Thursday, December 29, 2011

Something New

Despite currently being in a different time zone from my models, I managed to get in a game today.  Currently, I'm hanging around the old stomping grounds for the holidays.  One of the local veteran gamers was looking for a game during the day to try and refine an Ogre Kingdoms build.  I volunteered my services as a general in exchange for the use of one of his armies (and he has ALL of them).  I requested Beastmen, thinking that while I had the chance, I should play something new and different.

I ended up with a fairly straightforward list.  It contained a Beastlord with the Crown of Command in a big unit of Bestigors, a level 4 Bray-Shaman with Shadow Magic, 2 units of Gors, one of which had a Wargor with the Beast Banner, some redirecting chaff, and last of all, a Ungor bunker with 3 level 1 Shaman next to a herdstone to generate magic dice.

My opponent's list consisted of a big block of Ironguts, with a Slaughtermaster (Death Magic) and Butcher, two Skycannons, seven Maneaters with a Battle Standard Bearer, four Leadbelchers, plus some redirecting chaff.  The Maneaters were pretty sweet models.  He had the unit converted to be a group of Samurai Ogres, including back banners and katanas.

We played a Battle for the Pass.  For the most part, I was the aggressor.  It makes sense, since I have no ranged offense outside of the Pit of Shades magic spell.  I lost that turn three because of a tricky combo (Greedy Fist and Death Magic) and going into turn 5, things were looking bad.  I had lost one shaman, plus all my chaff, and one of my Gor units.  My opponent was skilled with his redirectors and refused to let my elite Bestigors make it into combat.  I really didn't have any way to score points to make up the difference until a pretty crucial mistake by my opponent.  He had pursued the unit of Gors with his Maneaters, but had to stop them an inch from the board edge, due to the scenario's cliff walls rules.  My second unit of Gors had a perfect rear charge, then got buffed by Wyssan's Wildform and put a whipping on the Maneaters.  It took two turns due to stubborn, but that put me ahead to stay, as he just didn't have enough time left in the game to make a comeback.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hobby Update and Campaign Musings

It's always nice to cross something off the list, particularly when it's been on the list for entirely too long. Drop Pod #2 has qualified for the latter for a while, so to say that it's done feels pretty good. Sadly, I have no functioning camera at the moment. I know, I know. "Pics or it didn't happen." Unfortunately, the wife took all the AA batteries with her on her trip and I have been too lazy to acquire a new set. So instead, I give you other pictures to break up the text!With that done, I will pass on commenting about hobby stuff for now and spend my musing elsewhere.


I've been thinking about what I would want in a campaign system and trying my hand at designing a simple one. I've done narrative stuff before, but I have always loved maps. I want to do a non-GM, map-based campaign. I have read a lot of rules packs, but not a lot that I've really liked. This is what I'm looking for:
-Static lists, but a few of them, so you have a chance at some variety
-A system for casualties and experience
-Territories and a reason to hold them
-Not having to fight the same person over and over
-Enough people willing and able to play
I've seen campaigns where guys saw who was next to them on the map, saw that they were going to be fighting them all the time, and dropped out. At the same time, I don't want to feel like the map is just a progress tracker. I want everyone to be able to get in a game each week, but not against "just whoever", and if they win they get a hex. So I guess what I'm saying is some sort of overall strategic element to the larger game needs to be present for me to be satisfied.

More to come, I'm sure.

Hobby Accomplishments
-Finished Drop Pod #2.
-Decided how to paint the Land Raider hull. I also settled on a design for the opposite side and one of the flags. Now to test the free handing skills.
-Paints acquired. Fresh paint makes things so much, though GW paint pots remain one of the worst designed products in my experience. I believe my next project will begin my experimentation with other lines.
-Won Settlers of Catan! Development cards FTW!

Hobby Goals
-Get in a game over the Christmas holiday.
-Get the basecoat on Drop Pod 3. That's right. I'm optimistic that THIS one will get done quickly. To be fair, it will be the simplest of paint schemes. In rebuttal, history indicates it will take forever.
-Sand down some of the rough ideas for the aforementioned campaign system.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Throwing Dice at Terminators/Deep Striking... Like a Boss

I've gotten in a trio of games these past weeks. For the first time I've tried to get a bit more creative with building the list I take to them. It's not that I can really argue with the results of the games I have played, but rather that I see significant weaknesses in it. Outside of a couple games where my armor saves rolled way above the mean, I always feel like I'm on the brink of losing everything. I suppose that makes sense, since I'm usually playing with about 25 models, but that's only part of the picture.I think one of the larger issue is the lack of mobility. In Killpoints games I get avoided and I can't pin anyone down, or I'm out-ranged and don't have enough light-vehicle killing. In Objectives games, whatever I commit to an objective is stuck there for the whole game. If I get wiped off of one point, there's no real chance to commit more resources there. I project a lot of threat, but it's over a very limited area.

Here's the list I took to the last two games I've played:
Logan Grimnar

Rune Priest w/ Chooser of the Slain, Living Lightning, Murderous Hurricane

Lone Wolf Terminator w/ Wolf Claws

Dreadnought w/ Multi-melta in a Drop Pod

4 Wolf Guard Terminators in a Drop Pod
w/ 2 Combi-meltas, Arjac Rockfist, 1 Storm Shield, 2 Wolf Claws, 1 Powerfist

5 Wolf Guard Terminators in a Drop Pod
w/ 2 Combi-meltas, 2 Storm Shields, 2 Wolf Claws, 3 Powerfists, Assault Cannon

5 Wolf Guard Terminators
w/ 3 Power Fists, Power Weapon, Chainfist, 4 Storm Bolters, Assault Cannon

5 Wolf Guard Terminators
w/ 4 Power Fists, Power Weapon, 4 Storm Bolters, Heavy Flamer

Thunderwolf w/ Storm Shield, Wolf Claw

Arjac's Squad w/ Logan is an absolute beast. It gets delivered deep into the enemy's lines, often by itself, and it starts wrecking things. Granted, it's a third of my army's points, but the amount of hurt they can dish out is outrageous, while the wound allocation shenanigans and the terminator armor/storm shield combos means that only the weight of dice will bring the squad down.

I was impressed with the Thunderwolf's threat range. In the one game that he didn't die horribly, his fleeting and long assault make it quite a bit easier to get across the board. If I play the unit again, I'd like to increase the size of the unit to at least 3, so the unit can take a little more punch before going down. I can do a squad easily at a little more than 200 points, and I could add a lord or a battle leader for some more durability and some serious hurt.

I'd kind of like to squeeze in some jump troops and some missile launchers as well. For the jump troops, I have two options: Skyclaws or Wolf Guard w/ Jump packs. The Wolf Guard get expensive faster than their Terminator brothers and are less resilient. The Skyclaws don't make sense from the "elite" standpoint of the army, though I could do up some Death Company models which would be fun. The launchers seem to be the choice of prevailing wisdom, and I would appreciate the 48-inch range. Trying to catch Venoms is becoming quite tiresome, so having that extra long arm would be nice. Sadly, they don't make much sense aboard a Space Hulk, but then, neither do jump infantry so neither came as part of the set.

This makes me worry that I'm betraying the initial spirit of the project I envisioned. Space Hulk whispered, "Terminators" into my ear, and though I play them well, I'm playing one-off beer and pretzel's type games. I like winning, but if that were really the key element here, I could have grabbed a ton of Long Fangs a couple years ago. No matter how much I analyze the "competitiveness" of the list, every game thus far has been competitive and fun. That "special moment" where something cool happens seems to come about every game, whether it be a devastating charge, a unit refusing to go down, or one big kill. Each game has been tense and close, and isn't that what we want out of our armies? If it helps us realize our creative vision, stacks up on the table most of the time, and brings us joy, isn't that the holy grail of hobby? I wouldn't speak for anyone else, but for me, yes.

Did that turn into a sermon? Quite possibly. Anyway, on the lighter side, here is one more picture:For my friends that stick to regular board games, the only way to lose what's inside a drop pod is to have it scatter off the table. I nearly managed this feat after rolling 12-inches and an arrow pointed directly at the nearest table edge. Of course this ended up being a great thing as the other drop pod is on top of his objective, but it could have gone horribly wrong. Failing to learn my lesson, I duplicated this the very next game, though only rolling a nine, and honestly, I may have only made it due to some grace from my opponent.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Forward Momentum

So things are starting to settle into a rhythm to some degree. The apple cart will be upset shortly, but in the meantime it's nice to feel like things are becoming familiar.

The past two weeks, I've rolled into the FLGS and had a game. Nights consist of TV and re-runs which gives me a chance to do some painting while the wife works on her projects. The little bits of progress are starting to add up. I'm closing in on finishing Pod 2. I need to finish the front of my Menhir. I'm almost finished with Denny, though the more I look at her, the more certain I am that I'll be doing some kind of head swap. I am also starting to apply some layers to the Daemon Prince for my Word Bearers. He's been second in the queue for a while and keeps getting passed over for stuff.The game at the local was 1500 points against Tyranids. It was mostly a Genestealer shock list, but it had some pieces in it that I don't think were used optimally. For example, my opponent had a big scary flying Hive Tyrant, a close combat monster. He spent most of the game hiding behind a building. He outflanked both squads of Genestealers and had a unit of Ymgarl's that start off the board, so he could never really commit the stuff that started on the board.

I made my own fair share of mistakes. I didn't confirm what the Doom of Malantai did, but I know now why people cry about it. My Dreadnought podded in a little too close to the side of the board, so the Genestealers came in and demolished him rather than getting to charge his Gaunts. But I had some pretty glorious moments too. My combi-melta squad podded in and took 3 wounds off the Tyrant, then survived his assault and a Power Fist took him out. Logan and his squad took a charge from the Ymgarls and the regular Genestealers and broke them both. In the end, I think I definitely had the edge in terms momentum if the game had continued, but it ended turn 5 again and I had four of the five objectives.