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KoW Armada: Expanding Collection Guide

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few gaming/strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a naval strategy game set in a rich world of Pannithor, pitting multiple wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. Divided between a Fleet Starter, a Fleet Booster and multiple individual sets, each faction comes with a range of ships and units to choose from. It is quite common for new players to ask what to purchase next in order to expand a collection. Today I would like to present to you a quick guide to Kings of War: Armada purchases. 


Collection Tiers

Although each Armada fleet differs from one another, they all seem to follow a similar path from first purchase up to a complete collection. To keep things easy I have divided collection sizes into tiers, each of which represents a certain milestone allowing for more list building flexibility and in-game shenanigans. When considering how to expand your existing collection, treat tiers as casual guidelines. If for example you own a Fleet Starter and a Fleet Booster, consider adding anything missing from tier 2, preferably in order it is presented. This should, in theory, expand your collection in a way that offers new playstyles, diversity and a power boost.


Tier 1: Basic

  • One Fleet Starter,
  • One Fleet Booster,

This tier represents the usual entry point into Armada. A relatively low price start, allowing for a number of builds within a 150-250pts. range.


Tier 2: Standard

  • XL Ship*,
  • Second Fleet Starter,
  • Second Fleet Booster,
  • One Fliers Booster,
  • Armada Magic Deck,

This tier, once achieved, is a golden tournament standard. An XL* Main Battle Ship, along with a pair of L and multiple M, backed with an array of Support Ships allows for flexible list building, enabling different playstyles and archetypes within a faction. Some players will stop right here, all tools already available.

* if available to your faction.


Tier 3: Advanced

  • Support Ships up to a total of four each, (single ship packs)
  • Second XL Ship*,
  • Second Fliers Booster,

Last tier is a complete collection including everything that you will ever need to build a wide range of 150-250pts. lists honed for specific scenarios and/or archetypes. Four copies od each Support Ship and a second XL allows for some edge case combo lists. Second pair of fliers, while not necessary, is always good to have, just in case of local meta going flier heavy in the future.

* if available to your faction.


Secret Tier X: Beyond

  • Whatever floats your boat,

There’s no real gameplay advantage of adding more sets after tier 3, unless you plan on playing some huge climactic naval battles. Armada miniatures are truly beautiful and full of detail, thus I won’t judge you for further expanding your collection. 

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Empire of Dust is Stronger than You Think

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

If you still don’t know what Kings of War: Armada is, I strongly invite you to read some of the previous Armada related articles. In short Kings of War: Armada is a naval strategy game set in a rich world of Pannithor, pitting multiple wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. Today I would like to focus on one such a faction and especially some common misconceptions surrounding it.


The Empire of Dust is ‘Weak’… not really

The Empire of Dust has it all. It has the looks, the special rules, ships of all sizes, access to all kinds of weapons, and yet it is commonly addressed as being weak and requiring a buff. Whereas some other factions are pretty one dimensional when it comes to list building and playstyle, the EoD comes across as a more advanced, ‘difficult’ fleet. The main fleet theme seem divided between particular ships and is very polarized. With devastating weaponry being shoved on top of Large and Extra Large ships, in exchange for extra Crew Strength and speed being transferred to Medium Main Battleships, it might seem like if the fleet as a whole, doesn’t know if it wants to shoot or board or both. Additionally, thanks to Kopeshiis being the most expensive Medium Main Battleships across the entire game, the list building process for the EoD is rather intimidating. It gets even harder when you realize that compared to other factions, the Slave Squadrons, which are supposed to be fillers, are also priced premium.
So yes, all of these issues might result in a faction being perceived as overall weak. Except it’s not! The Empire of dust is just difficult to master as I have learned the hard way…

Empire of Dust Main Archetype

The Empire of Dust has a very strong, although somehow hidden theme of heavy artillery bombardment. I wrote “hidden” even though the theme is there in plain sight. This is because at first glance, not all EoD ships seem to go along with the archetype. It is somehow unusual for an Armada fleet and might confuse players that are relatively new to the game. 

The theme is centered around Large War Galleys and Extra Large Monoliths Main Battleships, both types packing Indirect Weapons (IDW) on the sides. There is no other fleet with an array of Broadside mounted IDWs. This is an exception throughout the entire game and has some huge list building and gameplay ramifications.

  • Broadside mounted IDW can Fire as She Bears!
  • Broadside mounted IDW can Rake!
  • You can increase the value of Broadside Mounted IDW with Additional Weaponry upgrade from Seas Aflame.
  • Instead of going straight for the enemy, you can maintain a comfortable distance and still shoot with a Broadside Mounted IDW.

The rest of the EoD fleet is clearly honed to provide support for the L and XL centerpieces, mostly by intercepting hostile ships, engaging them up close and denying access to EoD artillery pieces, thus extending the ‘Bombardment’ duration.

  • Kopeshii – Fast and potent Boarding Action interceptor, Objective runner, finisher.
  • Dust Chaser – Cheap roadblock, damage sponge, screener.
  • Soul Hunter – Close range area denial (Soul Thirst) support, self sustaining additional Artillery piece.
  • Slave Squadron – Mobile, Objective grabbing, first aid kit.
  • Bone Dragon – Mobile, self sustaining (healing), harassing skirmisher, finisher. 
  • Scavenger Flock – Cheap, fast, flier interceptor.

Further main archetype improvements come from EoD’s Upgrades, Magic Upgrades and Captains.

  • Hig-Priest T’mork allows to deploy a Main Battleship anywhere on the board at the end of second game turn. Positioning a potent Artillery centerpiece behind enemy fleet with full SP and ready to begin bombardment – anyone?
  • Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer bounces back enemy misses of “1” increasing damage output regardless of range, but especially up close where it becomes a bit uncomfortable for the EoD to face enemy ships. Ideal for a more aggressive build.
  • Balefire is a key EoD upgrade, enhancing each IDW hit with +1dmg and Fire. Resulting Blaze markers will exponentially mitigate enemy ability to deal damage, forcing them to either forego shooting, or risk a 16,66% chance of getting blown to shreds on a failed Fire Extinguish test. In Armada, an auto Blaze on dmg is a rare thing, most Blaze dealing requires an additional dice roll.
  • Windblast can be used when in a tight spot, to clear the length of an enemy ship then turn and Rake, or just to gain distance. Multiple uses can exponentially speed up an otherwise slow ship. 
  • Soul Snare is a (rare in terms of the game) healing on damage dealt. Instead of Grappling, punish the enemy ship for it’s Crew Strength and Repair yourself in the process. This item goes well with a layer of close range defenses (Soul Thirst, Kopeshiis with Curse of Undeath and Terror ready to close in and entangle in Boarding Action) plus some IDW being capable of Point Blank Raking Fire on top.

Empire of Dust has partial access to Oars and Light Oars which makes positioning for a kill or simply keeping a healthy artillery formation so much easier. Entire fleet also benefits from Curse of the Undeath, potentially mitigating results of enemy Boarding attempts.


Finally, stat wise, the EoD excels at Nerve Value and this in not a coincidence. With a bulk of the fleet serving as speed bumps and reliable obstacles, high Nerve Value translates into their survivability, resulting in increased duration of the ongoing artillery bombardment served by the main pieces. 


Once you take a deep dive, everything in Empire of Dust revolves around the main theme

The Empire of Dust List Building

So now that we’ve toppled the main archetype of the Empire of Dust, where does this leave us in terms of list building? First of all the EoD should definitely be built around L or XL centerpieces. Being ‘forced’ to field a War Galley or a Monolith is a bit of a crutch, but at the same time these ships are probably what drove you into playing the Empire of Dust in the first place, so… there’s that. Once you decide between aggressive and passive playstyle and build an appropriate configuration for a centerpiece, just fill the remaining points with a protective screen of Kopeshii (s), and a mix of Support Ships that best suit that playstyle.

Off course I could go for another round over each ship and describe in detail what it does and how to use it, but at this point you probably already have a grasp on what each ship’s roll is. Plus there’s no better learning process than to play the actual game, so instead, allow me to present some Ship Configuration ideas that I myself use. This should allow you to intuitively place a ship on a mental power scale and ‘feel’ it’s designated role.

  • The Monolith / Shobek’s Wrath

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Weaponry (Broadside) – IDW+1, Magical Rudder/Soul Snare, Lucky Crew/Master Gunner.

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Kedge Anchor, Soul Snare.

  • War Galley

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Weaponry (Broadside) – IDW+1, Lucky Crew/Master Gunner.

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Soul Snare.

  • Kopeshii

Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil.

  • Dust Chaser

Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction.

  • Soul Hunter

Regular Crew/Veteran Crew, Crow’s Nest.

Regular Crew/Veteran Crew, Sturdy Construction.

  • Slave Squadron

Inexperienced Crew/Regular Crew.

Sample Fleet Lists

Below are sample EoD lists that, in my opinion, represent the EoD preferred archetype well.

Monolith: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Magical Rudder, Lucky Crew. 137p.
Kopeshii: Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil. 54p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Soul Hunter: Veteran Crew. 24p.
Slave Squadron. 9p.
250pts.


Monolith: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Magical Rudder, Lucky Crew. 137p.
Kopeshii: Regular Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil. 45p.
Slave Squadron. 9p
Slave Squadron. 9p
200pts.


War Galley: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Lucky Crew. 89p.
Kopeshii: Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, 52p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Soul Hunter: Veteran Crew. 24p.
Slave Squadron. 9p.
200pts.

All in all the Empire of Dust is a solid faction, on par with other Armada fleets, offering an interesting (if somehow rigid) playstyle. It is hard to master which might lead to some initial disappointments, but once you put some games in and get a grasp of how things work, the EoD is a very rewarding fleet. Is it good in everything? No. Is it good in some things? Oh yeah, definitely. Is it fun to play? Totally!

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Does Size Matter?

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a game of fantastical sea warfare. Set in a rich world of Pannithor the Armada clashes wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. As much as miniatures go, KoW Armada offers a selection of beautiful miniatures from across multiple factions, with more being released every few months. These ships vary in size and power from Tiny Squadrons zigzagging between larger vessels to XL flagships capable of dealing devastating damage with a single broadside. With size comes the firepower and capacity but at a cost of speed and maneuverability. Is a spamy fleet capable of competing with a centerpiece type fleet? Is, in general, a particular ship size more optimal than the other? Today I will ponder a question: 


Does Size Matter?

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Yes, in Armada the size does matter a lot. The larger a ship, the more firepower it brings and the more devastation it is capable of with a single Activation. But large size does not come without some drawback, most obvious being speed and maneuverability. A ship’s hull can be bristling with guns, but what if it is unable to draw a proper line of fire to a group of smaller, more agile enemy ships? Let’s talk about pros and cons of large size and see if they hold merit.


* The larger the ship the more guns it brings.

Large ships are more expensive and so they pack more guns than their smaller counterparts. Having more guns allows them to deal more damage in a single Activation. So much so as to potentially Cripple or even Sink an enemy ship (or ships!) before subsequent Activation.
Interestingly, more often than not, the same points value spent on a variety of smaller Main Battle Ships will result in more guns on the gaming board. This is obvious to see for some factions, while a bit more obscured for others. Basilean fleet, being pretty vanilla, with same type of armaments across all three Main Battle Ships, is perfect to represent this:
A Basilean Dictator has less broadside guns than three Elohis combined. 2H less to be precise.
Basilean Dictator: 90pts, 4H, 3L, 3C
Basilean Abess: 62pts, 3H, 2L, 2C
Basilean Elohi: 30pts, 2H, 1L, 1C


* Larger size equals more upgrade slots.

Capacity increases with size, which allows for more upgrades for a ship. This can lead to some pretty nasty combos or just increase efficiency of some upgrades. For example a Master Gunner allows for a reroll of an entire salvo. This upgrade has a much more impact on a Dictator’s devastating salvo of 4H, 3L and 3C, than on Elohi’s 2H, 1L and 1C. Furthermore it will cost three times the cost of a Master Gunner, to equip three Elohi’s.
Fielding a variety of smaller ships is not without it’s merits though, as it allows to add important fleet-wide-buff upgrades for cheap and not take up a valuable slot on an expensive vessel. More so, the cost of such upgrades can be decreased by degrading a Crew Level to Inexperienced. “Okarina of Korgaan” and “War Drum of Spite” are good examples. Of course nothing prevents mixing ship sizes to achieve the same result. 


* Larger ships have more Crew Strength.

Large ships pack a lot more CS, which means a huge advantage over smaller opponents during Boarding Actions. Advantage that is not mitigated by the current Multiple Grapple rules. Even though most Large and Extra Large ships might be unable to grapple fast moving enemy ships (Full Speed etc.), usually there will be some opportunities to do so throughout the game. Furthermore having high CS ensures fast Ongoing Boarding Action resolution, thus freeing a larger ship from being pinned by a smaller, cheaper vessel.
On the other hand a single powerful ship can become entangled in melee, thus significantly reducing the firepower of an entire fleet. A fleet of more ships will still be mostly operational if one get’s caught in a Boarding Action, allowing the rest to deal damage and go after objectives unhindered.


* More Structure Points in one place for larger ships.

Larger ships come with more Structure Points, which makes them more difficult to Cripple/Sink, resulting in more time of full effectiveness. A fleet composed of three Elohis will probably gradually lose it’s firepower while ships get damaged and subsequently Crippled, or Sunk. At the same time a single Dictator can be expected to stay operational for longer, before reaching the threshold.


* Repairs Bonus.

Large and Extra Large ships receive a Repairs bonus of +2 SP regained with a Repairs action.
Multiple smaller ships, faster and more maneuverable by default, are capable of putting constant pressure on a larger vessel, while being able to take turns, speeding out of immediate danger to undertake Repairs.


* Area of effect.

Thanks to the size of their bases, L and XL ships are easier to Rake enemy ships. Wider Broadside is easier to position for a solid Raking Fire. This leads to larger ships being more difficult to go around and combined with high durability, makes them perfect area denial pieces. 


* Speed decreases with size.

The larger a ship the slower it usually is. High Movement allows to go around slow enemy ships, zoom out of danger and go after objectives. Fast ships are capable of crossing the entire board in a matter of barely few Activations, resulting in a much higher effective range of their weaponry.


* Maneuverability decreases with size.

On top of a (usually) yellow Turn Arc, larger ship bases are more difficult to maneuver with. More so, L and XL movement is more hindered by Sandbanks, Islands and dense battlefields.
This can be partially mitigated with Kedge Anchor and Magical Rudder upgrades.


* Less is sometimes more.

Large and Extra Large ships are points intense. Adding these to a list results in a small size fleet, which in turn leads to easier general maneuvering. Wielding a numerous fleet is not an easy task, potential collisions dealing high amount of self inflicted damage. 


* Some scenarios favor small size.

While a large SP count is good, there are some scenarios that favor smaller ship sizes and/or greater numbers. Not every scenario devolves into sinking more enemy ships.


* Large targets are easier to Hit.

L and XL ships are easier to hit, providing an additional +1 To-Hit bonus for shooting opponents. There is a catch though. Due to how Partial Visibility rules work, S ships are unable to gain Full Visibility to XL ships when side by side.

And now we’re left with a question: Go big or go for numbers? There’s not a straight answer. Extra Large ships are monsters, capable of dominating entire game. They are though, reliable and deadly. On the other hand Large and Medium size ships are just as well optimized and excel in areas outside of XL’s capabilities. Are Extra Large ships overpowered? Certainly not. Are they generally “better”? Maybe, depending on the faction, but not by a large margin. My guts tells me they are just easier to successfully implement in a game. I am inclined towards an opinion that in time, when meta clarifies and players get used to everyday maneuvering, we will see a shift from more cumbersome XLs towards Medium and Large. Regardless, with how well balanced Armada seem to be right now, the XLs are definitely worth the points investment and are fun to wield. I for one, love me some of that Dictator swinging and greatly enjoy having an Extra Large ship on the table. If you haven’t already, be sure to give Extra Large ships a try. GLHF.

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Many thanks to M.L., R.Z. and K.R. for providing valuable input. Your feedback and suggestions is what made this article possible.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Faction Guide

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a game of fantastical sea warfare. Set in a rich world of Pannithor the Armada clashes wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. As much as miniatures go, KoW Armada offers a selection of beautiful miniatures from across four factions, with more being released every few months. These factions vary between themselves, not just visually but also on-tabletop, offering different playstyles, themes, strengths and weaknesses. Below I will focus on each faction individually, pointing out some pros and cons, but also offering insight into possible strategies.

Before we start, some notes:

  • I’m not a professional data analyst, might be wrong on some observations. I base my conclusions on data and personal on-tabletop experience. In case of newest releases my assumptions are purely speculative so take it with a pinch of salt. 
  • Math and notes behind average fleet stats can be found in this google spreadsheet.
  • Any tactics and archetypes described here might be influenced by your local meta and scenarios being played.
  • Average Faction strengths does not include Fliers.
  • As more new factions get introduced an Average baseline will start to change. Factions that are now top 2 on certain stats, might fall from grace. I decided not to revisit older factions each time new one gets introduced, but rather make an update every once in a while. The reason is convenience. In my opinion if a certain faction was in the very top of certain average stat, it will still be high, regardless if new faction steals the spotlight.

Basilean – Cleric Faction.

Cheapest on average, best SP to points cost ratio. Not standing out at anything except Move, SP/point cost ratio, healing and damage reduction capabilities (Aegis Shield, Blessed Hull, Light of Ekhos, Halo of Light, Helping Hand).

Ship of interest: Gur Panther with 28SP for 12pts, can be used to screen Heavy Hitters from enemy fire, providing closest target to enemy inexperienced/standard crewed ships.

Basileans can cheat activation order (Jaymes Ellias) to deal unexpected (both direction) broadsides pain with a Heavy Hitter.

Strategy proposal: Avoid close quarters, make use of H, L, IDW going slow and with a side to enemy fleet, while also repairing damage suffered. Going slow means hitting easier, but also being hit easier, here’s where repairing comes into play. Once close go in between enemy ships and fire both ways. Use Gur Panthers for screen against Ram and incoming fire.

Basilean Average strengths:

Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
*Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
*Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,


Orc – Berserker faction.

Least durable, but also good SP to points cost ratio makes Orcs a Glass Cannon faction. Orc main strength is Boarding Action, ease and damage increase with which it comes into play (Ram, Morax, War Drum of Spite, Ensnared, Rabble Rousing, Grappling Arm, Crew Strength, Let’s Get Them). Although Orcs excell in boarding, they can also pack a solid punch. There’s a tone of C weapons which can be buffed to a point of madness (Morguns, Yinn Greythunder) and can be leveraged for good positioning (Gorfang Bluejaw).

Strategy proposal: Go hard and fast using Boomboats to disorganize and divide enemy fleet formation (IDW). Fish for solo easy targets with important Heavy Hitters, while ganging up on enemy Heavies with your cheap stuff, ram (deal some damage), immobilize (grapple) and keep them occupied – guns silent, move into position with your Heavies and bomb entire cluster into splinters, cheap Orc ships included. In late game use boomboats to their maximum potential, shooting all directions amidst enemy ships.

Orc Average strengths:

Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
*Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
Light Weapons to cost ratio,
*Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
*Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,


Dwarf – Hammer faction.

Most durable sledge hammer of a faction, packing top numbers of L-H weapons across the fleet. On top of a Nerve re-roll (Headstrong) Dwarfs have access to a large spectrum of upgrades that can fill any holes in their overall straightforward play style. You need durability? Done! (Master Engineer, Advanced Construction). You need to deal with these pesky Boarders? Easy! (Dwarven Ale). Wanna pack even more punch? Dwarfs got your back! Flame Belchers, Ironwatch Marines). This allows to hone certain ships for specific jobs, like Boarding counter, a tank or a heavy damage dealer.
Dwarfs come in steady and focused, thanks to almost flat speed across entire fleet. Once they pierced your fleet – they’ll be back to bite a piece of your stern. (red arcs, Advanced Engines on entire fleet).

Ship of interest: Hunter, packing a solid 3L and 15SP on a 10pts. expendable platform.

Strategy proposal: Go fast and hard, divide and conquer enemy fleet. Dwarfs seem like a faction that want’s to charge, guns blazing, then go through the middle of enemy fleet, wreaking havoc. Pick weakened targets of opportunity for GrimmStones and Furies. Make use of Engines and red Turn Arcs setting up for Raking Fire. Remember about special tools in your fleet – ships, that thanks to proper upgrades, are very good at one particular thing.

Dwarf Average strengths:

Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
*Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
*Red Turning Angle availability,


Empire of Dust – Artillery faction.

Straight off the bat the EoD fleet might come as pretty average. Their stat specialty is NV and they excel at IDW. There seem not to be a common theme across the faction, except Boarding Action mitigation (Curse of Undeath, Terror) and bad turning (Yellow Turn Arc all over the place). Yet the EoD comes with a lot of surprises. Different ships specialize in different things and this is what makes this faction Interesting. Empire of Dust is all about where and when… and with which tool. You need to break an incoming blob of enemy ships? War Galley and Soul Hunter will bomb from afar with all that sweet IDW, while rest will add some H and L to the mix. You need to intercept or go hunting for juicy artillery at the back of enemy line? Kopeshi is the fastest ship in the game and has a solid CS, Terror and Curse of Undeath to sway it’s chance in any Boarding Action. Dust Chaser is a Gur Panther with Light Oars, capable of taking a punch while screening your heavies. Most importantly you can extend your heavies lifespan by cheating SP (Slave Squadrons, Expendable).
EoD is also the trickiest faction, being able to deal damage in pretty unexpected places. On top of situational maneuverability (Windblast, High Priest T’Mork, Light Oars) EoD has a range of damage dealing tools (Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Soul Thirst, Lightning Bolt, Soul Snare).

Strategy proposal: Leverage IDW and keep enemy at a distance. Screen your fleet with Dust Chasers and make a good use of Slave Squadrons to eat up some of enemy fire. Once amidst tight battle, outflank with Kopeshii to pick valuable targets, while the rest of the fleet does some Soul Hunting AoE, IDW up close and bring down carnage.

Empire of Dust Average strengths:

Movement to cost ratio,
*Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
*Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,

Hungry for more empire of Dust in-depth analysis? Visit the Empire of Dust is Stronger than
You Think article
and learn how to master the undead fleet!


The Twilight Kin – Assassin faction.

Stat wise the Twilight Kin fall into the same archetype as Orcs – the Glass Canon. This is clearly backed by the highest Crew Strength to Points Cost ratio, 2nd best Close Quarter Weapons to Points Cost ratio and the fact that C Weapons are present on every single ship, except Tiny Needlefangs.

The main difference between the two factions is how they go about dealing damage and the consequences of getting close.

Where Orcs seem a bit more flexible* and prone to sacrifice with crippled suicide Ram exchanges, the more maneuverable Twilight Kin are focused on well placed Boarding Actions and Glass Canon engagements, dealing massive damage and aiming to cripple, as any retaliation will be devastating to in-fleet synergies.Orc have access to IDW, XL ships, can build ships for either Boarding Actions or Shooting with Morax / Morguns.
Being by far the fastest fleet, combined with access to Shroud (enemy gets -1 to Hit over 8″) the Twilight Kin will get close – it’s a fact. Once in range, assuming key pieces are in place Grappling enemy ships is just a formality (Ensnare, Barbed Harpoons and common upgrades), then it’s Boarding Actions. Here’s where Twilight Kin excel. Blade Dancers, Decimate, Banshee’s Wail improve the odds of defeating enemy ships, but it is the synergies that allow them to outshine the Orcs. Being caught between attacking Blade Dancers and a Banshee’s Wail seem like a quick trip to the bottom of the sea.

Strategy Proposal: When it comes to Shooting the Twilight Kin strength lays in their maneuverability and speed. Coming in fast, turning just before enemy prow to avoid Fire as She Bears Broadsides, unleashing a Raking Fire C salvos up close would be a go to strategy. Then Grapple, then GG. Once Grappled, enemy ships cannot Fire as She Bears, the rest of the fleet can safely position themselves behind a target, either joining Boarding Action or just bombing it with a C Stern Rake.
One thing to keep in mind is the Domino effect. The Twilight Kin rely on in-faction synergies and initial Damage far more than Orcs. When crippled the Orcs can simply throw themselves to Ram, usually getting a great deal out of it. The Twilight Kin have a very high NV to Points cost ratio, but they lack XL ships to hold the fleet together. Once the Twilight Kin start to crumble, the synergies will dim down, the fleet will start to loose momentum and Damage output necessary to pull preferable deals off. Because of that you want to go fast, hard and move to safe positions, be it Boarding Actions or over 8″ and outside deadliest enemy firing arcs.

On a side note: Compared to initial fleets gameplay the Twilight Kin seem like a difficulty level went up. I do believe this is a trend that we will see continued with new releases.

Twilight Kin Average strengths:

*Movement to cost ratio,
*Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
*Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
Light Weapons to cost ratio,
*Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
*Red Turning Angle availability,


The Kingdom of Men – Marksman faction.

Fast and hard hitting the Kingdom of Men is in my opinion the strongest mid-long range Armada faction. The KoM is basically Basilean ships on steroids, maintaining good Movement, maneuverability and low Cost, while trading fancy rules, IDW and durability buffs for pure Damage output, To-Hit modifiers and insane Nerve shenanigans. With access to Spotter Gunboat Squadrons and Motley Crew, the Kingdom of Men Light and Heavy Weapons shooting is very potent.

The fleet is all about tight formation around Main Battle Ships and two important auras to build around: Solid Command will keep the ships in the fight, even after being crippled, while Spotter will ensure more hits. Large and Extra Large ships can also benefit from a War Wizard, which is a powerful tool to deal with foes that came too close invading KoM’s zone of comfort. Putting a Blaze Marker on an enemy ship is an easy way to force a bad choice between shooting and a risk of being blown up on a roll of “1”, on next activation.

The Kingdom of Men Flagship can be improved with choice of Captains. Kraiger is a solid Nerve buff, while Dead Eye McHardy turns unmodified “9” into Crits, doubling the Crit chance. On a ship like a Conqueror, which is basically a Basilean Dictator, the Critical Hit chance buff is pretty deadly.

Strategy Proposal: Staying at Steady Speed in a tight formation ensures all ships benefit from auras and allows Gunboat Squadrons to keep up. Enemy IDW might be a problem so unless there are C heavy ships closing in, IDW should be the main target, as otherwise the Kingdom of Men dominates Long Range Shooting. For this purpose it is imperative that all ships are equipped with Crows Nests. In case of no IDW and slow enemy fleets the KoM can Anchor comfortably to increase To-Hit chance, except Frigates. Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction Frigates are perfect to be used to screen the fleet and force enemy ships to fire at an unfavorable targets. Because of that they should always be moving, thus more difficult to hit.
Finally, as Nerve is not an issue, the KoM can baldly undertake some high risk high reward actions if things get to close and personal. 

Ship of note: Conqueror, packing a solid 6H, 3L, 3C with a cheaper Veteran Crew and Critical Hits on “9-10” is just a must have. With Master Carpenter, Dead Eye Hardy, Motley Crew and Crow’s Nest this beast is barely 99 points. *Drops the mike*, or rather an Anchor. 

*Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
*Structure Points to cost ratio,
*Crew Strength to cost ratio,
*Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
*Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,


Elves – Spearmen Faction

Fast, nimble and precise, the Elves sail into Armada with a very interesting set of stats. Although average speed is being dragged down a notch by XL ships, the Elves are the fastest faction on a ship by ship basis. With a Red Turn Arc on par with Dwarfs and the Twilight Kin, the Elves claim the very top thanks to Masters of the Waves skill, which allows them free extra turns at the end of first Move during each Activation. Combined with an immense arsenal of Light Weapons, this extra agility allows for some deadly shenanigans.

When it comes to weaponry the Elves pack the highest L/ship across the fleets and a solid number of H Weapons. They also have access to one IDW vessel type with lack of C being the only drawback to the fleet’s arsenal. This mid-long range weaponry setup is further enhanced with Elven Eyes, allowing Elves to ignore -1 To-Hit for long range shooting.

Up Close is where Elves does not feel comfortable. They come with average CS, lowest SP/Cost ratio, worst NV on average and no C weapons. To put it simply – unless necessary, you really don’t want to engage the enemy fleet up close.

Strategy Proposal: Go steady and keep the enemy fleet at length, making full use of Elven Eyes, buffed IDW and Auto Criting Enchanted Bolt Thrower. Adjust speed to keep Argus Squadrons within aura range and add that extra umpf to your Crits and eventually aura heal with Green Lady’s Blessing before you commit to full scale sailing. Once the opponent starts to catch up, increase Speed and go around and on the back of enemy formation. With low SP and no C Elven ships are a bit too fragile to risk cutting through against probable Fire as She Bears. If you went with Therennian Sea Guard and are within Kindred Bond you may consider Boarding Action to entangle important enemy damage dealer and buy time for your heavy hitters to sink easier targets. Otherwise avoid unfavorable Borading Actions until no other choice.

Assume proper strategy in line with choice of captain: Stormwing Captain (adds another free turn from Masters of the Waves) or Madriga (once per game counts one shooting position as Point Blank for Damage purposes). Both can give you an edge when facing against heavy damage dealers. 

*Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
*Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
*Red Turning Angle availability,


Salamanders – Shieldwall Faction

To put is simply – the Salamanders are sea turtles. They come slow and steady, in a tight ‘shell’ formation that enhances their many short range auras and synergies (Elemental Roar aura, Clan Ensign aura, Shield aura, Blessing of the Three Kings). Ignoring Critical Hits (Blessing of the Three Kings) combined with canceling Crippled (Shield) and being able to re-roll extinguish fire Skill tests makes the Salamanders the most resilient fleet up to date. They have exceptional damage reduction, yet that doesn’t mean the Salamanders are not capable of bursting into movement and doing some shenanigans up close. Still I feel like they’d rather take all the advantage of their many long range weapons (including double IDW) and Blaze related tricks (Red Hot Shot) – softening their prey right before engulfing it in close range fire and boarding (Corsairs).

Stat wise, the Salamanders excel at Nerve, Heavy and Light Weapons, but it is the lack of evident drawbacks that makes them stand out. They are, at the very least, average on all other stats. Add access to all ship sizes and you have a solid base to build all the combos and strategies on top of.

Salamanders come with two interesting Captains choices, both adding FREE additional upgrades that doesn’t take up slots on the ship. This allows for turning a L or XL ship into a real deal top tier vessel, bristling with upgrades. Additionally Arhkblash Deezelo comes with a fancy rule of forcing re-rolls of successful extinguish fire tests on enemy vessels… which is just nasty.

Strategy Proposal: Take advantage of all the H, L and IDW by going steady and slow. Keep in tight formation, depending on auras to reduce incoming damage even against enemy IDW. Prolonged long range bombardment should soften enemy fleet to a point where it is optimal to fire up Elemental Roar and Clan Ensign and just go for it, choosing targets of opportunity and concentrating on crippling as many ships as possible before closing the formation for a long come about around the table. Use Corsairs and Boarding to your advantage, intercepting CS heavy enemy ships before they catch to your weaker ships. Remember that once Ablaze, enemy ships are forced to do nothing or risk getting blown into shreds, thus it might be wise to ignore ships on fire, switching attention to a more immediate threat. 

Movement to cost ratio,
*Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
*Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
*Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,


These are the Kings of War: Armada factions available for now. I will be revisiting this article to provide updates and add new content from time to time so stay tuned. Personally I hope to get some Twilight Kin and Elves commissions to add more pictures in the future, but for now glorious Four is all I have.

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!







Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: RAMming for Dummies

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a game of fantastical sea warfare. Set in a rich world of Pannithor, the Armada clashes wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against each other. As much as miniatures go, KoW Armada offers a selection of beautiful miniature ships from across four factions, with more being released every few months. Although colliding prow first into enemy ships is forbidden by the rules, some ships are designed to Ram. This usually ends up with both ships getting crushed to ribbons, which led to a lot of misconceptions about Ramming in general. Most common being “Ramming is a weak faction mechanics”. Today I will topple the topic and prime you for successful Ramming. Hold on to the decking and All Ahead Full!


Ramming for Dummies

Allow me to start by saying this: Ramming is a very strong and rewarding mechanics.

That being said let’s focus on what makes a Faction oriented mechanics good. For starters a Faction game mechanics should be synergic with faction strengths (and weaknesses). It should allow for leveraging the common rules to faction’s advantage. A Faction game mechanics can be a strong independent rule, or a synergic one in which case the more synergy the stronger rules combo becomes.

For instance Baseilan ships have the best Structure Points to Points Cost ratio in the game. They have upgrades like Aegis Shield which reduces damage taken and Blessed Hull which allows them to Repair more efficiently. Basileans also have Slopes with Helping Hand increasing Repair efficiency even more. There is a theme to these rules which translates into a strong Faction Mechanics. Worth noting is the fact that it takes more than a single rule to achieve this synergy. Like, Elohi’s Halo of Light is useless in a vacuum, but kicks in when combined with other pieces of the puzzle.

Back to Ramming, RAM(n) allows to deliberately Collide with enemy ships and auto fail the Evade test. It also adds (n) damage to the total dealt to enemy ship in case of a successful collision.
In a vacuum the rule is very swingy. Unless (and sometimes regardless if) you Ram a much smaller target, there is a chance of taking more damage than dealt to enemy ship.
On a wider scale RAM(n) goes along the common Orc main theme: High damage output and expendable ships.
Orc ships are all about C weapons, which have best damage output, but the shortest range from among all shooting weapons. This means you need to get close and inevitably take some damage before you can unleash your C volleys in a devastating salvo. Orc ships, on average, are also cheap and have a second best Structure Points to Points Cost ratio in the game.
Still the main Faction mechanics for Orcs is Boarding Actions. On average, Orcs have more Crew Strength than other factions. They also have access to upgrades that further boost Crew Strength (Morax, War Drum of Spite, Rabble Rousing etc.). Going all ahead full to get close and use all the C weapons means Orcs are also close enough to Board and they even come with cheaper Boarding Hooks and a rule allowing them to try to Grapple enemy ships moving at Full Speed! And as I already pointed out – Orcs are great at Boarding Actions.

So the most efficient strategy should follow the most efficient mechanics:
– Go at Full Speed towards enemy to get close as soon as possible to start dealing damage, plus be harder to hit.

– Use C weapons once you’re in range. Best if moving between enemy ships to be able to fire both sides for more damage output.

– Initiate Boarding Actions to protect your ships from being shot at during enemy activation, plus further increase damage output.

Where does that leave RAM(n)?
RAM(n) is just a tool. It is not a main faction strength, but rather another synergic mechanics in a wide arsenal of increasing damage output. It is more of a situational tool, rather than go to strategy.
To be successful at Ramming you must master “when” and “where”.

Proper Ramming:
* Your ship is low on Structure Points and will probably get sunk in the next enemy Activation. Might as well deal a lot of damage in a blaze of glory, especially if it also carries a Crystal Keel of Retribution.
* Large, dangerous enemy ship is next to Activate, but is also on a brink of being Crippled.
* Your main C damage dealer is soon to Activate, but an enemy ship (low on SP) is the closest target blocking line of fire to much juicier targets.
* Enemy ship has not Fired as She Bears yet and you need to avoid getting in it’s side Fire Arc, electing to Ram head on and trying to initiate Boarding Action afterwards to keep it from Firing at your incoming fleet.
* Last turn, enemy ship holds an objective, Ramming has potential to sink the ship, thus swinging the game result in your favor.

Dummy Ramming:
* You main strategy is to prioritize Ramming over Shooting and Boarding Actions.
* You use Ram as an opening move in a battle.
* You just want to see the world burn and don’t care who goest to the bottom of the sea.
* You Ram same size or larger enemy ships with no additional goal to achieve with this action.

In short: Treat Ram(n) as a tool of opportunity, a strong Glass Canon type of Damage dealing. Accept Ramming means sacrificing your ship and be sure to Ram if it’s worth the sacrifice, or if it allows you to achieve important long term goals.

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

Review: A-Case Victory 2.0 Carrying Bag

INTRODUCTION

Moving painted miniatures to a tournament or painting competition can be a real challenge. I bet that every single miniatures painter had one or more miniatures damaged while being transported. Sad truth is that no matter what we do, situations like these happens. Still, when it comes to safe transportation of our beloved miniatures, we’re not completely helpless.

In the world of miniatures painting there are two well established ways of professional miniatures transportation, both with their own pros and cons: Foam Bags and Magnetic Bags. Today I would like to talk a bit about the latter and present to you the A-Case Victory 2.0 from A-Case, one of the leading companies in the market.

QUALITY

During my years as a hobby store manager and a hobbyist, I’ve seen my share of transportation bags. This imho allows me to say that when it comes to quality A-Case is king. Everything fits, everything is smooth, no thread going wild along the stitches, inner metal casing of great quality plus the overall feel of an exclusive product.
New A-Case Victory 2.0 saw a lot of improvements compared to previous series, such as a much sturdier construction, reinforced trays, strapped side pins to keep the trays in place and more.

VISUALS

I know this part is totally subjective, but Dayum! The Victory 2.0 looks so good! Everything from design, through quality makes it feel prestigious, both in the inside and the outside. To be fair the sole look is what made me crave a Magnetic Case of my own when I scrolled through facebook and saw it time and time again. Just couldn’t resist. At least now you know why I’m so hyped about it.

FUNCTIONALITY

Coming from a position of an orthodox foam fan I have thoroughly tested this carrying case during last month. Apart from obvious features like light weight, comfort of use, adjustable strap with a shoulder pad, handle, large pocket and removable trays Victory 2.0 has some cool features that improve on the case’s functionality. A Velcro strap on top and at the front allows to attach badges, while water resistant material will keep your miniatures safe in case of bad weather. My favorite though are side pins to immobilize the trays in place. In previous series these might get lost but now attached with flexible straps they will follow the trays around.

PRICE

It’s not easy to compare A-Case’s Victory 2.0 to other transportation cases as there’s really no high tier competition in the market. Yes, there are some magnetic cases out there (Battle Foam, Tablewar etc.) but most is just out of this league. Coming at a price of around 180€ Victory 2.0 is also more expensive than foam counterpart, but it offers a totally different method of miniatures transportation. One that does not involve your paint job touching anything, even as soft as foam. One that allows you to transport large quantity of miniatures in a rather small bag. Most importantly one that is durable and will last for years to come. In addition A-Case offers free shipping around the world and in some cases (like US) that means huge savings.
For me the pricing of this exclusive product seem fair. Taking the cost of miniatures and time/money spent on painting into consideration, around 180€ seems like a small price for solid, comfortable and very aesthetic protection.

SUMMARY

To summarize, if you’re looking for a solid and comfortable way to transport your miniatures – A-Case Victory 2.0 is the thing. It looks great, it is very comfortable to use, made of high quality materials and with utmost care for detail. On top of it the case is reasonably priced. On a scale where 10 is awesome, 8 is good, 6 is ok, 5 is mediocre, 3 is bad and I don’t want to even mention 1 – I deem this product awesome! 10/10 Victory 2.0 totally revolutionized my approach to Magnetic transportation and ended twenty years of my foam addiction.

WHERE TO BUY?

Victory 2.0 is currently being produced after a successful kickstarter campaign. If you suddenly crave for your own Carrying Case, head to:
A-Case website,
A-Case Facebook,

If you’re more of a patient type and want to save some buck – wait for the next A-Case kickstarter campaign, which is sure to take place at some point in the future.

Victory 2.0 and other Carrying Cases from the Hybrid series will be available to purchase in December 2019! Stay tuned!

BONUS: ROLL BAG

Brushes and Tools Roll Bag is another product of A-Case that I really like. This smart solution of brushes and modelling tools transportation might come in handy when you plan to take your hobby on a trip, or engage in hobby activities at a local store. Personally I’ve used it to transport my tools to airbrush workshops I ran. Also took it to hotels couple of times. It’s great and I can’t figure out why it ain’t that popular with hobbyists?

Either way – I have three of these and currently use two – this leaves me with one spare Roll Bag. You’ve made it through the entire article and deserve a reward – so here’s where the surprise starts:

The top right Brushes and Tools Roll Bag (Orange) can be yours!
To join the raffle simply:
* Like Scarhandpainting Facebook profile,
* Like this facebook post and comment on it with a #gimmerollbag,
Results will be posted at Sunday 10th of November. Good luck!

Scarhandpainting

Battle Report: Infinity “Unexpected Bump”

Every year I try to put painting miniatures aside, even if just for a bit, to bring to you a Battle Report. Infinity the Game is still my favorite miniatures game and once again I participate in a yearly online campaign. Keeping the story short – it’s that time of the year and to uphold to tradition – I’m back with this year’s Infinity the Game Battle Report. (Apologies to all those who have no idea about Infinity and it’s lore).

SUICIDE KINGS - UNEXPECTED BUMP

 

After berely surviving ALEPHS incursion at Wotan blokade the Dong Peyote repurposed freighter fled to deep space for vital repair. It took a year to fix the ship, during which it’s crew kept a low profile, gathering reasources necessary to rejoin Nomad military operations. Couple of weeks ago DeePee’s long range radio scanner picked up a call for help from Johhny-5 Arachne Node, based on planet Dawn. The ship and it’s crew burned their engines dry to finally arrive at planet Dawn just in time. Battered yet unbroken, Dong Peyote entered the atmosphere of Dawn using a meteor shower to disquise it’s signature from Ariadna low-tech scanners, the same night as Vince McMahogany news of conflict erupting at Novyy Cimmeria shocked public media of the Human Sphere.

It was Zhàn Huó Firebase that picked Dong Peyote’s approach before it’s mighty load could be dropped at J-5 Node. To avoid being shot down, captain of the ship decided to fall back to low orbit. This did not sit well with the crew, eager to aid their Nomad brethren in defense of the node. Small elite squads were formed and then dropped over entire island in assault pods. Each squad was to carry it’s own mission, to then converge at the J-5 node, all the while Dong Peyote would support them from orbit…

Team ‘Kraken’ ,named after Kriza Borac suit of power armour that formed it’s core, crash landed at the no man’s land between Panoc-23 Multi-Base and the outskirts J-5 installation. Their secret mission doomed to fail, the team received orders to head north and intercept a heavy armoured Panoceania kill-squad. Guided by the all seeing eye of the Dong Peyote, team Kraken layed the trap…

Setup:

After setting up the trap Nomads layed in wait. [Won the roll-off and kept the Initiative, which resolved in setting up first.] The plan was to take Panoceanians by surprise, going in loud and hard, Full-Auto to cover Wraith (Spectre) advance and enable him to deploy Repeaters. That in turn would allow team’s Interventor to turn the tables on top of approaching Panoceania Heavy Infantry. Kitty, the Chimera was kept in reserve – being a fast runner, capable of crossing long distances and taking the enemy by surprise. A good simple plan. Exactly the type that might go wrong…

Nomad First Turn:

Critko was barely able to contain Kraken’s lust for blood. The big man was breathing heavily over the comms and Critko knew all to well that the time he had to cover a firelane with area of White Noise was counted in merely seconds. No one said that being LT was easy, especially when commanding a group composed of individuals from all three mothersships. He closed his eyes, counted to five and screamed loud ‘NOW!’ over the comms. (LT order and 4 regular orders for the White Noise to succeed. Like WTF?!)…

Entire team reacted almost instantly, springing into action. Kraken led the charge opening up with a wide salvo from his heavy mashine gun. Hot ultra-sonic rounds zipped through the air and over the heads of surprised Magister Knights, who tossed themeselves sideways and into cover. Blinded by the area of White Zone, a Black Friar reacted too late and was shredded to pieces. ‘First blood!’ roared Kraken, just as enemy panzerfaust missiles started exploding around him…

Enemy shock lasted less than five seconds. Just enough for Wraith to throw himself forward and behind cover. ‘These Pano Knights are a real deal’ he murmured to his team, deploying first of the repeaters. ‘They surely are’ whispered a voice behind him. The Spektr noded, more to himself than to Mighty Dong Peyote shadowing him, still being Camoed. ‘Allright Dong, one more repeater and you can go in. Oh, the sweet surprise these guys are about to get.’ He cackled…

Panoceania First Turn:

Heavy mashine gun shots peppered the air around Magister Knights yet they regained composure in a matter of seconds. With a loud ‘Deus Vult’ booming from their helmet speakers, they threw themeselves in the direction of incomming fire, swords raised high. The leading knight was first to fall into the trap. Critko Isolated him with ease, denying leadership to the entire squad. One more knight got Gotcha!’ed before the rest realised what’s going on and backed away…

An Order Sergeant de-camoed on a rufftop and opened fire at aRGee (Riotgrrl ML) damaging her armour. She ducked for cover, AP rounds bouncing off her armoured shoulder guard. That’s when comms exploded with a scream of agony. Kitty, the Chimera got shot in the back by a rapidly decelerating AD troop. Crusader Brethren landed in a cloud of dust and sent another volley from his spitfire. He then switched to supressive fire, blocking entire fire lane and covering the howling Chimera against any attempts of Nomads trying to aid her…

Nomad Secoond Turn:

Except for immobilized leader, knights were falling back behind cover. That was an opening Kraken waited for. He rushed in, taking the statue-like Panoceanian out of his misery with a short, well placed series of HMG fire. He gained momentum and steered his heavy armour to a new direction, moving around a low building and outflanking remaining knights. ‘Bullseye’ he murmured to himself, once his armour’s targeting lenses caught new signatures. Crouched behind cover and protected by a Magister Knight was Panoceania’s Leutenant. Kraken pulled the trigger and the world around was set ablaze by the light of high-speed tracking rounds. Both Panoceanians returned fire, but it was too late. Smoke rising from the holes in their blooded armour, Panoceanias barely touched the ground when Kraken exploded into action once again. He covered half the distance between them and jumped onto a ladder, holstering the HMG on his back. Strong pulls from his massive hands saw him emerge on a rooftop across Panoceanian Sniper. Termo Optic Camo haze danced all over sniper’s silhouette, while he pumped round after round pinning aRGee and Aby behind cover, across the battlefield. Kraken had just the right tool for the job. Full-Automatic fire cut poor Panoceanian in half…

At the other side of the battlefield a nameless Zero shimmered into being. Spitfire wielding Crusader Brethren was unlucky enough to find himself at the receiving end of Zero’s Combi Rifle. Kitty was barely alive but not beyond reach of heavy drugs mixed with some Aby’s magic…

Panoceania Second Turn:

Sudden redeployment of Kriza Borac allowed the two remaining knights to attack through empty firelane. As one, they threw themeselves out into the open and charged. The first knight to emerge from behind corner, in hope of rounding up on Wraith, had a nasty surprise waiting for him. The Mighty Dong Peote (Bran DoCastro) dropped Camo and Engaged the knight, moving under the barrel of his shotgun and closing the distance in a blink of an eye. The knight took a wide swing with his sword, but the Mighty Dong Peyote parried it easily and put the knight down with a strong punch of his energised brass knuckles. Second knight joined the fight eager to drew Nomad blood. Mouth opened, Wraith watched in ave as the Mighty Dong Peyote whirled and danced around the knights, using one of them to throw himself into air and laying a devastating punch on another knight’s helmet. For a moment there, it looked like a strange mix of blue armour, Nomad mask, smoke and blood. Entire fight lasted less than half a minute and then it ended just as suddenly as it begun…

Kraken allowed himself to be distracted by close combat that took place below. Energy discharges and blood dropplets seem to slow down before his eyes. This was a sign that the suit pumped a fresh coctail of drugs into his bloodstream just to keep him standing. He turned to survey the battlefield, just in time to see a boarding Shotgun wielding Crusader comming at him from behind. He squeezed the trigger hard but a rain of bullets never came. The display showed ’empty’. Kraken had no time to reflect on this, cause a Borading Shotgun slug hit him square in the chest and sent his heavy suit to the ground. Another round blasted a huge gap in his thigh, blood and nano-oil exploding in every direction. Kraken roared like a wounded animal. With inhuman effort he unholstered his pistol and sent few rounds in the direction of the assailant, but it was already too late – his vision blurred, he let himself be embraced by blackness…

Kraken woke up suddenly, surrounded by chaos. Screams of the wounded and the dying were accompanied by constant gunfire somewhere in the background. High walls decorated with ‘J-5’ signs surrounded a vast hall, filled with makeshift beds, each being occupied by a wounded soldier. Aby stood over him arguing passionately with what seemed to be one of the cat-eared Daktaris. ‘Where are we?’ he wanted to say, but a short, rough gasp was all that managed to leave his dried lips. ‘Shh big boy, you lost a lot of blood’ said Aby and put her hand on his bare, muscled shoulder. The touch of her warm hand made him realize he’s been stripped of his armour and this sent a burst of adrenaline into his brain. He tried to sit straigh but couldn’t. Something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong. He looked down his body. ‘Where’s my fucking leg?!’ he roared through cracked lips. Aby just smiled at him gently. ‘Don’t worry big guy. We’ll get you a new one’…

This battle of Firefight was fought between me and my dear friend Astharis. At the end of turn two, Panoceania retreated, but not before earning a honourable one Victory Point, by taking out Nomad Data Tracker with two well placed Boarding Shotgun rounds.

The end result was 8 for the Nomads who managed to:
*kill more Lieutenants than the adversary (2 Objective
Points).
*kill more Army Points than the adversary (3 Objective
Points).
*kill the enemy DataTracker (1 Objective Point).
*accomplish two Classyfied Objectives (Extreme Prejudice & Secure HVT).

against 1 for the Military Orders who :
*killed the enemy DataTracker (1 Objective Point).

We had a lot of fun as the game was plagued by rolls that broke stathistics, some really cinematic moments and funny situations.

Highlights:

* I totally lost faith in Critko (Interventor) who up to now was always a reliable, almost godlike hacker. 5 rolls to place a single White Noise was just beyond rotfl.

* Kraken (Kriza Borac HMG) was vital to achieving vistory. The HMG beast is fast and was able to outflank Panoceanians and take out some vital targets. He was ultra badass, even tho last Pano effort to earn some OP’s actually took him out (Unconscious).

* In this game Intruder HMG done literally nothing, except providing orders XD

* Double Repeater trap combined with Kriza’s AROs was a bullseye, that allowed me to keep the Magister Knights at bay.

* The Mighty Dong Peyote (Bran DoCastro) was insane in this match, overcoming two Magister Knights in a glorious and brutal CC.

* I expected to see more TO: Camo. Imagine my surprise when first Crusader entered the board behind my troops and killed the Chimera. Imagine my surprise when second Crusader entered the board and took out the Kriza XD If my forces weren’t spread wide or if I lost the Initiative – these guys would be devastating.

See the original in Kurage Crisis Warconsole

Scarhandpainting

Special Project: The Colony part ten

“The Colony” – an Infinity gaming board project that streaches in time and space.

Yes – The Colony Special Project lives on and dayum! I almost run out of space to store it! Last time (“THE COLONY” SPECIAL PROJECT part nine) I was pretty sure that once I airbrush a bit here and there, The Colony would finally be completed. Imagine my surprise when I saw how the project expanded since last article. So, let’s dive straight into it…

THE COLONY - part ten: NEW HEIGHTS

Leave no MDF behind

It finally happened – The Colony is now fully painted with no MDF, be it white or regular, visible. The project was set aside for few months, when all of a sudden I got new buildings from Gingermane and painted them to match my existing set. I then followed through with all the rest including bridges, food booths, walls and ad stands. Fortunatelly for me, Bocian from Gingermane is a cool bruh of mine and he cut thin paper pieces to cover all illustrations adorning his designs. I only had to take care to cover plexi elements by myself. Once done – my work went fast and easy. Few evenings was all it took.

Urban Peaks

The Colony is vast already, but there’s always room for some extra terrain pieces. With new Gingermane designs appearing every month it’s difficult to stop expanding . It gets even harder, as he let’s me peek on work in progress designs and I sometimes get to buy some before release. Obviously when I saw ‘SF024 The Tower’ I freaked out and demanded these be handed to me emmediately. Gosh how I love these two…

Moarrr Crates

Another addition to The Colony – ‘SF010 Cargo Crates’. Slowly my own designs and scrap-built scenery are forced off the gaming board. I don’t mind it, cause at this point I’m already hooked on Gingermane’s stuff either way 😛

Dark Adjustements

With ‘SF024 The Tower’ I intorudced black/grey colour to The Colony’s overall scheme. It seem to compliment the board so I followed up on this, going back to older scenery pieces. I wander if these, once paper box, buildings will ever rest…

Epilogue

One day ‘The Colony’ will be finished, but seeing how it changes time and time again I can only say TO BE CONTINUED…

 

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Special Project: The Colony part nine

Six months is a lot of time to gather material for another project related article, and thus  The Colony Special Project is back with entire new installment about this Infinity gaming board. I just couldn’t leave this project unattended for much longer.

THE COLONY - part nine: CONTAINING THEME

Cutting Colours

Let me start by telling you this: I love my gaming board. That being said, at some point I felt like something didn’t quite bangt right. The board was finished, I got a lot of awesome, positive feedback about it, still deep down I felt something is off. There’s always place for improvement so my inner artist raged while being unable to pinpoint the exact reason of my discomfort. It took a while for me to understand that the board looked too chaotic to absorb. All the yellow, blue and deep clear-red did not work well with White-Sand-Orange-Green colour scheme.

I started introducing changes by dumping the obvious source of unfitting colours – the Holo Ads, and adding more green to the board with brand new set of Antenocitis Ad Stands. It partially worked but I wasn’t fully satisfied with the result…

The real change sweeped throughout The Colony quite suddenly. Everything, and I can’t stress this enough, because of the Gingermane Studio and it’s scenery. Long story short – there is this guy for whom I paint some Infinity miniatures, and one day he is like ‘I’m designing some scenery pieces, what you think?’ and I’m like ‘OMG I love this shit!’ and he’s like ‘Wanna grab some?’ and I’m like ‘Duuh! Shut up and take my money!’… All of the sudden I find myself knee deep in Gingermane’s scenery pieces which not only look amazing, but also fit right into my gaming board’s theme. They seem to be plucked straight out  of my deepest desires – both in case of looks and playability.

This was the exact point at which I decided to finally ‘repair the damage’ I done to my gaming board and contain the colour palette of all the stuff that appears on it…

The final decision was made: Coloured Plexi Ads adorning the buildings had to go. Upon reaching this conclusion I instantly contacted my besties from Micro Art Studio and ordered a huge pile of replacement pieces. I’ve figured that a bigger version of ’rounded orange piece’ would work the best for the theme and overall looks. Soon after, I got a delivery of more than a hundred pieces necessary to finalize the ‘grand change’…

Farewell Plexi

Preparing these was harsh. Had to clean them all of soot leftovers and remove small pieces left inside some of the laser-cut holes. Once done I painted all the pieces in a single go, then swaped Plexi Ads with them. The result is exactly how I hoped for.

Epilogue

The road to perfect gaming table streches before me and it’ll take some time till I get there, but I can see the destination. What’s left for me to do is to add dots of Vallejo’s Sandy Yellow here and there to tone down the Gingermane’s white a bit. Afterwards The Colony should be finally complete… at least for some time. I promis to bring you more of The Colony in next installment – probably six months from now :P.

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Review: Gingermane Studio Wargaming Terrain

For those of you who follow my articles it would be of no surprise that on top of being a painter I also am a gamer. That being said – As much as I strive to provide valuable painting related articles for this blog, I sometimes find myself in face of a need to write about something related to that second part of my hobby. Right now I happen to be in such a grave need – a box of something truly awesome has been delivered to me just few days ago! Who am I to shackle inspiration? That’s why today I bring to you a review of Gingermane Studio’s wargaming Sci-Fi terrain.

GINGERMANE STUDIO

My story with Gingermane Studio started recently, as I was asked to paint some Infinity miniatures by a ‘friend of a friend’. Between many e-mails and hours spent on chat I got to know that aside from being an Infinity the Game fan, my customer designs wargaming terrain. He showed me some pics of early products and I simply fell in love with them. Time passed, miniatures got painted and Gingermane offer grew. Finally I was able to visit the friendstomer in his base of operations at the other end of the country, and we gave his scenery a spin. Soon after that I was ordering my first parcel…

QUALITY: 10/10

Gingermane Studio’s products are one of the best I met on the market. The MDF is cut perfectly, everything fits and follows a certain design theme. Products are thinked through, from the designs through playability to choice of material. I was shocked to see graphics for the ad-stands in form of self adhesive stickers, instead of the usual ‘you need to cut it by yourself’ prints. Everything has a nice ‘exclusive’ feel to it.

VISUALS: 10/10

Visual aspect of Gingermane’s scenery is responsible for stealing my heart. Smooth white surfaces joined by clear orange plexi and magnificent grapfic designs work like a charm. What stands out is the depth of different layers of MDF that creates a very original look. It’s like a mix of industrial facility with high-tech, exclusive feel o a clean, futuristic city. It is a bullseye right into my personal taste.

PLAYABILITY 10/10:

I already tested these on more than one occasion. As an experienced player I can only say that they fit Infinity the game perfectly. It is clear that the designs were tested and adjusted with gaming in mind. Hard angles, partial covers, access and proper dimensions make these terrain pieces very playable. It is also important to point out that due to specific colours, the Gingermane Studio’s scenery pieces make miniatures and tokens clearly visible on the game board. Another small win for the playability.

On top of that some terrain pieces are stackable and hold each other firmly. This works for Containers and Buildings…

FUNCTIONALITY: 10/10

Gingermane scenery comes pre-painted, or rather pre-coloured and does not require any paint job to look awesome. It all comes pre-cut and ready to be assembled, following a simple and well made manual. Working with these was a real pleasure.

PRICE: 9/10

With buildings between 16 – 20€ and Ad-stands varrying from less than 10€ to some about 15€ Gingermane Studio’s products seem to follow the price trends. Sure – they might have been cheaper, and that would probably made everyone happy – but they are well priced for what they offer.

OTHER FEATURES:

+ PACKAGING

Everything came in one piece, secured thoroughly and – as I was assured – hand checked before it was packed. Plexi and stickers got additional protection. Each individual product came packed separately. Yes – overall packagind does not look as nice as fabrically packed products, but is thorough and well protected.

+ CUSTOM DESIGNS

A cherry on the cake – Gingermane Studio does some individual projects and custom designs. If I was granting a ‘Fuck Yeah!’ awards in my reviews – Gingermane Studio would get one right now!

SUMMARY: 10/10 +

Seemingly simple and yet very stylish, the Gingermane Studio’s scenery stole my heart at first glance. I’m sitting here looking at these and just cannot stop smiling to myself. Maybe I’m overhyped. Maybe I am not being impartial in my evaluation. What can I say? I love these so god damn much! I want more and I want it now! On a scale where 10 is awesome, 8 is good, 6 is ok, 5 is mediocre, 3 is bad and I don’t want to even mention 1 – I hereby grant 10 and a ‘Fuck Yeah!’ award to the Gingermane Studio’s wargaming terrain.

Gingermane Studio Facebook,

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