Sunday, May 10, 2015

To All the Tournaments Screwing with 40k Restrictions

Not that I have a dog in the fight, 'cause I truly don't. Just felt this meme to be of good use given the current anti-direction in 40k.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Warhammer 40k - Into the Darkness

He said it. . . . He had summed up—he had judged. ‘The horror!’ 
- Heart of Darkness, Joesph Conrad

If you haven't read it, I wholly recommend the Heart of Darkness. It's a quick short story that meditates on imperialism and godhead and seems to somehow fit the view of the current state of 40k. Kurtz is portrayed as a heretical figure, established as both a counterpoint and a testament to colonial imperialism. Not to roll poor Conrad over in his grave with the analogy, but 7th Ed 40k seems to hold much the same place in the dark hearts of many gamers.

Enough with the pedantic, quasi-intellectualism! My personal take on 40k7E is FINALLY! The wheel has turned and we are finally back to Basement 40k. Having only gotten in a handful of games, new 40k feels like we have reverted to a kitchen sink approach to the game while still retaining some of the formality and structure evolved from 3rd through 6th. 

Perhaps the biggest change for my gaming cohort is the inclusion of super heavies and the attendant gargantuan creatures in the main rulebook. This is a welcome respite in that now we can easily break out the big stuff without having to rely on ownership of myriad Forgeworld and Apocalypse books. You can take them or leave them, but when you decide to play them the rules are readily available.

I played a game recently with a Warhound armed with a plasma blastgun and a turbo laser destructor. At a bundle of points, he well ate into the 2k of my army and was totally worth his points at range. But then he was charged and tied up by a Chaos marine sorcerer and some spawn for two turns negating his massive guns and relegating him to Stomp attacks. Granted he had blown away a Transcendent C'Tan so there were no complaints from my side of the field.

Predictions being worth less than the digital ether they occupy, I would say that 40k7E is here to stay for a while. There is a level of refinement in the rules that I have not seen in the many years playing the game. Even the quality of the rule set far outstrips anything that GW has published and is one of the first sets that I feel are truly worth the investment. The lack of a "special" special edition is the one drawback in my estimation (I have both the 4th and 5th limited books) but honestly the three book set feels more quality than even previous special editions.

The core rules and a general move towards datasheets gives this edition more upgradability than any past. Our gaming cohort already played "unbound" armies depending on scenario so there is nothing new there. The addition of tac objectives cards really opens up a variety of play and I encourage people to generate and share their own unique tactical objectives. In a previous post, I shared a version of the core objective cards printable as Avery business cards and I think this is a great format in which to add your own objectives.

As gamers, we now have a common ruleset for fielding everything from the lowly grunt to heavy tanks to fliers to massive monsters cavorting across the canvas that is each of our games. Expand your mind and your tablespace to multi-table battles that range the depth and breadth of the 40k universe.

Clearly, I am a 40K7E enthusiast. Even with GW removing units from new codices, I encourage players to plumb their old books - use the units that GW saw fit to remove! The new guard book removed units wholesale yet including units from the old books (modified slightly with updated gear costs) grants an amazing level of flexibility in games that can be played. In my Basement 40k, spore pods are welcome; imperial armor encouraged; and forgotten xenotech a must if the game played is made that much more diverse.

Games Workshop has designed a game for everyone to play and I find myself diving head first into "the horror" that so long ago encouraged both my creativity and (meager) modelling skills.

40k - Printable Tactical Objective Cards

Given that the 7th Edition Tactical Objective Cards are currently out of stock almost everywhere, I figured I would post a printable set that I typed up. These are designed to print on Avery pre-cut business cards (I used Avery 28877) but can be printed on any stock and cut up accordingly.

I created fronts and backs for the cards. Print on one side, flip, then print on the other.

Tac Objectives Front

Tac Objectives Back

Edit: Moved the docs over to to docdroid. Should be much easier to download as PDF.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Predictions for Codex: Inquistion

Update: It seems like I am close to the mark. Take a look at the Daemonblade entry in the above image. Word for word from Codex: Grey Knights. This is looking more like a word-for-word translation from the Grey Knights rather than a true update.

This post is strictly for my own amusement as I attempt some prognostication regarding Codex: Inquisition based on the recent spate of supplement releases. I know nothing about the actual contents of the book.

Warlord traits - new d6 table
Wargear - same as C:GK minus grey knight specifics

HQ - Inquisitors (new/old named and generic) same ordo split and wargear options from C:GK 

Elite - Assassins from C:GK

Troops - Henchmen with same options from C:GK

Dedicated transports - chimera, rhino, and land raider (LR possible Inquisitor only)

Fast - Storm Raven (C:GK version)

Heavy - Land raider

And that's it... I realize that this looks like a fairly cynical view but this would allow someone to field an entirely Inquisition force if that is the desire. There will be some new background and perhaps more named inquisitors but no new units and I would be surprised in they brought back stormtroopers as a standalone troop choice (these are easily represented with current henchman options).

I would like to see a return to the flavor of the Lord Inquisitors of the Daemon Hunters book along with unique psychic powers, artifacts, funky new retinue options, etc. Honestly, I even find the rumors of plastic stormtroopers to be wholly far fetched. The current rumor sounds like a far-to-complete listing of sprue bits from a guy who supposedly only got a quick look at the models. Sounds more like wish listing to my ears.

Alright enough Debbie downer stuff. Like I said, this post is for my own amusement and only useful as a way to see if I managed to roll up an accurate Divination power for this release!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Unreleased Tau Models

I was going through some old pictures from Games Day, 2008 and discovered some snaps of prototype and upcoming models. Most had since been released (specifically the AoBR set which was huge at this Games Day), but there were two Tau-related models that have yet to see the light of day. These are old news but I wanted to put a record of them on my blog before I delete the pictures.
This kroot shaper would have made an amazing edition to the kroot line. The pose is very dynamic and really gives a sense of how brutal the kroot fight in close combat.

This tau battlesuit pilot is clearly in a bad way - what with entrails hanging out the side and all. But he steadfastly refuses to give up a kill point. Too bad is likely we'll never see the model in person.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Here Kome the Kroot

When I started playing Tau back in 2005, I remember reading through the book thinking what's the deal with these ugly kroot models?! Their look was a complete reversal from that of the Tau - rather than the sleek helmeted lines of the firewarriors, the kroot presented an animalistic facade closer to feral creatures than a sentient life. Needless to say, I was not impressed and for a time refused to consider playing with kroot. However, as I dug into their background (inter-galactic mercenaries who seem to be "gaming" their allies for better guns), I really started to like the extra dimension that they added to the Tau Empire.

The clincher for me was the discovery of the Kroot Mercenaries PDF (ping me if you are looking for this). Kroot Mercenaries was a variant list that allowed kroot to be taken as allies to a number of forces or to be run as an army in its own right. Granted the list was almost impossible to play on its own given the distinct lack of effective anti-armor. But the variety of new kroot units (winged kroot, mounted kroot, kroot shaper council, etc.) made for some compelling conversion opportunities. In addition, the army list rules actually advanced the background by allowing kroot to have specific upgrades based on the general species that they had frequently dined on.

From there I was hooked. I made some ebay purchases, messed around with conversions, and tried some quick painting techniques (which failed miserably) to bring them up to table top standard. Unfortunately, as this hobby goes, I was soon distracted by yet another difficult army to play - the Daemonhunters (not Grey Knights). Soon I was whipping gun metal blue on my Miles Cerulean (Blue Knights) and cheesing out my allied Inquisitor list as best I could - jk.

I have sporadically played my Tau in the years since, but never got back hardcore into the little fish heads. After the Daemonhunters, the Vostroyan Firstborn proved to be sufficiently distracting that I had little time to put paint to anything else and being spoiled for choice in the current IG book has not lent itself to looking back to the Tau.

But of course the wheel turns and we turn with it. The new Tau codex has inexorably drawn me back to the blue guys and I have finally started getting the army up to a table top standard. The good news is that my painting skill (and patience) have increased in the intervening years such that I am better able to do justice (even in an assembly line fashion) to my little, plastic soldiers. Re-enter the kroot...

While my firewarriors definitely need some fresh paint, I have re-discovered my interest in the kroot for their gritty look and updated rules - so they are getting the first cleanup. The rules are an interesting question as a few minor tweaks have fundamentally changed how kroot operate. They lost 1 attack and 1 point of strength which has seriously diminished their close combat ability. Before the update, kroot could make a reasonable stand against space marines and now they are good for picking off a few stragglers in close combat (if they are lucky).

On the flipside, the individual kroot dropped 1 point in cost, gained an armor save (6+), and have access to a shaper that is 33% cheaper than before. Perhaps most importantly, the kroot can now take sniper rounds for 1 point each in addition to their regular kroot rifles.  Without this upgrade, I would argue that the kroot got worse from previous edition to the current - with the upgrade they simply take on a different role in the army.

For 7 points each (6 + 1 for sniper rounds), the kroot become dirt cheap, infiltrating snipers that are fully capable of sniping a heavy weapon or lobbing a volley of S4 firepower or even taking down a monstrous creature. They still act as a great buffer between the precious firewarriors and an oncoming assault horde and with the benefit of markerlights, ethereal powers, and leadership buffs kroot can put out a lot of hurt for a relatively nominal cost.

This post kind of rambled around for a bit when it was really just an excuse to show off the newly painted kroot in the first image. These guys were basecoated with a flat camo khaki from Home Depot, given some base colors (belly, carry-alls, and guns), washed with devlan mud, then punched up with high contrast orange. The orange is my Tau's sept color (sa'cea) so the kroot quills and war paint are meant to tie the army together a little better.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Games Workshop's Formerly Known as Prize Support

I posted this long-winded comment in response to a Brent BoLS post. I liked it so here is a re-post:

GW cutting the cord from indie conventions has turned out to be a boon for the hobby side of the tournament scene. Once upon a time, GW hosted Grand Tournaments which included requirements for Citadel model usage down to the very percentage of GW vs non-GW parts on a model. Many indie events adopted these requirements in order to ensure that GW prize support would not be compromised. People would agonize on forums and chat boards as to whether certain models were tournament "legal" based on the model composition and parts used. This in turn influenced the local gaming scene as few people wanted to pour time into an intricate conversion that could potentially be nixed for use in a tournament.

Having said that, how much truth there was in reality versus perception of model requirements is up to some debate. I don't remember anyone getting kicked out of an event due to a 75% non-GW model. Objectively this did influence the models used by gamers and very much limited the creativity seen in armies both at national and local events.

No longer laboring under the "yoke" of GW prize support, tournaments are free to allow any and every type of model manufacturer at 40k, Fantasy, and LoTR events. Creativity abounds and gone are the forum threads regarding "legal" models - other than the occasional WYSIWYG discussion. The only place where model composition matters is at GW stores and very few tournaments of note (at least in the US) are held at these stores.

Editorial comment: From a business model perspective, GW dropped the ball when they dropped prize support. I realize that this support was sunset in large part because GW had no effective enforcement avenue and that there were abuses of their largess. However, prize support was the only real carrot to enforce the stick of GW-only models - even if the stick was perhaps more perception than reality. Games Workshop has inadvertently opened the doors for other model manufacturers to fill their product void (greatcoat guard, alternate greater daemons, tank and APC variants, etc.) - and these are now all "tournament legal".

From a more mercenary perspective, I would have continued prize support along the more restrictive model requirements and made sure that any prize support was provided by an on-site Games Workshop employee. That employee would have adjudication in deciding whether a given event was in general compliance and describe remedies (punitive or otherwise) when an event was found wanting. This policy would have continued to foster a very stove piped model mentality which had reach both within local communities and at national events and at least provided a chokepoint for the entry of new model makers into the space.

Thankfully that was not the route GW chose - I like the event/tournament scene as it exists today!