Sunday, February 11, 2018

Exploring worlds - off the gaming table...

I'm too embarrassed to look at the date of my last blog post - it must have been months ago!

To be honest, I haven't given the blog much thought for several reasons.

1.) I have barely played any Warhammer 40K over the last few months. I got in a game of 8th edition with my Black Templars against some Orks (and lost).

2.) I have lost interest in 40K and Age of Sigmar. For both, I just can't keep up with all the news, new releases and other information that is floating around. A bit too overwhelming for a casual player such as myself and not worth the effort until a Codex for the Tau comes out (hopefully not too far away now).

3.) I have been completely engaged in computer RPGs, and have found them completely engrossing. I have clocked hundreds of hours into Divinity Original Sin 2 (100+ hours), The Witcher 3 Game of the Year Edition (almost 200 hours), Witcher 2 Assassin of Kings (30 hours so far. I have been boring friends with just how amazing the Witcher 3 was and how it may have ruined other games in the future because it is just sooooo good!

I have always enjoyed CRPG, having played the various Baldur's Gate games, Pillars of Eternity, Divinity etc. but Divinity 2 and Witcher 3 helped me fall back in love...
...hard! I'm already trying to find something to play in anticipation of finishing Witcher 2. (Pillars of Eternity 2 should be out this year, and other likely interim options are Dragonage; Inquisition, and Tyranny. )

So, where to with my tabletop gaming?

I don't seem to have any enthusiasm for painting at the moment, and until the Tau Codex comes out it will be difficult to get enthused about other armies. However, I could use this time to start saving up for the new Codex. It might not be long, as some rumours have it as the next codex due. 

We'll see!

In the meantime Witcher 2 beckons. I need to help Geralt of Rivia find some king-slaying assassins, locate a lost love, retrieve my memory and clear my name!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Skaven Doomwheelin' onto your PC soon...


As much as I love Warhammer 40K, this blog was originally devoted to my Skaven army for Warhammer Fantasy Battle (mainly as a way to keep myself motivated to paint hundreds of the little rat-things...) so it with an evil skweel of delight that I watched the latest trailer for Total War Warhammer, featuring none other than the Skaven...

I've got close to 400 hours of gameplay logged in Steam for TW: Warhammer, mainly playing as Empire and Dwarves, so I am really looking forward to the new game later this year! ESPECIALLY as the "secret" fourth playable race in the game has been confirmed over the last few weeks and months as my favorite race of evil rat-men.

From the trailer above, and other limited-time play through videos, we can see that the all the units we know and love are there, fully animated and ready to take over the Old World...

  • Doomwheels
  • Queek Headtaker
  • Warplock Engineers
  • Weapons teams
  • Stormvermin
  • Rat Ogres
  • Screaming Bell
  • Hell Pit Abomination
  • ...and more!
All of them look really nicely animated and quite fun to play with. Combine this with some in-game mechanics that are unique to the Skaven and it looks like an interesting challenge with some new twists that will keep gameplay fresh (hidden bases, extra units of clanrats tunneling up through the ground mid game).

Fire up those Doomwheels ladies and gentlemen!

p.s. I know a Guinea Pig (as in the opening image) isn't a rat, but it IS a rodent - and the image was just too cute to not use....

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Black Templars and Warhammer 40K 8th Edition first games

I got in my first two games of Warhammer 40K 8th edition over the last two weeks.

My first game with the new system was at a Games Workshop store in Tokyo (yes, I still never call them "Warhammer Stores", no matter what the sign on the shop says!). I thought it would be good to have a game with the staff to get used to some of the new mechanics, and to help refresh my knowledge of the game as I haven't played in months.

Before I went I spent some time putting together a Black Templars list using the new "Power level" system. This is designed to be a quick and easy way to put together an army without worrying about calculating the exact points value of everything. Each unit has a clearly marked power level, which is adjusted based on the number of models in the unit, but not on their wargear or accessories.

Overall, this system works quite well in specific circumstances, and I was able to pull together a bunch of my old Templars models with relative ease. It makes calculation pretty easy, and various list building apps have already included it. (I used Battlescribe and this seemed to work fine). In a few minutes of playing around I put together a 75 point army of Black Templars (50 points is about 1,000 points according to some sources). More on that later.

Black Templars bike squad zooms in.

++ Game 1: Black Templars v. Ultramarines ++

Here is the 75 Power Level list I used:

  • Captain on Bike
  • Chaplain Grimaldus
  • Crusader Squad A (9 Initiates with Chainsword, 5 neophytes with combat knives, 1 Sword Brethren).
  • Crusader Squad B (4 initiates with Bolters, x1 with Flamer, x1 with Plasma)
  • Crusader Squad C (5 initiates with Chainswords, x1 Flamer)
  • Dreadnought with Autocannon
  • Land Raider Crusader for Squad A
  • Razorback for Squad C
My opponent had about 70 points of Ultramarines. From what I remember:
  • Captain on foot in Terminator armour.
  • Venerable Dreadnought with Las cannon, Dreadnought power fist/ flamer.
  • x1 smaller Unit of Primaris Ultramarines (x5?) on foot.
  • x1 large unit of Ultramarines (x10, with Missile Launcher)
  • x1 large unit of Ultramarines (x10, with Missile Launcher)
  • Close combat Terminator squad. (x10 or so, brought in from reserve. Half with lightning claws, half with thunder hammer and shield.)

If I can, I'll put together a separate report in more detail, but the highlight of the game had to be my excitement at using Chaplain Grimaldus, only for him to kill himself in his first shot of the game when his pistol overheated and exploded in his face. 
Classic WH40K Bittersweet moment™!

My opponent was the underdog in terms of points, but his large Terminator squad pretty much made mincemeat of my troops. That, coupled with some bad placing of charging bikes on my part opened them up to a lot of attacks that overwhelmed them.

10 Enemy Terminators arrive (top right). The end is near (for me).

++ Game 2: Black Templars v. Tyranids ++

The Thin Black Line v. The Red Tide of Death...

In my second game (this time with a friend at home) my list was a little different:

50 Power Level Black Templars

  • Emperor's Champion
  • Crusader Squad (7 initiates with Chainswords, x1 flamer, x1 Sword Brother.
  • Sternguard x5 (x4 vets, x1 Sergeant All with flamer combi weapons)
  • Terminator Assault Squad (x Sergeant, x1 Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer, x2 with paired lightning claws)
  • Landspeeder x1 (Typhoon missile launcher, Heavy bolter)
  • Devastator Squad (x1 Sergeant with Plasma pistol,  x4 with Missile launchers
  • Rhino

49 Power Level Tyranid army

  • Hive Tyrant (Shooty) PL10
  • Carnifex (kinda shooty) PL6
  • Tervigon (kinda poopy - "releases" 10 Termagants every turn.) PL13
  • Genestealers (x5) PL4
  • Genestealers (x5) PL4
  • Zoanthrope (x3 in a single unit) PL6
  • Termagants (x10 on the table at first I think?) PL3
  • Hormagaunts (x10) PL3

We played an "Open Play" game to get a hang of the basic rules, using just the Indexes. 

There were four objectives, and points for control of each objective were collected at the end of each player turn. There is no 8th Tyranid Codex available at the time we played, and I don't have the SM Codex. Even if I know the rules, I didn't feel it would have been right to have access to my Chapter Tactics if my opponent didn't have any info from a codex of his own, so we didn't use those.

The (bottom left)

I ended up losing this game as well!

  • The Hive Tyrant and Carnifex pretty easily shot my Devastators off the table in the first round of shooting, meaning I was out of massed heavy weapons that could have seriously dented his Tyrant, 'Fex and Tervigon. This was even with an improved saving throw due to being in cover.(I still had the Land Speeder with heavy weapon and Typhoon Missile launcher, but felt that wouldn't do the trick)

  • The ability of the Tervigon in 8th edition to just add an extra 10 Termagants on the table without a chance of the ability stopping (as in 7th if I recall?) meant that the table quickly became full of little critters!

  • This small Tyranid force still has 3 psychic units, who in the psychic phase managed to get off Smite a fair few times, as well as some tasty buffs and debuffs (The Horror, Catalyst and Onslaught). As it only takes a 5 or more to get off Smite, it isn't difficult to get off, but even 1-3 mortal wounds on a small unit in a game of this size is going to hurt over time. (Bear in mind that as I don't own the SM Codex yet, I wasn't using Abhor the Witch, which would have given me a 4+ Deny the Witch roll, even without any psychers of my own.)

This loss was my fault too though for sure, with plenty of bad choices on my part:

  • I wasn't confident about driving my Rhino straight up to the Tyranids to disembark my Crusade Squad. It took me too long to do that, by which point there were lots of additional 'gants to deal with. They disembark now only at the beginning of your movement phase. If I had moved up within charge range, would the Tyranids have swarmed the raider and managed to simply take off enough wounds for it to explode? Once surrounded, the models inside have no exit point so simply die in that case? (My concern)! 

Because vehicles are more durable in 8th, being more confident about this is probably a key takeaway.

  • I became too distracted by worrying about the units I had and should have paid more attention to the game objectives, and could have contested those in his back field earlier (using different vehicles such as the Land Speeder) to take pressure off my front line.
  • I could have placed my devastators further back so they could have got one round of shooting off before being in range of the Hive Tyrant and Carnifex.
  • It was a mistake not to try and whittle down the large number of Termagants that the Tervigon was throwing out. By the time I got into close combat there were too many of them.
It wasn't all bad news though! :-)

Having been slaughtered by some Terminators in my first game, I had put a small squad into this game and they worked quite well. Those 2+ saves make a huge difference, even under quite a weight of attacks. After his compatriots were struck down, the Terminator Sergeant duked it out with the Hive Tyrant and brought him down with a thunder hammer (only then to face the wrath of the Carnifex...)

Classic WH40K Heroic-Moment to Enjoy before Death™!

Terminator Sergeant alone, but not unbeaten!
In the next turn, he takes out the Hive Tyrant (at right.)
Another positive was to see how the Sternguard did with their combi-flamers. After moving up, they quickly crisped a unit of Genestealers with no problems (but then fell to all that dakka from the HT and Carnifex.) Flamers = Fun (although somehow, I miss templates...)

Two Sternguard fall to incoming fire, but the other three advance
and fire their combi flamers into a unit of Genestealers.

To finish, here are a few takeaways of main mechanics (mainly confirming what I have read elsewhere.)

Power Levels:

It won't satisfy players who like to carefully calculate everything, or gamers interested in "Match play" style games where opponents want very evenly balanced points, but for putting together a quick "pick-up list" it does the job... long as you accept there will be imbalances.

Depending on the army, some decent war gear or other options will slip in, and according to some reports, these could make make for an actual points difference of a couple of hundred "match play" points.

Simplified Gaming:

Yes, the game is more enjoyable with simplified shooting, wounding and saving. It will make things faster and easier for most gamers, and especially casual gamers (like me.)

Flamers Sans Templates:

With my dice rolls, I feel like I need to take flamers en masse. The D6 automatic hits sounds good, but with just one in a unit, that could just be one hit (for me at least!) 


Mixed bag! Great to have all the rules for a unit in one place. Not so great if you don't keep a close eye on where the dataslates are (or if you have an army with a load of units.)

Thanks to both my opponents for the games. I'm looking forward to using 8th edition more than 7th because I think the overall simplification of the game suits me as a gamer.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chaos Space Marines...where to now?

?++Next steps++Next steps++?

I posted a modified version of this post over on a 40K group on Google+ today, as I'm looking for some advice on where to go next with my small warband of Chaos Space Marines. If you have any advice feel free to chip in!

"Can I get done advice from any Chaos Space Marine players out there?

Took a look through my dusty case of Chaos Warrior odds and ends today...
...This is what I have, both painted and unpainted.

Heavy weapons.
  • X1 Dude with autocannon.(unpainted)
  • X2 with rocket launchers.(unpainted)
  • X4 guys with lascannons.(unpainted)

  • X15 guys with close combat weapons (unpainted)
  • X2 melta guns (unpainted)
  • X2 flamers (unpainted)
  • X2 plasma guns (unpainted)
  • X2 heavy bolters (unpainted)
  • X14 CSMs with bolters (a couple of whom look like sergeants with pistol and power swords)
  • X8 CSMs with chainswords
  • X1 captain (?)
  • X1 Rhino.
  • X1 Defiler

Combine this with the Crimson Slaughter expansion kit I picked up and I'll have a very infantry heavy force. If you don't know, it contains:
x1 Chaos Land Raider
x5 Chaos Space Marine Terminators
x5 Raptors/ Talons
x5 Chaos Cultists

Any advice on putting together a fun, fluffy force from these? (Photos below)

Autocannon (?)

x2 Rocket Launchers

x4 Lascannons

x15 Close combat weapons (Khorne berserkers?)

Chaos Metal Box (Rhino!)

x2 Melta guns

x2 heavy bolt guns

x2 Plasma guns

x2 Flamers

x6 Bolters and sergeant (plasma pistol and Power sword?)


x9 CSMs with chainswords

x2 CSM bikers

x6 CSMs with bolters and Sergeant (powersword)


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Holiday Haul of Chaos (?)

While I was at Warhammer Shibuya a few weeks ago, I came across a bit of a commotion among the punters. A Japanese gamer was in store, looking to sell off some unopened items. 

At the time, no-one in the store was really interested - they weren't making armies that featured anything from the mix of items he had. I soon found out that he had some 40K items, and that he wasn't into 40K at all, and would I be interested in some still-shrink wrapped items?

Intrigued, I was shown the following:

1. A Stormtalon Gunship (Space Marines).
2. A Tau battlesuit box (set of 3 XV8's).
3. A "Crimson Slaughter" Dark Vengeance expansion set.

As it happens, I do have a Space Marine army (Black Templars, who only an hour later than this would suffer the ignominy of bitter defeat), a Tau army, and even a small band of Chaos Space Marines, so this fit me almost perfectly.

The price?

50% off list price for the whole lot.

I almost immediately said "yes!", not because I'm greedy, but because I thought that these items might help get me out of my painting funk and bring me back to the "hobby" side of the hobby. I had never finished the Chaos SM models that I had collected over time, and this might be just the thing to get me back into it. (In my next post, I'll crack open the old GW case that houses "Black Jack's Brass Legion" and we'll line up the squad to see what is there.)

I wasn't familiar with the Crimson Slaughter expansion set, so I set about finding out more after getting home. I had quickly looked at the back of the box, and at the time felt it would add a bit of punch to my current CSM troops.

Let's have a closer look:

Crimson Slaughter box image (front)
Crimson Slaughter box image (rear)
So "What's in the box?"
  1. A Chaos Land Raider
  2. x5 Chaos Space Marine Terminators
  3. x5 Raptors/ Talons
  4. x5 Chaos Cultists
Not a huge force, but it should supplement my footslogging CSMs (I seem to remember I only have a Chaos Rhino) and also give me a bit of close combat and fast hitting power. While the Cultists don't help me at the moment (as I don't have any others) they might form the basis of a blob squad later. I'm not sure if this still holds, but without some of other elements the army will stay quite weak (air power).

Now, will I actually follow-up on my good intentions and start painting again?

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