Friday, September 15, 2017

Genestealers New and Old

So do you know what a Genestealer Cult army really needs? Yes! Genestealers. The big question for me was, what kind of 'stealer? There are a few variants to pick from. The olde tyme Rogue Trader metal body with plastic arms, the 1st edition Space Hulk/2nd edition 40K era plastic ones, the newer more Hive Fleet looking 'stealers (5th edition?), or the brand new Overkill version.

I have three of the kinda terrible and small metal Genestealers, so that is not really an option. The Overkill 'stealers are by far the best looking of the bunch, but I had only four of those. I do have just shy of a zillion of the other plastic versions. So I did a lineup to compare and contrast.

The Overkill version is on a 32mm base, which works well for the whole big arms thing 'stealers do. I put the 5th edition one on a spare Blood Bowl slotta base which is 32mm. Then I tossed in a 'stealer from my old Space Hulk set.
I liked how the Overkill and Space Hulk 'stealers looked like they were related to the Patriarch. So the 5ed Genestealer was out and the Overkill ones were in.

The Overkill Genestealers are a bit hard to come by. I traded for a few, and won a couple of auctions on eBay to bring my total up to ten. I decided to use ten of the older Space Hulk minis to fill out my force of twenty. Oh yes, this little project was getting a bit crazy.

I carefully cut the old 25mm bases off and put the old timers on new 32mm bases. Then they got a repaint. I was worried the new coats of paint would pile up and make a blob-like 'stealer, but I managed to thin the paints enough for this not to happen.
The end result was a bit of crazy went a long way. The force of twenty looks great as a cohesive unit, and like they belong with the Patriarch.    
It's that what a good Cult is all about. Belonging. That, and bathing in the blood of the unbelievers.

Blessed Are the Void Kindred
Don't Question the Starry Wisdom

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Open War Cards

One new 40k 8th release which received little fanfare was the deck of Open War Cards. Which is a shame because they are really quite good.

It's a small deck of 48 cards but full of cool ways to set up 40k battles. It is really five smaller sub-decks: 12 Deployment, 12 Objectives, 12 Twist, 6 Ruse, and 6 Sudden Death cards.

Fast and easy to use,  You draw a Deployment card, which has a graphic depiction of the deployment zones, a Objective card, and a Twist card. The Objective card is self-explanatory, and the Twist card has some delightful thing that messes with both sides like Acid Rain, Warp Storm, or Orbital Debris.

If one side has a higher Power Level than the other, then it receives a Ruse card, which is a helpful boost. If the one side also outnumber 2:1 that player also gets a Sudden Death Card. It is just as the name suggests: a Sudden Death Victory Condition for the outnumbered player. Some of these cards are quite fun. Both the Ruse and Sudden Death cards are kept hidden until used.

An interesting variant is if both players are within five PL of each other give each of them a Ruse and Sudden Death card. Makes for a unpredictable battle.

Open War is great for quickly setting up a match, and with enough card combinations to give it a lot of replayability. Give a try if you haven't yet.

Go Roll Some Dice
But use the Cards Too! 

Friday, July 28, 2017

First 8th Battle: Part II

Sorry for the delay, but I had some...issues with Blogger. Now where was I?
Oh yes, Shooting Phase! The shooty-ist phase in the game.

Shooting is flat out better. Whole squads don't have to all shoot at the same target anymore (again). This is a huge win for the flexible squad, like Imperial Guard or Space Marines. My Dreadnought had a great time; Assault Cannon at the Genestealers, Heavy Flamer the Lictor, and charge the Carnifex, all in the same turn.  All tank-like vehicles benefit hugely as well. Oddly less gamey and more fluffy.

Hit modifiers now apply, but not very many. You want to move and fire a heavy weapon? That will be -1. Shooting at somebody in cover? -1. All quick, easy, and makes sense.

The new "To Wound" table is also a very nice change. Everything can (potentially) wound anything else is fun and good for balance. Vehicles having Toughness instead of Armor value works far better than I thought it would.

One small change I didn't notice until their first time shooting, is Storm Bolters are now Rapid Fire (2) instead of assault, which makes for 4 shots at 12" or closer. Very nice.
Charge Phase is short and sweet, and not much different from before. Overwatch got a minor tweak, as a unit can fire multiple times as long as no enemy is within 1", and all units get overwatch now.

The within 1" of an enemy rule is a nice constant throughout the ruleset. A good example of the little things that make this a much cleaner version of 40K.

The Fight Phase I actually had a small bit of trouble adjusting to. We were so used to a rather complex hand to hand sequence (Initiative sub-phasing, how many melee weapons, etc.) that it took a few tries to see the new flow correctly. It is much faster, with less fiddly modifiers. Being able to leave close combat at the cost of shooting is a nice touch.  

Morale Phase. Face it, most of us either forgot, ignored, or had lots of troops that were immune to Morale Tests. Not anymore! Taking one test for any unit that took losses is fun, easy, and can make a huge impact on the battle. You do have to track casualties, but that is easily achieved by leaving the dead guys knocked over on the table.

Conclusion: Obviously I really like this New 40K. It plays faster and easier. Overall it feels more like what 40k units are supposed to do. I'll yap about Command Points, Army Building, and other usch stuff soon.

The Emperor Protects
But Sometimes Warp Storms Affect Blogs Too

Saturday, July 1, 2017

This Just In...

I received two new Imperial Armour books this morning, Astra Militarum and Xenos. Slim softcovers that have Datasheets for all of the Forge World fun for 8th. Aside from the Guard, there is Death Korps, Elysian Drop troopers, Knight and Renegades. Oh, and Titans.
70. Wounds. The Warlord Titan has 70. Toughness 16 with a 2+ save. Void Shields now work as a straight up invulnerable save (that also block Mortal Wounds), that gets worse as the God machine takes damage. The big Guns do a bit of damage as well. 200 Power Level or just 4,000 points.

The Warhound is still a beast, but can just about be reasonably used in a game. A mere 35 wounds at Toughness 9 with a a 3+ save. For only 75 PL or 1,500 points. I'm going to repaint mine real soon.

The Valkyrie Vendetta Gunship is now even more dangerous with its six Lascannons plus the door gunners can shoot at separate targets. The transport ability has gone back to 12 troops again. Death from above indeed.

Now I will go and have a look at the Eldar and Tyranid toys...

Death Comes in Many Forms
But Resin is Very Deadly

Friday, June 30, 2017

First 8th Battle: Pt. I

It is kind of hard to believe, but there was a time (long ago) when I only had two 40K armies. A compact Dark Angels force, and a brand new Tyranid Swarm. It seems only fitting to bring an updated approximation of those armies for our first 8th Edition Battle report. Including a few hold-outs from that era, including my first space marine, the veteran with the powerfist and cape.
Rather than a blow-by-blow battle report, these posts will be just about our observations of the changes to 8th, and how the game plays overall.

We played at 100 Power Level, battle forged. The new 'Power Level' (PL) way is appealing, it significantly speeds up choosing your force. While it is a bit limiting on unit sizes (5 or 10 Tactical marines for example) you do get any options that unit can take as part of the PL cost, which if fun and for me more flavorful in the fluff context. You got a full Tac squad, why wouldn't they bring their full kit?
Of course detailed points list building is still available, if that is your kinda thing.

One of the big welcome changes was to the Battle Forged Force Organization Chart (FOC), to be specific, the addition of a wide range of detachment types. This makes for massive flexibility in army creation.

Battle Forged armies are important for two reasons: It makes armies that feel right in composition, and you get to use Command Points, more on that in a bit.

The missions have changed very little, a few new set-ups and some minor tweaks, which is fine with me. I'm glad they kept the Tactical Objective missions. What did change was the return of alternating deployment of units. A little slower, but removed the big advantage of deploying second.
Movement Phase has a few changes: Advancing (used to be called Running) is now done in movement not shooting. This speeds things up a little since now you roll to Advance before you move your mini. Just add the D6 score to you Movment stat and off you go.

The big change in the Movement Phase is the addition of Fall Back. If you are within 1" of a enemy model you can disengage and move the hell away, you just don't get to Advance, shoot or charge this turn. The trick is all the models in the unit have to end their movement further than 1" away from a enemy. This means surrounded models cannot fall back, something to keep in mind during the pile-in and consolidation parts of the Fight Phase.

Reserves happen at the end of movement. How this occurs varies by mission and sometime unit type. Some missions still use the 3+ to show up, others you pick who shows up and when. Deep Striking units get to choose when and where as long as it is more than 9" from any enemy models. They may shoot and charge as normal.

Ah, Psychic Phase. The continuously shifting Psychic Phase. There has been at least three major different versions of this phase through the years, I've lost count. As someone who disliked the 6th/7th edition versions, I am glad to say I like this cleaner system (one of the many things lifted from Age of Sigmar). It is straightforward but still is able to have the full range of powers, and a simple way to try and nullify those powers.

I'll cover the last three phases next time. Shooting, Fight, and Morale.  

Heresy Grows From Idleness
So Get Out There and Roll Some Dice!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

8th Out of the Box

Xenos Inquisitor Jonesy approves.
So, one week into the release of New 40K and what do I think? It is glorious. I'll be yapping about it for the next few posts. Today, let's have a quick look into the Dark Imperium Boxed Set. Peter was kind enough to bring his over while I await mine in the mail.

Nice big box with a big price point. You really do get get a great value for your gaming bucks:
Of course, if Nurgle or the fancy new Primaris Marines don't tweak your twinkie, then the box is not for you, just get the Rulebook...

The first surprise is the box is not a box! More of a box in a tray with a slipcover. And in that box are the minis. Lots (54) of brand new really detailed figures.

The purity seal was a nice touch. I'll assemble my figs this weekend.

In the lower tray are the Hardcover Rulebook (more about that next post) the Mini-Codices, decals, bases, assembly guide, some nice red dice, and a fold out of the core rules.
A cool thing about the two forces included in this box set is that they are two small armies ready to go. Thanks to Peter for running the numbers, They both come in at around 50 PL (Power Level) or 900-ish points, with the Marines having a bit more. I'm confident that the Primaris Marines and the Death Guard will be some of the first new releases; it will be easy to expand this basic force.

I'm pleased with the Dark Imperium set, and hope to get a game in this weekend.

The Emperor Protects
In New and Exciting Ways

Friday, June 9, 2017

A Farewell to Templates

40K without templates? Madness and heresy! Well, maybe not...Templates have been a visual and fun part of miniature gaming for a very long time. The earliest reference I could find was a Napoleonic game from 1974 that used them for various sizes of cannon barrages.

Visually exciting and lots of fun to see how many hapless victims fell under the circle of death, but slow to use and the source of untold disagreements. 40k templates, like with all things over time, experienced constant expansion. Newer sizes and shapes, and oh so many colors! I had built up quite a collection over the years (the neron green ones were my favorite) yet it was somehow always tricky to find the right one, or a scatter die to see it landed.

My best guess is that the removal of bast templates from the game is a very good thing. It will speed up shooting by taking out all that guesswork and eyeballing of where the template landed and who is under it. We will have to wait another week before I can start trying out 8th Edition to see if my guess is correct. And I will have to find some way to repurpose my vast collection. A collage perhaps?

Go Roll Some Dice
Interesting Pie Plates for Sale

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Carnage Asada '17

Our annual Carnage Asada fest was upon us last Monday. This time we went for Shadow War: Armageddon (SWA), A.K.A. Necromunda V.2. The good 'ole Necromunda rules have been cleaned up just a touch (to good effect) and the focus is on standard 40K combatants, not gangers. I do hope some new stats for gangers are released, just to bring them up to the new standards.

SWA is a great game. Very fast moving once you have a handle on the rules. It is easy to have a few battles in a reasonable time frame. Low model count so it is simple to keep track of all of them, and just enough extra detail to make it really interesting.

We had four active players. Each got in three battles in a day of fast moving carnage!

The smallest kill team with only three figures, the Tyranid Warriors were rightly feared on the battlefield. They finished the day at 2-1, losing only to the Space Marine Scouts.

A good multi-purpose Space Marine Scout team also went 2-1 with their loss coming at the hands of the Chaos Space Marines.

Chaos Space Marines and friends (flunkies?) had a solid force and a interesting dynamic of elite and fodder troops. They finished the day at 1-2.

The Genestealer Cult, the largest force with nine figures, only managed to defeat the rival Chaos Cult. They end up at 1-2 as well.

Now that we have a good feel for the rules, we will give the campaign system a go. The Genestealer Cult shall begin its rise.

Thanks to everybody who made it a great day in the underhive!

Welcome To The Under
If I could Only Stop Failing My Ammo Checks!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New 40K Release Date

Pre-orders start June 3 for a June 17th release. No price info at the moment. The box set comes with a bunch of new models, the full 280 page, hardback rulebook, two mini-army books for Primaris Space Marines and Death Guard, plus some other items.
Five(!) separate softback books, Indexes for ALL of the current armies. We will be able to play everything on day one. Damn nice. Of course the rulebook will be available as a stand alone item.
And that's not all! Command dice, Tactical Objective Cards, Wound tracker dice, and a set of objectives. Bank account prepare for impact!

Oh, and the basic version of the rules will be ready as a free download on the 17th. This all looks great. This should prove to be a good summer of 40K.

The Emperor Protects
As Long as They Print Enough Copies

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cult on Deck

I have just finished painting all 97 figures in my Genestealer Cult Army. That was fun. I did a few things I haven't really done before. It is my first painted army that has no helmets! I had avoided painting skin because I was terrible at it. It's true. All my Dark Angels have their helmets on, mostly because you should really keep your lid on when people are shooting at you, and because I didn't want to screw up their faces. World Eaters? All helmets. Tau? Helmets. Tyranids? Doesn't count. My large Guard Army? Steel Legion! Helmets AND gas masks!

I did finally break this no-face streak and painted some Space Marine Scouts, and the Command squad for my Stormtrooper army are unmasked. One gent even has a fine mustache.

It was my desire to paint the figs for Star Wars Imperial Assault that really made me improve my painting skills. (Now almost average!) But it was still with great trepidation I embarked on the helmet-less Cult. At least they are all bald...

One fun thing was that since there were so many troops I decided to use a wide range of skin tones on the Neophytes. The thing that made the biggest difference was embracing a liberal use of ink washes. Yes, this is old news for real painters, but I took the plunge and I like the results.

Second new thing was textured paint for the bases. I used Citadel Astrogranite (both regular and extra chunky) on the bases. They look nice. I'm still figuring out a highlight and/or wash to put on top of the texture, but so far so good.

This week will see the Eight Cult vehicles get finished, just in time for one or two last games under 7th edition.  
Next time: Templates. Probably.

The Cult Welcomes All
The Entrance Ritual Can Be a Little Intense Though...

Friday, May 12, 2017

Back to the (GrimDark) Future!

Thanks to this strange and new tactics of actually engaging with the player community, GW has been dripping us little previews of what 8th is going to be. And I like it.

First, GW has not called it 8th edition, just "New Warhammer 40,000". I do hope they call it something other than that. It is the 8th set of rules, but one could argue it is only the 4th different rules set. Hear me out,

Rogue Trader was clearly the First, but rapidly became 1.5 after the Red and Yellow books, and the new Vehicle Guide radically changed how shooting, hand to hand, and vehicles worked.

2nd Edition was a cleaned-up 1.5 with a brand new Psychic Phase, and Vehicle rules (this is a bit of a theme with 40K). Most importantly it was a boxed set, with everything needed to get playing.

3rd Edition was released five years later, and it was very different from 2nd. The following versions (4th-7th) were just refinements of 3rd, with the only radical changes coming to...the  Psychic Phase, and Vehicle rules. If you knew how to play 3rd, you could pick up any of the later version very quickly. 19 years is a good run for the core rules, but the rules have gotten so fiddly even veteran players struggle to remember all the fine points of the current edition.      

A quick re-cap of the last two weeks news from Nottingham.

Coming back from 1st/2nd Edition:
Infantry Squads may fire at multiple targets. It just makes sense.

Shooting and saving is going back to 1st/2nd Edition. I really like this. I feel modifiers is a better system over the all-or-nothing system of 3rd+.

Twin Linked Weapons are two weapons, not just an extra chance to hit. More shots means more shots! If I shoot four Lascannons I should be able to get four hits.

Must shoot at closest target. I will need some more clarification on this one.

Movement stat. Some units more faster/slower than others. Simple, but welcome return.

New for this edition:
All models work them same. This is huge. Tanks, Infantry, Monstrous Creatures, Dreadnoughts, all have Toughness and wounds. About damn time. Obviously this removes the 10 cap on Strength and Toughness.

No more templates. Interesting. We will talk about this in depth next week.

To Wound chart is much simpler/elegant. Faster to be sure.

Characters cannot join other units, but give benefits to nearby units. Sounds cool.

What we haven't seen yet:
The Turn structure
Wound allocation
Line of Sight
Official release date and products.

I'm still excited for this new edition, I haven't seen or heard anything I don't like yet. I will admit, for a while there I thought 40K was just going to slowly fade away. Doesn't look like it now.

The Emperor Protects
And Sometimes Even Makes Sense

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