Thursday, 8 December 2011

Time off

I will be taking time off from work and IK Daily to do some travelling. Therefore, there will unlikely be any articles within the next 2 weeks. For the interested, I will be heading off to Melbourne for a week. So if you have any recommendations on an LGS that plays lots of WM, do tell/shout!!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

How it all started...!

Do you still remember the day you got hooked on to WM? I sure do!

18-19 years ago, I met a friend who loves to draw men in armoured suits. One day at his house, he showed me a codex called Warhammer Fantasy: Skaven. He told me that this is a game he plays and I was really interested in how these rat miniatures look. Unfortunately, my friend moved out of town and I had no one to follow up on this interest.

17 years ago, another friend who loves to draw started showing me some drawings of Space Marines. It looked really familiar and I asked where he referred the drawing to. It was then that I was first introduced to Warhammer 40k (WH40k). I was brought to a Local Game Shop (LGS) and was taught how to play WH40k 2nd ed. Immediately after, I went to London for a family holiday. The first miniature I ever bought at a Games Workshop in London was a Warhammer Fantasy (WHFB) dwarf and a devastator squad. I still remember painting the dwarf without being undercoated at all! Also, I was told that as of today, the location of this GW is still in the same plaza! I still remember seeing the old skool Necron Warriors box squad on the shelf and taught, “man, those robots sure look ugly!”.

Ugly Robot Men!

When I got back, the game shifted to 3rd Ed. Unfortunately, the game died locally soon after due to the obscenely inflated price of miniatures. There was a period of time in Malaysia where no one could afford any more WH40k miniatures. I refer to this period as “The Void”. The game died off and it was VERY difficult to find for any players at all. To make matters worse, I was still new and I didn’t know how to even build an army. I packed my miniatures into a cupboard and occasionally re-read the Angels of Death and Chaos codex. I still have those books to this day.

9-10 years later, I found out that someone took the initiative to revive the LGS that first introduced WH40k to me. I started buying miniatures and re-started collecting my Blood Angels. During the time, it was the early days of 4th ed. The game pretty much had to be re-taught to me due to The Void. It was during this time that I met some of the well-known veterans amongst the Malaysian table-top gaming scene right now. I clearly remember while playing WH40k, there would be a couple of guys playing Warmachine in one of the tables at the back. I hated Warmachine at that time. I felt that it stole the limelight of the main show. “Why are other people playing a game of Warmachine in a WH40k shop?? WH40k is waaay superior than Warmachine!”

I followed WH40k closely but unfortunately, GW’s shift in business models has slowly deteriorated my confidence in the game up to a point where I decided enough is enough. I love the fluff and the miniatures but I hate the bickering and don’t like the way the game is played anymore. I packed my miniatures and put it aside once again. However, I still keep up to date on what’s going on in the GW world via Bell of Lost Souls (

One fine day on mid November 2009, I stumbled upon this web page.

I knew Hordes was the sister game of Warmachine. My first thoughts when I saw that web page was, “Field test? What is this field test?” Then I saw the magic sentence, “Go register here and grab the free PDF rules”. I was shocked. “What kind of company would give out free rules even though it is in the beta stage (the idea of such a move for a table-top game then is unthinkable or done rarely)?? Wait a minute, if they are doing this to Hordes, surely they must have done the same to Warmachine!” I immediately went to the Privateer Press website, read their reasons behind why they made their beta rules open to public (was absolutely impressed at their reasons behind the move), and found means to download the pdf file of the Mk.II beta and its cards. I still had no idea how the game was played though. Nevertheless, I wanted to learn how to play. I was adamant to buy the Mk.II Rulebook in Melbourne when I go there for my holidays in December.

When I got the Mk.II Rulebook, I couldn’t have the chance to read it properly but fortunately for me, the following article gave me a quick introduction to how the game was played.

As I was reading through it, I felt, “Damn! This game is more interesting than it looks!”

I still needed someone to teach me how to play the game on the table though. During my stint in WH40k, I knew that there was a LGS that plays Warmachine. However, I just had no idea where it re-located to. I searched high and low for a place in Malaysia that plays Warmachine. I went to the WH40k LGS and asked whereabouts do they play Warmachine now. Fortunately for me, someone knew that shop’s location.

One fine weekend, I found the time to walk into that shop to meet with the owner. We had a good Warmachine-related discussion and he informed me that it was a great time to start Warmachine due to the recent release of Mk.II (everyone is re-learning the game). I bought my first Warmachine miniature (Khador Battlegroup box) and immediately painted it. The owner of that LGS managed to arrange me to meet up with someone who knew how to play Warmachine and we met up for an introductory game. Since then, I never looked back!

p/s: To Mukhsin a.k.a Wayfarer a.k.a Kassar, thank you with all my heart for being patient in teaching me how to play this game. It is definitely one of the defining moments in my life! I will always remember your warjack slamming my Destroyer into Sorscha in our intro game. J

Mukshin a.k.a Wayfarer a.k.a Kassar's standard Avatar in forums

Do you still remember how it all started? Share it with us!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Formations, Formations, Formations...!

Formations can play a big role in a game of Warmachine. Depending on how you place your unit, it can protect your unit’s back line or screen your caster from LOS and slams. The 2 abilities that benefit the most from various formations are Shield Wall and Vengeance. Let’s first explore Shield Wall formations.

Straight Line

This is the standard straight line formation. It is fairly straight forward, with each MoW standing side by side. One of the biggest benefits of this formation is that it blocks LoS to your caster in the largest arc possible.


Next we have the W-Line formation, where the MoW stands besides each other but at in the same rank at intervals. The gist of this formation is that if your opponent does not have reach, he is forced to charge at an angle in order to hit 2 MoWs. The MoWs, having reach, will still be engaged with the enemy.


This formation totally blocks LoS to (and of) your warcaster but the biggest draw of this formation is that it is flexible enough to be converted into an angled Flying-V formation (more on this later). This allows you to expect a charge on the right or left directions by a slight re-organisation as shown below. The drawback is that your warcaster is dictated by the shield walled unit’s movement speed and he/she does not have LOS to anything besides the sides.


Here’s the much touted Flying-V formation. Due to the nature of this formation, breaking the shield-wall advantage is pretty tedious, if not nigh impossible. It also acts as a 'solid-wall' from jacks slamming into your MoWs, hoping to clip your caster along the way since the back rank of the MoWs will soak up the hit instead. The caster depicted in the pic being B2B with the MoWs are just an exaggeration since your caster can be further back from the wall, as long the wall acts as the barrier.

Mini-V (for single-wound shield walled units)

Shield Wall buffs up a unit’s ARM but let’s face it, they still have one life. A model with a POW 12 gun only needs a -6 on damage rolls against an ARM 18 unit (under the effects of Shield Wall). Worse still, should they suffer the corrosion continuous effect, chances of them living is 1 out of 3. Hence, it is not wise to “brick” them up. Most of these units brick up in a mini-V formation instead. Blast templates would get 3 at most (rather than 5+ if you brick them up all together) and they hit hard as a mini-unit of 3 men. If one dies, the other 2 would still be under the effects of Shield Wall due to being B2B.

The other question that people tend to ask is what kind of formations would you deploy to fully maximise the Vengeance ability?

Mastershake from the PP forums ( wrote up an interesting article which I believe is worth sharing.

Vengeance Formation
Vengence formations in general are usually spread out and you'll also often models turned at wierd angles to make it exceptionally difficult to charge models in ranks further back without getting free-struck. This forces you to fight a handful of models which means almost the entire unit can get Vengence. It's not a bad idea by any stretch of the imagination to play all Reach infantry formations like this to minimize the damage you'll take from charges, but with Vengence it's how you get the most out of the unit.

For units with an inherent Vengeance ability, you’d want to spread them out as much as possible like the picture below but at the same time, get your back rank within charge range should the first rank fall apart.

For units with a Granted: Vengeance ability (i.e. Dawnguard Sentinels), you want to spread out the unit too but you need to protect your officer at the same time. The picture below is a good example of how you’d deploy a unit with a granted Vengeance ability. The LOS is well blocked to the officer and the enemy would have a tough time reaching him.

So there you have it. Formations that one can use when playing units with Shield Guard or Vengeance. It is interesting to see how unit formations can actually play a role in a game of Warmachine. It is simple details and tactics like these make me love this game.

What kind of formations do you tend to use? Any other formations you would like to share?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Painting Burnout

All miniature tabletop gamers who paint have been through a painting burnout at least once in their lifetime. It is a rite of passage. You have not fully matured (as a painter) unless you have been burnt out before! Some people get it only once in their lifetime while others experience it pretty often.

 Reasons of Burning Out

-        Too many miniatures to paint
This is the most common reason of burning out. When you step back and think about it, you have tonnes of miniatures to paint. Worse still, this does not include the minis from other game systems that you play!

-        Real life issues (i.e. no time, etc)

Work gets in your way all the time. The lack of time makes you feel that it takes ages for you to paint something and by the time you are finished with it, you already got bored playing with that miniature.

-        “Bored” of the same paint scheme
Painting the same scheme over and over again can frustrate you. Imagine having a difficult scheme to paint with and you need to cover 50+ miniatures of it. The tediousness of it does creep into some people’s head out there!

-        Slow painter
You may be a below average painter, or you may simply be a perfectionist. The bottom line is, you paint slow. You wish you can speed paint as fast as some people out there but when you do it, the satisfaction simply isn’t there. It takes months to finish a simple 10 men unit and it is making you go crazy.

So What do you do?
-        Visit online forums; view pictures for inspiration

Miniatures painted in an awesome manner could motivate you to do good as well. It could also inspire you on a new paint scheme! In my opinion, the best site for this is at Do drop by and have a look if you have not!

-        Flip through your books, read fluffs, remember the reason why you gamed in the first place
It’s easy to forget why we play this game in the first place. It could be the fluff, the ruleset, or simply the artworks. Rekindle that by going through things that contribute to it. The fire will be re-ignited!

-        Take a break
Sometimes one just needs a break from painting. Once you start burning out, you should not push yourself. Your body would resist it more and more up to a point of no return. If you feel tired, take a break! Do some outdoor activities! Take a road trip! Perhaps have a barbeque!

-        Paint miniatures from a different line
Maybe painting a fantasy setting over and over again is what bores you.  Try painting some sci-fi minis or something totally different like battleships (i.e. dystopian wars). Also, do consider painting up terrain!

-        Opt for a different paint scheme
Your whole army is red and black and you are sick at the notion of painting another red and black miniature. Consider painting it differently! If you do not want to side track your army’s scheme, then consider “inverting” the colours (red parts are painted black and black parts are painted red). By inverting the colour, you are not only painting something “different”, you are also making that particular model stand out amongst the lot in your army.

-        Buy tools that eases/speeds up the painting process

If you are like me, I find painting a lengthy process that eats up my time. I don’t want to spend another month to just finish another warjack. Sometimes I get burnt out from this fact alone. Therefore, I buy tools that can cut my overall painting time (and get motivated to paint again to try them out). Some tools that can speed up the painting process are sprays (for undercoating), air brush, dremel (to pin and other forms of cleaning your mini prior to painting), a new table lamp, wet palate, water pot that self-replenishes the water for you, etc.

-        Participate in a campaign/tourney
Most campaigns and tourney these days require a fully painted army in order to participate. Participating in one (preferably with friends) it can serve as a good motivation to kick start your painting habits! The paintjob may not be the best, but hey, you got an army painted and ready to play!

-        Paint in a group on hobby nights
I cannot stress how fun this is. Not only do you get to paint and finish your miniature, you get to listen and participate in other people’s banter, teases, jokes, rants, etc. If your LGS does not have a hobby night event, do suggest the owner to organise one!

 Hopefully this article helps you in future burn outs. Here's a toast to no more painting burn outs!

What do you do to overcome painting burnouts?