Thursday, November 30, 2017

Welcome

Welcome to the Old School Miniatures Company

We are a miniatures company dedicated to producing wargaming figurines in the aesthetic of the golden age of fantasy wargaming: the late 1980's. We work with venerable sculptors as well as new talent. Our staff is composed of gamers who are driven by their love of the hobby and want to share their hobby with as many others as possible; but we can't do it for free.

Our target niche is filling the miniature gaps in the old bestiaries in a way useful to wargames and making miniatures that have that special nostalgia factor from our childhoods. We hope that you love our miniatures as much as we do.

Our Gnome and Misc Ranges are up and running! More KickStarters coming soon for Carnival of Chaos and Alpine Dwarves

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gnomes and LOS

Can you see over gnomes?

The following situation is not unique to gnomes. You have a unit of Knights and between them and the normal-heighted enemy is a unit of halflings, skinks, dwarves or other diminutive humanoid. The question arises, can the knights see the enemy? This question has a lot of different answers depending who you ask, and which edition of which game you play. Anyone who chooses to play with gnomes will undoubtedly encounter this question regularly, especially if they include mercenaries or allies in their armies. 

In the above example it is super clear that in a "realistic" world the empire troops on the left would be able to see the orcs on the right. In games with a so-called "true LOS" rule this question is easily settled. 

However, as a hobbyist I am more interested in systems that don't use "true LOS" namely warhammer fantasy 3rd ed through the 6th ed. Each of these rule books contains the same passage 

"Imagine a real battlefield with its contours, morning mists and haze of dust. Picture the woods and hedges that obscure vision, the sudden fall of ground that hides your enemy and the distances that blur friend with foe. Towering above the miniature battlefield we are aware of all that happens, but the troops represented by our models would not be so fortunate. Just as their real like counterparts cannot see through hills or behind hedges, so we must assume our models cannot see behind corresponding scenic features...."
This passage asks us to consider what we might call a "battlefield LOS." That is, in considering what can and cannot be seen we are to, in instances of doubt, imagine dust, fog, and undulating terrain that might prevent a target from being seen. 

All four editions then have a series of "guidelines" about what does and does not block LOS. Each of these editions then has a guideline addressing interposing units or "troops, friendly or unfriendly." Across all four editions these guidelines concur that troops block LOS. 

On their face these rules seem clear and categorical. There are, however, other instances that serve to muddle this clear categorical human-centric [it all seems consistent if all the models are the same human size] logic. However, hills and large targets are an exception to these rules. A tall giant may be seen beyond interposing infantry models. And, a unit atop a hill may see over an interposing unit. What these exceptions dangle in front of us is the tantalizing principle that there is an undetermined height at which one gains the ability to see over an interposing unit. And, inversely, that if your unit is short enough it can be seen over. The temptation is then to say "my gnomes fit in this category." 

In deciding this contrived dilemma, the following logic is persuasive to me. The advantage that would be gained by the interpretation is not accounted for in their point value. (not to mention that it might open the door to other exceptions.) That is, while the point values in warhammer are not perfect, and many people, especially in the Oldhammer community, object to the very idea of points having any bearing, the points do attempt to code fairness into the game. Model height is not factored into the calculus, even incidentally. Allowing one to see over gnomes, would allow a player to double the density of their ranged fire power. A player could hypothetically field both human and gnome crossbowmen in two "ranks." [perhaps a third of mounted crossbowmen] In a narrow battlefield with scant room for additional troops, this advantage in firepower could be decisive. Allowing players to account for the physical height of their gnome models would be just like players who "model for advantage" in "true LOS" rule systems. It would be granting them an advantage strictly outside of the rules. Few people like to lose to beardy chicanery because their opponent's physical models change key game mechanics. In every game we want to encourage player creativity, but we also want to encourage fair play. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Gnomes 4th/5th ed. Armylist

Hello Old School Miniature Fans,
We humbly present our fan army list for your Old School needs. Our list is designed to be compatible with the Warhammer Armies pamphlet released with the warhammer 4th ed. starter box and the 4th ed. Bestiary book. As with our other army lists, we designed it to be a fantasy army with strong influences from the warhammer historical swiss armylist.

Feel free to leave comments, feedback, tactical advice, or to share a battle report. If you feel our math is off let us know how we can improve.

This is our fan army list, it does not connote any support, endorsement, , or officiality by GamesWorkshop. Used without permission. No challenge to their status or rights intended. All rights reserved to their respective owner.


Our "Methodology"
Fundamentally, the points calculating between 3rd ed. and 4th ed did not substantially change. There are a few decisions that might bear some controversy: The basic point values of gnomes, the value of casters, the value of foxes and the value of the fox patrols.

Basic Gnome
Based on the normal points values for models a gnome should cost 5 points, equal to a human like in 3rd ed. However, 4th ed. changed the to-hit chart to what most of us are used to now. Under the 3rd ed. to-hit chart gnomes had an advantage in close combat but a marked disadvantage against ranged combat. However, with the change in the to-hit chart they lost their advantage in close combat but retained their disadvantage against ranged attacks. To account for this change that was not accounted for in the transition between editions, we have deducted 1/2 point for the base cost of a gnome. This means that gnomes now cost the same as a basic Skaven trooper. This seems appropriate, because one on one a skaven trooper is better than a human: having better movement and initiative, but sacrificing Ld. However, it comes with a perk. Like Skaven, because their base cost is less than 5 points, they get their basic equipment at half cost. This slight edge seems in keeping with the advantage that Skaven normally have so it didn't seem excessive for gnomes to get this benefit to offset their lack of toughness.

Casters
Gnomes present a quandary with regards to army list building: they do not have access to Generals or heroes. This means that a larger percent of their points costs can be allocated to spellcasters than any other army. But, to countervail this consideration, we made their casters cost the same as their human counterparts despite the lower T that makes their illusionists vulnerable.

Foxes
Foxes' stats are terribly diminutive. Using the standard point calculator foxes cost less than 1 point. A standard Warhorse costs an additional 3 points for a character. A fox's stats are nearly objectively worse than a warhorse's in every regard. They have less M, S, T, and Ld. However, foxes can go through woods without penalty. However, when looking at the cost of cavalry regiments they double the cost of the base model plus add a cost of the mount. A basic horse simply doubles the cost, whereas a warhorse doubles the points cost and adds 3 points. (See page 93 of the Warhammer 4th ed. rulebook). We felt that foxes were worse than warhorse but better than normal horses, and guestimated that +1 point was sufficient.

Fox Patrols
In warhammer 4th ed cavalry are calculated in the particular way mentioned above. Calculating for the Fox Patrols looks like the following: (Gnome + crossbow + Scouting ability) x 2 + 1. The tricky bit is the cost of the Wood Elf scouting ability. Wood Elf Scouts cost 5 more points than a basic Wood Elf (13 to 8 points) but Scouts also benefit from a +1 WS and +1 BS. This means that Scouting costs 2 points. Therefore a Fox patrol costs (4.5+1.5+1) x2+1 or 15 points

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Gnomes for Ravening Hordes

Hello Old School Miniature fans,
We humbly present for your Old School gaming needs: a Gnomes army list compatible with Warhammer Ravening Hordes 6th ed. We designed the army list to be a mix between a fantasy army list and aspects of the medieval Swiss army list found in Warhammer Historical. 

Feel free to leave feedback, comments, tactical advice, or to share a battle report. If you feel we got point values wrong, let us know how we can get them more right.

We will add organ gun rules consistent with later army supplements from 6th ed. 

This is our fan army list, it does not connote any support, endorsement, or officiality by Gamesworkshop. Used without permission. No challenge to their status intended. All rights r
eserved to their respective owners.




Our "Methodology"
Drafting an army list compatible for 6th ed. and later editions of warhammer presents a number of problems. The largest is that these later editions of Warhammer do not have an explicit means of point calculation. In earlier editions of Warhammer it was made transparent how model point costs were calculated. In 6th ed, this is less apparent. There are occasional commonalities where gear prices appear consistent. However the larger calculus seems to have shifted considerably. For example an empire spearman (light armor, spear, shield) in 6th ed. costs 7 points, however in 3rd ed. he would cost 9 points. The Arithemetic seems to add as follows (man (3) + spear (2) + shield (1) + light armor (1)). While the mundane gear costs of characters seems decipherable - for Hero and Lords multiply gear costs by 2 and 3 respectively - the cost of characters becomes unclear. Given all of this ambiguity about reconstructing the points for 6th ed. we will briefly discuss each decision.

Generals and Cantonal Standards. 
In the Warhammer historical "Armies of Chivarly" there is an army list for late medieval Swiss. In this list they present the Swiss army as not having any character models including a single general. As a trade off the army is allowed to have a battle standard at no cost. Our rule simply applies this precedent to the gnomish army. 

Characters.Here, we focus on the cost of the level 1 and 3 wizards. The cost of a Human level 1 wizard is 60 points. The cost of an Orc, goblin, and Skink level 1 Shaman are respectively 65, 55, 65 points and a Skaven Warplock engineer is 60 points. The only considerable edge that an Orc Shaman has over an empire wizard is 1T. whereas a goblin is at a disadvantage of -1 WS, -1 I, -1 Ld. The skink is relatively +2 M, -1 Ws, +1 I, -1 Ld. The Engineer has a relative position of +1 M, +1 I, -2 Ld. 

In sum:
+1 T = +5 pts
-1 WS, -1 I, -1 Ld = -5 pts
+2 M, -1 WS, +1 I, -1 Ld = +5
+1 M, +1 I, -2 Ld = 0
On it's face it appears that M, T, and Ld are the determinate costs for raising or lowering level 1 wizard costs by increments of 5 pts. So we chose to lower the cost of the level 1 caster by 5 pts relative to their human counterpart to 55 pts because the low toughness of gnomes is a liability. 

A similar logic seems to prevail for level three wizard characters
+1 S = +5 pts  (Orc Shaman)
+1 S and Frenzy = +15 pts (Savage Orc Shaman)
-1 Ws, -1 I, -1 Ld = -20 pts (Goblin Shaman)
-1 Ws, -2 Ld = -30 pts (Night Goblin Shaman)
-1M, +1 WS, +1 S, +1 T, -2 I, +2 Ld = +15 pts (Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer) 
In our case a Gnome level 3 wizard is +1 WS, -1 T, +1 Ld so we decided  to lower their cost by 15 pts as the lower T makes them considerably more vulnerable.
Gnomish infantry
In warhammer 3rd ed. gnomes' trade off of WS and Ld, for T gave them an advantage in close combat, but a disadvantage against ranged attacks. However, since 4th ed, the newer "to hit" chart nullified the advantage in close combat. In an attempt to balance this we have deducted 1 pt from all the costs of gnomes. This means that a hypothetical gnome with shield, spear and light armor would cost 6 pts whereas their human equivalent would cost 7 pts. These two combatants would be equally matched in close combat, but the human would suffer 25% fewer wounds from ranged fire than the gnome (assuming a 3S ranged weapon).
Gnomish cavalry
This was tricky to calculate. Ultimately, what we did was we took the cheapest cavalry in 3rd edition and 6th edition -goblin wolf riders- and compared the % point shift between editions. We applied this as a coefficient to our 3rd ed. gnome army list and then added the relevant gear costs. (Spear +2 pts, shield +1 pt, scout and skirmish +2 pts.) For example this yields scout and skirmishing fox patrols armed with crossbows for 15 pts. Compare this to a 15 pts Skaven gutter runner with throwing stars or a Wood Elf scout with longbow for 14 pts.  This feels appropriate. Alternativey, it yields Fox riders with spear, light armor and shield for 12 pts. Compare this to a Bretonnian mounted squire for 15 with shield, and spear or a goblin wolf rider with spear, light armor, and shield for 16 pts. Both the squire and goblin have more toughness, and movement than the gnome. 
Gnomish Artillery
These numbers are admitedly more speculative. The gnomish cannons are essentially equivalent to the Bronzino's galloper guns, except they cannot move and shoot at a rate of 8". Each galloper gun cost 100 pts in 5th ed. Similarly the dwarf cannons cost 110 pts in 5th ed. However, we aren't looking at 5th ed, we are looking at 6th ed. In 6th ed. that same dwarf cannon costs 100 pts. Essentially we have an equation where:
[ gnome cannon + galloper mobility]*1.1 = Dwarf Cannon = 100 pts.
Gnome cannon = [100/1.1] - galloper mobility

This doesn't help much as it's not clear how much that added mobility is worth (I suspect that GW didn't know how much it was worth, which is why more expensive models tend to have their points value fluctuate by units of 10 pts. This may be indicative of a guess and check/what feels right approach to determining point costs.) We decided this mobility was worth roughly 20 pts, arriving us at a cost of 60 pts per gnomish cannon.

For the Gnomish organ gun, we decided to postulate that dwarf cannon/gnomish cannon = dwarven organ gun/ gnomish organ gun. We decided upon this ratio, since the dwarf organ gun rules in Ravening Hordes essentially ask players to shoot the normal dwarf cannon 5 times and the gnomish organ gun by extension is 4 dwarf cannons. This gave us a point value of 110 pts (actually 108, but we rounded up.)





Saturday, October 14, 2017

Happy Early Halloween from the Workbench

A look at our most recent side project: Undead Gnomes

Here's a picture for scale,
next to one of our gnomes and a citadel H. Elf

Gnomish Necromancer
 Thanks for taking a look at our undead gnomes let us know what you think in the comments.

The skellie gnomes are meant to be compatible for 28mm tabletop wargames and correspond to roughly mid to upper thigh relative to a human.

The we are aiming for a cute-fun-spooky aesthetic. Nothing too harrowing like the human dead, but humble and quaint in typical gnomish fashion. Furthermore, we were aiming to have them be clear cognates to our gnomish range so players could easily imagine their gnomish army rising from the dead.
Undead Gnome Leader with lantern

Undead Gnome leader from a different angle

The evil standard bearer, with sinister furrowed brows

Little undead hornblower

Another angle

Rank and file 1

Rank and file 1 dif. angle

Rank and file 2 - quivering little guy

Rank and file 3

Rank and file 4 - timidly holding his polearm

Friday, September 29, 2017

From the Work bench: Skellie Gnome Command

 Work is plodding along with the skellie gnomes.
 Today we have our first peek at the skellie gnome command. They are still works in progress; they'll all have halberds and the appropriate gnomely hats. Getting my phone to focus on the tiny buggers is tough.
Leader with Lantern
Musician with Horn

Sinister Standard Bearer

Quivering Minion