Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This explains EVERYTHING

Just read a post on Dakka that explains the level of discourse about 40K.

40K is a beer and pretzels game for 12 year olds.

Get it!  If someone makes about as much sense talking about 40K as a drunk 12 year old: it's because they are!

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.