I've managed to get in three games with my Tau. They did very well, shooting up Blood Angels, Orks, and Eldar. Still lost two out of three games on victory points. That is one of the things I really like about the Maelstrom of War missions. Objectives really count.
The Tau are still very bad at Hand to Hand, but to be fair, few armies can stand up to twenty Striking Scorpions AND their Phoenix Lord being dumped in their lap. Stupid jinking Wave Serpents.
Shooting is still the Tau's game, and they can bring a lot of heat, especially when I remember to use the makerlights in the correct order. Commander Longstrike is my current favorite, perhaps a bit overpriced, but he is a great Tank Killer. Taking Hammerheads in a squadron of three is something I haven't tried yet. I do like the +1 BS boost, but not having split fire is a little worrisome. Oh sure, you will do a lot of damage to the unit you are shooting at, but it is still only one unit. I will give a try in my next game.
I only picked up one new model in this go around, the Coldstar/Enforcer Command suit. It is a excellent kit, and a welcome addition to my army. Makes the boss really stand out. While I am a huge fan of Mecha battlesuits, the large Stormsurge unit did nothing for me. I would rather have another Riptide or two. Hmm. That's a good idea...
New shiny Tau books (finally) arrived for me today, so I have had only a brief flip through.
Codex: Tau Empire has brought the Mech-loving blue skins into line with 7th edition. Not a lot of changes to the base units, but the addition of Warlord traits, Formations, and continuing the datasheet style make this a essential book for Tau players. Not much artwork, but lots of very good quality photos of models.
Some of the changes were expected, Hammerheads and Sky Rays can now be fielded in squadrons of 1-3 vehicles, and Piranhas expanded to max size of 5. The surprises for me where that Riptides are now 1-3, and VX-8 Crisis squads are 1-9! This will be fun. Of course the newly released units are in the Codex: Breacher Teams (Fire Warriors with Pulse Shotguns) The Commander in fancy Enforcer or Coldstar battlesuit, the Ghostkeel, (big stealth suits), and the very big Stormsurge artillery suit. And new Drones. Lots of new Drones. The Tau now have more drones than the NSA.
I plan on bringing the Tau to the table this weekend to see what tweaks were made to all the support systems and such, there will a battle report next week.
The other Tau book released was the War Zone Damocles: Kauyon set. Two very nice hard covers in a slipcase.
Following in the mold of Shield of Baal last year, the two books are divided up into the fluff "history" book and the Rules. The fluff book has lots of new pretty artwork and a good narrative of the campaign. The Rules book is just what is says: Eight Echoes of War missions and a campaign chart to use them. Well done sections acting as a mini-codex for both the White Scars and the Raven Guard. The Tau section is interesting. It has a large amount of overlap with the Tau codex for the new units. The only formations not in the Tau codex are the five dealing with the Tidewall fortifications.
Overall, I am well pleased with all the books and look forward to dealing Mecha-suited death.
Zombies. Yeah, we are near/past the saturation point, but killing them is still so much damn fun.
A quick top three list of zombie games game for this Halloween.
Zombie dice by Steve Jackson game. It's cheap, fast, and fun. A fine "filler" game that plays very well with 2-6 players.
Zombicide by Cool Mini or Not. It's expensive and fun. Game play is pretty quick, set-up is not bad, but not super fast. Oddly one of my biggest complaints with the game right now is too many choices, too much stuff not really integrated with each other. It's mostly all great stuff, but damn, it is a whole lot. I know, first world gamer problems. We are working on trimming our set down back to a lean fast and fun game with a few cool extras.
Last Night on Earth by Flying Frog. Just nudging out Zombicide for the top slot, LNoE is a competitive game between the zombie player and 2-4 players on the human side. It is less "gamey" and it's expansions fit together well. Being a Flying Frog game it does have some weird, "leftover" counters and things that don't really have rules, but it does not detract from the game experience.
All Things Zombie by Lock N Load/ Two Hour Wargames. ATZ started out as a really good miniature ruleset with slick game play. (That I am going to have to try with all these Zombicide minis) The LnL boardgame version lost something on it's way. A new, Reloaded version is due any week now and promises to improve a good game.
Next week A review of the new Tau Codex and Campaign book.
Twin Shadows, an expansion for Fantasy Flight's Star Wars Imperial Assault came out a month ago, and I just got done painting the figures and sorting in the new stuff. Let's have a look.
It is a "small box" expansion with a six mission mini-campaign, a pair of new Rebel heroes, Tusken Raiders, and Heavy Weapon Stormtroopers. Toss in new map tiles and a handful of new cards for both Skirmish and Campaign modes. Not too bad at all. Also released at the same time, and used in the mini-campaign are Boba Fett, R2-D2 & C3P0, and the Stormtrooper Leader Character.
The mini-campaign takes place on Tatooine (hence the Twin Shadows title) so we do get the infamous Mos Eisley cantina (Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina for the deeply nerdy) for your very own seedy space bar shootout.
the new miniatures all look nice. The Sand People's Gaffi Sticks are a little soft and bendy, and Boba Fett's pose could have been a little more open, but that is the extent of my quibbles.
We are going to give some of new skirmish missions a try this weekend, and get started on the mini-campaign. I can't wait to see how Mr. Fett does on the field.
Time to see how Pete'sGreat Orkzinga fares upon the field of battle. The battle crazed Ork's brought 5,000 points in the form of nine models. The combined Blood Angel, Imperial Guard & Knights stood ready with 5K of mostly tanks and the Baron's Lance of three Knights.
The Orks went first and unleashed a torrent of fire. The Belly Kannon was a big hit (pun intended).
Thankfully the Knight's Ion shields held, but the Crusader was taken out, and the Predator was immobilized.
On the Imperial's turn all seven Leman Russ tanks, the Shadowsword, and about half of the Knights firepower was directed at the Great Gargant for a total of 12 hull points damage.
The two forces slammed into each other around mid-field. The Knight's Baron and Errant came out on top, huge chainswords are hard to argue with. A heroic Blood Angel Landspeeder came in via deep strike and did some damage to the Great Gargant before falling victim to the Flakk gunz.
The bottom of turn three was the end for the Orks. The Mighty Orkzinga exploded in a blinding flash and the last Ork walker followed right after. Still, in three turns of combat, the Great Gargant had destroyed:
1 Land Raider Crusader
1 Razorback, and a six man Devastator squad
1 Knight Crusader
3 Leman Russ Tanks
And a half dozen hull points worth of damage to a few other tanks.
Very good considering how much firepower was arrayed against it.
Rules-wise I think it was very solid, a few minor tweeks to the weapons and the addition of Grot Riggers was all we came up with. Next time we will try just the Great Gargant against 2500 points of Imperial forces.
After a few delays, the Mighty Great Gargant (brought to you by Peter over at In The Grim Cheapness of the Future) is ready to hit the battlefield. All it needs are a few rules, so at long last here they are!
WS:4 BS:2 S:10 ARMOR 14/13/13 I:1
Unit: 1 Great Gargant
Type: Super Heavy Walker
• Supa Force Field:
5+ Save vs. ALL shooting attacks, including "D"
• Grot Riggers
• Huge Effigy: All Orks within 24" are Fearless. If
Gargant is destroyed all Orks
within 24" must make a
leadership check. Units that fail are pinned.
• Capacity: 70 Models.
• Fire Points: 8 Front, 4 each Side, 6 Rear
• Access Points: One at the rear.
The Great Gargant must have two arm weapons:
• Mega Kannon
• Twin Deth Kannon
• Cluster Kannon
• Kombi-Ripper Arm
The Great Gargant may have up to four secondary weapons:
• Cluster Rokkit Launcha
• Flakk Gunz
• Heavy KillKannon
• Mega Gatler
• Gaze of Mork
• Lobba Battery
Also, up to six Supa Rokkits may be added, plus six Big
A Gut Buster Belly Kannon may be taken, but the transport is
reduced to 30 models.
Being an Ork work, it is more a fluff-based feel of the weapons fit rather than a constructive set of design rules.
The one large change I did bring was the swapping of the Ork Power Fields for a Force Field. Back in the distant past Power Fields worked like Void Shields. The gargant would start out with a number of them but once they were knocked down, they stayed down for the battle.
Now that Super Heavies really only lose Hull Points, it seemed like extra bookkeeping for no real gain. Orks are known for their use of Force Fields, which fluctuate wildly from completely impregnable to non-existent. It works very well in place of the old Power Fields, and is far easier to keep track of.
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.
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 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
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.
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.