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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!

The Modern Major-Mercenary – Ash

Posted by on 3:24 am

“We lived in the shadows as soldiers of the night, but our lives were not dark and martial…” – Jean-Pierre Levy Picking up from my last rambling cogitation, we’re looking at the effects of Wrath on the stable of older mercenary warcasters. Specifically: how our pre-Wrath ‘casters have changed now that we’re getting the actual Wrath models to play with and theorymachine is beginning to give way to actual tabletop experience, and what new ways of playing have opened up as a result. Today, we’re looking at Ashlynn D’Elyse, the flower of the Llaelese Resistance. As before, for those unfamiliar with Ashlynn, I point you in the direction of her Battle College entry, with the caution that Battle College’s commentary beyond their summary of model abilities is generally best taken with a rather substantial grain of salt. At this point, though, the article warrants a disclaimer: I’m not yet as familiar with Ashlynn (who, for brevity, will henceforth be referred to as Ash) as I’d like to be. I certainly have some games with her under my belt, but there’ll still be a bit of theorymachine here that’s not yet fully backed by play experience – which I will try and make note of, when it’s particularly egregious. Fairly warned, be ye, says I! So with that in mind, let’s start by discussing why I never found myself really wanting to play Ash before the release of Wrath.   Pre-Wrath Ash; a Surfeit of Shortcomings (…Sort of) In the days and months following the release of MKII and then the Mercenary forces book, I often found myself looking in Ash’s direction, hoping to maybe glean some insight that would convince me to start playing her. Every time, though, I came away with the same thing; a cavalcade of “well, that’s pretty good, but…” impressions. She has always seemed to have a great deal of potential, most of which is just slightly too curtailed by some inherent limitation. Let’s start with her spell list. Make no mistake; there’s gold in them thar spells. But before the arrival of Wrath, really digging your way down to it was easier said than done; Quicken, for example, is an excellent spell with a myriad of uses in almost any game, from defending Ash personally to extending the threat range and longevity of just about any unit in your list… but, as good as it is, it’s also a COST 3 spell that you will frequently want to hot-swap once you’ve delivered your initial unit into melee. Admonition is a great defensive spell that will have your opponents tearing their hair out under the right circumstances… but it’s another drain on Ashlynn’s sharply limited focus that keeps her from using her other spells as effectively as she wants to. Distract is outright amazing, arguably one of the best debuffs in the game, synergising perfectly with her feat in particular by making it even harder for opponents to hit you in melee, and stripping all offensive ability from ranged units that might have been able to back up outside Ash’s CTRL to shoot… but Ash’s FOC 6 means your accuracy outside of the feat turn is less than reliable and, more importantly, it has a cripplingly short RNG of only 8”, with no access to...

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Thursdays with Thanan: Khador Battle Box

Posted by on 1:00 am

Why hello there dear readers, welcome to the 4th installment of Thursdays with Thanan! Today’s topic is the Khador battle box. The Khador battle box is tough as nails and offers a strong assassination vector in it’s leader Sorscha 1 (aka pSorscha). It also contains two heavies, the destroyer and the juggernaut, which is a wee bit different than the other battle boxes we’ve covered so far. But there’s a good reason that it has two heavies – Khador doesn’t have any light warjacks. They do, however, have man-of-war units, heavy infantry that are really tough. Regardless, back to the battle box. Sorscha 1 – Sorscha is a strong warcaster with a very viable assassination run. She has fairly standard stats, with just above average defense and just under average armor for warcasters. She is slightly better at hitting in melee than she is at range, and does just a smidge more damage as well, but her hand cannon is fairly decent. If you happen to find yourself 12 inches away from a foe with nothing much to threaten you, it might be worth using. Sorscha’s imposing weapon, Frostfang, has reach, giving her an additional 2″ of threat, is a magical weapon, and comes with critical freeze. As any veteran player will tell you however, relying on crits for an assassination run is not a good idea, so please don’t bank on getting the crits when it matters!  Let’s go through the spells real quick, before we look into her assassination potential. Boundless Charge – this spell grants one friendly model + 2″ movement, free charge (no focus required), and the handy pathfinder ability. Feel free to cast this on one of your heavies if you need that extra umph to get them into the thick of things. Fog of War – this spell gives every model, friendly and enemy alike, concealment in her control area. Remember this, friendly and ENEMY alike. So if you cast this to help defend against shooting, and your opponent has a model with prowl (two that come to mind and are common, the Warpwolf Stalker, the Black 13th), they can gain stealth from this. It also protects them from your shooting. Use this if you’re afraid of getting gunned down. Freezing Grip – the target model / unit becomes stationary. This spell sucks up so much focus, it might not be worth it very often, especially since you’ll probably have to boost to hit the models you’re casting it on. Unless, of course, you’re casting it on an enemy heavy or some such, then it might be ok. However, what happens if your opponent shakes stationary? Suddenly you’re only 8″ away from a big bad axe, and that is not a place most warcasters would like to find themselves in. Razor Wind –a magical damage spell. Occasionally useful for removing a solo or a model blocking a charge lane. You won’t get much use out of it in Battle Box games. Tempest – models hit by the moderate sized aoe suffer a knockdown and a POW 12. The POW is great enough to threaten most any single wound troopers, and the knockdown can help make sure that your axe to face makes contact. Good to cast and let your heavies do the rest....

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Toruk to Tyrant – Practice, Practice, Practice

Posted by on 1:26 pm

By Brian Giese     As 2012 approaches I continue to practice with my Skorne in hopes of not doing too badly with them at events in the coming year, and maybe even have some fun. Side note – As content as I am to put my Cryx on the shelf to focus on a new faction, I do envy Cryx players in the current tournament meta right now.   There is a lot of anti-Cryx floating around the tournament scene, and I really am jealous I will not be one of those Cryx players working with new lists to break through the anti-Cryx Trend. My timing is also inconvenient because lots of players are jumping on the “Hordes is too good” bandwagon, and really trying to take them down a notch.   Not to mention, it will be months before some of the really good Skorne releases will hit the shelf.    Having said all that, I am still really excited to be playing Skorne again.   Over the past few weeks I have played with every caster Skorne has except Lord Assassin Morghoul, but I will play him once the Archidon comes out.  I really believe he is a good warlock, that is just missing a little something to make him competitive, and I believe getting sprint via animus is all he will need. I have spent some time with a few variant Supreme Archdomina Makeda lists. While the simple “holy trinity” of Titan Gladiator, Molik Karn, and Bronzeback is amazing,  I’ve been having fun playing her with Immortals/Praetorians spam; having vengenace everywhere is fun.  I still keep Molik Karn in there, because the synergy between those two is just too good. I have also tried to put every Skorne model on the table. This involved putting Karax on the field, but I did that with Zaal, so they at least provided some tokens for the feat, and Karax with Last Stand can still do some damage. Master Tormentor Morghoul is almost the most fun I have playing skorne, mainly because I’m always fielding 90% beasts with lists like his, and it’s just fun to advance down the field with that many heavies.   One challenge is trying to find a “pair” of warlocks to use together in events.    I believe the first Warlock I focus on is going to be Void Seer Mordikaar.   I need to find a good second list that will help balance out my Tournament play.       Mordikaar is a warlock I really enjoy playing.  His spell list is solid. Hollow is a nice way to increase his total fury per turn(not to mention undead/tough are good buffs).  Revive is nice to help with an attrition game.  Essence Blast can create some interesting angles to clear out infantry.  Ghost walk is nice, but I almost always have a Tyrant Commander around.   Banishing Ward just stops a few silly tricks in the game and provides some denial.  Having a nice gun on a warlock is never bad either.     I have been using his feat on turn 2 almost all the time.  The defensive bonus is nice and poltergeist is sweet.  That Def bonus is good enough, that your opponent really needs to be careful in regards to attacks they make, or they will get pushed back due to poltergeist.   50 Void Seer...

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What’s Dice Got to Do With It?

Posted by on 12:33 pm

To quote the great Sheldon Cooper, “The dice giveth and the dice taketh away”.  Over the course of our gaming career, each of us has heard or been witness to the infamous ‘I got diced’ excuse.  This article takes a quick walk through of averages and lesser known variance of dice outcomes involved in playing Warmachine and Hordes.  Think of it as a little guide on how to screw or be screwed by dice. Games operate on components of luck and skill at their basest components.  Games of pure luck amount to flipping a coin and deciding a winner.  Games of pure skill tend to run dry as asymmetry in player ability makes itself clear.  By incorporating both elements, a game can be enjoyable in a competitive sense and accessible to a wider play group.  To embody luck (and keep it under reigns) Privateer Press employs a d6 system.  Two six sided dice yield and average outcome of 7 and a standard deviation of 2.45.  This means that 68.2% of your dice outcomes will fall between 7 plus or minus 2.45.  That’s not too bad.  You have a good guess at what you’ll roll (7) and an idea of when you’re lucky(>7) or not (<7). Some powerful spells and effects in the game tinker with dice statistics.  The most notable examples include; Signs and Portents and Star Crossed.  These two not only change your average outcome, but also impact the standard deviation of the rolls.  Here’s a graph on the effect of Signs and Portents on a boosted to roll. First off, the average has shifted from 10.5 to 12.24.  Yes.  Signs and Portents is an amazing spell!  The additional power of the effect is that it reduces the variability of your outcomes.  Look at how the red curve is narrower.  This means that dice results are clustered more toward the average result.  In addition to rolling a higher average, you’ll be more consistently rolling a 12.24.  When you’re making a strategically important move you need it to happen, consistency is a big deal.   I’ve focused in on these two spells, but there are similar consequences to just boosting a roll.  You are going to hit 10.5 more often then 7 when you boost a roll because the additional die lessens the variability of your outcomes.  I’ve included a little chart of common dice combinations, averages and standard deviations for your perusal.  Enjoy! Dice Average Std Dev 1d6 3.5 1.87 2d6 7 2.45 3d6 drop lowest 8.46 2.22 3d6 drop highest 5.54 2.22 3d6 10.5 2.96 1d20 10.5 5.92 4d6 drop lowest 12.24 2.85 4d6 drop highest 8.76 2.85 4d6 14 3.34  ...

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Riding a Dark Horse: Caliban the Grave Walker

Posted by on 12:00 am

By Chuck Elswick   I recently played a game against Gencon 2011 winner Jake VanMeter. Jake is a longtime friend and peer, who I look up to when it comes to playing the game.  I was throwing around the idea of Caliban when one of our readers asked for a list,  and I thought this would be the perfect time to write an article about him.  I chose to run Caliban’s Theme list, Bad Religion.  Despite the Minion Pact allowing more models I feel that Caliban’s Strength is in his theme list.  Here is the list:   Bad Religion   Caliban +6 Blackhide Wrastler (6) 3 Bull Snapper 3 Bull Snapper 3 Ironhide Spitter 8 Wrong Eye and Snapjaw 9 10 Bog Trog Ambushers 8 Croak Hunter 2 Croak Hunter 2 4 Bone Grinders 2 Feralgeist 1 5 Gatormen Posse 9 Total:  50/50   Tier 1 Benefit:  Models in the army gain stealth for round 1 Tier 2 Requirement:  Unit of Bone Grinders Tier 2 Benefit:  Feralgeist gain advance move Tier 3 Requirement:  Wrong Eye and Snapjaw Tier 3 Benefit:  Wrong Eye and his battlegroup gain advance deployment Tier 4 Requirement:  4 Warbeasts in Caliban’s battlegroup Tier 4 Benefit:  2″ extra on deployment   Now to look at Caliban.  With below average MAT and Average RAT one can tell that this warlock will hopefully not be seeing much front line fighting.  He has below average DEF with ARM like a gatorman, and also average health.  Caliban has a ranged attack with rate of fire 2, average range, and the POW of a basic pistol that any sea dog can pick up.  If Caliban disables an enemy model with his gun, that model heals 1 point and he can use it as an arc node.   He has 2 melee attacks, both of below average POW but his bite does have sustain attack and his staff has reach and life trader, seems as though he stole some of his tricks from Cryx.  His spell list is very nice, he has Carnivore (model/unit gains a bonus to attack rolls against living models and if you box the model it is removed from play and Caliban heals damage done to him), he also has Occulation (model/unit gains stealth), Parasite (minus to model/units ARM and Caliban gains a small bonus to ARM), Hex Blast (average range and decent POW and small AOE but if it directly hits an enemy model/unit it gets rid of upkeeps), and lastly Bone Shaker (ok range and average POW but if boxes a living or undead model you get to move the model and make a melee attack, then remove it from play).  His feat is whenever a friendly model destroys an enemy model Caliban gains a fury and can cast a spell (if he has enough fury to do it), he can even boost the attack and damage rolls of the spell (which is unusual as you normally can not boost out of activations).   Now what I do with the army.  I keep Occultation on the Gatormen, and Carnivore on the Wrastler.  Wrong eye and Snapjaw will move up the field using Submerge (they can not be targeted by range attacks and magic attacks), while the bog trogs ambush and come out on the side where the enemy’s...

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Carnage4u’s Terrain Blog #3 (ruined city continued)

Posted by on 1:18 pm

Ruined City Modular Board.   In my last terrain article, I discussed the Planning and preparation phase of this project.  This will be one of 2 posts to cover my building phase.   My first building phase will involve making 16 1ftx1ft modular pieces.   Building Phase I started with a couple of test pieces first.    I was not initially sure how much of each piece should be covered in rubble/ruins. I wanted to make sure that warjacks/warbeasts could still move around the board.   I also wanted to find out how much weight the boards could handle.   I did learn I’m going to run out of mold # 75 first and it’s going to be a pain to constantly have to keep up with that mold.   Test Piece #1     I liked the piece, but it was a little too much..  My 2nd test piece I liked a lot more.  It has open lanes for models to move while offering cover in some spots, and still has some spots that will block line of sight.       At this point I was happy with the layout of the piece. I made a couple more, and put them all side by side to get an idea how they would look.  Each piece will only have some open lanes where models can move thru, and I want most pieces to have some terrain that will block line of site.  In addition I added some gravel and rubble to these pieces.  I also like this picture because it show my work area when its somewhat clean.  When I was working on Piece #15, and #16 that table was a complete mess.   I was doing an experiment, mixing too types of blocks on the same piece as well.  I wanted to see how standard Hirst art blocks would look next to the fieldstone pieces. I was happy overall with the mixed look.       Now that I made a few pieces. I wanted to work on some specific pieces. I wanted to create a crypt piece and a ruined tower piece.  This is a fairly advanced piece to make, and I tried over a year ago, but some pieces didnt end up the way I wanted and I had to scrap the project. The crypt is removable and can be replaced by a “ruined” crypt, or a different piece.   Base of the Crypt   Crypt Sections.  The main building will always come out, and I have yet to decide if I’m going to glue the roof on or not. I also have 2 different tombs (pictured on the side) that I can use.  I have to determine how much open space I want models to move through inside the crypt I want this model to look good, but at the same time, I want to make sure models can move thru the terrain. If i block off too much space, the piece becomes harder to use.     All together ( I still haven’t decided how many pieces I will leave it on, once I complete painting it. )     Ruined Tower Pictures.  I wanted a couple different tower pieces within the ruined city.  Adding some taller buildings will help with the  “city feel”. The backside of this tower...

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Do you know what’s sweet with Enliven?…This Guy !!!

Posted by on 3:19 pm

by John DeMaris   Hello, Phatasian here. Welcome to my semi regular column about things that are interesting, probably only to me.  Today I’m going to talk about Warmachine and Hordes.  Specifically about my buddy the Vassal of Menoth.  Truthfully we are more than buddies if you know what I mean.  I just love my vassals.  I’m going to call this article.   Winning Friends and Influencing People with Enliven   Enliven(*Action)- RNG 5. Target friendly Faction warjack. If the warjack is in range, the next time it suffers damage from an enemy attack while it is not advancing, immediately after the attack is resolved the warjack can make a full advance, then Enliven expires. The warjack cannot be targeted by free strikes during this movement. Enliven lasts for one round.   Pretty straight forward right? I mean your jack gets hit for damage and you get out of Dodge.   Unfortunately it takes enliven triggering only one time successfully to get your opponent to lay awake at night dreaming up ways to spoil your fun.  If you are really a putz, you enliven into the waiting arms of a mechanic or two and repair all the damage they just did, to add insult to injury.   Getting your Avatar hit for 15 damage by Mulg and having your sword arm taken out is really unfun.  Want to know how to turn that frown upside down? You enliven after you mark your 15 damage and move into the loving embrace of Joe the Vassal Mechanic.  Then you roll 4 focus on your avatar like  a champ.  Joe fixes the Avatars sword arm.  Sing some sweet music and put Mulg down.  Permanently.  Man is that awesome.    This is not a way to win friends and influence people.  It is however a good way to win games.   Protectorate does not have insane threat ranges.  We are counter punchers. Correctly executed, Enliven is one of the most broken things you can do as a PoM player.   Remember when we talked about how our opponent is now laying awake at night dreaming up ways to stop enliven?  It doesn’t take very many weaponlocks, slams, or being boxed in before you start to lose faith in your little buddy the vassal.  I mean, I might as well get another attack if enliven can be thwarted so easily right?   This is where we start to tie a knot with different models in such a way as to almost guarantee that enliven goes off.  Get good at tying your knots and the Boy Scouts will be knocking down your door for your “secret tech”.   The number one line of defense for making enliven work to your advantage is to bring the Covenant of Menoth.  Reading is fundamental.  Obviously singing the no knockdown , no stationary chant stops a whole slew of potential answers to enliven.  Slam, headbutt, critical knockdown, critical freeze…. all answered by a quick trip to the library.  Now for most people that would be enough to make the book a great value in a list with any high value jack and a vassal.    The book actually does a lot more though.  This is where you can really impress the your new friends.  If you position your book well you...

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MoM’s Podcast # 2

Posted by on 9:06 am

  Episode 2 of the new Muse On Minis Podcast   Topics: Special Guests (Lord Tyrant Watt, Neutralyze, and Chuck), Seasons Beatings Tourney Recap, Crutch Free 2012, Protecting your caster, News and Events Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 3:27:43 — 190.2MB)Subscribe: Android |...

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Tusk’s Tips: Create a Cheap Wet Palette

Posted by on 1:56 am

by Andy Welton This is the first of hopefully many tips and tricks I use for miniature assembly, modeling and painting.   Some may have seen my article before, but since a wet palette is such a useful tool, I figured I would post it again on my first article for Muse on Minis.   For those that do not know what a palette is, its a surface for mixing paints to achieve additional colors. Some use an old Cd/tile/hand/table. A wet palette is basically the same thing, but it is intended for mixing acrylic paints (GW P3 etc) and not having them dry out as fast. That way that specific color you mixed for your highlights will stay usable. The wet palette can hold paint much longer than a normal dry palette. In the long run, you should end up losing less paint to dry out by using a wet palette. my little design allows you to be able to store your mix overnight.   For the longest time I used a wet paper towel as my palette, It wasted a ton of paint. So I was looking for new options. My roommate had picked up the Privateer Press wet palette from our local game store. I saw the contents and realized I could just make one myself and save some money. I did, it works like a charm.   Step 1: Either buy a miniature from Privateer Press or some other company that sells models in a similar clam shell packaging. Privateer Press has the perfect packaging that to make this type of palette. Usually in the same package, they also supply the foam needed for the palette. Step 2: Take out the mini(s) and the foam out of the package. Save the blister and the foam. You can dispose of the miniature if you wish. (Your opponent won’t mind if you don’t field the Great Bears) Step 3: Cut the foam to the size of the blister package, so it fits snugly at the bottom of the tray. The foam will expand slightly when it is wet so you may need to cut it slightly smaller than the tray. Make sure it fits properly in the blister tray. Step 4: Now you need some tracing paper. I had some left over from another project. I am not sure it makes a huge difference, but I would make sure it is Acid-free. The paper that is supplied in Privateers wet palette is slightly thicker than the stuff I got. I am sure you can always get something thicker to match. Some people suggested using cooking paper. Step 5: Cut a sheet to size, you want it slightly smaller than the foam, it will expand as well. Step 6: Now I put some water into the blister, I make it as deep as the foam is thick. Then put the foam in the water, let it soak up all the water. (you may have to squeeze the foam to make it soak) Drain off the excess. Waterline should be slightly below the foam. It should be pretty saturated and the water should pool slightly when pressure is applied. Step 7: Lay the tracing paper on top of the foam to wet one side of it, then make sure to flip it over and...

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The Focus Camper’s Bible Part 2: More Details

Posted by on 1:00 am

The previous post in this series seemed to evoke some interest, so I’m going to forge on ahead.   Basics:  Camping focus is a tradeoff that every warcaster has the option to pursue in any given round.  You sacrifice the benefits you would have gained by allocating or spending that focus in exchange for armor on your warcaster.  In order for this trade to be beneficial to you it is necessary to place your caster in a position that allows that armor to be meaningful.  A successful camp sees you lose the benefits of the focus you could have spent in the round prior and gain the resources that the opponent expended failing to kill your caster.  An unsuccessful camp sees you make the same sacrifice, and either lose your caster as they break your camp or sees them disregard your caster to continue with their game plan.  This latter option is the most vexing, and is the one you must strive to prevent by supporting your camp.   Camping vs. Turtling:   There’s a confusion of terms that gets me in trouble when I talk about this stuff.  Camping is when you keep all your focus on your caster, and move them into jeopardy.  Turtling is when you keep all your focus on your caster, and move them out of jeopardy.  Fundamentally they are different things.  The purpose of Camping is to force your opponent to attempt an unlikely assassination.  The purpose of Turtling is not to lose the game via assassination.   Some terminology:  This is just how I talk, not the hip lingo of the Cool Kids.  Nonetheless it’ll help if I let everyone know what I mean ahead of time.   Camp:  As a verb, this mean to hold all your focus on your warcaster and move up into a critical position.  As a noun it refers to the difficulty in killing a particular caster when he’s camping.  In my mind it’s also the pokemon-esque sound that camping casters make as they move up to face the assassination.   Threat:  The incentive for the opponent to attempt to break your camp, and not disregard it.  Essentially, this is the consequence that lies in wait if your enemy simply ignores your camping caster and keeps fighting your army.   Break Camp:  To use a high p+s weapon to kill you despite your fully camped armor/defense.  “The Avatar rolled 4 focus and charged my caster, broke my camp on the ancillary attack.”   Negate/Remove Camp:  To remove the focus on a warcatser.  “In retrospect I shouldn’t have charged Nayl, when he blew up it negated my camp”   Finesse/Bypass Camp:  To use an attack that gets around the focus on a warcaster without removing it.  “I hate MHA’s”   Timing the Camp:  The fundamental question of a camp is a simple one. When?  The answer is equally simple.  As soon as you calculate that they will fail to break your camp, and you can create a credible threat to induce them to try.  A last component is that you not be already stomping them.  In general your threat will concern scenario, so bottom 2/ top 3 tends to be when the most camps take place.  If you are fortunate enough as to be graced with a threat...

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