Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fourth War for Armageddon - Escape!

After the initial surprises and setbacks from attacks against better prepared than expected orks and surprise assaults from traitor forces, the Imperial forces fall back towards Hive Acheron to regroup.  Unfortunately their foes have cut off most avenues of retreat, and small forces try to punch through where they can.

This week we were playing the Ambush mission from the new rulebook, with a few modifications to fit the intention better (restrictions on value you get from deep strikers or flyers escaping).  I played against Cory's orks.  Given the mission I took an armored spearhead (command russ, other russ, hellhound, armored sentinel, two chimeras with infantry squads and a platoon commander).  Cory was also all mounted, with warboss in batlewagon with boyz and a big mek, and two trukks with more boyz.  Power Level 50.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fourth War for Armageddon, Day One

We started up our Fourth War for Armageddon campaign, with small (Power Level 25) games.  We played a modified Patrol mission, with the Imperial forces rolling out in clearing operations against resurgent Ork concentrations.  Along the way, many are ambushed by Chaos forces that have infiltrated on-world, as above.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

8th ed test games picture dump

Over the past few weeks, like many around the world, our shop has been shaken by a plethora of 40k 8th edition games as people try things out.

Above vs. Bjorn as part of an epic rampage by the primarch in a three way game, smashing through a number of Space Wolves and Alpha Legionnaires, making a knight run away and being a general terror before finally succumbing to mass fire. 

This week we start up a campaign on Armageddon, stay tuned! 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Initial 40K 8th edition impressions

I've played one game of the new 40K so far, ran an intro event and have seen parts of several games.  If you have seen a lot of videos or cruise forums regularly (I don't) I'm sure a lot of this may be old hat for you, but here's my initial take.

Is it fun?  Yes.  Like any edition of 40K or any game in general, it depends on who you play with.

Does it feel like 40K? Yes.  Things generally do the kind of things you expect them to.

Are there some odd things?  Yes.  With any abstraction there will be some things that some feel go too far that way, and some odd rules interactions.  Given that so far they have limited the rules interactions, there are less of those, but that usually seemed to be GW's rules-writing weakness anyways - rule A is fine, rule B is fine, but confusing when A and B both apply.

Impressions - again, some are likely old-hat if you've read a lot elsewhere, I doubt I'm the first, and consider my limited experience at this point.

  • Multi-wound models (like 2 or 3 wounds each) feel fragile for their cost.  Great against small arms fire, and potentially a chance against things like demolisher cannons that used to kill them outright, but the mid-power weapons that used to bounce off or plink away one wound now has them often taking worse saves and a good chance for multiple damage from one hit to kill htem outright.  Add in a variety of ways to take mortal wounds (which bypass all saves, including "invulnerable" ones) and expensive, well-armored units seem like a bigger risk.  
  • On the flip side, those well-armored guys are very hard to shift out of cover.  Small arms fire against marines in cover faces getting through effectively a 2+ save.  Before depending on what you were fighting, well-armored units could consider cover an afterthought, but now it can benefit them greatly.  You want to use heavier weapons to dig well protected units out of cover, which does feel appropriate.
  • Things have a lot of shots, but that can be deceptive.  With twin-linking giving double the old shots, being able to fire multiple weapons even if you moved, etc. there are probably more shots heading downrange than ever before.  However for some units that comes with a price - if you're using Heavy weapons, in many cases you don't ignore that -1 penalty for moving and shooting it, so those marines are hitting on 4s, guard on 5s.  I think it can be easy to overestimate the effectiveness of mobile firepower (of course some units and weapons ignore that penalty).
  • Hordes seem to be a thing.  At least with the games I've seen, it seems hard to thin them out quickly, and there are currently a number of mechanical bonuses that encourage larger units, like for ork boyz and some tyranid units, where they get bonuses with 20+ models.  With some missions having control of objectives based on number of models within range of the target, that's another benefit for the living carpet.
  • Deep strike, etc. is very reliable, but also gives less benefit without additional boosts like Warptime letting them get closer.  There is less risk, but less opportunity to take a risk in hopes of a reward.  With the general 9" away rule, a few spread out units can deny a huge area.
  • Flamers are great on overwatch, but not if you charge from over 8" away (or outside of whatever the auto-hit weapon's range is).  Of course less likely to make the charge, but one possible way of getting stuck in with those multiple flamer units.
  • Vehicles seem pretty survivable compared to before, with a lot less worry (at least for those that start over 6 wounds) about a one-shot kill.  Facing them, you definitely need to focus if you want to bring them down.
  • Terrain - while the very basic rules has terrain all working effectively the same, the more advanced rules and types of games can have different things working differently (Cityfight, etc.).  Be sure to review that and discuss with your opponent.
  • No cover from other units, both friendly and enemy.  Can still block LOS, but no getting cover for your tanks from an infantry screen, etc.
  • Everything overwatches, including tanks.  Watch out for that Russ with three heavy flamers.
  • Can move out of combat, but can't move through other models, so possible to get surrounded/surround the enemy and trap them.
  • Characters charging into combat seems difficult.  Since you're not attached to a unit, you don't charge with them.  Seems like either the unit is in front and charges first, then character tries, but a) starts further away and b) may not have a clear path anymore with friendly unit in the way so may be left alone in the open to get shot next turn, or character is in front and risks getting shot up, and risks making the charge while friendly unit fails it, leaving him fighting alone.
  • LOS from vehicles, firing arcs etc. are gone.  So your sponsons can see through to the other side, etc.  This opens up some conversion/counts as opportunities while staying WYSIWYG without messing with rules, like making a Leman Russ with battlecannon in the hull and a turret with three heavy bolters.  Chaos and Ork players especially take note.
  • Focus attention.  Aside from the horde bonuses mentioned earlier, it can be worthwhile making sure a larger model gets taken down a step in effectiveness, or enough wounds are done to a unit to give it a more serious morale check.  
  • Hit modifiers seem to work poorly with things like overcharged plasma weapons.  Modifiers are done to the actual die roll, not the target, so it looks like an overcharged plasma cannon shooting after moving that has a -1 to hit will kill itself on a roll of 1 or 2.  Add in that it's per shot, and that plasma cannon that does d3 shots is likely to die if overcharging.  So think very hard about overcharging plasma while shooting flyers or other things that give you a to hit penalty.
Overall I've enjoyed it so far, and look forward to more games and trying out more missions.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Preceptors of Vertex

Enter the Preceptors of Vertex!  With 8th edition 40K on the way, I have been working on a force that I wouldn't mind leaving at the game store for others to use to try out the game or use while they are building their own armies.  Using old Space Rangers as Space Marines and some old foam vehicles a friend of mine carved years ago.  I went with yellow and brown as their main colors mostly because those would work well with the wood stain shading I planned on using.  Dirty urban ruin bases to fit in with a lot of the ruined buildings we have at the store.

Once the rules are in-hand, I will sort out some forces at various point and power levels and leave those as well with some sheets on the unit stats.

I had started them before a lot of the info dribbles started coming out.  They are big enough to probably pass for Primaris marines, so I may go ahead and also see how they could be arranged as Primaris.  I may need to paint up a second HQ as well to fit them all into one of the the new force orgs.

We have so far:
Captain with plasma pistol and power sword
2x10 man tacticals with plasma gun and lascannon, sgt with plasma pistol and power sword
4x5 man tacticals with plasma gun, sgt with plasma pistol and power sword
5 man devastator squad with four lascannons,  sgt with plasma pistol and power sword

Thursday, May 18, 2017

We have met the enemy and he is primarus

So these guys are coming.  Upgraded Space Marines, bigger, better, with better gear.

From a background standpoint, this is a huge can of worms being opened.  Some of the worms I can see resolved more easily than others.

Developed in secret for 10,000 years?  I can maybe see that with the AdMech.  Perhaps Guilliman made Cawl program himself to not reveal the project until Guilliman told him to, and then G goes into stasis for a few millenia.  Oops.

How will the other Space Marines react to being the old model?  I wonder how many remember stories about the Thunder Warriors. I would expect for there to be significant friction between these new marines that are added to existing chapters and between older chapters and these new Primaris foundings.  This could be an opportunity for a lot of interesting storytelling as the Grimdark reasserts itself, but I doubt they will go down that route.

New foundings of Primaris Marines.  How exactly does that work?  A whole unit of rookies?  When they found chapters, don't they bring in leaders from other chapters to run the show for the first generation at least?  Are they going to have old marine chapter masters, captains, chaplains and such and Primaris line troopers?  Or somehow enough of the Primaris have distinguished themselves enough to immediately go to leadership roles, even without experience?  Again, could be fertile ground for stories, as the theoretically elite run into problems with a lack of practical experience to draw on.

Logistically, it seems like a nightmare.  Different armor that all the old chapter serfs and techmarines don't have experience with, weapons that will require different maintenance and ammo, troopers that may have radically different physiology that Apothecaries will have to adapt to.  Will they need different drop pods, transports, etc.? Why not just take all this effort spent on this project and just make a few hundred extra chapters of old marines instead?  Or why not just give all marines the new bolt rifles?  There are bound to be logistic chokepoints and problems.  To an extent this feels like some of the 1980s toy/tv show combos - manufacturer is coming out with new toy, you guys figure out how to feature it in the show.  Yeah, I know the other guys are robot cars and these are robot dinosaurs.  Make it work.

Chaos.  So, Guilliman broke the legions into chapters to limit the power available to any one commander, then forms chapters that are more powerful than the old ones.  And at some point, someone will say the Primaris aren't bound by the Codex restrictions on size.  Some of these guys are bound to start falling to Chaos, creating problems for the Imperium, and another layer of narrative issues as super-renegades start muscling their way around in heretic circles.

Speaking of Chaos, this really makes Fabius Bile look like a chump.  He's been struggling to make better marines all this time, while Cawl had done it already and was just waiting to pull them out of the drawer.  And other experiments like the Cursed Founding went on to disaster while Cawl already had succeeded?  Or perhaps that will be retconned into being part of Cawl's project, with the final perfecting of the process happening afterwards?

I could see them doing a lot with these guys that could be interesting, but I doubt it will happen.  Of course they could surprise me and explore these things or handle them in a different way that works.  It's still early, we have just had a brief reveal, as more comes out some of the holes may fill in. 

Despite all of my trepidations narratively...gosh those guys look nice.  And with heads and pads being the same size, they could be beakies, or altered with a multitude of alternative heads and pads, both GW and from other companies.  I look forward to seeing the primaris versions of assault marines and other things.  I'm tempted to start a force of primaris, one of these brave new chapters in a Second Great Crusade.  I expect to become part of the "problem".

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

7th ed wind-down. Space Sharks vs. Blood Angels, terrain and primarch

A few weekends ago I had a little fight with Sam's Blood Angels, 1250pts, one objective each side plus secondaries.  We were playing in the store's new location, and I was going to have a car full of terrain we were bringing back, so took a compact force of terminators and a jump pack squad run as Vanguard vets. Sam had a mechanized force - termies and characters in Redeemer, predator and two tacs in rhinos.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Vraks: A Farewell to Templates

Today Scott came over with his Death Korps of Krieg and we played a 2500pt a side Vraks slugfest, partly as a farewell to 7th edition.  And man, it's good that blast markers are going away in 8th edition because I think we wore ours out in this battle!

We had been working our way through the actual Imperial Armour 5-7 missions, originally intending to play through the whole Vraks campaign, but that fell by the wayside after the first 3 (?) scenarios.  Instead we went with this, with his DKoK against my renegades, represented by my Scythiak Usurpation and assisted by sonofsonsoftaurus commanding my Steel Legion/Merkan 76th figures towards the top of this pic (chaos right flank) (renegades using regular IG rules).  With the Death Korps loaded down with artillery pieces, our only hope was to swarm across no man's land as fast as we could and close with the guns.  The whistles blew and we were off!

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