Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Imperial Assault Campaign Wrap Up

World's Best Dad does not approve of the new friends.
Sorry about the lack of posts this month, it's been a bit busy/crazy. Enough with real life, toy soldier time! Once a month we have been playing FFG's Star Wars Imperial Assault Campaign. A few missions each session, and we wrapped it up last weekend. Including the side and forced missions, we did twelve missions, and each one was tense and could have gone either way. It is evident that FFG put in some real work playtesting and balancing the missions.

That guy there! 
The Rebel scum did win the Campaign, but I had a lot of fun playing the Imperials. The Rebels do become powerful killing machines as they increase in XP and get good gear, however, the Imperial side gets its toys as well.  This is where some people are divided on this game.

I feel the Skirmish mode is the place for head-to-head combat, where you try to crush your opponent, not the Campaign. The Campaign is more like a lite RPG to me, and as such it is more important to advance the story and give the players a good fight. This doesn't mean I take it easy on them. Far from it, just ask them. It does mean I am more thoughtful in my decisions and how they relate to what the Imperials are trying to do, and how they should act. I tend to be much more thematic in my troop choices as well. I feel it makes for a better experience for everybody.
Things look bad for the Heroes...
  There are plenty of missions we have yet to play, and the Twin Suns expansion just came out so there is much more Imperial Assault in our future.

Next up: The Gargant is getting closer.

Go Roll Some Dice
Time to Upgrade some Stormtroopers

Friday, August 7, 2015

Knights vs. Kaiju, Round One

1750 points, Tyranid Kaiju list vs. my Baronial Lance. Sadly, it all went wrong for the 'Nids.
The heavy firepower of the Knights is to be expected, but one would think once the surviving Tyranids got into hand to hand they would do some good damage. Not even close. It was a disappointing battle for both sides.

This battle did point out just how much the Tyranids have lost in anti-tank capabilities. Just the one (huge) change to monstrous creatures losing the extra D6 on the penetration roll is crippling. But add the lessening of Rend, and the complete lack of high AP weapons and there is really not much of a chance for the Tyranids to beat The Knights, or any army that has a few AV.13 or better walkers or tanks.
More Tyranids need to be able to take some kind of Armourbane. Tygons, Tyrannofex, and the Hive Tyrant have to be able to beat up a Land Raider, or a Knight in Hand to Claw/Tentacle combat. We are going to try a house rule or two and see how that goes. I just want the monstrous creatures to be monsters again.

The Emperor Protects
Sometimes by Editing His Foes

Friday, July 24, 2015

Forbidden Stars, Quick Review

The juggernaut that is Fantasy Flight Games rolls on with another quality product. Forbidden Stars is a Warhammer 40K themed strategic level game of system conquest. It is set in the Herakon Cluster, which had been cut off from the rest of the galaxy by powerful warp storms. Now the storms have abated, and four races rush in to claim the systems of the cluster.

2-4 players choose from the Eldar, Space Marines, Chaos, and Ork factions. The game is up to typical high FFG standards, very nice cards, counters, plastics, and map sections. Each faction gets four different ground force units, and two starship types. Each unit represents larger, more capable and expensive units. For example the Marines have Scouts, Marines, Land Raider, and Warlord Titan.
The map tiles have a olde tyme cartography style to them, which fits in great with the 40K Imperial aesthetic.

   

The game turned out to be a little more complicated than I thought it would be. That is not a bad thing at all. It has a easy learning curve, and pretty much falls into to place about 2/3 of the way through your first game.

The goal of the game is to claim a number of Objective Tokens, the number needed depends on how many people are playing. Each faction has their own specific Objectives scattered around the map. Each World on the map has ratings for how much material it produces each turn, how many units can be on the world, and any special assets you can receive from controlling it. Each World may also have a single Structure, these help with your tech level, defending the World, or being able build units in that system.  

Each turn is made up of three phases: Planning, Operations, and Refresh. Of course the Planning Phase is the trickiest. So much hinges on the choices you make in this phase. If you did not plan to do something it does not happen. Gathering assets, moving forces, building units or structures, and buying upgrades all depend on you thinking ahead and giving the correct orders.

All this planning turns into action in the Operation Phase. Players take turns executing their orders, and if this leads to combat, this is when it happens. Combat seems a bit much at first, but it is a well designed and quick system. It uses cards (which are upgradable) and dice for resolution.

The Refresh phase is where some fun stuff happens, event cards are played (if you planned it!), material is collected from all the Worlds you control, and Warp Storms move about the map, cutting off some movement avenues, and of course you pick up any Objectives you conquered and see if you have enough to win. The game ends on turn eight if nobody has won yet, and the player with the most objectives then is the victor.
Warlord Jake approves of your little game.
Forbidden Stars is a fun, polished game. The 40K-ness is done well but doesn't override gameplay. I look forward to many more plays of this one.
Highly Recommended to strategy fans.

The Emperor Protects
Some days you just have to look at the Big Picture


Friday, July 17, 2015

Free Rules Dude!

Forbidden Stars review on Tuesday. No, really. Today we will have a quick talk about Age of Sigmar. Famous Author Pete and I gave the free rules a spin the night before Comic-Con. Neither of us play Warhammer Fantasy Battles, so this will be a take on AoS just based on the current rules, not "how bad GW has screwed WFB players".

Pete has collected quite an array of Fantasy figs through time. I have some Beastmen (on round bases that are to be used in my mythical Renegade Imperial Guard Army) and some Chaos Spawn figs. More than enough for a test battle. It just felt wrong doing a not-even-primed battle report. Oh well, that's what rum is for.

The four pages of game rules plus Battlescrolls (unit cards) for over a dozen armies are available for free on Games Workshops site. The rules are pretty straightforward, but do have a few soft points. The oddest design choice was the lack of points for any model. "You got some guys I got some guys, let's fight" is fine in theory but difficult in practice. Especially after decades of building armies based on points. So we chose a common internet fix, total wounds per side. it was easy and seemed to give adequate balance. I took 30 wounds of Beastmen, and Pete brough the Brittonians.

The game was fast and fun. the rules have a very familiar feeling, but do have some distinct changes. The Battlescrolls as a total info unit card work very well. They are handy and clearly lay out what the unit can do.
Like I said earlier, neither one of us play WFB, so I don't have any points of contention or comparison. As a 40K player, it seems like a very streamlined version, but not so much that it loses it's flavor. I've been told by more than a few people that WFB is a more strict and/or complicated game than 40K, so maybe the the Age of Sigmar rules are in fact closer to 40K than WFB.

I would have prefered to see a reboot of the WFB world with these new rules (and maybe some point values) but GW doesn't ask for my opinion, so I will not bother with things I cannot control or influence. Time will tell if AoS is a good move or the death knell of WFB.

Of course there has been internet outrage over this, but that is no different from any other time. I can't even imagine what the troll rage would have been like if the internet was as prevalent when 40K moved from 2nd edition to 3rd.

At the end of the day we are just playing with toy soldiers. Pick a set of rules that you and your friends like and go with it.

Overall, it was a good time. A fast and easy ruleset for when you want some fantasy combat time. It will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

    The Emperor Protects
Like, who's Sigmar?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Four Horsemen

I just finished my Imperial Knights upgrades. I built and painted a Baron in a Knight Warden, and did some various up-gunning to my three existing Knights. Even though it was just fourteen months since the first Knight Codex came out, a lot has changed in the 40K landscape. The new Codex is bigger, with more artwork and painting guides, not to mention three new Knights and five new weapon systems. New Warlord traits and a handful of relics make the new Codex a worthwhile upgrade.

The addition of carapace weapons are a significant improvement for the Knights. It gives them a much needed Anti-aircraft weapon in the form of the Icarus Autocannons.  The two types of missile launchers helps out with light armor threats and/or large squads of infantry.

The new Knight Warden kit comes with all the parts needed to make all the variants. And as a bonus, the two carapace weapons are complete, so you will have one left over to add to a older model.

Keeping with my House Terryn theme, I wanted to make a Baronial Court with four knights, one of each shooty type. Sorry, Gallant, but who the hell wants an all hand to hand Knight?

So my new build, the Baron. I really like the few new bits: Meltagun, fancy tilting shield, and of course the Avenger Gatling Cannon (with built-in Heavy Flamer for the kids!) I did the decals the same way as I did for my first three and had very good results this time too.

My Crusader started out as one of my two Paladins, after a slightly stressful job of removing the chainsword from the left shoulder/arm joint, I replaced it with an Avenger cannon and added a Stormspear missile pod up top.

The Errant has the least amount of work done to it, new faceplate and a missile pod and done!

The remaining Paladin had a left arm upgrade as well, I just had to put the Thunderstrike Gauntlet on one of the Knights. I swapped out a Heavy Stubber for a Meltagun and dropped on the autocannon mount to complete the upgrades.

 The Baron's Lance comes out to a nice 1745 points. Time to see who is can take it on.


Next up, we play the new 40K-themed board game, Forbidden Stars.

The Emperor Protects
Because Giant Robots