Saturday, 28 September 2013

Terrain: Ultimate Gaming Board

I told you that we're not lost! I know the way, been here many times before! Wait, this is new. Oh, for Sigmars sake, this place is going to get me mad! Allright, let's get back to the old bell tower and we'll take new route from there. Mercifully some landmarks never change...

"Each player takes it in turn to place a piece of terrain, either a ruined building, tower, or other similar item. We suggest that the terrain is set up within an area roughtly 4' x 4'." We all know this excerprion very well and so we all have our own idea as to how a Mordheim Gaming Board should look like. I remember the time when to have four buildings and some rubble was a dream yet to become true. Back then no one of my gaming group thought about multi-storey buildings, footbridges and line of sight blocking terrain elevation. The gaming table was a board placed upon two metal chairs and although it was too small to be called 4' x 4' - we were quite happy with it. And so we played starting with little more than nothing and discovered which terrain types we must create to improve the quality of the game. Years passed and all flat buildings have been replaced with multi-storey constructions allowing us to place our snipers higher. A lot of rubble showed up to create good hiding spots and provide cover. Footbridges joined many buildings allowing our warriors to cross the entire table and not touching the ground. At last large elevations of terrain took our gaming to the next level, as steep walls arose from the ground and whole areas have been obscured from sight. Now, after all these years i can finally say that i might have found an ultimate gaming board recipe. Several principals that you should follow to obtain such table are:

- Dense terrain placement.
Terrain, especially buildings, should be placed densely, and on a 4' x 4' area it means you will have to create more than 8 of them. It is good to place them so that they won't be paralell to the tables edge. Thanks to that you will minimize the chance for a model to get shot through stacking multiple  windows and slits.

- Ground floor without windows.
Try not to leave many windows that are not covered with boards at the ground floor. Maneuvering a miniature inside a building to place it in a best posiosion for a shot may resolve in damaging a building and miniature alike. 

- Upper floors.
All buildings should have a minimum of one floor above ground. These would be perfect to place your shooters at and you won't be bowling over whole buildings to do that.

- Footbridges.
Some buildings should be linked with footbridges. It will provide many tactical possibilities including outmaneuvering an oponent and charging his warriors from above or simply of getting afar from a horde of Zombies.

- Terraind elevation.
There should be a minimum of one terrain elevation. Not only an elevation would block line of sight but it will also force both players to take many additional routes into account. Think about all these defensible spots with nothing but a cliff behind your back...

- Rubble.
Place a lot of rubble between buildings and in the middle of crossroads. Mordheim is all about hiding, maneuver and charging in a good moment. Lots of rubble will provide you with prospect of doing just that.

- Playable above looks.
Creating a gaming board is like a 3d graphics rendering - first of all prepare some base and concentrate your efforts on making all terrain playable. When you have a decent number of buildings and rubble - you may think about adding some factures. Painting comes after this one. And what about details? Well you may put them on miniatures, but terrain should be playable in the first place - detal (skulls on the floor, broken chairs, trash) will create uncomfortable gaming spots so try to avoid them. If you want to add a nice looking detail - you will have to forsee a place for it, a niche in the wall for example. 

Here are some photos of my Mordheim Gaming Board over the years:






Saturday, 21 September 2013

Warband: 'Dead Can Dance' the Undead

Heed me, and heed me well! I will tell you about countless generations of Mordheim's citizenry, burried in hallow graves at local cementry. Of Unfortunates, who kept searching through this damned city in hope for a better future, yet fell prey to it. About our fallen companions just as fallen foe, as death does not care for allegiance. None of them rests in peace, i tell you! This damned place has not only distorted their bodies, it also cursed their spirits. Carcasses, now animated by dark magic, and filled with hunger for flesh of the living, wander at dusk in search of fresh prey. Have no pity for these things. Just make sure that you won't end as one of those wretched Undead.

Warband: Undead
'Dead Can Dance'
The Undead were my first Mordheim Warband. They stay as my favorite band up to this very day. Some may consider them to be a no-brainer. It is a failed assumption, as regardless of their hardiness, the Undead are not easy to play through a campaign. Let's take a look at some major advantages and drawbacks of this Warband.


- One 'man' army,
The Undead have an exceptionally good Leader. A Vampire is a 'one man army' in all it's meaning. High combat characteristics (S, A) allows him to take almost any opponent out of the game in one on one combat, while considerable resilience (T, W) is vital to go out of most dense combat situations without a scratch. A Vampire is also fast and agile (M, I) so that when charging you won't be troubled by any minor obstacles or high. In Campaign, as Warbands advance and heroes grow in strength so is a Vampire, but due to his combat capabilities he does it much faster than any other Hero. Last but not least is the ability to withstand pain allowing the Vampire to treat a 'stunned' result on the Injury chart as 'knocked down' so even fallen, the Vampire remains a threat.

- Fear tactics,
One of the best weapons in Mordheim is 'Fear'. Charge and replace your opponent with a frightened child or get immunity to beign charged depending on situation. Mordheim is all about that particular moment, when a Warband charges another and destroys it in one clean cut. To sow doubt in the heart of the enemy and deny him that 'one shot kill' opportunity is how the Undead Warband wins.

- Dregs,
Most Warbands have two of low xp heroes (Youngbloods, Mutants, Night Runners etc.). The Undead have three such heroes. Low WS is a weaknes them in the first rounds of a Campaign, yet if used as bangers (taking fallen enemies ooa) the Dregs advance frequently and become true close combat monsters. And they look so funny too!

- Expendables,
Zombies are cheap and they are expendable. Most Warbands will use careful tactics in fear of loosing good, developed warriors - the Undead do not care. That is a powerfull asset as sometimes you will have to go against the odds and  play all in. In some circumstances you will find yourself defeated and with empty pockets - Purchasing Zombies is a good and very cheap way of replenishing your losses.


- Shooting,
The Undead are well known for their close combat capabilities, bu ttheir shooting is heavily limited. They are very good at tearing their enemies limb from limb and withstanding fatal damage, yet they are vurnerable to enemy shooting. Keep that in mind when facing shooty opponent. Try to outmaneuver the enemy using the Vampire and those warriors who can run. Use cover to get close. Do not risk being shot from afar - it is better to wait for an opportunity, than to risk being shot from afar. When Zombies catch up - charge and feed! 

- Mercenaries, 
Maybe it is becouse the Undead do not pay well, or maybe it's that they do not have a sense of humor, either way they are avoided by Hired Swords. Ofcourse the Vampire is a tank and a titan of close combat, but this particular Warband is not going to advance quickly. After couple of games you will be faced with dozens of Hired Swords and with no response of your own. Try to get some gold and hire all available mercs as soon as you can. 

Undead Vampire: Count Nozdro Kazirot

Undead Heroes: Zladov (Necromancer), Hunch, Hump, Dope

Ghouls: Gourmet (hero) & Ghouls

Dire Wolves


Warband: Undead 'Dead Can Dance'
Cost: 500gc,
Rating: 109,

Vampire: Count Nozdro Kazirot 123gc,
Sword, Mace, Dagger,

Necromanzer: Zladov 38gc, 
Mace, Dagger,

Dreg: Hunch 33gc,
Sword, Mace, Dagger, 

Dreg: Hump 33gc,
Sword, Mace, Dagger, 

Dreg: Dope 23gc,
Mace, Dagger, 

Ghouls (2) 80gc,

Ghouls (2) 80gc,

Zombies (4) 60gc,

Warlock: Wizwar 30gc,


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Scenario: From Dusk Till Dawn by Nazroth

Time to make some coin you say? Well we've looked everywhere lad. Allright, not literally everywhere, there are places that we do not wish to venture. Oh for Sigmars sake! Of course you want to, yet i'm not! Fine i'll tell you, but keep me out of your stupid plans for tonight's treasure hunting...

Damn if i hadn't tongue that 'treasure hunting' crap i wouldn't been with you right now, freezing to death and digging holes at some forsaken graveya - hush! did you hear that? Just stop to wheeze and listen...

Run lad! Run for your dear life! See? Come, onto that hill over there. Soon the sun will rise and it's our only chance!

There are plenty of good scenarios on the web.Unluckily not all of them are balanced and they should be if they to provide fun for all participating players. 'A Night In The Graveyard', by Jason "Teacher Guy" Kahler from Town Cryer 19 was my main inspiration when creating 'From dusk till dawn'. I wanted to give you a feel of foreboding. Dozens of living dead crawling and shuffling toward your warriors. Gaming area, shrinking with each passing tur and. with nowhere to run. You will fight for your life and that of your warriors, yet there is a hope. The game ends when the sun comes out and providing that your warband is the only one still to stand, you are victorious! I hope it'll give you so much fun as creating it gave to me.


Saturday, 7 September 2013

Matter of Survival: The Leaders

Steel your resolve boys! Do not let yourselfs be intimidated by their numbers! We are the righteous fury of Sigmar! Burn them and spit on their churned corpses! Let them taste your steel! Let them feel your hate! Charge boys! In Sigmar's name! We are his hammer! Chaaaaarrge!
<hush> And i will wait right here, out of harms way. Who knows, maybe i'll even get a chance to take a decisive shot.

Fellow Gamers, it is about time that i give you some advice. Do not get me wrong cause i understand that some of you may already know these stuff. Nevertheless i'm sure that there is plenty of begginers or players for whom a road to succeed is an ordeal. Today they are my priority target. Today i will write about: Leaders.

Leaders  are not avatars of war. I wrote it and i mean it. Many players identifies themselves with their warbands Leader and expect him to lay waste in hand to hand combat. They equip their Witch Hunter Captain, or Skaven Assassin with impressive load of close combat gear and throw him into dense meele to kill and gain tons of XP. In most cases that has the opposite effect as the Leader is no Khorne's incarnation. If fortunate, a Leader may trigger a sense of pride, when fallen by couple of opponents, but usually he ends up begging for mercy, stabbed by a goblin or dragged down to his doom by a brainless zombie - kill with no XP for the killer is the worst kind of death.
Now you're probably thinking: 'so what now? What am i going to do with my useless Leader? Not leading at the front? How am i going to XP him?' Well you can always use him as a Zombie magnet if you know what i mean ;) But seriously, below there are couple of information that would help you keep your priceless Leader alive and advancing quickly.

1) Use Dakka.
If you only have the option to equip your Leader with a ranged weapon - do it. The more range the better, as you will need to keep him out of harms way for as long as it would be possible. You will also want him to gain some XP and shooting is the only way of doing so withount entering combat ;)

2) Take care of your head.
Keep in mind to buy a helmet for your Leader. It will not only make him look classy but it will make him shoot with higher frequency if opposed by a shooty warband. Helmet will also provide him with some protection in case of combat density where stunned means dead.

3) Shadow him.
Remember to keep a big bunch of a muscle around your Leader, just in case he'll get into trouble. If he falls onto the ground there's always good to have a strong arm to take him up and occupy opponent's carnivores or some unlucky random encounter.

4) Dig in.
Some Hired Swords and warband members have means to snipe out a Leader. If you face one of theese - make sure to hide your Leader until the danger has been averted.

5) Double barrel.
When a close combat eventually takes place, and it is inevitable, strike with your Leader at the last possible moment. Better to wait for something to roll under his legs, than risk stunning an opponent just for some dreg to sweep the XP before the boss. 

6) Don't play a hero.
If you decide to 'lead at the front' and buff LD through Leader's aura rule than consider putting him to the second line instead. This little trick will keep him secure for a while and still buff the rest of your fighters.

7) Wish him luck.
Buy a rabbit foot (Annual 2002) for the Leader after first battle, even if that means your warriors will eat their own shoes for dinner. 

This is it. Seven lucky rules that will help you make your Leader lucky enought that he may live to see another day. Oh, and as for the Undead who actually do not and cannot get any lucky a rule nuber eight:

8) Role playing game.
If you play the Undead and assuming your hero is still a Vampire - forget everything that you've just read. Fuck that crap, equip your bat with a halberd or a sword and mace, maybe a suit of armour and play RPG cause the Vampire is the toughest bastard in this game ;)


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

New/additional rules

I have told you once that to keep alive in this hell of a city, one must fallow some basic rules. Survival is about getting ahead of all dangers that Mordheim could provide. What i haven't told you lad, is that basic rules does not cover all possible situations and sometimes one must be cunning enough to act on his own. Such circumstances result in the creation of rules for the future and thus you live to fight another day...

I have always seen Mordheim Rules as little bit underdeveloped. They are awesome as a whole, yet you can find some understatements here and there. As a conservative i assume that the basic principles of Mordheim should not be change too much. One mistake can cross the border between a good Miniature game and a selfish creation. There are no judges to decide what is fair and balanced, and what is not. But gaming Mordheim led to the situation at issue more than once. Some rules needed revision desperately while others needed to be extended. Here are some ideas of mine that can somehow improve gameplay. Remember that all rules described below are unofficial and optional.

key: this was added to the original rule.

New/additional rules: 


Page 27, terrain 
I find that difficult ground and very difficult ground rules allow players to place their warriors on sloping and dangerous surfaces so that models chave a chance to fall and sustain damage in the process. I use fallowing rules to prevent such situations. 

Difficult ground includes steep or treacherous slopes, bushes and the angled roofs of buildings. Models move at half speed over difficult terrain.

This is really dangerous terrain, such as narrow crawlholes through the rubble.
Models may move at a quarter rate, so if the model moves 4" over open ground it can only move 1" over very difficult ground.

Add the following rule:
Models that wish to move through a difficult or very difficult terrain must take a difficult terrain test just before entering the terrain piece. Simply test the initiative of a warrior and add the following to the result:
+1 a warrior is charging or running, 
+1 a warrior is moving through a very difficult terrain,
If the test is passed a warrior may continue his movement unabaited. If the test is failed a warrior must stop his movement just before the terrain piece and may not move any further. Make a note that many difficult and very difficult terrain pieces stack and a warrior is required to take only one difficult terrain test when moving but must take all the modifiers to account. 


Page 35, fighting with two weapons
The option to fight with two weapons and suffer no actual penalties, favors power gaming. There is a lot of overpowered builds which consist of warriors armed with nothing but two hand weapons. It is not the way Mordheim gaming should look like and thus comes another home rule.

Some maniac warriors carry two weapons, one in each hand, so they can rain a flurry of blows on their enemies. A warrior armed with two one-handed weapons may make 1 extra attack with the additional weapon, in which case all attacks will suffer a -1 to hit, unless the attacking warrior has more WS than his opponent. Note that the extra attack is added to the total of the warrior’s attacks after other modifiers, such as frenzy, have been applied. If he is armed with two different weapons (sword and dagger, for example), he will make a single attack with whichever weapon he chooses, and all others with the remaining weapon. Roll to hit and wound for each weapon separately. 


Page 41, sword 
Parry rules are bad. Less WS the warrior have - better the chance to parry a hit. I don't feel like i have to give any further explanation. 

Change the 'Parry' rule to:

Parry: Swords offer an excellent balance of defence and offence. A model armed with a sword may parry blows. When his opponent rolls to hit, the model armed with a sword may roll a D6 and apply the fallowing modifiers:
+1 if the warriors WS is higher than his assailant,
+1 if the warrior has the 'Master of Blades' skill,

-1 if the warriors WS is lower than his assailant,
-2 if the hit was an unmodified roll of '6',
If a '5' or more is scorred than the model has parried one blow, and that attack is discarded. A model may not parry attacks made with double or more its own Strength – they are simply too powerful to be stopped.


Page 51, shield
Because of low save and less bonus than provided by additional hand weapon, the shield needs some tweak. 

Additional protection: In close combat a model that is equiped with a shield and a one handed meele weapon has a basic save increased by 1. For example a model equiped with a shield, a piece of light armour and a sword will have a save of 4+.


Page 116, unarmed combat
Some weapons are not listed in the critical hit charts on page 116. For many years we have argued as to which critical hits do apply to daggers. In my opinion this particular weapon qualifies for the unarmed combat. The reason is that the dagger does not possess any decend cutting edge, speartip, or waight to use as a club. Furthermore this particular critical hits chart fits this weapon.

Add 'daggers' to the list of weapons to which these rules apply.


Page 122, combat skills, ambidextrous
This skill should be added to the rules only if you decide to use new  'fighting with two weapons' rules described above.

Add 'Ambidextrous. The warrior possess abhuman abilities of fighting with both hands. The warrior will not suffer the -1 to Hit penalties for fighting with two hand weapons.'