Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kill Team 2010


So the new Battle Missions book is going to have among its offerings a new "Kill Team" mission.  I haven't seen the new book yet myself, but this is one of the things I'm looking forward to.

Back in 4th ed there was a Kill Team mission too, but at least around here it never really caught on.  While it looked really cool, I think there were a couple of reasons.  One, it seemed much cooler to be the Kill Team than the Brutes.  After all, the movie the above pic is from wasn't titled "A Bunch of Off-duty Germans".  Two, which ties into part one, you really needed two forces to play - a Kill Team and a Brute force (and would hopefully swap back and forth so each player got a chance to be the cool Kill Team).  Three, it required a bit more narrative and pre-work than a typical pick-up game.

From the sound of it the new version will avoid those issues.  From what I've gathered, it's a 200pt game, with 0-1 Elites, 0-2 Troops, and 0-1 Fast Attack.  There's also an option to give up to 3 models a Universal Special Rule, which all have to be different.  Each model acts independently - so no issues with coherency, etc.  

So instead of having to make and convert a special force (though some certainly still will), you can just pull 200pts from an existing army, making it a lot easier to get into.  No disparity between elite and schlubs, except by choice (like one guy picks terminators, the other one a whole bunch of grots).  With less worry about mutable rules, etc. it should be easier to get games going.

There's already chatter online about putting some restrictions in like no vehicles, and I think that might be a good thing, but would need to see a few games before being sure.  My instinct is the less there is that some guys can't affect, the better.  I look forward to these matches being something like a simpler Necromunda, a firefight between a couple of squads rather than a bunch of guys with lasguns against some Sentinels.  Combat Patrol had restrictions, and I think it'd be wise to institute some into the even smaller point level of KT.

Given how each unit operates independently, I'm curious as to how long these games will generally take.  In some ways it will go faster - roll a couple of dice, move on.  In others it might take longer, given you might have 30 different guys to make decisions for, move, check LOS, pick targets, etc. compared to a 40K game that will have many more models, but fewer units.

Another thing is that I think it's a great 'entry drug' type of scenario.  I can foresee making some forces just for KT - though in time some may well morph into full armies.  It's a small (relative to a full army) investment, so I may get a couple of boxes of Aspect Warriors or some Nids or some Dark Eldar or...

What are your thoughts about the new Kill Team, or the Battle Missions book in general?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sodor Imperial Guard

My son, like many young kids, likes the Thomas the Tank Engine series.

For those of you not familiar with it:


As a wargamer, whenever I see an episode one of my first thoughts is, "Wow, they have some great terrain!"  So sometimes when watching I'll idly imagine a battle across the sets.  Sodor invaded by Chaos Marines, Tyranids, Orks, etc.

But who would defend Sodor?  The Imperial Guard of course!  Thus was born the Sodor First and Useful.

With such advanced machine spirits in their vehicles, Sodor certainly uses the same technology in their tanks.  After all, Thomas *is* a tank engine!  So here's a preliminary shot of the Sodor First and Useful:

(image defiled with permission from Freddie Yu's Galen Rockhounds)

Building the Army:

Of course tanks are going to be key.  Get as many Russes, Chimeras etc. in as you can and put the faces on them.  Different paint schemes to represent the different engines from the series is a plus.  The drivers in the series wear blue uniforms, so this would probably carry over to the IG as well.  Since he's already a bit big it should be possible to turn a Creed figure into Sir Topham Hat/The Fat Controller.  

++To die for the Emperor is to be Really Useful++

(you can see more of Freddie Yu's excellent Galen Rockhounds on Dakka Dakka)

(update - more Thomas related 40K madness over at The Back 40K)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chaos Bikes are BROKEN!

Mine are, at any rate.


Packing up in a hurry yesterday after a game, I dropped my biker champion.  Thought I had the pieces, but when I took it out today to glue back together, realized that some parts had come off of the other parts.  A look around the area at the store today brought up no bits, so currently without a head or handlebars.

Sad on the face of it, but maybe it's an opportunity?  A new head is no big deal, but maybe I should do a little extra modeling to replace the handlebars?

Some options I'm thinking of:

  1. Ditch the legs and turn him into a centaur-biker, torso plugged into the bike itself.
  2. Borg him up slightly, having cables run between him and the bike, like he's controlling it cybernetically, leaving his arms more free for mischief.
  3. Sculpt some kind of daemonic influence where the handlebars used to be, indicating a daemon bound into the bike and doing the steering.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Army Makeover - Plaguebearers

As part of my refurbishment of my old, old Sons of Horus army I've updated my Plaguebearers a bit. 

Here's a shot of them previously:


And here they are after a little brush-on dip:


Not going to win any awards, but IMO they look a bit better.  More depth and the glossy, slimy look suits them, so I don't think I'll matte seal them.  At some point they'll end up getting rebased along with the rest of the army.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hobby Tip: Do What You're in the Mood For!


If you're like me you probably have a lot on your hobby plate and in the pipeline at any given time.  For example right now I have my Imperial Guard army I'm repainting, my Traitor Guard sitting in boxes waiting to be created, my Sons of Horus begging for a little refurbishment, various Reaper, etc. figs sitting around, a nascent Death Guard army looking to infect me...well, it's a lot.

How to get it all done?  Sometimes when I'm doing my hundredth left boot or my eyes start to bleed from painting detail or the glue fumes from assembling start to get to me, I need a change.  If I stick to the task at hand, I could make progress, true, but it would be slower, lower quality progress and I wouldn't have fun.  And this is supposed to be a hobby!  So in order to still make some progress while garnering some level of enjoyment, I'll switch gears.

Tired of working on infantry?  Work on a vehicle.
Tired of working on rank and file?  Work on a character.
Tired of army X for a while?  Break out something else.

...or work on terrain, objective counters, whatever.  The key is to find something you'd be more enthusiastic about doing, and do that instead.  You'll be happier, and while your progress on the original task may be slowed somewhat, your overall speed across multiple stages or projects will end up faster.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Zealot Fest - Word Bearers vs. Black Templars Battle Report

Red power-armored religious fanatics vs. black power-armored religious fanatics!  What's not to love?

Batrep Link

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Planetary Empires First Impressions


The folks at the local store started up a Planetary Empires campaign/league and I joined in, literally dusting off the old Sons of Horus for renewed service.

Having played one battle and having observed parts of a few others I formed some initial impressions. 

  • Overall seems pretty nifty.  Pretty rules-light (most of the book is taken up by repeating the same info in multiple languages), but that means easier play.  If you want to add more depth, it should be easy to do so.  But for an out of the box easy starter campaign system it looks like it works well.
  • Most of the expense of the official set doubtless comes from the fancy plastic tiles, little buildings and flags.  You can certainly do this part (keeping track of who has what territories, etc.) pretty easily with any number of computer programs, and if you're doing this with a spread out group tracking things online is probably the way to go.  For a group like the one I'm playing with now where we're doing things centrally, it's cool having a physical board there to look at.  
  • The buildings system is interesting.  Different types give you points towards different effects, and your army type (Marines, IG, Chaos, etc.) determines how many points you get.  For example, Dark Eldar get more points from the buildings that give bonuses for the rolls to go first while IG get more points from the buildings allowing for more points in the actual battles.
  • One of the types of bonuses is being able to give units a free USR - Universal Special Rule - for that battle.  So you could give a unit of Ork Boyz Infiltrate, a Defiler Scout, a Trygon Feel No Pain, etc.  In one of the battles I witnessed the Tyranid player gave that life-sucking critter Eternal Warrior, and it Just Would Not Die!  All kinds of potential craziness that can be had there and add variety to games.
  • The bonus for extra points can be used to buy stuff outside of your normal codex - for example an IG player borrowed an Ironclad Dreadnought to supplement his guardsmen.  Besides just trying out some crazy combos, this could also be a good way for players with smaller armies to play bigger games by more easily combining parts of their smaller armies.  And for those who miss things like Kroot mercs, human auxiliaries for the Tau, Lost and the Damned type armies, Genestealer Cults, etc. this can help scratch that itch.  
  • I like the mechanism they have for battles and capturing territory.  Rather than saying Player A attacks B in territory 26, Player A and B just have a game.  Any kind of game they want to - any mission, any terrain, any point size.  No worries about attacker/defender in the strategic sense.  Whoever WINS the battle gets a chance to take one of the loser's territory, which is not always successful and is subject to a number of modifiers.  Sort of like each player antes up a territory before the battle.  You also can take territories that aren't adjacent, but it's harder.  So if you want a particular type of building, you can go after it no matter where it is.  If you're boxed in and are tired of fighting one player, you can hop across the board and challenge someone else without a problem. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Army Makeover - Refurbishing the Figures of Days Gone By

Back when I first got back into 40K, I started two main armies - Silver Skulls loyalist marines, and the Sons of Horus Chaos marines.  I played with them both quite a bit back in the day, but as editions and army books changed and new armies were built they both fell by the wayside.  I've recently finished adding a few figs to get my Silver Skulls up to date with the new books, and while thinking about what army to use for a local league/campaign, decided to see about breaking out the Sons of Horus again.

I've used some of the figs from time to time to supplement my Word Bearers, but the army as a whole has been largely inactive for years.  Looking at it has brought home how far (IMO) my painting has come over the past eight years.  The old figs are pretty cleanly painted, but there's minimal if any shading.  The biggest effect on the tanks is the use of "weathering powders" aka dust.


 What's a highlight?

So I thought, if I was going to start using these guys again, why not update their look a bit as well?  I'm not up for totally repainting the army, but I wonder how far a little shading would go.


Some highlights on the black, some washes on the metals, skulls and skin, who knows?

Those old figs deserve a little more showing off than they're getting right now.

To start, I've rebased the old Terminators onto 40mm bases by the simple expedient of gluing the old 25mm slottabases onto the larger ones.


I stopped working on them while some of the new additions weren't even finished, like the lord on the right and the bikers, which don't have bases finished.


So I'm thinking of working on these guys at the same time as my other projects (currently IG and Traitor Guard), just sliding a unit in between stages on the other projects.  

I'm also thinking about rebasing them to match my Word Bearers to make mix&match look a little better.  Then follow the scheme for my future Chaos Armies and build my own Black Crusade...

So, what do you think the figures need?  How'd you go about jazzing them up without having to redo too much?  Any old armies of your own you'd like to give a makeover to?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

That Little Bit Left Over

Yesterday I was talking with two players who were getting ready for a game.  The Ork player was finishing his list and wasn't sure what to put in for the last batch of points.  I said, "Divide by 6, add boyz."  His opponent got a kick out of that and it got me thinking. 

When you're making a list, get your basics down and find you have <100pts left, what do you throw in for your various armies?  Do you add another unit?  Beef up existing squads?  Add in upgrades to characters, squads and vehicles?  Do you have some favorite things that you don't "need" in a basic list, but you're happy when you have room for them?

A couple of examples from my own armies:

*Orks -after I get my various units of trukk/battlewagon borne boyz and meganobz down alongside my big footslogging shoota mob, if I have points left over I find myself looking for my Lobbas.  I've played games without them and really find myself missing them, even more than things like Bikes.  Big Guns of any variety are good for this use, as they're cheap and easily adjusted to fit most small point surpluses.

*Space Marines - for my drop pod army, I usually leave Deathwind launchers off when first making the list, so when I have points left over they're often the first thing to go back on to the pods that plan on getting up close and personal.  If I still have room, my lonely Multi-melta speeder makes an appearance too.  With full pod squads running over 200pts, it's nice to have some cheaper elements to help plug the little holes when you can't afford another full squad.

*Chaos Marines - when making smaller lists, I usually end up paring down my Lesser Daemons, so when I have a few points left over they usually go back into bringing these guys back up to strength.

How about you?
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