All posts by gribblin

Firefly – The Board Game


Though it has been out since 2013 the Floating Citadel’s first encounter of this board game was at Salute 2015.  We got to play a demo game and we loved it, so much so that two of our members purchased a copy that day.  Since then a number of us, along with a few other regular gaming buddies have played it several times and we’re starting to get a real feel for the game…even if Servitob happens to have an uncanny ability to win every game…guess he’s just better at the whole smuggling thing 😉


firefly_board_game1The premise of the game of the game is that each of the players gets one firefly class ship with a captain and spends their time doing jobs, salvaging wrecks and avoiding the reavers.  There are a number of missions that you can choose from to set the scene for the game.  The default one is to get ‘solid’ with two of the five contacts (people you get jobs from – Badger, Patience, Niska etc.), then make 6000 credits and then give that to Niska so you can buy your ship.  Jobs can be legal or illegal and come in a variety of flavours from simply cargo/passenger carrying from planet A to planet B to train robberies and bank hold ups.  Money can be spent on ship upgrades and crew that will make completing these jobs easier (and all the characters from the show are in there).  Sounds simple enough doesn’t it…except for the fuzz and the Reavers.

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Above is our group playing a game recently.

In the centre of the board is Alliance Space with an Alliance Cruiser patrolling and if it lands on you, your firefly will be subject to a customs inspection and any contraband or fugitives may be confiscated which can really screw you over when you’re about to drop said contraband off at your destination…

It gets even worse if you’re in the outer systems where the Reavers roam as if they catch you not only will you loose your passengers but also a good number of your crew too.  Both help keep the game interesting…

“Define interesting” – Mal, “Oh God, oh God we’re all going to die” – Wash

The game works on a turn based system, but can have two players working out their turn at the same time, with a a dinosaur token indicating who is controlling play at that moment.  This allows one player to move their ship whilst another player shops or looks at potential jobs.  This has the great advantage of speeding up play.

Picking up jobs or buying stuff is pretty self explanatory: you can look through 3 and choose 2.  Jobs are active when you start them and upgrades, crew and items are bought and paid for.  An interesting point is that your crew have to get paid after of each job you do and if you don’t pay them they get disgruntled allowing another player to buy them if they land on the same space.  If they gain a second disgruntled token then that crew member will abandon ship, so keep your crew happy by paying them.  You can of course give them money to spend on shore leave when you get to a planet.

The interesting part of the game comes in moving.  You can choose to mosey (move 1 space safely) or spend fuel to do a full burn.  If you do a full burn you turn over a movement card for each space you move.  There are two decks; blue for use in Alliance space and red for when you’re in the outer systems.  This adds a good degree of randomness as you may have an uneventful journey sailing into the black, get stopped for customs inspections, savage opportunities, break downs etc.  There are also cards to move the Alliance cruiser or Reaver ship or worse case they turn up on your square immediately allowing both other players and card randomness to screw you over.

“Ah curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal” – Stegosaurus (yeah if you’re not getting the quotes I encourage you to watch the show…hell I encourage you to watch the show anyway).

The game has a high level of replay-ability, despite that fact that Servitob seems to win a lot.  The randomness of the movement cards and the large number of jobs means that each game won’t be the same.  If you’re a fan of the show and a decent board game I recommend giving it a go.  It should take about 2 hours depending upon the number of players (1-5).

“I’m Back Baby!”


Well after an extended period of absence I’m back!  I’ve been looking at my history of blog posting for the floating citadel…and it’s been over a year since I last graced its battlements.  Why my disappearance?  Well it started with us going through a dry spell of gaming, then I kind of got board with GW stuff (do I really have to explain why?) and despite the odd gaming day along with plenty of evenings as both myself and Servitob have joined up with a local RPG & board gaming group I’ve realised it has been a while since I wrote here.  It’s not like I’ve been lazy and in a shameless plug I’ve been working on my own blog site; geogeek1726.wordpress.com, where I talk about none gaming stuff (yes I really do have a life beyond the tabletop); science & geography, the world, where I’ve been and some of my pictures that I feel like showing off.   So go check it out 😉

As for my gaming life I think it’s about time I started writing again.  So to start off with here’s a few pictures from Salute.  We went as a group (minus 1 who hadn’t earned enough points to get out of a wedding).  I thought I’d taken more than this, but I’ve noticed that all of them were around the Hawk Wargames stand…ooops lol.

Last year they had an almost finished model star ship that was totally done this year.

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They’ve also done some preview models for the new space-based game that should be released late 2015/early 2016.

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Sorry the picture isn’t up to my regular standards.  There were also examples of the concept art for some upcoming models – mostly new infantry models.

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Well that’s it for my return the Floating Citadel.  I shall endeavor to blog more often as I game regularly.

Tyranid Army, 2000 points


Sorry It’s taken me this long to post this one up folks, had a chaotic week.  As ZombiePirate has already written his list up, I shall add mine.  I went for a horde list with the idea of including as many of the new models as possible, it is however a little light on upgrades.  So here we go.

  • Hive Tyrant: Wings, Bonesword & Lash Whip, twin-linked Devourers, Electroshock Grubs.
  • 3 Tyranid Warriors: 2 Deathspitters, 1 Venomcannon.
  • 3 Tyranid Warriors: 2 Devourers, 1 Barbed Strangler.
  • 25 Termagants (x3 units): Fleshborers.
  • 1 Broodlord & 5 Genestealers: Rending Claws.
  • 2 Lictors: Scything Talons, Rending Claws, Flesh Hooks.
  • 2 Venomthropes: Lash Whips, Toxic Miasma.
  • Haruspex: Grasping Tongue, Crushing Claws, Acid Blood, Adrenal Glands.
  • Red Terror & 4 Raveners: Scything Talons, Rending Claws (Raveners only), Prehensile Pincer (Red Terror only).
  • Hive Crone: Drool Cannon, Four Tentaclids, Scything Talons.
  • Carnifex: Scything Talons, H. Venom Cannon.
  • 2 Biovores: Spore Mine Launcher.
  • Mawloc: Prehensile Pincer.

As I said it was a little light on upgrades.  Other than the Tyrant all I added was a set of adrenal glands for the Haruspex, ‘heavy’ weapons for the Warriors & Carnifex, rending claws for the Raveners and a prehensile pincer for the Mawloc.  Despite my earlier posts talking about the upgrades, I wanted to go for cheap & cheerful.  One of the problems I have when playing Tyranids is that I tend to go into autopilot mode of advancing as fast as I can without any real thought into what I am doing.  So here’s the plan;

Tyrant & Crone fly around causing all sorts of problems, the Crone waiting for the Chaos Helldrake, whilst the Tyrant attacks targets of opportunity.  The Warriors & Termagants advance under the protection of the Venomthropes (3+ cover saves for the Warriors) with the Carnifex & Biovores providing fire support.  The Raverners & Haruspex advance in support of each other to reach the enemy battle line quickly.  The Broodlord & his retinue will use the Horror power to suppress the enemy shooting and assault when ready.  The Lictors are a bit of a gamble.  I’ve always loved the image of the Lictor, but they proved useless in the last edition so I’m hoping that not having to Deep Strike them will help, and my plan is to use them to drop the Mawloc onto something, say a quad-cannon.

Tyranid Tactica Part 3 – Underpowered?


TyranidWell I’m coming to the end of my rant, though I may end up breaking this part into 2.  “No more please! I can’t take anymore Tyranids!”  Well tough, the moaning on forums got me on my soap box and I’ve got to get it all out of my system.

“The Tyranids are under powered and will suffer in tournaments”  Their performance in tournaments is something that will be seen in due coarse, and will be dependent upon more factors than just the army list; what units you have taken, how you deploy and play and ultimately how you roll your dice.  Lets face it, you can pick the perfect army and use your best tactics but if you keep rolling 1s you’re screwed.  That’s all I’m going to say about their future tournament performance.

As for the under powered that’ll take a lot longer to look in to, so prepare yourself for another yarn of biblical proportions.

Let me start with this.  If you want an army in which you can choose a handful of high-powered units, wait until the time is right and then lay down a hammer blow in an almighty alpha strike…then the Tyranids ARE NOT FOR YOU.  If this is how you want to play then I suggest you go for a Marine, Eldar or Tau army.  I can understand why this style of game play has come to dominate not just the tournament scene but ‘friendly’ games too.  There are plenty of lists on the net so you don’t have to put a lot of thought into it, somebody else has already done that part for you.  You could argue that this is just being a little lazy, but from another perspective if that list works then it works, why change it?  Another factor will be cost and effort.  GW’s stuff is expensive so if you can get a winning army for less then you’ve saved some cash, and a smaller army is quicker to paint and thus easier to get ready.  The problem is that the Tyranids don’t fall into this style of play, and I think this might be why some people see them as under powered.  They are at heart a horde army, not an elite alpha-strike army, they lack the instant death, hard-hitting units that’ll kill everything in a turn.

“What about the Nidzilla list?!”   I hear you cry.  Well I don’t see this as much more than a novelty list.  It has serious limitations.  First of all there wont be many units in the army, and thus not many models, and more importantly not many wounds.  Monsters are tough but not indestructible, there are plenty of krak missiles and dark lances out there and some enemy units will nigh drop a monster in a single round of shooting.  Plus there’s the factor of target numbers (I’ll speak more of that later).  In melee they wont do as well as you’d think.  Each monster only has 3-6 attacks, so how are you going to cut through an Ork horde? And then more dangerously are the Assault Terminators that your enemy will have taken.  With 3+ Invulnerable saves, you’ll be lucky if your monster kills 2 Terminators, then they have 3 left to retaliate back, more than enough to kill your creature.  My final advice against Nidzilla is that many games (again I’m sticking to the basic scenarios in the rulebook) will be won by controlling objectives…well in most cases they can’t do that.

So you can’t really do a good elite strike force.  What other weaknesses does the Tyranid Codex bring?  Well Instinctive Behaviour isn’t that big an issue (see part 1) and the psychic powers aren’t weak like people are saying (see part 2).  For real weaknesses they do have a limited amount of long ranged weapons.  You only have 2 weapons with a range beyond 36″.  Your ‘heavy’ weapons tend to have a range of 36″ with most of your Infantry weapons being 12-18″.  I have found this to only really be an issue with Dark Eldar and their rather annoying Nightshields…reducing weapon ranges by 6″ is a pain.  They don’t have a lot of AP2/3 weapons.  This has been improved in this codex with 2 new AP 2 weapons, one of which is a Str 7 Large Blast.  That’s a dead unit of Marines.  They don’t have 3+ saves beyond the Monsters & characters, but they’re not Marines so why should they?

I can understand that the Tyranids not having Fortifications or Allies can be seen as a restriction, especially if you rely on the extra HQ, Elite etc slots in your army to make an alpha strike.  But they didn’t have that before the new codex, so it’s not a new restriction and fits perfectly with the Tyranid background.  You must adapt your play style to what you’ve have got.  If players are bring in allies so they can have a 4th elite, fast attack & heavy support, then they are not spending the points on Troops, which means you can control more objectives.  Remember that in most cases you will only need to control one more than them to win.

Strengths of the Tyranids

Hopefully the past 2 posts and the above have helped to show that the new Tyranid codex isn’t as weak as people are making out.  Most of what is being said seems to be by people who have either not read the codex properly or want to play Tyranids as if they were Space Marines.  They are not Marines, accept it!  So what are their strengths?

Bodies over bullets.  This is a common theme for Tyranids and now that most of the units have had a points drop this principle is even more important.  Don’t just think about how many models you can have in an army, but more importantly how many units you can field.  The more units you can field, the more targets your enemy has to deal with.  Target saturation is the key.  They can’t shoot everything so your opponent will have to think really hard about target priority.  You can make this even harder for them by having multiple redundancies built in.  So even if they kill one of that unit, you still have another.  The extreme example would be that you can get 6 units of 30 Termagants for 720pts.  That’s 180 models, and in a 2000 point army you still have 1280pts for other stuff.  Even if you don’t have that many Termagants it is so easy to get 6 Troops units, and a Tervigon will only enhance this.  Think about long term goals, that’s 6 objectives you can control, plus more with a Tervigon, and you still have plenty of points to spare.

A side note to this is cover saves.  This is how you get over the lack of 2+ saves or Invulnerables.  Gaunts provide a 5+ save to Warriors, Warriors do so for Monsters etc.  Throw in a Venomthrope and you’ve got a 3+ cover save.  As for the gaunts at the front…they’re 4 points each and you have 100+ of them, who cares if they die?  Also with a synapse creature around they’ll all be Fearless…who else has 4pts Fearless units with a Str 4 gun?

My advice then would be to try your best to max out your unit slots.

Shooting.  Tyranids might have short ranged shooting but it’s devastating.  They’ve gained 3 haywire weapons, one of with is a flamer template and can be used by a Tyrant (winged perhaps).  Their firepower is generally short-medium ranged, but there are a lot of shots.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the guns they have.  If it’s in the hands of anything larger than a Termagant then it’s either multiple shots, blast, large blast or template.  There has been an increase in the number of AP2 weapons.  You might not always want to assault with Tyranids, their medium-short ranged firepower is nasty.  One gun even has 20 shots.  Your close combat Trygon Prime comes with 12 Str 5 shots.  None of this has gone down since the previous codex, and if anyone hasn’t noticed the venom cannons no longer suffer a negative penalty against vehicles…the first time ever.  Still think their weak?  The only real weakness to this firepower is the Dark Eldar Nightshields as this can reduce many of your weapons to 12-18″.  Oh and did I mention they’re all Assault weapons, even the artillery, so no worries about moving & shooting.

No Vehicles.  How is that a benefit?  It’ll take 4 Railgun shots to down a Carnifex, yet a Land Raider can be taken out with just one.  This is counterbalanced by their susceptibility to small arms fire, but most of that will only wound your monsters on  a 6 and you’ll get your 3+ save, and besides you’ll have a mass of Gaunts between your monster and those Bolters.  A more important bonus of monster over machine is that they all count as denial units, every single one of them.  This includes those that are flying.  There is nothing I’ve found in the rules or FAQs to address this, meaning your Winged Tyrant in swoop mode will still be able to count as a denial unit (feel free to correct me if you’ve found it).  This will probably be addressed in time, but if so you can still drop it into glide mode.  Remember in most games you’ll only have to control 1 more objective than your opponent to win.

Multi-wound Creatures.  When 6th Edition first came out I did an article on how units of multi-wound creatures can ‘play the system’ of wounds allocation.  As wounds from shooting have to be allocated to the nearest model to the shooter, when your models have taken wounds you can reposition them in your next movement phase as you move your unit, placing them deeper in the unit leaving the unwounded ones in the front.  It’s not like Fantasy where you have to apply all wounds to a single model until it is dead.  If it is not the nearest model, then it wont take wounds until the nearest model is dead.  This way you can take wounds across the whole unit without loosing a single model.  When it comes to melee with units that can instant death them, make sure your models with 1 wound left are near the front.  They’ll have to take the wounds first (as they’re the nearest), but the Instant Death wont mean much as they’ll only have 1 wound left anyway.

Well the past 3 articles are my thoughts on the why I think the Tyranids are not as underpowered as people have been saying.  It all depends upon how you play them and what style of play you favour.  Remember they are a horde army, so the tactics you and your gaming buddies like to use when playing Marines or Tau wont work with them, so be creative and do something new.  Enjoy playing with the new Tyranids.

Tyranid Tactica Part 2


downloadSo here comes part 2 of my don’t moan about the new Tyranid Codex rant.  I haven’t been this active on the blog for a long time.  I’ll try not to be to harsh on the complainers and to justify my comments.  So lets go for the next complaint.

“We don’t have Biomancy anymore and the Powers of the Hive Mind are crap”  OK I’ll give people that one.  The Biomancy list worked really well for the Tyranids and its loss will be felt by many.  I will however say that if your army or battleplan is based upon the randomness of psychic powers then you might want to reconsider how you play, even more so as the Biomancy has gone.  Psychic powers are very useful, but fickle (not as much as magic in Fantasy) but the only armies that can really build a power base around it are Eldar, Grey Knights and Tzeentch.  The Tyranids can have a lot of psychic punch with Hive Tyrants and Zoanthropes being Mastery 2 and the Tervigons and Broodlords being Mastery Level 1.  Let’s have a closer look at the Hive Mind Powers and how they can best be used.  Bear in mind that all of your Psykers are LD 10 and shouldn’t have too many problems passing tests.

Dominion (Primaris Power): My last post was a rather long rant about Instinctive Behaviour as so many people seem to think that it has ruined their army.  So guess what the first Tyranid Power does…increases your Synapse range by 6″.  So for those of you still thinking that your army wont work consider this.  Take one Hive Tyrant, give it wings and the Norn Crown; your synapse range is now 18″ standard.  Choose Dominion as one of your powers that increases it to 24″ for the sake of a Psychic Test.  Now if you’re lucky you might get Synaptic Lynchpin as your Warlord Trait.  This gives you a 60″ diameter synapse bubble with your Tyrant in the middle.  Still worried about Instinctive Behaviour?  With that kind of range you shouldn’t have any problems and the fact that he’s flying will make him hard to take down.

Catalyst: I know it’s different to Biomancy’s Endurance, but you can’t seriously complain about your Hive Tyrant and his Tyrant Guard buddies getting Feel No Pain can you?  Especially when you consider that you’ll have put him behind a screen of Termagants and a Venomthrope will be near by for that 3+ cover save.  In addition to him getting it, so does another Tyranid unit within 12″…a little short ranged…well maybe, but remember your Tyrant is going to in the middle of it, so it probably wont matter.  Another thought would be that you can use it give a Winged Tyrant and a nearby Crone Feel No Pain.

The Horror: Causes an enemy unit to take a pinning test at -2 LD.  Not very useful at first glance, but here’s a tactic to consider.  Broodlords get it automatically…and they have Infiltrate.  Move him close (well 24″ close) and get him to suppress an enemy shootie unit.  Most will be taking the test on LD6 at best, reducing the enemy’s firepower significantly and also giving the Genestealers a ranged threat.  As it is not a psychic shooting attack you can still charge a different unit.  Two in one.

Onslaught: Perhaps the least useful of the powers.  Though it will allow an assault unit (say a Trygon, Carnifex or Raveners) to ‘do the Eldar thing’ and Run & Shoot.  My inclination would be to choose this one as the switch for Dominion.

Paroxysm: Better than in the previous codex as its range has been increased to 24″.  Instead of dropping the WS and BS to 1 it decreases by D3.  This means that if you roll high a unit with average WS & BS (say Imperial Guard) will see it dropped to 1, poor shooting.  Even if you do roll not so well having WS 2 Terminators just as you’re about to assault them can only be a good thing.

Psychic Scream: Range is now a permanent 6″ instead of the random 2D6″ from the last edition.  Not such a biggie, you could have rolled you could have rolled 2 so a set range is good.  It will hit all enemy units in range (same as before) but here’s the difference.  Instead of taking a LD test you roll 2D6+2 and subtract their LD.  No armour or cover saves allowed.  This is basically the banshee howl from fantasy, only better.  Think of the possibilities…a winged Tyrant right in the middle of the enemy…oh and combine this with the -3 LD from Shadow in the Warp and you can pretty much kiss any Psykers in range goodbye.  So long Seer Council, nice knowing you Grey Knights.  Yes I do realise you get a Deny the Witch roll, but it’s still good.

Warp Blast: Same as before really.  Warp charge 2 though, so your Tyrant & Zoanthropes are the only ones that can use it, and they wont be doing any other powers.  Nice AP 3 blast to kill Marines or a Str 10 lance for tank hunting.  Zoanthropes still fulfill their old role.  As for the Tyrant nice to have another shot…and here’s another option; Winged Tyrant plus Str 10 Warp Lance equals one hell of an air hunter.

Conclusions: Consider combinations of these powers.  Take two Broodlords, that’s two suppressed units, plus a potential Paroxysm for a third.  Three enemy units that wont be hitting much in their next shooting phase.  Enjoy that Tau gunline.  So next point.

“The Warlord Traits are useless”  I can understand this comment.  The Tyranid Traits are up against some stiff competition, especially from the Personal Traits, most of which would work really well with a Tyrant & Guard.

Nature’s Bane: A bit of a mixed blessing I think.  First of all it will depend upon how much forest terrain is on the table.  Usually there is at least one or two.  Turning it into a Carnivorous Jungle will force your opponent to have to vacate an area (and thus any objectives they were holding) or start taking hits.  OK so Marines won’t worry to much, but for armies that rely on terrain it could be a pain…unfortunately this also includes you as the Tyranid player…use carefully.

Heightened Senses: So Night Vision for your Warlord and all friendly units in 12″.  Not much good for most of the game, but think about the first turn.  Deploy your shooting units next your Warlord and have at it in first turn whilst your enemy can’t retaliate.  Unless you’re fighting Tau or Dark Eldar think of this as a turn you can shoot at him and he can’t shoot back as well.  Night is your friend as a Tyranid player.

Synaptic Lynchpin: I think I’ve already covered this and its potential combination with Dominion and the Norn Crown.

Mind Eater: So you gain 2 extra VP for every Independent Character you kill in a challenge.  Nice way to gain VP, but how can you pick your targets?  My first thoughts would be a Winged Tyrant flying around picking off characters at will.  Kitted out right it should take on most comers.

Digestive Denial: Knocking down a terrain’s cover save by 1, mildly inconvenient, but not exactly a big deal.  So many armies come with 3+ saves.  Other stuff will suffer, especially considering how many blasts the Tyranid army can throw out, but it’s only one piece.

Adaptive Biology: So when your Warlord suffers his first wound you gain Feel No Pain…on a Tyrant.  Thing I mentioned the advantage of that earlier, but it only kicks in after your first wound.

Conclusions:  On the whole I think the detractors are right.  The Tyranid Traits are a little weak, especially when the Personal traits give you so much more.  The Heightened Senses, Synaptic Lynchpin and Mind Eater are probably the best, with the others being not that much use (remember that you still have to suffer a wound for Adaptive Biology to work).

Well that’s my take on the Psychic Powers and Warlord Traits.

Tyranid Tactica (6th Edition) Part 1


m3700225a_60030106005_2014TyranidCodexENG01_873x627Since the Tyranid codex was released week ago I’ve read a number of forum posts on the new army and there have been a few things that I have noticed.

  1. The general conclusion is that the codex is awful and has left the Tyranids woefully underpowered
  2. The are no all powerful units (yes I know this is similar to point 1)
  3. It will do really badly in tournaments
  4. People really are moaning about it

Most of my comments will be based upon the standard 40K rulebook and the Tyranid codex as it currently stands, no extra add ons.  What I am about to write in this post will likely have some people up in arms, but what’s a blog site without a little controversy.  My first comment is that people should read the codex properly and see how it connects to the main rules (I understand the irony if I get something wrong from this point on lol).  To give you an example I’ve read someone moaning that the shootie Hive Guard unit has Instinctive Behaviour (Feed) meaning it would be useless if it fails the test, well wrong they have Hunt so they will still shoot.  This leads me into my first rebuttal.

“Instinctive Behaviour will ruin my army as everything will eat each other.  It will mean I need lots of Synapse Creatures.”  Welcome to the Tyranid army.  Synapse Creatures have been a strength and weakness of Tyranids since the 2nd edition.  Their presence makes your units fearless, but that also means that they are target number 1 on your enemy’s hit list because they know that your units will be less effective.  That is what they have always been like, live with it.  Instinctive Behaviour isn’t as bad as people make out.  First you have to fail a leadership test for anything bad to happen.  OK your Gaunts and Raveners are LD6 but the rest is 7, 8 even 10.  Average to really good LD values.  If you pass they will act normally, it’s only if you fail that there is a 50/50 chance of something bad happening.

So what are the Instinctive Behaviour results?  Lurk; 1-3 the unit falls back, 4-5 unit moves/runs as normal but can’t shoot unless it is area terrain, 6 same as 4-5 but you gain Stealth.  Hunt; 1-3 unit goes to ground, 4-5 unit can’t run but shoots at the nearest viable enemy unit, 6 same as 4-5 but you gain Preferred enemy.  Feed – 1-3 unit takes 1 hit for each model in the unit at the majority strength with AP – , 4-5 moves normally, but can’t run or shoot and must assault the nearest viable enemy unit, 6 same as 4-5 but gains Rage.  So Lurk, OK so the fall back move is inconvenient but hardly a game breaker and as for the rest well unless you’re playing on empty battlefield that isn’t really an issue.  Who has Lurk? Termagants, Lictors and Venomthropes.  Lictors are LD 10 and not likely to fail the test, Venomthropes you take to sit in the middle of your army giving everything a cover save and can’t shoot anyway and Termagants are designed to be expendable and come in large numbers, so who cares if they sit in cover on an objective waiting for the enemy to come to them?  Who has Hunt? well generally your shooting units; Hive Guard, Gargoyles, Harpy, Biovores, Exocrines & Tyrannofexes.  The snap shots only part of Going to Ground will be a bit of a pain I admit, but most of those units will still be able to shoot, and you weren’t planning on assaulting with them anyway were you?  As for the other results, except for the Biovores and Tyrannofexes were you really planning on shooting anything other than the nearest enemy unit?  The Harpy is LD 10 so you should pass that and Hive Guard, Exocrine & Tyrannofex are LD 7 or 8 good chances.  Gargoyles are fast and will likely be next to be within range of the unit they want to shoot at anyway, so it’s only really the Biovores that will suffer, and so they have to shoot at the nearest enemy? big deal.  All that is left is Feed.  So who has Feed?  Tyrant Guard, Hormagaunts, Rippers (Sky-slashers), Haruspex, Pyrovores, Raveners, Hive Crone, Carnifex, Trygon & Mawloc, in other words, your close-combat stuff.  Unless it gets killed in a challenge the Tyrant Guard will die before the Tyrant so Feed is no problem for them.  The Haruspex, Hive Crones, Trygons and Mawlocs all come as 1 model units so to 1-3 result is ignored and changed to the 4-5.  So you’re not going to suffer extra wounds.  Most of these you want to get into combat ASAP so who cares if it runs amok and attack a different? The Mawloc is going to be spending most of the time underground so ignore it for that.  The Trygon has a LD of 8 and the Crone LD 10 so good chance of passing the test.  With the other good options in Elites I can’t see anybody taking Pyrovores so we’ll ignore them.  Carnifexes have a LD 7 and a 3+ save so even if you do fail and take some hits you’re not likely to suffer any wounds.  Rippers have so many wounds that taking a couple really doesn’t matter and it’s better than their Mindless special rule that they had in the last edition.  This leaves you with Raveners and Hormagaunts.  Raveners I admit could suffer badly from the self-inflicted hits and with a LD 6 they are likely to fail the test.  Solve the problem; 1) add the Red Terror who ups the unit’s LD to 8, 2) take advantage of the fact that they can move/assault up to 24″ in a single turn and get them into combat so they don’t take the test, they can be merrily hacking & slashing in turn 2.  Assaulting is what they are there for so Charge!!  As for the Hormagaunts, same thing, get them in combat as that is what they do then you wont take the test.  Failing that they’re 5 points per model, why should you care if you fail and 40-50 pts for Gaunt dies?  You still have loads more.

Conclusions for Instinctive Behaviour.  It will be inconvenient if you fail a test, but it is no a foregone conclusion that the unit is useless and it’s hardly the end of the world even if they do fail.  Most of the units will do what you were planning on doing with them anyway, so what’s the problem?

As for needing to take lots of synapse units…you mean you don’t already?  What’s wrong with you?  Take a look at the units; Hive Tyrant, Tervigon, Tyranid Prime, Tyranid Warriors & Shrikes, Zoanthropes and Trygon Primes.  In short good units.  The Tyrant is one of the most powerful Monstrous Creatures in the game with a really good basic stat line BEFORE you add all the extras.  Kitted out I take it as either a synaptic linchpin with a H. Venom Cannon or as a flying air hunter.  Both are good options.  So they can’t have a 2+ save anymore, big deal.  In the last edition you couldn’t give it a 2+ save if it had wings so your flying Tyrant hasn’t lost out, and your ground Tyrant I found was much more effective surrounded by 2 or 3 Tyrant Guard.  That combination is incredibly tough and is a threat at both range and melee.  It takes an entire army’s worth of shooting to take it out, and if they’re all shooting at the Tyrant & Guard, they’re ignoring everything else.  I appreciate that the Tervigon has had a big points increase, but what do you expect from a unit that creates other units.  You have to factor in the points of the model itself PLUS the extra gaunts it will create.  So long as this is alive you can still control objectives as it spawns more Troops choices for you.  You can even hold it back controlling the objectives towards the rear and allowing your other units to advance.  Primes have also had a points hike but they’re still very similar in points and stats to many other HQ choices in other armies.  They have the speed of Eldar, the toughness Orks, the save of Marines, what did you expect?  Though it is an obvious use to put them in a Warrior unit, try putting them in a Termagant one to increase your synapse bubble.  Zoanthropes are excellent (short ranged) tank hunters and believe me Marine players hate that AP 3 blast.  With a 3+ Invulnerable save they can take a lot of hits before dropping, and they’ve gone down in points cost.  Trygon Primes are also really good monsters.  They’ve had a points drop and can’t re-roll their close combat hits anymore (I know that one is a pain), but it is still a big-ass monster with 6 wounds a 3+ and enough firepower & punch to take on anything but a unit of Assault Terminators.  Their Deep Striking means you can keep them off the board and away from harm until turn 2 or 3, bringing them onto the table near the enemy (where most of your army will be by turn 3) to plug the gap in your synapse net where you need it.

At last we get to the Warriors & Shrikes.  The Warriors are one of my favourite units, always have been.  I know what you’re saying “strength 8 = instant death” and it is a weakness…there only real weakness.  With 3 wounds, a 4+ save and the fact that wounds have to be allocated to the model nearest the enemy firers (think fancy footwork and moving your wounded models around in the unit each movement phase so they are in the middle) these models are very resistant to small arms fire.  Giving them Eternal Warrior as some have suggested in my opinion would have overpowered the unit.  Think about it, 3 wounds, 4+ save, Eternal Warrior 30-35pts/model Troops unit that you can reposition your wounded models inside of to protect them.  You would never kill that unit without a Titan gun.  Add to this an immense amount of firepower (if it’s not a blast weapon it has 3 shots) and the unit would kill all it came across.  Shrikes with their flying and Hammer of Wrath attacks are even more effective in melee, especially as they can have flesh hooks again, add the above and you have a no-brainer unit choice.  Thankfully they didn’t go down the Eternal Warrior path again.  If you are worried about the Warriors think Gaunt unit in front, Venomthrope behind and all of a sudden they have a 3+ cover save, what more do you want?  (yes I know this wont save them from barrage weapon, but it’s good enough). These guys are excellent infantry killers at range and melee, use them.

Conclusions for Synapse Creatures.  Most of them are your most powerful units already, synapse is just a bonus they provide.  Protect them with Venomthropes, Tyrant Guard and expendable Gaunts or special rules such as Deep Striking or Flying and you shouldn’t have a problem.  Rarely, if ever have I lost all of my Synapse Creatures in a game, and I’ve been playing Tyranids since early 2nd Edition.

Well that’s part 1 of my rant over.  Feel free to comment and poke holes.  I know my experience as a Tyranid player will be different to other peoples so come forth and tell your own stories of woe.  I’ll be back another day with more thoughts, rants, tactics and rebuttals regarding the new codex.

Zombie Killing Night In


nomoreroomLast night a group of us got together for our usual Wednesday night gaming session.  This time to mix things up I had asked to provide a zombie game.  Liking zombies almost as much as I like Tyranids (what would Freud have made of me?) I was more than happy to create a zombie encounter for the night.  I used the No More Room in Hell rules (with a few extras to fit the scenario) to play the game.  The situation was simple; the 4 of us were in the middle of town and had to gather enough food and supplies and then barricade ourselves inside one of the buildings to win.  All this time more and more zombies are spawning with the intent of having a brain salad.  The game started with us in the middle of town, Servitob broke into the gun shop hoping to find some good weapons and only finding creates of ammo.  The rest of us fanned out to search the other buildings before the zombies moved in.  Some found food, others medical supplies and then going into the petrol (gas) station I rolled on a random encounter and struck the motherload; a big-ass snow plow with a dozer-blade on the front! Lots of squished zombies later we managed to fill our supplies and hold up in the junkyard.  A fun game and a good way to spend an evening with friends.

The Hive Mind has Landed; a look at the new Tyranid Codex


Codex: Tyranids

Well it’s finally here, the latest codex to come from GW and it is one I have been waiting for.  I know I’ve been quiet on the blog site for a number of months, and this I plan to change in 2014.  So to start off with I thought I’d go through the new Tyranid Codex, give you the updates and my thoughts on it.  So here we go!

First Impressions: It follows the format of the other recent additions to both 40K and Fnatasy in that it is full colour and hardback, with lots of nice artwork, some of it new (before you ask I bought the regular edition not the limited one that costs twice the price – I may like ‘nids but I like my bank balance to be health too).

The Army: The army’s special rules are what you’d expect; Synapse Creature is its usual 12″ Fearless bubble (contrary to some rumors it does not give the creature Eternal Warrior – even I think that would be a bad idea), Shadow in the Warp screws over enemy psykers by give them a -3 to LD and Instinctive Behaviour the same…oh wait hold on a second.  BIG CHANGE!  Units outside of synapse range still have to take a LD test for Instinctive Behaviour, but now there are three types; Lurk, Feed and Hunt.  If you fail the test then you roll on the relevant table to get a random result for what your unit will do.  This differs depending on type but generally it is 1-3 bad for you, 4-5 inconvenient as the unit loses some cohesion or 6 actually pretty good! E.g. for Feed the creatures will either; 1-3 attack each other, 4-5 move/charge towards the nearest enemy unit, 6 charge but with the Rage rule.

The Warlord traits are interesting.  There isn’t actually one I don’t like.  You can; turn terrain into ravenous plant life, gain night vision, increase your synapse range, gain extra VP for killing characters, reduce a terrain piece’s cover save or gain Feel No Pain….hmmmm a Hive Tyrant with Feel No Pain….sorry I was just imagining my opponent’s frustration.

The Army List is laid out in the same fashion as the other codices, including a Wargear List and some unique Bio-artifacts.  Most of you will probably be aware of the new units; Haruspex, Exocrine and Hive Crone.  What you might not know is that the Red Terror is back as a character upgrade for a Ravener brood.  What you may also not know is that there is stuff missing.  The Mycetic Spores are gone (so no more drop pods for ‘Nids), which is something that disappoints me.  Although I didn’t use them that much, they were part of Tyranid Lore for a long time and it seems a shame to get rid of them.  The more cynical side of me would think that this is because drop pods are a ‘Space Marine thing’….but oh well.  What’s also missing are the Ymgarl Genestealers, the Parasite of Mortrex and to the delight of people who’ve fought tournaments against ‘Nid players the Doom of Malan’tai.  That’s right, Doom is no longer in the Tyranid army.  Personally I’m not that bothered, I only used a couple of once (once for a laugh, and again to teach a young-blood a lesson about gaming), but I know that others use him as their game winner – drop Doom into the middle of the enemy and watch him devour their souls.  Leads for a rather repetitive game, and one in which your opponent can do little to counter.  Maybe they should have re-written him, but no sense in crying over spilt ichor.

HQs: In an interesting move Old One Eye and Deathleaper have moved to HQ section.  This means you can have a general without it being a Synapse Creature.  They’ve also dropped in points.  You’ll also find the Hive Tyrant, Tervigon, Tyranid Prime and Swarmlord still present with a few subtle changes but nothing too extravagant (the Tyrant is now BS 4 for example).  Both the Tervigon and the Tyranid Prime have had a large points increase (+35 and +45 respectively) but their rules & stats are virtually the same.  Despite the cost of the box set it’s good to see GW finally making a model for the Prime.  In a similar vein it’s also good to see a plastic box for the Tyrant Guard/Hive Guard, and considering these models were metal/finecast the cost for 3 is about the same.  Plus you finally have all of the weapons options for move them and the Warriors.  Your generic ‘characters’ have access to the a wide range of bioweapons and biomorphs, plus the bio-artifacts.

Troops: No real changes here.  Termagants & Hormagaunts have dropped 1pt, rippers are up 3pts.  Warriors & Geenstealers are the same, though the Warriors now have access to Flesh Hooks, which work similar to assault grenades in combat again.  The Termagants still have the weapon options for spike rifles, spinefists & devourers, and for some point the strangleweb.  Having played Tyranids since 2nd Edition I was happy to see the return of the old weapons…but I don’t see why anyone would take the strangleweb.  Sure it’s a template weapon, but it’s Strength 2 which means at best 5’s to wound…you can only have 1 for ever 10 Termagants and it costs 5 points, that’s more than the gaunt carrying it.  Like I said, don’t see the point in a Strength 2 template.

Elites: Here’s where it starts to get interesting.  The Hive Guard now have the option for upgrading to the Shockcannon, and 18″ range haywire weapon, just to increase their vehicle killing potential.  I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t get an anti-aircraft weapon as an option, given the dominance of aircraft in current 40K, they would have seemed the logical unit to give it too.  As it happens there is no ground based AA gun for the ‘Nids.

Lictors seem to be useful again.  They can’t assault from Deep Strike, but they no longer have to deploy in that way.  They can deployed like a regular unit and come with the Infiltrate special rule, so they get to start the game on the table and act as a teleport homer for your other units.  This also means you don’t have the “Surprise I was that tree! Now I can’t do anything for a turn so feel free to shoot me”.  If you do decide to Deep Strike them, they don’t scatter.  They’re also slightly better in combat than they used to be.

Zoanthropes are now a Brotherhood of Psykers, but with a Mastery Level of 2 and can have 2 psychic powers (one of which is Warp Blast).  Venomthropes; just some clarification of the Spore Cloud (Shrouded) and Toxic Miasma is now a ‘one use only’ toxic fart.  Pyrovores are worth taking as a close support creature now that they have 3 Wounds and 2 Attacks as well as the heavy flamer on their back.

The Haruspex is the new kid; 5 Wounds, 3+ save monster with acid blood and the ability to consume an entire chain of fast-food restaurants.  His only ranged weapon (grasping tongue) is a 12″ range, S6 AP2 attack that gets a Precision shot on a 6.  When it kills stuff it regains lost wounds and in close combat it just rampages along with any wounds it causes granting it extra attacks.

Fast Attack: Shrikes, Raveners, Sky-slashers, Gargoyles and Spore Mines as expected.  Though now Spore Mine Clusters just Deep Strike as normal into the game.  This does give you an interesting option to use the Lictor’s homing ability to stop the mines from scattering.  Also they don’t explode as multiple blasts anymore.  When a Spore Mine Cluster (including those from Biovores) goes off you get one large blast at Strength 4 with the Strength increasing +1 for each additional Spore in that cluster.  S9 AP4 large blast guided by a Lictor anyone?

As mentioned the Red Terror is back as a character upgrade to a unit of Raveners.  It’s basically a slightly larger, tougher Ravener with the ability to swallow anything smaller than a dreadnought.  Seriously, if it hits with 4 or more of its Attacks (it’s WS6 and will have 6A on a charge) then it can choose to swallow an Infantry, Jump or Jet Pack Infantry that isn’t very or extremely bulky.  The model gets an Invulnerable save (if it has one), if not, dead regardless of wounds or toughness.

The Harpy has had a bit of an overhaul.  Its points cost has gone down and it has gained a Wound and an Attack.  Both it and the Hive Crone are both S5 T5 with a 4+ save, making them the weakest of the monsters, but as they’re flying you should really only have to worry about AA guns.  The Harpy is still an all-gun beast designed for ground attack (infantry or vehicles depending on your weapon choices) that can poop spore mines.  It can now poop spores every turn though.  It’s also good to see that they’ve finally done the model for it.  The Hive Crone is the Tyranid’s only real AA weapon.  And it should do a decent job of it too.  When vector striking it counts as S8, and although its drool cannon (yes they really called it that) is a ground attack weapon, the 4 tentaclid missile-like creatures are 36″ ranged haywire shots that can re-roll your misses against aircraft and flying monsters.  Add to that the fact that flying monsters have a 360* fire arc and you’ve got something that can shoot down an enemy fighter even if it is behind it.

Heavy Support: YAY!!!!!! The Carnifex is worth taking again!!!!!!!!!  My main gripe at the last codex was that it castrated the Carnifex.  The fex itself wasn’t that bad, but for the points you were paying the other monsters would do a better job.  Well now it’s 120pts instead of 160.  It has a wider range of upgrades (including tail weapons), an increased Initiative, can come in units of up to 3 and causes D3 Hammer of Wrath hits instead of 1.  Nice to see you back old friend.

Biovores & Exocrines form the artillery.  Spore mines I’ve already mentioned (though for some reason Biovores now have 3 wounds and 2 attacks), but the Exocrine has a very nasty weapon.  It’s the same size as the Haruspex and its gun i relatively short ranged for a big gun (24″).  It is however S7 Ap2 and has a large blast so terminators watchout!  The Tyrannofex (the other gun beast) has had a massive points drop; from 250 to 175!  I wasn’t expecting that, especially a drop of so much.  It is the same beast though, right down to its wonderful S10 gun that can blow up a land raider but for some reason can’t kill the marine next to it (its AP4 – seriously a long ranged S10 anti-tank gun that is AP4…go figure).

The Trygon and Trygon Prime are praically the same, just a 10pts drop but the Mawloc’s gone down 30 points.  Its Burrow is similar (though it can’t do it on the first turn anymore) and its Terror from the Deep rule is similar (S6, AP2, large blast).  But this time if there is enough stuff left on the spot where the Mawloc comes up, it gets to do it a second time!  There is a risk though, that if after the second time there still isn’t enough room to place the model then you must roll of the Deep Strike Mishap table.  And thats it for your units.

Other Stuff: Most of the weapons & biomorphs have only had subtle changes to bring them into line with the current edition.  Boneswords for example are AP3, lash whips no longer knock your opponents Initiative down to 1, but instead give you +3I, that sort of thing.  Crushing claws gives you armourbane and unwieldy.  Venom Cannons no longer suffer a negative penalty against vehicles, the first time ever!  There are 3 ranged haywire weapons which I think is interesting.  Most of the Tyranid Shooting though is still characteristic; short ranged but devastating.  As for the other biomorphs you have a choice of 4 tail weapons to go on your monsters, which is nice.  They all grant you an extra attack of some sort.  For me the biggest change is the absence of the 2+ save.  That’s right no 2+ for anything (except the Tyrannofex).  It’s just not an option.  What is also interesting is Regeneration.  I was expecting it to grant the creature the It Will Not Die rule (at the end of your turn you regain a wound on a 5+) instead you get it on a 4+.  So at the end of your turn there’s a 50/50 chance that your model will regain a wound.  Nice, but not sure if it compensates for the lack of 2+ saves…we’ll have to see.

The Bio-artifacts are unique items, but nothing overly special or unbalanced.  Slightly more powerful bonesword, extended synapse range, that sort of thing.  One of the big changes is that your psykers can only use the Hive Mind powers, none of the ones in the 40K rulebook.  It does mean that there is the chance that your Hive Tyrant will gain warp blast.  All your favourites are there; Dominion, Catalyst, The Horror, Onslaught, Parosysm, Psychic Scream and Warp Blast, doing much the same that always have.

Well that’s my 2000 word look at the new Tyranids.  Do I like them? Daft question really, they’re still my favourite army.

Changes I’m glad to see; Lictors, Pyrovores & Carnifexes are worth taking, the return of the Red Terror, plus some new monsters to play with.

Changes I’m not sure about; the loss of the Mycetic Spore.

Stuff I would have liked to have seen; a ground based AA gun option for the Hive Guard and a Strangleweb with a higher strength.

Overall a lot to look forward to with the new Tyranids.  I’ll let you know how they play at a later date.  Now which world should I devour first..?

Confusing the DM and why I love DnD


For a number of months now Servitob and myself have been playing Dungeons & Dragons with a local role play gaming group.  Servitob has been playing his usual Dwarven chef turned warrior waking people meat cleavers and bashing them with his wok-turned-shield.  Myself I went with my usual hippie Elf, though as the group already had a ranger when I joined I chose a Druid, with his pet eagle (Emohawk).  The party also includes an Elf Ranger who likes to run up walls, a Half-Orc Cleric who’s out to drink the world dry of booze and a Human Cleric/Wizard who likes to heal and light up the room.

Our adventures reached a climax last night in a sea cave where we encountered loads of Drow and an Orca who liked to take bites out of people.  Its been a long time since I’ve play DnD (we’ve been using the Pathfinder edition) and I’d forgotten how much fun it can be.  One of the things I love most about the game is the ability to be creative.  In the battle last night in the sea cave there was the Drow shattered wooden walk ways and shot crossbow bolts, charmed and throw fireballs, but all this time in the water was the Orca taking bites out of us as we walked along the narrow shoreline.

This led to the moment of creativity that I love so much about DnD.  After having been bitten by the Orca myself, my Druid (in leopard form) had jumped up on to the walk way and with the eagle pet had taken out the Drow guards, whilst the Half-Orc (with a flying spell) tried to take on the Drow boss.  The Orca bit our Half-Orc friend, virtually killing him, and at the least rendering him unconscious and drowning.  In an effort to save our co-adventurer I came out of leopard form and cast speak to animals, and courtesy of some decent dice rolling, manged to persuade the Orca to stop attack us and save the Half-Orc instead.  All this done for the promise of fish.  Its not the fun of the adventure or the heroic save that made me enjoy the moment, but the look of the DM’s face when I told him what I was going to do and him trying to figure out what and how this was going to happen/work.

That’s what I love about DnD; the ability to think/act outside of the box and to confuse the hell out the DM.

Dropzone Commander; My First Game


DSCF4270

Yesterday saw the get-together of us gamers here at the floating citadel and my first real game of the much talked about Dropzone Commander.  I had heard some good reports of DZC from my fellows; notably Zombiepirate and Cerebus and after playing a demo game at Salute last month I decided to dish out the cash and go with the Shaltari.  I’ve spent the past few weeks devouring the rules, assembling models and I have now started to paint a few.  Above are the ones I’ve finished.  Yesterday’s game was a bit of an eye-opener, as none of us have seen the Shaltari in action, so I’d like to share my thoughts on the game as a whole and the Shaltari in particular.

First off is my army list.  We had decided to play a 1500pts game (about average size).  For those who are unaware, DZC has a slightly different army selection to other games.  The army is divided into battlegroups (at 1500pts a maximum of 6), and each battlegroup is divided into units (at 1500pts between 1-3).  These battlegroups activate at the same time, though they don’t have to work together.  The battlegroups have different names and compositions depending on the army but are essentially; HQ, Armour, Infantry, Special (choice of heavy support or fast scout) and Air support (Fleet).  For my army I decided to max out on Battlegroups to give me some flexibility.  I also ended up with at least one unit of everything (part be chance, part because I wanted to see what they could all do).  I have not included the two new units.  So here is the list:

  • HQ Battlegroup; 1 Coyote Warstrider with a Shaltari Warchief upgrade
  • Armour Battlegroup; 1 unit of 5 Tomahawk tanks, 1 unit of 3 Kukri AA tanks
  • Infantry Battlegroup; 2 units of 2 bases of Braves, 1 unit of 2 Thunderbird Gunships
  • Special Battlegroup 1; 1 Jaguar Warstrider, 1 Ocelot Warstrider
  • Special Battlegroup 2; 1 unit of 2 bases of Firstborns, 1 unit of Yari light tanks with AA guns
  • Fleet Battlegroup; 1 Warspear Heavy Fighter
  • Gates; 1 Gaia Heavy Gate, 2 Eden Medium Gates, 2 Spirit Light Gates, 1 Haven Terragate

In one of those rarities in gaming the army actually comes to bang on 1500pts.  The Shaltari are different from the other armies in that their transports (the teleportation gates) are not attached to specific units, but instead form a pool from which you activate the chosen gate with any battlegroup you like as the game progresses.  Each one can only be activated once though.

So how did the battle go?  My opponent was Zombiepirate with his UCM army, and then came my first surprise.  In an event that almost led to a collapse in the space-time continuum and the end of the universe as we know it…Zombiepirate had more stuff painted than me!  To be fair to my long time friend and gaming opponent, he has been putting in some work on his DZC models.  We had decided on the basic scenario of a cityscape with 5 objectives to capture and take off the table (you get one victory point if you control an objective and 2 if you get it off the table).

The game began with me being lucky, getting both the initiative and having my reserve fighter turning up to perform strafing runs (more about this brave pilot later).  All of the units are kept in readiness off the table and arrive via transports when the battlegroup becomes available.  As units cannot shoot on a turn they disembark (or dematerialize in my case) the only shots came from my fighter who swooped in and took out a light transport carrying the Wolverine scouts.  Sadly both buggies survived the crash.  Zombiepirate advanced on the two objectives nearest to him on my right flank and also to the one in the centre.  I also went for the centre and an objective on my left.  This is I think, one of the biggest differences with DZC over other gaming systems; it is designed around objective grabs, not destruction of the enemy.  DZC is more like modern warfare’s surgical strikes and rapid insertion and extraction as opposed to a more World War I style annihilation found in other games such as 40K.  This I found to be a big difference in gaming style.  As a long time Tyranid player, I am use to just throwing my troops at stuff.  With this game I really had to think and there were moments where I took a few minutes to decide which battlegroup to activate, nevermind where & what they were going to do.

As the game progressed, there were units blowing up a plenty.  The first big casualty was my Coyote Command Warstrider, which got taken out by the UCM tanks and some excellent shooting on the part of Zombiepirate.  My shield rolls failed me, but luckily the escape module worked and my commander survived the game (unlike the UCM commander), allowing me to still use the command cards.  Casualties on my side were fairly light.  It may only be a 5+ save those shields give me, but I made some fantastic rolls.  My fighter pilot gained a promotion when he flew threw the entire UCM AA fire to strike the heavy dropship and come out the other end without so much as the paint being scratched.  The centre witnessed the biggest rumble of the game with opposing infantry fighting room-to-room for the objective and my Firstborns showing why they are elite infantry and cutting apart the UCM infantry.  The game eventually ended up with Zombiepirate scoring 4 VP to my 3.  So victory to the UCM.  This I put down mostly to lack of experience on my part.  As Cerebus can attest, I left an infantry unit out of most of the game instead of sending it to the final objective earlier in the game…I just thought too much about destroying my enemy instead of objectives… oh well learning curve.

Shaltari army thoughts and the things I learnt.  They make a very different army.  Not having dedicated transports means you can do what I did a few times and relocate units across the battlefield in seconds, so long as the gates are there.  Such shannigans can be really good when timed well.  The disadvantage to this, any unit that dematerializes cannot shoot that turn.  The fact that Shaltari gates continue to carry objectives when a unit passes through it, means that the gate can get the objective off the field whilst your unit searches for another.  The 30″ movement of the light gate is scarily fast in a game where most ground units move 4″ or less.  The tanks have some awesome firepower (though I do hate the armour 10 on the UCM…it makes them so hard to destroy).  I would recommend always moving 6″ to give the enemy the to hit penalty and help make the most of your armour 7 and 5+ save tanks.  AA vehicles are  a MUST in this game.  Having my fighter flying up and down the UCM lines, picking out targets was a great advantage…though after my game I’d recommend attack small-medium transports as they will carry the infantry & objectives off the table…and not the big transports which deliver the tanks (once they’ve dropped the armour they really don’t do much else).  Without a save aircraft go down easily to AA fire and having good flak cover means your enemy really has to think about where to put their air support and “do I risk it?” moments are common.  The warstriders…mixed feelings about these.  My commander was unlucky getting one-shotted in the second turn.  The Jaguar performed well, taking out tanks and coming with its own AA guns extends your flak shield.  The Ocelot however I’m not sure about.  It is one of my favorite looking Shaltari models, but I found that its one-shot particle cannon not much use.  The problem is that it cannot move & fire, which restricts it somewhat and although the gun is epic in its power, it’s still only 1 shot.  The best use I can see for it is when your enemy brings their own heavy armour which will have multiple hit points, then the high chance of doing double damage will really pay off.  The Thunderbird Gunships are my other favorite Shaltari model, but they need to be kept out of AA range as they are vulnerable to it.  I’d still keep them in the army as if there is no AA guns, these units can roam free around the table.  After playing the game, I have realised what my fellow gamers have; Infantry is key.  You really need to get as much Infantry as possible…somewhat a weakness of the Shaltari as their Infantry only come in units of 2 bases (opposed to 3 for most armies) and they only have 3 hit points (unlike the 5 of most armies).  This being said they are very dangerous in combat.  With an Armour of 4 they can only be wounded on 6s in close combat, so get them into a building and they will be almost impossible to take out.  The Firstborns are even tougher having 12 attacks per base and a 4+ save in combat.  It was they who won me the combat in the centre and killed 3 bases on UCM infantry in a single combat with only 1 hit in return.  Another unit that will be a must I think.

Conclusions of the Shaltari;  Use your speed as much as you can: your skimmers are harder to hit if they move 6″ or more, the ability to move your infantry from objective holding in a building, to gate, to inside another building to find another objective is fantastic.  The gates holding the objectives frees up your limited supply of infantry to look for another.  This is perhaps their biggest tactical advantage.  The 5+ save is good, but don’t rely on it all the time.  My fighter pilot go lucky, my commander less so.  As for the game itself, different and fantastic.  It is very different to anything else I have played and really makes you think about your army choices and how you are playing.  You can’t go into autopilot gaming mode, you need to think.  Great game, look forward to more.