Sunday, June 26, 2011

BatRep pending... and Greenstuff!

Apologies Universe about the lack of posting... I've moved to the "Big City," so delays there, and I don't get my internet hooked up till Tuesday morning... so yeah its been tough. While the last two days I've had internet due to running Android off a little 2gb micro-sd card I bought for the purpose, prior to that I had zilch.

Anyways, current projects. Firstly, I got a game in at Comic Asylum, and that batrep is pending. First I have to track down my pics... * spoiler * Ironclad Dreadnoughts are wicked against little green commies. * end spoiler. *

Other Projects... my AoBR Dreadnought is kind of plain, rather generic. Also, since he is a discount-dread he didn't come with smoke launchers. Now, I haven't got around to doing a bitz order for a while, and since im in cheaphammer mode I converted some! This was a tail-end project after a night of manic greenstuffing (first time, dontcha know). Also, used a bunch of bits from a couple Raven Wing sprues I had lying around. And here is the result: 

I had initially bought the greenstuff to fix a couple of Assault Marines that i'd picked up off of eBay that were broken. As an aside, who the heck puts 4 knives all over a Space Marine? He's not freakin Rambo... grr. Anyways. I wont post pics of the repair jobs because that is boring. however, I will announce that:
Two of them are the old metal ones. Nothing special to them, only one of them if painted like Cortez. I kid you not. However, I did also luck out and get some of the plastic bitz from the Command Squad for the same price. So i built myself one, and I like how it turned out. Sort of a spray-the-area-in-front-of-you-with-gunfire-in-a-gangsta-sort-of-way motif:

Also, I finally got another pair of legs and built my Devastator sergeants.  In the Blood Angels fluff the Devastators are actually the oldest most experienced soldiers, since they are less likely to go blood ragey. Also, some of the guys I've purchased are ancient (3rd ed) models, so I wanted my sarges to look old. And, since my first (and only) Dev kit purchase was a 1993 kit, I have the old-school signum. So I followed a similar path with these two guys:

So once I was done, I wanted to experiment with greenstuffing a couple marines. I've got two bike riders that I have no use for, as I don't have any bikes. And then the idea hit me: epic poses! I know I would like to convert a plastic jumpy librarian, but these two might be too unweildy. But they do make awesome display models. Not sure what I'm gonna do with them, I may not field them at all. Also, it helped me release my frustration about my recent Tau-induced losing streak. Very few things are as satisfying as modeling a Fire Warrior about to get his own personal exterminatus after a couple games where the Cadre let you down. Also, this was my first experience cutting them up and greenstuffing them back together. Sadly I didn't think about WIP shots but if your interested I can probably remember everything I did. Probably. Looking at the robes now that they're done, I can see some work I need to do to make them more robe-like. So you'll certainly be seeing more WIP pics of them later on! So without further ado, here they are: 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Battle Rep 750 Tau v Imperial Guard

So... never play a scenario that involves your army being losing in terms of theory.

My buddy Andrew and I decided to do a quick game of 40k, I decided to run my Tau. They've been a bit lonely of late. Due to lack of time we went with 750 points. Not a lot, especially with a codex as damaged as Tau. I had to squelch an impulse to take the easy path and take Blood Angels. It wasn't easy. So, I went to work on a somewhat balanced list. Here it is:

Crisis Commander: x2 mp, ta, tl, shield drone: 98 pts

x2 Crisis suits: mp, pr, mt. (x1 team leader, bknife): 134

x2 Crisis suits: mp, pr, mt. (x1 team leader, bknife): 134

x7 Fire Warriors: p rifles. (x1 team leader, bknife, p carbine): 80

x12 kroot: 84

x2 Broadsides: x2 ass (x1 team leader, bknife, tl, gun drone): 180

(now if you notice my math is a bit off. I sacrificed some points due to doing the math in my head. but I didn't realize that till after the game was over)

 Andrews list was (insert correct terminology below):

melta vet squad, x2 melta, chimera

melta vet squad, x2 melta, chimera

melta vet squad, x2 melta, chimera

psyker, hung with one of the melta vet squads

leman russ, battle cannon and sponsons.


we rolled in the Battle Missions book and came up with  the Tau mission Fighting Withdrawl. Basically 3 objectives, I get Hit and Run USR. i deploy a kroot screen, hole my fire warriors up in some terrain, put my Crisis commander in with them, put my broadsides where they can see everything and put my Crisis suits out of sight.

Turn 1: Andrew
He comes in as close to me as possible, 3 chimeras with melta-vets and a Leman Russ as backup. He uses his psyker to fry some fire warriors and my commanders drone. Then he opens fire and wipes out all the fire warriors but the team leader. I'm so proud of them, my FW never faltered, acing every morale save.He tries to ordinance them with the LR, but scatters back onto his command Chimera and immobilizes it. el-oh-el.

Turn 1: Me
  Figuring that ive got this one sewn up, I move my crisis suits into shooting range. I open up with 4 missile shots and 2 plasma shots from one Crisis squad. They do jack. I then try the other: they get two hits that are smoked away. The commander gets snake-eyes followed by a re-roll of not enough to penetrate. on a str7 weapon. pathetic. Then, my Broadsides fire: only one hits, it penetrates. It then rolls a one, and wow. The stupid Chimera can't shoot or move on its turn. At this point I figure this game might be real quick, as I'm about to lose my troops plus whatever else. I try to assault with the Kroot: they get some hits in and stun/shake the already shaken Chimera. But thats it.

Turn 2: Andrew

Well this gets ugly. the melta-vet squad the psyker was chillin with jump out to pursue the Broadsides. The Psyker manages to do nothing. The other Chimera tank-shocks my Kroot. THEY FAIL BY ONE. so I roll distance. THEY ROLL EXACTLY ENOUGH FOR ONE TO HIT THE TABLE EDGE. So they are removed as casualties from the board. The entire squad. I was not thrilled. Then the drone from my broadside team dies followed by a broadside. The LR tries to template my commander, but he survives by going to ground. lame.

Turn 2: Me

so now i've got the team leader left from my FW. i dodge him down to the objective, and move my Broadside forward. I shoot my SMS and kill several IG. I then use my Crisis suits to pop open the closest Chimera, kill most of its occupants than charge one squad into close combat and ties. the other jumps behind the ruins. My FW team leader runs behind the objective.  I try to assault with my broadside but cant get far enough.

Turn 3: Andrew

My buddy wipes out my commander using the third melta-vet squad which finally disembarks, and uses his LR to wipe out my hiding squad of Crisis suits. He could barely see them, but 2's dont get you cover saves, even with GTG. Oog. And he executes my broadside. In close combat, nothing happens to the crisis suits engaged. I pass my initiative roll and disengage.

Turn 3: Me

My FW team leader scores a kill on the exposed IG squad remnants and pins them, keeping them from re-engaging me in the assualt phase. My Crisis squad opens fire on the commander-killing melta-vet squad and wipes out a lot of them. Enough so they break and run. And that is all.

Turn 4: Andrew

To finish the game, his melta-vets rally. His psyker fails his test and takes a wound. His vets and the LR kill off the last Crisis suit squad. The last mobile chimera and melta-vet squad kill the lone Fire Warrior. Tau tabled. 

Final Thoughts:

This game did not go in my favor. By any count. Statistically popping smoke will allow some survival for your vehicles. But this smoke was crazy effective. And then my inability to make saves also showed up in bright colors this game. Other than that... I think at this point level I should have gone with one Broadside and arranged my points to either introduce another crisis suit squad (deathrain most likely), or introduced pathfinders. Its a tough call with so few points. Worst decision of the game was to use my kroot to charge the Chimera. I had totally forgotten about Tank Shock, and losing them was a game-changer. Horrible call on my part. It was tough being tabled, but I think I may have encouraged it after playing less carefully after failing to touch the IG with my first turn strike. Live and learn, and hope for decent rolls.

Shas'El Mike out.
"Pathfinders lead the way"

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Musings on the upcoming Space Marine

(pic found via Google. Its not mine.)
 Warhammer 40,000. A universe stepped in war, with 15 factions at war with each other until the death. It’s a bleak world, where civiliaztions crumple and all progress comes to a halt. The passion of hate, pain and conflict fuel eternal entities from the “other side” that destroy and twist “this side” of reality wherever they touch it. Peace and Rationality are swept away as they neither motivate races to greater heights of heroism nor do they generate rival entities. In short, as this war for survival struggles on, the forces of Chaos will grow eternally stronger. However, there are no rival non-chaos entities generated, by the nature of the warp. Therefore, all realspace life is doomed. At some point, the fight to survive will give the enemy the stregnth they need to break reality. However, the choice to not fight results in no different a fate. 

This is the world I was drawn to, that on a macro level is only drawn in the darkest colors highlighted by the brightest streaks of heroism and valor. In a world where the commoners serve only to fuel fire, and fascism is humanities only hope, where the Eldar’s only hope is a beneficial extinction, there can only be excellent story-telling. This IP that GW has created has the potential to exceed anything that White Wolf has ever generated. For example, look only at the story of humanity. They expand to the zenith of a massive empire and create technological marvels never before or since seen. Then their technology turns on them, as as millions are slaughtered and planets bake humanity ekes out a narrow win. In the chaos that ensues afterwards only one man can unite humanity, which he does. This fascist government is perpetuated as a religious cult. Now humanties only hope is the paranoid Inquisition, who hopes to keep the enemy at bay by keeping everyone united with single purpose to support the military. Add in people conditioned, born, lobotomized, or otherwise enslaved to the military  and you’ve got a huge setting for epic stories. And that only encompasses 8 factions (space marines, blood angels, space wolves, black templar, imperial guard, witchhunters, sisters of battle, grey knights). 

It makes me very happy inside that 40k made the jump from tabletop to PC. For all their faults as RTS games, the DoW series introduced a great many to the universe, and gave the rest of us a chance to see crazy sights: Necrons reassembling, Chaos Marines summoning Daemons, etc. However, the series had a problem: it suffered from improper storytelling. The Space Marines were the heroes of the universe, backing up the hapless Imperial Guard. The Tau were sharing the equity of communism with whoever they could, and the evil Chaos forces, Necrons and Orks were out to take over the universe. While this makes for an easy story, it does not do the 40k Universe justice. At no point is it pointed out that chaos is a natural offshoot of the human expression of strong emotion, that orks were just following their biological programming, that the necrons are slaves to star gods, or that space marines are used to wipe out those who don’t fall in lock-step with imperial dogma. In short, Lazy walked in and handed moral placards to every race and a simplistic story was born.  

Much like White Wolf’s IP, one of the defining features of the 40k universe is there is no clear-cut protagonists and antagonists. There is no noble race, there is no “just war.” The leaders of every faction plot, scheme and maneuver for power among themselves as well as against other factions. Those who are subordinate either perpetuate the errors of those in charge (the military) or are used and discarded without a blink (the civilan populace). Every race has a dark flaw, whether it be mind-controlling the other castes, or struggling to preserve one’s soul from being swallowed by Chaos. And everyone is fighting a war of survival against everyone else. This is the backdrop against which individual heros are painted, what causes the few noble of heart to shine so brightly. This universe is epic, and dark. No story is simple, the truth is both complex and conveluted. 

            The trailers for Space Marine, the upcoming game by THQ, cause me some degree of concern. It appears that there is a risk that the simplistic morality of the DoW games has shown up again in this game too. Once again you are playing a Space Marine (heaven forbid a game involves playing one of those step-child Xenos), who is out to save a forge world from the onslought of Orks. And also to beat-up some Chaos forces that show up to, for good measure. While certainly this event-outline could be the basis of an excellent story,  the material released so far appears to lean towards the simple side of the story-telling spectrum. Worse, the interviews all push this game as a “kill things and see lots of gore” type of game. Seriously, watch it. That is not ok, 40k-lite or 40k-arcade do not do justice to the mythos. If you want lots of story-less killing and blood, play Painkiller, Quake, Doom, you get the idea. 
For a game to be solid it must create a variety of reactions in the player. A game that simply involves creating a greater and greater wash of blood around your protagonist will flop. If greater and greater, or different stimuli are not thrown at the player, eventually they will go numb. Seeing 15 gallons of blood shoot in the air right now after being subjected to 12 gallons doing the same for the last 4 hours will not create a “wow-effect” in the players mind. It might be fun for the first hour, but after that itll be put on the shelf with the rest of the B-grade games. Only time will tell, but I am concerned about both how Space Marine will treat its source material, as well as what effect its reception will have on further translations of the 40k Mythos.