Sunday, December 2, 2018

Belated Gnomevember Post

I've been very busy with law school this Gnomevember. And I didn't get around to posting much about my gnomes.

So I thought I'd share some pics from my most recent gnome project: Sinister Gnomes (I think a better name is in order)

These guys are meant to be rank and file troopers for a small allied contingent force. I am currently working on a Sorcerer and command models, and have some plans for some sinister animal tamers.

I have also started putting thought to my next Alpine Gnome Kickstarter. If you have the time I'd greatly appreciate folks taking our stretch goal SURVEY. We plan to expand our range of gnomes. So far the second kickstarter has added Swallows, mounted characters, sappers, and a baggage train. I'm very excited about this project. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Gnomevember Sculpting Update

My current project: Sinister Gnomes!

I've been wanting to sculpt some sinister gnomes for a while, but getting the aesthetic right has been hard. Some folks wanted them with tall hats, others with bulky armor, and a smaller minority wanted them as Gothic barbarians. I've opted for something unique.

Below are my first four sinister gnomes. They are still WIPs. I plan to give them outlandish hats and equip them with 2 weapons each. I am thinking I will also sculpt shields so that patrons can remove either weapon and replace it with a shield. If everything goes according to plan, the sinister gnomes will also have a command set, some beastmasters, and an imperious sorcerer. 

I wanted these gnomes to look very sinister, so I have given each a contorted look of contempt. I've also sculpted most to be in positions that telegraph forward movement - perhaps a lunge or a charge to suggest that they are aggressive. Also, I have opted to not give them beards, but rather goatees and big mustaches.

Let me know what you think! I'd really like feedback on these :)

Some recent sculpts I'd finished.
These are mostly WIP pics of a gnomish baggage train I was finishing up. They are very small. The carts with a goat pulling them fit on a cavalry platform. 



Female Wagon Attendant - if I recall rightly, she's about 13mm tall.

Female attendant from behind, this pic was to show off her braids that I was proud of. 

Male gnome wagon rider

Male gnome wagon attendant. I'm very proud of him; it's the 3rd lantern I've sculpted. Much better than my first. But also the first chain I've sculpted on a miniature (had a few practice goes before committing to the mini.)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

A Second Case for Gnomes.

One on One is fine, but what about actual combats?

Guarden Gnomes confront a mob of savage orcs
Initial disclaimer: I fully appreciate that for others number crunching and meta-gaming cuts against the spirit of Oldhammer and cooperative-fun tabletop games. My intent here is not to promote meta-gaming nor that people should field gnomes as an advantageous team; rather, I do it just to press home the idea that gnomes are, in fact, fair. That is, I sense a general preconception from most that gnomes are simply unplayable and that their lack of Toughness makes them a liability. Most folks don't want to meta-game, but alternatively, they don't want their defeat to be a pre-drawn conclusion.

After writing my previous article weighing the merits of gnomes, I came to reconsider my methods. In my previous article I compared gnomes to various other races, model to model. This presented a lot of problems for real application. For example I compared gnomes with gear to elves and dwarves without gear. And, I compared Gnomes without gear to goblins with gear.

There is also the consideration of point density. For example, a unit of Dwarf Hammerers is very expensive. A dwarf player can sink many points into the unit, and a gnome player confronting them may have more numbers, but the advantage of numbers has limited returns. For example a unit of 20 Hammerers with standard and musician will cost 352 points. For that same cost gnomes could field 37 gnomes with light armor, shield and spear, as well as a standard and musician. Even optimised, there is a lot of lost value for the gnomes.

If the dwarves deploy 5 wide and 4 deep, the gnomes can meet that by deploying 6 wide and 4 deep to take advantage of being wider to get an additional model in play (yes technically they could be 7 wide, but perfectly lining up corner-to-corner to get that extra person, doesn't happen in reality, only with ponderous abstractions done by the players.) Being 6x4 means that they are able to take advantage of 24 gnomes. What do the other 13 do? They would essentially be twiddling their tiny thumbs.

So, in light of this, how do we say whether a model is good or not?

More data points of course! More points of comparison.

Man (and gnomes) is the measure of all things. ~ Protagoras

To that end, I have compared 200 points of Spear, light armor, and shield armed gnomes to 200 points of Empire Halberdiers, and 200 points of Empire Ersatz Pikemen with light armor. I have compared them by stacking up how these 3 unit types would fair against a myriad of other Oldhammer foes of the same points value.

The confusing chart below shows the statistical combat resolution difference between the unit types in question relative to a slew of enemies. That is, in initiative order, I multiplied the probabilities of hitting, wounding, and armor save by the optimum unit formation (frontage and ranks minus casualties.) In many situations this means fractions of hits becoming smaller fractions of wounds and tinier fractions passed the armor save. The values that are presented reflect the statistical differences in combat resolution vs a given foe. A greater positive value indicates a higher likelihood of victory, and a lower value indicates a greater likelihood of defeat. Also, unless stated, it is assumed neither side charged(except for cavalry) or followed up, which I understand is an impossible assumption.

Let's say that we have 200 points of Ersatz Pikemen with light armor (20 models plus musician and standard) arrayed 5x4 fighting 200 points of Gnomish Spearmen ( 20 models plus musician and standard.)
Burgher Gnomes fight off massed Snotlings in a constrained space.

The pikemen attack first with their higher initiative. They have WS3 against the Gnomes WS4. So they hit on a 5+ (1/3.) Then, they have Strength 3 against the Gnomes 2 Toughness, so they wound on a 3+ (2/3.) The Gnomes have shield and light armor which saves on a 5+, so 2/3 of wounds pass. The pikemen have Pikes so they have 5( front rank)+5/2 (second rank) +5/3 (third rank) +5/4 (fourth rank) attacks or 10.41 attacks. Multiplied together this equates to 1.54 wounds on the gnomes before they respond. The Gnomes hit on a 4+ (1/2) and wound on a 4+. The pikemen have light armor, so 5/6 of wounds pass. The gnomes have spears so they have 5 (front rant) +5/2 (second rank) -1.54 (casualties) attacks. This means that in reply the gnomes cause 1.24 wounds. Since both sides have +3 ranks and standards, their difference in combat resolutions is .3 in favor of the pikemen.

First some observations that aren't clearly conveyed in the simulation. 

1. In most instances the largest sources of combat resolution were rank bonuses and standard bearers. To a veteran player this is common intuition, that one should nab as many guaranteed points as possible before committing to combat. Expensive units suffered from the trade-off between ranks and frontage since they were limited in numbers. Larger units of these elite troops would be much harder opponents getting the rank bonuses and their combat abilities. 

2. Having multiple attacks is very potent, but only where one has the WS and/or frenzy to make it matter. Orcs with additional hand weapons were removed from the list since they were unable to hit with one of their weapons due to the -2 to hit modifier on left hands. 

3. While the dark elf riders and Empire knights don't appear to score well on here, that's because they couldn't afford extra ranks or standards. Both inflicted many casualties. They may not fair as well directly fighting, but their large casualties suggest that with a smaller unit providing ranks, a hard hitting cavalry unit will win you extra combat resolution. These units should not be discounted. 

Now observations that are easy to see in the simulation

1. Helblitzen are bad. They lose against nearly every opponent, except Impi, and Trolls. Which is a shame since they are required troops. 

2. Gnomes with spear appear to be relatively on par with Ersatz Pikemen. Though a unit of Pikemen would have a slight edge (-.3) over gnomish spearmen, gnomish spearmen fair better than pikemen in more situations than pikemen fair better than gnomes. 

3. Pikes are good. Perhaps some gnomish pikemen should be in order?

Gnomes w/ spear light armor shield Helblitzen Ersatz w/ pike and light armor
Slann warrior priest with shield -0.6 -2.5 -0.9
Dwarf w/ pike & light armor -0.6-1.2 -0.5
Witch elf with add hand; frenzied -0.6 -1.3 -1.0
Nulner pike w/ heavy armor -0.5 -1.2-0.5
Black Skaven w/ halberd & light armor -0.06-1.040.3
Goblins w/ spears, shield light armor 0.03 -0.10.7
Doomsteed w/ Shield, lance,light armor, & barding; charging 0.05 -0.8-0.3
Thugs w/ heavy armor great weapon 0.1 -0.90.2
Dark Elf warriors w/ light armor and shield 0.1 -0.2 0.3
Hammerers w/ Great Weapon & Heavy Armor 0.1 -0.3 0.08
Reiksguard w/ shield and heavy armor 0.1 -0.3 0.2
Hombres villanos w/ light armor and shield 0.2 -0.20.1
Slann Spawn band great weapon and light armor 0.3 -0.04 0.2
Elf Kinband w/ light armor, spear and shield 0.5-0.050.4
Elf Guard w/shield, spear and heavy armor 0.1-0.040.1
Pygmy Impi w/ shield 0.7 0.1 1.3
Temple Ritterbruden w/ lance, heavy armor, shield, & barding; charging 1.0 -0.08 0.4
Trolls* 2.9 2.1 2.7
Average 0.25 -0.43 0.27

*excludes trollish regeneration
Gnomes flee from two terrorizing trolls

Right, but how does this confront the problem of the Hammerers? 

What we have shown is that 200 points of gnomes can hold their ground against 200 points of most other troop types. The problem remains that dwarves and other expensive teams can still achieve immense point density that is hard to overcome in close combat. This is still a quandary.

The cop out would be to say in the above situation with the Hammerers and the Spearmen, that for the same cost, the gnome player could instead have 24 gnomish spearmen and 14 gnomish crossbowmen. This is a cop out because a human team could have the same solution - e.g. 24 pikemen and a unit of human crossbowmen (which are, in 95% of situations, objectively better than gnome crossbowmen due to their greater toughness.) Point density gets countered by ranged fire since expensive troops typically die just as easily as their cheaper comrades. Gnomes don't appear to have a unique solution.
Gnomish crossbowmen stake out a hill against advancing orc arrerers.


"Da orcs 'ad 'ad a big munth" Grothmog thought to himself as he clubbed another 'umie. 

He left his ladz to finish the job and wandered off to contemplate all of the good looting they'd done that Orctober. As he reflected he noticed the changing colors of the foliage. "Orctober must be comin' to an end. But wha's nex'? Per'aps we's just keeps on plunderin'." He took a moment to think. "We can jus' call the nex' munth 'Orcvember' right?" He paused and reassured himself "yuh, that sounds right, 'az a good ring to it."

Grothmog reached the top of the hill overlooking the hamlet they had just sacked. He took stock of a job well done and a month productively spent. He cracked his knuckles and breathed contentedly. 
Then, behind him, beyond the hill, he heard the sound of gnomish horns! He was greeted with the sight of a gnomish army marching in column heralding the coming of Gnome-vember. Perhaps Orcvember wasn't going to be such a hit after all. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Yet Another Workbench Update

First: the baggage train!

No old grumbler worth their salt would go to battle without a baggage train. Naturally, our gnomes had to have carts of their own. Right now we have 2 carts and 3 goats. I plan to add 2 cart riders, as well as baggage to fill the carts. What else belongs in a proper baggage train? Let us know. 
Our first cart
another angle of the first cart

The second cart

Second cart from another angle



Next, we realized our gnomes need sappers. What are our diminutive mountainous people without some digging tools?? Thankfully, we are working to fill this void. So far we have 4 poses, but we are aiming for 6-8 sappers. Is that enough? I am not sure it is. Let us know what sorts of sapper poses you'd like to see. 
Sappers with picks

Sappers with a shovel and wheelbarrow

 Halloween Monster Mash! 

coinciding with our release of skelegnomes, I am sculpting classic Halloween monsters in gnome form! We have a werewolf, vampire, mummy, and a frankenstein's monster. Hopefully, I will get these done on time. 
Gnome Werewolf howling, 22mm to the top of the snout. It's going to have a gnome hat and a typical gnome tunic.

Here's the frankenstein's monster. 15mm tall. He too will have a hat. 

Here's the mummy. Soon it'll have it's wrappings and big hat.  

Gnome vampire. 13mm tall.  He's got a sword, and is hiding behind his cloak.
Here's a cinematic pic of our soon to be released Skelegnomes. I'm very excited about them! Hopefully this link will take you to our skelegnome Kickstarter.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Workbench update!

I haven't sent an update from my workbench for a while. I've been busy sculpting the couple weeks. I've started to make a baggage train and gnomish sappers! Thanks for taking a look at my creative process :) If there are gnomes you'd like to see in the baggage train or among the sappers let me know in the comments.

I also received the new metal swallows, heros, and skelegnomes last week. I have been diligently painting them up. Hopefully I'll have some great stuff to share soon! Very exciting times.
This will be a sapper striking a mighty blow with his pick!

This will be an industrious gnome with a wheelbarrow

Framing up a wagon with an old library card

Every model range needs variety, here's the start of a second wagon. 

First of a few goats to pull those wagons. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Gnome Magic

Follow these links for Gnomish Magics. 4th Ed. 6th Ed.

My methodology was pretty straight forward. I just looked to other spells from the relevant edition and reskinned them - new flavor text and names to imply a different effect, but same rules outcome. In theory this should yield spells that are balanced with their respective editions.

You can find our gnomish armylists here -> 4th Ed. 6th Ed. 

Please feel free to leave comments, feedback and testimonials below.

A Keebler Illusionist contemplates. Gnomish Wizards wield a unique lore of magic; their magic is entirely non-lethal. It relies solely upon trickery to confuse and waylay their opponents. 

This is our fan spell 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.