Monday, November 23, 2015

Characters Group 1, Bring Minis

So luke's character is running round in some sort of aquatic-comfortable
gear and is sneaky..

but maybe going for this

Matt has got some tallarn-inquisitor // mad hunter thing going on- putting him somewhere between


Troy's Mechanicus has these Grievous legs, as in the general, but i reckon it's closer to a certain necron

but at the moment might be more

Ben is rocking sister's carapace and hand flamer with a metal habit... couldn't find that exactly

A few came close, but not quite

Finally I reckon Grant is going for 

but all I got is

In short, if you guys have minis you want to use as characters, feel free to bring them along, I have some approximate stand-ins...

Monday, October 5, 2015

Notes on a Rogue Planet

Initial impressions here to sort and record them.

Linear terrain should be something you can fight through or over. Pipe, wire fence, shack wall.

Board should consist of a network of patches of terrain, probably 3 or 4 deep in any axis.

Must target closest unit for charge or shooting. I get why you do that from an " introduce tactics " point of view, not sure about it as a game mechanic. I would just apply a penalty to hit if it's not the closest.

Ok, despite the advert there is book-keeping (action points, energy) and measuring (FX). But not much.

Collisions was a bit, cumbersome. A 3 way example would have been good.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Space Marine Codex 7th edition Review

First of all- I feel like I should be doing this review on twitter- because the frequency of the "new" space marine codex release is so quick you'd need a web 2.0 social media client to keep up. Seriously- how long? Under 2 years. I guess this is the release speed for the 2000-teens attention span.


I don't totally dislike the new art. It's functional. It gets the job done. It's not as bad as some of the 3rd ed art, in my opinion. I'm not in the "it's totally shit" camp, but lets compare the starting point with what we have in 2015. Roll back to Rogue Trader and into 2nd edition.

Now what's the story in 2015- well it's in colour, but it doesn't quite have the same "omph"

I was actually hard pressed to find entirely new art. There are a lot of line diagrams, like Brother Alos there. And some very cluttered photographs. The best thing I can say about the photos is that they convey an idea of colour (mostly)

And there is the new "Khal Draigo"-the-ultramarine, art :p

So- lots of colour printing, not a whole lot of feeling.

So I got the limited edition, mostly for the markers and cards. I got the "Successor chapters" version because it is the only one that says "Adeptus Astartes" on the side. It's a nice matt black. It covers Ultramarines, Whit Scars, Imperial Fists, Salamanders, Raven Guard, Iron Hands ..and their successor chapters, which include luminaries such as Black Templars, Legion of the Damned and Crimson Fists.
There are 111 pages of fluff, guff, art, structural charts, diagrams, maps, photos of minis and stories. Then at page 112 you get your first actual rules.
Gladius Strike Force- new decurion style detachment-containing-formations. Nice
A wargear list. 
Then 58 unit entries. Wow. That is a lot of units. Each is a page has type/ name/ cost header, a photo of the model, more fluff/guff, a listing of the rules and a listing of the options. But most of the special rules are NOT on the page, rather there is a page reference. The digital copy will be awesome, this- you need to know all your special rules for your army.
And then- 13 formations.. which is good, flexible, maybe a lot compared to some codexes.
So from a content point of view. Yikes that is a lot. And I get that they would need a double page to add the rules in. So it's a compromise. I guess I'm getting the digital enhanced as well.

Rules Balance
There are a lot of rules here and this is just a first look ..but..
Dreadnoughts. Compared to Helbrutes at exactly the same cost.. base 4 attacks and get Chapter Tactics- which are good I might add, still 100 points. Bah
Assault squads and devastators cost the same as basic marines- you just get different upgrades- jump packs for assault cost 3/pts a model. Noice.
I would say, with a few exceptions, most units get a minor buff in close combat- cheaper power weapons on vanguard, more attacks on the dread etc, but maybe not enough to bring them up to meta./Eldar
It's formations where things come unstuck. They are YIKES.

Librarian Conclave
Use one psyker to cast any of your powers as long as within 12". Make those warp charge checks on a 3+ or 2+ if 3 are within 12". Zap! 

Landraider Spearhead
Ignore everything except wrecked if within 6" of another landraider. Re-roll to wound gargantuan creatures or penetrate armour.

Everything gets objective secured. Nice. Get another Tactical doctrine use. Nice. Seems balanced. 440 points in their basic equipment. Where is the problem? Take 2 of them in a gladius detachment...which of course means you are fielding a complete battle company (of 5 man squads- so really at half strength). .. and you get your razorbacks, rhinos, drop pods for free. You would also need an "Auxiliary" unit- which can be complied for about 165 point if you want 


Anyway, that will, no doubt produce the sea of vehicles we used to see in 5th edition. Mobile cover at best. I.. I'm scratching my head. Competitive, um, maybe? Sell a lot of mins. Probably.

Ash out

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Void Gothic I

First of All
There is a mini-con I am hosting 2 games at called Gamefest
It should be really cool. One game I am running is assassination force. It is basically a Mansions of Madness style 40k game. Room discovery, events, bad guys.

I am also running a new hybrid RPG I am calling "The Void Gothic"

Wall of text description follows

The flavour
In the far distant future, mankind reached the stars, reveled for 10 millennia, and stalled, stagnant in the limitless void. Magik and arcane practices has replaced science. Politics is a tinderbox fueling pointless wars of attrition, that then grind on between factions for centuries as the lives of millions are lost.
And amongst the outer reaches of the galaxy, beyond the light of the Astronomican, dark forces immeasurable by humanity, stir. Cimmerian gods stalk between the Halo stars, thirsty and laughing.  

The why
This is an attempt to bring the Warhammer 40k universe back from big brightly colored guns and powered armour shoulder pads to it’s roots- Star vampires, gothic imagery of John Blanche, the deep emptiness of space, warfare with a steampunk, space travel with runic flight manuals, aliens that invoke horror, not explode with a splutch by the hundred. Alien not Aliens. HP Lovecraft in space not Starship Troopers (the movie).

I have run several campaigns set in the 40k universe and feel the best combination is
  1. the “Paranoia” inspired impetus of the Inquisition,
  2. the suspense of good horror movies and
  3. the truly massive scale of the 40k fiction, especially Battlefleet gothic, which draws on Dune and other dimensions (warping space) to travel faster than light, rather than just hand waving and forgetting about the distances and physics.    

Roleplaying pants- other than that, none- although if you own star-wars dice you are welcome to bring them.
Each character will get plenty of detail. If you don’t know what an Electro-Priest is or a Drill Abbot or a Necromunda hive ganger, don’t worry it’s all in the character description. In fact, not knowing works well- characters in the 40k universe/canon often know every little outside their lot in life. And those with depth in 40k lore may jump to some bad conclusions about adversaries, because what happens on the 40k tabletop and what happens in the roleplay environment  are very different. The roleplay milieu is investigation, social interaction, exploration, exploitation, factions within factions, profit, risk, betrayal..  

For those that are interested- and as this is not particularly combat heavy it probably won’t matter a great deal- the system is “Starwars Age of Rebellion” rules at it’s core. Roll dice, get threat, fail, success, advantage in various combinations. Roleplay the results - if you cause threat or advantage you decide what narrative effect that has- the bad guy slipped on the stairs, your brazier you clubbed him with has created a pall of smoke around you making it hard to see you etc. So it’s a chance +skill based narrative game. The people, skills stats are from dark heresy, but surprisingly they mesh really easily into the AoR scale. Same same. Unknown Armies is helping by replacing the Corruption and Insanity rules which were pretty flat. And damage is based on Kult- so weapons do scratches, wounds etc in a cumulative pyramid until you go splat. Pretty abstract and again, meshes well with the dice results system. And tracked by filling in boxes on your character sheet. No number crunching required, no chart to look up.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Codex: Khorne Daemonkin, First Blood

Some thoughts about the new codex for devotees of Khorne (yep that's me)


The book has the rules for all it's formations. Unlike "Black Legion" or "Crimson Slaughter" it  is entirely self-contained. As it references both Daemon rules and Chaos Space Marine rules. That's important. Less book lugging rather than more with the addition of rules is a great idea.


One of the reasons that this composition of both books is required is that the base rules for a number of units have changed. Yay. I think that's a yay. It might actually be a bad idea, here is what has changed-

Daemons no longer have the "Daemon Instability", rather, they are simply fearless

I'm not 100% convinced this a good idea. Leadership and psychology already takes a backseat due to the proliferation of "And they shall know no fear". I think the tyranid and current daemon rules are actually a good idea. I do agree that it seems unlikely that bloodletters would go to ground, but having them dissolve if defeated in close combat always seemed to have a ring of authenticity.

Minimum Unit sizes on Bloodletters, Beserkers and cultists are 8 instead of 10 or 5

In the case of Bloodletters, this makes them more useful for deep striking chaff units and the cost has stayed the same. For cultists it's not as cut and dried. Cultists in this codex have Mark of Khorne, which honestly is a bit of a tax. It means a chaff unit  of 8 costs 8 points more than the old cost for 10. And they are going to get wiped out just as quickly per wound. I didn't mention beserkers - any self respecting khorne player fields them in 8's. I've actually found it gets them where they need to go- just into combat to wipe the squad with a single beserker remaining..

Bloodthirsters get 2 new unit configurations

Unfettered Fury- is the current configuration, 12" whip, wings, 3+ save fearless daemon. You know the one, you love it. It loses instability like all the other daemons in this codex.
Insensate Rage- is armed with a Destroyer weapon and gets rage instead of the whip. That means 8 D attacks on the charge. Lol. Vehicles and monstrous creatures cower in terror.
Wrath of Khorne- is armed with Hellfire (soulblaze heavy flamer), Bloodflail which is both ranged str 7 assault d3 and AP 2 melee. It has the special rules adamantite will and hatred (characters). I think this is designed as the character killer. It can take out units and their champions. I think against units like terminators however the Insensate Rage would do a better job.

I think I would buy the first one but at greater points cost only summon the second two.

Daemon engines (Heldrake, Maulerfiend, Forgefiend, Defiler) become "Daemons of Khorne"

This gives them Furious Charge, Fear and Hatred of Slaneesh. This a change which all except the Heldrake pay 5 points for. As the Defiler and Maulerfiend have 2 powerfists it is probably a tax for them. They would have to have lost both not to attack at strength 10. The Heldrake gets a better vector and the forgefiend is going to be strength 7 on the charge if it needs to melee, which is cool.
Fear and Hatred of Slannesh are pretty much irrelevant. I'd love them to matter, but it's unlikely.

Extra rules

The primary gimmick for this codex is the addition of two new rules "Blood for the Blood God" and "Skulls for the Skull Throne".

BftBG gives blood points on the death of units and characters. Note, not only independent characters but characters. That means a unit of cultists is worth 2 when wiped out. So is a 3 man unit of suicide melta on bikes. And cultist units can wipe themselves out by choice if they fail a morale test. Oh, and you get it for killing the enemy too.. :)

Blood points are used to grant army wide abilities and summon units.  It's a straight buff, possibly giving you a 300 point bloodthirster and army wide "Feel No Pain" on the same turn. That would be 8 points and using the detachment as your primary.

SftST is a carefully worded "Champion of Chaos" rule without the random table roll. It is a nerf, but as I have never had anything off that table worth recording I couldn't give a rats. And I'd like to choose when/which champion becomes a Daemon Prince, which you can do with 7 blood points..


Bloodhost Detachment
This is the overarching structure to field units form this codex as "Battle-Forged". It uses the unit terms "Core", "Auxiliary" and "Command". It's a detachment of detachments.

This is the core. The biggest negative is the possessed. It's actually quite a shame how poo they are and you have to take one. I like the models, I like painting them, they are just sub-par. At 30 points each they still go down like a sack to small arms fire. Stacking furious charge for another 5 points on top is not cool.
2 units from Chaos marines with Mark of Khorne, Berserkers and bloodletters in 8 man units minimum.
All in all, a bit nobbled by the possessed and single HQ. I can't see any definition of the "daemon" rule so I'm guessing just one in the core rules. This means a herald can join a unit of cultists... :)

Brazen Onslaught
Terminators and Bloodcrushers- if out numbered get an extra attack. Cool, not awesome but nice. Not sure I want 2 units of blood crushers though. Banners on them for targeting deepstrike and summoning might be useful.

Khorne's Bloodstorm
Raptors-warptalons and Heldrake- Extra strength on hammer of wrath and vector strikes. Str 8 vector strikes due to Meteroic Descent plus this bonus-yikes. Still not convinced that warptalons are any chop. Raptors are still a bit too expensive, mark of melee just compounds this. They can choose their battles and would usually win CC. I would like the excuse to do up the guy to the left.. just not sure this is it.

Ok- this is nice. Take units I like, give them Move through Cover so they don't take difficult terrain tests, make hammer of wrath better and top it off with Preferred Enemy (Psykers). Lol.  Worth the sticker price.

Charnel Cohort
This can be a deep-striking allied formation or part of the Bloodhost. Either way it buffs your ability to get daemons down and on target. I have very few of the models and no experience in daemon orientated armies where they are the primary. I understand the concept but no idea if it worth doing.

What's Missing

This is not a criticism. It's actually interesting that there are so many units added from both codex daemons and chaos space marines that it is worth listing what is not there...
CSM: Vindicator, Predator, Havocs, Obiliterators, Mutilators, Warpsmith, Sorcerer
Daemons: Almost all units with Mark of Khorne are available, with only "Furies" being left out.
Daemon Princes get access to the new relics and rewards but not the old random Greater/Lesser rewards.
Bloodthirsters get access to relics as a fixed unit and no variable equipment. I know folks seem to love stacking Greater Daemons with rewards but I never played that way. This will have zero impact on me but some folks will complain about it.
There is no warpstorm table. hmm

The Future

This is exactly what some people asked for.  Magic god numbers relevant (slightly) to the game. Consolidated rules. Book full of crunch. Less random. I'm really happy with it.

There are some minor buffs to some units, a smidge of increased unit tax on a couple of units I always take- Maulerfiend and Cultists. I will be fielding more bikes and fleshhounds that is for sure. I have taken armies that cold be made from this codex to tournaments before. Now I wasn't particularly successful, but I didn't expect to be. But this is basically a buff if you are taking these units already.

The benefit of adding Soulgrinders to my CSM armies without having to take other units is nice.

I will be modelling my Vindicators, Predators and Obliterators as Iron Warriors in light of this, no question.

Are there any Lord of Skulls, Forgefiend or juggernaught purchases on the horizon? Maybe. I will be building the first daemon prince I ever read about.

One of the impacts of this codex- it is a direct counter, maybe a hard counter to Multiple Small Unit armies.

As a final thought, for the moment,
The level of complexity of these changes, the subtle and obvious changes with the organisational structures possible. What you can field is awesome. You can be "battle forged chaos" and your opponent would have no idea what is coming. List tailor-ers beware. Your reckoning is coming. And if there are 1 or 3 other chaos books on the way.. yikes. I miss not having defensive grenades in this codex but I might just ally for that...

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Problem # 4

You can't use your seargeant with a flag a your aim point for your own artillery bombardment. We've been firing slings into the enemy in "melee" with our own troops for at least 2500 years. Yeh it's messy and morale gets affected but sometimes for even the most humane armies it makes sense. Read up on the battle of kapyong. Not quite firing on them selves intentionally, but almost. Lack of "point on the ground" targeting is a sub-issue of this.

Issue #3

Problem # 3

Ranges are so short that it probably doesn't matter. After a decade with a pistol I can probably hit a moving target more often and at greater range with a cricket ball than a pistol round .. but give me a carbine with medium magnification and I'll take your head off up to 200 meters' 4 times in 5. In short, pistols are really inaccurate, grenades are probably slightly more accurate before they bounce and crazy after that, rifles are great- especially if you can rest them on something and things with a HUD are more accurate again. And everything except flame throwers, pistols and grenades should hit the back of any board you can fit in your house at 28mm scale.

Wargame issues #2

Problem # 2

Rounds go through people - especially heavy machines guns and their sci-fi analogues. So you don't cut away the nearest 4 guys off the front, you take a slot out of the unit.. unless you catch them side on- you know, enfilade fire... it's a thing, really . Heavy machine gun fire inscribes a parabola so can hit folks on the reverse side of a hill who are actually out of line of sight.  But ...

Things that Modern Wargames still don't do

Rather than clutter up my mates most excellent blog with some half formed opinion I thought I'd jot down my ideas here.

I'm also going to split them up so that comments can go under each. In no particular order...

Problem # 1
There is not such thing as progressive morale for units. I mean morale can fail absolutely but that's not certain. Reduced effectiveness is much more likely. Games that have 20 -200 dudes on the field don't have rules where the effectiveness of a unit is reduced. They either flee, go to ground or hold. And going to ground isn't seen as a flinch reaction.. apparently it's a command decision. err. No
Now that plays out fine for me- I stick one fearless or "know-no-fear" dude in the middle of 50 infantry and they..never waver one bit. No.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Many years ago when Slaves to Darkness was a ruleset, and the idea of Codexs hadn't been invented, a mate of mine played Harlequins against my traitor legionnaires of Khorne.

The rules set for his dudes included blind grenades, powerful psykers and the "dance of death", which was something akin to furious charge. It was fairly frustrating, the rules clunky and lopsided. But the death clowns were very cool.

Years after he sold me the minis and his photocopy of the rules.

Some years later i attempted to attend a local with said harlequins, using the citadel journal rules. I did not know they had been house ruled out. It caused a little bit of stir, but  the protest died down as I was solidly beaten by a standard eldar army.

With such reception I went back to fielding chaos in various forms. That didn't stop me from aquiring cheap harlequins here and there when I came across them. When my friends appeared on the doorstep under the influence and said "I'm so bent, let me paint something man"- i gave them harlequins to paint... it's not like they could do it wrong...

Now, the joke is on them. Harlequins are back. I'm calling it. There will be a data slate. All evil clown armies will be a thing, In the oily flux of the future I have seen it.

So, in preparation, I take stock. Unfurl the banners. Put out the bunting. Dying time is here.

The troupe is assembled.
Oh what a mottely crew.
Without paint, colour lax,

Wait a minute, five by twelve trouper squads, nine death jesters, a wraith lord and three bikes. And there are new releases .... As a great clown once said- Somebody Stop Me!