A Clash of Kings - Out of the Abyss
by, 23-05-2012 at 09:10 AM (1636 Views)
Don't you love it when a plan comes together? My past few weeks in the gaming world have been bountiful. I've had the chance to see some top secret super-awesome stuff (keep your eyes on the Mantic blog this summer), I've been fairly productive with my painting, and Iíve rolled a disgusting number of sixes and actually won a few games. Throughout all this, I'd been ruminating on my next Kings of War army. Don't get me wrong, I love the Undead, but choice is good, and with two armies running demo games will be considerably easier. I'd pretty much set my mind on the Abyssal Dwarfs, and then out of the blue I received an email from Mantic: Would I like to take part in a "Tale of Four Gamers" type project leading up to next year's tournament? Stupid question. Try and stop me. To cut a long story short, not only do I get to build the army I was planning, but I get to blog about it to the world, and I have the perfect motivation to actually finish the thing (very rare for me). The fact that I get to do this alongside my fellow Pathfinders has revealed a competitive streak in me I didn't know I had. They'd better watch out!
So, what to expect from post number one? This is a bit of a brain-dump to be honest - I'm going to throw some ideas around and see what sticks as the project progresses. My aim is not to win the tournament, but to do the best job I can and make an army I'm proud of. I'm going to try some new things, and hope they work. When they don't, I'll go and buy some paint stripper... I also want to promote Mantic, Kings of War, and the Abyssal Dwarf army. There are so many people out there who are tempted but need that final push, so I'm going to try and present this project in as accessible a way as possible. If I can do it, anyone can. I hope you enjoy my ramblings, and are inspired to take the plunge and try for yourself.
It suits my theme to use the same tactic I used with my Undead in the last tournament and have a sacrificial shield of expendable troops in front of my main battle-line, who can either die or get out of the way at the last minute. This time it will be Orc Slaves filling that void - the dwarves hold the line and send their minions forth to do the dirty work. I also definitely want Gargoyles. Flying troops are infinitely valuable and can counteract the abominable speed of the rest of the army.
Why Abyssal Dwarfs?
Angry bearded guys with big hats! What's not to love? First and foremost, I wanted to try something new. There are now five decent sized ranges available for Kings of War, and in some form or another I've used the other four. The Abyssal Dwarfs will give me a chance to showcase their unique style and what it is that makes them an army in their own right; i.e. what makes them different from regular stunties. It doesn't hurt that they also look pretty nifty.
I like the variation in the list. Having a few irregular units in an army breaks up the monotony of painting rank and file troops, and requires more tactical thought when gaming. "Monster" units always provide interesting hobby projects too, and with a nine month timeframe this is something I'm looking forward to. Finally, I want a Manticore. A big flying lion that eats people. With a dwarf on top. 'Nuff said.
Where to start? I want this army to have a strong theme, deeply rooted in the background of the race. As with everything I collect, I'd also like a varied force with as many different troop types as possible to show the tactical range of the army, but still be reasonably competitive in a tournament situation.
Once you see the new rulebook youíll see that the background has been expanded considerably, and the Abyssal Dwarfs in particular now have a very strong character. The Abyss is psychological as well as physical - their greed, their pride, their every flaw has been exploited by the Dark Gods. Iíd like to think that this internal conflict has built up inside to the point where their only option is to consider themselves ascendant, the meaningless labours of their once-kin beneath them. In battle I see the Abyssal Dwarfs as a very elite force who donít like to get their hands dirty, with the dwarfs themselves holding back and sending the denizens of the dark to fight on their behalf.
What does this mean in terms of army list choices? I'd like the army's core to be Immortal Guard to suit my elite theme, with Decimator troops as back up. I do need to have a think about how to use the Decimators though - although they're shooty, they're short ranged, so I'll need a cunning plan. To round out the dwarfy part of the army, I'm going to go for some artillery pieces, although whether G'rogs or Angkors is dependent on this summer's releases. To use a clichť, I have my anvil, now I need the hammer. First on the list is a big pile of halfbreeds, the most hotly anticipated release of the summer (besides the new book). They're going to look awesome. I'm also thinking of giving some infantry units two-handed weapons for a bit more punch. I'd like a Fire Team or two, because I think it'd be fun to make one. However, it sort of goes against my theme to have a dwarf unit that needs to get up close like they do, so I am planning to instead model them as some kind of goaded monster (think Salamanders in a certain other companyís Lizardman army Ė that kind of idea).
Finally, I'm left with Golems. I so dearly want to include these, but they're a gamble. Against a combat oriented army, they're perfect. They take years to die and can hold a flank on their own. However, against a shooty army, they won't be so useful. With a 5" Shambling move and none of my beloved Dark Surge, they won't reach combat until turn five, and that's if I'm lucky. They are too easy to outmanoeuvre or ignore, so I'm going to need to know what I'm doing (which I don't). I also need to find/make some suitably cool miniatures, and my modelling skills aren't up to much. I'll have to cogitate a bit on this one.
That does of course leave the heroes to lead my army, but I think Iím going to have to digest the background for a bit longer before I come up with something appropriately cool. There will, of course, be a manticore.
Painting and Modelling
Iím never going back, Iíve decided. When I put my Undead army together, I did it in such a way that should I ever want to, I could use the army for other games (i.e. ones that involve removing individual models). However, thatís not going to happen anymore. For me itís Kings of War forever! Therefore, as I have the opportunity to start an army from scratch Iíve decided to multi-base all of my units. This has many advantages:
- Storage Ė not having to individually protect every figure will be a lot easier.
- Time Ė unpacking and putting away my army will be considerably faster, as will moving the army around the table Ė a key benefit in timed games.
- Dioramas - larger bases will allow for models to be positioned in more elaborate ways.
- Economising - as long as the unit bases are the right size, I don't necessarily need to use the full number of figures on each base (allowing room for dioramas and scenery etc). This way I can make the most out of the parts I need. Despite the metal, by doing it this way I can bring the cost of the army more in line with that of the plastic oriented races. With the Dwarfs being quite chunky, this will also avoid difficulties ranking them up.
I'm also considering being a bit flash and mounting some sort of slider or spinner onto each base to use as a damage counter, rather than using dice - just need to work out the logistics of doing so. With bases sorted, there are two more things to consider:
Colour Scheme - I'm always drawn to the classic red and bronze, as it looks great and is very easy to achieve. However, as I said, I want to try something different. I'm going to have to experiment a bit, but I'm tempted to go against the grain and go for a light colour scheme - just because they're evil, who says they need to be dark? I'll probably give in and go back to a dark scheme in the end, but I'll give it a go.
Basing - Abyssal Dwarfs and lava... a bit overdone? Also, I don't think I'd be very good at painting lava. My battles are unlikely to be on home territory anyway, but then do I go for my usual earth and grass, or rocky mountain bases, or snow? Too many to choose from. I need some inspiration. Of course I do quite like the idea that the Abyssal Dwarfs carry an aura of evil with them, tainting everything they come across Ė Iíll see what I can do with dead grassÖ
That's it for now. My future posts will hopefully be a bit more structured. I'll be back twice monthly with an update, each time focusing on a different aspect of the army, be it unboxing, painting, modelling, gaming, list construction or background, with a view towards establishing my next month's purchase. I'll try and fit in a bit of everything. Next time, you can look forward to an unboxing of the new £29.99 army set, the starting point of my army. Thanks for reading!