Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Patience, Patewan...

I'm sure some of you have noticed that I haven't posted anything in awhile, and my recent posts have been far more erratic.  I'm very sorry about that.  Let me give you my list of excuses:

I really only have one, and it's actually a good REASON.

I had to get a job.  Not only have I not been working for the better part of a year and a half, but I've been collecting unemployment from the hard-earned tax dollars paid by others (well, actually my own, but lately I've been on the extension which is untraceable to my own previous income, so at least some of it has been other peoples' money).  Now anyone that knows me can tell you that I LIKE to work.  This year has been terrible as I spent a goodly amount of time applying and reapplying and applying some more to jobs. 

Luckily for me, I finally found a company that needed my specific skills- fast learner, initiative, people management, and problem solving.  In fact, they needed me so badly that my first two weeks of work was while I wasn't even in the system.  Painful as it was, I've basically made myself as indispensable as possible to them to prove my commitment and push my hiring as fast as possible.

Unluckily for me, I've signed on with a company in which the workload isn't on a consistent schedule and the chain of command are all behind or on vacation at this point in time.  I haven't slept well in two and a half weeks.  Therefore, I haven't been able to dedicate ANY time to the hobby.

Be patient with me as I get my work-life stabilized.  As soon as I have a real paycheck coming in (and that's a big advantage- I'll be making real money!), I'll be able to purchase such things as the new Necron Codex.  As soon as I know my schedule more than a day in advance, I may even begin to play some games again. 

In the meantime, consider this an intermission.  Go to the snack bar and pick up some Nachos.  It shouldn't be long...

As always, Happy Hobbying!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

So long, Cygnar!

At the beginning of next week, I will be sending my Cygnar to a friend so that may finally see the battlefield.  He actually likes the game and I do not, so it seems only too obvious that he take this stuff and use it. 

Now I know that some of you are going to think I'm crazy for not liking War Machine, and I'd like to take some time to rant about why.  Believe it or not, it ain't as bad as y'all think.

Why don't I like War Machine?

There are really only two reasons.  The first is the gamers.  I didn't like the 'cut-throat' attitude of card gamers back when M:tG was getting popular, and War Machine players tend to exhibit the very same attitudes.  Worse, Privateer Press pushes this attitude.  Result:  Douchebag gamers of a higher concentration than even 40k.  I have enough problems with rules-lawyering and 'my trick trumps your trick', I don't need even more.  In this vein also exists the 40k hatred.  So many WM gamers poopoo all over GW's games and pontificate how awesome PP's rules systems are.  News flash:  Who the hell cares!?  War Machine is Final Fantasy VII in miniature form- that's not cool to me!  It all comes back to the higher concentration of douches...

The second reason is the same phenomenon that card games have- the evolution of the game leaving beginners behind.  I own the Prime rulebook and the 'codex' for Cygnar.  Since I've bought those, another two books have been released with even newer and better stuff!  And before this Mark II was released, there were four books that one had to buy to keep up with it all!  I, personally, don't feel like having to buy a new book for $50 every time the designers decide to make bigger models, only to spend another $60 on one dood!  At least 40k has everything in a rulebook and a single codex for any given army.  But for Cygnar, I felt that I didn't have a chance to win since I was still rockin' the prime stuff and I wasn't sporting a dozen lightning-wielding maniacs and a monster chariot arc node machine thingy.  If PP would stop putting out newer, more broken stuff, I'd have the time to catch my breath and actually get started.  But nooooooooo.  I fall two books behind and now my Warcaster is the most basic, useless version in the game.  That's poop.  I'd rather just play Space Marines.

Other than that, I didn't mind the game at all.  The models have gotten better (Cryx and Menoth are awesome, the rest are sub-par for what I'm used to), the rules are pretty solid, and the background is pretty nifty.  If I didn't see the daily GW-flaming going on from PP gamers, I probably wouldn't be so willing to dump my stuff.  As a GW gamer, I'd like to remind people that you attract more flies with honey and all that jazz.  If you hate GW, suck it.  They're still the best and even leaving the service of the Imperium isn't enough to change my mind.

Now, picture time.  Here's what I'm parting with, on top of the Prime Rulebook and the Cygnar army book, as well as dice and cards (duh):

I will say that I am going to miss having these models.  As you can see by the first three, I really enjoy painting (especially blue).  But they need to battle something, and that just isn't going to happen under my ownership...

So long, Cygnar!

Monday, November 7, 2011

"My Marines are better than your Marines!"

Everyday I sign into this little-known blogsite of mine and take the opportunity to read various posts on my blogroll (that's the list of blogs on the side of the page that I like) and I noticed the hatred again.  I had gotten pretty happy when the Necron rumours were released as it seemed that the following HATERAID ended temporarily:
1.  WAAC gamers and Fluffy gamers and who's better (y'all should know where I fall in that argument by now...)
2.  40k rules suck ass and the new edition will be far better or worse
3.  The cost of GW's stuff is so out-of-line that the million+ hobbyists around the world are going to quit anyday now
4.  Grey Knights are the bestest of the bestest
5.  How to paint Dark Eldar in another version of black
I have to admit that this was a glorious era- for the few weeks that it lasted.  But lo, it's back.  And my smile faded from my face as I read comment after comment and many original posts that basically pick up where we left off in the hate-filled communities that have an online forum.  Luckily, I'm here to bring some perspective, or at least talk about something a little less contentious and a little more hobby-based.  So what am I going to give a mad-rant about today?

What is the difference between one Chapter of Space Marines and the next (from a gaming standpoint)?

I am a hater of the 'codex creep' phenomenon.  I used to be a hater of gamers that perscribed to this theory and now I'm a hater of the reality.  (Yes, for all those poor hobbyists that I 'tore a new one' into- you were right!  Codex Creep does exist and it sucks ass!) 

See, I've been an Ultramarine player since the Chapter became a distinct color-scheme in a WD produced way back in the late 80's.  I chose the Ultramarines because, and this is a nifty story that I'm sure I've told before, everyone else in my local game shop played Blood Angels and Chaos.  Back in those days the differences in the Chapters was superfluous at best, but that changed over time.  Soon, the Ultramarines and Angels of Death were very different (mostly in the form of AoD getting better Termies and Death Company making their first real appearance), and those were FAR different from Chaos Space Marines.  Then 3rd came out and made these distinctions cemented in stone.  Since the early 21st century, I can honestly say that the idea of distinct Chapters of Space Marines has become more clear and more defined.  So let's take a look at the different Chapters and talk briefly about what's different about them:

I'm gonna talk about these guys first for two reasons- first, that's where my loyalties lie and, second, because this Legion is the 'basis' for all other Chapters. 
So what makes the Ultramarines different than the other Chapters?  Well, first and most uniquely is the hardware.  No other Chapter has the Thunderfire Cannon or the Siege Dreadnought.  No other Chapter has the Land Speeder Storm.  And no other Chapter has the Master of the Forge.  These items aren't overpowered or even give the Ultramarines an unfair chance on the battlefield, but they're still unique to this book.  Wouldn't it be awesome for Space Wolves to have Siege Dreadnoughts or Blood Angels to have Land Speeder Storms?  Well SUCK IT!  Ultramarines do, you don't.  Ha!
What about special rules?  Well, if you take special characters you can gain some LD-boosting abilities, add Fleet or Outflank to your force, or even twin-link the best weapons in the army!  But those all require special characters and, for the most part, are pretty minor.  The Ultramarine army book is based mostly on "Look, my doods have bolters and power armor.  Go!"  This is what makes the Ultramarines different from anyone else- they're basic!

Black Templars
This is the oldest of the 'my Chapter is different than your Chapter' books.  It's actually only as old as the Tau army's entire existance (for those that don't know, I worked for the Emporer before there was such a thing as Tau), so that makes them really new in the world of Space Marines.  In fact, the Black Templars were part of the Ultramarines codex even when featured in the 3rd edition Starter Kit.
So what did GW do to make them different?  Well, they have NO Librarians.  None.  That's right, the ability to stop the Eldar's special glitter-tricks doesn't exist in this book.  The ability to draw a straight line across a battlefield and do something to the enemy does not exist.  The ability to force-weapon a Carnifex to death does not exist.  Moral of the story?  No psykers, people.
Also, there are no Veteran Sergeants.  This may not seem like a big deal to most people but not being able to take a strong close-combat specialist in a troop unit is very disconcerting to a Space Marine player.  In fact, the Black Templars lack Veterans altogether.  The Sword Brethren fulfill that role, but they don't do it as well as the other Space Marines.  Luckily, the Chapter comes around real nice with the Preferred Enemy special rule across the board.  There are other options, but taking that basically-free Captain and allowing the whole army to re-roll misses in close-combat is pretty awesome.  Although the Black Templars Chapter lacks the cool toys of the others, it still packs the punch in the dedicated role it was meant for- hitting people really hard!

Dark Angels
Unlike the Black Templars, the Dark Angels are actually privy to much of the stuff that Ultramarines go to war with.  They still have psykers and most of the wargear than all Chapters get.  But there's issues here.
The Dark Angels are little more than Ultramarines with different coloured armor.  They have no Sternguard Veterans, so can't take any of the special ammo.  Their Assault Veterans are terrible and have nothing to do with actually fighting (they pretty much just get more weapon options than a normal squad, but still can't take jump packs!), and their other units are carbon copies of the Ultramarines.  However, there is some good to it all.
Dark Angel Scouts can actually shoot.  That's right, they've gone to the Firing Range once or twice!  Real Chaplains still exist.  Their Terminators are Fearless and can mix-and-match wargear.  In fact, the Terminators and Bikes are the parts of the codex that make Ultramarine players like myself green with envy.  Bikes that Scout and have teleport homers, plus Terminator Squads as troop units, anyone?  Yes, please!  Besides being over-costed and lacking the options that some other Chapters have, Dark Angels are only slightly different and more basic than the boyz in blue.  Blame that on age.

Blood Angels
Here's where we start to get insane!  Remember how Ultramarines are the basis of all other Chapters?  Well, prepare for the sprinkles, chocolate syrup, nutty bits, and fruit on top.
Blood Angels have Sanguinary Priests that make all boyz-in-red into 'insta-death-company'.  This is crazy!  Did I mention that they're only 50 points?  They have Fast vehicles across the board (except Land Raiders, which can Deep Strike), meaning 'armoured fury' all day long.  They have Vangauard Assault Veterans AND Sanguinary Guard that are a perfect middle between those and Terminators!  They have Baal Predators and Stormraven Gunships- both very perfectly designed to do what Blood Angels do.  Finally, they have Furioso Dreadnoughts (that's their version of Siege Dreadnoughts) and Librarian Dreadnoughts.  That's right, Dreadnoughts that are also Librarians!  What do the Blood Angels not have?  See the Ultramarines entry.  They have NOT that stuff.  But they more than make up for it.  Blood Angels are the Chapter for Space Marine players that want more

Space Wolves
My seething hatred shall spill over on this one.  Space Wolves have always been the Chapter that angered me more than any other.  Worse yet, (and I mean no disrespect to my SW-playing readers out there) it seems that people who choose SW tend to be bigger assholes than most other gamers.  That's right, I said it- and now my hatred has spilled over.  Now back to the topic at hand:
Space Wolves lack the esoteric wargear that some of the other Chapters have.  In fact, the ability to ride giant wolves into battle seems to be about the level of creativity that the Sons of Russ can summon on a given day.  There's no special tanks or dreadnoughts, nor are there the special units of veterans, with their cool special ammo or guided jump-packs, to manage.  The Space Wolves make up for this lack of wargear options with special rules.
Their assault squads get more attacks on the charge than the rules technically allow (although they're not nearly as skilled as most assault troops), while ALL Space Wolves usually gain more attacks for being charged.  Their squads have multiple special weapon options.  SW Terminators get whatever wargear they each individually want.  Their Devastators can split fire. 
So what can't the Space Wolves do?  Take Veteran Sergeants- but wait!  They can have a whole squad of Vets and then allocate them to lead other units in the army, thereby gaining their rules too!  Think Terminator sneaking with Scouts and you'll get what I'm sayin'...  Also, the Space Wolf special characters are all but broken.  All in all, the Space Wolves are for the unimaginative Marine player that wants to win with special rules rather than special wargear.  Quick note here:  I don't hate Space Wolves, I hate Space Wolf players.  And the tournie scene has certainly magnified this for me.  If you're one of them, I'm sorry if I offended you.  Get over it, your army is better than anything else with a 3+ save and the GTs around the country seem to support this, and yet I still hear SW players whine.  So again, if I offend you by being a bit hateful, sorry.  If you're looking for an army to play in the Space Marine ilk and want to win often, Space Wolves are the force for you...

Grey Knights
This one is gonna be a bit harder since I'm totally confused with this army.  There is nothing the same as the rest of the Space Marine Chapters in this book (other than armor saves and the use of bolt-weapons), but we're now led to believe that they're just another founding just like the list above.  Here's the deal:
Grey Knights are broken.  They've got all the special rules of the Blood Angels (Iniative bonuses through Halberds and FNP through Paladins) while having none of the toys of the Ultramarines or other Chapters.  They have Psifleman Dreadnoughts (the most useless kind, in my opinion), Stormraven Gunships, and Dreadknights, but these are nothing compared to the Devastators that can shoot you behind cover or the Terminators with two wounds each, or the fact that every model is armed with a storm bolter to begin with.  This book is NOT a Space Marine codex, but I have to include them here for the interest of completion (and because GW defined them as another SM codex).
So what can the Grey Knights not do?  Well, they can't kill tanks or take real heavy weapons.  They aren't nearly as awesome as the Space Wolves in being amazing in every circumstance that presents itself.  But the Grey Knights make up for it by being freakin' awesome and almost totally unique, game-wise. 

In conclusion, I'm trying to distract you readers from the terribly droll repitition of the same topics over and over.  My idea of Space Marines has been developing for over two decades now, and it amazes me how little people understand the difference between the Chapters. 
  • Are the Space Marine books all the same?  By no means.  Each is unique, even in the game.
  • Should we continue to refer to all these books as 'more of the same thing?  No!  Just because GW puts out a Space Marine codex of some sort every year doesn't mean that this is a wash-and-repeat process.  Despite the fact that these are all fighting for the Emperor and all humanity, they don't share common goals, practices, or even languages.  So no, they're not the same thing. 
  • Which Chapter is best in the game?  Well, if I had to rank them (and you know I do), I'd rank them as such:
    • Space Wolves- they may not have the CC punch that BA or GK have, but they're good in EVERY situation
    • Blood Angels- they are scary and very powerful, but they're not broken (for the most part). 
    • Grey Knights- they can beat any of the other Chapters hands down, unless one of them brings a shooty army.  And that's why GK are third and not first...
    • Ultramarines- hated by everyone, played by almost nobody.  This book is great as long as you ignore half the other books in the line and don't paint your models blue.
    • Black Templars- they aren't multi-dimensional, but they certainly do what they do better than anyone else.
    • Dark Angels- even a whole army of Terminators isn't enough to make this book good, but the backstory is awesome and the army is not overburdened with options, rules, or focus. 
It must also be noted that I have EVERY one of these armies (well, I sold the SW and BT last year, but I had them), so I'm giving you guys the thoughts I had with models in hand.  This isn't just my bitterness, I promise.  Go Ultramarines!

As always, let me know what you guys think and Happy Gaming!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Marksavian War: Opening Act.


The Warp Spider Exarch knelt down lightly and plucked another glowing gem from the chest of a fallen Scorpion.  Adding it to the pouch in his fourth arm, he silently sang a song of sorrow.  The many voices in his head sang in harmony and were so powerful that anyone nearby would have 'felt' the music.  It was sad; dark and sad like a rainy day in winter.  It was obvious the Exarch lamented while silently fulfilling his task. 

Around him, the Aspect Warriors of his tribe did the same thing.  Although they didn't exude the same sorrow, they moved as silently and swiftly.  While the morning mists rolled away from the Mon-Keigh's bunker grounds, only the very quiet 'POOF' of the teleporters working could be heard.  The soft sound echoed from the trees and hills every few seconds, but nothing else stirred.  All the native creatures must have fled from the carnage the day before. 

"I have found Xi'Saryk's soulstone.  Have you finished your task, Spider-lord?"  the request broke the morning like a glass being shattered on a stone floor.  The mists roiled away from the winged figure that made the noise, his ornate bone armor seemingly scaring the vapour off.

"It is nearly done."  the Exarch answered.  He and his brothers continued to reach into the mists and pluck these glowing jewels, but the unheard song ceased.  After a moment's pause, the Exarch asked a question.  "How did Xi'Saryk not cast the skiens well?  He was Toryenna's greatest seer."  With this, all the Warp Spiders stopped their tasks and looked at the Autarch.  For a moment, all the figures in the misty clearing stood statue-like.  The sight would have been eerie had anyone been there to see.

Sin-Ratheyel, Master of a Thousand Battlefields and the Sun Dragon himself, gave no response.  With a psychic 'nudge', he told the bulky Aspect Warriors that this conversation was done.  This was not a subject the Autarch wanted to get involved with just yet. 

With their tasks completed and each holding a bag of soulstones, the Eldar left the field of battle.  Without a verbal or somatic signal of any sort, the crew simply blinked out of existance from the battlefield.  Had anyone been there to witness any of this, they'd have simply lost their minds.  The clearing around the Imperial Bunker continued to light up as the Sun continued to climb above the horizon.  The mists continued to boil away and expose lower and lower parts of the surrounding trees and hills.  It was as though nobody had been here in years.  Strange how there was a silent echo of a sad song...


Sin-Ratheyel stared at the crystal dome and all the thousands of stars he could see.  The inky blackness was beautiful to him especially because of the many dots of colorful light that decorated it.  It was sad to the Autarch that this brutish race would never be able to understand this.  While he and his Eldar species had the mental capabilities to see beauty in the entire universe, the Mon-keigh were little better than orks and saw only opportunity.  These... humans, as they called themselves, are greedy and malicious and...  brutes.  This thought made Sin-Ratheyel equally sad and angry.  He stood up from his chair and purposely marched into the Seer's dome.  The Spectre Guards outside the doorway didn't move to stop the Autarch at all, knowing that he was allowed whenever he wanted.  Being the Master of War for an entire Craftworld had its privelages.  The Sun Dragon entered the hallowed chamber ready to exercise another one.

"Xi'Saryk is lost to us because his skills failed him.  How many more Seers must we lose this way?  We knew the Mon-Keigh were coming.  We have a ability to smash them and exact revenge upon these beasts!"  Sin-Ratheyel spat at the council of robed figures sitting high upon a dias.  Although he couldn't see their faces, he knew their attention was keenly focused on him- he could 'feel' it like a blade being held to his forhead.  All dozen of the council members suddenly stirred and began arguing with one another.  It was an almost comical site- where one heartbeat ago there sat a group of robed, immovable shapes there now sat a dozen wildly flailing creatures with clothing that was all-too-big for them.  Crazier still, not a sound emanated from the circus.

The Sun Dragon flexed his wings with a slight thought and instantly shot up into the air to float even with the Seers.  While the silently argued with one another and flailed their arms about, Sin-Ratheyel continued to levitate and watch with his arms crossed and wings beating silently.  This sight was comical, but the Autarch knew that they were communicating telepathically and, with those funny gestures, tracing the invisible Skeins of Fate to understand what is likely to happen in the future.  All Eldar, no matter what their life was dedicated to, depended on the Seers to divine the future and order appropriate actions.  Without this prognistication, the race of Eldar would have disappeared from the cosmos long ago.  But today, this prognostication was to see if the Mon-Keigh's attack could be stopped and the consequences of failure. 

It took some time, but Eldar are very patient, and eventually the council of Seers stopped arguing and addressed Sin-Ratheyel.  "Take a strong and small force.  The Space Marines are not of a large force but are extremely lethal.  We wish as few of ours to lose their lives as--"

The Autarch interrupted.  "If you may trace backwards, you will see me recovering the soul-stones of all our fallen, including your friend."  He spoke that last word with a sneer, poking at the coincidence that an unpopular Lord would meet his death so soon into a crisis.  This drew a hiss of audacity from the Seers, but there was a much bigger worry to all of them.  Since the Vortex of Sharnar openned some four millenia ago, more and more of the Craftworld's Seers were failing their visions of the skeins.  The lack of fortelling had become a curse on this council and Xi'Saryk had been the latest victim.  All of the Seers, sitting royally and pensively, knew that something was horribly wrong. 

Without any meaningful response, the Autarch turned and flew from the room.  He stooped to fall under the doorway and then sped off through the air, his task clear.  Although the Seer Council had grave worries and a very big picture to unravel, Sin-Ratheyel was absolutely confident.  After all, he'd fought these Mon-keigh before.  They may be very heavily armored and very skilled in warfare, they were still dumb.  The Sun Dragon understood how to beat them.  While he sped to the Shrines, he thought of how to gain a tactical advantage.  If you let the Mon-keigh attack first, they continue to add forces and use their momentum to overwhelm opponents.  If you attacked the Mon-keigh first, they get confused and begin raiding tactics.  Best yet, kill their leader and they'll crumble.  While Sin-Ratheyel flew quickly between the massive wraith-trunks that framed the Craftworld, he began to get excited.  A smile crept into his lips...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gotta say

I imagine most of you have seen all the news about the new Necrons.  I, too, have immersed myself in all the rumours of rules and leaked info.  But I wanted to take a totally different angle right now...

Have you guys noticed the level of miniatures that GW has been putting out lately?  If not, let me show you some of my favorites and rant a bit about it.

First came the ridulously cool Tomb Kings releases:

Fantasy's next release was the awesome Ogre update:

These are certainly amazing!  The sheer amount of detail...

The Dark Eldar finally graced us after all these years:

This army, especially the pain engines, captures the army's character so well that I'm almost thinking of donating a kidney to start them up.  My hatred of Dark Eldar knows no bounds, but damn! these models are awesome!

And now, finally, the Necrons. 

And my hatred of Necrons is renowned across many states!  But really GW?  Really?

My point is, with this rare of positive rant posts, that the quality of models GW has been releasing has been insane.  While everyone else is out there poring over massive blogrolls of rules and already determining the best units in the book, I'm admiring the hell outta these models.

On that note, we all understand how expensive this stuff is.  But can anyone really complain when THIS is what our money is paying for?  Anyone remember GW's models in '92?  Anyone remember PP's first character models, as two-dimensional as possible?  Have miniatures come a long way or what?

Happy Hobbying!

Friday, October 14, 2011

2011, A Unit a week

Dire Avengers

Eldar Warrior Aspect

Exarch with Diresword

One unit down, two more to go!

Happy Hobbying!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

2011, A Unit a week

Autarch Sin'Ratheyel (Sun Dragon)

Commander of War, Toryenni Craftworld

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When did the 40k universe get so small?

It was a warm spring day in the great year, 1994.  My buddy had brought his toy soldiers to school as something to work on during the final boring days of the school year.  I was totally impressed with these red doods that looked like football players with guns.  I begged and begged that he let me in on whatever he was doing, and it wasn't long before he was escorting me to the local comic-shop/game store. 

The funny part was that I had been to this store countless times, buying my comics like a rabid fan and never paying attention to the 'other half'.  Even more coincidental was that I'd been buying miniatures from this shop and using them for my DnD games.  But I had no idea that this was a game, or popular, or even something I'd be interested in.  Needless to say, I was enamored and soon buying miniatures to make my first actual army.  Despite collecting and painting toy soldiers since '87, it took me that long to finally fall head-first into what would become a career and almost a lifestyle.

It turned out that those 'red doods' were Blood Angel Space Marines.  I was excited to play myself, but I didn't feel right just copying my buddy and also doing Blood Angels.  So I scanned the shop over a few weekends and noticed what the other (older) gamers were playing:  Blood Angels, Chaos Space Marines, more of them, more Blood Angels, one Eldar player, one IG player, one Tyranid player, and then more Blood Angels.  Seeing that, I chose to start Ultramarines. 

Sure enough, I was the only Ultramarine player for a loooooong time.  In fact, I even started with an all-silver army of Space Marines that I called the 'Neets Imperialis' (my Latin needed some severe upgrading) before I chose to do the blue boyz themselves.  What struck me after all this time was how common Blood Angels and CSM were.  What annoyed me was the lack of different opponents. 

Fast-foward seventeen years...  I walk into my Local Game shop and scan the gamers there.  What do I see?  Blood Angels, Grey Knights, more Blood Angels, more Grey Knights, some more Blood Angels, and then a single Dark Eldar player and a single Space Wolf player.  Now I know that there are a few IG players in the area, I've seen a Tau and an Eldar army getting built.  But I have yet to see them being played while the sea of silver and red is there every time I go in.

So here's my question:  When did the Imperium get so small?

I have some theories, and I'd like to bore y'all with them here.  Advance Warning:  This may turn into a rant.  And by 'may', I mean 'will'. 

For the decade that I wore the Power Armor, I firmly destroyed any culture of 'gaming to win' in my shops.  Sadly, most LGSs don't have a strong Manager to do this, and couldn't even if they wanted to as they're fighting to pay their bills.  GW has the distinct advantage we used to refer to as the 'Golden Arches Syndrom' (people recognize the sign on the building and go there no matter what, just like McDonalds).  LGSs have to live and die by the whims of their community, and if the gamers want to buy super-cheezy armies, they have to be happy to take that money.  As a GW Manager, I was able to a)lead gamers to play more fun games with more versatile and esoteric army lists, and b)not worry too much about whether we were going to be able to pay the bills this week.  It's a self-fulfilling problem, as I see it.

So what can this problem do to a game shop?  Well, it leads to the 'potty-trained at knife-point' gamers (also known as 'douches') to gain an authority in the store.  THAT leads to the majority of gamers following the lead of the few gamers that actually win games every time they hit the table (everybody likes to win, after all) and therefore take the advice of those douches.  THAT eventually leads to an entire culture of 'rules over fluff' and becomes an arms race, usually based in army design first and codex-effectiveness soon thereafter.  Finally, THAT leads to only the most effective codices being used in the shop by the majority of gamers.  And we're back to my point.

hate how these gamers think that they've got the game figured out.  I hate how they spout their opinions about army builds and unit upgrades as though they have an advanced degree in 40k.  I hate how I can go into the game shop with a long-time buddy and attempt to play a game, only to have four of the six gamers in the shop rotate through to tell me how I should build my army to make it more effective.  Worst of all, I hate how an entire universe of war has been reduced to three army books being used (with the occasional different color models and 'counts-as' ridiculousness in play).

Last I checked, there's the Imperium (with it's massive Imperial Guard and sprinkling of Space Marines) trying hard to survive the onslaught of the Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tyranids, Necrons, Tau, Orks, and Chaos.  Where is everyone?  Have they all gotten tired of war?  Is it so peaceful now that Grey Knights and Blood Angels have paintball fights?  What the hell, man!?!

I understand that codex creep has made certain armies better than others ("All armies are created equal, except the ones that are better.  The rest are equally poop.").  I understand that it isn't fun to lose just because your codex is four years old and your opponent is playing with the awesome Blood Rape Wolves of Chaos Lascannon Speed Death.  But really?  Really?!

Let me finish with a short letter to the greater 40k Gaming Community out there:

Dear Gaming Community,
  Please mix it up a little.  Quit worrying about winning and nothing else.  Stop spamming the one or two 'good' units from a codex.  Stop whining about how 9 of the 12 armies are poop and not worthy of playing.  You're ruining the game.  That's right- Ruining it!  Stop!
Everybody that still thinks ALL OF 40k is cool.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rumours from someone else

I found this very interesting!  Liquid Green Stuff!!!  That's all I'm sayin'.

Thanx to Tabletop Fix for finding this.  Check out their website here:

As always, Happy Hobbying!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Marksavian War Part 1: Get to the bunker!

After the initial assault, Captain Sendini decided that they must secure the Comm Bunker and make contact with the 'Sword of Calisto', the Blood Angels' strike cruiser orbitting the planet. 

Forces and Mission
The Blood Angels' force consisted of:
-Captain Sendini with a jump pack and thunderhammer
-Epistolary Librarian with jump pack, infernus pistol, 'Shield of Sanguinius', and 'Unleash Rage'
-Sanguinary Priest with power weapon and jump pack
-Furioso Dreadnought with extra armor
-Tactical Squad 4 with power fist, meltagun, and lascannon
-- Rhino 4 with extra armor
-Tactical Squad 6 with flamer and multi-melta
--Rhino 6 with extra armor
-Assault Squad 8 with thunderhammer, flamer, and meltagun
-Stormraven with twin-plasma cannons, typhoon launcher, hurricane bolters, and extra armor

The Eldar force consisted of:
-Farseer Xi-Saryk with runes of warding, runes of witnessing, spirit stones, 'Guide', and 'Fortune'
-6 Fire Dragons with exarch, firepike, and 'Tank Hunters'
--Dragon Wave Serpent with twin-starcannons and spirit stones
-10 Striking Scorpions with exarch, biting blade, and 'Shadowstalker'
-6 Rangers
-10 Dire Avengers with exarch, shimmershield, and 'Bladestorm'
--Avenger Wave Serpent with twin-bright lances and spirit stones
-10 Swooping Hawks with exarch, sunrifle, and 'Skyleap'
-5 Dark Reapers with exarch, missle launcher, and 'Fast Shot'

Each army comes out to nearly 1500 points, with the Blood Angels having three 'scoring units'.  The mission was simple- Spearhead Deployment, with the objective being for the Blood Angels to have control of the bunker (a scoring unit within 3") by the end of turn 6.  The Eldar would recieve the first turn unless the Blood Angels stole the initiative.

The Eldar set up first, choosing the southern table edge.  The Dark Reapers and Farseer hid deep inside the woods, hoping to ambush the Space Marines as they closed with the bunker.  The Fire Dragons deployed in their Wave Serpent behind the hill on the far left, while the Dire Avengers deployed in their Wave Serpent behind the woods to support the Dark Reapers.  The Striking Scorpions and Rangers would infiltrate while the Swooping Hawks were held in reserve to deep strike later.

Next came the Blood Angels' deployment.  Both Tactical Squads deployed in their Rhinos on the northern table edge, with squad 4 hiding behind the hill and squad 6 lining up along the flank.  The Stormraven was held in reserve to deep strike later and carried the Furioso Dreadnought, while the Captain, Librarian, and Sanguinary Priest all joined the Assault Squad that had chosen to deep strike later as well.

For the 'Infiltration Phase', the Rangers deployed in the woods opposite the bunker to keep overwatch, while the Striking Scorpions deployed in the ruins in front of the Rhinos- hoping to ambush the Marines as they disembarked their vehicles.  With deployment finished, the Blood Angels attempted the 'steal the initiative' and failed with a roll of '4'.  It appeared the Xi'Saryk had properly forcast the moves of the mon-keigh.

Turns 1 & 2
-Xi'Saryk took some time and checked the skeins of fate, attempting to determine the moves of the clumsy humans.  Confident in his forecast, he ordered the Striking Scorpions to move back into the ruins with an average 3" terrain check and await the disembarking Marines.  The Dark Reapers saw an opportunity to target the Marine vehicles but had to move foward 5" in order to gain a better line of sight out of their woods.  With the protection of the Farseer's 'Fortune' on them, the Reapers felt the surrounding trees and their own heavy armor would protect them from the mon-keigh's crude weapons.  The Avengers' Serpent then moved foward 12" to line up a bright lance shot at the leading Rhino- hitting but only rolling a '2' to penetrate the armor and failing to cause any damage.  The Dragons' Serpent jetted 24" from behind the hill to hide behind the trees and support the Rangers in case the mon-keigh came that way...

-Meanwhile, the Sergeant for Tactical Squad 6 moved his Rhino foward 12" between the hills and ruins and popped a smokescreen, while the squad disembarked on the opposite side to protect themselves from any xenos missles firing in their direction.  The other Rhino, full of the tank hunters, stomped the accelerator and zoomed 18" behind the ruins and closed with the shadows lurking in the crumbled buildings.

-Xi'Saryk, believing his skeins to be solid, attemped to summon the Swooping Hawks but rolled a '2', leaving the birdlike warriors in reserve.  Disappointed, he cast 'Fortune' and 'Guide' on him and his Dark Reaper bodyguard, using the power of the Spirit Stones to protect and enhance the heavy weapons squad.  With the prescience of their Farseer, the Dark Reapers launched a salvo of missles at the concealed Rhino tank- hitting every single time!  After only causing two glancing and one penetrating hit, the smoke saved one but resulted in the destruction of the storm bolter and a shaken crew.  The Striking Scorpions tried to sneak closer to the other Rhino, now dangerously close to the ruins, but only rolled a '3' for their difficult terrain test and failed to get close enough to assault the vehicle or squad- rolling double '1's for the assault move!  They chose not to waste their opportunity and shot their pistols at the disembarked Marines- causing two out of three hits and wounding on both, but the power armor was too much and saved both mon-keigh warriors.  The Avengers' Serpent dropped its cargo off and moved 12" towards the bunker to get a more clear shot at the lead Rhino.  Hitting with the bright lances, the smoke proved the saving grace negating the penetrating hit altogether.  The Dire Avengers now moved 6" behind the ruins, ready to support their Scorpion brothers.  The Dragons' Serpent sped another 18" towards the hill and ruins where the Marines had formed a solid wall, preparing to spray hot plasma death at the squad in subsequent turns.  Finally, the two Rangers that could see from their woods found pinhole shots at the disembarked Tactical Squad- scoring two hits and a wound and felling a Marine!  First blood had gone to the Eldar but the squad passed their Leadership check and refused to be pinned down.

-With the Eldar's onslaught coming to a close, the Sergeants called for support.  The Stormraven reported that there was too much turbulence in the air and rolled a '2', staying in orbit for a little longer.  The Captain, Assault Squad, and other characters were all too happy to arrive and kill some xenos, rolling a '6'.  With Sendini's trademark skill at Deep Strike tactics, his unit dropped directly behind the woods where the Dark Reapers were hiding.  Finding that they were directly behind an empty Wave Serpent, the squad's meltagun hit the rear armor, rolled a '4' to penetrate the weak armor, and then a '6'- causing the xenos skimmertank to explode and leaving a smoking crater behind.  Tactical Squad 6 moved 6" to take cover in the ruins and ran another 3" to ensure that they made it.  Seizing the moment, the drivers of Rhino 4 charged 12" straight into the Striking Scorpions.  Such a shocking maneuvre caught the infiltrators off-guard and, failing their leadership check with an '11', fled 8"  directly away from rampaging transport.  The Blood Angels then piled out of their Rhino and fired at the fleeing Scorpions- hitting 9 times with 6 bolters, wounding four, but only dropping one, then adding the weight of the squad's meltagun to turn another to slag!  Their Rhinno added its own storm bolter to the cause and killed another Scorpion.  Rhino 4, now empty, decided to leap into action and drove foward 18" straight into the Avengers and fleeing Scorpions.  Just like their cousins, the Avengers failed with a Ld roll of '11' again!  The Avengers ran away 5" while the Scorpions fled another 2". 

 At this point, my brother looks at me and says, "Okay, so far..."  Understatement of the game...

Turn 3
-Xi'Saryk, sensing that the battle was getting out of control, again tried to summon the Swooping Hawks.  Sadly, a roll of '2' again, the Hawks were still not close enough to lend support.  He quickly cast 'Fortune' on himself and 'Guide' on the Dark Reapers, hoping that he could change the fate of this battle before it was too late.  Determined to sacrifice himself if necessary, he moved through the woods 5" towards the Assault Squad to hold them up.  As the Farseer positioned himself, the Striking Scorpions fled eight more inches to get closer to the table edge, but snapped off 3 pistol rounds- wounding twice but failing to kill anyone.  The Dire Avengers fled 7" off the table, leaving that flank completely unguarded.  The Dragons' Serpent moved 12" closer to get some starcannon shots off at the Assault Squad.  The Librarian, sensing the incoming doom, attempted to cast 'Shield of Sanguinius' and was successful with a roll of '9', overcoming the interference of the Farseer's runes of warding.  Despite the new force bubble protecting them, it wasn't in time to save two of the Assault Marines from dying a fiery death as the plasma rounds incinerated their power armor.  Only three of the Rangers could see from their vantage point in the woods, but shot at the Assault Squad anyway.  They capitalized by hitting, wounding, and killing one Marine, however the targets again refused to be pinned by passing their check with a roll of '7'.  With no other targets, the Dark Reapers shot at the closest Rhino.  Even with the guidance of the Farseer's power, they still only hit it with seven rockets causing one glancing and one penetrating hit.  Unfortunately, the ruins and woods saved the vehicle completely.

-Captain Sendini reacted to the Eldar's final acts of desperation by summoning the Stormraven Gunship with a roll of '6', which descended from the skies to land between the woods, where the Rangers were hiding, and the bunker.  As soon as it arrived the gunship unleashed its weapons at the targets.  Despite scoring 2 wounds with the plasma cannons, a wound with the typhoon launcher, and 12 hits and 6 wounds with the hurricane bolters, only three Rangers died as they deftly ducked behind trees and cover.  Their morale stood strong with a roll of '6'.  Using its Machine Spirit, the Stormraven also launched a hellstrike missile at the Dragons' Serpent, rolling a '4' to hit but a '1' to penetrate the armor.  The Wave Serpent would live to fight another round!  Under the punishing support of the Stormraven's guns, Tactical Squad 4 remounted their Rhino, which moved 12" around the ruins towards the woods.  Taking the lead of the other tank, Rhino 6 crashed 6" through the woods, passed its dangerous terrain check on a '6', and attempted to push the Dark Reapers out.  With a roll of '4', the Reapers simply stepped to the foward edge of the treeline, believing themselves to be safe and failing to see the danger.  Unfortunately, the Librarian, Sanguinary Priest, and Assault Squad left the Captain behind to move 7" towards the woods and assault the Reapers.  After moving 4" into the trees, they made contact with the heavily armored Eldar.  The aliens' speed allowed them to strike first- hitting 3 times, but failing to wound the tougher Marines.  Swinging 11 hits, the Blood Angels wounded five times, killing the exarch but leaving the rest of the Reapers alone.  Then the Squad's sergeant swung his heavy thunderhammer- hitting and killing two of the Reapers.  Proud, the Marines waited for the Reapers to flee.  However, the Dark Reapers stayed to fight with a roll of '3'!  Captain Sendini, confident that his Assault Squad would make short work of the xenos, fired his bolt pistol at the Farseer but caused no damage.  With a silent prayer, he charged straight at the Eldar leader.  The alien was able to hit and wound the Captain once, but his power armor was too tough for the witchblade to pierce.  Returning the favor, Sendini swung his mighty thunderhammer, hitting twice and wounding both.  The Farseer's wraithbone armor and the 'Fortune' spell proved too resilient as the thunderhammer blows were easily deflected.

 Turn 4
-The Swooping Hawks finally joined the battle on a roll of '4'.  As they screamed across the battlefield they dropped grenades on Tactical Squad 6- hitting three and wounding 2, but only one Marine fell.  As they made their final descent, they attempted to land near the mon-keigh- only to scatter 9" and instead end up on the hill overlooking the carnage.  The Hawks unleashed all the firepower they could at the same Tactical Squad- hitting fifteen times and only wounding twice!  The power armor again saved them and the Marines laughed at the attempt.  Xi'Saryk, now locked in mortal combat with the massive Blood Angel Captain, again cast 'Fortune' on himself and hoped to survive the melee.  He tried again to fight the Captain off, only the wound and see the blade bounce off the power armor again.  Sendini's return was brutal.  With his thunderhammer he hit and wounded all three times, and even wraithbone and magic couldn't save the Farseer.  With a mightly thunderclap the Eldar's body was destroyed utterly and the Marine Captain stood victoriously over his latest trophy.  The final two Dark Reapers, still battling the Assault Squad and accompanying characters, were cut down mercilessly by power weapons from the Sanguinary Priest and Librarian.  The now unengaged Assault Squad consolidated 4" towards the bunker.  Seeing the last hope dying away from their vantage point in the trees, the Rangers dashed from cover 6" to get close to the bunker.  Meanwhile, the Fire Dragons finally dismounted from their Wave Serpent and moved directly underneath the hovering Stormraven.  Firing their fusion guns, they only scored three hits, but rolled 2 '6's to penetrate.  Unfortunately, the gunships ceramite armor provided sufficient protections as the Dragons rolled double '1's and only shook the crew.  The Wave Serpent lent its starcannons to the barrage- hitting but rolling a '3' to penetrate the armor and doing no damage whatsoever.  Farseer Xi'Saryk's plan had completely failed just as his life was extinguished. 
-Sendini engaged his jump pack and leapt to intercept the Rangers.  Charging into combat, the Captain killed two of the Rangers instantly and suffered no damage in return.  The final Ranger decided to sell his life dearly and passed his morale check on a roll of '5'.  The rest of the Assault Squad leapt towards the now empty Wave Serpent and fired their meltagun at it, missing the graceful grav-tank altogether.  Then the Librarian levelled his infernus pistol at it, rolled a '6' to hit, a '5' to penetrate the armor, and a '5'- destroying the vehicle's hover engines and crashing it to the ground.  Tactical Squad 6 rushed out of the ruins 5" and closed the distance to the Swooping Hawks.  Firing their flamer and bolters, they caused 14 hits, 7 wounds, and ultimately killing three Hawks.  The Hawks were fresh and valiant, staying on a roll of double '3's.  Tactical Squad 4, mounted in their Rhino, bounced across the battlefield 18" to support their battle brothers.  The Stormraven, with its shaken crew, dropped the Furioso Dreadnought and sped away 18" to take up overhead patrol duties.  The Furioso, anxious to fight, shot the meltagun and storm bolter at the Fire Dragons in front of it- melting one of the unit to slag.  As it charged into the Dragons, the Eldar placed one meltabomb on its carapace.  Unfortunately, they rolled a '4' total, causing no damage.  The Dreadnought swung wildly with his blood talons- scoring three hits and two dead, which caused two more hits and two more dead, and finally another hit and another dead.  The Furioso had quickly dispatched the anti-tank unit and was left standing there with no opponents. 

Turn 5
Seeing the last Ranger about the die a gruesome death, the Swooping Hawks decided to escape the battlefield and fled, leaving the one remaining Eldar scout to suffer the wrath of an unscathed Marine force.  The Blood Angels established a security perimeter in case the xenos decided to return, entered the bunker, and activated the comm device.  It was a fatal day for the Eldar and a stunning massacre by the Blood Angels...

++Report:  Situation resolved.  Casualties:  5 battle brothers.  Enemy Casualties:  all.  Objective:  Secure++

The Eldar had no luck.  The dice rolls were horrendous, half the army fled from the table before a shot was even fired, and the hard shells of the Space Marines proved too much.  My army certainly made a poor showing of itself today, but the dice tell the story.  The Emperor smiled on his sons this day, and the Eldar will need more than arrogance and woods to win the next one...

Also, congrats to my brother for having played his first real game of 40k.  He did fantastically, remembered the rules surprisingly well, and completely kicked the crap outta me.  Good job, bro!  As always, let me know what you guys think.  This is the first time I've ever written up a battle report, so constructive feedback is welcome.  Happy Gaming!