Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Warhammer 40k AdMech Mechanicus War Convocation

I'm a bit stumped on which warlord trait table I should roll on for my tech priest Dominus in my AdMech Mechanicus War Convocation.

Normally, for most of my armies, I take a roll (or two) on the Strategic table out of the Basic Rule Book. After a couple of games recently where the warlord trait played no part in the battle, I'm a little undecided on which table I should roll on.

Usually, I keep a couple of units in reserve so I try to land Strategic Genus or Master of Ambush to help get the jump on my opponents but with my Cult Mechanicus and Skitarri, I don't keep much in reserve and I don't want to get most my units that close to the enemy...

That leaves Night Attacker which doesn't do much against most armies, because I can already take ShroudPsalm. Conqueror of Cities is moot because of Dunestrider, and Princeps of Deceit is usually worthless because most things are either immune to pinning, mounted on bikes, or ride in vehicles in the first turn.

That leaves Divide to Conquer, which is often very good but unfortunately is the only "good" choice for me on that chart.

Personal Warlord Traits are all worthless to me because I don't want to be in hand to hand and I have most of the other skills already. Command traits are ok, but half of them are combat oriented and basically grant a few rules from 8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battles rules for Generals.

So that leaves the Cult Mechanicus traits (which are very similar to the Skitarri warlord traits.) Archeotech Specialist is worthless because I never play with hidden objectives and most tourneys in ITC don't use them in games. Layerd Psalm-code is also already granted to me because of the formation rules for the War Convocation. However, that leaves two-thirds of the chart as being moderately useful for my general. If I stay in character for the army, I should chose the Cult Mech warlord trait list because mathematically it is the best choice for landing a trait that could be effective.

I just wish there was a better, more obvious choice for my Dominus (often called Space Pope 3,000.) I'm never aggressive with him and he prefers to lurk in the backfield protecting his own deployment zone; a bit of a coward really. You can see in the picture how he likes to peer around corners as his Knights advance downfield to take care of business.

What do you guys think? Any other Ad Mech commanders have any suggestions?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Warhammer 40k Comic Books

As I've mentioned before, I'm not just a mini wargamer, but I'm an avid comic book fan as well. While I don't write a comic book blog, it feels like I should write a post on miniature-based comic books when I find them.

However, I want to stress that I am not just a comic book fan. I'm a comic book fanatic.

I've made comic books. I've written comic books. I co-own a comic book store. My 5,000+ book collection takes up a second bedroom in my home. I proposed to wife in a comic book. I'm friends with other comic creators. What I'm trying to say here is that I know comics inside and out and I can be quite a comic book snob. 

This is my grain-of-salt warning.

London based Titan Comics has been publishing comic books based on licensed properties like television shows (Doctor Who,) video games (Assassin's Creed,) and other comic properties (2000AD) for almost 40 years. In October, they released the first issue of "Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron," based on Games Workshop's miniature game,Warhammer 40k.

The story kicks off as high level Dark Angels are mustering to set off to a planetary system that has been cut off from the galaxy due to Chaotic storms but has recently become accessible. A cabal of upper level Dark Angels are afraid that this new access will expose some of the chapters dark secrets. Meanwhile, an Inquisitor also gathers her troops to head off to the same system to uncover those very secrets for herself and presumably use that information to purge the Dark Angles from the Imperium. Also, a group of Iron Warriors heads off to the same system, for what purpose, we do not know.

The story is pretty typical fluff that folds nicely within the confines of the "current" timeline in 40k. Dark Angels, vs Inquisition, vs Chaos. The First Chapter of Space Marines is not one of my favorites and so I'm a little biased when it comes to the choice of protagonists; I'm just not a fan. Despite loving most the of armies of the Terra, I'm also not a fan of the Inquisition. Grey Knights are ok, but the meddling Inquisitors aren't in any of my armies. The Iron Warriors are my second favorite traitor Legion behind Alpha Legion, so I am pleased that there is a faction that I'm interested in reading about. 

Like I mentioned, the plot is pretty standard but I like the element of mystery behind the Dark Angels motivations, presumably trying covering up evidence to the fact that half their legion betrayed the Emperor during the Horus Heresy is a great "broomstick catalyst."

Despite my dislike of the organization, I think the Inquisition are great antagonists. There's nothing more infuriating and frustrating than administration and bureaucracy. In Harry Potter, I thought Deloris Umbridge was a more despicable villain than "he who shall not be named." The smugness and futility that a villain from the "hollier than thou" administration is more relatable than trying to overcome a threat from an antagonist that is only bent on mindless killing.

Unfortunately, the Iron Warriors were just briefly mentioned in the first issue and have little contribution to the story at this point. I'm sure they will become the biggest threat to the Dark Angels and likely will unite the two armies of the Imerium so they can fight a common foe.

Comics based on mini games are a lot like movies based on video games. Typically, they aren't good and while there are a few memorable bits, but it's obviously just a property licensed to explore options for monetization to a fan base that is hungry for more. 

Games Workshop has mastered this process by hooking game fans on the Black Library novels based on the the fluff of the various games and it makes sense that GW continues to publish comics based on their games. While GW comics in the past haven't enjoyed the success that the Horus Heresy novels have brought to 40k, I think the comics are a great addition to fans who want to explore more stories set in their favorite game.

Overall, I'd give Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron a solid B. The art isn't great but the mystery is intriguing. If your friendly local game store isn't carrying the comics, check out your friendly local comic book store and see if you can find a copy. Each issue has a variety of covers (really just a publishing ploy to sell more books to completists.)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Ad Mech Magos WIP

I'm working on a new Magus for my Cult Mechanicus/Ad Mech/Mechanicum.

After reading more of the Black Library fluff, it's obvious the Mechanicum/Machanicus are some twisted folks. While I didn't want to make my Magos "dark" mechanium, I think there is a lot of opportunity for conversions to make each Ad Mech army unique and I want my general to stand out.

One of my favorite comic book villains is MODOK. A giant head floating on a cyborg body with mental powers and traditional weapons built into his "golden throne." I couldn't figure out how to make a knock-off model out of GW bits, but it did give me a jumping off point by inspiring me to use the dreadnought hull as a body.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Warhammer 40k - Imperial Agents and Traitor Legions

Ol' Games Workshop has been doing well in the, "fan service" department. Rumors say we'll get two new armies in December (or shortly thereafter), Imperial Agents and Chaos Traitor Legions.

I suspect that the Imperial Agents book will be more of a revision/combination book for the few digital only and outdated codexes - Assassins, Inquisitors, and Sisters. I'm sure they'll add in the Sisters of Silence from the recent Burning of Prospero board game, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Militarum Tempestus, Astra Militarum, Grey Knights, or regular Marines units to make a full army.

For the Chaos Codex, I can only assume that we'll see rules like the Space Marine chapters.

The Black Legion will be the generic Ultramarines style army that's flexible enough that most current Chaos armies can play. Death Guard, Emperor's Children, World Eaters, and Thousand Sons will probably have some of the best rules/tactics/formations because they already have rules and units based on the single Chaos god they are devoted to.
I imagine Night Lords will probably get some rules similar to Raven Guard, or perhaps White Scars. Iron Warriors will likely be similar to Iron Hands, and Word Bearers, I feel, are a lot like the Black Templar. Who knows what Alpha Legion will do? Maybe they'll have a bunch of cultists/traitor Guard but I bet it'll probably be awesome.

The thing I think I like the most, GW really seems to be putting the things out that fans want.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Warhammer 40k FAQs!

Whoa, Games Workshop has released their new FAQ for Warhammer 40k!

A lot of the changes were based on community feedback and they even gave credit to Frontline Gaming/operators of the Las Vegas Open for their help.

Link to changes on GW's site.

My favorite FAQ? Witchfire psychic powers without a profile, like Psychic Shriek, don't need to roll to hit. Invisibility? You can't hide from being yelled at.

Also, Battle Brothers can NOT deploy in each other's dedicated transports. No more drop pod rideshare for Ad Mech. Let's hope that drop pods get a little more expensive or Rhinos get cheaper.

If the rumors are true, 8th edition is just around the corner, so I imagine most of these will apply to that edition as well.

Friday, November 18, 2016

What to watch? Warhammer 40k Youtube Battle Reports

When I paint, I like to watch battle reports on Youtube. When I work out on a treadmill, I watch battle reports. Sometimes, I just sit and watch battle reports.

Even when I'm not actually watching batreps and they are playing in the background, I can pick up some helpful tips and rules, especially for armies that I don't own. These are valuable resources that have boosted my game play and certainly help fuel my enthusiasm for playing just as much as reading a Black Library novel or entering a painting competition.

It was a really good week for batreps for me because most of my favorite channels posted videos! Here are my favorites:

Winters SEO: If Winters had a pay to play channel, I'd pay. I love his fluffy, narrative-story driven format. I also love his little sayings like, "Take a bite of the apple" and his love of the game is second to none. I think of all of the players I watch online, I would love to play Winters the most. His channel is at the top of my list and I've probably watched all of his videos several times.

Table Top Tactics: I love the whole cast of players that rotate through the channel and I really enjoy Lawrence's "tactical" tips and knowledge - as well as how he presents on camera. His videos are always fun and he has a great mountain of content - bat reps, list analysis, tactica... He really rivals Miniwargaming for the library of videos. Lawrence, B-Bone, the Colonel, Beard, Pastry Chef... I wish I was on the channel with a nick name.

Geeks 40k: They put out top quality videos and have a lot of fun with the game. The post frequently and have great armies on their channel. They are a good hybrid of narrative-story telling and tactics, but really excel by simply saying out-loud what most gamers are thinking.

StrikingScorpion82: Luke has some of the most thorough bat reps on Youtube. He is quite passionate about the game, narrates nearly every step of the game, and you can hear his excitement with every dice roll. His batreps are probably the longest and I suspect they must take quite a bit of time to record. His terrain and "decoration" is probably the best on any Youtube channel.

What channels do you guys watch?

Remember, many of these guys don't make batreps for a living, but they do make some extra coin from viewers clicking on the ads in their videos. Help these guys out and click on a few ads to help keep these guys making content for us to digest!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Non 40k Games

There are more games than Warhammer 40k?

Yes. Yes, there are.

 Today I re-read the Age of Sigmar rules. I have still yet to play a game though. Part of the problem is the lack of interest in my neck of the woods. Part of the problem is the simplicity of the rules and I can't wash previous edition of the fluff and rules out of my mouth. That's on me and I know it... but I'm just not excited by it.

I have, like six old fantasy armies. I really should try to drum up a game and give it a spin.

I also picked up a box of Infinity models. I began reading the rules and it seems pretty straight forward, but man, there are a lot of unit specific rules. Plus, tokens. I dislike games with tokens...

Necromunda is the only system that I really give a pass to but other games that require cards or chits, or model specific tokens, I'm usually unlikely to give it a try. However, I really like a lot of the Infinity models and I had a hard time picking a faction, so I went to the obvious face of the game.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Warhammer 40k Chaos Heldrake WIP

Do you know what's hard?

Painting 6 Heldrakes for a major ITC event in a few weeks is hard.

I had no idea how hard it is to paint a heldrake, let alone 6, but I'm giving a go.

As you can see in the picture, I've got all my space dragons clipped, sanded, primed and now I have black to red gradients painted on all of the parts that need the coverage.

Now, I've begun the arduous task of hitting all of the "veins" and edges of the dragons. Luckily, Leadbelcher is a base color from Citadel and I can usually get one coat coverage. I may not have time to edge highlight...

At present, I have one model done and awaiting magnets, one model nearly done - but has the wings magnetized, and the rest are sitting in boxes waiting for their first coat of silver. It's taking me about 7-10 hours per heldrake just to paint the silver. Oy.

After I get all of the silver painted, I plan on adding a black oil wash and then air brushing some energy spots on the baleflamer and maybe the eyes and the jet engine exhaust ports.

If I don't get these done in time for LVO, I may be bringing Grey Knights.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Las Vegas Open - Army Selection

Guess who cashed in some frequent flyer miles for airfare, booked a hotel room, and bought tickets to the Las Vegas Open Warhammer 40k Championship Tournament?

I couldn't be more excited! Now, to fine tune my army. Here's what I'm considering taking.

1. My Salamanders. Flame Strike formation with a First Company Task Force. In the First Company Task Force, I'm packing three Sternguard units with double heavy flamers (that are S6) and putting them in drop pods. Vulkan is my warlord and giving preferred enemy to all of the other units packing meltas and multimeltas. This list is solid all around and is great against Chaos Daemons but may fall to heavy shooting like Eldar or Tau. I also have to paint about 30 more Sallies.

2. My Astral Claws. This list features lots of bikes, a Centurion Devastator squad with boatloads of grav, a Skyhammer Assault Formation, and using the Ultramarines Chapter tactics. This is actually my first pick and I think it's the strongest against the broadest range of enemies. The army is mostly painted and I would be just touching up my models to get a better painting score.

3, My Rogue Trader Ultramarines. The list actually is a standard all-comer list that is right out of an old White Dwarf battle report. It's a hodge-podge of units but I do have an old Land Raider and 10 terminators. Using the current formations, I can also add a Librarius Conclave that would add some punch to the army. I have to paint most of the minis, about another 50 Ultrasmurfs, 3 Rhinos, and a Landraider... While I don't think this list has the punch to win the championship, I think I can make a strong case for best faction award. Who wouldn't say that a bunch of 30-year old minis from my childhood isn't the best Space Marine list out there?

4. Khorne Daemon kin. This list is something that I cooked up with my buddies. Two CADs that both feature 3 Heldrakes for 6 turkeys. I'll have lots of cultists to run around and support my two D-thirster HQ choices. I think this list could burn it's way through enemy units with ease, allowing me to earn bloodtithe points and summon more units, and kill even more enemy models. The only trouble, is getting those helturkeys on the table. The Strategic Warlord trait table has a selection that will give me +1 to my reserve rolls and I would have two shots at landing it. With a bit of luck, I think this army could take on all comers and improve my odd of wining by reducing my dice rolls - thus increasing my chances. The vector strike from the heldrakes don't need to roll to hit, nor do the S6 AP3 baleflamers. With my poor rolling, the fewer rolls that I need to make, the better off I am in the game. However, if I go second and my opponent submarines my reserve rolls, I could be in a lot of trouble.

 Despite the downsides, I think the Daemonkin is the army I'm going to take. I've always wanted to build a space barbarian dragon army and this is my chance/slash/excuse.  I picked up the first of the 6 heldrakes and started putting it together. I've had a hard time settling on a paint scheme, but I think I'm going with black dragons, silver trim and faded red tips of the wings, but man, these things are buggers to paint.

I've been experimenting with speed painting these wings. First I tried dry brushing the silver, then going back in an painting the interior panels. Next, I'll try a wing by hand brushing the veins and airbrushing the interior panels. I suspect that dry brushing will be the easier method, but the airbrushing and hand brushed veins will look a lot better and likely will take more than twice as long.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Terrain WIP

Recently, on a tip from somewhere on the internet, I bought some pine tree bark to use as rocks in model terrain and basing.

I picked up some trees from Michael's and a few wooden oval cutout to act as bases, and started gluing. I have to say, I'm really pleased with how pine bark looks. Even without painting, the bark really looks like layers of natural rock.

You can see in the photos that a couple of layers of brown and grey make for some nice additions to some sparse tree patches.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Themed armies in 40k

I've always been a big fan of painting models exactly like codex, army book, fluff, and/or real life historical markings and schemes.

I've also been a big fan of, "they're your dolls, painting 'em however you want."

The third choice, however, it to paint them like something else.

I've thought long and hard about painting a Cadian Imperial Guard army up like GI Joe and Cobra. The Cobra half would be a blob squad with a couple of characters like Destro, Cobra Commander, and the Baroness. The Joe half would be veteran squads with heavily converted models to make up all of the "good guys." Duke, Flint, Gung Ho, Snake Eyes, and Beachhead were my favorites. Tunnel Rat too.

I've seen a couple of others before, but I really like the look of this guy's Cobra army:

Cobra Themed GI Joe - Imperial Guard Army

Other cool models I've seen have been the Gundam Tau:

A whole bunch of Avengers:

Sunday, August 28, 2016

40k Deep Thought

I had this thought the other day as I was working on an army list.

What if Detachments and Formations were developed as a deliberate attempt to sabotage "net lists?"

After Games Workshop shut down their own tournament series, lots of armies were built the same way because the independent tourneys published the winning lists online for everyone to mimic.

The proliferation of Formations and all of the new codex specific Detachments could be the way Nottingham has decided to guide players into building lists that are a bit more fluffy and in character. Of course, the cynic in me says it could also just be a simple sales technique to sell more vehicles and models that are slow movers.

Either way, I love the bonuses of the Salamander Flame Strike formation, but I don't really want to take a devastator squad. At least the current rules don't force me to arm them with any actual heavy weapons...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Astral Claws Tournament Report

Today I played in a 1,500 point Rogue Trader style tournament and did very well. I brought my "Bastards of Badab" Astral Claws army and came in second by getting the most victory points.

I brought a Space Marine biker CAD, a Librarius Conclave all rolling on Telepathy, and a Sky Hammer Annihilation Force with 3 grav and multimeltas in the devastator squads. I switched from White Scars chapter tactics to Ultramarines recently and I'm glad I did. The doctrines, even though I only get to use each one once in this build, have been a big help because I don't need to put librarians with divination nearby.

If this had been a larger point game, I would have brought devastator centurions and because of the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics, I don't need to sink a lot of points into Tigurius. The conclave on bikes usually means that I can throw some sort of protection on the CentsDevs.

In my first battle, I played Eli and his Khorn Daemonkin.

It was Vanguard deployment and Purge the Alien scenario with the three regular secondary objectives. It was a fairly close game but I won by just a couple of points despite losing my Captain to Eli's warlord on a juggernaut in the last turn.

The drop pods from my Sky Hammer Annihilation force and the devastators were the "man of the match" and were just erasing units almost each turn.

In my second game, I played Chase and his nasty Necron decurion force. It was another Vanguard deployment with Deadlock Maelstrom and the Relic and the usual secondary objectives.

Chase's dice were hot all game, I didn't get invisibility, he stole the initiative, and the cards weren't very kind to me either. I don't think I made a single Feel No Pain roll on my command squad, and Chase didn't miss many resurrection rolls.

However, in the first turn, my dev squads dropped in and erased his warlord on a barge. I thought the day was mine but I don't think I was meant to win this game and the fickle hand of fate did me no favors for the rest of the game.

We played down to the wire and "dice down" was called in the bottom of turn 5 during the shooting phase. I was about to charge three Necron warriors that held the Relic with my Captain, Apothecary, and a Librarian on bike. I only needed another 2 minutes and to make a 4-inch charge to swing the battle in my favor, but I lost by 2 points in the end.

In my third game, I played Jordan and his Imperial Fists in a Tactical Escalation and Hammer and Anvil deployment.

Jordan went first and scored First Blood by wiping out a biker unit with an Avenger Gatling cannon on his Imperial Knight. I don't think that squad made a single armor save or Jink before being shot full of lead.

However, the rest of the game my dice were on fire. In my first turn, I knocked half the wounds off his Knight with grav weapons, took out a squad and put his Captain down to one wound and put a serious hurt on the rest of his army.

The battle was back and forth, but I kept getting good draws on my Maelstrom cards and the mobility of bikes and being able to grab objectives at will was earning me a ton of points.

Near the end of the game, Jordan's knight charged my Captain and I managed to dodge and not take a single wound from combat or stomps! In the next phase, my Captain and his power fist punched the Knight to death but took a D-explosion to the face when it went nuclear.

In the next turn, a drop pod made an impossible shot and plunked his Warlord Captain's last wound scoring me a point for Warlord kill and an maelstrom objective card. In the end I won 14-7 but I think if the game was scored by regular kill points, I would have lost.

I gave my gift card I won to my buddy to didn't do as well with his new Ork army. Hopefully he can pick up some reinforcements to fill out his list.

Next month is a 1,000 point-per-player team tournament. I don't have a partner yet, nor an army picked out, but I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Warhammer 40k Old Hammer

One of the many side projects is building a 40k Old Hammer list. I think a Space Marine was among the first minis I ever painted and of course I painted him just like the blue armor and white helmeted chaps on the box.

I still had a handful of the old Rouge Trader models sitting around collecting dust but I recently started assembling an army in earnest about the time the Horus Heresy models from Forge World were released. My plan was to build a real Heresy army out of RT models and I've finally started that ball rolling with these classic minis.

I've got about 2,000 points lined up to build my Ultramarines, complete with Tac squads in rhinos, termies, a librarius conclave, and a land raider. I can almost field a Gladius Strike Force...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hobby Tool Review: Citadel Fine Detail Cutters

Citadel Hobby Clippers
If you're a hobby addict like I am, or if you have army ADHD like I do, you tend to spend a lot of time chopping, clipping, or gnawing bits of toy soldiers off of grey plastic sprues. When I first started playing miniature games, most models came in blister packs and you needed needle-nose pliers to bend foot tabs so they would stay in slotta bases. Sure, plastic models were available but if you bought them, you probably cut them off the sprues with an X-Acto knife. About the mid-90s I picked up my first pair of Citadel clippers and they have been faithfully freeing models from their plastic prisons for many years but they have become so dull that I was no longer getting clean cuts. So, I decided to splurge and buy a new pair of Citadel Fine Detail Clippers - which retail for $33 USD.

Holly surgical chainsaw, Batman!

Do you remember that first time you held an X-Acto knife in your hands? Do you remember feeling like you could cut through a car door because this was the sharpest object you've ever held? Using these clippers reminded me of that feeling.

The first thing I clipped was a Space Marine backpack and these things sliced and diced their way through the plastic with ease. These aren't just wire snippers, these clippers are two razor-sharp X-Acto blades with a pincer grip. I could probably shave with these things, they are that sharp.

Since I was used to muscling through with my old clippers, the Citadel clippers seemed rocket powered. I chewed through a box of marines in no-time and I was able to get close to the contact point and I saved a lot of time by not having to shave off burrs with my knife. I still filed down the seams and cut points with my files, but I estimate that these "cut" my working time by at least 10 to 20-percent.

My only real complaint is that the handles are really slick and could have used some extra tooling to form a texture grip or perhaps some rubber on the handles. My first few clipper jobs were a little precarious because my hands slid up and down the handles as I tried to get the blades into position and keep my digits out of the blades path.

There is a saying that floats around Games Workshop hobby products - "They are twice as good as anyone else, but cost twice as much as they should." While this may be true, I love these clippers and I recommend them to any gamer, even with the high price tag.

Also, I had a revelation recently. Space Marine "digital weapons" aren't just electronic, they go on your fingers... your digits. Digital-digital weapons.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

2016 Bugeater GT

A couple of weekends back, the wife and I made the trek to Omaha, Nebraska for the Bugeater Great Tournament. I've been to a few tournaments in Omaha before (Bellevue, actually) but this was my first Bugeater.

After my last GT, I wanted to change things up and bring a more competitive list, at least what I thought was be more competitive. I brought 3 knights, a batch of Eldar scatter bikes, and a Culexus assassin. The knight's Baronial Court is a nice formation, the Eldar jetbikes put out a ton of firepower and move well, and the Culexus was there for the librarian/daemon shenanigans. Good on paper.

My first round was against a fluffy Tzeentch Chaos Daemon army without Fateweaver. My dice were cold, ice cold but I managed to squeak out a victory. I probably would have lost in turn 5 and 6, but turn 7 left me with the win.

My next game was almost a mirror match- 3 Imperial Knights and some IG backup. I started off hot and blew up his home-made shield generator. For some reason, I totally forgot my rules and let my opponent tell me that my Gatling cannon only shoots 6 shots... and I let him bounce around in his shooting phase and firing his guns out of sequence. Those errors earned me a loss. I also played a little to conservatively with my knights and should have pressed in sooner. I think we only made it through turn 4...

In my third game, I faced an Eldar player with a bootleg Vampire (the giant 30 man transport.) It was a close game but I lost. He had a couple of straggler units that I couldn't finish off and he was able to claim more objectives than I could. It was a pretty demoralizing defeat but I ended up winning a Scarbrand in a door prize drawing afterward.

In my fourth game of the day, I played Curt and his Necrons, one of the local guys who also happened to make the trip. It ended being another loss for me, although the game was a lot closer than the final score bore out.

The next morning I was back for round 5 and faced my favorite game of tourney against an AdMech War Convocation. It was a fun game against a great opponent and it was a close one but I managed to take away a win because the game went into extra turns.

Since I'm working on my own Mechcanicus list, I had a lot of first hand knowledge of his force. That's been one of my detriments in playing these big tournaments - not knowing my opponent's force well enough. I have a lot of experience against the local guys but cut-hroat tourney lists are another matter.

In my last game, I played a kid that had a very fun Salamander army; he even converted a Knight out of a dragon/helldrake/action figure kitbash. My dice were super hot and his were ice cold. I can't say that I was a good general this match, but it did give me a 3-3 record, finishing in the bottom third of the bracket.

Also on a positive note, I also made the cut on painting. There were some amazing armies at this tourney and I knew I wouldn't win, but it was flattering to make into the judging table.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Midwest ConQuest GT

This past weekend I made my way to the Midwest ConQuesT GT in Kansas City.  It was a bit of a last minute decision and I didn’t really have an optimized army built for what you might typically expect at an ITC GT but I had three options.

First I considered my White Scars (which I’ve recently re-painted as Astral Claws – more on that in another post) but they failed me at a recent local tournament after facing ‘Nids and a scouting Eldar list and I moth-balled them for the time being.

Next I was thinking about bringing my Admech War Host Convocation with two Imperial Knights. To be honest, I haven’t really enjoyed playing the Admech very much but they can be a force to be reckoned with a favorable matchup.

Lastly, I considered and ultimately chose my Grey Knights. Here’s roughly what I brought:

Grey Knight CAD:
Librarian -  Level 3, Cuirass of Sacrifice

10 Termies, Daemon Hammer, Psycannon, Halberd
10 Strike Squad, Daemon Hammer, incinerator, Halberd
10 Strike Squad, Daemon Hammer, Psycannon, Halberd

Storm Raven

Dreadknight – Sword, psycannon, incinerator
Dreadknight – Sword, psilenceer, incinerator
Dreadknight – Hammer, psycannon, incinerator

I know that Chaos Daemons are king of the hill and I would be ready for them no matter how I split up my force and I thought I might have enough flame-punch to knock around scatbike Eldar lists too.

I went 2 – 4.  Two of my losses were ass-kickings, but two were fairly close.

My first game was against Cyle who recently took second at another ITC event with his Daemons. It was kind of close the first couple of turns as we both tested each other out but my Dreadkinghts dished out lots of pain and he conceded on turn 5 with just Fateweaver flying off the table. He was a nice player but jokingly gave me the finger the rest of the day. I hope I can play him again sometime.

My second game was against Aaron Aleong and a version of his Thunderdome.  I blitzed my Dreadknights into his line of independent characters and was unable to alpha anything special. Getting all three of my DKs so close was a mistake and they quickly fell to Aaron’s superior uber unit. My dice were also cold and just compounded a losing game from the start. Aaron was a super nice guy and was offering tips throughout the game and even stopped casting Invisibility after the second turn from his conclave because he was steamrolling me.

Besides my own bad play, the only thing I can complain about was his modeling made it hard to figure out what was what. I had always assumed that the top-tier guys had awesome armies, but his was difficult to decipher. His Azrael was Lucas the Trickster with a without a powerclaw and still painted like a Space Wolf.  His White Scars were painted like Death Wing, he had guys riding wolves that were actually bikes, and a few Hero Click wolves.  I had a hard time remembering what was what, but Aaron was always helpful when I asked questions. Very gracious but I’m afraid I may have offended him when asked if I liked his modeling and I told him it was a challenge to follow. If he wasn’t such a nice and helpful player, I’d assume he was trying to make it difficult for his opponent.

My third game was against Troy G. from the Flying Monkeys and his Ork Stompa. It was a very close game from the start, both of us throwing knockout punches. I had a bit more luck because one of my Dreadknights was able to tie-up the Stompa for a few turns and killed it on the last game turn. His Warlord Mek also died in the explosion giving me 5 points on that one die roll. Again, very pleasant player and I really enjoyed the game.

The next day I faced John H. from Oklahoma and his IG/White Scar fortress. This turned out to be a bad matchup for me because all of his long range AP 2/AP 3 blasts and grav bunkered around a void shield. I went first but was unable to alpha strike anything off the table and then he knocked out two of my Dreadknights right away putting me on the back foot for the rest of the game. My dice were a little cold and he took advantage of it. Heck, I kept failing to cast simple things like Hammerhand… John is a super friendly opponent (and even offered to give me a 3D printed rhino) but his list is super nasty, especially against my MEQ.

In the fifth round I played against another super nice player, Joe G. who brought an Ork Meganob formation that was pretty nasty. I decided to break my longstanding rule against deep-striking and tried to teleport in my Librarian and half my termies. They came in on turn 2 and misshaped EVERY turn and went into ongoing reserves. This is why I don’t deepstrike except for droppods.

Every. Turn. It was like my unit was magnetized to terrain.

It also counted as warlord kill since he was off the table at the end of the game.

The last game was against a Space Marine player named Tony who was running Raven Guard painted as Nightlords. He had a very fluffy list with a Skyhammer Annihilation Force. We played a very close game and I think I would have won on turn 5, but we played a full 7 turns and Tony ended up winning in my closest fight of the event. He lost far more models than I did, but he was able to collect more objectives than I.

I learned a lot at this tourney and it was a fun event but this is my second GT that gave away a ton of door prizes and I left empty handed again. It seemed like there were enough awards and swag for just about everyone but my tickets were never called. I drove home, licked my wounds and I’m now frantically painting my Eldar scatbikes to get ready for the Bug Eater GT in Omaha in a couple of weeks. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New Games Workshop Changes

Games Workshop has recently dipped back into social media and community outreach after several years of going silent and have launched several new pages pages on Facebook, including their Warhammer 40k page.

This is a big deal.

One of the most talked about posts is their call to fans to submit questions for a future FAQ. Among smart-ass jokes, snarky comments, and other general whining, there are some genuine rules questions that players have been struggling to get a clear ruling. ITC has their own interpretations and rulings that most gamers have accepted but getting answers straight from high command will be a positive step forward in both connecting with the gaming community and building a better game.

Personally, I'd like to see some rulings on scouting fortifications, Iron Hands vehicles and chapter tactics, Independent Characters joining formations, and scouting units and their transports with the Strategic Warlord Trait.

I know there's always going to be codex creep and there are a lot of people who are upset that their favorite army is losing the arms race, but Nids, Blood Angel, Dark Eldar, and CSM players will get their updates in due time. Actually, I'd just like to take Eldar, Tau, and a couple of SM units down a peg so that they are in line with the older codexes and 40k doesn't end up like Heroclix and just become a game of ridiculous escalation.

I don't want to appear as a GW apologist, but this is another great step forward for GW since the new CEO took over.

We've already received:

*Expanded the Heresy Era line of minis and rules
*Reintroduced Genestealers, Death Watch, and turned other fluff into playable factions
*Brought back Specialist Games (Necromunda, Blood Bowl, et al.)
*Organized game play (please bring this to FLGS)
*Bundles with some actual savings
*Expanded paint lines, including the oversized ink bottles
*Campaign expansions with new fluff and rules (and story advancement)

I'd love to see 'Ard Boyz brought back (or some sort of tournament schedule) and the Outrider program.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Forgeworld: Win a Titan!

Forge World is holding a contest to win one of four titans! To enter, you have to spend £100 (about $150 USD) and write an essay naming your new titan in 400 words or less. A panel of judges will pick the four best stories and the winners will receive one of the following: a warhound, a reaver, or a warlord titan.

Since I bought my wife an engagement ring and two wedding bands, I almost had her convinced to buy me a Reaver titan in return. I told her it would be an invincible symbol of our love that would shield us from our enemies and everyone would be able to witness our unbeatable bond.

She didn't buy it.

Admittedly, I've been tempted to buy a warhound recently. I wouldn't play with it very often but it's possible to field it in the local tourneys, and there's a certain amount of prestige that comes with owning such a cool model. Of course, I would love to own any of the other titans but they are just so expensive that it's out of my gaming budget. I could sell off a couple of my painted armies and I might be able to pull enough cash together though...

Until then, I'm going to try to win one of the models from Forge World. Here's my story. I'm pretty pleased with my entry and my fingers are crossed. Wish me luck!


Alea Iacta Est meaning, "The dice has been cast," was the last titan to be fabricated before the Adaptus Mechanicus broke into civil war during the Schism of Mars in the early days of the Horus Heresy.

As the infected scrap-code of the traitorous Kelbor-Hal swept through the cities and foundries of the Mechanicum, the un-activated and un-named, "Alea iacta est," still moored in the assembly bay, was spared the effects of the initial digital attack during the "Death of Innocence."

As pandemonium and discord swept across the foundries and forge cities of Mars, surviving tech-priests, servitors, and engineers of the Collegia Titanica were able to enshrine a princeps and crew aboard the uncommissioned titan. Princeps Ansley Arenos and an adhoc crew worked at a feverous pace to make the giant ready for combat and bond Arenos with the machine spirit.

Traditional christening ceremonies and pomp were eschewed in favor of pressing the newly minted behemoth into combat. The colossal machine was painted simply in Legio Tempestus colors without personal heraldry of the pilot or crew. The weed of betrayal was spreading swiftly and with the enemy at the gate and little time to lose, the engineers of the Mechanicum made final preparations as the titan stood on the assembly line.

As traitor forces attacked suspected loyalist forges, heavy casualties were inflicted and confusion reigned. As systems on board the titan came alive, Princeps Arenos, received panicked communiqu├ęs from across the sporadically working vox network asking for aid and information during the opening hours of the Martian civil war. The first words spoken from the Throne Mechanicum by Princeps Arenos to fellow Titan commanders was, "The dice has been cast."

With those words, the giant war machine still warm from the forge, marched into the red dust of Mars to prosecute war against traitors of the Imperium. Fellow commanders dubbed the raw titan, “Alea Inacta Est” to honor prophetic statement from the rookie commander who rushed to their aid in hopes that fresh reinforcements may sway the tide of battle in their favor.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

40k Imperial Knight Commission

My buddy Gabe, commissioned me to paint up an Imperial Knight in the style of Legend of the Five Rings Dragon Clan style.

Here's what I've done:

The lighting is a little harsh, but I think you can make out the shading on the green. I originally tried painting scales using an airbrush and a piece of mesh, but it didn't really look good. I may have used too much paint, but I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out.

Gabe put him to good use as an ally for his Grey Knights in the last league at our FLGS and has decided to build a full Knight army. He's hired another local gamer to paint another Knight in another L5R clan and has asked me to paint his third Knight in the Crane clan colors.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Color Schemes and Shout Outs

With my army A.D.D., I’m constantly dreaming up of new paint schemes and army theme ideas. Space Marines and Imperial Guard (nay Astra Militarum) are the usual suspects to be converted to some sort of idea that I’ve dreamed up like GI Joe, Star Trek, comic book characters, cartoon characters, 1950s style space heroes etc. Every time I’m picking up the brush, I’m daydreaming about yet another scheme I can paint for another army.

Bolter and Chainsword has a handy tool to help flush out some ideas and paint schemes so I have to actually paint up a test mini and then strip it when it doesn’t work out.

This doesn’t help with any conversions, but it does help visualize how some paint colors will look on a model.  I wish they had a Dark Eldar version because I’d like to try out a “Joker” themed list and I could use some visualization help. Purple bodies, white skin, green hair… I’d even paint Joker grins on the front of Venoms and bozo circles on the sails of the Ravagers and raiders.

I’ve also been tempted to paint up a small Cadian ally group as 1950s space heroes to help out my Adeptus Mechanicus and I think I may go with this green and white style scheme.

Speaking of the retro space heroes, Retro Raygun has a fantastic catalog of atomic age minis.

I adore 1950s atomic age space pulp fiction and I’m fascinated with the Retro Raygun line of minis, however, I’ve never played their game. I can usually talk one of my buddies into playing an “off game” (meaning: not Warhammer) every once in a while, but I have to buy the models for both armies.

I’d love to try it Retro Raygun but I know that I’d get more playtime with the minis if I proxy them as something from Warhammer 40k. I’m tempted to place an order so I can field 1,850 points of Galacteers that are perfect for Astra Militarum and Valkeeri that would make awesome Dark Eldar or Eldar proxies.

They also have robots that would make good Necrons or Admech... better warm up that credit card.