Hold Back The Tide – A Hyperian Wars Battle Report

The mood was tense. The grenadiers and riflemen were trading rumours amongst themselves – an unstoppable horde of Virum Nascii, hundreds strong, which had overrun the outlying colony of Hadley’s Hope in the northern disputed territories, slaughtering the Sky Marines sent to interdict them.

Amongst the crew of the steam tank “McDaggett’s Fury“, however, such sentiments were notable for their absence. 

“Sky Marines” scoffed commander Boddicker, “probably tried to buy them off.”

He patted the gunsights on the Fury’s main cannon. “Firepower! And lots of it! That’s all those beasts can be expected to understand. Franz? Louis? Are your rifles zeroed?”

The two foregunners saluted in eerie synchronicity. “Sir! Yes, sir –  optimised to peak accuracy, ammo feeds and repeater mechanisms cleared and double checked”

“Good work” Boddicker nodded approvingly “Signal Colonel Murphy that the Fury stands ready”

Atop his horse, surveying his assembled forces, Witch-Colonel Alecius Murphy had already sensed the build up of adrenaline and arrogance within the steam tank- it’s very presence evidence of how seriously the Ancien Regime province command took the Virum Nascii threat. Sky Marines didn’t die easily – he knew that all too well. Underestimating his foe was not a mistake Murphy intended to make again. 

He surveyed his assembled forces – lines of riflemen in their dark blue coats and peaked caps, columns of grenadiers imposing with their shakos and bayonets, a regiment of the illustrious cuirassier cavalry, the line anchored by the imposing iron beast that was the McDaggett’s Fury

The Virum Nascii had plagued this province in recent months, and the slaughter of a Sky Marine force at the nearby colony of Hadley’s Hope had proven that these beasts were present in force, and not to be underestimated. Murphy cast his precognitive vision forth and in his minds eye sensed the presence of a huge horde of the ratmen, heading his way.

“We make our stand here” he announced, “prepare firing positions and make ready to receive the enemy”

He gritted his teeth. It would be enough. It had to be enough.

Welcome back to another Hyperian Wars battle report – and this one should be a doozy…

After the slaughter of the Sky Marines in the last battle, this time it’s the turn of the other major human faction (so far… fluff still very much WIP), the Ancien Regime to face the vile ratmen! Some of you may remember these lads from way back in the early days of the blog, and in fact the first ever Hyperian Wars battle back in 2016. The Grand Alliance and the Ancien Regime are prone to the odd clash now and again, but petty squabbles are invariably pushed aside when the unhuman terrors such as the Virum Nascii are on the rampage. Lord Ratticus’ hordes have been boosted by some frenetic painting, while in response I’ve given the humans some much needed firepower with our repainted steam tank, and with these new toys ready it was off to the shed to commence battle!

We set objectives (Vrilfire reactor,  hilltop ruins, hilltop to the northern edge of the table and ruined temple at the top left of the picture)   rolled deployment and got diagonal facings – Virum Nascii won the roll off and made the Ancien Regime set up first.. appropriately sneaky for the vile ratmen..
Ancien Regime lines – Colonel Murphy commanding two regiments of riflemen each about twenty strong, two sixteen strong regiments of grenadiers, a ten man cavalry squadron and the steam tank…
..facing a LOT of rats! Lord Ratticus, emboldened by his previous victory now commands two 16 strong regiments of warriors, two similarly sized regiments of slave archers, a 24 strong regiment of slaves with hand weapons, plus a section of poison wind grenadiers, 8 plague priests, a bodyguard of 6 vermin stormtroopers…
… and a small section of 5 assassins, here sneakily infiltrated forwards into cover.

With everything deployed, it was game on!

Turn 1:

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Virum Nascii charge forward!
Cavalry crash into the slave regiment…
…shattering their fragile morale and causing the survivors to disappear!
Poison wind grenadiers join the party, taking chunks out of the human forces
Lord Ratticus gets stuck in…
Felling his foe! By the end of turn 1, each side has two objectives – the Ancien Regime have lost their cavalry regiment, the Virum Nascii have lost the slave regiment, two warriors and a poison wind grenadier…

Turn 2:

Poison wind grenadiers take down McDagget’s Fury!
Assassins pile into the riflemen..
Grenadiers march to confront the warriors!
Assassins take their toll on the grenadiers

But it’s not all one sided….
Meanwhile the grenadiers on the northern table edge duel it out with the slave archer regiments..
Carnage wherever you look!

Turn 3:

Ratticus and his Stormtrooper bodyguard fall to the guns of the grenadiers
Virum Nascii assault begins to stall in open ground
Poison wind grenadier takes on the riflemen
Plague priests pile in to the riflemen in the centre

Turn 4:

Ratmen warriors make a charge towards the riflemen in the woods
In bloody fighting, the riflemen bring down the plague priests
Without Ratticus’ command bonus, this regiment of warriors natural cowardice takes over..
The final poison wind grenadier falls
Grenadiers finish off the slave archer regiment

Turn 5:

Warrior regiment finds it’s nerve again but is decimated by the riflemen on the hill 
Grenadiers bring down the final archer slave before beginning to advance into the ruined village
As turn 5 ends it’s two objectives apiece, but four damaged infantry regiments plus Colonel Murphy are facing half a warrior regiment and an archer slave regiment.. without Lord Ratticus’ presence holding them together the Virum Nascii realise the situation is unwinnable and flee the field. Humanity holds this day!

Well, that was a blast and right up to turn 4 it could have gone either way – Colonel Murohy may have failed to successfully cast a single spell but his presence definitely helped the riflemen in the centre beat off the ratmen assault. I think the main issue the Virum Nascii had was failure to concentrate force in one area – had they focused on one single area of the human lines they could have overwhelmed them and rolled up the line piecemeal, but poor coordination let their regiments get picked off one at a time, and when Ratticus went down their naturally poor morale really started to count against them…

Still, the story isn’t over, we’ve got more Hyperian Wars coming as the escalation continues – more troops, characters and war machines for the Virum Nascii, and the same for the human factions! Stay tuned, stay thrifty, we’ll see you soon

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Terrain Talk Pt. 13 – Lots Of Extraordinary Riveting: A Vrilfire Reactor for Hyperian Wars

Some of you may be familiar with Dakkadakka.com, one of the biggest hubs for wargaming (mainly GW, but by no means exclusively), as well as painting and modelling. Jim and I are regular visitors, and over the years have come upon many PLOGs to loot for ideas and inspiration (see here, for example).

And lo, it was on a recent trawl for ideas to pinch that we came upon the elite secret society (well, sort of) of Dakka terrain builders, the League Of Extraordinary Riveters – so named for being the detail obsessed, practically OCD modellers who will go to the extent of modelling every rivet onto their pieces.

Frankly, this rather appealed! And so when this month’s terrain competition was announced, with “food” as it’s theme, we thought, let’s have a go.

Now, every year I get a Cadbury’s Creme Egg easter egg. And every year it’s awesome, even though it does nudge me a step closer to type 2 diabetes. But every year, after I’ve gorged myself on sugar and then gone through the inevitable grinding comedown, I look at the packaging and think, “That could be…. SOMETHING”

Well, this year? It’s going to be SOMETHING.

 

It begins…
Planning (PLANNING?!?) stage….
Enter a caption
Detailing and tiling with cardboard
Boiler plate detailed with PVA blobs for rivets
More tiling, gates added – made from cardboard, three layers, woodwork patterns carved in to the door and rivets added. Cooling towers from drinking straws.
Pipework made from sprues sawn up with new toy – a razor saw!
Entire piece sprayed black and then texture paste added on top – a mix of PVA, filler, sand and water.
Base made from a handily sized hardboard square I happened to have left ovr, edges bevelled and then texture paste applied there too.
And done! Prime black, drybrush up using our Lukes APS ruins palette.. metallics done with gun metal washed with black and brown ink, skin wash added in places for a rusty vibe. Honourable mention for semicircular flywheel casings – they were peanut butter jar lids cut in half with the razor saw!
Ground primed black and drybrushed up through dark to light browns, three tone flock added
1/72 Virum Nascii ratmen shown for scale

Vallejo Skin Wash used to represent rust
Added some flock and clump foliage to represent wear and weathering
Not too shabby overall!

So no idea how we’ve placed in the end, but it’s been a good fun ride!

So until next time, stay thrifty and we’ll see you soon!

Massacre at Hadley’s Hope – Hyperian Wars AAR

Well damn. The dice are just cooling down after an absolutely blistering playtest of our steampunk/ fantasy/ VSF mashup system, “Hyperian Wars” – today featuring the Sky Marines of the Grand Alliance versus the villainous Virum Nascii. And DAMN, the result was really not what we expected, but it was an absolutely corking game! So, with memories still relatively fresh and unclouded by liquor, time to dive into this evening’s battle report –

Lists:

Grand Alliance Sky Marines (all troops are skirmishers):

HQ – Commander, Mortar, Rifleman, 2x Signallers

3 Sections – 9 Marines w/ Bolt Action Rifle, Fragmentation Bombs, Bayonets

Virum Nascii:

Warlord – Hand Weapons

16 x Warriors – Hand Weapons

16 x Slaves – Hand Weapons

16 x Slaves – Bow & Arrow

5 x Poison Grenadiers (skirmishers) – Poison Grenades, Hand Weapons

10 x Stormtroopers – Hand Weapons

8 x Plague Priests – Hand Weapons

So, one side has the firepower – but the other has numbers. And speed. Who would prevail?

Deployment:

Sky Marines deploy onto the southern edge – with little in the way of missile fire, we went for best firing positions to maximise our ranged advantage
Virum Nascii deploy, concentrating on the ruined village – aiming to overwhelm one area of the Sky Marine lines before moving on. Slaves and warriors to the fore to absorb casualties, Warlord and his retinue of elite troops use them as cover to get in range and get stuck in!
The Slaves catch a glimpse of their enemy on the horizon!
The view from the Sky Marine lines – that’s a LOT of rats!

Turn 1

Sky Marine rifle fire rips through the exposed archer Slaves, killing half their number
HQ section mortar falls among archer slaves, adding to the carnage as the Virum Nascii hurtle forwards – I’d placed my weakest units at the front to absorb casualties, in true merciless villain style!

Turn 2

Sky Marines gain the initiative and gun down the remaining Slave archers
After gunning down the archers, Sky Marines suddenly find the Virum Nascii getting very, very, very close!
Mortar shell falls amongst the slave regiment
Seeing their brothers about to get overrun, No. 3 Squad open up on the Ratmen!

Turn 3

Virum Nascii were just about to hit Sky Marine positions, and things were about to get… interesting…

Sky Marines pour fire point blank into the onrushing Ratmen horde
But it’s not even close to enough – No. 2 squad are torn apart by the vicious beastmen
Mortar shell bursts upon the Ratmen warriors!
The Ratmen warriors finish off No. 2 squad with sword and claw!

The surviving Ratmen warriors achieve Frenzy and crash on into Sky Marine HQ!
The elite human infantry dispatch the Virum Nascii beasts, but at a cost, losing the signallers
Plague priests pile on to the HQ!
The Warlord and his elite bodyguard crash into No. 3 squad!
The Sky Marines put up a valiant fight, but they’re no much for the vicious Virum Nascii!

Turn 4

Plague priests overwhelm the Sky Marine HQ!
Only one Priest left standing, but HQ – and Lt. Gorman – is down!
Meanwhile, No. 1 squad cluster up in the ruins to repel the oncoming Virum Nascii!
A frenzied maelstrom of blood and claws in the ruined temple!
In the last moments of the battle, the last Sky Marine (PFC Hudson) pumps rounds into the seething mass of Ratmen – “COME GET SOME MOTHERF*CKER!”

But in the end.. it was game over, man. Game over.

Wow. Holy sh*t but that was a blast – the Sky Marines deploying, full of confidence in our ranged firepower, taking down huge numbers of Virum Nascii….. right up until the rats got into charge range and then it hit the fan and no mistake! My outnumbered squads were ripped apart in short order, and damn but the Ratmen are FAST!!

In fact, the battle played out much like a steampunk/ fantasy version of the classic movie “Aliens” – the Sky Marines inflicting huge losses on the ratmen for no loss to themselves… right up until the moment when they weren’t.. and then it became a massacre! Hence the title – fans will recognise Hadley’s Hope as the colony established on LV426.

All in all, a hell of a game, right down to PFC Hudson’s last stand in the temple! And we should add, this got the attention of none other than Black Library author himself, Gav Thorpe!

So there you have it, a Gav Thorpe- approved battle report!

Phew – we’re going to go lie down after that one, so until next time, stay thrifty out there and see you soon!

MOAR Hairy Japanese Bastards

(If you’re not as big a Father Ted fan as us, this is the reference – we love you, Japanese people )

Don’t know what it is about summer, but I always find myself drawn to fantasy stuff – suppose it’s because the evenings are lighter, the shed is warmer… and I’m drawn to a simpler time of Goblin Green bases drawn in massed ranks, swords and spears raised to beat the absolute crap out of each other.

It was about this time last year when I began my love affair with the 1/72 Skaven – ahem, Ratmen, or Virum Nascii for Hyperian Wars – from Caesar or Minikight miniatures (as the packaging is somewhat ambiguous), and I painted up the first of the four boxes I’d bought quite happily. After kicking a little Freeguild and Ancien Regime ass over the summer 2018, these were duly forgotten about as new shiny things grabbed our attention…

But even gamer ADHD runs its course, and it wasn’t long before I remembered my plans for cheapy fantasy hordes, and set about adding a second tranche to the litte whiskery fellas:

The Warlord, his army at his back
A mighty horde!
Poison wind globadiers
Warlord Ratticus McStilton III!
Elites – Warlord, Stomrvermin, Poison wind globadiers
Stormvermin

 

The horde advances!

So yeah, fill in post today – but you’re going to love what’s coming next… 😉 Stay thrifty out there my brothers and sisters, we will see you soon!

Hairy Japanese Bastards

And this week we’re doing – Age Of Sigmar! It’s fair to say that this game has had a controversial reception – blowing up the Warhammer World, renaming elves, dwarves, orcs and goblins for ease of GW trademarking etc., and to the casual observer (such as we) the replacement fluff seemed pretty vague and silly, and above all unrelatable. The Warhammer World may have been a dangerous place, but it was still one where you could imagine ordinary people living, working, eating, sleeping, and using the toilet. The AoS fluff was very high fantasy myth and legend, lacking the grit that let you believe in the stories you were telling on the battlefield. Plus there were a great many silly rules in the original, no real points structure or levelling mechanics and the whole thing just felt rushed and sloppy.

At least, that’s the way it seemed to us. But that was during the Age of Kirby. As GW have changed management, they really do seem to be making an effort to engage and put out well thought out balanced games – and in the case of AoS, making the rules available for free.

FREE.

We like that word. And so – with AoS 2 now out, high time we dipped a toe in the murky AoS waters and found out what was what.

Of all the WHFB/ AoS races, I’ve always had a thing for Skaven. Giant chittering mutant rats lurking in the sewers, waiting to strike in the darkness.. like Orcs but more cunning, less brutal.. like Goblins but furry.. and then there’s all the Clan Skryre craziness..

So for me, when we got into AoS I had to take this opportunity to start up a Skaven army. But of course – GW prices. They make lovely stuff, but WOW is it expensive – can’t run a Ferrari on a Vauxhall income! (and the minor issue of all our terrain being scaled for 1/72).

So….

Step forward Caesar (or MiniKnight, there seems to be some confusion on the box) Ratmen – 1/72 fantasy absolutely-not-Skaven, 39 figures and 11 poses to a box. My first box cost me roughly a tenner, postage included – and once they arrived, I fell so head over heels I rounded up every box I could find – three more, for a shade under a tenner a piece. Result – everything I need for one formidable Skaven army for the price of three Stormfiends.

So far I’ve managed to get enough painted up to field a decent little warband, and they got their first licks in against a Freeguild patrol a few days ago – the Skaven warlord took down the Freeguild general in grand style and the wee furry chaps just had the measure of the Guard in close combat, managing to pick them off in dribs and drabs.

So, pics:

It begins – first boxfull assembled and based
Scale comparison with a 2ed 40k Gretchin

Clanrats

The first of many!
First tranche complete!
Bringing the pain to the Freeguild (or Ancien Regime, depending on your system..)

Skavenslaves:

Lighter colour scheme here reflecting the low status of the Skavenslave..
And here with bows – that is, slings..

Plague Monks:

On the bench – started with bone for the robes then washed down with green and brown inks
In action against the Freeguild / Ancien Regime fools

Stormvermin:

Seniority denoted by dark fur and black armour
“WHERE’S THE DAMN CHEESE?”

Warlord:

Our current CO

I’ve gone with the notion that seniority is denoted by darker fur, so the Skavenslaves are a lighter brown than the Clanrats, who in turn are lighter than the Plague Monks, etc. Having had a little experience painting at this scale now, I’m more than ever convinced that the right way to do it is to start light (white primer) and wash down rather than starting dark and highlighting up. This is because washes are so much thinner- at this smaller scale, layering highlights will ruin all the detail, as well as taking far longer. That said, I usually finish things off with a very light bone drybrush to catch the highlights.

For basing, I used our now standard technique of thick cardstock (20mm square), covered in PVA, dunked in a pot of Garage Floor Dust (TM), and then a sparse overlay of flock for contrast. Edge with brown, spray with matt varnish and you’re good to go!

Now, as well as being Skaven for AoS and any forays into it’s predecessor, Warhammer Fantasy, these chaps will also be appearing in our own fantasy/ steampunk setting – Hyperian Wars!

The Virum Nascii – Men Of Vermin

The shadow in the corner? The rustle in the rafters? That presence you feel lurking in the corner of your room as you go to sleep? Most of the time it’s just your imagination.

Most of the time.

But sometimes – every once in a while – it’s the Ratman. The Vermin Kin. The Virum Nascii. Many years before mankind came to Hyperia, there were some within the Stoc’d who grew weary of the prohibitions on Vril usage, on biology, on experimentation. Cast out and labelled renegade by his peers, a once noble Stoc’d biologician dug deep beyond the frontiers of his races’ realms, deep towards the core of Hyperia – deep towards the essence of pure, life giving Vril – and began to create a slave race, a race that would do his bidding without question, and eventually make him master of our world.

But life does not always abide by the rules we want it to. The common rat joined him on his journey – and the Vril wrought its magic, sought by design or not. With the biologician’s attention focused on the acquisition of precious Vril and designs of vengeance, the rats grew in intelligence and stature, until they were able to overpower him and his retinue. Now they live in the darkest corners of Hyperia, pulling the unwary down into their shadowy empire. When you meet them in combat, beware – they may not have the martial code that distinguishes us, the Eal’va, the Stoc’d or even the Orca, but they are a deadly opponent, every bit as fearful as the Terrors of the Dead

Oh yes- this is JUST THE START..

That’s it for now, but as the Hyperian Wars fluff develops you bet the Virum Nascii will be along for the ride. Check back soon, stay thrifty out there!

Oh, and a PS regarding the title – we haven’t gone all EDL on you, the reference is this:

RIP Frank Kelly

 Half Term Hijinks Pt. 1 – Hyperian Wars (1/72 Fantasy Steampunk Wargaming)

It’s the half term break here in Ye Olde England, so our little group has been able to cram in a little more game time than usual (yep, the teaching profession has its upsides..).. Our regular readers may have noticed that we’ve gone for a bit of a fantasy vibe recently, turning the Apocalypse: Earth game mechanic to new pastures.

The world of Hyperia, mankind’s new home across the stars.. colonised by refugees from a dying Earth more than twenty centuries previously, mankind has learned to abandon the crude technology of its past, embracing Vril and Magick.. mankind has learned to coexist with the native Stoc’d and Ee’la races, and help them face the Terrors that inhabit the world’s core. But as is the way of mankind, we cannot remain united for long.. now across Hyperia, different realms do battle for the precious resource of Vril.

To the West, the Grand Alliance commands a network of skyways and oceanic shipping lanes across its network of islands. Mighty skyships ply their trade amidst the islands, archipelagos and vast floating cities of a thriving economy with new inventions pushing technological barriers every day. Their elite Sky Marine Corps are the envy of every power on Hyperia. But the Alliance is built on the vital resources of liftwood and Vril, and both of these are becoming rarer by the day.

On the central continent, the realm of the Ancient Regime holds sway – their ruling families tracing their roots back to the original colonists who crashed to Hyperia on the fateful day that brought our race here. Their numbers are vast and they have a firm mastery the arts of wizardry – a Grand Army of the Ancient Regime is a fearful sight to behold, their vast columns of swordsmen, cavalry, riflemen, armour and their elite wizardy cadre represent a powerful force, but their empire is stagnating. Rituals, feudalism and a distrust of technological research has stifled new thinking and innovation.

So, our first playtest battle used the Ancien Regime and Grand Alliance armies detailed last month – no points values at this stage, and the objective was control of the central rocky gulch. Great fun was had, and I’m stunned how closely matched the forces were considering list balance was largely guesswork!

Both sides faced off with objective in central gully – superheavies (the Ironclad and the Dauntless) deployed to use cover, with the Grand Alliance planning to whittle down and counterattack their far more numerous opponents, while the Ancien Regime forces detailed their two Grenadier squadrons to take objective, while the massed musketeer regiment would cover the more open left flank pinning down any opposition, whilst finally the Cuirassier cavalry and A7V light tank would sweep around right and crash into Allied lines.

The game started with largely ineffective firing on both sides as the forces closed, jockeying for position – Allied forces shot down a few infantry while Ancien Regime grenadiers and armour stripped powerfields off the Dauntless – then Ancien sorcerer conjured a lightning storm to cripple the skycutter’s control systems. Nonetheless, the Dauntless’ missiles blew weapons off the A7V, which the enterprising driver then used as cover to support scything cavalry attack into Allied lines that wiped out No. 3 squad. Sky Marine rifle fire from no. 2 quickly shot down the Cuirassiers and close assaulted the tank, losing five of their number but immobilising the beast and therefore rendering it harmless, while No. 1 squad exchanged fire with the musketeers and HQ fired into the ranks of Grenadiers

The Dauntless shook off lightning storm and recovered to hide and ambush Ironclad, washing it in Vrilfire and denuding it off its port side Maxims, eventually immobilising it and then destroying it completely at the cost of her missiles and a damaged engine. Meanwhile, rifle and mortar fire raked the Grenadiers, whose A squadron charged the Sky Marine command group and wiped them out. In their turn, these men were blown apart with grenades and B squadron fell to one survivor.

In an astonishing move, this heroic Grenadier charged the remainder of No.2 squad who promptly surrendered and became POWs! The shame! Meanwhile the Dauntless crew finally hunted down incinerated the sorcerer who had caused them such misery. As she closed on the Musketeers, No. 1 squad charged to rescue their pals, and the Musketeer colonel turned to see a listing, smoking Dauntless hovering over his men, cannon and Vrilfire thrower at point blank range. Realising there was nothing to be gained by sacrificing his men to a horrific agonising death, the colonel raised his hands in surrender, bade his men do the same and led the survivors into captivity..

img_0704
Terrain laid out – objective in the centre
img_0708
Deployment – Grand Alliance Sky Marines in the foreground, serried ranks of the Ancien Regime in the background..
img_0714
Battle is joined! The mighty Ironclad anchors the centre while the cavalry make use of cover..
img_0715
The Dauntless weighs in..
img_0717
Wonky camera angle, sorry! Cuirassiers crash into the Sky Marine lines..
img_0720
Grenadiers assault the objective – Sky Marines are struggling at this point against sheer weight of numbers..
img_0721
Grenadiers charge and wipe out Sky Marine HQ!
img_0716
Duel of the superheavies – Ironclad vs Dauntless
img_0722
“Surrender or die!”

Result – Grand Alliance victory, by a hair’s breadth!

Lists –

Grand Alliance

Command group – KIA

3 x rifle squads 1 KIA, 1 3 survivors, 1 7 survivors

Dauntless – damaged

Ancien Regime

Sorcerer in chief – KIA

Grenadier regiment divided into A & B Squadrons – KIA

Musketeer regiment lost 13 men out of 48

Cuirassier cavalry squadron – KIA

A7V – mobility & weapon kill – effectively destroyed

Ironclad – destroyed

Altogether, awesome game! A few pointers which we’ll take into the next playtest (more varied spells, pin down exactly how power fields regenerate etc) but overall a resounding success. Props to Dan for being an always challenging and sportsmanlike opponent, and stay tuned for more Hyperian Wars!