Category Archives: Games Workshop

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..?

You Wait Ages for a Bus…

…then, as the adage states, two come along at once. Except, in this case, we’re not talking about public transport. No, we’re talking about no holds barred, miniature scaled combat with metal, plastic and in some cases resin, toy soldiers. The way real men choose to fight!

It was rather surprising then, that with the dearth of gaming through the halls of the floating citadel that we managed to get some chaps together twice in as many weeks. A feat unheard of in our recent history.

We kicked off the first of these gaming days on the patio of the ZombiePirate wing, the weather has been rather glorious in sunny old England of late so we took advantage of it. Something my arms and back of the neck were less than happy about by the evening. Gribblin and I threw down with our first proper game of 6th edition 40k, he with his newly pimped out 2000pts of Eldar and me with the same value in a heavily Slaanesh themed (what else did you expect?) Chaos Space Marines. We had a three objective game and went at it with our usual gusto. Being the first game of an edition that has changed a lot of the how the game plays we did mess up a few things, however, looking back on it I don’t think anything we got wrong would really have had a bearing on how things turned out. Gribblin pulled off a convincing win and I learnt some valuable lessons about the new CSM.

  • Chaos Bikers are awesome, especially backed up by a Feel No Pain banner
  • Eldar Shuriken Catapults are rather nasty now
  • Dark Reapers don’t like Plasma Cannons
  • Noise Marine weapons make me giddy with glee at how amazing they can be
  • Diagonal deployment zones are a pain in the ass
  • Sorcerers are still fun to use
  • ZOMG Heldrakes!

I had a really enjoyable game, it was such a pleasure to play that I hadn’t even noticed the fact I couldn’t win the game until turn 5. Winning or losing really was just icing on a very tasty gaming cake though. I look forward to getting some more use out of my Chaos and tweaking the list after a few more games have gone by.

In the second week we also returned to 40k. Again, it was Gribblin and I, however, this time I pulled the dirty on him and took my Dark Eldar for a spin. One of the reasons that I haven’t played much of the new 40k is that I wasn’t really sure what would become of my beloved sadomasochistic hedonists. I needed to buy another few transports to make the army work at the new points level and that led to a few nights of putting together some more models. However, it was all worth it. After a very close and bloody game the previous week this one was far more one-sided. Eldar of both flavours are armies where you really need to have things work together and bide their time to strike in the right place. A few mistakes can very quickly lead to the complete dismantling of your army. I’ve played enough games with my Dark Eldar to be confident in what they can do, I took my time and prepared lanes of attack. That patience paid off as I’ve learnt how being too aggressive and impetuous can put you in a bad situation. By the end of the game I had completely destroyed the entirety of Gribblin’s Eldar, there was nothing left at all. It was a two objective game and I held both at the end, as well as Slay the Warlord, First Blood and Linebreaker. I did feel slightly sorry for him as things just went so well for me and units did what they were meant to do.

We both had spells of good dice and ill so there wasn’t really any one-sided luck to ruin things. The army for me just brought home how powerful a Raider load of Splinter shots can be, especially with Splinter Racks to back you up. The highlight of the game for me was the first of my two Razorwings firing off its monoscythe missiles and scoring 36 wounds out of 38 hits (one of my definite “good dice” moments).

I really like 6th edition. It is rather different to 5th in many ways and is a lot more brutal (or, at least our games have been). 40k was the first tabletop game I played other than family favourite Space Crusade so the universe is what birthed my hobby obsession. As often as I’ve tried to leave it behind it won’t let me and I have two very different armies for it now so can enjoy the game a number of ways (and play it with myself if I really want to).

These two weekends were not just filled with GW fanboism though. Gribblin brought along Star Trek Fleet Captains and I have to say that the game is a lot of fun and very definitely has that Star Trek feeling to it. While in the first game we crushed the Federation beneath the iron shod boot of the Klingons the second game didn’t go nearly so well. I’ve bought the Romulan expansion for it so that I can get to play my favourite race now though so it’ll be Tal Shiar agents all round in our next game.

Speaking to the various members of our group there does seem to be a lot more activity happening with our hobby desires and this can only be a good thing. Hopefully we can now go on and end the dry spell we’ve been having over the past year and get back stuck into some serious gaming.

Gouge Workshop – When is Enough Actually Enough?

m3280143a_60030104006_IyandenCodex01_873x627Yeah, I know, we’re flogging a dead horse again. You can tell from the title what is coming up and we may be recovering old ground but if people don’t speak out nothing changes. Not that it’s really all that likely that one small voice will make a difference but still, this is the Internet so why not give voice to my feelings, it is my blog after all.

First, some context. Before Christmas I got the new 6th Ed 40K box and have been slowly building a second army for it. I’ve also been building another army to go alongside my Ogres in Fantasy. I’ve got all the models I need for my Fantasy force and am a mere couple boxes off having all I need for my 40k army done too. However, I’ve not played a single game of Fantasy this year. Not at all, and even worse than that (maybe) I can count the number of GW games I played last year on one hand. They’re just not as popular with our group as a whole and it’s really only Gribblin and I that ever play each other.

So, why the volatile post title? Well, the clue, as the more eagle-eyed readers will have noticed, is in the image attached to this post. No-one that plays GW games is shocked by the constant price increases, we’re all well aware that they are not basing their prices off inflation in the UK, more like that of Zimbabwe. I am old and remember Codexes costing £10, they are now three times that price, yes they are full colour, yes they are hardback, I’ll concede that the presentation at least has improved. What I am not happy about is what I hope is not a new trend. The latest book out was Codex: Eldar, worth a mention in and of itself for the fact there’s a £70 model in their range now. I think someone took a look at what Privateer Press were doing and decided to hop on a bandwagon without realising that the entry cost to their competitor’s game is much lower. Thirty quid Codexes I’m not really happy about but can’t complain as I’ve bought a couple. What I really don’t like is the Direct Only Codex: Iyanden. I am not against supplements that allow you to change your army up and play to a theme, what I am against is that this book is only available from GW and costs the same as the original Codex! I know that there are going to be people who will not only buy this but will also defend it by virtue of the fact that you don’t HAVE to buy it. I know that, but the fact that there’s a company that thinks that what amounts to an addendum to a book, that is completely useless without the first book, should be the same price as that first book, well, that’s crazy to me.

I can show my displeasure by not buying it and choosing not to buy any more products from the company. Considering this latest decision by them I am really thinking about ditching all my GW stuff. It would make a lot of room available in my miniatures storage and would allow me much greater focus on the other games that I have. However, that’s not necessarily as easy as it seems. You see, GW’s real value is in the fact that, in the UK at least, they are everywhere. No matter where you go in this country you are going to be able to find people who play GW’s games. You’re less likely to find folks for other systems although I believe that WarmaHordes may be gaining a lot of traction these days. So, if I did get rid of it would I have to buy in again at a later date if I move house to somewhere that doesn’t have anyone to play X-wing or Dropzone Commander against. I do have some Warmachine but nowhere near a full armies worth.

So, rather than just rant at things here, let’s look objectively at some of the options we have for gaming and the various costs.

Budget GW entry: £65 for either Fantasy or 40k set, two basic armies that you could play through with the scenarios. Imbalanced in parts on either side. To play either properly add £60 for Codexes in 40K or £50 for Fantasy. So, budget entry just to play £115 or £120 if you’re not fussed about playing equal points games or how the game is balanced to play. Total: £120

Fantasy Entry: £45 main rules (yes I know you can get the mini rulebook off eBay for £20 but is someone new to the hobby necessarily going to be aware of that?) £30 army book, £70 battalion set and £12 for a character model. Depending on the battalion this might not be a valid army either, but should get you in the ball park of at least being able to play. Total: £162

40k Eldar Entry: Normal 40k should be pretty much the same as Fantasy, but if we take this as a measure of what GW might be doing for the future let’s put this together for the sake of completeness. £45 main rules again, £30 for the main Codex, another £30 for the Iyanden as that’s what we want to play. £70 Battleforce set and then £12 for a Farseer. Note that this may not actually include any of the units you really want for the Iyanden army, Wraithguard and a WraithKnight will set you back another £100. Total: £187

Dropzone Commander Entry: Rulebook £15, Starter Army £88, let’s even be generous and throw in a Cityscape so you have a complete battlefield to play on as well so £30. Total: £133

Warmachine Entry: Rulebook £20 for the Mk2 and a starter box for £35. Technically you don’t need the rulebook because of quick start rules in the boxes but for completeness against other options I think it’s fair. If you do want to really expand though you’re also going to be looking at another £20 for a softcover army book. Then the same again for the extra books to bring you up to date with everything, although technically these aren’t needed as cards are in with the models. But still, book purchases can get expensive as you add to stuff. Total: £55

Infinity Starter: Excellent game but has a huge learning curve. You’re also going to end up spending a lot on terrain for this one, but we’re not factoring that in to start-up costs. £30 for the rulebook and £30 for a non-sectorial starter set are all you are going to need. Total: £60

Malifaux Starter: Rulebook £20, starter set £26 and a deck of cards £5. Total: £51 

I left Dropzone Commander in here as it is widely seen as a very expensive game to get into. To play at the same level as the GW entries though the cost is fairly comparable and I even added in a full tables worth of terrain for you too so it isn’t a bad deal by any stretch of the imagination. For the other games you can see that the entry cost is literally half of the GW cost. Yes, I know that these are skirmish games and not mass army games but then 40k plays pretty much like a skirmish unless you are play Orks, Guard or Nids. Most other armies have a few squads and some vehicles which is not all that dissimilar to PP with some Jacks/Beasts and troops rounding our your army. All of these games play differently and I’ve by no means put down an exhaustive list of all the options available. Yet, we can see now just how badly GW are trying to gouge their position as market leaders and ubiquitous presence on tables the world over. I do know that GW have been losing customers because of their rather aggressive pricing and from speaking to my FLGS this is only going to get worse. This is the company that got me into tabletop gaming so while it may seem that all I do is rag on them I’m actually upset that they are trying so hard to destroy their legacy. I’d love them to carry on, to be the same company as it was when I would happily spend every penny of pocket-money I had on their new releases. Sadly though, I find myself once more contemplating abandoning them completely as I do not feel I can support a company that does so little for its customers while expecting them to pay through the nose at ever-increasing values.


Warhammer 40000: Chaos Gate: The Revival!

chaosgateThe rose tintedness of nostalgia!

I used to own this venerable PC game many years ago and remember it fondly. Since then I have changed computers and operating systems many times and it’s never worked properly since. The crash occurrence which plagued this game was in retrospect pretty funny; if any chaos cultists got close enough to shoot you with their laser pistols the game would immediately crash to desktop. Given that most levels contained more cultists than you had ammo this made game continuity pretty tricky.

I was digging through some old CDs and came across the Chaos Gate disc. I installed it, installed the patches and guess what? It freaking runs on Windows 7! The only change required was to run it in Windows 95 compatibility mode.

It’s still the tense, suspenseful game of all those years ago. It could be described as the tactical section of the original XCOM Enemy Unknown/UFO Defense set in the world of Warhammer 40k with a linear RPG campaign element. Obviously the graphics are blocky by today’s standards but still functional. The soundtrack is still pretty great, with plenty of monk-esque chanting tunes to lead your Ultramarines into battle with the forces of Chaos. If you can get your hands on this game it’s well worth checking out for fans of the genre.

Horus Heresy: Flight of The Eisenstein

flightAfter reading the first three novels in the Horus Heresy series I was feeling a bit unexcited with the prospect of reading the forth installment. Was this simply to be more bogwash lack of anything but cardboard characters speaking terse pompous lines against a backdrop of lots of shooty pew-pew; except this time it was to be in space? Was this to be basically a Battlefleet Gothic novel riding the vehicle of Horus’s lame conversion to the dark gods?

The book was already sat on my desk so I set about the seemingly unenviable task of getting on with reading it. This was the first James Swallow novel I’ve ever read, and being a big Abnett fan I found the writing style a little foreign to begin with; but soon I was getting the hang of it. This is writing with big words from someone who obviously owns a thesaurus. The book concerns the adventures of Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro from before the Isstvaan campaign. The story initially is the same from the other books, but you see things from Garro’s perspective which makes for interesting reading. It adds meat to the bones of the books you have already read.

The book is actually extremely well written and a really good read. The writing style adds much to heighten the tension. This time the characters are actually exciting and believable and the story itself is a real page turner at times. It’s a stellar achievement following the mediocrity of False Gods and the somewhat forgettable Galaxy In Flames. I’m off to get the next installment!

TL;DR The best of the series so far by quite a margin!

40k Boxed Returns with a Vengeance a Dark Vengeance

In the past 6 inch move has been criticised for being the vilest of heretics by criticising Games Workshop and some of its practices. I may just be a disgruntled veteran and am I aware that I am no longer the core demographic that the company is trying to cater to. However, this Saturday I took a sly trip down to our friendly local gaming store as I’d taken the liberty of pre-ordering one of the Limited Edition sets that was released this weekend. While I’m not a huge fan of the Chaplain model by getting this set rather than the normal one at least I have it if I do want it later. I’m not sure how much of a limited edition this really is but what the hell!

The only other boxed set I’ve ever bought was the 2nd edition one, it came with Blood Angels and Orks in it and a rather retro cardboard Ork dreadnought. It was £35 if I remember correctly. I never got to play with 3rd edition but 4th I got a to play against my 40k nemesis Gribblin and then 5th came out and our group had expanded to include the regulars. I’ve certainly gone through a lot of armies over the years currently I only have one, my Dark Eldar, a sinister bunch that have laid waste to enemies far and wide. They’ve also taken their share of punishments though as if you make a mistake Dark Eldar are rather unforgiving (make a wrong choice and you’ll normally lose the unit).

So it was that I found myself actually rather excited about this whole event. Yes I do not own either a Space Marines or Chaos Space Marines army, despite having had both in the past, but that was of little consequence. I tore open the shrinkwrap and popped open the box (when I got home and after doing the weekly shopping of course), drinking in the smell of newness. Rather than write huge amounts of prose I’ll sum up for you before maybe expanding on my initial verdict. This set is absolutely amazing!

There, you heard it from my very lips, or fingers in this case as I’m typing. This set has pretty much revived an excitement for 6th edition that I was unaware of. I was informed in the game shop that they reckon you’re looking at around £250 worth of models in the box. Now, I know that’s not quite accurate as these are different to the ones you’d get in the normal boxes, you’re certainly not going to be filling your bits box with spares and extras, however, you still get a lot for your money. While these are all snap fit models, I’ll still be gluing mine, GW have shown why they are still one of the top companies in the world. Their plastic technology is second to none. I have to admit that I was literally mouth agape at how beautiful these figures are. All of them are oozing detail, the Chaos Chosen and the characters especially, while they are only made of a few components that hasn’t stopped the sculptors from really laying it on.

While my dislike of Finecast should already be well-known this kind of thing is where GW truly excel and I’ll again echo my own position that they should go entirely plastic. Should I choose to expand on the models I already have then I’ll be able to have a wholly plastic army considering what I’ve got from the new starter set. From the moment I opened the lid I was impressed by what I saw. The small format rulebook is a triumph. I wish they sold this separately as I genuinely believe that there is a market for this. If I could get this on its own, officially through GW I’d happily lay down £20 for it rather than the behemoth that is the hardback. I know other people who feel the same, when I buy a rulebook that’s what I want, the rules. All the extra hobby stuff is rather irrelevant to me, sure it looks nice but when you have a rulebook that costs twice what your competitors are charging and doesn’t actually give you an ability to put a force on the table, that’s one of the things that I balk at. That’s by the by though.

Yesterday I had a read through of the booklet that teaches you how to play. I’ve already been in contact with Gribblin to suggest that we play through the six missions that are provided. You’re taken through a couple of turns of a game first, which teaches you the bare bones of 40k and explains things relatively easily. There were a couple of moments when I thought that a brand new player might have to flick back and forth to get a good handle on what it’s trying to tell you, but otherwise it’s evident that a lot of thought has been put into what is in it. The missions themselves are well thought out to introduce a couple of the more advanced rules and give you a feel for how things work in a “proper” game. I’m actually looking forward to giving them a try.

All the things that have gone into it are of a very high quality, yes you’d be expecting that considering the price tag but it’s nice to see that newcomers to the hobby are being given good stuff. If you are new to Warhammer 40,000 then I’d be happy to recommend this box without any reservations at all. Although it provides you with two flavours of Space Marines at least they’re easy to learn the game with before branching out into some of the more exotic races.

In all the furore of being excited about this new edition of 40k I’ve not been neglecting my DzC. All the infantry is now assembled and I’ve got most of it sprayed, a couple of bases fell off my spraying stick and then there was one more incident. I leave the models to dry on a windowsill after spraying, as it’d been a nice day I had the window in the study open. One of the bases of Praetorians then decided to see just how could their parachute insertion was by managing to fall off the stick and then finding the one route to freedom and a 20ft drop. Amazingly I found all the little men with barely a scratch on them although I wouldn’t recommend literally dropping your elite infantry from second story window.

Back to the main topic, if you’re on the fence about the set I’d say get it. You get a lot of models for your cash and personally I think it’s a sound purchase. I’m already thinking about expanding one of the armies and the potential for some exciting stuff to do with the new rules.

Another crack at 40k

Way back in the primordial soup that was the nineteen eighties I started my gaming proper with Warhammer 40,000 eventually purchasing the 2nd edition box set when that came out. As cool as the Fantasy game seemed after a youth filled with Star Wars re-enactment with cardboard lightsabers I was very much a sci-fi child and 40k spoke to me in a much greater manner than the green fields of fantasy. Way back then I started out with Blood Angels but then, with the release of the Angels of Death Codex (gribblin still has a copy sitting on his bookshelf!) I switched to the secretive and clandestine Dark Angels. My 1500pts army consisted of Azrael, Asmodai, Ezekiel, a unit of Terminators, a lascannon and heavy bolter Predator, a Lascannon tarantula and a Vindicare Assassin. No, it didn’t win much actually!

Eventually I sold off all my 40k collection and bought a copy of Warhammer Quest which I enjoyed immensely. I bought models here and there as I got older and tried to get a proper Fantasy army. However, no matter how many times I’ve tried to get away from it I’ve been unable to shake my love for 40k. People lament it as the dumbed down cousin to Warhammer proper, or a travesty of power creep at the hands of Mat Ward and his Codices of ultimate power. Despite all this I can never stay away for long and come crying back for more.

There is a reason that a lot of the Internet refers to GW stuff as plastic crack. Like an addict I can try to clean myself up, but it is always easy to fall back into the welcoming embrace of stuff that is of debatable value and longevity. So what has prompted me to post a somewhat nostalgic look at the game that birthed my gaming dependence? The new version of the 40k box set launches this weekend, it’ll be in two flavours as well, a limited edition version that gives you a Chaplain and the standard set that comes with a prodigious amount of models but no zealous spewer of the Imperial rhetoric. I’ve ordered mine from a local game store. This will be the first box I’ve bought like this since that fateful day in the early nineties.

Currently all I have is my Dark Eldar, who I am honestly not that enthusiastic about in the new version of 40k. With a much heavier focus on shooting now my favourite Dark Eldar stuff has been reduced to anti-tank duty. Generally I’m a sucker for an aesthetic and I get very put off, very fast if I lose the momentum on something. Hence the Necrons codex sitting at home, I really like them.

Also, I’ve been playing Space Marine on my Xbox lately and that has caused a resurgence in my feelings towards humanity’s finest, even though long-suffering alien love Gribblin may have even more T4 3+ saves in his future. I know he’s a big fan of the Dark Angels too.

So it is that as much as I try to leave behind the universe that first swept away my childish imagination I seem forever lost in the warp, damned to forever circle around the vortex of 40k as it eddies and whirls its way through time. And while I might have to cry myself to sleep at night for succumbing to the fanboy’s favourites at least I can console myself with the thought that, for once, the boxed sets are actually a good deal for how much you get in them.

Farewell 5th Edition

On Sunday I joined my local wargaming club for one last round of 5th Edition 40k.  They had arranged 3 separate Apocalypse games for those who have had enough disposable income over the years to assemble large armies; Imperial vs Orks, Imperial vs Chaos and Imperial vs Tyranid.  3 guesses which game I was playing in.  One of the criticisms leveled at Apocalypse is that it’s a game of “who brings the most wins”.  Well the games that the club run are a little more organised than that.  In the game I played there were 2 Tyranid players (myself and an ally) and on the opposing Imperial team 4 players with a mixture of Imperial Guard, Marines and Sisters of Battle.  Despite the unevenness in players, both sides had between 18,000-20,000 points (it does get hard to tell in games that are that BIG).  Amongst the usual squads of troops and the endless hoards of Termagants there was also 3 Paladin Titans, 2 Hierophant titans (Fluffy had a friend! – Fluffy is the name of my Bio-titan in case you were wondering), a number of Baneblades and their several variants, and who knows how many other types of tanks.  There was also a massage mobile fortress/land ship thing that someone had made.  I didn’t get a picture of it but it was about 20″ long, 12″ wide and sported one hell of a demolisher type cannon.

The organizers of the event have designated that each side had 30 minutes per turn.  Because all the people on our table are veterans of more than one Apocalypse game (and were of a sensible disposition) we were allowed to monitor our own times.  The organizers had set objectives for each side; in our case we designated one HQ (my main Tyrant) as the key Hive Node that we had to protect, we also had to protect 2 bio-stores in our deployment zone and we wound gain one objective point for every 30 enemy killed.  We found out that our opponents had to capture two downed Rhinos that had data nodes, kill our Hive Node and hold the line.

The game was one of the most fun games I have ever had the pleasure of playing.  There were mass explosions everywhere.  Fluffy had a fantastic time; he blow off the turret of a Baneblade, downed a few Lemon Russ’, took out a Stormwind, and the best was when 6 Penitent Engines appeared in our rear and charged him.  He had a wonderful game of ‘whack-a-mole’ as 4 were down in a matter of seconds whilst the other 2 were damaged.  Almost the entirety of the Sister’s army deployed in our rear and managed to cut down a load of gaunts and finished off the Hive Node – points to them.  The ‘barrage balloon’ spore mines took out 3 Valkyries and a pair of Carnifexes took down a Paladin Titan.  There were battle cannon explosions and Warriors & Gaunts dying everywhere.  Both my Trygon & Mawloc were shot to pieces after deep striking into the heart of the enemy.  There were Genestealers taking down Baneblades and Exorcists whilst a lucky Ravener  survived being stomped on by a titan.  The two bio-titans advanced as one whilst the Swarmlord formed a Living Fortress (that’s an Apocalypse formation consisting of at least 3 Tyrants and 5 Tyrant Guard).  With this mass having no trouble cutting up the Imperial centre, Fluffy turned around to deal with the Sisters as the last of my reinforcements came crashing in (Wing Tyrant, Gargoyles and plenty more Genestealers).

The game climaxed with the Swarmlord’s unit hitting that big landship and ripping it open.  The thing suffered a cataclysmic explosion and its engine core went nuclear!!!!  As the mushroom cloud lifted all that was left within 2 feet was what you see below.

It killed Tyrant Guard, tanks, Marines, Lictors, Genestealers…pretty much everything within 24″ except the Swarmlord, a Paladin titan and for some reason 2 Sisters who must have had the Emperor with them as they walked out of the blast.  At this point we ran out of time and called the game.  It had been 4 turns of fun and at the end a Tyranid victory had been attained – we’d managed to kill more than enough Imperials and had certainly crossed their lines.  As for the other two games going on; Orks beat Imperials and Imperials beat Chaos.

As the mushroom cloud cleared and the fallout began we all agreed that that game had been one of the best any of us had ever played and that the climatic nuclear explosion was a fitting end for 5th Edition.

6th Edition – Thoughts from the Hive Mind

As Servitob said in his last post, he and I had a little get together Friday night and fought our first battle of the newest edition of 40k, and I thought I’d share a few of my impressions of the game.  I case you are really new to this blog site or have not been paying attention over the past couple of years I am an avid Tyranid fan.  It was the first wargaming army I ever collected and after almost two decades of gaming (is it really that long?!) I have amassed a collection in excess of 10,000 points, and as you’ve probably guessed I wanted to give a Tyranid approach to the new rules.

The game we played was a small one, just 1000 points a side.  There were several new elements to the game that we forgot about (like Warlord powers) and others that we chose not to use; such as Mysterious Terrain & Objectives.  We just wanted to see how the core set worked out.  Movement hasn’t really changed, though Fleet is good for re-rolling your move-through-cover & charges (as my Harpy found out), but as I wasn’t using my Raveners I couldn’t give you a perspective on those.

Flying Monstrous Creatures are awesome!!!!!! The option of glide or swoop is fantastic.  I’d thought about including a Harpy as a regular in my nid list for a while, but now a wing beastie will be a standard.  The Vectored Assault they can perform whilst Swooping (basically you cause D3+1 AP3 hits over a unit you fly over) is great against Marines and with a 360 degree fire arc you don’t have to worry about shooting targets.  Only being able to hit it on a 6 is great as well, you can get the monster to where you want it to be without worrying too much about it getting shot down.  Once your in place (and have Vectored a unit en route) you can glide in the next turn and assault a vehicle if you want.  One of the things I was a little uncertain about was monsters not being able to roll 2D6 for armour penetration anymore.  All I can say is don’t worry about it.  Most monsters are Strength 6 anyway, so you’ll hurt most vehicles on a 4+ and as for Land Raiders, the Smash Attack works just fine (as Servitob’s found out).  It just means you’re less likely get any automatic armour penetrations anymore when your big monster squishes the tank.  But trust me, they are still more than capable of doing it.  Don’t expect too much from the Fear special rule as anything that is Fearless or has And They Shall Know No Fear is immune to it anyway (so that’s pretty much 2/3 of the 40k armies).

Servitob made mention of wounds allocation being a significant change.  After playing a game I would agree.  Rolling all of the armour saves before removing casualties is a major change, especially for Terminators as the ‘throw dice’ at them tactic works better.  Removing the closest models as casualties is a pain in close combat as you have to reach in there and remove the models, but in shooting works just fine and makes sense.  It does mean that you have to think about where you place those special/heavy weapons armed troops as although your characters get a “Look Out Sir!” roll, they don’t and you could end up losing your tank buster just because you put him in the wrong place.  This is a new area in which Jump & Flyer units can excel.  If you move to the correct side of a squad and rack up a few wounds on them, then they will have no choice but to remove that special weapon guy as he is the closest.

Unfortunately this is the point where I have to say “Oops, I think I might have broken your rules in the first two weeks.”  This is regarding wound allocation and multiple wound models that form into units (such as Tyranid Warriors, Raveners and pretty much half the nid army).  To explain myself here’s a diagram.

In the above example the Tyranid Warriors are shot at by the Dark Reapers.  After rolls to wound etc. the Warrior unit suffers 2 wounds.  These must be allocated to the nearest model until he has 0 wounds left.  This would be Warrior A.  The Scorpions fire on the Warriors and again 2 Wounds are inflicted.  These must be allocated to the nearest model – Warrior B.  The Warrior unit has therefore taken 4 Wounds, but no one is dead yet…see the problem.  It then gets even better.

In my next movement phase I choose to re-position the unit so that now Warriors A & B are no longer the closest to the Eldar units.  These units then open fire and again causes 2 Wounds each.  Again these wounds are allocated to the nearest models which take two each.  All of a sudden the Warrior unit has taken 8 Wounds, and yet they’re all still alive…I’ve checked the rule book and gone through the FAQs and found nothing against this.  Although there are other armies with units of multiple wound models, this applies more to the Tyranids than any other army.  And there is nothing stopping me from re-positioning the models in a unit every movement phase…like I said “Oops”.

On a different note, with Fearless not causing excess Wounds when you lose combat, the Termagant Tarpit is back! As an unfortunate Space Marine Captain found out.  And Overwatch may seem like a minor change as you can only hit your target on 6s but trust me, when you assault a unit that has a LOT of firepower (such as Deathspitter armed Warriors, each with 3 shots) you roll enough 6s for even a Terminator unit to wince.

And those are my first impressions regarding the effect on Tyranids in the new 40k edition.

Warhammer 40k 6th Edition – First Impressions

Yesterday saw me head over to Gribblin Towers for a chance to try out 40k 6th ed. Gribblin has had the book since launch, and being the studious person he is has read the rules and has a decent idea how things work. Myself on the other hand has the attention span of a newt and therefore generally has to rely on others for the first few years of any system until it gradually sinks in and I can bravely do things on my own.

So we lined up our forces in an objective based mission with approximately 1000 points a side. The mighty Space Marines versus the gribbly Tyranids. We rolled for special commander traits and then promptly forgot about them (commander traits seem to be a little bit of extra flavour and in no way game breaking).

Turn one begins and we’re off. A few minor tweaks here and there to movement but nothing significant. A bit of shooting; no huge changes to ingest. Wounds are now taken from the front of the unit seems fair enough and easy enough to take on board. Assaults and charges are now a bit more random, again with wounds coming off the front of the unit. A minor and probably overlooked tweak which could have game altering effects regards wound allocation. In our game four terminators took nine wounds. In fifth edition you would allocate 2 wounds per terminator with one extra for Mr Unlucky. In sixth edition you just roll nine saves, if you fail four the unit is removed. Without boring you with statistics the lifespan of your average terminator unit subjected to lots of shooting or attacks in sixth edition is actually pretty low compared with fifth due to this change; and this applies to any small unit that relies on a good save to keep itself alive.

A blazingly obvious change in 6th edition is the introduction of proper rules for flyers. No more tanks ramming aeroplanes out of the sky in this edition! The Tyranids had a flying harpy which caused no end of chaos and destruction. Being very difficult to shoot down I think flyers may well become the new mainstay of many a force.

Overall the game was fun and enjoyable. The minor rules tweaking seems to be a bit of an effort to stop people cheesemongering ridiculously win-at-all-costs spiked armies. This will hopefully benefit the tournament community which is who I think the rules were aimed at. From a personal perspective though the flyer rules are a fresh addition otherwise it does seem a bit like change for change’s sake. It seems that a lot of these tweaks add an unecessary extra layer of complexity to an already solid fifth edition without actually making the game more fun or playable.

Long term I’ll happily play 6th edition again. However 5th edition works well and is fun to play so I’m puzzled as to why I would want to switch to 6th edition at the moment.