Friday, 30 September 2011

The New Agenda


Hello readers,

I've been in touch with a few of you over the past few days. Imagine my surprise when I received over 20(!) emails from enthusiastic followers all offering encouragement and many offering to contribute. I would like to hammer out a schedule for those of you that offered to contribute as writers.

So far only Thursday is taken (by Mr. Abreu) and the following writers should get back to me on which days they feel comfortable with:


A big 'Thank You' to everyone taking time out of their days to contribute, and I look forward to reading more about the ideas that are swimming around in my inbox.


High Gothic For Dummies #2

You may have noticed there was no Haiku Thursday this week. Now you know why. This week I'll do some Space Marines and their Primarchs. I warn you, this could get ranty.

Primarchs: I think this is probably a hybrid of primus (first), and patriarch, which itself comes from pater (father). Obviously not all Primarchs have Latin-based names, but I'll cover the ones that do in order of Legion.

Fulgrim: From fulgor, which is lightning, but it can be used figuratively to mean "splendour." Oh how appropriate for arguably the most fabulous Primarch. As a side note, while looking this up I found the Latin fulcrum (as in Arcane Fulcrum from Storm of Magic). This means "bedpost." Wonder if this makes Bedknobs and Broomsticks canon in Fantasy...

Peturabo: A wild guess this, but I think this is from peturbo, the first person for the verb "to throw into confusion." Or Chaos, one might suppose...

Sanguinius: Take a wild guess. Replace the i in 'ius' with e and you get sanguineus, or "blood-red."

Ferrus Manus: Oh, GW, GW, GW, so close and yet so far. Yes, manus is "hand," but the word for "iron" is a neuter noun. Therefore the correct Latin is Ferrum Manus. Or Ferro Manus if you wanted "Hand of Iron." Come to think of it, Ferromanus would be an awesome name.

Angron: Another guess, this time the guessword is angor, which figuratively means "suffering." And let's face it, he went through a lot of that. Plus, it sounds angry.

Mortarion: Likely derived from mortuus, which means "dead." The other option is mortarium, but since this means "mortar," I'm ruling it out.

Magnus the Red: Not difficult this, magnus being "big, great." So Big Red, if you will.

Vulkan: As in the Roman smith god who lived in a volcano and suchlike.

Corax: If this doesn't come from corvus, ie "raven" then I'm a flying polyp.

Alpharius/Omegon: Trick question (well, it is the Alpha Legion), this is the first and last Greek letters High Gothicised by the somewhat Orky method of "If you stick an -us on it, it sounds better."

With the Primarchs covered, I'm running out of time. Here's a few quick ones from the Black Library.

Sarpedon: A king of Lycia, home of the Chimera, a hybrid monster. Very clever, Mr Counter.

Uriel Ventris: Easily my favourite Ultramarine, only because his name is (and I didn't believe it the first time either) Uriel Bladder. Fear him.

Anyway, that's all for now. I leave you as ever with a thrilling fan-fiction:

postquam hereticum incenderit, Caecilius era laetus, sed promethium non habuit. "eheu!" inquit, "volo promethium!" subito astartes adirit. "astartes promethium habuit...." Caecilius inquit....

Over the course of this series I will periodically return to Marine names and suchlike. Upcoming will either be Imperial Tyranid classifications, or planets. And you'll learn whether or not Caecilius will get any promethium. A word I still need to cover. It's neuter by the way.

Monday, 26 September 2011

New Necron Rules! Versus Battle Company

OK, OK, that's a lie. Sorta. See, yesterday I fought 'Scape three times, each under a different ruleset. We tried to learn 2nd Edition 40k and failed miserably, we played a modified version of the 4th Edition scenario Cleanse, and we had a Combat Patrol game using something...different.

Among the oddities of 'Scape's collection is the White Dwarf issue containing the first ever Necron rules. We decided it would be fun to use these somehow, and I wanted to test my Battle Company homebrew supplement. So Combat Patrol it was.

Due to points inflation, 'Scape had 500 points of Necrons to buy, which he used to buy:

Cyberscape7's Proto-Crons- 500 pts
5 Warriors
5 Warriors

I had 400 points of Battle Company and access to his Ultramarines, and bought:

Master Bryss' Cyberscape7's Ultramarine Battle Company- 400 points
5 Tactical Marines with missile launcher in Rhino
5 Tactical Marines with plasma gun in Drop Pod
5 Assault Marines with Sergeant with a pair of lightning claws

(For those who didn't click the link, Tactical Squads less than ten men can buy one special or heavy weapon at an extra 5 points to the cost for ten men. So 5 for an ML and 15 for a plasgun.)


Yep, totally original deployment. It's a 4' by 4' area by the way.

Pretty much as it is in the pic. Note that in this ruleset Scarabs operate independently (and are 1 Wound Toughness 8 models, more on that later). The Necrons went first.

Turn 1

Limited by the old rules, the Necrons could only walk 4", but the Scarabs zoomed forward a massive 16" towards me. One squad shot their 24" range guns at my Assault Marines, but failed. The other aimed at the Rhino, and gained a Penetrating hit due to the old gauss mechanic, wrecking my metal bawks.

In my turn I got my Pod in where I wanted and moved up my Assault Marines. In my shooting phase I attempted to prepare an Assault Jump (honestly, read the supplement). The might of the plasma gun in my Tactical Squad downed a Necron, but killed the owner in the process. None of my other shooting worked, and when I tried to make a Tactical Advance with the rocket squad it failed miserably.

Fun Fact #1: Necrons here are T5 with a 2+ Save! <sarcasm>Joy of joys!</sarcasm>

"I'll give you 100 more points," I said...
 Turn 2

The downed Necron failed to revive. Using a move soon to be sorta-put back (maybe) into the Necron book, the Scarabs clamped on to my Drop Pod, making it AV6 all round. The Warriors advanced menacingly, and then killed one Tactical Marine and one Assault Marine in shooting. The Scarabs then attacked my Pod in combat, and wrecked it.

I moved my Assault guys closer, then made a successful Tactical Advance with the rocket guys, who moved forward 4" and gained Relentless for the phase. Unfortunately, my shooting did nothing to anything. The four-man Assault team attacked the five-bot Warrior squad, downing 2 and losing a battle-brother in the process. However, in this edition Necrons always pass Leadership tests, making them unsweepable (no, they're not Fearless, they just pass outright).

Fun Fact #2: Each clamped Scarab reduces all Armour facings by 3. And they have a 2+ Save too. <sarcasm>Joy of joys!</sarcasm>

It's not going well, is it?
 Turn 3

One of the Necrons that died last turn gets back up and rejoins the nearest unit. Shooting does nothing, but in combat, bad stuff happens. Each Scarab swarm charges a Tactical Squad. My puny S4 means I can't hurt them, which means my hopes are hinged on the Assault Squad, for whom things are about to become a living hell.

This turn I down 2 metal fiends, and then in my turn I do nothing. Because I can't really do much more, the rest of this bat-rep shall be in narrative form. If you don't enjoy prose, skip to the Victory Points score at the end.

Fun Fact #3: We'll Be Back works like this. Each turn, roll a D6 for each bot lying down. On a 1, they are removed for good. On a 2-5, they stay there 'till next turn. On a 6, they get up again.
Here's some more turn shots for the interested.
Brutus' electric-blue talons flashed in the evening sun as he penetrated the thick metal hide of a metal raider. Around him, more Necrons from another unit were joining the desperate melee, as he and his two brothers fought to preserve their lives and, more importantly, their gene seed. The two Tactical squads seemed to be holding out against the smaller beasts, but he could not divert his attention for too long. It seemed that another creature got up from what should have been their death every minute.

A scream of agony from his left told him that Ventris had finally succumbed to his gauss-wound from earlier, and he had little hope that Iucundus would survive either. A wash of genuine hopelessness flooded into the ancient Sergeant's mind for the first time in hundreds of years of service, and as he realised that he was now alone and surrounded his battle-stance devolved into simple flailing to keep the skeletal constructs away from him.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw his first glimmer of hope. One of the constructs was fading away into nothing, never to rise again. Filled with new strength, he struck out at the most recently-risen of the aliens, and punched it back into the ground. But as he went to pull out his lightning claw, he felt a grim tug at his leg.

As the light faded into dusk, so too did the relic claws of the Sergeant fade into nothing. The Tactical Marines in the distance could only watch as the silver raiders claimed their best man for their blasphemous reaper-master.
In 3 turns of combat, the Scarabs did nothing at all.
 Fun Fact #4: Old Necrons are nails. What happened to them when they got an actual Codex?

Final Score:

A more conventional battle is winging its way to Bryssling soon. But I'll be damned if that wasn't fun.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Random Fight Againt Chaos- Refrigerator's Debut!

Went into GW Aiberdeen to fight against a good friend who's just getting back into the game. I tried out my dual-Talos Webway 2000 (built around two massive blobs of Kabalites and the Taloi) against his fairly battleforcey Black Legion.

It started well for me as I was able to get my Portals down with little effort (he was light on long-range firepower) and got better as I was able to stop his Spawn and Zerkers messing up my blobs by throwing a Talos each into them (random attacks vs random attacks, heh) and I didn't even really need my Incubi by the end of it.

Refrigerator had an impressive debut, killing off about half the Berzerkers with the help of his chain-flails and made a good start on some objective-sitting Chaos dudes. It all went pear-shaped for him when Abaddon rocked up and totally outclassed him (he hadn't had to endure S8 yet at that point) but I'm very happy with my chain-flail taking decision.

Hopefully this means that when he meets 'Scape on Sunday he'll survive totally unscathed and not get shot at by his Killa Kans/Fire Dragons/Whatever he uses that day. Long live Killer Fridge Thing.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Haiku Thursday: Modelling Edition

We once again return to the serene peaceful land of Haiku Thursday, where today I have decided to write poetry about my life this week. It's a wonderfully frustrating tale but it got there in the end. Enjoy.

Once upon a time
I bought myself a Talos
For my Dark Eldar

I looked at the box
Decided; "It needs changing,
Where is my green stuff?"

Then I set to work
To make the torture machine
Like the Codex art

Based off a tutorial from The Dark City forum

I filled up the holes
As I didn't want the spikes
And built up the core

But then disaster struck
I ran out of instructions
So I improvised

And ended up with this
With the Talos built,
Satisfied, I did a dance
And it fell off. Damn

Turns out the ball joint
Needed to be much tighter
I thought hard... ah-ha!

Magnets saved the day,
Those silver discs of greatness
Held the beast aloft.

It's ready for battle
I have a game on Friday
Against some Chaos.

Now it needs a name
So I found the perfect thing:

I hope my alternate haiku style inspires you to hobby greatness. The newly-christened Refrigerator shall also feature in a forthcoming battle-report.

Project: Battle Company

Something a bit like this, yes.
So, we're definitely still running and we're moving towards bigger projects. Which is good, because it means I have some motivation to finish the many millions of things I have lying around. Like this.

I've wanted to write a Battle Company army list for some time. You may remember a while back that I experimented with new army composition methods, and one of them didn't work as well as the other. This is that one, brought back and looking very shiny indeed.

When I set out to write it, I wanted the book to focus less on shiny characters with snazzy gear and FOC-alters, and more on the three units that in fluff are the key cogs of a Space Marine army. So there are only three Specials in the book, which basically function as an enhancer to one of those units each, and allow for an Assault or Devastator Company. Yes, I'm allowing Devas as troops, no, I haven't properly tested it yet. This is the first draft, that I am releasing to the general populace to gain feedback and maybe a few more playtesters.

The other key focus of the book (and my prime motive for writing it) is Manoeuvres (yes it's spelt American in the book, blame Sabreu who helped me pretty it up and write the manoeuvres). A Space Marine in normal gameplay feels exactly like a Guardsman, except they don't die as easily. When Guard got orders, they felt more interlinked and the officer-trooper relationship present in fluff was more evident on the tabletop. With the new Manoeuvres, essentially Bastonne-style self-orders, each core unit becomes more individual, and the Sergeant becomes more important than just a power fist or teleport homer.

I'm not going to say much more, because I don't like prattling on and am incapable of doing so anyway. Essentially what I'm asking is that you read the document and give me some feedback on where to take it next, either in the comments section here or by dropping me an e-mail at Long live RulesMan!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

High Gothic For Dummies #1

Ah, the miracle of Paint...

Greetings. As I promised earlier this post will shed some light on some of the weird things about High Gothic (ie. I run through a Latin dictionary and laugh at things). This series will teach you about the Captain named after a body part, highlight all 40,000 examples of adding '-us' to the end of a word to make it sound Latin, and generally expand your vocabulary base. If it isn't a real word, I will endeavour to make up a translation. Today's subject is The Imperium of Man.

Imperium: Easy one this, it just means 'empire.' When Rome was a republic, this could also refer to leadership ie. "Under the imperium of Cicero." So either way it unites all man under...

Deus Imperator: ...The God Emperor. It can also go the other way and be imperator deus. Again, emperor worship existed in Rome. It's completely off the point that the Dark Eldar are arguably more Roman...

Terra: I really shouldn't need to explain this, nor Luna. Can we get to the military bit please?

Adeptus...: This is a word in Latin, but only by sheer coincidence. It's the participle of the verb 'adipiscor'- to obtain, and not a noun at all. This makes it Example #1 of the 'if it sounds Latin...' rule I mentioned earlier. If it were a real word, it would be a second declension noun and I'm going to define it as "organisation, brotherhood," as that's about what it equates to. Notice I didn't put 'order.' This is because of...

Ordo...: This one is a real word too, and is actually a noun this time. It also really does mean 'order', but is mainly used in the neat freak or military sense rather than a group of people.

Mechanicus: Pig Latin Example #2. You're wanting 'machina.' But that's first declension and therefore sounds feminine, and we can't be having that in a universe of manly men now can we? I'd probably make it another word for machine, but since 'machina' is more in a mechanism sense (pulleys, etc.) this works better for tanks and robots.

Malleus: GW actually gives us the translation for this, which is 'hammer.' And believe it or not,  they did actually use the proper Latin here.

Xenos: This...isn't Latin at all. It's Greek for 'stranger, foreigner, alien.' Wonder if we'll see more of these infiltrators later...

Hereticus: Pig Latin Example #3. Since heresy comes from the Greek for 'choice,' the original fluffers had no choice but to bang on an -us. If I were to make it real Latin, I suppose I would have no choice but to use 'heretic.' Again, it ends in us and so is second declension (for those who know what declensions actually are...).

That's all I can be bothered to do for today. Next time we'll drag up the Obtaining Astartes (just to see if you were paying attention) and make fun of their names. Until then I leave you with this thrilling fan-fiction.

Caecilius inquisitor est. Caecilius hereticum videt. Caecilius est iratus. Caecilius hereticum incenderet. Caecilius est laetissimus.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Rules Manufactorum: A New Agenda

Hello all,

I've been working on a new plan (hereby referred to as the 'New Agenda') for Rules Manufactorum. The Agenda is going to lay out some concrete goals and then some steps by which they might be fulfilled. 

Let's get started:


  • 6 posts a week - what is common on all of the most popular 40k sites is frequent posts. In order to engage our readers and to give them something to look for on a day to day basis I would like much more post saturation. 
  • More writers - ideally four or five more writers so that each writer has a set day to post on. Each writer would also have their own "series" much the same way Bryss has 'TopBryss.'
  • A monthly rules update PDF - a single high-quality and tested unit entry per month. I can do much of the testing in my store with some help from my regular customers. This entry should also have unique artwork which I will finance.
  • One mini-dex length story-driven rulebook every year. Fully illustrated and tested. For this I would like a combined team of at least 5 members and a budget of which I will match whatever is contributed. This is the most difficult goal of all but the one with the most promise. 
  • Semi-annual competitions. These can be rules design related but could also focus on fan-fiction or even art. 
These five goals are a good foundation and a good place to start. Without meaning to sound authoritative anyone who wishes to contribute should be committed to these goals and to the quality of the site. It is difficult work with very little in the way of tangible returns. It will take the very best each of us has to offer to make Rules Manufactorum into the source of game materials we all want it to be. 

Abreu and Porky Poster have already mentioned they would like to help out. They and anybody else wishing to contribute should contact me at so we can work out a schedule. Please spread the word and try to engage as many people as you can so that we can get a strong team together and cover one another's weaknesses (especially time-related ones).

That's all for now, I'll be expanding a little more on the Agenda throughout the week. Give me ideas!


Thursday, 15 September 2011


Hello everyone,

I want to thank all of our readers for all the support that the site has had since it's inception. There's been so much creativity and a great (read: polite) environment for it flourish. This is because of the mature following that the site has attracted over the past year - something I am incredibly grateful for...

...but not surprised by. RM is a site that should have existed long before it did. It's such a critical part of the hobby to able to expand on the material that is made available to us. To feed what it is we enjoy about the hobby and have it grow into a better occupation for everyone. 

We've had our setbacks. The community is incredibly resistant to any change in the perceived "meta-game" regardless of source. Add to this the unofficial nature of our material and the increased expenses of collecting an army and there simply hasn't been a lot of good soil for our ideas to grow into something more than just that... ideas.

This stagnation is compounded by my insecurities in truly promoting our work. The Stellan codex cost me and arm and a leg and was meant to be an inspiration to the rules designing community. My unwillingness to call it "finished" and release it to the wider public is a complicated mental bind. A selfish and convoluted megalomania. 

The motivational downward spiral continued with the false start at the Codex Project. A great effort impeded by just the limitations I had predicted in my first letter all of those months ago. I have not given up on TCP but I doubt if they can recover from the lack of forward momentum.

And so what is left? A wellspring of incredible ideas suffocating in the murk of the 40k blogosphere? That does no good to anybody. It might generate some thought but it does not truly produce anything. I'm not given to half-assed musings and brainstorming. I want to DO something. 

"Do what Atrotos?" 

Well here's a list:

- Create a regular rules supplement the community can respect
- Host frequent competitions for writing and rules design
- Collect from these competitions an elite team with which to produce yet better material and...
- ... a brand new game

This site is founded on lofty goals and will continue in that tradition just not the way it has been. I need to level with everyone and simply say that I don't have the time or energy to maintain the site to the standard I would wish. If not for Bryss I would have had to quit long ago. I don't even have the mental fortitude to properly look for help. 

Games Corps is a growing entity. The store is a blossoming focal point for all things gaming and its future is so, so promising I can't help throw everything I have at making it work.  I hate (HATE) excuses but I can't go on with just 4-6 hours of sleep a night. I need help. 

So this is where I'll plant the flag. Rally to me if you want Rules Manufactorum to continue. Readers have already responded in the comments following Bryss' earlier post on the subject. This heartwarming enthusiasm is what has brought me back from the brink. 

The goal is not to maintain RM in its current state. There must be growth, evolution and revolution. We need to reach more members and break ground on larger, more ambitious projects. I want to see new ideas and motivated individuals ready to put in real work to create something we can all be proud of. I have to take a break but I'll be more than willing to support the site as long as someone is there to press the standard upwards. 

It was my idea, now it belongs to all of us. What say you? 

Haiku Thursday: Setting the Scene

Welcome to Haiku Thursday, where I share with you some haiku poetry based on the game system we all know and love. By haiku by the way, I mean 5-7-5 syllable three line poetry. None of this 'it has to evoke the seasons' feth here.

Today's haikus cover the 40k universe in general, and demonstrate its many wonders.

Cato looked up, as
Steel meteors filled his heart
With thoughts of revenge.

Where green-flecked winds blow,
The tide scatters blood on soil
And prepares for war.

Dome of Eldar souls
Flitting about in fear of
The painful pleasure.

I hope these are to your liking. I think I like the second one most.

Top Bryss Presents: The Shawn Abreu Index: Demiurg Concept

I assure you they are nothing like this.

I learned many things yesterday, some of which I shall touch on later. But on a different and more relevant note, I learned about Index: Xenos, Sabreu's new rulesblog. He recently put up an entry for the option of Demiurg, which I shall now proceed to comment on in a similar manner to the Treasury series initiated by Our Glorious And Missing Founder. Now, because I'm nowhere near as technical, I shall instead do a review in a more... familiar concept.

Dadada da daa da da da da da da da daa...

Yes, hello and welcome... to Top Bryss! Although the last episode was elsewhere, I've decided to move it back to its true home, in order to do a very thorough review of this unit. Enjoy!

How does it fit in?: The Demiurg concept here is a Heavy Support choice for a Tau army, and provides a radically different approach to the other units, which all try to shoot your face off. Now, I'd like to say that makes it a combat anti-vehicle unit, but it's too slow to fit that exactly. I'd instead call it a hub unit.

What on earth is a hub unit?: A hub unit is a unit of different models united by one common factor. Examples include the Court of the Archon and the Marine Command Squad. In the same way, Demiurg have access to all Drone types, with the base unit able to take 6. These units are likely candidates to be Death Stars, units which have tricky wound allocation and plenty of power.

What's with the costing?: One odd thing I noticed is the Gun Drone, Shield Drone and Marker Drone have different costs (I have no issue with Snipers). The Shield Drone is justified as the Demiurg special rules gives it a better Inv. Save, however the Gun Drone is 5 points more than for a Battlesuit. Now, I know they get a BS boost from the Demiurg, however I believe their cost covers that boost adequately already. As for Markers, I would be inclined to make it 20 but because half the effects of Alien Laser Pens don't work any more, the current cost is fine.

Anything else odd?: Yes. The Demiurg is listed as BS6 but has no range gun, only a good CC weapon and the Drone Controller. Now, this may be an oversight on the part of the author, but it does seem a bit odd if it isn't. Another odd thing is that it is 55 for 3 and then 20 for each extra. I'm not quite sure why this is at all.

What's the wargear like?: Well, they get a combat tool they won't really use too often, and there's a 20 point death laser with no range cap. I'm swithering on the cost of this, because the Marine Chapter Master gets something similar for 20, which has a bigger radius, however this can be fired on the move multiple times. Maybe 30+ might be better.

Is it green?: If you want to paint it that way...

What do you see it doing on the tabletop?: I see this as a better albeit more expensive replacement for the Sniper Drone Squad. It's designed to soak up firepower in large numbers and can be configured for support or offense, which is nice. Because Tau melee isn't really about going to the enemy (if indeed you have any melee), I can't really see myself using their combat gear, and it doesn't help that it cannot take a Devilfish or a transport of their own devising.

What happens if the unit is suddenly attacked by Lascannons?: I'd say the unit has a very nice chance, provided there are enough Demiurg. Base Toughness 5 means that you can have a genuinely strategic decision between choosing to kill a Drone or put a wound on a Dwarf, as they have the potential to dilute heavier fire far more than other units of this type. This ability is also great against duality units.

What happens if the unit is thrown off a bridge?: It would sink, presumably.

Overall, I'd say this offers a nice springboard for a Demiurg army concept as well as offering a semi-decent contender to Broadsides if you want more anti-heavy infantry. It's refreshingly flexible in comparison to the streamlined monotasking of all Tau units that aren't Crisis Battlesuits. But I still want an answer to the gun thing. You hear me, Sabreu?

You might notice it's not as hyperbolic as other Top Brysses. You'd understand if you knew which particular films this is based on.

As to the issues raised yesterday, I have made an executive decision. If it's not obvious to you by now what this decision is, then you obviously haven't got your head screwed on right. Plus, I still need to explain all of Bryss' Improvised Points Theory.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Having Your Liver Eaten By An Eagle Daily

The title may make more sense if you remember this.

Hello. You may remember some slight ominousness going on in the last post. Well, I've decided to explain it to you. On August 24th I received the following message from Our Glorious Founder (Atrotos):

"Hey Bryss, I wanted to let you know I've all but decided to stop contributing to RM. I don't what it is that's gotten into me lately but it feels like time I would rather spend working on actual projects like the +CENSORED BY ME+. Let me know if you would be interested in keeping the site regardless."

This rather shocking news was followed by a nifty graphic to lessen the mood:

Now, I obviously sent a reply back, but that was the end of the correspondence. And that leaves me in a bit of a pickle. My options are as follows:

1) Keep this site (which may mean losing the custom URL as a side note), with me as the sole author, and continue in the same vein, except I now have to handle submissions as well as generally increase my output.

2) Fuse the site with Bryssling. This means I only have to maintain one blog which will hopefully update more often than the two seperately.

3) Do neither of the above and quit. This is the least likely option, because I like doing this.

I could really do with a nice conclusion to this (which believe you me was completely out of the blue), but I haven't got one.

I do still plan to post my Battle Company coalition project you haven't heard about, so this isn't quite the end yet. What to do....?

On Slumps and Progress

When I decided to do a spin-off blog from RM, I naturally presumed I had loads to write about. I mean, generally speaking I'm a hobby all-rounder, who enjoys all aspects with a very slight bias towards creativity (rules and models), so surely I can cover all the bases, right? Wrong.

The problem I have with blogging as a medium is timescale. The life of a new blog is a Darwinesque struggle for survival, with the primary objective to be top of the blogrolls. Because I am only one person, I don't do pro tactics, I don't post painting progress in 47 steps and it takes me the best part of a week to write something substantial, I cannot do well in these struggles. My two Top Bryss articles are to my mind the best things I've ever written, yet I feel neither got the attention they deserve. If you are a good webcomic, you can get away with once a week. With blogging, that's much harder to justify. So, I'm going to try two experiments. Here's the first one:

This is a red panda from Copenhagen Zoo I snapped a photo of while I was there in June. I did consider giving this to fellow Scottish blogger Fuzbuket for his popular panda-based Wednesday shenanigans but I've decided to put it here simply because of the theory he has that they are the most popular thing on his whole blog, and what works for him may well work for me.

The other thing I'm planning on doing is three new series. The first, Brysstory, will be a mini-history thing in which I drag up my previous rulesets and look at them without my rose-tinted glasses on. The second is Haiku Thursday, which is exactly what it says on the tin. The last one will be an irregular thing called High Gothic For Dummies, in which I teach you how to speak the botched Latin the High Lords of Terra love so much and show you the silly things a Latin (and now Greek) scholar like me can find within names.

I've now got a plan. My work here is done.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Top Bryss Reviews the New Sisters Army

All together now... dadada da daa da da dada da da daada.... Oh, and for the best effect, do the voice.

Tonight: Felix runs out of Rich Tea biscuits, 'Scape eats a cheese sandwich, and I get mauled by a wasp...

Hello! Yes, we're back on a different channel! Weird, isn't it? Yes, hello and welcome... to Top Bryss! Now, as we know, GW dominates the market for sci-fi motors right now, and they have begun to try strange new things including a new kit Codex. But is it any good?

I'm talking about Codex: Sisters of Battle. Entering the market at 900 (thousand) pence, it seems at first glance to be the cheapest to run of all GW makes. It's been supplied to the consumer in two parts, making it as easy to assemble as a metal blister. Under the bonnet is a modest 18 units, but it goes from nought to Turn 6 in about the same time as more expensive GW armies. It's compatible with a few GW accessories for other makes, like the Crusader, Arco-Flagellant and Death Cultist, but it stupidly insists on using a different Rhino, which is only different to other Rhinos because it is piloted by a butch nun and has the Boy Scout symbol on the doors.

Now, before I go on, I feel there is something I have to say. This is NOT an original make from GW. This is in fact one of their Space Marine models stripped down, slightly depowered, re-badged and given slightly new bodywork. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the units, which feel as minimalistic and underwhelming as Keira Knightley's breasts. There is only one single new idea in the equipment section, and that is the Laud Hailer, which is useless outside of this army anyway. And as a custom rules writer, this makes me a bit sad.

Now, you may say that minimalism is fine. A typical American wargamer would never even bother with all the weird and wonderful items put into other books. However, the problem extends far beyond this, as in addition to each unit only having basic upgrades, there is also a very strong reliability issue.

The basic unique thing about Sisters of Battle has always been the fact that they are the naughty Catholic schoolgirls of 40k, breaking the rules using their Acts of Faith, which let them do things that shouldn't be possible except for much stronger units. However, the way Faith works now clearly means that the schoolgirls have been caught by GW and sent to the headmistress for a stern talking-to.

In the old days, anyone could have a good Invulnerable Save or Rending bolters, and more units could do it thanks to Faith being determied by your number of Superiors and higher-ranked Space Nuns. However, it's now a single, unreliable D6, and this locks you into taking a man with a beard as one of your HQs just to have a chance at better Faith. And no army should ever have to have a beard, with the exception of Space Wolves. What's worse is that only certain units can do certain Acts, which has repercussions for the basic Battle Sister squad, which is now more expensive (and compulsory too) and unable to Rend.

The other huge casualty of the book is Heavy Support. With the Immolator relegated to Dedicated Transport status, we have to rely on either Retributors, which are easier to kill than a Grot with a limp, or a stupidly unreliable pipe organ. What's even more galling is that despite this being a Robin Cruddace book, we can't even get Exorcists in the squadrons of three that he is so fond of, as seen with the Russ, Basilisk and Carnifex.

I also have a problem with the engine. Most GW models are hybrids, but capable of running on only plastic. However, the engine used in the Battle Sister is instead a metal/resin one, which is not only an outdated engine with a finite amount of fuel left, but also ludicrously expensive to run. If you're going to spend that much on an army, I'd instead go to GW's tuning division (that's Forge World for those keeping up with the extended metaphor) rather than spend roughly the same amount on something that was modern in 1994.

At this point in a Top Bryss review, I'd normally state what I do actually like about the book. Today this list is depressingly short. I like Saint Celestine now that she's not five thousand more points than she should be. I like Seraphim squads even more than I did before for their abilty to fire dual pistols. That's it.

I can't recommend buying this book in any way, not least because of depreciation issues. In little more than a few months, the value will decrease to basically nought, at which point it should be freely available on the GW website. And there's no way they would do that with a good book, which shows how much confidence they have in it. About as much confidence as I have that Scotland will ever win the World Cup.

There is one image in the first part of the Sisters book that sums up the entire thing rather nicely. On the page detailing the fluff of the Retributor squad, there is a picture of a Battle Sister holding a multi-melta, with a caption underneath saying "Retributor with heavy bolter."

Make of that what you will.