have a MAT of 9 (or higher with Positive Charge or Alain Runewood’s battle plans) and hit like a truck with their lances being POW 15 on the charge (or 17 under Positive Charge). They also have a POW 10 attack from their horse and can fire their lances on the charge with their Assault order for POW 12. In addition, the lance attack and shot both have the Electro-Leap rule, so they generate a POW 10 hit on the nearest model if they hit the initial model. Against Meat Mountain, they were strong, but had their work cut out for them as this army routinely has ARM 20 and better. I can’t wait to see how they do against opponents that have more average ARM values, where each one of them can easily kill 2-4 models per turn, moreso under Stryker’s feat where they can get more attacks and thereby more electro leaps. But even against a poor match-up like Meat Mountain, they admirably held their flank with ARM 20 with Arcane Shield and 5 wounds each. They also have an impressive threat range, being able to charge targets that are 13 inches away or even shooting someone who was 19″ away at the start of their activation. Finally, people don’t expect Cygnar to punch them in melee, so it is always nice to have a surprise unit. I look forward to more games with them.


On the painting front, I managed to paint a Cygnaran Warcaster I inherited from my brother this spring and the Stormlance unit. In fact, I have made a painting list and hope to be able to keep up the pace, painting a character and a unit each week for the next couple of weeks until my Cygnar army is fully painted. Right now, I still have the Horgenhold Forge Guard (10 dwarves), the Sword Knights (12 guys including command) and the Pressgangers (10 pirates) to paint, as well as Eiryss1 (elvish solo) and Lt. Allister Caine (warcaster) to do. This should keep me busy until December and then I would like to get started on my three Drop Pods for my Blood Angels, as they should be getting a new codex soon and I really love Drop Podding some Death Company and Veterans right now.

imageimageCommander Coleman Stryker: The man before he became the legend.

Commander Coleman Stryker is the original version of Coleman Stryker and the caster included in the Cygnar battle box. He is not the melee beatstick that Lord Commander Stryker is, but makes up for that with a plethora of support spells and a great support feat. In fact, his feat, aptly named Invincibility, gives all your models in his control zone a cool +5 bonus to ARM, making your Warjacks as tough or tougher than Khadoran warjacks for a round and giving your Storm Knights (be they Stormblade Infantry or Storm Lances) or Horgenhold mercenaries an equally insane ARM value. I really hate playing against Mean Meat Mountain, so maybe it is time to get even and bring my own ARM24 and higher units to give them a taste of their own medicine. His spell list includes Snipe to add 4″ to a unit’s ranged attacks, thus giving Stormlances a 23″ threat range on their guns or letting Gun Mage Pistoleers use their other special shots at targets that were 20″ away from their starting point. Blur gives a DEF bonus against shooting and magic that raises light Warjacks to DEF16 which is almost impossible to hit for most unboosted shots. Gun Mages go to DEF 18, but who really bothers shooting them as it is nigh impossible to start with. Earthquake lets him knock down everything under a 5″ AOE, which is perfect to assassinate enemy casters or open line of sight to them. Finally, he has Arcane Shield, just like the Journeyman Warcaster does. And this is amazing and one of the main reasons to run him over his epic version. As you should still run a Journeyman because they are mandatory in Cygnar armies, you can drop two Arcane Shields per turn and thus avoid having to choose which unit gets it. Very often, a canny opponent can try to avoid the shielded unit and go after an unshielded unit, thereby rendering it less useful. However, with two instances of the spell, two ‘jacks or units can benefit from it and the opponent loses the option of hammering the weaker-armoured target.



Stormlances: Cygnar’s heavy cavalry. Of course they are immune to electricity.

 The Stormlances have featured in my games over the last two weeks, so I have sung their praises above already. They simply give Cygnar that melee hammer that its armies often lack, whilst still having a decent ranged output. If necessary, they can actually ride up to high DEF units, then hit each other in the face (their DEF is quite low, so they hit each other on 5s) to arc electro-leaps to hit the more agile models around them automatically. As their ARM should be 20 under Arcane Shield, there is little risk that they kill each other, but they can electrocute the guys around them (very few DEF15+ units have ARM above 12-13, so their POW10 lightnings will be murder). Under eStryker, they also benefit from Rebuke, as it prevents the target from receiving a charge order (unless it is a solo, warbeast or warjack) and thus the charge bonus to damage rolls.




4 thoughts on “Weekly update: Nommern and Warmachine

  1. Roland says:

    Hi, I just wanted to post a very small reply to the fantasy part of your post as I actually was that lone fantasy player who went to Syren instead of Nommern (which I had indeed looked forward to).
    I am sad to hear that you feel unmotivated playing fantasy because the game seems to be suffering a slow death (at least in the usual Nommern gaming group).
    I myself am wondering about this. However, as mentioned, the game is far from dead. That same weekend in Syren there were 7 casual gamers of fantasy battle. We even got around to playing a Triumph and Treachery game so no one would be left out and I think the system worked (o wonder) for most parts even though the O&G player had broken his armie’s legs too early in the game.
    Some of those 7 people are old hands who kind of rekindled the spark for the game (because suddenly there is a location where people actually want to play it). But there are some newcomers too (I call them newcomers if the last fantasy they played was a few editions ago). When talking to them some even mentioned that it was through the efforts of the gaming group (and even my own efforts) that they find themselves taken with the game again.
    When glossing over the activities of last year:
    I regularly posted pictures of painting of my fantasy armies and tried to engage people in discussions.
    A few times I even proposed and held low point entry games with a few of my own armies so that people could get a “sniff” of what fantasy was about.
    I tried to document and make pictured tales of as many of my games as possible and lure the players to tag along with my own enthusiasm.
    I am aware that all this does not convince a single player to play fantasy by itself but enthusiasm has a habit of being contagious sometimes. Somehow it seems to bear fruit. It takes a ridiculous amount of effort though, which shows 40k players have it easy :-))

    • For me personally, the game has two things that make it terrible for me:

      The random magic phase. Yes, magic should be random, but if I pay 500 points for a spellcaster, he should be able to do something. Random effects without ways of mitigating are just bad rules design. Make it d6 plus level or d6 per started 1.000 points and it might be better. A cannon does not have random strength and a lance also needs no roll to turn on, so why should spell dice be completely variable?

      The terrain. There is again too much randomness for my liking and there should be a consistent effect of terrain. Right now, terrain does barely anything beyond forcing you to roll more dice, most of which end up in doing bugger all (apart from the Venom Thicket). A forest should slow people down, not invite them to pick flowers whilst casually strolling through them. Frankly, if Waterloo was fought using Warhammer rules, Wellington would have been overrun by lunchtime.

      I guess it collapsed in many places because of these factors and the over-emphasis on hordes and large units, which creates a cost factor and barrier of entry for new players. It also scales poorly compared to 40k, as games below 1.500 points are borderline unplayable for many armies (anything with expensive characters for instance) or in general just lacking flair. 40k however works on a small scale, so there is less of a waiting period before a new player can get playing.

  2. Roland says:

    I know we had this discussion before so I won’t get too much into it again, on certain aspects of the game we simply disagree in our evaluation of the same elements. To each his own.
    I kind of get your point on magic mostly, no system is perfect and even I see ways you could improve on that system.
    But for the rest I just see it differently. I love small point games, the game works differently at 1000 or 1500 points, but it definitely works and is a lot of fun.
    On terrain… There wasn’t a forest that slowed down Napoleon’s troops nor delayed his attacks or quasi nullified the effects of his artillery, it was a complete set of features of the terrain and weather and random elements (like the nervous breakdown of Napoléon’s second in command) that had a terrible effect on the Grande Armée’s performance. Wellington was dealt a set of cards and he played his hand even though there wasn’t a forest (at least I think there wasn’t a forest that played any major role that day) to keep Napoleon’s troops at bay long enough.
    I like that warhammer succeeds (at least in my opinion) in allowing you to play with very different aspects of terrain and deal with that randomness :-).
    You played too many Vampire Counts to appreciate what a forest does to a breakable army, I guess 🙂

  3. Agree to disagree. To me, the magic pool and terrain charts are just randomness for the sake of randomness and I am happy 40k dialed down on the number of tables or at least included more re-rolls to mitigate them from 6th to 7th.

    It is one aspect of Warmachine I love as there is no random table whatsoever in the game.

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