Tuesday 29 April 2014

Undead Units

Undead units
Undead units operate differently to many other models in the game. In general terms they are Immune to Poison and Healing States and cannot take Advantage Cards. They are a mix of capability from the cheap (in Levels) Type-005 and Type-004: Hellhound, to more powerful and costly units such as Type-012: Hunter, Raziel Archetypum or Raziel Nk-X. Most are non-unique (with notable exceptions such as Styx).

They are also subject to the Uncontrollable rule which I will look at a bit in a future post.

One aspect of Undead is that as they are generally quite inexpensive to include in a Party, then it is easily possible to outnumber your opponent numerically, which in itself can be an advantage when pulling out Activations and/or Dodges.

It is clear that Black Sun (as the primary purveyors of Undead, as necromantic weapons) are still evolving as an Organization, so it will be interesting to see if any more non-unique Undead units appear, as right now they have 7 different non-unique options.

Saturday 26 April 2014

100th Post

Just over two years ago, this blog started. Not my first (or even my second!) minis blog, but recently the one that has seen most activity. And hitting the 100 post milestone I thought it was time to do a quick 'reflections post'.

The Why Of Anima Tactician
I had been vaguely aware of Anima Tactics for a few years, but without any real understanding of its pitch. I then picked up a few minis relatively inexpensively, and after grabbing the hardcover book I was hooked: the tone, the character archetypes, and some of the underlying game mechanisms all screamed 'Japanese rpgs' as influences - resistance was of course futile (but that would be another game wouldn't it...?).

I already had my general hobby blog (here) and my Pulp City blog (Pulp Citizen - here), and it was the latter that informed the creation of Anima Tactician. I set out to paint at least one of every Pulp City mini (a great game by the way!). Currently I am around 90-95% towards that target. I had the crazy thought that I should do the same with another range, and so a several year project was born. Unfortunately it took around eight to nine months to get any real starting momentum....

By The Numbers
At the time of writing this post, the blog has had over 17,000 hits. It has 24 Followers. There have been 199 comments (thanks guys!). I have painted and posted 52 units comprising 50 discrete sculpts. There has been 1 battle report.

The Future
I am steadily working through the painting backlog, which does continue to grow - two more duplicate minis arrived this week after my last post...). My current estimate is approximately 3 years to paint what I have remaining and currently on order. If I can increase my average beyond 3 per month, that could be sooner.

I want to get more games in, and I want to do more  battle reports time permitting.

I would love to see Anima Tactics get decent UK distribution, and some traction within the UK hobby community.

Finally, I want to see the blog carry on, with a mix of newly painted units, as well as maybe some of the game mechanic features. But most of all, I would love readers to interact more with comments, so please feel free to do so.

You The Reader!
Thanks to everyone who has taken time to visit and read, and especially sign up as Followers. I look forwards to the next 100 posts!

Tuesday 22 April 2014


Ninja! Essentially Wanderer ninjas, Shinobi are non-unique units for Anima Tactics, described as elite assassins said to come from the Eastern island of Varja. I like ninjas (I have painted 8 so far for Pulp City!), and so eventually I would like to paint a few of these (more on why in a moment), and I do currently have another available in the mound of blisters.

Shinobi can be taken once per 150 Party Levels, so usually one or two in a typical Party. Unlike other Agents (so far!), they can be included in Organization or Faction Parties (currently, other Agents may only be used in Organization Parties - not in Light or Dark Parties). However, there is also an interesting wrinkle with Kagemaru when used as an Optional Leader; then his Master Shinobi and Elite Shinobi abilities allow you to field a ninja squadron - he allows up to two additional Shinobi, with all Shinobi having a reduced cost! Use them in an Azur Party with the Shadow Lords Organizational Advantage and suddenly you can have Kagemaru (as Optional Leader) and 4 Shinobi with maximum enhancements, all for 155 Levels versus the usual cost of 200 Levels (basically a 'free' extra unit). Add more Prowlers such as Dagger, Harod, Kyler or Kirsten, and the cost break continues. Assassin force!

All that aside, I would rather have another Shinobi sculpt before investing in a third and fourth. Right  now however, there is no sign of another sculpt appearing but I will remain hopeful as other Agents have had two variants.

On the colour scheme, I had started painting the whole uniform dark blue, but I did not like it, so I dropped the mini into the stripping bath (Dettol; works a treat, and best stuff I have used so far). I re-started using 'black' (dark grey) as the base for most of the mini, and keeping the dark blue to add some contrast, which was a motif I started with Kagemaru. I will keep this colour scheme going forward for other Shinobi, but altering the position of the dark blue to break up the uniformity a little. Most importantly, my 2014 painting target is almost  back on track across all lines after losing a month in February (I want to manage four minis per month, plus another couple somewhere across the year), and for Anima Tactics I want to paint around three minis per month on average; so far for this year I have painted ten Anima Tactics minis, so I am down by two.

Running Totals
Anima Tactics Units: 156 (added: nothing, but currently several mins are on order...)
Anima Tactics Units Painted: 52 (50 different models; technically as September has not yet been released, that is one-third of every mini I have, and one-third of those actually available!)
Painted Units Percentage: 33.3% (percentage of AT minis owned and painted)
Anima Tactics Range: 151 units (including 2 LE minis; added September as he is due for imminent release)
Percentage of Whole Range Painted: 33.1%
Year to Date Target: 11 of 12 units (3 per month target; 91.7%)

Sunday 20 April 2014


Tiamat is described as the youngest of the four 7th Heaven Knights that serve the Empress, and as a lazy womanizer, but with a peerless talent for fighting.

He is also my fifty-first completed mini for Anima Tactics as my painting rolls on. Tiamat utilises the same basic Empire colour scheme that I have used elsewhere (although there will come a variation when I eventually come to the likes of Samiel and Iosara), with the addition of red as a flourish which should help him stand out a little against the rank and file. I may repeat that red flourish on other Empire Leaders as it should help keep them looking a little distinct.

Tiamat offers me a bit of flexibility for building up my Empire towards a reasonable size Party (i.e. 300 Levels), since he is an Optional Leader, meaning I could still add a unit like Griever if I wanted. With Tiamat I now have around 275 Levels of Empire, so a couple more units are probably needed to make viable Party configurations. It could still be a while before I play a game with Empire, except maybe at a lower Level game such as 200 Levels (usually around 4-5 units).

In game terms, Tiamat looks like a decent fighter, although not in the class of some more combat-focused units; balancing that he has some support capability, with Actions that can disrupt enemies (World of Wires and Starlight Romance - and the latter is an area effect which is very potent) and has an Action that offers exceptional Haste for a paltry cost of 1 AP (basically better than most if not all Neokinesis). He has a fairly low Armor compared to some Empire units, but is very mobile so covers some of their perceived weaknesses.

Running Totals
Anima Tactics Units: 156 (added: nothing, but currently several mins are on order...)
Anima Tactics Units Painted: 51 (49 different models)
Painted Units Percentage: 32.7% (percentage of AT minis owned and painted)
Anima Tactics Range: 151 units (including 2 LE minis; added September as he is due for imminent release)
Percentage of Whole Range Painted: 32.4%

Friday 18 April 2014

The Next 10 (5)

A real slow-down in the last few months in my Anima Tactics painting. It took me two months to crank out units #'s 31 to 40, but close to four months to paint up #'s 41 (Sho) to 50 (Janiel). I guess momentum will wax and wane, and painting nothing at all in February certainly did not help!

Janiel rounded out this batch, and as she has been hanging around for a while (she was undercoated black, which tells me she was under-coated a long while ago as I have almost entirely stopped using black for undercoating), I was very glad she is done and out of the way so to speak.

Black Sun have seen most new additions along with Wissenschaft, with a mix of odd units here and there for the rest. I think my favourite paint-jobs of this batch are either XII or Arkham, with Kira and Sho closely behind.

Looking forward, if I manage to maintain my current rate of progress, I think 3 years is a realistic target to get everything I have for Anima Tactics painted. That said, I could probably do with a surge of painting across a single month in the near future to help me toward my goal, and I would love to get into the Gears and some more of the larger units I have. And having 6 more units incoming from various online orders does not help shorten the goal-line....

Tuesday 15 April 2014


My fiftieth painted Anima Tactics mini, and really not the one I expected to get finished to achieve that milestone. I picked he up while waiting for some paint to dry on another mini and quickly got to work, doing more than I planned to in short order.

Janiel Ul Del Valiem is a formidable spell-caster and fighter. Her mystical abilities allow her to invoke a guardian spirit named Enjeil, who takes the form of an enormous eagle made of energy, through which she manifests her powers.

My Samael units don't have an identifiable colour scheme, and so will have more in common with my Wanderers than the other Organizations; I am guessing they will quite a colourful bunch by the time they are done. It is going to be quite some time before I have enough units to filed a substantively Samael-filled Party (although I could probably do it already with Wanderers and Summons, three Samael units would not feel 'enough' for me), but this is another one done which is the main thing.

Looking at Janiel in game terms, she looks like quite a bit of a utility character; she looks like a mixed fighter and support character, not excelling in either category, but providing some options in both aspects. Her actions are a mix of close combat Attack, Ranged Attack, Healing, attack buff (to ranged attacks against a single target) and Seeking (used against Hidden for characters with Stealth). When I eventually get a Samael Party together and try and get to grips with them, I think that utility of varied Actions will be useful to cover some short-comings. Of course utility characters generally don't excel with Actions, so may not be as good or effective as a unit with a narrower focus. Pluses and minuses.

For Advantage Card I am thinking Control Bound to maximise the efficacy of her Action that buffs ranged Attacks against a single target, however that would be contingent on having a few Ranged Attacks in the Party.

Running Totals
Anima Tactics Units: 156 (added: nothing)
Anima Tactics Units Painted: 50 (48 different models)
Painted Units Percentage: 32.1% (percentage of AT minis owned and painted)
Anima Tactics Range: 150 units (including 2 LE minis)
Percentage of Whole Range Painted: 32.0%

Friday 11 April 2014


Figure 1: Kira is going to need some help!
Intangible is a pretty nifty Innate Ability, and one that I had overlooked until I painted Ahriman, Lord of Darkness.

At first I focused on the fact that it allows the model to avoid the penalties of moving through Abrupt Terrain (Difficult Terrain in many other games). But there is something even cooler; basically it limits models Attacking an Intangible target to those with Magic or Ki Attacks or Special Effects, or of needing to be of higher Level. Basically this particularly hamstrings Prowlers, which means that Azur and Wissenschaft more than most Organizations have units that are adversely affected, since their Actions are often based on Subterfuge, and many Prowlers are not of especially high Level.
Figure 1: Kira is in trouble because her Actions are based on Subterfuge (not Ki or Magic), and her level is less than Ahriman, Lord of Darkness' Atman value of 60 (Atman is the Level equivalency that Summons use for Level vs Level comparisons).

Figure 2: Will Ahriman, Lord of Darkness Charge Juliette Kaim?
Intangible also adds to range of Charges where that range would be reduced by Abrupt Terrain, such as steep hills. Especially useful as the game does not strictly allow pre-measuring.
Figure 2: Ahriman, Lord of Darkness wants to Charge Juliette Kaim, even though she is on a steep hill (Abrupt Terrain), which may mean he could be out of Charge range if he did not have the Intangible Innate Ability. It does not prevent Maximo Ligori from trying to intercept the Charge of course.
Intangible can clearly be turned to a player's advantage of course, and one extra option is to use the Ceridwen Equipment Advantage Card, which allows the bearer to benefit from Intangible by using an Action. I really dismissed the card at first, but in hindsight against certain Party types it could be a very useful option.

Sunday 6 April 2014


Another Anima Tactics mini done, and I feel so close to finishing my fiftieth Anima Tactics unit (being careful to avoid getting overconfident mind you!); so here is Kyler. I had a sudden burst of motivation, so the bulk of the work was done in a couple of hours yesterday, using my standard Azur Alliance colour scheme (see my Juliette Kaim for the first mini I did in this pattern).

Kyler is an assassin. Remodeled using Lost Loggia technology, and turned into a psychotic killing machine, this member of the dread Team Les Jaeger  has become one of the most prominent killers on Gaia.

Kyler has benefited from a cost reduction from the 2013 Saga II and IV Update, dropping to 35 Levels, which should help make the four-piece Team Les Jaeger a more attractive proposition. However, I think it will be quite a while before I have enough Azur Alliance units ready to field a useful Party of them. With my chaotic approach to what I paint and in which order, one never knows though!

I suspect Kyler will be best used as part of Team Les Jaeger or possibly not at all, despite that he is pretty cheap. From reading the official Anima Tactics Forum, Azur Alliance are pretty challenging to get to grips with, not least the Prowlers that fill the ranks of the Organization. In games, I tend to prefer forces that get stuck in and perhaps don't rely on significant subtleties of game-play, so Azur Alliance may not be the one for me - nonetheless I will be painting them all (I hope!).

An Advantage Card that is pretty much primed to work with Kyler's Actions is Nullem Lusec; Kyler has a 1 AP Attack called Dancing Mad (Attack 4; Damage 2), which would mean up to 4 Attacks of 6/2 which could be interesting. Alternatively there is Nue which makes it harder to Seek a Hidden unit (such as Kyler when using Stealth).

I now need to paint one more to hit mini number fifty, which will feel like a major milestone, not just for achieving another ten painted, but for getting much closer to a third of the range painted (since I have painted two duplicates so far, that would be mini number fifty two at the earliest). Getting this unit done and other recent completed minis (such as Kira; Arkham; Ahriman, Lord of Darkness; Type-004: Hellhound/Hellhound; and Type-020: Verrier) has been pretty pleasing after painting nothing in February.

Running Totals
Anima Tactics Minis: 156 (added: Maria)
Anima Tactics Minis Painted: 49 (47 different models)
Painted Minis Percentage: 31.4% (percentage of AT minis owned and painted)
Anima Tactics Range: 150 (including 2 LE minis)
Percentage of Whole Range Painted: 31.3%

Saturday 5 April 2014

Critical Mastery

Figure 1: Sho smacks down Faust Orbatos?
This Innate Ability is a nice and simple one to explain to anyone who has not played the game; Critical Mastery effectively doubles the chance of achieving a Critical Hit (which Empire can improve further with the Combat Mastery Organizational Advantage).

A model scoring a Critical Hit hits even if the target Dodges successfully, and inflicts a minimum of 1 Life Point of Damage regardless of Armor. So for a unit like Ignis, Fire Demon for example, this particularly offsets the Summon's low Attack value.

Now comes a quick lesson! Anima Tactics allows a little degree of manipulation of probabilities through buffs to Attributes such as Attack, but more importantly through use of Gnosis. Players have a small pool of Gnosis to use each Turn. A Gnosis die adds an extra die to a roll, choosing the best result. Alongside Critical Mastery and using a Gnosis die means a 36% chance of a Critical Hit. For Empire Parties using Combat Mastery, that probability rises to 51%. So even the most well-defended (through high Defense and/or Armor plus Dodging) target can be hit with a strong degree of confidence in those circumstances!
Figure 1: Sho is Attacking Faust Orbatos, and Sho's Party is benefiting from Combat Mastery; Faust has not yet Activated, and so has enough AP to Dodge. Sho knows Faust may Dodge, and that his target has very good Armor, so he decides to use Gnosis (Attacker declares first before the target declares use of Dodge and any Gnosis).
If Faust does not Dodge, Sho has a 64% chance of hitting, a 51% chance of causing a Critical Hit, and a 19% chance of causing his maximum Damage in this situation which would be 6 Life Points. Perhaps more importantly, it pressures Faust to either Dodge (using a precious AP) or risk a good chance of taking some Damage.

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