Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The weakest waaagh in the west?


So I've been retardedly busy recently, to the point where hobby has had to take a bit of a mandatory backseat vacation, but with an upcoming tournament, I had to get something done!

This weekend sees Nicon 2011, which I really don't have time to attend. In saying that, it also sees the first proper non-comp tournament in a very, VERY long time. Moving away from comp is something I truly believe is a step in the right direction with how the books are looking, and nothing shows support more than voting with my feet.

Busy busy busy! Not to be confused with busty busty busty!

It seems a lot of other people are in the same boat, the last update I heard had Nicon looking at 49-50 people, which would make it the largest (equal) tournament this year, and with FOB not happening due to 300 men having a bit of a ruckus in some paddocks this September, its unlikely events will reach higher than that.
Nicon is typically very small and unimportant, so its nice to see such an instant show of support for the TO Haydn Korach's decision.

Certainly I think it's going to be a rude wake up call for a few people, particularly the "I only lost because I've got a softer army to get better comp" camp and equally so the "everyone is easy and I'm unfairly punished by comp" camp... but that's something we can muse over next week! Toys will fly out of cots!

Personally I didn't really have time to reinvent the wheel (a basket I suspect many people will be in), and just switched out my regular warboss from my 1750 point list for Ghazghkull in an 1850 point list.

Silly ginger, don't reinvent the wheel!

This doesn't really work for a number of reasons, firstly very few armies smoothly transition from 1750-->1850 points by simply adding 100 points of stuff in, it is usually noticeably more efficient and powerful to rebuild it from the ground up, and certainly I think I would get more mileage by bringing 9 killer kans instead of 6, but also Ghaz is generally much more suited to a list that has been built around him.

That being said, I had quite a bit of fun painting the figure, even if it was predominantly yellow, and I chose to use a method that involved no less than 9 layers in order to build it up from black.

Painful amounts of yellow are painful, but you can at least click for increased size if you must.

Baby got back.

With any luck I can get him stuck in this weekend, though I am fairly dubious about my chances by not ramping things up, and hoping to wing it having never played a game of 40k with a special character before, let alone with Ghazzykins!

I'll let you know how it goes, and as usual will be tweeting results from the event, if you're interested you can follow my account, @proximityNZ

- Charlie

Post-Retribution Thoughts on Death Guard List

So what are my thoughts on the Death Guard after six games?

Well first of all, the codex is showing its age a little bit. I certainly think that there has clearly been a more distinguishable power creep in 40k than there currently is in Fantasy (Compare oldest 6 codexes – Necron, Witchhunter, Chaos, Eldar, Tau, Black Templar - versus newest 6 – Grey Knights, Dark Eldar, Blood Angels, Tyranids, Space Wolves, Imperial Guard). When it came out the Chaos book was a bland reflection of the 3rd/4th Edition book and it has slipped down the power rankings since then.

Second, for those of us that try to stick to mono-god and in particular Traitor Legion, there is little real variability in the list. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, the underlying Plague marines are a solid choice.

My list had one very real weakness; an inability to reach out and hurt somebody. Any shooting over 24” was restricted to the four Obliterators I had. Defensively these are now a lot weaker having lost the T4(5) of the previous edition – however this really only becomes an issue when they are in combat, which if they are well, you’re doing something wrong.

This lack of long range firepower is very reminiscent of the Death Guard army at the time of the Index Astartes article (WD266 - 2001) prior to the release of the 3rd Edn codex. It struggled to engage the enemy as they had little or no reason to move inside 24” range. As a result the army struggled for big wins. And that really is the problem with the set up I have now. It lacks the mobility and reach to force somebody to engage if they don’t want to.

On the weekend both the Dark Eldar and Grey Knights could afford to play an avoidance game if it suited their objectives as the Death Guard lacked the tools to force them in close. Even then both those armies had work arounds on the Death Guard’s greatest strength FNP – power weapons in the GK case, poison for the DE.

Looking ahead I think I would look to drop a Troop squad and introduce a Defiler into the army for greater “reach”. The alternative would be to go what seems to be the current favoured Chaos route and add in more Oblits. I don’t think I’ve reached that point yet.

Roll on Codex:Traitor Legions!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Fields of Blood" - The New Zealand Grand Tournament


Unfortunately there will not be a “Fields of Blood” this year. I am putting it into recess for 2011 because of the difficulty getting a venue in September/October, but more importantly the scarcity of cheap flights and accommodation for participants.

With the Rugby World Cup on here in New Zealand in September/October, the airlines and various accommodation options have taken the opportunity to jack the prices to capture maximum “value”. I can’t say I blame them as it makes good economic sense to screw every last cent you can out of those that are prepared to pay whatever the price.

Because I run “Fields of Blood” as an individual venture, I am exposed to significant financial risk (hall alone is now $2400 for the weekend) and so I can’t rely on just locals attending to break even.

However it is not all doom and gloom!! Fields of Blood will be back early July 2012, hopefully bigger and better. Mark it in your diaries now. I’ll confirm dates once I’ve secured the venue.

28 May 2011 - A Great Day

As well as wargaming, the contributors to “Fields of Blood” have another hobby – a shared hatred of all things Manchester United. In Charlie’s case it is because he’s a Chelsea fan while for Jack it’s in his DNA.

We’d just like to extend our heartfelt thanks to FC Barcelona for completely outclassing scum in the Champions League Finalon Sunday morning (NZ time). The game was so one-sided that it turned into a procession.

I can honestly say I wished it could have gone on forever such was the ineptitude of the English team. Each minute exposed more and more chinks in their no-existent gameplan.

Thanks Messi, Mascherano, Puyot, Piquet and co. One of the great days in Sports.

A Day of Retribution!

On Saturday I went 60 miles north to Levin for a day of 40k gaming. Glen Burfield and Wil Hoverd organised ten gamers to play a three round tournament that they named “Retribution”. I posted the various lists last week so you can check them out if you wish.

Now I haven’t played a 40k tournament in New Zealand since 2005, way back in the early days of 4th Edition. I had played the various Liber Animus events in Melbourne 2006-08 but again they were all 4th Ed events. In total I believe I had played eight games of 5th Ed over the three years it has been out (four of those in the first two weeks). So it was with some trepidation I sent in my list for this weekend.

Game 1 – James Stewart (Space Marines) – Dying of the Light

Six objectives which are whittled to three over the course of the game. Jimmy had a bike army backed up by two Vindicators and a Land Raider of Assault Termies. I managed to work plasma magic on the bikes and reduced him to a single scoring unit. The game went the full seven turns and going into the last turn I had units on two objectives. I managed to bring down his Land Speeders to stop them from contesting. My unit on the central objective spread out over 4 levels to minimise the effect of the Vindicator. The game came down to whether Jimmy scored a 5-6 for the run on his Termies. He managed a three so failed to bring it back to a draw.

The Assault Terminators make a run for the central objective.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What Happened Next?

So here's a little picture from a recent game between myself and Tane with his Dwarfs.

As you can see the Skaven Plague Furnace is rampaging forward and bearing down on the Dwarf lines.

Standing in its way is a lone Dwarf Dragonslayer.


Post your thoughts and I'll post the answer tomorrow.

The Answer is Below

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Retribution This Weekend

On the weekend I'm playing at a small one day 40k event in Levin about 50 miles north of Wellington.

It is 1750 points. Here are the lists

I'll let you know how it goes.

Next Tomb King Wave

So here are the next release of Tomb King figures and these are all in "Finecast". In addition to thise Tomb king, Casket of Souls, Ushabti with Great Weapons will may the switch to resin.

Prince Apophas


Liche Priest

Ushabti with Bows

I really like the Special Character, dislike the Priest

"Spirit of the Game" Redux

I always like to pick at a scab so I’m going to revisit a couple of posts from earlier in the month on the “Spirit of the Game”. My treatise was that there were some things that I wouldn’t do regardless if they were legal because they weren’t in the spirit of how I (note- it’s all about me, my wants and desires) think the game should be played. These things aren’t illegal; rather they take advantage of rule mechanisms rather than tactics or strategy to gain an advantage.

I am revisiting the subject after listening to a podcast earlier in the week and a guest outlining how he was getting his army tournament-ready. The player in question was using Dark Eldar and in his description of how he went about things there were three aspects that made me raise an eyebrow

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Buy, Sell & Swap forums

A lot of bandwidth has been expended over thepast week on GW’s price rise and their “price rise” (Rest of the World). I’m not sure how this will play out in the end except to say that I hope wayland’s workaround is all good.

However there are other ways to pick up your models cheap and that is second hand.

The two key pathways are through professional sites, Trade Me (here in NZ) and eBay (globally), and through the Buy, Sell and Swap area on most forums.

I’m keen to talk about the second of these, the Buy, Sell and Swap Forums. Most wargaming forums have a “marketplace” where goods are sold second hand. Generally these forums will allow members to post stuff they want to get rid of and also stuff they need. This can be a great way to pick up models or to get elusive bits.

As a regular user of various forums over the past decade, there are a couple of pointers that I can give you.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tournament Competitiveness - Part 3c

That leaves what I believe are the Top 2 Tournament Competitive armies. Both armies have the ability to take on all-comers through their innate capabilities.

2. Daemons of Chaos

Daemons were the strongest army under 7th Edition and they remain strong under 8th Edition. The make up of the list might have changed a bit – Flesh Hounds have slipped down the pecking order – but they remain strong for the same reasons they did. They have an army wide 5+ Ward save which reduces “all” casualties by a third, their heralds are cheap and have access to Daemonic Gifts that enhance the capability of the fighting units, ability to take loremaster on more than one Tz herald, cheap diverters (Furies and Fiends) and the ability to take the 30” range Flamers.

Most lists these days are built around Bloodletters (never let them take a building with a Herald), usually in blocks of 20+, backed up by 1-2 blocks of Flamers, Fiends (either singly or in blocks), Furies and Heralds. Interestingly, this is a list where the main constraint is Hero points.
It is possible to take a Lord level character and here the GUO is probably the best. He holds his points well.

Probably one of the smaller armies (model wise) going around.

1. Dark Elves

This army just screams synergy. It was great under 7th and it is great under 8th Edition. Dark Elves are the other great combined arms force with great Magic, shooting and combat.

Shadow magic is the favourite giving access to Mindrazor which turns your Troops from Str 3-4 to Str 8-9. This becomes very important when it is combined with the buffs from the Cauldron of Blood – which is pretty much compulsory in all DE lists. Suddenly that unit goes from 15 Str 3 attacks to 20 Str 8 - all with Hatred. And the critical thing is that unless you’ve held a scroll there is not much you can do to stop it (Given the DE can through unlimited dice at the spell and generate more dice through PoD).

On top of this you have the underpriced Hydra, great shooting from your Repeater Crossbows and scouting Shades. Black Guard are a solid Anvil (to be buffed if needed) and Harpies as a great diverter unit. All in all you have winners across the park.

IMO the Dark Elves are the total package and in the hands of a strong player will always be a strong favourite to take out tournaments.

So there you have it. My take on the tournament competitiveness of armies. Your mileage may vary, but then isn’t that the beauty of the game.

Wayland Games - Fighting the Good Fight!

And from Wayland's Facebook page here is their response. The key point in bold.

Hi Everyone,

Before we start, if you'd allow me to present a little background about Wayland before we get into the meat of the issue I'd be grateful.

We laid out our little web store back in August 2008, our beginnings were humble, with my brother and I packing orders in a spare room. It wasn't ideal but it was what we had to start with and we grew and grew through the continued business of our loyal customers through four warehouses to our current location. In thirty three months we have gone from a spare room in Essex, UK with my brother and I packing boxes to a global operation with fourteen full time staff which is now positioned as one of the largest if not the largest independent hobby retailer in the world. We run our business today as we always have done, in a professional and ethical manner both within the letter and the spirit of the law. Almost all suppliers like us, customers enjoy our openness and service-oriented outlook and whilst we're realistic enough to know we're not by any means perfect we will always strive to improve to ensure our central tenet of great prices and better service.

Tournament Competitiveness - Part 3b

My number three army are the Lizardmen. They can often get overlooked when considering the top armies but to mine, that is a real mistake.

So what do they have that makes them so good?

Well first of all the best Mage in the game. If comp is very light you have the potential to take a Slaan that is great offensively – Loremaster, extra dice per spell, bounce miscast – and also defensively – Becalming Cogitation. Yes, he is expensive but what a platform! Using “Life” magic you get a deck that melds both attack and defense. He can even be your BSB.

In terms of other characters you can build self-sufficient Scar Vets who can fight small to middle sized units on their own. An alternative is the engine which again gives you both offensive and defensive capability.
You also get great Core troops – poison skinks, Saurus blocks, the Skrox units that can’t be stomped – and good special choices such as the rock dropping Terradons that decimate small units (including skirmishers).

The most common Rare choices are double single Salamanders – a steal at 75 points each. The bane of horde units and eaters of chaff. If the comp allows it I would always buy two units.
On top of all this the army is cold-blooded giving you almost total reliability.

So overall, and more than with any other army (Dark Elves are close), I think you get the total package. Complete combined arms ability backed by near certainty. Lizardmen are always my choice of army for new players to the game. Virtually anyone can pick up this army and be competitive in a couple of months.

It’s major disadvantage against the Top 2 is the low initiative of its fighting troops.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tournament Competitiveness - Part 3a

Okay, so now we're up to the Top 5 armies that I think have the chance to win a tournament. This means that in my opinion they can string 5-6 wins of sufficient size (at least 14-15 BPs per game) to come out on top.

I'm going to do them in reverse order, though to be fair I think #4 & #5 and #1 & #2 are almost interchangeable.

5. Warriors of Chaos

Far more than the Wizards of Chaos they were under 7th Edition. The WoC have very strong Core choices which means that it is hard to get cheap points. This is especially so if they are backed by strong Magic defense and in the Infernal Puppet, the WoC have the best in the game. I can't see a time when it wouldn't be in any list I made. It provides great protection against people who try the "Six Dice Monkey" (Pete puts his hand up), pretty much stopping this tactic until Turns 4-5.

They also have the ability to generate 3++ Stubborn Chosen very easily (Terror Banner) though I think WoC players use this as a crutch at times. Personally I can't think of anything I'd like to fight least so will divert, divert, divert....

The Standard of Discipline really strengthens this army and allows the Sorcerer Lord as a General. Plenty of other great items - Book of Secrets, Third Eye, Rage Banner etc

initially we were seeing Marauder Hordes but this switched to the Chosen Bus for 3-4 months. Now the trend seems to be back towards the big Khorne Marauder hordes.

Finally you have the Hellcannon - which can spoil your opponent's day if it misfires and you have the puppet.

GW's Side of the Story

Tony Perkins is a gamer from Melbourne, Australia. I first met Tony at the Australian GT in 2004 and we've been friendly ever since. Tony played in the first Battle of the Ditch 40k international at that event and we had a Grudge Match at Liber Animus II in 2005.

So Tony has been around the hobby a long time. After the news of GW's embargo on UK internet retailers broke he sent the company an email. Here's the response he got:

Dear Anthony,

Thanks for contacting Games Workshop about the change in our trading terms for European accounts. I know this has frustrated you and for that I am truly sorry. As a long standing customer, you deserve to know why we made this decision.

As you know, we introduce people to the Games Workshop hobby of collecting, painting and gaming with Citadel miniatures through our Hobby Centres and local independent trade accounts. Games Workshop Hobby Centres run introductory games and painting sessions, beginner lessons, hobby activities and events. We provide all these services free of charge. We only recover this investment if customers then buy products from us.

Where we don't have a Games Workshop Hobby Centre, we support local independent trade accounts. These businesses provide a convenient place for customers to buy our products close to where they live. We support these businesses with local customer service teams and warehouses to ensure customers have immediate access to our best selling products and new releases. Many customers discover the hobby this way.

In addition we invest millions of pounds every year in our design studio and factory to ensure that each month we release more new products. This makes the Games Workshop Hobby more exciting for existing customers, helping them stay in the hobby longer. We can only afford to do this because of the volume of customers we have recruited and developed through our local Hobby Centres and trade accounts.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tournament Competitiveness - Part 2

So let’s move onto the guys fighting out the mid-table positions. For me these are the Bolton Wanderers or Everton of the Warhammer World. They might snag the odd trophy but it’s going to take a good player because not all the bases are covered (wow, total mixed metaphors).

The key thing with an army in this section is that it has the underlying tools to be competitive in 8th Edition – ranked units, good magic, ability to be combined arms etc. Where they might fall down is that they don’t necessarily have the depth or synergy of the top ranked armies.

1. Tomb Kings

These guys are here because they are new. They are still an unknown force with their new book. I think that the general consensus is that they have strengthened substantially since the old book with much cheaper skeletons (bow armed always hit on 5+) and have access to a WS-hat that makes them far more sustainable – 25% less hits in most cases.

In addition they have got some new toys with the Warsphinx (infantry killer) and Necrosphinx (monster killer). They have lost the ability to magically charge but this was diminished under 8th from what it was in 7th (still a loss though).

2. Orcs & Goblins

The other new boys. I’ve placed them here but they may be better than I think, the jury is still playing through. The book looks very well balanced though there are clearly a few must haves – Doom Divers, Squig Herds, Pump Wagons and Mangler Squigs.

Where this army continues to work is that it has a number of good ranked anvil units that can take the charge – Night Goblins in depth with Fanatics/Nets. It has cheap characters which can be tooled for a number of functions, two good magic decks and good cheap support. I suspect the new Arachnarok in all its guises will be disappointing.

3. Empire

Clearly the “jack of all trades, master of none” winner in the Warhammer World. They are average across all areas – shooting, average magic and with the ability to buy ranks, average combat.

They are clearly a better defensive than offensive army and in that way suffer a bit like Dwarfs in that they generally don’t grasp the initiative.

4. High Elves

Good troops across every area. Certainly their access to the various magic lores means you can tailor your cloth to your needs. The combination of ASF and high Initiative means that you are likely to see White Lions as the preferred fighting troops. For me the jury is out on the initial internet favs, the LSG. However the addition of a cheap flaming banner makes them a reasonable choice.

Banner of Sorcery is great and always go for the Book of Hoeth if available.

5. Vampire Counts

I’m sure a lot will place them in the top band but I’m not so sure. There only seems to be one successful build – big Grave Guard, big Ghouls and MSU Wraiths. However I think it has weaknesses. For instance, the Ghouls lack of muso limits their reform potential. The Grave Guard (like most things) fold under high number of magically enhanced attacks (e.g. Mindrazor) – and these are clearly coming to prominence.

Sure there is a lot to love about Vamps with Van Hels magically charge, ethereal troops etc but given they are a one trick pony there is not much room for evolution as that trick is countered.

So that’s the middle band. Obviously you now know my Top 5 Tournament Armies and I’ll put up my thoughts about them tomorrow.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tournament Competitiveness - Part 1

Okay so today’s the first of a three parter looking at how competitive armies are in terms of winning a tournament. My caveat here is that GW has done a good job with 8th Edition, balancing the field far more than in previous editions. Player skill is very important in any comparison and I believe is the defining factor in why on any day, one army can beat any other. Having said that, I think that some of the armies are less likely to be able to put together the required 5-6 wins to take out a tournament.

So here are my “Least Tournament Competitive” armies:

1. Wood Elves

The key problem with Wood Elves is functioning in a world of ranks and steadfast. The Wild Riders are no longer the rank breaking threat they were and that is a massive change.

Certainly you can win games with Wood Elves but I don’t think consistently enough to win a tournament. The strongest build is a Level 4 with Life, a Noble with Hail of Doom in big unit of Archers with flaming banner, 2-3 other archer units and perhaps Treekin.

Thankfully for Woodies a new book is on the horizon – probably early 2012

2. Ogres

Probably stronger in 8th than in 7th but there they were really roadkill. I believe they suffer from the ranks and steadfast problem that afflicts the Wood Elves. This has led to the formation of Deathstar units but a canny player will divert or feed you chaff to make sure you never get anything meaningful.

One upside of 8th is the ability to take more rare choices meaning a couple of Gorgers are almost mandatory.

Ogres really struggle against Magic with a lot of spells removing models in the new world.

Generally expected to be the next book off the block, late 2011.

3. Beastmen

The last of the 7th Edition books and at the time of release a lot of people believed it signalled the new 8th Edition world. Unfortunately, for Beastmen, it didn’t.

Very poor magic lore, little or no shooting means that they really struggle to harvest points in anything but an extreme build. The two “successful” builds are a flying Doombull or the Level 1 Herdstone spam. I suspect the success comes from the skill of the player and the element of surprise as much as any inherent list strength.

It is going to be a long few years in the Drakenwald.

4. Bretonnians

Any list that requires two stonethrowers to be competitive is obviously struggling. As always, multiple charges are the key but a smart player will ensure your attack is broken up. The Lord with Heroic Killing Blow to deal with monsters. The problem remains though if you can’t break ranked infantry on the charge it is going to be a very hard struggle. No partial rules for templates hurts them a lot.

New book out soon and I’m sure that the comparative power level will be upped.

5. Dwarfs

People may be surprised that I have the Stunties here but this comes down to the evaluation criteria. I believe that it is very difficult for Dwarfs to win the necessary number of games by the necessary margin to take out tournaments.

That said, they are very hard to lose with if you don’t want to. They have best magic defense in game (sans Puppet), combat troops that seem to bristle with Great Weapons and warmachines to hit at range.

That said they are hamstrung by requiring the enemy to commit. If they push too far forward other armies can exploit the space between the frontline and the warmachines. That can be fatal.

So there are my five least tournament competitive armies. The good thing is they should also be in all but the Beastmen case, the next books off the rank. The way GW has been levelling the field I can see all of the new books improving their prospects.

So what do you think? Have I got it right?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Lie of the Land

I was having a think the other morning about which armies provided the greatest opportunity to win a tournament. Important when doing this is to define the parameters. For the purpose of this exercise I’m assuming 5-6 rounds, 2000-2400 points, scenarios and the type of light comp system I have previously proposed in this blog.

My thoughts are that armies fall into a number of broad categories – Strong Contenders, Competitive and Pushing Proverbial Uphill.

Under 8th Edition the playing field is a lot more level than it has been since I started playing mid-2006. That means on their day any army/race can have a chance but the key thing for me in assessing the field is the ability to string 5-6 wins together (given no leg up).

Tomorrow I’ll start my run through with the armies I consider the least competitive.

"I'm Just Not That Into You" - Today, at least!

Sometimes it is really hard to like Games Workshop as a company. I love what they have done for the hobby, mainstreaming far more than any other company. Certainly their creative and products have given me years of enjoyment as I planned, built and battled with armies of little plastic and metal men.

I’ve sunk countless thousands into the hobby in product, travel and, probably my most important resource, time and have always felt that that input was rewarded.

When I first started buying GW product (2000), the NZD was around 0.30 pounds. Now it is 0.48 pounds, a 60% increase in purchasing power. However over the intervening period GW have never recognised the strengthening Australasian currencies and prices have risen along with the rest of the world.

This culminated in the ridiculous situation whereby I could purchase GW product from a UK internet reseller at a 40-45% discount to the NZ retail price. And this included shipping! Yesterday GW started the process of shutting down this avenue – effectively forcing locals here to pay the full retail price (or whatever local discount we can get now the dragon has been slain). Northern hemisphere sellers are no longer permitted to ship GW product – on threat of losing product access.

But that was not enough for GW. On top of this they have announced a price rise effective 1st June. This really is salt in the wounds for a lot of us. Any goodwill that was left is haemorrhaging fast. Also slipped in was the move to resin (sorry, “Finecast”) from metal. After trumpeting how much more efficient and cost effective this was for the company, they signalled that the new models would be more expensive than the metal equivalents they are replacing. So now cheaper cost = retail price rise. Go figure!

Against this backdrop I can only encourage you to buy as much of your prospective needs before the end of the month. Take advantage of the pre-price rise prices. Take advantage of the disappearing access to Maelstrom and Wayland. Take advantage of Maelstrom’s voucher code (GW-ROW) to get 18% off.

The push for the closing of the UK-railway was from local independent sellers (especially in Australia) who to be fair couldn’t begin to compete with the Maelstrom/Waylands of the world. They may have done this explicitly or indirectly (by asking for AUD prices to be normalised with the rest of the world) but the outcome was certainly as a result of their protests (and from a business point of view who can blame them). I suspect they will now be able to wind back the discounts they had to provide to get any veteran gamer purchases. However, they need to be careful of what they’ve wished for. A lot of goodwill has been burnt in the past 48 hours and this GW price rise is really just the icing on the cake.

It’s going to be interesting to see how GW fares in Australasia over the next 12 months. As the owner of more painted armies and unpainted figures than I can ever hope to use I suspect this will see me spending less than I perhaps would have. Others have indicated that the new “pricing” (NZ RRP + price rise) will make the hobby too expensive. I hope not but I understand their viewpoint.

As I said at the outset, it’s increasingly hard to like Games Workshop, the company.

Reaver Jetbikes

In lighter news, I've just finished off a group of 3 Reaver Jetbikes (including a heat lance) for my slowly growing Dark Eldar army.


I'm sorry for the terrible photos (that's what happens when you use a cheap camera and have bad lighting) but hopefully they're enough to give you an idea of how the bikes came up.


Next up is some Hellions.

Preparing for "Retribution"

I’m playing at a small 40k event the weekend after next. It is a three round tournament for 1750 point armies. I’m taking Death Guard Legion as per the following list:

1750 Points Chaos Space Marines


Daemon Prince – Sorcerer, Mark of Nurgle and Wings


7 Plague Marines with 2 Melta including Champion with Power Fist and Combi-Melta in Rhino with Combi-Melta

7 Plague Marines with 2 Melta including Champion with Power Fist and Combi-Melta in Rhino with Combi-Flamer

7 Plague Marines with 2 Flamers including Champion with Power Fist and Combi-Flamer in Rhino with Combi-Melta

7 Plague Marines with 2 Melta including Champion with Power Fist and Combi-Melta in Rhino

7 Plague Marines with 2 Plasmaguns

Heavy Support

2 Obliterators

2 Obliterators

I tossed up as to whether I’d replace one unit of Obliterators with a Defiler. In the end I chose not to as I haven’t finished painting the model (and with in-laws here this week I couldn’t guarantee I would). The Defiler was my game-winner against the Iron Hands and I think I prefer him – but conventional wisdom suggests the second unit of Obliterators may be required.

The tournament is using a peer-based ranking system for lists so I have no expectations what comp score I will get – and have some doubts whether it will get things right. However, more than happy to see how it goes.

Really looking forward to it. It will be the first time I’ve thrown 40k dice in anger since winning Liber Animus V in 2008 with a Drop pod army. Given that was one of only two tournaments since 2006, I am horrifically out of practice. I think I’ll be reading the rulebook this weekend.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review - 40KUK Podcast

Against the negativity of the GW news today there has been some good news over the past month.

I discovered the 11th Company podcast recently and listened to it largely because of the inclusion of a segment called “40KUK”. This was presented by Nottingham-based Dave Symcox and took about 30-45 minutes.

Recently Dave has spun the segment off as its own show “40KUK” and it is now available through iTunes. This free podcast typically runs between 2-4 hours and bills itself as one for tournament gamers. It is weekly (Mondays) and is up to its third episode.

So what do I think of it? Well, it is excellent. Certainly it is everything that has been missing from the GW podcasting universe. Unlike pretenders such as 40k Radio for instance, it is produced by people who can actually play the game. The insight and commentary is high quality and even if you are not a tournament gamer you can learn a lot every episode. They pull apart lists, codex force organisation slots etc. They even include a section discussing the lists of the Top 16 ranked players in the UK scene. All of it is done at a fast pace and with good humour.

It is an ideal sister show to Bad Dice (Warhammer Fantasy), which is similarly head and shoulders above its competitors.

Give it a try.

More Implications of the GW Reseller Decision

So this morning sees another round of rage-quitting from the GW game – not inspired by a reluctance to adapt to new rules this time but in response to the change in GW trade policies.

In Australia I expect there will be some gloating from those that have left WHFB to play other genres, however I suspect that it may be a little misplaced. This story isn’t over it is only just starting to be played out. The next 6-12 months will tell the true story.

I suspect there will be a lot of resentment to local GW staff but before you vent I think it is worth remembering that the pressure has been building from the independent retailers for GW to make this change. Even by offering discounts of up to 20% (and free postage) Australasian retailers haven’t been able to compete with Wayland and Maelstrom.
Now the dragon has been slayed do you really think that there is much reason to keep offering these discounts? I know I wouldn’t. I’d be offering the minimum I had to do to ensure I got sales rather than GW stores. These guys have been lauded (particularly on the WAU, where the “Buy Australia” mantra is a religion) but these discounts have been business decisions, first and foremost. So I suspect they will be the next “casualty of war”.

The next question I’d be interested in is “How much profit did Maelstrom make from this?” If the answer is a lot then I wonder what impact its removal will have on their other ventures e.g. The Eye of the Storm, Bane Legions etc. I can’t help thinking that profits from the ROW were subsidising these ventures. So maybe there will be impacts for UK gamers?
A big question is where do locals now buy? The local GW? The struggling LGS? The Warstore or equivalent in the States? eBay? How the cards fall on this is going to be extremely interesting.

And what does it mean for boutique brands like Warmachine/Hordes? Malifaux? Spartan Games? Will they see benefit from a shift in sales away from GW (if this in fact happens)? For all the hype in Oz, Warmachine is stillvery much a fringe game. Its supporters are very vocal – which is great, it’s nice to see some passion. But let me put a question to you – Do any of its supporters see its sales alone supporting a LGS? I’d be very surprised if it was a viable business proposition by itself. It needed the LGS to sell GW economically for it to be viable – Bluntly, local stock of Warmachine only occurs if the LGS is profitable, it don’t pay the bills.

And what of GW? Will they see overall sales volume (units) drop?
Personally I can’t see how it won’t. I know from my own point of view the removal of access to GWUK in November last year meant I no longer buy those GW Direct figures I used to. However I’m not a target GW customer so any spending by me and my ilk may all be a pimple on the backside of their sales figures. There seems to be an inbuilt contradiction here though. If the veteran gamer is not a target market, why shut down access to Maelstrom? I don’t expect little Johnny was your average internet reseller’s customer.

Never Discount Grizzly Mum!

From the Maelstrom website:

Games Workshop's new Terms and Conditions

Firstly, Games Workshop's new Terms and Conditions, which come into force on the 31st of May 2011. These, among other things, restrict the sale of language products - i.e., rulebooks and codices that are not in English - and, most crucially of all, restrict the sale of all of their products to the European Union, although there are a couple of countries (such as Norway and Switzerland) that are geographically within Europe but not in the EU that we can still sell to.

Obviously this means that all of our faithful Games Workshop customers from the Anglosphere - Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States - as well as those from Brazil, Chile, Peru, Russia, Japan and South Korea (apologies for those countries I have missed out) will now miss out on our superb service and cheap prices, but I'm afraid the terms and conditions of our contract with Games Workshop mean that we have to say goodbye.

Goodbye 18% UK RRP Voucher

But it's a cracking goodbye! From today until midnight (GMT) on the 30th of May all our customers will be able to use a 18% off UK RRP discount voucher code on Games Workshop products only, so you stock up on all of those items you'll need for your Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 or Lord of the Rings armies - and of course all your paints and brushes!

The voucher will work on pre-orders and, crucially, you'll still earn Moneyback - although tiered discounts are disabled when using a voucher of course.

Your voucher code is: GW-ROW

To use this voucher simply register on the webstore, www.maelstromgames.co.uk (if you haven't already), copy and paste the code into the appropriate field in your basket when you have selected the items you want, press 'REDEEM', and the webstore will do the rest. You are not limited to one purchase and, indeed, we would ask you to recommend us to your friends with this voucher!

Remember though that this voucher will only work on Games Workshop products - specifically, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer 40,000, Lord of the Rings, Citadel Hobby and Black Library products.

Grizzly Mum protects her young.


The interesting one for me is the cheerleading over the past five years of the Australian wargaming community of their LGS who provide discounts of up to 20%.

If I'm an Australian LGS I'm now wondering why I need to provide a discount given the dragon has been slain. I'd be having a quiet coffee with my peers and dialing the discount back to 5%.

These guys weren't doing it because of love of customer (not if they were serious rather than pretend businessmen), they were doing it to make sure they got the crumbs. Now all the food is back on the table.

Here in NZ, Vagabonds in Auckland apparently have just instituted a 15% discount for City Guard members in Auckland. Great timing guys! I'd be very surprised if that lasts longer than than an icicle in Hades - "Guys, we can't really afford it....let's try 5%". That's if they are proper rather than play retailers.

There's an old adage in finance "The Weak Must Be Punished!".

I'm mean, seriously, what's a local gamer's next best alternative? Full RRP at GW?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Death Guard vs. Iron Hands - Round 2

Yesterday saw another game between my Death Guard Legion and John’s Iron Hands. This time we upped it 2000 points which say me add a Summoned Greater Daemon and a Defiler, while john made his Sternguard smaller and added another Devastator Squad and beefed one of the tactical squads up to full strength.

John’s army was:

Company Master
Librarian with Null Zone and Gate of Infinity
5 Assault Termies with TH/SS
7 Sternguard
3x 10 Tactical Marines
10 Assault Marines
2x 10 Devastator Squads

My Death Guard had:

Daemon Prince with Warptime
4x 7 Plague Marines in Rhinos
6 Plague Marines
2x 2 Obliterators

Having had two games of Annihilation we played “Seize Ground” Spearhead with three objectives. I loaded up in the Rhinos and set out to track into the centre, which was looking more and more a good strategy when I stole the initiative and went first.

On Turn 2 I clicked that this was not necessarily the masterstroke that I thought it was as I had given John the “last turn” and he could psychically move a unit to claim/contest and there was little I could do other than kill all of his Troops or assassinate his Librarian (which not surprisingly he was keeping safe behind a LoS blocking building).

John’s superior firepower was whittling away my squads and as expected the centre was turning into a scrum with the Termies finishing off the units. The Rhinos had been turned into wrecks around the central objective providing me with some cover.

In the end the game came down to one shooting phase (my Turn 5). I direct all my shooting at the four Termies that remained. This amounted to both squads of Oblits, two squads of Plague Marine meltas and combi-melta. I was fortunate to wipe the Termies out. My immobilised Defiler shot at a Troop unit in a building and by positioning the template to cover all it managed to also get the Librarian. There was an enormous sigh of relief from me when Little Boy Blue failed his cover save.

This left John with limited numbers of Troops near the central objective while I had a Troop squad camped on top. As we went into a 6th turn I pushed my unit forward to block. John got to within 3.5” of the marker but time ran out. In the end it was 2-1 to the good guys (Death Guard), me happy to have avenged the loss in our previous game.

Really enjoyed the game. We are both getting back into the game and are having enormous fun doing so.

Putting Together the New Tomb King kits

Over the weekend I put together the new Tomb Kings’ kits that arrived from the UK last week. I purchased two boxes of the Warsphinx/Necrosphinx and two books of the Necropolis Knights/Sephuracal Stalkers.

I was very impressed by the warsphinx and necrosphinx kit. Very easy to put together and by making one of each you get two howdahs giving you the ability to make one for a King and the other for a crew. Certainly felt the kit was good value for money – at UK prices.

The second box set I was less impressed with. While the models themselves are okay, I think the box set is very expensive for what you get and compared to the warsphinx box (which is NZD 10/GBP 2.50 cheaper). I’m not sure how GW reached the pricing here but in comparison to boxes like Chaos Knights, for example, the kit looks hideously overpriced. In terms of construction the kit was a little more fiddly than the first kit but easy enough to fit together.

And yes Jack I will remove the mould lines!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Internet Rumours!

There is a lot of bandwidth being consumed on Dakka, Warseer, WAU etc suggesting that Games Workshop will be making an announcement on Monday May 16th prohibiting northern hemisphere internet retailers from shipping to southern hemisphere addresses.

Could be an interesting time in 48 hours. I wonder if the CPI captures a 40% price increase.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Battle Report - Skaven v Dwarfs - The Dwarf View

Here are Tane's comments on the game. Gives an insight into the other point of view

G'day everyone, I was the Dwarf player, and here's my 2 cents.

In short, I played very badly. I had some very poor luck with the dice in my shooting phase, but that wasn't the cause of my smashing (and it was a smashing). Pete also had below average luck with his shooting, and he did all right.... I might appear somewhat pessimistic in my outlook on this game, but to be honest, I can't think of anything I did right. Here's some of what I did wrong;


This is the biggie. It is essential as a Dwarf player that you don't cock this up, as you normally lack the relative mobility to remedy a poor deployment. I cocked it up, and against a player of Pete's skill and experience that's fatal. The first mistake was the loose deployment of the war machines, allowing the Gutter Runners into their rear, exactly what I didn't want. I should have deployed them tighter and on the table edge, with the Hammerers and Warriors to their front, forcing the Gutter Runners to come on from the sides, outside the cordon. The second problem was the Longbeard Rangers. These should have either been on the Skaven table edge, allowing an attack on one Slave unit at a time, or even better, back on my side, next to the Hammerers, ready to help out the battleline. 400+ points of Longbeards spent the game killing 150 points worth of Slaves. The third problem was putting the Hammerers on the right, with W2 in the centre. The Hammerers were aimed at the Furnace, their S6 hammers ready to smash it, while their Stubborn kept them in the game against the massive casualties they were going to suffer. The W2 unit with the BSB's Flaming Attacks were the backup should the Cannon fail to kill the Abomination (which it did, not a single wound on it....). I tried to get W2 round the back of the Hammerers, hence the mindless meandering, but they did SFA. My fault, not theirs.... Finally, W1 is way the hell away from any support. I'm still not sure what I was thinking.


I won't blame the dice, but as the Dwarfs are only a 2-dimensional army (no magic, poor relative movement), you need a backup to the war machines to those times they don't work. This was one of those times, my 450 points of War Machines did sod all (mainly due to the Bell inflicting 2d3 auto-wounds on them, and that old favourite, the Storm Banner). That was my BSB and the Hammerers, but as noted above, they were in the wrong position to carry out their missions.


The only thing worse than a bad plan is failing to execute it properly. You can see this when I didn't charge W2 in with the Hammerers, or when I reinforced failure by committing the Miners to help out the Longbeards.


The 2 Dragonslayers and the Gyrocopter were in the list to help block charges and/or divert them. I'm still learning about this arcane art, and that shows in this game. My first Dragonslayer did hold the Abomination for a turn, but that's it; I needed a unit nearby to try and take advantage of that and didn't . The Gyrocopter spent it's game making up for my appalling deployment by shooting Gutter Runners.

Those are the main points I can think of. It was as always a great game against Pete, and I'm hoping that I've finally learned some of these lessons. I do find Skaven (along with WOC) to be my bane armies, mainly I think because my shooting has to be spot on to attrit or kill their shock troops before combat. If it's not, Dwarves get hammerered (and not in a good way). Skaven can easily handle Dwarf shooting with the Storm Banner, Gutter Runners and (as I found out) the Screaming Bell, making it very iffy once the Furnace, Abomination etc make contact. Well, it makes for a challenging game eh?!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dark Eldar Wave 2

Well, I'm very excited! The first part of the second wave of Dark Eldar has just been revealed and they can be seen (and preordered) on the GW page.

Here's some pics:


I really like them all, but especially the Scourges and Venom. I also can't wait to see the rumoured Razorwing Fighter later in the month.

Off to buy some figures...

Edit: Here's the Razorwing!

Battle Report - Skaven vs. Dwarfs 3000 Points

Last weekend was an opportunity for a Skaven vs. Dwarfs game between myself and one of my regular opponents, Tane. Usually we play 2000-2400 points but being on a Saturday we decided to try a bigger battle.

I will be getting Tane to post his thoughts on the battle but here is my unbiased account.

The scenario we rolled up was Watch Tower and I won the opportunity to occupy it. My list had no possible candidates so the building remained empty. The two lists used were as follows:


Runelord (RL) in 30 Warriors with great weapons (W1)
BSB (BSB) in 30 Warriors with great weapons (W2)
Master Engineer (ME) in 12 Quarrellers (Q)
Dragonslayer (DS1)
Dragonslayer (DS2)
25 Longbeard Rangers (LR) - scout
9 Miners (M) – in reserve
25 Hammerers (H)
Cannon (C)
Grudgethrower (G)
Organ Gun (OG)
Gyrocopter (GC)


Grey Seer (GS1) on Bell (SB) in 30 Clanrats (CR1)
Grey Seer (GS2) in 40 Slaves (S2)
BSB (BSB) in 25 Stormvermin (SV)
Plague Priest (PP) on Plague Furnace (PF) in 35 Plague Monks (PM)
Warlock Engineer (WE) in 40 Slaves (S1)
Engineer (E) in 35 Slaves (S3)
30 Clanrats (CR2)
6 Gutter Runners (GR1) – in reserve
6 Gutter Runners (GR2) – in reserve
Warplightning Cannon (WLC1)
Warplightning Cannon (WLC2)
Plagueclaw Catapult (PC)
Hell Pit Abomination (HPA)

The deployment was as per the following map:

As can be seen from the map, both of us were quite tight in our deployments. This is as much a feature of the Watch Tower scenario as it was concern on both our parts of the opponent's reserves. I know I wanted to force the Miners away from my warmachines and the Watch Tower while Tane has a pathological fear of my Gutter Runners.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wargaming Clubs - Prodding the Elephant

Following on from the post a few weeks ago regarding wargaming clubs.

If the Warlords were to swap their Sunday meeting to a weeknight meeting once a fortnight from 6.30-10.30pm at the same venue, would that get you guys to come along for some regular gaming?

If we could get enough critical mass it would be guaranteed regular games. For non-members would that be worth parting with $40?

Post your thoughts.

Pre-Measuring - Yay or Nay?

Playing only my second game of 40k in eighteen months, the hardest thing after ten plus months of 8th Edition Fantasy was not pre-measuring. I just do it now as a matter of course. I warned Blaise at the start of the game to remind me if I did it and he picked me up once and I mentally stopped a couple of other times.

However this got me thinking, would pre-measuring improve or harm 40k as a game? I’m struggling to see how it would hurt it to be honest.

When 8th Edition was released a lot of the negative comments were directed as pre-measuring as evidence that the game had been dumbed down.
Apparently the ability to judge the difference between 11.9 inches and 12.1 inches encapsulated a lot of the tactical brilliance that was 7th Edition and removing it deprived the game of one of its great skills.

I never drank that Kool-Aid, instead believing that the beauty of 8th Edition was its move from resource management to risk management. What it did do was remove a lot of the potential niggle from the game as you could define the distance before the dice were rolled.

Going back to no pre-measuring seemed ‘quaint”. Yes it was nostalgic but I’m not sure it really added anything in either the fun or tactical stakes.
So what do the current 40k players think? Would going to a pre-measured environment be a bad thing? Personally I’m struggling to see downsides.

New Warhammer Fantasy FAQs - including Orcs & Goblins

Games Workshop posted new FAQs yesterday, including the Rulebook and the Orc & Goblin book.

Most changes are very minor but here are some of the main points:

• Mindrazor uses Leadership characteristic of model (not Inspiring Presence) – so downgrade
• Moving characters in units counts as moving
• Pivot through board edge is legal
• Removal of the teleporting charge

For the Orcs & Goblins by far the most important FAQ is that a roll of “1” on magic mushroom die is an automatic fail unless the spell is cast with IF. Also causes end of his casting for turn. OOOwwwww! [Remember Kids – Don’t Do Drugs!].

All can be picked up on GW website.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Back to the Future - Death Guard vs. Nids

So on Saturday I had my second 40k game in 18 months against a club mate who is practising for the upcoming no-comp NiCon in June. Blaise uses Nids and recently finished 6th at the 40 man Equinox event in Auckland.

I trudged out the Death Guard to face his army which comprised two big tricked-out genestealer units, a thirty man Gargoyle unit, some termagaunts, a Tervigon, Tyranid Prime attached to 3 Zoanathropes and two units of three Hive Guard. The mission was DoW Annihilation which is not great for me with my 13 KPs including 4 rhinos against his nine.

How did it play out? Well the Nids managed to get the soft points – the Rhinos. I guess in future I can leave them off the board as they are very vulnerable to the no need for LOS shooting of the Hive Guard – one lesson learned.

Going into the start of Turn 5 I was 4-1 down but managed to get it back to 4-4 by the end. We were due to play a Turn 6 which would have given me a definite fifth kill point against probable one for Blaise. I would have had an opportunity to add another if the Tyranid Prime had charged my Daemon Prince who was buffed with Warptime.

Overall I had a great time. Blaise felt I had played a bit conservatively but I felt I needed to in order to get him to commit. I’m sure with a few more games under my belt I’ll get the necessary confidence.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Okay, Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?

Neferra's Scrolls of Mighty Incantations Arcane Item (50 points)

One use only. A Wizard can declare that he is using Nefarra's Scrolls of Mighty Incantations immediately before casting a spell. If he does so, the Wizard must add a number of extra bonus dice, equal to his Wizard level, to the power dice he is going to roll (you still need to roll at least one dice from the power pool). The bonus dice do not count as power dice. However, a roll of any double when casting a spell using them will cause irresistible force (and a miscast).

Really, GW? We needed a Power Scroll on steroids? Really. It might be fun down at the local GW but I can quickly see most TOs putting it on the blacklist pretty quickly - given the Power Scroll history.

The ability for the Liche High Priest to combine this with the Lores of Light or Death create all sorts of lovely scenarios.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Incoming!!!! Tomb Kings

So Tomb Kings tomorrow!

I said a couple of months ago that the Orc & Goblin book was important, being the first released post 8th Edition. Games Workshop did a great job in making a very competitive book with lots of choice and few “rubbish” choices. It’s really too early to say how it’s changed the meta-game but the run-out I saw at Runefang last month suggest it is at least as competitive as the previous iteration.

What does that mean for TKs? Well under 8th they were largely the poorest of very poor cousins. Their magic was set up for the new edition except if you used the Wizarding Hat on a second Tomb King. The core choices were largely overpriced with the downgrading of Fear and units such as Carrion, Heavy Horsemen were clearly too expensive.

Given this background the release of a new TK book was odds-on to improve the overall meta – just by being better than the current edition.

However there are things that suggest it could be a very competitive army:

• Skellies are only 5 points. Massed archer units might be very worthwhile given the always hit on 5+ is preserved.

• The potential to transfer a King or Prince’s WS a la the VC ‘WS Hat’ means these same Skeletons will have potential to hang around in combat – especially if replenished via magic phase.

• The Chariot units got much better. Unit of two ranks of Chariots doing 3D6 +1 Str Impact Hits will do damage to even the biggest units – especially if the Skellies have softened them up with archery first.

• Nice cheap redirectors – Skeleton horse are 60 points for 5 and never run away

• Big monsters – the ability to add impact hits, breath weapon and Thunderstomp as a secondary unit in combat should not be underestimated.

• Necrosphinx…..he’s going to keep other monsters in the game honest. He has nice cheap breath weapon as well.

So lot’s of things to be optimistic about. I’ll know more after a fuller read tomorrow.

More on "Tactics" and the Spirit of the Game

Well yesterday’s post about “tactics’ and spirit of the game stirred up some debate. Charlie gave a very reasoned counter view which you can read by checking out the comments attached to yesterday’s post.

It’s important to point out that the “tactics” I alluded to are all perfectly legal under the rules and therefore also perfectly valid to be employed in a game. My point was that they create a situation which to me looks ludicrous – though I’d love to see a Bloodthirster holding a mirror rather than an axe or Wolf Riders fitted with rearvision mirrors and backing lights – and it is not something I would do.

As Charlie pointed out once you start applying a moral compass to rules it can be a very slippery slope but I’d like to think that there is a reasonability test you can personally apply in your games to reach a point that you are happy with. For me troops advancing backwards cross this line however people will note I am quite comfortable using naked engineers as redirectors. I’m sure that people could construe this as equally ludicrous – Skaven not being renowned for their displays of valour in the face of overwhelming odds. So it is an ice rink covered in banana skins and ball bearings.

Following on from this discussion I do think it is important to make clear I’d never not play somebody who employed legal tactics such as those previously described. However I would see it as golden opportunity to rag them throughout the game.

“Really, Joe? A Khorne Chariot reversing across the battlefield? Really? It’s come to this?”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Saturday's Activities

On Saturday I’ve got two games lined up. First thing in the morning (after I pick up my new Tomb King book and cards from the local GW), I’ve got a game with my Death Guard against 1750 points of Tyranids. Then in the afternoon, I have a 3000 point game of Warhammer where my Skaven will be taking on a local Dwarf rabble.

I haven’t played 3000 points before but I sat down and worked out a list this lunchtime and goodness gracious you get a lot of toys in a 3000 point list. The game is an opportunity to try out a few things and I think it should be great fun as units – and the army as a whole – should be a lot more resilient. I am expecting every god awful gizmo and warmachine, every stunty runed up to the eyeballs while my list will be the model of restraint and balance.

Oh, and....... There Will Be Blood!

"Tactics" and the Spirit of the Game

I was listening to a podcast the other day and one of the guys on it talked about how he overcomes animosity for his Goblin Wolf Riders by pointing them to his own board edge (effectively facing the wrong way). I appreciate it is legal but it really strikes me as sad.

For me there are some things that are not really in the “spirit” of the game and this is one of them. I’m sure it can be defended as tactical nous but to me it crosses a line where you are just trying too hard.

The most common example of these types of “tactics” occurs with frenzied troops, particularly Khorne Chariots. Here one rules mechanism is used to circumvent another rules mechanism. Because chariots can’t march and can pivot on the spot, there is no disadvantage to facing them backwards and moving them in reverse across the battlefield. Well no disadvantage apart from the loss of self-respect!

A similar ludicrous situation was captured in a picture of the last UKGT Final (I think it was Final and not a Heat). On the top six tables there were 6-7 Daemon armies and in virtually every case there was a Bloodthirster advancing on the enemy using his buttocks as the main attack weapon. This was to get around the Siren song standoff that graced each of these games.

For me there is a general line marking “spirit of the game” which I will not cross. Generally the disadvantage attached to own rules mechanism is offset by another (albeit may be the overall points cost). If the “tactic” you need to employ to get around a disadvantage looks ludicrous then it probably crosses the line.

I would never reverse my Skaven Furnace down the board to avoid them being drawn out of position. Similarly if playing a Khorne chariot it would always be pointed to the enemy. So are there things you believe contravene the “spirit” but not the rules of the game? Or is it not really an issue and everything is fair in love and Warhammer?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Sundering - A Great Tale of Fluff

One of the great advantages that Warhammer (be it 40k or Fantasy) has over other “manufactured” systems is the depth of its background. The backstory in both systems is very well established and has more layers than an onion. In the past this was done by the army book/codex and a variety of source books and White Dwarf articles – I have the full series of Index Astartes articles collected into one volume – and recently it is through the Black Library.

I get the impression that 5-10 years ago the BL books were novels set in the Warhammer world. However that changed with the advent of the Horus Heresy series and the Time of Legends novels.

When the Time of Legends series was announced there were three avenues they went down – Sigmar, Nagash and The Sundering. For me I always thought the most interesting was always going to be Nagash but I have been surprised. I do think the first Nagash book, “Nagash the Sorcerer” is the best BL book I’ve read but as a series The Sundering has been absolutely wonderful.

I was sceptical that I would enjoy this series as, those who know me will attest, I despise all things Elven and it was being written by Gav Thorpe, who I view as a Games Designer rather than an author. In retrospect I couldn’t have been more wrong. The books, as a series, are exceptional.

The story starts off with “Malekith” and it builds a fantastic backstory of what gives the eventual-Witch king his sense of entitlement. It builds through his achievements, particularly in the colonies a sense of why he thinks he should be Phoenix King and the psyche he develops that acts as fertile ground for his mother’s poison.

“Shadow King” is really a retelling of the Batman story – wronged son, acting as an outcast from society. Again I thought I’d struggle to enjoy it but it really is the glue that keeps the series together. You get a feeling of the breakdown across Ulthuan and the distrust that develops between kin and erstwhile allies.

The final book is “Caledor” and this book makes the series a success. Keeping the theme of the first two books, you have another flawed hero, and get a real sense of the division that exists within the various Elven kingdoms. I think the real success of the series is that nothing is black or white everything is at best fifteen shades of grey.

Certainly recommend the series to all Warhammer players, not just those with an Elven bent. The background, imagery etc is rich and diverse.

Monday, May 2, 2011

For Sale - Cheap Bretonnian Army

If anyone is interested I have a very cheap Bretonnian army for sale. Basically I picked up some figures on Trade Me and had all sorts of high hopes to paint them but those hopes were dashed on the rocks of reality.

So I’m just looking to get rid of them.

The army is either primed or stripped (I spend a few evenings removing all the old paint). It comprises:

32x Knights of the Realm (some of which can be Knights Errant) – mounts and riders separate

6x Grail Knights – mounts and riders separate

3x Pegasus Knights – mounts and riders separate

1x Trebuchet (with crew) – very nicely painted.

Bretonnian Bitz Box

So all you need to do is add in characters to taste.

Retail here in NZ it would be over $500 but you can have it all for the “princely” [see what I did there] sum of $200 plus free postage.

LMK if you’re interested.