We played an small, introductory game of Age of Fantasy since it was Lawrence’s first outing with this particular ruleset. I set up a compact battlefield to showcase my snazzy new buildings, and then we commenced our battle.
I don’t recall the ebb and flow of the game, but it featured plenty of brutal fights between my stout dwarf infantry and Lawrence’s ghastly daemons.
That gnarly chaos spawn ended up rampaging up my flank before eventually falling in single combat versus my bear-mounted dwarf lord. Twas a melee for the history books!
Elsewhere the daemonic hordes continued their assault to seize the settlement and drive back the dwarven defenders. My iron warriors proved to be a particularly effective speed bump as they held the gap against a Great Unclean One.
In the rear, my artillery piece peppered the smaller daemons with lead shot, reducing their ranks even as they closed with the dwarves.
The details of the game’s conclusion are a bit dim, but I recall that I pulled off the victory. All in all, it was a small yet visually stunning spectacle – a perfect weeknight game!
I’m trying to ease back into posting more frequently, starting with a simple update of some recently completed items from my workbench.
First up is this gnarly minotaur warrior from Zealot Miniatures. I acquired this guy and another one (a standard bearer) secondhand from Mindtaker Miniatures.
I didn’t immediately know the origin of this figure, but my buddy Lawrence took one look and said “Oh, you backed their Kickstarter?” No, I did not, but it was nice to figure out this cool model’s backstory.
I really like this model (and the other one, the as-yet-unpainted banner bearer). That’s a 50mm base, so this is a big model. Both of them are brutal and savage, without any obvious iconography that would place them into a specific setting. They will mesh perfectly with my large chaos fantasy army!
Up next is Commander Ze, a print file offered by Reptilian Overlords as a fundraiser to support humanitarian relief for Ukraine. The model is available as a pay-what-you-want download, and I urge you to stop on by and throw them a few bucks for a good cause.
The figure itself is obviously modeled on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – a leader who has transcended politics and secured his place in history due to his incredible leadership over the last two months during Russia’s heinous invasion of Ukraine. (Sidenote: it has been utterly fascinating to watch Zelenskyy being forged into a modern-day folk hero in real time. He met the moment in a way that few leaders have in the 21st century. I wish him long life and a boring, uneventful retirement surrounded by his loving family.)
The model was fun to paint up, and I was pleased to support this worthy cause, but I sincerely hope we never have to see Zelenskyy striking this pose in real life – holding an assault rifle astride the ruins of his glorious capital city. Cool model, in any case!
The last model in today’s roundup is a Blightlord Terminator conversion. I knocked this guy together when I uncovered an unused Forgeworld Nurgle Terminator torso + arms in by bits box. All I needed were some legs! I found an extra monopose Stormcast Eternal and snipped off the upper bits, leaving a fairly serviceable set of lower legs + base.
There was a large, awkward gap after I fitted the pieces together, but I was able to cover it up convincingly with an interesting tentacled armor plate that I found in my bits box. I also dug up a bunch of trophy heads and skulls to cover up all the goody-goody Stormcast iconography. You can see the result in the photo above. Looks OK, right?
I finished up the base right after I took this photo. Don’t judge me too harshly on that! I think the robes came out a bit too bright – this is Nurgle after all – but otherwise I’m generally pleased with the result. It’ll be a welcome addition to my Death Guard army, which has received some reinforcements recently, and more is on the way. Stay tuned!
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!
In early 2020 I pledged to support Into the Abyss, a Kickstarter project to produce a batch of old-school-inspired classic chaos warriors sculpted by Mattes Lüdtke. The project ran into various delays due to COVID, Brexit, and assorted other concerns — totally understandable, of course, and I am happy to report that I received my pledge earlier this year. I set about painting them forthwith, and the first batch of results are here for you to examine.
The models are incredible detailed, multi-part resin sculpts dripping with gruesome character. Every one of these figures could be a chaos champion in their own right — a gnarled veteran of countless battles, perhaps, or an upstart warlord throbbing with the dark power of chaos.
I went with a traditional dark, smoky paint job for the armor. Most of the skin & flesh were contrast paints…quick and easy to work with, if a bit unrefined. The robes and other clothing items got a dark gray/blue paint job.
Props to my buddy John for quickly printing a batch of scenic 32mm round bases to help bring these guys to life. You may have recognized a couple of these figures used in last month’s game of Open Combat — I wasted no time getting them onto the table. These guys will figure prominently into my nascent Chaos army, as well.
This wasn’t the sum total of what I received through my Kickstarter! I also took possession of a vicious Chaos lord on a cavalry mount, as well as a trio of armored dwarves that will go great in my dwarf army. Here’s a look at the Chaos lord in his prepainted state.
I’ve been knocking out some disparate projects over the last month or two and wanted to share them with you.
First up is a pair of resin buildings from Tabletop World: the Cottage and Townhouse. I acquired these two models secondhand, which was perfect because ordering directly from TTW tends to come with steep shipping costs. (Well worth it, of course, since these models are absolutely terrific, but cheaper is always better…)
I’ve long admired TTW models. To me, they are examples of archetypal fantasy village terrain. They are realistic, but they also include design flourishes that suggest a hint of fairy tale whimsy. They’re equally at home on a historical Dark Ages scenario or a gothic Warhammer battlefield.
Here’s a look at the townhouse. It’s the bigger of the two models, with a removable roof and a fully detailed interior. I’ll have plenty of opportunities to use my dollhouse furniture dungeon scenery.
I’ll probably go in and sprinkle some flock on the stonework that serves as the base of these models. That way they’ll look a little bit more in situ alongside my existing fantasy terrain.
Here’s the cottage. It’s smaller, but no less charming! Imagine curling up in there with a hot cup of tea … or, more likely, barring the door and huddling in terror as the battle rages outside.
I’m absolutely chuffed with how these terrain pieces turned out. They’re going to be head-turners for sure whenever I can get them onto the battlefield.
The next batch of output is a group of 20 Northern Alliance Clansmen from Mantic. These are very decent, affordable miniatures suitable to represent barbarians from the frozen north. For me, they’ll serve as a core of levies for my nascent Chaos army (more to come on that later).
For these figures, I challenged myself to speedpaint the whole lot as quickly as possible. I used mostly inks and contrast paints over a light gray undercoat, without a whole lot of attention paid to individual details that I would normally paint separately (satchels, bandoliers, boots, belts, etc).
The result was a drab, muted paint scheme that really looks nice on the battlefield. I painted these guys in small batches to keep the slapdash painting method at least a little bit consistent. Here’s a look at a few of them.
Lots of grays and browns and tans and ochres. If you look closely, you can see plenty of details that would have warranted special attention if I was giving them a more traditional paintjob. But the goal here was to get them done quickly, and their presence on the battlefield will be as a big dirty mob of howling northmen.
Gosh, they look like they’d be right at home kicking down the door of a certain cottage.
I mentioned it earlier, but I’ve been sort of accidentally building an old-school inspired Chaos army over the last few months. I’ve been digging up various models and units and thinking about how they might all take to the battlefield together in games like Saga: Age of Magic, Dragon Rampant, or Oathmark. Here’s a sneak peek:
I’ll share more about this soon but I am really pleased at how things are coming together. Stay tuned!