Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crushin' Gobbos

Yesterday, I played my third league game of Blood Bowl, against my buddy J's Goblin team, the Karak Eight Peak Piercers.  For those of you who don't play Blood Bowl, goblins are, perhaps, the weakest players you'll regularly see on the pitch.  They're weaker and have poor armor, and the one special rule they have that really helps them (it makes it easier for them to dodge around) also makes it easier to kill them.  On the bright side, they can take two big trolls and a handful of guys with special weapons (including a chainsaw!).  They're also dirt cheap, so you can have a LOT of them.  Anyway, on to the game!

I won the coin toss and forced J to kick.  As I've mentioned, you want to have the first chance at doing serious harm.  The starting weather was Very Sunny, causing a -1 Penalty to all Throw attempts, which seriously goes against my game plan (i.e. throw the ball way down the field and score a TD as fast as possible).  The penalty actually stopped my first drive dead.  J kicks off, and my thrower picks it up, rushes up the field and goes to throw a Short Pass to one of my Catchers, and fails.  But he has Pass, so he gets a re-roll!  And fails again.  The pass scatters off out of my catcher's reach, and I managed a turnover on the first play of the game.  Luckily for me, goblins are easy to knock over, so I managed to quickly recover the ball and score my first TD of the game.

Now I have to kick off to J.  The common Goblin strategy is to hold your special players in reserve (Chainsaw Dude, Fanatic, etc.) until your opponent is kicking off, so they get maximum field time, as they get kicked out after a touchdown or end of the half.  Unfortunately for J, I rolled a Pitch Invasion on the Kickoff Chart.  This means that we roll a die for every player on the field, and on a six, the player is Stunned (placed face-down on the field).  Not only did I manage to roll a six against four of his players, one was his mighty Fanatic.  If the Fanatic is ever knocked off of his feet, he's out of the game, so J lost one of his most powerful players before he even took a step!  I managed to stall J's drive and take the ball away, but he kept me out of the end zone and the half ended with the Elves up, 1 - 0.  The game was already going entirely in my favor, as J only broke my players' armor a handful of times, and I had yet to suffer a single serious injury.  On the other hand, he had one player ejected for getting caught fouling, both of his special weapon players were out of the game, and another player or two were out for the game due to injuries.

Without enough players to completely flesh out his half of the pitch, J placed most of his team on the line with a few back to receive the kickoff, starting the second half.  The dice were against J once again, and I rolled a Blitz, meaning that I basically got a free turn before J got to act.  My swift-footed elves tore down the field, one of my Blitzers killing a goblin on the way.  J barely got his hand on the ball before it was knocked away, and I make a quick score.  The rest of the half went much the same way.  Now heavily outnumbered by stronger, faster players, the elves could single out goblins, gang up on the trolls and more-or-less do what they wanted.  Two more elf touchdowns were scored, and the goblins' hopes for scoring a touchdown ended tragically when one of the trolls lifted a goblin to chuck him down the field. . .and stuffed him down his throat instead!

The end of the game saw the final score at 4 - 0, Philadelfia Eagles.  The Eagles inflicted seven casualties on the goblins, including two Deaths, and suffered none in return.  Thankfully, J is a good player, and we had one heck of a time yelling back and forth and dramatically rolling dice.  The Eagles are sitting pretty after week three, with a record of 2W 1L, some skilled players, and a good amount of dough in the bank.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Sting of Defeat

Alright, so maybe it wasn't that bad, but my Philadelfia Eagles suffered their first defeat this weekend, during their second game of the season.  It was a rough game right from the getgo.  For starters, I arrived at my buddy Kevin's house to play, and he took one look at what I was carrying and asked, "Don't you have a copy of Blood Bowl?" to which I responded, "Don't you?"  So we ended up at Off the Wall.  I was short a player, leaving me with ten on the field, but, fortunately for me, Kevin was short two and I had the advantage.  I had hoped that we would have a repeat of our first game, with me taking several of his players out of the game, thus furthering my numbers advantage, but my first drive proved that to be a fleeting hope.  I won the coin toss, and I am of the opinion that, in Blood Bowl, you should ALWAYS receive the ball for two reasons: one, you can set the pace of the game right away, and two, you have an opportunity to inflict as much damage as possible on your opponent before he has a chance to do anything.  Well, I threw four or five blocks on the first down, and didn't get a single knock down!  No big deal, it happens, so I just planned on rolling with it.  Until Kevin caused a turnover.  And ran the ball into the endzone.  So much for my first drive!

Lining back up for another kickoff, I tried to stick to my ol' reliable strategy -- run the blitzers and catchers down the sides of the field, have my linemen protect the ball carrier, and have the ball carrier hurl the ball to the catchers.  With their movement of eight, the catchers can easily reach the endzone in two turns, and with their elven agility, they are excellent at dodging away from defenders to get themselves open.  On top of that, unlike Wood Elf catchers, mine are Strength Three, and now both of my catchers have Block, so they're harder to take down.  In fact, aside from their Armor Value of seven, they're even better than my Blitzers!  But enough on that, back to the game.  Kevin managed to scupper my second drive almost as quickly as my first.  For some reason, I just couldn't get my team going.  They were failing to knock down the Paleskins, and I was rolling as bad as Kevin normally does when it comes to Dodge rolls.  Needless to say, the ball quickly reversed direction and ended up back in the endzone for Kev's second TD.

I did manage to rally my team, somewhat, and the end of the second half saw a quick TD drive from the Eagles, but I went into the half down 2 - 1, and I was kicking off on top of that.  The second half saw about as little action as the first.  I tried a few risky plays (dodging around and picking up the football near a lot of opponents), but they didn't pay off.  Kevin countered  by scoring another touchdown, and with a few turns left, I knew I was sunk.  I didn't want to lose out 3 - 1, though, and seeing as the game was pretty much over, I tried some even riskier plays and managed to bring the game to 3 - 2.  I had only one player, a lineman, advance, but, on the bright side, I didn't lose any players.  Here's hoping I get my third game in against some gobbos on Saturday, and I will, of course, keep you guys updated!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Icons Speaking Through Food

This has been a frequent thing in this day and age.  Some may remember the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese of '04, that sold for $28,000 (making it, to my knowledge, the most expensive grilled cheese sandwich ever).  More of you may remember the more recent Grilled Cheesus episode of "Glee".  You can even buy things that you stick into your toaster to make "Holy Toast" with the J-man's face right on the side.  But nothing prepared me for this:

That's right -- Meatwad visited me through a pancake.  And yes, he was delicious.

I do wonder, however, if food is the new chosen medium for deities and awesome characters to visit us now.  Sure, the Middle Ages may have had the Shroud of Turin, but can you eat that thing?  Maybe, but I doubt it tastes as good as a pancake.  And there was that Virgin Mary in the window of a hospital in Springfield recently. . .so I suppose that sinks my theory.  Ah well.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Hard Day's Battle

Whew. . .just got back from a Warhammer tournament today in Manchester, CT.  I don't know about any of you, but I can never walk away from three 2+ hour rounds and not have a headache.  I've never quite figured out why, but I think it has something to do with a nerd adrenaline crash or somesuch.  Anyhow, I had three interesting battles today.  Here's the list I brought to the table:

Dwarf Lord -- Master Rune of Kragg the Grim (GW can have runes), Rune of Fury (+1 Attack), Rune of Snorri Spangelhelm (+1 To Hit), Rune of Stone (+1 Armor Save), Master Rune of Spite (4+ Ward Save), Shieldbearers, Great Weapon
Runelord -- Rune of Stone (+1 Armor Save), Master Rune of Balance (Steal a power die, make it a dispel die), Great Weapon
Thane -- BSB, Master Rune of Grungni (All Dwarfs within 6" get a 5+ Ward against shooting), Rune of Slowness (subtract D6" from enemy charges), Rune of Battle (+1 Combat Resolution)
40 x Longbeards  -- Great Weapons, Shields, Musician, Standard Bearer, Rune of Battle, Ancestor Rune (once per game, Stubborn on a 4+)
20 x Quarrelers -- Shields
30 x Ironbreakers -- Rune of Battle
Cannon -- Rune of Forging (re-roll one misfire per shooting phase), Rune of Burning (flaming attacks)
Stone Thrower -- Rune of Accuracy (can re-roll scatter die), 2 x Runes of Penetrating (+1 Strength per rune)
Organ Gun

Round One
I was actually surprised by my opponent for the first round.

Now, I've dabbled with greenskins myself (played for about two years), but given the 7th Edition slant against large units of cheap infantry, they were never overly popular.  In today's tournament, there were actually two greenskin players, and I had one across the table round one.  My opponent was definitely a nice guy, and we had a great chat as the game progressed.  On to the game.  The first two rounds saw his giant felled by missile and artillery fire, though I did little other damage.  My stone thrower misfired and destroyed itself, and the organ gun, which had a beautiful shot at a lone gobbo lord, misfired and didn't shoot at all before getting run down and destroyed by spider riders.  The cannon managed to do some damage to his giant, but suffered the same fate as the organ gun at the hands of goblin wolf riders.

The center of the board saw most of the action at first.  I charged two snotling bases with my longbeards and lord to close the gap, summarily slaughtered them and overran into twenty black orcs.  I was hoping another pair of his snotling bases would prevent his black orc warboss and unit of twenty boys from counter-charging said longbeards, but, sadly, that was not to be, and the greenskins crashed into my flank.  He managed to do some damage to my longbeards, since I was equipped with great weapons and struck last, and he had units striking at Strength 4 and Strength 5.  This turned out to be a great example of how insane a Horde unit of great weapon-toting Longbeards can be, though.  After sucking up a flank charge and some wounds, I managed to slay fourteen black orcs, causing both of his units to break (he needed snake eyes).  Hatred is a beautiful thing, by the way, especially when you have about twenty attacks that hit on threes and kill on twos.

My opponent's army began to fall apart a bit at this point.  His general's unit did manage to rally, though the black orcs, reduced below 25%, never did and fled the table.  The boys fled from a charge from my longbeards (can you blame them?), panicked his big 'un unit and a chariot, and left the remainder of his army in a conga line towards one of the short board edges.  Meanwhile, his gobbo lord on flying carpet (yes, there really is a flying carpet as a magic item now), spider riders and wolf riders snuck around my army and eliminated my quarrelers.  In the last few turns of the game, my longbeards managed to fail a 10" charge against his general, and ended up getting charged by both of his remaining units.  I took a LOT of wounds, and was down quite a bit in combat resolution, but that 50/50 shot at being Stubborn with the Ancester Rune really saved my butt, and allowed for my Ironbreakers to charge in and save the day.  I broke both of his units from combat at the top of Turn Six, but failed to run down either one, and both rallied instead of fleeing the board, so I was refused points for both blocks of orcs and his general.

I ended the game with a Victory, and received +2 Battle Points for capturing more points of magic items, so I was sitting pretty with 17 points.

Round Two
I faced another obscure army for round two, this one more so than my previous opponent.

This battle was an interesting one.  To start the game, my opponent deployed toward the edge of his deployment zone, and with his two units of archers, two catapults and the Casket of Souls, wasn't planning on moving, which left the not-so-fleet-footed Dwarfs to hoof it.  And hoof it they did.  I wasn't too afraid of his S3 stone thrower shots, until four per turn starting raining onto my Longbeards.  After three rounds of his shooting, my 'Beards were nickled and dimed down to about half strength, and my stone thrower had destroyed itself.  But twenty Longbeards and a Dwarf Lord were still up to the task of charging and destroying a unit of twenty skeleton bowmen with a Tomb Prince, finally bringing our armies into contact.  By the way, my war machines managed to eliminate his war machines outright, so I didn't have to worry about them any more. . .right when I reached their minimum range.

If the first three turns belonged to my opponent, I wrenched control away from him now.  After their victory against the bowmen, the Longbeards reformed and charged a unit of Tomb Guard with the Hierophant in it.  Just to be sure, I used five attacks from the unit AND all of my Lord's attacks to kill that hierophant dead.  For those not experienced against Tomb Kings, this means his army starts to crumble (they take Leadership tests with their low leadership, and lose a model for every point they fail by).  At this point, the game was more or less sealed.  He charged the Ironbreakers with a unit of twenty skeletons and another priest, and tried to tap dance his Ushabti into position for a flank charge, but I had maneuvered my Ironbreakers to make that a daunting task.  The 'Breakers used the next four rounds of combat to wipe the skellies, while my quarrelers and cannon handled the Ushabti.  The Longbeards sucked up a flank charge from another unit of skeletons while still fighting the tomb guard, killed both units, and then turned around to eat more skeleton bowmen and the Casket of Souls.  I tabled my opponent in the bottom of turn six for a Devastating Victory with four points from modifiers, for a total of 24 points on the round and 41 thus far.

Round Three
My third match was definitely my hardest.

So not only are Vampire Counts a solid army, but they were being fielded by someone whom I know to be a very decent player.  Also, I wish I had pictures of his army, because it's sweet (and won Best Army!).  I began the game with the most ridiculous round of shooting I've seen in many a day.  My warmachines, which had been lackluster all day, destroyed a unit of fifteen Grave Guard AND a Black Coach before they even moved.  Turn two, my organ gun and quarrelers shot down a vampire on winged nightmare that had a 2+ armor save and a 3+ ward save against shooting.  Of course, this was the last thing my war machines did, as the cannon was charged by fell bats and the stone thrower by ghouls, then the organ gun blew itself up.

Unfortunately, I had deployed my Longbeards and Ironbreakers too far apart, and the 'Beards were getting slowed down by Bat Swarms and Zombies, leaving the 'Breakers to fight the rest of the army on their own.  They held up pretty well.  Around turn three they were charged by a block of skeletons with a Wight King BSB and a vampire.  The enemy unit was bumped to Weapon Skill 7 by the vampire lord's Crown of Command (such an irritating item!), so now I needed fours to hit and he needed threes.  The units ground away at each other for a few turns, but then disaster struck.  For starters, my battle standard bearer was struck with Killing Blow and died an inglorious death.  Then my Runelord was killed in a challenge by the vampire.  And then the unit was rear-charged by a unit of thirty Ghouls (ranked ten-wide), who had Vanhel's Danse Macabre cast on them, so they struck first and re-rolled failed rolls to hit.

Never allow a horde unit of ghouls to be affected by Vanhel's.  I sucked up forty-one (yes, 41) Poisoned attacks with a re-roll.  There were roughly sixteen poison auto-wounds, and some twenty-two or so hits, which led to another eight wounds.  It was a miracle I only lost seven Ironbreakers.  Between being slaughtered by ghouls and losing static combat res, I broke from combat.  The dice gods smiled on me and frowned on Greg, however, as I managed to escape with my unit somewhat intact on a Flee roll of seven.  The Longbeards, finally clear of any further obstructions, charged the remaining unit of skeletons in the flank as the Ironbreakers rallied to face the ghouls.  My lord somehow managed to fail at his attempt to cause any wounds on Greg's BSB (five attacks, fours to hit, threes to wound. . .really, Dwarf Lord?).  Over the next two rounds of combat, though, I did manage to destroy the entire unit of skeletons.  Meanwhile, the ghouls charged the Ironbreakers, killed one, lost two in return, ended up losing combat by one, but didn't lose further models because the battle standard was right there.

When the dust settled, the only thing that saved me was the fact that I had both expensive blocks of infantry alive, as well as my dwarf lord.  After a real nail-biter, I managed a victory with a +2 modifier, rounding out the day at a total of 58 Battle Points.  When scores were tallied, I ended up going home with second place.  First place was a new Island of Blood boxed set, and I won $60 in store credit, which I promptly spent.

Ah, the spoils of war!  I, of course, toasted my victory and saluted the victorious dead with a tankard of ale (okay, Bud Light, but it was all I had!).  After all, I wouldn't want to upset the Ancestor Gods, would I?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Season Opener

Well folks, I had my Blood Bowl season opener tonight!  The Philadelfia Eagles (did you see what I did there?) saw themselves matched up against the Naggarond Paleskins (Dark Elves).  For those of you not familiar with the Warhammer mythos, High Elves and Dark Elves, like, totally hate each other and stuff.  And I was playing against my friend Kevin, against whom I played many a great game in the last BB league, so I knew it was going to be a good one.  I managed to win the coin toss (and by coin toss I mean dice roll) and chose to receive the opening kickoff.  The first play of the game was already looking up for me, as one of my linemen (line-elves?) knocked down and injured an opponent.  Add to that the fact that my Thrower, Elrond Longarm, threw a complete pass.  The dice gods were fickle, however, as Kevin managed to injure Elrond, making his victory short-lived.

The first half was all give-and-take.  I scored a touchdown in the first two turns.  Kevin responded by scoring a touchdown two turns later.  Two turns later, another Eagles touchdown.  After that, though, I managed to hold Kevin out of the end zone, though I didn't manage to get down there myself.  At the end of the half, I was up a touchdown, 2 - 1.  Elrond was out for the game and will be out for the next.  However, on the far side of the pitch, two Dark Elves were out of the game from injuries resulting from blocks.  Another was injured and out for the game after being fouled (what can I say?  High Elves hate Dark Elves).  A fourth was out of the game after getting caught attempting to foul one of my players.  That's an exchange I would gladly make.

Obviously, I had to kick off to start the second half.  Unfortunately, the second half was a bit more boring than the first, with no more injuries.  Kevin's rolling did turn against him in a big way, however, with him failing more rolls on a 2+ than I thought possible.  As far as touchdowns, it was a repeat of the first half, with me scoring two touchdowns and Kevin another one.  At the end of the game, the High Elves were up two, with a final score of 4 - 2.  I had suffered only a single injury, losing my Thrower at the beginning of the game and, sadly, for the next game I play.  In the exchange, Kevin's Blitzer will also be sitting out his second game of the season.  Both of my Catchers earned themselves new skills, thanks to scoring two touchdowns each.  All in all, it was a solid win for the High Elves, suffering no lasting damage.  I walked away with two improved players, 80,000 gold and an increase to my Fan Factor (basically how popular you are, and how die-hard your fans are).  I'm looking forward to the rest of the season!

Oh, on a side note, I did get a test model done for my paint scheme. . .but decided I didn't like it, so I'll have to start over.  I promise to have pictures soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Video Game Reunion

So, I had originally planned on slapping some paint on my Blood Bowl team on this long weekend, but, well, something came up.  Actually, something eleven years old.  BAM!

I remember playing this bad boy circa 1999 in my buddy Tyler's basement.  Unfortunately for me, I never owned it, so after a few hours of enjoying the crap out of it (and passing the controller back and forth throughout the course of the night), I never played it again.  Until this weekend, of course.

I use a nerd trading website, that I believe I posted somewhere on this blog, called Bartertown.  Well, recently, I managed to trade for this game and its sequel, and have been playing almost nonstop since Saturday.  These games have gotten a bit rare over the years, but if you know someone with a copy, I highly recommend it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Exhibition, Week Two

I didn’t have time to write about this yesterday, so I thought I’d take care of it today. Wednesday night saw the Philadelfia Eagles (did you see what I did there?) in their second exhibition match against the Karak Eight Peaks Piercers, which is a goblin team coached by my buddy J. The game went, well, just about the way you would expect a game to go when goblins are on the field. In other words, there was a lot of silliness and a lot of injured goblins. See, while most teams have a clear, effective strategy in mind, goblins don’t. Dwarfs are tough and resilient, and thus great at grinding their opponent down. Elves are agile and quick, and excel at outmaneuvering their opponent. Orcs just beat everything in the face as hard as they can. Goblins are focused around being ridiculous.

For starters, they’re weaker than almost everything else on the pitch, with low armor and a skill that makes them more likely to get injured. They do have two skills that help them dodge around the field, but when you consider the fact that they have only average Agility and take a penalty to throw the ball, this doesn’t help so much. What do they have, you ask? Craziness. For starters, a goblin team can take two trolls. They’re big. They’re scary. They’re stupid. They’re perfect for Blood Bowl. On top of this, goblins can also take a number of illegal secret weapons. There’s a goblin that throws bombs, another that uses a pogo stick. There’s a goblin fanatic with incredible strength. And then there’s my favorite – a goblin with a chainsaw.

The most common goblin strategy is to have your trolls throw the goblins. Yes, they are allowed to do this. You can pick up the goblin holding the ball and hurl him downfield, in hopes that he lands on his feet and can scramble into the endzone for a touchdown. Or you can chuck a goblin into a tightly-packed group of your opponents and hope to take a few out. This strategy tends to work very well. . .at least, if you don’t roll like J. Another thing I should explain is that J is a good player. He’s been playing for years and has sound strategies. But, for whatever reason, when he’s across the table from me, his dice hate him. It doesn’t matter which game we’re playing, he will make bad rolls that would cause a mathematician’s head to explode with the improbability of it. This happened during our game.

To begin, he had a Hell of a time just trying to pick up the ball. On top of this, he was having players get knocked out left and right, but couldn’t seem to find enough umph to take out any of my own players. His chainsaw-wielding crazy manage to knock one of my elves down, but couldn’t injure him, and was himself taken out only moments after taking the pitch. One goblin was even killed by one of my blocks. On top of it all, two goblins were eaten by his trolls! Thankfully, it was just a practice game. In all, J had six goblins injured by the end of the game, three of them dead, and several had been knocked out, returned to the pitch, and then been knocked out again. I had lost not a single player, and, in fact, only had three or four knocked out during the course of the game. Final result? Philadelfia Eagles (did you see what I did there?) 5, Karak Eight Peak Piercers 1.

Also, I found this (misspelled) demotivational poster that expresses my sentiments for Blood Bowl:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Are You Ready for Some Blood Bowl?

As is well-established, I run a nerd club in my area.  Said club, I'm stoked to say, has just started running a Blood Bowl League.  No, not the video game.  Blood Bowl was (and is) originally a board game.

The statement on this image expresses my sentiments exactly.  Anyhoo, Blood Bowl is an amazing game.  It's kind of like Mutant League Football (though it came out before it) but better and on a tabletop with some dice and models you paint yourself.  In fact, I have a group of these guys to paint:

Unfortunately, I haven't had a dry day to prime this week, so here's hoping this afternoon is clear enough.  Though the "official" name is the Galadrieth Gladiators, I'm fielding them as the PhiladELFia Eagles (did you see what I did there?), complete with green and silver paint scheme.  Oh, and they're all going to be named after Lord of the Rings elves. . .because LotR was the only source of fantasy where elves aren't haughty pansies.  Anyone who disagrees, just consider the fact that a LotR elf killed a balrog.  A balrog.  By himself.  Think a WHFB High Elf could do that?

Anyway, for those of you who have never had the pleasure of playing Blood Bowl, the video game is a very close second.

There's actually a game mode that plays exactly like the board game.  Well, there is one major difference.  The computer will totally SCREW you if your team gets too good, with things like Triple Skulls.  And then again with a re-roll.  For those of you who don't know the game, this is like rolling three ones on 3D6, and then re-rolling them and getting the same exact result.  I'm not a mathematician, but the probability of that is about the same as finding a troll that doesn't think goblins are delicious.

More on this as the league (and painting my team) progresses!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Offense vs. Defense

It's the age-old question: which is better, offense or defense?

Obviously, I'm applying this concept to tabletop gaming, not football.  More specifically, I'm applying it to unit upgrade choices, speaking to the debate between increased Strength and Attacks or a better Armor Save.  In the not-so-glorious days of 7th edition, the answer to this question was simple -- both!  The one good thing I will say about 7th ed. is the fact that you could take a great weapon and a shield, and then choose which one to use at the onset of each combat, based off of what you were facing.  Since that's gone now, choosing between the crunching power of a great weapon or halberd and the protection of a shield is a serious consideration.  Even though the +1 Armor Save modifier of hand weapon and shield are gone, using a shield in close combat does still improve your save by one, so my Dwarf Warriors would go from a 5+ save to a 4+.  The Parry Save is very "meh" in my opinion, as you'll only save one model for every six saves you take, but that does come in handy when facing units whose Strength will negate your armor save completely.

In my games of 8th, I've been highly favoring "The Best Defense is a Strong Offense" mentality, equipping my Longbeards and Warriors with Great Weapons as opposed to increasing their melee survivability with a shield.  Dwarfs are already very hard to kill, with all-around high Weapon Skill and Toughness, not to mention that all of my melee infantry comes standard with Heavy Armor.  Improving their save by one may seem pretty great, and is, but considering how many high Toughness or heavily-armored threats there are out there (nearly all of the new books have some great monster or another, and there're always those pesky Chaos Warriors running around), packing a Strengh 5 or 6 punch and kill your opponent far outweighs the ability to slightly increase your chances of just bogging the enemy down.

Another aspect to this choice in 8th edition, although I don't face it myself, is whether it's worth it to increase your unit's number of attacks.  While my army of choice does not have this option, most combat-oriented armies do.  Chaos Warriors, Marauders, Ogre Bulls, etc., all have the opportunity to increase their number of attacks by one with an extra hand weapon (or, in the case of Chaos Warriors, two with the Mark of Khorne).  These were somewhat frequent in 7th edition, with Ironfists being a very popular choice for Bulls.  Not many in my area play these armies, so I can't speak to a change having been made for 8th edition, but I can imagine they would be just as popular.  If you were willing to pay the points in 7th edition, when only the front rank could attack and had a chance of not attacking at all, I would think in 8th, where front rankers will always get to strike and with bonus attacks from rear ranks, this would be an even better choice.

I'd love to hear more on this last issue.  For those of you who play armies with such a choice, are more attacks the more attractive option to increased save?  Or do you prefer halberds, great weapons and flails to additional attacks at lower Strength?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eighth Edition is Amazing

So this may be a little late, as 8th edition came out almost three months ago, but it's a fact of life;  Warhammer Eighth Edition is amazing.  I mean, just look at the book.

Sure, you may not like the cover art, but the message is clear.  If you say you don't like Warhammer 8th Edition, your rulebook is going to turn into a rocket launcher that will shoot a GIANT FLAMING HAMMER at you!  Or, maybe it's supposed to be the Ghal Maraz with the twin-tailed comet of Sigmar behind it.  I'm going to go with the rocket launcher.

Giant flaming hammers aside, 8th ed is still pretty great.  Its arrival may not have changed my overall tactics and strategy, but it has certainly altered my list building.  Before, I would rarely field a unit of more than twenty dwarfs, because there wasn't much sense in more than that.  Now, I field a block of forty to fifty Longbeards and a unit of thirty Ironbreakers in almost every game.  I used to take bolt throwers in preference to cannons, but that's changed, too.  With a cannon's ability to hit both monstrous mount and rider, and the fact that it inflicts D6 wounds instead of D3, a dwarf cannon can put out a lot of hurt.  Oh, and my stone throwers became downright destructive against light infantry.  Battles have become even bloodier, with units getting butchered in two rounds of close combat, and I'm not talking about breaking and getting run down.  Magic went from a nuisance unless your opponent filled their list with wizards to ZOMG danger! with a single level two.

I've managed to fit in several dozen games of fantasy in the last three months, as well as participating in the first and (finally) the second round of the 'Ard Boyz tournament, so I've seen a good deal of eighth, from friendly games to 3,000 point slugfests, and I'm enamoured.  Here are my favorite changes to eighth edition.

1) Close Combat
Close combat has become insane.  With two or three times the number of attacks, units die horrible deaths so much faster than they used to.  In my personal experience, I've watched my units of Longbeards and Warriors go from a threat on the charge to slow-moving killing machines that can annihilate most enemy infantry in moments.  With three ranks of WS5 S6 attacks, a horde unit of 'Beards can beat up on heavy infantry and are downright murderers against light infantry.  It's not just the number of attacks that have drawn people to taking massive blocks of infantry, either.  The Steadfast rule is, perhaps, the greatest improvement to the game in the entire book.  It was so irritating in 7th edition to have a unit of twenty get charged by a unit of five cavalry, lose more models, and then break and get run down.  It simply didn't make sense for five models (or even one, in the case of powerful monsters) to be able to kill a fraction of a unit, and for that unit to freak out and run away.  Steadfast and Supporting Attacks combined have completely changed the game.  Gone or less-effective are the expensive units that had few numbers and relied on their killing power to win the day.  Chaos Knights and Blood Knights can no longer be expected to charge in, kill all models capable of fighting back, and break the enemy.  Can they still butcher the enemy?  Absolutely.  But they're likely to get bogged down and suffer some wounds themselves in the exchange.

2) Movement
Quite possibly the biggest simplification that was also desperately needed.  Sure, you still have to deal with wheeling and whatnot, but now terrain doesn't slow you down (unless it prevents you from Marching), and you cannot combine forward, backward and/or sideways movement.  Charging has become infinitely easier, although there is one thing I disagree with.  In the rulebook, it states that you should roll your charge distance and then measure to see if you're in range.  I find it much simpler to measure range, agree on distance with your opponent and then roll.  I've found this settles arguments before they happen.  When you measure ahead of time, you and your opponent are more reasonable, as there is less at stake.  Sure, you may end up needing to roll one higher, or your opponent may end up needing to roll one lower, but that makes little difference in the long run.  Once you've rolled the distance and it's set, and the end of your tape measure is hovering so close to the enemy unit's base that it's tough to call, then whether is 10" or 9 15/16" means everything.  Other than that, though, movement is so much easier.

3) Magic
As stated above, magic has become destructive now.  But you can no longer spam magic as you once could.  Before, taking one or two casters, with notable exceptions, was an excuse to have several Dispel Scrolls.  They really wouldn't have much hitting power with a paltry six or so power dice.  However, now you can take a single caster and have up to 12.  Spells have become much more dangerous, but casting costs have also been increased and with the new limits on power dice, the number of spells cast per phase has dropped significantly.  All of the problems with the magic phase from 7th edition (armies that can just spam spells, mostly) were done away with in a single stroke.  At the same time, your ability to dispel has increased.  An army without a single wizard can still reap a large number of dispel dice, and on an average roll have a good chance at dispelling one or two spells.

All things considered, the changes made with eighth edition are simply amazing.  I'm sure that, as time goes on, people will find loopholes in the rules to give themselves an edge, but overall the game is neater, simpler and much more fun!

A New Morning Tradition

My darling wife recently visited some friends in NYC. As she has made clear to me over the last few years, when you go on vacation without those close to you, you are required to return with some manner of souvenir. She has a knack for finding good ones, but has definitely raised the bar this time around:

If you don't recognize those guys, they're from the NBC show, "Community", which airs on Thursday nights at 8:00 EST. I highly recommend watching it, and keep an eye out for those two -- they are, in my opinion, the most entertaining characters on the show.

I usually skip breakfast, but with their smiling faces on my new mug, I just might have to make the effort and get up a little earlier.
So this doesn't have too much to do with nerdiness, but it was on my mind. I'm trying to collect my thoughts on Warhammer 8th Edition, so rest assured that nerdery will ensue!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Trying This Again. . .

Wow. . .has it been three months already? Apparently, I'm not so great at this blogging thing, but I'm going to give it another go. Needless to say, this past summer was completely unproductive as far as building and painting is concerned. And there was so much to discuss! Warhammer Eighth Edition dropped, and rocked the tabletop gaming world. I participated in the first and (finally!) the second round of 'Ard Boyz. And did I mention Warhammer 8th came out?

Anyway, this is (another) big apology to any of you that may follow this thing. This summer was spent sleeping, working and reading, with hardly a thought to my miniatures, or, at least, hardly a thought to them as soon as I closed the case after a game. I've pared down my armies, selling and trading off my Menoth and Vampire Counts to focus on Dwarfs and Blood Angels. There's a Fantasy tournament coming up in November, and with the new rules my army list has changed, so hopefully I'll get some painting done with them and get that posted up. In the meantime, I'll focus on other things -- Warhammer and Blood Bowl, to be more precise.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Back in the saddle again. . .

Well, after an overly long month of inactivity, I managed to hammer out a few minis at the end of June. Though I ended up nine models short of my goal, here it is, my first cluster of painted Bangels. . .

Meet Combat Squad Lucius. I've decided to name every squad (and combat squad) after it's commander. So Combat Squad Lucius, led by Brother-Corporal Lucius, is part of Squad Titus, led by Brother-Sergeant Titus (not in photograph). The exact members of the combat squad may change (in fact, it'll often consist of two marines with Meltas, so the powerfist sarge can have the combat-heavy part of the squad), but hey. . .they're painted! I actually managed to try out a few slightly different techniques and settled on one I like. As an added bonus, I lucked out, because the entire combat squad looks extremely similar. Here're a few closeups of the leader, Corporal Lucius.

I've decided that all of the gems on armor and whatnot will be green. I had thought of doing red, as no doubt most Bangels players would do, but I thought that having green wax on the purity seals and green gems would make them pop.

I still have a few minor touchups to do, such as gloss varnishing the gems and touching up the black around the base edges, but other than that, I have a finished part of a unit! Woo!

In other news, I also played my second game of Warhammer 8th Edition, and it was awesome! This time around, I threw down with 2,400 points, Dwarves versus Dark Elves. It was a great time. Mike T., my opponent, is a great guy anyway, and although we got slowed down by checking rules, the game itself was intense. We laughed, we cried, I rolled dice off of the table. We actually had an audience, besides. I managed to win because of the mission, but it was a brutal slaughter on both sides. I lost almost an entire 28-strong unit of Hammerers before they even got into combat. That's how nasty magic can be, and he only had two level two casters! I'm even more stoked for 8th edition now!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Holy Crap, a painted model. . .

That's right. . .I finished my first Space Marine. A chapter of a thousand marines starts with a single dude. Anyway, I had planned on hammering out a full combat squad at a time, but after I applied a Mechrite Red basecoat to all five models, I thought it best to finish one ahead of the rest with my planned paint scheme, to make sure it didn't suck before I invested the time in five models as opposed to one. And here's the final result of this afternoon/evening's labors:

The base I've yet to finish, as I prefer to jam those out all at once. I'm also considering doing a drybrush of Dwarf Bronze to lighten up the metal, and maybe even a line highlight of Blazing Orange, but I haven't decided if I want to go that far. I'm pretty satisfied with the end result, though, and plan to use this technique on all of my assault marines, perhaps with a few minor tweaks. Here're a few more angles for posterity:

I feel I've stayed pretty true to my paint scheme concept:

So, one down, many, many, many to go. But only nine more (plus some Dwarfs) to reach my goal for June!

Nerdblog Fail

Yes, I freely admit it. I think I've hit the point of Fail, though, hopefully, not Epic Fail. If anyone out there is still reading this, I apologize. For some reason, the latter half of May was a very unmotivated time, but now it's June, the summer is here and the school year is almost over. I'm getting back to the blogging scene, and come Sunday I'll have some WIP pics of Blood Angels. Yes, I'm actually getting paint on the models, now. So hopefully someone out there is still taking a gander here from time to time, and here's to getting much done over the next few months!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Death Company in Review

I've been thinking a lot about the 'Ardboyz tournament this week. I often think about tournaments once they're over, mulling over what I did wrong and right, and what I could correct for the future. It's actually why I like playing in tournaments -- they're excellent learning experiences, and you have a great opportunity to meet some new people and play against some new opponents. As part of my ruminations, I've thought a bit about the units I used last Saturday and how they fared. Actually, this tourney was perhaps the biggest learning experience I've ever had, as I had never played an all-assault army or quite such a mobile army before. But for today, I'd like to talk about one unit in particular:

Death Company. As you may remember from my list, I fielded them in a unit of 10, sporting one Power Fist and four Power Weapons. Now, I didn't want to shell out the extra 150 points to give them all jump packs, so I shoved them into a Stormraven. And let me just say -- they earned their points back in every single game. Round one, they charged and destroyed Commander Farsight and seven bodyguards, plus a Devilfish and Hammerhead. I can't be sure on the numbers, but that should ring in around 1,000+ points. Admittedly, they had help from a Death Company Dreadnought and Astorath the Grim, but even then, their cost would cap at 530 points, meaning they killed double their cost. I only lost one or two in the exchange.

In round two, I did not get them into the fight soon enough, but they did kill off five Nob bikers, and almost half of a full shoota boyz squad before time ran out. In another turn or two, they would have polished off the shoota boyz without a doubt, though there would not have been much else for them to attack. And in round three, while they did die off completely, they massacred two close combat Carnifexes, the Tyranid Prime Warrior and helped mop up a Hive Tyrant and his posse of Tyrant Guard. They later went on to destroy a Mycetic Spore before getting assaulted and eaten by some Genestealers. After all, only about half of the unit was left alive at that point, and Rending took away even their FNP save.

The unit is extremely durable, too. In the second round, they were assaulted by thirty shootas. First they managed to eliminate nine enemies before they could even attack, but even sucking up a total of sixty attacks at WS4 S4, only a single marine fell. Of course, two more fell to the power klaw-toting nob, but that's beside the point. PKs kill a LOT of things, including my land raiders.

All in all, they're a very durable unit that can dish out a lot of pain. The major difficulty is getting them into combat as well as steering them in the right direction. Provided their means of transport (Stormraven, Land Raider, Drop Pod, Rhino, etc.) gets them to where you want them to be, they can at least hit your major target. It's after that which presents a problem. Once they kill whatever they've charged, Rage brings them straight after the nearest enemy, which isn't always where you want them to go. For my next post, I think I'll talk about the methods of delivering your Death Company into the thick of the fight, and the pros and cons of each.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Have Fought in the Emperor's Name!

Whew. . .what a long day. Long story short -- I managed to place third, earning a $20 credit and an invitation to the Semi-Finals. I'm actually surprised I managed to place, given the fact that my games were Draw, Minor Victory, Minor Victory. My list was exactly as posted above, and, from memory, here's what my battles looked like:

Round One
Opponent -- Tau Empire

My opponent had Commander Farsight, accompanied by seven or eight bodyguard crisis suits, each with plasma guns and burst cannons, as well as a sprinkling of shield drones. There was a small unit of pathfinders, two units of fire warriors, three devilfish, a hammerhead, a unit of stealth suits, one crisis suit team of three with missile launchers, and another crisis suit team with plasma gun/burst cannon, a handful of drones and Iridium Armor. Deployment was the odd one from scenario one with the diagonal centerline that you have to deploy 12" away from. My foe rolled higher and deployed his army. I kept everything in reserve.

His first turn was completely wasted, as there was nothing to shoot at or assault, so his army shuffled around. My turn one, I dropped in the Furioso Dread and Multi-melta dread. The MM dread failed to do anything beyond scoring a Crew Shaken against the hammerhead, but the Furioso dread killed all but two of the stealth suits. Top of turn two saw one drop pod destroyed, and the MM dread Immobilized and Stunned. But then it was bottom of two, and time to STRIKE FROM THE SKY, BROTHERS!!! Brothers?! Brothers. . .? Yes. . .my Reserve rolls on turn two. I had three assault squads split into combat squads, a vanguard vet squad all together, an empty drop pod and the stormraven. So a 4+ with a re-roll on most of those units saw. . .the empty pod and one combat squad arrive. Needless to say, this meant that combat was going to be put off until round four at the earliest. In any event, I charged the Furioso dread into Farsight's crew. . .and he promptly got his dread CCW sliced off.

The MM dread didn't survive my opponent's next shooting phase, but the beginning of my next turn brought out, well, my entire army. Perhaps the only serious mistake I made all day happened now. My Vanguard Vets landed right near Farsight's squad. . .but I forgot to declare Heroic Intervention before rolling the scatter, and thus they were left stranded. Needless to say, after Farsight finished off the dread, his squaddies double-tapping plasma guns into the beleaguered vets, who were in the open, by the by, left one alive. Elsewhere on the battlefield, my stormraven, having just arrived from reserve, was promptly shot down. The few combats I managed to get into, namely with the two units of crisis suits, netted me nothing. But things were about to turn around for me.

Though their transport was destroyed, the Death Company, led by Astorath, assaulted and summarily destroyed Farsight's squad. Very little else was happening, but over the next turn, the DC managed to sweep forward and destroy a devilfish and the hammerhead. Going in to turn six, my opponent flew two units of firewarriors onto objectives, and I lacked the ability to remove them. Luckily, my drop pod was contesting one objective, and a lone assault marine, after going blow-for-blow against a single stealth suit for about five rounds of combat, managed to fly onto an objective and capture it for the draw.

In review, I forgot how hardcore crisis suits are. They're extremely crunchy, not to mention they all have two wounds at T4. Whether or not my vets using HI would have made a huge difference, who can say, but it was definitely a fun game against a good opponent, and I would say a Draw is not bad for the first time using this army.

Result -- Draw

Round Two
Opponent -- Orks

For round two, it was spearhead deployment (my least favorite). This scenario was actually a call back to 4th edition, as the only objective of the game was to accumulate Victory Points. Remember those? Anyway, my opponent was rocking two units of Nob Bikers, two units of Meganobz, another unit of Nobz, two units of Shootas, two Battlewagons, three Killa Kanz and a unit of Lootas (that she both forgot to deploy and declare they were in reserve, so they weren't in the game). I managed to roll higher, and given the lack of long-range firepower, I decided to deploy my entire army, save for the Dreads (all in pods), and the Vanguard Vets, who I split into combat squads. Turn one saw the Stormraven blow up a battle wagon with some side armor shots, and the Furioso, who had landed right next to the wagon, proceeded to kill all but the nob with is frag cannon. My MM dread failed to hit the other wagon with its big gun, and proceeded to get run over by said wagon.

Turn two, I assaulted two full units into some meganobz and managed to kill all of the nobz, with a failed morale check leading to the warboss attempting to flee and getting run down. Now, unfortunately for me, her units started arriving. The other unit of meganobz started laying some hurt on one of my assault squads, while a bike squad started ripping apart another one. We were getting pretty cramped in her deployment zone with lots of terrain, so my jump infantry were having difficulty maneuvering properly. In fact, the next turn saw all of the combat cramped into about a 2' x 2' space, with greenies and marines hacking away at each other. The turn of the tide came when I pulled up in the 'Raven and unleashed the Death Company. First, they slaughtered a unit of nob bikers, but then were charged by 30 shootas. They managed to kill 9 before the boys got to attack, and after sucking up attacks from 20 boys (that's sixty attacks!), lost a single model. The Nob managed to kill off two more.

Elsewhere, my Furioso dread was charged by the three kanz, and over four rounds of combat managed to destroy two of them, suffering no damage himself. My Vanguard Veterans tried to bail out the assault squad that had been charged first by Meganobz, then by Biker Nobs, and THEN by regular Nobs, and although they managed to kill all of the enemy off, the assault squad had already fallen. Unfortunately, this is where the time limit ended, in turn four. Left on the battlefield was Astorath and seven Death Company (with power weapons and fist intact), four assault marines, two sanguinary priests, two vanguard vets with power weapons, the Furioso, Death Company dread and Stomraven on my side. On my opponent's side, there were about fifteen shootas, one killa kan and about four biker nobs. But, because we ran out of time, it was a minor victory. One more turn, and I probably would have tabled.

In retrospect, I would have only made very slight changes to my battle plan. Since I was playing an assault army, I had to be aggressive. Since my opponent was of a similar mind, we got into combat turn two. The main issue here was the fact that of the units in reserve, three of them (both biker nobz and the nobz in a trukk) had at least an 18" striking distance from the board edge. So even if I managed to assault and annihilate everything on the table, I would get counter-charged like whoa. So I held the Death Company back until my opponent's entire army was on the field, and one more round of combat would have easily seen the end of that unit of boyz, as well as that biker unit, easily turning a Minor Victory into a Massacre.

Result -- Minor Victory

Round Three
Opponent -- Tyranids

Round three, and this was the one that was going to be trouble. By the scenario, any unit that could move over 6" in a single phase was to be worth 3 Kill Points. My army was worth a total of 34KP. I knew this one would be tough for me, especially as my opponent had no units that could move over 6". The bugs I was facing had two units of two Zoanthropes in spores, the Doom of Malantai in a spore, one unit of 'Stealers in a spore with two more outflanking, Tyrant Guard, a Hive Tyrant, a unit of two Carnies, Tyranid Warrior Prime, and both a small unit of Termagaunts and a small unit of Hormagaunts. The zoeys, Doom and genestealers all began in reserve, while I deployed everything save for the vanguard vets. I both deployed first and took the first turn, and as my opponent's army was heavily divided, immediately went on the offensive. The Furioso dread arrived turn one, blasting a handful of termagaunts with its cannon, but was promptly assaulted by the tyrant, his guard and the warrior prime. The dread somehow survived, losing its close combat arm. One of my assault squads was similarly attacked by the hormagaunts (I forgot they had Fleet), but only lost a single marine before annihilating the unit.

Turn two, I dropped off the Death Company in between the carnifexes and tyrant blob, assaulting both, while also throwing a unit of assault marines into the mix and having another unit mop up the termagaunts. I managed to do seven power weapon wounds to the carnies, killing one but leaving the other alive. Thanks to Lash Whips, everything else struck at I1, so I lost a few assault marines and death company before I could strike back. Still, through it all I only lost six models, causing sixteen wounds myself. The Fearless wounds finished off the last carnifex and saw the tyrant reduced to two wounds, with only a lone tyrant guard to keep him company. Then my opponent's army arrived.

He managed to roll his outflank so that both units of genestealers arrived together, and in fact, the only thing that did not come in from reserve were the 'stealers in the spore. Doom landed next to one assault squad, with the other zoeys spreading across the table. Two zoeys warp blasted my MM dread out of the game, but only because my opponent forgot about the Stormraven (we had removed the model from the base, because it was perched on the side of a hill). Doom's Essence Leech did nothing. . .I rolled a 7 on 3d6 for the Leadership check. The assault phase saw the end to the tyrant, thankfully. In my next turn, Doom failed to do any wounds again before getting shot up and assaulted. The 'Raven spun around and unloaded all of its guns plus all four Bloodstrike missiles into the two nearby zoanthropes, killing one and wounding the other. The Vanguard Vets arrived, and via Heroic Intervention assaulted a unit of Genestealers. Unfortunately, the vets lost half of their number before striking, but my power weapons managed to soften the unit up a bit. Doom fell to the assault, and I managed to attack the full unit of zoeys with another assault squad. . .but failed to do a single wound.

Over the next turn, the vets died off and the Stormraven was immobilized. I unleashed the Death Company dread from within it, and between two Deathwind missile shots from drop pods, the Furioso's frag cannon and the DC dread's heavy flamer, I reduced the other unit of genestealers to seven models before assaulting with both dreads. The DC dread, kitted out with Blood Talons, actually killed the entire unit itself, leaving the furioso nothing to do. The assault marines that were tied down in a fight with zoanthropes ended up getting counter-assaulted by the other beaten up unit of genestealers, and in the bottom of turn four, his last unit arrived. Again, we ran out of time and the game ended.

Looking back at this game, there's little I would have done differently. My hope was to rush and overwhelm the small portion of his army that began the game deployed, before everything else arrived. Even with Feel No Pain, genestealers are a major concern, given the fact that they strike first and can Rend. It's tough to say whether or not another turn or two would have seen me faring much better, as I still had two units of genestealers do deal with. My dreads were too far away to be much help, same with the deathwind launchers, and I only had about fifteen assault marines left, which is hardly a fair fight against an equal number of genestealers.

All in all, I'm very satisfied with the way the tournament ran. As this was the first time I had ever used this army (after all, I just finished building it the night before), I feel I did pretty well. That last scenario was killer, though. I managed to eliminate eleven enemy units, losing only two units and Astorath in the process. But since two of those three units were jump infantry, the final KP score was 13 - 7 (this was actually a Major Victory, but I hadn't realized at the time that HQs were worth 2KP each, so I had calculated 11 - 7). I don't know if I'll be able to go to the Semis, as I have no idea how close or far they will be, but it would be cool to go. I'd probably get my face smashed in, but it would still be fun.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Madness Hath Consumed Me. . .

Although, I suppose you could say that of anyone who participates in our Hobby, but I meant in a more specific way. I locked myself away in my nerdery upon returning home from work yesterday (around 2:00 in the afternoon). With only a few brief excursions to greet and talk to my wife, and of course the necessary foraging trips to the kitchen, I did not leave said nerdery until 12:00 last night. I suppose I finally know how it feels to be a mad scientist, obsessed with finishing one's work.

Unfortunately, when I emerged, rather than cackling madly with glee before unleashing some unholy terror on the world. . .I just had more assembled minis. Now, the list I'll be fielding is drastically different from anything I've ever seen fielded before (after all, everything has a jump pack or is in a flying transport). But I'm sure it's not all that different from lists that are going to be fielded all across the U.S. today.

Here's the list I'll be rolling with. . .

Astorath the Grim

Assault Squad
-- Flamer
-- Flamer
-- Sarge w/Power Weapon

Assault Squad
-- Melta
-- Melta
-- Sarge w/Power Fist

Assault Squad
-- Melta
-- Melta
-- Sarge w/Power Fist

Death Company
-- Power Fist
-- 4 x Power Weapons
-- 5 x Death Company

Death Company Dreadnought
-- Blood Talons (Heavy Flamer/Melta)
-- Drop Pod

Furioso Dreadnought
-- Frag Cannon
-- Drop Pod w/Deathwind Missile Launcher

Sanguinary Priests
-- 3 x Priests with Jump Packs

Vanguard Veterans
-- 3 x Power Weapons
-- Jump Packs

-- Multi-melta
-- Drop Pod w/Deathwind Missile Launcher

-- Extra Armor
-- TL Heavy Bolter, TL Assault Cannon

While I'm going to give up a TON of potential kill points in that last, special scenario (34!), I feel like this list can dish out a whole lotta hurt. For starters, it will be more maneuverable than most other lists I'll be facing. It can easily outrun footsloggers, and while units in transports can keep up with or outrun this list, they can't assault from inside their tin cans. Against gunlines, I can hold the entire list in Reserve, and thanks to Descent of Angels, Deep Strike so close that they get one round of shooting before they start dying in droves with unheeded prayers to their heathen gods on their lips.

Not sure if it's going to work. After all, I'm as unfamiliar with this list as my opponents will be. But the wealth of tactical options it provides will be fantastic. Look for battle reports up here tonight or tomorrow, and say a prayer to the Immortal Emperor that I may find victory.

For the Emperor, For Sanguinius!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Status Update

Alright, I managed to finish off the third assault squad last night. My scoring units are now complete. I also assembled their jump packs, but I still have to assemble ten more for one of the other assault squads, AND I have to show up early to the tournament on Saturday to buy and assemble my final ten (yes, I’m cutting it THAT close). Tonight, I’ve got those ten pesky jump packs to work on, and then ten Vanguard Veterans and ten Death Company. Now, I know I can easily assemble twenty models in a single night, but I’m hesitant to. If I rush assembly, that means significantly less time spent crafting and converting each model. Considering the fact that these are my veterans and death company, units that should pop out on the table top (at least the veterans), this may be an issue. Hopefully, I can kick a whole lotta tail tomorrow and just buy more DC models.

Aside from the status update, I also wanted to briefly touch on the advancement I’ve seen in GW mold technology. Now, I’ve only been playing for seven years, so I missed the REALLY old days, but even when I started, plastic kits were really a way to provide most armies with cheap kits to fill the ranks of units they would need a lot of. For example, when I started up my Dwarfs, dwarfs warriors and dwarfs with crossbows were the two most common Core units. They also happened to be the only units in the entire army that came in plastic. Same for my two friends, Tyler and Bob. One, with Lizardmen, had plastic Saurus and Skinks, and the other, with Hordes of Chaos, had Chaos Warriors and Marauders. Everything else was metal. On a side note, that’s why I don’t much mind paying $25 for a unit of 10 infantry models. . .most of the units in my army were $5 per model! Anyway, looking at the old dwarf warriors and quarrelers of mine, the kits definitely have a decent amount of detail, and are pleasant enough to look at (especially now that they’re decently painted), but I would never have thought about converting the more elite units in my army out of them, simply because they don’t look “elite” enough.

The same goes for, as a current example, the Blood Angels. The plastic assault marine kit is nice. It has a good amount of detail on the armor, and various accoutrement to add a little flair to the models. But if I have one unit painted red with yellow helmets, and another red with gold helmets, well, you can tell which are the vets and which aren’t, but there’s not a whole lot that would make the veterans look elite that wouldn’t involve a lot of cutting, sawing, gluing and sculpting. Enter in the plastic kits we’ve seen with the new release. Between the Sanguinary Guard and Death Company kits, you have everything you’ll need to make Veterans, Sanguinary Priests, Sergeants, and even characters, named or unnamed. The kits are not only extremely detailed, but the death company kit comes with power weapons, a power fist, a thunder hammer, bolt pistols, hand flamers, plasma pistols, inferno pistols, bolters, jump packs, chainswords. . .AND the bits to make five models. I was upset before I saw the kits that Blood Angels wouldn’t be getting a chapter upgrade kit, like Templars and Dark Angels, or a more versatile chapter kit, like the Space Wovles. Then my eyes beheld the glory that is the new DC kit, and I would gladly shell out $35 for a kit that only has five complete models. If you get yourself two DC kits and a tactical squad, well, my friend, you now have enough to make a Vanguard Veteran and a Sternguard Veteran squad.

I do have to say, because I don’t see this on the internet enough, I’m pretty darn happy with the way GW has been operating for the seven years I’ve been in The Hobby. Sure, price increases suck, and they haven’t always made the best decisions, but all in all, they have a solid company and a game that’s larger than any other miniatures system out there. And I’m not just saying this because my army has all of the shiny new toys. . .but it helps.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Have Come to Destroy You

Well, not me personally, but this dude. . .

This is my Furioso bearing a Frag Cannon, which is just too cool not to field. A S6 rending template that fires twice? Yes please. Sure, it's not going to do a whole lot against marines, but orks and bugs? C'mon! I was also sure to keep the melta on the Blood Fist (dread CCW) so he could serve in an anti-vehicle role if need be. The cannon itself was really simple. In fact, almost the entire model, minus the left hand and shin guards, is from the Ironclad Dreadnought sprue. The frag cannon arm is simply the hurricane bolter arm from the Ironclad with a slight modification. The arm comes in three parts -- the inside, the outside and the front. The front "cap", if you will, has a bar of plastic going down the inside, to separate the two rows of bolters, I would imagine. So I simply clipped that bad boy out, chopped two barrels off of a Dwarf organ gun, and stuck 'em in there. Blammo. Here's a profile view of the cannon.

I'm hoping this bad boy will pay some big dividends come Saturday, when it's 'Ardboyz time.

While I'm still a good way off from having everything assembled, I did also manage to finish these guys:

It's another assault squad (sans backpacks right now), this one with two flamers. The picture's a little small, but that's not super important as I did little modifications here. In fact, the only model I spent extra time with at all was the sergeant.

Again made entirely out of Death Company bits (as all of my sarges and vets will be), this dude has the pointing Assault Marine sarge arm, and he's landing/leaping off of some wrecked Eldar wraithbone (I think from a war walker?). I like it, because I imagine him jumping into battle, pointing that nasty power fist at some foe, and shouting, "I'm comin' for YOU!" The little blob on the base is actually putty. I accidentally snapped the piece as I was trying to bend it, so I had to plastic weld it to the base hardcore, and then throw some putty behind the elevated arm to give it some support.

I'm currently working on my third assault squad, this one boasting two meltas like the first, and then I'll be done with my scoring troops. That only leaves me ten vanguard vets and ten death company. . .

I do remain hopeful that I will finish. After all, I kind of have to. Sadly, the time crunch means that I will probably not be able to convert up a dreadnought to serve as my Death Company dread with Blood Talons before Saturday, so I'll have to run boring, old Blood Fists. Not that a model with five S10 attacks on the charge is a BAD thing, but I was looking forward to charging a blood talon dread into a unit of plague marines and kill, well, nearly all of them.

Lastly, an apology to those of you who have been trying to follow this blog. I think I'm going after "World's Worst Blogger", or something like that. But I have resolved to make a much sounder effort. After all, I'm going to have a LOT of model building progress to report these next two days, and then battle reports after Saturday. And after that, Mordheim warband progress. And after that, I'll actually start PAINTING my Blood Angels. Which will be weird for me. I've never had more than five fully painted models in any 40k army I've ever owned. Yes, I'm serious. And I've been playing the game for five years.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

For I am the Angel of Death, and I have come for You

Alright, with the deadline for finishing my Dwarves (which I missed, of course) now passed, I can focus on hammering out Blood Angels for 'Ardboyz. Here's the latest (unpainted) addition to my force. . .





This is my homemade Astorath the Grim. I know, I know, I totally cheated. The jump pack is the one from the Astorath model. But it's just too amazing not to use! The pictures on GW's website do it no justice whatsoever. When I saw it in the blister, though, it blew my mindhole. The actual model itself I hate. I hate it with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. First off, the whole "armor that looks like muscle" thing was cool. . .when they did it with Mephiston. Doing it again is kind of lame, and I didn't really like it that much in the first place. And could he look a little more like Dracula? Anyway, I picked the mini up so I could build my own, and as I just purchased a crapton of stuff for my Bangels, I had plenty of bits to choose from.

The torso, legs, right arm (with the axe) and shoulder pads are straight out of the Sanguinary Guard sprue. The left arm is from the devastator box, and the head is from the Ravenwing upgrade sprue. All in all, you're talking about a $27 - $28 model ($20 for the blister, and one-fifth of a $33 box plus other stuff), but I really like the way it came out. It was perhaps one of the simplest conversions I've done for a named character. The only thing I had to cut n' file was off of the foot. All of the Sanguinary Guard legs have bits of rubble or stone on the lower foot, to get that dramatic taking off/landing/running pose on the base, so I had to clip that off and file it down. Unfortunately, they also molded designs into the soles of the boots. So, instead of trying to carve the design into the part of the foot I had cut the rubble from, I filed both smooth.

Anyway, I think this bad boy will be a nice addition to my emerging army. It's kind of funny to me, though, that he was one of the first models built, but will be one of the last painted (I tend to paint my characters last).

A Devious Scheme

Alright, maybe not so devious, but I have finally decided on a paint scheme for my Blood Angels successor (although now I'm re-thinking the name). I hemmed and hawed over what I should do as my scheme was ruthlessly stolen by the guys who designed the Blood Ravens. Perhaps I should explain that thought. My original idea was to have a predominantly red scheme, as a proper Blood Angels successor, but with progressive amounts of white to tie in to the whole purity concept. The basic marine was red with white shoulder pads, but I was okay with the similarity to Blood Ravens, because the sergeants, veterans and characters would have more and more white depending on their status. Unfortunately, after playing Chaos Rising, I realized that the Blood Ravens honor guard is almost all white. Well shucks. . .there goes that idea! And it was back to the drawing board.

I went through several ideas, including going for the "split" paint scheme (think the Angels Sanguine or Storm Lords), but as that would be very difficult and didn't quite fit with the fluff, I had another idea. This idea ties into the whole Graeco-Roman theme behind the army. While in temperament they would be somewhat closer to Athenians (interest in philosophy, art, and leading the population), Space Marines are, by nature, very Spartan. Not to mention the fact that the color worn by Spartan hoplites was a good, deep red, and Blood Angels are red. . .well, it just makes sense. Anyway, the predominant scheme for the army would be this:

I use Mechrite Red as the primary color, as it's darker than Blood Red and also goes on more easily. The lower half of the leg and also the helmet are Dwarf Bronze. The thought here is that the bronze legs and helmet represent the bronze greaves an helmet of a spartan hoplite. As poorer hoplites could not even afford armor and simply went into battle with a shield, the scouts will be all red. Then we have your basic marine with the above scheme, to represent a slightly wealthier hoplite who could at least afford basic armor. Next we have the sergeant/veteran scheme. . .

The added bronze on the shoulder pads and chest plate are to represent the wealthier (and perhaps more successful) hoplites who could afford a bronze breastplate. Also, for the sergeants, I plan on using a transverse (sideways) crest. Believe it or not, that kind of crest is a pain in the butt to track down. The only one I've found so far is the one on the Cato Sicarius model, and that will involve filing off the Ultramarines "U", which will be fun. Obviously, Sanguinary Guard, as they have the fully molded armor (which is very Graeco-Roman!) would be entirely bronze, as well as most of the characters. I've also found the perfect shields for terminators and veterans or characters, at Scibor Monstrous Miniatures. Check 'em out! One even has a very Imperial-looking purity seal-ish thing.

The one debate currently raging in my head is this -- should I paint the left shoulder pad bronze to represent the typical hoplite shield? It would be very fluffy, I'm just not sure if it fits entirely. Here's what it would look like. . .

As I said, it would definitely fit the army theme very well, I'm just not 100% sure it looks good from a painting perspective. Anyway, I'm pretty stoked about figuring out a unique paint scheme. While many chapters have the lower leg/helmet areas in a different color, I haven't seen an army mix a metallic and non-metallic in quite this fashion. In fact, outside of Grey Knights, you don't see many metallic marine armies at all.

Oh, and lastly, all of the images were provided by the great Space Marine Painter Tool you can use from Bolter & Chainsword.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fun New Addiction

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of base building strategies. I bought Dawn of War because, well, I'm a GW addict and it seemed like fun. Besides being able to field Space Marines and Baneblades, it really isn't all that different from Age of Empires. . .the first one. My preferences for strategies tend to go more along the lines of the Total War series, especially Rome: Total War. Seriously, if you like strategies and not having to rush and build faster than your opponents (in other words, taking time and planning crap out), seriously check the line out. I've been a fan since Rome, and while I'm not crazy about Medieval II or Empire (although the naval battles are fan-friggin-tastic!), there's LOTS of good stuff there.

Anyway, that's not what this post is about. Earlier today, I was out and about spending birthday giftcards, and on a stroll through Best Buy, my eyes beheld this:
I was a little low on the funds when Dawn of War II released, so I skipped this one at the time. But with a new, shiny gift card, I thought I'd give the sequel to the series a try, as I had heard it was vastly different from the original. I've only played it for a few hours, and I'm only on the second mission, but I can tell already that I much prefer this game to its predecessor. For starters, no more base building, so it's not a rush against your opponents, computer or otherwise. Through the first mission, I definitely took my time. I would send the scouts out ahead, snipe artillery spotters, and then set up my devastators and tac marines.

Again, not being that far into the game, I can't really speak with a great deal of knowledge on the XP and levelling systems, but what I've glimpsed so far is definitely interesting and seems decently well done. I also hear tell there's a corruption system, which I eagerly await to experience firsthand. It'll be a tough call, though. . .whether to stay true to the Emperor or fall into the blissful agony of Chaos. I tend to think going the evil route will always be fun. But then I start doing really bad things and feel guilty. Not sure what I mean? Well, play Fable or Knights of the Old Republic and you'll see what I mean. You can do some really mean spirited things. I used to think it was hilarious, but without my old college roommate egging me on, I just feel bad now. Then again, I don't think killing servants of the Corpse God would be too guilt-intensive. So more on this game as I play it further, but thus far I'd definitely say it's worth considering. You can buy Dawn of War II and the Chaos Rising expansion for about $30.