Tag Archives: Space Marines

Warhammer 40000: Chaos Gate: The Revival!


chaosgateThe rose tintedness of nostalgia!

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

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

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

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6th Edition – Thoughts from the Hive Mind


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warhammer 40k 6th Edition – First Impressions


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

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

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

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

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

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

Back In The Old Days…


I think it’s great that Forgeworld seem to be re-releasing old style 40k models. Perhaps they’ve stumbled upon a hidden cache of old model kits buried deep in the Nottingham forests. I remember and owned a lot of them all fondly, although my paint jobs were never that good and I gave them all away to a friend’s son when I left home. I reckon they are trying to appeal to the nostalgia market. What’s next though? Are we slowly stumbling back into squat territory?

The Battle of Scooby-Doo Lunchbox


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beards and Cheese – The Dark Side for New Players


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Moment Of Gaming Awesome


Servitob: Can my Razorback ram your Razorwing fighter?

ZombiePirate: It’s an aeroplane, but it’s got a base so technically the rules say it can be rammed.

Servitob: OK, my ground based tank is going to ram your flying aeroplane.

-CRUMP-

Servitob: Wait, I think that was my damaged razorback. I just tried to ram your flying aeroplane with my immobilised ground based tank…