Saturday, May 31, 2014

What Do You Want Out of a Game?

I've seen a lot of complaints lately about how 40k is too clunky and games take too long. Then I thought about what I want out of the game portion of the hobby and found I really enjoy the impracticality of it and may even want more minutiae.

Most people would concede 2nd edition was a skirmish game, but my friends and I tended to constantly upscale. This culminated in a massive 6,000 pt battle pitting my Eldar vs a friend's Space Marines.

He had the first turn and for the opening salvo unloaded his entire store of ammunition from his cyclone missile launcher at my Avatar and rolled a hit and misfire. The terminator blew himself up and all the models within 6" of him, leaving a gaping hole in the center of the Space Marine's lines. In that same game my striking scorpions spent most of the game attempting to douse the flames on two squad members that had survived a flamer attack, but apparently got splashed with fuel and panicked as they continued to burn, and when a dreadnought shot up my falcon the turret went flying off the hull and crushed his Librarian. The game took an entire weekend to play, and it was only four turns back then.

Those memories have stuck with me for nearly 20 years and I still make sure my models have helmets thanks to Virus Outbreak. That is why I don't mind the sprawling increase of rules and additional book keeping, as the game is really returning to its roots. It's trying to become the game I really wanted to play: skirmish level rules that feel too detailed and slow to scale to massive proportions, but you do it anyway, and the ridiculous moments are the ones that stick with you. There is great joy in remembering a model can throw a grenade at the right moment.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

7th Edition Video Battle Report Ulthwe Vs Grey Knights

I picked up the new edition on Saturday and got my first game in on Sunday.

At the time I edited the report FAQs were not yet released and after playing I assumed warlocks would probably not have access to Santic, and that's why it's noted in the video.  Now that the FAQ has come out they do indeed have access to it.

Some thoughts on 7th:

The mission was Deadlocked int he Maelstrom of War scenarios.  I really liked the cards aspect and felt that each turn they forced me to reassess the position of my units at the start of the turn and re-prioritize what objectives I was attempting to accomplish.  In this game I held my units back in order to accomplish objectives, rather than simply press my advantage and try to just table my opponent.  I would suggest allowing the missions to be secret in all scenarios as that ratcheted up the cat and mouse aspect of the game.  For instance I successfully baited my opponent off of an objective with Warp Spiders in order to get the points for having at least twice as many objectives as my opponent.

The psychic phase was interesting and fun, and in a 2000 pt game with a large number of psykers, having never played with the psychic phase before, the whole game took us 3 hours to play.

In regards to the Daemon Summoning, I actually don't think the *free additional units* from conjuring is that big a deal.  The mechanic existed with Necron Canoptyk spiders and Tyranid Tervigons and it really wasn't that big a deal, so I don't foresee it being an issue for long.

Changes I really like:

Psychic Focus, The revised Challenge System, Making pretty much everything scoring, D-str weapons, swooping FMCs cannot score and cannot charge the turn they switch from swooping to gliding - they have to suffer a round of shooting just like everyone else.  Vector Strike softened against ground units.

Changes that I don't like:
removing pinning to sniper rifles, smash reduced to a single attack. The proliferation of 2++ with rerolls - more on that later.

Changes that didn't happen, but I would have liked to have seen:
I would have liked to see charging through difficult terrain only drop initiative by 3.  I think that would have kept units that live and die based on striking first because they lack toughness able to use their speed to get in combat and strike first.

In regards to the 2++ rerollable:
GW has now opened up more ways to achieve the 2++ rerollable (Storm Shield TH termies + Sanctify psychic power + Priest or Eldrad + Santic + Fortune or Daemons + Cursed Earth or Forewarning + Grimoire, etc).  This can now be seen as nothing but clear intent to create Lord of War equivalent units for players that don't want to get a Lord of War.  That said, in Maelstrom of War missions those death stars aren't what win you the game.  They also, clearly, want to have D-Str increase because  it's your best chance at punching through that level of save.

Reviewing the Eldar Dex, and seeing how Death Mission can essentially be called "suicide" now (if you roll 1 or 2 on the D3 at the initial casting you're statistically generally going to die before your next turn because the psychic phase now means you're rolling 8 times before you get to cast again.  I, therefore, people consider these house rules:

Laser Lock: only twin links weapons fired at the same unit that was hit by the scatter laser.

WraithKnight: Gargantuan Creature (not Jump GC).  Close Combat Weapon is D Str for the Wraithknight.

Death Mission: Remove restriction from casting other powers caveat.  Remove Auto-casualty at the end of game caveat. Either change roll to a 4+ the end of each Player Turn or simply keep it at the end of each phase, but make the roll a 3+.

Serpent Shield: If damaged by Weapon Destroyed result it may no longer be fired off, but it still functions as a shield.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cards in Hand

With the revised edition I had a number of cards that were now outdated, so I decided to take on a small project I had been considering for some time.  Using some spare telepathy cards, a little quick and dirty photo shop editing and a laminator I crafted cards for veil, voice, and skein.

I'm happy with how they came out, they fit in the new case, and with Santic, malefic, divination, telepathy, battle, and fate the new box is pretty much perfectly filled. In the future I might make some for the Wraithseer as well because I think I could squeeze 3 more in there.

Since my initial writing I've gotten in my first game of 7th.  I filmed it and if the sound/image quality came out ok I'll be posting it as a battle report in the next couple days with some thoughts typed out.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I managed to complete another re-vamped flyer base today:

And I've made real progress in my second avenger squad, getting all the blue work done and then completing a basic Dire Avenger:

Projects are progressing all over the place and I'm over half way through the Valedor novel and it's quite good.

I'm anxious, but hopeful about 7th. With my heavy leanings towards psykers I'm excited to see what they can do on the table top, and if my fears about scaling are well warranted or not. I hope rumors that it will be possible to cast some powers on a 3+ Per warp charge rather than 4+ are true, as it may otherwise be very difficult to cast.

I the other thing that stuck in my head was that the hemlock could get free access to psychic shriek as the Primaris, which could be a substantial buff to that unit's anti infantry firepower.

All in all It's going to be a tough week waiting for the subtle game changes that when amassed have a huge difference in the way we play. Things like overkill in challenges will be a mixed blessing, and the same goes for the change to snapfire. Can't wait to try it all out, especially those mission cards.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Terrain... The Third Army

I've been slowly working on building my terrain for my new board and I finally broke down and purchased the citadel wood. Happily I think it looks quite good:

I even made sure that some of the large stones were painted bone to look like it was once an Eldar bit of terrain that the planet has taken back.  Painting it was a three night process, but if I had more time it's easy enough to do in one day.

It looks great and feels appropriately sized for the other models. I recommend it.