Tag Archives: Codex

Yet More Power Armour

After having read the articles of both of my friends/gaming competitors/co-writers/. . . prey (do remember I’m a Tyranid player), I felt like adding my own opinion to GW’s latest works.  I have only glanced at the Blood Angels codex and so don’t feel like I can comment on the particulars.  But what does come to mind is this: ANOTHER SPACE MARINE CODEX?!

How come all of the other armies for 40k only get 1 codex and the Space Marines get several?  Yes I know that there are several thousand chapters, but do we really need a codex for each one of them?  The standard marine codex was a real fat one, so why not make it a little heavier and put options for making variants for different chapters?  I have also heard rumours that there will be another space marine codex released later this year, for a new chapter – that’ll be what . . . 6 space marine codices plus the Necrons (T4, 3+save) and the Chaos Space Marines (T4, 3+save) and the Witchhunter/Daemonhunters (again T4, 3+save).

Maybe this is just the rantings of a player who has never had a space marine army (yes really!).  I feel like I am one of a select few who have never succumbed to the power armoured saviours of mankind.  For me if it has a 3+ save it also needs T6 and at least 4 wounds.  The Tyranids have been my mainstay all these years, but I also use the Eldar and for a while the Tau.  Within our small band of merry gamers we have ZombiePirate with Orks, SPACE WOLVES and Chaos Daemons; Servitob with SPACE MARINES and CHAOS SPACE MARINES; nBreaker who has not yet got a 40k army, but is thinking of SPACE WOLVES and another friend who doesn’t write for this site but also uses SPACE MARINES.  Notice a theme here?  It makes my army choices real easy as I just pick everything that’s armed with a can opener, but it can get a little repetitive (I’m really sorry guys, but it can).

Within a recent White Dwarf there was an article that asked the question of new armies.  The answer was basically that ‘we would love to, but are too busy with the current armies.’  This I think is a bit of a shame.  They have tried new armies before – Necrons, Dark Eldar and Tau for example, but these often fall to the wayside in favour of the big five – Space Marines (which are 5 in themselves), Chaos Space Marines, Eldar, Orks and Tyranids.  I know there is a background story to work with, and that they need to keep to the overall theme of 40k, but it would be nice to see GW drift away from the Space Marines a bit – in fact anything that’s T4 with a 3+save.  There is still a lot of scope for expansion with armies such as Eldar from the Exodite worlds, Chaos cultists or Genestealer cults, and that’s without inventing something completely new.  Something that fights in a completely different way to the marines or marine wanna-bes would be a refreshing change.

I say this not because I’m bored of fighting walking tin cans (they do stay fresh on the shelf for those long voyages in deep space), but because the hobby needs to stay original and with 8 out of 15 armies having their main units with T4 and 3+ saves I don’t think this is happening.  GW seems to be making photocopies of armies rather than working on something truly original.  The last time something different came out was the Tau.  Now some people have taken to them, others laugh at them, but they’re something different to the rest of the 40k genre and I think this is good.  Ok their army still needs work, but they’re only on their 2nd codex, most other armies are on their 4th.

Well now I’ve got that off my chest, I don’t normally rant so much but meeh it was worth it.  And I do feel that GW could do a few more armies for 40k, but armies that are different to what they already have, and not just Space Marine copies.


Codex Creep – Not a Latin Venereal Disease

Servitob tried to steal my thunder, but I shall carry on regardless of his efforts to deprive me of quality posting material. I don’t think anyone can really argue that Games Workshop is the largest and most well-known miniatures gaming company globally. Most of us grew up playing their games before we branched out into the busy niche hobby we call our own. Yet despite this bid for global domination there is a facet of their hobby that continues to provide me with more than a modicum of amusement. Servitob touched on this this morning when posting about the Blood Angels, I am not going to be pigeon-holing my acerbic comments to just a single release though.

The easiest way to sum up this phenomena is the “My Dad can beat up your Dad” axiom.

I don’t know whether this is down to the main demographic that GWs games are aimed for, there are many others whirlpools out there in Internet land where you can read about the trend for marketing Space Marinehammer 40,000 at an ever youthful target market, thereby increasing the possibility of immaturity within the hobby. Be that as it may, you cannot normally strike up a conversation with someone regarding Warhammer ( the one with Elves or the one with Space Elves) without eventually someone piping up with ” Well my unit X (Dad) can beat up your unit X (Dad)”… and this will go back and forth in a never-ending death spiral of paternal combat as comparisons go back and forth like a game of Top Trumps.

I am in no way suggesting that this is present only in the product of the beast of Nottingham, I am sure these conversations do occur with their competitors, however, I tend to find communities for other games to be more mature, perhaps that is due to the fact that we grow up with GW and then move on to other games as we find ourselves distanced from the core group the erstwhile Sherrif is trying to appeal to. I know that we can get very attached to our forces and we want them to be good and come out on top in the hypothetical scraps we enact upon our dining tables. Yet I believe there is another reason for the heated fratricidal debates and this is where Servitobs observations come in… the humble Codex or Army Book.

In every other game I play the forces for the games are all released together, in the rulebook, perhaps being personified as the Robin Hood to our dastardly money-grabbing Sherrif. GW release a rulebook every few years for which we fork over some hard-earned green and then wait eagerly (in no way do we wait patiently) for an updated army book, thus in an infinite feedback loop of rules/army book recycling that continually parts us from our lovely money that our wives would rather see spent on gifts for themselves. No other games system that I see in mainstream production goes with this approach. I imagine the only reason that the northern behemoth gets away with it is due to their size as a company.

Then we also have the fact that each book ends up written by a single chap, often with help from others but there is one name that stands out as the main author of the book, they will also almost inevitably be connected in some way to that army. Rather than having a development team look at the whole thing and work together, they lock a chap who loves his army into the development “closet” and months later out he comes with a fanboy style uberforce ready to decimate all that stand before it. While this may be a very whimsical look at how they do things it may not be far from the truth. Each army book does tend to be written by someone who harks on about how good they are, possibly not the best person to trust with delivering a balanced final product. There is also GWs much maligned playtesting procedure or apparent lack of one, here at 6 Inch Move we readily believe that each army is tested against Space Marines, one of the Horde armies and maybe the Tau, job done, go home, release book to market.

Judging by the quality of armies picked in White Dwarf battle reports Games Workshop’s own staff might not be best placed to deliver what little testing is done. Thus each new book is released to the cries of Internet doom-mongers decrying the dairy based nature of this heinous abomination, how it will break the game and deliver up the spawn of beelzebub himself upon the gaming tables of the nation. As of yet I have not heard of anyone spontaneously combusting due to the brokeness of an army, no, not even Daemons players!

However, once this all calms down the next release is on the horizon and the nerdrage starts again. I know that if GW were to release their armies in the same format as other companies we’d be paying £100 for the core rulebook I believe that at the least they really need to have more than one guy put his name to the Codex rules writing. Although the maxim “too many cooks spoil the broth” I think a few more people lending their talents would be better than the current “lone pillock cocks up an army book” that we have right now. I too will be looking forward to seeing what happens when Servitob fires up his Edward Cullen marines, I might even get him some paint effects that sparkle when they catch the sun. My only hope is that GW try to reign in the creep. Other people manage to crank out balanced and enjoyable products and while I do still enjoy my forays into either Hammer universe, there is still vast room for improvement compared to the competition.

Space Marines: Blood Angels – The Codex That Breaks 40k?

I’m sure every player has heard of it, a phenomenon called ‘Codex Creep’. Whether it is actually true or not is a mystery, but it goes something like this: Every new codex is slightly better than the last. The cynics say it’s so Games Workshop can sell a load of new models. The moaners moan that it is soooo unfair that now their army is obsolete. The people who welcome the new codex are generally the ones who play the army in question, and insist that it’s perfectly balanced and fluffy. Codex: Blood Angels however has caused some controversy in that it is supposedly very overpowered and unbalanced.

I have heard some of the rumours, and even got a chance to look at the hallowed tome. And yes, it does seem a trifle ludicrous in places. I get the impression that the troops are the same cost as the standard marines but are slightly better. Same with vehicles, slightly better. So expect to see a lot of marine players suddenly turn red. Now I know that these statements may invoke some Blood Angel fanboyism. But fanboys, ask youselves – do you truly want a codex which is so overpowered that suddenly your lovely fluffy red marine obsession becomes a group activity? Do you want hordes of Blood Angels power players ruining your immersion? If it is truly as good as rumours would have us believe then potentially most Space Marine players (which seem to be most 40k players anyway) could suddenly be buying red spray paint.

Personally though, I put very little stock in rumours. Sure, some codexes are more powered than others. I’m not sure powered is the word though, maybe easier to play is more appropriate. Most tournament players pack plenty of AP3 so Dante and chums won’t be a great threat to the pro-players. Most weekend warriors such as myself simply lack the will to field a broken army. I don’t think our gaming circle would be as quite as friendly if things started getting cut-throat relying on imbalanced mechanics. A lot of people simply lack the skills and experience to properly use an overpowered army anyway, and the dice tend to level the playing field to an extent.

That said, my red spraypaint and book is on order, just out of curiousity obviously!

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.

Bugs! – Now With Extra Cheese

Dropping through my virtual mailbox this morning was a preview of the new Tyranid stuff for 40k. Now, as much as we all love Gribblin this is his No 1 40k force. It is one of the most evil armies in 40k by my reckoning and no doubt the new Codex makes them even scarier, find details of the new releases below. I’m sure the fact that his current force can reroll only half its dice will now be rectified, he’ll be rerolling everything and ignoring all the core rules in the Big Grey Book!

Time to load up on more Boyz I think “Oi Mekboy, make me sum mo’ scraggin’ Klaws! Me ladz be needin’ sum extra hitty stuff.”

Codex: Tyranids The Tyranids are the ultimate predators. Engineered at a cellular level for combat, they seek to consume the galaxy. Read all about the history of the Tyranids and learn about their frightful bio-weaponry in the new Codex: Tyranids.

Ravener BroodRaveners are for the first time available as a multi-part plastic kit that includes a host of weapon and assembly options. Now’s the time to overwhelm your foe with a brood of these fast moving warrior beasts.

Trygon/MawlocThese all-new Tyranid monsters tower above the Hive Tyrant and Carnifex, and are some of the largest models we’ve ever produced. Add these lethal creatures and their potent special rules to your Tyranid force.

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?