Monday, 27 December 2010

2010 Hobby Resolution Results

At the beginning of last year I made some hobby resolutions to try and achieve during the year.  I'll go over them again so you can see how I went:

1. Update the Blog
I'd like to get back into the habit of updating this regularly. I'd had good intentions late last year but kept putting it off with the result being a large amount of small posts towards the end of the year. My goal is to make at least two posts per month.

Well excluding one month I succeeded at this objective.  I was on a bit of a low that month hobby wise and wasn't particularly interested in anything so there you go.

2. Finish my Sisters of Battle
This is the army I keep on saying I will get finished but never do. My current goal is to have 1500 points painted in time for the Gladstone Tournament in May. The army is currently basecoated with three colours but I want them finished!

 Errrrr, they're still not done.  They are however all technically painted with a minimum of three colours, drybrushing, shading etc.  I'm hoping to truly finish them early next year.

3. Paint my Blood Bowl Team
This is a smaller short term goal that I can see quite easily slipping by. I had planned to have them done by now but I haven't, so on the list they go.

I was going through some boxes sorting out my Warhammer stuff in getting ready for the move and came across these guys.  They haven't been touched since my last update on them unfortunately.  During the year I manage to pick up the boxed game rather cheap and I've scored some extra model to fill out the teams, so I'm really keen to see something happen to these models soon.

4. Paint my Flames of War army
This is a new thing. Over the past few months, I've decided to start playing Flames of War, and excellent 15mm WWII game. I currently have a Panzer Grenadier Platoon and Command HQ. On the way are some Panzerknackers, a pair of Sd Kfz 231 8-rads and three Panzer III N's along with a copy of the new Eastern Front book that is released in a few days. I'd like to try to stay mostly on top of this army and paint it as it comes in.

They're undercoated.  Does that count?

5. Try new painting techniques and paints
I'd like to increase my exposure to other things. High on that list is trying out some of the Acrylicos Vallejo range of paints. I'd also like to learn new techniques and styles in preperation for painting my rogue trader army that is still in the collecting phase but soon to be ready for assmbling and painting.

Whilst I still haven't tried out the Vallejo paints that I have bought yet (see the above point as to why), I have experimented with new painting and modelling styles and techniques.  My greenstuffing skills have developed and I want to push the boundaries even further in the new year.  I've also been using a wet pallet for all of my painting lately which has greatly improved my speed and quality.  I've also been using washes and other techniques, adding to painting repertoire.

All in all I've achieved about 2.5 out of my five goals which by any margin is pretty lame.  Well there's always next year, so a new hobby resolution imminent.  Have a good New Year and I hope to see you all again in 2011.


Thursday, 23 December 2010

Missions, Armylists and Tournament Organisers

I don't normally do the editorial style posts but this is something that has been churning over in my brain for a few weeks if not months now and I want to get it down onto paper/interwebs.  I apologise now if this comes across hugely rantish.  I've recently seen a case of tournament organisers going away from varied missions in an effort to maximise balanced missions.  This includes things like defining where objectives are placed on the tables (12" in from the long table edge, 18" in from the short table edge, etc), to making changes to how kill points are dealt with in an effort to achieve what they feel is balanced.  Well I cry bullshit.

The above is a normal game of chess on a normal chess board.  It's balanced and it's what you expect, kinda like the current 5th Edition Missions.

This is not a normal chess board.  It's still balanced, but it requires to you to approach the problem in a new manner if you want to have a good chance of winning.

I can go to places like 3++ and find lots of well built lists that are designed to smash face based on stock standard missions (I'm not having a dig at Kirby and the guys on 3++ just pointing out that they are very focused on list building and tactics.  They do it well and their lists work well in established missions, but due to their nature of being optimised to work with standard missions, they may not work as well when you have non standard missions).  When someone with one of these kinds of lists comes up against an odd ball mission (my Milk the Cows mission from COWCON 2010 is a good example), they cry foul that the mission isn't balanced and shouldn't be used.  Before we go further though we need to establish what is and isn't a balanced mission.

Non Balanced
These are the kinds of missions where the objectives have a great chance to advantage or disadvantage a given side.  Examples of this are things like wildly scattering objectives or objectives that hurt things around them when they arrive.  I played one mission where the single objective did both, leading to my mate's Deathwing army getting killed by the objective arriving and a poor scatter whilst I had the unfortunate situation of having to charge across the table to my enemy's deployment zone to try and secure it whilst he got to sit there and shoot me up.

In short a unbalanced mission is generally one where the nature of the mission immediately has a good chance to greatly skew the results based on chance, not because it favours one type of army over another.

These are the opposite of non balanced obviously.  They have little to no random luck involved and are often based around existing idea (like those provided in the rulebook).

Now if we have a close look at the missions from the rulebook, you see some based on capturing objectives or multiple objectives, to those based on killing as many enemy units whilst minimising your own losses.  These different types of missions often make it difficult to build an army that can secure multiple objectives whilst having a low amount of kill points, the result of which is a compromise.  A force built around having a low amount of kill points often finds it difficult to hold/and or contest multiple objectives due to its limited amount of units.  A force with lots of units will have an easier time of holding and contesting objectives but finds itself giving up kill points much easier.  A force that combine the two might find itself disadvantaged when facing an enemy that excels at one type of given mission when it gets the right match up.

Recently I've seen a case of people trying to adapt the various missions from the rulebook to make them easier for one type of army or another to complete.  Examples of this are restricting the amount of kill points available or by fixing in place or reducing the amount of objectives.  This doesn't fix anything however.  The result is that one type of army style or another dominates the scene as when you give strength to one type of army, you're reducing the impact of the strength of another.  If you want to reduce kill points, that's fine, but expect most lists to be MSU style affairs because you just made them stronger.  Don't like objectives, give the minimum kill point guys a boost.

So my point here really is stop trying to make missions "fairer", make them more interesting and get people to build the lists that suit those missions.  I've had people complain that they felt my Milk the Cows mission which requires people to take an objective and then hold it for as long as they can, hurt their army.  Sure it did, because their list was built around the last turn objective contest.  Build a different list, if you're list doesn't do that kind of thing well, change it so that it can.  Add that sub optimal unit that just so happens to fill the gap.  Adapt.  Be a better general and learn how to handle the curve balls rather than complaining that the mission was unfair.  You built you're army around the missions in the rulebook, well here's a new one to add to the mix.  Try it out, adapt your army to suit, and then move on.  The mission isn't unbalanced because it is unfair, it just seems to be unbalanced because you hadn't planned for it.

In the end, the powerhouse lists are built to excel at set mission types.  When the missions change, and you want a powerhouse list, you will need to change it also.  That's the nature of the game.  This is why the lists that people took in fourth edition 40k are different to those in fifth.  The missions changed and what was good became less so, and what was less so often becomes good.

Lastly, I'd like to make a note on fixed objective placement.  Ditch it please, it's insulting.  If someone plays an all biker army and I put the objectives in difficult terrain, that's his problem for taking that style of list, and he or she should plan for it accordingly.  He or she can still place his objective out in the open.  All fixed placement does is change it into a game of chance as to whether that particular spot will have terrain in it or not.


Monday, 20 December 2010

RSGA Apocalypse Game 19-12-2010

I headed into the club the other day to help Wonna run the end of year Apocalypse battle.  It was much smoother run in the past thanks to a few handy changes that had been implemented since the last time (such as making people pay in advance for the day to ensure that they actually turned up and didn't screw up the balance).  I stayed unitl just after lunch to do the pizza run and took a few photos of the first and second turns.  It seems a lot of fun was had by all though and the smoothness of the event is promising for future events.

The teams were spilt into four chaos armies versus three space marine forces, an Eldar force and a smaller contingent of Imperial Guard.  In the end the forces of evil won holding three objectives to none, probably due to their aggressive playstyle and their more co ordinated attack.

Enjoy the pictures:

Turn 1

From the other end of the table

Wes failed to call down an Orbital Bombardment but the weather did instead

fester's Hellblade screams over the forces of good strafing them

Another shot of the Hellblade

The two sides shape up to each other

A very large Greater Daemon of Nurgle (mostly made from expanding foam)

The Alliance of Good consults with one another

The forces of Chaos push into the enemy's lines

Sons of Horus Terminators bring up the rear of one flank

Dark Angels try to hold off a Daemon invasion

Wes' Orbital Bombardment arrives

Nurgle Terminators hunt the damaged Baneblade...

...and take it out in a storm of melta shots

 A general overview of the battle


Friday, 17 December 2010

Quarter Master IV 2010

I left just prior to lunch time on Friday and began the long drive down to Brisbane, unfortunately up this way we've had a lot of rain and the roads weren't roads so much as strips of bitumen filled with potholes large enough to swallow my "Shoebox of Death".  I eventually made it safely to my brothers house with just enough time to say hello and borrow their loo before driving across town to catch up with some mates at Lonestar.   Mmmmmm Cheesy Fries....

Saturday morning I got to the tournament and found out that I was the first one there, closely followed by Ross and Damo.  I got myself a coffee and the TO's got our first round under way which saw me face a rather nasty Space Wolf army.  This army got the lowest comp score at the event, and rightfully so.  I lost my game before even placing a model as we faced off in a Killpoint mission with Dawn of War.  He won the roll and choose to deploy first.  His three squads of Long Fangs, three las/plas Razorbacks and multimelta/heavy flamer Land Speeders tore me up as I tried vainly to cross a board with no line of sight blocking terrain.  So first game was a lovely major loss for me.  Only up from here.

On my second game I got to play against a nicely done Pre Heresy World Eaters army (using the Blood Angels Codex).  I enjoyed my game and it came right down to the wire in the end. He smashed me with long range firepower whilst I tried to hunker down on the objectives and managed to pull through with a minor win.

My third game was against Tyranids with a wide variety of units.  I opted to deploy second and managed to seize the initiative.  My refused flank approach smashed apart his army as I countered his fast moving units and whitled down his slower ones.  We ran out of time on turn four with me holding a minor win.  Had we had a further turn, I had a good chance of pushing it to a major, but such is life.

I went home from the first day with a major loss and two minor wins, it could be worse.

I was running a little late on the second day as I'd managed to sleep in, and people were already setting up there armies for display.  I didn't think I had time to setup the sisters so I got a coffee and spoke with a couple of people that I knew and placed my votes for best army.  Turns out I probably could have.  For some reason I didn't take any photos of the armies which was a shame as there was some lovely pieces of work there.

My fourth opponent was to be Saul, a friend of Adam's who I'd faced in round two.  He had a cool all biker army with no biker nobs.  Unfortunately for him the dice were against him and I pulled back my shell of rhinos whilst smashing unit after unit with flamers and bolters.  My canoness pulled off a lucky second turn charge that held up Wazdakka and his unit for most of the game and let me control the board and the flow of the battle.  I finished up with a very convincing major win.

For some reason I don't have any photos of my last game, probably because it went downhill so fast.  He had a tooled up ten strong biker nob squad which was fine by me.  But my Exorcists failed to roll higher than a 2 for the first two turns, letting them hit my lines almost untouched.  I tried hard to pull it back but they just crushed my units under weight of attacks.  In the end I conceded the match on turn four as he had already won and completed all of the bonus victory requirements when they called 20 minutes left.  We figured it was better to finish up and get packed up sooner rather than spend another twenty minutes of slowly trying to grind through sisters of battle squads.  He was a good opponent and pleasant to face, and I still enjoyed the match even if I was crushed to a pulp.

I finished dead middle of the pack in the end which wasn't bad considering my list.  I've decided that since I'm getting most of the points for painting now, that instead of pushing on, I'm going to paint up my guard platoon to replace the Storm Troopers and their Chimera.  I noticed my biggest problem was suppression fire when either my Exorcists were dealt with early on or failed to perform by rolling a high number of shots.  The guard platoon will help to counter this which will give me a better edge in my games next time.


Monday, 13 December 2010

Crimson Fists

The above image is one of my all time favourites.  It has graced several books and boxed sets through GW's history, and I love seeing it everytime.  Originally when I first got into 40k, I started off playing Space Marines back in 2nd Edition, whilst my brothers collected Orks and Eldar.  I didn't have much other than the two tactical squads from the starter set (which I still have), a couple of characters, and a partially melted rhino (I tried to "model" a multimelta hit).  Since then I've moved away from the marines but I've always kept them and at times thought of doing a revival of the army.  I've picked up a few bits and bobs along the years but certainly not enough for an army.

That issue is about to change, as I've got the bug to play marines, but I have a few issues to deal with first.  I already have a few armies and most of them aren't fully painted yet.  This is for a variety of reasons but mainly because I don't enjoy painting all that much.  I like playing with painted models and enjoy completing them, but not actually painting them all that much, so any paint scheme I use needs to be simple.  I also don't want to spend a lot of money so the army needs to remain cheap.  Lastly because of both of the above reasons, the army needs to be small, I want to paint it quickly and move onto other tasks.

To this end I've decided on the following:
Crimson Fists - I've always liked these guys and I want to play a known chapter without having to go Ultramarines, Blood Angels, etc.
The army will be primarily drop pod based, this way it is something different for me to play as opposed to the mech heavy armies that I currently own.
The army will be based around units that I want to build and paint more so than what is effective.
I'm also going to try and use existing models from my collection where possible to keep costs low.

With all that in mind, I came up with the following list:
Captain - Lightning Claw and Storm Shield
Librarian - Force Weapon and Bolt Pistol
5x Command Squad - Apothecary with Bolt Pistol and Chainsword, 2x Veterans with Storm Shield, Bolt Pistol and Meltagun, Veteran with Storm Shield and Bolt Pistol, Veteran with Powerfist, Bolt Pistol and Storm Shield
Drop Pod - Locator Beacon

5x Assault Terminators - Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields

Dreadnought - Multimelta and Heavy Flamer
Drop Pod - Locator Beacon

Dreadnought - Multimelta and Heavy Flamer
Drop Pod - Locator Beacon

10x Tactical Marines - Flamer, Missile Launcher, Sergeant with Bolt Pistol and CCW
Drop Pod - Locator Beacon

10x Tactical Marines - Flamer, Missile Launcher, Sergeant with Bolt Pistol and CCW
Drop Pod - Locator Beacon

5x Scouts - Bolt Pistols and CCW's

Land Speeder Storm - Heavy Bolter

Land Speeder - Heavy Bolter and Typhoon Missile Launcher

Land Speeder - Heavy Bolter and Typhoon Missile Launcher

Total - 1750 points
The idea is for the dreads and command squad with attached characters to drop in on turn one, and they will be supported by the Typhoon Land Speeders (unless I can't hide them sufficiently), and possibly combat squads with missile launchers.  The idea is for the Librarian to use Gate to keep the command squad moving and to pull them out of protracted combats.  The abundance of locator beacons are there for the Terminators and to allow the Librarian to gate the command squad precisely, hopefully putting them within melta range of a juicy target on turn two.  The tactical squads will then mop up or reinforce a position whilst the scouts outflank and try to stay alive for a last turn objective grab.

I've done up a list of all the stuff that I need to buy to complete the force and my rough estimates should have it coming in at under $300 AU.  My next update for the force will include those estimates along with what I'm actually getting the models for and where I'm sourcing them form.  I hope to keep track of the army build from conception all the way through sourcing, building, painting and finally completion.