Monday, December 2, 2013

X-Wing Buyers Guide

I know a few people who are starting to get into X-Wing or have expressed some interest in it.  So I figured I'd post about that instead of how December is the month 40K died.

The thing to know about X-Wing is that ship upgrades are distributed among the different sets.  So, I'd recommend collecting both Rebels and Imperials if you want to get tournament level serious with the game. Fortunately, the game has fairly good balance right now, so for casual play you can do well with just about whatever.  I would say the game is more about movement than list construction, and at the national tournaments people continue to do well with basic wave one ships and upgrades.

Still, if you're just getting into the game, you are probably wondering where to start.  I'm going to run down all the expansions and give my opinion on what you need them for from the perspective of both Rebel and Imperial players.

Starter Box:  Required for both Rebels and Imperials.
You can't skip this one.  You get the asteroids and movement templates and a few other required game play materials.   For the rebels you get Luke, Biggs, and R2-D2.  Still very strong cards in the meta.  The Imperials get some named TIE pilots. TIEs are the bread and butter of most Imperial lists; cheap and effective.

X-Wing: Rebel-Buy 1-3; Imperial-Don't Buy
The basic X-wing is a strong ship with a good mix of attack, defense, and utility.  The stand-alone pack gives you different pilots than the ones that comes from with the starter.  Namely, Wedge; arguably the best pilot in the game(Pilot skill 9 and targets roll one less defense die).

TIE Fighter: Imperial-Buy at least 4(including the starter box TIEs); Rebel-Don't Buy  
Like the X-Wing, this one comes with different pilots than the starter.  Also like the X-Wing it comes with one indispensable pilot.  In this case, it's Howlrunner.  She gives nearby Imperial ships a re-roll on an attack die.  After movement, the next most important thing in the game is action economy.  Granting re-rolls without having to spend an action to do it is an extremely powerful ability in this game.

Y-Wing: Rebel-Buy 0-2; Imperial-Don't Buy
The Y-Wing isn't a bad ship, but none of them can take an Elite Pilot Talent.  This means they haven't benefited from newer releases as much as some other ships.  Dutch gives out free focus locks; a very powerful ability. They can also take turret weapons, and the ion cannon turret is very effective.  Another strike against them is the lackluster utility of Photo Torpedoes.  They require too many actions to effectively use and cost 4 points each to boot.  Rebels don't have the points to spend on such inefficient options.

TIE Advanced: Imperial-Buy 0-1; Rebel-Buy 0-1
It's essentially a TIE with shields and the option to take missiles.  All of the pilot choices are just too expensive except for Vader, who is my second choice for best pilot in the game.  It also comes with Swarm Tactics,and Squad Leader Elite Pilot Talents.  These are universally good action efficiency cards, and a reason for even Rebel players to consider picking one up.

A-Wing: Rebel Buy 1+; Imperial-Buy 1+ 
Maneuverable, but with weak offence and defense.  It's not the greatest ship in the game, but it can use missiles and has the only non-unique rebel pilot card that can take a Elite Pilot Talent.  Tycho is also another of the game's top pilots.  The A-wing comes with and Elite Pilot Talent called "Pushing the Limits" that gives you an extra action for the cost of a stress.  It's an essential card for an elite pilot based list.  Plus that song from Scarface goes off in my head every time I use the ability in the game...so, bonus.

TIE Interceptor: Imperial-Buy 1-2; Rebel-Buy 0-1
An up-gunned and more maneuverable TIE with two really good pilot cards(Tur and Fel), but they are a little too expensive to use more than one or two.  It comes with an EPT that improves the boost ability to include Hard-1s.  It could be useful for some crazy Rebel lists.

Millennium Falcon: Rebel-Buy 1; Imperial-Buy 1 
It's 360 degree primary weapon make it one of the better Medium sized ships.  The generics aren't any good, so you need to take the named pilots who are a little too expensive to use more than one in a list. This is also the only place to get the Shield and Engine Modification cards, so even Imperials need it.

Slave-I: Imperial-Buy 1-3 Rebel-Buy 1
It's an X-wing with more shields and hull.  It's got a forward and backward firing arc, but it's hard to maneuver.  The generics are really good, so you can build an effective 100 pt list that uses 3 of them.  Rebels need it for the Gunner crew card, and the Stealth Device upgrade card.  If you also play B-Wings, you'll want to poach its heavy blaster cannon.

B-Wing: Rebel-Buy 0-2; Imperial-Buy 0-1 
A aery expensive ship with a lot of hull and shields for its size.  They do torpedoes better than Y-wings, and are very customizable with access to BFGs, Systems, and EPTs.  Imperials may want the unique system and BFG card for their big ships.

TIE Bomber: Imperial-Buy 0-2; Rebel-Don't buy
A TIE that makes up for 1 less defense die with 3 extra hull.  They do expendable ordnance really well, and the named characters are good.  Nothing here for the rebels though.

HWK-290: Rebel-Buy 1, Imperial-Buy 0-1
Stat wise the ship is very forgettable, but it is almost an indispensable support ship for Rebel lists.  It's also very modifiable, can equip a 360 degree turret, and is the only small ship that can take crew.  Imperials could make good use of the Recon Specialist on their big ships.  

Lambda Shuttle: Imperial-Buy 1-2; Rebels-Buy 0-1
The imperial's support ship.  Good stats and base cost, but pitiful maneuver dial.  Can be configured with upgrades to be really annoying.  Rebels want its upgrades to do equally annoying things.

From the spoilers seen so far the Imperial Aces pack is going to be a must buy for both factions as well.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I will not be making that Monty Python reference in reference to the new Inquisition Codex

Except in that meta-hipster way of acting to cool to actually mention it while hypocritically mentioning it.  You know, to appear all clever.

Anyhow.  I'm a little excited by the new Inquisition Codex.  It's not a supplement or an update, and it came out of nowhere.  Makes it ripe to be a blank canvas to project all of my hopes and dreams onto.  I'm hoping for that magic piece of Inquisitorial wargear that poofs screamerstar or jetseer councils out of existence.    In the crap-shoot that has been GW's codex quality this edition you never know what your are going to get.

At least it is a pretty generic bit of modeling opportunity.  I can pull in all the third party models I want to make an Inquisitorial detachment.  I get to have my cake and eat it too, for only the cost of an eCodex.

Plus the Eisenhorn books were awesome.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some simple fixes to improve 6th Edition 40K

6th edition has some issues, but I think they all stem from some simple core rules problems.  Mainly flyers and wound allocation.  I don't think their approach was all bad, they just failed in execution.  They didn't anticipate the full effect these changes had across the system.

We all hoped flyers would be balanced out in the codexes.  Everyone would get their own jet planes and AA units, and it would all work out in the end.  So far this has been inconsistent.  Most of the new flyers have been underwhelming.  Plus, outside of Tau no one got decent AA options.   As a result there's not much to challenge the trifecta of Nightsythes, Vendettas, and Helldrakes.  Well except for Wave Serpents, but I'll get to that later.

#1: Change snap shot rules to -2 BS instead of always BS 1.
For a good chunk of the field, things stay the same but it has a few effects.  You still have an advantage for the 4, 5, and 6 BS models you pay the points for. The small elite armies like Marines need an answer to Helldrakes.  Letting some of their units act as supplemental AA that can hit on 5+ instead of 6+ would help in that regard.   It also will forces flyers to stay away from elite ground units because their combined small arms fire gets scary.  And what's more cinematic than your BS 6 warlord pulling a Patton on a flyer bearing down on him, hitting on 3+ with his plasma pistol?

#2: Weapons that fire in overwatch can't fire in their next shooting phase.
This change goes in hand with the previous one.  If we make snap shots better we have to compensate for their increased efficiency in defensive fire.  Makes it consistent with interceptor fire in that all out of phase shooting forfeits your next shooting.  We also clarify that shooting phase rules like Multi-trackers don't work in defensive fire.

#3: Allow focus fire on armor saves like with cover saves
Wound allocation is a major time sink and NPE in this edition.  In concept it's cool, but it's exploitable.  If I can fire on the guys outside of the woods instead of the ones inside the woods, why shouldn't I be able to shoot my lasguns at the cultists I can actually hurt instead of the Chaos Lord in impenetrable terminator armor.  A slightly altered way to word it is to say that the wounds must be taken on models that have the majority armor value first.  Though I think the first way is better from a pure rules simplicity standpoint.  

#4: Something has to be done about that Serpent shield
It's ridiculous.  Even as a life long Eldar player it shames me.  I'm torn about the actual fix.  I think the range is too long on it for starters.  My gut says to strait up reduce the range to 18".   A fairer option may be to just attenuate the number of shots as the range increases.  So you get D3+3 at 12", D3+1 at 24", and D3 beyond that.

#5: And that stupid Hellturkey...
It's too versatile. Either it should loose torrent, or template weapons should be disallowed while a flyer is zooming.  Make the thing enter hover-mode to use the baleflamer.

#6: No joining MC's with IC's: Period.
The Riptide loophole is ridiculous.  Close it.  

There's probably some other balance issues that should be addressed, but I don't want to get to nit-picky.  I don't want perfection, just playable.  Good enough is good enough.  I can live with random charges and things like that.  Randomness to a certain extent can be mitigated by play style and good list construction.  The goal here was to get the major items that are standing in the way of this being a fun game.  The really obvious missteps that a design team that was paying event the slightest attention would have FAQ'ed into oblivion months ago.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is this really Torrent of Fire's Business Model?

I was trying to mine some data to make a statistical argument in favor of my army seeding idea.  I was getting close to something like a 5-8% increase in the odds of a non Tau/Eldar Army winning a 4 round tournament.  I was basing this on the approx 70% win rate of Taudar versus the 50% or less for armies that don't include either.  

Torrent of Fire had a nice article about the numbers from Nova, but I wanted some for later events.  This got me exploring the site a little more.   I originally understood ToF to be online engine for running tournaments, but apparently it's also a knowledge base for winning tournaments.  And they sell the data to players.  For $9 a month you get access to tournament players statistics like win rates and armies they uses.  Plus they have articles on how to win tournaments and such.  They guarantee a 200% increase in your win rate.

This leaves me a little queasy.  I know that not everyone is a fan of Stelek, but back at the begging of 5th edition he did a lot to jump start 40K's competitive community.   Part of how he did that was by being open about how to build list and play to win tournaments.  Disseminating all that knowledge that used to just be hoarded by the top players was really good for the game.

With Stelek checked out on 40k, fewer people are doing that anymore.  I would have no sense of the top 40K meta if my regular opponent wasn't one of the top tournament players in the country.   And now we have a site offering to sell that knowledge.  That is what the blogging community is here to disseminate in the first place.    

Anyway, I won't pay for someone else's analysis of 40K.  I also think allowing players to pay for the competitive advantage of accessing other player's statistics is wrong.  If that data was available to everyone, that's fine.  Selling it; not cool.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Codex Power Level Seeding for Tournaments

Comp is BS.  I think it's a terrible idea to punish people for using the armies and units they like.  On the other hand, current 40K game balance is a hot mess.  For the sake of fairness something has to be done about the dominant armies being played by dominant players so that the guy who really loves his Dark Eldar has an outside shot.  The win rates of armies that include Eldar and Tau over ones that don't is pretty disheartening.

Seeding is a pretty good approach to providing decisive tournament results when you can't have the mathematically required number of rounds to pick a true winner.  The problem with seeding is that 40K tournaments are so different in terms of terrain and scenarios or just the variance of 40K as a rules system. It's hard to get a very good sense of how good a players is outside of the extremes of the scale.  The best players rise to the top, the worst fall to the bottom, but there are lots of good players that can fall in between due to pairing and luck.  The solution so far has been to have two day tournaments where the first is essentially a seed for the second.  That approach worked pretty well for 5th edition, but with the skill multiplier effect the power armies have this edition, we're seeing second day top brackets looking pretty homogeneous in terms of army selection.  

My solution: mirror matches for first round.  Pair the first rounds according to primary/ally choice.  We get to cut half of the power army players out of contention right off the bat while still rewarding player skill.  This cuts the skill multiplier effect of army selection out of the results for the first round.  It incentives diversity in codex selection while not penalizing the band wagon jumpers out rite.  You're going to lose to a better player with same army eventually in the tournament.   Best that it happens earlier before you knock out decent players hamstrung by poor GW balancing.      


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Iron Hands Venerable Dreads

Haven't seen any anyone post about this.  Land Raiders seems to be the mainstream first choice for abusing It Will Not Die, but I think Venerable Dreads may be the better option.  

The core of the list would be two Master of the Forges, two basic Techmarines, and 4 or 5 venerable dreads. The venerable upgrade will make it difficult to one-shot the dreads.  Then on your turn you have a 5+ and a 4+(3+ with harness) from a Techmarine to restore hull points.  Throw in all those Bolster Defenses and maybe a Skyshield and those Dreads become pretty survivable.

Another bonus to using all those Techmarines and MotF is they can tank for Tactical squads with their 2+ armor saves.

Iron Hands Marines w Allied Ultramarines - 1850 
Master of the Forge w/Conversion beamer
Master of the Forge w/Conversion beamer
Tigurius
Techmarine
Techmarine
Dreadnought w/ 2x TL-Autocannons, Venerable 
Dreadnought w/ 2x TL-Autocannons, Venerable 
Dreadnought w/ Plasma Cannon, TL-Autocannons, Venerable 
Dreadnought w/ Plasma Cannon, TL-Autocannons, Venerable 
10x Tactical Squad w/ Flamer, Lascannon
10x Tactical Squad w/ Flamer, Lascannon
10x Ultramarines Tactical Squad w/ Flamer, Plasma Cannon, Verteran Sergeant
Thunderfire Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon
Skyshield Landing Platform


Sunday, September 15, 2013

According to the Marine iBook codex, these are legal

Some fun with the broken Force Requisition tool.




I'm going to assume undefinedptr is a special piece of wargear that gives the player the ability to crash their opponents codex and reduce all of their models to 0 for every stat.




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fail Requisition; not a good collection manger; not a good army builder; not really sure what it is

GW eventual sorted out their Apple book store upload issues and the version of the Space Marine codex with the Force Requisition feature is available...without the ability to add units from Elites or Fast Attack.  Those aren't really important right?  They swear we'll get them in a few days.

On the surface the interface isn't too bad.  It could be the basis of a basic quick and easy army builder tool if it weren't missing some key features.  It lacks a strait up list view of the units you've added.  It also has no way to edit a unit once created other than to delete and recreate it.  

They say it's a collection manager, but its structured pretty badly for that.  Collections don't always match legal unit sizes and composition.  How do you represent those 20 extra plasma guns you have from the bygone days of 4th edition?  It doesn't have a way to specify what version of a model you are using,  Is it a 2nd ed Tech Marine model, or a 3rd ed Tech Marine?  These are all the features you'd want if you where managing your collection of Space Marines collected over a decade in the hobby.  And who gives a hell about points in your collection?  My closet isn't limited to only holding 4000 points of Space Marines.. 

The UI is structured better to be an army builder, but with a few fatal issues in that regard.  You can't set a target point size, your can't make more than one list, and you can add allies(not even allies from the same codex using another Marine Chapter).  It's also annoying in that any new unit you create is not added to the point totals until after it is saved, and, as I mentioned above, immutable from that point forward. 

Software is hard, and I pity the poor dev who had to develop this in whatever scripting support apple provides in their iBook framework.  But this seems like something that should have never been advertised and released.  It feels like some prototype a dev wrote as a proof of concept, and some manager decided to ship as a real product. 

It's disappointing really.  A fully integrated in codex army builder would be the killer app for digital rule books.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

iBooks Space Marine Codex pulled from iTunes

From the digital division's Facebook Page:
Hey everyone,

The enhanced edition of Codex: Space Marines will be unavailable for a short time while we resolve the upload issue with the new Force Requisition feature. We are working with Apple to solve this as soon as possible.

We realise this might have caused some inconvenience for you, so to thank you for your patience, we’ve added bonus content to the codex - all the Space Marine Datasheets from the Apocalypse rulebook and the Black Templars ones from Warzone Armageddon.

If you’ve already bought the enhanced edition of the codex, then you’ll be able to update your copy automatically once the codex is back on sale.

Thanks again for you patience while we work hard to get this fixed.
I’ll update you as soon as we have more news.

- Eddie

Yay, I get some free stuff I need another book to understand and use.  For a version of the game I avoid like the plague.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Space Marine Codex Review: Get your 3+ on

I'm still a little pissed about the iCodex bait and switch on the army builder tool.   There's apparently been a Facebook message from GW's digital division stating that "technical difficulties" with apple prevented the version with the new tool from being uploaded.  They say it should be up some time this week. We'll see.

So Heldrakes still exist, and Marines got no Interceptor units.  This is a serious problem, but otherwise the codex looks solid.  

Chapter Tactics

I like pretty much all the various Chapter Tactics.  The Ultramarines version is a little bit of a let down compared to the rumors.  It's more situation than the others, but its better than a kick in the teeth.  I guess it's OK since Tigurius is stupidly awesome to make up for it.  My favorite is probably Iron Hands for army wide 6+ FNP and It Will Not Die on all characters and vehicles.

I prefer the Chapter Tactics that don't force your hand at army creation (Ultras, Iron Hands, Imperial Fists), but you can make some nasty lists around the others too.

Warlord Traits

Not the best, not the worst.

Relics

There's a storm shield that gives you eternal warrior for 50 points.  And some other decent but overly expensive stuff.

Wargeer

Grav weapons are nasty, but skip-able on most units.  On Tacticals it just doesn't gel with their range bands and the rest of their shooting.  Do you really want to get a 10 man tactical squad within 18 inches of a T6 2+ nasty for only two shots?  Take plasma instead.  Bike mobility may make them worth it, especially since you can get two.  The pistol seems to be a bit more universally usable but still expensive for a single shot.

Relic blades are way over costed.  You don't pay 25 points for a melee weapon unless it's AP2.

HQ's

Tigurius wins at being a special character in the Marine Codex.  He's got re-rolls out the wazoo, 3 powers, and only 165 points.  None of the others seemed to have changed much in relative strength, but I may have been too blinded by Tigurius's awesomeness to notice.

The generic chapter master is much improved.  20 more points, but +1 to attacks and wounds.  His stat-line now matches Calgar's.  I personally like Iron Hands Masters with Sheild Eternal, Artificer Armor, and a Thunder Hammer.  4 wounds, 2+ , 3++, 6+ FNP, It Will Not Die, and Eternal warrior for 230 points.

The librarian came down in points, everything else had minor adjustments.  Techmarines are one per HQ, and don't take up a force org slot.  Still 50 points base for a 1 wound model.  Space Marine Servitors are no longer the worst unit in the game.  Honor Guard got cheaper, but not enough to make them worth it.  

Troops

Tacticals getting cheaper was a lie.  While the base cost came down, Veteran Sergeants and weapon options are no longer free.  So a 10 man unit with Veteran Sarge, flamer. and missile is actually 10 points more expensive.  It is fair to say that building the unit is more flexible.  

Scouts are cheaper and can take Land Speeder Storms as dedicated transports.  Stil BS3.  Sniper scouts still have a place in some lists.

Elites

Cost adjustments all around here.  I still think Vanguards are still too costly.  Legion of the Damned are a lot more interesting.  Not that much more expensive than Sterngaurd for a 3++, and all their ranged attacks ignore cover.

Fast Attack
I think Assault Marines came down in price enough to justify taking a unit.  At least in Ultramarine lists where you can buff them for a turn.   Bikes are nice too.  GW really wants you to buy bikes this edition.  They must have really high profit margins given that the molds are at least 15 years old.

Heavy
Shooty Centurions are nice.  The grav-cannon setup has range issues, but I think their justified in order to deal with Riptide and Wraith Knight spam.  Their point cost and lack of invul make them not quite over the top.  Their a good unit to run in an Iron Hands detachment since the sergeant gets It Will Not Die as part of the mix.

I really like 65 point Whirlwinds.  Especially when the tournament meta relies so much on hiding weak-sauce troops behind terrain in order to win games.

I'll pass on the new AA tanks.  Ground based AA needs interceptor.  Using your own fliers for flyer defense is a better option when you don't have it.

Conclusions
What to do about Heldrakes and cover ignoring Riptide Ion blasts is the trouble.  I'm not seeing any good counters here and marines need em badly since the 3+ save is all they have going for them.  It's just like the previous codexes where they give out a few shiny new toys to cover up that they didn't fix any of the basic structural problems with the army or the edition.  Still the band-aids are enough to get them onto the table at least.  And the grav weapons are enough of a hard counter to make players think twice about spamming Riptides and Waithknights.  Unfortunately tying up hard counters in specific armies is not a good strategy for overall game balance.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Warning about the iBooks Marine codex!!

As far as I can tell from the copy I downloaded it doesn't include the promised "Force Requisition" collection management/army builder tool.  This is very annoying as that was the sole reason I bought the iBooks version over the ebook one.

I'll let you know if the situation changes.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Warhammer Disk Wars...This is interesting

Fantasy Flight just announced it.  It's a revival of the old Disk Wars game mechanic.  Effectively a miniatures game without miniatures.

I've heard that one of the particulars of the Fantasy Flight/Games Workshop partnership is that FF couldn't directly create a GW licensed game that used standard miniatures.  Which is understandable.  I just don't know how GW thought it would be a good thing to approve this use of the license.  Are they really that deluded to think that a game like his is not an almost direct competitor to their products because it has no miniatures?     Maybe Fantasy is doing so bad that GW considers it a write off, and at least making some money off the IP is better than nothing.

A cheap tactical war game that uses GW's IP and has solid mechanics?   That's the holy-f'n'-grail.  Can't wait for the 40K version myself.  The only downside is the lack of actual miniatures.  Hmm...Maybe something with magnets...  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Less Fugly Marines

I was right. The ranged combat ones do look better.


The oversized prop comedy drills on the close combat ones really screwed with the proportions on what's still a pretty badly proportioned model.  At least with these the eye isn't drawn away from the center of the model so much.  Makes them look more taller than wider.

If they had stretched these guys out on the vertical axis 1/2 or a full inch, I think they would have been truly badass.  Which has kind of been GW's design studio problem through out 6th edition.  They're just that much effort away from awesome.  Always falling just 10 yards short of a touchdown.  You know, while continually raising ticket prices despite never winning any games or scoring any points.  

Though, man, I want to see rules for these guys.  I wonder how much 3 with 2 Heavy Bolters and a Hurricane bolter each cost points wise.

These, I would almost buy if they didn't cost $78.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fugly Marines

I read the rumors about the new super-terminators in the upcoming Marine codex this morning, and was thinking about what kind of model I could use as a reasonable proxy for them.  If they turn out to be good.  I have a bunch of these guys from AT-43 laying around:


I thought maybe with a few bits swaps...nah.  Too Orky for marines.  This is the big kit for the new release we're talking about.  On par with the Riptide and Wraith Knight.  It's got to be awesome and dynamic, and way better than any conversion I could do.  

Then I saw these:


Yeaaaah.  Maybe they just don't photograph well.  Maybe the ranged combat ones look better.  Maybe GW realized marines sell no matter what.  

Edited to add...

I don't necessarily think this is a problem with the sculptors or design team themselves.  More likely decrease dev time, physical production constraints, and top down directives(Must have big $$$ kits!) are making it hard to produce top of the line models.  So instead of "hey, I have this cool idea for a kit," it's "Make me a kit that cost $75 retail, fits in a standard size box, and you have 2 months."  That's my internal rationalization at least.   


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Don't buy from Warlord Games...Ever

Warlord's been releasing dice bags to go along with their Bolt Action game.  The latest one has the unit insignia for the Afrika Corps.  The one with the great big swastika on it.   Yeah, I know, that was the the symbol the actual army used, and historical gamers like their accuracy.  I personally think it's crass to prominently display a symbol historically and still today used as a symbol of violence and hate.  Decals on your 15mm army, yeah fine whatever.  Dice, well, your going with a theme I guess.

At one point are you fetishizing it?  I've played German armies in Flame of War.  Usually Wehrmacht; the common soldiers. At first I did it because I thought they had the cool tech and rules where solid.  It helped that due to their elite status I could build the army on the cheep.  If I had the opportunity to do it again, I probably wouldn't build a German army.  Having though about it, even just the common German solider fighting for the Nazi's is too problematic for me.  Still, back then I sometimes wondered about people who play SS armies in FoW.   Of all the units and all the armies in the whole of WWII, why that one?  OK, you like Tiger tanks.  Aren't there like 8 other lists that use them that are just regular army?

Anyway, I wasn't going to make a stink until I saw this post from Warlord games on TTGN.
Afternoon gents,
This was always going to be something of an emotive product but we would rather give our customers the options to buy the very items they have been asking us to produce than pretend these symbols didn’t ever exist.
Is the swastika a symbol of a tyrannical regime that visited death upon millions be they armed or otherwise? Most certainly. However, we didn’t receive the same reaction to the Soviet dice bag and I’m sure we all agree that the Soviet union had a similar record. Come to think of it the Romans weren’t angels yet plenty of Roman re-enactors, etc. The Waffen-SS were fanatical and responsible for an atrocity or two yet they prove extremely popular subjects for wargames armies. Where do you draw the line? In the end that is up to each one of us to decide.,
Ultimately this comes down to you the customer and your own ideals. If you find the image less than savoury or distasteful then please don’t buy it. For many, this is merely a symbol of the army they choose to wargame with and nothing more. For those players, we have produced this dice bag. It is not intended as a political statement but as a receptacle for your 6-sided gaming dice that follows the theme of the army of toy soldiers you choose to play with.
As this is only available via our webstore it will be up to the individual to decide whether they wish to add this to their wargaming collection or not. It won’t sit on store shelves or be thrust upon the unwary at shows. Any questions of legality or morality falls firmly with the customer – we do not presume to tell anyone what they should or should not buy. We are aware that in Germany the Swastika is banned but, like our other dice bags, it will not be made available to retailers and therefore not pose a problem.
We fully appreciate that this will not be everyone’s cup of tea, just as political correctness isn’t pleasing for others. Please take this for what it is – a dice bag for playing games with model soldiers.
Cheers,
It's totally not a political statement to sell swag with swastikas on them apparently.   I guess symbols magically loose all meaning at the 70 year mark.  Or if you have a problem with it, you're just some PC liberal whiner.   Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration of his point.  What's more troubling is the apologetic's behind allowing it.  Because Rome and Communist Russian were bad, then it's OK to display Nazi symbols. If anything that's an argument that you shouldn't be slapping any of these symbols on things you're selling for a profit.

You also shouldn't be able to hide behind "giving your customers what the want" when what they want is so freaking problematic.  I'd rather go broke than cater to the Nazi fetish demographic.  You can be a historical wargamer and even play WWII Germans without ever displaying a swastika.  That little bit of historical inaccuracy is worth it to not even be accidentally associated with a genocidal fascist regime.

It's products and apologetics like this that give closeted racist assholes cover to fly their racist freak flags in public.  It's either that or they're ignorant of what that symbol means to people.  Either way, not good. Why would you want to own something with that symbol?  It's short-hand for hatred and genocide.

Play one of these divisions instead.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Go see Pacific Rim, go, NOW!

Why aren't you seeing it yet?  I told you to go.  

This movie is 3000 metric tons of kick ass.  It's also way better than a movie about giant-robot-smash has to be.  Plus Idris Elba.  And directed by the Guillermo del Toro who also directed the Hellboy movies.

Go see!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

In case you haven't noticed, Wave Serpents are ridiculously good.

Spaguatyrine is freaking out about them.  That says a lot right there.   Honestly, Krak missile and Lascannon spam is the way to go.  They wreck all of Eldar's good stuff.

I tested out a 4 serpent list with a Karandras guardian blob.  It worked pretty well, but it needed a little more  Wave Serpent.  I'm thinking of trying this out next:

Eldar 1850
Spirit Seer
5x Wraithgaurd w/ D-Scythes in a Wave Serpent w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon 
5x Wraithgaurd  in a Wave Serpent w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon
5x Fire Dragons in a Wave Serpent w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon 
5x Dire Avengers in a Wave Serpent w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon 
5x Dire Avengers in a Wave Serpent w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon 
5x Dire Avengers in a Wave Serpent w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon 
Fire Pirsm w/ Shuriken Cannon
Fire Pirsm w/ Shuriken Cannon

Just need to get some Wraith Guard.  I'll probably try it with proxies first.  Oddly enough, it's not that much different from what I was playing in 5th.  Wave Serpents and Fire Prisms FTW.  I think you could run a list with 9 serpents at 1850.  But you're taking Banshee squads to get the extra Serpents at that point.  Kind of sad really. 

I've also been thinking about an Eldar/Tau hybrid:

XV-8 Commander w/ 2x Plasma Rifles, Puretide Chip, Iridium Armor
Riptide w/ Smart Missiles, Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override
Riptide w/ Smart Missiles, Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override
12x Firewarriors
10x Kroot w/ 1x Hound
10x Kroot w/ 1x Hound
Avatar w/ Fast Shot
5x Fire Dragons in a Wave Serpent w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon 
5x Dire Avengers in a Wave Serpent w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon 
5x Dire Avengers in a Wave Serpent w/ Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon
Wraith Knight

Normally I'm not a fan of the Wraith Knight, and I think the new Avatar is also problematic.  I'm hoping this list has enough big nasties that an opponent won't be able to handle all of them.

Friday, June 28, 2013

WTF Dust?

So Battlefront was supposed to take over marketing and distribution for Dust starting this month, but nothing has happened.  Not even a "Hey something big's coming!".  All we got was the press release a few months back, and then nothing.   I'm sure Fantasy Flights selling off their existing stock still, but when that's gone what happens?

Oh well.  Guys at the south side Games Preserver are throwing a Dust Warfare tournament on July 20th at 10:00 AM.  I'll try to make it, but I'm not sure what the point level for the tournament is.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Space Elf Hoverboards

Still playing around with Blender to make me some Space Elf hover boards to print in 3D.  I've been making some progress, but I'm still learning the tool.  This is what I've got so far...

It's two linked together to save on the printing costs.  It's still a little rough.  The underside is pretty devoid of detail.  I don't want to add to much more because it will up the volume and the price.  Right now these two together will cost roughly $7.50 to print.  Throwing in a box of guardians to make the riders, a squad of 6 would cost about $60.  Still a bit more than I'd like, but it does save $20 bucks off of buying 6 Jet bikes directly from GW. 

It may be cheaper to print off a single set, and then cast more with a basic resin casting kit from the hobby store.  The lack of underside detail may be beneficial in that case since I could get away with using a one sided mold.  

Though getting the Guardians to make the riders are still the bulk of the cost.    

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wow - You did something good GW? Keep doing it. Less of the other stuff please.

So GW is releasing some digital content for devices other than the iPad.  When I first heard about it, it was only some 15 page fluff supplements for 5 bucks each.  Not very useful.  But now they added the Eldar Codex to the list.  For only $32.99.   That's like what a codex should cost in a sane world.  I'm floored.  An actual reasonable business choice that benefits their consumers.  Does this mean there's a new power behind the throne at GW?

This format apparently doesn't have the bells and whistles of the iBooks version.  Still, way worth it for the reduced cost.  Kind of sucks that they didn't release it until three weeks after the codex proper hit the shelves and most of us probably either already bought the print or previous digital edition.  I hope that this doesn't lead to poor sales for this version and hurt the prospects of future releases like this.

Of course, I rather like the iBooks versions.  While it's unfortunate that they are the same price as the physical book, the cross-referencing, automatic FAQ updates, and quick navigation make them very useful.  Especially in this edition where I've found that I need to double check some of more tedious special rules and tables frequently.  


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Man of Awsome

Just want to let everyone know to ignore the reviews on Man of Steel.  I'm usually pretty trusting of the rottentomatoes score, but this is the bizarre exception to the rule.  I think it took a 15-20% percent hit because too many critics are overly invested in the old Reeves/Donner films.

MoS isn't a perfect movie.  It's got a few clunky issues, but overall it's a decent movie.  It has less problems than the latest Trek movie, and it easily beats out the non Robert Downey Jr. equipped Marvel films.  It's got none of the ironic snark of the Marvel films.  It's a much more serious move.  All the actors involved turned in great performances.  Crowe and Costner where awesome, and Shannon's Zod was one hell of a villain.

It's also the first time in live action where superman is actually super.  The action matches what he can do in animation and the comics.   A frakin' deisel locomotive gets thrown at someone's head!

Worth watching,  


Friday, June 14, 2013

Anyone Not Going to Tippcon?

Just wondering if anyone was going to be around Indy this weekend for 40K at G2D4.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How about some Eldar list with the new codex?

I put together a few 1850 point lists with the new book.  They look a lot like the lists I tried to run before the new codex came out.  That's what happens when a codex doesn't really do much to fix its internal balance issues.

Farseer w Spear, Runes of Witnessing
Karandras(or Asurman depending on my mood)
1x Warlock
5x Firedragons in a Waveserpent with Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon
5x Firedragons in a Waveserpent with Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon
9x Dire Avengers in a Waveserpent with Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon
9x Dire Avengers in a Waveserpent with Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon
20x Guardians with 2 Brightlance platforms
Fire Prism w/ Shuriken Cannons
Fire Prism w/ Shuriken Cannons

This probably the first list I'm going to try out this weekend.  It's pretty balanced, but neglects anti-air.  I'm hoping laser-locked Scatter Lasers on Serpents will be semi-effective in that role.  Farseer, Warlock, and the Phoenix Lord attach to the guardian squad.  Pretty tough with stealth, shrouded, and hopefully Fortune from the Farseer.

Farseer w Spear, Runes of Witnessing
Karandras(or Asurman depending on my mood)
1x Warlock
5x Firedragons in a Waveserpent with Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon
5x Firedragons in a Waveserpent with Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon
6x Jetbikes w 2 Shuriken Cannons
6x Jetbikes w 2 Shuriken Cannons
6x Jetbikes w 2 Shuriken Cannons
6x Jetbikes w 2 Shuriken Cannons
20x Guardians with 2 Brightlance platforms
Fire Prism w/ Shuriken Cannons
Fire Prism w/ Shuriken Cannons

I like this a little better than the last one.  I just need to scrounge up the 24 jetbikes to pull it off.

Farseer
Karandras(or Asurman depending on my mood)
1x Warlock
8x Striking Scorpions
20x Guardians with 2 Brightlance platforms
10x Rangers
10x Rangers
10x Dire Avengers in a Waveserpent with Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon 
10x Dire Avengers in a Waveserpent with Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon 
5x Warp Spiders
Fire Prism w/ Shuriken Cannons
Fire Prism w/ Shuriken Cannons

More of a foot hoard.  The Avengers go on foot in this list, and the Serpents act as pure gunboats. 

I'm not supper excited about these lists.  They're weak against flyers.  The Eldar skyfire options are just a little too expensive to take with out hamstringing the list against everything else.  I'll have  to hope I get lucky from Guide, Prescience, or Waveserpents.  I'm also thinking of tweaking these just a little to get the 15 points per serpent to give them Holofields for the +1 cover.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Eldar Codex Review Part 2 - Review Harder

I've been musing some more on the new units.  I'm still disappointed that there are some issues with the army that I thought should be addressed, but weren't.  Though it's not all doom and gloom.  I think some decent lists can be built from the codex.  So here's some stuff that's probably worth taking.

Farseers -  100 points for a level 3 psycher who gets divination, telepathy, and one of the Eldar tables.  You get enough rolls that you should get at least one good power.   The Farseer casting both prescience and  guide is probably the best way to get anti-air firepower in the book outside of a Crimson Hunter.

Phoenix Lords - Just Asurman and Karandras.  Don't know which one I like better.  Karandras hits harder with 5 S8 AP 2 I7 attacks in melee and has stealth and monster hunter.  Unfortunately he doesn't have an invul.  Asurman has a 4++ and can go to a 3++ in a challenge.  He also gets 3 rolls on the warlord table.  The only one you really care about is the one that lets you re-roll 1's on saves.  I want to use them to tank for  Guardian blob squads.

Scorpions - They get stealth now.  Their Exarch is also a pretty decent hitter and challenge specialist if you want to spend the 30 points for the Scorpion Claw.

Wraithgaurd/blades - I haven't looked at them too in depth, but they look promising.  The upgrade for flamer templates is pretty pricey.  I haven't considered them too much since I don't have any of the models.

Dire Avengers - I still like them.  Pseudo-rending Avenger Catapults are pretty nice.  Too bad the Exarch options are so expensive.  He has access to the probably the best upgrade list of any of the Exarchs, but it cost just too many points.  Dire Avengers and Guardians probably benefit the most from the new army wide rules.

Gaurdians - Very good.  BS4, plus catapult upgrade, plus 1 weapons platform per 10 guys makes them much improved.  Sad that I only have enough for one squad of 20.

Jetbikes - Very very good.  Wish I had 30.

Rangers - Priced better this edition.  I don't think taking Illic and upgrading to pathfinders is worth it.  Cheap sniper unit with stealth.

Waveserpent - Holy Snikeys. With a scatter laser and a Shuri-Cannon upgrade it gets 7 ST6 and d6+1 S7 shots twin linked.  And the S7 shots ignore cover.  That's your gun tank right there.

Spiders, Hawks, Spears - I'm on the fence about all three of these units.  I think each of them can work in the right list now. Better than they were, but not quite better enough.  We'll see.

Crimson Hunter - Maybe, 160 points for armor 10 is a bit underwhelming.  It does look ridiculously good at killing other flyers.  You'll have to deal with any interceptor units quickly before bringing it on the board.

War Walkers - Another unit I wish I had a dozen of.  Still a glass cannon, but a more appropriately costed glass cannon with a 5++.

Fire Prisms - The gun is better, and you don't have to sacrifice another prism's shooting to make it work.

Darkreapers - Better, but still way expensive.  Could work in the right list.            

Monday, June 3, 2013

Eldar Codex Review: or Where am I going to find $320 worth of jetbikes

Well I'm disappointed. I was hoping that I could un-box some of my neglected Eldar units, but if it was bad in the old codex it's still bad in the new one. The book really suffers from "the designers don't play this game"-itis.

The Good:
Pseudo-rending on shuriken weapons is pretty nice.  Costing on the heavy weapons for vehicles has also been fixed.  There seems to be a place for every heavy weapon in the army based on ability and prices.  The missile launcher seems a little costly, but not overly so.

Jetbikes are stupidly cheap in points.  For the cost of a marine you get a bike that's better than the marine equivalent.  The only problem is I'm not spending the ridiculous amounts of money it would cost to get a decent amount of them.

Overall the troops sections of the book is pretty strong.  Between Wraiths as troops and guardians you can go quality or quantity for scoring units.

The Meh:
Vehicle upgrades are overpriced.  Not that they're not good, it's just that with the cost of the vehicles in the codex, it seems like your making an overpriced option more overpriced.

War-gear in general is overpriced by 5-10 points per option.  The relics are the worst offenders here.  How can you justify 30-40 points for ap dash CC weapons that's good effects only trigger in a challenge?    Exarch weapons are also pretty annoying.  You're speeding about 26 points for the Exarch, then it's 15-20 points for a decent weapon, and a further 10-15 points per Exarch power.  The challenge effects from the powers are pretty cute, but spending 50+ points on a T3 1 wound model is not a smart play.

AP2 in Melee is very expensive in the army.  Which is probably a good design goal to have.  But keeping Necrons in the meta really screws up any attempts at a more reigned in design approach.  What's the point really?  Every army has the problem where they can play their own units, or ally in a Necron unit that does the same job better for cheaper.  

Really expensive skyfire options.

The heavy support slot is way overcrowded. It's where most of the good options are.  They should have not bothered with being able to switch Wraithgaurd to troops and should have instead done so with Aspect Warriors.  Banshees, Scorpions, and a few others might be worth taking if they where scoring.    

Random Psychic powers.  Not quite as bad as it could be since the BS boost to the army and having decent primus powers.  However, more than a few units only get good if you can manage to roll a particular power.

The Ugly:
The fundamental misunderstanding from the design team on how to fix Eldar.  They gave the army big offensive boosts and raised point costs as well.  Offensive power was never an Eldar weakness.  Even with how over-costed the last book was you could still put out a terrifying amount of good shooting.  The problem with Eldar is that they where too expensive for being T3 models with 4+ or 5+ saves.  The army needed either a points reduction or boosts to their survivability.

Codex by Copy-Paste.  They didn't bother to change anything about the Autarch.  I was mildly surprised they even remembered to remove their special rule about strategy ratings.  Banshees got some token changes, but not the rending or furious charge they would need to be remotely playable. There's barley enough changes in the book to justify a FAQ update.  It feels very much like a half assed or rushed effort.  I really feel cheated out of 50 bucks.

Edit: And there's a day one FAQ nerfing Shadow Weaver batteries.  Go figure.  One less thing to fight for a heavy support slot I guess.

Edit: Edit: Review Continued in Part II

Thursday, May 23, 2013

40K Random Name Generator

Inspired by the incredibly creative naming in the new Eldar Codex; I've created a nice little name generator to help out any future codex authors.


Click "Generate"

So 40K is a Lensman arms race now?

In case you haven't seen these yet, the new Eldar stuff.

And "Lensman Arms Race" for reference.

You have to wonder what ridiculous thing the next codex will get to trump the Wraithknight.  I wouldn't be surprised if Baneblades and Stompas became official 40K units.  Every army needs a $$$ kit apparently.

I actually quite like the new flyer.  The mini-titan is also acceptable.  And finnally plastic wraithgaurd.  It took them long enough.  Prices are still ridiculousness. Especially them changing Dire Avenger to be $35 for five models.  Good thing I already have 30.  Also very disappointed that the jetbikes are just a re-package.  That new sculpt exists, why can't we get it?

Moot issue anyway.  I'm not going to buy anything other than the codex.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Necrons are like nacho cheese, they go great on everything.

...and they'll probably kill the game in the end, just like the nacho cheese will clog up your arteries and give you a hear attack at 35.

But while the cheesiness last, how about this:

Tau-crons(err Necro-Tau) 1850
Cadre Fireblade
Riptide w/ Heavy Burst Cannon, Twin Linked Smart Missiles, Early Warning Override
Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, Twin Linked Fusion Blaster, Early Warning Override
12x Firewarriors
10x Kroot
10x Kroot
2x Broadsides w/Rail Rifles and Velocity Trackers
Skyray w/ Smart Missiles
Overloard w/ Warscythe, Supplemental Weave, Mind Shackle Scarabs, Command Barge
2x Storm Crypteks
C'tan Shard w/ Entropic Touch, Psy Shards
5x Warriors w/ Nightyscythe
5x Warriors w/ Nightyscythe
Annihilation Barge

Monday, April 15, 2013

Some further Tau Analysis

I've been continuing to play around with lists and got a game in against Spaguatyrine.  He ended up winning still, but I did much better than old Tau two weeks ago.  I played a Tau only 1850 list:

Commander w/ Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod, Target Lock, Vectored Retro Thrusters, Irridium Armor, Puretide Neurochip.
Cadre Fireblade
3x Crisis Suits w/ Plasma Rifle, Missile Pod
Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, Positional Relay, Early Warning Override
Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, Positional Relay, Early Warning Override
12x Firewarriors
12x Firewarriors
10x Kroot
10x Kroot
10x Pathfinders w/ 3x Rail Rifles and EMP grenades
6x Pathfinders
3x Broadsides w/ 2x Railsides and 1x Missileside all with Velocity Tracker
Skyray w/ Smart Missiles
Hammerhead w/ Smart Missiles, Submunitions

The trick to this army was to get a Riptide across the board to bring in one Pathfinder and two Kroot squads from the back table edge.  It sort of worked.  I messed it up by sending the Pathfinders at a different target and left the Kroot unsupported.  Had I used them in a more concentrated fashion it might have worked better.

I'm starting to think the Commander is a little to pricey for what he does.  He's got some great upgrades and is pretty tough.  You can kit him out to do just about anything.   Though with the decreased cost of everything else in the codex, you can take a unit just about anything else instead for the same points cost.

People who are complaining about Broadsides being nerfed have obviously been forgetting to fire the Smart Missiles.  OMG, Smart Missiles   Not just an afterthought anymore.  30" range, twin linked, no LOS, and ignores cover.  I'm think of running Devilfish just so I can have some more.  The Missileside is especially impressive.  Broadsides really shine when using supporting fire overwatch.  Though I may have been playing suits and supporting fire wrong.  I didn't notice that the wording on the multi-tracker was changed to "may fire an additional weapon in the shooting phase"  I'd like to think RAI is that the suit can fire both weapons in overwatch, because overwatch follows all normal shooting rules.  But RAW seems to go the other way.  Still just firing a bunch of ST5 twin-linked shots during overwach is nothing to sneeze at.  Counter fire defensive systems may be a reasonable upgrade for Broadsides if not taking the Velocity Tracker.

Pathfinders are way too squishy now with their lower armor save.  It means they need to go to ground just about anytime they are shot at.  Which means snap-firing their marker-lights.  And leadership 7 without a Shas'ui sees them running off the table half the time.  Drone Squadrons may be the way to go for markerlight support.  With JSJ you can hide them out of line of sight and make them a little more survivable.  They are only BS2, but with an attached drone controller commander(expensive) or by chaining marker light hits from a Fireblade, that can be mitigated.

Still loving Riptides.  Can't bring myself to build a list without two in it.  5 points for interceptor on that Ion Accelerator is criminal.

I'm thinking of changing the load-out on my one crisis suit squad.  I need a little more tank busting ability for when facing Necrons and their armor 13 skimmers.  Plasma/Fusion over Plasma/Missile seems better.  Twin-linked Fusion may also be good.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tau - First Impression and Some Actual Play Experience

There's a bunch of new Tau codex haters on a certain blue website and a certain black and orange forum.  I honestly don't get it.  The new codex is not perfect, but it is a huge improvement.  Maybe my expectations where lower, but the codex went up measurably in play-ability.

There are still some weaknesses.  The loss of ST10 on broadsides hurt a bit.  It leaves the codex a little light on weapons that can reliably hurt armor 13 and 14 at longer ranges.  The troops slot is also still pretty weak.  A bit improved, but it's still pretty hard to take or hold objectives with Firewarriors and Kroot.  And if you spend enough points on troops to make a difference, you really degrade the efficiency of the rest of the army.   They needed a third troop option, or at least some minor force org shifting.  Crisis Suits as Troops would be a bit much, but a single Stealth Suit or Pathfinder squad as troops would have been nice.

There are a bunch of junk wargear options, but have you ever seen a Xenos codex that wasn't full of junk wargear that no one ever takes?  At least the majority is good.  And Puretide Neurochips and Early Warning Overrides make up for all the fail gear.

List building has been tough.  Mostly because it's hard to fit in all the cool stuff I want.  Very easy to overspend on a unit due to how customizable some of the entries are.  Pathfinders especially.  They get access to a lot of cool new gear, but you have to remember these guys only have 5+ saves now.  Their core competency is marker lights, anything that takes away from that is wasted points.  I end up just going with basic guys in almost every list I've built.  If only I could take those Ion Rifles with my Fire Warriors...

I played two games on Saturday with the new codex.  Once against Demons, the other against Space Marines.  Both opponents called it by the end of the second round of Tau shooting.  The volume and quality of shooting in the list is much better than before.  You can now take all the markerlights that always had to be cut for more suits in the old codex.

Supporting fire is freaking amazing.  You just don't assault a Tau gun line with a single unit anymore.  Between the Counter-fire Defensive System upgrades and marker lights affecting overwatch, it takes a very beefy unit to make it into melee unscathed.

Riptides with a Ion Accelerator and interceptor are also brutal.  Don't come in from reserve within line-of-sight of these guys unless you want a ST8 AP2 large blast to the face.  Not sold on 20 pt skyfire for these guys though.  In standard fire mode 3 BS3 ST7 AP2 shots in't terribly great at taking down flyers.

The bomber is kinda cool.  I like its little interceptor drones, but the rest of its firepower is weak for a 160 point flyer.    

I think the go to AA in my lists is going to be a pair of railsides with a seeker missile each and a Skyray.  If my Commander isn't doing anything better, he'll attach to the broadsides to give them tank hunter and a T5 bullet catcher.  That should be good for at least a flyer a turn.  Maybe two with a little luck.  I've been trying to work in a third broadside to the unit, but I can't seem to find the points.

The current list I've settled on:

Tau 1850 with Space Marine Allies
Commander w/ Misslile Pod, Plasma Rifle, Target Lock, Drone Controller, Iridium Armor, Puretide
Neurochip, 2x Marker Drones
Librarian w/ Null Zone, Gate of Infinity
Crisis Suit Team, 3x Suits w/ Missile Pod, Plasma Rifle
Riptide Suit w/ Ion Accelerator, Counterfire Defensive System, Early Warning Override
Riptide Suit w/ Ion Accelerator, Counterfire Defensive System, Early Warning Override
Fire Warrior squad w/ 12x Fire Warriors
Kroot Squad w/ 10 Warriors
Tactical Squad w/10 Marines, Combi-Melta, Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino
Tactical Squad w/10 Marines, Combi-Melta, Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino
Pathfinder Team w/8 Pathfinders
Broadside Team w/2 Broadsides, Velocity Trackers, Seeker Missiles
Skyray w/Smart Missile System, Disruption Pods

Thursday, April 4, 2013

OK, now for something positive (I really think I'm going to like the new Tau)

While GW might be frelling up their supply chain, I think the new Tau codex is pretty cool.  I've seen links for a lot of the stuff and it's all pretty sweet.  Though haters gonna hate I suppose.  I've seen much discussion about Tau are so much worse now that Broadsides are only ST8 AP1.  You know, for all that AV14 we see on the tables these days.  I guess they are also a little pissed that the army is pretty much BS3 across the board with no way to improve it. Well, except for marker-lights which are cheaper and more accessible.

Nothing seems Helldrake stupid, which is a good thing.  We don't need any more of that in the game.  Though maybe they'll FAQ the Riptide so that it can combine with a crisis suit team to form Voltron.  With GW you never know.

I like how you can work Skyfire into every force org slot except troops.  Yeah it's 20 points, but I can take skyfiring Fusion Guns!  Which now have an 18 inch range.  You can upgrade suits to have interceptor for 5 points.  Including the Riptide.  Yes, deep strike within line of sight to my model with a ST8 AP2 large blast.

I like how everything got cheaper.  Suits are 22 points base know and have Multi-Trackers and Blacksun filters included for free.  That's a total 10 point reduction.  Most of their weapon options came down in price too.  The special issue equipment looks to be worth taking.  You don't have to take a Devilfish to run Pathfinders anymore.     

I like how the army has blast weapons now thanks to overcharged ion weapons.

I like how they added missile drones, so that I can give my Fire Warriors some extra firepower.

I like how marker-lights can improve snap-fire and overwatch, and all the other tricks the army can do to make assaulting them a risky option.   And you'll hardly ever get cover saves against Tau.

I'm cool with giving up my ST10 braodsides for all that.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When GW gives with one hand, they make sure and shank with the other.

Looks like GW didn't make enough Tau for everyone, and LGSs are getting the shaft because of it. 

Is it malice or incompetence?  With GW you just can't tell anymore.  They tend to use equal measures of both.  Though it is possible GW just didn't correctly gauge the appeal of giant freaking robots.

It also works with my current inner narrative about GW's release schedule.  As in it's more panic than planning. 

I want my Tau codex!

I've seen the leaked pages from the Spanish version of the codex.  So excited.  I'm thinking Tau is the meta beat stick to rein in flyers.  Sky-firing 18" fusion guns? Yes, please.  That's if battlesuits can take the same sky-fire upgrade as broadsides; which is looking like a good possibility.  Even then there's a warlord trait to give him and his unit sky-fire.  Oh, and another warlord trait shuts down look-out-sir rolls[insert evil laugh].    

Ethereals look like they are going to be useful finally.  +1 shots to pulse weapons that stacks with the +1 from Cadre Fireblades.   That's a whole lot of St5 shooting.

And the Riptide.  Expensive, but awesome.  T6 with 5 wounds. I'll probably run it with the ion cannon and twin linked plasma rifles.  Not sure if I'll add the shielded missile drones.  25 points each.  I'll have to test it out.

I want to try something like this out in my first list: Cadre Fireblade, Battlesuit Commander, 1 crisis suit squad, 2 Riptides, 2 Firewarrior squads, 2 Kroot squads, 2 rail-sides squads with two suits each, Avatar, Wraithlord, and min Dire Avenger squad.  Plus whatever else I can squeeze in.  Probably a flyer or Pathfinders.



Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Derp. What day is it?

I was planing to go to the 40K tournament in Kokomo this weekend.  Then I realized that tomorrow is the 30th not the 23rd.  Well, shucks.

Anyway, I've got two 1/144 B-2 Stealth Bombers in the mail that should arrive today.  Got them for like 13 bucks each of amazon.  I'm going to kit bash some Tau flyers that won't look embarrassing on the table top. I also just sent out an order for two Master Grade 1/100 GN-X kits (the model from my last post).  Further more, I traded some Black Reach Orks and Dark Age models to Sandwyrm for his used Tau stuff.

Probably buying at risk here since I haven't seen the codex.   But running stealth bombers and giant robots in my Tau is too cool to pass up.  I should have enough stuff horded away to be able to convert a competitive army so long as Vespids don't get super awesome or something.   Plus I'm sticking it to GW by not buying their poorly designed and over priced "official" models.  Still don't know what I'm going to do about the codex.  Have to figure out a way that gives GW the least amount of margin for the purchase.  Maybe I'll buy it from MiniWargaming.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Think this is Tau-y enough?


This is currently at the top of my list for a Riptide proxy.  Master Grade 1/100.  So it will stand 6 or 7 inches tall.  Hard to tell from the leaked photos, but I think that's close to the Riptide's size.  Cost about $45, so I'll be able to get two for the price of a single Riptide kit.  I have several kits I could use, but they all look obviously Gundam.  I think this could pass for some type of experimental Tau design.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

$83 for a Codex on IBooks?!?

There you go.

79.99 AUS is about 83 USD.   We all know that GW hates it's customers, hates the internet, and hates Australia.  So yeah, this is the trifecta right here.   You realize that it cost Australians over $200 dollars US for a rule book and a codex?  F.T.S.

It used to be that GW would do something shitty and then bury their heads in the sand for at least a few months until we all forgot about it.  Now, it's just a constant fire-hose of crap.

GW's internal management must be bent up over some combination of bad Hobbit sales and the Capterhouse lawsuit.  So they're just doing every shortsighted thing they can think of to boost revenue and protect their IP.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Or I can just buy a Gundam instead

So there's been some leaks with pics of the new tau kits.  The flyer is one of the ugliest kits GW has ever released, but they've been failing pretty hard at fliers so that's no surprise.  Seriously, is there a contract that says only Forge World gets to make cool looking flying stuff?


What't really got me going is the $85 dollar price tag on the super suit.  Yeah it looks cool, but if I have to pay Master Grade Gundam model prices, I'll just buy a freaking Master Grade Gundam Model.

That's multi-color injection molded, posable, internal detail.  Oh, and only $58.67 retail(minus cost of shipping from Japan).  That's if I treated myself to one of the nicer kits.  I could buy just a measly High Grade kit for $30-40, and it would easily match whatever GW puts out in terms of quality.

Given that I have about a dozen kits in my closet, you can guess how I'll be fielding my Riptide suits when the new codex comes out.  I'll have to figure something out about that flyer as well, defiantly not paying real money for that fugly thing. 

Can we get the big GT TOs(Nova, Adepticon, ext) to just go ahead and say that non-GW models are OK for their tournaments.  We need GW to feel the pain for releasing crap that we have to buy so that we can still keep playing with the $800 of crap we already have.

Man...now I really want to buy that Gundam kit I linked to,


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Neptune: First Painted Dropzone Model

My test model for my PHR army color scheme.  Some areas are a little sloppy.  I experimented with a few more red detail markings, but it didn't work so well.  I had to layer some more paint to cover it up.




Saturday, March 9, 2013

Drop Zone Commander

I was really excited when news of this game originally hit the internet.  The miniatures where just astounding in design and quality.  When it finality came out I was a bit disappointed.  It was a bit more expensive than I would have liked.  I had just bought into Dust, and 6th edition was on the horizon.  So I gave it a pass.

Fast forward 8 months.  Dust is cool, but I have no regular opponents to play against.  I've played 6th edition like 3 times in the past 6 months.  Oh, and GW has been especially more GWish of late.  My defenses where down when Jerry was selling the starters at 20% off at the Indy Open.  I picked up the PHR starter and a rule book.

The models are every bit as quality as I expected.  A few resin related issues with them.  Small bubbles and slightly gritty detail in places.  But these where the exception.  The APCs where my only big gripe.  They are split into two pieces right down the center, and leave a pretty nasty gap to fill when you stick them together.  Superglue also works pretty well on the models, unlike some other companies' resin figures.  My set also was missing two parts, but I emailed Hawk Wargames and replacements are already in the mail.  Hawk Wargames should really do a Kickstarter to get these done as injection molded plastic.

The rule book has some layout issues, but overall it's well organized and the rules are clear.  The writing on some of the the fluff sections is pretty bad, but thankfully there's only a few pages of it.

The game is terrain intensive.  They've baked in urban combat into the system, and the game does it really well.  You need infantry to enter buildings and secure objectives, but infantry are slow and squishy.  That's where the tanks come in.  Unfortunately the tanks aren't that much faster.  That's where the drop-ships come in.  Flyers are another feature that are baked right into the game.  They work and are an essential part of game play.  While most ground vehicles can only move 2-4 inches in a turn, a drop ship can move upwards of 12.  This makes them essential for mobility and taking objectives. The game also has fast-mover strike aircraft that can do high speed runs across the battlefield.  The flyers are just squishy enough, and AA is just plentiful enough that you have to be smart about how you use them.

Another neat thing the game does is it has two separate ranges for weapons.  The longer range is for attacking units without active countermeasures.  The shorter range is against targets that do.  Most vehicles are equipped with AC, so you end up having effective ranges of 12-24.  But buildings and infantry are fair game, and if you can see them, you can typically hit them from across the table.  You can also remodel the battlefield by destroying buildings.  

One downside to the rules I see is that infantry have little use outside of securing buildings.  They usually don't carry heavy enough weapons to be a threat against armored units, and most everything carries a machine gun or two that is more than capable of tearing up an infantry unit.  Though, currently each faction only has a basic and close quarters specialist infantry unit.  It looks like some other types are on the horizon that are more specialized to stand-up fights.

I'm probably going to round out a 1500-2000 point PHR army.  I really think this should be the Sci-Fi war game we should all be playing.  It's scaled to produce the big battles 40K tries to give us, while providing enough room for maneuver and tactics.  It handles all the dynamic battle stuff that other games tend to fail at like flyers.  While the models are on the expensive side they have very good quality and design.  The game ends up being in the FoW price range.  You should be able to build a decent 2000 pt list for 200-250 dollars.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Battlestupid

I finally got around to watching Battleship the other day.  I really like naval stuff in general, but everything I heard told me to stay away from this one.  But it's been on HBO on-demand, so I thought, "What the hell, I'll give it a look."  One word: Terribad.

That movie makes no sense.  In that the people in the movie don't do things for reasons.  Also the aliens have to be the most incompetent bad guy aliens in the history of cinema.  And I'm including this movie in the equation. Honestly they make no sense.

They come to earth, maybe-maybe-not from a nearby planet earth has been sending signals to, and crash their communications ship.  And they crash it by running into a dinky satellite.  Invading alien warship taken out by random space junk.  Now, random space junk can do some damage if you are traveling at relativistic speeds.  But dealing with running into random things when traveling at relativistic speeds is the first thing you need to figure out how to deal with when building a ship to travel at relativistic speeds.  I interned at a research lab where 60% of what they did was shoot frozen turkeys at airplane parts to make sure they could withstand the impact.  You'd think a species that managed interstellar travel where at least that smart.

But it's OK, because the aliens conveniently land near a communication system that they can use to phone home.  Which must have been where they where going anyway since they made no terminal course corrections.  On the other hand whenever we see this system used, it shoots some type of energy beam into space at what looks to be sub-light velocity.  So I guess the aliens are cool with waiting 150 years for their backup to arrive.

It's not clear whether the aliens are there to conquer the planet or not.  If I was going to take over a planet, and I had a supply line of over 100 light years, I'd want to come with overwhelming force.  Especially if I didn't know my enemies capabilities.  I guess they could have been a scouting force.  Yeah, again that only makes sense if they are fairly incompetent.  The aliens also bounce between having a Predator style don't kill civilians code of conduct and generic kill em all evilness.  Further muddying their motivations.

Their weapons are also impractical. One is a non-guided mortar-style weapon similar to an old Hedgehog anti-submarine rocket.  It seems to have a pretty short range with no terminal guidance, and would be a terrible weapon for a spaceship.   The weapon depends on gravity to hit its target.  It wouldn't work in space.  Another is a spinning buzz-saw thing that's massively more effective.  To the point where they should probably just shoot that one first in every situation.  The ships kind of hop about awkwardly over the water like they don't have enough anti-grav to just hover.  I'm not sure they could get these things back into space if they wanted to.  And they have wind shields that can conveniently be pierced by a .50 cal rifle.

I've come up with one plausible explanation that allows the movie to make sense.  The aliens where just a bunch of random space miners.  They got lost, ran out of fuel, and made a last ditch effort to land on a habitable planet.  They probably tracked back the signal the humans where sending out into space.  They want to call home for a pick up, but the primitive inhabitants are hostile and needlessly violent.  They can't seem to break the communication barrier so first contact get's royally screwed.  The miners have to use their mining charges and cutting equipment to defend themselves.  They hoped the primitives would get the point that they are not out for blood by only firing on people that shoot them first.  But alas the humans where dumb and kept shooting at them.

Would have been a much better movie.  There's other things wrong.  Too many to enumerate.  OK, one more.  The aliens jam radar, but the human CIWS can still shoot down the alien mortars.  CIWSs are RADAR guided!  That just annoyed me to no end.

Friday, February 15, 2013

RIP GW's Facebook Page

It looks like the main GW Facebook pages are "down for maintenance".  Yes we're all dumb and don't know how Facebook works, we'll swallow that one whole.  The word is that the local store Facebook pages will handle all communication from now on.

@voxcaster is still up.  But there hasn't been a tweet in 4 days as of this posting.

In the good news Space Marines can take Stormravens.  Hurray-he says sarcastically in the style of Lana Kane...


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

40K Tournament in Kokomo 2-23

Thaat's where we waAAana goOOooo way down to Kokomo...


Now that's stuck in your head.  You're welcome.

Anyway 40K Tournament in Kokomo 2-23.

I can't make it due to other commitments, but you should go.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

GW thinks they have exclusive rights to "Space Marine"

Me thinks there is prior art.

Anyway, they are going after some author who wrote a children's book called "Spots the Space Marine" for trademark infringement.  How can it be infringement?  Spots is a girl.  Everyone KNOWS GW space marines can't be girls cause they have cooties or something.

If you think GW is being a bit ridiculous, find out how to help here.

I'm considering sending in a "Drop this case, or I never buy your product again" email like PopeHat suggests.      I just don't feel like I should be giving these jerks my money anymore.  If it's not their inferior product its their  asshole corporate tactics.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

SO ANGRY!!!

Q: The Farseer Psychic Powers rules state that they do not require the
Eldar Psyker to have line of sight to the target. Does this mean that they
can be used by an Eldar psyker embarked on a Transport? (p28)
A: No.
RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Like Eldar really need another kick to the groin.
Q: If Seeker Missiles are fired at a Zooming Flyer or Swooping Flying
Monstrous Creature, what To Hit roll do they require? (p31)
A: 6+
So a 6+ marker-light followed by a 6+ seeker.  Sigh.

I don't know what to say really.  I'm close to shelving 40K until I see a new Tau or Eldar codex.  Tired of playing a game where the deck is stacked against me.  I don't want to have to play allies or the flavor of the month army to have fun.  It's bad game design when a faction cannot stand on it's own.  It's bad product management to let parts of your line rot for 6 years at a time.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Passed the Gauntlet

It's a new year, and all the traveling and sundry commitments have cleared up.  As in, I should be making it to G2D4 this weekend.  Though, man, it's been at least since October that I played any 40K.   Wouldn't say I've been missing it terribly.  I did want to go to the tournament on the 22nd last month, but I came down with a stomach virus the morning of.

I have been getting in other games though.  I played in the X-Wing Kessel Run at the Game Preserve and won a pre-release Slave 1.  I went to a classic Star Wars CCG tournament in Champaign.  Went 2 and 2 there, and only in one of the losses did I get a major beat-down.  Pretty decent with new decks and only playing about 2 games in the last 10 years.  The guys who ran it have re-started up an IL/IN tournament circuit for the game.  I suggested G2D4 for the next one and we are having it there on the 19th.  Yesterday I broke down and bought a sealed box of the final expansion off Amazon.

My general Star Wars enthusiasm may be tapering down.  I've re-ran through all the good stuff.  Now all that's left is Keven J. Anderson, New Jedi Oder(plus everything that comes after) and prequels.  Ghack.  Oh, wait, this came out yesterday.   Ocean's 11 with Lando, Han, and Chewie?  Yes, please.

Edit: I noticed that I misspelled Order in the above paragraph.  Decided to stick with it as it justly describes my feelings for the general direction of the EU post Visions of the Future.