We love all sorts of games at Muse! Our big focus is on miniatures gaming, but we enjoy cardgames, boardgames, video games…all sorts of games in fact! So do our content producers, we have some fantastic articles, podcasts and videos which will show you how these games are played, and maybe give you some ideas for what to pick up next!

It’s the Humidity: A Chronicle on Being Forged in the Fires of the Midwestern Meta

Posted by on 6:13 pm

Recently, I was asked to chronicle our playgroup’s attempts to ascend the ladder of greatness and rest in the halls of Valhalla aside the great Metas of the Midwest. I decided to embrace the opportunity as it presented the chance to really think about what a Meta needs to be considered a “top-tier” playgroup. As such, this blog/article/series/whatever will be an attempt to record the litany of progress that we here in Springfield, IL are so desperately trying to make.  But, before I really dig into what we are currently doing, it is important to know where we are coming from. So I present to you the humble history of our meta and what brought us to where we are today: The Springfield meta (if you could really call it that) originally consisted of 4 or 5 old friends who were just looking for a fun game to play together in a casual environment. Tournaments were virtually non-existent and light, casual affairs wherein players would simply play their favorite models against each other and have a nice, relaxed time.  Springfield was a place steeped in the hobby aspect but lacked a reckoning for the competitive side, a place where the ideas of game theory, time management, and caster match-up evaluations were far from consideration. In the Fall of 2008, everything changed. Springfield was hit with a surge of fresh, young faces, eager to learn and even more eager for blood. We were a group that wanted to analyze and theorize. We were a group looking for competition and looking to Warmachine/Hordes to provide it. We saturated the meta with a lust for challenge and those who were not up to the trials and tribulations of competition slowly faded away from the game. We wanted to travel. We practiced with the best lists we could come up with, looking to Diecon 2009 as our battlefield on which to test our mettle. June approached and we girded ourselves for glorious victory. We lost. A lot. We saw ‘Casters we had only read, we faced combo’s we had never considered, and we found that we were simply not prepared. We walked away from Diecon humbled and with a newfound respect for what can be accomplished within this game. We went home to lick our wounds and spread the tale of the power of the St. Louis-ian meta. Fast forward to 2010. The advent of the Mark II rule set, unsurprisingly, brought us another surge of new players. This time, the existing meta was ready for a new era of competition and we welcomed this new group of competitively-minded players with open arms. Our meta shifted yet again, but instead of the change being a culling, it was a fortification of our existing hunger for fierce opposition. We set our sites on Diecon again; convinced that with our newly bolstered ranks we would have a magnificent showing. Remember Diecon 2009? Yeah, that again. We dried our tears and moped home once more. It was at Diecon 2010 that we were exposed to the Madison, the Iowan, and the Detroit Metas and we were once again blown away. Here were three other groups of players aside from the STL crew that were intensely good at the game.  We left Diecon that year not feeling...

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Playing the Best – Mayhem Lists and STORMWALL!

Posted by on 3:23 pm

  Welcome back for another article, This one is going to be pretty dry, but there is a lot of information here. I’m going to go through all the choices in my lists, why they were chosen and what I think would be reasonable replacements in general, or in a different meta. This one got delayed a little. Entirely the fault of the Dread Lord Diablo and his minions. Generated using Forward Kommander: These are the lists I played at the Mayhem cup. Major Victoria Haley (*5pts) * Thorn (8pts) * Centurion (9pts) * Squire (2pts) Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts) * Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts) Greygore Boomhowler & Co. (Boomhowler and 9 Grunts) (9pts) Horgenhold Forge Guard (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts) Anastasia di Bray (2pts) Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2pts) Journeyman Warcaster (3pts) Ragman (2pts) Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord (2pts) [Reinforcements – Stormclad] Lieutenant Allister Caine (*6pts) * Ol’ Rowdy (9pts) * Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2pts) Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts) * Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer (2pts) * * Hunter (6pts) * * Hunter (6pts) Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team (4pts) Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (Cylena and 9 Grunts) (10pts) Lady Aiyana & Master Holt (4pts) Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (3pts) Journeyman Warcaster (3pts) Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1pts) [Reinforcements – Full Precursors+UA] Casters: I chose Major Victoria Haley (epic), and Lt. Allister Caine (prime). I believe that you need at least one list to be very focused on a specific type of scenario. Take and Hold. Nearly every scenario has a zone, and most aren’t that difficult to score currently. Being able to clear zones is very important, as is being able to get to them, and get a strong footing early in the game. This is most easily accomplished with a “jam” style list. involving a lot of troops that are capable of fighting it out. There are two ways to “Jam”, Get there first and overwhelm or put immovable objects in the zone giving your army a chance to work their way into position. I choose Haley as my support caster in a Jam list. She simply has the tools :D. Deceleration – it makes your stuff get there, what more could you want from a spell? Dead Eye – This is just an awesome spell. Lets your Gun Mages easily shoot down those pesky high defense models :D. Telekenesis – What doesn’t this spell do? it’s a to-hit buff, frees up your models, prevents charges, clears charge lanes, increases threat range. Time bomb – once you have jammed you infantry into a zone, time bomb their models and prevent them from charging and often times getting anything done at all! Also you can just use it to kill stuff 😀 it’s a pow 14 AoE 4. The lists – Haley Warjacks. Centurion [Bonded] – Centurion has one major problem, Speed. Haley gives him all the tools he could ever want. While being able to be greedy with her focus. PS 18 spear, reach, and ragman makes him into a heavy wrecking machine. His Polarity shield action also allows him to just edge into a zone and ignore enemy infantry while meagerly flail at his scratch resistant armor. This...

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And Now For Something Completely Different -FoW

Posted by on 10:48 pm

             Hey guys, Chris “The Blue Baron” here with a new series of articles, And Now For Something Completely Different. My goal here is to expose the community to different types of wargames. For my first post, I’m going to start with Flames of War as it is fairly popular and I know the rules well. Flames of War as a 15mm WW2 war game that has recently switched over to 3rd edition, so now is a good time to try it out, The  game is split into distinct periods, Early war, Mid War, and Late war. Every army book will list which time period it is for.              Armies are made up from briefings which are found in source books detailing specific campaigns. New to 3rd edition is a generic forces book bundled in with the rules book and a hobby books.  Some of the books have carried over from the edition change but are still usable. Battlefront will put out soft cover books detailing specific battles theaters from a campaign. Eventually, they may or may not consolidate them into a handy hard cover book complete with a few more lists.             At its heart all armies are made up of a HQ and two “troop” options. For example, a tank company will have a command tank and at least 2 platoons of tanks. From that point you can fill out other options based on your briefing. Using the tank company example, you could take some mechanized infantry to support the tanks, maybe some more tanks, tank hunters, and artillery.             Flames of War is more or less a 1:1 scale. As in if you have 5 tanks, they represent 5 tanks. A platoon if infantry is the size of an actual platoon. Infantry platoons are made up of a number of medium bases with a small base as a command team. An infantry base will contain four or five figures. The command base will have 3 figures. Things like anti tank guns are also on medium bases and include the gun and its crew. Larger artillery pieces are on the large sized base. Tanks and most vehicles do not use bases.             The game itself uses multiple D6 and tape measures. The only “from Battlefront” thing you really need to play the game is the artillery template. Every unit has 2 types of ratings, skill and motivation. Skill is either conscript, trained, or veteran. This determines how difficult you are to hit from shooting, how well you navigate dangerous terrain, and how well you clear mine fields.  Motivation is reluctant, confident, or fearless. These are used for morale checks, like recovering from being pinned or sticking around after you take casualties. Movement is based on a chart, regular infantry move 6”, large artillery move 4”, most tanks move 12”, and slow tanks like a tiger move 8”. Terrain modifies how far you can move for gun teams and vehicles.              Shooting works a little bit different from most games. When a unit shoots, you use your targets skill for determining what number you need to hit. The reasoning behind that is if you’re shooting at farmer Jim, he’s not going to know he should be hiding behind a wall and zigzagging compared to Commando Joe. The score...

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Circle Unit Review

Posted by on 1:00 am

Welcome back, dear readers! Today’s article covers the ins and outs of all the different options Circle players have at their disposal. I’ll examine each unit as it sits in a vacuum, as well as in comparison to other options, and also in relation to which casters best support, or are supported by, each unit. Unlike Circle’s beasts, in which most any heavy has a definite place, and can more or less hold their own, many of Circle’s units have specific uses. And some of them, frankly, are vastly outdone by many other, similar units. As always, questions, concerns, and general condescension are welcome in the comments. Druid Stoneward and Woldstalkers – The stoneward and woldstalkers are a phenomenal ranged unit that can excel at taking out either hard to hit infantry, or damaging higher armor targets. The key to using them lies in the orders zephyr and concentrated fire. Zephyr allows the woldstalkers to move 3″ and still gain the aiming bonus, or back up 3″ and shoot things that had ran to engage them. It’s great for getting that extra ranged threat too, allowing the unit to move 9″ and then shoot, giving them a very long ranged threat. Their power is high enough that heavy infantry will be reliably threatened, and with concentrated fire, they can even increase it by +1 for each hit that a prior member scores. Often times, the woldstalkers (or woldshrimp, as many prefer to call them) can take out systems on light and heavy beasts or jacks without too much effort. Their point cost is equivalent to that of bloodtrackers + Nuala, and so many people have a hard time deciding between the two. With character restrictions more prevalent now, it’s often include 2 units in one list, and bloodtrackers + nuala in the other. Also, their long ranged threat is superb coming on the side in reinforcement scenarios. I’ve come to rely on the woldstalkers more and more often now, even replacing the bloodtrackers in several of my lists with them. They are a requirement for Baldur 1’s tier list, which is surprisingly amazing for a tier list, and as such are excellent with him. He can provide protection from blast damage, which could pose a problem to them. Other than Baldur 1, Kromac’s warpath loves them, Krueger 2 can help protect them (and Krueger 1, but many prefer the option of bloodtrackers + lightning tendrils with him). They offer excellent support in any reinforcement option, and really don’t have any casters in Circle that they couldn’t perform in. Recommendation: 9/10. Druids of Orboros – Druids are a hot topic among Circle players. They offer a wide variety of tools that can fit many different situations. They can artificially extend the range of your beasts with the UA, which allows them to force inside his command range. They further help matters by having a magical push / pull attack. It doesn’t do much damage, but it has crit knockdown, and several of them combined can drag a slow beast that ran from the middle of the table to your AD line. Further, they can heal your beasts d3 if injured, and can pop magic smoke, that not only gives them camouflage, but also makes non-reach melee attacks more difficult to...

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Tournament Preparation

Posted by on 5:03 pm

Most players feel intimidated when they consider attending their first tournament.  Other players have been to some events, but feel ready to elevate their play to the next level.  Even players that have dominated events in the past have areas where their gameplay can have improvement.  By spending time consciously preparing to attend an event, you can increase your confidence and improve your performance.  I have recently been spending a lot of time practicing for the Lock and Load masters event.  In this article I will share some of the preparation strategies I use while I am getting ready for a tournament. The first step in preparation is making sure that you understand the format of the event.  Tournament organizers use a wide range of formats to keep players interested in events.  If you prepare a Steamroller list to attend a Mangled Metal event, you will have a bad time.  Likewise, if you are unaware that Steamroller 2012 has been updated to include character restrictions and reinforcements, you are likely to construct illegal lists.  Thoroughly comprehending the format of the event is an important step towards creating an optimized list. I cannot stress this enough, read and know the rules of the format (i.e. the Steamroller document). The next step in preparation is deciding on your lists.  Most events use a two list format, so this article will concentrate on that style of event.  In a two list format you will usually have a primary list and a secondary list.  The primary list can be a favorite caster, one that you feel you play well, or one that you believe many people will have a hard time dealing with.  However, it is almost impossible to create a list that does not have at least some bad match ups.  You should try to identify those bad match ups and then craft your secondary list to deal with those bad match ups. When constructing your primary list, it is helpful to have part of your list centered on forcing an issue for your opponent.  If your opponent is unable to deal with that issue, then the game is slanted heavily in your favor.  Here are some examples:  high defense (Kayazy with Iron Flesh), high armor (Wolds with Baldur 2), strong scenario play (Haley 2 or Deneghra 2), jamming (Constance Blaize), or strong assassination (Lylyth 2).  It is also good to create strong synergistic combos within your list.  For example, Gorman and Anastasia di Bray combined with Haley 2 can make your opponent feel like he is missing multiple rounds instead of just one from the feat. Once your primary list is finalized, it is time to analyze the weaknesses of the list.  There are four areas that you need to review on your list:  ability to answer issues presented by your opponent, ability to contest scenarios, performance in your meta, and bad match ups. While you are trying to force an issue with your opponent, he will be trying to do the same with you.  Go through each of the common issues that your list is likely to face and analyze how well it can deal with these issues.  Your list will not be able to deal with all of the issues, but if it cannot deal with many of the...

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Why S&P Feels Like S&M

Posted by on 1:29 pm

This is a foundation/mid level article on Signs and Portents.  The gentlemen on MoM posed a question on Podcast 11.  Here’s my stab a response. Does Signs and Portents affect your chance to roll a critical attack? The short answer is yes.  I’ll walk you through the intuition behind it and then give you a few pretty pictures with math to show you that I’m not a liar. Critical effects occur when dice outcomes on two or more dice are the same AND the sum of the dice is sufficient to hit the target.  In an earlier article, I talked a bit about intersection probabilities and that’s what we’re looking at here.  What affects the odds of rolling doubles?  What affects the odds of rolling sufficient to hit a target?  Critical effects are impacted by either scenario because they are at the intersection of the two components. Signs and Portents increases your average result on two dice from 7 to 8.46.  As a result, your intuition should be that it increase your critical effects through the “increased likelihood to hit” pathway. If you apply brut force to the math and write out every possible combination of dice outcome you’ll see that more high pairings occurs as a result of the spell ([5,5] and [6,6]).  You approximately double the likelihood of rolling boxcars when rolling 3d6 minus the lowest versus straight 2d6.  Fun. PerfectCircle from the Focus & Fury boards put together a great graphic showing all the iterations of dice and attack rolls you might care about.  It’s frankly a lot prettier than the one I put together so I’m going to use it.  PerfectCircle, you are a both a gentleman and a scholar.  Thank you.  Here it is; The more you know… (hum the little diddy in your head when you read this last...

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Mad Science

Posted by on 11:40 am

Hey all, its me again, coming at you with another wacky list.  This time I will be focusing upon the Minion forces and per a request that crazy doctor, Arkadius.  But to bring it to picture I will also be showing a list that is yet another theme list.  But thankfully for the doctor most of what you would run with him is already allowed to be taken within his theme requirements so there wasn’t much more that was truly needed in the list.  I personally feel his theme list is stronger than what the normal Thornfall list would be allowed to take.  So lets first take a look at the requirements and benefits then lets take a look at the list: Tier 1 Requirement:  Nothing Tier 1 Benefit:  1pt reduction upon War Hog warbeasts Tier 2 Requirement:  1 unit of Bone Grinders Tier 2 Benefit:  Redeploy 1 model/unit Tier 3 Requirement:  1 unit of Farrow Brigands Tier 3 Benefit:  +1 to go first Tier 4 Requirement:  3 War Hogs Tier 4 Benefit:  +2SPD to warbeasts in the army turn 1   Dr. Arkadius +6 Gun Boar 5 War Hog (1/6) 1 War Hog (1) 7 War Hog (1) 7 Targ 2 Rorsh 9 4 Bone Grinders 10 Farrow Brigands 8 Razorback Crew 3 Slaughterhousers 6 Total:  50/59   So lets take a look at the doctor himself.  He has an average stat line for when it comes down to comparing him to another per spellcasting warlock, though his ARM and life boxes are below average.  Even though he has a low MAT he does have some cool abilities that though he shouldn’t really be in melee but if you are able to protect him then the abilities are well worth it.  If he hits with his magical melee needle then he does not do a damage roll but immediately inflicts 1 point of damage to a living model, keep in mind only living models but any type of living model.  The first ability his weapon has is that it makes the damaged model stationary.  The second effect is that the model damaged can not cast spells, upkeep, or use animi.  The last ability will not work on warcaster/warlocks but if you damage the model then you get to take control of the model and move it and make an attack with it.  Keep in mind all these abilities only work if you damage the model and it has to be living.  But it is pretty nice to take over a warbeast damaged by his melee weapon and move it and make an attack.  One of his built in abilities is Maltreatment, this is where he can take a fury point off of a warbeast and put it on himself.  This is great to run a beast to max fury and then remove one from it to allow yourself to have another transfer target.  Keep in mind this will do anywhere from 1 to 3 damage to the warbeast that you do this to and you can only do it once per turn.  Also this ability is something you have to be careful with as most of the eligible models in the list can also damage their selves to get benefits, but I will go into what that is...

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MoM’s Podcast # 12

Posted by on 2:59 am

MoM’s Podcast #12 Topics: 2:45 – New Player Section (Read your cards/rules) 17:05 – News and Announcements 42:05 – Spoilers (Vyros2 feat) 55:46 – Steamroller Segment (Meta Benders to Unravel – Lylyth2) 1:48:35 – Muse on Mail 2:13:45 – Mayhem Cup Wrap Up 3:18:45 – Dojo Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 3:41:27 — 202.7MB)Subscribe: Android |...

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Aging the new stuff!

Posted by on 6:15 pm

Hello all! I am a professional painter based out of the Kansas City area, and after painting for so many years, I realized that it was time to start passing on the knowledge to a more general audience than who just bothers me for help when they see me. And to be totally honest, when I get specific questions, the most common one is how to create a weathered look on miniatures. You know, rust, tarnish, scrapes and such. You want to make your stuff look like it’s been through hell and won the battle, right? So let me tell you how I do it when I’m trying to make it happen. It’s certainly not the only way, but I feel like it’s the easiest ways for just about anyone to do. And it involves making your own washes. Yes, it sounds complicated – is it really? No…and I’ll prove it, dang it! Now here’s what you need…. A bowl or an empty paint bottle to mix in. The paint colors I will list below or something similar. FloAid – a paint thinner you can get at just about any hobby store – Reaper makes a good one! Just ask someone that works there to help you find it on their paint racks. Rubbing Alcohol To make a tarnish wash : I use Vallejo Game color as a line in this. 1 drop of Magic Blue 2 drops of Goblin Green 1 drop of Pure White 15 drops of FloAid 15 drops of water. 3 drops of rubbing alcohol If it’s in a bowl, mix it up with a paint brush. If it’s in an empty paint dropper, cap it and shake it up! It’s then ready to use! Just put a little out in a paint well, and apply sparingly around the joints. Should end up looking something like the pictures below! Now, the rust wash! 1 drop of Beasty Brown 5 drop of water 10 drops of FloAid 1 drop of rubbing alcohol And….GO! Mix away! And there you go! Quick and easy ways to make a wash. Just apply over all the areas you want to look rusted or tarnished – it will sink down into the crevices and form pockets just like real rust would on a real...

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