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!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tau Sun Shark Rules Rundown

Here is a quick rules rundown of the Tau Sun Shark from the upcoming codex:
Armor/BS: 11, 10, 10, 3HP, BS3
160 points base
  • Pulse Bomb Generator - S5 AP5, Large Blast, Bomb
  • Missile Pod - S7 AP4
  • Networked Markerlight
  • 2 Seeker missiles (S8 AP3)
  • 2 Interceptor Drones
5 points more nets you a twin-linked missile pod - so really, why not? You can also select vehicle upgrades from the armory but I'm not sure dumping more points into such a fragile unit is worth it.

For me, the most interesting thing about this flyer are the interceptor drones. These guys are armed with twin-linked Ion Rifles (30" S7 AP4, rapid fire) and come with a bevy of special rules:
  • Skyfire
  • Interceptor
  • Afterburners
  • High speed deployment
  • Supporting fire
First off, the ion rifles have an additional firing protocol which nets you a 30" S8 AP4, small blast at the expense of a Gets Hot! roll. Not too terrible when you consider the drones are only BS2 and twin-linked means you can re-roll the Gets Hot. 2 Strength 8 shots is enough to put paid to most side armor in the game.

Skyfire and interceptor should be fairly obvious - park these guys midfield and wait for a pot shot at your opponents Zooming flyer. Afterburners let these guys Turbo boost and High speed deployment allows the drones to disembark during the movement phase even if the flyer is in Zooming mode. Supporting fire is the new Tau special rule allowing fire support of friendly units in Overwatch.

What you end up with is a interesting flyer that can drop a decent strength large blast in the movement phase, disembark some fairly nasty little hornets, and still grab a shot at a different unit (with what appears to be a turret mount) with a decent, twin-linked, light armor killer. And did I mention the seeker missiles? Oh yeah and them too. Between the turret mount missile pod and the ability for seekers to reach out a touch anyone, anywhere it shouldn't matter which way the Shark ends up facing at the end of the movement phase.

The drones of course will make an easy target and likely get swatted pretty quickly. But with some judicious placement they could live long enough to do some damage to either a ground or air target.

Any thoughts on this interesting new unit? Would you consider running it?

As a footnote, the Razorshark has the same stat line but comes armed with:
Quad Ion Cannon - S7 AP4 4 shots
Burst cannon (S5 AP5 4 shots) or Missile pod for +5pts (S7 AP4 2 shots)
2 Seekers missiles

At 145 points, it's not a bad little Air to Air fighter but to me lacks the X factor of the drones. Still probably a better choice in the battle for air supremacy that has become 40k.

How are you going to build your 'shark kit? Are you even going to get one?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Art of Empathy - Gamer Style

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. In the business universe, this concept has been adapted into the Art of Empathy - a set of personality models used to assess and empathize with prospective clients as a way to ensure a successful business relationship. A personality model is simply a set of descriptors that combine to form a recognizable archetype. The Art of Empathy details a matrix of four personality models with the goal of identifying an individual's personality as a gradation between any two models in the matrix. Identifying a person's placement within this matrix allows the user to better empathize and support that person's needs within a business setting

This got me to thinking whether the same might hold true within a gamer setting - namely would it be possible to identify and empathize with an individual on the basis of where they would fall within a set of gamer archetypes. The ultimate goal with this concept is to create a better gaming environment by understanding your opponent in advance and tailoring your game direction and preconceptions to how your opponent understands the game.
The simple notion here is to identify the type of gamer based on this set of traits. The matrix is comprised of two sets of diametrically opposed traits. Someone who is strictly a Painter by definition cannot be a Player as he does not enjoy the play aspects of a miniature game and a strict Player has no desire to paint miniatures and is happy to play with any representation of game figures. A Formalist plays strictly within a game universe which means using only prescribed models and/or models developed specifically for a game system. In opposition, the Inventor takes pleasure in using whatever models/conversions as he sees fits, which could include models from other systems, extensive conversions to "count as" something else, etc. 

Having said all of that, very few gamers will fit neatly into any one of these four personality models. The gradient arrows in the graphic above represent a sliding scale of personality traits and I maintain that any gamer will exist within one of these gradients. For example, I find myself somewhere between the Inventor and the Player, with a general tendency toward the Inventor model. All of my miniature armies have some aspect of heavy conversion to them and I tend to use rules that show off these conversions to good effect. However, I still build lists that are intended to be effective in normal game play and do enjoy getting deep into the rules mechanics.

Where do you see yourself within this matrix? How about your friends? Would using this matrix to better understand how your opponent sees the game help you to adjust your perceptions and thereby have a better game? Did I miss the mark with these models? Are they nuanced enough to capture the type of gamer personalities that you have experienced?

As a footnote, the following are visual cues to identify a given type of gamer:

The Player
  • Models painted to a basic standard (or unpainted)
  • Proxied models that are being used to "play test" a unit or option
  • Multiple units that are identical, or nearly so, to provide list redundancy
The Formalist
  • Models painted within a specific theme including unit markings and identifiers
  • Army lists that are self-limiting in order to represent a theme "in game"
  • Will have a depth of models within a specific theme (i.e. every unit from a given army)
The Painter
  • Will have one of many different models
  • Will be painted to a very high standard
  • Will actually not be at a gaming table to game (i.e. is probably just entered into a painting contest)
The Inventor
  • Heavy use of conversions throughout the army
  • May be using a ruleset that "plays as" the intended theme of the army
  • Will have "counts as" options that are consistent throughout the entire army

Friday, January 25, 2013

Adepticon - Team Remote Presence

Remote Presence is sponsoring one of the top teams in the 40k gamerverse. Having gathered gamers from near the D.C. Metro area, this fearsome foursome could likely prove to be this season's solid middle performers!

In the run-up to the grand weekend here are a couple of pics of Lo Pan's DKoK army:
Here is a pic of the beginnings of a hoard. The basic team with be two 1k lists each comprising a twenty-five man infantry platoon.

A close-up shot of the heavy weapons team - looks like someone brought an air-guitar to a gun fight!

This was all Tim's idea - he loves DKoK!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quadcopter UAV

These guys do a very quality series on R/C vehicles. In this one they test an Arduino based chipset that basically allows any RC plane or copter to become a drone (UAV). This video also shows how you can fly a quadcopter via First Person View (FPV) with a remotely transmitting camera and a goofy set of goggles.

I would recommend skipping forward to the bit where the copter is flying hands free. You will also see a demo of the FPV technology shortly:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Miniatures Up for Bid

This may be the first of many posts in which I am selling off a good chunk of my miniature wargaming gear. No, I am not leaving the hobby but I am consolidating as I embark in a new one - Arudino-powered UAV-based gyrocopters! More on that mouthful in another post.

The following link takes you to my ebay listings. If you win an auction, drop me a note for discounted (or perhaps free) shipping:
Austin's Ebay Goodies

I also have a good size collection of painted/based Tyranids (2 color airbrushed - but its still painted). Leave me a comment if you are interested in checking them out for a quick sale.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dark Angels 6e Rules Preview

Given the dearth of Dark Angels rules rumors, I figured I would post a translation from the Spanish site Akiba Station. With only three days remaining, this post will soon be OBE (overtaken by events) but at least its something to whet your appetite:

General Rules
  • The special rule "Inner Circle" gives hatred against Chaos Space Marines and Courage.
  • The table of Warlord includes options to increase the turboboost 1D6 of motorcycles, rabid Assault, +1 / -1 to the roll of reserves, courage, feel no pain
  • Belial will cost 190 points and can change their weapons as now at no additional charge. Allows Deathwing Terminators as troops.
  • Land Speeder Sammael has its shield 14 as an alternative. Allows bikes are troops.
  • Azrael allows bikes and terminators as troops. Gives a 4 + invulnerable to his unit and his power weapon is S6 AP3.
  • No specific psychic Dark Angels. However Ezekiel has an AP2 S4 attack, if this hurts the enemy and survive, subtract 3 to its BS and WS.

Deathwing Knights
  • +1 To their strength if in base contact with each other
  • The champion's CCW is S +2, AP3

  • The champion's CCW is S +2, AP2
  • Land Raider gets Venerable rule (re-roll result in damage table) - "Deathwing Vehicle" upgrade for 30 pts

Land Speeder Revenge
  • The plasma turret is S7 AP2, 3 shots or large blast shot

Land Speeder Shroud (80 pts)
  • Has the dark rule, which gives +2 to their cover save.
  • A 6 "units have +1 to their cover save.

Ravenwing Dark Talon
  • Vortex Cannon: Strength 5, AP-, small blast, blindness.

Nephilim Jetfighter (about 150/160 pts)
  • Megabolter revenge: Strength 6, AP4, Heavy 5
  • Blacksword Missile: Strength 6, AP4
  • Relentless Hunter: Allows exchanging a result of the enemy weaponry destroyed by an immobilized result.

Black Knights Ravenwing (126 pts, unit of 3)
  • Hammer Corvus: Strength +1, AP-, Rending
  • The plasma have a range of 18 "rapid fire. Seems to provide a special rule to bolter shots later.
  • The champion carries the Sword of Caliban, A +1 AP3.

Command Squad Ravenwing.
  • Same points as the Black Knights.

Ravenwing (80 points, unit of 3)