Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

To everyone,
and to reflect on the sense of the season.

I have been busy, and unproductive, of late...for various reasons, some of which are very good.

Here's hoping 2012 gives us all the good fortune and peace we could hope for. (excepting on the tabletop, where we hope for a brief respite before returning to an eternity of war in the 41st millennium!)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

KrystalKeep Combat Patrol, and a fond farewell....

So,
this weekend marked the final yearly 'Combat Patrol' tournament at the KrystalKeep.
As usual, Jim Williams ran a fast, furious and funtastic event full of much cursing, screaming and gnashing of tzeentch (and, of course, smiles).
Many a brave soldier(xenos, infidel, traitor)died yesterday, only to rise again shortly thereafter to wage the war eternal in the 40k 'oonivers'.
Final standings showed how strong, balanced and fair players and scenarios were, with a 4 way split for 1st!
Edge T (TAU)
John W (Orks)
Stephen (?) (Orks)
Nick S (Orks)

I had a blast, as is usual for Jim's events (and events that have been run for years up at the Keep).
But alas, this marks an end.

December 30th, the store will be closing for the last time.

Rick, Raj and the others who have contributed to the store, with their heart and souls, have finally had enough.
The economy, coupled with other major, and minor, factors beyond their control have taken their toll.
KrystalKeep has kept its doors open throughout the most trying of economic times, worse than any I have seen personally.

Those times began, for me, over 3 years ago in Fla. With the collapsing economy there, I found myself laid off (twice in two years), along with my wife. I moved to Ohio 3 years ago, fearing the loss of my hobby and friends due to a new environment.
I should never have feared.
I discovered the Keep quickly, and moved in...realizing that I had found a new 'home' in more ways than one.
The staff became friends, the players became friends, and within 6 months I felt as though I had regained my old community, with all new faces and ideas! I could never replace the 'old' guard, but I could sure start with the 'new'...and it was a grand beginning.
I fell in love with the community all over again.
I wanted to share that particular anecdote, not to make the changes coming about me...but to emphasize the impact the Keep has had on a great deal of people.

A club, a forum, an arena AND a place where 'everybody knows your name'.
EVERYONE I know, who frequented the place (and there were many in my 3 years of attendance) saw KrystalKeep as a 'home away from home'. A place to leave behind the trials and tribulations of life, sit down with a mental 'pint', and just be.
I have known few places with this sense of family attached to such a business, and doubt I will know many more.

I know I'm going to miss all the weekends, all the events and all the 'BS' sessions over our little 'toy soldiers'.
All these things that were made so much more satisfying due to the environment within which they were set.

I want to wish the guys who ran our little home all the best luck in their future endeavors, thank them from the bottom of my heart for providing all the joy they did.
I wish to thank all the players who accepted me from the git-go, and all the heart they put into their play, and their friendships.
And I wish to thank all those who sacrificed their personal time, effort and heart to run the events that kept us all in the loop!

a hearty salute to the end of an era, and now....


"Dice Down, gentlemen...Dice Down"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wraiths Wraiths everywhere, and not a model to build!

Okay, so whadda ya do?
No, really...what do you do, when GW supplies you with a grand unit that you really can't get models for AND they tease you with artwork that appears to be model representative, and looks great?

Well, I started hacking...
it isn't a grand conversion, more a desperate kit-bash, to produce a Wraith for play...but,

Taking parts from the seat assembly of an Annihilation Barge (don't like the pilots on the vehicle), sprinkle in Triarch Praetorian bits for a Torso, arms from the warriors that come with the Ark kits and add the repair feeder to same and voila, something VAGUELY passable...and 100% GW bitz boyz and gels!

I started with a triarch, as it has all the 'techy' elements that would make them jump infantry. Just seemed to fit, somehow.

This is a WIP, the first model in a unit of 4.
I will obviously be cleaning up joints, getting rid of a few things that seemed a good idea at the time, as I progress through the unit.

Any thoughts on improvement are always welcome!





Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I, Necron...

This is my first guest writing for 'The Emperor's Codex' (http://emperorscodex.blogspot.com/)
As my spawn has consumed my brain, and time, I find myself with little consciousness to write. What I want to write, I keep fiddling with and cannot commit to this blog with consistency...sooo, a friend has a blog, I like his blog, and with a psuedo-deadline/commitment to someone else's endeavor, I might actually write the 40k stuff I like more often! (though as per the norm, I mirror anything I write elsewhere here).



A wee bit ago (as in 6 weeks) I was accosted by a new addition to my household.
She (the squirming ball of stink that is my daughter) has infringed on all things 'hobby' and 'sleep', putting me off my feed...thus delaying this, my first writing for Darkmorals. So introductions;
Hi, my name's Mike and I have a problem, plastic-crack(or resin, or metal, but mostly plastic).
For as long as he'll tolerate my inane ramblings and self aggrandizing rants about the hobby we love, I will write guest abominati...articles for the Emperor's Codex!

So, now that the unnecessary is finished, to the meat! (note that this meat is for the masses who have the codex. as I don't have the inclination to write a unit by unit/rule by rule review...it'll be done to death elsewhere...I'm writing this from a sense of changes in the wind for the Necrons, and hopefully the overall environment. it's a review of direction and expectations, not rules/mechanics.)

NECRONS
The codex started as a little White Dwarf raider list (back when WD produced interesting stuff, and didn't cost you a car-payment to keep up with), grew into a list that truly frightened people for a bit and finally slid into ignominy as Imperial after Imperial Codex drove them under, with the help of 5th edition.
Enter the now.

The new 'dex has given us a few things, amongst them a new 'paradigm' of play.
-a base statline that is unique in the current 40k environ (some orkish stats, some marine stats, and the ability to resurrect regardless of the punishment meted out), AV 13 transport spam, and environmental manipulations out the Wazoo.
-the slow and steady advance of an implacable foe, under the umbrella of almost 'mystical' technologies that defy logic (in a fluff sense) and sidestep many simple/reflexive countermeasures.
-an entirely new 'universe' of ideas to work into the ever(if slow) changing 40k universe.

I shall elucidate.

-Paradigm shift.
The basic Necron statline (troops, and other related units) have changed from a MEQ line with low init, to it's own unique pattern. Variation between units, both troops and other categories, play hob with the normal 'cut and paste' mentality many modern 'dexes have. Beyond Ldr, abilities and Attacks, most armies revolve around a very clear performance pattern.
On the surface, Necrons seem to as well. But an inconsistent Save characteristic coupled with 'Reanimation Protocols'(WBB's new clothes), unit regenerating transports and Res orbs (that are expensive to spam, but can be if you really wish to), your opponent(s) will be making shooting/assaulting decisions based on a wider than normal spectrum of hurdles. Conversely, it will require greater acumen/thought on your part, as a Necron player, to fully capitalize on a synergistic mix of these unit patterns.
This adds elements of choice and commitment to your opponent's play and projections, and any time you can increase uncertainty or commitment decisions you also increase the chances for error.

Armour 13 is the new 'norm' for these guys. Their primary vehicles are slow, relative to other open topped skimmers etc, but tough.
Quantum shielding adds the +2 to AV 11 skimmer's front and side facings, but is lost with any penetrating hit. But wait, how often does an open-topped skimmer survive a penetrating hit in our melta/AP-1 happy environment of today? Yeah, it happens...but not enough for that 'downside' to matter. I'll take the fading AV-13 at least equal to a consistent AV-12.
AV-13 is quite tough, coupled with the devastating weaponry and open topped fusillades that can be delivered from the core vehicles in the list. Steady advance with punishing fire and resilience? Oh yeah!

Armour Degradation adds to the shift in mechanics. With Entropic Strike, multiple options exist in the codex to actually REDUCE an enemy vehicle's armour values or even negate armour saves on models. Though the latter is of negligible value against most opponents, the former can be devastating. Scarabs have this, finally elevating them back to not only viable but actually important in the greater scheme of the Necron strategy. Enemies projecting their tin-cans into midfield, counting on them to 'park' on the center, may well watch their vehicles truly become 'paper-tigers'.

-Tortoise and Hare.
Slow and steady wins the race.
This Codex has the potential to be an abject lesson in superior technology and attrition.

The Necrons have characters and wargear that produce night-fight conditions on a whim, nullify said conditions for their turn, other abilities to interfere with deep striking units (albeit not grand, can punish close in strikes) and finally slow down incoming assaults.

Working with Reanimation Protocols and AV-13, these manipulations make for a steady grinding advance that dictates enemy engagement through control, NOT maneuver/speed. Unlike IG and Tau, though, the army steadily advances instead of just(generally speaking) parking and blasting. That is partially a function of ranges, which overlap effectively in the 12-36" bracket, but focus at the 24" break for consistent punishment. Some units do reach out and touch extremely well, but they either have to get very close to do it, are exposed small units of Jump Infantry or are limited in effectiveness on the move (Doom Scythe, Destroyers and Doomsday Ark respectively...the 3 D's?).

-new Universe.
Fluff, now we have it!
Necrons really never had a developed fluff. The WD list from way back when was anemic, pretty much just an excuse to add models to the line in a growing game. It was interesting, and hinted at things, but never developed a real picture of these 'robots'.
The first true Codex made a race that didn't quite fit. The fact such a numerically small race, that was NOT devastatingly powerful on a model-by model basis, could have been instrumental in the downfall of the 'Old Ones'...and a major threat to the galaxy in 'modern times'...made so little sense. The characterization of near drone like slaves also lent little to the mindset of 'role-playing' your generals, something that keeps the hobbyist interested in developing characterful models, and kids introduced to the game intrigued.
This Codex changes all of that, adding a depth that frankly I didn't expect. Now, amongst other things, there really are legitimate reasons for civil-wars. There's a greater understanding of the 'War in Heaven'. There is a deeper delving into the 40k history and universe. And with little or no fluff to 'violate' in the past, even Matt W can't be vilified (this time) for ret-conning the 'history' we have grown to love! (so to shore up DrkM's last 'rant', shut up with yer whining...I've loved Necrons since 2nd Ed, I AM a Matt Ward basher/hater, and I LOVE this change).


This Codex review was brought to you by the letter 'F', as in Fan-Boy!
I don't normally laud GW, and have grown to become one of those bitter addicts who can't put down the plastic-pipe he keeps puffing on.
I have had Necrons in my army rotation since near the end of 2nd Edition, and after what Matt W did to my beloved BA and GK, I FEARED what was coming. Dreaded it, in fact...BUT, I was pleasantly surprised.
With good choices available in every Force Org slot, mixtures of firepower ranges, types, and a dearth of Melta I believe the Codex to be balanced and strong.
I DO believe that in the current 5e environment, they will be a middle-ground competitive (mid-tier competitive for those that believe in tiers) list after the dust settles and people begin to adapt (lascannon additions replacing some missile spam to nerf Quantum Shielding, more aggressive forward projection play etc etc), but I see some more subtle hints under the wrapper of 6e to come...and if they don't do what they did to Daemons and other edition-transitional codices, 6e may truly become the 'Edition of Xenos' (or at least baddies).

Thanks for listening to my rant, and if any commentors want to ask me to go into detail on my 'sense of things' in the 'dex, I will answer....but it's not my blog, and I've already expounded too much to actually do a rule-by-rule/unit-by-unit assessment in the main body!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

the Three Laws...

1st law of Baby-otics;
an infant shall not enable rest, nor through inaction, allow a parent sleep.

2nd law of Baby-otics;
an infant shall not understand adult commands, excepting where this would conflict with the first law (thus allowing blessed sleep).

3rd law of Baby-otics;
an infant shall not allow its diaper to be changed, excepting times when this will impinge upon parental down-time, thus avoiding conflict with the first and second laws (lest she enable blessed blessed sleep).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Incoming...

It's baby-time! If all goes well, daughter by evening? :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ard Boyz-the Games (or 'how I stopped worrying, and learned to love the dice')

Okay, so the Venue was good...now we'll look at the games.

I brought my DE, final incarnation looking something akin to this;

Azdrubael Vect
Haemonc (venom blade/crucible of mal/liquifier)
3 Trueborn (2x Dark Lance)
Venom (kitted)
3 Trueborn (2x Dark Lance)
Venom (kitted)
3 Trueborn (3x Blaster)
Venom (kitted)
10 Warriors (SCannon/Blaster)
Raider (kitted)
10 Warriors (SCannon/Blaster)
Raider (kitted)
10 Warriors (SCannon/Blaster)
Raider (kitted)
8 Wyches (Agonizer/Haywire Grenades/Snet+Imp)
Raider (kitted)
8 Wyches (Agonizer/Haywire Grenades/Snet+Imp)
Raider (kitted)
8 Wracks (liquifier)
Raider (kitted)
Razorwing (kitted/SCannon)
Razorwing (kitted/Scannon)
Ravager (kitted)
(kitted=Shock Prow/Flickerfield/Nightshield on vehicles that could take them)

I was supplied with copies of the lists from my last two opponents, my first having a printer malf and writing his list down upon arrival(having only one copy on hand). I appear to have lost them, so they are ALL being pulled from memory.
________________________________________________________
Round 1;
Scenario; Messenger (you know the drill, VPs with bonuses for the Messenger.)
Deployment; Pitched Battle

Opponent 1; swiss army knife Mahreenz! ('nilla marines)
Captain on bike with Relic Blade
Libby with Gate and Null Zone
8(?)x THSS terminators
3 Units of 10 tacticals (rhino)
2 Units of Bikes (full kit, with MM/Melta)
3 Units of 10 devs w/4x lascannon (razorbacks)
Thunderfire cannon

Okay, dispersed...but the thunderfire could actually give me guff. CSquadded Devs in his ruins (with bolster) were a significant threat as well, considering there was only ONE good piece of terrain on the board (right of center, middle deep).

He won the roll, and chose to go first...between this and his deployment, the game was over barring bad dice. It wasn't so much a true error, as a lack of understanding DE (I think). He spread out with his bikes, but cornered himself around his Rhino mounted messenger squad (which was his big Dep mistake, that and not making a biker troop the messenger).
I refused flank, opposite the one blocking piece on the board, and began to whittle him away.

It went as I expected, but not as I hoped. I killed what I needed, delivered my Messenger (while killing his prior to delivery), and kept it alive for the game. Where it came apart was turns 4/5. I just stopped killing things. Dice that loved me turns 2/3 suddenly decided they were 'used up'. I kept the win, solidly, but just die-stymied myself out of a Massacre.
My opponent, on the other hand, was there till the end and VERY fun to play. Other than his initial goofs, that he recognized on his own later in the game, he made few (if any) mistakes.
Results;
Major Victory/+2 Bonus pts.
________________________________________________________
Round 2;
Scenario; King of the hill (1 objective center, pitched battle with most scoring units within 3" controlling)
Deployment; Pitched Battle

Opponent 2; Fatecrusher Variant (daemons)
Fateweaver
Bloodthirster
4 Bloodcrushers (kitted)
4 Bloodcrushers (kitted)
6(?) Fiends (kitted)
3x 5 Plaguebearers
2x 5 Horrors (one with Changeling)
BIG unit of Seekers
BIG unit of Screamers
3x Tzeentch DPs full shooting and Ironhide

Okay, Fatecrusher variants...I don't fear these, but haven't actually played against one with my DE. Ah well, it's all about target priority. :-)

He wins the roll to go first, and...chooses 2nd. Well, he's about to have a VERY teachable(and painful) moment.

I deploy on my line with maximum dispersion...I give him one last chance, and ask him if he wishes to roll to seize. He laughs, and says 'why would I want to?'
I proceed to 'illuminate' him.
Full movement, with 36" flat outs on my 'Wings, and my movement is finished. I gave him three safe 'pockets' to deploy in. One in his left corner, one in my right and one in my left.
He kinda looks at the table with understanding dawning.
He spends the rest of the game picking up models at a rate of two or more units a turn.
Turn 3 he loses Fateweaver, and appears very irritated I didn't shoot at him until then.
The game ends (due to roll) turn 5. Unfortunately, due to his lack of understanding as to how Tank shock works (and a bad call from the TO, the only one I was aware of the whole day) I lose the massacre. He simply refused to accept how it 'should' work, and only wanted to shift units he perceived as being affected. Ah well, I'll take the major.
(note, if this seems like a less gracious writing than my prior round report, it is...this 'gentleman' argued with me a great deal after his turn 2, around when he realized he was losing. Up til then, he had questioned two of my moves and 2 ranges for shooting...both of which I was correct on...starting with turn 3 he questioned nearly every range and movement, slowing me down GREATLY. He actually FOUGHT me on the tank shock, and managed to flummox the TO. I don't like being slow-played, and merely sped up as much as I could. I think he was actually irritated the game ended 15min prior to dice-down).

Results;
Major Victory/+3 Bonus Points
_____________________________________________________
Round 3;
Scenario; Variable (random victory? the fu##???...If you aren't in the know, look it up...it was irritating. It's the scenario I did NOT want to play)
Deployment; Spearhead

Opponent 2; Dante-wing variant(blood angels)
Dante
Sang Priest
Sang Priest (jumper)
6x Terminators (LClaws)
Sang Guard (kitted)
Sang Guard (kitted)
Sang Guard (kitted)
Tacticals (razor/twin Asscannon)
Tacticals (razor/twin Asscannon)
3x MM Attk Bikes
3x MM Attk Bikes
3x MM Attk Bikes
Storm Raven (MM/Asscannon)
Dreadnought (Talons)

He won the roll, I failed to seize.
We were both tired, and at this point (with the AC out, and unseasonably warm weather, sweating our arses off) we just played.
Nothing stood out, it was sniping vs positioning. He reserved His jumpers and loaded Stormraven (Termies and Dread).

I positioned and played the game banking on two things, NOT getting the 'terrain' Victory Condition, and getting 6+ turns. (we promptly rolled 'Terrain Features' top of turn 3).
That, coupled with a ruling that Terrain pieces could not be contested on turn 4, I played 'out of position' for a turn and only managed a Minor Victory when it ended bottom of turn 5 (damn you dice).
I would LOVE to blame the ruling for throwing off my plans, but frankly...I should have spent turn 3 being a bit more aggressive. I let my inability to kill the SR until bottom of 4 influence me just a wee bit too much (counting on a turn 6) and lost the Major due to it. Sometimes, even when playing 'conservative' DE, you have to drop your balls on the table.

Results;
Minor Victory/+2 Bonus Points
________________________________________________

I wound up in 4th place (out of +40 players), much to my surprise. Had I realized I was doing as well as I was (hindsight, and all that crap) I might have been a little more pushy in Game-2...but assumed nothing but massacres would get me into top 3. The fact that this gamer pool had little in the way of 'gimme' players, and some unpredictable variables with scenarios, I shouldn't have been as surprised (not at my placing, but that few were going to just 'massacre' their way into finals).

Overall, a great string of games.
I really didn't get THAT irritated with my second opponent. My good mood game from turn 1 (my opponent and I had a load of fun) just carried me through. Probably why I didn't really push the issue on the Tank Shock...or accuse slow-play...just rolled with it. It may just be that's the way his group plays, and he didn't really see anything 'different' about it.

I will DEFINITELY return to the 'arena' next year. Until then, I plot!

The Good, the bad...and amazingly NO ugly! Ard Boyz Semis 2011

Okay, so last year I had a...well let's just say 'bad'...Ard Boyz experience.
I had fun with my opponents, but the Venue not so much. I'm not going to re-hash it here, just reference it;
http://exitusactaprobat1.blogspot.com/2010/06/ard-boyz-semi-finals-resultsreport.html
(if you're interested in the 'review' of the venue, scroll past the bat-reps and read...it ain't pretty).

So, after last year I was leery to return to Indianapolis for Semis.
In no way was the player base onerous, in fact I genuinely had fun with my fellow players last year...but the venue REALLY left a bad taste in my mouth.
Honestly, with gas and tight finances shaving a half hour off the drive (coupled with the player base being solid players, well versed in the rules and genuinely pleasant) Indy was the only truly logical choice.

Like last year, I was up at the butt-crack of dawn waiting for friends to carpool with. Also, like last year, my spouse drug her sleep-loving (and now very pregnant) self out of bed to cook us all breakfast. Soon we were on the road, chatting about the game and life (but honestly, it was a bunch of guys going to play with plastic crack...we talked mostly about the game).

2+ hours later we arrived.
We walked in, and after initial shock(the store was small for upwards of 50+ possible players) we were directed to an empty shopfront next-door...and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Before dice down, nearly ALL my fears from last year were alleviated. Though terrain was light (for my tastes) on some of the tables, a genuine effort had been made to make certain things were good...and they were. So, without further ado, I will review the effort that Games2D4For (http://www.games2d4.com/) put forth for this years 'Ard Boyz semis in Indianapolis!

-Venue location-Good; not too far off the beaten track. All told, maybe 15 minutes off of I-70, and pretty straightforward to get to. Aside from minor glitches (My GPS AND Google Maps both led us slightly astray) we found it with very little difficulty. Located at a major intersection, with easily accessed food and necessities, it was a very amenable destination to drive to.

-Venue Layout-Good; Just as a store, it is good. Definitely a labor of love that has its heart in all the right places. For 'Ard Boyz semis, it was a bit small...but the ownership rented an entire storefront next door to accommodate the geekery that was descending upon it. That setup was well laid out, with minimal constraints to movement, and (space allowing) as much concession to comfort as could be delivered. Elbow room was tight, but not excessively so. Chairs were supplied for all players. Walking aisles were clear enough for any needed travel between games/for Judge travel. The only complaint would have been potential for excessive butt-rubbing, but it was less than I expected.

-Terrain Layout-Average; A genuine effort was put forward to populate the tables with playable, competitive terrain...and it showed. Unfortunately, consistency was not great. Some tables had very large blocking pieces, others had few or none. For the most part, terrain averaged just over 20% (between extremes). Low, but not crippling...and far better than last year. Consistency was my ONLY issue, as variation between tables was a bit extreme.

-TO involvement-Excellent; What can I say? He gave a damn. He walked the tables, responded to requests for input immediately and was quick to explain rulings with no rancor (in fact, ALMOST apologetically when ruling against someone...not in a wishy washy fashion, but in an empathetic way). Funny thing, he wasn't even supposed to be the primary (who was in a car accident on the way to the event...fortunately just fine) and had his girlfriend from out of town hanging out for the weekend. He sacrificed a great deal to make sure we were all covered.

-Ownership involvement-Excellent; Again, he(they?) gave a damn. Walking the floor and talking with the TO constantly, to insure happiness (or at least sportsmanship) abounded. It's an investment in time/money/energy for something like this to go off with little in the way of issues, and they did it.

-Transparency-Excellent; Spreadsheets, constant updating, posted listings/tables and even off-handed knowledge of pairings (etc) bore all the earmarks of genuine and unbiased involvement in all aspects of pairing.

-Timeliness-Good; A might late on a few little things, but frankly that ball started rolling with the accident, so no issues.

My only gripes for the whole thing (Venue/TO related) were really terrain based.

I think more varied terrain on individual tables, while maintaining a greater level of consistency between tables, would have been even greater improvement than an increase in percentages.
BUT, I also am of the firm opinion that 5th ed functions best at the 30% terrain mark (noting that the 25% mark really is a minimum, not a cap).

I will CERTAINLY return here if they ever do host 'Ard Boyz semis again, and may make it a point to drive out there just for one of their RTT's.

Thank you Games2Die4, for restoring my faith in the system!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tales of a 4th place nothing!

So, finally got excited about 'Ard Boyz...2 day before semis! :-O

Went to Indianapolis, my closest semi's location being Games2die for.
They did a very good job, with only a few minor gripes and a great deal of Kudos.
(I will write a full review sometime this week, but have a great deal to do today)

I took 4th, and unlike last year had NO lopsided games.
Each of my opponents were solid, with lists they tuned in and played very well.
I was also fortunate to play no repeat armies, or civil wars.
I brought my Dark Eldar.

My results were;
Rd 1- Major Victory (2 bonus)
Rd 2- Major Victory (3 bonus)
Rd 3- Minor Victory (2 bonus)

I thank all three of my opponents for well fought, well executed and challenging contests.
Mini-Batreps, scenario evals and Venue comments to follow this week.

Thanks for listening to my inconsistent ramblings, but with a baby 3-6 days out, the last month+ has kept me...well, 'distracted' :-D

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Good Luck...

...to all those playing in 'Ard Boyz this day.

I found myself strangely un-motivated, until the past week. Then I stepped back and decided to just have fun.
After a furor of list building and angst driven culling of silt in lists, I have gotten righteously 'pumped'; and am looking forward to throwing many dice (mostly on the table, but perhaps occasionally at opponents).

Have fun all!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

'Ard Boyz...or 'Ard Meh...?

So, is it just me...
or is the excitment for 'Ard Boyz kinda...meh...this year?

I'm having trouble getting all 'hot and bothered'.
I've already decided to drop out of the 'YTTH' challenge, and just run what I want...
I've already decided (assuming I actually place this time) that I probably won't do the semis (due date for incoming 'screaming ball of stinkitude' notwithstanding) unless there's a location really close by doing them...and even then, only a MAYBE.
I'm buying pretty much zilch for army tweaking (unlike last year, where I dumped an extra 120$ into my 'nids 3 wks out), just grabbed a few extra used terminators to flesh out my DW...stuff that I already wanted anyway.

Then I looked about and saw the similar sentiments being voiced here and there (and by same, I mean even down to the 'reduced spending' et al)...

It's just not...well, just 'not'...this time 'round.

so, is it just me?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sister's of Battle (thoughts...and other such)

Coming soon to a corner near you...need to digest...and stop raging...

The Good, the bad...and the Ugly (Krystal Keep RTT 07/23)

Okay, this one's not going to be QUITE as in depth as Buckey Battle's event...but that's because I'm tired, overheated and babysitting a crappy dog.

This last Saturday, I went to an event at my local FLGS...the Krystal Keep.
I have to thank them for both hosting an event, and finding a TO to cover for...well me, most often. I got to play, and I didn't have to stress setting up/running an event in this miserable work-summer I've been having...yay! :)
That being said, the 'bad' & 'ugly' have ZERO reflection on the store, as they merely allowed a player to run one...one he asked about running, was not asked to.

The good;
well...it was a tournament?
honestly, he ran an event...stepped up to swing the bat...and I was able to step out of reality for a few hours and horse around with some friends. 'nuff said?
-price; 10$ entry fee. This seems to be on the low end for many events, and I was happy. It's a price-point I try to maintain for my events, to make it cheaper for traveling players (with gas prices) and younger players (less hard to get the 'rents to pay up).
-prize support; excellent for the entry. I don't know the totals off the top of my head, but with only 14 players on a $10 entry, I THINK it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $250-300(ish). With GW support kickback, that still equates into full money=prizes. :)
-terrain; adequate. Though that word does not imply perfection, I have grown (over the years) to be HAPPY AS HELL with 'adequate'! It could have been a little more consistent, and maybe a bit denser, but I only saw a VERY few of the tables we used that were truly sparse (ie;20% or less). That happened to punish my last opponent, as we got one of them, but overall did NOT seem to dominate the play.

The Bad
scoring records; poor at best. Having ONLY a sheet the PLAYER keeps in hand all day, then turned in at the end, is not a very good...or transparent...method of tracking. It can work, but only in a smaller event where everyone truly knows one another.

that's about all I would call 'bad'...

The Ugly (and it was very...)
-random pairings; see my rant, and ALL that entails, in my 'Buckeye Battles' entry...then subtract the mood of happy from all the good they implemented. That about says it all. Please, people, Swiss does NOT = 'random pairings'...just STOP!
-random scenarois; WTF? okay, this was VERY bad. On TWO fronts!
a) the potential for playing the same scenario each round (happened to me and one other)
b) the fact that each TABLE each ROUND rolled randomly, allowing for NO consistency between played rounds/victory conditions.
This is just bad, guys, and smacks of no small amount of laziness (or inexperience). At a 'tournament', some semblance of regularity and competitiveness should be expected. Not necessarily pure competition uber alles, but a modicum of uniformity needs to be maintained.
If, as a TO, you MUST randomize your scenarios out of the book...at least randomize per round for everybody across the board, not each game being potentially different. Much gnashing of teeth was heard.
-engagement; walk it(or talk it). There was little (or no) walking about the tables by the TO. In fact, for the most part, I saw him playing his own games (once as a ringer, as someone dropped out...but otherwise they just seemed to be pick-ups). This is also BAD...as in 'cross the streams' level bad.
You need to establish your face, develop a rapport and be aware of potentially developing issues (with scoring, scenarios, rules OR personalities) at every stage of an event you run. It establishes authority without assiness, involvement without intrusiveness and confidence in the event (or future ones).

Overall, without changes, I would NOT attend an event like this one again...
BUT;
the TO was totally new. This was his first event, and at the end he took a great deal of feedback from myself and others. If he implements a majority of it (from whichever sources, or all of them) his reputation AND events should quickly grow.

I'm giving him another shot, if he steps up to swing the bat again, and hope that he has learned.
I'm too tired and old to do it all the time anymore :D

Monday, July 18, 2011

How I've spent the last four months (and change)

Howdy, Helpless Will back in the author's chair. Why? I blame EAP's rapidly accelerating senility, but hey, it's what happens when one achieves such advanced age. So, what I've been up to lately, and by "lately" I mean since the third week of February until a couple of days ago;


Yup, the oft mentioned Warhound is complete. My mother, decided that her perpetually adolescent eldest child needed a tremendously cool gift this past Christmas. I've said it before about a number of things, and I'm sure I'll say it again, "Thanks Mom!"


They say a picture's worth a thousand words. To me, these speak a few more than that. Sure, they speak to how a large chunk of my time has disappeared since late February, but there's a lot more associated with them, when I look them over.


Naturally, over the course of a project of this length, a lot went on outside of it. Without going into too much detail, the standouts on this one were, in no particular order, the death of a friend, my mother's second go round with cancer, my sister's first go round with it, my room mate's emergency appendectomy, and many lesser examples of ill fortune. The first half of this year has been expensive, stressful, and possessed of an overarching stupid and / or tragic sort of theme. In my direct experience, I was far from alone in this. Good friends have had their own share of misfortune, some much more severe than my own. It's not like it was my appendix that blew up after all.


Some pretty cool things have happened also. Two pregnancies within my circle of friends. A couple of friends are employed again after entirely too much time out of work. Every health emergency listed above has turned out about as well as could be hoped for, though my kid sister still has some lingering issues, they're not life threatening.


So, anyway, I got a Chaos Warhound for Christmas. I started putting it together in late February. It took until mid-July to finish it. It would have been done sooner but for all the distractions real life can throw at you. Now that it's finished, I can't look at it without a lot of pride, satisfaction, and contemplation of all that occurred during its construction.


Glad that's done with. Here's hoping I won't repeat any of it anytime soon. Here's some more pics. Enjoy these fine examples of my thoroughly mediocre painting skills, and apologies for the quality of the pics. Replacing my cell phone with a real camera is on the list of things to do.








Next up? A hint;

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The good, the bad...and the Ugly (Buckeye Battles 40k GT)

Ok,
so I'm a little over a week late with this, but I have been...well, busy is a word.

I went to the Buckeye Battles 40k GT a little over a week ago. (July 8th). I haven't attended a GT in a while, but a Friday event allowed me to attend without having to get a schedule change approved...allowing me to go to more than one Tourney in the same month.
I had some concerns about format, but Friday tourney uber-alles and I went.

We'll start with the GOOD;
-Terrain: Very good. Each table achieved a solid 23-28%. Most of the tables were thematic and aesthetically appealing, with a great deal of unique and carefully crafted pieces. Those that were populated with 'stock' terrain (abundantly available pieces from either GW, or a local guy who produces bits) were still laid out well, and cohesive. There were very few tables that did not make the grade, and for the most part they went unused (as there were just around 30 players, and spare tables if they went over).
-Judge: (same as TO, but how he handled himself as a judge here). He was a walker...my personally preferred method. He walked about, observed the games and armies. He talked to people when appropriate, merely observed when things were 'on the line', and was amiable. He ruled when he knew, referenced the books when he wasn't 100% and asked experienced players for input when available (a good trait). Excellent all the way 'round.
-Venue: barely tight. I 'rubbed butts' in only one round, but the space was maximized well with VERY little cramping. On a large stage at a universtity, set up for both the Fantasy event (Sat/Sun) and 40k (Fri) they utilized the space VERY well...and theatre seats provided GREAT between round resting. The only negative here was on-site food services...they were quite lacking (but compensated for by foresight on the TO's part, and delivered pizza).
-Organization: hiccups resulted (as far as I could tell) solely from late arrivals pushing us back by 30min. This was slightly made up by shortening a break when all players were finished on a round, and properly rested.
-Entry; 15$ for a GT (without much else for monetary considerations, and lunch included)? Okay, I'm loving it! (especially with the level of prize support...this was awesomesauce, even though I didn't really win anything...winning!)

The BAD;
-Parking: was a bit confusing, some signs discouraging parking in a restricted lot would have prevented me from having to move the car...but that was minor.
-Food Services: with a GT, it's usually a good idea to have a venue that has in-house food services. Less coordination on a TO's part is always good for a smoother event, lower stress levels to TO/players...and making certain it is 100% clear to all players (in advance) is important. GT's are grinding, on occasion, and having amenities for all reduces that stressor.
-Scenarios: when utilizing non-standard scenarios, you need to go to GREAT lengths to insure clarity. Two of the scenarios we played (6 were posted on the website, 4 were used for the 4 rounds) were unclear as to how they were scored. Only ONE was egregious though (stating annihilation, while actually utilizing only VPs), but knowing in advance that VPs were pretty much the ONLY kill-score method may have altered my list choices...but only MAY have. Again, these are minor gripes, as overall this only created a small amount of confusion (that was clarified right before round-start for the most part).
-Time; Four 2+ hour rounds in one day...after a long drive there, followed by a long drive back...'nuff said...it was a grind, and I have grown OLD! :D

The UGLY:
-Forgeworld; this MAY be the last FW event I ever play in. I accepted that I may be 'forge-worlded' out...but I had no real idea (not owning all the books) how FOUL some of the newer forgeworld material can be. Land Raider Achilles? Holy-Grud! I had NO answer, other than close assault, to these. And with a POTMS Vindicator using them as cover, my DW wasn't getting close...I felt like a 9 year old dropped into a polar-bear paddock.
If you are going to allow FW (no super-heavies/gargantuan/flyers), you have to make allowances for certain factors. My personal collection involves flyers, as I like them from an Apoc standpoint...and do not have the money to dig in deep for these things. Allowing flyers would have balanced some of the more OP ground forces, and not broken the system. (I think a Thunderbolt would have had the same overall impact in the event, as an Achilles...but that's me).
For a competitive event, with a great deal of prize support (from a per-player to $value ratio), FW should go. There is NO balancing factor, little method of coming up with a true metric for assessing your competitiveness (as there are few FW events, there are fewer opportunities to assess certain synergies) and no real method of assessing pairing factors beyond pure scores (as this event seemed to have done in some fashion)...it really throws Strength of Schedule out the window (see next).
-Pairings; Pairings for events like this, are normally swiss system...or some other method that involves 1st round random, and following round vs like ranked opponents.
Yet we received the packets, which stated pairings would be random...and scoring would involve bonuses based on opponent SoS.
WTF??? I had not seen this on the website, which may be a failing of mine for research...but I looked again and still didn't find this info.
I can honestly say, excepting for my round 1 opponent, I should not have faced (under normal pairing systems) ANY of my following opponents. Not even close.
Also, my 2nd round game appeared to have been a win for me (I assume from some SoS adjustment) vs the close loss my opponent and I thought I had suffered. That confusion led me to play differently in my 3rd and 4th rounds (more relaxed and uncaring) vs with clarity and sense of purpose.
This was TERRIBLE...utterly. Random pairings have no place in a competitive event. I get the intent, and none of it was done with intent to be obtuse or bollox people up...it was done (likely) to assist the TO in scoring and pairing times (as he was using, I think, the same system for both events...and had a much larger group playing for the rest of the GT over the weekend...AND seemed to be flying solo). That is not to intimate laziness, it is simple efficiency..I get it, and understand it...but wholly DON'T espouse it.
I DON'T like flying through an event with NO idea how the spread is playing, who is where on the tables...and I REALLY didn't like the randomness pulling me a PERFECT opponent in the last round (for me). I tabled him. I DON'T like tabling people, and I don't like TOTALLY one-sided games...he was crushed, but fortunately smiling the whole way (crushed in a game sense, not spirit sense).
-Sporstmanship; I waffled on this one, as it can be a taste issue more than anything...and waffled on where to place this (bad, or ugly).
But my 3rd round opponent clinched it for me. I have seen this guy in action, and he CAN be a little...pushy/arsey. I ran an event with him, and he was NOT easygoing in any game I observed (two of the three)...and nearly caused a real altercation one round. Yet the entire game (with me) he was insidiously fawning and complimentary. My army is painted well, from a TABLETOP perspective. Yet listening to him, I had a golden-daemon level army...with shading far above and beyond any skill level he'd seen. My land raider was shaded and highlighted beyond pro-quality...etc etc etc (you get the point). The thing wasn't even finished, just 'mostly' there. I cheated with washes, and hadn't even blacklined.
He was fishing for 'favorite opponent' votes with everyone, as far as I could tell...and if he faced any of the 'kids', that would have worked. I just smiled, swallowed my pride, and played on.
It's not that he was 'bad'. He was just fishing. If you're on the table at an event, you should play as you normally play in a tourney...not go in with a false smile. I am not espousing 'assy' play, but be honest with yourself and your opponent. Platitudes and alligator tears are insulting to a savvy/empathic opponent.
If you are going to 'include' sportsmanship, as part of a 'Best Overall' scoring, you should also make a clear 'checklist'. The scoring for this was a 'Judge' call, with adjustments based on observed attitudes/altercations/table tense-ness. I don't care HOW engaged you are, this will not reflect a totally objective view. My 3rd opponent 'ramped up' his 'compliments' on my painting whenever the TO hove into view...this was fairly obvious to me, yet would not have been if the TO was on the move elsewhere (and my opponent seemed to be watching). I also can say, that unless loud and heated, the TO could very well have missed some minor altercations.
If it scores into overall, frankly, it should be in the hands of the players...not an ephemeral and un-quantifiable fashion.

Overall, I DID enjoy myself greatly.
I played 4 people I had never played before (yayyy travelling), and did not repeat a single army type for opponent.
I will reconsider returning next year, but will probably not if the scoring AND FW restrictions/allowances stay totally the same.

Tired....

ground under is more like it,
sorry for no posts of late...

Working on it now :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Battle Points...and other discourse...

So,
I played in an RTT yesterday.

I won't go into pairings, or scenarios...these were separate to the issue I had with BP scoring.

I don't like BPs...at all. :)

I took third place, in this RTT, and I LOST my first game.
The scoring was the all.

I lost game 1, with scoring that netted my opponent full BPs after my concession.
Those totalled 8.
I netted 2 points.
My second game, I pulled 8 points, my opponent 2.
My third game, apparently, allowed for the possibility of somewhere in the neighborhood of 16(?) pts max. And I tabled my foe, honestly without intent...it just happened (and the first time I have ever tabled someone in tourney).

So,
problem the 1st...consistency.

When developing an event around BPs, EVERY round should score precisely the same.
If there isn't a scoring method that is consistent between rounds, a single favorable pairing (be it RPS matchup, or skill level, or simply scenario favor) towards the end can significantly skew results.

problem the 2nd...transparency.

When putting scenarios to paper, ALL scoring must be 100% clear and concise.
In the first two scenarios, it appeared as though you could acquire bonus points beyond the 8 for a win, 2 for a loss (etc etc).
Yet after round 2 was over, we discovered that the 'bonus points' were actually a sliding scale of score based on various factors. Thus, all rounds were adjusted to scores of 2, 4(?) or 8.
After round three, we were informed THAT round's points were cumulative. If memory serves, that round could net you somewhere around 16 pts by that scoring method.
This meant we ALL played round 3 with 8 points in mind. Few players played for other victory conditions, just shooting for the primary (KP advantage).
I don't think anyone else tabled an opponent in round three but myself, and in doing so I MORE than doubled my total score...in ONE round??? That sounds like a comment to 'problem the first', but it's more a problem of transparency. If other (better placed players) had played 'balls to the walls' to table, they would likely have scored enough to put me out of top 3.

Problem the 3rd...nerfing round 1

I did this...wholly unintentionally, but I did. NOT the way I would have set it up (had it been intent), but I did.
This is the concept of taking a minor win/minor loss round 1 in order to insure favorable pairings throughout the rest of an event. Afterward, if running a hyper-effecient list or simply being a high-speed player, you should find yourself seeding against opponents with slightly weaker lists/skill.
It relies on pulling a more manageable opponent round 1, but it happens often.

This sort of shenanigans was the main motivating factor behind me expanding points spreads/going to win loss with seeding bonus points.

Problem the 4th...points spread.

It's simple, and does not need much expounding.
The greater the points potential/spread between win/loss and bonus points OPENS UP THE FIELD.
When running BPs, you need at least a 10 pt gap between a massacre and being massacred.
That, (combined with bonus points for various advantage, superior play or secondary objectives) 'nerfs' the advantage for first round nerfing AND creates a more accurate seeding for round 2.

I don't feel totally 'clean' with my results from yesterday, and credit the 3rd round scoring directly for that placement...

But I did take the product, in this crazy economy we have!!! :)

YTTH Ard Boyz challenge...

So,
it isn't what I would have built for myself, but I've chosen to follow the 'Ard Boyz challenge from YTTH.

I've been enamored of Dark Angels (shifting to Deathwing/Doublewing as those armies developed) since Rogue Trader.
Though the list doesn't capitalize as much on mixed firepower/THSS units, it does compensate for the weaknesses I normally accept as a given in the DW based builds I run.
(his Ard Boyz list; http://yesthetruthhurts.com/2011/06/ard-boyz-challenge-the-dark-angels/ )

As I like playing outside my normal spread for some events, I'm picking up and running with Stelek's take on 2500pts of DA doom!

Looking at it, the list has it's own issues...as all older, short-legged codexes do...but he's filled in the gaps nicely.
My love for THSS models regularly dinks my ability to deal with volume/hordes/exposed infantry.
With only 5 man squads, the THSS assault does NOT compensate often enough (as was re-emphasized with yesterday's RTT). ESPECIALLY when that assault is against dedicated horde/volume assault elements. Hell, it even fell down against 5-6 man grey hunters (without power weapons) a few times.

As it still revolves around terminators, specifically SCORING terminators, I think I will still have a great deal of fun running it...
and who knows, maybe I will actually get to PRACTICE with it, before the event, this year! :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

GK FAQ FTW!

Ok,
so finally with the GK love...or at least repair. :)

http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m1830601a_Grey_Knights_v1_0.pdf

No real surprises from my end, I was certain of all the 'major' clarifications but for one. My thoughts on the biggies (ie;not blatant)were as follows;

What counts as daemons? Well, obviously...Daemons! The inclusion of Oblits (etc) may be a surprise to some, but I was expecting that list. Mandrakes, on the other hand, actually lends a depth to their fluff that I was NOT expecting (though again, by fluff, it makes sense...as a confirmation of DE depravity if nothing else).

'dex uber BRB, dreads can score...simple.

A dink on the scout v shunt, as in you cannot do it...balance issue only, as far as I can see. If you can turbo-boost, you should be able to shunt...but again, I expected it from a balance perspective. Doesn't make 1st turn assaults impossible, just more difficult to employ/easier to stymie.

The BIGGEST one (IMHO), NO...taking Coteaz does NOT give you unlimited henchmen units. Common sense, if you ask me, but I'm not a GW employee so you never know! :)

Str 6 dreadknights without a Daemon Hammer. I was not sure how this one was going to land, to be honest. It makes sense, or the Hammer seems useless. I just don't get the need to add the 'doomfist' as wargear...beyond making it a Force Weapon wielder.

Falchions. Seriously guys, did you SERIOUSLY think they were going to give you +2 attacks? The wargear entry was clear, a pair = +1 attack. GAH! Read words, don't read INTO them! :)

And totally out of left field, nearly all the Tau weaponry count as plasma? Fluff memory fails me, but I didn't think they were? Oh well, at least you won't see syphons often.


I did miss an addressing of 'Crucible of Malediction' vs 'Psychic Pilot', and was surprised that no query came up of 'Psychic Communion' being used off table...but meh.


Overall, I was VERY pleased with this FAQ. It was not a nerf, it was not a rewrite, it was a redress. Coupled with clarifications in the new BRB FAQ (the big one there being, no casting of the same p-power by the same psyker in the same turn), the new Grey Knights did not get a bump over the top, nor did they take a hit I did not foresee...bravo GW!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Product Review Forgeworld Preheresy Assault Marines


Greetings all. I don't know about you, but my resin addiction is climbing to whole new levels with the preheresy kits Forgeworld's been churning out lately. So, naturally when they sent out the newsletter with the assault marines, I nearly warped time in my haste to hit the "buy now" button.

Monday, last week, the first set showed up, and yesterday I finally had time to take them out and look at what I'd spent my hard earned wages upon. Pictures below, but first, commentary.

Overall quality is about what I'd expect from Forgeworld at this point, the casts, with one notable exception, are clear, crisp, and have lovely amounts of detail to lengthen the prepping and painting process. This batch lacks the mold residue that's been common lately. They weren't in the least bit shiny, or slick to the touch. The photos will reflect this, as they were take directly out of the packaging, no washing or assembly has taken place so far.

Overall, I'm incredibly pleased with the figs.

Down checks are the normal amount of mold flash, and the hands, arms, and weapons for the figs. I appreciate the versatility provided by the hands being separate from the arms. It's going to allow for a great deal of customization. The potential for dynamic poses is great. I am, however, not enamored of the pinning process that may be necessary. Glue, and cheaters pins might be sufficient though.

For reference what I mean by, "cheaters pins, " is drilling a small hole in either side of a join, just like you normally would for pinning, but then, instead of placing a pin, just use a bit more glue than normal to fill the holes. It's really just a way of giving the glue a bit more surface area to bond with. With parts this small, a couple of indentations is probably good enough.

The only serious complaint I have is one of the MkII Jump packs has a huge amount of mold flash. Definitely a leaky mold there. The picture below really doesn't do the thing justice. Thankfully, I only need 16 of the 20 marines for their intended project. The remaining four are going to be configured as lords or champions, eventually. I've got plenty of time to see if it's at all salvageable. You'll get a look at that project in some of my upcoming posts.

Only other comment worth making is that the MkV molds seem to be a little tighter than those they use for the MkII's. Less mold flash over all, and certainly nothing as egregious as the one jump pack.

On to the pics;

MKII Jump Packs

MKII Legs

MKII Torsos

MKII Heads

MKII Bits

MKII Arms (Note hands and weapons are each separate pieces)

MKII Weapons and Hands

MKV Legs

MKV Jump Packs

MKII Jump Pack Flash

More pics at;
https://picasaweb.google.com/helplesswill/HelplessWillS40kStuff?feat=directlink

Riflemen dreads are popular. Who'da thunk it?


Received an interesting e-mail from Forgeworld this morning, in response to a couple of inquiries. I'll just quote the relevant bit;

The Mortis Autocannon is currently the most popular kit we make and we just cannot make them fast enough to keep up with demand. So they have been removed from sale to allow the casting department to catch up with back order and to create some more for stock. What this means is that it is likely to be 1-2 months before it is available to order once more.

For reference, this was the left arm autocannon I had been asking about. So, heads up if you're in desperate need for a rifleman dread, you're going to have to convert something up.



Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ground down a bit....

Many thoughts, a few games...and some dwelling.

But life has been in a great deal of flux for the last two weeks, and I have been a bit of 'ground under'.

So, I apologize to any who actually peruse my madness looking for the entertainment...it hasn't been with me lately. :(

I'll pick up the ball shortly! :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mortality

A friend has gone in for a triple-bypass...

I haven't heard from his wife, to let me know what's transpired.

I have hope, and even a bit of 'faith'...

But it reminds me, that in the long run we are all a little ephemeral beyond how we influence those we interact with.

Why...

So,
I had two games today.
Two fights, dueling about the battlefield with new toys...and new ideas...

I was going to write a bat-rep for them, but I decided to not sully it.


today was a reminder.
a reminder of why

I played Rob (some of you may know him, some not)
I played Edge (some of you may regret knowing him, some not) :)

I've been under a lot of stress lately, sometimes aware...sometimes not...and it expressed itself in some of my games.

but today I was reminded of WHY we do these things.

Friendship.

Gaming is just another social medium for us to be with those we like, meet some that we didn't know, and bullshit like there's no tomorrow.
It gives us a certain 'arena', and a set of 'rules', to interact with...but ultimately it's just another way to be brother's (or sisters).

Win/lose/draw didn't matter to me today.
Being WITH mattered.

and I want to thank everyone (whether played with, talked to, on this forum or not, or briefly engaged) for being WITH...
because time is precious to all people, and when it is shared in good spirits it is all that much more!

(sappy off, I've been in my cups) :D

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Test

This is a test of the emergency-broadcast system...this is only a test...
if this were a real emergency,
this post would be an off topic rant about politics or social agendas from Exitus...
this is only a test.

Batrep:DW vs IG

1850 test run for a buddy, preparing for CAG.

My list;
I went with a paradigm shift for the Deathwing.
Up 'til now, my focus had been to stay away from mech. No real philosophical issue (though I think over-meching in 40k is getting a little stale), as much as a desire to introduce new elements into my play strategy...and compensate for a lack of >str-8 anti-vehicle fire.
At 1850 I ran
Belial
Terminator squad (5x THSS/Apothecary/Cyclone)
Terminator Squad (5x THSS/Cyclone)
Terminator Squad (4x THSS/1x CF-Sb/Cyclone)
Terminator Squad (4x THSS/1x CF-Sb/Cyclone)
Terminator Squad (4x THSS/1x CF-Sb/Cyclone)
Land Raider
Land Raider Crusader

My opponent's list (roughly, from memory...correct me if you see this and I'm off somewhere);
CCS (4x melta/master of the fleet)
Chimera (HF/ML)
Vets (melta, 2x flamer)
Vendetta(w/hvy bltrs)
Vets (melta, 2x flamer)
Vendetta(w/hvy bltrs)
Vets (3x plasma?/Plp)
Chimera (HF/ML)
Vets (3x plasma?/Plp)
Chimera (HF/ML)
Vets (3x melta?)
Chimera (HF/ML)
Hellhound (MM)
Leman Russ Demolisher (plasma/HF)
Leman Russ Demolisher (plasma/HF)
Leman Russ Eradicator (HB/HF)

Mission (from memory)
Spearhead,
d3+2 objectives (ended up in a diagonal across the table;corner dep zone, center, corner dep zone).
Terrain was a central large-ish 3 story building, clusters of hills in each quarter and a large hill in one quarter. A few rock 'clusters' simulating two 'woods' in non-depzone quarters.(the mission had a rule about burning/crumbling terrain...but it had little effect, and we forgot the first half the game anyway).

He won the roll to deploy objectives, then to choose dep-zones and go first. I also would fail to seize.

We ended up going to turn 6.

He deployed in the quarter with the large hill (this quarter will now be NorthWest quarter, relative to my table-side).
Demolisher and Vet/Chimera squad atop the hill (which had a single obj on it).
The LR Eradicator to his right, centered on the SW quarter's boundary line.
His 2nd demolisher just 4(ish)" behind the 'no man's zone' flanked by chimeras (CCS and other 2 vet squads). Just shy of the NE quarter was his Hellhound, and flanking the entire formation (to either flank) were his Vendettas.
I deployed the standard Land Raider (with termies) 1" behind the objective in my DZ, with the LRC (Belial+Command aboard) offset slightly ahead, and to the NE. Spread to provide supporting cover, the 2 dismounted terminators weaved around them. The goal for this was a)cover(not that it's huge, but it provides a bump-save for the chainfists) and b)embarkation-bubble. That last was to compensate for a potentially vicious 1st turn shooting by my opponent, tag teaming transports to protect crippled units...which seems to invariably happen vs him :)


1st turn;

Prior to rolling for seizing init, he scouted his Vendettas forward. I failed to seize, and the game began.
He advanced a steady line, bringing the eradicator into the SW quarter, and the Hellhound forward NE. The vendettas moved 6" further forward, and the Demo and Chimmy on his back hill stayed put. The CCS and 1 Chimera squad advanced toward the NE/Center and another Chimera squad advanced SW/center. He fired. Scatter laser fire killed 3 Terminators, a vendetta immobilized the standard LRaider, and further fire killed two more termies (leaving me with a terminator squad down to 2, and one down to 3).

I disembarked Belial and his unit from the LRC (advancing them toward the building), mounted the crippled 3 man termie on board it...which then barreled forward 12" (just into the central building). The 2 man squad swapped with the unit aboard the LR...who advanced into the shadow of the LRC. DW assault placed my last terminator assault squad just to the left of the central building (after trying to drop into it, on the central objective). I then fired. Full fire effect brought me both vendettas down(pinning the disembarked unit in the SW corner), a stunned chimmy (central building, just to my left).


2nd turn;

He spread out, to bring weight of fire to my DW assaulting unit and the LRC in the building. He left the Demo/Chimmy on the hill, brought the Hellhound around to my right flank (and into the NE quarter) and the CCS unit up into 4x melta range to the LRC. Fire was less effective for him this turn, and he netted just 2 of the DS'd squad, a command termie and an immobilized LRC(the LRC ate 5x Melta, and 2x MM that turn...for a whopping immobilized).

I advanced the Command squad into the building, the left(3 man) squad up to the stunned chimmy from last turn and the right squad toward the left side of the hellhound/potential assault range to the disembarked Vet squad to my right. The 3 man squad in the LRC jumped out (and into the building, to engage further vehicles from the side). My fire was...lackluster. I shook a chimera (the central/SW one I stunned last turn) and blew off its MultiL. I did kill the PlasVets in the NW chimera, who then fled due to casualties. As my fire was directed at vehicles, the only assault I managed was against the central/SW chimmy...which was chainfisted to death...flaming, explody, shrapnel laden death that exterminated the Chainfist Termy.


3rd turn;


He shuffled and pivoted, to generate maximum fire. The fleeing Vets(w/2 remaining plasma) were in double-tap range of the building/damaged terminators. This is where he made (what I consider his only real mistake, as he did not advance the Demolisher off the hill(not until turn 5). He brought the previously-pinned Vendi-Vets toward the building. His fire, as in the last turn, was mitigated...wiping out the SW terminator squad and dropping the short squad in the building to 1 cyclone/THSS. He DID wreck the LRC, but at that point it remained as a big blocking element, and was empty.

I advanced the command terminators into the building, but separated Belial off to join the lone cyclone in the other side of the ruins. My NE terminators (still undamaged) came into his left flank. My backfield terminators jumped out of their LandRaider to contribute more shooting. Fire killed the Hellhound, and a few guardsmen. Assault, on the other hand, wiped the Vendi-vets (who had been camped blocking assault to the Hellhound/CCS chimera...all the while pouring Melta-fire into the LRC). I multi-assaulted them with Belial/cyclone and the Full squad(to draw the full squad further forward). 1" consolidation with both units did little to further my maneuver-cause.


4th turn;


More shuffling, and shooting, on both sides resulted in me down to; a short-legged command terminator squad, a 4man squad (in the building now) and the backfield little squad in immobilized LandRaider... and he with the CCS/Chimera unit, all hvy tanks, the Chimera squad on the hill and the 3man vets(w/ 2 remaining plas, who were ordered to 'get back into the fight'). He lost the SW Vendi-Vets to command termy assault this turn.


5th turn;


Again, truncated, as this turn is more of me trying desperately to preserve Terminators, and he trying to wipe them out...and get on the central objective (that I now own). We shuffled for position, his more for shooting advantages. I lost the remaining terminators in the command squad (shall they stand resolute at the right hand of 'the Lion'). He DID move the Demolisher down from the hill, netting greater weight of fire to the torrent and assisting in the demise of the command terminators.


6th turn;


And finally, he brought the last bit of fire down on the terminators in the central building...and an assault/backpedal consolidate killed his remaining contesting-options. The game ended; I had my backfield objective and center, he had his backfield objective.
He had a greater portion of the scenario bonus points, so his BPs would have shown the game to resemble a near tie vs a clean win.

He felt NOT reserving his Vendi-vets was an error. I disagree, as the rush forward and sniping managed to cripple my first turn mobility (immobilized LR with his first triad of lascannon, plus two dead termies for the other one).
I think his only mistake was leaving the Demolisher on his backfield hill after my DW assault showed him where all my assets were...it lost him the flexibility of plasma-sponsons/range.

My only mistake was one of attitude. This was a test game for tourney (for him), and his initial fire seemed to set a tone that I THOUGHT would make it a less-than-challenging experiment. Coupled with my (sometimes) pessimistic view of game-trends/tone from first/second turn exceptional opposing shooting, I offered a 'reset' after his initial fire. This was MOSTLY from a desire to get in a 'good' game in the limited time I had, but also from 'worstcasescenario-itis' I suffer...something I only express in friendly games with people I am comfortable with, but still an attitude I have to make a conscious effort to avoid.
When I suggested starting over, my opponent was willing...but hesitant. I decided that MY need to see if I could recover from that hammer, AND whether he could press home the advantage thoroughly, was paramount...and I am glad I did.
Pushing through pointed out his demolisher error, and gave me renewed faith in the viability of the LandRaiders and the resilience of my DeathWing.

Thank you, to my opponent; for an excellent, challenging and wholly entertaining game.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Classic Rock, and the 'Hair Bands' of 40k

Okay, so this is less observation and more personal editorial.

Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, the Beatles (don't take missing your faves/styles, just pulling outta my arse early on a Sungday)...etc etc etc.
60's and 70's and even early 80's.
These bands, and styles, and many others, are classics...whether you love em or hate em, they're classics.
People know their names, have heard their music...and they pop up on Radio (or even have entire stations dedicated to the themes of their genres).

Yet delve into the 90's, or the (what, ought's? 00's? wtf?) and you encounter schizophrenia, and a lack of defining groups (or styles) that feel 'classic'(okay, the 2000's may be too close for that, but the 90's are not...and the 00's feel the same to me). Or worse, a string of American Idol spam...or Beiber's.

The 'instant gratification' intrawebz/reality TV generation has stamped its own earmarks all over our entertainment industry...
and even our gaming.

Look at 40k...look carefully at the last few years.
Matt 'fluff-killer' Ward...'nuff said?
His stamp is starting to creep up in it all.

Going, and going fast, are the solid and defining 'fluff-mines' of the 40k universe. The codices people WANT to keep, regardless of how out of date they are, as resources and entertainment. As muses to their hobby, inspirations for their armies.

Codex creep is always a 'concern' of the player base...whether you believe in it or not...but what about codex-retcon?
The trends of throwing the depth of the 'universe' we play in out the window, to satisfy an ever growing and HUNGRY net-scape of douchebuggery (not competitive players, but the ever distracted...gotta have the next new and UNIQUE...power/netlisters AND real WAAC players).
Seriously, Grey Knights mass sacrifice of a Sisters of Battle force who nobly resisted a daemonic incursion...just to douse their weapons in the blood of innocents? That was a Ward-ism...just an egregious example, but one...(or allying Necrons/BA...).
And these fluff rewrites are being utilized to excuse over-the-top power amps...the MTGing of our universe. I mean, I am all for the shifting of meta...the pushing of envelopes, and the occasional sacred-cow smashing...but in the last 4 codices, I think we've lost more golden-calves than Moses could think of smashing...and we've lost some important ones...all to the altar of 'MOAR POWAH'.
Ward may be a symptom (and he is NOT alone is his mutilation of the hobby for sales, just the most egregious offender)...and I understand a sales technique when I see one...BUT it can go just a bit too far, and in typical GW fashion it has with a vengeance.

After looking over the changes I have seen, I wonder if the 40k universe is going to survive this level of casual ret-con.
Will the core, the essence...the 'fluff'...of this universe survive 'Matt-Wardification'...and the ever spastic, infinitesimal, attention span of the digital age.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kokomo/Gamer's DMZ final thoughts

Well,
a 3 hour drive up (at 645am) and back (getting me home at 1030ish pm).
Was all that worth it, considering I didn't come back with a category win?

In a nutshell, yes.

Highlights;
John (uberdark from back40k). He stated this was his first event.
I have to be honest, if those words had not been spoken I wouldn't have known. He did his research. John was organized (as one could be doing things on paper, and not computer...actually moreso than some who use computers). He was transparent, explaining things as cleanly as possible, and going the extra mile to insure play 'groups' didn't have to play in their own 'pool' the first round.
He was engaged, enthused and gregarious. He never set himself above the player base to establish 'seniority' as a TO. He portrayed himself solely as an 'organizer', with the sole purpose of letting people have fun AND compete...in that order.
Once things got rolling, he was on-time, on-target.
It seemed that his entire focus was on making certain fun, joviality and honest play were the watchwords.
He cared. This was VERY different from my only other 'traveling' experience (since moving back to Ohio)...Ard Boyz semifinals 2010. If I would have to characterize a comparison, he was totally opposite.

TO impression, GREAT...he was excellent.

Event and Organization was clean. Scenarios were posted in advance, which is a 50/50 for me, as I like not building to scenarios...but in retrospect, with NOVA scenarios, you are pretty much forced to take well rounded/take all comers lists, bypassing my innate distrust of pre-posted scenarios.
I could see a little self-inflicted extra work, but that will go under what little 'critique' I have.
I was happy with the terrain, but not ecstatic. Again, in comparison to my last 'traveling' game, it was above sufficient.
Though the smaller amount was a little disappointing (only a little), GREAT effort was made for consistency between tables...something many don't understand the need for. Very well done.

Event impression, GREAT...it was quite well done.

Venue was a bit smallish for the size of the tourney. BUT, they managed to supply tables AND elbow room...no mean feat for a small store. They had a fully stocked fridge, with all sorts of drink accommodations (some stores don't bother with water/diet, a must for some, due to gamer proclivities toward mt dew etc). The ownership was friendly and helpful, and though the location was initially hard to find...parking was better than expected for a smaller store with a large event turnout.

Venue impression, I shall return!

Player eval...well, as it applies to me...but with a sampling from my friend who I went with.
I had NO issues. Every one of my opponents were fun, pleasant, and smooth. I don't think I checked the rulebook once. Scott and I had a question, but we just rolled a die that would have made it moot (difficult terrain test)...and the roll did. So no rules digging at all. (though we forget to check after the game to see for future ref). The games were fast, due to no arguments OR backchecking. We knew each others' codices(codici, codii, whatever) and adapted to each others' proclivities almost immediately. Professional and pleasant would be how I typified the whole bunch.

Player impression, wish I was closer to Indianapolis!


Critique is little;
Terrain.
I would have liked to have seen more/more diversity. A paucity of trees (I don't think any of my tables had woods) made it difficult for some people to generate cover. This benefited my army to the extreme (regardless of my seeming inability to capitalize on it). A little more wood, and a little more density, would have been nice. Though some tables closed in on/hit 25%, a few were closer to the 20% mark. In defense of the venue, it was smaller and was acquiring additional terrain from players bringing it, so populating the tables was going to be difficult. What terrain was there, though, was good...and good looking.

Organization.
Starting late always bugs me a 'little' bit. Not tremendously, but a little. I thought the blog-posts had said something about 11-1130ish, and we ended up starting a little after 12. This was, in part, due to some small confusion by the players...but mostly due to some LATE players. Not as big a deal if I'm not driving 3hrs to get there, but my frustrations were low...and directed at people who were not from Dayton, and still didn't make it on time.
Spreadsheet/Computer. This is more of a 'prevent the TO from having an aneurism' kinda thing. You CAN do it on paper. Being a teacher (which I believe John said he is) helped with the mental-meltdown threshold...but a last round re-pairing of first round opponents (happened only once, though, and involved me)emphasizes the usefulness of a spreadsheet. The honesty and openness of the TO helped dispel and thoughts of shennanigans, but spreadsheets allow players to feel they can easily ask to see things...thus increasing the sense of transparency. This was a HUGE gig at my Ard Boyz experience last year. But again, John was going out of his way to avoid any sense of that...so no real issues.

Venue.
Lighting...that's it. Honestly. A few tables (centered) had lighting issues, which could have been helped with clip-task lights...but who knows where the cords could easily go etc.
The store was small(ish) for an event of that size, but they went all-out to make damn sure they could handle the crowd. I never felt crowded, cramped or uncomfortable. Even 'gamer-funk' was at an absolute minimum (at worst). So, though size is technically a 'critique', I couldn't imagine another location of that size making things feel that 'roomy'...so critique to kudos (flogging a dead Ard Boyz horse, they beat out that venue in spades...with less than half the square footage).




I couldn't have had more fun this last Saturday unless I had been healthy!!!

Thanks DMZ, thanks Indiana players, and most importantly thanks Uberdark!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kokomo/Gamer's DMZ tournament BatRep rd 3

Rd 3 was going to be a fun round.
As this was a W/L tourney, and I had lost rd 2, I was just in it to have fun.
I started kind of off as my head cold was starting to move into my chest, and my early start was wearing. Once the dice started falling though, I was right back into the game!

Table Quarters/Spearhead

Opponent,
Joel Williams (from memory, as I can't find the darned list he gave me).
Prime (bonesword/whip and d-spitter?)

2x zoanthropes (in pod)
2x Hive Guard
2x Hive Guard

5x Warriors (deathspitters, can't remember CC build)
20 Hormogaunts
18 Termagants
Tervigon (catalyst)
10x Genestealers

Trygon
Biovore
Biovore

I won the roll for choice, and chose to go first.
The table was less terrain dense than the other two I'd played on, and I took the most open corner. It was populated with alot of craters, but little actual terrain. This gave him a small building just on his side of the center objective marker. I put Belial in the center of my dep quarter, with command. Two squads to his right and two to his left. I kept the bikes off table (normal reserves, not outflanking).

He deployed across his corner, threatening both far quarters. His tervigon was to my right (set to spawn into that corner, to feed VPs into it) backed by a pair of HiveGuard and the big brood of 'gants.
He deployed the Warriors to my left, threatening that neutral corner, backed by the CC elements of 'stealers and Hormies (the warriors were joined by the prime). The other HG unit was toward his center, but weighted to go toward the warriors...and the Biovores were behind these lines.
He left the podded Zoies and Trygon in DS reserve.

Turn 1;
I looked at the field, and made my choices.
I moved both left Termie units into my upper neutral quarter, toward some craters.
I moved the right two squads into firing positions that would deny cover to his Tervigon (and place them into/almost into my right neutral corner). I shuffled the command termies to draw LOS to the Tervigon (but through cover).
I fired.
I put 4 wounds on the Tervi and Killed a warrior.
He went, spawning 8 'gants first (no doubles). He brought his HG in front of the Tervi to provide cover, and shuffled that backfield. Everything he had to my left boiled into that neutral quarter, but did not run effectively. Biovore and HG fire netted two dead termies, but not in the same squad.

Turn 2;
I capitalized on him not burying the Tervigon behind the one blocking piece of terrain, and popped it. That shut down his spawning, and cut his whole flank out of synapse. I also popped another warrior and put a wound on the prime. This was all after I shuffled further into neutral corners and put units that might be in assault range into craters.
He failed to get the reserves.
He advanced further into my left neutral quarter, and lurked with everything to his right. HG fire netted another termie, while biovores hit but failed to kill. No assault range.

Turn 3;
I got everybody to my left into craters, as they would likely be assaulted this turn. Bikes came on, and I just brought them into the center. I shot, and killed another warrior and put another wound on the prime...and braced for impact.
He got the charge off on my central/left termies. A full squad of Hormagaunts hit them. Fortunately, due to the 'Nid dex getting the 'grenade' nerf, I got all my TH attacks. I lost 4 termies, he lost a great deal of Hormies.

Turn 4;
With the assault from the Hormogaunts, his Warriors had a gap in their cover. I ran the bikes up, and with Cyclone+Melta fire, I popped them AND his Prime...and there went his synapse (on table at this stage). I also had positioned the bikes such that they were closest to his Hormogaunts, so when they killed the lone termie I could pull them out of the crater and into the center (with 'feed' as their inst behavior, and the loss of synapse).
His reserve Zoies came in, and he podded them into the backfield block (two units of 'gants, biovores and HG). Synapse returns!
He advances the 'stealers toward my furthest left-quarter squad (in the crater) and fleeted them. The hormogaunts came out after the bikes. Fire netted him no kills. He wiped the bikes. The 'stealers assaulted the THSS guys in the crater, lost by four, and fled. They were 'escorted' off table the next turn.

Turn 5;
I knew he had the Trygon coming out this turn, but knew he couldn't 'break' the table quarters with it, only tie them (my right quarter) and hope for the best. If it ended with quarters tied I would win by 2nd tiebreaker (KP's). I pounced the center Hormogaunts with termies (wiping them) after shooting the zoies to no effect.
His Trygon came in, and did what I expected...contesting my right-neutral quarter.
He then shot, and killed a terminator.

Turn 6;
I put 3 wounds on the Trygon, and settled in for the results. If he charged with the trygon, it would die.
He shuffled to contest quarters...and the game ended.

We tied on quarters,
We tied on objectives,
I won by KPs...alot of them. (he'd only killed two units, I had killed something like 6?)

It was a fun game, but a little static.
Unfortunately, for Joel, I've been playing 'Nids since 2nd ed...I know them, and my army was advantaged from the start vs them.
Missile launchers hurt bugs, and mobile missile launchers on THSS platforms just SCARE them.
The table did not help him either, as there was little cover that didn't also negate his assault advantages (initiative etc).

Still, it was fun, and he was pleasant right till the end...regardless of the uphill struggle. :)