Monday, March 31, 2014

Bringin' Out the Big Guns!

I will admit that I am a fan of big guns, real life, movies, games and so forth, I mean why shoot twice? For me this means CANNONS! Rockets and missiles don't impress me much, bolt throwers and rock lobbas fail to excite, but cannons, mortars and larger than usual 'guns', that right there is the stuff. Continuing to be honest, the biggest draw for me to 40k are the guns, and therefore to the armies that have the big ones, IG and Tau. But I am still solidly stuck in the fantasy world, for now, and so I have to make do with what I have. As anybody familiar with the hobby and or lore should know by know who my favorite army is. Dwarfs, masters of engineering, taught the humies how to build and use black powder weapons and all that jazz.
just a cannon

 The Dwarves are my favorite army, lore wise and how they 'should' play on the table top. However I have found many a reason to drift away from them, and while the new book has brought me back there are still issues. If you were to take a gander at my army there is a relative lack of artillery at least when considering other stunty armies.This is because of how artillery works, for me, in the game. Before my latest additions all i had was 2 cannons, yup that's it, only a little more than you find in the average pointy ears army. This is fact is tied up in several factors. 1. The whole mechanic for how cannons work in game, I don't like it and seems way to wrong I guess. 2. is the fact that the dice gods don't like me, particularly when rolling artillery dice. Bob can attest to the fact that when i field the cannons the crew does more damage than the cannon ever does, hahaha charge me again with your chariot! If i guess six inches in front of my target I roll a 10. If i get it to land in front of my target i will then promptly roll a 2 or a misfire so that the cannon ball never actually makes it.
cannon with a rune of usefulness aka a engineer

Dwarven made artillery doesn't exist as far as the game is concerned. Lore wise the dwarves are masters of their craft and make the best cannons out there and have been doing longer than anyone else. yet this is applied exactly nowhere in the game. The Empire's cannons are actually better (d6 wounds vs d3 on a dwarf) and cost the same amount of points, riddle me that Batman?
What dwarven artillery should look like, so much better than a cannon
So am I doing about this? Changing what artillery I am taking. I have bought an Organ Gun and have spent time playing with how I am going to use it, a rune and an engineer come in handy. The Organ Gun removes my main issues with the cannon. I roll to hit, not roll to see how close I get to almost hitting my target. Strikes multiple models, in the same unit of course, while i agree that the cannon ball bounce only hits a single model per rank I don't like how it doesn't explode and hit a lot of guys at once. Organ Gun fires 2 artillery dice worth of shots, that is going to hit something. S5 is respectable and range 30 is meh but a choice of runes can help with either the power or the hitty-ness of the shots. So while it may not pose the one shot danger a cannon can, there aren't too many targets that aren't going to worry about an Organ Gun looking its way.

Friday, March 21, 2014

New Rules: Let the Debate Begin!

Bob and I are going to try something new and see how it goes, he and I are going to debate certain points regarding the game. This post was created to be a debate but it ended up more as two old guys siting around agreeing with each other for the most part.

1. Parry Save: Good addition or not? Quick fixes/changes?
J. I like the parry save addition, however the full use of this rule bothers me. A skaven clanrat is just as likely to parry as a Chaos Chosen. In a game filled with too many modifications I think parry's need to be modifiable, can't parry an attack from something with double your WS, S or I.

B. I like the parry save as well and the need to make them modifiable. Base should be the 6+ with perhaps 4+ being the max. The 4+ would only be available to the models with the highest chosen characteristic as well as having some form of negative modifier.

J. A regeneration rule if you will. I like the idea

2. To horde or not to horde?
J. Yes- to an extent. I think some armies have to horde to be competitive. I wouldn't mind seeing this being an army specific option or even a points restriction, can't take a horde in a battle under 1500, or if you spend more than 400pts on the unit you can't horde it, I don't know but overall I like it.

B. While I agree that some armies need to horde up for lore or gaming reasons (Skaven, Goblins, etc), I do not like this mechanic overall. Given the scale of models used for Warhammer, and the prices of models rapidly approaching pants on head stupid levels, I don't think the near requirement for hordes in any semi-competitive level of play is detrimental to the game. 

J. This is a case where hording should be an army by army basis not a general rule.

3. Shooting, all negatives no positives?
J. Hate that they got rid of the one positive modifier in shooting in fantasy, shooting at large targets. While I am personally not a fan of the all or nothing in 40k, shooting is getting way too difficult in fantasy.

B. Shooting runs into a very similar problem in The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit game. Take Elves for example, they can hit things very easily considering a high BS or Shooting value, but with no Strength modifier to a long bow they usually can't kill anything nearly as easily.

J. I believe this is slippery slope issue, I would like to see the elves get boosted shooting then for some reason the orks and gobbos will get it too, and that makes no damn sense. I would be all for this is they were able to limit which factions got this bonus, all the elves and maybe dwarves that would be it.

4. Steadfast, how broke?
J. Brokest, most broke, most brokest. All of the above. This needs to be modified, I don't care how many skaven slaves you have, when my Carnosaur mounted Old Blood kills 14 of them, they are going to notice (This actually happened) Again I am not saying get rid of it, but this really needs work.

B. Agreed 100%. There needs to be a rule that negates this when a certain number of casualties are inflicted in a single round of combat.

J. I would like to see this as a percentage, maybe 25% losses from a single round of combat. Basically if it would cause a panic test, if they weren't in combat, they don't get steadfast.

5. Random Charge or Fixed Charge?
J. I like the fixed charge distance. I have seen my dwarves roll double sixes and be able to charge 15 inches, while I've had elves roll double ones and charge 7 inches. This is one place i don't like the randomness.

B. I would say I lean more towards a fixed charge range. It doesn't make much sense that a Dwarf can charge farther than a Elf or Skink.

6. Over Simplification, too big of a rule book?
J. They need to stop trying to fit all the rules into one book, it sucks, doesn't work and takes a lot of the flavor out of the game.

B. I disagree. All of the rules need to be in one book. What would be better would be to publish the small, rules only book as well as the brick. 

J. I don't like how bland the game is getting because of this fact. While it would be handy to have A book with everything I believe you lose the feel of the game. I believe if they go to one book a lot of the uniqueness is going to get bled out of the game- see magic items. The uniqueness is what makes the game, look at how i have grown armys. Elves - too squishy go to Dwarves - too few dwarves give skaven a try - skaven not pack enough damage try lizardmen - lizardmen 'too strong' try other armies (Chaos and Tomb Kings). Once everything is under one book I KNOW the armies will start to look to similar to allow a lot of variance between armies.

B. I am talking about the core game rules being in one book, not army specific information.

7. If you had one general rule (not magic based) you could change what would it be?

J. Unmodifiable Steadfast, i loathe that rule. You take 25% or 10+ casualties you arent steadfast.

B. Besides the Steadfast bull plop, I would totally rework the way armour works. It is completely unrealistic the way the various types of armour are modeled and still represent the same thing (looking at you Empire State Troops and Chaos Marauders).

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Common Topic

I do not frequent other blogs and websites to know if this topic is over talked about, or not talked about enough. It deals with probably my second favorite aspect of the hobby. Building the models. Now this isn't a post about how crappy "finecast" is, (obligatory finecast sucks), but instead the art of putting together your models.
bits galore

As with anything GW related there are probably a million different ways to put your models together and probably half a million ways to do it correctly. In this post I will cover all the aspects of building which I use, or used to use.

 First things first, Opening the box. For me its a mix of Christmas Day excitement and another workday project I have to tackle, usually i am more excited than anything so i tend to open the boxes on the way home. Not while driving, of course, for any Atlanta cops reading this tread. I love looking at the sprues and seeing all the different bits, even the ones I won't use. When i get home and start working i always dump the whole box out in one go, which has lead to me 'misplacing' a few bits every time. Recently before i whip out the shears and xacto I now spray paint a base coat on, I love this method ever since the first time i did it. 1 it gets rid of the risk of me not base coating later on when i add bits on to models. More importantly it saves me time! a lot of time, it usually only take 5 minutes to spray a whole box. An added side benefit is of course its terrible for the environment, take that you stupid tree huggers.


Second part, clipping bits, now i refer to bits as any of the pieces you want/ can use to build a model off the sprue. While those slightly edged rectangular frames look tempting i wouldnt suggest building a model out of them. Now that i am a more evolved hobbiest I now take the time to clip all the bits off in one go. Used to be I would only clip the bits i wanted to use, and thusly had boxes and boxes stuffed with sprues with all the good bits off them, oddly familiar looking to what you would imagine it would look if an ork/gobbo got their hands on a sprue. Now i just clip all that shit and have mounds of bits laying on my work table as i frankenstein my little plastic unit together. Benefit to this has been, I see every bit, and every once in a while i find something i didn't catch before and add a nice 'shiny' bit to the model. Once i have clipped i divide the pile into smaller ones, legs over here, heads over here, weapons over here. Again this lets me compare all the different choices within a category and lets me choose what looks the best. I find it difficult to compare/contrast on the sprue so this has been a major bonus for me.

Assembly, basically i can see two ways of building models, 1. build one whole model at a time. 2 assembly line assembling (get it?) legs to body on all the models, then heads, then arms then bases etc etc. I prefer to do the second one. First it looks cool, you get to see your unit be assembled as a whole and you get to start working out the ranking up problems for those of us fantasy hobbiest out there. And as i am assembling piece by piece it is easier to remember how i did something, and remember what parts i glued more to myself than the figurine. Allowing for a smoother process when i add the next arm or whatever. It also lets me assemble however differently or similarly I want to, again because i just did the same thing on the last guy i know what to do next. Lastly as patience is a virtue I don't have much of it allows me to assemble fast while giving the glue time to dry before i get back to that model.
finished product

Then while the juices are flowing I can usually get a layer or two of color on the finished models before i call it quits. So just wanted to share my clearly superior way of doing things, and if you want to share your methods in the comments please go right ahead so that i may ridicule you for it. Most of that last sentence was sarcasm by the way.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Touch of Heresy (part 1)

Greetings, folks!

So over the holidays I had a rare flash of inspiration. I really like the Captain Sicarius model of the Ultramarines. I don't have any interest in making a Second Company of the Ultramarines though, but I really wanted to make something out of the model. So, why not make a Heresy era character out of it!? Thus my Emperor's Children Centurion project was born. The model is still very much in the "work in progress" stage of painting, but the converting is completely finished. The converting itself was pretty simple. All I really did was file off all the Ultramarine iconography and do a real simple magnetizing of the right hand. Currently, I have a chain sword, thunder hammer, power axe, and a relic blade magnetized for use on the model. The relic blade will be a Paragon Blade for use in gaming, or just a regular power sword. I used the relic blade from the Vanguard kit. I thought the "Imperialis" engraved into the blade would fit perfectly into the III Legion motif.

 So where do I want to go with the whole Heresy side of the hobby? Good question! I want to create some forces for the Emperor's Children, Luna Wolves/Sons of Horus, Iron Warriors, and the Thousand Sons in addition to making Legion forces for the Dark Angels and probably the Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and the Ultramarines. Ease of access and pricing being what they are, I don't see these projects being entered into seriously for a while. I love the Mk II, III, and IV styles of armor that Forge World makes. I also love that the new Space Marine Tactical Squad kit comes with the correct components to make a full Mk IV suit. The real obstacle to collecting a Heresy army is the sheer cost of purchasing the models I want from Forge World. I have recently made a order with Forge World and it is allegedly winning its way to me courtesy of the Royal Mail (I forgot to expedite the shipping so god knows when it will get to little old Tennessee). Part two of this wonderfully rambling series of articles will focus on the models and my first attempts to make a 30k Legion army list or three. Until then, happy gaming!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Tierable Dwarf Army

An interesting idea hit me the other day and I figured I would put it out there and get people's reactions. I believe the Dwarves are the most tier-ed army in fantasy. What I mean by tiered is the same basic type of troops just with various different choices at different point costs. So same basic gear but just better. Certainly every army has at least some of this, but often it is only two levels or tiers. I believe the Dwarves have the most tiers and the best choices with in those tiers so you can really build your army a number of different ways to do the same thing. To through out some non-Dwarven examples, the Bretonian knights, the Beastmen Ungor-Gor-Bestigor. I believe the Dwarves have 4 different tiers types, or basic troop types.

 1. The guys built to take damage, well yeah their dwarves its what they do.
2. The guys built to dish out heavy damage in combat, basically guys with great weapons.
3. The guys to deal damage at range, the infantry shootie choices.
4. Artillery, nuff said.

1. Damage takers

  1. Dwarven warriors, handweapon, shield heavy armor, 9pts. 4+ armor save, with upgradeable dwarven parry, basic troop choice lowest tier
  2. Longbeards, handweapon, shield and heavy armor, 13pts. Along with increased stats they are immune to psychology and have the 'grumblers' rule which allows units to reroll panic- allowing other units to take more damage before the break
  3. Ironbreakers: hand weapon, gromril armor & shield. 14pts. Extra armor pt, constant 5+ parry and ld10 ensure these guys last- I know right?
So no surprises or reaches here.

2. Damage dealers
  1. dwarven warriors, great weapon and heavy armor, 10pts.
  2. Longbeards, great weapon, heavy armor 14pts. Increased Strength and Weapon skill help
  3. Miners: great weapon and heavy armor, 10pts (12pts). I have these guys as the next step up because of their upgrades, champion can have a +3 Strength weapon along with the unit carries blasting charges that cost 2pts per model. Also the added factor to use them as ambushers to show up behind enemy lines.
  4. Hammers, heavy armor and great weapon (sensing a theme yet) 14pts. They have the same stats as longbeards but with an added attack making them quite hitty something the dwarven army needed.
  5. SLAYERS: slayer axes (your choice of two hand weapons or great weapon), 11/22pts. A lot of reasons these are my most hitty or dwarves, they have two levels, troll and giant slayers, giant slayers have additional weapons kill, strength, initiative and attack. Then they have the death blow attack, if they are killed in close combat the model gets 1 attack before being removed, meaning when they kill you, you do some damage in return great with low initiative. Then as slayers they have another special rule, they never wound on worse than a 4+. So what i like to do is just equip two hand weapons and roll as many 4s as i can, i don't worry about giving the extra strength, i would rather have more attacks that have a guaranteed damage output then fewer attacks that have better chances. Basically i would rather have more chances than a better chance of killing something.
So here i could see the argument of the arrangement i have, the miners and slayers could be moved to several different areas, especially dependent on how you built them

3. Shootie Infantry

  1. Quarellers/Thunderers: heavy armor and either dwarven crossbow or dwarven handgun, 12pts. Now that their points are the same and their equipment got upgraded I have a hard time saying which is better, crossbows have range and quick to fire, while hanguns have more punch but are slow to fire. 
  2. Rangers: heavy armor, dwarven crossbows, throwing axes and great weapons for 14pts. Crossbows for range, throwing axes when you get close and charge reactions. An interesting choice now, may considered adding some to my army.
  3. Irondrakes: basically ironbreakers with really cool guns at 15pts a model. Points are a bit steep especially for ballistic skill of 3, but "forge proven gromril armor" 4+ armor and 6+ ward, bumped to 2+ ward vs fire attacks; and drakeguns, range 18", s5, armor piercing, dwarf crafted, quick to fire and flaming attack. These guys do a lot of damage up close and have the stats to last in combat, a very interesting choice i will definitely be adding to my army.
4. The Big Guns: (these arent in order, and as everybody should know what they do I will only list)

  1. Bolt Thrower 55pts, poor mans cannon
  2. Grudge Thrower 80pts, I personally dont like stone throwers
  3. Cannon 120pts, not sure why they upped the points and you getting nothing new with it, works and costs just as much empire cannon even though it is a superior dwarven weapon
  4. Organ Gun 120pts, I need to get some of these, 2 artillery dice of s5 attacks
  5. Flame Cannon 140pts, even with new added super blast or whatever they call it range is a major major draw back and I probably wont get one 

To sum it up, guys in combat either built to dish out high Strength hits or survive punishment. Range has a nice mix now and you get plenty of artillery and plenty of choices with in each type. So let me know what you think, you don't agree whole the tiered concept, or that the dwarves are the most tiered, dont agree with the layout within the tiers, don't think a certain unit is correctly categorized etc etc. To go on the record I like this type of tiered army and I wish more armies had it, not all to maintain some difference and flavor between armies.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What is on the old paint table

Howdy gentle readers!

I wanted to take a brief look at what all is on my painting table at the moment. As anyone who has talked to me or read this blog for any amount of time knows, I have a semi eclectic system of painting. I typically paint five or ten models in a unit/squad at a time in a futile effort to establish some sort of organization to what I am working on. I can sustain this for a while before I get bored of painting the same colors over and over and grab something random to splash in. My large block of models I am working on now is some Iron Snakes, but here are some of the random figures I have going as well.

This isn't the start of a Tau army, I promise. This is actually for my old man's army. I got this Cadre Fireblade while I was in Paris over the summer. The color scheme is for his custom Sept, Ra'al Tan. I have never painted Tau so this has been a pretty fun little side project.

After some recent games of Fantasy with my trusty High Elfs I decided I wanted to bust some of them out to get painted up. Again, these are some great one off models (except the Sister of Avelorn, she is a unit champion and test model for the unit). The Loremaster has been pretty fun to paint, especially the magic effect. I am also pretty pleased with the female models in the High Elf army. They are GW female models that aren't sculpted like shite. It has been fun to try out some more intricate washing and highlighting on these models. I am trying to up the quality of my techniques, especially on characters.

Lastly we come to this Necromancer I dug out of my old storage box. I have a very small start on a Vampire Counts army and I wanted to get a character for them painted up. I am trying out some washing and highlighting on the face. He has such a perfect face for experimenting with shading and highlights. I also wanted to do some different effects for old bone. My skeletons in the army will not be my standard bleached bone (or whatever the hell the new paint is called) and brown wash. I will try and get some pictures of the example skeleton up in the near future.

That is all for now folks. Look for a Dwarf article from John going up by the end of the week. Happy gaming!