One of my goals for last year was to finally get some paint onto my Nurgle daemon prince. I’ve had the model itself for a few years — it’s the Wargames Exclusive Chaos Rotten Prince of Daemons. A very cool model, with lots of biomechanical details that put him firmly in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium
I didn’t have a ton of free time last year to tackle this model, and I particularly don’t really like painting large centerpiece models (they stress me out, and this hobby is supposed to be a stress reliever, what!). So I dithered for awhile until I remembered that I had some cash sitting in my Paypal account, just collecting dust, and it hit me — I could have someone else paint this sucker up for me!
So, I commissioned a paint job from a painter I found online whose style matched mine pretty well.
I present to you Krummholz the Twisted, daemon prince of Nurgle.
I’ve known this guy’s name for years, well before I got the model itself. I keep a note open on my phone where I jot down all sorts of cool words and names that might make their way into my narrative games. I always name my champions and unit leaders and even vehicles and warbeasts, so I’m constantly on the hunt for names and phrases with gnarly, death-metal affectations.
Krummholz is a German word that describes the stunted, crooked trees that grow at the very top of windswept peaks and cliffs. They are constantly battered by gale-force winds, never able to grow up straight and strong. Ever since I heard the term, I knew it would make a great name for a hunched, monstrous daemon prince.
In my narrative, Krummholz is a former officer in the Death Guard legion who has long since surrendered his humanity in exchange for the fecund gifts of Nurgle. He leads the Maggot Magnates warband and has been particularly active in planning and executing the massive encirclement operation in Warzone Endymion. If we ever play out the mini-campaign that I have been developing in my head, Krummholz will be a key participant.
This model turned out very well and overall I was pleased with this commission. It’s not something I’d choose to do regularly, but it was a nice splurge during a year when we all needed to practice a little self-care.
The sun has risen on a new year, and so I am taking my customary look back on the annum that just concluded.
2021 began with a burst of energy as our local gaming group rallied around our nascent Frostgrave campaign. This nifty skirmish game was a great focal point for our painting and terrain creation efforts.
We played probably 6 or 7 sessions in the spring and summer of 2021, some of which ended up on this ol’ blog. All featured the beautifully painted miniatures and terrain that you’ve come to expect from Comrade’s Wargames. Here’s a rundown if you want to check in on the action:
Frostgrave was great fun and we all became fairly adept at navigating the gameplay and post-game campign advancement. And the campaign is not over! We’ve all still got our wizards and our campaign rosters, so I expect we’ll explore the frozen city again in 2022.
2022 was also the year that I started putting some structure around the haphazard collection of fantasy models that I had been referring to as my “little-C chaos army.”
See, I had always loved the idea of collecting an army comprised of black-hearted humans in dark armor, equipped with a variety of brutal instruments of war, aided (but not defined) by a supplemental force of vile demons. A chaos army, but not one tied to any particular setting or universe, that I could plop down for a game of Dragon Rampant, Kings of War, Age of Fantasy, or countless other Warhammer-type games.
I had been collecting units and figures for a few years now, always thinking I’d paint them up and create a semi-coherent chaos army suitable for the grand battles that played out in my imagination. It seems I did that very thing in 2022! Here’s a rundown of what I painted up:
The whole pile of awesome evilness hit the table last month in a big game of Age of Fantasy. Check out the battle report here, and share in gory glory of a chaos victory!
I’ll do a post in the next few weeks showing off my complete chaos army in more detail.
2022 also saw the launch of our own mini-convention: MAJESTICON! This homegrown weekend o’ gaming came about because we were all sadly unable to attend a previously scheduled convention back in September, due to the arrival of the delta variant.
So instead, our local gaming group planned a weekend of game sessions to hopefully capture some of the excitement and fun that comes with attending a convention. With food, too! It turned out really well and it’s my hope that Majesticon will be back again in 2022. Read all about it in these two recap posts.
2022 was also a year where we steered hard back into the One Page Rules family of games. Honestly, OPR fits our game group extraordinarily well. We are a group of casual gamers who are not super interested in chasing the meta or achieving victory through list building. We are far more interested in creating a cool shared tabletop experience with our nicely painted toy soldiers and terrain.
And that’s what OPR provides with games like Grimdark Future and Age of Fantasy. Both are delightfully simple clones of Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar, with strong-yet-concise core rules mechanics and well developed army lists, backed up by an attractive array of original 3D figures.
Here are links to a couple of battle reports that give a good overview of the strength of the OPR system.
And lastly, 2022 was the year that I dipped a toe into teaching others how to paint and create terrain. I became an instructor through a local community center here in town (the inimitable Majestic Theatre, long may she reign) and ended up teaching three courses in 2022: two introductory painting classes and one terrain building class. All were well attended and I am planning more for 2022.
It is really rewarding to give back to the community and help others learn some skills and/or just find a little confidence to try something new. There’s something different about sitting in a room with some new friends (masked up, of course) that you just can’t get from watching a Youtube video.
I’m hardly a professional — in fact, I’m probably a fairly pedestrian painter overall, but I have the benefit of lots of experience (decades, really) and a fairly outgoing den mother type of personality, which makes it easy to mentor new hobbyists. If you’ve ever considered running your own painting classes, I highly recommend it.
Heading into 2022
So there you have it — my 2021 in a nutshell. Goals for 2022 include doing a big writeup on my chaos army, tackling my biggest single piece of terrain yet, and doing another burst of work on my Death Guard army. (It’s already largely complete and very playable, but I’ve got a few extra units I’d like to add before I’ll call it done.)
Earlier this year, I started teaching miniatures painting classes at my local community center — something I’ve been interested in doing for years!
You see, back in April of 2021, it really looked like we were going to lick this COVID thing once and for all. The pending return to normalcy got me excited to dip a toe into in-person instructional classes, as a way to give back to the hobby and encourage the next generation of hobbyists.
Of course, you know where this story goes. COVID didn’t go away at all … in fact, it returned with a vengeance, and with it came more public health restrictions.
Thankfully, in-person events didn’t evaporate entirely, and so I was able to teach three classes in 2021: two introductory painting courses (intended for beginners who had never picked up a brush) and a terrain-making class where we had fun with pink foam and hot wire cutters and Modge Podge.
I received some generous donations of supplies and materials from Mindtaker Miniatures as well as Matt’s Cavalcade of Comics, for which I’m eternally grateful.
Each student received a miniature (I tried to supply a variety of models, not just your typical 40k monotone) as well as access to paints and supplies. We did a short lesson on the actual painting process, but in general I tried to focus on hands-on learning. Some students came in with no experience whatsoever, but most had dabbled a bit in painting or modeling (or both).
The sessions were great fun and I’m pleased to report that I’ve roped in a few new players for our local gaming scene.
It was also fascinating to note that half or more of the students in my classes were women! This is a great trend in our hobby and I’m pleased to see it taking shape. Painting toy soldiers is for everybody and the more we can do to encourage that mindset, the better.
Just a quick post today to share some photos of some new units for my dwarf army. Astute readers may know that I have a long-running dwarf throng composed of figures from a wide variety of companies and manufacturers. I really enjoy blending different sculpts and designs together under a (somewhat) cohesive paint scheme.
First up is a unit of heavily armored dwarves. These figures are from MOM Miniatures, a boutique studio located in Spain. Vince and I went in on a group purchase last year to save on shipping costs.
These guys check all the boxes for me: heavy plate armor, expansive beards, and a variety of two-handed weapons. They’ll be right at home battering down the barricades of a goblin encampment, or marching in lockstep through a narrow canyon defile.
Up next is a dwarven sharpshooter, also from MOM Miniatures. This guy will serve as a ranger or maybe even an engineer-type role in my army. He’s on a slightly larger scenic base which makes him really stand out alongside the rank-and-file troops.
Lastly we have a real gem of a figure, and I can bear-ly contain my excitement to show it to you.
This dwarf bear rider is from Scibor Monstrous Miniatures, and it’s a hefty piece of resin!
I’ve adored Scibor’s delightfully chunky dwarf models for a long time, and just last year I painted up some figures for my army. The golden armor scheme really makes these guys pop on the battlefield, and I knew I wanted to try it out on this bear cavalry guy.
I’ve already got one bear rider on a polar bear in my army, so this guy’s mount got a more traditional boreal ursine paint job. And by that, I mean: it’s a brown bear.
There are tons of little details and design flourishes on this model, such as the severed orc head and the slash marks on the bear’s flank. But my inner 12-year-old wouldn’t let me write this post without pointing out that this bear model is, ahem, anatomically correct. A quick visual check confirms that Mr. Bear is a male.
So if, like me, you hadn’t yet checked “paint bear scrotum” off your miniatures painting bucket list, be sure to check out the lineup of bear cavalry from Scibor Monstrous Miniatures.
That’s it for now! These guys will march to the battlefield soon enough in a game of Age of Fantasy, or Saga, or Dragon Rampant, or … you get the idea.
Earlier this month we gathered in John’s garage war room to cross swords with Age of Fantasy, the rules-lite iteration of classic fantasy wargaming from One Page Rules.
Given how much we enjoyed last month’s outing with Grimdark Future: Firefight last month, it seemed like a logical progression to explore Age of Fantasy. As the name implies, Age of Fantasy is a slimmed-down ruleset that supports Warhammer-lite gameplay, with nifty army lists approximating all the major races and factions from the classic tabletop game. As a bonus, it also includes rules and army lists for most of the newer factions from Age of Sigmar, if that’s your cup o’ tea.
For our game, we set up a 2-vs-1 match whereupon John and Vince combined their human and dwarven forces to take on my bloodthirsty chaos army. This was my first time getting my entire chaos army on the table since I began piecing it together a year or two ago, and I was really chomping at the bit to lay it all out there on the table and bask in the blood-soaked glory.
Please indulge, if you will, these photos of my seething chaos battle line as it took to the field.
John’s human forces and Vincent’s dwarven milita were similarly arrayed, though I noted a concerning lack of skulls and spikes on their side of the board, as well as 100% more pegasus knights and bear riders.
We set up 5 objectives per the standard scenario in the rulebook. I wrote “rulebook” but One Page Rules is not joking about its name; the core rules for Age of Fantasy occupy less than two letter-sized pages, with the full rulebook encompassing scarcely more than a dozen.
The rules are spare, but they do a great job capturing the flavor and tone of a typical game of Warhammer. You’re still rolling dice and counting bonuses and removing casualties and cursing the gods when things go terribly awry, but Age of Fantasy seems to strip away a lot of the bloat that plagued most modern editions of Warhammer.
And so, amid the clatter of spears and the scrape of boiled leather, our game got underway. We opted to use the “Ebb and Flow” rules for the turn sequence, meaning we put a number of colored poker chits equal to the number of units in our armies into a sack, then took turns drawing a chit to determine unit activation order each turn. It was great fun, but it also set up some high stakes moments, because when one side sees several of their chits come up in a row, they know that means the opposing player will have a series of unopposed activations coming later in the turn.
With bloodlust in my eyes, I sent my forces surging forward.
Did I mention I had zero ranged combat in my army? It was all melee, so the only direction to go was forward.
On the right flank, a unit of Putrid Blightkings plodded through the muck, churning the soil beneath their steel-shod feet/hooves. They seized the first objective: a recently abandoned campsite with a roast pheasant still sizzling on the spit. This hapless game hen would become the focal point of absolutely insane butchery as the game unfolded.
With a little help from my chaos sorceress, I managed to goad my unit of Centigors into charging a unit of crossbowmen that had just finished unleashing their arrows into the flanks of my chaos knights. The Centigors thundered in amid a storm of hooves and spears, laying waste to the crossbowmen …
…before finding themselves on the receiving end of a devastating counter-charge from John’s winged pegasus knights!
Nothing like a good ol’ charge/counter-charge bloodbath.
As these maneuvers were playing out, we again remarked on how Age of Fantasy captured the spirit and general gameplay mechanics of classic Warhammer. Sure, we weren’t flipping through army books and cross-referencing arcane rule interactions, but the general spirit of the game definitely emerged as block of troops wheeled and charged and fell back.
By this point, we were about two turns into the game, and the chaos cavalry was advancing up the left flank to menace the dwarf handgunners. The center of the battlefield was dominated by several units of Vince’s heavily armored dwarves, backed up by a fearsome artillery piece.
Over at Waypoint Pheasant (the campfire objective marker featuring the oversized chicken tenders), John was making a determined defense with his block of 20 spearmen, led by the inimitable Grand Marshal Bartholomieu Begovic (standing tall on his ubiquitous supply crate).
The spearmen had a special ability that allowed them to inflict fierce casualties whenever they receive a charge, which really had me scratching my head about how to crack this particular nut.
Ultimately, I had to commit three units to the fight in order to pry John’s spearmen off this particular objective. The final sledgehammer came in the form of a devastating charge by my chariot, which circled around and took the hedgehog on its flank. (Age of Fantasy doesn’t have unit facings, so flank charges exist only in my imagination, but it seemed fitting here.)
The arrival of the chariot tipped things in my favor. A series of spectacularly poor morale rolls from John resulted in Marshal Begovic fleeing the field with the surviving spearmen! Discretion was the better part of valor, it seems, and our dear Marshal didn’t wish the get bloodstains on his pantaloons.
The Ebb and Flow activation rules we were using for this game continued to present unexpected and extremely fun decision points. Both sides had the opportunity to pull off “combo activations” to push the advantage. By the end of the second turn, repeated ativations by the chaos army had finally seized the initiative, culminating in this devastating charge by the chaos knights against the surviving members of a dwarf handgunner brigade.
The demise of the handgunners meant that there wasn’t much to stop the knights from rolling into the dwarves’ backfield, slaughtering the artillery crew and disrupting the reserves that were waiting to plug the gap in the main battleline.
We concluded that the game was in the bag for me, and the two allied players wisely decided to quit the field and retreat to their strongholds.
Age of Fantasy provided a great game worthy of the history books (for me, anyway, since I was the victor). It is a very playable, rules-lite game which seems like it can easily accommodate some very large armies without a lot of complexity or rulebook flipping.
The Ebb & Flow activation rules (optional in the Age of Fantasy rulebook) were absolutely electrifying. I understand they also form the core mechanics for games like Bolt Action and Warlords of Erehwon.
By the end of the game, we were already sketching out ideas for larger games featuring more gloriously painted miniatures from our collections. Stay tuned for more!