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.