Friday, May 13, 2016

Multi-Tool Whirlwind

Waaay back in the early 1990's my Whirlwinds were the backbone of my army for both 40K and Space Marine (Epic). Of course the Marines didn't have a lot to choose from. But that was what made them good. Five different tanks tailored for different roles, all working together.

The Whirlwind was the long range bombardment, sure, but it had a decent anti-tank role as well. There were no rules for aircraft yet, but in the fluff it was said a few times the Whirlwind was the also the Space Marines anti-aircraft platform, which makes perfect sense. Space Marines have some of the best tech of the Imperium, so a AFV that packed multi-purpose missiles fits them perfectly.
I had made a pair of Whirlwinds as shown in White Dwarf #117 using left-over Rhino parts and bases. They rocked.
Then came 2nd edition, and the fancy new metal turret, but weaker rules.
A myriad of newer Space Marine vehicles arrived and the mighty Whirlwind begun its decades long slide into near-uselessness. Forge World brought forth a dedicated anti-aircraft version, The  Hyperios, but it still lacked the utility of the original Whirlwind. The new Hunter/Stalker is a good AA platform but: A)is still only just a AA tank, and B) not for the Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and (most importantly for me), the Dark Angels.

So what to do? House Rule time.  

The Space Marines clearly have the tech for a missile launcher that has different ammo types. The basic Infantry Missile Launcher, and the Typhoon Missile launcher do this well. So should the Whirlwind, just bigger and better. Here in my simple proposal:

The Whirlwind is armed with a Vengeance Missile Launcher. Like the Typhoon launcher, it can be fired one of several different ways each turn.

Frag warhead:  Range:12"-72" Str:5, AP:4, Large blast, Barrage 2
Krak warhead: Range: 48" Str:8, AP:3, Heavy 2

May add one addition missile type:

Incendiary warhead, Range:12"-72" Str:4, AP:5, Large blast, Barrage 2, ignores cover, +15 points
Flakk Missile, Range: 48"  Str:7, AP2, Skyfire 2, +20 points

I think this goes a long way to making the Whirlwind a viable weapon again. It is not as good as any dedicated platform like the Basilisk or Hunter, but it can do it all, and that is what the Marines need.

The Emperor Protects
And Rains Death Upon the Heritics

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dawn of War III


Well. That is a hell of a thing. Now we just have to wait a few months to see any real gameplay shots. Still, I am very excited, here's hoping it has bigger scale battles than Dawn of War II.

Friday, April 15, 2016

What Are You Rebelling Against?

Star Wars: Rebellion is Fantasy Flight's latest Star Wars game and it brings a lot (literally) to the table. It is a grand scale game set right before the events of Episode IV.  It comes with a huge, beautiful, map, and over 150 fantastic plastic miniatures, plus stand-up Leaders, dice, cards and markers. All high-grade Fantasy Flight Games quality.

At first glance it looks like a Axis & Allies or Twilight Imperium style conquer-the-galaxy type game. But it isn't. What we have here is a character driver wargame. Each side has a pool of Leaders who initiate all actions. Missions are the heart of this game. Each player gets a hand of Missions cards, which can be as diverse as Starting work on a second Death Star to recruiting allies for the Rebellion.

Gameplay is not complicated, but many hard choices await you. The turn starts with players assigning Leaders to Missions or holding them in reserve to either move units or challenge enemy Leaders on their Missions. Then players attempt to execute their Missions, taking alternate turns to do so. If a Mission is not challenged it succeeds. A Leader who is in reserve can be sent to a System and have any adjacent unit move to that system. Ground units and TIE fighters have to be carried, and all starships have a transport value. If there is enemy units in that system combat is fought.
Combat is quick and fun, with your Leaders influencing the battle. The battles are fought in space and on the ground in separate steps, with either side able to disengage after a round of combat.

At the end of the turn the Imperial player gets vital Probe Droid cards which inform where the Rebel base isn't. Leaders are recruited and units get built and deployed. The lager units can take up to three turns to construct.

The game ends when the Rebel base is found and destroyed by the Empire, or the Rebellion gets enough Reputation to start a galaxy-wide revolt and unseat the Empire. The turn track marker moves up the track as turns go by, and the Rebel Reputation marker goes down the same track as they complete Objectives. When they meet the Rebels win. It's very unsettling for the Imperial player to watch the two makers slowly move towards each other.

It is not all fun and games for the Rebel player. Laughably outnumbered at the start of the game they must seek new allies in which to build new units, and increase Reputation.  All without hinting at where their secret base is.

Rebel leaders can get captured, interrogated for information, rescued, and Farmboy Luke can get trained by Yoda and turn into Awesome Jedi Luke. A lot of cool things go on in this game. One of the only downsides is the playtime tends to run long, in the 2-3 hours range. It doesn't drag, there is very little downtime for the players, it just can go for a bit.

In our most recent game, the Rebels got Mon Calamari early and started to produce Cruisers, which the Imperial player disliked. With his fleet tied up fighting the Rebel fleet, he sent that ambassador of good will, Grand Moff Tarkin and the Death Star. Boom goes the planet. Which the Secret Rebel Base was also on. Propper win for the Empire!  
Star Wars: Rebellion is a very good game. It is as playable with 3 or 4 players as it is with 2. The game is easy to get into, and offers lots of choices during play.
Highly recommend.

Go Roll Some Dice
And Blow Up Some Planets

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Overkill

Deathwatch: Overkill is Games Workshop's latest in their resurgence of 40K stand-alone games. It is a tactical combat game featuring two long neglected forces, Deathwatch Space Marines, and the Genestealer Cult.
The Components
What is is in this box? A whole lot of awesome minis, eight very pretty, double sided board sections, Character cards, the ambush deck, a range ruler, some six sided dice, and the rulebook with nine missions and a linking campaign for them.

The figures are very detailed and easy to assemble. They are mono-pose, but that is not a real issue for me as there is good variety in the poses. The Deathwatch get the full spectrum of Marines, including two jump packs, a terminator, a bike, a librarian, and a chaplain.
 The Cult have an even wider range of figures. The Genestealer Patriarch steals the show, being a huge Genestealer standing on a pipe end. The Magus and Primus are very good looking as well. Two purestrain genestealers and a pair of familiars round out the command elements. The Cultists have sixteen 3/4th gen hybrids with twelve autoguns, two grenade launchers, and two with mining lasers. A nice dozen 1/2nd gen hybrids armed with pistols and close combat fun. Rounding out the cult are four Aberrants with industrial weapons.

The Game
Neat stuff, but is it any good? Short answer? Yes. Overkill is a short, sharp tactical game. Missions last 20-60 minutes tops.

The Deathwatch Marines are killing machines, but they are badly outnumbered. The turn structure reflects this well. The Cult gets Ambush cards to either add more forces, or as a Gambit, which is some sort of trickery. Marines, move, then the Cult moves, Deathwatch shoots, Cult shoots, Deathwatch shoots again! Oh yeah, not to be trifled with.

 All the Deathwatch Marines, the Patriarch, Primus, and Magus have two wounds. The rest of the cult have one. The Marines can heal their wound if they forgo shooting in a phase. Even with Deathwatch's badassery it often turns into a tense game as the cult just keep popping up.


The Fluff
Overkill follows Killteam Cassius as they investigate the disappearance of an Inquisitor on the mining hellhole know as Ghosar Quintus. Mayhem ensues.

Concise bios of all eleven members of the Killteam, weapon profiles, and artwork are well interspersed throughout the book.

The narrative that flows in the margins of the rulebook is an engaging story of one of the first encounters with the Genestealer Cult. And why some Marines should not be invited to parties.


Conclusion
I like it. It's fun, fast, and has that right "feel". It is not super detailed but it works. Rules for Stormtroopers are in next week's White Dwarf along with a new mission. It's nice to see it get some support. With a little effort it could be expanded further.

Now I'm thinking about stats for a Commissar and a Inquisitor.

The Four-Armed Emperor Protects
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