Tag Archives: Army List

Tyranid Army, 2000 points


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

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

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

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

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ZombiePirate’s Ogre Kingdoms Review – 8th Edition


Welcome one and all. Last night I took full advantage of my wife being out and Gribblin and I threw down for another game of Warhammer Fantasy. Now, regular viewers may remember from way back when I chose High Elves as the army I was going to be doing. Unsurprisingly for one as fickle as I am that changed on a whim and rather than hordes of Always Strikes First ridiculousness I went with something way out of left field, the much maligned Ogre Kingdoms.

Ogres have had a bit of a rough ride in Fantasy. When they were first released way back in 6th edition they were decried, not only because they were perceived as a bit rubbish due to their MSU build philosophy but also because Wood Elves were due an update and had to wait even longer to get a new book. At the point in time the Ogres arrived I had been waiting for Wood Elf models that didn’t make my eyes bleed as they were an army I’d always liked the background for, Gribblin put paid to that though as a long time Woodies player and having an army, if I had picked up the hippy elves I believe we’d have had some very boring games over the years.

For me, picking Ogres was about challenging myself, sure they are better than they have ever been, but it’s a bit like saying a turd is better than it has ever been if you give it a wallet full of cash. It’s still a turd after all, even if in monetary terms it is the king of turds. This would also give me an army that would have a low model count, something I can do something with and have a chance of painting someday. Hey, a fella can dream can’t he?

So it was that I built an army and last night it had its second outing against the tweaked Lizardmen fielded by Gribblin. My list was unchanged from the last time we played and we are fighting at the 3000pts level, so we both expect plenty of nastiness on both sides. It was a fun game and the initiative was definitely with the Lizards for the first couple of turns, however, an interesting charge declaration in the bottom of turn two set me up to ROFLstomp my way through his lines in the following turns. I had to sacrifice a unit of Ogres really to do it but in the end it worked out. We were playing the Blood and Glory scenario and I broke the Lizardmen on turn 5 with the death of the Slaan and his unit.

Rather than a play by play (my poor memory is not good for writing battle reports) I thought I’d run through the same format as I did with my War of the Ring choices, a breakdown of the items in my list and their performance to date, OK it’s only two games but I am starting to get a feel for things and how they play. Now might be the time to start looking at tweaks.I think I’m on borrowed time before I get creamed by the Lizardmen or he brings out the Vampires.

Lords

Tyrant – Mawseeker, Fencers Blades, Greyback Pelt, Wyrdstone Necklace, 2 Sword Gnoblars, Luck Gnoblar.

This guy is nuts! Yes, he is expensive, yes he suffers from Stupidity, but a re-rollable Ld9 is not too much to worry about I feel. Unbuffed he is WS10, T6 with 6 attacks at S5 at 2 more attacks at S2. At best you hit him in combat on a 5. He is designed to challenge and get overkill and he easily makes back his points. So far he has a Slann, an Ancient Stegadon, a Skink Chief and some change, not bad from only two games. When fully buffed from a Butcher this guy is even crazier. I may look at what I want him to do and play with some different items but I really enjoy using this guy, he is blunt force trauma in the truest sense of the word, completely unsubtle but then, he’s an Ogre so why not.

Slaughtermaster – Talisman of Preservation, Blood Cleaver

Mandatory level 4 spellcaster. Sure, the Gut Magic Lore isn’t exactly the best in the game but it does have its benefits. Stackable buffs that can take Ogres over the top in terms of their hitting power and overall survivability. In an army with next to no armour getting the right few buffs off and keeping them up is a strategy in and of itself. The Blood Cleaver is a nice little tool that allows him to reclaim wounds he will inevitably suffer at the hands of his own casting. The Miscast table for Gut Magic is pretty brutal but I rolled on it for the first time last night and he just ended up with Frenzy, result!

I wouldn’t leave home without him at this points levels, single dice casting is alive and well and on a decent Winds of Magic roll I’ll typically end up with dice left over to dispel anything that my enemy has and as that enemy is a Slann there is generally something around.

Heroes

Bruiser – BSB, Heavy Armour, Talisman of Protection, Great Skull

Again a mandatory choice in any army is now a Battle Standard. The Re-rolls to leadership test is too valuable to give up especially with a low Ld army like Ogres. This fellow doesn’t do a whole lot other than hide in his unit, he has a basic ward save and so far the Great Skull hasn’t done a thing, probably a good thing considering the Slaan can throw miscasts at me. I’m likely to drop this item and use the points elsewhere. He doesn’t really have a job to do but does lend his attacks to a fight while he cowers in the second rank doing re-rolls. No matter the points level this chap would be one of the first things I put into the list.

Butcher – Dispel Scroll

Backup to the Slaughtermaster, carries a scroll for when I really need to stop a spell that didn’t get IF, provides another avenue for buffing the Ogres and can also single dice cast before letting his more experienced compatriot get on with things. It would be possible to drop this chap but I think that would leave too big a hole in my buffing prowess trying to cover all the Ogre units.

Core

6 Ogre Bulls – Standard and Musician

You have to take a single unit of Bulls, in this edition they got better due to Stomp and Monstrous Infantry. They can’t be Killing Blowed and some of the big spells won’t work on them. Giving them proper ranks also helps no end. They still suffer from low Initiative, low Weapon Skill and lack of armour but the can absorb a lot of punishment with Gut Magic around. These guys can do some damage but are mainly a flank protection unit for the others, they are small enough to be able to manoeuver around things but big enough to provide a threat in combat. I am happy to sacrifice these guys to achieve goals with the other Ogres.

9 Ogre Bulls – Standard and Musician

This is the second main combat unit, two ranks and generally the hiding place of the Butcher. They can get buffed and are likely to make it into combat with a large number of attacks, it takes a concerted effort to shift them although last night an Oldblood with Blade of Realities shows just how easy it can be to get rid of a 300pts+ unit when you take a 300pts character  with a 75pt magic weapon against someone who generally can’t pass a Leadership test to save his life (and being out of range of the BSB didn’t help). I do like this unit as it’s pretty beefy, although I could combine the two units and go for a Bull Horde, I am just wary of the fact I’d have all my eggs in one basket and one IF Purple Sun could potentially then remove me from the game.

7 Ironguts – Standard with Rune Maw and Musician

I LOVE THIS UNIT!!!! This is the core of my offensive line, if you’re a character and not the Butcher you go in this unit. I know, it’s a Death Star but that is the way to play Ogres and have any perceivable chance of winning. I deploy them 4 wide therefore giving two Ironguts a chance to attack alongside my Slaughtermaster and Tyrant. I’m happy to take challenges on either one of those guys really although the Tyrant is built for it. The Great Weapons are really not a hindrance on a unit that has low I anyway but between all the impact hits they do, the stomps and the huge number of high strength attacks they can roll they wreck things. Last night they went into the Slann and Temple Guard unit, two rounds of combat later and the Slann legged it and was run down, he only had a single wound left after the entire unit of Temple Guard got clubbed to death, I lost 1 Irongut…

The unit totals (with characters) over one-third of my total army cost but it is well worth it to see them rampage across the battlefield. I’ve not yet used the Rune Maw due to nothing offensive being cast their way but I’m going to keep it as I think that may change.

40 Gnoblars

Nothing much to say here, 5*8 for steadfast they are a giant roadblock and sit on the flank of the Ironguts, they die in droves to anything half decent but if kept close to the Tyrant’s unit (if they don’t bicker) they provide a valuable disruption unit and ablative wounds for the Rune Maw, at 80pts they are ridiculously cheap for what they bring to the table and if they don’t all die to a man or flee from the table it’s a bonus.

8 Gnoblar Trappers

These guys buy me a second Scraplauncher and the models are ace. However, they have done nothing in either game, they have just died although they have taken a cavalry unit out of the game for a few turns which is not bad for a unit costing less than 50pts. I’m waiting for them to wow me but they’re Gnoblars so I’m not expecting it anytime soon. Scouts is good but when you can’t setup out of line of sight in a wood somewhere or something they lose some of their effectiveness. They are still funny though.

Special

2 Scraplaunchers

Interesting units these guys, they are a chariot with a stone thrower on it. A Large Template Killing Blow stone thrower. They’ve not really killed a lot so far. They have been lobbing templates with impunity and last night they shot every turn but only rolled one Hit. They are horrific models to assemble but if I were to drop them I struggle to see what I could add in their place other than more Ogres, not necessarily a bad thing, maybe I just need to start rolling average for scatters and Leadership tests and my mileage with things may change.

2 Leadbelchers

Small and annoying, hilarious when an opponent doesn’t know too much about them and they choose to Stand and Shoot. They haven’t managed to blow themselves up yet and I can consider adding a second unit like this to sit on a flank and being annoying. I like them.

Rare

2 Gorgers – My Warmachine and Lone Character hunters. I like them, they are a little uncontrollable and I sent them against the wrong unit in last night’s game but they will always feature in my list as appearing in the back field of an opponent is something they need to plan for and worry about.

2 Giants – Both got mullered in the first game, second game one survived to the end. I use them as a tag team on a flank and I think they are doing their job well. They attract a lot of fire and all those poison shots are not going against my Ogres which is a good thing. Using two is definitely a good thing as otherwise it would be too little of a distraction, one turn of shooting generally sees it off. They are a threat which you need to deal with, I like the threat saturation approach.

Overall I’ve been very pleased with how my Ogres perform. I’m remembering all of their rules now which is a good thing and they’ve done me proud against one of the current top-tier armies. Gribblin is tweaking his army still and last night’s game was a lot tougher than the one before as it had a lot more Ogre killing potential than its predecessor, I don’t see that changing and I need someway to destroy that Oldblood with Blade of Realities, avoiding the unit he is in also sounds easier than it will be to pull off.

I might change some items around and still need to make up my mind on the Scrappies, I am sure they will have one game where they don’t miss and I just have to endure until then.

 

 

Tutorials in Gaming – Warhammer 40,000 Army List Construction 102


Yesterday I went into the start of constructing an army list for 40k. These same principles do translate into Warhammer with some adjustment. We looked at the basic Force Organisation chart and picked out units that matched these slots fulfilling what core Troops do as well as picking up some punch in the form of an HQ unit. Today we will delve into some of the other unit choices available and the various other slots. While I am using Orks as an example as these are the lists I am more familiar with building the basic concepts I am trying to convey work on any other army list too.

In brief we picked two Troops units to fulfill the compulsory selections, these units we designed around taking objectives as well as survivability for Kill Point scenarios. Out HQ was picked as being able to add some punch to a squad but we will also add something else to this selection as we go through options today.

Following the selections we took yesterday we are now left with 1 HQ, 3 Elites, 4 Troops, 3 Fast Attack and 3 Heavy Support. I also mentioned that we were going to tackle the questions of army selection so, to start, before we build the rest of our army, what are these questions? These are questions that I like to ask myself when seeing if I have all the bases covered when creating a list, I’ve already stipulated I make “all-comers” lists rather than tailoring against specific opponents, answering these questions allows me to make sure I am covered against any eventuality. Here are my questions;

  1. How do I deal with large units? (Usually low T, low AS units like Orks and Gaunts)
  2. How do I deal with armoured infantry? (Terminators and their like)
  3. How do I deal with high Toughness? (Monstrous Creatures)
  4. How do I deal with Armour 14? (Not everyone has Land Raiders but if I can cover this other vehicles will naturally be catered for)
  5. How am I going to claim and hold objectives?

These questions are not in order and some units will be able to cover more than one question. If you build an army around covering all of these bases you should have a strong list that can cope with whatever is thrown at it, it won’t guarantee that you can win every game you play but you’ll certainly be in a better place than if you just take a random bunch of models. Luckily in the Ork army the way I answer a lot of these questions is my 40k catchphrase “Moar Boyz!”. Ork Boyz are excellent for a number of reasons, they are cheap, there are lots of them and a Nob with a Power Klaw can total pretty much anything in the game given time, the number of bodies in his mob is what buys that time (normally).

Firstly, let’s take a look at Elites, for Orks we have a large number of selections in this regard, Nobs squads, Mega-Nobz, Burnas, Lootas, Kommandos and Tank Bustas. Nobs can be changed into the feared (and expensive) Nob bikers too so that gives us a fast-moving attack element to go with our Elites options. Each of these units performs different roles, however, now we can also see that our chosen HQ fits something nicely here. In an Ork army a Warboss allows a unit of Nobz or Mega-Nobz to be taken as a Troops choice rather than Elites, not only does this release an Elites slot we could choose to fill with something else it also means that the units taken as Troops is a scoring unit and can therefore claim objectives. It is worth looking deeply into an HQ units special rules as often it will mean you might look into one choice over another because of those options. As you can see above one of the questions I have is for taking and holding objectives. For this purpose I’d be looking at the Mega-Nobz, normally afflicted by “Slow and Purposeful” foot-slogging them to an objective might not be a good idea, luckily they have a couple of transport options; a Trukk or a Battlewagon. Personally I take a Trukk, its cheap and gets them where the action is quicker than if they were on foot. I can fit 12 models on a Trukk but Mega-armour units count as two models, perfect, I can take 5 Mega-Nobz and the Warboss and fit them all in the Trukk. This gives me a fast-moving element and the open-topped nature of the vehicle means I can assault out of it. I’ll throw in a Red Paint Job to grab an extra inch of movement per turn. This unit will rip through most heavy armoured troops but needs to watch out for monstrous creatures and anything with a power fist as they will get eaten up. This unit will also help with questions 1, 3 and 5 due to their own resilience (2+ AS , 2W and T4) and their combat prowess (3 attacks on the charge at S9). Because they are only S9 on the charge they have difficulty with number 4, however, the addition of the Warboss means that they can actually pop armour 14 as he is a mean S10 normally and puts out 6 attacks on the charge. Question 4 is the hardest for me to answer with Orks as they lack a lot of high strength weaponry, the most powerful things you can get are either random (Zapp gun and Shokk Attack Gun) or vehicle mounted (Boomgun and Kill Cannon).

So far we have a lot of infantry, even if one of those units is charging across the battlefield in a ramshackle Trukk. We could really do with some support for these guys as well as looking into what happens if we have an objective in our own back field that the enemy are going to be coming for? While shooting isn’t the Orks forte so to speak they normally chuck out enough bullets to hit something. So to add some fire support we’re actually going to take two units, one that can claim our own objective and another to give additional fire support. A unit of 10 Lootas will put out up to 30 shots per turn and we can back them up with another mob of 20 Boyz, this time armed with Shootas and as they will be sitting back we can throw in up to 2 Big Shootas to give addtional firepower, for a mere 10 points I see no reason not too, we will add the obligatory Nob to the group to help them out if they get attacked and might as well give him a power klaw too. The Shoota Boyz can take on armoured infantry (huge number of attacks still if they charge or are charged means enemy has more chance of failing saves) and their firepower should put dents in light infantry, their Big Shootas also allow them to pop light vehicles as you have 6 tries per turn. The Lootas meanwhile can pop light vehicles and light infantry as well as picking off lone characters.

This takes us up to 4 Troops choices filled, 1 HQ and 1 Elites. This adds up to around 1100pts with the various options we have and 106 models already. We have nothing from Fast Attack or Heavy Support yet, however we are managing to fit our units into the questions posed earlier. As mentioned you will find that sometimes units will fit the bill to answer more than one question, the Orks certainly do that but their weakness is with question 4. Various armies have strengths in certain areas and weaknesses in others, playing to your strengths is something that you want to do naturally and all the Nobz I have are S9 on the charge and they can pop AV14 but the Warboss is best placed to do it (unless it’s a Monolith and ignores the power klaw strength bonus of course, but that thing is evil in and of itself).

Looking at our current selections shows that we have a horde of foot-slogging infantry and one unit that will be zooming out across the battlefield. What we do not want is for isolated units to be picked off by the enemy before they can do some damage, we need something to backup those Mega-Nobz and give the enemy something else to worry about. While we could take more Boyz and pop 12 of them in a Trukk we only have 2 Troops slots left and have 3 Fast Attack. So, here come 10 Stormboyz, they are Jump Infantry so can move fast and their rocket packs allow them an extra d6″ movement per turn, so they can zoom up to 18″ in the movement phase and still assault 6″ in the assault phase, not bad at all. We’ll upgrade them to have a Nob with Power Flaw so we can pop vehicles if we have to and have a solid unit that can jump between terrain and support our Mega-Nobz. This unit comes in at almost 200pts leaving us with around 200pts left on the army. we haven’t taken anything from Heavy Support and to be honest I tend to find this a bit lacking for the Orks, sure there are some nice options like Deff Dreads and Battlewagons but I like boots on the ground. In any army there are a number of ways to answer the questions posed earlier and therefore I am not giving you a definitive way of building an army, if you like a unit then by all means take it, you have options with building an army, that is why each of the various Force Organisation slots has a number of choices, knowing what to take and how it will perform will help you to balance your army. Blast templates will rip apart a foot-slogging Ork army, but I know this and therefore will try and use cover to my advantage to reduce the casualties that my Boyz take on the way in. The Waaagh! I can call should help me get in combat by turn 2 or 3 and the sheer number of models I have is designed to overwhelm the enemy. Most things will be killed by the sheer number of attacks I can put out, that’s the way this army is designed to work. In your own forces think about what you want to achieve and design a list that sticks to that theme, think about how you are going to play on your advantages while trying to play down your weaknesses. Going in half-hearted is a surefire way to gimp your army selection.

To round off then I’m going to ignore Heavy Support, other armies have much more interesting choices, Space Marines have Whirlwinds and Vindicators that are well worth looking at for taking out Question 1, Daemons have Soul Grinders and Daemon Princes that can answer 1,2,3 and 4 so really it all depends on what you are taking. Finishing my army is going to stick to my old adage and fill in that fifth Troops slot, another unit of 30 Slugga Boyz, with a Nob armed with Power Klaw. Yes I have three units armed the same way but very few armies are going to enjoy 90 Ork Boyz running at their lines when backed up by Stormboyz and a Trukk-load of Mega-Nobz.

Is this the best army list I can come up with? Probably not, I know I can fit 6 squads of 30 Boyz into 1080pts and that’s evil as it is. However, hopefully reviewing what we’ve put together and the reasons why I’ve chosen what I have chosen give insight into the principles behind army selection. I could have argued for and against Tank Bustas, chucked in an extra Warboss and taken two units of Nobz in Battlewagons and all kinds of other options that would have produced viable army lists. Experiment with what you have but always keep in mind the roles that you have for your units, throwing into something they are not designed to do is a sure-fire way of getting them killed and edging you towards defeat.

This is our final army list;

Ork Warboss with Power Klaw, Mega-armour, Attack Squig and Bosspole

5 Mega-Nobz in a Trukk with a Red Paint Job

10 Lootas

30 Ork Boyz with Slugga/Choppa, Nob with Power Klaw and Bosspole

30 Ork Boyz with Slugga/Choppa, Nob with Power Klaw and Bosspole

30 Ork Boyz with Slugga/Choppa, Nob with Power Klaw and Bosspole

20 Ork Boyz with Shootas, Nob with Power Klaw and Bosspole and 2 Big Shootas

10 Stormboyz with Nob armed with Power Klaw

Approx 1500pts with 136 models.

Tutorials in Gaming – Warhammer 40,000 Army List Construction 101


A common feature of most miniatures games out there at the moment is that models are assigned a value, games are played with a limit placed on how much stuff you can take and this is to aid balance in the game. Theoretically if you are playing to a points value and you both have the same number of points the armies should more or less be balanced against one another, although this does create the arguments that, points for points, some army lists find it easier to create “more powerful” armies than others. This is a line of thought heavily prevalent in the Warhammer world right now.

However, with this weekend now on the horizon and the mouth-watering Saturday event of 3000pts of new Tyranids spawned from the gene-vats hidden away in Gribblin’s bedroom (I’ve seen this firsthand, he has a live brood of Genestealers stashed under his bed, true story) facing off against the arrayed (much more heroic) forces generalled by none other than Servitob and myself. Below are the general rules we are using for this fight and then I’ll explain where this post is going.

Tyranids; 3000pts maximum with 2 Force Organisation charts available

Allied forces of Servitob and ZombiePirate; 1500pts per general using a single Force Organisation chart each

All normal Force Organisation rules apply. Battle will commence on a 6′ * 4′ table using Hidden Deployment (basically section off the table halves and each army deploys at the same time not having any idea what the opposing team has done). We will roll for mission type at the start of the game before deployment. Variable game length and all other special rules will be used.

Considering that this is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now I thought it provided a great time in which to prepare an article on how to craft a 40k army list. Afterall, I’ll be needing one, although the example I will use here will be around the army I know best (Orks) the basic principles will apply to any army you collect. I’ll be throwing in units and their upgrades but will also give reasons why they are there. Most armies don’t have the option of their basic troops choice being 30 strong, however, I will be going into battlefield roles and the concepts behind why you build a list the way you do considering what you want to achieve. For new players it is relatively easy to just create a list of the stuff you like and chuck it out there to see how it goes, however, for other players with a reasonable collection of stuff you’re going to want to consider taking one over another or just what do you spend those spare few points on.

The concepts presented here will describe my preferred style of army list, the “all-comers” list, something with a little of everything. If you know what you are facing then it is possible to tailor your list to counter a specific enemy (most tournament armies are designed around taking out MEQ armies, T4 with a 3+ armour save, as that is what is prevalent in that environment), however, I much prefer to write a more generic list and have fun without than take something specifically that I know will decimate my opponent. Afterall, we’re both there to have fun as the main thing, having the perfect counter-force to my friend across the table just doesn’t seem very friendly. I’m not a tournament player where I’d expect this to be the case, games at home with my pals, although we challenge each other, we don’t tend to bring out the most broken combination of cheese that we can, although, I do own a Daemons of Chaos army for Warhammer…

So here we go, 1500pts of list construction tutorial;

The first place to look is at the Force Organisation chart itself, on the left is the chart for standard missions, if you are playing Planetstrike or Apocalypse then this will be either different or removed altogether. As we are concerned here with a standard mission we’ll follow the one shown. The chart is split into various sections, each troop, vehicle, creature and character fits into one of these slots and can be found in that section of the relevant army’s Codex, different armies have differing numbers of options in each of these areas as well. In total there are two HQ slots, three Elites slots,six Troops slots, three Fast Attack and three Heavy Support. Each unit occupies one of these slots and you cannot take more units of a particular slot that there are available, for example, in a normal mission you could not take four Heavy Support elements. You also have a couple of compulsory choices as indicated by the shaded boxes in the picture. These are one HQ choice and two Troops choices, there is no leeway here you have to take at least these slots for a legal army. It is logical therefore to start with these units when planning your list.

If you are anything like myself and my playgroup you probably don’t roll for a mission until you turn up, therefore you have no idea if you are going to hunting for objectives or trying to wipe out the opposition. Someone may even have written a special mission for fun. Therefore you are going to want to be able to cover either of these scenarios, you’re going to want to be able to grab objectives and be able to give the enemy a pounding, this will mean you’ll be taking a balance of units. Let’s take a look at those Troops choices first.

In the case of the Orks I have two basic choices listed under the Troops section of my Codex, these are Ork Boyz and Gretchin. If I have to take two units worth of something to satisfy my compulsory components my best bet is looking at stuff that can grab objectives and be meaty enough to have a go at the opposition, luckily for me Boyz units fit this bill nicely. For the bargain bucket price of 180pts I can get 30 Boyz armed with either Shootas or a Slugga and Close Combat weapon. Both are awesome in close combat but one has a slight edge when it comes to shooting. Orks aren’t renowned for their marksmanship but those 30 Boyz can put out 60 shots a turn with their basic gun and charge into assault afterwards. Here is my first choice, do I want to increase their shooting potential at the expense of the extra attack I get from the Slugga and Close Combat weapon. Normally I am figuring that I will be charging towards the enemy to fulfill either the capturing of objectives or the annihilation of whoever is on the other side of the table and therefore kit stuff out with the Slugga/Close Combat weapon however, either loadout for your Boyz is good. These are my compulsory choices and also, because they are troops, are the only slots I have for capturing objectives. Now, Orks aren’t loaded out with armour therefore to compensate for this I am going to need numbers, therefore I am going to add in two units of 30 Boyz armed for assault. That’s 360pts for now.

However, every unit in a Codex normally has a number of options to bolster the basic unit. In the Boyz case there is the option for a Nob unit leader as well as various heavier weapons to add to the squad. Not all army list construction is down to the maths though, some things will be personal preference. In this case I will forego the option of the heavier weapons, I want my guys to be running into the jaws of the enemy so stopping and shooting isn’t what they are designed for. If I have a role for them to do I should stick to equipping them for that role. I always take a Nob in the unit as this unlocks some  much-needed wargear options to power up my squad. With Orks it is considered to be a must-have upgrade to have a Nob and a Power Klaw, this guy packs strength 9 on the charge and can therefore take on monstrous creatures or vehicles with relative ease giving the unit a multi-tasking role as Orks lack much in the anti-armour department so I need to get it where I can take it. As the Nob is a unit leader he cannot be picked out from the unit which means ramming a unit of 30 Boyz with a Power Klaw Nob into something like a Carnifex is a pretty safe bet, yes the Carnifex will kill some Orks but the return attacks from the Nob will be wounding on 2’s and ignore its armour save.. ouch.

Taking options like this is an example of knowing what your unit is there to do. This is a basic tenet of army list building, every unit should have a role, now that we’ve chosen the two Troops slots we need to fill let’s have a quick look at the HQ options.

In most armies your HQ options will have a few generals to perform different kinds of roles and a plethora of special characters. In general Special Characters are very expensive for what they do and you can normally come up with something that will perform better for less points creating your own character. If we ignore special characters then for our Ork example we have three options, the Warboss, the Big Mek and the Weirdboy. Each have their specialities, the Warboss is a combat beast and will massacre stuff in combat, the Big Mek has access to some pretty weird wargear (mobile cover save and potentially one of the most devastating guns in the game) and the Weirdboy gives you access to psychic powers. The Warboss allows you to take a single Nob or Mega-Nob unit as a Troops choice (this could be a compulsory choice but I’m ignoring that for the sake of this article), the Big Mek allows a Deff Dread as a Troops choice. This is pretty redundant as he is a vehicle and therefore cannot claim objectives, however, if you are taking a lot of Heavy Support choices then this could free up a slot. The Deff Dread might be quite killy but for the cost to load him out I’d probably take another unit of 30 Boyz for the Troops slot as they will soak more damage, do more damage themselves and can claim objectives.

Our options here are really the Warboss or the Big Mek, both are cheap and unless we take a Shokk Attack Gun will not blow themselves up like the Weirdboy can. The Warboss has more wounds, is tougher, has higher Weapon Skill and has the best possible strength available to the Ork army (Str 10 with a power klaw). As we could take Nobs of Mega-Nobs as a Troops slot we’ll pay 60 points for the Warboss and take some upgrades to make him do more damage in close combat. Wargear is a personal choice but keep in mind what you want to do with the character and kit them out accordingly, don’t waste points on stuff, keep things simple as you’ll have more points to spend elsewhere.

To recap so far we have filled our compulsory selections, below is the army as it stands showing wargear loadouts. Obviously unless you are playing Orks (and even if you are) your list may look different but for now we have only filled things we have to take.

Warboss with Mega-Armour, Bosspole, Attack Squig and Cybork Body

2 Mobs of 30 Boyz with Sluggas/Choppas Nob with Power Klaw and Bosspole

For a total of 575pts which is just over a third of our army, but we have 61 models already. As this article is already getting long we’ll move into the other aspects of our list tomorrow when we will discuss the roles of Elites, Fast Attack and Heavy Support, choosing roles for things and what I like to call the “Questions of Army Selection”.

See you tomorrow.

How Do You Eat Yours?


Rather than being a discussion of one of the best chocolate products invented by the hand of man today’s topic is going to be about how you plan and build your armies. There are a number of different ways in which this can be accomplished and I’ve actually been through a couple of ways myself, although I have one method that, while not the best perhaps, seems to always come out on top when I get that buzz of “ZOMG, new models, must have!!!!11!!!!!!one!!!!!”

I’ll split the various ways out and then expound on them, please feel free to comment on which is your preferred method or add something totally different.

 

The Core Method

This method revolves around the fact that most games have a set amount of stuff that must be included to field a minimum sized force. Games like 40k make this easy as you can pick an HQ unit and two Troops choices for a viable army, to play with though you’ll need an agreed points value, this is where I like Privateer Press’ products as you can get starter boxes which give forces balanced to play each other in order for people to learn the rules. Uncharted Seas and the new Firestorm Armada also work off this premise with their starter boxes.

We kind of hybridised this method when starting 5th edition 40k. We knew we wanted to play 1000pts games, I’d sold all my 40k stuff to get something a bit different and therefore started my Orks at that points level, I could then see what I lacked and adapt accordingly (more boyz!). This is in fact one of the core benefits of doing things like this. You can play your force and see what is lacking which can guide future purchases when you expand your army,  my 1500pts force therefore fills practically every troops slot available and after playing it I’ve further modified the list to make the Boyz squads fewer but bigger. They butcher stuff in close combat even with only a few of them but they tend to take horrific casualties as they cross the plains to reach their foes. Bumping them up in size means there are more ablative wounds hopefully meaning that more boyz can get stuck in later on. I do realise though that with making the squads larger that there are therefore less squads which means less targets for the enemy to worry about. Hopefully the covering fire of the Lootas still provides a distraction as well as Big Mek “Mr Suicide” who has yet to build a Shokk Attack Gun that lasts more than one shot.

Starting small also means that you aren’t laying down a lot of cash straight away. Obviously if you are starting out with something for the first time you’re going to be guided by what you like the look of, not necessarily knowing how it will play. You may like it, you may not so spending as little as possible is a potential benefit.

 

The Proxy Method

This has happened with a number of the lists I have produced for my Daemons in Fantasy. If you already have some models then this can work out but you’ll want to have your opponents consent and make sure he knows what is what. Proxying (for the uninitiated) is the process whereby you use a model you have to represent something else. I’ve not done this for an entire army as I believe that would get very difficult for your opponent to deal with, but I have expanded units beyond the model count I own or used single stand in models before spending money on proper representations. This has the advantage that you don’t go out and spend money on something before you know if it does what you want or work in the way you expect.

 

The ZombiePirate Method

Here we go, the method by which I generally do things. With most people when they first look at getting anything the first place that is started is with the ruleset for that particular army. This works across all systems as if you get a rulebook with all the forces in them or you have to pick up individual army books you’re going to be looking through them working out what you like the look of. The start of this method can work with other methods already described, what I do is have a nice read through the book, I looks at the units and their physical stats as well as stuff that I like the look of models wise. I will choose not to collect an army if their models luck bad, no matter how awesome the rules might be and so I take my picks and write-up a list for the normal game size, 1500pts 40k, 2000pts Warhammer Fantasy, 25ss Malifaux, 35 or 50pts Warmachine/Hordes etc… For the majority of these times what I will then do is make a purchase of the entire army, maybe in stages but sometimes in one huge bank busting blaze of debit card. Now, obviously depending on the army you’ve chosen this particular method can do more or less damage to your wallet. This also means you are laying down a whole wad of greenbacks on a force that has not yet seen action so you’re not sure about how it is going to perform, this is the chief downside of doing things this way, however, there is also another drawback that is almost at the same scale.

When you’ve bought everything you need in one batch you have an entire army arrayed before you, this can cause morale issues as you are presented with just how much stuff you’re going to need to build/paint. In days of yore I’ve assembled whole armies and left them on my painting table showing me in no uncertain terms just how much work I have left if I want to do it all. This is perhaps one of the greatest reasons why I never get stuff done, after seeing it all I chop and change from one thing to another. My current project is not done in this manner, I am doing things one at a time and leaving my table clear in order to do so, nothing else is cluttering it up (bar a Lord of Change and the aforementioned Big Mek “Orky McSuicide”). I am hoping that by having a more structured approach to things I stand a better chance of getting things finished. I’m looking forward to this weekend and setting myself the challenge of getting some figures actually done, I am away in London on Saturday so this may not be achievable but I’m going to give it a shot to push myself.

Time and time again I’ve fallen back on this method, written out an army list and then gone out and bought more and more stuff so that I have it all. I don’t know why I do this but I know that getting things piecemeal can actually be more beneficial (method 1 in the list here).My preferred method is probably the worst one but I’m sure each gamer has their own style and works in their own way, so don’t let anything here prevent you from doing what you want.

 

So then Intarwebz, when creating your ideal army, how do you eat yours?

New Army Syndrome – The Condition Explained


Most veterans of the art we call “miniatures gaming” will no doubt be aware of, if not afflicted by the pathological condition that I henceforth call “New Army Syndrome” or NAS for short. I think that the greatest casualties of this virulent disease are those who grew up on the staple systems of the great gaming behemoth that is Nottingham’s finest, Games Workshop. From the selection of games that I am involved with, releases are staggered across all factions except for the Warhammer and 40k crowd. I’m not saying that this condition is therefore solely restricted to those involved with Games Workshop’s games, however I would hazard a guess that it is far more prevalent in that environment, our pathogen has found its ideal incubation zone.

For those of you who may be staring in bewilderment at the monitor wondering what it is that I am babbling on about let me give you the 6 Inch Move dictionary definition of the pandemic NAS.

New Army Syndrome

Due to the release schedule of the Games Workshop product every few months a new army book is released for one of the major systems produced by said company. At this point a person infected by NAS will feel an overwhelming compulsion to purchase the new book and, once read/glanced through, will be almost helpless to resist coming up with an army list and thinking seriously about collecting said army. In terminal cases the victim is an unwilling thrall destined to collect every single new army that comes out. He or She finds him/herself unable to control the impulses that drive them into kitting out a full army of the new release. Some severe cases have been reported where the infected has gone out during a lunch break, picked up an army book and has “woken up” from some sort of waking coma and realised their front room is packed full of plastic sprues looking suspiciously like this quarter’s flavour of Space Marines. These poor souls as well as having 6 million fantasy armies and 5 million 40k armies can also field the entire starting Legions of every single First and Second Founding Space Marine Chapters.

The real sadness arises from the fact (not that they have so many Space Marines) but that there is no known cure for this condition. Instead, long-suffering spouses/girlfriends find their houses consumed by a never-ending tide of gribbly alien horrors, scantily clad Elven maidens or Technicolor armoured supermen. Only the strongest willed of humankind can fight off the insidious disease and success at doing so varies year on year.

It is more than likely that someone you know, or someone you love is afflicted by this crippling illness. Hopefully, they haven’t entered the final stages of debilitation. If you have come across someone rocking themselves, huddled in a corner crying like a little girl that they’ll “never get it all painted” then I’m afraid you have found someone in these last agonising moments of self-realisation. This melancholy exists only until the next release however, and then their poor hypothalamus is forced to produce greater amounts of Endorphins giving them the dizzying high of collecting yet another 2000pts they’ll never get around to taking out the box.

 

Some may wonder if this unhealthy expertise with such a disease could only come from one who suffers from it themselves. I would however only class myself as a minor case. I do enjoy looking over the new releases, however, I am free of Space Marines, having only one army for 40k and Fantasy but I do cast an appraising eye over most of the new books that come out. I can hold my head up proudly though as there are a lot of books I do not own, ones that have passed me by without sucking me in and I am thankful for it.

So, the next time you see your other half standing there looking over a new army book, drag him/her away! Break their arm if you have to, they’ll thank you in the end! Remember, you may be living with a NAS sufferer, this is an illness to be understood not ridiculed, the infected will need your help and if you have just picked up a paintbrush or assembled your first model, chances are you may already be incubating this condition.

We’re DOOMED!

Conventions in Gaming – Army Lists


This post has been blowing around in my head for a while. I’ve known that I wanted to continue through the various aspects of tabletop gaming under the “Conventions in Gaming” moniker as I believe that we can gain valuable insight into the things we take for granted and look at ways to make our games more interesting or perhaps just to see something in a new light. However, the structure to this post has eluded me for the past couple weeks so we’ll see how this goes.

I am sure we have all been there, pad of paper, calculator, rulebook/army book spread out over the table crunching numbers to try and come up with a list that is full of synergy as well as butt-whoopin’ awesomeness. Assigning costs to models has long been an established way of making sure that a fight can be “balanced.” I am using quote marks there because of the general cries that go up around the Internet when something new comes out that means that you can come up with an unstoppable force that seems way too powerful against a normally balanced all-comers force. Yes, I do play Chaos Daemons and no I have not taken an all Tzeentch army or Skulltaker. Army lists provide a way for us to develop forces and in many ways will determine the purchases we make as there are a number of factors that can influence how we build our armies.

For instance, some people will start off picking armies through the models that they like. We’ve all been there, a company comes out with a model that is 17 kinds of awesome, we have to have it, yet, when the rules are read, or it is put onto the battlefield it stinks the place up. Others will pore over the stats and rules for an army and try to squeeze those models into a list of the appropriate value. Some people may even take a mix of both methods. Different companies also release to us the means by which we can mould our forces in differing ways. For instance, Games Workshop has gone down the route of releasing a main rulesbook and then you have to buy a separate Army Book to be able to use your force in the game. Privateer Press when Warmachine and Hordes came out released all the information for their models in the rulebook itself, you didn’t have to buy another book to build a force to put on the table, they then released expansions to the main rules that added in new ones but also released new units for each faction. With the development of Mk 2 they are actually bringing out rulebooks a la GW but after that initial release it’ll be back to the original format of new releases being covered in expansion books. Uncharted Seas and Malifaux both contain all the details for their respective forces within the main rulebook. I’ll give a shout out to Spartan Games (makers of Uncharted Seas) here because the new fleets and rules they release for free on their website. Kudos to them for making things available so readily.

There are alternatives to the pen and paper approach, there are various pieces of software you can download to make the process easier. Wolf’s Lair’s Army Builder is a decent program (you have to pay for it) that allows you to create army lists for loads of games and there is an active community that creates the files that allow you to build the armies for certain games. Then there are things like Armies of Immoren for the Iron Kingdoms worlds, it’s a free download that makes army building a little easier, I even have iBodger on my iPhone which allows me to make Warmachine lists wherever I am. I know there are people with Excel spreadsheets that they have set up for the express purpose of creating lists to play with.

Now, speaking more specifically about what happens with GW books there is a common misconception out there. With 40K or Warhammer there are established points limits that are the “ideal” game size, 1500pts for 40K and 2000pts for Warhammer. Yet, although the armies are supposedly balanced around that points values there is no way to perform a direct comparison between the value of a model in one force and that in another. For example, in the Warriors of Chaos book the standard Marauder is 4pts and is a bargain. I have heard complaints from Bretonnian players that their Man-at-Arms costs more than this for a much worse profile. While both are rank and file infantry they are different in terms of how they fit into the armies, Marauders are a lot more offensive than Men-at-Arms and once both armies are fully arrayed things should be balanced, but comparing points costs from one unit to another in a different army cannot be done, the points values are the cost to the army that they are for and are not meant to be taken in any way as a broad comparison of the value of that troop type. This is one of my pet peeves with GW stuff, when a new army book comes out people inevitably look at something and declare it to be undercosted because “I have to pay X for X.” It’s not a good argument.

There are also different ways of costing things. GW and Privateer use Points costs whereas Malifaux uses Soulstones and this offers a slightly different mechanic into the game. Working with points generally means you have a limit that you cannot go over. Personally I have spent much time trying to squeeze something into those last few points or having to make hard decisions about what to axe to fit into the agreed limit. With Malifaux you have a set number of soulstones to spend on recruiting your crew, any unspent stones go into your pool and allow you to Cheat Fate during the game, which I quite like, it gives you a small bonus in some ways if you do find yourself with something left over.

So, what is the point of this whole post? Well I suppose it is to try and get your thoughts about how you go about preparing a force for the tabletop. I know for our Uncharted Seas games at the minute we are just using the starter boxes however, we each actually have a second starter box each (hence my rolling out of a Broadside Reaper in our last game) that we can use to expand our fleets which will mean we start working to points limits rather than arbitrary collections. In the real world of course there are no careful balancing of forces and history is replete with heroic stands made by vastly outnumbered forces. However, there is nothing stopping us from actually creating our own battles based on these ideas. Just because we do actually have an army list doesn’t mean we can’t throw it away from time to time and just have a game purely for the fun of it. It can provide an interesting diversion to your usual scheduled games.

While we do rely on these things for the majority of the games we play, cutting ourselves loose may help to reinvigorate an otherwise stale gaming environment. I believe this is why things like Apocalypse have become so popular. As I said at the beginning I have struggled with this post for a couple weeks, knowing I wanted to discuss army lists but without knowing where it would take us. I hope this post has been of some benefit other than me pumping out 1300 words of nonsense.

Who knows what I’ll come out with next time?