Friday, April 29, 2011

Wargaming Clubs - "Elephant in the Room" Time

I have recently started reading a really excellent blog called “Year of Frugal Gaming” where the intent is to “Spend Less, Play More”. In a recent post the guy who writes it focused on the second part of this equation. Here are his thoughts:

As regular readers know, I like to game. I like to paint, I like to model, I like to write my silly little blog, but in the past year I have made a conscious effort to play more games. Inevitably, like many other gamers, I have now started to look around for other gaming experiences; new games systems, new armies, bigger and more spectacular battles. Of course, as a frugal gamer I fear the required expense that comes with these options.

Recently though, I have come across another option, which improves my gaming for minimal outlay; I’m not getting more games systems, I’m getting more gamers. I’ve joined an excellent gaming club.

The benefits of joining a club are well known, but can’t be overstated. Plenty of new players to face, lots of other armies to battle against, trial games of new systems, and even the ability to share lifts to tournaments and other events. Of course, going to a club does have its costs. My club costs me £2.50 per visit for entry, a couple of pounds in petrol and the cost of a couple of drinks. I visit every couple of weeks so the cost averages out quite well, and the idea of laying out my army in front of a room full of other players helps me to focus on getting figures painted and building the best army I can.

So over the last couple of months, I’ve managed to massively expand my gaming, without a huge outlay of cash. I’ve also made a few friends, and brought a new person into the hobby. Playing any existing games you own with new people, whether seasoned pros or n00bs, can be great fun and put a spark back into your gaming. Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

It got me thinking. I was President of our local club, the Wellington Warlords for 5 years finishing up a couple of years ago. Over that time we built up membership to around 120 members. That has now fallen away to 70-80 people but more worrying is that less of these members come to the Club regularly.

This has taken a lot of pleasure out of my gaming as over the past 6 months or so there have been as little as 2-3 tables at some meetings. Like the blogger above part of my premise for belonging to a club is to play a variety of people.

To fill out the background, the Warlords meet weekly alternating at two different venues. They have trestle tables, GW basecloths and terrain. There is plenty of parking and the venues are on bus and train routes. There are no table fees but the annual membership fee is $60 (USD 45; GBP 25; AUD 42) for existing members and $40 for new members. This gives you access to 50 meetings a year for the cost of a box of Space Marines/Clanrats.

Yet the membership premise doesn’t seem to work. I organise a lot of events and these are supported by the local gaming community but this doesn’t flow through to Warlords membership to the extent I would think it should.

So here’s some questions for local gamers.

• What’s your thoughts on the above?
• What is it about club gaming that puts you off?
• What is it about the Warlords specifically?

I’d love to know because it’s in my own selfish interests (greater variety of opponents) to get you along.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Hobby Purchases

Over the weekend I watched a DVD tutorial on Army Painting by Brandon Palmer of GMM Studios. If you click on my blogroll you'll see Brandon's blog featured. He has the ability to turn out seriously great armies in next to no time as evidenced by his recent Players' Choice at Adepticon in Chicago.

The DVD goes for some 4+ hours. It covers the tools you need plus the painting of an Elysian IG army with 3 vehicles and 60 Troops.

I found the sections on required equipment, techniques etc excellent. In particular there is a comprehensive tutorial on using an airbrush on vehicles and also some of the weathering techniques he uses. The parts on detail painting on infantry was less useful but still informative in terms of the overall army.

Inspired by this I went out and made two new purchaces. Both via our local eBay equivalent Trade-Me. The first is an air compressor with a tank (Brandon explains in the DVD why this is important).

The second was a small spray booth. I decided here that discretion was the best part of valour in that my long suffering wife, Lynne commented on the thin black dust that pervades our garage.

I'm really looking forward to doing some airbrushing over the next few months and seeing what results I can achieve. I have 4-5 Tau tanks plus three Iron Warriors Rhinos to act as guinea pigs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Natcon 2011 40k Wrap up + Results

Hey ho fatties!

The Easter weekend saw the annual 3 day event that is the Nationals. This year it was held in Christchurch, which was an experience all in itself.
Christchurch was recently devastated by a fairly sizable earthquake, so seeing the level of destruction up close was something to behold all on its own, let alone the event!

Ruined buildings everywhere was quite a surreal sight, on the way to the venue.

This years 40k event had capped its player limit at 40 players, and reached that with a fairly decent showing from the entire South Island.

Overall the event was.... a bit of a fail. It was fantastic from the point of view of meeting a bunch of new people I hadn't met before, catching up with a few I had, and playing some games of mandollies with a few beers along the way. However, the core of the Christchurch 40k community never managed to adjust to and embrace 5th edition. They yearned for their long lost 4th edition with such a bitter twist that in the end they drove half their own community away from the game, and this really showed through in the running of this event.

Battle Report - Skaven vs. Night Goblins

Jack has been down for the past couple of weeks and from a wargaming point of view I always look forward to these visits because apart from him not painting my models it gives us an opportunity to have a few games.

I had high hopes of at least one Fantasy game and one 40k game so that we could get "new" armies on the table. In the end we only managed the one but this would give jack a chance to show me how to use the "Battle Chronicles" software to post battle reports.

So 2400 points of Skaven vs. Night Goblins (with obligatory Goblin Warboss General). We drew up our armies knowing what army the other player had but no clues as to make up. Jack was obviously using the new Orc & Goblin book and came up with a list of big blocks backed by the various NG toys. After using the Skavenblight Panzer Division at Runefang i decided to use something completely different. My list was:

Grey Seer
Grey Seer
Lvl 1 Engineer
2x Naked Engineers

25 Stormvermin - FC
2x 25 Clanrats - FC
2x 40 Slaves
1x 35 Slaves
2x 6 Gutter Runners
Warp Lightning Cannon
Plagueclaw Catapult
Hell Pit Abomination

Jack had:

Goblin Warboss
Lvl 4 NG Great Shamen
Lvl 2 NG Big Boss
3x 35 Night Goblins - Nets/Fanatics
2x 25 NG Archers
2x 6 Spider Riders
2x 30 Squig Herds
5 Squig Hoppers
Rock Lobber
Doom Diver
2x Fast Hitty Snotling Pump Wagons
4 Trolls

We rolled up Blood & Glory, both with Fortitude 6. Jack chose sides and I won roll for first turn

We both set up our blocks in the centre. I wanted to use my magic and Jack to flood the centre with fanatics so that my heavy hitters would need to go through them to get into the blocks. I deployed one unit of Gutter Runners in the Tower to try and neutralise the Squig Hoppers early.

In my first turn, out went the naked Engineers to try and muddy any Fanatic tricks and give my Seers a chance to ply their trade. The General got Plague off on the central Squig Hoppers but in the process managed to wound himself, his twin and the Engineer. The Warp Lightning Cannon and Plagueclaw catapult hit the Goblin Generals unit reducing it down to single digits. Unfortunately the NG Level 2 Shamen failed his LOS and died an ignominious death.From the Tower the Gutter Runners killed two Squig Hoppers which hopefully would force them onto the defensive.

The Goblin Warboss and BSB scurried off to a safer home. Unfortunately for Jack the Squig Herd on his right squabbled drawing in the nearby NG archers. The NG on the left involuntarily decided to charge the naked Engineer and the central Squig Herd the same. The Trolls charged the other engineer who decided to flee. The NGs failed charge but the Squig Herd made it in killing the Engineer. The Suig Hoppers moved backways while the Pump Wagons and Mangler did similar.

Turn 2 saw my Doomwheel hit the Spider Riders while the Gutter Runners moved out of the Tower. My leftmost Clanrats took one for the team by charging the Squig Herd and exploding the Fanatic. This allowed the HPA to charge in support which sealed the Squig's fate.

The Grey Seer cast Plague on NG2 which caused them to panic taking the Goblin Warboss and BSB with them. The Doomwheel exploded the Spider Riders which caused the other NGs to panic, running into the centre.

The third NG unit panicked from shooting from the Warplightning Cannon and turned tail.

Fortunately for Jack, all three NG blocks rallied and turned to face the Skaven. The lone Squig Hopper disappeared off to the corner.

The Wolf Chariot charged the Slaves and the contest was drawn. The Chariot tested and held. At the same time the Mangler Squig went through the Doomwheel causing two wounds.

Both the Trolls (stupidly) and Squig Herd moved forward.

My third turn started with the Clanrats charging through another fanatic but this time the HPA came up short. The Doomwheel went into the back of the Chariot while the other Skaven blocks moved back.

The Doomwheel killed the chariot while the NG and Clanrats fought a draw.

In Jack's Turn 4 he put the Pump Wagon into the flank of the HPA causing two wounds before dying. His Doom Diver hit and killed the Doomwheel. Unfortunately however the Rock lobba exploded forcing a panic check on his Warboss unit which failed and exited the table with the BSB.

This broke Jack's army giving the Skaven the win.

Wrap Up:

So what were the lessons learned from this battle? Well Jack twice failed Ld 9 (with BSB reroll) panic tests. This cost him the game.

I learned a few things. If your general is close by you can drop your blocks on fanatics and then tag in your random movers. I think this was quite a good lesson. Happy to tuck it away for future.

Jury is out on two seers. I love it from a defensive point of view in that it gives me two +4 dispel options which means I can use them with two dice to pressure most casting attempts. If I fail it happens some defensive risk is gone. However I'm not sure that two is very efficient. I'll try it again but I'm not seeing it as long term venture.

Doomwheel is still blah in 8th. Not a big fan at all. The PC is great if you don't misfire vs. goblins.

I was able to get a couple of spells off as Jack held dice to stop me skitterleaping naked Engineer into his army triggering all Fanatics. I hadn't thought of it....I'm glad he had :-)

From a play point of view I'm pretty happy to confirm that I prefer a mixed army - not all combat like the SkPD or zappy like this one was. I think the Skaven compete better when they are multi-dimensional (though this was nearer the centre than the SkPD)

The Isle of Mir Avinu

Recently we had the Runefang IV Campaign Weekend that used the Mighty Empires system to generate the battles fought. This saw eight teams battle over the map board I created over a series of five games.

I am running a similar event at Horned Rat in July but now I have some background against which to run the event. So without further ado, welcome to the Isle of Mir Avinu.

This little known island off the coast of the Old World has been disputed for time immemorial. Originally a High Elf staging post for their new colonies, it was seized by a Dwarven fleet during the War of the Beard. However the last few millennia have seen it strangely abandoned until rumours circulated that there may be artefacts buried associated with the Old Ones. This inspired raiding parties to converge on the isle and try to gain a jump on the other races.

A period of fighting has occurred in recent months after the various parties ventured out from their footholds on the island. As the seasons move into winter the known part of Mir Avinu is controlled thus:

Dwarfs = Orange
High Elves = Blue
Empire = Purple
Skaven = Red
Orcs = Green
Chaos = Black

The success of the Orc & Goblin armies over the campaign season can be clearly seen. Two tribes – the Pigstikkas and the Squigchompers – drove a broad swathe through the central territories striking into the heart of lands previously controlled by Man. This push facilitated a southerly migration by the Realm of Men forces where they were blocked by various Skaven infestations.

The two Orc & Goblin Waaghs have now merged into a single “co-ordinated” force and will be looking to keep pushing the Men south. Their major concern appears to be the exposed flank they now have to the Forces of Chaos that are largely marginalised in the southeast corner.

The Skaven spent much of their campaign picking away at the scab which represents the Realm of Man. Very early they had decided their major tool was one of undermining cities and castles and they had much merriment collapsing the structures of the Over-races. Their ultimate strategy is unknown (probably even to them) but there has been talk that vast payments of cured dairy products passed between the Greenskins and the Ratmen.

The other forces of Law and Order appear to have got themselves into a bit of a pickle. The Elves have seen their lands splinter into three separate areas – and history tells us that this sort of sundering is not a good thing. Resources will undoubtedly by directed to linking the three isolated Elven groups as matter of priority.

Finally the Dwarfs. Their lands are now split in two. They hold a sizeable stronghold in the northern mountains but also lands in the south far from the hills. Couriers have been intercepted that indicate that some kind of financial transaction between the Dwarfs and the Realm of Men may occur whereby southern lands will be swapped for gold. This would certainly help finance a Dwarven effort to rid the mountains of Greenskins.

So that is the backdrop against which the second campaign season will occur. Surely all kinds of arcane alliances will manifest themselves over the course of the weekend.

The psychology of choking...

First and foremost, for once I'm not referring to Autoerotic Asphyxiation. No, instead I am referring to the tendency to lose one's nerve at the time it is needed most.

The BBC recently posted a fantastic article on the psychology of choking in sports, that actually draws a lot of parallels to wargaming (and in fact any task one does a large number of times).

I highly recommend reading the article itself, but here are the guts of it:

"In effect, experts and novices use two completely different brain systems. Long practice enables experienced performers to encode a skill in implicit memory, and they perform almost without thinking about it.

This is called expert-induced amnesia. Novices, on the other hand, wield the explicit system, consciously monitoring what they are doing as they build the neural framework supporting the task.

But now suppose an expert were to suddenly find himself using the "wrong" system. It wouldn't matter how good he was because he would now be at the mercy of the explicit system.

The highly sophisticated skills encoded in the subconscious part of his brain would count for nothing. He would find himself striving for victory using neural pathways he last used as a novice.

This is the neurophysiology of choking. It is triggered when we get so anxious that we seize conscious control over a task that should be executed automatically."

What you can do about it is another matter altogether, but as it is with most things - knowing what you're up against is half the battle. Choking is a huge part of the NZ 40k scene, where I've seen some people choking for over half a decade now and not being able to get past this hurdle.

I also think that this has a lot to do with why you see the people who never change their list by much progressively do better and better, to a greater effect than just the impact you would expect to see from getting more practice.

The original article can be found over at the BBC here.
It was originally written particularly focussing on some likely upcoming penalty shootouts in football, and took some time to reference Rory McIlroy's recent public implosion, but is well worth checking out.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What I've been working on

I thought I'd finally get some pictures up of the Dark Eldar I've been painting this year. At the moment, I'm just painting all the models I have, not really worrying about whether they're good or not (as shown by the Harlequins!). I haven't played any games or even made a list yet, so I'm not sure how the army will develop, but it's been a lot of fun so far painting it.

Here are the pics (click to make bigger):


Close-up of Warriors


Close-up of Wyches

Troupe Master


Death Jester

Harlequins (1)

Harlequins (2)

Harlequins (3)

All the Harlequins together

There's also 3 Jetbikes painted that just need their riders finished. Up next is probably going to be a Raider, or perhaps some Hellions. I'm eagerly awaiting the new wave of models coming in June, and can't wait to see the pics of the new models, which should be coming out in the next few weeks!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Goblin's take on Runefang - Day Two + Wrap

After Day One, our team, the Pigstikkas, were gaining momentum after a slowish start in the first two rounds. We were careful not to be too successful, as then we'd get the All or Nothing card, which was bad news (this card means all members on the team needed to win their games or the whole team got 0 points for that turn).

For the first game, I was paired up against Hagen Kerr and his Dwarfs, which promised to be fun. Hagen's list looked very 7th ed, with 17 Hammerers + Lord and BSB, 15 Ironbreakers and Runesmith, 18 Longbeards, 3 x 10 shooters and an Organ Gun. We played Battle for the Pass (the Dwarf players kept picking the card to choose the scenario...).

On my left flank, the Arachnarok and Trolls moved up quickly to take out the Thunderers in a building and the Organ Gun, since both of these units wouldn't get crippled by the Organ Gun. On the right, I had the Squig Hoppers, Mangler Squig, Chariot and Spider Riders all lined up to rush the two units of Crossbowmen opposite them. With some help from the Doomdiver (from our Empire's gold reserves), they were able to deal with these units in the first few turns.

In the center, the goblins and squig herd were opposite the three combat blocks. However, some rampant animosity led to a big squabble, and I had 4 of the 5 units unable to move for two turns in a row! The trolls overran into the centre after dealing with the Organ Gun, and this drew the Dwarfs closer to me when they charged these trolls. The Squig Herd eventually got into gear, and charged the unit of 18 Longbeards and one-rounded them.

The Ironbreakers were finished off by a combination of fanatics and doomdiver, leaving Hagen with just the Hammerers and characters. With minimal losses on my side, it ended up as a solid victory to me.

After a successful round for the Pigstikkas (3 big wins), we decided I needed to play Dwarfs again, so I played Matthew Hassall in Battle for the Pass (again). Matt had a Runelord in 20 Hammerers, 20 GW Warriors, 30 Warriors with 2 Thanes, 20 Thunderers, Cannon, Stone Thrower (S5) and Organ Gun. This was more suited to 8th ed than Hagen's list, but the units still seemed a bit small.

Matt had a big building across one side of his deployment zone, and promptly put the 20 Thunderers in there, which meant I was going to have to work really hard to get anywhere on that flank. I set up heavily weighted on the other flank (well, as much as you can on Battle for the Pass), and left the faster stuff (Hoppers, Chariot, Arachnarok, Spiders) on the building side to kill the Cannon and Organ Gun, then get out before the Thunderers did too much damage.

I had a lucky break in Turn 2, where my 5 Spiders killed the Cannon crew in one round. These spiders then went round the building and hit the Organ Gun in Turn 4, eventually killing it too. This good luck was balanced by some more rampant animosity in the center, and again the center locked up for the first 2 turns.

On the flank away from the building, the Squig Herd moved up with Fanatics to the left, and the Mangler to the right. Matt had nothing on this flank to deal with the Mangler, and so it eventually bounced through the Hammerers, killing 6 or 7, and the Grudge Thrower, killing it outright. In the next turn, the Herd was charged by the GW warriors, who took a beating from the Squigs, but stuck around. In my turn, the Trolls flanked the hammerers, and then the fun started! The Mangler Squig randomly turned around and plowed through both of these combats and another of my units. Both Dwarf units were destroyed, the Trolls were left on one wound, and the best bit was the last 2 handlers in the Squig herd were killed, meaning the herd blew up as well! That one Mangler was responsible for around half of the total kills on the table, and it alone killed well over 500pts of Matt's stuff. Well worth it!

From there, the game was pretty straightforward. I kept away from the last unit of Dwarfs and moved everything out of range of the building. This left me with another solid victory, and our team once again got 3 wins. The 6 wins on day 2 gave us enough points to expand and upgrade our Empire more than any other team, which put us in first place at the end. This was a nice way to top off a great weekend of fun gaming. I played 5 excellent opponents, and everyone was playing in the spirit of the event, which was perfect.

Finally, some thoughts on my list. The Goblin magic is very situational, and doesn't have much to do before the armies get into combat. I think it would be a lot better when paired with Orc magic, but that's not really an option for me.

The new rules for Fanatics make them very scary, and I would alway include some NG units just for them. I was impressed by the NG archers being able to shoot 15 shots out to 18" makes them surprisingly effective.

The Squig Herd was fantastic, as it gave me some punch I was otherwise lacking. Same with the Trolls, although 4 wasn't ideal. I'd have preferred 6. Likewise, more Chariots would have been nice, but I've only got 1. I'm keen to try the Hoppers in a bigger unit with a character. Being able to re-roll the move distance makes them even better! A unit of 5 was definitely useful though.

The big disappointment was the Arachnarok. It just doesn't kill enough to justify its 290 point price tag. Over the weekend, it killed only 14 HE archers and 10 Thunderers, and died twice. I'd much rather spend the points on the other rare units, like the Manglers, Pump Wagons and Doomdivers, all of which were fantastic! Certainly I think you need some artillery, at least a Rock Lobba and a Doomdiver for me from now on.

And after Game 5, I'll have as many Manglers as I can get away with ;)

Horned Rat IV Comp Restrictions

A few people have asked what Comp restrictions I'll be looking to use at Horned Rat in July. Here's the system I put forward in January with a few small changes and I think it looks okay for this event:

General Restrictions

• Maximum Power Dice usage of 12 in Magic Phase (as distinct from maximum of 12 dice in pool at any time)

• Army to have no more than four (4) potential template weapons

• Army to have a maximum of four (4) warmachines

• No more than two (2) of any Special choice

• No double Rare choice worth more than 70 points

• No Power Scroll

• Only one item that automatically dispels a spell

Army Specific Restrictions

• Daemons of Chaos: No duplication of Daemonic Gifts

• Empire: Steam Tank is classed as Warmachine in terms of General Restrictions

• Lizardmen: Slaan may have maximum two of Focus of Mystery, Becalming Cogitation, Cupped Hands or Focused Rumination

• Skaven: Maximum of three Engineers

• Orcs & Goblins: Maximum of three Mangler Squigs and/or Pump Wagons total

• Vampire Counts: Only one Vampire may have Loremaster ability

Does that stuff anyone's plans?

Fantasy 'Ard Boyz Scenarios

Can be found here if you haven't seen them already.

Scenario 1 adds a Night Fight element to Meeting Engagement

Scenario 2 is a Battleline with a buff of +1 S and A to a unit of your choice

Scenario 3 is where most of the complaints came from. It's Daemonworlds for Fantasy! I think the biggest problem was the lightning storm effect, which does D6 wounds to every unit on the table with no saves of any kind allowed. Ouch!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Sands Continue to Shift

A few more things are starting to emerge about the upcoming Tomb King release.

In regard to new units I’ve seen the new models in the “flesh” and can confirm that they look great. I am expecting a second wave of releases in the next few months when we’ll see new plastic Ushabti (with Great Bow option) and at least two new character models. One of these is likely to be a new King/Prince model that is at least part a swarm of scarabs and the second is a new 60 point character type called a Necrotect.

The rumours around the new Sphinx figures look to have been pretty much on the mark. The Warsphinx will be 210 points while the Necrosphinx will be 225 (cheaper than the Abomination). The Necrosphinx can give up one of his five Str 5 attacks for a Str 10 Heroic Killing Blow – in effect becoming the monster killer he was rumoured to be. Interestingly, both can gain a Str 4 Breath Weapon but I do struggle with GW’s pricing. On the more static Warsphinx it is 20 points whereas the flying Necrosphinx only pays 10 points. Value for money? You be the judge!

The Tomb Guard come with shield standard as suggested by the models which have the arm molded to the shield. Looking at the model it does appear that there is only one standard top. These are some of the nicest figures GW have produced in my opinion.
In line with the Orc & Goblin book there is a limit on magic items. Hopefully this confirms the new trend.

No more magic charges but lots of opportunity for magic movement.

Hope that casts some more light on things. Two and a half weeks to release.

Skaven at Runefang Wrap - Part III

So the Skavenblight Panzer Division…….how did it perform?

The quick answer is okay, the considered answer is that the jury is out.

How did I get to this? Well, the army took a narrow loss and had four big wins.

However, the army was largely untested versus warmachines, only facing a Hellcannon, mortar and cannon over the weekend. Against some of the Orcs and Dwarfs it would have had bigger problems but even this would be a bit misleading given the restrictions to no duplicate Special or Rare choices.

As a result I didn’t lose the Furnace, Bell or HPA over the course of the weekend. The pushing units were wiped out in a couple of cases but in all games the points for the big three (around 950) were preserved. So it is very difficult to advance a categorical case either way.

What was learned over the course of the weekend? Well, Skaven without shooting are more difficult to use than a Skaven army with that capability. I missed my Doomrocket and having at least one warmachine to deplete blocks prior to contact. This meant I needed to rely on magic and then the weight of ranks. I also really missed my Gutter Runners. Those units are worth their weight in gold in most games and to not have them meant my army was very linear. I guess the one thing I would say is that removal of the shooting aspects of the list is like playing with one arm in shackles.

Prior to the weekend I made a conscious decision to stick to the Plague Lore rather than use any Ruin spells. This meant my effective range was more limited so that I couldn’t sit back and try and blast opponents with pseudo-shooting. I really enjoy the Plague Lore but again it really works against the opposition armies I had over the weekend. Unfortunately I never got the Plague Spell to jump and nor did I ever generate new rats with the 13th Spell – however in spite of that both were effective tools.

Not having shooting removes “one” of the advantages of big slave blocks. One of my common tactics is to tie up an elite unit with slaves and then pepper it with poisoned shots from my Gutter Runners. Aah, good times…..I missed that.

I’m still really unsure about the Grey Seer on Bell. There are advantages and disadvantages to its use. He becomes largely impervious to magic that allows a Ward save, the leadership bubble of the army is extended, you have 360 degree LoS and you get some nice “Easter Eggs” by ringing the Bell (though I think this feature is overrated). Against this you take a unit out of the game, he becomes more static – Skitterleap is useless – and I think the army as a whole becomes more defensive.

The Furnace is the Furnace. I tried the Plague Banner instead of my normal Banner of the Underempire and to be honest I’m not sure which is best. The PB is more aggressive giving you that solid single phase hit but the BotU gives you ongoing benefits and probably helps long term survivability. Either are good choices.

With the addition of 400 points of shooting the army could be devastating. Certainly I’d fancy my chances to be competitive if it had the WLC, two units of Gutter Runners, a Doomrocket and an upgrade to an Engineer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Goblin's take on Runefang - Day One

I figured I'd do a quick wrap up of my time at Runefang last weekend. It was great to play some Fantasy again, and even more fun to dive into the new O+G book. With no idea of what to use from the book, I picked my army according to the models that looked the coolest from my collection. My list therefore was as follows:

Goblin Warboss: Ironcurse Icon
Night Goblin Shaman: Scroll

Goblin BSB: Std of Discipline
Goblin Boss on Wolf: Spear, Charmed Shield, Dragonbane Gem, LA

2x30 Night Goblins: 2xFanatics, Std, Muso, Nets
2x20 Night Goblin Bowmen: Muso, 1 unit had a single fanatic
2x5 Spiders

4 Trolls
24 Squigs and 15 Herders
5 Hoppers

Mangler Squig
Pump Wagon

My first game was against John Murrie and his High Elves. John had a Life Archmage, BSB, big unit of Spearmen, two units of archers, an eagle, and a unit each of White Lions, Phoenix Guard and Dragon Princes.

I caught John out early on with a Turn 1 charge with the spider into the archers who had deployed in the building, and so were much closer than 24" away. However, as I quickly learned, the spider isn't that killy so only killed around 5 or 6, and the mage was able to leave them to their fate in the next turn.

On my right, the Dragon Princes were blocked up by the goblin archers with a fanatic, but eventually John decided to go for it, and it paid off, as the fanatic's 2D6 hits only managed to roll 2 hits and killed one knight. The goblins died and the knights got into my backfield. They were later finished off by a timely chariot charge and the squig hoppers.

In the center, the Squig Herd were forced by animosity to charge the big unit of spearmen in the front, which resulted in me losing all the squigs for only a few spearmen kills. The spears spent the rest of the game dealing with a giant spider in the flank, which held them up for a couple of turns, then was run down.

The phoenix guard charged a unit of goblins through 3 fanatics, so were left with about 10 models. The goblins held easily on steadfast, and the trolls flanked and cleaned up the PG in my next turn.

The White Lions were attacked by a Mangler Squig, losing around 5 models. The mangler then decided he'd had enough, rolled a triple 5 for movement and disappeared/exploded in a puff of smoke (and squig bits). The Lions then charged through a fanatic into my other unit of netters, who broke but got away. The Lions were whittled down over the course of the rest of the game, and were eventually killed by the trolls.

The game ended with each of us having killed identical amounts of each other's armies (1109 points to 1113!), so we had a draw. John's got his account of the game up on his blog:

Next up, I played Neil Williamson's Brets in a Dawn Attack. Neil was forced by the scenario to deploy 2 lances and his peg knights in one corner, and the rest in the center, so he had to spend the first half of the game redeploying. I rolled most of my stuff into the center, so put the squig herd forward backed up by units with fanatics to really put the hurt on the knights.

In the early game, I managed to get rid of the mounted squires, which was a big relief, as they had the potential to draw fanatics out, or march onto the mangler squig and kill him. This left the mangler with a clear flank and 2 juicy units of knights to bounce through, so he promptly exploded again (I rolled triple 6 for movement!), which opened that flank right back up again.

Mangler Squigs - the opposite of dependable!

On the other flank, the Arachnorok, pump wagon, and unit of NG played keep away with the Peg Knights and Questing lance. Probably not a great situation for me pointswise, but it let me focuis on the centre instead of worrying about the Pegs.

Neil charged two lances into some netters in the center. The fanatics killed 6 of 9 errants with 4D6 hits, which left Neil with 3 errants and 8 realm knights with lord (netted) needing to kill 16 goblins to break steadfast. Needless to say, I stuck around, and Neil got a squig herd and chariot in his flanks for his troubles. They broke and rallied on the board edge, and I broke them again in the last turn to win the game.

Last game of day one I got to play Glen Burfield and his Dragon-led High Elves. We played Meeting Engagement, and I set up first along the 6" line. I had the squigs in the centre, with netters either side, the fun stuff on the flanks, and the archers behind the main line with all the characters. In response, Glen stacked my left flank with the Dragon, Dragon Princes and Swordmasters, and had the Spearmen and Seaguard in the middle with the two Mages, BSB and the RBT.

The Squig Deathstar

The game started with a roar, as the squig herd was forced to declare a charge at the spearmen, needing an 11 to get in and rolling it. Sigh, we'd been here before already. Luckily, this time they dished out some pain, and got both the spears and the seaguard who charged in next turn down to around 7 models each. The chariot then went in and finished off the seaguard and overran into the spears, killing all but one and the BSB.

On the flank, the Dragon and Arachnarok chased each other for a bit, then the Dragon charged a unit of netters in conjuction with the Dragon Princes. The fanatics wiped out the princes on the way in, and the netters held the Dragon up for a few turns until the Swordmasters came in and finished them off. The Mangler squig managed to hit both the Dragon and the swordmasters just after this, but did next toi nothing, and then exploded due to rolling yet another triple! The arachnarok was also killed after just 4 shots from the Bolt Thrower (3 hits, 3 wounds, 3x3 wounds!)

Through a combination of animosity induced charges, squabbling, and having a Dragon, Glen was able to clean up enough points in the last 2 turns to give him the win.

Day 2 to come...

Horned Rat IV Campaign Weekend

I have been speaking with my local venue and it looks like I can get hall at start of July.

On that basis I am looking to run Horned Rat IV as a campaign weekend building on Runefang.

Venue now confirmed. Mark it in your diaries.

Skaven Runefang Wrap Part Two

So onto Day Two and I’m playing Chaos Inc.’s Ben Wadsworth.

Ben has a newly finished Warriors army that is looking very swish (I forgot to say in yesterday’s report how nice the various armies I played were. Glen’s is a WIP, Tim’s is finished and Joel’s Empire were absolutely beautiful. That continued into my last game vs. John Murie).

The mission was Blood and Glory. Ben had two blocks of Khorne Warriors, one of Tzeentch backed up by the Hellcannon, Warshrine and a Khorne Chariot. His characters were a Sorceror on Disk and a BSB. Three units of hounds filled out the rest.
This game can best be described as a firestorm of magic. Both of us regularly rolled well for the Winds of Magic. Ben was chucking Gateway at my Bell and HPA while I was throwing the Curse of the Horned Rat at his Warriors. I was lucky enough to win that battle sufficient to seriously deplete a unit of Khorne (1 left) and Tzeentch (2 left).

The real stars were a unit of Slaves who got a flank charge on a Warshrine, breaking it and overrunning into the flank of the remaining Khorne Warriors. They were then flank charged by a Khorne Chariot and held on Steadfast. Helped by another unit of Slaves who charged the rear of the Chariot they miraculously won the next round of combat, removing Frenzy from the Khorne troops. Oh the indignity for the boys from the Chaos Wastes!

It couldn’t last and the next turn the “relieving” slaves were broken but the originals continued to hold on Steadfast. This allowed the Plague Priest to get into a position where he could unleash his foul magic and associated fumes, killing the BSB to win the game.

Ben was unlucky that me prevailing in the magic maelstrom relieved him of his whole left flank.

But oh the stories the slaves told before the Clanrats and Plague Monks ate them at the afterparty!

My last round was against John Murie of “Stumpy Heaven”. Rather than write a complete set of lies I’ll let him tell the story:

Ok I dont' know if I talked myself into this or was talked into but basically I ended up playing Pete Dunn. I got called out so went "Sure why not ill give it a go" - mind you I've also wanted to play against him so was looking forward it, but not to his 4 units of Clan Rats, 2 of Slaves, HBA, Plague Furnace with Censor Bearers, and Screaming Bell.

Game did not start well when the Dawn attack deployment rules saw Pete's entire army go down pretty much in the middle of the board while mine got split onto either flank. The Archers and White Lions in the left corner, the Dragon Princes Spears and Phoenix Guard in the right.

Was a fun game but bugger me if the Skaven army doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. Nearly every unit had 2-3 special rules that did something nasty or at least it seemed that way, maybe its just my poor embittered Dwarven side coming out in me.

Things were going OK though particularly when I got the White Lions, Budgie and Archers into the Plague Furnace. The combat lasted a long time and was confused by a unit of Slaves/Clan Rats charging the flank of the Archers and the HBA charging the rear. I managed to kill the character on the Furnace, and all of the Censor bearers but the White Lions had to make a few Stubborn leadership rolls. When they finally broke (only 12/21 left) the Budgie was left alone to take on the Furnace.

Somehow my little Eagle survived until Turn 5 and even got two wounds on the thing before he got BBQ'd. The White Lions meanwhile got swamped by 50 Slaves kept making Stubborn rolls before getting killed off - just before the HPA could rear charge them (it ended up 1" short on the last turn).

On the right things didnt go much better. I made a big mistake in not advancing hell for leather straight at Petes units here which included 3 Clan Rat units, 1 with the Bell, 1 with the BSB and some Slaves. Things would have been Ok but he got the 13th Spell off on the Phoenix Guard and turned all - YES ALL - 18 of them into rats so they went bye bye in Turn 2 (Pete: Just killed them, needed one more for ratty fun). This left my Archmage alone and she just couldnt get anything off including Dwellers and was eventually killed off.

Only the Spears and Dragon Princes got into combat, the Princes chopping through one unit of Rats and the Spears routing the Slaves. Combat then got messy with a 2nd Rat unit flank charging the Dragon Princes and the Bell setting up to rear charge the Spears who had turned to flank charge the Skaven BSB after routing the Slaves. But before this the Dragon Princes earned their props in Turn 3 by rolling double 1's on the re-roll to make their break test (I needed double 1's) and stop the flank charging Rats from overrunning into my Spears before they could finish the Slaves off.

End result wasn't much in doubt though particularly when Pete kept rolling 10-12 PD most turns and Channelling successfully in 4/6 turns. Damn Skaven dice. By end game I had 6, count them, 6 Spearmen models and the BSB left on the board.

It's always nice to get the other viewpoint.

halfway through the game John asked me whether I had anymore tricks and I told hiim that we hadn't even scratched the surface....his shoulders visibly dropped.

So in the end I finished with a very narrow loss and 5 big big wins. I was pretty happy with that result.

Part Three will be a wrap up with my thoughts on list and event.


Okay, John has asked for my viewpoint on the game. So here it is:

I deployed first and got most of mine in the centre. John was evenly split on both flanks. This wasn’t necessarily an advantage to me as my army was down and I had no opportunity to react to the situation. I had to play the cards as they lay so to speak and so my army split in two parts and headed off to the High Elves.

On my right I was surprised when John charged my Furnace with the White Lions – and I would have been stuffed if he had stopped there. I underestimated the hurt they could dish out with the re-roll to hit. However John put the Archers into the flank of the furnace and that probably cost him the game. The Archers brought the full ranks of my Plague Monks into the fight and gave me 19 extra attacks re-rolling to hit and to wound (due to Plague Banner). After that I out-united him on that flank and it was only a matter of time before he lost a battle of attrition.

On my left I moved forward and john read that as a signal that I was coming to fight. In fact it was just a feint to get within range of magic. I had four spells that were going to hurt the elves – Wither, Vermintide, Plague and 13th – but they need to be around the 17” range to maximise effect. From Turn 2 onwards as John came forward and started to close I had opportunities to target high value units and did it. I was helped by good magic dice but to be honest I felt I had the edge with my mix of spells.

So what could John have done differently?

To be honest his best bet was probably to do what he did. He engaged in a magic war and Dwellers and Flesh to Stone were his two best tools. I knew that and used my resources accordingly. Losing the Phoenix Guard really hurt him but –hey – when a Level 4 is throwing Dwellers around he deserves all he gets. The only suggestion I would make is sometimes you have to take the risk with magic and to that end I take the Earthing Rod. I think you should have defaulted your duplicate choice to Throne of Vines, or failing that, you just need to elf up and run the risk of miscast.

Hope that helps.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Skaven Runefang Wrap Part One

Runefang IV was held over the weekend here in Wellington. Rather than your traditional tournament, the event was based around a Mighty Empires campaign with three players on each side.

I used the Skavenblight Panzer Division that I had been threatening to do but went into the event with no practice games. The final list was:

• Grey Seer on Bell with 20 Clanrats
• Plague Priest (Lvl 1) on Furnace with 20 Plague Monks and Plague Banner
• Chieftain with Storm Banner
• 2x Engineer (naked)
• 2x 25 Clanrats
• 2x 39 Skavenslaves
• 1x 34 Skavenslaves
• Hell Pit Abomination

One of the characteristics of the army was the lack of shooting, the billowing fumes from the Furnace being the only ranged attack. To complement this more I chose my spells only from the Lore of Plague. Interestingly enough, I had the same 5 spells in every game – Pestilent Breath on the Priest and Wither, Vermintide, Plague and Curse of the Horned Rat on the Seer.

So how did it go? Well, surprisingly well.

In my first game against Tim Norling’s Wall of Chaos which included 60 and 40 man blocks of Khorne-marked Great Weapon-wielding Marauders backed by Rage Warriors, I managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I managed to neutralise Tim’s major threats and then feed him chaff as I concentrated magic on his big block of marauders working on the assumption that if I picked up his hounds and them it would be enough to win.

All was going swimmingly until Tim charged a block of Slaves with his Rage Warriors who held him on the first round of combat. Their flank was exposed to possible charges from a unit of Clanrats with BSB and more Slaves. Now I’m going to put this down to “learned behaviour”. At last year’s Guardcon my Clanrats charged this same unit in the side and broke them……but I keep forgetting there wasn’t a unit of slaves – read roadkill – in their front. Rather than ignore the flank and let Tim harvest 72 points, I committed two units including the BSB and managed to lose an additional 435 points. Given the final margin was a 14 VP loss I think I need to “unlearn” this behaviour.

Next up for me were Glen Burfield and his Prince on Sun Dragon-led High Elves. High Elf armies always look small, and at 2000 points with a Dragon they look especially small. We were playing Battle for the Pass which suited the war of attrition that I wanted to play. The Prince charged a unit of Slaves and was held long enough to be hit in the flank by the HPA. My magic was concentrated on the rest of the Elf army and I managed to wear them down when they came forward to close, then flee so the elite units couldn’t get them. Over 4-5 turns the Elf army was reduced to a lone unit of archers – who decided life on their hill was just fine.

The final game of day one was against the Empire of Joel van de Ven-long. Joel had inflicted two Massacre victories and was very much helped by the hill in his deployment area being an Anvil of Vaul, giving units within 6” flaming attacks. When my HPA came on as a reserve I made sure it was down the other end of the board. Joel managed to roll IF with his Level 4 four times in the first three turns, the upshot of this was that he was Level 1 by the end of Turn 3. As part of a Time Warp inspired charge, a “6” was required by a 40 man Horde formation of Halberds led by BSB and Warrior Priest to charge my Furnace. I thought it was a bit ambitious anyway and when it failed I very quickly charged it myself with both Furnace and Bell units. My Priest picked off his Priest removing the hatred and the block broke and was run down.

The funniest moment was when Joel’s now-Level One miscast again while in combat with the Screaming Bell unit. Everyone in base contact took a Strength 10 hit, it randomised onto the Seer and took his last wound off him. Unfortunately for Joel, it was not enough and the rest of the Skaven army removed the rest of his army.

Day Two to follow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Alive & Kicking - Empire in Flames TO's Analysis (Guest Post)

Guest post time. Here is a wrap from 2010 NZ ETC player Chris Cousens who recently was the TO for Empire in Flames in Melbourne, Australia.

So, another Empire in Flames has been and gone, the first big Victorian WFB event for the year.

The tournament results make for some interesting analysis. EiF was run under 8th edition rules. Magic stayed just as the rulebook said, and there were no caps on unit sizes or army selection. Combattle was used, and some of the tourney regulars who hadn’t used the system before were very positive about this.

So without sabotaging the magic phase, and allowing people to use lord-level characters, surely the games were a disaster? How could people have fun playing WFB by the book? Strangely, the games were lots of fun, by all reports. People had loads of fun. The game, magic included, works fine and EiF showed it. The top armies all included level 4 mages, although Sean Davis had equal-best battle score with just a level 2. That said, there was a massive spread of variety between those mage lords, using Death, Light, Heavens, Greenskin and Skaven magic. Add in tournaments run in the last 6 months that have been won by armies with NO mages, and I think we have a pretty solid body of evidence that the magic phase doesn’t need tampering with. In addition to this, massive horde units didn’t define the tournament. While some of the armies at the top featured units of 30+ elite troops, most had a mix of unit types and sizes, proving once again that balanced, all-comers lists are not only more fun to play with and against, but also more successful in gaming terms.

TOs who decide to ‘monkey with the magic phase’ or aggressively limit the unit choices available to players are, in my opinion, reacting to a rash sentiment primarily espoused by ex-eminent members of the WFB community. Simply citing that 'we changed the rules and our games were fun' is missing the point. Your games are fun even if you change the rules because Warhammer is fun, not because you have made it better. It is only by comparing games with and without magic, that you are currently playing, that you can even begin to come to any kind of valid conclusion. Trying to discourage people from utilizing the magic phase reduces the variety of tactical approaches and decisions within the game, and I think that's a step in the wrong direction, especially given how much effort goes in to using composition scores to preserve variety.

People who have learned how to play the game are now finding that magic is not the dominant factor in determining the outcome of games, and plenty have changed their minds about needing to change the rules of the game. Anyone who claims that Warhammer is ‘30% luck’ is sorely mistaken and should rethink their tactical approach. And in a ‘rebuilding phase’, which the WFB tourney scene seems to be in, the best way to attract new and enthusiastic players is not by changing the rules of the game that they rock up to play.

Which brings me to the great success of EiF, which was the massive turnout by new and upcoming players. Apart from the high standard of painting by new players, this group had some great results in the overall stakes, and the best sportsman award. The attitude displayed by all those who attended, and especially by those who have not attended many tournaments previously, made for one of the most relaxed tournaments I have witnessed. People were playing in the spirit of the game, and it was refreshing to see people bringing this kind of attitude into the tournament scene. I hope that these players will continue to attend tournaments as it was a pleasure to meet you, and I look forward to a chance to play toy soldiers with you!

Congratulations must go to the winners of all the prizes – displaying the full range of skills that define the hobby. Be it painting, sportsmanship or battling, this tournament has made me think much more positively about tournament WFB than I have in some time. I hope that similar success is had by future tournaments.

Well said Chris - and I'm glad to hear the Oz scene is alive and well,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Runefang Lists

Here are the lists for Runefang this weekend: link

There's a good mix of armies coming, and I'm really keen to see how the Orcs and Goblins perform with the new book. I'm using my Night Goblins, and have to do a fair bit of painting still. I've got 5 squigs and the Arachnarok to finish, and I only started them yesterday ;)

Looking forward to seeing everyone that's coming this weekend

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Runefang This Weekend

The Runefang Campaign is on this weekend and there are seven teams of three fighting a Mighty Empires campaign over 5 rounds.

Real mix of combatants – 2x Orc & Goblin teams, Dwarf, Skaven, High Elves, Chaos teams and the Realm of Man (made up of Empire, Brets and wood Elves).

To encourage some diversity from normal 2000 point lists there were a number of extra composition constraints, notably:

• 30% Core
• 20% Rare
• No double Rare or Specials

The lists are all in and are generally much weaker than you’d normally see at 2000 points. However there is a Warriors army with 60 and 40 Khorne-marked great weapon Marauders to keep people on their toes and I do think the O&G armies look strong.
In fact there will be a lot of interest to see how the O&G go this weekend given there are 6 on show and it’s the first local event to use the new rules.

I’m taking Skaven (no surprises) but my list has no shooting other than the Censer on the Furnace. Made up of three blocks of Slaves, three of Clan Rats (including Bell), one of Plague Monks (including Furnace) and the Hell Pit Abomination. The lack of warmachines, doomrocket and gutter runners to annoy, harass and deplete is a real concern.

Definitely will get some photos so watch out on Monday for the aftermath.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Storm of Magic" - Don't Drink the Kool-Aid!

.......just yet anyway!

Jack posted up the release info regarding Storm of Magic that GW have envisioned for this northern summer.

My first thoughts are that this will be a lot like all the other recent “expansions” that GW have released. It will follow the well-worn path….massive hype on their website and in their stores “What are YOU doing for Storm of Magic?”, wall to wall coverage in White Dwarf for a month, lesser coverage the next month, some nice new models and then……..nothing. Six months after the fact there will be a 2-3 page article in White Dwarf and that will be it.

Call me a cynic but we’ve seen it time and time again.

Hands up. Whose still playing Cities of Death, Lustria, Apocalypse, Planetstrike, Battle Missions etc……not many, if any!

I remember watching two or maybe it was three Apocalypse games struggling through Deployment and one and a half turns. Still it sold a few Baneblade kits didn’t it? I wonder how often they are used….I’m guessing in some cases they haven’t even been built. Shame you Guardies couldn’t help yourself and broke the platic wrap – now you can’t even return it and get something useful.

What is does mean……and this is where it can be great….is that a lot of armies will get some new model love that they otherwise wouldn’t. And….and this is my fervent hope….we get more of the fantastic terrain GW has been turning out.

NZ Tournament Rankings

Last year I was the RankingsHQ administrator for New Zealand and was instrumental in getting the Flames of War, Fantasy and 40k NZ rankings/results onto the system.

I very disappointed that the regular update regime that I had in place has fallen by the wayside this year. At the end of 2010 I gave up administering the rankings for New Zealand for a variety of reasons; however one of them was not that the process was onerous. Since that time the NZ rankings seem to have fallen by the wayside with updates being irregular at best.

I’m not sure why that is – and I’m certainly not directing blame in any direction – however I do think it has a negative effect on the NZ tournament scene.

Rankings aren’t everybody’s cup of tea but I do think that they provide a spur to tournament attendance. No matter what people say everyone likes to see their efforts noted by a high ranking in the game system that they dedicate their leisure system to. To achieve that recognition requires participation at a minimum of three events. That can only help tournament numbers.

I certainly hope that there is a concerted effort over the next few weeks to get the NZ Rankings up to date as I know I’d certainly like to see the lie of the land after the first quarters events and leading into NatCon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Storm of Magic - July

An announcement fresh off the internet is GW's new expansion for Fantasy, being released in July. It's called Storm of Magic, and will apparently make magic "far more powerful". There's also something in there about the tabletop interacting with your armies, and looking at one of the Ard Boyz scenarios too, it looks like they're bringing back Daemonworlds! Who wouldn't be excited? (Daemonworlds were a terribly unbalanced set of scenario rules used years ago in 40k, where the table randomly ate models etc)

The only other info out is these two pics of new plastic monsters, with a whole lot more to be released as well.

Desert Lore

So floating around the net is the new Nehekharan Lore. Take it with a pinch of salt. The most interesting point if this is correct is no magic charges.

Nehekharan Lore:

Lore Attribute:

The Restless Dead - D3 + 1 wounds if augment spell is successfully cast on friendly Nehekharan undead unit. Any unit can only be effected by the Desert Wind once per turn.

Signature Spell:

Khsar's Incantation of the Desert Wind - Cast on 8+. All unengaged friendly Nehekharan undead units within 12" may make a single move as if in the remaining moves sub-phase (cannot charge). All non-engaged friendlies can be instead targeted within 24" for a casting value of 16+. Any unit can only be effected by the Desert Wind once per turn.

1. DJaf's Incantation of Cursed Blades.

7+. Augment, range 12". Until the start of your next magic phase close combat attacks gain Killing Blow or Heroic Killing Blow special rule. If the unit already has Killing Blow or Heroic Killing Blow special abilty, it will work on a 'To wound' roll of 5 or 6+ while this spell is in play. Can increase range to 24" instead on a casting value of 10+

2. Neru's Incantation of Protection

9+. Augment range 12", until start of caster's next magic phase. 5+ ward save on a single friendly target unit. All friendly units within 12" can be targeted instead for 18+

3. Ptra's Incantation of Righteous Smiting

9+. Augment range 12" until start of caster's next magic phase. Target unit gains 1 attack (mounts, riders, models crewing chariots, monsters and war machines). If armed with a bow or great bow then get multiple shot (2) special rule. All friendly Nehekharan undead units can be targeted instead within 24" for 18+.

4. Usirian's Incantation of Vengeance

Hex range 18" 10+. Until start of caster's next magic phase target unit has its movement reduced by D3 to min of 1 & all terrain is treated as dangerous terrain if unit moves. Range can be extended to 36" for a casting value of 13+.

5. Usekhp's Incantation of Dessication

11+ Hex range 24". Target unit suffers -1 strength, -1 toughness (to min of 1). Until start of caster's next magic phase. Can instead choose to reduce by D3 (min of 1) for a casting value of 22+

6. Sakmet's Incantaion of the Skullstorm

Remains in Play. Magical Vortex 15+. Small template is placed on the board and a direction is nominated. Artillery dice is rolled and the number is multiplied by wizard level = amount template is moved in stated direction. Every model passed over or under the template suffers a single strength 4 hit. Misfire = place template over caster and scatter by wizards level in random direction. Use large round template for a casting value 25+. On subsequent turns, vortex moves randomly equal to role of artillery dice. If misfire, vortex dissipates instantly.

Evolution 101 - The Mindrazor Conundrum

One of the hot topics on the internet forums has concerned Dark Elves and their use of Lore of Shadow.

The major spell in the Lore of Shadow is Mind Razor where you get to substitute your Leadership value for your Strength in combat.

There are a number of Dark Elf specific reasons why this has been perceived as a problem. Specifically,

• Army-wide Hatred allowing re-roll of To-Hit rolls, Eternal Hatred for Black Guard
• Presence of the Cauldron of Blood which allows you to add +1 attack. On Corsairs with the Frenzy Banner this can add up to a lot of attacks

However the main reason why people are getting antsy is that the Dark Elves have a special roll that allows them to ignore the 6 Power Dice maximum, rolling as many as they have access to. This is further enhanced by the Sacrificial Dagger which allows you to “sacrifice” usually a Spearman to add another dice.

In reality this means that you can end up with a block of Corsairs with 4 attacks, re-rolling to hit in the middle of your army at the start of the Dark Elf magic Phase and there is nothing you can do to stop them getting Mindrazor off, making those attacks Str 9 or 10.

Not surprisingly most of the bitching comes from players who have armies composed of elite infantry – Chosen/Chaos Warriors, Grave Guard, Temple Guard/Saurus etc. I’m pretty sure that Dwarfs would also appreciate the opportunity for a grumble as well. Suddenly all those heavily armoured troops that you’ve pulled together in a Death Star unit aren’t so safe.

Well, not surprising, my response is a resounding “Boo Hoo”. This is a classic case of “Catch me once, shame on you. Catch me twice, shame on me.”

Let me map this out for you: Cauldron, Lore of Shadow, Sacrificial Dagger, High # of Attack troops = Likely Pain

It’s not Rocket Surgery! It just means that you have to do what the rest of us do to YOUR Deathstar. Feed it crap and re-direct. Just because they don't have to think, doesn't mean you don't.

If you can’t do that with your current 4-5 unit list, the answer is obvious…….change your list.

As a great man once said “Evolve or Die”.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Working on my new army...

Wolves in spaaaaaaaaaaaace!

Or rather, the oh so mighty Space Wolves. I still have a dozen or so games to play test before I'm comfortable as to where I'm going to head list-wise, but while I get ready for that stage I have been painting up a few units.

Some of the decisions I can see I'm going to need to make are:
- Is 4+ nullifying good enough, or with GK's kicking about has this necessitated Njal and stopping powers on a 3+?
- Will 2 units of longfangs be enough, or will I really have to push for that third and wear the flak that will come from it?
- One of the bigger questions I find myself asking, MSU? Or a more solid assault base with larger units and less shooty transports?
- Do I need a hammer unit? Or do I chance not having one for the first time in years? Hah!

All these and more will start to form a picture as to what is best for my play style in the coming weeks as I get some games in, but in the mean time, here are some pictures of my progress so far.

Oh, and how will my Thunderwolves/Fenrisian wolves look? Like my dogs at home of course!

Note that Pete's ginger howler monkeys have infiltrated even the sanctity of my own home!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The end isn't neigh, don't break out that sandwich board just yet!

My oh my!

There certainly is a lot of doom-calling and gnashing of teeth with the release of the new Grey Knights book. After spending a good week making and breaking every list I can come up with, and I urge those of you who have problems with the book to go out and do the same.

One of the core mistakes I see people making, is not assigning any sort of points value to the ideas they are coming up against in their head. If you're scared of a combination of units, sit down and price them out. You'll usually find that it's a lot more expensive than you had anticipated, and when you stack the equivalent amount of points from your own list against it, you're not as hard done by as you thought.
If you include all the "OMG GOOD" toys in a GK list, you're coming in at a very high points total indeed.

The other thing I'm seeing go on a lot is what I like to call "The Perfect Storm Effect". People are worried about certain lists doing certain things at certain times that perfectly counters anything they can come up with and then "ONOEZ IM BONED!". What they fail to notice is that no one would take that list anyway, because it's a heap of crap against the other 5 people they will have to play that weekend, and even then it relied on a series of rolls successively going in their favor.

The best thing I can suggest you do from there is to play a few games out, see how it goes. You'll be pleasantly surprised when you move away from the doom and gloom world of the game on paper, and start filtering it through the infinite variabilities that happen on the tabletop. Failing that, at least get out and start having a bit of a read of battle reports, it won't take you long at all to find examples of them both winning and losing - with enough detail for you to figure out a bit more of whats going on.
If you look hard enough, you'll even find multiple reports of daemons pantsing good players wielding good GK lists because they're tailored to take on all comers, rather than being a dedicated anti daemon list :)

GK's are good, yes. They're not the broken game-killer so many are already bobbing their tinfoil hat covered heads to however. Invariably they continue to fit into the lovely paper scissor rock (lizard Spock?) type environment we play in today, and where they have their favored match ups, they will have their feared match ups just as often.

What will be interesting in the coming months is how they reshape the meta scene locally. The top tables right now have a very heavy presence of Tyranid Monstrous Creatures, in fact had I not barely dodged one of the lists in the final round by 2 points - my last event I played in would have had 7 trygons across 3 games alone.
Likewise, GK's have some fantastic anti horde tools, and I believe the end result in both cases will be that people gravitate towards a slightly more balanced approach.

Actually this is NZ, why adapt when whining is less effort :D?

I for one look forward to facing the knights on a far more regular basis. While they will no doubt present some challenges, the thing that I suspect will keep them from bolting ahead of the pack is that at the end of the day, you die like an overpriced marine and lose a lot of utility via strong psychic defense. While this doesn't ruin the party for them in the grand scheme of things, its a big enough hurdle to stop them from getting the 6-0-0 they'll need to win events locally.