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2015 – Year of the Unfinished Projects

I am sure this title can be interpreted many ways:

  • A typo in my summary of my success at completing projects last year.
  • A prophetic vision of the outcome of this year.
  • Or a simply defined goal.

Like many miniature hobbyists, I have countless unfinished projects.  This year I have decided to focus on finishing (some of) them, and that means going back to some older ones.

Half-timbered row house terrain.  Est. circa 2009.

Half-timbered row house terrain. Est. circa 2009.

Half-timbered row house terrain.  Est. circa 2009.

Half-timbered row house terrain. Est. circa 2009.

First we have part of my ambitious town project.  I intended to start small (with a square) for use in Confrontation (and other 28mm games).  I did detailed work and actually built each building individually to reinforce stability and provide the slightly off-kilter appearance these buildings show in European towns and cities.  At the far right the building with no timber shows where the project stalled.  The edging was a bit tedious but mostly other projects (and life responsibilities) took over.  I was reminded of my goal when I played a game of 40K recently and used this to fill some table space.  Goal for this year: finish this building strip and complete at least one more row.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.

Next we have the start of some dwarven ruins for use in Lord of the Rings.  I actually have a few pieces I intended to use as scatter terrain.  What was completed was finished in one weekend.  The intent was to build terrain for the battle of Balin’s Tomb from the main rules.  I have a Fellowship and I figured this would give me a reason to finish painting them.  After the initial flurry of activity, little else was done.  This particular piece needs paper cladding and work to define the raw stone (Styrofoam) vs worked stone (foamcore).  Also completed were a small plaza and raw stone building with stairs to a higher level.  Goal for this year: finish the 3 pieces started and three more scatter terrain pieces.

Devil Dog half-finished project receiving a new powertrain.

Devil Dog half-finished project receiving a new powertrain.

The next unfinished project is much more recent, in fact it was one of my stated goals to finish in 2014.  Instead of using the light tank, I will instead turn the two hulls (and add another) into a wheeled IFV to proxy as a Razorback for my 40K Space Marines.  As they will be filling out an existing army, I see them as more likely to be finished.  Goal for this year: build 3 Razorback scratch-builds.

Now I am sure some of the more regular readers will notice that I have a long gap in posts, and nothing here mentions the HOTT Orcs.  Well, as I mentioned in my last post, the rust wash was a bit over-done on the orcs.  It pretty much crushed my morale on these figs as the rust wash was the last part and now I am not sure if I can repair it or I need to go the route of stripping.  Here are a few pics.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai count as spears in my Orc HOTT Army.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai count as spears in my Orc HOTT Army.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai count as spears in my Orc HOTT Army.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai count as spears in my Orc HOTT Army.

The second picture was done with a shadow to show just how rusted out they are.  I have seen metal that rusted, but normally they were pieces of heavy machinery left in a field for decades.  I have had a few opinions and universally they are not good.  But, despite being discouraging, I will pick up the brush and finish this project.  Goal for this year: finish my orc HOTT army.

Now this isn’t to say I expect all my time to go onto these projects, and this year I will expect some other random things to get thrown at me.  I will be doing more Hirst Arts dungeon pieces.  To tie into that, by summer (hopefully) I will have my Bones 2 Kickstarter miniatures…roughly 100 figs to populate my dungeon and provide more painting fodder for my voracious 5 year-old daughter who is taking up the brush.  I have also been taking my time to finish a few choice models, a novelty for me.  I also am thinking about how to do a better modern/sci-fi city scape and I might go to Blade Runner, the new Total Recall, and 3rd World Slums for ideas to do some terrain for skirmish.

Of course that also brings up the small collection of a small strike team I bought and haven’t assembled/painted…

But all of this is not to say that last year was a wasted year.  In the span of this year I managed to build (and paint) a small dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Pathfinder Goblin.  Hassle Free Miniatures Hayden.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Pathfinder Goblin. Hassle Free Miniatures Hayden.

I also completed a scratch-built dreadnought in a relatively short timespan…well short considering my work responsibilities and trips during that time.

Dread_update53

And let’s not forget the completion of not 1…

General and his red tunic

General and his red tunic

Scorpion Artillery.  Miniatures by Warlord Games

Scorpion Artillery. Miniatures by Warlord Games

Why so tense, the Optio isn't around...

Why so tense, the Optio isn’t around…

Not two…

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Sparabara.  Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

Sparabara. Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

All miniatures Wargames Factory.  6 units of a Persian Army.

All miniatures Wargames Factory. 6 units of a Persian Army.

But three DBA armies.

A closer look at the hordes.  All plastic models Wargames Factory, metal miniatures by Warlord Games.

A closer look at the hordes. All plastic models Wargames Factory, metal miniatures by Warlord Games.

Chariot from the obverse.  The halters and yoke are detailed and cry-out for the attachment of reins.

Chariot from the obverse. The halters and yoke are detailed and cry-out for the attachment of reins.

Wargames Factory Celt Cavalry.  In different armies these can count as either cavalry or light horse.  There will be one more unit of cavalry that will be a general option.

Wargames Factory Celt Cavalry. In different armies these can count as either cavalry or light horse. There will be one more unit of cavalry that will be a general option.

Ok, maybe two and a half since the Brittons/Gauls/Galatians aren’t painted.

I also painted quite a few single miniatures.

Faceless Horror by Reaper Miniatures

Faceless Horror by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Pathfinder Goblin

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Pathfinder Goblin

Reaper Miniatures Harvey Brimstone, Astrid Female Bard, Mummy Warriors and Mummy Captain

Reaper Miniatures Harvey Brimstone, Astrid Female Bard, Mummy Warriors and Mummy Captain

Marius Burrowell and Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Marius Burrowell and Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token.  Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures.  Games Workshop Dunedain from the Lord of the Rings.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token. Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures. Games Workshop Dunedain from the Lord of the Rings.

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Astrid Female Bard by Reaper Miniatures

Astrid Female Bard by Reaper Miniatures

Barrow Warden Mystic by Reaper Miniatures

Barrow Warden Mystic by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

A longer post than usual for me, and quite heavy on pictures (even if most are recycled).  I encourage all the folks out there to set goals but be flexible.  There is a lot of time and effort that goes into this hobby, and the minute it starts feeling like work is the time it stops being fun.  It is all that wandering from project to project that defines the enjoyment of the hobby.  Having the freedom to walk away from a project that has lost its grip on your attention is part of what keeps it enjoyable.  The ability to pick up a new one also keeps those embers smoldering.  If nothing else, I hope this post inspires you to revisit what attracted you to this hobby in the first place.  Hmmm, seems a bit like a Hallmark card there.

Hordes in HOTT Redux

I had a couple of spare hours so I managed to hammer out the last of the 4 hordes for my HOTT orc army.  I have also started the spearmen, but none to show yet.  I am not 100% with them as my rust wash is a bit…well rusty.  The orcs are dressed in red now.

Anyhow, without further ado here is my latest work.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

I have developed a name for my tribe, the Yellow Dragon Tribe.  The dragon won’t be yellow, but the general will be painted yellow.  Here is a close-up of the shield devices I have done up, including adding one to one of the previously finished hordes.

Close-up of shield.

Close-up of shield.

Close-up of shield.

Close-up of shield.

Close-up of shield.

Close-up of shield.

And all together they make an impressive sight.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

I am happy with how the hordes turned out as they will be a pivotal point in the army.  They will form not only the bulk of the army but will gladly die in droves when required.  Speaking of required deaths, the contrast between the Romans shows the mockery they seem to make of the disciplined and inspiring soldiers.  Obligatory action shot.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde. Warlord Games Romans.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde. Warlord Games Romans.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde. Warlord Games Romans.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde. Warlord Games Romans.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde. Warlord Games Romans.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde. Warlord Games Romans.

Next on the block is the camp (actually a supply dump) and the spearmen.  Hopefully something inspired you today.

Hordes in HOTT

With the busy holidays I have had very little time for working on miniatures.  I have to say that reading some other blogs and seeing how prolific others are during Christmas makes me just a bit jealous.  I guess it is the price I pay that my workspace doubles as a spare bedroom.

Anyhow, I managed to slap a bit of paint on the first of the miniatures in my orc army for HOTT.

Horde2

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Horde1

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

 

As discussed in the earlier post, these miniatures are Games Workshop Lord of the Rings miniatures.  I went with a very muted and limited palette with them, sticking with the stereo-typical black and red.  The metals received a very heavy rust wash.

I opted to try something different than the usual green-skinned orcs and I think my results are very well done.  I went with a light grey skin and then did a dark green wash.  Yellow eyes and technicolour hair completes the look.  Yes, I went with purple and blue hair for the orcs.  It is the downside of having my 5 year old daughter painted her miniatures beside me.  I start getting ideas from her.

Horde2_back

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Horde1_back

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

 

As the pictures from the back show the colours are obvious but not overtly so.  I actually took these pictures on a green background so the colour variations were obvious: they are such subtle shifts and overall drabness they just look like a grey and red mass on even a white background.

Horde_vs_Horde

HOTT/DBA Hordes battling. Orcs – Games Workshop Lord of the Rings. Achaemenid Persians – Wargames Factory

 

Of course the best action shot I could think to do was horde vs horde.  At this point my camera battery died so I wasn’t able to show the difference between the orcs and Romans as I think they are a sharp contrast.

These painted up very quickly and easily and I am sure the next two units will be done in an afternoon.

Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to enjoy your holidays from work.

Veni Vidi Vici

After much procrastination, my Early Imperial Romans are finished.

Ok, that is a bold faced lie.  I still have a cavalry unit unassembled and another I gave up on painting for right now.  Between the touch-ups where I made more mistakes and the damage painting horse hide does to my brushes I figured I would stop for now.

Without further ado:

EIR Army

EIR Army

Legionaries and Psiloi

Legionaries and Psiloi

Cavalry and Auxilia

Cavalry and Auxilia

Artillery and Auxilia

Artillery and Auxilia

A contentious issue in some circles is the colour of the Roman tunic.

Legionaries (DBA blade)

Legionaries (DBA blade) miniatures by Warlord Games

General and his red tunic

General and his red tunic

Angled shot showing the white tunics

Angled shot showing the white tunics

I opted for an un-dyed tunic (a dirty white) for the soldiers.  The Centurion/General wears a red tunic as historians made reference to the general laying out his red tunic to announce girding for war.

The shields are plain right now.  I have enough waterslide transfers to do the entire army but I have horrible luck with them.  When I am very relaxed and willing to take my time I will probably add the transfers on.

 

The Auxilia are not to be overlooked however:

Auxilia.  Miniatures by Warlord Games

Auxilia. Miniatures by Warlord Games

Auxilia.  Miniatures by Warlord Games

Auxilia. Miniatures by Warlord Games

As with the Legionaries I opted for un-dyed tunics except for a single officer for each colour who has an appropriate tunic.  As Auxilia were equipped with surplus armour and arms it was believed by some historians that their equipment was diverse.  I accounted for this with the two coloured shields – colours that were believed to be used by early Legions (prior to the Scutum – square shield).  These are the metal Auxilia produced by Warlord Games.

Cavalry (option as General).  Miniatures by Warlord Games

Cavalry (option as General). Miniatures by Warlord Games

Cavalry (option as General).  Miniatures by Warlord Games

Cavalry (option as General). Miniatures by Warlord Games

This unit will be my cavalry General option.  However, as every EIR army requires at least one cavalry, they will function in that role.  I went for the composite armour helmets based on the artifacts I have seen of these styles.  The bronze/steel combo was the norm apparently.

Psiloi.  Miniatures by Warlord Games

Psiloi. Miniatures by Warlord Games

For the Psiloi I went with the same un-dyed technique for most of their cloth.  I added in a few different coloured garments and edging to make them stand out.  These were not actually my intended psiloi.  An error with my order resulted in me getting these models.  As they could reflect psiloi for the Romans they will do for now.  Down the road they may be replaced and these may move to another army.  I also opted for 3 models per based to use them as Shooters in HotT.

Scorpion Artillery.  Miniatures by Warlord Games

Scorpion Artillery. Miniatures by Warlord Games

Scorpion Artillery.  Miniatures by Warlord Games

Scorpion Artillery. Miniatures by Warlord Games

This plastic Scorpion came with the Legionaries box I picked up.  A fantastic deal it can be assembled in many stages of loading.  I opted for a firing position with defensive stores and scattered weapons reflecting a quick set-up.  Despite being of questionable value in many games, it looks so sharp I will field it in most games anyways.

Why so tense, the Optio isn't around...

Why so tense, the Optio isn’t around…

Why so tense, the Optio isn't around...

Why so tense, the Optio isn’t around…

For a DBA camp/HotT stronghold I went a much different route than most people have.  I built this diorama depicting the camp sentries not really caring.  The world’s most powerful war-machine is between them and the enemy.  Plus this armour is heavy and hot.  The equipment on the barrels implies an AWOL soldier while the positioning of the two soldiers was to represent the dialogue between two bored soldiers.

Obligatory action shot

Obligatory action shot

 

The entire army is composed of Warlord Games miniatures.  I am very impressed with the quality and detail.  The Legionary box I bought also includes a plastic Scorpion, quite the steal for a DBA army.  The only flaw I find is the scale of the figures.  While marketed as 28mm, these Romans are closer to 25mm.  The overall shorter height isn’t a big concern for me but for future purchases of Romans I am pretty much stuck with their line to ensure scales match.

So this marks another one of my goals for the year marked off.  The next post will likely feature some Celts in unpainted glory as they are en route to me now through mail order.

Hopefully something inspired you today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOTT Update

Something I like about HOTT is the complete lack of canon fluff and specific army lists.

Hero Clix models seem to be a hit and miss with some sets, and the Hobbit Set looks like an absolute miss. I say this because they had booster packs on sale in a dollar store, for a dollar.  This is good news for me as whatever I got (even if out of scale a bit) can give me units for HOTT.

You in front, quit being blurry

You in front, quit being blurry

I picked up 8 packs hoping to get enough figs to start a new HOTT army. I got these fine fellows above plus a Gandalf and two Bilbo Baggins. While they may become a model later, for now I just kept with these orcses.

A little green-stuff and bases...wow, it's like a whole army appeared.

A little green-stuff and bases…wow, it’s like a whole army appeared.

Ok, so they just started the army. I did make use of some Games Workshop Lord of the Rings orcs I had lying around. And the Melnibonian dragon who has never been painted, well he has a home now.  He will still stay hidden from view until painted.  And of course he can still go to war with his home nation if I ever want them to.

DSCF6167

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I have made the pikes as spear units, the orcs as hordes, and a few giant cheetahs have become a beast unit.

After getting side-tracked by my Romans (yes they are actually getting painted) the wife and I had a game of HOTT the other day.

She played her fantasy army, and I brought this army out.

To be fair, I was expecting this army to be junk.  It consists of:

1x (anti-)hero (General), 1x shooter, 1x dragon, 1x beast, 4x spears, and 4x hordes = 24 points.

So not a lot with a whole bunch of hitting power.  Or so I thought.  In HOTT hordes are terrible.  Unit stats are defined based on various opponents and included wet-paper bag so hordes have a comparable opponent.  Ok, that might be a bit of an exaggeration.  The hordes do survive better than many units and they do provide bonuses to adjacent combats so the weight of numbers comes to play.  It is rare that a horde will kill many units.

The best fighter is the dragon, but he only comes rarely.  As it requires sacrificing an entire turn of movement, I figured it would be a choice of bringing back hordes or bringing in the dragon when he showed up.

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The armies mid game as the fantasy army crosses the river.

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Close-up of the warbands and fantasy army flanks

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The beast general not quite crossing with the hero general and a beast waiting to counter-attack

DSCF6173

An apparently tough nut to crack: spears in rank with hordes on flanks.

As the game played out it became a bit one sided.  With the river slowing the advance, my beast was able to delay a crossing due to his zone of control and the two horde battalions flanked the woods.  The big take-away is that even without the dragon this army packs A LOT of punch.  The single shooter and beast can hold the flanks of the army or difficult ground and the hordes provide a wide solid formation that is tough to crack.

By the time the dragon arrived, the best place was on the other side of the river where he drew away the paladin (mmm, tasty unicorn) but was driven away by the white lion.  The minor skirmishes resulted in a loss of one horde, my beasts, and the dragon (coward).  In contrast, the fantasy army lost two cavalry, a paladin, and two warbands.

At the end of the day the evil orc hordes are a very tough infantry heavy army.  A challenge for sure, but not invincible.  I see the biggest weakness will be the loss of momentum as hordes start dying.  The fact that the general is one of the few good units will mean he will be in the thick of fighting and very easily targeted.

All in all, a good night.  Hopefully something inspired you today.  Up next will very likely be Early Imperial Romans (GASP).  As this roughly blocked out set of troops shows, the Romans are coming along nicely.

Work in progress sneak peak.

Work in progress sneak peak.

2013 in Review

I know I am a bit late in putting my New Years post up.

Normally, most of these posts end up reading as a review of the past year, but I decided to go a different way.

2013 in Review

2014 and Future Plans

When I first set this blog up it was to motivate me on projects, something I was reminded of as I was moving my 6mm guys around recently and I realized there is still work to be done.

That being said, below are the bare minimum goals I am setting for 2014:

  • Finish the 6mm FUBAR armies I have started (that means a few additional units for each of the 3 armies)

Echelon target  Stray Forces

  • Start and finish my 4th FUBAR army – the Ramiro Corporation

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  • Paint at least one HOTT/DBA army (Early Imperial Romans, Achaemenid Persians or some mystery army TBD)

DSCF6056

  • Finish the two Devil Dog tanks (some projects have a habit of sitting half completed)

DSCF6123

  • Paint at least 500 points of Confrontation models

Not lofty goals and I am certain other projects will come up as well that will be done.  I have realized that my new job keeps me very busy for short spurts and leaves me lots of spare time in between.  Unfortunately it looks like one of those busy spots will be during May Day 2014 so I will have to miss that.  Sadly that means my plans for a new FUBAR game at 28mm will be side-lined for the time being.

Hopefully this inspires somebody to create their own hobby to do list or, God forbid, a chores or self-improvement list.

HOTT night in a small town

Last night was a quiet night and the wife wanted to play a miniature game, something we haven’t done in a while.  HOTT is the fastest to set-up with the fewest rules to try to remember so it was a natural choice.

She played her fantasy army while I decided to bring the Early Achaemenid Persians for a spin.  Now, with the conversion to HOTT, the Hordes units count as less points and there are no psiloi.  I know many folks use their psiloi as Shooters in HOTT, but I already had 4 units and I figured that was enough.  So I opted to bring a psiloi as a lurker and steal the hydra to support.  The fantasy army fielded the gorgon model so had a bit of ranged support.

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About mid game the Persians moved to try holding the river.  Not pictured: the Sparabara (bow) that got turned to stone by the Gorgon (also not pictured because stone cameras don’t work so well).

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After a few clashes in the woods, a unit of Sparabara fell and the woodland spirits (warbands) were in disarray.  The horde and warband stood poised to halt the advance with a rider  and sparabara nearby to support.

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A sadly poor quality picture.  The White Lion general (beast) hammers into the warband with woodland spirits charging the horde.  The White Lion reared up to smite the warband…

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To be handily cut-down.  The woodland creatures lashed out at the hordes…

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Who backed up out of harms way.  In the background the lone psiloi (lurker) stood his ground for several turns against the woodland spirit.  Down a flyer and the general, it was only a matter of time before the fantasy army recognized the inevitable…

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…and rallies for several turns cutting down all the Sparabara and forcing the general to support the infantry flank.  By incredibly high dice rolls the handicap of no general seemed not the phase the fantasy army, reminiscent of a certain other story with a dead white lion.

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The general crashed into the woodland spirits and fought several intense rounds of melee…to no effect.  A wandering group of peasants (my horde returned after finally being cut-down) actually made it to the fray.

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Summarizing the battle to this point, the unicorn (paladin) fought off a hydra (behemoth) with a flanking spearman.  Emboldened by this success, the unicorn charged the hydra, cut-off another head, and realized why young Perseus carried a torch.  In short, the unicorn died after fighting the hydra to a stand-still for 4 turns.

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The death of the unicorn was no sure victory.  After the Sparabara were felled, it was only a 8-8 (tied) game.  The hydra swarmed over the riders who had been assaulted by psiloi in the woods (to no effect except camping in the trees for a couple turns).  While the general rallied the cavalry and the horde for a desperate last stand…

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Armed with torch and oil the woodland spirits were routed as the hydra realized horses taste almost as good as the riders.  In the top of the picture is barely visible the warband fighting the woodland spirits.  After nearly 12 combats, these two units learned to dance, over-come their differences and went on a book tour.  It is the only logical conclusion: neither was able to decisively defeat the other and even once faced death when a recoil would have resulted in contact with another combat.

All in all I think the Persians may have earned a bump up in priority.  The disjointed dog’s breakfast of an army provided a different approach.

While the lack of duplicate warbands and spear units may hamper the bonuses, it forces a wider formation.  The overall effect is an army expecting the initial defeats that will disorganize the enemy and allow a concerted effort to win.  Had the general-less army continued the streak of unnaturally high command pips I doubt I could have forced the win I did.

The wife did say she would like to see some more armies for some variety so I mentioned the celts (Brittons, Gauls, or Galatians) I was looking to buy, the Greeks, and an undead army I had in mind.  After seeing hordes in action I think it may be a viable army.  Not simply hordes, it will include (anti)clerics, lurkers, and a flyer.  I may include some warbands too, not 100% decided yet.

Overall, a good fun game enjoyed by all.  I hope something inspired somebody.