Friday, October 5, 2018

The Lost and The Damned

Today we have a guest article written by the Best Selling Author and fellow Warlord, Mr. Peter Clines. 

So, I moved recently, and it made me go through a lot of old GW stuff that had piled up over the... wow, nineteen years that I’ve been playing these games and building these models.  Some harsh cuts were made.  I had a bunch of older Tyranids, Demons, Necrons, Genestealer Cultists, and more that I’d hauled from San Diego to LA, across LA, and potentially back down to San Diego if I didn’t re-evaluate some of it.
As I went through things, though, one thing that came up was just how much stuff isn’t supported anymore.  Granted, there are a lot of things that have been... well, lost in recent times.  Especially in Age of Sigmar.  With the loss of the World That Was, we’ve seen the end of the entire Bretonnian line, the Empire, all of the Tomb Kings, Dogs of War, a lot of elf and dwarf sub-types.  Probably a lot of other stuff, too. I never knew Warhammer Fantasy that well.
And this was true for 40K, as well.  There used to be lots of metal models and elements for the grim, dark future.  Some of them became finecast and some... didn’t.  And then the whole finecast line sort of... well, we’re all friends here, yes?  We can be honest.  Good intentions, horrible execution.  Now finecast is on life support in the back room and everyone’s agreed not to pay attention to it unless it coughs too loud.
But this has left a lot of armies with gaping holes.  Popular models or options have just sort of ceased to exist.  And the more I thought about it, the more I was struck by how many things GW just doesn’t make any more.  Or only has available in limited numbers from limited sources, which is... well, really limiting.
For example...

My beloved Chaos Marines have lost a lot of their character models.  Abbadon, Lucius the Eternal, and Fabius Bile have all kind of vanished into that back room.  And that’s considering Abbadon’s desperately needed a new sculpt for... well, a quarter-century now?  Huron Blackheart’s gone, too.  No generic Sorcerers. either, except for the alt-Terminator Lord model.  Has anyone seen a Dark Apostle or a Warpsmith in the past few years?
Heck, there aren’t any more Chaos heavy weapons.  You can get a heavy bolter in the basic Chaos Marines pack and... that’s it.  No lascannons, no missile launchers, no autocannons.  I’m still using a metal lascannon guy from the 1990s because... there’s no other option.  And all the Noise Marine weapons are gone as well.

Are there any Space Marine characters left, aside from the glory that is Guilliman?  I think there’s a Dark Angels Primaris character, but past that...?  No Calgar or Cassius or Tigerius.  No Shryke or Kossaro or (Imperial Fists???)  Blood Angels?  Space Wolves?
Heck, what’s left for basic Space Marine command units at this point?  Can you still get Chaplains or Librarians?  They made a plastic Librarian a while back, right?
I think the Legion of the Damned has completely vanished.  All troops, options, etc.  They were metal-turned-finecast-turned-lost-in-the-warp as well.
Granted, a lot of this may be part of the slow, inevitable creep toward all loyalist marines becoming Primaris.  I could see a whole quarter of 2019 or 2020 dedicated to new hero models, all in their amazing new Primaris bodies/armors/wargear.  Which would probably be followed by a story about the Alpha Legion or Iron Warriors stealing a bunch of Primaris gene seed, and then... boom, Primaris Fabius Bile is in the house (do kids still say “in the house”?).  Followed by an all new, swollen-with-power Primaris Abaddon, and then a scattering of new-and-improved Chaos Marines.
Well, that’s what I’d do if I was telling the story.

There are many things effectively missing from the Eldar armies—say, all the Aspect Warriors—but the big one that stands out to me is the Avatar.  Like Abbadon, here’s a huge model that’s supposed to be the centerpiece of the army and it just... doesn’t exist.  Well, there’s a really expensive Forge World one, I think.  Is that still a thing?

For such an all-inclusive group, the Tau Empire left a lot of people behind.  The Vespids didn’t have a ton of options or models to start with, and they’re all gone.  Same with the Kroot auxiliary beasts—the Kroot hounds and the big ol’ Krootox (with its big ol’ cannon on its back).  And I don’t think there’ an actual Shaper model anymore, either.  You’re just supposed to stick extra bitz on one Kroot and say he’s in charge.

Is the Tyranid Lictor still available?  It’s gone from a nightmare on the board to a nuisance to... well, not even worth having a model, apparently.  Same with Deathleaper and the Red Terror.  And the Pyrovore.  When’s the last time anyone saw a Pyrovore in the flesh-and-chitin?

So what did I miss?  I admit I can be a bit narrow-focus, so I don’t know as much about armies I don’t play.  Is there a big one I skimmed over?
And, sure... a lot of these are easy to make very passable versions of (said as a  guy who had a long-running blog about how to do things on the cheap).  I’ve been using Heresy-era missile launchers for my Alpha Legionnaires.  The Vanguard Veterans set comes with all the options you’d need to make a very solid Captain Shrike.  And even with the big cull, I hung onto all my metal Krootbeasts.
But considering how extreme Games Workshop used to be about no model = no rules, it’s still kinda weird to see the pendulum swing so far the other way.

Go Roll Some Dice
And Be Thankful For Your Old Ones

Friday, September 7, 2018

Knights vs Dread Mob

What is the best way to celebrate Labor Day? 150 Power Level kill-fest with giant robots of course!

We took my newly completed Terryn Knight Household against a Scary Ork Stompa-Dread Mob. Four Turns of Mayhem resulted.
I just finished up a Knight Castellan and three Armigers, but I had to go back and do some touch ups on my four previous Knights so they would match up. Which entailed re-doing all the gold trim and rebasing them. Yeah, I know I'm a bit crazy. But now they look like a unified force.
The Ork force was led by a Stompa (with the Gaze of Gork) a Gorkanaut, a Mega-Dread, and a host of Dreads and Kans.

Both sides charged straight at each other, firing all the way. The Knights shooting was overwhelming, and was able to thin out the Mob before it closed to melee. The close combat was as fast and brutal as you may think. The Stompa took out a undamaged Paladin with it's Mega-choppa (24 points of damage!) before the Knight Baron fished the Stompa off with a spectacular 20 point hit from his Thermal Cannon. The Knights took a lot of damage, but only lost one Knight and all three Armigers.

It was a good game, but I do feel the Knights might be under-pointed. More likely, the Orks (who don't have a real Codex yet) are too expensive. Of course the lower end units, the Kans and Dreads probably knocked the Ork side a bit out of whack.

I would like to run this battle again and give the Orks a 51 PL handicap, which happens to be the price of a second Kustom Stompa...

The Emperor Protects
But Charge the Ion Shields Just in Case

Thursday, September 6, 2018

A Kill Team Idea

Kill Team has been out for a bit now and it seems to be really taking off. I have only managed to get in a few games but I like it a lot. It's quick and fun. The command point and specialist abilities give it a good edge without making it super fiddly. (unlike what X-Wing became...I'll talk about that soon.)

I would like to see some more units made available, particularly for the Eldar. I understand that the current units are tailored for Match Play, but that is so not my group's focus. Which brings me close to my main idea here:

Kill Team is a fantastic vehicle for narrative play. The small scale and advancement of characters make it perfect for a lite-RPG-wargame experience. Yes, my concept takes it from the 1 vs 1 type of play to a kinda GM vs player thing, like Imperial Assault and others like it. Where the GM creates a set of liked scenarios that the player will bring their Kill Team through escalating actions to a climax.

I have a test campaign just about ready to go, and will unleash it in a week or so. If it goes well, I have a much longer campaign in mind, with some custom characters on both sides.

                                            *                     *                 *
In the time it has taken me to finally get back to finishing this post, Games Workshop has given more details on Rogue Trader Kill Team. To my surprise, it is exactly what I hoped it would be: a focused narrative campaign, with nifty custom characters on both sides. I am very excited for it and will give a review of the boxed set next week.

Go Roll Some Dice
Roll To See If I'm Wining

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Blackgate Nomads

As I was waiting for Kill Team to arrive, I finished up my Chaos Team for Blood Bowl: The Blackgate Nomads! On their fancy new home pitch to boot.

Long ago, in the distant past (early 1990s) The Nomads were the first Blood Bowl team I made and took into a league. I think I managed to win two games and not finish last. The team was made up of found and borrowed figures, mostly just primed black, and a few missing limbs. Damn you soft lead!

Using the new plastic box set and the Minotaur from Forge World, the Nomads have at long last taken the field finished* and fully painted. With the help of the Dark Powers, I hope to win more than two games. No promises.

*Not quite totally finished, they need Player Numbers and some Chaos decals.

Next up: Kill Team, and lots of it.

Go Roll Some Dice
And Take a Few Heads While You Are At It.