Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are Necron Aircav Spam Lists Illegal?

Allllllrighty… So I have a fairly large rules question. Let’s start by looking at three main rules…

Reserves on Page 124
“When deploying their armies, players can choose not to deploy up to half of their units (rounding up) keeping them as Reserves to arrive later.  Units that must start the game in reserve are ignored for the purposes of working out how many other units may do so.  A unit and its dedicated transport are counted as a single unit for these purposes.”

Flyers on Page 80
“ Flyers must begin the game as reserves- it takes time for a Warlord to organize and coordinate air support.”

Victory Conditions on Page 122
Likewise, if at the end of any game turn, one player has no models on the battlefield, his opponent automatically wins.”

Reserves start rolling at the start of turn 2…

I was reading through the rules for flyers so I could run my all aircav guard list in 6th edition 40K…  According to the reserves rules I can only put up to half of my units in Valkyries as only half of an army’s choices can be held in reserves and flyers MUST be held in reserves.  Is this right? I guess that means I need to have a ground portion to all of my guard armies now? (Welllll…there goes my theme!)

But that is not the case… Is it?  How does that work with all the necron flyer armies out there (terrorizing tournaments around the world)?  Only half the army can be flyers…  Right?

AND if all-flyer spam is legal (maybe I am missing something and I hope that I am)… Since all flyers are required to start in reserve wouldn’t the flyer player loose automatically as they do not have a unit on the board at at least one point during the game?

Monday, November 26, 2012

THE RIDDLE OF ARC!!! (1200 Points or BUST!)

I have been taking on additional duties at work over the last 12 months (as a primary school teacher) and next year I have been asked to work the week before school actually begins (which is new for me).  What this means to the greater scheme of things is that I will not be able to make my usual trek to Canberra over Australia Day for Cancon.  I have been going to Cancon for 5 years now and I really like the camaraderie of the trip with my mates, the 8 tournament games over 3 days, the rooms of gaming stores, and the choice of playing 40K or Fantasy.  Well…  Not this year…  As I am effectively grounded in Melbourne it looks as though I have to get back on the horse and revisit Arcanacon if I want to play tactical war dollies over the long holiday weekend. 

For those who don’t know, Aracanacon is the largest 40K tournament run in the southern hemisphere. It is extremely hard to get tickets to and sells out early every year.  I attended ARC the first few years after moving to Australia and had a blast.  For a variety of reasons I stopped going and have been going to Cancon for the last 5 years.  As a former ARC Champion I am guaranteed a golden ticket to ARC.  I think that for the first time… I will use it.

Now to the problem that I always struggle with (and that is my only criticism of the ARC system):  ARC is 1200 point event.  For a 6 games over two days the point level seems a little small.  I understand that ARC has always been that point level but as editions have changed in the last 15 years, point levels and the game have changed as well. In 3rd ed a 1200 point army looked very different than a 1200 point army now that we are in 6th edition.  Everything just seems small.  I suppose it helps with comp as it prevents a lot of the truly broken combos (not enough points) or if people do take the broken combos their lists lack the numbers of models to win. 

I really dislike 1200points as a point level.  I just can never decide what to take.  I never feel like I have enough stuff.   In the last week, as I look to get into the 1200 point mindset again, I have gone back to the drawing board and I think I have two possible lists (so far anyway)…  My trusty Wyche Cult… Which is why I am rebuilding all the raiders and ravagers from scratch… And a rebuild of the list that I first took to ARC all those years ago…  Foot Slogging Guard.   

Allies and fortifications are variables that I am still struggling to get my head around… 

Another consideration is appearance.  ARC is filled with beautiful armies so whatever I take will have to look the part as the painting and conversion criteria is tough.  If I can’t get a beautiful army on the table I won’t use it. 

Soooo I have the next few months to get an older project up to scratch or to cough up something at the top of my game… 

I think I need some practice games and fast!


Friday, November 23, 2012

The Answer to My Versatility Conundrum

A few days ago I wrote a blog update about wanting a versatile army (40K) that I could use in a variety of different ways using a variety of different books.  As I wrote before the quick answer to that conundrum… Space Marines.  Depending on how it is built you could run a marine army in countless ways especially when you factor in allies.

I bought this army from Buddha in South Australia.  It was originally painted by Anthony Clare and I really like the look of it.  The army is painted in a neutral camo scheme AND uses directional lighting from lenses and lights (which is something I have been meaning to try out as a painter).  Anyway this is what I got:

Full army contents:

Librarian in Terminator Armour            
Captain in Power Armour (Pedro Kantor?)
Chaplain in Power Armour
Apothecary in Terminator armour
3 x Dreadnaughts, 2 Tactical, 1 x Furioso/Ironclad/Venerable + extra Weapons
5 x Terminators, Tactical
2 x 10 man Tactical Squads + extra Weapons
1 x 5 man Combat Squad
3 x 5 man Scout Squads (Combat, Bolters, Snipers)
Razorback, Heavy Bolters
2 x Lanspeeder Typhoons
1 x Landspeeder Storm
Stormraven Gunship (not pictured in photos, brilliant centrepiece)
2 x Thunderfire Cannons

As you can see... You could run this easily as a regular Marine army, a Blood Angel's army or even (with a little tweaking) Wolves...  

In the past it has won 3rd Players Choice at Arcanacon and then Players Choice at High Lords of Terra in 2011.

Piccies below:

Now...  Footslogging guard... I like the idea of that too!  Hmmmm...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Building A Versatile Army

Ever since I started playing competitively, I have felt the need to mix up my armies.   When I would play in the first Baltimore GT’s it was easy.  Tournaments did not really run in New Orleans so I would only get to one tourney a year.  The GT.   As such, it was no problem to take six months off hobbying before knuckling down to paint a new army.  In every one of my 9 GT experiences I always took a new army.  This would give me the opportunity to improve my painting scores and to try out different tactics (and satisfy my ADHD…  Yup, I literally have it).  For GT #3 I started to paint a marine army well before I turned in my list (I was not very competitive back then) and I discovered that I could run my painted models from a variety of army lists (as GW loves to put out Marine dexes)…  That got me thinking.  And that changed the way I build armies.  Since then, I have started to look for ways to make armies work in more than one way.  My daemons are on round bases for example but since I have laser cut movement trays I can run them as a fantasy army…  My orks work the same way.  I had a Blood Angel/ Khorne marine army for years…  Etc… etc…

In recent years with work commitments, relationships, and other activities I have found myself increasingly time poor.  Sure I can work on projects during school holidays but even those vacations seem to be shrinking in the face of my busy life…   As such I have looking to make the most of my hobby in the shortest period of time possible.  I am also looking to learn how to really play 40K again, this has really narrowed down the field a bit.  What army has basic universal rules, is relatively forgiving and allows for a large amount of variation because of a large number of released books…  Space Marines.

Now I am not saying that one should use their clearly painted, converted, etc Blood Angels army as “The Red Wolves” for example…  That just smacks of laziness (OK… maybe not in friendly trial games but tournament play is something else).  To be properly versatile between books, an army should be modeled to work in any of the contexts that it could be used as…  The army should have a neutral colour scheme (a camouflage or an environment matching paint scheme might work for example) with a neutral chapter badge. 

In the era of “Blood Brother” allies this concept of versatility really comes into its own.   Loyalist marine armies can borrow army specific models (Grey Hunters, Storm Ravens, Land Speeder Storms etc…) from each other with very little restriction.  If you have a neutrally painted army you can really add whatever you want as long as you obviously follow the allies rules (which I guess means you can only ever combine two marine books).  It used to be that armies had strengths and weaknesses built into their books.  It is easier now to overcome inherent army weaknesses by borrowing units to offset issues (like a lack of a flyer or a lack of decent anti-tank weaponry) from allied army lists.

I plan to look at this in more detail the more I play 6th ed but for now… I am on the hunt for a basic list to learn the game that I can mix up depending on the event (especially in a tournament environment as varied as Melbourne’s with tick box comp, panel comp, peer comp and no comp events spread throughout the year).  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Suitability of Forgeworld, Victoria Miniatures, and Cadians... (REVIEW)

As many of you know I have been eyeing up the work of Victoria Lamb the last year.  Her Imperial Guard conversion kits and accessory sprues have looked great online and over the last 15 months or so she has turned out an impressive number of the bitz.  Last week I ordered my first stack of  parts and today I am going to look at them with you.

A couple of years ago I got the itch to do yet another Guard army and I went online and ordered a massive Tallarn Army from Forgeworld.  Forgeworld doesn't make a Tallarn army some of you might say...  Well you would be sort of right.  They made heavy weapons teams, weird camel cavalry, and sniper teams (who used the same rifles as the regular guardsmen).  I would guess that they had planned to do the whole army but decided not to at some point.  Most of the parts are there to do it.  It just needs to be done!  And that is where I step onto the stage (so to speak).  

I ordered the army and true to form for Forgeworld at the time (they have gotten much better since) the 120 or so guardsmen that I got from them had crazy flash lines and assorted miscastings.  This is not the worst of the problems... The lasrifles that the models come with are beautiful long barrelled lasguns.  The issues comes in here...  These lasrifles are a mess because they are so long and thin.  I have heard Death Korps of Krieg owners bitch for years about the state of their fragile, often miscast lasrifles.  I would say the Tallarn ones are worse...  The state of the basic rifle of the army is the single issue I have with actually doing this army that I am keen to get together at some point...  Which brings us back to the present.  I ordered a pile of Victoria Miniatures lasrifle arms specifically to use with my Tallarn troops.  Let's see how that works...

To start with I have to say that I was pleased with the prompt delivery of the Victorian parts.  I had them within a week from placing the order (more likely within days but to be fair I was out of town).  The parts came in a padded envelop within durable plastic bags much like forge world used to use.  The casting of these metal parts was pretty good.  There were a few large horrible most lines BUT they are in easy to reach spots and would be no problem to clean up.  The detail on the models was exactly as was advertised on the website.  All in all I am very happy with my purchase.

These parts were made to integrate fully with GW's Cadian line.  Here you can see a variety of parts on cadian models with a full plastic guardsmen thrown in for scale:
 As you can see the arms fit perfectly (please excuse the blue tac).  Everything is to scale and arms fit torsos with little to no gaps.

Now to the Tallarn problem.  Here is are a few of the Tallarn Rifles next to the Victorian rifles for scale.

 Now here is a Tallarn torso with the Victorian arms attached next to a Tallarn with the Tallarn arms attached (please note the crappy bent Tallarn Lasrifle in this photo).
What you might be able to tell from the photographs is a slight but noticeable size difference between the large arms and the smaller Tallarn Models.  It is not the fault of Victorian Miniatures that there is a size discrepancy.  Forgeworld Guard models (Kriegers, Drop Troops, AND Tallarns) have always been smaller than GW's over exaggerated "Heroic" scale.  By matching the Cadian models, Victorian Miniatures arms are a little too big for my true scale desert raiders...  Which is a pain in the nether region!  I had hoped that the VIC parts would solve my Tallarn problem.  They might but they do not solve it as cleanly as I would have hoped. 

Here you can kind of see the size difference of the GW and the Forgeworld guard models:
Would I recommend Victorian Miniatures to fellow guard players?  Yup, they get TWO big thumbs up from this guy.  Can I use them for this...  Sadly...  Probably not.  

Back to the drawing board!

Ideas anyone?

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Brief Update

Sooo it has been a crazy week of work but I have had long cycle trips to consider which direction to take my raider WIPs...

I decided that I needed to add bits to make them immediately identifiable as Dark Eldar Raiders. This in mind I ordered a few of these:
It will be the first time I have officially ordered bits off an online store.  Looking forward to seeing how long it will take and to get my grubby paws on the sails to convert up on my boats...

I may have also picked up a few packs of these for another project:
I am very excited that people are selling Forgeworld bits these days.  I hadn't been looking but I am very happy with the discovery!

Have a great weekend gang!


Friday, November 9, 2012

WIP Dark Eldar Scratch Built Raider Spam

Hey gang… 

I thought I would check in and report on how my scratch built raider project was going.  I have basically built and trimmed the base platforms for all 6 raiders and 2 ravagers.

I have then added facings on 2 of the 4 sides of all 8 platforms (so they do not just look like piles of layers of plasticard).   On three of eight platforms I have finished the facings on all 4 sides.  If that makes sense. 

I was able to cut the remaining pieces this morning before work (thanks to an early morning crank call) but ran out of time before I was able to glue them in place.

The next step is to fill the gaps with green stuff and then to sand everything smooth.   I will then add an engine to the back and a cowl to the front (to mount a dark lance on).  I am thinking about adding a sail to each as well (might bitz order those off the existing raider kit but I am not sure yet).

The ravager will have wall plates added to the sides like the old kit (because I will be using spare side plates from the old kit).
 After that…  Model and paint up crew…  

That is the plan anyway…

Not sure how I will model the crew to look like wyches as I am running out of metal bits to kit bash with the new plastics.  I will have to see I suppose...

Til next time gang!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Comp in 40k... (A Guest Rant)

I recently explained my absence from the 40k community here in Melbourne for personal reasons.  When I returned I found comp in 6th Ed to be a hotly debated issue. As I feel removed from the debate I had someone who has been along for the ride to put their two cents in.                                                                In a lot of ways I think this topic has been bashed out a lot over the last few years.  To have comp- to not have comp that is the question!
Comp seems to on a lot of occasions polarise people into two camps – those think it is a necessary part of an event and those who don’t and view it as a limiting factor to their enjoyment of the game.  Both sides are welcome to their opinion and when asked I would say I fall on the side of I believe comp should exist in the 40k tournament scene and I see it as integral to creating event environment that creates variety and seeks to embrace all aspects of a hobby. But I see no reason for this being the only way to play and can see a place for no comp events to exist as well!

So there’s my view and now for a little grenade:
There has been of late a movement in this state where a group has actively sought to break composition systems run at tournaments either by actively collaborating to stack numbers of players in the field with unbalanced lists that would be comp’d heavily so as to negate the impact of the score.  So much so that in several cases it was not about participating in the community event but purely from the point of view creating an environment where their opinion on how the game should be played at a tournament level  will end up being the only pervading view in most major events.
I personally find this approach disappointing and also disrespectful to the multitude of views out there on how the game should be played.
The reason is that 1st and foremost 40k tournaments are and should always be community events.  They are there to grow the hobby in my mind, collect a range of people who play this game together to have fun in organised play.  While winning is fun it really should not be the primary reason for the event.  There are a range of skill levels and competencies that will make up such events and as such it is equally important for these people to be catered to no matter if they are casual gamers or competitive gamers.
2ndly the event should aim to display a wide range of aspects to the hobby from game play through to modelling and painting.  These things can act as major advertisement for the community and also when done right can attract new people to the game.  The concept that GW bricks and mortar storesare the key to bringing in new players is rubbish in my opinion- clubs and events that are well run and focus on inclusiveness are what create the next generation of players.
So how does the above relate to comp you say?  
Simple – as Jervis pointed out in the most recent white dwarf.
“limits are intended to make it easier for players who have never met before to play by reducing the availability of some of wilder machines and monsters”
this obliges players to choose representative armies and puts and appropriate emphasis on generalship and (good)games play”

He goes onto to talk about the “intent” to level the playing field in the “unnatural environment” that tournament creates.  

And I agree with him – what I have seen since coming back to the game 3 years ago after roughly a decade’s break is that those who dislike comp are also strong proponents of math hammer and work on model and points efficiencies and what the right build or “optimal” build is.  I can understand that to an extent given the cost of this game in real $ terms.  But then again they also seem to fail at times to really explore anything else that this game brings- such as the fluff or modelling aspect.  I rarely see well painted or thematic armies from these individuals or even an attempt at some aspect of coherency of force as it is all about the force optimisation so as to ensure enough turn by turn damage is put out and that they reduce (as much as is possible for a dice game) the randomisation of results. I.e they stack the deck and are bold to tell people they do so.
It is fair to say assessing unit effectiveness is part of the game and creating a list that has synergy is valid, yet I feel and observe that when this becomes the only consideration, the game devolves into two pugilists hitting each other, with no real thought to strategy on the table as the game is won or lost in the list building. As a friend of mine calls it Army Builder Hammer, the game within the game.
The other observation I have to the no comp environment is the lack of effective terrain to force any real thought as to tactical game-play.  Tables are sparse and empty with a few interesting mounds of something but all in all are shooting galleries- it is interesting to note in America where No-comp is very present that there is a heavy consideration given to effective tournament terrain.

Nova makes good use of this- the best explanation for this is on the Whiskey and 40k blog:
There is clear consideration about how tables should be set up – now I think this applies as equally to comp’d events as it does to no comp’d events but my observation is that non comp'd seem to focus on this less and allow terrain to exacerbate the unlevel playing field that exists. The argument would be all those who attend such an event would be taking equally “optimised” lists yet if this is the only option available then surely that begins to limit the variety to play that is out there and narrows the freedom to play as to really compete it becomes more about if you only take such and such combination as otherwise your losing efficiency that will then mean your less likely to win the “boxing” match.
So where is all this leading. Well put simply Comp has a valid and important part to play in this game, its integral to introducing players to the game, and building a stronger community. Composition scoring in events is not a bad thing and I worry about an environment where individuals and group seek to remove an element that can and does add range of benefits to the hobby and game as a whole.  I look forward to events such as Arcannacon and MIF and even Kill count (if it ever returns) enjoying a strong following where people intend to enjoy what comp brings and not to de stabilize it and remove it from the spectrum.