Wednesday, April 26, 2017

8th Edition 40k, my thoughts so far

All of a sudden 8th Edition is nearly upon us.

Unless you've been living under a rock the past few days (as the tired saying goes), you know that 8th Edition 40k is right around the corner.

The story, in my mind begins with a new CEO.  The current CEO has dramatically changed the way GW operates, at least to the public eye.

He has tried to change the perception by GW's customers of a huge uncaring corporation out to make money at the expense of its loyal and blind fans, to a company that releases miniatures and rules that the community has always wanted.  He has tried to make the company more responsive to fans and more engaging.

By attending large conventions such as Adepticon, GEN CON, Gamma and others they have brought themselves back into the gaming community again.  For years under Tom Kirby they seemed in their own little world not acknowledging the fans or the competitors or even that there existed any other miniature gaming companies at all.

With the new CEO they've changed all of that.  Or at least they have mostly succeeded in changing the appearance of that to everyone outside of Nottingham.

With this seemingly new embrace of the gaming community they have gone and done things that GW has never done.  The biggest thing they have done is used playtesters from major fan-run tournaments.

It has recently come out that Reece and Frankie from Frontlinegaming.org who run the LVO (Las Vegas Open) which is one of the biggest 40k events in the world along with Mike who runs the NOVA Open, another huge 40k event in Washington, DC, have been playtesters and apparently they have had a big influence on the new edition.


This is potentially good news but also potentially bad news.


The issue with those three guys above is that they run tournaments, which are in their very nature competitive events.  They look at the game from a competitive mindset first and foremost.  This means that they want games that fit within 2 hours and they want simple streamlined rules that don't require a lot of interpretation to use.  They need rules that don't have holes in them.

They see the nice paint job and a pretty board as simply adding to the game's appearance.  They see a game of 40k as an exercise in strategy, tactics and gamesmanship.  They don't see the game from a stand point of telling a story.  Although a game itself can tell a story without any concerted input from the players to tell a story, it just develops naturally as the game goes on, the game itself is not a vessel or method to tell a story. It is a game.

Now this viewpoint of seeing 40k as a game is very useful for getting rules assembled that will work smoothly and efficiently, but it also can lead to bland and boring rules that don't stand the test of time and will actually sacrifice depth and eliminate some strategies all together.

WH40K as a game

If the rules are meant for tournament play and designed by tournament players than the rules can also become the end all be all of the game.  All of a sudden the models and the terrain and the look of the whole thing is simply secondary.  A game of 40k becomes a game of Magic:The Gathering.  Magic: The Gathering is a great card game that I have played more or less since it first came out.  Its a tactically and strategically deep game that has rules that are very codified and great for tournament play but at the end of the day you are playing a game that consists of a bunch of pieces of cardboard and not much else.

No one cares what the painting on the card is, no one cares about the 'fluff' of Magic.  All of the other accessories they sell, like game mats and wound counters and card sleeves and storage boxes are just game aides.  They don't necessarily make the game more pleasing to the eye, nor do they add any narrative depth to the game.  Magic: The Gathering is a game.  That's what it is.  Its like Chess or Go.  Its a game.  Wizards of the Coast decided to make it a game and a sport but that's all it is.  You can make theme decks, but really its just a bunch of pieces of cardboard on a kitchen table at the end of the day.

Warhammer 40k has always been about the story and the spectacle and the imagination of the people playing it.  It has been a hobby in addition to a game.  Its a rich universe filled with amazing stories that you can recreate on the battlefield or add to with your own imagination.  I want Warhammer 40k to remain this type of special something that is hard to fully define.  Its more than just a game.  Its more than just a hobby.

I feel that there is the potential for 40k to lose this by changing its rules too much and by catering to the competitive crowd too much.  I worry that it will become Magic: The Gathering, where the fluff doesn't matter and isn't taken seriously.  I worry that it will look like Magic, just boring to look at with unpainted models on unpainted boards, or that everything will look the same because the terrain is all the same and the paint jobs are all the same.

Fluff

A lot of the current fluff is not good.  The Gathering Storm fluff is just bad.  They made up a terrible way for Roboute to return mainly just to sell models and rules quickly before their new edition pops.  The Traitor Legion book is full of fluff that is quite bland and really things we have already seen before.  Age Of Sigmar was blew up the Warhammer Fantasy World for no good reason.  The fluff was dumb and made no sense.  It was simply a way for them to sell more product.

Are we all 10 years old?

GW has recently moved their look for their models away from gritty realism to a more cartoony aesthetic.  Compare the 40k Roboute to the 30k one.  Compare the 40k Magnus to the 30k Magnus.  They are night and day.

The 8th Ed FAQ really angered me.  It felt like they were talking down to me and with a wink and a nudge they told me straight to my face that I didn't matter that I should shut up and listen to poppa GW because he knows whats best for me and what I like.

The FAQ answered all of our burning questions like, if I can still use my models.  That is a no brainer.  They can't possibly replace every model they make right now with a new model.  Only someone who has no experience would ask that question.

The FAQ says that their current range of codexes aren't compatible with the new rules and then goes on to say that the background info and hobby content is still valid.  There really isn't any hobby content in the current range of cedexes unless you count the pretty pictures.  And as I've already stated the fluff is at best ok in the current codexes.

The FAQ also answers the question "Why should I not just stick with the current Warhammer 40,000?" and answers by saying that this new version is "the version of Warhammer 40,000 you've been asking for."  They are assuming that the changes they have made are what the community have always wanted.  They feel they know best what we want.

The question that really angered me the most is "Why should I trust you?" and its answer "Come on! The is New Games Workshop(TM)"  Its like the old snake oil salesman or the Wizard.  "Just trust me!" and "Don't look behind the curtain!"  It is just an insult to my intelligence.

At the end of the FAQ they tell us that the new game is coming really soon, this year.  At Adepticon just a month or so ago they said that they wanted to share some "ideas" they were thinking about from the new edition.  It made it sound as if they weren't coming out with a new edition for awhile, or at least until they ironed out the new ideas they were sharing with us.  Now they say that the new edition is coming out really soon.  8th Edition was done by Adepticon, it had to be.  There is no way it went from "trying out" ideas to being fully done in a couple of months.  It just takes too long to to finalize rules and design a rulebook and get it printed.

Also the FAQ mentions that "for the moment" we can still use 7th edition rules for 30k.  "For the moment" I can also use 7th edition for playing 40k.  What does that mean? Does that mean that once 8th edition drops then Forgeworld will release FAQs for 30k in 8th ed?  Does it mean that Forgeworld will release their own ruleset?  GW won't say.  It is basically GW saying don't worry, trust us.  Just because our track record is bad when it comes to invalidating rules(eliminating factions like traitor legions, or squats or Ork Klans) this is the 'New Games Workshop(TM)', trust us.

New Rules since the FAQ

With everything I have said by now you must all think I hate GW's guts, but I don't.  I hope the new rules are awesome and work really well.  Either way I will continue to play 40k.

After seeing some of the new rules I do worry that they will not be nearly as interesting as the current rules.

I dislike toughness and wounds for vehicles.  They have gotten rid of facing apparently.  If that is the case then who cares what side of the vehicle the melta gun hits?  Getting rid of facing dumbs down the game.  (Which is something they said they weren't doing in the FAQ.)

Getting rid of Initiative is an issue.  Whomever charges goes first is an issue.  There are ways to get around this like charging modifiers or weapons or wargear that changes things but I feel that not using an initiative value is again dumbing down the game and making it less interesting.

My feelings on the new rules are not fully formed yet and they shouldn't be, I haven't seen all of them yet.  Hopefully once all is revealed it will all make sense and I will enjoy them.  I am sure it will be alright in time.

Outro

We still don't have the full picture.  I just worry that in their attempt to embrace community feedback they may have aligned themselves with the wrong crowd and while trying to fix problems they may have ended up throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


Anyways, until next time.....

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hero Forge Miniatures

While I am working on a couple of new posts, I figured I would share with you a new web site a buddy of mine showed me.

Hero Forge Custom Miniatures!

Here is the link: Hero Forge

They make custom miniatures.  Their website doesn't work on mobile devices, unfortunately, but the website allows you to build a miniature from scratch!

The first thing you will want to do is create a free account so that you can make a mini and then save it so that in the future you can have it printed.

They have a number of attributes on the right side of the page that allow you to pick what type of Genre, Race, Head, Body, Clothing, Items, Base, Mount, Pose and Material.

Basically there are a bunch of premade options for each of the above categories to build your miniature.  There are four types of materials; Premium Plastic, Nylon Plastic, Steel and Bronze

The Premium Plastic is $29.99 and really is your best bet for a few one-off minis for either RPGs or special characters in war games like Warhammer 40,000.

I am currently in 2 different Shadowrun games, two different Pathfinder games and a Dark Heresy game where I am the GM.  So I decided to make a few minis.  Now I haven't gotten them made yet but I probably will at some point.

Another cool thing is that you can take screen shots of the minis, so here are the screen shots of the ones I have made:

Interrogator Crassius Lorne

Pathfinder Dwarf Fighter Gruenor Bryngyr

Female Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor

Shadowrun Magician Wyatt Duane Munro

The above are the four minis I made recently and all of them are for RPGs but could easily be used in wargames.  The minis you can make really can be used for a multitude of systems.  You can get models that fit a theme and with some conversion work once you get the mini or with a proper paint job, these will easily fit in whatever setting you want them to be in.

I recommend this site for anyone that wants to make a one-off mini (and no they didn't pay me for this review).


And next time I will have another battle report on my 2nd game of Shadow War: Armageddon!

Until then...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon! 1st Game!

I got the chance last weekend to play my first Shadow War: Armageddon game!

In case you aren't aware, Shadow War Armageddon is a miniature skirmish game set on the planet Armageddon during the 3rd War for Armageddon when the Ork Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thrakka invaded the Imperial-held world of Armageddon for the second time.

The idea is that you form a warband of usually between 7 and 20 minis (Grey Knights being towards 7 and Orks being more towards 20 and everyone one else somewhere in the middle for warband size) and then you fight a series of small skirmish games over Promethium stashes.

The main rule book has rules for Orks, Astra Millitarum, and Space Marines.  It also has rules for various sub-factions such as Blood Angels and Bad Moons.

The main rule book also has the main skirmish ruleset along with the campaign system and scenarios to play in that system.

If you want additional army lists then GW has them available as a free pdf download from their website.  The only factions they don't have currently are Sisters of Battle and Inquisition.  GW has said they will soon release rules for them as well.

At the moment the main rule set is not available because it was only included in the limited edition box set which included 10 space marines scouts and 20 orks and some terrain and markers and its now sold out.

The soon to be released all-in-one book.

Soon, this Saturday April 22nd in fact, GW will have the new rule book available to pre-order which will last several weeks to make sure they have enough for the demand and it will include all of the factions including Sisters and Inquisition and the rules and scenarios.  I intend to pre-order this.

Now, I don't currently have the rules but my friend Derling does, so he came over and me and Xtine and Derling played a 3-player game with a scenario we just made up.

The old Necromunda rulebook.

The basic rules are the skirmish rules from Necromunda.  There are some differences in that there are only the two standard size blast templates and the one flamer template which are the same ones used in current 40k.  As far as other rules changes I am really not sure.  Its basically 2nd Ed 40k with a special Campaign system designed just for this setting.

This will hopefully be just the first in a series of posts about this game.

The game we played was on my underground tunnels board.  We placed 6 objectives around the board which could be picked up and then ran off the board with models carrying them.  They counted for d3 objective points when the game was over.  I played Iron Warriors (or Chaos Marines becasue they don't have legion-specific rules), Derling played Tau and Xtine played Dark Eldar Wyches.

We each picked a corner and then moved our entire force on from that corner and that was our deployment.  We then rolled for first turn and turn order and began.

The underground mines.

I deployed my force which consisted of 3 marines and 4 cultists in a corner with a nice observation deck that contained an objective.


Xtine then deployed her Wyches who promptly ran onto the board straight towards 2 objectives.


Derling's Tau deployed in the corner opposite of me.  He had some special drone models he bought from a 3rd party model maker, and I have to say they are quite cool looking!


Right away the Wyches start getting shot up both by the Tau and by the Chaos Cultists.

Dropping like flies.

Cultists take aim!

The drones open up!

The game lasted a long time because in Necromunda, er I mean Shadow War: Armageddon, there are no turn limits, you play until someone bottles (Usually this means when a warband has taken 25% casualties the model with the highest leadership has to take a test and if they fail the whole warband runs away,  sometimes the percentage is different based on the scenario.).

My Warband began to split up with my two hand-to-hand marines running at the Tau and my cultists sprinting to an objective while my heavy bolter marine lays down covering fire.

Splitting up.

The Tau perspective.

 Cultists heading towards a ladder.

 My Marines are getting close!

A cultists guns down a Dark Eldar Wych!

I got so close to the Tau but he would never let me charge!  I kept getting pinned.

 Sooo close!

 The cultists make it to the top of the ladder and find an objective!

A sneaky Wych tries to out flank the Iron Warriors.

One of the Wyches assaults my Chaos Marine who is armed with a chainsword and bolt pistol.  On the charge the Wych should have easily dispatched the marine but this combat would end up lasting a very looong time!  My marine eventually won but only because at one point I rolled 4 5+ saves!

The combat that wouldn't end! 

My heavy bolter marine shoots down the Tau leader who is at the top of that ladder. 

My cultists who just grabbed the objective tries to shoot down a tau at long range.

The Dark Eldar were able to secure 3 objectives which they grabbed and ran off the table with!  I took 2 objectives and Derling ended with one.

The end of the battle.

At the end we rolled d3 for each objective and Xtine won with 7, I had 3 and Derling had 1 point.

Overall it was quite fun and I want to play some more.  We were all having a great time with it!  I think the best part of this new game is that GW now has rules for all of the current factions for Necromunda.  Whether anyone uses the included campaign rules or not at least now we have viable rules for something that is not a gang of humans!

Anyways.  Thanks for reading and I will keep this blog up to date with future games of Shadow War: Armageddon!

Until next time...

Monday, April 10, 2017

8th Note Coffeeshouse Open Gaming

So at the local university there is a student-run coffee shop called the 8th Note.

I have recently been running open gaming events at the coffee shop.  They run every other Monday from 6pm - 11pm.

We get three tables set up with terrain all you need to do as an attendee is bring your army.

We also leave it open if people would like to paint or get some other hobby progress done.

Anyways I have taken some photos from these events and I am going to share them here.


























We will continue to do these events and hopefully have more people show up in the future.

Until next time....

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Victory is Vengeance Campaign!

Two weekends ago I played my first game of Tactical Strike!  It was the first game in a new Victory is Vengeance campaign that will pit my 30K Iron Warriors against my friend Seti's 30K Night Lords.

The Victory is Vengeance Campaign along with the Tactical Strike rules are located in Forgeworld's Horus Heresy Book 3: Extermination.  The campaign is focused around the loyalist survivors on Istvaan V and their attempts to survive and strike back at the traitors versus the traitor kill teams sent out to destroy them.

I have wanted to try these rules out for several years now and I was super excited when Seti suggested we try it!

Check out his blog at: Eye of Isha


Our first game was mainly a learning experience.  We wanted to get the basic rules down for Tactical Strike since there are a number of changes from the base 40k rules.

We decided instead of one of us being on the Survivor side and one being an Exterminator we would start the first game on an even footing and in the future we would change roles depending on the situation.

Since we wanted to start off on an equal footing we each set our Resources to "Plentiful".
Setting all of our resources to Plentiful meant that we each started with 300 points to spend on our Personnel (rank and file), our Armour was unaffected by any special rules and our Ammo Roll was on a 3+.

Ammo Rolls are used when a squad rolls a 1 to hit.  After that 1 is rolled then that squad must make an ammo roll or be out of ammo the following turn, meaning they can only fire snap shots.

In addition to the 300 points we are allowed 150 points to make one Hero character and up to two Leader characters.

My Tactical Strike Force

Thyrsis, Karapos and Peleus

My Tactical Strike force was as follows:

HERO - Vigilator Consul Karapos Lemnus
      Extra Wargear - None
      Role - Marksman

LEADER - Destroyer Sergeant Peleus
      Extra Wargear - None

LEADER - Tactical Sergeant Thyrsis
      Extra Wargear - Combi-Flamer and Heavy Chainsword

RANK AND FILE

7 Tactical Marines

1 Rhino with Extra Armour and Dozer Blade

2 Tactical Support Marines with Flamers

2 Tactical Support Marines with Plasma Guns

1 Cataphracti Terminator with Power Fist

1 Veteran with Missile Launcher and Machine Killer (+1 armour penetration)

1 Veteran with Power Sword and Weapon Master (+1 WS)

NOTE: After this past weekend and going to Adepticon we talked to the guys at Miniwargaming.com and I found out that my list was illegal.  You can only buy upgrades for models if you have the minimum number of models in the unit to purchase that item.
Basically I would have had to have 4 other veterans with Machine Killer before I could have bought the veteran with the missile launcher because you can only buy one missile launcher per 5 veteran marines.
My single veteran with the Power Sword was ok because any veteran can purchase a power weapon.


Our first mission was also one of our devising.

We had 4 objectives; each one is a, Emperor's Children Marine.  They would essentially become our captive after the battle.  Each once was worth d3 victory points and d3 x 10 supply points.

We set up in the "Stand-off" deployment, essentially right across from each other on a 4x4 board.

 He has 2 ad-hoc squads which start on the ground and 2 missile launcher vets 
which start on the upper levels of a couple of ruins.
I form 2 ad-hoc units as well.  One unit is deployed inside the rhino and the other is in 
the ruins on the left.  My Hero Karapos, scouts ahead into the center ruins.

 My Terminator lines up behind the tank traps.

The first turn is fairly uneventful and the second turn is when things get interesting; 
his land speeder flies in from reserve.

Our units move closer and Karapos Lemnus moves to the second floor.

Karapos is assaulted by his veteran-filled ad-hoc unit. 

 I break off 3 models to form a new ad-hoc unit while the terminator (who would soon die to Reaction fire) and the tactical marines prepare for some close-in action.

Karapos is down for the count and will have to roll on the Consequences and 
the Redemption & Atonement tables after the battle.

The land speeder just can't seem to kill my rhino. 

Eventually with help from his missile launcher vet, my rhino is destroyed and my ad-hoc squad led by Destroyer Sergeant Peleus jumps out ready to engage his ad-hoc unit. 

My other leader, Tactical Sergeant Thyrsis moves forward around some rubble to try and get a shot off at his missile vet while my few remaining tacticals try to fight off his veterans. 

I would eventually win this hand to hand fight and claim one objective. 

We played 5 turns and it took about 2 hours.  In the future games will be faster now that we have some idea of how the new rules work.

He ended up winning this game; claiming 3 objectives to my one.

We rolled for victory points and supply points.  I would end up with 2 victory points and 20 supply points while he had 7 victory points and 70 supply points.

Karapos Lemnus rolled "Blinded" on the Consequence table and "Martial Dominance" on the Redemption & Atonement table.
Being blinded means that I must reroll and successful shots over 12" and if i get it a second time then
I must reroll all successful shots.
Martial Dominance means that to eliminate my blinded consequence in the next battle I must remove more models in close combat than any other Hero.

Unfortunately Thyrsis was also killed so he won't be back, only Heros can return.

Overall it was a very fun game and I look forward to the next battle!

Until next time....