Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Imperial Guard Tank Commander

Rules by Paul

Imperial Guard Tank Commander – 90 pts. + Vehicle 
An Imperial Guard Tank Commander is an HQ choice for an Imperial Guard Army

TypeFront ArmorSide ArmorRear ArmorBallistic Skill

Must choose a vehicle from the following list:
Leman Russ Battletank – 150 pts.
Leman Russ Exterminator – 150 pts.
Leman Russ Eradicator – 140 pts.
Leman Russ Vanquisher – 155 pts. 

Special Rules:
Lumbering Behemoth (see Codex: Imperial Guard)

Armored Senior Officer:
    This model may give any of the following orders to any Tanks in his army, but may only give three orders per turn. Assume all tank commanders are Ld. 8 for the purposes of orders. With the exception of Tanks to the Front! all orders are given in the Shooting Phase. Orders may be given at a range of up to 24". If the Tank Commander is within 12" the leadership test made for any order may be re-rolled.

  • Execute Ferrus Tempestuous! – Tanks and squadrons which received this order count their weapons as twin-linked when shooting at an enemy model with an Armor Value this shooting phase.
  • Volley Fire – Any failed rolls to wound against Monstrous Creatures by a tank or squadron given this order may be re-rolled, or if firing against enemy vehicles, you may re-roll on the damage table - but you must abide by the second roll, even if it is worse.
  • Cannonade – Any tank or squadron given this order count their weapons as Pinning for this shooting phase. The target unit suffers a cumulative -1 to it's leadership for each tank in the squadron for the purposes of its Pinning check. 
  • Hull Down, Incoming! – Tanks and squadrons given this order gain the stealth USR (adding +1 to their cover save if they already have the rule). In the following turn the vehicle counts as having suffered a 'Crew Shaken' result in addition to any other damages.
  • Tanks to the Front! – In squadrons given this order, any Leman Russ vehicle moving at cruising speed may roll 3 dice and pick any for their Lumbering Behemoth movement.
  • Crush them under-tread! – Any unit tank shocked by a tank or squadron which received this order suffers a cumulative -1 to its leadership for every tank (from the same squadron) which makes contact during the Tank Shock.
Armored Command Vehicle:

For each Tank Commander taken, 1 Leman Russ Tank Squadron may be taken as a Troops choice at normal cost. Note that vehicles may not score, even if they are Troops.
    What I cannot crush with words . . .
      For each FULL squadron of Leman Russ tanks in one’s army, a single enemy unit of the Tank Commander’s choice suffers -1 to its Leadership to a minimum of 7.

    • Heavy Bolter
    • Searchlight
    • Smoke Launchers
    • Main gun – see the tank’s unit entry

    Any other wargear may be purchased for the Commander’s tank from the tank’s unit entry.

    A great solution for those treadheads out there. Getting an opponent to play with the Armored Battlegroup list can be a little difficult. This entry gives the treadhead just as many Leman Russ chassis without resorting to a whole new ruleset. 

    Sunday, 25 April 2010

    Force Organization Chart - The Theme Killer.

    By Atrotos

    In 4th edition Warhammer 40,000 it wasn't uncommon to find an army consisting of two bare minimum Troop selections and maxed-out Elites and Heavy Support slots. Today we usually see a healthy amount of Troop selections due to the fact that 5th edition is objective-centric and many would seem to agree that the issue of negligible FOC restrictions has been successfully overcome. However another question arises now that Troops ares so critical to the game. Namely "why does Brother Casor hold an objective where the venerable Brother Autolochus can not?"

    In 4th edition Troops were meant to represent the bulk of any army. Thus it made sense that a conventional Space Marine Chapter relied on Tactical squads to secure gained territory whereas the Deathwing, being of a different Organization, relied on its Terminators to do the heavy lifting. 

    This mentality worked well in 4th ed. but was mercilessly circumvented to the point of near irrelevance. Now 5th ed. has forced the gamer's hand, pushing Troops choices as a necessary inclusion not for FOC's sake but for the sake of Capture and Control. But the Force Organization Chart was never meant to be used this way. There is no clear reason as to why an Imperial Guard army can't rely on Storm Troopers to stick around when the Inquisition can. In a skirmish level conflict is there any logic to assigning occupation roles to certain squads and not to others? 

    One might argue that the roles of certain units is widely different. The Vanguard are linebreakers incapable of protracted engagements ergo they cannot babysit an objective for a long period of time. In reality, however the conflicts we act out on the tabletop last no more than a few minutes; a few rounds fired, 50 meters or so of movement, and a seconds-long close quarters fight or two. Any real objective taking is made after the events featured in the game take place.

    It's obvious that the designers at GW Headquarters took this route to establish a kind of balance in terms of unit variety and power. 'Scoring' is a mechanism meant to persuade players to build more heterogeneous forces and not simply max out on powerful units. In this GW has been largely successful, but at what price?

    Setting HQ choices aside, Troops currently represent your only options for units that you can build an entire army out of while still being both FOC-legal and competitive in terms of your ability to score. If you wish to build an army with a theme (that is, with the representation of a particular homogeneous force in mind) you must select a Troops choice to do it with.  If it is not a Troops choice you may not build a themed force from it. No Legion of the Damned host, no Obliterator Cult, no IG Cavalry force, no abhuman muster, no Gargoyle swarm, No Harlequin Dance Crew etc. 

    So many possible themes are rendered impossible by the current FOC. Moreover, units that might have seen action if they were Troop-equivalent (IG Storm Troopers, Grey Knight Teleporter Squad, Ogryn) are never taken due to the opportunity cost in terms of better, 'scoring' choices. We, the players are denied endless variety at the whim of GW's codex designers. Secondary to this problem, but  still significant, is the issue that not all Troops options have the same tactical capability and flexibility. Nob Bikers are far superior to Tau Fire Warriors the former being able to fulfill a combat role effectively whilst the latter is mostly a burden on the force, a liability that must be protected in order to capture objectives. 

    The solution to this issue is not immediately obvious. If you scrap the FOC altogether what will happen? Well you'd likely see every Space Marine army filled to the brim with Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminators and little else. Leman Russ variants would choke the tabletop to be countered by a herd of Deamon Princes. Waves of Seer Council members would clash with a veritable fleet of Land Raiders. Therefore, some moderation is clearly needed because not all units are costed with unlimited access in mind. 

    I would suggest making an upgrade or HQ character or entry for each Elite and Heavy Support slot that would make each entry a Troops choice. This might differ from the above situation in that the player may trade FOC entries based on his or her selections. I imagine an Imperial Guard player selecting a Command Tank thus making Leman Russes a Troops choice. This however, would mean that a Company Command Squad became unavailable. Likewise a Space Marine player wishing to field Terminators as Troops might only be able to do so by "buying" the option thus adding a premium to his army's cost. 

    Just as some armies would be restricted others might be encouraged by points-breaks such as can be found in Warmachine themed force cards. One example might be "If more than 3 Ogryn quads are taken the cost is reduced to XX pts per model." 

    Such a system would, no doubt, lead to a different kind of power gaming. This, however, would be the result of poor points attribution to begin with. Thus you would see few Chaos Spawn themed armies but not because of the removed FOC. Rather this would be the product of poor unit entry design. 

    Alternatively you might reassess the idea of 'Scoring' as a concept. By removing it completely (allowing all units to score), removing the FOC, and re-balancing points costs with a view to discounting themed armies you might end up with more canon-realistic forces. These forces would be more unique and more satisfying to collect for their uniqueness. 

    I believe a radical reinvention of the FOC could see this hobby take a turn for the better. With a greater variety of options for army builders strategies are sure to diversify and the game could gain greater depth overnight. In addition so much more of the fluff will see the tabletop as players will be free to express their ideas through their armies with greater precision. 

    What do you guys think?

    Tuesday, 20 April 2010



    Rules by Master Bryss
    Haling from Vior’La, Ga’Lad is an exceptional Tau Commander. He has the honour of testing a prototype of a new battlesuit, officially designated the XV99 ‘Lancer’ battlesuit. This suit is equipped with a large force shield as well as an adaptable railgun able to give him the capacity for assault.
    Ga’Lad secretly sympathises with the renegade Farsight, and seeks to mirror, if not better, his efforts to change the outlook of the Tau Empire.
    Ga’Lad can be used as the 1+ Commander in a Tau army.
    Cost...185 points

    Unit: 1 (unique)
    Unit Type: Jump Infantry (jetpack)
    • Lancer Battlesuit
    • Rail Lance
    • Bonding Knife

    Lancer Battlesuit: A new prototype battlesuit that incorporates the following: Advanced Stabilisation System, Large Shield Generator (3+ Inv Save)and Ejection System.

    Rail Lance: The ubiquitous weapon of the Lancer suit.  During the Shooting phase declare which mode the Lance is in from the following:
    Passive Mode: Fired as a Railgun
    Active Mode: Used as a Power Weapon

    Special Rules:
    Mont’Ka’El: Literally a knight’s killing blow, this refers to the way in which Ga’Lad charges his adversary. In a turn where Ga'Lad assaults, he may choose to allocate any wounds he inflicts on a single enemy model, regardless of restrictions. Ga’Lad gains +1A (in addition to charging) and +1I on the charge.

    Ga’Lad may take a bodyguard of Crisis Suits as normal.

    Picture taken from Forge World

    Tuesday, 6 April 2010

    Codex Review: Chaosgerbil's 'Lost and the Damned'

    Part of the 40k rules design process is being aware of other designers' projects and endeavors. Recently Chaosgerbil came by and announced his first custom codex effort, Codex: Lost and the Damned. Today I had some free time and so I decided to review this excellent piece of work. Here are some of my thoughts:


    Chaosgerbil has obviously put a great deal of work into the Codex's presentation. A colorful, original cover as well as sporadic decoration throughout the codex itself immediately distinguishes the document as a product of exceptional effort. Details such as clear, uncluttered Header/Footer formats, Table of Contents and effective Stat Tables makes reading the document far easier to read than less developed custom rules efforts.

    I will say that I wish Chaosgerbil had put just a little more effort into mimicking GW's 5th edition style. It would have taken relatively little time to put a Warhammer 40k logo and codex border on the cover for instance - a small change that could have an enormous impact on a skeptical player's first impression.

    Alliance Rules:

    I cringed when I first saw an Allies section in this book but was somewhat relieved when I saw that the section was not without limitations. The additions are all quite relevant and characterful and they have the added benefit of making otherwise poor choices (such as Penal Legionnaires) a little bit better. However, the combinations that are possible through Chaosgerbil's Allies format are staggeringly powerful. The mixture of special units such as Psyker Battle Squads, Veterans, Obliterators, Daemon Princes and IG Artillery can make an army far more powerful than the sum of its parts. It's all theoryhammer of course but I would see this list further limited before I considered it balanced.

    The Allies section also leaves the question of Upgrade Characters unanswered. Can I take Bastonne or Harker with my mercernary Vets?

    Special Rules:

    Interesting but, at times, poorly written. Ambition needs to be re-written and Possession is incomplete. Still Chaosgerbil shows his ability to be comprehensive with his rules with excellent equalizers such as 'Scavengers' and remembering to add a consolidation rule to his Spawns' movement format.

    Unit Entries:

    Imaginative, colorful and engaging Chaosgerbil's entries are everything I could ask for from a codex with such a wide variety of source material. From Mercenaries to Mutants Chaosgerbil's flexible HQ-dependent FOC's means that no two Lost and the Damned armies will ever be alike. Indeed, these units are precisely what I would like from a GW print - competitive and interesting.

    I wish Chaosgerbil had added descriptions to his entries. Some small points changes are needed (Big Mutants can get 3 Heavy Flamers for 30 pts?) but overall the entries seem fairly well considered. Due to the Allies rules and within the codex itself many units exhibit overlapping roles. It's hard to see why so many cheap poorly armored humans are needed in the same list. In addition the list has an overwhelming amount of close-combat choices without denying itself any firepower. In general the list lacks a clear identity, it attempts to piece together pieces of other codecies rather than forging it's own identity.


    A great idea and a noteworthy addition to the codex. This makes starting a Lost and the Damned army a more realistic proposition. Many homebrew efforts overlook the fact that WYSIWYG models are required to play the game but not so in this document. You can realistically build and paint this army within a reasonable amount of time and investment. Once Chaosgerbil adds pictures this part of the codex will be even more impressive.

    Overall: 7.5 / 10

    I'd rate Chaogerbil's codex higher but it still feels incomplete. Given some more time and more updates the score could easily rise to an 8.5. I hope to see more projects like this one in the future. It would be a joy to play with and against this army list.

    Monday, 5 April 2010

    Chaos Androids

    Image is Bryss’ own miniature, converted out of...stuff.
    Rules by Master Bryss 
    Chaos Androids are machines built by siege-orientated Renegades such as the Iron Warriors. These machines house Daemons, which are never too pleased at being inserted into such small vessels and will often take out their fury on anything close to them.
    Cost: 80 points per model. Androids are an Elites choice for a Chaos Space Marines army.

    No/ squad: 1-3 Androids
    • Chaos Gatler
    • Power weapon
    • Frag grenades
    Chaos Gatler: Chaos Gatlers operate in a similar fashion to Imperial Assault Cannons, however are smaller and possess a much higher rate of fire. They have the following profile:
    Heavy 6

    Special Rules:
    • Fearless
    • Relentless
    • Feel No Pain
    • Crazed

    Crazed: See the Chaos Dreadnought entry, but replace the word ‘Dreadnought’ with ‘Android.’
    • Replace Chaos Gatler with:

      • Heavy
      • Heavy
      • Reaper Autocannon or Lascannon...+10 points
      • Plasma Cannon...+20 points
    • Replace Power Weapon with:
      • Lightning Claw...+10 points
      • Power Fist...+25 points