Monday, May 22, 2017

Less Than Week Left to Buy Your Ticket for Double Trouble 2

The title of the post says it all really but ticket sales for Double Trouble 2 will close at midnight this Saturday (27th May). If you'd like to come along you need to get your ticket soon then. You can find all the information for the event on the DT2 page

In case you haven't read about the event already, it's a 1,500 pt (2 x 750) doubles event but with a bit of a difference. Instead of picking an army in collaboration with your partner you simply pick a 750pt army of your own and show up. You'll then be paired up with a random partner and matched against another random pairing. In the subsequent games (there's three in total) you get another new partner and another random pair to play against. The idea is that you meet and play with 9 new people over the course of the day.

With a new edition of 40K fast approaching (DT2 will use 7th edition rules), it's a great time to meet some new gaming buddies to give you a variety of opponents to test out the new rules with once they're released.

Since you're only picking 750 pts there's also the opportunity to use a new army that you're fancying starting for the new edition or to dust off some old models than you think will get a new lease on life with the new rules. 

The last Double Trouble was a lot of fun and I was lucky enough to play in it too (I only play if the numbers allow) and I really enjoyed the experience of playing against a wide variety of opponents and having to quickly decide on tactics with my partner in each round. It's a great insight into how other people play the game and one that you can't really get from playing against them.

Please note the actual venue we're playing in is different for DT2

Did I mention there's also a generous raffle (entry to which is included in your ticket)? Last time the top prize was a Deathwatch: Overkill set and there were five other prizes to be won for a total RRP value of £350! The prize fund is based on the number of tickets sold so the more I sell I'll either add prizes or make them more generous.

Anyway, I really hope I'll see some of you there. If you've got any questions, ask me in the comments below or email me using the "Contact Me" link on the right. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

New 8th Edition 40K Rules - Weapons, Datasheets, Points & Stratagems

In theory this post has caught me up with the information that GW has released but by the time it posts we'll have had another three days worth of stuff. I really need to get onto some stuff for Double Trouble 2. Hopefully later in the week because by then there'll only be a couple of weeks to go. Not long to get your ticket then if you haven't already!

Weapons Part 2
I'm reassured slightly that there'll still be some dramatic stuff happening if your dice are hot on those random shots and damage rolls. Especially with a twin-linked lascannon or two. Twin-linked returns to how it was the past. Basically a single weapon that fires twice the shots of the standard version. It'll be interesting to see how the cost of units with twin-linked weapons are adjusted to reflect this. Something tells me they'll generally reduce points so that you need more models to have a game of a decent length.

Anyway, firing twice as many shots is significantly better than just re-rolling. That makes for some massive damage potential. The twin heavy bolter example is interesting because it seems that AP4 is now a -1 modifier. It follows then that AP3 = -2. AP2 = -3 (as we saw with the lascannon) and AP1 = -4 (as we see with the meltagun). What we don't really find out is what happens for AP6 and AP- though. Will they also be AP0 like AP5 or will they give a positive modifier?

You've also got to wonder how twin-flamers will work. Just double the shots that still automatically hit? That'd be brutal.

Combi-weapons are certainly better (depending on how much we have to pay for them). They don't fit the fluff of limited ammunition for the combi bit but you have to make a choice between an accurate shot for one of the other or gamble that you'll get more damage from firing both. Question is, are they actually worth it? You'll be firing both at the same target so often you'll not bother with the bolter to get the melta a better chance at hitting a tank. Since you can now split off from your unit to do this, would you just be better taking a meltagun where available?

Speaking of which a meltagun is pretty much what I expected. A more reliable anti-tank weapon (in terms of damage) than the lascannon but with lower strength it has less chance of getting to do that damage.

As we already knew. There's no blasts anymore but it seems that weapons that used them will still be useful. A battle cannon won't kill more than 6 models in a unit of single wound models but will be significantly better against units of multi-wound models and hugely improved against a single MC. Your old blast could only cause a single wound to an MC but now you could potentially cause 18 wounds to an MC (or vehicle for that matter). The Leman Russ is looking pretty good right now.

Datasheets
This is the kind of thing we wanted to see. Actual rules and stats from units. It's a shame that the random person on FB didn't pick something more interesting than Rubric Marines but still, there's a lot to unpack. Firstly, special rules are gone. That's about 20 pages out of the rulebook already! I'm a big fan of (nearly) everything for a particular unit being on the same page. There'll still be some army-wide stuff but mostly you'll be able to open the book to the right page for whatever unit you're dealing with at the time. Hopefully this doesn't mean the death of the summary stats page at the back of the codex though.

There's mixed feelings about keeping the points and rules separate. Firstly, this isn't really a new thing. Up until the last couple of editions you had the rules early in the book and the points later. The latest codexes "simplified" this by having a reference page for all of the rules. They presumably though this would be easier but flicking back and forth through a book was a pain. It's promising that they're planning on updating the points to reflect how the meta changes. Besides, once you've picked your army you don't need to know how much it cost. What is strange is that the datasheet has wargear options on it. Why bother putting these on here if the points for them are listed elsewhere? Wouldn't it make more sense to remove this section to save space? You'll have to refer to your army list to see what everything is equipped with anyway.

Anyway, it's interesting that units can still potentially have two different battlefield roles. Opens up the possibility of thematic armies for things like Blood Angels and White Scars where assault troops and bikes respectively can be take as Troops.

I know Keywords are nothing new really but for 40K I think they make a lot of sense. You can easily group units together for things like how they interact with cover, how they're affected by special rules, what vehicles they can board.

Again, it's a shame that we weren't given a more interesting unit as an example. What we can gleam from this though is that Force weapons act differently. Swords are still the lowest in strength compared to axes, staves, etc but they now have better AP! With no Initiative any more you'd have to wonder how much they cost relative to each other because presumably they all strike at once now. You'd have to wonder how Force weapons compare to their Power weapon counterparts though.

Finally, interesting that models within the same unit can have different movement values. Does that mean coherency isn't a thing anymore? I know you could sometimes have characters in a unit that moved differently but had to remain in coherency but with templates gone you have to wonder what the mechanic will be now.

Points & Power Levels
Well, first thing that strikes me here is that the Ambush mission deployment looks pretty brutal if the defender is a shooty army and the attack is combat based! Starting pretty much in charge range looks nasty. Still this is a Narrative mission by the looks of the description.

I'm liking the idea of power levels. Points are all well and good but they're often a little meaningless and you end up spending ages deciding between two 5 pt upgrades to use up those final points. Just being able to pick units to a certain power level cost takes a lot of that nonsense away. Perhaps in my casual games we'll switch to this if the power levels seem reasonably sensible.

Onto some actual points and a tactical squad marine is now 13 pts (formerly 14) but a multi-melta is now 27pts (formerly 10). The rumours of super marines not withstanding, that certainly feels like marines aren't going to suddenly return to their status in the fluff as brutal fighters capable of taking on multiple lesser foes. Of course, we haven't seen how much anything else is yet so we've got no yardstick but it's interesting that they think 2,000pts will be a two hour game. If true, that either means higher points in tournaments or else the possibility of getting a fourth game into a one day event if you stuck at 1,500pts.

Sidenote: I'm in favour of the game being more streamlined but if it becomes too quick to play it will definitely lose some of its identity. Of course we can play bigger games but having shorter games has the potentially to make it feel less... epic somehow.

The big hammer drop here though is Summoning. No more freebie units. Instead you'll be using your "Reinforcement Points" to determine how much you can summon. Also worth noting here than Infiltrate and Deep Strike are still things that exist. I still hope they limit the units factions that can use Summoning (Keywords make this simple to do). You can make whatever fluff argument you like for an Eldar farseer suddenly summoning some Slaanesh daemons but to me it feels incredibly wrong.

There's a big question mark here about whether GW will actually try to keep maintaining balance by tweaking points for weapons/units but at least they're recognising the concept and allowing for the potential to balance things.

Stratagems
The term isn't anything new to 40K. They've been around in things like Planetstrike for a long time. I've never been a fan of them in that guise though as they're an extra thing to choose when selecting your army and more things to remember to do (and more importantly be aware that your opponent can do) during the game.

I'm reassured then that it sounds like everyone gets access to the standard three presented here but there'll also be some for each faction. Providing this doesn't end up with silly amounts I think it's a good mechanic that adds some tactical depth. Deciding when to burn your command points is a key thing to master in games like Space Hulk and I can see it being the same here. Use them early on trivial things and you might regret it when you need them for something more vital later.

Seems like a good way of rewarding people for creating armies that use fewer combinations of factions too and for adhering to FOCs with what they select. I like the Stratagems shown here. You can see that they'll be useful and the costs seem reasonable too. One point for the re-roll, which may not work out anyway, but two points for the Stratagems with guaranteed rewards.

Hopefully there'll be other characters besides Bjorn that affect the amount of command points you receive or how you'll use them. I'm fully expecting Warlord Traits to be a thing of the past (one less thing to bother with in pre-game) and Command Points/Stratagems seem to be a great replacement.

Conclusion
I'm really struggling to find fault in most of what GW is doing here. I'm still skeptical about their ideas of balance and every unit being useful but it all seems to be going in the right direction. The 8th edition of our beloved game is shaping up to be recognisable as 40K but without a lot of the baggage that has made it less fun to play.

Speaking of which, I really hope we get a post on the pre-game sequence (and that it's clearly mapped out in the new rulebook). This has always been one of my big problems with 40K. When it takes some armies about 30 minutes to even start putting models on the table it's easy to see why new players might be put off. If Warlord Traits are gone, Psychic Powers aren't random anymore, etc then maybe we'll get stuck into killing each other a lot sooner. That has to be a good thing.

With the amount of stuff they've already released, you'd have to think that the new edition is coming pretty soon. What they've said though is that every faction will be a getting a "Faction Focus" article in the run up. They're releasing them every other day at the moment. We've had four so far and there's something like 21 factions left (depending on how you define them e.g. are Skitarii and Cults just Ad Mech now?). That means another month and a half unless they either a) increase the frequency, b) merge some factions or c) aren't actually going to cover all of them. If everything stays the same we'd be looking at the end of June rather than the mid-June release I'd originally guessed.

Still, the smart money is on them announcing the date for pre-orders at Warhammer Fest and I'll be there so I can hopefully let you guys know what I find out!

Monday, May 15, 2017

New 8th Edition 40K Rules - Faction Focus

Seems like GW are releasing one of these articles every other day so the next one will probably be out before you read this. These articles are pretty light on meaty content but there's still some useful stuff to be teased out of (most of) them.

Faction Focus - Chaos Space Marines
You have to feel for CSM players. They got the first codex in 6th edition only to spend the rest of it feeling like they were screwed over by every subsequent book that came out. They're getting a similarly raw deal now. They get the first Faction Focus article but despite writing a lot of words, Frankie (off of Frontline Gaming), doesn't actually tell us anything of substance. Those units you don't use. They're good now they are. That's basically it.

Clearly GW have responded to the complaints about this on social media and all the other articles now have at least a couple of titbits of actual info in them. Poor old CSM players will have to wait (possibly until release day) for anything more useful.

Faction Focus - Astra Militarum
More of the same puff piece that makes you think your Guardsmen will be a forced to be reckoned with and that some rarely seen unit (here Rough Riders and Bullgryns) will now be a viable choice. There's some useful information thrown in here though such as Ratlings (and presumably all snipers) being able to target Characters.

We get some actual stats too. A Leman Russ will be T8, 3+ save and 12 wounds. It's interesting to compare this to a Dreadnought. Formerly AV12, 3HP it now gets eight T7 wounds with a 3+ save. Clearly the Leman Russ is tougher but with the new To Wound chart it doesn't seen hugely better than a dread. It'll be interesting to see if a Land Raider gets a 2+ save or higher toughness to correlate with the AV14 all round.

Orders are now automatic (cutting out a Ld test - more streamlining). First Rank, Second Rank seems similar to how it does now but for me the interesting thing is that Rapid Fire seems like it'll work in the same way it does now.

Faction Focus - Eldar
Again, more talking up of units with minimal back up. The snippets are interesting again though.

Phoenix Lords sound like they'll be cheaper and offer some army (or at least bubble) benefits. Oh and Asurman deals some mortal wounds with his sword. Good for him! Guide, Doom and Fortune are back but no word on how they work or how easy they'll be to cast. Sounds like both Striking Scorpions and Howling Banshees have had some love too. Still can't see how the Banshees will make it into combat though, even if they are really fast moving.

The last little bit is the Wailing Doom. We don't find out how many attacks the Avatar gets, whether he'll be more durable, faster or given a new model but we do know some things about his sword. Nothing that drastic here. It's what you'd expect from it really. Dealing D6 damage will make a huge difference when the Avatar is taking on a single multi-wound model but won't stop him getting stuck wading through a pile of weaker models though. At least Morale might help him there.

Sidenote: has combat resolution gone then? Do you just roll for Morale at the end of the game if you lost models? Can you still overrun units? Have they already told us this and I've missed it?

Anyway, as an anti-tank weapon it's pretty decent but isn't likely to be one-shotting anything substantial. Taking a chunk of wounds from an MC is a massive upgrade for the Wailing Doom (and indeed the meltagun) though.

Faction Focus - Chaos Daemons
Easily the most significant bits of info in this post out of the lot. It really seems like GW are trying to release more and more information in these posts. I mean, I'm assuming they schedule these posts like I'm doing with mine but it's interesting that they're getting more and more meaty.

I like the Khorne mechanic of what is effectively Furious Charge in this Initiative-less world. Interesting that it works in the first round of combat regardless of who charged too. Tzeentch giving a bonus to invulnerable saves isn't really that new but interesting that a LoC now has 4++ and 16 wounds (although we still don't really know how invulns work). I'm sure Daemons players won't be happy but I'm pleased that splitting Horrors are being dealt with too. Having a unit that always takes at least three turns to get rid of was stupid. You can still do something similar but you'll have to allow yourself some "Reinforcement Points" for this.

Sidenote: makes me wonder what other uses Reinforcement Points have. Tervigons spawing gaunts for example. What about things that weren't freebies in 7th?

Daemonettes sound similar to Banshees in that they're striking first the majority of the time. Having said that, I'd again wonder how they're going to get their alive though. Interesting that the larger the unit the better they are too. Maybe there'll be other things to discourage MSU for other factions too.

Nurglings are getting what sounds like FNP 5+ which isn't much of a surprise but makes me wonder if other units will be losing it. Interesting ot see what Mischief Makers does. Sounds like they can do some sort of Infiltrate move.

Obviously, the big deal for Daemons came in the Points and Power Levels post with Summoning no longer giving you "free" units. So far, Daemons seem to be the army that will seem the most different in 8th. No more spamming summoned units, no more piles and piles of psychic dice to buff a single psyker, no more silly combos of characters to make incredibly resilient units. Daemons had a long period of being a low tier army. Whilst I'm really not a fan, I hope they don't get relegated back there. It's early days though and I'm not going to condemn them yet (unlike a lot of people on FB). I still think Summoning will be a useful mechanic that gives you a tactical advantage in that you can bring in the right tool for the job and that having a pile of psykers on the table will still be advantageous.

Conclusion
This all reminds me a bit of the NFL in the offseason. The hype slowly builds for all of the teams so that you really start to thing your crappy franchise (the Bears) will have any hope in the season. Then the season starts and you remember they've still got a crap roster and won't be winning anything. I really hope I'm wrong!

One thing I do like is that Reece and Frankie are writing these posts. They know more about the current meta than it seems GW themselves do. Talking about things like Screamers with re-rollable 2+ saves is at least an acknowledgement of some of the problems with the game as it is now.

I really can't see how their claims of "every unit will now be viable" (or words to that effect) can be true. There's too many units for everything to be useful. Perhaps the gap between units will be smaller but I still reckon there'll be units that get spammed whilst others still don't get used. Maybe these will be different ones to what we see now but there'll still be more preferable choices in competitive play.

Still, I'm finding myself more and more addicted to these posts and therefore more excited for 8th edition. Good job on that at least GW. Sure I don't necessarily like everything they're doing but at least they're doing something! None of us really wanted a 7.5th edition that didn't really solve the problems of 7th. We didn't want AoS (as it originally happened) either. Despite the nay-sayers on Facebook telling you other wise, this isn't AoS for 40K. They've clearly learned a lot from how that went down with people. Actually involving the community in the whole process is a massive step forward.

Cautious optimism remains.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

New 8th Edition 40K Rules - Battle Forged, Large Models, Infantry, Characters

Getting a bit behind with these now so I've got a few to do to catch up. I'm going to separate the Faction Focus articles into a separate post but there'll be a bit of overlap here and there. These articles help me get my ahead around the information so far to try and get a feel for what 8th edition will be like.

Battle Forged Armies
Formations are gone!! It seems too good to be true for someone like me who really disliked them. I really hope they're still going to do some faction specific detachment style things though. It seems from the comments on Facebook that they generally don't want people getting "free" bonus rules.

Otherwise things look pretty similar apart from a few tweaks. Flyers are now a separate FOC slot. That means they aren't hogging Fast Attack slots but also means that some detachments might not allow them at all. Time will tell. Interesting that they say that a single Detachment should share a faction keyword and they consider "Imperium" to be one. Will this mean that you can take guard and marines in some detachments?

The Patrol Detachment shown seems like a halfway point between the old Allied Detachment and CAD. Doesn't give you any Command Points (more on these in a later post) but gives you quite a mixed army for a minimal mandatory portion. Rack up enough for a brigade and you've got a huge amount of mandatory stuff but you get 9 command points to play with. Won't be hard for some armies to fill these slots assuming points stay roughly the same.

It isn't until the final sentence that we get to find out that we can still take multiple detachments in the same army. Should be possible to collect up quite a few command points if you just take the minimums. It'll be down to TOs to limit the abuse of this.

Large Models
Interesting that Gargantuan Creatures and Super-heavy vehicles are gone. Leaves some questions such as what happens when a big thing blows up now? How far will they be allowed to move? I'm a big fan of things like the Morkanaut being made to feel bigger and better. Of course it's all based on assumptions but they already look better than they did. The only thing that springs to mind is that some of their weapons were blast which were actually slightly better at hitting targets than regular shooting.

I love the damaged vehicle getting progressively weaker. I know this is something that's been in AoS for a bit but I've never played. Makes much more sense than the old vehicle damage table which felt brutal for some vehicles and inconsequential for others. What will be interesting to see is how big monsters are affected by this mechanic.

My only concern is that they keep saying about you not being able to take out vehicles in a single shot. Obviously this is good if you own the vehicle but sometimes that plucky meltagun wielding guardsmen taking down a land raider was pretty dramatic. I can't help but feel that having a lot of shooting will still be more reliable than having a smaller number of dedicated anti-tank weaponry. We'll see I guess.

Infantry
There are some massive changes here. First up the To Wound chart. This effectively means that some lower strength weapons got better against high toughness stuff (some of which they couldn't even harm before) but some higher strength weapons will now need a 3+ against units they used to wound on a 2+. It's clearly designed so that, with saves changing for some units, you'd need an insane amount of shooting to reliably take out a big target with weapons not designed for the purpose.

I've got mixed feelings about every model in a unit being able to shoot at different targets. Of course it makes sense that a guy carrying a meltagun wouldn't vaporise a guardsman when there's a Leman Russ next to him but does make you wonder why you'd bother putting things into larger units. If they lose models they'll take casualties from Morale sooner than a smaller unit would and you can shoot at whatever you want anyway.

Let's face it, most of the time it'll be "these nine guys will shoot their bolters and that squad but the lascannon will shoot that tank". It won't slow the game down as much as some of the whingers on Facebook think. The key is that, unless I've missed it, I hope they clarify that you have to decide what each model will shoot at before you shoot anything. I'm sure they will.

Characters
No more deathstars is the short version of this post. You can't join units with any ICs. Presumably sergeants etc will lose their character status though. That will make a huge difference to how we play the game. You can't shoot a character if there are other models in front of them either. It's an interesting mechanic but will prove a pain on those occasions when you'd rather shoot the big guy than a couple of squishy troops that got in your way. It'll make it more important to try and outflank or deep strike in behind stuff to pick off the character.

Be interesting to see how area effects work now too. Seems like they'll still be "bubbles" like in 7th. Does that mean you'll end up with a character surrounded by a pile of units so they all benefit from something that he'd have only given to his own unit before? Sidenote: might not sell my Kroot Shaper model after all!

I'm pleased that we won't have Characters tanking wounds for units anymore though. Obviously you could still put them out front but it'll be a lot harder to prevent your opponent from shooting squashier stuff first.

Seems like MC characters can't hide in the same way but not sure if this will apply to all of them or if it'll be a based on size or something. Also seems that snipers and the like will become pretty useful for taking out characters - as they should be!

Conclusion
There's a lot to digest here but it's clear that our game will be vastly different in so many ways but so far it still seems like it'll feel like 40K. I seem to be saying this after every post but it's hard to make any real conclusions when we've only got bits of information to go on.

Friday, May 05, 2017

More Thoughts on the New 8th Edition 40K Rules

We've had another week of posts on Warhammer Community about what we can expect from the new edition of 40K. There's still some info on Battle Forged armies to come on Friday but I might not get chance to post at the weekend and there's plenty to discuss already.

Shooting Phase
We've already learned quite a bit about what's changing here. Things like weapon damage, save modifiers etc. They've reinforced that you decided to Advance (like old "Run") in the movement phase you can't shoot (interestingly they've not mentioned anything about charging after Advancing though).

Interesting that you can't fire if there are enemies within 1" although it seems like this is the criteria for being locked in combat now so we'll have to see how that works out. Shooting at your combat opponent with your pistol sounds fun though. They mention again about falling back from combat. Not sure I'm a fan of this mechanic really. Depends how it works out I suppose but I'd hope there'll be at least some penalty for it.

Nice that heavy weapons are a bit more useful now. Although, to be fair in the past you couldn't fire them at all when you moved so even snap shots were a bonus. Having heavy weapons in transports is a much more viable option now though.

Cover is the big deal here though. I think combining it with a unit's armour save is a brilliant idea. A Space Marine behind a barricade should be harder to kill than one in the open. It will be interesting to see how it interacts with 2+ saves though, can they be improved past 2+? I like that they'll also only let certain units benefit from certain cover. No more Wraithknights with a toe on terrain (looking at you Matt!). It sounds like a much more elegant system already but there are still a lot of questions to be answered. For example, it's clear that Ignores Cover weaponry will still be a thing but how with Markerlights work?

Charge Phase
The first thing to note is that you'll make all your charges across the table before resolving any of the fights. It's not that dissimilar to 7th but becomes more important when we get to the Fight phase. It's also similar in that you get a 2D6" charge. The wording of the text implies that you get to move that many inches regardless of whether you successfully get into combat though. Not sure if I'm reading too much into it there though. There's still Overwatch too.

You no longer need to actually get into base contact though. That seems a strange thing to change but perhaps it'll make more sense when we've got all of the rules together. It simplifies a few things like models that overlap their base but seems a bit off to me.

At this point having multiple Overwatch coming your way felt a bit OTT but it isn't really that different to now. Obviously if that first unit fails to engage then the second unit will still get hit with Overwatch but on the face of it, it isn't that drastic.

Fight Phase
This is the bit that was most important to me. I'm a massive fan of combat in 40K. The game can become dull when it's just two armies shooting it out. Having them getting stuck into a melee is much more dramatic. The initial info we got was worrying me that combat units would have an even tougher time than in 7th.

Again a reminder that the charging unit swings first. In some ways I like this idea because it makes melee units more effective. For example, Ork boyz will get to strike before marines when they charge. However, for some units it feels like a bit of nerf. I know Initiative isn't a thing any more but it made sense to me that Wyches would strike before guardsmen. I think just giving everything Hammer of Wrath would feel more fluffy. Not striking first as such but getting a bonus for charging at least.

It's interesting that you can drag other units into the fray too. I presume this is just how they're simplifying multiple combats (a lot of people still get it wrong) but it could potentially end up with a huge number of units involved, especially late in the game when units are bunched in the centre of the field.

The next bit is an interesting idea to add some decision making. You take it in turns to activate units. That sounds like you don't actually resolve a single combat for both sides and move on but rather you can jump around combats depending on what order you want to resolve them in. Still seems like charging units will strike first though so perhaps it's going to be fairly situational anyway. Clearly there's going to be ways around a lot of this with wargear and special rules but hopefully this doesn't end up too complicated.

Morale
I agree with the opening to this post that Morale is a bit clumsy currently. Having to take tests in several phases and most units passing them anyway makes the whole thing seem a bit pointless. Those weapons/rules that affected Morale felt pretty useless too. I mean, how often do you actually get to use Fear in 7th? Most things are ATSKNF, Fearless or something similar. Thing is, that feels pretty realistic to me. The majority of the armies have been fighting these battles for years so why would they suddenly be afraid when a couple of their squadmates die? I don't like the idea of things running away and regrouping. Always felt a bit daft.

Only checking once per turn is a big improvement. It's interesting that they say that very few units won't be affected. I mean, there'll be degrees of "affected" but still, good that it isn't such a bit hit for some armies compared to others. The new mechanic is simple too. (D6 + models lost) - Ld = extra casualties. It's worth looking at this in more detail though. First off, single models will never need to test e.g vehicles and MCs. Equally, units with smaller numbers and decent leadership are almost totally immune.

It's worth noting that Marines are now Ld7 though. Let's look at how they'll be affected then. Assuming you roll the worst possible result (a 6 for a change), that means the unit only needs to have lost two models to lose a further casualty. Even so, they'll be pretty resilient most of the time. Though it is worth noting that if you lost 8 of the 10 marines in a squad you'd be guaranteed to lose the other two. This is, of course, assuming that marines don't have some way round this. They surely can't get rid of ATSKNF completely? Perhaps it'll give some modifier to the roll.

Again, there's a lot unanswered but it seems like the Ld values will be slightly lower for a lot of units (Terminators were lower too). Not as profound an effect as it would be in 7th but still significant. I'm glad that falling back and regrouping are gone though. It does take a bit of the drama away mind you, having a unit fall back right up to the board edge (but staying in play) only to regroup next turn was entertaining.

A final note, and something they point out in the post, modifying Leadership will be a bigger deal than before. That opens up a whole raft of other tactics to explore.

Conclusion
Another intriguing set of posts from GW. I'm still in a bit of shock that they're doing this at all. Their community engagement throughout this whole thing has been unprecedented. It's certainly got me a lot more excited about the new edition than I would've been with salty rumours like we had in the past. It was difficult to know what to believe.

Of course, the issue now is that we're getting lots of info but not a lot of context. We don't know how a lot of the special rules will work or what ways there'll be to bypass some of the stuff they've already told us.

One thing that's struck me is there claim that they've redone the rules for every single unit in the game. That's a HUGE undertaking when you consider all the myriad armies, source material, weapons, wargear, special rules, warlord traits (are they still a thing?), etc. I'm a little nervous about this process really. Sounds like they've done a decent amount of playtesting but we never really got to find out how much they've done for previous editions to know if they've done that much more this time.

Interesting times though and I'm looking forward to what they reveal in the coming weeks. As a footnote, I'm disappointed there wasn't more in WD. I know it's the 40th anniversary edition but depending on when 8th actually comes out we might already have rulebooks pre-ordered, if not in hand, before WD lands on our doorstep.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Thoughts on the 40K 8th Edition News So Far (Week 1)

Well it seems GW are sticking to their promise of releasing new information about the 8th edition of 40K every day. Well, today it wasn't particularly rules related but for the past week we've been treated to nuggets of info about how the new edition of the game will play. Today I'll run through the officially released information that has been posted up this week on Warhammer Community. There's been the odd snippet on FB, Twitter and Faeit too which I'll touch on.

First things first. It seems from the rumours that are around that June 10th will be launch weekend. This is pretty much what I expected. Their vague suggestion of "this year" was never going to mean anything past June. To release this much info and then say "out in September" would be pointless. Basically, they'll use Warhammer Fest to reveal a chunk of new things (and maybe even the starter set) and then put pre-orders up. This makes me happy for two reasons. Firstly, we don't have to wait long but also, and more importantly, Double Trouble 2 will be the last tournament of 7th edition and will take place on launch weekend for 8th. That means we'll all be in a room together studying our new rules whilst throwing some dice together. I'll also try to theme the raffle prizes around 8th edition stuff assuming we get info on what's being released early enough.

Day One - Three Ways to Play
Nothing we didn't already know really. Open play sounds like the version of the game that I'm least likely to play. Having no restrictions at all doesn't appeal to me. The game isn't balanced even with points but just taking whatever you feel like won't make for much sport in my opinion. I was never a fan of Unbound but, hey, it's there if you're into that kind of thing.

Narrative play is something that really interests me. We're constantly talking about running a campaign or playing battles that have a vague theme to them at least. We rarely actually get round to these games though because we're normally testing something for a tournament on the rare occasion we actually have time of a game. Having a framework for playing these games might be the motivation we need to finally make it happen.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly but the version of the game that interests me the most is Matched play. I'm a mixture of relieved and disappointed to learn that the Eternal War and Maelstrom missions are returning. Hopefully they've been updated more than "a little" like the post suggests. I'd love some more interesting deployment options than the three we've gotten used to and some tweaks to the objective missions in Eternal War to stop them feeling so samey. It's a shame that things like control points (objectives you score points for controlling every turn) don't sound likely to appear. I'd be happy knowing I didn't need to buy new Maelstrom cards but also disappointed if some of them weren't fixed a little bit. Get rid of the D3 points for a start. I'm hoping they'll make the "ditch the impossible cards" rule (that most of us play anyway) official.

The talk of revisions to points values and units becoming competitive again is exciting but you'll forgive me if I'm skeptical. What I'm a little worried about is the bit about "Stratagems". They're something that's appeared in things like Planetstrike and I'm not really a huge fan of them. Feel like the Blood Bowl special play cards. I'll reserve judgement until I see them though.

Finally, they reckon a 1,000-2,000 point game takes just over two hours. That's a promising sign that the game has been streamlined. As I said before, it's nice to think we might be able to get a fourth or even fifth game into a one-day event.

Day Two - Unit Profiles
Tell me you aren't intrigued to know just how far Hormagaunts can move! I'm pleased that Movement is back as a stat. All infantry essentially moving at the same speed has always felt wrong. It's interesting that vehicles are given a profile too. Will this mean that they have differing movement values too? Maybe they can shoot everything at standard movement and limited weapons at double movement for example and a Leman Russ will move slower than a Devilfish.

Giving vehicles wounds is intriguing too. Nice that they've simplified things. Mind you, they say they're getting rid of AV but surely a vehicle will now have a Toughness value instead which will likely have a similar mechanic. There's still some residual whinging about lasguns killing land raiders but I'm sure it'll be a case of 500 might be able to strip a wound or something to that effect. Theoretically they can kill a land raider but you'd likely be wasting your time. Let's hope so at least. Imperial Knights with "dozens of wounds" sounds fun.

Having a standard system means that anti-tank weaponry should make a come back. The humble lascannon has been a rare sight of late with players favouring spamming S6-S8 firepower to strip hull points. There'll still probably be an advantage to massed fire like that but hopefully it won't be the only option. More on this in the weapon profiles bit though.

It's interesting that 'fexes are getting more wounds too. My big hope for 8th edition is that Tyranids will become instantly more viable. I'd love to own a 'nid army but I've never been able to persuade myself when they've been comparatively weak or mono-build.

I'm liking what I'm hearing about no Super Heavy rules too. This all sounds like huge swathes of the rulebook will have gone and we'll hopefully be left with a more manageable ruleset that still makes things play like we'd expect them too. That's a big ask but what we've seen so far is promising.

Onto the statlines then. The first thing to notice is that Initiative is gone. I'll wait until the Combat Phase post to get too worried about this but I do have concerns about the way melee will work in 8th. Benefit of the doubt for now. Anyway, I like that they've made Guilliman at least a little faster than a normal marine and that they've finally just printed what the rolls required are. Yeah we all know it's just 7-BS but why bother with the extra step. Modifying them is the exciting thing for me. Hopefully cover saves will work in a similar way to Necromunda and faster moving targets will be harder to hit. Jink never really sat well with me as a mechanic.

Terminators aren't, so far at least, the beasts that I was hoping they'd become. Obviously two wounds is great but I was hoping for their save being taken on 2D6 like in the old days. There's a lot of people seemingly losing their shit about how good dreadnoughts will be though. Sure they've got 8 wounds and a 3+ save now but unless something else gets released about them I'm not getting too carried away yet. Am I missing something?

Day Three - Weapon Profiles
Well, more confirmation (seemed people needed it) that templates are a thing of the past. Instead the flamer will be doing D6 shots that automatically hit. Obviously screws over single models but big units potentially benefit. No more getting out of a rhino only to have your entire 10-man unit fit perfectly under a flame template. Also, and this is important, no hitting two or more units at once. There seems to be a buzz that flamers are back but we really need to see more from the other special weapons before we get carried away.

The thing that's really upset people though is how the mass reactive rounds of the bolter don't have any extra armour penetrating power. I'm not too worried about this though. We don't know what saves things like guardsmen are going to get, we don't know how cover works and we don't even know how rapid fire works either.

As I hinted at above, I'm hoping that lascannons can make a bit of a comeback. They're an iconic part of 40K for me and they've been relegated to novelty items of late. Causing a potential 6 wounds against a vehicle, MC, character for example is a huge plus. I'm assuming that it'll effectively work like a D weapon does now. Single save against the shot and then D6 wounds lost if you fail. Anti-tank weapons should be better against vehicles and MCs and it seems like they're heading the right direction.

The interesting thing is, assuming it works like I expect, a space marine will get a 6+ save against a lascannon. Sure it'll still have a great chance of wounding him but we'll have to see what the AP is of some of the other weapons. Will old AP1 be -4 for example? Will a meltagun be -5 or more?

What's really awesome about this post is that D weapons are gone. It'll be interesting to see what profile the former D weapons get though. I'm assuming they'll still be quite likely to one-shot all but the toughest models but hopefully they'll not just be 6s to kill (pretty much) anything. It's also intriguing to find out how blast weapons will work. I might be one of few people who are pleased to see the back of the current mechanic but I hope they still feel like they're doing splash damage of some kind.

Day Four - Movement Phase
Thinking about bikes having a movement value that's much higher than infantry got me thinking about what will happen to Turbo-boost. Will they simply be able to "Advance" faster than infantry? I like the idea that flyers get different movement values too. Hopefully DE flyers will end up better than they were.

The idea of running in the movement phase is certainly going to speed the game up a little. In practice a lot of us would allow opponents to do this anyway but it does mean that the tactical decision has to be taken early. No more killing something sooner than you expected and running a unit forward who now has nothing to shoot.

Sounds like, the Movement Phase isn't going to be drastically different though. They did, however, tease something about the assault phase. You can pull out of combat in your turn. Sounds a lot like Hit & Run but without being able to shoot your assailants. No dropping out of combat in your opponent's turn and charging back in your own either. Not sure how I feel about this yet. On the face of it it'll make combat less powerful but there's still so much we don't know.

Day Five - Psychic Phase
I play Tau and Dark Eldar so my interest isn't as high as it might be but obviously my Wolves, DE and Orks care. Anyway, this new plan for psychic attacks sounds significantly better. No more throwing in some psychic battery units to boost a single powerful psyker. Seems like it'll basically be the same chance of casting a power no matter how many other psykers you have. I like that having multiple psykers is useful now. Often in 7th, one of your psykers might never actually use a power whilst another stole their dice to make it more likely to get one of their powers off.

Seems like the mechanic will work a lot like a leadership test does now. Weaker powers will be easier to get off whilst the big stuff should be requiring 11s or even 12s to cast. My only hope is that they've thought about the power levels a bit more. In 7th there were some Warp Charge 3 powers that were significantly worse than others that were only WC1.

The mechanic for blocking powers also seems sensible and cinematic. A psyker in 24" gets a chance to block the power. Presumably that means non-psychic units can't stop them anymore but that felt a bit silly anyway sometimes. Especially when a nearby friendly psyker would stand idly by and let the unit next to him be hit by a power without trying to intervene.

I'm hoping that the rulebook powers are gone. Clearly Smite remains but hopefully each faction will get themed powers rather than everyone being able to use Daemonology for example or defaulting to Telepathy to get Psy Shriek. Speaking of Smite, that sounds pretty good to me. D3 wounds that you can't stop and only needing a relatively low roll to cast it. Could be pretty nasty to have a pile of cheap psykers just throwing this out every turn.

Mortal Wounds are interesting and they confirm that invulnerable saves are still a thing. I'm assuming what were once D weapons will have a much higher chance of causing Mortal Wounds.

Conclusion
There's very little cause for concern here, well, for me at least. There's obviously a lot that we're still speculating on when we've only got little bits of info to go on. What I've seen so far though makes me think they've really put the effort in this time. No more tweaking of the existing rules and trying to make them work. If they feel like a mechanic is flawed they've simply rewritten it (e.g. casting powers). Seems like the new rules will be a lot more straightforward which is good because I also think the game will have changed quite a bit and getting used to the new rules quickly will be a bonus.

Already it seems like we'll need to rethink what units, and indeed weapons, we consider to be powerful. A shake up like this is obviously going to be good for GW's sales too which I'm certain crossed their mind in doing this. They don't really want any range of models to undersell and having pretty much everything as viable is obviously good business. Not only that but suddenly finding that your specific OP list isn't what it was will force people to buy some new stuff.

Ultimately, there's no point drawing too many conclusions just yet until we know more. They're releasing new information every day so I'm sure we'll have a fair idea of what the game is going to be like before June 10th rolls around.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Thoughts on the New Edition of 40K Q&A Session

I wasn't intending to post again so soon after the report from Battle Brothers so go back and read that if you're interested. I also want to take this opportunity to say that no matter when 8th edition is released, Double Trouble will still be using 7th edition. The event is just under six weeks away (tickets are still available...) and I don't think it's fair to suddenly change the rules for it when some of us won't have had much chance to playtest. Perhaps I'll run an event later in the year making full use of the new system once we've all had more time to get to grips with it.

Right, this post is just a collection of thoughts I had after watching the Q&A video that GW posted on Facebook. You should go and check that out first if you haven't already. This post might seem a bit randomly ordered but it's the order I thought of things as they were talking about them. I've tried to add headings to make it easier to follow but they're a bit vague. Anyway, here goes...

Movement
I'm really pleased that movement values are back. It feels a lot more realistic that everything moves at a different speed. Sure the different unit types moved differently e.g. bikes and jump units but all of the footslogging stuff moved 6". That doesn't make sense to me. I imagine Terminators being slow but tough and wyches being lightning fast but flimsy. Obviously they tried to incorporate this with initiative and things like Fleet but it never really felt right. It also will hopefully simplify things a bit. That might not initially make any sense but I think a lot of the special rules won't be necessary any more which will save a lot of book work during the game to look up the less common ones. I'd welcome any system that doesn't require me to constantly check the rulebook/codex for things I don't remember clearly.

Morale
I know the morale check thing is kind of old news now but I haven't had much chance to thing about it. I like the idea that units don't fall back anymore. Well, that's assuming they don't eventually do so. All of the models in the game have supposedly been fighting these wars for years (if not centuries or even millennia) yet they fall back when a handful of their squad die. It's one thing making a tactical withdrawal but having no say in it and legging it off the field never felt quite right. Obviously some units bypassed this but a lot that should've didn't e.g. CSM. At first glance the new mechanic seems strange:

"Roll a D6, add that to the number of models your unit has lost this turn, subtract your Leadership and take that many additional casualties"

The problem is we're thinking of applying it in our current system. They've said in this latest video that stats are no longer capped at 10. Let's say Space Marines are Ld 12. They'd need to lose 7 models before they lost anything and that's assuming you rolled a 6. That would make them effectively fearless without needing a rule for it. An Ork unit might get better leadership depending on how many models are in the unit at the time of being shot at. Would make sense from a fluff point of view too. Basically, like a lot of things there's a wait and see element but this sounds promising.

Vehicle/MC Damage
Vehicle/MC damage charts are yet more evidence that they're returning to a lot of the ideas from the earlier editions. I only hope that having a chart for each vehicle/MC doesn't get too complicated. It'd be nice if they release a PDF of all of these so you can print them out and have them to hand. If not I'm sure some enterprising person will make some - might even be me! We'd definitely need some way of keeping track of these things. It sounds more fun though. Obviously it was there in the current edition but taking out a dreadnought's legs feels more thematic than just immobilising it. Hope this pans out as well as I think it will. The most important thing is HP is gone so you'll actually feel like you're hampering a vehicle by doing some damage to it rather than it being at full strength with 1 of it's 9 HP remaining!

Having a damage chart for each individual vehicle is an interesting idea. I like that vehicles get weaker the more damage they take. Let's face it, this was the old system that they're basically bringing back. My concern is that it'll over-complicate things and it'll be difficult to keep track of what damage has been done. It's certainly more fun though to think that you're ripping an arm off a dreadnought or damaging the tracks on a tank than simply stripping hull points.

Damage, Templates, Modifiers, etc.
I was initially concerned about their comment that everything can hurt everything. Whilst I know it's frustrating to feel like your army can literally do nothing to your opponent (this happened with my Venoms this weekend against Astra Militarum), it doesn't make sense that a poxy lasgun could damage a tank with incredibly thick armour or shielding. However, it seems their bringing Damage back as a stat for the guns. If you aren't familiar with it, check out the Necromunda/Shadow War rules. It was instead of instant death and it's a much better system. Be interesting to see how it all works out and interacts together.

Speaking of which, modifiers to hit sound like they're back which I'm in favour of. If that takes away things like cover saves from the game then I'm happy. It's stupid that my space marine in the open is as easy to hit as one who can barely be seen in the gaps in a barricade. He'd be taking his armour save most of the time anyway! Cover really doesn't feel cinematic enough to me. It always felt much better in Necromunda and early 40K though. Making me want to flick through my old rulebooks to see what they've borrowed. Perhaps I will when we finally get 8th. I've got 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th on the shelf above my head.

One of the things I'd hoped would return from the old editions were the other dice! Bring me back my D20! If stats are going to go above 10 then I think a D6 system will be too limiting. It'd also be a good opportunity to flog us some dice and give a bit of variety to things. On that subject, I'm probably one of the few people in favour of the removal of templates. Of course their an iconic part of 40K, I get that, they're limiting though. They've never felt quite right to me either. A flamer isn't filling the room with gouts of flame, it's kept them in a very neat teardrop instead. A space marine with a frag missile can't hit something 10 feet in front of him because it scatters away. Whilst scattering back onto yourself is entertaining it doesn't make much sense. Templates/blasts have always been a source of argument at tournaments too so anything that minimises that has to be a good move.

The biggest thing for the removal of templates though is that deployment will be significantly quicker. Not having to spend time spreading out your unit whilst avoiding the scenery etc is a bonus. When I've played games against lists without any blasts it's refreshing to just plonk the models down and get on with it. Anything that makes games quicker whilst also making things feel like they should is fine by me.

Faster Games
Speaking of quicker games. I love the idea that a game could be done in 90 minutes. That might mean we could get four or even five games into a single day tournament. That makes a big difference to Swiss Pairs for a start. We might have to all accept that things don't feel as resilient as they used to though. More decisive battles would be cool. We played some Armada this week and it's limited to six rounds to the damage comes thick and fast and ships are blown up pretty quickly when things fall right. I wish 40K were that dramatic. Of course it is at times but often you're chipping away at a huge fearless unit for several turns or combats drag on for the whole game. Having epic games that take a whole day to play are part of the joy of 40K at times but when it's a one-sided affair at a tournament and it drags on for two hours after the point you know you've lost is no good for anyone.

Command Points and FOCs
I'm intrigued by command points but perhaps a little worried that they'll be the thing that gets exploited. It'll add a new tactical dimension having a pool of command points and deciding when to spend them for maximum effect. Having different ways to spend them depending on faction is a nice idea too. I also like that FOCs are still there but there'll be more to choose from. I can only pray that they don't feel like Formations. If the only bonus is command points then they probably won't but only time will tell. From the snippets we've got so far it does sound like there'll be less opportunity to break the game. Supposedly all of the myriad units in the game will be useful in some way. I'd welcome this but I'm hugely skeptical that this is possible without removing some of their identity in the process.

Melee
I really hope close combat can come back to the fore. Recently, apart from a couple of exceptions, it's all been about shooting. Combat has always been my favourite part of any game and it's frustrating that a lot of my favourite combat-centric units aren't much use at the moment. The charging unit hitting first makes huge sense! Obviously there's Hammer of Wrath but it doesn't really feel right.

Allies and Filth
Sounds like they've reduced the opportunities for creating dirty combinations. That's a good thing to me. Allies are all well and good but they've stripped away a lot of the identity of the armies. Dark Eldar for example have been reduced to a means to webway our wraithguard into a battle. I'd have preferred them to get rid completely but I wasn't really expecting this to happen. Seems like they're still there but there'll be a big benefit to taking an army from a single faction. Reducing the number of combinations might sound like a road to monotony but the game at the moment is almost impossible to keep track of for those of us who don't play several times a week.

Conclusion
It was funny watching the comments coming in on FB as I was watching it back. As ever with these things there's going to be hordes of people overreacting to the snippets of information that we've got without seeing the rules as a whole. I think that's the key thing here. Wait until you've got the rules in your hand and have had time to digest them before you start burning your models (yes, I know it was a parody). As a community we like to make snap judgements on things. I know I'm making positive assumptions here too but I think that's healthier than all of the negativity around at the moment.

I'm reassured to hear that it sounds like there's been hours of playtesting which wasn't just in-house. I'm sure the old editions were playtested too but clearly they're bothering to think about how all of the rules will affect all of the armies and their individual units. That's got to be a good thing even if they don't get it quite right straight away. I'm a little insulted that it sounds like most of the playtesters were American. I know the tournament scene is bigger in terms of volume of players there but still. I like Reece and Frankie from Frontline though. Their ITC system has really helped standardise things over there. I don't agree with all of it but still, it's a step in the right direction.

I actually enjoyed blogging about this stuff. I'd like to return to my codex review style posts when the new stuff comes out. Make it easier for everyone to get to grips with things (including myself).

In summary, I'm cautiously optimistic. The idea of regularly updated rules with full community involvement is what we've all been asking for. BB has definitely benefited from a "living" rulebook and I think 40K will too. Let's just try to take 8th as a clean slate and not spend too much time making negative comparisons to the current game. 40K is far from perfect in it's current guise!

New factions!! I hope they really mean that. Not just a new chapter of Space Marines. Would be cool to rediscover some of the lost legions though....

Tournament Report - Doubles at Warhammer World - Ynnari

It's been a long time since we've managed to attend a doubles event at Warhammer World. In fact, looking back through the blog posts it was July 2014!! That sounds far too long ago but thinking about it, it's probably true. With the refurb of WHW there were no events for a while and then all the subsequent doubles fell on weekends that weren't suitable for us. The doubles events were the ones that really got Matt and I hooked on tournament play so we've been to quite a few now. The game is just better with four people I think. Having someone to discuss tactics with and watching your opponents do the same is really interesting. **SHAMELESS PLUG WARNING** If you'd like to try out doubles gaming for yourself, why not buy a ticket for Double Trouble 2 on June 10th. Details can be found by clicking on the DT2 logo on the right!

Anyway, this time around we toyed with various different lists. We needed two 900pt armies to make a combined 1,800pt force. I think that's the highest points limit we've ever had. We toyed with various horrendous combinations of Imperial Knights, wraithknights, dreadknights, Ta'unar, etc but decided to give the recently released Ynnari a spin. We only managed to a get a couple of test games in but it's a good job we did as using the Soulburst effectively is key to success with them. The list we settled on was:

899pts of Ynnari
Maugan Ra
2x 5 Kabalites Warriors in a Venom
Venom (for Maugan Ra)
3 Reavers
6 Swooping Hawks (incl. Exarch)
Yncarne

899pts of Ynnari
Farseer Skyrunner (Spirit Stone of Anath'lan)
5 Kabalites Warriors in a Venom
3 Windriders
3 Reavers (incl. cluster caltrops)
2x 5 Scourges (4 Haywire in each)
Wraithknight (wraithcannons, scatter laser)

Nothing too filthy I don't think. Obviously Ynnari are powerful but there's no scatter windriders, no wraithguard in raiders, etc. A fairly mixed list that should be fun to play with and against we hoped. I'll try to keep the battle reports brief for a change. Here goes!

Game One - Ynnari vs. CSM/Daemons
Our first game was Cloak and Shadows against Fateweaver, some heralds with screamers (2++ re-rollable saves), some blue horrors, some CSM, a terminator sorcerer, firestorm redoubt with lascannons and a land raider.


Fateweaver headed straight down the middle of the board and was frankly pretty lucky to survive two turns of shooting from pretty much all of the Dark Eldar. He passed a ton of 3+ saves and all his grounding tests to cling on with a single wound remaining to fly off the board to return in turn 4. Elsewhere their Wraithknight used a Soulburst to kill the land raider in their first turn with a D shot when some nearby Reavers perished. The land raider turned into the Yncarne and between them they slowly worked his way through everything else in the army whilst the Dark Eldar were mostly out of range thanks to the deployment.


Ultimately, the Yncarne ended up in combat with the 2++ re-rollable screamers for the rest of the game whilst we tried to rack up the VPs. It wasn't until later that we realised we'd brought the Swooping Hawks in on T2 only to forget about them for the rest of the game. They could've been attacking Fateweaver and claiming objectives but they were lost in their dead pile which they kept to the edge of the table. The game ended in a narrow victory of 14-12 helped in no small part by me rolling 3 for all three of the D3 point objectives we scored!

Unfortunately, one of our two opponents was pretty miserable throughout the game because he took an instant dislike to us for running Ynnari. It's a shame as this was our closest game so could've been a lot more fun.

Game Two - Ynnari vs. DA/Tyranids
Not your most likely of combinations and something you'd be more likely to find at Double Trouble with its random pairings (hint hint). Anyway, basically it was 60 hormagaunts, 30 termagants, three zoanthropes and an exocrine. The DA portion wasw two rhinos with tactical squads, two predators, DW knights in a pod and Ezekiel. The mission was Spoils of War. They won the roll-off but we Seized!

The Venoms lay waste to the Tyranids early on with the Exocrine and two of the Zoanthropes gone in the first turn. The Wraighknight struggled to kill the predators and the Scourges didn't give much help leaving both on a single hull point. That spelled doom for the Wraightknight who ended up dying to overwatch having lost all but one wound in their shooting phase. Meanwhile, the Yncarne got tied up fighting some Hormagaunts until the other Zoanthrope died to remove their Fearless. The DE continued to chew through the Tyranids and the Yncarne eventually turned her attention to the DA with the Scourges helping by finishing off the predators. Other than killing the Wraithknight the only highlight for our opponents came from the Deathwing Knights who soaked up a lot of fire and killed Maugan Ra in combat before eventually being whittled down to end the game.


By the time the dust settled we'd managed to find 21 VPs from the objectives and our opponents hadn't scored at all. A pretty one-sided affair throughout and I felt for the Tyranid player who was a spectator from quite an early stage.

Game Three - Ynnari vs. Cult Mech./Wolves
The last game of Saturday would be Tactical Escalation. Our opponents had two units of four breachers, a unit of four destroyers and a dominus. The wolves had WG in a drop pod, WG terminators, a lord on thunderwolf and a squad of TWC. They won the roll off but, to our surprise, gave us the first turn.


The venoms and concentrated on the destroyers early on to try to protect the wraithknight. The dominus went down and in came the Yncarne who somehow find herself in a charge from the TWC as we'd not thought about them when we brought her in (despite carefully placing everything else in our list out of charge range during turn one). The rest of our army was able to focus on everything else though including the drop pod of WG and terminators who arrived on successive turns. The breachers were eventually whittled down by the rest of the firepower and the wraithknight waded into the combat hoping to save the Yncarne and end the game. We'd also thrown in some sacrificial Reavers to die to try to get some wounds back for her.


The squad leader for the TWC had other ideas though. The wolf lord had long since died to the Yncarne but he decided to avenge his brother by smashing down the Yncarne. He also put some wounds on the Wraithknight who'd stomped the rest of the squad away. That put the Wraithknight on initiative 1 thanks to Concussive (which I don't think I've ever actually managed to use!) meaning they'd strike simultaneously. In an epic end to an otherwise pretty one-sided game, the heroic Space Wolf took out the Wraithknight but died in the process. He'll certainly make it into the sagas!!


Whilst all that was going on we managed to take a 17-3 win on VPs to give us a healthy 52-15 scoreline for the day.

Game Four - Ynnari vs. Astra Militarum
We knew our list would struggle with heavily mechanised lists and that's exactly what we found ourselves against on Sunday morning for the Deadlock mission. Five Taurox, two Wyverns, a Vanquisher, some rough riders, two lots of armoured sentinels and two Vendettas. Our opponents won the roll off for first turn (I don't think we won one all day!).


Their first turn was unbelievable, pretty much everything they tried to do worked. Three of the venoms went down, two of which to single autocannons on the Taurox which hit, pen'd and rolled 6s to explode after I failed the cover saves! That did give the Wraithknight a free shooting phase but he missed with one gun and the other pinged off the trees hiding the Wyvern. That would be the story of the game. We'd really need the D shots to be hot but Matt fired 11 shots (i.e. 6 lots of shooting) before we managed to kill the Wyverns who'd been the targets every time! That's just insanely unlikely to happen! The Wyverns took full advantage and their barrages lay waste to big chunks of our army. We did at least manage to take out a Taurox to bring in the Yncarne....


Well, that didn't go great either. They drew the Kingslayer card so unloaded a pile of guardsmen to fire at her. Matt failed an ungodly number of 3+ saves and she perished without moving an inch! Granted we'd missed an opportunity to get her into combat with a Soulburst but still, gutted. Eventually the Wraithknight started to wade through their army in combat but by that point their VP total was well out of reach.


I don't think we've ever had a game where our luck was quite so abysmal. Our opponents must've felt invincible because pretty much everything they tried to do worked out. Part of the problem was that a big chunk of our army (i.e. the Venoms) was either dead early on or impotent because there were no non-vehicles on the table for most of the game. We were perhaps foolish to bring the Yncarne in on our turn but it felt like the right place and time. It basically came down to all those failed D shots. If even a couple of the early ones had worked it would've changed the face of the game. The final result was a 10-18 loss.

Game Five - Ynnari vs. Orks/Unbound
We were grateful not to have to play another Vanguard Strike game and instead we got Contact Lost. The opposing army consisted of grot tanks, killa kans, a Shadowsword, leman russ, Chaos Terminators, grots and a mek gun.


Another mismatch that proves that random pairings often don't make for fun games for everyone. The opposing army was certainly nice to look at though and eventually scooped three of the painting awards (I was a little suspicious about the number of people from their gaming group who might've voted for them though). They went first and killed off one of the Venoms with the Shadowsword. It proved costly though as the Wraithknight found his form again and stripped 8 hull points from him in response before finishing the job in our turn and charging the Leman Russ to kill that too. It was then The Scourges chewed through the killa kans and with help from Maugan Ra the Grot Megatank went down to give the Yncarne her entrance.


Nothing particularly dramatic happened in the game from this point on. We slowly chewed through their army and, despite losing some Scourges for a lone Killa Kan charge, they had a pretty miserable time of it. We managed to pick up a 13-4 win and probably could've dragged it out for more if the Scourges had stayed in combat with the kan rather than running off the board! It was a shame to end the day with such a one-sided affair that I don't think either of us really enjoyed.


Conclusion
You might be thinking that 4:1 win/loss ratio would place us pretty high in the standings but, since we didn't pick up a single favourite game vote, it was only good enough for 67th out of 89 teams! Had it been scored purely on VPs we'd have been 16th mind you. We knew going in that they were scoring it on fave games though so we weren't too worried. Incidentally, our vote went to our third game for the epic antics of that TWC squad leader. They were also really nice guys who we'd have loved to play again some time. Shame they're from Kent so that's perhaps unlikely!

Looking around there didn't seem to be that many insanely broken lists. It seemed from talking to people like there was a lot of Ynnari but probably the daftest thing we saw was this:


The main thing was that the event delivered on what we hoped. It was a great atmosphere (if a little warm) and we had a great time in most of our games. They stopped proceedings to play the 8th edition announcement video which didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know. It'll be interesting to see how tournament play changes though. I'm cautiously optimistic about it but I hope I'll be able to get a post up with some of my wishlisting for the new version of the game.

I think our list delivered on being fun to play, if perhaps not to play against. It's interesting to try to figure out the best way to get the most from Soulburst. Clearly a nonsense though really. The sort of thing I hope gets fixed with the new rules.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dark Eldar (or is that Ynnari?) for the Doubles - Part 4 - Finished (sort of)

Just packed up my army for the doubles at Warhammer World this weekend. I should probably be getting some sleep in preparation for a long day's gaming tomorrow but I wanted to show you how I've got on with my Dark Eldar painting project for the event. I'd got the following in various states of painted that I hoped to have ready in time:

  • Archon
  • 15 Kabalite Warriors
  • 4 Venoms
  • 10 Scourges
  • 7 Reavers
Well, after a bit of a test session on Wednesday (which I had hoped to blog about before now), we decided to ditch the Archon and one of the Reavers (along with his cluster caltrops) in order to squeeze Maugan Ra in as my HQ choice. I wasn't too bothered by this as my Archon was the only thing I'd managed to get "finished" for Double Trouble. I'd have been annoyed if I'd put hours into him in this project only to write him out of the list. I can cope with one Reaver not being involved! 

Anyway, apologies for the crappy pictures but it's late and I couldn't be bothered to set things up properly. Maybe I'll get round to some better pictures at some point. Here's a summary of what I've been doing since the last post. 



I've rolled out the orange and red wings to the rest of the Scourges. Painting the black bits back in on the orange took far more time than it should've last night but I'm happy with how the wings have turned out. It did mean that I didn't get time to do the vials/pipes properly or paint their armour properly but hopefully the bright wings will distract people from that! I never got round to getting the airbrush out for them so opted for a bit of a Jokaero Orange basecoat then 3 thin coats of Troll Slayer. Probably would've been quicker with the airbrush but that would've meant painting in the garage rather than on my knee in the lounge and "spending time" with my missus.

I updated the paint job on my fourth venom (it had previously been painted with Liche Purple which didn't match the rest). Once they were all done I added a couple of transfers to the flags and glued in the gunners. Out of interest, did anyone else find the gunners were leaning back quite a way or is this just because I've used the ones from the Raider sets instead of the wyches? I ended up filing their feet down so they stood up straighter.

I've tidied up all of the Kabalites with purple shoulders and knees to match the gunners and Reavers. I unfortunately haven't had time to do ANY of the line highlighting on them, the Scourges or most of the Reavers. It's a shame but hopefully I'll find the motivation to come back to it later.

Well I'll be taking plenty more shots of them at the tournament tomorrow so hopefully you'll get a better look at their paintjobs then. For now it's midnight and I should really turn in. I'll try to get battle reports for the tournament up early next week. I should have more time for blogging over the next few weeks as I won't be frantically painting. I do want to get the Blood Bowl teams ready for the next session mind you...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

MASK Blood Bowl League - Day One

We've been meaning to get a four player Blood Bowl league started for years. We'd tried to run a league in the past but whilst Matt and I were interested, the other two just weren't feeling the love. The new boxed set at the end of last year was a great excuse to kick start the search for a couple more players. We found them in the form of Steve (from my work) and Kern (a friend of Matt's). Neither of them own any BB stuff themselves so Steve would take my Humans and Kern would use my Orcs. Hopefully if they stay interested they'll fancy picking up one of the new teams that will have hopefully been released by then.

Anyway, that left us with our four teams (3 re-rolls each):

  1. Alex - Dwarves (2 troll slayers, 2 blitzers, 2 runners and 5 linemen)
  2. Matt - Skaven (rat ogre, 2 blitzers, 3 gutter runners, 5 linerats)
  3. Steve - Humans (ogre, 4 blitzers, 1 thrower, 5 linemen)
  4. Kern - Orcs (4 black orcs, 4 blitzers, 1 thrower, 2 linemen)
My warmup game against a wall of orcs

No prizes for guessing where the league name comes from! Anyway, Steve and Kern have barely played a turn of BB between them so we started out with a half game as a warmup. I played Kern's orcs and got to feel what it's like facing four black orcs! One of my runners did have a pop at one of them though and managed to injure him!

Game One - Dwarves vs. Humans
We then kicked into the league proper. We randomly determined the pairings for the first game and I was up against Steve and his Humans. After the warmup game we'd had some debate about whether the ogre was a better option than a couple of catchers but Steve decided to stick with what he'd got and maybe pick up some catchers later on.


Steve won the coin flip and decided to receive first (after I explained it probably wasn't a good idea to kick to Dwarves). The early play involved a lot of smashing at the line of scrimmage but Steve left the ball in his own endzone where it had ended up after the kick. I tried my best to get a runner through to it but he spotted the threat and stopped him in his tracks. When he eventually did go for the ball he smashed through the middle of the field with his ogre at the front of the cage and came within a turn of a touchdown. Fortunately I was able to get a runner through to him and stop him in his tracks. A few turns later and this was the scene:


I'd managed to drag the ball out to my right wing and set up a partial cage to give Skag (one of my runners) a pretty much unmolested run down the wing and into the endzone for a touchdown. That pretty much wrapped up the first half but I'd be receiving to start the second half. By this point Steve had a handful of guys knocked out (though frustratingly none injured) and only two of them woke up for the start of the second half. This gave me a slight numbers advantage which I managed to exploit to give Skag another touchdown that pretty much sealed up the game.

A standard skill upgrade meant Skag would have the Block skill for the next game. I also added an apothecary to try to prevent any brutal early player losses.

On the other end of the table, the Orcs had taken a brutal defeat to the Skaven. When I'd looked over in the first half it was 1-1 but by the end the Skaven romped to a 4-1 victory with an orc thrower dying in the process. Needless to say, the Orcs didn't take too kindly to the embarrassment...


Sadly, all of the rats survived with just one who'd miss the next game...

Game Two - Dwarves vs. Skaven
We randomised it again which meant I would face Matt for my second game. There's no love lost between us so we decided to use Illegal Procedure for this game (although agreed not to bother for the rest of the league). Apologies in advance for not taking any pictures but I wanted to concentrate on the game as much as possible.

Matt won the flip and obviously elected to receive. With pretty much the opening block of the game he broke Yadri's (one of my troll slayers) leg and put him out for the rest of this game and all of the next. That evened the numbers up briefly but it wasn't long before he failed a block with his rat ogre who was promptly knocked out. He did, however, manage to get within spitting distance of my endzone with the ball in the hands of one of his gutter runners. Fortunately I managed to stop him just short and was able to get the ball to good old Skag who legged it over to his favoured right flank and headed for the endzone. I decided not to rush and make sure I smashed up the rats as much as possible before scoring. I even took the gamble of handing off the ball to Kragg (my other runner) so he'd get the SPP for the touchdown. Probably silly given that this was turn 7 but hopefully worth it down the line. I felt pretty good with a 1-0 lead going to the half.

The second half didn't start well for Matt either. He rolled throw a rock on the kick off table and I won the roll off (neither of us had FAME modifiers). The rock must've been a big 'un because it hit one of his blitzers in the skull and put him down permanently. I wasn't complaining but it's a shame it didn't happen at the hands of one of my dwarves! In fact, the game had been pretty frustrating on that front. I seemed to be getting through the rats' armour with no difficulty but I think I only caused a single injury (another fractured leg). Of course stunning and the odd knock out helped but long term it wouldn't hamper Matt as much as I'd like to.

The turning point of the game was another instance of Matt having a gutter runner near my endzone with the ball. My runners were playing some deep defence and managed to snatch the ball away. I was pretty sure he'd be able to recover it again next turn as I had no back up from the other much slower dwarves on the line of scrimmage. I therefore decided to try to pass down the left wing to one of my blitzers. If nothing else I thought I'd get the ball out of my half and give myself a bit of breathing room. That was until Kragg fumbled the pass and Matt's gutter runner gleefully scooped up the ball for an equalising touchdown.

Unbelievably Matt rolled another rock to be thrown and I again won the roll off but with just a stun this time. That coupled with a couple of knock outs meant the numbers were in my favour. Unfortunately the dice weren't. Matt managed to get his gutter runners through into my backfield fairly easily and when he managed to get the ball away from Skag I knew things weren't going to end well. With only a few turns to go he got the winning touchdown which didn't leave me enough time to equalise. I did my best to smash up the few rats he had to put on the line but despite having a big numbers advantage for most of the game his gutter runners had won the day.

Meanwhile, Steve's Humans had managed to hang onto a nail-biting victory against Kern's Orcs. At one point one of his blitzers managed to make a 5+ dodge followed by a 4+ and then a 3+ dodge to get to a lone orc blitzer who was making a break for the endzone. He could only manage a both down result though leaving the orc standing. Fortunately, he failed his dodge roll and Steve narrowly avoided an equaliser to win 1-0.

Conclusion
We'd hoped to get a third game in but it was now after midnight and we decided to call it a night. There's no doubt the stars of my team were my runners, Skag and Kragg, who not only got all three of my touchdowns but did some sterling work on defence. Gutter runners are so frustrating to play against. Starting with AG4 and Dodge is insane! Obviously they're pretty flimsy but pinning them down long enough to hammer them is nearly impossible. I didn't help myself much though as I underused my blockers' Tackle skill to try and keep them in check.

I also concentrated far too much on smashing things on the line of scrimmage. I tended to have a numbers advantage but this left my runners needing to do all the work in the backfield. This was partly caused by the loss of my troll slayer but having my blitzers or maybe a couple of blockers back to help would've been sensible. Trouble is, with my piddling MA the rats can run circles around me.

Matt tops the table then with two wins from two. That leaves me in second thanks to my touchdown margin over Steve who also has one win. Kern is currently winless at the bottom of the table but I'm playing him next and I'm not feeling good about playing all those black orcs with just one of my troll slayers! He's back to full strength too as he was able to afford a new thrower to replace the one he lost.

Not sure when the next session will be but it's looking like June/July so I'll hopefully have both the Orc and Human teams painted up and we can have some much more photogenic games! Looking forward to painting something other than DE to be honest. Shame the Humans are purple too!!

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