Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fields of Blood NZGT Painting Scoresheet

The scoresheet that will be used to mark painting at Fields of Blood NZGT can be found here

This will give participants the opportunity to do the necessary mark to their army to maximise their painting score. Remember it is only necessary to score 36 points out of the available 45 points on offer to score full marks.

Be aware though that by its very nature assessment can be subjective so it is better to err on the side of caution and tick as many boxes as possible.

Runefang V - Racial Profiling

Peter Williamson has sent through the breakdown of races for this weekend’s Runefang V. At present there are 27 participants for the event.


Here is the breakdown:

5 – Skaven

4 – Dwarfs

3 – Warriors of Chaos, Lizardmen

2 – Vampires, Bretonnians, Empire, High Elves

1 – Daemons of Chaos, Orcs & Goblins, Dark Elves, Beastmen

No love for the Wood Elves, Tomb Kings, Ogres or Chaos Dwarfs.

Peter is sending through a spreadsheet with the lists which I’ll post later this evening.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A "Special" Combat

Witnessed an epic battle of incompetence yesterday as 5 Chameleon Skinks fought a Plagueclaw Catapult for six rounds of combat yesterday.

The PCC lost 2 wounds in the first round but inflicted 2 wounds back to pass a Ld 6 test. They then over the next two rounds survived no further damage from the skinks while doing a further two wounds. This left a lone skink fighting the 1 wound catapult for three rounds before finally succumbing to superior ratty fighting skills in the last combat of the game. Neither side had a save so I put it down to sheer offensive incompetence.

The certainty of the outcome was evidenced by the rats moving the WLC two turns in a row to get it out of the skinks' arc.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fields of Blood - The NZ Warhammer 40k Grand Tournament Players' Pack Released

Pleased to release the Players' Pack for this year's New Zealand Warhammer 40k Grand Tournament "Fields of Blood".

You can access the document here

Happy to answer any questions at fieldsofblood@paradise.net.nz

EDIT: The pack wrongly gives the venue as Kilbirnie. It is in johnsonville. That will be changed this evening (27 February 2012)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dear Games Workshop....Don't Stuff It Up!

I’ve been a bit vocal in the past about the turd that is Gav Thorpe’s Codex: Chaos Space Marines. Last week while eating pizza after Day One of HomeCon I was asked what I wanted to see in the new codex to be released later in the year.


Well first and foremost I don’t really care about playing strength (to a point). For me it can be pitched towards the high end – currently populated by the Grey Knights and Wolves – or the lower end – Tyranids, Sisters and Eldar. What I would hate it to be is at the very apex of the food chain attracting the great unwashed – I like a little bit of exclusivity!



The thing that really matters to me is diversity and the ability to tailor the list to reflect specific Legions. I want to be able to make an Emperor’s Children force, a Deathguard force, an Iron Warriors army etc.

So how would I like to see that achieved?

Given GW’s current Special Character hard-on, I’m guessing it will need to be through named characters for each Legion. I hope that in unlocking certain options e.g. Noise Terminators and Noise Bikers they are restricted to the respective Traitor Legion rather than allowing a continuation of the liquorice allsort pick’n’mix we have now.

In allowing certain units to be unlocked I’d restrict the Legion in its other choices e.g. no Obliterators, raptors, other marked units. For Deathguard a restriction on tracked vehicles. World Eaters armies would have little or no access to long range firepower. Word Bearers would have Cultists and Lesser Daemons. Night Lords would have outflank, option to buy jetpack for CSMs etc.

So much could be done to give the Traitor legions back their flavour without making them over-powered.

Of course GW will blow it big time and like we have Viking Marines, Vampire Marines, Knight Marines, etc we will get Codex: Bad Marines

Runefang V Approaches

Next weekend we have the Runefang V Warhammer tournament here in Wellington. It is the first tournament of the year in the region and represents the first opportunity in 2012 for Wellington players to get some rankings points. At present there are 25 participants signed up which means that it is worth 85 points for the winner.


Lists are due in to the Umpire (Peter Williamson) this Sunday and hopefully once he’s check them he’ll post them out to the participants. The comp system being used is a variant on the Pete-Lite system so no triple Special or double Rare choices (if more than 70 points).

I’m expecting to see some variety in the choice of armies that came along to HomeCon last weekend. Certainly there will be Dark Elves and Warriors of Chaos on show. There has been the usual griping from the O&G players over the unfairness of non-race specific restrictions but they just generally switch to Warriors of Chaos armies anyway!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fields Of Blood NZGT Earlybird Special Closing

The end of the month sees the end of Earlybird registration for Fields of Blood – The New Zealand Warhammer 40k Grand Tournament.


Tickets are $50 (AUD 40) up to 29th February after which they rise to $60 (AUD 50).



Already just on half the tickets have been sold, including to Australia and, would you believe it, Norfolk Island. I’m expecting the event to sell out in the coming months.

Obviously now is the best time to buy tickets if you want a discount. The Players Pack will be finalised this weekend ready for distribution. However all the salient details can be found here.

Moving the event to July means that it will be a last hurrah for 5th edition and will prevent that dead space you have where you get the new edition but tournaments still use the old (6th is due for release mid-July). It is also fair to say that it now appears likely that there will be only one Codex release before the event (smart money says Dark Angels) so you can plan your army with some certainty.

For further details drop me a line on fieldsofblood@paradise.net.nz

5 Days of Dark Eldar - Day 3

Sadly, not much to report here.  "Real Life TM" got in the way a bit, as it tends to do!

I stuck together two more raiders and sprayed them.  Aiming to airbrush the Dheneb Stone basecoat on them tonight.  I've also glued together all of the crew for the raiders and venoms, and will work on them at some point in the near future.

Airbrushing on the bases is coming along.  I'm mainly using the airbrushing as something to break up the modelling work, so I'm slowly building up the shading on the bases.

I was all ready to try out some transfers as well, but it was not to be.  I did have templates of the sail shapes all ready to go, but seem to have lost that file somewhere along the way, so will need to redo those at some point. Looks like it will be a while for those transfers then.

Finally I continued to sort through the Battlefoam case and made the final cutouts I needed.  I'm also working my way through my DE bitzbox, turning bits into models where I can.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier......

While sat down last night putting together some new terrain for Runefang V, I got to thinking about some of the things I most enjoyed about Warhammer (and indeed all wargames).


This is the whole process of list building, refinement and optimisation. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. When I pick up a new army, the most important thing for me is that I have some affinity to that army – be it playstyle, fluff or the models. For that reason I could never see myself playing, for example, Dwarfs. It fails to jump enough – usually all three - of these hurdles. I do like the fluff and models around the Slayers and could see myself building a Slayer army if the rules and playstyle were attractive enough. So for me the first thing is the above attraction hurdle. That is why I am generally attracted to the more “evil” armies in a genre – I find the fluff more interesting.


Once I decide on an army I’ll generally get all the models in the range/units in the army and build from there. This creates a lot of redundancy (and big armies) but it is a key part of the attraction for me as they are why I chose the race in the first place. As a sidenote this is becoming harder as GW move to more and more dual purpose kits e.g. my Tomb Kings have Necropolis Knights (x6), a Warsphinx and a dual Warsphinx/Necrosphinx but no Stalkers. Similarly, I’ve bought multiple boxes of Black Knights/Wraiths, Crypt Horrors/Varghiests but only a single mortis Engine/Coven Throne box and Terrorghiest/Zombie Dragon box. Sometimes the models are just too good not to buy two e.g. the Thundertusk, Stonehorn box.

After I've bought, built and painted then for me the fun part starts. I’ll have a good idea what is considered good regarding a build is and generally you’ll find that my lists are reflective of this…..to a point. I think it is important to recognise your own strengths and playstyle and while a list might be the new internet “hotness” if it contravenes these it will make your job harder (sometimes it is nice to build a list outside your comfort zone just for variety).

I generally find that when I put the first list together it is about 80% reflective of what I’ll be playing in 20 games time. For me, getting that last 20% is a key attraction of the hobby. I approach it as a challenge to try, evaluate and amend over those 20 games to squeeze performance out of the list that suits a game I am comfortable playing. This may mean dropping one or two units and replacing with new units, changing the size of units based on gaming experience or changing the nature and kitout of my characters. I love this part of the game and will happily sit in front of Army Builder with the Army Book honing my list to what I am happy with.

By the time I get to 20 games this process is pretty much finished and any variation in the list is driven largely by comp criteria. From here on increases in the army’s performance are driven by experience – making the right choices – and learning the best tactic for a given situation. As new books are released you need to learn new tricks but importantly by this time you have a solid foundation for your play.

As I said this style of play doesn’t appeal to everyone and you get the usual comments re powergaming and not playing for fun. But what some people miss is that this is my idea of fun. I like to create lists that best reflect my style of play and hone them until I can get the best out of them. For other people the fun comes in themeing their army – less so these days – or in using an underused unit whether successful or not.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Modern Day Conundrum

What takes longer the conception, gestation and birth of a human or getting two boxes of Wracks?



Nine months ago just before the Games Workshop embargo on the rest of the world, I ordered two boxes of Dark Eldar Wracks and a Haemoculous for Jack from Maelstrom Games.


And we waited. And waited. And waited.

Despite assurances whenever we contacted Maelstrom they cited supply problems and indicated that they would soon be with us.

Just before Xmas they sent out the Finecast Haemoculous (suitably pitted and bent in keeping with Finecast QA). Hooray! Six and one half months.

Since then we have been waiting for the Wracks and nine months has just passed since we ordered. Maelstrom have indicated GW have limited weekly supply to them but I struggle to believe that they had so many orders for Wracks that after 39 weeks we haven’t reached the top of the list.

Certainly I could ask for a refund but I’m pretty stubborn and I’m interested in how long it can go without us getting to the stage where the order is honoured.

New Tyranid and Space Wolves Pictures


FULL PAGE SPREAD


TERVIGON


FLYRANT


SWARMLORD


THUNDERWOLF CAVALRY



FENRISIAN WOLVES


Nothing particularly starling in terms of new imagery. But I guess it plugs some holes.

5 Days of Dark Eldar - Day 2

Lots of bits and pieces done yesterday.

I started re-airbrushing the bases in a darker colour, and will continue that today.  Painted some of the extra pieces for the Raider and Ravager from yesterday's update and built the crew for those as well.


I also started fiddling around with the designs for the sail transfers.  I'm a complete noob to this sort of thing, but making patterns with shapes isn't really too difficult.  I'm not sure at all what I'm going for with the design, only that it is purple.  Here are my favourites attempts from yesterday, I'd be keen to hear any thoughts.  Basically, I'm going for some sort of high-tech material look.








Tuesday, February 21, 2012

5 Days of Dark Eldar - Day 1

Off to a slow start yesterday really.  I stuck together my Raider and Ravager and worked on finishing up some of the parts to go on those.  Still need to do the crew.


I played around a bit with the airbrush and my bases.  Not happy with the colour, so I'll have another try tonight.


And lastly I started filling out my Battlefoam.  I've made a foam insert for each of the vehicles so that it sits in the case raised on that, rather than on the bottom.  This stops them rocking, and also stops the fragile spikes and chains on the bottom from breaking.







March Releases

Apparently the following is coming next month:

'Nids: 

  • Hive Tyrant / Swarmlord kit 42 euro
  • Tervigon / Tyrannofex kit 45,50 euro


  • Wolves: 

  • 3x Thunderwolf Calvary 43 euro
  • Wolf lord on Thunderwolf 33 euro
  • 5x Fenrisian wolves 19,50 euro
  • Arjac 21 euro


  • Hopefully there will be pictures soon when somebody gets a copy of the WD.  There is also a Hellcannon release for fantasy, which I suspect is a Finecast re-release

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    The Magic Meta

    One of the most noticeable things at HomeCon II was the emergence of Lore of Light as the most popular lore. Of those armies that could take it, only the High Elves (Shadow) chose not to. In the past the Lores of Life, Fire and Shadow have been the most popular followed by Heavens.


    Everyone remembers Lore of Life in the months after 8th Edition was released. Everywhere there were horror stories of The Dwellers Below, Regrowth and Flesh to Stone. In the end the lack of a good magic missile hurt the lore when –if you played by the rules – you needed to destroy a unit to score points. This was followed by the raft of Shadow mages – MINDRAZOR! – that emerged in 2011. Backed by Withering, Pit and Miasma the Lore of Shadow was a solid all round choice.

    As the difference between the various books has flattened out and we are seeing 8th as Games Workshop imagined it, there has been a further move to combat. This has been accelerated by the new Ogre book. With Shadow, the Lore of Light is great for supplementing your combat with its mix of buffs and hexes. One of the big benefits with Light though is that the spells all have relatively low casting values compared to other decks.

    I’ve always though a Slaan with Focussed Rumination and the Lore of Light is the way to go. You get the opportunity to cast lots of spells and maximise the benefit of the magic discipline. When facing Light, with a good Winds of Magic roll, you can quickly find yourself facing high Inititiative, ASF, WS10 Saurus – that never a good sight. Or, as I saw yesterday when a gap was left in an advancing battleline, a Stegadon moving 24” and turning up behind you!

    I love following the local meta game in both armies and lores as it isn’t necessarily the same in each locale but reflects responses to the most popular or effective armies locally. It is also cyclical. I’m sure Death and Life will be flavour of the month at some point in the future.

    5 Days of Dark Eldar - Intro

    After my not-so-successful foray into Tomb Kings over the weekend at Homecon II (which I will probably write about next week), I am turning my attention this week back to the Dark Eldar.  I have the week off before uni starts again next week, and so I'm going to go on a hobby binge with these guys.  Each morning I'll post an update on the previous day's efforts, which should help to keep me enthused.

    Some of the things I am planning to do over the week:

    • Put together and finish a raider and ravager that are painted, but in pieces at the moment.
    • Airbrush the remaining vehicle hulls that I have unpainted.
    • Paint/airbrush the resin bases I have for the army.
    • Try my hand at designing and printing my own transfers to go on the raider sails.
    • Tidy up my shiny new Battlefoam case and get everything in there fitting nice and snug.
    • Get started on two more raiders
    Stay tuned for the first update tomorrow!

    HomeCon II Results & Comp

    Over the weekend we had HomeCon II at my place. Fourteen gamers playing five rounds over two days (and two BBQs).

    We used the SCGT comp rules – with the exception of no Special Characters – and the general consensus was they worked well. We also used five rulebook scenarios (dropped Watchtower) and played the game as per the rulebook (except no reform into buildings). The results were as follows:


    1. Pete Dunn (Ogres)
    2. Tom Dunn (Daemons)
    3. Locky Reid (Empire)
    4. Mal Patel (Lizards)
    5. Dave Appleby (Skaven)
    6. Sam Whitt (Orcs & Goblins)
    7. Ben Wadsworth (Orcs & Goblins)
    8. Hagen Kerr (Lizards)
    9. Jack Dunn (Tomb Kings)
    10. Tane Woodley (Dwarfs)
    11. Neil Williamson (Brets)
    12. Glen Burfield (Vamps)
    13. Joel van de Ven-Long (High Elves)
    14. Joe Dixon (Wood Elves)

    Two players went through undefeated – Tom and Locky – but both had two draws. To give an idea of how close the field was Neil was on Table 1 in Round 4 but lost his last two rounds to drop away. Best Day Two was Tom with 34 points.

    Comment on the Comp System

    After the event one of the participants – Tane or Joel I think – asked what the general consensus on the comp system was. There was universal support/preference for this type of comp system – hard caps, less restrictive – as people wanted freedom of choice in their list make-up. The most attractive part is that they have some degree of certainty over their build without having to negotiate the minefield of peer or panel comp, or a restriction system overlaid by a TO’s veto.

    I still believe that you need to have checks and balances designed to stop the most egregious builds and have come around to the view that these restrictions can be targeted rather than universal.

    The New Zealand Scene

    What is interesting is that there seem to be developing geographical differences in comp systems in New Zealand. These are at least in part a reflection of the more prolific TOs own views. However the southern North Island (and possibly the South Island) has a more relaxed view on comp, preferring minimal restrictions. This view reflects the prevalent view of the 40k community in relation to their game. The northern North Island, particularly Auckland, seeks to ensure balance by using restrictions to try and level the playing field. This balancing then appears to extend to changing core rules such as magic effects and line of sight.

    Personally I don’t have a problem with whatever a TO comes up with as long as the parameters/system is clearly advertised well in advance and doesn’t change after they’ve taken your money and you’ve booked your travel. I have a preference and with multiple events on offer I’ll vote with my feet.

    What can be annoying is when people who have no intention of playing in the events and/or have left for another system try and influence the setup of tournaments that I am looking to attend. This is usually done through a forum and these days involves applauding increasing restrictions while they are playing a game where there are no restrictions. I’m not sure why they care what we play?



    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    OTT - Round 4 - BUT WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!

    Round 4

    Opponent: Mark Buttle - Eldar

    Mission: Take and Hold the table centre. Pitched Battle deployment.

    Points: 1500

    Mark Had: Autarch with fusion gun, 2 x fire dragons in 2 wave serpents, 2 fire prisms, 3 vypers with shuriken cannons, 2 x dire avengers in wave serpents, 1 x dire avengers in holofield falcon.

    I think that was roughly it for 1500, the ole steel trap is getting a little rusty.


    I won the roll for first turn, and took it, setting up centrally. Our table was fairly devoid of terrain, except that it had a skyshield landing pad in the centre... handy for take and hold!
    In Response, Mark went into reserve entirely.

    Turn 1: I moved and ran everything up to have a solid starting position.
    Turn 2: I finished my moving up, boosted my lords for coversaves, etc.

    In Marks turn 2, he rolled for his reserves, and proceeded to get everything on. He was then extremely silly with this however, and moved each firedragon wave serpent flat out to park directly infront of each command barge, which I had 1 on each side of the skyshield pad (so a good 12-15 inches away from each other), and then brought the entire rest of his army on, mostly only moving 6 inches to fire at the wraiths.
    Of course because I had made it nightfight, very little could see, and when the dust had cleared, the only thing I lost was an unlucky command barge - happy with that for a loss tally!

    Turn 3: Turn 3 was the biggy. As Mark had brought his holofalcon into the scarabs charge range and only moved 6, they went and ate the crap out of this. The vypers were decimated by Tesla Destructor firepower, while a sweep attack took out one of the firedragon wave serpents. The wraiths then went and killed a Fire Prism, while firepower from crypteks only killed 1 Wave Serpent, leaving him with 2 left - though I had at least pulled the guns off these.

    In Marks Turn 3 the firedragons who fell out of their wave serpent but only lost 3 in the ensuing firepower thereafter blew up the remaining command barge (but in the process killed enough of themselves in the blast that they fled unable to rally), while the autarch blew up an annihilation barge. All dire avengers disembarked and fired at wraiths, along with the other intact fire dragon squad I was unable to encourage to leave their sanctuary, but 2 wraiths remained while any remaining firepower had a crack at scarabs but only killed a single base. The firedragon waveserpent meanwhile buggered off, to try contest the secondary objective later in the game.

    Turn 4: The scarabs went and killed the remaining fire prism, the autarch was tesla zapped to death, the intact firedragon squad was assaulted by a lord and warrior squad, while wraiths dealt to one dire avenger squad and another tesla'd to death. Lastly the other overlord took out one of the 2 remaining wave serpents.

    In Marks turn 4 the remaining Wave Serpent and solitary vyper tried to hide for a turn 5 contest of the secondary objective.

    Turn 5: I mop up any remaining models, leaving just the wave serpent and vyper.

    In Marks Turn 5, the wave serpent tries to tankshock onto the objective - a death or glory wrecks the vehicle. The vyper tries to instead hide in my deployment zone to rob me of a point.

    There is a turn 6, and I blow up the vyper.

    A fairly straight forward game, the minute Mark brought all his key units on in charge range of my combat units though, it was just an exercise in mopping up. Not the best matchup for him, though this didn't need to be quite so one sided.


    When the dust settled, the round had been scored 20-3 to me, leaving me on 76/80 points for the event so far, with 2 2000 point games coming up the next day.

    Stay posted for the anticlimactic finish!

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Wanted - Last Edition Metal Grave Guard

    I'm after 10-20 metal Grave Guard from last edition (before they were released in plastic). Happy to take them in singles, small groups, full units...



    LMK on pete@thefieldsofblood.com and we can work out price or trades.

    Homecon II Predictions

    This weekend I am running HomeCon II at my place. It will be a fourteen man five round tournament using the SCGT comp restrictions.

    Managed to attract a strong field of locals who'll be blowing out the cobwebs ahead of Runefang V. I was asked yesterday to give some predictions on the outcome.

    David Appleby (Skaven) - This is Dave's first local tournament so he is a little bit of a dark horse. Personally I've never played him but I will make some acute observations. First, he's Scottish. Second, he's ginger. The last time anyone ginger won anything was when Boris Becker and Jim Courier were playing tennis i.e. not this millenium. I'm not sure if anyone Scottish has ever won anything.

    Glen Burfield (Vampires) - If you thought Scotland was bad then you haven't been to Levin. The only thing to come out of Levin is the NZ Warriors only fit prop Russell Packer. glen is primarily a 40k player who dabbles in Fantasy. This weekend he is using the new Vampire Counts. As such he has novelty value.

    Joe Dixon (Wood Elves) - Back from his round the world jaunt, this NZ ETC member has relocated to Wellington. Joe has picked up Wood Elves and will be trying to catch people with the Moonstone/Dwellers combo. The only certain thing is that I will play Joe.....and it will be 10-10.

    Jack Dunn (Tomb Kings) - Current NZ Master......in 40k. jack is a sleeper though. The last year he played Fantasy (2010) he finished #2 in the rankings. He was using Dark Elves. News flash....Tomb Kings aren't Dark Elves. Already getting the whinging "You should have painted another 20 archers, why do you only have 4 Knights....."

    Tom Dunn (Daemons) - I think Tom has put together the best list that is super quick and hits hard. He has dropped Siren Song which means the Daemonettes are gone. However that frees up the choice of Light rather than Shadow and I think that could be a masterstroke. He will be taking names.

    Pete Dunn (Ogres) - Too old, too slow.

    Hagen Kerr (Lizards) - Hagen has resisted the urge to try and re-invent the wheel and has taken a tried and tested Lizard build. Coming off a very light build up, he'll be incredibly slow, the question is whether he will ever see Turn 4.

    Mal Patel (Lizards) - NZ's #1 and current ETC player, Mal is fresh from chump-bashing at the Warclouds Doubles in Christchurch. Well Toto, this isn't Kansas!

    Locky Reid (Empire) - Mal's partner in crime, Locky has scoured the net trying to find the strongest list he can field. Borrowing an Empire army, he has done that. As Alan Hansen once said "If he doesn't win this he should shoot himself". Seriously Locky, if you don't finish Top 3 questions will be asked.

    Joel van de Ven-Long (High Elves) - And not just High Elves but MSU HE. I am very keen to see how these play out. I can see the theory but not sure how successful it will be. Fascinating list.

    Ben Wadsworth (Orcs & Goblins) - Ben had a dream. One day there would be a comp system that let him take 2 each of Lobbers, Doom Divers, Manglers and Pump Wagon. "Well Cinders you will go to the ball". Fresh from exposing all his tricks to me in his last outing at Chez Dunn, we'll see if his dream becomes reality.

    Sam Whitt (Orcs & Goblins) - Sam has dropped his 80 man Night Goblin archer unit for a more conventional list. I think this is a good move as the unit with attached characters was too many points for its killing power. It can work but then so did the Ford Edsel. Both the O&G armies are going to cause the rest of the participants problems, I'm picking sam to finish above Ben for two reasons. Firstly to put pressure on Sam and secondly to annoy Ben!

    Neil Williamson (Bretonnians) - I promise to alert the world by Twitter should Neil play hagen. It is likely that time will stand still and maybe even regress. Neil is bringing his Brets and has passed on the chance to run a second Treb. i think that is a mistake. But then I think Brets are a mistake :-)

    Tane Woodley (Dwarfs) - Local Green Party candidate Tane - I'm not sure his Dwarfs agree with the no mining stance - is like his party, a spoiler. His (Their) only role is to ruin it for everybody else. Three spellbreakers, items stealing 4 of your Power Dice, Tane isn't sure that he has enough Magic Defense. No worries, he backs it up with 5 warmachines. His enjoyment will come from the look of utter disappointment on his opponents' faces as they walk to the table. Just joking Tane.

    Predictions:

    1. Locky
    2. Sam
    3. Mal
    4. Tom

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    So What's It Going To Be?

    Typically it is this time each month that we get the leaked pictures from the upcoming of issue of White Dwarf. This gives us the first glimpse of the next month's releases.


    So March is supposedly a 40k month - Necrons (November), Mix (December), Vampires (January) and WOTR (February) - and there are two schools of thought on what we are going to get.



    The first is that it is a "fill-in" month where we get "Second Wave" releases - in this case, Necrons and Tyranids. This is certainty plausible as both codexes have model gaps.

    The more exciting (only if you are a follower of the Corpse-god, especially one with a guilty secret) is that we get Dark Angels. Now my level of interest in armies from the Rock (what's left of Calibran) is pretty much nil, especially because I actually read "Descent of Angels" - a piece of drivel by Michael Scanlon masquerading as a Horus Heresy novel. To me the First Legion are pretty much Dull on Foot, Dull on Bikes and Dull with 2+ Save.

    However - stay with me - this release if it occurs may have a saving grace. More than anything prior it should have been written with 6th Edition in mind. So any new codex will probably give us a better idea of the veracity of the "leaked 6th Edition rules" of the past couple of months.

    Further than that, does the 40k universe really need more Space Marines in robes?

    Anyway we should know more come Monday.

    Runefang V Only A Fortnight Away

    Runefang V is coming up in two weeks and looks like there will be around 24-26 people playing in the event.


    NZ #1 Ranked Player Mal Patel is coming up from Christchurch and two other members of the 2012 NZ ETC Team, Daniel Butler and Thomas van Roekel are coming south. We are also lucky enough to have attracted a visit from recent UK Masters participant, Andy Potter who is on holiday in NZ.

    Matched up against them is a swathe of Wellington’s best and fairest including the 2010 NZ Master Raymond Dick and multiple NZ NatCon winner Mike King.

    It is looking like a very competitive event with over half the field having played at various NZ Masters events between 2008 and 2011.

    However it is not too late to register for the event. We’ll be accepting participants up to February 24. Just drop me an email at Pete@thefieldsofblood.com and I’ll send you a pack.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Monster Mash - Ogre Superheavies Get A Run

    Last night I had my latest game against Mike’s Lizards. As I noted in a previous post over the weekend I finished the two large monsters for my Ogre Kingdoms’ army – the Stonehorn and the Thundertusk.


    Although Mike’s army with its 30 Skink skirmishers, 2 units of 5 Chameleons and two big Skrox units is not the best opponent for monsters with its 50+ poison shots, I decided to use both to see how they would go.

    The simple answer is “mixed”.



    I positioned both in the middle of my battleline behind the Mournfang Cavalry. As the Mournfang went forward a gap opened up and the Stonehorn went forward. It was then that I noticed a bit of a flaw in my plan. Both monsters are on ginormous 100mm x 150mm bases which means that placement is very important given the Thundertusk’s key attribute – giving enemy ASL – only extends 6”. One thing you don’t want to do is get the Stonehorn in front of the Tusk.

    My Stonehorn was charged by a unit of Saurus with two Scar Vets. It broke from combat and was run down. It wasn’t helped by rolling low on both its impact hits and its Thunderstomp, however I think it is probably overpriced in respect to other monsters e.g. HPA, Hydra, Sphinxes.

    The Tusk did quite a bit better. It combo-charged the flank of a Skrox unit and then collected a unit of skink skirmishers and a unit of chameleon skinks. Like all monsters, the combo-charge is important against ranked units. With the Tusk you don’t get any impact hits but you do get 6 Str 4 and 4 Str 6 that go first – albeit at WS3 – which equates to just under 3 wounds on T4 (-1/-3 to AS) then potentially adjusted for parry. Not sure that offsets the loss of impact hits – actually I am, it doesn’t 

    So the Tusk’s role is getting itself into the middle of the battlefield so maximum combats can benefit from the big freeze.

    All in all they were fun units to use and I’m keen to get them onto the table. Sure, they are overpriced but when people speak Monsters the Hydra (and HPA to a lesser extent) tend to skew things.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    OTT 2012 - Round 3, 1011011010101 (smash the alien)

    Round 3

    Opponent: Daniel Heyden – Tyranids

    Mission: 5 objectives worth 0, each time a unit dies that objective gains 1 point of value. Dawn of War deployment.

    Points Value: 1500


    Daniel had:

    2 Tyranid primes with some random close combat weapons that didn’t really come up so I didn’t pay much attention, 2 x 2 Hive Guard, 10 Ymgarl Genestealers, 2xTervigons, 2x10 Gaunts, and a unit of 2 carnifex with quad devourers.

    I had:

    2 Lords with Mind Shackle Scarabs and Warscythes on command barges, 2x4 heralds of destruction each unit with a solar pulse, 4x5 Necron Warriors, 5 Wraiths with 1 whipcoil, 5 Scarabs, 3 Annihilation Barges.

    The table we got was… interesting to say the least. I won the roll for first turn and set up 2 warrior squads in such a way that I could completely fill the only 2 pieces of area terrain on the table in my first turn. I then announced that the rest of my stuff would walk on turn 1. This forced Daniel to not hibernate his Ymgarls, and walk them on like normal.

    At this point, we then had a discussion about how mind numbingly stupid this mission was. If Daniel was to just run across the table to come get me, I could sit there softening units until they got close, then finish them to make the objectives close to me have value, and comfortably win. If he sat on his deployment zone, I could not afford to come to him and claim those objectives, so if I killed ANYTHING, I lose. This meant that the best result Daniel was likely to get would be a draw, by not moving.

    At the same time, we worked out that one of my objectives was in terrain. As such, I could turbo boost my 2 lords in their barges in and out of terrain next to that objective all game long. If he sat there holding out for a draw, I would have a minimum of 10, and a maximum of 14 chances to roll a single 1. If I did, that objective would be worth 2 points, and I would win the game.

    That’s right… by telling my lord to fly his plane into a building, I would win the game.

    WHO WROTE THIS FUCKING MISSION, OSAMA BIN LADEN?!

    It was at this point Daniel and I discussed how retarded that sounded, and instead had a good ole bash up in the middle of the table. This was far more entertaining, and nowhere near as douchey.

    In my turn 1, everything moved on fairly centrally, and pushed up to a position where I could get ready to leap on targets as they came into the middle, while the warriors I had deployed front and centre moved backwards.

    In Dans turn 1, not much happened, he had moved on with a fairly refused flank, keeping things together as a massive blob progressing forward. During this game not many termagants were born before pooping out, but I have no recollection as to when this happened : (

    In my turn 2 I pushed both lords up and out to my right, to get ready to try drag a gaunt unit into a far corner objective, hopefully leading to Dan trying to split his army. The wraiths remained with the bulk of the army ready to perform a counter attack role, and the great softening of the super unit that was the 2 primes and carnifex began, killing 1 carnifex and stripping 2 wounds off each prime. A tyrant guard was killed, but the other was left so as to not give a point to one of the objectives down his end yet.

    In Dan’s turn 2 I made it nightfight. His army pushed up a little further however, getting ready for an action position, and his shooting actually did okay. The intact unit of hive guard fired at the wraiths, but they passed their invulnerable saves. The lone hive guard shot my command barge out of the sky, while the carnifex shot dead all but the crypteks from a warrior squad, only 1 of which got back up. Both Dan’s tervigons tried to give feel no pain to his supersquad, and both rolled double 6 perils!

    In my turn 3 the lord who fell out of the sky partnered up with a warrior squad that had advanced up a flank, and I pulled these back so they could only just reach a gaunt squad in assault, thus the gaunts counter charge move would tractor beam them much closer to the objective I wanted them to die at.

    2 annihilation barges fired up big time and elimited 9/10 ymgarl, which was perfect as I didn’t want to wipe the unit out. Meanwhile the wraiths jumped forward to assault what would be left of the super unit, which after the dust cleared was just a carnifex on 2 wounds – they promptly ate him and their positioning put these points on the centre objective. The lightning arcs had also inadvertently taken 2 more wounds off one of the tervigons, meaning one that I had not yet shot at was only on 3 wounds left! My lord had pushed up to start making inroads here, but was still one more turn away.

    My scarabs had moved up to form somewhat of a block so that if anything wanted to get past, they had to form a roadblock in the middle of the table and generate more points there.

    In Dans turn 3 I made it nightfight again. Everything moved to fight the wraiths, and my last annihilation barge was killed. BOOO! The wraiths did amicably and gave as good as they got, tying combat and forming a tar pit. They were also close enough to contest the objective by Dans deployment zone that was now worth a couple of points with the wraiths killing the last stealer, along with one of the supersquad primes having been closer here previously.

    A squad of gaunts went and engaged my scarabs to have a war of tying each other up.

    In my turn 4 my lord went and charged the wounded tervigon, who promptly freaked out and scratched her own head off to get the mindshackle scarabs out, dealing 3 wounds to herself. With that the gaunt unit I had tractored earlier was released and they moved forward with their consolidate closer to the wraith tarpit fight.

    The wraith tarpit fight itself had little damage on either side, causing 1 or 2 to the tervigon, and killing 1 hiveguard but suffering little back in return. Another squad of warriors went and helped the scarabs out of a jam, whittling the gaunts they were engaged with to just a few, while by now any other gaunt squads had politely been electrocuted to death.

    In Dans turn 4 his gaunts were wiped out, and the wraith tarpit continued to grind away.

    In my turn 5 one lord went and assaulted the remaining tervigon, while the other assaulted one of the hive guard units. This combat finished up with tabling Dan, but not before my lord helped another tervigon scratch herself to death doing 2 of her remaining 3 wounds…. MINDSHACKLEEEEEEEE!

    This game finished up 20-1, but could have been a lot closer without a few ridiculous aspects, such as virtually no area terrain for the Ymgarls to hide in, the double double6 perils (lololol 1 in 1296 chance!) and the stealers being stripped out so efficiently. Either way, I think we can both say we decided to make a game out of it and have a biffo in the middle of the table rather than cowering in our respective corners while he tries to perils 6 times in a row with both MC’s while I try to roll a 1 on any of 14 dice. Dan is always a great guy to play and afterwards I offered him half my footlong.

    Game 4 to come later on tonight hopefully!

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    OTT 2012 - Round 2, Killbots vs Killbots!

    Round 2

    Opponent: David Foster – Necrons

    Mission: 5 objective Seize Ground – Spearhead

    Points Value: 1000

    David had:

    Necron Lord on Command Barge, 3 Heralds of Destruction with 1 solar pulse, 6 Warriors, 6 Immortals with Gauss Blasters, 1 Ghost Ark, 4 Scarabs, 4 Scarabs, 2 Tomb Spiders, 2 Annihilation Barges.

    I had: The same as the last 1000 point round… obviously!

    Again I won the roll to go first and up I set in a fairly tight block in the middle, scarabs and wraiths out front. I would need to maintain these as a wall between me and Daves Scarabs.

    Dave set up across from me with the scarabs and spiders across from my wraiths, while the ghost ark and immortals sat further to his rear with the crypteks nearby.

    In my first turn I pushed the wraiths up enough to bait out Daves scarabs. From what I had gathered from him so far I felt like he was over confident in their abilities and may be tempted into a charge that wouldn’t be wise for them, so sat them about 20 inches away from his frontal scarab unit. Due to Dave instigating Night Fight and sitting a little further back, the rest of my shooting did very little, and with that it went to Daves turn.

    In Daves first turn, he took said bait hook line and sinker, the spiders buffed the unit to 6 strong and in it went, bouncing completely, getting wiped out, and slingshotting my wraiths forward with a consolidate in the process.

    Daves lord tried to whittle the wraiths with a sweep attack, but failed to make it through the invulnerable saves. The rest of Daves shooting also did very little, on account of me making it night fight.

    In my second turn, I had a chance to pretty much end the game right there and then, but it was refusing to be quite so simple. My wraiths with their big boost went off and multicharged the other scarab unit, the tomb spiders, and both annihilation barges that had only moved 6. My lord pushed up further on his flank, hopped out and assaulted his Immortals, while my scarabs charged his command barge. The rest of my shooting tried to immobilise his command barge to help my scarabs but alas it all bounced off.

    The scarabs then totally failed to scratch the barge, and while the wraiths destroyed the scarabs and spiders, their s6 bounced off the av11 rear of the Annihilation Barges. Meanwhile my lord only killed one immortal and floundered a little.

    In Daves second turn he decided his losses were now too great, and moved towards trying to draw the game, by way of eliminating my troops. His lord sweep attacked one squad, killing a couple, before hopping out and assaulting a different squad. Both Annihilation Barges finished the swept squad off, while the rest of his shooting mostly bounced off the wraiths, only killing 1. Both our lords had a shocker though, and only killed 1 cron each.

    In my third turn the wraiths ran off and multicharged to help out my lord, and also kill his warrior squad and have a crack at the ghost ark too. The scarabs went for one of Daves Annihilation Barges and blew it up, while the rest of my shooting immobilised his command barge so that after finishing me off, a low run wouldn’t see Dave hopping back in and scurrying away.

    In the assault, Dave finished off my warriors, but fortunately only consolidated 1 inch, meaning he would be several inches shy of my last remaining squad. My own lord however was freed up, as although the wraiths bounced off the ghost ark, both Daves troop choices were wiped out.

    In Daves third turn, the lord moved as quickly towards my remaining squad as he could, hoping to live another turn. Meanwhile the remaining ghost ark, crypteks and annihilation barge shot everything at my remaining warrior squad, who promptly went to ground and lost no casualties after reanimation protocols.

    In my fourth turn, things finally started to mop up. The wraiths went and killed the remaining Annihilation Barge. My lord went and punched the Ghost Ark out of the sky, killing a cryptek on board in the blast, and the scarabs went and killed his command barge. More importantly however, my Annihilation Barges turned around and WTFPWN’d Daves lord right out of this plane of existence, who thankfully did NOT get back up!


    In Daves fourth turn he now just had 2 crypteks left, who failed to kill my warriors who again, elected to go to ground and cower.

    In the 5th, the remaining crypteks are eaten and Dave is tabled for a win.

    While the primary for this was won 1-0, the secondary mission was simply to kill a troop unit. As Dave had killed one of my warrior units, he achieved this, as had I, so we drew this one for 2 points. I then received all other bonus points except the one for holding 2 objectives at once. We worked out I could only stretch out and pull this off if the game went to turn 7 – and it didn’t. This left me on 16 points to Daves 2.

    Given I had used Daves template he so thoughtfully mailed out to everyone as the basis for originally mocking his army, but then writing my own, I was glad to win this one. A 4 instead of a 1 for his consolidation and I would have been sweating it much closer to a draw, if I didn’t manage to finish off with a tabling. Ultimately this game came down to a show down between Scarabs and Wraiths… I’m always going to back the Wraiths in that fight!

    Over The Top 2012 - The robots go wild!

    So this weekend just past was Over the Top 2012, and what a weekend it was!

    After hearing nothing but good things about the BOTCH (Battle Of The Chumps) event over in the UK on www.40kuk.com I suggested the idea to the TO quite some time ago for something to consider. He loved the idea and latched onto it right away, and thus an escalation style event was born. Given that OTT runs 4 games on day 1, and 2 games on day 2, this worked out perfectly.

    The event ran 2 games at 1000, then 2 games at 1500, followed by 2 games at 2000 points. This presented an interesting challenge, as now instead of coming up with 1 hard as nails list, you had to do it 3 times over, thrice the chance of mucking it up! It was also in line with NZ’s gradual move to no comp, I’ll let you be the judge as to whether or not lists got much harder based on what I played. There were also a couple of lists that I was very glad to dodge, will be interesting in the future to see what happens as I wind up running into the inevitable .

    Round 1

    Opponent: Doug Sainsbury – Grey Knights

    Mission: Modified Killpoints – Pitched Battle

    Points Value: 1000

    Doug had:

    Coteaz, 5 Purifiers with 2 psycannons in a Psyback, 5 man strike squad with a razorback in a psyback, 3 henchmen with 2 meltas in a psyback, 3 henchmen with 2 meltas in a psyback, and lastly 3 psyfleman dreads giving him a heap of anti-tank.

    I had:

    Lord in command barge with warscythe and Mindshackle scarabs, 3 Harbingers of Destruction with 1 solar pulse, 3x5 Necron Warriors, 6 Wraiths with 2 whipcoils, 5 Scarabs, 2 Annihilation barges.

    I won the roll to go first, and set up quite centrally, joining a cryptek to each warrior squad. Wraiths and scarabs out front ready to go cause some calamity.

    Doug set up boxed in an extreme corner , but not far enough away or back to stop me getting all my shots in.

    In the first turn I pushed everything forward, but not within charge range, and boosted the command barge right up on my right towards the table edge Doug had cornered into. My shooting was fairly ineffectual, blowing up a few s6 heavy bolters, immobilising a razorback and wrecking the strike squads razorback.

    In Dougs first turn, I made it nightfight, and managed to deny most of his army from being able to shoot. His purifiers pushed up and hopped out to shoot the wraiths however, but didn’t kill anything.

    In my second turn I sweep attacked a dread, and failed like a boss. The wraiths went and killed all but 1 or 2 purifiers however, while the scarabs killed the purifiers transport. Some insignificant stunning and shaking went on with the henchmen’s psybacks.

    In Dougs second turn, 2 of the dreads shot and bounced off the command barge, while the third went in to tie up the wraiths. Coteaz split off from his squad and punched the command barge out of the air, but the lord fell out and was A-O-K. The wraiths finished the purifiers but failed to harm the dread, 1 scarab base was killed from shooting and everything else pretty much just bounced.

    In my third turn I forced Coteaz to ground, after shooting him with a s8 ap2 lance while he was in the open. Miraculously he survived with a 6, but this let my lord go kill a dread. The wraiths fluffed again but the scarabs went and killed another razorback. I also wiped out the strike squad with shooting.

    In Dougs third turn the dread was dragged down by the wraiths, and 2 more scarab bases were killed.

    In my 4th turn coteaz this time was not so lucky and ate a lance to the face. The lord went and high-fived another dread in the face, the scarabs ate the remaining razor, the henchmen squads were wraithed and the game finished up 21 kill points to 1.

    The kill points had been modified so that troop squads were worth 3, and troop dedicated transports were worth 2, so dougs army had 21 in total, while mine had something like 15.


    All up I was quite glad Doug had grudged me for this round, as at 1000 points Necrons scale quite nicely, and get a decent amount of toys, while the grey knights don’t get their large volume of shots if they want to invest a lot in toys like purifiers and psyflemen. Couple this with a healthy killpoint lead on him, and I was pretty happy going into this. While my army isn’t tailored to beat GK’s specifically, it is designed around the concept of MSU transports and small squads, so anytime I run up against this I will generally be well off unless I screw up.

    When the dust settled, I had achieved the primary (killpoints), achieved the secondary (kill Dougs General and not lose mine in the process), and all 5 bonus points, giving me 20, while I had reduced Doug to just 1 bonus point for killing one of my vehicles. Early in the rounds its important to minimise every single point your opponent could get, as if you drop a game in turn later, it all becomes about who between you got a bigger win or a smaller loss.

    I’ll post up Round 2 later today and continue on in a similar fashion!

    Audiobook Roadtest

    I’m on the Black Library email distribution list. This means every couple of weeks they send me an update on forthcoming releases.

    A couple of weeks ago I received the update trumpeting the release of the latest “Horus Heresy” book by Dan Abnett “Know No Fear”. The interesting thing with this release was that the book was available in a number of different formats – paperback, electronic, full audiobook, downloadable MP3 – at the time of release.


    In the past I have bought a couple of the Black library audiobooks but been less than impressed as they have typically been between 45-60 minutes. I felt that there was little story development and they quickly became “pew, pew, pew, zplat”. However in this case the book was heralded as full and unabridged and lasts for 11.5 hours.

    I downloaded it – two weeks before my local GW Hobby Centre gets any format – and over the past week have been listening to it. I’m currently about 2/3rds through it. It took me about half an hour to get into it but now I’m loving it.

    It is a great story…..the betrayal of the Ultramarines by the Word Bearers in the Calth System. There is one fantastic chapter where the betrayal occurs but before it is recognised for what it is. The description of the “incident” is fantastic having echoes of Pearl Harbour. Even after it occurs the Ultramarines are none the wiser and you have Roboute Giliumane making excuses for the Word Bearers’ behaviour.

    The main place I’ve been using the book is at the painting table. Over the weekend I listened to it while I finished the Stonehorn and Thundertusk. As Tom says ”They’ll look nice on your display board”.

    I'll certainly be picking up more books in future.

    Looking in the Petrie Dish

    Results just in from Over The Top Warhammer 40k tourmanent held over the weekend.


    Charlie used his new Necron army and scored 116/120 battle Points. He finished on 97.66% (those 4 points were all he dropped - scoring maximum sports and presentation). The next highest result was 79.58%.

    OTT was a No-Comp event that escalated armies from 1000-2000 points over six rounds.

    Well done Charlie!


    I'm looking forward to his reports, not to hear about the kerb-stomping, but to hear about whether he believes we are seeing an evolution in army selection.

    The key question for me is whether he believes the lists of other participants are getting harder to reflect the no-comp environment. The last time this question was raised on the blog there were two views put forward by active participants. The first was that it would take 6-12 months for armies to evolve. The second was that armies wouldn't evolve but that people were happy just to play what they wanted with no restrictions.

    From a competitive point of view that 18% gap is massive - 31 Battle Points or expressed crudely 1.5 games. For the scene to be competitive this type of gap is unhealthy and if it isn't reduced I think that it is negative for both Charlie and the other participants.

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    HomeCon II Armies

    So HomeCon II is next weekend and the event has been expanded to fourteen people.


    Over the weekend I’m picking up three spare tables in preparation and sending out the checked lists to the competitors.

    Homecon will be trying out the latest SCGT army restrictions – see earlier entry here – which are reasonably light in terms of limitations. What I’m really happy with is that there are 12 different armies across the fourteen participants. The breakdown is:

    Orcs & Goblins x2
    Lizardmen x2
    Bretonnians
    Empire
    Wood Elves
    High Elves
    Dwarfs
    Skaven
    Ogre Kingdoms
    Vampire Counts
    Tomb Kings
    Daemons

    So the only armies missing are Dark Elves and Warriors of Chaos.

    This should give us a good look at the comp system.

    Calling all baby seal clubbers!

    Here's what I settled on for Homecon:

    Liche High Priest, Lore of Nehekara, Level 4, Earthing Rod
    Liche High Priest, Lore of Light, Level 4, Scroll

    Tomb Herald, BSB

    21 Archers, Mus, Std
    20 Archers, Mus Std
    10 Archers
    10 Archers
    3 Chariots, Mus, Std, Flaming Banner

    4 Necro Knights, FC
    Warsphinx, Fiery Breath
    Warsphinx, Fiery Breath

    SSC
    SSC
    Casket
    Heirotitan

    Should be a good learning experience.  Hopefully since the first round is seeded by list strength I won't be too out of my depth.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Does it do Mindrazor?

    Homecon II is coming up in a couple of weeks, and just like the Empire last time, I'm thinking of trying out a new army for the event. The only army of Dad's that really caught my attention of the ones I hadn't used before was the Tomb Kings, so I figured why not, let's give it a go.

    Now, some reading would suggest the Tomb Kings are much maligned by the Internet Tough Guys (TM) on TWF and elsewhere, and are apparently a shadow of their former self.  Off to a good start then.  At Homecon, we are playing under SCGT Comp v2, so the strength of the armies will probably bit towards the high end of what we see in NZ.  Nothing better than a trial by fire to learn a new army!

    Dad's posted pics of the bit's and pieces of his TKs that he's painted up since the book came out, but ideally he'd have painted a bit more for me ;).  There are only four Necro Knights, two Sphinxes, and only 60 archers.  That last complaint seems a bit ridiculous, even to me, but under SCGT, they are allowed up to 90 archers, and from what I've heard, archers are quite good.

    There are quite a few unique list ideas out there at the moment.  Obviously there is the Khalida filth, but SCGT goes some way to restrict that.  One build that really caught my eye was the idea of using Ramotep, who is the Necrotect special character.  He gives Frenzy and Hatred to his Tomb Guard Horde, and gives re-roll saves to a big unit of Necro Knights.  Coupled with a bit of Light magic and you have some serious combat power!  Only having 4 snakes is a bit of a barrier to that though.

    Basically, I'm going to try out a 'standard' list and see how it goes.  I'm still figuring out a couple of options, but all of the usual suspects will be present:
    • 60 Archers
    • 4 Necro Knights
    • 2 Warsphinxes
    • 2 Catapults
    • Casket
    At this stage, it looks like a Heirotitan and a couple of Level 4s (Nehekara and Light) will be joining them, but I'm still tossing up a couple of things.  I'll put up the full list tomorrow.

    I'm really looking forward to giving these guys a run out and seeing what they can do.  I am under no illusions; I expect to get smashed and be making up the numbers on the bottom tables, but it should be a great deal of fun!  
    It will also be my first time without Mindrazor in almost a year.  I'm just a terrible person on the inside...

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    2012 Warhammer Release Schedule

    Drums are beating loudly.

    Empire next, followed by Warriors of Chaos.

    Sure we'll hear grumbling from the Dwarf players saying we need Monstrous Cavalry, Large Monster etc.

    As if they'd know what to do with them anyway. The grumbling is just a screen....they are secretly delighted that they keep their 6th Ed Grudgethrowers, multiple Spellbreakers, multi-shot Steam Cannon (not that many dare to use a flyer anyway) etc

    Practice Makes Competent

    Over the weekend I managed to get in four games with my Ogres, taking the opportunity of the extra day too its best advantage.


    I’m finding that I am really getting my head around the army and have tweaked the build where I found weaknesses and where I could squeeze better results. This got me thinking about how practice really does improve your play.

    Since Xmas I have played 20 games with the Ogres at 2400 points. These games have been against 10 different opponents and also 10 different armies. From these games I am starting to build up my experience bank, knowing what I can and can’t expect units to do and, in particular, the special nuances of the rules I need to know,

    There is an old adage that goes “The More I Practice, The Luckier I Get”. I certainly think this holds true with wargaming. There are a special few players that can pick up an army and be excellent right from the get go. I think in the past decade I can name, one perhaps two that I’ve encountered. The rest of us need some familiarity with an army before we are truly confident or competent with any army.

    This is because while you can Theoryhammer things there is nothing like see things in action to learn lessons. Be it from how you deploy, what Lore or spells to choose to the expected duration of a particular combat. Add in scenarios and there are so many variables to consider and make assessments in regard to.

    I’ll give you an example from the weekend. Playing Watchtower against Tom’s Daemons, I knew that there was no way to shift his Bloodletter plus Herald from the tower. We were playing the tower was worth 500 points so I knew that my only way to compete was to ignore the guys in the tower. This ceded him 500 points but also took his most hard-hitting unit out of the rest of the game. I got lucky and was able to take apart the rest of him army to grind a small win out of what was a scenario heavily stacked against me.

    This result came down to me knowing what my army could and couldn’t do. I was lucky in the game – sniping his Tzeentch Herald from a Horror unit with cannon shot in Turn One (4.7% or roughly 1 in 20) – but experience with your army makes you aware of how likely something is AND if it happens what the effect is.

    My advice to all players who want to get better is play lots of games, against a variety of armies and opponents. In particular, vary the skill level of the opponents you play so you can develop the skills to assess when you can put your foot down or ease off the accelerator.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Guest Post - Soft Comp at Cancon

    Recently I was asked to be on the Panel to mark the lists for Cancon for comp. Over the years I've been on (and organised) a fair few panels, however recently I have shifted to a prefering a Hard Cap system for my own tournaments (as regular readers will know).

    However I did think it would be interesting for readers if Greg Johnson, the Cancon TO, went through his experiences and thought processes on the comp system he used. Greg agreed and kindly prepared this report for Fields of Blood:

    Soft Comp at Cancon – how it went


    There has been some discussion on this blog about the comp systems being used in tournaments these days, and in particular around the apparently uniquely Australian persistence with soft comp rather than hard caps. Cancon ran on the weekend, and was the largest Australian tournament in over a year, by a considerable margin (there were 76 players). Soft comp was used at this event, and it seems a good opportunity to look back at how the system performed.

    Background


    First of all, I should point out that Australia persisting with the soft comp system is perhaps a generalisation. A lot of players in Queensland and New South Wales have become quite disenchanted with the system due to some bad experiences in recent events, and there has been a swell of support for hard caps (or even no comp at all) from these areas. It is only really in Victoria where soft comp appears to reign supreme, and a lot of this can be attributed to the same core of players running most of the events in Melbourne. Players from the Hampton Games Club (HGC) ran something like two thirds of all the Warhammer Fantasy events in Victoria last year, so some similarities are always going to pop up.


    For the geographically challenged among you (or anyone not familiar with Australia), Canberra (and by association, Cancon) is not in Victoria. The main reason it used soft comp again this year was that HGC ended up organising Warhammer Fantasy at the event, for want of anyone else having volunteered. This means our approach was employed again there, with the player pack being almost identical to the one used for Axemaster late last year. Anyway, that is a bit of background for you. On to the event itself…

    Follow FoB on Twitter

    If you like the rants on the blog you can follow Charlie and myself on Twitter.




    Charlie’s handle is @proximityNZ and mine is the rather imaginative @PeterDunnNZ

    Jack is not on Twitter as I don't think he is as tech savvy as the rest of us.

    I will warn you that on my Twitter feed you’ll get the occasional rant about how much I hate Manchester United and I’m not even going to apologise for some of the dross Charlie posts.

    Euro-skeptic

    Yesterday the first draft of the 2012 Army restriction for the European Team Championships was released. You can find them here.


    The composition rules are far more restrictive than I am comfortable with and there are fundamental changes to core rules in the game. The comment has been made by a number of commentators that the committee who put these together appear to be trying to rewrite the game as v7.5.

    While I agree that there is certainly more than a gentle whiff of that in the draft, it is important to put the restrictions in the context of what they have been written for. The ETC is a teams-based event with each country limited to a single list from any book. This in itself is a limiting factor. Each country can access any eight of fourteen books. Therefore there is a strong case for needing less restriction rather than more.

    However the restrictions echo the politicial structure of the European Union – over bureaucratic, all encompassing and totally pervasive. They look like they have been designed by a committee where each restriction has been met by a trade-off in another race to get approval.



    In the traditions of Euro politics, dissension has already broken out. Not surprisingly the English (British?) have distanced themselves from the first draft. On Twitter their representative has said:

    “On the ETC-AR, for those asking for ‘why’, please don’t moan at me or ask me for reasons. I’ve spent the last month arguing against most of the changes. What I would say is, compare the euro comp to SCGT – if it’s not in the SCGT pack I’ve probably been arguing to no avail on that point and probably agree with your dislike for it. That said, euro community voted the committee so the argument from the members of the committee that have voted for these rules changes and more restrictions (not me) is that they are doing what the community wants. They could well be right, for all I/we know we live in a Warhammer bubble. Personally I don’t think the community as a whole want these changes but we will see from feedback from the draft. Here ends the “please don’t shoot the messenger” memo.”

    So as in life, we have Warhammer’s David Cameron distancing himself from the restrictive practices of the Euro-zone.

    For what it is worth, I am very sympathetic to his views. In Warhammer, just like in life, less rather than more regulations are preferable. Army restrictions should be a safety net at the bottom of the cliff rather than a 12 metre high concrete wall patrolled by sentries at the top.

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Latest Dark Eldar Progress

    So Dad called me up yesterday to whine about my lack of regular blog posting, and told me to get a move on with it.  In the last week he had also sent me some nice photos of my latest painting efforts, despite needing many attempts to get photos I was happy with ("What's wrong with me taking them on the iPhone? There's not much difference in quality...").

    Without any further rambling, here's what I've painted since the Masters.  There's also a Ravager, but it somehow managed to escape the camera.


    A lovely Razorwing



    Some Venoms


    And a nice group shot

    In terms of vehicles, I've now got 5 Venoms, a Ravager, and a Razorwing painted up, and am currently in the process of making/painting 4 more Raiders/Ravagers (about halfway there).  Once that's done, I'll have basically all of the vehicles out of the way, and can get to some troops.

    I'm probably going to be playing with these guys at Equinox and Natcon in preparation for Fields mid-year so that I can get some more experience with the army (I've reached double digits now - 10 games!).  I'm also looking at going to the Auckland 40k Open in April (the weekend after Natcon), but I suspect I may still be in Wellington that weekend.  The event is being run by Robert Power (Powerguy - a regular commenter here), and is the first NZ tournament to use the NOVA system, which should prove a refreshing change and something a bit different to usual.