Sunday, May 29, 2016

Double Trouble - Friday Night and Army Showcase (Dan Evans)

Before I get onto Dan's army, I wanted to give a shout out for Luke Fogg who'll be running what he describes as "X-Wing Hunger Games" on Friday night before Double Trouble. Luke was often at t the venue the night before Blog Wars ran and I know there's a decent number of people about on the Friday. Anyway, head down to the NWGC and join in the fun. Who knows, one of the guys you meet could be a partner or opponent on the Saturday.

Don't worry if you don't own any X-wing miniatures or if you've never even played it before. Luke will provide everything you need, including tuition. It's very easy to pick up the rules. If you plan on heading down then comment here or email me and I'll put you in touch with Luke.

Right, onto the stars of tonight's post. Dan Evans' Heresy era Space Wolves.

Dan says he likes a darker feel to Space Wolves compared to the bright blue/grey of their 40K comrades. Well, that and he didn't want to paint more blue!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Double Trouble Army Showcase - Chris Buckle

First off, there are still a few spots left at the event if anyone hasn't got their ticket yet that fancies coming along. Hopefully everyone is getting there with their armies by now. Keep sending in your photos! I bought Total War: Warhammer so you can guess how my army is progressing. I'm in a bit of a quandary about it. I don't think it's fair for me to field unpainted models when I'm expecting three colours from the rest of you but at the same time I'm just not going to get my DE finished and I'd love to bring them. Might not ultimately matter because I may not even be playing but I'm considering swapping out for another army that's either painted already or requires less work. What do you guys think?

Anyway, just one army tonight folks. Chris Buckle has been literally bombarding me with updates for his Imperial Fists so I'd thought I'd give him a full post for it all. Here's his fluff:

This is a representative element of the VII legion's 97th Siege Battalion. Under the command of Consul Maximus Heran.

The 97th Battalion is a dedicated front line shock unit, designed to destroy enemy hard points and create holes and vulnerabilities in the enemies formations that can then be exploited by further supporting armour.

This unit served loyally to Dorn and the Emperor during the great betrayal and earned a reputation for their counter assault abilities, particularly in tearing down the hardened fortifications of the Iron Warriors.

Maximus Heran was promoted through the ranks during the Siege of Terra as subsequent higher ranked officers were killed by the traitors, until by the time of the heresy's end, he reached the rank of Praetor. Although the 97th survived the Heresy relatively unscathed, they lost suffered a 94% casualty rate at the hands of the Iron Warriors in the aftermath during the Iron Cage.

Due to the introduction of the Codex Astartes, the few remaining battalions of the Imperial Fists into the standardised chapters and companies that were prevalent well into the 41st millennium. 

The fate of Heran and the remnants of the 97th Battalion are unknown.

First up some WIP shots:

Here's a few more:

Finally, some shots of the full 750pt army:

Awesome work Chris. I'm insanely jealous of your progress. Wish I could find some drive to paint at the moment. Keep the updates coming folks....

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Your Armies for Double Trouble (Part 6)

Yet another update in this series. I hope you're enjoying seeing a preview of the armies that'll be facing of against you (or even with you!) at Double Trouble. It's certainly going to be a colourful affair if nothing else as tonight's post proves. Not a lot of pictures tonight but some great armies nonetheless.

Let's start with Luke Fogg's Howling Griffons. It seems he's decided to go with them over some of the other army options he had available to him. I've always thought the colour scheme was striking so I'm pleased to see it. Those of you who read his blog Darksun Life will know that he's including some of the first miniatures he ever painted which is why there are some random Ultramarines in there!

Next up we have a single shot from Chris Buckle. He's the first one to get in touch with a Horus Heresy army list. Forge World has been included at DT which is the first time for a long time that I've permitted the use of FW stuff at one of my events. I'm hoping I don't live to regret it but I'm certainly looking forward to seeing some of the FW miniatures in action:

Chris seems to think three weeks is plenty of time to get these guys finished! We'll have to see how he gets on in the coming weeks.

Finally tonight there's another update from Matt Calow's 3D printed awesomeness. Check out this custom siege shield for one of his Vindicators:

More 3D printed goodness for my DT army :P Because ramming the enemy (even rubble can be a heretic) should be an act of devotion!

That's everything I've got for now. There are still a good chunk of armies that we haven't seen yet so I'd love it if more of you send some pictures my way. In the meantime I'm going to try not to blog for a few days so that I can make a decent attempt to at least get my DE to three colours. I've abandoned all hope of getting them finished! I will of course still reply to emails and post if anything major changes.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Your Armies for Double Trouble (Part 5)

Here's another update on some of the armies in progress in the run up to Double Trouble. Keep the emails coming with photos and a bit of a blurb (if you want). Today we have another couple of entries, both updates on armies we've already seen on this showcase.

First up, Matt Calow who, you may remember, was doing his own custom 3D printing to make his army truly unique. I'll let Matt tell you more about it:

Thought I'd send some pictures that are slightly more representative of my current army progress!

As you might be able to guess, I'm taking an Armoured Task Force. Of course, for DT, we can't take any unit more than twice, so that is a full Linebreaker squadron of Vindicators! God-Emperor help me, but I love that big boom! ( I am aware that just by pointing that out before the tournament, I am never going to get to use it... I can always pray to the Omnissiah?!) I did bring these to BWX, so I am pretty happy with them. However a model is never truely finished, so I might make some tweaks and additions as time allows.

The Techmarine is almost finished; I want to make his armour a richer red and i still have to do his metallics and details, but he certainly isn't too far away. an evening's work at most.

That just leaves the Predators. Both I have almost everything to do on painting-wise. It's not a time consuming scheme so I shouldn't have a problem getting them ready in time, but because I know that I keep concentrating on other things (like my Heresy Dark Angels...) so hopefully a little internet shaming might give me a little more focus!

Think that's it for now. One of my fellow DT competitors did convince me I could make space in my army list for a Whirlwind as well. Fortunately for my opponents, the maths doesn't quite support that.

Next up tonight we've got another update from Dan Wellington:

Hey again. If you are interested here are some more pics. A couple of the Breachers and one of the whole gang. I think they are finished now...

I think both armies are looking excellent. Dan's doesn't look much for 750pts but I know it'll pack a punch! Be interesting to see how Matt gets on with finishing his army. I've sidetracked him with a super secret project of my own though.....

Stay tuned for more on Sunday night.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tweaking the Rules for Double Trouble

Following on from the playtesting we did at Warhammer World, I wanted to tweak a few things before the event. Let me start by saying there's nothing here that should drastically affect your army selection but will hopefully make the event run more smoothly and generally be more fun. I've updated the DT page to reflect these changes but wanted to highlight them here and explain my reasoning.

The objectives will be the first thing I cover today. As you know from the rules pack, Double Trouble will feature a set of custom Maelstrom objectives that will be in play in every game. They'll form one half of a double mission (it is doubles after all) with the other half being to wipe out the enemy army. I think it'll make for some interesting debates on strategy within the doubles partnerships.

Anyway, I've tweaked the wording of some of the missions as follows. Remember Force refers to your 750pt portion of the 1500pt Army:

Click to embiggen!
Let me know if the font is too small. I'll email everyone a PDF of the cards so they can print a set for last minute practice games if they want. There'll be two laminated decks on each table on the day though so don't worry about bringing any with you.

Most of the changes are simply wording to clarify some things. The main thing being that the "stretch goals" are clearer in how many points you score. You'll notice that 21-26 are now different. This came from the excellent review of the objectives that, Blog Wars veteran, Nick Thrower posted over on The Burning Eye. Instead of being the same as 11-16, you now get a total of 3 VPs if you can control the same objective for two of your turns in a row. I really like this idea as it creates an interesting gamble. Score an easy VP or risk it for 3. Of course, the cards are visible to your opponents so they're going to do their best to stop you getting it again next turn but there'll be times when it'll pay off.

Bear in mind it doesn't have to be the same unit. You could hold an objective with a unit at the end of your turn only for it to be killed off in your opponents' turn. As long as another unit of yours clears the objective (or uses Objective Secured - hint hint) and controls it at the end of your next turn you'll still get 3 VPs.

I've renamed these missions to try to make it clear which you've picked up but it's your own fault if you misread it and play for mission 11 when you drew 21.

Otherwise the cards have stayed the same, the only exception being Pile On! which now gives you a VP for simply fighting in the same combat with units from both Forces and a bonus VP if you side wins the combat in that particular turn.

Missions and Scoring
The scores for Annihilation and Tactical Superiority (i.e. VPs and Blood Points) will be recorded separately in each round and will be the same for both players in each doubles pair. At the end of the event the individual player with the highest score for Annhilation will take one prize and the player with the highest score for Tactical Superiority will take the other. There are no prizes for best doubles team but working with your partners in each round will be crucial to winning either prize.

For simplicity, I'm removing the cap of 30 VPs in each round for Tactical Superiority (this isn't likely to be a problem in most games anyway). I'm also going to keep the Blood Points as an absolute number i.e. 1BP per 1pt destroyed so 1,500 maximum points per round. Note that tabling won't give any extra bonus and VP scoring will stop immediately.

I'd toyed with the idea of making deployment the same in each mission (i.e. Dawn of War for all of them) but I think the varying deployment types make things more interesting and minimise the likelihood of a particular army thriving. For the last mission, units will fall back to the nearest long board edge.

Remember that there are NO SECONDARY OBJECTIVES so you don't have to worry about Linebreaker, First Blood or Slay the Warlord.

Death From the Skies
The new flyers supplement will not be used. Flyers will retain the rules/points they had before the new book was released. There will be no Dogfight Phase at Double Trouble. I don't think it's fair to expect everyone to be familiar with the new book, much less make everyone buy a copy!

Sharing Rules between Forces
Hopefully you're all aware that the allies chart will not be used at Double Trouble and as such all armies are considered Battle Brothers to each other. Here's the excerpt from the rulebook:

I'm aware that this will totally mess up some of the fluff but just go with it! I've had questions about how particular rules will interact with this. The answer is it depends on how the individual rules are worded. For example Target Acquired from Tau Markerlights says "Immediately before a unit from Codex: Tau Empire shoots at a target.....". That means that if both Forces happen to be Tau they can benefit from marker hits from either half. If you happen to have two Skitarii Forces only one set of Doctrina Imperatives may be chosen for the entire Army to benefit from. In an Army of two Astra Militarum Forces, units can give Orders to units from either Force. You get the picture.

Rules which have lasting effects will work for both Forces if the wording of the rule permits it. For example, Skitarii Luminagen causes a -1 to cover saves for a unit for the phase so whichever unit shoots it next in that phase will still get the benefit.

If there's anything else you're unsure of then please get in touch before the event so I can clarify.

As listed in the rules for Battle Brothers, units from both Forces count as "friendly units" to each other. Likewise, units from your opponents' Army count as "enemy units".

New Draft FAQs from GW
I've had a few of you ask me now about the FAQs that GW have been publishing on Facebook. As far as I know they're just drafts at the moment and we don't have a final version. I think it's pretty unlikely that they'll put up a proper FAQ document before the event but it's probably best that we ignore it. If there are any specific issues that you want me to rule on then let me know.

Right, I'm getting tired so I think I best call it a night. I'm pretty sure I've covered everything I wanted to but I rely on you guys to comment or email with anything you think I've missed. I keep saying it but it really helps if that happens before the event so we're not debating things too much on the day.

This still isn't getting my DE painted. I'll be lucky to get 3 colours now!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Double Trouble Playtesting at Warhammer World

For better or worse Matt and I rarely get chance to play these days. That's made getting some playtesting in for Double Trouble extremely difficult. We decided to take advantage of the May day bank holiday to get some gaming in and dedicated the full day to Double Trouble testing. We decided the best way to do this was to each bring four different 750pt lists and randomly pair them together. For me it was Dark Eldar, Dark Angels, Orks and Space Wolves. For Matt it was Chaos Space Marines, Eldar, Necrons and Grey Knights. The plan was to play through all three deployments (the mission is the same in each round) and see how things played out with the varying combinations.

Nick Thrower was kind enough to review the Double Trouble objective cards for me a couple of months back so I thought I'd take this opportunity to test out one of his suggestions. I'd originally got all of the "secure objective" cards with the same mission which was 1 VP for holding a numbered objective with a bonus VP if you also held any other objective with a unit from the other half of the army. Nick's idea (though borrowed partly from GW) was that perhaps it'd be good to have 6 like that and the other 6 as 1 VP for holding objective X and 3 VPs if you still hold it in the next friendly turn. I printed up a set of cards with this on so we could see how it worked out.

My lists were the ones I posted in the sample armies post back in March but obviously without the Tau. I'm actually tempted to take Tau but I don't think I'd particularly enjoy using them. I was secretly hoping going into this that I'd prefer one of the other armies to my Dark Eldar because the other three would take a lot less time for me to get finished!

Matt's lists were:
GK- Librarian, terminators, 2 dreadknights
Chaos - Daemon prince, 2x 10 cultists, 2 heldrakes
Eldar - farseer, 15 guardians w/ warlock, swooping hawks, warp spiders, 2x 3 windriders, crimson hunter exarch
Necrons - Obyron, immortals, 4 wraiths, tomb blades, 10 warriors in a ghost ark  

Game One - Space Wolves/Orks vs. CSM/Necrons
Well we're straight into a desperate alliance on my side and some allies of convenience for Matt. Remember that at Double Trouble both of these armies count as Battle Brothers (as does every other combination). I think people will definitely have enough on without worrying about One Eye Open etc. Anyway, I quickly realised that my Space Wolves list wasn't well thought out. There's nothing on the table at the start of the game and only one drop pod coming in turn one. That puts a lot of pressure on the reserves rolls and even more so since Matt's warlord trait was -1 to my reserve rolls. The Orks would need to do most of the work!

I deployed the Orks towards one end of my deployment zone (Dawn of War for first game) as there were more objectives on that side of the board. I sat the deffkoptas on the other flank to cover the objectives on that side of the board should I need to. Matt deployed towards the opposite corner to my main Ork force.

The first SW pod came down near the immortals to try and thin them out before they did their teleport shenanigans. The wolves managed to down a good handful of them but Obyron survived. The Orks took some pot shots at the ghost ark and would've left it on a single HP were it not for Matt jinking it. As it was they managed to score a penetrating hit which is a big deal in making it easier to down later. I decided to gamble and try to claim a couple of objectives for two consecutive turns so didn't score any points just yet.

I'd unwittingly left the grey hunters in range of a charge from the flying daemon prince who'd been hidden away behind the ghost ark. I paid dearly for it with only two hunters and a rune priest surviving the initial charge from the DP and nearby cultists. The grey hunters did manage to take the cultists down with them though leaving themselves locked in combat but the DP free to move off. Elsewhere the Necrons managed to wreck both Ork trukks which would make charges difficult. On the other side of the board Obyron teleported his immortals onto an objective held by a deffkopta but somehow it held on with a single wound.

Nevertheless the two mobs of Ork boys managed to get into combat with the wraiths and to both our surprise they killed them all off for minimal losses. This did leave the boyz right in the open in front of the ghost ark though. The Morkanaut managed to cause some more damage to the ark but it still survived. Meanwhile both the Stormwolf and second drop pod arrived and cleared the immortals from the objective to claim the bonus for holding it for two friendly turns.

One of the Heldrakes arrived and incinerated most of the newly arrived grey hunters. It also positioned itself close enough so that the Stormwolf would need to hover to take it on. The remaining cultists, tomb blades and ghost ark cut down both mobs of boyz and the weirdboy with them. The Stormwolf somehow failed to take the last hull point from the ghost ark despite hitting with everything (Matt is ridiculous with Jink).

At this point we were running short on time (we tried to keep to 2hr games to get the full three in) so we called the game there. I had a 10-8 victory on VPs but Matt had a 836-712 blood point victory.

Game Two - Dark Eldar/Dark Angels vs. Eldar/GK
This was a combo I really hoped I'd get. Having two really fast forces paired together would make Maelstrom really easy. Obviously durability would be a problem but hopefully the combined firepower would be enough to take plenty down first.

Once again I got the first turn and, having scouted all my bikes forward, I felt reasonably confident that the combined firepower from both forces would be enough to take down one dreadknight and with a spot of luck, both. Unfortunately for me, Matt rolls 5+ better than he rolls 3+ sometimes so whilst one knight was destroyed, the other survived on two wounds and I'd made him mad! The combination of fire from the dreadknight, shots from the guardians and eventual charge from the dreadknight completely wiped out my black knights. The rest of the army put a serious dent in the other DA units too.

Still, the other dreadknight eventually fell and the librarian was unlucky to fail a charge which cost him his life via the same venom he'd not gotten into combat with! The venoms survived a lot longer than they probably deserved to mind you (amazing how often that happens) but the DA portion of the army had committed too early and dwindled pretty quickly. It was around this time that I realised I'd completely forgotten about my Reavers so quickly brought them in from reserve the next turn. Eventually the venoms started to fall and the tide quickly turned.

At this point the outcome of both missions was pretty clear. Matt would easily take the blood points but I'd win on maelstrom. We decided to call it in the interests of more testing.

Game Three - Dark Eldar/Dark Angels vs. CSM/GK
For the final game we decided to play with our favourite combination from the armies available to us. I'd enjoyed using the Dark Angels & Dark Eldar combo (Double Darkness?) and Matt would go for his GK and CSM forces.

Sadly, since I'm writing this nearly a fortnight later, I'm struggling to remember too many details from this game but basically I got first turn (again!) and took down the DP pretty quickly. The dreadknights survived a lot longer in this game though and the combination of them and a pair of Heldrakes was way too much for my army to handle. I held my own long enough to take yet another maelstrom victory though and the game ended with a completely unneccesary charge from the Archon into the GK terminators just for some sport. It didn't end well for him but was a good way to end the day.

Once again Matt won on Blood Points but I took it on Maelstrom when we had to call time.

We certainly didn't dawdle when playing these games but with about 2 hours per game we struggled to get through them. Granted with a doubles team it would've been more efficient but I'm pleased I didn't go above 1,500. It was pretty clear who'd won in both games and whilst I could probably have killed more of Matt's army in the first game, the other two were well beyond my reach. Bear in mind Matt really wasn't playing for all out destruction, he was going for the missions too but I think I was pretty fortunate with a few and probably played a bit more on the maelstrom side than the blood points.

It's a fun system having two missions running simultaneously. It'll will be interesting to see how the partnerships work on this front. If one player is playing for maximum destruction and the other wants to hug objectives it will certainly prove entertaining. I think the random pairings of the armies will throw out some unique combinations. With the Battle Brothers for all rule we might see some unthinkable synergy happening between some very unfluffy mixtures. Speaking of which, there have been questions about how certain rules will be shared between the team so I'm going to try and pick a few examples up to help people figure out how it'll work. Look out for that post.

One thing we both agreed on was that writing a list with too much in reserve is a real risk. Obviously this is the same in any army but if both forces end up with a lot in reserve, there's going to be really problems scoring maelstrom points early on. When my Orks were paired with the SW they were on their own early on. The SW list had far too many points in reserve and I was just lucky to get everything T2. It's obviously difficult though as you don't want an army that's too static. As with any maelstrom game, fast units are going to be important. Having threats coming in behind the lines could really help out your partner.

I was really hoping I'd like one of my other lists more than the DE list since they're all more painted than the DE. Trouble is, the DE force is easily the most well rounded of the bunch. There are anti-tank threats from the scourges, plenty of poisoned fire for MCs which can also be turned on lighter infantry. It's incredibly fast for claiming objectives and ObSec doesn't hurt. I'm really not sure how the hell I'm going to even get to three colours before the event but I'm hoping I can. I've all but abandoned the dream of a fully painted army appearing. The other forces I came up with just didn't excite me like the DE did. Since their latest codex I've really struggled to love my DE. They're just not cut out for the current climate in the game. I really think they work well at this level though and you can pack so much into 750pts it's a little obscene. They're still incredibly flimsy mind you but with the right pairings that might not be too much of an issue.

The biggest takeaway from this testing was that this event is definitely going to be a lot of fun. Of course that relies on everyone embracing the system and getting along with each other but I know most of you and I'm confident there won't be many issues.

As is typical in these periods when I should be frantically hobbying, I can actually think of tons I want to blog about. There's going to be a few more galleries coming your way from player contributions but first I need to talk about some amendments based on this play testing. I'll do that in a separate post. Nothing too major just ironing out a few creases. I'll then get onto a post about how different rules will interact.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Your Armies for Double Trouble (Part 4)

Really pleased to see that everyone is getting on board with this little series. Today I'm presenting two more armies in progress that will hopefully be seen in their finished glory at Double Trouble. First up it's Jonathan Lyness' Khorne Daemonkin army. Here's what he had to say about them:

"As always I like to send you in images of my crudely painted dudes so for your perusal I've attached some images of my Khorne Daemonkin army I'll be bringing. The1st Cultist group is done (-ish... when is anything ever done?) but I've got another unit to paint up soon. The heldrake is a heldrake not much to see here (mind you I need to do another flyer stand to match the army). The helbrute is in pretty much the same state as the heldrake... Getting there...

The slaughter priest I feel is a good proxy for a Chaos Lord especially with that big axe! Who doesn't love a big axe! The Khorne sigil toting dude will be with the berserkers.  Sorry don't have an image of all of them yet as they are hidden somewhere right now. Which pretty much just leaves building and painting the contents of the start collecting daemons of Khorne box set for summoning purposes.  (you can let everyone know I don't have a bloodthirster so they won't see one of those summoned!)"

Right then, next up it's Matt Calow and some Space Marines. There's a noticeable absence of paint on these guys which I frankly find reassuring since it makes me feel better about mine. Here's what Matt had to say:

"Starting off, I've got my Techmarine on a bike with a conversion beamer. He is actually all but painted now, but I've not got round to taking any photos. Once again, I've been making use of the 3D printer at work to create a conversion beamer that sits on the front of the bike, even for the base, although I decorated it with some real slate. Aside from that it is a fairly basic kit bash.

Secondly, I've got my old Predator that, after almost a decade of neglect, my Predator Annihilator. A while back I stripped the venerable tank and haven't had a chance to fix it yet, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity. As well as the classic bits, I've used some plasticard to build out the structure and a few more 3D printed parts.

I've been slowed down a little by working on some Dark Angels for a Horus Heresy event, but I'm going to concentrate on painting my list for DT this week (he says with the Dark Angels Contemptor on the desk in front of him...)"

More great stuff then. I'm away on a stag this weekend (blogging whilst I wait for the other guys to arrive and chaos to descend). Once I get back I'm going to have to put some serious time into my own army. I'd hoped that I'd find my DE really dull in playtesting but come back on Sunday and I'll explain why that didn't happen. 


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