Monday, July 30, 2012

Flying Fur - Beasts vs. Skaven

Had a really fun game on Saturday against Mike King’s Beastmen. Mike used a Herdstone list with 4 Wizards – Level 4 Death and Shadow, 2x Level 1 Beasts – 2x Minotaur unit, 2x Gor blocks, a Bestigor block, 2x chariots plus chaff.

I used my Skaven but also tried a couple of new things out. The Bell was pushed by 40 Stormvermin, I minimised my Gutter Runner units and for the first time I used an Assassin. He had the standard ninja kit of Weeping Blade and Potion of Strength.

Not really sure that the list worked for me. When you include such a big block of Stormvermin you probably want them in combat BUT that is generally the last place you want the Bell. In the end I got it into a Gor block and killed the Death Wizard with the Assassin (one hit from 5 attacks – bell fuelled), he luckily wounded and the Weeping Blade thankfully rolled high. Again I’m not sure that the Assassin worked. It was pretty obvious where he would be. I had to roll an “8” to make the charge so even drinking his potion was risky – maybe best in second round if he survives (?).

Mike’s Minotaur plus Chariot did a job on the HPA whereas the Doomwheel got lucky on the second unit.

However the key moment was a 13th Spell on Turn One. I reduced the Bestigors from 20 to 2, effectively taking them out early. Mike’s Death Wizard killed an Engineer early and the Herdstone gave him pretty much 10-12 dice each of the early rounds. However this came at a cost as he had no BSB and a Lord Level Shaman with no BSB is a very risky proposition. I expect to see him re-enter Mike’s list.

For me, I don’t think I’ll run such a big SV unit again with a Bell, but might try 30 Stormvermin by themselves. In this instance they were expensive furniture movers, costing 2.5-3.0 points more than Clanrats.

"A Hero Will Rise"

Every now and then something unexpected comes along and has the potential to satisfy your hobby needs. On Sunday morning I received an email from Forgeworld linking to a teaser for an upcoming release.

Autumn 2012 will see the release of their next book – “The Horus Heresy – Volume One”. Suddenly I don’t have to rely on GW and their Codex: Chaos Allsorts. If that let’s me down – and my assumption is that it will given recent direction – then I can fall back on a book from a time when Chaos = Traitor Legions.

This has me hyped especially because Forgeworld already has the models for Deathguard, Emperor’s Children plus Legion-specific livery.

This is one release I’ll certainly be buying.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Release Schedule & Power Creep

So definitely no Codex: Chaos Space Marines until October (at earliest). Given the release of “The Hobbit” shortly after – and GW’s contractual arrangement with New Line – November/December id definitely WotR.

The inside cover of the August WD confirms what we knew – September is the 40K boxed set and features Dark Angels and Chaos.

Therefore by elimination – October it is.

One thing that worries me about the 40K game at the moment is that we seem to be in the middle of a power creep cycle that shows no signs of abating. The strongest armies in the game are those that have been the latest books – so the current troika are Necrons, Dark Eldar and Grey Knights (before them it was Guard, Wolves and Blood Angels). With the advent of 6th, the latest book has only got stronger and we are now seeing a lot of power players pick up Necrons.

By contrast, WHFB seems to have learned its lessons. After reaching absurd heights with Daemons then Dark Elves, the advent of 8th Edition has seen a balancing of the game which has led to diversity in race choice at tournaments with even minimal comp.

My concern is that Chaos Space Marines will become the latest flavour of the month upon release. I’m hoping that perceived power level is somewhere less than the level of top armies at the end of 5th and that that sets a new benchmark which other books adhere to. Yes, this means that the last few books will remain as a highwater mark but a balanced game is far more enjoyable than one that constantly ratchets up.

However I’m realistic enough to recognise the commercial realities and that 40K is GW’s breadwinner. I’m, therefore, not holding my breath that we’ll see the end of Codex Creep as new, shiny AND kickass is more commercial than new, shiny and balanced.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My New Ogre Kingdoms Dice

I have just had a new custom order of dice made.

These are 16mm black with red numbers. Instead of the "6" I have had the Great Maw put on them.

Pretty happy with how they have come out.

I have had some extra made so if anybody is interested in getting some them let me know. 

Daemons of Chaos Army Book Update

I’m pretty excited that GW have updated Daemons of Chaos by including a new rules leaflet in the latest White Dwarf.

To say that the Daemon book has always been “competitive” is probably understating it. Towards the end of 7th Edition the top tables at any no-comp event was dominated by the denizens from the Warp. The key strengths were the speed of the army backed by a 5+ ward save. There were generally no weak Daemon builds.

While the 8th Edition rules knocked the edge of the most dangerous builds – not least because tournaments coalesced at 2400 points – a Daemon army still remained a very very dangerous beast. The ability to get cheap (and multiple) Loremaster abilities added to its strength.

When comp was applied, generally the Daemonic gifts were limited to one per army and a limit was put on the number of Flamers (or units of Flamers) you could have.

Given the Daemons are generally viewed as a “niche” army, it was unlikely that they would get a new Army Book in the next few years. Therefore the current “problems” would persist. GW have taken the opportunity of the release of second/third wave models to address any issues that they have identified by producing a supplement to this month’s White Dwarf.

I can’t wait to sit down and devour it.

New Daemons of Chaos - August White Dwarf Pictures

First pictures (poor quality) of the the new Daemons emerging.

Here is the new Slaanesh Chariot kit in its two iterations:

Also confirmation of the army book upgradeand that Flamers S4 but now Special.

I've put the rest of the pictures on Page 2.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Daemons Confirmed For August

Daemons are definitely August. Here is the release list (oh and you can weep at US prices!)

Call to Arms WHFB Tournament Approaches

Received a post from the Umpire for Call To Arms Fantasy last night that included a very familiar looking army list template. At present the competition has seventeen participants.

The event is four weekends away and I know that the Umpire would like to see further players. So if you are interested in playing drop him a line.

The Players Pack and all details can be found on the Wellington Warlords website

Codex Chaos Space Marine Rumours Continue

The following state of play on the new CSM Codex was released on the Blood of Kittens site overnight. Again these things should always be taken with a pinch of salt but we are seeing some things coalesce.

The new CSM codex is not a return to the 3rd edition codex, this is the successor to Gav Thorpe’s creation– the current CSM codex. Unlike before Phil Kelly was put in charge of building from the ground up; Space Wolves, Dark Eldar, and Orks codexes he instead has taken a much more subtle approach with the CSM Codex. This is not the reinvention of the wheel at its core this is a validation for Gav Thorpe and perhaps if you could ask Gav, Phil Kelly’s CSM codex would have been the codex he wished he could have written, but wasn’t allowed to (I call bullshit on that. Thorpe gave us a turd, let's not say he was hamstrung).

–What will be Released–
We will know if GW has changed policy. This codex will reveal if GW has abandoned the wave method to model release with a new codex or if they have stopped caring and show you all the new models even if they don’t come out right away.

Finecast: Dark Apostle, Warsmith, New Lord, Oblits, All Old Special Characters not updated already

New Plastic: Dragon, Raptors, Dreadnaught, Demon Engine, Assault Oblits, Chosen

Upgrade Packs: Plague Marines, 1k Sons, Emperor’s Children

–General Changes–
Almost all of the old units are either the same point cost or have gotten cheaper. With the notable exceptions of Chosen, Terminators, Defilers getting more expensive. The notable cheaper ones being basic CSM, Oblits, Zerkers, The CSM is really an upgrade codex, while things have gotten cheaper you will be hard pressed to keep your units inexpensive with all the wargear you can add. The cheaper units doesn’t come without a cost as well, almost all units saw a LD drop. Also you will start to see a lot of the new USRs in the CSM book.

–What has stayed the Same–
The Cult units are the same in stats and basic wargear. No new Spacial Characters. Abbadon is still the only one with Eternal Warrior. Demon Weapons still can kill you. The Dreadnaught is still Crazy. The unit sizes have stayed the same as well as the wargear options found in the old codex; e.g. Chosen can still get a butt load special weapons.

Monday, July 23, 2012

More ETC Analysis

The other day I looked at most prevalent armies at this year’s ETC. They were in order:

Skaven (27)/Empire (25)/Dark Elves (25)/Vampires (23)/Daemons (21)/ Dwarfs (21)/Ogres (20)/Lizards (19)/Warriors (19) – max is 33

I thought that I look at what the best performing nations were taking so took last year’s top eight finishers:

Dark Elves (8)/Vampires (7)/ Empire (7)/ Lizards (6)/ Ogres (5) Chaos Dwarfs (5)/Dwarfs (5) – then Skaven, Daemons, High Elves and Warriors all on 4

Interesting changes in the makeup. Of the six people not taking Skaven, four are in last year’s Top Eight. Daemons also suffer though not as dramatically. The top nations seem to have seen something more in Lizards and, particularly Chaos Dwarfs (making up half of those taking them).

At the very top end you have to have a plan for dealing with Dark Elves, Vampires and Empire. The matchup process here is going to be fascinating to see what the leading nations use to counter these armies.

And again, the heavy comp “fixes” don’t seem to have breathed new life into variety. The most prevalent seven armies may up 61% of choices for full field. This rises to 67% of choices for the top eight nations. So greater consistency of opinion at the top end.

Rumours that Daemons (40k & Fantasy) in this month's White Dwarf

This little tidbit is doing the rounds:

"So in next month's White Dwarf there is going to be a leaflet with updates for Codex Daemons and for Daemons of Chaos in Fantasy.

  • Some changes to old units, Flamers are now only S4 in Fantasy and some units have had point changes.
  • Also new units - Slannesh massive chariot (2D6 +1 impact hits) and other weird chariot thing in one kit. The other thing looks and acts kind of like a mobile meat lawnmower. This is in both games and acts like a chariot in 40K.
  • Soul Grinders are coming to Fantasy! Have T7 6 wounds and a load of upgrades for its shooting. The model (40K kit) in the White Dwarf and leaflet was on the same base as the giant goblin spider.
  • Also new models for Plague Bearers (really really nice, some have fly heads), Screamers (look similar but with lots of eyes), Flamers (similar) and Nurglings.
  • Plus a new beastman shaman."
So the September release for 40k Chaos would seem likely....or may October if box set get Sept slot.

This is a real shakeup if true. The last points change I remember is the update to Dark Elves in 6th Ed Fantasy. The Soulgrider model really doesn't fit the Warhammer universe....the defiler legs kill it for me. I wonder whether they found it in the cave behind the forest where they found the Demigryphs.

I'm taking some of this with a pinch of salt at the moment.

Fantasy Day at Chateau Dunn

On Saturday we had a busy day at my place, with six games taking place.people were trying out their lists for the upcoming Call to Arms.

Sam Whitt debuted his Dark Elves playing my Ogres and Tom's Daemons. I was using a no Ironblaster list with Thundertusk included to suck up the points. Sam charged him in the flank with a Pegasus rider breaking him though he caused no wounds. I was able to clear out his magic early.... Pendant of Khaleth not great vs. Str 2 no AS attacks....and his Dark Riders/Shades. In the last turn my Mournfang cleared out the bus.

In the second game Sam had a small win against the Daemons. I watched the end throes and Tom's luck looked like it deserted him until his Thirster cleared out the CO bus. There was a very enjoyable combat where 3 Harpies and 5 Furies fought....both failing to cause any wounds.

My second game was vs Matt's dual Dragon list.Sorry Matt, but a Fire Mage on Dragon may be fluffy but his role is at best "conflicted". In both games he played the Mage was dead Turn 2 - no armour in combat - leaving Matt with no magic. Matt used an eagle to slow my Guts but when he failed a Terror test (and re-roll) from charging Thundertusk, it openned the way for the Guts to hit a spearmen block (with BSB) which broke his Fortitude in Blood & Glory.

James Milner was running his Tyrion-led High Elves and he managed to beat Tom's Daemons and also Mike's Beastmen. The general consensus was that Tyrion added starch to the High Elves but you'd expect that at the points cost. In the sixth game the Beasts did a number on the two Dragon High Elves.

So all in all some good fun across the tables. Probably look to do a similar day early next month.

Getting Long in the Tooth

Yesterday afternoon spent listening to a few podcasts on 6th Edition.

Previously, I had thought that the prevailing wisdom was that 5th edition was "TEH LEET ROXXUR". Apparently though 6th makes 40k a much more tactical game.

It's a funny old world.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fields of Blood - Tabletop Action

Here are some pics from the tabletop:

Al Unicomb's Ghazghull had gone on a rampage against Jack's Dark Eldar. I was called across to witness the continuation of this. What I saw was Ghazghull fail to hit a vehicle with his next 27 attacks!

Dave Lewy's Tau 

Haydn Korach's Dark Eldar

Friday, July 20, 2012

Scratching the ETC Lists

So a breakdown of ETC lists by prevalence (maximum 33):

27 – Skaven

25 – Empire

25 – Dark Elves

23 – Vampire Counts

21 – Daemons of Chaos

21 – Dwarfs

20 – Ogre Kingdoms

19 – Lizardmen

19 – Warriors of Chaos

17 – High Elves

12 – Orcs & Goblins

11 – Chaos Dwarfs

10 – Bretonnians

7 – Tomb Kings

4 – Wood Elves

3 – Beastmen

At a headline level it doesn’t look like the comp system has really inspired the variety that was mooted/suggested by a supposed levelling of the playing field.

I would have picked the nine most popular armies. I suspect the 100 extra points has encouraged some High Elves.

Team NZ has seven of its armies in the nine most common….a solid sign. The only outlier is Chris Wilcox with Wood Elves. Is it a surprise that 50% of the WE players play in Australia (the home of subjective comp). Nick Hoen’s three Treemen army looks far more engaging than Chris’ list.

The Australians have three of their eight armies not in the nine most common armies.

ETC Lists Released

It's Net-listers' Xmas as the 2013 ETC Lists are released. you can download them here

Nothing I see here changes my view that New Zealand will again finish higher than Australia.

Make or break year for England. Gotta think given the effort that anything less than Top 5 will be viewed by them as disappointing.

Remember these lists are for a bastardised form of WHFB so don't expect the lists to work in all environments

Gaming this Saturday

Tomorrow 4-5 of us are catching up at my place for some games.

James Milner will be bringing High Elves, Sam Whitt Dark Elves, Mike King will have his Beastmen, Tom his Daemons and I'll have Skaven. If any other locals are interested in dropping in for a game then let me know - I'll set up some more tables.

We are kicking off from 10.00am/10.30am

Fields of Blood - Top 10 Armies

Here were the Top 10 armies from Fields:

Alistair Allen's Imperial Guard

Luke Forrest's Tyranids

Jack Dunn's Dark Eldar

Dom Hook's Necrons

Hagen Kerr's Imperial Guard

Pascal Roggen's Blood Angels

Glen Burfield's Eldar

Jordan Green's CSM

Bryn Jones' Space Marines

Ellen Schoner's Blood Angels

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fields of Blood - The Players

Here is a selection of photos of participants at the recent Fields of Blood.

Pascal Roggen (5th Place with Blood Angels) in his game vs. Ryan Lister's Grey Knights

Previous winner Dave Lewy realises he isn't going to do it with Tau

Wellington local Jordan Green was one of three CSM players

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Chaos (sorry Random) Codex Leaks

Taken from UK Gamer Neil Kerr's blog:

Release date - 1st September and it is a hard back like the 8e WFB Army Books.

There is an Eye of the Gods esque table (Warriors of Chaos players will know what I am talking about) that you get to roll on whenever a character kills another character in a challenge, or a Walker or Monstrous Creature. There is a multitude of gifts (and curses) that your Characters can acquire which range from +1 Save, +1 Toughness, or becoming either a Spawn or a Daemon Prince!!!

Chaos Cultists are definitely in, as is the 'Dragon' - think Necron Night Scythe with the main chassis been replaced by a massive mechanical dragon head with segmented wings sweeping forward and around from it. 

On top of those there are also:
  • Dark Apostles - evil Chaplains basically
  • Warsmiths - evil Techmarine that can curse vehicles and degrade terrain.
  • A new Daemon Engine - half way between a Dreadnought and a Defiler.
  • Speaking of Defilers as they are Daemons they have a 5+ Inv save.
  • 'Cult' units are all Elites and are unlocked to Troops by appropriate HQ choices, but there are no Cult Terminators which makes me sad.
  • Obliterators are exclusively for shooting - so no powerfists. BUT there is a new unit which is basically a close combat Obliterator.
  • There are 2 types of Raptors now; regular CSM with Jump Packs, and then some kind of Possessed Daemonic Raptors that all come with Lightning Claws!
  • Possessed are meant to be amazing, and take a lot of benefits from the Eye of the Gods esque table.
  • There are NO Daemons in the Codex because that is what Allies are for.

Somewhere deep inside I can feel a rant building.....Codex: Random Space Marines

Only two six weeks to go - one five really, given White Dwarf leaks.

EDIT: I had assumed Codex: Random Assorted Marines was out next month but if it is September what is August? Perhaps we'll get Army Book: Warriors of Chaos earlier than expected. Also I thought September was the Starter Set...confused?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More on Digital

There was another wargaming development over the weekend.

In the beginning there was Wargames Research Group (WRG). WRG controlled historical wargaming particularly Ancient and Medieval. From the mid-60s to the early 90s there were seven editions of their Ancient rules and 95%+ of all wargamers playing Ancients used them. In the early 90s they shelved the rules and produced DBM. Some people kept playing the original rules (rebranded “Warrior” in the USA) but again a total of less than 5%.

DBM were great rules. Horribly presented, walls of text, few diagrams but the most subtle set of rules that you can imagine. These were the set through two editions until 2008. I played Ancients using these rules from 1998-2002 and along with WHFB 8th and 40k 4th they are my favourite rules. However in the modern world presentation is paramount and the DBM set were a total turn-off. The original author, Phil Barker, refused to lift his production values out of the 60s and so a schism was born.

Phil had written a new set, DBMM which as a rulebook had all the visual appeal of an accounting textbook. His co-author Richard Bodley-Scott joined with others and Osprey and produced Field of Glory. These rules were full colour, included illustrations and written in plain English – in look they were very similar to Battlefront’s FOW offering.

And the Ancient world schismed. You now had DBMM, DBM, FOG, Warrior, plus other sets such as Amarti and Impetus. By my reckoning no set could command a majority of players and so the great advantage of Ancients – a single worldwide ruleset – was gone.

Fast forward four years and FOG v2 is on the verge of release. On Friday the authors, Slitherine drop a bombshell – the rules will only be offered in digital format (via iPad, Mac,PC) with no capacity for physical printout.

Now you have to remember for most Ancient wargamers that tablets are something Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai or that their GP prescribes for incontinence not some whiz-bang handheld computer thingie. Most would struggle using their mobile phone (I expect take up of this fad is less than 20% btw). So you get some idea of the magnitude of the fear and loathing that greeted this announcement.

Apparently this production/distribution models is the only means by which the ruleswriters can make money. The first edition with 12-14 list books has sold but not well enough to not leave rooms full of physical books. This stockpile is sufficient that updated re-writes of the rules/lists are likely to occur. So the only way forward is as a digital product – electronic rules and lists – downloadable from App store with regular electronic updates as necessary for errata and FAQs.

The Slitherine forums are awash with both angst and bile – some see it as the future others as the end times. It is interesting watching cultures clash. For mine, I think that the delivery model has to make sense to the originators – or they won’t originate. However it must also make sense to the target market and here there is a major disconnect. There will always be a transition from one technology to another. GW have the benefit of economies of scale on their side which allows dual delivery. However that luxury is not always available to niche players.

If there was still a single set of Ancient Rules the market might be able to bear dual delivery or be large enough to withstand the fallout. Here we are seeing the payback for schism that occurred in Ancients over the past decade.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Loose Lips

On the weekend Mike and I had a game with my Ogres taking on his Beastmen. I changed around my list a bit – no Ironblasters, a 4 and a 2 Mournfang and a Thundertusk – for a bit of variety.

What we got was a great game where I had no magic from Turn 2. My Gutstar – with Slaughtermaster and Firebelly – got rolled by the Doombull and four Minotaurs (he’s all very brave when there’s no cannons, isn’t he?). By the end of Turn 3, Mike had his Minibulldoomstar left plus his WarGor Lord, a unit of hounds and a 5 man ungor block. I had my Bulls led by BSB, two lots of two Mournfang, two Maneaters and the Tusk. What transpired next was a lesson in keeping your eye on the ball!

The Wargor was facing Maneaters and Mournfang to the front and Bulls to the rear when the Minotaurs with DB went into the flank of the Mournfang. I had already removed a wound from the WarGor Lord who was running the Stubborn Crown.

Dark Blue = Bulls plus BSB
Pink = Maneaters
Light Blue = Mournfang
Small Brown = WarGor
Large Brown = Minotaurs with Doombull

What happens next defines stupidity! I opened my mouth without thinking about the consequences!

I challenged with my Bull Champion hoping to isolate the Doombull’s attacks. This was the worst thing I could have done as now Mike could accept with the Lord and take out all my other attacks.

It did not end well and eventually cost me the game 2230 to 1550 (after banners etc).

Never, ever challenge if you have any doubt about who is going to accept. And if you have no doubt then give it another quick consideration. I assumed the Doombull would accept and didn’t even consider the WarGor. In retrospect there was never a doubt as to who was going to grab the mantle.

I lost the combat. Maneaters ran, panicked the Thundertusk and left the flank of the Bulls exposed. The Wargor fought on for another turn until the Minotaurs hit the Bulls destroying them.

Lesson learned – think before you speak.

Company Edicts & Prize Support

It appears to be not only Games Workshop that can be portrayed as an uncaring money hungry behemoth. Over the past 4-5 days the rage has been flowing regarding New Zealand's Battlefront and their decision to require any models or miniatures used at their official events to be the company's models.

Now as always people are quick to jump on the net and forums and say that Battlefront is banning them from using their minis. And as always that is only half the story.

Battlefront, to my knowledge, has said this will apply to "official" events i.e. ones they run. Personally I understand that - it is a sound commercial decision. Their event, their models. I'm pretty sure MtG events don't let people use unofficial cards at their events. GW has had a similar rule in place for their events at Warhammer World, and at GTs when they use to run them in this part of the world

Where things move to a greyer area is events where the company is providing sponsorship. They have the right to put any conditions they want around their sponsorship/prize support. However, it is up to the TO to decide whether he accepts these and then for him to communicate his decisions to the players.

Importantly players have to accept that there is no free lunch....or to put it another way "he who pays the piper calls the tune". If you want prize support from the company you have to expect them to protect what they perceive are their interests. If you want carte blache then little Timmy doesn't get free stuff. However the sense of entitlement on the FOW forums has to be read to be believed.

In the past GW sponsored "Felds of Blood" Warhammer 40k event. When they did they insisted GW only models. As a result I made an explicit statement in the Players Pack. Participants knew upfront that that was a requirement. When they withdrew their sponsorship, I removed the requirement. Nothing personal, just business.

I know the local Hobby Centre Manager was disappointed at one of the Call to Arms events (after I had left the Warlords Committee, I'll point out) that they had provided prize support for the event and their were non-GW models in the GW competitions. I suspect neither side was clear what their expectations were. However the upshot after this was no further GW support (though this coincided with a general retreat from sponsorship).

So I understand Battlefront's position. I also understand that of TOs who choose not to be restricted. Either way, there is no free lunch.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Actualhammer Part II

Following on from the first article, here is a second post from Reeccus.

Again I think it is a good article and provides definite food for thought. The consideration of the USRs is very helpful to us noobs!

Friday, July 13, 2012

GW's Foray into Digital Books

A couple of months ago Games Workshop, in conjunction with Apple, launched GW Digital through iBooks.

Now I know the haters out there will tell me that GW and Apple are corporate behemoths that should be despised but I was interested in seeing how this would work out. GW has a poor history in new technology, launching then ignoring different products. As an aside I purchased “Enemies of the Imperium” in 2002 and got four years of solid Chaos Space Marine list building out of the product. It only lapsed as a tool for me when another tool re-wrote Pete Haines Chaos Codex. There’s a special place in the Eye of Terror waiting for Gav Thorpe!

So Games Workshop launched its digital product through iBooks leading with the Space Marine Codex and a number of painting guides. Unfortunately, New Zealand is one of two countries in the world – the other is Finland – that have copyright laws that do not allow the product to be sold. Grrrr!

Not letting a little thing like draconian legal practices stop me, I managed to legally purchase one of the products through another jurisdiction.

On Saturday they released “Tactica: Space Marine Heroes”. This is a 25 page tactics guide written by Robin Cruddace. In form and content it is very similar to the Tactica we used to get in White Dwarf ten years ago. It goes through each of the SM Hero types outlining the different characteristics and the situations where you can benefit from his use. It is fully 6th Ed compliant. I was a little surprised as I thought it would be little more than a catalogue, however there seems to be more focus on content rather than pictures. It appears pitched at the intermediate level and was priced at NZD 8 equivalent.

What is interesting is the Space Marine Codex. I haven’t purchased this but I understand that it comes with an extra 100 pages of content – including 360 degree painting guides. It has also been updated to reflect the changes in errata and FAQ that GW released with 6th Edition. For those that purchased prior to these being released, it is a simple (and apparently free) process to delete and then download the updated version.

The Necron Codex (also with extra pages) was released last Saturday and the Dark Eldar codex is imminent. I understand that the upcoming Codex:Chaos space Marines will be a dual release – paper and digital.

Apart from the access issues for New Zealanders, I am impressed so far. The key thing will be whether GW provide continued support – though I am more optimistic that given the tie-up with Apple they will be more motivated.

Let’s see how it turns out.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

FOB TO Musings

I thought I would put down a few observations from a TO’s viewpoint as to how I thought Fields went this year. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, rather points I noticed that may be of interest to those that attended or are interested observers.


There were no real rules disputes over the weekend. I’m not sure whether this was due to:
a. People knowing the rules as they reach the death throes of 5th Edition

b. Where I had to make a decision, people were happy with the reasoning; or

c. People not really caring and just getting on with the game.

This area was my biggest concern before the event as I have taken little or no interest in any codex starting with the Blood Angel release. Therefore my army specific knowledge was less than what I was happy with – Blood Angels, Grey Knights, Dark Eldar and Necrons made up almost half of the field. I appreciate the help from the guys I deferred to when I hit a snag, but to be honest they were few and far between.


The venue was the star of the event. Carpeted, including the walls, it reduced the ambient noise making it a much more amenable experience. This was backed up with excellent technology – sound and vision – which meant that games ran to time far more than in previous tournaments.

On top of that it was in a better location for the transport of tables and its proximity not least to my home meant the organisation was far easier.

It was also half the price of the previous venue which meant I didn’t take a financial bath with lower numbers.

Army Size

Another success was the reduction in army size to 1500 points. This work on three levels.

Firstly, games finished – and I’m putting that in no small part to 1500 points versus 1850 points in 2010. There I had to flog some players even to get to Turn 4.

Secondly, the drop to 1500 points took the edges off No Comp. Hard choices had to be made which weren’t necessarily going to have to be at 1850 points. No Comp worked for me as it reduced the whinging from participants over whether they got 2.6 average or 2.8 average (yes, seriously) and meant less organisation.

Thirdly, it impacted painting (see below) due to less models.


Being a Nazi over list submission meant they were all in and checked on time. This probably flowed through to gameplay to, as people could check anything that they were unsure with in the lists.

The vast majority submitted correct and legal lists first time. Generally, those that didn’t were people who left it until the last 24 hours – go figure.


The overall painting standard at Fields was the best that I have seen at least for 5-7 years. While you could question the very top end – I thought there were only 2-3 really standouts from a painting point of view – the average standard was light years ahead of recent 40k (and Fantasy) events.

I put this down to three things. Firstly, I set very clear expectations as to what was acceptable and what wasn’t. I indicated that if they didn’t pass a minimum hurdle then they wouldn’t be welcome. In the end I relaxed that for two people – Mathew Collett (my Bye Buster) who was always on standby, and one participant who had his leave cancelled in the week of the event. Both received much lower painting marks.

The second reason was the checklist I sent out 3-4 months ago. This was a how-to on what to do to score full painting. Given this guide I know a lot of people ensured that they had ticked the boxes.

Lastly, 1500 points meant less models.

I appreciate not everyone can be Golden Daemon but here everyone made the requisite effort and it showed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fields Results Now In RHQ

Fields results are now in RankingsHQ. You can check them out here

Unsurprisingly for most of the top ranked players Fields is now included in their ranking.

Fields of Blood - The NZGT - A History

I thought I’d plot a history of the Fields of Blood event.

For those of you who don’t know “Fields of Blood” is the name that Games Workshop gave to the New Zealand Grand Tournament that they ran from 1999-2005. In 2006-2007, I believe they dropped the “Fields of Blood” moniker, it just being the NZGT. The event was the pinnacle of NZ gaming and my local club, the Warlords dominated the event from 2000-07.

In 2008 Games Workshop exited organising events and the NZGT/Fields of Blood looked like it was over. I spoke with my local Hobby Centre and with the Asia-Pacific GW Office and they were happy for me to take over the “Fields of Blood” name – hence this site and the event.

I ran Fields in 2008, 2009 and 2010. For the first two years, Games Workshop gave me substantial prize support and lent me terrain. This was greatly appreciated. It allowed me to direct my spend into venue and trophies (which I believe are the best in NZ and comparable with anything I’ve seen worldwide).

However I am a realist. From 2007 onwards, more and more of the NZ gaming community (and the Australians that attended) sourced their GW product from internet sellers in the UK. When 2010 came around, I did not seek support from GW as I believed that was unfair on them and would have been presumptuous of me. Entry fees went into venue hire and again into the trophies (which had been expanded to Best in Race awards as well). The event was the largest 40k event ever held in New Zealand – 66 players – but financially didn’t cover its cost. It is a mark of pride for me that the FOB community chipped in and bought me a lovely gift that in my eyes more than compensated for any loss.

Last year, 2011 was Rugby World Cup year in New Zealand. Fields took a year off as it was impossible to secure venues or accommodation for a 6-8 week period over September to October.

2012 saw it return to the calendar. Earlier in the year and at a new venue. The new venue proved to be fantastic – carpeted, quiet, backed up by technology and much closer both to the tables and my home. I set about planning for 70 participants and thought I would sell out quite easily. This proved to be optimistic. In the end I had 54 paying customers which again resulted in a small financial loss. I believe the main reason for the lower numbers was the lack of 40k events in Wellington between FOB 2010 and FOB 2012 – one, Call to Arms 2011. This was a surprise for me but shows you need to develop the underlying scene to ensure maximum participation.

That said, for me 2012 was a raging success. The venue and players were great and the enjoyment I got from seeing people playing and enjoying 40k more than compensated for the financial loss. The opportunity for the NZ and Oz community to interact, culminating in the annual Battle of the Ditch was certainly worth.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be posting my thoughts on the event itself.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fields of Blood 2012 - Full Results

Here are the full results for Fields of Blood - The NZGT

They have been checked and where placings are equal marked.

I will look to upload to RHQ in the next 24 hours.

Fields of Blood NZGT - Headline Results

Thanks to all that attended and a special thank you to those that provided help and assistance and terrain.

Here are the headline results:

1st Overall - Charlie St. Clair (Necrons)
2nd Overall - Doug Sainsbury (Grey Knights)
3rd Overall - Jack Dunn (Dark Eldar)
4th Overall - Adam Thornton (Tyranids)
5th Overall - Rascal Roggen (Blood Angels)

Bloodthirster (Highest Gameplay) - Charlie St. Clair (87/90)

Living Saint (Best Sport) - Ryland Davies
2nd Sports - Wes Barclay
3rd Sports - James Stewart

Harlequin (Best Presented Army) - Luke Forrest (Tyranids)
2nd Presentation - Jack Dunn (Dark Eldar)
3rd Presentation - Glen Burfield (Eldar)

Sigillite (Best Terrain) - Alistair Allan
2nd Terrain - Chris La Grange

Rogue Trader (Most Bounties) - Adam Thornton

Race-Specific Trohies (4+ Participants):
Castellan (Top Grey Knight) - Doug Sainsbury
Archon (Top Dark Eldar) - Jack Dunn
Carnifex (Top Tyranid) - Adam Thornton
Sanguinor (Top Blood Angel) - Pascal Roggen
Commissar (Top Imperial Guard) - Hagen Kerr
Primarch (Top Space Marine) - Craig Stewart

Battle of the Ditch (International - NZ v Australia)

Josh Diffey (Grey Knights) beat Hagen Kerr (Imperial Guard)
Aaron Graham (Dark Eldar) beat Daniel Hayden (Blood Angels)
Ryland Davies (Orks) beat Hayden Korach (Dark Eldar)
Alistair Unicomb (Orks) lost to Mark Buttle (Grey Knights)

Australia 3 - NZ 1

Congratulations to the Australian Team for wresting the trophy off New Zealand for the first time.

Thanks to all for attending and making my life very easy over the weekend. No dramas from my end. Games played in great spirit (all games got max sports - 27/50 players got a Best Opponent vote) and the presentation standard of armies had increased immeasurably.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Skitterleap Players' Pack

The Players' Pack for Skitterleap can be downloaded here

Skitterleap 2012 is a five round 2400 point Warhammer Fantasy Tournament to be held in Wellington on the weekend of 27/28 October.

All details you need are included in the pack.


Most of the comments over the past week - especially mine - have been based on reading of the rules and theoryhammer.

Last night I came across an analysis of the new rules based on playing experience. The writer had made his analysis based on the experience of 12 games. You can find that here

A lot of the observations made fit with my initially take - in particular around where the game is sped up and more importantly where it is slowed down.

Obviously we have dimetrically opposed opinions on the suitably of some mechanisms - he hates anything random and wants certainty whereas I think there is a skill in planning for and managing those random elements.

I think it is an excellent read and urge anyone interested in 6th Edition to read it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Viva la Evolution - More 6th Edition Musings

The more I read 6th edition the more I see it as evolution rather than revolution. By this I mean it follows the track of 6th to 7th Edition Fantasy, rather than 4th to 5th Edition 40k or 7th to 8th Edition Fantasy.

That's not a bad thing. However I think it is wrong to mark it - as some commentators have - as a revolutionary new ruleset.

Stripped back to its bones, 6th Edition addresses some of the perceived problems prevalent in 5th. e.g. the primacy of vehicles, wound allocation, cover saves etc. From what I can gather it does an okay job with this. It also expands what - come on admit it - was a pretty lacklustre set of missions. All this is massively positive.

Like 8th Fantasy before it, it draws on successes in other rulesets - pre-measuring, the introduction of some randomness to assaults (again, remember - measure then roll), the card system for psychic powers - all of which is incredibly positive. Just as 8th Fantasy shifted the balance to risk management, I'm hoping that 6th Ed does the same for 40k.

So I essentially see this as v5.5

Games Workshop being Games Workshop, they need to sell models. This isn't a criticism rather a commercial reality. To that end we have the introduction of Flyers,Allies and Fortifications. I'm not seeing how they ostensibly add anything to the core game however they all represent new sales. It's not compulsory to use these but they are part of the core set so should become the norm IMO. For most players this won't matter as I suspect they will enjoy the move to a game that is essentially Apoc-Lite.

At tournament level, the jury is out. As a TO I can tell you that people prefer to use the rules as per the rulebook. The rules around terrain placement including fortifications will add time to the tournament game if employed - perhaps 10-15 minutes - and TOs will need to take this into account. I still fervantly believe that the clamour will be for bigger games - probably 2000 points but one FOC for core army (in reality 1999 + 1 points).

Later this year I'll be running the 40k Masters. My current intention is full 6th Edition rules including Allies, Fortifications, Warlord Traits etc. however the points level will be 1500 points. The intention is that people will have to make hard choices if they want to shoehorn their toys in.

Warhammer 40k 6th Edition Starter Set

It has been confirmed as Dark Angels vs. Chaos.

Dark Angels

Capt in PA
Librarian in PA
5 Deathwing Terminators - Storm bolters, not Shields
10 Marines - 1x Plasma Cannon, 1x Plasma Gun
3 Ravenwing Bikes


Lord in PA
Dread with - TL Melta
6 Chosen - Maul, Fist, LC
20 Cultists

Straight points wise it looks like the Drak Angles get the better deal. Chaos force looks like a continuation of the Allsorts them but could perhaps be themed as Alpha Legion or Word Bearers

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beware the Sniper!

Reading through the 6th Edition rules again last night, I love the introduction of pre-measuring and think that when combined with random assaults (remember, measure then roll), it will speed up that part of the game.

However one area where I think that the game can (and will) bog down, at least initially, is in model placement in the unit. Given that “the nearest wears it” people will be paranoid about where they place those models with Power Fist, special or heavy weapon. This is particularly the case where through movement of units and vehicles, mobility will open up new firing lines.

Some people don’t need an excuse to play slow – but the potential for being sniped will give them the rationale. At least initially. Over time the good players will adapt and it will become second nature for them. However I can see it being a chokepoint for awhile.

Conversely, I can see an upside with the mechanism. People may be more motivated to take extra ablative wounds – read jubs – in their units, so they can cocoon the “special models”. It is obviously far easier to cocoon Mr. Melta with 6-7 models rather than 4 (given the 360 degree threat range).

A Line in the Sand?

One of the things I have on my hobby agenda this year is to round out some of the armies that I own with a view to getting them finished and diminish the mountain of lead, plastic and resin I have down in the Dunn-geon.

For Fantasy this means work on 5-6 armies as follows:

Lizards – Temple Guard (27), Stegadon, Terradons (6) and Chameleons (10)

High Elves – Reavers (5), Swordmasters (21), Sea Guard (30), Lion Chariot, Phoenix Guard (20)

Empire – Hurricanium, Luminarch, Demiwolves (4), Swordsmen (30)

Tomb Kings – Necropolis Knights (8), Sphinx, Hierotitan

Vampires – Terrorghiest, Varghiest (4), Crypt Horrors (8), Hexwraiths (5), Black Knights (10), Blood Knights (5)

To help me I’ve contracted out some of the painting. Sam Whitt has done the Reavers and the Temple guard and currently has the Sea Guard, Terradons and Swordmasters. Phil comins has the Phoenix Guard and the Lion Chariot. With me finishing the Steg and Chamelons it will mean two of the armies are complete!

Given I have the easy part of that deal my efforts over the next six months will be split between the other three armies. I am hoping that with some discipline I can finish them all by Xmas. That will mean that I can draw a line under the various armies and just buy new units as they are released. That’s the plan anyway.

I am giving away excess bits as I finish armies; Hamish from “The Recidivist Gamer” visited the other week and went away with all my Ogre bits.

My success in this venture will likely be down to the release of the new Chaos Space Marine codex and the potential to tailor armies. I have half completed Thousand Sons and Iron Warriors which will get some love depending on the book. I also have some new Deathguard vehicles, Terminators and a full squad of Emperor’s Children Noise Bikers to complete. If the book is “acceptable” I can see them pushing up the queue.

The other two armies I have are Tau (vehicles) and Orks. Now Jack is contractually committed to completing the Orks and I’m hoping we’ll see some progress once the Dark Eldar are finished. C’mon it’s only 150 models!

So all this is, is a roundabout way of saying to myself that I don’t need to buy any more models for the time being. I know it’s a forlorn hope but posting it here at least puts it down in black and white and it can haunt me come year end.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My initial musings on 6th.

Wooooooooooooooooooo it's here!

Now that I have a few days of digestion and some game time under my belt, I thought I would share my initial thoughts on 6th, and how this stacks up on the close of 6th.

Firstly, let's look at how 5th finished, to set the scene for how things have changed. One of the better ways we can look at this are the rankings as they stand at the end of 5th.

So in 1st, 5th, and 13th we had 3 Necron players in the top 15, with two different archtypes of army. Myself and Dave Foster play remarkably similar lists, while Ivan Soo has done exceptionally well with a list that mixes Imotehk's scarab farm and the terrain shenanigan list.
Grey Knights came in 2nd, 4th, and 11th - with Mark Buttle and Simon Farrell both using the popular cheap coteaz squads, transports, a sprinkling of purifiers and psyflemen, while Chris Ward has had an evolution of Draigowing.
Dark Eldar came in 3rd and 12th with a venom spam and portal beast bomb respectively.
David Wilson upset the trend piloting sisters to 6th place, with a list full of rhinos/immolators and an aggressive alpha strike.
Blood Angels came in 7th and 14th with vehicle heavy armies, Pascal favoring storm ravens and dreads while Dean favored the rhino/predator archetype.
This left Tyranids in 8th, the South Island representing 9th and 10th with Guard and Orks, and Hen's Black Templar sneaking into the gate at 15th on sheer determination alone.

So what is the prevailing common factor here? New codexes, and generally very heavy on vehicles. This surely lines up with 9/10 peoples hypothesis - but isn't it great when there's evidence to reinforce it?

Well, from here, it's fair to say that one of the critical success factors for 6th will be that the landscape changes somewhat.

To look at whether this will change, here are some of the key changes that would lead to this:

2+ saves being buffed: In the above top 15, generally speaking, 13 of the players from memory only had ~1 or 2 models at most with a 2+ save. Only Chris Wards Draigowing and Hen's Black Templars had a decent number of 2+ saves rocking around. For those that aren't aware, the change to power weapons so that they're now only ap3 dramatically increased the viability of terminators.
I think you're going to see a resurgence of 2+ armour saves, and armies that can bring a lot, cheaply, will be stronger for it.

Hullpoints: No one feels this change more than grey knights. Before they would sometimes get shaken/stunned many, many times, only to remove them and carry on like normal. All of a sudden they are shedding hullpoints like mad and dying after, normally, 3. In general this will have a dramatic change on the role vehicles play in armies. I do not believe they will disappear, in fact they will continue to play a vital role in armies, but in a very different context to what we currently see.

Wound Allocation: This will result in peoples placing of miniatures becoming much more careful. It also means however, that peoples firepower generally will need to become more mobile, allowing them to change the order to a certain extent in which the enemy models will die, by changing their own positioning. Focus fire is a critical component to this. Sick of your opponent sticking a durable character up front and bouncing all the saves off a 2+/3++ character? Push a tank right up to them so that model is getting a cover save, then focus fire all the models in the open, or getting a different cover save - and watch the unit drop. Unfortunately a few units can still abuse this thanks to being units of characters and chain look-out-siring, namely Nobs and Paladins.

Allies: This is up for huge debate, and will take quite some time before it amounts to anything more than conjecture or hyperbole. One thing is important however, I don't think events should blanket increase their points to accommodate allies, it should be a decision to sacrifice units in your existing army to incorporate allies. The art of list building is all around the choices you make. What do you put in? What do you leave out? What weaknesses do you have and how can you mitigate them? What you should never be able to do is just take everything, and then a little more on top. I look forward to seeing how future events tackle this, but if I have one hope, it's that some events ban it and other events allow it, so that you truly get a wide mix of armies you come across.

Flyers: I don't think flyers are actually any where near as big an impact as many people make them out to be. Firstly, a lot of cases will actually not require an anti-flier strategy to be in place at all. Secondly, they're not particularly durable once you do get through to them,  but if everyone is a bit worried about them, there's always fortifications, but that in itself is another point of interest.

Fortifications: These are actually pretty minor in general. A lot of people getting their panties in a twist over them and just need to chill out! One thing they do however, is significantly reduce the current over the top strength of getting first turn. What im not sure is how these will integrate into tournaments. Overall there is a lot of work to be done on terrain, fortifications and tournaments - more analysis needs to be done on the process.

Cover: By and large it got worse, but easier to get for vehicles/mc's. In some ways it is easier to get for infantry, but also very situational and focus fire introduces some interesting dynamics. I really think working focus fire to your advantage is going to be key.

Premeasuring: I was kinda 50-50 on this one, but now firmly feel this was a great, great move. It will allow people to develop their tactics a lot more also, and lends a lot of strength to certain things such as nightshields.

Random Assault Distance: This brings an element of risk management to the game, and also removes a lot of stupid things that used to happen. I often used to get great benefit out of backing up my miniatures so that I was only barely in assault range, rather than moving close up front, for a variety of reasons. This totally defied logic and now is a lot more interesting. It also gives jump packs a lot of versatility where they can choose to swap their fast movement for a more reliable/faster assault and an extra attack.
All up I really enjoy this change.

Assault changes: Knowing Multi-Assault inside and out lead to some huge advantages over those that didn't. The rules were fairly buried so most people fell into the later of these two categories. This has been significantly toned down, by both losing your assault bonuses and having multiple units over-watch you.

Mysterious Objectives: Units controlling these get decent bonuses. This is a bit of a buff to scoring units, and you would be wise to make more utilisation of this, which will often lead to more meaty troop units, and less "deckchair" units. At any rate, it is one of several factors.

Psychic Powers: There are some incredibly strong powers, and some totally naff powers. Getting these are random. As such, no one will generally build their lists around a reliance on these, which means they won't have the impact many are expecting. Some good fun here though!

So, all up, how does this look when we cram it together and stop looking at things in a vacuum? Well, the game feels like it is quicker. Generally, wound allocation feels way quicker, and way less stupid. No more getting confused with each other as you pull 500 different groups of dice out and then roll per models. No more stupid situations where you're better off firing with LESS weapons. Now, more is more!
There are a few things that perhaps add unnecessary elements to the game, but these aren't overly complex, and, at least at this stage, actually just add a bit more fun to it.

With vehicles and units in them no longer contesting objectives, and the bunker transports usually being less durable, scoring units are going to have to become more durable on their own merits, but I feel this will be one of the ones that people take a while to implement.

It's not the dramatic change from 5th many people thought was coming, and generally feels like an enhancement on it. I'm very positive about it, and I think you should be too. In saying that, I have to be up front and give a caveat. I chose to go into 5th embracing it no matter what, and this had a hugely beneficial effect. I essentially was able to get ahead of the eight-ball and never look back as a result, and decided to do the same again here. You can dislike certain components all you like, but if you do this, you're going to be a worse player for it. Banning elements in general is a poor approach to take IMO, and generally is exclusive rather than inclusive for your player base. You should generally try to avoid saying to someone "No, that army that you've been playing at home for the last couple of years can't be fielded here, go away unless you bring something else. We actually play a slightly different game to Warhammer 40,000 here, we just call it by the same name".
In saying that, if things are optional, ensure you play both ways, so that you don't rely on them, and experience the game in full as it was intended. Anything optional, of which there is not a lot, is intended to be used SOME OF THE TIME. Not all of the time. Not none of the time.

Hopefully you've stayed through that wall of text, and this generates some discussion!

Deckchairs R (Still) Us

So I spent yesterday morning reading through the rules - with special attention to the missions and victory conditions - and then I had a text discussion with Charlie last evening (post the mighty Vodafone Warriors crushing North Queensland actually).

Unfortunately I have seen nothing in the rules that alleviates one of my major problems with 5th Edition - the reduction of Troops to "deckchairs". If anything the situation will be more pronounced as people try to shoehorn allies and fortications into their lists. At least with "Allies" there is a "Troop" tax but I can't see these units being anything but minimum size.

Immediately there will be a clamour for TOs to increase points to 2000 points. I hope they resist. List construction should be about choices and I'd like to see some choices being made at 1500 pts.

Having read through the rules can't help thinking that GW have taken "Storm of Magic" concept, mashed it in with 5th Ed and created a game that if they are not careful will play like Apocalypse-Light.

I hope I'm wrong and people are distracted by the shiny bells and whistles and instead concentrate on the core for use as a tournie game. Time will tell.

Post your initial thoughts on the rules.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

More progress

I present a Venom that I painted yesterday. I've put together the beasts today, and will probably finish the Baron tonight and start the beasts tomorrow