Friday, December 14, 2012

Dear Games Workshop, I'd like you more if you didn't do stuff like this

...All the friggin time.  If GW was only half as committed to producing a quality game as they are at protecting their IP, could you imagine what kind of awesome game we'ed be playing right now?  It would be so awesome that playing it would cause your head to explode.  But that would be OK because it would have  power over life and death and be able to resurrect you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Flea Markets are Cool

They occasionally put on a flea market at the state fair grounds.  Being on the hunt for Star Wars CCG cards I decided to check it out.  I missed an importunity to pick up a bunch of cards at the last flea market I went to(the one back in Missouri where I got my initial Necrons for cheap) because I hadn't had the urge to get back in at the time.  I was hopping to redeem myself this time.

The flea market was a little smaller than I had hopped, but I did find a vendor peddling random Star Wars and other vintage toys.  I spotted a stack of all the Premier black border mains(Vader, Luke, Tarkin, 3P0, Lei, Obi, and Han) sealed in hard cases.  When I asked how much, the vendor responded that he just picked them up and wasn't sure what they where worth.  He also said he had a whole box of them in his car if I was interested(SCORE!)  Unfortunately, except for 6 Theed Palace commons the box was a mix of Young Jedi and the WotC Tcg.  Very disappointed.  I offered $10 for the 7 mains and the 6 commons.  They weren't power cards in the current meta, and I don't need them for decks.   He countered with $15, and I accepted.  Not quite the deal I was looking for, but still decent.  I've seen Vader go for $10-15 by himself, and the others are all between $2-6.

Didn't see anything else while I was there, but it would be a good place to check out next time I'm looking for esoteric out-of-print stuff.

I have higher hopes for next weekend.  I found out there's a monthly sports card show in Indy.  I've heard on the SWCCGPC forums that you can usually get lucky at those and find a few sealed packs.  I bought a lot of my packs at Baseball Card shops back in the day, so I know they used to carry that stuff.

I've checked a few local Comic Book Stores and the one sports card shop near me. They where all bust, so this is my last hope before having to go ebay and online sellers.  I've already made a pair of orders to the player's committee online store for some singles that I had to have.  I like the prices at CategoryOne games better, but they where out of a couple of the cards I really wanted(Daughter of Skywalker for one).  I'd also like to score some of the money cards at less than full price too.  I'd really like to have some Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knights, but I'd probably never pay the going $50 for them.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Riding the Star Wars High

Like I said before, the X-Wing miniatures game is pretty cool.  Plus there's a player at work who's picked it up(typically miniature games haven't been popular with the other gamers I work with).

FYI, The Indy Knights are putting on a sort-of-tournament for X-Wing at the South side GP on Saturday.

X-Wing has got me craving all thing Star Wars(except the prequels.  Never Again!).  I read "Choices of One" and "Outboud Flight" by Timothy Zahn, and I'm re-reading Stackpole's X-Wing series.  I also dusted off my old collection of  Star Wars CCG cards.  The good Star Wars CCG; the one printed by Decipher back in the late nineties.

The Star Wars CCG was what got me into gaming.  I saw a commercial for it during afternoon cartoons back when I was in 7th or 8th grade.  I bought it with birthday money, and tried to inflict it on some of my friends.   I'd never played a game like it before, and most of the concepts where difficult for me to pick up at first.  My friends never really got into it.  They liked Star Wars as much as me, but they where strictly in to computer and console games at the time.  I went to a small private grade school, so there wasn't a big pool of potential gamer nerds to draw from.  I continued to collect and build decks over the next few years.  I pretty much only played them against myself.  I didn't really know about the whole FLGS scene, or where to look for tournaments.  I found one other player at the larger, but still private, high school I attended.

In 99 I got my first job at a local Fazoli's.  I met two guys there name Jared and Jason.  They where only a year older than me, and they happened to play Star Wars too.  After that I finally had some regular opponents to play.  They also happened to play this cool miniature game called Warhammer 40,000 at the local game store every weekend.  My bank account has never been the same since.

I really loved playing the Star Wars CCG back in the day.  It was a very cool game, and it competed well with Magic.  So much so that WotC decided to just to buy up the Star Wars license for themselves, leaving Decipher out in the cold.

Surprisingly though, the game is still alive.  Decipher ceded the game to an independent player's committee.  And they have kept the game going by running tournaments and releasing virtual expansions.  The game is not as popular as it once was, but it's doing better than any other OOP CCG I can think of.  Probably better than some in print ones too.

I'm working on building some updated decks.  Hopefully I can find some new people to inflict the game onto.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hoorah! - New Dust units for early next year

I guess the first take away from this news is that the Axis for dust are getting jet fighters.   Though what's really important is that the Allies get the USMC!  It looks like just heavy weapons teams for now, hopefully they will add a few trooper squads as well.  Can't wait to be able to field some Rangers, British Paras, FFL, and US marines all int the same army.  Epic Win.

BTW, the Dust Warfare tournament last weekend run by Indy40K was really fun.   We didn't have too many show up.  Luckily, I think we hooked a few bystanders into the game.  I kind of got distracted by 6th, Necrons, X-wing, and Kickstarter, but Dust Warfare is a pretty cool game and I hope we can build some more local interest in it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Stay On Target: X-wing Miniatures Review

Fantasy Flight released their new Start Wars star-fighter combat game a couple of weeks back.  As someone who's been pretty disappointed with anything Star Wars for the last decade, it's nice when something of quality gets released with that name attached.  I guess when you stamp Star Wars on enough products the law of averages would mean at least one of them would be good right?

I've always been drawn to the star-fighters and space battles in Star Wars over the woo-woo Jedi stuff.  I like mystical laser sword wielding samurai as much as the next guy, but as far as I'm concerned the closer the story is to X-Wings, Wedge Antillies, and Han Solo the better. Well ,X-Wing Miniatures has all of those.  Yes, yes and Luke and Vader if you're into that sort of thing.  Personally I can't wait until I can get Baron Fel in his TIE\In.  Is it late Q4 yet?

So the game is fighter scale very similar to games like Wings of War.  From what I understand, it's a bit simpler.   Each player has about 3-6 fighters on a 3'x3' board.  Movement is simultaneously planed using maneuver dials, and movement is executed using templates.  Each ship will get to move, perform a utility action, and make an attack during a turn.  These actions are executed in order of pilot skill.  Lower skilled pilots move first, and higher skilled pilots attack first.

Attack and defense rolls are made using custom d8's.  The game is also heavy on the fiddly bits.  Templates for moving, dials for maneuvers, damage cards, upgrade cards, ship cards, focus counters, evasion counters. They are all very high quality components(the game is published by Fantasy Flight), but I think they could have improved the game design so that so many weren't necessary.  It may have helped cut down on the game cost a little.

The miniatures themselves are [9th Doctor Voice]FANTASTIC[/9th Doctor Voice].  Way better than the old micro-machines and the sculpts used in the WotC startship battles game from a few years ago.  They went back to the old studio models from the original trilogy to get the proportions right.  They are painted exceptionally well for pre-paints, and the materiel is a rigid plastic instead of the bendy stuff used for other pre-painted lines.

Cost is a little high.  The starter comes with three ships(X-Wing and two TIEs) and the necessary aforementioned fiddly bits and costs $40.  Each single ship blister cost another $15.  The ships themselves do come with extra counters and upgrade cards beyond the base set.  And each ship also has multiple stat cards so you can field an X-Wing with a generic pilot or a named pilot like Luke, Biggs, or Wedge.  You'll have to buy at least 2 ships for each side to get the standard 100 point wings.

Currently there are only 4 ships in the game: X-Wing, Y-Wing, TIE, and TIE\Adv. Each with 5-6 pilot options.  A second wave is on deck for later this year.  It will include the A-Wing, TIE/In, Slave I, and Millenium Falcon.  Whats cool about Slave I and the Falcon is that they are in scale with the fighters.  This means the Falcon will be slightly larger than an iPhone.

It's a fun game that uses its license very well.  You won't be able to play a game without quoting lines from the Death Star attack a least a dozen times. I have you now!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So, if I played my Ultramarine Honor Guard counts as Grey Knights as an Allied Detachment for my Necrosn, would the universe explode?

I'm really like playing games with my new Necrons.  I've been doing fairly well with them, and I don't feel like I'm being punished as much for my codex choice.

My list has generally been something like this:
2x Scythe Overlords in Command Barges
2x 5 man warrior units with cryptek in Ghost Arks
2x 5 man warrior units with cryptek in Night Scythes
1x 15 man warrior unit with res-orb Lord
2x 4 base scarab units
2x Annihilation Barges
1x Doom Scythe

I would like to work some Wraiths into the list, but I'm holding back on spending any more gaming money for a while(Went kind of deep into the Relic Knights Kickstarter).  Until then I'd like to add a little more kick to the list.  I want access to offensive psychic powers too.  Grey Knights are the obvious choice, but my grey knights are modeled as Ultramarines Honor Guard.  That ought to give the occasional fluff bunny a fit.

I wish the state of the game was not such that you need to ally GK or SW or Guard to be competitive.  But we seem to be transitioning towards Death Star 40K.  So you need to able to field your own Death Star, or be able to deal with one; preferably both.  You can't always do that with one codex, and if you are going to ally, you need to ally the best.

Hopefully the current Death Star trend will implode on itself.  I'm hoping that it's partially due to Nova not quite getting the competitive format right for 6th.  Nova table quarters doubled down on punishing vehicles for being non-denial.  The competitive format needs to either make more use of making heavies and fast attack scoring(maybe even elites too), or allowing vehicles to act as denial in your own deployment zone.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm usually the first to defend GW, but REALLY?

Seriously, Really?  11.99 for the psychic power deck on my IPhone?  Well I guess it is $1.26 cheaper than the real deck.  Do they know what the price point is on IPhone apps these days?  That $1.26 is a lot closer to it.

I could tolerate the the full price for the digital codexs.  They did update them for 6th, so they are an added value if you didn't already own one.  I bought the Necron on, and all the hyper-linking to special rules is very nice.

At least their app is functional.  Did Privateer ever fix their unusable train-wreck of an army builder that isn't an army builder app?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dust Warfare Tournament OCT-6-2012

What: 200 AP Dust Warfare tournament
When: Saturday, 6th October, 2012
starts at 9:30, round 1 starts at 10:30
Where: 1551 East Stop 12 Road, Suite F (two doors down from The Game Preserve)
Indianapolis, IN 46227
About 1/2 mile north of the Greenwood Park Mall on US 31
Cost: $10

The Indy 40K guys are putting it on.  More info here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mainstream News Love for 40K

Slate has an article about armed service members who enjoy playing 40K  Pretty fluffy piece, but overall positive about playing with plastic dollies.  There's a few quotes from Mike Brandt and a shout out about Nova.

Friday, September 7, 2012

40K FAQ updates

Updated FAQ's everyone!

Solves so much jankyness.  90% of the issues I've heard people complain about have been covered.

  • No more loop-hole allowing units to assault if their transport was exploded instead of wrecked. 
  • Grounded knocks you back to gliding. 
  • Flying MC can choose to skyfire like Flyers. 
  • What can shoot at fliers is better explained.  
  • Paladins and Nobs squads are not all characters anymore.  
  • Feel no pain upgrades to alternate wound allocation, so no more wondering if you even get a FNP roll in certain situations.
  • Tau get their Target Locks back.  
  • Disruption Pods give Shrouded! Yes SHROUDED!  Flat out Piranhas can get 2+ cover!  Hammerheads with 3+!
  • Drones do not get to count as characters and cannot make look-out-sir rolls.
  • No Fateweaver re-rolls for non Codex: Demons models.
  • Sandwyrm doesn't get to complain about Blood Angel Swords Encarmines(Their either a power sword or ax depending on the model) anymore ;)  
  • And it looks like look-out-sir goes to closest model to the character now.
It's good stuff.  You should read.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Relic Knights Rules are GO!

Sodapop posted up the current draft rules for Relic Knights.  I've read them over, and I'm very excited.  Dice hate me, and hate them too.  For that reason, any game that does away with them intrigues me.  I suppose that means I should be all over Malifaux.  Any game with super-robot-anime-explosions should also interest me, but I could never get into Infinity either.  I guess I needed both in one colorful package.  That's defiantly Relic Knights.

Any way...the rules.   It's a skirmish game.  Generally pretty close to Warmachine in game sizes.  Game are played on 3x3 tables with ample terrain(2-3 pieces per sqft).  Most of the basic mechanics are handled very simply in a straight forward fashion.  Models have no facings.  Guns can shoot whatever they can see.   Terrain that you're bigger than you can just run right over.  Terrain and miniatures have a size stat to determine what does or does not block line of site.  Otherwise its TLOS.  

The game uses alternating activation.  You have an active model and then a ready queue of the next 2-3 models you plan on activating in order.  Each player activates one model at a time, and when they finish the other player activates the first model in his queue.  During an activation models can take an initial move, take an action, and then perform a follow up move.  The game has very fast movement.  Most units will end up moving 8-9 inches in a turn.  Princess Malya, one of the faster characters, when fully charged can move 28' inches in a turn.     

I mentioned that the game is dice-less.  The game uses a deck of esper cards to function as the random generator mechanic for the game.  Esper cards have two colors on them.  The primary color is worth two esper points for that color, the minor color is worth one.  Any action you can perform has an esper cost.  For example an attack might cost 2 green and 1 yellow.  You start off with a hand size of 5, and when you make an attack you draw extra cards up to your attack skill.  If you pay for an attack it's automatically successful.  You opponent's models will also have defensive abilities that they can use by paying cards out of their own hand.  They can reduce or even fully negate the effects of the attack.  Attack and Defensive abilities also have tiers.  This allows high level attacks to trump low level defenses.

What makes the esper mechanic truly interesting is that units can bank esper energy during the game.  Some  characters can do it by forfeiting their action, other more powerful characters generate stored esper automatically.  Stored esper can be shifted around units kind of like focus in Warmachine.  It can be spent by the model storing it just like cards from your hand.  This allows characters to pull off their cooler abilities without being totally dependent on the luck of the draw.

It looks to be a very interesting game.  I'm going to have a difficult and fustrating 8+ months waiting for the kickstarter minis to arrive.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Guess This Means I Should Build Necrons

I was visiting family in St. Louis over the weekend and found a box of GW minis at a local flea Market.  For ridiculously cheep I got:

10 Necrons immortals(5 are 2nd edition, the rest are 3rd but are missing parts)
32 Necrons warriors
5 scarab bases
2 Necron Lords( both missing parts)
30 Korne Beserkers(half primed black, the others with simple 3 color)
Fabius Bile
3 marine bikes
2 dark angel marines
4 cold one riders(OOP)
2 dark elf bolt throwers
10 witch elves
3 random tomb king models

That's a good start on a necron army; just needs about $400 in vehicle kits ;)

If anyone local wants any of the rest, let me know.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kick it some more

I though about writing about the epic fail that is Privateer's War Room app, but I don't feel like being negative right now. This guy does a well enough job of it anyway.

Even though I have a a bit of an personal issue with TGN, CMON, and Kickstarters, I couldn't resist backing Relic Knights.  Their minis are just too cool.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cool Military Themed Card Game Kickstarter is Back

A few months ago I posed about a military themed ccg kick-starter.  I backed it, but unfortunately it didn't collect enough funds to be successful.  It's back now in a slightly altered form.  They changed the concept from a CCG to a living card game to keep up with the times.  $40 gets you the whole set of cards in 4 pre-built decks.

  Check it out here

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You know it be true

All of a sudden I'm overcome with the urge to build a Dark Eldar Army...again.

Does this mean I've given in to my anger?  Fallen to the DarkSide?

Some More 6th Edition Eldar Angst

I've been pounding my head against a wall trying to come up with a good 6th edition Eldar list.  It's hard.  It was already pretty hard in 5th.  Eldar are overpriced by at least 20%, the good units all fight for the same FOC slots, and 80% of the rules are unchanged from 1999.  While 6th gave a boost to certain aspects of the army, it also hurt some others pretty badly.

You already had to squeeze every ounce of efficiency out of the codex to stay competitive in 5th.  We could argue the validity of footdar versus mechdar, but either way many of the units in the codex where still untouchable.  Barring Firedragons, most everything else in the codex was situationally good at best.  There where a couple of nice gimmicks you could run like Eldrad+Phoenix Lord+Wraithgaurd.  Unfortunately these could be trumped in competitive environments, and they are expensive points sinks.

The changes to how units in transports score(or not score more appropriately) and wound allocation have gutted a lot of the tactics that allowed Eldar to stay somewhat competitive.  Eldar just can't grab and hold objectives like they used to.  You have to get out and try to survive, and if you payed the points for a Wave Serpent, you certainly didn't have the points to spend on putting a survivable unit inside.  I also found at least a dozen rules that make no sense or are redundant/pointless/useless/dumb in 6th(though Tau have it worse in that area).

There are still some gems.  Karandaras and a few of the other Phoenix Lords got a nice boost.  Wave Serpents weathered the addition of hull points better than some other vehicles.  They may even be over-costed by only 15% now.  Twin-linked strength 6 is about as good as you can get for anti-air in a codex without it's own fliers or sky fire.  Now that Warp Spiders can tear up vehicles, Eldar have a fast attack unit worth taking.  Guardian Jetbikes are nice too, but I can't brink myself to buy the old 2nd ED models for 15 bucks a pop when I know that there's a master already done for a new kit(Jes Goodwin redesigned the Eldar jetbike as a precursor to re-designing the Dark Eldar ones).  And with GW's black hole of a marketing strategy, a new kit could be as little as two weeks out and I wouldn't know it.

There's also some changes that look like buffs, but turn out to not be so useful in the long run.  The Psychic power change is one of them.  Eldar need fortune, and the analog to it in the divination table only effects the psyker and not the squad.   So you need a cheepo Farseer to cast Fortune, and another one to roll up the fancy new powers.  Now you're locked out of taking anymore HQ choices; one of the slots in the codex that has an abundance of useful choices.

You may also think that Ranger/Pathfinders got a huge boost with the focus fire and cover changes. They are better, but not better enough to account for their 19/24 point cost.  You can't afford to invest that many points into a unit in an Elder unit unless it's going to be able to wreck face, and these guys will not wreck any face.  You'll also love it when some 6 point guard model with a flamer walks up and  makes your 240 point investment disappear in one shot.

Allies could potentially save Eldar, but allies tend to put an efficiency hit on the army that takes them.  And allies are hard to make work at the lower points levels.  2 FOC might help too, but you usually run out of points before you can get enough spam into the list to make it worth it.  Plus double FOC is dumb.

 Eldar need a new codex in a bad way.  I know they're xenos, and xenos armies are never quite as good as Imperial.  I don't expect GK or SW good.  I just want to at least get within visual range of competitive.  Tau are't great, but I can make them work with good play and an efficient list. Most of the Tau codex entries can be made to work.  They only have a few absolute stinkers(Vespids, Etherial).  Oh, if Eldar only had it so good.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hull Point Math Updates

There was a slight error in my calculations for the survivability of the Wave Serpent.  I entered 4/5 instead of 4/6 for getting past the jink save.  I've updated that graph and added two new ones for trying to get kills against Chimera and Vindicator front armor.

Hull Points by the Numbers

Thursday, July 19, 2012

6th Edition Hull Points By the Numbers

EDIT:  I had a slight error in my calculations for the wave serpent.  I updated the graph with the improved calculations.  The Wave Serpent turns out to be slightly more survivable in this edition than the last.  As a bonus I also added graphs for armor 12 and 13 vehicles.

I was thinking the other day about how bad the 6th edition vehicle damage changes hurt my poor Wave Serpents.  Unfortunately the addition of hull points to the probability calculations takes you from Stats 101 to Stats 102.  The application of Excel and a few binomial calculations later, I think I've got some equations to compare 5th and 6th edition vehicle survivability.

I wish I retained more knowledge from my college statistics course, but I'm pretty sure the numbers are close enough for Govt' work.

All the calculations here are based on the chances of getting a vehicle kill with 5 hits.  I had to state the probabilities this way to account for the cumulative effects of hull-point attrition.

First up is the Wave Serpent.  These number account for both the energy fields and jink save.

Probability to Kill a Wave Serpent in 5 Hits

As you can see the wave serpent maintains fairly close survivability between 5th and 6th.   Eldar's situation may be less dire than I assumed.

I then decided to take a look at the Rhino and Land Raider to see how they both fared in 6th.

Probability to Kill a Rhino in 5 Hits

Probability to kill Chimera From the Front in 5 Hits

Probability to kill a Vindicator From the Front in 5 Hits

Probability to Kill a Land Raider in 5 Hits

You'll notice that the rhino lost a significant amount of survivability in this edition while Land Raiders stayed about the same.   

Overall, you may notice that the curve for damage potential for the major strength/ap combos in the game got a lot smother.  Melta doesn't present as significant a jump in combat effectiveness against armor as it used to.  In fact against lighter armor, a Lascannon becomes a good choice.  It looses only a little effectiveness for a major range advantage.  Melta still remains the go-to weapon for dealing with AV14.

You should also consider that glances don't effect your ability to move and shoot anymore.  Outright kills are usually less likely for most weapons, so most kills will be by hull points.  While vehicles may die faster, they will in general be more useful while they are alive.

I worked up one more chart for you guys to look at.
Probability of Kill as Number of Hits Increases(St 7 vs Armor 11) 

We've gained a much steeper curve in terms of measuring the effect of weight of fire.  What this means is that that putting a few extra guns on a target will get you better results more quickly.  To get an 80% chance of a kill you need about half as many guns in 6th to do the job.

Friday, July 13, 2012

CaulynDarr's Unifying Theory of Game Company Evolution

Given x time where x approaches infinity, all game companies will also approach one of two states.  The first state is bankruptcy. The second condition is a state of existence indistinguishable from Games-Workshop.

I get a certain schadenfreude whenever a game company implements a new business practice that at one point or another was used as a reason to like them over GW.  I got it when Privateer started their own magazine and hobby line.  I got it when Privateer started going plastic/resin.  I had it when Apple switched to Intel processors and abandoned RISK architecture(OK, not a miniature company, but same type of situation).  I'm having it now that Battlefront is disallowing non Battlefront miniatures at official events.   

These things don't make either Privateer or Battlefront bad companies(or Apple).  They make business decision that are in their best interest, just like everyone else.  I just like deflating fan boys who think some company has their best interest at heart.  All companies want all your money.  Deal with it.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

6th Edition 3 Games In

I got a few games of six edition over the weekend.  I won two and lost one.  My initial 6th edition Marine list turned out to be light on troops, but I think I can make it better.

I have to say I really like the Storm Talon.  It's a fairly versatile gun platform.  The 360 degree arc on the Assault Cannon gives it more movement and firing options than most of the other fliers that have exclusively hull mounted guns.  Though these are the halcyon days before people adjust their armies to really deal with fliers.  Talons do have trouble cracking the armor of the bigger armor 12 fliers.  But that could just be my epic bad dice leading me to hit with my typhoon missile launchers only one out of every six shots.    All-in-All, it is a pretty balanced unit, and I don't see me running marine lists without one or two.

I had fun with the new psychic powers.  I rolled up Hallucination in my first game and got a Strike Squad to hit itself in the face with it's own force weapons.  Psychic Shriek also turned out to be equally fun, nearly wiping out a unit of Trukk Boyz.  I was trying the powers with an Epistolary, but I don't think the upgrade is really necessarily.  I never seemed to get two powers that would actually work well cast on the same turn.  The effects of the Warp Charge 2 powers also don't seem to really justify the 50 point cost of the upgrade compared to what the Warp Charge 1 powers do.  For Eldar, I'd probably take the upgrade to Mastery Level 2.  It's only 20 points there, and Divination is loaded with enough Warp Charge 1 buffs to make 2 powers a turn useful. 

I played a list with some Tau allies, and while I liked having a pair of Broadsides in my Marine army, I think overall it degrades the efficiency of the list.  Basically I was bringing along 500 points of Tau to get those Broadsides.  With the points I spent on the Firewarriors and Suits, I could of brought along more Tac squads and Devastators.   I could run the mandatory troops and HQ for the detachment at bare minimum, but that would even be less efficient.  They would be dead weight in the army, and I'd still end up paying essentially 250 points for those two Broadsides.

If you're not careful your allies can really negativity affect efficiency of your list.  This goes especially for imperial codexes.  Any allied unit needs to be the prime choices from their codex or covering a weak spot in your own list.

I'm still playing around with what I want to do with my lists.  My Eldar are still in limbo.  I'm sort of intrigued by weapons platforms.  Unfortunately, everything is still just too expensive.  For everything Eldar can do, just about every newer codex can do better for 20% less points(I'll stop complaining about Eldar for now).   I think I can sit on both my Tau and Eldar until we see if August is going to bring another wave of fliers.  For my marines, I'm thinking about seeing what I can do with Vindicators and foot Terminators in this edition.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

CaulynDarr's Axioms of Miniature Gaming

This may end up being an abuse of the definition of axiom, but I felt a few things ought to be said while the blogging community is in the trows of resolving the cognitive dissonance that is 6th edition.  I've learned things about gaming in the time I've been gaming.  This is stuff we all probably know, but tend to conveniently forget when we go on cathartic diatribes.

Axiom 1: There is no such thing as a perfect game.  

Most games have problems.  Play them enough and you'll run into them face first.  Games are complex with hundreds or even thousands of variables, and you just can't account for all of them and meet publishing deadlines and budgets.  This should not be an excuse for bad quality, just an acceptance of the reality of game production.

Axiom 2: The quality of a game is secondary to the number of people you know playing it.

Hypothetically if you did find the perfect game, that wouldn't mean much if no one wanted to play it.  I got shelves of games I've bought because the rules looked very promising.  Games better and more fun than what I tend to play on a daily basis.  But games require x>1 person to play.  So if quality(Q) times players(P) equal fun(F) then Q(100)*P(0) < Q(50)*P(2).  So sometimes we play games that are not the greatest because we can actually find people to play them with.

Axiom 3: There is no such thing as the perfect game company

Game companies are businesses.  Often they have owners and employees with bills to pay and kids to put through school.  This requires them to make decisions based on profit margins over pure gaming culture ideals.  When a game company is something done by a few guys out their garage and it's done for the fun instead of the money, companies can do all kinds of idealistic things.  Unfortunately companies become the victims of their own success.  As they grow and people livelihoods depend on the company, sometimes ideals have to take a back seat to reality.  Even if a company where to hold on to the bulk of it's idealism, you can't make everyone happy all the time.  Sometimes a company that does everything right will eventually piss you off.

Axiom 4: Never ever sell off an army.

I break this one a lot.  I've never sold an army or bulk of models and not regretted it later.  If a new edition comes along and you're stuff sucks, it's cheaper in the long run to store it for later.  In two years the next edition will make it the new hotness, or It'll be the only thing your gaming group wants to play 6 months down the road.  Of course if you're getting out the hobby all together...yeah, like that's going to happen.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Finally a 6th edition list that doesn't make me throw up in my mouth

I had to accept that without native AA or even expanded AA in allies, I'm not going to be able to put together a decent list.  I think it really relegates Tau and Eldar to allies only status.  When GW announces flyers for those armies or a list of skyfire upgrade-able units, I'll break them out as primary detachments again.

 As you saw in my last post I picked up a pair of Storm Talons.  By internet standards right now that makes me a sucker.  I played right into GW's hand.  Well you know what? Any of us still playing GW's games with that company's track record are all suckers already.  It's just a matter of degrees.  2 Storm Talons was about the least I could spend to get what I think is a 6th compatible list.  Plus, I hadn't made a purchase for my SMs in a long time, so they where do for some love.

It's probably not the best list yet.  It needs some more efficiency hammered in, but I think it's a good starting point.

Space Marines 1850
  • Librarian - Epistolary w/ Gate and Null Zone
  • Dreadnought w/ 2x Twin-linked Autocannons
  • Dreadnought w/ 2x Twin-linked Autocannons
  • 10 Man Tactical Squad w/ Rhino, Combi-Melta Sarge, Meltagun, and Plasma Cannon
  • 10 Man Tactical Squad w/ Rhino, Combi-Melta Sarge, Meltagun, and Plasma Cannon
  • Storm Talon w/ Typhoon Missile Launcher
  • Storm Talon w/ Typhoon Missile Launcher
  • 2 Attack Bikes w/ Multi-Meltas

Tau Detachment(Brothers in Arms)
  • Shas'el w/ Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Multi-Tracker, and Hard Wired Blacksun Filter
  • 2 XV8 Body Guards w/ Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle, and Multi-Tracker
  • 12 Fire Warriors w/ Emp Grenades and Shas'ui with Blacksun Filter, Drone Controller, and 2 Gun Drones
  • 2 Broadsides w/ Blacksun Filter, Drone Controller, and 2 Shield Drones.

The Librarian attaches to the Fire Warrior blob  If facing demons he keeps his basic powers, otherwise he'll be rolling for Telepathy and Telekinesis.  I still may want to swap the combi sarges out for power fist sarges. 

Monday, July 2, 2012


I shall play marines for the time being. My xenos get to be allies.

Further 6th Edition Musings - or why I won't be playing much 6th for a month or two

I've been stewing a bit more on what to do with my armies.

I think that my Eldar are going to have to stay on the shelf.  I can't think of an all-comers list that will work with the models I own.  Anything I do come up with is too gimmicky to work in the long run.  I'm in a position that I've got to spend a few hundred dollars to get the army to maximum efficiency.  And at maximum efficiency, Eldar still aren't that great.

My Tau army is better off.  I can probably make it work with Marine or Ork Allies.  Even then though I've still got to spend some cash.  I need another squad of fire warriors, a dakka jet, some nobz, and an aegis line.  That's over a 100 bucks.

My space marines at least need to get some Storm Talons. Stupid flyers.

I'm stuck until GW expands on units with skyfire.  If and When Tau and Eldar AA and fliers drop, it makes things a lot different. I don't want to spend $100 now for some units that are only going to get a month or two of play.  I really hate GW's 1 week product announcement policy. All it does is keep me from spending money on their stuff.  

The other choice is I can play with sub-par lists for a few months.  It sucks to be a xenos player.  It really sucks to be a Xenos player with codexes 2 editions out of date.

The thing is: I kind of like 6th edition.  Except that the edition is forcing me down the path of having to buy fliers for all my armies.  Why can't I have units with g-d skyfire?

6th Edition Musings

I've mostly finished digesting the rules from a theoretical standpoint.  Most everything is acceptable, but flying stuff scares me.  It's going to be pretty constraining to my lists to get any kind of skyfire into my Eldar and Tau.  I think it really holds that if you had a solid codex going into 6th--you're good.  If you had a bad one, you didn't get many favors.

There are a few things that I want to call out that I haven't seen anyone else really mention.  You can't use psychic powers the turn you deep strike.  And double toughness instant death is calculated off of modified toughness now. I really think Attack Bikes>Land Speeders this edition.

While the 6th rulebook is not so bad, the Eldar FAQ was horrendous.  It had to be written by an intern.  They printed "sentences" instead of "paragraphs" in the update for Veil of Tears.  You can interpret the rule several ways now going from abjectly useless to game breakingly awesome.  You have to infer that spirit stones and Eldrad's staff give +1 mastery level.  Speaking of Eldrad's staff; it's a total mess.  Does it still allow you to use the same power twice?  It's listed as "ignores armor saves", but is not considered a power weapon, and is not in the master appendix with an AP.  So what is it?  My interpretation is RAW and that it ignores ALL armor saves.  Yriel's spear is similarly written and ambiguous.  

And can someone tell me why Tau had to loose their Target Locks?

Anyway, I think my Tau and Eldar where neither helped or hindered too much by the new edition.  Thanks to allies there are ways to counter some of the new stuff.  That said, Tau need some native anti-psyker and both armies need native anti-flyer to really be competitive.  

I tried running through the Eldar codex to see if anything became magically playable.  Eldar jetbikes went from "I need to get some of those" to "I REALLY need to get some of those".  Warp Spiders maybe a little more useful thanks to hull points.  A unit should be ably to glance most vehicles to death.  Rangers, Pathfinders, and Dark Reapers all got a slight boost thanks to cover changes and precision targeting, but still not enough to offset their already over-costed points.  All of them went from "no" to "maybe" in my list building process.  Poor banshees will remain on the DL until Eldar get another codex.  Harlies will remain in limbo until the faq is faq'ed. The new artillery rules would make the weapons platforms cool if their guns weren't so meh.  

Mech Eldar took a bit of a hit in this edition thanks to the changes to objective taking.  I can't fly around contesting like I used to.  I also can't just put min squads of Avengers inside because I'll have to eventually get them out.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my Eldar at this point.  I'm thinking all foot, or foot hybrid.  I'll need at least 3 squads of bikes whatever I do.   

Eldar need a new codex in a bad way.  90% of the codex is over-costed, and 60% is outright unusable.  It's a 3rd edition codex patched for 4th edition and we have to use it in 6th edition.  Tau aren't so bad off.  I can ally some orks or space marines; either with a flyer. Throw in an aegis defense line or bastion, and I'm 6th edition compatible.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Looking for some available Space Elves

My gut instinct given the new psychic power deck is that I'll be unshelving my Eldar and shelving my Tau.  If anyone has any miscellaneous Eldar they are looking to get rid of, I'd be willing to take them off your hands.

I've got a ton of Warmachine Cygnar stuff to trade, but I can do cash.

...and if anyone has any 15mm 8th Army Brits, I want them as well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Can't wait to pay my $82 new edition tax

Really GW?  70 bucks for the rule book?  You're making Fantasy Flight books look like bargain bin prices.  Then there's the 12 bucks for the psycher cards.  I guess you don't technically need them, but still.  It's GW's way of tacking on some hidden costs to the new edition.

If I didn't already own three armies...

The Sunk Cost Fallacy - keeping people playing 40K for 25 years and counting.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

6th edition is Doom! DOOM! DOooOOooOOM!

I'm in full 6th edition panic mode.  I don't want to quit 40K.  Yeah, my xenos armies suck. Yeah, the prices are outrageous.  But 40K will always be the miniatures game for me.  

The problem is: I can't trust Games Workshop to release a good rules product.  You can trust GW to release a  cool model kit, but you can't trust them to release fun balanced rules.  Sure occasionally they accidentally back into something resembling good (5th edition and a lot of the specialist games), but I don't think they know how to do it on purpose.

I haven't heard anything about 6th to get me exited.  Then again, all I really want out of 6th is 5th with fixed wound allocation and with the standard cover save reset to 5+.   Some slight revisions to make light vehicles less survivable.and heavy vehicles more so would not be unwelcome either.   The core of 40K isn't broke.  It's always been the extraneous details that have been the problem.  Codexes have never quite interacted with the rules in a consistent manner across all the rule books.  Mucking with the core rules in a big way while leaving the codexes in disarray as they are will not fix 40K.  That's why I say doom.

If I trusted GW, I would be more apologetic.  I'd have more relaxed wait and see disposition.  As it is now, I feel like I should be hedging my bets.  I should be getting ready to shelve my 40K stuff for the edition cycle.

It's irrational behavior because I haven't seen the new rules yet.  But I can't be an observer in this.  I've got time and money invested in this game.  I want to continue to get a return on that investment by playing fun games.  6th edition feels like a sword dangling over my head.   When it comes down, I might end up with a couple of worthless miniature armies.  The local community could die out because no one else likes the new edition.  Even if the new edition is good, I might still have to buy hundreds of dollars worth of models to get my armies playable and competitive in the new rules.

I really wish GW would mitigate this stuff.  They should be previewing the new rules.  Building hype. Managing expectations.  Making me excited about the change.  Letting me know I'm getting what I want, or at least make me think what I want is what I'm getting  That's what marketing departments are for.  Battlefront let people officially know 3rd edition for Flames was coming months in advance.  They let people know what was changing before the book was out.  They put the rules in the hands of their veteran players first!  I don't expect a free copy of the new rules, but an official heads up would be better than incessant rumor-mongering in the blogsphere.  Better on a galactic scale.

But maybe this is GW being smarter than we give them credit for.  They know most of us will buy the new rulebook no matter what.  They don't have to do anything, because they already got the core audience by the nose due to our already mentioned commitment of time and money.

That strategy seems to be working for them so far, and companies are loathe to change a working strategy(non-working ones a lot of the time too).  You have to wonder how many times they can raise prices without raising value, how many times they can ignore the competition, and how many times they can patronize their customers before it's one time too many.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The winner is me

I took second/best general at G2D4's 1850 point tournament with my tau.  Spag beat me out for top spot by .4 points, but we both went undefeated.  There where only 16 people at the tournament this time.

The tournament was OK.  The store owner talked the TO into using the Flames of War tournament software for bettor or worse.  So, I don't know by what rubric pairings and scorings where determined by.  The missions where all right except for the last one.  It was king of the hill where winner was the person with the most victory points on the hill in the center of the table.  Did I mention I was playing Tau?  It didn't help that my opponent was playing Demons.  I got lucky in that game.  My opponent stayed on the hill, and I got the full 7 turns to shoot him off.  I just barely tabled him with only one unit left to shoot.

I wish we would get back to doing the W/L style tournaments  Hivefleet Indy was doing last year.  The club's been a bit disorganized since a lot of time was being devoted by a few of the club's members to run the Indy Open.  Hopefully we can get everything together and get our quarterly 36 man tournaments going again.   GW could help by making sure 6th edition doesn't suck.

I used all my tournament store credit to by some Dust Warfare models.  I got the Axis heavy walker, some recon grenadiers, and a Allies light walker.  Now I can run 200 pt demo games more comfortably.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm keeping an eye on Dropzone Commander

The sculpts for Dropzone Commander are catching my eye.  Haven't heard much about the rules except that everything starts off the table and must enter play by means of a dropship.  Sounds a little quirky.

It would be nice to play a game at that scale that didn't include Spartan's stupid exploding dice mechanic.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No, I Will Not Pay 75 Dollars for a Land Raider

You know what you can get for $75?  You can get 11 orders of Chili Cheese Etoufe with Craw-fish from Yats for that.  Hell, for two land raiders I could get Yats to cater a party of 30 people.  Drunken Chicken for everybody!

Can't they keep the price increases to once every other year maybe?  Are they not allowed to release a annual financial statement without marking off the, "Alienate your client base" option on the checklist?

I've apologized for GW profusely on this blog, and I can forgive a lot of the stuff they do as just being a big dumb corporation.  I think Privateer's pricing is getting(has been) pretty stupid too.

I'm not going to say I feel entitled to lower prices from GW.  I'm not saying that I'm going to quit the game in childish protest.  What I am saying is that GW hit that magic number that's priced me out of buying anything from them at MSRP.  No new armies for me.  Maybe, just maybe, when the Eldar Codex lands I might buy a few things(online at 20% discount, sorry Jerry, blame GW).

I'm a young professional with a good job and no kids.  I have some discretionary income.  There's a problem when someone like me looks at the prices and goes gearghhhagagaga.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How about some painted Dust Warfare models?

Just got finished with a few test models for my allies.  What do you think?

Dust Warfare: Pulling the Trigger(or is it injecting the wunderserum)

Totengrabber and I played a second game of Dust Warfare last Saturday.  We switched sides and I took the Axis.  Laser Grenadiers with Sigrid are pretty decent damage dealers, and Damage Resilient Solider 3's can be a PITA to dig out of hard cover.   I'm really digging the suppression mechanic.  Even a really nasty unit like Rhino joined to a section of Hammers can be dealt with thanks to the judicious use of suppression.  It's going to be interesting when Totengrabber eventually gets some unsuppressible units like Gorillas or Zombies.

We also tried out the scenario builder.  With it, each player gets 2 points to bid on deployment, mission, and battlefield conditions.  Each one starts with a 0 default setting and each point spent on a category changes it.  Categories have 4 options and you can only bid them up.  For example, the default 0 objective is: get to your opponents deployment zone.  Bid it up one, and it becomes kill points.  If it gets bid up to 2, it becomes objectives.   It's kind of neat.  It's good enough for friendly games, but I'm not sure of its intended use as the core of a tournament system.  I need to give it some more tries to really form an opinion.  I think its application would be more interesting if we better knew the capabilities of the armies.  Otherwise we might as well just randomly determine the scenario conditions.

My impression of the game remains high.  I'm finding the infantry combat to be more interesting than the walker combat.  Walkers tend to do two things: suppress infantry at long range(important, but not very sexy), and trade long range fire with other walkers.  Walker on walker shooting tends to be a roll off; especially if you can get your walker into some hard cover.  This could be because we're using too many large ruins and other pieces that grant hard cover in our games.  As a result, I'm not too impressed with anti-walker walkers.  The good walkers are the ones that can reliably suppress infantry at 24 to 36 inch ranges.  I'll have to try some games without long range AT to see if I actually miss it.

There are still a bunch of unit types and abilities we haven't tried out.  Totegrabber doesn't have any of the utility command squads, snipers, observers, or artillery pieces.  And, of course, no heavy walkers. I'm really interested in seeing how these units effect the game-play.

As a result of my giddiness over Dust, I've decided not to build a Flames of War army.  I'm going all in with Dust Warfare.  I bought the starter and a few random allied infantry that Jerry had in stock at G2D4.  I also ordered enough stuff to build a 250-280 point Allies army.  What's nice is I've got this all for only about $200, and that includes about an extra 150 points of Axis from the starter.

For my initial list I think I'll be running something like this:

Platoon 1: Ranger Platoon
Ranger Command Squad
Ranger Combat Squad
Ranger Combat Squad
Ranger Recon Squad
Observer Squad
Steal Rain

Platoon 2: Heavy Ranger Platoon
Tank Hunters

I'll probably build an SSU army when the expansion book for them comes out sometime this summer.

I will have to convert some more potential players.  A few of the G2D4 40K regulars seemed interested.  I'll have to prepare a few more injections of wunderserum.

If anyone is interested, I can run quick demos using the starter box contents.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dust Warfare Review: 1 game in

Totengraber put together a few Dust Tactics starters in order to give the Dust Warfare rules a try this last weekend.  I volunteered to play against him because I was eager to see how the rules played out on the table top.

I think we played a 250 point game.  It included about 5 infantry units, 2 heroes, and 3 walkers per side.  I took the Allies because the goofy looking Sherman walkers have grown on me.

The Good

The game is simple but has good tactical depth.  This is a sweet spot to hit in a miniature rules system.  If you can add depth to a game without adding lots of complexity, you have a game with potential.  This complexity comes from the interaction of three rules in the game: Commands, Reactions, and Suppression. 

At the start of you turn you roll for initiative.  You roll a number of combat dice equal to the number of units in your army.  The way combat dice work is they have 2 hits and 4 blanks on each die, so the odds of a hit work out to be equivalent to rolling a 5+.  The number of hits you get is the number of commands you can give in the command phase.  Commands are equivalent to minor actions; you can fire you weapons or move away.  It's half of what a unit can normally do during a full activation on it's turn.  Commands are nice because they cannot be reacted to, and you can give them to units that are normally too suppressed to do anything.   Commands are kind of tricky to use and Totengraber and I found out that you need to set them up on your previous turn to be really effective.

Dust Warfare is not the first game to include reactions, even 40k used to have them in the form of overwatch, but they've managed to add them in without bogging the game down.  Whenever a unit attacks or moves with 12" of an opponents unit, that unit has the option of reacting.  This is another situation where you get a minor action.  You can move or attack, and it will restrict the units activation later in the turn.  Units that have already reacted or have been suppressed cannot react.  This means that units have to work together to get to close range.  If most units just try to run into a unit of Rangers, they will get shot to death. If you have a walker fire into those Rangers and suppress them first, then it's a whole different story.

Suppression is essentially the morale system in Dust Warfare.  Whenever a unit is hit by a weapon it gains a suppression token.  Normally when a unit activates it gets two actions.  It can move and attack, or perform double actions of each.  If a unit is suppressed it looses one of it's actions and it cannot react. If you gain more suppression than models in the unit, then they flee.  You'll find yourself taking pot shots at units you can't really hurt, so that you can move in your flamers or melee units to do the real damage.  Vehicles are immune to suppression, so they become key to your attack strategy.

Using suppression and reactions seem to be key to game of Dust Warfare. It adds a level of complexity over 40K's move-shoot-assault model.  It also doesn't fall into Warmachine's depth through complexity trap.  

The game's price point is very nice as well.  You'll be playing 40K scale games at a half to a third the cost. 

Stuff I'm on the fence about

I have some balance concerns.  Units with Jump seem very powerful, as their movement cannot be reacted to.  In my game against Totengraber I took out nearly a third of his army with a unit of Heavy Assault Rangers with an attached character.   They have a 12 inch move(24 on a double move) with the Jump ability.  Their Double Rocket Punch attack can tear up nearly everything in the game.  I'm not convinced that they are not counter-able, and they do cost 50 points with attached hero(most games are 200-300 points).  They are definitely a n00b slayer unit.  On the other side, some of the Axis special rules seam a little lack luster.  Laser seem to be very ineffective.  They just don't get enough shots.   Axis tend to also be more damage reliant, but that just means the Allies will suppress you all day long until you get a nice dose of rocket punches or napalm to the face

Hero units are a little all over the place.  Some are absolutely required.   I would never take a unit of Axis Gorillas without attaching the gorilla hero(he gives the unit movement that cannot be reacted to).  Others are pretty much ablative wounds for a squad.  They tend to cost as much as a full unit of soldiers, so it's a choice of quantity or quality.  

Stuff I don't like   

Certain models are buried in  Dust Tactics Boxed sets.  Most of the hero's are only available in Dust Tactics campaign expansions that cost 40 bucks.  There's a lot of value in those boxes if you play Dust Tactics, but if all you want is the one hero for your Allies army it's kind of annoying.  There are two hero's that only came in the OOP first starter box.  There's also a light walker for each side only available in the current Tactics starter.  But that box has enough Dust Warfare value that if an Axis and Allies player trade starter box units, it's a decent deal.  Otherwise, Fantasy Flight needs to release a set containing the back log of heroes for the Warfare players.

There are a few rules issues that need to be addressed.  For instance all weapon ranges are measured in the horizontal plane only.  This means that a unit can technically punch a unit 10 stories directly above them.  I'm not sure of how quickly Fantasy Flight will be able to turn around a faq on these issues.  These kind of issues are pretty rare though, and a common sense approach should prevail in the meantime. 

I'm not a big fan of the fluff.  The Weird War 2 genre has been done to death.  Maybe if they had gotten in before the Captain America movie it would be a little different.  A serviceable movie, but after I saw it I just became very tired of Nazis with ray guns and Amerika Bombers.  I'm no longer intrigued by questions of, "How would WWII have gone if all the SS where vampire iguanas and Churchill was a robot Velociraptor?"


The game takes a little getting used to if your background is mostly 40K and Warmachine.  You have to worry about a few concepts that will be alien to those game systems.  You'll need to worry about keeping your units within command range of your platoon leader, so that you can issue them orders in the command phase.  You also can't just run your army straight at your enemy.  Even a basic unit or Rangers can gun down most anything if you come at them without suppressing them first.  Learning set-up then take-down tactics will be essential for games of Dust Warfare

My resistance to buying an army is wearing down.  I like the rules.  The game is a good fall back if 6th edition 40K is the doom that all the BS rumors are claiming.  The models are decent, and even the Russian chibi-hind gyro-copters are growing on me.  I may buy Allies now, and Russians when they come out with Dust Warfare rules in a few months.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ain't that a kick in the head

Back in high-school I was a big fan of Steve Jackson Games.   SJ games has been around a long time and has produced several gaming classics including Car Wars, GURPS, Illuminati, and Ogre.  Back in the late-Nineties they entered into a bit of a second golden age releasing some very successful light card games and board games including Frag, Chez Geek, and Muchkin.

I loved their games and managed to become a official demo rep for a while.  I wasn't too good at it, being only a awkward 17 year old, but I had a lot of enthusiasm.  My favorite of the games was Ogre, a sci-fi hex and counters tactical war game.  In Ogre, one player takes control of a nearly indestructible cyber-tank while the other tried to defend his command post using very fragile conventional tanks and infantry.  It's a well designed game, and it was expanded by GEV that allowed for more symmetrical scenarios.  There was even a miniature game version produced, that I bought into.

I only ever got one person to develop the same level of interest in the game, and I lost touch with him when he moved off to hippie college somewhere in Maine.  SJ games also had some accounting problems at the time and had to pair down their release schedule significantly.

Ever since then they've been mostly putting out light stuff and endless Munchkin expansions.  Apparently Munchkin has been enough of a cash cow to fund what Steve has been wanting to do for a long while now.  Bring back some of the old crunchy games in a big way.

The designer edition of Ogre has been teased for a few years, and SJ games decided that in order to make sure they don't take a bath on it, they would fund the initial printing with kickstarter.   Well, they underestimated all the love out there for Ogre and the project blew away the initial $20,000 goal on the first day.  It's now sitting at $350,000 with 11 days to go.


The backers of this project have been able to vote on additional goodies added into the box because of the generous over-funding.  There will even be more scenarios and expansions because SJ doesn't have to spend all year writing Munchkin expansions to pay the bills.  And we'll probably see a new designer edition of Car Wars eventually.

There's a lesson to be learned here by other game companies.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I know what I said

I wasn't going to pay any attention to rumors, but a Slannesh noise marine rock star army with chaos cultist groupies?

Oh the possibilities.  I could build a display board with a stage and light show. Little smoke generators too.

Will wait to see the actual codex before I geek out any further.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Seeing all the awesome armies arrayed at Adepticon has got me inspired to start on a new project.  I've spend over a year working on my Tau, and now that I'm don't it feels weird to not have anything to work on.

I could start working on a Flames of War army.  While I like the rules system, I'm just not inspired to paint a dull olive drab army that looks just like every one else's.  I could start on Dust Warfare, but that has the same problem as FoW.  Green allies, Grey Germans, boring boring boring.  If only battlefront would release a 15 mm sci-fi version of FoW with space elves.

I'd like to re-visit my Eldar, but I'm hating my paint scheme and quality on them.  I want to scrap most of it and start from scratch.  The army will still suck, so I'm inclined to not give my Eldar any love until GW gives them some first.

I could start another army.  Dark Eldar and Necrons both interest me in terms of their aesthetic.   I defiantly don't want to do anything in power armor.

I'm worried about 6th edition and don't want to jump into a project with GW primed to throw-up all over themselves in a few months.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My First Adepticon

I'm back in Indy and rested up.  Not it's time to break down my experience at Adepticon 2012.

The Con

I've been to a couple of gaming cons.  Gencon a few times, some conventions in St. Louis, and even ran a small convention for the Fantasy and Science Fiction Appreciation Club I was an officer for back at the University of Dayton.  Adepticon is no where near as big as Gencon, but it's big for a convention with such a narrow focus.  

The focus has broadened away from GW properties.  Warhammer 40K still dominated about 50% of the floor space, but Privateer, Catalyst, Wyrd, and Battlefront are starting to eat up all the space left over.  There's so much going on at Adepticon there's almost not enough room for it all.  The vendor area was claustrophobic, and companies had to have their demo tables clear on the other side of the building.

The tastiness of the swag bag this year, with the inclusion of the Adepticonstruct, and a free Battle Foam Shield Bag for the first 500 attendees created a congested registration line that wrapped around the building and took hours to parse through.
The registration table is around that corner and 50 yards away.  This was an hour and half before registration opened, and it took me an hour to get there once they started.
This is the line wrapping into and through the grand ballroom.
There is a need for some updated registration organization next year.  They could do it the way Gencon does and mail out Badges.  Preferably with a guaranteed ticket for your swag bag.  But I can't complain too much since I got a free battle foam bag myself.   If you plan on going next year, the ViG upgrade to your ticket is worth it if you can get it.  That line only had 100 people and they all got to be registered first.

Of course there are other ways to cope with long lines. Yes that is a keg hidden in a BF bag.

One thing missing that they should have had was a convention program with a map.  For a first time attendee, it was hard to figure out where things where and what was going on.  If they plan on adding more events beside the big 40K tournaments they really need to have one. 

The Lombard was fairly nice hotel, but everything was on the expensive side.  They are also pretty much out of room to grow there.  There's no room to add another vender or another big tournament for a new game system.  Hopefully they can secure a bigger location in the future.  The restaurants in the hotel are nice, but a bit overpriced.  I would not have gone there if I wasn't taking my wife out to a nice Birthday dinner.

I would like to go again next year.  It was nice to have my wife along, but I felt like I missed out on a lot of the convention.  Hopefully Adepticon doesn't fall on her birthday next year.

The Championships

The championships where a lot of fun.  I didn't do as well as I hopped, but I wasn't expecting to take home the championships with Tau.  People liked the colors on my Tau, and it got a little attention.  Blue Table Painting did a little mini-interview with me 1:30 into one of their you tube videos from the convention.

I went 1-2-1 for the day.  I beat a Demon Fatecrusher list in the first round. She was a too aggressive with her drops and lost 3 units to mishaps.  My second game was against Wolves and I tied.  The third game as against a Foodar list, on a table with too much LOS blocking terrain.  He reserve denied his army and had plenty of terrain to completely block units(even wraith lords) from my shooting.  I didn't try too hard in my last game, and I also had a pretty crappy run of dice.

The format was OK, but I think it needs to improve on a few points.  Some of the mission objectives are still kind of cheesy.  They would be OK, if every army in 40K had an equally stocked tool box, but we all know that's not the case.  The objectives to get across the table and put an HQ within 3 inches of the table center are impractical for some armies, and almost a given for others.  Table quarters needs to move to the nova style.  Being able to contest with a single unit is a little lame.   The marked target objective was the only one that was on its face stupid.  Mostly because you could reserve the marked target and deny your opponent the objective.  A better way to do it would be to chose the marked target at the end of the first or second turn amongst units on the table.  Accounts for armies that have to enter the game from reserve, and makes sure someone actually has the ability to get the objective.  

Terrain was OK.  I prefer using radial symmetry and more smaller pieces, but the 6 piece setup Adepticon uses is good enough.  The exception where a handful of tables in the corner that where made up of random pieces that where left over.  I had the unfortunate experience of playing on one of these tables against Footdar.  It had at least 10 large city fight ruins with very few window pieces.  My opponent was able to effectively hide things like wraith lords and war walkers from my LOS.  My opponent took every advantage of that board and the mission, and I was a pretty impossible fight for a static shooty army like my Tau. 

Spag had some trouble with his opponents and some sportsmanship chipmunking, but in my experience all my opponents where fun and fair.   Adepticon this year went along way towards reminding me about what I like about the game.   Mostly it's the way you can express yourself and build great interesting armies.  Flame of War and Warmachine might have tighter rules, but have you ever seen something like this in anything other than a 40K or Fantasy tournament?
And this person didn't win players choice!  A crime I tell you!
It's made me want to start on another army.  Unfortunately this is where GW screws the pouch again.  I can't seem to reconcile an army I want to build with an army capable of winning.  40K exists because of its passionate players despite GW.  Adepticon is a shining example of that.

And Now for Something New

I picked up one of the last copies of Dust Warfare from the Fantasy Flight booth.  It's a pretty solid rules system. It definitely reads like a potential 40K killer.  It plays at a similar scale with tighter rules.  It's also pretty cheap with units costing 15-25 dollars.  You could build a decent army for $150 dollars.  It lacks the flair of 40K that I was talking about earlier, and I'm pretty board of the weird war II genre.  But it's got the one thing that every other 40K killer has failed to produce so far, cheap cool vehicle kits.  Those heavy walker units are boss.  The actual unit miniatures could look better, but that's a side effect of the way they are produced, and the price is right.  

The rules system is a basic 2 action system where units can move, attack, double move, or double attack.  You use the same roll for everything in the game.  Essentially you need to roll a 5+ to hit or save; what varies is the number of dice you roll.  The moral mechanic is also very interesting.  Units gain suppression markers as they take wounds.  They actually increase your cover, but too many causes the unit to break.  Speaking of cover, it works much more intuitively and less abstract than 40K.  You can only assign wounds to models you can see, and you have to assign wounds to models outside of cover first.  

I'd like to give it a try.  It would be cool if another Indy local would like to also buy in.  

It would also be a pretty fun project to try and convert 40K armies to use the this rule system.  There are enough special rules in the core rulebook that I think you could make it work without having to introduce new ones.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

MiniatureGaming.StackExchange Update

We've managed to bring in several supporters to the proposal, but it's still a long way from getting out of the definition stage.  It was pointed out to me that most of the questions we could ask about miniature gaming should be on-topic on  Just to be sure I opened a meta discussion there to see if the intended direction of miniaturesgames.stackexchange would work there.  It looks like it would.

So, we have a choice to make.  We can continue to support an independent site, or just merge in to board and card games.  Board and card games does need some extra support to get out of beta.

I think that going it alone would mean optimistically waiting several months before we could even think of getting miniature gaming into beta.  I'm eager to get to work asking and answering questions right away.

I started a discussion topic on the merge.  If you are following the project, please join in the discussion and let us know what you think.

If someone from theBack40K could re-blog this, that would be awsome. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A better way to communicate about miniature gaming?

In the beginning there where the forums, and then came the blogs...

If you are reading this, I'll assume you know how we communicate within the the 40K community and the miniature gaming community at large.  There are some advantages and disadvantages to how things are done.  The forums can cover broad topics and you can hear from multiple voices.  Unfortunately, everyone is of equal status and good information can get drowned out in all the noise.  Blogs provide a way to get information in nice concentrated voices, but tends to lead to mono-cultures dominated by the authoritarian voice of the authors.

Do you think that there might be a better way to build the community?  To help out people with questions about rules and the hobby?

If you are a software developer like me, you may be familiar with a website called Stack Overflow.  This is a question and answer formatted site used by many software developers.  If you need to know why your code is throwing a weird exception, or how to index a column in an Oracle  DB, it's a good first stop.

What makes stackoverflow different from a forum is that questions and answers get voted on.  The more votes you get, the better rep you get, and the more privileges you get on the site.  The rep also lets users know how much credibility you should give to others.  Higher rep user get to close down or protect question that are bad or troublesome.

Stackoverflow also favors facts over opinions.  They provide good guidelines for evaluating subjectivity versus objectivity.

Stackoverflow has branched out into a whole network of topics.  I've been on for about a month, and it's a blast to be involved in.  You get to help people out, and get some help yourself when you need it.  Plus gaining rep and badges gives you nice warm fuzzies.  The kind of nice warm fuzzies that gets people working towards the betterment of the community instead of always trying to tear it down.  Currently you win in a 40K forum or comment thread by beating the original poster up and yelling the loudest.  You win on a stackexchange site by asking good questions and providing useful answers.

The miniature gaming community could use something like this.  A place to help answer people's questions without the normal FAAC versus WAAC BS that erupts.  Where we can down-vote whoever comes along and adds nonconstructive drivel to a conversation.

Well, guess what?  Someone else thought the same thing, and has already made the proposal to the stackexchange network.

I think it would be really cool if we could get this going.  It needs 48 supporters and 40 up voted question proposals to move on to the next stage.  If you get in now, you can help shape what this website will eventually be.

Please pass this along, and lets try to make this happen!