Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Blood Angels take the field for the first time!

Well I finally finished up my two half tactical squads and my temporary captain (VERY temporary as it turns out...) and got in my first game of Warhammer 40,000 in about four or five years tonight.

My friend Stan who runs the excellent Games Workshop store at the Square One shopping centre in Mississauga was good enough to accommodate my oddly pointed force (we played a 585 point game) with a small portion of his really cool Chaos Marine army.

First up lets look at what I was able to get finished for our game...(this is in addition to the Space Hulk Terminators I painted last year.

My two half Tactical squads each featured a Sergeant with a Plasma Pistol as that is the closest you can get to an anti-armour choice with five-man squads using the Blood Angels army list.  The Plasma Pistols were a mixed bag, 1 of them on my left flank picked off a couple of power armoured Chaos Marines so that felt well worth the point but the one on my right flank failed to penetrate the armour of a Rhino through 3 rounds of shooting so no so good there.

My Captain who I decided to paint in Death Company colours was thoroughly unimpressive.  He failed every Iron Halo save he got, caused 1 wound with his Plasma Pistol and due to his extremely crappy Iron Halo saves was killed before landing a single blow with his Power Fist.  I have since revised my use of him from "temporary" to "retired" he will not be appearing in another game unless he is a second character rather than my army general.

My star players were definitely my five-man Terminator Squad.  Although they were wiped out (by cultists!) they more than made up their points as they killed; the Chaos Marine Lord, a Chaos Marine Dreadnought and some giant space-pony thing that looked like it was probably pretty bad news.

I lost the game 2 objectives controlled to 1 but had a great time playing my first game under the current 40K rules (which I have to say I think are AWESOME).  I also learnt a few things to inform my next few choices on what to add to my army so I'm pretty excited about that.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Necessity really is the mother of invention

Progress has been crawling along on my Blood Angels but I finally have enough done to a "tabletop standard" to start playing some small games.  So far my force consists of; 2 five man Tactical Squads, 1 five man Terminator Squad, and Dante.  The only real issue I have with playing with this is that Dante is the wrong leader to use.

Originally I painted Dante as my leader because my first 3 squads were going to be; Assault Marines, Sanguinary Guard and Death Company with Jump Packs so Dante seemed like the perfect officer model.  Unfortunately following my fiasco with a bad batch of plastic cement last year those three squads all went directly in the trash and I started off by painting a bunch of units who will be walking to the fight.  With that being the case I don't really want a jump pack equipped leader.  The dilemma for me is exacerbated by the fact that I still plan to have an army that features a lot of jump troops when I'm done so I don't really want to buy another foot fig just to fill in while my army is under 1000 points (which if I'm being honest means I would only end up using that figure in a handful of games).  Whatever shall I do?

I had a similar problem with a much different root YEARS ago when the worldwide Eye Of Terror campaign was kicking off.  I was determined to play with the new Cadian models in the campaign but the hitch was that for the start of the campaign the only new Cadian models available were the basic troop box, so no heavy weapons and no officers.

Obviously conversions were the answer and I've got to say looking back I'm really happy this was a "problem" at the time or I probably wouldn't have bothered doing conversions for my Cadian army and I was ultimately very happy with how they turned out.

My Colonel was a simple head and hand swap.  I took the second generation Storm Trooper Sgt (now known as the Inquisitorial Storm Troopers) and chopped off his head and Plasma Pistol hand.  I replaced his head with a first generation Storm Trooper head (love the beret!) and the pointing hand from an Empire Cannon crewman.

For reasons I don't re-call I had also stockpiled a bunch of Scout Heavy Bolter arms so I was able to equip a platoon of Guardsmen with those to toughen up my squads.

Fast-forward to now.  I need an officer to lead my Blood Angels army through it's early battles, in the depths of my backlog I found a 2006 Games Day Space Marine Veteran still hiding in his blister pack.  I ditched his Storm-Bolter arm (which to me just looks awkwardly posed) and replaced it with a Plasma Pistol arm and a fancy Blood Angel shoulder pad.  Hopefully a day or two from now he'll be ready to lead the troops into their first battle!

I should probably mention the only downside to every time I decide to 'temporarily substitute something that fig ends up staying in my army for YEARS.  That Guard Colonel you saw....he's lead my Cadians in every game they're played in for 10+ years.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Last of the superfigs for this week!

Back with two more awesome Supersystem miniatures and then I'm going to shift gears for a couple of days and see if I can't make a dent in my Blood Angels force.

First up I've got a figure who's package is long gone and who's name I've forgotten but to me he looks like Firelord from Marvel Comics (a former herald of Galactus) so that's what I'm going with.  I like this figure because even though the superhero genre is full of fire-based superheroes they all tend to look too much like the Human Torch for my taste so I really like having a figure that fits that niche but has a different look.

Next up is Killshot.  Killshot is your basic gun-based superhero (anti-hero?) but his obvious inspiration was Grifter from Wildstorm Comics.  When Image first started up in the early 90s Grifter was by far my favourite character so again I'm really happy to have a miniature to represent him.  Heroes like this are great in miniature games but can be a struggle in RPGs because generally shooting people and being a "hero" don't really go hand-in-hand.

I've still got a ton of supers I want to get done, watching the video previews for 4th edition Supersystem on has gotten me really excited to start gaming these rules again but I want to get back to my Blood Angels at least for a few days to get enough stuff to play a small (probably 500 point) game with to re-introduce myself to 40K.


Saturday, 12 April 2014

Up On A Soapbox: House (non)-Rules

One of the regular hyperbolic statements those of us who enjoy sci-fi and fantasy miniature games have to endure while perusing the web is "I'm never playing ___________ again!  The new __________ rule totally ruins the game!"

Sinister motives are frequently attributed to rules changes, things like selling more of a certain type of model, bringing balance back to a broken tournament system, etc, etc but the truth (I believe) is that more often than not game designers or game companies are worried about either some notion of game balance or game length.

Back in the youth of sci-fi and fantasy war gaming there really was no play-testing.  If somebody had an idea for a game they published it, if they were really organised the tried a few games out with their personal gaming group and then they published it.  In those days it was not at all uncommon to adopt or invent house-rules to reconcile things that didn't work when you were gaming those systems at home.  Somehow with the growth of both the on line community and various tournament communities there seems to have developed a belief that games must be played as written at all times so that groups of strangers can war game without getting bogged down in endless disputes.  But honestly; how many of us game regularly with strangers?

As war games have grown up I've found that rather than lacking for rules that cover specific situations most of them have far more rules than you will actually use during the playing of your average game.  So here's a thought; what if we ignored the rules we don't like?

I recently had a debate with a gaming friend about a game we both claim to like but we seldom actually play because every time we're done rolling dice and packing away our miniatures we realise we don't actually like that game as much as we thought....but I'm going to end on that one.

Flashing back to my relatively recent past the prime example that came to mind was back when Apocalypse and the Baneblade originally got released for 40K.  I had a friend who really wanted to play with his new shiny plastic Baneblade but he didn't really have an Apocalypse sized force.  We pondered this problem for what in hindsight was an embarrassingly long time before I finally just said "screw it, let's use your Baneblade in a regular 40K game".  I took a few more anti-armour weapons than I would in a normal game and it all more or less balanced out.  in addition no game designers showed up at my house to beat me up for misusing their precious rules and then Internet was completely silent on the issue of how two people played a game amongst themselves.

I also remember more recently there being a big blow back against GW for not initially releasing their flyer rules to independent retailers and therefore a lot of independent retailers banning the use of flyers from their shop events.  Putting aside all the industry-politics and negative feelings of the time what if a group just decided 'no flyers' because they don't like how they impact the game?  Wouldn't that be a valid decision for a group of players to make if they thought it would make their own personal games more fun?

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that when you buy a game; it's YOUR game.  It's not the internet's game, it's not the tournament circuit's game, and it's not the publisher's game so play it the way YOU want to play it.  And you if you have a like-minded group of friends you might find that some games you had soured on or passed over are in fact really fun to play.

So on that note; who says losing your warcaster should immediately end a game of Warmachine?


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

More figs for Supersystem!

I haven't had much to post lately because I've been doing the very boring job of touching up my old Cadian army so I can get it ready to play some games again.

I did however find some time this week to get 2 more super heroes done and I have 4 more on my desk in progress now.

First up is a figure by Reaper (who's actual name escapes me) that I have done up as a generic paragon type character.  Basically he's your "superman-type".  I really like this figure because even though he's very classically heroic looking there's something overly serious about his face.  It kind of put me in mind of Hyperion from Marvel comics.

Next up from Four Color Figures (the official Supersystem minis line) is the Emerald Alien who I have re-purposed as a living being made up of terrigen crystals.  Terrigen crystals are what give the Inhumans (Kree-Human hybrids, again Marvel comics) their special powers and I was planning on painting some Kree and Inhumans down the road to use while gaming so this seemed like a good jumping off point.

More to come soon!