Tag Archives: 40k

When 40K Went Bad

Esteemed blogger Coopdevil over at FightingFantasist takes an interesting and valid perspective on the history of 40k. He’s really got me thinking that scenarios and missions a la Rogue Trader era might add a bit of spice to our current 40k proceedings!

Check out his full post here:


The Battle of Scooby-Doo Lunchbox

As I drove home from my latest game of 40k on Friday night, the local radio station was just getting to the end of the countdown of what they described as the heaviest albums of all time. Immediately my dad’s 1970’s super deluxe vinyl edition of Jeff Wayne’s War of The Worlds sprang to mind. I remember it being a massive slab of cardboard and vinyl, with a whole array of discs, artwork and other very dense inserts. It was a hefty album indeed, but apparently not as heavy as the winner of the countdown which must have been sold in a concrete CD case with a steel ball and chain security tag. Anyway, the winner was ‘Raining Blood’ by Slayer. Now I like my metal as much as any other headbanger, but not to the Slayer end of the spectrum. I actually met Napalm Death in a bar once and completely did not get excited. Back to the story; the track the DJ decided to play off the previously mentioned supermassive album was called ‘Angel of Death’, an entirely suitable choice to end the evening!

The battle was myself versus J; an epic face off between the might of Vulkan He’Stan and his rampaging hordes of master-crafted-thunder-hammering-assault-terminator Space Marines and the power of their dark brothers, a spiky mob of Slaaneshy-Daemon-Princey-Lash-whipping-plasma-cannoning-and-more-plasma-gunning Chaos Space Marines. We lacked terrain, and in the end used J’s homemade bastion and other bits and pieces picked up in the kitchen, including a Scooby-Doo lunchbox, which was to become the focus of brutal slaughter.

The game was table quarters, seize ground with three objectives, including the bastion and lunchbox. Early on in the game Chaos had parked itself on two objectives, with a combat squad of Salamander loyalists holding the third. A Chaos Land Raider stuffed with khorne beserkers soon ejected the loyalists, allowing Chaos to grasp all objectives by mid-game. The loyalists attacking the bastion had become bogged down in heavy terrain, with their heavy support Vindicator throwing a track early on. The loyalists attempting to seize the lunchbox were taking withering fire from obliterators and plague marines on the objective and were making little progress.

Meanwhile, Vulkan He’Stan and his hammertime posse had driven their Crusader deep into the enemies back field and were busy mullering anything not on an objective, but having little impact on the game outcome. Whilst they were busy splattering non-scoring units, their Crusader returned to annihilate the khorne beserkers and destroy their Land Raider transport in a turn of furious firepower, leaving the objective vacant.

At this point the loyalists slowly trudging through rubble towards the bastion decided to abandon their prospects of ever capturing it this century and split up, a Space Marine combat squad heading to capture the now vacant third objective, and a squad of assault terminators heading off to mash a daemon prince who happened to fly by too close.

By turn six Chaos still held the lunchbox and bastion, and loyalists were still struggling through the rubble to reach the third vacant objective. The last desperate gamble of turn six had been a final assault by a loyalist combat squad on the lunchbox in an attempt to remove its final defender, an aspiring plague marine champion with power fist. The assault failed as the single champion beat down all of the attackers. It looked set for a two to nothing victory for chaos until J rolled for end of game. Unluckily for him it went to turn seven. By this time Vulkan had been picked up by his Crusader and was busy speeding towards a final decisive battle atop the lunchbox. A final loyalist combat squad who had been walking to the box since their transport got destroyed in turn four finally arrived. The other squad who had done nothing all game other than struggle through rubble finally made a run for the uncontested objective, only just making it in turn seven. Vulkan scaled the lunchbox, and the final assault went in against the lone aspiring champion who up until this point had been winning the game. Vulkan had to employ both his master crafted relic blade and digital weapons to shift the stubborn defender, which allowed his supporting combat squad to seize the objective.

In conclusion, it was an extremely close game. The loyalists won 2-1 in the end, but only after being behind 2-0 at the end of turn six. The most effective units on each side were probably the loyalist’s Crusader, which survived the entire game playing a key role in the capture of two objectives, and Chaos’s Obliterators, who from turn one proved to be a menace and slowed any hopes of a swift loyalist advance and victory.

It was an enjoyable game, and showed the nail-biting tension a decent game of Warhammer 40k can bring. I find it a shame that the Sheriff is intent upon changing this great ruleset for something else in the next edition, probably to the benefit of no-one except shareholders. It just makes me hope that rather than going for codex creep, GW can actually concentrate on gameplay, good models, good balance and good fun rather than the need to release ever more all-conquering all-powerful armies. It is an interesting coincidence that this game was played on the day that Warpath released. If all games of 40k were this fun then Warpath wouldn’t stand a cat’s chance at a cacodaemon’s barbeque of being successful.

Playing Nice

That’s right Internet, I’m heading up a post today using a picture of a miniature that I myself have painted! It’s still not finished mind, I’ve been painting other stuff but as I want to spend some time talking about 40k today, I wanted to add a little touch of something personal.

In my last post I touched on the Internet and the impact it has on our gaming. It seems like you can’t hit up a forum without finding a veritable panoply of threads dealing with how to make a list capable of winning tournaments and your average fluff list is buried under all the WAAC-ness.

Now, if one were so inclined when it comes to picking up 40k they could choose their Codex and then just hit up the web for a list that can rock the proverbial kazbar. These lists do tend to be “point and click” but there are certain armies where this kind of list building can prove very effective even in the hands on a novice player. I would imagine that most players want to have fun in their games but there is also an inherent part of a player that wants to win.

I’m pretty positive that there will be people out there that will decry my opinion as heresy, no doubt trotting out some abhorrent fluff list composed of nothing but Gretchin or something. Now, obviously we want to have fun, if we’re not having fun then there is no real point in playing. However, what I am interested in is how groups of players balance what they take in their respective environments. I’ve already stated on this blog that I am not a tournament player. Nor and I ever likely to be, most of these events last over two days and Sunday is not a day I feel comfortable spending gaming, it being the Sabbath and all. There may be one day tournaments but we’re then into the territory of me actually having a fully painted army to attend!

So, I am more than happy to be playing with my buds over a cool glass of DPZ and some salt-encrusted snack products. With easy access to the Internet these days you;d be mad not to have an idea about your army list gathered from players far and wide. There is normally a general consensus of what is and is not viable from a particular Codex. While I am not a fan of list tailoring there are those who are proponents of this idea. While I don’t write a list to win a tournament I do write it so that it has a chance of winning.

What do you do then, when a player brings a tournament army into a casual play environment? I am not speaking from personal experience here, we do have some strong lists though and I see myself changing my lists so that I can compete (Dark Eldar and Grey Knights dripping with S7 weapons don’t mix well). We’ve been trying to encourage the “all-comers” list mentality on the newest player we have around these parts. I think it’s a valuable skill to learn and helps you when you are against such a broad range of opponents. It’s how I’ve always written my lists although they do adapt to my local meta.

I’ve recently changed a squad or two in my Dark Eldar, I’ve added more shooting to it and removed a few things that have been hit and miss for me. The new list might not work but then that’s half the fun for me, finding stuff that works for the way that I play the game. Sometimes I get hammered, sometimes I am the one doing the hammering, I hope that good times are had by all.

To be honest I find that this is where 40k can fall down a little. Someone can bring a tourney list and destroy all that come before it and no one has fun except for maybe the chap that brought the FOTM list. We had a game of Warmachine Mk2 in our regular Wednesday play session last week too. I took Siege, a Sentinel, Lancer and Defender in a 15pt game against nBreaker with Sorscha, a Destroyer and a Juggernaught. The Sentinel got his arms hacked off by the Destroyer and the Lancer was pounded into scrap by the Juggernaught. Things were looking good for nBreaker before I got a clear LOS to his Warcaster through dropping a Foxhole on the Juggernaught, a Ground Pounder and boosted Defender Heavy Barrel later and Sorscha was a pair of smoking boots. Things were not looking great for me but I pulled off the win. I like Warmachine for this reason, there are no really cheesy combos of stuff. The whole game is based around a threat vector and exploiting it. You’re guaranteed to get it off once but then your opponent will know what to look for. I know that the game is regarded as having a steep learning curve but it’s a fast paced game that plays ruthlessly. This appeals to me against rolling up and finding that you are almost certainly going to lose against what is deployed against you at the start of the game.

Do you have an internal balance meter? How do you judge what is competitive enough to take to challenge you and your opponents? Do you even care? Has the Internet written your lists for you? Are you happy with this?

Are these issues endemic of the games system themselves, poor rules or poor Codices? Should Mat Ward be allowed near an army book ever again?

I think these are the questions I’d like to see answers on.

Beards and Cheese – The Dark Side for New Players

Now, I’m not talking about gamers’ ability to choose their own style of facial hair, nor what lactose based foodstuffs they consume, but rather a more delicate topic for the discerning reader.

Well Internet, I’ve been reading forums for a long time. I read them on various subjects and as the gaming universe is one of my most beloved hobbies I hope it’s obvious that I frequent some based around gaming.

From my perspective there is one issue that I feel can prove detrimental to our hobby. This is the tournament scene and its prevalence in forums. Now, I’m not for on minute saying that tournaments are in and of themselves evil, nor the players that enjoy them somehow the Beelzebub of our hobby. We’re all entitled to enjoy the games we play in any way we like, except perhaps a Rule 34 kind of way

It is almost inevitable that on any gaming forum you frequent there will be at least on place to post army lists. You can throw up a list and expect to receive all kinds of critique to make your lists “better.” This is primarily done in an effort to improve lists that will be taken to tournaments, if you’re playing a friendly game then who actually cares what you bring? For those of us who are experienced players this isn’t an issue. I know what the tournament viable units are for my Dark Eldar and I know what are considered the weaker units. My goal is to make a list that it is possible to win with but no steamroller the opponent or lay down and let itself be steamrolled.

Now I know that some players tend to come in with a win at all costs (WAAC) mentality anyway, luckily I have awesome friends to play with who make tough lists with which I can stretch myself and enjoy the challenge. However, what can we expect from new players into the hobby? I’m old enough to know that I’m no spring chicken anymore and the children of today grow up in a much more media connected world than I did through the 80’s and 90’s. While the Internet was around it wasn’t as prevalent through everyday life, at least not in my household. These days, when the new generation get conned into playing Space Marines from the sales guy at the local GW store, where are they going to turn for advice? Yup, in between watching Ray William Johnson and downloading Hentai they’ll be hitting up the forums for list advice and guess what they’ll find? That’s right, all those netlists for winning tournaments!

So, you end up with a load of the kiddies hitting up Blood Angels or Space Wolves or maybe even Grey Knights trying to make that awesome list that will see all cower before their Google-powered might! Now, to the eyes of this veteran undead buccaneer, these newbies are missing a trick. One of the best parts of our hobby is the diversity of the forces on offer. Sure we all know about stores pushing Space Marines on new players due to the fact that they are a forgiving army to play. There are also a hell of a lot of different flavours of them too! But you miss out on so much if you don’t give the range a look through, find something you like the look of or the background too and then make an army off that.

It’s no fallacy that a lot of new gamers are going to lose to start with. This gets even worse when you know that they’ve downloaded their point and click list off the web and expect to win with it. Beating them with a list they don’t know how to use is not an enjoyable game for you as the opponent and it sure as hell isn’t teaching them anything about the game either. Once you wipe the floor with them you know they’ll be back with another list that won the latest GT, they may not have even bothered to repaint the colour of their power armour either! Now I understand this might seem a little extreme as an example but I see this happening. The games where we just get together and throw-down as friends is altered by newcomers. I think it’s a good thing that we can mentor the new generation of gamers and try to provide them with as much enjoyment from the hobby as we’ve had over the years.

I’ve not yet turned down a game by anybody, nor am I planning too but we all know that some Codex are beefier in terms of their power than others, yes, pretty much anything written by Mat Ward stands out as a shining beacon. I just hope that some of us older gamers can try to temper the WAAC mentality that seems to come with inexperience. The whole reason that newer gamers lose more often is to help them learn the game and their army. Losing is a theatre of experience which means that when you finally do start winning it’s all the sweeter. Some of us even choose hard to play armies so that we can improve how we play.

I’m happy that people enjoy tournaments and I certainly enjoy the Internet, I just happen to be of the opinion that the two together put across an image to newer gamers and I hope we can tutor them out of that. The game should be fun for both players and if we’re playing at home with our friends, sure I might have fun for that one game when you flop out Mephiston the army slayer, you start bringing him every week with all the pimped out tools and I might just take my ball home. I may be an adult but if I’m not having fun getting crushed every week by someone’s busted army list of Mat Wardage then there really is no point in my playing.

I’d just like to point out that this hasn’t happened to me so it’s not sour grapes on my part!

So, step up new players, pick something you like the look of, shake off the shackles of oppressive staff making you look at Marines and see just what happens when you remove that 3+ armour save. You might enjoy it and it might make you a better gamer for it!

Games Workshop and 6th Edition 40k

Normally I don’t like just posting links to other sites rather than creating a proper article of my own, but Carabus sent something through that I wanted to share with you all.

More shenanigans from Gouge Workshop. I’m intrigued by 6th edition 40k and hopefully we won’t get a stupid rulebook the size of the Fantasy one. However, I’m really not a fan of GW’s direction, sure the stuff they make is not bad but with all the things they’ve been doing recently…

Luckily I’m a big enough boy to understand that I am not obliged to give GW my money, unfortunately a lot of their target demographic don’t seem to understand that idea.


Army Building – Those Last Few Points

Good morning subscribers and other assorted Bots. Today I’d like to spend a short amount of time talking about the phenomena that I have observed over many years of writing army lists. If you’re anything like me then you’ve made lists for armies that you’ve never bought and have more lists than you could ever play for the ones you do actually own as well. There is something quite therapeutic about sitting down with pen, paper and a well-thumbed Codex to come up with the next iteration of a list.

Some people might not spend as much time as I do looking through a Codex trying to work out what will not suck against the meta in my local area. For me it’s not about creating that tournament winning army, more about collecting a set of stuff that will still allow me to win but fits the models I like. In general I won’t play with models I don’t like, luckily that’s not really a problem with the new Dark Eldar as the range is pretty awesome.

When I’m creating the lists themselves I always list down the HQ first. In 40k you need to take at least one so not a bad place to start in my book. I then add in the Elites, then Troops, then Fast Attack and finally Heavy Support. I then tot up the points that I have spent to see how close I have come to the limit.

What amuses me (I have a weird sense of humour) is that I almost never end up within a few points of the target. I’m normally either 200pts under spent or at least 200pts over spent. This happens with alarming regularity and often leaves me with a conundrum. As I’ve already covered the required slots where do I spend those extra points? Normally, cutting stuff out is not a problem, so if I’ve overspent it’s normally on a duplicated entry so I can drop one or the other.

However, when underspent do I want another Troops choice to increase the number of units I have that can hold objectives or do I want to round out another area? Afterall, before I added things up I’d have been happy with the army configuration anyway.

Also, what do you do if you have say 60pts spare? Do you flesh out a squad with more dudes (something you might not be able to do if you have transports) or do you spend it on some upgrades, potentially making something even more expensive. It’s those moments when you don’t have enough for another squad of something but you’re very restricted in what else you can spend the points on and you need to spend them because who is going to go into a battle with 60pts+ still to spend on stuff?

Epic Fail – When Good Dice Go Bad

In general we love our wargaming. Not only is it a creative outlet for our more artistic drives, but it stretches the cerebellum and provide the exercise for our grey matter that might be lacking in other activities (like watching sports).

We pore over army lists, trying to devise cunning ways to improve our armies, looking for synergies of troops and vehicles or monsters with which to make a fun game and hopefully bring us victory and allow us to triumph over our foes. I could probably do with some kind of alliterative example here but you’re not going to get one!

So it was that for the May Day bank holiday that gripped the lands below the mighty floating citadel that is the 6 Inch Move palatial residence, a few of the more dedicated gamers gathered together to duke it out using little plastic soldiers. The way real men settle their differences fo’shizzle. (We did have two drop-outs, one with some kind of mild headache claimed to be a migraine and the other with excuses of some kind of outdoor, fire-pit based social event, but we all now geeks don’t have friends, or do outdoors so come to your own conclusions).

This auspicious day saw nBreaker start a winning streak we are hoping to cut short. My Arcanists Show Girls crew were slaughtered mercilessly at the hands of the Dreamer and Lord Chompy Bits, followed not long after by Gribblin’s Eldar taking a beating from nBreaker’s Orks. However, all of this is a 250+ word pre-amble to the main event, a kin strife war between that same Eldar army and my own burgeoning Dark Eldar.

Gribblin and I have done the “Elf on Elf” thing before, but in the fantasy setting, it was brutal, bloody and there wasn’t a whole lot left at the end of the game. Therefore we imagined that this was probably going to pan out in the same vein. I took my double Succubi list I posted a while back but took one squad as Bloodbrides, kitted both Wych units with Haywire grenades and dropped the Mandrakes.

Now, while battle reports are generally pretty cool to read the amount of fail in this one leaves us far too embarrassed to do it. It seemed that no matter what either of us could do it just wasn’t the day for the dice to co-operate. We ended up with an Annihilation mission with opposite corners for deployment. I deployed first but then Gribblin stole the initiative, this should have been a warning of things to come. His Rangers shot my Kabalite Warriors and (of course) I failed the pinning test, everything else was pretty much out of sight and survived. The Kabalites would not shoot for the first two turns of the game despite having Ld8, I rolled above 10 both times. My Ravager went up against the Falcon and in an impressive bout of fail only managed to Shake it for the whole game. My Bloodbrides failed to kill 10 Dire Avengers despite two Agonisers and the +1 attack combat drug, they did soundly beat them but then failed to catch them after rolling a 1 for their sweeping advance. Of course they got shot up without the benefit of the Pain Token they should have collected.

Once again the Reavers proved their worth by immobilising the Falcon and then shooting up the Rangers, on Gribblins part he failed more 3+ cover saves than anyone had right to. I sent my normal Wyches into the War Walkers who proceeded to take 4 turns to only take down 2 of them (OK, I’ll admit that this was the wrong target on my part). My Bloodbrides epically failed their move through cover check to assault the Rangers before my Reavers finally saw them off.

We ended up calling the game a draw, Gribblin did have one more kill point than me when we totted up the final tally for giggles at the end but both of use had hardly anything of the 1000pts we took left. I have never ever seen such awful dice, both of us suffered from rolling low when we needed to roll high and vice-versa. In general it seems that at times the dice gods do abandon one player at times and no matter what you do you get pounded, however, for it to happen to players on both side of the table is amazingly rare. So, if we look on the bright side I suppose it is unlikely to happen again. Maybe the Dice Gods do not like Eldar on Eldar match-ups?

All I can say is that game only took around an hour to play as the back and forth was pretty swift as nothing really was going to plan for either of us. I think part of it was definitely the list I took, I rehashed one from a multi-player game and it wasn’t ideal for playing solo. If nothing else though I’ve learned some more about my Dark Eldar and that can never be a bad thing.

Warhammer 40000: Salamander Space Marine Terminator Assault Squad

An update from my post the other day… Being a bit quicker with the brush than the rest of the floating citadel’s minions I managed to complete my squad, up to a standard I am pleased with. Not one bit of army painter involved here, no sir-ee, this here is genuine paintbrush work with absolutely no dippage.

The other big change from my regular stuff is that these guys are magnetised, meaning their arms are moveable and removeable. Poseable action figures are awesome, and you can pull their arms off in slow motion when they inevitably fail their armour saves. On a more practical note, you could swap out for lightning claws should you get bored with your master crafted thunder hammers. Yeah right!

Click for a close-up, I dare ya!