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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hmmm...

  So we all heard that Games Workshop is bringing back the Specialist Games department.  That's the division that used to be in charge of such oldies as Epic, Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Mordheim, and even BFG and Warmaster snuck their way onto the wall under that label.  Many in the grey-beard community believe that some of these are the best games that GW ever produced.


  I can't really deny that as I really fell into GW with Necromunda.  Although I was painting 40k models (and even the rare elf from Citadel), I wasn't a serious hobbyist until I ripped open that Christmas wrapping to find the Orlocks and Goliaths facing off.  From there, my Ultramarines became a real army (I had given the last one away to someone who knew what they were doing... memories...) and I even donned the Power Armour for a while!  So hearing that GW was making this move definitely didn't hurt my feelings.



  Well played, GW, well played.  I still have a crapton of Necromunda stuff (and my buddy happens to have a bunch as well), Epic stuff (IG and the obligatory chapter of Ultramarines), and BFG (Eldar, SM, IG, and I wish I had a Chaos fleet!).  But then I had a thought- what if this new division is indeed going to release some little games like that (imagine another rehash of 'Space Marine', the first Epic game), but they will take over support and production of the board games that we're coming to know.


  Let me play the 'conspiracy theorist' here- GW makes a bit of a killing from licensing fees, especially from the very success Fantasy Flight Games.  Remember that the quality of the games from them is very good, and sometimes we even wish that GW could produce as well as FF.  But wait!  They can!  Remember the release of Space Hulk back in 2009?  That game actually won some awards for board quality alone- on top of being a staple of GW gamers back to the Stone Ages!  GW definitely has the ability to produce such quality, and they're flexing they're muscles on these games.  


  Betrayal at Calth,  very much like Assassinorum Execution Force, seemed like little more than a money-grab by the evil empire.  Most people ignored the Assassin game because they already had most of those models (who needs 3 Chaos Marines, anyway?!) and nobody trusted GW after the Dreadfleet debacle (although I've heard nothing but good from people that have it).  But I, like a gazillion other people, fell for the money-grab and bought two.  TWO.  And then I opened the box up and realized just how awesome a deal it really was.  

   And then I played it.  I played it with my kids, my wife, and even my buddy from out-of-state, and they all enjoyed it.  In fact, I like it so much that I think it could be the next AOS-style adaptation of a game if GW ever had to kill 40k.  I mean, it wouldn't be too hard to switch to that system and produce fold-out hex-maps the way Wizkidz does for Heroclix...  But that's all craziness taken to its extension.  What is the point is that GW is now firing up the "new" Specialist Games division to produce these one-offs (with a future, mind you) and possibly take back the license from FF or even just 'ride that wave' that FF creates.  How much does it really make sense?  I'm just sayin'...


  Regardless, I'm super happy to hear about the resurrection of 'the old days' a bit and I'm actually impressed enough to blog about a game that I was just trying to 'get a deal' on.  Let me know what y'all think in the comments below (I love reading those even months later!).

And, as always, Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It's been and gonna be awhile...

  Sorry about the long-term absence.  Apparently, it turns out that I'm not nearly as smart as I used to be and my coursework has been especially humbling.  There was a point in time when the U.S. military was going to pay to make me a rocket scientist and I could recite Shakespeare verbatim.  Today, I can't remember which superhero movie we're up to and I'm having troubles adding anything that isn't an Army List.  I miss writing army lists...


 
  I did have to finally get excited again, as I found the Horus Heresy board game coming out- and it's MY TWO ARMIES!!!  Being a huge fan of the Calth War and all things Guilliman, and being he outcast in the hobby community (the boys scouts and the jehovah's witnesses of the universe), I was a tad bit surprised.  Something like this:


  Remember that I never thought that GW should have done the novels or the adaptation of the game for 30k. I feel like some myths need to remain myths.  But Black Library proved they could do it and FW has gone ape-nuts with the stuff.  If only it weren't so expensive.  If only, let's say, there was a box game that included plastic, cheap models to enter that world.  Yep, my eyes were still wide.



  While the box game is meant to see the models inside painted for both legions, I am having the conundrum of figuring out what I want to do.  After all, the game itself might actually be pretty cool (check out a run-down of the rules at Spikey Bits blog).  In that case, I won't have to choose.  But what happens if I buy two boxes?  Well, I'm thinking that my often-ignored Ultramarines are gonna get some reinforcements...


  But these are all just pipe-dreams right now.  I have two battle companies of Ultramarines currently waiting to be painted (and I even have the spray paint, so I have no excuses) already, plus this is supposed to be the 'Year of the Greenskin' for me.  I've got to stay focused (or just get focused).  And I have so many campaign ideas (anyone remember Black Reach?)...


  However, I'm still trying to complete my schoolwork and not feel dumb, so it may be a while before I get to test my temptations.  Ugh, homework...  But this had me so excited that I had to check in.  What is everyone else thinking?

  And once you get the game yourself- Happy Gaming!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Intermission

Sorry guys, just checking in.  I mentioned it recently- this session has been particularly harsh on the amount of homework I have.  I seriously feel like I'm studying for a medical degree (or course the classes may lead to that conclusion).  And that leaves little time for hobbying.


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This blog and my toy soldiers are just hobbies and to be done after homework.  Ironically, I found this image and laughed:


Please bear with me as I take care of business.  I promise that I do stare really hard at my little plastic doods during breaks.  When I use them again...

In the meantime, Happy Gaming!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It finally came in!!!

  If you've been keeping up with me or my other poorly-maintained blog, you'll know that I'm a fan of Superman and DC comics (and really just comics in general).  That love of comics has spread over into games and I've been picking up a bunch of those over the last few years.  My collection has some Heroclix (and every Superman I can get my hands on), Cryptozoic's Deck-building Game, and even some dabbling in Knight Models and their fantastic miniatures.  But the biggest collection I have is Dice Masters, by Wizkids.

  The first set to come out, which I ignored despite many of my buddies getting into it, was the Avengers vs. X-men (AvX).  After falling into that game and mentioning it on my blog (you can read it here), I found myself scrambling to pick up everything for it and the soon-released Uncanny X-men (UCM).  As excited was I was with having over 250 dice and more than 100 cards for each set, these were Marvel and I was sad that my favorite characters from DC weren't done.


  Then I got word that Wizkids was finally going to release a DC set and I started piling up money.  It was supposed to be released at the end of January, then February, then March.  After my wife got annoyed and spent that money on more important things (apparently we have to pay for the lights), and I admittedly gave up because I'm tired of Wizkids pulling this stuff.

  And then I got the call- it finally came in!  So I begged and begged and begged the wife to get some money and ran out to buy almost a full case- that's $150 worth of cards and dice!  But I got them.  And let me tell you, I'm not sad.

  First off, the dice are really neat.  I especially like my Superman dice because of the beautiful, almost pearlescent blue color.  Batman's die is really, really yellow (and black, of course).  And this set doesn't depend on the clear dice like UCM did.  I don't mind them, but I want the easier-to-read dice for most of the collection...

  The cards are the same quality, but they use mostly New 52 artwork (that's the redone universe where Supes doesn't wear his underwear on the outside), which I love!  It isn't completely New 52, so it's nice to be able to glimpse some of the old artwork as well.  But overall, the cards aren't any different to the last two sets.

  What is cool is the evolution of the rules.  The first set is the first, so there's nothing really there other than the basics.  In that set, direct damage and 'spamming' was the order of the day (see Gambit and the various Sidekick-summoners).  The second set made affiliations and Action Dice really important, allowing 'team-ups' and with characters making Action Dice easier to buy and use.  Keep in mind that there is also a Yu-gi-oh and Dungeons and Dragons version of the game, so there's some other effects that I don't know about.  But now we have this set, which makes the old Thrown Car ability a special Trait (Overcrush).  In addition, there are so many cards in this set that are 'busters' for the others, including characters that can't be hurt in certain phases and characters that 'filter out' sidekicks and lower level heroes/villains.  Affiliation is even more important in this set than the UCM one, but it's not based on the 'team-up' format like that one.  Overall, it's cool to see how more rules and effects get added with each edition.

  I haven't had the opportunity to actually play with these cards yet, but my comic shop is running a tournament on the 23rd.  The prize is a cheaper Superman, which is not something I can pass up.  If I can't go for whatever reason, I'll have to wheel and deal to get that card.  But playing is more fun, so I'll just have to make sure I go.  Now to get one of my buddies to be my 'practice' victim...

  Let me know if you've gotten into the game yet and why you dig it.  If you haven't checked it out and have some questions, let me know.  Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The not-so-old is new again!

  Sorry it took awhile- my course load for this session seems to be a bit heavy.  So please forgive me if I don't post with my expected regularity for a while.  All that aside, let's get to the post!

  I broke down today.  One of my buddies called me up with his copy of the Eldar codex (now known as Codex Craftworlds) and serenaded me with all the new rules.  I started to fidget, put my shoes on, and let him go so I could buy mine.  In a masterful stroke of promotion, my buddy caused my willpower to completely crumble and forced me to spend money I didn't want to.  Yet...

  Now it's my turn to shamelessly promote this book.  As y'all should remember from my last post, I'm not happy about how quickly this one was released.  I'm not like the rest of the blogosphere and believe that the world is ending because of this book- I don't play like that!  You will never see me with 12 Wraithknights (or more than 1, for that matter) or 3 units of Windriders all decked out with Scatter Lasers and Shuricannons.  You will see me with Guardians, though.  Because I like Eldar.

  The first thing to note is that the book is very thick.  It was promoted to be as thick as the Space Marine codex, which it is.  And, it's in full color from start to finish.  But let's talk about how thick that book is- IT'S A LIE!!!

  You see, there are two different formats for the codices right now.  The 'older' books give the pictures and unit descriptions in the first 1/3, then a gallery in the middle, then the army list and options for the final third.  The 'newer' books actually show the unit pictures and descriptions on the same page as the army list entries.  This is where the Eldar codex gets weird.  The first 1/3 of the book is the old picture-and-description format, then the gallery, then the final 1/3 is the picture-and-description-and-army list information format.  That's right- this book repeats every unit twice and uses both the old AND new format for codices!!!  When you repeat everything twice, it tends to add some pages and make the book thicker.  So while this book is much thicker than the previous one, it's both unnecessary and a lie.  Take out the first set of unit descriptions and I promise this book is no bigger than the old one.


  That's really the only complaint I have with this codex.  Now let's get to the good stuff.  

  First off, we all know that Eldar are awesome, so I'm not going to touch the 'fluff' part of the book.  Plus, it's the same stuff that we're used to- Eldar were once great, then they got full of themselves, now they have to use necromancy and downright genocide to stay alive.  Yep, got it.  But let's look at the 'game' stuff:

  The Phoenix Lords and all the Aspect Warriors no longer have the special skills to buy.  In fact, most of those skills (Night Fight, Crack Shot, invuln in CC) were made into standard special rules for the units!  I'm sad that my Avatar can no longer take Fast Shot, but I can't complain when my Reaper Exarch comes with it base.
  
  Speaking of Phoenix Lords- anyone notice that Baharroth no longer has an invuln save?  That's right!  Now only Asurman has it!  I know that seems weird, but Baharroth was arguably the best PL in the last book just because of that invuln.  Now it's arguable again.  Yay!

  See how the Autarch now has access to a Fusion Pistol?  I'm pissed.  I converted my own with a Fusion Gun, only to have a better option in the new(er) book.  Oh well, I should have expected it.  Just like Grav-guns in my Ultrasmurfs...

  Notice how the Farseer is now standard Psyker Level 3?  That's right!!!  I can finally out-dice my Chaos buddy!!!  It should be noted that the Farseer is still the only level that has access to the Runes of Fate.

  Speaking of the Runes of Fate- Mind War now has a disadvantage to the target on a tie- something that is so important considering most things have a Ld 10 that are any good in this game.  So it's nice that the all-too-feared power actually include something for those 'good' models to fear.  Also, Eldritch Storm?  I mean, you need Apocalypse templates to use this power!!!  That is both awesome and scary, especially considering what that power can do.

  The Warlock Conclave (sticking with the Psykers section) is really unique.  At first, I was unhappy that this became a Brotherhood of Psykers.  I have some GK and I've found that the 'brotherhood' rule actually hurts more than helps (think about it- I have 5 psykers in each unit, but I get a massive ONE whole die with them and count as Psyker Level 1.  That doesn't seem right).  But the Conclave resolves that by 1)counting Psyker Level as higher based on more models (up to Level 3) and 2)allowing each model to generate Power Dice.  That's right, my 5-man Conclave counts as a Level 2 Psyker AND generates 5 power dice!  Yessir!!!

  The Spiritseer's Spirit Mark rule was made easier.  What makes it so deadly is the fact that the wraith-portion of the Eldar army aren't stuck shooting at a single chosen target that just happens to glow because their daddy POINTED at someone.  Now, they can fire on anyone nearby their daddy because they all glow!  It's not game-breaking, but it does rule.

  And speaking of the wraith-portion part of the army- let's talk about the single most controversial topic since the release of the book: Wraithguard and the Wraithknight's D-Cannons.  Apparently, this is the end of the world and everyone should quit 40k because of it.  However, many of you will remember my rant about how 'D' weapons were nerfed in 7th edition.  As a very astute poster on another blogsite posted- "It's no different that being hit with a meltagun or plasma gun for most things."  He's not wrong.  Anything with an invuln save thinks that 'D' weapons are cute, and anyone with a single wound doesn't even notice the reality-ripping effect of the weapons.  I don't have a problem with all the 'D' weapons, but then I also play for FUN.  We'll discuss that more later.  Just know that those original Str10 AP2 guns now cause multi-wounds.  That's the change.  Oooooh.

  Windriders have been the other main topic of discussion since this book was released.  Every single bike in that squad can be upgraded to carry Scatter Lasers or ShuriCannons for 10 points.  That means that a BS4, T4, Sv3+ model with a 12" move and three or four Str6 shots only costs 27 points.  27 points!!!  Points efficiency is the problem here.  That points cost would be fine for the 'one-in-three' upgrade format of the past, but is way too cheezy for the fact that everyone can have them.  But I don't write the rules, so...  I will admit that I would take the ShuriCannons because I want to take advantage of the formation rule (Shred once per game).  Although Scatter Lasers are awesome, Rending is better.  

  There's no more Pathfinders.  Darn.  Because paying that many points to get more Rending opportunities never really mattered.  Not since 3rd edition, anyway.  Speaking of missed opportunities, I was mad about the points cost of the Eldar Missile Launcher in last edition.  This book suffered the same problem (they are three times as expensive as a Starcannon!).  But there's a silver lining here- all Eldar Missile Launchers have the Skyfire missiles now!  That's right, Eldar are now the 2nd best anti-aircraft army in the game, behind only the cow-people.

  Aspect Warriors are even more awesome now!!!  Dire Avengers can Overwatch at BS2 or gain Stubborn (and Counterattack) in a turn.  Striking Scorpions have good Mandiblasters again and can start off with a 4+ cover save.  Fire Dragons have a +3 on the chart to see if they've destroyed a vehicle.  Reapers get to reroll shots against fast things (Zooming, Swooping, Turbo-boosting, and Flat-out movers).  Shining Spears now have an amazing cover save when they move.  But the best changes were the Warp Spiders, with their ability to 'jump away' from being shot at, and Howling Banshees, who cannot be Overwatched.  It must be noted that the Banshee mask no longer reduces Initiative, but I'm thinking that it's a BIT better now.  I might actually have to start using Banshees!

  Most of the Eldar vehicles can now be squadroned.  That seems to be a theme carrying into the future, but really it's rumour and conjecture at this point.  What is ridiculous though is that those squadrons can combine fire and become more effective (remember the old Fire Prism formation?) or Deep Strike (Falcons have a use!!!).  The Serpent Shield on the Wave Serpent was 'nerfed' by making it better (2d6 vs d6+1 hits) but 'One Use Only'.  That made me happy because I forgot to use that shooting attack anyway.  What makes me even happier is the return of the good Holo-field.  Too many times did my vehicles get wrecked for no other reason than I didn't have the first turn.  I can't move so I couldn't use any of my cove saves (jink isn't that effective on its own AND I can't shoot back, defeating the purpose of bringing a vehicle!).  Now, I can buy an upgrade and actually have my tin-foil tanks survive long enough to use them!  Yay!!!

  Finally, we get to the Lords of War- the Avatar and the Wraithknight.  For the WK, it's been turned into a Gargantuan Creature.  This comes with a great deal of special rules, including not being able to Overwatch, but moving fast and firing all weapons at different targets.  Add some Feel No Pain and Stomp and we have a true monster.  I'm really geeked because my buddy's Kroot Snipers won't be able to kill me in one round (without some miraculous dice-rolling, of course).  The Avatar, on the other hand, is even more awesome.  Nothing really changed about him except...  He gives a 12" bubble of Rage, Furious Charge, and Fearless to his army!  Remember how much better those Howling Banshees are?  Add a screen of BS2 Overwatching Dire Avengers and a unit or two of Banshees near the glowing lava-statue and you have a helluva mean group!  Seriously, Banshees plus the Avatar equals AWESOME!

  The best (and worst) part of the codex is the Formations.  While the Necron codex introduced the idea of Formation armies rather than CAD lists, and the Daemonkin codex carried that over in style, this book really brings it 'home'.  The Formations, starting with the Guardianhosts, are exactly how the Eldar appear in the fluff.  With the exception of Biel-Tan, Eldar Craftworlds have thousands of Guardians that are dedicated to battle WITH the Aspect Warriors.  Being a supporter of the 'ol Guardian Defender since the 90's, I'm happy to see GW force people to actually use Guardians again.  But here's the bad part of the Formation-focus- there are no limits!!!  Allowing the jetbike-heavy crowd to continue to use their jetbikes while also allowing people to use 12 Wraithknights doesn't seem to be a very strong limit.  That being said, only the 'cheezy' gamers our there would take advantage of this while the rest of us (the 'fluffy' gamers) are happy that we can get some special abilities for using the models that we have.  Unfortunately, the Formations also require some purchases for people as most of us don't have Artillery pieces.  But hey, GW's gotta make money somehow, right?  So with the bad comes far more good.  Go Formations!!!


  Okay, I think I've covered almost everything important.  The Artifact section is pretty good, mostly unchanged.  The points cost of a few things went down (the Crimson Hunter by a pretty big number) and some things were cleaned up.  But otherwise, there you have it!

  Let me know what you think of the Craftworld codex and, please, keep the whining about 'D' weapons down.  I think this book is awesome for other reasons.  What do y'all think?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Whoa, GW, Whoa!!!

  Slow down, GW, slow down...

  I am one of those people that actually enjoyed the rapid release schedule of the codices since 6th edition.  I'm not happy with the potential damage it can do to my wallet, but I am happy that I have to wait only weeks at the most for a new book.  There were some reasons why:

  First, I thought this would actually balance the game a little.  If each book is getting next to NO playtesting time, universally, then we shouldn't see the power creep that we're all used to.  After all, Space Marines are the typical enemy in the studio's office- meaning they get TONS of playtest time, and armies like the Dark Eldar are little more than money-grabs and so get tested two or three times.  Which army is better?  Yeah, go Marines!
  That should be easier to deal with while GW is pumping out armies so fast that they can only play two or three games with any of the armies.  Of course, that assumes that the same team is working on all the codices and that there is a basic equation for points and every army has a 'foundation' rules set that is amended, not just created...  Those assumptions are all incorrect, but one can hope!

  Second, it finally acquiesces to the vocal minority of gamers out there that honestly believe that bitching is part of the hobby.  I HATE going into my LGS because of one individual- a Tyranid player, that bitches for years now that his army never gets any love and Marines got flyers before they got their more common flyers!  Yes, I've heard that every single time I've walked into that store until I stopped going last year.  I honestly don't care.  I have almost every army and have been buying stuff for this game when my army was the worst version in its own codex (remember when painting your Space Marines blue was a terrible idea?)!
  With every army getting a new book and a new 'big thing' every couple of years, these whiners have no reason to whine.  But of course, they just shift over to whining about how GW ruined the rules for Flying Monstrous Creatures and destroyed any chance that they'd buy a Flyrant or other 'nidzilla option.  So the gamers that whined that their army never got any love now complain that they don't get enough love.  They've never played Dark Angels...

  Finally, I thought the rapid release schedule would mean a resurgence of gaming as people would a)want the new stuff and b)not have time to 'cheeze' it out.  After a year of gaming in 4th edition, it turned out that 'spamming' was the way to go.  After a year of gaming in 5th edition, it became obvious that the 'parking lot' and 'meltaspam' were the keys.  After a year of gaming in 6th edition, THE NEW 7TH EDITION WAS RELEASED!  In 6th, we saw the return of MSU, the return of 'Death Star', and the return of the 'parking lot'.  In other words, the changes were based on the newest codex.
  This excited me because it should have created a less-but-more balanced world.  Dark Eldar should not be able to beat Marines, but Marines should not be able to beat Eldar, which should not be able to beat Orks, which should not be able to beat Chaos, which should not be able to beat Tau, which should not be able to beat Guard, and so on.  The Orks were the MSU-busters (something the Eldar were taking too much advantage of), while the Tau were Horde-busters.  There should never be a game like Chess that isn't called Chess, so the ability to pump out a codex that pares against the previous codex in only a few weeks is refreshing.

  But now I have to join the whining.  I wasn't upset when my new edition of the core rules was updated only a year later.  I wasn't upset when my beautiful Imperial Knights book was made inaccurate after only a couple of weeks.  I wasn't even upset when my Escalation and Stronghold Assault books were made obsolete within a couple of months.  But I am upset about Eldar.

  I'm upset because of everything I listed above.  I'm upset because Eldar were already considered to be the 'top' army since 5th edition (and way more so in 7th).  I'm upset because their codex was done after Chaos Marines (which have a couple of GREAT supplements), Dark Angels (GW loves picking on the guys wearing dresses), Daemons (but Daemon-kin rules!), and Tau (which are redonk in this edition!).  Orks Dark Eldar, Space Marines, Astra Militarum, and the other colours have been redone since.  And Eldar are still, as a codex, better than all of them.  Chaos Marines could use an update (although I think the codex is better than people give it credit for, and I'm a WB player, the worst choice in the whole book) while Dark Angels are just terrible.  Where's their love?

  So let me get this straight- I spend hundreds on books that are obsoleted almost immediately?  And then the armies are redone so quickly that I spend hundreds more a as a 'veteran' just to keep up?  And now I find out that the order of books being released is not logical or rational in any way!?  Eldar don't need the love but get it.  The rumours are also indicating that Space Marines get an update later this year (I'm hoping they mean Dark Angels or I'm gonna flip), and the Imperial Knights as well!  So now even my supplemental supplements (like the Imperial Knights codex) aren't safe!  And so I'm upset.

  Let's add a little salt to the wound- I have the codex for Assassins.  I love that book (all 6 pages of it) and can't wait to use it.  It's not available as hard-print, forcing me to depend on my computer for the rules.  But GW can't leave anything alone, so they've decided to release a board game with Assassins later this year (it looks cool too!).  The models are pretty good (certainly better than the 1992 models that have held well for decades), and the 40k rules are already leaking as GW plans on making this a 40k supplement as well.  The rules are the same as currently exist in the digital codex.  But somehow, someway, I know that that new expansion (be in a WD article or another supplemental supplement) will somehow obsolete my old rules and maybe even the models (or not, GW's not that bad, usually).  It's the principle at this point-

  Is GW just out to get my money or are they trying to upset me?  I already own enough models to start a mortgage on a house, and I already have all the rules since 3rd edition, what else is there?  I'm gonna need GW to slow their roll just a bit and add some sort of logic to their decision.  I know that GW is a 'miniatures company', not a 'game company' (which is true, even if the community seems to think their interpretation of it is far more accurate than the company itself), but I don't need miniatures- I need game pieces!  I can play almost any army in the game, but I'd like to know that I'm not throwing money away trying to do that.  I don't need any more Eldar codices (I have 5 or 6 so far, with the next one only days away).  There will come a point where I'm not going to buy another one ever again.  And that applies to everything else in the game (another $50 Knight codex may lead to a long drive and a loud office, just sayin'...).  If you want me to enjoy your product, GW, slow down.  Just... slow down.

  Let me know if I'm being crazy here or if you agree.  In the meantime, Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We finally got back to DnD!

  Hey, it's not like I set this group up at the beginning of the year or anything.  But between various job duties for my buddies and my own extenuating circumstances, it took months and months to get this going.  But we were able get together finally and play the first session.

  We're using 5th edition rules, because they're cool.  Admittedly, I need to reread and reread again everything because I'm still calling for skill checks that haven't existed since '98.  But I'm a role-playing DM, so the rules can work however I need.  More imporantly, I had to set up the area and make it comfortable for everyone.  

Ah, a DnD table with plenty of room, always a complaint...

My little area, complete with dice and NPC mins and the write-up and...  Still lots of room!
 Now these guys are about 'new' to my DMing.  One guy has never played a pencil-and-paper RPG, another hasn't played since 1980, and the third is new to 5th edition.  My fourth guy has been totally busy, so I had to adjust and write an adventure for these three.  It was awesome.

I changed their faces to protect the identities of those involved.  Plus, I found the paint program on my reader!!!
  The end of the session saw them all involved and waiting for the next step, and we had to close it down because it was late.  Luckily, I had written the end point for this session into the adventure already, and the session took a bit longer just because everyone was so 'new'.  

  Next session sees them delve into their first dungeon and truly begin the epic quest I have them on right now.  Maybe there'll be details to come, but we'll have to see.  Stay tuned!

  Have y'all been role-playing at all?  I'm only just getting back into it since 2006 myself and it's FUN!  Happy Gaming!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Red vs. Blue

  It was time!  My constant opponent and gaming buddy picked up the Daemonkin codex and we decided to play a game with it.  I abandoned my Orks so he would have some kind of challenge, and I looked forward to this.  Plus, it would be the first 2,000 point game that we've played in a while.

  First, the table:  Let me tell you, I spent a couple of hours just staring at it.  Having everything with colour on it (if not fully pointed) made the battlefield look so much nicer.  I enlisted my wife to help with the craters, and my buddy even noted that they looked good.  I passed the compliment on to the wife, and continued to admire even as we played.  Painted terrain matter!!!  


  I actually felt really good about my army list.  I still do and want to use it again.  But it's a really simple alliance between the primary Ultramarines and the allied Grey Knights.  I even brought a fortification just because...


-HQ- Captain of doom with Artificer Armour, Eternal Shield, and Burning Blade, leading a Command Squad with the Champ, Apothecary, Company Std with Pwr Swd, dude with Power Fist, and dude with Meltagun coming out of a Rhino.  This squad was meant to punch some 'zerkers in the face and cause a headache for any big things.  
-Troops- 2 Tactical squads, one with Pwr Fist, Flamer, and Hvy Bolter and the other with Pwr Swd, Plasma Pistol, Plasma Gun, and Missile Launcher coming out of Rhinos.  I wanted to use Rhinos because Bloodletters have another layer of crap to get through and I can react to his craziness.  
-Heavy- Devastator squad with 2 Plasma Cannons and 2 Hvy Bolters, to kill marines and cultists alike, and a Thunderfire Cannon- I've never used one before and I hear they're great at killing Daemons...
-Fast- Stormtalon, to take down his stupid Hellturkey.
-Fortification- Aegis Line with Quad-gun, again to take down that stupid Hellturkey
-HQ A- Grand Master with Cuiriass of Sacrifice, Shard of Solonar, and Warding Stave- his job was to tie up the big things and 'thump' them so the Grey Knights could soul-zap them before dying in the second round...
-Troop A- 5 Terminators with 3 Halberds and a Hvy Incinerator, to zap big things and fry little things
-Heavy A- Dreadknight with full kit- bring that Bloodthirster on!!!

That battlefield with models on it...

My deployment.  The Aegis Line was a bit of a pain...

His deployment.  Wait, where's the Bloodthirster?

This doesn't look good!  The sky is red!

  I brought stuff to kill things that my buddy didn't bring, which really hampered the army.  I wanted to go second, but my buddy made me go first, and I didn't have too much to do.  I moved around a bit, took some shots (and realized that the Thunderfire Cannon is actually really good!) and killed about a half-dozen 'zerkers.  But I didn't have much to try to pull of just yet.

  He ran his force up, including the Maulerfiend on my left flank and his Daemon Prince on the right flank.  No shooting saw me worry little and suffer no losses.  Great first turn?

  I tried to Deep Strike my Grey Knights behind his Daemon Prince.  That Daemon Prince was very wisely guarded by a 'blanket' of 16 'zerkers, which meant that I needed my Tactical Squad and Dreadknight to break it.  My buddy's not a bad player, and makes me work for it.  Sadly, the Grey Knights scattered to the back corner of the table, allowing the target to just wander off unmolested.  So I used Gate of Infinity, only to mishap (trying to land on top of my own dudes!) and go back into reserves.  No worries, I'll have the Dreadknight go kill stuff.  This is where Khorne took notice of the battle, however...

  My freshly arrived Stormtalon took some shots at the Maulerfiend careening at my gunline, only to put a single hull point of damage.  That happens.  But it spelled doom for the left flank.  A Devastator Squad and a Thunderfire against that?!  Behind a defensive line that it crawls right over?!?!  Yeah, not so good for that side...  But no worries, I still have a Dreadknight!

  So the Tac squad opens up with their bolters at the 'zerkers.  With a roll of 16 dice, I get three hits.  THREE!  They do wound, though, so they were serious hits.  One 'zerker falls, and the Dreadknight suddenly needs to get involved.  With creative placement of the Incinerator template, he's able to fry another two 'zerkers, which gives him just enough room to charge.  That Daemon Prince sees the tall exosuit light up the blade and dash right at him.

  The Daemon Prince grabbed the Terminator in the middle of the suit mid-strike, brought the Axe of Ruin down with three hard chops, two of which simply sliced the champion in half.  Without time for even a scream, the Daemon Prince had dispatched the biggest threat.  Just to drive it all home, the 'zerkers charged the squad, now completely unsupported, and managed to kill the guys in only two rounds (the second was overkill as four were left, and the Daemon Prince wanted to get some kills too).  The Maulerfiend took a Krak Grenade to the face before chopping down a Devastator, but that was the last stand for the Ultramarines.

  The azure Captain, seeing he and a Thunderfire were about to face down almost 48 'zerkers, a Daemon Prince, a Maulerfiend, and a squad of Possessed on their own, took the codex training of 'discretionary valour' and quit the battlefield.  More importantly, my gaming buddy broke character and actually suggested that the game end.  He likes to play to the end, and even he could see that it was the end.  That's bad dice.

  I'm so sad about this battle because I didn't get to fight the things I wanted to fight.  His Daemon Prince had the ability to ignore my Force weapons (Eternal Warrior on the Blood-forged Armour), but that's cool.  Besides, he pays for it.  Unfortunately, that was the only Daemon that his army included (the Maulerfiend and the Possessed don't worry about the Force power), so that meant that my Grey Knights were utterly nullified.  Well played, buddy.  Well played.  But I'm most upset about the dice.  This could have been a good battle if I had rolled well on the right flank.  The poor Deep Strike (in an already tenuous position) followed by the epic failure of the Tac marines followed by the punking of the Dreadknight... that was fast.

  The adjustment to this army for next time we play (and assuming he doesn't change it up too much) is dropping the Aegis Line and adding a Librarian to the Command Squad.  More psychic stuff against Khorne can't possibly fail, right?

  Sorry for the lack of pics, but the battle happened that fast.  It was just that kind of a game.  Next time, though.  Next time.  Happy Gaming!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mo money, mo money, mo money!!!

  On top of all my other gaming addictions, like Wizkids stuff and Infinity, I still have to keep up with 40k.  As it turns out, GW knows this all too well and they continue to abuse me.  Am I upset?  Nope, not at all.  I chose to adopt this hobby and now I have to suffer...

  40k has been my game since DnD started to wane and since before college destroyed all my gaming habits.  I even worked for the Emprah for a while and was the champion of 40k we were supposed to be.  But even I have my focuses.  My main army always was and will always be the Ultramarines- paragons of order and competence, noble integrity and unshakeable honour.  My second army was, and will apparently always be, my Eldar.  I've not mastered the Eldar in any way whatsoever, but I definitely do dig them for some strange reason.  But I'm an Elf fan in DnD, so I guess it makes sense.

  And then what do I find out?  Apparently, GW is going to release new Eldar and Ultramarine stuff here soon!  Check out the pics of apparent new releases just in the next week or so:

Allegedly as large as the SM codex and maybe addressing the different craftworlds...

We were tricked a decade ago, but maybe this is real now?

Finally!  I HATE converting these!  That's why I only have one right now...

Nice model!  But I already made my own, so I'm fine, I guess...

   Admittedly, these pictures have been on the interwebs for a moment and these may even be released by the time you read this, but it still means that I have to buy a ton of new stuff very suddenly.  Darn you, GW!!!

Then we get to the Ultramarines.  Later this year, FW will be releasing the Battle For Calth book and the decals alone look awesome, much less the amazing models.  Then the rumour is that GW is going to be releasing a new Marine codex this year, which means that I may have to keep an eye out for that.  Does that mean I'm going to be spending money on more marine stuff (considering I already own too much that I don't even use)?

  Yep.  And they know it.  Well played, GW, well played!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

One step backwards...

  Late last night, one of my buddies called me about a rules question...  Let's jump back to 
Rules I hate!!!

  So I don't know if you guys have seen, but GW released this little thing a couple of weeks before the Machine God came back.  To the wild acclaim of so many of my old-school gaming buddies, this book became very popular really fast.  You see, minus Kharne the Betrayer, this book took everything 'Khorny' and tossed it onto one army.  
  Enter the Khorne Daemonkin codex, probably the best book to be released by GW in a looooong time.  As a couple of my buddies noted, "I finally get to use my OLD Khorne army!".  I tend to have a lot of Chaos fans in my entourage, and Khorne is usually their favorite (we're all a bunch of angry people).  They used to use 'zerkers and Bloodthirsters to do terrible things to my army, and I was looking forward to it again.  

  
  Enter the artifacts...  The most powerful piece of wargear on this list is the Blood-forged Armour.  I say that because I wanted to use Grey Knights (finally) to kill me some daemons, and it turns out that a Daemon Prince can pop this little chestplate on and DESTROY all hope of my GK soul-zapping that bugger.  Wow!
  When my buddy and I played our game, he admitted that the wargear was really powerful and sort of apologized, but I advised that my Dreadknight pilot wouldn't have known better.  If there were other daemons on the board at the time, I could kill them instead!
Did you see the new model!?!  Damn, GW!!!

  Enter the Bloodthirster!!!  I want to kill him so baaaaaaaad!  My buddy chose not to bring one in the standard army list, instead relying on the Axe of Ruin to bring one in.  That is the second best piece of wargear on that list above.  I was excited by that because I would get to see a Bloodthirster on the table again.  Unfortunately, the game didn't work out anywhere near the level where we could have seen that, but that's another post...  In any case, what was going to be cool was seeing a Daemon Prince go down and a Bloodthirster replace him.  It was meant to be totally scary!!!

THAT'S precisely what I expected to see...
  And now back to my other buddy calling me.  Lacking his rulebook, he had a rules question.  This guy is desperately trying to avoid AdMech and he's focused on his Daemonkin army, and he got into a rules discussion with his gamer circle.  It was a rule I never thought about.  Like ever.  

  When the Bloodthirster arrives, does he arrive in Gliding mode or Swooping mode?  In other words, does he deep strike to the ground or does he pull a Goku and teleport directly into midair?  If I had to guess, he deep strikes onto the ground, like everyone else.  When the model is deployed at the beginning of the game, he starts on the ground.  Besides, Deep Striking and Swooping are both 'special' movement modes, and you shouldn't be able to do two 'special' modes at the same time.  So I open up my rulebook and search through the rules for Deep Striking (pg 162), Conjuration (pg 26), and finally Flying Monstrous Creatures (pg 68).   
  "Deployment...  If a Flying Monstrous Creature arrives via Deep Strike Reserve, it always counts as being in Swooping mode."  

BOOM!  This means that the character with the axe dies, then the Bloodthirster rips a hole in the air, has to spend the next turn landing, them finally get to charge the turn after?  Ouch!  In fact, this applies to the Daemonology power Possession- all Conjuration powers follow the Deep Strike rules for all intents and purposes!  I no longer fear, for at least three turns, a summoned Bloodthirster or even Daemon Prince.  

  Remember back in 3rd edition where Daemons popped up and immediately charged?  I hated that and then planned to use it for my cheezy army until the rules changed.  Remember the previous editions where Daemons are simply summoned and have to wait one turn before they can charge?  Yeah, that's normal.  Now we have Daemons that are summoned, then have to wait two turns to charge?  Wow, one step backwards each time...

  Now I'm supposed to be on the receiving end of this combo and actually looked forward to seeing it happen (I just have to get my Ultra-boys back to the range, apparently), but not like this.  This actually makes that combo very unscary (in that competitive way) and kinda ruins the point of this codex.  I mean, zerkers led by a Bloodthirster that might join the fray at some point?  That's not 'Khorny' at all.  That's just a rule I hate...

Let me know what you think!  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Da Waaagh is Green Now!!!

  A bit ago, I apparently got a bit of a 'bug' and started to build and paint like crazy.  And my focus on getting my Orks finished has finally, finally, FINALLY paid off.  If you've been following, you know that I have been using the same 1000 point army and refused to change it until I got this part painted.  Now that I'm finally caught up on that, it's time to start taking some of the good stuff.  But that's for later.  In the meantime, let's look at my Ork force and just marvel at a goal being accomplished:


The first unit of Boyz, painted for a demo board by a GW Manager.  I added the Boss Nob later.  But it should be noted that my buddy painted the rust on all the models and that drove my paint scheme.  I also want to point out that I REALLY want to repaint the skin, as I'm doing Boy-skin Gretchin Green.  But I left it alone in the interest of homage to my buddy's effort.

The second unit that you should all be familiar with.  To see how they were painted, visit here.  Note the difference in skin color between the Boyz and the Boss Nob?  That's going to be a continuing theme borrowed from Fantasy- older, meaner Orks are darker!!!

Every Ork army MUST have a unit of Lootas.  In addition, I also add a Painboy to this unit to keep them alive longer.  Right now, I find the unit too small for this to matter, I always forget to use the Grot Orderly, and rarely do they get shot.  So I have some adjustments to this unit as I grow the Waaagh...

C'mon, a giant Deff Dread to put rust all over?  Yes, please!  I actually taught my son how to paint rust on this model.  And worry not, there is so much more that could be done.  I just like rust...


This is the scariest unit in the whole force as it is the only one that has the ability to kill a tank.  Not quite as efficient as a unit of Tankbustas (half a hit less per turn for same number of wounds and 20 more points, DARNIT!), but still scary considering that they Outflank and blast rokkits into people.  Plus, I like the models.

Here's the point of almost every Ork army I've ever faced- da Warbikers.  No, these are NOT Nob Bikers, mostly because I have respect for da Boyz themselves.  In addition, da Warboss of Awesomeness is part of this unit.  It's where all my Power Klaws currently are, and it's the best armor saves in the whole force.  There will be more...

And the whole army together!  The look on my opponent's face when I tell them this is only 1000 points is priceless.  Of course, it hasn't worked out so far.  Oh,  and ignore my iced tea in the background...


  I am so excited!  I wanted this force to be fully painted so I could feel accomplished and bring some of that luck into my games.  Unfortunately, the army is 1-4 by this point, playing against Chaos Marines three times, IG once, and a slap-together Necron force.  But hey, the army was just warming up, right?

  Now don't forget that this army is 'tabletop standard', meaning block colors and possible shading (wash is a wonderful thing!).  As the army grows and my list develops to find 'good' options, those units will receive layering and highlighting (tournament standard).  But for right now, well-placed colors look better on the tabletop than plastic-gray, so I'm satisfied.

  Are y'all working on anything good right now (even AdMech, since it is now released)?  Let me know and I can't wait to hear about your elation over finished models.  Happy Hobbying!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Da Rust is Strong wit dis Force!

  When I chose to start a NEW army, it was originally for Necrons.  I wanted a cheezy force that would be a cinch to paint in no time at all.  Sadly, the Necron army box was long sold out (I guess asking the store to hold it for two years for me isn't the best idea!) and the Orks were just released.  In any case, I wanted xenos and a bad guy, and I'm already playing Eldar (so no need for the spiky version)- so Orks it was!

  Just like my last NEW army, the Blood Angels, I stubbornly refused to quit the force or even modify it until I got the 'core' of the army painted.  And my Orks took a bit longer than I expected (hey, school and family and various other responsibilities tend to be higher on the 'to-do' list!).  But I was able to get them done in very little time following this method and the glory of rust!

  I'll show you the easy step by step on my Warboss below.  Please remember that my photography equipment changed (and isn't so good yet) and the rest of the model hasn't been painted yet.  Without further ado, let's go!

1,  Overbrush model with Warplock Bronze (or Tin Bitz, or whatever rusty color (not texture) you may have).  Be sloppy.

Just admiring my conversion...  I LOVE this model!

2.  Heavily Drybrush model with Leadbelcher (or any silver color, really).

3.  Stipple Troll-slayer Orange using your worst brush.  Be sure to let the orange paint dry up a bit, as even base colors are runny for orange...

4.  Stipple Rhinox Hide using the same brush (your worst one).  DO NOT CARE where the color goes.  Rust is chaotic and you not liking it will prove that you're doing it correctly.

5.  Heavily wash model with Agrax Earthshade (or Devlan Mud, or Armor Wash, or whatever).  It will 'fade' the colors together and bring detail back out.  Notice the the Deff Dread?  that's withe less brown and even more wash!
  From here, all you have to do is paint the rest of the colors and wash again!  Remember to check out the other post with the original instructions, as that's literally what I did after the rust.  Let me know what y'all think and, as always, Happy Hobbying!