Monday 27 April 2020

Getting Ready for Oathmark - Middle-Earth Style

My five nights working week did not leave me much time and energy for hobby stuff, but I have been printing some cottages for various purposes (no time for painting, yet), somewhat dressing a table for my first test run of Oathmark, and putting a lot of minis on previously printed trays.

I have brought in my Vikings to play the role of Dunlendings (they are in the far corner), and some painted GW/Warhammer wolves I bought some years ago, in order to bring the Isengarders up to a similar number as the Western Alliance (which is actually from areas east of Isengard, just to make things more confusing...)

Bases are all over the place; I intend to continue basing/rebasing my infantry on 20mm washers, and I really don't think it will have much impact on gameplay - if the system is solid, it will work fine with slighly narrower frontages on some units.

I hope to play a couple of turns tomorrow, and also do a little work on bases for minis not yet present, we shall see about that (I also have to do my 8-kilometer walk, fight some dandelions, and finish painting a certain Mr. Gamgee, so that he can be varnished to keep the contrast paints in place).

I have not worked out points values, as this does not need to be a balanced affair, and I have not added characters of any kind. I aim to get the basic rules worked in, and get a good impression of the way standard situations are handled, then I shall know if this game is what I hope it is: My new go-to battle game to replace God of Battles, which I have found to be too unbalanced for my liking.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Building an Army Worthy of Mordor... or Something.

I had a major hobby disaster yesterday. To cut a long story short, among other mishaps I ended up with two irrepairable Uruk-Hai pikemen, and it made me so angry that I sat down and started speed-painting some replacements.

I finished them today, and this is how they are going to be used in my Oathmark test game, somewhen during the next 4-5 days.

I am not going to do any further work on the bases as I am going to replace them with steel washers, anyway, so for now they will just look like shit.

One good thing came out of it though: I now know that I can get some plastic Uruk-Hai on the table with short notice!

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Hello, There!

Another hiatus coming to an end. Actually, I have been slowly restarting the furnaces of the hobby room over the latest couple of months, ordering some rulebooks, and printing some stuff for the table (more about that in later posts).

My latest acquisition is the fantasy battle game Oathmark, published by Osprey in collaboration with North Star Military Figures.

When first I learned that McCullough was the author of Oathmark, I was somewhat disappointed. McCullough is, as many will be aware of, the author of Frostgrave and Rangers of the Shadow Deep, and I am absolutely no fan of the very random combat system sported by both of them, so it was with no high expectations I followed the news stream from North Star regarding Oathmark.

The combat system in Oathmark, though, is very different from the opposed d20 random mayhem that is Frostgrave and RotSD. Oathmark uses d10s, and when attacking/fighting an enemy unit, the target number to hit is variable, depending on your unit's Fight value, the Defence value of the enemy, and some modifiers, the most important one being extra full ranks - simulating the impetus of a large body of men.

I am yet to play a test game, but I have a relatively good gut feeling about this set of rules. It is relatively simple, maybe even simpler than God of Battles, while still giving that 'old school' feeling from Chainmail, AD&D Battlesystem, and early versions of Warhammer.

The 'world' of Oathmark is relatively 'low' fantasy - a bit like a Dark Ages setting with fantastic races and some monsters. Magic is present, and all races have access to battle mages and some artefacts, but emphasis seems to be on rank-and-file.

The game currently has only four races: Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs/Goblins. There are no restrictions on army composition - actually, the built in campaign system is designed to make each player's 'kingdom' a motley conglomerate of any or all races.

As this may seem strange at first glance, think of Tolkien's Middle-Earth, and the various armies fighting for dominance of good and evil. Saruman's force of Half-orcs, evil Men, and Dunlendings. Mordor's armies composed of Orcs, and Men from the east and south (even Dwarves reportedly fought for Sauron at some point, I think). The Last Alliance of Elves and Men.

I, for one, am going to use my Middle-Earth forces for this game - although I am also eagerly awaiting the supplement Oathbreakers, reportedly bringing rules for Undead to the Oathmark world late autumn (although it may be delayed, due to all this pandemic business).