Friday, November 19, 2010

Where's the Heel?

There's a new Land Raider variant on the way from Forgeworld called the Achilles. The rules are available here.


Forgeworld rules typically come in two flavors: suck and broken, but this new model just bought out Kraft Foods inc. As in, it owns all the cheese now.

I thought it was pretty decent until I read the rules for Ferromantic Invulnerability. It's aptly named as it really does make it invulnerable. It ignores melta and lance, and reduces damage rolls by 1. So unless Eldar are running dual Prisms or can get a Wraith Lord into melee with it, the majority of the time all you can do is reduce it to firing a single weapon. Demons will at best be able to immobilize it outside of melee. Orks have it even worse with no AP1 or MC's. About the only thing with a reasonable shot at killing this thing outside of destroyer weapons are Tau rail-guns.

Another reason why I don't play Apocalypse or allow anyone to use Forgeworld rules in games I play.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Viper, a Viper, My Kingdom for a Viper

G2D4's 1750 tournament is coming up, and I want to play my Eldar. Problem is my Eldar is a 1500 point force. My original 1750 point expansion plan was to upgrade my Autarch to Yriel and add a few Vypers. Unfortunately, nobody close by has any Vipers in stock and I won't be able to get any in in time to get them built and painted. It's what I get for focusing on my Firestorm Fleets and my WIP Tau for the last few months.

I'm going to have to pick something from the Eldar B team that I can get painted up in time. I have no spare transports, so Fire Dragons, Dire Avengers, and Storm Guardians are out. No jet bikes, so none of those. Ranger/Pathfinders are too expensive to put in enough to be a threat. My Heavy slots are all filled. Everything else besides Striking Scorpions suck too much to mention, so I'll be running Scorpions. Five Scorpions plus Exarch with Biting Blade and Shadow Strike, fits well into the 140 points I had slotted out for the two Vipers.

It's a sub optimal choice, but I own the models already. I can also get them painted up to match my army pretty quickly. I hate running 6 foot models in a all mech list. I can at least use them as first turn bubble wrap or semi-survivable objective holders.

Everybody seems to be getting on the 40k blog rolls, maybe I should do that...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shock and Awe

First off here's the results from the doubles tournament:
3-0 Players:
Steve(Eldar) and Luke(Eldar)
Stephen(Demons) and Jim(Demons)

2-1 players:
Sean(Chaos Marines) and Justin(Demons) 4290 Victory Points
Sandwyrm(BA) and Farmpunk(WH) 4137 Victory Points
Scott(Marines) and Carl(BA) 3427 Victory Points
Wienas(BT) and Caanaan(WH) 2337 Victory Points
Tim(Marines) and Chad(Marines) 1765 Victory Points

1-2 Players (In no particular order, not all VP's reported)
Mike and Nick
Jamie(Guard) and Eddie(Orks)
Trevor and Nick
Aaron(SW) and Andrew(SW)
Louis and Richard

0-3 Players
Chris and Alexander
Erik and Mike

Hit the jump to see me rant about armies and results :)

I want to say that the two teams who took the top spot where good players who played good games. But in a theoryhammer world, I didn't expect either army to win. I think both armies won the day on account of the WTF factor.

For instance, most of the G2D4 guys don't face Eldar armies regularly. My mechdar army is the exception to that statement, but it's such a different list from Steve and Luke's footdar that it might as well have come from a different codex. Even then, my army wins many games due to my opponent not having the prior experience of trying to take down a Falcon with Holo Fields. That Avatar/Wraithlord footdar list wins through due to bad target priority and over specialization with melta on the part of their opponents. None of their opponents brought any long range, high strength, low AP weapons that where not melta. You need to take down MC's at range. If you rely on melta to do it, you face the chance of wifing and getting counter-charged. On occasion you face an Avatar, and melta is completely useless anyway. Of course, the team format allowed them to take 2 more MC's than a normal 2000 pt army would allow. Facing 4 Wraithlords and 2 Avatars without a cohesive force of you own is a difficult challenge. Still, I was wishing I could throw down one of my own armies. Most of my lists would have out-ranged and out-gunned the Eldar, and reliably downed a Wraithlord every turn.

On the other hand, we had Stephen and Jim's double Fateweaver/Blood Crusher list. Two Fateweavers at 2000 points is another difficult challenge. I don't believe most of their opponents get to face Demons on a regular basis. The G2D4 guys face demons all the time, and know how to deal with them. One of the locals mentioned that he heard Jim and Stephen's third round opponent act surprised to find out that the whole army had invul saves. Demons are pretty easy to figure out how to beat, but if you don't have the experience, you are at a disadvantage.

In a three round tournament format, pairings go along way to determining the winner. Had Aaron and Andrew's Space Wolves drew Steve and Luke's Eldar in the first round we would have seen a drastically different outcome. Aaron's Long Fangs and Thunder Wolves where the right units to take down those Eldar MC's. Unfortunately Aaron and Andrew faced double Fateweaver and the dice where against them that game.

I think it would have been very interesting to see the top two teams face each other for one more round. I think the dual Demon list was the best match up for the Eldar MC's other than the dual Space Wolves.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I did not need this

GW had to go and redesign Dark Eldar to look cool. I think my fantasy High Elves are going to have to wait. The sexy future evil elves are cutting in line.

I ran my first tournament yesterday. I think it went well. I at least haven't seen any internet posts about how awful a job I did. That has to count for something right?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Too Much Going On

I have about a dozen things going on right now. Here's a quick rundown.

I'm almost done painting a Hammerhead for my Tau army. I tried to incorporate some of the advice I got from Sandwyrm about color isolation. I've got the base colors complete, and the tank does look more interesting than the Fire Warriors. I'm not sure if it looks like a real tank though. I still have to do the detail work. When I'm done with that, I'll post some pics. I'm going to take a close look at how they break apart the colors on the armor of the Spartans in Halo: Reach and try to use that as a basis for breaking up the colors on my battle suits. I've always appreciated Bungie's ascetic. I play their games more for the art, music, and story than for game play.

Speaking of Reach, I picked that up this week and it is going to cut into my painting time until I'm board with it and buy Civ 5. Civ 5 will then will swallow me into a dark hole and spit me out if 4 or 5 months. Civ 4 almost burnt my apartment down in college.

I bought the new fantasy starter too. I never heard back about swapping the skaven for more high elves, so I'm going to let my wife paint the skaven to try to get her interested in the hobby a little. At least enough to give me more time to paint my own armies. So now I have a high elf army to build and paint.

I finally got some games of Firestorm Armada in. I was holding off purchasing or painting anything new for that game until that condition was met. So now I have to finish painting my Terran Battleship. And I might buy a few Aquan Heavy Cruisers and Terran Shield Ships. The game is random as hell, but I like playing it and the ship models are very cool. Unfortunately the G2D4 crowd has decided to play on Tuesdays, and I cannot make it to G2D4 on any day but Saturday.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

When Battle Points Attack, ...err Fail!

I want to share a scenario I worked up based on a standard 3 game battle points driven tournament. You'll see some interesting results from the tournament format favored by many 40k players.

A lot of other bloggers have posted conclusions similar to mine, but none have shown any examples of how the system fails.

Just to be clear this scenario was constructed specifically to show the deficiencies of the battle points system. It is possible that this can occur in a real world situation. We'll be looking at battle points alone, we'll assume that every player is a gentlemanly golden daemon winner. Also for this example we've cobbled together a magic 8-ball, an e-meter, and a Ouija board to create a device that can accurately determine a 40k player's skill level between 0 and 10. When two players play each other an equal skill level results in a draw, a difference of 1 results in a minor victory, and a difference of 2 or more results in a major victory. The games are scored at 8 points for a major, 5 for a minor, 3 for a draw, and a 1 for a loss. There will be a random first round pairing which we are going to force into a purposely bad situation. It's a 3 game 16 player tournament with players and skill levels as follows:


In this scenario the best players where accidentally seeded to play each other in the first round. A few mediocre players gained initial pairings with some baby seals. Parings are generated every subsequent round according to battle points. The rounds and pairings go as follows:

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

































































































The expected results according to player skill should be: P, M, N O, L, K, C, I, J, E, A, J, F, D, H, B.
Instead we get: C, N, P, E, O, A, L, M, G, J, K, I, F, B, D, H.

In a situation where we know what the results should be, we see that battle points fails to get us there. Even if the tournament went 4 rounds and the two undefeated players duked it out, the tournament would leave a tie for first place. If in that situation, C had 1 more paint or sport point he would win out over someone who beat him. Even if P had a bad game and only scored a minor victory, he would still be taking home second place. This says nothing of the jumbled mess that is the rest of the bracket. K is rated as a better player than C and ends up in the bottom half of the results.

There are going to be bad paring in any tournament format. There's nothing that stops the two best players at the tournament from getting each other in the first round. However, in a battle point system you run in to the "clubbing baby seals" effect. Bad players are like rocket fuel to the scores of people who play them. Since the system rewards degree of victory, people who play games against opponents of drastically lower skill gain huge point advantages. Playing a close game with a competent opponent penalizes you.

I tried the same setup using a 4 game opposite seed pairing and got much better results. P ended up the winner, and C was in the middle of the pack where he should have been.

Friday, September 3, 2010

@Archfiend of Dezdemon

I don't have your email, so hopefully you'll see this. You mentioned wanting to do a swap with the Island of Blood miniatures. You still interested? I plan on buying mine this weekend.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Hate Comp

I was contemplating hading up to Lafayette for a tournament this weekend, until I found out about the crazy tourney rules. A lot of people have chimed in on why they dislike or like the old comp'ed or battle point style tournaments. I thought I go and put down my particular reasons for disliking the format. I going to cover not just comp restrictions, but painting and sports scoring as well.


Comp restrictions and scoring always irk me. Comp is a means to try and fix a game that I don't think is necessarily broken. It never seems that the people who come up with comp really understands the game. That, or their understanding of the game was cemented in place some time in the distant past. From my observation, most comp comes from local groups trying to overcome some perceived imbalance in the game. 40K is a very complex game in terms of possible interactions with a dozen armies written against three different editions. Most gaming groups are only exposed to a small subset of those interactions. A lot of comp rules I see suffer from having big blind spots toward uncommon armies and builds. Take the one from Lafayette where they are requiring 4 Troops instead of 2. Older armies suffer from very poor troop choices. Forcing a Tau player to run extra troops hurts him a lot more than forcing a Marine player to run another tac squad. Of course that's assuming the motives of the TO are misguided and not malicious. Hypothetically the TO could think that Tau are overpowered and is trying to cripple what he thinks is a local players WAAC list.

This leads to my other gripe about comp in that it is exclusionary social engineering. There are these 'other' people who play 'differently' and something must be done about it. Comp rules favor local players, and hurt the guys from across town. All power rangers in our sandbox must be red, or you can't play here. Comp is meant to keep out WAACs, but is just as likely to hurt some random player's honest attempt at a 40k army list. Anybody who can build a good list to standard rules of 40k can also game any comp system, so it ends up that the only player who really gets hurt is the poor random scrub. In fact most comp systems can be gamed far worse than standard 40k. Oh, what joyful things can be done with a tournament that allows Dark Angels and Black Templars to have Codex Marine wargear!

5th edition makes comp redundant anyway. The newer codex's don't require as much FOC min/maxing and spamming to be competitive. It too easy for a Guard or Marine player to tip-toe around a comp system and still put a face smashingly brutal list on the table.


I would like to preface this by saying that I like to paint miniatures. I'm not the greatest at it, but the ability to build and paint a model and then do something with it was one of the things that drew me to the hobby. But painting requires two things to be good at: Time and Talent. Not everyone has those in spades. Plus painting injects a huge subjective blob into what should be a fairly objective affair. If you can't paint, and you want to win, people will just get their armies painted for them. This turns the painting competition into a how much money you can spend competition. I've always felt uneasy giving good painting scores to an army that was professional painted by someone other than the person playing it. There are also people who are physically incapable of painting small miniatures. How are we supposed to fit them into the hobby? Painting scores also skew the results towards veteran players. It takes time to fully paint an army to high standards, and it can take years to develop good painting skills. New players might have good tabletop skills, but are years away from fielding a pretty army.

I'm in support of minimum painting requirements, and separate painting competitions. I would also never turn away someone who had an unpainted army from a local tournament. Grand Tournaments are another matter entirely. I'm OK with them holding players to higher minimum requirements.

Painting and Comp are also contradictory. Painting an army takes a lot longer than it does to come up with some comp scoring system. You may not have the painted models to adjust your list to account for comp rules; forcing you to decide whether to take a comp hit or a painting hit in a tournament.


Like painting, I think of this as more of a requirement than something that should be scored. As Bill & Ted once said, "Be excellent to each other." I've becomes friends with many players where my first tournament experience against them was not pleasant. Sports scores are again skewed toward locals, and act as exclusionary social engineering. You accept the idiosyncrasies of people you are friends with more than those of complete strangers. Being friends with someone means the difference between, "That's just how Mike plays", and "What a WAAC jerk."

It's also another way for WAACs to abuse a system meant to protect us from them. People for the most part will act in their own self interest, and you are giving them a slip of paper that essentially says, "Check this box if you don't want your opponent to win the tournament."

It's the job of the TO to police bad behavior. It's up to the players to let the TO know when bad behavior is occurring. Cheating should not be tolerated.


Short conclusion: do it like the NOVA Open did. NOVA was structured as an event that tried to include people and promote a common community. This upcoming Lafayette tournament looks like the opposite. While I've seen worse tournament setups, it's not inclusive. It doesn't take into account that 5th edition 40k is a fairly balanced system. Some armies don't have as many tools, but any army can give a decent showing with a good player behind it. Giving some armies free upgrades, and hamstringing others does not help the game. The only people who benefit from a tournament like that are local players who are used to that particular home-brew 40k. Tournaments should be about stripping away the BS to determine who the best player is, not about adding another layer of crud to reinforce stereotypes.

While I have my own personal opinions about 40k and how it should be played (you just read through a whole post full of them), the only ones I adhere to are on the basis of inclusion. I don't think we should turn people away who have different opinions about the game. We should embrace systems that cater to as many people as possible. From what I've seen Nova was an event that accomplished that, and I think it is something that should be emulated whenever possible. I don't like tournaments that penalize people for not playing with their toy soldiers the 'right' way.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still Trying to Figure Out Macro-Photography

Here are some pics of some fire warriors I painted to test the color scheme for my upcoming Tau army.
I think they turned out pretty good. I still have to figure out how to do the bases. I need to get in the habit of doing the bases first, but I assembled these guys well over a year ago. Back then I was thinking of doing the bases as a winter theme, and those don't require much work. I ended up using the winter theme on my Eldar, so I'm thinking these guys will be getting urban bases.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hive Fleet Indy Escalation League (@G2D4)

Here's some basic information regarding an escalation league I will be running starting in January. The information is still early, so some of the dates mentioned are tentative. If you are interested let me know. Official signups won't start for a while, but I would like to get a rough estimate of interested players.

The escalation league will meet on the last Saturday of every month from January to August at G2D4. The league will cost 5 dollars a month.

There will be an initial meeting on 1/8/2011 to build lists and schedule purchases.

The goal of the league is to complete a new 2000 pt army. The first purchase will consists of an HQ and 1-2 troops costing up to 500 points. Every month you will add up to 250 points to your army total. Your monthly purchases don't have to conform to these point costs, but should try to match them as close as possible. The point cost represents the maximum amount of points that can be used in the companion campaign and how much of your army is expected to be painted.

Given that some armies cost more, and people probably are looking for something to do between now and January, you can enter the League with up to 500 points of your army already purchased. The rest of the army must be purchased through the escalation league.

All purchases for the league will be scheduled before hand and be available at the store on the day the league meets. Everyone's league fee's will be pooled together and there will be a drawing. All players in the league are eligible, and if their name is drawn the fees will be applied toward their purchase for the round. Any extra fee's will be carried dover to the next round. Any player can only win the drawing once, until all players have won the drawing at least once. You are required to make a purchase every month.

There is a two strike policy on missing league purchases. If you miss a purchase you have until next league match to buy it. If you haven't purchased it by then, your next purchase is not ordered. If you still haven't made the purchase by the second league day then you forfeit the order, and you will be ejected from the league. (I know this seams harsh, but we don't want the store to buy $500 of stock and not have $300 of it sell.)

The goal for the league is not just to buy a new army, but to also paint it. As a result, painted models in the league campaign gain the Art Snob special rule. Any model with the rule counts as having Favored Enemy: Unpainted Models. If the model already has favored enemy for the target unit type, then you also get to re-roll wounds. Models with Art Snob also count as having twin linked weapons when shooting at unpainted models. If a weapon is already twin linked, then you may also re-roll to wound.

To qualify as a painted model, it must be painted to a three color minimum and have a finished base.

More Details for the campaign league will follow. It will be a story/map based team campaign pitting the forces of order versus the forces of chaos.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Efforts in Futility

The new starter for Fantasy has me tempted. I might start a high-elf army. I've been playing 40k for 10 years, and have never once played fantasy. I'm not a big fan of high-fantasy settings, but the game does look interesting.

Anyone else looking to get into fantasy. I'd be interested in swapping the Skaven from the starter with someone else's high elves.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Play Testing

I want to do some more play testing this Saturday at G2D4 if anyone is interested. I want to see how the flyer rules work in action.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Aircraft Rules Spotted

The aircraft rules are now complete.

I also used my ship creator to re-calculate all the ships and add a few more. I Added the Tribal Class Destroyer, Hood, Renown, and Ark Royal for the Brits. US got the Fletcher and the Yorktown. I added the the Japanese; they have the Kagero class destroyer, the Agano class light cruiser, the Mogami and Tone class heavy cruisers, the Akagi, and the all powerful Yamato.

Based on my methods for stat generation, the Yamato and the South Dakota look like they could go toe-to-toe. The Dakotas quality construction, protection scheme, and fire control balancing out Yamato's brute force. As a bonus the Dakota has almost 3 times the AA output as the Yamato.

Always in a Rush

Our 40k club at G2D4 has another tournament coming up on Aug 7 (Yes, they know that's during GENCON). No particular information is available yet, but the TO should be making that available soon. I'm pretty sure it will be 1750 with three games.

A friend of mine I haven't seen in a few years was going to be at Gencon, so I'm torn about going to this tournament. I would probably have more fun for less cash at the tournament, so I'll probably skip the con on Saturday. I might take Friday off work and go then.

I am faced with having to get more stuff painted for my Eldar. It's my prettiest army, so I want to use it over just running my marines. I have a few options for filling in the last 250 points. I kind of want to convert a seer council on bikes, but I'll be lucky to get that done in a month. I'll probably add two or three Vipers. I'm also thinking about upgrading my Autaurch to a counts as Yriel. He's not the greatest special character, but his b-bomb attack would have been very useful in my last tournament. Converting up some Fire Dragon Exarchs is also a possibility.

I still plan on trying to write up my DV aircraft rules tonight. I won't be able to do any play testing on Saturday as I had hoped. I'm scheduled to play some other games, and it's board game night at work.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ship Creator Almost Done...

I still have to work out calculations for the ship's point value, but other than that it's pretty much done. It was an interesting challenge to figure out the algorithms to translate my historical knowledge about a ship into the stat values needed for my game. Things like speed and gun strength where easy, but armor was a particular challenge.

The app spits out both text and html source, so I can paste the ships created directly into the pages here on the blog.

The aircraft rules are still coming together in my head. Tentatively I'll have rules and stats updated by next Thursday night and ready for play-testing on Saturday.

Lets see if I can make this DV related deadline I've set for myself.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Not Quite as Planned.

Ever have one of those tournaments where you had all good games and they you look at the final score and you're down at the bottom. That's what the GP South tournament last weekend felt like. 4 good close games, but no wins.

I played the Mech Eldar army I've been building.

Game One:

I played against a vanilla mech marine army. A few tactical squads in rhinos and razorbacks, Auto-Las Predator, Las-HB Predator, 5 man Sterngaurd, Two speeders, and Cassius. The mission was victory points with three objectives counting at 150 vp each. The mission also used diagonal deployment zones w/ a 12 inch no-mans-land in the center.

I lost the roll to go first, and he deployed along his deployment zone. I hid all my skimmers behind a nice ruin in the corner of my deployment zone. I made my first mistake and didn't deploy my Falcon far enough into my corner to avoid his auto-plas predator on my right flank. The Falcon ended up getting stunned for the first two turns and then immobilized as a result. I speed my Wave serpents up my right flank and they ran into his stern guard. I dumped out my Fire Dragons and Dire Avengers to fight him, but it didn't work out so well. 5 man dire avengers squads are capable of doing exactly nothing. My Autaurch completely wiffed in CC; starting a trend that would go on all day. I ended up breaking though his units, but at a cost of all my transported infantry. The game was still pretty close at this point, as I had most of my skimmers left, one squad of Dire Avengers and the Farseer. Unfortunately the game went on for a 6th and 7th turn. My army wasn't standing up to the attrition very well. On the 7th turn he managed to take out two of my Wave Serpents that where contesting objectives. I had to use my Prisms to turbo-boost to contest on the last round. Unfortunately one of my Prisms rolled a 1 entering the terrain the objective was in and blew itself up. This was a 310 point VP swing for my opponent. I think I lost by about a 600 point margin. If It wasn't for that bad 7th turn it would have been a lot closer.

My army suffers in a VP scenario vs Marines. I have to blow his 170 point unit out of a 25 point tank, while he has to blow my 60 point unit out of a 145 point tank. My wave serpents are a little harder to kill than rhinos and razor backs, but I'm going to loose more points getting de-meched than my opponent. I can kind of understand where the KP idea came from, too bad it's a horrible solution to this problem.

If could have deployed a little better in this game, 6 inches to the right would have put my Falcon into the game. I could have also reserved my army, using the side board edges of my deployment zone to my advantage. I need to not get my Dire Avengers out of their Wave Serpents until they are blown out. And when they do get blown out, they need to run away instead of charge the enemy.

Game 2:

I played Evil Ted's Orks. He had 5 units of boys riding in Trucks, 3 Scortchas, 3 Buggies with rokkit launchers, a Battlewagon with some Burnas inside, and a WeirdBoy.

The scenario was interesting. There was one objective that a unit could join like an independent character in the movement phase and then drag it around. The main problem with that scenario is that you could only claim the objective in the movement phase. On the last turn, if you blast your opponent of an objective, you can't claim it, and you can't win. That's what happened to me, and it kind of sucks.

This game was chaos. We both had very mobile armies, and where fighting in literally every corner of the table. This was my slowest game and we only got 5 turns in. On the last turn both our armies where in disarray. I managed to jump a unit of Dire Avengers out of their serpent, and with help blow a unit of boys off of the objective. Unfortunately I couldn't claim it because of the reasons I already listed. This left us tied for primary and secondary objectives. The tertiary was table quarters, and those where all contested. I realized that he had some boys in melee with my stunned Fire Prisms. I let him roll his attacks, and he got lucky rolling a 5 and 6 for the holo-field damage results. Game lost on a 2D6 die roll.

Game 3:

I played against a Chaos Marine army. It consisted of two units of Thousand Suns in Rhinos, a unit of raptors, a Winged Demon Prince, 2 Oblits, some summoned lesser demons, and a Las-Las Predator.

The scenario was get to the opponents deployment zone. It used the funky diagonal deployment zone from the first mission.

I lost the roll to go first, but he gave me first turn anyway. I used it to blow away his oblits, and proptly suffered Karmic blow back. My dice where A-W-F-U-L after that. I had a huge advantage in the scenario and blew it away by getting up close and failing to kill anything for two turns. I also moved skimmers into terrain twice, and rolled 1's twice. I had three skimmers immobilized in No-Man-Land at the end of the game. I managed to get two of my skimmers in to his deployment zone and reduced his army to two immobile rhinos, an immobile predator, a unit of two TSM, and a unit of one TSM. At the end of the game he had one unit of TSM completely in my deployment zone, and another with his toe in. This left us tied for Primary and Secondary objectives. The tertiary was table quarters again. We were all contested, but he claimed that one of my immobile tanks shouldn't count because it was half in a table quarter contesting his TSMs. The judge had us dice it, and I won the 4+ roll. Game tied on a 1d6 roll.

I should have hung back and used my speed and range to etter advantage. Though if my dice rolled any where near average, I would have tabled him on turn 5.

Game 4:

Played Evil Ted again. Judge gave the option of playing someone else, but Ted was the best opponent I played all day, so we elected to play again.

Scenario was essentially capture and control.

Our armies did another number on each other. At the end of the game we had completely changed sides and controlled each others objectives. We where tied for Primary and Secondary objectives( AGAIN!). Tertiary this time was how many units you could get into your opponents deployment zone. He had 5 to my 3. Too many Orks to kill for my Eldar without a seer-council.

I would also like to note how ridiculously lucky his buggies where rolling that game. Every turn except one he managed to get a pen and a glance on one of my skimmers.

Final Thoughts:

I need spirit stones on some of my skimmers. Not sure where to get the points from, but I suffered several dead skimmers from getting stunned one round and then auto hit the next. My Autarch doesn't deserve her power weapon any more. She was involved in 6-7 rounds of combat during the tournament and didn't score a single wound. I took her mostly for the reserve bonus. I never went up against any alpha strike armies, and didn't need to reserve my whole force .

The biggest thing I learned during the tournament is that my Dire Avengers are not Tactical Marines, and I should not try to use them as such.

I had fun, I'll defiantly attend their next tournament when they have it. The tournament was a very good rough draft for what is looking to be very interesting and competitive format. They have only one scenario that needs major revision. I don't like how you can win the game by taking only the Tertiary Objective. I would also have liked to see a pure multi-objective game. I'm not a fan of the objectives as VP/KP scenario. All-in-all these are purely minor gripes against a very well run tournament. And for being a no-soft-scores event, it had the most painted armies I've ever seen at a local tournament.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tournaments and Things

I had good time at the GP south side tournament even though I didn't do so well. I didn't come in last place, so it's an improvement over the last time I went south to play. The tournament was well run, and all my games where fun and challenging. I have some minor gripes about the scenarios that I sent along to the organizer. I think after a round of revisions and they will have a solid set of custom tournament scenarios.

I'm currently analyzing what I did wrong in my games. When I get a good grasp of what I could have done better, I'll post battle reports.

I haven't got around to writing up the carrier rules for Decisive Victory yet. I downloaded Visual Studio Express 2010 and got into coding up a App to generate ship stats. I've been using the development as a way to codify all the values that I was essentially eyeballing for the few ships I created so far. Time permitting I'll have that app done sometime this week. I'm working in points and AA values into the stats for the app, so when it's done expect all the listed ships to change and several more get added.

When the ship creator app is done it should allow anyone to generate stats. If anyone would like a copy of the app and help out with stating up some ships, let me know.

I did put some thought into how to do point values for DV. I think I'm going to take the Warmachine route with ships costing small single digit number for points. When building a fleet you'll get separate points to buy destroyers, cruiser, capital ships, and support. Support will include land based aircraft, shore batteries, and submarines. So a typical game would be 5 destroyer points, 5 cruiser points, 5 capital ship points, and 3 support points. This would work out to be a typical fleet of 5 destroyers, 2 cruisers, 1 capital ship, and some assorted support. I also plan to allow you to use your points from one class at two for one cost in another. So if you have two extra cruiser points, you can use them to buy one extra destroyer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

DV Playtest

Thanks to revmidni I was able to play test the latest rules for my WWII naval game. It went pretty well, the stats and dice mechanics seem to be working out well. I was worried that the craps-like 2d6 system wouldn't play well, but like any dice system you start to get a feel for it after a few turns.

Some minor things are going to change based on the game results. I'm going to open the range increment up from 10" to 12", and make minor damage convert to full damage at 3 points per instead of 5. This will increase the rate of damage dealt and make the first few turns more interesting. I was going to make deck and underwater hits more difficult to get, but they already where. I made a mistake when I produced my damage cards and put the wrong values into the damage grid.

As far as the game went, I set up two 5 ship fleets centered around a battleship. The French fleet had two light cruisers and two destroyers backing up the Richelieu. The Italians had 3 destroyers and a light cruiser backing up the Vittorio Vento. The French ships outclassed their Italian counterparts in almost every way. Better range, speed, armor, and guns. I fully expected a French victory. I was playing the Italians.

We both rushed our destroyers straight at each other. All three of my destroyers where sunk to one of his. His cruisers out ranged mine and where able to support his destroyers; canceling out my numerical superiority. Our battleships exchanged long range fire as they closed in. The Vento was getting lucky and landing hits, but due to my error copying the damage grids to the cards, all my shots where hitting below the water line. The poor quality Italian 15" guns vs the exceptional underwater protection of the Richelieu left me only doing minor damage to the French ship's hull. The BB's got to within a mile, and the French finally got the range. The Vento took some penetrating hits, resulting in damage to fire control. With the damage to fire control the Vento couldn't effectively fight back and finally went down with the help of French torpedoes. My remaining CL, with damage to her engines and taking on water, struck her colors.

Revmidni said he liked the rules, they where simple but had a realistic feel to them. There was only one time where I had to come up with a rule on the fly, and that was to cover the order of applying modifiers and halving values. The only awkward mechanic I noted was we would both occasional pick up our to-hit-dice and re-roll them for armor penetration - forgetting that they marked the hit location on the damage grid. I need to think of a good way to avoid that situation.

I also have a base line for coming up with a points system. The French destroyers where roughly 1.5 times better than the Italians, the French cruisers twice as good, and the French BB only slightly better than the Italian. Had I had slightly better luck on hit location against the French battleship, it would have been an even fight.

In the next two weeks I plan on adding rules for fighting close actions and using aircraft. I'll need to add a few more ships to the fleet lists to accommodate that. So expect to see some carriers, good AA destroyers, and the Japanese make an addition to the list of ships that have been stated up.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Slow News Month

The 40k blog sphere has been pretty quiet these last few weeks. I guess everyone is preparing for the 'ard boy semis.

Meanwhile, I'm 1.5 grav tanks and 6 Dire Avengers away from having my Eldar army painted for the June 19 GP South tourney.

For my final list I going with:

Farseerer /W Guide
Autach /W Power Weapon
2x 5 man Fire Dragon units in Wave Serpents with Shuri Cannons
3x 5 man Dire Avenger units. 2 in Wave Serpents with Bright Lances
2x Fire Prisms

I've been doing pretty well with standard scenarios. Not sure how well my army will work with the custom ones for the tournament.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Amateur Game Design

I've never been happy with any WWII naval games I've tried. They end up being too complicated or too unrealistic. Seakrieg 4 vs Victory as Sea. I've read a few books on naval history, and attended several military history courses in College. No rules set I've come across for this period accurately replicates the history as I've imagined it. I wanted to find a naval rules set like Flames of War. One that blended an accurate historical feel with good solid playable rules.

About a year ago I set out to write up my own rules for WWII fleet battles. I put together an initial draft of some rules and play tested it once. I discovered some flaws and wrote a second draft. About that time I picked up Uncharted Seas, and that scratched my itch for naval war gaming. I never got around to play testing the second draft.

Recently I've been eager to resume my development on this game. As it currently stands the second draft only contains rules for surface gun battles, but I have lots of ideas on how to incorporate submarines and aircraft.

If you're at all interested, check out the Pages widget on the right panel and find the Decisive Victory link. I've included a few sample ships as well. I'm interested in any feedback you may have.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lists and Luck

I've been playing around with this idea in my head for the last few days: Does bad luck lead you to make better lists in 40K?

Over time most peoples die rolls will approach average, but the incidence of good sets of rolls vs bad sets of rolls will still be random. For instance, you may roll really high on too hit rolls, but really low to wound. I might be beating up guardians with my marines and need 3's to hit and roll all 5's and 6's, then need 3's to wound and roll all 1's and 2's. The total rolls are average, but the permutation of the rolls is bad. You'll most likely remember the below average to wound roll, and not the above average to hit. I seam to get the worst possible sets of rolls when I play, and I've seen other people who tend to always get the best.

If one player gets bad sets of rolls in 3 out of 2 games versus another who gets 3 out of 2 good sets, both players will get a vastly different 40k experience. The former player is going to curse his dice, and go about altering his play style and his list to insulate himself as much as possible from bad dice. The latter will probably attribute his losses to bad luck that's bound to happen eventually. That player will not change his lists or play styles too much as his dice don't appear to be the major contributing factor to the results of his games.

As long as a strategy is successful a player is not going to change it. Based on his experiences it will seem to be the optimal strategy. Luck can effectively mask sub-optimal strategies. Take two players running a MM Dreadnought in a drop pod. If player A rolls slighly above average and manages to use this combination to take out a high priority target 4 out of 5 times, it is a valuable asset in his list. If player B rolls slightly below average and achieves success 2 out of 5 times, it's time to reevaluate. Player B will either have to double up on the strategy, abandon the strategy, or add some other force multiplier( i.e. Vulcan, Locator Beacons). Player A will keep on playing his successful strategy. I'm currently having that dilemma with my MM/HF speeders. They are not performing as well as I expect them. I either have to play two more to ensure success, or find some other unit to fulfill their roll.

Of course over time even incidences of bad vs good rolls will tend toward average. If both player A and B are rolling equivalently, player B will have an advantage because he's mitigated chance. He doesn't need the good rolls any more. And if player B starts rolling better than player A, then his advantage grows even more.

So what do you guys think? Am I just trying to make myself feel better about my horrid dice?

Friday, May 21, 2010


So, there are at least 12 players from Indianapolis that placed in 'ard boys, but the closest semi is in
Kendallville. The Indiana semi is closer to the Ohio semi in Toledo than to Indianapolis. Have fun local Indianapolis players!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pass on 'ard Boys

I've decided not to play in G2D4's 'ard Boys on Sunday. Its too soon after the last tournament to get the competitive juices flowing. Plus, I want to focus on getting my Eldar painted in time for the June 19 Game Preserve Tournament.

Speaking of my Eldar, this is what I've been playing at 1500 pts

Farseer w/ Fortune, Guide, Doom, Spirit Stones, Runes of Warding, Runes of Witnessing

5x Fire Dragons
Wave Serpent, TL Brightlance, Shuri Cannon

5x Fire Dragons
Wave Serpent, TL Brightlance, Shuri Cannon

10 Dire Avengers w/ Exarch, Twin shuri-cats, Bladestorm
Wave Serpent, TL Brightlance, Shuri Cannon

5x Dire Avengers

Falcon w/Shuri Cannon, Scatter Laser, Holo-Fields

Fire Prism w/Shuri Cannon, Holo-Fields

Fire Prism w/Shuri Cannon, Holo-Fields

It's performed pretty well. I only lost my first game with them, and have tied and won an equal number. I think I'm going to need more troops for the scenarios they are using down south. Plus the Deathspinner kit is coming out soon, and that might be worth changing the army for. I might pick up another Wave Serpent and run three five man units of Avengers in Wave Serpents. They big squad usually dies when they get out of their transport anyway. I''m thinking about also stripping down the Farseer to just having Guide and Runes of Warding and just sticking him in the Falcon. I've barley been hitting with 50% of its shots, so it needs a boost to start earning its place in the list.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Apoc Tournament Thoughts

The idea of having an Apocalypse tournament occasionally gets suggested at G2D4. I usually cringe at the idea, as it comes in the form of a standard tournament with a high point value and super heavies. I immediately picture Aaron playing his bio-titan and killing everything while my super heavy fliers buzz around without a scratch on them. Apocalypse and Planet Strike were not written for a competitive environment, and if you told a GW designer you were going to use them as such, they would probably look at you like you just grew a second head.

Saying that, I think you could create a semi-competitive Apocalypse event with alot of careful planning and a good understanding of what Apocalypse is and what it is not.

First off, some logistical considerations:

Games with super heavies need space. At least 6x6 for 3000 points; 6x8 would be better. This would limit the event to 8-12 players unless a larger space than G2D4 could be found.

Time will also be a constraint. You'll be struggling to fit three 3000 point games into a single day. You are going to need to run it as a multi-day event, or impose some strong turn time limits. My thoughts are to impose 15 minute player turns, with 5 minutes to clean up any declared assaults. This would yield 5 turns every two hours. This would still require players to hustle on setup and between game activities.

Pre-submitted army lists(I'll talk about this more when I cover balance), and hard commitments from the players to attend is also a must. There's going to be a lot of planing required, no sense in doing it if every one is going to flake out.

Structure of the event:

I would split the players into order vs chaos and the tournament gets won as a team. The results of the games get pooled together to determine which side wins. The winning team should get some prize support, such as a dice cube or something in the 5-15 dollar range so that winning and loosing isn't such a big deal. This is important considering the balance issues. Give the best prizes based on a player vote for coolest themed army as this is basically a fluff event anyway.

I would run the tournament like a story campaign. Every scenario is selected for the specific player match ups. Wins and losses will take each player to another specific scenario against another player. Create a simple flow chart to assign the games. Don't enumerate every possibility as that grows exponentially vs tournament size. Do set up the flow chart so that there is no possibility of a player going into an auto loose game( i.e. the guy with no Anti-Air faces the guy with 3 fliers). Another reason why army lists need to be submitted before hand. Winners should still play winners if possible.

Don't score the games based solely on win/loose. Add story driven objectives that have more weight. Things like: Your HQ defends an objective against three turns of enemy assault(5pts). Make fulfilling fluffy based conditions the major objective for scoring points

I'd also have the results of certain games effect the tournament as a whole. Basically wins on certain tables grant assets to one side during the next game.


This is the most important consideration. Just like when GW wrote the Inquisitor rules and left out the points, GW wrote Apocalypse and left out the balance. The tournament organizer is going to have to add it in himself. Some hard and fast rules are going to have to get made, and somebody is not going to like them. Unfortunately there are some things that are going to need to be nerfed for the benefit of all.

Allow no player selected assets. Some are just broken, and can really throw off the game. Add them to any scenarios with careful consideration. This unfortunately means no formations that grant assets either.

Allow allying based on the allies matrix. This is a great opportunity to let Chaos Marine players use real demons. Every set of units from a single codex should follow the Force Org chart, but super-heavies and formations don't count against it.

Lists should be pre-approved. Screen out any lists that will steamroll every thing else. Don't let people take eight strength D templates.

Build the scenarios based on the lists. Be fun, use the army specific ones from Battle Missions where you can. If you have to match someone with no super heavies against a guard player with a line-breaker formation of Baneblades give him some emplaced defenses.

Closing thoughts:

It ends up being more of a Campaign-In-A-Day than a tournament, but I think you could make a unique experience that captures some of the competitive environment of a tournament and the warm fluffy feelings of a campaign. It would take organization and a clear understanding of everyone involved that this is a FOR-FUN event, and to leave the A-Game at home.

You also end up breaking every rule of standard tournament organization. For any normal tournament I'm a firm supporter of playing the game as it is provided. No comp and no crazy scenarios or shenanigans. You pretty much have to take the opposite approach here, as the organizer cannot rely on the rules to make everything work.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Drop Pod Doors: Are they really there?

Several players at G2D4 contend that Drop Pod Doors are part of the model and that you can't move within an inch of them. This argument comes from the Open Top rules that state that you can disembark within 2" of "any point" of the vehicle.

The Vehicles & Measuring Distance section on pg 56 or the rulebook states "measure to and from the hull (ignore gun barrels, dozer blades, antennas, banners, and other decorative elements)." Why, oh why, couldn't they have added doors to that list.

The sections for vehicle sub-types are exceptions to the general vehicle rules. If the open top rules state any point on the vehicle, then they are referring to any point that is measured too on Pg. 56. So Battle-wagon deathrollas, drop pod doors, and boarding planks all don't count. They are not the "hull" of the model.

My position is that if someone insists that they count as a part of the model I'm going to refer back to Pg. 11: "A model may not move into or through the space occupied by another model (which is represented by its base or hull)...". So If I can't move across those doors, neither can the other player.

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 1st Tournament Highlights

I took 4th place in the G2D4 tournament last Saturday. I won my first game against Dark Eldar. Lost my second game against Scott's Salamanders, and won my third game against Black Templars. I had some horrid dice rolling in the second game. My speeders failed to kill a Land Raider at point blank range two turns in a row, and I failed 3 out of 7 2+ Terminator saves.

I like how my army performed overall. I think I need to find a way to fit in two more land speeders. If I loose the Predator and find 50 more points I can do it. It's either that or take them out of the list completely. They just offer up to much utility to do that. It may be worth it to just swap out the Predator 1 for 1 with another speeder.

I had fun. It's been a while since I left a tournament wanting to play more 40k instead of wanting to toss my army into a dumpster.

Here are some picks from the tournament:

Forest for the Trees

"The way I see it, 5th Ed. made forests usable only for infantry. This was deliberate, as the vehicle damage table is kinder to vehicles than in the past.

They can no longer hide behind a hypothetical tree, but won't automatically be destroyed should they take some fire." - Wienas

What I'm talking about is this:

VS This:

You don't model the first one as it is impractical to do so, but you could have a whole armored company 50' in front of you and not see it.

The rule as written is: "Vehicles are not obscured simply for being inside area terrain. The 50% rule above takes precedence." The 50% rule being that "At least 50% of the facing of the vehicle that is being targeted...must be hidden by intervening terrain..." I read "intervening terrain" in this case to be the area terrain. So my reasoning is that if 50% of the target facing is blocked by area terrain the vehicle gets obscurement.

For anything to be deliberate the rule should have been written clearer. For instance: "Vehicles are not obscured by area terrain."

Then again, the whole argument is trumped by pg 88 which says "... you should agree with your opponent how to define each piece of terrain you are using...". So if you agree that a forest base is picture 1 then it has grants cover to vehicles, and, if you agree it is picture 2, it does not.

I'm not saying anyone should be forced to play it a certain way. I'm just offering my reasoning at least for the way I play it. There are apparently other places that follow the same reasoning, so its defiantly not an obvious one way or the other rule. I wonder how it's played amongst the "mech is awesome" vs "mech sucks" crowd out on the internet.

Vehicles and Area Terrain

We all know the rule that vehicles need 50% concealment to gain the benefits of cover. The G2D4 and the Game Preserve players have two different ways of interpreting this rule. I just wanted to go into the reasoning why at G2D4 we play it the way we do.

At G2d4 we play that any vehicle at least 50% into the bases of area terrain defined as forests are granted cover, and that shooting though that base grants cover to vehicles on the other side. This is opposed to the GP way that requires that 50% of the vehicle is blocked by the physical models of the trees. TLOS and the strict reading of the rules would seem to back up the GP guys, but it really comes down to how you define the piece of terrain.

If you define the base as chest high foliage with a few static trees, then, yes I'd agree with the TLOS interpretation. If you define the base as being completely covered in trees similar to those placed on the base, then the G2D4 interpretation makes more sense.

It's impractical from a gaming standpoint to model forest as we play them to work in TLOS fashion. You have a hard time placing models in terrain modeled in such a way. Instead you use the base with trees on it that indicate the type of terrain, and you can move the trees around to better allow for placing of models without effecting the cover that the terrain generates. Essentially we're saying that the terrain is a lot more interesting looking than how we've represented it on the table top. This is done for the gaming reasons above, and due to the wear an tear such a terrain piece would take for normal play. Plus its cheap and easy to put two Woodland Scenic trees on a piece of felt and call it a lush dense forest.

If you play it the GP way, I think a forest piece needs to have at least 4 or 5 trees on it and you cannot move the placement of the trees at all during the game. Also, the stump should be treated as impassible so you cannot park any models on top of the trees.

For the G2D4 way you just put 1-2 trees on the base and move them around when they become inconvenient. I think it's a lot simpler to play it this way. You have a lot less stooping down to model level and arguing about if 50% is really covered.

I don't think the G2D4 way violates the rulebook either as the effects of terrain are agreed upon by the two players.

I do think that the way it should be played should be agreed beforehand. Regulars at a particular store tend to just accept the way terrain is played by convention, and you need to make sure things are clear when you play a new face. For instance the few times I've played pickup games at a GP store, regulars liked to claim cover saves for infantry when standing on those Aquila Lander pieces from the 4e starter box. At G2D4 we tend to play them as difficult terrain that only grants cover to something behind but not on top of. I like to go off the convention of: 'Your store, your rules.' At least for the first few games until people get to know me and I can make an argument and not seem like a know-it-all outsider.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


This morning before work, I watched the new Halo: Reach live action commercial. I then watched the ones for Halo 3 and ODST. They are all awesome, and proof that a Halo movie NEEDS to get made.

So I was thinking about Halo and remembered I had bought a bunch of Haloclix minis when that game had come out. I never played a game of it, and haven't had of much of a use for them. I do have a lot of them, and getting more would be easy since the game never sold well and you can get them at bargain bin prices.

I also was thinking about Red vs Blue. Well, my Ultras are blue. Blood Angels are red...

What I'm thinking would not be tournament legal in any sense, but all those clix minis are just sitting in a box in my closet...

Marines -> Spartans
Sanguine Guard/Assault Marines -> Allied Elites
Scouts -> UNSC Marines
Death Company => ODST troops
Razorbacks/Baal Predators -> Warthogs
Raven Gunships -> Orca Dropships

Probably wouldn't be very competitive either, but it would be really cool.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lego Thunderbolt

I've already dismantled this guy, but I though I'd post pics for posterity.

The Grand Experiment (Marines vs Sisters 1500)

I was recently involved in and argument with a G2D4 regular on their forums over the cost of Witch Hunter Rhinos and Immolators. The whole argument escalated in a silly fashion, but resulted in the gauntlet being thrown down. See the whole argument here. Basically, the set up was this: The Witch Hunter player would build two armies, one with codex costs for dedicated transports and one with Imperial Armor costs. He would play two games against my Marines and see if the point change made much of a difference.

The intent was to play two games, but we only got the first game in with the standard codex costs. There was a third 40k player at G2D4 who wanted to play, so we canceled the second round in favor letting him get a game in.

The Lists:

Sisters 1500
HQ: Canoness (1#, 135 Pts)
1 Canoness @ 135 Pts
Book of St. Lucius; Jump Pack; Mantle of Ophelia; Melta Bombs; Inferno Pistol (x1); Blessed Weapon
1 Mantle of Ophelia @ [15] Pts
1 Blessed Weapon @ [30] Pts

Elite: Celestian Squad (7#, 182 Pts)
5 Celestian Squad @ 182 Pts
Bolter (x4); Multi-Melta
1 Sister Superior @ [13] Pts
1 Immolator @ [89] Pts
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked MultiMelta

Elite: Celestian Squad (7#, 182 Pts)
5 Celestian Squad @ 182 Pts
Bolter (x4); Multi-Melta
1 Sister Superior @ [13] Pts
1 Immolator @ [89] Pts
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked MultiMelta

Troops: Battle Sisters Squad (10#, 161 Pts)
9 Battle Sisters Squad @ 161 Pts
Bolter (x7); Meltagun (x1); Heavy Flamer
1 Veteran Sister Superior @ [40] Pts Close Combat Weapon (x1); Plasma Pistol (x1)

Troops: Battle Sisters Squad (10#, 152 Pts)
9 Battle Sisters Squad @ 152 Pts
Bolter (x7); Flamer (x1); Heavy Flamer
1 Veteran Sister Superior @ [35] Pts Bolt Pistol (x1); Brazier of Holy Fire (x1)

Troops: Battle Sisters Squad (11#, 213 Pts)
9 Battle Sisters Squad @ 213 Pts
Bolter (x7); Meltagun (x2); Mount in Rhino
1 Rhino @ [54] Pts
Storm Bolter; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers
1 Veteran Sister Superior @ [40] Pts Close Combat Weapon (x1); Plasma Pistol (x1)

Exorcist (1#, 139 Pts)
1 Exorcist @ 139 Pts
Exorcist Missile Launcher; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers

Heavy Support: Exorcist (1#, 139 Pts)
1 Exorcist @ 139 Pts
Exorcist Missile Launcher; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers

Heavy Support: Retributor Squad (10#, 196 Pts)
9 Retributor Squad @ 196 Pts
Bolter (x5); Heavy Bolter (x4)
1 Veteran Sister Superior @ [37] Pts Auspex; Storm Bolter

Marines 1500
Librarian( Null Zone, Avenger )
5x Sterngaurd w/3x combi-melta, Heavy Bolter Razorback.
Dreadnaught W/ 2x TL Autocannon
Dreadnaught W/ 2x TL Autocannon
10x Tactical Squad w/flamer, missile launcher, Rhino
10x Tactical Squad w/flamer, missile launcher, Rhino
5x Tactical Sqad W/ Lascannon and TL plasma gun Razorback
5x Tactical Sqad W/ Lascannon and TL plasma gun Razorback
2x Speeders W/Heavy Flamer, Multi Melta
Predator W/Autocannon, Heavy Boltor Sponsons

If you're curious, switching to the IA costs would have saved him 130 points.

Turn 1:
We rolled up Capture and Control with standard deployment. I got first turn. I put my Rhinos on my right flank. The Sterngaurd and Predator took the left flank, and everything else went to the center. My Speeders where held in reserve. He left all his vehicles in reserve and deployed all but one sister squad on foot. 2 sisters squads where lined up in front of the Retributor squad, and the Celestians guarded his flanks.

Heres what it looked like after my first move:

I concentrated my fire on the front rank of sisters and killed 3 of them. I loosed a lascannon off one of my Razorbacks to return fire.

Turn 2.

I got my speeders in, they nearly mishapped into the ruins on his side of the table.
I pressed the rhinos forward, and dumped my Sterngaurd out infront of his front rank of sisters.

I killed a few more sisters from the front rank squad, but not enough. On his turn he got two of his Immos and one Exorcist from reserve. The Immos knocked out both of my rhinos. The explosion from the first one took 4 marines with it. The Exorcist took out one speeder and stuned the other one. Combined fire from the rest of his army wiped out the Sterngaurd.

Sterngaurd all gone:

Turn 3:
The remnants of my two ten man tac squads climbed through the wreckage of the dead rhinos and take on the Celestians on the right flank. My Dakka Dreads knock the MM off one Immo and destroy the other. I back one of my razorbacks into the forest by my objective and immobilize it. The Sterngaurd's Razorback tries to tank shock the sissters off their objective, but a meltagun sister immobilizes it with Death or Glory. The rest of his army comes on, and I loose some marines on the left, the mobile las-plas razorback, and the Predator.

Turn 4:
I move up my Dreads and assault the weaponless immo. One of the dreads kills his HQ. I also assault the remainder of his front line sister squad with the last guy from the destroyed las-plas Razorback. On his turn he finishes off the oh so useful speeders, and kills one of my dreads.

Turn 5:
I finally finish off the last of the front line sister squad, but I'm finally wiped out of the two assaults I was engaged in. He tries to kill my sterngaurd's razorback and remaining dread, but I make my cover saves.

How it looked at the end:

Marine win. My razorback is contesting his objective by .001 inch. I call it a draw anyway; I don't think immobile vehicles should be allowed to contest.

It would be hard to argue that 130 more points wouldn't have made a difference in such a close game. Another Celestian squad in an immo would have probably allowed him to table me outright. Though I was rolling true to form on my 3+ armor saves. I will agree with John that sisters should be getting all the free upgrades that the marines get. It gives the marines a lot of tactical flexibility to just have grenades and smoke and searchlights. On the other hand, I would gladly give up all those freebies to give my Marines faith :)

Moral of the story: Sisters need a new codex so we can stop arguing about what the fair cost of their transports should be.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Evolution of a Space Marine Army

My vanilla marine army has changed significantly since I re-entered 40k at the end of 4th Edition. I had been out of 40k for about 5 years; 5 years spent mostly playing Warmachine. Warmachine was getting crushed under its own rules bloat, and Privateer Press seemed too focused on other endeavors to fix the problems. I started longing for the old familiarities of my first war-game. The first 5th edition rumors were flying around, and I liked what I was hearing. I still had my old Eldar army, but didn’t feel like playing it. The new codex rendered most of what I owned uncompetitive, and I didn’t want to build a 4e Eldar army to have to rebuild it a few months later for 5e. Generally though, marine armies handle edition changes fairly intact. As long as I didn’t build an army around the units and abilities that the rumors said where getting nerfed, I figured I could build a basic marine army and be fine.

So, I started collecting Marines. I focused on a core of Tactical Marines, specifically 6 man Las-Plas. I also had this notion that Apocalypse was cool, and was collecting towards a full battle company. 4x Missile Devastator squads were also a common factor in my lists. My typical 4e list:

Captain w/PF, Iron Halo Storm bolter
Venerable Dread w/Las Cannon, Heavy Flamer
4x 6 Man Las-Plas Squad
10 Man Assault Squad
10 Man Devastator Squad w/4x Missile

Total battle-force garbage. I was playing in an environment with other new players, so my games went fairly well despite my poor list building skills.
5th Edition came out and the first thing that occurred to me was I needed more melta and vehicles. The Venerable dreadnaught became two MM dreads, and I started running MM/HF speeders. About this time I found out about G2D4 and started playing there. I got better competition and more games than at the Danger Room in Anderson. 5th edition was still new and even the G2D4 players were figuring out what worked and didn’t work in the new edition. I think I was a little ahead of the curve based on running significantly more melta weapons than other players.

The new marine dex came out soon after. I didn’t really know what to do with it at first. I had banked on Honor Guard being the new hotness and had converted a full squad of them up. Unfortunately they turned out to be a big expensive boondoggle. The core of my army shifted to 3 ten man tactical squads with Lascannons and melta guns. My HQ tended to be a Master with twin LC’s. I Experimented with drop pods briefly and was unimpressed. I still didn’t have an impressive win factor. I tied for most of my games. I started reading Stelek’s dakka posts and blog at this point, and as a result rushed to convert some Sterngaurd with combi-meltas. G2D4 regulars where still light on good 5e armor killing weapons, so I started running 2 or 3 raider lists. At first they were just filled with Tac Squads camping out, and later to deliver Assault Terminators. It was a brick army and I got quickly frustrated with my raiders getting popped by single lascannon shots on the first turn. This gave rise to the light mech marine build that has been the core of my lists up to the present day. Its first incarnation was for a G2D4 tournament:

5x Sterngaurd W/5 combi-meltas, Razorback
2x Full Tac Squads W/Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino
Full Scout Sqaud W/Cammo-cloaks, sniper rifles
2x MM/HF Speeders
2x MM Attack Bikes
2x Whirlwinds

Sicarius was overpriced, but his abilities helped at least once in every game. I finished with middle of the pack tournament results. By the next tournament Sicarius had been replaced by a Fusion Beamer Master of the Forge, the attack bikes where gone, and I added 2 MM dreadnaughts. Sill finished with middle of the pack results. I really like playing the army, even though I couldn’t hit with a melta to save my life, and kill points was almost an auto loose. My army usually had 12 or 13 kill points. Tell me how losing a game where I killed 75% of my opponents army to only loosing 50% my own is fair? Eventually the MoF was swapped out for a Librarian and the scouts where dropped for a third dread and another speeder. G2D4 regulars had started meching up, so the Whirlwinds were swapped out for AC/HB Predators.

Now the list that will live in infamy:

3x AC/AC Dreadnaughts
2x Full Tac Squads W/Flamer, Multi-Melta, Combi-Melta, Rhino
Full Tac Sqad W/Melta, Lascannon, Combi-Melta, Razorback
3x MM/HF Speeders
2x AC/HB Predators

I took this list to a tournament at the Greenwood Game Preserve. I finished last. I had bad luck with my meltas, and every scenario was primarily or secondarily determined by Kill Points. As an added bonus, my three dreadnaughts got my comp scores tanked. I did not have fun, and worked on my Eldar exclusively for a few months after that. I didn’t even want to look at my Marines. I dragged them out for one G2D4 tournament during that time. I did average. I lost my first game in that tournament against the eventual winner. It was Kill Points and another instance of killing as much or more of my opponents army, but not hitting the right KP spread.

Now there’s another G2D4 tournament on May 1st. It’s a 1750 point tournament, so I had to rethink my list a little. I decided on using Shrike with 5 Assault Terminators . This required me to drop one of my Dreadnaughts. I also added a shooty command squad to ride in my razor back. I tried the army out and had mixed results. I decided that I really need some longer ranged anti-tank, so I went back to the drawing board and this is what I came up with:

Command squad w/ 2 melta guns, 2 power weapons, Las-Plas Razorback
5 TH/SS Terminators
2x AC/AC Dreadnaughts
2x Full Tac Squads W/Flamer, Lascannon, Combi-Melta, Rhino
5 Man Tack Squad W/Combi-Melta, Las-Plas Razorback
2x MM/HF Speeders
AC/HB Predator

The free multi meltas in my tac squads where not doing anything for me. You can’t move the rhinos and shoot them, and you don’t want the things that they need to kill to get anywhere near 12 inches of your tac squad. I could have gone with missiles, but they are only ever going to glance armor 14. That brought me back to the trusty old lascannon. I don’t have to rely on my speeders to hunt the big armor now; I can use the two razorbacks and the Rhino lascannon bunkers to threaten land raiders and lemun russ tanks earlier and with better volume of fire. Shrike and the Terminators are there to draw fire from my weaker small units. The Command squad is meant as a countercharge unit. While not very good against dedicated CC units, they can help turn back anything else that gets too close to the core of my army.

Overall this list keeps the good close range anti-tank and long range light armor busting of my old list and adds some long range anti tank and close combat problem solvers. I think it solves some of the problems my lists have had, and I have high hopes for it. Still has 15 KP though.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Thought I'd go ahead and add a post to my default layout blog.

I'm a Indianapolis area gamer. I primarily play 40k, but I dabble in other systems. I like to play Euro-style board games when I get the chance.

Oh, and I have the worst luck with dice: period. People notice this. Probabilities tend to get reversed for me. 66% chances for success usually work out to 33%. Dice let me down, so I tend to play games in ways to minimize chance as much as possible. It's why I don't play Land Raiders any more. Too likely to get popped by a single las cannon on the first turn. Never mind that it's only like a 4% chance: it will happen to me. I tend to follow Stelek's army building philosophy as it promotes redundancy. My luck is also why I like Euro-games: no dice.

I'm also working on designing my own board game. Though I haven’t had time to put anything on paper yet, I hope to start putting real work into it soon.

More to follow.