Saturday, April 22, 2017

New Games Workshop™

Well. Not unexpected, but damn. In case you somehow missed it, GW announced 40K 8th edition this morning. In what looks to be the biggest shake-up of the system since 3rd, I am very cautiously optimistic.

With a new website and more importantly a FAQ (go read it now!) to address some of the news. Let's hit the highlights:

ALL (current) models and armies are valid, even Forge World stuff. Yay!

All current Codexes are not. This is good because it means they are making real changes to the game. Not really bad because I still enjoy looking at older Codexes and I got my use out of them.

3 ways to play. Groovy. Good for pick-up games as well as doing some narrative fun.

The core rules for the game will be free. Words I never thought would come from GW.

I'm kind of enamored with the new folk over at GW now, they are really trying hard to engage with the community, and making good choices for the hobby.

We don't have any clear info yet on what will be changed in 8th edition other than it will be better. Less special rules and a cleaner turn system are at the top of my guess list. We will find out very soon.

I think this is a bold, and very necessary move to keep 40K viable. I'm looking forward to the Dark Future once again.

The Emperor Protects
And Will Hopefully Trim the Rules Bloat.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Let's Talk About Rules, Baby

For the Summer Campaign I was going to use a modified Kill Team rules set for the smaller battles, and regular 7th edition rules for the rest. Then came the glorious Armageddon Shadow Wars announcement, and persistent rumors that 8th edition would be out a month or two after my Champaign start. What to do?

I really like (or is it miss?) parts of the Second Edition/Necromunda rules. I thought 'to hit' modifiers added to the game, as did Armor Save modifiers. Different movement rates for different units as well. The close combat was/is good for smaller engagements but really bogged down with a lot of troops fighting it out.

So we shall use the Shadow Wars rules for a kind of mini-campaign to enact the rise of the Genestealer cult over the other cults, gangs, and Enforcers. Hopefully at the end of that, 8th Edition will be released and we will jump right into the main campaign with the shiny new rules. It will be a slightly odd transition, but it will all depend on how much changes in 8th.

I do love how many factions got released for Shadow Wars right away, but I am missing most of the key ones for my Campaign. It won't be too hard to make stats for Gangers, Enforcers, and Sisters. I guess we will need Inquisitors and their friends as well. I think Deathwatch is in the main rules, at least I hope so.

Wanting to play two different rulesets in one campaign just highlights that no single set of rules can do it all. Skirmish games that have a handful of models per side tend to really break and/or slow down with larger games. Rules that can handle company-sized engagements quickly don't play as well with low unit counts. The current 40K rules (3rd edition onwards) has grown towards larger battles, but tried hard to keep small unit flavor, resulting in a bit of a bloated ruleset. 7th does play better than 6th or maybe even 5th, but a major overhaul is really needed. All will be revealed soon enough.

In the meantime we will enjoy the Shadow Wars.

The Emperor Protects
The Adeptus Rules Administratum is Hard at Work

Friday, March 24, 2017

Metal Never Forgets

As I ramp up for the Summer Campaign I delve deep into the box of lost toys. Behold! A full squad of Necromunda Enforcers, the last version released, not the classic I've got a huge bird on my helmet guys. I also re-discovered my Sisters of Battle, and a Escher gang. All in glorious metal.

I'd forgotten how much I hate building metal. Oh, sure nothing has the heft of a good metal miniature, but putting tiny arms and weapons on with CA glue that may or may not want to adhere...that's not part of the 'relaxing' bit of the hobby. But it is why the Emperor, in his wisdom, gave us Rum. And Band-Aids. I somehow never fail to cut myself while trimming metal.

The shotgun arms are such a bad fit on these figs, it's no wonder they weren't in print long. The Enforcers do look very nice after being coaxed together. The Escher gang were mostly one piece figures, so they went upon their bases far easier.
With the metal relics all assembled (Sisters and Inquisition had been assembled long ago) it is time to slap some paint on them. What better way to spend Friday afternoon than with an epic priming session. Grey primer for all my friends!

Next up: Time to talk about Rules.

  The Emperor Protects
5+ Save Versus X-acto Blades

Friday, March 17, 2017

Defenders of The Last Stand Quick Review

Defenders of The Last Stand by 8th Summit Games is a pure co-op board game for 1-5 players. Set in the post-apocalypse wasteland of the near future, players must defeat four Overlords and their marauding groups of raiders/mutants/bad guys and save the city of Last Stand.

The designer, Richard Launius of Arkham Horror fame, also did Defenders of the Realm. A high fantasy version with similar gameplay but with with orcs, demons, and dragons. Last Stand adds some new features which expand gameplay greatly. Both games have a sort of Pandemic gameplay mechanics feel to them. Which is a good thing.
Play is fast and fun, with many action options per turn. Go on a mission? Scavenge some lost items? Fight some the minions? Or if your group has gained enough items/cards, you can take on one of the four Overlords.

Three of the four Overlords make steady progress towards Last Stand. The mutant lord know as "Puke" flies around randomly, spawning new Abominations. All are dangerous and have to be stopped. Each time a Overlord is defeated the game ramps up the difficulty. Once all four are killed, Last Stand is safe and the players win. If any Overlord reaches your city you lose. If too many minions are on the the map, or in Last Stand, you lose. If too many raider bases get built, you lose.
Nobody said the apocalypse would be easy.
There are some fun artifacts to find and side missions to go on. There is an "Adventure" spot the moves around the map that can be sought after. Some areas are teaming with radiation, and if you hang out there you may wind up with a mutation. Most are good, a few are bad, but if you get more than five points of radiation, your character becomes an enemy Abomination. Fun stuff.
There are a few minor downsides to this game: The art is okay, the plastic figures are not great, and the rulebook could be clearer. However, after starting one game, we got the hang of it pretty quick.

On the plus sides, the theme is great, lots of things to do, and it plays quickly. I prefer this over Defenders of the Realm (which I like a lot). It feels like this game is kind of under the radar being from a small publisher, which is too bad, because it is a whole lot of fun.
If you like your post-apocalypse Eighties B movie style, then this game is worth checking out.


Go Roll Some Dice
Become a Warrior of The Wasteland

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Out From Under

The Atomic Warlords Summer Campaign can be revealed at last! In typical overambitious fashion I am building/painting four new factions, a bunch of terrain, and one brand new army for the summer madness.

Starting in May we shall start Out From Under, a twelve mission escalating, semi-narrative campaign dealing with the Genestealer Cult uprising on Zircon IV. The Cult will have small skirmishes to large battles against: Rival Hive Gangs, Enforcers, Sisters of Battle, P.D.F., Inquisition, and Deathwatch.  All fighting will be done in cramped city environments.

Stay tuned for posts on constructing the forces, battle reports, fiction, and the flow of the grand campaign. It should be a good time for all.

The Four Arm Emperor Protects
Now with Extra Hugging!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Storm King vs a Lot of Tanks

Finally time to put my shiny new Titan on the table. One lone Warlord Titan (2,750 points) versus a full Emperor's Fist Tank company of ten Leman Russ Vanquishers, a Baneblade, and two Shadowswords (3,100 pts. A few stand-ins for the Guard)

Turn One: The Guard went first, Even with most of the Vanquishers only needing a 3+ to hit, it still took four of them to drop the Void Shields. The remaining six did 4 hull points of damage, all from the Vanquisher battle cannons. The Baneblade did single point of damage with its main gun and none from the lascannons. The pair of Shadowswords inflicted seven points of damage with their mighty Volcano Cannons. 12 points of damage total, almost half.

Then Tempestus Rex shot back. The Shadowswords were clearly the biggest threat and each got erased by a triple turbo laser battery. The Baneblade and a Vanquisher were taken out by a single Volcano blast, and the formation HQ tank plus a two of his friends by the second Volcano Cannon shot.
Three superheavies and four Vanquishers. Not a bad turn of shooting. And I got two Void Shields back.

The six remaining Vanquishers (now hitting on 4+ due to the loss of the HQ) Took down the Voids and did 3 more HP. Then they died.
 A swift two turn bloodbath. With thirteen vehicles the tank force only did 50% damage to the Titan. The tanks had the added advantage of going first, and starting within lascannon weapons range. The Warlord's guns have a huge range advantage, if we had started any further apart it would have been even more lopsided. The plan was for the Vanquishers to close and use the sponson mounted Multi-Meltas to great effect. That didn't come close to happening.

No big surprise that the Warlord Titan is a nigh unstoppable machine of destruction, and doesn't really belong in a 40K scaled game. But it is so much damn fun!

  The Emperor Protects
But Size Does Matter

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Back in the Blood Bowl

As Jim & Bob would say, "We're back for another exciting season of Blood Bowl!" of course it has been about twenty years since I last played BB on the tabletop. After a very long hiatus, The Game of Fantasy Football is back. Real Fantasy Football with dice and Orcs, not to be confused with  spreadsheet jockeys who fantasise about "owning" real NFL players.

The big question about Games Workshop returning to other games it any good? Happily the answer is a resounding yes. The miniatures are great, the board is great, and the rulebook and supporting items are great. And for a smart extra bonus, they kept the rules the same! There may be a few very minor tweaks, but it is classic Blood Bowl, thank Nuffle (BB dice deity).
Playing BB with two painted teams is quite a satisfying experience. And it is pretty easy to get there, a full team roster is only sixteen players, so they paint up quick.
 Aside from looking good on the pitch, the painted figs really help with figuring out who is who. We decided to follow the Copenhagen International Tournament Rules Committee's guidelines on base colors to tell apart player's positions. Who are we to question their ancient wisdom? It just works.

The box set comes with a dozen Orc and Human players, and the Skaven starter box has been released. Dwarves and Elves are rumored to be next. Extra players, Star Players, and the like are suppose to be coming from Forge World. Hopefully they will get to the Chaos team before long.
Blood Bowl is a fast, fun and often very chaotic game. It is not for people who can't stand to see their "perfect" strategy evaporate with a few bad die rolls. It is a game where you have to be on your toes and thinking of Plan B at all times. Which is one the reasons I have always really liked this game. BB matches can be exhausting, full of despair and triumph, often in the same turn.

This does feel like it is a real re-launch of Blood Bowl that will have good support from Games Workshop rather than a one-off nostalgia release. I hope that is the case.

Go Roll Some Dice
And Score Some Touchdowns