Monday, 30 May 2011

My Finecast Review

What will your first Finecast model be? Well, because I'm casual like that, I decided to complete my Harlequin Power Trio and buy a Death Jester. It's a cool model. Badass longcoat, BFG, skull mask, like a Maugan Ra groupie really. So, here's the verdict.

Packaging was easy enough to clip open, and the model came out of the sprue like a plastic. There was a massive blob on the back...which I found out was part of the sculpt after some Googling, so that's fine(cast). So, does my new Jester eliminate my bugbears of metal? Well:

Does it fit into the bloody base?: Maybe this is just me, but I have to file off the lettering on the tab to get metals in. The Jester was far easier to file, and isn't likely to come out.

Does it glue with no prayer required?: The Jester is two-piece, and there were no issues. I'll get back to this when I get a Kustom Field Mek at some point (things Bryss has wished for in this blog count: several).

Does it break?: I dropped it twice at heights of 53" and 72" (approx.) onto the carpeted floor of my games room, and it lived. The actual table is lower, so I've got faith, and my local GW uses carpet of similar thickness.

Does it chip?: Why am I asking this when I clearly haven't painted it yet? Wait till the cast's off, then I'll charge ahead with painting.

Would I buy more resin?: I'll have to if I ever want a finished Eldar force.

Next time, a rival appears! Do I have the skills and jamminess required to beat his Drop Vulkan list with my Dark Eldar? I have one Ravager, so the internet would say no...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Time Warp- 1250 Coteaz v. Dark Eldar

Cast your mind back to the hazy days of April, when the GK weren't out long and I still hadn't twigged I could still use Witch Hunter ISTs. In those hazy days I had my second game with my ragtag Coteaz force against 'Scape, who felt compelled to try out my Dark Eldar force. It was a Sieze Ground, 3 objectives and....1250 points?! Remember, I hate the 'I want five of everything!' attitude and believe smaller games to be more tactical. I had to use:

Master Bryss' Exercitus Ordo Proxius
Inquisitor Countsyas (using the old Master Bryss model for him)
Techmarine with conversion beamer (hastily blu-tacked that very day)
Callidus Assassin
Vindicare Assassin
5 Warriors with grenade launcher counts as or real storm bolters, 2 Plascannon Servitors (with Countsyas and the techie)
10 Warriors with 7 HS lasguns and 3 plasma guns in a Chimera
4 Crusaders in a Lasplasback
4 Death Cultists and 2 Banishers (4 Hormagaunts and 2 CSMs)
Redeemer with multi-melta

Not to be outdone in the 'put a fifth of your army in one model' stakes, 'Scape brought:

Cyberscape7's Master Bryss' Kabal of the Stolen Soul- 1250

The Phoenix Lord Drazharhra, Master of Blades
5 Incubi in a Flicker Raider
13 Wyches inc. 2 hydra gauntlets
10 Kabalites with splinter cannon in a dual-field Raider
10 Kabalites with splinter cannon and Sybarite in a dual-field Raider
20 Kabalites with 2 splinter cannons and Sybarite
Cronos with spirit probe

Yep, none of us will be passing no litmus test anytime soon. Admittedly I do think he needed more than three anti-tank weapons, but then again I had exactly that number for years and still won or drew against vehicle-heavy armies. Tactics> lists in the fun stakes.


I was the first to arrive, and I deployed as below, with only the Callidus in reserve. The Vindicare infiltrated into the Bolstered black ruin (2+ cover!). Coteaz and co. snag an objective.

'Scape deploys his big squad, his Cronos and the leaderless cannon Kabalites. Taking a leaf out of my normal Drow game, he reserves all else.

Turn 1

I get the Death Cult into the Redeemer and cruise with it and the Chimera, while the Razor trundles upfield at combat speed.

The Vindicare shoots Turbo-Pen at the Cronos, but fails to wound. So I try the lascannon, which misses. The twin Assault Cannon has no better luck.

'Scape moves the Cronos 6" through cover, does a flat-out outflank manoevre with the Raider and has the big squad of Kabalites walk then Run 5".

The Cronos isn't in range of the Vindi.

Turn 2

No sign of the Callidus. So I move all my tanks at combat speed.

I use a Conversion Beamer for the first time ever, and kill 1Kabalite from the big squad. The Vindicare gets one wound on the Cronos with Turbo-Pen, but the rest of my shooting is ineffectual.

In return, he gets Drazhar going in flat-out with the Incubi Raider. The other Raider continues outflanking and his big Kabalite team secure an objective with a 3" run, tying the score. The Cronos charges forward 5" out of cover.

Said Cronos uses the Spirit Vortex and then tries to charge the Vindicare, neither of which work.

Turn 3

I get the Callidus in, who kills 3 Kabalites with polymorphine. Other movement consists of one pivot from the Redeemer.

The Vindicare shoots Drazhar's Raider, scores a defenite-pen, and then laments as the Cover Save is passed. Now able to use both its guns, the Razorback manages to kill the Cronos. I shoot the Plasma Warriors and the Redeemer at the new Raider, but it holds as firm as stubborn cardboard. Frustrated, I shoot the other Raider with Coteaz's team, and destroy it with the Conversion Beamer. I then use the Chimera on the contents, and kill 1.

'Scape gets his last Raider to cruise in at the top-right. The Incubi unload and eye my unpainted sniper, while the large Kabalite squad gangs up on the Callidus.

I then proceed to lose 3 storm bolter Warriors, both my Assassins and the twin-linked plasma gun off my Razor to a combination of shooting and assault, although the basically unarmed Vindi puts up a good enough fight to kill one Incubus, the best he's done all game. It's paradoxical, this whole 'sniper units are good at combat' me and 'Scape have between us.

Turn 4

I move all my tanks again at combat speed.

The Land Raider trains a Flamestorm at the Incubi and manages to clip their Raider in the process. 4 Incubi die and the cardboard is destroyed. Drazhar Feels No Pain, with his recently acquired Token. Buoyed by my success I try to multi-melta the other Raider, which doesn't work. The Razor manages to stun it though. The Chimera tries to heavy bolter the Warriors. I really should have fired the multi-laser, as they shrug it off with Feel No Pain gained from the poor Callidus. Equipo de Torquemada kills the entire Kabalite squad closest to them with their blast weapons.

'Scape gets his Wyches on near the red ruin, while the big Kabalites run for cover. The only Kabalites with a transport get off and move to cover. Assorted Running is done to get people closer to things, usually cover.

Drazhar delivers a Heavy Punch (Mantis) to the Razor and it asplodes, killing one Crusader within. He then runs away 4".

Turn 5

I rush his objective with my transports and unload. The Crusaders embark on a suicide mission. What a fluffy bunny I am.

I then shoot the Wyches with the Warriors and kill 3, and 2 more die to the Assault Cannon. They fall back 7"...for now. No more effectual shooting happens.

Continuing their bunny suicide mission, the 3 remaining Crusaders kill 2 Kabalites, but lose one of their number first. They stay locked.

The Wyches regroup and the Raider floats back.

All the Plasma Warriors die to masses splinter fire. This is the only effectual shooting.

In combat, I lose another Crusader, as Drazhar has charged in by now and killed one with a Light Punch (Crane). The last guy manages to kill a Kabalite. The Wyches charge the Death Cult, who lose 2 DC and both Banishers, but kill the same number back. I'm impressed!

There is a Turn 6

The Chimera pivots and I move the LR slightly.

I kill 2 Kabalites from the big squad with the Beamer, and another 2 with fire. The Chimera does nothing.

Combat doesn't go well. The last Crusader dies to a Light Kick (Crane) and the two remaining Death Cultists die, only killing 1 Wych back. And he'd have won the game too, if...

There wasn't a Turn 7- but there was.

Which I promptly used to park my Chimera on his just-claimed Wych objective. That's really all that matters about Turn 7. In 'Scape's defence, he tried to Lance my Chimmy, but in true 'one shot at S8' style, he missed. My curse extends to him!

And so it was a draw after all.

Post-Game Battle Awards

Units of the Match: Techmarine for me, 20 Kabs for him.

Best Massacre: Anything ever shot at by aforementioned Kabalites.

Best Tactical Move: The simplest one, plowing forward.

Worst Mistake: General Cronos use.

Best List: His, owing to mine being a mess. Yes, I know, I'm evaluating list building which I generally believe should be ignored in favour of practical testing, but it's good to know his impression of what my armies look like. Except I'd have used Lelith and a Ravager.

I need to get me some Death Cultists. More stuff inbound in the future.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Should 40k be more like Magic: The Gathering?

A difficult question but one that could lead to interesting solutions to the fluff v. competition dilemma. In its current iteration 40k's natural habit is to divorce, sometimes dramatically, what is "fluffy" or "cannon" with what the player perceives as effective on the tabletop. Essentially playing according to any given "historically accurate" constraints is a handicap as it places even greater restrictions than those that exist within the existing rules.

In RP games following the rules to the detriment of fun or story is strongly frowned upon - it goes against the very spirit of what the player group is trying to accomplish. Of course pen-and-paper role players are seldom competing with one another which is where the tabletop diverges significantly from the escapist goals of the GM's and their groups. In 40k the object is to dominate the enemy force albeit we are sometimes inclined to do so as we believe our faction would have done (i.e. an Ork player might prefer to play for a wipeout than keep objectives). 

A few days ago Mike Brandt of Nova Open fame gave us this list to consider:

Grey Knights:

Inquisitor Coteaz - 100
Ordo Malleus Inquisitor w/ Psycannon, TDA - 80

5 x Purifiers w/ 2 Psycannons, Psybolt Razorback - 190
5 x Purifiers w/ 2 Psycannons, Psybolt Razorback - 190
5 x Purifiers w/ 2 Psycannons, Psybolt Razorback - 190

3 x Warrior Acolytes, Plasmaback - 92
3 x Warrior Acolytes, Plasmaback - 92
3 x Warrior Acolytes, Plasmaback - 92
3 x Warrior Acolytes, Plasmaback - 92
3 x Warrior Acolytes, Plasmaback - 92
2 x Death Cult Assassins, 2 x Warrior Acolytes, 3 x Warrior Acolytes w/ Meltaguns, Chimera - 135

5 x Interceptors w/ Psycannon - 140
5 x Interceptors w/ Psycannon - 140

Dreadnaught w/ Multi-Melta, Psybolt Autocannon - 125
Dreadnaught w/ Multi-Melta, Psybolt Autocannon - 125
Dreadnaught w/ Multi-Melta, Psybolt Autocannon - 125

Now Mike is obviously a highly competitive player with a great understanding of 40k game mechanics and how to make them work for him. 

But his lists make me throw up in my mouth a little. 

There is nothing "wrong" with the above list. It complies perfectly to the regulations and restrictions outlined in the rules. It may even translate to a masterfully painted army further legitimizing itself as a "correct" way to pursue the hobby.  

The reason this list might be unpalatable to someone with a more intimate connection to the 40k canon is that if follows none of the restrictive sub-texts of the Grey Knight lore. Identical unit entries in every FOC slot; An unapologetic mining of the codex for small hyper-efficient units that would in no way be practical in the fictional setting that the hobby is centered on.

Mr. Brandt has absolutely no obligation to follow his codex's, admittedly fluid, narrative and to align his army lists to it; nor would it be desirable for all of us to have to follow a volatile and vague set of meta-rules excavated from the fluff and processed for balanced gameplay. There must, however, be a middle ground. Something between the core gamer metagaming and the loremeister's "I don't mind getting my nether regions smashed by Space Wolves over and over." 

I play just such a "hybrid" army. It's competitive in the sense that I add Vendettas and use Straken's rules to represent my Inquisitorial Storm Trooper captain. It's also "fluffy" in that I use the less-than-kick-ass Vultures for Heavy Support and take an overcosted Inquisitor Lord to lead. This necessitates the use of Forgeworld's rules updates which complicates things a little but typically gives me an enjoyable army to play and for my opponents to play against - competitive with a theme. 

But why should playing to a theme be such an obstacle? Shouldn't forces become more intuitive and synergetic when composed with "fluffiness" in mind? Warmachine gives players incentives to play within a given theme by applying bonuses and points discounts when certain prerequisites are met. But even this solution is retroactive to a degree - it is not a part of the core ruleset but an addendum to it. 

Now let us consider Magic: The Gathering. MtG has plenty of flaws and I'm no expert in the field of collectible card games but I do want to focus on Wizards of the Coast's approach to theme incentives. In MtG cards are typically categorized into types (the text found directly beneath the illustration). This ties cards to each other thematically. 

With basic categorization being part of the card or "unit" itself there is no need to force cards together into a single rules sub-document (i.e. codex). There are, therefore, no restrictions beyond a very basic set of rules relating to "restricted" or "banned" cards and applying a cap on how many cards of the same type are allowed in one army or "deck."

This opens the game to a list of incentives - reasons for including cards of similar or overlapping types in a single deck often with the goal of implementing a very specific (and therefore unique) winning strategy. Many of these are simple buffs to units of a similar type:

In MtG the numbers at the bottom right of the card represent the attack and defense values of the creature. This card's ability augments the attack values of creature cards with the keyword "Stormtrooper" in their 'type' section. 
While others might contribute to winning strategy that is a natural extension of the theme the army or deck is subscribing to:

Creatures with 'flying' cannot be blocked by defending creatures without 'flying.' That makes this card useful for equipping almost any creature but in order to justify its cost (a total of 6 mana) the player is more likely to use it with the Stormtrooper cardtype it was designed for.

It's easy to imagine applying a more "free-form" army composition approach to the game of 40k. One in which you could field both a Carnifex and a Fire Warrior in the same "deck" but wherein one is unlikely to do so because of all the buffs and special abilities those cards have been costed (in mana or points) to account for.

Of course this would lead to instances where players will construct unlikely alliances with a view to making a more powerful combination of abilities (Eldar psychic buffs on cheap Ork frontliners for example). This is inevitable to some degree but can be mitigated by differentiating game mechanics and adding depth to same-faction bonuses. 

To put forward an example Stormtrooper decks or armies might seek to gain more ground (objectives) as a victory condition where a Chaos force might seek to "corrupt" units, compelling them to switch sides until the opponent has no units left under his command. Mixing the two might still make a powerful combination under certain circumstances but will likely weaken the army's ability to pursue their comparative advantage. 

Whatever unexpected alliances do occur it can give rise to interesting themes and scenarios. Mixing a Dark Angels "deck" with a Chaos Space Marine one would be one way to represent the Fallen and so on. 

I'll be giving this idea a lot of consideration over the coming weeks and see if I can improve on these initial thoughts. 

I want to apologize for my continued hap-hazard posting cycle. 95 hour work weeks simply weren't part of the plan when I started this blog and I'm doing my best to make it work. I want to thank everyone for their patience and I'll try to make more regular contributions. 


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Hints For Homebrew: Troops

So you want to make a new army, eh? Good for you, I encourage it. But chances are you too will fall before the Uniqueness Dilemna, especially if you're doing a C3. It's all well and good to have new Chapter Tactics (I will drill into your heads that C3 is a Custom Chapter Codex), but if it's not unique enough it's not worth it, and you'd be better off doing a character.

I fell into that trap with the Angels of Secrecy. The scary thing is, I knew it. I jokingly referred to them as Power Armoured Dire Avengers. Because that's what they were. In the same way, Mindless were Thousand Sons that exhanged magic for actual options.

Nailing the Troop is a key part to creating a unique army. Here, have some tips(mainly for non-Marines bearing in mind what I just said):

1) Inversions are your friend: This is possibly the easiest way to add uniqueness. Like I said in the last article, the Troop has three components, rules, stats, weapon. Reversing the order in which things are done, creating an odd statline, that sort of thing.

Example 1: The Ork Boy. Very few things in this game have natural T better than S. Nurgle does it, but mainly by artificial Marks.

Example 2: You have an army that excels at range. Rather than boost range like every other army, why not invert the Rapid Fire gun and have 2 stationary shots at max range and 1 at 12" if you move?

2) Weapon Design: Your basic weapon gets half its flavour from fluff. Use abnormal ammo, new material, etc. Avoid S4, AP5 at all costs. Try and use a different sort of gun as a template, or bring old stuff into fashion again. GW is phasing out the Hellgun. That's a decent, uncopied statline right there for use (Lasblaster is assault, so doesn't count).

Strength shouldn't go above 5 or below 2. If it's that low, be sure to give it more shots. For higher S stuff, remember there are few basic 1-shot non-pistol weapons. Making it rapid-fire would seem too much like the Tau.

For pistols, avoid the same statline as above and don't go overboard with fancy stuff. The emphasis should be on the CCW. Unless you're a dual-pistol Troop, which hasn't been done (hint hint) and is heartily encouraged if you think you can pull it off.

3) Special Rules: No more than 2-3 non-situational rules per Troop is a good standard. Any more, and you're looking at Elites-that-can-be-Troops territory. Avoid 'mainstream' stuff like Feel No Pain, with the exception of Infiltrate or Scouts, which can contribute to something better overall. Invulnerable Saves should also be included in this limit. 3 really powerful rules is a no-go.

Example: The Wych has Fleet (1), Power from Pain (2), Night Vision (situational) and Dodge (3). Because Dodge only works in combat, it's not overkill. General 4++ would be.

4) Rule of Two: The modern Codex generally only has 2-3 Troops plus unlockables. Any more and it begins to look crowded. Try to differentiate between them. Two similar Troops is acceptable when two of them are 'palette swaps' that fulfil two roles but are the same in fluff. Four Troops is harder to pull off, but it can be done in some cases.

Example 1: The Kabalite Warrior and Wych. One is an all-purpose range attacker, the other a tarpit combat unit. The Wrack is a tough home-unit (optional I know, but hardly ever Elite and it fits well)

Example 2: The Tactical Squad and Scouts. One is an all purpose range attacker, the other a home unit with support fire (snipers), or a close up supporter (others).

Example 3: Daemons pull off the trinity quite well. One is a close up combat brute (Bloodletters), one is ranged support (Horrors) and one is a home unit (Plaguebearers). Daemonettes are like a palette swap of Bloodletters that exchanges power for speed.

5) Does it kill stuff?: Consider the article picture. Uniqueness is good, but if it dies without doing anything, then it's useless. Don't worry about making it slightly more dull to make it work in practise. Just ensure you maintain the flavour.

Example: You design a gEQ (Grot equivalent) squad of ten men with cool guns and no transport. Yes, it's unique and this is 'Meh, 4+' Cover edition, but could use a numbers buff.

Time for the practical part. Using the first three principles, here's a unique Troop.

"I cannot say who I am, who I represent, nor anything to put us at risk. Who is us? That's a secret, I'm afraid. Now hurry, we have to escape before the Blessing collapses and we all die."
-???, ??? of the ???

A Disciple Squad is a Troops choice in a ??? army.

Cost: 12 per model.

R: Indicates Repeat Save, which must be re-rolled if passed the first time.
*: Indicates Invulnerable Save

Unit: 6-12 Disciples

Unit Type: Infantry

Wargear: Shortshot rifle with Light Scope, Volt Knife, Flash Grenades, Plated Robes with First Blessing.

Shortshot Rifle: Range 18", S3, AP5, Assault 1

Light Scope: Is used at the same time as the weapon it is attached to (think of it as a co-axial weapon for infantry). It either improves BS by 1 or fires a Strength 1 shot that ignores every type of save with the same range as the main weapon.

Volt Knife: Range 6", S3, AP5, Pistol. Fired in the Assault Phase after charging but before attacks are made, even if another weapon was fired in the Shooting Phase.

Flash Grenades: Offensive and defensive grenades.

Plated Robes: Confers a save of R3+

First Blessing: Confers an invulnerable save of R6+

Special Rules: Skychildren, Retrieve Knife

Skychildren: Disciples are devoted to their mission as holy envoys and do not falter easily. They may re-roll failed Leadership tests, however on the second attempt they test at Ld7.

Retrieve Knife: Disciples never leave their knives in the still-breathing flesh of the Land-Devout for long. Make a note of how many saved wounds are caused by a Knife attack. At the end of that round of combat, before resolution the enemy squad takes that many S2 hits with their save reduced by 1. Only one wound per living Disciple can be taken by this method.

It'll have weapon options and options for an attached Caliph Leader one day. It has a transport option that I haven't written yet.

First impression is this: this is Bryss going overboard. It looks like a lot, but contains many of the above principles.

1: Inversions are present and accounted for. A gun you fire in the Assault Phase? Reverse Master-Crafting? Both follow this and come from my desire for point-blank shooting and more armour types.

2: The main gun is flexible. It uses the rare single shot (I've got more shots elsewhere) plus the all-new Light Scope, which busts cover (it's not solid) or acts as a marker. It's also S1, an odd choice but it still wounds Marines on 6s without being powerful enough to shut down Princes.

3: 2 good rules. plus the Inv. It's more of a character thing than a lifesaver. Think of the stories where bullets are stopped by a Bible in the breast pocket. This is that save.

Overall army fluff will based in Christianity and what I know of Islam, and covered later.

Hopefully this works as an article. If it does, I may do the same for other areas like vehicles, HQs, etc.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

General Housekeeping

Alright, erected an imagey banner, instead of the text one. Added links to connect all parts of the bat-rep and sorted out some of the iffy format.

Progress on the actual modelling of the Exercitus is coming along nicely. Expect WIP shots of Countsyas and my Brettonian Crusaders shortly. I'm going to try writing a shortish fiction piece to flesh out the army a little more. All I know of it right now though is the title, "The Taming of the Snake."

In other news, with my newly found ability to use Green Stuff, I shall be converting up a Genestealer/Ravener hybrid to serve as Deathleaper.

And the new Venom is wow. Mainly becase it's bloody cheap monies for such a good vehicle. I'm getting 2. When I'm, y'know, in pocket again. Between that and wanting to actually model the Soul Prison using the new Talos and a Wraithlord...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

4-Way 40k: Post Game Analysis

In hindsight, the Predator did quite well.

Part 1

Part 2

So that's how you do 4-way. Cram 4 people into a medium sized room, get just the right amount of points each side and it should all go rather well. The picture above shows who we all nominated for our respective models of the match. Twin K failed to nominate and hence gets a piece of paper.

Stealth Shas'Vre: Somehow managed to out-cover abuse the rocket Scout. It didn't help that I always use the Planetstrike rules for Aegis lines and he got a 2+ but I also fired far more shots at it than P did at that Scout.

Freaky Fish Guy: I know the Incubi did well but you expect that from them. The reason I nominated this drow is simple. With their splinter cannons, the other two Trueborn dropped 2 suits, but then did nothing all game. The only time I used the gun on FFG, he killed something. This gives him an 100% success rate. He's gettting his name on his base when I paint it.

The Ven Dread: Yes, I told 'Scape the rocket Scout was the better nomination. Then I was reminded that the Ven Dread killed a whole squad of Daemons with no hands, and promptly shut up. He was pivotal in distracting at least a third of K's army.

Would I do this again?: Feth yes, it beats three-way by a country mile. It helps that my scenario encouraged daredevil recklessness to snag that Vital Objective. Apart from Tau Turn 1, there was no obvious target bias, and everyone shot each other equally, which is incredibly important in 3+ faction games

Still to come: the second outing of my rag-tag Inquisition army, I outline my plans for the combined forces of the Excercitus and the Disciples of Sky, and I try using Green Stuff for the first time,with mixed results.

Unique Troops: How Hard Can It Be?

Game Design Perspective.

Short answer: Apparently rather hard without taking them from another slot.

Long answer: So the Necron rumours are suggesting a downgrade in armour from 3+ to 4+. Good. This represents an actual effort to make Warriors distinct from Marines in ways other than having a slightly different Feel No Pain.

As it stands, Troops, along with vehicles, are the simplest things to design in 40k. Your basic trooper consists of a statline (divided into MEQ, GEQ and suchlike), a gun (sometimes replaced by or also including a melee weapon) and some basic special rules (that everything else in the army has too, except they're not scoring). So for example, a Marine has MEQ stats, a basic rapid-fire gun effective against things equal to or weaker than it, and the ability to regroup automatically (plus extras like grenades, combat tactics...).

Problems start arising however if this simplicity is taken too far. When different units from different armies begin to become separated by only one or two details, for example. I suppose this is excusable in most Marine armies to a degree, barring Chaos and Grey Knights, but it gets a bit ridiculous when you can play spot the difference between two opposing armies and it's actually quite hard. So, let's see some examples.

Grey Knights are Bloodletters who swapped Furious Charge for a good Save, and their Inv. for a gun.

Daemonettes are flimsy Genestealers that swap Outflank and Deep Strike.

Grey Hunters are the Mycroft to Chaos' Sherlock.

Grot>Conscript>Guardsman is like an evolutionary chain of +1 point each time.

Warrior Henchmen are Guardsmen with sexier options. AND NO GRENADES.

Termagants are like Guardsman with a bolt pistol, weaker armour and Hive control. Unless you give it a Devourer, where it begins to look like the young cousin of the Pink Horror.

I might have been able to find more, but I couldn't be bothered. There are a few Troops left that are, in my opinion, different to the pack. S6 Grey Knights used to be among them, because they were so fundamentally different to a standard Marine (True Grit anyone?). But now fewer and fewer remain. The Tyranid Warrior is uncloned. The Thousand Son unit as a whole is uncloned. The Kroot squad with all its variables is uncloned. The Wych, Kabalite, Fire Warrior, and Ork Boy have just enough quirks to rise above the pack. Crusaders are unique, as are Jokaero (but they still don't make up for the whole Warrior thing.)

All these units have just tiny differentiating quirks. Like the Dark Eldar poison, or the Tau hitting on 4s and wounding on 3s instead of the other way round (against MEQ). The S6 Nemesis halberd was such a quirk, and it died with the old Callidus. Now, I know Red Thirst or Synapse could be considered a quirk, but Synapse can be mitigated and RT is in the whole army. I'm talking about things unique to Troops.

It can't be hard to find other quirks to apply to the other units, can it?

This article was originally going to also include a hints for homebrewers section, but then I realised how long this thing is already by my standards. So there will be a Part 2, where I'll cover all that.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

4-Way 40k: Inaugural Battle Report, Part 2

Previously on Bryssling, I wonder whether I should have been so ambitious, some things explode and, out of shot, I wear a dressing gown. But that's enough of Top Gear. Onto the battle!

Part 1

Tau Turn 2

The other Shas'El gracefully descends behind the Chaos Rhino headed my way (the one I rolled snake eyes on last turn). The lone Piranha runs away at Ludicrous Speed. The other Tau commander likewise runs back while the Devilfish inches forwards.

The Pathfinders aim their evil laser net at the Reavers, which is promptly utilised by the Fire Warriors to massacre the entire squad, even though they only used half the tokens. The Hammerhead stuns the Raider, while the Devilfish kills off the last sniper in the rocket Scout squad. Other effective shooting this phase includes the Stealth team knocking 2 wounds off the Prince and the fusion 'El immobilises and stuns the Chaos Rhino closest to it.

Jump-shoot-jump tactics occur on all marks of suit.

Dark Eldar Turn 2

The Ravager comes in at the midway point on my table half to ensure a shot at a certain something while the Trueborn run in the direction of cover as they come on.

The Trueborn douse the Stealth suits in firepower, thanks to their Night Vision, and claim all bar the Shas'Vre, who holds firm. Then I roll for triple lances, and the results speak for themselves.

Double 6 to pen, priority target: eliminated. The guys on the stunned Raider miss with their dark lance, shooting the fleeing Piranha.

Chaos Turn 2

One squad of 7 Daemons and one of 5 are summoned to fight. The Prince goes for the bitey fish again, while the melta Marines get out of their Rhino to engage the Shas'El.

Aforementioned Rhino self-repairs, while the previous occupants kill a Shield Drone. The Predator fires at the Vennie, and both arms fall off.

Chaos combat involves Lesser Daemon charges. The Notletters (7) kill all the Scouts and the Libby and co fail to wound, resulting in him falling back. The Nothorrors (5) kill the other Shield Drone on the Shas'El, but his superior CPC training (despite being Japanese) allows him to kill a Horror. The Prince of Change destroys a Biteyfish in his muderous just-as-planned rampage, and stuns the other one.

Ultramarines Turn 2

The Librarian rallies. The ten man Tactical squad gets out of their Rhino and moves to behind the nearby ruin. The melta Combat Squad, no longer pinned, go to the nearest objective.

The other Combat squad uses a frag missile and bolts on the Notletters but don't kill any. The Librarian unleashes Machine Curse and rips the autocannon off the Predator. The now lone Rocket Scout kills a Pathfinder and a drone with a frag rocket thanks to scatter. However, all this pales in comparison to the mighty melta Combat Squad, who manage to kill the half-HP Tzeentch Prince with their bolters.

In a blatant disregard of rules, we decide the Vennie is awesome enough to multi-charge on his own (hey, I am an RM author) and he promptly does so, killing in total 2 Notletters and tying up the Chaos Marines.

Tau Turn 3

The now Mon'At Stealthie takes the blue objective, while the rest of P's forces slowly advance.

The fleeing Piranha stays still and shoots the wait, it didn't, Night Shields saved me. However, his Shas'El with the fireknife manages to bypass my fields and immobilises it (only moved 6", phew). The Devilfish shoots the lone Scout, and he lives. Guided by the light of the Pathfinders, the Fire Warriors and Gun Drones team up and wipe out the heroic Combat Squad.

The Shas'El in combat suffers a wound but kills 3 Daemons in return (1 from No Retreat saves). More jumping happens.

Dark Eldar Turn 3

Aand enter the Incubi, who go flat out into the centre. The three Trueborn make it to cover, while my other Raider moves towards the Stealthie.

8 splinter cannon shots rocket into the Mon'at, who goes to ground and lives. The Ravager lances the nearest boil (the lone Piranha), which explodes and kills 2 Pathfinders.

Chaos Turn 3

Daemonottes come in next to the locked CSM squad.

The Predator fires lascannon beams at the speeding Raider, which dodges spectacularly well.

I did try a motion shot about 17 times, but failed in all cases to do it justice. In assault the melta CSMs pile into the Shas'El, who gets bogged down in power armour and dies. The Vennie kills 2 Daemons more, and the Daemonottes charge the Librarian, who kills one of them, takes no wounds and kills another from No Retreat.

Ultramarine Turn 3

The ten-man squad moves to assist their leader.

The Loyalist Rhino, not to be outdone by its Chaos brethren, repairs itself, while the surviving Combat Squad stuns the Incubi Raider. Then this happens:

No explosion this time, and the Fire squad is not pinned. An awesome display from the up-and-coming initiate.

The Vennie continues to whittle down the Notletters by 2, and the Tactical squad charges and manages to kill the Daemonotte squad taking no casualties.

Tau Turn 4

The exposed Fire squad rushes for cover. Gun drones move to the DE objective, while the Piranha left goes flat out to contest the Tau Vital Objective. The Shas'El is still doing his JSJ thing.

The Combat squad gets 2 markerlight tokens from the Fire Shas'Ui and the Pathfinders. Two of them then die to Pulse Rifle shots. The 7-man Fire team shoots the lone Scout, who refuses to die. The Gun drones manage to Stun the Incubi Raider again.

Aforementioned squad then gets to contesting range of my objective.

Dark Eldar Turn 4

I get my last Reserves, who boost on 24". The Incubi and Haemonculus disembark and move towards the Tactical squad.

I unleash the Liquifier gun, but it only gets AP6 and kills 1 Marine. 2 more Pathfinders are killed by the Ravager. With a mighty 13 shots of poison fire, the Trueborn do a devastating 0 Wounds to the Mon'At Stealthie. Not content, I unleash the nearby embarked Kabalites too...who do exactly the same thing. This suit refuses to die.

In their debut combat, the Incubi kill 4 Marines and knock a wound off the Libby. In return, I lose an Incubus and the Librarian drains the life from the Haemo with his force weapon. We stay locked.

Chaos Turn 4

Not content with the head of the Shas'El, the melta Marines go gunning for my new Raider.

Melta fire kills nothing due to Flat Out Save. The only effective Chaos Shooting is when the Predator makes the stunned Raider do that 'explode' thing that's happened so much, which kills a nearby Gun Drone.

The one remaining Not-horror charges the Piranha and misses. The Ven Dread lashes out and misses. The melta Marine assault my Raider, get a few hits in but do no damage.

Ultra Turn 4

The Rhino dashes 12" forward and pops smoke. The Raider that wasn't assaulted receives attacks from the lone Scout, who misses, and the ML Combat Squad. This is the only point in the game where I actually pass a Flickerfield save.

In combat, I lose no Incubi, who mop up 2 Tactical Marines and the Librarian. I consolidate back to the hotly contested DE objective.

Tau Turn 5

The Pathfinder Shas'Ui, alone at last, goes into cover. Other stuff moves forward, while the Piranha stays still.

The 8-man Fire Team unloads into the Scout...who survives, however the Green Earth army surprises him and the 7 man Fire Team manages to kill him off. The Shas'El and Gun Drones shoot the Incubi, which goes badly, as they suffer nothing. By this point in the game the other Drone Squadron is in range to shoot the Horror, which dies. The Piranha fires on the Pred and neutralises a lascannon.

The Gun Drones use this phase for strategic hiding.

Dark Eldar Turn 5

I move the non-engaged Raider to the Chaos objective and the Kabalites get off to get it. The engaged Raider breaks off from the CSM.

I shoot the Stealth Suit with a Raider and Trueborn, and it lives. Then the embarked Kabalites have a go, and it dies (two die-hards in the same game?). The disembarked Kabalites use their Blaster to eliminate the last Pathfinder. Lance fire from a Raider does nothing to the Ultrarhino, but the Ravager stuns it and destroys the storm bolter.

The Incubi charge and kill all the Gun Drones, but the Rhino is still in the way.

Chaos Turn 5

The Chaos Rhino drives to the blue objective, while the transport's owners advance to the Trueborn.

In shooting, the Rhino fails to damage the Raider, the CSM kill my Cannon-armed Trueborn, and the survivor is dubbed Freaky Fish Guy for carrying a harpoon. Despite being on its last legs, the Predator destroys the Raider closest to it, and my warriors bail out unpinned.

The Ven Dread sucks in combat.

Ultra Turn 5

Pretty much everything unloads on the Incubi- 1 dies. The depleted Tac squad tries assaulting, which goes about as well as you'd expect. (They all die.)

There is a Turn 6 (just how long is this game?) By this point it's easy to amalgamate everything into one.

The Tau move to defend their home objective, which involves the massacre of the Kabalites on it. The Commander runs 6" to get to the objective, and the Piranha blows up the weakened Predator.

The Dark Eldar have their surving Warriors go for the Tau Vital, while the Ravager kills the Shas'El. In a surprising feat of skill, Freaky Fish Guy throws his harpoon (read: fires splinter rifle) at the CSM. It promptly splinters and kills one.The Incubi asplodes the Rhino, and the Kabalites mop up the last Gun Drones in combat.

Chaos Marines kill half my Kabalites, who fall back. The Ven Dread misses twice.

The Ultras may or may not have killed an Incubus, my notes are getting hazy, caught up in the madness of the game atmosphere. The Vennie misses twice.

And Turn The Last

The Tau definitely kill an Incubus.

The Kabalites fall back more while Freaky Fish Guy runs to the blue objective. The Ravager kills a Fire Warrior. The Piranha is shaken by a Raider.

The Chaos Rhino Tank Shocks, and I do Death or Glory with a Dark Lance. It gets immobilised again. The Chaos Marines multi-charge poor Fish Guy and my Kabalites and they all die.

But this is the big thing. That Combat Squad with the rockets? It runs down and contests the Vital the Incubi had.

The Ven Dread does nothing.

Final Score:

Winner: Twin P (2)
Runner-Up: Twin K (1)
Losers: Me and 'Scape (0)

post game analysis

I did it! I finished!

Monday, 2 May 2011

4-Way 40k- Inaugural Battle Report, Part 1

Well, I turned 17 on Saturday, and so celebrated with an atypical 40k game. There's a lot to get through, so this will be a 3-part episode.

We played a 1000pt 4-way scenario I designed. Above is a vague rectangle (the Arena) with 4 objectives in the corners. Players set up in table quarters, with a boundary of 6" from the long edge centre and 9" from the short edge centre, and 12" from the centre. Any unit can capture, and the objective furthest away from you is your Vital Objective and is worth 2 points to you only. Obviously, the player with most points is the winner. To the lists!

Master Bryss' Kabal of the Stolen Soul
Haemonculus with liquifier gun, accompanied by...
7 Incubi inc. Klaivex with demiklaives and Onslaught, in Raider with both Fields
3 Trueborn with 2 splinter cannons
10 Warriors with blaster and splinter cannon, in a Raider with a Flickerfield
10 Warriors with blaster and dark lance, in a Raider with a Flickerfield
5 Reavers (rolled the useless Hypex)
Ravager with both Fields (three lances, obviously)

Cyberscape7's Ultramarines
Terminator Librarian with Machine Curse and Force Dome
Venerable Dreadnought with plasma cannon, heavy flamer on DCCW, extra armour
5 Sniper Scouts with missile launcher and camo cloaks
5 Sniper Scouts with camo cloaks
10 Tactical Marines with meltagun and power fist, in a Rhino
10 Tactical Marines with meltagun and missile launcher, in a Razorback with twin lascannon

Twin K's Chaos Marines
Winged Tzeentch Prince with Warptime
10 Chaos Marines with 2 plasma guns and Glory Icon, in a Rhino with extra bolter
10 Chaos Marines with 2 meltaguns and Glory Icon, in a Rhino
Auto-las Predator
2x 7 Lesser Daemons
5 Lesser Daemons

Twin P's Tau
Shas'El Commander with twin fusion blaster, missile pod, hard-wired multi-tracker and 2 Shield Drones
Shas'El Commander with plasma rifle, missile pod, multi-tracker and 2 Shield Drones
3 Stealth Suits with targeting arrays, Shas'Vre with bonding knife
8 Fire Warriors with Shas'Ui with markerlight and a Marker Drone
Fire Warriors
6 Pathfinders in a Devilfish with disruption pods
2 Piranhas with fusion blasters and disruption pods
1 Piranha with fusion blaster and disruption pods
Hammerhead with railgun, smart missile system and disruptin pods

Because the twins have less 40k experience, I wrote their lists and most of the models they used are mine. It's also the last time I get to fight them before they feth off to London. To the game!

Pre-game stuff

We deploy and act in this order, P, me, K, 'Scape.

P and 'Scapes' deployment. P reserves his Twin Fusion Shas'El for Deep Strike, while 'Scape combat squads one of his Tac squads, deploying the melta gun half in the Razor and the missile launcher half in the silver ruin.

My deployment. I've reserved most of the army so I don't get shredded by weight of firepower. The Raider contains the Warriors with the dark lance. As mentioned, I get useless drugs.

K's rather symmetrical deployment. The Rogue Trader Rhino that's older than me is the one with the plasma Marines and the bigger one the melta Marines. Lesser Daemons are in waiting for summons as always.

Tau Turn 1

P advances with everything bar the Pathfinders, the lone Piranha going flat out. Before that however, the Drones on the light skimmers detach and form 2 squadrons. The Stealth Suits begin their march to the Ultras' objective. The 7-man Fire squad gets in the Devilfish.

In shooting, the twin Piranhas try their luck at the Razorback, but end up out of range. Having explained to P how markerlights work, his Pathfinders plant 4 dread beams on the rocket Scouts, which are then used by the other Fire squad to kill three of them with precision. The same squad is targeted by the Devilfish, but only one Drone is found within range which does nothing. The Hammerhead punches a hole in the Razor, which promptly explodes, killing one Marine within and pinning the squad. The Shas'El uses the pocket-sized autocannon that is the missile pod to immobilise the Rhino.

The Jetpack phase is used mainly to get the Stealth team closer to that objective, and into cover.

DE Turn 1

Short and sweet. The Reavers use their Bladevanes to slice the Shas'El's protector drones into ribbons, also knocking a wound off the suit itself.

The Raider and passengers both aim their lance weapons at the closest Chaos Rhino, but miss spectacularly in a way only lances can.

Chaos Turn 1

Most things go 12" forward, the twin bolter Rhino popping smoke, while the Predator pivots precisely.

The Predator trains its guns on the Venerable Dreadnought, but do nought but shake it, due to a combination of extra armour and good re-rolls.

The Daemon Prince tries to initiate the first combat of the game, but doesn't quite make it to charge range.

Ultramarines Turn 1

The Ven Dread propels itself towards the Chaos Rhino close to it. The sniper Scouts and Librarian move to a better firing position.

In shooting news, the Libby tries Machine Curse on the Piranha squadron, and stuns one of them, presumably by shouting profusely in binary. The rocket Scout tries to hammer the 'Head...and misses. The Tac Squad in the Rhino try to harm the Reavers, who take no damage due to good evasion. The rocket armed Combat squad fires at the Shas'El, who takes a wound from...bolters. The rocket sort of missed.

The Vennie assaults the Rhino it was walking towards, and somehow hits and explodes it, killing 4 Marines Most Evil. It then consolidates 4" away from them.

End of Turn 1 Score: Everyone has something non-vital bar me, who has nada.

Part 2

Post Game

Feth, that took ages. Expect Part 2 in 1-4 days, which will cover up to and including Turn 4 of this 4000-point epic.