Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Fields of Blood 40k Teams Championship

 Over the weekend I ran the inaugural 40k FOB Teams Champs here in Wellington. Six teams of five in a round robin using the WTC rules.

Everyone was very relaxed and overall seemed to enjoy themselves. It was great to have a team come down from the north. Certain appreciate the drive they had to make.

First Place, with 4 wins and a draw went to the Properly Cocked Team made up of Steve Joll, Aaron Wilson, Louis Thomson-Gregg, Jordan Green and Sean Sullivan. Four of the team were scheduled to take part in this year's WTC in Austria before the Covid intervened. The armies they used were Tau, Imperial Soup, Admech, Aeldari and Death Guard/Chaos Knights.

Second Place went to the team captained by Ryan Stuart (Tyranids/GSC). He was joined by Locky Reid (Sisters), Paul Knieriem (Grey Knights), Scott Paterson (Tau) and Sam Whitt (CSM/Thousand Sons). They won three games and drew one.

Third Place went to the Auckland Raiders (2 wins, 2 draws). A loss in Round 2 to the team finishing 5th ultimately proved costly.

Great to come out of lockdown with such a fun event. Looking forward to doing it again late 2020/early 2021.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

40k - The Great Mat Controversy

Yesterday saw the breaking of the first real piece of controversy around the new edition.

This was the changing of table size for a 2000 point game to a minimum 60” x 44” (currently most games are on 72” x 48”).

Cue much gnashing of teeth.

The Current Recommended Mat Size Cut to the New Minimum Mat Size

Both GW and the playtesters (one of which is the biggest US producer of mats and owner of the ITC) have said that 2000 point games have been balanced on the new minimum size. FLG have also indicated that they are shifting production to the new size.

So what does this mean for TOs? Especially those who have invested in 6’ x 4 ‘ mats.  Well I think you have three options:

1. Move to 60” x 44” - either by buying new mats or cutting/marking existing mats
2. Stay at 72” x 48” and accept the game is “balanced” for a smaller playing area
3. Do something else

At the moment I am erring towards the last of these options for events I run. I’ll effectively mark off the 12” from one short edge to give me a 60” x 48”  playing area. Yes, there will be 2” extra depth each side for a Daw of War deployment but I don’t think that will necessarily be unbalancing. It is however a practical and pragmatic solution to the new dynamics. It also doesn’t involve physical altering the mats so they can’t be used as 6’x4’ if GW changes again.

I likely use masking tape to delineate the edge but may use marker pen if that proves problematic.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Benefits of Lockdown Continue

Last weekend I was asked whether I has some certain bits a mate wanted for a conversion.

Now all my bits are sorted and bagged.

Back to the basement with you!!!!!

40k - Thoughts on What We Know So Far re New Edition

Over the course of the past week GW has released teasers on the new edition of 40k.

Everything that we have seen so far seems to point to a desire to speed the game up. They have foreshadowed a reduction in army size by pointing towards matched play occurring at 2000 points but with a likely increase in points costs. This morning it was flagged that the minimum sized table for 2000 points is 60” x 44”  - and importantly the game was playtested (and presumably balanced) on that sized table. FLG - one of the biggest producers of mats and ITC owner - have indicated that their own events will be moving to that table size.

We also got the new army structure rules.  CPs are determined by army size and you then purchase detachments. The cost of the detachment is refunded if your Warlord is part of it. I am hoping that where you buy additional detachments and these are outside your faction/legion/chapter/craft world then these are punitive. Something like 8CPs for non-battalion different legion please! Make the cost of soup hurt (I know it won’t because “Freedom”).

We also saw an Americanisation of missions. The US gaming scene doesn’t like uncertainty as much as GW has had in the past. The ITC and Nova packs have removed variability and allowed players to largely “choose their own adventure” rather than have to react to uncertainty. Personally, I think this makes the ITC missions very bland, the variability being muted.

The other concern about the missions is the scoring. It appears that there will be more points on offer. While this can create granularity in score, it does look that there will be more bookkeeping. One of the benefits of the current GW and ITC Scoring is that it is straightforward with little room for error.

Overall the material to date looks quite encouraging. I don’t like to judge without seeing the whole product....however it doesn’t stop the internet. The ability to “see” the full system based on limited data points appears the default mode for a lot of commentators.

Looking forward to seeing what else GW previews.

Friday, May 29, 2020

40K - New Rules Update Signalled

Last weekend GW signalled that the Warhammer 40,000 ruleset is going to be updated in the near future (I suspect that Covid response has delayed the original timeline).

They also unveiled their snazzy new logo

The current edition was a full rules re-write and, thankfully, they have indicated that this update will be just that - an update. While the core rules might increase from the current 8 pages, the expansion won't be considerable.
So what would I like to see in this update?
  • Core rules largely stay the same - use the update to remove some of the unintended consequences that exhaustive play teased out
  • Removal of some of the "feelz badsyz" in the rules - stacking of modifiers, line of sight abuses, situations where you can't interact etc.
  • Introduction of better (some) terrain rules
  • Punitive disincentives to "Soup" for competitive play
  • Continuation of the semi annual FAQs and annual Chapter Approved (Points Update) balancing
  • Love to see a mechanism that charge guaranteed if charged unit overwatches; If they choose not to overwatch then you must roll to see if contacted
All of this amounts to largely housekeeping. The current version of the 40k rules is the one I find the most enjoyable since I started in 3rd Ed. Overall, I dislike combo-40k and believe the game should be settled in the tactics you employ/decisions you make rather the building of (probably) unintended combos. My understanding is that this edition is better than 7th in this regard. However anything that further limits that - modifier stacking, character abuse - is all good in my eyes.

I can't wait to see what they come up with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

40k - FOB NZ Open - Photos #3

Here are the final photos from March's NZ Open. Hopefully we'll soon be back to tournaments as restrictions to stop you running into the 20 people in the country currently symptomatic with Covid-19, are lifted.

Some people just want to see the world burn!!!!!

Imperial Desecration Imminent 

There Goes the Neighbourhood!

It's an AdMech Life

The Thin Grey Line......of Paladins

Monday, May 25, 2020

40k - Post Psychic Awakening Harlequin List

Post PA, I have made to changes to the 2000 point Harlequin list I was running.

Firstly, I dropped a Skyweaver bike to provide the points for a Death Jester. This fellow has been given the "Humbling Cruelty" - No Overwatch - Pivotal Role. He has also been made my Warlord (safer than a Shadowseer) and he takes the Player of the Twilight Warlord Trait. This allows regeneration of CP - critical in the post PA Harlequin World.

So the list I'm using reads:

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Aeldari - Harlequins) [80 PL, 1,430pts, 4CP] ++

Masque Form: The Soaring Spite: Serpent's Blood

Enigmas of the Black Library (2 Relics) [-3CP]

+ HQ [11 PL, 183pts, -1CP] +

Shadowseer [7 PL, 110pts, -1CP]: Hallucinogen Grenade Launcher, Miststave, Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Smite, Stratagem: Pivotal Role [-1CP], Shadowstone; Twilight Pathways, Fog of Dreams

Troupe Master [4 PL, 73pts]: Choreographer of War, Relic, Fusion Pistol [7pts], Harlequin's Embrace [6pts], Plasma Grenades

+ Troops [20 PL, 388pts] +

Troupe [5 PL, 118pts]
. 4x Player [1 PL, 25pts]: Fusion Pistol [7pts], Harlequin's Caress [7pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 18pts]: Fusion Pistol [7pts], Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenades

Troupe [5 PL, 104pts]
. 3x Player [1 PL, 25pts]: Fusion Pistol [7pts], Harlequin's Caress [7pts], Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 18pts]: Fusion Pistol [7pts], Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 11pts]: Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 83pts]
. 4x Player [1 PL, 18pts]: Fusion Pistol [7pts], Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenades
. Player [1 PL, 11pts]: Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 83pts]
. 4x Player [1 PL, 18pts]: Fusion Pistol [7pts], Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenade
. Player [1 PL, 11pts]: Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

+ Elites [3 PL, 45pts] +

Death Jester [3 PL, 45pts]: Humbling Cruelty, Player of the Twilight, Shrieker Cannon, Warlord

+ Fast Attack [26 PL, 494pts] +

Skyweavers [13 PL, 270pts]
. 5x Skyweaver [46pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [6pts]
. Skyweaver [40pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Star Bolas

Skyweavers [13 PL, 224pts]
.4x  Skyweaver [46pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Zephyrglaive [6pts]
. Skyweaver [40pts]: Haywire Cannon [15pts], Star Bolas

+ Dedicated Transport [20 PL, 320pts] +

4x Starweaver [5 PL, 80pts]: 2x Shuriken Cannon [20pts]

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Aeldari - Harlequins) [37 PL, 568pts, 5CP] ++

Masque Form: The Frozen Stars: Hysterical Fury

+ HQ [11 PL, 183pts] +

Shadowseer [7 PL, 110pts]: Hallucinogen Grenade Launcher, Miststave,  Shield From Harm, Shuriken Pistol, Smite, Twilight Pathways, Shards of Light

Troupe Master [4 PL, 73pts]: Choreographer of War, Fusion Pistol [7pts], Harlequin's Embrace [6pts], Plasma Grenades

+ Troops [21 PL, 287pts] +

Troupe [11 PL, 177pts]
. 3x Player [1 PL, 11pts]: Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. 4x  Player [1 PL, 18pts]: Harlequin's Kiss [7pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol
. 4x Player [1 PL, 18pts]: Harlequin's Caress [7pts], Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 55pts]
. 5x Player [1 PL, 11pts]: Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

Troupe [5 PL, 55pts]
. 5x Player [1 PL, 11pts]: Harlequin's Blade, Plasma Grenades, Shuriken Pistol

+ Elites [5 PL, 98pts] +

Solitaire [5 PL, 98pts]: Blitz, Relic, Harlequin's Caress [7pts], Harlequin's Kiss [7pts]

++ Total: [117 PL, 1,998pts, 9CP] ++

My "free" Relic is Shadowstone on the Soaring Spite Shadowseer with variable relics on SS Troupe Master and Frozen Stars' Solitaire. I also take an additional Pivotal Role on my SS Shadowseer.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

40K - First Post PA Clown Run

Yesterday Sam came down and I had my first game on my new table. We were using the WTC rulespack ahead of the FoB Teams Championship. Sam was using a mixed Thousand Sons/Emperor’s Children force while I had mono Harlequins. I was using the new White Dwarf PA Rules for the Murder Clowns. 

Looking across at the Chaos lines the Daemon Princes, Lord, Noise Marines and Havocs used the buildings for cover. I did much the same and gave Sam the first turn, putting the onus of him to break cover first. 

What followed was a cagey game. I had a massive advantage in mobility and both of us had ranged weapons that were limited to 24” or closer (bar two blastmasters). As a result I knew that I needed to match any early Scoring from Sam and I’d be set up for late game scoring. Sam sent out his Tzangor screens to pick up points and I was able to largely keep pace on the scoreboard by killing them as they emerged. 

The key to the battle proved to be our reserves. Sam committed his Terminators and took out my two small Frozen Stars units. I was able to bring down my large Frozen Stars Troupe and they were able to stick a 9” charge from Deep Strike. They killed a cultist unit and then camped on an objective in cover. To counter Sam sent across his depleted Noise Marines and reduced them from 11 to 5. However the 20 Caress and 5 Kiss Attacks were able to reduce them to where they failed morale. That really proved the key fight in the game.

I was helped substantially through the game by my new Warlord Trait Player of Twilight. I had taken this to give me sufficient Command Points to power the clowns. Over the course of the game I believe I generated 7-8 additional CPs and this really tilted the balance my way. I had sufficient CPs to allow my Solitaire to fight twice which led to the depletion of the big block of Noise Marines, reducing the attacks on my Frozen Stars

The last couple of turns my force was able to come forward and pick up enemy units including killing Sam’s Smash Lord in a fusion drive by.

Overall I was impressed by the versatility of the post PA Harley but I believe that the result was heavily influenced by the extra CP. I suspect 4-5 additional CP would be a more realistic expectation.

Friday, May 22, 2020

40K - FOB NZ Open - Photos #2

Here are the second tranche of photos from The NZ Open in March 

Alistair Helm's Tau occupy the city in a civil war

Jordan Green's Death Guard supported by Chaos Knights

Space Marines occupy a strong defensive position

Opposite the Orks fortify their own lines

Aaron Wilson's Ad Mech 

...... lined up against The Greater Good

Thursday, May 21, 2020

40k _ FOB NZ Open - Photos

The inaugural Fields of Blood NZ Open was scheduled for 21/22 March. Two days before the event our venue canceled my booking due to Covid-19 fears. Luckily I was able to secure a new venue and the event went ahead.

The numbers attending fell from 76 to 43 participants as out of towners, in particular, chose to drop out. This was totally understandable given the fast moving situation at the time. It was great to have the event, especially as it preceded seven weeks of lockdown here in New Zealand.

I took a lot of photos at the tournament and over the next three days will post them up.

Sam Nightingale navigating his Ultramarines on one of the City Tables

Aaron Twose's Imperial Fists suffering bombing runs from the forces of Chaos

A Leviathan walks out onto a lonely airfield

Sean Sullivan's Imperial Soup seeks to turn back the Green Tide

Scott Paterson looks on while his Tau wreak havoc....or at least fail to die