Sunday, November 8, 2015

Where does he get those wonderful toys?

I've been asked by Shapeways to give them a plug, and being an accommodating fellow who has used them in the past, here it is!

Shapeways is a 3-D printing company that makes all sorts of things based on designs others enter.  As miniatures gamers, there's a lot on offer there.  I personally have used them (through the designer CustomMinis, who has a ton of 40k useful designs) for shoulder pads for both the Space Sharks and Sons of Taurus.  If I end up expanding the Space Sharks I will probably end up getting the door set pictured above, as FW has dropped the Badab War ball and even stopped making their Carcharodon transfers.  Boo.  If you have a custom chapter or just want some variety in pads, check them out.  I expect you'll be able to find something you can work with.

The interface and searchability still leave a bit to be desired, though it does look like it has improved since I first scrolled through page after page to find what I was interested in.  Some examples of things folks might find interesting below:

Want a BFG cruiser?  (from GrimDarkBits)

Or some things for X-Wing games? (from Mel_Miniatures)

Some teeny weapons for those Hot Wheels cars you're converting for your Fury Road games? (by swinks)

How about an interesting portal glyph marker for those daemons? (by dashleysmith)

Or maybe you have been looking for the right hats for your Lego Napoleonics army? (by woody64)

Check them out, poke around and I'm pretty sure you'll find something interesting and even useful!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Before he was a Legend he was a Marine

Larry Brom, esteemed miniatures rules designer and wonderful human being recently passed away.  Larry was a huge influence on historical miniatures gamers, with his Sword and the Flame rules often being the go-to rules for colonial-era conflicts, and other rules covering the Franco-Prussian War (with variants for US Civil War and other conflicts) and his Before I was a Marshal I was a Grenadier rules for Napoleonics, among others.  He was more focused on fun and playability than intense detail in his rules and the games he put on, focusing on the flavor and enjoyment of the participants.

I was fortunate enough to know Larry when I was a lot younger, when he and the Triangle Simulation Society humped down the road to put on games for us at J&S Hobbies in Winston-Salem.  These games really helped the miniatures bug to bite me hard, though I never took the plunge to get historical armies myself.  For their first visit, they put a tarp down over some tables, pulled up the edges and dumped kitty litter all over it.  The game hadn't even started and already we had spectacle.  Once the dust settled they shaped the mounds a bit, pulled out spray cans and soon the mass of kitty litter had become a rolling landscape of grassy hills, with roads and a stream.  Some buildings were placed to form a village and trees stuck directly into the litter to make areas of forest.  After that the miniatures came out and a crowd of us battled back and forth, with casualties left on the field where they fell as evidence of where the fighting had been hardest.  I was hooked.  The whole experience - the immersive terrain, the complete armies of painted figures, the fun and fast rules and general excitement is what I generally try to re-create every time I play (with varied results!).

They came back a number of times later, though usually without the kitty litter.  We played a variety of conflicts, including some great games with his French Foreign Legion fort and a giant Alamo setup.  (his process of giving various legionnaires names from his fellow gamers was the inspiration for my Scythiak recruitment drive)  Again, spectacle and fun were the key drivers.  We played other games and I was in various RPG campaigns and the like, but whenever Larry came it was always a treat.

He moved on, and it has been many years since I had seen him in person.  He got ill, and the other day his daughters posted that he had passed away.  He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Endless Ones Heldrake, Merkan 76th vs. Hive Fleet Jumbo

Still needs a check for fixing visible goofs and sealing, but the heldrake for the Endless Ones is pretty complete.  Painting one of these already assembled is...annoying.  Thankfully, years ago some friends gave me an angled brush that came in very handy getting to spots where the wings overlap.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mass Carnage - Prelude

We're getting ready for a large (for us) 4-on-4 game as a change of pace from long-running leagues and campaigns.  Scott had the idea and has been the organizer.  We're going to do preliminary games with the results impacting the larger fight (extra VP), but also you can gain bonuses in-game that apply to the larger fight.  I took on that part, throwing together some new Mysterious Objectives.  The idea is for each preliminary battle to have six objectives, and roll on the specific tables instead of the rulebook ones.  Some will disadvantage you in the initial game (by making units disappear) but will benefit you in the next round (they come back).  Others are specific to the unit holding it at the end, so you might try to get a different unit on that objective or focus more on holding that and lessen your chances for the current game. Which is more important for the larger victory?  Players will need to choose.

In case it can prove inspirational, here's what I put together for us.  Some of the objectives are army-specific, based on the armies we will have involved (IG, DA and two Eldar vs. Nids, Daemons, Orks, and Necrons).  Down the road, I'd love to have all the objectives army-specific as part of a narrative tree.

Mysterious Objectives

Follow normal rules for identifying mysterious objectives, except use these tables instead of the one in the main rulebook.

Except where noted, effects will take effect in megabattle.

Except where noted, the unit holding the objective at the end of the game gains the benefit.

Gone…for now – several remove units from the current game, only to reappear for the megabattle.  These units count as destroyed for the preliminary battle.  In the megabattle, they can be added to your army at their full strength (as purchased for preliminary battle) for no cost and requiring no slot.  If the army they come from is the same as your primary detachment, count them as being part of that detachment.  If they come from an army that is not the same as your primary detachment, you can count them as being part of an appropriate detachment you have.  If you have no appropriate detachment, they can still be used but count as their own detachment.  If this unit would be required to fulfill a compulsory choice (you were taking X formation that requires one of these, and only one you have) they can count as filling that slot and become part of that detachment.  Note that the more powerful the unit is, the harder the preliminary game will become but the greater the benefit for the megabattle.

1-2 Table A
3-4 Table B
5-6 Table C

Each objective can only be rolled once in a given battle.  If it is an army-specific objective, if the objective changes hands, use the corresponding # from the other army (ie if when discovered it was Ork objective 1 but Dark Angels take the objective count it as Dark Angels objective 1)

Table A
1 -Unstable Warp Core – Remove objective and remove unit with Gone…for now effects.  Unit must enter the megabattle by  Deep Strike as it returns from the time/space continuum.

2- Detailed maps – Choose one unit to gain Infiltrate.

3- Experimental ammo/power source/radioactive biomass – Unit’s ranged weapons gain +1 Str

4- This is not the time or place – When holding this objective and at least half strength, unit may elect to disengage and save itself for the next fight.  When attacked, after to-hit/to-wound/penetration rolls but before saves/damage results you may elect to remove the unit under the Gone…for now effects.  Objective remains but becomes a normal objective.  In megabattle deploy with Infiltrate (but not Outflank) after normal deployment but before any other infiltrators.

5 -Collapse! – The earth opens up and swallows the objective and unit.  Unit removed under the Gone…for now effects and objective removed.  If objective was in a terrain piece, remove terrain piece and mark outline.  If was in the open, mark 3” radius from center of objective.  Move any models from other units out of the marked area by shortest appropriate distance.  Marked area now considered vast pit and counts as impassable terrain.  No units other than fast moving flyers/fmcs can end move over the pit.  Appropriate units using appropriate move type (jump pack, skimmers, etc) can pass over the pit but may not end up over it.  In the megabattle, unit reappears from the depths – in the controlling player’s assault phase of turn 2 they enter play.  Position them in any unoccupied terrain piece at least 3”x3”.  If no appropriate terrain, next try terrain pieces with unoccupied ground floors.  If still no valid option, choose an occupied terrain piece.  If no enemy models are present on ground floor, deploy unit.  In any of these cases, the unit may not launch any assaults.  If there are enemy models on the ground floor, the unit is immediately placed in assault.  Due to the mutual surprise, the unit counts as having performed a disordered charge, but does count as having assault grenades and is not subject to Overwatch.

6 - Advanced medical supplies – Unit gains 6+ Feel No Pain.

Table B

1 - Vortex grenade – Character in unit (or designate one model if no character) has a vortex grenade.  8” range, assault 1 small blast Vortex, one use only.

2 - Virus grenade  - Character in unit (or designate one model if no character) has a virus grenade.  8” range, assault 1 Virus, small blast.  Virus – Models hit must pass toughness test or take a wound with no saves, FNP, reanimation protocols, etc. allowed.  For each model killed, next models in line take tests – continue until unit destroyed or appropriate tests are passed.

3 - Artillery Strike – In megabattle treat the artillery strike as a unit in Reserve, and start rolling for it turn 2.  When it arrives, fire it in your shooting phase as an unlimited range Str 9 AP 3 ordnance large blast, barrage, pinning attack (with no reduction for BS).  One use only.

4 - Fire Brigade – You are able to plan a distraction to disrupt the enemy in the megabattle.  After all units have been deployed in megabattle including infiltrators, you may designate one enemy unit and force it to instead go into Reserve.  If eligible for alternative deployment such as Deep Strike or Outflank the controlling player may declare that it will use that method if desired.

5 - Blades of Devoe – Unit’s melee attacks have Poison (4+).

6 - Meltabomb cache – unit is equipped with meltabombs.

Table C

1 – Army specific bonus 1

2- Army specific bonus 2

3– Army specific bonus 3

4 - Reinforcements – Your army gets +200pts to spend.

5 - Flexible formation – Your army may purchase an extra unit that would normally be outside of your detachment but is from the same source and count it as being part of that detachment (example: Combined Arms Detachment with 4 Fast Attack slots)

6 - Warp Entangers – Enemy units attempting to deep strike within 12” of the unit must reroll a Hit result and roll 4d6 for scatter. 

 Army specific bonuses

1 - Idol of Gork (or Mork)  - call an extra WAAAGGH!

2 - Buzzer squig nest – Nominate one of your blast weapons. That weapon can elect to fire buzzer squig containers instead of its normal shells each time it fires.  Use same range and large or small blast template as appropriate.  Str 5 AP5 ignores cover, Orkoid Ecosystem, Voracious.  Orkoid Ecosystem – buzzer squigs do not try to eat orks or gretchin; such units are immune to damage from the buzzer squigs.  This will allow you to place the templates over ork/gretchin models with no ill effect, and may even fire into assault.  Voracious – If target is T4 or lower, reroll failed to-wound rolls.  Swarm stays in place and moves per Vortex rules.

3 - Convertible STC – Any vehicle with the ard case upgrade still counts as open-topped when the ork player so wishes.

1 - Phase shifter upgrade – One unit ignores difficult/dangerous/impassible terrain when moving, but may not stop in impassible terrain.

2 - Forgotten tomb world – One unit may enter from Reserve via Deep Strike with no scatter.

3 - We’ll be back  - Nominate one unit.  If completely destroyed, it comes back in Ongoing Reserves.  May happen multiple times.


1 – Synapse mutation – one model in unit becomes a synapse creature.  If already a synapse creature, synapse range extends +6”.

2 – Crimson Grox supply -  Unit gains Jump.  If already an FMC, gains +1 to Jink and can reroll failed grounding tests.  If the unit is Gargoyles, they can assault the same turn they deep strike.

3 – Unstoppable – unit gains 5+ FNP and if a MC, It Will not Die.


1- Unspeakable Relic – The unit may reroll instability tests.

2 – Thread of corruption – Starting on turn 2, roll for the corruption as if it were a unit in Reserve.  No modifications or rerolls to this reserve roll apply.  When the corruption “arrives”, the Imperial Guard must roll a morale check for each of their units (Fearless does not test, rerolls apply, vehicles test at Ld10, transports with passengers embarked do not test on their own but follow result of their passengers)  Any unit that fails the test passes under the control of the Chaos Daemon player.  (If locked in combat, adjust them to be more than 1” away from formerly friendly models and then determine if other units are still locked in combat or not.)

3 – Stable Warp Path – The unit may deep strike with no chance of scatter.

1 – Lost spirit stone recovered – One wraithlord may be upgraded at no cost to a Wraithseer.  It gains a 4+ invulnerable save and is a level 2 psyker, generating powers as if it was a Farseer. 

2 –Webway Portal – designate one objective as a webway portal.  Eldar units from your army arriving from Reserve with no more than 3 wounds or 2 HP may enter play moving from the portal if it is not enemy controlled or contested.

3 –Tapestry of Beigh – Oh – The unit recovers fragments of the tale of an ancient eldar victory.  The unit gains Preferred Enemy.

Dark Angels
1 – Relic of the Great Crusade – One independent character can count as having a special banner from Codex: Dark Angels.

2 – Legionary plasma coils – Dark Angels models ignore “Gets Hot”.  Any plasma weapons cost 5 points less (minimum zero).

3 – Work of the Fallen – The Dark Angels uncover evidence that the daemonic incursion was instigated by one of the Fallen.  Dark Angels units may count daemons as Chaos Space Marines for purposes of their special rules.

Imperial Guard
1 – Critical Intelligence – Information retrieved convinces high command to commit reserves.  Any destroyed Infantry Squad can come back into play as Ongoing Reserves on a 4+.

2 – Pre-fab defences  - The Imperial Guard player can bring an Aegis Defense Line with quad-gun or icarus lascannon at no cost.

3- Inquisitorial notice – the unit’s success has drawn attention and extra training for the upcoming battle.  The unit gains Preferred Enemy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Sandbags - like pillows that stop bullets

I finished up the defensive positions, coating them with a woodstain mix and then matte sealing.  I went ahead and gooped up the grass, making it look more scorched or like some kind of odd moss to make it fit in better with the rest.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

7th Edition 40K Turn Sequence Revisited

A year ago, I put together some turn sequence charts.  You can see those posts HERE and HERE.  

I originally meant to do more with it, but it fell by the wayside, and the avalanche of releases over the past year discouraged me from really trying to make it comprehensive.

But I was recently contacted by Sjap, a reader from Amsterdam who had been working on his own version.  He has a D&D blog which currently features the adventures of a hard-rockin', hard-partyin' pan-flute gnome rock (and rock gnome) band and if you're in the area and in the market for someone to poke your skin with needles to make pretty pictures, look for House of Tattoos in Amsterdam.  He's a Dark Eldar player, so you might need to be careful once he has you on the table...

As a Dark Eldar player, he noticed that with the DE book, he pointed out that they have a warlord trait that should put warlord traits before night fight determination in the pre-game sequence.  There are other warlord traits that influence that as well I believe, so certainly makes sense.  Below is the version Sjap has been working on:

1.    Set up terrain
2.    Determine mission
3.    Place objectives
4.    Determine deployment map
5.    Roll off for table sides
6.    Generate warlord trait
7.    Generate Psychic Powers
8.     Night fight?
9.     Roll off. Winner decides who will deploy first and who will deploy second
10.  First player deploys
11. Second player deploys
12. Deploy infiltrators
13. Scout moves
14. The player that set up first can choose to take the first or second turn.
15. Seize the initiative attempt

Forge the narrative

Own turn: Draw tactical Objective card(s)?
Reserves 3+ (auto arrive on turn 4).
Blood Tithe? (Daemonkin)
Power from Pain (Dark Eldar)
Instinctive Behavior? (Tyranids)


Begin of movement phase:
One Eye Open?
Units falling back take regroup tests before moving
Flying Monstrous Creature change flight modes
Vector strike

Canoptek Spyder Scarab Hive:  (Necrons)

End of phase:
Grounding tests, Blind tests, 25% casualties?

End of phase:
Grounding tests, Blind tests, 25% casualties?

Begin of  phase:
Warp Storm (Chaos Demons)
During phase:
Ask about jinking:  yes/no?
End of phase:
Grounding tests, Blind tests, 25% casualties?

Start of Assault Phase:
Possessed mutations (CSM)
Spawn mutations...(CSM)

Start of Fight sub phase.
Issue/accept/refuse challenges
(Own Fight sub-phase): Glorious Intervention?
Fear tests
Jet Pack thrust moves
Eldar/Dark Eldar jetbike move

End of phase:
Grounding tests, Blind tests, 25% casualties?


 Each player turn: Soul Blaze
 Own turn: IWND
Own turn: Regenerate  (Tyranids)
End of Own turn: Stand up go to grounders.
End of each player turn: Sabotage.  (Mysterious  Objective).
Own Turn: Discard Tactical card

Turn  5 variable game length continues on 3+, Turn 6 continues on 4+,  Turn 7 auto ends

Forge the narrative

The "Forge the narrative" bit at the end is a reminder to create a story with the game.

I hope that it proves useful to some readers! 
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