Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gesso = Awesome

Ah, priming.

The bane of my painting existence.

Like most of you, I started out with the rattle-can. Oh, yeah, sure, it works. You hose on the paint and your mini winds up whatever color you've chosen.

The problem is, using the rattle-can is submitting yourself to tyranny.

Spray paint is ridiculously susceptible to variances in temperature and humidity. If you get outside of the recommended temperature range, you're going to have problems. Humidity is even worse. Anyone that's hosed on a coat of primer from a rattle-can knows what I'm talking about.

And then there's the "you've got to go outside" business. Plus, it's messy and time consuming, what with setting up an area to paint, and then hosing it on, followed by the clean up. It's a mess.

So, wanting to free myself from the tyranny of the rattle-can, I investigated paint-on primers. After some trial and error, I discovered Reaper Master Series black primer. Add in some Reaper Anti-Shine Additive and you're in business.

Well, mostly.

You always have to add the anti-shine stuff. And it's expensive, in the long run. Plus, you've got added time and effort involved what with the whole mixing up the primer and the additive. Now, make no mistake, the results are amazing, and I can highly recommend this solution. But I wanted something more, honestly, I wanted to find the ultimate solution to priming minis with minimal effort for cost.

Enter Ron's post about priming with gesso. The funny thing is, I remember reading the original post on a long while back and while I thought it was interesting, at the time I was more interested in finding a "paint" solution, and so I filed the whole gesso idea away for later investigation. Ron's post reminded me about gesso, and I thought it was time to check it out.

One trip to the local Hobby Lobby later, I walked out with an 8 oz. bottle of Demco Artist Series Gesso, color black. Cost: $3.99 plus tax. I also picked up cheap-ass #10 shader to glop it on for $4.99 plus tax, making my total investment around $10.00. Not bad for an experiment, right?

This evening I got a chance to try it out.

Here's what I did: opened the bottle of gesso, dipped the brush in, and glopped it on three different test minis: two chaos space marines and one chaos knight horse.

The result?

Pure priming nirvana.

Coverage is ridiculously fast, as in one coat and you're pretty much good. Neatness? Forgeddabout it. Drag your gesso-loaded brush over the mini and be done with it. You'll wind up using quite a bit of the stuff, as it's very viscous. When you're done you'll have a wet, shiny gloss black covered model with some of the detail obscured.

Now set your mini down, and let it dry. Give it a while, as in a couple of hours or so.

When you look at the finished product, you'll be amazed. You'll have a flat black mini that's ready to paint, with no loss of detail. As stated in the other article, gesso shrinks as it dries, and your details "magically" come back. The chainmail on the chaos knight horse? Perfect. Ridges on the helmet hoses on the chaos space marines? Perfect. In fact, setting down the horse I "gesso-ed" and the one I rattle-canned (yes, even I use the rattle-can sometimes...) I can't tell the difference.

The only thing I noticed on the horse was a tiny amount of visible brush stroke on one little part -- and that came about because I tried to "smooth" over a section with my brush. I should have left it alone, as that's what I did with the other side and it's perfectly smooth. Also, there's a tiny "pinhole" or two here and there on the marines where the gesso shrunk, but these "pinholes" are fractions of a millimeter in size and will be easy as pie to cover up.

The best part? It took a total of about 5 minutes to cover all three minis, and a couple of minutes to wash out the brush.

I know what you're all thinking: "Yeah, sure Joe, sounds great. Pictures or it didn't happen."

The good news is, the
fiancée got a sexy new camera for Christmas, and as soon as she decides that I can use it, I'll get up some pictures (don't hold your breath or anything, it may be a day or three). If all else fails, I'm probably going to inherit her old camera, which is a damn sight better than the one I have now, so either way, it means good things for photos in my blog. :)

In conclusion: Gesso = Awesome. If you're thinking about giving it a try, DO IT! It's cheap and very time/effort efficient, and the results will blow you away. CJ says, "Check it out."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It's late, and I'm about to head to bed...but I wanted to take a moment and wish everyone Merry Christmas.

My wish to you on this day is that you find yourself in a good place, sharing time with friends, family and loved ones...because that's one of the best things in life, and certainly one of the best things about today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No, no...

OK, this will barely pass muster as an "update", but I had to share this little moment:

My fiancee took one look at the Chaos knight I was building and said, "Ooooh, it's a PONY."

To which I replied, "No,'s an EVIL pony."

...and so now I'm building an army of EVIL PONIES. Oh well...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Normally I Wouldn't

Since this is a gaming blog, I normally don't talk much about anything but gaming-related things (or non-gaming things that affect my gaming or blogging). Coupled with the fact that my last post wasn't gaming-related, that's two reasons why I normally wouldn't do what I'm about to do.

But sometimes you just have to do things you normally wouldn't, right?


To my fellow Americans: Happy Thanksgiving. I know there's a lot of commercialization around this day, and maybe even a little controversy surrounding its origins, but never mind all those things: the basic idea behind the holiday is a good one -- take a moment to look around at all you have, what your friends, family and indeed your whole nation...and be grateful. In other words...give thanks.

To my fellow citizens of Planet Earth that don't happen to be Americans: I know this sounds trite, perhaps, but take a moment today to reflect on how lucky we are to be living in this time, right here, right now. No, our world if far, far from perfect...but I think it is still probably the best time there has ever been to be alive.

To everyone: As we take a moment today to be grateful for what we have, also consider the things that could be better...note the things that need to be changed. I encourage you to do one thing tomorrow that helps bring forth even one tiny little change that would help make this a better place.

Imagine what would happen if every single one of us did one thing to help make our world and our lives better? Imagine how much more we would have to be grateful for this time next year...'s just a thought.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I got sent to Pennsylvania this week for work, and the hotel they have me in has had some major Internet problems. The good news is I've gotten the work that I was sent here to do pretty much done (one more night of work left) and then I drive to Philly tomorrow and fly home. It was snowing here earlier but seems to have stopped now. What I've seen of PA is very nice -- what I've seen of it, which isn't much at all, really -- but honestly, I'm ready to go home. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vanguard Vets (re-)Visited

I have a confession to make. There's a little power-gamer lurking in me that wants to find something broken and crush my opponents with it in a relentless onslaught. I'm not proud of this, mind you, and in fact I'm not terribly happy making this confession, but there it is.

Part of me thinks that maybe it comes from living in Austin. You see, I've heard from several sources that Austin has a very -- how shall I put this? -- competitive gaming community. I believe it. There are some very, very good players here, and you either learn to play, and play well, or you learn to lose. A lot. I still lose a lot. :) But that's OK, because I feel lucky to live in a city with such a vibrant, active gaming community. I feel like I'm becoming a better player in the long run because of it. I don't mind losing, because I feel like every time I lose, I come away with more knowledge of how this game is played, what my army can do, and how I can become a better player.

What does that have to do with Vanguard Veterans? Well, it started a couple of nights ago. I was playing my CSM army and unloaded a unit of 10 Khorne Berzerkers out of a Land Raider and charged with them. They did what they do best -- they wiped out the squad they assaulted and that was that. I made the comment, "Oh yeah, Khorne Berzerkers, they're the reason I wanted to play Chaos in the first place. I think -- point for point -- that they're the best CC specialists in the game." Abe, one of BFG's employees piped up with, "One of the best. But point for point, I think the best CC specialists are Vanguard."

Hmm. This got me to thinking, "Vanguard Vets? You mean those over-costed, super-expensive models in the new marine codex? Bah. Marines don't get effective CC specialists, never have, never will." Since I try to never make decisions based on opinions when there's some facts to be had, I thought I'd run some numbers and consider some options.

First off, I'm still of the opinion that Vanguard with Jump Packs are simply too darned expensive.

But you don't have to give them jump packs.

In fact, where Vanguard really shine is in the other options you can give them.

Let's take your bog-standard unit of 10 Vanguard Vets, no upgrades: 225 points. For those 225 points you get 30 attacks -- 40 on the charge -- of which 3 (4 on the charge) are power weapon attacks. That's not too shabby. For comparison, let's consider 9 Khorne Berzerkers and a Skull Champion with a power weapon: 240 Points. Granted, for 15 points more you're getting WS5 and Furious Charge -- and that means that on the charge, the Berzerkers are definitely going to be the better unit. However, without the charge, they're nearly even, and 15 points cheaper.

Now let's make things really interesting.

What makes the Vanguard special is the options you can give them. Consider that you can give every model in a Vanguard unit a power weapon. For 10 Vanguard with a power weapon, you're going to shell out 360 points -- certainly not cheap, but for that extra 135 points, you're getting 30 power weapon attacks (40 on the charge), and this is something that Khorne Berzerkers don't even have the option to do. Run Pedro Cantor with these guys and you've going to get 50 power weapon attacks on the charge. That's officially a wandering band of close combat rape.

Want to make the ultimate band of roving CC slaughter? For a cool 1065 points you can field 10 Vanguard Vets, all with a pair of lightning claws, Pedro Cantor, and a chaplain with Crozius and Power Fist riding to the slaughter in a Land Raider Crusader with EA. That will net you 59 power weapon attacks on the charge that re-roll to-hits, with 50 that re-roll to-wound (with a paltry 47 attacks without the charge, 40 of which re-roll to-wound). Crazy? Yes. Expensive? Oh my yes. Worth it? Probably not. But the fact remains that you can do it.

The only problem I can see with the 10 model unit all armed with power weapons is they'd probably be a little too good at what they do: charge, kill everything in sight, and then be sitting there, power-armored buttcheeks flapping in the breeze, ready to take a turn of fire from probably every available unit your opponent has. This will result in a large pile of very dead -- and very expensive, points-wise -- Vanguard. They do, after all, die like normal marines.

I'm thinking a much more reasonable configuration would be to give half of them power weapons. The sergeant comes with one, so upgrade 4 of them with power weapons and you're looking at a more-than-reasonable 285 points. That nets you 15 power weapon attacks (20 on the charge) and you're only coughing up 45 more points than you would for 9 Berzerkers and a Skull Champ. Toss in a LRC with EA and your total comes up to 550 points -- again, reasonable, for what you're getting. Consider that I used to field a command squad that cost way more than 285 points and got less attacks and less power weapons, I'd say this isn't a bad deal.

I'd like to hear your thoughts and opinions on Vanguard -- or any other close combat specialists you'd like to compare and contrast them with. I'm interested in how they compare with, say, Harlequins...

The Army of The Crowing

What you see here is the color scheme for my CSM army, what I have named "The Army of The Crowing". If your curious, the name comes from the music of Coheed & Cambria, my all-time favorite band (all of their albums are concept albums, each one a "chapter" in a story, a very interesting sci-fi story in fact).

I had a conversation with a fellow Austin gamer, Robert, who was also my Week 5 Macharian Crusade opponent (if you want to see his Mordian Iron Guard, you can look no further than BoLS "Armies We Like" section, and let me tell you, his army looks amazing -- as good as those pictures are, it looks even better in person). Robert is a long-time Chaos player and he's (obviously) a good painter. He and I agreed that the "Black Legion" was over-represented here and that something new would be a good idea. After the Macharian Crusade ends, I'm planning on dunking my existing CSMs into the Simple Green and starting over -- and when I do, this is the color scheme I'm planning on going with.

I know it's a pretty simple scheme, but that's part of the reason I like it. The idea is to use a gloss finish on the (Merchite) red trim to give it a little metallic sheen, which I think will give it a little oomph. What do you guys think?

P.S.: In case some of you are thinking, "God-Emperor dang it, Joe, the name of this blog is Ultramarine Blues, not Chaos Marine Blues. When are you going to talk about your Ultras again?" the answer to that question is: next post! A conversation with Abe at BFG got me to thinking and re-thinking a unit in the new marine codex that I had pretty much written off: Vanguard Vets...and my next post is going to be about them! Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Workspace

Now that the move into the new place is more-or-less complete, I've gotten my new desk set up, and that means my new workspace is finally fully functional.

After a quick trip to my FLGS yesterday afternoon to pick up supplies, I got my hobby area set up and ready to go. I'm not busily working on the balrog/daemon prince conversion, thanks to a bit (look in the bottom right of the frame, it's the long pointy bit) given to me by a friend.

But first...I'm going to the Texas RenFaire with some friends today. So, no modeling today. Modeling tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How-To: Play to a Draw vs. Armored Company

Got to play my Week 4 Macharian Crusade game tonight. My opponent was Bushido Red Panda, and he brought his Armored Company.

This being my second outing against an Armored Company, I thought I'd briefly share my experiences.

I'll give the ending away: the game ended in a draw.

"How does one play to a draw against Armored Company, Joe?" you may find yourself asking.

Great question, thank you for asking.

Here's how you do it:

1. Play spearhead deployment with capture & control mission. That's right, two objectives and table quarters. Guess where your objective goes? If you answered anything other than, "In your own back corner," you've answered incorrectly and must turn in all your models, rulebooks, codex(es), dice, etc. What this means in game terms is the objective you must take (and your opponent must take, too) are the maximum distance away from each other they can possibly be!
2. Park a Land Raider on your objective, and have your opponent literally line the two back table edges with tanks.
3. Lose the "seize the initiative" roll. This will let the Armored Company player go first. This means you don't get to pop smoke on your Rhinos, and that makes them basically sitting ducks for, oh, far too many battle cannons and -- if you're especially lucky -- a Tank Hunter Destroyer. Did I mention 2 Basilisks? No? Well, you can't lose your army to template-y death unless your opponent gives you what I'm going to term, "The Armored Company Full Monty," without 2 Basilisks. I'm happy to say I got "The Armored Company Full Monty" tonight!
4. Lose 2 of your 3 Rhinos by the end of the top of turn 2. Also, lose one of your Havok squads, and have your Land Raider immobilized. Also, your now-footsloggin' Chaos Lord and attached Chosen squad and one of your formerly-Rhino-mounted CSM units should go ahead and suck a big, fat helping of template death, even after "Going to Ground". Good times!
5. When your outflanking Chosen actually arrive on the "correct" side of the board -- you know, the one with all the tanks on it, go ahead and melta that Leman Russ, because you know next turn, they're going to eat a template. Or four.
6. Greater daemons are tough. They are not so tough that they can survive an alpha strike from an Exterminator and a couple of templates. No, that 4+ invulnerable save only goes so far!
7. Deep-striking terminators that actually "hit" their deep-strike target, only to miss with the one combi-melta they have really, really suck. Also, when every gun in an Armored Company dedicates itself to killing said terminators, they will usually succeed -- even if it takes 3 or 4 tries to get it right.
8. One lonely surviving las cannon-armed Havok can actually manage to blow up one tank then destroy the auto-cannons on an Exterminator the next turn if he's left to his own devices.
9. However, to really pull out the draw in style, you have to have a Land Raider with a unit of CSMs inside parked on your objective. The game must run the full 7 turns. Turns 5, 6 and 7 the Land Raider must take the full firepower of the 7 remaining tanks in the Armored Company -- including the Tank Hunter Destroyer with its S10 AP2 Laser Destroyer Cannon and a menagerie of Battle and Earthshaker cannons -- and live, with not one penetrating hit during those 3 full turns of raining template death.

All in all, it was a fun -- if sometimes frustrating -- game. Jay (Bushido) is a great player and I knew it was going to be a good game. I also knew from deployment to game end that unless something really odd happened, it was going to be a draw. There was no way I was going to destroy that "V" of tanks on his back table edges, and he couldn't get close enough with his tanks to take mine.

Next up, for Week 5, I'm facing "Mordian Iron Guard", which I'm not familiar with at all. One thing about the Macharian Crusade, I'm learning a lot about Imperial Guard. These Mordians seem to be a more-or-less "standard" Guard army, so it looks like it's time to break the Khorne Berzerkers back out!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

vs. Armored Company Update

Mike and I got to play our Macharian Crusade game, and I thought I'd follow up with the results.

I decided to take a modified version of the list I originally posted, dropping the raptors, vindicator and daemon prince to allow me to add another unit of Chosen, a Chaos Lord and greater daemon plus giving all the terminators chain fists and Icon of Khorne. I also split up the Havoks into 2 units of 5, each with two las cannons. A few other twiddles and I wound up with two mounted CSM squads, two Chosen squads (one mounted, the other infiltrating/outflanking), one footslogging CSM squad, the terminators and Land Raider. Every squad was packing melta guns and power fists. I felt ready to rumble!

Basically, it went like this:

Mission and deployment: capture & control, pitched battle.

Mike won the roll, and elected for me to set up first.

We both placed our home objectives in the middle of the board, against the back edge.

I parked the Land Raider on top of my objective, and put the footsloggers right next to it (to embark into it during first turn movement), put the the Havoks in hard cover to the left and right of the LR (the best place I could find for them) and put the Rhinos on my left flank. The Chaos Lord joined the mounted Chosen unit in their Rhino. In reserve I kept the terminators (to deep strike) and one unit of Chosen (to outflank), while the greater daemon lurked in the warp, awaiting the summoning that would bring him forth to wreak destruction and death.

Mike deployed a wall of tanks on his board edge. His list was changed, too: he fielded one Exterminator, two Demolishers, and way too many Leman Russes. Three of them (or was it four?) were command tanks, and also had BS4.

Mike tried to seize the initiative, failed, and we began.

Turn one: Rhinos moved forward 12", the CSMs embarked into the LR, and the Havoks and LR fire las cannons. I have a love/hate relationship with my las cannons, be they loyalist or traitor: I love them, they hate me. I swear, I usually hit about every other roll with them, sometimes worse. And then when it comes for the all-important penetration roll, that single pip shows up for often than the five or six. It's my own little dice curse. This game it was no different -- the two Havok units might as well have been two units firing a twin-linked las cannon each. Out of the six (two of them twin-linked), I managed to pop one -- count them, one tank. Yay, go me.

Before I go any further, I'd like to confess that during deployment or turn one I usually say, "I like to make at least one huge tactical mistake early and go ahead and get that out of the way." It's meant to be funny, but more often than I'd like to admit, it's true.

So I'll man up and admit my huge, glaring tactical blunder that probably influenced the game's outcome. Ready for this? I forgot my Rhinos have smoke launchers. To be fair, I've been playing 4E loyalist marines exclusively for a year, and those Rhinos didn't come stock with smoke launchers. Plus, this army is the "acquired" one, the one I didn't model, and the Rhinos don't have smoke launchers on them. (Which is something else I'd like to comment on: they say WYSIWYG is for your opponent. I say it's mainly for me -- I prefer looking at my models and knowing what weapons/wargear they have without having to refer back to my army list.)

Mike moved his Demolishers up, repositioned a tank or two and then got crankin' with the battle cannons. My poor, not-protected-by-a-smoke-screen-like-they-should-have-been Rhinos. One of CSM carrying Rhinos got destroyed and suddenly the spiky boys were standing in the smoking hole where a transport used to be. They got to look around for a few seconds before more templates dropped and when the smoke cleared, the aspiring champ was the only survivor. The other CSM Rhino took it on the chin and was shaken, and the CL/Chosen Rhino lost its bolter. OK, it could have been a lot worse.

Turn two, termies and greater daemon decide now would be a good time to show up, but the Chosen couldn't break away from the Slaaneshi peep show (or whatever it was that was keeping them entertained) declined to enter the battle. This was exactly the opposite of what I preferred, but that's how it goes. I put the termies next to some hard cover and brought the GD in next to the CL/Chosen Rhino, thinking he'd need some cover to survive Mike's turn. My crack las cannon marksmen managed to shake a demolisher and the termies ran into cover.

Mike shuffled more tanks around and then started his template two-step. Casualties: the now-footsloggin' AC, a couple of Havok ablative wounds, the CL/Chosen Rhino (nuts!) and a couple of Chosen. Double nuts.

Turn three: The Chaos Lord, finding himself footsloggin' it with the boys decided that simply wouldn't do for a man of his stature and he ordered the CSMs in the remaining Rhino out so he and his attached Chosen could get in. The termies hiked through the covering terrain and fired their one combi-melta, hit, and rolled a smokin' three for penetration. Awesome! The las cannon specialists mid-field fired (I think) and maybe blew up a tank. Man, those guys just couldn't get their act together! They should be popping at least two tanks a turn! (ok, I know they shouldn't, but in my mind they should!).

Oh, almost forgot the outflanking Chosen. Whatever movie they were watching must have ended and they decided to show up. You know how cool outflanking is? Showing up on the short board edge and all? It's awe-some, right?


Well, when you get to show up on the short board edge you want, anyway. I guess someone back at spiky-boy barracks decided to prank it up and replaced the Chosen AC's battlefield map with a copy of Tentacle Weekly or something, and these clowns show up on the right side of the board. Did I mention that I really, really needed them on the left? No? Well guess what, I really needed them on the left side of the board -- you know, the side with all the tanks on it. Anyway, they lolligag onto the right side of the board, a good 16" or so from a target. Oh well, at least there was some decent cover between them on closest tanks, and they had to run to get into it.

I'll summarize the remainder of the game:

The GD lumbered forward, and had to pass through some difficult terrain on the charge. Monstrous creatures never have problems with that, do they? Mine did. Rolled a good two inches short. When he got there next turn, though, he committed a very unholy act on that tank.

When the termies finally got out of cover and into charge range, there were only three of them left. However, I split the assault against two tanks, two on a Leman Russ and one on the Exterminator -- neither of which had moved. I'll put it this way: Bigred was right. Khornate chain fist wavin' terminators are Leman Russ can-openers. Three termies, two tanks, one round. Result: two dead tanks. Chaos Lord and Chosen hosed another tank with melta and then got vapped by heavy bolter fire.

Demolisher fire exploded the Land Raider, but the CSMs survived. The outflanking Chosen finally made it through cover and popped a Demolisher. Mike had moved his lone remaining scoring command tank and parked it on his objective. At the bottom of turn five, we each held our home objectives, and my GD, terminators and outflanking Chosen had closed the distance to be in assault range on turn six.

I rolled the die for turn six.

I rolled a one.

Final result: tie.

Epilogue: My opponent for Week 4 is Jay, a.k.a. Bushido Red Panda, and guess what army he's playing in the Macharian Crusade?

Yep, you guessed it. Armored Company.

...and while I haven't seen his army, I've seen a picture or two. Unless I'm totally mistaken, he has a Destroyer Tank Hunter -- armed with a Laser Destroyer (72" range, S10 AP2, Heavy 1 Blast that does not scatter) -- in his list.

Good times! *facepalms*

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Should I Take vs. Armored Company?

For my next game in the Macharian Crusade campaign, I'll be facing an Armored Company list, that looks a lot like this:

Monash - 183
Leman Russ Exterminator
Hull Heavy Bolter
Track Guards

Extra Armor

Hellhound - 133 (x3, one taken as Fast Attack)

Smoke Launchers

Track Guards

Extra Armor

Heavy Bolter

Platoon Command Tank - 218 (x3)
Leman Russ
Hull Lascannon
Heavy Bolters
Smoke Launchers
Track Guards
Extra Armor

Leman Russ - 183 (x3)
Hull Lascannon
Heavy Bolters
Smoke Launchers
Track Guards
Extra Armor

...granted, this is the 1785 point version of my opponent's list, but we'll be playing at 2000 points, so I'm expecting another tank (or two). The rules of the campaign for armored company grant company command and platoon command tanks the ability to hold objectives (in case you were wondering how this list was going to take objectives).

The question is -- having never played against an AC list before -- is what do I use to fight all those tanks playing Chaos Space Marines? My answer is, "More melta! More Las Cannons!"

So, with that in mind, I came up with this list:

Daemon Prince



Fast Attack:
Raptors, 5-Man Unit
Meltagun (x2)

Aspiring Champion with Melta Bombs


Chosen, 5-Man Unit (x2)

Meltagun (x2)

Icon of Chaos Glory

Aspiring Champion with Melta Bombs

Terminators, 5-Man Unit
Chain Fist (x1)

Power Weapon (x4)

Combi-melta (x4)

Reaper Autocannon (x1)


Chaos Space Marines, 7-Man Unit (x2)

Icon of Chaos Glory

Aspiring Champion with Melta Bombs


Chaos Space Marines, 10-Man Unit


Icon of Chaos Glory
Aspiring Champion with Melta Bombs

Heavy Support:

Havocs, 6-Man Unit

Lascannon (x3)

Icon of Chaos Glory

Extra Armor

Land Raider

Extra Armor

...which is exactly 2000 points. The plan is to send the DP with the Raptors for hit-and-run assaults; truck over the termies in the LR and have them bounce out for hot melta action with follow-up chainfisting; send out the 2 Rhino-mounted CSM units for drive-by melta and/or melta bomb assault; and of course infiltrate in both Chosen units -- hopefully in the backfield -- for some rear-armor melta shots and/or melta bomb assault. The large CSM unit will park on an objective with the las cannon, and the havoks will deploy into some kind of cover and shoot, shoot, shoot. The Vindicator is mainly there to draw fire and maybe get in a lucky shot.

The problem, of course, is any way you slice it, I'm going to be facing a lot of tanks, and those tanks will all be dropping templates all over the place and generally making my day less than pleasant. Not to mention all those hull-mounted las cannons will probably make short work of both my LR and Vindicator. That's going to leave me with only 4 las cannons, and that means I'm going to have to depend on tank-busting the old fashioned way: by getting much, much closer than I'd rather be to them and hoping I can get the ol' melta mojo working, in either gun or bomb form.

Any thoughts, opinions or advice? List critique and/or tweaks? Strategy ideas? I'm definitely open to suggestions!

Friday, October 24, 2008

...and now, here's Joe with the weather.

Now that I finally got the whole Disqus thing straightened out, and have actually had a few moments to breathe (and get caught up on some professional and personal things) I thought it'd be a good time to get everyone caught up.

The last few days have been a mixed bag. I wound up having to miss the last couple of days of work due to being under the weather, but that's what doctors and prescriptions are for. So far, so good on the recovery. Next week is going to be very, very hectic, too, as the long-awaited move to the new place finally happens. What this means is that gaming and modeling are going to have to take a brief back seat, but once the move is complete it should get a lot better as I'll finally have a dedicated workspace. I'm really, really looking forward to this and (hopefully) the golden age of productivity that will come with it. I have several projects either already in progress or planned and I'm definitely excited about getting started or moving forward on them!

All right, let's talk about the Macharian Crusade.

The first game I played went pretty well, all things considered (as previously discussed). I promised I'd do a little "what did we learn" about that game, so I'll get that out of the way.

  • Khorne Berzerkers are awesome. They are the main reason I wanted to pick up a CSM army to begin with. They're the only "cult" troops I have at the moment, and they're worth their weight in gold in CC. I know this isn't news to anyone, but I wanted to point out that they were as awesome as I thought they'd be.
  • You can never have enough meltaguns when you're playing against a vehicle-heavy IG list.
  • I really shouldn't have taken the MoK on the daemon prince. The DP really needs some shooty, and that means psychic powers. MoK will be dropped in the future in favor of Doombolt (hey, same points cost either way).
  • I could really use another Vindicator or two.
  • Infiltrating a squad of Chosen into your opponent's backfield is a dirty rotten trick, but definitely the only real reason to take them. I wish I'd given them 4 meltaguns instead of 4 flamers, though. I was thinking there'd be more troops back there for me to barbecue.
  • Summoned lesser daemons are a neat diversion, and can certainly crank out the wounds in CC, but man do they die quick. Oh, and they can't use transports. Oops.
Week Two of the Macharian Crusade pitted me against Chris "The Dude" Long and his Methalor Penal Legion. Chris, along with being one of the Fly Lords of Terra, is definitely one of Austin's best players (and he has the tournament wins to prove it) so I was really looking forward to this game as we've never faced off before. This game was a little different for me in that it was 1500 points. I can't remember the last 1500 point game I've played, so shaving down the list a little was a challenge but I think I did all right. We played a very tight, very close game and it literally came down to the wire. In the end, I made a couple of mistakes that wound up costing me big. At one point, I held both objectives, with a squad of CSMs on my home objective and my Berzerkers on his. Alas, it didn't last, though. Some good shooting followed up by a brutal round of CC between my remaining 'zerkers and his command squad and HQ (a Crusade-only special character) ended with the Khorne-boys wiped out to the man and a Demolisher close enough to contest my home objective. Oh, but it was a close, fun game the entire time. Chris told me at one point he was "playing for a tie", and considering how good a player he is, I felt pretty good about that. I had a brief post-game discussion with Chris after I'd had time to think about it, and we both agreed that I made a few crucial mistakes:

  • I should have moved my Land Raider the full 12" instead of 6". It probably would have survived the assault from the unit with the priest and the "guy with the eviscerator". Yup, 2D6 on the penetration roll will go through even AV14. Had the Land Raider moved the 12" and survived, it would have been contesting Chris's home objective.
  • I mis-directed the final assault of the Berzerkers, not realizing that the SINGLE model accompanying the HQ model was a "troop". I'm pretty sure I could have wounded that "troop" had I directed my attacks towards his unit. Had that model died, Chris wouldn't have been able to claim his home objective (and coupled with the Land Raider, I might have at least been able to contest it).
  • When Chris moved his Demolisher to tank shock my CSM unit holding my home objective, I originally declared a Death or Glory! with the PF-equipped AC...and then for some reason, changed my mind and backed out of it. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have popped that tank, what with it being AV14 on the front and all, but I really had nothing to lose. If I had, well, then I would have held my home objective uncontested.
...OK, so maybe those post-game thoughts don't mean as much without having a little more context, but you get the idea: I made some serious errors, and it cost me big time. However, even though I've been playing for a year now I still consider myself in the learning stage, and that game definitely taught me some very good lessons. I have to add that Chris is an excellent player and that game was pure fun.

That brings me to current and upcoming projects.

I'm enjoying playing the Chaos Space Marines. They're similar enough to my Ultras that it's not a huge learning curve, but the different units and options really do make it entertaining. They're not going to become my main army but they do make for a fun diversion. Having said that, though, I've decided that I really want to work on my daemon prince. I have a balrog model and I think it makes a great DP. However, there's something about it that bothers me: the little "fire knife" it has for a CCW. I've decided to attempt sculpting an appropriately-large sword for it. I've made a couple of base forms out of brown stuff and have begun the long and demanding task of carving, cutting and filing. I'm using one as my "test" and the second as the "production"...but there's a long way to go before either of them is even near done. BTW, if you're interested, I found this tutorial on sculpting swords that I found most useful. It's a little hard to read at first as it is presented in multiple languages but definitely worth a look.

Last but certainly not least, I have some plans for my Ultras. I have two lists in mind, one that uses drop pods, Sternguard and a libby, and lots of tacs. The other list replaces some tacs for some scout bikers. I really need to decide on my HQ, too -- which is really a choice between Sicarius or Pedro -- and once I've finalized that I need to get the model and get to work on painting it up. Needless to say, I have a LOT of work in store for me with my Ultras but I'm definitely looking forward to getting it all together, painting it up, and then playing with the new codex.

You'll notice the details are a little light on the upcoming stuff for the Ultras. That's because I really haven't finalized a whole lot yet. I'll let you know what I come up with, though.

So, now that I've blathered on for probably way too long (hey, if you made to the end of this long-ass post, thanks!) I'm wondering: what have you guys learned from recent games? What projects are percolating up? What plans have you made?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thanks to Disqus Support... template has been patched and I'm able to use Disqus again!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good News, Bad News

Well, as you can see, the good news is I managed to find a 3-column blog template to use. Yay, go me (honestly, all it involved was a few simple steps).

That's it for the good news.

The bad news is...Disqus is broken. Their "template patcher" doesn't work with "custom templates", and for the life of me, I can't seem to figure out how to make it work with the custom template, even following the instructions from this page (which the Disqus support page sends you to when the "patcher" figures out it can't auto-patch your template for you).

So...I'm asking for help. I know some of you out there have 3 column blogs and are using Disqus. Can ya help a brother out and let me know how you did it? Or edit my template? Or...something? Please? :)

In the meantime, I've turned the "normal" comments back on. Whee.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Results From Last Night

Originally posted as a comment, recycled here for your convenience!

The game last night was fun and against an excellent opponent. I lost -- by one lousy contested objective. Massed demolisher, hellhound and battle cannon fire does a number on Khorne Berserkers, that's all I can say. Still, not a bad result for never having played the army before and (literally) making up the army list about 45 minutes before the game started. :)

I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know about CSM, though. Berserkers are ridiculous in CC. Daemon princes are hard to kill and a one-man (daemon?) wrecking crew. Outflanking Chosen should (when playing against a tank-heavy IG army, anyway) have meltaguns and not flamers. I'll do a post about it later with a nice re-cap and lessons learned. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Playing Something Different...

The Macharian Crusade campaign gets kicked off tonight at BattleForge Games. There are over 30 local players involved! (It is great to live in the same city and get to game with the Fly Lords of Terra, yes.)

However, there really isn't a place for my Ultramarines in this part of the campaign (if at all), but I really wanted to take part (and who wouldn't?). So that means I'll be playing on the bad guys team. That's right, tonight I'll be taking on elements of the Fifth Army Group of the Macharian Crusade with Chaos Space Marines.

A little on my CSM army: It was cobbled together over several months with a combination of trades, small private purchases and some luck on Ebay. That's the good news. The bad news's ugly. I simply haven't had time to do anything with this army and it looks...well, disjointed. Pretty much every model in the army needs to be stripped and re-painted. Not to mention my greater daemon isn't even assembled yet (and I cheated: I got a balrog model from the LotR line because I thought it just looked cooler).

Also, I've never -- not even once -- played a game with this army. Oh, sure, I know the basics (CSMs are, after all, still marines at the core) but as for finesse and/or experience, I simply don't have any with it. So...playing with it should prove to be a real learning experience and (hopefully) a lot of fun.

I'll let you know.

Anyone else ever done anything like this? I'm curious to know if you have, and how it turned out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Comments and Bandwagons...

I decided to go ahead and switch over the Disqus comment system.

Hopefully, nobody will think this sucks, and everyone will love it unconditionally.

Or...something like that.

Anyway, new content to break in the new Disqus comment system will be coming soon!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Divine Secrets of the Space Marine Brotherhood?

If there's one thing I believe space marine armies need, it's force multipliers. The two assault cannons you could (previously) take in a 5-man terminator squad was a perfect example of a force multiplier -- having those two assault cannons greatly expanded the damage that unit could do per turn. Now that we've all had a chance to get a look at the new marine codex (and hopefully digest at least some of it), what combinations of units/abilities create meta-units whose total is greater than the sum of its individual parts?

Here in Austin, there are a few favorites that seem to be rising to the top:

  1. Captain Lysander joining a full squad of Sternguard: with his "Bolter Drill" special rule, those Sternguard will be pumping out the Hellfire rounds with re-rolls to hit and re-rolls to wound. Plus, re-rolls to hit means you'll never overheat when firing the Vengeance rounds. Nasty!
  2. Join an epistolary librarian with the Gate of Infinity power (probably coupled with The Avenger) with a full squad of Sternguard. Add in either several drop podding units or scout biker units with locator beacons and it's bounce-tastic, no-scatter, deep-strike-to-where-you-really-wanna-be fun. Every time your movement phase comes up, if your Sternguard aren't where you need them to be (for example, if you need to avoid an oncoming charge or put yourself in rapid fire range), have the librarian cast Gate of Infinity and bounce out. Also, if your Sternguard/librarian get stuck in an assault you really don't want to be in (which is all of them, because every round they're assaulting is a round they're not shooting), Gate of Infinity out to safety (and by "safety," I mean "rapid fire range to the unit you were in assault with"). You don't have to have a few locator beacons around to use this combo, but I think it's very highly recommended to avoid that whole deep strike scatter issue, which can really ruin your whole day (or at least your battle plan). Also, if you're like me, you want to do everything you can to remove the potential impact random chance can have on your army/units. I originally thought this power was used during the librarian's shooting phase, but an anonymous commenter (who may go by the name "lord-o-doom") pointed out that GoI is cast during the movement phase. So while it may be a little less useful than I originally thought, this combo is still my current favorite.
  3. Drop-podding a pair of tooled-up dreadnoughts (either ironclad or venerable) into your opponent's backfield and then opening up with heavy flamers and/or multimeltas/assault cannons/twin-linked auto-cannons. To follow that, charge on in for some DCCW/Seismic Hammer close combat lovin'. Support these dreads with a full squad of Sternguard (probably with a librarian rockin' Gate of Infinity) and maybe a full tac squad (or two) and you're in business. Just make sure you have enough drop-podding units to get all the units you REALLY want in the backfield on the first turn (which probably means you're going to need at least 5 units with pods). Don't forget locator beacons on the pods!
  4. I created a 2000 point list with Pedro Cantor and 90 other marines (3 full Sternguard squads and 6 full tac squads). That makes a total of 91 power-armored marines on the table, and with Pedro...90 of them are scoring. Granted, they're all footsloggin', but I think it would be pretty impressive (and not to mention, hard to kill).
  5. Honor Guard. Yes, they're ridiculously expensive. But let's think about it: for 385 points, you get 10 Sv2+ marines with power weapons, including the company champion and company banner. That will yield 51 S4 power weapon attacks on the charge (4 from the champ, 27 from the others, 10 from the company banner and 10 for the charge bonus) and 41 S4 power weapon attacks during a regular round of assault. If the S4 doesn't float your boat, you can give 'em all (or just a few) relic blades for some S6 power weapon goodness (at the cost of one attack for each model that has one). Giving the entire squad relic blades costs 150 points...and for the same price you can give the whole squad auxiliary grenade launchers for some added shooting power if you like. Granted, you have to take a chapter master to get them, so choosing one with some heavy CC power is probably a given (or not, they can run around by themselves). At first I didn't think these guys were worth it, but the more I look at what they're capable of, I think they're at least worth testing out...
What do you think of these combos? What interesting little gems of space marine goodness have you found lurking in the new codex? Share with the group and discuss!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Black Reach Tacticals to Sternguard (with pics!)

Due to popular demand, here's how I'm doing the Black Reach tacticals to Sternguard conversions, with pictures (admittedly, very crappy pictures, but hey, better than nothing, right?)!

The first thing you'll need to do is find the bolters that don't come with scopes. There are two in the box that come with scopes, s
o you can use them straight away. However, for the others, just pick out 3 more. I prefer the bolters with attached slings (again, there are two of them in the box, so you'll need to use one "plain" bolter for the fifth). File a little bit of the ridge that runs along the top of the bolter away to make it flat with the rest of the bolter body. Leave the little raised bit towards the rear.

Next, dig around in your bits box and find three scopes. Since you've probably never used them before, and you get one with every tactical marine frame, you should have plenty!

Glue that scope onto the bolter, and you're in business! Somehow that plain ol' bolter looks like a more specialized tool with the scope attached, doesn't it?

Next up, file off that "tactical squad" arrow from the shoulder pad of each Black Reach marine model, as the Sternguard are both veterans and elites. This photo was taken while in mid-filing. It's pretty easy to do with a good set of files.

Lastly, attach the bolter to the Black Reach marine, prime and paint. Don't forget to use the color scheme for your chapter that denotes veteran status. In my case, they'll be ultramarine blue with a while helmet and white shoulder pad trim.

Compare and contrast to the still un-released Sternguard set:

...and you'll see that about the only real difference is in the pose (they are definitely more "dramatic"), ammo magazine (I suppose you could use storm bolter magazines if you wanted to duplicate them more closely) and a little bling (purity seals, terminator honors, etc.). I will probably go back and add a bit or two to each model to give them a little more "pop" and make them stand out, but honestly, I don't think it's absolutely necessary. The main thing is these guys all have bolters with scopes and slings (well, except for the combi-melta guy) and that's pretty much what we've got with the conversion. Plus, in the Black Reach set there's a couple of marines with "crusade" helmets (the same kind that comes with the company champion model). I've used both of them for my Sternguard, because it just felt right. :)

Anyway, I know that this is a very basic conversion (but the first I've ever attempted, honestly) and there are probably much better ways to do it. Considering Sternguard are basically veterans with "blinged-up" bolters, I think I've covered the basics pretty well. I know that ultimately what will sell this conversion is using the veteran colors/paint scheme, as that will leave no doubt as to what kind of unit they are. :) And hey, you're getting those marines in the Black Reach set at such a bargain, I somehow enjoy the idea of making Sternguard out of them.

All right...what do you guys think? Have any conversion ideas/plans you'd like to share?

Black Reach to Sternguard

So here's my plan for getting some Sternguard converted up on the cheap.

  1. Take a few of those Assault on Black Reach tactical marines. You know you bought the box, it was simply too good of a deal to pass up, and now you have marines-a-plenty. Pick out five.
  2. Grab your files and get busy grinding off that stupid "tactical squad" arrow. It just doesn't fit on a Sternguard.
  3. Use the two bolters that have scopes attached to them, and then the two bolters that have the slings. Pick a plain one for the fifth.
  4. Look in your bits box and find 3 more scopes. You know you have them. They come with every tactical marine frame.
  5. Attach the scopes to the bolters that don't have them.
  6. Voila! 5-man basic Sternguard squad, ready to go. Prime and paint, not forgetting to use white paint on the helmets and shoulder pad trim (or whatever your chapter color scheme for vets).
What do you guys think? I've already made 4...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Got to Read the New Space Marine Codex

Swung by the FLGS this evening and gave the new Space Marine codex a pretty thorough read-through (at least in terms of the game mechanics stuff, skipped the fluffy bits entirely).

I both love it and hate it.

Boy oh boy as you're reading through the unit descriptions, your mind begins to swirl with all kinds of possibilities and combinations...there's some raw power in there that will make you weep with joy.

Then you get to the actual army list part.

You read the point costs.

And you begin to weep again, this time bitter tears of sadness for the units that will never see the light of day.

Vanguard Vets, for example. They're stupidly overpriced. One of them with a jump pack will costs you...are you ready for this?

You sure?

...waaaait for it!

35 points.

That's right, 35 points.

Marneus Calgar? 250, with the option to take termie armor for a few points more.

Sicarius? 200, but probably worth it for Rites of Battle and his wargear, which is very nice indeed.

And trust me, you don't want to know what an all-las cannon equipped Predator is going to cost you (though the other configurations are actually very reasonable).

But there are definitely some bright spots...some very bright spots indeed.

Sternguard. 25 points. They are, to me, hands down the best thing in the whole book.

Scout bikes. They're like a Swiss army knife. If only that WS and BS had remained at 4...

Regular bikes are cheaper.

And yes, you can field a captain and attached command squad, all on bikes and including an apothecary (granting the unit FNP), giving you a sort of poor man's nob biker squad.

Other bits of joy:

Cheaper assault marines.

Dirt cheap las cannons for tac squads.

Legion of the Damned.

Ironclad Dreadnought (guess what I'm going to do with the Black Reach dreadnought? Yep, you guessed it...)

Dirt cheap Razorbacks. They're practically giving them away in the TLHB load-out.

It is possible -- though probably not very practical -- to field 5 Land Raiders. That's right, you heard me: 5 Land Raiders.

And oh yes, Scout Sergeant Telion. He's like Christmas morning. One of his special abilities makes him like a Vindicare assassin. He's awesome, and a bargain points-wise.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I had a serious bitch-fest in the FLGS about the stupid, stupid stuff that's in there:

Chaplains? Nerfed. BS 4, W2, I4 A2. Lame. No upgrades available.

Librarians? Same stat line as Chaplains, and the psychic hood has that craptacular 24" range. Inquisitor lord, here I come. (Have I told you lately how much I hate that damned Doom/Guide/Fortune faucet? Shutting it off truly makes me smile.) At least they're still Ld 10...

GW no longer loves you if you love assault cannons. In fact, looking at it's point cost, I'm pretty sure they want you to forget it ever existed.

I'm sure I sounded like a little bitch while I was venting at the FLGS...but man, some of the nerfings and point costs don't make much sense.


There are definitely no Eldar- or Ork-style win buttons in this book (which -- I'm ashamed to admit -- I kind of wish there were at least one).

Overall first impression? While I have some issues with a few bits, all things considered, it's a great book. The good definitely outweighs the bad. I'm looking forward to using it. Release date can't come fast enough for me!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Things that Seem to be Mocking Me Lately

In my ongoing effort to make this blog suck less, I broke out a crap-tacular digital camera I've had hiding in a file cabinet in my home office and thought I'd see if it would work for getting a few simple pictures. You guys are lucky! I'm sharing the results of my experiments with you!

As I've mentioned, a seri
es of RLEs (Real Life Events) has kept me from doing any modeling or gaming lately. I've forgotten what the inside of my FLGS looks like. My fingers itch to hold a handful of dice in them.

The problem is -- and this is a strictly personal problem I'll admit -- I feel like when you take such a hiatus from your gaming community, when you come back, you should come back hard, with a large completed hobby project that blows everyone away, as if to say, "See, I wasn't slacking! Look! This is what consumed all my time and kept me away from the game tables!" Which is all well and good if you've actually done some impressive project, but if you're like me, and you haven't, but feel like you should have...see what I mean?

Anyway, here's a few
of the things that have been vexing me lately. Things I have at least started working on, but due to the afore-mentioned RLEs, have languished...

Ah, yes, first off is my VERY WIP terminator librarian. As you can see, not much progress. So many little details on this mini! I'm pretty happy with the face, though.

Next up on the ol' Hit Parade of Shame is a trio of the "snap-fit" space marines from the little $8.00 box they're selling now. If you're like me, and you suffer from COMBS (Compulsive-Obsessive Model Buying Syndrome) you really hate to leave a FLGS without buying something. Last trip I made to the FLGS, these were by the cash register. They're all ready to be primed and painted. Oh, this picture has some shame bonus point content, too. In the plastic container these guys are standing on is a complete 5-man tactical squad, also with all mold lines removed and ready for the ol' prime-and-paint.

Ah, yes, these guys. All sitting in their box, still on the frame. *sigh* I was going to build them all with lightning claws. Looks like that's going to change with the improved storm shield in the new codex. With that in mind, I guess you could say not getting these guys done sooner has worked out in my favor.

Last -- but certainly not least -- this is something that will actually help my whole modeling situation. Yep, that's a new desk/workspace. It's still in the box (sound familiar?) but for a good reason. I'm moving to a new, more spacious apartment in October. Since I really don't have the space for it in the current place I thought I'd just leave it in the box for easier moving and then assemble it after settling in. Finally! I'll have a dedicated space to work on my hobby stuff! I can't wait!

So...what's been vexing you lately?

Monday, August 25, 2008

I have not been eaten by a Grue.

...though from my lack of posts recently, you might think that.

No, lately I've been eaten by a rash of RLEs (Real Life Events) and that has unfortunately taken its toll on my free time.

Things are looking to return to something resembling normalcy, though, so I hope to return to more active bloggery soon.

Anyway...that's my story.

Here's hoping thing are going well for the rest of you!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Photo BatRep: Ultramarines vs. Eldar (Part Two)

...before I continue, a detail I left out from Turn Two: Jim moved his Wave Serpent near the center objective, and dumped out a squad of Storm Guardians. His Autarch also marched towards the middle, and the Fire Dragons began to spill out from behind the wall. This set the stage for the coming bloodbath.

Turn Three:

Behind the tower, I dropped out my melta squad and attempted to do a little rapid fire loving on the Striking Scorpions...but the melta missed, and the relatively low volume of fire took down maybe one, and I got mentally prepared to receive the charge. The assault marines bounced over to the war walkers, did some shooting and then assaulted. This created a quagmire that would keep both units tied up until the last turn. Opened up on the Warp Spiders, leaving three alive, they bounced around the termies and to take more shooting, break and flee. I pivoted the LRC, moved it through the terrain, and unloaded the Command Squad o' Doom. Shooting damaged the Wave Serpent and caused a wound on the Autarch. I was planning on charging into both the Autarch and the Storm Guardians, but wanted to even the odds a little, and had the CSoD take a round of shooting at the Autarch...and accidently killed him, leaving my squad sitting high and dry with no one to assault. Oops. Both the Storm Guardians and Fire Dragons took turns pumping flamer and fusion guns into the CSoD, and when the smoke cleared, the only survivor was the chaplain. He was promptly charged but made some dramatic saves and barely lived through the round with one wound remaining. The Striking Scorpions made quick work of my melta squad and dodged around to the door of the tower, but a quick rules check revealed they couldn't enter the building as my squad occupied it.

Turn Four:

Top of Turn Four, chappy dispatches a couple of f
oes before being dragged under. Termies jockeyed for LOS on the Striking Scorpions but couldn't get it and ran, hoping for a better position. The Fire Dragons got into magic melta range on my LRC and despite several hits, only managed to destroy the TLAC. The Fire Prism was up next, but missed. The second squad of war walkers laid down a serious torrent of fire on my middle LC squad, leaving one survivor.

Turn Five:

My assault squad finally dispatched the war walkers, but really didn't have an opportune target.Termies and Striking Scorpions clashed, casualties were taken on both sides, but there was no winner. At the end of the turn, things were pretty deadlocked, with my tower and wall still firmly under my control, and his tower and wall in the same shape. The LRC, still parked almost on top of the center objective prevented Jim from claiming it (amazing just how big a Land Raider is) and so we didn't even roll for Turn Six (at this point, it was getting late).

Final Outcome: A draw.

Next post: What did we learn?

What do you guys think? Do you have any suggestions for either of us? What would you have done differently?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Photo BatRep: Ultramarines vs. Eldar (Part One)

Thanks to my friend Jim, I present part one of a photo-enriched battle report. Jim and I have been itching to play against each other for a while -- on our local forum, my post header is, "If holofields cost 1000 pts I'd stop complaining," -- and Jim has been wanting to give me something to complain about. :) Finally, we got a chance to square off! We met at Battleforge Games Thursday evening and got down to business.

He was trying out a new list, and I played the same one from BFG's last Hobby Tournament. We rolled the m
ulti-objective mission with long table edge deployment. We wound up with a total of 3 objectives, which after placement was one in my castle, one in his, and one in the center of the board.

The pictures start with deployment and go through the end at the bottom of turn 5. Unfor
tunately, Jim didn't send me all the pictures that really starred his units, so this is going to be a little one-sided. I'll have to ask him for the rest of the Eldar-specific ones so you can see the whole thing. Anyway, on to it...


Basically, I set up the majority of my forces in the "castle": the LRC with the "Command Squad o' Doom" (Jim's name for it), my termies, one 5-man lascannon squad, the 4 missile launcher dev squad and the 2 HB 1 PC dev squad. The objective is actually in the corner behind the wall and the tower. What you can't see is the TLHB razorback behind the base of the tower. I knew Jim was either deep striking or outflanking pretty much everything, so I wanted both board edges covered. I put my libby on the other side of the board in the ruins, with the assault squad touching the ruins (to get that cover save!) and the remaining 5 man LC squad in the middle, hunkered down in cover and waiting for targets of opportunity.

Jim's deployment was far simpler: one unit of pathfinders (rangers?) in cover, with sniper rifles. Everything else in reserves...

Turn One:

LRC and termies moved up on the objective. Both dev squads, LC squads fired on the pathfinders, with the libby tossing in a Fury of the Ancients at them (it was all I had to shoot at...). That left two of them, which fired at my HB/PC dev squad on top of the tower, rending one and wounding another, enough to cause a morale check, which they proceeded to fail, and fall back to the bottom of the tower. They wouldn't be useful again for 2 more turns.

Turn Two:

LRC and termies closed on the objective. Mass missile launcher fire took out the remaining pathfinders. The rest of the Eldar host arrived from reserves. Two squadrons of three war walkers arrived on my right flank. The first squad (proxied by Tau battlesuits, agreed upon before the game) fired everything at my libby, sending him to be with the Emperor. The other squadron opened up on my assault squad, killing two or three (in the picture, I'm placing dice for wound allocation). A unit of fire dragons took position behind the wall by his tower and a unit of (I think) dire avengers moved into the tower itself to protect his objective. I never saw them, as they remained in the tower the entire game. A wave serpent carrying a unit of storm guardians and a fire prism glided onto the battlefield from Jim's edge, and a squad of striking scorpions outflanked deep in my deployment zone, even with the tower. The warp spiders and their exarch suffered a deep strike mishap, and I got to place them in the difficult terrain of the woods previously occupied by the pathfinders. Some very unlucky 1's took out the exarch and a few warp spiders, who them bounced out, unfortunately in range of my termie's assault cannons and storm bolters...

Coming up next post: Part Two!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

First 5E Tournament

During this past weekend, I got a chance to play in my first 5E tournament, hosted by FLGS extraordinaire Battleforge Games here in Austin. BFG's "Hobby Tournaments" (which emphasize fun army lists as opposed to kill-em-all WAAC lists) are somewhat legendary -- this one had 28 players, and a free catered lunch (not bad for a free tournament, eh? Is it any wonder BFG has earned a large and loyal fan/customer base? It probably doesn't hurt that BFG is the venue-of-choice for the Bell of Lost Souls guys, too).

How'd I do? Well...1 loss, 2 draws. I wasn't in the top ten, but I consider this improvement, as in my first tournament, I lost every match, in my second, I had one loss and one tie (and a bye).

The picture is was taken by Jay, aka Bushido in the 41st Millennium during our match in round 2. If you'd like to read more about that match (and good match-by-match batreps by Bushido for the whole tournament including pictures from each), you should check out this act of bloggery he committed.

You may notice his gorgeous Eldar army in the photo. It looks fantastic, every unit has been lovingly given attention, and his vehicles are as beautiful and elegant as they are deadly. :) You'll also notice my Ultras are outnumbered. This was taken during the next-to-last turn. That loss I mentioned earlier? Yep, this was it.

You may be curious about the top five in this tournament, being is that it is one of the first 5E tournaments ever:

1. Eldar
2. Chaos Space Marines (Nurgle)
3. Imperial Guard
4. (tie) Black Templars
4. (tie) Tyranids

Hmm...looks like even with the new edition, some things have changed all that much. :) Although I should point out that most of the players in the top five consistently win tournaments using different armies (which lets you know they're good generals in any case).

There were a lot of marine armies in this tournament, which led Frank (aka Capt Tyranus on B&C) to comment that he thinks more people are picking marines up again due to the rumors about the upcoming codex, and it's supposed power. Interesting.

Does this mean we are entering into a Marines Ascendant era?

Which leads somewhat to this question: do you think the new marine codex will change the overall "power level" of the army?

Lastly, I'd like to say that having played 2 tournaments under 4E and now one under 5E, I greatly prefer the 5E ruleset. The games seem to have a more even ebb and flow, give and take...dare I say it: balance. I'm really looking forward to the bright times ahead in this hobby.