Friday, 27 January 2012

The Lost RulesMan Articles: Designing Rules for Tournaments

Here we are again, with another draft article from Atrotos dredged up from the murky depths of RulesMan.

With the store up and running it's time to consider what our first event will look like. Locally 40k is the most popular tabletop game followed closely by Fantasy and with LOTR trailing but not completely out of the picture. My favorite events are always 40k doubles  - the mixing of two armies combined with low point levels per player makes it more interesting as well as more accessible to those player who are just starting out and don't have 2000 points painted up and ready to go.

In the New England area 2500 point team events are very popular and the TO's in the area are always up to designing some interesting scenarios. However, Adepticon does seem to have heavy influenced design theory when it comes to tournament missions. Mission parameters tend to become heavy reading with deployment and objectives needed paragraph after paragraph to explain. This does add flavor to each game but can also be draining when applied to three or more back-to-back games.

Advanced mission parameters also work better when competitors have plenty of time to playtest them. In our case players won't have more than 3 weeks or so to prepare their lists.

This is as far as it goes, and to be honest I don't have the knowledge or wherewithal to finish it myself.

This is mainly because different people want different things and have different defenitions of a 'tournament.' Some people want something simple and streamlined, others prefer varied missions. Personally, despite being a casual I like to play as efficiently as possible, so something simple and balanced works well for me. If you're going to spend a stellar age on mission parameters, use it as part of a campaign. It'll fit in better, honest.

I haaaate (I could have more As if I wanted to...) larger games for the length of time they take. To me, 1500-1750 is the average, but I'm also a big fan of hyper-efficient small lists, for reasons I want to explain in a future post. I don't have the patience to go to 2000 just because someone else thinks it is more balanced. As I have myself experienced several times, 1000 point mixed doubles is an awful lot of fun, and it's tied with 750 for my favourite points level.

In conclusion, if you want a massive battlefest, do not let me design your tournament. What I'd like to run is essentially the 40k equivalent of speed dating. You have 20-30 minutes to play a 500 point game. Good luck.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

High Gothic For Dummies #4

It's baaack! (High Gothic For Dummies...) Oh wait, no, paraphrasing the Sherlock Holmes musical is a no-go. Anyway, I've neglected this far too long and there's so much more to tell. Then again, I did clearly say it was an irregular series. Today's topic is Imperial Assassins.

As assassins were made up in Ye Earlie Dayes of 40k, they actually have clever Latin names for some temples.

Callidus: This means "skillful or crafty." Not surprising, as they go through the sneaky process of disguising themselves with drugs and then murdering people.

Culexus: I'm afraid this isn't a word. There is culex, meaning "gnat," but I fail to see the significance.

Vindicare: Back on track, this is a verb meaning many things, but it can mean "to avenge or to punish." Not quite sure what that has to with massive rifles mind, but I suppose they do punish their targets for...something. It could also mean "to claim." Claim a target? Who knows?

Eversor: "Destroyer." Considering the life of an Eversor is fight, fight, fight, explode, this is appropriate.

Venenum: It's not too surprising that this means "poison," is it?

Vanus: "Empty, unreliable, false," many meanings, same effect. Ironic considering that this is the intelligence gathering temple.

Exitus Rifle: "Departure, outcome." Not surprisingly, also a euphemism for death. So in effect it's really a Death Rifle.

Animus Speculum: "Spirit Mirror" or "Mind Mirror." Either way, it's a nice name for the Culexus weapon.

Tyranids Part 2 is still in the works, and another lost article too.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Lost RulesMan Articles: 40k without... Meltaguns?

When Bryssling inherited the Rules Manufactorum archive, I noticed that there were five posts in draft state. These articles were never completed, and date from different points in the site's history. These are those articles. All of them were originally written by Atrotos.

Recently a friend and I were talking about the validity of the idea that 5th edition, or the "Mech" Edition as it could be called, revolves around the Meltagun. Indeed, we agreed, the plethora of codices can be divided into the melta "have's" and "have not's" with the "have not's" typically being assigned a lower power level that the "have's." No surprise there. With most armies being able to field to 5 - 10 vehicles in a single list and certain  lists containing even more it's easy to see how, say, Daemons don't typically perform as well as IG. It follows that the Meltagun would be the go-to weapon of choice for everyone who can take it eclipsing any other special weapon choice an easy 9 times out of 10.

This got me thinking: what if the meltagun didn't exist? Would the game change for the better or for the worse?

Well one obvious result is that GW would sell out of Land Raider kits immediately. AV 14 would be spammed mercilessly on tables everywhere and those without access to AV 14 would be shafted since that armor value would replace Melta spam as the status quo. Though feeble against heavy armor Lascannons would likely become the Melta further widening the gap between Imperial and Xenos armies.

The up side would be that players could finally invest in heavy armor without fear that cheap meltacide units will vaporize it on turn 2. We might see armor storming around the table as it should with infantry in close support behind it rather than the meatshield "bubblewrap" that most tacticians favor. It would be a game more faithful to the background in which a Land Raider or a Leman Russ might really ruin a foot soldier's day rather than inspire self-satisfied grins.

There might also...

Yes, it ends there. There might also. However, I suspect that this was written pre-Dark Eldar. My own thoughts are as follows:

Although there might be a slight increase in AV14, I suspect Lance weaponry (and Blaster spam) would keep the Land Raider and Monolith in check. It might even improve the fortunes of the overpriced normal Eldar, with a specific army build, but it will mainly be the Dark Kin, with their access to cheap and plentiful Lance.

If the lascannon/missile launcher rise does happen, a rise in 'gunline' armies is also on the cards here. Players may even justify a Godhammer Land Raider as a LoS block for Devastators or similar, you never know.

That said, there is a second anomaly, Grey Knights. In a non-Henchman force, the go-to AT has to be either combat or the Psycannon-psybolt approach. A lot of GK forces wouldn't be affected by absence of melta, and because of their natural short range, gunline isn't as safe as you'd like. Plus, other players would be more inclined to take the riskier plasma weapon, and the autocannon is still knocking around. And then we have Necrons, and Entropic Strike. They're doing OK, are they not? It helps that they have the Eldritch Lance, the happy medium between melta and missile.

After some thought, my conclusion is that there wouldn't be any large-scale upheaval. With more non-melta competitive Xenos on the tables, and the trend-bucking Grey Knights, the melta-owners are gradually losing their grip and settling in with the rest of them. Now, if Orks, Tyranids et al get their own alternative, we may be approaching an even field.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Rules Repair: Flayed Ones

It's a universally known fact that Flayed Ones got hit hard. Their unique ability went, their 3+ save went, their initiative went, their fluff credibility went, they lost their wives and children, they were banned from feeding pigeons... the list is endless. But here at RulesMan-Bryssling, we (by which I mean 'I') believe in redemption. So here's my attempt.

What I want to do here is marry the old Flayed One to the new Necron. So I'm going to keep the 4+ save and I2. In fact, I won't change the statline at all. What I will do is one simple thing: bring Terrifying Visage back, and make it a little better. I'm also giving them Move Through Cover back to give them an extra niche over Praetorians/Lychguard. Throw in a few talon options, and we get this:

Necron Flayed One- 16 points per model
Same statline, same unit type, same unit number, same wargear

Special Rules: Reanimation, Infiltrate, Deep Strike, Move Through Cover, Terrifying Visage

Terrifying Visage: Units with at least one model in close combat with Flayed Ones must make a Leadership check at the start of each turn with a penalty of -1. If they fail, all attacks they make against the Flayed Ones hit on 6s regardless of Weapon Skill and special rules.

Options: The entire unit may take:
  • Canoptek Talons...+2 points per model
  • Disruption Field...+1 points per model
Canoptek Talons: A model with Canoptek Talons gains the Rending special rule.

Disruption Field: A model with a Disruption Field has the Entropic Strike special rule, however it will only be successful on a roll of 6.

Standard RulesMan open critique policy applies. Have at it.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Done Building Immortals!

I finally got round to building the other four Immortals, so here they are.

I've had to make some minor sacrifices in the posing process, but other than that they fit in well with my old metal Immortals.

For the most part I've kept the wiring, although I had to remove it on one model.

The original guy got the best pose, in my opinion. All this building has left me one unit short of a legal 750pt grey army, which depresses me, as I also still have to paint a bunch of DE Heavy Support, and I seem to have next to no free time at the minute.

Anyway, that's probably it for the Necron hobby at the minute. Next time, I'll reinforce that this is still RulesMan-Bryssling by improving the lacklustre Flayed One entry.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Immortals With Warrior Parts Tutorial

Hey. Since I'm going through a modelling phase, I'd like to get it all out of the way before I focus on other stuff. I'm just fickle that way. Today I'll show you how I made five Immortals with gauss blasters after I'd built my Deathmarks.


Ignore the blob of blu-tack, that's just an aid. The weird thing on the far right is the spine from a Warrior back that I cut out. That, the legs and the torso are Warrior parts, the rest Immortal parts. Not shown; a 25mm base. Because I'm sure you possess a degree of common sense. But in case you do not, have this list:

  • Immortal head
  • Immortal back body
  • Immortal gauss blaster and other arm
  • Warrior back body
  • Warrior torso
  • Warrior legs


To assemble the body, glue the two parts together as normal, using Green Stuff or something similar to plug the obvious side gaps. On the Warrior torso, you'll want to cut off most of the part below the neck part, but enough for the head to rest on, otherwise it won't fit well.

 For the spine, cut out the spine from the back Warrior torso with a knife (I used clippers, but that's because I have to, a knife would honestly be better). Then fit it into the gap on the Immortal back.

It's smaller than a conventional spine, but it works. You can now attach this to the legs, so I did that.

And that's pretty much all the legwork done. Simple, right? Now, assemble the rest of the Immortal as normal.

The end model is slightly bulkier than a Warrior and only about 1-2mm smaller than the Deathmarks I built earlier. So far I've built this guy and made the bodies for the other four. My next challenge is sculpting new shoulders for the Tesla Carbine guys I plan to make.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Magnetised Razorwing (I'm Busy For Once!)

I decided to do absolutely no work at all for the first week of my holidays, so I built a lot. First up is 'Scape's present, the Razorwing.

Oh, and as I promised, I got a new camera. The results are very noticeable.

Here it is with disintegrators. Very simple magnet job, although I cocked up a bit and now the right gun points down the way. Ah well. I also have an ingenious missile swap-out system.

What? It works really well. Why on earth should I have to faff around with magnets all the time? Still to come, Immortals, Deathmarks and a picture bat-rep.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Top Bryss Reviews the Necron Barge Kit

Tonight, Felix survives a week with no tea, 'Scape does a job, and I finally remove the last of the tinsel from my face...

I think you know the formula by now. Hello, and Top Bryss! Tonight, we're reviewing our second Necron kit, the Barge, a sort of sports version of the Ark people carrier. Let's see how I got on.

First impressions are good. The kit uses the new-ish GW gimmick of giving you a plastic HQ, which means that technically, using standard plastic blister price, you pay £8 for the Lord and £12.50 for his Barge. By normal GW standards, this is literally winning the lottery. In even better news, the kit can swap between configurations with no need to fiddle around with magnets, giving you two good units in one. That's like having a threesome with Keira Knightley and, err (searches the Clarkson archives), Cameron Diaz.

Unfortunately, unlike with threesomes, you first have to go through the laborious process of building the things. Now, by normal standards I despise building vehicles. Show me someone who plays an all-mech Imperial Guard army and I'll show you someone sick to the bone of tank tracks. All vehicle kits contain some annoying features, and this one is no exception. It took me literally hundreds of years to figure out how the weird bridgey thingies go on to both the crescent body and the 'shoulder pads.' And once again, like with the Ark, the Overlord's neck is a seperate component. Why? It wasn't hard to put the neck on the crew bodies, why is the leader so different?

Oh, and while we're on the subject of the crew, I found it awkward to insert them into where they go whilst simultaneously assembling the 500 layers that make up the platform. What was wrong with a simple socket approach? If I want to be frustrated whilst fitting odd shapes together, I'll play Tetris. The whole system feels like someone's Advanced Higher CAD project designed to be complicated just for more marks.

Anyway, with all that out the way all that was left was the weaponry, easy, the Lord, easy, and the flying stem, which isn't the excellent Dark Eldar design again. Damn. Was that ball and socket system just a one-night stand by GW? Please bring it back. I don't care if you found out it was actually a man, or already married, just get it back. Now. This basically means that I spend 80% of the time with this kit being annoyed. This isn't good.

But despite all this, I really like the look of the finished product. It's not a classic, but despite not taking a normal approach to beauty, it creates exactly the right impression, rather like America Ferrera. The twin crescent design makes it at its core Pac-Man, but flipped sideways, with guns. It hints at the design of the Scythes too, and makes me optimistic.

Essentially, what we have here is a fantastic exercise in tabletop practicality. But if you're competitive and therefore need three, I'd get someone else to build it for you.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

I'm back! And only one hour and seven-ish minutes into the new year. Hell, even got a new blogging camera.

Anyway, I used my absence wisely. I started Skyward Sword. I built the Razorwing and magnetised the wing weapons. I built Deathmarks and a Barge. Basically, I gave myself more work to do. And there seems to be something up with my 's' key...

I WILL reboot High Gothic and that soon. But first, a model review of the Barge kit. And then... who knows? This is RulesMan-Bryssling. Anything could happen.