Sunday, 12 July 2015


Ever wandered how it all started lad? Why the things here in this particular shithole of a city are how they are today? No, ofcourse you didn't. You focus too much of that youthful mind of yours on how to get yourself disastrously killed. Praise Sigmar that you have such a fine teacher. Who? Who do i mean you maggot? It's obvious that i meant me. Ehh why do I even bother when all that can be observed about you is that your mind works backwards? Never mind. Sit, Ill tell you how it all started. 

Fellow gamers, Mordheim fans, Warband Leaders and Henchmen alike - today something magnificent had happened! Tuomas Pirinen (one of the Mordheim's designers) broke the long silence surrounding Mordheim and blessed us with his Design Notes. The original can be found at Tuomas Pirinen Facebook Page, but I just couldn't resist not to share it with you.

Ask and you shall be given: over the years I've received so much feedback and fan mail for Mordheim that I've been meaning to write my own reflections on the game. The people have been really curious about the birth of the game and what led to creation of a product that was quite unusual for the GW product line-up at that time.
Mordhem was started with a model of a burned-out, ruined city, made of Mighty Empire pieces and custom houses the Perry twins when brainstorming the history of the Old World. Rick Priestley (whose help in getting the game published was vital) and I had just had a good laugh at all the year 2000 religious cults that were prophesying the end of the world and we thought it would be really funny that in the Warhammer world the same thing happened -except all the portents of doom were real and something apocalyptic DID happen.
We looked at the history of the Old World and realized that year 2000 was perfect for a setting of the game: the Empire was fragmented, magic was illegal, and Chaos was ascendant. Thus the setting of Mordheim was born, and the twin-taled comet, the traditional symbol of Sigmar the patron god of the Empire became
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Mordheim is how it sparked off the creativity at the HQ. The whole Studio was energized, especially the artists who (led by mighty John Blanche) really let it rip with Mordheim Art, blending the old Realms of Chaos spirit with the modern Warhammer look and feel.
People literally worked late hours against the wishes of the management: Gav Thorpe crafted some excellent stories that also became the basis of the Ulli and Marquand comics. Rick Priestley wrote absolutely cracking background to the Witch Hunters which still makes me chuckle when I read it today. Me and Alessio played countless matches and discussed how to blend skirmish wargaming with narrative. I worked with Alan Merret and others designing a way to create affordable and extremely flexible plastic sprues for the Warbands. We poured over dozens of history books detailing the end of the world prophecies and the times when the black plague devastated much of the Europe, to create the atmosphere for the game and its art.
We put enormous effort into the symbolism of the art and the writing -the fish that you see everywhere was not just a unifying visual element, but they also represented the souls of the people of Mordheim where the powers of Chaos and Sigmar vied for them.
I think most Warhammer fans remember me mainly for my efforts to balance the 6th edition of Warhammer and to bring back the importance of troops. This is because normally when I design game rules I start with the mechanics and establish the maximum and minimum values for all game parameters and then try to break them through external playtesting, writing some simple excel calculations and keep tweaking them so that the core rules are as balanced as possible. I also always enrolled the best tournament players I could find to read the rules like the Devil reads the Bible to find any loopholes and exploits.
But I did make a decision early on that Mordheim would be a fiction-driven game where the flavour and creativity would be given priority over strict game balance. I do not mean that I would throw away the game balance for nothing -but for example in the fiction of Mordhem armor was expensive, so I made it expensive in the game as well. This was intentional, and became more of a bragging right to the players rather than a common occurrence. At the Studio campaign a suit of armor became a bragging right and a source of many model conversions.
So instead of making the core rules first, in Mordheim I created the Warbands and their background first, and fleshed out the overarching history of Mordheim. Then we worked on the rules to bring those Warbands and their world alive on the tabletop, and create a rules framework from which the stories of those Warbands could arise.
Mordheim was never meant to be tournament game (though I've had an honor to judge several Mordheim tournaments and I thoroughly enjoyed them). I've gotten some flack for that over the years, which is fine -players are entitled to decide which aspects of the game they appreciate.People have made their own versions of the game (such as Coreheim) to mould the game to their tastes, and I am fine with that: in fact I've always encouraged players to do so.
Mordheim was in many ways my attempt to blend tabletop RPGs with miniature gaming as seamlessly as I could. I've taken a plenty of flack for this approach over the years, but I do think that a designer has to stay true to his or her vision in order to create something memorable. Ultimately it is up to the players to decide if I succeeded, but I remain proud of Mordheim to this day: I believe I could write the rules better today, but I do think that by and large we managed to create what we set out to do.
In many ways, the large number of random tables throughout the game became my greatest ally. I wanted everything in the game to be risky -that's why so many items, choices and weapons in Mordheim carry a large risk factor with them. I wanted the game to create epic, memorable stories for the players to recall fondly years later. In games where the game is very rigidly controlled by players with very little randomness, you can control the balance and create a very competitive and even game akin to chess. But maximizing randomness creates situations and choices for the player to react to which he never even dreamed of encountering, and the one to marshall all their resources and imagination to deal with the unforeseen situation. An a magician Warband leader suffering from Stupidity is a situation Mordheim can throw your way, or a Vampire who has immense strength but no Toughness to deal with incoming blows. Only a game with high random factor can create these challenges and allow player to rise to the occasion -and perhaps more importantly remember it for years to come.
In many ways Mordheim was meant to be playing the dice with the gods of Chaos: they would bend the rules, make your Warband leader lose both his eyes and legs, and then laugh at your face -or even better with you, as you did your best to salvage the situation the best you can.
I think that because the playtesting and campaign I ran at the Design Studio was very story-driven, I missed some of the things such as Skaven being equipped with endless number of slings, and did not write some things like the rules for the Steel Whips as clearly as I could have. This would have never turned Mordheim into a primarily tournament game, but would have lessened some of frustrations of players: game can have a highly narrative drive, but in my opinion rules should always be as clear and easy to use as possible.
If there is one major addition to the game I think would enhance Mordheim it is a separate section and rules for a role of the game master who pushes the campaign forward and creates scenariors and long-term goals for the players. As I did this role myself during the initial Mordheim campaign, I honestly did not see how much a Games Master who creates special scenarios enhances the game. I think I should have taken all my special scenarios, notes on running the campaign and long-term aims and goals, and I would have spent a few months to make them something anyone can use to create their own campaigns for Mordheim.
To my delight despite all the challenges more niche games face today Mordheim lives on today on the tabletops of die-hard fans, on the bookshelves of the collectors, on PC thanks to computer games, and I'd like to think in the hearts and minds of the game fanatics like me.
I am very impressed with the work that Rogue Factory are doing with the PC version of Mordheim. I think they are true inheritors of the the spirit of Mordheim, and it is good to see its popularity on Steam. Many of the Old Guard fans or Mordheim are enjoying it which warms my heart.
But most of all, I still see daily how enthusiasts and fans create their own Warbands, terrain, conversions, rules and background. It was this passion I had had for old wrinkled Dragon magazines, Rolemaster RPG critical hit tables and long sessions of Warhammer that led into my own pursuit of games as a career, and I kind of hope that perhaps my efforts in their own small way have sparked an imagination of some young designer somewhere who will continue to carry the torch of the industry far into the future."
Personally i was just mesmerized with this article. To learn of how it all begun, to take a peek into the mind of Mordheim's lead designer is just something I did not expected. I love what Tuomas did and I hope to see some more in the future. Still this article was not without heart sunking moments. When I saw this: "I should have taken all my special scenarios, notes on running the campaign and long-term aims and goals, and I would have spent a few months to make them something anyone can use to create their own campaigns for Mordheim." I was like 'nooooooo! Such a waste! Why didn't he took these materials!? Hopefully Mordheim is still alive even if not supported by GW. Seeing what GW did to Warhammer I'm contented with current state of Mordheim and it's career. Not to mention PC version comming soon. Year 2015 is 'The Year'.

So Tuomas, you probably won't read this, still - I love what you did with Mordheim. I think that most of the oldschool Mordheimers are in your debt. You and the rest of the crew did a fantastic job and created a game  that lives to this day and hopefully outlives us all. Mordheim is a game with depth, mood and fantastic setting. I love it and when i write 'love' i mean love like this:

Long live Mordheim!


Saturday, 30 May 2015

Modelling: Fine Cobblestone

Oh the good, old Mordheim and it's streets. So many cities in the Empire but that's the one which stole my heart lad. This one is special you see. Not that there's a huge meteor whole in the center of it. Not cause of all the opportunities for gold and profit. Not because of death that lurks behing each and every corner this city has. The smell here is bad. Weather here is even worse than bad. But the cobblestone?! Lad! The streets are made of stone packed thicker than marble blocks before the Merchant District in Marienburg!

While preparing a new Mordheim comission i've used the opportunity to make this tutorial. This time i would like to show you a quick and easy way of sculpting Cobblestone. Not that i personally like the Cobblestone Bases but the feelings of most Mordheim gamers are strong. I think that this Tutorial will come in handy for many modellers out there.


Before start make sure to have these prepared:
* Sculpting Tools,
* Green Stuff,  
* Super Glue,
* Piece of Cork,
* Some bases, 

1) To begin the process of making Cobblestone Bases just intermix the Greenstuff's ingredients and roll a medium Greenstuff ball. When it's ready - put some Super Glue onto the base. Do not cover whole base, cause you don't want the glue to leak all over the rants in Step Two.

2) Flatten the ball in your fingers and put it onto the Glue covered base, right in the middle.

3) Now's the time for some Cork! Deep it's tip in the glass of water. The Cork won't absorb any water and has rough structure - it will smear Greenstuff over the base ideally, not dragging it back.

4) Use the tip of a Sculpting Tool, or Modelling Knife (if you preffer) to clean up the base's sides. 

5) Wet your finger with water and gently flatten the rough edges of the Greenstuff. The final product will look like this:

6) This is the moment when the Sculpting Tool comes into action. Moving it's tip in successive up/down/up moves sculpt the cobblestones. Try to keep them small as this way the base will look far more intricate.

7) The end step is flattening the cobblestones with the Sculpting Tool's tip. This way the rough spaces between cobblestones will be masked and you can futher change the shape of the stones.

The whole process shouldn't take more than few minutes so i can easily assume that you will be abble to base a whole warband within an hour. This is how the Cobblestone Base looks in the end:

Hope you like this Tutorial. If so -make sure to check out all the Modelling Tutorials on Mordheim Treasure Hunters.


Saturday, 16 May 2015

Modelling: Hairy Fur

Of all the creatures in Mordheim i hate the Skaven most. For years i tried to think of the reason why. There's plenty of greater dangers including Orcs which are more powerfully built. Depraved Chaos Cultists and the Heretic Sisters of Sigmar! All of whom i loath but the Skaven? They make my stomach ache. It's the fur lad. That wet, stinky shag of theirs. It reeks of rat's piss mixed with a stench of dead man...

Here's another of my Modelling articles. This time i will show you how to sculpt Greenstuff to create a nasty looking, hairy fur! Not that i'm some kind of a pro when it comes to Greenstuff sculpting. One of my friends asked me to fur-up his Rat Ogre so i just used this opportunity to make a tutorial. 

Let us begin!


Remember to prepare all the necessary items before beginning:
* Sculpting Tools,
* Green Stuff,  

* Super Glue,

As a preparation Intermix the Greenstuff's ingredients and roll a bunch of small GS balls.

The most important thing in sculpting the fur is a technique. If you make to much of straight hair the fur will look flat and unnatural. Same goes for texturising if  to much small indentations were made. So here's how i recommend to do it:

1) Put some Super Glue onto the space where you'd like to start. Embed one GS ball in the glue. Start sculpting by shaping couple of short, straight lines in the direction from where the hair grow up, pulling them onto the surface. Lenghten the lines backwars but this time do not pull the GS, just model them onto the surface. 

2) Add more lines creating some density. The direction of the lines can vary but not to much.

3) Cut some lines on the slant, shortening the hairs and adding more uncouth look.

4) Using the tip of the sculpting tool  lever some hair to make them messy.



5) You can add futher layers of fur onto the one already sculpted. Try not to disturb underfur too much and remember to keep pulling the initial lines of the ball onto the surface. 

6) Just keep up the good job and continue to 'fur' the miniature :)

That's it. Now you know all of my fur sculpting secrets. The Rat Ogre i used belongs to the same friend who made Warband: The Carnival of Chaos miniatures. I cannot wait to see his Skaven painted!


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Warband: Dwarf Treasure Hunters 'Captain Blackboar & his Boar-Ding Party'

'Sails ho! Prepare to Boar...D!' the sound of his scream was utterly muffled by the thickness of his black beard! Yet the crue seemed to understand. Powered with the lust for gold and probably taste for our blood they flipped a boarding plank between the buildings and charged! Missiles and cannonballs ricocheted all around me producing a crackling cacophony of sound. Wood fragments propelled by the impacts scraped off my face and that's when i saw him: Charging headlong through the boarding plank was the captain! My eyes met his hungering gaze and instinctively  i grabed my gold pouch. Just before our blades crossed i was distracted by a giant red boar emerging from behind the Dwarf and going strait for my legs. Without enought time to prepare myself i was thrown off balance, kneecap pummeled into paste. Bone fragments protruded from my left leg. I felt pure agony lad, like i have never felt before. I would have died back then if not for my favorite Warhound - Tośka. One moment the Dwarf Captain towered above me with an evil grinn, the next he joined me on the ground with an angry hound on his back. I was able to crawl away just in time to see a sharp point of an anchor wielded by a massive, muscular Troll Slayer, puncturing the side of my loyal hound. I was routed that day lad. I lost many companions, Toska included. It was the first time in my life that i fled and im not proud of it... but i kept my life and my gold!

Warband: Dwarf Treasure Hunters
  'Captain Blackboar & his Boar-Ding Party'

The Dwarf Treasure Hunters may easily be considered a most popular Warband there is. Mainly because of the Dwarf own popularity but also due to their ultimate climate. These short and bearded Treasure Hunters stand high above even the Undead or Witch Hunters as there's almost none gaming group without a Dwarf player. I fought bravely not to own a Dwarf Warband myself, yet fell in the attempt. To keep the vestiges of originality i have changed theme of my Dwarves but lets be honest: they're still short and got beards! Now when all that was said let us take a closer look into the Dwarves.


- Stone Skin,
Dwarves have a T value of 6 and benefit from two powerful rules: 'Hard to Kill' and 'Thick Head' which give them awesome durability both in hand-to-hand and range combat. Your enemy will need 6's and will not benefit from clubs/hammers etc. special rules when fighting against Dwarves. Just keep in mind not to be overwhelmed by enemy numbers cause a Dwarf stunned in hantd-to-hand combat is a dead Dwarf. 

- Look, it's a Wyrdstone Shard!
Yes you will start the game with one less hero but it means that your rating will be lower almost every time. You also gain an additional Wyrdstone Shard after each battle which gives you an edge against other Warbands in early campaign.

- Beardlings,
Dwarves have access to a great and cheap Henchmen group in the form of Beardlings. For 25gc. you get a human with one less I, one less M but T 4 and two powerful rules. I did not mention BS 2 intentionally as these are hand-to-hand warriors so Ballistic Skill does not count.
- Bipolar uses,
Dwarves are very flexible in terms of gameplay. All heroes may choose combat skills and three of them are able to choose strength skills. In the same time up to two heroes may become potent shooters with access to shooting skills and a variety of shooting weapons including pistols. You can build your Warband around hand-to-hand combat with a support of pistols and one or two crossbows or you can go all ahead shooting and use Troll Slayers as a hand-to-hand combat counter force. Both builds will work fine and i recommend that you test both of them in time.

- Powerful late game Skills,
Master of Blades is just sick! Combo it with two Dwarf Axes and feed with tears of your opponents each time you get into hand-to-hand combat. True Grit and Thick Skull may not be as powerful as Step Aside but they are very useful, especially in hand-to-hand combat where Stunned usually means Dead. 


- Yo! Where are the guys?
With a maximum number of 12 models and M 3 you will often find yourself outnumbered and unable to cover a large area of the table. In some scenarios it may prove to be fatal. Remember to bring some Thunderers as a precaution and to keep certain areas of the table occupied. 
Tips: You can buy a Wardog to bring a fast moving member to your Warband ;)

- Let's dig a hole!
Most of the Dwarf players preffer to stay put and use shooting weapons to repell eventual attack. If you take a look at the Skills and weapons available for your Heroes you should see that this is a hand-to-hand centered Warband. I know - you think me a Heretic now but my point of view is dictated by years of experience, fighting againts Dwarf players both in Mordheim and Warhammer. Believe me when i say that Mordheim Dwarf Treasure Hunters are something totally different than Warhammer Dwarf Army. Mordheim is more scenario oriented so most of the time you will be forced to race with your opponent or in the best case meet him axe against blade. Of course you should not forfeit shooting totally but consider not using four crossbows. Two (cannons) will do the trick and you can equip two heroes with a brace of pistols to keep up with the main body of your combat group wile maintaining a sniper/support role. I won't bully you into this strategy - just try it out for yourself ;)

Dwarf Noble: Captain Blackboar and Bucu (Cannon Fodder Boar)

Dwarf Engineer: Quatermaster Deadshot
 Dwarf Troll Slayer: Anchorfish
"We rob you of anchor..."

Troll Slayer: Squidwheel 
"...We rob you of wheel..."

 Dwarf Thunderers
 "...We rob all your weapons..."

Dwarf Clansmen: Hsif, Krahs
 "...All cargo..."

Dwarf Beardlings
"and beer!"


 'Prepare to Boar...D!'

'Last stand'

Warband: Dwarf Treasure Hunters 'Captain Blackboar & his Boar-Ding Party'
Cost: 500gc,
Rating: 96,

Dwarf Noble: Captain Blackboar 103gc,
Pistol, Mace, Dagger, 

Dwarf Engineer: Quatermaster Deadshot  78gc,
Crossbow, Mace, Dagger, 

Dwarf Troll Slayer: Anchorfish 60gc,
Halberd, Dagger, 

Troll Slayer: Squidwheel  53gc,
Mace, Dagger, 
Thunderers (2) 130gc,
Crossbow, Dagger, 

Beardlings (2) 56gc,
Mace, Dagger, 

Arabian Merchant 20gc,

This Warband roster is a classic flexible start with an addition of Arabian Merchant in place of usual Tilean Marksman. Merchant will add speed to my Warband's early progress so that i will be able to recruit more crue as fast as possible. When the numbers reach 12 fully equiped Dwarves (13 with Merchant) i will further invest in Hired Swords acquiring services of Ogre Bodyguard, Pit Fighter and then Tilean Marksman.


Saturday, 25 April 2015

Modelling: Witch Hunter's Hats

The hat you ask? You want to know about the hat of mine? Well i suppose i can tell you. I was about your age, kept close to a Witch Hunters warband. I was a youngster back then yet seen my share of deaths already. The men i fallowed were made of tough stuff. A band of hardened killers who didn't spare me bitting and the most harsh of words imaginable. You may consider yourself lucky you little bastard, that i'm the one you cling to and not these men of ruthless art. The vastness of my golden heart is overwhelmed only by enormity of experience and the tongue of pure silver with which i wage war. Not to mention my burning faith. But what was i saying? Aah... the hat! My good old hat. I always wanted one you know? Fallowing these men, fighting side to side. In my eyes the only difference between us was the hat. For me it was a mark of status. I craved it with all my being. I was a glory seeker. Young and foolish. I was so blinded by the need of earning one that i didn't understood the meaning behind the hat untill it was too late. When i finally got one it was a parting gift from my dying comrade and mentor, Astellan Kroml. A man i've failed on the battlefield for the last and final time. "The hat is a simbol of a higher purpose. A mark of status as much as of devotion. It gives hope to our subjects and brings fear to the rotten hearts of spell crafters. Once you put on the hat, it cannot be undone." The last words left him with less than a whisper. And he was gone. His blank eyes stare at me up to this day. I sometimes wander if he considered me worthy or didn't want the hat to be left to rot on some forsaken field of battle. Will never know the answer tho...

Hell yeah - and that's what i call an introduction to an article! Today i would like to tell you about the hat! Fear not tho! It will not have much in common with what you've just read. This is a Modelling article and i'd like to show you a quick and rewarding way to make you're own Witch Hunter's Hat.

Witch Hunters miniatures are very rare and to lay hands on one of these is a miracle to behold. So why not make one yourself? There's plenty of Imperial miniatures that fits to become a Witch Hunter. Just pick your favorite badass, armoured and coated, arm him with torch, or a pistol... Congratulations my lord - you've got a Witch Hunter. Well almost... cause he still don't have a proper hat! Fortunately this won't be a problem any more when you're done with this article.

Let us begin!


First of all you've got to arm yourself with these:
* Modelling Knife,
* Sculpting Tools,
* Modellin File,
* Green Stuff, 
* Super Glue, 
* Some round and flat plastic bitz (heads in helmets will do too),
* Some tubular sprue plastic bitz (easy to get as they're in almost every sprue),

1) Prepare the Brim of the hat made of round shaped plastic bitz. Start by first cutting off the excess of plastic with Cutting Knife and then flattening the surface area with a Modelling File. 
Next use the Knife to cut tubular sprue bitz into nice hat top pieces. Here's the picture of how it should look like in the end:

2) Now prepare some Green Stuff and roll it a bit so that u have a long piece. Cut couple pieces off and make them into little balls. Remember to glue hat top onto the brim before you proceed to another step.

3) Using a Sculpting Tool or a picker apply some glue onto the brim, arount the top. It will help you further apply a Green Stuff roll to the hat so that it won't fall off. Personally i find this method far less frustrating than counting for Green Stuff to hold on it's own.

4) Lead the Green Stuff roll around the top of the hat with gentle touches of the Sculpting Tool. The key is to avoid damaging it's basic 'roll' shape. When the process is over cut off the rest of the roll and shape Green Stuff into a strap with back of the Sculpting Tool.

5) You can further correct and smooth the strap using Sculpting Tool dipped in water. 
TIP: Water will prevent the Scultping Tool to stick into Green Stuff.

6) Now apply some glue onto a piece of paper or plastic. Stick the tip of the Sculpting Tool into one of the Green Stuff balls you've prepared. Gently dip the ball into the glue so that it takes a small amount with it and put it onto the hat strap. You can flatten the ball using the rount side of the tool thus creating a buckle. 

7) You can add a final touch to the Hat by further sculpting a pattern onto the buckle or adding cuts and grazes on the hat's brim.

The final effect may not be outstanding but it will do the job of transforming your Imperial Mercenary into a badass Witch Hunter. See for yourself in the  Warband: 'Scourge of the Witches' the Witch Hunters  article. Here's a preview pic:

This little tutorial was inspired by a member of  Mordheim Facebook group  which asked me if i had any Witch Hunters miniatures for sale. The idea to share my 'Witch Hunter Hat' method came in an instant. Hope you like the tutorial. Will try to make some more in the future.


Saturday, 18 April 2015

Matter of Survival: Skills Part two

Now shut that mouth of yours and listen: You want to live through this boy? You want to feel the stench of moist, rotten wood and decomposed flesh on your stupid prinkled face once again? You think you've got IT in you? That which really matters boy? Do you have the skill that will keep you alive in the hellish sreets of Mordheim?!

This is a second part of a Matters of Survival: Skills article. You can check out all the Combat, Shooting and Strength skills in the first part link> here <link. So now i will focus on Academic and Speed skills but first i will remind the rules.

In this article i would like to share some of my wisdom regarding choice of  Skills. To make things simple i grouped the skills into ffour categories.

* Must-have skill is a skill that is good in almost every build regardless of most circumstances.
* Good skill is useful and, probably, will benefit the game but you should always regard it as inferior to the Must-haves.
* Mediocre skill may come in handy but will be useful only occasionally and i wouldn't recommend to take it above Good and Must-haves.
* And there's a Bad skill which is just really bad and most of the time you wouldn't want to pick it.
Some of the skills are also marked as Special.
* Special skill is useful in some situations which depends on the warband, model, scenario or even a strategy you choose to play. A Special skill tag overrides even Must-haves so keep it in mind to check if you are able to benefit from it. If i find a particular skill useful i will mark and explain why and when to take it. 

'Academic Skills'

Battle Tongue: Bad (special)
Not many Warbands will benefit from this skill if there's Hunch, Tacticianor a Combat/Shooting skill to be taken by the Leader.
special: Except for Skaven where against all the expectations for the Assassin Adept to be a Death Incarnate his LD is needed all around the warband. 

Sorcery: Mediocre
+1 to Cast is a nice buff but it looses to Scribe skill. Still you should consider this skill Good if your caster is not a born fighter or a Bow master.

Streetwise: Bad
Please do not ask why... You really had to ask?
In Mordheim street wise means that a Hero is capable of immense feats of strength or marksmanship. If it won't help you kill enemy models or take objectives then it's probably useless and Streetwise skill will stop working after couple of battles when there will be no new items to seek out for.

Haggle: Bad
Why would you favor this one above a Combat/Shooting skill?

Arcane Lore: Bad
Most of us think 'my Leader is a badass and now he will also cast lightning from the tips of his fingers or the middle of his ars! Tremble mortals - Doom has come to this world!' but this skill is such a waste! The Leader is either hand to hand brawler or a marksman  and it means that he already has some tricks up his sleeves. To forfite the rest of his skills so that he can use some fancy spells instead of firing a Crossbow/Pistol or using Magic he already knows is wrong!

Wyrdstone Hunter: Bad
Rabbit Foot is better and won't use up the Advance.

Warrior Wizard: Bad
Armour sucks most of the time and even as i find it useful to protect the Possessed Magister with Heavy Armour i'd rather take more game changing skill.

Scribe: Good
If the Hero is a Caster then this is the right skill. All the magic comes to this single, important moment where you either show some powerfull trick, defeat Voldemort and win the day - or you will become a heap of cold, dead meat...

Mind Focus: Must-have

Must-have for all the Casters who have the right spells to cast.

Tactician: Must-Have
Ability to win the game before it starts is a good one. Hide and do not be shoot at or reposition your own shooters. Get closer to the objectives and the enemy with your fighters. This is a priority regardless of a warband type.

Hunch: Must-Have
Once again win the game before it starts. Imagine the face of your opponent when your warriors appear from a ruined building to 'Sprint' the closest Wyrdstone Shard out of the way. Sweet thing this skill. You may also position your Snipers in some cosy ruins.A lot of 'win the day' options indeed.

Magical Aptitude: Bad (special)
No caster will benefit from this skill before obtaining some new spells and the chance to get the right ones is low.
special: A very good skill if the Caster has some T and there's nothing good to choose from but Spells. After that you may be tempted to double-cast and it is very rewarding. Especially with Necromancer who happens to be close to useless most of the tame he does not cast.

'Speed Skills'

Leap: Must-have
Leap gives you so many options. You can jump with it, charge with it, leap than blast the enemy with a Blunderbuss or leap for objective. This skill is a Must-have.

Sprint: Must-have (special)
Must-have for all the models that you want to get into hand to hand combat or outmanoeuvre the enemy with. It will give the edge over your oponent to have a fast picker or a lightning-fast charger.
special: It is wise to pick speed skills for a Ghoul Hero via The lad's got talent and then choose this skill. A Vampire is a one man army but sometimes he needs backup and to catch up with him is close to impossible without the Sprint.

Acrobat: Bad
This skill is OK if used by a powerfull model that must get into the middle of the enemy warband fast. It just looses to all the Mediocre and better skills there are.

Lightning Reflexes: Good (special)
Good skill for all the human hand to hand fighters with advanced I. Treat the I advance as a signal that Lightning Reflexes should come next. 
special: Must-have for a Vampire, Skaven Assassin Adept or the Possessed. 'In your face' to all the charging Humans and Dwarves out there :) Otherwise it is still a Good skill.

Jump Up: Good
In the case of dense hand to hand combat this skill will probably save the life of your Hero.

Dodge: Good
Step Aside against Shooting. Good for both the hand to hand combat fighters and shooters.

Scale Sheer Surfaces: Bad (special)
Most of the time you won't have time and need to climb up or down and later in the Campaign there will be ropes and hooks to help. 
special: A Vampire, Skaven Assassin or a Black Skaven with this skill is a predator beast!

 'Warband Exclusive Skills'

I leave this one to other players. Each of us has some favorites. Where would be joy of picking a warband if not for the choice of equipment and skills available exclusively for this warband?! If you have any insight into the exclusive skills feel free to share in the Comments below.


Saturday, 11 April 2015

Matter of Survival: Skills Part one

Now shut that mouth of yours and listen: You want to live through this boy? You want to feel the stench of moist, rotten wood and decomposed flesh on your stupid prinkled face once again? You think you've got IT in you? That which really matters boy? Do you have the skill that will keep you alive in the hellish sreets of Mordheim?!

In this article i would like to share some of my wisdom regarding choice of Skills. I wrote 'wisdom' but let's face the facts: most experienced players already have their own opinion and here is my humble judgement of skills. Gamers new to Mordheim may find my thoughts useful and veterans may always try to persuade me wrong. If you are brave or stupid enough to try - that's what the comments section is for.

To make things simple i grouped the skills into ffour categories.

* Must-have skill is a skill that is good in almost every build regardless of most circumstances.
* Good skill is useful and, probably, will benefit the game but you should always regard it as inferior to the Must-haves.
* Mediocre skill may come in handy but will be useful only occasionally and i wouldn't recommend to take it above Good and Must-haves.
* And there's a Bad skill which is just really bad and most of the time you wouldn't want to pick it.
Some of the skills are also marked as Special.
* Special skill is useful in some situations which depends on the warband, model, scenario or even a strategy you choose to play. A Special skill tag overrides even Must-haves so keep it in mind to check if you are able to benefit from it. If i find a particular skill useful i will mark and explain why and when to take it. 

'Combat Skills'

Strike to Injury: Must-have
A very useful skill that gives edge to every capable hand to hand combat oriented Hero. The more A and S there is, the more the chance for Strike to Injury doing its job. In a case of a single succesful attack usually this skill takes the 33% chance to OOA up to 50%!

Combat Master: Bad
Just one additional A for a skill slot and that only if the Hero fights a hand to hand combat against more than one enemy. Even immunity to 'All Alone' tests won't make it worth taking. In the dire situation where you will find yourself with a Hero on total S value with all the advancements used up except one and you will really need this single A - pick the Pit Fighter skill instead.

Weapons Training: Bad (special)
This skill is rather bad. Not many interesting weapons and not many warriors who can benefit from using them.
special: Yet there are some for whom this skill is a big buff. Weapon Training skill especially useful to Henchmen who happens to become a Hero as usually they have limited weapon options.

Web of Steel: Mediocre
Higher Critical Hit effect means a bigger chance at taking the enemy Out of Action, usually in an explosion of blood and gore. However this skill depends on scoring a Critical Hit in the first plase so it should be taken only if a Hero has a lot of A and a good weapon to use.

Expert Swordsman: Mediocre (special)
Expert Swordsman works only for hand to hand combat specialized Heroes with more than 2 A in their profile.
special: The bonus provided by this skill is powerful but only if the Hero is the one to charge. Keep in mind to take this skill for a Hero with a lot of A whose M is 5 or higher in which case he will be the one to choose where and when the combat begins. 

Step Aside: Must-have
This skill is a Must-have for all the hand to hand fighters. 33% chance to cheat death is just worth it!

'Shooting Skills'

Quick Shot: Must-have
The effects of a Crossbow or a Bow are buffed by this skill to 200%. Damn it multiplies one shot into two - nothing to add to this statement.

Pistolier: Good
Most players think Pistols inferior to Crossbows if both of these are available. Remember that Mordheim is all about mobility and acquiring objectives. A Pistolier Hero with high BS will fallow the main body of the Warband and win the game in case of a choke point showdown. A Pistolier Leader will hit some scores in almost each game if you decide to keep him close to action which would be the obvious choice if Warband is to benefit from his Leader ability .

Eagle Eyes: Mediocre (special)
Most Missile weapons will benefit from this skill but not as much as from Quick Shot or Trick Shooter.
special: There's an exception to this rule and i recommend to chose Eagle Eyes if the Hero has a brace of Crossbow Pistols / Duelling Pistols / Pistols.

Weapons Expert: Bad (special)
This skill is close to useless in the early Campaign game.
special: Weapon Expert skill lets you take a Blunderbuss in a warband where there is none in the equipment list. A Witch Hunter or a Dwarf Thunderer Hero with a Blunderbuss... you know what i mean ;)

Nimble: Mediocre
Mobile Crossbow is ok but not as much as immobile one with two shots instead of one. Quick Shot will always be better than Nimble.

Trick Shooter: Bad
I highly preffer +1 BS than this.

Hunter: Bad
Handguns are expensive and do not reward you for using them. A lots of gold and a skill to use a tweaked Crossbow which never shoots twice per round. No thanks.

Knife-Fighter: Must-have
Not many Heroes can use Knives but those who can should and this skill is a Must-have! It gives a lot of edge at short distance enabling the Hero to eliminate up to three targets in one go.

'Strength Skills'

Mighty Blow: Bad (special)
This skill is inferior to +1 S in almost every every way.
special: Sometimes you will find yourself at the end of the road with a capable fighter who against the odds did not evolved his S value. A Double-handed weapond is not enough and he has all the skills you wanted him to have. This is the right moment to take Mighty Blow which otherwise sucks.

Pit Fighter: Mediocre
Most of the bloodiest combat happens to take place in the open :( It helps for the skill to agree with the players that wooden bridges are also 'inside buildings' areas.

Resilient: Good
Most models cannot evolve their T more than once. T is the most important for all the fighters in the game and can even keep them from receiving a Critical Hit! Resilient is a good choic and a Must-have choice for a Vampire or the Possessed as it Tanks them into monsters!

Fearsome: Bad
Wasted skill slot if you ask me.To much items and buffs that can help your Hero to charge against Fear, and Fear itself is powerful but more easy to counter as Campaign goes on.

Strongman: Bad (special)
Most models will not benefit from Strongman at all as their I value is just sad.
special: Most useful for a Vampire with Double-handed weapon od a Tank Champion with I4 or higher. That i can tell you from my own experience ;)

Unstopable Charge: Bad
+1 WS does not always mean you will get +1 to Hit and this makes a skill that requires a charge to work a bad skill. +1 WS is just so much better and simpler to get.

Next time i will break down Academic and Speed skills so stay tuned!