Tag Archives: 40k

40k has landed

In a change to our usual programming of DZC I thought I’d look at the latest release from GW; the all new and improved edition of 40k.  As is normal there was a mass of rumors on the internet, but in a moment that will surely prove my ‘geek credentials’ beyond doubt I quote Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 190 “Hear all, trust nothing”.

I managed to acquire my copy of this tome yesterday from my local independent store as a nice little pre-order with a happy £5 off to go with it, and I have spent a bit of time reading it both yesterday and this morning.  I wanted to share some of my first thoughts and impressions of this new edition.  So here we go.

Book: The first thing I wanted to go over was the composition of the book itself.  It is a rather weighty volume, similar to current Fantasy rule book, but some 80 odd pages thinner.  The rules make up 130 pages (about a third of the book), there’s 100 pages of background to the 40k galaxy and the races in it (it should be noticed that in some of the background there was a written mention of the Squats – but I wouldn’t get your hopes up) and the remaining 200ish pages are miniature pictures, extra scenarios, reference sheets and general fluff.  The book is in full colour and there are lots of pictures, including some impressive pieces of pull out art and a nicely done space station made out of bastions, landing pads and a few other bits from other building kits.  The rules are laid out in a similar fashion to the Fantasy rule book.  The general framework of the rules hasn’t changed; it’s mostly small tweeks and minor changes rather than any major re-writes.

Movement: Movement hasn’t changed; most units move 6″ and you have to maintain 2″ unit coherency.  The whole of the movement phase covers all of 2 pages.  All rules for difficult, dangerous & lethal terrain are in their own chapter now.

Shooting: As said earlier there have been no major re-writes, but shooting has seen some significant changes.  The first is that the effect of movement on a model’s ability to shoot is worked out on an individual rather than a unit basis.  This means that you can move some models in a unit and leave the guy with the heavy weapon stationary (but still in coherency) to fire.  There is also the option of snap firing.  Any snap firing is done at BS 1, and a model with a heavy weapon (but not one with a blast/template) can move & shoot in the turn and snap fire.  Running is done in the movement phase, but not even fleet models can run & charge in the same turn.  Allocating wounds has also had a significant change.  You allocate wounds to the models closest to the firing unit.  This means the guys at the front are removed as casualties before the ones at the back.  A small but potentially dramatic change.  Characters in the unit get a “Look Out Sir” save similar to Fantasy.  Oh and cover saves from units in the way is now 5+ not 4+.

Assault: The assault phase is similar to last edition.  You declare and then resolve each charge, one at a time.  The charged unit gets to make an Overwatch shooting attack against one unit that charges it using the snap fire rules.  Charging is random (2D6″ – I think everybody knew that was coming).  Characters can now issue challenges in the same way as Fantasy, which I think is a nice new addition.  And that’s about it for the changes in assaults, everything else is pretty much the same.

Other Rules: Morale is pretty much the same, oh but Fear is back! Which coming from the perspective of the Tyranid player…WOOHOO!!!! And it’s the same as Fantasy, though Fearless and ‘And they shall know no fear’ are immune to it.  There’s a 12 page long chapter of common special rules including Deep Strike, Fear, Gets Hot, Barrage and all the other little rules that make the game fun.  It’s quite comprehensive; there are new rules, and slight re-wording of some old ones.  Unit types are similar, although cavalry and beasts are now separate unit types with their own rules.  Watch out for Eldar (inc. Dark Eldar) jetbikes and their fantastic 48″ total move.  Jump Infantry, Cavalry and Monsters cause impact hits (known as the Hammer of Wrath) and Beasts get to move 12″ in the movement phase.  There is also a whole page dedicated to Flying Monsters, and their funky new rules of gliding, swooping and smacking units they fly over.  Again from the perspective of a Tyranid player I think the Harpy might become a regular in my army.

Weapons are similar; though Close Combat weapons now come with an AP value and there is a new weapon type (Salvo weapons).  There is also a funny typo in that Boltguns are Rapis firing rather than Rapid. Lol.  Oh and did I mention that grenades can thrown?

Psykers: Psykers have seen a significant change.  They come with a Mastery Level (i.e. how many psychic powers they can use a turn), and although you ‘cast’ the psychic power in the same way as before, the target is allowed a Deny the Witch roll (on a 6 they resist the psychic power).  You get a bonus to your Deny the Witch if they target unit contains a psyker.  The Psychic Hood is different, but I wont spoil that.  Psychic powers also have types; Blessing, Conjuration, Malediction and Witchfire.

Vehicles: The other big change is the use of vehicles.  As some people may have heard vehicles now have Hull Points.  At first I wasn’t too happy about this, I saw it as vehicles having wounds and I felt that this infringed on the Monstrous Creature rules.  But now that I’ve read how it works, I think it’s a much better system.  Essentially every time you score a glancing hit the vehicle losses a hull point, every time you score penetrating hit the vehicle losses a hull point and you roll on the damage chart which includes your crew stunned, immobilised etc. results.  There are other subtle changes such as the amount of weapons you can fire (you can move your full speed and snap fire all of your weapons for example) and disembarking troops can be placed with 6″ of the transport, but cannot move any further.  Flyers also have their own set of rules now, including a minimum move of 18″ and only being hit on a 6.

That is a brief summary of some of the core rules for the new 40k.  Unfortunately my time has run short and I must go and work at life’s grindstone.  Expect a second part to this post as there are still many other goodies in the new book.

GW: The Company I Love to Hate or Hate to Love…. I’m Not Sure

Just a couple of things this morning from the opening salvo of 2012. Firstly I bought this month’s White Dwarf, it’s got a lot of stuff for the latest Warhammer Fantasy release the “Vampire Counts” in it. They’re an army that has appealed to me right from day one, I’ve never gotten around to the army though, but I have come close a few times. I had a little chuckle to myself when after the Editorial and contents page there was a double spread advert for Dreadfleet. I’ll not go into that here, I am sure all regular readers are more than aware of my feelings for the game, the picture at the start of this thread should suffice if you’re in the dark.

In other news I doubt many people will have heard about the leaked 6th edition rules, or what are rumoured to be 6th edition. After all the furore when this document first hit the Intertubes there has been a lot of sudden declarations of it being a fake, despite what would seem to be considerable evidence to the contrary. I’ve seen the rules myself and had a quick scan through and, personally, I’d be happy for 40k to develop this way. A lot of the problems with 5th edition have gone and it does seem to change-up the meta-game. Now, there are things I don’t like but overall I see enough positives here for this to be a good change for 40k.

Going back to that White Dwarf I purchased (taking the number of White Dwarfs I’ve bought over the past ten years up to needing two hands to count) it also alludes to this being the 25th anniversary year for Warhammer 40,000. I’m going to be very interested to see what overpriced tat the Sherriff tries to hawk onto us so that we can “share” in the celebration of this momentous event. I’m going to go with a generic hot beverage container costing upwards of a decent night out with one’s significant other. I can tell you now which I’d prefer and which one is much more likely. I think I might have the steak!

I’m certainly looking forward to this years releases. I’m impressed with the speed at which Fantasy armies are coming out. I’m sure Gribblin will be wanting to throw down soon with the new Vampires and we should also have a pretty interesting project kicking off here towards the end of the first quarter! Stay tuned for that. I also imagine we’ll be getting at least one Space Marine Codex this year. Black Templars are on the rumour mill and a new edition of 40k means that the generic Marine codex will need to be updated pretty quickly thereafter to make sure they don’t have to abide by any of the rules in the new book. Can’t have them behaving like all the other armies can we?

I’ll be keeping an eye on Mantic to see how Warpath and Kings of War develop. I’d certainly be interested more in their games once the product lines are a fully viable contender to the GW crown. I know that both my wallet and, perhaps more importantly, my wife would be appreciative of a reduction in the cost of my hobby..

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!