Friday, 28 January 2011

Ork Dakkaboss

Although most Orks rise to power by krumpin' each other, there exist a few who, upon ascension to power, will instead pick up an 'uge gun and use that. These Dakkabosses are most prevalent among the Bad Moons and Deffskullz, where such magnificent dakka is most appreciated, and generally last until someone builds a bigger gun, upon which point the Boss is either shot to pieces or has the good sense to change weapon again.

This item will serve to allow Bad Moons and Deffskullz type armies more fluffiness and also create a method to make Flash Gitz more viable by allowing them an alternate way into an army. Apologies for the blurry table, but hey, I've got one now!

A Dakkaboss is a HQ choice for Ork armies.

Cost: 70 points

Unit Type: Infantry

Unit Composition: 1

Wargear: Choppa, stikkbombz, twin-linked shoota, 2 Ammo Runts

Kustom Armour: Kustom armour is a suit of Mega armour modified to include even more guns. A Dakkaboss with Kustom armour gains a 2+ save, always counts as moving through Difficult Terrain, and replaces his choppa with a second twin-linked shoota which may be upgraded in the same manner as the first one. Kustom armour allows also allows the Dakkaboss to fire both of his weapons at once.

Special Rules: Independent Character, Mob Rule, Waaagh!, Furious Charge, Relentless, Da Big Dakkaboss, Exsekyushun

Da Big Dakkaboss: For each Dakkaboss taken in your army a single unit of Flash Gitz OR Lootas may be taken as a Troops choice.

Excekyushun: A Dakkaboss will often turn his gunz on his own army in order to make them fight better. If a unit within 12" of the Dakkaboss fails a Leadership check, you may choose to make a free shooting attack at that unit with one of the Dakkaboss' guns (but not a Burna). After resolving the attack, you may re-roll the Leadership check. This rule can only be used once per phase and cannot be used on a unit in close combat. A unit may only re-roll their Leadership check once, and cannot use a Bosspole or Squig-hound in conjunction with this.


Replace twin-linked shoota with one of the following:
  • Snazzgun with More Dakka...+10 points
  • Give Snazzgun Shootier...+5 points
  • Give Snazzgun Blastas...+5 points
  • Deffgun...+15 points
  • Burna...+25 points

Take any of the following:

  • Replace choppa with Kustom Armour...+40 points
  • Take 'eavy armour...+5 points
  • Take up to 3 more Ammo Runts...+3 points each
  • Take cybork body...+10 points

That's all for now. Come back on February 10th for a special 1st anniversary entry.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Letter to the Codex Project

I was recently made aware of a new frontier in the land of 40k rules development. Some of the great minds of homebrew documents have formed a group called "The Codex Project" - a fansite with a very similar directive to that of RM's. I am excited to find others that share our interest in this pursuit and that seem equally committed to producing rules of the highest quality.

In the site's homepage you'll find a statement outlining TCP's goals. What stuck out to me was the discussion of "Certification" - the creation of a group or "Council" dedicated to overseeing the creative process thus bestowing credibiliy to any TCP rulesets.

Here is my post in response to this topic:

Hello TCP,

Atrotos here, author of Codex: Stellan Hoplites and founder of Rules Manufactorum. You can google either of those, I won't plug links into this post but it may help people understand who I am and how committed I am to designing rules and background that enhance and expand the 40k pantheon.

I am very committed.

Despite my perseverance, investments of both time and money, and, if I may, some adequate skill in the art of game design my efforts have seen limited success outside of my gaming group. Partially this is because I work alone and partially because my salary limits what funds are available for pursuing my rather ambitious aims. The greatest issue, however, is overcoming the bulwark of "unofficialdom." Without a solution for this persistent and very frustrating gaming more any effort made by the members of this site or any other are almost guaranteed to fail.

I will break the issue into points to ease contemplation and to better communicate its scope:

1. Gamers, with few exceptions, have the tendency to treat each and every game as if it were practice for a tournament. Even Forgeworld, a company that is known to be an organ of the larger GW corporation, cannot convince gamers to use their material with any reliability because of the resistance of tournament organizers to any rules not found readily available in an official codex.

Now that GW has consented to produce rules outside of its codices (see recent updates to Dark Angels and Black Templars) this issue may not be as solid an obstacle as it once was. TO's will be forced to allow rules from online sources and this could easily begin to include FW material and other material created in the same vein.

Despite this small allowance however, if TCP is not a common feature in tournaments across the gaming sphere players will be unwilling to invest the time and effort buying and painting new armies, refining army lists and other tournament-related activities and engender enthusiasm for our chosen faction. The contemplation of strategy as it relates to a truly competitive environment is a big part of the hobby and one that can never be fully enjoyed by a player that stands outside of "sanctioned" competitive play.

2. Rules development takes a long time and a document of any respectable quality also requires professional talent both of which boil down to money. A great great deal of my hard-earned money has gone into the Hoplites and that is a document that is nowhere near the length of a full-sized GW codex (though I feel it is superior in its production quality). Granted I am just one person handling the entire breadth of the project and so the burden in time and coin may be far greater than if the costs were split amongst even a small team. However, can you convince 4 or 5 team members to spend about $200-600 each for the completion of a project that will never be viewed as anything other than neat addition to compliment their model collection?

The enthusiasm and commitment required to see a entire codex through to completion is enormous. Of those that are vocal in their support now I expect fully half will quit when real life forces them to make sacrifices they are hesitant to shoulder. Add to this the cost of each codex and can you really blame them? They need to know that their efforts are something more than a pet-project.

3. Confusingly, frustratingly there are gamers out there (no small majority) that believe the game is perfect just as it is and will rage vehemently at any addition to what they perceive as the apex of wargamming. Anyone trying to present material on the internet can expect a good deal of close-minded but vehement written abuse regardless of whether material bears some seal or not. In order to minimize these reactions however and to keep them from spreading like wildfire amongst the fence-sitters our material will need some external support. Otherwise we will not escape accusations of imbalance and impropriety and any releases will be quickly marginalized by those who do not want their gaming environment to change.

4. And I promise this is the last one. The potential of third-party rule design is just too damn important to be swept under the rug of "unofficialdom." 40k is a global movement treated by its owners as if its development were a hobby to pass the time. Despite recent improvements to game balance the hobby is stagnating. Months go by without any new releases of any import or interest. The rumor tap has been switched off and the codex cycle has been slowed to a trickle as GW sways with the uncertainty of a changing economic environment. If the original designers cannot support the line as it needs to be supported then someone must fill the gap. It is ludicrous to assert that Intellectual Property so rich can only bear two to three rules releases a year. Players are constantly leaving the hobby due to GW's unapologetic refusal to give them something to do in between releases returning only when their codex is updated years later. I for one am sick of discussing the same strategies, the same lists with only the tiniest deviations over and over and over again. The game needs a constant flow of new rules to keep players excited, anticipating changes to their army and that of their opponents. We must provide them.

So I have outlined the issues, but I am not a negative feedback servitor mindlessly chipping away at commendable ideas . Here are some solutions:

--Cultivate a network that includes the TO's for the game's larger tournaments. Convince them (through the quality of our documents) that they can safely include TCP rules in their events without every player walking out in protest.

--Approach games workshop. They are not the evil overlords we all believe them to be. Ask for a 'certification' that rests somewhere between "fan-made" and "GW codex." What if TCP rules-additions, on the scale of a single special character or a single unit entry appeared in every White Dwarf? Or on the GW daily blog? What if the most popular rules actually had a model designed for them by Forgeworld?

--Be ruthless in your quality control. To me, unique artwork, good photoshoping and careful layouts make all the difference in how I perceive rules. It is not a guarantee for acceptance but it can never be official if it doesn't look official. This will mean that not everyone can work on what they want to. People will have to be excluded from projects if they cannot offer meaningful or significant input - and sometimes this support will only be monetary. There must be leadership and hard division between "TCP in-development" and "TCP official." Only once the TCP brand name is synonymous with "quality" and "balance" will our pig-headed gaming sub-culture begin to accept.

Thanks for reading,

If you haven't yet visited the forums make sure to do so at the first opportunity:

Monday, 17 January 2011

Warhammer 40k Update

aka 'Where'd I put those Deathwing Models?'



Just Wow.

In case you live under a rock. On Europa. What happened was Jervis Johnson was maimed in a horrible bear/singularity/hysterically oversized black rubber phallic shaped adult toy... accident and the Dark Angels were set free from 4.5 edition codex design. 

Ok that's not exactly it. Basically GW simply decided that folks had bought just about all the Space Wolves and Blood Angels they needed and that Space Marine sales could use a boost. Since the Dark Angels and Black Templars weren't going to be updated any time soon, why not make them the best armies in the game in a four paragraph update? 

Well... that's not it either, at least I'm not convinced that's all of it. To me it seems that GW is basking in the glory of a successful "high-risk" release. The Dark Eldar had been postponed for years for fear that they would not draw the sales that GW needed to carry them until their next power armor codex release. Now it seems that players will be attracted to any release of the quality we've come to expect from GW post 5th edition. Therefore early designs of the Dark Angels and Black Templars that were believed necessary to boost sales between Xenos releases can safely be pushed back. This, in turn, opens up release slots for more "exotic" codex releases. I'm more convinced of this the theory than any other for the simple fact that the Grey Knights were not likewise updated (since they're going to be re-released soon anyway) proving that another power armor-centric release is not on the horizon.

But that's a topic for later. What we should focus on now is the sudden, overwhelming difference in game design policy GW is implementing. What we're seeing is an almost Privateer Press-category rules update upgrading all the synonymous wargear options across all the power armor codices. This is not just good news for all the DA players that have been silently weeping in closets all across the gaming world, shakily gripping their dark green pens and writing army lists for Deathwing that begin with "Logan Grimnar - 275 points"; it's also a breath of fresh air for the rest of us core gamers that are sick to death of GW's stubborn refusal to keep their older releases in the spotlight. No longer will we suffocate between each army release staring sidelong at players whose turn it is to receive a new codex. Suddenly any army that doesn't have an update coming within the next year is likely to be updated making it still playable (or in the case of the Dark Angels the most playable army in the game).

Always with 40k the player is pulled in several different directions at once by a quicksilver ruleset that can change its metagame like Guidos change T-shirts. "Codex A was written for my army but the rules from Codex B represent the fluff better. Still if I want to win I should play codex C and just dilute my army's theme until it's inconsequential." Now Games Workshop says "no army will be left" behind and there's no longer any need to fear being faithful to any one faction because, should it fall behind, it will be given all the bells and whistles of its younger siblings. This will prove doubly true if whispers of the Stormraven becoming available to all marine codices turn out be well-founded.

Rewind to the the Spearhead release that saw the emergence of a brand new unit - the Night Spinner - in the game and we could be seeing GW's "kicking and screaming" introduction into the rapids of customer satisfaction and product maintenance. Is this the result of growing chagrin on the part of long-time customers or the blossoming of competitors in the wargaming industry? I'd like to believe it's both and so I'll close with this: if you want to see more of the same from Games Workshop go buy a cartfull of Terminators but make sure you pick up a Warjack or ten while you're at it.

- Atrotos

Saturday, 8 January 2011

11th Co. Podcast to Feature Interview about the Stellan Hoplites

Happy New Year Everyone!

Just before the end of the last decade I released a very early version of my own Codex: Stellan Hoplites looking for some feedback from the community. Shortly thereafter Pat Higgins invited me to talk about the project on an upcoming episode of the 11th Company Podcast. If you haven't already checked out the show make sure to do so and keep an ear out for that disarmingly charming, manly voice belonging to yours truly.